Posts Tagged ‘Dairy of a Freeman’

We learn from the opening verses of Romans that this letter is all about the gospel of God, which centers in his Son. It is the good news of God’s saving grace in Jesus for sinners like me and you. And that good news is all about God’s peace. Paul closes his introduction with this promise and blessing: “To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 1:7).

These words come to us as more than mere formalities. They declare life-giving hope to seize and believe. The apostle announces God’s stance—his posture of grace and peace toward us in Christ. Just as the words “loved” and “saints” point back to the designation of God’s people in the Hebrew Scriptures, so this promise of peace calls to mind the great Hebrew word shalom and the Old Testament vision of peace, fulfilled in Romans in the person and work of Jesus. It is no wonder that the formal worship liturgy in some Reformed churches frequently begins with an opening salutation, a word of greeting from God through the minister, often taken from texts like Romans 1:7.

Probably the most famous shalom prayer-promise comes from Numbers 6:24-26, the benediction assigned for Aaron and his sons to proclaim to God’s people.

The Lord bless you
and keep you;
the Lord make his face shine upon you
and be gracious to you;
the Lord turn his face toward you
and give you peace.

This peace is more than the absence of war and strife. It is the positive presence of harmony, salvation, joy, blessing, and reconciliation—“the state of perfect well-being created by God’s eschatological intervention and enjoyed by the righteous.” [Douglas J. Moo, The Epistle to the Romans, The New International Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1996), 139.] In the context of Romans, it is the reconciliation of believing Jews and believing Gentiles both with God and with each other—both vertical and horizontal. We taste it now whenever we enjoy the fruits of repentance, confession, and forgiveness with each other. One day we will experience it fully.

Who will experience this final peace? Only those who belong to God. The apostle both promises and warns, “There will be trouble and distress for every human being who does evil: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile; but glory, honor, and peace for everyone who does good: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile. For God does not show favoritism” (Romans 1:9-11). Whether Jew or Gentile, the one who knows and follows the Redeemer God will treasure God’s saving gift of shalom. On the other hand, the unbeliever who rejects God’s “way of peace” (Romans 3:17) will only reap God’s judgment.

How does someone gain God’s peace? Romans 5:1-2 replies, “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.” In this compact summary of gospel blessing, Paul tells us (1) that we now have peace with God; (2) that this peace is built on our justification through faith, God’s grace-work of declaring us righteous in Christ; and (3) that this peace produces deep joy. As hymn writer Francis J. Van Alstyne (1820–1915) exclaimed,

The vilest offender who truly believes,
that moment from Jesus a pardon receives.

Similar themes emerge in Ephesians 2:11-18, where Christ and his cross form the centerpiece of our peace.

What does this gospel assurance have to do with pursuing peace in our relationships? Everything. It fills us with joy, power, and confidence as we gratefully obey God in our relationships. It provides a model of grace to convey to others. And it reassures us that, even if the other people don’t respond in kind, our relationship with the most important and ultimate Person in the universe remains secure. Thanks be to God for Jesus our Lord!

The saving work of God in the Christian, however, does not merely consist of a right standing with God. In salvation God has done something not only for us, but also in us. Our Christian growth—sanctification in its past, present, and future aspects—began with a decisive act by God of severing the spinal cord of sin and making us new people who are now inclined to love and obey him. The apostle Paul describes this internal transformation: “The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God” (Romans 8:6-8). The sinful mind is hostile to God, but the saved mind—the mind captured and controlled by the Holy Spirit—reflects the very life and peace of God’s Spirit, albeit imperfectly.

Isaiah pictures a similar reality with a vivid metaphor in Isaiah 57:18-21 concerning God’s own promise to restore his people.

“I have seen his ways, but I will heal him;
I will guide him and restore comfort to him,
creating praise on the lips of the mourners in Israel.
Peace, peace, to those far and near,”
says the Lord.3 “And I will heal them.”
But the wicked are like the tossing sea,
which cannot rest,
whose waves cast up mire and mud.
“There is no peace,” says my God, “for the wicked.”

In other words—to join Isaiah and Paul—death marks the unbeliever; life and peace mark the believer.

