Service and Discipleship God’s Way!

shrinks blogAs I was reading  today’s Oswald Chambers devotion of March 5, something that I read recalled to mind my post of February 28 entitled “What Is Disciplehsip?” which was a courtesy of the Ransomed Heart devotion book.  I am reminded how I used to find what I thought was joy as I worked for God. This kind of joy used to come with such great emotions of accomplishment and contentment accompanied with a tiny glimpse of pride, all of it was because I was being used by God to reach other souls. Personally, I felt I was living the Christian life. As God started dealing with me, I heard the call and it was such a great time for me. So much joy and serenity accompanied me day in day out as I kept singing “Here I am Lord, this is I, Lord, I have heard you calling in the night.” Once the experience subsided, there was complete silence from God. So once again, I started helping God by trying to get involved in ministry, thinking that I knew exactly what God was calling me for. I had encouragement through a pastor in my Church who wanted to use me in his ministry and he got me involved. Even though I was good at what I was doing, but I kept feeling the nudging of the Holy Spirit. While I could not understand what was wrong, but I certainly felt I was not quite following the path He had in mind for me. But in my stubbornness, and ignorance, not to mention the culture the Church has fostered when it comes to service to God, I felt, it was better to be doing something for God, than to be inactive. 

It was discouraging when God showed me that the pastor was not functioning in the Spirit, since I did not know God better, I still believed that I could make things work. Suffice to say that I found out the hard way that I was WRONG BIG TIME, because God always has a waiting and a training process. This training process comes directly from God and takes us through a period of time in the valleys, or ditches. This training will be directly related through those things that make up our lives, such as financial lost, personal tragedies, life changing moments and so on. Sometimes He uses the result of our own insecurities to get our attention and train us. No matter what, God uses to get us through His University, our soul will always identify with John Bunyan when he wrote The Ebb & Flow of Perception. John said “it seem strange that sometimes God visits his soul with wonderful blessed things. Yet sometimes, afterwards for hours at a time he is filled with such darkness that he could not even remember the comfort that had refreshed him before.”  

I learned through my training process with Him in the wilderness, those wonderful, blessed moments are there to strengthen us and also bless us. It also feels as if God is giving you a bonus, which is an extra dose of grace to see more of Him. The moments of darkness soon after, are there to test us, to work His life through us and to teach us. In those moments of darkness that your soul is soaking in, you have a very tiny idea what Christ’s agony in the garden of Gethsemane must have been like. Those moments of darkness, although extremely agonizing to the soul, build your character, take away your idea of what Salvation is about as your loyalty and understanding shift gears. They make you more spiritual and bring you much closer to God. Best of all, you realize through those dark times, how this Christian life and all that God has put in us through the regeneration process has been a deposit and He uses those moments of darkness and training to impart His life to you. 

The result is that, His life is no longer something dormant in you. You are infused and infected full blown with Salvation as you watch your heart being captured by Him. You know without a doubt that, Salvation is being worked out in you and right before your eyes, every word of the Bible is becoming alive and real within. You KNOW you will never be the same again. You KNOW that you know something other Christians on the sidelines cannot even begin to imagine, unless God takes them there too. Then all of the sudden, those words “FEED MY SHEEP” becomes your mission, your vision, your call, your reality and your very life. No one can take that away from you because your soul KNOWS what Gods KNOWS. Feed my sheep is not just about evangelism; it is not about discipleship, it is all that and much more. It is the Gospel that cost everything to God and Christ, it is a lifestyle and it is for Christians and unbelievers alike.

 Christ is no longer a personal savior, He is no longer your master or something here and there. He is so much more as you are watching Him taking over your life as He merges His life with yours. The more He is merged with you, the more you wish He could swallow you up completely so that no trace of what used to be your life would remain. It makes sense because you have tasted something out of this world and you want to become HIM. Through this process, calling yourself His bondservant brings honour to you and it is the best thing you can have for now, until you see Him and serve Him up there. Without Christ becoming much more to us, we go on offering people something that we do not even possess for ourselves. We only have our empty words with our human emotions to convey what we are offering. Without knowing Christ in the depth of your soul and not truly knowing who you are offering to others, you find no problem manipulating people. You feel justified and have no shame in bribing and pushing people toward Christ thinking you are doing Him a service.  

