Faith

Articles to encourage you to keep the faith and grow in it!

I suppose the title is a bit controversial in that killing your faith is not something you want to learn how to do. However, I think it is important to know these things in order to ensure they are not killing your faith ….. 

Rely on your intellect.. 

Yep! Your intellect. I bet you didn’t think this one would make the list.  I’ve learnt that being a Christian means being dependent on Christ. Not just dependant on him for some things but for everything! So this means for instruction, wisdom, understanding etc. Sometimes what God is telling us or where He is leading us doesn’t make sense to us and if you are like me you will try to to work it out your self and give God all the real and legitimate reasons this can’t be so. BUT we must remember God is all-knowing, he can see what we can’t see.  This is why the Bible says we should not lean on our own understanding. 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding in all your ways submit to him and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3: 3-5

It’s like when you tell a child not to do something but because of their lack of experience/knowledge/understanding they do not know that what they want to do is dangerous. That’s how much we don’t know the things that God knows. I find comfort in the fact that his thoughts for us are good and not evil. 

For I know the thoughts I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 29:11

I am still working on this because I am such a realist and like to use my brain to rationalise everything but that is not how God works and that is certainly not how miracles work. e.g. You’ve prayed for a job and somehow you got an interview for a role you are under qualified for. So you decided that because you don’t match the requirements you will turn down the interview. But God intended to promote you despite your qualifications. If you had faith and put that interview in God hands you could have seen that but sometimes our intellect restricts God from doing the supernatural. 

So can I encourage you to rely less on your brain and more on God?

Turn your ears ‘off’ ..

The bible says that faith comes by hearing. 

So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Romans 10:17 

Sometimes we allow ourselves to hear all manner of things, through conversations, tv programmes, music, thoughts in our head… but we need to be hearing things that inspire and encourage faith in order to produce and build faith.

We need to be intentional about ensuring we are hearing the word of God. There are many ways to do this;

  • Your personal Quiet/Study Time with God 
  • Church 
  • Listening to christian sermons, podcasts, YouTube videos 
  • Godly conversations with like-minded people 
  • Meditation 
  • Prayer 

These things should happen very regularly in our lives and I find that when they do not, faith becomes a little more difficult. If we aren’t hearing the word of God, we are likely to be hearing what the world has to teach us and that will naturally begin to take over and this kill our faith. 

Do not exercise..

No, not like in the gym! But like our bodies, faith needs to be exercised and we should not be afraid to do so. The more you see God do amazing things the more your faith will grow.

We learn from Romans 12:3 that God has given us all a measure of faith so we all have something to start with. Matthew 17:20 tells us that even faith as small as a mustard seed can make nothing impossible for us. 

We lose nothing by having faith in God. For example, if I am believing God for a job, me having faith in God doesn’t take away from that, in fact it gives me hope. But if I chose not to have faith, I would be worried and anxious and this does not yield good fruit. So.. you might as well have faith!

It can be a struggle when things are really tough but remind yourself of every testimony, every blessing you have experienced and how good God has been to you, your faith will surely be encouraged.  l like to write these things down because as humans its so easy to forget.

You do not have to wait for tough times to exercise your faith. When you pray about something exercise it immediately by taking action! So how can we do this. An example would be, following the job example, if I have prayed for a job and I have faith that God has heard me, how I talk will change. So instead of complaining, my speech about job hunting will be more positive e.g. “I know God will come through”, “God is preparing the perfect role for me.” You can even start preparing and practicing interview techniques! This is evidence of your faith in God. 

Beware Faith can be a scary thing to pray for because how can God increase your faith without a situation that requires you to have faith. So be prepared!

I would love to hear in the comments your views on this post or if you have any other killers to add or how you overcome them. 

My next post will focus on BUILDING your faith. Although doing the opposite of the above 3 headings will do just that but I’d love to go into more depth. 

Thanks so much for reading, please share!

The No.1 way to make Scripture work for you.

We design and sell products that are Scripture based, so I am sure you know we love the word of God around here! We are also big on fruitfulness which basically means that for all the activity we do there must be productivity. So ultimately we want to see Scripture produce fruit in your life. And that’s why we love our Scripture Canvases because they help to create an edifying environment in your home and remind you of Gods promises. 

