The foundation of your Faith: The Cross

You know, we all like to be recognised and seen as the spiritually mature christians. Me included. And we don’t like to be called ‘baby christians’ and christians who ought to be eating ‘meat’ but are still on milk. We all like to imagine that we are the mature christians and i think the problem and the reason why many christians would never own up to being ‘baby christians’ is because of pride. Some christians think the duration of the time you have been a christian is directly proportional to your level of spiritual maturity; which is not true. And that may be why some people assume that they are matured spiritually.

Well first of all before i start talking about anything else i would like to mention that growing spiritually is a gradual process. It may happen little by little sometimes, and as human beings, we always want things to happen in the twinkling of an eye. In the eyes of God, what matters is not that we’re growing slowly, but that we are not stuck in the same place, or looking back into the past.

I’ve come across the verses below before, but after i re-read it today it meant something totally different to me. Paul defines what the foundation of your growth in the christian Life is through these verses.

Hebrews 6:1-2 says:

1THEREFORE LET us go on and get past the elementary stage in the teachings and doctrine of Christ (the Messiah), advancing steadily toward the completeness and perfection that belong to spiritual maturity. Let us not again be laying the foundation of repentance and abandonment of dead works (dead formalism) and of the faith [by which you turned] to God,

2With teachings about purifying, the laying on of hands, the resurrection from the dead, and eternal judgment and punishment. [These are all matters of which you should have been fully aware long, long ago.]

If you read those verses, you might just be saying in your head ‘Oh yes i’ve laid the foundation for my spiritual maturity to be built upon’ or you might like me be saying ‘So i’ve been been a christian for 11 years of my life and i’m still trying to lay the foundation’. Paul defines the elementary stage in the teachings and doctrine of Christ as:

  1. Repentance(Confessing your sin to God and getting forgiveness, and through God’s help and power constantly repenting until that sin is completely(physically-because we are dead to sin spiritually) dead in your flesh.
  2. Purification(Continually being completely purified and cleansed by the blood of Jesus making us have right standing with God)
  3. Abandonment of dead works(Dead Formalism)- This may be interpreted as understanding that we are saved by God’s undeserved gift(Grace) and not because we deserve it; hence, not thinking we can buy God’s love with our works. This may also be dead works( like guilt and condemnation) which were murdered by the blood of Jesus on cross. Understanding that keeping your guilt doesn’t get God to forgive you faster.
  4. Faith- We receive all of God’s gifts by Faith. Faith is the hand receiving the gifts of God already provided. We are saved by grace through faith.
  5. Eternal Judgement and Punishment- which i think it pretty fundamental; You either are saved to be with God, or you are not and you are punished eternally by God’s Judgement.
  6. Resurrection from the dead: This could mean the spiritual significance of Christ resurrecting from the dead and because we shared in his death we are shared in his resurrection into new Life. Being born again is basically being resurrected into a new life in Christ.
  7. Laying on of hands: The main thing this term reminds me of is how Christ said all believers will be able to speak in tongues, lay hands on the sick and they’ll become well, cast out demons e.t.c. I believe that the gift of healing is available to all Christians, and we should practice the laying on of hands for any sick people that we might meet.

How i have described each of the doctrines above is obviously still very elementary and there’s a lot more to each of them. I believe the reason why we have many christians stuck in one point of their christian lives without any growth at all is because the foundation of their faith is not yet established. Some christians even die sometimes without ever getting past the establishment of their foundations which is quite sad, because even though they’ll go to heaven, they never enjoyed the Life Jesus spoke about when he said ‘I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it  overflows)’.

 The summary of what Paul spoke about above is we need to know about the cross. You need to realise and come into full understanding of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. The Cross is the foundation of your faith. Even as easter approaches, i think its the best time to study on the Cross, and start to live your life like someone that understands the cross. When we don’t understand and accept what Christ did on the cross, we make out what he did to be of no use in our lives. So i think its that important.

I’ll leave you with David’s Psalm in Psalm 11:3-

3If the foundations are destroyed, what can the [unyieldingly] righteous do, or what has He [the Righteous One] wrought or accomplished?

😀

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Give Preachers a Break!!! Don’t make yourself ‘An Accuser Of the Brethren’.

I feel the need to write this post today because i’ve just seen something i find quite offensive. As usual, i was looking through the internet for joyce meyer’s childhood sexual abuse story(video) because one of my friends needed to watch it.

I think at this point it is necessary for me to enlighten you on how i actually started listening to Joyce Meyer. While i was still in secondary school, during the holidays, i would come home and my mum loved watching TBN a lot. As you would expect, i always complained and moaned about it because at that point everything in christianity was boring to me. One of my mum’s favorite shows on TBN was joyce meyer ministries’ ‘Enjoying Everyday Life’ show. My mum was always watching her, and she would always say how much she was blessed by Joyce Meyer’s sermons. And i always complained because i always wanted to watch something else. Now i need you to get this. I somehow found myself saying to my mum several times, “Joyce Meyer is a prosperity preacher and all she does is preach on finances”… and till now i have no idea or clue on what made me say that. No one from my school knew Joyce meyer, no one around me knew her apart from my mum. And i never listened to her sermons. So who was the source of information that she was a ‘prosperity teacher’.

