Archive for the ‘Arise and Shine’ Category

This year will be great for good music lovers, how do we know? Very easy, if so early in the year new songs are dropping with so much Power, then you can tell that 2018 is definitely going to be an Amazing Year. 

Here we start off with our very own Darling Dunnie 

She starts off the year with this great afro-fusion song telling stories about the everyday struggle of an average Lagosian. ‘Wahala‘ tells a story about the challenges faced with boarding a commercial bus (Danfo/Molue) and buying items from roadside sellers.

These are situations every Nigerian is confronted with on a daily basis (except your father is Dangote).

Produced by DonSam. 
Mix and Mastering by Mix-Masters.
Guitar by E-daniels. 
Bass by Micah.

Twitter/IG : @officialdunnie

Click here to download 

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We live in a time when there is great fascination about life after death. Why this fascination with the world beyond the grave? Is it not because death is so final? Whatever one thinks about the reports of “near-death” visions, death when it finally comes is irreversible. When you finally cross the line, there is no coming back from the other side. Death wins the battle every time. After the doctors have tried the latest wonder drug, after the best minds have pooled their wisdom, after the philosophers have done their best to explain that death is only a natural part of life, we come face to face with the ugly reality that someday we will all die. And that death–whether planned or accidental, whether comfortable or painful–will be the end of life as we have known it.

Questions About Life After Death

In answering questions about life after death, we are left with only two sources to consult. Either we turn to human experience or we turn to the Word of God. If we turn to human experience, we find many guesses, many ideas, many theories–but no sure answers. That’s because, in the nature of the case, no human has a sure answer. The only people who have the answer are dead! That leaves us with the Word of God. In God’s Word we find ample, abundant answers. God who knows the future knows what happens when we die, and he hasn’t left us to wonder about it. The Bible is filled with information on this subject, so much in fact that we can offer only a brief survey in this chapter.

If you want the answer in one sentence here it is: What happens after you die depends on what happens before you die. Consider what the Bible says in Hebrews 9:27, “It is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment” (NKJV). This is an appointment no one will miss. As someone has noted, the statistics on death are appalling. One hundred out of one hundred people will eventually die. We are all terminally ill with a disease called death; we just don’t know when the end will come.

Before we go further, let’s stop and think about some important questions that people often ask about death and dying.

Is There a “Second Chance” after Death?

This is the popular view of many people who hope that those who did not accept Christ in this life will somehow have a second chance after death–either in the afterlife or perhaps through reincarnation. The answer is quite simple: There is no biblical support whatsoever for the notion of a “second chance.” Hebrews 9:27 declares that we die once and after that comes the judgment of God. Let no one be mistaken on this point. The only opportunity you will ever have to get right with God is the opportunity God affords you right now. If you dream of coming to God after you die, you are nursing a vain hope.

What about “Near-Death Experiences”?

Such experiences are very popular today.  ooks in recent years have purported to tell of people who “died,” went to “heaven,” and then were given a “second chance” to return to the earth. Some of those books have been extremely popular, and a few have been embraced by Christians. However, a close inspection shows that most of those books embrace unbiblical heresy, either the notion that we are saved by doing good works or the idea that everyone is going to heaven in the end.

In thinking about this question, we need biblical balance. On one hand it’s undeniably true that some Bible characters did see the Lord before they died. Stephen saw Jesus just before he died in Acts 7. Paul was evidently given a vision of heaven–perhaps during his stoning at Lystra in Acts 14. He alludes to the event in 2 Corinthians 12. However, it’s important to say that such revelations did not happen often even in Bible times. Not every believer had or will have a revelation of heaven. Could such a thing happen today? Yes, but we shouldn’t expect it or base our hope of heaven upon a last-second experience.

Let’s also remember that Satan is the great deceiver. He can create scenes that seem to be scenes of heaven but are actually creations born in hell. Some near-death experiences are demonic in nature. You should never base your hope of heaven–or the hope of seeing a loved one in heaven–on a supposed vision or revelation. The only reliable ground given to us is the eternal, unchanging Word of God.

What Happens to Children Who Die?

This is obviously a very tender subject to many people. Parents want to know: Will I see my child again? The place to begin in answering this question is with the observation that the Bible doesn’t specifically address this question. However, we do know two things are true. First, children are not born innocent, but sinful. If children who die do go to heaven–and I believe they do–it is not because they are morally innocent in the sight of God. All of us are born with an inclination to sin that leads us away from God. Ephesians 2:1 says that we are spiritually dead by nature. That applies as much to young children as it does to adults. Second, we know that God’s grace is always greater than human sin. Romans 5:20 reminds us that where sin abounded, grace superabounded. God’s grace always goes far beyond sin’s disgrace.

I believe that God’s grace credits children with the merits of Jesus’ blood and righteousness so that children who die before they are old enough to believe are covered by His blood, and their entrance into heaven is made sure and certain. Thus they are saved by grace exactly as we are.

Can We Contact the Dead after They Are Gone?

The answer is no. Any attempt to dabble in spirit contact is strictly forbidden in the Bible. It is sometimes called necromancy or sorcery or dealing with familiar spirits. Remember, demons can masquerade as the dead. They can even mimic the voices of our loved ones and give information that only the dead person would have known (for more on this subject, see Leviticus 19:26-28Leviticus 19:31Deuteronomy 18:9-14Galatians 5:20). In case this isn’t clear, let me make it plain. Do not attempt to contact the dead through any means at all–séances, parlor games, crystal balls, psychic readers, channelers, or mediums. You are involving yourself in that which God forbids. Leave the dead alone.

What Do You Say to Someone Who Has Lost a Loved One?

Over the years I have discovered that it really doesn’t matter what you say in terms of the precise words. Those who are grieving will not remember the words you say, but they will never forget that you cared enough to be there when they needed you. If you go with God’s love in your heart, he will give you any words you need to say. That means we don’t need to answer questions only God can answer. If we don’t know the spiritual state of the deceased, we shouldn’t speculate, either to offer false hope or lay a heavier burden on those who are left behind. God is both just and merciful, and in every case He will do what is right.

