Introduction: The Gospel of the Kingdom

“And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.”

Matthew 24:14 KJV

Let us first of all establish the backdrop to this statement. The disciples were calling Jesus’ attention to the temple buildings, like they wanted to show Him the beauty of the temple.

And then Jesus said to them: “See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.” (Mat 24:3). That which they were celebrating has no future. In about 40 years later, Jerusalem was invaded by Titus in AD 70 and the temple was in ruins.

Fundamental error of the Last Days
Here we note an emphasis on physical things that leads to the loss of its spiritual substance/significance. For instance, the need to be in a particular place before God can hear you or help you etc. The LORD clearly separated Himself from that. He said in 23:38, “Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.” Because what makes it divine has left it; divine presence is gone (Christ has left) and there is Ichabod.

Audio Message of the Gospel of the Kingdom

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I will attempt to list out the other things Jesus said after this because they all form a backdrop for the statement Jesus made in verse 14.
Massive Deception vv. 4-5, 11
Global chaos vv. 6-7
Increase in sin v 12
Intense hatred & waning love v 10, 12

What do you note about all these things that Jesus said here? This is the state of the world today. So, when Jesus said, “And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” (Matthew 24:14 KJV), He was revealing His plan on how He will bring everything to an end.

Why must the Gospel of the Kingdom be preached?

So that God can have a witness before all nations. What kind of witness? The word “witness” here means “testimony” or “evidence”. In Revelation 1:9, John says, he is a “…brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ…for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. Note that he mentions that He is in the Kingdom of Jesus Christ. For what? For the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ.

The evidence that must be set before the nations before the end will come is the LORD’s rule in a person’s life that makes him to exalt the Word of God above all human traditions so that He can become a testimony of Jesus Christ to all in his “nation” – immediate family, neighbour, community, workplace etc. The Word of God is supreme to those in the Kingdom of God and when the Word is void of human traditions, it will no doubt produce the testimony of Jesus in that life.

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The Kingdom

After all is said and done, there is one thing that matters most in life, and it is the question of allegiance. History is a recorder of human deeds and some times the intentions behind those deeds. These intentions are gathered by conjectures, calculations or investigations.

Beyond this physical life is a cosmic reality that supersedes and controls our experience of life. In that world, the ultimate issue is KINGDOM. And in this physical plane, it translates into POWER. The desire for power in all its material forms have made mankind to prove that there is more to its actions than meet the eyes.

Whether you like it or not there is an underlying spiritual background to everything. And without trying to be unduly simplistic, you, as a person, belong to a kingdom. Your choices, views, pursuits, words, commitments give away where you belong in the cosmic division. They are your way of seeking for power and in the process you must offer worship. It will either be to God or yourself (self, being satan’s best camouflage)

Now, this description quietly penetrates the facade that often veils the real situation of things in your life. It doesn’t allow sweeping generalizations to provide a way of escape for those who belong to religious organizations to ease their conscience, thinking because they belong to an organization they are automatically in the Kingdom of God.

“But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33

What are you seeking first? What is your ultimate goal in this life? What is your obsession? Whatever you are seeking shows which kingdom you truly belong. Is it the kingdom of man (which is a veil for satanic worship) or the KINGDOM OF GOD (which does not come by observation but is manifest within)? Luke 17:20-21

If you want to learn more about the KINGDOM OF GOD, you can join The Gospel of the Kingdom Class on WhatsApp (by clicking the link below). I can assure you that it is not about human ideas, rather it is about the TRUTH that sets free.

https://chat.whatsapp.com/C6rtpsWXfi8Ba8a2uy4Vqd

“Seek the LORD and his strength, seek his face continually.” 1 Chronicles 16:11

“Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” Matthew 6:10

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Longing for more…

“Seek the LORD, and his strength: seek his face evermore.” Psalm 105:4

What pursuit can be higher than that?

If you have sought the Highest “thing”, how will you not be able to get every other thing (no matter how high they seem before the world)?
My soul’s configuration is to seek the Highest. To not seek Him is to wound it and make it a slave to every other thing I may seek.

Seek His strength, not my strength.

My strength at its best, what can it do? It certainly can do some things.
But what is that compared to what His strength can accomplish? Seek His strength because the days are not only evil but jet-like, replaced each morning in rapid succession. Only divine strength can make me thrive in a world always in a rush. With my strength I may cope, but with His strength, I will thrive.

