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THE CONCEPT OF DEJA VU (Part 2)

THE CONCEPT OF DEJA VU (Part II): OTHER “EXPLANATIONS”

We began this series on understanding the phenomenon of Deja Vu by pointing out the various potential explanations I heard a group of people giving over this phenomenon. 

We first defined Deja Vu, and one of the definitions we gave of it was- “…a feeling of familiarity that is brought about after the sensation that a person has been through the exact same sequence of things he is presently passing through.” And in the first installment we saw how the concepts of Monism and Pluralism fail to explain Deja Vu, because the best way to understand the world is through a dualist perspective. 
Another explanation proffered for the occurrence of Deja Vu in that group talk was the “Multiverse Theory”. 
Let us just give a brief overview of the multiverse thesis- from www.allaboutscience.org:-

“The multiverse concept is founded upon the idea that what we have hitherto considered to be ‘the universe’ is but a small component of a vast assemblage of universes. According to the multiverse thesis, each universe may differ with regards to their physical laws, in such a way that all conceivable constants and laws are represented in a universe somewhere. The hypothesis is intimately associated with the so-called Anthropic Principle, which states that our own existence acts as a selection principle determining which properties of the universe we can observe. That is to say, any observed properties of the universe which may at first seem to be astonishingly improbable can only be seen in their true perspective after we realize that other properties couldn’t be observed by us, since we can only observe properties of the universe which are conducive to our own existence. The Anthropic Principle is thus used by many people, often in conjunction with the Multiverse principle, to show why we shouldn’t be surprised at the astonishingly improbable fine-tuning of the universe for intelligent life…”

Let me pick it up from here. 
So the multiverse theory basically states that the universe we all live in is just one of many other universes, and all the things we observe in our universe are a result of a selection principle that makes us only able to take note of phenomena that apply to us as human beings. The implication is that there is really nothing that is ruled out because even if we are able to thoroughly explore this universe in which we belong we still will never know all there is to know because there are other universes running concurrently.

Now, the interesting little twist the people in that discussion group put into this was the thought that the multiverse was a number of many different universes all running simultaneously with different versions of the same individual existing and living parallel lives all at the same time. By way of illustration, let’s assume you are Mr. A and you obviously live on planet Earth in the Milky Way galaxy which is one of many galaxies in our universe, according to this theory you will have as many equivalents (different versions of you) as there are universes, and each version of you will be living out his life in a different and specific universe at the very same time. All of these supposed versions are connected in some way.
So they try to explain Deja Vu as recalling in your universe something that had happened to another version of you in another universe.

This sounds pretty nice and mystical except for some apparent flaws in that argument.

One of such flaws would of course be that as a scientific construct it falls flat against basic scientific procedure.

The same article continues- 
“Without a scientifically rigorous means by which such a multiverse concept can be tested, verified and falsified, the idea remains as but a conjecture — a fudge factor invoked merely to evade the apparent design of our cosmos. In addition, the idea suffers from a number of scientific difficulties and problems — but a handful of which are discussed herein. 
Whereas one knows that one universe exists, one does not — nor can — know whether more than one universe exists. Once observers exist in universe A, the theory of general relativity indicates that the space-time envelope of that universe can never overlap the space-time envelope of any other possibly existing universe. In other words, even if God made ten universes, we would forever lack the scientific means to detect any universe besides our own. The sample size of universes therefore is limited to one. Thus, the only rational option is that there exists only one universe and that God exquisitely designed the universe for the benefit of mankind.”

The scientific means to detect parallel universes does not exist so such a thought will remain at the level of speculation.

But I find that an even more rudimentary flaw in this argument is this- it will not be possible for different versions of an individual to live at the same time in different universes while having the same experiences happening simultaneously and still be able to have the memory of a certain experience that has happened to an equivalent in another universe. Strictly following the multiverse logic this argument will defeat itself because since you cannot have a memory of something that is either yet to happen or is presently happening it will make no sense to imply that a version of Mr. A would have done something in a parallel universe before another version of Mr. A does it in another universe if they are both meant to be occurring at the same time.
So, if we rule out the multiverse theory as being responsible for Deja Vu could there be other explanations?

