Faith

Total Freedom from Faulty Foundations

Freedom

                                                     Artwork by: Julio Pineda@creationswap

By Tesh Njokanma

Without a solid foundation, a building or structure can collapse. When the foundation of a building is faulty, no matter how beautiful the building, after some time, the building will collapse. If there is a problem in the foundation of a building, then there is a real and serious problem!

Our lives can be likened to a building. 1 Peter 2:4-5 describes us as living stones that are being built into a spiritual house. Just as the foundation of any physical building is important, so also is the foundation of our lives. If our marriage, finances, business, career, or ministry is built on a solid foundation, it will stand. But if our lives are built on a faulty foundation, it will crumble. We won’t have the capacity to withstand the storms and trials of life (Luke 6:47-49).

The foundation is the base or starting point of the building. We need to look at the starting point of our lives to know the kind of foundation we have. What were the circumstances surrounding our birth, what kind of name were we given, were there evil dedications done when we were born, what kind of family were we born into, was it a family given to idol worship, a family that engaged in evil sacrifices for protection and blessings? Or were you born into a family with a faulty marital foundation  a polygamous family, broken home, or ungodly union?

Scripture is full of people who had faulty foundations. Jabez was given a bad name. His name meant pain, sorrow or trouble. Jabez realized that he had a faulty foundation. He realized that he had been given a name that would make him keep going through an evil cycle of pain, sorrow and trouble. What did Jabez do? He cried out to the repairer of faulty foundations to go to his foundation and repair every defect in his life from his foundation (1 Chronicles 4:9-10). God heard his prayer. This month, the Lord shall hear your prayer and repair every faulty foundation in your life.

You could actually have a good name like Mercy, Grace, Oluwalasiyami (God is my banner) or Kidochukwu (Is there anything too hard for God?), but in the spiritual realm you have been given a bad name.  Isaiah 62:4 is a case in point. The person being spoken of in that scripture was called Deserted and Desolate in the spiritual realm. Someone with such a name would definitely have a hard time getting married because in the spiritual realm, the person had been given a name that depicts someone alone and without a companion. But just as God intervened and changed the person’s name to Hephzibah (my delight is in her) and Beulah (you are married), God will deliver us from every evil spiritual name and give us a new name today; a new name that will bring blessings and honour our way.

Gideon is another example of someone in scripture who had a faulty foundation. He was born into a family given to idol worship; a family that had evil altars. Wherever there is an evil altar, the altar has been erected to speak curses, problems and misfortune into a person’s life. In Judges 6:25  26, God made Gideon destroy the evil altars and gods in his family to be free from that faulty foundation which could limit his progress in life.

For some other people, they have a faulty foundation of uncompleted or abandoned projects.  Luke 14:28-30 tells us of a person who started a building project but was not able to complete it. There are people who start a relationship but are never able to follow it through to marriage. Today they are engaged to someone, the next six months it is another person. By the following year, it is another person they are engaged to. For some other people, they start a business today but by the next few months, they have abandoned that business and started another. There are actually defects in their foundation making them have so many abandoned and uncompleted projects.

Another type of faulty foundation we see in scripture is the foundation of labour without reward. 1 Corinthians 3:10-15 talks of people serving God and at the end they have no reward for their labour. Psalm 127: 2 talks of people who rise up very early to work, who stay up late into the night working, but at the end of the day, they have nothing to show for all their labour. Sadly, so many people today are being affected by this kind of evil foundation. We see from verse 1 of Psalm 127 that the main reason why a lot of people put in so much effort, energy and labour into a relationship, business, project, or ministry and at the end of the day they have nothing to show for it is because God is not in what they are doing. When God is not in that step or decision you want to take, when He is not in that business or project, no matter how much money and energy you put into it, nothing much will come out of it.

There are so many other types of faulty foundations that can hinder a person from getting to the heights God has destined for the person. One thing is certain from scripture, God can repair faulty foundations no matter how bad. Whatever foundational problem we may have, the Lord, the Great Deliverer, will set us completely free from all faulty foundations and do a new thing in our lives.

One of the warning signs of a building with a faulty foundation is that cracks start appearing in walls, especially over doorways, windows, or where walls meet ceilings. Have you noticed some cracks in your life? Does it appear like your marriage, business or ministry is falling apart? Or is your life like a building with a foundational defect causing water to seep into the rooms of the building? Are there all kinds of bad habits and relationships that have seeped into your life and are now covering the glory of God in your life? All these are warning signs that your foundation needs to be revisited.

For us to experience total freedom from all faulty and evil foundations that have been slowing us down in life, we need to be filled with more of Christ, more of God’s word. The more of God’s Word in us, the stronger our foundation. The deeper our relationship with Christ, the firmer our foundation. Jesus is a firm and sure foundation that never fails. With the divine power God has given you to pull down strongholds, demolish all faulty foundations in your life and ask God to replace the faulty foundations with Christ Jesus so you can have a solid and lasting foundation. Don’t build your life on sinking sand, build your life on Christ, the Solid Rock.
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www.teshnwritings.com

Tesh Njokanma is a lawyer by training whose heart is in writing. She is a prolific writer with over 15 years experience as a magazine Editor. She is a pastor in the Redeemed Christian Church of God with a prayer and teaching ministry. Tesh is married with children. She is based in Lagos, Nigeria.