What a wonder to behold His face!

Trust me there is nothing in all the world that can compare to this rare privilege to behold the LORD. Nothing! This is what it means live, to be alive. The light of His face arms me for all that the day brings. This light can handle anything. It can strengthen in adversity and it can sustain in prosperity. Oh, how I need this light much more than the dawn of each morning.

“Why spend your money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in rich food.” Isaiah 55:2 ISV

 

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Avoiding the Trap of Mancentredness

If all the reasons for division among Christians can be summarized into one thing, I think it will be this: moving away from a God-centred position to a man-centred position.

In fact, if there could be a neat categorization of Christians into two groups, it will probably be:

  1. Those who are moving closer to a God or Christ-centred position in their thinking, reading of Scriptures, practise of the church life and everyday living.
  2. Those who are moving closer to a man centred position in their thinking, reading of Scriptures, practise of church life and everyday living.

It is this one matter that is the deciding issue in the last book of the Bible, Revelation, among God’s people. In Revelations chapters 2, 3 & 12, there is a distinct group of God’s elect called the Overcomers. These, we can say, are those who stayed true to a God-centred movement all their lives while the rest were those who were trapped in a man-centred movement, no matter how pious they seem to be to men. In Matthew 25, where we have the story of the 10 virgins (although a parable, a story used to illustrate a spiritual principle), the 5 wise represents the Overcomers while the 5 foolish represents the Compromisers.

 

What principle is guiding your life & work?

When the Holy Ghost began to speak about how we will be judged as Christians at the Judgment seat of Christ, He listed the 3 building materials necessary to build a life and work that will abide (1 Corinthians 3:12-15). As you will observe, Gold, Silver and Precious stones are materials deep down beneath the surface of the earth. As a principle, they speak of that which has passed through death and has experienced resurrection. This the summary of the New Creation Life in Christ Jesus.

The other 3 materials mentioned are wood, hay and stubble. And you will agree with me that these are things commonly available to man regardless of his spiritual condition. These are found almost without any effort. The principle here is the “earthwardness” or “mancentredness” that is the controlling principle of behaviour among all people. An illustration will suffice here: The philistines returned the Ark of the Covenant to Israel (after they had tasted the wrath of God) by putting it on a calf driven cart and it was okay, but when the Israelites copied that “strategy” and placed the Ark on a new cart, they saw the wrath of God (1 Samuel 6:11, 2 Samuel 6:3, 6-7).

 

Consequences of Mancentredness

Just as righteousness is a direct result of a Godcentred/Heavenward position, sin is a result of a Mancentred/earthward position. Everyone comes short of the glory of God at birth because their source (Adam) became centred in man in Genesis 3, therefore they can only produce sin, even with good deeds. The only way out is Christ. That’s why you have the term “in Christ” repeated severally in the New Testament. It means coming out of mancentredness into Godcentredness.

What are the consequences of remaining mancentred? Israel suffered the terrible consequence of the death of Uzzah because they moved away from the Godcentred position. They became centred in man, and they ignored the right way to move the Ark by adopting a more efficient way, albeit wrong. God had designated the Levites to carry the Ark and not to put it on a cart driven by a calf or something (Deut 10:8, Joshua 3:3).

When Ananias & Sapphira decided to introduce the leaven of hypocrisy, by giving reluctantly (or how do you explain, giving a part of what you have and declare it’s all you have?) or not wanting to be seen as not giving, they died suddenly. Death was the means of removing that strange introduction of mancentredness into a Godcentred movement.

David was offended for a time because God was just being who He is – righteous & just (2 Samuel 6:8). He eventually admitted his error “…that we sought him not after the due order.” in 1 Chronicles 15 (1-2, 11-13). This is the courage we need to see today, first in ourselves. We must admit that we are wrong when the LORD queries us, whether by running into a wall (stalemate) or suffering great loss. If we claim to see no loss among us, what about the loss of spiritual value when we gather together, when the Word is preached, when we pray? Should this not break our pride? What greater sign of God’s judgment do we need than the conspicuous absence of His presence from among us? Ichabod!

 

Why God hates mancentredness?

