TUESDAY REFLECTION – God Gathers and Provides

Tuesday Reflection – November 12, 2019 

God Gathers and Provides

One of the themes of the prophet Ezekiel was God as the gatherer of a scattered Israel. Scattered by the nations around them, Israel would one day be gathered together by God and re-established as His chosen people. God would once again be Israel’s protector and provider. Today’s watchword from Ezekiel 34: 11 is God’s commitment to find and care for Israel. I myself will search for my sheep and look after them. 

The text uses the a very common image of God throughout the Bible, God as Good Shepherd. Shepherding demanded commitment to the wellbeing of the sheep. A lazy shepherd would lose his flock and have nothing eventually as the sheep would stray or be killed by wild animals. There is a recognition here that sheep are constantly in need of attention. Sheep will also stray. That’s a given. Most importantly, sheep depend entirely on the shepherd for their sustenance. The shepherd has to take the sheep to pasture where there is still water, shade and fresh green grass. Even with that, sheep are apt to stray so must be watched by the shepherd throughout the day. Sheep are also easy prey for lions and bears and so had to be protected by the shepherd. 

In John 14 Jesus declares his himself as the Good Shepherd, willing to die for His sheep. No sacrifice was considered too great for the shepherd to make for His sheep. It is there that He also declares that he has other sheep I other folds. It stands out for me since I may well be one of those from another fold. It also tells me that we cannot limit the reach of the shepherd as He gathers His sheep. We cannot judge where he will gather from, all we can do is ensure that we will be among the gathered. Note also that with the gathering comes God’s caring. I myself will look after them. David declared ‘The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want’. In other words, when God becomes our shepherd, our wants will be supplied for he will be attentive to our every need and will supply them according to his riches in glory. Maybe there is someone today who is wondering where to turn next, what to do? You are trying your way, but it is not working as you expected. I challenge you to yield to the gathering of the Good Shepherd and enjoy the richness of his grace as you wants are also supplied. He who gathers us to his presence, will provide what we need. Amen.
Bevon White

MONDAY REFLECTION – Finishing Well

Monday Reflection – November 11, 2019

Finishing Well

If you will not listen to the voice of the Lord, then the hand of the Lord will be against you, as it was against your fathers. 1 Samuel 12:15 (NASB)

Chapter 12 relays Samuel’s farewell speech to the people. Samuel’s conversation with the Israelites depicts one who finished well. This is in direct contrast to Saul who did not finish well. It has been said that the Christian life is a marathon, not a sprint. And how we finish is more important than how we start. It’s always great to get off to a good start, but how we finish is what ultimately defines us. The runner who gets off to a good start, but then stumbles along the way loses the race. But when we finish well, we gain the respect of the people around us.

Samuel’s speech marks the final transition from the period of the judges in Israel to the time of the kings; it is a changing of the guard. Samuel’s farewell speech to the people offers four action steps that we can take in order to finish well in life. They are: 1) Maintain a good reputation with God and man. 2) Give testimony to God’s goodness in the past. 3) Urge people to follow God in the present. 4) Never stop praying for people.

Today’s Watchword is in the context of the third step. While we must do our part to live in right relationship with God, we have a responsibility to positively impact others by urging them to follow God. This of course has to be done by word, but more so by our lifestyles. Samuel reminded the people of the consequences of obedience and disobedience. He was careful to remind them that they were wrong to ask for a king at this time. They asked for it and they got it! However, even though they were wrong to ask for a king, there is still a way forward for them. If they will fear the Lord, serve and obey him, and not rebel against his commands, it will go well for them.

The Bible is clear regarding this principle. Paul says in Galatians 6: 7-8, “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. The one who sows to please his sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; the one who sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.” Indeed, the wages of sin is death, but the fruit of obedience is God’s blessing. We who know the right should practice the right, and lead others towards the path of righteousness. Today’s New Testament text provides this guide: “I want you to be wise in what is good and guileless in what is evil” Romans 16:19. When our lives consist of urging people to follow God, we are on our way to finishing well.

