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WHEN A MAN AND A WOMAN WANT TO MARRY

WHEN A MAN AND A WOMAN WANT TO MARRY, WHAT ARE THE CONNECTIONS BETWEEN TRADITIONAL/CULTURAL VALUES, AND CHURCH OR CHRISTIAN PRINCIPLES?

When the marriage discussion crops us regarding traditional or cultural values versus Christian principles, and the arguments or opinions begin to fly east and west across the board, then we need to critically examine all the facts in the Bible as our primary source, carefully analyze our traditional and cultural values, discard outmoded and ungodly ones by testing them against true Biblical principles, explore all the intended and unintended consequences of our actions in the past, and constructively appraise the success stories of our marriages with honest intentions that are free of carnal compromises.

What some of us understand and believe is that you should first obey the Lord by accepting Jesus as your personal Savior and Lord, and follow it up with a demonstration of your commitment to God by submitting to parental and family authority and perform the required customary rites, in order for the woman’s family to grant (both of you) the permission to have the woman as your wife (or have the man as your husband) traditionally, and culturally.
Seriously speaking it still falls within the confines of Christian obedience, for a true Believer to adhere to the commandment of God that strictly charges children to obey their parents and show maximum respect to their elders. God, then, expects the gentleman and the lady to engage in pure courtship (free of sin, especially sexual sin), and allow their families and the Lord to put them together properly with legal permission and God’s blessing before living together and engaging in any sexual activities for a sexual union.

After the parental consent you MUST bless the marriage before God as a Christian. Non-Christians have no relationship with Christ, and are not considered by the Bible as Children of God with God’s Spirit living in them and controlling their affairs. Unbelievers do not therefore have any objective to do God’s will according to the Bible, so Christians should be very careful how they copy them, or how they lightheartedly dilute our cherished Christian holy and righteous standards by thinking and acting like people of the world who do not know God.

We must realize that the first thing God did to the first couple (Adam and Eve) was to bless them (Genesis 1:28). This is a major reason why we must bless all marriages in the Presence of Almighty God who is the author and creator of marriage, and who alone has the right to give instructions about marriage.
In the Book of 1Timothy 4:4, 5, God tells us that everything in this world is sanctified by the word of God and prayer. God instructs us in 1 Corinthians 7:39 that we must marry only in the Lord (according to God’s divine will and instructions, and calling upon Him to take charge of the marriage).
A marriage should therefore be respectfully blessed before God with utmost reverence exhibited by the man and woman, and the process must be directed and executed by a Minister of Jesus Christ. Our God is a God of order, and will NOT accept anything that violates His divine order.

With all the arguments and confusion about weddings, the real idea is “blessing of a marriage”, which is a term that should be used, just in case people find the term “wedding” too foreign or too elaborate to subscribe to. However, the concept of “wedding” is scriptural, especially when we read that Jesus attended a wedding in St. John chapter 2 and thereby sanctified the ceremony and made it wholly acceptable.

If, however, the people marrying do not want a formal wedding in a church sanctuary, they can discuss with their Minister or Pastor and have a simple blessing, in accordance with established principles of the Minister or the particular church.
I have handed over a sister before (who had no relatives around the US) in 1995 during a 15-minute simple marriage blessing ceremony when I was an Elder in Glad Tidings Assembly of God Church in the Bronx (New York City) on a Sunday immediately following the morning service. I participated in a similar short and simple but spiritually solemn ceremony after I had preached at a morning service at Trinity Baptist Church in West Norwood in London in the year 2001.
In both cases, the Pastors involved took the prospective couple through a period of pre-marital counseling (which is very necessary) before blessing the marriage. Vows and rings were exchanged nicely without any flamboyant parades, and the couples are still happily married today.
Some people also take the Minister along to a Court House where they go to register the marriage, and submit to God’s authority by letting the Minister bless the marriage there formally, with the exchange of vows and rings.

Others bless their marriages formally and exchange all the rings (engagement and wedding rings) at the engagement or customary rites ceremony. In such a case the two people must be present. The man, for example, cannot be overseas or in a distant city, and send his family to perform the customary rites, and work out for the lady to join him for the two people to start living together and engaging in sexual activity immediately the woman arrives. That is NOT right in the eyes of a holy God. But, we can kill our consciences, argue our way through, and do whatever our desires tell us to do, and bear the final consequences.
If the man (who is expected to be the wise leader in the relationship) cannot exercise enough self-control and wait for a few weeks for them to be counseled adequately and make plans for their pastor to formally join him together with his fiancée, then they should consult their pastor and make whatever plans that could be put in place for them to possibly shorten the initial counseling period for a blessing to take place, and for the counseling to be continued after the marriage blessing or wedding ceremony.

Any form of blessing at an engagement or customary rite (traditional marriage) ceremony has to be properly arranged with the Minister for a formal and decisive process to be enacted where the two people are properly joined together with scripture and vows plus serious prayer, and pronounced husband and wife in a solemn fashion without making it appear casual and lackadaisical as if it is cheap sexual friendship that they are embarking on to merely enjoy each other for fun, make money together, acquire property, and have children for their benefit and prestige.

The Western world has a simple engagement between the man and woman without parental permission or any ceremony, but Africans and some other cultures (including Jews) take their engagement as traditional marriage. That is why Joseph was contemplating “divorce” for Mary when he realized that she was pregnant (by the Holy Spirit) after their engagement, although they had not yet slept together (Mathew 1: 18, 19). That is even an example to teach us that a legal and formal engagement (traditional marriage ceremony) does not warrant sexual activity between the two people before the entire marriage procedures have been completed according to God’s laws.

The word “engagement” was only borrowed by Africans etc. to name their traditional ceremony in the English language, just as Africans have borrowed words like “brother” and “sister” which mean more than blood relations pertaining to the same father and same mother in, for example, Ghanaian language in Africa.
Many Africans do not have strict differentiation in their language for “cousin” etc. but simply say, for example in the Ghanaian Twi language, “me nua” (my brother, or sister) which in English will be biological “brother” or “sister”, which does not therefore mean the same for an English-speaking person.
The use of “engagement” is not wrong as the name of the traditional marriage ceremony for educated ones in the African culture, because no African regards the process as a light ceremony without commitment, although calling the ceremony “engagement” might cause some people to think that it is simple, but it is actually customary marriage.

We, as committed saints and children of Almighty God, should note, however, that the customary marriage is NOT complete for the man and woman to engage in sexual activity, and for them to immediately consummate the marriage without allowing God to give them His final blessing. Christians should not just consider an end to everything in the marriage process because they have performed all the elaborate customary rites, without the completion of the process with the exchange of vows and proper blessing of the marriage before God Almighty.

If people ignorantly got stuck only to the culture they knew in the past without strict adherence to spiritual principles, and God apparently forgave them because of their ignorance, it does not permit those of us who live in this present age with adequate knowledge to intentionally refuse to do and teach the right thing, and try to use our old example in our time of ignorance to tell others that they should do things the way we did them because God accepted us anyhow. In this modern era, the young ones are far sophisticated than the older generation, and any misstep or careless counsel that deviates from strict Biblical principles will take them miles away from what is moral, upright, and spiritual, and create marital havoc plus family tragedies for generations to come.
Opinions may differ, but the scriptures cannot lie, and any violation of what God has set out in His word for obedience cannot be changed.

“The times of ignorance God overlooked, BUT NOW He commands everyone everywhere to repent (change and do the right thing)”(Acts 17:30).

Over the years I have encountered (and continue to encounter) the cited example of Isaac and Rebecca as the classic example of how we should marry (referred to, especially by people who do not want to bless their marriages the Bible or church way).

I have always asked myself: What about references to all the other scriptures regarding God’s instructions on general Biblical principles for God’s approval of things He has instituted to be strictly observed, total instructions about marriage, vows, and God’s ordinances and sacraments? Why do we focus only on one chapter in the Bible and ignore all the other verses of scripture, and several injunctions and admonitions of scripture that instruct us to conduct our business according to godly principles?

I know that it is really difficult for anyone to be very Biblical, if the person was raised up in deep traditions and cultural values of his or her environment without any balance with true and thorough Biblical training and application of total scripture for daily living. Culture and traditions, if not carefully tested against scripture, can tragically (and fatally) blind the victim. It has even happened to Ministers of the gospel, and other men and women of God, and leaders in society who rushed into ministry and ambitious leadership without God’s proper calling or preparation for what they impulsively plunged themselves into.

Anyone who was trained to be more religious than spiritually Christian, will adhere more to tradition and all the positives and negatives of his or her prevailing traditional values than adherence to strict holy principles of scripture. A church, Christian group, or organization can neglect, ignore, misinterpret, compromise, misquote, or even refuse to observe what exactly God says and means in His word as a whole, and simply pick bits and pieces of scripture, twist and bend the ideas to suit their way of living or church regulations, and still call it “Church or ministry acceptance and way of doing things.”
This is what the church of Jesus Christ is suffering from in several quarters and in many respects today. No wonder many churches have become “toothless bull dogs” whose cutting edge is woefully blunt or lost, and have become more societal and powerless organs that accumulate religious and half-baked believers, rather than the Holy Spirit channel for the demonstration of God’s love, holiness, and power for the expansion of God’s Kingdom on earth that challenges the devil and the enemies of the Cross of Christ.

Jesus hit the nail right on the head when He emphasized: “Why do you also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? You have therefore made the commandment of God of no effect (nullified God’s commandment) by your tradition” (Mathew 15:3, 6).

Some people have the excuse of considering themselves FULLY married and able to indulge in sex after the normal customary rites (traditional marriage), and especially if any casual prayers were offered at the ceremony.
No wonder the unbelievers in our families do not see much fire of God and devotion to God’s covenant in us, and are not drawn by the power of God and our devotion to follow us to church and seek for the power of God, because they can see that some Believers take the things of their God very lightly, and even mislead the non-Christians to take godly things lightly as well, which causes them to feel that they are spiritually casual like us (the true Believers).

Rebecca and Isaac had no Jesus living in them at that time, and God led them by His Spirit but in a different fashion. They lived in a time when only Old Testament revelation was in place, and this was even at the beginning of time when God was gradually preparing mankind for His salvation plan through Abraham and his descendants, and when the Israelites had not even multiplied and been gathered to received the Ten Commandments from God.
If you study the scripture carefully you can see that there was a proper parental consent and family send-off, and Rebecca put on a veil, implying that it was a ceremonial custom of some kind which had a godly basis and was recorded for us to follow godly patterns OF OUR DAY just as they did FOR THEIR DAY.

Look at the way God inspired His will for Isaac through spiritual revelation to the father Abraham, and how it was given as a message to Abraham to be given as elaborate instruction and prophetic utterances to Abraham’s servant (Genesis 24:1-9).
See how the servant was led by God to get the wife for Isaac after following the strict instructions (Genesis 24:10-27), and see how the servant rejoiced at God’s leading (Genesis 24:26, 27).
How many of the people who argue and make themselves “Isaacs’ and ‘Rebeccas’ know even a fraction of God’s leading from start to finish in this manner for their marriage plans?

How many of the Christian marriages are really shining for God, with the couple knowing God’s will for their lives? How many know what ministry God has for them and why God brought them together, and are fervently serving the Lord as required of them by God?
Even some couples who are pastors, elders, deacons, ministry leaders, evangelists, and prominent Christian leaders in our society do not read the Bible and pray together as a couple. Some pastors do not even study the Bible together and take joint decisions together with their wives! Solemn!
Why do we have so many failed and unhappy marriages these days after our numerous excuses of “marrying the right way according to Isaac and Rebecca” or “the way we view the process of marriage in the traditional sense”?
Are people dodging commitment to holy principles of God in their relationships, and therefore having little or no Hand of God following them in their marriages?

In Genesis 24:63 Isaac was in meditation and prayer before God when Rebecca was brought to him with a veil on. Do we know what God told Isaac during his communion with God as the woman came along? I believe that every man who marries should do the same — go into prayer and let God talk to you as the leader of the family and Head of your wife, so that whatever decision you take after that will not condemn you before God when you stand before Him on the Judgment Day.

You can give any excuse and offer any explanation you want for the manner in which you secretly and publicly went through the processes for your marriage, but finally it is between you and God!

We should also be very careful how we compare Old Testament processes (when Jesus was not living in the people) with New Testament enlightenment and instructions (when the Sprit of Jesus is living in us).

I have even found out that many of such people who do not want to properly bless their marriages, have either fondled themselves intimately, kissed passionately, or indulged in wrongful sexual activities before the final day of the customary rites. In several instances you will discover that the lady is pregnant already, and the violation is being hidden and covered with an excuse to “cut matters short” and marry quickly.
Others have no self-control (due to sexual addiction, mind controlled by pornography, personal sexual weakness, shallow spirituality, un-committed Christian lives, and even sometimes being mere church attendants without the Holy Spirit living in them), and do not therefore have any urge to die to themselves and open their hearts for holy things of God.

When the person (or people) plays a special role in church or in our lives, is a close relative or a special friend, donates money to support us, provide important resources for us, and is prominent, we are intimidated by the help, support, power, position, or threats, and we therefore gloss over their sins and mistakes, and support the one to do the wrong thing.
We rather come down hard on other people who fall into similar situations in the church, group, or community, who appear powerless and distant from us.
Sometimes the person (or people) violating the marriage principles is a son or daughter of a church leader on the same board with you, or very close family friend or respectable and powerful or rich parent or family member whom we are afraid of offending, and we therefore prefer to offend God by keeping quiet or compromising with scripture, and ultimately plunge everyone into God’s judgment rather than pleasing God with the right instructions and taking a firm righteous position on marriage and family matters.

Many others also do not simply understand marriage itself, or are very ignorant about marriage according to the Bible (including even some counselors and church leaders in some instances who mislead the people with wrong counseling and poor example).

