Was having a discussion with my cousin the way people are so mean to the extent that their blessings are locked up. It got me thinking what giving is all about. I have struggled to give all my life. It is not easy because there is some reality we need to grasp. If I have worked so hard and am paid for it, giving from that perspective is a challenge. Mainly because it was hard coming by. The assumption is if everyone works hard then we will not need to give much because everyone has something. Why don’t others put in the work ? Why do I have to be the one giving ? The Bible encourages us not to grow weary of doing good. Giving may be good but I grew weary a long time ago. If it is so good, why is it so tedious ? We are taught that we all have something to give. Is that really true ? I know there are many times I have found myself without a thing to give. What does one do then? It puts one in an awkward situation for as long as one is lacking and needs abound. Meanwhile the discussion got heated with words like how mean, selfish and unwilling we are to open doors to being blessed through the act. Who honestly doesn’t want to give? Of course the reality is some of us are really scrooges at heart. We want to but just can’t do it freely. Which brings to mind the scripture ‘freely you have been given,freely give’. I wonder, what have I been given freely ? When I think about it I have worked for most of what I have. It has not come freely. So I guess I am off the hook for that reason. If one has not been given something freely it is a challenge giving that same thing. I see that look, very judgemental. The Bible hopes we shall see the light just how without we are. Some of us lack love, others lack wisdom ,while others lack health, others it’s physical wholeness, others it’s money and the list is endless. For this reason God longs for it to click in our minds that it is he that is able to provide all our needs. God does not have every thing just for himself, he wants to give us so that we let others know that he has. Does this mean that we can get money freely? Yes. And all things we need. What Jesus did gave us access to stuff only he is worthy of. The deal is too good, but it is true. What is written is not a myth particularly after you have encountered God for yourself and have started enjoying the free things. All my life being given money ended the moment that I got my first work pay. This does not mean I was being given a lot as such, but you get the point. From that I have earned every coin. When I got to know God I realised he is not what I had thought he was. This begun around the time our church started a major funds drive to raise money to construct a visionary complex. Why is it that visionary things are so costly ? We were told to give via faith. I know faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. I decided to ask God. After sometime he told me (story for another day) to give an amount that was substantial whichever way you look at it. I started thinking how does one source such money just like that? I decided what’s the worst that can happen? I filled a pledge form and sat tight. Do I sell something precious? What to do? It is during this season that I learnt something interesting. If you are the son of a super wealthy and good dad and find yourself having to pledge at a fund raising without consultation how much would you pledge ? You cannot pledge little money if you know who you are in relation to your dad. That’s what begun to go through my mind. If God tells you something you are incapable of He is not hoping you will do your best. He hopes you will trust him to get it done. Would you believe I surrendered the issue just like that. There were days I imagined being summoned by the leadership and me telling them God is taking long, I would then suggest we be patient. Anyway fast forward 2 years, my mums family needed to share her inheritance with her next of kin. Would you believe in my hands fell money more than what I had pledged ? I prayed for another year wondering what it was for. Shows how quickly we forget. By the time I was fulfilling the pledge it was not that difficult. I had done nothing to earn that money. My relatives could have decided not to give this money. It’s from this episode that it dawned on me that God wants us to consistently enjoy free stuff. Also called the stuff of grace. From that time going forward I have enjoyed many free things. Things that I do not deserve. These things are easy to share, after all they are either too many or they have come at an unplanned time. Imagine getting money when you are your brokest. It would be easy to share such. One lesson missing today in church is how to get free things. If one can learn then freely one would give for freely they have been given.
