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)

E-books Published by Amazon.com
If you do not have a Kindle then when you access the site, click on How Buying Works and you will see the FREE apps for Computer, Cell phone, etc Then click as appropriate.

(Please click on the appropriate book link or cut and paste in your URL)

THINGS EVERY CHRISTIAN SHOULD KNOW (e-book)
Volume 1  Five tough facts to be faced

STAND UP TO THE DEVIL  (e-book)
Volume 1  You must first identify him

BASTARD: A STORY OF REDEMPTION(e-book fiction)

ONE MINUTE TO MIDNIGHT ON GOD’S CLOCK (Hard copy)

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)

E-books Published by Amazon.com
If you do not have a Kindle then when you access the site, click on How Buying Works and you will see the FREE apps for Computer, Cell phone, etc Then click as appropriate.

(Please click on the appropriate book link or cut and paste in your URL)

THINGS EVERY CHRISTIAN SHOULD KNOW (e-book)
Volume 1  Five tough facts to be faced

STAND UP TO THE DEVIL  (e-book)
Volume 1  You must first identify him

BASTARD: A STORY OF REDEMPTION(e-book fiction)

ONE MINUTE TO MIDNIGHT ON GOD’S CLOCK (Hard copy)

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

Attention Christian Writers! Win a Xulon Publishing Package on FaithWriters.com. We also offer Recent Christian Books you can read for free. We have Free Content for Church newsletters & websites.

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!

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

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>

Are you in love?

All You Need is Love

artwork by CK@creationswap

By Hannah Idowu

When a man or a woman is in love its easy to tell. They can’t stop thinking about each other, they constantly exchange phone calls, love letters, gifts and the list is endless. When i met my Mr love or rather when my Mr love met me, my goodness he could call me almost 50 times in a day and when we tied the knot, the number of times he calls me in a day and vice-versa hasn’t reduced not because we don’t trust each other but we have gotten into the habit of not doing without each others company and guess what- this is exactly the same way we are supposed to fellowship with God.

God loves us so much that He yearns for a love relationship with His children. He doesn’t just want to be referred to as God, as a friend or as a confidant but He wants us to give our time to Him in fellowship, He wants us to spend quality time with Him, thinking about Him, yearning for intimacy, some alone time with Him to talk as lovers and share secrets with each other.

God does not want to play just God, He does not want you to just see Him with the eyes of a judge, God is tired of us relating with Him as though He is a magician that we only come to when we can’t handle our problems and expect Him to perform a quick trick and when the issue is resolved, we discard Him like an old furniture or an expired mobile contract.

God is simply tired of the lies we tell Him through our so called songs of worship “I surrender all”, “You are my everything”, “You are my all in all”, “I adore you”…….offering songs through your lips while your heart is far from Him fixed on something else! The part i detest most is when we are in church lifting so called holy hands to the Most High God during the 15 minute praise and worship session and i see people walking about carelessly whilst worship to the King of Kings is going on, what an insult to the Ancient of Days!

A time is coming says God “when the TRUE worshipers” – people who are madly in love with God, people who have submitted to God like a wife submits to her husband who will not approach Him because of what they want from Him but because they just enjoy being in His presence. People who have developed intimacy with God daily and don’t wait till Sundays or special programs to publicly display a show of love so others will think they are connected.

Who are you deceiving with that fake show? Some worship God to bribe Him to act on their behalf. You know you have worshiped because you are in a tight situation and it is your problems that has moved you to come into His presence and by the way, God does not come and go, you are the one coming and going out of His presence, why don’t you just remain in His presence? Gods mind is full about you, why don’t you fill and set your mind constantly on God too.

The TRUE lovers of God remain constantly in His presence 24 hours a day!

H IDOWU
25/01/14

I enjoy reading motivational books and the bible hence as i am inspired i find myself either composing a song or poetry. I call them my moments of intimacy with the Most High God. I am not ashamed of God or the things of His kingdom. http://pleasuresinhispresence.blogspot.co.uk/

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

The Door Opener

refuge.psd

artwork by Jason Roberts@creationswap

By Steve Countryman

I never thought of being a Christian this way but this sums it very well.  A king of a great country would not be expected to open doors for himself.  No matter where he goes there is always someone there who will open the door for the king.  That is what we are to be, God’s door opener.  For God to enter a room, to enter a situation, to enter an answered prayer, to come to the rescue, to be the healer and deliverer is all based on the obedience of the door opener.  The requirements placed on us is not asking much,  The job seems pretty insignificant but in reality carries a heavy responsibility.  God will not enter unless someone opens the door for Him.