Jermaine Gibson

THURSDAY REFLECTION – Everything we have belongs to God

Thursday Reflection – November 7, 2019

Everything we have belongs to God

For we are aliens and transients before you, as were all our ancestors; our days on the earth are like a shadow, and there is no hope. 1 Chronicles 29:15
King David wanted to build a house for the Lord, but God revealed that that responsibility belong to his son Solomon. That, however, did not prevent King David from laying the ground work for his son. He provided many of the materials needed in building the Temple where God would dwell. He also took from his personal gold and silver and contributed to the Temple. This action by David was a catalyst in others giving to the work of the Temple. After persons had committed to giving to the Temple, David prayed to the Lord before everyone.
In his prayer he blessed the Lord and  acknowledged that everything they gave and everything they have came from God. They are like aliens and transients before God just like their ancestors and their days on earth are like a shadow and there is no hope. 
David’s prayer highlighted a few observations about life that I want to point out. 1. God is the owner of everything we have.In giving back to the Lord, David in his own reflection through this prayer realized that everything he owned came from God. Although he gave back to God, what he was doing was giving back to God what already belonged to God. He realized that it is only through the blessings of God why we own material possession. So when we give to God we are truly giving God what belongs to him. 2. We are aliens on this earthKing David realized that this earth does not belong to him or anyone else except God. If nothing we have is from us then it only stands to reason that this earth that we live also does not belong to us; it belongs to God. Subsequently, we are aliens living on this earth and our time before God is short; it doesn’t last forever. As a result of this David points out that we have no hope. If we own nothing on this earth and this earth doesn’t belong to us then where is our hope? The answer to that is the grace of God. 
3. God is our everythingOur hope comes from the grace of God. We’re undeserving of what God has provided for us, but because of his love for us he continues to bestow his blessings on us. For many of us we can attest to the many provisions of God in our life. We own nothing yet we have so much to give God thanks for. This is why we shouldn’t be afraid to give back to God what belongs to God, because God continually provides for us. This is also why we should share with others, because God continues to share with us of what belongs to him. 
Let us like David acknowledge that we brought nothing into this world and all we have is from God, so we should freely give to God. 
Until next week give for God has blessed you.Christopher Euphfa

TUESDAY REFLECTION – Shine For Jesus

Tuesday Reflection – November 05, 2019 

Shine For Jesus

When we read the creation story in Genesis, the first thing God created was light. Light was necessary for life and its importance must never be overlooked. Throughout the Bible light is given great significance. It represents God’s glory, God’s purity, God’s wisdom. In fact, light symbolizes God at work in and through us, light is life. Not just any life but life that pleases God. Life away from God is therefore characterized as a life in darkness. Isaiah 59 is addressed to God’s people who have gone astray and in need of being saved from their spiritual darkness. God will be the one to save them by sending His Son Jesus to die for their sins. Thus today’s watchword holds a promise of hope for the hopeless, life for the lifeless and light to those in the dark. Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. Isaiah 60: 1. 

Since light symbolizes life, it is life that has come. Light is indeed life giving. John describes the coming of Jesus as the coming of life into the world. “In Him was life; and the life was the light of men”. John 1: 4. Jesus came into the world as God’s light to humankind. Verse 2 of Isaiah 60 speaks of the thick darkness on the earth and around the people but God’s glory, God’s light is able to stand out, to shine forth, in the darkness. John 1: 5 states: The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcomeit. Light will always displace darkness. Jesus came as light into this world of darkness bringing the light of life, of hope of a bright future. It says then that if we want to experience life as it should be truly lived, life lived for the pleasure of God, life that is exemplary and trend setting in this world, we ought to let the light of God shine through us and guide our path. While darkness depresses and holds us back, light calls us to action; arise, shine for your light has come. It is a call to live with the light shining through our lives, to let God’s glory become visible to all. In Matt. 5: 14 – 16 Jesus challenges us, “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Dwight L. Moody said of this: ‘We are told to let our light shine, and if it does, we won’t need to tell anybody it does. Lighthouses don’t fire cannons to call attention to their shining- they just shine’. That is indeed our chief responsibility as God’s children, to shine, and in shining, draw attention to the one true light of the world, Jesus Christ. Indeed he said in Matt 5: 16, ‘Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.’ May God help us to so live that Jesus is seen in and through us. Amen. 
Bevon White

MONDAY REFLECTION – The All-Encompassing God!

Monday Reflection – November 04, 2019

The All-Encompassing God!

The steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children’s children, to those who keep his covenant and remember to do his commandments. Psalm 103:17-18  

Psalm 103 is a song of thanksgiving for God’s goodness and all that he has done. David celebrates the awesome nature of God and blesses God from the depths of his soul, and with everything that he’s got. In this Psalm, David recognizes and announces the multidimensional nature of God and the varied ways in which he demonstrates his very nature. David points out the many evidences of God’s action among his people, for which he is a witness.