Being a leader is equivalent to being a gate keeper. It is a position of influence where one can decide for or against. In my capacity as a lead volunteer teaching teens and helping my colleagues it goes without saying that I am influential. That can be a good,a bad or a both thing. If I do well, the influence is good. If I don’t do well, then the influence is bad. Being human then means one can have influence that is interpreted differently regardless one’s best efforts. I started out by thinking that the longer one sat under my teaching the better I was getting. Teens is a very interesting group to teach. Every year is unique. There are fast paced ones, packed classes ones, chaotic ones and so on. Never a similar year. That goes to show how differently we behave as individuals or in groups in light of the seasons and unique circumstances. This essentially means most teens for varied reasons are in class for only one year. There are teens that last more than 3 years. These are rare. Mainly because there are so many things changing in and around the lives of this age group. Story for another day. Since there’s such a short time to make an impact what’s the best way of doing it? I have settled on working with the volunteers and helping them grasp what it takes to help teens. Volunteers tend to be around longer than teens. The initial thinking was that if I can control what volunteers have access to then I can control what they teach. As I go along this journey I am learning what my role as gate keeper is. To introduce people to God and leave them to get to know Him for themselves. God does not need me to teach them his stuff. He has plainly indicated that he can, will and is enlightening those in His presence. I have always wondered why Peter and crew were not bothered by the prominence Paul (initially Saul) was enjoying whIle he never spent time with Christ while he was alive. It was because they knew once you met God for yourself the truth shall be revealed. Truth sets us free. I no longer depend on my pastor for counsel but God himself. In fact depending on the plan of God for my life I can become a resource that is sought by the who is who in the church hierarchy. Ideally we are meant to be introduced to God and once we interact with him the freedom we get allows us to venture where we could not. If you look at the new testament there is no one that had a permanent congregation. The leaders were free. Church members too were not expected to remain in one church, they were free to go about God’s work as the Lord saw fit. This has since changed. I heard somewhere that if you want to understand an issue, look for those that benefit most from it. Jesus actually put it very well. The Pharisees being gate keepers were not getting in to God and were not allowing anyone in. In essence they did not know God. How do you usher someone to He you do not know ? Since being a gate keeper is such a privileged position there is no one that would want to be rendered irrelevant. The truth however is as follows. A good gate keeper as far as the things of God is concerned is one that often renders themselves irrelevant. How can I compete with God ? Why would I foolishly want to share in His glory ? Jesus and crew managed what they did because they became irrelevant in view of God’s will. If as a gate keeper my name is mentioned with the same vigour, passion and longing as that of Christ I have not only failed but have done the opposite of Christ. Thinking myself equal to God. We as leaders impose our will on those we lead. Now you know why the church is so powerless. Those that become nameless, nobody and planless for the will of God experience the things of God. God wants there to be a distinct difference between Him and others. That is why he uses foolish things to confound the wise.
If you go to church then you probably know what tithing is. Giving 10% of your income to God to avoid your stuff getting affected by weird circumstances. For this reason I gave for many years. If you would have asked me why I would have said because it’s a requirement. In other words I just had to. The Lord expects us to give cheerfully. How does one give like that when the consequences are laid out ? I did it because I had to. When I had an encounter with this God I realised he wants us to do stuff because our motivation originates from the heart. That’s what faith is. Who wants to give tithe from the heart? Not me. It dawned on me that my giving was pointless because it was heartless. So I stopped giving. During this season God revealed to me many things regarding His provision. I realised there is nothing I have that I was not given. I have been given everything. I am continually being given, every single day. All this is registering in my heart. Please note now I know that I deserve nothing but death and hell. Going by what I deserve then I am already a beneficiary of heavenly things. What now is giving tithe? It’s such a minor requirement in comparison. I give it gladly, cheerfully and consistently. The other day I was debating due to my financial situation after God asked me to buy a car whether I should tithe. It would have meant having money to run me for a week alone. I decided since in my heart I am OK with it, I gave him his. That was a Friday, the Saturday started like a normal day. I met someone that gave me what I needed for the week and went ahead to tell me they would continue with the same every week. This has never happened to me. It’s like I am in a dream, each time I pinch myself I am awake. I know today that God doesn’t want me to give because I have to. I give because I want to, I do so cheerfully. Why continue to give tearfully when you can get to really know him and realise what he did, does and will do for you. What is 10% ?
It has just occurred to me this evening as my wife looks forward to graduating for her masters program tomorrow. I think being dumb is part of the way some people are, read me. I say this because most times we are unable to see the extent to which God goes to make Himself known. Most of us are yet to encounter Him vividly out of the Bible. How do you figure what I am about to write ? She applied and got a scholarship from her then employer. Shortly after that my daughter got a 4 year scholarship that will see her complete her primary school. In the same period my employer paid half my fee for a professional course required for my present role. What do all these things have in common ? I would like to assume there is something special about my family. Sadly we are run of the mill type of people. I can’t think of anything tangible that can point to why this has happened to us all in such a way. The more I think of it the more obvious it becomes that it’s not luck. I do not consider myself the lucky type of person. Being favored has been an unusual phenomenon. Everything seems to have come after hard work. Not this though. What has changed ? Hmmmm ? How would you explain circumstances changing when you had done nothing ? You had not even prayed about it. So can I say I am a beneficiary of good fortune ? Two things stand out for me. The first is reaching a point in my life when I gave up trying to get things done. So much effort with so little to show for it. The second is getting the answer, to what is God usually upto on a daily basis. I was of the school of thought that He was some where in heaven sipping something heavenly as He enjoyed the angelic show. When I asked this question some years ago I was shocked to discover the following. If you want to work for it then it means you are able to. God helps those that are not able. The Bible tries very hard to show that none is able. Humans cannot grasp that truth, hence why we do not experience Him at work. Are you aware there were many blind, lame, deaf etc that never got healed in the time of Jesus Christ? The reason mainly was because they thought they were alright. They were not badly off. The ones the felt they could not continue living unable to enjoy Gods creation, were not ashamed to shout for help. When I discovered how needy I was, that is when I begun to see Him at work. When one is needy they have no option but to wait and trust in the one from whom they have sought help. I have since seen many instances where I have been helped, where my contribution was being present. Just because I was there. It’s very humbling when one is regularly being given stuff by different unrelated people. Do note that the things being given are exactly what I needed at the very moment it was being given. How would you explain that? No, I’m not lucky. I am blessed, by an invisible God that wants me to be a witness of his continuous engagement in not just my life but in the lives of those that have realised that they too are needy.
