Who Do I Become When I Hang Out With You?

I never used to pay much attention before. But about a year ago, i had some friends and something happened that made me re-evaluate that friendship. it made me look inwards and take a hard critical look at myself.

I discovered i was changing. I was morphing into a character my environment was creating. I was becoming influenced by the words i was hearing, the attitudes of those i was hanging out with and i had over time, put on a cloak of criticism and condemnation.

I didn’t like it. so i stepped away. i kept my distance and started to learn how to let God clean me up and detoxify me. i didn’t understand how deep it was until recently when the lord started to talk to me again about how our associations can either cover us in grace or take us out of the covering.

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Copy With Care….

Remember your leaders. They taught God’s message to you. Remember how they lived and died, and copy their faith. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Don’t let all kinds of strange teachings lead you into the wrong way. Depend only on God’s grace for spiritual strength, not on rules about foods. Obeying those rules doesn’t help anyone.” Hebrews 13: 7-9

Copy their faith. That was the line that jumped out at me as I read the above passage. The writer of Hebrews was writing to Christians at a time when all sorts of teachings and ideas were prevalent. Christianity had been diluted with all sorts of ideologies and belief systems and political views and the body of Christ divided into factions.  Sounds like 21st century Christianity doesn’t it?

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Big Potato or Small Potato?

Potatoes come in different sizes, and sorting them could take several hours resulting in lots of work for farmers during harvest season, however, I read about a certain farmer who used a different approach.
After harvesting the potatoes, the farmer would simply load them all on a truck and then take the roughest road to the market. Due to the bad state of the road, it was filled with lots of bumps, holes, and the entire journey itself wasn’t a pleasant one.
Something however took place during that process. The small potatoes would fall to the bottom of the truck, while the big ones would rise to the top. No one needed to sort them out, the bumpy and rough ride did the separation.
Isn’t life like that? Filled with bumps, challenges, and troubles as we go along the journey. But just like the potatoes, the small ones fall to the bottom while the big ones rise to the top. Being big or small has nothing to do with your stature or physique, it has to do with the state of your mind, the quality of your inner man and the extent of investments you’ve made in yourself.
Life has its way of sorting out everyone to where they truly belong over time. So, when the trials and challenges of life comes, will you fall to the bottom of the truck just like the small potatoes, or will you rise up to the top because you know that’s where you belong?
When life throws its best shot at you, Rise…!
— Written by Damola Johnson

Fighting The Distortions – By Chude Jideonwo‏ (@Chude )

There are many bible characters I don’t much like. If I had lived in their time, I wouldn’t sit down and have a drink with them. I would respect them, possibly even admire them. But I wouldn’t be friends with them.

Like Isaiah, or Jeremiah; too angry, too bi-polar.

Still conflicted about the Apostle Paul.

The book of Romans is a seminal work on human frailty, but much of the rest is lacking in empathy. But Jesus. My God, Jesus!  It’s why it’s so important to me to fight back the distortions of his nature by fundamentalists. And it’s all there, in the Bible. In the words the gospels report. His nature, it’s all there; yet, often distorted.

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For The ‘Openly Christian’ On Social Media

At every point we need to check WHY we really do the things we do. And i’m not talking about the bad stuff.
I’m talking about the great stuff. The inspiring stuff, the the kind stuff, the stuff that blesses people.
They look good. They get us applause. They get us noticed. The feedback is awesome. We may have even gotten awards.
Its time to check if we have become so enamored of those amazing feedback that we do all we do just because we expect the feedback?
Do we now love the fact that people tell us what a blessing we are that we now do more just so we can feel good when we hear that we are being a blessing?
Have we become like the Pharisee who would rather pray and do acts of charity in a pubic place to be seen? Do we prefer to do all our good work where it will be seen and even when its not, do we crave for it to be seen?
Lets check our hearts. How do we really feel when we share that inspirational quote, photo, video or sermon and it doesn’t get the number of ‘likes ‘, views or nice comments that we think it should have gotten?
How many times do we refresh old posts to see how many likes and views it has gathered?
We are human. Our flesh will always war with our spirits. But we have already been made victorious.  It’s not about us anymore. It’s about he who died for us so that we can live FOR HIM.  We just need to BE AWARE. And to always check with the spirit in us who will always tell us when we are getting carried away.

He Gives Us So We Can Give It…

Whatever he gives us, we do not keep for ourselves.

Just as he has blessed us so we can be a blessing to others, he has comforted us so we can comfort others in trouble.

He has shown us love so we can love others.

He has been merciful with us so we can show others mercy.

He has been gracious to us so we can give grace to others.

He wants us to treat others how he treats us.

Whatever he gives you, pay it forward.

Mistakes And Miracles…..

Mistakes they say, is all part of being human. As long as we remain alive on this earth, we will do some things in error, say some things in error, make erroneous judgement and decisions sometimes and it’s all part of the imperfect human experience.

There are times your mistakes threaten to overwhelm you. You feel you’ve done that one thing and there’s no coming back. you’ve blown it this time and there’s no fixing it.

You’re wrong.  Humans make mistakes, God does not.

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Close The Door And Move On…

Everyone has a past. Some more sordid than others. No matter how morally squeaky clean you are, you are not without sin.
But what happens when the guilt of our sins overwhelm us so much that it’s a constant deterrent against our happiness and ability to live free? What happens when we are constantly being reminded of what we did and how we lived by people around us and even our own minds?

