MyDevotions.today Growing up in God
Psalm 1:1-3, is a beautiful message of meditating on God’s law night and day. To be like a tree planted beside rivers of living waters that brings forth fruit in due season and whose leaf shall not wither and whatever we do we shall prosper. We are warned, “...walk not in the counsel of the ungodly nor stand in the path of sinners nor sit in the seat of the scornful.” We are blessed if we do not do the latter but obey God and heed His counsel. How wonderful, to be like a tree rooted ﬁrmly in the Word of God, taking comfort in knowing that when thirsty we can drink up from the river of His Holy Spirit? The stronger we grow in God by having a deep relationship with Him, we shall not wither. Trees, plants, shrubs and ﬂowers are all dependant on the Creator’s provision to sustain their life. So are we as ‘plantings of the lord.’ How do we meditate on God’s Word? Seek out a quiet place. Ask the Holy Spirit to come along side you and teach you what is
being said to you. We are promised a blessing from God when we delight in His Word. It is His favour upon our lives. To prosper is to have faith in God and trust Him and His counsel and not that of the world. Yes, life will have its challenges but the more we learn of God and His wonderful promises the more we will trust Him. Growing stronger and upright. Jesus came to show us the Way and we have the Holy Spirit to teach us. So rest in the One who so wants you to grow and blossom in the knowledge of how much He loves you. Prayer: Father help me to set aside a time to have with You and meditate on Your Word, amen. Wisdom: A time set aside to listen to the Father is never a time wasted. Devotion For April 1, 2018 by Lynda K. Smith
Contents EDITORIAL 4
“I was introduced to gay porn at the age of 4 and I watched while being molested.”
Bloom Where You are Planted Authentic Christianity in the market place/office or boardroom Flowers are like children How do we raise confident children?
Confidence to Wait 10 How to wait while finding your soul mate. Confidence in Christ We must be confident in His Words not in our strength.
Dying Leaves 13 We are far more attractive when we have died to ourselves. World In View 14 Global headlines... critical issues. Conflicts on the Horizon Layered Security 16 Whether our position is sure or shaky depends on us. Consider the Dandelion 18 Consider a radical change in your perception of a so called ‘weed’.
REFLECTIONS When Flowers Fall Their labour was not in vain.
Faithful In Our TIME Saluting Modern Martyrs.
Think Film: Black Panther 26 Film Review of “The Black Panther” Consider Content, Context & Colour The Story Teller Meet Miss Overconfident
No Rain No Flowers 30 A traumatic childhood can be the springboard for insecurity.
Poem: A Very Stout Tree By Angela Slack
#youthSHARE Fashion Trends
WORLD IN VIEW
In Praise Of Hymn 32 Reviewing Great Christian Hymns: – Little Flowers Never Worry
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Confident you... come through!
Insecure people are some of the world’s most dangerous, you can’t begin to imagine what atrocities, indiscretions, unkindnesses, conspiracies, mayhem have all come from one person’s or another’s, insecurity in this world. You only have to read the palace history of past dynasties, the court intrigues of officials and the intimate memoirs of the imperial inner-courts or harems and peek behind the closed doors of great world leaders, to realise that this is a real thing. Do we need a more powerful example than the conspiracy to crucify Jesus Christ? Caiaphas the high priest was sorely insecure, that Jesus’ influence was growing too much over the people.
The Plot To Kill Jesus “...If we don’t stop him now, everyone will put their faith in him. Then the Romans will come and destroy our temple and our nation... From that day on, the council started making plans to put Jesus to death.” John 11:45-53 (CEV)
It’s not you it’s them I experienced this phenomenon. Yes, I’ve had to handle many a situation where I walk into a room and the alarm bells of the spiritually, emotionally and physically insecure go off, breaking the sonic scale. You see it happening and you tell yourself, “no, surely I’ve done nothing to these people why are they behaving so unkind?” The subtle snubs, double entendres, deliberately probing and embarrassing questions and back handed compliments, make you remarkably aware that it is not you, it is them. You make them uncomfortable! They just don’t know how to handle you.
conscience they are trying to ignore, we bring the light that illuminates their dark deeds and we don’t do anything except show up and shine out and they all reel in reaction to the revelation of the light of Christ in us.
Be true to yourself For this reason I’ve dedicated this issue to look at confidence. As humans we want acceptance; we are designed to be social beings, living in community not isolation. So, being socially ostracised is not easily accepted but do we sell ourselves out to gain acceptance? No! I’ve made that mistake in the past and I’ve concluded that there is truth and wisdom in the old saying, “TO THINE OWN SELF BE TRUE.” I’ve long concluded that the best thing parents can give a child is confidence in themselves and a core set of Biblically sound values to guide them through life. For Christian parents that core is the person and ideals of Christ manifested in everyday life. That’s right, Christ must be accessible, relatable and demonstrated in the routines of everyday life around the home and then you will have a child who will confidently face the world knowing Jesus and knowing His love, peace, joy, courage and power. If they know whose they are - CHRIST’S WORKMANSHIPthey will be confident. They will value their lives knowing that they have an intrinsic value in the world because they are not ever alone; they bear not just the mark of Christ but His very person.
As we prepared for this issue the alluring beauty of flowers battling frost and rain to blossom and bloom fully in Spring was our inspiration and there are really poignant lessons to be learnt from them. I pray that you find your inner beauty and confidently Authentic Christians have this effect blossom as faithfully as flowers in your due everywhere we go; the world just cannot season… AGAINST ALL ODDS! p deal with us. We are the mirror that shows Editor and Co-founder them their true selves, we are the voice of 4
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Volume 6 - Issue 2
SHARE MAGAZINE is a FREE Christian quarterly that deals with challenging Christian topics that have been mostly ignored or left unanswered. The magazine includes written articles, poems and thoughts etc. Read our online version at www. TheShareMagazine.com where you can go to our blog to discuss articles or order a printed version. If you would like to submit articles, join our writers group, or to get involved in any other way kindly email us. SHARE MAGAZINE is produced by Select Arrow, the publishing arm of United In Christ charity number 1140448.
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You have questions we’ve got answers
What is the doctrine of predestination and eternal security?
The Seed and the Root… Examining Spiritual and Temporal Salvation
College students and campers have professed faith in Christ because they had been emotionally stirred by a dynamic speaker and for a time seemed to be saved. Sometime later they confessed that they no longer believed in this “Jesus thing.” Some had been convinced by intellectuals that religion is a hoax. Others hurt by professing believers have therefore rejected the faith they once claimed.
therefore does not last.
from or escapes certain worldly pollutions; 2 Cor 7:14 Because of the presence of his wife he may refrain from certain profane language, or behavior but deep within he has not been transformed. The pig that is washed is not really changed from within, as to its nature, so that it returns to the mud; 2 Pet 2:22.
Repentance that comes from above is a definite gift that comes directly from God, Lamentations 5:21; Psalms 80:3; 2 Tim 2:25. God hears the genuine cry of a sinner and delivers him, Rom 10:13. This repentance does not emerge from the intellect, feelings or will, is not soulish but spiritual. God does something Many people walk with religious supernatural with the believer’s people and their outward habits change for a time, but they never Where can we find answers to these ‘spirit’ (which is subconscious). experience genuine transformation troubling situations? Jesus declared In the parable of the sower, seeds in their spirits, which only comes to His Father, “Your Word is truth!” that produce fruit (some, thirty, from God. John declared that any John 17:17 some sixty, some an hundred) do man born of God cannot practice sin Every perfect gift comes from God not lay on the surface, but take deep because God’s divine sperm (Greek. above, Who is perfect, James 1:17. root (Luke 8:11-15; Mark 4:3-8). spermata) remains in him; 1 John 3:9. Wisdom from above has its source Repentance from God leads to faith, The seed and the root determine the therefore in God but wisdom from which itself is a gift from God, Acts fruit, Matt 7:17; Prov 12:3,12. Trees beneath is earthly and its source is the 20:21; Heb 6:2; 2 Peter 1:1, which planted by the devil are rooted up; devil, Jam 3:15-17. Without a doubt endures every testing and pressure those planted by the Lord are called spiritual things last; temporal things and remains firm. Thus saving the trees of righteousness and produce fade away with time, 2 Cor 4:18. As a soul, Heb 10:39; 2 Tim 2:18. But fruit, Matt 15:13; Isa 61:3. result, those who are spiritual always repentance that comes from man’s NOTES compare spiritual things from above intellect, emotions or will collapses I believe, therefore, in neither with spiritual things from earth and under pressure, is temporary and Calvinism or Arminianism, but that make wise choices to glorify God, 1 cannot be sustained, John 1:13; Luke the truth lies somewhere in between Cor 2:13. 8:13. those doctrinal extremes. Calvinism The Bible clearly reveals two types True repentance and faith deliver teaches that God predestined some of repentance: one from above, the individual. A genuine experience to eternal salvation and some to which results in a change of mind in the spiritual realm will lead to eternal damnation. Arminianism (Greek. metanoen) and another from spiritual and eternal deliverance, teaches that the will of an individual beneath, an emotional experience, because the Word is well-rooted. determines their eternal destiny. like the remorse that Judas What Jesus genuinely begins, He By faith plus human effort and experienced (Greek. metamelian) 2 finishes; Heb 5:9; Phil 1:6. But others willpower an individual accepts Cor 7:10; Matt 27:3. experience the Word in the soulish Christ as Saviour, but by his own A true believer in Jesus Christ realm, receive it gladly, having no strength he must keep himself in the therefore has a genuine change deep root; Luke 8:13. Many follow hands of God. Salvation therefore of mind towards God, sin and self. Christ in the sensory realm, but rests upon the individual’s strength to overcome temptation. The counterfeit experience of never know Him in the Spirit. repentance appears the same, but The Word, like salt, in a Christian wife Under both extremes, very weird the Word has not really transformed sanctifies and preserves an unsaved things often occur. In a Calvinist the inner man; his contact with a husband. He is temporarily protected congregation Christ is superficial and his change Continued on pg 32 April - June 2018
“...and behold, a voice from heaven said, ’This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.’” Matthew 3:17 (ESV)
We knew who Jesus was from the onset of the New Testament. Luke 1:35 says, “The angel answered her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come to you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. Therefore, the holy child developing inside you will be called the Son of God.’”
