In Kobe’s Death, A Lesson

24 After certain days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, which was a Jewess, he sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in Christ. 25 And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee. 26 He hoped also that money should have been given him of Paul, that he might loose him: wherefore he sent for him the oftener, and communed with him. Acts 24:24-26

We are all instruments in the hands of God. God has the right to use us in any way He wants; after all, it is He who created us.

A few days ago, in one of our large cities here in Tanzania, over 20 people were trampled to death as they were rushing to dip their feet in so-called holy oil in an open-air meeting held by one of the many fake apostles and prophets that nowadays characterize the modern church. Many more people were injured.

Many theories were presented as to what could possibly have caused such a huge disaster. But to me it was clear that, after having warned His people through various means against these false apostles and prophets, God decided to use a different method. He chose certain of His subjects (the people who died) to teach others a lesson. God said, “Maybe the rest will learn from these.”

In other words, God was exercising His right to use those people any way He liked. And He liked it that way. Not that it was necessarily pleasing to Him to see them die. (And I have no idea where they went.) He was not cheering their deaths. But He had a point to make and He would have it made. Nothing that happened on that day was accidental. Even the people who died were very carefully chosen by Him.

Now, God used those people to make a statement concerning the dangers inherent in the present-day false apostolic and prophetic ministries. (You would have to be very high on drugs to not realize or acknowledge that a ‘ministry’ where people are trampling each other to death is not of God). God was telling His people, the church, “Come out from among them!”

Now the whole country, at least those who are willing to acknowledge it, are aware that these ministries of ‘anointed’ oil, ‘anointed’ water, etc, are not of God, but of the devil. They kill, defraud and do many other harmful things to God’s people.

In the same way that God used these people in my country, I believe He used Kobe Bryant to make a wake-up call to the world. I have no way of knowing whether Kobe had made his peace with God before he died. But whether he had or not, the first and foremost fact is that Kobe was an instrument of God. God had every right to use him any way He wanted.

And God used him. I doubt there is anyone out there among the world’s high and mighty who now doubts the fact of death. And that it can pick you out anywhere and at any moment.

Kobe was not only famous. He was also a powerful and influential figure in worldly circles. People like Kobe are people who are generally viewed by the world as indestructible. That is the way human nature is: we tend to place people on impossible pedestals. That is why his death, which came right out of the blue, was such a shocker to many.

Felix was the governor of Judea, and when Paul met him, he did not mince words with him concerning his final resting place. He told him the truth. Paul pinned down on the important aspects of life. He told Governor Felix that if his life was not built on righteousness and temperance, he would face eternal damnation in hell. Paul did not look upon the greatness of Felix; he saw a sinner before him.

The Apostle Paul was chosen by God to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to kings and rulers. Paul was also an instrument in God’s hands. He preached the Kingdom of God – a Kingdom of righteousness and temperance – to these powerful men and women. These were men who had the opportunity to live lives of excess, and he warned them against it.

Larger than life or not, we will all come into the judgment seat of Christ. I am not in any way judging Kobe. I hardly know him. And as I said, it could well be that he had made his peace with God before his death. But God used him to loudly proclaim to a sinful world that death will ultimately usher us into His presence and that for this reason we should hearken to the message of Paul to Felix:

“… he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come”.

Many memorial services will be held for Kobe Bryant; but none of these things matter now as far as he is concerned. What matters is the life he lived prior to his death. God expected him to live every day of his 41 years here on earth in righteousness and temperance, and that is what he will answer for before God.

And so it will be with every one of us. May God help us all!

What To Desire – Part 4

The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Ps. 19:9-10

This is our last deposition in this series. Here I am going to talk on rights – God’s right vs human rights. Notice that the word “righteousness” comes from the word “right”.

Right at the outset, let me point out that the term ‘human rights’ appears very appealing in the natural. But you would be surprised to learn that, in the Spirit, that term is extremely abhorrent to God. But I probably am getting ahead of myself…

I am sure you have heard of that term, ‘human rights’. And you will have heard also of ‘women’s rights’, ‘children’s rights’, ‘animal rights’, etc, etc. There are all kinds of rights in this world. And I am sure you can attest to the fact, as I said, that they sound very appealing.

But now we have everything wrong on account of these ‘rights’. In some countries around the world, parents are not allowed to beat their own children, and if a parent beats a child they could get arrested!

The outcome of that is that children, whose young minds need to be provided direction, are left direction-less by parents who have been robbed of the tools they need to direct their children. And believe me, the best tool for raising up a child is the rod. Forget about that love stuff. There is no real love without the rod.

How can we do differently when God Himself has said,

“He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.” (Prov. 13:24)

“Withhold not correction from a child: for if thou beatest him with the rod, he shall not die. Thou shalt beat him with the rod, and shalt deliver his soul from hell.” (Prov. 23:14)

“The rod and reproof give wisdom: but a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame.” (Prov. 29:15)

Clearly, a society or government that forbids parents from physically disciplining their children is a society that is actively fighting against God’s laws for God has given parents the mandate to beat their children with the rod. In other words, therefore, it a society that is fighting against God!