Relational Peace with Others

The twin gifts of God’s reconciling peace through Christ’s cross and God’s inner peace through his Spirit lead to the third peace blessing, namely, relational peace with others. In one of the Bible’s most realistic texts concerning human relationships, Romans 12:18exhorts us, “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”

We find a fourfold call in this passage and its context. First, we must pursue peace as our Christian duty. The apostle commands us to live at peace. To fail to seek peace with people is to disobey God. We have no option.

Second, we must pursue peace with everyone. The peacemaking charge in this text is comprehensive; we must address all of our relationships. Our Lord does not permit us to ignore even one relationship or dismiss any individual. As the apostle declares in Acts 24:16, “So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man.” While this “with everyone” standard is admittedly high, God’s power makes his commands less daunting.

Third, as we actively pursue peace, the apostle urges us to leave the results to God. “If it is possible,” Paul reminds us, we should live at peace. He acknowledges that a peaceful result may not be possible; we have no guarantee that the other person will follow God’s peacemaking plan. As the old saying goes, “It takes two to tango.”

Fourth, keeping in mind the larger context, we must pursue peace in light of God’s mercy toward us in Christ. The entire twelfth chapter of Romans flows from God’s saving grace expounded in detail in Romans 1–11. “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship” (Romans 12:1). In other words, we must apply Romans 12:18 against the backdrop of Romans 12:1-2 and the preceding eleven chapters. Peacemaking is but one way we offer ourselves to God in sacrificial worship, and that obedience, like every other command in Romans 12, arises from the gospel of God’s mercy in Christ.


Taken from Pursuing Peace: A Christian Guide to Handling Our Conflicts by Robert D. Jones. Used by permission of Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, Il 60187, www.crossway.org.

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

True Worshippers Crew (TWC) is a non-demoninational ministry founded by Christian Emmanuel Onogwu in the year 2014. 

TWC has had an impact on thousands of lives locally through music, evangelism and live-changing events, and has had a membership of over one hundred young people altogether.

For the first time TWC is releasing her first single titled OGBAMUGBAMU. This song is a product of divine inspiration and as such, bound to touch your soul as you listen. God deserves all praise, hold back none! 

Download, listen, get blessed and share.
Click here to download

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.

FORGIVENESS: YET I SULK

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CC: @318_Media


Last year I was hurt by a close friend, and my reaction was to cause hurt in return. Actually, it may have been the other way around. The entire incident was so passive and internal that it’s hard to say how it all started.
Either way, it resulted in sulks, resentment, licking of wounds, and finally, grudging apologies. We’ve been on relationship probation ever since. When we see each other out in public, we smile and try too hard—neither one admitting our resentment. Feeling like I was owed something, I never made an attempt to mend our relationship. Why should I give in first? After all, it would be foolish to make myself vulnerable to that person.
But the last time I checked, Jesus doesn’t bless the ones who hold out the longest for an apology. In my reading of Matthew, I found quite the opposite: He blesses the peacemakers. And in the Sermon on the Mount, He shows us exactly what peacemaking entails:
“If you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift” (Matt 5:23–24).
Jesus doesn’t say “go and ask for an apology,” “go and make excuses for your behavior,” or even “go and tell your side of the story.” He says go and be reconciled.
Jesus goes on to explain what a response to being wronged looks like:
“But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you” (Matt 5:38–42).
He uses examples of some very public wrongs—a slap across the cheek and a lawsuit.
It’s often harder to back down if it means losing face. I don’t swallow my pride easily, and I know exactly what I would do if I were literally slapped across the face: I’d turn the other cheek with such an exaggerated, provoking attitude that I would deserve that follow-up slap.
Jesus is describing a much more humble attitude—one that perhaps includes a tacit recognition of the other person’s hurt or anger.
His words within the Lord’s Prayer are a reminder of why we should forgive: “And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors” (Matt 6:12).
Forgiveness isn’t grudging or passive—it’s actively showing acceptance. And it’s not contingent on whether I feel the other person is deserving of that forgiveness. It’s in response to the unbelievable and undeserved forgiveness that Christ offers me.

Jessi Gering

___________________________________________

Biblical references are taken from the English Standard Version (ESV).

how-to-be-a-godly-manOne of the questions that men often ask is “How Do I Become a Godly Man?” A few years ago pastor, Todd Wagner, gave a message entitled, “Act Like Men: Defining and Discussing God’s Calling for Men” where he outlined some key characteristics of a Godly man with Scriptures to go along with each. In addition, he posted a handout on his personal blog that can be downloaded, printed, and shared. Here is a smooth guide to becoming a Godly Man with Help from Pastor Todd

We hope you these characteristics, and accompanying verses, help spur you on to be the kind of man God created you to be!

