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20
Jul

Living Holy is the Only Way

There are different explanations and experiences of Worship.  It could be because of one’s denominational, cultural, or musical background, but there’s nothing like going to the word seeing and reading the many oracles on this subject.  Worship is obedience and sacrifice to God, but sometimes we can allow a half-heartedness and carelessness to creep into our worship like the people of God did in the book of Malachi.

Offering God any kind of worship and not caring one bit, knowing what kind He desired.  The Law of Moses required they bring animals without blemish, the finest from their flock.  But they kept the finest for themselves and brought to the altar that which showed disrespect for God, who they claimed to honor and worship.  They were offering animals with blemishes for sacrifice.  “Cursed is the cheat who promises to give a fine ram from his flock but then sacrifices a defective one to the Lord.  For I am a great King,” says the LORD Almighty, “and my name is feared among the nations!”  (Malachi 1:14, NLT).

Because God gave His son Jesus as a sacrifice, to die on the cross on a hill called Calvary, shedding His blood for you and me covering our sins, rising from the grave on the third day, today we don’t have to bring animals for our worship.  We can offer a life of holiness, acceptable and pleasing unto Him.  And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God.  Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will accept.  When you think of what he has done for you, is this too much to ask?  (Romans 12:1, NLT).  We are now the offering; it’s our bodies that He wants placed on the altar.

Just like He didn’t want them (Old Covenant) bringing animals with blemishes, He tells us (New Covenant) through the Apostle Peter to be blemish free, holy.  But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God—who chose you to be his children—is holy.  For he himself has said, “You must be holy because I am holy.”  (1 Peter 1:15-16, NLT).  Holiness is what He wants for us.

Scripture of the Day: “God has called us to be holy, not to live impure lives.” – 1 Thessalonians 4:7

 

17
Jul

The Holy Imprint

Just recently – deeply engaged in a time of worship, eyes closed, hands raised, self-awareness completely torched by the grandeur of God’s glory – an image of God impressing Himself on the human canvas suddenly burst onto my mind’s consciousness. I saw what seemed like a large, spongy block, very similar to a memory foam mattress, and then the shape of a person slowly imprinting the sponge until the sponge completely lost its original shape and became entirely defined by this prominent impression.

As I watched the image in my mind, I meditated on God’s ultimate desire. Undeniably, His will is to influence and impress Himself upon us until we mirror and reflect Him completely. Of course, this indentation of God upon our lives requires that we first present ourselves as sponges or permanent ‘memory foams’ that will easily contour to His touch.

Holiness does not require of us monk-like lifestyles or overly-ascetic tendencies. It isn’t about proving yourself, punishing yourself, or earning your way; instead it is very much about allowing God to mold your will until Christ is fully formed in you. Holiness is meant to be reflective. Repeatedly, God’s heart towards His people is echoed through His word, as He declares, “Be ye holy; for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16). Holiness is a ‘be-as-I-am’, ‘do-as-I-do’ principle, and is therefore unattainable without relationship with God and the abiding presence of His Spirit.

When we come to terms with the fact that it is God who saves us, God who cleans us, God who perfects us, and God who keeps us from falling, we will stop trying to enforce our own form of righteousness. We will realize that it is as impossible for us to make our own selves holy as it is for a lump of clay to mold itself. It is God who sanctifies us. It is He who works with our surrendered wills and makes of us holy vessels.

Today, as you go about your day, intentionally allow yourself to be shaped by God. Holiness means that your life should be reflective of the God who has imprinted Himself – His mind, His Spirit, His will – on you. He is pressing into the spongy fabric of your life at this very moment.

Reference Scripture:  “As the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand.” – Jeremiah 18:6

 

15
Jul

HOLINESS; IT IS A LIFESTYLE!!!

What does the word holiness mean to you?  Often times as Christians when we hear the word holiness, we paint a picture of a certain group of people belonging to a certain type of church, wearing certain types of clothes and talking a certain way.  When I was growing up and heard the word holiness, a picture was painted in my mind.  A picture of older women who wore white dresses and cotton stockings.  I am not saying that these people were not holy, but as I matured in Christ, I came to learn that holiness has nothing to do with wardrobe or appearance, but it does have everything to do with lifestyle.

Christ reminds us to be holy for He is holy.  What does this mean? Clearly, this is a direct command for us to model our lives after the example that has been set before us since the foundation of the world.  Holiness is simply separation.  Not separation from the world, but separation from the way the world acts.  In an effort to live a holy live, it means that we should be deliberate in being distinct from those who do not know Christ.  Our God is different from all so-called other Gods, therefore we must live according to His will and give Him glory.

It was God’s original plan for his creation to be like Him.  Because our father Adam fell, we must now strive to live a life that God intended for us to live from the beginning of time.   We are living in a world that has been infiltrated and influenced by the rulers of darkness.  It even seems that some of the rituals of the world has even crept into the church.  As Christians we must wave the banner high which reads, “Holiness Is Still Right.”