The Bible has been referred to as ‘God’s love letter’ to us or even an ‘instruction manual’ to this thing called life. I pull two things from this;

  1. That it was written specifically for me and for you; and 
  2. That we are supposed to live it out 

Remember that the word of God is true and is living and therefore should not be redundant in your life (Hebrews 4:12). It’s very easy to read and forget or see the Word as this far-away / unattainable thing. 

One of the best ways I have found to make Scripture work for me is to personalise it. 

Here is a quick exercise I was once asked to try and it changed my perspective on Scripture for life! 

Where ever it says ‘love’ in the following passage, replace it with your name. Read it aloud!

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, love is not puffed up; love does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; love does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.’ 1 Corinthians 13 : 4-7 

How did that make you feel? Are those statements true?

With the greatest commandment being to love, we should see ourselves all over that passage. Personalising scripture challenges us and helps us to see where we fall short. We should be constantly checking ourselves and using the Scripture as our standard to ensure we level up. This is not to condemn us but to push us to strive to be better. 

Personalising scripture also makes the promises more real to us and its good practice to declare these things over our lives.

Try this one:

‘For God so loved [YOUR NAME], He gave His one and only Son so that [YOUR NAME] would not perish but have everlasting life’.  John 3:16

Can I challenge you to take the word of God more personally ? 

Personalise and tell me what is your fave scripture in the comments below …

“Dear Diary God… ”

Yup, there’s times when I dedicate a set time aside to be in God’s presence and I get nothing, absolutely nothing loool. It’s as if your speaking to a stranger and you must ask them questions to get to know them such as “who are you” or “where are you from?”. At times, we can feel disconnected and it can be a struggle to speak to God directly from our mouth. Don’t get me wrong, other times we can spend hours and hours alone just voicing out our emotions to God and being soaked in his presence, however I realised that those times for me, were not to frequent at all.

Speaking to God is personal, it’s not about who can do the longest prayer, or who prays the loudest or who prays with the most vim (If you go to African churches then you could probably relate to this!) it’s just about a personal message that you would want to deliver to God either through words or even just through a thought in your head.

As I like to read poetry, or listen to spoken word I realised that these thoughts of these poems all had to be written down at some point, right? So, I pondered to myself if I struggle to voice out my deepest fears and thoughts to God why don’t I put it on paper. It started with prayer topics for me. When I prayed, I made a list in my head of all the things I need to tell God about, sometimes it would be such a long list that I would end up forgetting some and not praying about them at all, so I then went to my phone (the notes app) and jotted all my topics there as a list so I could go through each one of them individually with God. Now that wasn’t a bad idea however I started to refrain from using my phone whilst praying as I wanted to dedicate my absolute self to God without any distractions- which was the phone itself.

So, I thought why don’t I just write my prayers down on paper. That way it will be straight from the mind and I could just write out my feelings without saying it aloud which I felt uncomfortable with doing at the time. Think of it as a diary; in a diary you write down everything that happened in the day and you take the time out to reflect to yourself. Bible / Prayer journaling is the same thing, only that you are reflecting to God about your day or any issues that may appear in your life. At first, I started to doubt myself about how this would work. I thought to myself; is this a legit way of praying? Am I avoiding physically talking to God? Is this journaling even a form of prayer? But I realised that God listens to us in many ways and it doesn’t always have to be verbally, it can be through your thoughts or words on paper. Remember God is all knowing, he knows your heart, your needs and your desires already. Whatever the struggle you may be going through, God always understands. However, never completely neglect the verbal aspect because the bible tells us that the tongue is powerful and there truly is something powerful and uplifting about speaking aloud your prayers.

I guess the best part about prayer journaling is that you can look back at all the answered prayers you have received. It’s like a record of God’s unfailing love. When you have received an answered prayer, look back to the week or day you wrote that request down for it and use that as a testimony and reassurance that the God who did it before can do it again. It will stimulate your faith in many ways.

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Thanks so much for stopping by. Why not have a look at our collection of notebooks / journals..

 

 

Galatians 3:3

NKJV – “Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh”

NLT – “Having begun your new life spiritually with the Holy Spirit, are you now reaching perfection by dependence on the flesh?”

Context

Related imageBefore salvation, we as humans were dependant upon our flesh. We were dependant on what we thought and felt was right, however, the Bible says that there is a way that seems right to a man but the end of it is death (Proverbs 14:12). So, God made a covenant with us via the law (Ten Commandments) to communicate to us what it right and what is wrong. Even then, if you live by the law, you are actually still dependent upon your flesh. The law has not got the power to put us at right standing with God as Romans 8:3 tells us.

