The True Meaning of Worship

Exodus 23:25

John 4:24

 

What comes to your mind when the word worship is mentioned?

 

Music, lifting up holy hands, prayer, kneeling down, clapping, and dancing. Maybe, I missed out something that came into your mind. But those are some of the most common things that come to mind when we think about worshipping God.

 

There are so many different ways that we can worship our heavenly Father. Great worship music plus a great worship leader that knows how to coordinate everyone, and everything causes us to enjoy worship, right?

 

But did you know that there is more to worshipping God than singing, kneeling, and raising your hands up? Worshipping God starts from the heart. It is not really about what is going on outwardly but about what is going on in our hearts.

 

God had a problem with the children of Israel because they worshipped him with their lips, but their hearts were far from him. It is easy for us to get caught up with religious acts and start worshipping God with our lips and not our hearts. But God sees our hearts, and he knows us inside out.

 

See, it is one thing to clap or lift your hands because the worship leader has told you to do that. It is another altogether when you are doing it out of reverence for God. True worship causes us to stop focusing on ourselves and what is going on around us. It draws us to God alone.

 

Our worship should be out of reverence, not mechanical. As we go before God’s presence, we need to know the truth about him so that  our worship can be based on the truth found in God’s word and not guesswork or religious duty.

 

When we make it a point to incline our hearts to God and be fully submitted to Him, our intimacy with him deepens, and we are able to enjoy our relationship with him. This, in turn, ignites a flame for Christ in our hearts and lives.  Note that you do not have to be perfect for you to worship God in spirit and truth.  Go to God just the way you are and allow him to work through you and in you.

 

Action:

From today make worship part of their everyday life. It should not be something that you do on Sundays only.  Let your actions, thoughts, and words bring glory to God. When you go to church, do it because you want to go and spend time with God. Let it be an act of worship and not a way of keeping your parents from nagging you or seeing friends.  As you spend time with the Lord, be real with him about your thoughts towards him and allow him to refine you so that you can worship him in spirit and in truth.

 

In your free time, listen to worship music and sing along. This will stir your heart, and the messages in those songs will cause you to see Jesus in a different light.

Read Christian Books

Proverbs 18:15

Hosea 4:6

 

Okay, the truth is some of us find the whole process of reading books boring. But we cannot overlook this. If you want to learn and achieve things faster, it is good to learn from other people’s experiences. Meaning you are going to have to do some boring stuff for you to achieve what you want.

 

It is essential for us to always read the Bible and follow what it says. Other materials should never replace the word of God. But God has raised up people within the body of Christ that we can learn from. We need each other to exist and remain steadfast in our Christian walk. That is why reading spiritual books is another great way that will help us to ignite a flame for Christ.

 

See, through writing, some people can share the great experiences and encounters they have had with the Lord with the rest of the world. Through reading books and magazines, some of us know about great men and women of God and the great exploits they did for the kingdom. Reading books will help you understand how other believers ignite a flame for Christ in their lives and the world. It will also help you know what igniting the flame of Christ is really all about so that you can understand what is expected of you.

 

The Bible says that people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. That you desire to do something doesn’t mean that you do it without proper preparation and knowledge. Yes, the Holy Spirit is there to help us every step of the way, and one of the ways he does that is by using other people’s experiences to show us how we can go about certain things and how we can avoid the mistakes they made.

 

Technology has made it easy for us to do a lot of things, including reading books. If you find reading a hard copy to be hard, how about you listen to an audiobook? With your parents’ help, you can buy audiobooks that will help you learn how to go about igniting a flame of Christ.

 

Action:

Look for two to three books of people who shared their journey to spiritual growth or igniting the flame of Christ. You can get hard copies and even audiobooks in case reading a hardcover is challenging for you. In your free time, read about their journeys and see what they did to help ignite the fire. Find out where they went wrong if they shared their mistakes and weaknesses and learn from them and then look for strategies on how you can start your journey to igniting the flame of Christ in your life and in the lives of other individuals.

 

Though some books may be under Christianity, they may not be right for you. Some people take the word of God out of context to suit the message they are trying to pass across. You need to read reviews first to know which books are within the context of the Bible.

Find Your Purpose

Jeremiah 1:4-8

Proverbs 19: 21

 

Every child of God committed to serving God desires God to use their ordinary life extraordinarily. But at times, we find ourselves second-guessing ourselves.

 

I’m still too young. No one will take me seriously.  I have all the time in the world to live life the way I want and then find my purpose. I don’t think God will use a young person like me to ignite a flame for Christ in the kingdom?