Man was not made to be centred in himself. The image and likeness upon him was God’s. That in itself already presupposes the right centre for man. In Genesis 2:16-17, God told man to eat of all trees of the garden (including the Tree of Life) but forbade him from eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Eating out of this tree will remove man from his right foundation, being God (Rock), and place him on another foundation, which is himself (sand).

Eating of that forbidden tree became the promise that Satan was going to make man (the apex of God’s creation) a “competitor” with God, another trinity, so that that which he was not able to achieve in his cosmic rebellion to God, he will use the very creature made in God’s image to achieve it. That’s why the temptations of Genesis 3 and Matthew 4 are Satan’s attempt to raise a satanic trinity twice. He succeeded with Adam, but he failed with our Lord Jesus.

The number of man is 6 because man was created on the 6th day. And the antichrist which was made possible by the sin in Genesis 3 has the numbers 666. This number shows that rather than man been finally filled with God and emptied of himself, he is filled by the devil and emptied of God. This is why all who follow Jesus cannot but be dead to themselves so that Christ can be all in all in them. But those who retain the self, the Compromisers, are gradually becoming like the antichrist because their souls and spirits is taking the shape of the man of sin. This is reversed transformation.

 

The Final Separation

Did I hear you say why are we not seeing God dealing with mancentredness again? Let`s check Matthew 13:25-30. Just as we see in Matthew 25 that a great slumber came upon the 10 virgins, so also, we see here that “…while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.”(v.25) The servants suggested to the Master that the tares be removed but He said no. “Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.” (v.30)

God is sovereign. His ways are not our ways. It is clear from the Scripture we read that at the season of the end, God will allow both the Overcomers and Compromisers to grow together. He will separate them at the end. In 1 Corinthians 3, at the judgment seat of Christ, there is a fire there that will test every man’s work of what sort it is. Those who have built with wood, hay and stubble will have their works burnt, and their passage into Heaven will be like missing eternal damnation with an air’s breadth.

“There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” (Proverbs 14:12). That way is not a dead tradition; it is a living way. It costs much to walk on that way following the Master. But what could be more important than being an Overcomer if others around you choose to settle in a Compromising position? Mancentredness is the glorification of man and is the necessary preparation to usher in the antichrist while Godcentredness is the glorification of God and is the necessary preparation for the catching away of the saints and the approaching Day of the LORD. Which of these two groups are you a part of?

A Prayer: LORD, I refuse every tendency within me to prefer myself over you. I refuse to be a part of those whose lives are ushering in the antichrist. I choose to be an Overcomer, to watch and pray lest I fall into temptation. I choose to die daily to myself so that Christ can be exalted in me. I choose to be a part of those whose lives are hastening the return of my LORD Jesus Christ. AMEN. Maranatha!

 

Olamide Opeyemi

olamideopeyemi.wordpress.com

livingtemplates@gmail.com

 

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The Conflict between Truth & Tradition

Before we launch into the matter at hand, we will need to provide some definitions. What is Truth? What is tradition?

In the economy of God, Truth is NOT primarily a concept or a belief system or a personal, social, national or global resolution. TRUTH in the kingdom of God is a Person. Among several scriptures that could confirm this, let’s check John 14:6 and 18:37-38 below.

What is Truth?

“Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” John 14:6

“…Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice. Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again unto the Jews, and saith unto them, I find in him no fault at all.” John 18:37-38

While this is not meant to be an exhaustive discussion, we will like to note that the scriptures above sufficiently proofs that Jesus is the Truth. When Pilate asked Jesus, “What is truth?”, Jesus didn’t answer him a word, but we note that Pilate said, “I find in him no fault at all” That is, Truth is not about intellectual debates and theological polemics but about LIFE. (“For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.” 1 Cor. 4:20).

Truth does not consist in concepts and differing views of established concepts in God’s Word (…not in word…); Truth consists of supremacy of LIFE over death and LIGHT over darkness (…but in power.). LIFE and LIGHT are expressions of power. Yes, the entire scriptures are an articulation of aspects of divine Truth, yet no singular scriptural truth or numbers of truth (but incomplete) can make up the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27). It takes all to have Truth and they are complete in Christ (Colossians 2:10, 4:12).

This is the reason why we don’t begin with a particular truth, rather we begin with a particular person – CHRIST. This in itself is an insurance to preserve us from entering into errors of understanding and interpreting the Scriptures.

