The Cross For Our Worship

8 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;

9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.

10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. Mat. 4:8-10

Let me begin, at the very outset, by stating the most important thing that I set out to say in this post.

What I want every reader to understand is that as far as the believer is concerned, the devil has only one goal – only one: to blind the believer to God’s plan and purpose in the Spirit. The devil’s singular goal in your life is to blind you to God’s spiritual purpose and instead have you focus on the material life of this world – and thus worship him.

Seeing this is the singular point that I wanted to make in this post, I probably need to write that in bold capitals:

THE DEVIL HAS ONLY ONE GOAL IN OUR LIVES: TO BLIND US TO GOD’S WILL AND PURPOSE IN THE SPIRIT, AND THEREBY WORSHIP HIM.

THAT IS NOT HIS NO. 1 OR NO. 2 OR NO. 3 GOAL: RATHER, IT IS HIS SINGULAR GOAL IN OUR LIVES.

Very few men would not stop to consider it, even if it were momentarily, if they were tempted with a substantial amount of worldly wealth. And no amount that the devil would give any man would hardly compare with what he was offering Jesus here: “all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them”.

Jesus was under severe, intense temptation here. The master of this world was offering Him “all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them”! Just stop and think about that. The devil’s “if” indicates that our Lord Jesus was about to lose and lose it big.

But in Jesus, Satan met more than his match. At every step of the way, Jesus did not miss a single beat. He met the devil’s challenge word for word – and the devil knew Jesus meant every word He said. Try as he might, the devil could not crack a chink in Jesus’ spiritual armor and finally he had to leave.

Notice in the scripture above that it is about whom we worship. If you told a believer today that they were worshipping Satan, they would have you arrested by the state police. Literally. But this scripture proves to us that, without a doubt, many believers are actually worshipping Satan.

Colossians 3:5 states:

“… covetousness… is idolatry” (Col. 3:5).

Idolatry is the worship of false gods, and the Bible teaches here that coveting the things of this world is equal to worshipping a false god – in this case, Satan himself.

Satan was trying to get Jesus to commit the sin of idolatry. He was showing Jesus the glory of this world and trying to get Him to lust and covet after it. Mind you, Jesus here was not God; He was as much man as you and I.

But Jesus was dead to covetousness. Long before He would be crucified physically, Jesus had crucified his flesh in the Spirit. He had not an iota of desire for the things of this world. As far as this world was concerned, for Him, the words of the Apostle Paul applied:

“And having food and raiment let us be therewith content” (1 Tim. 6:8).

Walking fully in the Spirit, Jesus made short work of the devil’s strenuous attempts to have him worship him by coveting the world.

Today, Satan has no such problems with the church as he had with Jesus. As a matter of fact, today, there is a gospel that is fully dedicated to worshipping the devil – and this gospel is alive and well in a born-again, Spirit-filled, tongues-speaking church. It is called the gospel of prosperity. A vast majority of the church of Jesus Christ are under the influence of this gospel.

The gospel of prosperity is vast in its scope. This gospel begins by saying that Jesus promised us that “… all these things shall be added unto you” (Mat. 6:33). From there on, it reverts into free-for-all mode, where any teaching is acceptable as long as it brings material and physical gain to the recipient.

The healing ministry, today largely an inherent part of the prosperity gospel, has itself become a big money-spinning industry. There are healing ministries, healing churches, and even healing schools! One of the most diabolical offshoots of the healing ministry is the wildly acclaimed ‘deliverance’ ministry, where the devil is clearly running things in person. At present, under this ministry, the hottest-selling commodity is something called anointing water. Whatever this water is, it has taken on a life of its own and it has become the life-support for many believers.

Incidentally, in many places of worship and even on the streets, this water is being sold at exorbitant prices.

Under the guise of ‘deliverance’ people are being made to eat grass, snakes, frogs… the list of horrors is endless.

Under the prosperity gospel, every other ministry – the worship ministry, the prophetic ministry, the apostolic ministry, and every all other ministries – have been hijacked to cater only for the physical and material well-being of God’s people. And, apart from the fact that these ministries no longer cater to the spiritual need of the church, today, all these ministries are million-dollar money- minting machines.

The devil loves to be worshipped and he will use everything in his power to achieve this goal. That is why he was willing to give Jesus all the kingdoms of the world if only He would worship him. If you know anything about how the world runs, you will acknowledge that what the devil was offering was a sure deal. Jesus would have become the most powerful man on earth!

