“The Way Of Holiness”

8 And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein.

9 No lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up thereon, it shall not be found there; but the redeemed shall walk there:

10 And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away. Is. 35:8-10

The way of holiness”. What a way! Nothing unclean shall pass over it; it shall be for the holy only. The Bible goes on to give a description of the holy.

“No lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up thereon…”

The lion here does not refer to the Lion of Judah, who is Jesus Himself. Both the lion and the ravenous  beast the Bible speaks of here talk of the carnal lusts in us. These shall not be found on that road. The carnal nature shall not be there.

The Bible says that “the redeemed shall walk there”. Redeemed from what? It is men and women who have been redeemed from the corrupt nature of the flesh.

Everything here unmistakably speaks of the need to crucify our flesh. Everything with the gospel revolves around the cross – the cross working in us. If that detail is lacking in our understanding of the gospel, then we simply are not living the gospel of Jesus Christ. We are living “another gospel” (2 Cor. 11:4).

Lion. Ravenous beast. How so apt a description of the lusts that destroy both us and those who surround us! Here, on this highway, they shall not be there! Praise the Lord!!

As with all of the gospel of Jesus Christ, this scripture is therefore a call to crucify our flesh. It is a call from God to separate ourselves from this world through dying to self. The Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul put out this call so well:

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

[““No lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up thereon…”]


Grace Reveals the Father’s Love For Us.

24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster. Gal. 3:24-25

Recently, I was watching my favorite documentary, “Seconds from Disaster”. In this particular incident, a chartered plane was travelling from Moscow to Barcelona with about 50 school children who were going on holiday in Barcelona, Spain. The trip was their reward for doing well at school. Separately, a mother with her two young children had managed to squeeze themselves into the plane. Her husband was waiting for them in Barcelona. He hadn’t seen them for almost two years. His heart desperately yearned for his children, and all he wanted was to see them, to be with them.

“It was hard not to see my children for such a long time”, he said. “We were finally going to see each other, and we were going to have fun together.”

That was all this father wanted.

But he would never get to see them. Just as it was nearing the end of its journey, the plane that carried this man’s family and the school children, suffered a mid-air collision with another plane, and everyone on both planes perished.

The father was so distraught that, many years later, he took matters into his hands. He accosted the air traffic controller who was on duty the night his family perished, and when an altercation occurred between them, he stabbed him with a knife. The air controller died instantly.

This father loved his family so much that he would go to such extremes.

God our Father also went to extremes because of His love for us. But, unlike this earthly father, God gave His Son for us instead.

The scripture we just quoted above is very important for the church. It talks about the Father’s love for us. Let us take time to look at it closely.

Notice the phrase “the law was our schoolmaster”. Anyone reading this post has attended school in their lifetime, and we all know that school is not the “coolest” place to be, and the schoolmaster is certainly not our best friend. He is there, above all, to discipline us. In school there are rules and regulations to enforce this “discipline” upon us.

Law dictates things. If we fail to follow the laid-down rules and regulations, the law will beat us to our knees. The law is there to enforce things, and it has the clout to do so.

That is why when people graduate from school, they do all kind of crazy things because they have been under pressure/law all those years!

When my kids were young, and I understood very little about grace, I put a lot of law on them. I was hard on them and they had to do things my way, by force if necessary. But today it is a different story. I may be weak, but I now understand I have a responsibility to handle them with grace. I came to understand that you can discipline your kids, including giving them the rod, but with a heart of grace.

So, before Christ came, we were under a schoolmaster. We were under law. But it was never God’s will for us to be under law. The law had no joy or freedom in it, and what father does not desire for his children to be just happy? God certainly does!

So God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to set us free from law.

The gist of what I am saying here is that law has no place in church. Not an iota! But when we lack a revelation of grace, we have nothing but law! We can offer nothing more. That is why the church today desperately needs a revelation of Christ’s grace.

When we do not have a revelation of grace in our hearts, we place law on people. But notice that the law takes us nowhere. Before Christ came, at least, it was of some use. It kept us in a holding area till grace would come.