1. STEP UP: Lead. Initiate. Be a man of action. Assume it is your job and your moment. Hate apathy. Reject passivity.

When David heard of it, he sent Joab and all the army, the mighty men…”Be strong, and let us show ourselves courageous for the sake of our people and for the cities of our God; and may the LORD do what is good in His sight.” –2 Samuel 10:7,12

“I searched for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand in the gap before Me for the land, so that I would not destroy it; but I found no one.” – Ezekiel 22:30

Other Scripture:

Psalm 101, Proverbs 14:23, Proverbs 20:6, Jeremiah 5:1, Ezekiel 22:23-31, John 10:11-13, James 1:23-25

2. SPEAK OUT: Silence in the midst of sin is a sin. Be courageous. Fear God not man. Speak the truth in love.

Better is open rebuke than love that is concealed. Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But deceitful are the kisses of an enemy. – Proverbs 27:5-6

Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all the unfortunate. Open your mouth, judge righteously, and defend the rights of the afflicted and needy. – Proverbs 31:8-9

But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence. – 1 Peter 3:15

Other Scripture:

Proverbs 14:25, Proverbs 15:1-2, Proverbs 24:11-12, Isaiah 8:11-13, Jeremiah 1:17, Romans 1:16

3. STAND STRONG: Don’t give in when you are challenged, attacked or criticized.

“Now behold, I have made you today as a fortified city and as a pillar of iron and as walls of bronze against the whole land, to the kings of Judah, to its princes, to its priests and to the people of the land. They will fight against you, but they will not overcome you, for I am with you to deliver you,” declares the LORD. – Jeremiah 1:18-19

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord. – I Corinthians 15:58

Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. But resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world. – 1 Peter 5:8-9

Other Scripture:

2 Chron. 16:9, Prov. 24:10, Isaiah 41:10, Jeremiah 12:5, 1 Corinthians 10:13, Galatians 1:10, Philippians 1:27-28

4. STAY HUMBLE: Be vigilant against pride. Get the log out of your eye. Don’t think less of yourself, think of yourself less.

Let the righteous smite me in kindness and reprove me; It is oil upon the head; Do not let my head refuse it, for still my prayer is against their wicked deeds. – Psalm 141:5

You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE. Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you. – 1 Peter 5:5-7

Other Scripture:

Proverbs 3:5-6, Proverbs 12:1, Isaiah 66:2, Micah 6:8, John 15:5, Philippians 2:3-5

5. SERVE THE KING: Seek first His Kingdom, His glory, His righteousness. Hope in the eternal. Live for a greater reward.

“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” – Matthew 6:33

For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” – Mark 10:45

Other Scripture:

Joshua 24:14-15, Psalm 16:11, Psalm 84:10-12,2 Corinthians 5:10, Hebrews 6:10, 1 Peter 2:21-23

How are you doing on these characteristics? Leave a comment below and let us know how we can pray for you!