I wouldn’t want the kind of freedom I see in some quarters for my children. I want my children growing up knowing how to respect not only their elders, but everyone else; but especially their elders. I read the story of a 16-year boy who stabbed a 60-year man in the stomach because the old man accidentally spilled the boy’s coffee. The boy claimed the old man had ‘disrespected’ him. Those are the bitter fruits of ‘children’s rights’. The man who was stabbed died.

That was in the U.S., of course.

The parent who gives the rod must of necessity be Godly so that, as he gives his child the rod, he will do so in the fear of the Lord, bearing in mind that he, too, has a heavenly Father who also shepherds him with a rod of His own. That is why parents cannot physically or emotionally harm their children.

Did you ever hear of the Beijing Conference of 1995. That is one of the most famous conferences that has been held in recent times. It was a worldly conference on women’s rights. Among the resolutions passed was that men and women are to be equal at home, in the workplace and everywhere else.

Try to picture a woman, devoid of the fear of God, running about armed with such a declaration. What a disaster!

But God’s Word is soft and simple:

“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.” (Eph. 5:22)

Here God is trying to mold a humble spirit in the woman’s heart; and the world is telling her to ‘climb’ from under the man!

Unless we want to be like the world, kindly allow me to venture to ask, What right could we possibly have before God?

We have absolutely no right at all. The man has no right, nor the woman, nor the child. Before God, we are all equal, and each one is to fulfill their role in this life in the fear of God. Notice God’s Word above:

The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.”

At no one time have the judgments of man been true or righteous. At no time have the demands of man been true or righteous. They are all wrong. All the ‘human’ rights in the world are just that: ‘human’ rights; and they go against God’s Word for, ultimately, they are an excuse for the flesh to gather strength and rebel further against God. Do not be deceived: Man has never intended nor desired to do God’s will, in spite of all indications to the contrary .

In the Spirit, therefore, only God is right; and the only right we have is to seek after the righteousness of God. In other words, the only right mankind has is to return to God. It is to seek God and His ways. That is the only right we have. That is why the Bible says,

More to be desired are they (God’s judgments) than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.”

A return to Godly ways is to be desired more than gold, yea, than much fine gold.

A return to God is sweeter than honey and the honey comb.

About Worrying… And Judging

3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man’s judgment: yea, I judge not mine self. 4 For I know nothing by myself; yet am I not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord. 5 Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God. 1 Cor. 4:5

Oh, how we worry! How we worry about what people think about us. Some of us worry until we develop stomach ulcers.

(I guess that’s why I love President Donald Trump. He never seems to worry about anything!)

I love what the Apostle Paul says here:

“… it is A VERY SMALL THING that I should be judged by you.”

Can you imagine that? And yet here we are, believers, fretting about every little thing that is said about us and frying our hair on account of people’s attitudes towards us. But Paul says he does not worry in the least about what people think or say about him. In other words, Paul is saying that that was the least of his concerns. What a relief!

Of course, there are legitimate worries for the believer; and I am not talking about the stock market. Worrying about the stock market translates to worrying about your stomach, which is something that God is totally against. Actually, there is only one legitimate worry for the believer in the entire world, and that worry is sin in his/her life. That’s why the Apostle Paul talks of

“the hidden things of darkness…”


“the counsels of the hearts”.

Yep! That should really worry us. It should worry us if we have dark corners in our hearts. And it should worry us if the counsels of our hearts are not aligned with God’s will. That should really, really, really have us worried!! And we should not stop worrying until we have cleared every trace of darkness from our hearts. Let us strive to live a sinless life through living the crucified life; and we shall experience true freedom!

But there is another side to the coin. There is another side to this grace that we have been called to inherit. Right here the Apostle Paul tells us what that grace is. He talks about not judging things before that time.

“Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.”

Have you ever realized how quick we are at judging people? By judging, I believe the Apostle Paul meant both good and bad judgments. On the one hand we heap praises on people; and on the other we judge others harshly, largely based on… well, what we don’t know! We think we know people; but we can never really know a person’s heart perfectly. Probably the most difficult thing in this world is knowing absolutely what is in a man’s heart. In fact, it is impossible for mortal man to know what is in another man’s heart. Only God knows our hearts perfectly. We know only in part. So what does scripture tell us here?

Quit praising men; and quit judging men. We should take people at face value and leave the judging and praising to God. If someone lies to you, for example, that is your business only to the extent that, once you learn of his lie, you can have compassion on him and pray for him to repent. Beyond there, leave it to God.

The same goes for the praises. Actually, the only Person you can praise with a perfect heart is our Lord Jesus Christ. Go easy with the rest.

One of the things that I am absolutely sure of on judgment day is that there will be many surprises; and not small ones. Some will be very disturbing. Others, hopefully, beautiful ones. For this reason, the Apostle Paul is beseeching us to keep these things (praises and judgments) to the barest manageable minimum down here. According to the Bible, we don’t know anything yet; and for this reason there is no reason why we should even praise or judge men at all! Let’s leave that to God alone.

Ultimately, I love the fact that there is grace is Christ to live the kind of life that the Apostle Paul lived. That is what we should be truly grateful to God for. Paul lived that kind of life; why can’t we? I pray God therefore that He may enable me – and you – to keep the two important things in our lives in mind: firstly, to mind our own business, as it were; i.e. the business of keeping our hearts clear and sinless; and secondly, to take people at face value and leave the judging and praising to God.

[It is impossible for mortal man to know what is in another man’s heart]