The Godllywood self-help group highlights a different aspect of a Spirit of Excellence at its monthly meetings, encouraging women to embrace exemplary standards and develop admirable qualities in themselves. Besides challenging women to identify areas for personal growth and correct attitudes or behaviour which do not produce positive results, women are motivated to grow into Godly role models for others to emulate.
The October meeting focussed on developing intelligent faith which sustains throughout challenges, rather than relying on emotional faith which does not endure when difficulties present themselves.
The groups in all major centres throughout South Africa and in neighbouring countries watched a video recorded by Mrs Ester Bezerra, wife of Bishop Edir Macedo, founder of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God (UCKG). Mrs Bezerra based her motivational talk on Hebrews 11:6: “And without faith it is impossible to please God for he who comes to God must believe that He exists and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”
She said: “I grew up in an evangelical environment but faith is much more than going to church and doing things by rote. Faith is a deep, personal relationship with God and knowing with absolute assurance that He will fulfil His promises. Your faith is a gift for God. Receiving it, He is joyful and wants to give to you as well. As you present your faith, He will answer your prayers. He will reward you. I encourage you to draw close to Him through faith and acknowledge that He is a gift in your life. Could there be anything greater?”
She shared how when her daughter was born with a cleft palate, she was grateful but she was not perfect. She said: “I did not understand why this had happened, but I knew with certainty that God had a purpose, and we know today what it was – the Universal Church was born from the problem that we faced.”
Mrs Marcia Pires, Godllywood’s hostess, thanked Mrs Bezerra for sharing her intelligent faith which has sustained her and her family through many challenges. She said: “It is important to distinguish between emotional faith and intelligent faith which is what sustains us in difficult times. Mrs Bezerra’s emotional faith was challenged by seeing mothers with perfect babies, but her intelligent faith knew there was a reason for her situation and there would be a positive outcome. This enabled her to overcome difficulties with absolute conviction. We need to know that God will work in our life even when the signs are not positive.”
Answering the age-old question of how to sustain faith when changes are not seen, Mrs Pires said: “Enduring is possible when we know with absolute certainty that God will do what He promised. He will make something good out of something challenging. When our prayers are not answered we give up. We stop being faithful. We exchange the blessed for a blessing. The blessing becomes more important. Emotional faith cannot help us overcome the challenges, we need to stand firm on intelligent faith.”
Referring to the Biblical account of Job, Mrs Pires said: “When things are not going our way, we challenge God. We abandon our intelligent faith and rely on emotional faith, questioning God and asking, ‘Why, why me, why don’t you answer me?’ When Job did this, God did not reason with him, He merely asked where Job had been when the universe was created. Seeing how insignificant he was, Job realised that his treasure was his relationship with God. He stopped feeling betrayed and in a confession of intelligent faith acknowledged: ‘I know that You can do everything, and that no thought can be withheld from You.’ (Job 42:1). What followed was a complete change in Job’s life. The same can be achieved in your life.”
Our human nature wants to know the outcome – if only we knew it would end well, if only God would explain His plans, we would find faith easier, but we are called to remain in faith and trust His promises. Mrs Pires said: “Faith is not about how you feel but what you know. Through your intimate relationship with God, you know His promises will never fail. True faith is enduring in the midst of problems, when you don’t see results, but you know they will come.”
Concluding the meeting, Mrs Pires said: “To stand forever with God you have to know who He is. Develop a deep relationship with Him. Do not exchange Him for a blessing, but strive to have the Blesser within you. Our eternal assurance is that we are seated in His family forever. We belong to God.”
The Godllywood self-help group’s theme for 2016 is The Year of Excellence. Previous meetings have looked at defining goals, developing a humble attitude, self-confidence and self-discipline, the importance of developing a spirit of appreciation and learning not to be people pleasers but focussing on pleasing God in all things. Other meetings have explored trust, discernment and the important role women play in society as being the nurturer in the family, and how they should use wisdom to build their homes.
Meetings are held on the third Saturday of the month at 11am at the Universal Church, 25 Plein Street, Johannesburg. Everyone is welcome to attend.
For further information, please contact the church’s public relations department on 011 224 3400 or firstname.lastname@example.org.