Now that Christ has come, the law is of absolutely no use to us or to anyone. In fact, if we allow law into our lives, it will destroy us. It will bring us into bondage. We will lie there in the dust with the law’s foot on our throat, and if somehow in our lifetime we are unable to come out from under law, we will die with all the anger, bitternesses, unforgivenesses, lusts, hatreds and all the carnal nature bound up in our hearts. I have heard of people who went to heaven and they were surprised at all the hands, feet, etc. that were simply there at the disposal of God’s children… No, I believe the greatest surprise that we will find in heaven is the grace that was available to us here on earth, but which we simply did not partake of!

We need a revelation of grace. If we somehow manage to get ourselves from under the law, if it is not through a revelation of the grace of our Lord Jesus, we will go back to the world and get wild, like those college graduates.

That is why we need a revelation of grace. When we have this grace in our hearts we are free to serve a holy God and we can set others free. Grace comes to the jail of law and opens the door and tells us, “Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more” (Jn. 8:11). That is what Jesus told the woman caught in adultery.

Show me a man whose joy and excitement in the Lord has grown exponentially since they got saved, and I will show you a man who is walking under grace.

But it is not so with many believers. Many quickly lose their first joy, and their first love for Christ. They easily tire of church and begin doing things by rote, but the light and enthusiasm has dimmed in their hearts.

That is a sure sign that soon after they got saved, they fell into the arms of law, not grace. The law quickly took them into the quicksands of nowhere, and they died there. The spirit of law in church is a death knell for the believer.

That is why we cannot ignore the Pauline doctrine, the doctrine of the cross. I repeat, we cannot ignore it. The Apostle Paul was a man of immense grace. But this grace did not come easily. It came to him as he carried his cross and followed Jesus.

The church cannot escape the narrow road. We may run all over and all around the world, but that narrow road is awaiting us. We would rather choose, right where we are, to gird ourselves in the spirit and purpose to walk this road instead, for the sake of grace.

[Below: We love our children to be happy. How much more God we!]


The Price for Spiritual Relationships – Part 2

26 When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son!
27 Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.
Jn. 19:26-27

Notice, “And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.”

Jesus’ mother physically moved from wherever she was staying and went to live in that disciple’s home!

Do you seriously think that Jesus’ mother did not have a home of her own? She certainly did. But the Bible says that from that day she moved to that disciple’s home.

In some societies (and probably even in Jesus’ Jewish community) that is unacceptable. You cannot take a grown woman who has grown children of her own and move her into someone else’s home – especially on grounds of ‘religion’. There are a whole lot of problems associated with such a ‘move’, chief of which is a show of disrespect for the family from which you are taking that person.

But apparently Jesus was not thinking about such things. Or probably He was, but He knew his mother and the disciple would be ready to pay the price for such a ‘move’.

When we build spiritual relationships, we will be willing to pay the price to attach our lives to the men and women that God has brought us together with in the Spirit. We may not physically move to someone’s home as Jesus’ mother did; but in the Spirit, we will move. That is the important thing.

In the Spirit we will move.

When we first heard the gospel of the cross in Musoma, my wife and I would take our two small children and our food, and we would move to a brother or sister’s house and stay there for two or three days. We valued the brother or sister for who they were in the Spirit and we were willing to pay a price to identify with them.

In the same manner, brothers and sisters would come and stay in our home. We were building spiritual relationships.

Now, we were not taught this ‘doctrine’. No one told us or taught us to do that. We had not even read John 19:26-27. What we did was simply a result of the working of the gospel in our lives.

Today, the churches that we work with under the banner of the gospel of the cross are one strong church. Storms have come and gone, but this church has only grown stronger. There are men and women in these churches for whom I would not hesitate to lay down my life, and likewise there are brethren who would be more than willing to lay down their lives for me. And I can walk into any one of these churches and feel as much at home just as if I were in my own house.

But all this has come at a price. I believe that in the context of the gospel of Jesus Christ, a disciple whom Jesus loves is one who is walking the narrow road. Not that Jesus does not love everyone else. We know God so loves the whole world (Jn. 3:16); but we are talking in the Spirit here. Jesus has a special love for those who are walking the narrow road (Philippians 3).

Just as Jesus’ mother moved into that disciple’s home we, too, ought to pay the price to actively identify our lives with those whom “Jesus loves” – those who are walking the narrow road. When we are built on the right foundation, which can only be the foundation of the cross (1 Cor. 3:10,11), we will desire and we will pay the price to build only spiritual relationships. We will identify and build relationships with those who are walking the narrow road, the road of the cross.