After about 2 years since i’ve started listening to Joyce Meyer, God has revealed to me that the source of that lie and information was THE DEVIL HIMSELF. I remember the first day i started listening to her messages. She was talking on the mind and how important your thinking had to be. And she spoke about how she was sexually abused by her father as a child. That didn’t sound like preaching prosperity to me. I’ve only come to realise now that if i never listened to Joyce Meyer, i would never be as close to God as i am now. The Devil had that knowledge, so he lied to me… and i believed him. He didn’t want me to have that relationship with God that God would have wanted me to have.

But time passed and passed and passed. And you know, her messages have totally transformed my life. I didn’t know i could ever think right or control my feelings and emotions. I had no idea that the Devil sends thoughts in my mind to be converted into feelings like fear,doubt and guilt. And most of all, i didn’t know that i could really come to practice God’s word in my life, and that my life would never change if i didn’t have that personal time with God. God has used her to literally change my life, and bring me into a relationship with Him.

Then after sometime, i got really interested and i noticed she had a sermon for everyday on her website. I googled her name and the Devil showed me more and more 😕 I saw all the nonsense about her being a ‘prosperity preacher’ and about her being a ‘word of faith preacher’ and ‘false prophet’. And all the judgemental comments from ignorant christians about her being false because she owned a private jet and a big house. And yeah they said she had a facelift so therefore she was a false prophet.The Devil was bringing more and more to keep me away from listening to her messages. Some people might interprete that as God trying to take me away from listening to her but i can tell you for a fact that if i was distracted by all those lies and didn’t have a look for myself by watching her show everyday, i would never have the relationship with God that i have now.This is why is very important to distinguish between the voice of God and that of the Devil; the devil can come in such very clever ways sometimes. Acts 16:17-18 says:

17She kept following Paul and [the rest of] us, shouting loudly, These men are the servants of the Most High God! They announce to you the way of salvation!

18And she did this for many days. Then Paul, being sorely annoyed and worn out, turned and said to the spirit within her, I charge you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her! And it came out that very moment.

In those verses there was a slave girl who was possessed with a python spirit that exclaimed through her(talking about Paul and some other apostles) saying “These men are the servants of the Most High God! They announce the way of salvation”. Now you may have thought the spirit was the spirit of God speaking through her. But the people in the area(where Paul was preaching) were Gentiles(Not people from Israel who would have understood what it meant). The Gentiles would have understood the ‘Most High God’ as Zeus, and therefore the spirit was using her to be a hindrance to the spreading of the gospel in the area so Paul had to cast it out of her when it became unbearable for him. We have to be very careful and sensitive to recognise the voice of God, and of the devil(which is always the easier one for everyone to hear most times).

Oh and yes the devil also led me to some information with people saying “a woman is not allowed to teach the Bible”(By the way, the point here is not what is right or wrong, but the fact that if God tells someone to do something then you can’t bring them under judgement for doing it)- For example God may command me not to drink alcohol at all but permit someone else to drink it. If i drink it, it is sin to me, even though it may not be sin to someone else(See Romans 14). The Devil has tried many other things to distract me away from God including trying to convince me and make me believe that the Amplified Bible is a ‘wrong’ version. He would even use the Word of God against you to lie to you.

But you know everytime i just look back at the wrong information i had from people then, i just can’t stop being so so grateful to God for being by my side and letting me know what to do. I think Christians should be very very mindful of the kind of things and claims they make about people working for God because, whatever words you say, or whatever things you claim, might just be the Devil using you to distract someone else from God. Sometimes it might be God trying to use you to draw someone towards him (and away from a false prophet leading people to Satan), and that is why i think it is very important to always pray and hear from God before making any false claims.

The Devil wants to use your mouth to draw someone to him as much as God wants to use your mouth to draw someone to Him. If you are the christian that always searches around for false doctrines and preachers; GET OVER IT PLEASE. Even when we hear from God about a preacher we have to ask Him again how he wants us to use that information about the preacher. He might ask you to speak out against the preacher, or not to say anything at all, or to speak to the preacher privately in love, or just pray for the preacher.

I believe with all my heart that any person that you may consider as a false prophet, does not really want to be a false prophet in their hearts. They may be ignorant and God can still turn things around. I don’t believe that any Bible teacher that does anything considered to be ‘false’ really knows in their heart that what they are doing is false. And God looks at the hearts of people. God would rather have a preacher whose heart is clean than one with a bad heart, but with good outward ‘behavior’.

Many christians like to be the ‘watchmen’ looking out for the ‘false preachers’ that they get so involved in that full time job they’re blinded by their ignorance and pick out the innocent people. I don’t think it is our jobs to be constantly picking on people called by God. I’m actually surprised Joyce Meyer gave an answer to all the questions brought to her by people asking why she got a facelift, or why she has a jet or why she teaches if she’s a woman. To be frank and honest she doesn’t owe anyone any explanation for what she did but God alone. Its almost as if she’s being forced to give an account before men for what she does in her Life. And we both know that the only person we will(and should) be giving an account to of what decisions we make in our lives and our use of our gifts is God. He is the one we’ll stand before on judgement day to give an account of our lives.