Someone else came up with an intelligent presentation of what he believed was responsible for the Deja Vu phenomenon- Temporal Lobe Epilepsy.
According to Wikipedia “Temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) is a chronic disorder of the nervous system characterized by recurrent, unprovoked focal seizures that originate in the temporal lobe of the brain and last about one or two minutes. TLE is the most common form of epilepsy with focal seizures. People with TLE may experience simple partial seizures that only affect the temporal lobe or complex partial seizures that spread to other regions of the brain.”

One type of TLE is classified into simple partial seizures and complex partial seizures and among other things symptoms of simple partial seizures include amnesia and déjà Vu according to them.
Now all these sound nice and scientific but for one thing. 
I will explain what that thing is-
Arthur Funkhouser (PhD) has done over a period of years an in-depth study of and an extensive research into the concept of deja vu and made some interesting observations and classifications. 
Funkhouser states that there are three forms of déjà vu: déjà vecu, déjà senti, and déjà visite. 
“Déjà vecu is most similar to the widely acknowledged definition of déjà vu. It is the feeling that the present scenario has been experienced in the past – the details are identical and it is possible to predict what will happen next. While in the midst of déjà vecu, the detail of the experience is astounding, and the person is conscious that the present scenario conforms to their memory of it. Déjà senti is best described as an act of reminiscing, triggered by a thought or a voice. It is distinguished from déjà vecu by the following: 1. it is primarily a mental occurrence, 2. there are no existing precognitive aspects where the person has the ability to foretell an action and 3. it often times escapes the person’s memory afterwards.  Déjà visite, unlike the other forms of déjà, is overtly physical or geographical. The experience is associated with a location, familiar inanimate objects, or a particular situation. Commonly it is experienced as the feeling of a location seeming familiar, despite the fact that it is, in the present, a new experience. Furthermore, Funkhouser adds to the phenomena of déjà vu by mentioning that it is possible to experience the interplay of all three forms of déjà vu and other phenomena exist, which closely resemble this synthesis.”

Now, the most common type of deja Vu among the three listed by Funkhouser is déjà vecu. This one in addition to producing an awareness that the present being experienced has occurred previously also makes the person passing through the experience able to predict exactly what next would happen.
And this is where the flaw in the Temporal Lobe Epilepsy explanation shows up. 
How does a seizure, any type of seizure or mental/physiological condition,  enable a person predict, most times in the exact sequence, the nature and order of things that are about to follow?
In these cases we see they are not mere prognostications but actually predictions.
It just makes no sense to claim any physical or psychological ailment could be responsible for the ability of a human to foretell a set of actions or phenomena in the exact sequence especially when they have absolutely no or very little control over them.

And so I now offer my thoughts on what is responsible for the phenomenon of deja Vu.

Man is a very interesting creature. He transcends every other creature and even those that do not believe in Intelligent Design and the supernatural will readily assent to the fact that human beings are in a different class of being to animals in several respects.
Although materialists might scoff at this even when they clearly do not have the answers it is apparent that man has a deeper dimension of existence and reality than do animals.
Man is essentially a spirit being, he has a soul and he lives in a body. In the soul there lie the mind, emotions and willpower, but these are faculties that belong to the human spirit, and it is the human spirit that is the real man.
As a result of this all human beings, whether they know it or not, exist in a spiritual realm. It is the physical body that exists in time and changes with time, but time in and of itself does not change the human spirit; this is because the human spirit exists in a realm without calibration. The human spirit exists in the realm of eternity. As a result of this there are things the human spirit knows and information it is privy to that the human mind has no access to.
In fact, through my experiences and the studies I have done I have come to the conclusion that just like the body carries the DNA that carries the coding of everything in a person’s past with regard to where he is from the human spirit has a coding as a result of its connection with the unseen world that has everything in a person’s future and where he is going to.
In fact a portion of the Bible clearly highlights this-