This is particularly important with regard to leadership. We should not submit our lives to just any ‘pastor’. Today, God’s people all over are submitting their lives to “wolves in sheep’s skins”, and their lives are being laid to waste. But we should pray for a spirit of revelation, that we may know a true shepherd, a man who is walking in the revelation of the cross of Christ.

On the other hand, there are many Christians who are in churches for any number of reasons except the single, important reason – that they be taught to deny their lives, to take up their cross and follow Christ.

Notice I am not saying that we should not build relationships with a weak brother or sister. A brother or sister could be weak, but they have the desire to identify their lives with Christ. You can feel the desire in their hearts; you can see the great struggle they are in to lay down their lives at the altar.

You can identify your life with such a brother or sister.

The disciple whom Jesus loved I presume was John (Jn. 21:20-25), and in the Bible we know that John and his brother James were the most devious and cunning fellows amongst Jesus’ disciples. Added to this was the fact that they had quite a temper (Mk. 3:17, Lk. 9:54)!

John was clearly a weak man. But Jesus loved him. No doubt, it was for a spiritual reason.

[Below: Downtown Mwanza City]


The Price for Spiritual Relationships – Part 1

26 When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son!
27 Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home.
Jn. 19:26-27

I will divide this post into two parts, and in each part I will discuss a particular aspect of the above scripture.

I would not think that Jesus was an emotional person. Jesus would not do things just because it gave Him goose bumps. I am sure He did everything perfectly, maturely in the Spirit.

And so, as Jesus was about to depart from this world, He committed His mother to the disciple He loved. From that time forth, that disciple was to be Jesus’ mother’s son. And she was to be his mother.

In other words, Jesus set the who is who in this relationship, in the Spirit. He defined, clearly, His mother and that disciple’s relationship in the Spirit. It was to be a son/mother relationship, in the Spirit.

In 1 Timothy 5:1-2 Paul writes, “1 Rebuke not an elder, but intreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren; 2 The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity.”

This is the relationship that Jesus was setting between his mother and this disciple. Jesus’ mother now had a spiritual pastor! Oh, for the church to arrive there!

Do you think that Jesus loved His mother? I believe He did – incredibly so. And He gave her the only gift He knew was worthy of such love: He sought for her a spiritual relationship.

Jesus did not call over the richest man in church and tell him, “Make sure my mom moves around in the best-chauffeured Rolls-Royce!”

Jesus also had other brothers and sisters in the flesh and He could have committed His mother to any one of them. But He did not. On the contrary, He committed His mother to the disciple whom He loved. And you can be sure that when the Bible says “whom he loved” it is talking in the Spirit, not in a carnal, emotional sense.

I am sure that Jesus did not have an emotional relationship with the disciple He loved. If the Bible says Jesus loved this man, it is because He knew him in the Spirit and He knew what he carried in his heart.

The disciple “whom (Jesus) loved” was a man that Jesus could identify with and acknowledge in the Spirit.

I love the fact that Jesus committed His mother to the disciple “whom he loved”. There is no place for emotional, carnal relationships in the gospel of Jesus Christ. There can only be spiritual relationships. The church needs to grow and become mature in the Spirit. That way, we will build spiritual instead of emotional relationships. We will know who is who in the Spirit.

Spiritual relationships are not ‘feel-good’ relationships. They are relationships whereby we consciously know the road we and those we are united with are walking on.

The Priorities Of Life – Part 2

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. 1 Jn. 2:15-17

My last deposition in this 2-part series deals with the born-again believer’s attitude towards materialism. Actually, that is a contradiction. Christianity and materialism do not go together. Let me put it as clearly as I can right up front: WE HAVE NOTHING TO LIVE FOR IN THIS WORLD.

Everything that is in this world has to do with the lust of the flesh. That is why the Word of God says that “the world passeth away, and the lust thereof”.

I believe it is an affront of the highest order for a portion of the church to believe that Jesus left His abode in heaven and came to endure all that He endured in this world so that we might live a comfortable material life here on earth as “King’s Kids”. It is like saying that He died so that we might keep up with the Joneses!