IN CASE YOU DIDN’T KNOW: THE DEVIL IS THE ACCUSER OF THE BRETHREN. AND IF YOU ARE CONSTANTLY ACCUSING ANY CHRISTIANS OR ANY PEOPLE CALLED BY GOD INTO MINISTRY YOU MAKE YOURSELF OUT TO BE OF THE DEVIL.- I think this is a key point because when i started writing this post i never intended to add this. As i was looking through the post again, i heard God remind me that its the Devil’s job to accuse christians.

I’ll end with a verse i really like because i think it touches nearly everything. If you don’t learn to be balanced to know if someone is from God or not, then the Devil will use u to lead people away from Christ: 1 Peter 5:8 says:

Be well balanced (temperate, sober of mind), be vigilant and cautious at all times; for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring [in fierce hunger], seeking someone to seize upon and devour

YOUR TRUE AND ULTIMATE DESTINY

I should have made this post 2 days ago but yeah i remembered now and decided to share my experience with meeting a friend of one of my church members. This man was quite elderly(probably in his 90’s) and i must confess the only way i could tell he was probably that age was because my friend already told me he was quite old. We were going to go prayer walking together-which is basically walking around a community and praying for people around the area. But yeah i had never met Him before but even though he might have been old on the outside, he was so young on the inside. When he spoke it was like you lost attention of everything that was happening around you. He told me quite a lot, and you would expect someone as old as that to be just tired and maybe sluggish, but he was actually quite active. Maybe not physically active, but when he spoke, you could relate to the level of enthusiasm he had about what he was talking about.

I would have to say i had never spoken to anyone in my life which such level of spiritual maturity. You could see Jesus straight through him; you didn’t even have to look twice. He told me about his experience of God waking Him up at night and giving him psalms(songs- not known songs, but a song composed by God Himself and just given to Him by God) and he even sang 2 of them for me and i could just feel the presence of God oozing out of Him as he sang it. I mean, i’ve heard of God telling people to compose worship songs but never heard of God giving both the tunes and the lyrics of a worship song to a man in the middle of the night. He also told me about how God is pouring out his spirit on young people today and how there’s going to be a whole generation of young people(revival) being used by God. He told me many, many other things i can’t even start listing but as soon as i wondered what made me so amazed, i  really felt God say to me, ‘He has grown and has continually been moulded into the image of Jesus’. And that is why i’m writing this post.

One of my best verses is Ephesians 4:13:

 [That it might develop] until we all attain oneness in the faith and in the comprehension of the [full and accurate] knowledge of the Son of God, that [we might arrive] at really mature manhood (the completeness of personality which is nothing less than the standard height of Christ’s own perfection), the measure of the stature of the fullness of the Christ and the completeness found in Him.

I love this verse because it talks about us growing in the knowledge of Christ, and arriving at a completeness of personality, which has not been defined in the verse as what the world might call a complete personality. The world refers to a complete personality is totally opposite ways to the Bible. Jeremiah 9:23-24 illustrates this when it says:

Thus says the Lord: Let not the wise and skillful person glory and boast in his wisdom and skill; let not the mighty and powerful person glory and boast in his strength and power; let not the person who is rich [in physical gratification and earthly wealth] glory and boast in his [temporal satisfactions and earthly] riches;

24But let him who glories glory in this: that he understands and knows Me [personally and practically, directly discerning and recognizing My character], that I am the Lord, Who practices loving-kindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth, for in these things I delight, says the Lord.

That’s another verse i love because really, what makes us arrive at really mature manhood(being accomplished) is not our wealth, how many degrees we have from school, our position in the society, our level of philosophical wisdom, our physical appearances, who we know etc but really coming to know God. Knowing God is not knowing about Him. Knowing God is practicing what you know about Him and practically coming to understand who He is and His character. When we know God, we grow and grow everyday and are continually being moulded into the full stature and completeness in Christ.

My last part of this post(because i made up my mind to not go above 1000 words this time :P) will be a list of some scriptures that say we are destined to be moulded into the image of Christ.

Acts 22:14 says:

God of our forefathers has destined and appointed you to come progressively to know His will [to perceive, to recognize more strongly and clearly, and to become better and more intimately acquainted with His will], and to see the Righteous One (Jesus Christ, the Messiah), and to hear a voice from His [own] mouth and a message from His [own] lips.

Romans 8:29 says:

 For those whom He foreknew [of whom He was aware and loved beforehand], He also destined from the beginning [foreordaining them] to be molded into the image of His Son [and share inwardly His likeness], that He might become the firstborn among many brethren.

And the last one which i love:

Ephesians 2:9-10:

Not because of works [not the fulfillment of the Law’s demands], lest any man should boast. [It is not the result of what anyone can possibly do, so no one can pride himself in it or take glory to himself.]

     10For we are God’s [own] handiwork (His workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time], that we should walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live].