Article Source: http://www.faithwriters.com <a href=”http://www.faithwriters.com”>CHRISTIAN WRITER</a>

Love-The Perfect Bond For Everything (Article)

law of love

artwork by:Chris Van Den Berg@creationswap.com

Written By Ngozi Nwoke

I know you desire to be perfect before God, but how possible is it? You have done so many things in your quest to obey God and it’s like something is still missing. What do you do? This article gives you the perfect bond that binds everything together completely.

Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. (Matthew 5:48 KJV)

And above all these [put on] love and enfold yourselves with the bond of perfectness [which binds everything together completely in ideal harmony]. (Colossians 3:14 AMP)

But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way. (1 Corinthians 12:31 KJV)

Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love. (I Corinthians 13:8, 13 NKJV)

Truly, you have been trying to please God and to live right, but things seem not to be going the way you expected; you are not enjoying the blessings of God which are your portion for obeying God. And you have wondered what else haven’t you done?

The challenge may lie on the strength of your bond of perfection which is LOVE. Love is the connection that fastens things together. No matter what you do, if there is no love, it will yield little or no result. You can’t be perfect without love. God is love (1 John 4:8) and if you are to be like Him, then you need to love as He does.

Everything answers to love. It is the fulfillment of the law – Romans 13:8. Your quest for the gifts of the Holy Spirit, the manifestations of the fruit of the Holy Spirit and the blessings of God in your life are subject to the love of God in your life – 1 Corinthians 12:31 – 1 Corinthians 13:1-13

All your efforts, services, seeds and sacrifices are futile without the perfect bond of love. Love binds them all together to give an ideal harmony (Colossians 3:14), a sweet smell of savour acceptable unto God. It is what gives taste to your life. Like in soup, love is the salt that brings out the taste of other ingredients.

God says that if you speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, you are just a sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And if you have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and have all faith, so that you can remove mountains, but have not love, you are nothing. Again if you bestow all your goods to feed the poor, and give your body to be burned, but have not love, it profits you nothing. (I Corinthians 13:1-3)

Love makes all the difference. It is what turns failure to success, sickness to health and attracts God’s unending favour to your endeavour. It transforms an unsecured soul to a secured one and  is the perfect bridge between childhood and adulthood.

Jesus, our perfect example, depended on the love of God in Him to manifest His power. The scriptures often recorded that he had compassion for the person(s) before a miracle occurred – Matthew 14:14, Matthew 15:32, Matthew 18:27, Matthew 20:34: for healing, feeding, forgiveness.

Now, I have this young child living with me, I was trying to fit her in like my own daughter. So, I bought her clothes as I would for my own daughter, sent her to the same private school as my own son and gave her everything I gave my son except for the infant milk I give my little son. But I knew that something was still missing. One day, the Spirit of God ministered to me that until I love her and show it the way I do my son, she won’t fit in as my daughter would and I had better do it now while she can quickly adjust. I had to ask God for grace to love her as my own. Love is the perfect bond for everything!

So, you may have sown seeds, given your tithes and offerings and all other kingdom investments, if they are not done in love, you will not see any financial breakthrough. And your faith too will not work without love in place – Galatians 5:6

Also, if you serve God with your time, money and energy but not in love, the blessings of Exodus 23:25-26 will not be your portion: your bread and water will not be blessed, sickness will not be taken away from your midst, barrenness will remain in your land and the number of your days will not be fulfilled.

Therefore, if you are still expecting answers to your prayers despite your entire kingdom walk, check your love walk. It may be the missing link to your desired outcome. Love truly is the bond of perfection.

Ngozi Nwoke Is a teacher and a counselor. A product and distributor of love. She has a passion to teach people how to enjoy God’s love and fellowship for more fulfilling life. Want more fulfilling life? subscribe for free email updates today. http://stepswithgod.com

Article Source: http://www.faithwriters.com <a href=”http://www.faithwriters.com”>CHRISTIAN WRITER</a>

Love-The Perfect Bond For Everything (Article)

law of love

artwork by:Chris Van Den Berg@creationswap.com

Written By Ngozi Nwoke

I know you desire to be perfect before God, but how possible is it? You have done so many things in your quest to obey God and it’s like something is still missing. What do you do? This article gives you the perfect bond that binds everything together completely.

Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. (Matthew 5:48 KJV)

And above all these [put on] love and enfold yourselves with the bond of perfectness [which binds everything together completely in ideal harmony]. (Colossians 3:14 AMP)

But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way. (1 Corinthians 12:31 KJV)

Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love. (I Corinthians 13:8, 13 NKJV)

Truly, you have been trying to please God and to live right, but things seem not to be going the way you expected; you are not enjoying the blessings of God which are your portion for obeying God. And you have wondered what else haven’t you done?

The challenge may lie on the strength of your bond of perfection which is LOVE. Love is the connection that fastens things together. No matter what you do, if there is no love, it will yield little or no result. You can’t be perfect without love. God is love (1 John 4:8) and if you are to be like Him, then you need to love as He does.

Everything answers to love. It is the fulfillment of the law – Romans 13:8. Your quest for the gifts of the Holy Spirit, the manifestations of the fruit of the Holy Spirit and the blessings of God in your life are subject to the love of God in your life – 1 Corinthians 12:31 – 1 Corinthians 13:1-13

All your efforts, services, seeds and sacrifices are futile without the perfect bond of love. Love binds them all together to give an ideal harmony (Colossians 3:14), a sweet smell of savour acceptable unto God. It is what gives taste to your life. Like in soup, love is the salt that brings out the taste of other ingredients.

