FRIDAY REFLECTION – Jesus is the reason for the season

Friday Reflection
December 20, 2019

Jesus is the reason for the season

When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
Matthew 2:10‭-‬11 NIV
https://bible.com/bible/111/mat.2.10-11.NIV

Good morning friends, happy Friday.

It is the most wonderful time of the year. A time of sharing, caring and giving. It is the Advent season, the Christmas season and the season of “giving”.

Today’s reading is reminding us of the gift of God to the world, many moons ago. Matthew gave an  account of what took place when the wise men saw the star of David and went to see Jesus in the manger were he was born. Matthew tells of the gifts and treasures they brought to Jesus. However, what I found most interesting is the fact that they bowed before him, and worshiped him before they presented gifts to him.

The more I reflected on the text, the more I realized the excellency of God and how he inspires his people to tell the story of Jesus’ coming. I believe that every word and phase was carefully thought about. This is the sequence of events:
1. They saw the star and they were overjoyed.
2. When they arrived at the house, they saw child, with his mother Mary.
3. They bowed down and worshiped him
4. Then they presented gifts and treasures to him.

Brothers and sisters, the point I want to make is that our worship should take precedence over our gifts and treasures. Jesus inhabits the praise of his people. Like the wise men had their priorities straight , so should we. The most important thing about this season is celebrating the gift of God to us. It is not a gift of silver or gold. It is far more meaningful, it is the gift of Salvation.

This Advent season, I urge us believers to get our priorities straight*. Our worship to God is always seen in the way we treat others during this time.  Like Peter & John  at gate beautiful “silver and gold have I none, but as I have give I thee, IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST OF NAZARETH, rise up and walk!
The people in Jamaica and around the world, need more than Just a Christmas package.  They need healing and restoration so that they may be able to live well for the other 364 days in the year.

Until next week, Jesus is the reason for the season. Give him your best praise and activity worship him through the giving of lasting gifts to those around you.

BLESSINGS!
Shaneka Raymore-Euphfa

THURSDAY REFLECTION – My help comes from the Lord

Thursday Reflection

December 19, 2019

My help comes from the Lord

“I will lift up my eyes to the hills—from where will my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. Psalms 121: 1-2

Advent greeting friends!

Have you ever faced dire circumstances? Have you ever been in challenging situations with no means of help? Have you ever been in positions were there is no way out? The answer to the questions is yes! We have all experienced difficult times in our lives, no matter who we are. During those times of adversity who did you call on to help? A friend? A co-worker? Your Pastor? Someone with a lot of money and influence?

In our text the Psalmist is believed to be on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. On this pilgrimage he looks to the hills of Jerusalem and ask the question from where does my help come from. This is a fair question whether one is journeying from point A to point B or whether the journey is a life journey. Either journey is full of many dangers. We see the news and hear the reports of many car accidents on the road. We hear of people being targeted and robbed on the road especially in the Christmas season. Life itself is filled with many obstacles such as diseases, natural disasters, war, crime, depression, financial recession, unemployment, debt, theft, doubt, sin, evil, false teaching and corruption. Therefore with so many adversities in life it is fair to ask the question where will my help come from.

The Psalmist looked to the hills [of Jerusalem] when asking this question. The action of looking to the hills is symbolic. The Psalmist is not looking to the hills, because the hills can save him or help him. No! He looks to the hills because of who made the hills. The hills are considered to be big and strong, but if they are created, it means someone is bigger and stronger than the hills. There are many times we look to the hill itself for help and not the maker of the hill. In other words, we look to the powerful people around us for help, forgetting who made these people and gave them the ability to help. Our help doesn’t come from our spouse, the politicians we know, the police we are friends with, the rich among us or the “links” we might have. Our help comes from the one who made all these people and gave them their position. Our help comes from God!

God is the maker of heaven and earth. There is nothing that is not within His control. Everything and everyone we consider to be powerful, whether people in power or the enemy, is under the subjection of God. There is absolutely nothing and absolutely no one who is as powerful as God. God spoke and the world came into being. Just look back on your life and reflect on the dire situations God brought you out of and you will see that your help comes from God now and forever.

Let us bring everything to God for that is where our help comes from.   

Blessings!

Christopher Euphfa

WEDNESDAY REFLECTION – God Watches Over Us

Wednesday Reflection, December 18, 2019

God Watches Over Us.

Wherever he may guide me,
No want shall turn me back;
My Shepherd is beside me,
And nothing can I lack.
His wisdom ever waking,
His sight is never dim,
He knows the way he’s taking,
And I will walk with him
– A L Waring

Brothers and sisters, I greet you well!

