The Greatest Black Friday Ever

by Steve Popoola on November 28, 2016 in Biblepraise

The Friday following Thanksgiving Day in the United States is labelled Black Friday.  It heralds the beginning of the Christmas shopping season and it is characterized by significant reduction in the prizes of consumer items, thus causing a spike in sales as shoppers take advantage of the low prizes.

This practice has gained popularity in other countries like the United Kingdom where it was reported that about £2M in revenue was made every minute.

Black Friday is over now and there are many who are still basking in the euphoria of being able to purchase items at a fraction of the price, while others are already planning to sell what they bought as they are no longer sure whether they really needed the items in the first place.

Whose Choice?

by Steve Popoola on November 7, 2016 in Biblepraise

For several months, we have witnessed what has been regarded as one of the nastiest presidential campaigns in the United States of America. Not many people would remember all the campaign promises made by Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump but many would remember the personal insults traded by both camps and their supporters.

After all said and done, one person will win and become the next President but I wonder at what cost the election will be won?

Making a choice to elect a leader has always been an issue even from Biblical times. It is easy to make the choice but do people always elect the right person into office and what are the consequences of making a wrong choice?

Heaven Sent

by Joseph Mazzella on October 24, 2016 in Biblepraise

It was a chilly Autumn morning a few years ago.  I was driving along the mountain roads slower than usual trying to take in all the Fall colors.  It seemed like all of the leaves had changed overnight.  It looked as if God in His good-humor and love had painted the mountains themselves while we slept.

 
The yellow and gold leaves were sparkling in the sunshine.  The red and orange ones were fluttering brilliantly in the breeze.  The deep, rich burgundies and earthy browns were appearing as well.  The few remaining green ones looked even better being surrounded by the others.  It was so glorious.  It was a day made for happiness.  Yet, a part of me still felt sad, small, and insignificant in the midst of all of this heaven sent beauty.

Trusting in the God Who Provides

by Steve Popoola on October 3, 2016 in Biblepraise

Right from the beginning of scripture, God has always provided for man. We learn from the account of creation in Genesis 2:8, “Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food”.

 

God didn’t just make man and instruct him to till the garden and sow seed for food; He already provided everything man needed. Adam was happy enough to live in the garden with all the animals God had created but God decided something was missing. Adam needed another human being he could relate with, who could be his helper. One again, Jehovah Jireh provided one of the most important needs of man; the need for companionship.

Recognizing the Prompts

by Steve Popoola on September 5, 2016 in Biblepraise

I recently learnt a hard lesson on being sensitive to prompts and signals. As human beings, we have been created to recognise and respond to prompts, signs and signals in order to take action that can keep not only us but others safe from impending harm.

My family and I set out on a trip to Taunton in Somerset, a county in South West England. Along the way, I refused to acknowledge the prompt of the navigator guiding me to take a certain road because I felt I knew a better route. It turned out that I was wrong and ended up taking a longer route through busy city traffic that I would have otherwise avoided.

The Triumph of Grace

by Steve Popoola on August 15, 2016 in Biblepraise, Faith

Grace is the most important, yet most misunderstood concept in Christianity. Its simplicity derives from God’s love towards man – God doing all that is required to redeem man in his fallen state.

 

Religion has been defined as man’s efforts to appease God. Unfortunately, the best of efforts is not enough to satisfy the requirements of divine law. If there was one person who was well versed in the law and did everything he could to follow the requirements of the law, it was Paul the Apostle.

No Middle Ground

by Steve Popoola on July 18, 2016 in Faith, World Events

The EU referendum has come and gone and the decision has been made. The people have chosen; the UK should leave the European Union. Like every other decision reached after a vote, there has been reactions from both within and outside the UK. The aspect that is interesting for the purpose of this piece is the position of those who did not take a position at all.