“For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending His Son in the likeness of the sinful flesh to be a sin offering.”

Jesus came to save us from what the law could not; he came to establish the new covenant which strips us of our independence so that we no longer rely on ourselves but on Him.

When we became saved we became a new creature with a new dependence.

The word Abba from the phrase ‘Abba Father’ means. Abba means source. A source of a thing is what sustains that thing. For example, a new born baby’s physical source is from its parents and so that is who babies are dependent on for physical sustenance.

As believers, our source is now God. Saying yes to God is to say no to ourselves. We cannot serve 2 masters. God is who we must depend on in order to sustain the life of the new creature we have become. We can in no way sustain ourselves and trying to is belittling what Jesus done on the cross.

Back to Galatians 3:3…

We began this journey of salvation by the Spirit. When we get saved our Soul and Body need to catch up with the Spirit, this is the process that the Bible refers to as being made perfect. Our flesh died and we became alive in Spirit. Romans 8:9 says

“You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to Him.” So we all definitely started in the Spirit, or never started at all.

So where did this shift to the flesh come from? For most people, this is not a conscious decision. There are many reasons, most common being complacency. We get into the routine of our new life and just stick to it. It quickly turns from a spiritual walk and relationship to a religion. The key difference is we begin to depend on the flesh while Christ requires us to depend on Him. To depend on Him means we need to have a relationship with Him. Going back to my earlier example, similar to how a baby also has a relationship with its parents.

The absence of a continual fellowship with God is what it means to ‘reach perfection by dependence on the flesh.’ Dependence on the flesh is to just follow the laws with no relationship, as seen in the Old Testament.

Galatians 3:10 says “For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written; Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.”

We cannot do it by the law and so no matter how hard we try, that curse would be upon our heads. God knows this and this is why He sent His Son. A relationship with Him helps us to stay on track.
I wanted to use this explanation of Gal 3:3 to encourage anyone who has become complacent and shifted into the flesh. This is such a basic yet fundamental teaching.

Here are some tips to avoid falling out of a relationship with God:

  • Find a mentor; someone who is strong in the faith who you look up to and can lean on for advice;
  • Never let your mouth cease from prayer & praise: this is the no.1 method of communication;
  • Study the bible as though it was for an exam. If you just read it, it is unlikely to have real impact in your life. The aim is to understand the heart of God and replicate this in our actions;
  • Go to Christian events and gatherings, get involved in whatever your church / fellowship are doing: this ensures you remain active in serving and learning and constant in fellowship with other Christians. Remember iron sharpens iron;
  • Listen to Christian music and sermons: this is another method of learning and feeding your spirit.

James 4:8 Come near to God and He will come near to you.

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Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away. Hebrews 2:1

The warning in this verse is so key, I have seen what it can do if you do not heed it.

We are told to give more earnest heed (in other translations, it says ‘take seriously’) to the things we have heard lest we drift away. The things we have heard refers to the word / the good news / the message of salvation.

The word ‘drift’ stood out to me … Here is why:

The definition of drift is when something is carried away slowly by a current of air or water. For example a balloon drifting in to the sky. When something drifts it tends not to have control. When you think of the action of drifting, you rarely associate that movement with purpose or intention because whatever is drifting is carried by whatever surrounds it. We can’t afford to just be carried because Peter 5:8 tells us to be sober and alert because the enemy prowls around like a lion looking for whom to devour.

We can avoid being at the mercy of the enemy by taking earnest heed. So we need to stop being passive and nonchalant. E.g. It is extremely easy to think “I hear the message in church every Sunday, I don’t need to do my own personal bible studies everyday.” Yet, although you go to your uni/school lectures everyday you still think it is vital set time aside to revise. Why? Because you take your exams and education seriously. How much more with the word of God that will do what your education cannot.

A great example is someone falling asleep on a boat for a night without tying it to the shore. When that person wakes up he is going to wonder where he is because it is highly likely that the boat will have drifted pretty far. If the person took seriously their safety, they would take actions to ensure they did not drift. This is how we wake up from spiritual slumber and wonder where we are with God. Such a dangerous place to be because you don’t know what has happened while you have been asleep.
“Whilst men slept, the enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away.” (Matt 13:25)

One thing I have learnt is that this walk with Christ is NOT passive. You will not be carried to heaven, you will need to get up and walk with Christ. It sounds cliche but the less time we spend with God and in the word the easier we will find it to sin. We become increasingly tolerant of the things that contradict the word until we are in a really bad place and wonder how we get there.