What Happens at the Moment of Death

Now we come to the central question: What happens at the very moment of death? I have already given the general answer: What happens when you die depends on what happens before you die. The Bible classifies the whole human race into two broad categories–the saved and the lost. The saved are those who have trusted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. The lost are those who haven’t. What happens to the saved is radically different from what happens to the lost.

. . . For the Saved

The Bible is abundantly clear on this point. When the saved die, they go directly into the presence of the Lord. At this point we remember the words of Jesus to the thief on the cross, “I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43, emphasis added). This appears to be a straightforward promise that at the moment of death the repentant thief would pass from his life of crime and his agonizing death into the realm called “paradise.” This would seem to contradict the teaching called “soul-sleep,” which implies that at death a believer “sleeps” in a kind of suspended animation until the day of the resurrection. How could the thief be that very day in paradise if his soul went to sleep when he died? At the moment of death the believer passes immediately into the personal presence of Jesus Christ. This is our hope and comfort as we stand at the graveside of a loved one.

Paul said he had a desire “to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far” (Philippians 1:23, emphasis added). He also said, “We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body (that is, separated from the body by death) and at home with the Lord’ (2 Corinthians 5:8, emphasis added). These are the words of a man who believed that heaven would begin at the moment of his death. Was Paul looking forward to an unconscious slumber after his death? No! He was looking forward to the personal presence of Jesus Christ.

But that’s not the whole story. The soul goes to be with the Lord in heaven, and the body is buried until the day of resurrection when Jesus returns to the earth. 1 Thessalonians 4:14 says, “We believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.” Here you have both sides of the truth. Christians who die are said to be “with Jesus” (that’s the soul in the conscious presence of the Lord) and “have fallen asleep in him” (that’s the body which “sleeps” in the grave). Listen to Paul’s description of that great reunion of body and soul: “For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first” (1 Thessalonians 4:16, emphasis added). Here is a clear promise of future bodily resurrection for the believer.

1 Corinthians 15:51-55 adds the crucial fact that our bodies will be “raised imperishable”–that is, with a body that is perfect in every way, free from the vestiges of death and decay In this life our bodies wear out, like a clock continually running down, but when we are raised, it will be with bodies that can never decay, never wear out, never suffer injury, never grow old, never get sick, and thank God, never die.

Many Christians have a wrong view of death. We think we’re going from the land of living to the land of dying. But the opposite is true. If you know Jesus, you are going from the land of dying to the land of the living. Here are some of the images the Bible uses for the death of a Christian: going to sleep and waking up in heaven . . . moving from a tent to a mansion . . . walking from the darkness into a well-lit room . . . coming home to see your family and friends . . . being set free from prison . . . taking a long journey to a new land . . . riding a chariot to the New Jerusalem . . . moving into a brand-new home . . . opening a gate to a brand-new world.

Christians have always faced death with confidence. The very word cemetery comes from a Greek word meaning “sleeping-place,” which refers to their confidence in the promise of the resurrection. Many pagans cremated their dead because they saw no further use for the human body. But Christians buried their dead as a statement of faith in the coming resurrection of the body. I have been asked more than once how God can raise the dead if the body has been burned or lost or vaporized in some terrible explosion. I don’t think that’s a difficult question at all. If you can raise the dead, you can raise the dead. Resurrection is God’s problem, not ours. We don’t need to know the how of the resurrection as long as we know the who.

As he lay dying, D. L. Moody proclaimed, “Earth recedes, heaven opens before me.” Catherine Booth, wife of the founder of the Salvation Army, cried out, “The waters are rising, but I am not sinking.” And George MacDonald, the English novelist, said, “I came from God, and I’m going back to God, and I won’t have any gaps of death in the middle of my life.” John Wesley summed up the faith of the early Methodists with four simple words: “Our people die well.”

When Benjamin Franklin was twenty-three years old, he wrote the following epitaph. His words catch the essence of the Christian doctrine of bodily resurrection:

The body of Benjamin FranklinPrinter;Like the cover of an old book,Its contents torn out,And stripped of its lettering and gilding,Lies here, food for worms.But the work shall not be wholly lost:For it will, as he believed, appear once more,In a new and more elegant edition,Revised and corrected
By the Author.

Once our bodies are raised, we will be with the Lord forever. Wherever he is, there we will be, rejoicing, praising, singing, and celebrating throughout the ages of eternity. 1 Thessalonians 4:17 says, “We will be with the Lord forever.” Speaking of his own return, Jesus said, “In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am” (John 14:2-3, emphasis added).

What is ahead for us when we die?

  • Our soul goes into the conscious presence of the Lord.
  • Our body is buried until the day of resurrection.
  • When Christ returns, we will be raised bodily from the grave.
  • Body and soul reunited, we will be with the Lord forever.

As Tony Evans says, “Have a good time at my funeral, because I’m not going to be there.”

… For the Lost

Now we turn to briefly consider the fate of those who die without Jesus Christ. The lost fear death and with good reason. Job 18:14calls death “the king of terrors.” Hebrews 2:14reminds us that the devil holds people in bondage through the fear of death. And 1 Corinthians 15:26 calls death “the last enemy.”

Before saying any more, we should note one similarity between the fate of the saved and the lost. At the moment of death, the body is buried in the grave while the soul enters a new realm. For the believer, the moment of death brings him into the personal presence of Christ. For the unbeliever, death begins an experience of unending conscious punishment.

We can summarize the fate of the lost in four short statements:

1. At the moment of death the soul of the lost is sent to hell where it is in conscious torment. In Luke 16:19-31 Jesus told of a rich man who upon his death went to hell and suffered in the flames of torment. It does not matter whether you think this passage is literal or figurative. If you say it is literal, then it must be a terrible punishment. If it is figurative, the figure itself is so awful to consider that the reality must be much worse.

2. That punishment is eternal. Though this is debated in some circles today, Christians have united across the centuries in their belief that the Bible teaches an eternal punishment for those who do not know our Lord. Mark 9:43-48speaks of the fire that is not quenched and the worm that does not die–a reference to the continuing existence of human personality in hell.

