The choices we make

Last week news of a US- based Ghanaian pastor who killed his wife of 5 years hit the airwaves and even though I must confess I have not entirely followed the story, the bits and pieces I have heard got me thinking. The one thing I believe to be an absolute truth is that God is omniscient and nothing takes Him by surprise. This led me to asking, “So does this mean that God knew that this lady would die at the hands of her husband just 5 years after marrying him?” and the answer is Yes He did! And had this lady known that this was how she would meet her end would she have still married the pastor? (…and that’s all I will say about this story)

When God put Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden He knew that they would someday be deceived and inadvertently change the course of history. But He gave them freewill and choices. Both the choice to eat or not to eat the forbidden fruit had consequences and God knowing what choice Adam and Eve would make had to make an effort to warn them to make the right choice but ultimately they had to make the choice.

Every waking minute of every day we make choices: Our lives are saddled with choices, each of which lead us on a path to a certain outcome; unfortunately, many times we do not know what the outcome will be until we get to the outcome. And I truly believe that when God says He will never leave or forsake us, He truly means it and He walks with us along the paths we carve for ourselves regardless of the outcomes. However, we are blessed to know an amazing God who sees the end from the beginning and can help us order our steps aright so that we are set up to make choices that lead us on the path to God’s expected end for us.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

Jeremiah 29: 11 KJV

He has given us His Word, He has given us His Holy Spirit, He has given us the blessings of the advice of people around us to help us along the way… But more importantly he has given us the ability to have an intimate relationship with Him where we can ask Him to personally lead us through life’s journey. This past Sunday, my pastor started a series in church titled, ‘the Way’ and this scripture is more apt than ever:

 …”Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.

John 6:68 NIV

Only Jesus’ words…His daily direction for our lives can lead us towards eternal life because without Jesus as our guide, “There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death” Prov 1: 25. So here is my prayer for myself and for you:

Guide my steps by your word, so I will not be overcome by evil.

Psalm 119:133 NLT

And this week, pay attention to the choices you are making, no matter how mundane and be intentional in asking for God’s direction in all of it so that we all come to God’s expected end!

Yours Truly.

P.S. don’t forget to share your thoughts on this post and share it with your friends too!

The Author of Unity

A bag over the head of a handcuffed black man until he suffocated to death… a knee on the neck of a black man until he suffocated to death… a black man shot in the back seven times in front of his kids and passersby… these and many more are the headlines that plaque the media. As my husband jokingly (or maybe not) says “the black race is going extinct!”

These past few days I have asked questions…well to no one in particular… if the rest of the world is not seeing the craziness happening to black folk! Where is the justification in treating a fellow human being with so much disdain and inhumanity! How can people justify the senseless profiling based on race when we are all from the same source, God Himself?

Many, in trying to justify such atrocities among many other unbelievable things that have happened in 2020, have made comments alluding to fact that perhaps God is no longer in charge of the earth. Sometimes it feels like God has just left mankind to their wiles whilst he sits and watches in complete silence. Perhaps this year it has made the most sense to ask “where was our God when (fill in the blank) happened?”

This week I came across a scripture that gave me reason to pause:

Also in Judah the hand of God was on the people to give them unity of mind to carry out what the king and his officials had ordered, following the word of the LORD.

2 Chronicles 30:12 NIV

The hand of God was on the people to give them unity of mind… that does not sound like a God that is passive about the affairs of his creation. God was the author of the unity the Israelites enjoyed.. He was the one who orchestrated their unity and this is what our world so desperately needs today… UNITY and particularly THE GOD WHO AUTHORS UNITY!

We need God more than ever! Its not too late! We need to pray for the unity among the human folk which can only come from God. We need to ask God to make good his promise from Zechariah 11:7 by infusing his creation with mercy (so we can be merciful) and unity (so we can truly love each other).

So I became a shepherd of those sheep doomed to be slaughtered by the sheep dealers. And I gave names to the two sticks I used for tending the sheep: One of them was named “Mercy” and the other “Unity.”

Zech 11:7 CEV

God please make good your promise to shepherd us with Mercy and Unity and let your hand be upon us to give us unity of mind. This we ask through your son Jesus Christ. Amen.

If you prayed this prayer with me don’t stop there… keep praying for unity and share this with others so together we can gather momentum to call upon God to unite us as one!

Yours Truly.

