Caleb is in Nakuru, Kenya and he has written something very precious here, hope you have
time to read it through. I have gone through similar lessons in different ways, and God helped me as well to correct those areas of deception or thinking, with His truth. I had alot of fears to overcome
from being without and abused as a child that affected me into adulthood. I pray this will bless you as it blessed me to read it. pris
INTEGRITY & REPUTATION
This is something that is coming from my own heart. Something that I have practically walked through. By November 2010 I will be 15 years old in pastoral/preaching ministry. And by March This same year I will be 36 years old in this world. I started at 21. I started on a good note, trusting on God for everything in my life. My foundational Words were Integrity and Good reputation. I wrote these two words on the front page of my Bible as daily reminder.
On the ceiling of my sleeping room I wrote the five things that a young pastor should set as an example to his flock according to 1 Timothy 4:12. It was a very humble but good beginning spiritually in my pastoral calling. But some years later, without warning/notice I derailed from the pure track and set my mind on how to become financially and materially stable both in family and ministry. This was not a bad idea after all because if a man can’t provide for his household he has denied the faith and is worse than an infidel 1 Tim. 5:8.
The problem is that I started to focus on wrong methods and principles of achieving this goal. The other bigger problem is that I did not occur to me that I was derailing. My heart was so much deceived and I did not see anything wrong in all these. After all my sermons were still powerful and I was flowing in the revelation of the Word of God. Each time I stood to teach or preach the result was encouraging. This made me think there was nothing wrong with what I was doing to gain wealth.
I had tasted a little of God’s financial provision and instead of being contented with that, I wanted more. My colleagues were living better lives, driving good cars, able to support their aging parents, could hold bigger and successful meetings, and had the state of the art (African standard) PA systems and such. I knew that some of them were walking in sexual immorality. Some were not financially honest while others were con artists. They mixed the preaching of the Word with a tinge, welcomed local comedians to the church altar to work up the crowd. They brought popular musicians who we all know are not godly to pull the crowd and everything went well for them.
They were not in the poverty bracket. It is so sad to say this but many of these preachers came to be exposed as ritualistic, who used to visit witches at night to have more powers for miracles and to gather big crowds. Slowly by slowly I started developing a heart for more of whatever they had.
I was always frustrated at the numerical growth level of our church. I was getting intimidated by constant lack of some basic things in my life and family. I struggled to put on a new clothes and a pair of shoes. I struggled to put my children to school. It took the two hands of God for me to do meetings. Little did I know that this was God’s ways of putting me to trust in him and to grow up with him and in Him.
God wanted to use me as an example to others: that He is the one who lifts from the dust and seats up people with princes. He wanted me to know that I should grow up step by step and not to get everything all at the same time. He wanted to release to me His provision for me step by step, i.e. He wanted to give me what was necessary and needful at that very time. But here I was having the desire to grow up in financial stability and such so quickly and yet my inner man was not even able to handle such kinds of release.
So I decided to also look for donor funding from US, UK Australia South Africa etc, to support my ministry as it was the case with other ministries around. I felt (deceived) that I was genuine in my heart in this pursuit. I wanted funding for my ministry and for my personal stability (a good desire- sort of). My friends and even people who were not pastors had big donor funding and yet they were not genuinely using the funds in good ways. I thought I could be different from them. I kept on saying to myself, “If I can only get the kind of breakthrough so I could make a big difference”.
So I started making frantic efforts and inroads on ministries and churches and people whom I thought could be of some help. On top of this I added prayers and fasting to some how control/manipulate God to cause people to give whatever I wanted. When this did not work, I thought may be to write good proposals and do some projects which could attract funding. This did not work too. Finally I got tempted after receiving “good and cool” advice from those whose lots were successful in this area, to write things and say big words to influence donors to release funding. In my heart I knew these were not good things and most of the things I was saying and writing were not truth. I was simply manipulating facts to have things go my own way. I did not succeed in this either.
Meanwhile in the process of doing all these things, something strange was happening. I kept on noticing that there was one way which was open for me financially. The financial flow in this way was not big but at least I could afford to pay house rent and have some food purchased and this kept on going from month to month.
It still is, even today. It was not the kind of flow I wanted. It was a slow trickling in of finance. To me it was so small. I wanted something bigger. As much as I tried to access and gain some new grounds financially I failed but only this one way kept on flowing. Soon I started hearing God’s voice in my heart saying, “you need to flow with my divine provision for you and not what you want”.