That is atrocious, to say the least. God has not called us to such a race. As far as I can see in the Bible, the only promise that God gives to His children concerning this material world is that He will meet our basic needs. God’s attitude with regard to our life here on earth is best captured in the words of the Apostle Paul to Timothy: “And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.” (1 Tim. 6:8). I wonder how we can add anything to that.

But Christians today are not just adding to God’s Word; they are actually contesting scripture!

I recently overheard a preacher of a mega-church in our city say over the radio, “The life of Lazarus (the poor beggar who lived on the crumbs which fell from his rich neighbor’s table) is not a model of the life that we have been called to live as children of God. His life is a disgrace! It is a cursed life. We are blessed. We are supposed to live the high life!”

In fact, her sermon was all about Lazarus and she literally ripped him apart. My heart fainted as I thought of all those unfortunate, deprived Christians listening to her on their small FM radios. They must have been devastated.

There are many “spirits” at work today, and this preacher certainly was talking under the influence of one (or probably a ‘legion’) of them; but I happen to know she was not talking under the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

No doubt when she talked about Lazarus’ life, this poor preacher was referring to his natural life. She utterly failed to see Lazarus’ rich spiritual life. (Of course, it is not written down but from Jesus’ words you can gather that Lazarus was a God-fearing man.) She just saw Lazarus the sore-infested beggar, and she despised him. She did not see the Lazarus who lived a life that pleased God in the Spirit.

And, by the way, who said that begging is a sin? I don’t see that in the Bible. I will tell you what sin is in this setting. Pride and arrogance are.

The ‘prosperity’ gospel has been planted into the church by the enemy and it has received a large following because it is a close companion to the flesh, which grabs at it the way a drowning man grasps at a piece of straw. Many people, for a lack of a revelation of the true gospel of Jesus Christ that says, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me” (Mat. 16:24) rush into the arms of such preachers. They are unaware that there is the true gospel, the revelation of the cross in our lives where we can gladly crucify the flesh and all its worldly lusts.

I personally know of dear, beloved brethren whose hearts are, unfortunately, very much on money. They are set on “making money”. One brother called me and said, “I am in the U.S. to seek after the mighty dollar!” I loved his candour.

I love these brethren, and I am not judging them. But it is also true that, with the gospel, you cannot have your cake and eat it.

We are spiritual. Whatever our lot in life, we must single-mindedly seek after only one thing. Jesus said, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Mat 6:21). Our hearts need to be where our treasure is, which is God’s spiritual Kingdom. We need to seek after spiritual things. Our lives need to be alive to the will of God.

Paul sums it up well in Colossians 3:1-4, “If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.”

For this to happen, we need to hear the right gospel, the gospel of the revelation of the cross. We cannot just swallow anything and hope that we will become spiritual. Becoming a spiritual person requires the keenest attention to that narrow road that Jesus talked about; and when we hear the right gospel, that road becomes clearer and clearer in our hearts.

We are not called to seek after this earthly life. Far from it, the Bible says about this world and its lusts, “And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof”.

We Bring Life By Suffering – Part 1

If I must needs glory, I will glory of the things which concern mine infirmities. 2 Cor. 11:30

This is undoubtedly one of the most profound statements in the Bible made by a man apart from Christ.

It is impossible for a person who has not suffered in the flesh to bring life into the Church. He may preach and do many things in the Church; but he will not bring life. I am not talking about this physical life. There are many things that we do, even in church, that bring life to us in the natural. And it is a man’s right to boast in whatever they have accomplished.

Today there are born-again Christians who have been ‘perfected’ in the flesh. They can therefore boast in the things of the flesh. A man was speaking at an open-air evangelistic meeting in one of our major towns and he said, “I have more than one degree. I have more than one car. I am not a thief. I am a big executive in one of the biggest banks in this country. My car that you see parked there is brand new, as you can see; I just removed it from its wrappings!”

Unbelievable, but true. He went on to say that his certificates had been prayed upon by anointed men of God, and that was how his journey to glory began. He was trying to point out that we born-again Christians are not supposed to live low-class lives; that we are to live the high life because we are blessed!

