David’s Generous Heart – Part 1

20 And David took all the flocks and the herds, which they drave before those other cattle, and said, This is David’s spoil.

21 And David came to the two hundred men, which were so faint that they could not follow David, whom they had made also to abide at the brook Besor: and they went forth to meet David, and to meet the people that were with him: and when David came near to the people, he saluted them.

22 Then answered all the wicked men and men of Belial, of those that went with David, and said, Because they went not with us, we will not give them ought of the spoil that we have recovered, save to every man his wife and his children, that they may lead them away, and depart.

23 Then said David, Ye shall not do so, my brethren, with that which the LORD hath given us, who hath preserved us, and delivered the company that came against us into our hand.

24 For who will hearken unto you in this matter? but as his part is that goeth down to the battle, so shall his part be that tarrieth by the stuff: they shall part alike.

25 And it was so from that day forward, that he made it a statute and an ordinance for Israel unto this day.

26 And when David came to Ziklag, he sent of the spoil unto the elders of Judah, even to his friends, saying, Behold a present for you of the spoil of the enemies of the LORD;

27 To them which were in Bethel, and to them which were in south Ramoth, and to them which were in Jattir,

28 And to them which were in Aroer, and to them which were in Siphmoth, and to them which were in Eshtemoa,

29 And to them which were in Rachal, and to them which were in the cities of the Jerahmeelites, and to them which were in the cities of the Kenites,

30 And to them which were in Hormah, and to them which were in Chorashan, and to them which were in Athach,

31 And to them which were in Hebron, and to all the places where David himself and his men were wont to haunt. 1 Sam. 30:20-31

I am aware that somewhere in this blog I have written a post on this very scripture, but the subject matter is so beautiful I just have to write on it again. No matter I might end up repeating my earlier post word for word, but still I will write on it again. This portion of scripture is epicly delightful. It sings like an ode – an ode of God’s love for His people. It is not for nothing that David is one of the most 1) loved, 2) admired, and 3)written-about characters in the Bible. And it is not for nothing that God called David:

“… a man after mine own heart (Acts 13:22).

Notice in our key scripture above that it says of the spoil that David and his men seized from the Amalekites, that it was

“…David’s spoil.”

It was his and he was free to do with it as he pleased. But what David did with his spoil draws us to simply love this man of the Spirit.

In the first place, this pursuit against the Amalekite invaders had been incredibly exerting, to the extent that two hundred of David’s men – tested men of war – had fainted and had been forced to remain behind, by a certain brook called Besor. David and four hundred of his men had forged on ahead. They finally caught up with the Amalekites and, for two whole days, they routed them and killed off every one of them.

The Bible proceeds to tell us what followed next.

“20 And David took all the flocks and the herds, which they drave before those other cattle, and said, This is David’s spoil. 21 And David came to the two hundred men, which were so faint that they could not follow David, whom they had made also to abide at the brook Besor: and they went forth to meet David, and to meet the people that were with him: and when David came near to the people, he saluted them.” (v. 20-21)

The men whom David had left behind went to welcome back their leader, their comrades-in-arms, and to hug their wives and children. They were excited and happy.

And David came up to them and saluted them. David saluted the men who had been left behind! And ‘saluting’ here probably means that he came up to them and hugged them. And he said to them, “Gentlemen, how have you fared? I hope you had a wonderful rest.”

I love this. I love it with all my heart. David did not come up to these men with a twisted heart. He came up to them with the love of God in his heart.

But David’s actions did not go down well with some of the men who had gone on with David to the battle. David being pleasant to these men who had not participated in battle was not rubbing off some of his men. But the reason for their antagonism was because they feared what would follow with David being so nice to the stragglers. It was a certain fear running deep down within them that drove these men to do what they did next.

These men got together and came up with a plan. They declared that those who had not gone to battle would be sent away with only their wives and children, but otherwise empty-handed. They would not be allowed to share in the spoils that had been brought back.

But these men were selfish and did not have the love of God in their hearts. It was the fear of losing that was eating at them. And the Bible calls them

“wicked men and men of Belial” (v.22)

They were children of the devil. When we fear to lose we become children of the devil.

I cannot imagine at this stage the condition of the hearts of the men who were so addressed. Their hearts must have fainted within them. They had tried their best, and their best had taken them only up to the brook Besor. And, apparently, their best was not good enough for some of their fellows.

But notice David’s heart.

