WEDNESDAY REFLECTION – No Delay!!

Wednesday Reflection – October 16, 2019

No Delay!!

Do not delay me, since the Lord has made my journey successful. Genesis 24:56

It has always been said that delay is danger. We are often prone to delay regarding a decision we are to make or an action that we are to take. Not just that, but we are also prone to procrastinate. We sometimes get in the mode of putting off things, when we many times know that the time to do so is now. We keep pushing things further down the road, especially when we do not really want to do it, it is likely to bring discomfort, or we fear the consequences. We many times miss out on so much because we do not seize the ‘nowness’ of the moment.    

Abraham sent his servant back to his country and kindred to find a wife for his son, Isaac. He reasoned with his servant that his son’s wife should not be from among the Canaanites where he was living. Rather, Isaac’s wife should come from his own tribe and people. His servant queried about how practical and plausible this task would be. However, Abraham assured him that since God had made a promise to him, everything would work out. Abraham’s servant set out with ten camels and other things. When he arrived at the well at Nahor, he prayed to God that the girl who comes to draw water from the well and offer both him and the camels water to drink, that she be the one.

Amazingly, the text says that before he had finished praying, here comes Rebekah who fulfilled the words of the servant’s prayer. The servant honoured God for answered prayer and headed to Rebekah’s house where he made arrangements for her to return with him. Rebekah’s brothers and mother wanted her to stay ten days more, but the servant would have none of it. The words of today’s Watchword are his response to them. He urged them to send them off immediately so he may fulfill his master’s mandate. The mission was not yet complete; he had to report his successful enterprise to Abraham. More than that, the servant noted that he needed to depart quickly because he was on Yahweh’s mission.

This ought to be our disposition and determination. Sometimes we get caught up in the success at a given point and lose sight of the reality that the mission is not yet complete. Surely, we should celebrate accomplishments as God’s people, but it must not be an occasion to stop and relax thinking this is it! The mission is not complete until God says so! In fact, the mission is not complete until the Master returns to usher us home. We ought to be ever on full-time duties seeking to fulfill God’s call on our lives and that of the church.

Today’s text invites us to rid ourselves of complacency, delay and procrastination. We must get on with the work we have to do. Hear Jesus in John 9:4, “We must work the works of him who sent mewhile it is day; night is coming when no one can work.”

Jermaine Gibson 

THURSDAY REFLECTION – Lord forgive me

Thursday Reflection – October 10, 2019

Lord forgive me

“I will heal their disloyalty; I will love them freely.” Hosea 14:4

Sin… It is so rampant in our society. There is hardly a place we can go without seeing its ugly face. We see it in the workplace and at home. We see it in our communities and at school. We see it at church and even in ourselves. The people of Israel had sinned and turned away from God.  The upper class were doing well, but they oppressed the poor. The people chased after other loves such as power, pleasure, money and recognition. The temptations of the world became seductive to these people of God and this resulted in disloyalty to God.

God through Hosea called the people to repentance. He called them to leave their position of status, power, pleasure, money and recognition. Instead of trusting in the so-called “mighty” of this world and self-created idols, God challenged them to trust in Him; the one that saves. If the people repent and leave this lifestyle behind, then God will heal their disloyalty and love them freely.

As we dive into text for today I want us to reflect on the two phrases made. I begin with the latter first:

 I will love them freely

Sin hampers the free love of God. God has so much love for us that it is unimaginable; we cannot even begin to fathom it. But when we sin it begins to strain the love God has for us. God’s love is like any other relationship. Once a partner is disloyal in the relationship it puts a strain on the relationship and makes it harder for pure, wholesome love to take place. What joy it is when we love without fear or consequences. What happiness there is when no party have to worry about unfaithfulness, vulnerability, being hurt or taken advantage of? When that is done we are able to love freely. This is just a small glimpse into the type of free love God has for us, but when sin is active it slowly erodes that love to the point of punishment. When we confess our sins God is able to love us freely. It is a love that cannot truly be explained, but only felt. It is just amazing.

