Beyond The Voice of Peninnah: Lessons from Hannah.

And her adversary also provoked her sore, for to make her fret, because the LORD had shut up her womb….1 Sam 1:6

We all have a Peninnah dwelling intimately with us. She baits us periodically with the intent of puncturing the joys and peace we ought to derive in our marriage to Elkannah. She seeks to harass us into a mindset where Joy in nothing else but Christ alone seems implausible. She achieves this by always drawing our attention to what is lacking in our testimony (e.g. our closed womb,: not yet married, not yet conceived, not yet prospering etc..); in hopes that we will be unable to daily enjoy our walk with Christ whom we are espoused to.

Whilst our first instincts would be to identify Peninnah as a mother-in-law/cousin/half-sister/brother/or some other individual who is a constant thorn in our flesh, We couldn’t be further from the truth.

Peninnah our adversary resides so close to us because she is a part of us. She is the voice of our flesh and mind (old life) which speaks and desires things contrary to the Spirit of God in us. She has and always will be jealous of the new man in us when we become born-again. For as long as our certain parts of our lives remains ‘fruitless’, she will possess the upper hand and will constantly be a source of torment to our soul.

You may recognise her voice as that inner voice from your mind:

  • The voice of ridicule, which enjoys reminding you that your not yet married at xx age.
  • The voice of scorn which throws your past mistakes and failures in your career/relationship in your face, wanting you to feel like there is no other hope.
  • The voice of disbelief which often points out to you all the unfulfilled promises of God in your life, and gives you reasons to doubt His faithfulness.
  • The voice of vexation that aggregates and summarises your marital/spiritual/economic or social life as being utterly lame.
  • The voice that ultimately goads you to ‘Curse God and Die’ (spiritually)


Peninnah’s adversarial provocation of our soul is targeted at bringing about 5 specific outcomes in us:

1: To cause us to Fret:   

1 Sam 1:6 ‘And her adversary also provoked her sore, for to make her to fret, because the LORD had shut up her womb’…

Christ’s specific instruction to us in Phil 4:6 is to be anxious for nothing’ .
Peninnah’s voice of provocation will always seek to put us in distress; to cause us vexation of soul, by pointing out the one thing that remains a sore point in our lives where we are yet to receive an answer from God.
When we fall into this trap of fretting, we displease our Elkannah and begin to slide into disbelief in Him and ultimately disobedience to his commands.

2. To cause us to Weep:

1 Sam 1:7.’And as he did so year by year, when she went up to the House of the LORD, so she provoked her; therefore she wept, and did not eat.

There’s a common adage which says that ‘the one who weeps will be partially blind        unable to see clearly enough on account of the tears blocking his eyes’.
Having pushed us into the 1st trap, the next step in Peninnah’s provocation is to cause us to weep and shed tears. Just as Hagar wept for her child in the desert and was blind to the spring of water close by her in Gen 16:7, so also Penninah’s provocation seeks to hinder our revelation of Christ, and to blind out eyes of hope and the eyes of our spirit.

When our hearts weep, it may be difficult to clearly see the truth about God’s faithfulness and character. This state of mind is usually precursor to making wrong choices. (Ask Sarah)

3. To cause us NOT to eat:

1 Sam 1:7.’And as he did so year by year, when she went up to the House of the LORD, so she provoked her; therefore she wept, and did not eat.

The word of God is the Christian’s daily bread. It is so vital that Psalm 104:15 tells us that God gives ‘bread which sustains the heart of man’. The Angel who provided for Elijah during his flight from Jezebel also gave him bread 2ce, calling him to arise and eat for the journey is too great for thee’; implying that without bread he would not have the strength to finish the journey.

The provocation of our soul by the old man of the flesh resident in our minds having caused us to fret, and made us weep, will always seek to consolidate its gains by causing us not to eat the word of God. The very thing we cannot afford to snub is the word of God no matter our current circumstances.

The first wrong choice we make in emotional reaction to Penninah’s provocation will be ‘not to eat’. Ironically As we fall into gradual depression and hopelessness, our bibles no longer begin to hold much attraction to us, and slowly and surely we begin to abstain from reading it. Penninah’s subtle notion that the word of God to us is a lie may begin to take hold, especially when co-joined with the reminder that some of the bibles promises to us remain unfulfilled. The further we abstain from eating the word of God (our bread of Life), the weaker we become, making us easy prey to suggestions of the enemy of our souls such as ‘curse God and die’ (i.e. forget about God and do it your way).

4. To ensure heart grief:

1 Sam 1:8.Then said Elkannah her husband to her, Hannah, why weepest thou? And why eatest thou not? And why is thy heart grieved? Am I not better to thee than ten sons?.

If we fall for step 1, we backslide into step 2, from where we descend further downwards into step 3. And so it goes until it becomes a self-sustaining domino effect. If not interrupted, our Hearts falter into a perpetual state of grief.

Before now we most likely have paid more heed to Peninnah’s voice than we have to the promptings of the Holy Spirit or encouragement of other brethren in the Lord.
So at this juncture our Elkannah (the Lord) will often need to step in to arrest our decline either through a prophetic word of encouragement, a timely sermon from the pulpit, a direct visitation in a dream or vision, or a myriad of other ways.

Whatever His approach, the end result is always to remind us to focus on Him and remind us of His word. Sadly when many of us sink to this level, our hearts can be very difficult to reach. We begin to invariably block the ears/eyes of our hearts to any other input outside the ‘opening of our womb’ at that moment in time. The matter of our closed womb may have become an idol in our hearts and a stronghold in our minds.

5. To put us into bitterness of Soul:

1 Sam 1:10. And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the LORD, and wept sore.

This is the final destination of Penninah’s provocation. To bring us to a place where we have bitterness of soul. She is all too aware that the ‘root of bitterness’ taking hold in our hearts is the one thing which the bible explicitly tells us will frustrate (reduce the efficacy) of God’s grace in our lives (ref: Heb 12:15). Without grace what do we have?Wrath. Hopelessness. Death.

In Summary:

Hannah’s struggle was a painful one, but ultimately a victorious one.
She renders a very excellent testimony in 1 Sam 2. Yet she could have spared
herself so much of the anxiety, heartache and bitterness of Soul had she:
i – Understood the motive and purpose behind Peninnah’s provocation, and
ii – Reacted to it Spiritually (By the Word) and not Emotionally as many of us are wont to do so often.

Hannah’s emotional engagement and reaction to Penninah’s provocation meant she spent her 6 of her 7 years in waiting for answers in anguish, pain and bitterness of soul.
We are Human after all, and we all crack under sustained pressure and provocation from the adversary of our souls. Yet the Lord always provides a way of escape, if only we will open our eyes, arise and stand still on his word and promises: we will surely see the salvation of the Lord.

Thank God for Hannah’s victory, yet she could just as easily have sabotaged herself by seeking out an alternative palliative outside the dealings of God, which would have the resultant effect of bringing a permanent thorn in the flesh the way Sarah’s decision to give Hagar to Abraham brought about Ishmeal. A consequence we still suffer till this generation.

