GOD’S MEASRING ROD – PART III – PLUG IN

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GOD’S MEASRING ROD

PART III – PLUG IN

So now that we have dealt with that, maybe now the question is… what church should I plug in to? How do you know where you should go? How do I find a church? What do I look for in a church or where should I be linked to? Again the measuring key is the rod. Where are the fruits and the blossoms and the almonds?

The book of Mark 11:12 – 14, 20 provides a real key because again is talk about FRUIT. In the passage we see that this is the only destructive miracle that Jesus ever performed. Jesus was hungry and wanted to be fed and satisfied. He comes to this fig tree that has leaves but no fruit since it wasn’t the time of harvest yet. When leaves appear on a fig tree in the Middle East, the first figs are also visible and appear with the leaves. The figs are smaller and not quite as juicy and fruity, as the figs would come three months later. But the small figs are edible and they will nourish a man.

Note that Jesus didn’t curse this tree out of anger and frustration, but He did it as a powerful lesson in many matters including this particular one. Jesus is implying that if He was not going to be satisfied by that tree then it will satisfy nobody. If you cannot satisfy Jesus then there is nobody you can satisfy. Jesus is saying this to you, me and the church that He is hungry for fruit. What kind of fruit?

Hebrews 13:15 – Let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise – the FRUIT OF LIPS that openly profess His name. Churches MUST NOT PRIMARILY EXIST to have youth activities, to have Marriage seminars or tips on parenting. As valuable as these may be, that is not why churches exist. Churches exist for one reason primarily – for Jesus. The bible says that – All things were created by Him and for Him. Revelation 4:11 – Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

The Church therefore exists to pleasure the Lord. How is the Lord pleasured? You may ask. By the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to his name. You should be asking this question constantly – Is the Lord pleasured by the fellowship you attend? When you gather in the Lords name, is there fruit that He enjoys? Do you bring a smile to His face? The Primary purpose of the church is to give Him pleasure and everything else is secondary.

When you look for a church, then you should look if Jesus is being pleasured there. Look if Jesus being loved on, extolled, lifted up and sung to. Not just a few songs, but is it really a passion in that place? Then that’s the place that you want to be.

In conclusion, a word of caution is we are not to be judging to condemnation as Matthew 7 says, but rather judge to sort through weather a thing, a person or a ministry is valid. Again do not condemn but look for information and evaluate. Jesus says that there are wolves in sheep’s clothing, there is all kinds of things going on, so keep your eyes open. Bottom line is to look for fruit.

GOD’S MEASURING ROD – PART II – PLEASING CHRIST

GOD’S MEASURING ROD

PART II – PLEASING CHRISTImage

SO what about things that we hear on the radio? Or books that we read from the Christian book store? What about the conversations that we have? What about things we hear that are being taught at a bible study? How can we know that these things are truly right in the sight of God? How do we know what we should believe when someone comes to us and says – “The Lord told me to tell you…?” When a book says – “This is the key to spirituality…?” or a message is preached on a Sunday or shared at a bible study… how do we know that what is being said is true and right in God’s sight?

Blossoms, buds and almonds appear in one other place in the bible in Exodus 25. When the tabernacle was being built, they placed in the holy place a lamp stand. This was a big menorah that had seven lamps that was burning to light up and illuminate the holy place. Exodus 25:34 says that on the branches of the lamp stand were to be almonds, and blossoms and buds. This is the same thing that we saw on Aaron’s and Moses’ rods. What then does the lamp stand speak of?

Psalm 119:105 – “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my Path”. The point is, does it match up to the scriptures? Isaiah 8:19 – 20 clearly says be careful what you hear from people. Go to the scripture and if what is being said is not coinciding with scripture then there is no light in them. In Acts 17, Paul was at Berea and the people there were called Noble because they would verify with the scriptures what Paul was saying. This is how you know weather a sermon, a book you’re reading, the teachings in a bible study is right – by going back to the Lamp stand.

Something else that also deals with Fruit in knowing what we should believe. It’s not only found in the scripture but is also found in the spirit. Some people can take scripture and use it for their own agenda. They can twist and turn it unintentionally or intentionally to suit their own end. Just because somebody says a verse doesn’t necessarily mean that verse is being used in the proper way. So how do we know? Read James 3:14 – 16.

If what you are hearing even if somebody is using scripture, if it is causing you to feel strife, and envy, if it is dividing and causing confusion then the conclusion has to be that the wisdom is not from above. There is a misusing of the scripture or of a principle and if indeed it is causing strife and tension and envy and confusion… but James 3:17 – 18 goes on to say that wisdom from above is first of all PURE, then PEACE-LOVING, COSIDERATE, SUBMISSIVE, FULL OF MERCY and GOOD FRUIT, IMPATIAL and SINCERE. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of Righteousness.

In other words, is there peace? Is what you are saying producing peace in my soul? Does it cause me to be in peace with God and my brothers and neighbors or is it causing me to be in strife, envy, and confusion? Is there a dark cloud over my head? Is there a sad depression in my heart because of what is being shared or is there peace because it is pure and gentle, full of mercy, without hypocrisy and easy to be enacted? This is the lens we need to look through when trying to understand what somebody is sharing is valid, true and right in God’s sight.

GOD’S MEASURING ROD – PART I – THE FRUIT

GOD’S MEASURING RODImage – 

PART I – THE FRUIT

In the recent past there has been a lot of talk going on about churches in a negative light… not just in this country but even elsewhere in the world. Sometime back you might have seen on social media about the church that had its members eat grass in South Africa.  Another story shortly emerged about a nudist church where the members claim that they are going back to the roots. Again in the recent past there has been a lot of talk on Mavuno Church about the poster they had that didn’t go well with a large number of people while some defended why they were not wrong in doing so.

All this has made me ask a lot of questions within myself about churches. We have so many churches today that teach and believe all manner of things and one would wonder, what is the right church to go to? How do you know and Judge (Not to condemn) the right church to be part of? What do you look for to decide that this is the right place to go? This has been nagging me because I am at a stage in my life that am about to have a family and where I go for spiritual nourishment is not just for me but as a priest in the home consequently flows to the rest of my family. I have done some research and come up with some pointers toward this.

This is based on Numbers 17:1 – 11.  Please read it as you refer to what I am going to write.

The story in Numbers 17 is a continuation of what happened in chapter 16 and in a nutshell there was a rebellion against Moses and Aaron in the land caused by three individuals namely Korah, Dathan and Abiram. They consolidated 250 leaders behind them to rally against Moses telling him that he is too busy and has ruled for too long and therefore challenging his authority. Without going into details, the ground opened up and swallowed these three, fire came from the heavens and consumed the 250 leaders and then a plague breaks out and 14,700 people who supported the rebellion were consumed by the plague. This is really scary to say the least.

I ask myself “How then can I keep from getting sucked in to such rebellion or cultic activity? How can I be protected? This is where Chapter 17 gets in and this is why this is titled – God’s Measuring Rod. God didn’t want his people to be deceived again, so Aarons Rod came to life while the rest stayed as dead wood. This would be a sign to the people that Moses and Aaron were the ones in authority. So the question is – Who does the Rod ultimately speak of, or point to?

