THURSDAY REFLECTION – God goes before you

Thursday Reflection – September 19, 2019

God goes before you

“The Lord went in front of them in a pillar of cloud by day, to lead them along the way, and a pillar of fire by night, to give them light. Exodus 13:21

What does it mean to have God go before you? The children of Israel were now free from the tyranny of Pharaoh. After moving to Egypt four hundred (400) years ago and being enslaved, the Israelites were now free to go with Moses and enter the promises of God. As they entered the wilderness they were guided by God in the form of a pillar of smoke by day and a pillar of fire by night. We are told that the Lord went ahead of them.

What did this mean for the Israelites? It meant there was physical evidence of God’s presence amongst them. But it also goes deeper than that. The passage tells us that the cloud guided by day and the fire provided light at night. This is significant, because the children of Israel were on a journey they had never taken before. This was new for them. Furthermore, they were going through the wilderness; a place of barrenness. It was not built up cities were they could take shelter or hide from the elements. It was a journey of uncertainty, risks, danger and fear.

God knew all of this and therefore, reinforced his presence with a pillar of smoke by day and a pillar of fire by night. How reassuring is it to know that God is leading you in the wilderness. The smoke offered them guidance. It showed them the path to take. It also signified that God already cleared the path for them to take. We know the wilderness have its own form of danger such as scorpions, wild animals, rattle snakes etc. and we know that the children were not exempt from these dangers. Despite this the dangers of the wilderness could not harm them, because they were being GUIDED BY GOD. When we are guided by God we have nothing to worry about.

Not only were they guided by God, but they were provided light at night. I can just imagine the wilderness at night. No street lights, pitch black if there isn’t a full moon, scary, and cold. God provided them with a pillar of fire to help counter the darkness. It also provided warmth for them during the cold nights. In essence in dark times God provided light. How reassuring is it to know that in the darkness of the wilderness God is before you providing light. This light helps us to see in dark times. When situations become cloudy in our lives, Jesus gives us that light that is needed to remind us of God’s presence.

We need to open our eyes to God going before us. We do not have a pillar of smoke and fire to guide and light the way, but what we have is far better. We have Jesus that gives us light and the Holy Spirit that guides us. In the dark times we can call upon Jesus and in the day time we have the Holy Spirit leading us. Look for the signs of God going before you. They are there as a reminder that you are not alone.

Until next week remember God is already ahead of you on your journey.

Christopher Euphfa 

MONDAY REFLECTION – Seek God! Seek Good!

Monday Reflection – September 16, 2019

Seek God! Seek Good!

Prelude: Today is recognized across the Moravian Church worldwide as Ministers’ Covenant Day. It was on this day in 1741, at a synod in London, that Jesus was recognized as Chief Elder and Head of the Moravian Church. Moravian clergy now observe this significant day by renewing their response to the call of Christ.

Seek good and not evil, that you may live. Amos 5:14

The words of today’s Watchword are found elsewhere in this chapter, so they are almost like a refrain. Almost, because the focus of the other two that precede verse 14 summons the people to seek God. In verse 4 we hear, “This is what the Lord says to the house of Israel: ‘Seek me and live…’” In verse 6 we hear the clarion call from the prophet Amos, “Seek the Lord and live.” I believe the sequence of these instructions is deliberate and critical. God initiates and invites the people to seek him; then the prophet calls the people to seek God. The people are then challenged to seek good and not evil. It is only in responding positively to God’s invitation to seek him that we are able to pursue good and not evil.

But, what does it mean to seek God?  Seek here does not mean to search for something that is lost. We have already been invited into a relationship with God; we already know where God is. We do not have to search God out as if he is lost somewhere. Seek means to turn to God in trust and confidence. It does not mean to seek to get something from God, but rather to seek God for who he is. It is a desire to know God, and know him more and more. It is to be diligent, fervent, and persevering in seeking after God.

