Gisting with Dad…

Hello people. It’s really been a while. A lot has been going on with me really, not that my desire to write is lacking. I have missed reaching out to you. I trust God that you are all great.

I was moved to share some thoughts with us on prayer.

Over the years one felt prayer was some kind of boring chore. As kids we were asked to pray before eating. We were woken up every morning to pray and read our bibles. We were asked to pray during church services and aggressively too. I recall too vividly the loud voices over the public address systems in our churches bellowing “open your mouth and pray!” like failure to open one’s mouth would lead to some kind of banishment to damnation or capital punishment.

Fast forward to the present and post some life-transforming experiences of God.

Prayer has taken on a whole new dimension. It is looked forward to. It is done at the slightest whim. It is done short. It is done long. It is enjoyed, craved, cherished.

It occurs before a purchase is made no matter how little the item. It occurs before decisions are made. It occurs with smiles. It occurs with tears. It occurs as randomly and as often as ever.

It occurs standing, sitting, lying. Whatever body position. In the kitchen, bathroom, car, room, wherever.

It is done on any and every subject. Incidents at work. Business. Siblings. Friends. Strangers. The church worldwide. Suffering kids. Marriages. Future families. Etc.

It is done with gratitude for the opportunity to do it. With gratitude for the One being prayed to. With gratitude that no animals are to be killed and their blood presented. No burnt offering. No priest. Just one and his darling, awesome, most powerful, sovereign, absolutely-loving Father.

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And while it is on, nothing else matters but the time spent with Him. No hurries. No worries. No deadlines. Nothing matters but to hear His gentle voice in response to one’s voice.

Prayer is such a beautiful, wonderful gift. There is just no substitute to sitting/lying at the feet of the King of kings knowing that His handsome face is turned towards you with all the love you can never truly imagine!

Please utilise this gift if you do not. And if you do, may you enjoy it even more! The benefits are yours to reap.  You’d be amazed at how easy it really is to pray, just talking with your best friend as He’s there with you.

Stay very blessed and be sure that God loves you to bits and really enjoys your attention.

Yours,

Maxx’

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Greatest Love vs consuming fire?

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Flowing from my attempts at replying the comments I received in respect of my post on “to love or to fear” (To love or to fear? – http://wp.me/p3sAZg-2w ) I decided to write this post as it would enable me throw much more light on the subject.

Now the essence of the said post was actually centred on the side of God’s personality that requires that we fear Him. Much of the time we hear of His love so much so that some teachers no longer even mention His other side.

I do concede that in sharing the gospel we mostly focus on God’s love and tender mercies and kindness. Indeed I do as well. This is the nicest way to win a convert over. However it would be unfair to ourselves to not familiarise ourselves with God as He is in the course of our relationships with Him and our daily walk, not as we wish or want to believe that He is.

For a convert to mature in Christ he first starts off on the milk of the Word (“desire the sincere milk of the word that he may grow thereby”). However if he must mature he has to move up to the real business of the Kingdom which involves the deep mysteries of the word. He therefore cannot remain on the level of “God is love” only.

The comments on the above post were geared towards reverencing God and continual reliance on His grace rather than fearing Him. However I am only partly agreeable to this view. This is because the scriptures speak differently.

Yes, we love God. God is love. We reverence Him. We are in awe of Him. We are friends with Him. He is Father, Lover, Rock, Saviour, Redeemer, Friend, Healer, everything. But what does His word say in addition to this?

I refer to Hebrews 12:28-29 which provides that we should fear and revere God because He is a “consuming fire”. Yes “reverence” is used. “Fear” is also used. (The entire chapter is to be read for an even clearer description of His might and the accompanying fear).

It must be noted that the fear of God is not to be regarded as being the same kind of fear as of terror or evil. Indeed 2 Timothy 1:7 tells us that He has not given us a spirit of fear but of love and a sound mind. We are not to be terrified of God so as to withdraw from Him. No. We are not to fear Him that He is wicked. No. We are not to fear Him because He is harsh and always expects us to fall short. No! God loves beyond any level or heights in which our large imaginations can quantify love. He died for us while we were sinners! That is beyond the height of love!

