Deacon Arlene Burton offers the Prayer of Encouragement for 2 October 2020 for our country, businesses, frontline and other workers.
Brothers, Sisters, Friends we hope that you are well. If not, please let us know.
We have been looking at the issue of forgiveness for a few weeks. Last week we started looking at those things that cause or give rise to hurts resulting in lack of forgiveness. We looked at words voiced. Guess what? We continue to examine the issue but our focus for today will be on misunderstandings and misconceptions.
You know, a few months ago I was contacted by someone whose relative became terminally ill. The person was concerned about the relative’s salvation so I agreed to speak with him about life after death. She told me he had difficulties with his ability to hear due to the illness, so I took a whiteboard and marker. I used the board to relate with him. He made the decision to surrender to Jesus. Thank God! Interestingly, he told her that I was dumb. She said “No, you can hardly hear.”
I was trying to reach out to him by using a method that I thought would be effective. He, on the other hand, took a whole new meaning to the process. I know that I am not dumb but he had misconceived and misconstrued that idea, which he repeated. One could also say that he had developed a belief that was totally off base. Sadly for his family he died 2 weeks ago but thankfully he humbly surrendered to Jesus. We pray that his soul will rest in peace.
When people develop beliefs they will defend and protect them. I also find that time and again a lot of hurts and pain are caused by misinterpretations and misunderstandings. People have kept walking away holding on to hurts without seeking clarity, nor trying to have some form of resolve concerning issues that affected them. Yes, it is coming. I am going to say it. Lack of forgiveness shows up and bam! The weights of life get heavier. Ouch!
Vine explained understanding as perceiving with the mind; to know or to come to know. Lack of, or void in understanding, is described as senseless. In one of Jesus’ conversations with his disciples, Peter asked for clarity on the issue being discussed, that is, that which defiles the body. However, Jesus highlighted his lack of understanding but provided them with the clarity that was needed. “Are you still so dull?” Jesus asked them. “Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them.” (Matthew 15:16-18, NIV).
We previously looked at the life of Joseph and that the reason for his brothers’ hatred towards him was the content of his dreams.
Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more. He said to them, “Listen to this dream I had. We were binding sheaves of grain out in the field when suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it.” His brothers said to him, “Do you intend to reign over us? Will you actually rule us?” And they hated him all the more because of his dream and what he had said.Genesis 37:5-8 (NIV)
The second dream put further distance between them. His brothers became jealous. You may note that although his father rebuked him, he kept it in mind. He held onto it for the future.
Then he had another dream, and he told it to his brothers. “Listen,” he said, “I had another dream, and this time the sun and moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me.” When he told his father as well as his brothers, his father rebuked him and said, “What is this dream you had? Will your mother and I and your brothers actually come and bow down to the ground before you?” His brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the matter in mind.Genesis 37:9-11 (NIV)
Brethren and Friends, many times we may not understand what God is doing in someone’s life and instead of working alongside the person, we develop hatred and jealousy. At times we are not aware of doing so. In some instances, it is not in line with our norms and expectations so we try our best to keep them out of our space or push them into a corner. Many times we mock and harshly reprimanded them. We say and do things to hurt instead of empowering them. We build wedges between them instead of exploring possibilities. Many of them walk away feeling hurt by God and man, and struggle to forgive.
Joseph’s brothers did not entertain the idea that God had great things in store for them but He did.
So Joseph settled his father and his brothers in Egypt and gave them property in the best part of the land, the district of Rameses, as Pharaoh directed. Joseph also provided his father and his brothers and all his father’s household with food, according to the number of their children.”Genesis 47:11-12 (NIV)
Friends, I feel so full just thinking about what happened. My tears are flowing and the nose is running. Wait! I need a break.
Okay. I am back. Joseph’s brothers’ eyes and thoughts were not even scratching the surface, even in an attempt to understand. Some may say that the scripture had to be fulfilled and Joseph had to reach Egypt. We may also say that God will get His way regardless of what others do. You may be right but consider it from another angle. What are we being used to do? Good or evil?
