What We Have Is Enough

When life gets chaotic, we make excuses by using the ‘if only’ clause. If only I had a friend, money,..What we need is in #WhatWeAlreadyHave

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: (Ephesians 1:3 KJV)

Positive Practice 109: The solutions for any challenge we face is locked up in us – our intuition, our wisdom, our resources, and other intangible things we already have. We even have a back up of spiritual blessings we can download into manifestation in the physical through the actions we take.

What we need is available to us in one form or another. It is up to us, not to make excuses and waste time wishing for what we think we do not have instead of using what we do have to move forward to our desired place.

During stressful times and when we find situations chaotic and challenging, that is the time to rise up to the challenge rather than giving in to the ‘if only clause’. If only I had this or that….

If we have tried everything, and we absolutely cannot solve a problem, then we need to access, the peace, the joy and the sound mind that enables us to live fulfilled in the now while we wait for our future manifestations.

Say with me. “I have everything I need. It is all available to me now in one form or another. I can be at peace. I can move forward”.

Unveil Your Beautiful Soul.

It’s easier to cover a pile of junk- anger, pain, bitterness, low self Esteem on the inside by painting the outside beautiful.

#LiveInsideOut

But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart. (1 Samuel 16:7 KJV)

Positive Practice 108: The time spent working on what is going on inside me is more valuable than the time spent working on what I want people to see on the outside.

When what is on the inside correlates with what is on the outside, life becomes real, fun, authentic, genuine, beautiful, inspiring, fulfilling, healed, no cover ups, simple, priceless, …..that is what I will strive for, everyday.

To live inside out. To be beautiful on the inside first and to reflect that on the outside. To look at all the junk life has served me and to decline, to abstain from dining at that table in that darkness.

To choose what I fill up with and to glow with the vitality of the light of my beautiful soul.

I pray the same for you.

We Will Get There

Our confidence is higher when it is not only in ourselves but also in what we’ve been promised by one who never fails. #WeWillGetThere

In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory. (Ephesians 1:13, 14 KJV)

Positive Practice 106: Have you ever experienced that utter feeling of disappointment when someone who has made a promise to you fails to come through at the crucial moment?
It is very upsetting and cripples trust in other people.
It is important however to know that the success of your life is not only dependent on you and on what others will possibly fail to do for you or on what you can do for yourself.
We must be free from fear of failure because we have insurance and assurance that at the right time, in the right way, what we need will be provided to get us there, to the place of success. We are sure of the promises that confirm that what we yearn for and seek after will inevitably be delivered. That challenges in the now should not faze us. Why?
Because we have been guaranteed by one we know can never fail that victory will be ours.
God is not a man that he should lie. Has he said it? Then it will surely come to pass irrespective of how weak or unqualified we feel in ourselves in the now. He has guaranteed his promises in our lives by leaving a deposit, a pre or foretaste of it in our hearts by his Spirit.
We know deep down that God is with us and if he is with us now then whatever he has promised will surely come to pass. We therefore can face today and tomorrow confidently. His promises never fail.

Loved Into Being

To be loved is a feeling like no other. It’s the basis of knowing we’re special. We ‘fit’ no matter what. #GodIsLove

1 John 4:16-18 KJV

And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.

Positive Practice 105: Each Hunan Life is precious. So much preparation went into creating this stage called life even before you were purposefully made and despatched to fulfill your part in it.

You are no ordinary person. You are made for purpose. Even the hairs on your head are numbered.
Without knowing that you were conceived, planned, designed by divine intelligence, you will live underestimating how much you matter.

You were loved into being. You live and move in love. It made reservations for you before you arrived. You are the guest of honour of your life. You fit perfectly in place in this realm of time and space. Don’t sit quietly at the back.Come on up and take your reserved place.

Don’t be afraid. It’s all pre-planned. Choose to respond from the basis of who you are, not what has happened or is happening to you.

As you respond from the capacity of love, of specialness, of a right to be here, circumstances no matter how adverse will respond accordingly.

Salute that same divine intelligence in everyone you meet especially yourself. Respect the love that made you and honour it. Perfect love casts out all fear.

Nothing is out of control. Nothing exists except what exists in God, in love. That is the source of all power and it is at work in you today.

Have a special, happy and blessed day.

Working With Your Spouse in Business and / or Ministry

An Excerpt from my upcoming book:
Married, Successful & Embracing Life: A Godly Woman’s place in a changing world.

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When a husband and wife work together, because they are married, it is difficult for the people who work with them to give equal measure or weight to the authority of both husband or wife. Whereas one will be celebrated, it is most likely the other will be tolerated to a certain extent. He or she may not necessarily be disrespected but will not be celebrated equally as the spouse.

This however does not have to be the case. Most spouses expect others to celebrate their partner  merely because they are married to them and not necessarily because of their own merit in the ministry or business.

As a pastor’s wife, my experience in interacting with church members has been two -fold. There are those who relate with me more in the capacity of the specific work I do in the ministry. They are not surprised or lackadaisical in attitude towards any requests I make of them in the line of my duties in church.

Then there are others, who are generally respectful, do not personally dislike me but do not necessarily take my requests as seriously except it comes to them directly from my husband. Even where he tells them,’I want you to undertake this task with my wife’, they find it difficult to accord it the same weight as they would a task directly supervised by him.

It is not difficult to understand why this is so. The systems of work are designed to work operationally with one leader to whom everyone assigned to the task answers. Although that leader may also be responsible to another, those under him or her in the daily cause of events do not answer to the higher authority. How many line managers do you have at work? One. You only go above them to talk to their line manager if you are invited to do so and that will be a rare occurrence and not an everyday matter. In most organisations, the manager who will supervise an employee is integrally part of the recruitment process and the employees knows who they are answerable to from the start. There is no confusion about it. Imagine if another manager who is not your line manager keeps giving you tasks to undertake everyday? You will either have to be seeking constant clarification from your line manager about these ‘extra tasks’ or out of deference, you will put those task to the bottom of the pile to be worked on when you have some time to spare. Those tasks just don’t carry as much weight as the tasks given directly by your line manager. It is even worse if those tasks are coming from the spouse of your line manager who operationally does not have a clear line of authority as far as everyday operational matters of the business are concerned. This is the dilemma church members or most ministerial staff have with the Pastor’s wife.