 I smiled today while I was reading what Oswald said in today’s devotion. I remember how much I did not understand the call and I was forcing things to work out instead of waiting for God, I was disappointed because I truly believe there was some sort of campaign of service with my name on. I never forgot how God brought me back to reality on March 5th 2006 when I read this bit of today’s devotion. God was talking to me directly as I read “This does not imply that there is a campaign of service marked out for you.” By the time God put the implementation of the call on my life, in motion, I learn, if one did not learn loyalty to His cause which can only be acquired as He shares with one His corporate vision of Salvation, one would easily say no to the call.

 One thing for sure, through this training, “FEED MY SHEEP” takes on new meaning because He equips you with the truth and boldness. Here, I am referring to the type of boldness that comes from being broken by Him, not the one that comes with arrogance because we are unbroken.  You gladly feed His sheep His way, because you know Him, then, you know there is no room for compromises. You learn to feed the sheep not with fancy footwork, but by calling things exactly like you see them.  When we do not know God enough, we have our own idea of what it means to say things in love,  to a brother or a sister and we have our own idea what it means to encourage others. They come from a worldly interpretation. We translate those things with our own mind instead of the Spirit’s mind. Through the training, you learn when you feed God’s sheep, your loyalty to who God is and His requirements never leave you because you have been merged with Him. So, feeding His sheep becomes an opportunity to glorify God. 

As I learned to flip things around and make it about Him, I no longer get caught up in managing someone else insecurities and expectations. This is the Holy Spirit’s job. As I learned through my training with Him, it is utterly important to die to our own ambitions so that we no longer feel the need to please Him and do things for Him. As we die to ourselves, the Holy Spirit rises up and takes His place to move us to do things for Him. While what I said might sound weird, but it makes the difference between an offering in the flesh and in the Spirit. It makes a difference between what is accepted by God and what is not.  So, besides dying to self, we also need to keep walking in the Spirit. If these things are in place in our lives, then we need not to worry about peoples’ expectations, insecurities and fragilities, because everything we do will flow out of Christ and from a place of Agape love. Christ Himself, will set the tone and touch the one who has ears to hear and glorify Himself through it all. 

Sadly, today’s Church model is way too busy doing things their ways to stop and smell the coffee. In a way I understand them, most Churches have become a business and a way for people to rise up in their career path. So, they have to keep bringing money in, and they have to keep bringing more bodies to fill up the pews, at any cost. Through it all they convince themselves God will sort things out because they are working for Him. Christ lived this earth and showed us how it was done. He was never after quantity, but quality. If God was after quantity, then there would not be a need for Salvation the way He put it forth, and everyone on earth would be a shoe-in right away.

 As I compared the joy of doing things when I did not know God and the joy of doing things after getting closer to Him, these are completely two different kind of joy. One is man made with our own emotions and the need to somehow pat ourselves on the back. The other one is the Joy of the Lord that is brought on by faith, dependence, love, obedience and living a righteous life before Him for His Glory. It is Heavenly joy that’s why Oswald used the work “perfect fulfillment of that for which I was created and regenerated, not the successful doing of a thing”



The Soul’s Deep Thirst

shrinks blogThe religious technocrats of Jesus’ day confronted him with what they believed were the standards of a life pleasing to God. The external life, they argued, the life of ought and duty and service, was what mattered. “You’re dead wrong,” Jesus said. “In fact, you’re just plain dead [whitewashed tombs]. What God cares about is the inner life, the life of the heart” (Matt. 23:25-28). Throughout the Old and New Testaments, the life of the heart is clearly God’s central concern. When the people of Israel fell into a totally external life of ritual and observance, God lamented, “These people . . . honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me” (Isa. 29:13).

Our heart is the key to the Christian life.

The apostle Paul informs us that hardness of heart is behind all the addictions and evils of the human race (Rom. 1:21-25). Oswald Chambers writes, “It is by the heart that God is perceived [known] and not by reason . . . so that is what faith is: God perceived by the heart.” This is why God tells us in Proverbs 4:23, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” He knows that to lose heart is to lose everything. Sadly, most of us watch the oil level in our car more carefully than we watch over the life of our heart.

In one of the greatest invitations ever offered to man, Christ stood up amid the crowds in Jerusalem and said, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him” (John 7:37-38). If we aren’t aware of our soul’s deep thirst, his offer means nothing. But, if we will recall, it was from the longing of our hearts that most of us first responded to Jesus. Somehow, years later, we assume he no longer calls to us through the thirst of our heart.

