Saturday, December 6, 2014

Thanksgiving this season

Rejoice evermore, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks 1 Thes 5:16
If we look back at this year we have had great blessings, from graduations to new jobs, great relationships developed while others strengthened. Some are experiencing a new school, others a new home. From babies born, to marriages established, all in all we have a lot to give thanks for.
Even in light of all these great blessings, we should be most thankful for the greatest, most remarkable gift given to us by God, which is Himself—Emmanuel, God with us.
A child is born, unto us a Son is given…and His name shall be called counselor, mighty God, prince of peace-Is 9:6-7
God came down to live among us in the person of Jesus Christ, so that we will know that he understands and relates to all our ways. He knows intimately our joys and fears, our hopes and despairs and He is not perplexed by our confusion.  Our weaknesses do not surprise Him nor does our sin.  Even though He Himself never sinned, He loved us so much that He took upon Himself the full penalty of all the sins we have ever committed or ever will commit.

As you might remember the scriptures says, there is none righteous (Rom 3:10)….no not one. …and all have sinned and fallen short of God’s perfect standard (Rom 3:23) and  the penalty of this sin is death….hence all of us are condemned to die.

But we give thanks for a God who did not leave us in this state of death, He did not leave us in this state of eternal separation from Him. He demonstrated perfect love and justice towards us through Jesus Christ.  How did He demonstrate love and Justice? Love in that, Jesus died in our place so that we would not face death for our sins….as the scriptures says, “There is no greater love than to laydown ones life for one’s friend”(john 15:13).  Justice in that, Jesus took the sentence of death due us, thus satisfying the perfect standard of God, “ For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor 5:21).

 This love is a gift, that has been given to us all, those who have received this gift have done so by putting their faith in Jesus because they know that He came to die and resurrect so that they will have eternal life with Him (Rom 10:9-10, 1 Thes 5:9-10).  

Because of this gift our heart overflows with thankfulness, and all other blessings are icing on the cake for our increased and sustained joy and peace (John 10:10). For anyone who has never personally put their faith and trust in this complete work of Jesus Christ, today is your chance to receive this love gift given to you by the God who created you.

For those who have already put their faith in Christ, I charge you with this, “May all that you do, bring a smile to the face of our God” (1 Cor 10:31). A heart of gratitude is one of the things that make Him smile (1 Thes 5:16-18), for we all know we have a lot to be thankful for.
So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God—1 Cor 10:31
May His peace and love be your comfort always, may He equip you with all that you need to do His will and may He continue to produce in you every good thing that is pleasing to Him, in the power Christ Jesus our Lord (Heb 13:21) Amen.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

"New Beginnings" (Joshua 1:6-9)

New Beginnings can be hard but with the Lord there is strength Rev 21:5

Be strong and of good courage, for to this people you shall divide as an inheritance the land which I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go. This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” (Jos 1:6-9)

My heart trembles only so slightly until it rumbles into a violent stir. What if it does not happen for me...what if, all I have ever believed in is a lie...what if I fall flat on my face...what if I never get married...what if no child ever calls me Mum...what if the load I am called to carry is too heavy...what if no one listens...what if no one follows…what if the ministry does not work...what if….

How do I begin again when all strength has left me…how do I fight a war ahead with enemies that I cannot even see…how do I face the unknown with strength and courage…How….

As I wonder into the world of "What if" and crippled in the planet of "How", I jump in rather reluctantly into this beautiful book of Joshua. The Lord in total God fashion, reads my thoughts just like He read Joshua's thoughts many years ago. Moses is dead, that is Joshua's reality, his mentor, his rock, his strength, his God on earth is dead. As if that is not enough, he is charged with the insurmountable task of leading a million plus people into a new land. these people are not easy to lead as we have seen in the long book of Exodus. How does a man like Joshua, jump into the shoes of the greatest leader who ever lived (Deut 34:10)?
Sometimes our strength comes outside of us, Isa 45:2-3

He doesn't...God comes to him and speaks words of life, words of affirmation into his life, words of new beginnings. He speaks to Joshua, "Be strong and of good strong and very courageous that you may observe all the Law...then you will have good success...Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid...". If this was all God said, then it would not have mattered but He knew that just commanding Joshua to be strong was not enough He needed to assure Joshua that just like He had been with Moses He will be with him. God needed to give a personal promise of not only His presence but His provision. " one shall be able to stand against you all the days of your life...for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Then Joshua resurrects from the "what if" world into God's world, he strengthens his knees from the planet of "how" into the universe of "God is able", a universe where all things are possible (Mat 19:26). He looks to the God who had revealed Himself to him so many times before and then rises with strength from above  and declares to Israel..."Prepare provisions for yourselves, for within three days you will cross over this Jordan, to go in to possess the land which the Lord your God is giving you to possess".

My trembling heart quiets within the same embrace of God's word, because I see even so clearly that just as God was with Joshua, so will He be with me...I rise from my world of "What if" and climb the eagles wings of my God, with strength from above, with courage from above, fearless because I am reminded that I am not alone, I am with the great I AM, He is able to walk with me in and through it all.

This command to obedience and the assurance of God's presence has been levied on God's people all through History as He calls them; 

He said to Moses "Now go to Pharaoh" and tell him to let my people go (3:10), I will go with you (Exo 3:12) to Joshua He said "Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do" (1:8) and "I shall be with you wherever you are"(1:9). To David He said, I am your shepherd and I lead you to provision and security (Ps 23), to Jeroboam the first king of the divided kingdom of Israel, the Lord promised a blessing over his life and kingdom if he adhered to these words, "If you do whatever I command you and walk in obedience to me and do what is right in my eyes by obeying my decrees and commands, as David my servant did, I will be with you. I will build you a dynasty as enduring as the one I built for David and will give Israel to you". (1 Kgs 11:38). The Lord also declares this truth to the nations as He did to Israel through His prophet Isaiah—(Isa 43:1-3a)

But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob,
And He who formed you, O Israel:
“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by your name;
You are Mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned,
Nor shall the flame scorch you.
For I am the Lord your God,

This lullaby promise is for you too, it is for all those who have decided to follow God's Messenger, God's Deliverer, like Israel followed Moses and Joshua into God's promised resting place of security and provision. This promise of New Beginnings is possible only through a strength and courage that comes from God alone. It is our inheritance too, because we follow and have put our faith in God's ultimate deliverer Jesus Christ (2 Cor 5:17).
That is why before Jesus ascended into heaven He spoke the same words of His presence always being with us, admonishing us to follow His commands. “If you love me, obey my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, who will never leave you. He is the Holy Spirit, who leads into all truth. (John 14:15-17)

So through the pages of History our God has never left us and has promised to be with us always, reminding us the whole time to stay safe in the comfort of His commands, which are not burdensome (1 John 5:3). He says New Beginnings are always possible in Him.

Be comforted my dear beloved, like Joshua listening to the battle song of our God. Even when the odds are against you, remember He will NEVER leave you and He will lead you to and through the path of His bidding only Be Strong and Courageous. Obey His word by the grace He abundantly supplies, ask Him for strength to move forward, to start again and He will answer (Jer 33:3), providing you with great success in this life and in the life to come...Now this is true comfort for the soul.

He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, And the young men shall utterly fall. But those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint. (Isa 40:29-31)

My Testimony