God will heal their disloyalty

There is nothing more difficult to deal with in a relationship than disloyalty. The people of Israel were disloyal to God, for they found pleasure, comfort, and security in their status, wealth, political relations, and idols. They placed these things above God. They cheated on God with things that were temporal. Just imagine, God has been faithful in all his endeavors, but this was not enough as the people sought a physical high. How often do we abandon God for this things we love to do?

 God encouraged the people to repent and he will heal their disloyalty. In this relationship with God, he forgives our deepest transgression. It is not easy to forgive someone who hurts you and sometimes even after you forgive that person there is still a strain on the relationship as things will never be the same. Here, God does not hold our sins against us.  He forgives us and heal our broken relationship with Him. He restores it to its factory setting of love.  

When we sincerely ask God’s forgiveness He releases that overwhelming feeling love that heals our broken relationship with him. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

Until next week never be afraid to sincerely confess your sins.  

Christopher Euphfa 

WEDNESDAY REFLECTION – Go back to Bethel!

Wednesday Reflection – October 09, 2019

Go Back to Bethel Prelude:Today marks two years since God led me to start Monday Reflection. I continue to marvel as I reflect on God’s action among us and the development of this ministry. We now have Reflections for each day, except Sundays. I wish to record thanks to Sister Shaneka Raymore-Euphfa, and Brothers Bevon White, Christopher Euphfa and Dominic Blair. Your commitment to this ministry is highly appreciated. I know it takes much sacrifice, but God has been faithful in inspiring and enabling us to persevere week after week. Ebenezer! Hitherto hath the Lord helped us!

Reflection: Jacob said, “Come, let us go up to Bethel, that I may make an altar there to the God who answered me in the day of my distress and has been with me wherever I have gone.” Genesis 35:3

Go back to Bethel!

This was God’s instruction to Jacob. God told Jacob, “Arise, go up to Bethel and dwell there; and make an altar there to God, who appeared to you when you fled from the face of Esau your brother.” Jacob had gone to Shechem instead of Bethel, where he was supposed to be. Now at last Jacob decides to obey God.  Jacob had to leave Shechem and go to Bethel. There had to be a departure from one and a new direction and destination set. There was a new place for Jacob and his family to dwell.
The first thing he was required to do when he got to Bethel was to make an altar to God. He is to resume a life of worship there. As Jacob looked back on his walk with God, the first meeting with God at Bethel must have been a high point. Genesis 28:10-22 describes the awesome experience that he had where he fell asleep and had a dream of a ladder that went up into heaven and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. God announced to him that he is giving him and his descendants the land on which he laid. God also promised his abiding presence. Interestingly, because of that experience, Jacob set up a stone and called the place Bethel. It is to this very place that God now summons Jacob to return.

It seems that Jacob refused to think that the best years of his life with God were behind him. He returned to this memorable place and God blessed it. Spurgeon says that a revival of old memories is often most useful to us, especially to revive the memory of our conversion and of our love for God. Jacob called his family to reject the foreign gods and purify themselves as they head back to Bethel. There he will worship God, the same God who answered him in his day of distress and has been with him all the way. Bethel then was to be a place of remembrance and thanksgiving for all that God has been and done. Where is our Bethel? The life transforming place that God is calling us back to? The place that requires rejection of the things of the world and reconnection with God? The place where we recall God’s faithfulness to us? The place of thanksgiving? God calls us back there.

Paul reminds us today in Ephesians 5:20, “Give thanks to God the Father at all times and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Jermaine Gibson 

TUESDAY REFLECTION – God Delivers

Tuesday Reflection – October 08, 2019

God Delivers.

Picture David before he becomes king, running away from King Saul who has sworn to kill him. In 1 Samuels 21 he goes to the Ahimelech, the priest of Nob where he begs bread for himself and his men. The only bread available was holy bread, bread of the presence that had been removed from the presence of the Lord and replaced with fresh bread. Only the priests were to eat this bread, but Because David and his men had kept themselves pure, they were given the bread. Next David went to the city of Gath where Goliath had come from. There he sought refuge from King Achish but when the people recognized him, David pretended to be a mad man, hitting his head against the gate and drooling on himself. The king dismissed the claims of those who said it was David, blaming them for allowing another mad man into the city. David later wrote Psalm 34 in response to these experiences. In verse 4, today’s watchword, he testifies, I sought the Lord, and He answered me, and delivered me from all my fears. Like David, we too know our Lord as the one who delivers. 