This post is courtesy of

The Offensive Altar (Joshua 22:10)


Joshua 22:10 “And when they came to the region of the Jordan that is in the land of Canaan, the people of Reuben and the people of Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh built there an altar by the Jordan, an altar of imposing size.”

 shrinks blogThe sons of Reuben, Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh have built an altar to God. Their intention was to commemorate their national unity with the other tribes that live on the west side of the Jordan (Read Numbers 32 to see why these tribes were living eastward to the rest of the Israelites.) Without knowing what was in the heart of those two and half tribes who built the altar, the Israelites got really upset. So much so that we are told in Joshua 22:12 that they have gathered together to go against them in war (their own brother’s tribes)

 When you read Joshua 22:16-20 you can see through their attitude, while in appearance, it looks like they are defending God’s honor and they want to be obedient to all that He said, yet you can smell the stench of self-righteous and hypocrisy at work.”

 They were quick to recall one iniquity in verse 17 to accuse their brothers of wrong doings, yet they did not use their ability to recall in order to truly obey God’s commands while in their own respective land. The remaining of chapter 22 from verse 21 is about the two and a half tribes explaining the intend behind their gesture. As such a civil war among them was avoided

 Here is what I am driving at, when you read Joshua’s book, you find that the Israelites have not bothered to drive all the inhabitants of the land away as God commanded them. Among others, we are told the Jebusites, the Canaanites, the Gezer and so on remained in the land because the Israelites had decided to put them to forced labor instead of driving them away. They decided it was a better idea than God’s own. It seems like they were getting something back from having them as laborers.

 In Joshua 17:14-18 you can clearly see Joshua’s unhappiness with them when Joseph’s sons complained they did not have enough land? “Then the sons of Joseph spoke to Joshua, saying, “Why have you given me only one lot and one portion for an inheritance, since I am a numerous people whom the LORD has thus far blessed?” – Joshua answered to them the best thing he could have ever said in verses 15-18 Joshua replied, “If there are so many of you, and if the hill country of Ephraim is not large enough for you, clear out land for yourselves in the forest where the Perizzites and Rephaites live. The descendants of Joseph responded, “It’s true that the hill country is not large enough for us. But all the Canaanites in the lowlands have iron chariots, both those in Beth-Shan and its surrounding settlements and those in the valley of Jezreel. They are too strong for us. Then Joshua said to the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh, the descendants of Joseph, “Since you are so large and strong, you will be given more than one portion. 18 The forests of the hill country will be yours as well. Clear as much of the land as you wish, and take possession of its farthest corners. And you will drive out the Canaanites from the valleys, too, even though they are strong and have iron chariots.” This tells me that they were aware that God’s will was not being honoured through them. But, it did not seem to matter much.

 When I was a new Christian reading the Bible for the first time when I got to the end of Joshua’s book, I remember saying, God made a mistake here. How is it I can tell the Israelites did not fully obeyed and they did what they felt like was best for them, yet, God gave them rest and He seemed to be happy with it all? I still remember the arrogance in my heart and my attitude because I was able to see something God did not see, while it is sad, but I can now laugh about the depth of my stupidity and arrogance.  

 I remember feeling, well, if this is God, then I can get away with so much and He would never be the wiser. Not only that, I kept thinking how easy this Christianity thing was and felt that God was not expecting much of us in terms of our actions.  I had a picture of God that had nothing to do with the real God. I also had in mind what I kept hearing in the Church about God’s love and patience and how He overlook our failures because of His grace, etc. So, even though I felt God was not that bright, but I kept thinking, “This Christianity thing, I can do it standing on my head”

 I had a shock when I started reading the book of Judges, Chapter 2:1-3 the first thing I read was the rebuke of Israel “The angel of the Lord went up from Gilgal to Bokim and said, “I brought you up out of Egypt and led you into the land I swore to give to your ancestors. I said, ‘I will never break my covenant with you, 2 and you shall not make a covenant with the people of this land, but you shall break down their altars.’ Yet you have disobeyed me. Why have you done this? And I have also said, ‘I will not drive them out before you; they will become traps for you, and their gods will become snares to you.

 I was somewhat relieved that God could see their disobedience and He was a more powerful God than I thought He was. But, the reality is when we are reading without the Holy Spirit and when the Bible is only a book of history to us, there is no telling how far our heart could deceive us.

My point is that I wanted to point out how easy it is for us to tear each other apart in the name of God. In the meantime, God put us in the same basket with the very people that, in our self-righteousness we look down to. I keep asking myself this question, how many Christians in the Church today can see that even though we claim to belong to Him, yet we have not changed at all. We are right up there with the Israelites in their self-righteousness, lack of faith and disobedience, while doing “things” for God.