When we seek after God, we are also seeking good, and when we pursue good, we depart from evil. We cannot seek good without first putting away evil; yet we must wholehearted seek good, or else evil will linger. This invitation and command breaks in like a beam of sunshine in the darkness. The fearful doom already spoken of by Amos is conditional. When a moral change takes place in and among the people, God will dispense his love, compassion and mercy. God’s people should thrust their passions upon God and focus their minds and actions to the practice of true holiness and virtue. Seeking God should be translated into everyday living, where we strive to be like Christ.

We must note that there are awesome benefits to seeking God and doing good. The text says, “…that you may live.” Life is the reward. To live here means to live abundantly or everlastingly. Yes, we may experience material abundance and a great life physically, but there is a far more significant benefit – eternal life. On the other hand, those who don’t seek God are in for a rude awakening. Devastation and perilous times will be experienced when we live outside of God’s will and counsel. It would do us well to seek God, seek good, and denounce evil. Paul offers a word of counsel in today’s New Testament text in Philippians 2:5:  Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus.

Jermaine Gibson

FRIDAY REFLECTION – Jesus will help you

Friday Reflection
September 13, 2019

 Jesus will help you

Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.
Hebrews 2:18 NIV
https://bible.com/bible/111/heb.2.18.NIV

“The remembrance of his own sorrows and temptations, makes Christ mindful of the trials of his people, and he is ready to help them.”
–  Matthew Henry –

Happy Friday friends,
As we journey through the pligrim land we should be assured that we have a friend who walks with us . One who keeps us safe, provides for our needs and most of all, understands our sorrows.

Today’s reflection is one that reveals two truths that we must keep before us as we walk this walk of Faith.

1. Jesus suffered: There are some theologians who believe that since Christ is the son of God, he could not have really “suffered”. But I am reminding us today, that Christ did suffer. To the point where he said “LORD IF IT IS POSSIBLE LET THIS CUP PASS FROM ME” He took on human flesh and though he was without sin, he had every single emotions and feelings we humans are facing. Happiness, sadness, sorrowful etc….

2. He understands our temptations and he is able to HELP: Jesus was tempted, persecuted, disrespected and treated poorly. Why? because he was the Son of God.
 So it is with us today, we will be disrespected, tempted, persecuted and treated poorly because we identify ourselves with Christ. Yes it is hard and seem to be getting worse,;but today’s reflection is reminding us that Jesus knows all about our troubles and is able to help us!

All it takes is for us to believe that he can and reach out to him for the help we need.  He understands! Because he too was tempted. Jesus is not asking us to face the sufferings of life on our own, he knows the difficulties of live, because he lived it and he’s willing to help us though ours

Untill next week,
Jesus will help you!
BELIEVE ON HIM, AND HE WILL BRING YOU TO A PLACE OF PEACE

Blessings
Shaneka Raymore-Euphfa

WEDNESDAY REFLECTION – A Life of Worship

Wednesday Reflection – September 11, 2019

A Life of Worship

Prelude: As I thought about today, I believe we cannot escape remembering the devastation of what is called ‘9/11’. It was as if the world stood still. History.com summarizes the events as follows:  “On September 11, 2001, 19 militants associated with the Islamic extremist group al Qaeda hijacked four airplanes and carried out suicide attacks against targets in the United States. Two of the planes were flown into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, a third plane hit the Pentagon just outside Washington, D.C., and the fourth plane crashed in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. Almost 3,000 people were killed during the 9/11 terrorist attacks…”Today brings back bitter and painful memories for many across the world. We pray for their strength and perseverance. Today’s Watchword says: You must not distort justice; you must not show partiality; and you must not accept bribes, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and subverts the cause of those who are in the right.Deuteronomy 16:19

 In the context of today’s text, Moses continues his final speech as he prepares the people to enter the Promised Land, a place he would be able to experience. He started with the basics and has developed a very well delivered guide for how they must stay the course in serving God. The land they are about to enter is flowing with milk and honey, bountiful, fertile and productive. However, there is the present threat that they may get distracted and derailed by the plenty, that they forget God and the principles of God. Prosperity may blind their vision and purpose. They must stay focused.

