Archives For Faith

Measure of Joy

by Steve Popoola on January 30, 2017 in Belief, Faith, Love

In the dictionary, Joy is defined as “the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires”.  Another definition described joy as, “a state of happiness or felicity”.
There is currently a lot of controversy going on about whether joy and happiness mean the same thing. I am personally not interested in the difference between the two today but rather examining what joy means to the Christian and whether it is something we produce or acquire. As a background to this discussion, I want us to examine the life of a man called Nehemiah and how he and others embarked on a journey from extreme sadness to exuberant joy.

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

23cz0c1ipd

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

Which Voice Are You Listening To?

by Steve Popoola on February 8, 2016 in Faith, inspiration

One day, I called home and decided to play a prank on my children. They all know my voice and respond with about the same level of enthusiasm once they can identify that I am the one calling.

 
Of my children, the most outspoken is the middle one – my eldest daughter , who at this time was about 11 years old. She was the one I chose as my target and as I hoped, she was the one who answered the phone. The discussion went as follows;

Me: (with my voice modulated a little) Hello

Daughter: Hello, good afternoon. May I know who is speaking?

Me: My name is Peter, I am your mum’s friend, may I speak with her please?

Daughter: (There was a pause as she tried to figure who this is) Errm, sorry, who did you say you were?

Me: I said I am your mum’s friend. You are her first daughter right? She’s spoken a lot about you.

Daughter: (Another pause) I am sorry, I don’t know you. How do you know my mum?

Me: Ah! Well, she is a very good friend of mine. We met many years ago and we have remained very close.

Daughter: (She’s had enough of this) Well, I don’t know who you are. Do you know my mum is married? I really don’t understand how you can be my mum’s friend and I don’t know you. Do you know she’s a married woman?

Me: (barely able to contain the laughter trying to burst from my lips) Yes, I know she’s married but we are quite close and we talk a lot. Then I added the bit that made her lose her cool. “And I like her very much!”

Daughter: “Okay Mr, I don’t know who you are but I am definitely going to tell my daddy about this. Steer clear of my mum, she’s married and she is happy with her husband!” (Raises her voice to call her mum that she has a phone call)

When my wife picked the phone, I quickly told her what had transpired and we carried on the charade, knowing my daughter was listening in until we could no longer control ourselves and burst out laughing.

Write It Down!

by Steve Popoola on January 11, 2016 in Discipleshipship, Faith

It is common for people to make plans towards the end of the year and I have often heard people give a verbal list of plans or ‘resolutions’ like;

1. To start going to the gym
2. To eat healthily
3. To spend more time reading the Bible
4. To spend more time praying

As laudable as these plans may be, it is no surprise that by the end of the second week of the new year, a lot of those who made these plans would have given up on some or all of them.

From my observation in the gym where I work out, January is usually the busiest month of the year, especially the first week. Many of those who start the year resolving to start working out,  throng the various gyms.

With All the Chaos in My Life . . .

by Rubel Shelly on November 9, 2015 in Character, Devotion, Faith

Ever feel guilty when somebody quotes this Bible verse: “Be still, and know that I am God”? (Psalm 46:10).
I’ll bet you’d like nothing better than to find a quiet time today. Maybe you are even planning for it. Wonderful things can happen in times of solitude, stillness, and silence before God. But “stillness” is hard to come by – and simply isn’t available on some days or in certain life experiences.

There’s precious little time for stillness when production deadlines are close. A report is due in three hours. An inspection is in progress. If you live in a big city, there are voices and horns. There is constant motion. Shared living space has someone else’s music, someone else’s TV, and someone else’s voice. Where do you find God in all the noise?

Think You Are a Hopeless Case?

by Rubel Shelly on October 12, 2015 in Discipleshipship, Faith, Love

Have you noticed how candid the Bible is about its heroes? It doesn’t whitewash the flaws and foibles of its characters.
Abraham is not only the Father of All Who Believe but the scared rabbit who puts his wife in jeopardy to save his neck. King David is not only the Man After God’s Heart but the adulterer who lies and kills a man to try to keep the affair from being exposed.
Peter is not only First Among Equals in the band of apostles but the frightened fisherman who denies knowing Jesus of Nazareth in his hour of need – not once, but three times.

Invisible Protection 

by Steve Popoola on September 7, 2015 in Faith

For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone. (Psalm 91:11,12)

I am quite familiar with Psalm 91, which is popularly referred to as the Pilot’s Psalm. I believe very much that God protects His people especially when we are not even aware of the danger around us. 

One day in 2005, God opened my eyes a little to show me that He really does protect His own. I was at work on a Saturday and planned to be in church later in the day for a revival programme. By the time I left work, I was already running late. 

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”.