We should distinguish between any prayers offered by pastors or men and women of God during an engagement (customary rite) ceremony which is only prayer to bless the food, drinks, articles presented, and the ceremony in general.
People have mistakenly taken any prayers at the beginning and end of the ceremony, and especially for the man and woman, as “the real blessing of the marriage”.

Why don’t we do not do the same for baptism, Holy Communion etc. Can we, for example, start partaking of Holy Communion in church, and simply start eating the bread and drinking the wine without any formal introduction of the sacrament, reading of appropriate scripture, praying on the bread and wine, and letting the participants enter into prayer of preparation, with the argument or excuse that we prayed at the beginning of the church service, and even engaged in good prayer and worship before announcing the communion, so everybody should come and grab some bread and wine and enjoy the communion? We must do things orderly and with the required reverence.

If we study the Bible carefully we can see God’s ways and God’s character. We should know that our God is very orderly, and will NEVER accept anything that we do carelessly and lightly that He has instituted to be revered, respected, and done His way in a God-fearing manner, for us to receive His full approval and blessings.

One of the problems is that carnal and worldly people have hijacked weddings by making the ceremony cheap and unsanctified with all kinds of meaningless ceremonies at the beaches, parks, restaurants etc.
In all cases, if it is the real blessing of a marriage, then scripture should read by an ordained servant of the Lord, appropriate prayers must be offered, and there should be vows exchanged, because marriage is a covenant relationship (which should not be broken).
Marriage is the highest human institution on earth compared with the relationship between Christ and the Church (Ephesians 5:21-33).

A Covenant is made with words as taught by scripture (e.g. Psalm 89:34). The man and woman must therefore exchange some vows to create and agree on a permanent covenant bond between them. Family members and friends present at the ceremony are witnesses of the vows that the husband and wife make to each other, and the witnesses are required to pray and offer any future support for that specific marriage to become fruitful and successful.

If you know that you made mistakes in the past before you married (or during the process of marrying), then the best thing to do is to accept your disobedience or ignorance, confess your sins and ignorance to God, plead for the Blood of Jesus to wash both of you (husband and wife), and ask God’s Holy Presence to be with you in order to receive all the blessings that God has originally planned to give to your family, and to also close all open doors for satanic attacks (present or in the future) on your marriage and family life.

We need to clearly explain and teach people (youth and young adults in particular) what steps to take and marry properly according to God’s principles, and when they can live together under one roof, share one bed, and indulge in intimate sexual activity for God to smile and say: “Yes! You are doing my will. I am with you. Receive my blessings!”

Our children and the young ones in our churches and society are getting mixed messages from too many violations, compromises, bad examples, and failed relationships among the adult folk, especially their parents, older family members, leaders in our communities, and leaders in our churches.
Young ones are already exposed to too many raw materials for sin (pornography, demonic movies and games, filth at home, immoral ideas at school and on the streets etc.), and are therefore sinking into more confusion and lack of productive focus, with constant exposure to our loose and unprincipled marital activities and wayward love relationships.

Let us make every offered to establish the best Biblical principles and excellent family values for our marriages and family lives, in order to leave a good legacy for our children.
If we fail to do this, then the present moral decadence and degradation of family values, will plunge the next generation into marital recklessness, chaos, doom, and gloom that will promote the breakdown of the traditional family which is the foundation of the church and every productive and successful society!

Copyright Nov. 2008 Rev. Dr.Samuel A. Kisseadoo (Professor of Biology, Hampton University, Hampton, Virginia, USA)
Founder and President, Fruitful Ministries International Inc., 6 Red Robin Turn, Hampton, Virginia 23669, USA.
Ph 757-7289330 Fax 757-7289335 kisseadoo@msn.com

Searching For A Godly Wife?

WHAT A GENTLEMAN SHOULD LOOK FOR IN THE LADY OF HIS CHOICE
It is widely known in all cultures that a man usually takes the initial step in proposing to a woman for marriage. This process has the benefit of causing the man to commit himself more to the task of loving and caring for the woman of his choice. But, what are the standards he must employ to guide his desires and recognize the desired traits in a particular woman in order to choose her among the thousands around as his wife?
Men must remember that the affection of a male is more prone to wander away to other women than it is for the affection of a female to easily sway to other men. Unless a lady has not found her security in the arms of a real loving, honest, and caring man, most women will make less sexual exploits outside of their marriages than men will do. Since you have to make only one life-long choice of a wife for a permanent bond, a man should patiently employ all his faculties (physical and spiritual), and be goal-oriented in his choice. Men are creatures of sight, and can make disastrous blunders by merely falling in love at first sight. They can be swayed by feelings and attractions of graceful feminine body features to jump aimlessly into marriages, only to give problems to themselves and their wives later on, and cause untold suffering to their children.
As I mentioned before, there are fundamental and essential differences between men and women, which dictate specific needs of the different sexes. These needs have very strong influences on what to look for in the other person in order to fulfill that need. When there are expressions of dissatisfaction, conflicts, nagging, and fights in a marriage or family, the final interpretation is not just “incompatibility” as people often say, but the sudden realization of the husband and wife that their needs are not being met in the marriage relationship. They begin to crave for essential ingredients they ought to have opened their eyes and apply all their senses to explore long before they concluded to make the other person part of their lives.
We are always told that we “fall in love” with a person before we marry the one. As much as there is some truth in this concept, I often prefer to advise people to “walk into love” rather more, by guarding their affections carefully with wisdom.

I have listed a few important qualities that a gentleman has to look for in the right woman of his dreams, which will make him conclude that he has made the best choice for a wife. I must caution that you will fully know some of them only when you actually live with the woman, but in all cases, through conversation, interactions, and careful observations, you can have sufficient ideas to work with. I believe that the best woman of your choice must be:

1) HUMBLE AND UNDERSTANDING —- Not domineering or demanding. She must be willing to submit to the good leadership of her husband. No man can live with a woman who always wants to “bulldoze” him around to do her bidding, and cannot patiently help him to be the good leader he has to be for the family. Taking time to listen to the man and giving appropriate responses, with humble inputs.
2) RESPECTFUL —- A woman who respects herself and has a heart and attitude of respect for her man. A woman who will not bring disgrace to the husband and family by her words and behavior before others, especially in public.
3) MODEST —— Not worldly or sophisticated. The fineries and nice articles are good for the enhancement of appearance, but she must not make flamboyant dressing her goal, and be in the habit of parading herself in the most expensive clothing and jewels in town. Someone who knows the elegance of a real lady that issues from decent and wise way of dressing.

4) NEAT AND TIDY—- concerned bout cleanliness and personal hygiene. Always taking pains to let herself and her environment look and smell good. Having the appearance and aroma that invokes true love and devotion in a man for a woman. The first test is

the state of her kitchen and ordinary clothing, followed by her bathroom, and then her bedroom.
5) DOMESTIC —– A joyful homemaker. Willing to spend time at home and get the place organized. Having a heart to welcome and entertain visitors. Consistent, proper placing and arrangement of items at home. Supporting the man to bring essential ingredients needed to run a happy and productive home. Not gallivanting aimlessly outside at the expense of her home. Not neglecting important household duties.
6) GOOD COOK —- Learning and knowing how to cook good and savory dishes. Concerned about balanced diet and new recipes, and proper administration of food for the family. Not selfish with her food.
7) DILIGENT —- Not lazy in character. A lover of productive and beneficial work for the family and outsiders. Keeping work scheduling times and not dragging her feet to perform simple chores.
8) HONEST —-Telling the truth and keeping promises to earn integrity. Sincerely and quickly admitting wrong, and willing to do better. Giving appropriate responses to the honesty of the man.
9) CHEERFUL AND HOPEFUL —- Not moody or constantly pessimistic. Sweet and attractive to interact with, and not repelling outsiders with an unwelcome attitude. Not constantly expressing fear and unbelief that will always hinder the progress of the family.
10) NOT A NAGGER OR SHORT-TEMPERED —- A peacemaker who is not noisy and contentious. A patient, graceful, tender, gentle lady. ABLE TO CONTROL HER TEMPER AND WORDS. Someone who is not a brawler. Not having the habit of finding fault, scolding, and complaining. Not a grumbler who cannot be easily pleased. Women must know that nagging demoralizes men and diminishes their confidence.
11) GOOD COMMUNICATOR —- Making a conscious effort to build intimacy with the man through verbal, written, and bodily expressions. Sharing her heart, and seeking to engage her man in good conversation. Sharing her joys, sorrows, and problems sincerely. Able to express her affection and appreciation verbally.
12) ROMANTIC AND LOVING —- Not just sexy in appearance and attitude, but having the willingness to satisfy her man with good romance and practical love when they marry. Having the right attitude towards purity before marriage, but not possessing a negative, selfish mentality towards sex that can starve the man sexually in the marriage and create problems of infidelity and lack of fulfillment.
13) NOT GREEDY, ENVIOUS OR SELFISH—- Not mean or self-centered. Not living a life of comparison with others and developing a spirit of envy, greed, and jealousy. Genuinely thinking about the welfare of others. Willingness to share what she has, including inherited wealth or property. Ready to extend love to family and friends. Giving the right treatment to in-laws. Not making secret deals behind her husband.
14) HELPFUL, CARING, AND ENCOURAGING —- Desiring and making every effort to support the man. Standing by him through thick and thin, no matter his weaknesses. Encouraging him by all possible good means. Having a sincere desire to help others to be prosperous and happy. Having a heart of service without discrimination, and seeking to help you out unconditionally.
15) GRATEFUL —- Thankful for the man first, and all good things that come her way as a result of their relationship. Able to have a heart of gratitude and expressing her gratefulness for little gifts first, and big ones as well.
16) HAVING FINANCIAL WISDOM —- Not a lover of money. Honest with money and spending. Ability to use money wisely without incurring debt for the family. Not obsessed with shopping. Buying items that are really not important at a particular time. Willing to help the man to make a reasonable budget. Joining her husband to plan for the future.

17) FEARING GOD AND HAVING GOOD MORALS —- Respecting God. Someone who loves the Bible and its daily application. Responsible church member. Someone who delights in holiness, purity, and excellent family values. Morally upright. Having respect for her own sexuality and its appropriate use.

As I have always underscored, it is more important to BE THE RIGHT PERSON than just looking for the right person. That is the only way to recognize the right qualities in the other fellow.
Every man should have it firmly fixed in his mind that without his good and Godly leadership as a husband, and his unwavering love, he will ruin the best woman given to him in any marriage.
Gentleman, please remember that the lady is also looking for the right man with excellent qualities that will provide her with the love, care, and security she crucially needs.

WHAT A LADY SHOULD LOOK FOR IN THE MAN OF HER CHOICE

What do you set out to really look for in a man in order to choose him as a prospective husband—someone you will share your entire life with permanently on earth? This is a vital question many ladies pose to me frequently. Since the man will usually propose to the woman, she must also have a set of standards that will guide her to give positive or negative response.
Again, the fundamental and essential differences between men and women that dictate specific needs of the different sexes should be among the overriding factors for her ultimate decision. If she decides to go with a man who does not know the value of women, she is in for a trouble. The vital needs of women have very strong bearing on what to look for in the man who will be used by God to fulfill those needs.
I have listed below a few important qualities a lady has to look for in a good man of her choice. Again you will notice that some of the qualities overlap with those that a man should look for in a woman, but both sexes often manifest them in different ways. These qualities are:

1) HONEST —-telling the truth, keeping promises to earn integrity etc.

issea2) GOOD COMMUNICATOR —- making the effort to build intimacy with the lady in his life. Sharing his heart, and seeking to be a good conversationalist. Sharing joys, sorrows and problems sincerely.
3) LOVING GOD’S WORD —- respecting God as the Creator of mankind and marriage. Studying and applying His Word, referring to it and relying on it in speeches, planning, and decision making etc.
4) PRAYERFUL —- depending on God for guidance and strength through prayer.
5) RESPONSIBLE CHURCH MEMBER —-active and serviceable member of a good Church.
6) EXHIBITING LEADERSHIP —-able and desiring to take initiative in leadership, and helping others to follow along for the accomplishment of common goals.
7) SELFLESS—- not selfish or mean. Genuinely thinking about the welfare of others. Willingness to share what he has, including inherited wealth or property. Ready to extend love to your family and friends.
8) CARING HEART—- sincere desire to help others to be prosperous and happy,
especially you (the lady). Having an attitude of service without discrimination. Seeking to help you out unconditionally.
9) HAVING TIME FOR PEOPLE —- making time to give individual attention to
people, especially women. Able to have the time to listen patiently to what you have to say.
10) NEAT AND TIDY—- concerned bout cleanliness, decent dressing, home orderliness,
and personal hygiene, which will enable him to support the wife and children in the home. Making the effort to look and smell good.
11) DILIGENT —- loving to do good and profitable work. Working to completion. Not
running away from work that demands effort or sweat.
12) HAVING TRUE LOVE —- sincerely loving people without manipulation in order to use them. Love that gives to others rather than getting from them. Planning to do acts of love by carefully observing people to sense their needs.
13) HAVING A CAREER OR JOB —- must be doing some work which will enable him to support his family, and provide them with financial security. Having or developing a career for income as well as self-improvement.
14) WISE AND GENEROUS WITH MONEY —- not selfish or mean with his money, and willing to share his money together with the woman for the needs of both of them. Generous with money that will help family members and friends. Wise with spending, and not financially reckless.
15) FEARS GOD —- Loves holiness, purity, and excellent family values. Morally upright, having respect for women and their sexuality, and believing in the appropriate use of sex. WON’T WANT TO HAVE SEX WITH OR SEXUALLY FONDLE AND POLLUTE THE LADY BEFORE THE MARRIAGE IS OFFICIALLY CONTRACTED AND BLESSED BEFORE GOD.
16) HAVING RESPECT FOR THE WOMAN’S FAMILY AND HER CULTURE —- A man who does not despise the kind of family or culture that the woman belongs to. Willing to mix with the lady’s family members, relate well to them, and become a blessing to them. Accepting the good cultural values of the lady (but helping her lovingly to change any outmoded or destructive traditional practices and ideas)..
17) KNOWS THE WILL OF GOD FOR HIS LIFE (what God has called him for, why he is still alive). He may not fully know but is sincerely serving God and is seeking to completely find out God’s ultimate will, and so “needs a woman as a HELPER to discover and do God’s will”.

