Serving as a missionary is perhaps one of the most difficult part of Ministry. Having served in the city as a pastor, and serving now as a missionary, I can tell the difference!
In the city, you are in the midst of fairly civilized people, if they are not. You have people who understand ministry and ministers; a mixture of people which includes those that will accuse the minister and those that will defend him. It is not always so in a small community in the outskirts of the city, where most are unlearned and under exposed! They only want to accuse you! It is tough!
The journey started when the Lord asked me to relieve a woman of her duty in the school. For discretion, I will call her Judith.
My wife and I, to the glory of God, run a school where Judith worked with us as a teacher.
She and her family had joined us in Church. She used to come sweep and arrange the Church on service days, yet would not come till toward the end of the message; if she manages to come. Every month end, the Church gave her a stipend to assist her.
We took Judith and her family as part of ours: not just as Church family but as our own family. We opened our doors completely to them; even gave our keys to them!
The bonding was there to the extent we exchanged meals, the children stayed with us a couple of days when their parents traveled.
Though not a qualified teacher, my wife picked her as she had no job, to come assist in the school as a way of further helping her: at the end of every month she would earn a salary. We believe there is a lot of confidence in what you earn than in what you are given.
My wife groomed her and constantly monitored both her and what she taught the children; for she was given the kindergarten class.
In Church, she was not frequent, but we believed God to touch her as He touched the children. The eldest, a boy, in the secondary school, learnt to play the drums and the second, a girl, God groomed and blessed with the gift of leading praise. Apart from the eldest, the rest of Judith’s children schooled with us.
Their father, we will for this writing call Benjamin, used to drive a commercial bus, but was not making ends meet.
We were thrilled when he had a job prospect with a motor company (whose name I will not give for discretion). However he needed a surety! Due to the relationship, he came to me when no one was willing to help.
….. to be continued.
John the Baptist said he was not the Messiah; and that the Messiah would baptize men with fire.
The Messiah came and confirmed sending fire on the earth but not until He had been baptized Himself: on the cross.
“I am come to send fire on the earth, and what will; and how am I straitened till it shall be accomplished!” – Luke 12:49-50.
Consequently, He asked the disciples to wait at Jerusalem to receive the promise of the Father, which came on the day of pentecost, turning them into awesome vessels. Fearful men became fearless; they became flames of fire! The fire of Heaven was kindled on the earth and earth has never remained the same.
This fire separates brothers, sisters, families, friends, etc, because like Jeremiah the Word of God is like fire in the bones bringing about the difference between Godliness and worldliness.
In the previous write up we talked about rebuilding the altar of the Lord, to be Living Stones; STONES OF FIRE.
(2) DIG A TRENCH
The second thing Elijah did was dig a trench ROUND the altar.
Do not allow anyother thing go near your heart! Place a check, a garrison, around your heart.
“Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” – Proverbs 4:23
You are not only to “keep” or “guard” your heart but expected to decisively deal with any threat that comes close to it!
“Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee.” (Proverbs 4:24).
“For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds; Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;” – 2 Corinthians 10:4-5.
“PUT AWAY”, “PULL DOWN”, “CAST DOWN”; these suggest that something should be protected!
If you compromise with the world, it is from your heart. Starve Satan of his desire to have your heart by not allowing worldliness to creep close to it.
Hear God’s instruction to Moses.
“And thou shalt set bounds to the people round about, saying, Take heed to yourselves, that ye go not up upon the mount, or touch the border of it: whoever toucheth the mount shall be surely put to death. There shall not a hand touch it, but he shall surely be stoned or shot through: whether it be beast or man, it shall not live: when the trumpet soundeth long, they shall come up to the mount.” – Exodus 19:12-13.
The throne of God must be protected, revered and honoured. Be separate; live sanctified and entertain only good thoughts and imaginations.
“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there is any virtue, and if there is any praise, think on these things.” – Philippians 4:8.
There are family members and friends that stir evil thoughts in us, through suggestions, advice or even by their conduct and character. They will want to lure us back to the life we lived before meeting Christ; a life of immorality. They would make jest of us and ridicule us for our faith and belief, making us angry.
We should note these ones and as much as possible keep them at arms length, yet not hate them. We are not permitted to hate anyone, but rather expected to love them and as much as lie in us, to live at peace with them.