But we must fear Him in addition to our love for Him, our reverence of Him and our awe of Him.

I refer again to Romans 11:22 where we are informed by Paul of the severity of God alongside His loving nature and goodness. He tells us that we should be mindful of the severity of God. And also that we will continue in His goodness if we continue to serve and obey Him. It is a balance that according to Paul must be noted.

It is necessary to point these out because having a one-sided knowledge of God will only prevent us from being fully grounded Christians and leave us prone to unnecessary failings. This is one reason Paul urged us to study that we may rightly divide the word of truth and need not be ashamed.

Now God is gracious and full of mercy, slow to anger and ever ready to forgive. He has provided so much grace for us to overcome sin. However Paul asked in Romans 6 if we will continue to sin so that grace may abound. And he answered strongly and in the negative. God forbid! Grace is very much available to us. But is the abundance of grace therefore a licence to sin? No! Will God forgive us when we sin and repent? Yes. Do we continue in deliberate and wilful sin because we believe He will always forgive? No! This is where Romans 11:22 comes in. He can cut anyone off at anytime and without apology! The entire Romans 11 is very useful here. Hebrews 12 also explains clearly.

The same Romans 6 encourages us to do away with sin and live in victory and dominion over sin, and tells us in conclusion that the wages of sin is death but the wages of righteousness is eternal life in Christ.

We can see that the view that God is love and we are therefore not to think of Him in terms of fear must be very very warily held.

Still on whether we are simply to love and hold God in awe and reverence alone I refer again to Matthew 10:28.

In the words of Jesus Christ –

“And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”

The word “fear” is clearly used. Indeed Jesus tells us that the only person we ought to fear is God. This means we are to fear Him in addition to everything else we feel for and towards Him. 

So yes, God is Most Merciful. Yet He is also to be feared. Scriptures abound with the demand to fear God. Indeed it is a demand from God that we fear Him.

Let us examine the following scriptures for clarity and emphasis.

Deutoronomy 4:10; 6:2; 8:6; 10:12 & 20; 13:4; 14:23; 28:58.
1 Samuel 12:14. 2 Samuel 23:3. 2 Kings 17:39. 1 Chronicles 16:25. Nehemiah 5:9 & 15. Job 1:8; 2:3. Psalms 89:7; 76:11; 96:4. Proverbs 2:5. Ecclesiastes 3:14; 5:7; 8:12 & 13; 12:13. Isaiah 50:10.

All these scriptures allude to the fear of God in clear language. In clear and direct words. In many instances from the mouth of God Himself. God despises people who do not fear Him.

Indeed King Solomon summed up the entire duty of man as to “fear God and keep His commandments”.

So yes, we will be chummy with God. We will love Him with our entire essence. We will reverence Him as our Sovereign King and Father.

We will marvel at His creations. We will bow in awe of His greatness. We will bow in awe of His infinite unfathomable love. We will continually be in wonder of Him and why He loves us so much.

And we will also fear Him for His awesome power. And for who He is. And for His fierce anger and hatred for sin and disobedience. And for the fact that no one can stay His hand when He chooses to destroy. And for the greatness of His nature (the mountains and the seas tremble before Him, none can enter His presence without being summoned, no man can see Him and live, His actual voice will shake us to our entire essence). I refer to Exodus where His presence descended before the Israelites at Mount Sinai and they were all terrified.

We will hate what He hates and love what He loves.

We will hate sin out of love for Him, out of reverence for Him, and out of fear of Him.

We will remember that as loving as He is He is also capable of getting angry. And we know that His anger is terrible.

We will remember king Sennacherib. Ananias and Sapphira and Esau and many others who tasted His fierce wrath.

We will know our God. And we will do exploits.

And our God will bless us as always and more!

Maxx’

To love or to fear?

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So my darling online Bible study group and myself undertook a journey to read the entire old testament in 187 days. We have read for about a hundred plus days now and are presently reading the book of Isaiah. Considering the stories of Joseph, Esther, David etc which we have read and found quite enjoyable, Isaiah generally seems like a difficult book to read. We find ourselves sometimes asking questions like “what was that chapter talking about?” “What exactly was said?” “What does it refer to?” Etc.