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” 
Ecclesiastes 3:11 (New International Version)

The “human heart” the above scripture speaks of is the human spirit. The implication of this is everything that has to do with my future is coded in my spirit.
Now I am convinced that what we call déjà Vu is an occasional glimpse into what has already been deposited in the human spirit concerning certain things that are yet to happen. They seem to have happened because in eternity there is no past, present, or future; there is no five years ago or five years later in the spiritual realm. Invariably everything is an endless sea of “now”, so the human spirit has the tendency to treat everything as now. But when it occurs we have a feeling that this has happened before, because in a sense it already has.
So phenomena like these occur as windows are opened connecting  and the human spirit to the human mind and transmitting thoughts from the former to the latter.

This is what I am convinced is the explanation of the phenomenon of deja Vu. 

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THE CONCEPT OF DEJA VU: MONISM, PLURALISM, AND DUALISM

Deja Vu is a French term, which literally means “already seen”. It is the phenomenon of having the strong inkling that something you are currently experiencing has already been experienced before. It is a feeling of familiarity that is brought about after the sensation that a person has been through the exact same sequence of things he is presently passing through. 

Some of you reading this right now might have been in a situation for example where you found yourself maybe at a restaurant you had never been to before yet recognizing to the last detail everything that took place including the guy ordering food in a red shirt accompanied by the lady with a yellow tank top and brown hair and you said to yourself “Wait a second, this has happened before. I have been here before”.
It probably is not the same as above that happened to you but you might have been through a similar situation where you felt that this was familiar.

I almost see someone nodding her head in acknowledgment.

So let’s talk about this phenomenon and see how we can explain it as there are obviously people who have questions on it. 

I was directed to and saw an interesting post on the phenomenon of Deja Vu, and I saw several people in their comments to the original article speculating on what could be the explanation behind it.
Some spoke about Monism and Pluralism, while others suggested it was the “Multiverse Theory” that is most appropriate in explaining it. Yet another introduced the possibility of the person who has such occurrences being a sufferer of Temporal Lobe Epilepsy (TLE). 

I looked with interest at the variety of potential explanations they each put forward and told myself it would be good to unpack these and see what they all mean. 
I will break the unveiling of this concept and its nature into installments and will run it as a series.

This will be the first installment. 

So, let us start by taking a look  at the first suggested explanation for Deja Vu- “Monism and Pluralism”

Monism is the metaphysical and theological view that all is one, that there are no fundamental divisions, and that a unified set of laws underlie all of nature. Monism denies a distinction between body and soul, matter and spirit, and object and subject.
Everything according to the monist has one source, and for most of them it is the mind. Metaphysical thoughts like “mind over matter” and the “law of attraction” are largely monist thoughts.

Pluralism at the other extreme sees life as being a result of a multiplicity of factors. Religions like Hinduism that offer a plethora of gods for each circumstance and situation are patterned after pluralist thought.
In Epistemology “pluralism is the claim that there are several conflicting but still true descriptions of the world, and that no single explanatory system or view of reality can account for all the phenomena of life”.
We see that this train of thought is popular with traditionalists and adherents of polytheistic religions.

In Ethics, pluralism is “the supposition that there are many independent sources of value and that there is no single truth, even in moral matters.” What is right for one does not have to be right for the other.
Invariably what this means is that Pluralism is essentially the same as Relativism when it comes to Ethics.
Let me break down what that means. It literally means that nothing is right or wrong as there are no absolutes. Everything is right and wrong and both concepts are relative to who is asking, the situation in which he finds himself and what he stands to gain.
It is then neither right nor is it wrong to take another person’s spouse as yours as truth is relative. If it feels good then just do it.

I will gloss over the confusion in those patterns of thought.

The best way to understand life and existence is through a dualist perspective. 
Dualism, in it’s moral sense, has been defined as the belief of the conflict between the benevolent and the malevolent. It simply implies that there are two moral opposites at work. 
The dualist perspective distinguishes between good and evil, spirit and matter, and soul/spirit and body.

