The Test Tube – Single but Pregant Part 3

Continued from Part 2: pdlionunlimited.wordpress.com/?p=1507

Sperm bank

Gracey: Jesus should be our example of the way he treated people especially people we would consider “sinners”. Jesus rebuked the Pharisees and Sadducees who were teachers of the law and to me hypocrites. What I find disturbing in churches today is that we are beginning to mirror the Pharisees. Showing love to someone doesn’t equate an endorsement of their sin. Jesus would not be eating with the tax collectors then.

Amy:  There is no painting it. It is flesh. It is sin. I will never forget a very simple message I heard years ago- for every excuse or insurmountable problem, you will have have 70 others that are standing…..

Derek Prince’s first wife already had several adopted children when he married her.

PD’s take already explains it properly.  Whether church support or counsel is right is the least of her problems. The same fear and doubt and insecurities that drove her to this will be there for her to surmount raising that boy or girl, and for her own good she better repent for real.

What she has done is trying to gain gratification or pleasure (in this case perceived motherhood) or security in her human strength or wisdom of only those who have biological children will be safe or cared for in old age. Just like some people say only girls look after their elderly parents, yet we see Naomi who had no daughter being blessed with a daughter in law that was more than 10 sons.

She has sinned- period.

She needs to repent, or else the consequences cannot be imagined yet – mental health issues from identity problems in the child….

Is it any different from a woman who decides to masturbate or use sex toys because ‘husband is not forthcoming’? I won’t be surprised if such women might be among closet homosexuals multiplying in churches and trying to force us to accept them as they are rather than focus on pursuing holiness.

Aj: I actually know a single brother who is looking to adopt a child… What should I tell him?

HM: Tell him to look for wife joor. Its bc of him that lady went to antificial insemination

Kugbo: Gbam !!!!!

Aj: OK ma

My own big question is how would we treat it if she had adopted? Would it be any different? Is the physical sign (pregnancy) really the elephant in the room?

Elly: Exactly….

Lee: Your room must be very big to size an elephant. 😳

PD: In some ways, yes. It is the elephant in the room.

But her reasons remain the elephant outside the room.

She could adopt for a noble reason but then she could adopt for the same fearful reasons she did artificial insemination.

Amy: Let’s never forget we are in the world but not of the world. Our standards do not change because of society.  God’s pattern is there for our good. Children should be born to two people in a married relationship.  If you like use the law or science to create inventions of sperm donor banks or change the societal definition of marriage, the church does not have to change its stand on what is sin.  She must keep arms open to any that want to come, but leadership must be based on certain key qualities being met.

HM: Seriously though, the counsellors can refer to Abraham in Genesis. The wife was tired of waiting and considered her body and decided it will b good to help God and get s child via another woman. This could be called in this time as surrogate, adultery, etc but it is d same thing Sarah did that this woman did just that one was married and d other not married. Both had waited and got tired of waiting. Both considered the situations they were in and both made a compromise. Sarah got d consequences  of her action and this woman will. Why u ask. Bc she did not trust God, and according to scripture whoever relies in d arm of flesh will b disappointed. Now it doesn’t mean God can’t use this woman situations such that it may even seem God engineered it. Her sin that she should repent from is not trusting God enough to wait for his intervention. This applies to us all. So let’s hold us to that promise of God and put it to work by speaking it . Remember we having the same spirit of faith, believe therefore we speak. If God says you shall be called married, please confess it until u are. If God says u shalll not b barren, confess it until u carry your children.  God cant lie. Lets trust Him and act on his Word.

Glo: 👌CHILDREN SHOULD BE BORN TO PEOPLE IN MARRIAGE.

Whether adoption or artificial insemination for a single, I think it’s wrong.

God didn’t plan for Mary to be a single Mom, He sent her Joseph. Even though Jesus was conceived by spiritual conception (lol), God still arranged for him to be born into a home. If every single should go ahead to be single parents because they can afford to, then with time people won’t see a need for a proper family anymore. God designed family for a purpose.

PD: God designed family ooo … Na him know why pass all of us.

Holy Glo, thou hast spoken. The caveat is that of a fully realized adult with a divine calling to take in orphans. In that case, single or married, as long as there is a divine calling, it has to be fulfilled.

Watchman Nee was one of 8 orphaned boys raised by a godly woman who felt called to raise those 8 boys (no more) for the Lord’s kingdom use. From what I heard, all 8 became ministers of the gospel.

