Some years back I was listening to a sermon by Joyce Meyer, within that sermon she began to talk about how lovely her neighbours garden was, and how perfectly manicured her lawn was and how whatever plant her neighbour grew would just look so astonishing, whilst hers was a mess. So one day she decided that she (Meyer), was going to grow beautiful tomatos comparable to her neighbour’s, she brought manure , studied how to properly seed the tomatoes and prayed for these seeds night and day but sadly nothing. Whilst her neighbours plants continued to flourish her’s looked diseased ( adding my own interpretation to the story for entertainment value). She became incredibly fustrated
“Why can’t I grow these bloody things!” she exclaimed
It didn’t take long til she turned her frustrations onto God, wasn’t she a minster, wasn’t she more spiritual than her neighbour, had she not prayed for her tomatoes to grow well ?
“God why can’t I grow nice tomatoes like my neighbour?” she asked, not long after she spoke a voice dropped into her heart
“Did I ask you to grow tomatoes?”
All this time she had been getting frustrated by something she didn’t even need to do.
In Zimbabwe ( where I am from), when you buy new furniture you buy it pre-made all you have to do is move it in, however, in England ( where I live), when you buy furniture it arrives in components that you have to assemble to get the desired product. A lot of the times, these do-it-yourself furnitures come with instructions that IF ( and that is a BIG ‘IF’) we choose to follow can get the furntiure assembled quickly but I’m sure many of us have by-passed the instruction manual or have missed a step and found ourselves trying to wedge two seperate components together that shouldn’t even be touching one another, we become fustrated at the manufacurer deeply regretting the day you thought it a nice idea to buy that piece of furntiure, or in the case of Joyce Meyer getting fustrated at our inability to do something we didn’t need to do particulaly when the instuction manual aka God never told you to piece those compnents together . I’m sure that all of you are smart and can understand the moral of the story, that we should really let God lead.
Wisdom is letting God lead you not vice versa. People tend to say that knowledge is power but I say knowledge is a key to wisdom, because no matter how much we know that if God leads all is well, no matter how much we know that the manufacturers provided us with a detailed correct instruction manual or that God never told us to plant tomatoes we still do the opposite. We are told countless times in the Bible to pursue biblical wisdom, ‘to get wisdom, get understanding… for she will watch over you’ (Proverbs 4:5-6), an entire book is dedicated to wisdom and her ways. A fool is not a fool because he has no knowlegde ,he is a fool because he chooses to not apply wisdom. The level of wisdom one has determines how they use their knowledge let me give an example:
We know we must study to pass our exams, we also know that we must give time to study long before the exam so that the learned information is retained. Yet a fool chooses to do all their studying the night before despite knowing that it’s not the best option.
I love a particular song by a Jesus culture, called ‘where you go I go’ because of the lyrics:
“Jesus only did what he saw you do, He would only say what He heard You Speak, He would only move when He felt you lead”
This was the wisdom Jesus had when he was on Earth, He knew nothing could happen unless he was totally dependent on God. Unless God tells you to there is no point to do it… it’s not that planting tomatoes is a bad activity it’s rather enjoyable in my opinion, but should the activity take you away from the glory or remove you from His presence then it is not great and we then need to re-adjust our reasoning for starting the activity.
I apologise if there is no particular structure in the following post…
To tell you the honest truth, I have been procrastinating particularly in regards to this topic, the number of times I have written, deleted and re-written this article within the last months is honestly a bit embarrassing. It has been such a struggle to write ( but then again what post of mine hasn’t), I mean… I have so many topics listed that I want to share with you all but I am honestly struggling to start. Which brings me back to the difficulty I have found starting this post. At first when I thought to write on the topic of humility I thought to explore people in the Bible who showed great humility like Moses or Joseph ( Jesus’ step-father) or to explore how God humbled Joseph in preparation for his position as the Prime Minister of Egypt but then I realised that perhaps Joseph was a far humbler man than I. So instead I thought to divert my attention and look at pride instead – the opposite of humility.