3. The body is raised at the Great White Throne judgment. Revelation 20:11-15 describes the awesome scene as the unsaved dead are raised to stand before God and receive their final sentence of doom.

4. The unsaved are then cast into the lake of fire where they will reside forever, eternally separated from the presence of Almighty God. If this is unbearable to think about, if we shrink from such a thought, then let us by all means do whatever is necessary to make sure that such a fate does not befall us or the ones we love the most.

This is the final destiny of those who do not know Jesus Christ. To make it more personal, it is the final destiny of your friends and neighbors, your loved ones, your parents, your brothers, your sisters, your children, if they die without Jesus Christ. And it is your destiny if you die without Jesus Christ. Let that thought linger in your mind. The reality of hell is more than just a theoretical doctrine. There is a place reserved for you in the lake of fire unless you by a conscious choice put your complete trust in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.

Dr. Barnhouse and the Shadow of Death

Only one question remains. How can you personally face your own death with confidence? Dr. Donald Grey Barnhouse–beloved Bible teacher of another generation–told the following story. While he was still a young man in the ministry, his first wife died. As he was returning from the funeral with his heartbroken children, their car came to a stoplight just as a massive truck pulled up next to them, blocking the light of the sun. Seeing the immense shadow that had overtaken them, Dr. Barnhouse asked his children if they would rather be run over by the truck or by the shadow of the truck. “By the shadow,” the children instantly replied, knowing that a shadow could not hurt them. “That’s what has happened to your mother,” he told them. “Death cannot hurt her because the Lord Jesus Christ took her to heaven. It is only the shadow of death that took her from us.”

If you know Jesus, you have nothing to fear when death knocks at your door. Death comes to all of us–it will come for you one of these days. Do you know Jesus? If so, then you need not live in fear. Death may be quick or slow, painful or painless, but when the moment comes, you will find yourself ushered into heaven where you will see Jesus face to face.

Some people wonder if they will have enough faith when they die. They worry about losing their faith and wonder if that will cause God to turn them away. When she was a young child in Holland Corrie ten Boom worried about her own death and whether or not she would have enough courage when the moment finally came. Her father–Papa ten Boom–knew of her fears and calmed her heart with these words: “Corrie, when I am going to take you on the train, when do I give you the ticket?” “Just before we get on board.” “That’s right. Dying is like taking a trip to see the Lord Jesus. He will give you whatever you need just when you need it. If you don’t have the courage now, it’s because you don’t need it now. When you need it, the Lord will give it to you, and you won’t be afraid.”

In another generation, believers talked about “dying grace.” They meant the special enablement God gives to his children as death draws near. Countless Christians who worried about their last moments on earth have exited this life full of faith because the Lord gave them grace just when they needed it most.

Jesus Has the Keys

Here are the words of Jesus in Revelation 1:18: “I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.” Keys are a sign of authority. If you have the keys to my house, you can open it and go in anytime you want. It is often said that the devil owns the gates of hell–that is, he has the power of death. But that’s okay. The devil has the gates, but Jesus has the keys. We have nothing to fear in the moment of death for when the time comes, Jesus will personally unlock the gate and usher us into his presence.

“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25). If you believe in Jesus, you will never die. What an amazing promise. But believers die every day. Yes, but for the believer, death is merely the passing from this life with all its sorrows into life eternal in the presence of our Lord. The question is not: What happens when we die? But rather: What will happen when you die?

Death is not the end of the road, it is only a bend in the road. For the believer, death is the doorway to heaven. For the unbeliever, it is a passageway into unimaginable suffering. These things are true even if we do not fully understand them. They are true even if we don’t believe them.

What happens when you die depends on what happens before you die. Here is my final word to you: Make sure you’re ready to die so that when the time comes, you won’t be surprised by what happens next.

A Truth to Remember:

What happens when you die depends on what happens before you die.

Take a moment to calculate the number of days you have lived so far. Now take a guess as to how many more days you expect to live. What is the most eternally profitable way you can spend your remaining days?

  • 1. Have you ever had a near-death experience, or do you know anyone who has? Why is it crucial that such experiences always be evaluated by the standard of God’s Word?
  • 2. Why does the Bible contain such strong warnings against trying to contact the spirits of the dead? What happens when those warnings are ignored?
  • 3. Picture the moment of your own death. How do you expect it will happen? Do you fear that moment? Describe what will happen to you the first five minutes after your death.
  • 4. Do you believe in the resurrection of the dead? Why is this doctrine essential to the Christian faith? Name at least five Christians now dead who will be raised when Christ returns.
  • 5. Read 1 Corinthians 15:35-58 and Revelation 20:11-15. What does the first passage teach about the resurrection of the saved? What does the second passage teach about the resur­rection of the lost?
  • 6. Do you believe in a place called hell where unbelievers are punished for eternity? Why or why not? Why is this doctrine sometimes denied today?

[Taken from FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions About The Christian Life by Keep Believing Ministries. Used by permission.]

Is Jesus God? If you answered with a quick, firm “yes,” read on. Recent polls show a whopping 96% of Americans believe in “God.” Obviously, considering the state of American Christianity, something doesn’t quite add up. Dare we assume that 96% of Americans believe in the Christian God? Do we all have the same “god” in mind when we confess faith?

Now think about the center of Christian apologetics: that Jesus Christ is God. Please don’t excommunicate me just yet, but if you were to ask me, “Is Jesus God?” I would respond with another question. “Which ‘god’ are we talking about?” Most evangelical Christians, when sharing the Gospel, assume that Jesus’ identity is in question, while God’s isn’t. In other words, we think everyone basically agrees with us about who God is, and so all we must do is simply proclaim Jesus’ divine link to Him.

Declaring the divinity of Jesus by stating matter-of-factly that He is God does not really resolve anything until we have painted the biblical picture of the true God. Yet in the past 200 years, fundamentalists and evangelicals have defended Christ’s divinity without stopping to consider how God’s identity is also under attack. Why? Liberal theologians have taught that Jesus was not divine and should not be worshipped as God in the flesh. Conservative Christians have rightly recoiled from such heresy, but while simply affirming Jesus’ deity might stifle the theologians, it provokes a “so what?” from the person on the street.

