BUILDING STRONG FAITH

Kenneth W. Hagin book on faith

…Faith is acting on God’s Word…


I enjoyed reading this precious little pamphlet (just 32 pages ¬†ūüôā ¬†).

The pamphlet highlights 6 simple yet helpful ways one can follow to build strong faith. I found the ways to be very practical and easy to apply. I’ll summarize the points:

I. Create or be in an environment that produces faith.

This means surrounding yourself with things or people that can build your faith.
This point ¬†jumped out of the page and gripped my heart with great urgency. It felt like a wake up call, so I’ll go into a little more detail on this point.

Surroundings that can affect our faith:
1. Friends or people we spend most of our time with.
The habits or tendencies of our friends tend to rub off on us. Over time.
Try hanging out with a friend that complains all the time, about everything! Or try being close to a friend that cusses in every sentence. You will one day find yourself¬†cursing¬†and you will go like, ‘where did this come from?’ (sound familiar?)
So watch who you choose to hang out with. If you want your faith to grow, find people who are on fire in their faith walk, stick around them for a while and watch yourself catch the fire!

Proverbs 27:17King James Version (KJV)

17 Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.

1 Corinthians 15:33 (NIV)
33Do not be misled: “Bad company corrupts good character.”

Psalms 1:1
Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

 

Jesus’ disciples were surrounded by a life of authority, power, faith, love, miracles and so much more for a very long time to a point where the people who saw them couldn’t help but notice that they reflected Jesus.¬†
———>People ¬†should notice that we have been with Jesus<————

Acts 4:13
13When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.

This is not to say the rest of the people are bad or unworthy of our company; on the contrary we are to help each other up. Rather, this warns us to be very careful and intentional when choosing close friends. You can’t have everyone in your close circle ¬† ¬†¬†¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†¬†

Know what you want to achieve and where you are going then choose friends that are heading there and doing what you want to do.

2. What you watch
Watch what goes into your life through your eyes. The things that you watch.
Take time to review the movies, tv programs,preachings,videos e.t.c that you watch.

3. What you hear
Be an avid ‘hearer’ (reader) of the Word, for faith comes by hearing the Word of God.
Again, take time to review the songs you listen to.
The preachers you listen to, are they preaching in line with God’s Word? (‘do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits tosee whether they are from God’ 1 John 4:1. ‘You shall know them by their fruits…’ Matthew 7:16)
What kind of conversations do you entertain?
                   What kind of books do you read the most?

II. Build your faith on the Word of God, not experiences

We get so caught up in what¬†¬†we’ve experienced¬†¬†that we are prone to putting God in a box. Just because god moved in a certain way one particular time, we begin to believe and convince others that that’s the only way He moves. People have created rituals out of what they have experienced with God.

Our faith should be rooted in the character of God, not the miracles. It should be crafted from  who God is, not what God does.

III. Look up to the Word of God, not people.

We are living in a time when people have faith in their pastors more than they have in the Word of God. People are idolizing God’s servants. This puts them at risk of being deceived. These people have the same Bible that we have and serve the same God we do.
Servants of God are in place to help us, not to replace God.

A christian book shouldn’t replace reading the Bible.
A prayer meeting with other believers shouldn’t replace personal time with God.
Listening to worship and praise songs shouldn’t replace singing to Him.
…God desires a relationship.
…He desires that you should have a personal walk with Him.

Know God for yourself.

IV. Obedience is necessary to build strong faith

Obedience is doing what you are told to do. Doing what you are supposed to do.

God does not require us to walk
 in the light of some archangel.

God does not require us to walk
 in the light of some church tradition.

...God does require us to walk in the light of the eternal Word of God.

If you don’t do what you are supposed to do, you have no right to ask of the things in his Word.

V. Be humble

God can use any body. His power and glory can be made manifest in any church gathering, family, nation or person. There is no monopoly when it comes to the gifts of God.

God used a donkey before. (Numbers 22)

VI. Have bold holiness

Don’t be afraid of the devil, he is a defeated foe. Be willing to be in the forefront of the battle, put on your armor at all times .

 

……………..building strong faith…………….

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JUNE BOOKS

Cheers to a new month! ¬†ūüôā


 

The two book topics I had for May were exciting. I had the opportunity to learn so much about leadership (serving others with your gift, leading the way, having dominion, exercising authority…) and finances (tithing, giving, budgeting, investing, sowing…). I also read through¬†two 10-days bible devotionals from the YouVersion bible app. May books deserve a more comprehensive summary. I would love to write a summary of one book in particular, Wisdom in Finances- Chris Harvey. This book truly has great wisdom and insight.

