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God the promise keeper

Micah 6:8 He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

In the books we looked at this week, from Hosea to Micah, we see that there is a recurring theme of people committing all manner of sin and forsaking God.

We also see that God gave these people a warning through prophecy, with instructions of what he is asking his people to do in order for them to be saved and restore their relationship with him. It’s not God’s desire to destroy his people, he wants us to live our best life and have a relationship with him.

In the previous podcasts we talked about how God desires to show mercy and forgive us, all we have to do is follow his instructions and humble ourselves before him.

To contextualise this a bit more, we can look at the relationship of a mother and her child. If your child is being disrespectful or causing all kinds of trouble, you as a loving and responsible parent, you’re not just going to sit back and watch. You want the best for your child, so you will warn them at first and if that doesn’t get through, you might let them learn from their mistakes and if needed you’ll discipline them.

Hebrew 12:6 because the Lord disciplines the one he loves…

This is how God is with us, but God’s love and compassion for us is several-folds over than that of a mother for her child, if you can do anything for your child, imagine how much more God does for us!

Today I choose to remember that God loves me, he promises to keep his covenant with me and all I have to do is follow his instructions

Let’s pray: Thank you God for your word today, please help us to live our lives in a way that is pleasing to you and according to your word.

Thank you for listening. As always, please follow and share our podcast. For the notes visit pursing athentic.co.uk. Bye!

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God Desires to show Forgiveness

The story concerns God’s call to Jonah to warn the people of Nineveh of its coming destruction. However, Jonah tries to avoid his mission by running away but ends up going after being swallowed and spat out by a huge fish. Jonah 1–2

I always thought that the moral of this story was for us to know that you can’t run away from what God has called you to do. Which is true of course, but I learned something completely new which really challenged me. 

After Jonah went to preach to the Ninevites, they fasted, prayed and repented from their evil ways and God forgave them. 

Jonah 3:10 When God saw what the Ninevites did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened.

Jonah 4: 1–4 But to Jonah this seemed very wrong, and he became angry. He prayed to the Lord, “Isn’t this what I said, Lord, when I was still at home? That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. Now, Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.” But the Lord replied, “Is it right for you to be angry?”

God is asking Jonah if his anger towards the Ninevites is justified, there is no response from Jonah to this in bible, but Jonah hated the Ninevites because they were very cruel and violent.

God still forgave the Ninevites but Jonah was still hoping God will destroy them. Jonah would rather die than see the Ninevites live.

The questions that challenged me are:

1) Are you ok with God loving and forgiving your enemies?

2) Is there a bit of Jonah inside you that’s holding on to grudges that God has already declared forgiven?

Today I choose to remember that God loves all people and desires to show mercy and forgiveness to those who repent.

Prayer: I thank God for his unending mercy and pray that we learn to love and forgive our enemies the same way God forgives us. Amen

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God defends

By Belina Sithole

But Jerusalem will become a refuge for those who escape; it will be a holy place. And the people of Israel will come back to reclaim their inheritance.
Obadiah 1:17

The book of Obadiah tells us about God’s judgement against the nation of Edom, Edom is a family that descended from Esau, Jacob’s twin brother. The Israelites are a descended of Jacob. Genesis 25 – 27.

To provide you with a quick overview, Esau and Jacob had a long and tense sibling rivalry which started when they were still in their mother’s womb.

God had already chosen Jacob over Esau before they were even born. We also see how God defends Jacob against Esau If we look at Obadiah 1: 18

Jacob will be a fire and Joseph a flame; Esau will be stubble, and they will set him on fire and destroy him. There will be no survivors from Esau.” The Lord has spoken.

Why would God choose one brother over the other? Why would he choose the Israelites over Edom?

I am not able to comprehend how God works, but I understand that God works through people to show how amazing, powerful and loving he is.

God used his relationship with the Israelites to show that if you trust him, obey him and worship him only, he will protect, provide and defend his chosen people. We should ask ourselves as Christians, as God’s people is; is my life representative of a life of someone that has a relationship with God? When people see me, do they see a difference from someone who is not a Christian? 

Today I choose to remember that God chose me as his people and he defends and fights for me.

Prayer: Thank you God for choosing me as your favoured people and for working through me to bring light into the lives of those around me. Amen.

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God of restoration

By Belina Sithole

” In that day, I will restore David’s fallen shelter, I will repair its broken walls and restore its ruins, and will rebuild it as it used to be, so that they may possess the remnant of Edom and all the nations that bear my name”, declares the Lord, who will do these things. Amos 9:11

Amos chapter 9, starts off with Prophet Amos’ vision of how God will destroy Israel because they had broken their covenant with God.