Have you been having a sorely terrible time of marriage? Has it been on the long march to collapse?
Have you been suffering terrible delay in getting married? in giving birth? in having financial or ministry breakthrough?
You seem like you have prayed endlessly and yet heaven seems unconcerned…?
To cap it off, does it seem like you have been at war with yourself internally and also facing external effrontery on account of that 1 thing that is considered to be lacking in your life ..or that 1 thing you are still waiting for the Lord to do?

Do NOT take the bait and give Penninah’s room to provoke you into making a wrong choice such as ‘Curse God and Die’ (spiritually). Rather I encourage you today to move beyond the voice of peninnah by making a choice to focus in on the reassuring voice of the Lord who has promised never to leave you nor forsake you. He will make all things beautiful in His time.

Amen.

p.s
You cannot pray peninnah to death. She never really dies. But from Hannah’s story we witness Peninnah falls silent at the end of Chapter 1.
If we allow God to carry us into the chapter 2 of our lives, Peninnah becomes permanently silenced as we witness overflowing testimonies.

p.p.s
We will discuss how to transit from Chapter 1 to Chapter 2 of our walk.

Grace to us all

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4 Keys to Succesfully Engaging The Priesthood for Destiny fulfilment..

And he inquired of the LORD for him, and gave him victuals, and gave him the sword of Goliath the Philistine. 1 Sam 22:10

David stands as a shining example of God’s man who fulfilled divine destiny. One crucial ‘ingredient’ in David’s success as a King (Christian) can be traced to his very productive relationship with the Priesthood of Israel. 

  • He began His journey to kingship with the Priesthood….1 Sam 16:13.
  • He engaged the priesthood in seeking the mind of God for divine recovery…1 Sam 30:8
  • He functionally engaged the priesthood in successfully returning the ark to Israel… 2 Sam 6
  • He humbly yielded to God’s rod of discipline and & chastisement manifested through the hands of the priesthood …2 Sam 12:7-15
  • He engaged the Priesthood in ensuring generational transfer…1 Kings 1:38

Well you say, What does this have to do with me a new testament believer? Hasnt Jesus taking up that requirement and even made me a royal priesthood?

Yes Jesus became our priest forever in the order of Melchizedek Heb 7:17, offering intercession continually for us at the right hand of the Father. Yet the new covenant never eliminated the requirement for the role of the priesthood. Rather the elements of this key role have been partly transferred into the 5 fold ministry. Becoming something more like the role of the ‘Discipler’….or what is commonly refered to as ‘Father-in-the-Lord. ref 1 cor 4:15 

Like the 300 men whom God selected to go to war with Gideon after the water test, It is christians who fully partake (by lapping with their 5 fingers) of all elements of the 5 fold ministry who will be well-rounded enough to carry out consequential assignment for God.

Any new testament believer who will succeed in becoming what Christ has ordained them to be will not do so in isolation. The new testament church as established by Christ promotes the system of discipleship (formal and informal) through which we all are ‘helped’ in being conformed to the image of Christ. In essence you must have a discipler as Paul did with Ananias, and at somepoint hopefully also have a Timothy to whom you are also discipling. This discipler who may or may not be your local assembly pastor plays this role as your modern-day priest.

1 Common Mistake which takes christians out of the divine structure and makes us spiritually stagnant is this:

Adopting Priests of our own choosing unto ourselves.
When God has a plan for you, His plan includes divinely arranging whom will serve as His instrument in discipling you through certain stages of your walk of faith. This pattern exists right from Abraham and Melchizedek’s relationship in Gen 14:18, through Elijah and Elisha’s relationship, to Jesus and John the Baptist and even unto to Ananias and Saul in Acts 9. Some of the language has changed but the essence of it remains the same.

Today however too many of us young christians do not wait on God’s will for our discipleship; rather we hastily choose our ‘priest’ /’Father-in-the-Lord’ ourselves based on very earthly parameters such as ‘Fame’, ‘Net worth’, ‘Swag’, ‘Popularity’, ‘Location’, ‘Tribe’, ‘coincidence’. etc.

The problem with this as we will soon discover below is that attaching yourself to any man to disciple you outside of God’s divine choice will lead to utter spiritual infertility and possibly death of purpose.

The matter of coming under divinely appointed tutelage and engaging that persona in a productive manner is a severely serious issue..and can determine how succesful your christian race may be.

4 Major Keys to successfully engaging the priesthood for destiny success:

Key 1: Focus is Required!!!: No farfing about…..Know why you have come!!!….

1 Sam 21:1 ”Then came David to Nob to Ahimelech the priest”
Matt 3:13 ‘Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him’.

To David, NOB wasnt the circumstantial end in itself, But in NOB Ahimelech the priest resided. This is very reminiscent of Jesus in Mathew 3:13.
Too many of us enter into the church with a mind of just ‘being in the church’, We may even take up an active role in our church of choice, but 20 years may pass and we have not come to the revelation of:

  • Why has God has brought me into this church to contribute? to receive?.
  • What does God want to achieve in my development through this pastor/overseer of with whom He has placed me under?.
  • What role is he meant to play in my life this season? What does he owe me?.

Key 2: Asking for & Desiring the right thing…Not wasting time on trivialities!!

Now therefore what is under thine hand? give me five loaves of bread in mine hand, or what there is present… 1 Sam 21:3

One repetitive trend we regularly experience in our out-reaches is people constantly coming to make aid requests pertaining to payment of school fees-rents-mobile phones and even connection to jobs. Whilst these are all valid needs which are due to the hardships of life; and whilst I also believe that the church and missions should do all they practically can to provide assistance where required; the ever-present danger is a complete diversion of focus from the key issue of serving the word of God which will prepare them for eternal relevance into serving tablesActs 6:2. In Saviour but not Lord: Christianity without Jesus i discuss how easy it is for people to engage the anointing not for the manna bread from above but entirely on solutions for their earthly needs. The son of man who himself had no place to lay his head demonstrated that it would be necessary to separate the true disciples and withdraw from the multitude before they change your focus and mandate.

In engaging the priesthood of Abimelech, David didn’t beat about the bush. He had an understanding of the priest’s role as a steward of divine gifts and pertinent revelation which God regularly places under his hand. David was focused on the portion that falleth to him at that time and season and asked for it.

This bread from the prophetic context is not just bread for the flesh, but the revealed word of God for the moment. A similar thing Jesus demonstrated with the woman at the well of Sychar when he chided her in John 4:10 saying:

Jesus answered and said unto her, If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water…John 4:10

Too many of us christians are like this woman at the well of Sychar who granted a rare opportunity to spend time with the priesthood will begin wasting time on trivialities; Prioritizing prayer requests on desires for cars, contracts, money, wives, husbands, etc without ever asking for the hard thing like Elisha did of Elijah. We spend the little time we have with the priest seeking to press the oil for ‘all other things‘ which God has already promised to add to us by default when we seek 1st the kingdom. If Christ does not intervene in our lives through His mercies, then we are a foregone conclusion.

