Encourager Magazine No. 175, November 2022

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My Sheep Know My Voice

By Sarah Houston

John 10:27 “My sheep listen to my voice; I know them,  and they follow me” (NIV)

I was walking in Cornwall Park enjoying seeing the new lambs in the fields, so carefree and content having their mother close by their side. This reminded me I have a Good Shepherd too, who takes good care of me. He is loving, caring, patient, kind, my helper, friend, protector

Psalm 23:1 “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” (ESV)

Luke 12:32 “Fear not little flock” (ESV). Jesus has promised that he will always take good care of us.

In the bible, we read passages about sheep, lambs, flocks, and the good shepherd. Many times, we are liken to sheep.

Below are some examples:

  1. Sheep don’t have any sense of direction they will just follow each other. That’s why we need a shepherd to guide us.

Isaiah 53:6 “All we like sheep have gone astray” (ESV)

  1. Sheep are helpless, they need a shepherd.

Matthew 9:36 “When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.” (NIV)

Sheep recognize the shepherd’s voice.

John 10:27 “My sheep hear my voice, and they follow me.”

  1. Sheep cannot carry heavy loads.

Psalm 55:22 “Cast your burden on the Lord and He will sustain you.” (ESV)

  1. Sheep will take the easiest way, not necessarily the right path.

Psalm 23:4 “He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.”

  1. Sheep cannot look after themselves when hurt.

Psalm 147:3 “He heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds.” (NIV)

  1. Sheep are valuable to the shepherd; they provide for all his needs.

John 1:29 “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” (ESV)

Jesus has provided a way to heaven for us through His sacrificial death on the cross. Remember to give thanks today for our gentle and loving Good Shepherd, and to always stay close by His side.

The shepherd knows his sheep. He calls them by name. When we see a crowd, we see exactly that, a crowd, filling a stadium or flooding a mall. When we see a crowd, we see people, not persons, but people. A herd of humans, a flock of faces. That’s what we see. But not so with The Shepherd. To him every face is different. Every face is a story. Every face is a child. Every child has a name. The one with the sad eyes, that’s Sally. The old fellow with one eyebrow up and the other down, Harry’s his name. And the young one with the limp? He’s an orphan with no brothers, that’s Joey.

The Shepherd knows his sheep. He knows each one by name. The Shepherd knows you. He knows your name. And he will never forget it. “See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands” – Isaiah 49:16 (NLT).

Sarah Houston is the Activity Coordinator at our Drop-in Centre in Auckland. She brings great amounts of wisdom and amazing bible teachings to the Drop-in Centre meetings.

What is in your hand?

By Margie Willers

So the Lord said to him, “What is in that in your hand?” He said, “A rod.” Exodus 4:2 (NKJV)

God had chosen Moses to deliver the children of Israel from Egypt. But Moses immediately began to enumerate all the reasons why he was not qualified to assume such leadership. Then the Lord asked him, “What is in thine hand?” When Moses looked at his hand, what did he see? A rod – a dead stick. What could be done with it? It was only a rod in Moses’ hand, but when it was given to God it became a rod of power to deliver the Israelites.

Through the years God has challenged His people with the same question. “What is in your hand?” Many have answered and accepted the challenge. An inspiring example is David Livingston who came from the coal mines of Scotland. When God said to him, “What is in your hand? He offered him his heart of love for Africa and accepted His challenge to missionary service. Through him that continent was opened to the Gospel.

God is saying to you today – What is in your hand? He sees your talents and ability. Placed in God’s hand these can be a ‘rod of power’ for Him to use. Your answer to Him may be “nothing – nothing that you can ever use.” But little is much in the Master’s hand – He doesn’t look at our hands as we do. Lift your seemingly empty hands to Him – He will use you. He uses the weakest instruments to accomplish His mightiest works. When God calls, He enables!

The great violinist Paganini was to give a concert. As he was about to begin his programme, to the horror of those present, he deliberately broke all but one string on his violin. Then as he held up his instrument, he said, “One string and Paganini”. What indescribably beautiful music the great musician played on that violin with one string.

What glorious harmonies the Great Musician can bring forth from a life – with its ability and inabilities – when it is completely yielded to Him.

 

Margie Willers is co-founder of Elevate and lives with cerebral palsy. She has written two books and was a regular guest speaker before retiring.

 

 

 

 

Welcome to the Audio Encourager Magazine No. 174

  1. Welcome to The Encourager No. 174 ELEVATE Christian Disability Trust 0:12
  2. Hugh & Di on Front Cover ELEVATE Christian Disability Trust 0:34
  3. Contents ELEVATE Christian Disability Trust 0:29
  4. Welcome by Kirsty Armittage ELEVATE Christian Disability Trust 3:07
  5. What Is In Your Hand – a Devotion by Margie Willers ELEVATE Christian Disability Trust 3:12
  6. Hawkes Bay's Hallelujah Lady ELEVATE Christian Disability Trust 7:47
  7. 46 Years in Ministry - Hugh and Di Willis ELEVATE Christian Disability Trust 11:34
  8. My First Encounter with Jesus by Manuele Teofilo ELEVATE Christian Disability Trust 3:59
  9. Volunteer Spotlight - Jan Bridgeman ELEVATE Christian Disability Trust 4:02
  10. Giving Gifts Glorifies God by Carol Westerlund ELEVATE Christian Disability Trust 3:17

Faith Journey

Faith Journey

By Jean Griffith

I gaze at my “Steps”, yet again. What a wonderful way to meditate on the journey God has for me.