I have a very dear friend whom I recently involved in the bible study plan where we both read and share what we learnt from the reading of the day.

Upon the study of Isaiah 15-19 the following conversation ensued between us:

Friend 1: Finished reading. Did not understand it. It made me tired.

Friend 2: Lol

Can you say a short prayer that God should please teach you what it is you’ve read. That you want to get the meaning as He intends it?

Friend 1: Ok I’ll do that.

Friend 2: To my mind He was cursing His enemies – Moab and Syria.

Friend 1: Yes I felt bad for them. He brought them up and made them seem happy only to bring them down.

Friend 2: Truthfully this reading is tough.
You for meet me when I dey 1 Samuel. The stories were sweet then. Lol
I’m afraid to be on God’s bad side.

Friend 1: Yeah. Very scary.

Friend 2: It is. Many people don’t want to read the bible so they don’t get to see the details. They’d rather just believe God is love and keep doing what they do.

Friend 1: Well yes and no.

Some people dont believe in the bible fully. Its a collection of events from a human’s eyes.

Friend 2: But with the Spirit of God. Yeah many don’t believe in God at all.

Friend 1: So I read, but dont take it too seriously. God is love to me. Case closed.

Friend 2: hmmm…

The thing with that view is that the bible itself says that that view of God is incomplete. Because it says He is love. And He is also a consuming fire. There are two major sides to His personality. He is rich in mercy. Yet people will go to hell. Because they refused to accept Him. If we keep thinking only “God is love” we may tend to think He’ll somehow forgive our sins even without us asking for forgiveness and genuinely repenting. Or that He will change His mind at the last minute and forget about people going to hell.

Friend 1: What I believe is simple. God is love because He is merciful, He forgives all. Yet when you sin and dont show you have manners by apologizing, you get burned. Different strokes for different folks.

Friend 2: Seen. Yet He doesn’t permit us to keep sinning deliberately and coming back for forgiveness simply because He’s merciful. If your hubby keeps cheating and apologizing will you buy it?

It’s really not about how you or I take it or what we believe. It’s all about what He’s said. The responsibility lies on us to find out what He’s said. He said He honours His word more than His name.

Friend 1: Ok.

Friend 2: His word is all written hence we study to learn it and as we read we ask His Spirit to teach us the mysteries in the word. God is extremely deep. We can’t really understand the bible with common sense. It has life in its pages. That’s where His Spirit comes in.

Friend 1: True.

Friend 2: You know if your hubby is cheating everyday God expects you to forgive him everyday? To hold no grudge against anyone no matter how hard? No human can do that. It’s difficult. Only by Him living in you and in full control of you can you do that.

Friend 1: Very true.

Friend 2: Can you give a Muslim your car to go to mosque with? Can you pray for other people for a whole week without saying any prayer for yourself? Having the heart of Jesus is not beans men. Lol

Friend 1: Very true. Jesus is great.

Friend 2: He’s even beyond great.

Friend 1: I agree.

Friend 2: Isaiah is not easy to read though. But we’ll ask for grace and we’ll finish.

Friend 1: Yes we will. Amen.

So what are your thoughts? Is God love only or is He also a consuming fire? May we continue to sin that grace may abound? Is it because of our apologies to Him that He forgives us our sins?

God bless you.

Maxx’

All I have is yours or is it?

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The circumstances leading to this post are quite interesting though I am not certain if I should bother you with them. However I have been privy to quite a number of conversations on a subject that seems to be touchy to many. As the Spirit leads, I write (from His heart through mine…).

Essentially numerous debates abound touching the issue of money in marriage. To the glory of God He did not deem it mundane or irrelevant such that He left it out of His word. He graciously provided answers to this question as with all other questions we have on just about any and everything.

I am privileged to be surrounded by fellow young people a lot. Some are married and some are yet to be married. However on the issue of how much one is expected to contribute financially to a marriage I have heard different points of views from the different people with whom I have conversed.

This post will focus on two questions viz:

– What is my financial obligation to my marriage?
– How much is enough?