A few years ago as I was praying, God told me that I needed to address the pride that was in me, I was slightly taken aback,
“Pride! What Pride?”
Considering that I really didn’t think of myself of any high status or of any value, I didn’t understand what God was telling me but I prayed nonetheless that there would be no trace of pride in me. There was a desire to be closer to God and I knew that being ‘humble’ is what God wants us to be but I didn’t quite understand its definition. When we look at the dictionary definition of the word Humble it says:
‘the quality of having a modest or low view of one’s importance’
To me being humble meant admitting you have no worth, my distorted definition of the word was literally this ” God formed me from dust and that is what I am dust”. We may have been formed from dust but that is not what we are now, we don’t look at a bowl or vase as say it is mud so we can not look at ourselves and say we are dust when we are now children of God. As I am writing this I am laughing to myself as I think I now understand Matthew 25: 14-21 a bit better in terms of pride. In the passage found in Matthew, Jesus gives a parable of a master who gave talents/ money to his slaves, to one he gave 5 talents another 3 and the third 1. Whilst the first 2 made great returns with their talents the third buried his in the ground, so when the master came back it is hardly surprising to know that he wasn’t impressed by the third guy, but one thing which I didn’t quite understand is why he would call the slave ‘EVIL’. The slave’s sin was not that he didn’t make a profit but that he had pride, the pride to assume that he knew His masters intent:
“Then the man with the $1,000 came and said, ‘Sir, I knew you were a hard man, and I was afraid you would rob me of what I earned, so I hid your money in the earth and here it is!’
Matthew 25: 24-25 (TLB)
“There is no point in me doing anything because your just going to take all the glory for it whilst I did all the hard work”
In many ways my attitude was and probably is still like that: ” there is no point to doing anything as I am only dust, if God had wanted to make me great he would have made me from gold and not dust, therefore, God cannot do anything of significance on me, (do you hear the attitude!!). Though I have never said it like that I have gone to God many times saying:
“God I can not do this because… I can’t talk to them because I am… I know myself God and I can not do ….. I can’t tell you about this small thing because why on Earth would you care… God deal with the more important stuff whilst I deal with this”. I never quite fully let go of any burdens within me and allowed him to do what only he could do, my attitude was that God is going to take-away or just not respond to anything I have so with that mindset how could I submit to him wholeheartedly if I am holding back. I think I understand why it has taken me so long to write this post as this is an area of my life that God is still working on me (excuse the pun).
I was just reading Lesson 10 from the Psalmody international school of worship in preparation for this weeks blog, but I really wanted to write this. I knew that King David was a man who reverenced the Lord and worshiped Him wholeheartedly and that we as Christians are called to follow after his example of praise and worship. But, what I didn’t know (something which I have taken from Lesson 10) that King David instituted a revolutionary change of worship by replacing animal sacrifices for spiritual ones of thanksgiving and praise and ministering before the presence of God. Prior only High Priests had access to the Ark of the Covenant (please take a look at this post for more information) , but now David appointed Levites to bring to remeberance through their acts of thanksgiving of the works God had done for his people. So here is the Psalm of thanksgiving that transformed worship in the tabernacle and it is one we can all proclaim in our lives:
1 Chronicles 16: 8-36 (HCSB)
Give thanks to Yahweh; call on His name; proclaim His deeds among the peoples. 9 Sing to Him; sing praise to Him; tell about all His wonderful works! 10 Honor His holy name; let the hearts of those who seek Yahweh rejoice. 11 Search for the Lord and for His strength; seek His face always. 12 Remember the wonderful works He has done, His wonders, and the judgments He has pronounced,[a] 13 you offspring of Israel His servant, Jacob’s descendants—His chosen ones.
14 He is the Lord our God; His judgments govern the whole earth. 15 Remember His covenant forever— the promise He ordained for a thousand generations, 16 the covenant He made with Abraham, swore[b] to Isaac, 17 and confirmed to Jacob as a decree, and to Israel as an everlasting covenant: 18 “I will give the land of Canaan to you as your inherited portion.”
