Has the Gospel Become Weak?

For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes–the Jew first and also the Gentile. Romans 1:16

Last weekend Come Up Higher International held its end-of-year conference under the theme “2016… As Enoch Walked“.

It was well attended by repeat visitors as wells as those who would have been new comers to a CUH event. The empowerment sessions were facilitated by Evangelist Patricia Eversley and Reverend Antonio Corbin. Remarks were given by the organisation’s Chairman Dr. Cathy Rochester-Norville and awesome Worship conducted by Mary, Deborah, Margaret, Alison and yours truly, RuthMoisa.

And all of the above names and facts fade into obscurity when we consider the chief objective… to make the Good News of Jesus Christ known through various forms of communication, to uplift persons and encourage them the lead productive lives in the coming season.

I’d like to know that even if no one remembers my name or what song I sang, that something they heard that evening struck a cord, made them stop and think, allowed persons to get a breakthrough in an emotionally turbulent situation in their lives. I’d like to know that they left knowing that God – not man- made it happen.

The Gospel alone is enough to impact lives forcefully. The Gospel is the power of God at work.

Sadly, we are in an age where the blessings of technology, faster transportation, more material possessions and so on, can equally become hindrances to us presenting this Good News of Christ. We seem not to get excited anymore to hear a stirring message. We are even less thrilled to invite others to church so their faith can increase.

I was reminded of this recently after inviting a few persons to Christian events. It was hard for me to swallow the responses of some Christians (not atheists, not agnostics, not persons of other religious persuasions). One person in particular asked me for a professional biography of one of the preachers as she had never heard of him before. Another person asked me what the objectives and expected outcome of the event were.

I was puzzled at first but then grateful for the chance to examine my own motives for doing anything church-related.

Paul was pretty clear on the expected outcome of the Gospel, and so was every other New Testament writer. What do you expect when you attend Church? To be entertained? To walk away with a seven point plan to become a millionaire? To network? To avoid people asking questions about your absence? Or to see God’s power at work, saving, delivering, healing and restoring all who choose to believe the message of Christ.

Simple.

No Gimmicks, no frills.

And even with all the best planning, an outcome determined by God and God alone.

Feel free to share your thoughts below…

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And Lead Us Not Into Temptation…

The Lord’s Prayer Cont’d

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil… 

Thanks to Hollywood movie makers, there is no end to interpretations of what evil is, what it looks like, how it behaves, how it can be subdued and conquered, and so on.

I recently watched a few episodes of the Sleepy Hollow series and apart from the awful script (my husband disagrees!) I was absolutely amazed at how wrong a biblical interpretation could be… in this case, an interpretation of End Times and of the devil’s role in it.

In one of the earlier episodes, a priest sprinkles salt and holy water at the entrance a house to prevent an evil spirit from entering and possessing a young girl inside. That plan was foiled and the spirit entered, eventually confronting and killing the priest.

To discuss spiritual warfare is a cup of tea for another day. Suffice it to say here that one of the things Jesus encourages us to pray for in his model prayer The Lord’s Prayer, is for protection from and victory over evil.

The fact that we are to look to God to deliver us from evil is rested in a confidence we can have that He is able to conquer the evil one. In fact, according to Colossians 2:15, he has already done so. Hallelujah!

“And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.” (NIV)

Not only has he conquered evil but he says that those who are in Christ Jesus (who rest secure in a relationship with Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour) have the ability to conquer evil which opposes them in throughout life as well.

In James 4:7, the Apostle James tells us that when we submit ourselves to God (that is our will, emotions, agenda and entire being), and we RESIST the Devil, he will flee from us.

The Devil, Satan, or the enemy (however you choose to call him) has a clear mandate to “steal, kill and destroy” you. (see John 10:10). And so resisting him is not something to take lightly or to do one day and not the next.

There are several techniques that persons will cite as ways to resist the enemy. One of the sure-proof ways is to read and meditate on God’s Word so that his Word becomes hidden in your heart. In times of temptations, we lean on this Word and declare it in our prayers, believing that God, our Rescuer, our Deliverer, will provide an escape.