Over time I have come across people who want to know if their relationship is worth taking to the next level. I usually shy away from answering them or even try to evade the question for 3 major reasons. Firstly because I don’t want to be dubbed a Relationship Breaker, Secondly, because, I fear that the answers won’t be welcomed and thirdly, because, my Relationships has not yielded some sensible fruits in the last eighteen months. But if there is anything I realized with the number of huddles I have encountered in life, is that, my experiences are a lesson to many. So basically, I will be using this piece to answer all the doubts you have about your Boyfriend, Fiancé or Spouse (whichever one suits you).
I know the Men won’t be pleased with this but, of what good will it be if the truth about our specie isn’t put out there?
Now here we go,
1. Any guy who cannot delay gratification but wants everything from you even before marriage needs to be watched. He wants early sex, undivided attention and adoration, he is all over you all the time and is extremely jealous, he disrespects your values in life and you opinion does not really count; he wants you to disconnect from your friends and family members and focus only on him. Such guy is a wrong guy!
2. Any guy who finds it difficult to be open up or be transparent to you and avoid talking about his past relationships, failures, financial challenges, emotional problems and is very good at concealing negative things about himself to make a good impression, must be re-assessed before you commit. Relationships cannot grow without transparency.
3. Any man who cannot take responsibility for his life but blames everyone for his challenges except himself is not worth your hand in marriage! He may
also not take responsibility for his marriage!
4. A man, who is a fault-finder and a perfectionist, is difficult to please. In his world, there is no room for mistakes of any magnitude and if you make a mistake, be ready for harsh criticism. On the other hand, if he is good at messing up everything around him, unfortunately he could mess up your life too!
5. Never consider getting married to a lazy man who does not have a realistic vision for his life! A man who is going nowhere will lead his wife nowhere! A man’s responsibility is to provide leadership and direction to his family! On the other hand, when a woman with vision marries a man without vision, she naturally becomes the leader of the home which will eventually lead to conflict or disorder! Believe me; it does not work out well in
marriage!
6. Never marry a man who does not have a relationship with God unless you too do not have one. A man who loves and respect the Lord will love and respect you in obedience to the Lord!
7. Be mindful of a man who is hot tempered, if he flares up because of things that are not significant or at a slightest provocation, it might be dangerous getting married to him unless he changes. Any man with this trait could be aggressive, physically abusive and unpredictable in marriage. A man who cannot control his temper is a time- bomb waiting to happen!
8. A guy, who lives beyond his means; borrows money and does not pay back, is a potential wrong guy. It is different when the debt he owes is a one-off thing and he is making serious effort to pay back but when it is a habit, watch it. There are some men out there who take loan from people or banks for business or investment but end up using it to buy flashy cars, and live in exotic apartments, wear expensive clothes and jewelries, etc. Before you commit to him, research his credit rating or else your wedding party will be glamorous but you would inherit so much debt when you are finally married to him.
9. Never get married to a man who does not respect constituted authority but delights in breaking the law. His actions might land you and your kids in prison one day. A guy who does not have respect for your parents or your relatives may hardly respect you
10. Be weary of a guy who sees you as an alternative to his dream wife! Marry a man who sees you as his number one and not a consolation
for missing another lady out there. – You are fearfully and wonderfully made! – You are loaded with great potential and decked with splendor! – You are the radiance of God’s glory, the apple of His eye! Therefore, let no man take you for granted! Any man that will ask your hand in marriage must meet God’s standards of a REAL MAN
Ok Guys now you can go ahead and kill me.

ImageHere are 32 CHARACTERISTICS OF A REAL WOMAN AND MAN

 

1. A real WOMAN and man fears God because A woman who doesn’t fear God will not have regard for human feeling and will not know how to love.

 

2. A woman and man who loves you celebrate you in the public and she is not ashamed to tell the world how much she loves you!

 

3. He/She always calls you to find out how your day is going(it must not necessary be phone call)

 

4. He/She Will feel terrible when they forgets your birthday or anniversary and will always make it up to you.

 

5. Surprises you with gifts, even when the occasion is not special. He/She ‘s not stingy.

 

6. He/She Tells you regularly how they loves you and how u mean to they .

 

7. He/she understands you even if nobody does and always makes you feel you are the best

 

8. He never Threatens to leave you or divorce you no matter what happens. A Real Man Is A Forgiver !

 

9.He/She Feels your pain when you go through hard times

 

10. He/She loves to see you happy and rejoices with you.

 

11. He/She Always makes quality time to spend with you

12. He/She will never physically or emotionally abuse you because Love is Kind

 

13. He Will marry u without waiting too long♥

 

14. She forgives and forgets when you apologize for hurting her feelings.

 

15. He Will not use your weaknesses or secrets against u

 

16. He Will not air your dirty laundry.

 

17. She Is patient & willing to work on your relationship problems.

 

18. She Knows that it is important for u to spend sometime with your friends and family members.

 

19. He/she Will not cheat on u. He/she has no alternative so, he/she focuses on you alone! Love doesn’t double date!

 

20. He Will not flirt with your girlfriends! A man who loves you is faithful to you no matter the pressure from other ladies

 

21. He Will not go out of his way to make you jealous.

 

22. He Will always respect you in the presence of his friends and family members.

 

23. He helps you with chores around the house.

 

24. He/she Enjoys the company of your family and friends.

 

25. He Supports your dreams and ambitions.

 

26. She Never puts you down when talking to you.

 

27. He/she Cares a great deal about your thoughts, feelings and opinions.

 

28. He Is always available to help when you need him.29. He Knows that his way is not the only way.

 

30. He/she is not proud to say “I’m Sorry’ if that is what will save the relationship cos he/she loves you! Love is not proud!

