Monday, 16 December 2013

THE GLORY OF A NEW YEAR

Make Changes That are Necessary


As humans, getting familiar with things, people and experiences is an easy action to take. Time and again, we strongly crave and wish for new experiences, things and people. We get tired of the old stuffs and people and we lust for change.
 God obviously knows that about us and our intricacies, so he decided to give us a fresh start almost every 24-hours. For this same reason he presents us new opportunities, mercies, grace and chances every morning.
 In fact, God says in Isaiah 42:9, “Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare: before they spring forth I tell you of them.” Again in Isaiah 43:18-19, He says to us, “REMEMBER ye NOT THE FORMER THINGS, NEITHER CONSIDER the THINGS OF OLD. Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.”
It is this sought of goodness (that God shows us) that makes our world beautiful instead of making it a lonely place. This kind of goodness God shows us gives us hope, hope for a new beginning, day or even year. This sought of love in any of its forms gives us a reason to live, to hope for fresh starts.
I am not a staunch believer of New Year’s resolutions. So far as I am concerned the New Year’s resolutions concept lead many astray. It makes many postpone or procrastinate change. Instead of fixing something that is broken immediately, people intentionally wait for New Year’s Day to do so.
In my view, the Holy Spirit is the only real agent of meaningful transformation in the life of the Christian. Without him, all efforts are applied energy wasted. Therefore, if He is not involved in any form of transformation of the Christian then it is better to forget the change and its attendant process all together.
Though New Year’s Day has come to stay and has some glory and spirit with it, we must not wait for it to effect the necessary changes in our lives. We ought to recognize the things we cannot control or change, yet we don’t have to forget the things we can control or change. Stuffs like forgiveness, another chance and fresh starts are things we can contribute to. Every day is actually a New Year’s Day and it has its own glory that when missed, most of the time can never be recovered.
The onus therefore lies on us to approach each day with a sense of urgency, seeking daily the Holy Spirit, Who is able to effect genuine transformation in our lives. Our cooperation with the Change-maker actually determines our real altitude.
Make it your habit everyday or on this New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day to stop and reflect on the days gone by, to remember the triumphs and mishaps. Reflect to take stock of your promises made true and broken. Everyday and on this New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day open yourself to great adventure, not forgetting the days you closed yourself for the fear of being hurt.
A new day (New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day) is all about getting another chance; a chance to love more, to do more; a chance to do better, to hope more, to forgive, to be more kind, to give more, a chance to face our fears and to stop worrying about what if and start embracing what will be, all day or year long. Don’t wait for the end of year to start that necessary change, it has to be today. What will you do today if you knew you’ll not fail? Don’t stop, just go do it! Happy New Day; more importantly, Happy New Year!

Copyright © 2013, Jacob Nana Kwesi Dapaah.

All Rights Reserved. Any duplication, transfer or manipulation of the content of this article without prior permission is prohibited.

