20Then came to him the mother of Zebedee’s children with her sons, worshipping him, and desiring a certain thing of him. 21And he said unto her, What wilt thou? She saith unto him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom. 22But Jesus answered and said, Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? They say unto him, We are able. 23And he saith unto them, Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with: but to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father.” (Mat. 20:20-23)

It is telling that history records that all the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ died violent deaths. This is something we should meditate upon long and hard.

Clearly, our thoughts are not God’s thoughts nor are His ways our ways. The two are as far apart as the east is from the west. The reason for this is because when we have not been touched by the transformative power of Jesus Christ, we are mere men, and our desires and aspirations are worldly.

But when we meet with Jesus, we connect with a Power that no force can overcome. That means, firstly, that the things of this world that appear so needful to us become of very little importance.

Here we have the disciples of Jesus, the sons of Zebedee, thinking in terms of the glory of this world. But the mind of God was very far from that kind of understanding. God’s mind operates on a completely different parameter.

At the end of it all, the apostles of Jesus died violent deaths. They were either beheaded or crucified. The Bible mentions only the death of the Apostle James, who was beheaded. But this information alone should lead us to believe that the others suffered a similar fate.

That is how powerfully the apostles of Jesus entered into the Kingdom of heaven!

But before they knew who they were dealing with, the apostles James and John had no inkling whatsoever of how they would enter the Kingdom of heaven. At the moment they were asking Jesus to grant them to sit one on His right side and the other on His left side, they absolutely had no idea what it entailed to enter God’s heavenly Kingdom. They had no idea that one day they would lose their earthly lives in the most violent of ways. But Jesus loved them and He promised they would enter it through the most powerful way possible: through violence to the flesh

Similarly, I believe most believers have no idea what it entails to enter the Kingdom of heaven. They have no idea of the extent of God’s disapproval of the flesh. This earthly body which, incidentally, occupies all our thoughts and all our strength… this is where sin dwells. And we have been given these bodies for just one purpose: to crucify sin.

This was exactly what the Lord Jesus Christ said when He, too, was given a body. The Bible declares,,

“5 Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldst not, but a body hast thou prepared for me. 6 In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. 7 Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.” (Heb. 10:5-7)

Jesus was not given a body to go to the Alps with. He was not given a body to go shopping with. God gave Jesus a body to suffer for sin with.

And this is the mindset that we should have as believers. The desires and, indeed, needs of the flesh should occupy the least possible of the effort that we put out in this world. But we should go beyond there. We should actively engage in crucifying our flesh, for in our flesh dwells sin. And because sin dwells in our flesh, the flesh is therefore not our friend; it is our enemy. Actually, the flesh is the believer’s No. 1 enemy: the devil, the world and everything else follow a distant second.

Jesus was given a body to crucify sin with. How much more so we.

So let us leave off cozying up to the flesh. Let us be willing to accept the small hardships and persecutions that come our way. Then let us press on and accept even bigger sufferings and persecution. And one day, maybe, we just might be beheaded for the gospel’s sake – and thereby granted a mighty entrance into God’s heavenly Kingdom.

Finally, let us consider the words of Jesus:

“… but to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father.”

Imagine that! God has such unimaginable surprises for us! Even if you paid the ultimate price by being beheaded or crucified, still God holds the prerogative to who will sit at His right side and on His left. You cannot say, “Because I have been beheaded for the gospel’s sake then I have the right to sit at the right hand of God.”

Being beheaded is certainly a great price to pay. But God is far, far greater than any sacrifice that we might make. We cannot even begin to think about where we will be in God’s heavenly Kingdom because the prerogative that God has in this issue is far beyond even our comprehension.

He is, after all, GOD, the eternal Father.


“24 And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest.
25 And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors.
26 But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve.
27 For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth.” (Lk. 22:24-27)

I am back! Kindly forgive me for being away from blogging for such a long time. Sometimes, though, I believe it is spiritually healthy to keep quiet for a while. Sometimes God needs to fill us up, and at such times we need to just stay quiet.

Let us now look at a lesson that dropped into my heart like soft cheese. I was reading the above scripture when the word “serve” jumped out at me. I am very sure it was the Lord talking to me.

When we get to heaven there will be many surprises awaiting us there: but among the major surprises is when we get to learn who is the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven. Many people think their earthly church leaders – the pastors and elders, apostles and prophets, etc. – most people believe that because these people are great here on earth, that they will also be the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven.

But no! Jesus made it clear that the greatest in the Kingdom of heaven are those who… serve. That’s an attitude of heart! Unfortunately, but good news nonetheless, is the fact that when we get to heaven, the greatest will not be our beloved bishops, archbishops and pastors. Many of these leaders do not know what it means to serve. They only know to be served!