“Jesus is God” can’t be true until we get past all the other “gods” masquerading under the Christian “God” label. Muslims worship an impersonal, distant “god” (Allah, in Arabic), but is the Muslim-god the same as ours? Most Americans will line up to sing “God bless America.” Yet considering the Deist beliefs of several of our forefathers (and a growing segment of the population today), this Clockmaker-god does nothing more than put the clock together, wind it up, put it up on a shelf, and go about His business or back to His rocking chair. If the god that is in mind is one of these, saying “Jesus is God” is incorrect. Jesus definitely is not that god.

A Christian who knows his Bible and has a clear picture of God can be telling the truth when he says, “Jesus is God”, and at the same time, the person listening (perhaps with a Deist concept of god) may be hearing an outright lie. Jesus’ divinity is not the only issue at stake here; God’s very identity is under attack too.

Some readers might affirm that “Jesus is the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob” in order to eliminate many pluralistic gods. But where does that leave our Jewish friends, since they would easily affirm the same statement? You might say, “Jews and Christians share the same God! It’s just about Jesus that we don’t see eye to eye.” By saying this, Christians make a glaring misrepresentation of Yahweh – the Great I Am.

God is not God apart from Jesus. It is pointless to try to define the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob apart from Jesus Christ. That is the pluralistic problem plaguing so many Christian factions today. Since you can’t explain the Bible’s God without involving the Trinity, you can never fully explain how “Jesus is God” makes any sense at all.

Since Christians believe in a triune God – Yahweh in three Persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we actually undermine the divinity of Christ by claiming that our God is the same as that of our Jewish friends. As Christians, we believe Jesus is so important that you can’t define God’s identity apart from Him.

So what’s the answer? What can help us get through some of the theological red tape and bring us to the point where we can once again make a firm statement for the Gospel?

Here’s the statement that I recommend you chew on a little bit: GOD IS JESUS. When you see Jesus, you are seeing God, not just because Jesus is God, but also because God is Jesus. Jesus is the One who shows us who God is and what God is like.

Of course, “God is Jesus” is a statement that has its own interesting theological snags. We can start heading backwards by asking, “Which Jesus is God?” since people don’t agree on Jesus’ identity either! Still, I believe we can more easily define Jesus’ identity and how it relates to God’s Person than we can trying to go the other way around.

So, looking ahead for the 21st century, how can we move forward in our Gospel proclamation? Let’s teach people who Jesus is; show them how Scripture describes Him; tell about His atoning sacrifice on the cross; proclaim Him as Lord. Then, utilizing the biblical portrait of Jesus, tell people, “That’s who God is. That’s what God is like! That’s God in human flesh.” You want to know God’s identity? Meet Jesus. God is Jesus.

Written by Trevin Wax. © Kingdom People Blog. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


I’ve been browsing through Randy Newman’s book, Bringing the Gospel Home: Witnessing to Your Family Members, Your Close Friends, and Others You Know WellThis is an incredibly important topic as I have come to find it harder to share the gospel with family members as it is with an unknown person in my community. I imagine this is true for most if not all Christians.

In the conclusion of his introductory chapter, Newman provides four steps for sharing the gospel with your family. I thought they were very thoughtful and practical. Check them out.

1.  If you don’t already have one, develop a system for prayer for your family. Perhaps you can set aside a section in a prayer journal.

2.  Begin your prayers for your family with thanksgiving. This may be more difficult for some people than others. Regardless of your family’s well-being, thank God for the family you have and all the accompanying benefits you can identify.

3.  You may need to include prayers of confession as well–confession of your lack of love for your family, your idolatry of control in trying to change them, your reliance on your ability to convict them of their sin instead of trusting the Holy Spirit to do that, your coldheartedness, haughtiness, and self-righteousness, etc. Ask the Holy Spirit to shine his light of truth on your darkness of sin.

4.  If you haven’t already done so, “come out of the closet” as a Christian to your family. Pray for gentle words and a gracious demeanor mixed with bold confidence. . . . Aim for your announcement to be informational rather than evangelistic. You can trust God to open evangelistic doors later.

#3 nailed me.

One thing I might add, especially if you have a large family: look for opportunities in the course of the day when it is not so hectic where you might be able to enjoy a sustained conversation with a family member who is not a Christian. In a large group setting, conversations tend to stay on a superficial level, but if you can get alone with one or two family members for 10-15 minutes or longer, you will have a greater opportunity of magnetizing the conversation to the gospel and how Jesus has changed, and is changing your life.

Chris Russell recently published a blog post called “8 Keys to Knowing God’s Will For Your Life.” That post was directed toward helping believers to figure out the big picture in regard to God’s will. For instance, those keys have much to do with God’s plan for you vocationally, in ministry, and in the important stages of life.

This post, on the other hand, lends help for the “smaller” decisions that we make from day to day.  In order to continue in the middle of God’s perfect will, it is vital that we make right decisions each day and each week. But that is not always easy. As a tool to help you make right decisions from a biblical perspective, I have pulled together 13 questions you should ask when facing a choice. Here they are:

1)  Does God already have a clear teaching about this?

Joshua 1:8
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

If God has already spoken clearly about this, you do not have to wonder any longer. Just do what he has told you.

Simple, right?

Well, the problem here seems to be that most people in our culture today seem to have a fairly low level of knowledge of the Scriptures. They are “low-information believers.”

So, I would encourage you to saturate your mind as much as possible with God’s Word. Read it. Study it. Memorize it. Learn it. Once you have done so, you will be amazed at how much better you are at making good, solid decisions in life.

2)  What do my top spiritual advisors tell me about this?

Proverbs 11:14
Where there is no counsel, the people fall; but in the multitude of counselors there is safety.

