Lights of Hope

by Steve Popoola on April 20, 2015 in Faith, Love, Relationships, World Events

A few days ago, we were greeted with the news of violent attacks against foreigners in South Africa.

Clips of videos and pictures containing disturbing violent scenes have been circulating all over social networks and it is quite difficult not to feel a sense of sadness over the affair.

I do not for once believe that South Africans are cruel people. I have wonderful South African friends and many are readers on Biblepraise newsletter and I am sure that they are saddened by the terrible and shocking recent events happening in their country. It is heartwarming to see South African University students, Journalists and Musicians protesting against the xenophobic killings.

Black Lives Matter

by Rubel Shelly on April 13, 2015 in Biblepraise

The cover story of Time magazine this week is “Black Lives Matter.” Yes, they do. And so do brown lives, yellow lives, red lives, and lives of all colors. It is high time white people said as much, acted accordingly, purged our racist attitudes, and got over our defensiveness against discussing racism.

 

“We don’t want to be held responsible for bringing Africans to these shores as slaves over two centuries ago!” Of course not. But the fact remains that it happened. Black people continue to suffer for it. White people continue to have the upper hand in America. And the playing field isn’t level.

 

“We’re not all racists!” No, but some of my more candid black friends have helped me understand the difference between personal and institutional racism. And there is still far too much of the latter for anyone to deny that there are no personal advantages that we get to claim when our skin is lighter.

The Preparation

by Mary-Ellen Grisham on March 30, 2015 in Biblepraise

Not long after Peter’s confession that Jesus is the Christ, “the Son of the living God,” Jesus begins to prepare his disciples for his death and resurrection. (Matthew 16: 13-28 NIV)

 

The disciples seem slow to understand and accept this forecast, almost as if their minds are blocking a reality they do not want to accept.  It may be partly for this reason that Jesus selects Peter, James, and John to witness His transfiguration.  Even with all the evidence the disciples had already witnessed of Jesus’ special nature, this is a compelling event that dramatically emphasizes His divinity and His fulfillment of prophecy.

No Greater Love

by Steve Popoola on March 23, 2015 in Faith, Love

No one has greater love [no one has shown stronger affection] than to lay down (give up) his own life for his friends.  (Joh 15:13, Amplified Bible).

Many Christians all over the world recognize the last week before Easter, as the Hoy Week. It symbolizes the week when Jesus faced the sentence of death, not for what He did wrong but as a sacrifice for the whole world.

Was it easy for Him? Definitely not! Imagine Him in the garden, knowing the task which lay before Him. Imagine the description of His sweat falling from His body as great drops of blood.  I believe Jesus went through any trauma you can speak of; psychological, physical and mental. 

What Is Your Priority?

by Steve Popoola on March 9, 2015 in Devotion, Faith, Love

All through life, we make certain things our priority.  At various times as children, we tend to place our priorities on various things like play and food.

 

As we grow older however, our priorities begin to shift. Other priorities emerge, education, career, family, friendships, self-actualization, and community involvement among others.

 

As Christians, it is important that we know what where our priorities lie. It is so easy for us to shift emphasis from what God wants us to do to other things that look and sound exciting, yet should be the least in the terms of our priority.

 

In Matthew 23:23, Jesus expressed his displeasure at the Pharisees.  They were very meticulous in calculating tithe due to be paid by the people, even to the minutest measurements of vegetables and plants.

Buying the Gear But Never Working Out

by Rubel Shelly on February 23, 2015 in Discipleshipship

An article in the Wall Street Journal raised an interesting question: Why do so many people buy athletic gear and then never engage the sport?

 

The article in question claims “the U.S. athletic apparel market will increase by nearly 50 percent to more than $100 billion at retail by 2020, driven in large part by consumers snapping up stretchy tees and leggings that will never see the fluorescent lights of a gym.”