Think of spirit and matter for a second.
In the book of Genesis there are two words used in the creation process. The first Aramaic word used in the creation process is the word “Bara”; that word shows up throughout the first chapter in Genesis and is what is used for practically everything created, including man in chapter 1:27.
It means to “create” or make out of nothing tangible.
So we see that man was created in the first chapter, but when we look at the second chapter we see that the Bible records that man was then formed out of the dust of the earth (chapter 2:7).
When a casual observer takes a look at the creation story he assumes there is a contradiction as it looks as though man was created twice. 
There is no contradiction, yet man was created twice. 
Understand that two different words were used.
The second word is the Aramaic word “Asah” and it means to make out of pre-existing material. This is the word defined as “formed” in chapter 2:7.

God first created from and in the intangible realm, and then made in the tangible physical realm. He formed in the tangible realm what He first created in the intangible.
Everything we see exists in two dimensions- the tangible and the intangible. 
God first created things in the intangible 4th dimensional world before manifesting the things He created in the tangible 3 dimensional world we live in. 
And that is the pattern God uses with everything He does. Remember the following statement- GOD FINISHES EVERYTHING BEFORE HE STARTS IT.  
Everything is created twice. 
It is first created in the spiritual realm before it is created physically,  just like the translating of a script to a movie; the script is first conceived and written, after it is ended then it begins.
There is an invisible and intangible world, this invisible world has a higher level of traffic than the tangible and physical world in which we live. 
Some people scoff at suggestions like these but it does not change the fact that there are many more things that exist that cannot be seen than there are that can. 

On a handkerchief or face towel exists more bacteria than there are human beings in most major and densely populated cities yet it was only recently equipment was developed to pick up on those previously invisible beings we now call bacteria, germs, viruses and microbes. 
A man could be sick with a fever and be vibrating with intensity and people would not know what was wrong with him, but it would be those almost invisible beings that would be responsible for the issue. 
There is a spirit world and there is a physical world. Spirits exist and since life abhors vacuum everyone at some point or the other is under the influence of the invisible. 
The Holy Spirit can take control of people and function through them, and evil spirits/demons can also take control of people and function through them. People tend to manifest the characteristics of what spirit is in control of them.  Demons in control of people is a bit like a car whose driver has been kidnapped and thrown into the trunk by a violent criminal who then begins to drive the car very roughly in his bid to evade law enforcement.
The car will take on the nature and characteristics of the driver.
Being driven by a responsible person the car will stop at traffic lights and stop signs and will keep within the speed limit, but when a drunk, a junkie, or an erratic person takes control of the same car it literally becomes a dangerous weapon that can put everyone at risk.
The same car but different characteristics with different drivers.
The same way it is with human beings. People are like cars being driven by different drivers, some cars being driven by several different drivers at different times.

This is not to put every errant behavior or act on the activities of demons but to point out that they do exist as do other spirits like angels. They exist and exercise different levels of influence over the physical world. This is what dualism is about.

Yet dualism in its purest form (or absolute dualism) does not explain the supremacy of God over the devil.
In the context of the problem of evil, evil is not the opposite of good, rather it is just the absence of good. Evil has no existence in itself anymore than darkness exists in itself. Darkness is not as much an independent phenomenon as it is the absence of light. 
Where there is no light there is darkness, and where there is no good there is evil.

C.S Lewis referred to evil as a parasite, this is because he viewed evil as something that cannot exist without good to provide it with existence. That is a very good way of looking at it.
Absolute dualism is not a proper representation of what exists between God and the devil, this is because if we consider the law of equals and opposites we realize that for something to have an opposite it must first have an equal. God and Satan (aka Lucifer) are not opposites; this is because God has no equal, thus no opposite. 
A more appropriate comparison would be between Michael the archangel, rather than God, and Lucifer the devil.
So the dualism I subscribe to is not Absolute Dualism but Limited Dualism- the type of dualism where the devil attempts to frustrate God’s plan but only because of the Freewill given by God and the duration He allows it last for. 
Monism and Pluralism do not explain the concept of Deja Vu; it is actually Dualism that does and in subsequent articles we will understand just how this works.
We will continue this series in the next installment. You do not want to miss it for anything.  

