Maintaining the ‘Gold Standard’

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I am not one for new year resolutions because I never keep to them but as I grow in the Lord, I know for sure that I want to know him more and more and to live for him in the best way possible.

Our just concluded annual camp meeting was a fantastic time in God’s presence and I taught my first youth seminar class on ‘The Religion of Rehoboam’. This lesson got me thinking about how so many Christians let down their standards. I know for sure that I do not want to go down that path!

The story in I Kings 14:25-28 is pretty simple, Rehoboam inherited the throne after the death of his father, Solomon. In that time, Shishak the king of Egypt defeated Israel in war and all the golden vessels in the temple which Solomon made were taken away. Rehoboam replaced the stolen golden vessels with vessels made of brass.

Rehoboam could not keep up the golden standard. Gold is really valuable. Remember Solomon built the temple not by his wisdom but according to God’s specifications. Brass looks a lot like gold but is not gold, it is man-made. Brass shines like gold but is a substitute religion of men that cannot buy salvation. Brass signifies man’s religion which is noisy, cheap, does not regard God’s commandments and revelations. More so it operates by an ‘it does not matter’ ideology where there is really no standard.

It is common to see salvation being substituted for church membership, Joy in the Holy Ghost is being substituted for entertainment, the word of God is being substituted for slangs and motivational speeches, volume is also being substituted for quality. It is important to note that salvation, holiness,sanctification, repentance, heaven and the Holy Ghost cannot be substituted.

If with all your religion, you are not washed from your sins then what you have is substitute religion (Read Proverbs 30:12-13).

We must:

  • repent and be saved
  • receive the grace of God
  • sins must be washed away not covered
  • the two eternal options are heaven or hell and there is no substitute
  • resurrection into life or judgement which cannot also be substitute

The above options are pure gold and should not be substituted for brass irrespective of what the worlds thinks or says. In Proverbs 23:23, the Bible says we should buy the truth and not sell it for anything. Do not let down your standards for anything. In your walk with God, strive for gold and not brass.

This is how I plan to approach 2017. I will not let down my standards like Rehoboam did, I will not be a weak Christian and above all, I will contend earnestly for the faith!!!!! This is my only goal.

How do you plan to approach 2017? Do you have goals?

Opening up to the word of God…

I think I will be approaching this verse from a slightly different angle than we are used to.

A few days ago, certain events got me thinking about how wrong or inappropriate it is to refuse correction or wise counsel from someone just because we think the person kids or friends or siblings do not behave well.

Let me give an example:

Person A: I think you should try doing this, you know the Bible says…..

Person B: you should teach that to your kids or how can you advice me when your own kids do not……

How wrong! How inappropriate! I have often been caught in this ungodly behaviour but you know something? A person does not have to be obeyed or respected by his family to be used by God. God doesn’t work based on human sentiments. The fact that that friends and family do not respect a person’s Christian work or faith doesn’t mean you cannot take that person seriously when it comes to the things of God.

If there are certain preachers you refuse to take seriously simply because the behaviours of their children do not reflect the scripture then you may be judging too quickly. Understand that your leaders in church are not perfect and often times, the devil tries to get at them through their families.

My advice would be to pray for them rather than write them off.

For this child I prayed…

One of the verses I had written down to pray on for my unborn. It is also a commitment to bring up that child in the ways of God and let God use the child however he pleases. 

The Bible tells us that Hannah handed Samuel over to God without hesistation. Considering the fact that she had prayed for so long for the fruit of the womb. Many of us did not exactly pray for that long for a child, but at the point of marriage, we probably agreed to have kids or were prayed for (prayers of fruitfulness etc). Either way, we owe it to God to bring up our children in the way of the Lord. 

Allow your children participate in church activities, outreaches and general service to God. There is nothing more rewarding. 

Praying through your pregnancy

Proverbs 3:5-6(KJV)

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

 

There are a vast number of reasons to pray during pregnancy. Most times, people get stuck on praying for protection only that they forget to pray about other stuff.

Here is a list of other areas to pray on during pregnancy:

  1. Prayers of thanksgiving
  2. Prayers for safety
  3. Prayers for baby’s growth and development
  4. Prayers for baby’s character
  5. Prayers for baby’s future
  6. Prayers for your medical team
  7. Prayers for financial stability
  8. Prayers for family unity
  9. Prayer for parenting
  10. Prayer for happiness and contentment
  11. Prayer for attitude during pregnancy
  12. Prayer against moodiness and mood swings
  13. Prayer for peace and stability
  14. Prayers against bad dreams and the spirit of fear

This is just a guide on how to pray during pregnancy, there is a lot to pray about. God id the giver of children and we need to seek his face for every aspect of our unborn children’s lives.