The elections are around the corner, as usual we are trying to wrap our minds around the most credible candidate. Ever thought about the criteria used to determine the most suitable ? If you think about it, most times the qualities that sit at the top are very similar to what one would attribute to the one and only God. Think about it, for one to be an American president one had to be as clean as a whistle. We all know now that the expectation is unrealistic. Interestingly it’s possible to get a candidate that is less than clean. Show me a clean candidate and I’ll show you Jesus Christ. In the quest for a clean candidate, those that clean ones image pitch for clients. Do you know it’s possible to transform the public image of anyone so that they are packaged to be clean ? You get what you’re looking for. If only momentarily. Once the election is over the public image firm is out of work. In the real sense we are looking for God in a person and the one that meets the imagination is it for us. Imagine how a human feels when they can chose who God will be? It can be so exhilarating, or not. I have always wondered why we become so animated. Mainly because we’re deluded that as an individual you can make a difference. In fact some go as far as to say we need to participate in the process to help God fulfill His purpose. A question that arises is, where do we get the impression that God needs man’s help? Not in the Bible. The Bible essentially is about how man needs God’s help, not the other way round. So why vote? In the Bible casting lots was common when a decision based on options was required. When you choose to cast lots it’s as a result of trust in the process, regardless of the outcome. Particularly when the process owner is trustworthy. When casting lots it’s assumed God is the process owner. In elections however one has to contend with whether the government of the day can be trusted. If it can be trusted then the voting process and outcome will be rewarding. If not, it’s like gambling. Sometimes you win, most times however it’s a catastrophic loss. Regardless of the government, God is sovereign. Regardless how democratic or autocratic the political regime, He is in control. Humans require different circumstances to realise the extent to which we need God in order to enjoy living. When we participate in elections it’s a way of demonstrating the confidence we have in the government election institution. If we do it for any other reason prepare to be disappointed. One doesn’t need to be a prophet to see that many will be disillusioned and disappointed. Mainly because the reason they are participating is already misguided. Remember someone has to be chosen and that person is being determined by a God that doesn’t think like man. Sounds twisted right?
When one looks at the works of Christ as described in the gospels something interesting comes to light. Everyone that approached him with a need was fortunate to have it met. Yes, the blind got to see,the lame to walk and even the dead came alive. I have often wondered why Jesus had to meet everyone’s need to enjoy creation. It was because God created man last to enjoy creation forever. How then can one enjoy creation in totality when impaired in whatever way? If you can’t see it, hear it, walk it etc ? For God this is untenable. Just before he died Jesus said ‘It is finished’. All that is required for us to enjoy creation here and now was made available, that’s what Jesus meant. It is available in Him. Gospel music today has been promoted like something that can open doors to God allowing us to enjoy the things of the Kingdom. If you think about it gospel music is now being fronted as a suitable substitute for Jesus himself. There’s only one small problem, gospel music is incapable of the same results as Jesus Christ. How many blind see, deaf hear after interacting with gospel music ? There is no trend anywhere or anytime in history where gospel music plays such a role. Satan loves gospel music because it promotes his agenda very well.i.e shifting the focus from the truth which is Christ. It doesn’t matter how much gospel music you listen to or sing, it has no capacity to release one to enjoy creation. It’s like eating a lollipop to address a headache and expecting the headache to go. I have encountered Jesus Christ through the Bible and there is quite a significant distinction between the two. Gospel music is sometimes used to distort the truth, many songs being sang today create an impression that we are waiting for God to do something when the truth is it’s already been done. Would you believe it’s the same with prayer, Satan loves prayer. We’ve made prayer equivalent to Jesus. Sadly we do not see the supernatural that accompanied it in the Bible. This is also because we’ve shifted our focus from the centre which is Christ. Why would you leave your boss struggling to finalize a report in order to go for a prayer meeting when Jesus himself never abandoned anyone to go pray ? Scripture tells us God did it through Christ and it is now upto us to enjoy that which he did that’s in Christ. For as long as we think gospel music is equivalent to Jesus Christ we shall not enjoy creation. Who are the real beneficiaries of gospel music? These days gospel music is called an industry. There’s a product that’s served to those that demand for it. They pay for it and the industry cycle is completed. Most of those making the music do so largely to