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Prayer: Key to Overcoming Family Challenges
Sun, Mar 26, 2017
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45 mins 11 secs
Every family faces challenges that, if care is not taken, can be used by the enemy to cause frustration, discouragement, separation, and even divorce. But whatever we may face as a couple or a family can be overcome if we will pray to God for His help. This can be illustrated by the account of the birth of Jacob and Esau, the twin sons of Isaac and Rebekah that we read earlier. Now concerning Jacob and Esau we are here told that they were prayed for. Their parents, after they had been long childless, obtained them by prayer (Gen. 25:20,21). Though God had promised to multiply his family, Isaac prayed for its increase; for God's promises, must not supersede, but encourage, our prayers, and be the ground of our faith. Though he had prayed for this mercy very often, and had continued his supplication many years, and it was not granted, yet he did not leave off praying for it; for men ought always to pray, and not to faint (Luke 18:1), to pray without ceasing, and knock till the door be opened, He prayed for his wife; some read it with his wife. From his example, we learn that husbands and wives should pray together. This is also explicitly stated in Apostle Peter's first epistle so that their prayers be not hindered (1 Peter 3:7). The result of his effort is that God heard his prayer. This buttresses the fact that children are the gift of God. Those that continue instant in prayer, as Isaac did, shall find, at last, that they did not seek God in vain (Isaiah 45:19). In answering their prayer, God did more than they could imagine—Rebecca became pregnant with a set of twins. God often does more than we ask for in our prayers, and gives more than we can ask or think (Eph. 3:20). But the pregnancy brought with it another challenge. The children struggled together within her. The commotion she felt was altogether extraordinary and made her very uneasy. Whether she was apprehensive that the birth would be her death, or whether she was weary of the intestine tumult, or whether she suspected it to be an ill omen, it seems she was ready to wish that either she had not been with child or that she might die immediately, and not bring forth such a struggling brood. Before, the want of children was her trouble, now, the struggle of the children is causing her a lot of worry, fear, and anxiety. From this experience of Rebecca’s, we can learn that the comforts we are most desirous of are sometimes found to bring along with them more occasion of trouble and uneasiness than what we thought of. We are too apt to be discontented with our comforts, because of the uneasiness that attends them. But how did she handle this unpleasant development? She went to enquire of the Lord. She did not depend on her own understanding or seek the counsel of those who never had a similar experience. Her reasoning was that if God could grant her the power to conceive these babies in her womb, He can be relied upon to guide the whole process leading to their birth. Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV) 5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. Isaiah 66:9 (NIV) 9 Do I bring to the moment of birth and not give delivery?" says the LORD. "Do I close up the womb when I bring to delivery?" says your God. Philippians 1:6 (NIV) 6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus
Preparing Your Family for a Future Without You
Sun, Mar 19, 2017
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58 mins 31 secs
Preparing your family for a future without you is a responsibility that every parent owes his or her family. A few examples will buttress this point: The first is King Hezekiah. From the story of his life we learn that God would want everyone to put his own house or family in order before they die. (Isaiah 38:1). The second is Isaac who thought he was about to die and was desperate to pass on the blessing and promise he inherited from Abraham to Esau. (Genesis 27:1-4). The third example is Jacob who made it clear to his son, Joseph, that he did not want to be buried in Egypt. (Genesis 47:28-31). Not only that; he also addressed the unspoken fears and concerns of his family concerning their sojourn in Egypt; gave a special gift to Joseph; and told his sons what would happen to them in the future. (Genesis 48:21-22; 49:1-2, 28-33). The fourth example is Joseph whose father Isaac not only helped to reconcile him and his brothers before his death but also reiterated his father’s promise to his family and asked his brethren to carry his bones to Canaan for burial when he dies. (Genesis 50:15-26). The fifth example is our Lord Jesus Christ who not only comforted his disciples ahead of his death but also committed the care of his mother to John, the beloved disciple (John 14:1-3; 19:25-27). But how can you prepare your family for a future without you? Those who care to do this have much to learn from Abraham whose story we read in Genesis 25:1-10. First, he made Isaac his heir as he was bound to do, in justice to Sarah his first wife, and to Rebekah who married Isaac upon the assurance of it (Gen. 24:36). It is important for parents to appoint someone as leader of their family in their absence who will command the love and respect of everyone in the family. Second, he gave gifts to the rest of his children, both to Ishmael, though at first he was sent empty away, and to his sons by Keturah. It was justice to provide for them; parents that do not imitate Abraham in this are worse than unbelievers. Third, even though it is not explicitly stated in the Bible, Abraham must have worked hard to heal the division that existed between him and Ishmael, on the one hand, and between Ishmael and Isaac, on the other hand, before his death. The evidence for this is that Ishmael and Isaac worked together to give Abraham a befitting burial. (Genesis 25:8-10). Parents must make sure that they heal the divisions that exist among their children and between their immediate and extended families. Fourth, live an exemplary Christian life before them and lead them to give their lives to Jesus Christ as their personal Lord and Saviour. This should be done very early in the lives of your children and family members. Fifthly, help them to cultivate a life of their own that does not revolve around you. They should be helped to understand the will of God for their lives and be committed to doing it even during your lifetime. They must be taught to fend for themselves and not have to rely on others, including you, for their survival. Finally, pray for them until the very end that God will look after them even when you’re no longer going to be around to take care of them. This was one of the very last acts of love that Jesus carried out for the benefit of His disciples. Parents can also pray to God for the children and family that they will be leaving behind in the world. (John 17:9-11, 14-17).