In our society today, we might not be worshipping or offering sacrifices to wooden idols. However, when we put our value on material things, be it our cars, house, jobs etc. One could argue that we are probably living a similar lifestyle that the Israelites did.

If we barely prioritise or include God in our day to day activities but have time to be fully active on our social media from morning to night, I think we are enslaving ourselves.

The good news is, in the verse we just read, we see that there is hope of restoration for the Israelites. God is promising to repair and restore, the same is true for us. He will restore his relationship with us. In order to have a relationship with God, as with any relationship, we need to spend time with him, put God first.

So today I choose to remember that God is a God of restoration!

Prayer: God I thank you because you continue to pursue me, I will prioritise my relationship with you and put you first in all I do. Amen!

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God of grace, love and Mercy

By Belina Sithole

“Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord for He is gracious and merciful, slow to anger and of great kindness: He relents from doing harm.” Joel 2:13

In the verse we just read, Joel 2:13, it says ‘rend your heart and not your garments.’  and verse 12 says ‘return to me with all your heart’.

My understanding from these verses is that for us to repent, we must do so whole heartedly and not try to do it for show or under false pretence. Sometimes when you offend someone, or do something wrong, it’s easy to apologise and not really mean it and if you’re good at it the other person might believe that you’re truly sorry. But we know that we cannot fool God.

God knows our hearts; he knows when we are really trying to live a life that is pleasing to him and when we are genuine about it.

The verse then goes on to say, ‘for he is a gracious and merciful God’. So, if we are genuine about changing our lifestyle, even when we fail, God willingly forgives us. Why, because we do not earn God’s forgiveness, no matter how good of a person you might be or how much work you put in, God forgives us because he is a gracious and merciful God who is slow to anger and of great kindness.

So today I choose to remember that I’m saved by God’s grace, his love and mercy are much greater than my sins.

Prayer: God I thank you for your grace and mercy, I pray that I continue to seek you with all my heart and remain faithful to you. Amen!

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Who do you trust ?

By Walinasé-Miriam

For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters, Which spreads out its roots by the river, And will not fear when heat comes; But its leaf will be green, And will not be anxious in the year of drought, Nor will cease from yielding fruit.
Jeremiah 17:8

One thing you should remember for the rest of your day (and might I add the rest of your life) is that God is good all the time, and people are good sometimes. This verse is such a powerful passage, it warns us of what happens when we put our trust in man and not God. As an example, in most cases people believe  that it is the government’s job to look after them, however throughout history there are countless examples of where governments and people in authority – who are meant to help – have been the source of our problems. In the same way, your parents, friends, teachers, spouse etc. can let you down. It’s only the God who never changes who will always have your back. That is why, people who were previously so deep in love can get to a point of literally wanting to kill each other. People can change but God will always be consistent.

In verse 8, the passage compares a person who trusts in the lord to a tree that is planted by the streams of water which is always green and does not fear when drought comes. I am a plant person, but I am not very good at looking after my plants. In comparison to the plants described in verse 8, my plants are missing so much love and nutrition that would come by being planted by the streams of water – instead they are uprooted and planted outside of their natural habitat. God is our natural habitat.

From this scripture we see that above all else, putting your trust in God is a form of protection. We see a plant that is not afraid of the water, but it is always green. Applied to our life, it shows that the love of God will cover us when life gets hard and is our protection. I know in Christian circles we often pray for the spirit of discernment but a cure to not being let down or dragged by people is not the spirit of discernment per se but it is to not be so naïve and easily trusting of man. Instead have God as your ultimate as this scripture says the heart of man is deceitful and it is only God who understands our hearts so abide in Him, not people.

Let’s pray, our heavenly Father help us to trust in you and not in man. Help us to rely in you always as you care about us. Lord we worship and we exalt your holy name. in the name of Jesus, we pray amen.

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Awakening Love

By Walinasé-Miriam

I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, By the gazelles or by the does of the field, Do not stir up nor awaken love Until it pleases.
‭‭Song of Solomon‬ ‭2:7‬ ‭

Yesterday we talked about time and seasons in relation to saving money, now we will talk about the nature of time in relation to love. In this verse the writer mentions about not awakening love before the right time. We see from the word of God that as Christians the right time for us to awaken love is when you are in a loving God ordained marriage. And we shouldn’t seek out the love before it’s time. So let’s say you are currently unmarried? Use this time to work on yourself. Build up your gifts and talents, acquire new skills. travel to a new country, buy a house, build up your network and expand your horizons. As mentioned yesterday there are always time and seasons, ask God to give you the ability to understand the times so you can use your days wisely.

