God’s Love for Cain

3 And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD.

4 And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering:

5 But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.

6 And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen?

7 If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him. Gen. 4:3-7

It is interesting to read that God could actually refuse an offering from someone. In today’s church world, the improbability of such a thing happening is extremely high. Men have become so greedy for money that there are very few preachers of the gospel who can refuse an offering, for any reason whatsoever.

In fact, on the contrary, offerings are the highest item on the agenda of most preachers. For many (yes, the Apostle Paul says many), every fibre of their being is wired to the offering basket. If things don’t go well there, then the ministry is in danger of collapsing. Or, the church risks being closed!

Today, you would be forgiven for thinking that the foundation of the church of Jesus Christ is money!

I really admire God. He is not affected in the least by any vagary, be it heavenly, earthly, or from below the earth. All these can collapse, and God will remain exactly on the spot He was on while they were standing. God is so self-sufficient He can afford to refuse any offering.

But it is the reason why God refused this particular offering that concerns us here. Theories have been advanced from every corner of the church as to why God refused Cain’s offering. There are even suggestions that Cain offered God maize while God wanted only meat. You would think God eats meat!

But God does not eat meat, just as He does not eat maize.

I can tell you right here why God had no respect for Cain’s offering. It was because Cain did not carry a good heart. His offering did not come from a good heart. Cain’s offering did not bring a sweet aroma of self-sacrifice, and God rejected it on the spot.

Cain’s heart is bared for all to see in verse 5. It was quite a rotten heart that he carried.

That is why God is not happy with today’s preachers. Many are accepting offerings without looking into the hearts that give these offerings.

Now, it is not that God wants preachers to come up with a device, made in China or wherever, that can measure the sincerity of people’s hearts. But the true task of a pastor or preacher is to do just that – to know what is going on in people’s hearts. If a pastor cannot care about the condition of the hearts of the people he is leading, then that is a very big failure on his part, regardless of the nature of the gospel he might be preaching.

In Acts 16:16-18 we read, “16 And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying: 17 The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation. 18 And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour.”

There are some preachers who love to be praised so much they wouldn’t have cared if the girl had a demon in her or not. This girl was putting Paul & Co. under the truly big lights, and they could have glowed under her praise. But with these men of God, the issue was straightforward: there was a demon in the girl, and the only thing that was needed was for the demon to be cast out. When the moment arrived, Paul did just that. He cast out the demon.

There was no fanfare. No cameras rolling. No interviews with the demon. No “Man of God…” stuff. Nothing other than to cast out the demon.

Now, today you have preachers on TV who hold hour-long interviews with demons purportedly talking through the people they are trying to ‘deliver’. The purpose of this spiritually offensive circus, of course, is to draw attention to the ‘power’ in the minister’s church or ministry. Many people get deceived by these theatrics, but Jesus said you shall know them by their fruits. You can easily tell that a person is not really concerned with the spiritual condition of the people he is ministering to when he uses them – through excruciatingly humiliating experiences on live TV – to advance his ministry.

If someone has a demon in them and you have the God-given ability to cast out that demon, you should be able to cast it out in the blink of an eye. And for the victim’s sake, you wouldn’t hold any interviews. That person has suffered enough.

Paul did not do what these modern-day preachers do. He wasn’t pleased with the situation in the least. Instead, the Bible says that Paul was “grieved” in his spirit and, when he could not bear it any more, he simply cast out the demon.

There are many pastors who aren’t bothered by the condition of their flock’s hearts. To them, it is more important to keep the dollars, the shillings, the euros – and the compliments – flowing in. They love it when those fat checks come in, and when people call them “Man of God!”

But that is simply the flesh at work. The flesh grows fat on these things.

But thank God, God is not carnal. His is a Spirit of righteousness. And He has put spiritual ministries in the church. And with Cain we see that God was the perfect Pastor. He saw into Cain’s heart and told him, “I would be failing you if I honored your offering.”

That was love in action. Some people assume, by reading “But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect”, that God was at war with Cain. But God’s one-sided conversation with Cain proves otherwise. God loved Cain so much that He used every effort to make him see the error of carrying a bad heart. He even told him, “You need to defeat that sin in your heart!”

