NEW YEAR MESSAGE 2017 FROM THE RT. REVEREND JAMES ALLEN YAW ODICO BISHOP ANGLICAN DIOCESE OF GAMBIA

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

“The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works” Psalm 145:9. Beloved people of God, in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth and everything thing in it. He created human beings in His image, blessed them, and gave them the authority to have custody of His creation with a simple command, “you are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.” Gen. 2: 16-17. Unfortunately Adam and Eve, succumb to the devil’s temptation and disobeyed Gods command that consequently brought separation between God and man.

However there is a window of hope:  “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that everyone who believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” John 3:16.

“The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.  For in Him all things were created, things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities. All things were created through Him and for Him.” Colossians 1:15-16

People of God, the ungodly rulers can be very mean, heartless, cruel and selfish. Herod the King who reigned over Judaea at the time of Jesus’ birth, slaughtered many innocent children in his bid to eliminate baby Jesus, whom he saw as a threat to his throne “..he put to death all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, according to the time he had learned from the Magi” Matthew 2;16.

Beloved in Christ, God’s divine plan cannot be thwarted by men.   The omniscient God had given direction to Joseph in good time to counter Herod’s plan: “Get up!” he said. “Take the Child and His mother and flee to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the Child to kill Him.” After Herod died, Joseph received divine direction through an angel of God; “Get up!” he said. “Take the Child and His mother and go to the land of Israel, for those seeking the Child’s life are now dead.” Joseph acted in faith and did as God commanded.

“Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there anything too hard for me?” Jeremiah 32:27.  Beloved People of God, the Lord’s plan for the Gambia, our families, and for each of us in the year 2017 and beyond cannot be thwarted by anyone, if only we put our trust in Him and obey His commands.  God who knows the heart of all men upset Herod’s evil plan. The omnipotent God could have just struck Herod to death but he chose to ask Joseph and His family to flee, and avoid confrontation.

Fellow Gambians and all that live in the Gambia, Let us put our trust in the omniscient and omnipotent God for everything we do in the year 2017 and beyond. Like Joseph, let us seek for God’s direction and be obedient to His word regardless of our pride and emotions. Let us make it our duty to “….. admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, and be patient with everyone. Make sure that no one repays evil for evil. Always pursue what is good for one another and for all people. Rejoice at all times. Pray without ceasing. Give thanks in every circumstance, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5: 14-18.

Let us pray for all refugees around the world, and with a concerted effort raise funds to support them, especially those who are victims of the Herod’s of this age. For this is the will of Jesus who was once a victim too. 

On a Sabbath in a synagogue in Nazareth, during His earthly ministry, Jesus “read the scroll of the prophet Isaiah where it was written: “The Spirit of the Lord is on Me, because He has anointed Me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim deliverance to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.” Luke 4: 16: 19. After the reading, He began his message saying, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”  The Scripture says that “All spoke well of Him and marvelled at the gracious words that came from His lips.” Luke 4: 20-22a.

Beloved People of God, “ ..Jesus laid down His life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone with earthly possessions sees his brother in need, but withholds his compassion from him, how can the love of God abide in him? Let us love not in word and speech, but in action and truth.” 1 John 3:16-18”

“This is the message you have heard from the beginning: We should love one another. Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he slay him? Because his own deeds were evil, while those of his brother were righteous.  So do not be surprised, brothers, if the world hates you” 1 John 3: 11-13 “But to those of you who will listen, I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also.” Luke 6:27-29

“My beloved brothers, understand this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger, for man’s anger does not bring about the righteousness that God desires. Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and every expression of evil, and humbly receive the word planted in you, which can save your souls.”  James 1:19-21. “Watch yourselves. If your brother sins, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him. Even if he sins against you seven times in a day, and seven times returns to say, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.”  Luke 17:3-4

Anyone who claims to love God that he does not see but hate his brother that he sees is a liar (1 John 4:20)

My beloved, God loves you. Consider how much he sacrificed for your salvation: His only begotten Son, His beloved, righteous and just partner in creation.  Let us share that love with one another in return.

To God be the glory.  Amen

On behalf of the Anglican family in the Diocese of Gambia, I wish the Head of state, the Government and people of our beloved nation, The Gambia; our mission partners, our brothers and sisters in the Muslim fraternity, and well-wishers, a Happy and Prosperous New Year.   GOD BLESS YOU ALL.

Source: Picture: THE RT. REVEREND JAMES ALLEN YAW ODICO