Let us be good Shepherds who don’t pander to base issues
As for we who are privileged to serve as shepherds of the flock in any capacity. Let us not pander exclusively to these needs of them that are ‘given to us’ instead we should take a leaf from David’s diary in 1 Sam 22, whom over 400 men who were ‘in distress‘, ‘in debt‘ & ‘were discontented‘ gathered to him; and he became captain over them. At the cave at Adullam he never focussed on solving their problems, rather He focussed on moulding them into something greater than their problems. When he was through with them they became captains over tens, hundreds and thousands themselves.

Key 3: Consecration is required to easily get access to spiritual things.

And the priest answered David, and said, There is no common bread under mine hand, but there is hallowed bread; if the young men have kept themselves at least from womenAnd David answered the priest, and said unto him, Of a truth women have been kept from us about these three days, since I came out, and the vessels of the young men are holy, and the bread is in a manner common, yea, though it were sanctified this day in the vessel. So the priest gave him hallowed bread: for there was no bread there but the shewbread, that was taken from before the Lord, to put hot bread in the day when it was taken away….1 Sam 21:4-6

1 cor 2:4 tells us explicitly that ”The natural man does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God. For they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned”.

If we are to engage the priesthood not for trivialities but for the higher things of God, we must understand that we must eschew carnality. Living a consecrated life enables us to easily get access into the things of the spirit, but we cannot be actively living in carnality and sin and presume we can easily press the button and have the spirit yield to our request. It would be akin to ‘throwing pearls to swine’.

There are too many Father’s-in-the-Lord today {Priests} who are only possess the common bread of philosophy, denominationalism, and human idiosyncracies. They are purely giving out common bread filled with the yeast of compromise and sweet words which tickle the itchy ears of the flock. They are severely lacking in the shew-bread but instead constantly rehash and recycle sermons from other ‘men of God’. Men whom God may have possibly left God somewhere along the line but appear to cover it up nicely with excellent oratory and a focus on activities such as ‘comedic plays on sunday services’ and ‘concerts’ completely relegating the time spent on teaching to the bottom rung of priorities.

This is why anyone who truly is a sheep of the Lord will be in the habit of ‘smelling’ the food to see if it is fit for consumption. Not like goats who eat anything without due consideration.

Have you taken time recently to ask some questions of the Lord as concerning your priest? Or do you continually down the cool-aid without the Berean trait?

Key 4: Get ready to Engage your Faith in the right direction.

And David said unto Ahimelech, And is there not here under thine hand spear or sword? for I have neither brought my sword nor my weapons with me, because the king’s business required haste. And the priest said, The sword of Goliath the Philistine, whom thou slewest in the valley of Elah, behold, it is here wrapped in a cloth behind the ephod: if thou wilt take that, take it: for there is no other save that here. And David said, There is none like that; give it me. 1 Sam 21:8-9

One thing leads to another. Unless like David we have been able to demand and receive the shewbread from the table of the Lord, the eyes of our understanding may never open enough to know that we require spiritual equipping by the word and anointed impartation to confront the battles ahead.

The priest owes you divine equipping to fight the battles ahead. Do not be comfortable with any priest who lures you into believing He will fight for you always.
Christ has in his infinite wisdom allowed for certain trials of faith to come our way as a means of maturity intended testing. He also gives us the opportunity to actively confront and destroy the works of satan in our environment and the lives of those around us. One way He equips us is by making certain unction’s available through our discipler.

Like David we must understand that one of the reason God brings us under a man for a season is to train and equip us spiritually. Do not be lured into false comfort, for if in the day of adversity (which must surely come) you faint, then your strength is smallPsalm 24:10.

One painful thing i behold in the body of Christ is this current trend of wearing arm bands bearing the face of your father-in-the-Lord, carrying handkerchiefs from the altar bearing the insignia of the church, purchasing of special ‘holy water’, distribution and sale of special anointing oils, pasting of anointed protection stickers on doors and cars together with all sort of effigies which we are encouraged to place our faith in.

THESE PHYSICAL GIFTS & EFFIGIES ARE NOT WHAT THE PRIEST OWES US…Ref 1 Tim 1:18. SEPERATE YOURSELVES FROM SUCH PRACTICES.
They are temporal things which we should not place our faiths in.
Priests are meant to equip us with the word and the Holy Spirit and Fire with which we can confront any storms.

David was given the sword that slayed Goliath. 
Do Not Settle for Less……

May the mercies of the Lord deliver us.
Amen

please share if it has made any meaning to you.


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Living Above Wounds. Pathway to Wholeness; 4 Lessons from Joseph…

There are lots of societal notions which seem to make sense in the world. Yet these have almost no true bearing in our Christian faith. Our Christian faith is quite unconventional and in many instances far removed from accepted conventional wisdom. One such example of this is the broadly quoted notion that ‘Time heals all wounds.  For us, this is almost certainly not the case. Time just has the effect of covering up our wounds with scar tissue and burying some of the pain. Only God heals wounds.

Many Christians also erroneously assume that in the moment we became born-again, our deeply buried wounds were reclassified into to the category of old things are passed away’Whilst making a genuine decision for Christ does instantly breathe new life into a man, the reality has been very different for too many of us. 
Too many of us became new creatures bearing old wounds.

Does this mean that Christs saving grace is incapable of saving us unto the uttermost? No. The common reality is that whilst we yielded all other things to Christ in the course of conversion, far too many of us never wholly opened up enough of our deep wounds and yielded them to Christ for dealings. Blame our flawed conversion process and our false notion of altar-calls. Of course becoming born-again was just the starting point in what would perhaps be a life-long pilgrimage to perfection, yet our persisting inability to fully permit Christ’s saving grace after x number of years continues to stunt our development.

Christ assured us that in life we shall have tribulation John 16:33.Through Job’s vast experience on the subject matter we also learn that every man born of woman is surely born into trouble Job 5:7 in one way shape or form. Walking the path of life requires interactions, and in human interactions we often find conflicts which so often lead to wounds and hurts being given and being received.

One question to ask though is:

  • Can we successfully walk-out the christian journey of faith still bearing these wounds in our bosoms?
  • Exactly what impact do such unhealed wounds have on our faith walk and the testimony we ought to show forth?


Joseph’s shining example
: Old Testament, yet an eternal testimony.

Joseph’s life in the book of Genesis offers eternal lessons for a New Testament believer on how to live out our faith walk in such a manner that is Christ exalting and edifying to the body of saints.

Joseph was one man whose experience typified how deeply a man can be wounded by those closest to him. Loved by his father; yet despised by his big brothers.

  • He witnessed them throw him in a well.
  • He witnessed them actually deliberate killing him.
  • He witnessed them hatefully sell him into slavery like an unwanted dog.

There are a lot of us reading this who can relate to Joseph’s pain and betrayal in our own unique circumstances. We are:

  • Wives who have been pierced deep by our husbands betrayal and physical abuse….
  • Sons who have been disowned by fathers….
  • Daughters who have been molested and abused by father figures…
  • Husbands who have been disrespected consistently by wives
  • Children who have lived through painful separation of broken homes

Our churches are filled with droves of us believers from these categories and more; who love Christ and follow him, yet we remain quite deeply wounded and damaged.