God was trying to lead Cain to the cross.

And, in refusing to receive Cain’s offering, we see God’s ultimate show of love. God wanted Cain to bring a heart offering, not a ‘religious’ offering. He wanted an offering that would be spiritually beneficial and fulfilling to Cain, not an offering that would simply fill some earthly coffers.

Ultimately, therefore, we can only come to the conclusion that God probably loved Cain even more than He did Abel. But God’s love for Cain was in the cross.

People mistakenly think that money is the root of every good in church. But the Bible disproves that, for it says: “For the love of money is the root of all evil” (1 Tim. 6:10).

Grace and truth are the things upon which Christ’s church is founded, and God wants our hearts to be perfected in these two qualities.

That is why Paul preached the cross, for it is in the revelation of the cross in our hearts that we can walk the narrow road wherein grace and truth are found.

Let not pastors and other ministers of the gospel be not led by greed, but by a true love for God’s people. Were they to do so, they would lead God’s people to the cross, like the Apostle Paul did. In every church, the Apostle Paul taught the same message, a cleaving to the cross of Jesus Christ:

“16 Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me. 17 For this cause have I sent unto you Timotheus, who is my beloved son, and faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways which be in Christ, as I teach every where in every church.” 1 Cor. 4:16-17

[Below: A humble spirit is of more value to God than any offering that we can make]


Grace – Part 1

And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him. Gen. 5:24

Sometimes the Lord reveals something and you wonder, how much is such a “leak” worth? And all of a sudden you realize that if all the money in the world, every last dime of it, and all the gold, and all the silver, and every kind of worldly treasure – if all of it were gathered together, it would count as nothing in the face of the tiniest bit of heavenly revelation that the Lord grants us to see in our hearts.

Today I would like us to consider the subject of grace a little bit more. There is so much the Lord wants us to know about this subject for He Himself is a God of grace. Our Lord Jesus Christ came to reveal a God of grace and truth.

Did you know, for example, that before the law came God dealt with His people through grace? For example, Abel walked in the grace of God. And so did Enoch, and Noah.

I mention these three people specifically because in their time the world was so evil, but the Lord set them apart. Not that today or in other times the world has been less evil, no. But these gentlemen had so much grace that in the midst of all the evil that surrounded them, they stood out the way a lighthouse stands out in the darkest of nights.

Just think, during Noah’s time there was so much evil on earth that only one man, this Noah, could find favor in the eyes of the Lord! That is incredible, to say the least.

And what was it with Cain and Abel? It was simply that Abel sacrificed to the Lord by grace, and Cain by law. Cain’s heart was hard and we can see it in the manner in which he sacrificed. The Bible goes to length to describe the quality of the things that Abel sacrificed. You can see the heart there.

It says nothing of the things that Cain sacrificed. When it came time to give to the Lord, Cain gave because he had to, and the Lord had not respect” for his sacrifice.

That should be an eye-opener. God has no respect for things we do or give to Him because we have to. He only respects or considers the things that we do for Him out of a heart of grace. Anything done out of a heart of law is rejected by God.

That brings us to the issue of tithing. The way tithing is done today is invariably by law. You cannot mention the tithe today outside of law.

But did you know that Abraham – through whom we first learn about the tithe – tithed to God by grace? Whether it was a revelation from God that Abraham should give Him a tenth of his spoils, or whether Abraham decided on his own account to give God that much is not stated in the Bible. But the fact is, Abraham gave to God out of a spirit of grace, and not because he had to. That would have been law, and Abraham did not walk with God through law. God called Abraham His friend. There is no way you can put law on a friend.

It could very well be that God instituted the tithe in the law that He gave to Moses simply in honor of Abraham, who freely decided to give to God a tenth of his spoils.

That is why we do not read that Isaac gave to God a tenth of whatever he got. He probably gave more – or less. For sure he did give. But one thing is clear, though. Isaac lived in a free environment with God.

When Jacob was on his way to Laban’s house, he was granted a vision of the heavens; and in his gratitude he prayed to God and promised to give to God a tenth of whatever the Lord would bless him with.