Getting Ready for Marriage & Family Life
Sun, Mar 12, 2017
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1 hr 18 mins 4 secs
Having spent the greater part of the last several weeks on the Christian Home and Family, a subject that primarily addresses the needs and concerns of married people and/or single parents, it is necessary for us to address the subject of getting ready for marriage and family life. This is because the majority of us who are present here today are unmarried people. The quality of the preparation we make for marriage and family life determines to a very large extent our success in marriage and family life. What, then, should we do to prepare for marriage and family life? In the first place, the preparation should start very early. Our parenting should have as one of its goals the preparation of our children for a similar role in life even though it is still in the future. Boys should be groomed to be breadwinners and good husbands and fathers while girls should be groomed to be homemakers as well as good wives and mothers. Unfortunately, this is often not done because parents wrongly assume that people’s ability to function in these capacities will come naturally. But this is not so, and there is a lot of evidence for this. Secondly, parents should be good role models for their children in marriage and family life. Whether they like it or not, their home is their children’s first school of marriage and family life. This is where the children learn about marriage; about how to function as a husband and a father; about how to function as a wife and a mother; and about how to bring up children. Thirdly, avoid anything that will destroy your potentials for having a successful marriage and family life. Sexual immorality is quite rampant in our world today and many teenagers and youth are caught in its web. Some girls are forced to drop out of school because of unwanted pregnancy while many boys get distracted from developing into responsible adults by engaging in sexual immorality. In the fourth place, develop your potentials for having a successful marriage and family life. You can do this by adopting the right priorities in life. One, put God first by being born again and growing spiritually. Two, acquire the needed educational and/or vocational training that will help you fend for yourself and also take care of a wife and children when you are ready to get married and start a family. For girls, they must also acquire the needed educational and/or vocational training that will make them helpers to the men that will seek their hand in marriage. Fifthly, allow God to lead you and seek counsel from spiritually mature people around you in your effort to get married. Don’t be headstrong like Samson or self-willed like Esau whose poor choices of whom wives brought griefs to their parents and disasters upon them. Be sure to understand the plan of God for your life and be committed to living according to that plan because it will help you to understand who will be the best person for you to marry among the many children of God that are available. Before you start looking for Mr. or Miss. Right, be sure you are Miss. Or Mr. Right yourself and that you are moving in the right direction according to the will of God for your life. In the sixth place, learn to be contented with what God provides for you at the beginning of your marriage. You can only grow big when you start small. Don’t despise the days of small beginning. You don’t need all the money in the world to start a family. Don’t cultivate the habit of living to impress others and incurring debts in order to have a lavish wedding.
Managing the Family as a Single Parent
Sun, Mar 05, 2017
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1 hr 31 mins 14 secs
Single parenthood is a condition that is very common in our world today and can be a very challenging experience for those who have it as their lot in life. The reality of single parenthood is acknowledged by the Bible where God reveals His love and concern for single parents. One notable single parent in the Bible is Hagar, the concubine of Abraham who had a son named Ishmael for him. Her story can be found in Genesis 16, 17, and 21. Hagar was rejected by her mistress, Sarah, and sent packing from the family of Abraham along with the son she had for Abraham at the instigation of Sarah. She, therefore, became a single parent to Ishmael and was saddled with the sole responsibility of taking care of him. She later found a wife for him from Egypt. A second notable single parent in the Bible is Eunice, the mother of Timothy. Eunice was a Jewess and a believer who got married to a Greek.
