2018 Our Year to Grow in Divine Wisdom and Favor

2018 Theme

  MESSAGES FOR YEAR 2018

2018 Our Year to Grow in Divine Wisdom and Favor : Luke 2:52

 WE NEED TO GROW IN DIVINE WISDOM AND FAVOR -  James and Rebecca Otitoju

We give glory to our God Almighty for His grace and mercy upon us and the entire church family. Just as Jesus said: “I will build My Church, and the gate of hell shall not prevail against it,” (Matthew 16:18), we thank God that His Church continues to match on. Through the leading of the Holy Spirit, our theme as a church this year is: “Our Year to grow in Divine Wisdom and Favor.” Our prayer for everyone of us is that every step we all take in 2018 will be guided by divine wisdom and favor and that we will be granted the grace to apply that knowledge appropriately in all we do in Jesus name. Amen.

Based on our theme passage, it is evident that Jesus possessed some outstanding traits that would be good for all of us to emulate as part of our basic character. For example, growing up as a child, he was subject to His parents (Luke 2:51 Ephesians 6:1-3); He was about His heavenly Father's business at an early age and was interested in spiritual things (Luke 2:41-49, Ecclesiastes 12:1). He lived selflessly and served others (Mark 10:45, Philippians 2:4). He did God’s will and lived a life that we can emulate (John 6:38, 1 Peter 2:21). Let us examine the areas in which Jesus grew that are revealed in the Luke 2:52 passage: wisdom, stature, favor with God and men. As Christians, growing in those areas are important in our own lives as well.

Jesus grew (increased) in wisdom
What is wisdom? According to Collins dictionary, wisdom is defined as: "the quality of being wise; the power of judging rightly and following the soundest course of action, based on knowledge, experience and understanding." Based on this definition, one example that came to mind was when Jesus was tempted and asked to turn stones to bread to prove his identity. Jesus had the power to do what Satan requested but he refused because Jesus knew it was not wise to get into such argument with Satan since he knew who he was and does not need to prove that to Satan (read Matthew 4). This was the area that Esau failed the test when he sold his birthright for a bowl of soup to his brother because he made a poor judgment of the situation. Are there decisions you need to make that you need divine wisdom? Ask and trust God to guide and help you.

Jesus grew (increased) in stature
To advance in stature is to develop physically. Jesus took time to rest and rejuvenate. He told His disciples at a point to come aside and rest (Mark 6:31) because they have been busy all day. Jesus was also concerned about the crowd who came seeking for Him. Instead of dismissing the crowd to go and find food to buy, He told His disciples to find food and feed the people (Matthew 14:16). If we take time to think about the concepts used today regarding exercising, they are concepts from the Bible. In most exercise programs, you will be encouraged to eat healthy, take time to rest, fast to detox and meditate. The concept of Sabbath is not only to take a day off and worship; it is also to rest (Genesis 2:1-3). God created our body to be His temple, we need to be conscious of that and take good care of ourselves in all aspects of life.
Jesus grew (increased) in Favor with God and Men

Growing in favor with God and men will be discussed as one because they are interrelated. God created us as relational beings, He never intended that we live as an island. During creation, God said it was not good for the man to be alone and created Eve as a companion for him (Genesis 2:18). In our relationship with each other, we will experience a time of misunderstanding and strive but as children of God we trust that we will be guided rightly at such times as well.

Remember Joseph who was sold by his own family because of jealousy, he found favor everywhere he went even in the prison cell (Genesis 39:4 & 31). When we look at Joseph’s life, in the midst of the hardship and unfairness, he was diligent in seeking God, forgave his family and remained faithful as a slave and prisoner. Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego are also examples of people in slavery who also lived their lives to do the will of God, which brought them favor from the king and the people around them (Daniel 1). All these people (Joseph, Daniel and the three Hebrew men) obtained favor because they purposed in their hearts to do God’s will regardless of their circumstances.
The examples given above confirmed that as we seek to do the will of God, He (God) will not only show us favor but will also make a way for us to obtain favor from people. The order of obtaining favor is important to note here in our theme passage: "And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men" Luke 2:52 (emphasis added). Jesus did not increase in favor with men first but after he obtained favor with God. This was the same order in the experiences of Joseph, Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. They sought God first, He favored them and granted them favor with men. Also consider the experiences of Nehemiah, Ezra, Esther, and many others who found favor with men, they all first stepped by faith into what can be considered a danger zone.