As deliverer, Jesus is able to rescue us from harm and danger. Psalm 18: 2 says The Lord is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower. In Hebrew, he is known as Jehovah-Mephalti, which means the Lord my deliverer. Those who trust in the Lord will be delivered by the Lord. In verse 6 of  Psalm 34, David testifies, In my desperation I prayed, and the LORD listened; he saved me from all my troubles. Such deliverance is promised to the faithful friends. God is not far from us neither is he untouched by what is happening around us or to us. Indeed He is a God who stands ready to deliver. Thus the prophet Isaiah challenges us in chapter 55: 6, to Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near. 

It is noteworthy that only God guarantees our delivery. With God all things are possible to those who believe. Such delivery is often granted in situations which were thought impossible. Think of Abraham and Sarah in Genesis, well past the child-bearing age and her being barren. They became pregnant and Isaac was born. Think of Jairus’ daughter in the gospels. Declared dead, yet Jesus brings her back to life. Think of Lazarus, already buried 4 days, but Jesus called him out of the tomb. Indeed our God is a God of impossibilities. Today you may be faced with an impossible situation, something that you have been struggling with. David’s testimony can also be your testimony: I sought the Lord, and He answered me, and delivered me from all my fears.  I believe I need to remind someone today of the God we serve. He is a God of order, a God who provides and protects, but most importantly for us this time a God who delivers. Trust Him as David did. Trust Him as Daniel did in the lion’s den and the lion’s mouths were locked. Trust him as the three Hebrew boys did in the fiery furnace and danced among the flames. Trust him as that lame man did at the pool and declared ‘Lord if you want to, you can heal me’). I implore you friends, trust God with your situations for He is a God who delivers. Like David we will be able to say; I sought the Lord, and He answered me, and delivered me from all my fears. Amen.

Bevon White 

MONDAY REFLECTION – A Song of Praise

Monday Reflection – October 07, 2019

A Song of Praise

The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer. 2 Samuel 22:2

In 2 Samuel 22, David raises a song of praise dedicated to the Lord. This song appears almost as David’s final words. Hence, it may rightfully be seen as a summary thanksgiving for God’s many deliverances of David throughout his long life. Except for minor variations, this song is the same as Psalm 18. Indeed, this song is a great summary of David’s whole character and attitude through life. David possessed deep convictions –the absolute sovereignty of Jehovah, God’s omnipotent power to deliver, the need for humans to obey God’s law, and the assurance that in the case of such obedience God always acts in the best interest of his people. Such convictions constitute the underlying strength of David’s character.

David begins by declaring that God is his rock, fortress and deliverer. David piles title upon title in praising God. God’s work for David was so big and comprehensive that it couldn’t be contained in one title. David had personally experienced God’s action and deliverance time and time again including, from Goliath, from Saul, from backsliding, from Israel’s enemies, from Absalom, and from his own sinful passions. God has been with him all the way, and never abandoned him. It is no wonder that David trusted God, entrusted himself in the hands of God. The truth is that when we see God for who he is, it is easy to trust him. When we know God is our rock, fortress, deliverer, shield, stronghold and Saviour, it is natural to trust him completely.

When we reflect on our own lives and recall all that God has done, we should raise a song of praise like David. Do we spend time remembering how and what God has brought us through? Do we recall all that God has delivered us from? The truth is, so many times we don’t even realize or know what God has saved us from. Sometimes we are delayed so we escape a tragedy. Sometimes we face a challenge but are prevented from having to deal with a greater one. This is just how awesome and wonderful God is! These realities should drive us to praise God and give him the glory that he so rightful deserves.

In today’s New Testament text in 2 Corinthians 1:10, Paul joins David in declaring his unhesitant hope and unrelenting confidence in God. He says, “On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us”. When we recall and celebrate God’s omnipotent hand in our lives, it gives us a resolute confidence and hope that we can face anything that comes our way, because God is able. And it’s never about us, but all about God.