Isaiah 11 – the Rod speaks of and points to Jesus Christ. There is going to come a rod, a symbol of authority from the stem of Jesse – David’s father. The Rod that is going to come is going to have counsel, wisdom and Knowledge and fear of YHWH… He will be right in all that He says and does and then it continues to say how this rod is going to come will rule and reign on the earth and ultimately make things right.

But this rod – Jesus Christ was cut down when the people in that day said – We will not have this man rule over us! It was a rebellion just like Korah, Dathan and Abiram and the 250 leaders. They didn’t want his authority and they wanted him crucified. But Isaiah 53 says this is exactly what would happen. This rod, this root coming out of dry ground will be smitten and bruised and wounded… He will be slaughtered for our transgressions. They put him in the tomb BUT on the third day he budded, he blossomed, he bloomed just like he said.

How do we know that Jesus should be the one we should be following after? Linked to? Giving our lives to? What about Budha? Allah? Whoever it might be? Jesus one time was asked for a sign but he replied that a wicked and an adulterous generation seek for signs but one sign I will give to you the sign of Jonah. As Jonah was in the whale for three days and three nights, so shall the son of man be in the grave and the center of the earth for three days and three nights.

The one sign that proves that Jesus has all the authority, that we listen to, that we submit to, that we link our lives to is the resurrection of him from the dead. All the others died but only Jesus Budded, blossomed and came to life and gave out fruit. This is why we are committed to Jesus Christ. All the others are liars and thieves. After rising from the dead he gathered all the disciples and asked them to go to the ends of the earth to make disciples of all men. Paul even goes ahead to say – Follow me as I follow Christ.

You see most of us have no problem with what Jesus said and who he is, but have problems with these other people going around claiming to be teachers or claiming to speak for God or whatever it might be. How can we know? Just like Jesus proved to be who he claimed, by the fruit, the almonds that budded and the blossoms that were there and the life that was seen. That is how you know.  Jesus asked us in Matthew 7:15 – 20 to be careful of false prophets and wolfs in sheep’s clothing. He goes on to say that you shall know them by their fruit. There is a way to know if someone is really from Jesus or is anointed by Him, just check out their Fruit, just like the rod that blossomed, there was almonds, buds and blossoms.

SO what is fruit? Galatians 5:22 – 23. The fruit of the spirit is LOVE. The others are aspects of Love. Jesus Says that – All men will really know that you are my disciples by your Love for one another. 1 Corinthians 13 describes what Love is, and Jesus says – By their FRUIT you will know them. The fruit being spoken of here is LOVE. Does the person have a passion for God and a Love for people? If that’s there then that is a key indicator that this is a person that truly is Jesus’ disciple because AGAPE LOVE cannot be faked. This kind of Love can only be produced by the spirit. So my decision on this is – I don’t care how much one knows, I don’t care how much faith they have that could move mountains, I don’t care how many good works they do, I don’t care how well they speak… with the tongues of angels, the fact of the matter is Paul here says if there is no Love then it DOESN’T MATTER ABIT.

So the key is to see – is the Rod Budding with fruit, with Almonds?

the journey

Rings

The Journey

 

Am on an interesting journey where many people have travelled, some are just starting to embark on and yet, some are contemplating weather or not they want to take that route. This journey is called marriage.

 

In less than four months I shall be living legally, culturally, spiritually and otherwise with a beautiful lady, a gorgeous woman, in the same house and I cannot tell you how I feel about it because its a mixture of emotions. On one side I am thrilled, excited, cannot wait for this to happen because it is how God intends things to be. Finally, flesh of my flesh… Bone of my bones… A helper… A wife! Who would have thought that such a time would  come? Absolutely thrilling.

 

Then we went for a premarital class and all the realities are laid bare before the us. People who have been married for over 10 years start telling you of their experiences, what they had to endure, some married for five years and yet some only some months. Its scary to hear what challenges they have experienced and triumphs they have celebrated… and secretly we ask ourselves… Are we ready for that? My fiancé keeps asking me “are you ready for that?” Not to say that we will go through the same but  when a challenge presents itself, when a victory is in sight, will we rise to the occasion and deal with them appropriately? Will we celebrate victories modestly?

 

Suddenly this journey becomes a much bigger deal than we always think. We who are always on the outside looking in and giving advice and recommendations of what we think when we see our friends going through the same things in their marriages… Now you start realizing that there are a million sides to an issue and not just two like the coin. And worse still if you have children involved its just a really thick soup.

 

So am I unsure? No! I am sure about this journey because one thing is for certain and constant. I will not go through them alone. I have God and my spouse with me, and that is how marriage has been designed. All of the facilitators who gave us a part of their marriage stories, all said that its the best journey you will ever take. My soon to be sister in law once told me and my fiancé that “there is no school like marriage! You are always learning something new everyday that makes your marriage better everyday”.

 

So am I ready? Are we ready? I cannot say for sure that we are because nothing prepares you for some of the things that present themselves. All I know is that when we get there, I will not cross that bridge alone. If for nothing else,  then this very fact is what encourages me and there are happy times and sad times… Yet still I will have God and my spouse to enjoy that with. What else could I ask for?? And like I said am thrilled, excited and cannot wait for this journey to begin!

THE CENTRAL AND NYANZA WARS PART II

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I have been following closely the changing political atmosphere of our country since before the elections to now that the President – Elect is about to be sworn in. I must say that there are different reactions across the board and some have expressed either their displeasure or triumph in different ways – especially after pockets of violence happening around the country. It is even more apparent to me now, more than ever that we really need to go back to history to understand all that is going on now, which I have taken the time to do and present it to you.

I suggest that you take the time to buy and watch the documentary by Hillary Ngweno – “The Making of a Nation” which is where I am getting most of my facts from.

Read part one of this article to get the flow on the link provided below… https://jonathansiaga.wordpress.com/2013/03/13/the-central-and-nyanza-wars-part-i/

The time now is 1968 and the Gatundu group was trying to ensure that Mboya doesn’t ever become president through some parliamentary fluke and they were leaving no stones unturned to cut him down to size in his strong areas. In January 1968, they managed to whisk away the Nairobi KANU branch from Mboya men. Branch elections saw Charles Rubia defeat Munyuwa Waiyaki for the chairmanship of the branch committee. The rest of the seats of the branch executive were taken by the KANU A men. For the first time, Mboya had been defeated in a major political battle.

Next, KANU A went for the Mombasa party branch where Mboya’s ally and branch chairman – Ronald Ngala was in a bitter feud with Msanifu Kombo. In the branch elections held in March 1968, the Gatundu group supported Kombo in his takeover bid and when he eventually won, Ngala resigned from the KANU National Executive Committee. Mboya had thus lost control over the two biggest KANU branches – Nairobi and Mombasa. His political forces were in disarray but his problems were not quite over.