Let’s pray: Father God, I am now praying for my future life partner. I know that you know what’s best for me and give me the ability to understand he times. Lord I pray that help me make the most of my single hood. Help me to be wise in my actions as I prepare for the appropriate time for love to be awaken. God show me the ways in which I must grow so I can fulfil my God ordained destiny. In the name of Jesus I pray Amen.

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Times and seasons

By Walinasé- Mirriam

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:
Ecclesiastes 3:1

From this passage the writer highlights an important principal of life (and may I add personal finance in general). That is, life is in phases and it is our responsibility to adequately prepare for these different seasons.

Wisdom requires us to understand the season we are going through. Going back to the story of Joseph in Egypt, when Pharaoh had a dream about the fat and skinny cows, Joseph mentioned to Pharaoh this was a representation of the years ahead. That is, Egypt would experience Seven years of plenty and Seven of famine, in order for them to prepare for the famine they had to store away a fifth of the produce of land from the good times as a reserve for the bad times. Using a more current example, for most people 2020 has been a difficult year, however for some this year has been a less difficult year as they had saved some money in previous years – when life was good – in an emergency fund. If you have not been badly hit by corona, be wise and save your money – don’t spend it all. Put aside some money in an emergency fund for the future. Wisdom requires us to use the good times as a safety net for our bad times. However, if you are currently going through a tough time, we can take refuge in the scripture because we know good times is coming as life is in phases. If you are currently mourning, know that God is bringing periods of laughter to you.

Let’s pray: Dear God, I pray that you will help us to understand the time and seasons we are currently going through. Give us wisdom that we will know how to use both our time and finances wisely. Lord I pray that if anyone is going through a difficult time, comfort them and strengthen them. Lord even in the difficult times, help them to prepare for the good times that are coming. Amen

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The power of praying for others

By Lindi Amah

And the Lord restored Job’s losses when he prayed for his friends. Indeed, the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before. Job 42:10

We see the life of a man who had it all and lost it all in a flash. A man who decided to stay steadfast in his love for God despite everyone around Him including his wife told him to forget God. In the end he received it a even more.

Its so easy to pray and speak blessings on people who love you and pray for you and give you good things . Would you still find it easy to pray for that person that is treating you like rubbish, calling you names making your life miserable?

The truth is as hard as it is, that is what God expects of us as Christians. Jesus says love your enemies, do good to those who hurt you (Luke 6:27-36) . If we only pray for those on our side then what makes us different from non-Christians. We expect God to show love to messy people like us who are sometimes against God just by our thoughts but yet it’s is hard for us to do the same to someone who accidentally steps on our shoe?

How are we God like if we don’t act like the God who loves our messy selves.

I know it is hard, you might be  thinking  “lady you don’t understand , that person does not deserve my prayers” . The truth is if you are expecting from God, if you expecting restoration the only way is to pray for those People especially your worst enemy. When we start to put aside our own feelings, we start to see God work so much for us and truly you will feel much better.

Today I chose to remember to pray for others even those against me and that God is able to bring about restoration in abundance like He did for Job after he prayed for his friends.  

Prayer

God thank You for loving me and accepting me Every time, even when I am absolutely unbearable You still take me in and forgive me over and over again.

Lord help me to be the same.  I pray for all people that have done wrong to me, I pray You will bless them exceedingly.

Thank you that You are always merciful

In Jesus name

Amen

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God will not Forget

Then the king said to Haman, “Hurry, take the robe and the horse, as you have suggested, and do so for Mordecai the Jew who sits within the king’s gate! Leave nothing undone of all that you have spoken.” So Haman took the robe and the horse, arrayed Mordecai and led him on horseback through the city square, and proclaimed before him, “Thus shall it be done to the man whom the king delights to honor!”
Esther 6:10‭-‬11 NKJV

How does it feel when you are have done your best and don’t get noticed by your boss, or your children, or even your parents I’m sure it’s frustrating. Mordecai also did something awesome, but it was as if it was not even noticed as if the king didn’t care that he saved his life.

The good news is that even though the king had forgotten, God did not forget. His reward came. That is the same for us, God never forgets, He can work on our behalf and cause men to bless us, including men who have forgotten about us or men who want to shame us.

Do not give up going to church, do not give up your ministry, do not give up on your children.

Do not give up on your marriage, do not give up on helping people.

Do not Give up on God.

God is watching you and He sees your good works; He sees the love you are showing.

There is a law of seedtime and harvest, every good thing you do God will reward you. There is a book with all your service written in it, and God will surprise you in this life and in the life to come. God will not forget your labour of love (Hebrew 6:10)

May this be an encouragement to you

Today I choose to remember that the Lord will not forget acts of service. I believe that He can bring them to light in His perfect time to bless me and further His plans and purposes.

Prayer.