I love the last verse because it says we are saved by grace(God’s undeserved and unmerited gift) not because of our works, but then once we are recreated in Christ (born again), God enables us to do good works(acts of obedience to God), and he has pre-destined us to do them and to live the good life he prearranged for us to live. Now, i dont know about you but that’s encouraging to me :D. I’m encouraging everyone who reads this post to abide(live permanently) in Christ, so we can let the Holy Spirit transform our lives to grow into the completeness of Christ, which of course is our ultimate destiny. I’ll leave you with that :D- 1100 words 😕

The victory in the death and resurrection of Christ

Jesus on The Cross

Easter is fast approaching and i really feel the need to reflect on what Jesus did for christians through the cross. I think this easter is going to be my best easter yet in my life, because i know for the first time the reason for easter and i comprehend what happened to me 2000 years ago when Jesus died on the cross. Notice i didn’t say ‘i realise what happened to me when i accepted Christ’ because it was already done back then and Jesus wasn’t crucified when i became a christian. Therefore, when Christ died, he died for both those that believed in Him then, and those that would ever believe in Him.

So why do christians need to understand what Christ did on the cross? Because that is the foundation of our faith. What do you even believe in if you don’t understand the spiritual changed that occurred when Christ died and ressurected? And i believe that the reason why many christians are not what God wants them to be now is because they haven’t got the foundation built completely. They know about God, but do not know Him. They have no clue on who they are IN CHRIST, and that’s why you see many christians living out of fellowship with God. If you don’t know who you are then you cannot exercise the authority you have, and therefore you cannot live in victory.

If the queen didn’t know who she was she would never be able to exercise the authority she has, even though she has it. And i think its the same way with some Christians. We really do take a lot of nonsense from the Devil because of the lack of knowledge of who we are in Christ. We live in guilt and condemnation and do not operate in the gifts Christ has distrubuted to every member of the body of Christ, for the building of the church. Many christians live under the old covenant where priests had to be the go-between, between God and man. We replace our pastors with Jesus, and make them high priests interceeding to God on our behalf. Jesus Christ is the great High priest of every Christian. You can speak to God, in the name of Jesus. That is an obvious truth, but even when people know this, they still feel the need to go to a pastor to pray on their behalf to God. They think God hears the prayers of their pastors faster or more because their pastor is ‘holy’. Let me put it straight to you that whatever prayer you make to God has as much effect as the prayer from a pastor because we do not pray in our names.

1 Timothy 2:5-6 says: 5For there [is only] one God, and [only] one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus,

6Who gave Himself as a ransom for all [people, a fact that was] attested to at the right and proper time.

When we pray in the name of Jesus, God looks at Jesus, and because Jesus is righteous, God listens to our prayers. Your pastor’s name is not respected by God. Well it depends on the motive behind you asking your pastor to pray for you but what i’m talking about is asking your pastor to pray for you because the Devil has deceived u and told u he(your pastor) is more righteous than you are. His righteous acts are nothing compared to the righteousness of Christ. So its got nothing to do with your behaviour sometimes. Because you don’t pray in the your name, but in the name of Jesus. It is not really you asking God, but Jesus asking the Father. And because Jesus is Holy and Righteous enough God listens to Him, and hence us. That is just a tip of the ice-berg of what Jesus did through his death on the cross for us. He is constantly standing at the right hand of the Father, interceeding for us, every minute and hour and day. I’ll try and briefly list some things that we became in Christ, because of his death and resurrection. The real you is not who you are in the flesh but who you are in Christ.

  1. First and foremost, you are righteous in Christ. Romans 3:22 says:  ‘Namely, the righteousness of God which comes by believing with personal trust and confident reliance on Jesus Christ (the Messiah). [And it is meant] for all who believe. For there is no distinction’. This is very important because the devil deceives many christians into feeling so guilty because of their mistakes. But God doesn’t want us to feel guilty. Feeling guilty is different from grieving over your mistake. Isaiah 53:11 says Jesus bore not just our sin on the cross but our guilt.Guilt is from the Devil, and guilt is what makes you feel your mistakes or life determines how much God loves u. God loves u the same way all the time; his love in unconditional.
  2. Ephesians 2:6 says: 6And He raised us up together with Him and made us sit down together [giving us joint seating with Him] in the heavenly sphere [by virtue of our being] in Christ Jesus (the Messiah, the Anointed One). Basically, this is simple. You are seated together with Christ in heaven NOW, because when you became born-again you died to the adamic nature, and you were raised up by the same power that raised Jesus up from the dead into the very presence of God. The Bible says God raised us up together with Christ. Not that he will, but he has already. Though you might be in the body now, spiritually, you are seated together with Christ in heaven because the fullness of Christ is in you, and the fullness of you is in Christ.
  3. In Christ, you are dead to sin, and alive to God. This means you have already died to sin spiritually, meaning your spirit is dead to sin. God lives in your spirit now. But daily, God works out what he has already done in our spirits into our souls and bodies. So if you progressively live according to the spirit, your flesh gets weaker. The ultimate death of your flesh to sin is when Christ gives u a new body(In the second coming of Christ, our bodies will be raised from the grave and transformed into a glorified new body-1 Thessalonians 4:16)
  4. You are God’s son in Christ. Galatians 3:26 says 26For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God through faith. Most christians would say they know that but deep down they don’t really know. Do you understand what it means to be called God’s son? You have his spiritual DNA. The Bible says in Romans 8:22-24 that all of creation await for God’s sons to be revealed. Do we really act in the sonship authority given to us by our being in Christ? Romans 8:23 also says that we have had only had a foretaste of the Holy Spirit. Are we operating under the authority given by being sons of God?Our sonship makes us joint heirs with Christ
  5. In Christ, we are members of the Body of Christ worldwide. I think this is important because people have to realise that, the christian life is personal but not private. God wants you to be involved in the building of the church before he comes and he has given you a particular gift for that purpose. That is the main reason why we have to go to church. You’re not just there for the fun of it. You are a member of the body of christ and you are expected by God to perform your specific function. Again i have to emphasise that the gifts of the spirit are not meant for just church leaders. Surely, they have their specific functions. But so do you! You have a part to play, and it is as important as the part your pastor has to play. The body of Christ is one and so if any part suffers, the other parts suffer. If any part rejoices, the other part rejoices. No part is greater or less than another so the next time you go to church, after receiving a word from God through your pastor, or worship leader or an usher, be ready to give something. And of course God can help us to use our gifts outside of the church in our workplaces or schools. If you have the gift of healing, heal the sick people you meet. If you can discern, or prophecy, or teach, use it to God’s glory for the building up of the church.