The bible doesn’t tell us precisely when Joseph ‘came to terms’ with all the wounds inflicted on him in the course of his life. Yet when we hear him speak in Gen 45, it’s clear that he was a man who had been made ‘Whole’. Fully contented and reconciled with all the injustice that had been inflicted upon Him in life.

Gen 45:4-8
4And Joseph said unto his brethren, Come near to me, I pray you. And they came near. And he said, I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt.
5Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life.
6For these two years hath the famine been in the land: and yet there are five years, in which there shall neither be earing nor harvest.
7And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance.
8So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God: and he hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.

Lesson 1: ‘Come Near Unto me’:
[The Christ-like response Vs. The Sinful response to every hurt]

‘Come near unto me’ are words which too many of us still find impossible to utter towards our offenders. Our instinctive response to people who hurt us is to keep them as far away as possible, maintaining the barest minimum contact. Where we don’t have the luxury of keeping physical distance, we certainly take the liberty of locking them away emotionally. This response is purely in line with the natural law of self-preservation. But herein lays the problem. The root of Sin is Self, and anything self is not consistent with the laid down example of Christ.

Whilst we may ‘feel’ perfectly justified in doing this, from Christ’s perspective one bad turn of sin/hurt against us does not deserve another. Remember the idiom One good turn deserves another’? Well it’s yet another idiom inconsistent with the new covenant.

Joseph came to a place where he had no qualms drawing his offenders closer.  Perhaps because he had come to understand their role in God’s divine purpose for his life.

For several season of my life, i had someone whom i had to depend on. The person absolutely put me through emotional and psychological hell. I was glad to see the back of them, but some years later i was astonished to hear the Lord say to me ‘I used this person as an instrument to disciple you for those seasons of life‘. This statement of the Lord to me gave me a perspective that allowed me to soften my attitude towards the person permanently. Not to say that every single cruel person to you is an instrument of God, but its important that we hear His voice and get the necessary revelations if we are to gain proper perspective. The challenge we face though is that we become fo fixated in the wounds that we deafen our ears to hearing Christ.

In Luke 6:27-29 Jesus explicitly lays down the standard of grace unto us:
27But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you. 28Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.
29And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloak forbid not to take thy coat also.

 

Notice His deliberate statement in vs.27: ‘I say unto you which hear’: though there were many present who were ‘listening’ to him, yet he knew that not all would ‘hear’ (receive into their heart his saying. When his words run contrary to our emotional pains and sense of self=justification, its all too easy for us to turn a deaf ear to Him.

Have you heard Him? speak to you about surrendering that hurt?
Or have you merely been passively listening?

In fairness to us, Joseph’s declaration in Gen 45:4come near to me my brethren, I pray youcame when he had been made whole, after 22 odd years of separation from his offenders.

Christ requirement of us un Luke 6 requires immediate obedience. Yet He is patient and long-suffering with us because He understands that only a man who has gone through the crucible and whose heart has being redeemed by Him can successfully do this. When you are able to do this and act also like Joseph did, then you begin to know that you are maturing as a Christian and are being made whole.
Christian maturity is not a function of how long one has believed, but how well one has responded to the dealings of Christ through the Holy Spirit.
Sadly there are many of us who act as though we are mature in the faith, but in truth we are only still infants. Babies who have heart defects rarely ever grow in stature however many number of years they have lived.

Have you been born-again for 15years+ and still have open wounds from dealings with your parents/siblings/spouses which are unresolved and still inform your countenance?

Lesson 2: Christ confronts us in unexpected ways: [First the Log in your Eye]

The one who hurts you will be responsible before God for his/her action. However we who have been hurt are duty bound to respond in a Christ-like manner to that hurt. We must not compound their sin against us with another sin by responding in-kind.
For we are accountable for our response before God.

Many times in my personal walk where I have been dealing with hurts from interactions, I have yearned in my heart to the Lord to rise to my defence and certainly execute vengeance on my behalf before I can move on from the matter. Yet when the voice of the Lord and the conviction of the Spirit has come to me on the matter, 95% of the time He didn’t come with soothing words but rather with stern rebuke; flat-out pointing out my own culpability and wanting me to focus on addressing it.

Am i making Christ sounds like He is nonchalant and unsupportive?
Certainly not! For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknessesHeb 4:15. Yet He is more focussed on conforming us into His image (sometimes utilising those hurts and wounds as tools of conformation to our benefit), because therein lies total victory and peace.

Lesson 3: < the Person, <  Incident, & More of Christ: [We’ve got it backwards]

One common misunderstanding of Christ’s approach in healing our wounds and making us whole is this concept that the true path to healing involves confronting the person and the past incident to get some sort of ‘resolution’ or ‘closure’. Even in the recent book/movie taking western Christianity by storm ‘The Shack’, we see portrayed this concept that if God is going to heal you He will have to take you through this step by step guide to healing.

There is little or no biblical evidence supporting this approach to healing wounds.
Joseph was made whole without confronting his brothers nor Potiphar’s wife,, neither did he have to visit the locations of his involuntary incarceration. Hannah’s path didn’t conform to this, neither did David’s. Nor any significant biblical character for that matter.

Contrary to societal and professional counselling norms, Christ will not always hold our hand and take us down memory lane to confront the incidents and persons all over again. Neither is there any biblical indication that God’s healing process requires you to understand your offender. Or ‘walk in their shoes’.

For what greater understanding do you need about any man save to know that any man outside Christ is base and depraved and worthless and self-conceited, and very capable of doing you the greatest damage over and over again. Just so, you outside of Christ are no different than that spouse/parent/sibling and are capable of even worse atrocities.

Christ was the answer, Christ is the answer, and Christ shall forever be the answer. God heals us by causing us to behold Christ.

Actually when we confront the wrongs and persons we are in danger of getting forever stuck in hindsight never being able to move forward.

When we behold Christ long enough, one thing that comes into us is contentment in Him, and where we have contentment in Christ we almost certainly do not require anything else.

Lesson 4: Remorse is Unnecessary • Apology is Irrelevant • Acknowledgement Inconsequential:
[Christ needs none of these to make you whole, neither do you…Let go, so you can hold unto him firmly]

For all their heinous crimes against Joseph and the anguish of his soul when he pleaded with them not to sell him as they rightly acknowledged in Gen 42:21-22.
We don’t actually find any record in the bible to indicate that his brothers made an outright apology to Joseph. The remorse which they demonstrated in vs 21 was more about buyer’s remorse: for they lamented the karma which seemed to have beset them.

Quite magnificently Joseph by the time he encounters his brothers, having been made whole finding contentment in God and understanding of divine purpose never actually required any apology, acknowledgement nor remorse from his brothers. He had gained perspective in God, and thereby needed no input from his offender in forgiving them.

When we truly surrender and behold Christ alone, He takes away our need for requiring some form of atonement/recognition from our tormentor. In giving us himself, He gives us a peace and contentment which is complete in Him. His work in us needs not be augmented by any of this. Many times where we stubbornly hold fast onto the record of these hurts and demand remorse from our offenders. By this so, we ignorantly hinder Christ’s work in us and prevent Him from making us whole.

