Monday, 30 July 2007

What to Do When the Lights Go Out Isaiah 50:10-50:10

Introduction: There are times in our lives, as God’s people, that we have to serve God in the midst of darkness. There are times that we find it difficult to see very far ahead. It is hard to stand when we do not understand! Life is filled with melody and misery, as well as high times and hard times. It is interesting that as Christians we desire to be “overcomers” but do not want much to overcome. We desire to go to heaven but would rather not die in order to get there. In its very essence, life is tragic without Jesus Christ in our lives. Are you experiencing a dark time in your life? Do you have a wayward child? Have you experienced a financial reversal? Has someone broken your heart or taken advantage of you? Are you not able to make sense of what is happening in your life? There are those seasons in life when we are not able to mentally grasp what is transpiring in our lives. Think about it for a moment. There are those instances when we have studied our lessons, learned our formulas, memorized the promises in God’s Word, and think we have it all figured out and suddenly we are plunged into deep, deep darkness. Why does such darkness come to a Christian? The question that Christians ask more than any other is “Why?” Why did my child have to die? Why could I not carry this child full term? Why did my husband or wife have to break my heart? Why did my business have to go bankrupt? Why did God allow sickness to come to me or my loved ones? Why did God heal that person and not heal me? Why? Why? Why? What do we do when the lights go out? What do we do when darkness comes into our life? When we went to school, we received the lessons first and tests second. However, in life we take the tests first and learn the lessons second. In this message there are many lessons to be learned when the lights go out in our lives. The first lesson is: I. FAITH’S

Our Scriptural text is not talking about someone who has wandered away from God. This person fears and loves the Lord. The “fear of the Lord” means “love on its knees.” The person who fears God the most loves God the most. This person obeys the voice of God. There is a distorted idea that if a person becomes a Christian, it will be all honey and no bees; all sunlight and roses and no rain and weeds. There is no reason to deny it. There are tens of thousands of Christians across the world that fear and love the Lord and yet are experiencing darkness. More than 150,000 Christians were martyred last year throughout the world. Job said, “God has put darkness in my path” (Job 19:8). Habakkuk exclaimed, “How long shall I cry and you not hear (Hab. 1:2). John the Baptist sent messengers from the prison and asked Jesus, “Are you really the Messiah or should we look for someone else?” Each of these great men of God came to a time in their life that they did not understand or comprehend why and what was fully happening to them. If you read the stories of great saints in history, there is hardly one of them who did not experience the dark night of the soul. If you are in darkness, it does not necessarily mean that you are out of the will of God or that you have sinned before the Lord. The second lesson is:

(v. 10)
When have you grown the most spiritually in your life? Has it been the during the sunlight or the darkness? Is it not true that when Mr. Trouble has knock on our heart’s door, we have matured more than at other times in our life? Faith is like film: It is better developed in the darkness. How does God develop our faith in the darkness? God tells us to take two steps. First, we are to look to the Lord (“trust in the Lord”). Warren Wiersbe has said, “We live by promises, not by explanations.” Just because it does not make sense to us, does not mean that it does not make sense to God. Just because it does not make sense now, does not mean that it will not make sense later. Thomas Watson has said, “Where reason cannot wade, faith must swim.” We must continue to stand on God’s Word regardless what is going on in life. God’s Word never changes. It remains constant through all of the seasons of our life. We must continue to live according to God’s Word even though tough times come our way. We continue to give our tithes and offerings even though there may have been a financial reversal. We continue to trust in the Lord even though we may not understand Him. We continue to attend God’s house even though tough times come to our family. We continue to have our quiet time with God even though sickness comes to us. We simply continue to stand on God’s Word. The promises of God remain the same whether the sun is shining or darkness comes to us. The second step is to lean upon the Lord (“let him stay upon his God”).

When you are in the dark, you do not have to have an explanation, you need God. It is more important to be with God in the valley of darkness than to be on sunlight peaks without Him. There are some things that I want that I don’t need and some things I need that I don’t want. Only God can truly discern between what is bad and good and what is good and best. Sometimes, God removes all the answers in order to give us Himself. A relationship is more important than a reason. God desires to even use us in the midst of darkness. John Milton, in the darkness of his blindness, wrote Paradise Lost. While John Bunyan was in the Bedford Jail, London, England, he wrote Pilgrims Progress. During John the Revelator’s exile on the Island of Patmos, he wrote the Book of Revelation. God wants to develop our faith. Never doubt in the dark what you learned in the light. The test of our character is not what we do in a worship service. The test of our character is what we do in the dark. Shortly before Mother Theresa’s death, she said, “You will never know that Jesus is all you need until all you have is Jesus.”

