The purpose and power of Family Life

TEXTS: Genesis 1:26-28; Deuteronomy 6: 6-7, 20-25; Ephesians 5: 22-33; 6: 1-4

WORD STUDY: Merriam-Webster dictionary defines family as “a group of individuals living under one roof and usually under one head”. This is often known as a “household” and it is the basic form of family. Broadly speaking, a group of persons of common ancestry often known as a “clan” is also regarded as a family. These definitions agree with the Biblical definition of family in the New Testament. The Greek word (Gr: patria) “family” stands for: “lineage running back to some progenitor, ancestry”. God designed the family unit as the foundation of the wider society, and speaks to humanity from this perspective. Though salvation is a personal responsibility, but God also sees salvation from the family perspective. He desires the redemption of families as a whole. (See Exodus 12:23-27; Acts 16:28-34)

INTRODUCTION: The family is God’s ordained centre for the propagation of His divine purposes on earth. The family is the first training school of every child. Characters are formed and ethics and values imbibed which often lasts for a life-time. The family is the basic unit of the society and the most important part of the larger society. Family was not an invention of man, but God’s original plan. We do not choose our family; God chooses our family for reasons and purposes beyond us. We are encouraged to embrace our families and seek divine direction on how to fulfill God’s mandate on the family. Every family is important to God-even the dysfunctional ones. Remember, no family is beyond God’s redemption and transformation!

GOD DESIGNED FAMILY FOR THE FULFILLMENT OF HIS PURPOSE ONE EARTH- Genesis 1:26
God created man and placed him on earth to fulfill his purpose on earth
God desired the fellowship of men and women who are created in His image and likeness
The family is God’s original intention for the domination of the earth
The family is the foundation of God’s kingdom on earth

GOD DESIGNED FAMILY FOR THE PROPAGATION OF FUTURE GENERATION – Genesis 1: 28
The family unit is God’s ordained centre for generational expansion
The family unit is designed to be the custodian of God’s covenant and counsel for humanity.
The family as ordained by God is the centre for the inculcation and transmission of God’s purpose
The family under God is the greatest force for advancing God’s kingdom agenda on earth

GOD DESIGNED FAMILY FOR THE PROTECTION OF THE FUTURE GENERATION – Ephesians 6:1-4
God designed the family to provide protection to the vulnerable members of the society
God ordained the family as the teaching centre for the eternal counsel of God
Redemption was orchestrated and protected through the family unit (Mary and Joseph)

Written by Dr. Godwin & Blessing Ude

Why did God become one of us?

 With God, words are not enough. By the Word all things were created and given their identity and purpose. Yet, God never stopped there. Before sin entered the world, Bible tells us that God walked with Adam in the garden. After Sin corrupted the nature of all people and the world itself, God has continually appeared before His people in various ways even dwelling amongst them in Spirit for a time. Simply creating and setting things in motion was not enough for God. His desire has always been to have an intimate involvement and even relationship with His creation.
 It was necessary for our salvation. Romans 3:23, 6:23. The only way our sins can be atoned for is through human death-the blood. The ONLY possible way of salvation is for one who is a perfect man and whose life is truly of infinite and eternal value to pay the price on behalf of all
 That we may transform into his likeness. II Corinthians. 3:17, 18, Colossians 3:10, Philippians 2:5, 7.

 

Why will Jesus come as a baby through gestation & natural birth through a Virgin?
The late theologian, Lewis Sperry Chafer, explained it this way:
“it was both natural and reasonable that Christ should enter that estate by the way of birth and pursue the normal process of development through childhood to manhood. Any other approach to this estate would not only be unnatural, but would have left Him open to grave suspicion that His manner of existence was foreign to the human family” (Vol. I, pg. 355) . .