I have this beautiful glass sculpture representing a flight of steps which has much significance to me. This piece stands at 180mm x 110mm. It has 17 steps curving upwards. It starts off wide and narrows to a point as it distances off. It is made of translucent glass and is a golden colour. The steps are cobbled looking giving the impression of a Middle Eastern /European location.

My first thought when I first saw it, was “Steps to heaven” and then so many other images floated in, and I got excited at how God was speaking to me through this art piece.

There are many scriptures pertaining “steps” in the bible.  One of them is Prov.16:9 “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps”.

We plan our lives to a tee sometimes without a thought of asking God for his guidance and that can surely lead us the wrong path.

What can these steps be and how can they be turned around for good when we ask him? They can be step of despair turned to step of hope. Step of doubt to step of assurance. Step of unbelief to step of faith.

 

Another verse is Prov. 20:24 “Since the Lord is directing our steps, why try to understand everything that happens along the way” This scripture speaks about trusting the Lord, as some things are just too difficult to fathom out. To step out in faith means to take a risk for God, knowing that He is going to catch you and be there with you if anything should happen. As we step out, we are letting God know that we want change.

 

It signifies our journey, our character building, our hopes, dreams, trials, sufferings, joy and relationships. The journey of our life has been developed into whom we are now.

 

I love the word “faith” because it challenges me to get out of my comfort zone. I have the assurance that Jesus will help me through the valleys and over the mountains.  We can triumph when we fix our eyes on the next step and upwards.  This is why I have called this sculpture “Faith Journey”.

 

Another image reminds me of the empty tomb with the backdrop of the sunlight filtering in, with the glory of God shining through.  Jesus didn’t stay in the tomb, he climbed those steps and made a way of salvation for us and giving us a purpose to live.

Acts 4:12 says “Salvation is found in no-one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.”

He gave us life – eternal life.

 

And of course, my favourite scripture is from Rev.21:21 “…The great street of the city was of pure gold, like transparent glass.”  Every time I look at my “Steps”, I imagine walking those steps in heaven – walking the golden pavements, the purest of purest – wow!

This is something to look forward to because this is where we will spend eternity.

 

Jean Griffiths is a wonderful volunteer based in Auckland. She’s the communication liaison for CFFD branches as well as serving on Auckland CFFD committee.

Spirit of Power, Love and a Sound Mind

Spirit of Power, Love and a Sound Mind

By Teremoana and Aukilani Va’a

Teremoana

Today we are doing the devotion and we are going to be using the example of a tree.

People often look at trees for their beauty. However, trees are important in a number of ways. Trees are used to represent life & wisdom like us trees grow and change with every season, just like me I grow in resilience and strength.

Like you have leaves on a tree, the righteous man shows evidence of being alive like the fresh green leaves on a tree that has been nourished. Leaves are like people. They come in a wide range of shapes and sizes, and they change colours according to the seasons.

And just like the roots of a tree as well, people cannot see what is going on under the ground, but there are unseen roots that are firmly planted below the soil. Roots serve a very important purpose. They hold water and nutrients and disperse them to all parts of the tree. The righteous man, the righteous person thrives the same way as a tree does because of strong roots.

The tree that you see standing tall above the ground can endure storms and strong winds because of its underground work. In the weather and conditions, trees might bend, but they do not break because of their strong roots. The Godly man is strong and stable with roots that grow unseen. When we look at people, we cannot see what is going on underneath. However, that is where the real work takes place.

Aukiani

I’m going to share about the verse 2 Timothy 1:7, it says that “God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” You see people, God does not give us anything that we can’t endure or is not good in our life, but God will bless us with the spirit of power, the spirit of love and the spirit of a sound mind. So, we going to share about the sound mind.

I thank God my Lord Jesus for blessing me with a sound mind. A sound mind that is in me that knowing when a storm or problem that will come my way, I am ready for it. The reason. It’s not because of me but my God is for me. The Bible says that if God is before you or before me who can be against me. So, people take that and apply that into your life. Because you know that whatever situation or problem or storm that comes your way you know that God is for you.

So have no fear, don’t fear the world or fear what’s happening around you. But apply what God has promised you because you know Gods’ promises are yes and amen. So, when God says I’ll give you a spirit of power, love and a sound mind then glorify and ‘say yes Lord please I receive that’ because that can be powerful in your life. But to have that you got to want it, you know, it’s like serving God not because you must, but serving God because you want to. So, if you really want what God is applying to our lives, please just open your heart, open your hand and say Lord I receive that because that really can play a big part in our lives.

Like I say people, God’s promises are yes and amen. So, if God says He’s going to give that to you and me, hey, rejoice and praise the Lord, and say amen thank you God I receive it. So people, don’t fear what’s happening around the world, don’t fear because what happening in your situation now but just glorify God and praise Him and say thank you Lord. Thank you for the power, for the spirit of power. Thank you, Father God, for the spirit of love. Thank you, Father God, for spirit of sound mind. Now I don’t fear nothing because I know God is for me and you know God is for you. So, people, have a blessed day and know that God loves you so much and God’s promise are yes and amen.

 

Teremoana Va’a Is our receptionist who loves welcoming people into our Centre. She is also the Volunteer Coordinator for the Drop-in Centre.
Aukilani Va’a is a general volunteer in Auckland. Everyone enjoys his joyful spirit.