Saturday, December 27, 2014

A 2015 RESOLUTION- LIVE FOR HIM


2014 has come to end! Time truly flies, it feels like just the other day when we were making our plans and resolutions for the year and before we knew it, 2015 came upon us. Whatever happened took place in your life in 2014 one thing is certain: the lord has been gracious to all of us. The fact that we are alive is testimony to his grace and goodness. And for that let everything that has breathe praise the Lord.

Whether it was a good year or not you and I will never recover the year that has just passed. The Lord blessed us with the time and the various responsibilities in 2014 and we were stewards of them. The implication of been a steward is that you give an account to your master. We will be held accountable for the 8765 hours that we spent. The more sobering thought is that we will give an account to an all knowing, all wise, ever present God. He not only knows what I have done and said in every second of the year but he also knows my thoughts and intents of my heart. Every time I fooled people he was aware, every time I basked in people’s praise and stole his glory he knew, he knew and discerned every word of gossip and slander, every discontent attitude, every hypocritical action, and every time I lived for self. I can only say like the prophet Isaiah “woe is me for I am undone”.

And while we can only look back on 2014 and reflect, we can look forward to 2015 and chose to live for God. Can there be any better resolution than to be devoted to our Lord and devoted to the bride of Christ- the church. How can you be devoted to the church of Jesus Christ you ask?
Our devotion to God is seen in how committed we are to his church. The early church is our benchmark when it comes devoted to the Church of Jesus Christ. In Acts 2:41-47 they were devoted to four things:

1.      The preaching and teaching of God’s word- The believers in Acts understood the importance of been feed God’s word and been present whenever it is taught and preached. They craved for it like new born babes. It is important to remember that the text is not referring to them downloading sermons and listening to them on their gadgets but they attended and sat under the preaching of the word. 

2.      The fellowship with other believers- You cannot miss the oneness among the brethren, they had the same mind, they had all things in common, and they spurred one another. They had a sincere love for one another. They were a family. And that's what the church- a family! 

3.      They prayed together- They showed their dependence on God by praying to him and praying for themselves. They worshiped through prayer and were in awe of who God was. The ministry of the church in Acts is characterized by prayer. Prayer meetings should be the most packed meetings in the church is serious about its work and ministry

4.      They evangelized- Christ commissioned the disciples to be witnesses of him to the whole world. They boldly proclaimed the good news of Jesus Christ. And the Lord added to their number.
Brethren as for me and my family we will serve the Lord and be devoted to His church, chose today whom you will serve! Happy New year

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

PRESS ON- THE RACE IS ALL ABOUT FINISHING


As the year 2014 draws to a close, a number of us are going back to the resolutions we made at the beginning of the year and trying to see if at all we have met our goals and targets. I know there are people who gave up on their resolutions long time ago because they kept breaking them. I have come to realize that the end of the year can be quite frustrating for most people as it tends to be a reminder of their failures and hence leaves them powerless to make any resolutions or set any targets for the New Year. Paul’s exhortation to the Philippians is a timely reminder to us when he charges them to “press on”
This encouragement is found in the third chapter of the letter to the Philippian believers. Paul says to them:
“Not that I have already obtained it or already become perfect but I press on in order that I may hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet but one thing I do, forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore as many as are perfect have this attitude, and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you. However, let us keep living by that same standard to which we have attained.”

In this passage Paul gives us three guidelines to help us to press on toward the goal that is set before us. In the preceding verses Paul says he does not boast in his achievements but actually counts them as loss because he has gained something incomparably better- Christ Jesus, and least people think he has arrived the apostle quickly moves to dispel that notion and that’s where we all need to start from if we are to press on.

We need to have an honest view of our spirituality, a certain level of discontentment of where you are spiritually. The goal of our race is to attain perfection, to become like Jesus, so until one reaches that standard we are not supposed to be content with our level of growth. It is this perspective that keeps us going. An athlete who thinks he has done it all and has arrived soon stops improving. Too many Christians are content with their spirituality that they stopped growing eons ago. Part of the reason we get into such thinking is because we often compare ourselves with others. Other Christians are not our standard, the Lord Jesus is!

Secondly Paul says he forgets what lies behind. A general rule of racing is that he you do not look behind as that slows you down and can actually cause you to trip and fall. Now if there is a person who could easily let the past affect him it’s Paul. Before salvation he was a persecutor of the Church, responsible for the killing of Stephen and after conversion he planted more churches than anyone else in the New Testament. Paul could have let his failures or successes get to him and render him useless in the present but he instead says, I forget all that is behind and I press on! John Piper puts it perfectly when he says:
“Memories of successes can make you smug and self-satisfied. Memories of failure can make you hopeless and paralyzed in your pursuit of God. Never look back like that. Give humble thanks for successes; make humble confessions for failure; then turn to the future and go hard after God.”[1]
Paul says he is not content with his growth, he knows he has not reached the standard he has been called to and he also forgets what lies behind, he does not let his failures and successes affect his growth. Therefore he presses on toward his goal. He has a single passion and goal in life that is to be like Jesus. He will not let anything distract him and he will apply all his time, energy and resources to get to that finish line. He is as focused as an athlete who is willing to endure pain and sacrifice everything in order to finish the race. He is willing to discipline himself for that cause. Paul says press on!

