Archive for the ‘Christian Living’ Category

If you know anything about my blog, I am hot on true doctrine and on rightly dividing the Word of Truth. But lately God has been working on my heart on how does that true doctrine work its way in real life. In my post ‘So what have I learned in 2013?‘. I stated:

People go through some really hard things in life and sometimes, it can be so comfortable to live in the church/christian bubble without ever really engaging in the culture or the real world with real people who have real problems. I don’t want to be so involved in churchianity that Christ is in the background and is not relevant at all to the man on the street. I want Christ to be seen in me IN ALL of my daily life and that may mean sometimes doing stuff that traditionally ‘church folk’ don’t do. God is interested in the whole man.

One of the reasons why I have not been posting as much as I personally would like to is because I have been going through my own difficulties. Its as if God is putting me the very things that I wrote about…….but in it all, I still have that joy in Christ that surpasses all understanding.

I mentioned my friends across the pond who host Real Talk Radio  in my post about Armor Bearers (if you are not afraid to have your thinking challenged, I would STRONGLY recommend you listen to some of these show discussions). One of the radio hosts is a guy called Elgin Bailey and on a couple of their shows, Elgin gave his testimony about where he is coming from and about his journey. Guys, this is where true Christianity is played out. Not just in church. Have a listen to where God has brought Elgin from

Part 1

Part 2 (from Elgin’s childhood)

Its so important that we remember where people are coming from and sometimes this may mean working with people THROUGH their struggles. There are so many people who have problems and guess what? They need the gospel too. Somehow we need to be able to bridge the gap between a hard life and a transformed life through Christ. Maybe they need to hear YOUR story.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)

And they have conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they loved not their lives even unto death. (Revelation 12:11)

 

One of the things that really frustrates me about Christians sometimes is that we sometimes believe that we above non-christians. We think that somehow that we are exempt from some of the troubles that life throws at us. Yes, we expect to ‘go through’ but there are some things that we don’t expect to go through because we are the ‘King’s kids’. And at one point early on in my Christian life, I used to think like that but then my check engine light came on. Things didnt ‘work’ as I was taught on the pulpit. I started to ask questions. I gave tithes but never saw blessings (in what I thought was blessing) happen to me that was any different to those who didn’t give. I saw those who didn’t give tithes who were getting ‘blessed’ above me. However, I looked at the scriptures and looked at the the life of the main person (apart from Jesus) in the New Testament and that was the apostle Paul. Did I see him being exempt from certain trials as a believer? On the contrary. This is what I saw in 2 Corinthians 11:

But whatever anyone else dares to boast of—I am speaking as a fool—I also dare to boast of that. 22 Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they offspring of Abraham? So am I. 23 Are they servants of Christ? I am a better one—I am talking like a madman—with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death. 24 Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; 26 on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; 27 in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. 28 And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches. 29 Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to fall, and I am not indignant?

30 If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness. 31 The God and Father of the Lord Jesus, he who is blessed forever, knows that I am not lying. 32 At Damascus, the governor under King Aretas was guarding the city of Damascus in order to seize me, 33 but I was let down in a basket through a window in the wall and escaped his hands.

A gospel full of Blessings, Breakthroughs and Divine Favor, is not a gospel at all. If this is all you are hearing in your church, then I would say that you need to run from such teachings and don’t be blinded by false promises. You cannot plead the blood out of a situation. Life is life. Here are some issues that Christians sadly have had to go through in life

- Rick Warren’s son committing suicide
Tedashii (the Christian rapper) losing his one year old son
Marvin Sapp’s wife dies of cancer
Rev David Wilkerson dies in car crash

Then Hebrews 11 goes on to talk about some who…

….were tortured, refusing to accept release, so that they might rise again to a better life. 36 Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were killed with the sword. They went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, afflicted, mistreated— 38 of whom the world was not worthy—wandering about in deserts and mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.”

When we have a false view and expectations God and Christianity based on some of the rubbish that is perpetuated on many pulpits, when stuff happens, we have just set ourselves up for a fall.

So lets be real Christian and not give others this false impression. We will go through EXACTLY (and maybe more) problems than a non Christian but know we have Christ with us THROUGH the trial.

