How to Choose the Right Church

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Hebrews 10:24-25 (NIV)

With a lot of scandals happening in churches all over the world, it is becoming hard to find the right church.

Be very careful when looking for a local church because the kind of place you go to worship God will have a significant impact on your spiritual life.

Now some people think going to church is optional but that is not true. The church was purchased with the blood at the cross because God wants us to fellowship with other believers. So belonging to a local church is very important.

But how does one choose the right church?

Ask God for Guidance

Before going out to look for a church, ask God to order your steps. He knows the best churches around your area that can help you grow spiritually.

Praying seems to be an obvious step, but it is the most critical step because God knows what goes on in every church. You may get fooled easily by the excellent treatment you get when you visit particular churches, but God knows what goes on in the hearts of people who fellowship in that church.

A Word Based Church

Look for a church that is word-based that is one that does not stray from the word of God.

Today many people are flocking to churches with preachers who preach messages that make the congregants feel good. But the word of God is not meant to make us feel good about ourselves. It is supposed to correct, rebuke, and encourage people. (2 Timothy 4:2)

The preachers in the church you go to should preach about salvation, grace, holiness, and the coming judgment.

Some preachers only preach messages that bring fear in people’s heart so that they can instill fear and control the congregation. You need to be wary of that. The word of God is not meant to bring demonic fear in our hearts for God does not give us a spirit of fear but of power, love, and sound mind. 

Leadership

We are living in dangerous times where false preachers have crept into the church. They want to confuse innocent people by teaching them wrong doctrines so that Christians can fall away from the true gospel of Jesus Christ. The good thing is we judge true believers by the fruits they bear.

Ask your heavenly Father to give you the gift of discernment so that you can be able to differentiate true church leaders from false ones.

Ministry

We do not just go to church to be ministered to and then leave.

The church you go to should be a place that helps you to develop your calling.  God has given us different gifts. A good church will encourage you to build and grow your gifts by creating opportunities where you can serve. (Ephesians 4:11-13)

The truth is there is no perfect church out there, but with God’s help, you will be able to find a place where you will learn more about God and grow spiritually. Go to a church where people worship God in spirit and truth.

How to Serve Others like Jesus

Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant,  and whoever wants to be first must be your slave—  just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.

Matthew 20:26-28 (NIV)

Every Christian is called to serve others.

But let’s be honest, it takes grace and a lot of patience for us to serve other people diligently.

In a world where people want others to help them get to the top, it is hard to commit yourself to help others without expecting anything in return. But biblically, we are supposed to do everything as unto the Lord, and that includes serving others. (Colossians 3:23)

The Bible does not ask us to help others when we feel like; it tells us to do it the way Jesus served us. Serve other people in your household, church, community, nation, and the world at large.

Here is how you can serve others like Jesus:

Add Value in other People’s Lives

Instead of serving others for personal gains, focus on adding value in their lives. Find out their needs and then help them out.

Jesus came on earth to serve us not to be served. Though he was fully God, he left heaven and came on earth to save humanity because he cared and loved us the same way his father did.

God has given you gifts so that you can use them to serve people that genuinely need your help.

Be Caring Towards Others

Jesus genuinely cared about people. While Christ had a lot on his plate, he did not focus on checking tasks off his to-do list. Jesus cared so much that he stopped and attended to the woman with the issue of blood even though he was headed to Jairus’ house. (Luke 8:40-48)

Have a genuine interest in people around you.

Listen to them when they talk and make inquiries about how they are faring on from time to time. Instead of putting other people down build their confidence with the word of God. Let care be part of your everyday life.

Follow God’s Leading

Ever wondered why Jesus was able to do so much in a short period?

Jesus did only what his father told him to do. (John 12:49)

But how did he know what his father wanted? He used to pray. Our Lord used to rise early or separate himself from people so that he could spend time with his father.

During prayer time, listen to your heavenly father so that he can lead you in the way you should go. He will show you who to help and how to help them best. As you carry out your tasks in the day, don’t let your busy schedule to overshadow your relationship with God. That way, you will be able to hear him when he prompts you to help.

We need to be imitators of Jesus Christ, and one of the ways that we can imitate him is by serving others. But let us always serve others to glorify God, not man. We will not do it correctly, but by God’s grace, we will be able to make a difference in the world.

Honor God by Living a Healthy, Christian Lifestyle

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

1 Corinthians 10:31(NIV)

When people look at us, they should see Christ living in us.

Yes, we will fall many times, but that should not stop us from honoring God with our lives.

Our major goal as Christians should be to lead lifestyles that honor our heavenly Father. The way we live should match our faith.  Why? It makes other people who are not Christians to want to be like us, to be Christ-like.

Most of us like to quote scripture and speak about Jesus. It is not bad; it is the right thing to do. But the truth is people, especially worldly people judge us based on our lifestyle. When our lives don’t match our faith, they end up thinking that Christianity is for people who don’t practice what they preach.

