Thursday, 19 April 2018

Those who grieve in Zion

Isaiah 61:1-3

"The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to grant to those who mourn in Zion— to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified."

The people of Judah are grieving even though they have returned from exile. God promises them through the prophet that he will continue to heal, equip and restore them.   As Christians we also grieve and lose our joy and hope when we realize that we cannot meet God's standard. God promises that He to will give us joy and hope by continuing to work in our lives.  This process is called sanctification.

Firstly, God heals our broken human nature by restoring us.Even though we despair at the sin we find in ourselves we can have hope that God will gradually heal us.

Secondly, He continues to change us as we grow to be more like Jesus. No matter how impossible the goal of Christ-like love seems, we can be confident that it is God's will to make us like him and that he has the power to do so. 

Thirdly, Our hearts are changed as we grow to be more like Jesus.  Our joy is made complete as God works his purpose through our freedom and rewards us as sons for doing his will. 

Lastly, Hope starts a an act of the will that preserves through difficulty and becomes a habit.
We are ceased to be plagued by anxiety, despair and fear and we are filled with joy knowing that God is all he says he is.

Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Martyrs cost of our faith


Here are some thoughts that I would like to share from a message by John Piper relating to our topic based on Hebrews 11:29-38. These thoughts have really given me some understanding and encourage me greatly that God is in control. 

""1. Through our faith God can and does work miracles and acts of providence to bring practical earthly help and deliverance to his people.

What I mean by "miracles" is works of God that involve some extraordinary interruption in the natural cause-effect way that nature works. God breaks into the normal way things work and in an extraordinary way makes them work differently. And in every case here the people of God were helped or rescued from danger or death.

That's one way God works through our faith - namely, by miracles. But I also mentioned "acts of providence." Through our faith God helps us by acts of providence. What I mean by "acts of providence" is works of God that control situations but in a less extraordinary way. Looking on, you would not necessarily say that a miracle happened, but by the eye of faith you see the "invisible hand of God" - as R. C. Sproul calls it.

The point is that God works through faith to do miracles and acts of providence to bring practical, earthly help and deliverance to his people. 

2. God does not always work miracles and acts of providence for our deliverance from suffering; sometimes by faith God sustains his people through sufferings. 

3. Having faith is not the ultimate determining factor in whether you suffer or escape, God is - God's sovereign will and wisdom and love.  It is a great relief to know that there is a higher explanation for my pain or my pleasure than whether I have enough faith. Would it not be horrible to have to believe that on top of all your suffering you had to add this: it must be because I lack faith.

4. The common feature of the faith that escapes suffering and the faith that endures suffering is this: both of them involve believing that God himself is better than what life can give to you now, and better than what death can take from you later.

5. Those who love God more than life and suffer willingly awaiting something better than what this earth can offer, are God's great gifts to the world.

Many things in this life are utterly opposite from the way they seem. And here is one of them. When the precious children of God are permitted to suffer and be rejected and mistreated and go destitute, afflicted and ill-treated, God is giving a gift to the world. He is gracing the world. He is shedding his love abroad in the world. Because in those who suffer and die in the unshakable assurance of hope in God, the world is given a message and a picture: "The Lord himself is better than life. Turn, O turn and believe."

Who would have thought it - that the suffering are a gift to the world?""


Ultimate Restoration

Joy Restored

God is the ultimate restoration. What does he restore ?

Joy! God empowered people and freedom from the bondage of our past and gives us a freedom in the future. Rom 6:23 
"For the wages of sin is death but the gift of life is eternal life".

Wonder from others! Due to the changes in our life can led others to Christ because of the change of our behaviour that has been brought about as a result of our new freedom. Acts 3:9-10

"And all the people saw him walking and praising God, and recognized him as the one who sat at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, asking for alms. And they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him."

God's blessing encourages Prayer for more. Once a person realizes that salvation is by faith in Jesus that we are saved.  As a person rejoices in this fact results in the realization that their is nothing that they can do to save themselves except through the gift of salvation. Eph 2:8-9 

"For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast."

God loves to restore Joy. "Jesus explained: I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it many seeds." John 12:24

This Easter let's celebrate this gift of Life with Joy.      


