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Isaiah 43:19-21

We greet all of you, children of God who are highly favoured and loved by God in this new year. May our ever loving and faithful God be with you throughout this year. Our today's topic is anchored on God of new things derived from Isaiah 43.19-21.

As we all know, the last three years, Kenyans have experienced some difficulties arising from Covid 19 catastrophes, locust invasion, drought and strenuous year of election campaigns. On the positive side, we thank God for the relatively peaceful election and the swearing in of the current government.

As we start the new year, many of us are wondering whether the year will be better than the previous 3 years. In the midst of many doubts and uncertainties, the pastoral team has come up with an annual theme - anchored on faith, hope and love 1 Cor.13.13. This theme encourages us to have faith in God who promises to do new and great things in our lives as we read in Isaiah 43:19-21. Our creator God tells us to forget the former devastation, dissatisfactions and letdowns because He's doing a new thing that will bring peace, comfort and satisfaction in our lives, families, church and a nation as a whole.  

We are encouraged to put our hope in God who will never fail us. As Lavington United Church family and church, we are encouraged to love one another as we walk together in fellowship and God will dwell in our midst and uplift us in every dimension and give us abundant life in 2023 and beyond.
Happy and blessed year 2023
Revelation 22:12-20
Christmas is just around the corner and we get the opportunity to meet our relatives and friends that have been away for a long time. Who is coming over this Christmas?

How excited we get when people tell us they are coming soon! Not just for Chrismas That is what the Lord Jesus reminds us of today. In the last book of the Bible, in the last chapter and in almost the very last verses, he encourages the Christians to look forward to the time when Jesus will return. He says, ‘Behold, I am coming soon.’ When Jesus spoke those words, He realized that mankind, because of his sinful nature, sometimes focuses a little too much on the things of this life and this world.

He wants us to look forward in anticipation to the time when He will return. Yes! He is coming! When Jesus comes to the conclusion of these words in this letter, He reminds John, by saying “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.” Lest John had any doubts, Jesus reminded him that this was still the same Jesus who had created the heavens and the earth: the Alpha, the beginning, and the first. This is the same Jesus who will come as the final judge of the earth, the Omega, the end, the last. What is he coming to do?

Jesus Christ is the Savior of the world and when he comes again, the judge of all mankind. He tells John, "Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. When Jesus returns on that last day as the judge, He will do just like a judge does. He will reward those people for what they have done. Either they will be taken into the gates of heaven or they will face the punishment that is due them because of their evil and wicked actions.

I want to leave you with something to think about this Christmas, we shall get this advice in the book of Hebrews 3:1 "Therefore, holy brothers, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, the apostle and high priest whom we confess." When Jesus says, ‘Behold, I am coming soon’, He reminds us today to fix our thoughts on Jesus who will return.
Ref: Isaiah 46.1-4
We greet you the beloved of God gathered to worship either in person or online. We thank God for you and pray that God may continue moving you from one degree of growth to another. You are all blessed. Our today's topic is the sustaining king derived from Isaiah 46:1-4

When you read Isaiah 45, God is reprimanding the Israelites for their continued temptation to betray their trust to Yahweh their God and worshipping idol gods. In Isaiah 46:1, the prophets mention two of those idols, bel and nebo who were Babylonian gods. God through prophet Isaiah is directly challenging the Israelites asking them why they keep on worshipping idols. He reminds them that idols are actually made and that they have to be carried from one place to another by the beast of burden. Idols are therefore dumb and helpless and therefore cannot save. These idols are compared with Yahweh, the omnipotent, omnipresence and omniscience who carries humanity from before they are conceived and even after their physical death.

In 46:4--God tells the Israelites that even to your old age and grey hair, I'm He who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you. I will sustain you and rescue you. God will walk with us from cradle to the grave' from the womb to the tomb, from start to finish, from birth to death and every day and every season. God will walk with us during our youth but also carry us during our old age when our hair turns grey, when our knees have grown feeble, when our hands begin to tremble, our mouths begin to dribble and signs of dementia comes our way.

