RCCG SUNDAY SCHOOL STUDENT’S MANUAL 28 MAY 2023
TOPIC: THIRD INTERACTIVE SECTION *(SUMMARY OF LESSONS 27-38)*
TOPIC: BREAK THE YOKE OF POVERTY
MEMORY VERSE: “All the brethren of the poor do hate him: how much more do his friends go far from him? he pursueth them with words, yet they are wanting to him”. –Proverbs 19:7
BIBLE PASSAGE: PROVERBS 6:9-11
Generally, poverty can be described as a state of being extremely poor. Poverty can take different forms: mental, spiritual, material or financial. In the context of material/financial possessions, poverty is said to exist when people lack the means to satisfy their basic needs. Scriptures clearly state that even brethren of the poor hate him (Proverbs 19:7) and that poverty can destroy the poor (Proverbs 10:15). What then causes poverty and how can a believer break free from it?
1. CAUSES OF POVERTY
2. BREAKING FREE FROM POVERTY
CAUSES OF POVERTY
While poverty can be in categories of degrees, several factors can be responsible for it:
1. Personal attitude which includes laziness/idleness (Proverbs 10:4;19:15); poor work ethics (Proverbs 14:23; 2Thessalonians 3:10); lack of self discipline (Proverbs 12:27); stubbornness (Proverbs 13:18); drunkenness and gluttony (Proverbs 23:21); worldliness and frivolous persuits (Proverbs 21:17;28:19); limitation mentality (Proverbs 23:7a) etc.
2. Natural disasters (famine, floods, etc.)- Genesis 12:10, health challenges (Mark 5:25-26), fire outbreaks (Job 1:16), death of a benefactor (2Samuel 4:4).
3. Oppression of others. Examples of oppression that can cause poverty include delayed wages (Leviticus 19:13; 1Timothy 5:18), exorbitant interest rates on loans (Exodus 22:25).
4. Spiritual causes of poverty include the repercussion of sin (Deuteronomy 28:15-21) and wrong spiritual concepts as some believers equate poverty to holiness.
BREAKING FREE FROM POVERTY
You need to discover your purpose of living and diligently pursue it (Proverbs 22:29). Gather sufficient information on how to improve yourself in your chosen career, vocation or trade (Proverbs 18:15; 24:4). Be intentional about creating multiple streams of income (Ecclesiastes 11:2). Find a problem around you that you can solve that will earn you good money. Acquire additional skills: re-skill and up skill (Proverbs 9:9). Believe in yourself and have the ‘I can’ attitude (Phil 4:13).
Essentially, breaking free from poverty requires giving (Proverbs 11:24): pay your tithes and offerings (Malachi 3:10-12), first fruit (Proverbs 3:9-10), and give to those that are less privileged. Pray and study the word of God to know his perfect will for you in all your life’s endeavours (Psalm 37:23). Stop living on debts, borrow only to invest (Proverbs 22:7).
Poverty is not pre-destined, therefore, change your mindset towards material wealth knowing that God gives the ‘power’ to get wealth (Deuteronomy 8:18).
TOPIC: CHRISTIANITY AND WEALTH
MEMORY VERSE: “Both riches and honour come of thee, and thou reignest over all; and in thine hand is power and might; and in thine hand it is to make great, and to give strength unto all”. – 1Chronicles 29:12
BIBLE PASSAGE: LUKE 12:15-21
Wealth is the abundance of valuable possessions or money. When we have wealth, we have more than we need to sustain a normal life. The Bible contains several examples of people blessed by God with great wealth; Abram (Gen. 13:2), Jacob (Gen. 30:43), Solomon (1Kings 10:23), Joanna (Luke 8:3) and Joseph of Arimathea (Matt. 27:57) among others. We shall consider what the Bible says about wealth and what should be believers’ disposition towards it.
1. BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVES
2. BELIEVERS’ DISPOSITION
The view of Christians on wealth should be derived from the scriptures. This is because wealth and honour come from God (1Chronicles 29:12). God often blesses his children with wealth when they please him (Deut. 28:1-5). The Bible establishes the facts that wealth and riches shall be in the house of the man that fears God (Ps. 112:1-3); money answers all things (Eccl. 10:19); to enjoy one’s wealth is a gift from God (Eccl. 7:12) and it makes many friends (Prov. 19:4).