(Isa. 50: 3-4)
You will realize that one day that in the darkness you were learning some truths. There are treasures of darkness. For example, have you ever heard someone say, “The stars are out tonight.” The fact is that the stars are out in the daytime, but we cannot see them because of the sunlight. There are some treasures of darkness that are only revealed at night. The stars are there to praise the Lord (Ps. 146:3). We would never have a star to praise the Lord without darkness. Do you have a star in your darkness with which to praise the Lord? I want to share a few of the treasures of darkness. First, in the light we see that which is near, but the darkness we see that which is far away. Second, in the light we may see more clearly, but in the darkness we see further. Third, we may think our brightest thoughts in the day, but we will think our deepest thoughts during the night. Fourth, we may learn more about others during the day, but we will learn more about ourselves during the dark. It has been said, “We can dress as though we are intelligent, but when we open our mouth people will know whether we really are intelligent or not? When someone has gone through a dark period in his/her life, they will learn some truths that will remain with them the rest of their lives. Often times, Christians revert to clich├ęs when they do not know what else to say to the person who is walking through darkness. When we do not know what to say, it is important that we do not bring someone else’s pain down to our level. Just simply recognize that we do not understand because have not undergone what they are experiencing in their life. There is a discipline of darkness. This kind of darkness teaches us when to speak and when to remain silent. The fourth lesson is:

(Isa. 50:11) One of the most dangerous temptations is that we will be tempted to light our own fire in the darkness. If God has ordained the darkness, then we must wait upon God. We must never get the idea that darkness can overcome light. Darkness cannot withstand the light. Darkness will run from light. If you do not believe this is true, then turn on the light in a darkened room and open the closet. You will find that the darkness is hiding inside the closet! If you are in a lighted room, darkness cannot overcome the light. Darkness can never chase away light. You cannot open the front door of your home and let in the dark. The only way that darkness can enter is that the light be removed. So, if the light has been removed from the situations of your life, then God in his wisdom has allowed you to be in the darkness. If God is the One who has allowed darkness to come your way, then do not be foolish to light your own fire. In other words, do not try to undue what God is doing. A manmade fire is deceptive. It is not a sure guide for one to follow. It is like a man getting up in the middle of the night with his flashlight and going over to his sundial to see what time it is. God says that if we light our own fire, in the midst of God ordained darkness, then we will suffer. For example, God told Abraham that he and Sarah would eventually have a child of their own. God gave a promise. However, God did not fulfill that promise immediately. Abraham, in the midst of his darkness of doubt, created his own fire with Hagar. Ishmael was born. Think about the suffering that came to Abraham and the world because he did not wait on God in the midst of his darkness. Has darkness come to your life? Are you waiting on God or are you creating your own fire?

The final lesson is:
(Isa. 50:4)
God will awaken us in the morning. Even though you may be in darkness now, there is a better day coming. If you are in darkness, then trust God. God will eventually turn every tear to a pearl, every hurt into a hallelujah, every Calvary into an Easter. “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy will come in the morning” (Ps. 30:5). One of these days, God is going to pull the shades of night and pin them with the stars. He will then open the door of the morning and flood your world with his light and love. You will see things and know truth that you have never seen or known before. There is a better day coming for you. For non-Christians, this is as good as it will ever get for them. As Christians, this is as bad as it will ever get for us. There is coming a day when we will step out of time into eternity and will see the fullness of the glory of God.

CONCLUSION: I challenge you in the near future to take a walk and enjoy to the warmth of a sunny day. Yet, while you are enjoying the warmth of the sun, remember that the sunrays are 8.3 minutes old when they reach you. Even though you can experience the warmth of the sun, you have never seen the full intensity of the sun. The surface temperature of the sun is more than 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit and the inner core of the sun is more than 27,000,000 degrees Fahrenheit. You have felt its warmth but never really seen the sun.
In like manner, we can feel the warmth of God’s presence, but we have never fully seen the full glory of God. However, there is coming a time when the child of God will see the face of God.

We will fully see what we slightly experienced in this life. Just remember when the lights go out, God is still there in the midst of your darkness. He wants to give you a star so you can praise Him more. Our trials become stars in order to praise the Lord.
When the lights go out, reflect on our faith’s devotion, development, discernment, danger, and daybreak.

Wednesday, 18 July 2007


Genesis 11:1-9If you could travel back in time to the days of Noah what an amazing sight you would see!

Not the flood or the ark, but right after the flood waters had dried is the time I am thinking of. If you were there you would find a tower buzzing with activity. You would probably even be impressed with how efficient the work was progressing, even though the building process was rudimentary by today’s standards. I envision the workers separating the work, one group making mortar, another bricks, still another transports the bricks to the site while yet another group takes responsibility for setting them in place.Envision if you will a human anthill.