What about tradition?

“He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.” Mark 7:6-9

We want to attempt to define tradition. In Mark 7, the Pharisees and certain scribes (experts in the Law) saw the disciples eating with unwashed hands and they accosted Jesus, demanding why the disciples were not following the traditions of elders. Now, first thing is, this doesn’t look like a bad tradition. To wash your hand before you eat is no longer a rule to enforce in most civilizations.

But, look at how Jesus responded to their query. ” And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.” (verse 9). How clear can God’s Word be? Any attempt to keep a tradition, even a good one, can become an affront to God because there is an equal and opposite rejection of God’s instructions always involved. Please keep this statement always together to avoid misunderstanding.

Therefore, tradition represents man’s mind (at its best) and Truth (God’s Word) represents God’s unchanging mind. What then is tradition? It is anything that seeks to replace God’s mind with man’s accepted opinion. Hence, it is not the actual things done that are the real issue, it is the spirit or principle behind them. A good deed that is not from the mind of God is a thief of divine glory that seeks to usurp God’s place in man, in the church and the world as a whole.

This is the secret work of the adversary among many brothers and sisters in Christendom (regardless of their sincerity). Not knowing that we can’t primarily obey men and (be found to) obey God at the same time. (Please note that this is a spiritual principle and those who think the thrust is to disobey all man’s instructions have missed the point altogether).

But once we obey God, we may be found to obey men in areas where man benefits from such obedience. Remember that once Joseph obeyed God, concerning Portiphar’s wife, he was also obeying Portiphar in a sense (Genesis 39:9). Which means the order is to do things Godward first and that which is done will determine what can be done manward, and not the other way around. This is how Truth triumphs over traditions.

 

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How Truth deteriorates to traditions

Please note with me the first reaction of those learned men to Christ and His disciples. In that Mark 7 we read earlier, it says, “And when they saw some of his disciples eat bread with defiled, that is to say, with unwashen, hands, they found fault.” There are three things here:

1. A preoccupation with the differences of others in devotion, liturgy and doctrine.

2. A specialization in identifying the faults of others (persons, groups, denominations).

3. A predisposition ​to always look for fault (what others are doing wrong that you may  be doing right).
From verses 3-5, these bible scholars were busy pointing out their own goodness before the LORD and contrasting it with the disciples “error”. They even asked the LORD why these other people (the disciples) were not like them. This is the very thing the LORD loathes. To use what you are doing right as an instrument of persecution against others who, according to you, are wrong. That is self-righteousness. “…and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags…” Isaiah 64:6 (Luke 18:9-14)

The point is Truth is Christ and Christ is Truth. Whenever we apply the Word of God outwardly first, rather than inwardly, we are beginning to negotiate our exchange of Truth with tradition. Christ Jesus is the builder of His Church (Matthew 16:18). He is the One at work in all those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6).

What preserves the Truth in its pristine, unadulterated state is its continuous relevance in my own life. The way it will work out in my life is not necessarily a pattern that others must follow.

When we begin to think that how we experience the Truth is the compulsory way others must experience it then we are declining into traditions. Therefore, traditions can be expressions of truth restricted to a particular person’s (or groups of persons) experience of that truth.

The problem with this is, “this cannot produce genuine disciples of Jesus Christ because the version of Truth they came to know is the particular way the LORD chose to work in another person’s life, not the way the LORD wanted to work in them. A genuine disciple of Christ is not a loyalist to another man neither is he under the spell of another man’s devotion and spirituality (2 Cor. 11:2-3). A genuine disciple of Christ is first and foremost loyal to the LORD, out of which he/she can choose to follow others who have gone farther in their following of the LORD (1 Cor. 11:1). You will see that this has no emphasis on any particular doctrine (which always divides God’s people), the only emphasis is the LORD Christ Himself.

The Goal of Truth
Please read 2 Timothy 3:15-17, Matthew 5:48, Genesis 17:1

The goal of every aspect of divine Truth is to lead to the increase of Christ in human experience. A truth on its own can always be hijacked by the flesh and used to serve the intentions and desires of the carnal nature. For example, Jesus (the sum of all truths=the TRUTH) healed a man of blindness on the Sabbath in John 9 and the scholars of the law will not have it. A glorious work done by the LORD did not bother them because they won’t let go of the “bypassing” of the Sabbath.