Spouses in business must decide which areas of the business are under whose jurisdiction, and must give each other the authority to groom and work with their own teams or the workers without undue interferences from each other. This does not mean they are not in agreement. It means they are business like, serious minded and respectful of each other, the staff and the vision of the business. Their joint oversight should be more visionary than operational. Not only does this not confuse the staff, it ensures the absence of one spouse micro – managing the other thereby inadvertently undermining their authority, confidence and ability to elicit the required responses from those they have to work with. It might lead to some inefficiencies where they are more than one staff member or employee undertaking the same task. For example, we may not be able to have two human Resource or Personnel departments in one organisation. Such a department should be separate and not directly under the supervision of either spouse’s area of operation but must be able to meet the needs of the organisation as whole.

I once worked with a couple who run an Arts organisation. Although both husband and wife were seen by the staff as jointly responsible for the vision and direction of the organisation, the husband worked with the non artistic staff, dealing with issues of finance and marketing etc while the wife was in charge of the creative artistic , day to day operational work. There was an administrative head or manager who handled all matters administrative and was not under the direct leadership of only one of the spouse. They worked beautifully together and even when they had to do some tweaking of the systems along the way. I have met other couples who seem to work with this same style. When carefully observed, the lines of demarcation, supervision and shared authority were very clear. The staff members work out for themselves who it is that has the overriding authority, in relation to their day to day work, there is no confusion about who each person is accountable to. Where one spouse is always doing the directing and the instructing, the other spouse feels like an employee and does not garner the respect and loyalty of those working directly under him or her, it affects their output and enthusiasm. they cannot take ownership. Business is not an extension of the home where the man is the head and must micro manage everything. It requires discussion and agreement for each spouse to be effective in their particular area of the business. It is often easier to make these distinctions in secular business world than in ministry.

Most ministries are run voluntarily. There is a strong awareness of the authority of the head pastor. This is most often the man or husband. It is very clear that all other authorities in the church or ministry derive from him. Where there are associate pastors, they all seek to be directly accountable to the head pastor if at all possible. They will like a direct endorsement from him in respect of their contributions and tasks. It is even often the case that even with clearly drawn lines of a hierarchy of responsibility, the head pastor through the frequent ministerial interactions with the flock through weekly sermons and other public duties is seen by the flock as the one with the ultimate say in all matters and they will go back to him time and again to clarify tasks assigned by others. Most head pastors are so used to this way of running heir ministries that they even demand it to be so and are very uncomfortable with people exercising a certain level of initiative and independent leadership. Unlike the CEO of a business, people at all levels in the ministry tend to have access to him unless systems are intentionally put in place to limit such access. People fight being asked to go through laid down departmental lines. This in itself is a challenge for those leaders working under the head Pastor, like associate Pastors and heads of departments. Their empowerment for effective functioning is often not consistent. It is not long before they realise that ‘they can do nothing without the head pastor’. Those that are empowered without checks also often develop their own following and cliques and some will take opportunity to go off and become head pastors of their own denomination. This has led to the proliferation of churches on one hand and the tightening of control inadvertently by some head pastors on the other hand so as to prevents splits in their congregations. It’s a double edged sword which stagnates the growth of many ministries and fosters a lot of insecurities both in the Heads and the Associates.

For most pastors who work with their wives or husbands in ministry, the issue for the supporting spouse becomes twofold. For the purposes of this discussion lets, say the supporting spouse is the wive. Her role from the beginning is an off shoot of her role as a wife. She is a supporting partner in ministry. Her role in church starts off as an extension of her role at home, whereas for her husband it is a career, it is not necessarily so for her personally. This is alright if she does not feel called to public ministry herself, then she can gradually find her way as the mother of the flock. She has no formal roles to play except as the wife of the Pastor. She is therefore satisfied being accorded the respect and honour as an extension of the respect and honour accorded her husband. She is usually not seen by the members as necessarily distinct in her own right as separate from her husband. She does not necessarily have operational responsibility for an aspect of the ministry and does not require a distinct clear line of responsibility or authority without operational interference from her husband as is the case of an associate pastor. She has no department or team working under her.

As you and I know, this is rarely the case. There are many Pastors wives running, the women’s ministry of their churches. Some lead the children’s departments or the choir or undertake administrative tasks. At another level, some are preachers and pastors themselves. The dilemma however is that there is often never a clear transition from being simply the wife of the pastor to being a minister or associate pastor in the church. Unlike other associates, she has a mishmash of responsibilities with no clearly defined roles and a team to accomplish any particular task with. Most of the people working with her will go over her head to seek constant clarification from her husband, the head pastor. Her instructions even when she is undertaking a task are often not handled with the same weight as her husbands except perhaps by those specifically assigned to work with her if any. This is the norm in most churches and it is frustrating for most Pastor’s wives. They feel patronised, tolerated and not celebrated in their own right. They are one with their husbands and yet do not carry the same authority as he does in the church. They are also unlike an associate because they are seen as the dormant extension of the husband with no clear jurisdiction of their own. They have to live within an uncomfortable no mans land where the rules are not clear either to them or to the members and they are expected to exercise decorum, be great achievers, peaceful but enterprising at the same time. Many Pastors wives are confused but making the best of it after all, they are the Pastors wife, a privileged cosseted position to be in. Many a pastors wife after years of ministry, if marital problems have spilled over from the privacy of their homes in to the church feel ostracised as people really let loose and let them know that the respect and tolerance they have enjoyed over the years has not necessarily been for them as individuals but has been because of their husbands.

There are many wives who are gifted and want to express these giftings in their own right, but within the ministry have to fight patronising behaviours and overt disrespect not only from the members of the congregation but also often from their own spouse who has to be the one directing and instructing others on her behalf if she is to be able to galvanise any real support for what she is doing.