Every worker has a job, every worker does his job and every worker did his job well. Their dream was a tower. A tower taller than any other in the entire world, taller than anyone in the world had ever dreamed of building.

This tower would not just touch the clouds; it would loom over the clouds and touch heaven. But, what purpose did this tower serve? Was this tower meant to glorify God? Was it meant to find God? How about to direct people’s attention toward God? Was it built as a vain attempt to "walk" to heaven? Wrong, Wrong, Wrong!The real purpose of building is what, in the end, caused its demise. There was nothing wrong with their building method.

There was nothing wrong with their plan. Their motives, however, were altogether wrong! If you read the minutes from the "Tower Planning Committee Meeting" you can see the problem:“Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves" (Genesis 11:4).

Why was the tower being built? Selfishness. Pure, 100% selfishness. The bricks were made from inflated egos and the mortar out of pride. All for what reason? So someone will notice me! To make a name for myself!We have a name for that, its called blind ambition. Success at all cost. King of the mountain. Top of the heap. "I did it my way."In our society, we make heroes out of people who are ambitious. We hold them up as models for our kids and put their pictures on magazine covers. And rightly so. This world would be in sad shape without people who dream of touching the heavens.

Ambition is that grit in the soul, which creates disenchantment with the ordinary and dares one to dream.Left unchecked it becomes an insatiable addiction to power and prestige and things. It becomes a roaring hunger for achievement that devours people as a lion eats a meal, leaving behind only the remnants of relationships.

Some classic examples of nearsighted tower builders are:The parent who feeds their career with twelve-hour workdays, meetings and apologies for being gone so much. "It’s only a matter of time before things will get better."The woman who always wears her dresses a little high in the hem and a little low in the neck because "one day" she will not be able to.The businessman who lies during his business deal and justifies it saying, "I’ll only need to do it this one time."Anything to gain an edge. Anything to draw attention. Anything to get to the top of the tower.

Blind Ambition. Distorted Values.It all results in rootless lives bouncing around like tumbleweeds through a ghost town. Abandoned dreams. Crumbling homes. Desolate futures. All with one thing in common: a half finished tower that stands as a stirring epitaph to those who dare follow.God won’t tolerate it. He didn’t then and he won’t now.

He took the "Climb to Heaven Campaign" into his hands. With one sweep he painted the tower gray with confusion and sent the workers babbling in all directions. Are you building any towers? Examine your motives. Remember the memorial statement imprinted on the base of the abandoned Tower of Babel:Blind ambition is a giant step away from God and one-step closer to catastrophe.(Material from Max Lucado)

Sunday, 15 July 2007


By Dr. Ann ShorbChristian Counseling & Educational Services

Major depression can greatly affect a person's ability to function at home and/or at work, and inhibit the enjoyment of life in any way. Some people suffer depression only once but others may experience it several times in their lifetime.
Answer the questions below to determine if you are experiencing depression. If you answer

True to at least four (4) of the following statements, you may be suffering from depression. If you answer True to the majority of the following statements, you are certainly experiencing depression and you need to seek professional help. See a doctor or a counselor before the depression gets worse.

T or F - I feel sad and blue most of the time.
T or F - I feel like crying more than I did six months ago.
T or F - I feel hopeless and helpless most of the time.
T or F - I have no motivation.
T or F - I'm not interested in things I used to enjoy.
T or F - Recently I have wondered if life is worth living.
T or F - I am not sleeping well, or I want to sleep all of the time.
T or F - I have lost my appetite.
T or F - I am easily irritated.
T or F - I am more anxious about things than I used to be.
T or F - My energy level has dropped recently
T or F - I dread the morning. It is hard to get up.
T or F - I have been thinking about myself a lot recently.
T or F - The face looking back at me in the mirror is sad.
T or F - My self-concept needs improving.
T or F - I worry about the past, the present and the future.
T or F - I've had more headaches, upset stomach, constipation, rapid heartbeat, etc. in the last six months than usual.
T or F - I think that people have noticed that I am not working as well at my job, or enjoying life like I used to.

Is Depression A Sin?
Christians often ask this question. The answer is Not necessarily! While harboring sin or sinful attitudes in your life can certainly produce depression, other possible causes include experiencing a significant loss or having a physical problem that causes body chemistry to be imbalanced. Great men in the Bible, such as David (in many of his Psalms), Elijah (I Kings 19), Moses (Exodus 18), and Jonah (Jonah 4) experienced depression. In each of these situations God sent someone to help the suffering individual but He did not condemn him. Psalm 23:18 says, The Lord is close to the broken hearted, and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Whatever the cause, God cares about the person experiencing depression.
Some Interesting Facts
- One in four women and one in ten men will develop depression some time in their life.
- Men experience depression differently than women. Men tend to get angrier.
- Depression can affect children as well as adults and the elderly.
- Suicide may result when depression has not been treated successfully.
- Depression has been called the common cold of the mind.
- Between 80-90% of the people seeking treatment get well.