 

These are some of the things you hear young people say. Or maybe you have a zeal to serve God, but an older Christian has discouraged you. They have told you that you are too young. No one will take you seriously. Or you have a long way to go; you need to, first of all, face the challenges of life before you can start igniting a flame for Jesus.

 

But it is never too early or too late for you to find your purpose.  Jeremiah told God he was only a youth when God said to him that he has chosen him to be a prophet for the nations.

 

Alas, Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I do not know how to speak; I am too young.” Jeremiah 1:6(NIV)

What was God’s response?

But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am too young.’ You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord. Jeremiah 1: 7-8(NIV)

From God’s response, we learn that God is not a respecter of person. He does not look at your age or the things men look at. God already knew you before you were formed in your mother’s womb, and he has great plans for your life. He created you for a purpose, and the end result of that purpose is for the gospel of Jesus to spread in all nations.

 

God revealed to Jeremiah his purpose. He was to be a prophet to the nations. It is our purpose that enables us to do what God wants. Purpose will enable you to know where you are and where you’re going.  It will help you to avoid bad groups and cause you to move from being lukewarm to hot.

 

Do not follow the crowd. Don’t buy into the lie that you are too young or you have all the time in the world just because you’re young. Find out what God wants you to do, and then follow through. With the Holy Spirit’s help, you will be a great vessel that  God will use to flame up the message of the gospel across the nations.

 

Action:

Do you know your purpose? If yes, are you fulfilling it? If you don’t know your purpose, ask God to reveal it to you.  Ask Him to show you how to fulfill it and to guide you in your ways so that you don’t stray from it.

Focus on Eternity

John 5:24

Ecclesiastes 3:11

 

There is a famous saying that goes begin with the end in mind.  We are often told that the best way to accomplish things in this world is to do them with an end in mind.   Some of us know exactly what we want to be when we grow up.  So we are going to school and taking subjects that will enable us to achieve what we want.

 

In Deuteronomy 30:15-20, God gives us options.  He has given us two choices: death and life.  When we live independent of him, we shall experience death, and when we depend on him, we shall experience life and prosperity. Meaning that all of us have a choice in life. We choose how to live our lives, but we should always remember that each option has repercussions.

 

You may be young and think that it is not really vital for you to think about the end right now but remember that none of us is promised tomorrow. Another thing to remember is that Jesus can come back anytime, so we need to be ready. Before you go to hang out with that click of friends who are engaging in drugs and immorality, take time to think about the end. What will be the consequences of your actions? Will they take you to heaven, or will they take you to hell?

 

When your friends want you to go against your faith and values, you should take a minute to reflect on that.  Think about the consequences.  Is what you are about to do good in the sight of God?  Will it bring glory to him and cause you to enjoy the crown of life at the end of time? If you went drunk driving with your friends and something happened to you, where will you spend your eternity?

 

We serve a merciful God, but we need to also understand that God is a righteous judge. He will judge us accordingly. We should not live recklessly, thinking that we have all the time in the world just because we are young.  Ecclesiastes 11:9-10 tells us to enjoy our youth, to be happy when we are still young. But it also tells us that God will judge us in whatever we do.

 

Focusing on eternity will help you to make the right decisions in your life. It will also ignite a flame of Christ in your heart, for you will have a deep desire to live a life that is pleasing unto God. Not just that, but you will have a longing to tell others about the kingdom of God, and this will, in turn, ignite a fire for God in the body of Christ and the world.

 

Action:

Before making any decision think about the repercussions of the choices, you’re about to make.  When you do anything, do it with the end in mind.  Ask yourself if what you’re about to do will draw you close to Christ.  Will you get the crown of life at the end of time if you take that road?  Or will the decision cause you to miss out on eternal life?

The Sacrifice of Praise

Psalm 150:6

Psalm 100:4-5

 

For us to be on fire for God, we need to be close to him. We need to have an intimate relationship with him. One of the ways that we can draw near to God is through praise.

 

The word of God tells us to enter God’s gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise. This means that praise gives us access to the throne of God. It enables us to draw near to him, and the Bible says that when we draw near to God, he will also draw near us. A look into the Bible, and you will see that great things happened when people drew near to God. Enemies were defeated, lives were transformed, and the kingdom of God expanded.