Ummm, really?

OK, OK. I usually hate top ten lists, but this collection will make your day better, happier, uplifting even. So what’s wrong with a little sunshine in your coffee? Even if it comes in a top ten list.

Anyway here’s my top ten morning songs… set your radio, phone, whatever you use or need to get your day going. I tried to make the links commercial free because who needs advertising to start your day? It’s about the music, so I also chose sound quality over video

Insert smiley face here. Have a great day. Someone loves you.

10. Good Day Sunshine / The Beatles
Exactly…Good Day Sunshine. Thanks Sir Paul, such an upbeat song and that piano dancing along with your feet as they hit the ground. Yes, it’s hot, “Burns my feet as they touch the ground.” Must be baked by now, eh Paul? And don’t we all…

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YOUR PEACE IS DIRECTLY PROPORTIONAL TO YOUR SPIRITUAL SENSITIVITY

Once again, i’m here to write on a topic i have struggled and struggled and struggled and struggled with for a long time… and then i got it! I will try my best to make this post very practical and explain it as best as i can. I pray that everyone who reads this will get this in their hearts and not merely their heads, where it is just knowledge; but that there shall be an impartation and revelation from the revealer of all truths, the Holy Spirit.

As i write this post, once again, my memory goes back to when i was in school. I had been in a christian school for 6 years of my life, and never had i heard the voice of God once in my life. I was always talking to God, but really never heard what he had to say. And at that point in my life it was very important that i knew what God had to say about what he wanted me to do in life, and where he wanted me to go for university. The only source of vague information i got from God about my future was when there would be a prophetic word from a guest minister in my school. Now, that was good, but it wasn’t enough. I remember me, in my desperation to know what God wanted me to do, and where he wanted me to go, knocking at the house of my school principal, asking her how i could hear the voice of God. She gave me a couple of points, but to be honest with you, i never actually got it. I mean i heard many pastors stand out in their congregrations many times to prophecy or give a word of knowledge or say that God was saying something, but i never had that personal experience. And i was hungry for it.

The two most memorable things my principal told me about hearing God’s voice was that sometimes you might hear him audibly, and sometimes as a ‘still, small voice’. I would discuss more about the latter because although i have met people who have heard an audible voice of God talking to them, my experience for the way God speaks to me has been through the ‘still,small voice’ as my principal put it, and also through something i mentioned one of my previous posts as a ‘spiritual conduction of knowledge’.

I am in no way blaming my school principal for my lack of understanding when she told me how to hear from God, but i do think the message of the gospel has to be presented more understandably and more interestingly, especially for today’s youth. Satan has deceived many young people today into believing that reading the Bible is boring. I know this, because i’m going to be honest with you and say in all my 6 years of being educated in a christian secondary school i never found the Bible interesting. It was merely a way to ‘tick the boxes’ of completing chapters and verses instead of letting the Holy Spirit speak to me through it. And in a week, we had morning and night devotions everyday, ‘digging deep’ on tuesdays, ‘student-teacher’s fellowship’ on fridays, choir practice on saturdays(which i find most funny now because it was simply a way to show off and compete for who has the best voice), then services on sundays. I did this for 6 years, and it was such a wonderful experience to be honest with you. But looking back now, i’m only realising i got many things the wrong way. I didn’t know God. I knew about him. And yes i was a full time christian.

I’ll give an example to illustrate what i mean about presenting the gospel in innovative ways. Oh this verse got me all over the place, getting into self reliance insteading of relying on the changing power of God.