We DRIFTED!

We need to actively ensure our surroundings are Godly by spending time with Him, in the word and in fellowship with like minded people. Otherwise our sinful nature takes over.

I pray that if you are experiencing drifting that you wake up and take charge of your spiritual life. Seek God diligently! You can’t regret it.

The next part of this chapter talks about why Jesus had to be human.

I would like to point out that verse 7 refers to psalm 8 which talks about Jesus being made lower than angels. The word angels should actually say Elohim, which is God. This was a mistranslation due to lack of understanding. If you grab a study bible and check your concordance, you will see that it also says Elohim. This is because Jesus was made human and humans are lower than God but remember humans are ‘higher’ than angels.

Jesus had to be human so that he could be the appropriate high priest. To redeem us He needed to become one of us. The blood of an animal would not suffice. It is also important so that he could go through what we go through. Eg. He was tempted like we are. Now no one can say God does not understand because He does. He understands your struggles, pains and temptations because He went through them too. Yet He overcame them. He was fully human, so if He could we can. However, just because he was human does not mean He was no longer God, but that is why we have the Holy Spirit. The God that raised Himself from the dead lives inside of us. We basically have no excuse. It is possible to live as Jesus did!! He had to come as a human in order to pave the way for the rest of humanity. So thankful that He did!

Comment & Share! thanks for reading!

For we are not fighting against flesh and blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6: 12

As believers, we are at war every day spiritually. Believe it or not but the enemy is trying to draw us into his bondage and is never at rest.

As soldiers who have been enlisted into God army, we need the support of other soldiers to successfully defeat the enemy and stay alive. Imagine being in a war and having to fight alone?!

 

Picture this:

Some soldiers are on the battlefield fighting against the enemies, and they decide to pair up in twos so as to defend one another, but there’s this one soldier who refused to team up and decides to fight all alone. I think we can all assume that the lone soldier is more likely to die first and he is going to be the target of the enemies since he is all alone.

I used to be a lone soldier, and I can tell you I got defeated a lot of times.

I was a ‘secret Christian’, and didn’t have fellowship with other believers. I would go to church, listen and go back home to my lone and defeated life. I was a mess until I decided to join a small group of believers and I got to experience what true Christianity is all about.

Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed.  If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble.Ecclesiastes 4: 9 – 10

As Christians, we should NEVER go through life alone.

God does not want us to walk alone. God is all about relationships! We have the privilege to interact with other members of God’s family and encourage one another. There is nothing like a group of like-minded people who share the same purpose of pleasing God regardless of their individual differences.

“No man is an island.”

Here are 3 reasons why fellowship is so key:

LOVE

Fellowship is all about LOVE. Our God is love, and we must grow to become like him in our characters and to be in isolation from other believers does not help in developing these characters and fruits of the Holy Spirit.

1 John 4: 20 says, “If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a Christian brother or sister, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see?” That is totally impossible. As Christians, we exemplify love to the world, and we do that by loving one another.

John 13: 35 says, “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”

1 Corinthians 13: 3 says we are bankrupt without love and it goes on in that chapter to tell us all about Love and we will see that love deals with the relationship we have with one another. Love is eternal and unconditional, which means we don’t just stop loving others. If we do not have the spirit of love through fellowship with our brothers and sisters now, there’s no way we will be able to do that in heaven. I love this saying from Rick Warren book, The purpose driven life, “Life on earth is just the dress rehearsal before the real production (in heaven).” So we have to start getting ready now.

GROWTH

Fellowship helps us to grow spiritually and keeps us motivated.

Iron sharpens iron.

Like I said earlier, I used to be a lone soldier and I got defeated a lot. This was because I wasn’t growing and I had no one to inspire and motivate me with their faith and walk with God. I was a baby Christian and was totally lukewarm. However, since my first Christian book study with some brothers and sisters, my life has never been the same. I started growing like I ought to, I started spending more time with God. I get inspired and motivated to know God for myself when I hear testimonies from my fellow brothers and sisters about their relationship with God, it inspires me and keeps me going. As Christians we are all at different levels of maturity, so we can support one another and help one another grow. We get mutually encouraged by each other’s faith (Romans 1: 12), and as iron sharpen iron, we also sharpen one another (Provers 27: 17).

