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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

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Through thick and thin!

  

 

I was recently having a conversation with my 11-year old about the importance of being selective with friendships..”It’s good to be personable and friendly..but be careful with who you walk with in life because not everyone is to be your friend.. many people have been led astray through the friendships they kept”, I cautioned him.

Through the years I must say, I have been blessed with true and enduring friendships near and far. I am thankful for these peeps..they keep me joyful, motivated, informed and encouraged and when we are together, we have such good times..laughs, great food and interesting and lively conversations. 

So yes..friendships are very important and we should choose to move with those who are looking to go in the same direction we are! 

Nevertheless, there is a true and faithful friend with whom none can compare and His name is Jesus. 

I want to encourage you to develop that close relationship with Him so that through the good times and bad, through thick and thin, when no one else may be able to see, understand or feel where you’re at..you can know for certain that He’s the one who knows exactly what you need. 

You cannot expect people to always “get you” because they may not truly know you..or you them..but God says: “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you and set you apart..” Jer 1:5..and this is to every one of us He created. What an amazing Father, Creator, Savior and friend! He didn’t just make us and leave us here..He constantly seeks relationship and intimacy with us. With him..there’s no need to try to “fit in” or make compromises in order to feel accepted or to “be popular”.  

So..we shouldn’t walk alone. Life is sooooo much better when you have others with you. Seek to cultivate enduring and mutually uplifting relationships but also be content to live a solitary life at times..because you are never alone if you have Christ. 

Don’t neglect this one, true, enduring friend while trying to build other friendships. Don’t spend so much time with social media and on the phone, at the expense of knowing the One (and only one) who laid down His own life for you. 

He says: “I have loved you with an everlasting love..” Jer 31:3

Get to know and trust Him more deeply than any other and your life and soul will be blessed and richer for it..both now and for eternity!

Bless you! Have a great weekend.

By Carol-angel Jackson

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

Lead me to the Rock

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Ps 61:2 From the end of the earth will I cry unto Thee when my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

This week was tough, in fact it’s been a rough season. Sometimes it seems as if there is no end to bad news and you have to be determined to find the good. Then there are those days where everything collides, the physical, mental and emotional and it almost seems too much to bear.

My heart goes out to all the families and the whole nation of St. Vincent, rocked by the terrible bus tragedy this past week, in which 7 children died. My heart aches for a longtime school friend whose family was also struck by tragedy around the same time in St. Lucia..very few things compare in magnitude to losing loved ones and as a parent of two children who are my heart, I couldn’t imagine what it would feel like to lose both of my boys at the same time..as has happened to parents in both of these situations.

Jesus said in John 16:33 (NKJV) – These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

I love this verse because of the truth it expounds…a truth that sets us free. Having tribulation doesn’t in any way negate the truth that we can have peace and that we can be of good cheer..because Jesus HAS overcome!!! They are all in the same promise. So the same way we can expect that there will be tribulation, we can expect peace and cheerfulness.

These do not come easily. The human nature is prone to worry, despair and our hearts can faint under the weight of tribulation, loss, sad news, dissapointments and world crises. We MUST go to the ROCK that is higher. His perspective is elevated, His ways are higher, He is over this world and has overcome it!!

As Matthew Henry’s Commentary states..”To the rock on the top of which I shall be set further out of the reach of my troubles, and nearer the serene and quiet region, than I can be by any power or wisdom of my own.” God’s power and promise are a rock that is higher than we. This rock is Christ; those are safe that are in him. We cannot get upon this rock unless God by his power lead us. I will put thee in the cleft of the rock, Exod. 33:22. We should therefore by faith and prayer put ourselves under the divine management, that we may be taken under the divine protection.”

When we run to Him and embrace His life, His perspective, His strength and comfort..our hearts are truly lifted.

I pray today for those families, I pray for my own family and I pray for yours that in these difficult times, we will have true peace and joy that comes from knowing Christ and meditating on the truth of His word. As we meditate..may it change our minds, our hearts and our language.

As my good friend said to me today..we must speak life into situations…though they may be bad..it is not the end, it’s NEVER hopeless.

Be encouraged my sisters!!
Listen to “Still” by Hillsong

By Carol-angel Jackson

To The Ends of the Earth

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But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Acts 1:8

This week, we feature the work of Operation Mobilisation (OM), to give a glimpse into the work that God is doing, through His people, across the globe. People who to us may be nameless and faceless but have devoted their lives to being where God wants them to be and to reaching others.

Operation Mobilisation works in over 110 countries, motivating and equipping people to share God’s love with people all over the world. OM seeks to help plant and strengthen churches, especially in areas of the world where Christ is least known.

The following is an article that brings to light the things that we do not hear in the news  but is just as real, probably even more so, as people’s lives are transformed through the power of Jesus Christ.

 


 http://news.om.org/top-stories/121-families-come-to-faith-in-saudi-arabia

Greg Kernaghan, a writer for OM International, travelled through the Middle East in November 2013. He observed and listened to the hearts of Christian workers who have invested decades in understanding and loving their Arab neighbours. Greg writes this collection of stories from the perspective of the OM workers in the Middle East, in their own words, fastidiously avoiding using real names and places so that the story itself may be told widely.

We’re hearing of women and whole families coming to Christ, which is significant. Normally we would know of individual men but, as the culture places such importance on the family unit, this is a major step forward.

One girl is writing hymns and posting them on the Internet. That was where she learnt of Christ and has “met” workers, although she has yet to meet other Christians face to face. Two of her sisters also believe in Christ. A Bahraini across the country is gifted in playing local Arabic instruments. He puts her hymns to music and posts them on YouTube……

Please click on the above link to read the rest of this article.


 

Have a blessed and wonderful weekend, continuing to walk in Him knowing that He is our strength, our peace and our joy.

Love you, my sisters.

 

At All Times and Without Ceasing

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(picture by Billy Frank Alexander)

Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

1 Thess 5: 16-18

These verses come in the midst of others that were given as instructions to the church at Thessalonica.

Somehow, these were the ones that stood out to me at the time. As if it was a first time discovery.

Rejoice. Pray. Give thanks. Three simple words/phrases. Three simple commands.

Using definitions from Strong’s Lexicon ( www.blueletterbible.org), the verses now look like this:

Rejoice and be glad at all times. Always. Offer prayers without intermission. In every condition and in every matter, be grateful, feel thankful and give thanks. For this is what God wishes to be done by us because we are in Christ Jesus.

How do our lives’ situations change when we look at them through these verses? Too quick to complain or see the glass half empty? How does it work to have our hearts and minds constantly in communication with the Father? To have rejoicing be our default setting?

I pray that we can learn the wonder of rejoicing no matter the circumstance. That we can have joy for mourning. That even if it means seeking out something to rejoice over, we find it. I pray that we see that thankfulness can apply to the little things as well as the big things and that in following through with these things, our hearts become lighter and our view, clearer.

Have a restful and enjoyable weekend.

 

by Marisse Cropper