Dear friends as the year draws to a close and you take stock of your failures and successes my encouragement to you is simple: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let us therefore as many as are perfect have this attitude, and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you. However, let us keep living by that same standard to which we have attained.



[1]               Piper, John. ©2014 Desiring God Foundation

Monday, November 24, 2014

YOLO!!!


The young people are quite innovative these days, at least in terms of coming up with abbreviations and catchy sayings. Every time I go on social media, I discover that there is a new saying trending and since I am often behind, it takes me a while to find out what these sayings or acronyms mean or stand for. Over the years there has been LOL, LMAO, SMH, LO, etc.

The one that particularly got my attention was the YOLO, which has been around for some time and yes it took me a while to find out what it means, but I saw it on every platform of social media. I was later enlightened when I was informed it actually stands for “YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE”. It made me laugh at first but then I thought it is a clever way of stating the obvious. I mean who doesn’t know that you only live once on this earth? We all know death comes to all and the moment you are born you immediately start inching closer to your death.

However, there is a lot more to this phrase than meets the eye. It represents a philosophy of life that has become so common these days with the young and old alike. It is a thinking that is now influencing people’s relationships, the things they pursue in life and their actions. YOLO is the modern day equivalent of “eat, drink be merry for tomorrow we die” I have three problems with this thinking and way of life.

The first is that it assumes there is no life after death. This was the thinking behind the Greek philosophers who coined the old phrase “eat, drink be merry for tomorrow we die”. It basically says life is now and death is the end of everything, therefore don’t waste your time, you should indulge in anything you want now! This cannot be far from the truth; the scripture are ever loud and clear when they say “it is appointed for man to die once, after that judgment” So as we live here on earth we should always bear in mind that will be held accountable by the all righteous and all-knowing God.

The second issue I have with this philosophy of life is that it promotes high levels of self-centerEdness. The focus is me, myself and I. The YOLO way of life invariably leads people to do what they want, when they want, how they want to and in whichever way they want to. As long as it feels good, do it they say. Now if we all operated on how we feel, how many scandals will we have in this world? It is no wonder the levels of immorality, abuse of all forms, indecency and drug abuse have alarmingly increased. Simply because people are doing as they please. You only live once they say.

The third and biggest issue I have with this thinking is it disregards God as the creator. It assumes we just got here on earth and have the right to come up with an agenda for our lives. It’s essence suggests that we are not accountable to anyone and can do as we please while on earth. No do not get me wrong, life has to be enjoyed. In fact those who fear the Lord are the ones who have true satisfaction in life. It is them who enjoy life to the fullest because they pursue the greatest satisfaction in life. YOLO encourages the pursuit of shallow desires that never get satisfied and lives a person empty and craving for more. It is true that we only live once and have to make the most of our lives but that life should be lived with God in mind. Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth. Walk in the ways of your heart and the sight of your eyes. But know that for all these things God will bring you into judgment. (Ecc 11:9).

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

LESSONS FROM THE DEATH OF THE PRESIDENT


DEATH IS INEVITABLE
The bible says it is appointed for men to die once and after that judgment (Hebrews 9:27). And though we all know death comes at some point in life and are certain about the reality of death, we are never fully prepared for it; it often leaves us shocked. So was the case with our beloved late president Michael Chilufya Sata. Many people are still in shock even though it was clear that he was quite unwell.  The truth of the matter is, whether we are ready for it or not death comes to all and can come at any time. The Lord of the seasons has appointed a time to be born and a time to die and it comes to all men; the young, the old, the rich and poor, the most important and the not so important. It is appointed for man to die once and after that judgment.

LET’S BE SENSITIVE TO THE FAMILY
There is no doubt the nation has lost its president and is mourning and every citizen is affected one way or the other, regardless of whether you supported or voted for the man or not. This is a national tragedy. Let us also remember that Mr. Sata was not just the president of Zambia, he was first and foremost a husband, a father, a grandfather, a brother and an uncle. The man had a family, people who actually had a very real and close relationship with him and they are grieving more than most of us can even claim. We should be sensitive to their needs and hurts. They are the ones who need the most comfort. It is a public funeral I know but please let us not overlook the needs of the Sata family, they need a break!