Amy: The case of Derek Prince’s 1st wife was more of her adopting orphaned children or giving them a home.  It was not that she was desperate to marry or afraid that she had gone past age. In fact she was already established with many children (daughters) in her home when he met her. There is no sin in a single person adopting to care for an orphaned child like this example. It is when it is being used as a means to fill a supposed vacuum of no husband or biological clock going that is problem.

Glo: I guess this is one of the noble reasons PD was talking about.

Hon: And surprisingly, many of us are seeing that meting discipline to this woman will be unjust unless we also do same to the cousins of this same act like surrogacy and sperm donations for couples.

Aj: I actually know a single brother who is looking to adopt. What should I tell him?

PD: Find out why he wants to adopt. He too might be living in fear of marriage or something or perhaps enough sisters have burnt his cable that he feels he has no prayer at all. Try to help him if that’s the case.

Aj: Great… We need to be a able to discern what the motivation is in each case.

PD: Yes boss.

Obi: All said and done we have come to concrete conclusion on this issue thanks to all that contributed.  This is why we need to appreciate our pastors in church this is just a tip of the iceberg of the issues that they have to deal with all the time and the least we can do is to support them and help them. The counselors are human being also do let’s not nail them and call them judgemental, it could have been you.

I am in a church setting and I know how we talk to youths not to engage in vices that are contrary to God’s word and they step out and do just what you warned them not to do, and when the consequences hit them in the face they run back to the church. Repenting and are counseled in love and guess what once the whole thing fizzles out they go back and commit same vice again.

We are living in the end times where the love of many are waxing cold most youths are hedonist in nature and practice hedonism in church. Hedonists are individuals who come to church or any institution for fun or pleasure, once they are not having fun they will get irritated so when you preach the message of the gospel they get offended and just walk away from the church that is what gives rise to issues like this.

We need to know that pastors and counselors are exegetical escorts, they usher is into the presence of God and the process of transformation is done by the Holy Spirit. This is just my thought. Thank you and good night family

PD: Exegetical escorts, hedonism … Hmmmm … next time somebody calls me out on speaking big big grammar, I will fine the person o.

PD: I don’t get this part … there was something about Pharisees and Jesus eating with sinners and applying to this woman’s case.

I believe there is an honest misunderstanding and consequently, misappropriation of the “Jesus eating with sinners” line. Jesus did indeed eat with sinners and his ever clear focus was to restore them to the father. He didn’t go after their errors instead he focused on restoration.

But the scenario presented, which we are discussing, is not about a sinner but a saint. A saint in error but a saint nonetheless. The protocols are different for an erring family member, which we have touched severally. In the spirit of humility, being very conscious of our own fallibility, we should lift up the fallen. While the protocol could also involve tough love and sharp rebukes and some harsh looking actions including kicking guys out or handing them over to the devil (gengeun … I don enter!) the focus is the same, restoration.

Calling an error an error is not why the Pharisees irritated Jesus, it was their hypocrisy. Calling out a brother in error for his error does not mean I am not mindful of the errors in my past. There are some errors in my past that, had someone not called me out on it, I might not be here today. If we say only those who have an untarnished record should speak out against wrong, then there would be nothing like correction.

There is a serious duty that Jesus placed on the shoulders of church leaders for which they will give account so it’s not beans or a matter they should treat lightly or that we should castigate them for.

Jn 20:23 Whose soever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; [and] whose soever [sins] ye retain, they are retained.

Rom 13:1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.

Rom 13:2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.

Rom 13:3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:

Rom 13:4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to [execute] wrath upon him that doeth evil.

Rom 13:5 Wherefore [ye] must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.

 

It behooves us, then, to pray for our leaders that they will always work righteousness in the hearts of the church.

Some of us might remember this song by Reverend Milton Brunson and the Thompson Community Singers

 

You gave me my hands to reach out to man

To show him Your love and Your perfect plan

You gave me my ears, I can hear Your voice so clear

I can hear the cries of sinners

But can I wipe away their tears?

