The Miracle of Easter
âGod loved the people of this world so much that He gave His only SonâŚâ John 3:16
The events over the past weeks in New Zealand have surely shown the contrast between good and evil. We have witnessed many people responding to an evil act with hearts full of neighbourly love, many acts of kindness and a tremendous tribute of gifts and flowers. Led by our Prime Minister, people have shown their grief in many ways and as a nation we can be thankful that many do want to see such an act of evil overcome by goodness.
However, even though there are many heart-warming acts of generosity and self-sacrifice in this world, none can compare with the one we celebrate at Easter. As we celebrate we remember the sacrifice of Godâs only Son.
It is with a deep sense of wonder we read again the story of the death and resurrection of Jesus. We marvel that God the creator of the universe, loves us so much that He sent His only Son to die a cruel death of a condemned man on the cross.
Not only condemned to die, but deserted by His friends and mourned only by His nearest and dearest. Yet painful as that lonely death and rejection was, it was almost an unimaginable act of reconciliation between God and His created people.
Human nature has changed little since the time of Christ. The suffering, the cruelty, the rejection and the indifference of that original Good Friday is with us still and the need for forgiveness is as great as ever.
Equally, the sense of new life, the knowledge of redemption, the chance of a fresh start, all of which are implicit in the resurrection, are as real and necessary to faltering mankind today as in the past. Christâs life and death opens the door to a new dimension to our lives. This is not a matter of following teachings or observing a set of rules or rituals, for Jesus was more than a teacher and a prophet. He established and proclaimed a new relationship between the Creator and the created, between God and His people, revealed in His sacrifice and triumphant resurrection at Easter.
It is a gift so great and yet is it freely there for all who would accept it.
Happy New Year!
To many those words bring about feelings of hope and resolve at the beginning of each New Year. Many resolve to make better decisions, eat better (and less) food, to exercise more, to spend time doing more meaningful things, to love more deeply, to work more efficiently and so the list goes on. It takes a lot of strength and courage to change make these resolutions work. Many give up.
The FRUIT of the SEASON
Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries - the wonderful summer fruits that we all enjoy are now appearing in the markets. As we enjoy these summer delights over this Christmas season let us be reminded of the fruit of the Spirit:
When God sent His only Son into the world it was to demonstrate His love for us. He wanted us to know Him through His Son, to know forgiveness of our sins through His death on the cross and to rejoice that He is coming again. While here on earth Jesus prayed that we would demonstrate Godâs love in our lives, so that it would show we belong to Him.
If we are then to demonstrate Godâs love in our lives this Christmas season, we need to refresh our understanding of what it means to show Godâs wonderful love to others. He who is love has set His love upon us, and calls us to love Him and others in return.
Just as the season produces more fruit for us to enjoy so we look for more âspiritual fruitâ that this love produces. It is the fruit that grows naturally out of our relationship with Christ and not something we produce by self-effort. The following verses from Godâs Word remind us that the fruit we produce is for the benefit and enjoyment of others.
Love: âChildren, you show your love for others by truly helping them, and not merely by talking about it.â
This Christmas season,
CWCI GIRLS' GETAWAY 2019: CHANGE OF DATES
Speaker: Beth Allison - Australia
IMPORTANT: PLEASE NOTE THE CHANGE OF DATE FOR WILLOW PARK AND MATAMATA WEEKENDS - THESE HAVE BEEN SWAPPED - MATAMATA IS NOW ON 23 FEBRUARY AND THE WILLOW PARK WEEKEND IS NOW 15-17 MARCH... we pray that you will be able to come along and make the most of this wonderful opportunity ~ SEE YOU AND YOUR FRIENDS THERE!
More than a holiday weekend, more than chocolate!
Tuesday before Easter, as I walked towards Queen Street in Auckland, I passed two women carefully carrying cardboard trays of Easter eggs and Easter bunnies. There they were rather large chocolate bunnies wrapped up in brightly coloured foil sitting beside huge chocolate eggs. A morning tea treat for the office staff I reflected!
OUR TOUR WITH EMMA STOKES HAS ENDED....
... however, more is yet to come! Check out the Events tab....
What a blessing over these past weeks on our Tour with Emma - the weekends were a feast of gathering together and sharing in fun, fellowship and great times of remembering back 50 years and the other events just as special too!
A huge THANKYOU to all who came along and joined us! It was just great to see you there!!
New Thoughts for a New Year - 2018
Think the same way that Christ Jesus thought:
It has been encouraging this Christmas to read of all the 'good' actions of many people as they have helped those in need, the lonely, and those who in their circumstances would not have the means or the heart to enjoy Christmas.
