Overcoming In Christ

The faith of the 21 Coptic Christians in Libya whose callous murder by Islamic fundamentalists was broadcast across the world is one of the standout testimonies of faith in the past few months. The depiction of the savagery meted out was sent to far corners of the earth via a well orchestrated media campaign. People all over the world have seen these images of the most cruel acts committed in the name of religion.

These Christians were singled out because of their faith in God and identification with the message of the resurrected Christ. Their plight bears strong similitude to what has been taking place across several other parts of the Middle East,  and in parts of northern Nigeria and Kenya.

Jesus told his followers that carrying the mark of Christ frequently would make them the subject of persecution, where people would feel justified to mete out acts of wickedness in the name of some religious zealotry.

Most of will never experience the degree of religious persecution that some Christians have almost come to accept as a way of life.

We do as believers have to remember the words of Jesus.

If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake, because they know not him that sent me. (John 15:1821- KJV).

The truth for a lot of Christians is that they will face regular persecution at the hands of different people. This will vary in frequency and severity. The young person who is trying to serve the Lord and remain sexually pure receives ridicule and pressure to conform to’societal norms of a pervasive attitude. The influences to attain material success frequently pushes people of faith into situations where by their actions they are denying their faith.

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. (1 Peter 5:8-9 KJV)

It helps to know that believers have received the victory in Christ Jesus and any witness contrary to this is a lie.

Even when we are faced with a life and death situation we can have the confidence to know that our future is secure.

For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? (1 John 5:4-5KJV)

Whatever we face we should remember that our future is secure in Christ. We should always remember to thank God for the victory.

But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.        (1 Corinthians 15:57 KJV)

We should ensure that we endeavour to ‘fight the good fight of faith’ and dwell in victory. We should pray for Christians everywhere to be able to remain steadfast in the midst of serious threats to their wellbeing . May they fully grasp the eternal promise from on high. Death is a defeated foe.

So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? (1 Corinthians 15:54-55KJV)

Happy New Year … Make it a blissful one

Happy New Year!

We hope your 2015 is full of joy and goodness in your marriages & families.

We have put together some ‘resolutions’ which we think will help every couple in getting to that blissful place in their marriage.

New Year Resolutions for husbands

1. Love your wife! She is the most precious person on this planet. Commit to increasing tangible demonstrations of love – say ‘I love you’ frequently with acts of kindness and affection.

2. Desire to understand more about the stresses that your wife goes through and be there for her when the days seem long & hard

3. Declare your appreciation for all the things your wife does

4. Genuinely give your heart to her and support her in her own challenges and aspirations

5. Give more physical contact – hugs and kisses – several times a day, to show you desire her – spirit, soul & body

New Year resolutions for wives

1. Commit to believing in your husband and affirm him at every opportunity

2. Show understanding when he does not attain the standards or results that he should

3. Have genuine respect for your man! Esteem him in your heart & mind above any other man

4. Be honest with your husband about how he can improve and gently encourage him on that journey

5. Desire to pleasure him and be pleasured by him

New Years Resolutions for couples

1. Pray for each other separately and together. The prayer should be faith filled declarations of ‘the best’ for your spouse and your marriage

2. Deal with any difficulties with love and patience. Let anger be short lasting and forgiveness and grace be the standard.

3. Desire to improve your communication – speak clearly, speak truthfully and speak to build up and not destroy

4. Give each to the other wholeheartedly in the area of sexual intimacy. Your spouse should always be that safe place of loving release and refreshing.

5. Share goals together. Share your vision and seek to attain together.  Set out time every week to just appreciate where you are as a couple and trust God for more grace and power.

Have an exciting, wonderful, joy-filled, and successful year!

Ike & Linda

After Christmas before New Year

Christmas 2014 has come and gone. The memory of the delicious Christmas lunch with all the trimmings grows more distant. The leftover  Christmas turkey has ended up in a variety of utility meals or sandwiches. Nice times spent with family and friends, the highs (and lows) of the celebration, the good feelings surrounding receiving and giving gifts as well as possibly disappointments of missed opportunities to rebuild strained relationships remain etched in the memory.

Did you enjoy the Christmas & Boxing Day?  What did it all mean? How much time was spent reflecting on the reason for the season and acknowledging the gift of the begotten Son Jesus who would ultimately give His life to reconcile us back to God.

The trees and the garlands have served their purpose and many are in the process of being taken down. What can be recycled for the next years celebration? What has concluded its use and requires discarding for good. Are there any things we need to be discarding for good?

Now comes the time to look at the forthcoming year.

The New Year represents an opportunity to assess what you have achieved, the challenges, the successes of the past, where you at now and the plans for the New Year.

The concept of New Year Resolutions is not a new one. In Ancient Babylon, the people made promises to their Gods to pay their debts. The Ancient Romans made vows to Janus from which the month of January has its origin. New Year resolutions are indeed a part of modern culture with people of various backgrounds displaying various levels of dedication to seeing their personal goals come to fruition in the year in question.

We are encouraged in the Word to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all other things will be added (Matthew 6:33).

The goals of any individual to get fitter, stop smoking, give up alcohol, lose weight, become more responsible, become more charitable, start or make progress in a project or give more time to others should be encouraged. We can all play a part in supporting the folk in our lives to achieve their personal goals.

In Ecclesiastes 12:13 it says ‘Fear God, and keep His commandments; for this is the whole duty of man.’ This is as true now as it has ever been. The New Year can give us a starting point to say … New year, new commitment, new zeal , new resolve and new desire to follow God in seeking His will.

Husbands and wives would do well to reflect on how they can be better spouses than they have been in the past year and commit to making the changes.

Specifically for husbands, a commitment to being the Spiritual leader of the home, taking charge of affairs and providing leadership in other key areas of family life while making effort to display true love to his wife. Men need to have a strong conviction and corresponding confession that she is God’s gift and will do them good all the days of your life. Men need to make a greater effort to understand all her challenges and limitations and always lift her up in intercession while showing generosity in all things especially attention, gentle words and acts of appreciation.

Wives would do well to committing to having a genuine admiration, respect and appreciation for their husband and his efforts while remaining committed to being a channel of blessings into the home. Wives need to understand that they have the power to determine to prevailing atmosphere in the home and commit to enhancing the well being of their husband by positive affirmation and being yielded.

If the couple can together agree to working together by ensuring that love, honesty, trust, enduring commitment , patience and forgiveness become the defining terms of their marriage they can be confident that they can weather any storm and come out of any difficulty stronger and more victorious than ever before.

We hope that 2015 will be a year for great testimony as to the goodness of marriage and you will see the Lord’s best manifest in your individual situations.

Thank God for Jesus

Christmas is a unique time of the year acknowledged by the whole world as a special season. Over centuries Christmas has evolved from an inauspicious event in humble surroundings in Bethlehem to a annual world wide celebration universally acknowledged by people of all faiths as the major religious celebration.

The origins of the celebration of Christmas as well as a lot of the traditions which have now become to be associated with Christmas frequently seem to be removed from the real message of Christmas.

The real message of Christmas is one of love and giving. God sent Jesus to be a sacrifice to redeem mankind back to himself following man’s rebellion and separation from God through sin.

… Hark the herald angels, Glory to  the Newborn King, Peace on earth and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciled.

God loves us. He is always reaching out and seeking to forgive us when we pull away.

For God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)

That message of grace and giving, of atonement and the drawing us back to the Father is one that needs to be proclaimed to the whole world.