Now, we all know that although the devil has power over all the material wealth in the world, yet he is the stingiest and most selfish soul alive. He is extremely rich in two these qualities. But here we see him willing to give Jesus “all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them”!

This shows the extent to which the devil will go to blind God’s people. If you have a problem with money in your heart, he will use money to ensnare you. He will bring money into your life. Of course, he will begin by giving you small amounts since it is not in his nature to give. But if he sees that the amount he is giving you is not enough to get you away from seeing into the Spirit, he will increase the bounty. But the devil goes even further than that. He will sacrifice everything if the catch justifies it!

That is why all the top preachers today are wildly moneyed. You cannot take someone who was powerfully called and anointed by God – as many of these men were initially – and try to con him with a ten-dollar bill! If you are serious about your mission to derail such a preacher, then you will have to think in terms of “releasing” private jets and million-dollar mansions. And, believe me, the devil knows all this and he is willing to pay the price.

He had no problem giving the Son of God “all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them”!

Today he is giving preachers dollars and material wealth.

Of course, with Jesus, the devil was patting in the dark. Jesus did not exhibit even one carnal trait upon which Satan could hinge his traps on. But he tried anyway.

But with us, he knows our weak spots. If you lust after anything, the devil knows it and he will give you tons of it, if need be.

But there is no way we can claim to be living for God if we love the world and the things in it. On the contrary, we need to die to the flesh and to the world. That is why we need to thank God exceedingly that He has brought us, once again, the revelation of the cross. Through this revelation, the Pauline doctrine of “Jesus Christ, and him crucified” (1 Cor. 2:2) has become alive again! Praise Jesus for that!

And we should be extremely grateful that this gospel is being revealed in our day. How much God loves us! And how is it that God has brought about this revelation in our day?! We are not blind, and we can see the damage being done by the charismatic gospel. How much grateful should we be to God for bringing the cross into our hearts?

The cross “…by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world” (Gal. 6:14).

What glorious words! Being crucified to the world, and the world to me, beats “all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them”!

It is the only way I can worship God in truth and in the Spirit.

Seeing The Cross – Part 1

11 Moreover the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, Jeremiah, what seest thou? And I said, I see a rod of an almond tree.

12 Then said the LORD unto me, Thou hast well seen: for I will hasten my word to perform it. Jer. 1:11-12

This scripture is talking about visions and dreams. Jeremiah saw a vision. People today are having visions and dreams of every sort; but Jeremiah also had a vision, a vision from God.

In this two- or three-part series, I want to discuss the significance of what Jeremiah saw in light of the New Covenant.

First, let us consider God’s reaction to Jeremiah after Jeremiah had told God what he had seen. When Jeremiah told God what he had seen, God answered him:

“… Thou hast well seen…”.

The word “well” implies a commendation. It implies approval. In this scripture, in simple but powerful terms, God tells Jeremiah that He approves of what he had seen. In other words, God was pleased with Jeremiah.

Do you know how difficult it is for God to be pleased with man? For a man to please God is probably one of the most difficult things that can happen in the spiritual world. This is because we are so wicked! Actually, God’s final word on man is found in Genesis 6:6 where the Bible says that it “grieved (God) at his heart” that He had made man. Take a moment to meditate on that.

And – impossible as it might seem – man has gotten only worse since Genesis 6:6.

But here we see God praising Jeremiah. Why was God pleased with Jeremiah? It was because Jeremiah saw exactly the thing that God wanted him to see.

Had Jeremiah seen something different, God would most certainly have told him, “Jeremiah, you have not seen well!”

But here we see God telling Jeremiah, “Thou hast well seen”.

Clearly, therefore, God is pleased with the man or woman who can see in the Spirit. In fact, I believe that the only person with whom God can be pleased with is the man who sees in the Spirit. This is because when one sees in the Spirit he sees exactly the thing that God wants him to see, and God is happy with such an one.

We read in the Gospel of John 4:23: “But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.”

When it says “worship”, the Bible is not talking about a praise and worship session. On the contrary – as we shall see in the next part of this post – it is talking about the totality of our way of life with the Lord. It is talking about our walk in the Spirit. We must walk as the Lord walks.

Jeremiah therefore was not someone who dreamed a dream or saw a vision in the natural. He was a man who first caught something in the Spirit and subsequently walked in the light of what he had seen.

This pleased the Lord exceedingly.

[Seeing in the Spirit is a way of life!]

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Receiving the Right Thing

20 Then came to him the mother of Zebedee’s children with her sons, worshipping him, and desiring a certain thing of him.