 

31. A real man wait for sex until your wedding night and never deprive you of his body after wedding!

 

32. A real man and woman who really loves you brings you closer to God!

And God is able to make all grace (every favour and [a]earthly blessing) come to you in abundance, so that you may always and under all circumstances and whatever the need [b]be self-sufficient [possessing enough to require no aid or support and furnished in abundance for every good work and charitable donation]. 2 Corinthians 9:8 (AMP)

Religious organisations in Nigeria have come under fire, some of it deserving while some of those are just a form of misplaced aggression. Many have designed the craft of abusing religious bodies, saying they are the bane of the society. While that is increasingly a popular path to take, it will never be the right path. The purpose of engagement is productivity and if we cannot say or do the things that’d make these organisations get better, we’d indeed be wasting everyone’s time by just blowing hot air without adding value. This piece is about how religious organisations can raise the ante and help bring about the much-needed change our country craves. I’ll be speaking mostly about what the church can do hoping that a reading Moslem or other believers can find a place for their beliefs in my ideas. This is for those genuine religious organizations that are interested in doing things better and improving on the good they already do. It is unfortunate that bad eggs in the midst make all the eggs look bad but the reason we have adulterated forms of anything is because the authentic forms thrive.

Contrary to some opinions, the Nigerian church has indeed done a lot! Many have had their lives transformed by choosing to apply some of the principles they picked up in church. People say they teach about prosperity but I’d rather that than poverty. People say churches collect people’s money but can we sit down and think; if the members had no money to give, would these churches be sustainable? That people give and give every week says something about the church and its style; it works! The church creates millionaires and billionaires who in turn give back to it. Like everything else, there’d be those that make money illegally who’d give to the church. I don’t think the church would start dividing its members into those who make legal money and those who make illegal ones. In my opinion, everything rests on what the church does with what it gets. That is the essence of this piece.

More often than not, those who knock the church are not those who make contributions to it. I am a Christian http://omojuwa.com/2010/09/god-does-not-exist-the-complete-edition/ and I believe I have earned the right to say some of the things I’d be saying because I am a Giving Christian. I do not give because I want God to bless me, God does not bless me because I give. I give because that’s who I am. God blesses me because that’s who He is.

The Nigerian church is doing a lot but the church is not doing anything near enough. Compared to its potentials, the church could start a revolution in this nation. By revolution I do not mean that of bullets and blood, that’d never work and Nigerians will never agree on those to kill anyway – federal character will end the debates about who to kill first (1966?). I expect the church to start a revolution of wealth creation and the development of education.

It is not always about the big system and its macro solutions, there is a lot the microcosms of the system can do in making the society a better place. In Germany, 25 per cent of the nation’s energy supplies come from renewable sources, while 51 per cent of the said renewable sources come from private homes. These are citizens essentially powering the nation from their homes. These numbers are expected to rise decade upon decade till the nation gets to source 80 per cent of its total energy needs from renewables. Citizens can indeed start revolutions and until we understand that the best revolution is that that places the responsibility of development in the hands of every citizen, we’d not have even started our march forward.

What if each religious organisations – in this sense I mean specific churches and mosques – have institutionalized systems of giving to the society? By giving I am not talking about the conventional ones that are often cosmetic in nature. We give clothes and food to the poor but as long as these ones remain in a position where we’d have to give them the same thing the following year nothing would have been done. We need to do better. We need to give in such a way that those who receive from us will not need alms again. A friend of mine told me of how her dad said and I will paraphrase “you should give so that they can come again tomorrow, if you give them too much they will grow wings and you will not see them again.” Our job is to give in the opposite sense of these words; give so that others can have enough to fly themselves. Give to productive activities.