Despite this confirmation, at Jesus’ baptism His Father sought again to establish His identity as Son of God. In Matthew 16:13-20 (NIV), we see Jesus asking His disciples a redundant question as if seeking confirmation about His identity, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” “But what about you?” He asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter
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leper cleansed, the deaf heard, the dead raised and the good news was proclaimed to the poor.
Where You are Planted answered, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.”
Jesus did not waver when His own cousin questioned His identity… “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else?” Matt 11:3. Jesus continued to bloom where He was planted, the blind receive sight, the lame walked, the
So where does our identity come from? Is it from our parents, our friends, society or God? These questions may be answered differently based on where you are in life, your beliefs or your culture. As a believer, I would address the above by defining identity. It is important to know what a thing is but it is also good to know what it is NOT. Identity is not individuality, your identity is a part of your DNA, it is also your personal and social attributes, beliefs, desires, or principles of action which distinguishes you from another. Most people in search of their identity may ask “Who am I?” Much like what Jesus asked the disciples, however, Jesus knew who He was, this was a testing of the disciples. If you have ever asked
that question, you are not the only one. Moses and David asked God the same question. God’s response to Moses was, “you are my representative – I will be with you.” Exodus 3: 11-14 Moses’ identity was God’s mouth, hand and feet. When David asked the same question in 2 Samuel 7:18, he encouraged himself with his own revelation, “For you know your servant, Sovereign Lord”. I say that to say, who we are, is a question that inherently goes to the heart of who our God is. Are you a child of God? Then your identity is in Him, you are the child of God, The Bride of Christ. Are you a child of the devil? Well…you may want to read, John 8:44. Knowing our identity is one thing but we must then accept the responsibilities that come with who we are. When we don’t know who we are, we accept discriminatory behaviors from others, we sabotage ourselves and we become double-minded, tossed to and fro. When we know our identities, it is easy to bloom where we are planted because our results are not indicative of where we are but who we are. A few years ago, I was the kid in an orphanage, I lived at Maxfield Park Children’s home and later at the Mustard Seed Home in Jamaica. Some years later I was the girl with a baby and no hope. Then I became the woman scorned with ‘no purpose’. Later, I made the decision to use hindsight to understand foresight. I was able to put all my life experiences into perspective and used them to grow stronger. When you begin to identify who you are, you become aware of the will of God for your life! There is no operating in purpose or God’s will without first knowing who He is and who you are in Him (abiding).
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the
gardener. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.” John 15:1, 4-8 (NIV) Christians should be easily identified by their fruit and how they deal with others, especially those who are not in the ‘Church’. Your vertical love for God should show up in your relationship with people. That said, can we remain authentic and faithful in our mission field and still be successful in our jobs? Yes we can! God is the spirit of truth and if we are His children we must be the bearers of truth. If we are then we must be authentic. Following Christ is a perpetual decision to turn from ourselves, towards Him. We create setbacks for ourselves when we want to accomplish our will instead of God’s. If we are to present our bodies as living sacrifices, we must pay attention to what the Son of God commands us to do. Jesus said, He does nothing unless He first sees His Father doing it. We should follow Jesus’ example. The will of God is good, acceptable and perfect, thus, when we know our identity we know His will and can confidently grow where we are planted charting a course of righteousness. It doesn’t matter where we are, be it corporate, the marketplace, or otherwise. A perfect example of standing wherever you are was Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego as Jews held captive in an idol worshipping culture, they stayed
true to their identity. Their promotion and popularity did not change them. Authenticity gives us the opportunity to condition the culture and marketplace around us to the original intent of God. It is important to note that being effective in the boardroom or marketplace is not about ‘having church’ or preaching to everyone we do business with, quite frankly many people are sick of ‘church’, they are tired of hearing us speak, they are looking for fruit. So, the best way to make your job the mission field is to remain humble, to do right even when it’s unpopular, to love, to have compassion for the needy, to stand up for justice and truth, to be the light that lights the way for those in the dark. Remember, authenticity does not make us successful, but success volumizes our authenticity or lack thereof. Success reveals who we are. In the end any believer who is in the boardroom or the marketplace should know that their success is not merely financial or temporal. The believer’s success is eternal. 1 Corinthians 3:13-15, tells us that “...each man’s work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man’s work. If any man’s work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward. If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire”. If you are not representing Christ wherever you are planted, your result will not last in eternity and that should be the bottom line. p Joan Wright-Good Minister, Award-winning CEO, Author, International Speaker
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Are We Raising Confident Children?
I love flowers; I love children and I am always surrounded by both. It is the flowers that usually attract us to the plants. They beautify and enliven any space even if it is a lone flower. Like flowers, children brighten and enliven homes, churches, schools, parties, the grocery stores and just about any place they happen to be. Many parents get noticed because of their children. Oh yes! Has that ever happened to you?
For flowers to maintain their beauty and radiance, they must be intentionally cared for. I am thinking of flowers cut to furnish a vase, to be used as a centerpiece. One would need to provide a container with water in which to place the flower. This water is not everlasting. It will require attention; it will need to be changed at intervals to prevent it from becoming the breeding site for mosquitoes and other creatures that will enjoy such a habitat. It is also wise to remove wilted, dead petals and leaves to prevent the flowers’ radiance and attractiveness from diminishing. Similarly, we therefore will need to pay keen attention to the environment in which children are placed and carefully monitor the culture which can become polluted like the water, in the vase, 8
if not checked at intervals. From time to time, there will be signs of wilting and even deadness as it relates to activities, likes and dislikes which can change like the weather.
Raising Confident Children? Like flowers, children have names, specific paths and special identifiable features. Confidence, a pivotal character building material, can be inculcated in children when efforts are made to relentlessly help them know who they are. Identity is the life sustaining tenet that will fuel the sparks of confidence that are achieved step by step. Selfdiscovery turns out to be a very complicated quest and should not be left to time. Deliberate efforts are required to help children know who they are. An understanding of who they are will pave the way for what they will become in terms of passion, career path and their involvement in activities. When parents spend the time to discover who the children are that they are raising, they will be empowered to pour the water in to allow the children’s ‘stems’ to absorb the same and give radiance to their blooms. Yes, knowledge breeds confidence. Knowledge of who you are will empower you to act, think and develop your authenticity.
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Flowers are like children
Defined By Name Identity and definition for some is easily discovered as the code lies in the names. For others, it is more complicated. What are the meanings of the names you have given to your children? Do you have a Word from the Lord? Have you taken time to ask God for guidance? Children are His heritage.
Defined by Nature Children who are fortunate to be planted in naturally supportive environment tend to be more confident. Therefore, confidence in children can be developed when the support systems into which they are exposed regard them, appreciate their person and cater to their individuality. That is, conscious efforts are required to plan for, guide, educate, provide stimulation and opportunities for children to evolve regardless of how different they are from you or anyone else. Genuine support and celebration of who they are will cement confidence in children.
Let them beâ€Ś Children, like flowers, are built to bloom. They will bloom! Depending on the environment, some will bloom sooner than later, however, they all will bloom. When children are in their bloom, many may not be able to handle the fragrance; the attention and even the beauty. Adults, caregivers and policy-makers can be limited and find it challenging to dedicate the time to research, to pray, the time to listen and the energy necessary to support the bloom.
Learn the Art of Coaching Superstars and influential people receive coaching which propels them to higher dimensions. Coaching helps to improve performance, skills, gifts, character, ideas, creativity and just
about anything you can imagine. Since coaching is relational, it has the potential to stimulate the development of confidence as other traits are learnt. Coaches are there regardless of the outcome or result. More effort is placed on the process than the result. This knowledge removes or causes the dwindling of trepidation and gives rise to confidence in children.
Become An Conversations
Children have a lot to say. Becoming an expert at conversations will require that you make every effort to educate yourself in the areas that are of interest to them. Equip yourself as well to deal with their challenges. This way you can connect when you converse and they will know that you are interested in what they are passionate about. Passion improves confidence. I have heard it said that if you talk to plants they will flourish. The same is true about children. Talk deeply with them. Make it an agenda item daily and see how they flourish. So much goes on daily that if it was up to us we would scarcely breathe. It may seem overwhelming and you wonder if you could take up the task of raising confident children. It is possible. You might not need to do more than you are already doing. Probably, you need to be intentional about what you are doing. It could also mean that just small tweaks are needed to achieve the desired result. Please, let us do this. Confident children are needed worldwide. p By Natasha Francis Campbell Educator, Psalmist, Author, Life Coach, Literacy Expert, Wife, Mother and Servant
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For Your Husband
“Good morning my sister in the Lord, how are you today?” One woman asks another who responds, “I am blessed and highly favoured and waiting for my husband.” Interesting answer right? Waiting involves being patient and according to the Oxford Online Dictionary, patience is the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, problem or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious. It also denotes being able to stay where one is or to delay action until a particular time. The other meaning to waiting comes from the word waiter, or server. Isaiah 40 says, “They that wait upon the Lord, shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings as eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” 10
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So, how is waiting going to renew one’s strength? Note, the Scripture says, they shall run and they shall walk which implies preparation while we wait.
First, Do A Self Check
Ladies, I want to suggest that you emulate Queen Esther in preparation for your expected husband. Please take the time to know yourselves, to purge and to perfume your spirits while you wait for your King Ahasuerus to identify you. Be introspective, ask yourself: • • • • •
Who really am I? What do I like/dislike? What is my personality type? Would I like me, if I met me? What are my expectations of a husband?