That does not make the tenth to be a law. No. Notice it was Jacob who promised to give to God the tenth. It was not God who said, “Thou shalt!” In fact, in all probability, it must have surprised God to have Jacob say and do the same thing that his grandfather Abraham did. A pleasant surprise.

In any case, whatever the reason that made Jacob to promise to give to God a tenth of his wealth, he would have been very surprised had you stood before him and used the word “must”. No, it was not a must. It was a pleasure. It was a freewill gift.

Now, today you have preachers reading out of the Law of Moses and concretizing God’s people in law. When it comes to giving and to the tithe in particular, there is nothing but law that is at work in today’s church. And God has no respect for such giving or such service. God has no respect for anything that is done through duress.

I don’t care whether you are reaping a hundredfold or not, but if you are giving because you have to, or because men are coercing you into giving, you are sinning against God.

We are called to give, yes, and God blesses us when we give, but it should always – always – be in a spirit of freedom, and grace.

In the second part we will consider Enoch.

Persecution and Grace – Part 2

1 Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia;

2 How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.

3 For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves;

4 Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. 2 Cor. 8:1-4

I never cease to marvel at the grace that was given to the Macedonian church. It is, simply, indescribable. That is why we cannot say, ever, “Enough talk about these Macedonians!” I am sure their story will echo on into eternity.

The area of giving is one area in which nearly all of us struggle. The issue of giving is a real problem with many of us. Normally, when someone asks us for money or some material thing (but mostly money, since money is the god of this world), our immediate knee-jerk reaction is to feel something akin to an invasion. There is a certain privacy about our material possessions that we don’t like people intruding into.

But that is the flesh. When we are walking the road that Jesus walked, these attitudes are the kind of things that we battle against in the Spirit. And it is when we achieve victory over such attitudes that we can experience the joy of giving. In those rare – or not-so-rare – moments when God touches our hearts and we allow the grace of God to have its way in us, we receive that very rare blessing of giving freely and joyfully, and we come away much more fulfilled in our spirits.

But with these Macedonians there was so much grace in their lives that they gave as if with a primeval instinct – in other words, with a power that was not of this world.

Some time ago I read about some people in England or the U.S. (I can’t remember clearly where) who engaged in bitter brawls as they fought to buy discounted goods in shopping malls.

The Macedonians did the exact opposite. They fought to give! I believe it is not that they did not need the things that they were giving away, but they were overcome with compassion for their brothers in need. And, having an enlarged heart, they saw this as an opportunity to make very good use the power of the grace of God in their lives.

The Macedonian example is an illustration of the extremities to which God’s grace can take us. That these people had literally nothing; but when they heard that their brothers were undergoing a period of want, they gave out their hearts. “Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints.”

That is a heart that we all need to have.

There are people who love talking about tithing. But in tithing one is trying to give to God in quotas! Can you imagine giving to God in quotas? It is the most tiresome exercise in the world.

And, pray, can you imagine trying to tell the Macedonians about tithing? At the very least, they would have regarded you with of utter confusion in their eyes! How can you talk to someone who has given away everything about now giving a percentage?

The Macedonians were so rich in grace that the ‘lesson’ of tithe would have have flown right over their heads.

But notice also that all this was accomplished at the time that this church was going through a period of “great trial of affliction” and “deep poverty”. It was in these difficult circumstances that their faith was tried and refined to produce these extremely fine examples of Christian-ity.

Whether through persecution or not, when we take the road that Jesus took – denying self, taking up our cross daily and following Him – we will always come up with this kind of life – a life of incredible grace.

[The Macedonians rejoiced greatly at the opportunity to give]


A Contrast – the Corinthian Church

This post stems from Paul’s words to the Corinthians in 2 Corinthians chapters 8 and 9.

Do you know what “contrast” means? For our purposes, let us use the word which my computer’s Thesaurus provides me with here, “dissimilarity”. In this post I want us to see how dissimilar the Corinthian church was to the Macedonian churches.

Talking of prosperity, let me point out at the very outset that at the time of Paul’s writing, the Macedonian churches were the richest entity on the face of the earth. At their time these were the richest people in the world. No earthly conglomerate existing today could boast even a whiff of the wealth that these churches had.

But, of course, it was wealth of a different kind altogether that these people had. It was the true heavenly riches, the riches of a gracious heart. It could well be that there were other equally spiritually rich churches, but we have no need to speculate.