God says that if you speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, you are just a sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And if you have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and have all faith, so that you can remove mountains, but have not love, you are nothing. Again if you bestow all your goods to feed the poor, and give your body to be burned, but have not love, it profits you nothing. (I Corinthians 13:1-3)

Love makes all the difference. It is what turns failure to success, sickness to health and attracts God’s unending favour to your endeavour. It transforms an unsecured soul to a secured one and  is the perfect bridge between childhood and adulthood.

Jesus, our perfect example, depended on the love of God in Him to manifest His power. The scriptures often recorded that he had compassion for the person(s) before a miracle occurred – Matthew 14:14, Matthew 15:32, Matthew 18:27, Matthew 20:34: for healing, feeding, forgiveness.

Now, I have this young child living with me, I was trying to fit her in like my own daughter. So, I bought her clothes as I would for my own daughter, sent her to the same private school as my own son and gave her everything I gave my son except for the infant milk I give my little son. But I knew that something was still missing. One day, the Spirit of God ministered to me that until I love her and show it the way I do my son, she won’t fit in as my daughter would and I had better do it now while she can quickly adjust. I had to ask God for grace to love her as my own. Love is the perfect bond for everything!

So, you may have sown seeds, given your tithes and offerings and all other kingdom investments, if they are not done in love, you will not see any financial breakthrough. And your faith too will not work without love in place – Galatians 5:6

Also, if you serve God with your time, money and energy but not in love, the blessings of Exodus 23:25-26 will not be your portion: your bread and water will not be blessed, sickness will not be taken away from your midst, barrenness will remain in your land and the number of your days will not be fulfilled.

Therefore, if you are still expecting answers to your prayers despite your entire kingdom walk, check your love walk. It may be the missing link to your desired outcome. Love truly is the bond of perfection.

Ngozi Nwoke Is a teacher and a counselor. A product and distributor of love. She has a passion to teach people how to enjoy God’s love and fellowship for more fulfilling life. Want more fulfilling life? subscribe for free email updates today. http://stepswithgod.com

Article Source: http://www.faithwriters.com <a href=”http://www.faithwriters.com”>CHRISTIAN WRITER</a>

Bloom Where You’re Planted (Article)

By Frana Hamilton

—- When I became a Christian about 70 years ago, it was like I had stepped out of darkness and into sunshine. I wanted everyone to experience what I had experienced. I wanted everyone to have the new joy that was springing up in my heart. I considered myself to be something of an evangelist, telling my story to anyone who would listen. Although I still love to “tell the old, old story of Jesus and His love,” as the years have gone by, I have not found many people who have no connection to God. Instead I meet many, many whose relationship with Him is pushed into the corner, sort of buried under hurts, frustrations, disappointments, anger, indifference. When I ask, “what about God in your life?” I often hear a wistfulness and a long-hidden story of disillusionment. It seems that most people in “Christian” America,” (at least the ones I come across) have at one time or another responded to the Gospel message, and perhaps “made a decision,” but like abandoned orphans, they have not grown and flourished. They need help, nourishment (the Bread of life, the milk of the Word). They need to be coaxed
back to the communal warmth and fellowship of a group of believers.  They have somehow strayed away from the path and need some encouragement and lovingkindness. It seems that almost every day God brings someone across my way who needs some positive words, maybe a challenge and a hug. Since even a little old lady can be a mentor, a mom, a helper, a friend, I find that this is just the right ministry for me! Praise God – I can just bloom where I’m planted.

Frana Hamilton is Director of Training at a vocational school where she teaches, advises and encourages out-of-work adults who need some training and a helpful boost to get them back into the workplace.  She considers it a great privilege to have this ministry.

Article Source: http://www.faithwriters.com <a href=”http://www.faithwriters.com”>CHRISTIAN WRITER</a>

Bloom Where You’re Planted (Article)

By Frana Hamilton

—- When I became a Christian about 70 years ago, it was like I had stepped out of darkness and into sunshine. I wanted everyone to experience what I had experienced. I wanted everyone to have the new joy that was springing up in my heart. I considered myself to be something of an evangelist, telling my story to anyone who would listen. Although I still love to “tell the old, old story of Jesus and His love,” as the years have gone by, I have not found many people who have no connection to God. Instead I meet many, many whose relationship with Him is pushed into the corner, sort of buried under hurts, frustrations, disappointments, anger, indifference. When I ask, “what about God in your life?” I often hear a wistfulness and a long-hidden story of disillusionment. It seems that most people in “Christian” America,” (at least the ones I come across) have at one time or another responded to the Gospel message, and perhaps “made a decision,” but like abandoned orphans, they have not grown and flourished. They need help, nourishment (the Bread of life, the milk of the Word). They need to be coaxed
back to the communal warmth and fellowship of a group of believers.  They have somehow strayed away from the path and need some encouragement and lovingkindness. It seems that almost every day God brings someone across my way who needs some positive words, maybe a challenge and a hug. Since even a little old lady can be a mentor, a mom, a helper, a friend, I find that this is just the right ministry for me! Praise God – I can just bloom where I’m planted.

Frana Hamilton is Director of Training at a vocational school where she teaches, advises and encourages out-of-work adults who need some training and a helpful boost to get them back into the workplace.  She considers it a great privilege to have this ministry.