21 And he said unto her, What wilt thou? She saith unto him, Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom.

22 But Jesus answered and said, Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? They say unto him, We are able.

23 And he saith unto them, Ye shall drink indeed of my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with: but to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of my Father. Mat. 20:20-23

Notice that these sons of Zebedee and their mother came “worshipping” Jesus; but also desiring a certain thing of him.” So, these folks first worshipped Jesus, then presented their request to Him.

In other words, these folks worshipped Jesus because they wanted something from Him!

That is a dangerous combination, if ever there was one. If there is anything dangerous in church but which, alas! is going full steam ahead in many churches today, it is people going to church to “worship” the Lord because they want something of this world from Him. Many people are not aware of it, but this state of affairs is going on in their lives all the time!

Today, the 21st of December, 2014 is Sunday and this morning many folks are going to church ostensibly to worship the Lord. But God knows our hearts and He knows how many of us are truly going there to worship Him in truth and in the Spirit. He knows how many are going to church because all we want is the establishment of God’s Kingdom in our hearts. He knows how many of us are going there because we truly need an overhaul of the state of our spiritual lives.

He knows how many are going to church because we want to lose our lives more and to serve others more.

He also knows those who are going to worship Him simply for who He is.

But many, alas! are going to worship, but “desiring a certain thing” of Jesus – something of this world. They want the good things of this life. That is why they are going to church.

And today in many charismatic churches many preachers will end their sermons with an altar call where God’s children will be told to “Receive!” Many of God’s people will “receive” many things in church today.

Receiving is not a bad thing. We see Jesus also telling James and John to “Receive!” But what He told them to receive is vastly different from what many today will be “receiving” from their preachers.

Jesus told these gentlemen to prepare to receive only one thing: the cup and the baptism (Mk. 10). He did not promise to give them anything of this world. But we know they wanted something of this world. They wanted a place of honor in what they thought was Jesus’ impending worldly kingdom.

Today many people are going to church to receive the good things of this life. Personally I have no problem with a child of God receiving the good things of this life. I believe God also has no problem with that. But in reality, the things of this life are small change with God. That is why whether we receive the good things of this life or not is not a big deal with God; and it should not be with us. The Apostle Paul says in Philippians that he knew “both how to be abased, and… how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.” (Phil. 4:12)

When it comes to receiving, there is something of far greater importance which we as the church ought to pay attention to. We should not miss this one. We may miss the good life, but we should not miss the one thing that Jesus wants us to receive.

What is this thing? It is what Jesus gave to James and John. It is what He told them to “Receive!” It is the cup and the baptism.

This is what we should all be going to church to receive this Sunday morning.

Unfortunately, many will be going to be entertained by the good music, or by the charismatic preacher. Many more will be going to seek and answer to their prayers – prayers for the things of this life.

But ours is a heavenly agenda. May God open our eyes to see the heavenly agenda. We will then worship Christ for who He is, not for what we want from Him.

Have a blessed Sunday service!

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A Man For The Lord

I never saw a man give himself wholeheartedly to whatever he was doing for the Lord as the late Jessy Dixon did. I thank Bill and Gloria Gaither and their Homecoming Friends for many things. They have been a great blessing to me and to my family as well. The songs they sing have enriched our spiritual lives in a way I can hardly express. But above all I thank the Gaithers for introducing me to Jessy Dixon. When it came to performing for the Lord, there never was a man to compare with him. The power and artistry that he demonstrated – the deep acuity of motion – coupled with the purity and intensity of spirit with which he sang, could raise from the grave any spiritually dead person!

My late mother did not understand one word of English. And yet one of her favorite songs was “Master, The Tempest Is Raging”. Whenever she woke up in the morning, she would ask me to put on that song for her and she would sit there quietly as it ministered to her heart.

The song, as sang here (below), is my tribute both to Jessy Dixon and to my mother. They had a kindred spirit.

The finale and the reprise to this song are extremely powerful (I would give all to know just what George Younce was saying to Jessy there!) You might need to watch the song 2 or 3, or even 4 times to appreciate its beauty.

I am of the view that sometimes we are so much in a hurry that we miss out on many of the true spiritual blessings that God has given us to enjoy here on earth.

God Is Worthy To Be Praised!

We think we have a major problem! You can see all that when we are praying to God. When we are praying, that is when you realize how much dependent we are on God for everything in our lives. The place of prayer is a wonderful place to be and, indeed, prayer is a gift from God to man. God gives us the faith for that.

But I am sure that although there is a time and place for prayer in our Christian lives, we should not believe that our needs, whatever they may be, are the most important thing in heaven and earth.