In conclusion, Matthew 6:33 encouraged us to seek the Kingdom of God first and His righteousness and everything else we desire will be added to us. In 2018, make it a priority to do the will of God by seeking Him first. Are we saying that the road will be smooth once we seek God first? No! Based on the examples from the Bible, God did not instantly deliver Joseph from prison, or stop Daniel from been thrown into the lion’s den, but they were willing to continue to trust God even if He decides not to deliver them. However, God came through for them. Always remember that God is faithful and will not forsake you, keep on trusting Him in whatever challenges you might be experiencing, He will come through for you as well. Let King Solomon’s advice in Proverbs 4:7 be your focus in the New Year, which says: Wisdom is the principal thing; Therefore get wisdom. And in all your getting, get understanding. May 2018 bring you joy, peace, and all of God’s blessings in Christ Jesus. Amen. Happy New Year

James & Rebecca Otitoju are members of Ambassadors for Christ Peacegate church Pastoral Team


 Growth in Wisdom and Favor Katherine Carswell

As 2017 ends, we look back at a year when we recognized that we were rooted and grounded in the love of Christ. As 2018 begins, we look forward to a year of growing in wisdom and favour. The theme verse for the New Year is Luke 2:52 which states: “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and with people.”

At the time this is recorded about Jesus, He was 12. He had just been to Jerusalem for the Passover, perhaps His first, as Jewish boys become full members of the community when they turn 12. In Jerusalem, He had spent days talking to the teachers in the temple, who were amazed at His understanding and His answers. When His parents asked them why He had treated them like this, Jesus asked them why they were searching for Him, telling them that they should have known He had to be in His Father’s house.
Jesus at 12 knew His identity. However, knowing His identity was not the end point for Him: it was the beginning. Knowing He was God’s Son, knowing that He came to die for the sins of the people, including His earthly parents, He still went down to Nazareth and was obedient to them. He worked in a carpenter’s shop with Joseph, growing up as any Jewish boy would have at that time. The gospels are silent as to what happened during those years, with the next story featuring John the Baptist, who baptized many, including Jesus.

Do we know who we are In Christ? Are we wise enough to still obey human authority that God has placed in our lives? Human authority includes husbands (for married women), managers at work, the government and the leadership of the church. As mentioned above, if Jesus was obeying Joseph and Mary when he had knowledge he was the Messiah, how much more should we as his followers, obey Jesus!

We can grow once we are born. We are born by acknowledging our sin and our need for Jesus Christ in our lives as Saviour and King. Turning from sin involves repentance, genuine godly sorrow that leads to great joy in the end.

Growth is an individual process. If a person is strong in one area, he/she has no right to criticize someone else who is weak in that area. We are to encourage each other, but watch ourselves to make sure we are not committing the same sins we are seeing in others.
Growth does not start with us. It starts with God. An example of this is Joshua, who was the High Priest of Israel. Part of his story occurs in Zechariah 3. When the prophet saw a picture of Joshua, he was in filthy clothes with Satan standing at his right hand. This is a picture of Satan accusing Joshua, and Joshua standing guilty, as the filthy clothes represent sin. It was the angels of the Lord, who clothed Joshua, beginning with the turban that covered his head.

God tells us to renew our minds as the first step in holiness. Romans 12:1-3 states; “Therefore brothers by the mercies of God , I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing and perfect will of God.” It was after Joshua had a clean turban on his head, that the rest of his clothes were changed. It is after a mind is renewed in an area, that we can, with God’s help, accept the cleansing work of the Lord.
Renewing our mind takes disciplining ourselves to be in his Word. We also need to ensure that we are under good teaching, one that helps us think more and more like God. Many people today grew up in a Greek mindset, with scientific thought and study given importance of place. God does not have a Greek mindset, and His ways are above ours. Isaiah 55:8, 9 says: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not my Ways.

This is the Lord’s declaration, For as heaven is higher than earth so My ways are higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.”
In the Psalms we are ensured that God knows our thoughts. Ps 94:11 states “The Lord knows man’s thoughts; they are meaningless.” Psalm 139:2 says you know when I sit down and when I stand up; You understand my thought from far away. Jesus perceived peoples’ thoughts. In Matthew 9:4 it says that Jesus perceived the Pharisees evil thoughts.
Childish thinking is part of the growth experience and is not necessarily wrong – for a child. 1 Corinthians 13:11 states, “When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put aside childish things.” Aa growing Christians, we are to deal with our thought life. 2 Corinthians 10: 3-5 says: “For though we live in the body, we do not wage war in an unspiritual way, since the weapons of our warfare are not worldly, but are powerful through God for the demolition of strongholds. We demolish arguments and every high-minded thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God, taking every thought captive to obey Christ.”
Notice that the enemy loved accusing Joshua, but could do nothing once the Angel of the Lord and his helpers had begun a work in Joshua. God is at work in us. We just need to yield to him, and let him help us grow.