My personal testimony:Letting go is quite liberating’

At age 13 I suffered a very devastating breach of trust by an elder whom I looked up to. This event scarred me so badly and produced a raft of trust and confidence issues for decades of my life. Though time passed, it had been buried deep under a thin veneer, and in my quitter moments I would dig it up and mull over it, over and over.

Deep down in my heart I had always nestled this need to wring out some form of acknowledgement, remorse and apology from my oppressor. I thought at least this would give me some form of closure in the matter, so that I could move on.
20 years later, I had the opportunity to confront the person privately which I did in the calmest and sternest manner I could. What I got in response though was the blankest and most vacuous stare I’d ever seen on the face of a human being. It was almost as though I had imagined everything, and it didn’t actually exist for they appeared to have no recollection of the event.

What I had waited for all these years turned out to be rather a non-event and instead of closure this threw me into another 4 years of rage and self-torment as I returned to the same cell in my heart in which we both occupied. Only this time I also put God in the cell with us both, for I felt that He had failed to administer justice as he ought.

I continued seeking the Lord steadfastly in other areas and serving His people, until one faithful afternoon suddenly the voice of Christ came unto me as though it had a physical bodily form. It completely isolated me in this bubble as He spoke to me and opened my eyes to see a sort of film record play before my eyes what happened in these 10 mins frankly seemed like 1 day.

In those 10 mins, He laid me bare through His words. He made me see man’s utter depravity and hopelessness without Him. In that moment I knew that no man is good (including myself the believer in Him). He helped me understand that I had been looking at the wrong person all along. For my gaze had been partially behind at the incident and the person, and one eye on Christ. But He corrected my focus. He broke my will to hold unto those hurts that day, and ironically i became free. I have never had a more profound encounter with Christ, for since that day I have been completely free from the anger/pain and condemnation of it. I react lovingly towards the person and I faintly only remember the matter these days as He has pre-occupied my heart with more glorious engagement of Him and the Kingdom. My spiritual life also exploded multiple fold since then as the anointing of God and the gifts of the spirit operate more powerfully and effortlessly through my life and in ministry.

Praise be to His name.

Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

  • Who has caused you the greatest hurt?
  • How are you responding to the person?
  • Are you still clinging on in your heart for some form of acknowledgement, remorse or apology before you can close their file?
  • How long will you remain captive to this cycle of wounds?
  • How long will Christ plead with you to open those closed areas of your heart to Him? And unclench your fists around those records of wrongs?
  • Do you want to be free like Joseph and show forth an exemplary response in righteousness that will demonstrate Christ’s glorious work in you?
  • Do you actually desire to be all Christ desires you to be in Him?

Please surrender to the Lord in prayer and ask Him to loose you from every bond of bitterness and pain. Ask Him to help you break free from the hurts. Ask Him to give more of the revelation of His love to you and cause you to fix your gaze upon Him.

May He grant you grace and liberate you forever so that you can become all that He wants you to be in Him.

Grace to us all.

Amen.

Some previous Posts:
The Marriage Bed undefiled ¦ Titles, Honorifics, Tributes ¦ The Night Cometh

 

Escaping Labanic Bondage

break-free 2

 ‘And it came to pass, when Rachel had born Joseph, that Jacob said unto Laban,
  Send me away, that I may go unto mine own place and to my countryGen 30:25

Lets get a couple of things out of the way very briefly if this narrative will make sense.

The bible is a multi-layered book from which we can continuously learn new things from the same story every time we are led into it by the spirit as our guide.
We also know that the major characters in the bible generally have a symbolic and sometimes prophetic typology to them (usually of Christ) from which we are meant to glean endless lessons: which if applied correctly will cause us to grow in our faith.

Joseph in the book of genesis speaks to a type of Christ: loved by His father, sold into slavery, sent by God, ahead of us, to preserve (save) and deliver.Gen 45:7 Typologically Joseph also represents ‘the bread of life – word of God’ attribute: How so you may ask? One implication of Joseph’s enthronement in Egypt was that no one in the land could eat except by Joseph. Jesus told us very clearly that man shall not to live by bread alone, but every word which proceeds from the mouth of God.Matt 4:4
Also in John 6:35 He stated clearly that ‘I am the bread of Life’.

In Jacob we see the dealings of God through His Holy Spirit in breaking our outer man and bringing us to a place of total dependence on Him and translation into a new name which carries a destiny far more than us.

In Laban we see a form of foundational bondage which can easily entangle us believers. Familial bondage is something African believers in general can easily relate to as our culture and society isn’t geared towards early independence if at all. Too many believers having become born again still spend decades, if not all of their lives beholding to our familial foundations (spiritually-emotionally-maritally and financially). This impacts on our joy as believers and hampers our ability to enjoy the ‘life more abundant’ which Christ delivers to us.

Wait a minute..Didn’t Christ set us free on the cross?
A couple of years ago, whilst interceding for fellow brethren, I had a clear vision shown to me. In it I beheld an elder sister in the church who was held in a deep underground cell in total darkness. She was tied into a perfectly stationary position on her knees by old ancient chains fit more for ship anchors than any human. Suddenly a light shone bright in the cell and suddenly the chains fell off from off of her, of their own accord. I started rejoicing but my joy was cut short by what I beheld: the chains had fallen off and the door of the cell flung wide open. Yet she hadn’t moved an inch. she was still glued to the same spot despite the fact that there were no longer any restrictions on her person.

Coming out of the vision I asked the Lord ‘why is she just kneeling there and can’t leave’ to which I got the immediate response ‘It is one thing to set a person free, It is yet something else for that person to walk in that freedom’.

Many of us believers are like that sister. Though set free by Christ we are unable to walk in total freedom : still beset by emotional wounds, and foundational hindrances of the Labanic shade.
E.g. This sort of thing is often common with those growing up with emotional scars from years of abuse and selfish manipulation by parents, uncles and elders. The popular myth that ‘time heals all wounds’ is false! Time does not heal wounds, It only covers them up!. Only the love of God expressed through His word is powerful enough to heal such wounds and bring us to a place of forgiveness and freedom. Yet unless the Holy Spirit births the necessary truth into our heart, it is nigh impossible for any man’s mere words to do any more than scratch the surface.

Of greater concern is the condition of other believers which almost mimic Stockholm Syndrome.

‘My People perish for a lack of Knowledge’
God’s diagnostic in Hosea 4:6 as the root cause of our languishing still applies. The popular idiom that ‘what you don’t know cannot kill you’ is completely untrue. Ignorance kills, and many believers languish and suffer from what they don’t know (‘hasn’t been made known to them’) .
Specially addressing believers in John 8:32, Jesus made it clear that the remedy to perishing in bondage is Truth. And He is Truth!.

Laban Vs. Jacob: Us Vs. Our Foundations
Jacob served Laban 7 years for Rachel. Yet he was given tender-eyed Leah instead.
Laban used cultural norms as his excuse for that deception.
In our foundations we will rarely ever be dealt with fairly. We will almost always be given less than what God’s intent is for us.