There is a need before which all others fade into insignificance. And the bearer of this need is none other than God Himself. Does that sound confusing? Not the least bit! Of course, it requires the Holy Spirit to reveal this to us, but rest assured that God has a bigger need than any one of us can comprehend.

And what is this all-important need that God has? It is the need to be praised. God desires so much to be praised! That would sound selfish were it not for the fact that God not just desires but He deserves to be praised. God deserves so much to be worshipped, extolled, thanked, lifted up, loved – much more than we can possibly comprehend in our human capacities.

More than that, God deserves everything we have. He deserves our very lives.

If I, Mwita, were to ask anyone to praise me, I would not be too sure that I deserved it.

But God has never been unsure of anything He is does or requires of us. He tells us in Deuteronomy 6:5: “And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.”

He deserves everything we have.

If there is anything that can show the greatness of our God, it is the need that is there for Him to be praised and extolled above anything else.

King David is one of the greatest men that ever walked on earth. I believe David’s importance before the Lord owes much to the insight he had concerning the greatness of God and the need to praise Him. King David spent a considerable time of his life simply praising the Lord on various instruments. He also set up a choir, complete with all kinds of instruments and the most skilful musicians, Godly men, to perpetually stand before the Lord and just praise the Lord.

I remember when I got saved, many years back. I was in my final year at the university. Whenever we entered the auditorium the singers invariably began with a praise song. The minute the lead singer lifted the microphone to her lips, I would feel the power of God descending on me and immediately the tears would begin rolling down my eyes. The power and presence of the Holy Spirit was palpable. I cannot remember that we had to sing two or even three songs in order for the Holy Spirit to manifest.

These worship leaders were not artists, nor entertainers. They were true worshippers.

I was recently in Mauritius and I was deeply touched by the heart of worship that I saw in the worship team at Eglise Chretienne (Christian Church), whose services I regularly attended. Led by King and Audrey, the choir has a formidable capacity to lead people to worship God in the Spirit.

Brother King is a sight to behold when he leads worship. He lays his entire life – heart, soul and strength – into whatever he is doing; but you can feel he is doing something in the presence of God, not men. May the Lord bless Brother King!

It is not pleasing to say so, but to a large extent the business of praising God today has been turned into just that – a business – with a keen eye on the money, the fame, and the power it has to entertain the flesh.

Indeed, when it comes to praising God in church, many people are in either of two extremes: one extreme is where the flesh is given free flow and you find people simply entertaining themselves and looking for other profits instead of praising the Lord in Spirit and truth. With the abundance of modern music instruments and skilled players and singers today, it is the easiest thing to find people entertaining themselves in church instead of worshipping God. People jump, dance, and do many other things in the name of worshipping God, but you can feel it is the flesh.

At the other end are those whom you find clapping to God with their finger-tips – probably fearing that if they clap too hard their fine hands will hurt; or that if they sing too loudly, they might tear their delicate vocal cords! May God help us!

When it comes to praising the Lord there is only one way to do it – “with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.” Hallelujah!

One day, King David danced so hard before the Lord that his royal robe somehow got loosened, and maybe a piece of royal skin showed. His wife, Michal, despised him for that. In her view, he had lowered his personality. But unknown to her, he had just upgraded it!

But there is a need for God’s people to praise Him. Our God is so great, holy, merciful, loving that there are no words – or actions – truly sufficient to praise Him for Who He is. If it were possible we could spend all our time, 24/7, just praising God. The Bible in the Book of Revelation says that there are some wonderful creatures in Heaven doing just that!

And one day, all of creation will kneel down and proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

It is all right to pray and ask God for our needs. But it is far much more wonderful to find ourselves praising, extolling and thanking God just for who He is, and for what He has done (not just for us in the selfish, carnal sense; but more so because of everything He has done, including all of creation, because He made everything for us).

Our needs pale in the revelation of the need to praise and extol our God. Oh, that our hearts would forever be caught up in a spirit of praise to our God, for He so much deserves it!

Private Reflections Pt.2

Lord Jesus, I adore You with all my heart. I lift up my hands and praise You. You alone are worthy of my praise and adoration. You created the heavens and the earth and all that is in them. Your knowledge and wisdom is beyond comprehension.

All the Heavenly hosts worship You. The holy angels, the seraphim and cherubim, and the twenty four elders all worship You. All creation worships You.

My mouth cannot carry Your praises. But accept them, O Lord, for You are gracious.

I worship You and I love You.