In May 1967, Kenyatta had released from detention Denis Akumu and Omollo Rading, two of the trade unionist who had been detained in 1966. For Kenyatta and his inner circle, the time was now ripe to hit Mboya where it hurt him the most – in his hold on the Trade Union Movement. They had tried it before and failed. This time Akumu would make sure that they did not fail for Akumu had a lot of clout with in the trade union movement.

He had headed the Kenya African Workers Union KAWU and before detention, he was Clement Lubembe’s number two man, a Mboya ally in the Central Organization for Trade Unions COTU. Njonjo and Mungai worked hard to help set up a coalition of trade unionist which came to be known as the Kenya Group. They lobbied for Akumu’s men against Lubembe’s or Mboya’s men in the elections that were held in 1969 to choose all officers in COTU. Akumu’s men swept the slate thus dealing Mboya his final blow in politics. Mboya had lost the major KANU branches – Nairobi and Mombasa. Elsewhere in the party he had only the job of Secretary General and he had now lost his hold on the Trade Union Movement. It appeared that there was nothing else left for him to lose.

Bad as they were  Mboya’s political troubles did not worry him as much as what he now perceived as a threat to his very life. On the morning of July 5th 1969, Mboya arrived at Nairobi’s Embakassi Airport from Addis Ababa, where he had been attending a meeting of the Economic Commission for Africa. He was accompanied by his Permanent Secretary Phillip Ndegwa and his brother Alphonse Okuku Ondiege. He had dropped them off at his office, and then before 1 P.M he went to Chhanis Pharmacy on Government road – today known as Moi Avenue, to buy some lotion for dry skin. After chatting with Mrs. Chhani for a while, Mboya stepped out of the shop. In a few seconds, two shots rung out and Mboya slumped over.

Despite efforts at mouth to mouth resuscitation by Dr. Mohamed Rufidth Chodri who came to the shop within a few minutes of the shooting, Mboya was dead on arrival at the Nairobi Hospital. Within hours, there were riots and demonstrations in Nairobi and in towns and villages in Nyanza.

From the very beginning, Luos had assumed that the Kikuyus had killed Mboya. The experience at the KPU had given most Luo the feeling that the Kikuyu were out to deny them any position of political leadership. They had pushed Odinga out of KANU and hobbled the party he had set up. Now they had killed Mboya and Luo suspicions appeared to be confirmed when on July 10th – five days after the murder, a young Kikuyu Named Nahashon Isaac Njenga Njoroge was arrested and charged with the murder. Kenyatta declared one week of national mourning.

The time used for mourning was also the time the Luos used to express their communal anger at Mboya’s murder. On Monday 7th when Vice president Moi came to pay his last respects, his car was stoned and he was forced to turn back. On Tuesday 8th at a requiem mass presided by Arch Bishop John McCarthy at Holy Cathedral, police were powerless to control a huge crowd of angry Luos who pelted Kenyatta’s car with stones, sticks and shoes.

The cortege left Nairobi at 4 AM on Wednesday the 9th. Some 500 cars joined the procession. There was another mass at Homa Bay Cathedral before crossing over by ferry to Rusinga Island, where he would be buried  on Friday 11th. There were many leaders at Mboya’s Funeral from Western Kenya, there were Mboya’s close associates – Samuel Ayodo, Odero Joey and Clement Lubembe. There were also former political foes like Masinde Muliro, Achieng’ Oneko and Oginga Odinga. Few came from elsewhere.

On September 10th Nahashon Njenga was found guilty and sentenced to death. His appeal against the sentence and verdict was rejected by the East African Court of Appeal, and on November 8th it was reported that he was hanged in secret at Kamiti Maximum Prison. Mboyas murder had shaken Kenyan politics as nothing has ever done before since independence.

The entire Luo community now closed ranks around Odinga, taking on a markedly anti –kikuyu stance in all their uttering (does this sound familiar in social media today?) Other non – kikuyu Kenyans were taken aback. Doubts especially in the Coast Province and to a lesser extent in the Western Province, begun to emerge about the kind of leadership that Kenyatta was practicing. Those doubts turned to worries after reports started circulating that the Kikuyu community had taken widespread oathing primarily aimed at ensuring the unity of the tribe in the face of growing opposition to Kenyatta’s rule, particularly from the Luo.

There was enormous pressure with in central province to close ranks around Kenyatta just like the Luo had done around Odinga. By August that year, the pressure was so great that Bildad Kagia, Vice president of the K.P.U and almost the entire Central membership of the party were forced to rejoin KANU. The situation called for some action on the part of Kenyatta because the rift between the Kikuyus and the Luos was beginning to affect even the workings of his Government.

THE CENTRAL AND NYANZA WARS PART I

I have been closely following how the politics has been going and even going back to records that date back to the 1960s just to try and understand why people have such hatred and animosity for each other especially in the social media. It’s thoroughly disheartening and disgusting to say the least hearing people talking about each others’ tribes and certain people in a manner to degrade and berate each other.

But as a wise man once said, you don’t know where you are going until you know have been. This war and fight belonged to our ancestors and fathers because they know what they did. That is why I have taken the time to research and brig out a few things before you and let you judge for yourselves weather you should continue talking trash to each other and other people, or go on your knees and decide that you are going to be a different person.

I suggest that you take the time to buy and watch the documentary by Hillary Ngweno – “The Making of a Nation” which is where I am getting most of my facts from.

The time is July 1966, and Mzee Jomo Kenyatta suffers a heart attack that was kept secret and was known only to few. There was always the question of “What after Kenyatta?” or “Who after Kenyatta?” His closest ministers made up of Mbiu Koinange, Njoroge Mungai, Charles Njonjo and sometimes James Gichuru and Julius Kiano had been concerned at first about Oginga Odinga – Raila Odinga’s Father. Odinga at this time was out of the way courtesy of Tom Mboya, but for Kenyatta’s inner circle, the men named above, their obsession about Tom Mboya stepping into Kenyatta’s shoes should Kenyatta die was a growing cconcern.

1967, there emerged a KANU A and a KANU B. KANU A was comprised of Kenyatta’s powerful inner circle, sometimes called “The Gatundu Group” comprising of Koinange, Njonjo and Mungai. Allied to these three were less powerful men like James Gichuru, Julius Kiano and Mwai Kibaki. KANU B was the group of leaders allied to Mboya, they comprised of Ronald Ngala – From the coast, Samuel Ayodo – A Luo, Lawrence Sagini – A Kisii, Joseph Otiende – A Luhya, Jeremiah Nyaga – an Embu and Eliud Ngala Mwendwa – A Kamba with their supporters in their respective communities. They were a multi tribal lot as was be fitting of Mboya’s whole political nature.

But unlike KANU A which was dominated by the kikuyu, KANU B had no one single tribe to identify it’s interests. In parliament by the end of 1967, KANU B was clearly a minority. It was also clear then thata battle of great proportions was looming between the two KANU’s. Part of the battle was to do with Ethnic considerations. Kenyatta’s inner circle were determined to ensure that the presidency and it’s enormous powers did not slip from central province, and most certainly into Mboya’s hands.

