4 THINGS TO AGREE ON BEFORE MARRIAGE – PART 1

4 THINGS TO AGREE ON BEFORE MARRIAGE - 1

In my 33 years in ministry I have come to discover that one of the greatest challenges young couples face is inadequate preparation for marriage.

As a society we don’t adequately educate our sons and daughters about the realities of marriage. Some parents are pre-occupied with planning a grand wedding ceremony for their children and they usually spare no expense in achieving that goal at the detriment of the marriage which lasts a life time. So, we end up with most of our young men and women entering into marriage unprepared.

I also think another problem all over the world is that people don’t know what marriage is all about. People marry for different reasons. Some because they want to satisfy their sexual urge, others because they need someone to cook for them while yet others because they want to have kids and so on only to discover that marriage is more than these.

Also, many intending couples today spend so much time discussing interests they share like sports, politics, movies, music and so on but never discuss their marriage. Some focus their discussion on the wedding day making elaborate plans for the best music, food, fancy clothes etc at the expense of their marriage. Truth is, the wedding is for one day while marriage lasts for many years.

 What is Marriage?

 Marriage is a covenant between a man and a woman instituted and publicly entered into before God. Marriage is the most intimate of all human relationships, uniting a man and a woman in a “one-flesh” union (Genesis 2:23–25). Marriage involves “leaving” one’s family of origin and “being united” to one’s spouse, which signifies the establishment of a new family unit.

Problems of Marriage:

 The most prevalent problem in marriage is the lack of information. I discovered that when it comes to running the home, most of us are deficient in knowledge but the good news is, you can learn if you want to.

The second problem I see is inadequate preparation. Never assume that you know it all. No matter how old or wise you are, you need to be adequately prepared. I have seen people who have courted for twelve years, but could not stay in marriage for two years. This is so because taking care of a boyfriend is completely different from taking care of a husband or a family.

Thirdly and most importantly is lack of mutual agreement before marriage. The Bible says in Amos 3:3 “Can two walk together except they are agreed?” The answer is NO they cannot.

It does not matter how much you love each other, if you fail to agree on certain issues, there’s bound to be conflicts. The truth is that if you do not agree on issues, I don’t see your love for each other lasting through the storms that are bound to arise.

Excerpts from my book “4 Things Intending Couples Must Agree on Before Marriage”

For enquiries contact: Elshaddai Covenant Church, 7, Social Club Road, Off Charity Road, Abule-Egba. Tel: 08080929292; 08182281184 (Whatsapp messages only).

4 THINGS TO AGREE ON BEFORE MARRIAGE – PART 2

4 THINGS TO AGREE ON BEFORE MARRIAGE – 2

“Can two walk together except they agree?” Amos 3:3

Last week we began a series on 4 things intending couples should agree on and I said that agreeing on certain issues ensures success of every marriage.

However,  agreeing on issues is not just for intending couples but couples who are already married can seat down and talk about these issues so that there will be less friction in their homes.

I once organized a marriage seminar with some Pastors in Gboko, Benue State and after teaching on this subject, a couple who had been married for many years sat down for the first time and talked far into the night agreeing on issues.

There are many issues that cause a lot of friction in the home but the number one issue credited all over the world that cause marriages to break is MONEY.

Money is very important in life and the home. Without money you will not be able to achieve much or live a fulfilled life. However as good as money is, there are many things money cannot do for you. Money can buy you a bed but not sleep. Money can get you books but not intelligence. It can also build you a beautiful house but not a good home. So money has its limitations and so a good understanding of money and how to manage it is important in life.

The Bible says “The love of money is the root of all evil”. The Bible does not say money is the root of all evil but the LOVE OF MONEY. So you need to have the right perspective about money or else you will end up in sorrow even if you have all the money in the world.

It amazes me when I read of multi millionaires in dollars who commit suicide. They ended in frustration because they failed to have the right mind set about money.

Therefore the first and most important thing to agree about money with your spouse is that MONEY SHALL BE OUR SERVANT.

Someone once said money is a good servant but a terrible master. If you allow money to rule your life, you are likely going to run into lots of problems.

Truth be told, there will be times in your life that money will be scarce compared to the needs and demands around you. Therefore only by agreeing with your spouse on how to manage the income that comes into the family will reduce arguments over money.