“By such a procedure no question may be raised about the genuineness of His humanity or the permanency of it. It is true that, because of His unchangeable Deity, He could not be born of a human father. Had He been born of a human father and mother there would have been nothing to identify His humanity as the rightful property of His Deity. On the other hand, had He appeared with no relation to human parentage, there would have been no legitimate basis for the fact of His humanity. The divinely wrought arrangement by which He is generated of the Holy Spirit and born of a woman is the perfect solution of the problem.” (Vol. 5, pg. 47-48).
In conclusion, we have to bear in mind that, Jesus, the Word who was with God and who is God, didn’t humble Himself and come from glory in the flesh, fully Man and subject Himself to sinful humanity just for His own jollies. He came because, from before the beginning, He had a plan, a plan which is even now being worked out. A plan that is for our sake as well as His glory, a plan that He is giving all to see through to it’s completion.
1Jn 2:1-2 says “My little children, I am writing you these things so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father–Jesus Christ the righteous One. He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not only for ours, but also for those of the whole world.”
It is now left for us to embrace that which Jesus did on the cross, his death and his resurrection. We need to receive his gift, to believe in him and to walk in his divine plan for our lives.

Written by Dr. Godwin & Blessing Ude

Lessons Learned from the message after Pentecost

Peter’s message demonstrated the bold power that the Holy Spirit had worked in his life. So, unlike the apostle that denied the Lord three times on the night of his crucifixion. Many times, today especially, we see the gospel message watered down in the name of being seeker friendly or seeker sensitive. The premise, which is to present the gospel to unbelievers in a way that they can identify with, is good. But what often happens is that the people often get a feel-good gospel that only presents one side of the gospel. Peter’s message pulled no punches. He presented the truth in love, as he outlined their need for a savior and presented the savior to them, Christ Jesus.

 

Peter lays the death of Jesus on their conscience. He does this because it is certain that some of the same crowd here were the same ones that called for Barabbas to be released instead of Jesus, and the same ones that cried for Pilate to crucify Jesus. The death of Jesus was on their heads, along with the religious leaders and Judas. Peter didn’t back down from this statement at all, even though some hearing him might not like it. Peter spoke the truth, but he spoke the truth in love. I think a lot of people miss out on that today. A lot of pastors and teachers teach the truth without the love. Jesus never did that, and Peter wasn’t doing that here either. After accusing them of having a hand in Jesus’ death – he gives them hope. He tells them about the risen Lord.

 

Peter tells that Jesus was raised up by God, as He was. He then uses a peculiar phrase to describe the resurrection. Peter said that God loosed the pains of death. This is a very peculiar phrase – loosed the pains of death. In the original Greek, the pain describes the pain of childbirth. Now, I know about that first hand, I have seen it, and it is pretty painful. What is peculiar here is that death is described as not able to hold back Jesus from being raised from the dead. He was not held by it because He was the Messiah, the savior and king that they had been waiting for.

 

Jesus gave us the Great Commission in Matthew 28:18-20 and he expects us to go and do likewise. There are so many lost souls that need salvation. Behold! Today is the appointed day. Behold! Today is the salvation.

Written by Dr. Godwin & Blessing Ude

The first Message after Pentecost

A guest preacher came one Sunday in midwinter to an appointment. The day was unusually stormy and bitterly cold, and he found the building empty. However, he took his seat in the pulpit and waited. One man came in, and at the appointed hour the preacher stood up and opened the service. At its close the man in the pew departed without waiting to face the minister. About twenty years later, the same preacher was approached by a stranger. “Do you remember,” he asked, “preaching years ago to one man?” “Yes, I do, indeed,” replied Dr. John Cooper. “If you are that man, I have wanted ever since to meet you.” “I am the man,” was the answer. “That sermon saved my soul, and led me into the ministry. The converts of your sermon, sir, are all over Canada.

The first message after Pentecost focused on the following:

 

A) The power of the word
The gospel is powerful and it changes lives. It is very effective and it it the only truth that can set people free. That gospel is Jesus crucified. Peter, the first disciple to recognize the truth about Jesus, and who was also the first to bear witness of him, preached this message to the men of Judea who had judged the whole episode as being the effect of too much wine. He began the sermon by quoting from the book Joel 2:28-32 from the Greek translation of the Old Testament. In the passage, God had promised that there would be a time when all those who followed him would receive His Spirit, and not just prophets, kings and priests. Peter pointed out that that time had come to pass. God would speak to and through all those who would come to him, whether in dreams, visions or prophesy. God’s final act of salvation began with the pouring out of his spirit.