Taken from Wretched:

When I am married, then I will be happy…. until you tie the knot.

When I have children, then I will be happy…. until you have kids.

When my children are more self-sufficient, then I will be happy…. until they are out of diapers.

When my children are in school, then I will be happy…. until they ride off on the bus.

When my children leave the home, then I will be happy…. until you are an empty nester.

When I retire, then I will be happy….until you don’t have to wake up to your alarm clock.

Happy

A Syllogism

Here is a syllogism that is trustworthy and true: Satan is a liar and the father of lies. Satan is in control of the world system. Therefore, the world system is a lie.

The world system tells you that happiness lies just around the corner. Happiness is not where you are, but where you think you should be. Happiness is anything but this. That is a lie.

Perhaps you have purchased the lie. Perhaps you are in a funk because you are not living this God ordained moment with joy. Perhaps you have worked yourself into a state of frustration because today is not tomorrow. You need a Biblical re-orientation.

“This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.” (Ps.118:24) So how do we do that?

Good theology

Once again, our worries, problems, anxieties, frustrations and confusions have a solution in good theology.

1. The doctrine of sovereignty reminds you that the day you are living is exactly the day that God has ordained for you. (Ps.37:23). You are supposed to be in the season you are in. You will NEVER be content with any season until you realize that you are in the season that God has pre-arranged for you.

2. The two verses before Ps. 118:24 give us our reason to be glad today, “The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief corner stone. This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.” (Ps.118:23,24) Knowing that we have a Savior allows us to rejoice today, not tomorrow when we perceive that things will be easier or better.

If you have grown discontent because you perpetually long for tomorrow, re-orient your thinking. Today is the day God wants you to live, and He wants you to live it for Him because He has provided a cornerstone for you.

new-begin-2013-to-2014_72147488208

Happy New Year readers. As you may have noticed, I haven’t really blogged a lot lately. Why I hear you say? In a word….LIFE. I have been doing a lot of learning and self examination in recent months as well as going through some stuff personally in my life….but God is still on the throne and I love him for being faithful to me even when I haven’t been faithful to him. So what have I learned last year? Here are a few things.

  1. First I have learned more about myself. The more I learn about God and closer I get to him, the more of my sin comes to light and I recognize how unworthy I am of God’s grace. Paul said he was the chiefest of sinners. I am forever in debt Christ for the sacrifice that he made to bridge the gap between me and God and to take the punishment for my sins. On the surface, everything may seem OK, but we all struggle with something in our lives which may not always been seen externally. This can sometimes be something as subtle as pride or self righteousness. Romans 7: 15-25 statesFor I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. 16 Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. 17 So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. 18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.21 So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. 22 For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, 23 but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! 
  2. I have learnt that for some reason, Christians are afraid to question things and reluctant to ask questions that are not normally asked in Church. Many are satisfied to follow the crowd without checking things out for themselves. This can be questions such as is Tithing biblical, why do we have Armor Bearers or where in scripture do we see anyone pleading the blood? I thank God for my friends Elgin Bailey and the twins John and Jonathan Bolton on Real Talk Radio who are not afraid to address this issues and questions head on. Check out their shows here.
  3. More and more I am learning that the hardships of life is no respect of persons and just because you are a Christian does not give us any special pass. No matter how many times you try to ‘speak those things’ or ‘decree and declare‘, you will go through EXACTLY the same things that a non believer goes through. Whether that be sickness, financial difficulties, relationship problems and the like. The difference is as Christians, we are going through it WITH Christ and that gives us hope unlike unbelievers. Even though I have always known this, this year has bought it to the forefront in my life
  4. Life is like a vapor. As I get older, I know that I am just on the conveyor belt of life. I saw last year that the older generation are now beginning to drop off like flies. And not only them, but people who are not far away from my age are dying as well. James 4:13-14 says  “Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— 14 yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” I have to make this life matter, not just for now on earth but for eternal. I know that I wont be here forever, so I want to leave an eternal legacy, especially in the life of my children.
  5. I have to make the most of the ‘windows’ in my children’s’ life. What do I mean? Well last year, my son turned 16, my daughter turned 20 and my step daughter also turned 16. There are many windows in your children’s life that you have to make the most of because that window of  opportunity will not last for ever. For example, when they were younger, we used to do a lot of things together. As I stated on my Dear Daddy post, this could be swimming, going to the park. going to the cinema etc. Now they are at that age where I am no longer the person to go out with because they have their own friends and its not cool to be out with Dad all the time. I cannot get those old windows back. It makes it even harder that I do not live with my biological kids but I am still determined to be there for them, no matter what.
  6. People go through some really hard things in life and sometimes, it can be so comfortable to live in the church/christian bubble without ever really engaging in the culture or the real world with real people who have real problems. I don’t want to be so involved in churchianity that Christ is in the background and is not relevant at all to the man on the street. I want Christ to be seen in me IN ALL of my daily life and that may mean sometimes doing stuff that traditionally ‘church folk’ don’t do. God is interested in the whole man.