I know your needs and I provide for tem monthly. You are my child and I love you. I have not ordained for you to prosper the way you want to. You are a different person. They don’t follow the way you follow. You are of life and they are of darkness, therefore darkness and dark deals will work for them. But as for you, you have to prosper in the way of Light. You have been called to live in the light and to call others as many as possible to come to the light too. At first I ignored this voice but it kept growing within me until I stopped one day and did some reflection. In my several unsuccessful attempts to succeed in those different ways I have learned the following which I would greatly love to share with you today:
Any true child of God, truly born again, having the life of God within him, cannot be allowed to easily fall back into sinful deal and to succeed through any other means except those that are ordained by His God. God leaves 99 sheep and goes out to seek the only one lost. God’s delights in having His children with Him daily.
I have learned that even before this one sheep got lost God tried to do everything to keep this one from getting lost. But when it finally strayed and got lost, the Good Shepherd went out to look for it. This is great love. Many think that God is handling our relationship with Him casually as we do with our human friends.
God is so serious on a daily basis. I get The Father’s heart of Love for us whenever I read Jeremiah 20: 10 …My sons are gone from me and are no more;… We are so much loved by God that He doesn’t want us to thrive on shoddy deals that won’ bring joy to Him from us. As we will see in the coming pages, we are chosen, as believers in God through Christ, to offer sacrifices of praise to God.
Applying a different method (another Gospel) makes Satan to mock our God. When we, as God’s children get out of the way and try to use Satan’s methods to succeed in the House of God, he, (Satan) starts to ridicule our God and say to Him, “Your own Children can’t succeed in your house. They are coming to me to help them succeed in your house, because you are un-caring Father to you are hard and a rigid Father to them. See they are coming to me to help them succeed in your own work, you don’t care, etc”.
All these accusations are false, because our God CARES. If we stop, reflect and go back to the main highways of Faith in God, we will see that God cares. If we take stock of whatever God has been doing in our lives since we came to Him we will see a lot of blessings and provision and protection. It is our greed that has grown so big that it covers our own eyes from seeing what Good things
God has/is already doing in our lives.
Greed makes God’s provision looks small. Greed belittles the generosity of our Good God. Greed (and clamor for more than is necessary for us) despises God’s provision. It says, “This is not enough for me. I need more and I have to get it by all means not knowing that “by all means” actually means being in agreement with the devil, our main enemy and even loosing the promises of eternal life we have already secured.
Though the mighty failures I went though, I learned that the truly born again child of God, may be tempted to con people a little, and have things happen his or her own ways; He may be tempted to gain some success or access by means of lying or hoodwinking. He may be tempted to yield to the old man’s tricks of survival in the flesh, he may try other methods to gain, socially, financially or materially, etc but His father in Heaven, His God and Maker has planted him or her on a different ground which will not allow him to have his own selfish ways just like that.
The old man, try to resurface from time to time, to entice the righteous and give him or her short cut to success, contrary to God’s ways. This happens as the righteous removes his eyes from God and puts it right on the world standards of living. Every true born again child of God, including me have occasional seasons of seeming hopelessness, times when things don’t go right for us as we would want, needs are not met to our expectations, life seems going very slowly and we seem to have been by passed by real life and happiness. In such moments, Satan, through the old man raises up its smitten head and gives a direction.
These are the seasons where decisions to have “Ishmaels” are made. Things look hopeless in such times and the only means/options available is to take a short cut route to ones destiny. This opens door for greed and all sorts of dirty methods and tricks of survival. We begin to compare ourselves with others whose lots are easier, and yet we don’t know why they get it easy. But God never abandons his chosen neither does He allow us to share in the fruits wickedness.
Again, these are the times when the flesh is aggressively appealing and the world looks pretty nice to be in- when one is tempted to get along with the trends of the people of the world and to play it “cool” and safe among the heathen. One is then tempted to make some unwise decisions and choices to keep pace with the speed of the world system and life pattern so as to have a feeling of some “goodness” sort of.
Satan comes near and whispers a few sugar coated words in your ears, saying,
“You are out dated, you don’t have what it takes to be a modern man/ woman. You are lagging behind in so many things. This salvation of yours will take you nowhere. You are reading your bible every day, go to church fellowship and live holy but things don’t work well and quickly for you”. Others are doing pretty well. “Look!!! They manipulate others and get what they want. They crookedly maneuver their ways with cunningness and with a slightness of a lie ( not a big lie) and they succeed so well and so quickly ( they don’t make a big lie, they just tilt the facts a little bit to create an appealing case. And you are just there with this holiness thing of yours. You are a failure, you will never drive a good car, live in a good house, have the best household items, have the best clothing, succeed in ministry, your children might not even get into good schools, you are getting wasted in walking in this thing called holiness and righteousness. Try other means and you will see how successful you are. Look at so and so, they go to church, have a bible and are even great leaders of the church but they are not too serious with salvation as you are....