It is practically impossible to fully understand this subject without first understanding what marriage is and what it is about.

As strange as it may sound to some people, God made marriage. He ordained it. It was solely His idea. His creation. This can be found in Genesis 2:18 where God said it was not good for man to be alone and He decided to make a helper for him. This tells us that on any question pertaining to marriage our first resort should be God. This flows from the simple principle that the manufacturer of a product understands it better than anyone else.

We must note however that before God provided Adam with a wife He first gave Adam a job to do (Genesis 2:15 & 19). Adam tended the garden of Eden and named all the animals. He also had close relationship with God. It is important to state here that before God provides a man a wife he must be gainfully employed. He must be utilising his time, skill, intellect in adding value to something for which he is paid (2 Thessalonians 3:10). God does not provide idle men with wives. It is also important that a man be doing God’s work. It is when a man is busy that he needs help with the work. A wife is a helper, God implanted the capacity to help in the wife.

Once two people get married they are no longer two people in the eyes of God but one person. He said this clearly in Genesis 2:24-25. Mark 10:7-9.

Now on the first focal question the primary provider of finance in the home is the husband. It is his God-given responsibility. Times may be changing and novel situations arising but the word of God does not change neither does His standard. The husband is to provide for his wife as he would provide for himself. He is to hold nothing back from her that he would not withhold from himself. She is His primary responsibility. 1 Timothy 5:8.

In Ephesians 5:25, 28 & 33 Paul admonished husbands to love their wives as much as they loved themselves. As much as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it. Christ died for the church. That is love. That is the standard expected of husbands. To give everything. This command is not limited to finances alone but to everything. He is to give as if he were giving to himself.

The wife is however not exempted from giving of finances to her husband. Though the responsibility to provide finance for the home is primarily the husband’s, the wife is his helper and she must remember this. She is to help him in every possible way including finance if need be. Two people have become one. This is the word of God. Whatever belongs to one belongs to both because they have become one. When one is hurt the other is hurt. When one is happy the other is happy. This is God’s design for marriage. The concept of “this is mine while that is yours” in marriage is not God’s. Hence whatever a man earns belongs to his wife entirely and vice versa.

Many ladies have decided that their husbands will foot all the bills in the home and still provide their material needs and wants while they spend their own earnings entirely on themselves. This is outside of God’s will and is not in line with His word. A wife is a helper by God’s original design. A helper and a “sharer”. There is nothing like “my money, my this my that” in God’s idea of marriage.

Where both parties work and earn  money they are therefore jointly responsible for all the financial needs of the marriage.

On how much is enough a man and wife are expected to give their all to their marriage. Nothing should be withheld. As long as one will not withhold a good thing from himself or herself they should be able to do likewise to the other. Luke 6:31.

In addition we are to know the following:

There should be no secrets. No secret expenses, secret accounts, secret debts, etc. There should be total honesty and disclosure. This is in line with Genesis 2:25 where the word says the man and his wife were naked and were not ashamed. This is God’s plan. Nothing short of total honesty is good enough for Him. A marriage founded on deceit cannot stand.

It is respectful to inform the other where any expenditure has been made outside of agreed expenditures. It is even more respectful to inform the other before any expenditure is made.

Joint accounts can be maintained by a couple if they so desire and be run in any manner they choose.  I have heard many swear that they would never run joint accounts with their spouses on the basis of fear. This should not be. Remember that by God’s plan man and wife are one.

Trust funds can be maintained by a couple for their children. Whatever works for a couple is fine as long as there is complete openness in financial matters.

Budgeting is also very helpful. It provides a guide on how money is spent and how much is saved.

A couple can sort out bills together or however they see fit. As long as the word of God on the subject is known and applied correctly.

Where a wife earns more than her husband the word of God is still the same. Everything she owns is her husband’s and vice versa. Many young men actually pray to earn more than their wives as many tales heard of instances where wives earn more than their husbands are very unsavoury. Many wives become unruly, arrogant and disrespectful because they suddenly earn more. This should not be. Money is not the most important thing in marriage. It should not be the reason why a couple get married. In my personal opinion a man or a woman whom money suddenly changes is actually poor within them. Increase in finances should be a blessing to a marriage not a curse. A husband is a husband regardless of whether his wife earns more than him or not. The roles of husband and wife do not reverse thereby.The marriage is more important than it’s individual components. God enjoins wives to submit to their husbands as unto God and to submit in everything (Ephesians 5:22-24). This is so whether she earns more than him or not. In the same vein husbands are enjoined to love their wives and give themselves to them completely.