Nevertheless, there should be a limit to whatever interactions we have with them, in the work place, in the community, in the bus, on the street, etc.
Yes, we may meet often, yet not influenced by them.
“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of scoffers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth its fruit in season; its leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he doeth shall prosper.” – Psalms 1:1-3.
We cannot avoid interacting with people, however we should not forget who we are, where the Lord brought us from, where He is taking us and how we need to agree with Him to get us there. And one of the “how’s” of getting there is in having no part in the unfruitful works of darkness.
“And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.” (Ephesians 5:11).
“No, fellowship”, irrespective of the interaction. We should always remember this no matter where we are or in what company we find ourselves:
“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” – 2 Corinthians 6:14-16.
Before Christ, BC, God spoke through prophets. They were spokesmen for God, relaying only what God said but could not interpret His will. They could explain what they wrote but had no complete understanding of the total plan of God for man.
As an example. If I were to commission artists to draw and paint portions of me: an artist draws my head, another my leg, another my ear, another my eye, every part of my visible body drawn and painted by different artists. At the end when their works are displayed, no one would identify me as the one in the various paintings.
That was exactly what happened concerning Jesus.
“He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.” – John 1:10
No prophet had a complete picture of Jesus, God’s plan for man. When Jesus came they could not recognise Him, because non of the prophets gave the full description of the messiah.
But now, (A.D.), God has spoken to us by His son.
He is done speaking through the prophets, those who could not understand the full plan of God. But has chosen to speak through His Son; the one of whom the prophets wrote about. He came, not like the prophets with partial knowledge, but with the “fullness of the Godhead”.
“Has spoken by His Son” means the Son is the final authority, “hear Him” (Luke 9:35). And why? He is the complete mind of God. Where prophets spoke with partial knowledge He has full understanding. He is God’s Word, (full plan) of God made manifest.
“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” – John 1:14.
A Spirit runs through the Scripture; from Genesis to Revelation, Jesus is that Spirit.
“……. for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” – Revelation 19:10
The full mind of God is called “THE WORD”
“And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called, The Word of God.” – Revelation 19:13.
The Word serves as a manual for guidance.
“Thy word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path.” – Psalms 119:105.
In Hebrew the Scripture is called “Torah“; which means to thrust out a finger, showing the way.
In our everyday life, how can this be applied? Especially as the Scripture does not seem to address our minute by minute activities of the day? WISDOM!
“Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.” – Proverbs 4:7
Wisdom takes knowledge to work. It is the right or proper application of knowledge, backed by understanding.
Before we continue, note the difference between Scripture (the combination of scriptures) and scriptures (isolated books).
The knowledge of the Scripture should guide us in our everyday life!
Even in the choice of house to live, the car to buy, the job to take, the partner to marry, the contract to go for, etc.
Decision taken based on one scripture may not stand. And this is because in the mouth of two or three witnesses -prophets or books of the Scripture – a matter (direction) is established. A scripture that informs a decision should be confirmed with one or more books of Scripture, if it agrees. Where it does not agree with other scriptures, the decision arrived at is not of God!
In John 8:3-11, Jesus saved a woman with the right application of Scripture.
The spiritual leaders of the day came to Him on a decision based on one scripture, which they quoted.
Certainly they were in error. But how would He save this woman from the noose of error threatening her life?
The people did not have a total understanding of God’s mind and were in error.
Yes, that was a scripture they quoted; but judgement passed based on that one scripture alone would at the long run come out wrong.
Moreover, it was not all about the woman. This was a trap set to capture Him!
He had to apply wisdom – a proper understanding of Scripture. How?
(1) BY THINKING.
He took time to think. The process of thinking is the process of asking questions.
“Call to me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.” – Jeremiah 33:3
Many do not think before giving answers. But this is the process of interacting with God for direction.
“And thy ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it.” – Isa. 30:21
I have come to understand that WISDOM DOES NOT RESIDE in any man, but in God! That is the reason Solomon called the quest for Wisdom “madness” and “folly”.
Jesus wrote on the ground, while His heart was in a discussion with the Father. Remember, Jesus would not do a thing without consulting with the Father.
