A brief introduction for every chapter ...

of 'Christian Meat for Christian Muscles - Part 1'



Chapter 1 - Faith is a Paradigm Shift
There are many triggers in life that could cause a change in one’s thinking. The reality of God is one such concept that creates a paradigm shift with life changing consequences. For some people, this change in thinking elevates the significance of the soul above that of the status of money and the pursuit of materialism, so that the soul is able to begin a profound journey of faith towards God.

Chapter 2 - The Faith Boat
The analogy of a boat is well suited to discuss how the components of faith provide the best way to navigate the long but rewarding journey towards God. Belief is likened to the structure of the boat, obedience correlates to the boat’s power, abiding becomes the purpose of the boat, and trust in God is the steering mechanism. With all the components in ship-shape order, our faith can be strong as a mighty ship; ready for the successful journey of a lifetime.

Chapter 3 - Impossible to Please God without Faith
Choosing to believe in God is a great start, but getting faith right is how the Christian life moves ahead, because accurate faith draws us closer towards God. At times, belief means accepting at face value what we are taught; but at other times it is seeking out the nuances and subtleties of truth, so that we can know and embrace God more fully and correctly. Correct faith drives us away from the things that displease God, and drives us towards seeking and knowing Him better.

Chapter 4 - Faith that Overcomes the World
Christ’s victory over sin is a source of strength to Christians who have to defend themselves against the evil world. Faith in Christ becomes the only way to be saved from our sins, and to overcome the influences of this evil world that conflict with God’s guidelines. How well we use our faith determines how well we stand up under difficult trials, ensuring that we too are overcomers.

Chapter 5 - How Our Faith Helps Us (to Fight the Good Fight)
Every Christian will encounter a personal struggle in order to maintain their life in Christ and faith in God. The enemies of Christ will do their best to diminish our faith. But faith is valuable because it gives us vital strengths: to overcome fear, to set clear priorities, to confirm complete forgiveness, and to maintain fulfilling relationships.

Chapter 6 - A Mustard Seed of Faith
There are several features of Christian faith that are uniquely similar to this example that Jesus chose to use in teaching about faith. The mustard seed analogy is a comprehensive guide to the power and purpose of Christian faith. A mustard seed is the seed of the kingdom; with properties of growth, toughness, versatility and potency; and it demonstrates the power of faith that Jesus had spoken of to them so many times.

Chapter 7 - Eliminating Doubt
Nothing diminishes the power of faith like the conflicting influence of doubt. Our doubts can be attributed to many things, such as: scepticism, uncertainty, ignorance, circumstances, fear or guilt – all very human causes. However, because God expects us to use our faith powerfully and to live by faith, we have a duty to our new life to deal with these causes, and work to eliminate doubt from our lives. The good news is we can understand the Bible, and substitute doubt with absolute certainty about the Bible’s veracity and God’s promises, so that our faith becomes pure, strong and complete over time.

Chapter 8 – The Circle of Love
Love is all around us, being paid back and payed forward, in many different ways: between parent and child, between husband and wife, and between friends and neighbours. In fact, love is the underlying currency of life; and with God’s help we can all be much richer for love, if we embrace the type of loving life that God says we were created for.

Chapter 9 – Loving Under Difficult Circumstances
The complex nature of life can often broaden our understanding of love through the most problematic and demanding of circumstances. The concept of ‘loving strength’, as opposed to physical strength, has untold applications and benefits, and none more so than at the extremes of human welfare. Godly examples of Christian love point us to our Source of strength and purification.

Chapter 10 – What is Christian Love Like
A person who is compelled to love because Christ first loved them, and to make a difference in the world because they see a need, will prepare themselves to love the way God first loved us. God’s love is different from man’s love, but we can extend ourselves to loving with the love of God, by incorporating the qualities that set His love apart from ours.

Chapter 11 – A Roadmap to Christian Love
As Christ’s ambassadors, it’s important we understand that we are to live purposeful and influential lives; skilfully applying God’s love so as to represent Him correctly. The scriptures offer guidelines about refining and enhancing our understanding of love. For our love to operate optimally, we find and repair those things in our heart that would impair our ability to love or that would stultify its impact; and we enrich our heart so that our love becomes like Christ’s love: gracious, honorable and determined.

Chapter 12 – Love is a Mighty Force
There are many ways that love can be applied as a force for good. Using examples from Jesus own life, we can see how God uses love to make a difference; and how we can too, if we are motivated to act out of love. Love is powerful because it establishes incredible bonds; it confronts, rescues and mentors; it sacrifices, comforts and transforms.