They feared Mboya because of his frightful intelligence and organizational skills. But there was more than fear involved. There was resentment. However intelligent, however astute a politician, academically, Mboya was simply not the equal to the three top men in Kenyatta’s inner circle. On that account alone and not even on ethnic grounds, Koinage, Njonjo and Mungai for different reasons must have found Mboya difficult to take.

Mboya was four Years younger than Mungai, ten years younger than Njonjo, and twenty three years younger than Koinange. But by the time the older men got to interact with him, they must have been awed by Mboya’s sharp intellect, enormous organizational skills and sheer determination. These made him indispensible against Odinga and the radicals with in KANU. For some time at least, Njonjo built up a close friendship with Mboya during their joint effort at Kenyatta’s behest to shove Odinga out of the ruling party. But Kenyatta and his top men had Odinga more or less under control. The man to watch now as far as Kenyatta and his inner circle were concerned was Mboya.

Barely a year after forcing Odinga out of KANU, the set about to do to Mboya what they had done to Odinga so successfully, ecept they had now to do their battles without or against Mboya’s enormous organizational skills, financial resources and a reputation for political fighting.

Until then, Mboya had never lost any major political battle, but then neither had Kenyatta and his close associates. The first of the anti-Mboya moves begun with the Gatundu group, trying to change the constitution in such a way, as to ensure that in the event of Kenyatta dying, Mboya would not succeed him. Or if did, he would not be in the kind of presidential powers that Kenyatta wielded.

March 1968, the Government tabled a constitutional amendment bill providing that if the president died, the vice – president would simply take over for the rest of the term. The existing provisions for succession stated that if the president died in office, parliament would meet and elect a successor who would serve for the rest of the term.  The Gatundu group were afraid that given Mboya’s charisma and skills with parliamentarians, such skills could lead to his mesmerizing parliament into electing him as president.

MPs did not like the amendment, not because it was targeted at Mboya but meant a further erosion of parliament’s power at a time when the executive the president had done enough damage to the muscled power that parliament had flexed before. So the Gatundu group had to come up with a revised version in April.  This time, they suggested that the vice president to take over with full presidential authority for six months after which there would be a national election. Still the MPs complained about the lack of involvement of parliament in such an arrangement.

As these discussions were going on, Kenyatta suffered a mild stroke. There upon Njonjo and Moi without consulting the cabinet rushed a third version to parliament retaining the six month period but watering down on the presidential powers during those six months. They hoped for quick approval by parliament. But then still trying to stop Mboya from succeeding Kenyatta in case the later died; they added a completely new provision that a candidate for president had to be at least forty years old. The existing provision had required a minimum age of thirty five. Mboya was then thirty seven.

Most MPs rejected the blatant targeting of Mboya In the new amendment bill. What was more important, Kenyatta soon recovered from the stroke he had suffered and was incensed to learn that his death was being discussed. He had the Bill withdrawn. A fourth and final amendment was worked out and brought back to parliament. On the death of a president, the vice president would succeed him for only three months and with reduced powers and the minimum age at the ensuing elections would remain at thirty five. Parliament finally passed the Bill. ImageImageImage

The marks of our leaders

When you get what you asked for – what are the motives of your heart when you ask for the things you ask for? When we go before God and say “give us a king… what are we really saying? When you interrogate the motive of your heart can it withstand scrutiny before God who cannot be lied to?

Kenyans have gone to the ballot and we have voted for the people we wanted or thought we wanted. I said in my previous writing that the biggest tragedies in life is getting what we asked for and not getting what we asked for. In this process that we have just concluded there is going to be two sets of people… those who get what they asked for, and I hope it’s not a tragedy to them, and those who do not get what they asked for, I hope they graciously accept that in life we win some and loose some and therefore not a tragedy in the end. Give a chance to those who get it and maybe there will be some positive outcome.

With that to say, let’s look at someone’s character in the bible, a king whom the Israelites wanted in spite of having ill motives for choosing whomever they chose, and how their choice reflected on them as a nation, and in turn how it reflects on us personally. Yes we have chosen whom we want our leaders to be, my question is what does that choice that you made say about you as a person? What does that say to us as the nation of Kenya?  Again I am going to base this writing on a sermon preached at Mamlaka Hill Chapel on the 3 February 2013.

Please read from the text on the book of 1 Samuel 15 and I will try to draw your attention to “The marks of Saul” The people of Israel got what they asked for, as we shall see subsequently. What is it that they really asked for you may ask? What kind of a king is Saul? God previously says to Samuel “These people have rejected me” (1 Samuel 8:7), so little wonder that the King they chose also rejected God (1Samuel 15:23). In other words… the leader you cast a vote for is a reflection of the state of your heart and mine, your character. We choose people who are just like us.

This begs the question “Who are we really, deep inside?” As we look at the character of Saul it might give us a glimpse of who we are, so I would ask that we look… do we have “The marks of Saul” in our spirituality? In our characters? And if we do then the people we chose have the same reflection and character of who we are. What is it about Saul that we can learn about ourselves?

In terms of background, there is nothing wrong with Saul on the outside. He is just an ordinary person, probably a bit more impressive because we are told that he was handsome, tall… head and shoulders above the rest. In 1 Samuel 9:3 – 5, He was sent to go look for the father’s donkeys as they wandered off and got lost, and he was sent with a servant. Not a very kingly task but he executes it with diligence, he obeys the father, they go looking for the donkeys and three days down the road they don’t find them. He tells the servant that they should head back because the father will begin worrying about them rather than the donkeys. So we see that Saul is a man of conscience.

When it comes to the day of identification as a king, he hides and the people start wondering and even ask God if the person to be crowned is among them and the Lord tells them yes. When they ask where he is, they say that he is hiding among the baggage (1 Samuel 10:20 – 22,). Saul is shy to come out to be declared King. On the outside Saul really is a good guy, a nice person. There is nothing wrong with him at first.

A wise man once said – A man can withstand almost any kind of adversity. But if you really want to know a man’s Character then give him power and you will know who the person really is. In Chapter 15, Saul has already been crowned King, he has the power. However what comes out of his character as King is what we are interested in.

 Saul is a man from humble beginnings suddenly finding himself in a position of power and authority. With clear instructions from the Lord, he is instructed to carry out one of the first major engagements on behalf of God(1 Samuel 15:1 – 3). Amalek had come out to oppose Israel in the days of the Exodus. God says – You oppose Israel my first born? And you want to exterminate them? I will exterminate the memory of Amalek from the earth (Exodus 17:8 – 15). This is God’s declaration, God’s judgment on the people of Amalek.

So the first king ever of Israel is given this mission and given very clear instructions – Saul was to blot out and get rid of the memory of Amalek. Saul engages in this task and at first things look like they are going well, he tells the Kenites to get out for that was not their battle. They were good to the Israelites during the time they were coming from Egypt (1 Samuel 15:6). It seems that there is a determination to carry out what God had said. Immediately the battle is engaged, something goes wrong, something is missing. Saul spares Agag, the best of the sheep and cattle, the fat calves and lambs – everything that was good.