 

When we praise God, our frustrations in life are neutralized, and we end up being productive in life. It could be that you are struggling to ignite a flame of Christ in your life because of the different challenges you are facing at school or at home. Maybe you are struggling with a particular subject. It could be that your family is on the verge of breaking up because your parents are considering divorce. Perhaps your guardian is not treating you well.

 

It is hard to focus on God and praise Him when bad things are happening around you. It is easy to complain and look for other options instead of praising God. But whining and looking for other options will not give you permanent solutions. Instead of getting depressed, how about shifting your focus to the one who will rescue you from that problem?

 

Stop focusing on what is happening and focus on the one who created you. When you draw close to God, your frustrations and fears will start to drop, and your faith in the Lord will become stronger in faith.

 

When God assured King Jehosaphat that he would fight on behalf of Israel in 2 Chronicles 20, the King told his people to sing praises to God, and when they did, their enemies were destroyed by the Lord. When Paul and Silas were sent to prison for spreading the gospel, Acts 16:16-40, they sang praises to God at midnight, and the prison doors were opened. Not just that, the lives of the jailer and his family were transformed as they gave their lives to Christ.

 

It is not just our situation that changes when we praise God. Unbelievers who monitor our Christian walk also become transformed. When some unbelieving students see you praising God when all odds are against you, they will want to know this God that you serve. Not just that but some of them will give their lives to Him. When this happens, the flame of Christ will not only be ignited in your life but in your community and the world.

 

Action:

There are so many different ways that we can praise God. Find what works for you, or better still, follow the leading of the Holy Spirit. You can praise God with music, the Psalms of David, or with heavenly tongues. Make praise part of your prayer life.

Practicing Media Discernment: Why it is Important and How to Do It

Practicing Media Discernment:

Why it is Important and How to Do It

But test them all; hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil.

1 Thessalonians 5:21–22 (NIV)

The Media has changed the way we do business, socialize, and spend our time. People have successful online businesses, met their life partners,  and experienced growth in their personal and spiritual lives because of the media.

 

But some have strayed away from the Christian faith, become victims of scammers and narcissists, or committed crimes because of the media.

 

The media provides numerous opportunities and benefits, but it also through the media that the enemy lies, controls, and confuses the masses. That is why practicing media discernment is very important.

 

What is Media discernment?

It is measuring what you read, hear or watch with the eyes and ears of Jesus Christ.

 

It is the ability to decide whether the information we are consuming is right or wrong, truth or error, based on what God’s word says.

 

Why is Media Discernment Important?

 

We cannot read every popular book or sing along to every song.  We need to be careful because just the way faith comes by hearing is how fear, doubt, pride, and discouragement come by hearing.

 

Reading a novel or watching a movie may not seem like a big deal. After all, it is just entertainment. But we need to understand that those things influence our thoughts and actions. It may not seem so the first time you watch an explicit movie, but you will start acting out what you see or read with time.

 

Jesus called the eye the lamp of the body (Matthew 6:22). He then said that if the eyes are good, then our whole bodies are good. It means that our eyes are doorways to our souls. They influence how we perceive things. If we see bad things, we will misunderstand things, and the reverse is true.

 

 

How do we Practice Media Discernment?

 

Measure what you Consume

Do not just consume everything that the media shows you. Even if it is trending all over the world, you have to be careful.

 

Find out what God’s word says about that hashtag on social media before you join the discussion. Read book reviews before you buy that book. Then ask yourself whether the information in it glorifies God.

 

Ask the Holy Spirit for Discernment

Some things in the media don’t seem harmful. In fact, they may seem to be in line with the word of God. But in reality, they may not be suitable for you. The devil is crafty. He disguises himself as the angel of light (2 Corinthians 4:11). And since one of the tools he uses to confuse the masses is the media, he will go the extra mile to ensure that he covers his tracks very well.

 

Some of the most popular books that we read have bible verses.  But the authors misuse the word of God to fulfill their agenda. Some Christian movies have nothing to do with the Christian faith. They are just placed under the Christian genre to draw people in and confuse them.

 

We need help from the Holy Spirit. He is the only one who can help us know whether something is good even before we read or watch it.

 

All in all:

 

Practicing media discernment is vital in this current world. The media is being used as a tool to promote evil.

 

Believers need to be careful about how they communicate their lifestyles to the world. But they also have to be cautious about who influences them through the media.

 

We should ensure that whatever we do in deed or word glorifies God.

How to Make Joy a Daily Habit

How to Make Joy a Daily Habit

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV)

We are being encouraged to push on despite what is happening around us. We are told that it is in pushing on that we can create our next happy moment. But the truth is, the more we push, the more we become depressed. Chasing happiness is a recipe for disaster.

