ISRAEL: SECOND REPUBLIC … PT2

Lessons from the book of Joshua

Joshua 1:3  … as I said unto Moses …

I’m actually smiling as I type away on the computer right now, the reason being that I’m comparing the lesson I am learning from these few words with the one our world’s government systems seem to have mastered.

Joshua 3

With the change in leadership, one would have expected some new and fantastic sweeping changes in government style and direction. However, God essentially said to Joshua that day, “Stick to the plan”.

 

The thing is, until the mission is complete, God doesn’t change his mind. His point of view does not change; there is nothing new. What He said He would do is what He would do and until it is done, He keeps moving forward.

 

James 1:6,8 …He that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. A double minded man [is] unstable in all his ways.

 

This is one of the reasons we never really move forward in our organizations and governments; there is no all encompassing overarching plan. We are not single minded as a people and so the leaders we produce can neither be of one mind, nor feel bound with any sense of mission, to pursue continuity.

 

Genesis 11:6  And the LORD said, Behold, the people [is] one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.

 

The reason we are not succeeding is not due to any of the myriad of theories and postulates we circulate amongst ourselves and the “one step forward, two steps back” pattern of activities will continue to be our experience as the leaders change.

 

In the case of God’s plans, God is the leader and since He is not ever going to leave office, the plan stays the same and will eventually be brought to fruition. I see, now, the reason why people who allow God lead them always seem to be free of the plague of wavering minds; the degree of consistency you exhibit is in direct proportion to the degree to which you let God guide your choices and decisions. As long as you are walking in, and working with, God’s plans and directives, you will be seen to be steady, consistent and ever productive. This is what Jesus meant when He said doing what He tells us to do is like building our houses on the rock.

 

Stick to your objectives and goals no matter the change in staffing; this would be so much easier to do if you let God lead.

Understanding When to Date and Whom PT 20

We cannot possibly conclude a discussion on maturity without touching on the core of the human being – the spirit. For some who do not recognize this aspect of the human entity, this might be a bore but I am certain that for most Christians, this would be quite interesting the reason being that for a long time, this question has been a common feature in question and answer sessions of all sorts, but quite especially in the area of romantic relationships.

IMG_20161229_121047

The question usually arises when people are told to only allow themselves get involved with people who are mature and being Christians, we naturally emphasize on spiritual maturity and then here comes the inevitable question, “How do we know a spiritually mature Christian?” From here on, the discussion never quite fully answers the question for most people in most of the audiences I have encountered; it breaks down into a free-for-all volley and counter volley of opinions and counter opinions. I think the reason is that the subject has not been studied significantly amongst those of us who profess this faith and even less amongst those who seek to provide the answers. It is my hope that by the time we are done with this series, you would be able to answer the question easily and clearly but more importantly, you would be able to assess yourself.

So now, as we have been doing thus far, using babies as our standard of absolute immaturity, we shall continue along the same line of thought, to wit, “Who is spiritually immature or who is a spiritual baby?”

For the longest time, I had read the scriptures again and again but it never really hit me that the Bible clearly describes who a spiritual baby is. I think it was a few years ago while I was thinking about something else that it just flew into my mind. The illumination helped me solve a problem back then but the insight has stayed with me ever since.

Let’s look at the scripture.

1Corinthians 3:1 And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, [even] as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able [to bear it], neither yet now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas [there is] among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?

Speaking of the spirit, quite simply, spiritual immaturity is another expression for carnality. So, if you see someone walking and living with carnal principles rather than scriptural ones, that person is being a baby. This is as concise as it can get but so that I can drive home the point, let’s look at some other scriptures to highlight some of the things that often mislead us into thinking someone is spiritually mature.

  1. Reading the bible always

This is a very noble habit, very godly, but does it indicate maturity?

James 1:22-24  But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was.

No it does not. You can spend all your time reading and hearing the word of God but unless you’re doing what it says, you’re not mature.

 

       2. Praying frequently and loud

It’s quite common to respect folks who can lift their voices, when in corporate prayer, and pray eloquently. But does that mean they are mature?

Matthew 6:6  But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen [do]: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.

 No; loud public prayer can also be a sign of hypocrisy.