There are pastor’s wives who decide to exert their own influence, stand up and contribute their specific particular gifting. They are often seen as brash, pushy, competitive, opportunistic particularly if she makes demand not through her husband but directly enforces the authority she believes she has.

Husbands therefore have a job to do, if they really do want their wives to be fulfilled in ministry working with them. This refers only to women who above and beyond their role as wives believe they have a calling and a ministry to fulfil as well. They have to work with the husbands to create systems that do not undermine the husbands authority as the husband and the head of the church but also empowers the woman to stand in her own right where she is celebrated for what she brings to the table and not merely tolerated as the pastor’s wife in her attempts to use her giftings and callings. If a Pastor’s wife has skills that in a secular work command a certain cooperation, allowance and respect, then in her use of that same gifting in the ministry must be accorded the same due deference. Perhaps due to the complexity of her combined role as the wife of the Pastor and also as a minister in the ministry, we need to allow such wives to develop their own teams to work with in addition to the laid down structures in the ministry.

Perhaps they need opportunities to deploy their giftings outside the church where they serve so that those gifts can be seen as independent of the husbands callings and giftings but only after they have fully satisfied their wifely roles within their home ministries.

Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered. (1 Peter 3:7 KJV)

First and foremost a wife’s place with her husband is a place of honour, not lip service, not a patronising role, not simply respected out of duty. Honour cannot be faked. Honour is higher than respect. Honour exudes unforced to the person who deserves it. Honouring someone requires a voluntary acquiescence to the fact that they merit such honour. Before honour can be given to the wife, the husband must dwell with her according to knowledge both of her person and of her role. Her person includes her identity, her makeup, her giftings, her calling which are uniquely hers and not what a system says they are or are not. Her role must be carved from that uniqueness.

Her ‘weaker vessel’ does not mean what she carries is inferior. It just means her packaging is different. Her packaging is subject to harm. Her packaging makes her vulnerable. You will never know a woman’s vulnerability until you are aware of what she carries. You don’t throw rocks at a glass house same as you can do to a brick house. The glass house will break. Don’t expect your wife in ministry alongside you to fit into a system that everyone else working in ministry with you fits into. Don’t also patronise her by insisting people honour her beyond her role as your wife. For them to honour her capacities and abilities, they must be exposed to it.

A wife who works in a secular job will not need her husband there to tell people what she can or cannot do. She will be paid her salary based on her performance as a person. If she is a manager, she will have a team working under her which her husband does not need to directly interfere with even if he is the CEO of the organisation. Why should this be different for women in public ministry with their husbands? If you protect the glass house but never really open it up for its true contents to be seen, it can never really be honoured. In fact thieves will be tempted to break through ( and that is how adultery and other forms of unfaithfulness and disillusionment with ministry happens for some women), or it contents will break out without permission. If it truly contains treasure which is useful beyond the remit of the home, then that treasure must be allowed to have full expression just like any other if it is to be employed in ministry.

Honour your wife by differentiating between her role as your wife and her role as your partner in ministry. The two overlap, but they are not the same. Because of the uniqueness and complexity of combining both roles, don’t force your spouse to comply and fit into systems that don’t work for her. Set her free to be herself. Let her develop her own team, and let her gain the respect of those that work with her.

Anyone who is serious about working with their wives in ministry must be willing to let her unique and personal identity be exposed. She should not only be an appendage of her husband. She does not need to be in ministry to be that. She just needs to be his wife if that is all he wants. If you are serious about her working in ministry, then let her with your help set up systems that work for her. Let her manage those systems. Let her be free to be herself.

Should a Woman be in Public Ministry? ( A 3-Part Series) – Part 3

(Concluding the series. See previous posts for the Introduction and Parts 1 & 2 of the series)

Should a Woman be in Public Ministry? ( A 3-Part Series)

An Excerpt from my upcoming book,

Married, Successful & Embracing Life: A Godly Woman’s  place in a changing world.

Part 3

Why would God throughout the scriptures secure a woman’s position so much? It must be because of what women carry, what is embedded in them and the weaknesses of the structure carrying this treasure which only the Maker himself knows.  It is a purposeful weakness designed by God to invoke care, responsibility and affection in the man, and a willingness in the woman to submit to the man. It demands that she be in agreement with the man who is  to be held responsible for the disbursement of the treasures God has loaded up in her. A woman is her family’s spiritual vault. She holds and carries the future’s promise. That future cannot be indebted to anyone or mortgaged haphazardly. It must be protected. In fact, God told Eve that her seed shall bruise the serpent’s head. Powerful! But that discussion is for another day.

These arrangements do not make women, second class citizens. On the contrary, it makes them the best place for treasure to be hidden. A safe bank that does not run dry and will carry it’s household through dire situations to the very end. The very term ‘help meet’ is a term used in scripture to describe God himself, to describe the function of his Holy Spirit. I always say a woman is like an ambulance, while God is the Hospital. She is a mini – equipped facility capable of sustaining life. In scripture, God always calls for women when the situation is very bad and emergency measures have to be instituted. We are in such a time today. God is calling for his women. We better be well prepared to step out properly or the consequences will be dire, both on ourselves, on our marriages and families, communities and the world at large if we are thoughtless in our approach. We better get well organised.

So the bible makes no qualms about the exact nature of the woman. It  tells husbands;

‘Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered’. (1 Peter 3:7 KJV).

Why will God ask that something inferior be honoured? He won’t.  He doesn’t. A woman is not inferior to the man. She and he are heirs together of God’s promises. She simply houses their joint treasure in the weakness of her vessel. The treasure must be honoured and the vessel must be protected. With your husband in your corner with you, woman, the sky is the limit. Can two walk together except they be agreed? That is a question the bible asks.

It also tells us this; Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. (Matthew 18:19 KJV).