19 When they[c] were few in number, very few indeed, and temporary residents in Canaan 20 wandering from nation to nation and from one kingdom to another, 21 He allowed no one to oppress them; He rebuked kings on their behalf: 22 “Do not touch My anointed ones or harm My prophets.”
23 Sing to the Lord, all the earth. Proclaim His salvation from day to day. 24 Declare His glory among the nations, His wonderful works among all peoples.
25 For the Lord is great and highly praised; He is feared above all gods. 26 For all the gods of the peoples are idols, but the Lord made the heavens. 27 Splendor and majesty are before Him; strength and joy are in His place. 28 Ascribe to the Lord, families of the peoples, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. 29 Ascribe to Yahweh the glory of His name; bring an offering and come before Him. Worship the Lord in the splendor of His holiness; 30 tremble before Him, all the earth.
The world is firmly established; it cannot be shaken. 31 Let the heavens be glad and the earth rejoice, and let them say among the nations, “The Lord is King!” 32 Let the sea and everything in it resound; let the fields and all that is in them exult. 33 Then the trees of the forest will shout for joy before the Lord, for He is coming to judge the earth.
34 Give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His faithful love endures forever. 35 And say: “Save us, God of our salvation; gather us and rescue us from the nations so that we may give thanks to Your holy name and rejoice in Your praise. 36 May Yahweh, the God of Israel, be praised from everlasting to everlasting.”
Then all the people said, “Amen” and “Praise the Lord.”
When I first heard this song (being the smart arse that I am) I honestly thought they got the lyrics wrong, I didn’t understand why the singers sang:
“I am no longer a slave to fear”
I mean shouldn’t it have been ” I am no longer a slave to sin”, wouldn’t that be a more accurate portrayal of what is written in the bible, if you haven’t guessed I am a stickler for rules and regulations and although this is a good thing ( I think?) it does limit my understanding of God because I like things to fit in a box and God does not fit in a box, however, in this context I honestly thought that they miss-referenced Romans 6: 22 which says:
“But now, since you have been liberated from sin and become enslaved to God”
With the key phrase being “liberated from sin” which would go hand-in-hand with the phrase ” no longer a slave to sin”, but this was not the case. Despite my misgivings, I continued to listen and worship to the song, because the lyrics were pretty powerful but only now do I understand why these lyrics are powerful and why the writers did not get confused when they wrote: “I am no longer a slave to fear”.
As a 15-year-old I remember sitting in my bedroom making a poster of all the easy scriptures that I could memorise, I am glad I did that because a lot of the ones which I memorised then have remained even to this day and more specifically this scripture:
‘For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love and sound judgement’
2 Timothy 1:7 (HCSB)
I would proudly declare this scripture out-loud in my room in my attempts to memorise it, but I never actually sat down to think why God would not give us a spirit of fear, is it not fear that gives us the adrenaline to fight, isn’t fear the thing that makes us cautious of certain areas and allows us to avoid disaster, does it not say in the bible ‘fear the lord’? However, with time I came to understand fear as a paralysing illness that can render its subjects to complete disability.
YES: the Bible does instruct us to fear the lord, but this is a different kind of fear to the one I am talking about. Often because of translation some words and interpretations are not fully expressed, so when the bible says to fear the lord it can be understood as ‘revere or respect’ whilst the one mentioned in 2 Timothy 1:7 is understood to mean ‘timidness’ and other such connotations ( this information can be found in the ‘Strong’s Concordance’ or other reference bible’s).
As mentioned in ‘2018: My Spider Thread’, 2017/18 was a challenging year for me as I still had a lot of uncertainties about my future. I was now in my final year of university and still lost as to where God wanted to take me or how, every single direction seemed like the wrong one and the more I pressed in, in prayer the more silent God seemed to get regarding my circumstances which ultimately led to me throwing a tantrum with God that if He would not answer me than I would stop talking to Him. I was angry because God had been the one who had directed my steps to that university and I had followed His decision believing that he wouldn’t leave me stranded at the end, but here I was standing at cliff-edge staring at the vast barrenness in front of me; alone and afraid. I wasn’t coming from the position of a new believer, this wasn’t my first time not getting an answer and as I write this now I am still waiting for a response to a prayer I have given many times since infancy, I knew that God was operating and in many areas of my life God was responding daily — but why was He remaining silent in this area? As graduation day loomed, I was terrified, terrified of walking in the dark, terrified of everything. Many opportunities were available but I was so uncertain of which way was right and which way was wrong that I did nothing, and when I decided to no longer focus if this was the right path or not I still had a lot of doubt as to whether I was qualified or not and instead I went from dreaming big, to dreaming small to not dreaming at all.