What Are Some Symptoms Of Depression?
Everyone feels sad sometimes due to a significant loss such as a death, a divorce or losing a job. Anger turned inward can also cause sad feelings. When these feelings are not dealt with properly and they continue over a long period of time, a person usually experiences a major depression.
Look For These Symptoms
- Feelings of sadness for over two weeks- Not wanting to spend time with friends and family- Increased irritability- Changes in sleep and appetite patterns- Frequent crying spells- Difficulty concentrating- Forgetfulness

How Can You Help A Depressed Person?

We often feel uncomfortable around a depressed person because we don't know what to say or do for him. This may cause us to make some serious mistakes when we try to help them. So what can you do to help?

Let him be honest about his feelings.Allow him to talk about his negative, depressedfeelings. Don't say, You shouldn't feel like that. Be there for him. A depressed person may have lost someone important in his life. Let him know you care and will be there for him.
Be aware. A depressed person often tries to avoid dealing with his feelings, or to pretend he is fine. If he fails to get help, he will only become more depressed. Help him get help.
Avoid saying . . .Just trust God.Just get over it.If you would just do . . . You have lots going for you. You shouldn'tfeel so bad.

When to Seek Help . . .
Major depression is a serious illness and can be fatal if left untreated. A person cannot face this illness alone. Seek professional help for yourself, or for someone you care for when you see . . .- Three or more symptoms of depression- Response to your attempts to help- No family or friends there for support- There are suicidal thoughts- The person turning to substance abuse- The individual cannot take care of his family or himself.

Dr. Ann Shorb is the founder of Christian Counseling & Educational Services, an accomplished professional speaker, and the author of A Light for My Path, a weekly email devotional. Visit her website for a free subscription to A Light for My Path.



By Dr. Ann ShorbChristian Counseling & Educational Services

What Is Anxiety?
Anxiety is an emotional and physical response to a vague, uncontrollable, or uncertain event. You may have the vague feeling that "something bad is going to happen." Worry concentrates more on specific events in our life.
The Bible says in Philippians 4: 6 & 7, Do not be anxious about anything . . . but let the peace of God . . . guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Christian Counseling & Educational Services wants to help people learn how to do just that and to find peace for their lives. While that might sound impossible, the Bible says in Luke 1:37, . . . nothing is impossible with God.

What Causes Anxiety?

- Family background - overly protective, critical, or perfectionistic families- Early life trauma of abuse, separation, or neglect- Cumulative stress - accidents, weddings, births, moves, financial problems - Genetic make-up - certain chemical imbalances in the brain- Your attitudes and beliefs about the world, yourself and God- The way you talk to yourself in your mind- Lack of meaning or purpose in life- Abusing alcohol and other drugs

There Are Different Anxiety Disorders
- Panic Disorder- Panic Attacks- Phobias- Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Did You Know . . .

One in four people have an anxiety disorder.One in ten people have a form of a phobia.One in 50 people have OCD.Anxiety & depression often exist together.Anxiety may cause significant changes in how your body functions.Anxiety does not discriminate; children as well as the elderly can experience anxiety.Men experience anxiety differently than women.God's Word, the Bible, provides direction for dealing with anxiety.
There is hope and help for those suffering from anxiety!

What Are The Signs Of Anxiety?

Check any of the following classic anxiety symptoms that apply to you:
- Sweating- Racing heart, heart palpitations- Chest pain or discomfort- Trouble breathing- Shaking or trembling- Trouble swallowing or a choking feeling- Upset stomach- Fear of losing control- Feeling like you are going to die- Muscle tension- Headaches- Difficulty sleeping- Difficulty concentrating or making decisions- Restlessness and/or irritability
If you checked four or more of these symptoms, you may have a problem with anxiety.
Common Characteristics of Anxiety Sufferers
- Trying to impress other people- Being perfectionist- Using alcohol to calm down- Feeling afraid but don't know why- Feeling unworthy of God's love- Feeling no one could really love you- Feeling guilty for things that are not your fault- Afraid to let others really know you- Frequent feeling of inadequacy

Words to Avoid Using With An Anxiety Sufferer
- Just pull yourself together.- Just relax.- Stop worrying.- Just ignore your problems.- Snap out of it.- Take a vacation, you'll feel better.- Just have more faith, or pray more.- Your problems aren't so bad. You should be able to cope.- Is God punishing you for some sin?
Counseling Can Help You . . .