So David celebrates God’s forgiveness, healing, redemption, and steadfast love and mercy. He notes that God offers satisfaction for life, and renews our lives. God vindicates his people and offers justice to the oppressed. God demonstrates mercy and grace, is slow to get angry and abounds in steadfast love. God does not treat us as we rightly deserve, but extends his mercy and compassion. God knows us fully well and understands our frailty and weaknesses. In opposition to the frailty of humans, God’s mercy and love is stable and long lasting.

In the midst of our limitedness and finiteness, there is the opportunity for us experience God’s steadfast and everlasting love. And, this is not just for us, but for succeeding generations. David advises that we fear the Lord. I hasten to say that this does not mean to be afraid of God, but to be in awe of God and submit to his lordship. Indeed, those who fear the Lord keep his covenant and remember to do his commandments. It is to be under the sovereign rule of God, where our lives are guided by his principles and standards.

I believe that one of the driving forces of serving God is to reflect on his goodness. It is not to forget all his benefits. When we keep in mind the goodness of God in our lives, it will serve to inspire us to faithfully serve him. Our service to God must not be seen as a duty, but as a joy and priviledge. Out of our thanksgiving for all that God has done, we fear him and keep his commandments. God desires relationship over the rule of law, because when we love God, we live to please him.

Till next week, let’s celebrate the all-encompassing God.

Jermaine Gibson

WEDNESDAY REFLECTION – Remember!

Wednesday Reflection – October 30, 2019

Remember!

Remember the wonderful works he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he has uttered. Psalm 105:5

Psalms 105 and 106 appear to be purposefully arranged and ordered. G. Campbell Morgan agrees and points out that, “This (Psalm 105) and the following psalm are companions. They reveal the two sides of the relation between God and his people during a long period. This one sings the song of his faithfulness and power; while the next tells the sad story of repeated failure and rebellion on the part of his people.”

David summons the people, “O give thanks to the Lord, call on his name, make known his deeds among the peoples. Sing to him, sing praises to him; tell of all his wonderful works. Glory in his holy name; let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice. Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually” (vs 1-4). It is in this context that David utters the words of today’s Watchword, “Remember the wonderful works he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he has uttered”.

The call to remember God’s wonderful and marvelous works reflects that there is the constant danger among God’s people to forget. It dishonors God when we forget his great works. Indeed, we will always drift to forgetfulness if we do not actively remember. It’s amazing, sometimes even distressing, what we choose to remember. We sometimes remember foolish and evil things, occupy our minds with the negatives, and refuse to get over unpleasant things that people have said and done to us. Yet, we fail to recall the glorious deeds of Yahweh. If we would keep God’s wonderful acts front and centre of our minds, our faith would be stronger, our gratitude warmer, our devotion more fervent, and our love more intense.”

Not only are we to recall God’s wonderful works, but also his miracles and judgments. God has wrought numberless miracles before the eyes of the Israelites. Theirs have been a journey with God full of miracles as God demonstrated his love and omnipotence. In the face of the impotent gods of the world, there is our God of omnipotence, for which we are living witnesses. God’s judgements that he has uttered must not be forgotten. God had but to speak and the enemies of his people were sorely afflicted; his threats were not mere words, but brought destruction on his adversaries. God speaks and it is done.

Today’s New Testament text reminds us of one of those wonderful, miraculous acts of Jesus, “Taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds. And all ate and were filled” (Matthew 14:19-20). Jesus fed over five thousand people with only five loaves and two fish, with twelve basketfuls left over. What an amazing God!! Let’s practice the principle of remembering God’s marvelous works!

Jermaine Gibson 

MONDAY REFLECTION – Knowing God

Monday Reflection – October 28, 2019

Knowing God

The people who know their God will display strength and take action. Daniel 11:32 NASB

The Watchword for today strikes a powerful and ever-necessary note when it comes to focusing on our relationship with God. The question we have to ask ourselves is whether or not we know God. There is a vast difference between knowing God and knowing about God. Knowing about God is to have some measure of knowledge or understanding, to be exposed to information regarding God. Even the fool know about God, for it is only the fool who has said in his heart, “There is no God.” On the other hand, to know God is about a personal intimate relationship with God where we have daily conversations with him, and seek his advice before making any decisions. Knowing God is about looking to him daily for comfort and strength; where God is our closest friend and confidant.