The second thing to agree about money is that ALL INCOMES INTO THE FAMILY IS OUR MONEY. In other words every family should have a central pool of money from where disbursements are made as agreed. This does not stop each partner from having a personal account but there should be a central account from where the expenses of the family are taken care of.  This way there will be less money arguments.

More of this in my book “4 Things Intending Couples Must Agree on Before Marriage”

For enquiries contact: El-shaddai Covenant Church, 7, Social Club Road, Off Charity Road, Abule-Egba. Tel: 08080929292; 08182281184 (Whatsapp messages only).

4 THINGS TO AGREE ON BEFORE MARRIAGE – PART 3

4 THINGS TO AGREE ON BEFORE MARRIAGE – PART 3

“Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it?” Luke 14:28 (NIV)

So far, we have been looking at the need for intending couples to agree on certain important issues before they marry so that there will be less friction in the home.

The third important agreement to make about money is the agreement to SAVE part of your income on a monthly basis. Do not say what you are earning is not enough to meet your needs because it will never be enough even if you earn millions monthly. IF YOU DO NOT HAVE A SAVING CULTURE THEN YOU HAVE NO FUTURE.

Earlier on as a married man, I used to find it difficult to pay my child’s school fees in nursery school because I would wait until the term begins to look for the money but after attending a seminar in Singapore, I never had problems paying my children’s school fees because from the beginning of the year I started to save towards school fees. Do not wait until your rent is about to expire before looking for money. Save monthly towards the rent and save yourself from any embarrassment.

Ideally, I recommend that couples save 20% of their income but if that is too much save 10% or 5% but make it a habit to save monthly. I know people who have acquired valuable assets because when the opportunity came for them to buy them at a giveaway price, they had cash in their saving account.

Also the purpose of savings is not just to be able to meet needs but to enable you build enough reserve for investments. This is because keeping your money in your savings account over time will not be able to match the rate of inflation so it is advisable that when you have enough saving then invest such money in ventures like stocks, Federal Government Bonds, Treasury Bills and Real Estate.

The Fourth area to agree on is to run a MONTHLY BUDGET. This helps to avoid impulsive buying. Having a monthly budget helps to allocate resources into areas of need based on priority.

A typical family budget should make allowance for Food, Clothing, Toiletries, Laundry, Fuel/Transportation, Utilities (Electricity/water), Tithe, Offerings, Entertainment, Pocket money for you and your spouse, family support (dependants like parents and siblings), newspapers, books, periodical and savings.

Once monthly budget is in place you must agree that both of you will be disciplined enough to implement it. If you need to adjust the budget in view of unforeseen expenditure, then sit down again and look at it together.

Stop buying things on credit or things you cannot afford in order to impress people. You don’t have to buy the most expensive things because you want to be trendy like others only buy those things you can afford and that has been budgeted for.

More in my Book “4 Things Intending Couples Must Agree on Before Marriage”

For enquiries contact: Elshaddai Covenant Church, 7, Social Club Road, Off Charity Road, Abule-Egba. Tel: 08080929292; 08182281184 (Whatsapp messages only).

4 THINGS TO AGREE ON BEFORE MARRIAGE PART 4

“Honour your father and your mother; that your days may be long upon the land which the LORD your God has given you. Exodus 20:12

Recently on facebook there was the story about a bride who ended her wedding at the reception venue. Apparently they had an argument about serving and sharing food to her guests and her mother in law slapped her for been rude. She replied her mother in law with a dirty slap. This kind of story is common because sometimes in-laws can be overbearing or wanting to exert undue influence on the marriage.

Another important agreement to make before you marry is to agree on how to treat in-laws. Before going into details it is important to remember that in many African cultures, in-laws are an integral part of the marriage. You essentially marry into the family of your spouse and become a part of the larger family.

However this cultural concept sometimes puts pressure of the couple especially the wife because she is expected to please every member of the family whether immediate or extended.

I remember the story of this young couple who were visited by the man’s mother. In other to impress “Mama” the wife decided to cook a very delicious meal with large pieces of meat. At dinner, the mother spoke to her son in her vernacular saying “I didn’t know that this is how the wife is wasting your money when we were suffering in the village”. Unknown to the mother, the wife had started to pick the husband’s language and a huge quarrel ensued.

