Keeper…

Apologies that it’s been a while.
Without making excuses, I’ll admit that I just need to plan myself better to ensure frequency of posts is never compromised.

That out of the way, I have a task for us this week (and always):

Be your Brother/Sister’s Keeper.

What do I mean by this?

Let’s have a look…

“You are the people of God; he loved you and chose you for his own. So then, you must clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.” 
[Colossians 3:12]

Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honour giving preference to one another;
[Romans 12:10]

I want us to be more mindful of the people around us.
More importantly – more mindful of the people we haven’t seen or heard from in a long time.

It’s very easy to become so consumed with everything concerning us and our families that we don’t even stop to bother ourselves with the business of anyone else.

We’ve spoken about this recently, in A Need For You, however, God brought it actively to my mind again to remind us of the importance of our responsibility of being the light of the world – spreading love on this earth.

We cannot only think about ourselves as Children of God. We have to think of others too.

Yes I know you have so much going on, you have deadlines to meet, you need your alone-time, but I want us to pray for the desire and ability to be unselfish…
To be unselfish with our time, resources and emotions, and in doing so, reach out to those whom we may have not spoken to for a few days/weeks/months/even years.

Don’t allow your worries to hinder you from doing so – worries of;

Will they think I’m just being nosy?

Is it any of my business to ask how they are?

Will they even respond?

Just go with the right intentions (to extend the love of Christ), pray for the wisdom and direction of what to say, and go ahead and check up on them.

Considering the words from the scripture above;

Compassion, Kindness, Affection,

Let’s step into the week with a heart ready to love and care for our brothers and sisters.

We never know what people are going through, and even though they may not always reply with details when we ask ‘How are you?’, we can definitely be assured that the seed of love has been sown in that person’s life and has reminded them that someone is looking out for them.

Task: Let’s reach out to least one person this week, become consistent with it, and add people to that list as the Holy Spirit plants their names in our hearts.

Don’t underestimate the power of the Love of Christ in you.  

Keep the Faith, Don’t Stop Believing
God Bless you.

#MyBrothersKeeper
#MySistersKeeper
#MoreThan100PeoplePraying

 

Forgiveness; No Buts

Note: You can skip the dramatics and scroll down to where it says ‘Due to envy…’ (read Genesis 37 first for context), however if you like a bit of fun whilst you read, start from the top! 🙂

Joseph was a man spoken of in the old testament.
He’s the son of a guy named Jacob a.k.a. Israel, and he had 11 brothers…

Sounds pretty normal so far, right?
Yeah, so let’s read from the scriptures (pardon my dramatic thoughts when you see them in brackets);

“Jacob loved Joseph more than any of his other children because Joseph had been born to him in his old age. So one day Jacob had a special gift made for Joseph—a beautiful robe. But his brothers hated Joseph because their father loved him more than the rest of them. They couldn’t say a kind word to him.”
[Genesis 37:3-4]

(I don’t know about you, but I’m sensing this favouritism is going to cause some problems…)

Let’s read a bit more;

“One night Joseph had a dream, and when he told his brothers about it, they hated him more than ever.”
[Genesis 37:5]

(Oh dear! It’s about to go down…)

““Listen to this dream,” he said. “We were out in the field, tying up bundles of grain. Suddenly my bundle stood up, and your bundles all gathered around and bowed low before mine!”
His brothers responded, “So you think you will be our king, do you? Do you actually think you will reign over us?” And they hated him all the more because of his dreams and the way he talked about them.”
[Genesis 37:6-8]

(Snap! Joseph you really should’ve kept that dream to yourself mate…)

“When Joseph’s brothers saw him coming, they recognized him in the distance. As he approached, they made plans to kill him. “Here comes the dreamer!” they said. “Come on, let’s kill him and throw him into one of these cisterns. We can tell our father, ‘A wild animal has eaten him.’ Then we’ll see what becomes of his dreams!””
[Genesis 37:18-20]

(I knew it!! I told you something bad was going to happen…)

“But when Reuben heard of their scheme, he came to Joseph’s rescue. “Let’s not kill him,” he said. “Why should we shed any blood? Let’s just throw him into this empty cistern here in the wilderness. Then he’ll die without our laying a hand on him.” Reuben was secretly planning to rescue Joseph and return him to his father.”
[Genesis 37:21-22]

(Oh phew! Thank God for Reuben…)

“So when Joseph arrived, his brothers ripped off the beautiful robe he was wearing. Then they grabbed him and threw him into the cistern. Now the cistern was empty; there was no water in it. Then, just as they were sitting down to eat, they looked up and saw a caravan of camels in the distance coming toward them. It was a group of Ishmaelite traders taking a load of gum, balm, and aromatic resin from Gilead down to Egypt.

