Godly Chastisement Brings Godly Character

Of such an one will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities. 2 Cor. 12:5

This is an awesome scripture. Notice Paul talks of two different people here: “an one” and “myself”. Of this “an one” he says he will “glory”, or boast; but of the persona he calls “myself” he says:

“yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities.”

Who is this person of whom the Apostle Paul is willing to boast in?

He tells us exactly who this person was: he was a person who

“was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.” (v.4)

This was a spiritual person because Paul says of him:

“(whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;)”

We could use language here to describe these two – the “an one” and the “myself” – as two personalities within the same person. The “an one” is the spiritual man and the “myself” the carnal man. These two personalities dwelt inside Paul, just like they do in each one of us. And the Bible in Galatians 5:17 tell us that the two are in a perpetual state of war.

“For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.”

The incredible fact about the Apostle Paul was that he took sides with the Spirit in its war against the flesh. That is a detail that we take so much for granted; and yet to take the side of the Spirit against our own selves is without a doubt the most difficult undertaking that any human being can attempt. It is therefore profound what Paul says of himself:

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

It is a powerful testimony of a man who had surrendered his life completely to Christ that the resurrection power of Christ may dwell in him. Paul allowed himself to become weak in the flesh in order that the power of Christ may rest on him. Christ had told Paul:

“My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.” (v. 10)

To which Paul responded by declaring:

“Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”

Oh, the glory of that! The long and short of it is that when we are strong in the natural, we are weak in our spirits. Conversely, when we allow ourselves to become weak in the flesh through Godly chastisement, we become strong spiritually. If, for example, an argument arises between me and my wife, I as a man am tempted to use my ‘machismo’, or male chauvinism, to remain on top. And she, having heard about the Beijing Conference and women empowerment, will try and stand her ground. Neither one will be willing to go down without a fight.

But the Bible tells us exactly how to bring the power of Jesus into our homes, into our churches and even into our communities: it is through spiritual humility. And spiritual humility comes about through buffeting of the carnal mind in us.

The Bible says in Rom. 14:17:

For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.”

How do we bring righteousness, peace and joy into our lives and into our homes?

It is by following the Apostle Paul in accepting Godly chastisement. It is the only way we can let the Spirit to win in us.

Our Hearts – God’s Husbandry

For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building. 1 Cor. 3:9

It has been some time since I last posted on this blog. During the time that I was away, however, God was teaching me something valuable, which is what I want to share with you today. God has been teaching me that we are His “husbandry”, that we His building.

The word “husbandry” simply means garden or farm. We work our gardens, or our farms. In the same manner, God also works His garden, which is us.

And in the same manner that we painstakingly build our houses, God also builds His.

But exactly which part of us is God building? And which part, exactly, is He working as His garden? It is our hearts. God’s garden, God’s building, is the human heart, and especially the heart that is surrendered to Him. When we surrender our hearts to God, we become His husbandry and He begins to work in us.

The heart is God’s turf.

Now, if we want our gardens to be clean and orderly, how much more does our Lord want His garden to be clean and orderly? If we can consider and take care of our earthly abodes to such an extent, how much more the heavenly one? God therefore wants us to look after the cleanliness and orderliness of our hearts above all things.

That being the case, and considering that God has enemies – Satan and his fallen angels – there are so many things that will come to try and dirty or “rubbish” our hearts.

In the above scripture, Paul says that he and the team of ministers that was with him were “labourers together with God”. In other words, Paul was saying that he and God were working God’s people’s hearts. They were tilling them, manuring them, and caring for them in every sensee of the word. It also means that they were pruning them (which is not a very enjoyable experience for the plants!)

That is what a preacher ought to be doing. Every preacher ought to care about the condition of the hearts of his flock. Any other agenda is mere earthly, motivational speaking, which has absolutely nothing to do with God’s spiritual agenda for men. Why do you think the Apostle Paul would write:

“And I, brethren, when I came to you… I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” (1 Cor. 2:1-2)

The Apostle Paul could have preached so many things to these people. He could have preached the world to them. But he preached them nothing apart from how to take up their cross and follow Christ. That is how God takes care of His garden, which is our hearts.