Article Source: http://www.faithwriters.com <a href=”http://www.faithwriters.com”>CHRISTIAN WRITER</a>

The Dangers of Pleasing Others

By Dr. Henderson Ward

From the time we are born we are soon cajoled into pleasing others and it has become so natural that even as adults, displeasing others causes us untold suffering, and at times mental breakdown. At home we expect to please our parents, at school we are forced to please our teachers and at work God help us if we do not please our bosses. Why are we so habituated with pleasing others?

This is not to say that pleasing others is always bad, or unfortunate, or evil in itself but rather to point out that working to other people’s agendas and inclinations and irrespective of our own preferences and convictions can be self-defeating, morally destructive and spiritually weakening.

It was because Pilate wanted to please the crowd that he gave an innocent man, Christ Jesus, to the Jews to be crucified, see .

It was because King Herod wanted to please the Jews, see , that he killed St. James with the sword and immediately afterwards arrested St. Peter and put him in prison.

It was because Aaron wanted to please the people, the same people who God brought through the desert, that had temporarily lost faith in Moses because of his absence in the mountain, that he made them melt their gold jewels and made a molten calf for them to worship, see .

I am told that women dress to please other women and when a woman goes to a function and see another woman looking at her scornfully, or says something unflattering, then that woman when she gets home has nightmares wondering what she wore that looked that awful.

Let us face facts and acknowledge that peer pressure does funny things to people. Gangs understand this only too well and often ask individual members to do unconscionable, and at times, criminal things to stay on good terms within the gang.

I see this unfortunate “like” trend has entered the church and people are being asked whether they like or dislike a lot of things.

I have no problem with someone saying to the pastor, “Oh I like your sermon, thank you” but I deplore that sermon being posted online and the church asking people to say whether they like it or not.

Many websites now follow this “like” habit for nearly everything posted online.

Christians ought to be very careful in following this worldly habit for in truth it is the very opposite to what God wants.

Let this be absolutely clear. You should not preach, teach or write spiritual articles to please people, neither should you do so to offend people.

God is not a democracy and has to depend on people’s likes and dislikes in order to function effectively. The plain truth is that most people have a deep dislike for the things of God and an unholy relish for the junk the world offers. This has been true since time immemorial.

God deals always with the things that people need and not with their wants, and especially so when what people want are the very opposite to what God wants for them. The truth is that if God granted us what we want we would be the most dreadful beings on the planet and we would, in all likelihood, have perished from off the face of the earth.

The Bible puts this in perspective and affirms this very clearly and assuredly when it says, “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” ()

The purpose of communicating the Gospel of Jesus Christ in whatever form is NEVER about pleasing people but rather in communicating something from the heart of God that believers may find beneficial or sinners find useful in their search for truth.

If your leg is ailing you and you go to the doctor for an examination, what you may very well want him to do is to give you a massage, and tell you to go home for everything is alright. But if the leg is cancerous what you need is surgery, and if the doctor is a serious doctor, and not a bumbling quack, he would do what is needful. In a like manner of things pertaining to God  would true ministers of the gospel act.

The Apostle Paul was punished more than the other apostles, check out , but he stuck to his principles and refused to kowtow to the dictates of the world or to give pleasure to it, “For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.” ()

Notice here what Paul said as a minister of the gospel, “FOR IF I YET PLEASED MEN, I SHOULD NOT BE THE SERVANT OF CHRIST”

Believers are entrusted by God with ministering the gospel in a number of ways and whatever your ministry, or calling, or work for Christ the one thing you must not do is dilute it, or compromise it or undermine it to gain human plaudits. Paul reminded us of this, “But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts.” ()

Pleasing people is not a part of Christian ministry in any of its permutations.

True believers endeavour always to please God; and if people are delighted with what they observe, then well and good, and if they are not, then so be it. Peter summed up this God-centric approach very well when he responded to the High Priest’s question after escaping from prison, “Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.” ()

Many believers, in order to have a peaceful life, believe that by compromising, trying to please the world, adopting its ungodly and demeaning standards in dress, in conversation and in  lifestyle will do the trick for them, but they are mistaken and should awake from their slumber for the Bible tells us this, “When a man’s ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.” () Even in this, it is pleasing God that matters most.

Alas, pleasing God for many become a gargantuan exercise, so enormous as to become unachievable because the one ingredient that makes that possible is missing from their portfolio. The writer of the Hebrews puts it like this:

“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” ()

Faith, above all else, is the essential ingredient that is required to please God, and without that indispensable faith in the right amount all our efforts at pleasing God fails. This is not miraculous faith that is a gift of the Holy Spirit, this is not saving faith that makes salvation possible. No this is the everyday faith that is required for living godly day by day, being in sync with God, obeying his commands without question or hesitation and being productive according to his will.

All believers have this latter faith, for in the true sense, that is what validates our relationship with God; but it needs to be strong enough in its exercise to enable us to please God.

Some of the failures of the original disciples of Christ were yes, their lack of faith (which is easily understood) but more often it was because they had too little faith, i.e. their faith was simply too weak. Jesus recognized this when he remarked on their failure to heal a sick child, “Jesus answered, You were not able to make the demon go out, because your faith is too small.” ( Easy-to-Read Version)

So accepting that we have faith and we desire to please God, how can we bolster our faith, how can we build it up so that in our everyday living we continuously please God?

Here are some things we should consider.