 Saul engages in Selective obedience to God’s commands. When he spared the King, he might as well as have spared everyone else. The King is the symbol of the power and the evil of Amalek. So this already is disobedience to God. He goes ahead and selects the fat cattle, the healthy sheep and lambs… he was unwilling to destroy them. Someone may be asking – why is this so wrong? This is wrong because God didn’t command this. When God says, do not spare anything, he means exactly that.

In the above actions, Saul is setting himself up as a rival authority to God. Saul has his eyes on what is good and what is probably motivating him is just greed. These things that he decides to spare have a certain worth. The treasures and the wealth of a nation are vested in the king. Saul was probably thinking that if he spared the king, he would get a handsome ransom for Agag’s life. So the mark we are seeing here is

(1) Saul intentionally disobeys God for personal gain.

The story goes on to say that immediately Saul does what he did, the word of the Lord comes to Samuel – and God says “I regret that I have made Saul King because he has turned away from me and not carried out my instructions” (1 Samuel 15:10 – 12). This grieved Samuel and he cried out to God all night because Samuel understands the words of God when He says that he regrets’ having made Saul the King. When God says He Regrets’… this is something very powerful that should cause us to shudder and to fear because it has dire consequences. Samuel cries out on behalf of Saul and on behalf of the nation.

Samuel sets out to meet Saul but finds out that Saul left to go to Carmel to put up a monument in his own honor and then proceeded to Gilgal (1 Samuel 15:12). Here we see the second mark of saul

(2) Honor of self as opposed to the honor of God.

God sent Saul for the battle, but Saul takes glory for the results, set up a monument in self honor as if to say “I did this. My hand and my power, my military genius has achieved this.” Other kings who are monarchs exercising authority on behalf of God would have set up an alter to God and sacrificed offering to say – “Thank you God for what you have done.” We see in 1 Samuel 7, there was a battle led by Samuel and after achieving victory, he sets up a stone and calls it Ebenezer – the stone of God’s help, in recognition of the victory that has been won by God, for Israel. God alone deserves the glory, the honor and the praise. Contrary to what Saul does.

When Samuel gets to Saul – Saul says “The Lord bless you. I have carried out the Lord’s instructions.” Saul seems to be a smooth talker… every word is in the right place. Here he uses spiritual jargon, or Christianese to cover rebellion and sin – “The Lord bless you…” The third mark as we can see here is…

(3) Double speak – Using spiritually correct language to cover up rebellion, sin and disobedience. 

Samuel answers… “What then is this bleating of sheep that covers my ears? What is this lowing of cattle that I hear?” In other words, Samuel is telling Saul – “I have evidence that what you are saying is not true. You have not really carried out God’s instructions. The instructions were for Saul to exterminate everything. But apparently there are survivors” (1 Samuel 15:13 – 15)

According to Saul, the soldiers brought the animals from the Amalekites for sacrifice to God. “But we totally destroyed the rest,” says Saul! Another mark of Saul…

(4) Unwillingness to take responsibility for actions that he had done, passing of the back if you may.

Saul blames the soldiers and even tries to sugar coat it by saying the animals were for sacrifice to the Lord. Again he uses spiritually correct language to cover up for his wrong doing. He even uses the name of God as he says this – insisting that it was done for a good purpose.

 Samuel decides to let Saul know what God told him the night before… “Although you were once small in your eyes, did you not become the head of the tribes of Israel? The Lord sent you on a mission to Go and COMPLETELY DESTROY THOSE WICKED PEOPLE, THE AMALEKITES, wipe them out completely (1 samuel 15:17 – 18).” Samuel here tries to appeal to Saul – remember where you came from? You were a nobody, you wouldn’t have been king without God, isn’t there something in you that would make you accept that what you have done is wrong? Samuel is trying to bring back Saul to his senses to a place where he can acknowledge God so that the disaster that Samuel knows is coming does not befall him.

Saul insists even when there is evidence before him that proves otherwise that he obeyed the Lord. He contradicts himself in his own words saying he COMPLETELY destroyed the Amalekites BUT brought back AGAG their king – as if Agag is not an Amalekite. The soldiers brought back the sheep for sacrifice – it’s a win win situation… why shouldn’t God be happy with this? Another mark here…

(5) When confronted with evidence of sin and wrong doing, He will continue to protest and claim innocence. Not accepting responsibility, wrong doing and will look for excuses, cover up the sin in spiritual language if only to vindicate himself.

“Does the Lord delight in sacrifices as much as in obeying His voice? To obey is better that sacrifice and to heed is better than the fat of rams. For rebellion is like the sin of Divination and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. Because you have the word of the Lord, He has rejected you as king.”

The heart of this disaster is just plain and simple – at the heart level, this is just the Rejection of God. Everything else is a symptom of this. In plain terms Saul has set up a rival religion against YHWH in this thing that is called disobedience. Rebellion is like witchcraft, so Saul is worshiping something else other than YHWH which is what Rebellion is. God deals harshly with rebellion because it is intentional, premeditated and calculated. The cows, sheep and Goats didn’t magically appear… this did not shock Saul as to where they came from. They were pre-selected by Saul, “Look around, if you find Agag – bring him to me. Get all the healthy animals and kill the weak ones” (1 Samuel 15:7 – 9).

The arrogance of this God says is like the evil of idolatry. To be so arrogant as to think that God gives instructions not knowing what He is doing or talking about. To go against instruction is same as putting yourself up as a rival authority against God which He equates to idolatry, the worship of anything other than God including the self. So God’s Judgment comes, which is very harsh – “because you have rejected the word of the Lord, so has He rejected you as king.”

After all this, Saul now confesses to the real deed… when it’s too late. “I have sinned, I have violated the Lords command and your instructions. I was afraid of the people so I gave in to them.” But this is not true repentance; it only comes because there is a heavy personal cost to it. At this point Saul realizes that he has lost the kingship and God has rejected him. If he wasn’t going to be king, he might as well repent because there is nothing more to lose. This again is another mark of Saul

(6) Never conceding to wrong doing until and unless there is a heavy personal loss.

The focus of Saul all along has been to play up to the gallery,  to please the people and not to please God. He says – “I was afraid of the people so I gave in to them.” In other words, given the people and given God, He would go with the people, give them what they want because that is how you become popular, that is how you become king, that’s how you win the votes. This once again is another mark of Saul…

(7) Desire to please people more than God.

Saul tries to tell Samuel to go back with him to worship God, in an effort to try and recede God’s Judgment but it is final. The judgment cannot be receded. Whatever reasons he had – the confession, and wanting to worship God is inconsequential at this point because God has already made the Judgment. It’s even so graphic that as Samuel turns to leave, Saul grabs his garment and it tears off. Samuel tells Saul that just as the cloth has torn off, so has God torn the kingdom from Saul, and it all ended there.