Some would argue that the church has lost itself and that people have lost respect for the church because there seems to be no power.  What we fail to realize is that we are the church and that we are not our own, but bought with a high price.  We are like pilgrims traveling from a far land and we are to represent out homeland from whence we have come.  It is not necessary for us to carry a big Bible so others can know who we represent, but people should be able to look at our lives and notice a distinct difference in who we are.  Living a life of holiness will help us walk away from strongholds and will give us the power not having to look back.

Don’t get me wrong.  I am not saying that strongholds will not be present.  Yes, we wrestle against the constant desires and lust of the old nature, but this is an internal struggle.  I am reminded of the US Marine who once wrote, “Two natures beat within my breast, the one is cursed, the other is blessed. The one I love, the other I hate, the one I feed will dominate.”  We must learn to hate the desires of the world and of our flesh and continue to feed and nourish our spirit man who will lead us down the path of righteousness and holiness.

Yes, the saints of old may have worn white dresses and cotton stockings, but they also knew what it meant to abstain from sin and live a life now of their own, but purchased by their redeemer.  So, while holiness is not about outer appearance, it is about inner appearance.  Ask yourself the question, what do people see when they look at what I am wearing (on the tables of my heart).

Scripture of the Day: “You are to be holy to me because I, the LORD, am holy, and I have set you apart from the nations to be my own.” – Leviticus 20:26

 

10
Jul

The Role of the Husband

This article is to remind husbands of their roles and to advise the ‘wanna-be’ husbands of what is in store for them. If you are a man, please read and take note. If you are a woman, send the article to your husband or fiancé.
With the proliferation of wrong stereotypes by both our Nollywood and Hollywood; what with ‘reality’programmes like “House-husbands”, sitcoms like “The Simpsons”, “My Family”, that portray the husband as slow and dimwitted; Tim Gunn’s “Tim Gunn’s Guide to style  and the fashion show “Queer Eye for the straight Guy” that encourage men to get in touch with their feminine side (whatever that means) ; the average man on the street has no clue as to roles and responsibilities of the husband demanded by God in marriage.
What does the Bible say about husbands? Ephesians 5:21-33
From the very beginning, God designed someone to be in charge, and someone to help. Someone to be, as it were, “in authority,” and someone to be “in submission.” Someone to be the leader and someone to be the follower. Someone to provide and someone to be provided for. The man has the role of the headship, and the woman has the role of the one for whom that headship is to be provided. The man is the one who protects, provides, preserves, and cares for the woman who is “a fitting,” or “suitable helper” for him.
The Husband is the leader. “But I want you to understand that Christ is the head of every man, and the man is the head of a woman, and God is the head of Christ. ” 1 Cor 11:3. The husband is to oversee everything that happens in the house – spiritual and physical. The husband should not only cater for the physical needs and leave the spiritual matters to the wife. The wife should not be one to initiate prayers in the family. The Husband should provide the spiritual cover over his family and the spiritual direction for the family. The great English war hero, Field Marshal Montgomery said these profound words to his young troops, “Gentlemen, don’t even think about marriage until you have mastered the art of warfare.” Life is a battle and the family needs a relevant, prayerful husband and father. The Husband should also know that in leadership, respect is not taken but earned. Yes, the bible says that the wife should be submissive to the husband, but it also says clearly that Christ died for the church when we knew Him not. Christ, the leader, died for his followers, the church. The Husband must love the wife unconditionally for the wife to submit. Being the head does not mean master as in a master-slave relationship, nor does it mean a relationship like a general to a private in the army. It is more like a partnership where one is the leader, guide and director.
Use this guide to evaluate your leadership in the home (culled from The Maxwell Leadership Bible – John C. Mawxell)
a)      Initiative: Do I give direction and take responsibility for my primary relationships?
b)      Intimacy: Do I experience intimacy with God and others through open conversation?
c)       Influence: Do I exercise biblical influence by encouraging and developing others?
d)      Integrity: Do I lead an honest life, unashamed of who I am when no one is looking?
e)      Identity: Am I secure in who I am in Christ? Or am I defensive?
f)       Inner Character: Do I exhibit the fruit of the spirit in my life, including self discipline?
The husband is the Provider.  God expects the husband to work and provide for his family. He is responsible for the food, shelter, clothing and education. He must also see to it that his children learn how to work so that they can make a living for themselves. The Bible states, in 1 Timothy 5:8,  “But if any man does not provide for his own, and especially for those of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. ” Marriage is a financial venture and the husband has a responsibility to finance, support and provide for his family. This is talking about money. As a husband, your earnings are not your own but belong to your wife as well as your children. Even if your wife earns more than you, the primary role for provision is still with you, the husband. She can help since she is your helpmate but it is your job.
The husband should also provide for the spiritual needs of the family. Every day he should confess the right words concerning his family.
The Godly husband prays for/with his wife regularly. He does not allow corrupt communication to proceed out of his mouth towards his wife, but only that which is good for edifying so that his words minister grace to her. He only speaks words that encourage her in her walk of faith. He gives his wife the honour, respect, goodwill and kindness that is due her.
The husband (father) participates in raising the children in the family. Proverbs 17:25 states that “A foolish son brings grief to his family and bitter regrets to his mother.” While Proverbs 15:20 states that “a wise son makes his father happy.” The difference between a foolish son and a wise son is often the difference in the teaching the fathers have given their sons. The Father is attentive to the needs of the children; in attending tea parties at their schools, playing with them as often as he can. He teaches them about God and good character. He impresses the word of God diligently in the hearts and minds of his children. He does not provoke his children to anger but rears them tenderly in the training, discipline, counsel and admonition of the Lord.
In conclusion, I will like to share with you “The Ten Commandments for husbands”
Ten Commandments for husbands
1)      Thou shalt not take thy wife for granted, but will honour and respect her as thy equal. (1 Pet 3:7)
2)      Thy highest allegiance, except God, shall be to thy wife, not thy relatives or friends. (Gen 2:24)
3)      Thou shalt frequently tell thy wife how important & valuable she is to thee. (Phil 2:3; Prov 31:10-11)
4)      Thou shalt hold thy wife’s love by the same means that thou won it. (Sos 5:10-16)
5)      Thou shalt actively establish family discipline with thy wife’s help. (Eph 6:4)
6)      Remember to do all the little things for thy wife when you say you will. (Mt 5:37)
7)      Keep thine eyes on thy own wife, not thy neighbor’s. (Prov 5:15-20; Job 31:1; Jer 5:8)
8)      Thou shalt make every effort to see things from thy wife’s point of view. (Gen 21:12)
9)      Thou shalt not fail to kiss thy wife every morning. (Sos 8:1)
10)   Thou shalt not be stingy with thy wife when it comes to money (Esther 5:3)
9
Jul