 

B) The ascension of Jesus
Peter knew that no one could dispute the point he was about to make from Psalm 16:8-11, in which the messiah is described as not decaying. David had been buried and had not come back to life, so the psalm had to be speaking of about someone else. David’s heir. Peter pointed out that this heir is Jesus, who was put to death and resurrected. Not only had Jesus been raised from the dead, He is now at the right hand of God. As further proof of this, Peter quoted David again, from Ps. 110:1, the Messiah would sit at the right hand of God. David had not ascended to heaven but apostles declared themselves to be witnesses of the very ascension spoken of in this psalm, the ascension of Jesus. Based on these points, Peter’s conclusion is clear: Jesus, the one who had been crucified is both Lord and Christ.

 

C) The steps that lead to salvation.
Peter’s argument was irrefutable. The Judeans asked what they should do. This was the point of the new birth. The Spirit of God brought conviction to their hearts, the spring board of action. This action was threefold:
1) Repent: Repentance for the Judeans involved rejecting the former attitudes and opinions concerning who Jesus was. In faith they had to accept him for who He declared Himself to be while on earth, a declaration that was confirmed by His resurrection and ascension.
Peter exhorted his listeners to repent. In other words, each person had to make the decision to turn to God in faith. Then God would forgive that person’s sins and declare them righteous because of Jesus’ work on the cross. This was for them and their children. In first-century Israel, a father held tremendous influence in his home. When a father chose to receive Christ and be baptized, his children will follow lead.
2) Be baptized: When a person recognizes who Jesus Christ really is, the desire is to do what he commands. The first action that Jesus requires of a new believer is baptism, which is the outward expression of the inner faith. This baptism is for the remission of sins
One may wonder if Peter was saying that we must be baptized to receive forgiveness of our sins. Bible clearly teaches that we are justified by faith alone, not by works. Believers are baptized in view of God’s work of forgiveness, not in order to receive that forgiveness. God’s forgiveness in Christ gives baptism it’s significance.
Baptism is a public declaration that a person’s sins have been forgiven because of the finished work of the cross. This is the core meaning of the ceremony of baptism.
3) The gift of the Holy Spirit: This was the promise of Jesus. The Holy Spirit who is the third person of the trinity puts us in communion with the Father and the Son. The indwelling of the Spirit is a beautiful promise of the New Covenant, an indication not only that our sins are forgiven, but also that the Lord has placed his law within us.

Written by Dr. Godwin & Blessing Ude.

The Renewed Mind

The mind is the control center of your life. It determines your destiny. To live successfully, we must be transformed by the entire renewal of our minds. Change begins in the mind.
People are products of their thoughts i.e. you are what you continually think. Proverbs 23;7.You can change your life by changing your mindset:-right thinking precedes right action.
A) Renewing your mind is the key to changing your life. ; Romans 12: 1-3
1) It is a process that takes time
2) It involves meditating on the word and applying the principles to your life for effective change.
3) Gaining more knowledge does not mean renewing your mind.
4) A new mindset produces a different response to old temptation.
5) If your thinking doesn’t line up with the word of God, it is wrong.
6) Your mind controls your decisions and choices.
7) The degree to which your mind is renewed is the degree to which you will experience change in your life.
8) When you renew your mind, you prove what is good, acceptable and the perfect will of God.
9) The word must be the final authority.
Your treasure is where your heart is. Mt 6:21
1) Your treasure is made up of your thoughts, beliefs, assumptions and doctrines you have accepted as true.
2) Whatever is wrong with your life is a reflection of what is in your heart:- if you have good things (treasure) in your heart, good will come out and vice versa. Mt 12:35.
3) You must always deal with the root issues in your heart and mind.
4) The word is the only thing that has power to go deep into your spirit and root out bad treasure. Heb 4:12. Change won’t take place without the word affecting the deepest parts of you. You can’t just cut off the fruit without digging up the root else the fruit will grow back.
5) You live out you dominant thoughts.
KEYS TO RENEWING YOUR MIND
1) Determine if your ideas and mindset line up with the word
2) If what you think and assume about life doesn’t line up with the word, it is wrong.
3) Practice thinking, reviewing and meditating on the new thoughts you have gotten from reading the Bible. You have to meditate on what to say and not to say.
4) Become aware of how you are thinking.
5) Be aware of how you should think.
6) Rethink concepts you received growing up.
7) Rethink what you assume to be true
8) Identify the changes you want to make in your life.
9) Focus you thought on God’s thoughts.
10) Keep reminding yourself of what you want to change.
11) Practice thinking the thoughts of God until they are your own.
12) When you take your mind off of God, you will fail. Genesis 3
13) Do not dwell in the past, it will hinder you

 

CONCLUSION
When the word is not your final authority, deception is inevitable. You are deceived when you think you are right, but you are really wrong. The deceived person can’t even distinguish between what is true and what is false. (Isaiah 44:20). When you are deceived, you will be led astray. Deception will always lead you down the wrong path. Having fellowship with the wrong people, contaminate your relationship with God.

