Book Review: The Spirit within & The Spirit upon

In a society where witches, diseases and sufferings are often glorified, one book that highlights the power of the Christian, puts us in our rightful place and is a must-read is Kenneth Hagin’s The Spirit Within and the Spirit Upon. Even without stating it directly, Hagin’s testimonies in this book is enough to challenge the reader to want to get to the next level in their Christian walk.

Using different biblical references, the author established how the Spirit of God comes to dwell within the believer when he/she accepts Christ. He goes further to speak of a deeper dimension which every believer must reach and that is the baptism of the Holy Ghost, which empowers us unto ministry. To understand the author’s perspective on this subject better, Hagin started ministering in an era when accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and personal Savior was all there was. Christians, in certain denominations, were content to be at that level but in this book, however, Kenneth Hagin allows the reader to understand why the believer needs the second dimension.

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If you know of any Christian who keeps glorifying sicknesses, poverty and witchcraft, perhaps, you may want to recommend The Spirit within & the Spirit upon. The author clearly makes us understand that when we become believers, such ‘sufferings’ no longer have power over us.

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However, the only form of ‘suffering’ a believer is permitted to have is when they are pushing the gospel. So for instance, a minister of the gospel may complain he is suffering when he is given a difficult congregation to pastor. This congregation may not flow with his doctrine on say, divine healing, and Hagin gives several scenarios of this kind of ‘suffering’ in this book. Note that such ‘sufferings’ shape the believer for the ministry.

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The 187-page book is simple to read and has the author’s testimonies which allow the reader to understand the subject matter. The Spirit within & the Spirit upon also makes the reader appreciate the work of a pastor and other church leaders. These people we see face so many challenges including loneliness stemming from being away from their families and even hunger. Hagin recounts an incident in his ministry when he and his wife were virtually starved by their hosts, who neither talked about food nor had anything edible in their fridge. For almost a week, the author battled the temptation of reporting the pastor and wife to the appropriate authorities but some reason, the Holy Spirit kept tugging at his heart not to do so. This section of the book also highlights the importance of walking in love as Christians.

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The Spirit within & the Spirit upon is highly recommended for anyone who:

  • has pastoral or ministerial ambitions, since it opens the reader up to what they need to succeed in the field of ministry.
  • has not accepted the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues. This book stresses on why believers need the second dimension.
  • wants to be reminded of how powerful he/she is in Jesus Christ. It makes the believer yearn to reach a higher level in their Christian walk where they can even communicate directly with God. This is a level we should all strive for – where we do not need ‘middlemen’ or fast and pray for 30 days to hear God speak to us.

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The Love of an ‘INVISIBLE’ God

‘God loves you’ is probably one of the most common phrases used by Christians. It is used during church services, when winning souls, to console people in difficult situations, when things are going well and in our daily conversations. These words have become so common that they are gradually becoming a cliché. Have we actually sat down to meditate on the meaning of this simple words? A God, who is unseen, loves me (insert your name)? Is that possible? How does this love manifest?

One of the most common ways of defining the love of God is through the biblical salvation story of Him giving His only Son to come and die on the cross for our sins (John 3:16). There are other scriptures that describe this love that God has for us including:

God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8

Give thanks to the God of heaven, for his steadfast love endures forever (Psalm 136:26 )

Apart from what we know from the Bible, the love of this ‘invisible’ God is so ubiquitous. It is expressed in the most simple forms that we are beginning to take them for granted. It is now a normal phenomenon to wake up from bed feeling very healthy and forgetting to say ‘thank you’ to the giver of life. Through our own efforts, we go through days, months and even years of not hearing any bad news. We have worked so hard in school and are gainfully employed, therefore, we are not able to decipher the meaning of God’s love. Everything has become so normal that every gift from God is being seen as results of our hard work.

Before you categorise all of God’s gifts as ‘normal’ things, remember there are people who choked on their food. Some people board buses and are not able to reach their destinations. There are 28-year-olds who are dying of heart attacks but you wake up each morning and are able to go through the day so effortlessly.

You remember the day that guy proposed to you or when the lady accepted your love proposal? The way you heart flipped when you vowed to spend your lives together. You ensured your life and day revolved around each other. It is time to transfer this same measure of love or even more to God, the giver of life and the provider of every gift.

As for the love of this ‘invisible’ God, it is indescribable but it can be seen in the most minute forms. If you haven’t spent some time today to say ‘thank you to God,’ this is your chance to do so.

 

 

New Year Resolutions – Are they relevant to Christians? 

Back in Senior High School, a very good friend and I used to joke that our new year resolutions must be more terrible than the previous year. We resolved to be more ‘sly’ with our seniors, ‘cut’ school functions and simply break more rules because to us, in the previous year, we had been good but new year resolutions meant doing things differently.

Even though we were not confident enough to put into practice those resolutions, the perception we had added some excitement to the way we approached our seniors. That was also a wrong mindset and a not-so-good way to start the new year.