1.  Fervently practice claiming God’s promises. The promises in the Bible are ours and we are apt to see them as not belonging to us personally, but they are, and we should grab hold of them and claim them. This is not a name-it and claim-it, as preached by some prosperity gospel preachers, but an affirmation that we believe what God tells us and we will act on his word. When God tells you to resist the devil and he will flee () then whenever you encounter the devil, in your thoughts, in your home, while lying in bed or anywhere else, then resist him in the name of Jesus and he WILL flee. Just do not be afraid and nervy. IT WORKS. You just have to get used to practising it over and over until it becomes part of who you are. The more you claim God’s promises the stronger and more effective your faith becomes.

2.  Revisit how you pray and meditate. Too many believers have a ritualistic approach to prayer and meditation. For example you read a verse or verses of scripture, you think about what you read for a little while, you have a short prayer and you are done. There is nothing wrong here, being methodical is fine and for some people it works quite well. Ritual is fine for group settings and in churches but for individuals doing private prayers and meditation this form is too restrictive.

You need to tap into the flow of the Holy Spirit and go wherever it leads. The session may well  begin with groaning and head-shaking because God hit you with some big problems that you think are unfair. It may involve tears and thanks for surviving the onslaught of the enemy. It might continue with recalling a few scriptures of triumph, and they are many throughout the Bible, and it might end with a song and prayers of thanks for God’s tremendous help. And not once did you open the Bible. By following the Spirit our pray-and-meditation session can be energised and be a lot more useful as we practice new approaches and innovation.

3.  Seek out opportunities to practice compassion. Nearly every believer thinks he or she is compassionate but for many the compassion is limited to understanding the concept. Some things you must practice to make them real, for them to have meaning and for them to make a difference. Compassion is one such where desire is just not sufficient, you have to be doing it for it to be useful. A widow is destitute and you desire her well-being, well then why not help her? There are many of the household of faith who can do with a little help, many children in need of assistance and you probably pass them unnoticed, day by day, as if they are invisible.

Many times we ease our conscience by referring to the government’s welfare programmes or we put something in the offering plate or we may give the street beggar an occasional donation. Why not sponsor a school child in your village, or on your block; why not supply that aged couple with a few groceries weekly and show true Christian compassion? These are real meaningful acts of genuine compassion pleasing to God. Never forget what Jesus said, “Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” ()

4.  Make Bible study meaningful. Bible study can be one of the most enriching, uplifting experiences the believer can have if it is done right. Bible study should not just be about understanding a passage of scripture and making the application, which is fine and we tend to do that frequently, but Bible study should be about adventure, discovery and amazement. If like me you have read the Bible from cover to cover more than once you should know what is in the Bible and nothing should be new; or so you think.

If you cannot find something new and amazing in the Bible as you study it then you are not doing the real Bible study.

Truth be told you need to equip yourself with the necessary tools to get the best out of Bible study – Bible Encyclopedia, Bible Concordance, Bible Dictionary, Topical Bible, Bible Commentary and one or two different versions of the Bible other than the King James Version.

As you study, check out the origin of words, visit the birthplace of people mentioned, study their lifestyle, dress, local culture, enquire into their work habits, family life and rituals, geography and education. For example you read about the wise men from the East, but do you know who they really were? You read about the woman at the well whom Jesus asked for water but do you know anything about her or her village? Is that well still there now and where is it on the map? How did Abraham manage to build wells like this one? Can you trace Abraham’s journey through ancient Palestine the same way you can trace Paul’s Missionary Journeys? How large was Abraham’s holding and how much water did he need for them and his household? How do you water a large herd from one well?

These are just some of the questions that should arise, and answers sought, as you do your Bible study; and the questions raised on spiritual matters are even more numerous. You may not unravel all the mysteries you encounter but you will gain fresh insights into them and lots of different things that before you just took for granted you will come to understand quite well.

This is the way to approach your Bible study, and the more you know about the Bible and God the more you are able to walk in his ways and please him. Paul reminds us, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” ()

True believers know how imperative it is to please God, and if at any time there is a conflict between pleasing God and pleasing people, or even pleasing oneself, then the answer is straightforward. We please God.

Enough said.

Books by this author (non-fiction except indicated otherwise)

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THINGS EVERY CHRISTIAN SHOULD KNOW (e-book)
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BASTARD: A STORY OF REDEMPTION(e-book fiction)
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ONE MINUTE TO MIDNIGHT ON GOD’S CLOCK (e-book)
http://tatepublishing.com/bookstore/book.php?w=978-1-60799-630-9

Dr. Henderson Ward received his Doctor of Divinity in theology, with distinction, from Masters International School of Divinity, USA, where he is currently a post-doctoral fellow. Dr. Ward’s career involved pastoring, evangelism, and teaching. Copyright 2013
email drhendersonward@yahoo.com

Article Source: http://www.faithwriters.com <a href=”http://www.faithwriters.com”>CHRISTIAN WRITER</a>

The Dangers of Pleasing Others

By Dr. Henderson Ward

From the time we are born we are soon cajoled into pleasing others and it has become so natural that even as adults, displeasing others causes us untold suffering, and at times mental breakdown. At home we expect to please our parents, at school we are forced to please our teachers and at work God help us if we do not please our bosses. Why are we so habituated with pleasing others?

This is not to say that pleasing others is always bad, or unfortunate, or evil in itself but rather to point out that working to other people’s agendas and inclinations and irrespective of our own preferences and convictions can be self-defeating, morally destructive and spiritually weakening.

It was because Pilate wanted to please the crowd that he gave an innocent man, Christ Jesus, to the Jews to be crucified, see .

It was because King Herod wanted to please the Jews, see , that he killed St. James with the sword and immediately afterwards arrested St. Peter and put him in prison.