So, how do we honor God through our lifestyles?

Take Good Care of yourself

Your body is a temple of God; you need to take good care of it.

Eat healthy food, drink enough water, and exercise so that you can be fit enough to carry out the assignments God has for you.

We see people changing their bad eating habits because of their loved ones. That’s great, but what if we went a step further and took care of our bodies as a way of honoring God?

Sounds great right?

We should not stop at eating right and exercising regularly. We need to also protect our minds by filtering what we watch and read. We should fill our minds with the word of God.  Some things may not see harmful now but will harm you later. Remember, the eyes are the lamp of the body.

Surround yourself with the right people

Are your close friends’ followers of Jesus Christ? What do they love doing in their free time?

The people you hang out with will influence you positively or negatively, so you have to be careful about your circle of friends (1 Corinthians 15:33).

Walking out of some relationships may be hard, but it is better to drop some friends than to allow them to lead us stray and cause us to stumble in our spiritual walk. Glorify God by being around people who love and worship him.

It is easy to get caught up with so many things that we may forget to honor God with our lifestyle. But there is more to Christianity than just reading the bible, praying and going to church. Our lifestyles need to be a reflection of our faith in the Lord.

Ask God to help you live a life that honors him. When you fall, don’t remain down, get up, and keep the good fight of faith. You’re not the only one that is going through challenges; every Christian is struggling with something. But remember, at the end of it all, we shall receive the crown of life.

It is not easy, but God is on our side; we shall make it.

Treat yourself and others right. Rest, eat right, read, and watch things that build you up spiritually, and surround yourself with the right people. Lay your life down for Christ, and God will lift you up.

4 Encouraging Bible Verses for Hard Times

Ever wish life could be peaceful, free from; fear, sickness, failures, trials and temptations?

Well, we all want that, but we live in a fallen world.

There will be times of increase, good health, and promotions. There will also be moments of frustration, failure and disappointment.

But God has given us his word to encourage and uplift us in difficult times, to correct us when we mess up and to build our faith. Focus on scriptures and believe that God will come through for you the way he has promised.

Here are four bible verses that will encourage you in hard times;

When Dealing With Anxiety

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Philippians 4:6(NIV)

Are you feeling anxious?

Well, here is the thing, worrying won’t change your situation; it will only leave you depressed.

Paul encourages us to pray about every situation in this verse. 

Turn the big and small stuff you are worried about to God in prayer. Stop trying to fix everything on your own. Surrender them to God and thank God for handling your situation. He loves you and is always ready to help you.

Keep believing in Him, and he will never let you down. 

When You Are Afraid

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Deuteronomy 31:6(NIV)

We all deal with different kinds of fear.

The devil keeps bombarding us with thoughts of death, failure and shame. There are also different kinds of experiences, new ventures and responsibilities that leave us fearful. We wonder if we will measure up or if people will like us.

The truth is we will never get rid of fear, but we can face these challenges courageously because God is with us. Don’t be afraid of people, the devil or situations that seem impossible.

Be strong and do what is required of you. God is with you. He is helping you through it all.

No, you don’t see him, and you may not feel his presence, but he is there, and he will not abandon you.

When you are in Trouble

And call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me.

Psalms 50:15 (NIV)

Whom do you run to when in trouble?

Do you go to the experts, friends, family or God?

Well, it is not wrong to ask for help from people, but it is better to run to God first. Honestly, most of us see God as our last option when he should be the first.

Run to him in your day of trouble. He has promised to deliver you and not just that by the time he is done, you will know that God is almighty and he is who he says he is.

When Going Through Trials

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.

James 1:12 (NIV)

The word of God doesn’t promise us an easy life.

We will go through different trials and temptations in this world.

Don’t give up in the middle of trial and even if things don’t change now; we are promised great things in eternity. Love God and persevere. At the end of it all, you will receive the crown of life.

The enemy would like to make you believe that you are the only one that is going through trials, but that is not true. Know that every believer is going through various kinds of trials, but it is only those who endure to the end that will be crowned.

Don’t give up stand firm in God’s word. He loves you and is with you through it all.

3 Lessons about Suffering from the Life of Hannah

Because the Lord had closed Hannah’s womb, her rival kept provoking her in order to irritate her. This went on year after year. Whenever Hannah went up to the house of the Lord, her rival provoked her till she wept and would not eat. Her husband Elkanah would say to her, “Hannah, why are you weeping? Why don’t you eat? Why are you downhearted? Don’t I mean more to you than ten sons?”

1 Samuel 1:6-8

Suffering is part of life as long as we live in this fallen world.

Discouraging, right?

Well, yes, but we cannot run from the truth.

We need to learn how to handle pain and suffering, not just when it is happening but also before it does.