In chapter 16, Moses outlines the procedures for three feasts- Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles. The people were to ensure that their corporate worship life was in order and the stipulations adhered to. Interestingly, immediately thereafter Moses announces that judges and officers were to be appointed to administer the judicial affairs, and then follows today’s text. The judges are to rule justly and with equity and do not allow themselves to be bribed. Bribery and justice are opponents; and those who are in the right will suffer if the judges are bribed.

I believe the essence of this instruction in the context of the three feasts is to point out that while observing the rituals and worship requirements is important, they become of no value if our engagement with each other is unjust. Worship is not just confined to our sanctuaries and personal or family devotions. Worship is a way of life. In our thoughts, words and actions God must be glorified. So many people compartmentalize their lives, so there is the secular and there is the sacred parts. Not so with the Lord! We are called to live total lives that honour God. Hear today’s New Testament text: Everyone who names the name of the Lord is to abstain from wickedness. 2 Timothy 2:19 (NASB).

We may not be like the terrorists who continue to wreak havoc across the world, bombing up places and killing people. However, the words we say to others and about others can be so harmful that they leave long-term debilitating effects. Our actions also come under scrutiny. We ought to demonstrate the love and compassion of Christ in all our interactions and engagements with others. May our aim always be that God is pleased with us and his name glorified.

Jermaine Gibson

TUESDAY REFLECTION Guidance and Protection

Guidance and Protection

Greetings friends. It’s Tuesday September 10. I am Bevon White reflecting on today’s Watchword. This week marks the beginning of the eleventh year of my doing Tuesday’s Reflection on the Daily Watchword. What began as an email of part of a Radio program in the Cayman Islands, continues in written and vocal formats today. During the past ten years I have received responses from persons I do not know, from persons I had no idea was receiving the devotion and from places ranging from Canada to South Africa. I am thankful to God that he has used, and continues to use this medium to bless persons far and wide. I crave your prayers for inspiration and spiritual strength to continue to encourage and uplift lives through this medium. 

Today’s watchword is from Psalm 84: 11 “The Lord God is a sun and shield”. Charles Spurgeon describes Psalm 84 as one of the sweetest Psalms of Peace. The Psalm was written by the sons of Korah and is an expression of their deep love and dedication to the temple. The Psalmists declare that God’s temple was indeed the place to be and whenever they were away from the temple, there existed a longing in their soul for God’s house. This longing gave hope to the worshipper as regardless of what they were going through, they could look forward to the joy of coming together in God’s house for worship. Whenever one was experiencing a dry spell in their lives, they would always find hope in knowing that worship would leave them refreshed and renewed. Worship was thus anticipated and the house of God was seen as a place of redemption, a place of restoration, a place of reestablishment and renewal. Do you feel that way about church? What does it mean for you to go to God’s house each week? What do you see yourself as loosing if you do not go? 

The place of worship will become to us, what we uphold the object of our worship to be. In other words, Church and worship is as important to us as God is. The Psalmist sees God as a sun and shield. This is the only place in the Bible where God is explicitly called a sun. The sun gives light, offers guidance and is generally a sign of a good day. A shield is that part of the armor that protects, or prevents the arrows of the enemy from striking that fatal blow. God as sun and shield guides and protects those who delight in worshipping him. God meets us where we need Him. When we are surrounded by the darkness of this sinful world, he is the light guiding us to Himself, when we are bombarded by the attacks of the enemy of the church, He becomes our shield and protector. At our weakest He is our strength and at our lowest he offers grace and mercy to lift us up and carry us through. In our need he supplies and in our sickness he heals. What a mighty God we serve!  What would we do without God’s guidance and protection? Thus Paul declares in Phil 4: 19, the doctrinal text for today, My God will fully satisfy every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. God loves to meet us in His House. There he embraces us as our guide and protector.

