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.

 

Tips on Praying without Ceasing

Tips on Praying without Ceasing

Jeremiah 21:12

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

 

One of the best moments in life is when you spend time with loved ones, and you get to talk for hours, right. Yes, some of us are introverts, but we also enjoy having good conversations with our loved ones from time to time. Through healthy communication, we can build relationships that last and become close to God.

 

Just the way you enjoy spending time with loved ones is the way you need to enjoy prayer. When we pray, we are merely talking to God, pouring our hearts and listening to him as he guides us in how we should go.

 

Prayer changes situations, and it also changes us. It brings heaven down, and through it, men and women of God can do great exploits for the kingdom. If we want to see a significant difference in the world, we have to make prayer part of our daily lives.

 

When we invite God into our lives through prayer, we give him the chance to transform us into great kingdom men and women. Through prayer, we give the Holy Spirit access to our lives so that he can enable us to be on fire for Christ.

 

Prayer should never be taken lightly because when we pray, we actually tell God we can’t, but he can.  It is through prayer that we are able to admit our weaknesses to God and magnify him. God’s word tells us to pray without ceasing meaning it is not something that we should do only when we will feel like or once in a while. Each one of us needs to develop a disciplined prayer life.

 

You don’t need to pray perfect prayers, and you don’t need to pray like other people. Just pour your heart to him, and even if all you can do is say five words, God is okay with that.

 

The more you pray, the easier it will be for you to open up to God, and with time you will find yourself praying long prayers. Consistency will also cause you to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit, causing you to be on fire for God.

 

Not just that, but the people you will be praying for will become on fire of God, and this will cause a remarkable transformation in the kingdom. The word of God says that the prayer of a righteous man availeth much. It is through your prayers that the Holy Spirit will change lives. And there will be a revival in the church and the world.

 

Action:

Start each day with prayer. Remember, you don’t have to pray for one hour each morning like your youth pastor. Spend a few minutes talking to God. Ask him to protect you throughout the day. During the day, keep talking to him and say a short prayer before you go to bed. Ask God to give you grace for prayer so that you can be able to find the words and even pray long prayers. If you are struggling to find the right words to pray, buy a journal, and write down your prayers. Doing this will make it easy for you to pour out your heart to God.

 

How to Practice the Presence of God

How to Practice the Presence of God

Exodus 33

Psalm 16:11

 

“The most holy and important practice in the spiritual life is the presence of God – that is, every moment to take great pleasure that God is with you” ~ Brother Lawrence

 

It is challenging for us to know how to balance life, especially when you have to remain under your parents’ authority and still forge your own independence as you start to become an adult. You have to follow the rules and regulations set by your teachers and parents yet at the same time find a way to enjoy your independence for you are no longer entirely dependent on your parents.

 

At this stage of life, you have a mind of your own, and there some decisions you would love to make without consulting anyone. Unfortunately, that is not the case because you still have to talk to your parents and teachers and ensure that you’re on the right path.  You still have to check up with them because you’re under their care and are still their child no matter how old you get.

 

The children of Israel wanted to enjoy their own independence. Even though they knew that they could not handle life’s issues without God, they still went ahead and tried to do things their own way. We also do the same from time to time, but God did not create us to live apart from Him. We are supposed to depend on him for everything in our lives. When we try to do things apart from God, we end up messing up our lives, which causes us to leave in a state of defeat. 

 

When God told Moses that he wasn’t going to the promised land with them because the Israelites were stiff-necked people, Moses told Him not to send them into the promised land. Why did he tell God that? Moses knew that for the children of Israel to succeed in their journey to the promised land, they needed the presence of God to go with them.

 

It is in the presence of God that we become courageous and bold.  Trying to do things on our own will cause us to fail miserably.  Jesus said without him, we can do nothing. Meaning that we cannot ignite a flame for Him without his presence in our lives.

 

If you want to fan the flames of your Christian walk, start practicing the presence of God in your life.  Instead of focusing on your flaws or what is happening in the world, start focusing on God’s presence in your life.  See Him there with you, leading you to places you never imagined. When you fail, see him there encouraging you to get up and to continue fighting the good fight of faith.

 

Action:

When you get up in the morning, let God be the first person you think about and spend time with before you do any other thing.  Speak to Him like you would a friend and thank Him for giving you another chance to fulfill His purpose.

 

Throughout the day, see God there with you. If you are at school, see him helping you understand what the teachers are teaching you.  See Jesus helping you with your homework or house chores and guiding you where you need guidance.

 

7 Bible Verses on Prayer

7 Bible Verses on Prayer

There’s no stronger connection to God than prayer. Whether you want to celebrate something big that’s happening, have a problem in your life, are struggling with anxiety, or just want to thank God, you can pray! Communication with God is important, and we can strengthen our bond with Him through daily prayer. Here are some Bible verses on prayer that can remind you of that!

 

Jeremiah 29:12

“Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you.”

 

Philippians 4:6

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”

 

Psalm 102:17

“He regards the prayer of the destitute and does not despise their prayer.”

 

James 5:16

“Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”

 

Matthew 26:41

“Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

 

Acts 2:21

“And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

 

Job 42:10

“And the Lord restored the fortunes of Job, when he had prayed for his friends. And the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before.”

Embracing Your True Identity

Embracing Your True Identity

 

John 1:11-13

Colossians 2:9-10

 

How can God love someone like me? I don’t deserve anything from God. I wish I was just like other Christians, they seem to have it all together, but the same cannot be said about me.

 

Have you ever made any of these statements or heard someone make them? At times we find ourselves struggling with our true identity despite what the Bible says about us. We look at what the word of God says and then look at ourselves and don’t see a connection. We are like the complete opposite of what the word of God says about us.

 

If you study the life of Jesus, you’ll notice that he was able to accomplish so much within a short time. But why was that? It is because he was confident of who he was. Jesus did not second guess himself, and it didn’t matter what people said or thought about him.  He believed he was the son of God, that his father loved him and that he was here on earth for a purpose. In short, Jesus knew and embraced his true identity.

 

Do you know who you’re? Do you love and accept yourself with all your flaws and all? When you read the word of God, do you believe everything it says about you? Or does what the Bible says about you sound too good to be true? 

 

It is easy to get caught up with what the world calls acceptable. When we are at school, we may try hard to fit in with other students because we want to belong. It is not wrong to desire that, but we should never allow people to define us. Our identity should be in Christ, not in the things of this world that are just passing away.

 

Honestly, it is hard to be on fire for God when we don’t love and accept ourselves. We will keep second-guessing our relationship with God, and that will hinder us from moving forward with our lives. To serve God in spirit and in truth, we need to first embrace our identity.

 

When you know your identity in Christ, you stop trying to find validity in other people or things and run to God.  When the enemy attacks you in different ways, you continue to stand firm in faith and hold onto God’s promises because you know that your identity is found in Christ and him alone.  In times of despair, when your faith is under attack, it becomes hard for the devil to convince you to quit because you know that you have been bought at a price and you are complete in him. 

 

You do not have to second-guess yourself, child of God.  Your heavenly Father wants to use you mightily.  But for him to do that, you need to embrace your identity in Christ and see yourself complete in him. When you do that, you become confident, just like Jesus was confident in his own identity. 

 

Action:

Get a sheet of paper or book and write down three things you love about yourself and three things you wish you could change. Go to the Bible and find out what the Bible says about you. Spend time meditating on Bible verses about your identity in Christ until they become alive in you.