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

Matthew 5:48 says: 48You, therefore, must be perfect [growing into complete maturity of godliness in mind and character, having reached the proper height of virtue and integrity], as your heavenly Father is perfect(Amplified Version)

As you would imagine after i read the King James Version that asked me to be as perfect as God, i tried it but it wasn’t working. I believe that sometimes christians that are still young in the faith can misunderstand many verses in the King James Version. To be honest with you, for me, i also found the King James Version a bit boring, because most of the things i thought i understood never worked out when i practiced them. I think the key is: Everytime you read something in the Bible and you don’t have a personal experience from it, go back and read it again. After i read the amplified version of that verse, things became much clearer to me and this has also been my experience practically. Perfection is not trying hard not to make a mistake at all, but growing into complete maturity of Godliness in mind and character. So you don’t have to feel bad when you make a mistake; Get up! and get moving, pressing on toward perfection through the help of the Holy Spirit. The amplified version might not be the one for you, but i think if there’s any young person reading this, and that thinks the Bible is boring like i did, you need to ask God to show you a Bible version that suits you, or the way you should study it that would interest you. It is not about ticking boxes, or even reading the whole Bible before you die, but it is about letting the Holy Spirit make the words in the Bible speak personally to you.That’s what makes it interesting-Having practical experiences and practicing what you read and getting results.

Coming back to the point, in my hunt for hearing the voice of God i have learnt that to be able to hear the ‘still, small voice’ of God requires spiritual sensitivity. And i believe with all my heart that the level of spiritual sensitivity needed to hear the voice of God depends on how peaceful you are. The voice of God is calm and most times the noises in our lives drown it away. God is always speaking to us, we just have to learn to calm down the noise in our spirit and our lives to hear it speak to us. Now what is peace? Peace is one of the fruits of the spirit but without any apologies i would like the say that the fruit of peace is not evident in the lives of many christians today. I’ll like to add something. Peace is not when you don’t have problems in your life at all. Peace is when even though you have problems in your life, you maintain a stable mind and you don’t permit your heart to be troubled. I love the verse below where Jesus talks to his disciples:

John 14:26-27(AMP) says  26 But the Comforter (Counselor, Helper, Intercessor, Advocate, Strengthener, Standby), the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My name [in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf], He will teach you all things. And He will cause you to recall (will remind you of, bring to your remembrance) everything I have told you.

27Peace I leave with you; My [own] peace I now give and bequeath to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid. [Stop allowing yourselves to be agitated and disturbed; and do not permit yourselves to be fearful and intimidated and cowardly and unsettled.]

Its very interesting that just after Jesus talks about leaving believers with his Holy Spirit he tells them that he leaves his peace with them. The Holy Spirit is our counsellor. He tells us what to do and when. Now if we permit fear and let our hearts be troubled and worry about the past and future, all of those things drown out the voice and counsel of the Holy Spirit. God doesn’t promise a life without problems but he gives us a new hope in Christ because Christ has overcome the world(John 16:33). We never have to fight our problems alone, so let it be, and trust God. Do not permit fear or anxiety into your life. I like to describe people with peace as being a rock. A rock remains the same way regardless of the weather; come rain, come sunshine.

Psalm 46:10 says: Let be and be still, and know (recognize and understand that i am God. I will be exalted among the nations! I will be exalted in the earth!

I think we should quit trying to figure our everything because that is when we often find ourselves worrying and letting fear into our lives. Psalm 46:10 tells us to be still. Being still means being at rest and being at peace. Worry changes nothing about our situations at all but actually gives room for the Devil to bring fear into our lives. Know that God is God and whatever happens, anyway, he’s got a plan and everything works together for your good because you love God. When you live your life like this you can maintain stablility in the good and in the bad and never let the peace that Jesus left for you to be taken by the Devil.

You might be asking me in your head now: ‘What is the link between peace and hearing the voice of God’. Let me just put it to you straight up now that if u don’t learn to live in peace, you will never hear the voice of God. God doesn’t shout on top of all the noise we bring into our lives. God really spoke to me through the story about how Jesus calmed the storm about the link between peace and spiritual sensitivity.

Mark 4:39-40 says:  39And He arose and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, Hush now! Be still (muzzled)! And the wind ceased sank to rest as if exhausted by its beating) and there was [immediately] a great calm (a perfect peacefulness).

     40He said to them, Why are you so timid and fearful? How is it that you have no faith (no firmly relying trust)?

God really spoke to me through this verse today. In this story, Jesus was sleeping on a boat and whilst he was sleeping, there was almost like a hurricane in the sea. It was so bad that the boat was actually filling up with water. This terrified the disciples so they had to wake Jesus up from his sleep to do something about it. I’ll go straight to the point. Sometimes in our lives, we can have such big problems that we get so terrified and fearful instead of trusting God.

God will either do two things for us- take away those problems, or leave the problems with us so we can grow spiritually. In that verse Jesus rebuked the wind. He commanded it to hush(be quiet) and be still(muzzled, which means ‘i do not permit you to make noise again). You might wonder why Jesus asked his disciples why they were timid and why they had no firm relying trust. But i believe Jesus expected them first of all to be at peace-Not fearful and timid- then also to rebuke the storm and ask it to be quiet. The storm would have prevented them from hearing Jesus if he was speaking at that point. In our lives, we have to learn how to rebuke the Devil and not permit him to tell us his lies.The Devil knows that if he gets your peace, he gets your power, and he gets your communication with God so he’ll whisper lies to you just like he did to Eve. The Devil’s lies interfere with us trying to hear the voice of God. Also, we need to trust God to the point that we realise that even if we still have such big problems, God will still show himself to be God. That way we can live in peace(not worry) and faith(not fear), and hence hear the voice of God even when there’s trials and tribulations.