Written by Dr. Godwin & Blessing Ude

Remember Your First Love

Ephesus was the most important city in the Asia Minor when Revelation was written. It was the center of the worship of Artemis, the goddess of fertility. It was a strategic commercial center and a great sea port. Ephesus is near the modern city of Selcuk and was populated by the Greeks about 1200 BC, with its proximity to the Aegean Sea. By the first Century, Ephesus was a major Roman City and a major metropolis. The Roman governor lived there. In fact, one of the Seven Wonders of the World is located in Ephesus. In the 2nd Century when Christians were being martyred or fed to the lions for the entertainment of Rome, they were shipped through Ephesus, and Ignatius even refers to Ephesus as “the highway of martyrs.”
A) The church at Ephesus
Jesus Christ reveals Himself to the church at Ephesus as the one “who holds the seven stars in his right hand and who walks in the midst of the seven golden lamp stands” Rev 2:1 (NIV). This is a reference back to Rev. 1 where we see Christ walking among the lamp stands, holding the seven stars in the palm of His hand ( which represents the seven Churches).Due to the persecution that the church at Ephesus was facing, they needed the reassurance that God was in control and also that Jesus was in their midst, that He held them in His hand.
B) I know your works
I know your works appears in each of the letters to the seven churches as a statement of recognition from the omniscient, omnipresent judge. In other words, God knows everything about us-our actions, thoughts, desires, works, hardships, perseverance, and faithfulness e.t.c.
Do you ever feel discouraged? Do you ever feel like no one knows what you are going through? Do you ever feel like no one cares? Do you ever feel like you are doing a lot of work and no one appreciates the work you are doing? Jesus, says “ I know your works”. Jesus sees what you are doing and he appreciates you. Jesus cares about you.
C) The loveless church
Jesus pointed out areas where the Ephesians church was weak. Areas they need to improve upon and focus on. The greatest commandment is to “love the Lord your God”. (Matthew 22:37.38). Leaving the first love means a great diminishing of the churches’ initial love, or a turning away from the love of God.
Evangelical Christianity has lost this perspective on the Christian life. Most Christians have the idea that the Christian life is about how much God loves them and wants to fulfill their dreams, desires, ambitions, goals and objectives. About how he wants to make something wonderful out of them, elevate them and fulfill all the hopes of their heart. They think it’s more about God loving them so much that he wants to do all of this than it is about them loving him.
But in reality, the Christian life is about loving Christ. It’s about loving him singularly and totally. It is about loving him sacrificially and obediently. It’s about loving him worshipfully and serving him. It’s really about loving Jesus Christ. That’s what it means to be a Christian. Your life is now committed to loving him.
In the Old Testament, the great commandment was to love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. This is the sum of all that God requires, and your neighbour as yourself. But it starts with loving God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, which is just a way of saying loving God comprehensively, totally, completely. If that’s the sum of the law, then that has to also be the sum of the relationship. That can’t be altered when it comes to being a Christian. It is still the purpose of God that we would love the Lord, Jesus Christ, with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. Being a Christian is about loving Christ so much that you want to know him, so much that you want to exalt him, please him, serve him, be with him, and tell others about him. It’s about this overwhelming, consuming affection for Christ. This is the core of what it means to be a Christian.
The real question to ask people, when you talk about their spiritual growth, or their spiritual condition, or where they are in terms of their life, is how much do they love Jesus Christ? How much do you love Christ? Are you growing in your love for Christ? Do you love him more now than you have in the past? Do you desire him more now than you did in the past?
Paul says that, “I may know him.” He was driven to know more about Christ. To know everything he could know about Christ. To understand every word he said, every deed he did, the fullness of his purposes, his redemption. To understand the mind of Christ completely. To know how he thought about everything. Paul was driven to serve him, to exalt him, to honour him, to proclaim him, because he loved him. This is consistent with the Biblical definition of what it means to be a Christian. It is to love Christ. To love him as the one who first loved us and gave himself for us.
It wasn’t that the church at Ephesus had stopped loving God or each other, but the love just wasn’t the same as before. This isn’t unique to the Ephesians church, we do the same too. When we first married our spouse, our love was passionate, hot and exciting but when kids came along, when we had financial challenges or when we got used to being with our spouse and perhaps took them for granted, the love diminished immensely. We don’t express our love to our spouse the way we used to anymore, we had forsaken our first love and allowed it to become dry and boring. This isn’t good for our relationship with our spouse and it is not also good for our relationship with God. Just like in the case with our marriage to our spouse, when our love isn’t as passionate and exciting as when we first got married, we need to reminisce it a bit. So also we need to do the same thing with our marriage to God. We need to remember what it was like when we first got saved and spent time in his presence. We need to go back to our first love.