It is vital that you surround yourself with godly friends who will be able to speak into your life about life’s decisions. Do you realize that you are basically a composite of the five people you spend the most time with? It is crucial to choose those people carefully. If you don’t have those types of friends, I would encourage you to increase your involvement in church and small groups and ministry in order to establish those godly relationships.

3)  What do authority figures in my life have to say about this?

Titus 3:1
Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work.

(Also see Romans 13:1-7Hebrews 13:17)

God often works through authority relationships in our lives. For instance, it would be extremely rare for the best choice to be something that is illegal. Look at this choice from the vantage point of authority figures in your life, and at least use that as an important reference point for you.

4)  How will this affect me spiritually?

1 Corinthians 10:23
All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify.

There is much more to this life than just earning a bigger paycheck or improving your status amongst peers. When you make choices, make sure you consider how this decision will affect your spiritual development. Will this draw you nearer to God or further from him?  Will this decision interfere with your ability to attend church, maintain godly relationships, or spend time cultivating your spiritual disciplines?  If it harms you spiritually, then I would suggest pulling the plug on that choice.

5)  How will this affect my family? Will this draw us closer to God or further from God?

1 Corinthians 8:9
But beware lest somehow this liberty of yours become a stumbling block to those who are weak.

Not only must you consider how this decision will affect your own spiritual development, but you must also consider the affects it will have on the spiritual state of your family. Will this help your family to grow in Christ, or will it interfere with that spiritual growth? Will this pull them away from godly friends and away from a healthy, godly church environment? Will this divide your family in any way? Be careful not to make decisions that will cause your family to pay a big price.

6)  Is this going to bring more peace or less peace to my life?

1 Thessalonians 4:11
That you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you.

Did you know that God actually wants you to have a peaceful life? Of course, this is not the “American way,” but it is definitely an important consideration when it comes to making decisions. Be cautious that you are not stacking your life with more and more “stuff” that will send you over the edge with stress and anxiety. And make sure it is not going to steal the peace from your family as well.

7)  Is this consistent with the way God has wired me?

1 Peter 4:10
As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

God has created you for a purpose, and He has designed you specifically to fulfill that purpose. You are a gifted individual, and His plan will be for you to function within that area of giftedness. When we veer outside of the way He has wired us, we often feel excessive stress, anxiety, and burnout very quickly.

When it comes to making decisions, make sure you evaluate the choice in light of the way that God has designed you. Are you creative? Are you detail-oriented? Are you relational? Are you task-oriented? Are you a communicator? Pay attention to how God has wired you.

8)  Am I paying attention to the risks that are associated with this?

Proverbs 27:12
A wise man foresees evil and hides himself; the simple pass on and are punished.

When making decisions, it is very important to honestly assess the risk that is involved. Sometimes we can become so mesmerized by a “golden carrot” that we overlook the risks that are associated. For this one, I would suggest that you have an outside voice speak into the situation.

In his book Entreleadership, Dave Ramsey says that anytime he has made a business decision that has gone against his wife’s advice, it has cost him at least $10,000. Sometimes others, like a spouse, can see the risks that we overlook.

It is a sign of wisdom to be cautious. Not fearful, but cautious.

9)  Do I have total peace from God about this?

Philippians 4:7
And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

Sometimes everything can look right on the outside when I’m making a decision, but there will still be angst within my spirit. I have learned that making a decision without that inner peace is nearly always a mistake. God gives us peace as a protection and a guide. Seek His peace, and be cautious of making decisions that move against that peace.

10)  Are the doors of circumstances clearly open here?

(See Acts 16)

God often works through obvious circumstances. For example, He did that for Paul in Acts 16. In that chapter, Paul and his entourage kept facing closed doors as they were seeking where they were to minister next. And then, one door to Asia flew open while all other doors were closing.

God often directs me more by closing doors than by opening them. But there have been times in my life when I have attempted to force open a door that was not truly open. That never ends well.

It’s always good to look at how God is opening or closing doors in front of you. And while an open door does not always mean that you are to pass through, it is often an indicator that God is at work. Pay attention to open doors, and be cautious of forcing doors open when they are closed.

11)  Is now the best time for this? Could waiting be better?

Ephesians 5:16-17
Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be unwise, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

Haste does not always produce the best decisions. Sometimes everything might seem right about a choice, but making the decision at a later time might make more sense. This isn’t always easy, because we often want to move forward quickly when we see an opportunity. But sometimes the wiser decision is to slow down, plan more, get more input, and give it more time to develop.

12)  Am I willing to let God close this door?

(Again, refer to Paul’s journey in Acts 16.)

An important element to making good decisions is to make sure that you are completely submitted to God’s ultimate plan for your life. Sometimes we get it into our heads that we want to do a certain thing, and then we struggle immensely when we begin to realize that God may not want us to move forward with that particular choice.

The disaster comes when we place our desire above God’s plan. Let me be clear here. That never turns out well. The best decision you can ever make is to submit your choices to God’s plan and be willing to give up an opportunity when you sense God does not want you to move forward with that decision.

13)  Am I willing to trust God if He asks me to step forward?

Hebrews 11:6
But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

Closely related to the above question is this: Are you willing to trust God if He asks you to step forward? This is basically the flipside of question 12. It’s important to stop when God says, “Stop,” and it is equally important to move forward when He says, “Move forward.”

Are you willing to do that thing He might want you to do? What if it makes you feel uncomfortable? What if it moves you out of your comfort zone? What if it requires faith?

I can testify to you that the most exciting moments of my life have been when I have submitted to God and stepped forward with Him in faith. I hope you can experience that same joy.

Wrapping It Up

OK, so when you have a tough choice to make, I would encourage you to go over these questions before confirming your decision. Perhaps print these questions out and keep them as a reference point for the future. Talk through each of these questions with your spouse or a friend in the context of a decision you are currently making in your own life. I know of some parents who have used these with their kids to help train their children to make good decisions as well. In essence, these questions can serve as guidelines for helping you and your family make decisions that you will not regret.

