The following was inspired by a conversation with Mike Brawan of Kenya:
In Kenya it was found that when orphans were placed in orphanages there came a time when, however well their needs were met, they ran away – often returning to the streets. It was realised that orphans suffer the greatest emotional curse of all – rejection. If all their physical needs are met but this curse is not dealt with, they remain an orphan. They remain a reject. Such is the status of the orphan in Kenya.
At the Bread of Life Orphange orphans learn that the rejection they suffer is from man but that God does not reject them, He loves them, welcomes them and is proud of them. The orphans are blessed and blessings spoken over them: “You are protected; you are the bow for the Lord’s arrow; you are a son of God.” They understand Psalm 127:3 : “Sons are an inheritance from the Lord, children are a reward from Him. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, are sons born in one’s youth.” To complete their adoption, the orphanage finds families who want children but cannot afford to bring them up. The orphanage places the child with a loving family and pays them maintenance to bring the child up as one of their own.
If you look at water under a microscope, it’s full of rainbow colours. Rainbows are caused by light refracting through the water droplets. An experiment has found that blessings and curses affect water. Curses were spoken over an unopened bottle of water. When examined under the miscroscope they found that the water had become pale. Blessings were then spoken over the same water. When they examined it under the microscope again, the natural rainbow colours were restored.
The human body is 98% water. Curses physically affect us, often resulting in sickness, despondency, fatigue and declining fortune. Yet if blessings are spoken over us we become strong, vibrant, healthy and prosperous. (Try it on yourself! Self-affirmations do work!)
Curses and blessings affect each of us every day. Children who only hear criticism from their parents tend to grow up believing they are unloveable. They tend to become rebellious, continually misbehave or depressed. Yet those same children (and adults) can change. The downward spiral can be broken. When they hear affirming words instead of exasperation, when hope breaks through, when they realise that they aren’t defined by their past and that they are loveable and loved, something special happens. That loving remark and kind gesture can make all the difference in someone’s life. They matter. It can be the start of a new life for someone who has never known what it is to be blessed.
You too can make rainbows!
Not everything that happens in life is God’s will. He didn’t cause the crisis. He actually can’t give things that are not good because He doesn’t have them. God only gives good gifts, because He is good, and has only good gifts to give. Thanksgiving requires humility and is an expression of trust in God’s goodness. The wonderful thing is, that when we simply begin to give thanks, even when it seems difficult to remember one answered prayer, it isn’t long before our focus on the good in our lives creates an opening for the Lord’s joy.
When we withold thanks we cut ourselves off from God: Romans 1:21 “For although they knew God , they did not glorify Him as God, nor were they thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their fooloish hearts were darkened.” A dark heart is a heart unable to see the things of God. It is unmoved by the desires and affections of God. A dark heart perverts our desires and leads us into all kinds of sin.
Thanksgiving sanctifies whatever it touches. Thanksgiving transforms the nature of what is received into something holy. 1 Timothy 4:4-5 “For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.” This extends to every situation in your life in which you find other powers at work besides the power of God. By giving thanks in the midst of an adverse situation, a difficulty intended to undermine your faith and destroy you, enables you to take hold of that situation and set it apart to God and His purposes. When you give thanks, the weapon the enemy meant to use to dislodge you from your divine purpose is put into your hands and becomes the very thing that brings you more fully into that purpose.
Strengthen Yourself in the Lord by Bill Johnson
Psalm 22:3 “For YOU ARE HOLY. You are enthroned in the praises of your people; they trust you and you deliver them.”
When we enthrone God with our praises and our trust in His goodness, we release Him into the situation to perform miracles. God can transform the most horrendous circumstances when we remember to trust Him.
A few years ago in Kenya a lorry overturned and a lot of people started looting the goods. One man was stopped by the police, but seeing the others continuing to loot the lorry he became angry that he wasn’t getting anything and set fire to the lorry. As a result over 80 people suffered 70 degree burns over their bodies. The expectation was that they would all die, so they were placed in a room next to the mortuary. Mike Brawan of Bread of Heaven Ministries and some other church members visited them daily and brought them water. The pain of the patients was so intense that the visitors ended up weeping for them. Imagine the pain when you burn your finger, then multiply that pain so that it is over most of your body. It is pure agony. Within a few days 10 people had died.