What a powerful promise. This is God’s way of ensuring that the assignment will truly be executed at the time when ‘God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth’. (Genesis 1:28 KJV)

Divorce therefore is not a light matter as far as God is concerned. The casting away of a woman leaves her vulnerable, uncovered in the cold. God hates divorce. He sees it as ‘dealing treacherously with the wife of your youth’. That is why, a woman never leaves to find the man to marry. She is protected at all times. The man has the responsibility to leave, his mother and his father and to go find his wife and not live with her as two people but cover her, give her an identity and confirm her manifestation and calling.

A woman comes loaded with favour which she brings to the man that marries her. ‘Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the  Lord’. (Proverbs 18:22 KJV). If your husband cannot confirm your calling, it is not ready to be manifested or else you will destroy your marriage as well as yourself. Leave it to God to sort it out. Don’t bulldoze your way through. If he confirms it, then the responsibility is on him to keep you covered. If you go out of your way on your own, you step outside God’s insurance policy.

Do you know that Adam named his wife twice? First he called her ‘Woman’ – bone of my bones, cornerstone of my bones, best bone of my bones. Flesh of my flesh because she was taken out of man. This was her identity based on what happened in the past before he met her. This was what he was searching for in a wife. This is the part of her he had no hand in moulding. Woman, you are and were somebody before you met your husband. You are uniquely, independently, who God made you, with skills, abilities, opinions, visions, and the like. These must be recognised and identified by the one who is to marry you.  You don’t loose it just because you married them. They are parts of you that still require confirmation and expression even in your marriage. A good man will name it  just as it is. After all, it is what attracted him to you in the first place.

Secondly, Adam named her ‘Eve’ because she will be the ‘mother of all living’. – according to her future prophetic destiny. How did he know? He took it straight out of the mandate God pronounced upon them in the day he made them, while Eve’s core structure was still embedded in Adam. As for God he gave them one name ‘Adam’, a symbol of their unity and oneness. The division of task was up to them. He never said, this is what a woman is to do and this is what a man is to do. That kind of thinking defeats progress. Tasks must be divided according to ability and function. As for God, He gave them the same blessing with regards to fruitfulness, dominance and replenishing the earth. Adam could not do it without Eve and she will be unable to do it without him. A woman’s future explosion is joint to her husband, irrespective of how personally endowed and gifted she is. The ribs holds the sensitive parts of the upper body in place. Mechanically, God gave the two beings that make up Adam part of the one same rib cage. It is in being one that their upper, better life is held up together and stays in place. It is up to them to learn how to execute this mandate both within the union and in the world at large.

So Paul wisely admonishes that he does not permit a woman to teach until she has learnt well. At the time of his statement, girls and women culturally did not have the benefit of education, careers and the like in the same capacity as boys and men did. The ones able to teach the gospel without mistakes were the men who themselves had to be taught by other men. So the order was set that church leadership, formally had to be the domain of men. We have verses like ‘a Bishop should be the husband of one wife’ which some automatically use to eliminate any chances of a woman ever being a Bishop even in these modern times. For a woman to learn in Paul’s days, she had to be taught most likely by her husband. For a woman to teach, which was nigh impossible, she had to have learnt well. Not only the subject matter of the gospel but also all that pertains to her place as a woman, a godly woman. The bible has records of men who took it upon themselves to teach without first learning and Paul was careful to warn against them.

‘For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears. (Acts 20:29-31 KJV).

He also made sure that those he taught were also faithful to teach others to lead.

And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. (2 Timothy 2:2 KJV). 

Unfortunately because of the prevailing culture, the focus was always on teaching men.

There were women that cracked it though. There were women in ministry alongside Paul. He plainly talked about them in scripture. Paul was not forbidding women from ever preaching the gospel or teaching others, both men and women in public. The bible bears record of Priscilla and Aquila, a couple who taught and preached the Gospel and had a church at their home. It mentions the woman first and clearly attributes the ‘teaching’ jointly to her.

Paul wrote, ‘Greet Priscilla and Aquila my helpers in Christ Jesus: Likewise greet the church that is in their house. Salute my well beloved Epaenetus, who is the firstfruits of Achaia unto Christ’. (Romans 16:3, 5 KJV).

The bible clearly records this couple re- teaching a man how to preach the gospel. ‘And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus. This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John. And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly’. (Acts 18:24-26 KJV). These two, according to the bible even travelled with Paul.

In fact, there were some of the women preaching alongside Paul who manifested ‘women problems’ as if to proof his point.  ‘I plead with Euodia and I plead with Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord.  Yes, and I ask you, my true companion, help these women since they have contended at my side in the cause of the gospel, along with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life’. (Philippians 4:2, 3 NIV)

It was and still is that the sanctity of the gospel has to be upheld, that the structure of marriage be preserved and that a woman be honoured and protected as per the design of God. Since the operative word is ‘learn’, I can confidently say that I am yet to see a student who stays in school forever.  Every student must graduate at some point or be reckoned as having failed their evaluations and therefore unable to practice what they have been training for. In these modern times, education is equally available to Women in most cultures. A woman who has learnt well and is recognised not only as gifted but called of God, must be validated both by her husband and by those in authority over her and must be allowed and supported to practice and teach what she has learnt. She must be free to lead and have a dominant sphere of Influence to the glory of the wise God who made her and in his wisdom decided to load her with her giftings, talents and abilities.

The conclusion of Proverbs 31, a passage about the virtuous woman, a woman who exhibits her prowess not only at home but outside the home with the full support of her husband could not be more apt when it says the following; ‘Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praiseth her. Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all. Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the  Lord , she shall be praised. Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates. (Proverbs 31:28-31 KJV).

Her own works means just that ‘her own works’. It is the works that praise her, not her pushy, disrespectful, bulldozing ways, neither is it a made up camouflage of other people’s work. Her works are also not limited to her home. They are known at the ‘gates’, the places of power, of authority, of influence and decision making. She is not excluded from the marketplaces of the world.