THE SPIRIT OF TOGETHERNESS IS COMMENDABLE
The togetherness of Zambians is not only morally right but very biblical. We are not just a bunch of individuals who happen to live in the same area, we are a family. We may have our differences (and they are plenty) but when there is a need, we come to together. As the Easterners will say “manzi yakapwelele nsomba zekanla pamodzi” meaning when the water dries up in the river, the fish comes together.  And this mindset needs to be commended; we have to guard against the western mindset of individualism. Our motto is right One Zambia One Nation.

PEOPLE WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER WHAT YOU LIVED FOR
Listening to people give their thoughts of the late president has been very interesting. Two things stand out by far, the first is that he was a man of action and the second is that he had a heart for the country and wanted to bring infrastructure development. And this can be traced from the time he was governor in the UNIP government all the way to the time he was president in 2014. He was a man who knew what he believed in and lived to faithfully achieve what he believed in. People will always remember us for what we believed in and ultimately lived for. When the late Levy Mwanawasa died, everyone remembered him for his integrity and fight against corruption. What will people remember me for? What will people remember you for? What are you living for?

It is appointed for man to die once and after that stand before God in judgment, for how we lived and whether we pleased him with our lives or not. He will judge us or whether we were reconciled to him and believed in the only solution to our sins- His son Jesus Christ, whom he gave to come and die for our sins that whoever believes in him will not perish but have everlasting life.






LESSONS FROM THE DEATH OF THE PRESIDENT


DEATH IS INEVITABLE
The bible says it is appointed for men to die once and after that judgment (Hebrews 9:27). And though we all know death comes at some point in life and are certain about the reality of death, we are never fully prepared for it; it often leaves us shocked. So was the case with our beloved late president Michael Chilufya Sata. Many people are still in shock even though it was clear that he was quite unwell.  The truth of the matter is, whether we are ready for it or not death comes to all and can come at any time. The Lord of the seasons has appointed a time to be born and a time to die and it comes to all men; the young, the old, the rich and poor, the most important and the not so important. It is appointed for man to die once and after that judgment.

LET’S BE SENSITIVE TO THE FAMILY
There is no doubt the nation has lost its president and is mourning and every citizen is affected one way or the other, regardless of whether you supported or voted for the man or not. This is a national tragedy. Let us also remember that Mr. Sata was not just the president of Zambia, he was first and foremost a husband, a father, a grandfather, a brother and an uncle. The man had a family, people who actually had a very real and close relationship with him and they are grieving more than most of us can even claim. We should be sensitive to their needs and hurts. They are the ones who need the most comfort. It is a public funeral I know but please let us not overlook the needs of the Sata family, they need a break!

THE SPIRIT OF TOGETHERNESS IS COMMENDABLE
The togetherness of Zambians is not only morally right but very biblical. We are not just a bunch of individuals who happen to live in the same area, we are a family. We may have our differences (and they are plenty) but when there is a need, we come to together. As the Easterners will say “manzi yakapwelele nsomba zekanla pamodzi” meaning when the water dries up in the river, the fish comes together.  And this mindset needs to be commended; we have to guard against the western mindset of individualism. Our motto is right One Zambia One Nation.

PEOPLE WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER WHAT YOU LIVED FOR
Listening to people give their thoughts of the late president has been very interesting. Two things stand out by far, the first is that he was a man of action and the second is that he had a heart for the country and wanted to bring infrastructure development. And this can be traced from the time he was governor in the UNIP government all the way to the time he was president in 2014. He was a man who knew what he believed in and lived to faithfully achieve what he believed in. People will always remember us for what we believed in and ultimately lived for. When the late Levy Mwanawasa died, everyone remembered him for his integrity and fight against corruption. What will people remember me for? What will people remember you for? What are you living for?

It is appointed for man to die once and after that stand before God in judgment, for how we lived and whether we pleased him with our lives or not. He will judge us or whether we were reconciled to him and believed in the only solution to our sins- His son Jesus Christ, whom he gave to come and die for our sins that whoever believes in him will not perish but have everlasting life.






LESSONS FROM THE DEATH OF THE PRESIDENT


DEATH IS INEVITABLE
The bible says it is appointed for men to die once and after that judgment (Hebrews 9:27). And though we all know death comes at some point in life and are certain about the reality of death, we are never fully prepared for it; it often leaves us shocked. So was the case with our beloved late president Michael Chilufya Sata. Many people are still in shock even though it was clear that he was quite unwell.  The truth of the matter is, whether we are ready for it or not death comes to all and can come at any time. The Lord of the seasons has appointed a time to be born and a time to die and it comes to all men; the young, the old, the rich and poor, the most important and the not so important. It is appointed for man to die once and after that judgment.