Written by Dr. Godwin & Blessing ude

TRUTH & FREEDOM

John 8:32 (KJV) And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

 

The cry for freedom receives more responses that the cry for justice. Freedom is one the inalienable rights inherent in every created being on earth. Whenever this right is trampled upon by design or default, there is always a fuss. But the problem is that those who cry out for freedom have no idea what it is all about. To some, freedom means the ability to indulge in whatever their heart desire without restrictions. Others consider freedom as the power to choose how they should be treated and who they should allow in their own world.

 

Unfortunately, these are the post-modern ideas of freedom. These ideas position freedom as the highest desire of the human soul, without affirming the fact that freedom comes with responsibility. When this responsibility is ignored, the effect is even worse than any form of bondage. No wonder the world is full of souls under heavy demonic oppression parading themselves as free human agents on earth.

 

But to believers, this should not be so. Being a Christian does not equal freedom. Knowing the truth does not also equal freedom. Any blessing, right, privilege, or authority can belong to you, but if you do not know about it, you won’t act on it. Or if you don’t act on what you know and appropriate what has been given to you, it won’t benefit you. It won’t become a reality to you even though it’s your legal possession.

 

Knowing what belongs to you in Christ is your primary assignment as a believer. You will never become a free person just by knowing you have been set free in Jesus Christ. You need to appropriate that freedom daily by incorporating the Word of God into your life. The Truth of the Word of God brings potential freedom. In order to convert potential freedom into a liberating dynamic force, you need to start walking and acting on the Truth. Let us put it this way: it is the truth you know and act upon that sets you free!

Written by Dr Godwin & Blessing Ude

Being Christ-Minded

A turtle in Edmonton wanted to winter in Vancouver. Since it was too far to walk, he convinced two geese to tie a rope around their necks and fly south while he hung on with his jaws clamped onto the rope. As they crossed the river into Vancouver, some other geese joined the formation. Very impressed with the setup, one said, Hey, who thought up that brilliant idea? The turtle immediately opened his mouth to say, i did and fell to his death.

The Bible warns about the dangers of pride: Proverbs 16:18 says that “Pride goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall. By pride comes nothing but strife and shame (Proverbs 11.12; 13.10 NKJ). Satan was cast from heaven because of pride. It is considered one of the seven deadly sins and only few things destroy a church’s unity quicker than pride.

A) Unity through humility
The Church in Philippi was not unified; they were too selfish to be. The Philippians biggest battle was not with their external circumstances but with those internal attitudes that destroy unity. The key principle for unity in the body of Christ is simple and clear: in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Humility, though hard to come by, is essential to a life of joy in the midst of a fallen world.
Psalm 133.1 says: “Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity”.
The good news begins with a sad truth. Have you seen this in yourself? Have you noticed your inclination to cast your own motives and behaviors in the best possible light? Do you realize that you cut yourself more slack than you do to others? Have you recognized that your heart insists on looking out for number one?
Since the fall of man in Genesis 3, our sinful desires naturally order the priorities of the universe with self at the center. According to this pattern of thinking, when my needs and desires are met, when my circle is full, then I can consider others.