Mind the Gap

Last week I read something interesting in the bible that stopped me in my tracks. If you read the books of Kings or the Chronicles in the bible, it follows the stories of the kings of Israel and Judah. In fact, the opening lines of each story paints a picture of what to expect of each king by putting them into two camps: He did what was right in the eyes of God or He did evil in the eyes of God. But this week, the opening line to King Amaziah’s life made me pause for a second.

He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, but not wholeheatedly.

2 Chronicles 25:2 NIV

That totally caught me off guard! I spent the rest of the week mulling over that and on Sunday, the sermon made it so much clearer. When we do not live in full surrender to God, there is a gap between the perfect plan God envisages for our life and the reality of what our lives are on earth. The example the pastor gave was the fact that in Revelations 7:9 shows a vision of every nation, every tribe and every tongue before the throne of God and yet in the reality of our world today, churches are segregated and even racism and discrimination permeate the hallowed sanctuaries! There is a gap…

And it is in this gap that the enemy seeks to take dominion over God’s people. We know the enemy prowls around seeking whom he may devour and it is in the gap that he finds us prey. Amaziah’s story starts well… but because he was not wholeheartedly devoted to God, the end of his life was a different story. Arrogance and pride filled the gap between doing what was right in God’s eyes and doing so wholeheartedly and that arrogance and pride brought about his downfall and destruction. Paul cautions:

…and give no opportunity to the devil.

Ephesians 4:27 ESV

Jesus admonished that when the prince of this world, Satan comes, he will find nothing in him and as followers of Jesus Christ that must be our confession too. So this week mind the gap. Pay attention to your inner thoughts and your self-talk. Pay attention to your actions. Are you living the life Jesus envisioned for you? Are you walking in His purpose? I have been humbled by Amaziah’s life and so I conclude with this prayer:

Lord, I come, I confess
Bowing here I find my rest
Without You I fall apart
You’re the One that guides my heart

Lord, I need You, oh, I need You
Every hour I need You
My one defense, my righteousness
Oh God, how I need You

Yours Truly.

p.s. if you’ve been blessed don’t forget to like, comment and share with your friends so they can be blessed too.

Nothing is too emergent for God

Picture this… You have been looking out for an opportunity to work at a prestigious firm and one day you come across a job posting for which you meet the qualifications but it closes in 30 minutes. You now have to race against the clock to get your application in right away. You do not have a current resume or cover letter. What do you do? Do you get working on a stellar resume and cover letter right away or do you stop to pray?

This week I came across a story in the bible that blew my mind away. If you have a minute join me in 2 Chronicles 20 but here is the gist of the story: Jehoshaphat King of  Judah was informed that armies were marching up  to war against him and they had already started encroaching upon his territory. If I were him (with my Type A personality and all), I would have been thinking about battle strategy and coming up with back up plans for my plans and backup plans for my backup plans. But here is what Jehoshaphat did instead:

Alarmed, Jehoshaphat resolved to inquire of the Lord, and he proclaimed a fast for all Judah. The people of Judah came together to seek help from the Lord; indeed, they came from every town in Judah to seek him. 2 Chron. 20: 3-4 NIV

What!!! Can you believe this man?  Instead of rushing out quickly to go and meet the army in battle, he chose instead to pray and remind God of his promise to protect them. In fact while they were in prayer the armies of Moab, Ammon, and Mount Seir were still advancing and getting closer and closer but the people (including women and children) stood in God’s presence asking for help until He answered them.  And this is what God said:

‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s. Tomorrow march down against them. They will be climbing up by the Pass of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the gorge in the Desert of Jeruel. You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the Lord will be with you.’

And indeed the next day the people of Judah took up their battle position but did not have to do anything! God set ambush against the enemy warriors and all of a sudden they started to fight against one another until the last man was killed; a vast army totally annihilated. What has this story taught me? 

There is nothing too emergent for God.

Even in the face of an advancing army, an impossible-to-meet deadline, a pressing financial debt, a downright medical emergency, there is nothing so urgent that we cannot breathe a word of prayer to God for help. Nothing takes God by surprise because He is always with us. He sees the same supposedly insurmountable problem that we are seeing but also sees beyond the problem to the solution of it. There is nothing more frightening than being in situation that looks so bleak you cannot find a way out. But here is God’s assurance: 

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1 NIV

So next time when you are in a tough spot, before you start trying to find a way out, can I encourage you to call upon the Lord first? Take a few seconds, a few minutes, a few hours or even a few days to seek His help. He knows how urgent the situation is and will show up with help just in time. He is never too late… always on time. The battle is the LORD’s!