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THE LAW OF TIME PERSPECTIVE AND THE PERSPECTIVE OF TIME

THE LAW OF TIME PERSPECTIVE AND THE PERSPECTIVE OF TIME

“To find the real value of anything divide it by eternity”- Dr. Ferdinand Nweke

There is a law I have a certain fondness for, it is called the “Law of Time Perspective”. 
The reasoning behind it is a very simple one. It very plainly states that the longer one spends in planning for an event or occurrence the higher the chances that one will be successful in that venture.
The explanation of this is quite simple; if for instance two people are going for a job interview in two weeks it stands to reason that the person who starts preparing for it a week ahead would have a higher chance of success than the one who starts preparing on the day of the interview. 
This law is one of the most profound principles of success operated on a regular basis by many who might not even know the technical definition of what they are doing.
As we progress in this article we will see how this has a direct bearing on our lives and efforts.

Now let us talk a bit about the perspective of time.
We know that there are things that serve as equalizers in life and these to some extent create an equal playing ground and even field for all human beings; for instance there is nobody who has a different type of oxygen to inhale from what others have, nor is there anyone who will die with any part of his wealth regardless of how affluent he might have been in life.
In the same way there is neither a person allocated 23 hours each day nor is there any given 25 hours of a day. The President of the United States has 24 hours each day, so does the most impoverished pauper in the Third World of the Third World. 
Every single person has the same amount of empty golden boxes delivered on a daily basis to him or her, and it is only that person that has the choice to decide what they are filled with.

One of the greatest resources available to humanity is Time, and one major thing that distinguishes success stories from failures is what they do with their time. 
The successful person spends time with greater economy than he would spend money because he realizes that although time is free it is still one of the most perishable commodities available on earth. 
Once it’s lost there’s no getting it back. 
Time is an ephemeral resource- more so than we actually know.

Life expectancy in North America is between 79 and 81 years of age.
Nigeria on the other hand is lower- much lower.
With a current life expectancy of 54.07 years, Nigeria is ranked  216 in the world, and 16th in Africa. Thirty seven years ago,  average life expectancy in Nigeria was 44.74 years, ranking 58th in the world and 21st in Africa.

(Read more at: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2017/02/average-life-expectancy-increasing-slowly-nigeria/)

So let’s say you are American or Canadian and you are reading this article at the age of 30, and let’s take for granted that you will live until you are 80 years of age, this would mean you have only 50 years ahead of you. Now though 50 years might look like a long time it is nowhere near as long as you would think.
And if you are a 30 year old Nigerian reading this and the statistics we have above are anything to go by then many other Nigerians your age have just over 24 years left on earth. 
Now, let’s see if we can strike some sort of balance between the two ranges and pick a random figure like 70.
If you are 25 years old now and we take for granted you will live till you are 70 then you have just 45 years left to do anything with your life. 

Ask yourself what you did with the last 25; did you invest those years or waste them?
Let’s assume you spend 7 hours sleeping each day, 1 hour in the bathroom, 2 hours in buying condiments, making your food, eating it, and doing the dishes afterwards, 3 hours in your closest relationships (family in particular), 8 hours on the job, 1 hour on social media and the internet and 1 hour in unforeseen circumstances; a breakdown should be something like the following-

(1) Sleep……………………………………………07 hours
(2) Personal Hygiene……………………….01 hour
(3) Eating…………………………………………02 hours
(4) Relationships……………………………..03 hours
(5) Vocation……………………………………..08 hours
(6) Social Media………………………………..01 hour
(7) Unforeseen…………………………………..01 hour
                                                                          ________
                                                                              23 hours

The implication of the above is if you diligently use the rest of your time you will have just 1 hour left to use your time to gain eternal value.
Remember we started this by speaking about the law of Time Perspective; the longer you spend preparing for a significant objective the higher your chances at being successful in that task. 
If we understand that time was given to us to make something of eternal consequence then we will develop a different mindset.