There are great women that had public ministries both in the old Testament and in the new. They preached, they taught, and some even killed enemy kings right in the comfort of their homes. Women worked along side Jesus Christ himself. He did not undermine them. He respected their marriages.  He saw them as women of substance for ‘they ministered to him out of their substance, even Mary, out of whom seven devils had to be cast out.

And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village, preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with him, And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils, And Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others, which ministered unto him of their substance. (Luke 8:1-3 KJV)

These women and more, followed him publicly right to his death. They did not leave his side. They carried the message of the resurrection. How proud God must be of his daughters.

And there followed him a great company of people, and of women, which also bewailed and lamented him. But Jesus turning unto them said, Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children. For, behold, the days are coming, in the which they shall say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the paps which never gave suck. Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills, Cover us. For if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry? (Luke 23:27-31 KJV).

The bible tells us this: ‘The Lord announces the word, and the women who proclaim it are a mighty throng:    Kings and armies flee in haste; the women at home divide the plunder.    Even while you sleep among the sheep pens, the wings of my dove are sheathed with silver, its feathers with shining gold. (Psalm 68:11-13 NIV)

It is important that women are allowed and supported to take their place publicly or else the church will continue to limp with its side remaining unhealed. Women who seek public ministry, must do the work of submission, of learning in silence, and cutting off all the excesses, the flagrant displays of wantoness and disrespect of holy order that is so common nowadays. There is a call back to the threshing floor.

‘And thou, O tower of the flock, the strong hold of the daughter of Zion, unto thee shall it come, even the first dominion; the kingdom shall come to the daughter of Jerusalem. Arise and thresh, O daughter of Zion: for I will make thine horn iron, and I will make thy hoofs brass: and thou shalt beat in pieces many people: and I will consecrate their gain unto the Lord, and their substance unto the Lord of the whole earth’. (Micah 4:8, 13 KJV)

A woman’s place is where God has destined her to be. She must learn, develop and occupy her place until he comes back for his bride.

Should a Woman be in Public Ministry? ( A 3-Part Series) – Part 2

(See previous posts for the Introduction and Part 1 of the series)

An Excerpt from my upcoming book,

Married, Successful & Embracing Life: A Godly Woman’s  place in a changing world.

Part 2

The first time we hear the woman speak in the bible was with the serpent. Her knowledge was tested and Adam was no where around and she failed on a minor point. The word ‘but’ was her downfall. Something went wrong with her communication systems. She was using speech to organise her thoughts when her thoughts should have been organised prior. She got God’s rules messed up. When the devil said did ‘God say…..?’.  She should have said, ‘My husband said…’. Then there would have been no confusion because she physically was not present when God gave this instruction. Every married woman, before she can say ‘God said’,  must be clear on what her husband says, because he is responsible for what she says. If you don’t like what your husband said, take it up with God. Let him vindicate you. Don’t  speak to other people not even the devil in an authoritative conclusive manner on a subject matter you are not fully versed in until you are clear on what the main person who will bear the consequences with you thinks on the matter. This was Eve’s mistake.  The voices and opinions of third parties can cloud your intuition and your judgement and you will misrepresent the very God who made you and will drag others including your husband into your causes, making them subject to God’s judgement and the consequences of your action.

It is from this basis that Paul’s writings make sense.

‘Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. For Adam was first formed, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression’. (1 Timothy 2:11-14 KJV).

It is important to notice that the scriptures say ‘the man’ not a man. To every woman, there is the man. A woman is not to be subject to every man simply because he is man and she is a woman.

The emphasis in the above scripture is on the word Learn.  That is the operative all important word in that scriptural verse. A woman’s first assignment is to learn or discover and know who God made her to be in quietness of reflection, study and prayer. If she goes on to marry, it is her responsibility to choose well, a man she knows she can submit to. It is her responsibility to learn the boundaries and requirements of that relationship and how best she can fulfil them satisfactorily. In agreement with her husband she can then learn the rudiments of whatever trade, career, profession, calling, office outside her home that does not conflict with what her husband is willing to be jointly responsible and accountable with her to God for.

Every woman who God used had her husband or the head of her household mentioned, unless she was unmarried.  Jesus had women followers, women disciples who were not in the forefront in due reverence to their marriages. Even where a woman is more learned than her husband they must together come to an agreement about her boundaries before she proceeds to do ‘her thing’ outside the home. This is a safeguard for her.

A woman who has not learnt well will communicate falsehood for which not only she herself is accountable but her husband too. God holds a man accountable for himself but he also holds a man accountable for his wife and his household. Any thing done by them which he is aware of will if necessary become his debt to pay.

Through wisdom is an house builded; and by understanding it is established: (Proverbs 24:3 KJV)

As can be seen from scripture, Joshua, the man of God made choices that covered he and  all members of his household.

‘And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord’. (Joshua 24:15 KJV)

The scriptures leaves no woman or girl uncovered.

Now she that is a widow indeed, and desolate, trusteth in God, and continueth in supplications and prayers night and day. But she that liveth in pleasure is dead while she liveth. And these things give in charge, that they may be blameless. But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel. (1 Timothy 5:5-8 KJV)

Anything you speak out of your mouth, whether you are a woman or a man, you must be ready to stand by those words and their consequences too.

‘When thou shalt vow a vow unto the Lord thy God, thou shalt not slack to pay it: for the Lord thy God will surely require it of thee; and it would be sin in thee. But if thou shalt forbear to vow, it shall be no sin in thee. That which is gone out of thy lips thou shalt keep and perform; even a freewill offering, according as thou hast vowed unto the Lord thy God, which thou hast promised with thy mouth’. (Deuteronomy 23:21-23 KJV)

God’s insurance policy is such that, if you are unmarried as a woman, you are covered by your father or the father figure to whom you submit. He is held responsible for all your mistakes. If you are married then it is your husband. What they disallow within the remit of their responsibility and you continue to do, you must pay for yourself.

