Who Dwells With God?

For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones. Is. 57:15

A friend of mine and I were walking in the street when we passed someone talking on the phone, and as we passed by we overheard him saying into the phone, “You know, forgiving someone is the most difficult thing to do in this world.”

When we had walked clear of the man, I said to my friend, “I think asking for forgiveness is even harder, because you are required to humble yourself in order to do so.”

As we walked we thought a lot about that. We came to the conclusion that in many of our dealings with people we are called upon to have a humble spirit, otherwise we cannot please God. And we will hurt people.

It is incredible what the Bible states in Isaiah. The Bible says that God inhabits eternity. Just think about that. Moreover, it says His Name is “Holy”. And who does scripture say God dwells with in His eternal and holy abode? The Bible does not say that God dwells with the holy; but rather it says He dwells with the humble and contrite in heart. In the simplest terms, it means that God is solidly on the side of the man who can humble himself.

Why, pray, not with the holy?

I am sure that, more than anything else, God would love to dwell with the holy man/woman. That means a man or woman who does not sin. But there actually is nothing like a man or woman who is sinless. The Bible declares that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23). All!

There is only one Man whom the Bible testifies that He did not sin, and that is our Lord Jesus Christ. The Bible says of Him,

“Who did no sin” (1 Pet. 2:22).

That is perfectly clear. Jesus did no sin. There is nowhere in the Bible you will find that written about anyone else. Every other man and woman has sinned. Even the men whom God boasts of in the Bible sinned. Abraham went in to a concubine. As for King David, the man whose heart singularly pleased the Lord, well… we don’t want him feeling bad up there, so let’s cut the talk.

Many believers are trying hard to live a sinless life. That is commendable. But many forget the crucial ingredient that God looks for in a man’s heart. God looks for humility. A humble man pleases God more than anything else, and he will go far, even in this world, because God is on his side.

A humble man is one who has a soft, malleable heart and who quickly falls down and repents. That was the case with King David. When the Prophet Nathan showed him his sin, David said simply,

“I have sinned against the Lord.” (2 Sam. 12:13)

He did not add or deduct from those all-important words.

Many of us cannot curl our tongues around such words. Some of us would rather die even rather than utter such words. And yet, it came naturally with King David.

We read of other kings who, when they were confronted, had the man of God locked away. And many of us are like that. But not David.

A humble and contrite spirit is the first pre-requisite with God. Don’t press God about the fact that you are His child, etc. He is not interested in such self-righteousness. When Jesus began His ministry here on earth, the Bible tells us the first words that came out of His mouth.

“From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Mat. 4:17)

He was talking of a humble, repentant heart.

There is a safe passage in this unsafe world. The passage is in our hearts – our humble hearts. God will fight ferociously for the humble man. That is an indisputable fact, and it is borne out in many lives of men and women who have humbled themselves in this world.

There is a shortcut to where God is. We can easily jump over in one leap and be with God. It is simply by wearing a humble heart. God welcomes a heart that is clothed in humility. For this reason the Bible says,

“But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.” (Jam. 4:6)

Yes. God gives grace to the humble. But He resists the proud.

Whatever you are engaged in, just calm down. Even if you are successful, do not allow success to get into you; lie low like an envelope. Wear humility like a garland around your neck. Own up and surrender whoever you are to God. Jesus said,

“If any man will come after me, let him deny himself…” (Mat. 16:24).

Surrender your will to God.

Whatever battles you are going through, humble yourself, and God will give you the victory.

That, beloved, is the gospel of the cross that the Apostle Paul preached. It is only through this gospel that we can say with Paul,

“Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerers through him that loved us.” (Rom. 8:37)

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God Makes His Way

No great victory can ever be won without a great battle. The bigger the battle, the bigger the victory. For this very reason, God takes our weaknesses and defeats, and He turns them into victories. The weaker one is in the flesh, the stronger they are with God. The bigger the loss in the natural, the greater the victory in the Spirit.

One of the stories that captivated the world in recent years is famously known as “The Bali 9”. The Bali 9 were nine young men from Australia who in 2005 were arrested in Indonesia on drugs charges. Two of those young men who were identified as the ringleaders, Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, were convicted of drug trafficking and sentenced to die by firing squad. The sentence was duly carried out in 2015 in the face of great international emotion. Many high-profile appeals had been made in and out of court. The Australian government went even so far as to threaten the Indonesian government with sanctions.

