Showing posts with label Christian. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Christian. Show all posts

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

OVERCOMING MARRIAGE STRUGGLES: BEFORE AND AFTER


"And they live happily ever after."

That’s what I gathered from the movies how marriage would be like. Two people unite and start their married life together. Marriage was supposed to be something beautiful, wonderful, and heartwarming.

The other reason why I looked forward to getting married was because I needed help in this life journey (Genesis 2:18), I wanted to be close to my helper ( my wife) always (Genesis 2:24). I wanted to be a friend to her, and to my children.

However, when the opportunity to get married finally came in the Month of April 2012, I wasn’t so sure anymore. But then, I was encouraged by the word of God (Proverbs 18:22 NIV ''He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the LORD'' ) and in Proverbs 19:14 NLT ''Fathers can give their sons an inheritance of houses and wealth, but only the LORD can give an understanding wife''. 

My struggle before getting married

For one, I wasn’t totally sure my girlfriend was “the one”. How could I know for sure that she was given to me by God? Am I sure I can live with her (different tribe, language, and background)? Am I the right person for her? Can she be my helper? I had so many questions and they overwhelmed me.

That’s when I had to remind myself why I started dating her in the first place. Being a busy person, I've prayed about right partner and I too have been a right candidate all along. Then, I got a message from one pastor on radio programme, that in the very place I am, my helper will locate me, and it was fulfilled. At the start of the relationship, We had asked ourselves some basic questions. Does she fear God? Is she respectful and faithful? What if this relationship progressed to marriage?

When I remembered her answers and the commitment we made to each other when we started dating, and after getting to know her better through our courtship, I became assured that she was the right one and finally agreed to marry her.

My struggle after getting married

After getting married however, I realized that marriage was not always beautiful, wonderful, and heartwarming; it was certainly not a party. Marriage was in fact, life after the party. Married life involves two people with different backgrounds trying to live life together—and that can be very challenging when you are from different region and language.

Before we got married, my girlfriend and I only met once a month or so but seeing each other from afar in our working place, so our differences didn’t really bother us. But after getting married and having to live together, our differences have become a lot more noticeable.

I don't eat much food and in my tribe we have limited variety of foods. My wife likes eating good food. So now that we are one, we allowed ''give and take'' to operate in our home, we must consider each other’s preferences. And when she cook at home, she doesn't need to cook two different meals to fit both our taste buds. Our differences have become something that we have to let go, and deal with the rest that we cannot let go for a lifetime.
Couple quarreling

Another conflict involves our sleep schedules. My wife is an early bird, and she is full of energy in the morning. So she go to bed early and wake up early. But in my own case, however, am a night owl. This is a problem because we sleep in the same room. My wife just want to hide her face under her pillow, cover her ears and sleep off, But I on the other hand, stays awake in order to work on something, while my wife, some time yell, “Turn the light off, close the windows! come to bed!”

I must confess, My wife work very hard and smart to the extent that, it make me angry due to her multitasking, I always encourage her to take a rest. But I am not gifted with speed and multitasking.

These might seem like simple problems, but if they are not resolved well, they can be detrimental for the relationship.

One day, I came across a prayer by American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr. It was a beautiful prayer which inspired me to deal with my marriage problems wisely:

God, give us grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed,

courage to change the things which should be changed,

and the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.

Reading that prayer reminded me that there are things we can’t change. Instead, we need to adapt to and accept those things. I can’t change the fact that my wife likes eating good food and she is an early bird. What I can do is to learn to adapt and accept her preferences.

Sometimes, it can be a challenge when my wants differ from her wants. But if it’s just about what I want, I need to compromise—to do something just because it’s important to my spouse and for the good of our family. If I want to guard the peace in my relationship (Romans 12:18), I need to learn to give in.

When we learn to submit to one another (Ephesians 5:21), we are able to build a harmonious marriage. The little differences don’t bother us anymore.

In the last five years of my marriage, I felt God refining and shaping me through every good and bad experience with my wife. Though we still face differences in our characters and habits, I am reminded that the purpose of marriage is not the pursuit of happiness. But that was a lie, if the couple truly allow God to have His way in their lives, if they obey God and let His will concerning marriage be done, Happiness is part of marriage. Psalm 1:1-3,  Psalms 1:1–2, 19:8, 32:8–11, 34:8–14, 40:4, 106:3, 112:1, 119:1–2, 22–4, 69–70, 143–4, 128:1–6.

American author Gary Thomas writes in his book, marriage is a means through which God refines us, so that we become more like Him.  When someone gets married, they go through God’s refining and shaping process. Happiness is not the purpose, but an extra that God gives to us when we go through the process.
The couple resolved their differences

So, is marriage wonderful? Yes. But that doesn’t mean that there won’t be any problems, or that everything will be peaceful, or everyone happy. Marriage isn’t like the movies. Instead, it is beautiful because my faith and knowledge about God grows, and also my character.