However, the Bible also contains several warnings about wealth,among which is the fact that the love of money is the root of all evil (1Tim. 6:10); riches should not be trusted (Prov. 23:5; Luke 12:15); wealth gotten through the wrong means shall diminish (Prov. 13:11); all men will die and leave their wealth to others (Ps. 49:10); those who pursue wealth at the expence of other core values of life will never be satisfied (Eccl. 5:10a).
Christians should ote that wealth has never been an accurate barometer of a person’s standing with God. Some rightous people are poor (Luke 16:20-23) while some wicked people are rich (Ps. 73:3, 12). How then should believers handle wealth? While it is not sin for wealthy believers to enjoy their riches (Eccl. 5:19; 3John 2), they should also see wealth as an investment entrusted to them by God (1Chronicles 29:12). This wealth must be used to enhance good and pursue God’s purposes.
Wealthy believers can initiate charities and scholarship programmes, promote care for orphans, widows and less privileged (1Jn. 3:17-18; James 1:27), and be instrumental in advancing God’s kingdom (Luke 8:3; Rom. 16:3). It is important that believers prove themselves as faithful stewards, by channeling their wealth to godly legacies (1Corinthians 4:2; Matt. 6;19-20).
In a bid to be wealthy, believers should always note their first care should be for God’s kingdom and his rightousness (Matt. 6:33).
*LESSON: TWENTY NINE*
TOPIC: FINANCIAL INTELLIGENCE
MEMORY VERSE: “The wisdom of the prudent is to understand his way: but the folly of fools is deceit”. –Proverb 14:8
BIBLE PASSAGE: LUKE 19:12-26
Simple put, financial intelligence is to be financially wise. It is the knowledge and skills gained from understanding finance and accounting principles in the business world and how money is being used (Proverbs 18:15). To be highly successful, extra efforts, skills, intelligence and God’s leading will be needed. It is not only organizations and business owners that need financial intelligence. It is also needed for personal finance.
1. WHAT IS PERSONAL FINANCE?
2. HOW TO BE FINANCIALLY INTELLIGENT
WHAT IS PERSONAL FINANCE?
Personal finance is the term that covers planning (Proverbs 21:5; 30:25) and managing personal financial activities such as revenue generation, expenditures, budgeting, savings, investments and other financial related actions (Matthew 25:20). As an individual, your personal finance is a reflection of the level of your financial intelligence, that is, your ability to make smart decisions, plan poverty especially in the aspect of finance and live a good life (Proverbs 10:4). Your net worth and what you are able to do with your money is considered a success (Matthew 25:22) and not necessarily so much cash at your disposal. A personal financial statement (Assets-Liabilities) shows the sold and all debts paid, and the liabilities are greater than the assets, the financial statement indicates a negative net worth. But, if the individual has more assets than liabilities, it is positive net worth.
HOW TO BE FINANCIALLY INTELLIGENT
To be financially intelligent, you need to do the following:
1. Develop a personal success- drive and be intentional about the wellbeing of your finance (1Kings 11:28).
2. Seek knowledge and be informed (Proverbs 1:5). Invest in yourself (Proverbs 19:20), read (2Timothy 4:13), make researches (Act 17:11), ask questions, and open your ears and eyes to the happenings around you.
3. Practice what you learn and use the knowledge gained to execute the purpose for which it was acquired (Proverbs 6:6; 10:4).
4. Keep track of your spending. Identify where you need to make amends and where you need to intensify efforts (Proverbs 16:21a).
5. Have a proper and detailed records of your income and expenditure (2Chronicles 34:16-18).
6. Surround yourself with the right people who share the same opinion (Proverbs 13:20; 27:17).
7. Pray for divine wisdom and direction on what and when to invest your resources (James 1:5; Isaiah 30:21).
Financial intelligence is needed in order to stay on top of your financial game because hardly would you find a financially intelligent person who is not successful.