June books

#monthly reading plans

Now, onto June!‚ô•

This month has some dimensional levels to it. It has two topics that are fundamental basics to the Christian faith. One of the topics is FAITH which is the basis of the Christian life. Our Christian walk is actually a walk of faith.

Faith holds the key that opens impossible doors.
Faith is that spiritual force which opens humanity to a world of unlimited possibilities. 
Faith sees the invisible, dares the impossible, and delivers the incredible.
The unlimited power of faith~ David O. Oyedepo

The other topic is PRAYER which is the means of getting in contact with God. A way of reaching out to God. A way of building and sustaining a long healthy relationship with the Father. Communication tool. Since the month started, I’ve already read 2 books on prayer. I was too excited!

I’ve read:
1. Keys for Prayer by Myles Munroe
2. 7 basic steps to successful fasting and prayer by Bill Bright

Prayer is man giving God permission or license to interfere in earth’s affairs.
In other words, prayer is earthly license for heavenly interference.

Keys for Prayer~ Myles Munroe

 

Prayer moves the arm that moves the world.
   Spurgeon

I’ll read books by:¬†Kenneth E. Hagin (his ministry emphasized,and still does, on the teachings/message about faith).
Myles Munroe (his ‘purpose and power of…’ books are rich with information and revelations. Mind opening. The books always have a ‘back to the beginning where it all started from’ sort of approach that gives sound revelational understanding into what is being discussed).
 Dag Heward-Mills (his books have a point by point style of writing which is easy to read and understand. It also makes it way easier to remember and refer back to).
Smith Wigglesworth (he was known as ¬†‘the apostle of faith’. He wrote extensively about the messages of faith and prayer. He modelled a life of faith and prayer)
¬†Priscilla Shirer (most of her books and teachings center on the importance of having a prayer strategy which she calls ‘battle plan’).
Oral Roberts (his well-known university was built on the faith he had in God and upon his obedience. His books and preachings emphasized ‘seed-faith’).
Max Lucado and many more.

faith0a23welivebyfaith2cnotbysight0a0aprayer0a23praywithoutceasing0a0a-default

 

What I hope to achieve this month:

  1. A strong prayer life
  2. An understanding of how prayer and faith work
  3. Become a woman of great faith
  4. Get these questions answered:       

               Are faith and prayer somehow connected?
               Does faith grow or increase?
               Can a Christian have doubts?
               How can I get the most out of my prayers?
               Is it mandatory to pray?

Prayer&amp;Faith

 


…A lifestyle of prayer. A life of faith…

 

CHANGE YOUR LIFESTYLE

Lifestyle: A particular way of living. 

To achieve major long-term changes in one’s life it takes more than tricks and tips. It calls for a change in mindset. It also calls for a change in lifestyle.

Let‚Äôs say I want a flat tummy. I can get some quick ‚Äėflat-abs workout‚Äô tips on Youtube or Pinterest. Start my exercise routine. I can avoid certain kinds foods and eat more of the healthier kinds. I can stick to these routines until the tummy becomes flat. Once I stop doing what I used to do to get the flat tummy, guess what? It will grow back! Hahaha!

How is that for all the energy and time I’ve used up!

But if I make a decision that exercise will be a part of my daily routine, things might go differently. If I adopt it as a lifestyle, am likely to maintain the flat tummy. It obviously starts with your mindset. If your mind connects healthy eating and exercise with a flat tummy, then everytime you see your tummy grow you’ll know that you are not exercising or eating right.

The same applies to people who want to lose weight.

In the case of losing weight,the first thing is to identify the habits or lifestyle that make you gain those extra pounds. Is it the heavy meals you enjoy eating in the night? Or the sweets and sodas? Or is it the yummy pastry?

Get to the root of the problem.

After you have identified the cause, the triggers and habits, your next step is to change the lifestyle. This takes time because we are creatures of habit, you can‚Äôt just change a habit overnight (others do though, but most of us can‚Äôt). You have to ease into it. Don‚Äôt strain your body and mind, they¬†have been doing the same thing over and over for years! Give them time to adjust to the new you. If it‚Äôs sugars for example, you can start by cutting out soda or fizzy drinks. Do not say ‚ÄėI will try not take fizzy drinks for two months‚Äô. After two months what next? You‚Äôll reward yourself with a fizzy drink?! The goal is short-term.

Try¬†this: My goal is to cut out fizzy drinks from my diet for good because they make me gain unnecessary weight. So phase one of ‚ÄėMission cut out fizzy drinks‚Äô will be to take fizzy drinks only on weekends for let‚Äôs say a month (limiting the frequency). Be sure to find a good substitute for the fizzy drinks, it could be a smoothie or homemade juice.