Jesus never changes. We must strive to guard our hearts at all times in order to be found safe and sound in Him. We must at every opportunity refuse to allow into our hearts things that will dirty them. The things in question are, basically, the works of the flesh.

“19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like…” (Gal. 5:19-21)

These are the things that, by the power of the Holy Spirit, we must never allow into our hearts. The Holy Spirit has been given to us for this very purpose.

We must not hearken to new age gospels that teach us that we must care for our bodies as much as we care for our spirits. There are people who teach that because the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, then it must be cared for to the same extent that our spirits are cared for.

But you would have a hard time convincing the poor, beggarly and sore-infested Lazarus that we read of in the Bible of such an outlook on life. The Bible actually states that Lazarus went to heaven while the rich man who fed himself sumptuously went to hell. Much food for thought there.

God is not bothered if you are dirty or poor or underfed. If God can allow us to live abundant earthly lives, praise the Lord! But God is infinitely more concerned about the condition of our hearts. It is our hearts, not our bodies, that will live with Him forever in heaven.

Strengthened To Be Spiritual

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. Phil. 4:13

When this particular scripture is read, in the Spirit you can hear a pin drop. The silence is deafening. When we look at the many things that we can not do, this scripture becomes incredibly significant.

This man, Paul, could do all things! But when the Bible says that Paul could do all things, it qualifies this by saying, “through Christ which strengtheneth me.” And when it says “through Christ”, the Bible is not talking about the things of this world. It is not talking about us becoming Usain Bolts. It is not talking about filling our pockets with money. Nor is it talking about attempting to lift 1-ton boulders. (You would definitely tear your muscles to shreds even as you declared, “In Jesus’ Name!”) There are people who use the Name of Jesus to do (and receive) almost anything – except the one thing the Name of Jesus is designed by God to do, which is to make us spiritual, and true God’s children.

When Christ strengthens us, He strengthens us to do the spiritual. He strengthens us to live the life of the Spirit. He strengthens us to have the character of the Spirit in us. In His goodness and magnanimity, God does strengthen us in many other areas also; but it is all towards the goal that we might become spiritual men and women.

A happy New Year to you all.

[Below: The song that has endured in my heart and mind throughout the year 2016 is Sarah K’s “You Alone”]

CTMI East Africa Youth Camp 2016

This year’s youth camp was held in Tanzania, in the town of Musoma, which is situated on the shores of Lake Victoria. The campsite was located in a resort situated at the extreme end of the Musoma peninsula.

The camp ran for five days, from the evening of 13th to the morning of Sunday, 18th December. More than 700 young people attended the camp. They came from all over East Africa; but we also had delegates from Malawi, Zimbabwe, Mauritius and the UK.

The key speaker for the conference was Pastor Lenny Boy from Mauritius. His central message was two-fold:

  • a love for the cross, and;
  • becoming bearers of the spiritual inheritance.

Reading from the Book of Numbers chapter 21 verses 4 to 9, Pastor Lenny emphasized the danger of turning our backs on the cross especially in this rebellious generation.

“4 And they journeyed from mount Hor by the way of the Red sea, to compass the land of Edom: and the soul of the people was much discouraged because of the way. 5 And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread. 6 And the LORD sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died. 7 Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the LORD, and against thee; pray unto the LORD, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people. 8 And the LORD said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live. 9 And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.”

East or west, north or south, our only hope of redemption is in the cross. The children of Israel had began to cultivate a love of (or, a return to) the world. They murmured against the way that God was taking them through. They did not like the long and difficult road one little bit, so they complained. Above all, and most displeasing to God, they “loatheth this light bread.”

But that “light bread” was Christ Himself! It had been given to them by God Himself, direct from heaven. But in their souls, they loathed this bread. In essence, they loathed Christ. They did not love the ways of the Lord. They wanted the bread and water of this world. God was deeply displeased with them, for they wanted their ways – the ways of this world – rather than the ways of the Lord.

In His anger, God brought fiery serpents in their midst, and many, many people died. When the people cried out to God, He gave them an antidote for the snakes’ poison; He instructed Moses to make a brass snake, and to set it up on a pole in the desert. Whoever got bitten and looked at the snake would live.

