Principles and Lessons about giving from The Macedonian Church(2 Corinthians 8).

If you were to really ask a number of believers to be honest if they loved giving(be it in Church setting or generally), most would say they don’t! Most admit that they give because it is an obligation and they must. They fear that if they don’t give, something bad will happen to them/their loved ones as it is often taught in a number of churches in our day, sadly. God will curse all you do and all you have they unashamedly teach. Sadly, many have been sold to this heresy and falsehood. That my brothers and sisters is the elephant in the room. Let us learn from The Macedonian Churches in 2 Corinthians 8.

The Macedonians are described as materially poor church who were under severe persecution and trials. This surprisingly didn’t take away their Joy and love for other believers. Their attitude was on point! As Phil 2:3-4 says, they were humble and considered others better than themselves. They were not self centred nor did they complain about their situation as many would and do in such situations. Paul continues to say how in spite of their situation,  they still insisted they must participate in the grace of giving(Hebrews 13:16). Like the poor widow in Luke 21:1-4 who impressed the Lord Jesus Christ by giving from her poverty unlike the rest who gave from their plenty; Their giving was voluntary, sincere and heartfelt as commanded in 2 Corinthians 9:6-8. The Macedonians begged Paul to give. It wasn’t the other way round where the flock is begged to give in our day. When they gave, they surprised Paul since they gave over and above what he expected of them. They didn’t just talk, they practised it. It was love exemplified(1 John 3:16-18). What an attitude!

There is however a secret about their giving that I would want each of us to learn and practice by God’s grace. This kind of sacrificial giving can only come when individuals give themselves fully to God! This is exactly what the Macedonian Church did. They gave themselves fully to Jesus Christ and His will. (2 Cor 8:5). Then Christ taught them how to give from their hearts like He gave His life for us! The same attitude is clearly exemplified by the early church(Acts 2:42-47, Acts 4:32-37). This is what Pastors should yearn to do. Don’t coerce, threaten, manipulate, force people to give. Soon or later they will get tired and see the folly there in. Point people to Jesus Christ. Let them know Christ. Then Christ will teach them how to give, when to give and to whom to give for His glory. The secret to giving generously, just like everything else is in Knowing Jesus Christ as Lord and being sold to Him! When people know Christ, they will always automatically give towards what glorifies Christ. They will look for opportunities to advance the gospel, since Christ and His will drives them. We will not have to manufacture experiences, since they will always long to give towards the people and work of Christ. This actually applies to every facet of the christian life and christian giving(not only in a church setting).

God willing tomorrow we look at why we must be accountable and transparent with the giving of God’s people! We must account for every penny, every shilling given! Shalom

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Fatherhood vs society; why we must change the narrative!

​Fatherhood is truly a God given responsibility that must be taken seriously! Allow me to look at the above issue from a different perspective as I shine a spotlight on the society in general. Society is every facet of our nation; Government, Church, Schools, colleges, universities, media etc.
How does society view fathers in our day? Does society generally value fathers? Why is it common in our days for women to make the decision to get children and raise them without fathers for example? How many songs out there have been composed and sang in praise of fathers? How many adverts shine a spotlight on the fathers? How many fathers days are there in a year? Why do all diaper companies for example make it look like only a mother can change a diaper? Aren’t there #Huggies fathers for example? Or happy #bouncy or #pampers dads? What message are we sending to our boys as they grow up to be dads about changing diapers and such like things? Haven’t we subtly affirmed to them that it is only mum’s responsibility? The number of times my son has been asked where is mum when I am out there with him? Why is it strange for a dad to walk with his son? I could go on and on, but hope you get the drift. 
I believe it is the high time the narrative changed. I would never down play the mess done by many irresponsible fathers out there. As one raised by a single mum, I know what it means not to have a dad. It is not all lost though, there is a Father who sticks closer than any earthly Father; Jesus Christ. He makes all the difference.(That does not in any way excuse the earthly fathers from playing their God given role). That being said, society must stop victimising children raised by single mothers. There are churches in this day and age that  warn women not to get married to men who were raised by single mums! To them, the fact that those men are born again is not enough(2 Cor 5:17). They forget that the problem is sin/heart of men(Jer 17:9, Mark 7:21-23). You might have been raised by both parents, but if your heart hasn’t been changed by Christ it is futile/vanity. Dear ladies, the best man is one who has been/is being transformed by Christ. Period! The background/current state notwithstanding. Jesus Christ remains the only true foundation(1 Cor 3:11).
Friends, there is so much when it comes to #fatherhood. There is hope though for all those men who will choose to find their identity and hope in Jesus Christ(Acts 17:28). He remains our perfect example! Let us fix our eyes on Him. All else makes sense and finds value/meaning in Christ. The more we look up to Christ(Heb 12:1-3), the more He makes us the men, husbands, fathers, role models the society needs. A day at a time, a step at a time!God will see us through by His grace, His way, His time, His style(Isaiah 55:6-13)!