“23 Then said David, Ye shall not do so, my brethren, with that which the LORD hath given us, who hath preserved us, and delivered the company that came against us into our hand. 24 For who will hearken unto you in this matter? but as his part is that goeth down to the battle, so shall his part be that tarrieth by the stuff: they shall part alike.” (v. 23-24)

And the conclusion:

“And it was so from that day forward, that he made it a statute and an ordinance for Israel unto this day.” (v. 25)

The heart of God was in David. He not only attributed he and his troop’s victory to God, but he also had compassion upon the weak. And upon realizing that there were “men of Belial” within the ranks of Israel, David immediately instituted an ordinance that would forever rule over Israel:

“… as his part is that goeth down to the battle, so shall his part be that tarrieth by the stuff: they shall part alike.”

That is God’s heart for His children. As children of God, it also ought to be our heart towards one another.

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Fathers… And Children – Part 2

Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged. Col. 3:21

I had never paid any serious consideration to this scripture until, one day, the Lord showed me my attitude towards my son Joe. I remember the occasion well: it was early morning, the time of night when you wake up and things become crystal clear to you. I recall thinking to myself, What have I been doing? I had been so hard on the boy! Granted, he kept repeating all these mistakes; but where was my heart as his father?

In fact, it became clear to me that I was not taking up my cross in any sense of the word. Rather, I was giving in to my tribal instincts instead of living by the Spirit.

But realizing and admitting that I had such a problem was the easier part. The voice that was speaking to me brought up something else, seemingly out of nowhere. I had to ask my son for forgiveness, it said!

Now, I tend to think that I am a peculiar species of human being. It is easier for Kim Jong to detonate his hydrogen bomb over the straits than for me to ask for forgiveness. And to ask it of my son! This was a particularly tough one.

But I had to. Not only that, the voice persisted. I would wake up early in the morning and do the chores myself that I had set out for him to do. I had to set an example!

Early in the morning, I woke up and headed for the chicken barns where Joe normally works. I worked hard. That voice inside of me was persistent. In my attempt to make something out of my son, it said, I had built a heart of stone towards him. I just had to stop being hard to my son, it kept repeating.

Then the real test came. Soon enough Joe showed up, just before 7. He expressed his surprise at finding me doing his morning chores. But he joined in and we continued feeding the chickens.

Finally, it was time. It was time… time for me to ask  him for forgiveness.

I looked for a way of escape, but there was none. The voice told me that if I walked out of that yard without asking Joe for forgiveness, all my efforts would have come to nought.

I mustered all the strength I had (yes, strength!) and I stopped him mid-step.

“Joe”, I said, “I want you to forgive me for being so hard on you.”

Joe stopped what he was doing and I could see a visible change in his demeanor.

“It’s okay, dad”, he finally said.

It was not easy to say much, but in our spirits, we spoke volumes. We understood each other. He understood that I loved him, and I understood that he desired to do his best.

That day, my son was extremely radiant and forthcoming. It was so unlike the times when I spent all my time snipping and snapping at him. During those days, you could see disappointment and discouragement written all over his face.

The Bible says that we, as fathers, are not to provoke our children to anger, lest they be discouraged.

If a parent is not taking up his cross, he will do exactly that. He will find fault with their children in everything. And this, the Bible tells us, discourages our children. They have no joy and they could easily turn away from following the Lord.

The Biblical mandate to take up our cross and follow Christ is no mere rhetoric. It has a price tag attached to it; and it is a steep one. In order to win this battle, we must deny ourselves and take up our cross in order that we might bear the fruits of the Spirit in us. Imagine a father who is surrendering to Christ and taking up his cross daily. In his heart he will have

“22 … love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 meekness, temperance” (Gal. 5:22-23)

How can such a father become a stumbling block to his child? He can only have an uplifting and encouraging attitude towards his children.

[Great is our heavenly Father’s mercy towards us. Where is ours for our children?]

Fathers… And Children – Part 1

Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged. Col. 3:21

This scripture is straightforward enough. It is the easiest thing in the world for Godly parents to discourage their children. But first…

The first thing we notice in this scripture is that it is addressing fathers. It is not addressing mothers; or parents in a general manner. This goes to show that God has put upon the father the responsibility to raise his children in the ways of the Lord.

We cannot put “mother” where the Bible says “father”.

With all due respect, there is much wrong with single-parent families and, in particular, where the parent happens to be the mother, as is so commonly the case. The question must of necessity be asked, Where is the father?