It was because Aaron wanted to please the people, the same people who God brought through the desert, that had temporarily lost faith in Moses because of his absence in the mountain, that he made them melt their gold jewels and made a molten calf for them to worship, see .

I am told that women dress to please other women and when a woman goes to a function and see another woman looking at her scornfully, or says something unflattering, then that woman when she gets home has nightmares wondering what she wore that looked that awful.

Let us face facts and acknowledge that peer pressure does funny things to people. Gangs understand this only too well and often ask individual members to do unconscionable, and at times, criminal things to stay on good terms within the gang.

I see this unfortunate “like” trend has entered the church and people are being asked whether they like or dislike a lot of things.

I have no problem with someone saying to the pastor, “Oh I like your sermon, thank you” but I deplore that sermon being posted online and the church asking people to say whether they like it or not.

Many websites now follow this “like” habit for nearly everything posted online.

Christians ought to be very careful in following this worldly habit for in truth it is the very opposite to what God wants.

Let this be absolutely clear. You should not preach, teach or write spiritual articles to please people, neither should you do so to offend people.

God is not a democracy and has to depend on people’s likes and dislikes in order to function effectively. The plain truth is that most people have a deep dislike for the things of God and an unholy relish for the junk the world offers. This has been true since time immemorial.

God deals always with the things that people need and not with their wants, and especially so when what people want are the very opposite to what God wants for them. The truth is that if God granted us what we want we would be the most dreadful beings on the planet and we would, in all likelihood, have perished from off the face of the earth.

The Bible puts this in perspective and affirms this very clearly and assuredly when it says, “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” ()

The purpose of communicating the Gospel of Jesus Christ in whatever form is NEVER about pleasing people but rather in communicating something from the heart of God that believers may find beneficial or sinners find useful in their search for truth.

If your leg is ailing you and you go to the doctor for an examination, what you may very well want him to do is to give you a massage, and tell you to go home for everything is alright. But if the leg is cancerous what you need is surgery, and if the doctor is a serious doctor, and not a bumbling quack, he would do what is needful. In a like manner of things pertaining to God  would true ministers of the gospel act.

The Apostle Paul was punished more than the other apostles, check out , but he stuck to his principles and refused to kowtow to the dictates of the world or to give pleasure to it, “For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.” ()

Notice here what Paul said as a minister of the gospel, “FOR IF I YET PLEASED MEN, I SHOULD NOT BE THE SERVANT OF CHRIST”

Believers are entrusted by God with ministering the gospel in a number of ways and whatever your ministry, or calling, or work for Christ the one thing you must not do is dilute it, or compromise it or undermine it to gain human plaudits. Paul reminded us of this, “But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts.” ()

Pleasing people is not a part of Christian ministry in any of its permutations.

True believers endeavour always to please God; and if people are delighted with what they observe, then well and good, and if they are not, then so be it. Peter summed up this God-centric approach very well when he responded to the High Priest’s question after escaping from prison, “Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.” ()

Many believers, in order to have a peaceful life, believe that by compromising, trying to please the world, adopting its ungodly and demeaning standards in dress, in conversation and in  lifestyle will do the trick for them, but they are mistaken and should awake from their slumber for the Bible tells us this, “When a man’s ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.” () Even in this, it is pleasing God that matters most.

Alas, pleasing God for many become a gargantuan exercise, so enormous as to become unachievable because the one ingredient that makes that possible is missing from their portfolio. The writer of the Hebrews puts it like this:

“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” ()

Faith, above all else, is the essential ingredient that is required to please God, and without that indispensable faith in the right amount all our efforts at pleasing God fails. This is not miraculous faith that is a gift of the Holy Spirit, this is not saving faith that makes salvation possible. No this is the everyday faith that is required for living godly day by day, being in sync with God, obeying his commands without question or hesitation and being productive according to his will.

All believers have this latter faith, for in the true sense, that is what validates our relationship with God; but it needs to be strong enough in its exercise to enable us to please God.

Some of the failures of the original disciples of Christ were yes, their lack of faith (which is easily understood) but more often it was because they had too little faith, i.e. their faith was simply too weak. Jesus recognized this when he remarked on their failure to heal a sick child, “Jesus answered, You were not able to make the demon go out, because your faith is too small.” ( Easy-to-Read Version)

So accepting that we have faith and we desire to please God, how can we bolster our faith, how can we build it up so that in our everyday living we continuously please God?

Here are some things we should consider.

1.  Fervently practice claiming God’s promises. The promises in the Bible are ours and we are apt to see them as not belonging to us personally, but they are, and we should grab hold of them and claim them. This is not a name-it and claim-it, as preached by some prosperity gospel preachers, but an affirmation that we believe what God tells us and we will act on his word. When God tells you to resist the devil and he will flee () then whenever you encounter the devil, in your thoughts, in your home, while lying in bed or anywhere else, then resist him in the name of Jesus and he WILL flee. Just do not be afraid and nervy. IT WORKS. You just have to get used to practising it over and over until it becomes part of who you are. The more you claim God’s promises the stronger and more effective your faith becomes.

2.  Revisit how you pray and meditate. Too many believers have a ritualistic approach to prayer and meditation. For example you read a verse or verses of scripture, you think about what you read for a little while, you have a short prayer and you are done. There is nothing wrong here, being methodical is fine and for some people it works quite well. Ritual is fine for group settings and in churches but for individuals doing private prayers and meditation this form is too restrictive.