It was clear from the testimonies that were given by the other members of the Bali 9 that Andrew and Myuran were brutal, cold-blooded gangsters who would go to any lengths to enforce their will upon others. This made the judges to impose on them the toughest sentence possible: the death sentence. But in the ten years that they were incarcerated, the two young men on death row turned their lives around and became such role models that, during their final appeals, even the prison governor came to their defense. He told the judges that it would be “a shame” to execute the two young convicts. But the Indonesian government would not be swayed, and two fine young men lost their lives in the most appalling manner possible. Due to the political situation in the country at the time, the world viewed the senseless execution as a case of a weak government trying to appear tough in the eyes of its people.

As I pointed out, the case of ‘The Bali 9’ garnered great international attention. But in the midst of all the uproar and clamor that attended this incredibly emotional case there was one detail that the world did not have reason to dwell on too much. It was the fact that while in prison, both Andrew Chan and Myuran had converted and given their lives to Jesus. When the duo were transferred to the island fortress where they were to be executed, Andrew carried only his Bible, a symbol of his conviction and faith.

The Bible says,

“Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.” (Lk. 15:10)

God’s ways are so different from ours. The world wailed and mourned at the execution of these two young men; but heaven rejoiced. Through a long, torturous road – drugs, violence, death – these sinners received the ultimate gift: eternal life.

It goes without saying that these once callous men would never have had a chance of even thinking about heaven. So God made a way, His way. On that early morning of April 2015, Andrew Chan, Myuran Sukumaran and six other men stood looking into the cold barrels of a dozen guns. As they stood there, they sang “Amazing Grace”. And, in heaven, Jesus stood up to welcome them to His eternal Kingdom.

The Apostle Paul also was fashioned from similar circumstances. Once a brutal enforcer of Judaism, through much suffering God turned him around and he not only obtained eternal life himself, but became an invaluable asset to the Kingdom of God.

We should not fear to suffer for the sake of Christ. It is out of suffering alone that true spiritual victory can be achieved. For this reason, the Apostle Paul did not seek to unchain himself from suffering for the sake of the gospel. He himself wrote:

“Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” (2 Cor. 12:10)

[God Makes A Way]

Affliction Brings God’s Grace

And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness… 2 Cor. 12:9

Two days ago I returned from my ‘vacation’ in my home town of Musoma. Mine was not a vacation in the sense that I went boardriding on Lake Victoria or took excursions to the Serengeti National Park, both of which are local attractions. I did, however, visit a town in the Serengeti; but it was all about the church.

I had an incredibly wonderful stay in Musoma. This was one vacation I will live to remember. I ate tonnes of tilapia, had lots of free sightseeing; and I had some of the greatest company.

Among the people that I visited with while in Musoma was an old friend of mine who has been incapacitated for eight years. He is totally bedridden, and he has to be constantly taken care of.

His sister took me to see him. While there, we reminisced about the old days when he was a bus driver. We laughed when  we recalled how he could travel from Mwanza to Musoma, a distance of over 200 kilometers, in two hours flat. I watched the man closely as we talked and laughed. I sought to see the pain and bitterness at life that he must surely have been experiencing all these years. But I saw none of that. His laughter was free and clear. And he talked as if he was the most wholesome man alive.

Finally, he said to me, “Brother Mwita, I have made my peace with God. These years have taught me many lessons. But the greatest lesson that I have learned is how to be at peace with God in the midst of my sufferings. I have nothing in this life to look forward to. So I have learned to fix my eyes wholly on Jesus. And I have all the peace in the world.”

As I left I thought deeply about my friend’s words. He had changed a lot. In his younger days, he was one of the most problematic people. But now, I saw how affliction had changed him. He had learned to put his trust solely in God. With him, it was as God told the Apostle Paul:

“My grace is sufficient for thee…” (2 Cor. 12:9)

We can hardly claim the ways of God. They are so far apart from ours. Our ways lead us to yearn after earthly comfort; the knowledge of God, on the other hand, leads us to rejoice in suffering, for Christ’s sake.

