Hope and more…

“Never Left Without Hope” by Beth Marie Evans.

The first thing we learn about God is that He is drawn to destruction and devastation. The Master Builder that He is, desires to repair, remake, and rebuild everything that has been broken (see Genesis 1:1-2). The truth is that God is never closer than when we are in dire straits. There might be times when we think all hope is gone. And we are not alone when we feel this way. The children of Israel must have felt this way when trapped between the sea and the Egyptian army. But regardless of how things looked, Pharaoh and his riders were cast into the sea and drowned, never to be seen, or heard of again. The Lord is The Man of War, and there is not anyone who can beat Him when it comes to battle strategy.

God used the seemingly hopeless situation they were in to destroy their enemy once and for all. God knows the enemy’s strategy even before he does. God had His own strategy to deliver His people. The enemy was caught in his own trap. And in the same way, Haman was hung on his own gallows, the enemy army was destroyed. “For Pharaoh will say of the Israelites, ‘They are wandering aimlessly in the land; the wilderness has shut them in.’ I will harden (make stubborn, defiant) Pharaoh’s heart, so that he will pursue them; and I will be glorified and honored through Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians shall know [without any doubt] and acknowledge that I am the Lord. And they did so” (Exodus 14:3-4 AMP).

God will fight for us. There are times when we must hold our peace, and let Him fight our battles, and times when we must allow Him to teach our hands to war, and our fingers to fight. The only way we will know is if we communicate with Him through prayer. King Solomon dedicated the first temple, praising God for all he did in his life, prior to his prayer of dedication. And…“Then Solomon said, ‘The Lord has said that He would dwell in the thick darkness [of the cloud]’” (I Kings 8:12 AMP). Jesus is the Lily of every dark valley. He is also the bright star that we will find in the morning, as joy gives us hope and strength for the coming day. Praying in the morning, noon, and at night will enable us to have this revelation in good times and bad. We must seek Him like that lily in the dark valley, and wait for Him like we would wait for dawn to come during the longest of dark nights.

We are called out of darkness into His marvelous light. We are called to be a royal priesthood, ambassadors for Christ. He is the same God who brought Israel out of Egypt saying, “”And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation [set apart for My purpose].’ These are the words that you shall speak to the Israelites” (Exodus 19:6). We are called to represent Him as we travel this narrow road that leads to life. When God is elevated in our lives above our situations and physical limitations, we will have the revelation we need to search out the things that were hidden from the foundation of the world. After all, “It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, But the glory of kings is to search out a matter” (Proverbs 25:2 AMP). If we are to rule and reign with him, we must know Him, and be willing to see His handiwork in every situation. We can look to the scriptures to see that God is always working on behalf of those who are His…let’s be on the winning side. Remember, we are never left without hope…in our hearts!

Beth Marie Evans
International Christian Fellowship
Brookfield, Illinois
(Info from: World Network of Prayer – wnopadmins@upci.org)

“Unity within the Family” by Shannon J. Robinson.

Genesis 1:26–31 informs us that, on the sixth day of Creation, God formed humans in His own image. He made both male and female. Genesis 2:24 adds, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” In the Gospels, Jesus repeats this revelation, stating, “So then, they are no longer two but one flesh” (Matthew 19:5, Mark 10:8).

The original Hebrew phrase for “one flesh” indicates two people who are united emotionally, intellectually, spiritually, and in every way humanly possible. The Genesis story emphasizes that God desired our first parents to be one. Once that level of connection was established, then the second charge given to Adam and Eve could be fulfilled. God instructed the first family to be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, subdue (moderate), and have dominion (Genesis 1:28).

When godly unity is present in the family structure, the fruit of Spirit is manifested. All family members demonstrate mutual respect and are allowed to live out their God-given purpose within the family unit.

Deuteronomy 6:7 illustrates how to maintain unity within our families. Parents are commanded to diligently teach their children the Word of God without ceasing. With this level of instruction, the family can preserve the essence of what God originally intended in the Garden of Eden—to be one with His people along with His people being one as a family. God intended for the family system to teach people how to treat one another.

How do we develop unity within the family?

All family members should endeavor to be one with God.
Spouses should pray and study the Bible regularly with the purpose of edifying their marriage.
Parents should collectively teach their children the Word of God throughout each developmental stage of life.
Families should, within the context of healthy boundaries, cohesively serve other believers and non-believers, allowing the family to demonstrate unity to a divided world.

What is the litmus test for knowing your family is unified? Here are a few questions that can help guide us in embodying unity to a divided world.

Is there a real sense of safety within your family?
Is there a shared sense of value and respect among all family members?
Does your family walk in Apostolic authority together?
Does your family have an authentic relationship with God?
Is that relationship reflected in how you treat others?

It should be noted that not all Apostolics have the same family structure. There are varieties of families within the church—single parent homes, grandfamilies, kinship families, and other types of family systems. Whatever the form, God will fulfill His promises if your family aligns itself with His Word. Applying the principles of God’s Word within your family will ensure that His glory resides in your life and your home.

(Info from: UPCI Family Ministries Newsletter – family@upci.org)

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