But at the same time that these Macedonians were exhibiting such riches of the grace of God in their lives through their liberality, the Corinthian churches were exhibiting the exact opposite through their stinginess! I am sure that had the Corinthians been half as generous as the Macedonias were, 2 Corinthians 8 and 9 might never have been written!!

The Bible clearly says that the Macedonians were poor in worldly riches. But it does not say the Corinthians were poor. Nowhere does it indicate that these guys were anywhere near poor materially. On the contrary, history is replete with accounts of how rich the Corinthians were!

Moreover, after granting them salvation, God graciously blessed the Corinthian churches with every kind of spiritual gift. Paul affirms this in 1 Corinthians 1:4-7: 4 I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; 5 That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge; 6 Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: 7 So that ye come behind in no gift…”

This church was bristling with the gifts of the Spirit, so much so that Paul even had to write and put order in that church with regard to the usage of these gifts! (1 Corinthians 14)

But alas! this church lacked the most important gift – the grace of God. It is incredible, but true. You can have all the gifts of the Holy Spirit and still lack in the most important gift of all, the gift of the grace of God upon your life. It is a contradiction of terms, but it certainly did occur with the Corinthians.

This fact manifested it self in their lives in the following manner: these guys had been promising – indeed, they had bound themselves – to give a financial gift, a certain amount of money, for the poor saints in Jerusalem. And yet, for a whole year, they had not parted with a single cent!

The Bible says that the gifts and calling of God are without repentance. We can have every kind of spiritual gift working through us but still lack in the most important gift, the gift of the grace of God upon our lives. In today’s spiritual context, we highly regard men who work the gifts of the Holy Spirit. We are so enamored with the manifestations of these gifts! And yet, while it is true that these gifts are needful in church, it is clear from Paul’s words to the Corinthians that the greatest “gift” that we can have as believers is the Holy Spirit working in our lives to produce the character or grace of Christ in us. Paul tells the Corinthians: “Hey guys… just as you have been enriched in every kind of gift in the Spirit, including your love for us, may you also be enriched in the grace of giving” (2 Cor. 8:7, paraphrased).

Apparently, they needed to be “pushed” in some areas. That is not grace.

Actually, when it comes to ministry, 2 Corinthians 8 and 9 provide the clearest example of the practical application of grace in a preacher’s life. In these two chapters, the Apostle Paul finds himself confronted with a situation where apparently only law could work. But Paul was a man of grace! He therefore used every means possible, embedded here in these two long chapters, to cajole these hard Corinthians into living a life of grace.

Paul was a true spiritual father!

This goes to show that we cannot bring back the spirit of law into the church, however big the sin or infraction. We must go out of our way to make sure that whatever needs to be dealt with in church  is dealt with in a spirit of grace.

The way Paul dealt with these Corinthians gives his ministry great esteem in light of the gospel.

As for the rest of us, may we never forget that walking in grace is fulfilling the royal law, to love our neighbor as ourselves. The Bible says that the person who does this has fulfilled the whole law of God.

Loving our neighbor as ourselves, of course, demands that one deny their own self. That means we die. And, pray, what can you do with a dead person?

Need we say it again? Yes, we certainly do – that it is only at the cross where this grace can be found. When our lives are identified with Christ’s in His sufferings and death, when we are constantly (daily) denying our own self and taking up our cross and following Him, there will this grace be found in its fullness.

[Below: The spontaneity in the lives of children provides us with the clearest example of the grace of God]


Grace! – the Macedonian Example (Part 2)

1 Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia;

2 How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.

3 For to their power, I bear record, yea, and beyond their power they were willing of themselves;

4 Praying us with much intreaty that we would receive the gift, and take upon us the fellowship of the ministering to the saints. 2 Cor. 8:1-4

Grace is the church’s inheritance. The Bible says: “For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ” (Jn. 1:17).

Grace is the inheritance that Jesus gave to the church. Isn’t it wonderful to have, or to own what Jesus bequeathed us?

That is why we cannot lightly “fly past” this scripture about the Macedonians. We must encamp there and see what went on with these blessed brethen.