But we must remember that this scripture is addressing the church, not the world. We cannot take this challenge to the world, for the world is free to do as it sees fit. But in church, there is everything wrong if the father (if he is in church) is not taking the lead in raising up his children in a Godly manner. If a father is an absentee father and he claims to be saved, he should be confronted and be told that his assertion is just that: a claim. In actual fact,

“… he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.” (1 Tim. 5:8)

It is no less severe if the father is present at home but does not take the lead in instructing, correcting and raising his children. There are some men who consider it their wives’ responsibility to talk to and to warn the children. Such fathers will come from work, put up their feet on the table and read the newspaper. Not a thought, not a question and not a comment about the children. As long as they are putting bread on the table, they feel they have fulfilled their responsibility.

But this is a totally wrong approach to parenting. In fact, the spiritual father’s No. 1 responsibility is to raise their children in the ways of the Lord. Provision of bread is secondary. The father, not the mother, has been invested with authority from God to lead the family. Biblically, a woman does not have that authority; and even when she takes it upon herself to discipline the children, whether it works or not, still, it is not God’s plan for the family. God’s will is for the man to lead the family. The father is also the prime example to the family in Godly conduct and in showing the fear of the Lord.

In other words, therefore, it is God’s will for every God-fearing family to have a father to lead it.

There must be a Godly standard in church in our approach to these things. A woman (or man) can join the church while a single parent. In other words, she comes in from the world already a single parent. This is understood by the church and she ought to receive support and encouragement from the church. And if she stays faithful to God, God will grant her many favors, both spiritual and physical.

The same goes for a widow (or widower).

There are many reasons for the single-mother family. But any other “single mother” reason other than the above is simply unacceptable in church. And I think the worst category here is the modern fab where women want to live so-called independent lives, marriage-less, but still have children. This cannot be allowed to happen in church and the only ‘remedy’ for such an aberration is for the woman to repent – and get married, if possible. That is how the church is run.

[If a man is meandering all over the place away from his family he cannot be a competent father to his children]

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What To Truly Worry About

24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?

26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?

27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?

28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:

29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?

31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?

32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.

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

34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. Mat. 6:24-34

One of my first ‘vocabularies’ in school was the word “paramount”. We used to read a book about a certain paramount chief, and that word has stuck with me to this day. In today’s post we are going to learn, not about the paramount chief, but about the paramount need in our lives as believers in Christ.

In the above scripture, Jesus says we cannot serve two masters, for either we will hate the one, and love the other; or else we will hold to the one, and despise the other. We cannot serve God and mammon.

Notice that this is a statement. It is not a point for contention or debate. Scripture states simply that we cannot serve God and mammon.

Mammon is the god of this world. Now, you would think that this refers to money and wealth only; but Jesus here makes it abundantly clear that it refers even to our most basic human needs: food and clothing. Jesus said we are not to “take no thought” for these things. Why?

Jesus again gave us the answer:

“for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.”

God will provide for our physical and material needs! Hallelujah!!

But let us back-pedal a little. What does scripture mean when it says to “take no thought”?

It means to not worry, or to get concerned about. We are not to worry about a lack of these things in our lives. There are things that should be worrying us more, Jesus says.

The foundation that Jesus set for us as His people is to seek first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness. It is to seek God’s spiritual Kingdom first. That is Christ’s foundation for His church. We are to seek the establishment of God’s Kingdom in our hearts. That is God’s priority for us. Jesus said it again in His model prayer:

“9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. 10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.” (Mat. 6:9-10)

You may mention food, clothing, cars, health and anything else you want after that; but first things first.

If God ever allowed us to worry, it would not be to worry because it appears we are going to sleep hungry tonight; or for lack of school fees for our children. On the contrary, we are to worry, or to get concerned, on account of God’s Kingdom not being fully established in our lives. That is what Jesus said.

“Seek ye first the Kingdom of God…”

The establishment of God’s spiritual Kingdom in us is God’s paramount need in us. And it also ought to be our paramount need.

It is not that the many gospels being preached in the world today are not preaching Jesus, no; the problem is that they are emphasizing on the well-being of the outer shell, the body, over the profit or well-being of the inner man.