The Just And Faith

Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. Heb. 10:38

Oh, to be “the just”, what a grace!

Without a doubt, this scripture speaks far more that just about trusting God for our earthly needs; but the latter is exactly what I want to speak about. During the year that has just passed, I can comfortably say that the greatest challenge that I had to deal with among believers on my turf had to do with money – or, rather, the lack of it. For reasons that are beyond my understanding, it just so happens that there is very little money around, and this natural situation has affected believers adversely. On average, out of every five challenges that I have come across amongst believers, four had to do a lack of money and the natural consequence of that, which is a lack of basic necessities.

The Bible, however, makes it clear that no situation comes to a believer without the express knowledge and permission of God, our heavenly Father. One of the most unmistakable instances in this regard is the Book of Job.

But one of the hardest lessons that the believer has to learn is that all these contrary situations come into our lives to test our faith. The reason for this is because God has said,

“The just shall live by faith”.

This scripture also talks of pleasing God. We cannot please God if we are not walking by faith.

And pray, what is faith?

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (Heb. 11:1)

The believer is to live an entirely different life than the natural man. He is not led by what is seen, nor what is available. He is led by things unseen, and by hope.

Such terrible times as most people are undergoing financially should be times of rejoicing. Why? Because we can exercise our faith more. When the ‘hope’ of this world ceases to be, it is the time for the Christian to pull out his ace card: his faith. It is a time to trust in God more. It is a time to see heaven that much closer. Actually, as I will be detailing in my following post, tribulation brings us far much closer to God.

So, as I received phone call after phone call from panicked believers who were in dire financial straits, I casually told them, “Relax, you are not about to die yet.” On the contrary, I had a solid message for them:

“The just shall live by faith.”

Where is our God? Remember, God is in heaven; He is above all.

Taking A Break

There is nothing wrong with taking an end-of-year breather when God allows. This year Flo, myself, and Bryceson have been vacationing in Musoma, my home town, with dad and the church.

With much thanksgiving to God and the precious brethren who made it all possible. Here below, in pictures.

God Can Use Anything

One time I went to visit a relative in the city and as I was sitting alone in the living room, his young son came in and found me reading a book. He told me, “That is my dad’s book.”

“Oh, great!”, I said jovially.

He didn’t seem to think it was so jovial. He looked blankly at me and said, “Put it down, you thief!”

I am no thief and in my tribe, the least form of punishment that I would have given that boy for insulting me was instant death.

But God gave me grace and I realized exactly what was happening. I realized God was checking to see what was in my heart.

God can use anything – even a small child – to show us what is in our hearts. Whenever something negative comes into our lives, we should beware that God has allowed it in order to uproot something that He does not like in our lives.

In my case, the Lord allowed me to see the mountain of pride that was in my heart. In fact, I was so humbled by what the Lord revealed to me that I became as small as a pin in that house and especially towards that boy. And by the time I left, he and I had become best of friends.

[God can use even a small child to check your pride level. And no, this is not the boy in the story]

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Final Ministry Update 2018

The final three weeks of December were incredibly eventful for the churches in Singida. During the second and third weeks of December the churches were refreshed by the presence of our elders’ wives, Mrs. Amas, Mrs. L. Maalim, Mrs. Samuel, and Mrs. Fie. They traveled to every church and, by the grace of God, they did a marvelous job. The church was deeply touched and encouraged by their presence.

During the last week of December, Pastor Edward and I traveled to the capital city, Dodoma, to visit our three churches there. The grace of God went with us and the churches were greatly encouraged through the Word of God.

Below, in pictures.

[Mrs. Maalim and Mrs. Samuel visiting with the new church at Lighwa]

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[With the church at Matongo]

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[Apart from preaching and encouraging the brethren, the pastors’  wives also planted trees in one of three church plots that the church in Singida bought in 2018]

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[In Dodoma: Pastor Edward with our host, Pastor Madaha]

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[Pastor Moses from neighboring town of Hombolo came to join us in Dodoma]

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[We had great times of fellowship]

 

[Traveling back to Singida on New Year’s eve, Pastor Edward and I had all the bus to ourselves; and, late in the evening, to the west I espied a beautiful sunset]

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