CAST Voices Devotion: Family

CAST Voices Devotion: Family

By Nomakhosi Kumalo

28 March 2017

1 Timothy 5:8 Anyone who does not provide for their relatives & especially for their own household has denied the faith & is worse than an unbeliever.

God instituted the family when he created man & woman. All family members are persons equal in dignity & have different responsibilities. Growing up in an African culture we learned that the father or any male in the house was the head of the family & therefore should be treated with more respect than anyone else in the family. But the truth is that each family member is a beloved son or daughter of God & that is why the Bible says we are all made in the image of God (meaning we are all equal). We still live in the era where many males demand respect but have no actions to show they deserve that respect (they impregnate women & run away from the responsibility). Polygamy is also a huge problem in my culture & the sad thing is that they take so many wives but fail to even support one. These men walk the streets with their heads held up high as if they have achieved something when the truth is that they bring children into poverty. Without a father, those kids are more likely to turn to a life of crime, abuse or they just don’t know how to be responsible.

For women, going to family courts is daunting nowadays, but the sad thing is that even when some women get assistance from the government they tend to make the kids suffer for what the father did to them & end up using the money for their personal gain & neglect the kids. We live in a generation where family doesn’t hold much substance anymore as we have more broken families than what God proclaims as a family. How do we bypass all that as believers, as the Word says we should provide for our families?

Questions

1) How do you feel visiting a neighbour or family friend who uses gender supremecy in their household?

2) How can we change the mindset of individuals to take responsibility for their actions, especially in regards to family?

3) What are your views about polygamy?

The Jesus that Transforms Part IV

Woman-Well

CAST Voices Devotion: Jesus Transforms the Religious Mindset

By Charmaine Moses

16 March 2017

John 4:21-24

“Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”

Devotion:

Traditionally, Jews worshiped on Mount Zion and Samaritans on Mount Gerazim.

Religious and doctrinal issues had separated both Jews and Samaritans so much that Jews and Samaritans had different centres of worship. Jesus transforming power allows us to worship him together in one mind and one accord.  God is calling the church to a position of oneness. To worship him in spirit and in truth is far more important than worshiping Christ in a specific location. Freedom to worship Christ begins with a transparent relationship with him.

Questions:

  • In today’s church, what are religious and doctrinal issues that separate God’s people?
  • How can we as leaders pursue oneness in the church, despite denominational and doctrinal differences?

The Jesus that Transforms Part III

Woman-Well

Jesus Transforms Mindsets About Racism

By Charmaine Moses

14 March 2017

John 4:9-10

The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)  Jesus replied, “If you only knew the gift God has for you and who you are speaking to, you would ask me, and I would give you living water.”

There were huge racial tensions between Jews and Samaritans. Jews regarded Samaritans as half breeds and never wanted to interact with them.  Jesus talks to this Samaritan woman, a woman of a different race and ethnicity.  Through his actions, he demonstrates the love of God for all humanity regardless of race, colour or culture.

Jesus asks this woman for water. Her reply is, “Sir you have nothing to draw water with and the well is deep.”  Jews avoided drinking from non-Jews, fearing contamination resulting in uncleanness.  Jesus breaks this attitude of prejudice by asking the woman for water. He then offers her living water.

Questions:

  1. Transformation that brings about permanent change begins with us. In your group, honestly evaluate our country’s view on racism.
  2. How can we make a difference in changing perception and building a united nation?

CAST Voices Devotion: The Jesus that Transforms Part II

Woman-Well

CAST Voices Devotion: The Jesus that Transforms Part II

By Charmaine Moses

9 March 2017

John 4:1-36

Jesus’ Transforming Power Restores Respect (John 4:7-11)

As Jesus comes to Samaria, it’s the sixth hour. The sun is at its highest and is blazing. Normally people prefer to draw water in the cool of the morning or evening. Mostly outcasts and people discarded or ostracized would draw water during midday because of the stigma they had to endure.  The well was a meeting and conversational place, not welcoming to those who were so-called ‘sinners’. But as Jesus comes to Samaria we are told from the text that a Samaritan woman comes to draw water.  Jesus being a rabbi knew the law concerning woman and touching anything from a non- Jew would defile his priestly position.   Jesus breaks the barriers of gender inequality by restoring respect to this woman. He shows her the love of God despite being rejected by society. Jesus shows her that God values her and that he is there to transform her life.