However some men are known to be lazy or even preying on their well off wives. This is unacceptable to God. A man must provide for his wife. A man who preys on his wife is a disgrace to God. 1 Thessalonians 3:10. 1 Timothy 5:8. There is no excuse for indolence. A man must work to meet the needs of his family. Nothing short of this is acceptable to God. Though he may occasionally go through hard times he must however not abandon his God-given responsibility and leave it for his wife to bear. A man must lead his home by example. Hard work is a good example. 

Some people use finance to divide their families. They give money to their children against the wishes of their spouses thereby pitting the children against the spouse who is then seen as not wanting to give them good things. This is not correct. A couple should be agreed on how things should be done (Amos 3:3). Man and wife are one flesh not man and child or woman and child. A couple should be united against all challenges. Mark 10:7-9.

A couple should be open to giving to God and His work. Everything we have received is from God. We should therefore not find it difficult to give to Him bearing in mind that He does not even need our money (Psalms 50:12). Partners should be able to agree peacefully on what and how to give to God  (as they must give to God (Psalms 50:14)).

May God bless you, your marriage, your impending marriage, and your finances in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Maxx’

How do I know she’s the one?

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*sigh*

I have had countless conversations with different young people on how exactly one gets to discern God’s will concerning who to date and marry. Caveat: Not being married myself (yet) I will just keep it real and share some of what He has taught me thus far. *grin*

Growing up I was quite familiar with the phrase “God’s will in marriage”. This was a byproduct of membership of the church in which I grew up. The church practiced a system whereby a couple who had probably never met physically purportedly got divine revelations of who their spouses would be. They would then individually approach their respective pastors to share the revelation with him and ask for guidance on what steps to take. Fast forward through several processes and passage of time and the couple eventually meet face to face and undertake the process of courtship by scheduled meetings at a designated church member’s residence where it is ensured that the couple is never left alone in total privacy (the flesh is weak). No dates or any such thing were involved. Personally I opine that such a process is fraught with huge knowledge gaps on the behaviour of each partner which could turn out to be disastrous in marriage.

Truthfully the process of getting to be absolutely sure of who one is going to marry is no easy one. I sometimes imagine how Christ would have arrived at that decision (in choosing a spouse) if He were to marry while on earth.

However God left us some subtle tips on this delicate process, chief of which is “he who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favour from the Lord”.

To my mind men therefore have to “find” their wives.  The word “find” connotes some kind of positive activity on the part of the man.

This process involves some physicality. There is a lot of spiritually involved in making the important decision to marry afterall marriage is first of all spiritual. However the entire process is not spiritual. For a man to find his wife his eyes must be open.

His spiritual eyes. And his physical eyes.

Before a man makes the critical decision to marry he has to first accept and acknowledge that God will always make the best choices. He therefore has to give his heart and life to God. Only then will his spiritual eyes be opened. Then he can see and think how God intends. In so doing he can clearly determine the qualities he looks out for in a wife. He can also discern what God expects of a husband. He can discern how to love flowing from his relationship with God. He has his God-given purpose in mind and he is determined to have a wife who will help him accomplish it.

With the spiritual eyes opened a man then has to open his physical eyes. Wifey won’t pop up in his high-powered intense-vision goggles. She won’t appear in a vision where he has to do nothing but pray her into physical existence. He must be alert and open to the possibility of meeting her anytime. He must interact with people. She is out there somewhere waiting for her knight in armour (whether shining or not) *grin*

He should have realistic expectations. Sometimes the right person comes with uncertainty. She may not be sure. Hence a man should have a clear vision and focus. She is not perfect. This reality must be faced.

The most important tool however is prayer. This cannot be over emphasised. Some people scoff at me when I speak of prayer. They ask if God will come down and say to you, “this is your wife”.