Chapter 13 – Building Our Capacity to Love
Is the world a more loving place and all the better for having Christians like us in it? If you are wanting to make a significant difference in your life and the world, then pray for your capacity to love to increase. Then expect some restorative changes to take place in your character, as God transforms you into His manner of goodness, and readies you for His love to increase and overflow through you to others.

Chapter 14 – Loving God First and Foremost
It is one of our ultimate personal challenges to fulfil the great commandment by using all our abilities to love God. Being in love with God is not that difficult when we think of His goodness, gentleness and perfection. Inevitably each person will prefer to use what they do best in a way that contributes to and supports the church’s work of loving God. However, only when a person’s heart, mind, soul and strength are converted to loving God, can a man serve God most effectively.

Chapter 15 – A Brief Biography of Jesus
A picture of the face of Jesus leaves us with just a man’s face, but no clues to what the man was like. It is only when we read about how He lived that we begin to understand that Jesus was no ordinary man. His humanity shows us how He lived, but the divinity and super-natural aspect of Jesus iare equally important as His humanity, because they show us the real price of what was paid, and what it is that separates Him from us. We are mere mortals, He is the one and only Son of God; yet He chose to pay a priceless ransom with His life to save us.

Chapter 16 – The Claims of Jesus
Jesus starts making huge claims about Himself whenever He sees a good opportunity. ‘Look at me. I am the One.’ He seems humble, yet His claims are bold, audacious, unequivocal and powerful; demanding a response from everyone who hears them. His declarations increase; ‘You need me, to live’. Desperately, we must dig deep to fully believe His claims before the chance to properly respond has passed us by.

Chapter 17 – The Miracles of Jesus
The gospels clearly show us God’s willingness to use His power through His Son Jesus. We learn that miracles are not just a sideshow, but are God’s response to need, and we can expect them to occur in the presence of faith and by the gifting of the Holy Spirit. When we are close to Jesus, the possibility for supernatural power is very real.

Chapter 18 – The Lordship of Jesus
If we ask "Who is the boss around here?", we are expecting to find a leader or manager who is responsible for what’s going on. When the answer is "I am", we know we are talking to the one in authority, to whom the entire workforce is subservient. The Bible presents a convincing case for Jesus Christ to be the undisputable "boss" of us all.

Chapter 19 – The Name of the Lord
We’re all familiar with brands and brand names. The brand name can often reflect the brand’s reputation, values, attractiveness, claims and its guarantees over the products, services and people that belong to that brand. For Christians, there are many names and sub-names we can be associated with: Catholic, Protestant and Pentecostal for example; individual denominations or even churches carry their own reputation and status. But all groups aside, Christ is the One and only name who all Christians really belong to and can aspire to represent.

Chapter 20 – Clothe Yourselves in Christ
The best spiritual virtues that a Christian can display are those that reflect the character of Jesus and His Spirit. When our actions are based on patience, gentleness, humility, compassion and kindness; we present a mirror image of the disposition of Christ Himself.

Chapter 21 – Living in Christ
When God gave His Son for the sins of the world; it changed the world quite remarkably, and disarmed the prince of darkness. When God gives His Spirit to us who believe, it changes us even more remarkably, empowering us with the gift of Christ’s life, love and righteousness. Through our new living relationship with God, we can begin to live in accordance with His guidelines, and know that we are united and alive with Him by His own nature living within us.

Chapter 22 – Enter Like a Child
Children are naturally good at learning, following and trusting. So it is logical that Jesus implied that the ability to be child-like in outlook towards matters of the kingdom will benefit a person in their heaven bound journey. Just as children submit to their parents, new converts to Christianity will realise they are merely babes in the faith, and they are going to have to surrender, prioritise and balance all the aspects of their life according to God’s agenda in order to humbly follow this new way of living as children of God.

Chapter 23 – Seek First His Kingdom
Our lives are often based a lot around achieving our desires. But, of all the desires we have in life, is seeking righteousness one of the main ones? Are we hungry for, and actively seeking the provisions of the kingdom? Jesus emphasised the responsibility of His followers to remain focused on spiritual things such as righteousness. The Bible claims that these spiritual things hold the key to finding the treasures of knowing Him and experiencing His kingdom; and we’re assured that if we sought them, we could surely find them.