 

You gave me my voice to speak Your Word

To sing all Your praises to those who never heard

But with my eyes I can see a need for more availability

I’ve seen the hearts that have been broken

So many people to be free

 

Lord, I’m available to You

My will I give to You

I’ll do what You say do

Use me Lord to show someone the way and enable me to say…

My storage is empty and I am available to You

 

Now I’m giving back to You all the tools You gave to me

My hands, my ears, my voice, my eyes

So You can use me as You please

I have emptied out my cup so that You can fill it up

Now I’m free, I just want to be more available to You

 

Lord, I’m available to You

My will I give to You

I’ll do what You say do

Use me Lord to show someone the way and enable me to say…

My storage is empty and I am available to You

 

The End.

There is another group whose contribution I would still like to share but for now, in case you missed previous parts of this one

Part 1: pdlionunlimited.wordpress.com/2017/08/02/the-test-tube-single-but-pregnant-qa-pt-1/

Part 2: pdlionunlimited.wordpress.com/?p=1507

 

The Test Tube – Single But Pregnant: Part 2

Continued from Part 1: pdlionunlimited.wordpress.com/2017/08/02/the-test-tube-single-but-pregnant-qa-pt-1/

Sperm bank

HM: This is a really weighty mata. If the lady was standing in front of Jesus, what do you think Jesus would do? Or say?

 

Po: He will tell her that her sins are forgiven (when he hadn’t died) but today he would say my love is sufficient for you.

The difference between the 2 cases (adulterous case and the insemination case) is that d first case is a well known/understood sinful act while the latter is still, to many, as undefined.

 

HM: But I say, walk habitually in the [Holy] Spirit [seek Him and be responsive to His guidance], and then you will certainly not carry out the desire of the sinful nature [which responds impulsively without regard for God and His precepts]. For the sinful nature has its desire which is opposed to the Spirit, and the [desire of the] Spirit opposes the sinful nature; for these [two, the sinful nature and the Spirit] are in direct opposition to each other [continually in conflict], so that you [as believers] do not [always] do whatever [good things] you want to do.

GALATIANS 5:16-17 AMP

 

Hon: My thoughts on this issue but not so detailed.😁

We must remember this isn’t Pre-insemination counselling but post. Now our sister is expecting and we should be there for her. Also, we should help her see that she can trust God for a good man. It was this lack of assurance that drove her into taking this decision in the 1st place. So, we must help rather than condemn her and establish her heart in the grace of our Lord Jesus.

 

PD: Has she shown any repentance? Cos going by this line of thought, we should not bother whether she is sorry or not, we should just be there for her. Is this what you’re saying?

Po: Has what she did been accepted as wrong by her. If she sees it as good then don’t expect repentance .

PD: Then if she is unrepentant, should her church be providing her support?

Doing so, what does that tell us? Go and commit sin and come back feeling cool with yourself, we will support you. Commit Grand Theft Auto, Rob a bank, Snatch someone’s husband, do any manner of wrong, we are the church we must support you.

We are comparing her with the woman who was brought to Jesus whereas that woman clearly knew she was in error. She might have felt bound by her lifestyle but she knew it was wrong. She didn’t argue with her accusers, she was ready to die. The love reached out to her by Jesus was pardon for recognized sin and grace to break the hold and she grabbed it.

Remember the prodigal son? The father was waiting for him but the boy had to come to his senses and take a step homeward.

I probably sound harsh and heartless and unloving and un-everything but I will go by what wisdom the scriptures show and not by the emotional, sympathetic or circumstantial issues surrounding it.

On the other hand, there are “halfway houses” run by Christians whose ministry is in reaching out to folks with such and similar issues like unwanted pregnant girls or drug addicts and prostitutes. She should go there. She will not be condemned but she will be supported while they counsel with a target of repentance so she can receive help from God on a larger scale.

She is pregnant, yes. Sympathy always goes to pregnant woman. But that is not the basis of church government.

I am reminded of one New York Single Lady Pastor who was pregnant outside marriage. In her video I watched, she was not saying anything about apologizing for her actions or repentance. Instead she was saying many male men of God engage in similar actions and go scot free because they do not get pregnant and no one is the wiser. She went ahead to say she refuses shame, guilt and condemnation and she is proud of her pregnancy or baby or something like that. The congregation greeted her with applause.

I remember someone saying the woman is living in delusion.

We have to remember, God is God. He is not a product of a consensus and his judgements are not based on public opinions or sympathy for the unborn, in spite of how precious they are to him … far more precious than they could ever be to us. He himself binds himself by and to His word. He will not change His mind because of an endangered minority group.