Tis the season to be jolly but this is also the season that many tend to be lonely, anxious, perplexed, broke, sad, disappointed, miserable, and all manner of feelings arise. 1 Corinthians 15:19 reminds us that “if in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. “

Of a truth,  for varying reasons, many will tell you that this is the most wonderful time of year and naturally there may be others who will disagree. No matter what your view is, in today’s watchword, the Lord says, ” I will counsel you with my eye upon you.” Psalm 32:8
who among us could ask for a better life coach?

My friends, what detriments have you or are you now facing? Have you been or are you now being afflicted? Conflicted perhaps?know this, God is here! Full stop! Period! You are not alone on this pilgrimage. The Lord is with you to counsel, to guide you and to keep watch over you. That is how valuable you are to Him.

Yes, this season may bring with it the memories of loved ones gone, anniversaries to covenants that have been broken, and you may have cause to start new traditions. I encourage you not to forget warmth of family and the joy of togetherness. No matter who you are, no matter where you are, always remember whose you are.

Sons and daughters of a merciful and compassionate Father with extensive provisions,  the One who is able to ease your discomfort and wise enough to know what is best for you.

In St. Luke 1:30, “The angel said to her, ‘do not be afraid Mary, for you have found favor with God’.” Friends, however this season finds you, rest assured that you will not be swept away by the tides of life for the Lord  God :omnipotent, omnipresent and omniscient watches over each of you.

Until next week,  may the Lord watch between me and thee.
Amen

Kerone Lamoth

TUESDAY REFLECTION – A Call to Restoration

Tuesday Reflection – December 17, 2019
A Call to Restoration

The prophet Hosea preached in Israel during a time of that nations’ backsliding. They had destroyed the purity of their religion by blending it with forms of idolatry. Rather than worshipping the one true God, they also worshipped the gods of the Canaanites, especially Baal. To remain true to God is to rely on God’s provisions which are given according to God’s timing. Idolatry however is manipulative worship. One is led to believe that rituals can be used to manipulate the idol to act on one’s behalf. Israel used rituals of human empowerment, sexual immorality and self-love to cause the idols to bless them. God responded by using the life of the prophet Hosea to challenge Israel’s unfaithfulness and promised them a time when he would restore their faithful honoring of the covenant relationship and purify their worship. Hear today’s watchword from Hosea 2: 19: I will betroth you to me forever; yes, I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in loving kindness and in compassion.

To be betrothed is to be given in marriage. God promised Israel that He would take them to be his beloved forever. Israel’s sin was their abandonment of the covenant relationship. As a result of their backsliding God was going to remove his blessings from them. All the provisions of God that they were ascribing to idols and to their own strength and power, would be taken. This would cause them to refocus their attention on God who alone is able to provide. This is God’s call to restoration. Friends there are times when God will allow us to suffer the loss of whatever causes us to lose sight of Him in order to refocus us. Israel was like the promiscuous wife of the prophet, always leaving the comfort and provision of her home and family to find satisfaction on the outside. At times we are like that, seeking the things we need, the provisions, the job, the companionship, the financial assistance, the longed-for status, seeking whatever places the focus on us. Such unfaithfulness is often rewarded by our loss of what we have because it was becoming a stumbling block in our relationship with God. Jesus made it clear that being tied to possessions and positions can hamper our acceptance into heaven. ‘It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the gates of heaven’.  Matt 19: 24. Another reminder is: ‘For where your treasure is your heart will be also.’ Matt 6: 21. 

Note however that the same God who takes is the one who restores. God instructs Hosea to forgive and restore his wife to her rightful position regardless of her unfaithfulness. He is to do this as an example to Israel of what God was willing to do for them. In Hosea 6: 1 the prophet calls Israel to return to God who will restore.  “Come, let us return to the LORD. He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us; he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds.” God does not allow us to be broken in order to leave is in our brokenness. When we trust Him, He heals our brokenness and restores us to our former selves. Thus God declares to Israel, I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice, in loving kindness and compassion. This is to be an everlasting relationship. It is not to be a marriage of convenience, falling apart with the least trial. It will be an act of love, a love so deeply grounded that nothing will be able to destroy it. This is the love that God has for us. It is the love we celebrate during Advent and Christmas. It is the love of John 3: 16, a love that offers salvation to anyone who accepts it. It is also because of this love that we anticipate the return of our Lord, knowing that when He comes, we who remain faithful, will go to be with Him for eternity. My prayer today is that we remain faithful, for God will surely keep his promises. Amen.