- Learn how to manage your anxiety.- Learn relaxation techniques to help control your anxiety.- Become aware of the thought patterns that play a role in your anxiety.- Learn to make your self-talk more positive and realistic.- Gain a closer relationship with God.- Understand that you may need to take medication for awhile.

What Can You Do . . .

- See a doctor and get a complete physical examination. Make sure that these symptoms are not a potentially serious medical condition.- Find a professional counselor you trust.- Share your feelings with a trusted friend.- Improve your health with good nutrition, proper rest and regular exercise.- Learn to enjoy life. Relax!- Avoid stressful situations when possible.-

Learn to say "No" to extra pressures.-
Set realistic goals.
Be kind to yourself.-
Seek help from God,
your church, prayer and the Bible.
Suggested Books To Read:

CCES does not necessarily endorse all comments by the authors. These materials are not intended to be a substitute for professional counseling; therefore, CCES is not to be held liable for any event that transpires as a result of reading these materials.
The Anxiety Cureby Dr. Archibald Hart
Answers to Anxiety, by Drs. Steve & Rebecca Wilke

Dr. Ann Shorb is the founder of Christian Counseling & Educational Services, an accomplished professional speaker, and the author of A Light for My Path, a weekly email devotional. Visit her website for a free subscription to A Light for My Path.

Saturday, 7 July 2007


Have you ever noiced how much we all have to say. Although it is school holidays in CHCH we decided scones and tea were in order. What fun we had. The children were so well behaved and we discussed vision reading from the book of Ruth and discussing the miracle of milk that came from Naomi (Ruth 4:16). This just cements that it is NEVER EVER too late for your vision, your dream to come to pass. Never ever give up, if God can cause milk to flow from an old woman's breast and she can suckle her grandchild, God can do it for you!!!

Thursday, 5 July 2007


Each of us has war wounds sustained in life's battles. Some only scar; others fester forever. A close examination of the offending ulcers often reveals shrapnel — unresolved hurts.

Because unforgiveness receives a hefty share of ink in the Bible, I'm listing the Word's Top 10 Reasons (my order) why we need to teach and learn forgiveness:
We're to love our neighbor as ourselves, including our enemies. Matthew 5:44
If we want to be forgiven, we must forgive. Matthew 6:12, 24, 15

Unforgiveness hinders our prayers. Matthew 5:23, 24
We are not to be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. One of the ways we overcome is by forgiving the evil. Romans 12:21
"Great rewards" and blessing are promised to those who practice forgiveness. Luke 6: 35, Matthew 5:7

Forgiveness is commanded — seventy times seven — which means always! Matthew 18:21, 22

Forgiveness illustrates the love of God, making us "children of our Father." Matthew 5:45

Forgiveness demonstrates maturity in Christ. Matthew 5:48

If we are unforgiving, we are no better than our enemies. Matthew 5: 46, 47

Forgiveness shows discretion and "glory." Proverbs 19:11

Remember: Those who have something to forgive are the bleeding victims. The only place they will ever find healing and help is at the feet of Jesus.

Those who need to ask for forgiveness will need His Divine help to do it.

"Forgiving is not forgetting; it is letting go of the hurt" - Mary Mcleod Bethume

"Forgiveness is the key that unlocks the door of resentment and the handcuffs of hate. It is a power that breaks the chains of bitterness and the shackles of selfishness. He who cannot forgive others, breaks the bridge over which he himself must pass." - Corrie Ten Boom

"Forgiveness is an act of the will and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart." - Corrie Ten Boom

"Not forgiving is like drinking rat poison and then waiting for the rat to die." - Anne Lamott

from Traveling Mercies© Rebekah Montgomery 2007

(used with permission)

Wednesday, 4 July 2007


July 2007

Dear Friends

Can you believe that the middle of the year has gone? It seems absolutely incredible that the seventh month of the year is already upon us.

The positive feedback I have received about this being the year of perfect expectation is wonderful, amidst all the trials and hardship that the enemy is bringing on some of the most important ministries God has said, that this year is the year of PERFECT EXPECTATION!!!

What a privilege to serve our Lord, how very fortunate we are, it reminds me of the old gospel song…”without Him I would be nothing..”

I am really so excited and expectant for the 2008 International WOMEN FOR THE NATIONS CONFERENCE! Please with us that it will be more miraculous than ever before!

As you all know I am working in a drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre as a clinician at present and and happy to report that within 2 months I will be able to serve WOMEN FOR THE NATIONS in a full time capacity. Further I long to visit you this year, God is stirring such awesome words for the church and it would be such an honour to sit around the table and share with you.