As I have always emphasized, it is more important to BE THE RIGHT PERSON than just looking for the right person. That is the only way to recognize the right qualities in the other fellow.
Lady, please remember that the gentleman is also looking for the woman with the best qualities that will satisfy his needs.
So far as we live in humility and obedience, God will ensure that we finally get the right people in our lives to accomplish His will in all areas of our lives. Even when we make mistakes that are sincere ones, He knows how to rescue us out of every mess and redirect our courses to accomplish His purposes.

Copyright, May 2003. By: Rev. Dr. Samuel Kisseadoo (Professor of Biology, Hampton University, Hampton, Virginia). Founder & President, Fruitful Ministries International Inc.
6 Red Robin Turn, Hampton, Virginia 23669 USA Phone 757-7289330 Fax 757-7289335
E-mail: kisseadoo@msn.com

WHAT IS REAL MINISTRY?

INTRODUCTION
These are days when most people are not really sure of the position of the Church of Jesus Christ on vital issues, and the direction in which the Church is clearly moving. Several doctrines, issues, and practices continue to stir up more confusion in people’s minds, and blur their vision of God’s holiness, purpose, and direction for mankind, especially God’s sons and daughters in Christ.
There is the ordination of homosexuals as ministers of the Gospel; sexual immorality (fornication and adultery) plus pornography, profanity, and sexual abuse in divers forms are practiced freely; greed for financial and material gain has eaten deep into the minds and hearts of many Believers; occultism and un-biblical religious practices have been made to become legitimate part of worship in several churches.

More than ever before, young people in the homes of church goers have become extra rebellious, carnal, lazy, unspiritual, lighthearted, careless, immoral, users of alcohol and illegal drugs, dabblers in witchcraft, irresponsible users of resources, fun lovers more than work lovers, and very immoral in all forms of sexual practices, just like children of the world. On top of it all, supposedly Christian homes and families are becoming as dysfunctional as the homes and families of the world, and the divorce rate of the Church runs parallel to the divorce rate of the world.
So, where is the Church of Jesus Christ standing as the Light of the world, and Salt of this earth?

Churches are multiplying now more than anytime in the history of nations, especially charismatic and evangelical churches, but our problems seem to multiply along with the formation of new churches. The truth about God’s character and purpose is eroding away from many churches and our communities at an alarming rate, mainly because many Pastors, Ministers, and Church Leaders are not teaching and practicing the real biblical truth to the people of God.
Majority of people who go to church have lost, or do not really know, the fear of God anymore, especially young people. There is more activity than true spirituality. Instead of the zeal for personal Bible study and obedience to God’s will, there is more jumping, shouting, slogans, fun, programs, and singing of songs that have no real meaning to the singers in church services.

People are more committed to programs and performance of duties in place of real commitment to Jesus as Lord, effective bible study, meditation on scripture, obedience to God’s word, and fervent prayer, which will ultimately lead to demonstration of holiness and true love in our homes, marriages, family life, outside the home, and in our churches. This unfortunate trend has to be broken, and must be done so now!

God is looking out for men and women with true understanding of authentic ministry. The Lord wants to draw such men and women closer to Him, reveal to them His will and purpose for this generation, train them to become sharp tools and useful vessels in God’s blessed Hands, as they “work together with God” (2 Corinthians 6: 1) for the fulfillment of His ultimate purposes on earth. “God teaches the humble His way” (Psalm 25: 9).

The good news is that God has always had a devoted remnant of Believers who have stood firmly with the Lord to maintain the fundamental principles and doctrines of Christ for His Body, the church, in every corrupt generation. Therefore in every place on this planet today, there are still churches where the real truth of God is preached, taught, and practiced for the expansion of God’s Kingdom, and to the glory of God.
This is the reason why dedicated and concerned Pastors, Ministers, and Church Leaders with a genuine passion for God and desire to engage in true Ministry, gather from time to time to discuss, analyze, teach, encourage, motivate, and challenge each other to move ahead and work with the Lord to conquer more territory in order to expand the Kingdom of God. We can then gather other people within our sphere of influence, teach them, and demonstrate by our lives of obedience, enlightened zeal, true love, humility, faith and demonstration of holy living, WHAT REAL MINISTRY OUGHT TO BE.

“For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal (blameless) to Him” (2 Chronicles 16: 9).
“ The people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits” (Daniel 11: 32).

A) DEFINITIONS
To Minister: To attend to the needs of others, or to serve.
Minister: a) The act of serving; ministration; religious position or clergy.
Christian Ministers are Ministers of:

God —- 2 Corinthians 6: 4
Christ —- Romans 15: 16.
The Gospel —- Ephesians 3: 7
The Word —- Luke 1: 2
The New Testament —- 2 Corinthians 3: 6
The Church —- Colossians 1: 24-25
Righteousness —- 2 Corinthians 11: 15.
b) Ministers are Servants of:

God —- Titus 1:1
The Lord —- 2 Timothy 2: 24
Jesus Christ —- Philippians 1: 1
The church —- 2 Corinthians 4: 5

c) Ministers are Witnesses
They are given the anointing, power, and authority to witness about

God as Creator
God’s character and attributes
God’s works
God’s salvation plan for mankind
God’s revelation, redemption, and deliverance through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Isaiah 43: 10-12; Luke 24: 48; Acts 2: 32; Acts 3: 15; Acts 5: 32, 42; Acts 10: 39-43; Acts 13: 29-31

Ministers are Stewards (managers, attendants, people entrusted with
Responsibility for). They are Stewards of:

God —- Titus 1: 7
The grace of God —- 1 Peter 4: 10
The mysteries of God —- 1 Corinthians 4: 1
Your call to be a minister is a stewardship from God given to you for the people within the Body of Christ —- Colossians 1: 25.

d) Ministers are Overseers (directors, inspectors, supervisors) —- Acts 20: 28
The major qualifications of an overseer are listed in 1 Timothy 3: 1-7.

Ministers Serve:
a) Work and care for, attend, do for, minister to, wait on or wait upon.
b) Place food before someone.
c) Meet a need or requirement, answer, do, suffice, suit (e.g. serve a purpose).

Ministers Lead: Exercise special influence in the life of someone, conduct along a way, guide,
be ahead or head of, tend toward a given result (e.g. a practice that leads to success), direct the performance or activity, start or begin, be in the front or foremost, have an advantage or superiority (e.g. lead in a game), be an example, play a principal role.

Other descriptions and titles that intimately go along with the calling to be a minister are:
1) Fishers of Men (Mathew 4: 19; Mark 1: 17);
2) Laborers (Mathew 9: 38; 1 Thessalonians 3: 2);
3) Lights or lamps (St. John 5: 35);
4) Apostles (Mathew 10:2; Acts 1:2);
5) Prophets (Ephesians 4: 11);
6) Teachers (Acts 13:1; Ephesians 4: 11);
7) Pastors (Ephesians 4: 11);
8) Evangelists (Ephesians 4: 11);
9) Ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5: 20);
10) Angels of the churches (Revelations 1: 20; Revelation 2: 1);
11) Defenders of the faith (Philippians 1: 7);
12) Elders (1 Timothy 5: 17; 1 Peter 5: 1);
13) Men of God (1 Timothy 6: 110;
14) Messengers of the churches (2 Corinthians 8: 23);

Some examples of service and leadership in the Bible:
1) The Apostles appointed or instructed the appointment of Elders to serve as Leaders in every New Testament church (Acts 14: 23; Titus 1: 5).
2) God instructed Moses to appoint 70 Elders to assist him to lead and minister to the people of Israel (Numbers 11: 16, 17, 24, 25).
3) Rulers and Leaders were chosen and appointed by Moses for Israel (Exodus 18: 21-26).
4) Aaron and his sons ministered as Priests in garments of ministry in the Holy Place (Exodus 35: 19 & 39: 41).
5) Service of the Lord was performed with offerings —- burnt offerings, sacrifices, and peace offerings (Joshua 22: 27).
6) David appointed men over the service of song in the house of the Lord (1 Chronicles 6: 31).
7) Very able men fit for the work of the service of the House of God (1 Chronicles 9: 13).
8) Service of God for Israelites —- goes with adoption as sons of God, glory of God, God’s covenants, the law of God, and the promises of God (Romans 9: 4).
9) Vegetation caused by God to grow for the service of man (Psalm 104: 14).
10) Service of the faith of the believer —- goes with sacrifice (Philippians 2: 17).
11) Service of divine ordinances of the first covenant (Hebrews 9: 10).

MAJOR CHARACTERISTCS OF TRUE MINISTERS OF GOD

A TRUE MINISTER MUST
1) Minister to people for their good. Be a good minister of Jesus Christ —- Romans 13: 4; 1 Timothy 4: 6.
2) Be sound in good doctrine —- 1 Timothy 4: 6.
3) Be nourished in the words of faith (feed on a balanced diet of whole and pure scriptures) —- 1 Timothy 4: 6.
4) Fully acknowledge that the Lord called and put him or her in the ministry (received it from the Lord), and allow the Lord to control all aspects of the ministry —- 1 Timothy 1: 12
5) Depend entirely on the grace of God in every area of the ministry —- 1 Timothy 1: 14.
6) Be an elder who rules well —- 1 Timothy 5: 17.
7) Be a servant of the Lord —- 2 Timothy 2: 24
8) Be committed and devoted to the Lord and his or her duties —- Philippians 1: 21
9) Live a holy, pure, and righteous life — a character that matches the Gospel and the ministry —- 1 Timothy 4: 12.
10) Live a sincere and honest life of integrity —- Learn to hear and listen to God —- Isaiah 6: 8; Isaiah 30: 21; Acts 22: 17-21; Isaiah 15: 21; St. John 10: 3, 16, 27; James 1: 19; 1 John 1: 1, 3, 5.
11) Wait upon the Lord for His counsel, guidance, instructions, anointing, and power — Isaiah 40: 30, 31; Acts 1: 4, 5, 8; Isaiah 30: 1, 15-21
12) Obey God’s instructions and commandments —- St. John 10: 3, 16, 27; James 1: 19;
13) Not quarrel but be gentle to all —- 2 Timothy 2: 24.
14) Not be greedy or lover of money — 1 Timothy 3: 3.
15) Must be the husband of one wife or wife of one husband —- 1 Timothy 3: 2.
16) Must be able to teach —- 2 Timothy 2: 24. Labor in teaching and doctrine —- 1 Timothy 5: 17.
17) Be patient —- 2 Timothy 2: 24.
18) Be a man or woman of faith —- 2 Timothy 4: 7.
19) Fight a good fight —- 2 Timothy 4: 7.
20) Know his or her race and run it very well —- 2 Timothy 4: 7; Hebrews 12: 1, 2.
21) Be able to identify and fully use all talents and gifts —- I Timothy 4: 14; Ephesians 4: 7-16.
22) Persevere, be steadfast, and persistently keep the faith —- 2 Timothy 4: 7; 1 Timothy 4: 16.
23) Be consistent and faithful —- 1 Corinthians 4: 2
24) Correct in humility, those in opposition to him, the Gospel, the Church, or God —2 Timothy 2: 25.
25) Must be ready to suffer persecution —- 2 Timothy 3: 12.
26) Must preach the word of God! —- 2 Timothy 4: 2.
27) Must preach in season (when convenient) and out of season (when inconvenient) —-2 Timothy 4: 2.
28) Must learn how to convince (speak the truth emphatically and persuasively), rebuke (admonish, caution), exhort (urge by strong appeal, encourage and advise to do right), with longsuffering (enduring patience) and a teaching (educating and instructing) objective —- 2 Timothy 4: 2.
29) Finish his or her assigned work (fulfill all your responsibilities) —- Colossians 4: 17; 2 Timothy 4: 7; Hebrews 12: 1, 2.
Copyright Jan. 2009. Rev. Dr. Samuel Kisseadoo
Professor of Biology
Hampton University, Hampton, Virginia, USA
Founder & President, Fruitful Ministries International Inc.

(Evangelistic and Teaching Christian Ministry)
6 Red Robin Turn
Hampton, VA 23669, USA

Phone: 757-7289330

FM INTERNATIONAL INC. SEMINARS CHRISTIAN TEACHING

“We have not balanced our preaching with adequate teaching, and have consequently given people half the Gospel which has produced many half-baked Christians” —-Sam Kisseadoo

A) WHY WE TEACH

It is a Command of the Lord Jesus to His disciples— Math. 28: 20
Jesus, our Leader and Example, was primarily a Teacher — St. John 3:2;
11: 28. He told His Disciples in St. John 13: 13: “You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am.”

Math. 4: 23 — He was Teaching (first), and to get converts to accomplish His teaching task He was Preaching, and to complete His work and be absolute Lord He was Healing as well. These three form the package of the Full Gospel.
Math. 11: 1 — After Jesus sent out His Disciples, He went to teach and preach in their cities. Do what He tells you to do, and he knows how to take of yours for you.
Mark 6: 34 — When Jesus saw the multitudes like sheep without a shepherd (leader or guide), He had compassion for them, and the best way He expressed it was to “teach them many things” (lead and guide them).
Mark 8: 31 — When Jesus realized that His Followers had not clearly understood His impending Trial, Death, and Resurrection as inevitable necessity for the salvation of mankind, He took time to teach them these truths. This is what every Leader must do for those he is leading. Fathers must take time in this way to teach their families.
Jesus used His chances in the synagogue on the Sabbath to teach. Many who heard Him were astonished at His teaching, wisdom, and works — Mark 6: 2
Without teaching we cannot make any Disciples of Jesus for God’s Kingdom —
Math. 28: 19, 20. This is the only way to “present very man perfect (mature) in Christ” — Col. 3: 28. People will only remain converts who cannot bear fruit if we do not make them Bible students who know God’s ways.