Statistics have shown that 36% of young people (18 – 24) voted in the EU referendum. 64% could not be bothered. It is believed that if these people were to vote, the outcome would have been different. Ironically, many of young voters across the country are lamenting the fact that the ‘older folk’ voted the country out of Europe and that they are the ones who would bear the fallout of the effects.

Apart from the young people, there others who did not vote for the following reasons;

“I did not think my vote would count”

“I was not sure what the whole EU thing was all about”

“I did not know enough to make a decision”

“I just couldn’t be bothered to vote”

I love to derive faith lessons from real live events. The EU referendum taught me a few things.

  1. The Christian walk begins with a choice. Recognising the fact that you need Jesus in your life, repenting of your sins and receiving His free gift of eternal life.
    (i) Romans 3: 23 – “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. There is no exception, no middle-ground here. If all have sinned, then no one is righteous, no, not one. (Romans 3:10)

    (ii) Romans 10: 9- 10 “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved”. This is an act that follows the decision. After the results of the referendum, a flurry of actions have followed. The PM stepped down, a new PM came into office. A new cabinet has appointed. You cannot make a decision, without following it with an action.

    (iii) John 14-6: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” This is probably one of the strongest, unequivocal pronouncements Jesus made. It removes the possibility of a middle ground. There is no going around it, going under it or going over it. If you want to go to the Father, you need to go through the only way available, and that is Jesus.

  1. The Christian life continues with daily choices.  Luke 9:23 ‘Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.”’. In order to be a disciple of Christ, we must be willing to give up something for the sake of the cross. Many Christians in other countries are paying the ultimate sacrifice as they stand for the defence of the gospel. We may never face what these people are constantly being faced with but we must be willing to give up everything for His sake, or else we cannot be His disciples.

As we continue our walk with the Lord, let us walk in the knowledge that there is no middle-ground when it comes to serving Him. We either trust or we don’t. Every action is either a sinful one or not.

How do we know that we are making the right choices? By studying His word, believing what He says and walking in it.

When the Future Seems So Uncertain

by Steve Popoola on July 4, 2016 in Biblepraise, Faith, inspiration, World Events

On Thursday June 23, 2016, the people of Great Britain went to the polls to decide the future on England, whether to stay or remain in the entity called the European Union.

Before this time, campaigners had done all they could to convince the electorate which way to vote. Unfortunately, twenty-four hours before the vote was scheduled to begin, many were still undecided. On Friday June 24, 2016, to the surprise of many, a majority of the British voters decided to leave the European Union.

Since this historic decision, there has been a cloud of uncertainty over the future of Great Britain with many seeing the decision to leave the EU as death knell to what was once referred to as Great Britain. While many who voted to leave have been jubilating, there have been reports of people lamenting their decision to vote leave, some even claiming they did so because they did not think their vote would count. Others claimed they voted to leave because they were not happy with the political establishment.

There is no doubt that there is anxiety and in many cases fear of what will happen when Britain officially leaves the EU. There has been talk of increases in taxes and cutting of interest rates both of which will put pressure on the finances of households. Even the hardcore proponents of the Leave campaign admit that there would be a time of financial and economic uncertainty though they believe there will be long term economic prosperity.

Anyone following the way the UK elections have been predicted in recent years will agree that the bookers got their predictions all wrong. First, it was predicted that the Labour party was likely to win the last elections, there wrong, the conservative party one. Then it was predicted the EU referendum is likely to have the Remain votes likely to win.

When we are faced with a future of uncertainty, as is the case of the UK leaving the EU, what do we do? I believe that according to the Bible, “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 1:9)

The disciples were faced with uncertainty when Jesus was crucified on the cross. What had happened was not what they expected. They had heard Jesus talk about His kingdom and had believed that the end of Roman rule was imminent. While Jesus was with them, they were willing to go anywhere with him, even willing to die for the cause if necessary. This hope was dashed the minute Jesus gave up the ghost on the cross of Calvary.