“From Tears To Triumph” is dusted and raring to go…if God has changed your life from tears to triumph please send me your stories, if you will allow me to use your story please send me permission in writing saying you will allow me the freedom to use your story in my book. Names, places etc will be changed to protect your identity.

I further urgently need the stories of women who minister in any capacity and have been hurt by the church ….either by male leadership or by congregants who have tried to use the Word of God to suppress their ministries. This will be used for my Masters thesis entitled, “Women in Leadership”.

The most delightful poem was sent to me by one of George’s colleagues, I hope it blesses you as much as it blesses me:-

Dancing with God~

When I meditated on the word GUIDANCE, I was drawn to "dance" at the end of the word. I reflected upon how doing God's will is a lot like dancing. When two people try to lead, nothing feels right. The movement doesn't flow with the music, and everything is quite uncomfortable and jerky. When one person realizes this and lets the other lead, both bodies begin to flow with the music.

One gives gentle cues, perhaps with a nudge to the back or by pressing lightly in one direction or another. It's as if two become one body, moving beautifully. The dance takes surrender, willingness, and attentiveness from one person and gentle guidance and skill from the other. My eyes drew back to the word GUIDANCE. When I saw "G," I thought of God, followed by "u" and "i." "God, "u" and "i" dance." ! God, you, and I dance. This statement is what guidance means to me. As I lowered my head, I became willing to trust that I would get guidance about my life. Once again, I became willing to let God lead.

My prayer for you today is that God's blessings and mercies be upon you and your family on this day and everyday. May you abide in Him as He abides in you. Dance together with God, trusting Him to lead and to guide you through each season of your life.
This prayer is powerful and there is nothing attached. If God has done anything for you in your life, please share this message with someone else, for prayer is one of the best gifts we can receive. There is no cost but a lot of rewards; so lets continue to pray for one another. I Hope You Dance !!!!!!!!!!!! ANON

Remember Jesus is coming soon and our God is not a respecter of persons. He is calling His handmaidens all around the world and telling them to “ARISE the winter is over” “Arise”.

You are very special and your friendship is very important to me, please remember to send me your testimonies if the ministry you have received from Women for the Nations has touched your heart in any way.

So to end with a last poem:-

The Broken Pot
By Julia Khoury

There was once a Potter who visited a shop.
The shop owner was very happy to have him there and wasted no time in showing him his most prized pots. They were indeed beautiful. Some had unusual designs or figures on them. “These are my best pots,” the shop owner proclaimed, proudly.
But the Potter shook his head. “They are very nice,” he said. “But this is not what I want.”
Perplexed, the shop owner led him to another shelf. “How about one of these?” he asked. “They are a bit chipped, but surely, they can be used for something…”

Again, the Potter shook his head. “This is not what I want.” Then, looking past the shop owner towards the back of the shop, he asked, “What about that one?”
The shop owner followed his gaze. “Oh, no, sir…you don’t want that pot. Can’t you see? It’s shattered. It’s useless.”
“Are all the pieces there?” the Potter asked.
The shop owner shrugged. “Well…yes.”
The Potter took a step towards the broken fragments.

“Why do you want that pot,” the shop owner asked, “When there are so many others here?”
A smile crossed the Potter’s face. “Because the strongest pots of all are the ones that have first been broken,” he answered.
And that night, with great care and gentleness, the Potter carried the broken pieces home and began his work.

Many, many weeks later, the king of all the land held a great feast for all his subjects. Both the Potter and the shop owner were present. They greeted one another warmly and talked for awhile. Then, the shop owner looked at one of the pots on the kings table. “It’s a beautiful pot,” he remarked. “But for some reason, it seems as if I’ve seen it before.”

“Do you remember a certain broken pot?” the Potter asked.
“Yes.” Then a look of shock passed the shop owner’s face as he looked again at the pot, the one he had seen no use for. He gave his head a shake, seeing with new eyes. “You don’t mean…that broken pot…?”

“Yes.” The Potter beamed. “That broken pot.”
Just like the broken pot, God can take our lives and make them into something beautiful, if we give Him all the pieces.

Please continue to keep my family in your prayers.
I am trusting for personal intercessors who will pray for my ministry, if you would like to be one of my faith sisters please let me know.
Further please could all you creative women pray and ask God to help you design a logo for the organization. I look forward to receiving all your dynamic ideas.

Looking forward to your letters ideas and testimonies.