They know how to survive. They know what to tell who, so as to get their way. You can call them con-men/women but they succeed. They don’t pray so much but they succeed. They think of an evil matter and execute it discreetly and they succeed. They slander others and their words are so powerful. They divide churches and split others to start new congregations under the influences of darkness and rebellion and they do well. Don’t you see it? Why stay intact in this thing called holiness? Relax yourself a bit, bend some rules slightly and you will see how successful you are. Do not be too much biblical in everything, try also other means.etc”
So Satan speaks to the righteous and finally gets him into doing something unbiblical. The result is then very discouraging and distasteful and the same devil comes to taunt him again in this “failure”. The results have to be discouraging and distasteful because the believer applied wrong methods of success. He tried to do what The Father did not ordain as a means of success. This discouraging result is God’s way of saying, “as my child you can not use that principle to succeed in the house. That is a principle of darkness”. You need to apply the principle of my Kingdom to succeed in this Kingdom.
Psalms 125: 3, for the rod (principle) of the wicked shall not rest (exist in the congregation) upon the lot of the righteous; lest the righteous put forth their hands (get involved) unto iniquity. Words in bracket mine.
The protection we receive from God as His children comes with a double edge. The one edge keeps us protected from the onslaught of the devil. The other edge keeps and protects us from reaching out to the appetizers of the darkness of this world. In other words, when you pray something like, “God be my protection against the dangers of this dark world,” what you actually mean is this: “God come and:
a) Keep evil away and……….
b) BLOCK/FRUSTRATE EVERY UNBIBLICAL STRATEGIES AND FOCUS I MAY BE HOLDING DEAR TO ME THAT IS TAKING ME TO THE EVIL ONE. God’s protection is two way traffic. He protects you from the evil which is coming to you from outside; and you from walking towards (going) to evil. He stops you from stretching your hands to iniquity. That is what the psalmist mean when he says, He guides my feet and I will not fall……..
We have for a long time, understood God as a Father who is not a controller but allows His children to have the free will of choice. By this we have to an extent misunderstood how God is working. While we have the free will of choice, when we choose to obey him He takes over completely. He guides us. He doesn’t leave us a lone. He walks with us. He does not manipulate us. He leads and guides us graciously. He protects us from sharing in iniquity. He frustrates our attempts to have a testimony outside of the scripture. You are His child and you are planted in his house and that is the place for you to prosper. Psalm 92: 13 those that be planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God. KJV.
They shall not flourish some where else. But only in the courts of our God.
Lying can’t work for a child of God. Lying is a principle of Satan, and God does not allow this principle to work in His kingdom. God can’t allow lying to work as building blocks to build up his church, His sons and daughters.
If the church succeeds in any lying way or rebellion then God will not take the credit/glory. Satan will. Because the principles that brought along that kind of “success” is not of God but of Satan. Success is not what we have achieved/gained or acquired. Success is the method/principles/ the truths that have been applied to reach that kind of “success”. Success is the means to an end.
Rebellion can not work for any child of God. If it works, then God is not in it. Rebellion is a principle of Satan. And God can not use this principle to build up His kingdom/children/sons and daughters. Church splits/ division and factional groupings are just a waste of time. One may get deeply involved with them but he is not going any where with that. A section of a splintered church group may have all the resources they need to do “church” and the population to go with it, but it is not success in God’s eyes. Some thing is not good because many people are involved in it. Something is not bad because few people are involved with them.
If something is bad, it is bad even if the whole world population is doing it.
If something is right, it is right even if one person is doing it against the rest of the world.
One person with God is the majority. One Elijah with God is the majority against 450 prophets of Baal. Men I am excited about all these things God is putting in our hearts today. The more we take time doing the unbiblical, the more time we waste there. Those things can’t work for us now. They could have worked for us in the times past, when we were under the bondage of the ruler of the darkness of this world.
There were times we could con people and succeed.
There were times we could plan any bad and wicked deals and succeed.
There were times we could rebel against authorities and have things done and go our own ways.