Following our example above-
 If you are 25 and you will live till you are 70 you have (1/24 x 45 years=) 1.8 years actually available to prepare for and accomplish this objective of your life. 
If you are 30 you have (1/24 x 40 years=) 1.6 years available; 
If you are 40 years of age right now you have (1/24 x 30 years=) 1.2 years
And if you are  50 years today you have (1/24 x 20 years=) 0.8 years to do what you have to do.

A cursory look at the nature of time immediately reveals one major characteristic-  it is a means and not an end.

Time was given for a higher purpose, and its worth will only be measured by how much of it was used for that purpose. 
Now when we overlay this with the principle of time perspective we spoke about earlier the point at issue then becomes whether we have started preparing for the reason we were given time.
So what is the reason for time?

ETERNITY: THE REASON FOR TIME
Eternity speaks of Permanence. There is no change of status in eternity. Choices can only be made in the realm of time, not the realm of eternity, so choice ends when time does.
Time will end just like it began. Once upon a time there was no time. As difficult as it may seem to believe and understand this there was actually a time when there was no time.
Time is a creation and an invention of Divinity and it had a beginning-

“He has saved us and called us to a holy life–not because of anything we have done but because of His own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus BEFORE THE BEGINNING OF TIME”
2 Timothy 1:9

So Time is a creation like all others…it had a first day and it will have a last.
Some day time will end in the same way that it began
 The reason why we have mentioned this is because there is potentially an eternal value for everything that was created, including Time. There is a purpose for everything that was created, including Time. 
But the challenge is that where purpose is not known abuse is inevitable. 
So, what is the purpose of Time?

God dwells in eternity and not in time; time is a punctuation of eternity and it was created for one purpose- God has a program and Time exists for God to run His program with the rest of creation.
Let’s “evaluate Time against the backdrop of Eternity.”
The phrase you have just read is actually a misstatement and misrepresentation because one can never actually evaluate time against the backdrop of eternity.
But for the purpose of this article let us just assume Eternity is one quadrillion  (1,000,000,000,000,000) years.
No reasonable person who understands this would spend only 1 hour everyday of the rest of his life preparing for one quadrillion years.

If the time spent on this side of life will affect and determine what happens on the other very significantly and if we use our frame of reference to imagine that we have just 70 years to prepare for one quadrillion then we must realize the import of every wasted second.
If we call the estimated 70 years we will spend on earth “finite years” and the one quadrillion we have carved out as our sample size “infinite years” we will be able to have an idea what each unit of finite time is worth when compared with its infinite counterpart.
(i) We have 1 finite year to prepare for 1,428,571,000,000,000 infinite years
(ii) We have 1 day to prepare for 39,139,000,000,000 infinite years
(iii) We have 1 hour to prepare for 1,631,000,000,000 infinite years
(iv) We have 1 minute to prepare for 27,183,333,333 infinite years
(v) We have 1 second to prepare for 453,055,555 infinite years

Think about the numbers you have above. 

Imagine that for every second I do not make profitable use of here on earth it amounts to the loss of an opportunity to contribute to that which will cover at the very least 453,055,555 infinite years.
Imagine that anyone who has wasted a second of your time has literally robbed you of a minimum of the above stated vast amount of time. 

With respect to the foregoing I then suggest that one of the resources we must be most ruthless in apportioning is Time.
This resource is imperative, it is so critical that the management of it is a major sign of wisdom-

“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise making the most of the time, because the days are evil.”
(Ephesians 5:15-16)

‘So teach us to number our days that we may apply our hearts to wisdom.”
(Psalm 90:12)

So I would like to ask this question- “What are you doing with your time?”