After one visit, while Mike Brawan was praying for these people, God simply said to him: “Enthrone me.” So Mike visited them again and as he entered the room he declared: “Praise God!” Some of the patients, who attended his church, replied: “Amen!” Mike repeated: “Praise God!” and all the patients replied: “Amen!” Mike declared: “God is good!” The patients replied: “All the time!” From that day no-one else died and they all started to recover. A muslim official, who was visiting with Mike at the time, was so moved by this that he asked Mike to teach his wife and children about Jesus. They have since become Christians at his request.
“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
A team of 10 people, mostly from Cornwall, are going to Kenya on Thursday April 22nd to set up a Medical clinic under the auspices of Mike Brawan. They will be treating people for various ailments as well as praying for them and preaching the gospel. The team includes 2 doctors, a dentist, a nurse, an orthotist, a physiotherapist and an occupational therapist and lymphoedema specialist, so they hope to be able to treat a variety of conditions.
Five of the team will be there for a month and the other five for about 2 weeks within that month. They return on May 20th. The team comprises Christians and non-Christians.
The team would be very grateful if you would pray for them, for the group relationships and their relationships with their Kenyan brothers and sisters and for their health and safety. The team will be mainly reaching out to the very poor and dispossessed, including those in prison and on the streets, so please pray that the team will be able to be Jesus to them and to meet them where they are with their many needs.
At the time of writing it looks as though the flights could be disrupted with the volcanic ash having an effect on flights at present, so please also pray that things will be clear by Thursday.
Your prayers are much appreciated and we will try to keep you updated during their stay.
The following was learnt from Mike Brawan, minister of Bread of Heaven, Kenya who visited Cornwall recently.
The Apostolic Church is built on a five-fold ministry, which gives equal place to Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor and Teacher. No one ministry dominates the other, but rather each ministry works with the others, as a body of Christ, to serve God and its members.
The Apostle is the foundation stone or rock and is able to flow in each of the ministries (as indicated by the thumb, because the thumb is the only digit that can touch all the other fingers). The Apostle goes out and sets up churches and establishes it under the leadership of a five-fold ministry team.
The Prophet points the way, (as indicated by the forefinger). “Where there is no vision, the people perish” Proverbs 29:18 The Prophet seeks only the will of God and waits for upon God before they act.
The Evangelist enlarges the Church, (as indicated by the largest finger). The Evangelist is always looking for someone new to share the Gospel with, to invite new people into the Kingdom of God. The Evangelist is inspired and inspires others by a simple scripture for example “Follow Me” Matthew 4:19, 8:22, 9:9, 16:24, 19:21, Mark 2:14, 8:34, 10:21, Luke 5:27, 9:23, 9:59, 18:22, John 1:43, 10:27, 12:26, 13:36, 21:19, 21:22
The Pastor looks after the Bride, Christ’s Church, and prepares her for the groom, (as indicated by the wedding finger).
The Teacher looks at the Word of God and studies it in detail and opens it up to those that listen. The teacher instructs and cleanses the Church and reaches those areas of the heart that might otherwise remain hard. Part of the transformation process, the Teacher reaches into the crevices that others cannot reach, (as indicated by the little finger).
Often a Church is led by a single person, described as a Pastor, but usually gifted in a different ministry, resulting in a Church that becomes renowned, for example, for evangelism or teaching or the gifts of the Spirit. This can lead to a lot of movement between Churches as we each need a balance of each of the five ministries. They are all equally important. Once we have had our fill of one, then we will discover a need to partake of another and if it is not available in a Church, or if it is not given equal prominence and respect, people will move to where it is flowing freely and where they can receive what their spirit needs. In time they will have learnt all they can of this ministry too, and so the need to move on comes around again.
Some Churches rotate leaders so that different ministries are imparted over time. This enables Church members to remain in a single Church, but runs the risk of offending members when a new ministry is not one they are ready for yet and their hearts are not yet prepared for the changes required. In addition, if other ministries are not recognised by a new leader, gifts within the Church become repressed and lost which can cause considerable damage.
Apostles flow in all five ministries, enough to establish a Church and to recognise the gifts for each ministry in others, and enough to recognise that they are not as fully gifted as others in those areas. The Apostle is always looking to establish new churches elsewhere but needs to leave a growing Church behind in the care of others who are gifted to do so, that is in the care of a team comprising Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor and Teacher.