Jacob served an additional 7 years for Rachel. Yet having met the bride price and served 14 years for both Leah and Rachel, Laban’s declaration in Gen 31:43 betrayed his possessive-oppressive mindset as he still laid claims to the ownership of not only Leah and Rachel but their sons and Jacobs hard-earned wealth as well.Vs 43

And Laban answered and said unto Jacob, These daughters are my daughters, and these children are my children, and these cattle are my cattle, and all that thou seest is mine: and what can I do this day unto these my daughters , or unto their children which they have born?’ Gen 31:43

Now it must be stated very clearly that not every one’s foundation is bad. In Gen 24 Bethuel (Abraham’s kindred ) typified God’s expectation of us Christians in dealing with His heritage. Bethuel in Gen 24 not only behaved fairly toward Rebekah but provided her with a springboard of marital and future success with Isaac.

58 ‘And they called Rebekah, and said unto her, Wilt thou go with this man? And she said I will go. 59 And they sent Rebekah their sister, and her nurse, and Abraham’s servant, and his men. 60 And they blessed Rebekah, and said unto her, Thou art our sister, be thou the mother of thousands of millions, and let thy seed possess the gate of those which hate them.

Sadly not every one is as fortunate as Rebekah was.

Because of the inherent corruption in most of our foundations, The default posture of our foundations is most often a Labanic one. We are held bound Spiritually, Financially, Maritally and Socially. Yet their claim and hold over us is often so total that the intent is not only for us to serve all our lives without releasing us with a proper springboard as Rebekah was, but that even our children and generations after us will be permanently beholding unto their altars, covenants and idols.

One way of recognising the Labanic posture in our foundations is from its fruit. It is familiar, friendly and alluring on the surface BUT is endemically hostile! Hostile towards your independence, Hostile towards your Peace, Hostile towards your progress!

Christ has made us free : How can I walk in that freedom?

Simple and most direct answer is: Joseph must be born unto us!.

25 ‘And it came to pass, when Rachel had born Joseph, that Jacob said unto Laban,
     Send me away, that I may go unto mine own place and to my country’.

As I stated earlier Joseph is a form of the daily bread of God’s word made available to us when we allow the word of the Lord to be enthroned in our hearts. The starting point of walking in total freedom BEGINS with the deep truths in the word of God being born (unveiled) in our hearts through Rachel (a Christian life which has a higher price attached and requires going the extra mile in terms of our time and heart focus)

Yes Jesus guaranteed that as we know the truth (not by intellectual prowess but when it is unveiled progressively to us by the Holy Spirit whom He promised would guide us into ALL truth) we will be able to walk in freedom. The greatest weakness of most believers today though is our inability to devote proper time to consecrated study of the word.

Christians today are ready to pray for many days and attend many programs and give themselves over to uncountable hours of service in our respective denominations YET we find it so tasking to devote a few hours of our day unto the Holy Spirit in quiet alone time study of the word.

Because we don’t set time aside for this intimacy, it becomes very difficult for us to ‘conceive any truths’ in our Spirit man, and without conception we cannot birth anything tangible spiritually.

After Joseph was born to Jacob THEN was He capable of confronting Laban and begin his long walk towards total Emancipation. Note that He still served 6 years before he could attain economic emancipation from Laban. Perhaps because he fell victim to Laban’s emotional blackmail in Gen 30:27. He ‘tarried’ longer than perhaps required.
My fellow brother and Sister in Christ, You must devote quality uninterrupted time to personal bible study this year if you are to come to a place where you can begin to walk in the newness of Life that Christ has procured for us on the cross.

Having the strength of Heart psalm 104:15 to confront Laban and begin the process of walking out of Labanic bondage requires the word of God being birthed personally to us. Whilst Prayer, Fasting and Service is good, The personal revealed word is the Ultimate!

Grace to us all.

 

Flee to the Mountain: The Currency of Grace.

4 times a week i have the privilege of ministering to a broad range of inter-denominational groups across different villages & townships. One common thread I’ve noticed is that there is a gross misunderstanding of ‘grace’ in today’s body of Christ.


Yes it is true we don’t earn grace!, and it is also true that it is freely given to the believer! John 1:12. But what is largely overlooked is that Grace isn’t actually free! Someone paid a price for it! And that same someone has an expectation of returns that His sacrifice ought to yield to them who it has been freely given to; and rightly so!!


“for unto whomsoever much is given:     of him much will be required” Lke 12:48

Grace is the most expensive free gift ever given, because the highest price ever paid in the history of creation was paid for it. The very life blood of Jesus Christ the only begotten son of God.


It is important to make this clarification because we be-little the price paid for us believers by Christ when we oversimplify grace to mean just ‘Unmerrited Favor’.


So What is Grace?

God created man for His divine purpose (pleasure), but that purpose was sabotaged when man fell into Sin. 2 immediate problems that created:

  1. Sin made man the enemy of God and meant we were deserving of His wrath and punishment.

  2. Man could no longer fulfill divine purpose because He no longer had free access to God’s presence from which he drew his enabling ability to fulfill divine purpose.


Christ’s incalculable sacrifice for believers at the cross solved these 2 challenges in 1 fell swoop:

  1. He redeemed us from the eternal judgement & wrath we deserved.
  2. IT ALSO opened the way for a more intimate relationship with God (who now comes to dwell in us), allowing us to walk progressively with Him, and through His divine presence with/in us, supplies us with His enabling ability to live as He wants us to live and do what He he has foreordained us to do, and be whom He has created us to be.

There is a widening gulf between point #1 & #2 created & selfishly propagated by false grace teachers which is entrapping an ever-increasing number of believers today.

 

Why Does This Matter?

It matters because when we embrace Step #1 (the salvation element of grace) and sidestep Step #2 (the empowerment element), we end up with a Christian life which is self focussed and whose inevitable end point is fruitlessness at best or an abominable product at worst!! (Such as the Moabites & Amalekites which Lot’s life produced)


Either way, the totality of Christ’s sacrifice would have been in vain for us.


When Grace is wasted: The Story of Lot.

Recommended Reading: Gen 18:15-38


The old testament story of brother Lot offers a teachable typology of how God’s most expensive gift of grace freely given to a believer can be squandered!

In our previous discussion on Building & Dwelling in the Plain, Lot’s carnally driven choice to settle & build His Christian life in the plains of Sodom is typical of a believer who runs a ‘self-driven’ race laced with spots of compromise & daily stained by the scum of the mixed-multitude.


In Gen 19:15-16, God being the merciful God that He is, reaches out to forcibly remove lot & his household from the ruin & catastrophe which his carnal choices deserved. Having divorced himself from divine purpose and progressive relationship with God.


Vs 15-16 show the mercy and grace of God unto salvation for brother Lot.

16. And while he lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; the Lord being merciful unto him: and they brought him forth, and set him without the city.

Fulfilling point #1 dimension of grace.


In vs 17 we see the 2nd leg/dimension of grace at play encapsulated in the divine instruction to “Flee the plain…. escape thou to the mountain”. 


17 And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said, Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed


God’s instructions are infused with grace (enabling ability) to do his will for those who are prepared to walk obediently.