Preaching or proclamation (declaration) of the Gospel must be accompanied by sound Biblical teaching, otherwise we do not give people the Full Gospel that fulfills God’s will for mankind, and we cannot be full Disciples ourselves.
God’s truths will be lost to us, and we cannot know Him deeper or understand our relationship with Him. We would not inherit His promises by having faith in Him, or use His gifts correctly, and we cannot receive any more revelations from God.

B) WHAT WE TEACH

We must be fully aware of the fact that it is God who does the teaching through us. We are only His channels for the distribution of His truths to men. The Holy Spirit was given to us as our Helper to “teach us all things and bring to our remembrance all things that Jesus says to us” — St. John 14: 26. Paul emphasized to the Corinthians that “we speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.” All teaching must be based on the Bible (God’s Word) and should be applicable to daily living. “The Word of God is spirit and life” — St. John 6: 63. If we do not base our teaching on scripture, we would end up feeding people with human wisdom that cannot give them victory over the devil and his works. Fleshly teaching will produce works of the flesh. It must ultimately help the learner to draw closer to God and make Jesus Lord of his or her life. Observers should clearly recognize that we are teaching powerfully in the Name of Jesus — Acts 4: 18; 5: 28.
We need to focus our teaching on the following:

The importance of “all that Jesus commanded us”, and how to observe them — Math. 28: 20.
Teaching the fear of the Lord — Psalm 34: 11.
Teaching transgressors God’s ways — Psalm 51: 13.
The assurance that God guides the humble in Justice and teaches the humble His ways — Psalm 25:9.
Just as Moses did for Israel, we should teach God’s people the Commandments, Statutes, and Judgments. The Statutes or Decrees are laid down to address the principles by which they are to be governed; the Judgements or Laws do address the specifics. The people are to be shown the way in which they must walk and the work they must do. Then they can live and possess their inheritance, when they observe them — Exodus 18: 20; Deut. 4: 1 & 5: 31.
Teaching God’s people to know war (how to fight spiritual and social battles and win) — Judges 3: 2; Eph. 6: 10-18.
Teach the good and right way (making right decisions, honest dealings, looking out for the interest of others, acts of holiness etc.) — 1Sam. 12: 23. In Solomon’s prayer
for Israel, he asked God to forgive the sins of the people and teach them the good way in which they must walk — 1Kings 8: 36
Teach them to number their days (realize how short their life on earth is, and how they should make good use of their time and opportunities to do good to their fellow men and serve the Lord faithfully) — Psalm 90: 12.
Teach them to pray as Jesus taught His Disciples — Luke 11: 1. Prayer seals the word in the heart and spirit. After meditation, they should learn to pray the Living Word’s response in their spirits
back to God. The Word is Light (Psalm 119: 105, 130), and will show us what to pray for in accordance with God’s will.

C) HOW WE TEACH

The Church of Jesus Christ is required to proclaim (declare) the Gospel in public, and teach the believers from house to house (family to family) — Acts 5: 42 & 20: 20.
A real Teacher sent from (or led by) God is unique in style, character, authority, content of message, and works. This was true of Jesus; the results of His teaching were unique, especially because “He taught them as one having authority” — Math. 7: 28, 29; Mark 6: 2. This should be true of His followers. Our authority is based on obedience to God’s commandments, the power of God’s Spirit in us, the convictions that have been deposited in us by God concerning His truths, the infallibility of the Bible, and the excellent results of the teaching we impart.

Some essential points are as follows:

Be absolutely convinced in your mind and heart about what you say. “Whatever is not from faith is sin” — Romans 14: 5, 23.
Like Ezra, “study God’s Word, do it (obey), and teach it” — Ezra 7: 10.
Build a personal relationship (fellowship) as a teacher with your student. As you teach, aim at making a Disciple or Follower of Christ. Look out for those who will genuinely receive the teaching, and build them up to become teachers themselves. “Anyone who is fully taught (trained) will be like his teacher (Luke 6: 40). The principle is for you to “entrust the truth to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” — 2Tim. 2: 2.
Learn to go to people in their homes as follow-up of public meetings, in order to obtain the appropriate evaluation of things and teach them on personal level.
In-depth teaching can only be done very effectively by the Church “from house to house” — Acts 5: 42; 20: 20.

Teach no other doctrine, except what is Biblical —1Tim. 1:3. The doctrine must “agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to Godliness” — 1Tim. 6: 3.
Encourage them to trust the Lord and have a deep personal relationship with Him themselves, and not be dependent upon you or others. Just as Paul did for the Church in Ephesus, “commend them to God and to the Word of His grace, which is able to build them up and give them an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.” — Acts 20: 32.
Aim at the highest standard and “set the believers an example” (1Tim. 4: 12) in the 5 areas of: speech, conduct, faith, love, purity. Your students will be like you. Teach them by your obedience and example.— Titus 2: 7.
Feed them the right food at their level, at the right time, which will make them grow up and be useful for the Lord. (Math. 24: 45; 1Thess. 5: 11).
Be focused and targeted, using wisdom in your teaching. Be a “wise steward” (Luke 12: 42)
Aim at presenting them before God as mature Believers in Christ — Col 1: 28.
Feed them patiently, and tend (care for them) to be productive. — St. John 21: 15-17; 1Peter 5: 2. Speak clearly and systematically. Get a feedback and repeat if necessary.
Show seriousness in your teaching. — Titus 2: 7, 8; Mark 1: 22.
Put in the required time, and be committed.— 1Thess. 5: 14; 1Tim. 4: 15.
Remain faithful to God, the truth, and the people you teach. — 2 Tim. 1: 13, 14; 2Tim. 2: 15; 1Tim. 6: 2, 3; 1Tim. 5: 21; Luke 12: 42-44.
D) KEY ELEMENTS OF BEING A GOOD TEACHER

Know the subject matter.
Take time to prepare for it.
Make it relevant and interesting.
Give the students everything you have.
Decide to do your very best.
Care for the students you teach.
Live an exemplary life according to what you teach

“This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men”— Mark 7: 6, 7.

May the Lord help us to teach as doctrines, the true commandments of God, so that God will not consider all of our worship and religious activities as vain efforts.

Copyright March 2002, revised June 2008 Rev. Dr.Samuel A. Kisseadoo (Professor of Biology, Hampton University, Hampton, Virginia, USA)
Founder and President, Fruitful Ministries International Inc., 6 Red Robin Turn, Hampton, Virginia 23669, USA.
Ph 757-7289330 Fax 757-7289335 E-mail: kisseadoo@msn.com

THE IMPORTANCE OF MARRIAGE AND FAMILY LIFE

The family unit was designed by God as his primary earthly tool for manifesting Himself, portraying His glory to mankind, receiving and carrying out His commands on earth, and as the center of worship for God’s Kingdom on earth.
Marriage is the only earthly institution that God compares with the relationship between Christ and His Church (His Body) — Eph. 5: 24-27; Rev. 19:7-9.

God set up three major institutions at the beginning of time:

Institution of Marriage — Genesis 1:27-31 & 2:18-25.
Institution of the Church — Mathew 16:18; Col. 1:18; Acts 2:47; Acts 20:28.
Institution of Government — Romans 13:1-7.
YOUR MARRIAGE COMES FIRST

Of all three institutions, marriage is the highest on earth, followed by the church (its pastors, ministers, different servants, and all the saints). Any form of good government, society, or nation, must therefore flow from good marriages and productive families, accompanied by good, spiritual, fruitful churches and their leaders.

Marriage is the foundation for the family, and families are the foundation for all societies and nations. We have to note that God instituted marriage before the church was founded. Your marriage and family life should therefore be your highest priority, and should receive the maximum attention more than your education, work, position of authority or responsibility, ministry, and other activities or ambitions.

The following are some of the major factors that underscore (emphasize) the importance of Marriage and Family Life:

1) The Family Is The Foundation Of The Church And Every Nation
Genesis 1:26-31

God created one man and one woman to marry and form the institution of family at the beginning of time, in order for families to manage and enjoy what God created on earth. The family unit is the foundation of every other institution, community, and nation. Show me a weak church or nation, and I will show you the weak families in that church or nation. Conversely, a strong church or nation implies strong families within that church or nation. If we focus on building healthy and strong families, our ministerial, community, and national plans will succeed and yield better results, and our citizens will also be more responsible and united.

2) God’s Blessings Are Family Blessings
Genesis 12: 1-3

God originally planned that families should be the channels for all of His blessings for mankind. Every blessing of God that comes into your life is, in reality, a blessing for your family. Your success or failure is therefore not for you alone; it is for your home and family first, and for everyone else around you as well. The first thing God did to the first married couple (Adam and Eve) was to bless them (Genesis 1: 28). After the sin and fall of man, God made fresh plans to use His covenant with Abraham and his family as the point of contact to bless all other families of the earth.

3) The Family Is The Best Name Used By God For All Believers In Heaven And On Earth
Ephesians 3: 14-21; Galatians 6: 10.

Apart from the term “Body of Christ” which is commonly used as a term for all believers in Christ (The Church), the term “Family” is the best that God uses for all Believers in Heaven and on the Earth (Ephesians 3: 15). Another term used is “Household of Faith” (e.g. Galatians 6: 10), which also pertains to family life. God refers to all those in Heaven and on earth that belong to Him as His family, connected by His tremendous power and love. The term “family” is the best that God could use for all universal Believers in the Lord Jesus Christ (Christians), plus those in Heaven. Indeed, all Christians share a common Holy Spirit (Spirit of Jesus or Spirit of God), and share common biblical principles that create a common bond for the Church (Body of Christ). Nothing else can best describe this strong bond of fellowship apart from the concept of family. Our family connections and obligations should therefore constitute the strongest connections we have in the world.

4) God’s Executes His Plans On Earth Through Family Lines Of Inheritance
Mathew 1: 1-17

When I first accepted Jesus and became a Christian 38 years ago (1969), I usually skipped the reading of Mathew 1: 1-17 and began from Mathew chapter one verse 18, whenever I opened that part of the Bible, because it appeared very boring and meaningless to me. After a while I came to understand that without that portion, the Bible would not even exist, because the whole of the scriptures centered on all those families mentioned. The genealogy, beginning from Abraham, finally gave birth to the earthly family of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. God emphasizes the importance of family by taking time to enumerate families, and even attaches the names of fathers to the names of His servants (e.g. Isaiah the son of Amoz – Isaiah 1:1, or Nehemiah the son of Hachaliah – Nehemiah 1:1). It is even true among us, that we usually derive our own lessons and inspiration by recounting the names, bravery, and achievements of our parents, grandparents, the ancestors of our families.

5) God’s Covenant And Revelations Are For Our Descendants And Families
Genesis 17: 1-12; Deuteronomy 29: 29; & Isaiah 54: 3, 13

God seeks to make a Blood covenant through the Blood of Jesus with anyone who is His child in Christ. The covenant of God is a divine, spiritual, unbreakable agreement that is designed to affect and all the generations of the person. God reveals or shows things to you (including showing or confirming to you whom to marry, what career to pursue, what ministry to engage in etc.) in order for you to obey and worship Him, especially you and your children and other family members. God considers the family unit so important that He does not do anything on earth without some reference to family, children, or generations. One of God’s primary purposes is to pour enough of His grace and blessings into families for them to become a blessing to others, and transfer the physical, spiritual, and social legacy to children in the family who will in turn pass the good things on to their children. This is why God gives children in marriages — to build very strong families that are spiritually sound under the control of the Spirit of Jesus Christ. Families that humbly manage His resources and blessings wisely, train their children to do the same, and promote the expansion of God’s Kingdom, are the best families.

6) Jesus Came To The Earth To Save Mankind Through A Family
Mathew 1: 18-25

God’s ultimate salvation plan was through a family — Joseph and Mary, the earthly parents of Jesus. It is important to note that when God decided to finally come down from Heaven to save mankind, He chose a prospective husband and his wife in a family setting, to be born, dwell, prepare Himself, and minister to us before finally laying down His life to die for us on the Cross. Is it wise then, for many of us to ignore our spouses and other family members when making plans or engaging in activities, which ultimately affect them as well? How many marriages and families are having problems today and are even dysfunctional, because a husband, father, wife, mother, son, daughter, or some other family member would not become humble and communicate properly, or involve other important family members in a project or day-to-day activities for better results? It is true that we should avoid unnecessary in-law and other family interferences in marriages and other family affairs; but that is not a legitimate excuse for self-centered lifestyles that cut off other family members or even a spouse, in order to be greedy and enjoy good things alone in an un-loving and selfish way.

7) God Placed Family In The Middle Of The 10 Commandments
Exodus 20: 12-17

God considers the family unit so important that He put family in the middle of the 10 Commandments (Commandment number 5). Honoring your father and your mother was the first Commandment of God with a promise attached — for longer life on earth. It is the first of the Commandments that formed the basis of the other Commandments that detail our duties to man. The common saying: “Charity begins at home”, is therefore true, isn’t it? Your main character is molded in the home where you lived and was brought up. How people see you outside is exactly how you are at home and among your family members. Unfortunately for us, parenting started in the sinful state of man, and is a tough assignment. But that is no excuse for doing a poor job by not training children under your supervision to learn how to respect authority, use resources wisely, become honest and diligent, build moral character, and take responsibility for their actions. When parents and adults open their hearts to the Spirit of Jesus as their Lord, and teach children to do the same, the training becomes easier as the entire family meditates daily on God’s word, and enjoy fellowship with God in constant prayer.