These are just a few of the things that I learnt last year. I know that I will learn more this year in this school called LIFE. The question is, what will I do with these lessons?

image

On my post of Blessings, Breakthroughs and Divine Favor, some of the questions asked were the following:

Are you frustrated that the Lord has not answered your prayers for the breakthroughs and divine favour which you seek?

Have you faithfully tithed but find that the “windows of heaven blessings” continue to elude you?

Have you diligently sown your seeds into “good soil” and confessed daily but you are still not receiving a harvest?

Do you “give to God” faithfully but feel like the Lord has abandoned you as you are not receiving anything in return?

For some reason, as per the cartoon above, some Christians seem to lose their brains and common sense and it frustrates me when I see believers blatantly being deceived left, right and center when they are blinded by false promises. So below are some basic questions that I really wish some Christians would take time to ask. I know a few do ask them already but for some reason, they choose to ignore it and put it to the back of their minds.

  • Why is that that even though you have been are tithing for so long, your financial position has not really increased any different than an unbeliever? In fact, you may now be poorer as a result and in debt
  • Why is it that this ‘sowing a seed‘ prescription seems to always work with the ‘man of Gawd’ but not with you?
  • Why does it seem like a pyramid scheme where the ones at the top seem to benefit and the ones at the bottom seldom do?
  • What happened to the supernatural wealth transfer? How comes you are not benefitting from it?
  • If the seed faith doctrine really works, why doesn’t the church sow back into YOUR life so that they can receive a blessing and get that building or that auditorium?
  • Why do preachers have ‘testimonies’ from members of the congregation or themselves of blessings as proof that something works but it only seems to happen as an exception and not the norm for the majority?
  • In these healing crusades, why are the healers reluctant to have these independently verified?
  • Why doesn’t everyone get healed if they are such a powerhouse.
  • Why are these ‘healings’ normally done in crusades? Surely it would be more of a testimony if they went into the hospital and healed each patient
  • Why is it that every New Year, it has to be the Year of this and the Year of that giving users false hope? As I mentioned in this post when in my old church there was a ‘Year of the Open Door’ for example. Does that mean that in other years, doors would not be open? What about the sovereignty of God? Supposed God did not want a door to open that year because that person had not reached a certain level of maturity? What if doors were closed to build character in a person? Think about it really
  • What happens if after confessing healing that you or your family gets cancer or dies? Why is is that Christians who ‘speak things into being’ do not seem to be exempt from sickness and are no different than unbelievers when it comes to sickness and disease?
  • Why is tithing taught in many churches but if you look in the New Testament after Christ’s death, there is NOT ONE instance of a believer tithing?
  • Why do some pastors and their wives (who a lot of the time don’t need the money) always seem to get ‘love-offerings’ every birthday, Fathers/Mothers day, Christmas etc while you are left struggling to pay your bills every month?
  • Why is it that even though someone shows me from scripture that what my pastor is teaching is unbiblical, I still defend my pastor first instead of defending the scripture?
  • Why is it that the songs that are TOTALLY unbiblical are the ones that Christians seem to celebrate? For example, ‘The Best in Me by Marvin Sapp when the fact is Christ saw exactly the opposite in us and saw the worst in us, that is why he came to save us

Can I really challenge you to think about these questions and don’t just ignore it but act upon it and dont be blinded by loyalty. It is these kind of questions that caused me to question a lot of stuff that I was being taught as mentioned in the ‘About Me’ section above. It was also what prompted me to start this blog.