Therefore agree that the man is the King of the home while the wife is the Queen. The man must be able to put his feet down to let them know that no family member is allowed to disrespect his wife and vice versa. When brother or sister in-laws come to the house they are to subject themselves under the authority of the wife as the next in command in the house.

Secondly, it is important to agree never to report each other to your parents no matter what. Learn to solve your problems by yourselves or at worst seek the intervention of your Pastor or godly church members. If you report your spouse to your parents, after you have forgiven your spouse, they may never forgive him or her.

Thirdly, agree to honor both parents. Parent in-laws deserve as much honor as your own parents because you have become part of their family by marriage. What you would do for your own parents should be done for them as well as much as possible. I know a couple who if the man wants to send money to his parents does so through his wife and when the woman wants to send anything to her own parents, it is through her husband.

These are other things must be agreed upon before marrying to avoid in-law issues later on.

For enquiries contact: Elshaddai Covenant Church, 7, Social Club Road, Off Charity Road, Abule-Egba. Tel: 08080929292; 08182281184 (Whatsapp messages only).

GROWING YOUR FAITH

Text: Proverbs 4:23; Matthew 12:34-35,37; Romans 10:9-10.

Why we need to build our faith?

  1. We need faith in God to overcome the storms of life since no one is immune against the storms of life – surely the rain will fall; the flood will come; the wind will blow but it is your faith that will make you overcome. If you must succeed in life you must learn to develop your faith to overcome the difficulties of life.
  2. We need faith to be able to lay hold on the promises of God. God wants to expand your territory and enlarge your borders so that you can succeed. If he did it for Jabez he will do it for you but to achieve the success of Jabez requires the faith of Jabez.
  3. We need faith to do ministry work. The work of ministry cannot progress without faith. Like most ministers know, you learn to trust God on a daily basis; step by step. Faith honors God and God honors faith and it is faith that will make God by-pass one million persons to reach you. You cannot have faith and doubt at the same time. The good news is that as long as you are in ministry, your faith will grow as you learn to trust God always.

Growing your faith:

“Guard your heart with all diligence; for out of it flow the issues of life”. The Greek meaning of “issues of life” connotes boundaries or borders. It is your heart that sets the limits of your life not the circumstances of life. If your heart says it is possible then you will fight to get it done. The Bible also says “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he” meaning that it is your heart that defines you. Your heart is the storage of faith and it drives your words. The Bible says in Matthew 12:37 that your words will either condemn or justify you before God. It is what promotes or demotes you.

Since the heart is so important we must guard the channels feeding it – what we see; hear or say. What you see can corrupt your heart; therefore be careful what you read or watch. Also what you listen to especially music can corrupt your heart.  What you say portrays what you have inside of you because we speak out of the abundance of our heart.

What to do:

  1. Re-program your heart. Detoxify your heart by removing all those “viruses” you have been feeding your heart with all these years by reading and meditating on the word of God.
  2. Deal with your heart. Set boundaries for what you allow to go into your heart.
  3. Think (meditate) on the things that edify.
  4. Step out from the crowd. Put your two feet firmly with Christ not one foot in church and one in the world.
  5. Don’t copy anyone and don’t follow those who are not following Christ
  6. Use what you have by exercising your faith and it will grow

Prayer points:

  1. O God my father, cause your word to purge my heart and mind in Jesus name
  2. Blood of Jesus, wash my heart clean from every spiritual virus
  3. Father in heaven, help my unbeliever and make me strong in the face of the challenges of life.

 

For enquiries contact: Elshaddai Covenant Church, 7, Social Club Road, Off Charity Road, Abule-Egba. Tel: 08080929292; 08182281184 (Whatsapp messages only).

 

DOMINION THROUGH SPEAKING IN TONGUES!

November Newsletter

By Dr James O. James

Dominion means complete power. Living in dominion means living a life of power over and beyond limitations; a life of power over sins, power over life's threatening circumstances and difficult situations, and also power over demonic influences and manipulations.

We serve the God of power and it is His earnest desire to see us exercise complete power on the earth. The first thing God said to mankind at creation bears witness to this. (Genesis 1:26-28) God commanded mankind to be fruitful, to multiply, to replenish the earth, subdue it and have DOMINION over everything that moves upon the face of the earth!