Yours Truly

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Foundations

Hello folks! So for the past week I cannot get this word out of my mind: Foundations! I seem to hear it everywhere and interestingly, I just read an interesting passage in 1 Corinthians 3 about our foundations. Join me to read 1 Cor 3: 10-15.  Interesting, isn’t it? For those who have not read it here is the gist of it:

It is all in the foundation!

Everything we do here on earth amounts to us building a house and our works (thoughts, action, deeds, intents) become the raw materials that build the house. Based on the quality of our works, we are building with gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay, and straw or a combination of these and when our day of reckoning comes, that spiritual house you built will be tested with fire and you will be rewarded for the quality of the materials that went into your house. If your house withstands the fire you receive a reward, if not then you yourself will be saved but by the skin of your teeth! But there is a premise to this scripture. The house must be built of the foundation of Jesus Christ, the rock.

Without Jesus as the foundation on which we build our Christian life and faith, we build on sand and it does not matter the quality of the material with which the house is built. It crumbles. So this scripture is for Christians. Paul is telling us it is not enough to just have a solid foundation. He admonishes that

each one [of us] should build with care. 1 cor 3: 10 NIV

This imagery reminds me of the building of the first temple in Jerusalem described in 2nd Chronicles. Solomon started with a foundation of solid rock  (check) and then the magnificent edifice was built with gold, silver and precious stones (check, check, check). And yet God warned Solomon that that magnificent edifice could end up becoming a heap of rubble.

So this week, I have more questions than I have answers and I need your help. I will like you to share your thoughts about whatever God lays on your heart regarding foundations.  Here are some questions to spark some  thoughts and discussions but feel free to go in any direction and midweek I will compile your thoughts into a video:

  • how do we build with care?
  • How can we ensure that we are building a house that will not burn up when it passes through the fire?

That is it for me guys… I will be looking forward to reading your comments. Share the post with friends and colleagues so I can get as many responses as possible. By the way, August is my favourite month and to celebrate this month I will be giving away free copies of my book, God’s Bondservant. If you want a copy, send me a message with your email address here and I will send you your free copy!

Yours Truly.

Mental Health and the Church

Hi folks! This week church took an interesting turn. The pastor took the time to speak about mental health and how God helps us deal with mental health issues. The pastor even went ahead to share about his own experience and journey with depression and some of the congregants did the same. Now that was very different from what I am used to hearing about mental health issues in church. In fact, very little if any is said about it. There continues to be a stigma surrounding mental health issues, especially in Christians. However, this is a very important topic and especially now as many of us emerge from our COVID-cocoons.

This week I share with you what God has laid on the heart of  Chyina Powell, author of the blog Rise Holy, regarding the topic. And here is what she has to say:

Many believers in our society do not have a firm grasp on the truth of what mental health is. They mistakenly assume that it is all about depression or being crazy. But, in truth, mental health encompasses so much more than that. And that is why we as the body of Christ must break the cycle of stigmatizing mental health discussion.

What is mental health?

Mental health determines how we think and how we feel therefore it has an important impact on the way we view the world, how we treat others and how we treat ourselves. Our mental health is made up of three common factors: life experiences, biology (chemical make-up), and family history. Mental health problems occur when one of these factors begins to alter your mood and mindset. Someone who has poor mental health doesn’t have to be what the church stereotypes as “crazy,” they can be someone who lies awake at night with worry, someone who feels apathetic to the world around them or someone experiencing aches and pains in their body for no physical reason. Yet many believers who are uneducated on the truth of what characterizes mental health argue that mental health problems only arise in those who don’t know God or those who have backslidden.

Can God relate with our struggles with mental health issues?

The truth is that our Heavenly Father knew that His children would have mental health issues which is why He gives us example after example in His Word. Elijah, a man who was so loved by God that he didn’t even die had terrible mood swings and even struggled with suicidal thoughts. Naomi, a woman who lost everything, was ready to give up. Moses, the man who delivered Israel out of Egypt was so anxious that if it was up to him, he never would have gone at all. And the list goes on.

