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What is fasting?

Losing weight, reaching a higher level spiritually, wanting to receive something from God; there are endless reasons for fasting. The reason differs per person and there also isn’t just one way to do it. So, what is fasting? What is fasting in general?  For what reason and in what way someone fasts, differs a lot. But in the basis it always is the same. When you fast, you don’t eat, drink or do anything for a certain amount of time. What is fasting in Christianity? Also within Christianity the reasons and ways of fasting differ per person. Some people fast because they want to ask something from God and they really want to receive it. Others seek God’s will for their lives and fast to find out what it is. Still others would like to work on their relationship with God and fast to ...

Church Leaders Who Help Church Growth (Ephesians 4:11)

Note: This study is from my book, God’s Blueprints for Church Growth. Once upon a time, in a local church, there were four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody. There was an important job to be done and Everybody was asked to do it. But Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, but Nobody did it. Then Somebody got angry about it, because it was Everybody’s job. But since Everybody thought that Anybody could do it, and Nobody realized that Everybody wouldn’t do it, it ended up that Everybody blamed Somebody and Nobody did the job that Anybody could have done in the first place. Right about this time, a fifth person visited the church. This person’s name was Confused. He looked around, saw what was happening, and never came back. All too often...

What are the names of God?

We see the word ‘god’ in many religions. Often the gods also have their own names. In Christianity, God is also often addressed by the word God. Why? Because Christians believe that there is only one God. That’s also why they always write it with a capital letter. But did you know that in the Bible, the most important book for Christians, there are many other names for God? They all say something about the character and deeds of God. Some names of God YHWH In Exodus God calls himself I Am. This name is also known as the letters YHWH, which is often pronounced Yahweh or Jehovah. This roughly translates to I Am. This name describes God’s presence; He is always there, always with you. The name Yahweh occurs about 7,000 times in the Old Testament. Adonai – My Lord The Jews do not pronounce his...

Rejoice in Your Differences! (Ephesians 4:7-10)

Do you want church unity? In Ephesians 4, Paul tells us how. Here is what Paul is saying about how to develop unity in the church: Ephesians 4:1-3: Check your own attitude first. Ephesians 4:4-6: Focus on all the things you have in common. Ephesians 4:7-10: And regarding the things you do NOT have in common, praise Jesus for those, because He made you all different by giving you different gifts. We have already studied the first two points. This study looks at point 3. What Do You Do when You Have Disagreements? When you are in a disagreement with someone—it doesn’t matter who, and you want to mend your relationship, what is generally the first thing that you do? Most of us have been taught that in order to mend damaged relationships, we need to get everyone together and talk it over....

Seven Elements of Christian Unity (Ephesians 4:4-6)

In Ephesians 1-3, Paul explained that God has given us great spiritual riches so that we can lead the world into peace. In the first part of Ephesians 4, Paul tells us Christians that the first way we can show the world how to live in peace is by living in peace with one other. This begins, as we learned in the last study, by looking to our own heart first and developing certain attitudes of the heart. In this study, we learn that as we seek to live in peace with other Christians, we should focus on seven key truths that all Christians have in common. When we focus on what we have in common rather than on on what divides us, we will begin to create peace in our midst. Seven Elements of Christian Unity (Ephesians 4:4-6) As stated above, in Ephesians 4:1-3, Paul taught us to look to our own ...

The Church Must Lead the World into Peace (Ephesians 4:1-3)

Everyone wants unity, but nobody really knows how to achieve it. Most people today seem to think that unity requires conformity. We think that unity is achieved when everybody thinks the same way, talks the same way, dresses the same way, and has the same opinions. Where differences occur, division results, and unity dies. And some people seek to achieve unity by silencing and cancelling those who have different opinions. You see, when we are in a conflict with someone, we think it is the responsibility of the other person to change their ways, so we can get along with them. We point at their faults and what they said, or what they did, and say that if there is going to be peace, they have to change. Paul challenges all of this in Ephesians 4:1-3. In these verses, Paul shows how we can hav...