The true gospel of Jesus Christ puts its emphasis wholly on the condition of the man of the spirit. It realizes full well that whatever we do for this outer covering (the body) is vain, for ultimately, this body will end up six feet under, to be eaten by worms. But, today, there are so many believers who are so taken up with the welfare of this body! So much so that a large portion of the Body of Christ has diverted the gospel of Jesus Christ to cater for this outer shell, while the spirit is left to wither and die. Little strength and even fewer resources are directed to the well-being of the spiritual man.

Oh, to worry! Yes, we should worry – worry that we are not spiritual enough. We should be concerned when we find that the works of the flesh are there in our lives and that there is little fruit of the Spirit in us.

But this is a good worry. God works with such worries. His Holy Spirit in us will awake to such a call. And He will galvanise us to desire to do that which is pleasing to God more. We read about exactly such a response from the Corinthian church.

“9 Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. 10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death. 11 For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.” (2 Cor. 7:9-11)

Godly worry produces Godly sorrow, which in turn produces repentance.

These are the things that constitute God’s spiritual Kingdom. They are the things that should concern us.

Let us touch briefly on our material needs.

Faith is all about seeing into God’s spiritual kingdom. It all depends on whether our spiritual eyes have been opened or not. If we have spiritual eyes, we will see the spiritual and we will focus on the spiritual. If we do not have spiritual eyes, we cannot see into the spiritual and we will therefore focus on the material.

The Macedonians were poor and they were willing to grow even poorer because they saw the spiritual blessing of sharing their lives with the suffering saints in Jerusalem. To them, the blessing was not material. It was not in having their needs met. On the contrary, to them, the blessing was spiritual.

The most important thing that the church needs to understand is that Christ is building a spiritual house in us. He is not building a physical house. As our Father, though, He understands our material needs and He will provide. But He wants us to focus on His spiritual calling in us.

It is when we have this focus that we can refrain from hitting the panic button whenever we get low on our material supplies. Actually, we can even laugh at such conditions, for we know that God is in control. If I am walking with a clean heart, the devil can hit me with all the material deprivation he wants, I wouldn’t care. When God deems it fit He shall provide, and the devil cannot prevent it once God begins working on that front.

But if we do not have this spiritual vision, it becomes very difficult for us to understand why we should not be panicking in such situations.

But we are called to be servants of the Spirit, not the flesh. We cannot serve God and this world. And the true value of Godly faith in us can be found in how willing we are to serve Him in the Spirit.

[Lord, make me a believer]

 

The Value Of Admonishing Our Children

And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Eph. 6:4

I want to talk about the word “admonition” in this scripture. It is fair, though, to also say something about the word “nurture” since it is also mentioned here.

Another word for “nurture” would be foster or develop. When it comes to fostering our children in the ways of the Lord, it is the life of Christ that we carry in us that will help to foster our children in the knowledge of Christ. Christian parents are like an incubator. They incubate their children – in the ways of the Lord. And there is no way you can do this unless you allow them to see Christ through the example of your life.

The second word, “admonition”, talks of warning. We are to warn our children in the ways of the Lord. In other words, we are to speak to our children about God.

It is a good thing to speak to our children about God. Let me give an example to illustrate this. My children, just like all children, love watching TV till the late hours of night. (Actually, we do not have TV, it is the videos they love watching.)

I don’t like it that my children love staying in front of the TV screen until midnight. I have talked to them severally regarding this but, apparently, my talk show has not borne much fruit. They will give this and that excuse and right after, I wake up at night to find them all quietly sitted watching a movie or whatever. If it was those early days they wouldn’t dare do it since I would shut that TV down and send them to bed with a boot to their backsides. But now they have gotten older, and I cannot discipline them in such a manner. Moreover, my going easy with them is my way of showing my appreciation to them for not being such a big headache to me in their teenage years.

Anyways, one Sunday, one of our pastors was preaching in church and he decided to direct his sermon to the youth. He read from Hebrews 12 and talked to them about the value of parental chastening. He told them that parents do it out of love. And he said, “If your parent ever stopped talking to you, or if they ever got tired of admonishing you, that would be the end of you.”

That evening, I was working on my laptop in my room when, at 10 p.m., I heard the lights going off in the sitting room, and I heard doors closing as my children went to their bedrooms. I had forgotten all about the sermon, and I was surprised to see my children going to bed so early? They had recently began watching an exciting new series and every day I would wake up at night to find them glued to the TV screen.

It was then that I recalled the sermon that we had heard that morning. I realized then that my children had quietly taken the pastor’s words to heart, and I was seeing the fruits.