But since we came to Christ and submitted our lives to Him, He took over the reigns of our lives. We are no longer our own. We are bought with a price= to glorify God in our bodies.
We are bought to glorify God: Yes, not to glorify the enemy. We are to glorify God.
When I succeed in the Word of God, God’s name is glorified in me and through me.
When I walk in the truth of God’s word, people see it and they glorify my God. I have been chosen for this.
On the other hand when I chose the ways of darkness I glorify the head of darkness-Satan.
As a true child of God, a pastor, as I am, I can not succeed on con-man-ship by making some underground deals to hoodwink the church about my commitment and success. Anything I do has to be a clean deal to receive the backing and blessings of God. I have been chosen for that.
This is why many pastors and Christians can not succeed even after being in the Lord for so many years. I now know why. They are in the Kingdom of light but are trying, from time to time, to use means which are not ordained by God to succeed. The trick here is that, things whose sources are in darkness seems to happen quickly and with no such struggle, i.e. it is easy to sit down , write a proposal and tell a donor of how much I take care of 1000 street children in Nakuru town, sign the letter with a wonderful letter head and sign below it with words,
“ Yours Faithfully
The Right Reverend Bill Richards ( example)
Executive Director Officer
International Child Centre-Nakuru
And I might get a lot of money out of this deal while in true case I don’t run such a program. If this deal works for me, it is either because God has given up on me to do the reprobate things or I was not, in the first place a true child of God.
Jer. 2:13, For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water.
But that, which I have known, is simply this: any true child of God is not allowed to access such wicked privileges and breakthroughs in their lives. If they succeed, they will set wrong precedence for others. They will introduce another gospel into the body of Christ. They will mislead others into believing these falsehoods. They will lead others astray. They themselves will also be deceived to believe that things only work that way. They won’t know the power of true living. They won’t know the power of righteousness in Christ. They will not show forth the glorify of God. They will not taste the blessedness of being on the side of God. Things will not be different to them. They will begin to call good evil and evil good. They will distort the nature of godliness. For this reason, God in His kindness and mercy and grace frustrates these wicked ways permanently.
Isa 5:20, Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
There are good things that God might not allow His chosen children to have through a different means than the ordained ones.
As I said above, if we succeed this way, we shall have not reason to give glorify and praise to God our Father. We shall not be able to say, “God did me ABCD EF G H ETC, instead we shall be saying things like, “Oh! I got if from abcdefg he etc, “Oh! I worked hard for it” etc.
We have been chosen to show forth the praises of Him who called us out of darkness into His marvelous light. 1st Peter 2:9
But first, in verse 5 of the same chapter it says, “Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.
Note: we have been chosen in verse 9 to:
…..Declare the praises of……..
“…..Him”……..(That is God)
…Who called us from Darkness into His marvelous light.
In verse 5 we are build up:
A spiritual house…
Acceptable to God….
Through Jesus Christ.
Starting by verse 5, we see that we are being built a spiritual house, an holy priesthood to offer sacrifices which are acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.
So any sacrifice we offer must be acceptable to God, but through Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ is the standard measurement.
God measures everything by Jesus Christ, Acts 17: 31, Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.
Mathew 11:27 says, “All things are delivered unto me of my Father”.
So for a sacrifice to be accepted to God:
1) It must go through Jesus ( the Living Word).
2) The sacrifice must have its origin from God and with God.
3) God does not accept anything outside of His Word. He has raised up His word above all that is His name Psalms 138:2.
4) God works with what he has ordained. I don’t want to imply that God is a perfectionist. I mean he does not work through any other principles apart from what he has ordained.
5) We may give God good sacrifices, but He will only take what is right and is according to His Word.
6) Not every sacrifice we give is worth His reception. He takes what is rightly His. Even in the last day, many will come to Him saying Lord! Lord! we did this and that in your name but He will only take those who did His will.
7) Soul tried to spare some animals to offer them as a sacrifice to God after destroying the Amalekites but God rejected this great offer. It was an offer contrary to the Word of God. He refused it totally.
Point: A truly Born again person is a different species. He is born again for a mission. He doesn’t just fit anywhere. Many good things do not work for him or her. God has chosen him or her. He is not among the crowd and the population. He is chosen, set aside for a special function and duty.
He can’t just function any where, he has a special place and point for this functions. He is chosen to declare (show) forth the praises of Him who called us out of Darkness into His marvelous light. This verse is just new and fresh in my eyes. I have never seen it this way before.