Lastly, whatever you are going through in your marriage, handle it wisely and consult the founder of marriage (Almighty God) that instituted marriage. Don't be a reactionist, let it be a win win whenever there is an issue, You and your partner are not competing, therefore be open minded and put God first in every decision.

Remember, even tooth and tongue also quarrel and quickly resolve the problem amicably by eating the food in the mouth together. God bless you as you handle your marriage issue peacefully.


Ref: Juli Vesiania, Holy Bible, Reinhold Niebuhr
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Saturday, July 8, 2017

STOP PRAYING AND START ACTING


“Well done, good and faithful servant!”— Matthew 25:23

One of the defining moments in my prayer life happened a decade ago. I was in a small group with a friend who worked for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship at Georgetown University. Jeremy was working on a shoestring budget, and their campus ministry needed a computer. He shared the request at the end of our meeting, and I agreed to pray for it, but when I started praying for it, I felt that the Lord wanted me to stop praying. It was like the Holy Spirit said, “Why are you asking Me? You’re the one with the extra computer!” I quit praying in mid-sentence. I told Jeremy we didn't need to pray about it because I had an extra computer he could have.

I wonder how many of our prayer requests are within our own power to answer? Yet we ask God to do what we can do ourselves. And then we wonder why God doesn't respond. Maybe it’s because God won’t do for us what we can do for ourselves. God isn't honored by prayers that are within the realm of human possibility; God is honored when we ask Him to do what is humanly impossible. That way, God gets all the glory!

There are some things we don’t need to pray about:
  • We don't need to pray about loving our neighbors
  • We don’t need to pray about giving generously or serving sacrificially.
  • We don’t need to pray about blessing someone when it is in our power to do so.
  • We don’t have to pray about turning the other cheek or going the extra mile.
  • God has already spoken on those subjects.

There comes a moment when praying becomes a form of spiritual procrastination. It’s time to stop praying and start acting.

Quit praying about the program and fill out an application. Quit praying for the friend you hurt and make a phone call. Don’t just complain to God about your coworker; circle them in prayer. Don’t just pray for missionaries; write a check.

One of my heroes is Peter Marshall, the former chaplain of the United States Senate. His prayers at the opening of Senate sessions are timeless. Peter Marshall believed in an action-oriented approach to Scripture.

I wonder what would happen if we all agreed to read one of the Gospels, until we came to a place that told us to do something, then went out to do it, and only after we had done it... began reading again?

There are aspects of the Gospel that are puzzling and difficult to understand. But our problems are not centered around the things we don’t understand, but rather in the things we do understand, the things we could not possibly misunderstand. This, after all, is but an illustration of the fact that our problem is not so much that we don’t know what we should do.

We know perfectly well... but we don’t want to do it.

Please don’t misinterpret what I’m saying. Pray about everything. Then pray some more. But at some point, we have to quit praying and start acting.

One of the great mistakes we make is asking God to do for us what God wants us to do for Him. We confuse roles. For example, we try to convict those around us of sin. But that is the Holy Spirit’s responsibility, not ours. In the same sense, God won’t do for us what we can do ourselves. And many of us get stuck spiritually right there.

We are called to pray about everything, but there comes a time when praying can be a form of disobedience, laziness, or negligence. We can’t just pray like it depends on God; we also must work like it depends on us.

When Christianity turns into a noun, it becomes a turnoff. Christianity was always intended to be a verb — more specifically, an action verb. The title of the book of Acts says it all, doesn’t it? It’s not the book of Ideas or Words. It’s the book of Acts. And if we said less and did more, I believe we would have the same kind of impact the first-century church had. And while we’re on the subject, we should be more known for what we’re for than what we’re against.

When everything is said and done, God won’t say, “Well said, good and faithful servant.” He won’t say, “Well thought,” “well planned,” or even “well prayed.” There is only one commendation He will give: “Well done, good and faithful servant.”STOP


Credit: Mark Batterson
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Thursday, June 29, 2017

How God Initiates a Man


A man needs to know his name. He needs to know he’s got what it takes.

And I don’t mean “know” in the modernistic, rationalistic sense. I don’t mean that the thought has passed through your cerebral cortex and you’ve given it intellectual assent, the way you know about the Battle of Waterloo or the ozone layer — the way most men “know” God or the truths of Christianity. I mean a deep knowing, the kind of knowing that comes when you have been there, entered in, experienced firsthand in an unforgettable way. The way “Adam knew his wife” and she gave birth to a child. Adam didn’t know about Eve; he knew her intimately, through flesh-and-blood experience at a very deep level. There’s knowledge about and knowledge of. When it comes to our question, we need the latter.

In the movie Gladiator, set in the second century A.D., the hero is a warrior from Spain called Maximus. He is the commander of the Roman armies, a general loved by his men and by the aging emperor Marcus Aurelius. The emperor’s foul son Commodus learns of his father’s plan to make Maximus emperor in his place, but before Marcus can pronounce his successor, Commodus strangles his father. He sentences Maximus to immediate execution and his wife and son to crucifixion and burning. Maximus escapes, but too late to save his family.