After a month, track your progress.If you are still not comfortable you can add another month. If it worked, get into phase two which could be to only take one cup of fizzy drinks on those weekends (limiting the quantity).Continue to do this until you have completely cut out the drinks from your diet. The transition helps you kill the cravings  (you crave for things you are used to) and it also helps with creating habits while allowing your body and mind to get used to the idea.

Have a goal that you very convinced about. Then set strategies. The aim should always be to change your lifestyle and not just to solve the problem, temporarily. The conviction that comes from the goal you’ve set will push you on days when it feels so hard (there will be days you will want to quit!).

Write the goal down.
One thing I noticed from reading the Old Testament is that, God often told His messengers (prophets, kings, leaders) to write visions or His words on a tablet or book. There is significance in this. For the commandments written by Moses, the people had to obey and follow them. For the visions and prophesies, people had to wait for them to happen or be fulfilled. So, they needed a record to go back to. Without words being written down, we wouldn’t have much of the Word with us today! Writing the Word kept it for generations and generations.

It’s not enough to just have the goal set in your mind, write it down PLAINLY (and make it so clear that even if you read it months from the time of writing you would still be able to understand) where you will be able to easily refer back to. You will need it as the journey continues. Here are some instances in the bible where God told His messengers to write down something:

Habbakuk 2:2

Then the Lord answered me and said,

“Write the vision

And engrave it plainly on [clay] tablets

So that the one who reads it will run.

 

Revelation 1:19

Therefore write down the things you have seen, 
and the things that are, 
and the things that will happen after this.

 

Deuteronomy 27:8

"You shall write on the stones 
all the words of this law very distinctly."

 

Jeremiah 30:2

"Thus says the LORD, 
the God of Israel,
 'Write all the words 
which I have spoken to you in a book.

 

Romans 15:4

“For everything that was written in the past 
was written for our instruction, 
so that through endurance and the encouragement of the Scriptures, 
we might have hope.‚ÄĚ

There is a whole lot to talk about under strategies (I’ll write more about this in the future). At this point you will be working to triumph over your triggers and cravings (fighting old habits). It‚Äôs a difficult and very painful stage. You will be denying your body what it wants. It will definitely fight back. Be prepared for that.

Having a goal or vision or purpose that you truly believe in brings discipline. So the first stage of setting the goal is very important, don’t rush through it. Strategies are organised plans that you put in place to achieve the goal. Plans can be changed, modified or updated but the goal stays the same.

A change in lifestyle will cost you. Count the cost. Is it worth it? Can you afford it? Can you make time for it?

In Luke 14:28
  For which of you, wishing to build a farm building, 
does not first sit down and calculate the cost [to see] 
whether he has sufficient means to finish it?

So count the cost.

It could cost you to buy books, equipment/tools (think Vitamix, juicer, blender,weights) or gym membership. It could cost you time.

Change in lifestyle does not only have to do with eating healthy and exercising, it also includes many others things like reading books, getting enough rest, dressing, positive thinking,laughing and many other things.

A lifestyle that I adopted years ago was saving money. I incorporated it into my life. To this day I save money out of habit and not only when I have a huge investment project or  something to buy (or travel somewhere).

If you want long-term major changes in your life work on changing your perspective/ mindset as well as changing your lifestyle.

Fantasize about the goal but also imagine yourself doing the things that must be done to get there.

Time for a lifestyle change!

I want more!

Study it. Believe it. Experience it. Live it. Teach it.

With all the poetries, psalms, histories, prophecies, parables, proverbs….the bible is such a beautiful book. A great gift to mankind.

I have owned bibles for years. Bibles in different versions, all sorts of sizes and colors. I’ve had so many kinds of bible apps on my phone and tablet. I currently OWN 4 bibles in the city am in (I left my other bibles in my hometown)!

But why is it still so hard to read and understand?

As beautiful as it is, why is not my VERY FAVORITE BOOK?

If I’ve owned it for years, how come there are so many things I still don’t know from it? How come there are some books in it that I’ve never read before?

If it contains power to change things in me, how come am still the same?

It is a powerful weapon, how come I still don’t know how to use it?

With all the wisdom in it, how come am still ignorant in many things? How is it that am not wise?

At some point in my life, these questions bothered me. Really bothered me. I wanted more from the Word (Bible). Not that the Word felt¬†powerless, unrelatable and ancient, but I wanted to find out HOW I COULD GET MORE FROM IT. I was either doing something wrong or I wasn’t doing what was supposed to be done to benefit from it. It felt like reading a book on nutrition, but struggling with poor health all my life .

I was a bible READER. Done. Nothing more.