ACCOUNTABILITY

Fellowship also keeps us accountable and on track. A lone Christian is more likely to fall back into the world and get off the narrow path easily. But with fellowship, we hold one another accountable in love and truth. Sin is rebuked, and we pray for one another. A true fellowship ensures that all members stay on the right path.

Fellowship in one word is simply family. It’s a special kind of family. We are not bonded by normal blood but we are bonded by the spirit and love of the Father and blood of Jesus. We don’t have to share the same physical features, language, culture or background but we must share the same Spirit.

They say blood is thicker than water, but I say the spirit/love of God is thicker than blood. A fellowship bonded by the spirit of God and love is formidable against Satan. 

Fellowship helps us to go through life and survive as a believer here on earth but it also prepares us for the kind of relationship we are going to enjoy in heaven.

If you are not in a fellowship yet, can I encourage you to please get involved in one. This doesn’t mean just attend and leave, really get involved, serve attend socials and get busy doing the right things!

Hebrews 10: 25 (NLT) says, “And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.”

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Complaining is meditation on the wrong thing

Complaining… We’ve all had those days where life gets a little too much and a rant seems acceptable. Sometimes people disappoint us, sometimes life looks like a mess but there’s nothing wrong with venting our feelings, there’s nothing wrong with saying how you feel… Or is there?

We start out with a complaint and realise years down the line that we’ve become complainers. We focus on the negative, we love to play the blame game and our expectation of good becomes so small. And we wonder how did we get here?

Complaining is more than venting. Complaints start from within. Then they become murmurs and then they become a person’s fluent language if not stopped in its tracks. I know this all too well. Not too long ago God brought to my attention a bad habit that I had become desensitised too. I realised I was a person who did not always speak out offence but I would harbour it, chew on it, meditate on it – this is the inward complaining. When you meditate on something it gets bigger.

It amazes me that a whole generation wandered the wilderness for 40 years and was wiped out because of their constant complaining (have a read through the book of Numbers). God had set His people free from Egypt where they were in bondage. They were taken through but God provided for them (Deuteronomy 29:5). They complained about thirst, they complained about hunger and they even wished they had stayed in Egypt, in the ‘comfort’ of bondage. Do you know why God disliked their complaining and He cringes at ours? Complaining is cousins with disbelief and disbelief is lack of faith. Without faith we can’t please God. Our constant complaining tells God the situation is bigger than Him.

In your business, in your family, job and life as a whole, constant complaining is a contamination to your success. When you choose to mediate on the negative, it gets magnified and it becomes your language, which then forms your world. Will you have a successful business if you keep complaining about hard it is? Will you get promoted if you keep complaining about hard it is?

Let’s look at 3 things you should be cautious about when it comes to complaining.. 

1 – Complaining about lost time

First all complaining about lost time is a waste of even more time. We spend too much time thinking about what we should have done and what we could have done. The time is gone! We can’t do anything about it now. I used to be that person. I would say “if only I knew what I know now, back then. I know I would be further ahead.” We need to transfer that misery into the joy of taking advantage of now. Now is the only thing certain. Take time to reflect and evaluate, like looking at the rear view mirror in the car. You need to then look forward and decide what you will do now, that’s looking on the road ahead. If you stare at the rear view mirror you’re at risk of getting into an accident. I tell myself this when I start to feel myself going back to my old ways – do what you can while you can with what you have. 

2 – Complaining when offended

Offence will come, Jesus said this. How do you handle offence? Do you tend to sit on it or harbour it like I used to. Harbouring offence is unhealthy for your spirit because it breeds bitterness and bitterness is a poison that kills the harborer, not the offender. We are allowed to feel hurt and offended. We are human, however because you have great things ahead, you can’t hold onto it.

Pray or pray and express, that’s what I say:

Pray about how you feel, offended or hurt, and choose to let go and let God (Matthew 5:43-48).

You can also approach the person and appropriately express your offence then choose to let go and let God (Matthew 5:23-24).

That means after all is said and done we must choose to stop meditating on it and replaying the video of the offence. Some of us have been through some real situations in our life and it feels hard to move on. This why we have grace and we have the word of God. Asking for grace and strength will empower you supernaturally to move forward and having the word of God gives you something healthy to meditate on instead of complaining.