 

We need to learn how to make joy a daily habit. Why? God wants us to be joyful. Not that being happy is a bad thing, but when we have joy, we have internal satisfaction. It means that you can remain positive in the midst of a storm.

 

It is impossible for one to be happy when they are going through trials. External circumstances will not allow you to as they will keep changing. But it is possible to have joy.

 

So how do we combat stress with joy daily?

 

Choose What to Believe

Stress is readily available in today’s world. Watch television, read the news or turn on the radio and you will see or hear one bad report after another. It is easy to feel stressed.

 

That is why we need to be intentional about making joy our daily habit. And we can do that by choosing what to believe.

 

See, your circumstance doesn’t determine whether you will walk with joy or be stressed. It is your thoughts about the circumstance that will make your situation stressful. If you think being in a crowded place will stress you, you are going to be stressed. Being around many people isn’t bad, but the thought of it makes the whole experience stressful.

 

Paul rejoiced even though he was in jail (Philippians 4:4-8). He encouraged others to rejoice while he was in prison. I don’t think we would say the same thing if we were in his shoes. But Paul saw being in jail as an opportunity to live for Christ, so he wasn’t stressed about it but rejoiced.

 

Abide in Christ

Every single day, make it a habit to abide in Christ.

 

Abiding means to continue.

 

We should make it a point to continue being in close union with Jesus. Not only when it best suits us but even when we don’t feel like it. 

 

When we abide in Christ, he promises to make our joy complete. (John 15:10-11)

 

Serve Others

Serving others does not mean that you have to become a pastor evangelist or work in a church.  You can serve others through your social media platforms by just writing words of encouragement to your friends and followers.

 

When we serve others daily, we become joyful. Seeing others overcome the issues they are facing because we stood by them fills us with joy. A small act of kindness goes a long way.

 

Joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit.

 

It is not dependent on outside circumstances.

 

We can be joyful even when all odds are against us.  But for that to happen, we need to make joy a daily habit by serving others,  abiding in Christ, and most of all, choosing our thoughts carefully.

Finding Contentment in a Discontented World

Finding Contentment in a Discontented World

The fear of the Lord leads to life; then one rests content, untouched by trouble.

Proverbs 19:23 (NIV)

Money doesn’t buy contentment, but neither does poverty provide it.

 

Many of us believe that as long as we have enough, we will be content with life. But how many of us know that the human heart is never satisfied? The more we acquire stuff, the more we want. It is never enough.

 

So how is contentment attained? How do we find contentment?

 

By Knowing Christ

Earning a living and raising a beautiful family are great things to do. But they’ll never bring contentment in our hearts.

 

Jesus is our only source of contentment. Do you know why?

 

  • He loves us unconditionally

Although he knows our flaws, Jesus loves us unconditionally. He will never reject you, even when you mess up.

 

  • He is Our Source of Strength

Paul learned how to remain content in every situation. This came about when Paul realized that he could do all things through Christ, who strengthens him.

 

Like Paul, we can also find contentment through Christ, who strengthens us (Philippians 4:12-13).

 

  • Without Him, we can do Nothing

Jesus said that without him, we can do nothing.

 

It means that even though we work hard and try to achieve success according to the world standards, it is only through Jesus that we can be successful.

 

We may attain all the material wealth that we want, but without Jesus, we will always be discontented in our hearts. Everything we will be striving for will be outside God’s will.

 

By Obeying and Serving God

 

In Job 36:11, we are told that it is by obeying God that we will be contented and prosperous in life.

 

So let us make it a habit to obey God and serve him faithfully. It will not be easy, and God may ask you to do things that don’t seem to be ‘cool’ according to the world standard, but we will be content in our hearts.

 

By Trusting God with all your Heart

It is easy to be anxious about life, especially in a world where we are made to believe that being successful means having a posh car, a big house, rich friends, and many followers on social media.

 

Even believers are getting carried away by the world’s definition of success.

 

We don’t find contentment in the things of the world. We find it God. That is why we need to place our trust in God. Follow his lead and trust the process that he is taking you through.

 

Doing this will not only open doors of blessings in your life, but it will also cause you to find contentment in your life.

 

It could be that you have bought into the lie that contentment comes from having a lot of money, a big car, and a great family. Well, while all those things are good, they will never fill up the void in your heart.

 

People will disappoint you, material wealth will come and go, but only God will remain faithful to you.