Contrasting this with the mind of Christ, We see that, His heart desired
1) To know God; freeing him
2) To consider others; while he trusted God
3) To supply his needs
This radical reordering of priorities shows why becoming a Christian requires the renewing of our mind. All godly actions begin with the “renewing of the mind. Right thinking produces right actions. Our actions are the fruit of our deepest thoughts. Thinking and being like Christ are requirements not only for an individual but also for the corporate body of believers. Together, we need to think and act like one being, like the person of Jesus Christ.
The Bible doesn’t ask us to totally ignore our own ideas, preferences, or desires. It does, however, point out that we often forget others’ interests. The problem is not that we think too highly of ourselves, but that we think of ourselves too much. The solution to pride, therefore, is not thinking less of one, but thinking of oneself, less. In other words, elevate others’ needs on our list of priorities!
C. S. Lewis describes the problem and the way to recognize pride in ourselves: There is no fault which makes a man more unpopular, and no fault which we are more unconscious of in ourselves. And the more we have it ourselves, the more we dislike it in others. The vice I am talking of is Pride or Self-Conceit; and the virtue opposite to it, in Christian morals, is called Humility. According to Christian teachers, the essential vice, the utmost evil, is Pride. It was through Pride that the devil became the devil: Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind. Does this seem to you exaggerated? If so, think it over. I pointed out a moment ago that the more pride one had, the more one disliked pride in others. In fact, if you want to find out how proud you are the easiest way is to ask yourself, How much do I dislike it when other people snub me, or refuse to take any notice of me, or shove their oar in, or patronize me, or show off?. (Mere Christianity, 109).
For the supernatural work of humility to flow through u, we need to do the following:
a. Recognize and admit to pride.
C. S. Lewis,: “If anyone would like to acquire humility, I can, I think, tell him the first step. The first step is to realize that one is proud. And a biggish step, too. At least, nothing can be done before it. If you think you are not conceited, it means you are very conceited indeed”.( Mere Christianity, 114)
b. Ask God for humility. James 4:6-10.

c. Fellowship daily with Christ. Matthew 11:28.
B) The humiliation and exaltation of Jesus.
With an event unfathomable to the point of incredibility, Jesus sets aside his glory to be spat upon, mocked, beaten, abused, cursed, derided, defamed, mistreated, ridiculed, jeered, and rejected by those whom he created. Like a farmer who must lift a wounded pig, Jesus removes his royal garb to kneel in the muck and slime, not the filth of the sty, but of sin, to get under a people wallowing in the refuse of their own rebellion. He made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, humbled to death on a cross.
Even though Jesus Christ was God, he did not look on sharing God’s nature as robbery, i.e. A thing to be seized, as though he did not already possess it (this speaks of equality of existence). Christ was fully God but he limited Himself in such a way that He could also be completely human. He made himself of no reputation by taking on the form of a servant. He did not empty himself of His essence as God but gave up his privilege as God to take upon the existence of man. Jesus added to his divine essence, a servant’s essence so that he can fulfil the will of another. Paul did not say that Christ exchanged the form of God for the form of a servant, involving the a loss of deity or attributes of deity. Rather, in incarnation, Christ continued in the very nature of God but added to Himself the nature of a bondservant.
Jesus willingly took the role of a servant. He chose to die so that so that the sins of the world could be charged to his account and subsequently credit his righteousness to the account of all who believe in him. Paul describes the depths of Jesus humiliation by reminding us that Christ died by the cruellest form of capital punishment, crucifixion. The Romans reserved the agonizing death of crucifixion for slaves or foreigners, and the Jews viewed death on the cross as a curse from God.
Undoing the core of our sin nature and rebellion, God became man, letting go of the honor due divinity to grab hold of fallen humanity. While people step on those who hinder their climb up the ladder, Jesus humbles himself to wash our feet. In exchange, the Father lifts him; God exalts him. (vs.9).

Meditating on the person and work of Christ Jesus convinces us of a clear pattern: those who trust God enough to embrace humility before God, and service to others, find him faithful to lift them up.
Illustration.
Watchman Nee, the Chinese evangelist, tells this true story. A poor, Christian, Chinese farmer had rice fields high in the mountain. Every day he spent hours pumping water into the rice paddies; but when he returned to the fields the next morning, he would find that his unbelieving neighbor, who lived down the hill, had opened the dikes and drained the water to fill his own fields.