As the full mind of God, He knew God does not delight in the death of sinners. Yet He consulted with the Father, who must have reminded Him that “the heart of man is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked”; again that “no one is good, no not one”, yet again, “if we say we have no sin we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us”. Scriptures from both the Old and New Testaments must have come flooding His heart giving Him a direction.
Solomon was a great thinker. When the two harlots came to him, each claiming to be the mother of the living child, while asking both THE SAME QUESTION, his heart was probing the heart of God for direction. He was reminded that a woman would always have compassion on her child. (Isaiah 49:15), so he threatened to slay the child!
Take time to think!
(2) BE WATCHFUL!
Many are not careful to watch the reactions that follow their words. Be sensitive, look out for reactions! Even as Jesus wrote on the ground, He watched the reaction of the people while maintaining fellowship with the Father, what answer He might give.
“I will stand upon my watch, and seat myself upon the tower, and will watch to see what he will say to me, and what I shall answer when I am reproved.” – Habakkuk 2:1.
(3) BE PATIENT!
When he finally gave it, Wisdom came pouring forth! Halleluya!
You NEED patience!
“For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye may receive the promise.” – Hebrews 10:36.
Patience is a need, not a want. You can’t hurry God. He controls time, and beautify things in His time.
Wait for Him, don’t hurry Him and He shall surely direct you. He is never late neither is He early. He comes, and speaks, just on time.
When professionals finish their work they say it is finished. Jesus partnering with God said “it is finished”.
However that is not the end. It only marked the end of an era, the Old Testament and Old Covenant era; and marked the beginning of another. (Rev. 3:7-8)
Picture two rooms. Eternity has two rooms. Christians are in the first room governed by the prince of this world, with all of its trials, persecutions and evil.
When you ask “why me?”, it is because you are in this first room!
For as long as you are in this first room, you will have tribulation.
“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33 KJV
Here in this first room, there is misery, pain, persecution, and trials.
Jesus said “but”.
“But” carries you by faith, into the second room where you are untouchable; where you cannot be sick, a place where you can not fail, a place you can not be defeated, caged or go hungry: a place of victory.
This second room is the place reserved for those who do know their God.
“….. but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits.” – Daniel 11:32b KJV
It is the room of exploits! (Isa. 35:8-9)
If so, why have we all not entered into it? SPIRITUAL BLINDNESS!
“Behold”, see, consider, stare at.
Rev. 3:9; Isa. 43:19
Isaiah, in his days, could not see the ultimate plan in God’s heart. He could only relay what God asked him to write but did not have the fullness of God’s mind like we do today. The “New Thing” did not spring forth in his days. In our days, the Kingdom of God has sprung forth. We ought to “see” (Eph. 1:8) it because “IT IS FINISHED!”
Paul prayed that our eyes be opened for us to see it, implying we do not see it!
Though “it is finished”, we still do not see it, why?
Firstly, our free will is standing against us! How?
In Deut. 30:19, God set a choice before us. He is not forcing us but rather gives us the choice to make. We choose! Jesus had a choice to make in Matthew 4, He rejected the world and its glories. Many of us His followers, on the other hand embrace what He rejected!
Our eyes are not seeing what Jesus saw; what God wants us to see, what Paul prayed that we might see.
In the parable of the sower of seed, the third category of seeds were choked and became unfruitful because of the thorns which by interpretation, means the cares of this world: materialism! This was the reason Lot’s wife looked back.
We are too attached to this world! Materialism has eaten deep into our hearts. We are satisfied with being in this first room, just because of the temporal treasures and pleasures! That is why we are not seeing the door into the second room!
Jesus said “Behold I set before you an open door.” – Revelations 3:9
The door into the second room is standing open before us yet it would take “BEHOLD” for us to see it! “Behold” means focus, attention, concentrate, stare till you see! We need to pull our faces from the distraction or attraction of the first room. The Cross of Jesus is the key that opened up that door but until we reject the “glories” of this world we may not see it.
So many things are behind the Cross, the second room, stored up only for as many as are able to “find” it.
May we strive harder, stare harder to see the OPEN DOOR, that peace and victory be ours. Amen.
“And they heard the voice of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God amongst the trees of the garden.” – Genesis 3:8 KJV
So much has been said on the “cool of the day”.
Was this day time or night time?
Many limit themselves by seeing themselves as not praying at the “right” or “appropriate” time when God supposedly answer prayers.