Revelation 3:20 “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.”  It starts at the time of salvation and continues through out our Christian walk.  God will never force His way into our lives, our will or our decisions.  It is all about our faith and obedience to Him.  But we make it so much harder than it is supposed to be.  Our job as the door opener is not to judge those whose room we are opening the door for God to enter.  Our job is not to check and see if they are worthy or righteous enough.  Our job is not to decide if we should open the door or not depending on if we feel like it.  Our job is not to place requirements on the King of Glory or advice Him on how to enter the room and what to do once inside.  Our job is not to place conditions or restrictions on those who need God’s healing touch, His deliverance, His presence, His peace and joy.  We make it harder than it supposed to be.

The job is a simple but important one.  It is one that we get more wrong than right.  It does take faith, trust, courage, boldness and obedience to be a consistent door opener.  It starts with a listening ear and caring heart.  God will place opportunities in your path for you to be a door opener every day if you will but hear them.  People will tell perfect strangers about their problems but what will be your response?  Will you open the door for your God to show up and do the miraculous?  It takes you to offer to pray for a person.  You ask then, “Is it okay for me to pray for you?” or “Would you like me to pray for you?”  Then you declare God’s Word over their problems and let God do the rest.  That is how you open the door for God to enter in.

Do not allow Satan to steal your moment with those thoughts of doubt and fear that God won’t show up or nothing will happen.  He will try to shut your door to keep you a powerless Christian but don’t let him.  You open the door with prayer and the rest is up to God to fulfill.  No pressure on you, it is all on God to do the God thing!  This is what being a Christian is all about, letting God be God to all those around you everywhere you go every day!  A proactive Christian doesn’t wait for someone to ask them to pray for them but jumps in and offers first!  I’m not there yet but I want to be!  We will all give an account for those opportunities that we allowed to get away by leaving the door closed.  God is still and always God and if you will not open the door for Him to work in someone’s life then He will find someone who will be the door opener that He requires!

My name is Steve and I was born and raised in a good Christian home in Phoenix Arizona.  In 2004 God spoke to me to let me know that He would start sharing things with me that I would share with others. Little did I know how powerful and meaningful those things would be! Thank you Lord!!

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

FREE AT LAST!

Set Free

artwork by marklauman@creationswap

By Tesh Njokanma

It’s interesting the way Jesus often used natural things to explain some deep spiritual truths. For example, when He taught about people’s understanding and response to the Word of God, He used agricultural terms to drive home His point.  We see this in Matthew 13:1-9 where he mentioned different kinds of soil and different kinds of seeds a farmer plants.

From all that Jesus taught while here on earth, it is clear that a lot of things we see in the physical are a reflection of what actually happens in the spiritual realm. Just like we have physical prisons where prisoners are locked up or detained, there are also spiritual prisons the enemy uses to detain or lock up a person or the person’s virtue, glory and blessings.

Just because a person can walk freely and go anywhere he wants anytime he wants does not necessarily mean that the person is absolutely free. The person could be locked up in a spiritual prison of poverty, failure, stagnation, or sickness. And until the person is delivered and set free, he or she may never get to the level God has destined the person to be or enjoy the blessings God wants him or her to daily partake of and enjoy.

To fully understand what it means to be in a spiritual prison, let’s quickly look at what happened to the Israelites while in Egypt. A lot transpired between the time the Israelites started settling in Egypt and the time they eventually left Egypt. The years they spent in Egypt which spanned about 430 years, was a period of severe suffering, torment and oppression (Exod. 1:11-14, Exod. 2:23-25). They were sad, bitter and miserable. Nothing seemed to be working for them; nothing good seemed to be happening in their lives. Then God intervened. He sent Moses to deliver them from the wicked and oppressive clutch of Pharaoh and the Egyptians. After many years of torture, they were eventually set free from the most cruel, harsh and unjust treatment anyone could face (Exodus 12:31-41).