That being said, I feel for the woman. I feel sorry for her. I wish she hadn’t chosen that path but she has. If she seeks my help, I will give it based on her showing any sign of remorse. The help she needs is for the salvation of her soul, above all else because, friends, Satan is not done with her yet. There is more ahead.

The scriptures cannot be broken.

Chi: My take on the matter is this. I believe a mind that has come to a total resolve cannot be swayed by talks. I believe she knew what she wanted and she knew that the body of Christ might not understand (her way) oooh. Hence she decided to take the action and damn the consequences.

If the single lady is in position of authority (i.e. a leader of a group etc) then I think she should be first relieved of her responsibilities and then counseled. Paul said all things are lawful but not all are expedient. Her action will only send a vibe that it’s OK to do this. She should be counseled and d root of the matter has got to be identified and this must be done in LOVE and no judgement. No one should make her feel inferior but in love her mistake is to be corrected.

If she is not in a place of authority then d leaders of the church should constantly place her on d altar of prayer. That the word that will save her soul will get to her one way or anoda and should also be reached out to in love.

I’ve said it before and I will say it again. There are different measures of faith and is as we daily apply ourselves to this that we grow. We Christians make a mistake by ALWAYS being very JUDGEMENTAL and at the end instead of the problem to be solved it ends up being worsened and d person backslides.

Let us pray for one another honestly. I might not open up to my pastors in church but I can open up to PD lol. Not because I don’t trust them in church but because I know that PD has got my back on d past and trust that he is seasoned in God’s word to help me find a way out through the leadings of the Holy Ghost.  ( nb: This is just an example ooh😜😜)

Anyway back to the matter she needs love … Both Tough and Emotional Love.

Glo: Will a single lady who opted for adoption be relieved of her responsibility as a leader in church?

PD: There is nothing wrong with counseling her to be strong to wait for God who doesn’t disappoint. No matter how late she gets married, nothing is impossible for God if she believes. … if she believes.

However, if she thinks she doesn’t have the faith for it, she should know that whatever human means she takes to “solve” her problems will, like every human treatment, have side effects and sometimes complications. Only God can give a blessing that has no sorrow with it.

I have heard testimonies of women over 50 who got married for the first time in their lives, men too.

I have counseled a number of women who felt life was passing them by without as much as a second glance. Some were just about ready to accept advances from unbelievers while some were just broken. They are all married now, after waiting just a little longer, this time, trusting God rather than looking at their unfortunate circumstances.

Lee: Awesome!!!!

Women need to be told this. My 50yr old aunt recently married, and she’s happy. Another 45yr old aunt too. People need encouragement. Unfortunately our environment and people make it seem like your in competition with ALL your peers.

 

The discussion continues in Part 3: pdlionunlimited.wordpress.com/?p=1522

The Test Tube – Single but Pregnant: Q&A PT 1

 

Hello friends and readers,

There’s this post that’s circulating Whatsapp discussion platforms about a single Christian lady who opted for artificial insemination. Some firends and I discussed it … heated discussion it was and I decided  to leave it there. but the same post has shown up on a few other platfroms I’m on and even in multiple private messages.

So I decided to capture the crux of the discussion from two separate groups but because of their volume, I have had to edit for focus and I have spilt it into a number of parts.

As always, no real identities have been included.

Enjoy.

Sperm bank.jpg

Matt: Please, I need people to sincerely think with me, what is to be done in such a case if it were to happen under our lead…? Please how do you adjudge this situation:

 

“A sister in a church in the abroad, who is known to be a known single sister suddenly began to develop big stomach. Investigation revealed she is pregnant. Disciplinary committee set up adjudged the situation as a consequent result of her fornication. 

She was asked to speak in her own defence as this matter is clear cut simple. Single sister not engaged or married but pregnant, the Bible has a template for judging this matter.

She spoke up. I didn’t sleep with any man. I did not commit fornication. I did not have sex. I went to the sperm bank and got artificial insemination. I chose the specification of the kind of seed I wanted and I paid and I got it. I am advanced in age, and I need a child, and I can’t keep waiting for a man that I don’t know when he will come.

The committee looked on.

They are still looking on till now.

Please help Committee.”

Jay: 👀

 

Matt: Peole dey invent ways of doing things ooo… Shuo… See science

Jay, you dey surprise?