I believe it is good to speak to your children about the Lord. God’s Word is powerful. One day, the words that you speak to them will bear fruit. It might be sooner, or it might take time. But whatever the time-frame, God will respect His Word that you have lovingly planted in your child’s life.

Much of the trouble that we witness coming from children nowadays stems from the fact that parents do not see the importance of “admonishing” their children in the ways of the Lord. In such a scenario, how can you blame the child who has never even heard the name “Jesus” mentioned in his/her home?

Let us be encouraged to talk to our children the words of life. And may we learn to put them in an environment where they will keep hearing these words.

[Three generations of “admonition of the Lord”]

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A Heart For God’s People

10 But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again; wherein ye were also careful, but ye lacked opportunity.

11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.

12 I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.

13 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

14 Notwithstanding ye have well done, that ye did communicate with my affliction.

15 Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only.

16 For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity.

17 Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account.

18 But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God. Phil. 4:10-18

Ever heard of aliens? Well, there is no such thing as an alien. At least, that is my belief. But there is a new kind of ‘alien’ that we are going to learn about today.

During our recent regional CTMI conference (www.ctmi.org) in Dar es Salaam, the speaker, Brother Miki, quoting from 1 Peter 2:9 said, “A new race of people arose in the world when Jesus died and rose from the grave. A new race of people, saved by the precious blood of Jesus Christ. It is called the Christian race.”

I was sitting there and my mind was moving super-fast. I began thinking, This was a race that is not white, black, Asiatic, nor Arabic. You won’t find this race among all the races in the world. It will never be found there. It is a race of people that is alien to this world. It is indeed, as the scriptures say, a “peculiar people”.

It is in this light that we can appreciate Paul’s words in the scripture above. It is also in this light that I personally find it hard to count myself as a part of this peculiar race. How could I attempt to compare myself with this man who did something so unbelievably extraordinary?

And what is it, pray, that the Apostle Paul did that was so extraordinary?

The portion of scripture that answers this question is in verse 17:

“Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account.”

Once you understand what Paul is saying here, you will understand that this was a man who was truly in a class of his own, spiritually speaking. In simple words, the apostle here is saying that he wanted the Philippians to give; but not for the reasons that many of us would be thinking of.

Paul had only one reason to want the Philippians to continue giving. The reason he rejoiced for their giving, he says, was because

“I desire fruit that may abound to your account.” (v. 17)

The reason I say I am not in Paul’s league is because  whenever I have a need I always think of the shortest way to have that need met. And if a brother or sister comes to my aid, I will tell them, “God bless you”. But more often than not my “God bless you” is my selfish way of saying, “Thank God the need has been met” rather than a sincere desire to see the brother or sister blessed in the Spirit.

But God’s sacrificial love is revealed in the Apostle’s life in two ways here. In the first place, even though Paul had needs, he did not think of himself in time of receiving. On the contrary, he thought about the giver. He rejoiced, not on his account, but on their account. He rejoiced, not because he was receiving, but because they would be receiving!

Secondly, the Apostle Paul desired spiritual blessings for God’s people. He rejoiced because he knew that as they gave materially, they would be receiving spiritually.

Today many preachers will tell you to give in order that you might receive a material reward in return. I heard one preacher say, “If you do not pay your tithes, you will not be fed!” Fed, presumably by God. Wow!!

Today, the Name of God is blasphemed all over the world because of preachers of the gospel who do not have a heavenly agenda. A preacher who only has an earthly agenda is the most dangerous living thing alive. Seriously. This man or woman will take God’s people down the road of destruction for he or she will show them only how to prosper materially. Moreover, all he or she is thinking is how he can gain from them. He does not have their spiritual interests at heart.

But the Apostle Paul had the spiritual interests of God’s people at heart. And it is here, in this scripture, that God’s heart for His people is revealed: it is a heart that desires for us to get hold of the heavenly vision, and a heavenly reward, not an earthly one.

A Ministry Of The Spirit! – Part 3

15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?

16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.

17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. Mat. 16:15-17

Did you ever stop to think that the flesh has its own revelation? Yes, it does. That was exactly what our Lord Jesus said here.  There is a revelation of the flesh just as much as there is a revelation of the Spirit; but Jesus qualified the latter by calling it a blessing:

“Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.”

But, pray, what was revealed to Peter, this which Jesus called a blessing?

It was Jesus! It was revealed to Peter that Jesus was “the Christ, the Son of the living God”!