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THE MONASTIC CYCLE (Part II)

THE MONASTIC CYCLE (Part II)

I had finished writing and had a few days earlier posted the first installment of the Monastic Cycle before I got into an interesting conversation that led to the writing of the second. 
I was speaking with a friend of mine, an economist and senior lecturer in a private university of repute, and we were discussing the article when the terms “economy of salvation” came up. I had never thought of such a construct before; so I sat back to listen to him as he told me how the concept of the Monastic Cycle I had brought up fit into the science of economics.
Among several other things he said, he said to me- “Suffering is what scarcity is in economics.  Scarcity determines value and it is for this reason that need is essential in seeking God.”

I immediately understood what he meant as I had done some research previously on human nature and why it was that we only turned to God in our times of need. That was the basis for the article on the Monastic Cycle in the first place. 
The need makes us seek God and along with the material benefits that seeking Him brings there is order, meaning, and some sort of structure that is added to our lives. 
However, for most humans there is a tendency to turn away from Him the moment we assume we have achieved or attained the comfort, convenience, or relief that made us turn to Him from the onset.

That turning away brings considerable tragedy, disadvantages and pain for the whole community and society that does so. It has implications for the lives of those who do.

I once heard a person recount a story he heard from someone many years ago. Many decades ago in the foothills of the Eastern Himalayas, that “someone”, a missionary was preaching in a village marketplace; he held up a Book and said to the people- “This is God’s Book!” Then he explained to the people how it would affect every area of their lives. After he spoke, and the crowd dispersed, a man walked up to him and told him the story of his tribe. His ancestors had had a Book they lived by and it produced unprecedented prosperity in their land far west of the great mountains; but one thing led to another and complacency entered. His forebears were then driven from their lands and in a perilous crossing over the mountains to the east they lost the Book.
Generations later the tribe did not know how to live anymore as they had lost the Book that was a compass for every area of their lives.
The man then told the missionary that two weeks prior to their meeting an old lady from his tribe had a dream of a foreigner standing in a village marketplace and holding up the Book. She saw in her dream that if the elders sent someone on that particular day he would meet the foreigner. So the man looked at the missionary and asked a simple question- “Will you bring God’s Book to my tribe so that we will know how to live again?”

In this second part of the “Monastic Cycle” we will take a historical journey through the annals of time and see that there is a common tragedy among different people groups throughout the various epochs in history; the tragedy of losing God’s Book and forgetting how to live. We will see records that clearly reveal that when a critical mass of people have this Book and apply what it teaches in their lives, a nation is transformed; in like manner whenever a critical number of people abandon this Book and stop applying it in their personal lives, that nation begins to destroy itself. 

According to Americans for Divorce Reform the divorce rate in the U.S is one of the highest in the world with 43 % of first marriages ending in separation or divorce within fifteen years. America is said to have more than two million inmates incarcerated in prison- the highest per capita in the world. I will not speak much of its alcohol, drug abuse, gambling, and pornography epidemics.
Interestingly, according to the World Christian Encyclopedia, more than 84 percent of Americans identify themselves as Christian. 
The apparent contradiction in this is resolved when we consider the results of a 2002 poll by the Barna Group of Ventura, California which shows that only 7 percent of adults aged eighteen to thirty-five make moral choices based on the Bible.
In Western Europe the situation is worse; according to the European Values Study only 21 percent of Europeans say religion is “very important” to them and just 15 percent attend a place of worship once a week. I would wager that a great number of these people that attend a place of worship are likely to be from both Sub-Saharan and North Africa. Europeans increasingly view a belief in God and the concept of religion as an irritant and an impediment to progress. 

But it was not always like this. We saw in the first part of this series (Monastic Cycle part I) that Gordon Cosby, the founding pastor of Church of the Savior in Washington D.C, noted a pattern as he studied the evolution of religious orders. Like we said in the first part-
“First, an idealist attracts people with a strong sense of devotion. The devotees then form a community. Usually there are certain behavioral traits  that become prevalent in most of such communities. One of such traits is discipline- hence the strict rules of founders of orders like Benedict and Ignatius.
 Disciplined groups tend to prosper, this is because discipline creates industry and industry produces wealth, but that very success ultimately undermines the group’s commitment and leads to self-indulgence, and at this point the movement begins to fall apart. 
All these happen and then someone comes along to revive the spirit of idealism. After this happens the cycle starts over again.”

