Build For Eternity

Spiritual builders build for perpetuity.

One day God called Moses, showed him the temple in heaven and asked him to create a similar one using cloth, precious minerals and stones, and other materials. When Moses came out of the vision, he was excited (We are considering Exod 31 today). 

But suddenly, he asked himself, “Is there a human being who can build all the awesomely crafted sections I saw?” That stopped him dead in his tracks! Well, don’t forget there were Egyptians who travelled with them. Some of them were already experts on the Egyptian pyramids. But humbly, he petitioned the LORD. Then God said, I choose Bezaleel and Aholiab. I have filled him with My spirit along with the rest of them. I want Bezaleel to be the architect and overseer whose directions the others must follow (Ex31:2,3). Wow! These were Israelites! What experience did they have? But Moses did not question God’s spiritual guidance.

The result of this was the spirit of sacrifice – the people gave until it was too much and an ingeniously beautiful temple came out. It accommodated hundreds of people and was fully detachable. Moses was a spiritual builder.

Things are different now. People who build temples for God and eternity don’t care who makes it so long as it’s nice. No doubt, these experts try their best for God. But guess what! God may disapprove of it. Why did I say that? Watch this.

Years down the line, King Solomon(perhaps in his human wisdom) just went straight to Tyre to get experts (2Chron 2:3-7) to come to oversee his temple. The result of that magnificent temple and spiritual confusion was idolatry and polygamy over which even he, Solomon, was champion (1King 11:3,4).

You are building your character, aren’t you? BE CAREFUL! Remember that even your body is God’s temple (1 Corinthians 6:19). Find those who make use of the complete word of God, not just the pleasant parts (Isaiah8.20; 28:10,13) and in whom God’s Spirit dwells(1John4:1). Some people quote Jer 29:11, leaving out verses 12,13; some remind you that no weapon fashioned against you shall prosper but do not add that in that same verse of Isaiah 54:17, God expects you to live righteously. What use would it be to you to have a vivid life acknowledged by multitudes and yet without God’s approval (Matt16:26)? Be a spiritual builder! Build wisely! Build for eternity! 

©Photography by M Henry from Unsplash.com

The Best Time For Approval

When former US President Ronald Reagan was a boy, his aunt took him to a cobbler to get a pair of shoes. He struggled to choose between a shoe with square toes or one with round toes. After a few days, he still had not made up his mind.

When the shoes finally came, one had square, and the other had round toes. That taught him a lesson about early decision-making. So when do you think is the best time to begin loving and serving God faithfully? Is it when you are young, strong, and active (Gen 4:4; 5:22; 1Sam 2:26; Dan 10:11; 2Tim 3:15)? Or when you are advanced in age and getting ready to die (Dan 4:33-7; Acts 10:1-48; 16:27)? (We are considering Eccl. 12:1 & Ezek 33:11)

First, your background and orientation – your experiences while growing up, your school and family’s religious activities, even how much you know about God and His ways can all indluence you. Second, the way you see yourself – as kind, gentle, firm, hard, handsome, beautiful, wise, foolish, ok, or not ok, forgiving, incorrigible, etc., etc. all can influence you too. Some of these ways of thinking impact how quickly we begin loving and serving God. Many people worry that God considers these things when He’s choosing His friends, so they are slow to accept God’s call. They want to wait and see His sign of acceptance first. But John chapter three, verse sixteen, clarifies that this is not even near the truth.

History records that when God approves of a person, He often shows it in straightforward ways. “When a man’s ways please the LORD, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him” (Prov. 16:7). In other words, the person focuses on pleasing God while God also focuses on sorting the person out. Wouldn’t you say this arrangement is neat?

David was relatively young when he began a serious relationship with God. However, though he messed up, God forgave him and finally called him His man because he humbled himself (1Kings 14:8; Acts 13:22). Abraham, too was relatively young when God called him. He also made some mistakes but focused on pleasing God. God actually called him His friend (2Chron 20:7; James 2:23). All these people served God amongst family and friends, even enemies. They did not try to hide somewhere in order not to be contaminated by other people. They just loved and kept loving God the more.

Today, God is still in that business. The latest evidence of His approval that I saw was at a funeral I attended recently. It was a large gathering with important community and political leaders attended. As usual, people said nice things about the dead clergyman. By 1 pm, the young pall-bearers lifted the casket. Suddenly, the sun, shining brightly, was covered by a thick white cloud that darkened it. Then gently, carefully, a beautiful, glorious rainbow unwrapped itself around the whole sun. I have never seen this before or since. I know what you are thinking – that this could be a natural occurrence. Well, for me, that was a clear sign that God approved of him. That all the prettified, splendid tributes were quite genuine. Instinctively, I wished that God would also show His favour when my time came.