It is unfortunate, but the Church of Christ has been brought to the place where it believes that that is the life God has for them. Today, you are expected to apologise if you touch negatively on this aspect of the Christian life. You are supposed to say, every time, “God is not against us prospering materially, but…”

It is time to stop saying that. It is time to boldly reproof a Church that is clearly becoming more and more materialistic-minded.

When the Bible talks about life, it talks about the life of the Spirit, the life of Christ.

The Bible says we are to be “living stones” (1 Pet. 2:5). That means we have died with Christ and risen with Him. There are no short-cuts to becoming a “living stone” in the Body of Christ. The Bible also says that “Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” Mat. 7:14. I have asked this question here before, but I will ask it again: How can we believe that the many masses in churches today are truly following that narrow road? Jesus Himself said that “few there be that find it”.

The Apostle Paul was as human as you and I. When therefore God decided to work in him in order for him to become an effective vessel for Him, Paul instinctively tried to resist. It was painful. He says he prayed three times for God to remove the thorn from his flesh. Three times! For a man of the calibre of Paul to pray three times for God to set him free from a certain situation, it shows how difficult it will be even for us to accept the will of God in our lives.

But God was adamant. He told Paul, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness.”(2 Cor. 12:9). In other words, God told Paul, “No, my friend, I want to use you; and that is the only way you can become of any use to me. I have no alternative but to break you down.”

The Apostle Paul received much grace from the Lord. Why? Because he came to understand what the Lord wanted to do and he agreed to align his life with what God wanted to do in his life. He obeyed God. Immediately thereafter, Paul says, “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

It is not easy to obey God. It needs the grace of God. I have heard of people saying they obeyed God and He blessed them with this and that material blessing. That is so easy! If someone tells me to “plant a seed” of so much money so that I may “harvest” a hundredfold, that is so easy and comfortable to do.

But it is time to believe and obey God in enduring suffering on His behalf.

Peddlers of the Gospel, Enemies of the Cross – Part 1

For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ. 2 Cor. 2:17

I keep coming back to this topic because it is so vital to the Church. There is something about this topic that made the Apostle Paul to weep. In our culture, if you see a grown man weeping, it shocks you. When we as born-again believers read in the Bible about a man like the Apostle Paul weeping, that should shock us. There was something there that caused untold grief to the Apostle.

Before I continue, let me say that I know that in writing these kinds of things I run the risk of reducing the readership of this blog. But I am quite comfortable with that because, in the first place, I am not seeking any kind of popularity through running this blog. I am not even seeking to be accepted by anyone. I am simply seeking to present the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ as sincerely as I find it set out in the Bible. I want to thank WORDPRESS for affording me this opportunity. I also want to thank my dear sister, Louise Echstein, who encouraged me to begin writing this blog. Lastly, I thank my readers, and in particular Pastor Rob Barkman, for inspiring me on.

But I am also a part of the Body of Christ and I want to assure you that I write with a heart of love. I have to say this last one because some one accused me of being ‘insensitive’. I may not be the most loving person within the Body of Christ, but I know I strive to present my observations with as much love as I know how.

(Have you ever noticed that the Apostle Paul does not come out as a particularly ‘loving’ person in his epistles, in the way we have been conditioned to view love? He had many hard and difficult things to say to the Church of his day. But, I assure you that Paul was and still is the most loving father the Church will ever know. The gospel of Jesus Christ is not there to please anybody in the flesh. That is why Jesus and Paul could call people ‘dogs’ and ‘Satan’ and get away with it. When therefore someone writes or says some hard things about the Church it does not necessarily mean they are unloving.)

Secondly (as far as I am concerned), if even one person – just one – were to come to a realization of the true purpose of God for the Church through what I write in this blog, that would be sufficient for me. Sometimes we might not be writing for ‘the multitudes’. We hardly know the importance of a single person who has caught the purpose of God in their hearts. But God does. You can see that in the Bible.

During Abel’s time there were many men and women in the world. So it was with Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Deborah, Ruth, the prophets and all of the Bible heroes that we read about. During each one’s tenure on earth there were probably thousands or even millions of other people living; but the Bible has space to talk only about these very few persons. Why so? It is because they carried God’s plan in their hearts.

You can see that also with John the Baptist. In Luke chapter 3, the Bible takes only one and a half short verses to chronicle the many powerful men that ruled the world during his time, after which it settles down to talk unhurriedly about John the Baptist’s life “in the wilderness”. In purely human terms, John was a nothing. But he was everything with God.