That was the problem.

Ezra 7:10 Amplified Bible (AMP)

10 For Ezra had set his heart (resolved) to study 
and interpret the Law of the Lord, 
and to practice it and teach His statutes and ordinances in Israel.

Ezra, a priest and teacher of the Word of God in the Old Testament, had made up his mind that he would study the law (Word). He had made a decision to search the scriptures, unveil the truth, uncover mysteries.
We are to search scripture; find out the meaning of life, know our purpose/assignment on earth, understand the character of God, know about events to come, learn about the sins we are to avoid and the good we are to obey and do,¬†read about His promises and claim them, live ¬†the life He has called us to live. It’s for us to read the history of Abraham, Adam, Moses,Gideon and all those people, learn from their mistakes and be inspired by their courage, faith, obedience and the good in their life. I used to read about Abraham and the only thing I was able to¬†extract from all the chapters about his life was his faith. Now I see more; I see worship. I see greatness that flows beyond Israel¬†to those in Christ.
We should read the Word for the sake of doing what it says and learning from it.

Joshua 1:8 Amplified Bible (AMP)

8 This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, 
but you shall read [and meditate on] it day and night, 
so that you may be careful to do [everything] 
in accordance with all that is written in it; 
for then you will make your way prosperous, 
and then you will be successful.

This verse in Joshua chapter 1 was the Lord talking to Joshua as he was about to take over the responsibility from Moses of leading the Israelites into the Promised Land.
Mediation is such a powerful thing. It is deep thinking, pondering over something.This helps us get more from what we’ve read. Try to have a scripture or passage to meditate on all day for one week and see how much of the Word you’ll get from doing that. After reading, take time to think about what you’ve read. Invite the Holy Spirit, your teacher, to help you understand.

Our faith is founded on the Word of God. It comes by hearing the Word.

Romans 10:17 Amplified Bible (AMP)

17 So faith comes from hearing [what is told], 
and what is heard comesby the [preaching of the]
 message concerning Christ.

We have to read the Word and believe that it is the inspired Word of God and that it is true. If you read that God loves you and are skeptical, you will not act like one who is loved. What we believe shows up in our words, actions, decisions, attitudes and plans. We can’t rise beyond what we believe.

James 1:22 Amplified Bible (AMP)

22 But prove yourselves doers of the word [actively and continually obeying God’s precepts],
and not merely listeners
[who hear the word but fail to internalize its meaning],
deluding yourselves [by unsound reasoning contrary to the truth].

When we read the warnings in the Word, we should take heed and be watchful. When we come across promises we should claim them. When we read instructions and commands we should obey. We shouldn’t just go through the Word with nothing being changed about us. Our minds need to be constantly renewed by the Word. Most of the times, it’s our mentality that keeps us from enjoying the good things God has promised and given to us in His Word. We live like paupers and slaves when our Father is the King and owner of all riches (Haggai 2:8). We cry for healing when healing was given by His stripes (Isaiah 53:). We go about asking for things we already have! Yearn to experience and live the Word! Wouldn’t you want to live the¬†abundant life that Jesus talked about in John 10?! I know I do!

Like Ezra, we should practise what the Word says.

When we read the promises we should have excitement and a passion to see them be fulfilled in our lives. After hearing about His greatness and sovereignty, we should bow down in adoration and reverence. 

Hebrews 5:12 Amplified Bible (AMP)

12 For though by this time you ought to be teachers 
[because of the time you have had to learn these truths], 
you actually need someone to teach you again 
the elementary principles of God’s word [from the beginning], 
and you have come to be continually in need of milk, not solid food.

We have to be student teachers; people who are still continuously learning for the Word day by day that are able to teach others. We need to be able to teach what we have learnt allowing others to benefit too. We need to mature, the Word is the food for our growth. Like the verse in Ezra, he studied it and taught it to the Israelites.

Above all else, the Word is a letter from the Father to His children. Personalize it. Treat it as God talking to you, so answer Him while you read it ¬† ūüôā

To study the Word you need to invest time,sometimes money, and energy. Studying it needs strategy.
I am a visual learner, I absorb more information and understanding through things that I see. I love taking notes, drawing. So my strategy is to visualize the bible and it’s contents as much as I can. So, to get a good overview of the whole bible I drew up a table that has the bible book names, key players/characters in each book, ¬†key lessons (what was going on) and location (where the events took place). After designing it, I got it printed and hang it on my wall. I’ll blog about how I did it soon.

I have decided to make the bible the most read book in my collection. I want more from the Bible. And my motto is:

Study it. Believe it. Experience it. Live it. Teach it.

Me, a leader?!