Obviously you will have to do more study on peace (than just reading this post) and pray to God to show you how to be peaceful before you finally see the fruit of peace manifesting in your life. God has given us all the fruits of the spirit as seeds, and if we don’t water it with the word of God then they would never grow and manifest in our daily lives.

I’ll end by saying that we must learn to spend time getting to know God. My experience many times has been that God speaks to me when i’m reading my Bible, or listening to a worship/christian song, and sometimes just what i refer to as ‘roaming’ in the presence of God till he says something(in Biblical terms called waiting on God). Whatever it is, we must find a way to slow down and be quiet on the inside, staying in that peaceful state whatever happens, so that we will be always ready to hear God’s voice and respond to his promptings in obedience.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Bad Thing about New Year’s Resolutions

I thought it would be a good idea to take a look at statistics on how far people get on with their new year’s resolutions. Below are statistics on the top resolutions people made this year as well as how succesful people are generally with acheiving their goals.

Statistic Verification
Source: University of Scranton. Journal of Clinical Psychology
Date Verified: 3.19.2012
Rank Top 10 New Years resolutions for 2012
1
Lose Weight
2
Getting Organized
3
Spend Less, Save More
4
Enjoy Life to the Fullest
5
Staying Fit and Healthy
6
Learn Something Exciting
7
Quit Smoking
8
Help Others in Their Dreams
9
Fall in Love
10
Spend More Time with Family
News Years Resolution Statistics Data
Percent of Americans who usually make New Year’s Resolutions 45%
Percent of Americans who infrequently make New Year’s Resolutions 17%
Percent of Americans who absolutlely never make New Year’s Resolutions 38%
Percent of people who are successful in achieving their resolution 8%
Percent who have infrequent success 49%
Percent who never succeed and fail on their resolution each year 24%
People who explicitly make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than people who don’t explicitly make resolutions
Type of Resolutions (Percent above 100% because of multiple resolutions) Data
Self Improvement or education related resolutions 47%
Weight related resolutions 38%
Money related resolutions 34%
Relationship related resolutions 31%
Age Success Rates Data
Percent of people in their twenties who achieve their resolution each year 39%
Percent of people over 50 who achieve their resolution each year 14%
Length of Resolutions Data
Resolution maintained through first week 75%
Past two weeks 71%
Past one month 64%
Past six months 46%

(Source- http://www.statisticbrain.com/new-years-resolution-statistics/ )

Firstly, i must comment it is quite interesting and encouraging that many people in the world(supposedly) are concerned with “Helping people in their dreams” and “spending more time with family” because it just shows people are not only thinking about their welfare but the welfare of others as well. I bet if they took this survey in Nigeria they would get one of the top resolutions as ‘buying a new car and building a house’ or something between those lines which might be quite understandable considering the poverty some people encounter in that country but at the same time may be just a rich man thinking of building his 10th house in the same society where his fellow man is suffering and living in poverty.

My main purpose of writing this post is to explore why it has been found in this survey that just 8 percent of the people making resolutions every acheive it. If you look at the length he resolutions were maintained you can clearly see it many people get really excited in the first week of their resolutions but grow weary in just under 6 months.

I am in every way one of the 75 percent that would break a resolution under a week if i made one and i think its only natural for that to happen. I always wondered why it took such a short time for me to break resolutions when i was so determined to acheive it. Maybe it was lack of discipline, or i just grew tired but i believe the main reason why resolutions don’t and will never work for me is because i even decide to make them at all

It has taken me such a long time to learn what i’m about to explain but until i got it nothing really changed in my life to be honest. I wasn’t getting it at all and its really surprising how people still go on making the same mistakes yearly without getting to the root of why they never acheive their new year resolutions.

To explain myself fully i’ll talk about my experience in my christian Life. There is something known as legalism. Legalism is a term i’ll like to refer to as following a set of rules and regulations and laws.By the way,christians are no longer under the law, but under grace.

For many many years i tried living by laws and the 10 commandments and all that. The result was that i failed to obey them. Everytime i disobeyed one of them i’d live in guilt for maybe 1 week or so before i asked God for forgiveness. Then even after i did, i’d still feel the need to come out in church after an altar-call to become saved when i had already been saved. It didn’t even help further when i heard a pastor from my school once say ‘When you sin, you have to give your life to Christ again. Its not true when people say Once saved, always saved’. And i believed him even though he never actually gave any biblical references for his doctrine. The worse thing about my legalistic lifestyle was that everytime i saw someone else doing something i recognised as ‘wrong’, i got into my judgemental side and accused them. But to be honest, something didn’t feel right. Something wasn’t just working for me at all. I had no sort of relationship with God at all because i always felt God was angry at me, and i felt the need to tick the boxes of me doing my ‘good works’. Basically, that was me thinking Christianity was a religion.