Having delivered us from wrath, His declared will & intention made known unto us through His Holy Spirit and His word also give us the ‘enabling ability’ to live above the power of Sin daily, to live Live for Him according to our overall purpose & finally just as important it gives us the power not to look back (to our vomit & past life)

We Compromise, Because we love our flesh

19 “Behold now, thy servant hath found grace in thy sight, and thou hast mangnified thy mercy, which thou hast shewed unto me in saving my life; and I cannot escape to the mountain, lest some evil take me, and I die: “

20. “Behold now, this city is near to flee unto: and it is a little one: Oh, Let me escape thither, (is it not a little one?) and my soul shall live”.

Vs 18-20

Lot’s ‘negotiation’ out of God’s perfect will into God’s permissive will is the way many of us Christians now live our lives.

We gratefully accept the Salvation afforded us by Christ’s gift of grace but we wiggle our way out of surrendering unto His Lordship which the 2nd leg of grace aims to produce in us.

We ultimately end up with a Christianity without Jesus when we do this.


The most expensive gift of Faith which is freely given to us believers is not given to us on ‘our terms’ but on Christ’s terms.

God’s intent was not to deliver us from the Sodom of worldliness only to have us settle in the Zoar of lukewarmity & religion.


Many of us today we negotiate our way out of denying ourselves daily & taking up our cross to follow Christ. We rather settle for a less painful & sacrificial ‘experience’ of Christianity in Zoar where we practice on our terms and our way.

In Zoar we find a comfort zone where we clothe ourselves with the ‘form of godliness’ but deny the power of the same grace to transform and conform us via the mountain experience.


What are our common excuses?

  • Perfection is impossible, so why try? After all God knows I can’t be perfect.

  • God is merciful, once saved I’ll always be saved as long as i do good and avoid evil I can keep on living for myself as I please.

  • Didn’t Christ die that I might have life more abundantly? That should mean the focal point of my life is to live my best life now.


Perhaps the proof of our inordinate love of self is best expressed in our conscious or unconscious choice to seek out a church & place of worship also built in the plain which affords compromise, is soft on Sin and is centred upon the exaltation of Self.

The Inevitable result is that we produce believers fully settled in Zoar who:

  • Profess Christ but regularly take bribes in the office and enrich themselves at the expense of their employer.

  • Profess Christ but still dabble in fornication, adultery and lewdness.

  • Profess Christ but still drink, smoke and engage in revellings.

  • Profess Christ but reject the ‘quaint idea’ of submitting to their Husbands, supposing that their service and “good works” justifies them.

  • Profess Christ but also worship (whole heartedly give their heart’s over) to other reigning gods of the day such as football, fashion.


All of these are just some of the consequences which the devaluation of grace is producing in our  and the church.

You may look at all of this and say like the rich young ruler: “I don’t fall into any of these categories”….good for you…


But there’s just one more thing…..


Imagine for a moment you are destitute, homeless and utterly bereft of all Hope. Then suddenly a sympathetic passerby takes interest in you, and writes you a cheque of N10m, then leaves you with His accountant who he tasks with training you and counselling you for a time . When your benefactor returns 5 years later to see how you’re doing what would you suppose his expectation would be?


The Final Matter:

You are a Christian who has received Christ’s free gift of salvation many years hence, How much have you utilized the grace to increasingly grow in your knowledge of Him? And conformation to His image?

Were Christ to visit you today, would he find bountiful fruit (return on His investment) or would he meet only leaves?

Peace be unto you.

11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, 12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, 14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works”…Titus 2:11-14

Building & Dwelling in the Plain….

Ani تركيا

“And it came to pass that as they journeyed from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there. And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for mortar. And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of

 the whole earth”….Gen 11:2-4

The Plain is Mostly Bad…We musnt build in it!!

God’s word rarely has anything good to say about the plain. Most biblical references to the plain are negative.

Jesus told the parable of the foolish man who built his house in the plain: Matt 7:26-27Lot was commanded to “Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain;” Gen 19:17

It is rarely God’s wish for His people to dwell in the plain, much less run their christian race by way of the plain like Ahimaaz. When God comes to have dealings with men in the plain, majority of the time it is usually for Judgement.


In most instances where sin will be committed & men will depart from God it usually begins with a ‘going down’, metaphorically denoting ‘descent from God’s presence into rebellion.  Samson (Judges 14:1), Jonah (Jonah 1:3) are quick examples.


God’s preference for his people is always to leave the plain of lukewarmness and religion, and rather to ascend the mountain of revelation, intimacy & transfiguration. There are countless examples where He ‘calls up’ his servants not just to the physical mountain, but to the spiritual position which is higher than flesh.


Christian lives and churches that are built in the plain can rarely ever be pleasing to GodThis is because of what the plain represents prophetically:

The plain is:-

  • The place of compromise. Gen 11:319:8.

  • The place where men are often consumed by the works of the flesh stipulated in Gal 5:19-21.Gen 13:10

  • The place of idolatry…Exo 32:1-8

  • The place where men fall into diverse temptations & sin because of the mixed multitude & what mingling with them causes Num 25:1-3

  • The place of Captivity. Gen 14:11-12

  • The place where living in God’s permissive will is preferred to His perfect will …2 Sam 18:23

  • The place of spiritual death. 

 

‘that as they Journeyed from the East’.

The East represents wisdom. In journeying from the East, they moved away not just from the geographical east, but from the wisdom of God. By so doing they were placing confidence & faith in their own ability, capacity and strength.

Anytime we move, act or plan our lives outside of God’s wisdom, pride is often at the root of it and will almost certainly end in some sort of fall from grace.


‘that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there’.


Whilst to God’s eye the plain is a bad place to be, Yet to the unregenerate man it is very pleasant to behold. Just ask brother Lot! The natural man has an affinity for ease and comfort which the plain abundantly offers. The spiritual man though lays aside every weight and ascends the mountain, carefully bracing the arduous climb of that narrow way, pressing upward toward the mark of the high calling. 


Most ‘mega-churches’ built today often genuinely began in God’s will by men who were genuinely called as many are. Yet they never made it into God’s choice because they failed to persevere in the furnace of God’s affliction (yes there is such a thing..ref Isa 48:10) where those whom He calls are processed. Such men chose themselves just as Ahimaaz did.

Before their inordinate ambition could die out in the embers of God’s furnace, they ‘go in Haste and by flight‘ in direct contravention of Isa 52:12.

When a man gets out of God’s furnace before the refining fire has had a chance to burn away inordinate ambition from his heart, such a man’s vision changes to how to build a megachurch that’s ‘Miles Wide but not an inch deep’ …A man who absconds from God’s refining process ever before the fire has a chance to deal with the lust for fame in his heart will soon begin plastering pictures of himself and his wife all over the place, advertently or inadvertently promoting self.