New Year resolutions are often defined as a tradition where individuals resolve to achieve certain goals (positive) and quit undesired behaviour.

Some of us, while we grow have stopped believing in new year resolutions because of personal reasons. We used to make lists of things we wish to achieve in a particular year but halfway, we realised we could not achieve them, hence, the decision to do without them.

We’d love to lose weight, continue our education, find better jobs, start our own businesses, find life partners, move out of our parents’ homes among others. These are some examples of new year resolutions.

The new year does not automatically change who we are. We do not become superhumans because the clock struck 12 midnight on 1-1-2018 but as Christians, we believe God’s mercies are new every morning and He’s a faithful God (Lamentations 3:22) who has the interest of His Children at heart. That is the reason He’d like to see us succeed each day and that is the reason we believe in positive new year resolutions.

From a personal experience with this blog, anytime I listed ideas of topics, I realised I was able to follow through proving right Habakkuk 2:2:

“Write down your visions on scrolls…”

Do not just fold your arms and watch the year pass by. Prayerfully seek the face of God on what He’d like to achieve with you in 2018 and list whatever He reveals to you. Go back and ask Him how He’d like you to achieve them. Hold God’s hand every day through quality prayer time and word study and see if you will not achieve what you had on that new year resolutions’ list.

We’ll be here at the end of the year to take your testimonies.

Happy New Year!

To my Husband on our Second Wedding Anniversary 

When you had chicken pox on the eve of our wedding day, I knew our marriage had begun on an interesting note. Yes, we missed our honeymoon because you had to recover from that condition but looking back now, I know it was all of God’s plans.

Several counsellors and marriage books predict that the first few years of marriage are the most difficult but I’m glad to say that we are bent on proving them wrong. You keep saying that our story should be different and our marriage should be seen in God’s eye and not from the world’s system.

Even though we’ve had our fair share of ups and downs, God has been amazing to us. We always manage to pull through challenges and are able to look back with a suitcase full of lessons. I can confidently say my faith in God has increased tremendously because of our marriage and my association with you.

I now understand why counsellors place so much emphasis on developing friendships before jumping into marriage. I also understand the power and the role of communication in marriages. I’m certain that friendship and good communication are directly related. In fact, they are Siamese Twins. 😁 There is also the important role of praying, compromising and sacrificing.

I try to evaluate our marriage from time to time to ascertain if that feeling of ‘love’ is still there. The one with the butterflies fluttering at the bottom of your tummy. Yeah, I do feel it at times but I think my definition and feeling of love has changed over the years. It is now deeper and currently includes being more patient, tolerant, understanding and choosing words more carefully.

Being your supportive wife is also my definition of this new love which sometimes includes trying to educate myself on what is happening in the medical field in order to have meaningful conversations with you. In subsequent years, I hope to fall in love with Manchester United and the guy called Lukaku to the point that when he scores, I will have the urge to jubilate. I also hope to love the EPL, UEFA Champions League (didn’t even know they were two different leagues 😂) and all the other leagues in the world (Spanish, Italian, Chinese etc ). What I also hope to find bearable in the coming years is that Sunday afternoon live commentary on Citi FM.

It’s been two great years and I’m glad we chose each other for this journey. I strongly believe the next couple of years will be super amazing with God being our guide.

With so much love on this special day,

Your one and only sweetheart,

Dela.

This is for the PASTORS

“Unless you people see signs and wonders,” Jesus told him, “you will never believe.” John 4:48

 

During Jesus’ ministry on earth, the miracles he performed won him a lot of followers. It is believed that these miracles increased the level of faith people had in him and also, the miracles were an indication of his origin, that Jesus was from the Father (John 3:2).

The miracles he performed ranged from healing the sick, turning water into wine, walking on water and feeding 5000 people etc. These miracles had a role to play in Jesus’ ministry: to show his identity (John 14:11), to win more souls to repentance (John 20:30-31) and also to get the attention of the people (John 7: 2-5).

Christians in our time are becoming more and more like the people of Jesus’ days, in their quest for seeing instant miracles before believing in pastors. Some are even seeking for signs and wonders more than the Word of God. Christians would rather switch from one church to the other looking for miracles than read a simple scripture from the Bible.

Instant miracles in themselves are not negative but it becomes an issue if that is the only thing we desire to see. If we observe a great number of pastors concentrating on conducting miracles than on teaching the congregation then we, Christians, are to be blamed.

As a pastor, you need to ask yourself why you are focusing on performing miracles. Is it the church pushing you to display those powers or you are following the dictates of the Holy Spirit? Do not let your desire to get famous and trend on social media push you into doing ‘wondrous’ things.

While you are going about your work as a man or woman of God, remember that while Jesus was expanding his ministry, the people demanded more miracles from him (John 6:30). A number of them refused to believe him even when he performed those miracles (Matthew 13:54-58) and others who believed through the miracles had a temporal faith (John 6:26).