Till next week then, God’s guidance and protection be yours. Amen.  

MONDAY REFLECTION – The Only Verdict

Monday Reflection – September 09, 2019

The Only Verdict

O my people, what have I done to you? In what have I wearied you? Answer me!Micah 6:3

Allegations and accusations are part of our everyday reality right across the world. There is hardly a day when we don’t hear allegations swirling around and where persons are accused of something. Very often such are very dangerous and damaging. The damage caused by allegations can affect one’s life forever. We have to be careful, conscious and conscientious about the things we say about others, and the accusations we make against others.  

It is one thing to accuse others of wrongdoing, yet another to accuse God of same. The Israelites were seeking an escape route for their idolatrous and disobedient behaviour by accusing God of being unfaithful and unfair. God would have none of it. In Micah 6, God summons the people to defend their claims. He says in verse 1, “Arise, plead your case before the mountains, and let the hills hear what you have to say”. This is the language of a court of law. Yahweh orders the people to rise and present their case. In the scenario that Yahweh presents, the people are the plaintiffs (the ones bringing the lawsuit—the ones who claim to have been injured) and Yahweh is the defendant (the accused—the one who allegedly injured the plaintiff).

Yahweh invites the people to address their complaints to the mountains and the hills, as if the mountains and hills constitute the jury. If so, this will pose quite a challenge. How will the people convince the mountains and hills of the equity of their case when the mountains and hills know otherwise? They have seen what Yahweh and the people have done. They have watched the history of Israel unfold. They know that Yahweh brought these people into the Promised Land and gave them the victory over their enemies. They have seen the people build altars to pagan gods on the high places. The mountains and hills know who is right and who is wrong.

Yahweh invites the mountains and the “foundations of the earth” to serve as the jury—to determine who has broken the covenant relationship that has existed for centuries between Yahweh and Israel. God’s creation is well-suited to reach a just verdict in this case. Yahweh has a controversy with his people, and he will contend with Israel. Yahweh is prepared to defend himself against whatever accusations that the people might make. Interestingly though, in spite of the controversy, these people are nevertheless “his people”—Yahweh’s people. The covenant relationship has been damaged by the unfaithfulness of the people to the covenant, but the covenant relationship still stands. God remains faithful in the midst of the wrongdoings of his people.

Note well, GOD IS FOREVER FAITHFUL! In the midst of our failures and wicked deeds, God remains true to his promises and committed to our cause. We can bring no credible case against God; infact we better not, because the outcome is already determined. The only appropriate posture is to submit to the Lordship of God, confess our sins, humble ourselves, follow the Lord’s directives, and live our lives each day to honour him.      

Jermaine Gibson

FRIDAY REFLECTION – Unity in the body of Christ

Friday Reflection
September 6, 2019
Unity in the body of Christ

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!; for there the Lord commanded the blessing, even life for evermore.
Psalms 133:3 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/psa.133.3.KJVPsalms 133:1 KJV
https://bible.com/bible/1/psa.133.1.KJV

Happy Friday to you friends, it is the first Friday in the 9th month of the calendar year. The year is going by quickly, time is going by quickly. Therefore, there is no time for division among believers. “Let division be forsaken, and the holy join in one, and the will of God in all be done!

Today’s text for reflection is one that I hold dear to my heart. I have also said, and will continue to say “without unity in the body of Christ, there will be no miracles, no signs, no wonders in our midst” we will not experience the abundant blessings of our Lord and Savior.

There are two important things I want us to note today:
1. Unity is essential to body of Christ: It is like the salt in the sea. One cannot exist without the other. If we say we are people of faith we must dwell together in peace and love (unity). It is important for us to be honest, caring and trustworthy amongst ourselves and in our communities.

