As Mothers we know that love cannot be forced: it must be freely given – we fool ourselves if we think otherwise.  We may want our husbands or children to love us, but we cannot win that person’s love by force.  Even if we demanded love at gun point, our families might go through the motions of showing it but only out of fear – in their hearts they would despise us.

1 Corinthians 13:4-6 defines how a Mother’s love will be successful in ministering to her family: Love is very patient and kind, never jealous or envious, never boastful or proud, never haughty or selfish or rude. Love does not demand its own way. It is not irritable or touchy. It does not hold grudges and will hardly even notice when others do it wrong. It is never glad about injustice, but rejoices whenever truth wins out.– This is God’s love.

AS we apply God’s love in our families, there will be a resilience, a strength, a bonding, that will outlast and go through any and many trials in life.

One of the primary goals of Christianity is guiding people to receive salvation and come to love the Lord, but if we think we can achieve this noble aim through legal action, coercive bullying or nagging, we fool ourselves.  Christ has shown us the way by living the example of godly love.  People flocked to him seeking forgiveness, compassion, grace and love.  Jesus never needed to force himself on anyone.  He showed them that through God’s love they would be able to withstand everything that our enemy can throw at us.

This Mother’s day perhaps we can evaluate where our families are truly at. What is your family’s condition? If you would like to know HOW TO apply God’s love and see your relationship ties strengthened, we would love to introduce you to Jesus, who is the “the’ way; ‘the’ truth; and ‘the’ life.

May every Mother have an awesome Mother’s day and be instrumental in keeping her family TOGETHER through living in God’s love.

Have you ever considered that a ‘good’ king is a servant to his people?  He holds his power and position for the betterment of his subjects.  He is not above the laws he makes; he is subject to them.  He always has his nation’s best interests at heart and is willing to lay down his life for his people. 

Jesus Christ is known as the Lord of Lords and King of Kings.  As God, Jesus is Sovereign over all His creation, yet still He serves mankind daily with oxygen, gravity and sunshine. 

As man, Jesus is subject to all the laws that God has decreed (the many commandments).  He is also subject to all the laws of perfection.  He must always be righteous, fair, truthful and sinless. Hebrews 4:15 states: For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weakness, but in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.

Furthermore as with any good king, Christ has shown He is willing to lay down His life for the safety and best interests of His people.   

John 10:11 states: “I am the good shepherd.  The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.”  Christ went willingly to the cross to pay the penalty of sin, so all who believe in Him may have eternal life.  John 3:16. 

Our Creator, so in love with His Creation, and so that He could continue to have relationship with those He Created, laid down His Life because we messed up and as a result separated ourselves from Him.

Now through not only His death, but His Resurrection, we are restored back into that place where we can have intimate relationship with Him, as was His purpose in Creating us in the beginning. 

May you ponder this amazing truth this Easter.

Need help in understanding?? It would be our pleasure to help you find these precious truths in the Bible (that never changes) and see you become all that you can be in life and in God.

Easter Blessings, from Pastor Marilyn Hunter and all @ Encourage Church.

A teenage boy, playing a computer game, heard a knock on the front door.  He chose to ignore it.  Soon after his mother came downstairs and asked, ‘Did you answer the door?’   Not taking his eyes from the game, the boy replied, ‘I didn’t want to - someone may have been there.’

We often deny God’s existence for many reasons.  Sometimes, it’s simply because we don’t want Him to exist.  We can be so preoccupied acquiring material things or fulfilling personal ambitions that we think our plans will be upset if we concede that there is a God.  Alternatively, we have accepted theories of evolution for so long we now consider them established facts – and nothing will move us from our faith in those atheistic beliefs.   

God reveals Himself in so many ways - through Creation, His Word, our conscience and various other agents.  Every person, without exception, hears God knocking.   But many of us don’t want to answer just in case someone is there and we have to stop what we are doing and adjust our thinking.  (Romans 1:20)

With the onset of COVID, many questions about life have been raised.  And with these questions there has also come the opportunity to adjust our thinking, to reset our priorities, and perhaps even change who or what we  BELIEVE IN.