Chapter 24 – Parables of the Kingdom
People relate to stories; and for centuries stories have been used to great effect to drive home messages of importance. Jesus was a master story teller – He used parables to explain the exceeding greatness and value of the things of God over and above the things of man. He really knew how to use His stories to shake things up, so that the listener was not just kept amused, but was inflamed and inspired. Be warned that parables can sometimes be ambiguous, but there is a simple key to unlock the true meaning in Jesus’ parables and sayings.

Chapter 25 – Roles and Resources in the Kingdom
Whatever people may think of the church, it has been designed and sustained by the Lord as a means of broadcasting the truth of His Word and His kingdom into the world. Believers find a place to belong in the kingdom by understanding the roles they can take on. So that God’s work can be continued throughout the generations, the Lord continually equips those He calls to perform special functions within His body of believers.

Chapter 26 – The Changing Face of the King
To have access to the King of heaven surely means that we are allowed to know God for who He really is. But without making the effort to know Him well, we can fall short in our understanding and fail to really find the greatest treasure of the kingdom – God Himself. While we can certainly know many little bits about God, our challenge or hope is to understand Him more fully; for that is a most remarkable and truly rewarding endeavor.

Chapter 27 – The Kingdom of Heaven
Three things are clear in the scriptures about heaven – it will be forever, there will be no sin, and we will live there with God. Many questions about our future life in heaven remain unanswered, but these three things alone bring with them the hope of great and endless possibilities. Compared to the impermanence of life on earth, the thought of eternal life will be almost unfathomable; compared to the wickedness and injustice of life on earth, the absence of sin will bring total relief; and compared to the veiled existence of God for us now, being in His presence in heaven will be total wonder.

Chapter 28 – Attitudes in the Kingdom
Christians have a unique vantage point from which to reflect on their existence. ‘Belonging to God’ can fill us with thanksgiving and hope, relief and courage, love and purpose. By cultivating attitudes like these, we hold open the doors to experiencing an abundant spiritual life. Positive attitudes alone don’t achieve goals, but they can greatly help us by conditioning and energising our lives. God searches our hearts looking for virtue; especially our attitudes to these faith-based suppositions: to being saved, to the promises of God, to living as a child of grace, to being Spirit filled, to loving other people, and to finding a purpose and meaning in God’s kingdom. Virtuous attitudes will dispel all manner of negative feelings.

Chapter 29 – The Challenge of Living Christian Values
Our Christian values will define us in many ways, if we accept the challenges that come from embracing them. Successful Christian living is not meant to be a passive back seat ride; rather, if we are active Christians who embrace Christian values we will be in the driver’s seat and we will stand out. But the more we stand out by displaying Christian values, the more challenges we will likely face.

Chapter 30 – Displaying the Christian Value of Holiness
That which separates us from the world and makes us different from it, is in fact what we know to be God’s own imparted nature of holiness. Becoming more familiar with holiness is a first-hand experience that is revealed to us as we do the activities that align with our Christian faith and love.

Chapter 31 – Displaying the Christian Value of Unselfishness
The chains of selfishness cling to us tenaciously and they are extremely hard to shake off. Little do we know that they bring harm to those around us, but with God’s help we can be released of the ugly mannerisms of selfishness and egotism that have plagued man from the beginning. Becoming unselfish allows us to experience that which God has called us to be, and to live a life of true love for His sake.

Chapter 32 – Principle Based Living
Whether we are a follower or a leader, the acronym GLITCH represents six powerful principles providing a framework for avoiding trouble and creating lasting achievement. These six core principles for wise living will be foundational for all of a Christian’s endeavours and character development: Godliness, Love, Integrity, Transparency, Consistency, Humility.

Chapter 33 – Truth and Honesty
Truth is an ideal state or condition that is in accord with the mind of God, and apart from God, there is no objective source of truth. The truth is the only thing that can emancipate us from systemic dishonesty and sin that entraps and misleads the world, and therefore we must not under-estimate the unique power of truth to cause positive outcomes. Our connection to God is totally reliant on acknowledging Biblical truth. Nothing has more practical importance than this abstract thing called the truth.

Chapter 34 – Sexuality
God’s plan for human sexuality is and was always about pro-creation within the most moral and safe framework for the individuals concerned. Christians understand that God’s guidelines for sexual purity are congruent with good health, happy families and a moral society. Those who perceive themselves as belonging to God and precious to God, and don’t put an emphasis on physical gratification, have a higher ability to avoid sexual immorality. Moral obedience in sexuality is difficult, but not impossible, and abstinence through self control is the ideal means; generating its own rewards, and reflecting total commitment to God and your future family.

Chapter 35 – The Plight of Christian Values in Society
undergoing re-write.







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