I thought about Proverbs 14:32, and I said to myself, “If you want that, then you would have to live out the life that God can approve”. Are you old enough? Or are you young enough? How long can a person dilly and dally before giving their life totally to Jesus? How about NOW?

Get Approved!! Photo © Drahomir – Unsplash

Do Good A Lot

A pretty young mother found her little son weeping uncontrollably. She knelt beside him, hugged him and asked him what was wrong. He was crying because his dad had said a bad word to him.

The lady knew her husband as a proper gentleman, so she asked her son, “Sweetheart, what did Papa say to you”? The sobs increased… until the little boy finally said tearfully, “Papa said ‘Obey!’”.

What if, as old as we are, this word is still a problem for us? (We are considering 2Kings18 today).

King Hezekiah of Judah was the son of Ahaz, a king who really defiled God’s temple and worshipped idols. These were horrible times – the kingdom of Israel was suffering under the threats and taxes of Assyria. But Hezekiah stood tall among several kings who preceded him for over 100 years and a couple of generations after him too (2Kings chps18-20). O, some kings really tried, half-heartedly, to stop idolatry. So, was his reign a peaceful one? No! This king decided to do all in his power to help Judah avoid the consequences of their evil deeds. You can call him a “Good-Doer” who tried to court God’s favour for his people, Judah.

He quickly restored the temple worship services, which had been neglected for years. Then he managed to push the Philistines back all the way to Gaza. He refused to pay tribute again to Assyria. He was on his throne when Shalmaneser of Assyria took Israel into exile in Assyria. Then when Sennacherib took over as king of Assyria, he came and surrounded Hezekiah’s Judah. Through threats and other arm-twisting tactics, he got Hezekiah to pay tribute. Then Hezekiah stopped again. So Sennacherib got angry and sent emissaries to Judah. They stood close enough to the palace, teased and taunted God’s people. The Judeans listened and felt their stomachs twisting into knots. It seemed they were going to be sent into exile, like their brothers, the Israelites. Propaganda from the Assyrians was breaking the morale of even the king’s support base, discouraging even the young soldiers! So King Hezekiah cried out to God.

God decided He was going to do things His own way and take the glory. An angel finished off 185,000 trained Assyrian soldiers in one night. Then the devastated king, Sennacherib, heard a rumour and rushed back home. But he never got home. His own two sons assassinated him and fled into exile. That’s how that campaign ended. Talk about a miracle-working God! Hezekiah’s lifespan was even extended by a good 15 years!

Should we complain when God says, “obey” because we want to “disobey”? Or should we “woo” God’s favour in our lives? Should we not be “Good-Doers”?

-©2021 CNEAmoah

Keep in mind that:

  1. Hezekiah planned to love God with all his heart (not ½ or ¾)
  2. He executed God’s pleasure in his kingdom, so God gave him victory even over powerful foes (Isaiah 49:24-25, Ps 18:17)
  3. God also added a whopping 15 years to his life(2Kings20.5,6)
  4. He entirely fulfilled his destiny, and posterity would favour him. You could say he fought a good fight of faith (2Tim4:7).

What do you think? Why not talk to God about your own existence now? Why not ask Him to OBEY through you (Philippians 2:13). It’s that easy.

Sin A Little…

What if you decided to sin? Oh no! Not for long. Just a few short years – make some real cash, network like mad, have some great fun, see what God is keeping from you on the other side, at least for a short time, and then race back to good living. (We are looking at 2Kings21 today).

King Hezekiah really tried to serve God faithfully. He was the first king who broke down all the idol altars in the kingdom after many kings had come and gone. Many kings who came after him, too, could not achieve this (check 2Kings18:3-5). Not that the kings before him did not have prophets and priests living and ministering. They just preferred prophets who would encourage them even when they were doing bad things.

Prophets Amos, Hosea, Micah and Isaiah all ministered to the kings and people of those times.  Amos decried the maltreatment of the marginalized in their society. Hosea and his adulterous wife became real-time videos depicting Israelite spiritual adultery. Amidst attacks from false prophets, Micah assured God’s people that their cherished city – Jerusalem and Solomon’s temple shall be destroyed. And of course, Isaiah painted bright and persistent word pictures with his animated messages of doom and restoration.