Thursday, 15 February 2018

Restoration of your vision


What motivates you – is your life motivated by the same things that motivated Jesus

Luke 4:18 -19 "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favour."

Year of Jubilee – every 70 years every piece of property reverts to the original owner.

Go back to your original relationship with the Lord and evaluate where your focus is?


Our Presidents theme verse from Isaiah 61 is quoted by Jesus in Luke 4:18 – 19, this appears to be his theme text for his life.  He makes the following areas his theme for his ministry: -

1.     Jesus proclaims good news to the poor

The ultimate gift anyone can receive is a restored relationship with Jesus Christ.  No matter who you are and where you are from having a relationship with Jesus is good news.   The poor in this context is not the materially poor but its anyone who does not have an intimate relationship with Christ. Often, when we are at our lowest point in life and have no more resources we turn to Christ. Once this happens we experience the restoration of the joy of the Lord. As believers that should be our goal to restore relationships with Christ and not just focusing on a social Gospel because then we are no different from the world around us.  Any ministry must take place with the goal of sharing the good news of the gift of eternal life.

2.     Jesus proclaims liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind.

       True freedom is found in a restored relationship with Jesus, who offers forgiveness and grace. This        enables those who are his followers to experience the peace and liberty that only comes from knowing Him.  This relationship helps Christians to cope with many difficulties and discouragement and keep a positive perspective. Our goal should be to share this knowledge and relationship with as many as is possible and so church becomes more about those who do not know Christ and less about what makes his followers comfortable.  As a women’s ministry we should be creating opportunities for our local woman to share their faith journey with those who do not know Christ.

 3.     Jesus offers liberty to those who are oppressed.

This freedom that comes from Jesus is not about political freedom, but this refers to an internal freedom that comes from a relationship with him. As his children we experience the freedom from oppression because he gives us that peace to live day by day with the difficulties that we face.  He expects his children to live and treat each other in a God honouring way that is set out for us in the Bible.  Micah 6:8 “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” is a verse that clearly instructs Christ followers on how to treat each other on a daily basis.

4.     Jesus proclaims the year of the Lord's favour.

In the Old testament the year od jubilee was the year that property that had been sold was returned to its original owner and that which was loss or forfeited was returned.  As Christ followers we live with this blessing daily as our relationship has been restored to before the fall of Adam.  Once we accept Jesus we experience the Lord’s favour in a new relationship with Him.


As a women of God it is important to live with these truths in mind and be motivated for ministry so that we can led others to experience the blessings we have received through Jesus Christ.

Go back to your original relationship with the Lord and evaluate where your focus is?

Friday, 19 January 2018

Understanding Your Vision


When one looks at the passage in Isaiah 61:3 on which our President's theme is based it is important to realise that there is so much in this particular verse that this year we will be looking at phrase by phrase. 
Isa 61:1-3 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the LORD's favour, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn;  to grant to those who mourn in Zion— to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified.

However, we will start by looking at the context in which the prophet wrote these verses and reflect how these verses impact our lives based on the fact that Jesus himself quoted these verses in the book of Luke 4:18.
    At the start of the year it is important to reaffirm who we are and what our goals are that we will attempt to achieve.  Jesus does this in Luke 4 by quoting these verses out of Isaiah .  His declaration clearly states the following:-
  • God's spirit is upon Him to perform a task.
  • Each person who has God's Spirit should do the following tasks:-
      • Preach the Good News to the poor (Poor means anyone who does not have a relationship with Him)
      • Bind up the brokenhearted
      • Liberty for the captives
      • Liberation for the prisoners
      • Comfort for the hurting and discouraged
  • Those who do this will be considered righteous.
  • The  goal is for God to get the Glory. 
For those in ministry it is important to fulfil the goals and purpose that God has given you in the place where he has placedHe will be glorified in what you do when you fulfill the goal he has given us.  
 
Read the article in the resource program by Rick Warren to help wth the practical implementation of setting a vision for your womens ministy.
    

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Kingdom Ambassadors prepare for visit from their King

As believers we should celebrate our Saviour.