3 – Complaining in groups

Be very vigilant about the company you keep. The Bible says bad company corrupts good character and similarly negative company corrupts positivity. What is the common language of those you spend the most time with? Your friends influence you and when you decide what type of influence you want in your life, making a decision about the proximity of certain individuals in your life becomes easier.

When you tell your friends about a challenge in your life how do they respond? Are they solution-orientated or do you leave the conversation feeling deeper into the hole than when you started? I cannot boast in having many friends however those I have chosen to have a friendship with all contribute something to my life.

Sometimes complaining and self-pity feels comfortable. It tends to feel better when you’re doing it with someone else. Although it can be a comfortable place it is a stifling and non-progressive place. Don’t allow yourself to sit with a friend remaining in the cycle of complaints. Break that cycle.

I hope this has meant something to you. Don’t be hindered or stop by a complaining spirit. Be great.

Thanks for reading! Comment and share, share, share!!

We all make mistakes and we all have shortcomings.

As human beings, we know that our lives are not perfect. I know many of us can look back at a time, (maybe not too long ago) in our lives where we have not made the right decisions.

I know I for one, am guilty of making some rash decisions and following the wrong path. In my case I was quite fortunate to know God from young, I could gladly raise my hand and say that I grew up with a rich Nigerian heritage in a strong Christian household. I thought I understood who God is and what it meant to be a Christian.

My name is Ifeoluwa, which means God’s Love, so obviously, I was drawn to learn about God’s Love.

However, it turned out that I didn’t fully understand this, so when tough challenges and situations presented themselves throughout my teenage years, I stopped going to church regularly and stopped studying the bible. I had seemed to stray from the path of God and His righteousness.

Last year, during my first year at university, I started going down the wrong path, innocently following the crowd. I put myself in situations where I could have been hurt as a result of the bad decisions I was making. I didn’t fully understand the depths of God’s love and grace, as much as I thought I did.

I had been wrestling and struggling with why God has been so faithful and kind to me for all these years, even when I wasn’t faithful to Him.

I was recently reading a devotional on the bible app called “finding your way back to God” by David and John Ferguson. It was an inspirational plan and a reminder about God’s love being so deep, and unconditional, even when we make mistakes it is part of His promise to love us. This led me to a verse I found while I was praying one night:

‘But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.’ Ephesians (2:4-5 NIV)

The English dictionary definition of mercy is “compassion or forgiveness shown towards someone whom it is within one’s power to punish or harm.”

God’s definition of mercy, is not unlike the definition from the dictionary, but there is a deeper and more profound meaning. This verse gave me a brief glimpse of what God’s mercy truly is.

This verse in Ephesians says he is “rich in mercy,” so he has a great deal of it, and it is part of his generosity that he hands out the gift of mercy, sparing us from punishments, even punishments we deserve. Mercy is not just an attribute of God; it’s an integral part of who he is! His mercy knows no bounds!

In Ephesians 2, Paul was explaining the benefits of following Jesus Christ, he explains that naturally our sins would not have been forgiven. But, because of what Jesus Christ did on the cross, through grace, God has had mercy on us. The very act of God sending Jesus Christ to die for our sins is mercy. He sent us a saviour that could what we could not. So, now our past mistakes are blotted away and we are made new in Christ. We are a product of mercy and grace!

Another key theme in this verse is ‘Grace’, which means God gives us things we do not deserve.

Mercy and Grace are precious gifts that God has given me and the fact that I’m writing this blog is a huge testimony of his mercy and grace and the generosity He has shown me. Remember, these are gifts given not because of our behaviour and actions; it is based on whom God is, so I am grateful that He is never-changing.

I pray that we will all be able to know and understand that only by his grace, we are free to live our lives without shame and guilt. I pray that you will be able to understand the immense power of his love and mercy that has impacted your life. I pray that together we can grow in faith and accept his love. I know that when we grow in faith we can show acts of mercy and forgiveness towards others too. Amen.

Thank you for reading! Be sure to leave a comment and share!

 

”So, what are you afraid of?” asks your teacher, as you sit there with your mind twirling up with past horrors you’ve encountered, head in your fragile innocent hands with your legs crossed in that lotus position on the carpet … “bugs” “creepy crawlies” “spiders” and “monsters”! … sounds familiar, right? Well probably when you were a kid !