Luke 18:1-8

God used a friend to remind me of this last night. I needed to be encouraged and she messaged me at the right time. Before praying, I came up with a few resolutions (for lack of a better word):

  • I will persist in prayer until the answer comes
  • I will keep my requests constantly before God
  • I will live for God day by day
  • I believe that God will answer
  • I live by faith, I will not give up
  • When God delays, It is with reason
  • When I persist in prayer, I will grow in character, faith and hope
  • If evil judges can yield to constant pressure, how much more our loving Father in heaven
  • God loves me, God will hear me

How Often?

How often do we get so “close” to God when we want something from Him? Perhaps you are pregnant and you pray everyday, study the word just because you need your birth to be a successful one and you need a healthy baby. You are a student and you need to pass so at the time God becomes your bestie and you consistently pray for wisdom and understanding every time you study. Your loved one is sick, and you need God’s divine intervention in her situation so you pray always, attend fellowship regularly and give to the church. I could go on and on with the examples. We fast, pray, get what we want, some of us don’t even properly give thanks and the next thing is, we push God to the backseat. 

The very things we waited on God for become the excuses for not fellowshipping or praying or rendering services to God. How often?

The story of Daniel in the Bible always challenges me. Daniel was the prime minister, second in command to the king yet he prayed often. He had consistent prayer times. Trust me, no one is ever too busy or too successful to pray. Daniel 6:10

Prayers have to be consistent. Praying should become a habit we inculcate. Even when things are good, we should continue to pray. James 5:16 says the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. 

I know I want to get to the point where I pray without even thinking about it. Make praying a habit!!!

Biblical Standpoint on Gossip

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Gossip is a sin. Tolerating gossip is a sin. I have often been guilty of both. Gossip is one of the sins Christians have forgotten it is quite surprising considering how much the Bible has to say about gossip. Proverbs 18:8, Proverbs 20:19, Proverbs 17:4, Proverbs 6:16-19.

“Christian gossip” just might be the worst because we give the justification that we are not gossiping, rather we are concerned about a brother or sister and we want to pray or discuss how to help the person in question. The verse christian gossips usually resort to to justify their behaviour is James 5:19-20 which essentially encourages us to turn those who wander away back so as to save them from death. The problem here is that if we are being honest, when we gossip or should I say ‘discuss’ or ‘share information’ about someone else to someone else, we rarely accomplish the goal of saving the sinner or backslider. Instead, if that person were to walk in on our conversation, he/she would feel shamed and embarrassed.

Gossiping comes in many shades. Sometimes people do not even realise they are gossiping. Remember that listening to gossip is also sinful so there is nothing like ‘I was there when they said this and that but I did not contribute’. If you listened, you encouraged it. Proverbs 17:4. Today’s society craves gossip, we watch gossip on TV, we use our money to buy gossip news and tabloids.

For those who are wondering , the following constitute gossip:

  1. Slander: Spreading lies about someone to intentionally cause damage. Libel is the written form of slander. Colossians 3:8, James 4:11, Jeremiah 6:28, Jeremiah 9:4, Proverbs 11:13, Proverbs 20:19, Proverbs 26:20-22, Proverbs 10:18.
  2. Backbiting: Saying spiteful things abut someone who is not present, usually carried out in secret. Proverbs 25:23, Romans 1:28-32, 2 Corinthians 12:20, Psalm 101:5, Psalm 41:7, 1 Timothy 3:9-11, 1 Timothy 5:13-14, 2 Timothy 3:1-5, Titus 2:2-3.
  3. Rumours: When you hear something that is unconfirmed as true yet you tell someone else or ask around to gather more news on that issue. Proverbs 13:3, Matthew 12:36
  4. Gisting: Nigerians are familiar with this term. It is synonymous with giving the scoop (as well as receiving the scoop), dishin’ the dirt or sharing ‘juicy’ info you ‘heard’ about someone. You may mot have intended to hurt but you have kept the gossip alive and even enhanced its spread. Proverbs 20:19, James 5:9

we are to lay aside all manner of evil speaking. 1 Peter 2:1, Titus 3:2. Pamela Rose Williams has often quoted her husband as saying “If you aren’t part of the problem or the solution, its gossip”. Gossip has ruined office relationships, churches, friendships and even family relationships. Proverbs 17:9. Other words the Bible uses in reference to gossip are: tale bearing, busybody and whispering.