Till next week, remember “…he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”

(1 John 4:4)

Jermaine Gibson

MONDAY REFLECTION – Tossings and Tears

Monday Reflection – September 30, 2019

Tossings and Tears

You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your record? Psalm 56:8  

Tossings and tears are part of our journey at one stage in our lives or another. If we have lived long enough, we know that we experienced nights of toss and turns, restlessness, and even loss of sleep. Experiences in life have brought tears to our eyes and spirits as we face the ups and downs, the hills and valleys, the highpoints and low points of this journey. We have both tears of joy and those of sorrow. The loss of a loved one – whether by death, divorce or separation -, failures, anguish, fear, pain, hardships, trials, tribulations, stress and strains all threaten our happiness and joy and many times bring tossings and tears.   

David can identify with us, for he had his fair share of tossings and tears. He faced lions, bears and Goliath with courage and strength. Indeed, he had a good heart, for he was described as a man after God’s own heart. He was anointed the next king of Israel, yet what was to be a time of celebration for him, became his greatest nightmare. The reigning king Saul hunted him down to kill him. Today’s text is said to be a description of David’s appeal to God as he headed to the cave in Adullam to hide for his life. No doubt, he was alone, desperate and afraid.

Here he reasons with and even challenges God. He draws to God’s attention that God knows fully well the level and number of tossings that he has had. Indeed, God should bottle up his tears to see how much he has shed. All his hurt and pain should be recorded by God. It is as if he was saying to God that he has been through so much and his pain is so deep that it’s time God relieves him of all of this. Yet, in all this we see David valuing the sympathy and care of God all the more, and he found great comfort in the thought that God noted his misery.

David speaks about bottling his tears. For Spurgeon, “His sorrows were so many that there would need a great wine–skin to hold them all.” Yet, there may be an allusion to a very ancient custom among Greeks and Romans of putting the tears which were shed for the death of any person into small phials and offering them on the tomb of the deceased. Thereare some persons who always have their tear-bottle with them, and who always treasure up every little grief and every little disappointment. Whenever you meet them, the first thing you see is the tear-bottle; and there is more in it than there was last time. Note that I am not speaking of those who have great trials and must shed tears, but of those who make a great deal of every little thing. We ought not to live in this gloomy way. In the midst of David’s trial, he affirms his confidence in God and declares in verse 9, “This I know, because God is for me”. His tossings and tears do not mean that God was against him. Instead he knew that God was for him, and would answer his prayer for rescue.

What of your tossings and tears? Surrender it all to God and rise in resolute confidence to face whatever life brings our way. Indeed, tears are a language God understands.
Jermaine Gibson

WEDNESDAY REFLECTION – Justice and only Justice!

Wednesday Reflection – September 25, 2019

Justice and only Justice!

Justice, and only justice, you shall pursue, so that you may live and occupy the land that the Lord your God is giving you. Deuteronomy 16:20

As I read this verse, I recall that I did a reflection very recently on a text in the context of today’s Watchword. At a quick review, I recognized that it was only on September 11 that I reflected on Deuteronomy 16:19. Moses continues his teaching to the Israelites as they were on the brink of entering Canaan. Judges and officials were to be appointed for each tribe in every town. I believe that these judges were to be put in place for every tribe so they could adequately relate to each other in the administration of justice. I think too that the judges and officials were to be in every town so they would be readily available and accessible to deal with the judicial affairs.

Yet, the reality of the judges being appointed for every tribe and town posed obvious challenges. Two major challenges were their immediate access to people, including those of their own tribe, who may want to pervert the court of justice by offering bribes, and the temptation to show partiality to those of their own tribe. It is no wonder then that Moses emphasizes in today’s Watchword, Justice, and only justice, you shall pursue, so that you may live and occupy the land that the Lord your God is giving you.”     

Today’s text helps us to understand how to live in response to God’s love and serve others through our work. Underlying all the themes in Deuteronomy is Israel’s covenant with the one true God. Everything in the book flows from the keystone of the covenant, “I am the Lord your God…you shall have no other gods before me”. When people worship the Lord alone, good governance, productive work, ethical commerce, civic good, and fair treatment for all will generally result. When people put other motivations, values, and concerns ahead of the principles of God, life and work are under threat and usually results in unnecessary grief. Moses’ charge to judges and officials is especially important when it comes to work. Without impartial justice, it would be impossible to “live and occupy the land that the Lord your God is giving you”.

