Part One: Empowerment for God

 I have three critical words in my life: empowerment, restoration, and reconciliation. We are empowered both by and for God. Our future is restoration and reconciliation.

 Empowerment means God changes me by giving me his power and by working within the details of my life. With God’s help in my life, I thrive. God can create the universe. Moreover, He knows the situation before us and possesses the ability to empower us with new life. He has the strength, endurance, and perseverance to affect this change. God tells us that the same power which raised us from death to life through His son is still available to help us in every situation.

 The book of Nehemiah helps us to understand what empowerment is and how it works. Divine empowerment is the God-given ability to achieve the task He sets before us. God empowers me by giving me the strength and wisdom I need in order to make consistent healthy choices, even when I thought I could not survive. We are all examples of empowerment in our western lives here. This empowerment is given only as needed; He never hands it out in advance.

 His command is to “go,” and then He releases what we need along the way. Jeremiah 9:23-24 puts it this way: “Thus says the LORD: ‘Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the LORD.'”

 Scripture states, “Then I came to the governors of the province Beyond the River and gave them the king’s letters. Now the king had sent with me officers of the army and horsemen.” (Nehemiah 2:9 ESV). What can we learn from the fact that Nehemiah received from the king letters to give to these governors? Nehemiah, while in exile, did not hesitate through unbelief regarding the promise of God but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God. He had planned for his return to Jerusalem and accepted the king’s help. Along with his planning, he persevered. He never gave up, and he followed through on God’s call upon his life. God empowered him spiritually, but also gave him practical help.

 How do you ask God for help in difficult times, whether here or in our homeland, South Sudan? First, we must pray and ask God for comfort and healing. We must help each other by caring for and loving one another, replacing distress with peace, and by calling upon the strength of God when we ourselves or others are weak and incapable of carrying on.

 Empowering the weak means that the people become strong enough to control their own lives and help themselves live better. By supporting one another, we are helping each other to believe in ourselves and achieve things we might not be able to do otherwise. Spiritual empowerment is about being confident in God’s love and provision for us and using that confidence to drive out our fears of failure or our inability to achieve something.

How do we activate God’s healing power in our lives to receive and share His words of knowledge for healing of restoration in our longing, suffering, and struggles? We must pray with authority to release God’s power as we keep ministering to his people. So let us step out in prayer, take risks, and watch God do miracles in our lives.

Oh God, bless South Sudan and her exiled people scattered around the world!

The way God empowers the world is through us working with him. I want to empower my people in South Sudan by offering education to children. I want to show my people that I believe in these children to make change happen in our country. Investing in them is investing in the future of our country. So, I want to provide them with the resources to learn and succeed.

God’s word empowers us to love our family and friends. A community that loves will take responsibility for themselves and each other and the physical world they live in. Instead of being afraid of trying new things, we can have the courage to innovate and uphold those who become successful.

To find peace and reconciliation among ourselves, we must forgive.

How can we love one another and rebuild our homeland if we do not forgive one another as South Sudanese? Forgiveness is something Christ requires of us, no matter what the other person does to us. Yet, while we Christians must unilaterally and individually extend forgiveness, it’s impossible to reconcile a relationship faithfully without mutual promises. God forgives us, but he does not stop there. Forgiveness is a one-sided promise, while reconciliation involves bilateral commitments. Reconciliation is redemption. God sent Jesus as a solution to hate and death. This Scripture says that God reconciled himself with all things through Jesus. By restoring our proper relationship to God, Jesus also opened the door for us to live in right relationships with each other, creation, and ourselves.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new Creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.  God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (II Corinthians 5:17 -21 NIV).

Paul teaches that a believer can be a “new creation” in Christ through reconciliation. God sent Christ into the world to provide reconciliation through His death and redemption through the blood of His son. My vision is to bring peace and reconciliation through education to South Sudan, which has suffered so much, and is longing for education and restoration.

Prayer for Confession and Clemency:

My Heavenly Father, we are thankful even though we are growing tired and weary in our lives. We began with suffering, struggles, tribulations, stumbling, and falling on many occasions, but God, who is our hope, will renew our strength. We will soar on wings like eagles; we will run and not grow weary because of your love to us, O God.