And Jesus told Peter he was blessed for having that knowledge! This is the same revelation we need to have.

The revelation that is of the flesh is not a blessing. This ‘revelation’ does not see Jesus. It sees other things. And yet, paradoxically, it is this very revelation that is considered by the contemporary church a ‘blessing’. If someone prospers materially, they call it a blessing! Talk of a back to back understanding of the gospel of Jesus Christ!!

The prosperity gospel is a product of the revelation that comes from the flesh. It is the flesh that sees the dollar sign; the Spirit does not. It is the flesh that sees and speaks of houses and lands and the general well-being of the body; the Spirit does not.

Even miracles and healing are not what the Spirit is about per se. Why else would the Apostle Paul write:

“22 For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: 23 But we preach Christ crucified…”? (1 Cor. 1:22-23)

But probably the most important precedent in this regard is to be found in the Old Testament, in 1 Kings 19:11-13. Let us consider this portion of scripture.

“11 And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake: 12 And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice. 13 And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?”

Praise be to God, the Great God who is beyond all understanding! The LORD passed by and there was a strong wind, a wind so strong that it rent the mountains; but the LORD was not in that wind!

Then came an earthquake, and after that a fire; but God was in neither of those things. These were extremely powerful manifestations of the power of God; but God was not in them!

God instead was a still small voice. In none of the great signs and wonders that God did before Elijah did Elijah hear God’s voice. But, after they were all done, in the silence that followed, Elijah heard God’s voice.

What does that all this tell us?

To me it goes something like this: under the New Covenant, God passes by and miracles happen, healings occur, people are blessed materially and great signs and wonders are seen; but God is not in those things. God is in… a voice!

The Bible says in Hebrews 1:1-2:

“1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, 2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son…”

God is in His Word. And His Word is His Son. And God’s Son is Jesus Christ. When you connect the dots in the Spirit, you realize that everything in the Bible talks of Jesus Christ, God’s only Son. And, according to the Apostle Paul, there is only one Jesus: “Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” (1 Cor. 2:2)

Under the ministry of the Holy Spirit, one thing and one thing alone is emphasized: to know Him, Christ. How? Deny yourself, take up your cross and follow Christ. That is why the Apostle Paul says:

“Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.” (1 Cor. 11:1)

Paul did not follow Christ by singing, “Glory, glory, hallelujah!” You can sing that and still not be a follower of Christ. Paul became a follower of Christ by crucifying the flesh daily.

If a minister emphasizes healing of the body over spiritual wellness, his doctrine is of the flesh. I have heard of a ministry somewhere out there that has something called a healing school. A healing school!

Whatever that is, it cannot be of the Spirit. The Spirit cannot initiate a school dedicated to the healing of the body. The Holy Spirit has only one ‘school’ – one that deals with the healing of the heart. And that school has only one subject in its curriculum: the revelation of the cross of Jesus Christ. It is at the cross where, as our bodies are broken, that our hearts are healed.

And just to make things clearer still, even 1 Peter 2:24 does not refer to physical healing as most believers have been taught. It is not just on account of the context of that particular portion of scripture that I say this (the context certainly supports that stand); but on account of the entire Biblical context. The ministry of the Spirit is primarily for the healing of our souls.

So, to recap: yes, the flesh also has its own revelation. This ‘revelation’ involves cars, private jets, bling, lands, houses, paid bills, physical healing, job promotion, death to perceived enemies, visas to the U.S., the entire gamut. These are the things the flesh calls blessings.

But the man who is filled with the Spirit sees the cross. He feels happy for he has found the place where he can crucify “the flesh with the affections and lusts.” (Gal. 5:24)

It is the cross that the spiritual man celebrates. And in so doing, in his life are fulfilled the words of the Apostle Paul:

“But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” (Gal. 6:14)

Blessed is such a man, for to know Christ, and Him crucifed, constitutes the true spiritual blessing.

Postscript: Moments after Peter had received this great spiritual revelation from God, the enemy broke through his weak defenses and blind-sided him with a powerful revelation from his own flesh.

“21 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. 22 Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. 23 But he turned, and said unto Peter, 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.” (Mat. 16:21-23)

[As ‘primitive’ as both the mode of transportation and the road pictured here might appear, in the not-too-distant past, travelers in rural Tanzania had to rely on only one means of transport: their two bare feet, sometimes crossing hundreds of miles on foot to reach their destination]

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