Top 5 Life-changer Books you should read

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It’s no secret, readers are leaders. Top leaders in the highest echelon of our societies today are men and woman who never stop equipping their minds daily.  As the popular maxim affirms,  “he who doesn’t read is not better than he that cannot read”.

Here are the top 5 life changer books, take it from someone whose life has been transformed:

1.      See you at the Top – Zig Ziglar

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I’ve probably read hundreds of book, but this is one of the books I can’t get over. Zig Ziglar poured his life into this book and you can feel this with every word you read. He firmly affirmed that, you can have everything you want in life if you will help enough other people get what they want.”  Zig is dead, but his works continue to inspire thousands daily.

2.      Be all you…

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Hagar’s untold story

opeytheintrovert

One of the things I’ve always loved about the Bible is that there are different types of women in it. From wives to prostitutes and much more they are all there and I find it beautiful because it shows that there is nobody that God deems ‘unworthy’ of His love and forgiveness.

I was reading Genesis 21:10-14 but as I was reading it something struck out to me. Is it fair to say that Hagar was the first single mother in the Bible? What makes it ‘worse’ is that God seemingly allowed it to happen. Harsh right? So many thoughts ran through my mind and I couldn’t help but think about the unjustness of it all. However, God shared some really beautiful things with me which I’ll endeavour to share with you all now.

To get a better understanding let’s go back to the beginning of this whole situation; Sarah…

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Prayer 101

Manzami

Hello Everyone,

I trust that we have all been doing great. I know that its been really long and I do apologize for the silence.

So towards the end of last month (march), I started to look for what my personal Bible Study Reading Plan for the month of April will be on. I ended up saving a few but as the Lord would have it I used none lol- talk about the Lord having His way. Now i strongly believe that He needed me to walk with Him in strengthening my prayer life. He wanted me to study more on Effective Prayer (imagine the series for the month of April at Create With Words being on Prayer). He really is not an author of confusion .

I would like to share all that I learn in the cause of this study and what I feel is a major benefit…

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Personal Reflections on the Book of Acts 20:21

 

 

PERSONAL REFLECTIONS (1)“Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” Acts 20:21 (KJV)

We live in a generation where the term “born again” seems to be common. It is understood by some, yet misunderstood by many, especially in the church. While some see it as an end, others whom the Lord chooses to reveal, see it as a means to an end, thereby pressing unto the goal.

It appears that Paul when speaking to elders of the church at Ephesus about his service to the Lord (Acts 20:17-21), closed with the message of repentance towards God and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ (born again).

I reflected on his journey to salvation and wondered why it couldn’t stand on its own as a message? But then I realized that if his journey didn’t end in the good news of being born again, it would have been incomplete.

Paul broke down what it entails being born again and referred to it as that which is profitable (Acts 20:20). It is that which will unite a man with his maker, which forms the basis of the eternal blessings of God unto man. And which will stand the test of time when all fails; it will not be burnt when our works are being tried by fire.

Paul lived in salvation and taught publicly about it, not just to congregations but also from house to house. Not just to the believers, but to the unbelievers also (Acts 20:20-21). Without Repentance towards God and faith in Jesus Christ, no one can be saved.

A) “…Repentance toward God…”

Repentance is the first necessary step towards being born again. This is why it comes before faith in Acts 20:21. Not to repent of my sins means that I am still holding on and not fully believing in the finished work of Jesus. Could this be the reason for what we see in the church today? So many people are accepting Jesus, yet returning to their old ways. I am convinced that repentance is NOT being religious. The Pharisees and Sadducees, who were the religious leaders and custodians of the law, were confronted by John the Baptist to “produce fruit in keeping with repentance” (Mathew 3:1-8). They were in the church, occupied leadership positions, but had not repented of their old ways, thus the inability to

bring forth fruits of repentance. It is also NOT just being convinced about the existence of Jesus Christ. Nicodemus, a religious leader who was convinced about Jesus Christ yet, did not understand what it meant to be born again, and therefore, could not have repented. So many people in the church today are trying to be good by self-effort, feeling guilty about sin or having an intellectual knowledge of the Bible, but all these do not mean repentance towards God. Sin must, by repentance, be abandoned and forsaken. What repentance is, however, is to confess your sins before God (1 John 1:9), to hate sin with all your heart (Heb 1:9), and to put your trust and belief totally in the finished work of Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. (2 Cor 5:19 & 1 John 2:2, 12)

b) “…faith toward our Lord Jesus…”

While repentance towards God is good, in itself it is insufficient. Therefore, having faith in Christ as your redeemer and savior, and consenting to Him as your Lord is a must. There is no coming to God but by depending and believing in the finished work of Jesus Christ, your mediator. I’ve looked through the scriptures and all that it is required of me to have a living relationship, it is to believe and accept the finished work of Jesus on the cross. The scriptures also tell me that salvation, to be born again, is a gift. It is not to be earned, but rather received. All I need to do is to receive, to come as I am, to retrace my steps no matter how far I have gone in the wrong direction. The truth about heading in the wrong direction is that the desired destination will never be reached. Repentance looks towards God as our end; faith towards Christ as our only way of being united with God.

