Archives For Faith

At The Crossroads

by Joseph Mazzella on September 25, 2017 in Devotion, Discipleshipship, Faith

When I was a young father and Autumn would spread her colorful carpet across the hills and mountains of my home, I would often load my kids into the car and embark on a Fall foliage tour.

We would take the back roads and look at the leaves shining in the sunlight.  There would be glittering golds, blazing reds, and outrageous oranges, sometimes all on the same tree.  We would drive and stop and look and be in awe of the beauty of this world and the glory of God’s creation.

God is Speaking But Are We Listening?

by Steve Popoola on September 11, 2017 in Devotion, Discipleshipship, Faith

Many today are still wondering whether God still speaks to us. Some church denominations even believe we are no longer in the dispensation of God speaking to His people and that no one should expect direct communication from God to His people.

I read an article from a Theologian who believes that God no longer speaks to us because His word is already given to us in the Bible. He based his argument on the fact that God spoke in Biblical times because as at that time, the work of redemption was in progress and therefore God needed to speak to man at various times.

Now I am not as knowledgable as that historian but I know that even after Jesus went back to heaven, God spoke to the Apostles in various ways apart from his written word. Acts 10: 9-16, Acts 13:2.

If God does not speak to us today what effect would that have on us? This was brought home to me recently when I came across a story told about a mighty battleship caught in a vicious storm.

Liberty for License

by Steve Popoola on June 19, 2017 in Discipleshipship, Faith

If Samson was alive today, he would be telling people who love to live on the fast lane, “been there, done that”. Samson lived his life breaking every rule in the book. He was chosen by God to rule Israel, yet lived carelessly and did things that were clearly in contrast to God’s laws. He relied on his superhuman strength which was given to him by the same God that he took for granted.

Chapter 16 of the book of judges starts with Samson going to Gaza which is clearly an enemy territory. While he was there, he saw a prostitute and spent the night with her. News soon went round that Samson was there and an ambush was laid for him with the anticipation of taking him out in the morning. Unfortunately for them, Samson got up in the middle of the night, tore the city gate out of its hinges and carried it away. A city without a gate is defenceless and at that point, the people were concerned more about replacing the gate than follow him.

Want or Need?

by Steve Popoola on June 12, 2017 in Devotion, Discipleshipship, Faith

Scripture does not tell us much about the growing up years of Samson except that, “And the Spirit of the Lord began to stir him while he lived in Mahaneh-dan, which is located between the towns of Zorah and Eshtaol” (Judges 13:25)
By the time we flip to the next chapter of Judges, Samson is already a grown man. We learn that one day, He went to Timnah where one of the Philistine women caught his eye (Judges 14:1) We are not told what he went to Timnah to do but what we are told was that the minute he saw this Philistine woman, he had to have her. This was one of the weaknesses of Samson. When he got back home, he told his parents, “A young Philistine woman in Timnah caught my eye. I want to marry her. Get her for me” (Judges 14:2)
Samson had no regard for the feelings of his parents or for the letter of the law. Samson as an Israelite was not supposed to marry a Philistine woman. As a Nazarite he was devoted to the Lord and therefore should not even consider marrying someone who was a worshipper of Dagon. When the parents objected to this relationship, He insisted, “Get her for me! She looks good to me” (Judges 14:3)

 

Not by Power or Might

by Steve Popoola on June 5, 2017 in Faith, inspiration

Lately, I have been learning a lot about Samson from the story in Judges 13 – 15. It is not the first time I have read this story but as is often the case when I read scripture, there is always something new to learn even when reading the same portion of scripture you have read before.

 

So as I began reading from chapter 13, I noted that Samson’s mother was barren. We don’t know whether she was past child-bearing age but what was established was that she could not have children. They had obviously been married many years and had undoubtedly tried having children ti no avail. If there was any doubt about her ability to have children, this was made clear when she had a visitation from an angel. The first recorded words of the Angel was, “You are barren and childless…” (Judges 13:3) Of course, the Angel didn’t just come and tell her what she already knew, it was to prepare the ground for what was to follow.

 
The first lesson I learnt here is that no matter what we are going through, God knows. He is aware of every little detail of our lives. It is God’s prerogative to intervene within a short while, after a long while or not at all. In the case of Manoah’s wife, God chose her for the miraculous birth of one of the greatest judges of Israel. Continuing his address, the angel said, “..but you are going to become pregnant and give birth to a son.”

 
Time and time again, we see God disrupting the natural processes of nature so His divine purposes are accomplished. In this case, God was raising a man who would deliver the Israelites who were at the time being oppressed by the Philistines.
The Second lesson I learnt is that while God is always willing and able to change the circumstances in our lives, we have a part to play. Immediately the Angel breaks the news to the woman, he gives specific instructions, “So be careful; you must not drink wine or any other alcoholic drink nor eat any forbidden food. You will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and his hair must never be cut. For he will be dedicated to God as a Nazirite from birth. He will begin to rescue Israel from the Philistines.” (Judges 13: 4-5)

As we will learn later, the Angel’s words came to pass and Samson was born. In verse 25, we read, “And the Lord blessed him as he grew up.”  We can deduce from this verse that the parents , especially the mother followed everything she had been instructed to do concerning the child.

 
There things that God has blessed us with, gifts that he has given to us. We have a responsibility to use those gifts to spread God’s love, joy and peace with the people around us…but are we?

 
Are we seeking to have things just for the thrill of it or to rub shoulders with celebrities and the high and mighty in society?  We have a responsibility to be salt and light to people around us whether they are Christians or not. Samson’s mother knew that the boy was not meant to be exclusively hers but was destined to be God’s instrument to rescue the Israelites from the Philistines.
Are you willing to share what God has given to you so that others can experience God’s deliverance and salvation?

 

(To be continued)

 

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

Spotlight On Blasphemy

by Steve Popoola on May 8, 2017 in Biblepraise, Faith

The news making the rounds in the last couple of days, is the investigation into Comedian Stephen Fry’s comments made two years ago. The investigation was triggered by a complaint made against him by a member of the Irish public for making Blasphemous remarks. If a decision is made to prosecute Him, Stephen Fry may be facing a fine of about £25,000.

 

The backlash over this investigation has been making the airwaves with a lot of people calling the investigation silly and irresponsible. I was listening to a radio broadcast and the presenter was obviously livid and you could hear the anger drip from his voice as he berated the Garda Síochána (National Police of Ireland) for such a stupid and unnecessary investigation in this day and age.

 

I have personally not heard or used the word ‘blasphemy’ in my conversations for quite sometime except when reading the scriptures so I decided to revisit blasphemy with regards to scripture.

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

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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