Bevon White

MONDAY REFLECTION – God’s Precious Promises

Monday Reflection – December 16, 2019
God’s Precious Promises

Can a woman forget her nursing child, or show no compassion for the child of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. Isaiah 49:15

This verse draws on the extra special connection between a mother and her child. The design of this verse is to show that the love which God has for his people is stronger than that which is produced by the most tender ties created by any natural relation. The love of a mother for her infant child is the strongest attachment in nature. The question here implies that it was unusual for a mother to be unmindful of that tie, and to forsake the child that she should nourish and love.

Isn’t it natural for a mother to show compassion for her child? Absolutely! Isn’t it unusual that she should not pity and succor her child in times of sickness and distress? That she should see her child suffer without any attempt to offer relieve and turn away, and see the child die unpitied and without any measure of care? This is indeed a strange and scarce reality!

These verses are God’s response to Israel’s cry that he had forgotten her. In spite of the myriad of promises he had made to the contrary, and proved by countless acts of might and provision (such as all that was involved in the Exodus), Israel would still insist that God had forgotten her, that she was no longer “the apple of his eye.” Unbelievable! Or is it…?

Have we not been promised, “I will never leave you, nor will I ever forsake you,” (Hebrews 13:5)? Did our Lord not promise “I am with you always, even to the end of the age,” (Matthew 28:20)? Yet, how often we too yield to feelings of abandonment, listening to the lie of the enemy of our soul as he whispers that we’ve been left adrift to fend for ourselves in this maze of decisions called life. The cry can rise up in our spirit, like Israel’s, “He has forgotten me.”

Today, God says, “Even if a mother forgets her nursing child and shows no compassion, I will not forget you.” More than that, God says in verse 16 “Behold, I have inscribed you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me.” What an awesome promise by God! As we contemplate God’s promise, we need only to reflect on this season of Advent and the meaning of Christmas to realize how much God loves us. He offered to us the gift of his only Son as the ultimate demonstration of his care and love for us.

Paul reminds us in today’s New Testament text, “I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39).

So we pray, Father, remind us that all your promises are sure, especially your promised presence with us. Forgive for the times when we interpret your silence as indifference. Rather let us see such times as faith-stretching. Use your precious promises to increase our anticipation for the time when we will see you face to face, in all your glory. Amen.

Jermaine Gibson

WEDNESDAY REFLECTION – Divine Favor!

Wednesday Reflection, December 11, 2019

Divine Favor!

Brothers and sisters, Tis the season to be jolly. To eat in abundance, to receive, give gifts and ultimately be merry.

I pray we will each experience God’s unmerited Favor during all the festivities.

Today’s watchword comes to us from the book of Genesis chapter 6:8 “Noah found favor in the sight of the Lord”
My friends,  I liken this verse to a lighthouse, an anchor, a silver lining…even a rainbow. All things that are significant. This verse is a reminder that amidst chaos and confusion, peer pressure, broken homes and lives, in a place where morality seems to be at its lowest; the Lord always has a witness!  Noah stood out among the people because he refused to participate or get drawn into what surrounded him. I’m sure there were numerous opportunities presented to him but he did not yield to temptation, exemplifying what it means to be in the world but not of the world.

Genesis chapter 6 reminds me of the world in which we live today. A world in which men have seemingly become a law unto themselves and accountability appears to be a mythical thing and righteousness simply a figment of our imagination. People now do what they want, how they want, When they want with whomever they want. To some, this was the intent of God, for man to give and take pleasure whilst enjoying the gifts the Lord has given. And are they wrong to believe such? No, not at all, but within what context?

We all can testify of being favoured by the Lord but how many of us understand that with that favor comes great responsibility? We cannot simply speak or behave as others do, we must not be easily led nor swayed by events or opinions but keep building up our most holy faith.

Today friends, we are being tasked to be like Noah, to walk uprightly and be holy as our heavenly Father is holy. May we live lives in service to the King, seeking to please Him instead of attempting to fulfill our own fleshly desires. Colossians 2:6-7 reminds us, “just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith.”

Amen

Kerone Lamoth

TUESDAY REFLECTION – God Does Not Hold a Grudge, Why Should We!

Tuesday’s Reflection on the Daily Watchword

God Does Not Hold a Grudge, Why Should We!