Saul again pleads with Samuel and true motives are revealed – “I have sinned but please honor me before the elders of my people and before Israel.” Even in the light of his greatest devastation and the loss of God’s blessings, Saul’s preoccupation is not with God’s honor, but his own honor. One would think that he would be devastated, dejected in ashes saying that “I am ruined for God has rejected me” But not so with him… he has an agenda still. The picture of the prophet of God coming back with the victorious king is a good picture before the people, and that is why Saul asks Samuel to go back with him to the people, so as to receive honor from the people.

This  story doesn’t end well. Saul went on to reject God completely. The bible says an evil spirit tormented him. Saul became so obnoxious and so Godless that he put to death all the priests of God except a few who were hidden by somebody. This was the extent of saul’s rejection of God, and towards the end, he and all his sons died a dismal death at Mount Gilboa in a battle as part of God’s Judgment. Before this battle Saul was so far gone from God that when he inquired of Him, God did not answer him. He sought out a witch from Endor to raise for him Samuel so that he could consult him to know if God had favored him in that battle.

We may want to project these marks on other people especially our leaders but if we have seen these marks on our leaders, maybe we should ask – “Is that a reflection of who we are?” I hope when we went to the ballots we chose leaders who reflect our values and aspirations.

Are you quick to obey God’s commands? What does it take for you to actually obey? Do you pick and choose those aspects of the commands that are convenient to you? Selective obedience is equal to rebellion.  How do you deal with God’s commands?

What about issues of honor? When caught up in a situation which places you to either honor Gods name or your name, which do you choose? When you honor yourself, you dishonor God. God is able to give you a name that will last, but if you choose to honor yourself, then not even the next generation will remember you. Only God does this, if you honor his name… by obeying him?

How do you deal with situations when you are caught with guilt on the wrong side? How quick are you to repent?  The mark of Saul is that he will fight, He will justify, he will argue, he is smooth with words, he will use every arsenal for his own defense, everything other than admit that he is wrong.

When God gives you power authority and privilege, how do you use them? Are they a blessing or  are they a curse to the people that you lead? DO you use power and authority to create fairness, blessings and equity for people? Or is it a tool of self aggrandizement, a tool for oppression, a tool for inequality where people groan under your leadership?

How does power reveal your true character? What is the most outstanding quality of your leadership? Do you follow whatever is popular and wherever the wind is blowing is where your leadership follows? Are you playing up to the gallery? Is that the most outstanding thing about your leadership? You tell people what they would like to hear so as to make you popular?

Would God be proud of your leadership? Would he say “Well done good and faithful servant? You have done well with little so I give you more to handle,” or would he say “I regret that I ever gave you that position of leadership?”  

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When you get what you asked for…

We as a country are almost concluding the elections and there is a lot of expectations that we as Kenyans have of the leaders. It’s now clear to most of who will take leadership  in different sectors of our society. The political atmosphere is charged right now and many Kenyans have different opinions on how the elections were carried out, yet patiently waiting for the final results.

Someone wise said once that there are two types of tragedies in life… one is not getting what you want and the other is getting it. I ask that you ponder on that statement for a bit as we move on to what I am going to say next. I am going to base most of what I am going to say from a sermon that was preached at Mamlaka Hill chapel on 27th January 2013 – “When You Get What You Are Asking For.”

We are going to be looking at Israel at a time when they were demanding for a King from a king which begs to draw a parallel between Israel’s demanding for a king and our time now in 2017, 55 years after independence. We are in a place where we want a person to lead us. Will our request for a leader, and the leader who is going to be in place stand the test of integrity?

1 Samuel 8:1 – 21

Israel was going through a transition at this point. All along they had been under a theocracy meaning they were being led by God and for the first time they were asking for a human king. So this is the birth of a monarchy in Israel according to the text above.

The book of 1 Samuel begins with the birth of Samuel and for a book that is about kingship you would think that the first thing they would capture was the birth of a king but it’s not so here. There will be kings of course, starting the monarchy would be Saul then followed by David. Israel steps up and of course they have a request which from a human standpoint looks very legitimate.

The elders who are representatives of the people  approach Samuel, and mention to him about his age – He is old (1 Samuel 8:4 – 5), and his sons whom had been appointed as Judges were not walking in Samuel’s ways (1 Samuel 8:1 – 3), they were corrupt, perverted Justice bad people. But this request didn’t please Samuel… let’s take a look at why He was not pleased…

Is it because his sons were perverted? Is it because his children would not become king? Already rejected by the people on account of them being corrupt? No. Samuel was displeased yes and what is important here is what he did while he was displeased… He went and prayed to God to determine the next course of action.

How many of us do this? When encountered with difficult situations what is your first course of action? Do you grumble and complain to others of how things are not working out, how this person or the other person is not good or nice… ponder on that. Reason for this is because God is nonpartisan on issues and gives accurate answers and solutions to them.

But are the reasons that Israel is giving for having a king really legitimate? Maybe they are… I mean who would want corrupt leaders to lead them anyway? Samuel’s sons were not walking in the right way and they were already Judge’s in Israel at the time and were appointed by Samuel. The request are legitimate it seems but Samuel is displeased.

How do these requests sit with God? God too is not pleased with this request (1 Samuel 8: 7 – 8). The Lord goes ahead to tell Samuel that it’s not about his sons not walking in the right manner, it’s not about Samuel being old but it’s about rejecting God.

Keep in mind that God has been their King since they left Egypt. God has been fighting their battles and guarding their borders and providing for them up to this point and what they are saying is a human being would do a better job than God. But God says… go ahead and appoint a king for them. An interesting answer from God.

When we make requests to God, He is able to see beyond what we are saying… the motives of our hearts. The requests of the people seem to suggest however that – “We are tired of corruption, bribing and pervasion of justice therefore give us a king who is going to govern in justice and is integral because we are good people.” But it’s not about this at all but about Rejecting God.

When we go to the ballot box to elect leaders and we are asking God to give us a king… are we serious about that request or do we go there knowing already whom we want to choose? We say we want the rule of law, we are tired of corruption, we want justice, and these are credible reasons. We make choices and they are not about integrity… we already have a king in mind based on where we come from… Mount Kenya, Lake side, Western, reasons based on who is likely to win as opposed to their morality, reasons based on fear etc. We do this and hope that God will align himself with our wishes.

Yet the people who are really interested in getting rid of corruption and deal with issues in our country rank among the lowest ratings. And the two main leaders have never been about issues. Yet we want God to align himself to these values.

The two main leaders are not about values or issues. Truth be told…  We really don’t believe that there will ever be an end to corruption or impunity and the leaders who are serious on handling such issues we shun them and they have the poorest ratings… would your motives stand the test of credibility before God, not people?

We don’t even speak about values in this country anymore and no one cares about them. The two main leaders don’t even care about values and it has come down to ethnicity. So we all talk about a better nation for our children, the end to impunity, going back to the rule of law but the truth of the matter is we would care less about such.