Modern workplaces and societies are no less susceptible to bribery, corruption, and bias than Israel was. International bodies believe that the greatest impediment to economic growth in less developed countries is lapses in the impartial rule of law. Interestingly, the emphasis of this command is on those who have the power to demand bribes and not against those who pay. Many times those who pay bribes are at the mercy of those who have the power to determine our fate and future. Yet, both those who receive and those who pay are charged to desist, because justice is sacred to the Lord.

As we go about our daily lives, may we be careful to honour God through our words and actions, by ensuring that we promote justice and fairness. The words of Jamaica’s National Anthem rings out, “Justice, truth, be ours forever…”  

Jermaine Gibson

TUESDAY REFLECTION – The Heart Knows

Tuesday Reflection – September 24, 2019

The Heart Knows

Ever heard the statement, ‘the heart knows’? The full phrase is, ‘the mind reasons, but the heart just knows’. We reason and rationalize from the mind. For many persons that is the seat of decision making. If we cannot reason it through, seeing all the progress and pitfalls, we will not venture out. The mind cautions us to be safe in all that we do. It is there that we think, argue and reason. If we follow our minds, we will not take chances. It is purely logic that the mind engages in, keeping us grounded and giving us sanity in a rather insane world. The heart on the other hand is more about feelings than logic. It is described as the wisest part of the human body. The heart is the seat of misery, intuition, adrenaline, and strength. It is the heart that gives meaning to what we do, even when we think that our words or actions are meaningless. It’s important for us to listen to both heart and mind in order to be a well-rounded person. 

In today’s Watchword the Lord speaks through the prophet Jeremiah in chapter 24: 7.  I will give them a heart to know that I am the Lord. This promise of God was for the children of Israel in captivity. It was God’s assurance that a people, disobedient and taken away from their homeland, would still find favor with their God. Yes they would face hardships, yes they would feel abandoned, yes they would be mocked and jeered to the point of feeling neglected and despondent, but they were to know that all hope would not be lost for God would reveal himself to them in the depths of their hearts. This is exactly what happened friends. For that reason Daniel refused to stop worshipping, for that reason Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego refused to bow, for that reason Esther stepped forward and for that reason the Jews, when finally given permission, chose to leave Babylon behind and return to Israel. When we have a knowledge of God in our hearts, it propels us along a faith journey that goes beyond any intellectual understanding or reasoning. This is the journey we are on as Christians. Not one of proof, or of sound rationale, but one of faith, a faith born out of a knowledge of God in our hearts. 

In a world that constantly demands proof, that seeks to reason and rationalize everything, this is outright crazy, but to us who know the joys, blessings and pleasures of walking with our Lord, it is a matter of knowing that nothing that reason comes up with can move us to abandon what God has placed in our hearts. If our senses, reasoning and fears are the only guides we have to look back on in life, then we have not truly lived. When the heart knows God and we follow our heart, we follow God’s leading. When the heart knows God we have the assurance that even when we can’t seem to reason it through, even when we can’t seem to make sense of it, our godly heart guides us. Gal 4: 6  for God has sent the Spirit of His son into our hearts crying Abba! Father! We should not neglect the reasoning and rationalizing of the mind, but when the heart has received the revelation of the knowledge of Christ, we can sincerely trust the leading of the heart, for the heart knows. Amen.   

Bevon White 

MONDAY REFLECTION – The God Who Humbles and Lifts Up

Monday Reflection – September 23, 2019

The God Who Humbles and Lifts Up

The bows of the mighty are broken, but the feeble gird on strength. 1 Samuel 2:4

What do we do when we face life’s crises? When our world has turned upside down and everything is falling apart? When pain, anguish and sorrow is our everyday experience? When we are confused and everything seems so complicated? When hope is fading and we feel that God has failed us? When our hearts desires are not being fulfilled? When life is not going the way we have planned or dreamed about? When people laugh at us and we have become the center of gossip and street side talk? For some of us, we turn to the Lord in fervent prayer. And sometimes in this time we make promises to God that if he comes through for us, we commit to do certain things.