LET’S BE SENSITIVE TO THE FAMILY
There is no doubt the nation has lost its president and is mourning and every citizen is affected one way or the other, regardless of whether you supported or voted for the man or not. This is a national tragedy. Let us also remember that Mr. Sata was not just the president of Zambia, he was first and foremost a husband, a father, a grandfather, a brother and an uncle. The man had a family, people who actually had a very real and close relationship with him and they are grieving more than most of us can even claim. We should be sensitive to their needs and hurts. They are the ones who need the most comfort. It is a public funeral I know but please let us not overlook the needs of the Sata family, they need a break!

THE SPIRIT OF TOGETHERNESS IS COMMENDABLE
The togetherness of Zambians is not only morally right but very biblical. We are not just a bunch of individuals who happen to live in the same area, we are a family. We may have our differences (and they are plenty) but when there is a need, we come to together. As the Easterners will say “manzi yakapwelele nsomba zekanla pamodzi” meaning when the water dries up in the river, the fish comes together.  And this mindset needs to be commended; we have to guard against the western mindset of individualism. Our motto is right One Zambia One Nation.

PEOPLE WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER WHAT YOU LIVED FOR
Listening to people give their thoughts of the late president has been very interesting. Two things stand out by far, the first is that he was a man of action and the second is that he had a heart for the country and wanted to bring infrastructure development. And this can be traced from the time he was governor in the UNIP government all the way to the time he was president in 2014. He was a man who knew what he believed in and lived to faithfully achieve what he believed in. People will always remember us for what we believed in and ultimately lived for. When the late Levy Mwanawasa died, everyone remembered him for his integrity and fight against corruption. What will people remember me for? What will people remember you for? What are you living for?

It is appointed for man to die once and after that stand before God in judgment, for how we lived and whether we pleased him with our lives or not. He will judge us or whether we were reconciled to him and believed in the only solution to our sins- His son Jesus Christ, whom he gave to come and die for our sins that whoever believes in him will not perish but have everlasting life.






Monday, October 27, 2014

ZAMBIA IN 2064- I DARE TO DREAM


Five decades ago our fathers finally gained the independence they had bravely and boldly fought for. They had shed blood, sweat and tears in order that we may be free in our own land. Their desire was to free Zambia; free from the oppression of the colonial master, free from the racial oppression of the white man, free from the political, social and economic enslavement from the British rulers, for this they were willing to face imprisonment and even face death! Oh how they sacrificed, we indeed can only imagine what these brave men and women gave so that we can celebrate our golden jubilee. When we think of Lawrence Katilungu, Donald Siwale, Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula, Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe and Kenneth Kaunda and time and space will fail me if I was mention mama Kankasa and many gallant men and women who gave so much so that we can on 24th October 2014 hold our heads high and confidently sing:
“Stand and sing of Zambia proud and free, land of work and joy in unity, victors in the struggle for the right, we have won freedom’s fight all one strong and free.”

So we are 50 years old today, we praise the work done by our fathers, but we cannot live in the past, we look back in order that we may move forward. Our fathers gave us peace, dignity and freedom. They are the reason we are able to sing:
“One land and one nation is our cry, dignity and peace neath Zambia’s sky, like our noble eagle in its flight, Zambia praise to thee, all one strong and free”

Are we where we ought to be? Is this what our fathers dreamt of? If we got into their minds and tapped into their dream and vision for mother Zambia, would they be proud of us? Would they rejoice with us? Would they be proud to be Zambians?  Have we made the necessary progress for a nation 50 years old? If anything, birthdays are times of reflection and if we were to be honest we are a nation with so much potential and at 50 years we should be realizing that potential.  
We have enjoyed a peaceful 50 years, that is a great achievement for an African country, we are indeed a beacon of light to other countries. We have also managed to live in harmony despite the over 70 tribes in our country. One Zambia one nation is a motto that perfectly describes our beautiful country.

This country is blessed with abundant natural resources yet it is common knowledge that we are actually quite poor and many people live in poverty. We have the potential of being a bread basket for Sub Saharan Africa yet  we have hunger issues, we have the potential to supply power to the region yet millions do not have power supply, we have plenty of rivers yet many in our nation do not have access to clean and safe water, unemployment levels are immense, illiteracy levels are equally shocking, service delivery leaves a lot to be desired, and political parties are still insulting each other, and hacking each other with pangas, campaigns are not issue based and sometimes characterized by violence. Furthermore our politicians still jump from one party to another despite the obvious ideological differences. No wonder corruption is still on the rampage while infrastructure such as roads, street lighting, housing, bridges, hospitals, clinics, schools, town planning, public offices are a light years behind compared to our neighbors.