Are you a pessimist and a complainer, failing to see good in anything, expecting that your husband will make you happy? Proverbs 17:22 NKJV, speaks, “A merry heart does good, like medicine but a broken spirit dries the bones.” This kind of spirit wearies out a spouse and can cause sickness both physically and spiritually to yourself and others around you. However, the individual who is of a ‘merry countenance’, attracts others to them and can transform the atmosphere. Men like to be around people who make them feel good about themselves, so if you are not able to lift your own spirit then chances are you will not be able to lift his either.
Second, Shed Your Baggage
and children.” So Ruth submitted herself unto Naomi’s mentorship and the Lord favoured her. Ruth’s motive was not solely to gain a husband because she was busy being trained by Naomi and was busy learning how to make a living. Ruth was found by Boaz, while she was gleaning in his field. Naomi wisely placed Ruth in that special spot where she knew Boaz would show up.
Third, Check Your Motives
So many females have stopped evangelizing or never have. We are saved to serve God’s purposes on earth and so evangelism is one of the vehicles to bringing souls into the Kingdom. The Scripture says in Proverbs 11:30 KJV “...he that winneth souls is wise.” One young lady who was fervently seeking the Lord concerning her husband, was stopped one night by a young man, who always saw her pass him going to and coming from church every night. He mentioned that she had never stopped to invite him to church or tell him about the Jesus that she knew. Jesus stated in Luke 19:12-13 KJV pertaining to the Kingdom of heaven “Occupy till I come.” The Scriptures says in Matthew 9:37 KJV, “... the fields are white for harvest but the labourers are few.” Some people do not want to plant even a grain of corn but want to reap a harvest. How many of us females are guilty of this? No one gets rewarded who does not work in God’s Kingdom.
Very often our negative disposition and traits are baggage from our past and when unearthed, they damage our relationships. Issues such as, self-esteem, unresolved hurt from past relationships and family. Matthew 5:23, addresses unforgiveness as a major inhibitor to God’s blessings, so make peace immediately. I know women who have remained single into their 40s and beyond, who have issues with sharing. They are unwilling to share their bed, their time and decision making. What then is the purpose of asking for a mate? The Scripture tells us “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.” James 4:3 KJV. Many females panic that their biological clock is running out of time and so they either decide to leave the church, find a man just to have a child and then return to church. Whilst others marry someone in church, so that they are not considered to have sinned, just to have sex and a baby. When the baby is born, the husband is then obsolete. She wants nothing more to do with the child’s father because she is financially secure enough to support the situation single-handedly. Note, God loves His sons too! Be careful, God does not approve of deception and manipulation, these motives usually have severe consequences. Be resolute in keeping yourself chaste and honourable before God during your period of waiting.
Fourth, Serve the Kingdom faithfully
While Ruth was expecting a husband, she served Naomi and her community as unto the Lord. Naomi groomed and advised her on how to wait for her husband. The Scripture tells us in Titus 2: 4-5 NLV “Older women are to teach the young women to love their husbands
Fifth, Choose Faith Ditch Doubt
Ladies, tell God exactly what you desire in a husband. As God, He knows you better than you know yourself. I am sure that your expected husband is also praying for a wife, which is his match. However, sometimes we are unsure of what we desire and the Scripture says in James 1:8 KJV, “A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways and cannot expect to receive anything from the Lord.” Have you been changing your mind before God as to whether you
want a husband or not? Sometimes you hear of situations that sound unbearable for married friends or relatives and at that point you then go back on your prayers and tell God that you are okay without a husband and you are fine with singleness. Remember, every marriage has challenges at times and so you need to be resolute that, in your quest for your husband, there are no issues that God cannot fix. If you are sure of what you expect from the Lord and are not wavering, then continue to trust the Lord and declare His word in Numbers 14:28 KJV which says, “As truly as I live, saith the LORD, as ye have spoken in mine ears, so will I do to you.” Also Mark 11:24 KJV, “Therefore I say unto you, whatsoever things you desire, when you pray, believe you have received it, and you shall have it.” Philippians 4:6-7 NIV, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Finally, Live The Proverbs 31 Standard
In Summary, find your ministry and become occupied with God’s business. Seek avenues to evangelize, join women’s groups where there are older women who can instruct you on how to keep your homes and how to treat your future husbands and children. Seek also to develop that chaste and gentle spirit which Proverbs 31 speaks about. Pray in Faith believing God, with thanksgiving. Then surely if you align yourself with God’s purpose for your life, the Boaz that you so earnestly seek, will finally find you while you are gleaning in his field, engaged in the work of the Lord. p By Michelle Goulbourne Business Administrator, Educator, Counsellor, Motivational Speaker and Worship Leader.
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t s i r
h C in
As the modern century continues to unfold, we see more and more persons living on this planet who are overwhelmed and depressed. They have lost all confidence in governments, the family structure and even religion. It seems like we have entered into that era described by the author Charles Dickens, in “A Tale of Two Cities”. “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”, everywhere men and women are looking for the answers to life’s questions. The Church, sadly has found herself in a similar state. Many believers today have lost confidence in the Church, its institutions, its systems and ceremonies… to this I say, IT’S ABOUT TIME!! I believe that as a Church we are currently reaping the fruit of the seeds we have sown. Decades of preaching a self-help psychology based gospel has caused more disillusionment and has driven Jesus’ Bride further away from Him.
We were taught to have faith in our faith, name it and claim it, we developed a gospel to fix our heads while our spirit man went hungry. 2 Corinthians 4:16 states, “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.” 12
April - June 2018
Somehow we seemed to have flipped the script. Our confidence was meant to only come from Christ, not from a religious system. We have been long driven by success rather than being led by the Spirit of God. For decades we have lived unconsciously from the mantra “If it is good, it is God.” God cannot be defined as just good, HE IS GOD. He says he can turn the bad into good. We must find that place in our lives when we had stopped trusting in God, started trusting in ourselves, repent and return to the Lord. It is Christ who will present us faultless to his Father, not our works. In fact the Bible teaches that all the work we need to do is to believe. John 6:29 “This is the work of God, that you believe on Him whom He has sent.” We are called to have full trust and confidence in Christ as a believer. To trust anyone else or anything else will lead to failure and stress. Paul wrote, “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” Phil 1:6. Our confidence must be rooted in the fact that Jesus has already finished the work. “CHRIST IN US,” [Christ in you] the Hope Of Glory..” Colossians 1:27. Our confidence is not afar
off, Christ is in us. Religion keeps us looking outwards, into the future, some day. But God the Father has invested all that heaven has to offer in us. We must be confident in His Words not in our strength. Finally, Peter walked on the water toward Jesus on one word, Jesus said “Come” and Peter stepped out of the boat and walked on water. Even in this moment of miraculous triumph the other eleven disciples didn’t trust Jesus’ word to also step out of the boat. The Bible teaches us that when Peter observed the winds he doubted and began to sink. We cannot lose sight of Jesus’ words to us. He states, “He will never leave us nor forsake us.” Do we believe? No matter what you are going through, God’s words can be trusted, no matter what happens. Our only responsibility is to act upon His word in our lives. “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word”. Romans 10:12 Faith is not a thought, a dream, or a fantasy, faith is responding to God’s word. It is LIVING REALITY that God is withIN you. That is confidence in God. p By Dino Nicholas A Maranatha Ministries International Pastor, Author, Leadership Counsellor and Church planter
I love Autumn especially the change in colour of the leaves on the trees. After the beautiful greens of summertime we are now left with ruddy reds, yellows, browns and rustic oranges and even pinks. The most wonderful display that I remember seeing was in Wales around the Elan Valley Dams, it was breathtaking. This beautiful picture also reflected in the waters of the Dams made it twice as wonderful to behold. As I stood gazing in admiration at the way God displays His creation throughout the changes in the seasons. I sensed the Holy Spirit speak to me in my spirit. “You see this wonderful display of colour, THESE ARE ALL DEAD AND DYING LEAVES.” What a surprise that was, because of course, I knew that but I did not see the significance for me. It soon became clear that God was saying to me that we are far more attractive when we have DIED TO OURSELVES. People are amazed how we can ‘put up’ with the issues of life that would normally crush them. When I was going through a dreadful time at the end of a 37 year marriage it was terrible, I felt crushed but as I clung to Jesus my family would look at me and say “how are you managing to carry on?” and questions like that, they really were bewildered. When we are crushed by life’s disappointments, failures and broken dreams it is then people see the real you, what’s inside of you will come out. When we are crushed it will either be bitterness or something that only Jesus can give us, a divine perfume. When we walk through a green field with lush grass and healthy looking green trees we can very rarely see the individual tree as they all seem to blend into one colour and so appear the same. However, when they die we begin to see individual colours coming through. That is the same with us when we die to self, people begin to see the real Christian, the one in love with Jesus who has forsaken everything
DYING LEAVES to be more like Him and to be obedient to His word. Jesus states in John 15:1-4 “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.” “When you abide in ME and MY Word abides IN YOU.” That is the key when you are feeling crushed, that’s when your true colours will show. Will you look and behave like everyone else, or because of Jesus will you behave and look differently? A crushed person but a beautiful, colourful tree. John the baptist said I must decrease and HE must increase, meaning Jesus. As many trees are stripped bare by the winter season and the leaves are trodden underfoot the new leaves are already being produced by the ‘sap’ within the tree. We are then privileged to see them come forth in the Spring. A tree a year older with new leaves for another season. The tree is getting stronger every year because it is planted in good soil with much water. So as the tree goes through it’s yearly cycle so we too can learn to shed the old leaves (self) to stay abiding in the Vine (Jesus) and no matter how much life throws at us we can show a beautiful display... THE
NATURE OF CHRIST JESUS. When Jesus died on the cross he had been spat upon, humiliated, whipped and stripped of his clothing before He even got to Golgotha where He was crucified, and to add insult to injury, He had to carry His own cross. Isaiah 53:2-6 states, “For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, everyone, to his own way; And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” There is no one who could have foreseen the resurrection of Jesus even after He had told His disciples that He would rise again. Now He lives forevermore as King of Kings and Lord of Lords in the beauty of His Holiness, at the right hand of the Father. So, like Jesus when we endure the things that life crushes us with by obeying God’s word in order to deal with it by dying to self; then and only then are we ‘transformed’ into a thing of beauty so that Jesus can live His life through us. p By Barbara Payne intercessor, worship leader, retired minister and Divorce Care counsellor
April - June 2018
WORLD Conflits Simmering, Rumors of War Brewing
Global Peace Index 2016: There are now only 10 countries in the world that are actually free from conflict
According to authors of the 10th annual Global Peace Index.They are: Botswana, Chile, Costa Rica, Japan, Mauritius, Panama, Qatar, Switzerland, Uruguay and Vietnam. www.independent.co.uk/news/world/politics/global-peace-index-2016-there-arenow-only-10-countries-in-the-world-that-are-not-at-war-a7069816.html
the Cold War?