What do we do when we can’t enjoy anything because we are constantly trying to make up and apologize for who we used to be? What happens when we feel we have no right to good things now because of the not so good things we did before?

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Let The Shepherd Lead…

The Lord is my shepherd.
I will always have everything I need.[a]
He gives me green pastures to lie in.
He leads me by calm pools of water.
He restores my strength.
He leads me on right paths[b] to show that he is good.

Psalm 23:1-3 (ERV)

“The Lord is my shepherd. I will always have everything I need”.

 It’s a confident statement of assurance. The shepherd as a metaphor for God here is quite descriptive of how God pays particular attention to our individual needs. He loves and cares and protects and ensures that we are properly nourished. He is called the good shepherd. In this world of constant chaos, it’s a good thing to remember that God loves and cares about you and your needs.

“Green pastures to lie in and calm pools of water” in verse 2, is about nourishment and rest. So many times, we are fighting life’s battles and taking on challenges and wearing ourselves out that after a while, we are spent emotionally, spiritually and sometimes physically.  God sees that and makes us chill out. He stops us in our tracks, separates us from the familiar scene of chaos so we can rest and rejuvenate.

We might not even realize what he’s doing sometimes, and we might struggle against it but if we listen to the holy spirit we will realize he just wants us to chill out and be refreshed.  And verse 3 cannot happen without verse 2.

Without rest and nourishment, strength cannot be restored. When your spirit and soul is rested and nourished, you can hear God better and be led on the right path.

The Lesson here is to be willing to submit to the Good shepherd. He knows what he’s doing and he has only good plans for our lives because he truly loves us.

 

Are You Gonna Talk Or Are You Going To DO Something?

“One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon.  Now a man who was lame from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. 

 When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money.  Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!”  So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them.

 Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.”

  Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong. 

 He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God.

(Acts 3: 1-8) NLT

This is one of the most beautiful new testament miracle stories in the bible. There’s a lot to be learned from this short story, but one thing stood out for me the most. and That’s in the underlined verse. ” Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong.”

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GUEST POST: ‘Clever Distractions’ – By Onyedika Nwoji

Clever distractions are simply what they are…clever distractions! They are clever because they are subtle, sly, cunning, smart, etc. The funny thing about clever distractions are they don’t even look like distractions. In fact, most of them appear really good morally, and even spiritually. Yes! That’s the danger.

One major clever distraction among believers is being BUSY! Busy doing God’s work, ministry, missions, church work & meetings, etc. A few weeks ago, I was listening to a rap song by Andy Mineo titled “Death of Me”, and every time I listen to it, these words from the song always hit me deep:

“Jesus retreated to speak with His Father, I know that I need it.

My career been growing, but tell me where I’m going if my time with God is depleted? (Nowhere)

God I’m sorry, I mean it. All I wanna do is walk with you…

But my priority is wrong, I talk about you more than I talk with you!”

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I Believe You.

 

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I believe you.

I have had to say that to a human this week and it was a step of faith that was taken in fear, because faith does not always mean the absence of fear, it means acknowledging the fear and deciding not to yield to it.
Honestly, I didn’t even know I was that afraid until I was confronted with the truth.
But I chose faith. And I chose to believe.

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About Tim’s Circumcision & The Sacrifice For Purpose

“Paul came first to Derbe, then Lystra. He found a disciple there by the name of Timothy, son of a devout Jewish mother and Greek father. Friends in Lystra and Iconium all said what a fine young man he was. Paul wanted to recruit him for their mission, but first took him aside and circumcised him so he wouldn’t offend the Jews who lived in those parts. They all knew that his father was Greek.”
(ACTS 16:1-3MSG)
Why did Paul have to circumcise Timothy before taking him along on his missionary journey? After all, the elders of the church had established earlier that non Jewish believers don’t need circumcision to be accepted by God.
Paul was reaching out to the Jewish community in Greece. Everyone in that community knows that Timothy’s father was Greek. Paul understood the controversy and debate that would bring and to avoid distraction from the message, he did what was needful.

Peace Is Not Neccesarily The Absence Of Chaos

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When you realize that the story of your life is authored by God himself, you will be at peace. You will be at peace with yourself, peace with your environment and peace with God. Lately, I have been learning about God’s peace. I have read it countless times in Apostle Paul’s letter to the Philippians, that we can experience a kind of peace that is beyond  human understanding but it is one thing to read about an experience, it is another thing to live that experience.

I understand that the peace of God is not necessarily the absence of chaos and trouble. The peace of God is a deep understanding and confidence in his presence and his absolute control over the direction your lie is taking. Such that the whole world around might seem to be conspiring to make you miserable, but at your deepest core is a calmness and confidence that outside observers do not understand.

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GUEST POST: Black, White & Grey Areas – by @Dikky_CIA

If you’ve studied the scriptures long enough, you should  have discovered that there are some stuff that are clear cut black and white; meaning some things are well defined as either good or evil. But then, there are some other stuff that aren’t well defined as either good or evil. These are the grey areas.

These grey areas are usually topics for debates among christian circles, and there are some which most Christians don’t even wanna delve into or meddle with. But then, these grey area issues SHOULD be addressed for the very reason of avoiding negative extremes.

First, let’s settle a fact; anything that is clear cut black and white in scripture is not debatable, regardless of how you feel about it. With that said, the next question is how do we handle these scriptural grey areas?

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