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The sin of ‘unconcern’ among the children of God!

I Don’t know what comes to your mind when you read these verses!
[NIV] Ezekiel 16:49 “‘Now this was the sin of your sister Sodom: She and her daughters were arrogant, overfed and unconcerned; they did not help the poor and needy.
[NLT] Matthew 25:41 “Then the King will turn to those on the left and say, ‘Away with you, you cursed ones, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his demons.
[NLT] Matthew 25:42 For I was hungry, and you didn’t feed me. I was thirsty, and you didn’t give me a drink.
[NLT] Matthew 25:43 I was a stranger, and you didn’t invite me into your home. I was naked, and you didn’t give me clothing. I was sick and in prison, and you didn’t visit me.’
[NLT] Matthew 25:44 “Then they will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and not help you?’
[ESV] Matthew 25:45 Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’
Friends, it has now become common place among believers to simply focus on themselves, till we forget about other believers.  What is this that is so important in this world that makes us forget to check on each other as believers? What sort of Christianity is this? A believer is (sick or their loved one) and we know of it and can’t even check on them? Someone is newly saved, we don’t even check on them/disciple them and walk with them? A believer is going through a rough time, we are not even concerned? It is good to pray for them, but also the bible is clear and commands us to;
[ESV] Romans 12:15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.
The above is clearly an active rather than passive command. It is a lifestyle; day to day thing. It is good to Pray for each other, but also as far as depends on us,  let’s reach out to each other as often as we can. We are family of believers. Family is about being there for each other, in good and bad times! Surely,  how will the world see the love of Christ among believers(John 13:34-35) if we aren’t practically living it out? It is not enough to just meet once a week as a formality and that’s it? This is simply not right brethren. Let’s repent and do what Christ expects of us. If we don’t do this, then we are deceiving ourselves brethren(yours truly included). Let’s search our hearts and check if we are really in the faith(2 Corinthians 13:5). The truth remains;
[NLT] 1 John 4:11 Dear friends, since God loved us that much, we surely ought to love each other.
[NLT] 1 John 4:12 No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us.
[ESV] 1 John 4:20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.
[NLT] 1 John 3:18 Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.
[NLT] Philippians 2:4 Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.

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Never put your trust in man, nor in yourself!

I will confess there is a time I used to put my trust in the connections I thought I had. I was comfortable that I knew people in all the right places, or I knew someone who could connect me to the right people in the right places. I used to believe my help was just a call way! 
Not anymore! God taught me the hard way. He ensured all the connections i thought I had didn’t work. He ensured I got disappointed by the people I thought were my connection to the next stage of life. 
This story is not unique to yours truly. If one is on a journey to know God, you will truly testify to the above. Human beings are just that, flesh and blood. As much as God uses them, He categorically commands us not to put out trust in them, nor in ourselves! God wants us to put out trust in Him alone. The sooner we learn that the better. We will avoid so many pitfalls and disappointments! There is no short cut. God is man’s only help!
[ESV] Zechariah 4:6 Then he said to me, “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord of hosts.
[NLT] Psalms 118:8 It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in people.
[NLT] Psalms 118:9 It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes.
[NIV] Proverbs 28:26 Those who trust in themselves are fools, but those who walk in wisdom are kept safe.
[NLT] Jeremiah 17:5 This is what the Lord says: “Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans, who rely on human strength and turn their hearts away from the Lord.
[NLT] Jeremiah 17:7 “But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence.
[NLT] Jeremiah 17:8 They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.

[NLT] Isaiah 30:1 “What sorrow awaits my rebellious children,” says the Lord. “You make plans that are contrary to mine. You make alliances not directed by my Spirit, thus piling up your sins.
[NLT] Isaiah 30:2 For without consulting me, you have gone down to Egypt for help. You have put your trust in Pharaoh’s protection. You have tried to hide in his shade.
[NLT] Isaiah 30:3 But by trusting Pharaoh, you will be humiliated, and by depending on him, you will be disgraced.
[NLT] Isaiah 30:5 all who trust in him will be ashamed. He will not help you. Instead, he will disgrace you.”