The Christmas story is a good news for Kingdom Ambassadors. Our Saviour's birth  changes our eternity and we should celebrate this fact. This event once again shows us God's heart He loves mankind and his heart is for a restored relationship.  Once we have accepted Christ as our Saviour he fills our hearts when we walk with him.  As Kingdom Ambassadors we need to entrust ourselves to God to live a life that seeks to honour.  In John 2:5 says "Ïf anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them."

As we approach the year end we must ask God to fill our hearts with obedience and a love for his work and fulfill our role as Kingdom Ambassadors.

Kingdom Ambassadors have strict orders

The Lord tell us to make disciples.

1.  As Kingdom Ambassadors we are to help each other grow in Christ. 

2. As Kingdom Ambassadors we need to preach the Word and assist unbelievers to become Christians. 

3. As Kingdom Ambassadors we need to help people to become believers and taught how to live in a way in which to honour our King. Teach them to feel and act like a Chirstian. 

4. Kingdom Ambassadors grow disciples in every situation as they live there lives. 

The bible is full of passages that encourages this practice:-

  • Titus 2:4
  • 2 Tim 2:2 
  • Eph 6:4
  • Matt 28:20
  • Heb 3:13
  • 1 Peter 4:10
  • Acts 18:4-26
Every Christian should be helping unbelievers become believers by showing them how to live like Christ that is our mandate as Kingdom Ambassadors. 

Kingdom Ambassdors serve their King

Authentic servant hood is expressed in sacrificial and exemplary living.

In 1 Corinthians 4:1-21 Paul highlights the fact that genuine Christian living results in having a servant attitude and not a self-exalted view of who they are.

Authentic servants involves faithful stewardship 4:1-5

  • Paul indicated that God expects faithfulness from those who serve him.
  • Authentic servants are faithful to do what God expects.
Authentic servants are faithful to do what God expects 4:6-8.

Authentic servants willingly sacrifice when sacrifice is necessary for the Lord. 4:9-13.

Authentic servants involves parental-like love and concern 4:14-15.

Authentic servants lives exemplary lives 4:16-17.

Authentic servants bear witness to God's power 4;18-21.

Authentic Christian living results in servant hood.  People who meet you must be able to give testimony of your attitude of service in Jesus name.


Kingdom Ambassadors seek the best for residents of the host country.

As Kingdom Ambassadors need to be growing and developing as individuals.  Julia Bettencourt makes the following point, "I love the fact that I don't have to imagine that I'm royalty in Christ.  When we accept the Lord as our Saviour, we are part of his royal family." 

Romans 8:16,17 says that the Spirit bears witness with our spirit   then we are joint heirs with Christ.

In her devotion Royal Treasures Julia Bettencourt highlights that we gain much from being in our royal family.  Using various fairy-tale characters she highlights the fact that as royalty we have many privileges:-

Snow White - in the story of Snow White we see she was fair, kind and good.  As Kingdom Ambassadors we in Christ don't have to be snow white but we can be as white a snow. Is 1:18 tells us that though our sins be like scarlet we will be as white as snow. Snow White dreams of her coming prince.  We know for sure that our King is coming again. Snow White had dwarfs for friends but we have many friends in the Lord and that we can have fellowship in Christ together. 

Cinderella - she had to do all the work around the family despite having sisters who could have helped in order to maintain her support and salvation .  As Kingdom Ambassadors we do not have to work for our salvation Jesus gave us as a free gift. Titus 3:5 clearly states that our salvation is a gift not something we have to work for. Like Cinderella rags that were transformed into a ball gown so are we transformed into Kingdom Ambassadors from sinners.  

Sleeping Beauty -  In the story of sleeping Beauty the princess is cursed by an evil fairy. She did not die but she went to sleep until her prince came to give her a kiss and wake her up.  As a Christian when we die,we are just asleep in Christ and He will take us to heaven to live with Him.  What a wonderful gift we have from our King!

The Sword of the Spirit  is our tool in overcoming obstacles and difficulties and we should share this resource this everyone we come into contact with. Eph 6:17 highlights the fact that we have to put on the helmet of salvation.