 

But retailers are happy to play along. So they produce jogging pants and running shorts to sell at $90 to men who may never jog. Outdoor stores debut new lines of flannel shirts and hiking boots for both men and women who likely have no intention of actually hiking or camping. But who cares? It sells.

The Joy of Being Chosen

by Steve Popoola on February 9, 2015 in Devotion, Faith

In various aspects of living, people are chosen for different functions or roles.  Interviews are conducted every day leading to a decision to choose the right candidate for the job. 

In sports, coaches and technical teams have to decide which athletes would go through based on their perception of who they think would bring glory to the team.

The Grammy awards which took place this week was based on the nomination of artistes in different categories of music. Being nominated itself is a thing cherished but ultimately, only one person would emerge as the winner.

The consequence of making these choices is that some people will be ecstatic with joy while others would be disappointed, although they might hide it under the cloak of being magnanimous.

A Hope Built To Last

by Steve Popoola on January 26, 2015 in Faith

Every one hopes for something.  Children hope that their parents would take care of them and buy them nice things. An employee hopes that he will get a raise at work, voters hope that the person they are voting into power will address their yearnings and the list goes on and on.

The Missing Link

by Rubel Shelly on January 12, 2015 in Biblepraise

The term “missing link” occasionally makes headlines in terms of a skeleton or fossil being unearthed. But it also fits the human profile for success in such arenas as business, politics, and faith.

 

When we educate people nowadays, we tend to focus on competencies. When a university builds its business department, for example, it makes strategic hires in accounting, management, marketing, and human resources. The same principle holds from kindergarten through graduate and professional schools. We want people to master certain knowledge, skills, and functions.

 

Yet it continues to amaze us – or, so we say! – that CFO’s rob their companies blind or CEOs tank them for some version of a double life. Late-night television makes fun of the same phenomenon with mayors, governors, and presidents. Then there are the well-publicized scandals involving priests, rabbis, and pastors. These men and women are smart, well-educated, and have far-above-average skills that let them rise to prominent and influential positions.

 

So why do such bright and talented people wind up in jail? Disgraced? Made the butt of jokes? They lack the integrity that allows a person to function well. Whether leader or follower, CEO or new hire to the company, it is who the person really is rather than what the person can do that makes one’s lasting impact.

 

In his helpful book Integrity of a few years back, Henry Cloud points out that integrity is much more than honesty or reliability. He traces the word to its Latin root that means intact, integrated, undivided, uncorrupted. “When we are talking about integrity, we are talking about being a whole person, an integrated person,” Cloud writes, “with all of our different parts working well and delivering the functions they were designed to deliver. It is about wholeness and effectiveness as people. It truly is ‘running on all cylinders.’ ”

 

This sort of integrated personality and lifestyle is the “missing link” in the skilled athlete who can’t resist the temptations of drugs and sex; the physical discipline necessary to be in shape isn’t integrated with his psyche. It is the same with the brilliant theorist or dynamic speaker or winning vote-getter who can’t resist being corrupted by money or power over others.

 

Before you get carried away by the things you can do or the influence you can wield, it is a good thing to be sure about who you are. “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things” (Galatians 5:22-23 NRSV).

 

It is neither brain nor brawn that makes someone truly great. It is character.

Starting Over

by Steve Popoola on January 5, 2015 in Biblepraise, Devotion, Discipleshipship, Faith

One the eve of a new year, there is always a lot of excitement. People gather together to do different things to herald the New Year. For some, it is a time to have a party and make a grand, drunken entrance into the New Year for others, it is a time to have fun watching the fireworks and screaming a feverish countdown into the New Year.

Yet, we have others, who gather together to worship and praise God into the new year, appreciating Him for what He had done in the outgoing year and trusting Him to meet their needs in the incoming one.

As a Christian, I fall into the category of those who love to spend those crucial hours in the presence of God. It makes no sense to people who do not know Him as they feel that it is supposed to be a time of celebration and excitement, rather than a time to go to church or gather to pray.