Captured by slave traders, he is sold as a gladiator. That fate is normally a death sentence, but this is Maximus, a valiant fighter. He more than survives; he becomes a champion. Ultimately he is taken to Rome to perform in the Colosseum before the emperor Commodus (who of course believes that Maximus is long dead). After a remarkable display of courage and a stunning upset, the emperor comes down into the arena to meet the valiant gladiator, whose identity remains hidden behind his helmet.

COMMODUS: Your fame is well deserved, Spaniard. I don’t believe there’s ever been a gladiator that matched you... Why doesn’t the hero reveal himself and tell us all your real name? (Maximus is silent.) You do have a name?

MAXIMUS: My name is Gladiator. (He turns and walks away.)

COMMODUS: How dare you show your back to me?! Slave! You will remove your helmet and tell me your name.

MAXIMUS: (Slowly, very slowly, he lifts his helmet and turns to face his enemy.) My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius; Commander of the Armies of the North; General of the Felix Legions; loyal servant to the true emperor, Marcus Aurelius; father to a murdered son; husband to a murdered wife; and I will have my vengeance, in this life or in the next.
Gladiator: Commodus & Maximus

His answer builds like a mighty wave, swelling in size and strength before it crashes on the shore. The man knows who he is, what he’s made of.

Where does a man go to learn an answer like that — to learn his true name, a name that can never be taken from him? That deep heart knowledge comes only through a process of initiation. You have to know where you’ve come from; you have to have faced a series of trials that test you; you have to have taken a journey; and you have to have faced your enemy.

But as a young man recently lamented to me, “I’ve been a Christian since I was five — no one ever showed me what it means to really be a man.” He’s lost now. He moved across the country to be with his girlfriend, but she’s dumped him because he doesn’t know who he is and what he’s here for. There are countless others like him, a world of such men — a world of uninitiated men.

The church would like to think it is initiating men, but it’s not. What does the church bring a man into? What does it call him out to be? Moral. That is pitifully insufficient. Morality is a good thing, but morality is never the point. Paul says the Law is given as a tutor to the child, but not to the son. The son is invited up into something much more. He gets the keys to the car; he gets to go away with the father on some dangerous mission.

Where do we go? To whom can we turn? To a most surprising source.

How God Initiates a Man

A number of years ago, at a point in my own journey when I felt more lost than ever, I heard a talk given by Gordon Dalbey, who had just written Healing the Masculine Soul. He raised the idea that despite a man’s past and the failures of his own father to initiate him, God could take him on that journey, provide what was missing. A hope rose within me, but I dismissed it with the cynicism I’d learned to use to keep down most things in my soul.

Several weeks, perhaps months later, I was downstairs in the early morning to read and pray. As with so many of my “quiet times,” I ended up looking out the window toward the east to watch the sun rise.

I heard Jesus whisper a question to me: “Will you let Me initiate you?” Before my mind ever had a chance to process, dissect, and doubt the whole exchange, my heart leaped up and said yes.

“Who can give a man this, his own name?” George MacDonald asks. “God alone. For no one but God sees what the man is.” He reflects upon the white stone that Revelation includes among the rewards God will give to those who “overcome.” On that white stone there is a new name. It is “new” only in the sense that it is not the name the world gave to us, certainly not the one delivered with the wound. No man will find on that stone “mama’s boy” or “fatty” or “seagull.” But the new name is really not new at all when you understand that it is your true name, the one that belongs to you, “that being whom He had in His thought when He began to make the child, and whom He kept in His thought throughout the long process of creation” and redemption. Psalm 139 makes it clear that we were personally, uniquely planned and created, knit together in our mother’s womb by God Himself. He had someone in mind and that someone has a name.

That someone has also undergone a terrible assault. Yet God remains committed to the realization of that same someone. The giving of the white stone makes it clear — that is what He is up to.

The history of a man’s relationship with God is the story of how God calls him out, takes him on a journey and gives him his true name. Most of us have thought it was the story of how God sits on His throne waiting to whack a man broadside when he steps out of line. Not so. He created Adam for adventure, battle, and beauty; He created us for a unique place in His story and He is committed to bringing us back to the original design.

So God calls Abram out from Ur of the Chaldees to a land he has never seen, to the frontier, and along the way Abram gets a new name. He becomes Abraham. God takes Jacob off into Mesopotamia somewhere, to learn things he has to learn and cannot learn at his mother’s side. When he rides back into town, he has a limp and a new name as well.

Even if your father did his job, he can only take you partway.

There comes a time when you have to leave all that is familiar, and go on into the unknown with God. Saul was a guy who really thought he understood the story and very much liked the part he had written for himself. He was the hero of his own little miniseries, “Saul the Avenger.” After that little matter on the Damascus road he becomes Paul; and rather than heading back into all of the old and familiar ways he is led out into Arabia for three years to learn directly from God.

Jesus shows us that initiation can happen even when we’ve lost our father or grandfather.

He’s the carpenter’s son, which means Joseph was able to help him in the early days of his journey. But when we meet the young man Jesus, Joseph is out of the picture. Jesus has a new teacher — his true Father — and it is from Him He must learn who he really is and what he’s really made of.