8) God’s Work Is Designed To Be Done Effectively By Families
Nehemiah chapter 3

When Nehemiah was re-building the walls of Jerusalem, the project was accelerated and done effectively because individual family units, or family leaders and their followers within the community, teamed up enthusiastically and labored diligently alongside other families and groups. Each family was assigned a specific portion of the wall to construct, and everyone did a great job. The strongest labor unit within each nation or society is the family unit. In the olden days, most of the farming was done by groups of families, and families run many of the businesses, which later became family inheritance. No matter your calling and your gifting or resources, you are never alone in ministry without your family. The name you even carry around is a family name, and everything that happens to you affects everyone in your family.
It is unfortunate how many married Pastors, Evangelists, Other Ministers and Church Leaders are running ahead with their ministry and other services without any proper plan that involves their spouses and other family members in an appropriate way. Other ministers go to the other extreme by instituting meaningless ordination of their wives and children who sometimes have no calling at all in specific roles that they force them to occupy, simply because of the selfish motive of being in full control of the ministry as their personal property that no outsider should have a significant share in. We do not discount the fact that God could lead you in His will, to commission your spouse, son, daughter, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, sister, or in-law to occupy a higher office in your ministry or church, or be in charge of affairs after you have retired or died. But, this should be sanctioned by God, who is the real owner of every church and ministry, and must be in line with the gifts and calling of your child or family member in whose hands you are entrusting God’s holy things. It should not be engineered by your own personal desires and wishes, or motivated by an attempt to copy what you saw another minister doing, or trying to twist some portion of scriptural text as a pretext to execute your personal ambitions.

9) God’s Promises And Blessings For The Church, Are For Families
Acts 2: 37-39

When the New Testament Church was formally born (inaugurated by the Holy Spirit) on the Day of Pentecost, the Lord spoke through the Apostle Peter and firmly stated that the promise of His salvation and redemption through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ was for us, and for all of our children down the generation lines as well.

10) God’s Salvation Is Designed For Families
Acts 10: 2; Acts 16:31, 34; Acts 18: 8

God designed His salvation to be a divine plan that saves and delivers an individual plus his family members. It is never the will of God for you to be saved, while He refuses or neglects to save your parents, children, spouse, or other family members. God wishes to save our family members, but we must cooperate with Him and play our expected part which God cannot execute for us. It is our duty to persevere in prevailing prayer for our family members in order for them to be saved and delivered one day. We must ensure that we study and know God’s word, and live holy, orderly, consistent lives that convince them that the Christian life we live in the Lord and by His power, is worth embracing wholeheartedly. Our unsaved loved ones and outsiders must see that our lives preach the true gospel that declares loudly through our actions that Christ has abundant life and many other precious gifts to offer those who accept and live for the Lord.
This why Paul told the Jailor: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved, you and your household” (Acts 16: 31). God’s salvation is for your household — your entire family, including everyone who lives in your home. In counseling, I have always encouraged people with unsaved loved ones to use this verse in the Bible as one of God’s promises that we can stand upon to pray for the salvation of our loved ones.

11) The Family Is A Small Church
1 Timothy 5: 1, 2

Every church is made up of families that form little churches within the big church. A strong church implies strong families within that church, or vice versa.
“Do not rebuke an older man, but exhort him as a father, younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, younger women as sisters, with all purity” (1 Timothy 1: 1, 2).
In this passage, God instructs us how to treat each other as church members. The words ‘father’, ‘mother’, ‘brother’, and ‘sister’, are all derived from family life. It means that we are to be trained to know these family categories and their meanings at home, and bring to church and use the father, mother, brother, and sister concept to organize our churches and be able to fellowship together very well. Therefore, if parents, guardians, and elders, do not take time to teach children and young people how to respect designated authorities in their homes and families, they grow up to be irresponsible adults who do not know how to respect and treat people properly. They consequently bring this spirit and habit to church. One role or purpose of the church then, is to teach people the value of family life and its vital components. We therefore come to church to learn how to become better fathers, mothers, brothers, and sisters. Then we go home to practice the scriptural principles we received, and return the next Sunday to thank and praise God for the fruit we produced during the week, especially in our marriages, homes, and family interactions.

12) Obedience, Training, Love, And All Values, Are Centered In The Home And Family
Ephesians 6:1-9; Colossians 3: 18-25

Family values are the foundational values for successful life, rooted in God’s word. It is the home and its associated family life that we learn how to love and share all things, pray, study God’s word, forgive, practice diligence, take responsibility for our actions, and learn all the necessities for a successful life. The raising and training of children to become mature, healthy, responsible, and fruitful adults, take place in homes and families. The home and its family life setting is where obedience and fear of God are taught for the first time, and that is where fathers give the first impression about God the father to children. Children and adults alike learn to be responsible and disciplined in our homes and families. If we do not recognize these factors and expect any persons or agency outside of our homes and family circles to accomplish training and impartation of values for us, then we have grossly misfired, and will reap the tragic results of failure in human lives, including even active church members and church leaders who pay no special attention to their home and family affairs.

13) Talents, Gifts, And Skills Are Developed And Blossomed In Homes And Families
Psalm 128; Proverbs 31: 10-31

During the processes of home activities, marriage relationships, and family interactions, all of our talents, gifts, and abilities are properly developed, tried, used, perfected, and further prepared for greater application to bless others. Adults impart their wisdom, talents, trades, and skills to growing children as well as adults who take time to master their individual skills, and young people take after their parents, elders, and mentors.
The true qualities and value of a woman are ultimately brought out and exhibited in a marriage, home, and family setting. It is the duty of a husband to live in obedience to God’s word, love his wife, encourage the woman to grow to full maturity, and develop all of her talents and skills to support the husband and family (Psalm 128: 1-4).

14) God Designed His Word For Successful Family Life
Isaiah 59: 21; Deuteronomy 29: 29; Acts 20: 20; Psalm 128;

God planned that His word should produce its ultimate and eternal results for successful marriage and family life. If marriage is the only human institution compared with the relationship between Christ and the Church, then any word for mankind is intended to finally produce its lasting effects on marriage and family life. Every word from God for an individual or group should finally become a word for the family that the person or persons belong to. When we obey God’s instructions and receive God’s grace and God’s blessings, we deposit the end results in our marriages, homes, and families.

Copyright Nov. 2008 Rev. Dr.Samuel A. Kisseadoo (Professor of Biology, Hampton University, Hampton, Virginia, USA)
Founder and President, Fruitful Ministries International Inc., 6 Red Robin Turn, Hampton, Virginia 23669, USA.
Ph 757-7289330 Fax 757-7289335 kisseadoo@msn.com

THE CHARACTERISTICS OF A GOOD (SUCCESSFUL) MARRIAGE, HOME, AND FAMILY LIFE

TRUST
No marriage, family life, home, or relationship can be classified as fruitful and successful if the people involved in the relationship do not trust each other. Love is the key factor for the establishment of any successful marriage, productive family life, joyful home, warm fellowship, and satisfying friendship, where trust must also be an indispensable ingredient. Love is therefore the key factor for the establishment of trust in any form of relationship. That is why Jesus commanded us to: “love one another (as the basis of our relationships) as I have loved you” (St. John 13: 34).
Under no circumstances can two or more people live, work, or fellowship together without trusting each other. Lack of trust implies doubt and uncertainty about the integrity and suitability of the person or persons you are dealing with, which implies that you have no faith in your interactions. Under such circumstances, there is no way you can give all of yourself to the person and to the relationship and build true loyalty for a successful relationship.

(I) Trust Is Determined By The State Of Your Mind And Heart
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths”.
Scripture makes it clear that trust must begin and develop in the heart (center of your soul). This will depend on your state of mind (understanding), and will be further demonstrated by the extent to which you depend on God and consult Him for wisdom and direction in all that you plan and do (your ways and paths). If we do not learn to trust God with our hearts and minds, then we cannot trust our fellow human beings. Couples and family members who do not trust God would not also experience any appreciable measure of genuine trust in their marriages and family life. They would not be able to easily forgive offences and get past them to develop good relationships with people. Little offences would always throw them off balance and quickly break any trust they have for their partners and family members, or friends.
In Proverbs chapter 31 where the virtuous (ideal) wife is defined and described for us, her characteristics begin with trust in the heart of her husband for her.
“Who can find a virtuous wife? For her worth is far above rubies. The heart of her husband safely trusts her” (Proverbs 31: 10, 11).
It is the person (wife) that you trust, and not just things the person (wife) does, although the person’s acts and behavior will promote the trust. If a woman earns the trust of her husband in his heart (seat of emotions and center of his soul), abundant love is triggered and nourished to flow freely from his heart to his wife.
When the wife responds properly to her husband’s unconditional love and trust, unprecedented security is created in the relationship, and both of them feel very safe in each others arms and bosom.
I believe that this is the foundation as well as the beginning of any genuine husband-wife relationship that has true love and meaning. This sets the tone for love and leadership in the family, when Daddy sincerely trusts Mommy in his heart, and enables Mommy to trust him also in her heart. The reciprocal (two-way) trust enables both of them to allow each other the freedom to develop their gifts and talents to their full potential, grow into each other in deeper love and trust, strengthen the marriage bond, and transfer the spirit and values to the children and rest of the family. This is the only way to promote fruitfulness and success of any marriage and family life, and for every other human relationship as well.
Your thoughts determine what is finally conceived and felt in the heart. To become virtuous, ideal, or trustworthy companion, you should therefore:

Work diligently on your mind in order to sow good and godly thoughts into your mind.
Allow your heart to trust the one you are relating to, and discipline your heart to maintain the sincerity of the trust.
Make a conscious effort to remember the needs and interests of your mate or friend, and determine to freely share your mind and heart with the person you have decided to join your life to.
Avoid any thoughts or acts of distrust that would hinder complete unity and agreement in your marriage or relationship.
When someone closes the heart and does not open up to you, hides his or her true feelings and thoughts from you, lives a life of secrecy or insincerity, and exhibits a life of selfishness and self-centeredness, it becomes extremely difficult to trust, relate to, or marry such a person.

The trust in your heart for someone who is close to you, produces:

Sincerity —- You easily open up your mind and heart to one another, accommodate and tolerate each another, and tell the truth to one another.
Loyalty —- You become so committed to each other that you constantly strive to remain faithful to one another in the relationship.
Faith —- You interact and do things with the person without fear, hesitation, and doubt.
Confidence —- You derive courage and inner boldness for your activities in the relationship.
Genuine love —- You constantly look out for the best interest and welfare of each other, and share all things freely for mutual benefit.
Warm fellowship —- You always desire and enjoy each other’s company, pray and share scripture together, converse and share good information together, support each other, and enjoy meeting each other’s needs.
Intimacy —- You develop closeness (physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual).
Security (safety) —- You feel safe and protected by the strong believe that the one in whose hands you have entrusted yourself in absolute commitment for a permanent relationship, will never fail nor betray the trust you have reposed in him or her in any way, and under no circumstance.
Peace —- You have a deep sense of peace as you trustingly live with the person and expose yourself fully to the one, firmly believing that God has ultimately given you a true companion for fruitfulness and progress.
Joy —- You have true joy in your heart as you relate to the person and enjoy sweet fellowship with him or her.
Motivation —- You are encouraged to discover and improve upon your talents and gifts. You are further stimulated to seek for new ways of doing things in order to become a greater blessing and make the relationship more successful and satisfying. You are motivated to fellowship and work more with the person, and constantly trust him or her to team up with you in your efforts.
No husband can claim that he is genuinely committed to his wife, loves, and cares for her, when he does not sincerely trust her in his heart. You could say: “I trust you”, with your mouth, but not really mean it in your heart. The same situation applies to the woman who claims to trust her husband only with her lips. Genuine trust in the heart is the basis of a godly relationship that is directed and controlled by the Spirit of God.

(II) No One Can Trust Someone Or Something For You
No matter the counseling and prayers you receive from people, no one can trust your spouse, parent, family member, or friend for you. It is similar to faith and salvation where no one can believe and become saved for you. Faith and trust are personal matters. Although people can ask others to be with you or help you to do things, give you something to support you (food, medicine, accommodation etc.), or can offer you recommendations to choose people and things that will benefit you, no one can actually trust anyone or anything for you. You have to learn to develop your own trust and confidence. You can still work with someone or use something with constant doubts, no matter how it works for you, unless you make a firm decision to operate in the realm of faith and trust. If after testing you become convinced that someone’s recommendation is good, and is the best answer for your particular situation, then you need to open your mind and heart to create some trust to the required degree in order to continue to derive all the expected benefits.

(III) Love, Faith, Agreement, And Trust Go Together
You cannot sincerely love someone without believing in the person. Neither can you agree with anyone to walk and work together in harmony, without trusting that you will always be faithful to each other and maintain the bond of unity and fundamental principles that hold the relationship together.

(III) Basis And Kinds Of Trust
In my opinion there are variations or kinds of trust, as well as a basis for any kind of trust, depending on the kind of person being trusted, what is involved in the trusting process, and the circumstances surrounding whom and what you are trusting. In other words there should be a reasonable, genuine, and solid basis for trusting, which determines the kind or extent of the trust you exercise.
I have tried to categorize different types and variations of trust in my own way in order to explain my point. I encourage you to discuss, analyze, and improve upon it.

