‘We are AM­BAS­SADORS OF GOD’

Jamaica Gleaner - - FAMILY & RELIGION - Ta­mara Bai­ley Gleaner Writer fam­ilyan­dreli­gion@glean­erjm.com

IMANDEVILLE, Manch­ester: N A world marred by sin and shaped in in­iq­uity, it is easy for in­di­vid­u­als to be­come de­pressed and lose hope in Je­sus, but Pas­tor La­toya Smythe-Forbes is to­day giv­ing hope to the hope­less and en­cour­ag­ing chil­dren of God to hold on.

The sit­u­a­tions ex­pe­ri­enced in present-day liv­ing are not unique to us as peo­ple in the past en­dured poverty, harsh eco­nomic down­turns, crim­i­nal ac­tiv­i­ties, and myr­iad other de­press­ing is­sues. How­ever, there is al­ways a light at the end of the tun­nel.

In 2 Kings 4:1-7, the story is told of a wo­man who is cry­ing be­cause she is in a des­per­ate sit­u­a­tion. Her hus­band is dead and cred­i­tors are com­ing to take her sons to be slaves, but through the ser­vant of God, El­isha, this wo­man, was able to make a liv­ing and pay her debts.

“Here we find this wo­man. She is hurt­ing, her sit­u­a­tion is crit­i­cal. What do you do when you’re hurt­ing? What do you do when you’re in trou­ble? Do you pick up the phone and call a friend, or do you call on Je­sus? This wo­man made up her mind that she is go­ing to go to God about her sit­u­a­tion and she is hope­ful that God’s go­ing to do some­thing for her,” said Smythe-Forbes.

The pas­tor, while de­liv­er­ing a ser­mon re­cently, said that though things can get tough, we must be re­minded that God is de­pend­ing on us to ex­er­cise faith and en­cour­age oth­ers in the process.

“We have to be care­ful what we adopt from the world be­cause we are a pe­cu­liar peo­ple. We are a royal gen­er­a­tion, we are a called-out peo­ple, and be­cause we are called out, we are dif­fer­ent. We are spe­cial and we have been given the op­por­tu­nity to be washed with the blood of Je­sus, and as blood-washed, born-again Chris­tians, we are am­bas­sadors of Christ. In our homes, in our schools, in our com­mu­ni­ties, on the job, we are God’s rep­re­sen­ta­tives, and He is de­pend­ing on you to be the light of the world,” Smythe-Forbes said.

She fur­ther said: “Our God is a God of des­per­ate peo­ple. If you don’t be­lieve me, ask the wo­man with the is­sue of blood. She was a des­per­ate wo­man in a des­per­ate sit­u­a­tion. But in her des­per­a­tion, she reached out and touched the hem of His gar­ment, and the blood ceased its flow. The foun­tain from which the blood flowed dried up. You see, when God speaks to our sit­u­a­tions, He doesn’t speak to the symp­toms, He speaks to the source.”

A WORD FROM GOD

A word from God to his peo­ple, Smythe-Forbes re­layed that peo­ple of God must be ac­ces­si­ble to oth­ers and be open to their bless­ing in­stead of be­ing blinded by cir­cum­stances.

“Of­ten­times, when we find our­selves in trou­ble, we don’t know that God is al­ready in the mix. Our God is work­ing out the sit­u­a­tion for you al­ready, but you can’t see it.”

Shar­ing a per­sonal story, the wo­man of God re­counted a time when she had a ve­hi­cle to be sold and tried hard to sell it, but her ef­forts failed.

It was around the time when Ivan was sched­uled to hit Ja­maica, but she did not know that her fail­ure to sell the car was a bless­ing in dis­guise.

“I was wash­ing the dishes one day and I looked over at my neigh­bour’s house and her zincs were rusty and I said, ‘God, you’re go­ing to have to pro­tect this wo­man, but in the back of my mind, while pray­ing to God for this wo­man’s roof, I’m say­ing, ‘Don’t worry about mine, mine’s OK,” she shared.

Within a few min­utes of the hur­ri­cane’s ar­rival, Smythe-Forbes lost her roof and the only refuge for her and her fam­ily was the car in the garage she had tried so hard to sell.

“Let me tell you some­thing, saints of God, God is on the case. He is work­ing out your sit­u­a­tion, but you’ve got to hold on. You’ve got to have faith, and you’ve got to trust him. Of­ten­times we have been fur­nished with what we need, but we need faith to ac­cess it. We find our­selves in sit­u­a­tions, trou­ble in the house, trou­ble in the mar­riage, trou­ble with the chil­dren, with the fi­nances ... rocked by sin, rocked by de­pres­sion and we are won­der­ing, ‘Is there any help?’ but help is on its way,” the pas­tor told Fam­ily and Re­li­gion.

Smythe-Forbes ex­plained that God uses the hard­ships of peo­ple and their vic­tory over these hard­ships to man­i­fest His glory and power.

“God is look­ing to do great things within us, He is look­ing for peo­ple to pour the oil of the Holy Spirit on, to fin­ish this great work, and to usher in the sec­ond com­ing. The ques­tion is: Are you mak­ing your­self avail­able to be used?”

PHOTO BY TA­MARA BAI­LEY

Pas­tor La­toya Smythe-Forbes, a pow­er­ful wo­man of God.

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