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Faith facts

Hi friends, it’s been one of those weeks! Suddenly so many things seem to be in turmoil and as a friend of mine said..the enemy is good at making even things that are blessings seem to be curses! When we face challenges, we may feel discouraged, we may feel overwhelmed but we must never ever let go of faith. Faith helps us meet life’s circumstances with certainty and affirmation that God has supreme control of the outcome..so let’s look at eight encouraging faith facts. I pray that this short study will encourage you as it has me.

1. Faith is the shield that protects us from the potentially damaging effects of the various onslaughts we face. Depression, anger, fear and anxiety come as a natural response to oppressive circumstances but we can flip the switch, pick up the shield of faith and push them back! Better yet, don’t ever put it down! Be always ready!2. Faithfulness is a fruit of the Spirit. You see it’s not about sheer willpower, if the Spirit of God lives in you Faith is already there ready for use! Oranges can’t come from apple trees. You’ve got faith!!!3. Faith must be nourished. How? By focusing on God’s word. If your soul is aching or burdened.. read and internalize faith-building scriptures each day. Doing this along with prayer, worship and fellowship..will be like medicine to remedy our aching souls. Ro 10:174. Workout your faith!! Exercise and build your faith muscles during hard times. Our actions should speak to the fact that we have faith. Don’t let apathy move in. Get up and work in Faith! No money for that big project yet? Start small with what you have. With prayer and faith, work your mustard seed and watch God grow it into a tree!5. Faith attracts God! While you’re dealing with a seemingly insurmountable task or challenge..work at it with all your heart towards God. God loves to see faith and He rewards it! 6. In the end you will shine!!! So work with endurance! Work through it knowing that whatever happens, God will bring you through as beautiful and refined like gold. Don’t let discouragement and depression win.  Job 23:107. Our faith is valuable! So much more than just temporal, so much more than just something to help us cope with circumstances this side of heaven. It is so valuable that it has eternal weight and glory! 

8. Faith leads us into to godly rest where even though we work, we do not strive to make things happen or to bring about the outcome we desire! When we believe, we can rest. Rest in the fact that God has this! He will provide, He will see that the outcome is for good. As the word says, let us make every effort to enter His rest! Faith leads us to rest! Heb 4I don’t know what you’re facing but God wants you to know that He sees and honors your faith. So be encouraged, surrender the outcome to God and raise up your shield of faith! Have a great weekend.

By Carol-angel Jackson

(Click photos for photo sources)

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In Christ alone!!!

  
Life is so beautiful! Yes, there are peaks and valleys, losses and gains and often many hard knocks. These experiences may try to lead us down a path of worry and fear..but when we wrap it all up in Christ, we can win over worry and have perfect peace. 
Here are four common road blocks that can cause us to stumble and how we can kick them to the curb through the power of Christ in us!

The waiting game –

You may be praying for healing for yourself, a loved one or a relationship. Financial breakthrough may be long in coming. A business idea or a dream you have may not yet be fulfilled..and it’s been yearrrrrs. Or maybe you don’t think you are making sufficient progress in your Christian walk. 

Sometimes it feels as if nothing is happening but take heart..Christ is always working and He always finishes what he starts. He is the Alpha and Omega, He’s at the beginning and sees things through to the end so we need not worry when things seem to be at a standstill. We can lay hold of peace knowing that Christ in us began a good work and He will be faithful to complete it!

Lack –

Don’t look at what you don’t have in the natural..set your spiritual eyes on all that you have in Christ!!! 

The Father loves the Son and has given all things into His hands John 3:35 

When we are in Christ we have all things because He has all things. We can have access to His all-sufficiency through prayer and relationship with Him. Let’s read His words daily and let them sink into our hearts..then ask according to His word and see great things happen!!!

John 15:7(NKJV) If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.

Relationship difficultiesProv 16:7 The Message (MSG) When God approves of your life, even your enemies will end up shaking your hand.

Don’t you just love this promise? When we dwell in Christ and seek to do His will daily, God will make even our enemies live at peace with us. Many of us can testify to this!! God is a peace-maker. He can either change that spouse or difficult boss or relative..or change us, giving us such love for them that they are converted by our love. Christ in us is the one who at the height of His pain said ..”Father forgive them.” As we do His will, He will bring peace to our relationships!! 

Fear of the unknown –

Regardless of what our past experiences have been…when we are in Christ we can settle in ourselves that everything that comes our way is filtered through Christ first. We are completely hidden in Him and covered in His love, wisdom and power. While we physically live in this world, we dwell in Christ’s world! He holds, keeps and shields us!