Y’know, today, to a large extent, we do not have preachers of the gospel in church. Today what the church has is mostly worldly-minded motivational preachers. (In this group, unfortunately, there are also fraudsters and scoundrels of the basest sort). Now, motivational preachers will not talk to you about the grace of God. Grace is heavenly business and these men and women have nothing of heaven in their hearts. So they talk of this world. They will talk about the things of this world. They will talk about money and such-like things.

But I think it would have been rather stupid for Jesus to leave behind the glories of heaven and to come to earth to become a billionaire in some church! It would have been extremely ridiculous, and I am glad Jesus did not do that.

There were only two things that Jesus owned when He was here on earth. Jesus had nothing of this world, but He had something else. He had grace and truth. I don’t know about you but me, I want what Jesus had.

These noble Macedonians certainly did.

Today let us look at verse 2 of this wonderful scripture.

1 Moreover, brethren, we do you to wit of the grace of God bestowed on the churches of Macedonia; 2 How that in a great trial of affliction the abundance of their joy and their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.”

We read in verse 2 that when the Macedonian brethren were going through tribulation and suffering for the gospel’s sake, their joy was increased!

There is something called ‘diametrically opposed’. We all know that suffering and joy are diametrically opposed. So these Macedonians accomplished a mathematical formula which even Einstein could not achieve: the marriage of two diametrically opposed experiences, suffering and joy.

That is something that can only be attained through the grace of God.

The Bible says that in rejoicing through suffering, the Macedonians demonstrated the grace of God that was in their lives!

One thing I can tell you for sure is that I am not like these Macedonians. In all sincerity I cannot say that I am happy when things are going all wrong in my life. When things are not “working” for me, I tend to fret and there are even times when I have known myself to become absolutely grace-less (and probably even plain hostile) when the pressure became too much to bear!

But the Bible states here that when the Macedonians were going through trouble, it was all song and dance in those churches. That’s the one experience I sure would love to have and to own in my life! That’s grace.

No amount of writing could exhaust the riches to be found in this tiny portion of scripture.

Let us take a peep at the second part.

“… their deep poverty abounded unto the riches of their liberality.”

Here we find another set of diametric opposites: poverty and liberality.

It is generally assumed that the rich should give to the poor. I also subscribe to that belief. He who has should give to him who does not have. That is Biblical.

But that has nothing to do with a generous heart. You can give away all your wealth until you scratch yourself like Job, but that does not mean that you are generous. I know of people who give of their worldly goods, but they are not generous. You can see it in the way they give. They will put you to an interview, where you can feel all the condescending fog from them descending upon you…

Let me put it this way: grace enables us to do things the way God does them. God does things willingly, joyfully and cheerfully. When you have the grace of God in your heart, therefore, the natural outcome is to do God’s will willingly, joyfully and cheerfully. When it comes to giving, you will give in exactly in that manner – willingly, joyfully and cheerfully.

God is generous. I have been saved for a long time, and I can attest to the fact that God is generous. There was a time when I thought that I needed to be financially rich in order to affirm God’s generosity. But I have learned to appreciate God’s generosity towards me, a generosity which does not necessarily have to do with him blessing me financially. Money, as the saying goes, is not everything. That is especially so with the gospel.

What God gives us is a rich heart, a heart rich in grace. This is all that matters with the gospel. A heart rich in grace will accomplish everything God needs it to accomplish.

When the Macedonians received the grace of God, they became rich in generosity.

Let us take time to examine our hearts and to see whether we are rich in grace or not. Today, let us forget for a moment our nicely-trimmed bank accounts. Let us instead look into our hearts. Are we rich there or not?

Tomorrow we will take one final look at this exciting scripture.

[Below: Grace – free as a bird!]


Abraham – A Man of Faith

By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. Heb. 11:8

I find it so appropriate that on this day, the 25th of December, Christmas day, I should feel in my heart to write about our father of faith, Abraham. Abraham is a man we should love with all our hearts. Not the emotional kind of love, of course, but the Godly love.