Mental health is a very real battle that we as God’s children must acknowledge in order to overcome. You cannot win a battle if you refuse to fight it. Ask yourself this question, if mental health wasn’t important would the Lord have included it in the Scriptures? Thankfully, God always shows us a way out which is why we have to seek His face for ourselves.

Why is it important to discuss this issue?

From depression to anxiety to finding ways to cope with our issues to feelings of inadequacy or abandonment, the struggle is real. And as God’s chosen people, His representatives here on Earth, we have to talk about it. We have to stop saying, “Oh, that’s just a Spirit” or looking down on someone who is going through these issues. Why? Because we cannot minister to people if they don’t trust us. We cannot help save souls if we look down on the very real emotions and battles people go through each and every day. Our light cannot shine if we never step into the darkness. Ignoring an issue doesn’t make it disappear. And, if we were honest with ourselves, I believe every believer that has ever lived has gone through periods of time where they were in poor mental health. It is okay to discuss it.

The Lord tells us that He will heal us but He cannot heal a pain we do not acknowledge.

When was the last time you talked about mental health in a group of believers? When was the last time you were honest with the mental battles you face? That is why the Lord laid my upcoming Bible Study Nevertheless on my heart. I faced these same challenges and thought to myself that maybe I wasn’t saved enough. But that isn’t true. The war we wage is in the spirit and in the mind which is why it is time for the Church to address mental health openly and unashamedly.

Chyina Powell is an editor and writer at Powell Editorial. She is the financial chair of the Alumni Epsilon chapter of the International English Honors’ Society, Sigma Tau Delta and her writing interests lie mainly in speculative fiction and creative nonfiction. With years of editorial and publishing experience as well as a Master’s in Creative Writing from the University of Pennsylvania, Chyina is passionate about her work and shining a light on those voices previously unheard or misrepresented. Chyina is also the author of an upcoming Bible Study called Nevertheless: What the Bible Says About Mental Health, that broaches such topics as depression, anxiety, feelings of inadequacy and more. In order to cover the expenses of publication, she has created a soon-to-launch Kickstarter project that can be found here. 

Thank you Chyina for this piece! My take away: You cannot win a battle if you refuse to fight it!

Yours Truly.

 

 

 

Privilege with a side of racism

This week I concluded the book of Romans and I believe the last few chapters particularly Chapters 12- 14 are essential to living purposefully as a Christian here on earth. If you are so inclined, I encourage you to read them when you have a moment. In those last chapters, I gleaned some wisdom to share about the current state of affairs in the world right now (no I am not talking about COVID-19… I am talking about racism towards black, indigenous, and people of colour).

The murder of George Floyd and its resultant global uproar has brought to the forefront issues of privilege.  Privilege is described as unearned access to resources that are readily available to some people because of their social group membership, an advantage, or immunity granted to or enjoyed by one societal group above and beyond the common advantage of all other groups. There are many types of privilege: financial (class), racial or ethic category, religious (christian), male, able-bodied, marital status, age, height, weight, housing, educational, IQ, etc. We all, regardless of race, are privileged in one way or another and to oversimplify, when privilege is not used appropriately, you end up with social constructs such as racism, tribalism, systemic oppression, discrimination, apartheid, hegemony, and colonization to mention a few. These social constructs stem from one thing: people thinking they are better than others.

The book of Romans guides us on how to use our privilege appropriately as christians:

Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment…Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves…Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited…If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Romans 12: 3, 10, 16, 18 NIV

As we get closer and closer to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, this world gets stranger and stranger; humanity is getting more selfish and people are chasing after power only to use it at the expense of others. Oppression in its many forms both overt and covert is on the rise and as Christians, we need to take a stand to be different and we do so with this action word: LOVE.

Give to everyone what you owe them…Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another Romans 13: 7-8 NIV

We owe everyone a debt of love that needs to be paid just as freely as Jesus paid our debt of sin. Let’s not be conceited,  but instead, think of the next person as worthy and deserving of honor and love and pay that debt them.

You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat…Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister. Romans 14: 10, 13 NIV

Let us not sit in judgment over others because of the privilege we hold be it by the colour of our skin, by what tribe or family  we were born into,  or by  our educational or financial status. Do not be the reason why another person does not experience the  abundant love of God that has been released into world. Do not let privilege be an obstacle but rather an opportunity to show the love of God and reach out to the lost because

By this everyone will know that you are [God’s] disciples, if you love one another. John 13: 35 NIV

Yours Truly

Ps: don’t forget to like, share, and comment and together lets be intentional in living out our faith.