I can imagine the questions that must have raged in their hearts, “What will the future be for me? What will be the future of Israel as a nation? How long will we be under Roman rule? Will God be sending another Saviour?

The future indeed looked bleak, that is, until early in the morning on that third day when Mary went to the tomb and found it empty. Everything changed when she saw her Lord alive. It looked bleak for the disciples until Jesus appeared in their midst and said, ‘Peace be with you! (John 20:19)

The men on the road to Emmaus must have been considering the future consequences of what had just happened in Jerusalem (Luke 24: 13-35) They were apparently troubled and in despair. Jesus walked alongside then and asked, ‘What are you discussing as you walk along?’ (Luke 24: 17) One of them looked at Jesus and concluded that he must be a visitor if he was not privy to what happened in Jerusalem concerning the sentencing and crucifixion of Jesus on the cross. As if that were not enough, they had heard that some women found his tomb empty but instead saw a vision of angels who said Jesus was alive, however no one had seen him.

Then Jesus began to speak with them, referring to what the scriptures had said concerning his suffering, death and resurrection. It was not after he had disappeared while they ate supper, that they realized that it was Jesus. Uncertainty gave way to hope and instantly they returned to Jerusalem to share both what they had seen and heard.

The only certainty in the changing circumstances around us is God and the promises He has made concerning us. Politicians may change but God never changes. Policies may change but God’s promises never change. This is why the Psalmist confidently proclaimed in Chapter 41:1 “God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. So we will not fear when the earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea”.

The Apostle Paul advices; “Don’t worry about anything; instead pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)

Only God knows the future and if we place our lives in His hands, we can be sure that He will lead us through the uncertainties of life so that when others are worrying themselves silly, you will go through life with a smile on your face because you know the one who knows tomorrow.

 

Steve Popoola is the editor of Biblepraise Newsletter and the founder of the Biblepraise Fellowship Online at http://www.biblepraise.org. He lives in Kent, United Kingdom, where he works as an IT Professional. He currently serves as a Worship Leader as well as Home Group Leader in his local church and on occasion, speaks at invited events. He is the founder of the Biblepraise Fellowship Online Ministry and Moderator/Editor of the Biblepraise Newsletter. He can be reached through His email address, steve@biblepraise.org

A Tale of Two Fathers

by Steve Popoola on June 20, 2016 in Biblepraise

As we celebrate another Father’s day, I am honoured to be given the opportunity to speak on the topic, A Tale of two Fathers. Interestingly enough, we cannot begin the discussion on the two fathers without first examining the role of a mother in the lives of these two men.

 

Hannah was a woman who desired to have a child but for a long time in her marriage, she was unable to get pregnant. The desperation led her to the temple one day where she prayed, pouring her heart out to God in prayer. At about this time, the High Priest, Eli was in the temple and while observing her, assumed she was drunk, since all he could see was her mouth moving with no sound. He came to her and scolded her for being drunk but was soon corrected when Hannah told him why she was in the temple and what she was doing. Having heard this, Eli blessed her and she went away comforted in the knowledge that her prayer has been answered.

 

Not long afterwards, Hannah became pregnant and gave birth to a baby boy, who was named Samuel. In her prayer to God for the child, she had vowed to give up the child to the service of God, which she did as soon as the child was old enough to be left alone. Through Hannah therefore, the two fathers in this story were brought together.

In or Out?

by Steve Popoola on May 16, 2016 in Biblepraise

On Thursday 23rd June 2016, British nationals will be making a decision that will have a huge significance on the future of Britain; whether to remain or to leave the European Union.

Campaigns have started and as it is often the case, there are those in favour of leaving and those against it. Although the polls already show the number of those who are likely to vote on either side of the spectrum, as a British national myself, I still belong to the group of the undecided and hope that by voting day, I would have been armed not only with the information I need to help me make the right decision but also and most importantly, the spiritual guidance to know what God’s will is.