TOPIC: RENDERING HELP
MEMORY VERSE: “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith”. – Galatians 6:10
BIBLE PASSAGE: ACTS 9:36-41
Rendering help is the act of giving aid or assistance (whether materials or services) to people in need. It can be in the form of Corporate Social Responsibility or personal assistance to the less privileged. More importantly, the Bible encourages us to help members of the household of faith (Gal. 6:10).
1. WHO NEEDS OUR HELP?
2. HOW SHOULD WE HELP?
WHO NEEDS OUR HELP?
The following people should be helped: the committed brethren in need (Gal. 6:10), the aged (Lev. 19:32), the widows/widowers (Jam. 1:27), orphans and the deserted/helpless (Ps. 82:3), the poor (Prov. 19:17), the specially challenged (emotional, physical, mental, etc.) – 2Sam. 9:3, 13. Our help should primarily be to our needy family members (which include our parents) -1Tim 5:8, members of the household of faith (Gal. 6:10), then to members of our society whether known or unknown, good or bad. It is necessary to help brethren by connecting them to people or places to get good jobs, pay hospital bills, get scholarships for children’s education, etc. While this gestures should not be an excuse for some people to be lazy, indulge in begging or feeling entitled, believers, should note that everything we have is given to us by God (Ps. 68:19; 1Cor. 4:7). Therefore, we should be encouraged to give to people in need or render helpful services because these result in blessings (Prov. 22:9). Rendering help and expecting nothing back from the recipient is a great way to be Christ-life (Luke 6:34-35).
HOW SHOULD WE HELP?
As believers, it is important to know that the help we render should be rooted in love (1Cor. 13:3) even as it allows us to serve God better (2Cor. 9:8). Giving, for instance, is an outward sign of our love for others (1Jn. 3:17) and we should give expected God to provide (Luke 6:38). Sometimes, our giving can be a measurement of our faith (Mal. 3:10). However, the state of the heart of the giver matters more than the size of the gift (Luke 21:1-4).
While encouraging the believers in Corinth to give generously, Paul did not want them to give beyond their means, reluctantly or under compulsion” (2Cor. 8:12). More importantly, he wanted them to rely on their inner convictions (2Cor. 9:7). No one should give under duress but giving even when you are reluctant can be a learning process especially when you do not have a surplus.
God loves it when we give (2Cor. 9:7) and He will always pay back in ways we least imagine.
TOPIC: CHRISTIAN SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
MEMORY VERSE: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven”. –Matthew 5:16
BIBLE PASSAGE: LEVITICUS 19:9-10
The God-man relationship is characterized by his holiness, justice, love and mercy among others. Our relationships with one another and society have to be patterned according to the character of God (Matthew 22:36-39). Therefore, it is our responsibility as God’s people to care for those around us (1John 3:10). The attempt of the church to show love and alleviate the sufferings of the people in her immediate environment/community is termed Christian Social Responsibility.
1. MEANING AND BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVES
2. BENEFITS OF CHRISTIAN SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
MEANING AND BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVES
Christian Social Responsibility (CSR) is a faith-based obligation to meet societal needs through the demonstration of love that positively impacts communities and individuals. CSR has its roots in Christianity and the Church is meant to be an example for the world to follow (Matthew 5:16). It is an initiative for community relations and to partner with the government in achieving the Global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). CSR could be in the areas of provision of basic social amenities, healthcare delivery/facilities, education, media, business support, art/entertainment, governance, sports, etc. It involves strategically assessing societal challenges and developing appropriate structured programmes to cater for them.
CSR is a core part of the ministry of the Church. It is not a 21st century concept; it has its origin in the Bible. For instance, Leviticus 19:9-10; 23:22 instruct us to always may provision for the needy out of our income. In Matthew 14:15-21, Jesus demonstrated the need for CSR when He fed five thousand men (besides women and children). Also, the early Christians distributed their wealth to take care of those in need (Acts 2:44-45).
BENEFITS OF CHRISTIAN SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
The benefits of Christian Social Responsibility to the Church and the world are numerous:
1. It enables people to actually see and know the meaning of God’s love (1John 3:16-18).
2. It meets the needs of the less privileged in society.
3. It promotes evangelism and entrenches the Church of God in the hearts and minds of the people we come across (Matthew 5:16).