 

 

Prayer is not a grocery list

So a few days ago I interviewed for an opportunity and prior to the interview, I had spent days praying about it and preparing for it. So many people also prayed with me and by  the day of the interview I knew I could not have been any more prepared than I was. After waiting for days after the interview, I finally received the dreaded rejection email… “you did great but we decided to go another way”… and boy was I disappointed (and honestly maybe I still am just a little bit)!

For the rest of the day and week, I did not know how to react. I had asked that God’s will be done and now that His will had not gone my way, I was upset. I started searching for some encouragement from the bible, from songs and from social media and a few days ago my encouragement came. A friend sent me a video featuring the late Ravi Zacharias and he said:

In the Christian worldview prayer is not a grocery list of requests before God… prayer is not seeking to change the will of God. It is communion with the living God such that he will change you to have the ability to receive what it is that He has for you. Ravi Zacharias

I felt chastised. To have thought that because I have prayed and others had prayed that automatically meant that I would be selected for that opportunity was very presumptous. Up until now, I have been of the mindset that prayer changes the mind and will of God to be favourable towards us. And while I am still learning more about prayer, I ask myself, “If I am praying to change the will of the all-knowing and all-powerful God, whose will is nothing short of perfection, then whose will am I seeking for in my life?”

I realized that I prayed that God’s will be done for me regarding that opportunity but I was disappointed with the outcome because in reality what I was saying was “God I want you to give it to me regardless of what your plans are for me.” This month, I am learning what it means to surrender your will to God and I now know it is easier to blog about it than to actually live it.

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12: 2 NIV

I need a transformation in my mindset to be able to live a fully surrended life – I am strong-willed! I need a transformation in how I pray and what I use the privilege of prayer for. Prayer is not to impose my will on God but as Ravi rightly said, to ask that God will renew my mind to be able to accept His will as the ultimate in my life. I am humbled by these thoughts and I pray God helps me.

What about you? What does prayer mean to you? Share your comments below.

Yours Truly

 

Wealth Management: Expectations

Money… money… money… let’s talk money! This week my bible readings led me to 1 Chronicles 29 where I have learnt so much about money and how we ought to respond to wealth or lack of it. I will break this reading into different sections and I believe that there will be something in it for everyone. If you are so inclined join me to read the whole chapter for context.

The expectation of leaders towards giving

Many times you find the leaders of God’s people encouraging members of their churches to give to support the work of God. When I used to facilitate the offering session in my church, I would quote all sorts of scriptures to encourage the people about God’s faithfulness towards a cheerful giver. In 1 Chronicles 29 though something unique happens. The people are encouraged not because their leaders motivate them with great speeches and scriptures. This is why they are motivated to give:

And the people rejoiced at the willing response of their leaders, for they had given to the LORD freely and wholeheartedly. 1 Chronicles 29:9a BSB

They were encouraged by how much their leaders gave freely and wholeheartedly. Their leaders walked the talk and lived a life of sacrificial giving and so the people were encouraged to do the same. Regardless of whatever capacity in which you serve God  (whether as a leader with a recognized position or not), it is imperative that we not only do so in words but in deed also and our practice of giving must reflect same. And yes although there are many other things we give to God, I am specifically referring to money in this blog.

What is the expectation of those who have in abundance?

O LORD our God, from Your hand comes all this abundance that we have provided to build You a house for Your holy Name, and all of it belongs to You. I know, my God, that You test the heart and delight in uprightness. All these things I have given willingly and with an upright heart, and now I have seen Your people who are present here giving joyfully and willingly to You. O LORD, God of our fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, keep this desire forever in the intentions of the hearts of Your people, and direct their hearts toward You. 1 Chronicles 29:16 – 18 BSB

The first thing that is required of those who are comfortable financially, is to acknowledge the source of your wealth. It is from the hand of God that wealth passes on to us but not only that, He still owns it all. Wealth that comes from God is like a loan. And while we are not required to pay it back like a traditional loan, we are expected to be worthy stewards of the money, attributing ownership to the source who is God Himself.