 

If you want to be content in life, start with God. Focus on Jesus and allow him to take charge of your life.

3 Important things the Bible says about Friendship

3 Important things the Bible says about Friendship

One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

Proverbs 18:24 (NIV)

Do your friends point you to Jesus or away from him?  Can you genuinely say that you have at least one Godly friend?

 

One of the things that we women value is friendship. When something great happens in our lives, we always call up our friends to let them know the great news.  The same is true when something terrible happens to us.

 

 Friends help us to see life from a different perspective.  That’s why christians need to surround themselves with godly friends.  Friends who will not only be there in our good and bad times but will also point us back to Jesus Christ.

 

For us to choose the right friends, we need to understand what the Bible says about friendship.

 

So let’s get to it:

 

 

1) Walk with Wise Friends

Proverbs 13:20 says, if we walk with the wise, we will become wise.  But if we keep company with fools, we will become fools too. We need to be very careful about the people we call friends.  If our friends do foolish things, it is only a matter of time before we also do them.

 

So do not choose friends just for the sake of it.  Take time and ask God to give you the wisdom to choose friends who will help you become a better person.

 

2) Two a better than one

 

Some of us don’t find the idea of having friends very appealing. We prefer to keep to ourselves.  While doing that helps you avoid many problems that come with having people around you, it is not the best thing to do.  We were created for relationships, not just in marriage but also in friendship. 

 

Jesus called himself our friend. Meaning God values friendship just the way we humans do.

 

Your friends are going to come through for you in challenging seasons.   They will hold you up in prayer when all you want to do is quit.  When you feel low, a good friend will help you rise again and continue walking in faith. (Ecclesiastes 4:9)

 

You will be there for each other in good and bad times.

 

 

3) Gossip Separates Good Friends

Most friendships end because of gossip (Proverbs 16:28).  More especially for women.  We always want to know what is happening in other people’s lives. At times it not in bad faith, but even then, things may not go as expected.

 

When your friend shares with you a secret, let it remain a secret.  Don’t go telling other people about your friend. And avoid making friends with people who love to gossip. They will gossip about you to other people just the way they gossip about others with you.

 

Let us be like Jonathan, who watched out for David, his friend, even though his father was after David’s life. When someone comes to you with gossip about your friend, be wise in handling the situation.

 

All in all:

 

It is important to turn to God for help when choosing friends. Doing so will enable us to avoid a lot of problems that crop up because of wrong friendships.

 

A little leaven leavens the whole bread, so you need to be careful about your friends. And always strive to protect your friendship through prayer and proper communication.

Hungry? Feed on the Word of God.

Hungry? Feed on the Word of God.

 

2 Timothy 3:16-17

Joshua 1:8

 

What do you do when you want to become strong physically?  You eat a balanced diet, take water, and do other things like exercise, right?  The same is true about your spiritual life.  If you want to be strong in your spiritual walk, you will have to feed your spirit with spiritual food, which is God’s word.

 

The Bible tells us that man does not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.  This means that spiritual food, which is God’s word, is more important to us as humans than our daily bread.  It doesn’t mean that you should starve yourself. No God expects you to take good care of your body because it is his temple and the Holy Spirit dwells in it.

 

For a teacher to teach his students effectively, he needs to be trained as a teacher. In the same way, for you to be on fire for God and operate in the way he wants you to, you need to be strong in the spirit and well-trained in spiritual matters.  That is why you need to spend quality time in the word, to meditate on it day and night and not turn from it to the left or right.

 

Just so we’re clear, when you start feeding on the Word of God, it doesn’t mean that things will start working out automatically. Or that you will begin to see the changes immediately.  It will take time for you to move from a place of carnality to being spiritually-minded.  So when you do not see any evidence of change on the outside, you should not be quick to give up. Keep on feeding the word of God because it begins by transforming your mind and your heart.

 

Ignite a flame for Christ in your life by studying scripture that talks about Jesus and his love for you.  Understanding God’s unconditional love causes man to love him too and want to know him more. The more time you spend in the word, the more you get to know who God is and the deeper your desire will be to know him even more.

 

Action:

As you come up with your routine, set aside time during which you should spend reading the word of God.  You don’t have to copy someone else’s routine. You can start by reading a verse a day or follow a theme for a month before you go to the next theme. There are so many devotionals online that you can use as guidance to help you during your devotional time so that you can be able to know what to read and when to read.

 

Remember not to be too uptight but allow the Holy Spirit to help you read the right scripture and open your mind to understand the word of God on a deeper level.