Vicki: They should ask the lady what is God’s word to her about this. If she can’t answer, then counselling unit is over to you. But if she argued that it was God that ask her to go ahead, then we need to watch her

Favi: This one hard me oh!

Obi: This is ridiculous … I surprise pass Jay.

Ani: She has done wrong o … by limiting God’s ability of giving her a husband to have a child through a natural method cos every good n perfect gifts comes From God and Children are heritage from God. She should be disciplined and God can still forgive her. She should amend her ways like Abraham impregnating his female servant but God’s plans still came to pass in his life.

Po: She committed artificial fornication.

Obi: From the religious angle she has doubted God and His ability and then should ask for forgiveness. From the societal angle what we should tell the society, when the child grows up who would she point to be the father of the child, how will she explain to people what she did

Jay: Well, Let’s not be too quick to cast stones; let’s observe.

Obi: Not really PJ we are not o, it’s dicey

Obi: At the end we have not helped the counseling unit to solve this issue. What do you think should be done to the sister, how would this case be handled?

Gracey: It takes a village to raise a child. They should become her village.

Po: I’m finding it difficult to put my comment in letters. 😐😐

I know that everything is not discipline /punishment matter. The counseling unit should pray with and for her because this topic may not exactly be in the bible for us to refer to.

We are judging the act and not the actor.

Gracey: I am reminded of Jesus and the woman that committed adultery and was to be stoned to death. Remember, Jesus after her accusers had left, he told the woman he didn’t condemn her and she should go sin no more.

Most counseling units these days are sorry to say, glorified firing squad.

In this case, this woman needs support more than ever before. Pregnancy is hard on its own. The counseling department should be rallying around her. There should be brethren checking on her, accompanying her to appointments, helping with various tasks. Society will already look down on her at this point as a woman that is having a child out of wedlock. She shouldn’t feel that same condemnation in the body of Christ which is her family.

There should be a plan in place for when the baby is born, support in the hospital, the days after the baby comes home. The women should be taking turns helping out. Even the men. Every woman who has had an infant know that although babies are bundles of joy but they are enemies of sleep and sanity.

The counseling unit can take the place of a father to that child (if the woman doesn’t know her sperm and or he isn’t in the picture). There are children that are fatherless and have lived great lives because Men stepped in to raise them.  A child doesn’t necessarily have to be your biological child for you to raise them or have a positive impact in their lives. That’s the role of the church. They should be stepping in to raise this child.

Sometimes, a teaching moment comes from portraying the love and kindness of Christ.

 

Matt: Very true… Love must be the real deal

Cool: What if she had adopted instead of inseminated ? 😳

Lee: No be the same thing oh! Yes. She went about it the wrong order. But then, what if she had adopted a child? 🤔

Guess the counselling theme is afraid of appearing to ‘Endorse’ indiscipline

Po: Environmental traditions play a part in counseling sessions, what applies in India may be very different from that in Germany etc.

Lee: True that

PD: The word is the same.

 

Po: Jesus was sweet even in correction /rebuke of deeds and lifestyle.

The woman at the well that Jesus told her about d plenty husbands she has had and the current one she is with yet he wasn’t after condemning her instead he wanted to show her a better way.

Because he didn’t sound harsh didn’t mean he was happy with her life choices

Romans  14:12

So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.

14:13 Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother’s way.

14:14 I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean.

14:15 But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died.

14:16 Let not then your good be evil spoken of:

14:17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.

14:18 For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men.

14:19 Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.

14:20 For meat destroy not the work of God. All things indeed are pure; but it is evil for that man who eateth with offence.

14:21 It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.

 

PD: Jesus was not always sweet o. Ask those guys he chased out of church with koboko. The defining factor is to do the will of the father, even if you seem harsh.

 

PD: There was a woman caught in a sexual sin. Jesus found her guilty just like everyone else but gave her a chance to repent unlike everyone else.

Where mercy is available, repentance is possible and where repentance is noted then support should be given.

This is the principle in the scriptures as seen in the above example as well as in the account of the Corinthian church.

Question is has she sinned? Has she done wrong?

Going by the fact that she didn’t bother to seek counsel of the church before going for artificial insemination, it means she knew the church would not stand for it. That itself indicates she knew her decision was questionable. Just like her, many of us have done stuff that we weren’t sure were outright wrong but we knew were questionable and we should have asked questions. In that wise, we were wrong. So is this woman. If however you do not care about our counsel before taking a step, should you vilify us for not supporting your decision? No.

