Archives For inspiration

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

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.

You Can Be Better!

by Steve Popoola on February 1, 2016 in Character, inspiration, success

One of my favourite scriptures in the Bible is found in Genesis 26: 12-13. “Isaac planted crops in that land and the same year reaped a hundredfold, because the Lord blessed him. The man became rich, and his wealth continued to grow until he became very wealthy.

My focus here is not about getting rich or how to make a lot of money. What jumps out to me in the above scripture is the progress from one position to another.

Let us examine the background to the event described in the above quoted scripture. There was famine in the land where Isaac lived. Like any reasonable man would do, he made plans to migrate somewhere else so that he and his family would not starve. This is not different from what we see today of millions of people migrating away from countries hit by war and famine and seeking refuge in countries that are doing well economically.