Colossians 3:1-4 (NKJV) If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 

So let’s do a little word maths here?  Being in Christ = perfect love = no fear = perfect peace! 

Whether or not you’re a huge maths brain, that equation is one we can all definitely grasp!!!  So if you’re stuck in a pit of fear and worry we want to invite you to pursue these truth with us daily.

Let’s pray together: Lord I ask you to dwell in me so that all that you are and all that you have is mine! I want to dwell in your perfect love which casts out all fear. I want to win over worry and have your perfect peace so that others may see you in me and be changed, glorifying our Father in heaven. In Jesus’ name..Amen!

Click to enjoy this beautiful worship song In Christ Alone
Have a great week everyone!

By Carol-angel Jackson & Adrian Reid.

Times Of Refreshing

  
Yay!!!! Spring is here! The cold bitter winter is over! The snow has melted and flowers are in bloom again. Let newness SPRING forth!!!

During spring, everything is rejeuvenated and refreshed as the earth tilts closer to the sun, causing warmer temperatures, longer days, frozen rivers to flow and new plants to grow. While we don’t have this season in the Caribbean, during this time of the year we also notice temperatures rising as we approach the warmer summer months.

So how is this blurb on spring connected to our devo today? Where are we heading with this?

Recently there was a headline which caught my attention. A well known worship minister’s confession of sin which ultimately led to a failed marriage..and there have been other similar occurences of sin in the lives of brothers and sisters near and far.

So I heard someone ask.. “If God has forgiven us for our sins and wiped the slate clean, why do we still have to deal with the negative consequences?” Yet, others may say..”that person got off way too easy!!”

There is always a consequence for sin. Though we forgive our children when they do wrong we still discipline them so that they would learn from it.

Hebrews 12:11 (NKJV) Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

King David had found himself in a similar season of sadness, grief and painful discipline of his own making. He had turned away from God and to his own sinful desires, taking the wife of Uriah, covering it up and then murdering him. 

Though God forgave David’s sin, it did not go unpunished as he experienced trouble in his household and the death of his son with Bathsheba.

However, what was David’s response? After God sent the prophet Nathan to reveal to David his wrong. David repented. He still pleaded with God to be merciful and spare his son, but ultimately he accepted his wrongdoing and God’s punishment, refusing to be angry and rebellious against God. David turned his heart to God in repentance and worshipped. Read his prayer of repentance in Psalm 51.

While this is a powerful lesson for us to avoid sin at all costs. It is also a lesson to us that in times when we do sin and have fallen, while we have to bear the consequences of our sin, we must turn fully towards God, repent (change our thinking) and throw ourselves on His mercy and grace. God is merciful and sometimes may even soften the punishment. Whatever the consequence, He is waiting with open arms to restore and completely redeem us, bringing us into a season of newness and freshness in Him. 

Psalm 30:5 (NKJV) For His anger is but for a moment, His favor is for life; Weeping may endure for a night, But joy comes in the morning.

Let us remember this in our lives and as we deal with fallen brothers or sisters. While they may still have to deal with the consequences of their actions, let us pray, encourage and guide them as we have opportunity towards God’s mercy, grace and restoration. 

Yes, God will punish sin but he still loves us and is unswervingly commited to our success, eternal salvation and destiny in Him and we must be the same. Let us not secretly snicker or despise them but let us pray for repentance, conversion and restoration.

Isn’t it wonderful that the same God who made winter also made spring? He will rejeuvenate and restore us again when we turn our hearts towards Him?

Let’s pray: Father, help us to quickly repent when your Holy Spirit reveals to us our sins. Help us not to harden our hearts but to turn towards you so that you would refresh and restore us in your presence. Help us Lord to pray continually for our brothers and sisters who are in struggles with sin and temptation or dealing with its consequences and guide them with the same mercy and love you continually show us. In Jesus’ name..Amen!

By Carol-angel Jackson

 

Rise up and work!

  
Eph 2:10 “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”

Mission Monday: 
Wow! Didn’t the weekend just fly?! As we enter a new week, let’s refresh and refocus our minds on what God’s mission and purpose is for us.

We all have different jobs and occupations. Some are in high powered corporate positions of responsibility, others may be students, housewives, janitors or in church ministry. Whatever it is and no matter how demanding it is, know that God has equipped you with all you need to fulfill that mission!