* All Scripture quotes are taken from the New King James Version of the Bible

What to Do When You Don’t Feel God

“Then the LORD said to Joshua, ‘See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men. March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days. Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams’ horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets. When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have the whole army give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the army will go up, everyone straight in.'” (Joshua 6:2-5)
 
Born in Egypt as a slave and then chosen as the assistant and successor to Moses, Joshua would’ve had a front row seat to all the miracles God performed during the Exodus. The Red Sea parting, manna falling from Heaven, water pouring from a rock — Joshua had seen his fair share of God doing the seemingly impossible. But just as time can prove God’s faithfulness, it can also put your faith to the test.
 
Joshua had witnessed Moses’ obedience over and over again, but as he faced the impenetrable walls of Jericho, this time the obedience was up to him. Joshua was instructed by God to lead his people around the city for seven days. This meant he had to lay his head down six nights in a row with the realization that the walls he had been walking around still stood tall and strong. 
 
There aren’t many details recorded of what went through Joshua’s mind during those seven days, but what is recorded is his steadfast obedience. Surely he fought doubt, but with each day that passed, Joshua continued to lead his people around a wall that showed no evidence of falling.  
 
Like Joshua, you have a choice to make when you don’t feel God. Will you keep walking even though it doesn’t seem to be working? Will you continue to believe God is moving even when the wall isn’t?
 
Your faith might be getting put to the test right now, but don’t focus on what hasn’t happened — focus on what hashappened. If you’ve seen God do it before, He can do it again. Obedience is your responsibility; the outcome is God’s. 

Galatians 3:26-27
For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.

Following World War II, there were more than two hundred French soldiers with amnesia who returned to Paris. They had been prisoners in Japanese camps and suffered through horrible ordeals of privation and torture. These men had been so psychologically devastated by their imprisonment that they lost the conscious awareness of who they were and where they had lived before the war.

Most of the soldiers’ identities were quickly established from Red Cross records or with the help of fellow prisoners, but after all known efforts were exhausted, there were still thirty-two men whose existence seemed impossible to trace. Not only were there no records of them, but none of the other soldiers knew anything about them. The doctors who were treating these thirty-two men believed that the chance for recovery would be impossible unless they were reconnected with family and friends.

Someone proposed publishing photographs of the men on the front page of newspapers throughout the country. A date, time, and place of meeting would also be given, hoping anyone having information about them would come. The plan was implemented and French newspapers soon published the pictures, adding that the Paris Opera House would open its doors for the potential identification and connection with loved ones.

On the assigned day, a huge crowd gathered inside the opera house to view the veterans. Every seat was taken and people spilled out onto the streets. Finally, in a dramatic entrance, the first of the amnesia victims walked onto the stage of the darkened room and slowly turned around under the glare of the spotlight, giving everyone a full view. Then, according to instruction, he and the other thirty-one soldiers who followed asked the same pleading question: “Does anybody out there know who I am . . . does anybody know who I am?”

Thankfully, many of the men were soon reunited with their families.

Isn’t this the same question that all of humanity is asking? Sadly, many people have a terrible case of self-imposed amnesia. But this is to be expected from a generation that has stepped back from God’s Word. Sadder yet is the church–professed Christians seem to have forgotten that they belong to Christ.

So who are we? We are called sons of God(Galatians 3); new creations (2 Corinthians 5); children of God and heirs of God (Romans 8). The New Testament is brimming with descriptions of the Christian’s identity in Christ.

Understanding who we are in Christ will cause us to recognize why we are different from the world. The truth is, if we don’t understand what makes us different from the world, we will never be able to make a difference in the world.

We, of all people, need never ask, “Does anybody know who I am?” We are new creatures . . . children of God.

Prayer Point: Thank God for the incredible, life-changing work He has accomplished in your life: through His death on the cross, paying for your sin; through His resurrection, securing for you eternal life; through His mercy, flowing for you every day. Don’t live in a state of spiritual amnesia any longer; instead, meditate on God’s promises on your behalf, and thank Him for who He is molding you to be.

Extra Refreshment: Read 2 Corinthians 5.

“Funbi is the The male vocalist best pioneering the new school rhythm in Nigeria – a soul singer and storyteller whose essence captures the past, highlights the present, and sets the standard for the next generation of Afrobeat sounds.

Funbi is poised to make his solo debut with the first official single from his upcoming project, a reflective track titled “Hallelujah”. The tune, written by Sir Dauda and Funbi, comes at a time he considers ripe.

“‘Hallelujah’ is like opening the gate,” Funbi said.

“We all fight different battles as we journey through life. The key is to find a way to use them as an opportunity for growth. My battles inspired this song….I hope it inspires you”

The upcoming project will delve deeper into the Funbi ether. From funk to soul, folk and alternative, with this debut the singer looks forward to enticing more listeners to his brand of cool.”

Download Audio here

LYRICS

I was lost inside the desert, vultures circling round my head, but thanks to God now, I made it out of there

I was just another sheep inside the belly of the beast but thanks to God now, I made it out of there

Goodu goodu. meje le se
yaya mefa mokaleluya
goodu goodu meje le se
yaya mefa mokaleluya
goodu goodu meje le se

yaya mefa mokaleluya
goodu goodu meje le se
yaya mefa mokaleluya
mokaleluya

Hmmm… This ain’t lucky, no
Can’t you see the hand of heaven is upon yeah yeah
This ain’t lottery, no
this is forty days and forty nights
seek and you shall find

I say more muscle to your hustle
more bustle to your bubble
more blessings to to the talika
may God give you alubarika
more muscle to your hustle
more bustle to your bubble
more blessings to the talika
may God give you alubarika

I was lost inside the desert, vultures circling round my head, but thanks to God now, I made it out of there
I was just another sheep inside the belly of the beast but thanks to God now, I made it out of there

Goodu goodu meje le se
yaya mefa mokaleluya
Goodu goodu meje le se
yaya mefa mokaleluya
Goodu goodu meje le se
yaya mefa mokaleluya
Goodu goodu meje le se
yaya mefa mokaleluya
mokaleluya (halleluyah)
mokaleluya (halleluyah)
mokaleluya (halleluyah)
mokaleluya (halleluyah)