4. It embraces responsibility for sustainable actions and encourages a positive impact on the environment. (Mark 12:33).
5. It compliments government’s efforts in improving and sustaining the standard of living of people in their immediate community (James 2:14-16).
6. It will enable the Church to build a good relationship with the Community (Galatians 6:10).
7. It helps believers to represent Jesus physically in their communities (Proverbs 13:17; 2Corinthians 5:20).
Christian Social Responsibility is not to seek commendation from men but to show the love of Christ and be a blessing to our community.
TOPIC: MENTAL HEALTH
MEMORY VERSE: “From the sole of the foot even to the head, there is no soundness in it; but wounds and bruises and putrefying sores; they have not been closed or bound up, or soothed with ointment.”. — Isaiah 1:6
BIBLE PASSAGE: 1KINGS 19:1-4
The Bible does not explicitly speak on the topic of mental health. However, it does have a lot to say about the heart, mind, and the condition of the soul. Health is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a complete state of physical, mental, and social well being: it’s not just the absence of disease or infirmity. Mental health is important, as it affects the whole being (Prov. 4:23). This lesson addresses mental issues and possible solution.
1. MENTAL HEALTH DEFINED
2. CAUSES AND SOLUTIONS
MENTAL HEALTH DEFINED
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines Mental Health as a state of well-being in which every individual can carry out four roles: (a) Realise his/her potentials (b) Cope with the normal stress of life (c) Work productively (d) Participate meaningfully in the community. Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being.
Mental ill-health in contrast, is a psychological disorder affecting one’s mood, thinking, and behaviour. The term mental illness covers a broad range of disorders from mild depression to schizophrenia – a condition that impairs a person’s ability to think, feel, process, and respond to life situations in an appropriate way. Mental illness can distort our view of God, others, and contribute to sinful behaviours.
There are some cases of emotional issues in the Bible such as; depression (1Kgs. 19:1-4; Jonah 4:3), loneliness (1Kgs. 19:10), hopelessness (1kgs. 17:9-12), suicide (Matt. 27:5), rejection (1Sam. 18:7-8), insanity (Mk. 5:1-5), etc.
CAUSES AND SOLUTIONS
God’s desire for believers is to live a peaceful and fulfilled life (Gen. 25:8; Jer. 29:11). However, there are some believers who are not operating in this realm of God’s intention for them. This may be as a result of some of these factors: childhood abuse (Prov. 17:22b), trauma/neglect (2Sam. 13:19), loneliness (1Kgs. 19:10), discrimination/oppression (Jam. 2:6), poverty (Prov. 10:15), loss of loved one (2Sam. 18:33), debt (Prov. 22:7), low self-esteem (Num.13:33), heavy workload/severe stress (1Sam. 30:4,6), family challenges (Gen. 34:30), etc. In some cases, spiritual forces have a direct effect on mental health (1Sam. 16:14; Mk. 5:1-5). To overcome mental ill-health and enjoy emotional well-being, believer’s must understand that:
1. Failure and challenges are part of human life (Prov. 24:16; Rom. 8:28; Jam. 1:2-4).
2. It is important to invest in good social networks and godly relationships (2Sam. 9:1).
3. Loneliness and isolation which are risk factors for depression and suicidal behaviour should be avoided (Prov. 17:22).
4. Good sleep helps the brain restore itself (Lk. 8:23a).
5. Regular exercise expunges toxic chemicals from the body (1Tim 4:8).
6. Drug abuse (Self-medication) is not an option for good health.
7. Healthy thoughts are necessary always (Phil. 4:8).
Good mental health is necessary for good daily living. Therefore, take care of your health (Body, soul, and spirit).
*LESSON: THIRTY THREE*
TOPIC: MANAGING DIFFICULT PEOPLE
MEMORY VERSE: “It is an honour for a man to cease from strife: but every fool will be meddling”. –Proverbs 20:3.