Saturday, 15 June 2013

AN ATTITUDE OF HOPELESSNESS



We all do fail sometimes. We all face one challenge or the other. I believe there is no human being on the earth without the task of surmounting a challenge or challenges.
Our attitude in the face of a challenge or challenges is what determines whether we will come out successful or as failures. One of the greatest tools of the devil is discouragement. If the devil can keep you discourage then he [the devil] has no need to worry. If you stay despondent, chances are that you will surely fail.
I tell people that fear is unnecessary especially if they cannot predict what tomorrow brings. We have no basis to worry about the effect the past will produce in our lives or what tomorrow holds for us if we have no idea what tomorrow itself will give us. When we can’t accurately tell what a second in the morrow gives then we don’t have to bother at all. Fortunately, for us Christians we know someone who knows tomorrow – God.
Being or staying despondent is a choice, a choice we all have to make in the face of opposition. We are all do fear but living in fear (whether of the past or future) can cripple our capacities to win. This attitude of hopelessness that we normally possess emanates from our thoughts and speech. Our thoughts (especially our minds) are the “brewing” zones and our speeches (especially our mouths) the magnifying (and aggravating) agents of our problems.
If you’ve tried so hard at achieving something since the year began; but have not been successful, chances are that your thinking and talk has allowed failure to have dominion in your situation.
So why do we stay hopeless irrespective of the fact that we have the Monarch of the universe as our father?
First and foremost, our inability to discern is what makes us succumb to fear and hopelessness thereby defeat. Many of us are heroes of reasoning. Immediately we find ourselves in trouble we begin to reason our way out. For many, “God helps those who help themselves” becomes our mantra but that is a lie from the deepest part of Hell. God does not help those who can help themselves rather God help those who are dependable or are ready to rely on him. If you can help yourself why will God waste His energies on you? The cliché, “God helps those who help themselves” is ludicrous. For instance, no parent will waste his/her time to help the son or daughter in doing his/her homework if he/she is sure the son or daughter can handle it. Whenever God knows you can handle a situation, he leaves you to control the situation. The Living Bible of Isaiah 1:19 says, “If you will only let me help you, if you will only obey me, then I will make you rich!”
What most of us need when life is hard is the wisdom of God. We need discernment; we need to hear the voice of God concerning our situation. Unfortunately, the church has not mastered this; rather relatively the church has mastered impotent things. The church is mostly full of religious activities that produce no effectual change.
1 Corinthians 2:15 of the Amplified Bible says, “But the spiritual man tries all things [he examines, investigates, inquires into, questions, and discern all things.]” The truth however is that busy people cannot hear from God. God may be speaking but they wouldn’t be in the position to hear his voice. Why? Very simple; power and strength lies in the silence. Most of us are too busy with life’s anxieties; cares; riches and pleasures to hear the voice of God concerning our situation.
One of the scriptures that attracted me to Christianity is John 16:13 because I don’t like surprises. It says, “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.” Isn’t that amazing? We can approach the future with so much confidence. Unfortunately, most of us have not been trained in hearing the voice of God. If that had been the case we would have save ourselves from a lot of trouble. I never cease to tell people that Christianity is not about how much you can do yourself  but how much God can do in and through you. In Christianity, the most important thing is how much of oneself one can yield and release to the Holy Spirit and God’s Word. This is so essential since it is a prerequisite for victorious Christian living. It is not even prayer and fasting or reading the scripture everyday though such activities are necessary when it comes to achieving the former. Praying, fasting, studying the Word and the likes must not become an end in themselves but a means to another end.
You will surely crush if you resort to reasoning. It is good to figure out and reason your way out of trouble by yourself but it’s better and best to allow God to do that for you since he is a specialist in that. I am sure your figuring out and reasoning escapades has only resulted in perpetual frustration and not peace. I define wisdom as the force that causes you to do without subjecting yourself to a barrage episode of reasoning.  Which is your source of wisdom? – Your force; God’s or whose?

The other major attitude that militates against our migration from hopelessness to victory is out thought and speech pattern as I have stated earlier on. Matthew 12:34 says, “O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” Our surroundings are full of darkness so much that our language is dark and dirty, almost always. You will mostly find Christians talking like unbelievers. How sad!
Our thought pattern has constructive and creative abilities. If you can receive your salvation with your mouth, what makes you think that receiving a better future could be any different? Come to think of it, salvation of the human soul is achieved through quite a simple process. You hear the gospel of Jesus Christ with your ears, process the information with your mind (supposedly) then make a repentance decision; after, believing with your heart and finally “making confession unto salvation”. The thinking process that went on as you received the message probably is what makes you decide to believe or not; and thereby producing salvation that will affect the rest of your life.
 You are your thoughts. You cannot separate your personality from your perspective (in life). Your actions and performance cannot be different from your thought pattern. Your mindset determines your responses to challenges, trouble and other situations. The truth is that you cannot speak and act differently from your thinking nature. That is why we need to habitually synchronize out thought pattern with the Word of God. By doing that you will be able to see things like God does and think the high thoughts of God. Not only that; you can actually produce life out of the dead things around you.
Choose to consciously inundate your mind with the Word of God. When you do that ideas, strategies, images of possibilities and victory will spring out of your heart. Your natural mind may not understand such thoughts but implement them anyway.
For most of us our mental pattern or attitude and speech pattern pass the final verdict on our cases way ahead of God. We declare our future a failed one by this attitude even before anyone declares us so. As a result of this despondent attitude our life and circumstances head for a nosedive; they crush without recovery.
For instance, if you are faced with a financial problem or health challenge, you will need to find what God Word says about your finances or health. You meditate on those scriptures or portions of the Word. You then train your mouth’s declarations or speech pattern to be in sync with the Word of God concerning your situation. This is a spiritual principle that works. As you align your thoughts and speech with the Word of God, images of possibilities and ideas to get out of you situation will rise out you spirit to your mind. Not only that but you will receive enough divine inspiration and drive to fight those life’s battle messing you up. Your very words can be so potent to create a whole set of new stuffs if you will draw inspiration and power from the Holy Spirit in you.
Your challenge or problem may not be financial, health or a career one; it may be a goal you set but have failed to achieve consistently. May be your challenge is a sin or an attitude you want to overcome; maybe something causing you great pain or even something  you consider as an “unimaginable” problem. Whatever be the case, don’t give up on hope; irrespective of the number of times you have failed, continue to keep hope alive, there is a speck of light at the end of the tunnel. That speck will grow and eventually illuminate your dark moments.
 The principle I have shared can work in all circumstances; see you at the top.

Copyright © 2013. Jacob Nana Kwesi Dapaah.

All Rights Reserved. Any duplication, transfer or manipulation of the content of this article without prior permission is prohibited.