In Exodus 6: 1-8 where God promised deliverance to the Israelites, we get a clear picture of what it means to be delivered and set free from every spiritual prison.  Deliverance from spiritual prisons or captivity involves the mighty hand of God working wonders in your life. It is about God remembering you; God hearing your cries, God seeing your pains and shame and God remembering what He promised you – a life free from oppression; a life of victory, a life loaded with all manner of blessings. Deliverance is about God breaking every yoke or heavy burden you have been carrying. It is about God releasing divine judgment on your enemies and tormentors. It is about God lifting you out of bondage and placing you in the centre of His will for your life. Deliverance is God using His outstretched arm and mighty acts of judgment to break every hold of the enemy in your life and bring you into your promised land. This shall be your portion this year, in Jesus name, AMEN!

True freedom from every form of bondage and captivity begins with the knowledge and understanding of God’s word. John 8: 32 says “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free”. The reason why so many Christians today are in spiritual prisons is because they don’t know the truth. Until you know who you are in Christ Jesus and what God has promised you, the devil will continue to play all kinds of wicked tricks on you.  If there’s anything Satan doesn’t want to see you do, it is spending time to read, study and meditate on God’s Word.

Enough is enough. Enough of the oppression, enough of the bondage. It is time to be totally and completely free from every evil hold, it is time to know the truth that can set you free, it is time to discover the awesome power in the Word of God. It is time to be filled with an intense passion for God’s Word. As you devote quality time to the Word of God, all chains, fetters and shackles the enemy has used to tie you down be will be completely broken off and you will be free at last to live and reign as an ambassador for Christ.

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>

Grace to Overcome

Grace

artwork by: Jomayra Soto@creationswap

By Faith Noles

There is no question about itlife is hard. We live in a world of sin that brings death, poverty and sickness. Rich or poor; No one is immune to the effects of sin in their life. Our struggle through the torrential hardships of life often leave us feeling helpless.

The helplessness you feel may stem from a recent loss of a loved one or a change in your financial situation. David cried, “Our soul waiteth for the LORD: he is our help and our shield. (Psalms 33:20, KJV). The book of Psalm is such a comfort when one is distressed. David had more than his share of problems, for King Saul hunted him down like an animal. In desperation David, along with his companions, spent many days hiding in a dark, dank cave. David was in trouble, but he trusted God for his deliverance. In Psalms 27:5, KJV, David declares, “For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock”.

John Calvin, a prominent Theologian during the Protestant Reformation, said, “Seeing that a Pilot steers the ship in which we sail, who will never allow us to perish even in the midst of shipwrecks, there is no reason why our minds should be overwhelmed with fear and overcome with weariness.”

God is bigger than any mountain; He’s greater than any foe.
God reigns with might and power for from him all life flows;
His eye is on the sparrow. Don’t you know He sees your tears?
He knows your every thought and he sees your inner fears.

God longs to break the chains and from your fear set free;
By the precious blood of Jesus, we have sweet liberty.
Give your all to the Fathernot just a portion or part;
To be an overcomer, you must give Him all your heart
.
Don’t’ trust in your own goodness or might;
Let God be the Captain of your soul; Let Him your battles fight.
For in God’s perfect love, you’ll find grace to overcome;
Victorious in Christ Jesus so He will speak the words “Well done”.

There is no circumstance in heaven or earth that can separate us from the love of God. We must always remember we serve a Mighty God: John 1:3 (KJV) “All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made”. One man and God make up the majority!  I Samuel 2:9 (KJV) declares, “He will keep the feet of His saints, and the wicked shall be silent in darkness; for by strength shall no man prevail”. We must always depend upon the Lord to lead us through every valley and to give us strength to climb every mountain.

Paul sought the Lord three times to remove his ‘thorn in the flesh’; yet, God responded, “…My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” My prayer is for our trust in Jesus Christ to grow to fullness so that we would depend on Him for all our needs.

Faith Noles is a Registered Nurse, mother and grandmother who is passionate about spreading the gospel.

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