It’s not that we do not take God seriously. We do. Kenya is perceived to be an 80% Christian nation… almost every other person you meet have Christian names… just like the sons of Samuel. His first born is called Joel and his second one Abijah. The name Joel comes from a combination of two names of God which are Jehovah Elohim  which means “The Lord id God” and Abijah has the combination Abu and Jehovah which means “God is my father.” Such names reflect that we do take God seriously as a nation.

But when the rubber meets the road we have a deeper commitment to another way of life which we are not so willing to let go of. Truth be told that we have a Christian friend somewhere whom we respect that even advise us to bribe whenever we are caught in a situation with the law.

There is a commitment to corrupt ways that we as Kenyans have that needs to be interrogated and dealt with. How can we ask God for good things when we very well know how we are? How you conduct yourself today is a clear reflection of who you are and God is not deluded.

If you ask God for things that already in your mind have a solution to… the biggest problem is when you actually get it because it comes with consequences (1 Samuel 8: 11 – 18). Can your motives stand the test of time and credibility?

LEARN FROM HISTORY STUDY OF 1 CORINTHIANS 10:1 – 12

Paul is an apostle who understood and enjoyed liberty and that’s why in chapter 9 of this book he would say – “All things are lawful for me.” He would have liberty but not the kind of liberty that leads to death…  the death of people around him who would get stumbled by watching him exercise his liberty… and his own death spiritually. So give me liberty but Lord make sure that the liberty I exercise is in such a way that it wouldn’t lead to the death of those around me or of the ministry entrusted to me. 1 Corinthians 8, 9 and 10 is about Christian liberty. The glorious liberty that we have in Christ. The Corinthians wrote to Paul and asked him “What should we do about this controversial issue concerning meat that has been offered to idols which are sold at discount prices in the market place?

 

Some Christians looked at that as a good deal, so they had no problems buying it while some were opposed to it because it was offered to idols. So Paul uses this to explain to them about Christian liberty. In chapter 8 Paul says that the meat offered to idols is not bad meat so can be consumed, but if a weaker brother sees you consuming that meat and has a problem with you doing that then give it up. Why exercise your liberty if it’s going to make a weaker brother to stumble… makes no sense.

Chapter 9 Paul uses himself as an example of how he had the liberty to do certain things but chose to not exercise them for the sake of others. He talked about his own ministry, how he had certain privileges and rights but didn’t exercise the privileges or rights because he didn’t want to offend or stumble one who was weaker than him. Stumbling someone would disqualify him from the race, just like a real race, if you stumble someone then you get disqualified from the whole event. But Paul has the eternities value in view. So he (Paul) doesn’t want to stumble someone not just for their sake but for his own sake as well, so he doesn’t get disqualified.

 

In chapter 10 Paul talks about another group that was set free, they had been in bondage for four hundred years in Egypt but now set free. The people of Israel although were set free, they became disqualified from entering the land of promise because of their sin and their stupidity. Paul uses himself as a good example in chapter 9 of this book and then uses the nation of Israel as a bad example in chapter 10. God had intended for the Israelites to enter the land of promise but because of their foolishness they were disqualified.

 

1 Corinthians 10:1 & 2

 

Paul is asking them to think about their history… how the people of Israel in times past, were baptized unto Moses, they went through the Red Sea following Moses – you know the story! It’s an allegory, an illustration of what happens to you and me, they followed Moses, and we follow Jesus. Even as they followed Moses through the Red sea – a type of baptism, we follow 

Jesus as he was baptized, so we too get baptized identifying with Him, becoming one with Him. The people of Israel were baptized unto Moses, we are baptized into Jesus.

 

We were in bondage, in Egypt, slaves to our own sensuality, the Lord came and delivered us and we were baptized. It also says that after being baptized unto Moses, they were under the cloud. They were now being led, after being released from bondage. They were being led through the wilderness on their way to Israel which is a picture in Bible typology as the Spirit filled life, where there is richness and abundance.

 

What cloud is this? This cloud was a pillar of fire by night illuminating the way and was a cloud covering them throughout the day. They would simply be guided by a pillar of fire by night and a cloud by day into the land of promise.  Out there in the wilderness it was hot. So as the cloud moved, they moved with it… that’s the kind of God we serve. He will not let you cook in the sun while he leads you, he will provide the shade for you, and will be a pillar of light by night.

 

People today are sweating it out trying to know and asking around what the will of God is… but Jesus says “My burden is easy and my Yoke is light.” In Ezekiel 44:17 – 18 it says ministers of the Lord should not wear anything made of wool for wool causes perspiration. The Lord wants you to be cool as He guides you and engage in ministry.

 

1 Corinthians 10:3 &4

 

Baptized in the Red Sea, led by God as they stayed under the shade, they were fed with Manna every morning, the nation of Israel drunk water from a rock – Jesus Christ – the perpetual source of refreshment. (John 7:37), Paul tells us that the rock that followed them was Jesus Christ. Jesus is the perpetual source of refreshment…

 

1 Corinthians 10:5

 

“But with many of them God was not pleased,” is an understatement of Mammoth proportions. Three million Jews left Egypt and were provided for supernaturally but only two entered the Promised Land – Joshua and Caleb. The people of Israel were being death Marched, executed if you will. God was not pleased with them.

 

1Corinthians 10:6

 

The wandering in the wilderness and warfare in the promised land are not simply historical incidents but practical illustrations for our personal application.

  1. One of the lessons we learn is that though we are set free, even though we are at liberty,lust will trip us up. The reference is in the book of Numbers 11, where we read that the Israelites were tired of Manna and lusted after meat. Isn’t that what Lust really is? Not being satisfied with what God has given us? Wanting something or someone different?

Manna was supernatural, and miraculous even but the demanded for meat to eat. So God said to Moses “Give them Meat.” “How are we going to do that?” asked Moses. “Do you want me to kill the cattle that we are bringing into the Promised Land – or do you want me to fish the Red Sea?”

 

Moses made a mistake that we always make… he was giving God options not knowing that God had a totally different plan in mind. An alternative that he would have never imagined. God sent so many quail, they flew three feet above ground level and the men would strike them with their clubs. Every man gathered ten of them so there was more than enough to go around. 

 

They ate until it overflowed from their nostrils. The psalmist sheds light into this when he says “In the desert they gave in to their craving; in the waste land they put God to the test. So He gave them what they asked for but He sent leanness to their soul” (Psalm 106:14 – 15). That’s what Lust is. Never satisfied, it brings leanness to the soul, weakness to the body and emptiness to the spirit. Lust is like a fire… the more you feed it the hotter it becomes and the more it demands… eventually it kills you. It empties your spirit and pauses a danger to your body. These people ate themselves literally to death.