If a man vow a vow unto the Lord, or swear an oath to bind his soul with a bond; he shall not break his word, he shall do according to all that proceedeth out of his mouth. If a woman also vow a vow unto the Lord, and bind herself by a bond, being in her father’s house in her youth; And her father hear her vow, and her bond wherewith she hath bound her soul, and her father shall hold his peace at her: then all her vows shall stand, and every bond wherewith she hath bound her soul shall stand. But if her father disallow her in the day that he heareth; not any of her vows, or of her bonds wherewith she hath bound her soul, shall stand: and the Lord shall forgive her, because her father disallowed her. And if she had at all an husband, when she vowed, or uttered ought out of her lips, wherewith she bound her soul; And her husband heard it, and held his peace at her in the day that he heard it: then her vows shall stand, and her bonds wherewith she bound her soul shall stand. But if her husband disallowed her on the day that he heard it; then he shall make her vow which she vowed, and that which she uttered with her lips, wherewith she bound her soul, of none effect: and the Lord shall forgive her. But every vow of a widow, and of her that is divorced, wherewith they have bound their souls, shall stand against her. And if she vowed in her husband’s house, or bound her soul by a bond with an oath; And her husband heard it, and held his peace at her, and disallowed her not: then all her vows shall stand, and every bond wherewith she bound her soul shall stand. But if her husband hath utterly made them void on the day he heard them; then whatsoever proceeded out of her lips concerning her vows, or concerning the bond of her soul, shall not stand: her husband hath made them void; and the Lord shall forgive her. Every vow, and every binding oath to afflict the soul, her husband may establish it, or her husband may make it void. But if her husband altogether hold his peace at her from day to day; then he establisheth all her vows, or all her bonds, which are upon her: he confirmeth them, because he held his peace at her in the day that he heard them. But if he shall any ways make them void after that he hath heard them; then he shall bear her iniquity. These are the statutes, which the Lord commanded Moses, between a man and his wife, between the father and his daughter, being yet in her youth in her father’s house’. (Numbers 30:2-16 KJV)

Some see the above scripture as archaic, part of the Old Testament laws that should be discarded, thinking it allows the handling of a woman as a property, or a possession and not an equal. On the contrary, instead of objectifying women, I rather see it as placing value on them beyond normal human equality. It indemnifies them. It allows them to wait until they are fully ready, to bear the responsibility for their actions before the consequences are imputed to them.

Should a Woman be in Public Ministry? ( A 3-Part Series) – Part 1

 

(See the introduction in the Previous Post)

An Excerpt from my upcoming book,

Married, Successful & Embracing Life: A Godly Woman’s  place in a changing world.

Part 1

The issue of a woman’s creation. Have you ever thought about the fact that the bible has no recorded information of a discussion between God and the woman from the moment she was created to the moment she was presented to the man as his wife?  Even when Adam said ‘this is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh, she shall be called woman’, she still did not make a speech. It is highly improbable that she was made mute. It is rather most likely that God did have a conversation with her prior to taking her to the man. If this happened it must not have been recorded for our benefit, for a good reason.

There is something about the silence surrounding the making and unveiling of the woman that speaks louder than words.  Adam had to be put to sleep during the process of her making. The very structure of her make up was developed in silence, in secret, prior to her unveiling to the man.

A God prepared kind of woman is a very spiritual, intuitive, silently moulded, knowingly wise creature. Most of a woman’s communications are internal, feelings oriented and spiritual. Until a woman organises her internal processes, until she gets that right and unconfused, when she starts to speak, it is almost always a nigh disaster.  She will use speech as an organising process instead of a communicative one. To repeat, I do not for one second believe that God did not communicate or speak to the woman after he made her. I do not believe she was made mute. I believe she must have been told about herself, her purpose and her mission in the quiet place of the spirit. She had an organised, upright internal system which was not confused otherwise, there will have been no way she would have remained quiet even after Adam spoke. She would have had some questions or at least some responses. Most women with unresolved questions and feelings will find it next to impossible to make no responses to a ‘deep’ declaration like the one Adam made.

The manifestation of the woman’s purpose was linked to the man whose wife God made her to be. It is in and through that relationship therefore that the initiation and outdooring of all of that she is will begin. It is in speaking however, that Adam begins the process of Eve’s manifestation. He introduces her. It is in speaking also that Adam takes responsibility for not only identifying the awesomeness and full hidden potential of the woman God had given him but also takes responsibility for every mistake she will ever make. Eve had no need to speak. It is in her silence that she gives her assent to his leadership. I can sense some feminine protestations now. Don’t think for a minute that this was wholly a limitation on Eve, it was in fact an insurance for her protection.

Speech requires responsibility. Words are spirit and life. What we say we must take responsibility for. God spoke the world into being. The responsibility of the performance of his word was with him. In fact, God said in his word, ‘the words that I speak will not return to me void’. In other words, words are unseen servants, they are sent to accomplish tasks, for which the one sending them is ultimately responsible.  Remember Adam’s prior mandate…‘whatever he called it so became its name’.  He had to name all the animals and created things. By so doing he took responsibility for their maintenance and upkeep.

Eve in a sense was no stranger to Adam. The molecular structure for her being was taken out from him presupposing that she was part of him at the time that God made him and sealed his instruction and his blessing. In fact the bible tells us that ‘Male and female created he them; and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created’. (Genesis 5:2 KJV). 

The responsibility for a woman is not like any other. Someone will ask, why should someone even have responsibility for the woman? Isn’t she capable of taking responsibility for herself? God is not the author of confusion. Responsibility is a function of assignment or task. Where there is a task to be accomplished, someone must be held ultimately accountable. Everything God made has a purpose, a task attached to it. Apart from the responsibility of each to operate according to their design, there must be someone each is subject to and accountable to in relation to the task. There must be one clear servant leader.  This is why every single creature on earth became a partaker in ‘one man’s sin’. It is also why salvation has been set through one man, Jesus Christ. Ultimate responsibility in any relationship, group or organisation should be traceable to one person. In a marriage relationship God chose the man as this person simply because he was made first.