I hope I have provoked you to think about this.

As a father who does not live with my two biological kids, I am very mindful of the effect that my abscence could have on them. I could be like one of those dead beat Dads who are nothing more than a sperm donor, or I can do my best to try to be as active as I can in their lives even though I am not always physically there, to try and support them in every way but at the same time still trying to show boundaries. I have chosen the latter but admittedly when the boundaries are different in different homes, it can be hard to enforce and if anything, can be confusing for the child because those boundaries are not clear and consistent. Its especially hard when one is a Christian and the other is not.

For example, when my relationship with their mum broke down, my goal was to still to make sure that the children didn’t receive two different messages from us so that they could play one against the other or that the child felt justified in their actions because ‘Mum or Dad said so’. Even if we disagreed, I wanted us to talk about things ‘behind the scenes’ so that their was a consistent message in front of them.

The reality is things did not work out like that and as much as I wanted us to be at least amicable for the sake of the kids, for various reasons, it was not possible. The end result is that over the past few years, as I have mentioned in posts such as The Pursuit of Happyness and When your children don’t want to follow God, my relationship with my daughter has been, let’s say, less than perfect.

I love my daughter to bits and have always wanted to be there for her. I remember when she was young and I used to make sure that I consciously went out of my way to spend quality time with her, taking her swimming, going to the park as well as other places. I miss that quality time that can so easily be taken for granted when you live with your child.

However, when a father refuses to be in their child’s life, the consequences can be disastrous. Don’t believe me? Watch this video of a girl who wrote a letter to the man who left her behind

When I watched this, it tore at my heartstrings because I never want my daughter to ever feel like that. I will always make sure that I do as much as I can and what is in my power, to keep in contact with her on my side so that when she grows older, she could never say that I have never tried to remain in contact and mantain a relationship with her

If you are a father who has deserted your child for whatever reason, or maybe you are not active in their life, you probably dont realise how much psycholgical damage you may have inflicted on your child and they may justifably be angry with you. It may not always show on the outside but inside, they are hurting. Make a conscious decision today to do something to ‘kick things off’. Depending on the situation what you do will vary and it will be hard for some and easier for others but try something. That may mean a phone call, it may mean sending them a card, it may mean giving them flowers, it may mean taking your child out for a one to one talk, but whatever you do, don’t give up on them. They may not always say so or express it outwardly, but inside, a lot of them WANT a meaningful relationship with you. Sometimes the mother may have filled their mind with negativity so that they cannot see the positive things that you are trying to do but do what YOU have to do and whatever is in YOUR control. Show them that you love them and care for them and that they are always on your mind. Children need their Daddys in their life.

If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. (Romans 12:18)

Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged. (Col 3:21)

Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. (Ephesians 6:4)

This is something that I am beginning to hear more and more. Now before anybody accuses me of being self righteous, I am not perfect and I sin everyday just like everyone else.

Capture

My gripe is not so much with the fact that a christian might cuss, but their attitude towards it. It is as if, some try to justify it, some just let it roll off their tongue with no sense of regret at all. It has so much been engrained into their daily speech that some are probably not even aware that anything is wrong. For the world, cussing and swearing is the norm but for us who call ourselves Christians, we should be different and those around us should notice that difference.

The Bible is very clear as to what our speech should be like:

Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. (col 4:6)

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. (eph 4:29)

Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit (1 Peter 3:10)

With it we bless our Lord and Father, and with it we curse people who are made in the likeness of God. 10 From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so. (james 3:9-10)

There is no shortage of scriptures that admonish us not to cuss or swear. So when we do, what does it reveal about us? Let’s see Jesus had to say on the matter

 “For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit, 44 for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thornbushes, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. 45 The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. (Luke 6:43-45)

It reveals something about our heart condition and with that, we should perform some self examination. The first question you should ask yourself is how do you feel about swearing? Do you hate when you do it or do you try to justify it. This is one of the signs of being a christian. Your relationship with sin should not be the same as before. One of the triggers for bad language is because we have a lack of self control (which is one of the fruit of the spirit) , especially when we are angry (one of the works of the flesh) and its so easy to ‘put down one’s Christianity’ and pick it back up when we have simmered down.