BIBLE PASSAGE: GENESIS 13:7-11
A difficult person may be one who is snobbish, argumentative, quarrelsome, selfish, insensitive, or rude. Difficult people seem to know just how to “push one’s buttons” and stir up trouble. By difficult person, we mean people with certain personality traits or emotional characteristics that makes it difficult for you to relate with them. Difficult people can take many forms; however, it is expedient to learn how to manage them.
1. IDENTIFYING DIFFICULT PEOPLE
2. HOW TO MANAGE DIFFICULT PEOPLE.
IDENTIFYING DIFFICULT PEOPLE
There are different types of difficult people.
1. The ‘Downers’: Those who always have something bad to say, complain, criticise and judge (2Samuel 6:20-21).
2. The ‘Better Tanks’: Also known as ‘Know it all.’ They are arrogant and usually think their opinion in superior on every issue. When they are wrong, they get defensive (1Samuel 2:3).
3. The ‘Passives’: Also are known as ‘Push-Overs.’ They do not contribute much to conversations or people around them and let other do the hard work (Luke 10:40).
4. The ‘Snipers’: These are quick attackers; they use rude comments, biting mockery, or insults that cut people down during interactions (Nehemiah 2:19; 4:3).
5. The ‘Blame gamers’: Those who shift blames or give excuses for their wrongdoings rather than try to resolve a problem (Genesis 3:9-12).
6. The ‘Yes People’: They agreed to every commitment, yet rarely deliver. You cannot trust them to follow through (Matthew 21:28-30).
7. The ‘No People’: They are quick to point out why something will not work. They are inflexible (2Kings 7:1-2)
8. The ‘Dictators’: They bully and intimidate, they are constantly demanding and brutally critical (2Chronicles 32:9-15).
9. The ‘Grenade Person’: This person, after a brief period of calm, explodes into unfocused ranting and raving about things that have nothing to do with the present circumstances (Matthew 2:16)
10. The ‘perfectionist’: Someone who is unwilling to settle for anything that is not perfect or does not meet extremely high standards.
HOW TO MANAGE DIFFICULT PEOPLE.
Our response to difficult people should model the examples provided by Jesus. Here are some of the things we need to do:
1. Be calm: Avoid losing your temper at difficult people (Proverbs 14:29).
2. Understand the person’s intentions: Try to identify the persons trigger. Find out what is making them act difficult (1Thessalonians 5:21).
3. Do a ‘background check’: Find out how others have been relating with the person (Ecclesiastes 1:13).
4. Let the person know your intentions: Sometimes, people are resistance because they think you being difficult with them (Colossians 4:6).
5. Build a rapport: Try to establish a close relationship with the person and learn about their families, hobbies, important dates, etc (Proverbs 18:24a).
6. Escalate to a higher authority for resolution: Sometimes, the way to get along with the person may be through the top-down approach (Matthew 18:15-17).
7. Apply godly wisdom: Sometimes, wisdom demands that you learn how to avoid conflict with a difficult person or know when to walk away.
You need to be careful not to become the ‘difficult person’ yourself (Proverbs 22:3).
Dealing with difficult people is an exercise in patience, love and grace.
TOPIC: RELATIONAL TRUST
MEMORY VERSE: “The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her; so that he shall have no need of spoil”. — Proverbs 31:11.
BIBLE PASSAGE: ACTS 6:2-7
The five-letter “trust” occurs in 139 verses in the Bible (KJV). While there are various root words translated ” trust”, in this context, it means reliance on the integrity, strength, or ability of a person or thing. Trust can be dependent or relational. Dependent trust is between man and God in which an individual completely trusts God while relational trust deals with with human relationships and signifies the trust one reposes in another person. We shall focus on the attribute of a trustworthy person and how to be one.
1. ATTRIBUTES OF A TRUSTWORTHY PERSON
2. BEING TRUSTWORTHY
ATTRIBUTES OF A TRUSTWORTHY PERSON
Trustworthy people are:
1. Tenacious: Trustworthy people are stubbornly unyielding to untruthfulness (Dan. 1:8).
2. Resolute: This means they are unwavering (Ruth 1:16).
3. Unbendable: They are always determined to do the right thing (Esth. 3:2).
4. Steady: They are straightforward (2Chr. 24:11-12).
5. Tested: They have proved their trustworthiness through thick and thin (1Sam. 12:3).
6. Accountable: They are always answerable for whatever task they engage in (Neh. 13:13).
7. Wholistic: They can be wholly trusted with time, money, the opposite sex, work, etc.
8. Reliable: They have your back and do not betray a trust or leak a secret for any reason (Prov. 14:23).
9. Weighty: Trust is weighty but not burdensome as a result; the carrier is conscious of carrying something important and does not misbehave (Gen. 39:9).