Face it. Fear has become a part of our lives since we could remember the first time we encountered a big animal or dared to go on our first overwhelming rollercoaster. It is part of our psychological makeup and allows us to develop skills of self-awareness by telling us what we know about endangering ourselves, but most of all keeping ourselves safe. But this topic of overcoming fear is one I have a passion on speaking about and over time have developed ways that I personally combat this thing that could possibly become a clasp over you, stopping you from achieving a dream, goal or vision!

Take me for instance, a student with 10% thought about social life, let’s say another 5% about food (I might be lying about that ha!) and the other 85% of my thought on exams, A-levels, deadlines, Uni, and possibly about how I’m going to be drained for the next couple of months really! I would really be laughing if I didn’t know anyone else in my position who generally doesn’t fear for their lives about this portion of their life right now. I mean who wouldn’t? But it’s dealing with the fear that is the solution to all the problems and what matters most is that in the end you are in a contended state of happiness.

Quick story – So it comes around October times when the word UCAS finally starts to echo out of the mouths of thousands of teachers at school. Yep, it was a word that was becoming very familiar for me during last year and was also possibly the thing that made my 2016 a year of absolute fear.

I was really stuck on what to pick to study at Uni. Honestly for months I pondered and I wondered desperately asking for help about what I could do at Uni as it literally defines your life from then on after you graduate. I asked person after person and so on and literally dragged my Dad to all the university open days possible, just for information to clear my head about what I could do. The decision-making really wasn’t the most deafening part for me, it was what this fear was doing to me physically. From this experience I’ve learnt that I don’t really handle worry well – at all. I’m the type of person that when I worry, I worry real hard ! I don’t eat, I fidget, I cry and don’t even mention sleep to me when I’m in a state of worry – What is that ?

It’s like I’m in a constant state of panic whilst the ticking hands of the clock keep my eyes blaring at the ceiling every night, just me constantly being in fear of making the wrong decision. It was truly horrible..

So how did I overcome this fear? Well, I saw it as a battle within myself and how I controlled my emotions. To overcome a thing means to defeat, succeed in battling against or to simply overpower in this case an unpleasant emotion that may be causing you danger or harm: Fear.

I realised that to win this battle, I had to defeat my own emotions. I literally saw it as a war against myself. I guess who really got me through was Christ. Even though I am a Christian, my mother had to actually remind me to read the Bible and seek God’s word – it’s like your so torn up with all this worry and doubt that you actually forget that you have someone to depend on besides physical beings.

Practically, in a war there is an army, right? For me, God was my army fighting this fear that was ruining my days. The verse Isaiah 41:10 tells us that God is with us in every way and that we shouldn’t be dismayed. As well as this, God strengthens us along the way. Constantly having fear allows us to worry, which damages our health and ability to carry out our daily routines. But the fact that God strengthens us throughout this fear really added positivity to my days when all I could think about was that choice I had to make. God really does fight our battles and hardships for you. I guess the hard part is putting your faith and trust in God in the midst of fear. Prayer is a massive help as God urges us to cast all our worries or anxieties on him.

 

Additional things such as speaking to close friends or family about whatever it is causing you fear. Once you have done this and it still is crippling, it is not a bad thing to seek professional help.

I specifically chose the picture above for a reason. Look at the birds in the picture, they just fly without necessarily knowing where they are going. They just spread and let the wind soar them to their next destination. Having the mindset like that would get you out of any fear such as the situation of mine.

Let go and let God!

Just simply allowing life to flow and putting your ultimate trust in the Lord will carry you through life after all you never know where you will end up.

And I end on this. Fear is just a force that stops you from taking that big jump, that big leap and that big step into what you actually want to do. It may take time to release your fear of exams or maybe fear of the future. I myself had to overcome the fear of blogging and not being successful but here I am today. I would have never been here if I didn’t overcome. Hope you were inspired!

1 Peter 5:7 “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you

A question peer pressure makes us choose between!

If Christians were to vote on whom they will serve for the rest their lives, which stand do you anticipate will have the most votes?

Stand A: I choose to serve the Lord God Almighty in return for the amputation of my arms and legs no matter how difficult life may become.

Stand B: I choose to serve the gods of this land in return for a monthly allowance of £10m, free NHS care for my entire family, free education at university, 5 bundles of 24’’ human hair each month, video games every Christmas, the latest car and phone that is in vogue each year and a one-week return ticket to any holiday destination of my choice.