After passing through life and encountering so many problems, with each passing day, I learn to have faith in Jesus. Though a lot of changes may have taken place in our generation and it seems the word of God has been altered, I know that the Bible says, “…Without holiness, no eyes shall see the Lord…” (Heb 12:14). However, I am compelled daily by his unconditional love to carry my cross daily and to run faithfully in the race that is set before me. It doesn’t matter how spiritual I have been, and it doesn’t matter how far I have gone in the wrong direction. The question is after seeing from the scriptures what it entails being born again, can I truly say that I am indeed born again? Jesus’ reply to Nicodemus in John 3:16 was apt and clear. May God have mercy on us and grant us the grace to walk faithfully before him that we may enter into our rest at the end of it all in Jesus’ name.

Lessons From His Story: Abraham

Lessons From His Story (2)

Five things we can learn from Father Abraham.

God’s word is potent with lessons, and examples of what we should strive towards as believers. Today we examine a few lessons from the life of Abraham, son of Terah, Descendant of Shem.
Lesson one- Elevation may Require Separation
One of the things that stood out for me in the life of Abram, later called Abraham, was the fact that that, in the Bible, time and time again we see that when God wanted to make someone great, He would separate them. This theme is repeated over and over again. We have seen it happen to Moses, Jesus, Joseph, and the list goes on and on. God had already decreed Abram blessed before He asked him to leave for Canaan, and way before he and Lot separated, but God blessed him in abundance while he was alone. We also see that God spoke to him in His quiet time (alone time with God), showing him promises that he had in store for him. When we are in a place of complete dependence and focus on God, He moves mightily in our lives.
Lesson two- Obedience to God Secures His Promises
In Genesis 12, one of the first things that we learn about Abraham was that he was obedient to God. In Genesis 12:1-3 he was asked by God to leave his family, and all he knew. He was asked to step out on a limb so to speak and trust that the God of his fathers. The Bible gives no evidence of argument whatsoever. Directly after God had spoken, we see in Genesis 12:4 that he obeyed. This 75-year-old man took his wife and nephew and all that they had owned and left.
Abram did as he was commanded and God did indeed deliver. We see evidence of this in Genesis 12:17 where Pharaoh was punished because of Sarai, later known as Sarah, and in the book of Exodus where the Israelites were in a strange land but outnumbered the natives (Exodus 1:9)

Lesson Three – God was his total Source of Supply
In Genesis 14 after Lot and the other people that were made prisoner were set free, the King of Sodom suggested that Abram keeps the spoils of the battle for himself. We see how everything played out from verses 21-24 of that chapter. Abram refused. He knew that his wealth was to come supernaturally from God, and not at the hand of any man.

Lesson Four- Acting out of God’s will for our lives is dangerous
God had promised Abraham to make his descendants great at the beginning of Genesis 12. Sarah was frustrated and decided to give her handmaid to Abraham so that she would have a child with her. This plan backfired, and Hagar, her handmaid, became disrespectful toward her and caused her pain. Hagar eventually ran away for some time, as she was being treated unfairly by Sarah. She returned, and later was sent away with her son Ishmael. Had Abraham and Sarah held on to God’s word and waited, there would have been no reason for the pain that they both experienced.

Lesson Five- Complete Trust in God brings us Divine Surprises.
Abraham trusted God completely. He was totally confident in his God. In Genesis 22, we see that God had asked Abraham to offer Isaac to Him as a sacrifice. There is no evidence of Abraham crying; the bible only shows us silent obedience and complete trust in God. God turned this situation around, and instead of Isaac being sacrificed, God provided a sacrificial ram. Abraham trusted God so much that He would give up one of his most prized blessings from God to please Him.

From this brief examination of Abraham’s life, we have examples of how we should, and should not walk with our Lord. Abraham’s life shows us that to go into our high places separation is a must. It may not be physical separation, but separation as unto God. This is a separation of the heart, and complete focus. Abraham’s life shows us that when we are obedient, we will experience God’s blessings and that we should revere God as our total source and supply. We also see that when we act out of God’s will, we can get ourselves into trouble and that when we completely trust Him, we are set for divine surprises.