I was not angry with the person who called me dumb. I felt empathy because the person was heading for damnation. Yes! There are hurts that I experienced that go deeper and have to be processed in a different way and over a longer period. Yet, with each experience I am learning to look at God’s angle and trying to see how I fall into His picture. It is still a process for me. Could it be that you are holding on to hurts that resulted from misunderstandings? I think that the Holy Spirit can help us to figure that out, and help us to forgive. Just…stop and think.
Let us pray:
Almighty God, we thank You for each new day. We thank You for waking us up into our right minds. We thank You for surrounding us with nature and its beauty. Lord, we thank You for providing, protecting and forgiving us.
We thank You, Lord.
Lord, we praise and honour Your name. We adore You! You are Awesome! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! We give You all the glory! We give You glory, Lord, Hallelujah!
Most Righteous God, we ask that You have mercy on us as individuals, families (church and otherwise), and a country. Lord, in the name of Jesus Christ, we come. We ask that You forgive all of our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
Lord, have mercy.
Lord, Covid-19, bush fires, floods and many other disasters are being experienced throughout the world. We face many challenges on a daily basis. We lift up our leaders to You; church, business and national leaders in Jamaica and throughout the world. We pray for soundness in thoughts, speech and actions. We ask that You grant wisdom, knowledge and understanding in the measure needed by each person. Lord, grant courage and boldness to those who believe in You. Help them not to waiver in their beliefs but hold on to You, and turn the hearts of those who are lost to You. Help them to find a path that honours You. Lord, grant them compassion and peace for the tasks ahead.
We commit every criminal thought and intent, and ask for a change in thought and heart. We ask that Your power prevail and that You be glorified through each person, and each community throughout every parish and sector of our country.
The Honourable Prime Minister of Jamaica Andrew Holness, Minister of Health and Wellness Christopher Tufton, Minister of Finance and the Public Service Nigel Clarke, health workers and support staff, Minister of Education, Youth and the Environment Fayval Williams, Minister of National Security Horace Chang and his team, Minister of Justice Delroy Chuck. We remember also the judges in our congregation: Paula Blake Powell and Grace Henry McKenzie.
Business leaders in our congregation: Ewan and Maxine Oliver; Lanna and Desmond Bennett; Warrick Bogle, Carol and Leroy Blake, Marcia Leair, Robert and Bevelin Smith, Paulette Dixon, Kemorine and Karl Henry, Ava Comrie, Catherine Barkley and husband, Cornel Richards and family, Everton Lewis, Pauline and Mark Garvey, Brother Astley Hall, Maxine and Benedict Ranger, Melva Knight, Nicole Fender, Sharon Baldie, Karl Jones and others.
We remember frontline workers connected with GMC: Medical Doctors: Asana Anderson Wilks and Rohan Wilks, Kahlete Falloon, Tina Kong, Vernon Jones, Leighton Logan; Dentists: doing emergency cases; Jhenell Black, Dania Jones, Eleanor Reynolds; Pharmacists: Sandra Bucknor-Jones, Viveen Watson; other doctors and nurses from GMC or in connection with members and adherents of GMC who are working on the frontline (for example Dr. Richard Reynolds) and their families.
Hear O Lord, and have mercy.
Lord, heal our land. Heal our families and grant us hope for each day. Lord, help us to act as responsible citizens, productive contributors to our families and country. Help us to look out for each other and protect each man’s dignity. Let us stand up for what is right and abhor what is evil. Open our eyes to hear what we should hear, to listen, to see what we should see and to speak as You require of us. Help us to forgive as You have forgiven us. Provide for us, protect us, grant us Your peace and fill us with Your love.
We give You thanks in Jesus’ name.
Our Prayers of Encouragement are for everyone. Therefore, if you are also in need of prayer or comfort, please contact us with your request. We would be so very happy to share with you.