If you know to do good and fail to do it, it has become a sin in you. James 4:17

Again, did she sin?

The word formication is not limited to premarital sex, as many think. It refers to all forms of misuse and abuse of our sexual powers including lookery, thinkery and touchery as well as entry. That is why Jesus said lookery is as much sin as entry.

The right to sex is the foundation for the right to procreation … mind you, the right. There are those who cannot exercise the right due to one or two things but that is another matter. God did give us the power to make new human beings but did not give us the power to do so in isolation. You have to involve another person.

In-vitro fertilization, artificial insemination, surrogacy and some other more advanced scientific methods for ensuring conception and/or procreation were all initially designed to help struggling married couples fulfill a particular dream but just like everything man does, it starts out well intended and argued until it is accepted but once implemented it gets twisted along the way. Condoms, for example, were initially designed for birth control but we then found a benefit in infection control and now it is being used freely to prevent conception and infection outside marriage. Unfortunately, it doesn’t prevent formication. So, artificial insemination itself was well intended but we now have folks misusing and abusing it. God is judge.

This woman went to a sperm bank and picked sperm from a man who willingly donated ahead of the occasion so it is with his consent, although by proxy, that this woman has recruited him to have a child outside marriage. This is abuse of their powers. They are thus illegitimate parents.

Did this woman have sex with anyone, definitely not. Did she abuse her sexual powers? Definitely yes. How God will judge them I don’t know but is this wrong? Yes. So if it is wrong, as a church leader where this woman is a member, I am duty bound to act in the interest of the whole church. Her action is personal but the repercussions will travel across the entire church.

What is her wrong? Not artificial insemination, not unbelief or desperation but for choosing to be a biological parent outside marriage.

I would investigate to ascertain that she did use the services of the sperm bank.

If she is a leader, I will step her down. She will serve whatever punishment the church has decided. I won’t kick her out of church but the church will know she was in error. If she apologises, she will serve her punishment but I won’t reinstate her to leadership office. Apology and repentance are not synonymous but her apology is necessary for human government and administration. Repentance is between her and the only person who can tell the state of her heart, God.

I will not support someone who is unrepentant after taking a stand that compromises the church.

If anyone feels the pressure to be a parent, he should get married first. If you can’t wait for love to find you, then pursue and arranged marriage … you might be fortunate to find love along the way but be sure you’re more likely to find respect only. If you’re eager to have someone to care for, then adopt.

This is my stand and my counsel.

Po: Epistolic Anointing.

Matt: Wow… Tnx alot sir

Faith: #WORD. 👏🏽👏🏽👏🏽

 

The discussion continues in part 2:  pdlionunlimited.wordpress.com/?p=1507

ISRAEL: SECOND REPUBLIC … PT 28

LESSONS FROM THE BOOK OF JOSHUA

Joshua 3

Joshua 14:12, Numbers 14:8 – Walking in Love

 

Caleb made the delight of God in him, the love God has for him, the basis of his confidence to claim the portion of land destined to be his as God had spoken many years before. Even at the initial event, just after he and eleven others had scouted the land and were being debriefed, the basis of Caleb’s confidence to take the land was not his youthful strength nor the vast numbers of his people, Israel, it was based on the fact that God loved His people. Israel had the numbers, Caleb was probably a skilled warrior and he was one of two remaining who had extensive experience on their sides but Caleb’s faith was not strong because of any of these.

And walking with the same God for another forty-five years since that fateful day, I believe his confidence in God and His love for Israel had grown with his increasing age. He had seen that God’s love for His people was what drove God to do the things He did and this is one of the reasons he could declare that he was as strong as he had been forty-five years before. His faith was still as strong.

God has not changed; it’s still love that drives Him. Our covenant with Him is a product of His love for us; we didn’t make the first move, He did (Romans 5:8). We shouldn’t base our faith in Him on what church we attend, how much of the bible we know or how well we can pray, as critical as they may be, but on His love for us. While all these other things may change with time, God’s love never changes and that’s the very quality that makes it an excellent foundation for our faith.

1John 4:16-18  And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

Rhythms of the Heart

Hello friends.

I had a discussion … (I seem to have a lot of those, right?)

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Sunday at my church, perhaps at yours too.

The contents of this discussion might make a difference in your heart and service tomorrow, and hopefully for all the numerous tomorrows to follow.