2. Without unity it is impossible to impact our communities If the church is divided,  the community will not only notice, but they become affected as well. The blessing of the Lord is wide spread , where there is unity, the bible says there is strength. I am convinced that when the church unites, the blessing of God will flood the community and unbelievers will become believers miracles, signs and wonders will occur.

Unity doesn’t mean we will all agree on everything. It means that when we disagree, we find the best way to compromise and agree. No relationship is perfect, but God is calling the church to a place of perfectness , a place of unity!

Untill next week, If you are at the altar and remember that ANYONE has something against YOU, LEAVE your gift ,  GO RECONCILE WITH SUCH A PERSON, then RETURN. Then and only then will unity be restored.

Blessings,
Shaneka Raymore-Euphfa

THURSDAY REFLECTION -Build each other in faith

Thursday Reflection – September 5, 2019

Build each other in faith

“As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17

What is the purpose of fellowship in the body of Christ? It amazes me how we treat each other as believers of Jesus Christ. There are members who do not speak to each other, but during service they lift their hands in praise. There are members who speak negatively and maliciously of others behind their back, but in person smile with the person to indicate all is well. There are members who drive other members away, because they are different. There are members who lie, scheme, and criticize others so that they can be lifted up and others be brought down. These members claim to be part of the body of Christ. However, these actions do NOT represent the body of Christ.

As believers in Jesus we are called to build each other as iron sharpens iron. We are called to become believers who really care about others. Believers who genuinely love each other. Believers who support each other. Believers who put others above themselves. Believers who are willing to sacrifice what they have so that they can help others. Believers who love God with all their heart and not when it is convenient to them. Believers who are willing to speak the truth, but in love. Believers who do not tolerate sin. This is how we build each other up.  

The body of Christ is not a competition! No one is better than anyone. We are all equal; it is the same blood of Jesus that saved all of us. We are all meant to be winners. There is no first, second or third place. The pastor is equal to the one who cleans the church and the one who cleans the church is equal to the pastor. God doesn’t hold the pastor in higher regard than the one who cleans. God might give us different roles in the body of Christ, but all those roles add to making the body of Christ what it is.

Therefore, let us put away pride, status, and anything else that prevents us from building others in the body of Christ. It is my responsibility to encourage and build someone in the faith so that we both can grow strong together. Our common enemy is not each other, it is the forces of evil. So let us lift each other up in faith.

Until next week encourage someone today.

Christopher Euphfa 

WEDNESDAY REFLECTION – The Teaching Ministry

Wednesday Reflection – September 04, 2019

The Teaching Ministry

Things that we have heard and known, that our ancestors have told us – we will not hide them from their children. Psalm 78:3-4

How do we know what we know? The limited knowledge that we have, how did we acquire it? Four answers come immediately to mind – what we have read and researched, what we have gained through experience, what the Holy Spirit has revealed, and what others have taught us. The contribution of persons who have taught us, academically, spiritually or otherwise, cannot be underestimated. Today’s text highlights the importance of spiritual education. There is a commitment in the text that what they have been taught, they will teach their children.

I love the expression in this text – “…we will not hide them from their children.” Our negligent silence must not deprive our children of the precious truth of God; it would be shameful if we did so. There is the anticipation of future generations and a promise to provide for their godly education. Indeed, it is the duty of the church to maintain, in fullest vigour, every agency intended for the religious education of the young. We must sow the seeds of righteousness and godliness now, so that we reap a righteous reward. Children are to be taught to magnify the Lord; they ought to be told about God’s wonderful works in ages past, and they should know that a decision to follow Christ is the best decision to make in life. The remainder of verse 4 says, “…we will tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders that he has done.”

Rick Warren supports this important programme of Christian education. In his book‘The Purpose Driven Church’, Warren notes that one of the factors which result in church growth is that people grow deeper through discipleship. Such discipleship results in maturity among members. He emphasizes an intentional people-building process. He says, “If you will concentrate on building people, God will build the church.”