Imagine Jesus Himself telling His disciples,

“I am among you as he that serveth.” (v. 27)

Jesus did not live with His disciples the way today’s bishops and apostles live with their congregations. Today’s church leaders live a life of being served. That is the mindset they have. But this is a mindset of the flesh: it is not of the Spirit. For this reason, when He came to earth, Jesus did not come with that mindset, simply because He was not walking in the flesh. Jesus walked in the Spirit.

One of the most desirable things in this world – one of the things we love most in the flesh – is to be served. But Jesus did not come to please His flesh. For this reason, therefore, if you want to know how much the church is pleasing the flesh, just check out how much we love being served – and how little we serve!

And don’t tell me about preaching. Anyone can preach. But few of these same people can actually allow themselves to get their hands dirty and stoop to serve others. Actually, amongst the people who cannot even pick up a cup for themselves are preachers.

Now this is where we learn about the cross. In 1 Corinthians chapter 1 the Apostle Paul talks about his fear of the cross being “of none effect” to the people he preached to.

The purpose of the cross in our lives is to deal with our flesh, and our pride. We are called upon to carry the heart of a servant!

Now I know there are people who are not happy with what I have said here. But shouldn’t we obey scripture at every cost? How about we put aside all the politicising and actually get down to serve others? How about we go out of our way and give raw, actual service to people? Did you know that even moving that plate on the table – not waiting for someone else to do it – is the kind of service we have been called to? Or you could volunteer to brush your brother’s shoes.

There are a million and one things we can do in serving others!

I can’t wait to get to heaven and see who will be the greatest. In the meantime, all I want is to serve, and not to be served. Help me, God!

A Great Price

“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” (Rom. 8:35)

Another way of putting this scripture is: What shall separate us from LOVING Christ?

Amongst the things mentioned here there is nothing good, certainly not for the flesh. And yet this scripture does not indicate that these things will not come upon us. In fact, the very reason they are mentioned here is because they will come. They are a part and parcel of the cross that we are to take up in following Christ.

Most believers will not notice this and they will read this scripture and not see the RESPONSIBILITY attached to us in it. Most will just read about the love of Christ… They are not willing to take up their part following Him.

But the element of responsibility will always be there in our relationship with Christ.

Notice even the sword is mentioned here. This indicates the great price that we must be willing to pay to enter into the Kingdom of God. If we are to expect even the sword, how much more should we be willing to undergo the far lesser sufferings that we are called upon to endure on a daily basis?

Things like lack or hunger ought to be at the bottom rung of OUR list of things. There are far tougher things. How about dealing with the pride in our hearts? Thanks be to God for the revelation of the cross.

The cross will come to us in many different ways. But when we are carrying the mind of Christ we will be more than willing to identify ourselves with His life, in suffering and dying with Him.

A Doorkeeper

“For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness.” (Ps. 84:10)

I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of the Lord.

I would rather be.

I would far rather be.

Of Clothes Particularly

“3:10 And the people asked him, saying, What shall we do then?3:11 He answereth and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise.” (Lk. 3:10-11)

Hello Brothers and Sisters in Christ. Once again, I have been away for a long while and, once again, I apologize! (Don’t be deceived. My constant apologies in this blog have absolutely nothing to do with my levels of humility. Here I need your constant prayers!)

Now, back to today’s lesson. I start it off with a provocative question: How many clothes does a child of God really need to own?

Fortunately for everyone reading this post I have the answer right here with me. According to the Bible, you need just one. If you have two garments the Bible commands you to give the excess one to someone who doesn’t have any.

Judging by the size of our wardrobes, I believe we can be the best judges of whether we are living up to the Word of God or not. God is not against us owning more than one dress; but would you be willing to reduce it for the sake of a needy brother? Not to ask if you would give them the best you have!

But the greatest lesson that we learn from the words of John here is the great price we need to pay for the Kingdom’s sake. We need to learn to deny our flesh many things in order to enter into the Kingdom of God.

I am aware that there are many believers today who are not ready to agree with a message such as this. They will scoff at it because they have been taught, and they believe in material prosperity.

But John the Baptist, and even Jesus Himself, lived up to an austere lifestyle. John came dressed in a “garment of camel’s hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins.” (Mat. 3:4)

The Bible tells only of the one garment that our Lord Jesus had, the one that the soldiers cast lots over. He may have had other clothes but I doubt it was more than just the bare necessary.

I myself need to reduce and reduce my wardrobe. There are so many people in need!

A Sad Day

A dark cloud has descended upon our country. Our beloved president, Dr. John Pombe Magufuli, has passed away. The news was relayed to the nation last night by the Vice President, Mama Samia Suluhu.

Dr. Magufuli was the most lovable president ever. Fearless and enterprising he had a passion for the land and for his people which he worked at with every ounce of his strength.

He hated corruption with his last breath.