Prayer Series :PERSISTENCE IN PRAYER (Luke 18:1-8)

PERSISTENCE IN PRAYER (Luke 18:1-8) 

By Jean-Amaka Ofikulu

  

“Then He spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart, saying: “There was in a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man. Now there was a widow in that city; and she came to him, saying, ‘Get justice for me from my adversary.’ And he would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, ‘Though I do not fear God nor regard man, yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.’ ” Then the Lord said, “Hear what the unjust judge said. And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?”

There is in the following parable, a particular reference to the distress and trouble the disciples were soon to meet with from their persecutors, which would render the duties of prayer, patience, and perseverance peculiarly seasonable. 

That men ought always to pray (At all times, on all occasions, or frequently) and not to faint (Under their trials, not to despond, or yield to evils, so as not to be wearied out by them, and cease from prayer, as unavailing to procure relief) becomes a habitual response to this foreseen threat to their faith. 

Often, when we have prayed for any particular blessing, we desist, because God does not immediately grant us our petition. 

This parable appears to have been principally designed to inspire us with earnestness and perseverance in our prayers like it did the disciples of Christ then, for the coming of the Son of man to destroy His enemy. 

For this event is represented, not only here, but in several other passages of Scripture, as a thing exceedingly to be wished for in those days. The reason was, the Jews in every country were their bitterest persecutors, and the chief opposers of Christianity. See Luke 21:28; Hebrews 10:25; James 5:7; 1 Peter 4:7. 

Independent of this, however, in the course of His ministry, our Lord often recommended frequency, earnestness, and perseverance in prayer, not because God is, or can be, ever tired with our importunity; but because it is both an expression and exercise of our firm belief of, and confidence in, His power and goodness, without which it would not be fit for God to bestow His blessings upon us, nor would we be capable of receiving and using them. See also Matthew 7:7-11; Luke 11:5-8.

Remember in the rain, what He told you, when the sun was shining.

 

She felt sick to her stomach. As a matter of fact, she gagged a couple of times, but no one seemed to notice. They were all too busy running for cover. The torrential rains beat down on her small, sorry looking frame as she walked. One step for today, the other for next year. What just happened to me? She asked herself. A feeling of numbness possessed her. Questions ran wild, like newly freed animals in her mind. She asked herself everything …Why? How? What? But mostly why.Her tears mingled with the rain-drops running down her face, making their way down to her chin. She wished that someone, anyone for that matter, would stop to ask her if she was ok.Sadly, no one did. As she stepped into her front door, she felt her insides burst, and out of her mouth, came this painful sound, that though lacking words, expressed everything she was feeling. Defeat, bitterness, anger, everything.
She curled up in a ball on the floor, bawling. Her only competition was the howling wind outside, and the raindrops beating down on the roof top. She looked across the floor, to where she had thrown her keys. Her eyes fixated on the key chain. It read,’I LOVE YOU.’ At that, she let out a loud, angry scream. She rolled onto her back, and looking upward, protested,’You love me? Really ? If you did love me, things would go my way.But it didn’t.It didn’t .’ At that, she broke down again.
It was at this time that He started to speak. ‘Susan.’ He called in a sweet, gentle voice. She did not reply.He called again,’Susan?’
‘What do you want? Haven’t you upset me enough ?’
‘Susan, I just want you to remember that I love you.I do .’
‘No, You don’t !’ She shouted. ‘If You ever did, today would have worked out!’
‘Susan,’ He continued,’I do love you.I do. Just because I don’t always give you everything you ask for, does not mean I don’t. Have you forgotten what I promised you?I won’t lie to you. I love you. Today did not work out because I have better plans for you.Trust me. My plans for you are good.’

******* I’m sure at one point or the other, we have all felt like Susan.We have big plans or dreams, and when they get messed up, we get mad. Sometimes, it could be things that happened to us or those around us.Things that were out of our control.In these times, we may be tempted to question God. DON’T !!!.His word says that He won’t lie ( Numbers 23:19 God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it? ). God’s word is filled with testimonies to the saints of old. All of which were brought to fruition by His mighty hand, in it’s due season.He is the same God, and His capacity and capabilities are still very much potent. If He says He will do something, He will. Trust Him. Pray it through, ask Him what you may need to do if anything at all.Above all, PRAY, PRAISE, AND TRUST! GOD IS ALL POWERFUL.