Bishop Robert Schnase, in his book, ‘Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations’, contends that successful congregations often have certain characteristics in common. These fundamental practices demonstrate congregational health, vitality, and fruitfulness. One such characteristic is Intentional Faith Development. He describes this as offering high quality learning experiences that help people understand scripture, faith, and life in the supportive nurture of caring relationships. Schnase views the ministries of Christian education and formation, small group work and Bible Study as absolutely critical to our mission. For him, we must consistently offer opportunities for people of all ages, interests and faith experiences to learn in community.

The Church has the awesome task of providing spiritual education to all, but especially to our children. We must have effective Sunday/Sabbath Schools, Bible Studies that are transformational, and sermons that are impactful. May God find us faithful.

Jermaine Gibson

TUESDAY REFLECTION – Confidence in God’s Presence

Confidence in God’s Presence

King Ahaz was ruler of Judah, succeeding his father Jotham and his grandfather Uzziah. Isaiah the prophet had given counsel to his father and then to him. A crisis arose when King Perez of Israel and King Rezin of Syria invaded Judea to force them to form an alliance against the Assyrian Kingdom. Ahaz, acting against the counsel of Isaiah, turned to the Assyrian king for help. They get the help and Israel and Syria are defeated by the Assyrians, but at a heavy price to Judah as they were taxed heavily by the Assyrians, king Ahab became a vassal to the Assyrian king and Assyrian idols were introduced to the temple. It was in light of all these happenings that the Lord used Isaiah to call on Ahaz to repent and lead Judah back to God. Ahaz refused to change and he and the people of Israel traveled on a path of self-destruction rather than one of Godly obedience. Isaiah’s prophecy embodied God’s reaction to the religious infidelity of His people. God’s judgment was coming, it would be swift and deadly and Israel would be powerless to stop it, neither would they be shielded or protected from it. In the midst of this, the prophet maintains his own confidence in God. He would not follow the others and turn away from God. He trusted God’s plan, depended on God’s resources and lived in God’s presence. Today’s Watchword is from Isaiah 8: 17: I will wait for the Lord, who is hiding his face from the house of Jacob.

God does not tolerate sin. Psalm 5: 4 tells us, For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness, Nor shall evil dwell with You. God’s people had sinned and refused to amend their ways. Isaiah therefore stated that God had turned his face away from His people because of their sin. This led to the sinful condition of the people worsening rather than becoming better. Those who remain blatantly disobedient to God’s words will eventually lose their perspective on right and wrong. Modern society has gotten to the stage where we laud the people, ideologies and things that are ungodly while underrating and disregarding what is Godly, what is righteous, what is good. Like the prophet Isaiah however, we are called to stand fast. Even though everyone had turned away from God, Isiah declared, I will wait for the Lord. We all know what it means to wait. As Christians we learn that regardless of what is happening around us or to us, we are to wait on God for God’s action is always perfectly timed and perfectly appropriate. We wait for God to deliver, to save, to heal, to provide. We wait because God is God and there is none like Him. We wait because we have confidence in God’s power and ability. We wait because God has never failed to come through. While the world around us forsakes God, we wait in confidence on God.

Our confidence stands in opposition to worldly defiance. Our confidence stands as a testament to God’s faithfulness and as a beacon to the fearful. It is our confidence that will strengthen others to trust God who even in His wrath, takes the time to show mercy to the faithful. We see what is happening around us but are not frightened by these events because we know that God is working through these events to win this apostate world back to himself. Do not fear what is taking place in these latter days, dear friends. We are to fear God and God alone. While he turns away from the wicked, God’s favor is always on his people. This is the confidence we have as Christians. We should therefore submit to God’s plan, live in God’s presence and be sustained through God’s bounteous provisions. 1 Peter 3: 12 For the eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, And His ears are open to their prayers; But the face of the LORD is against those who do evil.” Till next week, remain faithful and confident in God’s presence. Amen

Bevon White