Lion and Lamb
Lion of Judah and The Lamb

 

Bible

In The Word
 
"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning."
John 1.1

 

 

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OLD NEWSLETTER

 

LETTERS TO INTERCESSORS

(Studies In The Word)

2009_02

He Lifted Up His Hands and Blessed Them


There are many beautiful passages in the Scriptures. Passages that reach into us in a deep way. Passages that cause us to be changed. Passages that are a fundamental part of being one of the Lord’s people. One of these passages places a great responsibility upon anyone who is in significant leadership within the church community, because it is a passage that places the name of the Lord upon his people and thus releases the blessing of God upon his people.

The Gospel of Luke begins with the expectation of the people to receive the Lord’s blessing from Zechariah at the Temple prayers (Luke chapter1) but because of Zechariah’s disbelief in what the angel of the Lord told him, Zechariah became unable to speak and the people, though amazed by the miraculous encounter, went home without the blessing of the Lord (Luke 1.21). The Gospel concludes with the last recorded action of Jesus, Luke 24.50-51.


‘He lifted up his hands and blessed them.
While he was blessing them,
he left them and was taken up into heaven.’


The blessing that Zechariah was unable to give, and the blessing that Jesus gave, can be found in Numbers 6.22-27.


The Lord said to Moses,
“Tell Aaron and his sons, ‘This is how you are to bless the Israelites. Say to them;
‘The Lord bless you and keep you;
The Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you;
The Lord turn his face towards you and give you peace.’
“So they will put my name on the Israelites, and I will bless them.”


In chapter 34 of Ezekiel, we find a disturbing account as to how the shepherds of the flock had not fulfilled their duties (Ezekiel 34.1-10). There then follows a wonderful description as to how the Lord will care for the flock and this description has become the prescription for the pastoral care of the people of God by whoever has spiritual oversight over the people of God. One of the key elements of this prescription is that of blessing the people (Ezekiel 34.26ff).


“I will bless them and the places surrounding my hill.
I will send down showers in season; there will be showers of blessing.
The trees of the field will yield their fruit and the ground will yield its crops;
the people will be secure in their land.
They will know that I am the Lord
when I break the bars of their yoke and rescue them from those who enslave them”


In studying how the blessing was given, it has become very clear that it was not a casual affair. It was a joyous set of actions in word and song by the priest (or priests together) with their feet firmly anchored on the ground and hands and eyes uplifted, pouring forth those beautiful words of blessing from God over the people gathered together. And study of the Scriptures will show that wonderful consequences flow from blessings (just as consequences flow from sinning). The pronouncement, the giving of the blessing truly changes things for the people for the better.

We are seeking a change in behaviour to that of Kingdom Living as the only complete answer to HIV/AIDS. It would seem to me that if we improve the spiritual atmosphere of our flock, the consequences will be an increasingly Godly people to whom Kingdom Living comes naturally. It would seem to me therefore, that we should study, understand and then release the powerful blessing of God upon his people in a liturgically significant manner at every opportunity - in Jesus’ times this was on a daily basis. Maybe one of the consequences will be widespread healing.

So, priests and pastors, of every persuasion,
joyously release the blessing of God over all his people in your care.

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ooOoo


The Epidemic Has Not Gone Away

Thirty three million people, possibly as high as 36 million people, remain HIV positive across the world. New infections are running at 2.7 million and deaths at 2 million per year. This is a preventable disease that requires behaviour change on a global scale.


NEW YORK, 16 June 2009 – Ahead of this year’s World AIDS Day, the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the World AIDS Campaign and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) have come together to announce the theme of ‘Universal Access and Human Rights’.
Speaking from Cape Town, South Africa, The World AIDS Campaign Executive Director Marcel van Soest said, “The epidemic has not gone away, tens of millions of people are still affected, but those hit the hardest, the poor and marginalised in society often don’t have a say when big decisions and laws are made. Their fundamental right to essential health care and life free from fear of stigma and discrimination must be strengthened.”


We are seeking for a renewed upsurge in intercession over this pandemic. After 25 years we may be feeling a bit tired of HIV/AIDS, but the call of God to intercede into this situation remains and we need to honour it so let us once again let our intercessions rise up to the Lord.

Use of Outmoded Drugs In Developing Countries
Michel Sidibe, UNAIDS Secretary, has called for an end to the two tiered system of global AIDS treatment at the recent Program Coordinating Board meeting. He refers to the UNAIDS Outcome Framework document (a strategy document with measurable goals).


“The Outcome Framework commits UNAIDS to stand by people living with HIV and to enhance progress to ensure that people receive treatment. The Outcome Framework will push all of us to revise the treatment guidelines on an urgent basis. The Outcome Framework will enable UNAIDS to lead the integration of HIV and tuberculosis services. Pursuing this priority will help to eliminate 500 000 unnecessary deaths from tuberculosis/HIV co infection and will provide life-saving nutritional support for those who need it most. The Framework advocates ending the two-tiered system of global AIDS treatment. This means stopping the practice of using outmoded drugs for people in developing countries. Some 3.2 million people are on treatment in Africa, but only an estimated 3% are on second-line treatment and beyond.”


Please pray for these goals of universal access and equality of treatment to be followed and achieved in all nations.

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Vertical Transmission of HIV/AIDS
This technical term ‘vertical transmission’ is used to describe the transmission of HIV from a pregnant woman to her child. It can happen in the womb and it can happen, more normally, during child birth. The result of vertical transmission is of course, the subsequent early death of the mother and a child with HIV who will, in the absence of treatment die very soon or, with anti retro viral therapy will live, often into the late teens before dying the usual dreadful death of AIDS. Most of our prayer requests come in from organisations caring for HIV positive orphans.

Through the discovery of nevirapine, vertical transmission can be stopped. It is a now thoroughly proven treatment. It works. It is not costly. It is however, totally dependent on getting the necessary drugs to the mother before birth and the baby immediately after birth. There is absolutely no need for any more babies to be born HIV positive in their own right. The issue of supply of medication is known as ‘universal access’.

UNAIDS says:-
GENEVA, 21 May 2009 – During the week of the World Health Assembly, UNAIDS’ executive director met with Health Ministers to underscore UNAIDS’ commitment in supporting countries to achieve their universal access goals. ...Evidence shows that timely administration of antiretroviral drugs to HIV-positive pregnant women significantly reduces the risk of HIV transmission to their babies. It is a proven, inexpensive, and effective intervention. Despite this, latest estimates show that in 2007, only 33% of HIV-positive pregnant women received the necessary treatment and only 21% of women in low- and middle-income countries were tested for HIV as part of their antenatal care. Progress in this area can only be achieved by integrating programmes which prevent the transmission of HIV from mothers to their children into the broader reproductive health agenda.“We can prevent mothers from dying and babies from becoming infected with HIV. That is why I am calling for a virtual elimination of mother to child transmission of HIV by 2015,” said Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS. “This is one of the main priority areas for UNAIDS, UNICEF, WHO and UNFPA to act on.”


Please pray for nations and organisations to pour in the resources to improve the delivery mechanisms so that all may have access to the relevant drugs at the time they need them. Pray that the goal to have eliminated mother to child infection by 2015 will indeed be met. Pray for this message to go out to all the health agencies in all the countries.

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