Why? The reason is because Abraham was a man who agreed to lose. But even more important than that is that in losing, Abraham obeyed God. There are some people who believe than it is when we are gaining, when we are prospering materially or holding onto the things of this world, that we please God. They claim that such people have faith. But no. The prosperity gospel people are the people who if they lose a needle in a haystack will suffocate there rummaging for it. They are the kind of people who will never allow themselves to lose anything, and they can never please God. They are the “rights” people. But Jesus talked about losing. He said it is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35).

Actually, the most lovable person in the Spirit is the person who is losing his or her rights.

Did you notice what the scriptures say about Abraham: “… he went out, not knowing whither he went.”

“Not knowing whither he went”. That talks of losing. I can assure you that this scripture is not for the rationally- minded. This is not a scripture for the rationalizing Christian. That can only be for the person who has seen in the Spirit. Actually, the Kingdom of God is all about faith. It is about seeing into the things of the Spirit. That is why the human mind – whether acutely intelligent, average, or near-blank – has no place absolutely in God’s Kingdom. God deals with us through our hearts – and our brains are certainly not in our hearts, are they?

The Kingdom of God is not about rationalizing. It is about obedience. God says, “Go”, and you move out. That was what Abraham did. He did not stand there wringing his hands and looking at all the familiar life he was being asked to leave behind. No – the man just upped and went away. You just have to give a big “Hurrah!” to Abraham for that.

But notice that Abraham did not just walk away into the mist. The Bible says: “By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed”.

Abraham agreed to lose in the natural because he saw in the Spirit.

When we are seeing in the Spirit we can see our inheritance. We therefore do things confidently. We are sure of what we are doing, even if no one else sees it the same way that we do.

In these scriptures the Bible is simply talking about losing in the natural to gain in the Spirit. Abraham saw in the Spirit and saw the glory to come. But he also saw the price tag. If you think losing in the natural is easy, the answer is no. It is never easy to lose in the natural. That is why Abraham is a great man. He agreed to lose and in losing he obeyed God, that’s why.

Let’s come down to us. Probably where you are right now God is telling you to do something. You can feel it down in your heart, for God speaks to us through our hearts. God can also speak to us through people, but there will always be a confirmation in our hearts.

Unfortunately, this line is what prosperity preachers use to rob people of their money. They will tell you God wants you to give all your money right now – and you do it without a confirmation in your heart, and (like poor Prince John in Disney’s “Robin Hood”), brother, you’ve just been robbed!

But if it is God speaking to you, whether people tell you or not, there will be a confirmation in your heart.

And God does speak to us, and He most likely is speaking to you right now. If you hear God’s voice in your heart, this is not a time to rationalize. It is a time to obey. Get up right away and do what God is telling you to do. His voice is right there in your heart. You can hear it clearly, if you are born again. And all God wants is for you to obey.

Notice that Abraham “obeyed”.

Probably God is telling you to forgive, to let go, or even to humble yourself and ask for forgiveness from someone.

Probably God is telling you even to give money somewhere or to someone. Giving money is not a bad thing, only make sure you are not being robbed.

I am sure that God is asking many things of us right now. If God is telling you to do something, the confirmation will be right there in your heart. Do not waste time rationalizing. Do as Abraham did. Up and go! Up and go! Do according to your heart, as God instructs your heart.

That is where the real blessing is. The heart that Abraham had was the same heart that our Lord Jesus had. It was the heart that true men and women of God have had throughout the generations. Not a rationalizing heart, but an obedient heart.

Lord, I pray, please give me an obedient heart. Amen!

[Below: Abraham just upped and went]


To Love – Our True Calling

To Love – Our True Calling

[This post is dedicated to my friends Frank and Carol Lanthier from Ontario, Canada who have not only dedicated their lives to serving the Lord, but have constantly maintained a pure heart throughout]

1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.

4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, 5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; 6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; 7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. 8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. 9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.

11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

All the Christian blogs in the world combined could hardly do justice to these words, how much less a mere post as this! But the brightness of a diamond is the result of a million different flashes of light coming off of it.

Someone called me recently and said, “Could you look up Ezekiel chapter 43, I want us to discuss about the prophecy there, whether it has been fulfilled or not.” The man comes from a denomination where the word ‘prophecy’ is mentioned in every second sentence.