Other verses to further study: Ephesians 4:29, Proverbs 16:28, Exodus 23:1, Psalm 34:13, James 1:26, Luke 6:31, Proverbs 10:18, Leviticus 19:16, Psalm 50:19-23, James 3:7-8, Titus 3:10, Proverbs 18:13, 2 Timothy 3:23, Titus 3:9, Psalm 19:14, 2 Timothy 2:16.

Dealing With Mood Swings As A Christian

I woke up feeling some type of way on Sunday morning. Sadly, I let my mood get the better of me. Thank God for church. Sometime during the service, I felt better (my mood switched back around…lol). The episode brings to remembrance my university days. God bless the friends who understood my mood swings and the ones who did not understand, Well…God bless them too. I am an introvert but I just need to emphasise that introversion is not synonymous with moodiness as several people think. In fact being an introvert is not wrong. I am one of those introverts who sometimes comes off as an extrovert. I love solitude and most times, I enjoy my own company and I HATE small talk.

Anyway, back to mood swings. Overly being moody could ruin relationships. Good thing our God is a miracle working God. Back in the day, I used to have mood swings constantly (every week, every 3-4 days) and I literally felt God made me that way. How wrong I was. Now, I could go months without being moody. Think of the word of God as a mood enhancer or mood elevator. Here are a few things that helped me overcome mood swings:

1) Daily studying the word of God and praying. That’s a major mood booster right there!!!!!! Trust me. Romans 15:4

2) Songs of praise and worship. I could recommend a few if you would like. You could also read and meditate on some psalms of praise and worship (Psalm 138, psalm 9)

3) Many times, mood swings are as a result of jealousy, insecurity, anger, hate, stress, intimidation, sadness, feeling overwhelmed or consumed by the world, feeling no one likes you etc. Only the word of God can help you overcome these. The following verses could help:

Jeremiah 31:3, Song of Solomon 4:7, Psalm 139:14, 1 Thessalonians 5:16-17, James 4:2-3, John 13:14, Joshua 1:9, 1 Timothy 4:12, 1 John 2:15-17, 1 Peter 6:7, Proverbs 29:11.

4) Remember what Philippians 4:4 says. Always remember. Memorise it, write it out and post on the fridge or someplace where you will always see it. Rejoice in the Lord always and again I say unto you, Rejoice. 

Biblical Examples of GOOD FRIENDSHIPS

  1. David and Jonathan: Sometimes you meet people and instantly there is a connection. This was the case here (1 Samuel 18:1-3). Jonathan’s father (King Saul) was jealous of David and sought to kill him. The plots never worked because Jonathan (who knew his friend was innocoent) saved him from his father. Jonathan loved David as he loved himself. 1 Samuel 20.
  2. Ruth and Naomi: This was a friendship between a daughter-in-law and a mother-in-law. Even when things became tough, Ruth did not want to leave Naomi. She did not even expect anything in return from Naomi. Ruth 1:1-22.
  3. Daniel, Shedrach, Meshach and Abednego: I particularly love this example as it applies to or can apply to a group of friends. Daniel requested that his friends get promoted to high positions (Daniel 2:49). Friends look out for each other and ernestly desire progress for each other.
  4. Jesus, Mary, Martha and Lazarus: They had a close friendship. Jesus often ate with them (Luke 10:38) and Martha was being very honest with Jesus when she said Lazarus would have been alive if Jesus was present.
  5. Paul, Timothy and Epaphroditus: Another friendship I love and admire because not only were they so loyal to each other, they loved the Lord and worked in the Lord’s vineyard tirelessly. Philippians 2:19-26.

These are by no means all the examples of good friendships in the Bible. I chose to emphasize on the 5 listed above. These examples show us the meaning and qualities of true friendships. Ask God to help you become a true friend and pray for your friendships to glorify God (lol…I know I say this a lot). Also, learn to pray for your friends. Proverbs 27:17 says iron sharpens iron and one man sharpens another, do not underestimate the impact you have on your friends and vice- versa. Evaluate yourself as a friend, Can your friends see the Christ in you?