Miracles alone are not enough. There have been several examples of people who have been healed by men of God and after a while, whatever disease they were healed of attacked them again. This happened because the people who got healed did not know how to remain in good health.

Teach the congregation about the power of God and how they, members of the congregation can chase demons without spoiling the sleep of preachers. Let them know that their lives and their walk with Christ go further than seeing miracles.

 

 

 

 

Guest Blog – Avengers: Age of Ultron

I love superhero movies. I just cannot get enough of them.

This was a movie I was highly anticipating. No wonder I watched it on premiere night on 1st May, 2015.

I was not disappointed. It was pure eye candy. For someone who is crazy about visual effects, it was an unforgettable experience.

For a Hollywood blockbuster movie however, it had too many religious themes running through it, so much so that at a point I was wondering what the director’s intention was.

One common theme which was echoed throughout the movie was what Ultron kept repeating. “I AM FREE; THERE ARE NO MORE STRINGS ON ME!”

Ultron believes that humans are puppets, covered in strings. I agree.

In my opinion, there are two kinds of strings attached to mankind.

You could either be a puppet to sin, or God’s puppet.

Let us discuss the concept of being God’s puppet

I believe that most people want to be free of all moral restrictions. I mean, wouldn’t you want to do all the bad things you fantasize about and not have to deal with the weight of guilt which comes along with doing those things? Oh, and how heavy that weight is. Oh, such guilt.

This weight of guilt comes because as Christians, God’s word directs our lives. His Spirit lives in us to constantly remind us of his word and to convict us of sin, so that we do not go astray (John 16:8).

We don’t live for ourselves, but live to do the master’s bidding. “NOT MY WILL, BUT YOUR WILL BE DONE.” – Famous words of Jesus to conform to the pressures of the world.

So in a sense, someone can say that God is a puppeteer and he/she would not want to be anybody’s puppet. This is very evident in the saying, “it’s your life, and it’s your choice”. But then can we really make such a statement? Paul says the life which I now live; is not I that live, but to live is Christ (Galatians 2:20), so for him, being a puppet doesn’t really matter.

The ironic thing is that all who desire their freedom by breaking free of the control of God do not really end up being free. They enter another form of circus show, where they are puppets, yet again, this time, to a very evil, wicked master. The devil aka Satan aka Lucifer who encourages a life of Anarchy, becomes their new master and uses them to host entertainment shows to please his weird, dark, twisted fantasies.

Let us consider a classic example to illustrate this point.

THE PRODIGAL SON

Growing up, this was one of the very common parables or bible stories which I heard over and over again. From the story of the prodigal son (Luke 3:11-32), I learnt that young people are more likely to rebel and desire to be free from all form of control than adults. We rebel because we believe our parents are restricting us. We want to be bosses of our own lives. We so crave our independence. Yet like the prodigal son, we only find out later that breaking free is not the solution. We end up only being slaves to Satan, to lust, to addictions etc.

I pray that we would submit ourselves to God, and trust in His ability to take care of us. After all, he knows the thoughts he think towards us.

Have you had any experience where you tried to live your own life and go your own way and it did not end well with you? Kindly share with us.

Thank you very much, Cyb3r for this awesome post. You can also share your story with us, Send them to christianblogghana@gmail.com

“Tricks” to praying in tongues that you probably haven’t used

Praying in tongues is one of the physical evidences of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in a believer according to Acts 2:4, And they were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues as the Spirit gave the utterance.” This also does not mean that tongue speaking is the only evidence.

When I received the Holy Spirit a few years ago, one of the most helpful books that I have used in my journey is Benny Hinn’s Good Morning Holy Spirit and I will always recommend it to anybody who wants to know more about the power of the Holy Spirit (I do have a copy and I won’t mind sharing it with anyone who wants it).

A lot of Christians in recent times use tongues speaking as a way of passing time. When we go to church and the prayer leader raises a topic, all you hear us do is to speak in tongues.  I know people who have shared with me how their minds wander when they pray in tongues. It has even happened to me on several occasions. Amazingly, I start planning my week or begin to think of other things not God–related immediately I begin praying in tongues. It is funny how the devil makes it more fun to do that while you are praying in tongues.

I know I am not the only one in this kind of situation but subjecting our minds on things of God and resisting every form of distraction while prayer is not that easy however, it is one of the few ways that anyone can reach the Father and that is according to 1 Corinthians 14:15, What am I to do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also; I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will sing with my mind also.

Tongues’ speaking is also not an excuse to neglect the word of God. Most of us believers murmur intangible words to God in the name of praying in tongues while completely ignoring the scriptures but the Bible in 1 John 5: 14 says, this is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. How do you have any confidence in your prayer when you do not even know God’s will? The only way of knowing God’s will and His purpose is by reading His word and praying back to Him.

Do you have any experiences about tongues speaking that you wish to share with other believers? Remember you can always reach us through our email address, christianblogghana@gmail.com