How to become a Christian

Every month, about 50 people google this question, “How to become a Christian” Apparently, many people have a desire to learn more about Jesus. Or about God. It’s not just a question either, so it makes sense that people are looking for an answer. What is involved in becoming a Christian? Take the first step The first step is to make a choice. Deciding that you want to become a Christian, or at least want to know more, is the first step. Faith usually doesn’t come just like that and you won’t learn about it if you don’t choose to learn more about it. That is why making that first choice is a very important step. Pray This is an important part of your choice to become a Christian. Pray. There are no strict requirements for prayer. You can just tell God what you are thinking about at that mo...

Names of the Holy Spirit

Before you read about the names of the Holy Spirit, an introduction. The Holy Spirit, together with God and Jesus, forms the Holy Trinity. Holy Trinity is a term not mentioned in the Bible, but we use it to understand a little bit about the mystery of God. The Holy Spirit incites people to tell others about God. He helps believers with prayer and perseverance. Like some kind of inner (and supernatural) force. This power is so strong that there are stories of people suddenly being able to speak a foreign language of healing from an illness. It seems so unreal, but in this way God becomes tangible. Names of the Holy Spirit The Holy Spirit is best known as the “Holy Spirit” or “Spirit of God.” But he is much more than that. The Holy Spirit is also God, He is a person, all the attributes of Go...

Who is the Holy Spirit?

Holy Spirit. It sounds quite ethereal, perhaps also scary, a spirit. Who is it anyway? What role does he play within the Christian faith? And how does he work? Who is the Holy Spirit? The Holy Spirit is inextricably linked to Christianity. Together with God and Jesus he forms the Holy Trinity. You might also know him as the Spirit of God. But he is so much more than that. Read on and learn more about this mysterious person. The wind The Holy Spirit is compared to several things. In the original texts of the Bible, the word Ruach is often used to designate the Holy Spirit. This means both ‘spirit’ and ‘wind’. The wind is therefore a good comparison to explain the Holy Spirit. You cannot see, touch or catch the wind. You have no control over it and you cannot own it. The same goes for the Ho...

Holy trinity, what is it?

When we read the Bible, God the Father, Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit are mentioned. In a way as if they belong together. They are also known as the Holy Trinity. Christians believe in the Holy Trinity. One God but who consists of several persons. That may sound complicated, but with a good explanation it is easy to understand. Who of the Holy Trinity? God the Father God is at the center of this Holy Trinity. Christians see God as the maker of this world. God is also often described as a father. You can read this, for example, in 1 Corinthians 8:6. He is a loving father. So it is a very personal approach. Jesus and the Holy Spirit are part of God. But God is the source. Still discovering who God is? Then start reading here. God the Son Jesus is perhaps the most famous person in history...

To Love Your Enemies, Know You are Loved (Ephesians 3:18-21)

Have you ever tried to actually love your enemies? It’s next to impossible, isn’t it? In Ephesians 3:18-21, Paul provides two ways that we can learn to love our enemies. These seem impossible as well, until we understand what Paul is actually saying about how to love our enemies. But before we look at Ephesians 3:19-21, I want to answer a question from a reader about Matthew 10:28 where Jesus says, “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Question from a Reader One of the members of my online discipleship group is taking my online course about hell, and had a question regarding Matthew 10:28. Here is what he wrote: Jeremy, I loved this course and it helped me out immensely, but I’m trying to figur...

Is it Impossible to love our enemies? (Ephesians 3:14-17)

In Ephesians, Paul has instructed his readers to live at peace with people they used to hate, and to begin loving their enemies instead. This is much easier said than done, so in Ephesians 3, Paul shows how he himself is doing this, and how his readers can follow in his example in loving their enemies, just as Jesus did. This is what we begin to learn in Ephesians 3:14-17. In Ephesians 3:14-17, Paul instructs his readers to do the impossible by loving their enemies. This is much easier said than done, so Paul provides three resources that God has provided to help us do the impossible. But first, we have two question from a reader about Jesus as the elect one, and how Jesus was morally perfect. Question from a Reader Here are two questions submitted by a reader named Michael Spina. I have a...