Common, Normal or Involuntary (Automatic) Trust —- This is trust you automatically exercise without any pause to consider the outcome, because it is virtually part of human life. For example a mother gives breast milk or feeds a baby and automatically trusts that once the nutritious food has entered the child’s system, it would produce growth and strength. A driver begins to press on the accelerator once the engine of a vehicle responds favorably to ignition, trusting that the vehicle is going to carry him or her forward without any doubt. Under normal conditions a sleepy person lies in bed at night and fully trusts that he or she is going to sleep soundly and wake up the next morning. Unless other factors come in suddenly or unknowingly to interfere with these normal life processes, and become hindrances or problems that need to be dealt with, we do not have the slightest problem with exercising absolute, automatic trust for such situations.
When a husband, wife, family member, fiancée, or friend does not exhibit automatic trust that every other person should portray, to your expectation, it then becomes a problem in the relationship. You see such a doubtful person as someone who cannot even exercise simple trust of a child, and believe in relating to you even under the least of all circumstances. Such a person would doubt almost everything you say and do. Even when you serve him or her food or water, the one would not trust you enough to regard it as wholesome. Every conversation with someone else could trigger the suspicion in the one that there is some form of gossip about him or her in at least one or two sentences from your lips. The person never believes any explanation for any mistake you make or deviation from routine (e.g. coming home a little later than usual).
Such a situation could be satanic, in which case the person needs deliverance from a doubtful and suspicious spirit operating on the mind, but it could commonly result from wounds and scars of very bad experiences of the past that the one needs to be healed of.

Regular Tested Trust —- This is trust that all of us exercise for someone or something after several, long term interactions or usage under the same or very similar circumstances. For example all of us respond to adverts on television, on the radio, or by the wayside and test the products of companies or people’s services, and finally put our trust in goods of the company or persons that satisfy our needs.

Exclusive Tested Trust —- This is trust that is peculiar or exclusive to you alone, or particular for you and your family or among a small group of people. It results from long term testing of someone or something under special circumstances in addition to all regular situations that are common to relationships. In my opinion, courtship and marriage relationships come under this category. I have to explain that after careful examination I realize that all the other kinds or categories of trust I have enumerated come into play as preliminary stages before an Exclusive Tested Trust becomes finally established.
For example a wife or husband is selectively chosen to bond permanently with you under your own specially considered circumstances, which becomes a trust that is exclusively tested, developed, and accepted.
In my opinion, it is this kind of trust that should define the extent and depth of the love, quality, fellowship, and success of any marriage, family life, friendship, or church. Exclusive trust cannot be achieved without the fear of God, wisdom, sincerity, sacrifice, selflessness, and genuine love.

To establish Exclusive Trust, you will need to do the following:

Sacrifice —-You must learn to sacrifice time, effort, money, and resources to build such trust. No real trust is ever cheap, because it is earned and not just given.
Deal with weaknesses —- You will have to acknowledge and deal with your own human weaknesses as well as the faults and failings of the other person or persons you are relating to, before you can establish trust between the two of you.

Consider circumstances —- You will need to take special circumstances, problems, and peculiarities of the other person or people into careful consideration, especially the mind of the person you wish to trust. For example: children (immature mind); someone with a very weak will and weak spirit (naïve and easily deceived mind); very old person (reduced mental faculty and physical abilities); troubled or traumatized person (worried and confused mind), illiterate or poorly educated person (ignorant mind), spiritually possessed or oppressed person or someone dabbling in the occult and witchcraft (satanic controlled mind); unsaved or backslidden person, or someone living in sin (ungodly mindset); someone with intentions of revenge for an offence or with malice in his or her heart to do you harm (wicked or evil mind) etc.
The devil, in collaboration with the normal corrupt human spirit, can influence such minds to think, act, and behave in disappointing and undesirable ways that make it difficult or sometimes almost impossible to trust the person you are working hard to build trust between you and him or her.

Persevere till the end —- You must determine to endure any hardships and disappointments as you build trust, especially in people who are difficult to live with or hard to relate to. Determine to persevere until you achieve your ultimate results and reach your goal of building genuine, enduring trust that would promote lasting friendship and fruitfulness in your relationship.

Work with people —- No one has ever succeeded in establishing the best relationship with another person without obtaining some form of good advice or essential information from someone else. This is where premarital and post-marital counseling become necessary for a couple to build trust in their marriage. Usually parents, adult family members, pastors, church leaders, and elders with experience, can be of immense help in guidance and counseling. If such people are also wise, spiritual, and godly in character, they can be of tremendous help in advising and assisting you in handling someone, especially your husband, wife, in-laws, children, boss, and colleagues. Anyone who has had long association with someone that has similar characteristics as the one you are dealing with can offer you good counseling and guidance. It does not mean you should simply follow everything they suggest to you, but learn to apply the acceptable part of the knowledge alongside your own convictions to gradually build trust in your relationship. If there are very intimate and personal issues involved, then be extra careful how you let these sensitive matters get out to other people.
The trustworthy people you consult can also support you in prayer.
IF A CONFLICT OF ANY KIND HAS OCCURRED BETWEEN YOU AND THE ONE YOU ARE TRYING TO TRUST, THEN I CAUTION YOU TO BE VERY CAREFUL NEVER TO BRING ANYONE INTO THE PICTURE WHO IS NEITHER PART OF THE PROBLEM NOR PART OF THE SOLUTION!

Work with the Lord —- Study your Bible, meditate on God’s word at the beginning of each day, learn to use scripture to control your thoughts, actions, and emotions during the day. Use the scriptures as basis to engage in fervent prayer for yourself and other family members or person you are dealing with. Study the Bible and pray jointly as husband and wife, between you and your family member or friend etc., in addition to your own personal meditation and prayers.
Jesus said: “Without Me, you can do nothing” (St. John 15: 5). Trust is a matter of the mind and heart, and you must admit that you do not even fully know your own mind and heart very well in order to have any power to manage and control your inner-most being. How, then, can you have any power or authority and skill to work and change someone’s heart for him or her to become trustworthy, or produce any real sense of trust within you when you are struggling with your own doubts and weaknesses each day?

(IV) Conflict Management And Trust
No relationship exists without any form of conflicts from time to time. The ability and manner of managing or resolving conflicts and building trust is a primary sign of maturity of a person, and the depth of his or her relationship with other people that he or she has conflicts with. The building of trust in the parties involved in the relationship becomes more important especially during or after times of disagreement. The offended must especially learn to build trust for the offender, and the offender must trust that the one he or she offended has sincerely forgiven and released him or her from the chains of the offence for them to continue loving each other and working together in peace.
The person wounded and disappointed will find it hard to trust the other person whom he or she finds as unfaithful. The other fellow who caused the hurt can also develop mistrust for the one he or she offended because of the fear of the disappointed companion not trusting him or her anymore.
“I don’t trust you anymore. I wonder if I can ever trust you again. I can’t believe or understand what happened. I never knew you could do that to me. How can I forget what you did?”
These are among the most common statements we hear in our homes and other places when trust is broken between two people, especially couples or lovers. It is also frequent among close friends, business partners, church leaders and their congregations, and among family members.
Another familiar one is: “As for me I don’t trust anybody.” When you hear this statement then it clearly indicates to you that the speaker has had a bad experience before or has heard about the unfortunate experience of someone who innocently, reasonably, or foolishly gave his or her trust to someone and got the trust badly trampled upon, with subsequent damages.

After dealing with offences and resolving all conflicts, the hurdle to overcome is the establishment of trust. We need to understand at least three very important characteristics of trust around which we can consequently concentrate our thoughts, mend broken trust, renew our trust for a beloved companion, and build deeper and more meaningful trust in our relationship:

Trust is a process, not just an act or event
It is the process that takes the act of forgiveness to completion, and enables us to establish true love and fellowship with any neighbor or companion. You CANNOT achieve it as a flight by night or in one sprint, no matter how gigantic your initial effort is.
Without patience and consistent works of righteousness towards the person you are dealing with, you will forever struggle to trust your husband, wife, child, in-law, relative, or friend. I must confess to you that it can take you the patience of a donkey to trust some untrustworthy people again, as you wait to get convinced that you can open up wholeheartedly to them without getting wounded or disappointed AGAIN.

Trust has to be earned and not just given
Because trust is a process, it has to be earned like a certificate and not simply given to anyone. Although we can deliberately decide or try to trust people or entrust things to them, even that is still a process of attempting to help the distrusted (or doubtful) person to earn some trust in order for us to have a foundation to trust him or her more.
After a husband (or husband-to-be), for example, has painfully violated the trust of his wife (or fiancee) and gotten himself sexually involved with another lady, suspicion is built up in the mind of the woman in addition to the excruciating hurt. Suspicion is a chief destroyer of trust. It could be the other way round (i.e. the woman flirting with another man for the male partner to develop suspicion).
From then on there is the temptation to screen phone calls, spy on one another especially about one’s movements and visits, eavesdrop on conversation, search for and scrutinize pictures and reading materials, secretly open up and read both incoming and outgoing letters with the skills of a detective, look for strange addresses and complimentary cards, steal passwords in order to scrutinize e-mails, examine under-wears and shirts for traces of sexual and romantic evidence, question gifts and unexplained delays in getting home, and critically analyze attitudes and appearances (including how wrinkled or tainted a dress looks).
The partner goes further to fish for strange keys and other items in the briefcase or handbag, tune up his or her nose for special or unfamiliar smells, and in the worst cases the lady or gentleman seriously digs for sex accoutrements like condoms (the most common) and critically examine bed-sheets as well.
Some people hide serious diseases and physical abnormalities from their mates, and others go as far as hiding children they have had with other ladies or gentlemen in the past until the mate discovered them. Deep and sometimes irreparable mistrust results after the discovery.
A suspicious parent will question all exits and incomings of his or her child into the house, will constantly and secretly search the room, drawers, and school bags of the child, and screen his or her phone calls and mails.
What are we trying to say here? We are implying that it becomes VERY DIFFICULT TO TRUST the husband, wife, child or person you live with anymore, 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, especially when the one does not show signs of true repentance, lies to his or her teeth, or appears proud, sneaky, and deceptive.
But what do we usually hear being drummed into our ears? We hear: “TRUST ME, TRUST ME; I SAY TRUST ME!” being echoed from the offender all over the place.
Well, we cannot simply “trust you” by giving you “cheap trust” which usually results from “cheap forgiveness” (pretentious forgiveness that does not address and deal with the root of issues). The fact of the matter is: we are not sure you will know the value of the precious trust offered you, give it its due respect, and fulfill your required part of the trust agreement and responsibilities.
As much as we should forgive and forget the past, and learn to trust people again, I have already emphasized that we should be cautious of offering cheap forgiveness to someone who is genuinely unrepentant. It may be appropriate in certain circumstances to limit your interactions with the one for a period, and allow him or her to develop true repentance and for you to redefine your relationship with the one. But give such treatment to the one lovingly and wisely in order not to cause the person to become hardened.
Paul exhorted that: “If anyone does not obey our word in this epistle, note that person and do not keep company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet do not count him as an enemy but admonish him as a brother” (1 Thessalonians 3; 14, 15).

AFTER CAUSING AN OFFENCE AND REPENTING, YOU WILL HAVE TO PROVE YOURSELF TRUSTWORTHY BY WHAT YOU DO (OR DON’T DO) FROM THEN ON, IN ORDER TO EARN THE TRUST. YOU DON’T NEED LONG SENTENCES, MANY HOURS OF SPECTACULAR ACHIEVEMENTS, OR MANY LETTERS OF CREDENCE TO BE TRUSTED, RECOGNIZED, AND VALUED, ONCE YOUR PRODUCT IS PROVED TO BE SUPERB BY THOSE WHO HAVE HAD LONG ASSOCIATION WITH YOU.

Trust takes time to grow
Trust is created and built in order to grow in size and strength with time, so as to meet the challenges in a relationship that demand deeper trust with changing seasons.
This explains why trust cannot simply be an act, or handed over to a person instantaneously like a wrapped gift without the one earning it like a diploma. That is why it is also not wise to go the full length and presumptuously trust any Sue, Sally, and Mary, or any John Doe you meet down the road.
It further explains why you need to “walk into love” more often rather than just “falling into love” blindly at any time.

Trust in small as well as big things
If you do not learn to trust each other in small matters, you will find it difficult to trust one another in big or very important matters. If, for example, you are careful and sincere with small amounts of money or property entrusted into your care, it becomes easier to trust you with large amounts of money or expensive property.
Spouses, partners, family members, brothers, sisters, and friends should not be careless and unwise about simple trust in small matters of daily life, and wake up suddenly to make frantic efforts to demonstrate trust in huge matters of importance. The primary reason is because faith, trust, holiness, and sin etc. are absolutes to God. No matter how small any unbelief, un-holiness, distrust, unfaithfulness, or sin appears to be (in our opinion), it is still unacceptable in the eyes of a holy God who demands complete obedience.

Trust begins with humility and trusting in God
Every form of trust in your relationships, marriage, and family life, ultimately hinges on your trust in God who gave you your body (allowed you to exist), and gave you your spouse, children, family members, neighbors, and friends. If you lack the humility to submit to God and to people and work cooperatively with them, it will be very difficult to trust anyone. God also gave you your home to dwell in, where the genuineness of your trust is ultimately tested. Be constantly aware of the fact that God works in the life of every human being, either to convert the unbeliever, bring the backslidden back to Himself, or use the committed child of God to his glory. Learn to think and act past the human being you are dealing with by looking to the Lord as the one you are really living for. This will enable you to trust in God and do His will by focusing on being an agent of salvation, deliverance, and blessing for family members and people you deal with, rather than focusing on yourself, human beings, and people’s weaknesses and then end up thinking, acting, feeling, and behaving in the flesh with little or no ability to build any trust at all in your relationships, especially when it is taking a long time (in your estimation) for people to do the right thing and make themselves trustworthy.

Words and deeds (actions), fashioned into their right shapes and sizes by the right attitude and timing, are the bricks used to build trust. The mortar is a mixture of love (the cement) well mingled with forgiveness (the sand), reinforced by iron bars (prayer and practical application or obedience to God’s word), for the building of the mansion (God’s Kingdom).
Above all, praying for any companion and constantly interceding on his or her behalf, will give you enough grace and power from God to love the unlovable, and trust the untrustworthy one.