They would rather have the man return to his blind state to preserve their own limited human understanding of the law than to seek the LORD to close the gap of their ignorance. This is how traditions have grown so powerful among different groups of Christians in the world, both in history and our contemporary times. Every time we see a divine work that defies our theology, we are quick to criticize it, rather than humble ourselves to receive the light that the LORD would have given to update our usually limited understanding. Please note, it is not God’s Word that needs any updating; it is man (you and me) that always need to be updated as to the direction, dimension and implications of His Word in the human experience and the world situation.

Clearly, you will see that God’s Word is not for arguments, it is for experience. It is not for the head, even though it can’t bypass the head, it is for the heart. Timothy knew the scriptures from his youth yet the result we note with him is wisdom not mere intelligence. While intelligence speaks of mental capacity to retain the information, wisdom is the “movement” of information to transformation. As we see in Genesis 17:1 and Matthew 5:48, although there are specific truths we are exposed to per time, they are always a means of gaining further experiential intimacy with the LORD and progressively becoming like Him in all things.

truth-vs-tradition

How Truth is kept from deterioration
1 Corinthians 13:10, Luke 6:40

“For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.” 1 Corinthians 13:9-10

Knowledge of the truth as well as the preaching (teaching, exposition) of the truth is not always in the full measure of Christ, it is a part. And we must be humble enough to admit that. We must never allow the different parts to constitute a problem to us, particularly when we see a different expressions of an aspect of truth we have known (but we are not quite familiar with). “But when that which is perfect is come…” So, what is perfect? It is Christ. “The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master.” (Luke 6:40). If being like the Master is to be perfect, then Christ is the definition of perfection.

“…then that which is in part shall be done away.”

What is in part?

​1. A singular aspect of truth compared to the fullness of TRUTH

2. Traditions that have influenced the interpretation of God’s Word in the light of the full, unmixed revelation of Christ.

3. Shadows that temporarily expressed the TRUTH until the Substance came​.

4. Intellectual knowledge of truths dropped for the livingness of TRUTH in verifiable human experience (2 Cor. 3:6).

This is LIFE replacing death. This is SPIRIT taking over from the letter.
Therefore, we must recognize the privilege we have now compared to many saints of old. We have the whole 66 books of Scriptures now, and rather than starting from where Adam missed it in Genesis 3 and where Israel started in Exodus 19 & 20, walking our ways through the knowledge of good and evil that kills, the weakness of the law that restrains the general outbreak of evil in world, and the limitations of traditions before entering into the New Covenant in Acts 2; we could simply start with the end from our “beginnings”. And in fact, that is what we are offered in this dispensation. “Therefore if any man be in Christ…” (2 Cor. 5:17)

Right now, we could go straight to Christ, not needing again to fix the pieces of the puzzle of “the law and the prophets” and wait a whole life time to eventually realize that the picture it comes to is Christ. It is both my privilege and yours to gain Christ first and then through our devotion to and wholehearted following of Christ, we can come to know the different pieces of the puzzle – the different aspects of Truth – that leads to the increase of Christ and our enjoyment of Him in our everyday experience.

“O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.” Psalm 34:8

 

Note: Unless otherwise stated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the King James Version.

Disclaimer: Using a quote or picture that mostly or fully represents what we have in mind does not imply agreement with or approval of a person’s general philosophy of life.

Picture Credits: spreadshirt.com, ftmburas.org, truthrevolution.tv

 