A woman’s quiet spirit is the medium through which she receives Godly revelation, wisdom and strength from God. God cannot speak to a chaotic woman. It is against his very design of her. A quiet spirit does not mean a quiet, mousy temperament. It simply means a woman in control of her inner self and having the ability to yield that inner self to God and to her husband so as to be impacted by them.

Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands’.(1 Peter 3:1-5 KJV)

A woman is not property, nor is she similar to other animate or inanimate things that can be considered as property to be set aside at will. She is an independent, thinking, speaking, feeling, human made to be linked to man (to be his suited, tailored helper) for whom man had to take responsibility and be accountable to God for. Man had to be awakened from a deep sleep, to name her. He had to identify her, accept her, proclaim her substance and purpose in her hearing all in one speech.  ‘

And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man’. (Genesis 2:23 KJV).

Silence and deep spiritual work is not only limited to women. To qualify to speak to the woman and in the presence of God, Adam had to be put into silence, into a deep sleep, into the same dimension within which the woman was made. He then had to be awakened to recognise her, to enable him speak out her right identity. Remember, he was asleep, he couldn’t have known what was taken out of him except by a spiritual revelation. We have many men today, who are reluctant to  spend time in silent contemplation, in learning, prayer and humility to do the work on themselves needed in order to lead and be responsible for a woman. They are unaware at a deep level of what their wives are made of and cannot buy into the spirit to call forth her identity. They name her according to their need not according to the substance she is made of nor can they call her up to that substance if she falls short. They name her, housewife, mother of my children, lover, cook, helper, these are all good but they only speak to her function, not her substance and so we have many hardworking women who are depleted and weary because their core identity has never been identified. They have no rest, no security. They have no way of resourcing what they are sourcing out everyday because the lid is still firmly shut in the leader, the one responsible for them.

Worse, there are Adams that name their wives within the same dimensions with which they name the animals (or their properties) hence they treat their wives as such, like donkeys, horses, lionesses roaring in their houses who they have to tame at all cost. But if all men can see their wives as physical and spiritual extensions of themselves, made from the same material by the same maker, they will have a good starting point by calling them ‘bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh‘. In other words they will be saying, your bone- your main frame, is part of mine.  In fact, it is the main that hold my frame together. You are the main bone of my bones. Your body, your flesh is part of mine. I cover you. You are insured. You are safe. I protect you because without you, I am disabled and weak. So then the two truly become one which is God’s true intention.

A married woman therefore who has been called into her own by her husband cannot be exempted from expressing herself because there is no confusion about her identity. She is submitted to the authority of her husband and he takes responsibility for her. Once he has full confidence in her and she has learnt and recognised her place, she must be free to be all that God made her to be.

Should a Woman be in Public Ministry? ( A 3-Part Series) -Introduction

Should a Woman be in Public Ministry? ( A 3-Part Series)

 

An Excerpt from my upcoming book,

Married, Successful & Embracing Life: A Godly Woman’s  place in a changing world.

 

I once heard a Man of God say that one of the reasons he does not doubt that God loves him is that God gave him his wife. A gift he appreciates very much. As nice as that sounds, it does not compare to the love and honour for the woman displayed by God throughout scripture. I can find scattered throughout scripture not only the woman as a gift but also how much God loves her by how he made her and the provisions he made for her. I call it God’s insurance policy for women. In various ways, God has through his word, put in place security systems to protect the woman.

 

Unfortunately due to the nature of the world we live in, it’s cultures, dominant lifestyles and philosophies, God’s ‘insurance policy’ for women has been made to look more like a prison sentence from which she cannot escape. In fact, there are those who use the scriptures to do the exact opposite of what they were intended to do as far as women are concerned, leading to all forms of undermining, abusive and legalistic tendencies which become stumbling blocks to a woman’s ability to express her God given potentials particularly in any field outside the home.

 

It is often those who are meant to be the guardians of her inheritance and the executers of God’s Insurance policy for her who undermine her the most. The enemy has often successfully used this strategy to ensure that the giftings and potentials embedded in women cannot be freely expressed without struggle, warfare and disorder.

 

God is waking up women all over the world to this fact and with prayer and wisdom they are beginning to take their places as appropriately as God intended them to.

 

One of the divisive issues facing the Christian woman particular is the issue of whether the word of God allows her to be in public Christian leadership / ministry or not. The fundamental question is, should a woman teach or speak in the church? Does the bible not say, women should not speak in the church? This question hinges on the relationship between men and women and whether or not gender should be the criterion for christian public  roles as the question seems to suggest.

 

Let’s not do a superficial work in answering this question. This will be an in depth three part scriptural discussion of the issue starting from the very beginning of creation.  You will not regret spending the time to read it.

Do You Really Know Jesus the Christ?

 

That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; (Philippians 3:10 KJV)

What does it mean to know someone?

It is quite funny, almost comical sometimes to hear people talk about popular or famous public figures as if they have actually met them and are their personal confidantes. They talk as if they are among the few who are privy to the intimate details of their lives. They will vouch for the authenticity of the information they are sharing but when pressed to reveal the source, it is either something they heard on Television or read in a magazine.

People go as far as owning and vouching for everything about the person, becoming so attached and willing to stand by and defend what they believe they know about the person. They believe wholeheartedly that they KNOW this public figure just because they hear him or her, read about him or her, sing his or her songs, fantasise about his or her life etc. They hang on every word he or she says. The most dangerous kind of public figures to idolise this way are the Christian public figures. Most often than not those who idolise them get traumatised by a negative occurrence in these public figures life as they simply cannot reconcile what has happened with what they believe they know about the person.

I say the most dangerous type to idolise are Christian public figures not because they are not deserving of public accolade but because they are not masters of their own destinies. Their anointing, skills, networks, organisations and very popularity are simply loaned to them and embedded in the grace of God more so than just their own hard work or merit. They are maintained by an invisible hand which cannot be controlled by any man.

‘The Lord maketh poor, and maketh rich: he bringeth low, and lifteth up’. (1 Samuel 2:7 KJV)

‘He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory: for the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s, and he hath set the world upon them’. (1 Samuel 2:8 KJV).