Anyone who escapes God’s cauldron before ‘Self’ is totally consumed out of his life will be quick to embrace titles, honorifics & tributes…not like Apostle Paul who considered himself a Servant of the Lord Jesus Christ 1st above all other considerations, who was privileged to be called into the office of the Apostle. Rom 1:1


“If the church uses carnal means to draw carnal men, It will be forced to continue and even grow in carnality in order to keep them”.                                                                   …… Paul Washer

‘And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick and burn them thoroughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for mortar’

Biblically stones refer to longevity, endurance & Truth. Whilst they were made by God, bricks on the other hand are man made and far less enduring of the element’s.

It’s very difficult to find stones in the plain, and so baked mud bricks become the ready substitute easily borrowed from the world.

Christian lives built in the plain always involve a fundamental swap of divine principles for more palatable doctrines. The ancient landmarks are shifted & are replaced by man made concept’s & interventions borrowed from the world we are supposed to change.

The ‘weightier matters’ of Repentance; of Dying to Self; of Taking up the cross; of Suffering for a time; of Persecution; are reduced to mere footnotes. Whilst the promise of having ‘Your Best Life Now’ become the central & ONLY theme of a new gospel replaced by the new god of self!

These churches in the plain promote a pernicious gospel which blatantly contrive to present ‘worshippers’ with a Christianity without Jesus. We worshipers ever so eager to receive the news which tickles our ears give ourselves over to the pursuit of lying vanities even at our own eternal expense….Jonah 2:3

And they said, Go to, let us build us

 a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the from the 

whole earth”

Brethren, with every new season we ought to be ascending in our spiritual relationship with God and departing further and further away from the world system and all its manifestations. We’re enjoined to ‘grow in grace and in the knowledge of our saviour and Lord Jesus Christ’

Just like LOT we were pulled out from eternal destruction and given grace to ascend the mountain; with a directive to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. 

Unfortunately like Lot, a great majority of us have settled for the Zoar of ‘ordinary’ Christianity, very much at ease with the false belief we cannot be perfect so why borther striving for it?. Happy to sow our seed, give our offerings and pay our tithes..yet continually live under the yoke of masturbation, immorality, lust, fornication, adultery and worldliness. Convincing ourselves & being convinced by these false shepherds that God is merciful and would never demand more of us. Deriving our greatest pleasures and Joy not from God himself but from the pursuit of ethereal goals.

There is a flood of eternal Judgement and punishment just around the corner. Grace is soon to expire, we must lay hold on the grace we still have now to flee from the plain and all such churches that are built within the plain AND ascend the mountain high enough to avoid being swept away by the coming wrath of He who is a consuming fire.

May the Holy Spirit impress upon our hearts the need to grow strong in the Lord and in the Power of His might daily.

Amen

 

 

 

Nothing new under the Sun.

golden-calf

9 The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun. 10 Is there anything whereof it may be said, See, this is new? it hath been already of old time, which was before us.” Eccl 1:10 KJV

I abhor the prosperity gospel. I quite literally foam at the mouth when it comes to this subject as my poor wife would quickly attest to.  She’s had to sit through endless rants on the subject every time we drive past a billboard or flick across most mainstream televangelist on tv. 

Many things irk me about it to say the least. But whilst having a cursory read through of the book of exodus 32 I’ve come to realise my mistake.

All this time I’ve been operating under the very false notion that the prosperity gospel is ‘new’; something which has been recently conjured up by slick salesmen who have grossly distorted the scriptures of God for profit. But in reality that’s giving them far much more credit than they deserve. Wearing a bow tie for a calf doesn’t change what it is…

For the sake of clarity: The prosperity gospel isn’t just explicitly about money.
But it is any gospel which is not Christ centered but self-centered.
It is any gospel which makes ‘your well-being’ the primary focus whilst whittling down every other aspect of God’s natureand his purpose for us to mere foot notes.

The book of exodus is for Israel literaly and to us typological. This is how God through His own infinite mercy and wisdom having brought us out of the world, has called us into a personal walk of worship and intimacy with Himself.

Let’s pick up from chapter 32 where Moses has been away on the mountain with God for 40 days and 40 nights; Lets see if there is a pattern here….

Verse 1

“When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered themselves together to Aaron and said to him. Up, make us gods who shall go before us. As for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.” 

  • The people got tired of the doctrine of perseverance and waiting on God Isa 40:31. Instead they itched for instant gratification and sought out a Man of God who would conjure up for them a god who fits into their agenda and mold 2 Tim 4:3-4. One that would be at their beck and call whom they could carry anywhere they liked and would remain within the boundaries where they set him down Isa 46:7.

Verse 2-3

So Aaron said to them, “Take off the rings of gold that are in the ears of your wives, your sons, and your daughters, and bring them to me.” So all the people took off the rings of gold that were in their ears and brought them to Aaron. 

  • In the true mentality of seekers, they bewitched Gal 3:1 themselves and imagined a god who will be served by non-altruistic gifting’s. It is a system of worship where you give (‘sow’) in order to receive back in “good, measure, pressed down and shaken together”. Their seed had to be produced from the rings on their ears because it was from a position of highly selective hearing. They hear only what they want to hear and act in faith on that alone; Ears that were not inclined to hear the ‘whole counsel of God’ Acts 20:27.

Verse 4-5

And he received the gold from their hand and fashioned it with a graving tool and made a golden calf. And they said, “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!” When Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it. And Aaron made a proclamation and said, “Tomorrow shall be a feast to the Lord. 

  • With the tools of skillful utterance their high priest fashions and presents to their imaginations a sleek & shiny deity whom they build an edifice unto with great pagentry and colourful activities in the pretext of sunday service.

    Why was it a calf? Why not an eagle? Or a lion?
    Why not depict the divine nature as one of exalted revelation or unlimited strength?.

    The most simplistic answer is that they chose a calf because of what it represents. Provision, Prosperity and Utility.

    When we juxtapose their immediate socio-economic realities against their current walk through the wilderness, we understand their ‘Carpe – Diem’ mantra better.

Verse 6:

“And they rose up early the next day and offered burnt offerings and brought peace offerings. And the people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play {revel} {shamefully without moral restraint} Exo 32:6

  • They arose in the prime of their lives to define the kingdom of God as meat and drink Rom 14:7. Naturally, having continually sown to the flesh Gal 6:8 , they reap the inevitable fruit of corruption: the complete moral degradation of the congregation who come practically naked to church enticing and sleeping with one another with total abandon all under the flag of ‘false grace’.

That in a rather simplistic narrative is the church of god at that time in the wilderness.
How arE the bulk of our ‘worship’ services any different?. Aren’t the majority of our assemblies now about building the same golden calf that they did? dont our offering bags represent our modern ‘censers’ and our accompanying musical numbers incense?

Just as were told in verses 25-26 one consequence churhces of our age also suffer  is the open derision from the heathen. who correctly view our irresponsible behaviors cloaked (under the guise of self-righteous religion) as contemptible.

The propspertiy though stylized is nothing new but the same old idolatory of ages past.

Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. 2Ti 2:19

Moses’s call is still ringing out to we who profess to be the lord’s people this day: WHOEVER IS ON THE LORD’S SIDE COME TO ME

If you find yourself in just such an assembly or conregation that fits into this narrative, then flee the plain for the coming destruction is surely certain. It has happened before and will happen again…

Grace to you.