Love and Hugs


1 Cor 13

Women for the Nations is a ministry of Sharmaine Dobson Ministries and aims to be an interdenominational, international fellowship of women. The aim of Women for the Nations is to empower women to discover their purpose, realise their potential, become women of passion, being aware of who they are in Jesus Christ, having an intimate relationship with God, knowing Him in all His ways and having a mature understanding of the Word of God.

Women for the Nations further seeks to ensure that as women move out in their God given ministries they are fully equipped to reach out to a lost and dying world, full of needy people who are desperate for the love and understanding that they would need to become whole in Christ.

Women of the Nations aim to encourage women to build bridges of friendship across the many divides which challenge women of every nation, tribe and tongue.

Further it is our aim to provide solace and a safe harbour for hurting and discouraged women in ministry helping them to be restored and come to a place of wholeness in Christ.

Monday, 2 July 2007

Be R.E.A.L

Be R.E.A.L. Romans 12:3-12:21 Someone wrote that some of the world’s unhappiest people are Christians. Why? Some Christians are too Christian to enjoy sinning but too sinful to enjoy their Christianity. Some Christians have enough faith to recognize their need for prayer, but not enough to take them to prayer meeting. Some Christians have enough faith to keep them from reading porn materials but not enough for them to read their Bible daily.

Teenagers have an expression. “Be real!” today, through Romans 12:1-2, I challenge you to surrender yourselves to God and separate from the world’s value system.

Today, I challenge you to be real as believers. Let’s open our Bibles to Romans 12:3-21. To make it easy for us to remember our message, I came up with the acronym R-E-A-L.

“R” stands for “REMEMBER who we are in Christ.” Verse 3 reads, “For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.” In our devotional guide this morning, we saw that we are to love ourselves correctly. One way of doing that is by having a sober assessment of your self or by coming to grips with the real you.

We struggle with the question of identity. We ask, “Who am I?” We tend to underestimate or overestimate ourselves. When we struggle with who we are, we find it hard to accept others also. But the Bible says it’s okay to have a high, health view of your self.

Note that it does not say, “Do not think of yourself highly.” Instead, it says that “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought.” And to have the right estimate of ourselves, we have to start with how God looks at us. Paul wrote, “…think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you”.

The God’s Word version goes like this: “your thoughts should lead you to use good judgment based on what God has given each of you as believers.” We need to value ourselves the way God values us. God created us in His image.

Yes, sin tarnished that image. But God redeemed us. And now, we are His workmanship.

We are His masterpiece! God values us so much even before we were born, He watched over us. Isaiah 44:2 says, “I am your Creator. You were in my care even before you were born.”

In Psalm 139:16, it says, “You... scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe. Every day was recorded in your book!” We are so valuable to God. So, being humble is not putting your self down. Being humble is knowing where you stand before God. Remember who you are in Christ. Never forget who you really are.

We also struggle with the question of security. We ask, “Where do I belong?” When we are insecure, it affects how we relate with others. Verses 4-5 says, “Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.”

We belong to Christ’s body. The future doctor Lester Chua told me that there is always an effect on the body when you remove any part of it. That’s why always remember that we belong to each other. I like how The Message translated Colossians 3:15: “Let the peace of Christ keep you in tune with each other, in step with each other. None of this going off and doing your own thing.” Ephesians 4:4 also says, “You were all called to travel on the same road and in the same direction, so stay together, both outwardly and inwardly.”

Remember who we are in Christ.

“E” stands for “ENJOY serving others with your gifts.” We also struggle with the question of significance. We ask, “What am I supposed to do?” Verses 6-8 teach us that God has gifted us to serve Him through each other.

“We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.”

Time does not permit us to discuss in detail the spiritual gifts itemized here. But let me first emphasize that God gave each one at least one spiritual gift. The New Living Translation goes like this:

“God has given each of us the ability to do certain things well.” All of us are gifted. Thus, we need to discover and develop our gifts to serve others: “let’s just go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pride fully comparing ourselves with each other, or trying to be something we aren’t.”[9] I once taught in our church that we are to maximize our strengths and minimize our weaknesses. We must find out what we do well and do more of it. And we must find what we don’t do well and do less of it. When we fail to make use of our gifts, we are depriving ourselves the opportunity to serve others and we are depriving others the blessings of being served well. When we try to do things that we are not gifted to do, we can’t do it as well as those who are supposed to do it. We are also missing out on what we’re supposed to do. And we are blocking others from doing what they are supposed to do.

So, enjoy servings others with your gifts. Always remember that the Christian life is not only believing but also belonging. We are part of a community of faith. This leads me to my next point.

“A” stands for “AFFIRM the need for authentic community.” Have you ever asked, “If I were a first time visitor, what would be my impression of this church?” Would you feel so welcome? Does the church have to resort to gimmicks to attract visitors?