Copyright November 2005 Rev. Dr.Samuel A. Kisseadoo (Professor of Biology, Hampton University, Hampton, Virginia, USA) Founder and President, Fruitful Ministries International Inc.,
6 Red Robin Turn, Hampton, Virginia 23669, USA. Ph 757-7289330 Fax 757-7289335 kisseadoo@msn.com

RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE CHURCH AND FAMILY LIFE

I believe that there are 6 major pillars that form the foundation of any good church. These 6 elements are responsible for Church Growth, or the growth of any form of ministry. Each of these ingredients must form part of a good church service, church program, or ministerial activity. These are:

Worship
Discipleship
Evangelism
Fellowship
Ministry (Service)
Stewardship

To explain these, I will attempt to give examples for a typical church structure or church service:

Worship —- The songs, music, dance, adoration, prayers, plus individual and corporate paying of homage to God Almighty during the service.
Discipleship —- Bible study, Sunday School classes, and various forms of teaching (direct and indirect) including demonstration of examples that need to be emulated.
Evangelism —- Preaching of God’s word and Biblical expositions to win lost souls, and altar calls for salvation.
Fellowship —- Greeting one another, engaging in open-hearted chat at programs, praying for and encouraging one another, gathering together to partake of meals and mutual activities after church, telephone and web-based interactions, visits.
Ministry (Service) —- Running errands, cleaning, taking care of facilities and their surroundings, purchasing, preparing programs, caring for the sick and needy, cooking, working in the kitchen or parking lot etc., babysitting, taking care of offerings and donations, and providing essential items to meet one another’s needs.
Stewardship —- Partnership with God for good management of resources and facilities, accountability, keen oversight, taking good care of property and all provisions for the maintenance of infrastructure or yielding profit.

It appears to me that stewardship is a much neglected area of true worship. God defines our worship as our entire lifestyle (Romans 12:1, 2).
If, for example, there is a great move of God during a church service or event, and everyone feels so blessed, but the people leave the venue in disarray without sweeping, cleaning, and putting away (or storing) items properly, then that is poor or bad stewardship.

THE HOME AS A LITTLE CHURCH

Every home or family is a little church (1 Timothy 5: 1, 2). Family life in our homes enables us to know how to treat ourselves in church as:

Fathers —– older men. Treatment that sets the pace for responsibility, order, and respect.
Brothers —- younger men. Treatment for those being trained to succeed the fathers.
Mothers —– older women. If we learn how to properly treat men to be leaders, we can give the proper treatment, lover, and respect to women who nourish and keep the home (homemakers).
Sisters —– younger women. The extra spiritual ingredient of purity added to their treatment can be established only when men and older women are in line with God’s plan of proper divine-oriented treatment based on obedience to God’s Word which will produce the expected purity.
Father, Brother, Mother, and Sister are names from homes and families, pointing to specific way of organization and treatment that God designed as the best for mankind.
The home and family then become the foundation of any church, because without learning how to respect and treat each other at home, we would not know how to treat each other in church, and cannot therefore. As a miniature Church, the home must possess all the six pillars that must form the foundation of any church.

The father of a home must be the worship leader in the family through Bible study and prayers. He will then use the Word of God and obedience for evangelism and discipleship in the family, take time for the family members to interact in order to properly fellowship and minister to (serve) one another, and become good stewards (caretakers) of one another and of God’s resources.

Copyright February 2009 Rev. Dr. Samuel A. Kisseadoo (Professor of Biology, Hampton University, Hampton, Virginia, USA) Founder and President, Fruitful Ministries International Inc., 6 Red Robin Turn, Hampton, Virginia 23669, USA. Ph 757-7289330 Fax 757-7289335 kisseadoo@msn.com

Govt asked to institute a national family day

Accra, July 5, GNA – A call has been made to government to institute a national family day, distinct from the international family day, to strengthen the unit as the vital force for nation building. The Reverend Dr. Samuel Kisseadoo, Professor of Biology Hampton University Virginia, who made the call said, the successful establishment of any nation depended hugely on the strength of the family unit and hence require a particular focus and attention. Speaking at a press conference to draw attention to the institution of the day, Rev Kisseadoo said the extended family system, which, hitherto offer support in situations where the nuclear family was dysfunctional had virtually collapsed, leading to little care for the needy and destitute.

“As our social support system is compromised children are displaced due to varied circumstances into the streets where they have become exposed to a myriad of socio-economic problems such a poverty, lack of education, prostitution, HIV/AIDS, substance abuse and the like,” he said.

Rev. Kisseadoo expressed concern about the growing number of children on the street and praised the efforts of government and civil society groups in resolving the problem.

However, he said, plans must be put in place to take care of the family as a total unit to yield stronger family systems. He emphasized that any such programme should target the men who are usually guilty of neglect and irresponsibility towards their family, saying that, should men be overlooked the country would face family problems in the future.

Dr Kisseadoo therefore, proposed some investment into capacity building for men to equip them with the skills for parenting, leadership and management of their families.

Rev Kisseadoo proposed organizing of special events such as conferences, seminars, cultural festivals, prayer and praise services, picnics, and durbars on the day to draw attention to the bond and demonstrate the solidarity for better standards of living.

Besides, the government could use the occasion to address the nation with words of encouragement to homes and families. Rev. Tetteh Djangmah, of the True Vine Charismatic Church said the family as a unit had been exposed to changes because of socio-economic factors.

He said the extended family, which readily offered support had crumbled, needing special attention to family issues. Mrs. Marylyn Amponsah Annan, Director at the Ministry of Women and Children said although the country marked the International Day of the Family on May 15 every year, it would work hand-in-hand with groups to bring issues of the family to the fore.

IMPORTANCE OF WORK IN FAMILY LIFE

Let us elaborate a little bit on work, especially the work of a husband or father as a necessity for a healthy, productive, and happy family life.
A wife is given to every man as a special helper for his original God-appointed work. The woman should therefore prepare herself to become adequately equipped to be a worker (especially domestic home builder) who is fit for that particular man and the family that they will build with their children for a successful marriage and a happy home.

Marriage was designed and ordained by God in a state of man’s perfection. There was no Church, religion, or government then. But, God established work as well as worship and fellowship with God, as essential components for a good marriage and a productive family life (Genesis 2:15 & 3:8, 17-19). In fact, one of the major reasons why a woman was created was to help a man to do his work (Genesis 2:18).
The physical work was primarily manual and agricultural—-tilling (cultivating) a Garden. This is the reason why any lazy man cannot be a good husband, father, or family man. When work was originally instituted, only the man was there with God without any woman. Man was to work with his hands and keep his environment — maintaining it to be sustainable, beautiful, and productive. Agriculture, ecology and environmental management have therefore been part of man’s family and social life from the beginning of time.

Work brings income and fulfillment to the home and family. We can receive gifts as blessings, but we cannot (and are not supposed to) depend and live solely on gifts and human support. The man of the home (husband, father) is to lead his family to depend on the results of their own work and organized labor.

As much as money should not be the key factor in determining love and affection for anyone, no woman can enjoy her marriage when the husband is not making her feel financially secure. In fact, a woman must think twice and discuss matters thoroughly in order to have concrete plans for work and financial security, before marrying any man who is not working, have no definite plans for future work, or not earning any meaningful income. Children will not be happy or secure either, and they cannot flourish in an impoverished environment.

Some of the major benefits of work are:

Income — financial returns enable us to make purchases that supply family and individual needs, and could be used to bless others.

Investment — doors are open for us to invest our money and resources for future returns and to engage in projects.
Security — presence of adequate income, savings, and investment provide a sense of security for the present time as well as the future. A wife in particular feels financially and socially secure in the hands of the man.

Self-development — work was designed to match our talents, gifts, abilities, and temperament, as an essential part of every fruitful life. It promotes the proper cultivation of our innate endowments and development of our personality, physically, mentally, emotionally, socially, and spiritually.
Confidence — hard work, especially in accordance with our talents and abilities, enables us to sharpen our capabilities and meet our financial obligations as well. This builds inner confidence for us in our daily walk, especially for husbands as leaders in their homes.

Responsible lifestyle — any good worker is regarded by the society as a responsible citizen.
Usefulness — your work will benefit your family and community, and you will consequently make valuable contributions to the welfare of the society. All the investment put into your life by your parents, family members, and the community, will yield useful returns for everyone.

Child training — our children observe what we do in addition to the efforts we put into training them, in order to imitate us and continue our work when we cannot actively work anymore, or after death.
Legacy — productive work enable us, fathers in particular, to leave inheritance for our families and society (Proverbs 13:22).

Respect — a hardworking man with good income invokes natural respect for himself; from his wife first, and then his children as well as in-laws, other family members, and friends. Your own good work makes you develop a sense of respect for yourself too.
It is difficult for any woman to respect and submit to a lazy or poor husband who is not making any effort to actively engage in or improve upon the family work and finances!

Fulfilling God’s purpose — God designed for mankind that any meaningful, productive, and satisfying life should only be realized and established in honest and useful labor. We cannot be lazy and claim to be doing God’s will at the same time.

Contentment — honest labor with resultant financial gains and all the accompanying benefits as listed above, especially the gratifying feeling of the accomplishment of one’s destiny and fulfilling God’s will, cause us to develop inner joy, happiness, and satisfaction.
These facts must be known and understood by every man, before he sets out to take a wife for himself. Every woman must be armed with these truths as well, in order to develop a collective understanding with the man who wants to marry her. This will enable them to make collaborative efforts in the determination of their future labor and financial direction before they settle down in the home.

Copyright December 2000 (modified February 2009) Rev. Dr. Samuel Kisseadoo, Fruitful Ministries International Inc., 6 Red Robin Turn, Hampton, Virginia 23669, USA. Phone 757-7289330 kisseadoo@msn.com

IMPORTANCE OF WORK IN FAMILY LIFE — PART II

I will want us to focus a little bit on the relevance of work for a responsible and loving husband.
It is sad and unfortunate to see many ladies who have fallen victims to the tentacles and intrigues of men who did not take time to plan and develop any career or get their hands on a gainful employment (or at least seriously plan to have one) before marrying. In such situations there is a reversal of roles. The woman becomes the main breadwinner for the family instead of the man driving and directing the labor and financial vehicle of the family. The danger in such a situation is that such women feel “used by the men” for their selfish ends in the relationship, at least to a certain degree, no matter the benefits the ladies receive in the marriage.

In my opinion, there is nothing wrong with the woman working to support the family, but her financial role should be a supplement to the primary income of the husband, unless tragedy hits the family for the man to be incapacitated in a way that he cannot really work anymore. I do not also dispute the fact that a man may be handicapped or disabled from the onset of the relationship, and the woman calculated the cost and decided to marry him and help to care for him in love.
In several instances the wife could be in a better financial position than the man, and could earning a far higher salary or gaining more business returns than the husband. Even then, the man and the woman must carefully and thoroughly discuss all the issues at stake and come to a common agreement that will benefit both of them and not just for the benefit of one person in the relationship.

If circumstances are such that the woman has to work to support the family in a “lean season” when the husband or father is out of work for any reasons, it is very appropriate and healthy. In fact, it is a classic example of the need for a good, loving, God-fearing, and dutiful wife in the life of a man. But it should not be taken as an opportunity for the man to “let sleeping dogs lie” and relax with his friends, sports, entertainment, and pleasure so that the lady continues to sweat endlessly for the upkeep of the family while he simply eats savory meals and enjoys the wife at home.

In some cases the man makes loud claims to be “doing business” or “making plans to do good business”, and yet for months and years nobody really sees any evidence of the kind of business that the Beloved Lover, Daddy, or Beloved Husband is supposed to be doing. Other men engage in running churches and organizations expecting income from their activities, but gain nothing appreciable that can sustain their families.
Some men even go to the extent of using some of the little income at home or take loans to purchase items or to travel, all in the name of “the business”, or “the organization”, but the family sinks into poverty more and more. Unfortunately when the man is questioned for more information in order to be assisted, advised, or to help ease the anxiety or suffering of those close to him, he switches into a mode of self-defense, flares up in anger, or feeds on his pride, and refuses help! Some men use the anger as cover up, and feel offended that their integrity or manhood capabilities are being questioned.

Here are a few suggestions as remedy for singles and couples:

Work and financial disclosure — Before any man and a woman settle in a marriage, the man should completely disclose all that pertains to his work and finances, including plans for the future. The woman must disclose her plans as well, and then have a basis to question the man as far she can, and be sure of her financial and labor security. “Adam must have a Garden of Eden and must be working hard to keep it before the arrival of Eve” (Genesis 2:8, 15).

Honest financial declaration — The man must determine to speak and act honestly. He must decide not to lie to the lady or her family about his work and finances.
Some men have told their ladies at the beginning of the relationship that they were Certified Accountants, only to be exposed in the future as Cashiers at shops in town. Others had lied that they had University Degrees when in fact they possessed some Diploma from a non-accredited institution on the outskirts of a village. Sad to say that some women discover these lies several years into the marriage when important things have to be applied for, teenage children have to be assisted, school has to be paid for, and resumes of parents have to be submitted.

Honorable ladies, please have self control, and tone down your desire to settle down in marriage when you meet a man you believe you can love and marry, and spend time to investigate matters before you put your life on the line. The desire to be loved, romanced, cuddled, and made pregnant to have a baby can be overwhelming obsessive for some women especially when they are approaching or have passed 30 years of age, to the point that they simply “swallow anything that comes by” out of anxiety and frustration.
Men must know that no woman will be able to sincerely love, admire, respect, support, and live with a dishonest man. Let us learn to tell the whole truth to each other.

Mutual financial plan — There should be an established agreement between the man and woman from the beginning as to how they are going to manage the work and the finances of the family. They should even discuss plans for emergency situations.