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Hospitality is a command from God to all believers in Jesus Christ. 

It is very true that hosting people in our homes for one reason or another is not easy. It demands a lot! It requires sacrifice. You are actually welcoming people to your living space. More often than not you will have to spend resources to feed them, not to mention the cleaning after among other reasons. Granted; it is also very tiring!
This is why some believers would rather not host visitors. Some even admit how they detest hosting people in their homes. If you have to meet them, anywhere else but not in their house. It is just too demanding and intrusive they add! Is that even right biblically speaking? What does the bible say about hospitality? Will get to that briefly.
On the flip side, there are enormous benefits of hospitality, especially for believers. People more often than not have meaningful fellowship in a home setting as they share a meal or even water together. Believers get to bond and no each other in a more intimate setting. Hospitality one way or another helps in combatting selfishness. It encourages selflessness as Phil 2:3-4 encourages us. It helps us appreciate and value the children of God and helps believers open up easily. This is why the early Church modelled this perfectly(Acts 2:42-47). God really worked in and through them. We can learn so much from them. Did you also know that hospitality is actually a command to all believers, more so bishops, elders, deacons?
[NLT] Romans 12:13 When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.
[NLT] 1 Timothy 3:2 So an elder must be a man whose life is above reproach. He must be faithful to his wife. He must exercise self-control, live wisely, and have a good reputation. He must enjoy having guests in his home, and he must be able to teach.
[ESV] 1 Peter 4:9 Show hospitality to one another without grumbling.
[ESV] Hebrews 13:2 Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

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[NLT] Psalms 49:20 People who boast of their wealth don’t understand; they will die, just like animals!

How does flaunting your material riches really glorify and Honor Jesus Christ?

One of the saddest occurences in this world is when anyone misuses the bible to advance their own selfish desires. This is always as a result of interpreting the scriptures out of context. Taking scriptures out of context is responsible for all sorts of sins and falsehoods in the past, present and even in the future; ranging from Killing innocent people, to advancing all kinds of false doctrines; all in the name of the bible says(of course as a result of twisting scriptures). Let scripture say what it Says at all times, never make it say what you want it to say. The word of God is life(Deuteronomy 32:47, John 6:63, Acts 5:20). This is the only way we will fully appreciate its power.
If you are in Kenya(especially on social media), you must have an idea of the back and forth individuals have been advancing, oh yes even bishops and pastors that God is pleased when we show off/boast about our material riches to the masses. They don’t even blush when they so confidently misquote(as they often do with other scriptures to their own peril) 1 Corinthians 1:31 that says; “Let him who boast, boast in the Lord.” Really? Have you even read the whole chapter to see what Paul was really talking about? Paul was simply asking us to boast in what Jesus Christ did by choosing us to know Him! Nothing to do with material riches.
If you are still wondering what the big deal, let me further remind you of the harm this individuals are bringing to the Christian Faith. We make Christianity look like a joke to many out there. The name of Christ is blasphemed among the unbelievers because of such shameful ways/shameful individuals(Romans 2:24, 2 Peter 2 ). How we may clearly affirm and shout to everyone who will hear us that our Lord and Jesus Christ is not pleased with such behaviours. This should not be said of a genuine disciple/follower of Jesus Christ; not in the past, not now, neither in the future!
The purpose of wealth just like everything else in this life is to give glory and honor to God(1 Corinthians 10:31). You want to know how we can use material riches? Allow me to quote verses that will address the above and show us how exactly our material riches can be used to glorify God, rather than making a name for ourselves as it has become common place in this day and age even among believers in Jesus Christ.

[ESV] Matthew 6:19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal,

[ESV] Matthew 6:20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal.

[ESV] Matthew 6:21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

[NLT] Psalms 49:10 Those who are wise must finally die, just like the foolish and senseless, leaving all their wealth behind.

[NLT] Psalms 49:11 The grave is their eternal home, where they will stay forever. They may name their estates after themselves,

[ESV] Psalms 49:12 Man in his pomp will not remain; he is like the beasts that perish.

[ESV] Psalms 49:13 This is the path of those who have foolish confidence; yet after them people approve of their boasts. Selah

[NLT] Psalms 49:14 Like sheep, they are led to the grave, where death will be their shepherd. In the morning the godly will rule over them. Their bodies will rot in the grave, far from their grand estates.

[NLT] Psalms 49:16 So don’t be dismayed when the wicked grow rich and their homes become ever more splendid.

[NLT] Psalms 49:17 For when they die, they take nothing with them. Their wealth will not follow them into the grave.