This was the case for Hannah who carried deep pain because she was barren. She was the laughingstock of her husband’s other wife, her rival, Peninnah. Her deepest desire, like that of every Jewish woman, was to have a male child. She placed the matter squarely before the Lord and promised to give her son back to the Lord. God answered her prayer by giving her a son. Hannah fulfilled her promise by bringing him back to the temple, dedicated him to the Lord, and left him there in the care of Eli the priest.

Amazingly, having left her son in the temple, Hannah offers a prayer of thanksgiving and praise to the Lord. In chapter 2, she begins by declaring, “My heart rejoices in the Lord; my horn is exalted in the Lord. I smile at my enemies, because I rejoice in your salvation. No one is holy like the Lord, for there is none besides you, nor is there any rock like our God.” (vs 1-2) Hannah offers this song on the very day she left her little boy – her only child – at the temple, never for him to live in her home again. This shows a depth of commitment and love for God that may humble us. On the day she made the biggest sacrifice of her life she rejoices in the Lord. We note she could not rejoice in leaving her son, but she could rejoice in the Lord. In the most desperate situations, when we have nothing else to rejoice in, we can rejoice in the Lord.

In today’s Watchword, Hannah glorifies God who humbles the strong and exalts the weak. God breaks the bow of the mighty and gives strength to the feeble. This is such a serious warning to us that we should be humble before God because he has the power to humble the strong. If we are strong or exalted now, we should keep humble because the Lord can change our place in the twinkling of an eye. Yet, a word of hope that if we are weak or in a low place now we should wait humbly before God and let him lift us up.

Till next week, let’s not forget to lift a song of praise in the good and bad times, and remain humble before the Lord.

Jermaine Gibson

SATURDAY REFLECTION

Saturday Reflection- 21 September 2019

“Then he said, “I am God, the God of your father; do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make of you a great nation there. I myself will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also bring you up again;”                        Genesis 46:3,4

Have you ever needed to make a great new move? A new assignment or school, a new workplace or you had to move to a new community, parish or country. It may not be a move in terms of residence or workplace, but a change out of the familiar to the unfamiliar. 

If this is true, we find ourselves standing like Jacob in Genesis 46 as he was to move his entire family to Egypt. Jacob’s son Joseph had become prominent in Egypt and after he revealed himself to his brothers and instructs them to inform their family that he was contrary to former belief, very much alive and doing well in Egypt. And since there was a famine in their homeland, Joseph invites them to join him in Egypt.

So God reminds Jacob of who he is, the God of your father, and would cause him to recall the many times that God had been there for him, for his family. The same is true, that God is still God, the one who never changes and he reminds us of the many times we’ve come at the impasse and God “parted the Red Sea” for us. He reminds us of the many times, that he has led us, our families and blessed us and promises that he’s the same God and will do it again. So God comforted Jacob and said “do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make of you a great nation there.” For surely where God is comforting us, in the same way, he will be with us and will bless us. Jacob’s name was changed to Israel, which represents the mighty nation, God’s chosen people, of the promise that had been made to his grandfather Abraham. So we know that God is a keeper of promises.

God encourages Jacob in the same way he encourages us, we do not have to be afraid. Because walking before us and with us is our great Jehovah. He clears the path and leads us to the promised land. We need not fear, the journey, the challenges of uncooperative people, red flags, hurdles on top of hurdles, because we serve a God who parted the Red Sea, and made the walls of Jericho come tumbling down. 

We can rest assured that God sees our insecurities and will employ his never-failing promise, unmatched comfort and strength and his ever-guiding presence. Jacob did not know everything about Egypt, and was concerned of his old age and the journey and what it would mean for his future generations. We may not only also be fearful, but concerned as Jacob was, of the journey, and the future of his family, but God had thought about this as well, and we are assured that he has everything in control and all we have to do is to trust him. And when we do, he will bless us abundantly, even as Jacob as he promises to make from him, a great nation. We listen to his call, and according to today’s doctrinal text  “… lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight the path for your feet.” (Hebrews 12:12-13)

Until next week, be comforted in the fact that if God leads us to it, he will lead us through it. So we need not fear but follow him without a murmur and he will lead us to green pastures and living waters, and even to eternal life.

Dominic J. Blair