A Whorish Heart

There is a type of heart that is almost permanently unfaithful to God. This heart makes a person to go a whoring from God. What does it mean to go a whoring from God? It is to become captivated by something else. It is to give my allegiance to another thing apart from God. This thing does not have to be an evil thing, but anything, however good and legitimate they may be, that has taken over my heart makes my heart to go a whoring from the living God.
The sense, therefore, it gives, is a sense of going astray. It could begin as a little curiosity about something, and gradually a quiet fascination grows in your heart about that thing, and before you know it, even God must now wait for you to fill your heart first with those things, before He can get the remaining “crumbs” of time left from you. So, can you imagine that a time spent with the LORD out of necessity or duty, after much time has been “wasted” on all other things, is already an evidence of a heart going a whoring from the LORD?
God’s agony over the whorish heart
Ezekiel 6:9
“And they that escape of you shall remember me among the nations whither they shall be carried captives, because I am broken with their whorish heart, which hath departed from me, and with their eyes, which go a whoring after their idols: and they shall lothe themselves for the evils which they have committed in all their abominations.”
Now, what does God have to say about this kind of heart? In Ezekiel 6:9, we see the LORD describing His agony about such a heart. Please when you read the scriptures, don’t allow the preliminary details in it to preoccupy you from gaining your own personal insight for your life. The context is not necessarily for head knowledge; it is to help you gain insight for your life and journey before the LORD.
So, we note that God said, “…I am broken with their whorish heart…” First, that word “broken” means crushed. God is speaking figuratively about how much pain He is subjected to by a whorish heart. Can you imagine that we subject the Almighty God to this kind of pain and agony?
God’s measurement of closeness is a matter of the heart
“…which has departed from me…” The effect of a whorish heart is that it is no longer, moment by moment, with the LORD. It has departed from the living God. And even if God were trying to speak to it, it won’t hear it, for what is a distant echo compared to a close voice?
We can have this kind of heart that can focus on and seeks God regardless of time (of the day) and space just like the whorish heart can be the condition of a man that is perpetually in church but his heart has actually departed from God. Either whorish or faithful heart, it is an inner experience that does not depend on place and time. It depends on whom you choose: yourself or God?
So, let me ask you when did you last hear the voice of the LORD? I’m not saying when did you last read your bible for we can read it hurriedly as to preclude any opportunity for God to speak particularly to us from the scripture we are reading. How can it be normal for you to live without God’s Word? Has the Word of God changed that says, man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God does man live (Deut. 8:3, Matt. 4:4)?
How God deals with a whorish heart
James 1:8
“A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.”
The beginning stages of this whorish heart is what is described in the book of James as a double minded man. Who is a double minded person? This is a person who manages to share his heart between two “spouses”. This kind of arrangement allows for having different faces for different places. One face for the spiritual and another face for the physical. This is the kind of compromise many of us have come to embrace, thinking it is the reasonable thing to do. What is God’s verdict for such a man with a whorish heart, that is departed from God, but tries to play games with God?
You find it in verse 7, the previous verse, “For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.” That is the matter! God is unable to commit Himself to such a life. God does not rush to do anything especially when you are undecided about who will have your heart. God cannot allow His commitment and investment to be tossed here and there by “…a man of two minds (hesitating, dubious, irresolute) […unstable and unreliable and uncertain about everything…” (James 1:8 AMPC).
“If you are that kind of person, you can’t make up your mind, and you surely can’t be trusted. So don’t expect the Lord to give you anything at all.” James 1:7 Contemporary English Version
This heart cannot sustain any direct, divine dealings of God. It is too slippery for God to deal with…and since God will not strive with man (Gen. 6:3), He reserves ALL of Himself for that person who willingly and unreservedly gives His undivided time and attention to Him. These are those who respond to His initiated call: “When thou saidst, Seek ye my face; my heart said unto thee, Thy face, LORD, will I seek.” (Psalm 27:8). Will that be you?
A prayer
Oh LORD, who is sufficient for these things? But by natural inclinations, I cannot solely focus on you. Apart from the external distractions of this world, there is the ever-widening internal corruptions of my heart, that has destined me for perpetual unfaithfulness to You. LORD, help me. Deliver me from my self. Oh that I may find You now, that You may gain me and make me Yours permanently. AMEN. 
“And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. And I will be found of you, saith the LORD…” Jeremiah 29:13-14
Note: Unless otherwise stated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the King James Version.

Disclaimer: Using a quote or picture that mostly or fully represents what we have in mind does not imply agreement with or approval of a person’s general philosophy of life.