Brother Lenny told us that, in this adulterous generation, we are not to loathe the Christ who has been revealed to us, who is the crucified Christ. Our souls should not loathe the ways of the Lord. We should not tire of the cross. When we tire of the cross, sin quickly bites us.

But God is still merciful, and He has put a brass snake in the desert. When sin bites us, we can still turn to the cross and there find salvation and redemption when we repent and turn again to the Lord.

If we want to live in this rebellious and adulterous generation, we have nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. East or west, our only hope of redemption is in the crucified Christ. If we fail to accept the ways of the Lord we shall die.

During the second part of this conference, Pastor Lenny also spoke of the need for the youth to desire to inherit the positions that the elders are leaving behind; not in the flesh, but in the Spirit. Lenny spoke about “passing the baton”, referring to the 4×4 relay race. He spoke about the readiness and anticipation that the one who is receiving the baton has to have.

The youth, he said, need to have that same readiness in the Spirit. It is a preaparedness of the spirit. When the youth are thus prepared in their spirits, the elders can walk away into the twilight of their lives in the firm assurance that the gospel will continue to abound and prosper.

The real enemy against this preparedness is a love for the world. Pastor Lenny spoke about how today’s youth are keen on the ways of this world. They are extremely tech-savvy. They boast in how easily they can master every new technological app!

But God does not want us to be carried away by these things. He wants us to know His ways, which are the ways of the cross. To have a readiness in our hearts to suffer with Christ, and to be a light unto the world. That is the only way the youth can be prepared to take the baton from their elders.

The meetings were extremely charged with the power of the Holy Spirit. Indeed, on the last day, Sunday, there was a special session of prayer for the infilling of the Holy Spirit. Hundreds of young people came forward and got baptized in the Holy Spirit.

On that same Sunday, immediately after the morning service, there was a water baptism for those who had not yet been baptized. After all, we were right by the lake and there was much water!

Many young people came forward to be baptized, and there was much rejoicing.

And with that note, the camp came to a powerful ending. There was joy all around. But of even more importance, there were new resolutions made, new hope imparted and a true revival in the Spirit in the hearts of the young people.

God bless Pastor Lenny, God bless Pastor Stephen, God bless all the elders, God bless the youth!

[Below: The camp meeting in pictures]

Many traveled to the camp by bus:

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Lenny preaching the gospel:

God was at work in many young people’s hearts:

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A section of the large tent meeting:

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In the afternoons, it was time for games and recreation. Here, the young people prepare to go out to play…

… with the elders close in tow:

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In the playing fields, there was a wide variety of games:

In the meantime, the elders took time off to relax:

The scenic landscape of the Musoma peninsula…

… and a lovely sunset:

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The beautiful cottages of the Matvilla Beach Resort, where the camp was held:

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On Saturday evening, Brother Lenny made a special prayer for the sisters from Malawi:

And Pastor Stephen ministered briefly:

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The brethren who attended from Mauritius and the UK:

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The IT crew:

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The youth receiving the baptism in the Holy Spirit!:

Scores of youth were also baptized in the waters of Lake Victoria:

And Bishop Elly Mpule was there to witness the occassion:

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Joe and I in a photo-op with Lenny:

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And, finally, the team from Singida…

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… who brought along some very original photo-shooting styles:

The Recipe For Carrying God’s Grace

1 Come, and let us return unto the LORD: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up.

2 After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight.

3 Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD: his going forth is prepared as the morning; and he shall come unto us as the rain, as the latter and former rain unto the earth. Hos. 6:1-3

There are many good things which I can recount that God has blessed me with. First and foremost, of course, is the salvation of my soul. There is nothing to compare with this grace.

Secondly, there is my pastor, and my wife. I know I might sound stupid saying this, but I am yet to decide who between these two I should put first. For my wife is flesh of my flesh and bone of my bones; yet my pastor is as God to me. He has shaped my life to become what I am today.