Who is Biblical prophecy warns us to lookout for great rise in human conflict. Jesus told us in Matthew 24:7 to watch. Here are some things we are presently watching. “The Cold War was the geopolitical, ideological, and economic struggle between two world superpowers, the USA and the USSR, that started in 1947 at the end of the Second World War and lasted until the dissolution of the Soviet Union on December 26,1991.” www.google.co.uk/search?q=when+was +the+cold+war+fought&oq=when+was+t he+cold+w&aqs=chrome.2.0j69i57j0l4.111 40j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8
New Capitalist Russia,
Socialist China (State Sponsored Capitalism) had resolved tensions with the USA. Until U.S president Donald J. Trump brought a mercurial tension to the White House as, he upsets world leaders in between ‘Tweets’ particularly Kim Jong Un of North Korea, a communist state and ally of China. China is the New Superpower, Russia is its ally, the U.S. is declining, Trump is keen to Make America Great Again, inciting a trade war with new tariffs on Chinese goods and has expelled 60 Russian diplomats in support of Britain. As we wait on the results of the USAKorean Summit let’s pray that it doesn’t rekindle the old Cold War fire.
Another Russian ‘Cook’ Up claims they may have been exposed Britain is caring for another former Russian spy, Sergei Skripal, now a UK citizen and his daughter, Yulia, found, unconscious on a park bench in broad daylight on 4 March in Salisbury, UK. The cause was poisoning by a nerve agent developed by Russia called Novichok. The UK government
to it through their car’s ventilation system and from the handle on their front door. Mr. Skripal remains critically ill in hospital while his daughter is conscious and improving. abcnews.go.com/International/russianspys-poisoning-uk-believed-nerve...car/ story?
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What a Chemical Soup Eh? There’s a deeper meaning the world should also take away from this latest use of a chemical weapon, Vestergaard writes in an analysis for the Stimson Center: “The threat of chemical weapons not only endures in the 21st century, but is spreading.” In the last few years, the Assad regime unleashed chemical weapons on civilians in Syria; ISIS used mustard gas in Syria and Iraq; state-sponsored assassins used the nerve agent VX to kill Kim
In View Russians Asked to Leave The Table “The UK expelled 23 diplomats after Prime Minister Theresa May said,
Putin Flips The Diplomatic Table “Moscow has denied all involvement, and is expelling 23
Is President Xi Jinping the Most Powerful Man in the World? China’s parliament changed the country’s constitution to allow President Xi Jinping to rule for life. He controls the military, the ruling party, the media (which blocks free speech), imprisons activists and any criticisms
China’s One Belt and One Road Initiative “The Silk Road Economic Belt and the ...Maritime Silk Road, also known as the One Belt and One Road Initiative, (OBOR), is a China-centered global trading network, focusing on connectivity and cooperation between Eurasian countries. Announced by Xi Jinping in September and October 2013, it focuses mainly on infrastructure investment, construction materials, railway and highway, automobile,
Russia was “culpable” for the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter. The government decided on Tuesday not to impose further sanctions on Russia for now. However, The U.S. recalled 60 of their Diplomats from Russia and Russia has British diplomats in response. The Kremlin is also closing down both the British Council in Russia, which promotes cultural ties between the nations, and the consulate in St Petersburg. The
on social media regarding his lifetime tenure is censored. Let’s watch how this affects world peace. edition.cnn.com/videos/world/2018/03/12/ russia-missile-test-lon-orig-bks.cnn/video/ playlists/mobile-digital-features/
China is positioning itself as world leader it’s increased support to the UN peacekeeping operations via deployment of troops and is now 3rd largest contributor out of the 5 permanent members. However, how it uses its veto is a clearer picture of real estate, power grid, and iron and steel. By various estimates, the BRI is one of the largest infrastructure and investment mega-projects in history, covering more than 68 countries, equivalent to 65% of the world’s population and 40% of the global GDP as of 2017.” en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One_Belt_One_ Road_Initiative
This policy aims to control Eurasian trade and it is using financial aid to recolonise African nations while it extracts its minerals. China
reciprocates with the same, 25 other countries have also recalled diplomats from Russia. A diplomatic standoff, between Russia and Britain is serious, one wonders if the Russian test launch of its so called, Satan missile is any coincidence. www.Bbc.Co.Uk/news/uk-politics-43470069
meanwhile, has invited all foreign ambassadors in Moscow to a meeting on Wednesday to clarify the Russian position on the Skripal affair, the Russian news agency Interfax has reported”. www.bbc.co.uk/news/ukpolitics-43470069
its true nature. China declined to approve support for countries that gave diplomatic recognition to Taiwan. It clearly doesn’t support democracy. It has the economic clout and military prowess to call the shots in Africa, Asia and make Europe stand to attention, (NATO beware) the U.S. owes China too much money to really challenge its position in the world. As long as China manages its debt it is on track to gaining the number one spot. chinapower.csis.org/china-un-mission/
surreptitiously sponsors North Korea and is pals with Russia, both of whom are bent on military expansionism. cbsnews.com/.../north-korea-kim-jongun-donald-trump-nuclear-summit-...
Experts believe that China will be the Leader of the 21 Century. That is they will have the most leverage and influence to shape world events. We need to really pray for the peace of the world... youtube.com/watch?v=bihdCkIfA2Q.
April - June 2018
T LAYE RED SECURITY
The coming of the internet age has taught us about layered security. Us ‘techies’ know about SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) encryption that made things like online banking possible. Well, as believers we too have the benefit of layered security. At the very base of our eternal security is the fact that Jesus’ sacrifice was enough to pay for our sins and reunite us with God. When all else fails upon this truth we stand. Jesus is the messiah, God in flesh and his sacrifice was enough to purchase us back from death and secure a place for us in His eternal Kingdom. Our second layer of security is there to check that the first layer is firmly in place. The first is faith in Christ and His sacrifice and the second the response that is caused by the first. If we truly have faith in Christ and belong to Him (first layer) we will listen to His voice, obey and follow Him (second layer). For us therefore, to
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have a legitimate sense of security both layers must be in place. It is foolish for one to convince himself that they are saved and safe because they confess Jesus as Lord while dismissing the fact that they are living contrary to His will. 2 Peter 3:17 reads, “You therefore, beloved, since you know this beforehand, beware lest you also fall from your own steadfastness, being led away with the error of the wicked…” “...fall from your secure position.” (NIV) “...fall from your firm grasp on the truth.” (NET) “...fall from your own firm footing…” (MEV) “...fall from your safe position.” (GNT) Believers can fall so it is most important that our position in Christ is a secure and safe one. Our footing and grasp must be firm and holding. The song writer asked a very pertinent question when they wrote, “Will your anchor hold in the storms of life?” Whether our position is sure or shaky depends on us. Peter was the one who said, “Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure…” 2 Peter 1:10 We understand from what he says here that the assurance of our election depends on our diligence. In our opening quote, chapter 3:17, he says our secure position will hold if we remain watchful and aware. We can draw the conclusion therefore that apathetic, lazy and distracted Christian living is dangerous. “Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward.” Hebrews 10:35 The fact that some are confident means others could lack confidence. Our confidence can be thrown away. A person who has
done their homework and diligently studied all the topics that could be covered, enters their exam with confidence. They know they are going to be successful but the person who did not study is in doubt. To have confidence in the face of great trials one must know that they have done the will of God and is in right standing with Him. “The wicked flee when no one pursues, But the righteous are bold as a lion.” Proverbs 28:1 Our confidence comes through doing the will of God. Our diligence and perseverance brings with it a heavenly certainty. If we are to attain to and keep a firm hold on truth and eternal life we must be aware and vigilant. Spiritual diligence brings heavenly rewards. “And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.” Hebrews 6:11-12 The VOICE translation says it this way... “We want you all to continue working until the end so that you’ll realize the certainty that comes with hope and not grow lazy. We want you to walk in the footsteps of the faithful who came before you, from whom you can learn to be steadfast in pursuing the promises of God.” I remember in earlier years when the benefits of a good spanking was understood and appreciated. In those days, when I was a child, I would tremble when called by my parents after doing something wrong. I knew what the consequences of misbehaving were and therefore did
not respond to my parents call with confidence. Instead I would often try to hide.