A plant firmly rooted, grows the way God intended it to. This year may we focus on the growth that God has intended for us, both individually and as a church.
(Please note: all scripture references are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible, copyright 2009.)

Katherine Carswell is a member of Ambassadors for Christ Peacegate Church Pastoral Team  


  Entering the Disciplines of SonsMurray Carswell

What kind of son was Jesus when he was growing up?
We see in Luke 2 a snapshot of the type of son Jesus was both to his earthly parents and to his God. Luke 2: 41 – 52
 
Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the Passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the Feast. And when they had fulfilled the days as they returned, the child Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it. But they, supposing him to have been in the company went a day’s journey and they sought him among their kinsfolk and acquaintances. And when they found him not, they turned back again to Jerusalem seeking him and it came to pass that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions. And all that heard him were astonished at his understanding and answers. And when they saw Him, they were amazed; and his mother said unto him: Son, why has thou thus dealt with us? Behold thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing. And he said unto them: How is it that you sought me? Wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business? And they understood not the saying which he spoke unto them. And he went down with them, and came to Nazareth and was subject unto them: but his mother kept all these sayings in her heart and Jesus increased in wisdom and stature and in favour with God and man.
 
This is an impressive picture of Jesus as a pre-teen twelve year old young man. We see a young man who amazed people including Joseph and Mary. A twelve year old who wasn’t rebellious or complaining about having to tell his parents about his plans. He expected them to know he had to be about his father’s business. Yet, he still went and submitted himself to them. Amazing wisdom and understanding on display!

` We see submission,humility and love demonstrated by Jesus as a twelve year old. Refreshing isn’t it! If we want to grow in wisdom and favour, this is the path we must follow.
So how do we most effectively cause this to happen for us? We must enter into the Father’s discipline. Jesus submitted to authority. We see this with his parents in verse 51. This was a constant theme with Jesus as an adult, as well as a young man. Jesus said he was meek and humble or lowly (Matt. 11:29).
Jesus committed himself to the one who judges righteously (1 Peter 2:23). This is one of the main reasons he could face the cross at the end of his ministry. Death had no right to hold him. So he came back to life, because death was unable to hold him. Life and righteousness ultimately win in the end.
Jesus also walked out love. Scripture tell us love never fails, but only one type of love never fails: God’s love. The love of God is only seen when we submit to it. Jesus said “If you love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15).
One of the mos important disciplines we need to learn is choosing whose expectation we will submit to. Will we submit to God’s expectations or will we submit to others or our own? Again, the Lord Jesus is the ultimate role model because he came to do the will of his Father.
Our desires are very critical in this journey. We see in Philippians 2:3, Paul’s instructions to do nothing through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each person esteem others better than themselves. In verse five Paul tells us to let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.
The world tells us to promote ourselves. Jesus tells us to humble ourselves. Whose counsel will you follow?
Jesus submitted to a sham of a trial. Even though it meant his crucifixion, it ultimately led to his resurrection and glorification. Proverbs tells us that before honor comes humility (Proverbs 15:33).
We need to arm ourselves with the same mind Christ Jesus had while he was here on earth as one of us.
In the end, Jesus wins and his way is the path of victory. Consider this: Jesus learned obedience through the things that he suffered (Hebrews 5:8). Can you comprehend the rejection he faced from his own family, the people of Nazareth and ultimately the nation of Israel?
There is a deeper rejection he faced because of his complete submission to his Father. When Jesus hang on the cross, bearing the sins of man, like his Father requested, God who could not look on sin, turned away.
This happened after Jesus lived his life doing what he saw his Father doing and only saying what he heard his Father speaking, all in the Father’s correct timing. If he did not hear his Father speak or do something, he did not do it. He was filled with the spirit of God. He was capable of anything, he could relieve the suffering of anyone. However, the Father never gave Him the instruction to relieve the suffering of everyone. How many times would Jesus have passed at the man at the Beautiful Gate. It was not Jesus who received the instruction to heal. It was Peter and John years later (Act 3:1-6).
 
God has a journey for each of us to walk. It is as unique as each of us. I exhort you in Christ get to know the Father intimately and you will experience the overwhelming joy of being obedient to the awesome Lover of your soul. Submit to the one who judges righteously. It will transform you into the likeness of Jesus himself.
(All scripture quoted is from the King James Bible.)
 