SEXUAL FIRE: PASSIONATE LOVE TO COMPASSIONATE LOVE



 Have you ever come in contact with the latest couple in town or in church? They are all over the place. They always make it seem like it is a curse to be single (no hard feelings). It’s nothing new to realize that the couples who were all over the place become just like (any) “normal pals” after making all of us aspire to marry. I believe the passion that couples manifest when outside the bedroom is the obvious one in the bedroom.
Many couples are not able to keep the honeymoon phase of their marriage on fire “till death do (they) part”. Almost all marriages move from the passionate love phase to the compassionate love phase: sometimes it is just too fast. But is it possible to keep the sexual fire still burning till death separate you?
First, we must all admit that it’s the nature of the fallen man to become too familiar with a thing and therefore treating that thing with disdain and contempt. Do you remember your first day in kindergarten, high school or college? You felt so on top of the world. After a while you thought it wasn’t so special being in college, high school or kindergarten. Probably, you met new people during your first week in high school or as a fresh man/woman in college all the girls/boys had an eye for you.
It is not so different when we make a new friend. We are so excited about this new friend but loose the passion after a short while. What about the new dress, car or laptop you bought? Isn’t it interesting that the situation look the same when it comes to our relationship with God? Do you remember the few days or weeks after you have accepted Jesus Christ as the Lord and personal Saviour? You were so passionate, weren’t you?
I believe sexual fire, or if you like passion can be sustained throughout ones life time? Let face it: the same is boring. Our hormones surge fluctuates. It is either we are having testosterone increase or decrease. Yet, I believe we can choose not to be slaves of hormones and keep the spark alive.
Okay, so how do married people keep the sexual fire on when work is pulling the man (or the woman) and child-rearing is competing amongst other things for the attention of the woman?
One way to keep the spark alive is to start right. Too many couples enter marriage drowned in a pool of emotions and feelings. Expectations of such people are mostly high and unrealistic. If you expect what you can never get chances are that you may lose the fire too fast. It is not wise to make everyone realize that you are the latest couples in town when you can’t keep telling everyone one you are the oldest yet fresh couples in town. It is better to win when no one is expecting than to lose when everyone is expecting you to win. Keep your desire in check. Keep realistic expectation of what sex or marriage will be like in a long-term relationship and plan for both good and bad. It is very dangerous to expect high levels excitement and passion in the marriage you about to “venture” into.  Yet still you must avoid being negative about the future.
Having it at the back of your head that sexual desire will decrease can help you make efforts when necessary to fan the fire of your sexual life. Decrease in sexual desire does not necessarily mean there is something wrong with the relationship. Though you lost the excitement of being a student after a year or two in college, that didn’t mean there was something wrong with you.
Your sex life must never be unimportant to you. It is only creativity, openness, flexibility and dedication that can keep your sex life fresh and exciting after you have had sex with the same person over the course of many, many years. It is important that you make time for each other. Keeping things fun and interesting are crucial but it will demand great efforts.
I know you can’t eat the same type of food forever but when it comes to sex and marriage, you should eat the same food “till death do (you) part”.  You have all it takes to be in the honeymoon phase forever. Keep the fire burning!

Copyright © 2013. Jacob Nana Kwesi Dapaah.

All Rights Reserved. Any duplication, transfer or manipulation of the content of this article without prior permission is prohibited.

Monday, 1 April 2013

Can a Christian Lose His/Her Salvation? - An Answer from Dr. Roger


This is in response to your answer to the question, '' whether a friend who commited suicide is in heaven.'' I don't understand your answer. For many of us Christian suicide is a sin. No one has the right to take his/her life (Genesis 9: 4-6). But maybe I don't understand the whole thing. But my question is " can a Christian lose his/her salvation and what can make him/her lose it."


Dear  Jake,

Suicide is a sin, it is the taking of a life; however, someone can commit suicide and still go to heaven because salvation is not based on behavior, it is based on the free gift of God's grace through the death of Jesus Christ.
Once we receive Christ and have our sins forgiven we are given eternal life. Eternal means forever. There is nothing we or anyone else can do to cause God to remove our salvation. Once we are saved, we are always saved

I have copied below an answer I wrote to another person that may be of help.
Love, roger




 
Dear Roger,
If you accept Jesus into your heart at an early age and then never really do anything in your life that involves Him, and then you die, do you still go to Heaven?
Sincerely, Name withheld

Dear Name Withheld,

“Spiritual abortion” is the term I used to describe people who accept Jesus into their hearts at an early age and then never really do anything in their lives that involves Him. Based on the teachings of Jesus in Matthew 13:1-9 and 18-23 (and in the corresponding passages in Mark and Luke), they will not be in Heaven.