These are real issues in our country and yes there is light at the end of the tunnel, we can never lose hope. But we have to accept that things are indeed not as they should be. This is not about politics, neither is this about pointing fingers and political affiliations. This is about developing our country. My dream is that politicians from all walks of life and regardless of their affiliations should at least admit we need to improve and develop.  That means that every citizen in this beloved country gives their all. I look forward to a time when our leaders will sit at the same table and argue out their differences with respect and dignity; I look forward to a time when this country will be the bread basket of the region, when our dependence on copper will be no more. I look forward to a time when our infrastructure will be state of the art and next to none. I indeed dream of hospitals and clinics that are stocked with proper machinery, enough and qualified personal and well stocked with medicines such that we won’t need to transport people outside the country for medical attention. I dream of schools that will educate pupils and students with academic and character excellence, schools with qualified teachers, universities and colleges that will produce proper citizens for mother Zambia.

I look forward to a Zambia where the civil servants will be qualified, professional and highly motivated to work. Where the judiciary will be just and independent from the executive, a Zambia where the government and political leaders will be men and women of integrity and accountable to the people, a Zambia where every district, town and village will be lite with power, a Zambia where every house and building is supplied with clean and safe water.

A Zambia where every individual will be God fearing not because we superficially call ourselves a “Christian nation” but because everyone has humbled themselves and surrendered to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Can you imagine what a sight that would be where every individual strives to honor and obey God almighty, a nation where everyone loves the Lord with all their might, while at the same time loving their neighbor as themselves?

Some may say I am delusional, others may call this wishful thinking but I dare to dream, I dare to be different. I am not na├»ve and I know this will not and cannot happen overnight but will take long years, a lot of sacrifice and hard work. It may never happen in my lifetime but for the sake of the future generation I dare to dream and dare to be different, i will do my part but making an impact with my abilities and resources. "Blossom where you are planted" someone has said. So fifty years from now when we clock a century I pray and hope and dream that mother Zambia will not be considered a third world country but a candidate for the G8 and yes even for the United Nations Security Council.  In the meantime I can only echo the chorus of our great national anthem which says:
“Praise be to God… Praise be praise be, freemen we stand, under the flag of our land, Zambia- praise to thee, all one strong and free.”


Tuesday, October 14, 2014

GENERATIONAL CURSES


Generational curses are so huge today such that every problem, struggle or sin is blamed on your ancestors in the past generations. Hence the belief that you will behave like the person you are named after, or that certain problems or sins run in the family are quite prevalent. People fear to be cursed! Walitipwa they would say. We are so steeped into superstition as Zambians so much so that, such a teaching finds fertile soil to breed in.

What is a generational curse?
Those who are “experts” in generational curses define it as “a defilement that was passed down from one generation to another” another one says “a generational sin or curse is the natural consequence of ingrained behavioral patterns passed down from one generation to another” In other words those under generational curses are born destined to commit certain sins because there are demons that are passed on from their ancestors.

Now it is true that they are biological conditions which are hereditary and will run in the family, but it is not the same as generational curses, from what is taught generational curses have to do with behavior and the state of one’s life. And because people are bound or under a spell that runs in the family, there is need for DELIVERANCE! The chains need to be broke, hence the rise of deliverance services among our charismatic brethren, as they summon on higher powers to break the chains that were cast by ancestral spirits in the past.

This teaching has become popular because people do not want to take responsibility for their sins, but would rather blame others. After all popular psychological theories teach us that we are not blame for our actions or behavior, it is the environment or family we were born in. Furthermore the idea of a quick sensational solution is quite appealing to our quick fix mindset.

Passages that deal with generational curses
Exodus 20:5-6  You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments
Exodus 34:6-7 The LORD passed before him and proclaimed, "The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children's children, to the third and the fourth generation."
Numbers 14:17-18 And now, please let the power of the Lord be great as you have promised, saying, 'The LORD is slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, forgiving iniquity and transgression, but he will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, to the third and the fourth generation' And Deuteronomy 5:9- 10 which is a repeat of Exodus 20. What do we learn from what the verses say?

The first thing that jumps out is that a generational curse is God’s judgment on those who reject him and do not obey him. He is a jealous God who visits the iniquity of fathers to the fourth generation. It is therefore the consequences of sin that will affect the descendants and not that they will also continue with the same actions. I.E. the people who were taken into captivity were facing the consequences of their forefathers.

The second is that the Lord is merciful and slow to anger that he blesses to a thousand generation! Whereas he visits sin to a fourth generation his mercy is to a thousand generation. The point of the passages is to actually teach God grace and mercy.
There is nowhere in the bible were it says the devil or demons put curses on people that bind their descendants for generations to come. In fact the devil only does what the Lord allows him to do. (Job and Peter are a case in point)

Furthermore if a generational curse is God’s judgment on people, who has power to undo what the Lord, has done? If the Lord places a curse or judgment on an individual, which man of God can honestly rescue such a one from the hands of the all-powerful God?