Our aim as believers is to restore dignity to people, especially to the marginalized of society. We are mandated by God to restore the rights of women so that they are no longer abused, silenced, disrespected or ostracized by society. As we work with our community, becoming aware of the constant pain of mothers and females will help us restore respect for them, pleading their plight and raising their dignity.

Questions:

  1. What is the plight of women in our society today?
  2. What deliberate action can we take to decrease gender-based violence in our community?

CAST Voices Devotion: The Jesus that Transforms

Woman-Well

CAST Voices Devotion: The Jesus that Transforms

By Charmaine Moses

7 March 2017

John 4:1-36

The life of Jesus is an amazing model of God’s transformational character. Jesus’ presence affected change wherever he went. Transformation has a ripple effect. Atmosphere changes, environments change, structures change, mindsets change, people change, and thereby communities are transformed. In the story of the Samaritan woman’s encounter with Jesus, we see a life impacted and changed in order to also impact the lives of others.

1. Jesus Transforms the Region (John 4:4-6)

Verse 4 tells us that Jesus had to go through Samaria. Jews regarded the Samaritans as the worst of the human race (John 8:48) and had no dealings with them (John 4:9). In spite of the hatred between the Jews and the Samaritans, Jesus broke down the barriers between them, preaching the gospel of peace to the Samaritans (John 4:6-26). Jesus’ journey to Samaria is a mission to bring restoration in places of hostility and injustice. Especially where there is segregation and separation, Jesus’ mandate is to bring reconciliation. Jesus’ radical approach was to bridge the gap of regional tension by going into a ‘no go’ area. Jesus deals with territorial structures that keep people separated and he crosses the invisible boundary of segregation between the ‘Have and have-nots’, areas of division between the rich and poor. Even the saved and unsaved. As followers of Christ, we are called to restoration and transformation by bridging the great chasms that exist in our society.

Questions:

1) How can we take back our community/territory for God?

2) What are some tangible ways to bridge the gap of racial segregation?

CAST Voices Devotion: True Fasting

CAST Voices Devotion: True Fasting

By Laura Mbugua-Mwaura

2 March 2017

Isaiah 58:2-9

For day after day they seek me out; they seem eager to know my ways, as if they were a nation that does what is right and has not forsaken the commands of its God.  They ask me for just decisions and seem eager for God to come near them.’Why have we fasted,’ they say, ‘and you have not seen it? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you have not noticed?’

Yet on the day of fasting, you do as you please and exploit all your workers.  Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife, and in striking each other with wicked fists.  You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high.  Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for a man to humble himself?  Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed and for lying on sackcloth and ashes?  Is that what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the Lord?

Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?  Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter – when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?

Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.  Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.

Devotion:

In the traditional liturgical calendar, today is the day after Ash Wednesday, the second day of Lent.  Depending on your church background, you may or may not practise Lent.  However, the Lenten season before Easter is intended to draw us closer to Christ through repentence and remind us of the ultimate sacrifice He made for us.

It’s easy to make Lent into a time of dieting from chocolate or coffee.  And while slowing down on your sugar intake is definitely not a bad thing, God seems to be more concerned about issues of injustice when it comes to fasting.

Isaiah lists a few very practical things we should be concerned about for others when fasting:

  • Oppression
  • Hunger
  • Homelessness
  • Lack of clothing

Isaiah says that fasting should be more focused on these issues of injustice than on self-deprivation.  When fasting becomes all about us and getting justice for ourselves, we lose the plot.  In fact, Isaiah says that fasting this way can lead to fighting and even exploiting those around us. Fasting should be a time where we deny ourselves in order to be more attuned to the needs of others.  In the end, it’s all about loving our neighbours as we love ourselves.  If we fast this way, God will give us some beautiful promises (vs 8-9).

Questions:

  1. What is your experience with fasting and Lent?
  2. In what situations besides Lent should we fast?
  3. How can we fast with the goal of being concerned about issues of injustice?