What if we had a LIBRE Foundation dedicated to Education, Women and Entrepreneurship by a church called LIBRE? There is the Real Woman Foundation http://therealwoman.org/index.html that provides shelter and rehabilitation for abused women and the orphaned children. Projects like these should not be outliers; they should be the norm. The work starts from within. There are dedicated members who are able to attend University but are indigent. We can create an Education Fund for dedicated members in this situation. There is a chance they will stop attending your church/mosque after such benefits but you have to understand that you are doing this for the society and not your church. Nigeria has the world’s highest number of children out of school. If we reduce this by half, we would have reduced by an even more percentage the number of armed robbers, sex workers, potential terrorists that’d be unleashed on the nation in the coming years. If churches build schools, they should have a dedicated admission percentage slot for indigent church members. It is essential to charge the rich while building world-class self-sustaining institutions but what is the essence of a church that does not give back?

What if we had a fund for small businesses to grow bigger after training the owners of these businesses? Imagine the revolution. When businesses grow, they engage more hands and more hands mean more productive activities. The engaged hands even save enough to start their own businesses. You eventually have a domino effect of productivity and job creation. We can decide as a church to grow a particular number of businesses to a certain size per year. The funding could be in form of single digit loans – for sustainability – and in some cases even equity funding.

What if the church had a food bank where at least indigent members of the church can access food in times of food shortage? Where other members who have “more than enough” can give of their abundant food, new clothes and what have you. I once attended a church during my University days where everyone was allowed to come for food if in need during the examination period. I knew I’d never need such but I felt glad knowing that whoever was in need of such would find a way out because the church made a way. I know Nigeria’s Lagos based Daystar Christian Centre does this.

What if each religious organization reduced poverty in its midst to say less than 10% of its membership? Yes Jesus Christ did say the poor you will always have in your midst but He never said “the poor shall be the majority in your midst.” The most important thing is to start. How many poor people do you have in your church? How many of them have jobs? How many of them can be empowered to start businesses? We cannot reduce the numbers effectively if we don’t know exactly how many people are in the poverty box we need to lift out. When your members succeed, your church succeeds!

Considering the number of Nigerians that go to church and the mosque every week, we can go beyond the promises of the intangible. I know these promises of Heaven are real but we need to attend to the issues of today. If we could do this, we will bring back the souls lost to the world that felt the church was too big but too big for nothing. We would win even more souls for the Lord because it is easier to convince a man you’ve just fed to “come to the House of the Lord” than it is to convince a hungry man. He is angry. It is also easier for cynics to see the essence of the church beyond promises of Heaven. What is the purpose of a church without earthly relevance?

We need a revolution in Nigeria, no not a revolution of guns and bullets – we will never be united enough to have a nationwide revolution of this kind – but we can always be united to fight against poverty.

What if we sold the private jets? Would the monies be useful to educate more children? to help more mothers? to make the society a better place? Yes religious fathers need private jets, only that need is not as needful as the fact that the brethren is hungry, angry and needs convincing that this service to God is not about a few fathers instead of being about the children of God. What is the beauty of a Limo-stretch riding pastor’s wife in a church of mostly poor people? Do not be deceived by ceremonial Sunday attires, there are more poor people in your church than you’d imagine. We have competed enough on who has got the most beautiful church and the most modern backdrop, it is time to compete on who has lifted more people out of poverty. This would be a holy competition indeed!

The giving of the church should not be about giving for the recipients to return for another morsel tomorrow, it should be about giving to empower the recipients to survive on their own and become givers themselves in a matter of months – the 8th level of giving. We’d not have fake pastors if there were no original ones, we’d not have fake churches if there were no original ones. We’d not have the adulterated version of anything if there were no original ones. I believe there are true men of God and I believe it is time these ones shine the light on this country’s seemingly perpetual darkness. Thank you for the prayers, it is time to work!

The purpose of being blessed is to bless. Blessings are designed to flow not to be stagnant. It should flow from the blessed to bless others and the flow must never stop. Blessings should not be destroyed by being hoarded; we can create even more by blessing others. The symbolism of Jesus feeding 5000 is that He cares about the tangibles of this world. It matters to him that stomachs are filled with food, as it matters to Him that our spirit is filled with Him. He gave examples of giving clothes to the naked, food to the hungry etc these examples even came in parables concerning the way to Heaven.

For Christians, the fundamental part of our faith is the tangible reality of a gift: God gave His only begotten son and that son gave His life. There’d be no Christianity without giving and it is time we use this to address Nigeria’s unwholesome socio-economic realities. The church has the powers to raise men, women and resources to help lift more Nigerians out of poverty than any system in Nigeria apart from may be the Nigerian government.