Hezekiah realized that there was no hope in half-hearted worship. So he ‘purged’ Judah of idol worship. An inspired writer says that Hezekiah was determined to do all in his power to help Judah escape from the consequences of their earlier evil deeds. So he stamped out idol worship. So God also ensured that, no matter what happened, the nation had peace and deliverance during king Hezekiah’s 29 years on the throne.

Unfortunately, his son, Manasseh, built back all the altars his father destroyed and even set his own son on fire as a sacrifice. He worshipped every conceivable idol. In fact, 2 Kings 21:9 says he did more evil than the nations that God drove out to bring the Israelites into the Promised Land. And what about his own son, Amon? He followed right after Manasseh’s example. During the reigns of these two, Judah ran into all kinds of problems with the nations far and near.

QUICK FACT: Amon was so evil that his own servants assassinated him after only two years as their king?

So would it be OK if one spent some time doing wrong? Then, after a while, start doing godly things? Every decision has its repercussions. And the devil tries his best to ensure that every mistake God’s children make is magnified and paid for in the highest currency – blood, life and destiny. Kindly consider that…

  1. In the first place, is there a guarantee that you would even achieve the goals you want to so badly i.e. money, fame, network, etc.
  2. Though you think you really want something NOW, remember that someday, maybe even before your death, posterity will judge you and maybe, find you guilty
  3. Consider how many younger ones you are encouraging to follow your evil course
  4. Would you be able to return to godly ways before you die

Please think again.

I Cant Keep My Own Rules!

What if you could feign sickness or busyness to avoid some responsibilities? (Our story is based on 2Sam11)

This is a familiar story, and you know the details, so I won’t bore you. It was the time of the year when kings temporarily stopped being kings to become terrorists and mass-murderers, sorry conquerors. Every real king woke up with a lump in his throat. He would see spring’s favourable weather as payback time for their enemies or expand their kingdom. Of course, King David was a serious-minded warrior king. After all, it’s on record that as a young man, he singlehandedly killed Goliath (1Sam17:49). So King David asked his generals to go to war with his troops. After all, Joab, his commander, was competent and results-oriented.

David himself was a man who had grown up as a humble and obedient servant of God. The KJV even records that “David inquired of the Lord” about 28 times. Imagine that God had now honoured His humble servant David, the man after God’s own heart (Acts13:22), with chieftaincy or kingship. But David was enjoying it so much that he also forgot Who owned the kingdom of Israel. A big-time mess was coming, and he could not hear the warning bells.

One day, around late afternoon, the king got up from a nap and moseyed up the stairs to the rooftop. People were returning home from their daily pursuits and generally getting their evening duties done. From here, he could see a peaceful city gradually winding down for evening worship, food and stories around various firesides. Then the king spied a luscious woman (someone’s wife) bathing and lecherously sent for her. She also rushed to answer the king’s call. Bathsheba’s beauty muted all the king’s warning bells! They connected. Each time she visited him, all admiration for this great, Godly king mingled with the dust under Bathsheba’s dirty slippers. Finally, she disrespectfully sent someone to him with a message, “I am pregnant.” When you rest while others are busy, you tend to get active when the others are relaxing, sometimes with despicable results. You know the rest. He had her husband killed legally and later married her. Sometimes even Christian leaders look for legit ways to cover up their wrong deeds. And, of course, Bathsheba will be one of those many wives who would begin a marriage with no respect for their husband. So reason with me a little…

If I made the rules, does that place me above them? Should I be a leader who leads others to face challenges or manages people to achieve goals? Which is more important, the money my fiancé has or his respect, trustworthiness and potential? Most importantly, does God see through my hidden agendas and will He reward me one day soon? Please, think carefully about what the Bible says in Eccl 12:14; Mark 4:22 and 8:17..

When you rest while others are busy, you tend to get active when the others are relaxing, sometimes with despicable results

– Nana Amoah

Use What You Have…

God has committed Himself to your success.

(Jer 29:11-13)

Maximize your strengths, minimize your weaknesses. Hone in on your talents and giftings. Use what you have to get what you want. Have you heard any of these before?

When you are intelligent (like Ahithophel), you tend to think that you are always right. So it’s challenging to look at something terrible happening when you did your best to prevent it. Maybe you told those who could do something about it, but they did nothing about it. It may also be difficult for someone to work against you because you could easily anticipate their moves. However, things are different if it’s God, Himself, who is against you.