 To you who have been blessed by His grace, enough to see how easy we can be led to do the wrong things while the heart is not in the right place with God, then why is it you are not going full-fledged in complete abandon to Him to change you? How is it, reading about the Israelites does not put the fear of God in you?

Holy Grace

shrinks blogNow, I know my fellow evangelicals will rush to protest that it is the cross of Jesus Christ alone that opens the way to heaven for any person. No amount of personal righteousness could ever suffice. I believe this. It is grace alone—the unmerited and undeserved forgiveness of God—that opens the way for any of us to know God, let alone come into his kingdom. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8–9). Thank God for that.

However, you also find in Jesus and throughout the scriptures a pretty serious call to a holy life.

Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord (Hebrews 12:14)

For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. (1 Thessalonians 4:7)

As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:14–16)

In fact, one of the most stunning things about Jesus is how such a gracious, kind, patient, and forgiving man holds—without so much as wavering—such a high standard of holiness. On the one hand, we have the beautiful story of a woman caught in the act of adultery—and how horrifying and humiliating would that be? The mob drags her before Jesus, ready to stone her (they actually did this sort of thing, and not that long ago; it still happens in some Muslim countries today).

It is brilliant, and poignant. The town square is now deserted; only the woman and Jesus remain. She is probably wrapped in nothing but a bed sheet and her shame. He rescues her from a terrible death, and then forgives her. It feels as if the scene could not be more powerfully reported. What more could be said? But wait, Jesus has one last word for her:

“Go on your way. From now on, don’t sin.”

Yes, grace reigns in the Kingdom of God. But right there alongside it is an unflinching call to holiness. Go and sin no more.

Courtesy of  Ransomed Heart

What is Discipleship?

shrinks blogThe first time I read this piece from the Ransomed Heart devotion book, I somehow expected the end to list my previous Church. It is exactly the same model they were following and still following today. Since God called me into the wilderness, I have visited dozens of Churches and sadly, they all follow proudly the same format.  The idea of discipleship that permeates the Church today is such as the stumbling block for Christians. Believe it or not, I used to be so proud of my Church, my pastors and all of our programs. I am not complaining, after all, even in their misguided ways, God used them to find me.

 Through interactions with people in the Church I learned how important it was to apply those Biblical principles  and to learn to behave in a certain way. Until God found me, I had no way of knowing the Church format was not pleasing to Him and serve mainly to replicate the Pharisee’s  way. 

 The difference between applying principles and walking with God is as drastic as the difference between life and death. It is the difference between finding, living and experiencing the joy of finding the freedom we have in Salvation Vs bondage. It is the difference between knowing God and knowing about God. It is the difference between truly loving God and lip service. It is also the difference between salvation according to our understanding and Salvation according to God. 

 Now, because the eyes of my heart have been opened, I do not touch these programs at all, even with a ten foot pole. While God has taught me a lot as to why we have this problem where we apply biblical principles as a substitute for Christianity, but one of them that touched my heart deeply to the point of grieving is that MANY of today’s pastors not only, have not been called or equipped by God to lead anyone in this manner, but they have erected and are leading Churches just because they can.  This is the same time when God taught me about His own Church, His true Bride. This was also the time, I stopped criticizing other Christian denominations.

It was sad to see, those people who used to put me down because they felt that I did not demonstrate clear evidence of spiritual growth by learning to control myself in the flesh, God had showed me how wrong they were in their assessment of me and of themselves. Because of what He showed me, when I sing songs that talk about how God look into our hearts and search much deeper within us, I am grateful and humble at the same time. Words like that evoke gratitude and humility in my heart because I know I was always the underdog in my Church simply because I did not know how to be someone that I was not on the inside. Yet God called me forward and separated me. During that time, I learned what God meant when He said “judge not lets Ye be judged“. He vindicated me.   

  This post below is courtesy of Ransomed Heart Devotion

What have we come to accept as “discipleship”? A friend of mine recently handed me a program from a large and successful church somewhere in the Midwest. It’s a rather exemplary model of what the idea has fallen to. Their plan for discipleship involves, first, becoming a member of this particular church. Then they encourage you to take a course on doctrine. Be “faithful” in attending the Sunday morning service and a small group fellowship. Complete a special course on Christian growth. Live a life that demonstrates clear evidence of spiritual growth. Complete a class on evangelism. Consistently look for opportunities to evangelize. Complete a course on finances, one on marriage, and another on parenting (provided that you are married or a parent). Complete a leadership training course, a hermeneutics course, a course on spiritual gifts, and another on biblical counseling. Participate in missions. Carry a significant local church ministry “load.”