I’ve only ever experienced one panic attack in my life and that was when I was learning how to drive and I couldn’t get the car up the hill, I was in tears, sweating and shaking and although I did overcome that hill that very day, the experience did leave me traumatised. I wasn’t born shy or afraid, in fact, I would say I am the complete opposite of that, that is why that experience was so surreal that despite going on to pass my driving test first time, I dared not drive a car ever again. A lot of people would be so grateful to receive a car for a graduation present but I wasn’t, because every time when I looked at that car I didn’t think about the day I casually passed the driving test, I thought about the time when I was a learner struggling to get up the hill, and I became even more terrified to drive that my mother had to push me into driving again. This same fear is what shrouded me all throughout last year and the beginning of this year, I felt paralysed in time – time was moving ahead of me whilst I remained stagnant.
There are so many scriptures in the bible where the Father speaks to His children telling them:
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
Isaiah 41: 10
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 4: 6-7
“Have I not commanded you? Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go’.
Fear narrows your periphery, it makes it difficult to see anything past your nose, it is so loud that it overtakes all other thoughts. In the same manner it had paralysed me in the car, it had paralysed me in life, for instance as it was my penultimate year at university there was this year-long dissertation I had to complete but due to my fear of actually starting it, I really struggled with it and ended up submitting something which I wrote in such a short period, my assignments and other works which I had easily completed in previous years; I was finding it more difficult to balance. The unexplainable peace which I had had in previous years was nowhere to be seen. There is this passage in Mathew 6: 25-34, where Jesus is saying, aren’t you worth more than the flowers or the birds, but fear really did make me forget about my position as a Son of God, a Royal Priest, a Bride of Christ beautifully adorned.
Before last year I thought I was brave, bold, extrovert but last year really highlighted an area of my life which I hadn’t noticed ‘fear’. Going back a few paragraphs when I first read 2 Timothy 1:7, I thought what it was saying was that we shouldn’t feel afraid or intimidated by God like the Israelites of the wilderness or Naked Adam and Eve did, and instead know that God loves us and gives good gifts to His children like ‘power, love and sound-mind’. However, I missed something important which is this:
‘God does not give us a spirit of fear’
It is not saying do not be afraid of God, it is actually saying a few things which we can elaborate on
There is a spirit that leads one to feel afraid
That spirit of fear does not belong to God,
If that spirit does not belong to God it belongs to the enemy
As a new-born Christian with a new skin and a cleansed soul there should be nothing of the enemy within us including the ‘spirit of fear’
As such the spirit of fear is a weapon used by the devil to debilitate God’s people from not only hearing God’s voice, or remembering His promises but of also taking action. Now I am going to get a little bit deeper…
We as humans all have souls and our souls in simple terms are our thought process’, they are our minds, our emotions and so forth and so forth. But our souls are a bit like a filing folder with many segments and sections, what we watch say or do get filed away but not without attracting attention first. For instance, when we are in worship we attract the presence of God and that in itself is a blessing so not only is our moment of worship filed in our folder it is filed away with the blessing but when we spend time watching pornography we invite the spirit of sexual immorality, so not only is the image of pornography getting filed in our folder so is the spirit of sexual immorality. So when we chose to accept Christ as our Lord and saviour, the Holy Spirit erased all that was not of God within our folder, but as new believers, we can still choose what we want to entertain or not. As for myself, I had chosen to entertain fear and now I was literally a “slave to fear”. I remember one Sunday service our Pastor spoke and I had no idea what he was talking about all I knew was that it didn’t concern me so I zoned out , but then our Pastor began to encourage people who needed prayer in whatever area he had been talking about to come to the front ( in the middle of the service which is not the norm), but then he said something really quickly he said “if you have fear come to the front”, as soon as I heard this I got out of my seat I didn’t care that I was the only one heading to the front all that I knew was that ‘fear did not belong to God, therefore, it did not belong to me’.