False security The greatest danger today, I think, is not that people are insecure but that many have a false sense of security. Why? Because we are living in the era known as the age of deception and of the false prophets. The people of God are infiltrated by more false prophets and are more exposed to false doctrines today than ever before. The false prophets deceive God’s people saying, “...‘Peace, peace!’ When there is no peace.” Jeremiah 6:14 The most shocking thing to me about Jesus’ prophecy in Matthew 7:21-23 is how sincerely these false prophets argued their case for entry into God’s eternal Kingdom. They were totally deceived and had a false sense of security because they were working miracles in Jesus’ name yet not factoring the importance of obedience as a fail safe check. The two are inseparable. Not having the second is clear indication that we do not have the first. When the second layer fails i.e. obedience to Christ, it is a clear indication that the first was not in place. “Little children, let no one deceive you... Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.” 1 John 3:7-9 Do you feel secure? Do you have joy unspeakable and full of glory even in the midst of trials because you know, that you know, that you are right with God and would go to eternity with Jesus if He returns now? p By Homer Slack author, preacher, Bible teacher, IT tutor, programmer & graphic designer
April - June 2018
a life lesson
Greeting the Golden Girls of Spring! Years ago, on a lovely sunny spring day as I was driving down our local dual carriage way I remember being wowed by the golden sea of plants that sprung up all along the embankment. It was one of the first plants that announced that winter was past and spring had begun, it was golden daffodils. So, as I came to the intersection I was able to examine the area of the verge nearest to me and there among the daffodils just as beautiful and glamorously golden were dandelions! At a glance you couldn’t tell the difference but upon closer inspection one realised that the daffodils were not alone they were infiltrated by dandelions.
As I was pondering the beautiful sea of golden delight, I heard the voice of
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the Lord say to me… “Consider the dandelions” I knew then that I was in for a lesson from these so called pesky weeds. This lesson was a long time in coming as I am writing this article years later and I’ve become very acquainted with dandelions over this learning period and now view them with awe and feel it is a great injustice to call them weeds.
you are in for quite a fight. Weeds by definition do not produce anything useful but spread rapidly, take over and use up needed nutrients or actually become a parasite sucking and killing productive plants. The dandelions are guilty of all charges here but even so, there is much to be learned from the worthy foe of a weed.
So then let me take you along my learning journey. Daffodils and dandelions both have the same beautiful golden yellow and in a sea of gold they are just as alluring! So what makes one a weed and the other a coveted flower?
The Characteristic of the dandelion 1. Deliberate design. If you don’t believe me ask any gardener how difficult it is to pull out a dandelion from a flower bed or garden path. To reinforce my point try removing a daffodil and you will see the difference. It is no where near as difficult as removing a dandelion!
The definition of a weed I don’t know who decides but one thing I can tell you is this...if you ever try to get rid of the dandelions
See Dandelion’s Long Tap Root System
The floating seeds 2. Strategy for success. It’s a bully and will crowd out other plants. As long as others plants are within close proximity it will quickly overpopulate the area and steal all the space and nutrients from the other plants. Sometimes you cannot even attempt to remove them because they are so closely intertwined with your plants that you will endanger them while removing the dandelion. Remember the dandelion will not die, even if all the surface of it is snapped off the long tap root is still there so lookout, the plant shall soon rise again! 3. Efficient even in death. Let’s say we were able to get the root out, you still have to be very careful to dispose of the plant itself right away for if you leave it lying around on top of the soil, it’s flower will drop seeds back into the soil and in no time produce more plants. Secondly, if you chemically spay it with weed killer it accelerates its reproduction and sends out airborne seeds that will take to the air and go miles away and survive to pester another gardner another day. At the very l e a s t t h o s e seeds will fall close by.
Lessons learned? The dandelion reminds us of the persistence of the enemy/satan. If we are to survive this war and come out victorious one clear strategy is to know our enemy and not naively underestimate him. He is relentless and will never surrender. We shouldn’t either! Not everything that is golden is good. The chief strategy of the devil is camouflage/counterfeit/deception all in an effort to look like the REAL thing but they ARE NOT! SO then, the Harlot of revelation presents herself to the world as the Bride but she is not she is mystery Babylon the enemy of Christ, a Deliliah who will plot to destroy the dominion of Christ in the earth and destroy everything He has left as a legacy for ECCLESIA. The Devil’s in the details Infiltration - The dandelions of life spring up everywhere we least expect, so be vigilant. They come among us and assimilate our culture/behaviour and learn our ways and win our confidence and gain our trust. Very often making themselves indispensable members of the community. We need to be discerning! This is a gift of the Holy Spirit that we should all pray for and develop. Bank cashiers spot counterfeits by becoming very familiar with real money, the minute they touch/spot a fake they know it, then they check it for confirmation against the real when affirmed to be fake they dispose of it.
us of our essentials in life. Don’t be naive! DO not tolerate sin or underestimate the power of sin Ruthlessness - Sin is brutal and merciless so show it no mercy, sin is not our friend. Hate sin, do not fraternise with it, avoid the very appearance of sin. Psalm 1:1 SO then...Nip weeds in the bud. Be ruthless! Tend your gardens well, guard your borders. Treat your lawn regularly... weed killer, plant food, aerate, rake weed etc.. Dandelions will blow with the wind and land in your garden from miles away. In other words make worship your lifestyle... that is, become a temple keeper one who ensures that your entire being (BODY MIND/SOUL & SPIRIT) is a fit place for the Holy Spirit to dwell richly and comfortably. Give Christ the preeminence in your life THIS IS WORSHIP a life FIT FOR GOD’S PURPOSE! “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is within you, whom you have [received as a gift] from God, and that you are not your own [property]? You were bought with a price [you were actually purchased with the precious blood of Jesus and made His own]. So then, honour and glorify God with your body.” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 AMP The life application here is for us to live our lives intentionally... p
By Angela Slack educational curriculum/ literacy specialist, technical author and worship leader
Robbery - They come to steal, kill and destroy or at the very least deprive
April - June 2018
I was introduced to gay porn at the age of 4 and I watched and carried out the acts with my molester
April - June 2018
A Broken Reed Andrew’s testimony covered by Jhonelle
Born Unique And Free
Everyone has a story and what makes each unique is the fact that it was idiosyncratically lived by an individual with nuances and intricacies experienced by no one else. There are many similarities in our stories but not enough to make any two stories identical. This is the beauty of the human experience; that similarities and differences in our lives make good teachers. So here is a story, but not just another story, it is one lived by a young man who we’ll call Andrew., It tells us of his journey from brokenness and abuse with the different nuances and intricacies that he experienced and how he found they led him to freedom in Christ. Andrew, born in St. Catherine, Jamaica to a family of seven, unlike many Jamaicans, Andrew has lived with his father for most of his life, after his mother decided to leave because of physical abuse by Andrew’s father.
to an explosion of perverted sexual exploration. “I was introduced to gay porn at the age of 4 and I watched and carried out the acts with my molester,” this Andrew believed open the door to his heightened sexual interest. “I became addicted to oral sex to the point where I couldn’t control myself once someone asked me, (usually a male) I’d do it. This lifestyle of sexual perversion followed Andrew through to his teenage years, “I was so madly in love with attention that I masturbated in front of some females just to get their attention, I committed consensual incest with my female cousin at age 13, when she was age 8 and I was tempted to molest young males.”
meets. “I am a big advocate for sexual purity,” and he unashamedly shares the love of Jesus. He however, confessed that it isn’t the easiest of journeys considering his colourful past and instances of shame and guilt have arisen but he reminds himself that this battle is not against flesh and blood and God’s love covers a multitude of sins.
“Give Christ a shot! Tell someone, you will never know who you can trust unless you extend it to them, tell someone who you are close to, as in a close friend. If you have no such person, try a counsellor if you prefer someone you’ve never seen before. Christ has done wonders for me, I gave my burdens to Him and He gave me rest, His love is vast! You are relentlessly pursued by an All sufficient God! John 3: 16 and Romans 8: 28. You are a new creation once you accept Christ. 2 Corinthians 5: 17.”
Andrew sought solace and attention in academic excellence but realized that even after doing well that people still rejected him. He became suicidal and thought of ways to take his life but through the revelation of God’s spirit a He remembers himself as a violent lady from Andrew’s church had a vision child and attributes his aggression to of him desiring to commit suicide, this “He has taken away your sin as far as the east is from the west. His love for his interest in watching wrestling and became proof of God’s love for him. you is as high as the heavens above. the harshness he experienced from I guarantee you, He won’t fail you. his father. “The men in my family are Restored And Renewed! He took nails in His hands for YOU. In 2013, Andrew gave his heart to the promiscuous women beaters and I He took lashes for YOU. He dealt Lord after having heard the gospel in a don’t want any of that,” Andrew added with being insulted and betrayed by very practical way. as he shared the more than colourful His closest friends and love ones just history of his family. Two young ladies from a youth for YOU. He laid down His life just ministry shared with Andrew a real for YOU; and for those in the LGBT A Broken Tender Stem Unfortunately, the kaleidoscope intimate personal fellowship with God community, be honest with yourself, of sin and generational curses where you can hear from Him and you the temporary pleasures that you penetrated the life of little Andrew as can be honest about how you feel with enjoy are significantly less than the his introduction to sex was through Him. He went through the process of pain and the hurt you feel when you’re molestation between the ages of 5-14 learning and loving this great God alone.” p by people who were close to him. This and is now passionately pursuing and exposure did not end here but led willing shares the gospel with those he
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When Flowers Fall “N
“Now Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1 This is being wholeheartedly committed to the word of God absolutely believing that He will bring what He has promised into reality. Imagine a tiny ﬂower seed being planted into the ground. A hole is made and it is dropped in, gone into a darkness, trusting and believing life will spring up. It trusts its Creator the living God, will cause something inside it to awaken. So it waits. Then as the earth warms it and the rain ﬁlters down changes begin to happen.