You need to tap into the flow of the Holy Spirit and go wherever it leads. The session may well  begin with groaning and head-shaking because God hit you with some big problems that you think are unfair. It may involve tears and thanks for surviving the onslaught of the enemy. It might continue with recalling a few scriptures of triumph, and they are many throughout the Bible, and it might end with a song and prayers of thanks for God’s tremendous help. And not once did you open the Bible. By following the Spirit our pray-and-meditation session can be energised and be a lot more useful as we practice new approaches and innovation.

3.  Seek out opportunities to practice compassion. Nearly every believer thinks he or she is compassionate but for many the compassion is limited to understanding the concept. Some things you must practice to make them real, for them to have meaning and for them to make a difference. Compassion is one such where desire is just not sufficient, you have to be doing it for it to be useful. A widow is destitute and you desire her well-being, well then why not help her? There are many of the household of faith who can do with a little help, many children in need of assistance and you probably pass them unnoticed, day by day, as if they are invisible.

Many times we ease our conscience by referring to the government’s welfare programmes or we put something in the offering plate or we may give the street beggar an occasional donation. Why not sponsor a school child in your village, or on your block; why not supply that aged couple with a few groceries weekly and show true Christian compassion? These are real meaningful acts of genuine compassion pleasing to God. Never forget what Jesus said, “Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” ()

4.  Make Bible study meaningful. Bible study can be one of the most enriching, uplifting experiences the believer can have if it is done right. Bible study should not just be about understanding a passage of scripture and making the application, which is fine and we tend to do that frequently, but Bible study should be about adventure, discovery and amazement. If like me you have read the Bible from cover to cover more than once you should know what is in the Bible and nothing should be new; or so you think.

If you cannot find something new and amazing in the Bible as you study it then you are not doing the real Bible study.

Truth be told you need to equip yourself with the necessary tools to get the best out of Bible study – Bible Encyclopedia, Bible Concordance, Bible Dictionary, Topical Bible, Bible Commentary and one or two different versions of the Bible other than the King James Version.

As you study, check out the origin of words, visit the birthplace of people mentioned, study their lifestyle, dress, local culture, enquire into their work habits, family life and rituals, geography and education. For example you read about the wise men from the East, but do you know who they really were? You read about the woman at the well whom Jesus asked for water but do you know anything about her or her village? Is that well still there now and where is it on the map? How did Abraham manage to build wells like this one? Can you trace Abraham’s journey through ancient Palestine the same way you can trace Paul’s Missionary Journeys? How large was Abraham’s holding and how much water did he need for them and his household? How do you water a large herd from one well?

These are just some of the questions that should arise, and answers sought, as you do your Bible study; and the questions raised on spiritual matters are even more numerous. You may not unravel all the mysteries you encounter but you will gain fresh insights into them and lots of different things that before you just took for granted you will come to understand quite well.

This is the way to approach your Bible study, and the more you know about the Bible and God the more you are able to walk in his ways and please him. Paul reminds us, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” ()

True believers know how imperative it is to please God, and if at any time there is a conflict between pleasing God and pleasing people, or even pleasing oneself, then the answer is straightforward. We please God.

Enough said.

Books by this author (non-fiction except indicated otherwise)

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THINGS EVERY CHRISTIAN SHOULD KNOW (e-book)
Volume 1  Five tough facts to be faced
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Volume 1  You must first identify him
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ONE MINUTE TO MIDNIGHT ON GOD’S CLOCK (Hard copy)
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ONE MINUTE TO MIDNIGHT ON GOD’S CLOCK (e-book)
http://tatepublishing.com/bookstore/book.php?w=978-1-60799-630-9

Dr. Henderson Ward received his Doctor of Divinity in theology, with distinction, from Masters International School of Divinity, USA, where he is currently a post-doctoral fellow. Dr. Ward’s career involved pastoring, evangelism, and teaching. Copyright 2013
email drhendersonward@yahoo.com

Article Source: http://www.faithwriters.com <a href=”http://www.faithwriters.com”>CHRISTIAN WRITER</a>

Bound by Freedom

nspired by Rev 7:9-12

 by Abby Kelly

“You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.” Galatians 5:13

No one really knows where it came from. The word “religion” is kind of mysterious. For hundreds of years, scholars have debated its origin. One opinion I stumbled upon bothered me at first. Modern scholars think it might have been derived from the Latin word ligo, meaning “bind or connect”.

I got hung up on the word “bind”. Many people today view religion that way. They feel that it binds them, constrains them to a certain list of rules. But Galatians 5:1 says that Christ set us free, so our faith must have nothing to do with being bound. However, there is a different kind of binding, of connecting. Colossians 3:14 says, “Most of all, let love guide your life, for then the whole church will stay together in perfect harmony.”

The Christian faith is not merely a religion. Jesus came to bring us freedom from the law-a long list of do’s and don’ts. But it is also the love of Christ that creates harmony among believers. We must be diligent as we enjoy our freedom in Christ that we work for unity among our Christian brothers and sisters.

Abby Kelly is the author of, The Predatory Lies of Anorexia: A Survivor’s Story. It can be read for free for a limited time in Free Reads for Reviews . Contact

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Know Greater Love

By Deborah Ann Belka

They say love makes,
this world go around
but now a days . . .
it’s harder to be found.

We want to find love,
lasting and real
love that goes deeper
than just how we feel.

We search for it,
in all sorts of places
we look to find it
on stranger’s faces.

Seldom do we see,
the love that we need
to our worldly lusts
we so often heed.