What are the problems with this teaching?
It attacks the power and sufficiency of Christ’s work and death on the cross. Christ paid for all our sins; we therefore do not need any deliverance from some fellow sinner. Surely what can be more powerful than the work of God’s son? (Hebrews 10)

This teaching causes people not to take responsibility of their sins. If someone is immoral, the blame is placed on the late uncle who was equally immoral. People sin because they are sinners, who need the grace of God to cleanse them of their sins. (Rom 3:9-13)
As Christians there is no curse, no spell that will require us to run to another man for deliverance. The bible tells us that greater is he that is within us than he that is in the world. (1 John 4:4)


Friday, October 10, 2014

3 THINGS THAT WILL NEVER SATISFY YOU


No matter who you are, where you live and what you do, there is one constant among men; the pursuit of satisfaction! We all want to be satisfied in life, from the person who kills another, to the one who takes his own life. The ultimate reason we do what we do is because we want to be satisfied. The difference lies in where and how we try to fill this craving for satisfaction, some pursue it in church, others in mosques, yet others in night clubs, most in money, some in relationships and a majority in material wealth. Sadly despite the daily pursuit of satisfaction a lot of people are not satisfied, they are still empty inside and their life is one sad journey of chasing after the wind.

The bible gives us an excellent case study of a person who pursued satisfaction in every avenue that he possibly could and still come up short. This man is called Solomon king of Israel. The amount of gold he received annually is worth anything from 1.5 to 2 billion dollars and the man ruled for 40 years! If Solomon lived in our day he could easily be among the top two richest people. The richest at the moment is worth 83 billion dollars. With all the wealth at his disposal, Solomon vainly pursued satisfaction in 3 ways;

GRATIFYING HIS PLEASURES- Ecclesiastes 2:1-3
The man tried his best to fulfill any kind of pleasure that his body longed for. He indulged his sexual desires by marrying 700 wives and had 300 concubines. He tells us that he tried to cheer himself with wine and all kinds of entertainment but to no avail. Today we have all forms of entertainments movies, series, comedies, sports; some go for parties and clubbing where they expect everyone to be laughing, drink alcohol to drown their sorrows, etc. Yet we can never have enough, we always want more.

ENGAGED IN PROJECT- Ecclesiastes 2: 4-8
The second source of satisfaction he went to were projects. And he goes into great detail about what those projects involved – building houses, planting vineyards, gardens, parks and all kinds of fruit trees, making reservoirs to water groves of flourishing trees, buying slaves, owning herds and flocks, amassing silver and gold, acquiring men and women singers, having “. In the light of these projects, he became greater by far than anyone who ever lived in Jerusalem before him. And he clearly was successful at his projects, but they still did not quench his pursuit of satisfaction.

THE POWER OF POSITION- Ecclesiastes 2:9-11
Solomon sought greatness and he found it. He became the greatest and most powerful person of his day; you could say he was a modern day celebrity. And as a might king had the power to get anything he wanted.  He tells us that he denied himself nothing that his eyes desired. He refused his heart no pleasure. He made sure he found joy in everything he did. So, to the outside world, his smile was a cause of no small envy. Yet, he admits that when he stood aside for some quiet meditation, it is striving after the wind. His still craved for lasting satisfaction, for the void was still there.


Is this not what has often shocked the world with our Hollywood film stars? One moment, they are smiling at us from the covers of glossy magazines, but in the next they commit suicide. What happened to those smiles we envied? The truth is God has put a void in every human soul that he alone can fill. Our hearts are restless until they find their rest in God.  Many try to fill that void with the world’s pleasures and find them to be broken cisterns. Are you still on that path? Do not waste your life. True lasting satisfaction is only found in God!

Friday, October 3, 2014

DO NOT LIMIT GOD- MY TESTIMONY


In my walk with the Lord I have noticed a cycle that I never seem to learn from and God never tires teaching me (He is indeed patient and loving father). I often turn to think that when a situation is hard for me or too difficult to deal with, then it must be hard for the Lord as well and amazingly the Lord rebukes me each and every time in ways I never forget. Now you might be thinking such a truth is an obvious one and should be straight forward for any mature Christian, but like most teachings in the bible, it is easier to confess a truth then to actually live it out in ourselves.