Absalom had staged a palace coup and succeeded. Absalom was young, handsome, ambitious; Ahithophel, his counsellor, was brilliant. Under Ahithophel’s guidance, he was going to go places very fast. David, his father, was in self-imposed exile. Furthermore, the whole of Israel seemed to love their new king. Everything was going well for them. But believe me, any rivalry between a father and son must be painful indeed for both, no matter how much they pretend.

All of a sudden, some nonentity called Hushai showed up in the palace. To Absalom, he looked like a strategic ally from the enemy (David’s) camp. Absalom accepted him. Ahithophel was not happy with that. To make matters worse, Absalom even considered Hushai’s first recorded counsel to be actually better than Ahithophel’s! Ahithophel saw clearly what was going to happen. David would win the battle if they did not strike immediately. And it will be horrible to have to face King David, his former boss. Apart from this, the unshakeable feeling that God was working against Ahithophel revealed why Absalom preferred Hushai’s suggestion to his counsel. O Ahithophel. So he went home (2Sam17:23), wisely put his house in order and unwisely hurried on to hell (committed suicide). Think about Prov12:13, the wicked are caught in their trap, the just escapes trouble. Hey, what did Ahithophel

It is hard to think that God gives you a gift like beauty, intelligence, fluency in languages, strength, influence, etc., and you use it against Him! And even look forward to a hollow success. Listen again, Satan allures people with promises. But in the end, every single soul will discover that the wages of sin is death (Rom6.23).

Should you use your gifts to your advantage and strive to reach the height of all you could ever be? Should you develop others in your sphere of influence, help them achieve their best? Should you glorify God in your fantastic body 1Cor 6:20? Should you grab your mind, wandering in all kinds of unspeakable places and bring it under subjection to the right, proactive thinking Isaiah26:3; Prov3:5?

Stay focused, blest and ‘shalomious’ my friend, From your friend,

Pastor Amoah

Be Harsh, Be Gentle

What if you entered your hostel to find your fellow student alone in the room standing over your bed and making strange gestures? Or what if you came home to found your spouse sitting on your bed with a total stranger?

When the Israelites got to the Promised Land, Moses divided it among the tribes. It turned out that the Reubenites, Gadites and half of the tribe of Manasseh found themselves on the other side of River Jordan. Before they moved, Joshua blessed and charged them to keep the commandments of God (Josh22:1-5).

Sometime later, word quietly came to the other tribes of Israel – the people on the other side of River Jordan have erected an altar! Immediate conclusion: they are worshipping idols! These people are wicked, ungrateful, idol worshippers, disobedient, hateful, etc. Imagine the tabloids, radio and TV discussions and interviews, WhatsApp, Viber, FB, twitter, etc. agog with views of spin doctors. So the other tribes gathered together – for war. Let’s remove them. Let’s prevent them from soiling our hard-earned reputation (after 40+ years of struggle).

Otherwise, God may punish them and punish us. While they were preparing to go to war, someone said, “Hey, why don’t we find out why they did that in the first place before we even go to war?” So they sent a high powered delegation made up of the high and mighty. Anybody who was somebody attended the meeting. The Israelite position was univocal:

  • This altar you made is for nothing but idol worship
  • Our history is rife with such episodes and their terrible results
  • Pack your stuff because you are moving back with us

The Reubenites, Gadites and half the tribe of Manasseh, were calm. “We know the Lord and God knows our hearts. Brothers, we don’t even sacrifice on this altar. However, were anxious that our children and their children should also know our heritage (Deut 6.7; 11.19) and worship the Lord. Therefore, this altar is just a memorial”. The high powered delegation heaved a sigh. They were satisfied. Apologies were exchanged, hugs were exchanged, hands were clasped and shaken, and prayers were said. Then they went back with the good news.

I came away from this happy ending in Joshua 22 with a few lessons. Here they are:

  • Don’t be so gentle with wrongdoing (Prov27:5 Open rebuke is better than secret love.; Titus1:13This saying is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, so that they will be sound in the faith)
  • Be careful when you see something you think obviously looks wrong/bad (1Sam1:15 And Hannah answered and said, No, my lord, I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit: I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but have poured out my soul before the Lord)
  • Be courteous when you are responding even to painful accusations (Prov15.1 A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.)
  • Don’t be so harsh when you attempt to correct a wrong (2Tim4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine.)

So should you be harsh or gentle? Be careful. Your friend may be trying to kill a scorpion on your bed and your spouse may be chatting with her long lost brother in your two-room house.

Stay focused, blest and ‘shalomious’ my friend, From your friend, Pastor Amoah