While we should not spend every waking moment expecting bad things to happen, we need to be prepared. We will lose loved ones, get disappointed,  there are things we want but will never have, or they may delay manifesting in our lives. All these will lead to pain and suffering.

One of the best ways to know how to handle suffering is through the life of Hannah in the Bible.

Hannah wanted a child, but God had closed her womb, and she suffered for it. Now, maybe she could have found a way of living with it, like adopt, but no, there was Peninah, always mocking her.

Are you going through something similar? There is this thing you have wanted all your life, but it is just not manifesting in your life. No matter what you do with your human effort, things are not working out.  All this is making you suffer mentally, physically, emotionally or spiritually.

But, why is suffering part of the Christian life?

 

Suffering is your Battlefield

It is through suffering that we learn how to fight our spiritual battles.

While Hannah had to deal with a real person, that is Peninah; we deal with Satan and his demons. He is there to taunt us just like Peninah did to Hannah. But, not just that he also wants to steal, kill and destroy.

How we deal with challenges is very important, we can let things overpower us by spending time feeling sorry for ourselves, or we can choose to handle our suffering spiritually as Hannah did.

 

Prayer is a Great weapon when you’re suffering

Hannah spent time crying, but it was when she chose to pray that things started working for her good.

Imagine if she had continued crying instead of praying.

If you are going through a difficult situation, then go deep in prayer. We are told to pray at all times. Praying shows that you trust God and are placing everything in God’s hands.

 

Suffering Tests and Stretches our faith

Something that stands out in this story is that God himself had closed Hannah’s womb.

Could it be that God is testing your faith?

Maybe what you are going through is God’s doing.  Peninah may have been busy mocking Hannah, but she forgot that Children are a gift from God and so it wasn’t up to Hannah but God.

God uses suffering to test and stretch our faith.

Hannah promised to lend her child to God. Now it takes faith to make such an immense promise. The suffering she went through stretched her faith to a level that she was willing to do that.

After all that Hannah went through, God blessed her with a son.  While we do not know much about Peninah’s children, we know that Hannah’s son Samuel became a great Prophet in Israel. The story of Hannah should encourage us to soldier on no matter what we are facing.

If we hold on to God’s word and go deeper in prayer, he will give us great and marvelous things that are beyond our imaginations.

Why You Should Let the Peace of God Reign in Your Heart

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

John 14:27 (NIV)

A lot is going on all around us today. Unfortunately, most of it is very disturbing. Switch on TV or sign in to your social media accounts and you will see or hear sad and scary real-life stories happening every single day.

Not just that our own lives are full of trials and temptations.

Jobs on the line, family disputes, health problems, business failure, are some of the things we go through.

So, what do we do?

As Christians, we need to live the way Jesus lived on earth. He said we would have trials and tribulations. So that means all the things that steal peace from our hearts will always be there one way or another, but we have to know how to handle them.

Despite the challenges, Jesus faced, one of the things that made Him standout was the peace he had. For example, He was peaceful when people insulted Him, when they wanted to push him off a cliff he slipped away peacefully, Jesus slept in the middle of a storm, and when they tried to stone him, he peaceful walked away in their midst.

Jesus had the peace that surpasses all understanding.

The good thing is you can choose to have that same peace of Jesus in your heart.

Worrying never takes your problems away. It only steals your joy and peace. Life has its ups and downs. You can never wait until everything gets better to live peacefully.

The world has come up with different systems and ways in which people can find peace. But most of the methods are temporary solutions. You need something substantial, and that is the peace of Jesus.

What are you going through right now? Are you letting the peace of God reign in your heart or are you busy looking for temporary solutions?

Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.

Ephesians 6:11 (NIV)

Here are things you should do to have the Peace of God.

  • Study scripture and Pray

Recognize that God is the true source of peace. Get verses about peace and study them. Meditate on these scriptures until they become alive in your heart. Then ask God to help you in whatever season you are in.

  • Stand firm

Stand firm in the word of God and believe that he has heard you and has filled your heart with peace. God will never fail you. You have to believe that everything will work out for your good in the end.

Defend your peace because the devil will try his best to steal it from you.

  • Focus

There more you focus on what is happening the more distracted you become and it leads to anxiety and depression. Shift your focus from the things that are happening in the world and fix your eyes on Jesus.

You have to let the peace of God to reign in your heart. God will not force it on you. When things seem to be working against you, choose to rest in the finished work of Jesus and let God’s peace rule your heart, let God make everything beautiful at the right time.

7 Bible Verses About Mental Health

Brown Book Page

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 4:6-7 
“casting all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.”
I Peter 5:7
“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”
John 4:27
“For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.”
II Timothy 1:7
“Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”
Romans 12:1-2
“Pleasant words are a honeycomb, Sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.”
Proverbs 16:24
“and that you be renewed in the spirit of your mind,”
Ephesians 4:23