10. Solid: They are always firm (Job 17:9).
Being trustworthy is a deliberate and purposeful resolve an individual makes (Dan. 5:17). Trust is earned (Prov. 31:12) trust is not entrusted to anyone; it is consciously earned by an individual. There is a price tag of sacrifices to be paid by anyone who chooses to be trustworthy (Gen. 39:10). We need to ask God for help as we take time to study and obey His words because trust is the bedrock of a lasting relationship.
Some of the rewards of being trustworthy are peace of mind, boldness, a crown of honour, and an asset while the consequences of distrust include: shame, dishonour, and loss of opportunities.
Trust is significant and essential to any relationship we may build because it is this trust in one another that forms the foundation of a strong relationship.
TOPIC:RAVISH YOUR SPOUSE
MEMORY VERSE: “Let her be loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and thou ravished always with are love”. — Proverbs 5:19.
BIBLE PASSAGE: PROVERBS 5:15-20
To be ravished is to have a feeling of delight; being filled with wonder and enchantment. So, to ravised your spouse is to give him or her atmosphere full of passion and fascination. The husband, as well as his wife, has crucial roles to play to enjoy a romantic and successful marriage.
1. ROLES OF THE HUSBAND AND HIS WIFE
2. BENEFITS OF RAVISHING YOUR SPOUSE
ROLES OF THE HUSBAND AND HIS WIFE
Being a good husband is not something that comes naturally to some men. However, loving another person is the most selfless thing anyone can do. Therefore:
1. A husband who lives his wife should celebrate her always (Prov. 31:28b): be her best friend, appreciate her and share in her feelings (Gen. 26:8).
2. A good husband should be protective and shield his wife from being disrespected by others (Ephesians 5:29).
3. He also respects her opinions, wishes, beliefs and communicates without using abusive word (Col. 3:19; 4:6).
4. He does not force her to give up on her dreams to follow his, rather, they talk things through to see what works for both of them (Rom. 12:10).
5. The husband should focus on the strength of his wife and talk less about her weaknesses (discuss the grey area and pray together for a change) – 1Pet. 3:7; 4:8.
6. Do not lose the romance. (SOS. 1:2; Prov. 5:19). To be romantic, a husband should keep in mind important dates (Wedding anniversary, birthdays, etc) – Rom. 12:15.
7. As a good husband, be humorous and know how to cheer up your wife especially when she feel low(Prov. 15:13; 17:22).
On the other hand, marriage women should note that:
1. To ravish you husband is a divine assignment given to you by God – to be your husband’s helper (Gen. 2:18; Prov. 12:4).
2. They should be women of virtue (Prov. 12:4; 14:1).
3. To ravish your husband, you must be submissive to him (Eph. 5:22; 1Pet. 3:1-2).
4. As wife you should be spiritually, emotionally, intellectually, and recreationally knitted with your husband (Prov. 12:25).
5. They must be caring and manage the home we’ll (Prov. 31:15).
6. Meeting your husband’s sexual needs is vital: do not use sex as a weapon of denial (SOS. 1:13; 1Cor 7:4-5).
7. The husband must be celebrated and honour as a king: in fact, he is your king.
BENEFITS OF RAVISHING YOUR SPOUSE
When a husband and his wife are knitted, there will be intimacy and mutual trust (Mark 10:8). Their love will be unquenchable (SOS. 8:7). There will be Joy, peace and progress in the home (Ps. 128:1-6). It contributes to good health (Prov. 14:30). Without a doubt, God will be present in such a loving home and their prayers will receive quick answers (Matt. 18:19; 1Pet. 3:7).
Sweeten your relationship with your spouse and the bliss will be long lasting.