Eh eh eh
eh eh eh eh eh
eh eh eh eh eh
eh eh eh eh eh
eh eh eh eh eh

I see clearly now
sun’s outside and my night has turned to day
I see clearly now
used to be lost then God showed me the way
I see clearly now
all I see is blessings every time I look back
I see clearly now (I see clearly now)
Mokaleluya meje Baba mo juba o

I was lost inside the desert, vultures circling round my head, but thanks to God now, I made it out of there
I was just another sheep inside the belly of the beast but thanks to God now, I made it out of there

Goodu goodu meje le se
yaya mefa mokaleluya
Goodu goodu meje le se
yaya mefa mokaleluya
Goodu goodu meje le se
yaya mefa mokaleluya
Goodu goodu meje le se
yaya mefa mokaleluya

Goodu goodu meje le se
yaya mefa mokaleluya
Goodu goodu meje le se
yaya mefa mokaleluya
Goodu goodu meje le se
yaya mefa mokaleluya
Goodu goodu meje le se
yaya mefa mokaleluya
mokaleluya (halleluyah)
mokaleluya (halleluyah my head, but thanks to God now, I made it out of there

I was just another sheep inside the belly of the beast but thanks to God now, I made it out of there

Goodu goodu. meje le se
yaya mefa mokaleluya
goodu goodu meje le se
yaya mefa mokaleluya
goodu goodu meje le se

yaya mefa mokaleluya

goodu goodu meje le se
yaya mefa mokaleluya
mokaleluya

Hmmm… This ain’t lucky, no
Can’t you see the hand of heaven is upon yeah yeah
This ain’t lottery, no
this is forty days and forty nights
seek and you shall find


https://d-2309645494948303579.ampproject.net/1508896929494/frame.html

I say more muscle to your hustle
more bustle to your bubble
more blessings to to the talika
may God give you alubarika
more muscle to your hustle
more bustle to your bubble
more blessings to the talika
may God give you alubarika

I was lost inside the desert, vultures circling round my head, but thanks to God now, I made it out of there
I was just another sheep inside the belly of the beast but thanks to God now, I made it out of there

Goodu goodu meje le se
yaya mefa mokaleluya
Goodu goodu meje le se
yaya mefa mokaleluya
Goodu goodu meje le se
yaya mefa mokaleluya
Goodu goodu meje le se
yaya mefa mokaleluya
mokaleluya (halleluyah)
mokaleluya (halleluyah)
mokaleluya (halleluyah)
mokaleluya (halleluyah)

Eh eh eh
eh eh eh eh eh
eh eh eh eh eh
eh eh eh eh eh
eh eh eh eh eh

I see clearly now
sun’s outside and my night has turned to day
I see clearly now
used to be lost then God showed me the way
I see clearly now
all I see is blessings every time I look back
I see clearly now (I see clearly now)
Mokaleluya meje Baba mo juba o

I was lost inside the desert, vultures circling round my head, but thanks to God now, I made it out of there
I was just another sheep inside the belly of the beast but thanks to God now, I made it out of there

Goodu goodu meje le se
yaya mefa mokaleluya
Goodu goodu meje le se
yaya mefa mokaleluya
Goodu goodu meje le se
yaya mefa mokaleluya
Goodu goodu meje le se
yaya mefa mokaleluya

Goodu goodu meje le se
yaya mefa mokaleluya
Goodu goodu meje le se
yaya mefa mokaleluya
Goodu goodu meje le se
yaya mefa mokaleluya
Goodu goodu meje le se
yaya mefa mokaleluya
mokaleluya (halleluyah)
mokaleluya (halleluyah)

Association of Biblical Counselors

by Biblical Soul Care Harvest Bible Chapel

It doesn’t take long to figure out that we live in an angry world. Read the headlines on any given day and you see anger on display in politics, movies, TV shows, and sports. Spend any amount of time in any family and you’ll see anger expressed almost daily. When a day goes by without conflict, it’s a miracle of God. 

Sadly, the church hasn’t exactly been the poster child for pursuing peace and reconciling conflict in a God-glorifying way over the course of church history. Even though Jesus “broke down the dividing wall of hostility… so that we could have peace” (Ephesians 2:14–16), we still quarrel and fight 

It’s inevitable—wherever there are relationships, sinful anger will be expressed. By nature, we’re all selfish. I’m no exception. Cut me off in traffic, I might have some words for you (with my window up, of course). Do something I perceive as disrespectful, watch out! I may get a little passive aggressive and withdraw from interacting with you because I have a heart of fear. If you “reject me,” I get insecure, defensive, and may punish you by holding back.  

See, that’s how deceptive sin can be. It affects our ability to think reasonably and rationally. While I am not immune, I am also certain I’m not alone in my struggle (1 Corinthians 10:13). BUT GOD, in his grace, mercy, kindness, patience, and love has made us alive through the death, burial, and resurrection of his Son, Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:4–9). It’s only because of Him that I’m pursuing humility and meekness as a way of life. Know this though, humility and meekness are not weakness! They are strength under control, like a well trained war horse (Matthew 5:5). 

As God’s children, we can all make this journey of change together. Here are some things I have learned over the years in my fight against sinful anger. Understanding and applying these truths to your own life will help you overcome sinful anger and see sustained fruit.

1. Anger Has Three Faces: It is expressed primarily in three different ways: 1) explosive and blowing up; 2) stewing, brewing, or silent indignation; and 3) irritability, exasperation or embitterment. Silent anger is just as offensive to God as explosive anger. How are you prone to express your anger? 

2. Anger Hurts Relationships: You choose who is on the receiving end of your anger because anger is a perceived threat to something you hold valuable. The problem is we can go a whole day at work being “nice” to our co-workers only to lose it at home with those closest to us! We tend to take it out on those we are called to love the most. Who has been on the receiving end of your anger the most?  