make money. They are rewarded every year with awards just like the worldly musicians. Picture Gospel Awards 56 AD, and Apostal of the year award goes to…. sounds pretty dumb. The rest of whether the music is transformational or not is marketing. There are genuine musicians singing for the Lord, one way of knowing them is they give away their music more often than not and do not charge people money to sing. That’s what being blessed causes one to do, remember if you’ve been given freely then freely too should you give. Forget about gospel music and chase after Christ. If Christ introduces you to gospel music he’ll do so in a way that will keep you grounded. The plan was since he died for us we are to reciprocate and die to all things so that we live the life he is living on earth through us. Yes, it’s in him that all things make sense. So will you rush to the next concert for short term pleasure or will you wait for Christ to open doors that will allow us to enjoy creation now ? He’s not just the reason for the season but the reason for living. Happy Easter !
As a human, social compliance is such a big deal. However, this mindset is what we cross over with into the Christian faith. Once in the church we are quickly taught what to comply with. You should pray, read the bible and give ten percent of your income etc. The more one conforms to this the better placed one is in the eyes of the church members/leaders. As we do things ‘for’ God do we ever think what He is thinking? Just to show how ridiculous some of the things we do look, imagine this. The President of your country is known to love doughnuts and all leaders that pay him a visit try to take the best doughnut from their country. It’s easy to imagine given an opportunity giving him a doughnut would be such a great idea in order to please such a great person. The reality is even if you wanted, the President wouldn’t be able to receive such from someone he doesn’t have a relationship with. Those that visit the president for the first time get vetted long before they come and there’s an introduction conducted to formally make them known. It’s only after this process that one can extend a gift. If you don’t know God why would you give Him anything ? Would He receive it ? It’s important for someone to come to their senses regarding the need to interact with God. In this case one size doesn’t fit all. e. g. The service starts with praise and worship and every one is expected to participate. How does one praise/worship someone they’ve never interacted with? It’s like going to an empty football stadium to cheer an invisible team. Who does that ? There are those that have encountered God during the week and sing because it’s a testimony of their experience. Why would you want others to participate in an activity that clearly has no tangible meaning for them ? When we engage people to participate in an activity for which they have no conviction we’re leading people into religion and not a relationship with God. Drawing people to God means scratching beneath the surface to demystify what following Christ is/not. God longs to converse with us, that however cannot happen if we do not interact with Him. When we interact with Him it is possible to hear for one self what He desires. There’s a place for wanting to do what others are doing to fulfill social obligations. That notwithstanding, one should be careful not to allow others to always relay information from above when there are opportunities for one to hear and respond to He that is the centre of the affair. You may have noticed that in the Bible God is fond of interacting with individuals to convey that which is in His heart for the person. This is a great desire to instill His heart into ours. When we believe Him, He gets so pleased. He’s pleased because He’s sure to whom the glory will be ascribed. For then people will know He exists through the witnesses testimony. In our interaction with Him we get to learn just how impaired we really are. If you read the Bible carefully you’ll see there were people that He called that said no (more or less anyway). Moses, Jonah and Gideon are good examples. By their expressed reluctance we get to see just how persuasive God is when He wants one to do something. I have been brought up knowing saying no to God is akin to death. That cannot be further from the truth. He longs for someone that can share their heart with Him, as He too does. If you don’t believe His existence say so. If you don’t believe the Bible say so. It’s a really good thing to say no to God because if He wants you to do it He will convict you of it. The interesting thing is those that get to say no start off by being yes people. Until they interact with the Living God and realise the Creator is not like the created. Consequently those that start off by saying no to God end up by saying yes (Saul/Paul). You can’t hurt His feelings but you can give Him a tangible reason to intervene. It’s the same with relationships, imagine interacting with someone that is unable to take a stand on anything just to please you. It can get pretty uncomfortable when they keep telling you they will do what you want. Not because they have a conviction just to please you. When you turn your back or go away they are up to their own things. Sounds familiar? That’s how the Israelites in the Old testament were most times. If we are to move from being superficial we must say something from the heart, even no.