Initiation involves a journey and a series of tests, through which we discover our real name and our true place in the story.

Most of us have been misinterpreting life and what God is doing for a long time.

“I think I’m just trying to get God to make my life work easier,” a client of mine confessed, but he could have been speaking for most of us. We’re asking the wrong questions. Most of us are asking, “God, why did you let this happen to me?” Or, “God, why won’t you just...” (fill in the blank — help me succeed, get my kids to straighten out, fix my marriage — you know what you’ve been whining about). But to enter into a journey of initiation with God requires a new set of questions:

What are You trying to teach me here? What issues in my heart are You trying to raise through this? What is it You want me to see? What are You asking me to let go of?

In truth, God has been trying to initiate you for a long time. What is in the way is how you’ve mishandled your wound and the life you’ve constructed as a result.


Credit: John Eldredge
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Monday, June 26, 2017

Goliath Must Fall: Dead But Still Deadly


Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings. — 1 Peter 5:8-9

Orientation

When Louie was a college student, he worked summers at a church camp on a rustic, jungle-esque island off the coast of South Carolina. One of his jobs was to deal with the poisonous snakes and ensure they didn’t become too much of a problem on the path to the bathhouse. Louie and some of the camp counselors would wallop a snake on the head with a baseball bat until it was dead. Then they’d hold the head down with the bat and pull on the snake’s body until the head popped off. Finally, they’d grind the head down into the sand and bury it with more sand.

Why bury the head? Because even though the snake was dead, there was still enough venom in its fangs to poison anyone who happened to walk by and step on them. The snake’s head was dead but still deadly.

That’s a good picture of our enemy, Satan. Jesus defeated him on the cross. The battle is over, the victory won. Because of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection Satan is nothing but a beaten snake with his head torn off. And yet, if we step unwarily on his dead head, those spring-loaded fangs can cause grave harm. If we listen to him or give in to his schemes, we’ll get a jab of his crippling venom. It will poison the robust life we are meant to have in Christ.

On one hand, Jesus defeated Satan dead on the cross; but on the other hand, that dead serpent’s head still has venom. It can still cause serious damage and destruction in our lives.

Pretty much all of us have an area in our lives where Satan threatens to rob our joy and steamroll our capacity to love others. It might be fear, rejection, anger, addiction, or even comfort. We need to know that in Christ, the enemy is dead. We also need Jesus’ help to stop stepping on those poison-filled fangs. We need both.  how to walk in the victory that Jesus has won and keep from falling prey to the giants that rise up to oppose us

When we look at the account of David and Goliath, we often assume that we are David in the story. We think that if we can just muster enough courage and willpower, we can overcome the enemy through our own efforts. But the truth is that Jesus represents David in this story, and we can only truly overcome the enemy when we rely on his strength, not our own.

Fear. Rejection. Addiction. Anger. Comfort...Must Fall.

It’s likely you have a threatening giant in your life…an adversary or stronghold that’s diminishing your ability to live a full and free life. Frozen in the grip of rejection, fear, anger, comfort, or addiction, we lose sight of the promise God has for our lives. Demoralized and defeated, we settle for far less than his best.

God has a better plan for you, a plan for you to live in victory. That’s why he has silenced your giant once and for all.

The key to living free from our giants is not better slingshot accuracy, but keeping our eyes on the one and only giant-slayer—Jesus. Put your hope in him and watch Goliath fall.

I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and I have been saved from my enemies. Psalm 18:3


Ref: Louie Giglio
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Thursday, June 15, 2017

Finding Strength In A Crisis


The righteous person may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all. — Psalm 34:19

Crisis can knock us down but it doesn't have to shut us down forever. With Jesus, we can face them with courage and hope. With Jesus, we can come back even stronger than ever! With Jesus, crisis can bring out the best in us.

President John F. Kennedy once said, “The Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word crisis. One brush stroke stands for danger; the other for opportunity. In a crisis, be aware of the danger — but recognize the opportunity.”

The Chinese use brush strokes that paint words with deeper meanings. Known for its beauty, grace, and history, the technique for this type of writing dates back to the time of the Yellow Emperor, which was at least four thousand years ago. Using this technique, the word crisis combines images of danger and opportunity.

Everyone will experience a crisis at one time or another.

In a crisis you face dangers, disappointments, or losses, but when you overcome the problems, you will find the hope of new opportunities. That hope comes from the knowledge that God will help you in a time of trouble, and He promises to deliver you.

Let a crisis bring out the best in you.

The deadly coup attempt in July 15, 2016 marked a monumental turning point in Turkey's political history. when a section of the Turkish military launched a coordinated operation in several major cities to topple the government and unseat President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Thousands of ordinary citizens took to the streets to oppose the attempted coup

Soldiers and tanks took to the streets and a number of explosions rang out in Ankara and Istanbul.
But as news of the coup attempt spread via social media, thousands of ordinary citizens, armed with nothing more than kitchen utensils, gathered in streets and squares around Anatolia to oppose the coup and later the coup failed leaving 241 people dead and 2,194 others were injured.