Now it is a fact that God speaks to us. Always. The thing is, we do not listen. He speaks in different ways. Through written word (may not even be the bible sometimes), through people, through music, through common sense, through our consciences, nature, etc. To hear Him however we must be alert and aware of His presence. If we pray to Him He answers. But many times we are distracted. There’s so much noise and cares clogging our ears and hearts.

He may not say in such direct words (she is your wife) but He will definitely reveal something if we ask Him. To some people He actually speaks in such direct words! (I have met some of them).

For the avoidance of doubt prayers are to be made in two phases. The first is to request for the wife. It is after this phase that the eyes must be kept open to find her. The second phase commences after a potential wife has been found. We then go to God to ask if she is His will for us. He will surely answer either by confirming that she is His will or that she is not. In any case our action in line with His confirmed will always leads to inner peace. Then we are sure that our choice is in line with His will.

We must pray. If we must know God’s will we must pray. Fast even. Fervently. In faith. There is no way to bypass this requirement. Prayer works in ways that nothing else works.

NB: after finding the potential wife and seeking God’s face concerning if she is His will for you, and after He confirms that she is, it is very helpful to ask Him for her hand before you even ask her. He is her Father you know *winks* (Mark 11:24. Matthew 7:7).

Some men have a notion that God’s choices do not recognise our physical preferences at all. This is a false notion and is not scriptural. God will not base His choice of a wife on her physical attributes. But He will not give a man a wife he is not sexually attracted to. He will not provide our “wants” which are based on frivolities rather He will provide our needs, with some of our genuine wants. God is not “harsh” as we humans tend to believe. God is interested in our sexuality. He wants us to be joyful (and happy) on all fronts. His blessings come with no sorrow.

May God guide you in your search to find your helpmeet indeed, your missing rib, the flesh of your flesh and bone of your bone in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Genesis 2:18; 22-25. Philippians 4:4; 6; 19. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18.

Maxx’

Rolling with sinners?

Flowing from conversations with some Christians I have been moved to write this post on this controversial topic.

Many of us Christians get it wrong on this ever sensitive issue and go on “judging” others forgetting that we did much worse than those we end up labelling before we accepted God’s call. It is by His grace that we have been saved not by any of our efforts (indeed righteousness by our efforts is as filthy rags to God). Only by Christ’s finished work on the cross are we saved.

The question on how to balance the following instructions/guides has remained with some of us:

“Evil communication corrupts good manners” 1 Corinthians 15:33

“Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers” 2 Corinthians 6:14-18

“Do not keep company with sinners”. 1 Corinthians 5:9-11

To the glory of God He does not leave us to figure things out by our common sense or logic. Hence He teaches us by His Spirit as we explore His word with open hearts ever willing to accept our shortcomings and learn from Him in humility. 

When we become saved we are referred to as spiritual babies who start off on soft diets (1 Peter 2:2).

As we study God’s word and spend more and more time in His presence and in obedience we start to grow in grace to maturity. The eyes and ears of our spirit man are opened. We clearly discern God’s voice, His will, how to please Him. Etc. The more we grow in grace the more we desire to seek His face in all things.

It is necessary to fellowship with others who have been saved as well (iron sharpens iron) as we have been encouraged by Paul not to forsake the assembly of fellow believers. Christ also made this point where He said that where two or three are gathered in His name He is there with them.  We therefore have a clear need for fellowship for us to grow in Christ and to encourage ourselves.

It is true that we get influenced by what we allow to enter our hearts. Hence we are to stay away from things that are likely to entice us to return to what we have been saved from. “Evil communication corrupts good manners”. We are thus to avoid visiting the sinful places we visited and to totally abstain from the wrongs we were previously entangled with. A period spent in seclusion shortly after salvation usually helps a lot in terms of spiritual growth.

The instruction applies however even to mature Christians. We are influenced by what we naturally surround ourselves with. If you will not be enticed it’s best to stay away from triggers. The spiritual battle is fought daily (not against flesh and blood but against principalities and powers). We are to surround ourselves with light and the things of God. Dirty words should not come out of our mouths neither should we hang around people who are known for negative speech.