God also expects that we mirror the generosity in which he gives us wealth with others (see the parable of the servant who was forgiven his debt- Matthew 18:21-35) and to do so willingly and joyfully. In addition, God also expects that our hearts be directed towards him at all times so that we are not consumed by the love of money. When God Himself is our Inheritance and treasure, our hearts will be constantly directed towards him for where our treasure is, there our hearts will be also (Psalm 16: 5; Matthew 6:21).

There may be another group of you reading this and thinking to yourselves “I do not think this applies to me! I barely have enough every month”! or you are thinking, “I am not financially comfortable even though I try to be generous. What about me?”

What about me? I am barely surviving financially…

If you fall into this category, you are not alone. Many of us live in this sphere with you or straddle this category from time to time. My greatest encouragement since starting this blog has been from Psalm 23:1. I am encouraged that whatever I have at every moment of my life is enough for that moment because God is my shepherd and so I want for nothing!

Yours, O LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the splendor and the majesty, for everything in heaven and on earth belongs to You. Yours, O LORD, is the kingdom, and You are exalted as head over all. Both riches and honor come from You, and You are the ruler over all. In Your hands are power and might to exalt and give strength to all. Now therefore, our God, we give You thanks, and we praise Your glorious name. 1 Chronicles 29:11-13 BSB

It is God that blesses. He not only gives wealth but also the ability to produce wealth (Deut 8:18). He blesses the work of our hands and makes it prosperous; He gives us divinely-inspired ideas as to how to make and save money; and He drives away the devourer for our sakes so that the money we make whether little or a lot meets our daily, weekly, or monthly needs. And what does God expect of those in this category (and frankly from everyone): Thanksgiving.

When I reflect through the eyes of thanksgiving here is what I see: that there are times when I think I will not be able to pay my bills but I do; that those months when I have felt the financial strain the most, no one in my household has been sick requiring care, my car has not broken down and neither has anything in my home required fixing or replacing. God has preserved the little I have enabling me to stretch my income to the last dollar to meet my needs and He deserves to be praised for that feat of greatness! God, I give you thanks and bless your Holy name.

I have been encouraged by  1 Chronicles 29 and if you have been encouraged too then share this blog with your friends. Don’t forget as usual to leave your comments as well so we learn together.

Yours Truly.

So What is Faith?

So, folks, I promised to share a deep dive my friends and I did into the topic of faith a few years back. So here goes- when people ask ‘what is faith?’ the temptation to respond with the generic Heb 11:1 answer is great.

Now faith is the assurance of what we hope for and the certainty (evidence) of what we do not see. Heb 11: 1 BSB

But what really is faith? How do you explain it to someone who wants to understand that scripture? Faith comes from the Greek word πίστη (pisti) which means to be divinely persuaded or to divinely persuade. It is different from belief  (pistevo) which means to be persuaded by oneself. Pisti also refers to a guarantee or warranty.

In essence, faith is a work of God and it is a divine persuasion based on God’s revelation in us.  It is God’s warranty that guarantees the fulfilment of said revelation in our lives.  Faith is not a condition of the mind. You cannot produce faith in yourself. Faith comes from God and has everything to do with the relationship you have with Jesus and we know faith is produced through our encounter with the word of God who is Jesus himself (John 1:1)

To those who through the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours 2 Pet 1:1b NIV

So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Romans 10:17

As previously mentioned having belief is not the same as having faith although they are very closely related. In the process of faith, belief is a necessary step but it is not enough because even demons believe (James 2:19). It is that personal relationship with God and His Word (Jesus) that carries belief from being persuaded in yourself to being persuaded by God to have an assurance of and to receive that which you hope for.  This is how it works in action:

And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. Hebrews 11:6 NIV

In order to have faith one must believe in God’s existence and not only that but they must earnestly seek to be in relationship with him, believing that such a relationship will be rewarded. Let’s look at another example. Paul said:

For I know whom I have believed, and I am persuaded that He is able to… 2 Tim 1:12 BLB

Paul did not only believe but he knew the one in whom he had believed and in that knowledge and belief he was divinely persuaded… He received faith… the assurance that God was able to in this case guard that which he had committed to him.

In summary, faith is to be divinely persuaded based on God’s revelation of himself to us by virtue of our relationship with him. This gives us the assurance of the things we hope for (warranty) and the evidence of things that we have not yet seen (the guarantee).

I encourage you to share your thoughts on what faith means to you in the comments below and let’s learn together.

Yours Truly.