Judah said to his brothers, “What will we gain by killing our brother? We’d have to cover up the crime. Instead of hurting him, let’s sell him to those Ishmaelite traders. After all, he is our brother—our own flesh and blood!” And his brothers agreed. So when the Ishmaelites, who were Midianite traders, came by, Joseph’s brothers pulled him out of the cistern and sold him to them for twenty pieces of silver. And the traders took him to Egypt.”
[Genesis 37:23-28]

(Nooo Wayyy!)

Okay, Let’s stop there.

Oh My Goodness!!!
Who else wishes this was made into a movie?! Extremely interesting, right?

Anyway, drama aside, let’s get a message out of this…

Due to envy, Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery!
How absolutely crazy?!

But little did he know, that these same brothers would need his help, and he would be in a mighty position to help…

Through the next few chapters in the book of Genesis (which I definitely encourage you to read in your own time), we see Joseph face some trials, but also he faces triumphs, as he becomes Governor in Genesis 41:39-41.
As we continue reading, we see that in fact his brothers end up needing his help, and whilst they don’t recognise him, Joseph definitely recognises them, but still helps them!
The question I want to bring out from this story is;

How far does your Forgiveness go?

Some of us say we can forgive, but never forget. We can forgive, but it will never be the same. We can forgive, but we’ll never help them out again. We’ll never do anything for them again. We could never look at them the same. We could never have love for them again…
The list of the things we say about forgiveness when someone has wronged us, is endless.

Today, I want us to look at Joseph, and I want us to learn from him…

What Joseph’s brothers did, was terrible (in fact, that’s an understatement, but I just can’t think of a better word to describe the atrocity).
However let’s take a moment to think about it properly;
If there was no sale, there would have been no rescue in the future…

After all the years that had gone by, Joseph must have come to the realisation of the fact that he was simply being used by God.
He would have seen and understood the purpose for the pain in the past, which had now enabled a greater glory of grace, for good, in the present.

Joseph was endowed with wisdom to understand that the perfect will of God had allowed him to endure the ugly act of his brothers so many years beforehand, in order to bring great blessing and survival to his family in the future; Genesis 45:6-11.

There isn’t a sense of bitterness or wickedness in Joseph at all.
He doesn’t finally see an opportunity to get his own back and punish his brothers, but rather, he sees and accepts that there was a reason for that past season.

Pray today for this spirit of true, pure forgiveness.
We want to be able to forgive in a way that makes us forget the pain, that makes us release all bitterness, and makes us to realise God’s plan through it all.

For some of us, the ‘brothers of Joseph’ in our lives are going to reappear one day, in need,
I’m asking, that just as Joseph cared more about God’s will, than the pain he endured;
We, when this time should come, (though very very very difficult) will do the same…
We will still help them, despite…..

May God give us wisdom, strength and growth, to know that it won’t be a time to ‘finally’ laugh or mock them, but in fact it will be a time to help them when they need it most!
And through this, they will truly see the power of the Love of God.

Father, we pray for the ability to forgive deeply and truly, and we pray for a heart that will always let Love win, completely,
in Jesus’ Mighty Name.
Amen.

*I encourage you to take the time to read Genesis 37 fully, and also read the chapters that follow (up to chapter 45 at least), in order to get a full picture of this aspect of the story of Joseph.*

Keep the Faith, Don’t Stop Believing
God Bless you.

March, Be Good to Me…

The 1st of March 2017.

Welcome to the third month of 2017 (ALREADY!!!).

Each time we reach a new month, we seem to look back at the distance we’ve travelled since the beginning of the year.

The first day of the month is always a good opportunity to stop, look back and evaluate what has happened in our lives, in the year so far.

Some of you may look back with joy and a sense of pride, because you’ve achieved both the expected and even unexpected.
Others may feel contrasting emotions; disappointment and hurt, because things haven’t gone according to how you would have liked.

To the people that fall into the latter category, can you guess what I’m going to say next?

Yep! I’m going to tell you,

It’s okay…

Now understand me, I don’t say this to make you falsely feel better about yourself, or feel like you can settle for less, or drop the standards you have created for yourself.
I don’t say this in order to validate any excuses you made in place of some of the achievements that you ought to have obtained, and neither do I say this to make you feel like it’s fine to not reach your goals and just drop them halfway, but I say this to remind you of the beautiful…

Grace and MERCY

…of the Most High God.

“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence,
so that we may receive mercy
and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

[Hebrews 4:16]

I need you to remember this verse when the world tells you it’s too late or you’ve gone too far – remember that you can always still approach the throne, and remember that He who sits on that throne, is rich in mercy…

But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.”
[Ephesians 2:4-5]

Now I know we all love Grace so much – the unmerited favour of the Most High God, but today I want us to explore MERCY a bit more – what is it and what does the bible say about it?

