Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Tithes, Stewardship, God’s House & The Needy Part 1

Recently there has been a lot of hoo-ha on tithing, particularly in Nigeria.

As my pops pointed out, this is not the time to retreat on teaching the Church accurately on tithing and offerings in general. Because Satan will use every opportunity he can to rob people of knowledge & truth.

On the other hand, I also know through God’s prophetic word that He is not happy with some of our ways in the church particularly that there are things that our leadership need to address. It is time for self examination. Let us judge ourselves so we are not judged. Are we accountable with tithes and offerings? Do any of our practises when we make a call for offering promote competition/jealousy/envy/self validation/pride? Do we acknowledge or give extra honour/recognition to those who have more to give directly or indirectly, are we elitist? Are our methods man made or God inspired? Are we trying to cajole the people of God because we do not trust God enough to raise funds without a little extra muscle from us, do we get out our rolodex of expert fund raisers to enlist their help to cajole without any specific leading by God to partner with these experts? I have seen &been in environments where the need/expenses of the church/ministry are simply stated to the people of God & the people give, the needs met with overwhelming support from God’s people - scripture says in the days of Thy power, Thy people shall be willing, some versions say Your troops, another Your volunteers "His troops, His volunteers" (Psalm 110:3a). Note THY POWER (not my or our power).

How do we administer funds? Is it evidenced by transparency & accountability? There is a standard set in the bible that we can see in 2 Corinthians 8:20 “We want to avoid any criticism of the way we administer this liberal gift.”

Are we taking care of the genuinely needy amongst us within the church from collections? Taking care can be expressed in more ways than one (scholarships, bursaries, training/education programs from within from those that have succeeded in an area, money, food, clothing) - ever heard the saying “leaving no one behind” Scripture says “Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold,” Acts‬ ‭4:34‬ ‭KJV‬ “At the present time your plenty will supply what they need, so that in turn their plenty will supply what you need. The goal is equality, as it is written: “The one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little.”2 Corinthians‬ ‭8:14-15‬ ‭NIV‬‬

On the flip side, I also want to remind church goers that they also have a responsibility & free will to choose their church. In the scriptures, letters of commendation were written to accompany brethren - Paul said“Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.” 1 Corinthians‬ ‭11:1‬ ‭Otherwise you do yourself a great disservice being under a church leadership that you despise, I think that is extremely counterproductive. If God has called you somewhere where you see imperfections & you are sure he called you there, then He must have work for you to do - as an intercessor, as a sent one not as a gossip, not to tear & run down. If God called you there, then He has given you grace to love your church and to stand in the gap as an intercessor or sent one. Paul said “My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you,” Galatians‬ ‭4:19‬ ‭NIV‬‬

As congregants and leaders we must examine our hearts on both sides for the love of money.“For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”‭‭1 Timothy‬ ‭6:10‬ ‭KJV‬‬

Now that we have got that out of the way, I can begin to teach further in my upcoming posts.

Saturday, 18 March 2017

The God of process

God likes to work through process.

Acts 13 vs 21 tells us that he gave them Saul son of Kish and verse 22 tells us that He made David their king. Please note the difference: gave and made, these are two different things.

Through process, God makes those who are fully submitted to Him, perhaps reading this you are a child of God going through something and have heard the phrase "don't waste your trials" but never fully understood what people mean when they say that. In your trials i.e. situation or circumstances that God allows you to find yourself, I would like you to know that God is doing something. He is making you into something - someone far more finer than you could have tried to fashion yourself - one who is better equipped to carry the weight of His glory.

It was said about D.L. Moody when he was invited to hold an event in England, that someone protested saying “Why do we need this Mr. Moody? He’s uneducated, inexperienced, etc. Who does he think he is anyway? Does he think he has a monopoly on the Holy Spirit?” But somebody else wiser rose and responded, “NO, BUT THE Holy Spirit HAS A MONOPOLY ON Mr. Moody.”

Does God have a monopoly on you? God is looking for children that He can have a monopoly on, fully submitted, He is looking for children who can carry the weight of His assignment and glory. And He knows that to do that, he needs to get somethings OUT of us and somethings IN. Often we like to focus on the things in (the blessings etc), however we need to think of the things OUT (those habits and character flaws that do not glorify God, which will have a hard time co-habiting with the Holy Spirit and the weight of God's glory). So, when having a diva or divo moment' I must confess to some of those thinking "I am a celebrity, Lord, get me out of here!" Think for a moment instead, Lord why am I here, what are you trying to say? Paul said I besot Him 3 times to remove this messenger of satan sent to torment me but He said to me - my grace is sufficient for you - for my power is MADE PERFECT in weaknesses!

So, do u have this obnoxious person in ur life? ur office? or are you in a situation u'd rather not be in? Perhaps it's time to stop focusing on those obnoxious people and stuff, instead to face Papa God and say Lord what are you trying to say or get out of me during this time? Paul talked to God about His circumstance - that messenger of satan, why don't you turn your face to the wall and talk to God about yours?

Sometimes these things are permitted in order to perfect your character; could be patience, could be growth in love, could be learning a higher level of dependency on God as a lifestyle as you look to Him to get through the day and for direction to navigate the troubled waters or seasons.

Jesus said be perfect even as your Father in heaven is perfect. God is looking to perfect you so He will work through a process; for the ones He makes - there is a always a process, there are schools of learning, changing and perfecting.

The ones He gives like Saul - these simply have things their way; no authority of God over them, its their way or the high way - they have ejected God out of their process and then He lets them be. The worst thing is for Him to let you be!

The one He makes - He chastens, He moulds, He chisels, He is active in their life's process, an active ingredient and agent. He is not a cash machine or just a guardian angel, He is Father, He is Abba, He is looking, He is moving stuff around to chisel them and fashion them out so that they can look so much better.

Let no man deceive you - God Almighty is a God of process! He can flick things on by the snap of His finger if He wanted to but He because He pays attention to detail, when He thinks we need to go through the school of hard knocks - He will send us there to knock some sense & character into us and some lack of out of us.

I remember my mum leaving me behind in boarding school - she was in tears and came back to say good bye at my window approximately three times. However she didn't take me home with her although it was painful for her, she left me in school because she knew it was good for me... same with God.

Often we look for abracadabra but God looks for a process.

Now today I charge you, not me but Him - ask Him - Lord what are you trying to teach me today and how do I learn? I am not going to tell you that the processes are always easy but I will tell you that you must allow them drive you to your knees in prayer and time spent with God - you are going to get so intimate, you are going to know Him better; such that no one needs to tell you before you know this thing gives Him pleasure, that thing does n't etc because you have spent the time in His presence staying close enough to His heartbeat to understand who He is, what He likes, what He wants, what He doesn't want. You can only find these out in INTIMACY, it is in the secret place with God that you can become that person who can better carry the weight of His glory and it is through some of the things you experience that you learn to develop a higher level of dependency on Him, if you let them drive you to Him.

Psalm 51:8 says: "Lord let me hear joy and gladness and let the bones that you have crushed rejoice"

Shepherds crush the bones of the sheep who keep running away from the flock and become prone to wolf or bear attacks to teach them to stop running, David wrote the Psalm in his shepherd language, its about the process.

Who crushed the bones? It was The Shepherd, God Himself.

Leonard Ravenhill said "The law of spiritual progress goes like this: Process then crisis, followed by a process then crisis, ad infinitum"

Behind every process is a God of LOVE, a Father caring - peering behind the scenes to see that you are perfected that you may experience more of Him for therein lies true fulfilment.