It was a great blessing to live under this man. For five straight years we, the citizens of Tanzania, enjoyed true and just leadership. Not to mention the great entertainment that the president constantly afforded us in his speeches.

The world media will probably go for the overkill on account of President Magufuli’s stand in the fight against COVID 19. But for more than a year he shielded us against the horrors of lockdown. We know what has been going on in our neighboring countries in the name of fighting the Corona, and it is not good at all. Our President deliberately steered the country away from this mess.

Most people wouldn’t accept it, of course, but death is a fact of life. Sooner or later we are all going to die, COVID or no COVID. And, “except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain” (Ps. 127:1)

I cannot end this post without mentioning what I believe to be President Magufuli’s most enduring legacy, particularly from a faith standpoint. It is that he directed his people to stand firm in their faith in God. Even more potent is the fact that he lived out that confession to the end.

A dark cloud has most certainly settled over our land. But it will pass, as all clouds do.

God bless Tanzania.

The Way Of Love

“He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends.” (Prov. 17:9)

To love or not to love, that’s the question. That’s the question for we believers.

Without a doubt, love comes with a price. You cannot love unless you are willing to pay that price.

The price for one to carry love in one’s heart is, as scripture says, to cover transgression. Now, we have all been taught that the best medicine for sin is to expose it. But here the Bible expressly says to cover it. That’s tough because we all love exposing sin, specifically other people’s. As for ours we want it kept under the tightest lid possible, preferably with the key thrown away.

But the Bible is not even talking about hiding sin in this manner. On the contrary, it is talking about carrying the heart of forbearance. It is talking about patience and forgiveness. The heart of forbearance is exactly the heart that God the Father had for us, as it says in Romans 3:23-26:

“3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;3:24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:3:25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;3:26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.”

We were all bound for hell. But Jesus died for us.

The way of love is not easy. Jesus said we must deny ourselves. We need to constantly deny ourselves and take up our cross in order to carry the grace of God. And nowhere is this grace needed as in our relationships.

This is the call of God in our lives. We are called to love. And in order to love we must deny ourselves and take up our cross.

Those Little Foxes!

“Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes.” (Song of Solomon 2:15)

Another word for “take” is “catch”. In other words, therefore, “Catch us the little foxes”.

The little foxes refer to the small things in our lives. Believe it or not but what will prevent most believers from making it past the pearly gates are not the so-called big sins like adultery, stealing, murder, drunkenness and the like. Most Christian believers do not engage in these things, either through the grace of God, or through major effort on their part.

What will prevent most believers from entering into the Kingdom of heaven are the small things or sins in our lives. These are the kind of things that believers tend to ignore in their lives. To many it’s no big deal walking about with anger, pride, unforgivingness or even lust in our hearts! But these things should sound a very loud alarm in us. We should rush to Jesus and repent!

Notice the scripture says the little foxes destroy the vine,

“for our vines have tender grapes”.

The things of the Kingdom are extremely tender and they can be easily destroyed by the seemingly small things in our lives Actually, seen in the proper light, these things are not small at all. On the contrary, they are deadly.

Unfortunately, on Judgement Day many believers will be counted with the raw sinners of this world. Jesus will tell them, “I never knew you”. This is because they harbored things in their hearts that destroyed the vine.

We should repent of these things. We should repent of the deep, hidden things in us for it is these that “spoil the vine”.

I have heard believers boasting about how they no longer sin – meaning they no longer fornicate, etc. But what about the pride and prejudice and bitterness and every whatnot, the things that reside deep in us?

We cannot boast until we have quieted each and every one of our enemies on every side. And that requires a constant crucifixion of the flesh each and every day of our lives.

The Love Of The Early Church

“The elder unto the wellbeloved Gaius, whom I love in the truth.” (3 Jn. 1:1)

In the Swahili version the words “wellbeloved” and “beloved” (verse 2, etc.) are translated “lover”.

In other words, the Apostle John addresses Gaius as his lover. But, clearly, Gaius is not just John’s lover; he is beloved to the entire church.

In this twisted world, of course, “lover” means something entirely different. But for the Early Church that word indicated the unspeakably deep love that the church had for one another.

In his endings to his letters to the churches the Apostle Paul exhorts them to “greet one another with an holy kiss.” (1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, 1 Thessalonians).

So does the Apostle Peter (1 Pet. 5:14).

The Early Church was light years ahead of today’s church where enmity and every kind of ill will define much of the church. It is difficult to comprehend the kind of love that ruled the church in those days. It is difficult to comprehend a love in the Spirit that finds it insufficient to just call one “brother” or “sister” and can only call them “lover”.

In the same manner the holy kiss is an expression of incredibly deep love that the early church members had for one another.

Truly, the Early Church left us an incredible example to follow. Isn’t amazing and simply wondrous to imagine such love amongst all God’s children scattered all over this old, tired world?

May God give us much grace, that the church might arrive here.