I could list blessing after blessing that God has bestowed upon me. And yet… among all of the blessings that God has bestowed upon me, there is none I cherish more than God’s hand upon my life. I count God’s chastisement of my self as the most important blessing in my life.

Do not for a minute think that this is something that I have always received with joy. There are times when, like the Apostle Paul when God first began dealing with him, I also have “kicked against the pricks” (Acts 9:5).

There is nothing joyous in the flesh when God begins dealing with us. We can be sure of that.

The Bible declares in Romans 8:7:

“Because the carnal mind is enmity against God…”

The mind of the flesh is enmity against God, and we are full of it. We are full of spiritual folly and every kind of sin. When God therefore begins dealing with our fleshly mind or lusts, He goes about it just as you, too, would go about dealing with an enemy: He pummels the flesh to the ground. Actually, He buries it six feet under. God wants the flesh dead and buried; and that’s the reason He brings the revelation of the cross to our hearts. In the Spirit, the cross is the instrument by which we can crucify our flesh every day.

“O happy day!” we sing. “When Jesus washed away my sins.”

When Jesus washes away our sins, we become spotless white. For that to happen, much needs to happen. There will be much confrontation and much flaying of the flesh.

I once read a self-defence manual that said when you shoot at a deadly enemy, you should shoot until the enemy is completely immobilised. “Don’t stop shooting until he stops moving”, it said. That’s when you can be sure that the enemy is absolutely dead.

That is what God does with the flesh. It took Jesus six hours to die. With us, it could take much longer. But God will not stop shooting until He makes sure the flesh is completely dead.

“O, happy day!”

The happiest day in my life was the day God placed His finger and touched my pride. It is the day that God tore me up, ripped me apart. I am forever grateful for that day, – and days – and I am forever grateful for the people God used to bring these situations upon me.

Yes, God uses people. We can see that all over the Book of Acts and in the Pauline epistles.

I had always read Paul’s words,

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

But I had never stopped to think what these things constituted in Paul’s life. But now I know they comprised of the most debasing, offensive and degrading things, things that were done to him by… men. All this was orchestrated by God to break Paul’s pride; to break the “I” in him.

God cannot work with us while we are carrying the flesh. We must die in order that Christ’s resurrection life may be found in us. You cannot possibly compare this miserable, earthly life that we carry (which is nothing but death) with the life that God wants to give to us – Christ’s resurrection life. The latter is full of faith, joy, love, peace, and hope.

Finally, let us look at Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 15:10:

“But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.”

Notice Paul is saying that he worked more than all the other apostles. But in saying so, Paul is not applauding himself; rather, he is exalting the grace of God that was in him. He says:

“… I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.”

In other words, Paul had more grace than the other apostles.

How did so much grace come to be upon Paul? Is God a respecter of persons? Of course not. But the reason Paul had so much grace upon him was because he allowed God to break him more. The reason for abundant grace being upon Paul are his words that we just read in 2 Cor. 12:10:

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

Paul rejoiced in these things!

The more we rejoice in these things also, the more grace we will have, just as Paul had, for God is no respecter of persons.

And, pray, what does the Bible mean when it says that Paul “laboured more abundantly than they all”? Is it that he preached more than they? It could well be that he did, but that is not what scripture is talking about here. On the contrary, here Paul is saying that he had more of the fruit of the Spirit in him than the rest of the apostles. He had more patience, more love, more faith, more of everything of the Spirit, for the grace of God was upon him.

It is for this reason that the Bible says Jesus had the Spirit without “measure” (Jn. 3:34).

I have heard some people preach that the Spirit has been given to us without measure. But it is important to qualify that statement. The Spirit was given to Jesus without measure because He

“… poured out his soul unto death” (Is. 53:12)

Have you poured out your soul unto death? The Spirit – and, by inference, God’s grace – can only be given to us without measure to the extent that we lay down our lives just as Jesus did.

And by God’s grace we are not talking about miracles or prophesying (cf. Mat. 7:22). Rather, we are talking of the grace to live the crucified life – the ability to forgive, to repent, to die to the lusts of the flesh, to die to our pride.

The central question is, How can the Lord heal, if He has not wounded us? It is impossible.