The spirit of fear does not belong to God therefore, it does not belong to you. if this is an area in your life that you are facing challenges in join me in this prayer
‘Dear Father, I don’t know what your plans for me are but I know they are for good. Father, all my fears, anxiety and worries I place them down at the cross where your son died for me, with the same power that raised Jesus from the dead I remove all fear in me and ask Father that you invite your peace and love into my heart forevermore. Amen’
This is just a question that I have, I haven’t really looked into the topic of tithing much but it is something that recently has made me think a bit.
I have never been one of those people to ask why does the Church ask for 10% of our income ( note how I choose to use the word ‘Church’ and not ‘God’). It makes logical sense, if you are going to use their facilities on a frequent basis then pay up, it costs money to maintain a church there are taxes , bills , instruments , the tea and coffee you get at the end of the service and this is not including any community projects or services the church provides to everyone, church members and non-church members alike. Though I am surprised I’ve never been swayed by doctrines preaching about sowing to the church so much and reaping so much from God , which though they do take biblical scriputre as evidence for example:
Proverbs 3 :9 ‘Honour the Lord with your possessions and with the first produce of your entire harvest; then your barns will be completely filled,and your vats will overflow with new wine’
Many people miss out the key word in this scripture which is ‘honour’, it is what separates God’s wisdom from mans or in other terms it is what separates the Church from Goldman Sachs but this is a topic for another time.
I understand that money is an essential tool for the church, therefore, whatever income I am getting I do give 10% to the church this even includes birthday or gift money. But here is the thing, every Sunday I see people getting out of their seats during praise and worship to put their money in the collection basket and it makes me wonder should I also be doing the same thing… I mean… Once a month I make a bank transfer of 10% of whatever I have earned in that month to the church but recently I have been questioning whether this is the right thing to do.
Is there any significance in actually bringing your tithe and offering to the church?
Though to be honest I rarely give nor feel compelled to give an offering, money wise. As an offering can be in many forms e.g. Romans 12:1
Is there something I am missing out by sending tithe and offering via bank transfer am I showing a lack of reverence by making the process of tithing and offering transactional? I chose bank transfer as it is literally the most practical way of giving money, cash to me sounds very dubious so it makes sense why I use online banking to tithe.
I don’t know but these questions have been bothering me lately.
This isn’t a bible study post, but I just thought interesting and wanted to share with you all this topic.
When we choose to accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and saviour we are literally taking off our sinful self, like taking off our old clothes and putting on new clothes. It is important that now that we have been made clean we don’t go back to our old sinful-self, take this analogy for example:
Imagine playing Rugby and getting really muddy, when you get home you quickly take off your clothes to take a shower or bath, but after taking the bath you change back into the muddy clothes you were wearing before. What then was the point in taking a shower if your clothes were going to make you unclean again?
For this reason, God creates for us a new body that has no fault or sin, where His Spirit can reside comfortably and operate in full. When making wine, the New Wine is poured into a new wineskin to mature, the wineskin expands as the wine begins to ferment. However, if you were to place New wine in an old container, that old container has already expanded and stretched to its limit because of the previous wine that was inside of it ( sin), so when the New wine begins to expand the old container bursts because it just can not stretch or allow the new wine to fully mature. If we still remain in our old garments, there is little for the Holy Spirit to do within you because your old body does not have the capacity to receive many more things from the Holy Spirit. God is all about the new and starting clean, so everything must be made clean and new, so when we come back from the muddy fields and shower , we no longer wear our muddy clothes but put on a new clean attire that is befitting our new position.
Check out this post if you are interested in reading more about the New Wine Christ wants to fill into your New Wineskin….