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Faithful in Life and Death The sun keeps warming the soil and more rain comes. It feels safe and snug knowing it is in the Creator’s hands. Then as the hidden changes take place strong roots take hold in the warmth of the soil and before you know a tiny green shoot pokes through the surface, its faith has come to fruition. Eventually it grows up and gets stronger in the nourishment provided spreading out more shoots until it blossoms with beautiful flowers, blessing all who look upon it. Through sunshine, rain and the storms of its life it stays rooted in the
strength of its Creator and continues to do so until its cycle of life is complete then it begins to slowly fade wilt and dies. The ﬂower has fallen and is gone but it has left behind many seeds. Down through the ages to this present day, mighty Holy Spirit ﬁlled men and women have trusted in God’s word. They have heard God’s calling. A seed has been planted in their hearts. They have listened and perhaps withdrew into the shadows of darkness wondering, “can this be of God, is He speaking to me?” and called out, “Is this You
Faith Is Tangible Assurance
Through their lives they scattered the seeds of the gospel the true message of Jesus the only One who saves.
God?” Maybe they prayed, trusted God and waited; trusting that God would stir them inside and they knew things in their hearts were changing. The seed was awakening. The Holy Spirit came to them watered the seed and they arose and blossomed and grew to what they were called for. History speaks of so many of the faithful of God in the Bible and many have been written about in books.“By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.” Hebrew 11:3
Faith is able to give us an understanding of what we see and know of the world that was created out of the invisible realm by God. Hidden deep within our hearts it has been revealed to us by the Holy Spirit. Look in Hebrews 11:8, Abraham was called to go to a place where he would receive his inheritance and off he went not even knowing where he was going. Noah built a boat when there was no water around. Look at Moses, Rahab, David and many others. Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul and Peter. So many are recorded in Hebrews 11:33, “who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouth of lions, V34 quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness where made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of aliens.” Read the rest of this chapter and see. Look back through history and see believers such as Livingstone, Hudson, Spurgeon and Smith Wigglesworth, so many all weathered the storms of their calling. Through their lives they scattered the seeds of the gospel the true and only message of Jesus the only One who saves. They grew from the seed sown in them and in the knowledge of God, watered by the Holy Spirit, grew in faith and courage. They spoke boldly in the power of the Holy Spirit. Were blessed with spiritual blessing and all their needs were met, they were comforted guided and led.
Faith Is Fruitful They also weathered the storms when they came upon persecutions. They blossomed and grew even in their trials. Nothing could sway them as they were rooted in the word of God. Then and now as we have a testimony of their lives and their service to God we see how they shine as lights for Jesus, how they triumphed over the attacks of the enemy. We also see how sometimes they must have felt despair when storms and heavy
rains came and their petals drooped and wilted but how they stayed put and when the storm passed we see how they had stood strong in the protection of God. Then the Holy Spirit breathed the sun and warm breeze upon them and they bloomed once more and set out to do the Father’s will. Then all over the earth as is the Father’s will, we too sow seeds of His word, His love and devotion, that nurture and strengthen us to stretch high up to attain the prize - Jesus our Lord and Saviour. From there we go on in the power of the Holy Spirit to sow seeds and be reapers in the ﬁelds. To help gather the ﬂowers that will spring up and be fruitful just as all the saints long gone and now are resting in the bosom of Jesus had done. Their labour having not been in vain. We, arrayed as beautiful ﬂowers catching the sunlight of the love of Jesus, spreading the perfume of His love wherever we go, the scent catching on the breeze of the Holy Spirit, so the seeds of His love fall into the hearts and minds of folks and they are watered with the fresh water from rivers of life. “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will ﬂow rivers of living water.” John 7:38 Then one day as our season of blooming is over we as ﬂowers fall and our many seeds are sown. We know that Jesus who is our all in all, will come and take us to His garden of rest. Thank You Jesus. Prayer. Heavenly Father help us to be sowers for You while the harvest is still out there. Help us in the power of Your Holy Spirit to help gather in the ﬂowers. To use the gifts You have given us that our petals don’t wilt and droop but are strong to spread the perfume of Your love to others. In Jesus’s Name we ask. Amen. p By Lynda K Smith writer, proof reader, poet and Evangelist
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Faithful In Our TIME.. Saluting Modern Martyrs
While clearing away a dried bouquet of flowers, I was caught off guard by a faded yet lingering glory in them that had been so beautiful and fragrant in their prime. It made me think of the martyrs of our faith as being like pressed flowers between the pages of our favourite book. In February of this last quarter the Black Peoples of the Americas celebrated, Black History Month, a time to reflect on the long walk to freedom for Peoples of African Heritage forcibly removed from their continent and brought to the Americas as slaves. Having suffered 450 years of systematic slavery and subjugation their children, born in the Americas and now emancipated, consider the accomplishments of the American Civil Rights Movement in realising the equality of their
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foreparents under the laws of the American States. In remembrance of the contributions of forbearers who trail blazed history with self sacrifice and vision, it is by no coincidence that these people were predominantly Christian men and women of every colour and creed who lived according to a higher law, that of Love in Christ Jesus, the Love of Christ for ALL Humanity! This is not just about Black History, It is a part of the history of humanity we are all brothers and everything we do as individuals affect the whole. A tapestry is woven together by several individual threads and if you remove one from its proper place, you compromise the whole thing. We must finally begin to realise our intrinsic value and live better lives; for the greater good, now!
The life of these ordinary people, some of whom became martyrs of the Christian faith was spent in recognition that their life (inclusive of their talents, gifts, time, energy and devotion) was not to be spent wrapped up in self aggrandisement or in being selfish at all, rather because of their faith, recognized that they had an obligation to their world that they lived in. Today they are categorised as Non-Violent extremists because they went against the popular tide. I ask you then, to examine their lives and tell me is the popular will always right? Were they wrong to have stood up against social injustice and discrimination? In the face of opposition they made their lives count even if unto death. They believed that their duty was to repair the ripped tapestry of humanity
that sin, its selfishness and greed has wrought. The precious lives of people like these ought not to be trivialised. Jesus Christ laid the pattern of self sacrifice and it is an ungrateful and callous thing to fully take advantage of the advances that they have achieved for us and see no connection with ourselves in carrying on that legacy in our time in our world.
Where to begin?
Cry out to God for the power to change, the power of inspiration, the clarity of vision and the zeal to begin to do what we are convicted by God’s Spirit every day to be right. Pray for the moral courage to say, “No! That is Not Right” and “I will not join you in such wrongdoing.” Pray for fortitude to walk alone if it comes down to it. Pray for the courage to stop trusting the paltry things of this world like money and material possessions that all get blown away by the wind, battered and tossed in torrential rain, swept away by floods and consumed by the flames of fire. They do not last. Only what we do for Christ in this world will last! If you are equally shocked along with me to learn from the news of the day that there are atrocities currently happening that we had once thought would be forever consigned to the horrible history of the past, then wake up! Slavery is rampant, Sex trafficking, female castration, child marriages, abductions, human sacrifices, are all still taking place. Who will stop it? YOU and I MUST! We need to get off our computer keyboards, smartphones and media gadgets long enough to make our lives matter. Slavery was no joke and the post slavery years were not a walk in the park, lest we forget that; laws do not change the human heart.ONLY JESUS DOES! We need to read our history again and then put things into perspective, we have come a
long way… long enough to have the right to rant on facebook, post statuses, ‘Tweet’, make films and yes to our shame, some go thrash private property in aimless, angry, protest or worse resort to violent crime, even the taking of innocent lives. Our anger is God given, it is the only human emotion that signals us to rise up in the face of injustice; without it we would be passive, complacent, ‘sitting ducks’ but anger has to be channelled towards a constructive target and a righteous outcome. Or else it will engulf us like a wild forest fire. If we feel lost, then look back and see how far we’ve come and from whence we’ve come. If we feel discouraged, then find strength in the example of the trail blazers and if we are lacking fortitude then find moral courage in the faith of our fathers. DO NOT BY ANY MEANS belittle the sacrifice of their lives by living as ignorant, selfish, callous, self-indulgent and indifferent people! The opposite of love is not hate it’s indifference! Like pressed flowers will you then be among the faithful in our time? “Precious are the saints in the sight of the Lord”...” Pressed down but not crushed, persecuted but not forsaken” ... p Rosa Parks with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. altered the negro progress in Montgomery, Alabama, 1955, by the bus boycott she unwillingly began when she refused to give up her seat on the bus to a white person and move to the back of the bus were Negroes were consigned. She became an important symbols of the modern Civil Rights Movement and an international icon of resistance to racial segregation.
Desiccated 44 years of his life to public service as a member of British Parliament to realise the reform of the living and working conditions of the poor and oppressed in Britain. Reforms passed included, ‘lunacy’ laws, child labor, factory, mining and Education, Jewish restoration to Israel and the suppression of opium trade among others.