Charles Swindoll, "Ican assure you, when people discover that a church promotes authenticity, when its leaders model it on a consistent basis, they cannot stay away. It’s like an invisible magnet that draws them in.” Swindoll defines “authenticity” this way: “Authenticity occurs when real people say real things about real issues with real feelings. When you’re authentic you live what you are.” We need to make sure we are authentic and we stay authentic. I like how Dr. Chip Ingram summarized Romans 12:9-13: “Authentic community occurs when the real you meet real needs for the right reasons in the right way.” Let us look at every facet of this statement.

First, “Authentic community occurs when the real you…” Verse 9a says, “Love must be sincere.” To be sincere means to be without hypocrisy. The New Living Translation goes like this: “Don’t just pretend that you love others. Really love them.” People can easily detect a fake. Let’s continue: “Authentic community occurs when the real you meet real needs…” That doesn’t mean that we compromise our faith: “Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.” So, when we see a person who needs correction, Galatians 6:1 says that “if someone is trapped in sin, you should gently lead that person back to the right path.” We need to be committed to each other no matter what.

Verse 10 says, “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.” Rick Warren wrote, “This is beginning of real community. …We must remember that the church is made up of real sinners, including ourselves. Because we’re sinners, we hurt each other, sometimes intentionally and sometimes unintentionally. But instead of leaving the church, we need to stay and work it out if at all possible.” That devotion takes humility. That’s why Paul added: “Honor one another above yourselves.” Let’s proceed: “Authentic community occurs when the real you meet real needs for the right reasons…” Verse 11 says, “Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.” We are actually serving the Lord through each one. So we must be passionate and enthusiastic in serving one another. And finally, “Authentic community occurs when the real you meet real needs for the right reasons in the right way.” Note the upward focus of verse 12: “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” We have our own needs to be fulfilled. But the problem is meeting other people’s needs does not guarantee that our own needs would be met. I agree it’s really disappointing.

That’s why we need to trust God to meet our needs as we meet the needs of others. Note also that we are not to ask what we can get but what we can give. Look at the outward focus of verse 13: “Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.” We are to think not only of our own needs but also the needs of others. It’s fulfilling when you are “other-centered.” But it’s not rewarding when you are “self-centered.” So, we must affirm the need for authentic community.Finally,

“L” stands for “LEARN to supernaturally respond to evil.” When we seek to live out the life God wanted us to live, we will surely face conflicts and struggles. Even people we serve will not respond positively to us. Verse 14-21 teaches us that there are three things we have to remember when people oppose us. First, we are to bless them. Verses 14-16 says, “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Live in harmony with one another.

Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.” Note that it takes humility to do that. Second, we are not to take revenge. Verses 17-20 says, “Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord. On the contrary: ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.’” Love people rather than hate them. Why? We tend to become what we love or hate. So, choose what you want to become. That’s why verse 21 encourages us: “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.”What does Paul mean by “you will heap burning coals on his head”? That doesn’t mean that your goal is to embarrass them, that you do good things to people who hate you so that they would burn with shame.

During the time of Paul, people do not have a heater at home. They usually have a small fire in the midst of their homes to warm them up. But when their fire goes out, they bring a jar and knock on their neighbors’ doors to ask for coals. If the neighbor is stingy, they give you small pieces of coals or even those that are about to burn out. But if the neighbor is generous, they give you fresh coals. In fact, they would even fill up your jar.

Remember that people carry jars by balancing it on their heads. That’s what Paul meant by heaping burning coals on people’s heads. To do good in response to evil rather than paying evil with evil is an act of generosity. Now this is not difficult. This is impossible. But by the grace of God, we can learn to supernaturally respond to evil.A group of scientists experimented with monkeys. They placed four monkeys in a room. Now there’s a pole with a bunch of bananas on top. Every time a monkey would climb the pole, it would be doused with cold water. It happened again and again until finally the monkeys gave up. Now the scientists removed one of the monkeys and placed a new one. You know what happened? When the new monkey tried to climb the pole, the other monkeys grabbed him and dragged him away from the pole. Then the scientists replaced another monkey. They did the same thing up to the last monkey. At the end, all the monkeys got replaced. Every monkey, even if they have never been doused by water, never climbed the pole. They just refuse to climb it.

Now, people have failed before in their commitment to God. At times, they end up discouraging others who would also commit themselves to God. They act like those monkeys. Brothers and sisters don’t be like them.

Be R-E-A-L. REMEMBER who we are in Christ.ENJOY serving others with your gifts.AFFIRM the need for authentic community.LEARN to supernaturally respond to evil.

BetweenYou and Me

BetweenYou and Me