God must wound us first. We must spend two days in the belly of the whale, and on the third day God will raise us up with Christ.

[He is all I need]

True Service To God

1 Thus saith the LORD, The heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool: where is the house that ye build unto me? and where is the place of my rest?

2 For all those things hath mine hand made, and all those things have been, saith the LORD: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.

3 He that killeth an ox is as if he slew a man; he that sacrificeth a lamb, as if he cut off a dog’s neck; he that offereth an oblation, as if he offered swine’s blood; he that burneth incense, as if he blessed an idol. Yea, they have chosen their own ways, and their soul delighteth in their abominations.

4 I also will choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called, none did answer; when I spake, they did not hear: but they did evil before mine eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not. Is. 66:1-4

In a desperate bid to become like God, man goes to all kinds of lengths to avoid touching the ground. That is why we avoid the dust by riding in our cars. That is why, also, it is fashionable to fly in an airplane. Planes fly us far above the earth. (And, here’s a tip: in case you want to own your very own private jet to keep you constantly air-borne, you will need to come up with around 65 million dollars, U.S., according to the latest buzz I heard.)

Even when asleep we lie above the ground, on beds. It is only after we have died that we grudgingly allow ourselves to be laid down in the dust.

But all these efforts are futile, for the heart of the man who has not been born again by the Spirit of God is hopelessly rooted in the earth. Such an one is a child of Satan, the ruler of the darkness of this world, and his lusts are what he fulfills.

But God is holy, righteous and pure. He lives above the darkness of this world. If the earth is God’s footstool, it is evident that what occupies God is not what goes on beneath His feet but rather, what goes on above it. What engages God is not what occurs on the earth, but what takes place in heaven!

That does not mean that God does not care about us and the world around us. Rather, it means that God is Spirit and what concerns Him is the spiritual, not the worldly or material. He keeps the world by His power all right, but that does not mean He is pleased with the world.

There is only one thing that pleases God: a life lived in the Spirit. And what, pray, is a life lived in the Spirit?

People do all kinds of things for God in an attempt to impress Him, but God is the Creator of everything. There is nothing that we can surprise God with. You can build a complex temple of pure gold for God, but that cannot impress Him. All the gold in the world is His, and all the building designs in the world are His also.

When it comes to our religious posturing, we can prostrate ourselves all the way to the Arctic, but God would not be impressed with that either. We can also sing the most beautiful songs, and dance with all our strength like David did, but Jesus said that God can cause stones to sing out, too (Lk. 19:40). And we can deliver the most stirring sermons, but God does not expressly need us to do that; the Bible tells us that God once used a donkey to deliver one of the most moving sermons in the history of mankind … a sermon that saved someone’s life (read Numbers chapter 22).

There is absolutely nothing that we can do that is not born of God’s heart that can please God. On the contrary, the more we insist on doing for God things born outside of His heart, the more we vex God.

“He that killeth an ox is as if he slew a man; he that sacrificeth a lamb, as if he cut off a dog’s neck; he that offereth an oblation, as if he offered swine’s blood; he that burneth incense, as if he blessed an idol…”

God is not concerned with our religious affectations. But God is very concerned with a man or woman who trembles at His Word, for God’s Word is the only tool that can make us to do that which delights God. Trembling here does not mean we are to stand somewhere shaking. On the contrary, when we tremble at God’s Word, it means our spirits are quick to obey Him by leaving off sinning.

Who is the person who trembles at God’s Word, and who obeys God? Who is it that can leave off sinning? It is the person who denies themselves, carries their cross and follows Christ. This is the person who truly pleases God.

There are gospels today that have no idea of what God requires from us. Indeed, there are false gospels that have been engineered to remove the fear of God from men’s hearts. This is what the Apostle Paul means when he says in 2 Corinthians 11:3:

“But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

Paul goes on to say in verse 4:

For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.”

These false gospels set men’s sights on the material things of this world. They also trivialize God’s anointing and His power by treating these qualities like disposable commodities.

A brother once attended a big conference in a neighboring country that was being led by a powerful preacher. When he came back, he excitedly told us, “Y’know what? I fell under the anointing!”