Living with an Unbelieving Spouse
Sun, Feb 26, 2017
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1 hr 6 mins 43 secs
One situation that many believers in Jesus Christ need the light of the word of God to deal with is how an unbeliever may live successfully with an unbeliever within marriage. Whatever may be the reason for this unequal yoke with an unbeliever, the Christian soon finds out that living with an unbelieving spouse can be very difficult indeed. The Bible offers help to such persons whoever they are and wherever they may be. Two passages of Scripture speak directly to this issue, namely, 1 Corinthians 7:12-16 and 1 Peter 3:1-7. The fact that the Holy Spirit used two key figures among the Apostles of Jesus Christ write on this subject is an indication of God’s concern for those hurting Christians who have found themselves in this situation. What, then, does the Bible say to Christians who are married to unbelievers? In the first place, confess your sins to God and receive His forgiveness (1 John 1:9). This applies to those who entered into this union in obvious violation of the Word of God against unequal yoke with unbelievers. Second, accept God’s view of marital commitment. Marriage is to be for life. Divorce should never be seen as the way out of an unequal yoke (1 Corinthians 7:12, 13). Thirdly, live a godly life before your unsaved partner; let your life proclaim the gospel that you have received. This is where many born-again Christians fail in their responsibility to their unsaved spouses. We can never justify our claim to faith in God if it does not affect our conduct. A believer who intends to influence his or her unbelieving spouse for Christ should make sure he or she lives a godly life. But what happens when, in spite of the believer’s effort in living the Christlike life, the unbelieving spouse does not notice but appears to be going from bad to worse? It is very tempting to want to give up trying to please the unbeliever and also be careless about their relationship. But this should not be so. Rather, develop patience and understanding, and learn to prayer. A judgmental spirit and insensitivity to the spiritual state of the unbeliever will turn the individual off and make him or her your enemy. Also, do not develop an attitude of self-pity. Through prayer and persistence in well-doing the believer will reap the fruit of godly living. Don’t take your spouse’s rejection of Christ as a rejection of yourself. The two are not the same and where they are regarded as the same, enmity develops and all manners of evil have a fertile ground to grow. Fourthly, the believing spouse should learn to say “no” to whatever offends God that the unbeliever may require him or her to do. Some believers have been and are being pressurized to compromise their faith by their unbelieving partners in order to keep their marriage. They have succumbed to threats of divorce issued by their unbelieving spouses. Such believers should note that God must be first in their lives and it is only God who can keep their marriages for them. No amount of compromise can help in the long run. Fifthly, a believer who is married to an unbeliever should be a man or woman of prayer. Prayer is communing with God. Through prayer, God makes strength available to us for living according to His will in any situation. Sixthly, share the gospel with your unsaved partner. When the believer perceives in his spirit that he has won the right to be listened to and taken seriously by the unbelieving spouse, he should allow the Holy Spirit to use him to share the gospel with the unsaved partner. He may also invite his spouse to a Christian gathering where others can share the gospel with the spouse (1 Timothy 2:4; Romans 15:1-3; 10:9-10).
The Role of Deacons II
Sun, Feb 19, 2017
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36 mins 56 secs
In a few weeks our church will elect and ordain a new set of deacons and deaconesses. Therefore, we need some teaching from Scripture about the role of deacons in the local church. As we begin this message on the role of deacons, we need to begin by learning what deacons are not: One, deacons do not have the responsibility of policing the pastors. Two, deacons are not the ruling body of the church. Three, deacons are not the defenders of church tradition. Four, deacons are not the old men of the church. Five, deacons are the controllers of the church’s finances. Six, deacons do not have the final say on church decisions. Having looked at what deacons are not, it is important that we also consider what deacons are or at least what they should be. One, deacons are servants. The word "deacon" comes from the Greek term diakonos, which originally referred to a waiter, an attendant, one who ran errands or other menial duties. Two, deacons are advisors. They are often important advisors to pastors and congregations. Three, deacons are examples. They are to have such character, dedication and integrity that others in the church can look to them as examples and role models. Four, deacons are leaders. Because of the very nature of their calling and work, deacons are to lead out in the church. From the passage dealing with the calling of the very first deacons, we see Four Aspects of the Ministry of Deacons. One, Why Were Deacons Needed? (vv.1-2, 4). Deacons were needed because the Church was Growing. v.1 says "in those days" that "the number of the disciples was multiplying." They were experiencing rapid church growth. Acts 2:47 says "the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved." As the church grew, so did the problems.
The Role of Deacons Part 1
Sun, Feb 12, 2017
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1 hr 26 mins 42 secs
Divine Restoration of The Institution of Marriage II
Sun, Jan 29, 2017
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1 hr 14 mins 4 secs
For a couple of weeks now, we have been having a church-wide bible study series on the Christian Home and Family. This is borne out of our appreciation that the institution of marriage and the home are undergoing a lot of crises today. If the evils ravaging the homes can be contained within them, it is bad enough, but this is not so. Rather, these evils reach out beyond the dysfunctional homes and families on to the farthest recesses of the earth through the individuals that are brought up within them.
Divine Restoration of The Institution of Marriage I
Sun, Jan 22, 2017
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1 hr 13 mins 50 secs
For a couple of weeks now, we have been having a church-wide bible study series on the Christian Home and Family. This is borne out of our appreciation that the institution of marriage and the home are undergoing a lot of crises today
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