Picture Credit: Google Images

Life coming out of death

“And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
 From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.” Matthew 16:16, 21-22
Based on Matthew 16:16, only Peter knew who Jesus is among the disciples. He knew by divine revelation that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God. However when the LORD began to speak of the sufferings He will go through on the cross in verse 21, Peter hurriedly scolded the LORD in verse 22. The LORD Jesus spoke to the influence behind such a statement, satan. “…Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.” (v.23). You may also have some revelation of Jesus, but are there not certain beliefs you hold on to that unbeknownst to you are sponsored by the devil himself? What are the things that looks good in your belief system but are not of God?
Why is it that anything that has to do with dying is vigorously rejected? There is a certain job a person can take and it is like going to die because according to everyone there is no prospects there, no future at all. Yet, if that’s where the LORD said to go, are we now going to be binding the LORD? There is a way of living that is only possible by dying daily (1 Corinthians 15:21).
To be mistreated and not seek revenge. To be shouted upon and not shout back. To have you car hit and your grace didn’t jump out of the window. These are things that cannot be rehearsed. What ever is truly in your heart will come out when you come under pressure. You will misbehave first before you remember that you are a Christian. That is the kind of mixed life that Peter was living here. He could get a revelation from God. He knows how to pray and fast to get specific divine intervention but when the Master puts a finger on his life, he flatly refuses.
He doesn’t think following Jesus requires dying. “Why can’t I be ‘alive’ and follow Jesus like this?” “Why can’t I retain some ‘good’ aspects of the old life of sin and still follow Jesus?” “For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead:And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.” (2 Corinthians 5:14-15)
Jesus said, “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.” (v. 25). Simply put, following requires dying. This dying is to accept that you died with Jesus when He died, and that when He rose up, you arose with Him in newness of life.
Therefore, old things (your life as it was before coming to Jesus) have passed away, and all things have become new (2 Corinthians 5:17). Trying to preserve myself is counter-intuitive to the New Life in Christ Jesus. Any attempt to do so is a recall to the old life to return and take over from where it last stopped. And if there is no remedy done, “…the last state of that man is worse than the first.” (Matthew 12:45, please read verses 44-45).
Death is the necessary condition for the outward manifestation of this life. But that is what we don’t want to hear. We save ourselves from it as much as we can. How then do we want our generation to see the glory of Christ in us, which is a resurrection life coming out of the death of an unpleasant situation? Without death, we can’t express this life; we are like mere men. But when you lose your life then you will find it. The power to compel men to hear our message, and to be so affected, is in this resurrection life, which always puts us to death, so that the world can watch us break forth with eternal life.
Are you also rebuking the LORD today? It is time to repent for allowing your enemy the devil to express himself like that through you.
 
For every time I have denied Thee, for every prompt of Thine I have dismissed, for every one of Thy Word I doubted…I am sorry LORD. Help me not to be presumptuous like Peter was, but to be slow to speak, and quick to listen to Thee…To receive Thine help for every deed Thou impress, and to never have a separate opinion from Thee. AMEN.
Note: Unless otherwise stated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the King James Version.

Disclaimer: Using a quote or picture that mostly or fully represents what we have in mind does not imply agreement with or approval of a person’s general philosophy of life.

Picture Credit: truenorthquest.com

A Letter to Nabal’s Wife

“The man’s name was Nabal and his wife’s name was Abigail. The woman was intelligent and beautiful, while the man was harsh and wicked in his dealings. He was a descendant of Caleb. Please, your majesty, don’t pay attention to this worthless man Nabal, for he’s just like his name. Nabal is his name and folly is his constant companion…” (1 Samuel 25:3, 25 ISV)
Dear sister, I am so sorry for this untold misery you have entered into by yourself. Little did you know that the “nice”, well-to-do and “tongue-speaking” man was going to make you unfortunate like himself. This is like a dream that you are frantically hoping to wake up from. If you knew he was like this, I know you won’t marry him; but how would he have shown you his true colours and ever find anyone to marry?
But now, there’s nothing good you can see in this good-for-nothing, Godforsaken man (you call him)? It is painful to see your life shatter into pieces like this, but what else do you expect from a Nabal? He doesn’t even think he is doing anything wrong. He is just being himself. I know that you have passed the stage of rebuking thoughts to pray for his death. You have fallen for that temptation already, as you are actively praying for him to die like the Nabal in the Bible, so that you can get on with your life.
There are very few dilemmas in life as torturing as being stuck with a son of Belial. And then you ask, as you sigh under the weight of this emotional yoke: “How could I not have known that this Nabal was sponsored by the enemy to destroy me?”
You see how an incorrect man can derail the life of a good woman. How do you separate this evil thought of killing Nabal from the remaining godly desires in your mind? Remember that it only takes one bad apple to make the other apples bad. How do we even begin to counsel you at this stage of things? How can we correct this living nightmare? I can only weep with you now and then cry out to God for mercy.
May you find divine help even in this desolate place. The LORD will “… appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.” (Isaiah 61:3)
NOTE: If you can, please listen to this music by Bob Fitts titled, “He will come and save you.”
Say to those who are fearful hearted
Do not be afraid
The Lord your God will come
And with His mighty arm
When you call on His Name
He will come and save you
Chorus:
He will come and save you
He will come and save you
Say to the weary one
Your God will surely come
He will come and save you
He will come and save you
Lift up your eyes to Him
You will arise again
He will come and save you
Say those who are broken hearted
Do not lose your faith
The Lord your God will come
And with His loving hand
When you call on His Name
He will come and save you
[Chorus:]
Bridge:
He is our refuge in the day of trouble
He is our shelter in the time of storm
He is our tower in the day of sorrow
Our fortress in the time of war
(Back To Chorus)