On the issue of being unequally yoked with unbelievers it is important to understand the meaning of yoke.

A yoke is something which binds two separate things together such that they must necessarily go in one direction. It is a strong thing. It connotes a strong uniting force. When yoked with someone where that person is going is where you are going.  There is no way out.

Light and darkness cannot tolerate each other. This is the nature of a redeemed life and sin. A truly redeemed and sanctified Christian hates what God hates and loves what God loves. God hates sin. God hates darkness. Darkness cannot comprehend His light. Once He is around darkness scampers away. A sanctified person carries the light of God. He thus instructs us to not be unequally yoked. To not be so connected to darkness as to be going where it is going.

Marriage is a vivid example of what it is to be yoked. Their God becomes your God or their gods become your gods. Many ask questions relating to marriage to an unbeliever. Unbelievers are people, yes. A sanctified Christian was once an unbeliever. But we cannot marry unbelievers for the reason adduced above. The unbeliever and the believer do not serve the same god. The unbeliever is not mandated to obey God’s laws. You cannot change an unbeliever. You cannot force them to serve your God. How about where you treat them nicely as God commands you yet they treat you badly? Whose fault would that be? God’s? No. He has already made a way out.

We are not to be so tangled with an unbeliever as to not be free to move in our own direction. God despises anything that turns away a man’s heart from Him. And being yoked with an unbeliever will do just that. Because it is easier to sin than to do right. It is easier for the unbeliever to influence the believer than it is for the believer to influence the unbeliever. (Those who are already married however need not leave their marriage but should try through good behaviour and prayers to lead their partners to Christ (1 Corinthians 7)).

We are to relate with unbelievers (this is inevitable.  More light will be shed on this below). They are all around us. We are to reach out to them to share His message with them and reveal Him to them. But we are not to be unequally yoked.

On keeping company with sinners my discussion was with a Christian recently who was of the view that Christians are not meant to eat or keep company with sinners. Her point was hinged on the fact that only Christ could do that and that as we are not Christ it is not our business to eat or mingle with sinners.

I can boldly say that nowhere in the word of God was this instruction given. 1 Corinthians 5 is clear.

The first instruction Christ gave to His followers prior to His Ascension was to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creation baptising them in the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit (Mark 16:15).

Every Christian must fulfil this calling. It is compulsory. We are to lead people to Christ wherever we find ourselves (Matthew 5:16) both by our teaching and our behaviour. At all times. There are no days off. We are to be aware (on the lookout for) of opportunities to share the gospel.

It was stated above that we are to fellowship with other Christians and encourage ourselves thereby. In addition to this, the purpose of God’s call on the life of every Christian is to lead other people to Him. We are not called for our sakes alone. Indeed what gain is it if one is the only educated or rich man in the world while all others around him are daft or poverty stricken? What good is good news if it won’t be shared with others?

Indeed God says that the feet of those who bring good tidings are beautiful!

How will the word be preached if we stay away from sinners? From whom will they hear the word? From whose good conduct will they be touched to seek God? How will the gospel be preached if preachers are not sent? To whom will preachers preach if we all are saved?

1 Corinthians 5:11 was the Scripture upon which the discussion was based.

Upon examining the entire chapter it is clear what message the apostle Paul intended to convey. He encourages us to stay away from believers who are known to be wilfully entangled in sin (even after multiple warnings). We are adviced to stay away from such people so that we do not start making excuses for them and eventually go their way (wilful sin). Evil communication indeed corrupts good manners.

Please note here that this passage (1 Corinthians 5) refers to “a believer” not sinners. A “deliberately sinning” believer.

As if this was not clear enough Paul went further to state that he could not advice that we stayed away from sinners as that was impossible (it would necessitate leaving this world) (1 Corinthians 5:9-10) He also stated clearly that he was in no place to judge sinners, that sinners are to be judged by God Himself. However believers can judge one another in love based on the word of God (Verses 12-13).