[ESV] Psalms 49:18 For though, while he lives, he counts himself blessed —and though you get praise when you do well for yourself—

[NLT] Psalms 49:19 But they will die like all before them and never again see the light of day.

[NLT] Psalms 49:20 People who boast of their wealth don’t understand; they will die, just like animals.

So how can our wealth be used to glorify God, you ask? Check what scripture says;

[NLT] Luke 16:9 Here’s the lesson: Use your worldly resources to benefit others and make friends. Then, when your earthly possessions are gone, they will welcome you to an eternal home.

[ESV] Acts 4:34 There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold

[NLT] Acts 4:35 and bring the money to the apostles to give to those in need.

[NLT] 2 Corinthians 8:5 They even did more than we had hoped, for their first action was to give themselves to the Lord and to us, just as God wanted them to do.

[NLT] 2 Corinthians 8:6 So we have urged Titus, who encouraged your giving in the first place, to return to you and encourage you to finish this ministry of giving.

[NIV] 2 Corinthians 8:7 But since you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you—see that you also excel in this grace of giving.

[NIV] 1 Timothy 6:17 Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment.

[NLT] 1 Timothy 6:18 Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others.

[ESV] 1 Timothy 6:19 thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life.

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My reflections about Social Media in view of scripture from my hiatus from Facebook

S top evaluating friendships based on who shares, loves, likes your posts and photos more; Your genuine friends may never do any of the above but will be there for you and walk with you in times of need, away from the prying eyes. In fact,  they may not even be on social media in the first place.
O rganize, rather than edit thoughts, not to please men and have a certain image(hypocrisy) before men, but to please God alone who never changes, unlike man(John 5:41-44, Gal 1:10, 1 Thess 2:4)
C ultivate genuine relationships away from social media as far as it depends on you. Nothing beats good old face to face meet ups and fellowship(3 John 1:14). There is meaningful life outside the interwebs without a doubt.
I t is never that serious! Don’t base(evaluate/measure) your life on what people say about you on social media(positive or negative). As much as there may be some truth in it, seeking to know God’s voice through His Word and what He says about you is what is most important and counts when all is said and done(Luke 12:4-5).
A lways  allow for divergent views from yours, as long as you purpose to base all things in the foundation of the bible(2 Tim 3:16-17). God can use anyone to teach you and make you wiser. Oh yes, even on social media!
L isten more and more. Don’t be on the defensive when someone disagrees with you. Not every post out there is against you or about you. Relax, not everyone wants to fight you/ desires the worst for you. Some genuinely desire God’s best for you! They actually love you, however tough they may appear to be(Proverbs 27:5; 28:23)
M editate, mediate, mentor, memorize scripture at all costs. Let everything we do, say, think, act be centred on scripture friends(Psalm 119, Phil 4:8). Surely, what else in this life has value apart from God or His word? Let’s be deliberate and unapologetic when it comes this. Now more that ever the world needs to know Jesus(The Word) is The only Way, truth and Life(John 14:6).
E ncourage always in view of what scripture says. It is important to note, the understanding of encouragement in view of scripture, is a little different from the dictionary definition of encouragement. Check Hebrews 12:5-11 to see what I mean. 
D ecipher the situations in the world today and seek to give prescriptions based on scripture alone. The problems in the world today are all as a result of Sin(Gen 3, Romans 3). The heart of man is deceitful(Gen 6:5, Jer 17:9, Mark 7:21-23). The only solution for sin/heart of man is Jesus Christ(Mat 1:21, John 3). Scripture has given us a leakage about the times we are living in. Check Mat 24, 2 Tim 3 for example. Amazing!
I nitiate as God leads forums where people are encouraged to build each other face to face away from social media. Purpose to meet in person with that brother or sister you have shared with online but never met face to face. Ironically, we are more connected than ever before courtesy of social media, but more distant than ever before since we no longer know how to engage away from our gadgets. This is sad.(3 John 1:14)
A lways seek for opportunities to be practical in your Christianity as God enables. There are people on social media who may be sleeping hungry for example, going through difficult times and God could use you to be of help one way or another(James 1:27). Be sensitive to the leading of The Holy Spirit(Isaiah 50:4). Many are silently hurting and don’t know how to reach out. They are hiding behind the gadgets. Be available to help. You will be amazed how the labor is plentiful. Where are the laborers? Praying that you will be one of the laborers that God sends, to help that soul that is suffering out there and lead them to the master Jesus Christ(2 Corinthians 5:16-21).

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