The “cool of the day” does not refer to a geographic or chronos time, but to the condition of the heart. This refers to when the heart is free from every interference or distraction. A time when the heart is noise-free; not busy with things of this world or life.
You, are God’s temple, not Jerusalem. Your heart is His throne. (1 Corinthians 6:19).
Here on earth, this is the holy place.
The power of the heart lies with the subconscious mind. What you are is from here. What limits you is for here. What kills you is not something from outside, but something you have or do not have in your heart. What you know, or do not know.
“And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man.” – Mark 7:20 KJV
“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.” – Hosea 4:6 KJV
“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” – John 8:32 KJV
Jesus warned: “be careful what you put in your heart for out of it are the issues of life.”
The throne of God in your heart is the power that magnifies what you put in your heart. Whether the King is on the throne or not, the throne itself carries power.
“I sleep, but my heart waketh.” – Song of Solomon 5:2a KJV
This power of God’s throne in you, is propelled by a law; the Law of the Spirit of Life.
“For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” -Romans 8:2 KJV
There is a way to use or apply this Law, else death and decay would set in.
Some believe it is in vigils (all-night). I hold vigils, so don’t get me wrong. Some believe it is in very early morning prayers, “Womb of the day”. 3am – 5am prayers. Again I am not discrediting this.
However it is not in the time or period of prayer but in the Law of the Spirit of life!
Many observe “the womb of the day” and “womb of the year”. Yet, they do not see Him!
The question here is, how do we apply this law?
Let’s take a cue from Jesus. Why did He always withdraw?
Answer: to be alone; to be undisturbed.
What did He withdraw to do?
Answer: to recondition His mind and pray. Part of His teaching: to watch and pray.
Why was His withdrawals mainly at night?
Answer: He was flocked around at day time.
Where did He withdraw to, a mountain? Or Jerusalem?
After the death of Jesus, a replica of the Holy place was finally birthed here on earth. That place is where I should withdraw to.
Where? A mountain? Or Jerusalem?
“Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.” – John 4:21 KJV
From Christ, the temple of God on earth shifted from the natural to the spiritual. That is why Jesus said:
“Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” – John 2:19 KJV
No physical place can contain God. Not the temple, and not any mountain!
My heart is where I should withdraw to!
“Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still. Selah.” – Psalms 4:4 KJV
When Solomon withdrew to this place, that was when he knew that all he pursued were vanity.
“I communed with mine own heart, saying, Lo, I am come to great estate, and have gotten more wisdom than all they that have been before me in Jerusalem: yea, my heart had great experience of wisdom and knowledge.And I gave my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly: I perceived that this also is vexation of spirit.” – Ecclesiastes 1:16-17 KJV
As we withdraw to the Holy place to meet the King, we are expected to take gifts to Him and not go empty handed. We are to present His Word to Him
“Thus saith the Lord , the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker, Ask me of things to come concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands command ye me.” – Isaiah 45:11 KJV
Most often we remind Him of what we think or feel, or what others said. Consequently He does not answer us. Nevertheless, He allows the power of His throne to answer us. (His throne is alive! – Eze. 14:1-5)
His throne on earth is also our heart! It can deliver what we desire, but that spells stress because it would not last! We worry ourselves when things go wrong. Only the blessings of God does not have sorrow attached!
Anyone can activate the power of His throne, even non Christians
“For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.” – Mark 11:23 KJV
How should we withdraw?
(1) Know the Holy place on earth is not a geographic or physical place, but your heart.
(2) Like Jesus, withdraw WHEN you are not flocked or overwhelmed with many things. Make time to be with Him, shutting off all other things. The best result is achieved just before bed, and when you just awoke from sleep, but still in bed.
(3) In the secret or holy place, ponder or meditate on the Word of God. This is how you present the gift; His Word, to Him.
(4) This Word conditions your mind or heart. From this overflow of your heart in adoration, your mouth should speak in prayer, powered by His Word (from His throne- your heart)
Everything about your life are affected from here.
“Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” – Proverbs 4:23 KJV
The condition of your heart, tells how much peace (quietness and security) you have.
Your ultimate victory does not lie in a time of day or year but in the quietness of your heart, the condition of your heart and what you used to condition it.