Once again, the identity of the person has been hidden but the conversation preserved.
Enjoy!

​Ez: Please Sir, what’s your take on praise as a veritable tool to fight the enemy (the devil and his agents)?

PD: God dwells in the praises of His People.

Let God arise and His enemies be scattered.

Where the spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

These are direct lifts of scriptures. Praise as a weapon is a matter of fact.

The issue, however, is that, though we often sing songs and dance, we rarely praise God. There is a difference between enjoying good music and actual praise.

“Let us praise Him in the dance.”

Also another verse of scripture.

It means it is quite possible to not praise Him in the dance.

Ez: sir.

When could it be said that one is actually praising God?

PD: Like every thing else with God, the heart of the matter is the matter of the heart.

Isaiah 29:13 Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near [me] with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men.

It is what’s going on in your heart that’s really happening in the realm of the spirit. Mere words and outward actions amount to nothing unless one engages his heart.

Can you drive?

Ez: No sir.

PD: OK. Do you know about cars and driving?

Ez: A little

PD: You know the role the gear plays?

Ez: Yes sir

PD: What’s the role?

Ez: It engages the car for motion

PD: Correct.

So, no matter how powerful the car’s engine is, and no matter how hard you press down on the accelerator and how high the revometer goes and how loud the engine is sounding, if you do not engage the gear, there would be no motion.

Ez: Precisely.

PD: Now, imagine a car with the gear on neutral on a downhill slope; the car would be seen to be moving, right?

Ez: Yes

PD: And because the engine is making an audible sound and the driver is turn the steering wheel and using the pedals, it would seem he is driving a working car. Whereas he is just going with the flow, with the pull of gravity.

It is when the effect of gravity wears off or when the driver now wants to go uphill that it would be obvious the engine was not engaged all the while.

Ez: Hmmmm! This is deep

I stand to be corrected, sir

PD: 😯

What are you correcting?

Ez: Nothing sir.

PD: 😁

Ez: I am only trying to give you a feedback to know if I am following, Sir

PD: Funny guy.

Anyway, it’s the same with praise. We mostly just flow with the gravity of the music without engaging the heart. 

All the benefits and warfare and victory that come on the wings of praise are actually side effects.

Real praise originates from the heart; it requires the heart.

Bible says “making melody in your hearts unto the Lord”.

If real praise is offered, results follow naturally.

Ez: Since praise is God’s due right, it’s rendering is not conditional on our own part. Right?

PD: Yeah, praise is God’s due. We have to give it unconditionally. But you know, we won’t be able to do it unconditionally unless we know what it is.

Ez: Secondly, the analogy of the downhill can be likened to a easy cruise and at such we just render praise carelessly without our heart in it. After all everything is good and nice.

PD: Exactly.

Ez: But the uphill comes as a reality check that makes us realize that what is and what is not.

For those of us who have been flowing with mere rhythms and rhymes, we no longer see the good in God. But for those praising with the heart, it is firing all the way in spite of the uphill circumstances. Right?

PD: Exactly.

So the question how do we go from lazy cruise to power drive … is how do we engage the heart?

Ez: Doing what we do with real understanding i.e an understanding of what praise is and what it does.

Ez: Right Sir?

PD: Yes.

Although, what praise does is not up to us and knowing that only helps us to know what to expect, knowing what praise really is and how to do it right is critical and totally up to us.

The Hebrew language uses word pictures or concepts to communicate a lot of times and use many words to express subtle shades of difference in meaning so in the example of praise, there are a number of words. But these words our translated inconsistently, I guess based on context, as Thanksgiving, Praise and Worship, and thus we use them interchangeably.

Although the three words are used interchangeably, they are slightly different. And since they are translated from the same 8 Hebrew words, the implication in reality is that they are interwoven and lead to one another.

Ez: 🤔

PD: I used to have an image somewhere that depicts this.

Lemme see if I can find it.

Ez: Ok

PD: I can’t find it. Let me just sketch it up for you.

Ez: Alright Sir

PD: Sorry it took so long. Photoshop takes longer on this type of work than Corel draw and I don’t have Corel on my system right now.

I hope it’s clear enough.

Ez: Very clear Sir.

PD: Great.

So, the three concepts lead one to another. No matter where you enter, you wind up going through them all.

The important thing is that the heart is involved.