Spiritual abortion occurs when a person professes faith in Christ but is spiritually still-born. Their profession of faith in Christ makes little, if any, difference in their lives. Spiritual breathing barely begins before it is quickly snuffed out.

The Parable of the Sower describes a farmer (Jesus) who is sowing seed on four very different types of soils.

Some seed fell on a hard pathway and some birds ate it up before it penetrated the ground. Some seed fell on a thin skin of topsoil overlaying a shelf of solid rock. The seed sprang up quickly, but the hot sun soon scorched and withered the new plants because they had small, shallow roots. Some other seed fell among thorn bushes which choked the life out of the sprouts. However, some of the seed fell on good soil and produced a prodigious crop of thirty to one hundred times what was sown (Matthew 13:1-9).

The pathway soil represents the hearer who is not interested at all in the things of Christ. Since “birds” are sometimes a symbol of evil in the Bible, Jesus may well be referring to satanic deception which keeps these people from hearing the Gospel at all (2 Corinthians 4:4). Nevertheless, whatever, they reject the Gospel completely (Matthew 13:18-19).

The rocky soil represents shallow professors who wilt when the going tough. A religious experience is no guarantee that personal salvation with Christ has occurred. Surface change is not the same as transformation of the heart. Feelings may change without transforming the soul. There is no repentance, no remorse over sin, no contrition, no brokenness, no recognition of the need for a Savior. When the going gets tough, this person’s relationship with Christ is proved inadequate or nonexistent (Matthew 13:20-21).

The thorn-infested soil represents hearers who are distracted by too many other things. When the Sower was sowing the ground looked clean enough—but it was full of grab grass. The result was that the good seed and the dormant weeds grew together; but the weeds were so strong that they throttled the life out of the seed, and it died, while the weeds flourished (Matthew 13:22). The weeds are any distractive things which take precedence over the things of Christ.

The good soil represents fruit-producing Christians. The seed on the good soil took deep root and produced flourishing plants that yielded a prodigious amount of fruit (Matthew 13:23).

Jesus said, "By their fruit you shall know them." The point of the Parable of the Sower is that true believers produce fruit. I believe that of the four groups, only one is Christian and “on the way to Heaven”. It is not hard to deduce that the hard, pathway soil is not Christian. Those here never received the Word into their lives in any way. On the other hand, it is not difficult to deduce that the last group, the good soil, is composed of true Christians. They received the Word, flourished and produced much fruit.

The difficulty comes in deciphering what Jesus was teaching regarding the middle two groups. Are they Christians are not? The key here is not their initial profession of faith in Christ; the key is the lack of fruit. The Book of Hebrews is careful to declare that the real test of real Christians is not how they start but how they finish (Hebrews 6: 6:4-6)!

Three types of fruit are mentioned in the Bible. The manifestation of these fruits is perhaps the best indicator of lives changed and transformed by the indwelling Christ (and on the way to Heaven).

First is the “Fruit of the Spirit” described by Paul in Galatians 5:22-23: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” As we mature spiritually these characteristics are manifested more and more.

Next is what Paul calls the “Fruit of Good Behavior” described in Philippians 1:11: “… filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.” Those spiritually reborn experience life changes which make them more sensitive to sin and the things that keep us from the righteousness of Christ. As a result, they begin to reflect more and more of the righteous life of Christ in their own lives.

Finally is the “Fruit of New Converts” as mentioned by Paul in Romans 1:13: “I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that I planned many times to come to you (but have been prevented from doing so until now) in order that I might have a harvest among you, just as I have had among the other Gentiles.” As we mature in Christ, we find that fulfilling the command of Christ to evangelize the Lost (Matthew 28:19-20) becomes a driving force in our lives.

James addressed this issue in James 2:14-18: “What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, ‘Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,’ but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, ‘You have faith; I have deeds.’ Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.”

According to James, true faith in Christ will always be manifest by the works (fruit) that occur as a result of faith in Christ. No works means no faith.

I am sure many questions entered your mind as you read my answer. Let me share a few caveats. I believe that the Bible clearly teaches that once a person is saved they are always saved. Since salvation is based on Christ’s work and not on ours, God does not take it away because of our poor behaviors at some future point. Interpreting Jesus’ parable of the soils says to me that the middle two soils were never “saved” in the first place. It is not how we start but how we finish that really matters. True Believers remain faithful to the end.

What about people who receive Christ on their death beds and never have time to produced any works? True faith saves whether we have time to produce fruit or not.

What about people who live for Christ and then turn away from Christ? My opinion is that true Believers will not turn away and the fact that they do reveals that they never were True Believers in the first place.

What about backsliding? My advice is, “Don’t do it.” If you do, you and God will have to work that out together.

Well, Name Withheld, I hope this answer is helpful to you. May God bless you in your Christian growth to produce much fruit! Ask me another question soon.

Love, Roger.


Published with permission 

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