Mercy; (according to the Oxford dictionary)

  1. Compassion or forgiveness shown towards someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm
  2. An event to be grateful for, because it prevents something unpleasant or provides relief from suffering.

 

Now the bible, having read the the two verses above, encourages us to approach God and ask for mercy (compassion or forgiveness) when we are in need, and it gives us the confidence to do this, because we’re told He is rich, overflowing, saturated in mercy.

The bible also tells us that;

The Lord is merciful and loving,
    slow to become angry and full of constant love.
[Psalm 103:8]

So what does this mean for us?

Well firstly it doesn’t mean that we should go around intentionally messing things up, or not trying our best, in the hope that God will have compassion on our careless behaviour, because though He is slow to anger, He also is not a fool (Galatians 6:7) and will not be mocked.

Thankfully, what it does mean, is that a God who is ‘constant in love‘, is telling you that He won’t withdraw His compassion from you just because you make a mistake/wrong decision.
This means therefore that we shouldn’t think it’s over just because it didn’t work the first time.
It means we shouldn’t write ourselves off and beat ourselves up about things we may have done wrong, or failed to do.

It means, yes, we got things wrong/made mistakes/misjudged situations, but there are steps we can take to ensure growth and improvement from the circumstance –
1) Being remorseful where appropriate,
2) Learning the lesson in that season,
3) Praying for the Spirit of God to completely overtake our fleshly desires which cause us to fall (Galatians 5:13-26).

The Mercy of God is here for each and everyone of us, giving us the ability to start afresh and get it right with the wisdom of God and be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2).
The Mercy of God is what reduces what seems like a massive error to you, to absolutely nothing, because He trusts you to take this new chance, and do it with His will in mind, and therefore do it better.

 

I’m praying for a March of Mercy for us all…

Let us say these few lines of prayer together:

Wherever I have gone wrong, Father help me to put things right.

Whenever I have given up, Father help me to get back on track, and keep pushing.

Whatever good I have unknowingly let go of, Father allow me to meet with it again and grab hold of it and make proper use of it this time.

However I have fallen out of Your will, and/or done things that aren’t of Christ, Father empower me to get back up, put on Your armor and walk the walk I ought to walk with Christ Jesus.

March, be Good to me…
in Jesus’ Mighty Name,
Amen.

(Also have a read of Micah 7:18 and Psalm 51:1-2, and use them in a prayer for Mercy).

Keep the Faith, Don’t Stop Believing
God Bless you.

 

The Heart of Jesus

Let’s read the scriptures:

“”For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’” 
[Matthew 25:35-40]

Say this prayer with me;

‘Lord Jesus,
Enable me to truly Love like You, Help like You, Teach like You and Serve like You. 
Give me Your heart Lord Jesus; a heart for the people, a heart for my neighbours; for my brothers and sisters. 
Help me to show and feel a genuine and true love towards everyone I come across, and give me the courage to reach out, and spread Your love to those whom I don’t know personally. 
Help me Lord Jesus to see You in each individual, and show them mercy, kindness and warmth, at all times. 
In Your precious name I pray, 
Amen.’

Friends, we have a role.
We have an important part to play as the body of Christ on earth.
Not only do we have a duty to look after those nearest and dearest to us, but we must also reach out to those in our communities, in the world around us – near or far, and share a piece of Jesus with them.

It’s time for us to look for a way to make a difference in society, and let the world begin to experience the love of God through our selfless actions.
It isn’t for us to gloat or boast or be proud, but it is for us to truly make this world a better place, and do these things as though they were unto Jesus.

Join me today in creating a Compassion Plan (CP); (your own personal way of extending a hand of love to those who are less fortunate).
Here are the steps:

  1. Seek out someone to help – it could be an individual, a group of people, or an organisation (choose whoever you want, but make sure it’s a worthy cause and that you are able to share the Love of God actively)
  2. Identify how you can help them in a meaningful way
  3. Pray for God to enable you and show you what to do
  4. Decide and set up a way that you will help
  5. Tell someone else, for accountability
  6. Do it and Commit to it! And encourage friends and family to join you (or even create their own CP).

Remember that we aren’t limited to giving just money, but also prayer, time, and many other good things too.
I pray that God will enable us all to take up the roles that He has created for us from the beginning of time, and that we will fill in the gaps that exist, with our acts of love and service.
Let’s be excited to care for the world around us.

On this earth, let us be the hands and feet of Jesus.
(Listen to the song Your Heart by Casey J)

Keep the Faith, Don’t Stop Believing
God Bless you.