Why The Cross?

by Steve Popoola on August 24, 2015 in Belief, Faith

Central to the Christian faith is the cross.  The shape of the cross has become a figure of design for some people and for others, it is just a piece of jewelry. For some others, it is like a talisman that they wear about to protect them from danger.

The cross can be seen almost everywhere but many do not know what it signifies. 

A little background on the cross;  The Cross was used by the Romans as a horrible and shameful instrument of death. It was reserved only for those at the lower levels of society like slaves and servants. So disgraceful was death by the cross that the Romans themselves would declare, “Perish the thought that any Roman die on a cross”. 

Packing Light

by Joseph Mazzella on July 27, 2015 in Biblepraise

 Our neighbors had to move away recently.  An older couple they were headed North to help take care of her sisters who were in ill health.  I am going to miss them.  

They were both so good and kind-hearted.  He was a Rembrandt when it came to home repairs and helped both me and my Dad fix up our homes.  She was always ready to share a sweet smile, an encouraging word, and a delicious dessert. 

His Love Never Fails

by Steve Popoola on July 20, 2015 in Devotion, Love

There are times when a song would keep playing over and over in my mind and I would find myself singing it sometimes even while I am working. 

One of such songs that has filled my thoughts lately is “One Thing Remains” by Jesus Culture.

Higher than the mountains that I face
Stronger than the power of the grave
Constant through the trial and the change
One thing….Remains

Your love never fails, never gives up
Never runs out on me. 

Forgiveness Always Astonishes

by Rubel Shelly on June 29, 2015 in Biblepraise, Character, Faith, Love

 “Then Jesus said, ‘Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing'” (Luke 23:34). What must people around his cross have thought?

Hatred seems to come so easily to human beings. In a tit-for-tat world, forgiveness seems to make no sense. Why should I turn the other cheek after an insult, if I can match his – and go him one better? Why should you overlook her slight, if you can tell someone about it – and damage her reputation? 

Why should we not burn down your store and house, if you harm someone of my race or faith group – even destroy our entire community? I’m sure you get the point.

The top half of the front page of USA Today carried the headline “Hate in America.” A syndicated columnist wrote of how he was “filled with hatred” over the event. And a radio commentator said, “I’m not a religious person, so I don’t get what these people are saying. I just don’t understand.”

The Power of Forgiveness

by Steve Popoola on June 22, 2015 in Discipleshipship, Faith, Love

Why is forgiveness such a powerful thing? In my experience, I have seen people struggle when it comes to forgiving others who have hurt them. How many times have I heard people say, “If you know what he did to me, you won’t ask me to forgive him” or “I can’t ever forgive her for what she did to me, not now, not ever!”

 

Forgiveness is a core tenet of the Christian faith. You can’t ignore it and you can’t avoid it. Sooner or later, someone is going to hurt you, someone will step on your toes and it will really hurt. For other people, forgiveness might be a matter of choice but for the Christian, it is not a choice really, it is what is expected of us.

 

“For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But of you do not forgive men their sins, your heavenly Father will not forgive your sins”  (Matthew 6:14-15 NIV)

Beauty as Divine Strategy

by Rubel Shelly on June 15, 2015 in Devotion, Discipleshipship

Why did people fall all over themselves to get a glimpse of Jesus? Climb trees to see him? Hang on his every word? It was the beauty of the kingdom of God that Jesus exhibited in his personality and actions.

The gentle humility of Jesus convinced people they had no reason to fear him; he was not about to hurt them. His approachability made them feel welcome in his presence; he would never humiliate them. 

They became excited about the things of God because he was among them. Something about the beauty of his life convinced them their lives could become beautiful as well.

The Virtue of Peace

by Steve Popoola on June 8, 2015 in Biblepraise, Character, Faith

Peace is an essential commodity. Everyone wants peace but many do not know how to attain it. Many do not even understand what peace is. We think that peace is the absence of violence and if only we can get the formula to stop all wars and conflicts, there will be peace in our world.

 

I watched President Obama of the United States speaking in Cairo just a few days after being elected into office, reaching out to the Arab world with persuasive and passionate words. His speech was applauded by a lot of Moslems watching and listening to his speech, describing it as a departure from the policies of the former Administration’s policies. Was Obama able to bring about peace in the Middle East? The emergence of Islamic State is proof  to the contrary.

The Virtue of Joy

by Steve Popoola on June 1, 2015 in Discipleshipship, Faith

The virtues which a Christian possesses is not man-madew neither is it a product of the imagination of men. It is the consequence of a relationship with God through the Lord Jesus Christ.

Joy is one of the most misunderstood virtues of a Christian. Its expression negates all normal human reactions. How else would you explain the advice of James to the Jewish Christians? ‘Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds’ (James 1:2)

The Virtue of Patience

by Steve Popoola on May 18, 2015 in Character, Discipleshipship, Faith

Patience. This is one virtue often misunderstood in our world. A patient person is often seen as foolish and cowardly because they do not respond to offenses or infringement of their rights in a predictable manner.

Many fights and quarrels would have been averted if one or either of the parties exercised patience. Many of the road accidents happening on our roads are the product of impatience. The vice of impatience has robbed many people of their joy, destroyed marriages and caused untold hardship to others.

If patience is good, how come we find it difficult to exercise it? I believe it is because impatience is the easy way out. It takes a lot of work to maintain an even temperament in the face of provocation. To lash out however, is much easier. We feel better when we have given the offending party a piece of our mind.

Proverbs 19:11 teaches us, “A man’s wisdom gives him patience; it is to his glory to overlook an offence”. It takes a wise man or woman to exercise the virtue of patience.  Discretion teaches us to defer our anger especially when we have not evaluated the reason behind the provocation. By the time we finish our evaluation, we would have poured cold water on our anger and  speak with clear reason, devoid of the harshness which usually accompanies unbridled anger.

The Virtue of Contentment

by Steve Popoola on May 11, 2015 in Biblepraise, Discipleshipship, Faith

The word “content” as an adjective, is becoming more and more obscure in today’s language. I looked up the word “content” in the dictionary and the meaning was as follows; “Satisfied with what one is or has; not wanting more or anything else”. Another dictionary defined contentment as a “feeling of or showing satisfaction with one’s possession, status or situation”

I am sure if we take a poll of people who are contented in line with the above definitions, the statistics will show a very low figure. This leads us to the question, should we be contented with what we have or where we are? Would that not put us in danger of being complacent?