If you have a problem with swearing, first of all, see it as God sees it and that is sinful. The next thing you should do is repent of this sin and then take the problem to God in prayer, sincerely asking him to help you to stop. Read James 3 about taming the toungue.

If you are struggling with swearing, that is a good sign. Why? Because it is a struggle. All Christians struggle with sin, whether it be swearing, lying, gossiping, watching porn and the list goes on. The problem starts when there is no struggle. When you are comfortable with your sin. It could indeed be a sign that you may not be a christian at all and could be a sign of a false conversion.

So remember, “whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (Colossians 3:17)

To get a bit of a background to this topic, please listen to Flame’s song #1 spot

Flame then goes onto the Wade-) radio show where he discusses the following:

- (1:23) – His experience at SXSW 2013
– (2:02) – Workshops he enjoyed at SXSW
– (2:25) – Attending the Kendrick Lamar interview at SXSW
– (3:07) – Flame’s expectations for “#1 Spot” prior to releasing it
– (4:18) – Has Flame had an opportunity to have conversations with those who dislike the song
– (5:00) – Who Flame was talking about on “#1 Spot”
– (7:22) – The History of CHH and the ministry philosophy discussion
– (8:31) – His concern for the direction that many new artists are taking with their music
– (10:16) – The status of his relationship with Lecrae
– (12:37) – Has he dialogued with Sho Baraka and J.R. about these topics
– (14:30) – The importance of having a public forum to dialogue these issues
– (17:00) – The importance Christian Hip Hop Artists preaching the gospel in their music
– (18:15) – His challenge in sharing the gospel when he is doing mainstream media
– (20:30) – How he has seen sharing the gospel in interviews modeled
– (23:20) – Young Noah’s status with Clearsight Music
– (25:07) – The Blackout Circuit Tour

Then to cap everything off, Flame tries to put everything into context about engaging the culture biblically

What do you think? Has the pendulum gone to far the other end when trying to reach out to the lost or have we got the balance just right?

I mentioned this in the ten things I don’t want to be as a Christian but last year I began to realise more and more about how God is interested in the whole man and not just one part as they are all related in one way or another. Let me give you an example of what I am talking about. If you feel stressed (the emotional side), it can cause you to have a stomach ulcer (the physical side). If you have a painful ulcer, it can affect your prayer life (the spiritual side). Lack of prayer may result in things not changing in your life which my stress you out, and the cycle carries on. Admittedly, that was a simplistic example but I hope you understand the point I am trying to make. God does not want you to only take care of your spiritual side but wants you to have a life more abundant in other areas as well. As I stated in the blog,

This may be going to the cinema, going to the park with the family, taking a holiday, going salsa dancing, going out to dinner with friends, going to a wine bar and the list goes on. If you haven’t got one, take up a hobby. I personally love roller skating. Just remember that  “whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (1 Cor 10:31)

balance-wheel

Some people think that doing the practical things above is not spiritual but all these things can enrich a person’s life. Just spending quality time with the children is practical but is part of a bigger puzzle when it comes to the quality of the child’s life and how it will shape them as they become an adult. Also it is those small things that will matter in the end. My friend tweeted

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.”

There must be a balance in everything. If you have to miss church to spend some quality time with your spouse, don’t be made to feel guilty doing so. If you have to miss a prayer meeting because you are physically and/or emotionally drained. Take a rest and replenish yourself. Even God took a rest on the seventh day. If you have been working all the hours that God sends, take a vacation and refuel. Take care of yourself in EVERY way. Make sure you try to stay healthy and get regular exercise. That is the way God made the human body, to be mobile. Not for you to be a couch potato watching the Christian channels all the time

Don’t neglect one part. God is interested in the whole man and not just the ‘spiritual’ side.