Father God

I thank You that You are God who knows everything I have done. All the good I do. I thank You that You will not forget and that You have it all recorded and that You will bless me at the right time.

Help me to be patient instead of feeling discouraged. You said You will not forget our labour of love and that every worker gets paid. I know my payment is coming.

Thank You that You will bless me beyond measure for my service to You, so I will not give up.

In Jesus name

Amen

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The Joy of the Lord

Then he said to them, “Go your way, eat the fat, drink the sweet, and send portions to those for whom nothing is prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not sorrow, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10 NKJV

The excited feeling you have when you pass your exam, is that happiness or joy? You have the baby you have been waiting for, for so many years, is that happiness or joy?

These two words are sometimes confused for the other.  Happiness is as a result of what is happening around us.   The above are examples of happiness.

Joy is being excited when you fail your exam or singing and smiling when you have been waiting for a baby for 90 years and no baby is coming.

Joy is different from happiness. Joy is spiritual, it is not a feeling, it is not what is happening around us but what is happening within us. Real Joy only comes from God.

Only God can give us joy that never runs out – (Isaiah 61:7 – unending joy shall be your portion) You might say to me how can I smile when things are going wrong, I have lost my parent, I have failed the most important exam of my life, nothing is working why should I smile?

But that is why it is Joy. It does not make sense to us but in the long run we end up getting energised, our character is built making us complete and we lack nothing (James 1:2-4)

The everlasting joy of our Lord is our strength because there is hope at the end, even though we suffer for a short time God will rescue us and answer our prayer.

Do not let the devil steal your joy or because he wants to make you see things as hopeless (John 10:10)

One way to be joyful is to continuously saturate our self with the word of God and get rid of anything that can steal our joy and mainly negative thoughts the Bible says we pull down every thought that is not of God, thoughts that are toxic thoughts that make us depressed and look down on ourselves, thoughts that say God is not with us and replace them with the word of God (2 Corinthians 10:5)

The only way to experience this is to have Jesus in your life as your Lord and saviour

Today I choose to remember that the joy of the Lord is my strength therefore I will not sorrow.

Prayer

Dear God

Thank You for Jesus. Thank You that You have given me Joy.  May I choose joy regardless of what is happening around me.

Help me not to let anything steal my joy

Jesus be my Lord and saviour thank You for saving me, thank You that only In You can I really have everything that I need, that in You that is where I can be satisfied.

Thank You for saving me , In Jesus name

Amen

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Seeking the Lord through Fasting

By Lindi Amah

Then I proclaimed a fast there at the river of Ahava, that we might humble ourselves before our God, to seek from Him the right way for us and our little ones and all our possessions. For I was ashamed to request of the king an escort of soldiers and horsemen to help us against the enemy on the road, because we had spoken to the king, saying, “The hand of our God is upon all those for good who seek Him, but His power and His wrath are against all those who forsake Him.” So, we fasted and entreated our God for this, and He answered our prayer. And I separated twelve of the leaders of the priests—Sherebiah, Hashabiah, and ten of their brethren with them—Ezra 8:21-24 NKJV

At the beginning of the year a lot of Christians fast. What is fasting some people tend to think it’s hunger strike so we can be miserable, but that’s not fasting . Fasting is only effective when mixed with prayer and time to seek God and read his word.

Ahava is a Hebrew word for love – not just the simplicity of the English language of just love but this particular love represents intimacy, deep longing, affection ,wanting to just get closer . Based on this prayer and fasting should be birthed from a point of love, a place of I want to know God better, I want get closer to Him to have an intimate relationship with Him. And sometimes the only way that can be done is shutting out everything else and focusing on Him, speaking to Him through prayer and letting Him speak to us.

Fasting is bringing us closer to God not making God come closer to us.

If you find yourself in a point where you don’t know what to do, spend time praying and fasting

It is not about trying to let everyone know how great you are because Jesus told us in Matthew 6 :16-18 that this is wrong. But praying and fasting the right way is in between your God from a point of love.

How to fast – if you can take part in a food fast and you don’t have any health reason stopping you to do so. Start off by skipping breakfast, then maybe lunch the next day and you could fast for a few days and pray as well, it definitely gets easier with time

How do you pray – it doesn’t have to be all big words in formal English. Just imagine that one person You are comfortable talking to and literally just talk to God the same way.

Finally read His word which is the Bible if it’s your first time I would recommend starting with the book of John.

Today I choose to remember to seek the Lord for the right way through prayer and fasting

Prayer

Dad, I thank you for who you are. Help me to pray and fast the right way , not self seeking or to get praise , but so that I can build intimacy with You.

Thank You for everything do for me. In Jesus name. Amen