President Recep Erdogan turn the crisis to his own fortune by cutting more power to the presidency. The ability of universities to elect their own rectors was also abolished. Erdogan will now directly appoint nominees.

Crisis allows you to become courageous and an overcomer. You will learn from new experiences that may be painful. As you focus on solutions, which come from God, you will discover you are stronger than you thought. Believe that blessings will come from a crisis.

Dear God, thank You for new opportunities that are born in a crisis. Allow me to face them courageously because You are with me. Amen.


Credit: Karen Whiting and Aljazeera News
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Tuesday, June 13, 2017

NEVER QUIT, DONT GIVE UP


In life we fail, sometimes once, sometimes twice, sometimes thrice and sometimes every time. So we decide to quit, because we did our best but it was not good enough. Sometimes too we succeed and then out of no where we make a little mistake and it makes us feel like we have failed totally.

Oftentimes people look at our size, our height, our color, our country, our past and tell us we cannot achieve anything great.

Sometimes we believe them, other times we think they are right. So we quit and give up and we hide ourselves from the world and from the people who look up to us.

We hide our dreams, we hide our passion, we hide our talent, we hide our skill, we hide our ideas. We coil and retire to being quiet and to stay out of trouble.

But everyday we look at ourselves in the mirror and we hear the still small voice telling us, never give up and don't quit but we ignore it.

We begin to resort to all avenues and mediums to help us feel okay.
Sometimes we begin to calm ourselves with alcohol, substance abuse, drugs, sex and many more because we know we are hurting deep inside and we just don't believe there is anything good still left in us. 

But today I want to change your mindset of failure and giving up.
When we fail it means
F - First
A - Attempt
I - In
L- Life

And like everyone when we were learning to walk as children we fell many times but we kept trying until we could walk.

After we could walk now we can run, but before we had to fall to learn not to fall.
So in life, we fail to learn how not to fail. We don't quit to learn how to succeed.

Steve Jobs was fired from Apple a company he helped build because he failed at some point. But He went away to learn not to fall anymore because he who has fallen fears no fall.
When he came back to Apple, those who had not failed could not match him anymore because he has learnt from his mistake.

In 2006, I watched the world cup finals and I saw a legend at the time called Zinedine Zidane about to crown his amazing career with a world cup trophy but he made a mistake and he failed and was shamed in front of the whole world.

Many people taught he was finished but after 10 years in 2016 he has been made the coach of the biggest and richest powerful football club in the whole world called Real Madrid.

Today I want to tell you too not to quit or give up because you have failed in the past.
I love you and I want you to promise me that you too wont give up. "Because when you Keep trying, you will come out flying."


Credit: Solomon Botchway
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Tuesday, June 6, 2017

God Mercies Will Never Cease

Matthew 5:44

I read through the book of Judges this past week and was freshly astonished by God's faithfulness to his ever-erring people.

Soon after Joshua's generation passed away, "there arose another generation after them who did not know the Lord and the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and served the Baals they abandoned the Lord, the God of their fathers and they provoked the Lord to anger and he sold them into the hands of their surrounding enemies and they were in terrible distress" (Judges 2:10-15).

But things didn't end here. Though Israel betrayed their Redeemer and rightfully incurred his judgment, "the Lord raised up judges, who saved them out of the hand of those who plundered them" (Judges 2:16).

Why did God rescue these undeserving people?

The text tells us: "For the Lord was moved to pity by their groaning because of those who afflicted and oppressed them" (Judges 2:18).

He pitied them.

Though these thickheaded, treasonous rebels flat-out rejected his love and goodness, God was moved to compassion as he watched his covenant people suffer the afflictions that he had brought upon them. Yes, God was provoked to anger by their idolatry. But his anger did not endure forever (Psalm 103:9). As he looked upon these people and saw their miseries and sorrows, he, in his incomprehensible mercy, raised up judges to save them. And not just once or twice! This cycle of faithlessness, judgment, and salvation continues throughout the entire narrative of Judges. There even comes a point in chapter 10 at which it seems God's recurring mercies would finally come to a screeching halt.

"And the people of Israel cried out to the Lord, saying, 'We have sinned against you, because we have forsaken our God and have served the Baals.' And the Lord said to the people of Israel, 'Did I not save you from the Egyptians and from the Amorites, from the Ammonites and from the Philistines? The Sidonians also, and the Amalekites and the Maonites oppressed you, and you cried out to me, and I saved you out of their hand. Yet you have forsaken me and served other gods; therefore I will save you no more. Go and cry out to the gods whom you have chosen; let them save you in the time of your distress.'" – Judges 10:10-14

But merely two verses later, the tenderheartedness of God prevails:

"And the people of Israel said to the Lord, 'We have sinned; do to us whatever seems good to you. Only please deliver us this day.' So they put away the foreign gods from among them and served the Lord, and he became impatient over the misery of Israel." – Judges 10:15-16.