You may feel as if you are on track or you may feel as if you’ve been experiencing setbacks – workplace conflict, or unexpected projects or tasks; maybe you’re in the midst of a career or ministry change and it’s daunting; or perhaps dealing with a health challenge or an ailing spouse, parent or child. We all have difficulties and troubles that can slow us down and cause us to be too preoccupied with ourselves and the situation, causing us to lose focus on our deeper cause – to live out Christ’s purpose through the highs and lows of our lives.

Sometimes it may be as though certain things have died or are dying and it may be quite difficult to cope with changes in circumstances and relationships especially if they are sudden.  

Today for Mission Monday, I want to encourage you to rise up and work! Continue to do what God has called you to do even in the midst of seeming setbacks.

Remember Jesus..at 33 years old, at the height of His successful ministry He was crucified (killed)..at least that’s all it appeared to be. In reality however, so much more was taking place! God was performing His greatest work since creation..the redemption of the human race from the power of sin and death.  

Things may have to die..things in us, things or people we’ve relied on must go, circumstances and situations will have to change and sometimes God would call us..like Christ to live out this great plan of His..trusting Him alone. 

Sometimes it means that we have to review methods, certain attitudes, actions or strategies and make changes. Don’t resist God. It’s all about Him and for Him. He can see the end from the beginning. He knows what He’s doing. He’s saying to trust Him, make the changes where you can and don’t rely on your limited understanding of that situation. It is not all that it seems..God is working a greater work and you must view those circumstances and guard your heart in the light of His word.
Proverbs 3:5-6(NIV) Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

Jesus wasn’t just crucified..He was buried in a dark lonely abysmal tomb. Yet by the power of the Holy Spirit, He rose up in 3 days..not immediately..but in 3 days and was glorified and seated at the highest place..above every principality and power. 
John 16:33 (NIV) “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

A season may be 3 days, 3 months or 3 years. You may feel as if you’ve been hidden or buried in a dark place, grinding and sowing that seed for a while..as if things God spoke to you are not bearing fruit..but be patient. God will in time, in the time of His favor cause that hidden seed He’s planted to break forth from the ground and grow into a tree, with branches of healing for others (the nations) and evident fruit. 

Trust God! Trust God! Trust God and obey what He’s saying to you. 

Your greatest level of worship at this time or any time in your life, is your obedience to Him.
So as you go into this new week, be refreshed and refocused with new strength. Move forward with renewed faith! Draw from God (your greatest resource) all that you need to be godly (like Him) in your life and circumstances. 

You are not merely a “man” or a “woman”, in a position, you are a supernatural agent of God with access to His supernatural insight and power through the Holy Spirit. So go live out your God given purpose..do the works He has created for you to do in obedience and worship to Him.
Have a powerful, focused, God-filled week!

By Carol-angel Jackson

Jesus under pressure – Part 2

  
Happy Saturday Sisters!! 

Are you feeling like the walls are closing in on you? Maybe you have pressure on all sides or just one side in particular. Maybe you’ve been crying out to God for relief but He’s left you in the situation. Could it be that God has bigger and better things in mind, that He’s seeking to work out a greater purpose in you..to make you more like His Son?

If you’ve said “Amen!!” to all of this, then this week’s blog is just for you. What was Jesus like under pressure? Read on to find out!! But before you do, click here to review Part 1 of this wonderful, helpful teaching.

Jesus Under Pressure – Part 2

– Jesus did not defend himself in the flesh, but allowed God to be His vindicator. Luke 23: 9 – Then he (Herod) questioned him with many words but he answered him nothing. Christ did not allow his accusers to provoke him to respond in the flesh.

– He was not easily provoked because love (who is Christ) is not easily provoked. 1 Corinthians 13:5 Love does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil. Jesus operated in love.

– Christ’s trial presented 2 types of men 1. those who didn’t see anything wrong with Him and that He had done anything deserving of death (Pilate & Herod) and 2. the crowd who wanted to crucify him.

However, neither group affected Him. He didn’t care how he looked to men. He didn’t ride on the support received from Pilate and Herod, neither did He respond to the crowd’s aggression. His heart was so bent on pleasing the Father, that only the Father’s opinion mattered. Instead, He commited himself to God saying – (Luke 23:46) Into your hands I commit my Spirit – just before he breathed his last.

What lessons are there for us? 

– Stay on your cross!! Die to yourself!! Submit to the Father’s will for your life!!

– Be careful not to think that only telling off people is a sign that we are acting rudely or being provoked. Sharp answers or shutting off are just as wrong. Sometimes silence is what is needed and at other times silence becomes a weapon. We have to be honest and discern our own motives, asking God to show us.