In 1 Corinthians 15:1-8 and in Galatians chapter 1 we read and recognize that even if there were other apostles in his day, yet the Apostle Paul “received” something – a revelation – that was distinctly superior and he received it directly from the Lord Himself.

All these men and women of God were a very small group who somehow paid the price to carry God’s plan and purpose in their hearts during their lifetime. That is how important one man (or woman) can be with God.

As I just said, there is a price to pay in carrying the plan and purpose of God on earth. Not many who are called are able or willing to pay that price. That is why Jesus said that many are called, but few are chosen. But Jesus said something else also concerning this. He said, “Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matt. 7:14)

“Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way” That is the price. Jesus lays it out clearly.

But notice also that phrase, “few there be that find it.”

How we can believe that all the multitudes in the churches today are carrying the plan and purpose of God in their hearts is incredible. Jesus Himself said that few will find it. We must be scriptural and not let our emotions (or brains) overrun us.

When I see the number of preachers today and hear what the majority of them are preaching; and when I see how Christians love listening to a gospel that forever tells them that God loves them and that He does not want them to undergo any kind of trouble,  I realize that indeed, few will find that narrow way. For that narrow road is the road of the cross: it is the road (or lifestyle) of crucifying the flesh, forsaking our rights and this world and following Jesus.

In I Corinthians 11:1 Paul says, “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.” Through the example of giving his life, the Apostle Paul took up his cross, just as Jesus did.


Having established a ‘background’ of sorts there, let me now get back to my topic: Peddlers of the Gospel, Enemies of the Cross. You can follow it up in the second and third parts of this post…

A Spiritual Relationship – Part 2

I know there was a time I did not care the least bit about my relationship with my wife. I would fight with her and seconds later I would kneel down and begin claiming God’s promises for my life! One Sunday morning, after our normal fight I hurriedly left home and headed straight for church, where I lay in wait for her at the pulpit. From my position at the pulpit I could see anyone coming in all the way from the gate. Half an hour after I had arrived I saw her turning in at the gate and I prepared to strike. The minute she entered the church door, I shot one well-aimed poison barb that I knew would cripple her right there and then. Of course, I was not so stupid as to mention anyone by name, but I could see I had hit the bull’s-eye because she faltered in her step. It was a miracle that she sat through that service!

It is not easy to love. That is something I have come to discover. The words “I love you” fill the air but much of the time we do not realize that true love can only come out of a mature Christian. It can only come out of a heart that has been tested and tried by God Himself. And we can be assured that when God tries a man’s heart, it is no lullaby. He grabs you by the neck and gives you a bear-shake. The Bible puts it this way: “… but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain” (Heb 12:26,27).

I have a responsibility to “publish” the Good News first in my family – to my wife and children – before I can step out that door. It is neither an easy undertaking, nor is it one that I can take lightly. But I must. I need to depend on the grace of God daily to accomplish this.

This is the reason I am obsessed with my wife. God is working in both of us to bring us to a place where we can relate to one another spiritually. A place where “iron sharpens iron”. A place where God’s truth reigns supreme between us. A place where one can tell the other, “No, don’t take that road!” A place where we are willing to lay down our lives (read rights) for one another.

God is not interested in a conventional husband/wife relationship. He expects something more, something infinitely much deeper, something spiritual.

Can anyone deny that Ananias and Sapphira, of whom we read in Acts chapter 5, ‘loved’ each other. Oh, yes, they did – to the extent that they could gang up to do evil together! Theirs was not a spiritual relationship. But God wants us in the Church to have a spiritual relationship. If the revelation of the Cross of Christ is there in a relationship, that is the right, spiritual relationship. If that revelation is not there in a couple’s lives and they are not carrying the death of Christ, theirs cannot be considered a spiritual relationship. It will be a relationship all right, but it is not spiritual.

Lastly, I can confess that allowing my flesh to be dealt with is the most difficult thing in my life. But, on the other hand, it is also the sweetest of victories when I find myself winning even a tiny bit of the many battles that the Spirit wages against the flesh in me. My greatest consolation is that I can see the narrow road ahead. I cannot say I see the end of it now, but I am sure if I keep walking it one day I shall lay hold of the crown of Life that awaits me at the end of this road. What a relief – and a joy – that will be!