God repeatedly came to the rescue of these rebels. Sometimes he did so in response to their repentance. Sometimes he did so despite there being no evidence of repentance.

But he always did so with the knowledge that they would surely turn away from him again — "whenever the judge died, they turned back and were more corrupt than their fathers, going after other gods, serving them and bowing down to them. They did not drop any of their practices or their stubborn ways" (Judges 2:19).

Though his people were perpetually faithless, God was perpetually merciful.

What strong encouragement this should be for us today!

Things are a bit different now. God's chosen people are not unregenerate slaves to sin like most of the Israelites were at that time. Those of us who are under the New Covenant in Christ's blood have received the promised Holy Spirit (Galatians 3:14), who writes God's laws on our hearts and leads us in paths of righteousness. Our lives are characterized by faith and growing obedience—not unbelief and rebellion. 

But even though we walk in an enabling power that God's Old Covenant people lacked, we still sin. We may not ultimately turn away from him and worship other gods as the Israelites did, but we struggle and stumble and fall in our redeemed-but-not-yet-perfect condition. And our struggling, stumbling, and falling can sometimes seem much bigger to us than God's patience and faithfulness, can't they?

I have often considered the presence of sin in my life to be a weightier reality than God's love, mercy, and grace over my life. I have at times convinced myself that I am too wicked, stubborn, and riddled with evil desires for God to continue bearing with me. What absurdity!

If God could stomach the ongoing treachery of Israel, how much more is he able to endure the remaining sin of those for whom his Son died? If God could find it in himself to be merciful toward unregenerate idolaters, how much more is he able to be gracious to those who are indwelled by his Spirit and truly desire (but seriously struggle) to love, trust, and obey him?

I'm not saying that God's patience and mercy give us a license to sin. Those who think in such terms probably do not know Christ. Nor am I saying that God does not ever chastise his children when they go astray, "for God disciplines the one he loves" (Hebrews 12:6). What I am saying is that struggling saints have great reason to believe that God will bear with them until the very end. He is not overwhelmed by our failures. He is not impatient with our frailties. He loves us. And because he loves us, his mercies toward us will never, ever cease.

"The Lord is merciful and gracious,
 slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
 He will not always chide,
 nor will he keep his anger forever.
 He does not deal with us according to our sins,
 nor repay us according to our iniquities.

 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
 so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him;
 as far as the east is from the west,
 so far does he remove our transgressions from us.
 As a father shows compassion to his children,
 so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him.
 For he knows our frame;
 he remembers that we are dust." – Psalm 103:8-14


Credit: Matt Moore (You can reach him on www.moorematt.org)
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Thursday, February 23, 2017

Nigeria's Forgotten Christians

Eric Metaxas is an Evangelical speaker and bestselling author

By Eric Metaxas

Almost nobody knows what's happening to the Christians of Nigeria — but even fewer care. Here's why we should.

In Nigeria, which is Africa's most populous country, Christians don't have time to worry about culture wars. They're too busy facing a real one instigated by their Muslim neighbors and by a government that has studiously decided to look the other way. The scope of the violence is so vast as to be almost beyond belief, so let me first give you a snapshot of what's happening on the ground.

Deborah holding a photo of her two young nieces who were abducted by
Boko Haram militants in 2012. (Photo courtesy of Ray and Denice )

Deborah, now 31 and living in a camp for the internally displaced, was captured by the Boko Haram terrorist group and held captive for a year and a half. The Islamists came to her village and slaughtered her husband and family before abducting her and "marrying" her off to a 20-year-old Muslim terrorist, who complained of her argumentativeness while raping and impregnating her. After Deborah was recaptured following an escape, she received 80 lashes as punishment. She told journalist Douglas Murray that she no longer fears death.

"What sort of death would I be running from?" Deborah asks. "I have already died once."

You could repeat Deborah's basic story countless times in Nigeria. Operation World estimates that Nigeria, which is an officially secular state with a Muslim president, is 51 percent Christian and 45 percent Muslim. Since 1999, the West African nation of about 158 million people then, (now about 191 million) has been convulsed by ongoing attempts at imposing Islamic law in eight northern, mostly Muslim states, as well as in four other states where Christians predominate or where the numbers are fairly even.

Things are particularly bad in the north right now. Unarmed Christian villages there are sitting ducks for Muslim Fulani tribesmen, who have been armed with weaponry provided by elements in the national military. According to The Spectator, it's religiously motivated genocide, although outside agencies dismiss the violence as tit-for-tat.

"The locals daren't collect the freshest bodies," the magazine reports. "Some who tried earlier have already been killed, spotted by the waiting militia and hacked down or shot. The Fulani are watching everything closely from the surrounding mountains. Every week, their progress across the northern states of Plateau and Kaduna continues. Every week, more massacres — another village burned, its church razed, its inhabitants slaughtered, raped or chased away."

Open Doors USA, as part of its annual World Watch List, says the killings have jumped by a whopping 62 percent in a year. And while Nigeria is No. 12 on the World Watch List of Christian persecution globally, it's in the top 10 in terms of overall violence.