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MarriedtoNabal

Photo Credit: crosswalk.com

Lyrics Credit: lyricsmode.com

Married to Nabal

This is one of the basis of contention in marriages today. Many people have lost faith in the Word of God because of the gross wickedness of those who claim to be born-again, sometimes holding spiritual offices and publicly known as members of the household of faith. We must not be quick to dismiss such people, by saying they were (are) not born-again. This argument, even if true, does not placate those who have been made miserable in life and marriage by such men. The story in 1 Samuel 25 helps us to see things clearly.

“Now the name of the man was Nabal; and the name of his wife Abigail: and she was a woman of good understanding, and of a beautiful countenance: but the man was churlish and evil in his doings; and he was of the house of Caleb.” 1 Samuel 25:3

Abigail was described as “…a woman of understanding and of a beautiful countenance…” This simply meant that apart from Abigail’s beauty, she was not a careless girl, she had the capacity to discern what was right for her to do. For it to be stated, it meant that it has been proven over time that she had understanding. But unfortunately when it came to whom she was to marry, she seemed not to have exercised her discernment. May be the reputation of the man asking to marry her was too great for her to subject to such analysis.

This was a man from the house of Caleb. Caleb was one of the two men that God Himself attested to their lives before Israel entered into the Promised Land. Joshua was the second man (Numbers 14:24, 26:65). To be from that house was a huge reputation. And sometimes, one will just wonder, “what else does a sister want than a man of that calibre, a seed of Caleb?” It’s like saying a man from the family of any of our prominent Christian leaders. Unfortunately, something was missing in that man’s life.

Now, this is where many of our sisters run into error, especially those who are well brought up in the faith and do know better. Every man that comes to seek you in marriage, regardless of their reputation, must be subjected to the same degree of spiritual scrutiny you will subject the brother you term “unserious” or “unbeliever”. What you are looking for is not merely a testimony of their faith, but a testimony of their character. A testimony of faith can be given by the suitor himself, but a testimony of character can only be discovered over time. And it must be your own discovery, and eventually your reasonable persuasion.

How can a man be from the house of Caleb and be churlish (cruel, hardhearted) and evil in his doings? That was the kind of man Nabal was. Nabal is that “brother” that can give the testimony of his salvation but has no fruit to show for this alleged salvation. Nabal is quick to claim his connection to a godly heritage except that his wickedness betrays such a connection. Nabal is that rich businessman that has a good position in church but has no right standing with God. Nabal is a member of a reputable denomination but his name is not in the book of Life. This kind of man is becoming rampant today and it has made many people, even “christian” women, to cast aspersion at or at least dismiss some aspects of the Word of God.

The Word of God says “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.” (1 Thessalonians 5:21). The Word of God has never failed. People run into all kind of heartaches that made shipwreck of their faith, because they ignored the due process of the Word of God. When you say “I sensed in my spirit that this is the right man for me”, what do you mean by that? I am not criticizing your spirituality, I am only strengthening it. Put whatever you say you sensed in your spirit to the test. When you conduct the test of truth, it will amaze you how many things you sensed that are actually not good for you. In fact, my personal belief is that the more you put your private, subjective feelings under the infallible, objective Word of God, you will get better at discerning rightly.

Note: Unless otherwise stated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the King James Version.

Picture Credit: femmetotale