14-day Fasting and Prayer July 2013

Click here to download a copy of our mid year/ convention fasting and prayer.

14-day fasting and prayer July 2013. (1)

5
Jul

How to Damage Your Relationship

  • Dateless days: Relationships are like flowers; they need the frequent care of water, nutrients in the soil, and daily sun light. Relationships similarly can’t grow without frequent care of one-on-one time, such as date nights. The time of couples focused on one another, creating emotional connection and building a stronger connection in the relationship. Don’t forget to water the relationship with adding on Dates!
  • Computer love: Electronics are becoming more and more part of the Nigerian routine; however, the technology of text messaging and internet can create a wall between two people. I often see couples sitting side by side out to dinner, yet they vanished away into their own individual electronic worlds. Technology is getting in the way and distracting them from the relationship.
  • Friendship Focal Points: For social butterflies, socializing is key and very significant for maintaining relationships. The problem for couples is when either one or both people put more emphasis on friendships and don’t create a healthy balance. When friendship is the main focal point, then the relationship shifts to the peripheral vision.
  • No “Check-ins:” Quite frequently, partners may hear different messages than what their partner is actually meaning to say. The problem is that the simple step of checking in is overlooked and then reactions take over, starting the communication war.
  • Back Burner Choices: When life gets tough, substance (such as drinking, shopping, eating, etc) is used to help alleviate stress and take away the emotional pain. Unfortunately, the choice of substance automatically puts the other partner on the back burner…creating the feeling as if they aren’t willing to navigate through the rough times by the side of their partner.
  • Unsafe Zones: Safety is the comfort of your partner knowing that they can rely on you, get comfort from you, and know the . When someone criticizes, gets angry quickly, speaks down to, or over looks your emotional needs, it can create the sense of “it isn’t safe and my needs won’t be met.” This tends to push away partners and have them get comfort on their own or look for it in other ways
  • Avoiding Tough Topics: Many people avoid tough discussions with their partner as a way to keep the relationship tightly connected; however it doesn’t create space to resolve issues. The partner on the receiving end may feel as you “go away” or “don’t care,” creating a feeling as if they have to hold on tighter, cling on, and get you to open up…which can actually push you further away.
  • Email Snooping: An insecurely attached relationship can feel terrible, with fear and overly concern with what the other person is doing. Some partners take it upon themselves to do the investigation and search through emails to either confirm or deny their worst fears…a way to get comfort for their worry. The problematic part of this email snooping is that the insecure attachment does not get resolved, and the distress in the relationship becomes magnified.
  • Holding on Too Tight: When the attachment is not secure, it can create a terrible feeling of fear of losing the relationship. Some people may want to feel secure and take away the discomfort by holding on very tightly and squeezing their partner extremely hard that they can’t breathe. When the holding is too tight, the partner on the receiving end will need to take a breath of air by pulling away….and the cycle of keeping the relationship insecurely attached continues.
  • No Follow Through: Many people tell their partner one thing, and then do something different. For example, saying that you will be home by 6:00pm and then come home at 7:00pm. No follow through shows your partner that they can’t rely on you.
  • Infidelity: An affair on the side WILL damage the relationship
4
Jul

GOFAMINT Convention 2013

Awesome God

Awesome God