TOPIC: MARRIAGE INFLUENCERS
MEMORY VERSE: “Through wisdom is an house builded; and by understanding it is established”. – Proverbs 24:3
BIBLE PASSAGE: PROVERBS 5:3-4
God, invented marriage for companionship, sexual intimacy, procreation and invariably fulfillment (Genesis 2:18, 21-24). However, What becomes of marriage depends primarily on the understanding of the couple on what marriage should be and the factors that positively or negatively influence such understanding (Proverbs 24:3-4). How a couple manage such influence(s) determines whether or not there will be happiness, peace, progress etc. We shall, therefore, address some of this marriage influencers in this lesson.
1. NEGATIVE INFLUENCERS
2. POSITIVE INFLUENCERS
1. *Friends in toxic relationship:* Couples must protect their marriage from failure by avoiding destructive relationship patterns sponsored by third parties whose marriages seem not to be working (1Corinthians 15:33; Psalm 1:1).
2. *Inordinate pursuit of money or career:* Money is needed to run the affairs of the home but when it is being pursued at the expense of the marriage, it may affect the togetherness of the couple (1Timothy 6:10).
3 *Undue attention to social media:* Communication becomes hampered when spouses pay more attention to social media activities than to each other (Matthew 6:21). This has destructed family intimacy.
4. *Character defects:* One of the factors that make marriage beautiful is changed. However, when spouses refuse to admit the need for a change in a defective lifestyle, such marriage suffer needless tensions (Matthew 7:3).
5. *Close relationship with ex-lovers opposite sex:* Failure to redefine and detach fully from previous or present intimate relationship with the opposite sex can trigger unforeseen sexual immorality (Proverbs 5:3, 15,20).
6. *Excessive jealousy:* This happens when a partner is over possessive. This is dangerous and can lead to destructive behaviours (Proverbs 6:34).
7. *Addictions:* Habits like gambling, alcohol consumption, drug abuse, and the like, are some moral vices that can draw the heart of either of the partners away from the marriage.
1. Trust and understanding (1John 4:18; 1Peter 3:7).
2. Selflessness and mutual support (Galatians 6:2; Ecclesiastes 4:9-10).
3. Praying together and keeping Christ at the centre of the relationship (Matthew 18:19; Psalm 127:1).
4. Building a new home and family culture together (Genesis 2:24).
5. Spending quality time together (Proverbs 31:28).
6. Guarding hand managing your thoughts (Proverbs 4:23; 23:7)
7. Finding work-family balance (Romans 12:11; Psalm 127:2).
8. Never go to bed angry (Ephesians 4:26)
9. Speaking kind and uplifting words to each other (Proverbs 15:1; Colossians 4:6). Do not nag Proverbs 21:19
10. Being reasonable with family finance and budget (Proverbs 16:21)
Every marriage is a work-in-progress. Therefore, we must be intentional to make it work.
TOPIC: DIVORCE IS COSTLY
MEMORY VERSE: “And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth”. – Malachi 2:15
BIBLE PASSAGE: MALACHI 2:13-16
Anyone considering divorce must have experienced months or year of struggle with their spouse. They are familiar with emotional distance, insecurity, fear, depression, anger, and perhaps betrayer. Life has become so difficult that divorce seem like the only part toward peace and happiness. Our high priest empathises with believers in such state (Hebrews 4:15). However, God clearly explain His reason for esteeming marriage so highly. He says it was He who “made them one” (Malachi 2:15). Marriage was God’s idea and any deviation from His design is detestable to Him. Marriage is not just a contract; it is a covenant. This is why God hates divorce and the consequences can be grievous.
1. GOD HATE DIVORCE
2. DIVORCE HAS GRAVE CONSEQUENCES
GOD HATE DIVORCE
Marriage is a picture of the covenant God has with his people (1Corinthians 6:17) and He wants us to understand how serious it is. When a husband or wife chooses to violate the covenant of marriage, it mars and make a mockery of the God-created concept of covenant relationship (2nd Corinthians 11:2; Revelation 19:7-9). God never intended divorce to be part of human experience and it grieves Him when we harden our hearts and break a covenant that He created (Matthew 19:4-8).