There is nothing in such things to bring the fear of God into men’s hearts.

At any rate, we should be careful. The Bible says that both the devil and his servants are able to transform themselves into ministers of light (2 Cor. 11:13-15). That is why we should be careful with all these emotional manifestations that have invaded the church.

But – praise the Lord! – there is one place where you can absolutely not go wrong with God: living the crucified life. Living the crucified life produces the character of God in us, which is the fruit of the Spirit; and the fruit of the Spirit is the one thing that God seeks for in us (Mat. 21:18-19). God’s Word in Galatians 5:22-23 tells us:

 “22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 meekness, temperance”.

This is the kind of lifestyle that God is looking for in us, and it can only be found in a crucified life. The Bible sums it up by saying:

“And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.” (Gal. 5:24)

[Below: A praise session. Here, God looks upon the heart]

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“Whatsoever He Saith Unto You, Do It.”

1 And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there:

2 And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage.

3 And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine.

4 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come.

5 His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.

6 And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece.

7 Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim.

8 And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it.

9 When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom,

10 And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now.

11 This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him. Jn. 2:1-11

This scripture is without a doubt the best-loved  scripture in the entire world – but it is for all the wrong reasons. Many people imagine it is an advert for Heineken and other beers and wines, and the world loves this interpretation. But this scripture is not talking about beer or wine. This is God speaking, and God does not get drunk on beer or wine, for He is Spirit and holy. The Bible tells us:

“And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit” (Eph. 5:18).

We are not to get drunk with wine because God does not get drunk with wine.

Everything that Jesus did while He was here on earth were metaphors – spiritual metaphors. We are to interpret everything that Jesus did in the Spirit and apply it to our hearts. If anything we read in scripture does not translate into something that has to do with our hearts, then we should realize we have neither grasped its meaning nor its significance.

That is why we are called to walk in the revelation that the Holy Spirit gives us (Eph. 3:3). If we do not walk in revelation, we shall interpret scripture just as the world interprets it – in its lusts.

And so here we see Jesus’ mother telling them to do “whatsoever he says to you”.

So what is the allegorical meaning of this scripture? It is that we are to do whatsoever Jesus tells us to do. The problem with us is that we do not do what the Lord Jesus tells us. If we did whatsoever Jesus told us to do, we would have the best lives ever. That does not mean we would have a problem-free life, no. It simply means we would have good lives spiritually – lives full of victory over sin, the devil and the world.

“Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.”

In these words, we realize that Mary knew what the Lord was capable of. And, sure enough, when the servants did what Jesus told them to do, the water was turned into the best wine ever! In fact, the wine was so sweet and rich that the ruler of the feast actually called over the bridegroom to ask him why he had saved such good wine for last!

If we did what Jesus told us to in any situation, we would get, not only the only meaningful results in our lives, but we would get the best ever! This is in our marriages, in our personal lives, in our relationships, in everything.

Where there is no peace, Jesus brings peace. Where there is no joy, Jesus brings unbounded joy.

As believers, we can know exactly what the Lord is telling us in each and every situation. Jesus is the master of detail and He gives us instructions to the smallest detail. The problem with us is that, unlike these servants in Cana, we do not do “whatsoever” He tells us. Much of the time we rely on our good sense of reasoning, like all the great philosophers have done. Nietzsche it was who declared, “God is dead”. Nietzsche was a famous philosopher and many people believed him. But in the Spirit, Nietzsche is unknown, and his philosophies count for nothing. The only thing that his philosophies accomplished was to make people to disobey Jesus, to their woe!

If we heed Jesus’ instructions, we will live. But we will not only live; we will live a rich life of peace, joy and satisfaction. The Psalmist said:

8 I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. 9 Therefore my heart is glad, and my glory rejoiceth: my flesh also shall rest in hope. 10 For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. 11 Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” (Ps. 16:8-11)

Notice verses 8 and 11:

“I have set the LORD always before me: because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved… Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”

This is our key to living a victorious life in the Spirit… setting the Lord before us, and heeding His every word. Our spiritual victory lies in our obedience to Christ.

[Below: A flock of long-tailed birds adorn a tree in Arusha]

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