Let us examine these scenarios objectively:

If a sinner invites you to dinner with his family, does it not appear to be a good opportunity to share the gospel? (1 Corinthians 10:27-31)

What would Jesus think about it? Or the Holy Spirit? Shouldn’t Their points of view be more important than ours bring Christians totally subject to Their control?

If you know a man who clearly does not care about you or who acts self-righteously around you, will you care to listen to whatever message he comes to share with you? As a rational person I wouldn’t. I would rather listen to someone who shows me that he cares about me.

Many Christians go about as if they are better than others. No one is better than another. It is by the grace of God that we are saved through faith not works, lest any man should boast.

It is often believed (and quite truly in many cases) that the worst sinners love God the most when they become saved. After all Jesus said that “he loves little who is forgiven of little and he loves much who is forgiven of much”.

Those who have done many wrongs seem to understand more when faced with someone who is stuck in wrongdoing. They tend to be more patient. Isn’t that what is required?

I have done things in my past that I am not proud of. Hence I can see how much God has done for me in calling me in spite of it all for which I am grateful What if I extend this same love to sinners? Isn’t that what He commands? And how would I extend His love? Is it only by preaching on the street? If I do not keep company with sinners that I may thereby preach to them, who will? Who am I to judge? Who are you to judge?

It is my sincere prayer that someone is touched by this post and it is helpful in some way.

God bless you.

Maxx’

Waiting

One of the most difficult things to do…

A state of delay of action or movement pending the occurrence of something.

A stay of further movement or action pending the occurrence of another.

Putting some activity on hold.

It is not easy to wait. No. Not by a long shot.

As humans we have all had cause to wait for something at different times. We have been held up in traffic, held up by our friends and family, teachers, doctors, etc. We have all experienced what it is to wait one way or another. We can mostly agree that it is not an easy thing to do.

As children of God do we have to wait? Yes. Sometimes for even much longer periods than many who do not serve God.

Now in waiting we must have come across the words “patient” and “patience”. Being patient is to be content to wait if necessary, to not be bothered by having to wait. To display patience is to be patient.

We cannot be mistaken about this: God teaches His children patience. Slowly. Carefully. However. The lessons must be learnt.

We cannot have fruitful relationships with God or man if we will not be patient. We will not grow in strength and character if we will not be patient. We will not achieve our dreams if we will not be patient. Patience is a virtue. We cannot live good lives without the ability to wait.

The word of God tells us that those who wait on God will renew their strength. (Isaiah 40:31).

We are also told that it is good to wait for God (Lamentations 3:26).

All over His word emphasis is laid on waiting. He does not fail to deliver, save, help those who wait on Him. (Psalms 27:14; 37:9 & 34. Proverbs 20:22)

Patience indeed is one of the fruits of His Spirit. Galatians 5:22.

It is not easy to wait. But then again the best things in life are not easy to get. People make all sorts of damning mistakes and have their lives badly messed up as a result of their failure to wait. Where a little patience will have revealed the true state of things they chose to jump the gun with often devastating results.

God waits. So His asking is to wait is not unreasonable. He demands that we wait. It is mostly for our good. Time has a way of revealing truths that would otherwise not be revealed.

Sometimes we don’t even have a choice but to wait. Where you can do nothing about something you will have to wait without being told.

In the end when God gives us a promise, we must wait for Him if we are to receive that which He has promised. Sometimes He holds on to the reward until we are truly ready for it. Until we are truly prepared for it. Sometimes we are the cause of delay, because we sometimes just wait without actually preparing ourselves to receive, or preparing ourselves for the reward.

What should we do while we wait?
We should praise Him.
We should trust Him.
We should prepare ourselves for His fulfilment.
We should do His work.
We should help others.
We should improve ourselves.
We should learn new skills.
We should rejoice.

He has never failed. He will never fail. Waiting on Him is obedience.

Do we lack the grace to wait? Do we lack patience? We can ask Him who is ever willing to give to those who ask and He will give us all the grace and patience we need.

I encourage you: whatever it is that God has promised you or you have asked Him for, wait for it. His gifts are worth it. His blessings make rich and add no sorrow. His blessings come with fullness of life and divine favour. His blessings come with no regrets. Trust Him.

Stay blessed.

Maxx’