Civil rights and peace movement leader. Campaigns included: • Montgomery bus boycott • Prayer Pilgrimage for Freedom • Youth March for Integrated Schools • Albany Movement • Birmingham campaign • Walk to Freedom • March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom • St. Augustine movement • Selma to Montgomery marches • Chicago Open Housing Movement • March Against Fear • Memphis sanitation strike • Poor People’s Campaign Author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin- a seminal work in revealing the horrors of Slavery in the USA to readers world wide. She was considered dangerous to Southern American Slave Society. By Angela Slack educational curriculum/ literacy specialist, technical author and worship leader
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Welcome to the World of Wakanda, Consider Content, Context and Colour: • The Content Is Pan African pride • The Context Is Post Colonial Africa Panther exceeded every expectation. It is a significant • The Colour Is Black Black game changer for racial representation in cinema. It is the
highest grossing film in history directed by a black director and predominantly black cast. It’s among the only 33 films of all time to gross over a billion dollars. Grossing 387 million in its opening weekend; it was number one for over 5 weeks, selling more pre-sold tickets than any other superhero movie. Critical questions Who is Black Panther? “Black Panther is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics… created by writereditor Stan Lee and writer-artist Jack Kirby, first appearing in Fantastic Four #52 (cover-dated July 1966). Black Panther’s real name is T’Challa, king and protector of the fictional African nation of Wakanda. Along with possessing enhanced abilities achieved through ancient Wakandan rituals of drinking the heart shaped herb, T’Challa also relies on his proficiency in science, rigorous physical training, hand-to-hand combat skills, and access to wealth and advanced technology to combat his enemies...He is the first black superhero in American mainstream comic books...with actual superpowers.” Why the mixed reviews? The film’s release on February 16, was met with a media storm in spite of the film’s record Box Office success. There’s since been a white supremacist outcry against its ‘ultra pan Africanism’. It is this deep rooted racism, which pioneers, like Stan Lee, the co-founder of Marvel, chose to write about by producing entertainment that was demographically representative. I say, examine the plethora of ‘Ultra Caucasian’ examples in the same genre and franchise. Thor per se, is a warrior steeped in Norse Mythology, the Black Panther is similarly placed in African Mythology. Chinese cinema showcases its Martial Arts heroes. Highlighting popular culture in cinima also accounts for the rise of Taiwanese Dramas, Bollywood (India), Nollywood (Nigeria), Hallyu Wave (S.Korea) and Japanese Anime, etc... What is Disney/Marvel Studios objectives? Marvel Comics/Studios or Disney are entertainment companies and their objective is to profitably package entertainment. We
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PANTHER Film should never take our moral lessons from them; as believers we draw the line between entertainment and ideology. The fact that Stan Lee through the body of his work has upheld moral imperatives that were accepted as norms in his time is a blessing to later generations. However, we cannot depend on the entertainment industry for our values as believers. As for the content of ancestral beliefs and sorcery in the film these are present in many other genres as well as Superheroes, we will have to make the judgement for ourselves what to expose ourselves to according to our level of faith. “All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient... but I will not be brought under the power of any.” 1 Cor 6:12 Why is the film important to Africans globally? Historically, the under representation of Africans in mainstream entertainment, has been segregated and biased resulting in generations being without any hero, in popular culture. Conversely, white children could easily find identity in numerous characters from Marvel or DC comics, or television cartoon heroes. The Black Panther is an overdue hero. Marvel Comics’ struggle with The Black Panther character due to racial tensions during the height of the Civil Rights Movement in the USA, (late 50s-to 70s) echoes mainstream society’s fear of ‘Blackness’. After many evolutions and reinventions Marvel, to its credit, did not abandon the franchise believing it deserved its fair shot. There was a large market awaiting such a hero. What themes in history does The Black Panther address? The film rattles the ‘Colonialist Cage’ exhibiting Wakanda, a Utopic future Africa, as a self determined leader alongside other nations via technological
advances and shrugs off any hint of past servitude. We are introduced to a diversity of African cultures: Dahomey, Ethiopian, Himba, Igbo, Lesotho, Masai and Zulu.
‘Killmongers’ among us) with love.
Furthermore, humility and courage is needed to accept that there’s an (Everett K. Ross) out there and work with him Secondly, strong women have been towards a better future. Pioneering portrayed centre stage alongside leading African American directors/producers men in Wakanda. They were the vanguard Spike Lee, Tyler Perry and Oprah, among of the nation, in charge of warfare. It was others have made significant steps but beautiful to see warrior women who love more is needed to get us over the line. and respect their men and who still are Many more Black owned banks and ‘a whole lotta woman.’ A failure of the financiers, lawyers and politicians, judges, Wonder Womanesque Amazonian way in in short, not just athletes and entertainers but more Black representation around the my opinion. executive boardroom table, is needed. Also, sustainable reclamation and retention of African pride and heritage is What is wonderful about the a theme. Wakanda is the wealthiest nation world of Wakanda? in the Marvel universe, this is dramatic Things to take away from the film are: irony as this is not untrue of Africa, which Africans are beautiful, complex, creative, has the most mineral wealth and natural intelligent, sophisticated and have a resources but sadly has been plundered diversity of things to offer the world like by the rest of the world and left to die. any other people group on the planet. Wakanda projects what Africa can be The African continent is vast, rich, and if left to self determination. “Wakanda diversified in topography, climate, culture forever” echoes battered pride and future and peoples. Acknowledgement that hope. Pan Africanism is undeniably right and Is racism still on the horizon? Yes, we still necessary for the survival of the African are bashing at the proverbial glass ceiling peoples. Pan African pride is needed as in Hollywood through boycotting the much as any other people group ought to under representation of people of colour have pride in itself and its heritage. in films plus lack of recognition of their Caution - Our benchmark for living work in Oscars. We are still unpacking cannot be outside of Biblical precepts: White on Black racism and reverse racism Other standards are susceptible to human of Blacks on Whites. The roles of Serkis error of judgement. God’s perspective and Freeman are sociologically important of the world is singularly and supremely to evenly showcase the spectrum of just. The human measure is faulty; shaped human reality that regardless of race by greed, oppressive, unjust, biased, there are good (Freeman as Everett K discriminatory, susceptible to failure Ross) and evil (Serkis as Klaw) people etc… Only One God, who died for One in the world. As believers we must have World, can restore The Brotherhood Of a Biblically based righteous response Man- JESUS CHRIST! p to social injustice and discrimination, By Angela Slack following the pattern of Christ; we must educational curriculum/ fill the vacuum of anger and abandonment literacy specialist, technical author and worship leader within the Black American Diaspora, (the April - June 2018
As always, ‘The Voice’ television audition show for singers gave us a little insight into the background of the contestant that would next grace the stage. Not often are my wife and I able to form an opinion within the first few minutes of the first few frames but this time we did. There was something about this young lady (whom I will hereinafter refer to as ‘Miss overconfident’) that was an immediate damper. She was overconfident and thought way too much of herself. Her body language and how she spoke about herself and her future aspirations
highlighted a weakness in her character. It all looked and sounded good but something about her self promoting attitude created knots in our stomachs. The one good thing was that it left us glued to the TV anxious to see if her self promotion lived up to expectation. We were actually hopeful that after all the hype that she would wow us. The trailer was soon over and she was walking onto the centre stage to begin her act. Her performance started, she sang and then her performance ended. Not a single chair turned to indicate the satisfaction of any of the four judges. It was only a few minutes after, while discussing the show, we realised we couldn’t even remember the song she sung. Her performance was not memorable and fell well below expectations. This was in sharp contrast to that timid, shy and visually unimpressive middle aged woman who, years earlier, walked onto the ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ stage and blew us all away. The ‘YouTube’ video
Story Teller To book the story teller email: email@example.com 28
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of Susan Boyle was soon setting new records as millions tuned in to witness the new sensation. As I recall the performance of ‘Miss overconfident’ I cannot help but think of the toothless nature of popular, present day Christianity. A people who worship a God who is nothing more than a mental image of the One spoken of in Scriptures. ‘Miss overconfident’ epitomises what I often see posted on the Facebook feed of my Christian friends i.e. ‘Believe in yourself’ which is really translated ‘Create a false lofty image of yourself.’ With statements such as these many of our Christian friends are tricking their minds into believing they are something that they are not. As I can recall, the people mostly used by God in Scriptures were people with little or no self confidence. Moses thought he wasn’t worthy as he wasn’t a good speaker. Gideon was hiding when the angel visited him. Isaiah, when he saw the Lord, said he was undone as he was a man with unclean lips. The list goes on. Shouldn’t we be confident? Confidence is very important, the problem is misplaced confidence i.e. putting our confidence in the wrong thing. Paul says, “For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh…” Philippians 3:3 Paul stepped away from those things upon which the carnal man places confidence. His nationality, his ability to keep religious rules, his social status and tribal pedigree. For instance, it’s common knowledge that among the most coveted security today is financial security and a feeling of acceptance. We have a growing number of youths today who are suffering from low self esteem due to the massive
media promotion of figure perfect idols and role models. Is confidence founded upon earthly possessions or physical appearance really wise? John reminds us that the things of this world will all pass away “...but whoever does the will of God lives forever.” 1 John 2:17 (NIV) Earthly wealth passes away and age will soon erode physical beauty. Miss overconfident was soon brought back to reality, upon the judges’ show of no confidence. Reality speaks and the believer who is still conscious must remain in touch. We must continually ask ourselves some sobering questions like: • Am I proclaiming a God I do not know or have never met, a salvation and rebirth I never experienced? • Do I really know the deep conviction that produces true repentance? • Do I know the salvation that produces joy unspeakable and full of glory? • Do I have peace that passes understanding? • Do I have a love that cares even about the welfare of my enemy? • Do I have a hope that can never fade? • Is my faith a mere mental game I play to convince myself of untruths? • Does my faith have any basis in reality? • Has my faith ever produced anything tangible? • Am I a true witness standing in the court of modern scepticism and telling of the mighty powers of God that I have personally witnessed and experienced? Tackling the truth Truth teaches us to believe in Christ who, being the ‘Pattern Son’, sets the standard for our living. The lie
encourages us, not to believe in the devil, as that would be too obvious, but simply to believe in self. Truth teaches us to humble ourselves, the lie tells us to esteem ourselves or to claw back our ‘self esteem’. Those in Christ have no true need to strive to get ahead we know our steps are ordered, all things work together for our good and our fate is in His hands! Yes, one must be confident but our confidence must be in God’s ability and not our own. Over vaulting ambition and self obsession are very unattractive and unwise. The words of Cliff Curtis to the over confident youth, singing his own praises in an effort to be promoted to the elite company of soldiers, were profound. He said, “A captain does not choose his men based on how they feel about themselves.” Miss overconfident realised this truth through the rejection of her judges. Is the image you have of yourself on par with reality? Are you comfortable in your own skin? Can you accept the truths about yourself? Let God recommend you, see Job 2, do not recommend yourself. Let God choose and appoint you, do not choose or appoint yourself read, John 15:16. Let God exalt you, do not exalt yourself, see Romans 8:30. “This is what the Lord says: ‘Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches, but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,’ declares the Lord.” Jeremiah 9:23-24 (NIV) p  Movie ‘Last Knights’ released 3 April 2015 and directed by Kazuaki Kiriya
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no rain no flowers
“I am struggling with childhood stuff,” says 28 year old Nora. “I have a fear of getting close because I think that when they see me they start looking at my ugliness and not get to know me first.”