And yet it's not all gloom and doom in Nigeria. As Tertullian reminded us, the blood of the martyrs is often the seed of the church. Operation World says the country now boasts a strong prayer movement, dynamic church growth, and a growing missionary movement, with more than 5,000 cross-cultural workers — many of them in Nigeria or in other African nations.

So while much of the world has forgotten about Nigeria's persecuted Christians, surely those of us in the West cannot. They are our brothers and sisters, and they're doing great things in the midst of severe trials. Let's hold them up in powerful, prevailing prayer.

Let's also speak up to the new administration in Washington, which says it will stand up for persecuted Christians around the world. Let's remind them of their promises and make sure they follow through.

The Christians of Nigeria need us, and since we are members of the same worldwide Body of Christ, we need them.

Come to BreakPoint.org and click on this commentary for organizations that assist the persecuted, and for information on contacting the White House and State Department.

First posted at breakpoint.org.
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Thursday, February 16, 2017

What Are The Biblical Word For Love?

God is Love

The word Love means so many things to different people, the Dictionary such as Webster define it as 'a feeling of strong attachment induced by that which delights or commands admiration; preëminent kindness or devotion to another; affection; tenderness; as, the love of brothers and sisters'.

But what does Holy Bible says about love?, Do You Know the Biblical Words for Love? Find out now & understand What Love really is as we present to you Five Biblical Words for Love from the stable of Zondervan and Thomas Nelson.


Master, which is the greatest commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all  thy mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. Matthew 22:36-40 KJV

We are called to love God and love others, but how do we understand what love really is?

By the end of this studies of 5 Hebrew and Greek words for love will help us to understand what loving someone really means.



1. Ahab: Hebrew word for love. Describes a variety of intensely close emotional bonds. So Abraham loved his son Isaac (Gen. 22:2), Isaac loved his son Esau (Gen. 25:28), and “Israel loved Joseph more than all his children” (Gen. 37:3). In a more romantic manner, Isaac loved his wife Rebekah (Gen. 24:67), and Jacob loved Rachel (Gen. 29:18), but Delilah manipulated Samson by challenging his love for her (Judg. 14:16). We are all called to love the Lord, by expressing obedience to His commandments (Deut. 6:5), and to “love thy neighbour as thyself” (Lev. 19:18). Moreover, “he that getteth wisdom loveth his own soul” (Prov. 19:8).



2. Agapao: God’s love is described as the Greek word agapao, which means unconditional love, preferential love that is chosen and acted out by the will. It is not love based on the goodness of the beloved, or upon natural affinity or emotion. Rather this is benevolent love that always seeks the good of the beloved. This type of love is exclusive to the Christian community because it flows directly from God’s love: “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and everyone that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love” (1 John 4:7,8).



3. Agape: Although common in both the Septuagint and the New Testament, the word rarely occurs in existing secular Greek manuscripts of the period. Like its synonym philia, it designates love between persons (John 13:35), or people for God (1 John 2:15), of God for humanity (Rom. 5:8), and of God for Christ (John 17:26). Whereas phila emphasizes the idea of love arising from personal relationships, agape is founded upon deep appreciation and high regard. It is perhaps for this reason that agape is the love which God commands.



4. Phileo: One of four greek words for love, this one signifies friendship, fondness, affection, delight, and personal attachment. This word is on of feeling – a heart of love – whereas agape is a matter of benevolence, duty, and commitment. We are commanded to have agape love (Matt. 5:44) but not phileo love because feelings cannot be commanded. Phileo is also the word for “kiss.” Jesus asked peter if he had unconditional, sacrificial agape love, but Peter responded that he had phileo, or brotherly love. Peter’s love deepened, and he wrote of agape love in his later books.

Friendship

5. Philadelphia: With the roots words phileo, “to love,” and adelphos “brother,” this word signifies loving someone like a brother or sister. We might think of it as fraternal affection. This is not the love God has for us, but rather love between brothers and sisters in Christ. It implies that a familial bond between people who would not otherwise share affection is possible through Christ.

New Cardinals receives the affection of the faithful

So now, what does “Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind” mean to you?

Please share your thought on this subject on our blog
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Friday, December 9, 2016

Boko Haram Brainwashing Boys To Kill Their Christian Teachers

After missing years of schooling because of attacks by Nigerian Islamist extemists, Boko Haram, these teenagers in a Maiduguri refugee camp have returned to school.
After missing years of schooling because of attacks by Nigerian Islamist extemists, Boko Haram, these
teenagers in a Maiduguri refugee camp have returned to school. (Robyn Dixon / Los Angeles Times)
Boko Haram, the Nigerian Islamic extremist group, has been training young boys to return to their schools and kill their former teachers and students, many of them Christians, according to a new report.

The Los Angeles Times reports that Boko Haram, whose name translates to "western education is sin," accuses Christians of guiding the nation's education system, which contradicts several of the radicals' beliefs, such as that the Earth is flat.