 

            3. “Walking” in the Spirit

I don’t know about you but I grew up around a time when walking in the spirit was thought to refer to walking gently and quietly in an unassuming manner with intent to portray ourselves as one who “can’t hurt a fly”. You walk around with a slight smile on your face, head slightly bowed, at a gentle pace and in shoes that would not make a sound. And if you were able, you would speak in King James Bible English language.

All this was to convey the impression of being a spiritually advanced Christian.

 

But is this what it means to walk in the spirit?

Galatians 5:24-25  And those who belong to Christ Jesus (the Messiah) have crucified the flesh (the godless human nature) with its passions and appetites and desires. If we live by the [Holy] Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. [If by the Holy Spirit we have our life in God, let us go forward walking in line, our conduct controlled by the Spirit.] –Amplified

 

Walking in the spirit refers to the spirit-led lifestyle of a believer and not a particular gait preference.

 

          4. What about gifts of the spirit like praying in tongues?

This is perhaps one of the commonest considerations and the most misleading because we are likely thinking, the Holy Spirit would not dwell and manifest through an unholy person, right? So, if the person has spiritual gifts, he must be holy and by extension, mature. That begs a question, does holiness not equal maturity? We’ll touch that later but for now … concerning spiritual gifts… the Apostle Paul wrote about this particular congregation.

 

1Corinthians  1:4-7 I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; That in everything ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and [in] all knowledge; Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ:

 

This church did not lack any of the spiritual gifts, rather they had them in abundance but then it was to this same congregation that Paul wrote further.

 

1Cor 3:1 And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, [even] as unto babes in Christ. I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able [to bear it], neither yet now are ye able. For ye are yet carnal: for whereas [there is] among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?

 

So … no. Having the gifts of the sprit in manifestation does not indicate spiritual maturity. It only indicates the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. If we understand properly that the gifts of the Spirit are actually gifts of the spirit and not gifts of the brother or sister, then we would realize that the presence of the gifts are not reflective of the saint but the Holy Spirit living in the saint. It is the Spirit’s special abilities displayed through the saint by faith and not a product of the saint’s special pursuit or acquisitions or height of spirituality.

 

So, how about the holiness bit? Is holiness not a requirement for the gifts of the spirit? The shocking answer is actually no. Personal holiness is not a requirement for the manifestation of the gifts of the spirit which is why Jesus warned thus,

Matthew 7:22  Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

 

But for the Holy Spirit to move into a person in the first place, holiness is a critical requirement. This is accomplished by the sanctifying blood of Christ upon a person as they believe in Jesus and trust him for their salvation. Remember, the Holy Spirit comes to dwell in every believer at new birth even though He does not manifest his special gifts; this indwelling would not have been possible if the person was not first washed clean by God himself.

Bottom line, neither manifestations of the gifts of the spirit nor holiness marks spiritual maturity.

 

There is more to come on this subject so don’t go away.

Vitamin Mom

I hear it’s Mother’s day today. I think there are more than one per year, not sure.


I remember my Mom. She’s with the Lord now. I am a man now but I cannot imagine what I would have become without her diligence, sacrifice, and faith in God as well as in me. 

I struggled at some point in my life … a statement she made as she blessed me then gave me a boost, “Whether you’re a doctor or not, God will use you”.
Once in a while, I still struggle but those words always … always … always come rushing back into my heart.
I thank God for my Mom. I bless the memory of my Mom.
Can you remember a point in your life where your Mom gave you that boost that still encourages you today?

ISRAEL: SECOND REPUBLIC

Lessons from the book of Joshua

Hi. I decided to start this new series today. The other one, “Understanding when to Date and whom” is still on though. My reason for startin this one today is that on this day, 4 years ago, my mother took off to glory. I write this today in honour of her blessed memory. According to Pastor Shirley Caeser, “I remember Mamma in a happy way”.

Her life proved to me that people’s lives are affected by the degree of divine light they acquire from the word of God. The thanksgiving service after the funeral ceremonies was held at on Sunday 14th April 2013 at The Redeemed Christian Church of God Solomon’s Porch in Lagos State, Nigeria, where my Dad was pastor for many years. There was a guest Pastor for that service and he opened to Joshua Chapter 1 and started to read.