But, how do you get to know God in this way?

1. By learning of him – There is only one textbook where we may know God in truth, and that is the Bible. A lot of books have been written about man’s concepts and ideas about God, but only in the Bible does God reveal himself to us. It shows how God related to humanity through history, and how we can relate to him.

2. Through Jesus Christ – In Hebrews 1:2 we hear, “God who in different times and in various ways spoke to man through his prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by his own dear Son.” Jesus is the final and perfect revelation of God to humans, for he is God. When Philip said to Jesus, just show us the Father and we will be satisfied, Jesus answered, “Have I been with you all of this time, and have you not seen me, he that has seen me has seen the Father” (John 14:8-9). Just before this, Jesus had declared, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6).

The text for today not only focuses on knowing God, but points to the outcome and benefits of doing so.

1. We shall display strength – We are in a spiritual battle in which physical force is ineffective, for we are not wrestling against flesh and blood, but spiritual powers. In the context of this spiritual warfare, Paul says, “Be strong in the Lord, and the power of his might” (Ephesians 6:10). Our strength is in God; our power comes from him. Indeed, we can be a physical wimp, but a spiritual giant when we seek strength from God. Yet, we can be a physical giant, and a spiritual wimp when we depend on ourselves.

2. We shall take action or we shall do exploits – Hebrews 11 describes the exploits of men and women who knew their God. Hear verse 34, “They quenched raging fire, escaped the edge of the sword, won strength out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight.” When we truly know God, God does amazing exploits in, through and with us.

The bottom line question is, do we really know God?                                                                    

 Jermaine Gibson

THURSDAY REFLECTION – Take it to the Lord in prayer

Thursday Reflection – October 24, 2019

Take it to the Lord in prayer

“She was deeply distressed and prayed to the Lord, and wept bitterly.” 1 Samuel 1: 10

Good day friends! In this abbreviated version of Thursday reflection I want us to look at Hannah and how she dealt with a certain problem she had. Hannah was married to Elkanah, but she could not conceived. As a result of this she was laughed at and mocked by others. Despite Elkanah giving her special treatment, it could not take away what she was experiencing. As I read the text a few things stood out:

1.    We will face challenges and these challenges are God ordained.Hannah was barren. She didn’t cause this by any action of hers. It just happened. 

2.    People add to these challenges, as Hannah was mocked and ridicule. Likewise we will encounter people who will mock and ridicule us because of what we go through.

3.    Challenges are overwhelming at times.

4.    In the midst of her challenges God provided a support system for Hannah. Elkanah gave her a double portion, loved her and supported her. In our times of crisis the Lord provides a support system for us through the help of others.

5.    Some challenges are harder to deal with. Even though the Lord provided a support system the pain of not having a child was too much. Sometimes even with the support there are moments when we break down under the challenge of it all. 

In times like these what do you do? Take it to the Lord in prayer.

6.    She prayed in anguish, with tears and sorrow. We shouldn’t be afraid to pour out our heart and entire being to the Lord. Don’t withhold what you’re facing. Take it to the Lord in prayer.  The songwriter said what a friend we have in Jesus, all our griefs and sins to bear. What a privilege to carry EVERYTHING to God in prayer.

7.    Some people will not understand your tears and prayers, but don’t worry God does. The priest Samuel thought Hannah was drunk, but she was just pouring out her heart to the Lord. Cry out to God and do not care what others might think of you.

8.    Continue to worship God until your prayers have been answered. After praying in the Temple the text tells us that she got up the next morning and worshiped before the Lord. Mix your petitions with worship for God will come through.

Until next week and the rest of your life take it to the Lord in prayer.  

Christopher Euphfa 

WEDNESDAY REFLECTION – The Jacob-Like Return

Wednesday Reflection – October 23, 2019

The Jacob-Like Return

Return to your God, hold fast to love and justice, and wait continually for your God.

Hosea 12:6

The book of Hosea is undoubtedly one of the most interesting and even unbelievable books in the Bible. It is filled with drama akin to a love affair with many challenges and heartaches. The faithfulness of the man and the unfaithfulness of the woman is the central theme of this book. However, this love affair is not between two humans. Rather, it is a love affair between God (the man) and Israel (the woman). It plays out in a dramatic form as the prophet Hosea is summoned by God to marry Gomer, a woman of whoredom, to graphically and practically depict the message of the faithful God to a faithless Israel.    