Giving, thinking of others, being kind, showing love, expressing joy and peace have all been in the headlines this Christmas. One news headline gave the impression that, Christmas is the time when we do good toward others and that we 'should' be good at Christmas. In response the question we must ask is, 'Why just Christmas time'?
The Apostle Paul wrote to the Philippians encouraging them to think of others as an ongoing way of life, not something that happens once a year.
Be concerned for others, live in harmony, be united in what you think, be humble and consider others more important than yourselves, care about them as much as you care about yourselves and think the same way that Christ Jesus thought. Paul reiterated these 'good actions', in his other epistles, adding, patiently put up with each other, forgive each other, serve each other with love, offer each other a helping hand, encourage each other, live at peace with each other, accept each other and most importantly love each other.
In John 13:34-35, we read these important words of Jesus. "But I am giving you a new command. You must love each other, just as I have loved you. If you love each other, everyone will know that you are my disciples.' If we put into practice this command to love each other, our eyes and hearts will be open to the needy, the lonely and those who desperately need Christ, not just once a year but every day! And as we sacrifice our lives in the name of Jesus He will be honoured and glorified.
A Thought for CHRISTMAS 2017! Devotion by Lois Loan
Lois Loan of Invercargill, along with others, was committed to setting up CWCI in Southland in 1973. Her involvement on committees and boards continued up until a few years ago. Her faithfulness in encouraging women to be involved no matter their age, family and work commitments was well known and the phrase; w.w.w. @ women worth watching, is often repeated by those who were invited to be involved at committee and board levels. Lois went to be with her Lord and Saviour on Saturday 18th November, 2017. Lois loved writing - her history of CWCI Southland and her many stories in a 'lighter vein' are a joy to read. The following story written by Lois helps us focus on the wonderful Christmas gift of the inheritance we have in Christ.
"For God so loved the world that
He gave His one and only Son.
That whoever believes in Him
shall not perish but have
eternal life." John 3:16
"I have come that they may have life,
and have it to the full." John 10:10
"Now to Him who is able to do
immeasurably more than all we ask or
imagine, according to His power that is at
within us." Ephesians 3:20
"And my God will meet all your needs
according to the riches of His glory
in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:19
WAIRARAPA GIRLS' GETAWAY WEEKEND OCTOBER 2017 - FANTASTIC WEEKEND!!! BOOK NOW FOR FEBRUARY/MARCH 2018
Speaker: Emma Stokes, Tauranga
.... the Lord blessed our Girls' Getaway weekend with Emma - book for our upcoming weekends in February-March 2018.
Don't miss out - it will be a special time of blessing as we celebrate the goodness of our God over 50 years of CWCI here in New Zealand.
Start your year in the best way! Bring your friends - see you there!
LATEST NEWZLINK 2017-2
Looking forward to our 2018 Getaway Weekends - 50 years of CWCI in NZ
To request your copy by email
The Joy set before Him - an Easter devotion
Debbi Bryson's messages on, "Today I Choose Joy", at our Girls' Getaway Weekends in February March were inspiring and challenging. A friend who attended one of these weekends recently greeted me with these words, "It has been such an encouragement to choose joy through every circumstance this week".
IT IS NOT HARD TO BE KIND AYE?
A New Year thought!
T-shirt reminder from Kaikoura during the recent earthquake!
We do not know what lies ahead of us but we can be prepared in our hearts and minds to know how to react not only in emergencies and difficult situations but also in everyday living as we interact with others.
Reading God's Word every day prepares our hearts and minds and reminds us that to be effective witnesses of God's loving kindness we must show it in all we do. Praying about the people you will meet in the day will surprise you!
There are many references in God's Word about considering others and being kind to one another. So what is kindness? It is humbly giving of ourselves in love and mercy to others who may not be able to give anything back, who sometimes don't deserve it, and who frequently don't thank us for it. Basically kindness means a way of thinking that leads to doing thoughtful deeds for others.
Paul continues and exhorts us not only to consider and care but to,
This coming year, 2017, let us each one,
A MEANINGFUL CHRISTMAS
If we want a truly meaningful Christmas this year, we need to understand the true meaning of Christmas. I believe that starts with understanding the person of Christmas, Jesus Christ.
For over 2,000 years debate has been raging about who Jesus really is. There have been many and varied explanations. Some say, He is one of many gods, others a created being, a high angel, a good teacher, a prophet and so on. The common thread of all such explanations is that they make Jesus less than God.