The sermon blessed me but, as I often say to people when I preach to them to pay attention to what they heard that the preacher did not say, I got stuck on the second word. I got this light which I am now writing down today but it gave birth to the inspiration to study the entire book of Joshua. I have since gone through the book, learned a lot, a documented the lessons to be shared here. I have simply saved writing the first lesson for last and I held on to doing that until today. I miss my Mom; however, I will always remember her every time anyone reads the first verse of the book of Joshua.

I trust this series will bless you as it blessed me.

Joshua 3

Joshua 1:1 – After Effects

Joshua 1:1  Now after the death of Moses the servant of the LORD it came to pass, that the LORD spake unto Joshua the son of Nun.

After … not before.

God did not speak to Joshua until after Moses was dead. Some might argue that God must have spoken to Joshua before now, I have nothing to tell me that however whether that is so or not, the content of the discussion could not have been what God would tell Joshua before Moses stepped aside because it was leadership stuff.

Moses was the point man, the leader of this nation of Israel, the head man. The power of vision, hearing and speech are all confined to the head. The question God asked me that day was, “Why would I give the direction for a body to a part of the body that does not have the power to see where the body is going, hear what I am saying and speak in terms of direction?”

I learnt that day that God compartmentalizes information. He is not an author of confusion. There are things he will only tell the man in charge no matter how many powerfully anointed men are in “the body”. By extension, I learnt that there are things the point man sees that I cannot see not because he is wiser or spiritually sound than I am but simply because he is the point man. Whatever I am seeing and hearing from God will only be a product of my connection, and a confirming word to settle my heart that I am properly connected to the head and I am where God wants me to be.

Any time in the bible that someone seemed to be fighting the leadership of the nation, even if the leader was in error, God called it rebellion. Numbers 12 documents his reaction to Aaron and Miriam who kicked against Moses for marrying an Ethiopian. The allegation was true, Moses was in error but the protocol was wrong as far as God is concerned.

Every time anyone took on the responsibilities of the leader because it seemed the leader was failing or too slow and things needed to be moved along, God called it rebellion. 1 Samuel 15 records the story of King Saul as he took over the prophet’s roles and made a private interpretation of the directives of God. God recognizes protocols, chains of command and authority. He calls it order.

1Corinthians 14:40  Let all things be done decently and in order.

Every time someone was out of order, there were divine consequences, as seen in the afore mentioned records as well as in this one:

2Samuel 6:6-7  And when they came to Nachon’s threshingfloor, Uzzah put forth [his hand] to the ark of God, and took hold of it; for the oxen shook [it]. And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Uzzah; and God smote him there for [his] error; and there he died by the ark of God.

But after some time and thought,

1Chronicles 15:2  Then David said, None ought to carry the ark of God but the Levites: for them hath the LORD chosen to carry the ark of God, and to minister unto him for ever.

1Chronicles 15:12-13  And said unto them, Ye [are] the chief of the fathers of the Levites: sanctify yourselves, [both] ye and your brethren, that ye may bring up the ark of the LORD God of Israel unto [the place that] I have prepared for it. For because ye [did it] not at the first, the LORD our God made a breach upon us, for that we sought him not after the due order.

 One rendering puts the last part this way: … We hadn’t dedicated our lives to serving him in the way he designated.

Everything about the first incidence was wrong. The ark was to be borne on the shoulders of Levites using specifically prepared rods but the ark was on a cattle-drawn cart. And when someone reached out to help because the thing looked like it might tumble off, God killed him. The one person that seemed to want to help was the one who was killed. God is saying even if something is wrong and you want to fix it, there is only one way to fix it – my way.

Many times today, we go out of order … Could be in church or at work or at home between a man and his wife … God has not judged us with a public action but it doesn’t mean He dislikes disorder any less than before; remember, He does not change.

So two things: treat whoever God has placed or allowed to be ahead of you with reverence in view of God and not just the person’s merit and if you find something wrong in a system, of which you are not in charge, find the right way to get things corrected. Your noble and well intended end does not justify the means.

There is so much more to come. Meanwhile, do something for your Mamma today so she knows you love her.