So what does it mean to know someone?

To know someone is to be intimately acquainted with all aspects of their lives by the means which they themselves open up to you to the exclusion of others. Knowing someone is a private matter not a public one. There are facets of a person that are not for public consumption. They are revealed through the daily intricacies of life when opportunities for trust and private interaction abound so that such things as have been gleaned about the person can be subjected to the rigours of testing to evidence if they be real or not.

So someone came to Jesus and called him good master. He asked him, why do you call me good? He did not ask this because he was not good but because the person’s comment was flippant and baseless and shouldn’t have been said without him proving it first.

On the contrary when it came to his disciples he made the distinction clear. He himself asked them two questions. One was about who the public thought he is and the second was who they his disciples thought he is. You see there is a distinction between the two and Jesus knew it. What the public think you are is just near the truth but not the whole truth. What the people in your private life say about you is very important and you have to ask for it because it is the real measure of your journey. It shows you what to change and it reveals to you what you are really like because they KNOW you and if you give them the permission, they can tell you who you really are. Beyond this kind of knowledge, knowing Jesus involves having a personal revelation of his divine nature as the son of God, the annointed one of God sent to earth by God to reconcile the world back to God. The testimony of men and women alone does not bring this revelation. It is the testimony of God himself through the conviction that the Holy Sprirt gives which makes this ‘Knowing’ unshakeable, valid and authentic. Otherwise it simply becomes a case of hearsay and brainwashing. The proof of the taste of the pudding is in the eating of it.

If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son. He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself; he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath ot the Son of God hath not life (1 John 5:9-12 KJV)

The only way to not doubt that you truly know Jesus the Christ, the only way to prove it is if your belief in him cannot be undone by the arguments and the common sense philosophies of the world. Without this, your knowledge is vain and unreal.

Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God? This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ: not water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth. For, there are three that bear record in heaven, the father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one. (1 John 5:5-8 KJV)

Blood and water signify humanity. That is what we are composed of as humans. Unless our human capacity agrees with what the Spirit of God is saying about who Jesus, the Christ is, we can have no real enduring knowledge of him. He came by water and blood, in otherwords he was a man like us, but beyond that he was and still is the Son of God and that is the revelation of him that makes the difference between those who really know him and those who simply know about him, have learnt about him, have read about him etc.

So in finding out whether his disciples really knew him or not, he had a conversation with them which went like this;

When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar–jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.’ (Matthew 16:13-18 KJV).

See, in the middle of this private conversation, Jesus also shared with Peter who he sees him as. He said People see you as a stone (Simon) but I know you as a rock (Peter). Peter’s answer to Jesus was succinct and precise, not attained via public means but by a revelatory process based on what he himself had seen, heard and experienced since being with Jesus.

Apart from private knowledge via the process of private interaction, there is a higher way to know someone. Jesus demonstrated this as well in the passage above. He told Peter, the knowledge you have of me was not revealed to you by flesh and blood (human beings) but by my father in heaven.

In this day of identity crisis, where people do not even know their own selves very well and wait for public affirmation to confirm to themselves who they are, it is important to have revelatory knowledge of people from God. Otherwise we hold in high esteem those that God does not and we disdain those who God is lifting up simply because we have no revelatory knowledge of them. When dealing with people it is important to pray and ask God, ‘please show me who I am dealing with’. Sometimes we do not even know who our real enemies are and who are friends or helpers of destiny are. Yes , it is important to know your enemies so you can locate the table God is preparing for you, because he will dress your table right in their presence and if you do not want to die before your time you better know where the battle is.

‘Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more’. (2 Corinthians 5:16 KJV)

Know no man after the flesh. God does not expect you to know him after the flesh either. And yes there are people who know God through Jesus but only after the flesh. They love what he did when he was here on earth. They love the fame, the popularity and the openness with which he led his life. They love the stories of the things he did and said, they can quote him verbatim and can even make profit off what they know about him. They can even tell others about him as if he were their best friend. But they have not really known him.

Paul mentions wanting to KNOW him in our main scripture at a time when he seemed to be the one who knows him best. He however did not define what that knowing entails but said that in addition to knowing him, he Paul will like to also know the power of his resurrection, and also know the fellowship of his sufferings, and to be made comformable – modelled, redesigned, adjusted, re – fashioned according to the measurements and dimensions of his death. I don’t know about you, but apart from Paul and the other apostles in the bible I have never really met anyone in these modern days who wants their life adjusted, shaped, re- designed in conformity with death, even the death of Christ. To deserve to die like he did, nailed to a cursed cross, you will have to believe and say the non politically correct statements he made which will incite others to want to kill you. Who wants to do that? And even this kind of life, Paul considers as only an addition to actually knowing him. The actual ‘knowing him’ must really entail so much. Which is why towards the end of his life Paul was still saying things like;

‘Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13, 14 KJV).

It is only when you have followed unto the end that you can say you have really known someone. If you really know someone and accept them, even the threat of death will not compel you to turn away from them.

We must be willing to follow even unto death. That is the measure of a ‘calling’. The measure of a higher calling demands a higher level of following and a higher level of knowing.

‘Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth. And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know. But if any man love God, the same is known of him’. (1 Corinthians 8:1-3 KJV)

So next time you say you know someone ask yourself the question? What kind of knowing am I talking about? Also if they do not know you, you certainly do not know them. Real knowing happens as a transaction, as an exchange.

‘Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity’. (Matthew 7:22, 23 KJV)

‘Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ’ (Philippians 3:8 KJV).

I tell you, Paul understood very well that he had to win Christ. It had to be an exchange. Real Knowledge of Christ is not just there for the taking. It has to be saccrificed for by a willingness to make yourself known to him as well, to win him.

Even the demons know Jesus. They have to for their own protection because, when he appears they know they are done for. So you who say you know him, do you really know him?

‘Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble’. (James 2:19 KJV).

‘Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth. And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so. And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye? And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded’. (Acts 19:13-16 KJV)

Enough Said!!!