******* Scriptures to meditate on : Numbers 23:19 /Genesis 50:20 / 2nd Corinthians 1:20 /Genesis 21:1

******* Scriptures to meditate on : Numbers 23:19 /Genesis 50:20 / 2nd Corinthians 1:20 /Genesis 21:1

 

The Vision Series: Following the Holy Spirit

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Vision: Following the Leading of the Holy Spirit and Bible
Though there are many meanings attached to the word “vision”, it is used here as our ability to perceive things that are invisible and have the knowledge of things that are beyond our present state – 2 Cor. 4:18 “While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen…” This is giving us the clear idea of what vision means.
We can have a vision of both spiritual and physical things; however, our vision of the spiritual things comes from our knowledge of the word of God and His spirits, which were sent to guide and lead us in our journey through the wilderness of this world.
Without vision, our goals – either spiritual or physical – can never be actualized. The scripture says in Proverb 29: 18 “where there is no vision, the people perish…” Therefore, having a clear vision of our mission on earth as Christians is very important for our spiritual journey. God often uses vision to guide our path and set us on the right track. The Holy Spirit within us and the word of God in our heart are our ever reliable guides.
While it is not wrong for us to set carnal goals and have a vision about them, spiritual visions should be of more importance to us as Christians as we are to set our heart on things from above. Our mission on earth is determined; however, it is our vision that will let us know why and how we should carry out this mission successfully without compromising because of the vain things of the world. It can also reassure us about the will of God for our life.
Abraham, for example, received a vision from God that reassured him about God’s will for his life Gen 15:1 “After these things the word of the Lord came unto Abraham in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield and thy exceeding great reward.” Similar things happened to Joseph in Genesis 37 where God showed him the plans He had for his life.
In the past, God used to speak to people through dreams as in the case of Joseph, and he also spoke to them through his prophets like Isaiah, Elijah, Jeremiah, Hosea, Jonah and so on; however, nowadays, God shows us vision through the ministration of the holy spirit as well as the scripture in diverse ways.
Our major means of receiving from God is through the Holy Spirit which was sent to us as the Comforter that would explain everything to us as written in John 14:16 “and I will pray for the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, which he may abide with you forever”. Without guidance from the Holy Spirit, our Christian journey will be in futility.
In the same vein, the word of God, which is the Bible, also serves as other means of receiving the vision from God since it is the message from the Almighty God himself. Psalm 119:105 “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” As lamp gives light, so does the word of God give meaning to our vision and help us in knowing whatever the Lord has planned for our life.
However, we need to be wary of the tactic of the devil in ministering to us through our natural human feelings and imaginations and from the prophets of the devil who would come as that of God and give us visions that may look like that of the spirit of God; hence, using them to derail us from the path the vision from God is meant to take us. Jeremiah 23:16 “…Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you; they make you vain; they speak a vision of their own hear, and not out from the mouth of the Lord”. We must learn how to use the word of God to discern what is truly from God from what is not and in doing this, we will be able to follow the guidance of the Spirit and word of God as regards our vision.

New Beginning

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New Beginning

The baptismal pool, the congregation, the pastor,

and my palms were sweating,

expecting an unknown disaster.

For I secretly feared what would happen next,

Letting go of my sinful ways seemed somewhat perplexed.

But I was willing to take that first step,

of reckoning the past and hope for God’s best.

Or, was I really?  

For part of me may miss that old life dearly.

That life that caused me so much pain…”

and caused me to curse God over and over again.

But I went down into that water a dry devil,

but when I got out, I was headed to the next level.

I reckoned my past as the choir was singing;

A changed mind anticipating new beginnings.

By Keeba  

Oasis

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An emissary,

 Freed and chained simultaneously,

Dragged her cracked vessel, along the heated battlefield.

Her heavy Armour, partially destroyed.

On her last.

Taking one step for today, the other for tomorrow .

A deep-seated craving clutched her,

This same desperation drove her on.

The sight of the distant oasis seized her,

Between thirst and doubt, she stood, Torn.

What if it was a Mirage? She thought,

She had to try.

Better to put up a fight, than to lay cowardly there and die.

With new found strength, she pursued it,

By faith she arrived.

To her fresh watering hole, Where she’d be revived

This would sustain her for six weeks plus three,

Unknown to her, it was there that she’d learn what it was to be totally free.

Free from the invisible chains in her mind,

The unseen shackles around her feet

The lies,

The confusion,

The noise,

Her armour would be complete.

She soaked in its mineral waters, like her personal thermal spring.

Her wounds were healed,

Her mind stretched,

She was in better shape to serve her King.

She drank thirstily, as she was refreshed with wisdom, from the lady at the stream

Her spirit lifted

Her soul excited.

The strength to fight, now  reignited.

She was brimming full of this water,

And was desperate to share, with other wounded soldiers, with anyone who would hear

With anyone, who like herself had it wrong for so long.

Marching in the King’s army

But singing the wrong song.

On her road to  Damascus , She discovered a key.

Revelation came,

The scales fell off, and now she can see.