 

1 Corinthians 10:7

 

  1. Watch out for idolatry. Exodus 22… Moses is getting the Ten Commandments and below people are wondering about Moses.  They ask Aaron to be their leader, they give Aaron all their jewelry and he fashioned an idol – a golden calf. The people celebrated and played around the Idol. Moses comes back and furious at what he witnessed, he smashes the tablets and asks Aaron – what are you doing? The Golden calf was an attempt to make something visible and touchable that would represent the nature and character of YHWH to them. The cow would represent God. Many cultures considered a cow at that time to be the representative of deity to them – why? It’s gentle and provides milk for its young, powerful yet not threatening. The Israelites knew better yet they made something to represent God to them. That’s the problem with idolatry. If we allow anything or anyone to represent God to us, it will at best only partially represent the full aspect or character of God. This leaves open a real problem… so it will not matter if you are immoral before it. God is gentle, and provides for His young…God is also Lion like. He is holy, and righteous and powerful and awesome.

We may not have shrines or statues but we need to watch out that we don’t have something or someone eg… a book, a ministry, a boyfriend, girlfriend to represent God in our lives. Be careful. We must not make God in our own Image because it will not fully represent God. Cows are not intimidating but Lions are. Jesus reveals the father.

 

1 Corinthians 10:8

 

  1. Fornication.  Watch out for fornication in this life of liberty. The people of Israel died – 24,000 died according to Numbers 25. Fornication is a killer. How many fall today because of fornication? Our culture is collapsing through the media as they flaunt sexuality. Yes you are free but do not start down a road that will lead to compromise in sexuality. What you do, where you go, the stuff you are reading… watch out.

1 Corinthians 10:9

 

  1. Numbers 21:5 – they tempted Christ – How? They Complained and asked Moses why he brought them out to the wilderness to die. In reality they were slaves but claimed it was good in Egypt. The mind plays tricks on us sometimes. They were lonely, guilty and empty. Historians say that at the time Egypt didn’t have Mellons, Onions and leaks, only Israel had them. Do not tempt Christ by grumbling – Why am I here? Why am I with him? Are some of the questions we ask… When you complain about your situation then you are  complaining directly against Christ because He is the one who allows you to be there. Snakes appeared and inflicted bites upon them and they begun to die.

1 Corinthians 10:10

 

  1. They Murmured.  Numbers 14:12. They murmured after the spies were sent to check out Canaan only two came with a good report – again Joshua and Caleb. But the rest told them about the Giants, and spread negative news about the land. Caleb said the Giants are bread for us and we will be nourished and be stronger. Caleb ended up going into the Promised Land, and he was 85 years old at the time. Caleb was asked by Joshua to choose the land he wanted, and Caleb at 85 says he is as strong as he was the prime of his life, and chooses the mountain where the giants live because they are bread for him (Joshua 13). We complain and Murmur but the things we murmur about are the very things God uses to make us stronger. Imagine how different society would be if we thought trials to be bread for us? Only very little in number would survive in thinking like Caleb. Only two originals made it in to the Promised Land… out of 3 million.

1 Corinthians 10:11

 

All these things were recorded as examples to us so that we can learn from them. Experience is the best teacher but it doesn’t have to be our experience. Let’s talk about Achan… why was he stoned along with everyone in his family for stealing some stuff? To serve as an example. Our sin affects everyone else liked with you. It hurts them too. God is just. Maybe their ministry was to be an example to many 5 thousand years later…   about how sin affects all.

 

1Corinthians 10:12

 

Yes you are free… but if you think you are standing then take heed because you can be wiped out very easily just as the children of Israel if you don’t do it wisely and prudently. They did all the above and missed out by a whisker. You are free but be free wisely.

Rejection

If I remember correctly, the year 2007 must have been one of the roughest years in the history of my life because I was facing and dealing with Rejection. There was way too much hurt especially because I was rejected by one of my former girlfriends without reason, which I still don’t know to date. Rejection is an interesting thing though.

There is a lot of rejection going around today, some necessary, some unnecessary but no one likes being rejected and being told that they do not measure up or they are not worthy and whatever crazy reason the rejecter may use for rejection. I made one very important discovery; rejection is actually for our good.

Now I know that the word says that everything works out together FOR YOUR GOOD! And I have always been told this by my friends whenever I was facing a hard time, even during this period of rejection, a good friend of mine whom we share a house with now, was telling me this. Now in my head I was thinking how on earth can rejection be for my good?? This beats sense because it hurts to be rejected.

But no rejection can compare or even come close to the rejection that we give our creator… God. We as humans have the audacity to reject God constantly as ugly as we are and as Loving as he is, we are impoverished and we reject the one who desires to enrich. This is hard to understand that we as people could reject God who is so good.

There is a fact in spiritual life that we all have to face at one point and that is rejection. Jesus said… “The servant is not greater than the master “. Therefore, because men persecuted Him so we too will get persecuted. The Apostle Paul in 2 Timothy 4:16 – 17 faced rejection and worse still this was at the end of his life. If Paul faced it, and Jesus at the cross faced it and even cried out “My God, My God why have you forsaken me?” then certainly rejection must be a very important program for God to have in our lives. Why??

Rejection allows us to see God’s faithfulness. When things are going well for us and everyone is happy around us, our friends are by our side and our families are patting us on the back… there is a tendency for us to forget God. But when your boyfriend or girlfriend says “We are through..” your trusted friend turns against you… you will learn to say like Paul… “Even though all men forsook me, the Lord stood with me.”

Jesus promised in Hebrews 13:5… “Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you.” Compared to our human relationships and the weakness of the human heart, his faithfulness shines brightest.

Have you ever wondered why Jesus didn’t commit himself to any man?? He knew what was in men. He knows what is in us. The same people who shouted “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord” are the same people whom a few days later would cry, “Crucify Him!” And this is just how fickle the human heart is.

Rejection secondly allows us to be more like Jesus. We are always singing “Make me like you Lord” and if we are going to be like Jesus then Rejection is paramount in our lives. You never really know what true love is – giving for the sake of giving and expecting nothing back, until you have faced and dealt with rejection. Think of it this way… if people always respond to your love, you can subconsciously use your love to get something in return. But when you are rejected, when those close to you want nothing to do with you, then you have the opportunity to love like Jesus did – supernaturally.

True love is only learned and developed in the school of Rejection. There is no other way of learning true love. You must face rejection even as Jesus did in order to learn to love even as he does.

Three things may occur when rejection comes your way… Some people isolate themselves from others because they don’t appreciate or understand you. The problem with this is that it is in direct violation of God’s word, Hebrews 10:25 tells us not to forsake the gathering, but let us encourage one another all the more as we see the day approaching. You might say… “But it hurts to be with others, and that’s fine. The bible says that we are living stones being fit together to build up a spiritual house. .. (1 Peter 2:5), therefore we are bound to chip each other from time to time, but it’s all part of the process.

Secondly, we might complain about rejection saying, “If I must be with people, then I am going to tell them how rotten I am being treated.” But if you choose this option then you are in bad company, for you are in the camp of the accuser of the brethren, Satan himself (Revelation 12:10).

Thirdly… Accept the rejection from people in your life and more importantly avoid rejecting God from your life. If days have gone by since you and walked with the Lord, today is the day you should turn back to Him. He is ready to receive you, Love Him, cling to Him and you will truly find blessing in your soul and on your life.

Jonathan Siaga

 

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