Trapped within every follower is a hidden leader.
Myles Munroe.

To say that there was ever a time when I thought of or imagined myself as a leader would be a rather embarrassing lie. I have never pictured myself leading in any way. Even for fun. I have a wild imagination, yet this one seemed too difficult to imagine.

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The first book I’ve read on leadership this month

To me charisma, being an extrovert and assertiveness were THE ONLY attributes of a leader. ¬†In my mind, a leader was one who was in control, rallying people, aggressive and ‘full of life’. Therefore, being a soft spoken, passive introvert myself, I was convinced leadership was not made for me. I was not built for it. I had even concluded that most of the people were born followers, while the lucky few¬†were born leaders. I placed myself in the former set of people. Funny to think, I was comfortable being a follower. (NOT ANYMORE!)

All humans posses the potential to lead, but most have lost the passion of leadership. Myles Munroe

This statement from Myles Munroes’ ‘Spirit of Leadership’ book brought a question to my mind. If we ALL lead, who will follow? I was relieved when he pointed out that many people had asked him this question during his workshops and conferences, and I was excited that he cleared this confusion as I read on. He cited the story of creation in Genesis chapter 1.

26¬†Then God said, ‚ÄúLet Us (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) make man in Our image, according to Our likeness [not physical, but a spiritual personality and moral likeness]; and let them have complete authority over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the cattle, and over the entire earth, and over everything that creeps and crawls on the earth.‚Ä̬†

This verse is so deep. Contained in this one verse is the PLAN of God, man’s ORIGIN and PURPOSE. Being made in His likeness is much deeper than we care to uncover and conform to. We are made like Him. What He is, we represent and reflect it. We are His image. There is so much about God that we haven’t yet discovered. That’s why the closer we get to God, the closer we get to our true nature. The more we know Him, the more we know about ourselves.

Our dominion is over the environment ( fish, birds, cattle and all the earth) NOT OVER EACH OTHER. We are made to have authority over things that He made. To tend, take care of, guard, keep, protect the environment. Our leadership is in serving; not in the number of people that serve us but rather the number of people that we serve. It’s not in controlling, manipulating or pushing people but it’s in inspiring others by how we¬†serve. It’s not in talking loudly and aggressively but in making an impact and serving people’s needs. Leadership is not in the title, it’s in the deeds.

So I don’t need to attend a class in leadership to be a leader. I don’t need a position or title to be a leader. Am already a leader. I was CREATED a leader. I have the leadership spirit (ingrained nature), I just need to cultivate the spirit of leadership (attitude of a leader).

In my previous post I said books on leadership will challenge me to ‘lead’ this month, well I wasn’t wrong!

HOW I WILL APPLY THIS TRUTH:

  • Work on how I think about myself. Review the image I have of myself and weigh¬†it against what the Word of God in Genesis 1:26 says.
  1. Memorize and meditate on Genesis 1:26.
  2. Write words about my nature as a leader, to confess everyday until my mind begins to see it.
  3. Visualize myself as a leader.

 

Am a leader, it’s about time I started acting like it!

 

MAY BOOKS

BOOK-TO-READ TOPICS

 

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¬† ¬† ‘Don’t ever get tired of reading.’

 

Starting from April this year, I started making¬†monthly books-to-read topic plans. I will focus on reading books on certain topics every month. I drew up a table with the month of the year on one side and the topics on the other side, from¬†April to December. If I will be¬†disciplined and persistent enough in following¬†this plan, my information and knowledge bank will be so well-rounded and colorful! I’ll be able to cover a lot of very good topics within a year. I will still be reading books that cover other areas, as need arises.

 

It's good to read books that are related to your purpose and desires 

but it's wise to also read books that  have unrelated but important knowledge. 

There is so much to know.

 

 LEADERSHIP AND FINANCES

This month I’ll be trained¬†in how to manage finances and I’ll be challenged to ‘lead’. I have over 20 books lined up that focus on these topics (I don’t intend to read all of them though hahaha). On leadership, most of the books are by Myles Munroe and John C. Maxwell.¬†Under finances there are a¬†couple of sub-topics like tithing, sowing, investing,budgeting,saving…so there are obviously several authors. I’ll read two books by Oral Roberts that emphasize on sowing, seed faith and the like. Some of the other authors on finances are Kenneth E. Hagin,¬†David Mallonee and Gloria Copeland.

Things I eagerly want to know about:

  1. How to invest and use money wisely
  2. How to be a good leader
  3. Financial stability
  4. Managing resources
  5. Purpose and power of tithing (plus the right way of doing it)
  6. The principle of ‘sowing and reaping’

Cheers to leadership and finances!