Murray Carswell is a member of Ambassadors for Christ Peacegate Church Pastoral Team 

OUR YEAR TO GROW IN DIVINE WISDOM AND FAVOR - John & Alice Adeyoju

As children and co-heir with Christ in the family of God, we are commanded to come boldly unto the Throne of Grace to obtain mercy and find grace in time of need (Hebrew 4:16). The wisest and the most favored king in Israel, Solomon looked on his life and declared “I saw something else under the sun that race is not to the swift, nor the battle is for the strong, neither is food for the wise, nor riches to the men of understanding, nor favor to the learned but TIME and CHANCE happen to them all” (Ecclesiastes 9:11). It is a special favor that can cause someone to be singled out of multitude for special treatment like faithful virgin – Mary the hidden fiancé of Brother Joseph to become the favored earthly mother of the redeemer of the world.
When a slave girl, Esther suddenly became a queen unopposed; and an imprisoned slave, Joseph - son of Jacob, despised and hated by his brothers suddenly became a world leader without any opposition that was as a result of divine favor. We should realize that there is nothing favor cannot accomplish in the life and situation of the favored. It was indispensable that even our Lord Jesus Christ could not do without it while on earth. Everything under creation works for Him because He is one who is favored of God and men (Luke 2:52, Luke 3: 21 & 22 and Matt 17:3). So, if you and I desire to increase in favor, we must be careful in how we live our lives by doing those things that please God, obey Him promptly as father Abraham did on Mount Moriah, flee from secret and open sins, make good effort to live a holy life, assist the needy and always pray and intercede for the distressed. I pray, may God surround us individually and corporately in our churches and families with favor as shield this New Year 2018 in Jesus name.

Favor is timed. It is written in Psalm 102: 13, that “Thou shall rise and have mercy upon Zion, for the time to favor her, yea, the time is come”. So, generally talking of favor, there is a time requirement involved. Some are born into favor from their first day on earth. Some entered into favor in their childhood. Some encounter it as adult, while some may also enter it at their old age. In scriptures, the time of favor is termed as a time of divine remembrance.

In the book of Genesis, we saw the case of Rachel and her senior sister Leah. God gave Rachel two children after a long period time of expectation. One of the two children, Joseph became ruler of the world, more favored than all his other older ten brothers. Also the Lord visited Hannah after experiencing despair and heart sorrows, made a promise with covenant to God. Then God opened her womb and gave her a son Samuel who was highly favored. He grew before the Lord as a great prophet in Israel. Also Sarah, Abraham’s wife after many years of marriage and another 25 years of waiting for the promised child, she gave birth to Isaac at the age of 90. It was a mystery and miracle son of laugher. There is nothing impossible for God the Creator to do in the lives of those who wait and trust Him. Therefore, for somebody reading this message, with faith, receive your special desired miracle and favor NOW in Jesus name.
Wisdom is the Christ of God. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” (Proverbs 9:10). In order to grow and understand wisdom, let every believer meditatively study and digest where to find Him in Job 28, Proverbs 8, Proverbs 4:7 and Psalm 51:6.

Wisdom says, to have respect and reverence for God and to be in awe of His majesty, we should keep his commands (Mark 12: 29-33) and teachings with prompt obedience and write them on the tablet of our hearts. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and rejecting evil desires in our behaviors, our thoughts and attitude is understanding (Proverbs 8:13). We should boldly ask God for Wisdom through prayers (James 1: 5 & 6, Daniel 1: 17-20, and Proverbs 19: 8 & 11). Therefore Lord, by the powers by which You are known to be God, kindly with your favor speedily answer our prayer requests that we will offer to You this New Year, 2018 in our individual and family lives and on our community Garden of Eden and the environment, Canada in Jesus precious name. Amen.

Loving Father God, as we enter a divine year of favor and wisdom, we humbly request the down pouring of your anointing upon us in our church. Holy Spirit guide and teach us to live holy lives. Speak to us because we are desirous to hear your voice directly when we meet in this sanctuary - Peace Gate Church, worshipping and praising You this New Year. (Acts 2:17).


Father Lord, bless us both young and old with all Your spiritual gifts with manifestation glorifying You in this community. Finally, Father give us the Keys to the Kingdom of God as You promised Your church in Matthew 16: 18-19 & Matthew 18: 18 in Jesus most blessed name we pray. Amen.

  John & Alice Adeyoju are members of Ambassadors for Christ  Peacegate Church Pastoral Team

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