God will do all these because He loves us and really care about our welfare. He does not just create us but also sustain us and this is why He is called the sustaining king. May the sustaining king sustain you today and forever.
Ref: Job 1:1-5; 2 Timothy 1:5
Job 1:1 describes Job in a manner suggesting that we should pay attention his rare parenting skills. It says that Job was “a man of complete integrity, who feared God and turned away from evil.” On two other occasions, God uses the same language to describes Job. In Chapter 1:8 “Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.”
Surprisingly the same has been repeated in almost the same exact words in chapter 2:3. It is an admirable thing for the Lord to describe us like that isn’t it? how I long to be a man of complete integrity, who fears God and turns away from evil! I long for the Lord to describe me in this way! How busy are you?

I then read Job 1:5, which caused me to long to be the kind of father who prays for his children: “Whenever a round of banqueting was over, Job would send for his children and purify them, rising early in the morning to offer burnt offerings for all of them.” Why do you think Job did this? Because, he thought, “Perhaps my children have sinned, having cursed God in their hearts.” We’re told this was Job’s regular practice.

The Holy Spirit convicted me as I read these verses. I do pray for my children, but do I really plead with God for them? Do I truly intercede for them regularly?
Now let’s draw some lessons from Job
 
1. Pray for your children.
Job consecrated his children. The word consecrate means “to set apart to something.” In our case, as in Job’s, it means set apart to God. If your children are unbelieving, plead with God and intercede with Him for their salvation. You’re asking God to set them apart for Himself. Plead with God to remove their heart of stone and replace it with a heart of flesh that beats for Him.

 2. Pray for each of your children.
Job interceded for each of his children because each child is unique.
Our children have different strengths and weaknesses, different struggles and temptations. So pray for each of them according to their own needs. There’s nothing wrong with praying general prayers for our children like for them to grow in Christlikeness. But, let’s be specific.

Make a prayer list where you note each child’s unique prayer needs. And, in the name of Christ, ask God for specific requests, grounding each one in specific promises from Scripture.
Scripture reference: Luke 15:11-32

The Lord be with you.

Welcome to our weekly reflection, the sermon series on parenting continues, today we reflect on parenting with patience.

Patience is a virtue. For parents, patience is more than a virtue; it's an absolute necessity. But not every parent has enough patience; almost every parent runs out of it at some point. Like a car running out of gas, when we run out of patience, we know we're stuck and in trouble.

The dictionary defines patience as "the capacity to bear pains or trials calmly or without complaint" and "remaining steadfast despite opposition, difficulty or adversity." Remaining calm and steadfast even in the face of opposition (in our case, a defiant child), is not always an easy thing to do. The power of patience helps effective parents deal calmly and rationally with day-to-day problems and annoyances. It lets them stay focused on the "bigger picture" and not get bogged down by daily hassles. Patience helps parents to maintain emotional stability even in times of crisis.

Is it possible in this day and age to parent with patience? The answer is yes; because patience is both an attitude and ability, and parents can work to change both. Your attitudes about your children affect your parenting style. If you believe that your kids are spoiled, that they misbehave on purpose and that they are "out to get you," you will have little patience with them. On the other hand, if you believe they will make mistakes as they grow and learn, you will take more time to help them learn from these mistakes.

Most parents if not all tend to spend much of their time urging their children to listen to them or to get ready faster — and sometimes they lose their patience in the process.
Although losing our cool every once in a while, is almost inevitable, practicing patience with our children is one of the best ways to teach them how to manage their emotions and responses to different situations.

The parable of the prodigal son makes a case for us to rekindle our pursuit of patience. From this story, the father had patience that his son would return someday. As you read through it, you will learn some valuable lessons concerning parenting with patience. Christian parents need to imitate the example of the Father in this parable. The Father is patient; one of his boys had been gone for a long time, long enough for a famine to ravish the land, yet the father waited patiently. We need to learn to be patient with our children, knowing that they have much to learn, we must realize that they are not miniature adults. There is much to learn, and some lessons must be learned the hard way. The prodigal son had to learn some hard lessons, and the father allowed it. Likewise, we must learn to be patient.
Parenting with patience calls every parent to "Stop, Look, and Listen" to their child, show them that they are important, that you believe in them, and that you have empathy and compassion for their feelings. Active listening is based on patience and leads to the confidence needed for self-mastery. Parenting with patience encourages not just empathy and compassion, but also confidence and competence.

What’s your experience as far as parenting with patience is concerned? Are you anywhere near the Father in our passage reflection today? How patient are you with your children as they falter along life’s path?
Every blessing.