Persecution watchdog group International Christian Concern responded to the story on Wednesday by saying that it's "disconcerting that minors are being indoctrinated by Boko Haram to kill their teachers."

"Boko Haram targets attacks and forces the shutting down of schools, abducts students and kills teachers. The Chibok girls were abducted from their boarding school. Regions where Boko Haram is in control are forced to shut down their schools in fear of attacks," the group added, noting that it's in the process of opening a school in an IDP Camp for children of families displaced by Boko Haram, and linked to its Kids Care fund.

The LA Times report listed a number of attacks on Nigerian schools in recent years, with the terror group seeking to drive a wedge between the nation's Christians and Muslims, who each make up roughly half of the population.

As many as 611 teachers have been assassinated since Boko Haram's rise in 2009, the Nigerian teacher's union estimated, while 910 schools have been burned down and 1,500 others have been forced to close down.
Chemistry teacher Mohammed Yahaya Nige, 50, narrowly missed being killed by Boko Haram gunmen in this office at his school in Maiduguri, Nigeria.
Chemistry teacher Mohammed Yahaya Nige, 50, narrowly missed being killed by Boko Haram gunmen
in this office at his school in Maiduguri, Nigeria. (Robyn Dixon / Los Angeles Times)
Many of the attacks have reportedly come from former students who have been trained to return to their schools and kill their teachers and other students.

"Boko Haram believes Earth is flat, and that Muslims are permitted to take slaves and duty-bound to kill infidels. Culture and history also play a role in the group's fixation with secular education, according to analysts," the report noted. "British colonialists brought education and Christianity to the region at the beginning of the 20th century, triggering long-held resentment which lingers to this day."

Mausi Segun, a researcher with the group Human Rights Watch, noted that Islamic hardliners often place their distrust of foreign education specifically on the shoulders of Christians.

"There's a perception among Muslims that the content of education is Christian-led. They saw it as a ploy to Christianize their children, so to be a good Muslim was to keep them away from those kind of schools," Segun said.
Men walk amid rubble after Boko Haram militants raided the town of Benisheik in northeast Nigeria, on Sept. 19. 

Many of the kidnapped schoolgirls, on the other hand, have been sold into marriage and forced to convert to Islam. Yet there have also been a number of reports that some of the girls, such as those kidnapped from Chibok, have been trained to carry out suicide bombing missions.

The terror group has reportedly used the kidnapped girls in some of its cross-border attacks, bombing villages also in Niger, Chad, and Cameroon.


Source: CP
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Friday, November 4, 2016

Scientist Discovers God


Albert Einstein

Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens? — Isaiah 40:12

Allan Rex Sandage, the greatest observational cosmologist in the world — who deciphered the secrets of the stars, plumbed the mysteries of quasars, revealed the age of globular clusters, pinpointed the distances of remote galaxies, and quantified the universe’s expansion through his work at the Mount Wilson and Palomar observatories — prepared to step onto the conference platform.

Few scientists were as widely respected as this one-time protégé of legendary astronomer Edwin Hubble. Sandage had been showered with prestigious honors from the American Astronomical Society, the Swiss Physical Society, the Royal Astronomical Society, and the Swedish Academy of Sciences, receiving astronomy’s equivalent of the Nobel Prize. The New York Times dubbed him the “grand old man of cosmology.”1

Image result for science and God picture

As he approached the stage at this conference on science and religion, there was little doubt where he would sit. The discussion would be about the origin of the universe, and the panel would be divided among those scientists who believed in God and those who didn’t, with each faction sitting on its own side of the stage. Many of the attenders probably knew the ethnically Jewish Sandage had been a virtual atheist even as a child. Others undoubtedly believed that a scientist of his stature must surely be skeptical about God. As Newsweek put it, “The more deeply scientists see into the secrets of the universe, you’d expect, the more God would fade away from their hearts and minds.”2

Allan Rex Sandage
So Sandage’s seat among the doubters seemed a given.

Then the unexpected happened. Sandage set the room abuzz by turning and taking a chair among the theists. Even more dazzling, in the context of a talk about the big bang and its philosophical implications, he disclosed publicly that he had become a Christian at age fifty. The big bang, he told the rapt audience, was a supernatural event that cannot be explained within the realm of physics as we know it.

Science has taken us to the first event, but it can’t take us back to the first cause. The sudden emergence of matter, space, time, and energy pointed to the need for some kind of transcendence.

Sandage
“It is my science that drove me to the conclusion that the world is much more complicated than can be explained by science,” he later told a reporter. “It was only through the supernatural that I can understand the mystery of existence.”3

Truth for Today

For me, the road to atheism was paved by science, but, ironically, so was my later journey to God. Good information, I am convinced, points us to a good God.

Notes
1. John Noble Wilford, “Sizing Up the Cosmos: An Astronomer’s Quest,” New York Times, March 12, 1991. 
2. Sharon Begley, “Science Finds God,” Newsweek, July 20, 1998.
3. Ibid.

Source: Lee Strobel and Mark Mittelberg for faithgateway
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