But, if we want to know,
a love that is greater
we needn’t look past
our Lord and Savior.

For, there’s no better love,
on which we can depend
then the one that comes
from our eternal Friend!

~~~~~~~~~~~~

King James Version

“Greater love hath no man than this,
that a man lay down his life for his friends.”

Copyright 2013
Deborah Ann Belka
bdebby@hotmail.com
www.hiswingsshadow.com
http://poetrybydeborahann.wordpress.com/

TO GOD BE THE GLORY!

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Prepare for Opposition

Fight - Sermon Series Graphic

artwork by cody jenson@creationswap

By Robert Hawes

“Now it came about that when Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, he became furious and very angry and mocked the Jews. He spoke in the presence of his brothers and the wealthy men of Samaria and said, ‘What are these feeble Jews doing? Are they going to restore it for themselves? Can they offer sacrifices? Can they finish in a day? Can they revive the stones from the dusty rubble even the burned ones?’ Now Tobiah the Ammonite was near him and he said, ‘Even what they are building if a fox should jump on it, he would break their stone wall down!'” – Nehemiah 4:1-3

As a Christian, whenever you begin to do any kind of work for the Lord – whether it’s getting your own life together, engaging in some form of ministry that honors the Great Commission, or teaching people to follow Christ – you will inevitably come under fire. The Bible is clear that “the whole world lies in the power of the wicked one” (1 John 5:19). This world and the influences that saturate it are at war with God. As a believer, you are in occupied territory, wearing the uniform of a detested enemy. And if you take that role at all seriously, you will be attacked, just as any human army would immediately attack and to try either kill or capture the soldiers of an opposing force that had entered their territory. It’s not a question of ‘if’, but ‘when’. It will begin with ridicule and then progress to direct opposition. But then most wars of men progress in this way, don’t they? The propaganda starts long before the shooting does.

“So we built the wall and the whole wall was joined together to half its height, for the people had a mind to work. Now when Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites and the Ashdodites heard that the repair of the walls of Jerusalem went on, and that the breaches began to be closed, they were very angry. All of them conspired together to come and fight against Jerusalem and to cause a disturbance in it.” – Nehemiah 4:6-8

It’s important that this be understood. Many who try to live for God often wonder why it seems that everything in their life goes wrong, and the western church as a whole has been remiss in teaching about the reality of spiritual warfare beyond one’s personal struggle against sin. Satan has been largely reduced to a figurehead, an ethereal placeholder for whatever we find disagreeable, more of an idea than an actual person. He is, in fact, intelligent, powerful, and a wonderful organizer. He was created to be one of the chief administrators of creation, and while he has fallen and evil has dimmed his understanding, he is not to be taken lightly. In the words of Martin Luther:

“His craft and power are great, and armed with cruel hate.
“On earth is not his equal.”

If you’re a disciple of Christ, and serious about following Him, understand that you are in a real war with a real enemy who will attack you in very real ways, drawing on thousands of years of experience in dealing with human beings. Fully 1/3 of Jesus’ ministry involved direct confrontation with Satan’s kingdom, and are we to believe that he and his hosts have simply gone away since then?

Study the Bible to understand how your enemy works. Do not be “ignorant of his schemes” (II Corinthians 2:11). Do not think that you “wrestle” only with “flesh and blood” (Ephesians 6:12). And do not think that religious works and man-made programs are sufficient to withstand the enemy. The modern approach to spiritual warfare has largely amounted to holding self-help classes in the middle of a battlefield. No wonder we’re seeing so many casualties. Again, in the words of Luther:

“Did we in our own strength confide, our striving would be losing…”

Christ must be our never-ending focus. We should have a proper understanding of our enemy, and maintain a healthy respect for what he is capable of, but always in light of his defeated state. As Luther put it, we have the “right man on our side, the man of God’s own choosing”:

“Dost ask who that may be; Christ Jesus it is He!
“Lord Sabaoth His Name, from age to age the same.
“And He must win the battle.”

How, then, are we to respond? How do we engage with this enemy?

“…this is the victory that has overcome the worldour faith.” – 1 John 5:4

Hold fast to Christ, no matter what. Do not let the battles you face dim your faith. An army that loses confidence in its commander and begins to fight as each soldier sees fit will be slaughtered in the face of an organized foe. This is why Satan comes against our faith, first and foremost: to separate us from Christ, whom he knows he cannot defeat.

Further, respond with the Word of God. This is what Jesus did when He was personally confronted by Satan in the wilderness. In response to each temptation, His reply was: “It is written…”

Get into the Word. Memorize those passages that have to do with victory in Christ, and repeat them often when you face hardship: “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31); “We are more than conquerors,” (Romans 8:37); “Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world,” (1 John 4:4); “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil…” (Ephesians 6:10-18), etc.

Learn how to apply the victory that Christ has already won on our behalf.

“That word above all earthly powers, no thanks to them, abideth;
“The Spirit and the gifts are ours through Him Who with us sideth:
“Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also;
“The body they may kill: God’s truth abideth still,
“His kingdom is forever.”

“And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony.” – Revelation 12:11

Robert Hawes writes primarily in the areas of politics and Christian apologetics, and is available for freelance writing projects. His theology-related articles are archived at: http://takeupyourcross73.blogspot.com/, while his political articles can be found at: http://jeffersonian73.blogspot.com.

Article Source: http://www.faithwriters.com <a href=”http://www.faithwriters.com”>CHRISTIAN WRITER</a>