The Princess and the Pea - in this story a pea was used to test to see if this lady was indeed a princess.  The King knows who we are and nobody has to see if we are ambassadors.  In 2 Timothy 2:19   "The Lord knows those who are his"

Being Kingdom Ambassadors we know that we will go to heaven someday it all depends on whether we have asked Jesus to be our Saviour.

     

Kingdom Ambassadors promote reconciliation

The result of our relationship as Kingdom Ambassadors should be what motivates us to evangelize people who do not know Christ.

Here is an outline of why we should focus on sharing the Gospel with those who do not know Christ.
(These ideas are taken from http://azsbc.org/my316docs_eng/Outlines.pdf)

God's Love is the key factor.

1. The reason - God loves us is the first thing that John 3:16 teaches us , "For God so loved".  the reason why "God so loved"because God himself is love. 1 John 4:7-10
2. The object of God's love is the  "The World"
3. The sacrifice of God's Love's -  is 'that He gave his one and only son" What is the sacrifice of God's love? It is Jesus Christ dying for the sins of the world.  Romans 5:8 says "But God demonstrates His own love towards us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."  Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins, was buried, but in three days He rose out of the grave with all power in His hands (1 Cor 15:3-4) 
4. The recipient of the Gift of God's Love - whosoever:  "Whosoever believe in Him should not perish, but shall have everlasting life."John 3:16
 

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Kingdom Ambassadors show compassion

When preparing for social ministry outreach we need to remember that as ambassadors we have a responsibility to function within the three basic foundations of Scripture. The criteria are:-

1. Love God - (Matt 22:36-37)
"Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?"
 And he said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.

2. Love your neighbour - (Matt 22:39)
 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

3. Make disciples - (Matt 28:18-20)
 And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,  teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age."

As believers we need to speak the Word and do the work, but in all things we need to point to Jesus.







Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Kingdom Ambassadors live as if they are at home.

Kingdom Ambassadors need to have healthy relationships:-

1. With God
A Kingdom Ambassador needs to be like Mary and sit at the feet of Jesus and seek to know Him more and to grow in our knowledge of him and to let our choices reflect our knowledge of Him.

2. With People 
A Kingdom Ambassador needs to live a humble life with other people and still be an example of a Christ follower.

  • We need to remember that its not about us but about trusting in God to have our best interest at heart. We need to believe His word and the promises and the truth it contains.  
  • We need to live out God's plans and purposes for our lives and not compare ourselves to others who have a different mandate from God.
  • We need to express our new knowledge of God as we relate to our fellow brothers and sisters in the world around us.
  • We need to show Grace to those around us as we have received Grace from God.
  • We need to trust God's guidance and find contentment in my relationship with Jesus and not be discontent with the things I do not have which my neighbour does have. 
  • We need to know that living on earth with other believers and non believers is not easy and so we need to draw our strength from our King.
  • We need to work hard at maintaining our witness in our home to our closest family and friends.
  • We need to accept that at times we are going to be angry but we need to manage our actions in such a way that God is glorified.
  • We need to keep our focus on God and not on the things and situation below that can so easily become discouraged and loose our joy.
  • We need to remember that all my plans, purposes and achievements are only possible because of the abilities and resources God has given us.

" Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted."

 Matt 23:12

We will succeed some days but other days we will not be a good example.  Our should always be set an example of a Kingdom Ambassador but when we do not succeed we  need to ask for forgiveness and ask the Lord to help us to do better the next day.

My family knows that I am not perfect but I still continue to be the best example of a Kingdom Ambassador to them.


Kingdom Ambassadors remember the King

During the last year the British have celebrated the 60th year of the reign of Queen Elizabeth with parades, TV shows, parties and memorial services.  It should be no different for us as Kingdom Ambassadors we need to set time aside to remember our King.  Every year the remembrance of the events that took place at Easter gives us the followers of Christ an opportunity to celebrate our King. It is important for us to remember that without the events that took place at Easter we would not have reason to celebrate as we would not have the benefits that we receive from death of our King.

  • We would not have spiritual life.
  • We would not have eternal life.
  • We would not have the Spirit living in our life.
  • We would not have the many benefits of being in relationship with him.
That is why we have Easter and all the symbols that remind us to celebrate the gift of Eternal life given to each of those who call Jesus their King.