But the biblical evidence is overwhelming that this child in the manger that we read about in the gospels was the incarnation of God. The Apostle Paul writing to the Colossians captures the essence of Jesus' divine nature and the truths that make Christmas truly wonderful and meaningful.
Let your heart dwell on the wonderful truth, that Jesus Christ is God.
"Christ is exactly like God,
NEWZLINK 2016 - 2 NOW AVAILABLE
please email firstname.lastname@example.org to get your copy
Our latest NewZlink magazine is now available - you may receive it via email or post (though we are trying to keep our postage to a minimum because of cost).
PLEASE NOTE the latest one is at the top
EASTER THOUGHTS: THE GOOD SHEPHERD!
CWCI has been blessed! For those who have attended the Summer reTREAT meetings it has been a real joy to be refreshed and renewed in God's Word. We have been challenged and encouraged as we have listened to Lisa Watson, President of the CWCI International Board.
Speaking from Psalm 23 and the Gospels Lisa helped us to see Jesus as the Good Shepherd 'who cares' for us in every situation and circumstance. The Shepherd who calls His sheep by name and whose sheep know His voice.
Continuing the Good Shepherd theme and celebrating Easter let us focus on the words of John chapter 10. Here Jesus tells the people that He is the Good Shepherd and the Good Shepherd gives up his life for his sheep.
Jesus also says He is the gate for the sheep, verse 9, "I am the gate. All who come to me will be saved. Through me they will come and go and find pasture," and further in verse 10, he says, "I came so everyone would have life and have it fully. I am the good shepherd and the good shepherd gives up his life for his sheep." Again in verses 15,17,18, he says, "Just as the Father knows me, I know the Father, and I give up my life for my sheep."
"The Father loves me, because I give up my life, so I may receive it back again. No one takes my life from me. I give it up willingly! I have the power to give it up and the power to receive it back again, just as my Father commanded me to do."
After Jesus declared he was the Good Shepherd, He willingly went to the cross and gave up His life for His sheep. The Good Shepherd gave His life, He gave it away freely and voluntarily, for the sake of the sheep, that they may be delivered from death and might have eternal life.
Jesus had the power to give up His life and the power to receive it back again. He died and on the third day 'received His life back again' for the sheep whom He knew, and who when called, would know Him and follow Him.
This Easter take time to give thanks to the Good Shepherd, read His Word, hear His voice calling you by name, leading you and loving you so much He gave His life that you, 'would have life and have it fully,' verse 10.
REST RESTORE REFRESH REJOICE!
I do love the refreshing patches of green grass in the city. Since coming to live in the Auckland CBD my husband and I have so enjoyed taking our daily walk in such a different environment from where we were previously living. Our street has its own little park and monument to the first church built in Auckland plus a lovely epitaph to the Reverend Churton. We often read these words and are refreshed and encouraged. Walking through Albert Park we marvel at God's amazing creation. The trees look so old and wise! Britomart Place provides green grass to relax on and children love to play on the fountains that spiral up from the pavement. The Atrium also provides greenery; the walls of plants are restful to the eye. I note that many people take full advantage of stopping off to enjoy the rest and refreshment that these special places provide, however the majority do not, they continue on their hectic way rushing from one place to another without a thought to what they may be like at the end of the day. We are all inclined to try and do more than is expected of us. We need to ask the question WHY? Does God expect us to run ourselves frail? I believe we need to take time in our busy schedules to STOP spiritual snacking and take time for real food!
Psalm 23, (CEV), helps us to focus on the 'spiritual food' the Lord wants to give us. Imagine the sheep looking at the shepherd and saying, "He is MY shepherd, He lets me rest, He leads me to.., He refreshes me, He leads me on the right path". Here is the responsibility of the shepherd to let us rest, be refreshed and restored from the busyness of life. Then our responsibility is to walk and follow as He leads us on the right paths and through the dark valleys, affirming that He is always with us. What is more the sheep says, "I see your rod of protection and correction and I feel safe and secure".
Next we have the guest looking at the host saying, "What an amazing treat, I feel honoured, my cup is full and even overflows". Both the sheep and guest say, "Your kindness and love will always be with me each day of my life, and I will stay here with my host forever".
How important to allow God to give us the spiritual food we need and then be ready and active to walk on the path where He leads. Too often we divert off the path and do more than He asks and we miss His call to rest, restore, refresh and rejoice!
The CWCI KYB Summer reTREATs - both weekends and events, are a great place to come and rest, be restored and refreshed. See details under Events and Registrations on this website.