It could have said something like this, “we have been chosen to show forth the praises of God Almighty.” Or “we have been chosen to show forth the praises of the one who created the Heaven and Earth”. No it does not say that although these are worthy phrases because they all refer to the One and same God. But this verse is tactfully written by the wisdom of the Holy Spirit to point to the fact that, as we “show forth” the praises of God, we must not forget that we are dealing with Light and not Darkness in this noble service. It is the understanding that as we deal with God, we do it on the basis that we are a people of light and not of darkness. The Holy Spirit in this verse does not want us to forget the fact that our relationship with God and our showing forth of His praises is based on what side we stand; on Light or Darkness.
[ Pris comment: the Lord said, "walk in the light as I am in the light."]
To show forth is to manifest. This verse does not just say, we have to speak loudly the praises of God out of our mouth. It says we have to show forth/manifest it. Now that is a lifestyle. It is our daily lifestyle. In business, in employment, in church ministry in finances, in materials things, in speech, in conduct, in preaching, in any transactions we have to show forth the Praises of Him who called us out of darkness into His marvelous light.
So a born again person, in whose heart Christ lives, knows this so well. He knows that for him or her to succeed he must operate in the law of light. He is a different person. He is unique. He is operating from above, he is not earthly. Earthly laws and principles don’t work for him any more in the things of God. He operates through the heavenly principles and by them he wins/ overcomes/succeeds. By them he wages good warfare 1 timothy 1:18.
He doesn’t not just fight; he fights with precision and godly accuracy. He fights with knowledge and understanding. He knows what works for him and what does not. He doesn’t waste his time on things that can’t work for him. He knows the difference between fruitful involvement and unprofitable commitments. He chooses the former. He knows the one in whom he has believed 2 timothy 1:12. He is not ashamed to stand up and be counted on the Lord’s side. He is full of assurance in His master and Lord. Halleluiah.
He knows his mission and job description 2 Tim. 2:20, 21. He knows he is a vessel unto honor and not unto dishonor. Whatever he does honors and glorifies God. If the thing/ deal doesn’t not glorify God and honors God he abandons it. He knows His mission is to honor God by offering the right sacrifices. If what he is doing does not honor God he leaves it and asks for forgiveness.
Last year I walked out of a multi-million shillings deal with two friends who wanted to divert funds from the Anglican Church projects into our church name so as to share the loot with them. I was to be given 30% of the funds for allowing the funds to be challenged through our church Name. They were to get the 70% and use it the way they wanted. That was a very cool deal indeed. But how was I going to approach God and preach again on righteousness? Could I be safe any longer in this world where Satan is crouching at every man’s door eager to have him or her? Was I going to do something that could bring the curse of cancer on my life? I opted out quietly. Better is the little that the righteous has………… Proverbs
God is not just honored by our mouths only. Our mouths have to express what is in the inside of us. Honor is in the inner man and the mouth will declare it outside. If the honor does not come from the heart and the lifestyle of this man, it becomes just a lip service. Our deed and heart conditions/lifestyles honors or dishonors God. Actions speak louder than words. I may stand here today and say things like, “I love you oh! Lord you are so great and powerful I praise you blaa blaa blaa but if my heart condition/lifestyle are not in conformity with what I am saying then I am just offering a lip service to God. This is bad sacrifice. It makes me a member of Isaiah 29:13 Praise Centre International.
The sacrifice must proceed from the heart. To a preacher like me, it is not the Words of my mouth that preaches, but the lifestyle that I live. It is the daily heart condition that does it. My lifestyle reinforces the words of my mouth. God must be in me first to make my words effective. I give what I am and have and not what I speak. I am most effective when my words and my lifestyle is one and the same thing. Once or twice I have preached on things which I knew in my heart I was not doing right, but was pressing them on the listeners, looked at the congregation and felt like they knew I was lying. The emptiness of the heart and the sorrow of hypocrisy were just too heavy on me. Hypocrisy is expensive. I don’t know how those daily hypocrites survive in Salvation and ministry. The guilt of being a hypocrite is 100 pounds and above.
For a worship leader, it is not the songs he or she is singing, but the heart that sings those songs. To a giver, it is not the amount that is given but the heart that gives the amount. To a leader, it is not how high he has climbed but the heart in that higher position.
Finally, the righteous should always know that he is a marked man. That not all methods will work for him. Trying them is like trying to use a house key to ignite a car engine. I tell you most assuredly, it will not start. The righteous is guided by the Hands of God. God is with him always.
End of part I