*Malachi 2:15* gives us another reason God hates divorce. He says He is “seeking godly offspring” God’s design for the family was that one man and one woman commit themselves to each other for life and rear children that will understand the covenant as well. Children reared in a healthy, two-parent home have a far greater likelihood of establishing successful marriage themselves.
DIVORCE HAS GRAVE CONSEQUENCES
There is a direct correlation between the way a man treat his wife and the effectiveness of his prayers. God does not listen to the pleas for blessing from those who have broken the covenant of marriage (1Peter 3:7). Divorce is also associated with many negative outcomes. Here are some;
1. Divorce is a death of a union, and therefore the death of a dream, a promise and a family unit. Everyone involved -even a perpetrator- will feel grief and loss during a divorce. If there are children involved, they will experience severe grief over the loss of being with both parents together and living under the same roof.
2. Divorce marks a pivotal moment in a person’s life, especially for children; life as they know It changes forever and they become different versions of themselves, adapting to new routines and new versions of their parents (who have also changed).
3. Children of divorced parents are more likely to experience poverty, educational failure, early and risky sexual activities, non-marital childbirth, early marriage, cohabitation, marital discord and divorce.
4. Following a divorce, parents and children often experience emotional and psychological problems that can last for years even for the rest of their lives. Anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, fear of abandonment, distrust, insecurity, lack of intimacy, confusion over sexuality and/or gender, guilt, faithlessness, loneliness, bitterness, and rebellion manifest themselves in children who have lived through divorce of their parents.
5. Divorce matters can lead to a poor sense of judgement especially on marital issues, increase in crime, drug/alcohol addiction and even suicide attempt.
6. The productivity of divorcee/divorced men may reduce at work and even in their service to God.
7. There is a chance of another divorce. Research shows that about 60% of divorcee/divorced men who remarry will divorce again. realistically, most people carry the unresolved issue from their last failed marriage into the next marriage
If God hates, divorce believers should do everything possible, including consulting with the author of marriage – God, to make the marriage work
TOPIC: CHILD ABUSE
MEMORY VERSE: “But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea”. – Matthew 18:6
BIBLE PASSAGE: MARK 10:13-16
According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, a child is “a young person especially between infancy and youth”. Child abuse is any maltreatments of a child which causes him/her harm. Such action can also take the form of a child neglect or failure to protect a child from danger especially by a parent or other caregivers. The Bible tells us that whosoever harms a child is asking for God’s anger (Mark 9:42)
1. FORMS OF CHILD ABUSE
2. SIGNS AND PREVENTION OF CHILD ABUSE
FORMS OF CHILD ABUSE
Children are precious to God and must be well taken care of (Psalm 127:3). Basically, child abuse can be physical, sexual or emotional.
*Physical abuse:* can be the excessive beating of a child (especially one that leaves him/her with Marks), throwing objects, poisoning, child labour (trafficking, Hawking), neglecting to give the child basic necessities of life such as food, clothing, shelter, education, healthcare, etc. It also includes the use of drug, alcohol or any substance that will cause the child distress (1Kings 3:19; 25-26; Mark 9:42).
*Sexual abuse:* This is when any person engages a child in any sexual activities such as fondling a child’s sexual organs, engaging the child in any immoral activity eg pornography, rape, defilement of the child, etc. (2Samuel 13:10-15)
*Emotional or psychological abuse:* includes teasing, bullying, threatening, verbal abuse (such as causing belittling, constantly finding fault), etc (1Samuel 17:26-28; Colossians 3:21).
SIGNS AND PREVENTION OF CHILD ABUSE
These are some of the signs that a child is being abused: aggressive behaviour, low self-esteem, sleeping difficulties, unexplained bruises, burns or swellings, lack of concentration and criminal inclinations. Child abuse may eventually leads to deformation or death.
Prevention of child abuse may take the following forms:
1. Early education, identification and intervention.
2. Break The silence report any abuse.
3. Train a child in a godly ways (Proverbs 22:6)
4. It is not every wrong that should be a melt with capital punishment
Child abuse is a menace that must be dealt with holistically and in the fear of God.