Best believe that the incentives and pleasures the world offers are well pleasing to the eyes, too captivating to neglect. It is shocking to know that a large number of Christians would opt for Stand B in their regular day to day lives due to influence from peers and circumstances.

It is quite surprising how we compromise our Christian faith for worldly pleasures that are fleeting.

1 John 2.15-17 makes it clear, “not to love the world or anything that belongs to the world. If you love the world you do not love the father. Everything that belongs to the world; what the sinful self-desires, what people see and want…none of this comes from the father; it all comes from the world. The world and everything is passing away; but those who do the will of God live for ever”.

The story of Daniel can be related to the aforementioned Bible text. To clarify, Daniel, Meshach, Shadrach and Abednego refused to adhere to the decree issued by King Nebuchadnezzar, that is, to bow down to the gods or worship the golden image (Daniel 3:16-18). Thus, this portrayed their firm, unshakeable faith in the Lord despite how perilous their decision seemed to be. Meshach, Shadrach and Abednego were unperturbed to burn in the flaming fire for God. They did all they could not to compromise their faith to worship a powerless god. How many of us would have taken that bold step to stand for our faith?

Yes, the materialistic things and activities of the world are alluring yet temporary and that is the reason why the Lord gives us an eternal promise that His word will remain forever. It is either you make a choice to be of this world or serve the Lord. Realistically, it is impossible to have your cake and eat it too. I cannot stress enough God’s disapproval of Christians living a double lifestyle as we see in Revelations 3:16. In as much as we live in this world, we are not supposed to be of this world.

Most Christians have the notion that non-believers are more likely to be the victims of peer pressure. Let us bear in mind that as followers of Christ, our faith will be tested in many ways. The story of Job in the bible, is a typical example of our faith at test. Although, Job was a faithful servant of God, the Lord granted the devil assent in testing him. As a result he encountered major calamities in his life. However, Job stood his ground and affirmed that he would trust in the Lord at all times. How many of us would have question our faith at the point, after loosing your family and business etc. Some of us question God if we miss our bus!

The Good news is, Job’s faith was anchored in the Lord ,which caused him to stand firm through the raging storm he encountered. He proved to be a faithful servant of God and did not succumb to the negative influence from those around him.

The devil knows his time is running out; so the influence from our peers and surroundings is dramatically increased! Haven’t you noticed?

Growing up in a Christian home, I was never granted the chance to experience the lifestyle of drinking, clubbing, etc. I always thought my parents were being too harsh and over-protective. Looking back now, I am grateful to the Lord for how he used my parents in raising me because it has been of much benefit ever since I moved to university.

Peer pressure is quite predominant among Christians, especially Christian students in university. Speaking from an experience, we are exposed to friends from different religious backgrounds and from all walks of life, who have an impact on our lives one way or the other.

I personally did not want people to identify me as ‘a church girl’! So, I decided that I was going to try and fit in during fresher’s week. The thought of being prisoned in my room as my mates experienced the life of being a fresher was unbearable. So I joined the crowd…

I was conscious of my promise to the Lord; not to be promiscuous when I came to Uni. However, the pressure of being accepted and trying to convince others that I could have fun in the world regardless of being a church girl was demanding. ‘God will forgive me”, that was my go-to excuse I came up with in order to supress my guilt whenever I went for a night out.

Months later, I realised the futility of living a DOUBLE LIFE. To clarify, clubbing on Saturday nights meant that you were not going to find me attending church the next day, which in the long run caused a drift in my relationship with God.

However, I soon learnt that it is rewarding to be strong in the faith. Being a Christian is traditionally believed to be ‘boring and strict’ but trust me it is exciting once your cross over from religion to relationship. This is when peer pressure begins to have less effect on you. I urge you not give room for unbelievers to lure you into having more interest for things of this world. Remember, bad company corrupts good habits! (1 Corinthians 15:33). What this world offers cannot be compared to the treasures of Heaven.

I want to encourage you that it is okay to be yourself! Not partaking in a lifestyle that you do not agree with does not make you any less of a person. Remember, your approval is not from man but God. (Galatians 1:10)

Do not lose your soul for the world. Be a light and do not allow darkness to overshadow you.

Tell me about your experiences of overcoming peer pressure in the comment section below!

Thanks for reading!