No one in the World has been able to IGNORE COVID.

But through this pandemic God has been Knocking.  God is a Gentleman!   He will not force entry into our lives.  It is up to us to answer the door and let Him in.  Understandably, no one wants to be disturbed by an unwelcome guest, but God is the Creator of the Universe and He comes bearing a great gift (eternal salvation).  We have so much to lose by ignoring God.  Furthermore, change that may occur in our life by answering God’s call will only be a change for the better. 

“Behold, I stand at the door and knock.  If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with me.” Revelation 3:20.

To prove our capabilities in certain endeavours, we often need someone else to take a chance and believe in us.  When given such a chance, we then have an opportunity to prove their faith in us was well founded. 

The world’s greatest intellects can neither prove nor disprove God’s existence.  It all comes down to personal belief.  If we adamantly don’t believe in something, we sceptically explain away all proof.  We live in a world where seeing is believing; however, one of the greatest acts of trust we can show in another, is believing in them before the evidence is seen. 

God does not coerce our free-will. That is why belief is the currency that He demands before He vindicates Himself.  Only those who step out in faith see the evidence of God working in their lives.  This explains why many Christians have a strong faith; by believing they have seen – and once seen it is easy to believe.  

In a world of reason it seems foolish to believe in something before seeing the evidence, but if we always disbelieve in God we inadvertently close the door on Him ever proving Himself.  Give God a chance.  We must remember, God does not need us – but we certainly need Him.  God does reveal Himself through creation and His Word (the Bible), but if we wish for God to reveal Himself further in our life, we must choose to seek Him. 

How do we start? The Bible states in John 10:9 that Jesus Christ is the door and by believing in Him we will receive everlasting life and an eternal relationship with God. (See Hebrews 11:6, 2 Corinthians 5:7)

2020 was NOT the year that most had anticipated.

However 2021 to many will be a year that is appreciated and valued and full of NEW HOPE more than ever.

So, this year, why not reach for a new adventure, take a giant leap of faith and believe in Jesus Christ , just as you would like to have a fresh start and be believed in.  It could be the most rewarding year of your whole life.

The story of Christmas is a story of humility.  A young, unmarried Jewish girl faced the prospect of being ostracized in her community.  She was pregnant.  Would her betrothed sill consent to marry her?  What would her family say?  What would her friends say?

A census was commanded by Caesar Augustus for the little country.  Each had to return to his ancestral home for the count.  At nine months pregnant, Mary and her betrothed Joseph made the long arduous journey to Bethlehem.  As they entered the little village, they longed for a place to lay their weary bodies.  However, as they sought a room at an inn, there was none available – only a stable.

The entry of Mary’s son into the world did not occur in a mansion with servants in attendance but in a place prepared for cows and donkeys.  Her son did not have a soft feathered bed to greet him but a feeding trough.  But this was not the end of the humiliation - a cross still lay in the future.  Yet in the midst of the darkness there was the good news of light coming to a dark world.

The prophet Isaiah had proclaimed more than seven hundred years earlier: “To us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government will be upon his shoulder, and his name will be called ‘Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.’”

Mighty God?  This carpenter from an obscure village in Galilee?  This man with no earthly possessions?  Who would believe it?  Yet many have, and do, and will continue to believe in the One born and placed in a manger.  As the Bible states of Him: “...who though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.  And being found in human form He humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross.  Therefore God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

This is the story of Christmas: God the Son (Jesus) coming down to earth as a little baby and taking on himself the sins of the world.  Your sins and my sins.  God Himself became a nobody so that we can all become somebodies.  I hope you remember these things as we celebrate the reason for the season.

Our prayer is that through this year of difficulties and challenges, of isolation and restrictions, that you have come to understand it is not about “WHAT” you have in your life.  Rather it is about “WHO” you have in your life.  This is the Christmas Message.

We pray that your loved ones will mean so much to you this Christmas, but even more than that, Jesus will have become the essential relationship in your life, and that relationship will be valued by you for Eternity.  May you all have a VERY BLESSED and MEANINGFUL CHRISTMAS with much LOVE from all @ ENCOURAGE CHURCH.