We live in a world today where people do all sorts of things in the quest for power. Some have sold out their souls to the devil by joining occultic associations, performing fetish rituals and even going as far as eating human waste, all in the quest for power!

The Christian however needs not look too far for this because the promises of God regarding us having and exercising power are as real today as they were in the days of the Apostles.

In Acts 1:8, our Lord Jesus promised his disciples, "You shall receive power, after that the Holy Spirit has come upon you..."

In the following chapter, they received this power in the form of tongues of fire descending upon them while they tarried in the upper room ( Acts 2). With this power, they did great exploits for God and His Kingdom which led to the birth and growth of  the church, which has spread all over nations today! The sick were healed, the cripple walked, the blind received sight, even the dead were raised back to life due to this power!

Dear  friend, that scripture in Acts 1 and 2 is as real today as it was in the days of the apostles and I make bold to tell you that I am a living witness.

Some years ago, armed robbers visited my house while I lived in the city of Jos.  It was just me, two women and a little child at our home that night,. The robbers had forced a wedge beneath the main  door and were going to pull it down. Were we frightened? Oh yes! But, guess what? I was emboldened by the Holy Spirit and suddenly burst into tongues and began to pray in tongues quite loudly, and alas, the robbers ran away.

I have also seen terminal diseases heal, by reason of praying in tongues. I have seen desperate situations change as well!

Dear friend, you might be a Christian but still live under bondage simply because you are ignorant of the power of the Holy Spirit and what He can do and accomplish in your life when you receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit and are able to pray in tongues. Some of the prayers you pray against enemies might be unnecessary after all when you begin to make real warfare in the spirit. The Holy Spirit knows the secrets that you are unaware of and can make war through you as you pray in tongues!

The tongue is very powerful and can kill or make alive ( James 3:5-8). Interestingly, it is this same tongue that the believer can use to both exercise authority and dominion upon the face of the earth.

Some Benefits of Speaking in Tongues

  1. According to 1 Corinthians 14:2, when we speak in tongues, we are praying directing to the heavens. Because it is a heavenly coded language that the kingdom of darkness cannot understand, our prayer can therefore not be waylaid. , as we are speaking the mysteries ( secrets) of God that are yet to be revealed!
  2. When we speak in tongues, we charge ourselves up!

Like phone batteries, our spirit man needs to be constantly recharged because the cares of this world and situations can easily drain us and cause our power to leak out just like batteries do. So, we are plugged to our divine power source, when we pray in tongues. As we do so, we build up our most holy faith (Jude 20)

  1. The Holy Spirit helps our weaknesses when we pray in tongues. (Romans 8:26) He directs our prayers to meet our needs and also the needs of others.
  2. Praying in tongues gives you power! The more you pray in tongues the more powerful you become in the spirit and thus, the more challenges and situations begin to bow before you!
  3. Speaking in tongues grants us access to the angelic world. This is most true for ministers, especially those who sing for God. The more you worship and pray in tongues the more inspiration you get as you are transported into realms of angelic worship.
  4. Speaking in tongues gives life to your body and spirit man. It gives life to your calling such that you are not easily discouraged.
  5. Speaking in tongues causes the gifts of God in you to come alive such that you begin to function at your maximum!

Dear reader, there is so much more that speaking and praying in tongues can do and accomplish in your life. But, I must tell you that all these can only happen in your life if you take the very first and most important step of accepting the sacrifice of Jesus Christ who died for you to exercise the dominion that God gave to mankind at the creation.

If you desire this dominion, please say the following prayer:

Lord Jesus, I acknowledge that I am a sinner. I confess my sins today and accept your sacrifice to save me. Please forgive my sins and come into my life and be my Lord and Saviour. Satan, I renounce and forsake you as I embrace Jesus Christ today.

Thank You Lord, for saving me.

If you said the above prayer, I congratulate you, you are now a child of God, and a bona fide candidate for a life of dominion.

Please contact the addresses below for more information on how you can get baptized in the Holy Spirit, so as to exercise your dominion as a child of the Most High God. You are welcome to the fold!

You Brother

Dr James O. James

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