The preceding chapters to Exodus 34 describe Israel’s sin in the wilderness as they fashion the golden calf and falls down before it in sinful worship. God’s anger is kindled against the people and many died. God however does not abandon them but remains in their presence continuing to make plans for them to enter the promised land. God again covenants with his people and promises that through them, the whole earth would know Him. The Lord said to Moses, “All the people among whom you live shall see the work of the Lord”. Exodus 34: 10

Today I invite us to take a closer look at Israel’s journey. God had blessed them and delivered them from slavery in Egypt. They had crossed the Red Sea miraculously, they had experienced the miracle of bitter water made sweet, they had received the miraculous food of mana and quails from God, they had seen water come from a rock, they had defeated the attack of the Amalekites, they had received the laws of the covenant and the priesthood was established. Everything the nation needed was in place, everything except a homeland and they were journeying towards the promised land. Everything should have been just as they wanted it but alas things were about to change. While Moses was on the mountain receiving the laws, the people began to rebel against God. It was at this point that they asked Aaron to make an image for them to worship, and he complied. They quickly forgot all that God had done, all that God had brought them through, and turned their backs on God. God became angry but His anger did not last forever. Those who refused to repent were destroyed but those who repented were forgiven and restored. God does not hold a grudge forever and neither should we.

We learn from this situation: 1. No matter how much God does for some persons, they will always forget God’s presence and ability when they are ok. These are the people who will run to God in a crisis, but once the crisis is resolved they too will be gone. 2. Those who repent are restored. When we sin against God and are repentant, God will forgive us and put us back where we were. 3. God will never forget or abandon us. Israel was on a journey and God did not abandon them to die in the wilderness, send them back to Egypt or destroy them completely right where they were. No! Rather, God in His love and mercy forgave them and reestablished His covenant with them. 4. We are important to God. God values His creation and rather than destroy, God forgives and invites us to continue the journey with Him. He did not hold Israel’s sin against them. If God could forgive Israel, and if He can forgive us, why can’t we forgive those who offend or hurt us? It is through forgiveness that we show God’s love at its strongest and most supreme. When He could have hated us, God loves us instead. God does not hold a grudge, and neither should we. May we find the courage to forgive each other, and to restore broken relationships, even as we are forgiven daily by God. Amen.

MONDAY REFLECTION – Equity and Equality

Monday Reflection – December 09, 2019
Equity and Equality

Prelude
Today is a significant day in the life of the Moravian Church in Jamaica. It marks the beginning of Moravian missions here in 1754. Thus, 265 years ago the first three Moravian missionaries landed in Jamaica to begin mission work here. We remember Zacharias George Caries, Thomas Shallcross and Gottlieb Haberecht. We remember the many others who came from abroad, many who were not deterred by the frequent deaths of those who preceded them. We remember our native clergy and lay members who labored long and hard over the years towards the establishment of our congregations and the sustenance of our ministry, upon whose shoulders we stand today. We remember those who labour today, giving of their time, talent and treasure for the continuation of the ministry of Christ. Above all, we remember our Ebenezer God, who has led, directed, provided and sustained our beloved Church over these 265 years.
We hear Christ’s clarion call in the words of Horatius Bonar:
Go, labor on; spend, and be spent;
Thy joy to do the Father’s will;
It is the way the Master went;
Should not the servant tread it still?

Reflection
You must not be partial in judging: hear out the small and the great alike; you shall not be intimidated by anyone, for the judgment is God’s. Deuteronomy 1:17

In the context of today’s Watchword, Moses chose wise, understanding, and knowledgeable men, who were heads of the tribes, and appointed them judges over the people. Moses relieved himself of such burdens and instructed the leaders in the principles of righteous leadership.
They were to:
ü  Hear cases and listen to each side, irrespective of their status
ü  Exercise impartiality in their judgements
ü  Not allow anyone to intimidate them
ü  Judge righteously

The term “partiality” literally means “face”, and the verb means “to regard.” For the judges, as a person approached, they should not attempt to see or recognize who it was coming before them, but to hear the case fairly and impartially. The judge was to treat all cases without prejudice. Therefore, they were not to give sentence according to the outward qualities of the person, as he is poor or rich, your friend or enemy, but purely according to the merit of the cause. Interestingly, it is for this reason that some of the Grecian law-givers ordered that the judges should give sentence in the dark where they could not see people’s faces.

As we go about our daily tasks, we should be careful about how we treat others; whether in the words we say or the things we do. Partiality should not be found among God’s people. We should treat each other fairly and justly, seeking always to honour God. Let the church be a place where persons know that they are as important as everyone else, irrespective of their history, status, qualification or position. Let the church be the church!

Jermaine Gibson

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