Let me give you the definitions that God gave me and have helped me engage my heart each time.

Thanksgiving is the heart felt response to the generosity of God.

Praise is the heart felt response to the capacity of God.

Worship is the heart felt response to the personality of God.

Example:

God saw to it that I slept peacefully and woke up this morning. He has been good to me. I am grateful. My heart response is gratitude for his generosity towards me. What comes out of my heart is Thanksgiving. It is independent of the song I sing or the tempo or whether I dance or not.

Then, 

God saw to it that 7.2 billion persons on the earth slept peacefully and woke up this morning. He has been good to this many people at once. I am awed!  My heart response is respect for his capacity to be good towards so many people all at once without getting tired or needing help. I’m thinking “wow!” What comes out of my heart is Praise. It is independent of the song I sing or the tempo or whether I dance or not.

Finally,

God saw to it that 7.2 billion persons on the earth slept peacefully and woke up this morning, whether they are good or bad. He has been good to this many people at consistently for as long as He has been God without waiting for them to love him or even thank Him. He does this because of His personality or character. I am captivated and fascinated by His person!  My heart response is love for His personality;  to be good towards so all people, all the time, for all time. I’m thinking God is a lovely person. What comes out of my heart is Worship. It is independent of the song I sing or the tempo or whether I dance or not.

Thanksgiving says thank you; Praise says I respect you, you are powerful and great; Worship says I love you, you are just wonderfully irresistible.

The connection is me … my heart.

There is no way I will thank God from my heart without winding up praising Him and Worshiping Him.

If my heart is involved in my worship, I will remember His kindness to me and Thanksgiving will pour out.

On and on the triangle keeps flowing back and forth.

I hope you get this so far.

Ez: Yea Sir

PD: So, all we need to do is think well about what we are saying and not be absent minded or carried away by the activities around us.

I remember when I was music director, some years back. Service was one, music was on, the worship leader was up on stage, the rest of the music team was executing the various assigned tasks and I was overseeing. 

Then God spoke to me, “what are you doing?” And I said in my heart, I’m making sure things are running smoothly and keeping all the moving pieces together and making sure folks get to worship without interruptions. Then he said, “What about you? Won’t you worship?”

I was singing along but my heart was not in it. I was busy watching and ensuring others worshipped God but I left myself out.

I immediately dropped all I was doing, closed my eyes, opened my heart and thought of the lyrics of the song at that time and I joined the church in worshipping Jesus.

It’s very easy to be in the business of church music and dance without actually connecting to heaven.

Ez: Very true

PD: So, I believe we have tackled your question?

Ez: Thank you sir

PD: You’re welcome.

Ez: Sometimes I wish I can host you.

PD: 😁

When Chisel meets Stone

On the heels of an inspired write-up titled “Would you marry yourself?” by someone I met at an online event, I have this to add.

We all need to change something about ourselves in ways that really matter. The character adjustments that last the longest, likely to continue on to be permanent and have the greatest impact on our marriages are those that begin ever before we enter into a romantic relationship with anyone.

Sadly, most folks wait to start a relationship before realizing they need to change something about their person.

In many ways, I’m an artist and my best work have always taken the most time. God is the only artist who can positively shape  character and just as with every great masterpiece, it takes skill, patience and lots and lots of time.

 

If you wait to get romantically involved with someone or even get married before you start working on your character, you have postponed the time you would begin to enjoy your marriage. 

Changes after the wedding altar are very few, if any, and veeeeeeeerrrrryyyyy veeeeeeeerrrrrryyyy sssssllllllooooooooooowwwww … because your spouse has become a confounding variable; everything you need to do  go through the influence she has on you. Even if you identify something that needs changing, the thought that your spouse might take credit for the change, find justification for her actions in your agreement to change or even gloating over a supposed victory would definitely increase the inertia to change. And even if you do, changes made to please someone else apart from God mostly do not last long.

Anyway, whether single, dating or married, whatever you need to adjust, start now. Submit to the master craftsman. His yoke is easy, His burden is light. He is very gentle because He knows that we are dust. This, however, does not mean that the chiseling would be painless. The pain is not from the bite for the chisel; it is from the shearing off of those jagged edges that have become a part of you for so long. 

Even if you do get hurt in the process, be at peace … Rohi, the chiseler is also Rapha, the healer.

PS: If I get the author’s permission to share her notes on my blog, I will.