Recently I had the opportunity to work with the brethren in Francistown Central Baptist in Botswana. This was my second time going to that country and from my first experience I was highly persuaded that that country is HARD GROUND (whatever the term means). I however wondered on this visit what exactly we mean by “hard ground”? Do mean people are not interested in God or the gospel? Well which lost soul is interested in God or the gospel? The bible in fact says no one seeks after God, they have all gone astray (Rom 3:9-13), so we honestly do not expect dead people to love spiritual things do we? Maybe we say hard ground to suggest they persecute Christians and those who preach the gospel, which cannot be far from the truth, anyone who has been there will bear me witness. Do we say hard ground to mean it’s an Islamic nation and the powers that be are anti-Christianity? Statistics actually 70% of the country’s population is “Christian” (a in a very lose and general meaning of the word). If we however say they are not as religious as Zambia then we are correct, but yet again which country is as religious as our beloved Zambia? And whether or not that has been a blessing or curse is a topic for another discussion.

If anything the real issue in that country is that they have very few conservative evangelical churches that preach the true gospel. The traditional churches with their works salvation are well established, the charismatic churches with their hell condemning prosperity gospel are rampant and so are the cults. And God rebuked me for my shallow and unbiblical thinking. Whereas I was right to admit that I am small and unable, it was nothing short of blasphemy to think that the God who raised an army from dead, decaying, dry bones (Eze 37) is not able to quicken those who clearly seeking to make sense of life and looking for answers to life’s ultimate questions. It is insulting to the Lord of harvest to suggest that there is no hope for a people that Christ died for. It is a clear luck of faith to suggest that the gospel cannot penetrate where the hope sucking work’s salvation of the traditional churches is making headway and the frustratingly depressing prosperity gospel is equally drawing many.

As I sat meditating on the glorious and encouraging fact that nothing is impossible with God, the Lord also brought to memory the many times I have lost hope and made conclusions about people and God’s work and dwelt on the fact that it is difficult or impossible. Then I realized the importance of Christ’s last phrase in the great commission; lo I am with you always (Matt 28:18-20). The miracle working God is with us whenever we labor for His cause. It is no wonder that our labor is never in vain (1 Cor 15:58).


It is no wonder Daniel proclaimed that a people that know their God will be strong and do great exploits (Dan 11:32) and in more recent history William Carey the “father of missions” charged; “Expect great things from God, attempt great thing for God”. What we know of God must propel us to” labor for the master from morn till setting sun and talk of his wondrous love and care”.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

CELEBRITIES AND STARS- A WORRYING TREND IN THE CHURCH


“The English word celebrity derives from the Latin word celebrer, “to frequent” and more remotely from the Latin celer, “to hasten.” The desire for celebrity is, at its heart, the desire of a person to be “frequented”—to turn heads and command the notice of others. To become a celebrity is simply to succeed in being noticed regularly.” (http://dbts.edu/blog/author/msnoeberger/).

We are living in a time of celebrities, superstars and heroes. And it seems the world is divided into two categorizes the celebrities/superstars and those who want/claim to be associated with them. Stardom comes in different ways there are those who are specially gifted (athletes, speakers, musicians, actors etc.) and there are those who have achieved something great (i.e. Mandela, Thomas Edison) but there are yet those who either have LOTS of money (i.e. Carlos Slim, Bill Gates) or hold a public role or office (i.e. Queen Elizabeth, Barak Obama). Those of us who fail to make it in the above categorizes will often try our best to tick in at least one box and when all else fails then we try as much as possible to get associated with the people who are stars. Everyone wants to be noticed and everyone wants to be heard. No wonder we are obsessed with how many people are following us on social media or how many likes and comments we get on our Facebook statues or how many compliments we get about our achievements. The cult hero syndrome is here to stay!

Sadly this is true even in churches and among Christians and pastors! Ministers of the gospel are becoming stars and celebrities at an alarming rate. With the rise of social media we are daily trumpeting our achievements and marketing ourselves (like products). What is even more worrying is how that it is often about our success; how many people came, what we did, the buildings, how well we are doing, how many people follow us etc. Meanwhile the rest of us are busy trying to get as close as we can to them (superstars or wanna be celebrities) and are eager to show or prove our closeness to them and how that they recognise us and they know us and we actually have personal relationships with them. In extreme situations they have become the rule of faith and practice. How often do we refer to some celebrity rather than the bible when discussing how God wants us to live, serve and function as a church? (Am sure you have got my point!)

I think it is important for me to say that I am saying social media is sin or evil. It is in fact a powerful to share the gospel and further the kingdom of God. I thank God for social media. More often than not I find myself checking my motivates and asking why am doing what am doing and checking if I am not simply looking for the praise of men and seeking to puff myself or up lift my image. Paul and John the Baptist were men who had every reason to boast and glory in their influence and success. If they lived in our days they would be great celebrities, they would have millions of followers yet their attitude was anything but that of stars and we can learn from them.

Paul tells the Corinthians; for what we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus' sake… But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us. And who can forget the humbling words of John the Baptist when answered; the one who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom's voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete. He must increase, but I must decrease."