3. Anger is in the Bible: The Bible has a lot to say about anger. From the beginning in the garden all the way to the end; man’s anger is expressed by rejecting God and pursuing his own way (Romans 3:10–18). Yet man’s anger does not accomplish God’s righteous purposes (James 1:19–20). While God too can be angry, it is never sinful (Psalm 7:11John 3:36Romans 1:18). Actually, compared to the offenses He must suffer, He is very “slow to anger” (Exodus 34:6Psalm 103:8). Does your anger accomplish God’s purposes? 

4. Anger Put Jesus on the Cross: Did you know that the anger of man and God’s wrath for all our sins culminated onto Jesus when he went to the cross to pay the penalty for sin (Acts 2:22–24)? He satisfied God’s wrath and allowed man to express their anger towards him at the same time—man rejecting God and God loving man in the very same event in history. How often do you reject God in your anger by not doing what He calls you to do? 

5. Anger Is Covered by Christ’s Blood: The blood of Christ is sufficient to cover your sinful anger. No matter what wrath has protruded from your mouth or what you’ve done physically to harm others or yourself, you can be forgiven and walk in newness of life. Anger is a sin, but the death of Christ is payment enough to cover it. If you have died with Christ, you can become a different person (Romans 6:5–11). Do you believe and live as if your anger is covered by the blood of Christ or do you act like His blood isn’t sufficient? Why or why not? 

6. Anger is a Life-dominating Sin: Just like any other “addiction,” we become enslaved to anger. It temporarily satisfies our sinful desire and flesh, yet we feel guilty and ashamed when we give full vent to it. It’s a vicious cycle of self-destruction. Are you stuck in a vicious cycle of anger? If so, you can be set free (1 Corinthians 6:9–11).  

7. Anger is an Expression of False Worship: Like all other “addictions,” anger has false worship at its core. When you express your anger sinfully, ask yourself, “What am I not getting that I really want or that I’m willing to sin to get?” Your answer will reveal what you’re living for in that moment. Something else has captured your heart more than God, and you’re seeking a false refuge; that is idolatry. What’s captured your heart more than God?

8. Anger is Often Just a Fruit: It usually has fear at the root and more specifically, it is the fear of man. While anger may be all we can see at times, at the heart of it is a fearful, insecure, unsafe, untrusting heart looking for something from man that only God can satisfy. Learn to love God more with reverent awe and fear because then you’ll learn to need people less. Remember that perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18) and that you are perfectly loved by your heavenly Father. What are you really afraid of deep down in the innermost being of your heart?

9. Anger Can Be Righteous: Ephesians 4:26says, “Be angry and do not sin.” You express righteous anger by becoming angry about what angers God. Jesus died not only to free you from sinful anger but to enable you to be angry with God not at God. Is your anger expressed righteously or sinfully? How can you tell? Would others say the same?  

10. Anger Must Be Surrendered: The only way out is to surrender your anger to God. Do not control or manage it in your flesh. Let the Spirit move you to action or bring you to brokenness. God is the judge, not you or me (James 4:11–12). Are you ready to step down from the throne of your mini judgment seat and allow God to be God? Remember, “vengeance is mine,” says the Lord (Romans 12:18–21).   

Are you ready to humble yourself in your broken state and surrender your sinful anger to God? Know that He will give you grace in your time of need (Isaiah 66:2b2 Chronicles 16:9James 4:6). So, if you are ready, repent, ask God and those you have offended to forgive you, and walk in victory over the sinful anger that’s held you captive for so long.

Stephen Altrogge

We all know that we’re supposed to pray. We all have our own prayer “tactics,” such as prayer lists, prayer apps, prayer walks, prayer meetings, praying out loud, writing down our prayers, writing down the prayers we say out loud, and saying out loud prayers which have been written down.

In spite of all these tactics, I believe prayer is THE MOST underrated spiritual discipline. The simple fact is, I take prayer for granted. Because Christ has opened the way into the Holy Places, I can pray freely at any time of day. I can pray in the car, as I’m working, and while I’m watching my kids. Being able to pray so freely is an incredible, wonderful blessing. I think, however, that the freeness with which I can pray causes me to take prayer for granted.

Think for a moment of all that takes place when I pray.

GOD HEARS

But know that the Lord has set apart the godly for himself; the Lord hears when I call to him. (Psalm 4:3)

O Lord, in the morning you hear my voice; in the morning I prepare a sacrifice for you and watch. (Psalm 5:3)

Holy smokes! When I pray, the Lord himself, Yahweh, the King of Kings, the commander of the armies of Heaven, hears me! The God who crushed the Egyptian army and humiliated the prophets of Baal, hears when I call to him. I’m not speaking empty words into a void. I’m not simply talking to myself. This is not the power of positive speaking. When I call, God hears.

GOD STRENGTHENS

O Lord, you hear the desire of the afflicted; you will strengthen their heart; you will incline your ear to do justice to the fatherless and the oppressed, so that man who is of the earth may strike terror no more. (Psalm 10:17–18)

Not only does God hear me when I pray, but he also strengthens me. In the midst of affliction, when I barely have the strength to call out to God, he hears me and strengthens me. He imparts real spiritual, emotional, and even physical strength to me. Prayer connects me to the infinite strength of God.

GOD BLESSES

If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! (Matthew 7:11)

God is eager to bless me. Just as I am eager to give good gifts to my kids, God is eager to give good gifts to me. When I pray, God unleashes blessings into my life. I realize that sounds terribly Joel Osteen-ish, but it’s not. It’s God’s word. God will give me good things when I pray to him. He will bless me and pour out his incredible riches into my life.

GOD ACTS

The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed fervently that it might not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the earth. Then he prayed again, and heaven gave rain, and the earth bore its fruit. (>James 5:16–18)

This passage is meant to encourage us that God does real, incredible things in response to my prayers. When Elijah prayed, God actually altered weather patterns! When I pray, God does real, amazing, incredible things. He changes circumstances. He softens hearts. He intervenes with financial provision. He brings reconciliation. Prayer brings the Almighty God into the mundane details of my life.

Given all the astonishing things that happen when I pray, why do I treat prayer so lightly? That’s the big question we all need to answer.


Stephen Altrogge serves as a pastor at Sovereign Grace Church. Find out more at The Blazing Center.