For a while the Christian ignored the injustice, but at last he became desperate. His rice would die if this continued and this was his livelihood. So he gathered his church and they prayed and discussed the situation and came up with a plan. The next day the Christian farmer rose early in the morning and first filled his neighbor fields; then he attended his own. He counted his neighbor more significant than himself; his looked to his neighbor interests as well as his own.
Soon the neighbor wanted to know the Jesus whom the farmer served as Lord and master. He was converted by seeing how the mind of Christ radically reordered the attitude and thinking of another man. Christ-like humility amazed him.
I wonder how our conflicts and disagreements, our hurt feelings and distrust, would end differently if we had the mind of Christ. That’s a question for us to ponder on.

Written by Dr. Godwin & Blessing Ude

Oath of Allegiance

Joshua 23:14-”Behold, this day I [am] going the way of all the earth. And you know in all your hearts and in all your souls that not one thing has failed of all the good things which the LORD your God spoke concerning you. All have come to pass for you; not one word of them has failed.”-NKJV

 

No relationship flourishes without trust. Trust is what creates vulnerability and being vulnerable is what exposes us to love and be loved. Trust on the other hand can also expose us to traumas of betrayal, hurts and disappointments. Walking with God requires the element of trust. Faith is the result of expressing this trust without doubting. According to the Book of Hebrews 11:6, “And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.(NLT). This should be the foundation of our walk with God. Without this foundation, one may not be able to survive the challenges and the tests that follow our commitment to God.

 

Do you currently see yourself in that situation where you are wondering what has gone wrong with your relationship with God? You are asking yourself so many un-answerable questions. You obviously seem so distanced from Him and the connection is no longer there, and your faith has reached the point where you are simply hanging on. Do you feel so disappointed and frustrated that God has not responded to your prayers?
Let me assure you, God is never going to disappoint you because of His Nature and Name- His Name is FAITHFUL! His faithfulness is bound by His unfailing nature and not your circumstances. God is not a victim of your circumstances. He is the Master of every situation. Joshua had to remind the people of Israel the same thing- God’s faithfulness, “all have come to pass for you; not one word of them has failed”. I want you to be ready to testify like Joshua because God will surely bring His promises to pass in your life. Never give up! The game is not yet over. God has vowed to reward your faithfulness and He will surely do so.

Written by Dr. Godwin & Blessing Ude

The Eternal Word

The Greek term for “Word” is logos. The concept of logos was understood as an expression of power or force from the mind through thought or speech. In a larger sense, it was taught that all that is, all that is real, all that has power is somehow connected to a singular, impersonal power of thought and reason called Logos. As such, the Logos was recognized as being the origin and source of all creation, all that is real, and all that is right, and that brings order and meaning to all things. Bear in mind that John himself and his original audience were Bible believing Jewish people who by force lived within a broader Greco-Roman culture..
The word was God
John 1:1 is probably the strongest passage in the New Testament for declaring the deity of Jesus Christ. Because of this, cultist have attempted to undercut it by arguing that this passage only teaches that Jesus is “a god” and not so fully Deity. Such a view is polytheistic; the belief in more than one god and it betrays a misunderstanding of Greek grammar.
The last portion of John 1:1 is the major point of contention. It reads in Greek “theos en ho logos, or literary, “the word was God”. God or theos, occurs in this verse without the Greek article ho, so that some have contended that the lack of the article in the Greek text should cause the statement to be translated “the word was a god”.
The best understanding for the translation, however, as recognized by Greek scholars, is that since theos is a predicate and precedes the noun logos and a verb, it is natural for it to occur here without the article. Greek scholars are agreed that the verse should be translated as it regularly is in modern and ancient translation, clearly affirming that Jesus is indeed God.
The word became flesh
Jesus was the true light that came into the world and enlightened every man. Jesus became man in order to reveal the truth to all people. The son of God who was from eternity became human, with limitations in time and space. God became human. Nothing of this essential nature of deity was lost in this event; we might rephrase became as took to himself. John uses the word flesh to refer to the physical nature of humans, not to our sinful disposition. This is what we call the doctrine of incarnation. God became flesh as easily as a baby becomes a live birth.
Illustration
“A human has a physical body that is infused with a spirit-the spirit of God. When that spirit is gone, the person becomes a lifeless, decaying mass of flesh. The body resembles the person when alive, but it is no longer that person. When Christ became incarnated in human flesh, his divine nature inhabited a physical body. That mystery is beyond explanation but it is not less impossible than human life.

Written by Godwin & Blessing Ude

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