– Our flesh desires to look good in front of men. So we often feel a need to prove our own innocence and clear our name; we feel that we need to defend ourselves. Sometimes we have to allow God to vindicate us. In these times He would ask us to trust Him and not seek to prove ourselves right but leave the matter to Him.

In the height of the pressure, Jesus had a prayer- “Father forgive them” – that was the Father’s objective – forgiveness..and Christ remained focus on that until the very end.

If like Christ, we commit to God, the focus is not on ourselves and how we feel emotionally or physically, the focus is on what God wants to achieve. 

When you are under pressure, ask God what he wants to achieve in you. When He reveals it to you, with His help, make Him and what He’s revealed to you the focus. It will help you to endure the pressure and hardship knowing that God is working out His greater purpose in you.

Praise Him for His goodness and faithfulness and know that all things are working out for good.

By Robertha Reid 

New Year; Same God

Heb13

Hebrew 13:8 (KJV) http://biblia.com/verseoftheday/image/Heb13.8

Yesterday was Thursday. Today is Friday. As it was last week  and the weeks prior. The great difference being that today, Friday, marks the start of a new calendar year.

And while January first brings with it no magical powers to transform all things, it does bring with it something very important: HOPE.

Hope that things will change, will get better, can be re-built.  That the start of something new means that we can move past and forget the old.

We know a God that exists outside of time and in eternity.  Who, year in and year out, is faithful, dependable, unmovable, consistent; His word, nature and character do not change and it is in Him that we place our hope.

This is why:

  • Psa 16:9  Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices;
    My flesh also will rest in hope
  •  Psa 31:24  Be of good courage,
    And He shall strengthen your heart,
    All you who hope in the Lord
  • Psa 39:7  And now, Lord, what do I wait for? My hope is in You.
  • Psa 42:11  Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me? Hope  in God; For I shall yet praise Him, The help of my countenance and my God.

Similar verses litter the bible; all pointing to the same fact. That there is only one focus for that which we hope: The Almighty God.

Let 2016 bring us to a sense of renewed hope where ours may have waned because of trials faced in the past and prayers unanswered; may we look forward knowing that each day means fulfillment of purpose in Him and that is what keeps us pressing onward; may we know that He is a keeper of promises and that His timing is never wrong; may we encourage and exhort each other in the Lord and with His because that is the only accurate measure; may we stand for Him as He stands for us to walk in and be obedient to His call.

Be strong in the Lord ladies.

Remember our lives are HIs.

by Marisse Cropper

 

 

 

 

 

 

Think on these things

  Photo credit: empowermentmomentsblog.com

Philippians 4:8 (NKJV)

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

In a recent conversation, I remarked on how there seems to be so much negativity. Call in programs, news reports, coworkers attitudes, complainers, backbiters and the list goes on! It can be hard to focus on the positive even though there is soooo much positive. God’s goodness, protection and provision are all around us..yet it seems as if negative things somehow get more attention and become magnified in our minds (and in the news as well). I think it’s because as humans we so desire the positive that when bad or challenging circumstances come they surprise us, sometimes floor us and seem to be bigger than everything else..but the bible says that the righteous will have no fear of bad news.

Ps 112:7 He will not be afraid of evil tidings; His heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord.

The bible also gives us the remedy for maintaining a positive outlook on life even though we may be hard pressed, cast down and in the midst of a severe challenge..it’s in our thoughts! After all, it is widely known and accepted that our thoughts and perspectives determine our attitudes and actions – whether godly or ungodly, positive or negative, fearful or full of faith! We must fight the good fight of faith and resist negative thoughts or they will bring us down and weaken our faith.

A friend of mine recently completed a 5K and a major part of being able to accomplish it was in overcoming the mental challenge – the thoughts of quitting when it became physically hard and the doubts and fears about being able to complete it. 

So too with life..Let’s activate faith today by meditating on the great and precious promises of God. Open His word daily and establish a daily life of prayer and worship. Faith comes from hearing His Good News (Ro 10:17) and believing what He says about His plans for this world and our lives. It’s not living in a bubble or being unrealistic..it is choosing to adopt a life of constancy, internal peace and victory regardless of what may be going on.

Prayer: Lord, help me to align my thoughts with your word. Fill my heart and my mind with the Good News of your word and in the midst of the darkness, let the light of your glorious Gospel of peace shine!

Have a great week!

By Carol -angel Jackson