A Warned Church – Pt.1

And the LORD said, Who shall persuade Ahab, that he may go up and fall at Ramothgilead? And one said on this manner, and another said on that manner. And there came forth a spirit, and stood before the LORD, and said, I will persuade him. And the LORD said unto him, Wherewith? And he said, I will go forth, and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets. And he said, Thou shalt persuade him, and prevail also: go forth, and do so. 1 Now therefore, behold, the LORD hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the LORD hath spoken evil concerning thee.

But Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah went near, and smote Micaiah on the cheek, and said, Which way went the Spirit of the LORD from me to speak unto thee? 2Kings 22:20-24

If one were to speak to the Church today in the manner that Micaiah spoke before the two kings and his fellow prophets, he most likely would get the same treatment that Micaiah got from Zedekiah. The truth is not popular in “this present evil world” (Gal. 1:4). That’s why you can’t help but admire men like Micaiah!

I do not believe that it is God’s will that any man should die the way Ahab died. But I also believe that if God sees that you are firmly set on a course of destruction from which you are unwilling to be persuaded from, then He has no option other than watch you waste yourself down that road.

In the age we are living in I am willing to join Micaiah’s ranks and say that this is a generation where the Church has been lied to. Every servant of God is speaking about how God loves His people and how He wants to bless them. The ‘Good News’ has been made extremely sweet! The Church is being encouraged to have a positive confession in every circumstance. And yet, I believe God wants to warn the Church that there is a narrow road which it needs to take. It is not time to listen to the ‘victory’ band, the materialistic gospel that has craftily wormed its way into the Church of our day.

The Apostle Paul tells the Corinthians that he determined to know nothing among them “save Jesus Christ, and him crucified” 1Co. 2:2. I wonder how we can preach any other gospel other than the one these Apostles preached! I do not see the early Apostles preaching the sloppy, solve-all-my-problems-at-the-press-of-a-button gospel that is so abundantly preached in our churches today. The Early Church heard and lived a gospel that said, “…It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Act_20:35). Those words of scripture mean so much more than meets the eye.

Today, instead of having a Church that believes it is “blessed” in the carnal way it thinks it is, I am persuaded we should be having a Church that is warned. A Church that has taken heed to the warning not to depart from the narrow road of denying self, taking up our Cross and following Jesus – Mat. 16:24. Any other gospel apart from that is deception.

And, if the Church is bent on following after its own worldly philosophy and ways, then it will end in destruction like Ahab did.

The Neglected Narrow Road

Would to God ye could bear with me a little in my folly: and indeed bear with me. For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. 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. 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. 2Co 11:1-4

The Apostle Paul was addressing the Church here. He tells us that it is possible to have another Jesus, another spirit and another gospel preached to us. in other words, not everything that comes under the name of Jesus is of God.

We live in an age of brazenly false doctrines.

There’s only one way to heaven. That is the way of the Cross, the narrow road that Jesus spoke about. It is a road where the flesh is dying daily. When people do not want to take that road they will look for another, simpler – a short-cut – to heaven. That means a ‘gospel’ will be preached, but it is not the true gospel. It is a gospel of the flesh.

That is what we see in today’s church. The flesh is not being confronted. On the contrary, it is being promoted. There are ‘other’ gospels being preached. Chief among these is the gospel of prosperity; prosperity in worldly, material terms. Every preacher makes as if he wants to take the road of the Cross; but then he suddenly takes a detour and makes sure to say he believes in ‘prosperity’! What a contradiction!

That is not the only false gospel being promoted today. Even a mundane topic like healing turns carnal all of a sudden. The ministry of healing has been turned into a billion-dollar business! In our country, if your church does not have the word ‘Miracle’, ‘Deliverance’ or ‘Healing’ appended to it, nobody is interested in such a church.

The Church must turn back and embrace the Cross. The Church must be willing to pay the price to become the true Bride of Jesus Christ.

I thank God so much for the ministry of CTMI, where the gospel of the revelation of the Cross of Christ is being preached. Here, one learns that they have only one option in their Christian life: to lose their lives. Hallelujah! That is tough – but has sweet fruits, which is the changing of our character to be more and more like Jesus.