I might as well put it to you from now, that Christianity is a relationship with God, not intending you to be ‘religious’ and ‘self-righteous’.And once you have gone out for an altar call,don’t waste ur time going out again because even when we run away from God, he still loves us and nothing can separate us from his love.Salvation appears too good to be true so many people find it hard to believe that God will still accept us even when we sin. But the truth is in the first place, he didn’t give us the gift of salvation because we were good enough, but because he loved us from the foundations of the world.

Salvation is a gift(we are saved by grace), you don’t even deserve it.And when God gives a gift he never takes it back. Romans 11:29(AMP) confirms this truth when it says:

29For God’s gifts and His call are irrevocable. [He never withdraws them when once they are given, and He does not change His mind about those to whom He gives His grace or to whom He sends His call.]

God chose you not the other way around.Even when we were sinners, he still loved us, not to talk of when he removes our sin and gives us his righteousness.You are the righteousness of God in Christ. You are righteous!(always have right standing with God through Christ living in you and not by your works).Do you really think God will live in you, if your spirit was full of sin? God sweeps away every atom of sin from our spirits the moment we become Christians. Our flesh may be weak and our souls may not be all that but God works out holiness in us inside out from our spirits to our souls to our bodies.Holiness is different from righteousness.It involves being set apart and is a life process. It doesn’t happen in a day or 2 or a week. It always happens. In case you didn’t know what the Bible saysout self-righteousness let me show you this verse.

Isaiah 64:6(AMP) says:  6For we have all become like one who is unclean [ceremonially, like a leper], and all our righteousness (our best deeds of rightness and justice) is like filthy rags or a polluted garment.

I would like to point out that in the original hebrew, when isaiah spoke about your righteousness(good deeds) being filthy rags, they were deeper than is represented in the english translation. The hebrew word for filthy is ‘iddah’ which literally means “the bodily fluids from the woman’s menstrual cycle” and the hebrew word for rags is ‘beged’ which means a rag or a garment. This might sound very repulsive, but when isaiah wrote that verse he was referring to tampons. That is how filthy our righteous acts are. But the good news is, we are righteous in Christ; not by good works but by our faith in Him and the Bible says we are sitted together with Christ in heavenly places(you cannot be sitted with Christ in heaven now, if you are not spotless and without sin-therefore the blood of Jesus gives us the righteousness of God)

As soon as i learnt this i must confess that i even lived in more obedience to God(not only what is in the Bible, but the promptings of the Holy Spirit) than when i tried to tick the boxes of me obeying rules and regulations.

Living by the spirit is the easiest way to live in obedience to God. He doesn’t bombard you with a million things to change about yourself, he takes it a step at a time and transforms you through his power. When we try to tick the boxes often we rely on ourselves instead of the power of God to change us, and that was why it never worked out for me. I didn’t understand it had nothing to do with my determination.

I think it is the same way with writing down a set of things you resolve to do in a year. Everytime you have a set number of things you intend to change in a year, you start working to change it all at once instead of a step at a time and that is what gets people tired of doing it. Live each day individually, and live as best as you can each day of your life. When you get to notice something you need to change in your life take it at once, and get helpful books, advice and everything that you might need. I think there’s another key point in this- If you don’t decide to get to the root of the problem yourself, you will never change. Seminars, books and counselling are good but to be honest with you they are meant to be a piece in an entire puzzle. You will never change if you don’t do something yourself. Seminars and going to church keep you excited and encouraged for a bit, and usually we have a long list of ‘to-do lists’ after them, but if you don’t make a decision to do a personal study on your own, nothing is going to change and i believe that is the reason why people get weary just under 2 weeks.

You might wonder why many christians go to church but yet you never see fruits of joy,peace,patience,kindess,love etc in them. I think the reason is because they never take out time to learn the Bible for themselves. They think pastors are the only ones who have access to that knowledge and that is not true. Pastors and preachers are there to direct you to personal study and experience with God. You have as much access to learning and hearing God’s voice as much as they do. And let me just say this now:

IF YOU WILL NOT TAKE OUT TIME TO STUDY THE BIBLE YOURSELF AT HOME THEN YOU MIGHT AS WELL NEVER GO TO CHURCH ON SUNDAYS BECAUSE GOING TO CHURCH ONLY KEEPS YOU ENCOURAGED FOR A MOMENT; IT DOESN’T CHANGE ANYTHING IN YOUR LIFE. NOTHING IN YOUR LIFE IS GOING TO CHANGE IF YOU DON’T TAKE OUT TIME TO STUDY THE BIBLE.

And you know what that means? It means you will be stagnant all your life. There will never ever be progress or growth. You will make heaven, but you will always be a baby christian and you will live in so much misery. If you say you’re a christian then be a christian God will be proud of. Don’t be a lukewarm christian- neither here not there. Its sad when people have to ask some christians if they are actually christians just because they decide to have the best of both worlds.

I’ll end on this note: It is nice to make commitments and resolutions because it sets booundaries in your life. However, if you set those boundaries, make sure you’re taking everything one step at a time. When you try to do it all at once it gets bad. Live each moment and day the best way you can.