Tuesday, August 5, 2014

SIX THINGS THAT OFTEN BECOME IDOLS- PART 2

last week i proposed that there are six things that often become idols in our lives and we looked at three of them. Here is the second set of potential idols in our lives.
WORK
In line with the love of money is that of work. Some people are workaholics and pride themselves in it. They dream, breath and live work. Now we are supposed to work and do so with excellence, in fact the bible tell us that whatever our heart finds to do we should do it mightily as unto the Lord. Laziness is sin! My concern however is when work takes first priority in our lives and we begin to neglect other important responsibilities such as our worship of God and fellowship with other believers, (Hebrews 10:24-25), playing our role in the building of other believers (Ephesians 4:12-16) and spreading of the gospel to the lost (Matt 20:18-20) these thing s are the reason we exist and it is important to note that God has placed us in our work places so that we might be light. The other responsibility that suffers when idolize work is that of family. When your family is suffering or been neglected because of work then you are not glorifying God. Either you are outside his will or you have misplaced priorities.
CHURCH AND MINISTRIES
This must come as a shock to some, but sadly church and our ministries can easily become idols. It is very possible to love and be dedicated to your church and not be dedicated to the God of the church just as it is possible to be devoted to the bible but not the God of the bible. There are people who love their churches and will give their all to what the church does and its programs yet are totally far away from God. To them the church is just like a club that they are a part of and pay subscription fee. They are willing to defend the church and its confession of faith but yet their faith is not in God. They adore and revere their pastors but have no regard or fear for God. The same can be said about our ministries. We can easily be intoxicated with praise, our ability, our sense of importance and success. At the very core of sin is man’s desire to be on the throne and we seek to build our little empires through the ministries we have regards of the type or size. This is nothing but idolism! I am not in any way saying we should not be committed to the church and our ministries, but we should constantly examine our motives.  
FAMILY
I am a newlywed, so we are a family of two! I love Kunda (my wife) and my love for her keeps growing, but I constantly have to check that I do not love her more than I love God. And the same can be said of the rest of my family. My love for them should not rival my love for God. The moment anyone of them becomes the center of my affection and my life, they have just turned into an idol. Jesus’ answer to the lawyer about what the greatest commandment is should be instructive to us. He said the first is Love the lord your God with your entire mind, heart, strength and soul and the second is likewise, love your neighbor as yourself. Reversing that order is takes God off his throne! And someone has observed your horizontal relationships (with people) will not be healthy if you do not have a healthy vertical relationship (with God).

Exodus 20:2-5 says you shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me.




Tuesday, July 29, 2014

SIX THINGS THAT OFTEN BECOME IDOLS- PART 1


Exodus 20:2-5 says you shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me. Idolatry often sounds like an ancient sin, we normally think it was for the primitive people who carved images for themselves and offered worship. However there are several ways in which we idea worship in the 21st century. In fact I would argue that we are the most idolatrous generation in history. There are several things that often take God’s place in our world today and some of them are good things.
GADGETS
They say people (men really) do not grow; it’s just their toys that get bigger! And I would add more sophisticated. Gadgets in and of themselves are good. Be it cars, phones, laptops, I pads, cameras and all those dangerous things ladies use to beautify themselves, the list is really endless! All these things make life easier and help us become more efficient. They are meant to serve us and help us. However most times we are enslaved to these gadgets and they become our masters. They become the center of our attention, we spend more money on them than we are willing to offer to God’s work and suddenly it feels like we cannot live without them. Sooner or later we find ourselves obsessed with the latest of everything and the need to update and be ahead of others.
ENTERTAINMENT
I love to be entertained! I mean who doesn't? Either via sports, music or movies there is nothing like good entertainment. The just ended world cup in Brazil was simply glorious! And I must confess it left me a bit depressed. It is however alarming how easily we get griped by different forms of entertainments from that captivating series (Jack Bauer!!!), to the soothing captivating music group and not forgetting sports (yes there is nothing captivating about cricket but for the sake of the weaker brethren ). There are times I seem to be way more devoted to my entertainment than I am to my God, I will sacrifice my money, my time and even my energy just to get the desired entertainment. If only we were ready to give the same level of sacrifice to the work God.
MONEY

The love of money is the root of all evil the bible says. There is nothing wrong with making money and working hard to make money, in fact the bible urges us to work hard and invest wisely. The problem comes in when that is all you live for. It is worrying how people’s joy and happiness is determined by how much money they are making, when the money dries up the joy is sucked out of them. Success is equated to how much you make and the size of your bank account. It is no wonder that rich people turn to be the hardest people to reach out to cause money is their god. The Lord warned that you cannot serve money and God. You will love one and disregard the other. It is sad to see people make career decision solely based on how much they will make even at the expense of their spiritual well-being.