You’re probably surprised that I would question this sort of program; most churches are trying to get their folks to complete something like this, one way or another. No doubt a great deal of helpful information is passed on. My goodness, you could earn an MBA with less effort. But let me ask you: A program like this—does it teach a person how to apply principles, or how to walk with God? They are not the same thing.

May God have mercy on us!

The Consummation of the Affair (What Is Worship, After All?)

The post below, from Ransomed Heart is really good and it is true all the way. One thing the author forgot is that these days social media and technology toys have been ranked right up there with sex. They are used in order to fill the void we carry within us. They have become our gods and idols, and we sacrifice all to them.

shrinks blogDon’t get me wrong, I am not saying social media and technology are wrong. On the contrary, we have the opportunity to spread God’s word and help other Christians growing in the Lord. But, like the Israelites, when it comes to God, we have to have the last word, as such, we fail to let Him use us, instead, most of us uses these tools  like the unbelievers, in the flesh.

I am afraid most of us will never know the joy of using social media while being used by God. It is fun, and it brings fulfillment. Mind you, this does not mean you will be more popular, but each time you decide to post something, God’s hand will be at work through you. Make no mistake, when God is at work, you will reach those He targeted. His own niche; isn’t that wonderful. Sometimes I read social media posts and I feel, some people calling themselves Christian need prayers and some are actually in need for people to pray for the salvation of their souls.

This is an excerpt found in the Ransomed Heart’s devotion book

The older Christian wedding vows contained these amazing words: “With my body, I thee worship.” Maybe our forefathers weren’t so prudish after all; maybe they understood sex far better than we do. To give yourself over to another, passionately and nakedly, to adore that person’s body, soul, and spirit—we know there is something special, even sacramental about sex. It requires trust and abandonment, guided by a wholehearted devotion. What else can this be but worship? After all, God employs explicitly sexual language to describe faithfulness (and unfaithfulness) to him. For us creatures of the flesh, sexual intimacy is the closest parallel we have to real worship. Even the world knows this. Why else would sexual ecstasy become the number one rival to communion with God? The best impostors succeed because they are nearly indistinguishable from what they are trying to imitate. We worship sex because we don’t know how to worship God. But we will.

We have grown cynical, as a society, about whether intimacy is really possible. To the degree that we have abandoned soul-one-ness, we have sought out merely sex, physical sex, to ease the pain. But the full union is no longer there; the orgasm comes incomplete; its heart has been taken away. Many have been deeply hurt. Sometimes, we must learn from what we have not known, let it teach us what ought to be.

God’s design was that the two shall become one flesh. The physical oneness was meant to be the expression of a total interweaving of being. Is it any wonder that we crave this? Our alienation is removed, if only for a moment, and in the paradox of love, we are at the same time known and yet taken beyond ourselves


Seeing with the Heart

A sower went out to sow some seed . . .

A man fell into the hands of robbers . . .

Suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one . . .

There were ten virgins with ten lamps . . .

shrinks blogThink of it. You are the Son of the living God. You have come to earth to rescue the human race. It is your job to communicate truths without which your precious ones will be lost . . . forever. Would you do it like this? Why doesn’t he come right out and say it—get to the point? What’s with all the stories?

We children of the Internet and the cell phone and the Weather Channel, we think we are the enlightened ones. We aren’t fooled by anything—we just want the facts. The bottom line. So proposition has become our means of saying what is true and what is not. And proposition is helpful . . . for certain things. Sacramento is the capital of California; water freezes at 32 degrees Fahrenheit. But proposition fails when it comes to the weightier things in life. While it is a fact that the Civil War was fought between the years of 1861 and 1865, and while it is also a fact that hundreds of thousands of men died in that war, those facts hardly describe what happened at Bull Run or Gettysburg. You don’t even begin to grasp the reality of the Civil War until you hear the stories, see pictures from the time, visit the battlefields yourself.

How much more so when it comes to the deep truths of the Christian faith. God loves you; you matter to him. That is a fact, stated as a proposition. I’ll bet most of you have heard it any number of times. Why, then, aren’t we the happiest people on earth?  It hasn’t reached our hearts. Facts stay lodged in the mind. Proposition speaks to the mind, but when you tell a story, you speak to the heart.

And that’s why when Jesus comes to town, he speaks in a way that will get past all our intellectual defenses and disarm our hearts.

By Ransomed Heart

Living Out A Never Ending Love Story With My Master & Redeemer!

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