Exploration of talents and capabilities — The man and woman should explore their talents, backgrounds, and ambitions, and find out how to encourage and support each other for job and career development.
Financial discipline — They must learn to control their purchasing desires, and work hard to get rid of bad spending habits. These financial deficiency areas can bring contention and arguments, but the man and his wife must recognize and understand that they have agreed to join their lives together in order to allow the relationship to shape each other’s character, including financial discipline.

Make a budget and set priorities — The husband and wife should write down their priorities and rank the items in order of importance, including financial assistance for parents, in-laws, other family members, their church or organizations, and friends. Always ensure that your plans include reasonable support for God’s work. Based upon that, they should pull together all of their financial resources and make a reasonable budget for the necessities of the family, ensuring that they cut their coat according to their size in all wisdom and humility.
Savings and investment — Before the coming of Eve (the wife), God ensured that Adam (the husband) had “gold in his garden” hidden in the earth, which to me, represents savings and investment (Genesis 2:11, 12). Any man who does not believe in savings and investment, or disciplines himself to do so, is a terrible man to marry. A woman who does not also know how to save money or invest for profit and future use is a horribly wasteful wife to live with as well.

Time management and lucrative labor — If the man (or woman) has a vocation which takes most or all of his time (e.g. Pastor, Evangelist, Religious Leader, Politician, Doctor, Businessman, Volunteer, etc.), and which does not go with any fixed salary or allowance, then it must be carefully planned by both of them in the best interest of the whole family. You cannot simply live by unfounded faith for God’s supply, or operate by expectation of fortune to come your way optimistically. We must distinguish between blind (baseless) faith and enlightened zeal. Thorough knowledge is important for any zeal to be enlightened and productive, so we need to learn and know exactly what we are doing, and the intended or unintended consequences involved. We cannot claim to be doing God’s work, helping our community or nation, or assisting others, but doing so at the expense of our family life which is our primary work and responsibility. Sometimes such claims are dishonest, ego-promotion, and lazy excuses to dodge or shirk our marriage, home, and family responsibilities in an unwise and uncaring manner!
Your own family first — The husband and his wife should not live to please any man; their family must be first on the list of their financial priorities. They should never become slack in their work, ambitiously or foolishly engage in gigantic ventures, or slavishly labor for others at the detriment of their families. This is particularly important when the man or woman is trying to please his or her parents, boss, brothers and sisters, uncle, aunt, or close friends. Older folk who help children through their education should not put any heavy burdens on the children when they grow and are working. Some family members and friends will not let others marry without being meddlers and controllers in those marriages. They can mislead the husband or wife into business transactions and activities that significantly weaken the family bond, damage the finances, and ultimately wreck the marriage.

Some married ladies have teamed up with other ladies to travel and trade, and have neglected their husbands and children. Some men have done the same harm with reckless plans and activities. We should all learn to balance outside associations and family commitments properly, backed by wisdom, decency, truth, discipline, and godliness.

If you decide to team up with anyone to work or invest, then it is appropriate to:

Discuss it with your spouse,
Seek for expert advice, do all the investigations you can, and come to a common agreement before you start.
Do critical evaluation from time to time, and examine how productive your ventures are financially, physically, socially, emotionally, morally, and mentally.
Admit if the work has adverse effects on your health or reputation, and if you have to suspend it or quit altogether. It may be hindering, for example, childbearing or child training, time with your spouse, devotion to God, your morals and integrity, or could be eroding your love for your spouse and family. If you discover anything negative, then you need to strategize and reposition yourself for proper balance or change.
Learn to accept humble duties when necessary — You may not always get what you want or what you deserve, but “the single corn seed must learn to die as it germinates, in order to grow and bear hundreds of corn seeds.” Learn how to begin in a small way and grow your finances. Faith and humility can propel you to heights that others have struggled in vain to attain. Remember, however, that the most important ingredient in faith is patience. God clearly tells us that patience is a fruit of His Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22, 23), which you cultivate after allowing the Spirit of Jesus to fill and control your heart, and growing spiritually through continual dependence upon God’s word and prayer for daily guidance and empowerment.

Copyright January 2001 (Revised February 2009) Rev. Dr. Samuel A. Kisseadoo, President, Fruitful Ministries International Inc., 6 Red Robin Turn, Hampton, Virginia 23669, USA. Phone 757-7289330 Fax 757-7289335 kisseadoo@msn.com

PEACE, JOY, AND HOPE!

With all the upheavals and turmoil in the world today, how much peace do we have to be able to enjoy the Christmas of December 2008?? If your fear of the world’s present and future economy, inability to overcome your financial problems, inability to marry, or have a good marriage, have children, get healed of a troubling sickness, resolve a political issue, deal with an enemy, obtain the help you need at school or on the job, or experience a successful business or fruitful ministry, etc., puts you in a state of mind or position that prevents you from enjoying this Christmas, then the question is: should your condition dictate your celebration of Christmas and its significance, or the occasion is rather given to you freely by God in order to bring back to you the peace and joy that you have lost or have been craving for? We can explore several reasons for Christmas and be encouraged to enjoy the occasion, but I wish to enumerate 8 of them.
Christmas is about Easter. What do I mean? Christ was born in order to shed His precious Blood and die for us. Jesus died to wash our sins in His Blood, and redeem us (buy us back from the slave market of sin). Anyone without a true understanding of the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ will also not really understand Christmas, no matter how he or she tries to celebrate the occasion. People who dislike Christmas do not really understand or appreciate the Redemption plan of God, and do not understand why we should take one day in the year to celebrate the birth of the Savior. Whether Jesus was born on 25th December or not is not the issue. It is a day chosen by those who love God and understand what Jesus has done for them, to specially honor the Lord, and proclaim His salvation plan to the whole world. In fact, any true Believer should see it an annual opportunity to spread God’s good news around, rather than the politics some people try to play with the occasion by putting forward all kinds of meaningless and unreasonable arguments about the celebration.

Christmas is about God’s favor and blessings. When the archangel Gabriel was sent to Mary, he must have dashed down to earth with excitement to give her the message about the birth of Christ. The first utterance from his lips to Mary was “Hail, you are highly favored (God’s favor), the Lord is with you (God’s Presence); blessed are you among women (God’s blessings)!” (Luke 1: 28). God’s chief messenger was excited about the favor (approval and grace) of God upon the life of Mary. Why don’t you and I seek after God’s favor as our primary goal in 2009? God’s favor must go with His divine Presence, and will ultimately be accompanied by His blessings upon your life. If Mary had all these 3 essential qualities before she became the wife of Joseph, why shouldn’t the woman you are going to marry have these 3 qualities in her life as well? The man, who is going to be the Head of the woman, should have the favor, Presence, and blessings of God upon his life first, in order to qualify to marry such a lady specially prepared by God for him. If the man is wishy-washy, and is merely looking for a partner to satisfy himself selfishly, he will not have any godly and moral standards that are high enough to look for a woman with God’s favor upon her, and will not even recognize or appreciate the qualities when they are presented to him in the woman.

Christmas is about marriage and family life. God’s salvation plan was made manifest through the family of Joseph and Mary. Anyone with a contorted view of real marriage and family life will also hate or misunderstand Christmas. Marriage is the highest ordained institution of God for ONE MAN and ONE WOMAN. It is Adam and Eve, and NOT Adam and Steve, Jennifer and Stacy, or Araba and Ekua.
Mary and Joseph gave us a true example of a pure relationship leading to marriage. The bride-to-be (Mary) kept herself pure as a virgin for her future husband. Even after their engagement, which was a kind of traditional marriage (similar to the traditional marriage or customary marriage in some cultures like Africa etc.), they did NOT have any sexual intercourse because the marriage had not been finally blessed by God (Mathew 1: 18). We need to be careful and ensure that we do not hinder the Hand and power of God’s holiness that must follow us into our marriages and bless our family life, by disobedience and refusal to do what is right in the eyes of God. For true Christians anything they have must be sanctified by God before they can use it meaningfully. The first thing God did for the first couple (Adam and Eve) was to bless them in His Presence (Genesis 1:28). That is why we even sanctify the day with scriptures and prayer in the morning before we use the day to do anything. If we do not allow God to be in charge of affairs this way, then the Hand of God will not follow us in the things we do. Joseph and Mary believed in complete obedience and not partial obedience like the case of Moses who tragically lost His only chance of entering the Promised Land that he so much toiled for. We are told that “Joseph her husband, being a just (righteous man), was not willing to disgrace Mary publicly, and was contemplating on how to put her away (divorce her) quietly (Mathew 1:19).” If people found out that Mary was pregnant and thought she had committed adultery, she would be stoned to death! By the way, if we (people of today) were in the Old Testament days we would see many dead bodies (especially dead men) in our streets each morning after the horrible adulteries that take place each night (and in the day too) these days! We would stone people until all the stones in our neighborhoods get finished! Anyway, we learn from Joseph that one sign of a just and righteous husband (or man) is one that loves his wife (or fiancée) so much that it will hurt him to disgrace his wife or fiancée publicly. Men and husbands, can we use this standard to test our righteousness now and in the future?

Christmas is about God’s love and forgiveness. God manifested His ultimate love by giving us His only Son Jesus at Christmas. The good news is that no matter our past sins and mistakes, and whatever our condition at this moment, God still loves us, and is ever ready to forgive and forget the past, provided we acknowledge our ignorance, pride, disobedience, sins, and weaknesses, and truly repent. Although we are the ones that committed horrible sins against God, He chose to come down to us in our miserable situation, dialogue with us, and save us out of our sins. “Come NOW, and let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow” (Isaiah 1: 18). God’s love and forgiveness are unconditional, and we must learn to do the same for others.

Christmas is about peace, joy, and hope. We have peace with God (by accepting His offer of Christ to deal with our sins, guilt, and diseases), which is automatically followed by the Joy of The Lord when we continue in obedience by making Jesus both Savior and Lord (absolute Master) of our lives (Romans 5: 1). God must be pleased with us before we can experience his true peace. When Jesus was born the Angels sang: “Glory to God in the Highest, and on earth peace, goodwill to men (WITH WHOM HE IS PLEASED)” (Luke 2: 14). Many people walk around today with little or no peace in their minds and hearts! The solution is in a life that is yielded to the Lordship of the Christ of Christmas, and using His word to control your mind, emotions, attitudes, choices, and actions. God came down to give us hope for a better future and a final hope for Heaven.
Shepherds were placed at the bottom of the ladder in society at the time Jesus was born, and were not respected at all. We are told that they were not even allowed to participate in activities within the temple. But they were the people God rather chose to reveal Himself to, through the angels (Luke 2:8-16), and became the first people to receive the gospel.
Please keep performing your normal duties in 2009 and beyond, and trust God to honor you, even when humans will not appreciate you. When Joseph and Mary were rejected at the local hotel, they ended up in an animal house to have their Baby, but God made sure that He allowed shepherds who are used to the smell of animals to come where they were, appreciate them, and worship the Savior. No matter your condition, God knows how to bring the right people into your life in the times ahead, so stop being envious or jealous of others, and stop competing with people or undermining the achievements of others. Wait humbly and obediently for God to honor, bless, and prosper you.

Christmas is about giving. It is often said that your giving will always give you away (i.e. will reveal who you really are). Apart of God giving us His only Son, the Wise men (Magi) also gave the baby Jesus three important gifts (Luke 2:1-12). They gave gifts to Jesus that had value and meaning. Their gifts constituted an interesting mixture of 3 items, and we learn that:
The timing was right. Timing gives meaning to your gift, and determines the extent of its value as well.
The gifts were precious and significant. Gold signifies the Royalty of Jesus, Frankincense signifies His Divinity (Leviticus 2:1-2, 15-16), and Myrrh signifies His Humanity (and death). Myrrh was crushed before the sweet-smelling oil was extracted. Jesus was crushed (bruised) for our iniquities (Isaiah 53: 5). When the scent of myrrh gets into your dress, it is difficult to get it out; the Lord Jesus is like that in our lives.
The motivation of their gifts was right.
They had good motives for their giving. Your motivation gives importance and value to your gift as well. Do you check your true motives before you give your gifts to people?

Christmas is about miracles. The greatest miracle in the history of the universe happened when a baby was directly placed in the womb of a young virgin, developed to full term, and born naturally. Wow! That baby was God Himself (God the Son) who humbled Himself to become flesh, and came down to the earth to live among men. Do you notice that every miracle on earth has a natural component? Whatever supernatural occurrence God has graciously allowed to experience or whatever special gift He had given you by His divine power, there is a part God does not play. If God heals you, then you are responsible to play your part by walking and using your healed legs productively. Never expect God to do any particular thing for you, that He expects you to obtain through obedience. That might be the problem you are facing now (but you may not even be aware of it), after The Lord worked in His own special way (usually as an answer to prayer) by healing you, providing you with a fiancée, giving you a spouse and children or nice family, giving you good friends, providing you with a job or house, blessing you with wealth or valuable property, opening the door for you to obtain admission or scholarship, enabling you to have good education, giving you a position or promotion, graciously allowing you to win an election, causing your bills to be paid or finances to improve, providing you with the much-needed visa to travel or immigration papers to live where you are, and enabling you to establish a good church or ministry. Instead of submitting what God gave you to His Lordship in order for him to give you the wisdom to handle His gifts and miracles, you “become a possessor of the Holy Spirit” instead of the Holy Spirit possessing you. When that happens, then what should give you joy will rather give you unhappiness (at Christmas, in your marriage, as a single person hoping to marry some day, in your home, as a leader or boss, at school, on the job, in your business, as an immigrant overseas, in your church and ministry etc.).
I have come to learn that when you (the proud self in man) control any gift or blessing you have from God (intelligence, education, beauty, achievements, marriage, family, sexuality, business, money, opportunities, position, talents, abilities, etc.), then whatever is supposed to give you contentment, joy, and peace, will rather give you pain, and can even become a thorn in the flesh.

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