Nora is a classic case of how one’s childhood can contribute to adult insecurity. “I have a fear of losing people even the ones that treat me badly, as long as I love them.” She fears even more, losing the few persons that she trusts and are good to her. “I know good things do not last with me,” she says. Nora wants life to change “I don’t know if it can change, if it will, where or when but I know I want it to.” She confesses suicidal thoughts as life seems pointless. Nora’s mother told little Nora she would be a bad child and Nora grew up believing it. “Being bad was all I knew,” says Nora. At the slightest provocation she would respond with rude words and would get a spanking, she pretended that nothing bothered her. She lived with her grandmother - a common arrangement in her country - while her mother worked all over, “trying to make a living for us.” Nora did not understand that and missed her mother. But when her mom came around she would curse at Nora and publicly spank her for any bad thing she did. She felt scarred by the public humiliation but she craved her mother’s attention. Her father was a social outcast and her mom taught her to curse him; so she grew to hate and disrespect him. Other children in her school lived with both parents and she wanted the same. This never happened
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so Nora retreated into herself and created a fantasy family. Sharing her hurt made her cry but her mother said “Only evil people love to cry” so she learned not to. At eight years old Nora sweat profusely plus she started menstruating. But she was never taught how to take care of herself. She was berated in front of the whole school. Her mother called her nasty and accused her of not bathing properly. “I was the ugliest, smelliest kid in class,” said Nora, “so I would cry to stay home from school. I could not understand why they couldn’t help me..” Despite the presence of adults with children in her house, “they would just criticize how I looked.” Today, Nora is convinced that she is fat and ugly. Yet she is creative and she excels academically. She is a natural teacher. Insecurity is defined by anxiety about oneself; lack of confidence. This definition suggests that most of us feel insecure sometimes. The kind of childhood you had, past traumas, recent experiences of failure or rejection, loneliness, social anxiety, negative beliefs about yourself, perfectionism, or having a critical parent or partner can all contribute to insecurity. A traumatic childhood can be the springboard for insecurity. One’s genetics can determine your response in times of instability. Some people have a more physical trigger-ready response to threats, from birth. They are naturally more likely to become hyper-vigilant and ever-watchful over time as each new threat emerges. Other causes of insecurity are: • Comparing yourself to others • Appearances and imperfections
• • •
(external or internal) Acceptance by others (i.e. fitting in, other’s opinions, etc.) Feeling unloved or unwanted Fear
To identify the symptoms look for: • Lack of confidence • Shyness or talking too much • Nervousness • Hesitancy • Self-condemnation • Isolation • Attempting to earn acceptance or love • Bullying • A Condescending or patronizing attitude • Being Critical of others, belittling others, pointing out flaws in others When we compare ourselves to others we are using others as the standard and they are just as imperfect as us. The truth is nobody really measures up. We ALL fall short of God’s standard. Instead of comparing, place your faith in Jesus Christ. Know that God accepts and loves you even though you don’t measure up to His perfect standard. The Bible says “We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are. For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.” Romans 3:22-23 (NLT). Many persons are insecure about their physical appearance and concerned about their abilities. The scripture says:. “Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewellery, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.” 1 Peter 3:3-4 (NLT)
been preoccupied with their physical appearance. It may be cliché, but it is what’s in our hearts that make us likeable, not only by God but even each other. How many of us know physically beautiful men and women we would rather avoid and vice versa. Jesus, the only PERFECT man that ever walked the earth, was described in the bible as “...There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance, nothing to attract us to him.” Isaiah 53:2b (NLT) So JESUS was not even cute? We are accepted by one who is greater than the most powerful leaders in the earth. “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 (NIV) God is the God of the impossible. He can take an old man (Moses) with a speech impediment and through him brings down the mightiest nation in the world. God accepts us. Yes, it may hurt that people do not like you. So one practical thing we can do is spend more time with those who sincerely accept us. People who make us feel good about ourselves, not worse. Persons who, even when critical of us, their intention is to build up. We should also limit our associations with those who rarely have something positive to say. p References
• Jon Bloom Desiringgod.org • Melanie Greenberg Psychologytoday.com • Happyhealthyandprosperous.com, 9 Common Causes of Insecurity by Traci Robbins By Lorraine Rainford: Women’s Pastor and Integrative Nutrition Health and Lifestyle Coach.
This verse suggests even women of old, like women today, may have April - June 2018
Little Flowers Never Worry
In Praise 3 of Hymn 4 Reviewing Great Christian Hymns This song is from Walt Mills’ 1975 album, “Sincerely.” This song was written by Danny Lee Stutzman (19441987), who went by the name “Danny Lee.” It was also recorded and performed by the Heritage singers. www.youtube.com/watch?v=S-QCLlpRI_E
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Little flowers never worry When the wind begins to blow. And they never, never cry When the rain begins to fall.
Oh, it’s wet and oh so cold, Soon the sun will shine again. Then they’ll smile unto the world, For their beauty to behold.
So, let it rain, let it rain, let it pour, Let trouble keep on knocking at my door, If we’ll learn the right from wrong, It will help to make us strong.
When the clouds begin to gather And the wind begins to blow, Little flowers don’t complain, Though they’re tossing to and fro.
Oh, I guess they’ve learned the secret, They don’t fret because they know, If it never, never rained, Then they’d never, never grow.
So, let it rain, let it rain, let it pour, Let trouble keep on knocking at my door, If we’ll learn the right from wrong, It will help to make us strong.
Lord, please help us learn the secret, Even little flowers know, If it never, never rains Then we’ll never, never grow.
Stout Tree We paused to worship, beneath a very stout Tree, Humbled as we gazed up into its green canopy, Of waving branches, clapping leaves, dancing praises, To the rhythm of the warm spring breeze. “What a magnificent Shrine,” said Barry, Ran passed it 50 times and missed its beauty, So busy clocking our distance my pals and me, Now, transfixed, by our discovery. If only it spoke our language or we spoke ‘tree’, We could learn of the things it had happened to see, A silent witness, a recorder of history, Was our very stout tree.
© Angela B. Slack
Over centuries it stood a guardian in sunlight and mist, Hidden treasures, escapades, battles, lover’s trysts, Rendezvous of covert agents, a lover’s first kiss, Cognizant of things we being young, had missed. Reluctantly we departed, Quiet reverence in our hearts, Our silent witness looked upon us, We realised that worship was its true art. A testimony of seasons weathered, A catalogue of catastrophes averted, A troubadour of hope unaltered, A wooden Tabernacle, A green Cathedral.
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You have questions we’ve got answers
Continued from pg 5 believer may say “I am eternally saved, therefore I can go out and sin, confess my sins and be forgiven, but I can never be lost for eternity. In an Armenian congregation I’ve seen people profess to be saved after a Sunday night’s preaching, get baptized the same night, then go out and fall into sin and return next Sunday to be saved all over again and get baptized. Neither of these supports the good news Jesus or the apostles preached.
Christ died for all, but only those who experience living, spiritual repentance and faith experience deep, inner transformation from within their spirits. Such faith produces good works – living works, not dead works; 2 Cor 5:14,15; Rom 10:4; James 2:26; Rom 4:1-5.
is only an outward experience and has not reached the depths of the individual’s spirit. All those whose faith is from the Spirit are eternally saved and are God’s elect (chosen ones) and they produce good works; John 6:39; 10:27-30; 17:12 1 John 3:9.
youth # Fashion SHARE Here therefore is a SUMMARY of Biblical teaching:Election is a sovereign act of God, Rom 9:11-20. However, God’s grace is not irresistible; Rev 22:17.
Man cannot save himself, since his nature has been affected by the Fall in the garden of Eden and he needs spiritual rebirth, which only God can give Psalms 51:5; Rom 5:12; Eph 2:13; John 3:3-7; Titus 3:5. Some are temporarily saved (delivered) whose faith in Christ comes from their soul (intellect, emotions or will). Such a deliverance
How Far Would You Go To Win A Compliment?
No doubt I am very conscious of fashion as most young people are. Yes, I do like to look good when I dress up. I must say however, that I am concerned about the present trends of the Christian youth dress culture. My concern was heightened when I saw how Meagan Good, wife of Seventh-day Adventist pastor DeVon Franklin, dressed for the BET awards 2013. This flung the topic of appropriate Christian attire again into the spotlight. I was forced to ask the following questions.
1. What does holiness look like? Would intentional sensual dressing constitute holiness? 2. What is it about me that should get people’s attention and cause them to glorify God and see Jesus? Would it be the revealing of my body or the goodness and virtues of Christ in my personality and conduct? 3. Is it right to be causing distractions with my body in public or the house of worship? 4. Am I that insecure? Do I need attention so badly that I would welcome even negative attention? “In like manner also that the women in decent deportment and dress adorn themselves with modesty and discretion…” 1 Timothy 2:8 (DARBY) See also 1 Peter 3:1-4 p Follow link to see Meagan in the dress described above: http://newsone.com/2625710/meagan-good-bet-awards/
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CONCLUSION: Since only God knows who the elect (chosen ones) are, it behooves every believer to walk in holiness; 2 Tim 2:19. Moreover, Paul, the apostle advised Corinthian believers to examine themselves to see if they were truly IN THE FAITH; 2 Cor 13:5. p
This image is not Meagan but the dress is similar
Answered by C Richard McCaw author, music teacher and many years as a Bible teacher
First runner up in ‘THE Sensationnel’ Black Beauty Hair Awards 2013
90 St Peters Avenue, Cleethorpes, DN35 8HU, UK
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Published on Apr 1, 2018
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