In chapter 12, God points out sins of Ephraim and Judah. Verses 1-6 says, Ephraim herds the wind, and pursues the east wind all day long; they multiply falsehood and violence; they make a treaty with Assyria… The Lord has an indictment against Judah, and will punish Jacob according to his ways, and repay him according to his deeds. In the womb he tried to supplant his brother, and in his manhood he strove with God. He strove with the angel and prevailed, he wept and sought his favor; he met him at Bethel, and there he spoke with him… But as for you, return to your God, hold fast to love and justice, and wait continually for your God.”

God looks back at the patriarch Jacob and how Israel in Hosea’s day was just like their forefather Jacob in the days of Genesis. In ancient Israel, a “heel-catcher” was a double-dealer, someone who achieved their goals through crafty and dishonest means. Israel had become a deceiver and trickster. Hosea recalls the struggle between Jacob and the angel. Jacob refused to submit to God, so God demanded submission from him in a literal wrestling match. He notes that Jacob wept in the struggle. Jacob prevailed in the only way anyone can when they struggle against God. We prevail when we lose ourselves, surrendering to God. Jacob wept demonstrating how desperate and broken he was as he hung on to the Lord, pleading only for a blessing. Hosea now calls on Israel to return to God the same way, by surrendering to him.

Like Israel, we have failed God many times. We have been outright idolatrous and adulterous. Hosea points us to the way back to God – surrendering ourselves to God and clinging to him. In this process he will break us and shape us into his own image. We may walk away limping, but it is for our own good. This transformation will enable us to hold fast to love and justice, and be patient for the Lord. Such transformation will lead us to “…rid ourselves of all sordidness and rank growth of wickedness, and welcome with meekness the implanted word that has the power to save our souls” James 1:21.  

Jermaine Gibson 

Return to God and Rebuild.

Tuesday Reflection – October 22, 2019

Return to God and Rebuild.

The record of the encounter between the prophet Elijah and the prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel is well known. There were four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal and four hundred prophets of Asherah. These religions had been introduced among the Israelites by the gentile Queen Jezebel, the wife of King Ahab. In his displeasure at Israel’s embracing these false god’s and forgetting their covenant with God, God caused a severe drought to affect Israel. After three years of drought, the prophet Elijah challenged these prophets to prove which God would answer by fire. He allowed the prophets of Baal to call on their god first and after nothing happened following hours of their calling and mutilating themselves, it was Elijah’s turn. Before Elijah prayed however, there was something the people needed to do. We read this in today’s watchword from 1 Kings 18: 30. Then Elijah said to all the people, “Come near to me.” So all the people came near to him. And he repaired the altar of the Lord that was broken down. For God’s action to be seen and accepted, one must be grounded in their faith. 

Israel had strayed from God and begun worshipping idols. They prayed to these idols rather than to God and ascribed God’s blessings and miracles as coming from idols and not from God. Elijah’s challenge was therefore not only to prove that God was who He proclaimed Himself to be, but to get the covenant people to return to covenant living. This had to begin with a return and refocus on God. With the failure of Baal to act, God was now left to remind Israel who he was. It had to begin with Israel’s return to God. The prophet therefore calls the people to draw near to him. He is God’s representative. He was the lone prophet standing for God. When the Israelites were stranded by the Red Sea, Moses had challenged them in Exodus 14: 13 to ‘stand still and see the salvation of the Lord’. In the same way, today’s watchword is a challenge to the people to come closer to God so that they could see God’s action, God’s salvation. When we learn to come closer to God, we will realize just how close God has always been to us. 

Closeness to God also reveals brokenness. The first thing they saw as the people returned to God, was the broken-down altar of God, which they repaired. When we return to God He will always abundantly pardon. Return to the Lord your God, for he is merciful and compassionate, slow to anger and boundless in loyal love. (Joel 2: 13) Our return to God is an abatement of God’s justice for God will act in mercy towards the repentant. As we encounter brokenness around us, we who are God’s tools are expected to do something about it. What are the areas of brokenness around you where God is calling you be a solution? God calls us in our drifting and our brokenness to return to Him through service to our fellowmen. May we pause today to examine our lives in order to discover those areas in which we have drifted away from God and may our repairing of those areas through Christ, leave us with a  closeness  to each other. Returning to God should lead to rebuilding relationships, both heavenly and earthly. Amen.  
Bevon White