In times of temptations… God, our Rescuer, our Deliverer, will provide an escape.

In times of temptation, we can make 1 Corinthians 10:13 the basis of our prayer.

“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is FAITHFUL; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it”

That concludes out breakdown of the Lord’s Prayer, itself a model upon which we develop effective prayers for ourselves, our families, our communities, and even people or situations miles away from us.

I trust that you were encouraged in some way and look forward to you continuing to follow Feathers For Every Season as we resume our devotions.

There’s indeed much happening at home and in the wider world to talk (and pray) about!

Much Love,

RuthMoïsa Stoute

Forgive Us Our Wrongs…

The Lord’s Prayer cont’d

And forgive us our wrongs as we forgive those who have wronged us.

Forgiving others can be one the most challenging things on earth to do, particularly when they it involves someone close to us who has wounded us emotionally.

In her book “Do Yourself a Favor… Forgive” televangelist and bestselling author Joyce Meyer discusses how hurt is one thing in life that’s essentially guaranteed and that forgiveness is not a guarantee… it’s a choice we can make to set ourselves free from the pain that keeps us trapped in a state of fear, resentment or anger.

Many persons have suffered horrible things: abuse, rape, betrayal, abandonment, the tragic loss of loved ones at the hands of recklessness.

I once heard someone say it was her “right” to not forgive someone and that Christians were insensitive to be going around trying to convince people to give up the one thing you held in your heart to repeatedly condemn your offender.

I once heard someone say it was her “right” to not forgive someone…

I even told God one dark and depressing day  (I was very adamant about it as well) “Why should I forgive (that person) when they’re just going to hurt me again?”.

Have you ever asked yourself that same question, in order to justify holding on to the offense someone committed against you? The reality is, carrying around the weight of unforgiveness does more damage to you, the recipient of that offense, than to the offender. Most times, the offender is not even aware of the damage he or she caused you, and may not even recall committing the offense! All the while, we walk around steaming in our own juices of resentment.

The reality is,… unforgiveness does more damage to you… than to the offender.

But the biggest reason to me why unforgiveness is nothing to mess with, is because it’s a sin, and like all sins, born out of selfish desires.

How so?

Refusing to forgive someone is to place yourself as a merciless judge over their lives and actions. But Jesus compels us in Matthew 5: 44- 45 “… to love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous”.

As God has been merciful, He has made his strength available to us to be merciful to others. But to accept God’s mercy, while refusing mercy to others is to treat with disdain the mercy we first received from Him.

See also the parable of The Unforgiving Servant.

Give Us This Day Our Daily Bread…

The Lord’s Prayer Cont’d

Give us day by day our daily bread…

Perhaps you’re familiar with the passage in Luke 11: 10 – 13 in which Jesus explains the willingness of His heavenly Father to give good gifts to His children.

                “For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead?  Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion?  If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

And what more (or who more) is so vitally important to us navigating the ups and downs of life than the Holy Spirit. our companion, our guide.

The presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives allows us to move in wisdom and open doors of favor to us.

God’s gift to us is not only His presence, but his provision. Again, Jesus says in Matthew 6:8 “your Father knows what you need before you ask him”. He was telling his disciples not to worry about how they would obtain material necessities such as food, shelter and clothing; the basic needs of man.

And though God knows already what we need before we ask (someone may ask then “so why need I ask if he knows?”), I believe that the act of asking forces us to engage God, forces us to lift our eyes to Him, knowing and being confident that our help comes from Him.

…the act of asking forces us to engage God…

Stop asking Him and you find yourself leaning on your own strength, intellect and other devices to provide for you. You start resenting a spouse, an adult-child, a parent, a government official, a pastor, the church for not meeting a need.

Stop asking Him and you by default put your confidence in something or someone else, which can, only at some point in time, fail you.

Bu there is no failure in God…

So ask Him, and rely on Him to supply your daily bread.