I am not very much into prophecy, and I knew I probably would have nothing to contribute. I knew that at best our ‘discussion’ would end in disputations, etc. Things like prophecy are important, of course, but they are also potential minefields, where someone can easily lose their soul trying to crack the prophecy code.

So I told the brother, “I would rather we discussed about love!”

Jesus said that in the Kingdom of God, many that are first shall be last, and many that are last will be first. That means that with God, things are not the way we see them in the natural. There are things that appear very important with us, but which are not so with God.

“1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. 2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.”

We could have and we could be all the things mentioned here, but if we are not walking in love, we are nothing in God’s sight. In today’s world especially, where the world is increasingly pressing itself to the fore, it is the easiest thing for God’s people to miss it. The people who ‘do’ things appear to be the most spiritual. In today’s Church setting, for example, there is a tendency to idolize so-called great men (and women) of God. The men of great faith, with the strong charisma that comes with this type of ministry, are particularly prone to this idol-worship. So are church leaders, worship leaders, gospel artists – and sometimes even we bloggers.

The flesh loves to boast in so many things: knowledge, spiritual insight, spiritual gifts, its ability to ‘do’ things (like giving), etc. These things are needful in God’s Kingdom, but they are not the rule with which the Lord measures us.

God measures us through our ability to love. And what is love?

Love is maintaining a pure heart. I believe that is the best expression of love that I can find in the Bible. I believe that a pure heart is what encompasses holiness, for our God is a holy God. It is not ‘doing’ or having things, even things of the Spirit. This world is a place where our hearts are tried 24/7. Therefore the challenge to love is the playground for the believer.

Love is the place where you can show who you truly are. It is the place where you can lose your life. It is the place where you are beaten and humbled by God (through circumstances) until you drop all your pride and discover and rejoice in the fact that you are nothing. If you are walking in love, you will constantly discover that you are not giving of your life as much as you think you are. Love is the place that of real sacrifice. And there are more than enough situations every day to exercise this love.

It is good to have prophecy and spiritual knowledge. These are deeply spiritual things. But it is far much better to walk in love, to take up our cross and follow Christ.

I believe there are people who do not even know the Bible, people who cannot read (or who cannot afford) a Bible. And yet these people know and walk in love because they are able to surrender to the Holy Spirit in them.

On the other hand, there are people who are very knowledgeable in spiritual matters, but who are unable to walk in love.

The greatest in the Kingdom of God is the man or woman who can walk in the kind of love that is stated in these scriptures. Thankfully, the Holy Spirit in us can lead us to walk victoriously on that road of the cross.

[Below: Frank and Carol Lanthier]

Carol & Frank

A Liberal Heart

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,

30:29 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. 30:26-31

Someone wanted to send me some money recently, and they asked me for my bank account number. I told the brother I did not have a bank account.

“What do you mean?” he asked.

“I just said I do not have a bank account, didn’t you hear?” I shouted back. Anyone from my tribe is simply unable to talk quietly, especially on the phone.

The man was livid. “Mwita, don’t be stupid! Are you telling me that at your age you have never opened a bank account?”

“Exactly. Yes.”

The silence was deafening as the man, a fellow tribesman, tried to find his cool. We are also famous for our ‘short fuse’.

I sat quietly back and gave him all the rope he needed. As I sat there listening to him huffing and puffing, my mind went back to those “stupid” years, the early years of my salvation. In those years I used to work and had a salary, but I never felt the need to open a bank account. Instead, I would share my money with anyone in need.

Those were the days. There was no greater joy than to bring a smile to someone’s face, to alleviate someone’s misery.

I believe that when the joy of the Lord comes to our hearts, one fruit of that joy is that we immediately think of other people. Carrying a generous heart is one way of telling God, “Thank you.” And yet, still, that does not come from us; it is of God. In all my saved life, the Lord has never blessed me financially or materially and never put it on my heart to bless somebody else. To my shame I cannot say that I have always obeyed His soft voice, but He has always been faithful to remind me.

That is what we see David doing here. The Lord had blessed Him with much spoil. David’s joy was expressed, not in hoarding what he had received, but by sharing it with his friends, his brethren, and everyone, near and far.

This is the heart that we all need to have, for it is the heart of God. That is why whenever God blesses us, He will always remind us to bless others.

[Below: An African wood carving]