“I LOVE YOU, MOM”

GRAVE DANGER

Danger

When you make a mistake and nobody tells you, it could be because you don’t mean much to them. If you’re making the same mistake over and again and nobody tells you, it could be because they have concluded there’s no point. And at that point, you’re in GRAVE danger. Look around you, who and who is keeping quiet over you? Don’t just bury it under the “friendship is not by force” carpet, you could actually be on a road to destruction – Selah

Understanding When and Whom to Date PT 19

The concept of maturity is a major issue in the success of relationships. It’s the one word that could potentially sum up all we need to be and have for a relationship to work out smoothly. This is why I am spending so much time on it and I do hope you consider it worth your while.

Last time on this series, we started talking about the human will. How does the operations of the will factor into assessing maturity?

IMG_20161229_121047

As I mentioned previously, it is your will that gives you the capacity to choose and for that you are responsible for your choices and the actions that follow those choices. No one can make you do anything you don’t want to … absolutely no one. People blame the devil all the time (after they have been caught, mind you) but in reality all the devil can do is make tantalizing suggestions till our intellect is suspended and, with it, our sense of morality. Then our emotions take over and suddenly our reasoning is no longer based on logic but on personal desire and we make a decision, a choice, to do that wrong deed. That’s how it works every time … every time.

James 1:14  But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.

Genesis 3:6  And when the woman saw that the tree [was] good for food, and that it [was] pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make [one] wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

God certainly doesn’t make anyone do anything. He doesn’t violate the human will … He created man to be a free moral agent just like Himself and He holds Himself to that decision. The Bible documents God’s interaction with lots of people and in not one single occasion do we see Him forcing His will on them. Rather, He makes the options clear as well as their consequences and proceeds to invite them to make the wise choice for the beneficial option. I know God will not violate any human will because if he could, everyone would be born again by now but yet we reduce His advances every time and people are still dying and going to Hell in spite of the fact that God doesn’t want them to.

2Peter 3:9  The Lord is … not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

Born again Christians are not under His remote control either. We each have found ourselves battling with the will of God at one time or the other, knowing what He wants us to do but refusing to go ahead and get it done for any number of personal reasons. For God to be able to get us to do anything He wants, we have to yield or surrender to Him. Jesus is savior to a lot of us but He is not Lord to that many because we have to surrender our wills to Him for Him to be Lord over us. The human will is the final frontier of human autonomy; surrendering it to someone merges you with that person. That’s what submission is; letting someone else decide what should be done, and complying with the decision made, even when you have the power to choose what you wish.

The absence of submission is what is called rebellion and this is one of the character traits you expect to find in children. The very thing you ask them not to do is what they want to do and until they have done it, they won’t forget about it. If you’re a parent, you find you often have to subdue your child to keep him in line. Explaining the options and their consequences only begins to work as the child grows up and even then, there are always new limits to be tested and they will test those limits just to see what you would do.

There are people, I’m sure you’ve met some, who just seem to like to make trouble no matter what team they are in. Just because the leader says to stand up, they will choose to sit and when everyone is asked to sit, they will find a reason to stand up. Anyone could get them to do anything but should the person making the request have any form of authority over them, the first reaction is to refuse. They would likely disagree before they even fully understand what the point being made is.

I think part of the reason is the fear of being taken for granted and being considered less than what you feel you really are. It’s a big deal to some people. This tendency makes it difficult for them to submit and serve and that in itself is a sign of immaturity. If being so afraid to be mistaken for a servant makes you refuse to submit and serve, you’re not mature yet.Let’s call this point #6.

Furthermore, blaming someone else or the devil for your mistakes and failing to take responsibility for your actions is immaturity. It means you expect someone else to be making decisions for you concerning things that you have power over. If that’s you, you’re still a baby and you have some maturing to do.

Hacksaw Ridge

Have you seen this?

Hacksaw Ridge https://g.co/kgs/ywvyt7

The true story of Pfc. Desmond T. Doss (Andrew Garfield), who won the Congressional Medal of Honor despite refusing to bear arms during WWII on religious grounds. Doss was drafted and ostracized by fellow soldiers for his pacifist stance but went on to earn respect and adoration for his bravery, selflessness and compassion after he risked his life — without firing a shot — to save 75 men in the Battle of Okinawa.

This is a story of faith literally under fire. You have to see this movie.