In England in the time of John Wesley (1703-1791), the Monastic Cycle was at the bottom phase and English society desperately needed that idealist who would lead the upsurge. The wealthy elite who were products of the revivals that ensued out of the practice of the principles enunciated by the Bible from pulpits of yore had grown complacent and over time had become impervious to the needs of the less privileged. There was no advocate for the poor and the oppressed. There was terrible hunger in the land. The weak and the young succumbed to epidemics of tuberculosis, diphtheria, and cholera. Children of the poor, from as early as the ages of four and five, went working in factories and mines, often working for more than twelve hours a day in hazardous conditions. In textile factories little children were scalped while crawling under big machines to pick up loose cotton; several fell into the machinery and died.
In the mines, children hauled large baskets of coal on their backs. Because animals cost too much to replace owners used small children to work the coal mines. Businessmen took advantage of the poor to build their empires and the Church of England did nothing.

It was against this backdrop that John Wesley emerged.

While studying at Oxford he became disenchanted with what he saw. The disconnect between the Church and society, the low morals and the unbridled cruelty, and the complacency of the clergy. Being a clergyman himself he felt a need to reform those practices and aspects of Church culture that were not in consonance with what he read in the Bible. He felt the need to help make the adjustments that would see to it that the Book produced the transformation in society he knew it could.
Having been rejected by members of the Establishment he began to reach out to thousands of people. As he was not given the opportunity to share in church buildings he went out in open squares and fields, preaching and making converts by the thousands. From them he trained over ten thousand small group leaders and with them discipled the larger body of new believers; they were taught accountability, honesty, leadership, godliness, the value of hard work, and love and respect for one another among other things.
His work led to the emergence of a middle class that moved the economy of England and also produced new innovations and products that led to the transformation of society. 
An example of John Wesley’s work was a businessman named Samuel Plimsoll who constantly witnessed the sinking of merchant ships and the subsequent drowning of hundreds of sailors and employees as a consequence of the overloading of the vessels. Most of these merchants were fond of this because they made huge insurance claims and maximized their “losses” in order to make humongous recoveries. 
To combat this Plimsoll created a device, since called the “Plimsoll Mark”, which marked a line on the ship to indicate a safe loading level. 
Other examples of the Wesleyan Reformation include Florence Nightingale who developed the modern nursing profession, and Elizabeth Fry, who led the reformation of the prison system.
William and Catherine Booth picked up Wesley’s legacy, and having been directly influenced by his writings and teachings they went on to found the Salvation Army, an organization that has done arguably the most work for the poor. 
As the reforms that John Wesley produced from the Bible worked in England many of the nation’s elite watched in trepidation as the French Revolution (1789-1799) saw the massive uprising that led to the killings of members of the upper class constituted by members of the French monarchy, it’s nobles, and the corrupt priests who had used religion as a tool of subversion. The movements led by the Wesleys prevented the same outcome from occurring in England. 

Earlier, it was a similar position Martin Luther found Germany in. Things had gotten to the bottom, there was a massive wave of corruption and the rot that was a characteristic of the Dark Ages saw to it that there was complete spiritual and academic illiteracy among the masses. The nobles and priests had exclusive authority and the people were kept under perpetual servitude by keeping them ignorant and separating them from truth. 
Luther was a young man in 16th Century Saxony who entered a monastery of Augustinian hermits while hoping to find salvation for his soul. After trying everything he could he felt all the more lost as he soon found that no amount of works would soothe the guilt he bore. As he heeded the advice of the leader of the Order of hermits in the monastery he began to search the Scriptures himself. While on a trip to Rome after being sent on an errand by his abbot he came to the “very gates of heaven” as Rome was then called; while there he opted to do more penance by walking on his knees up the stairs as he was instructed; the tradition was that a person could receive a fifteen year reprieve from “purgatory” if he did this. It was as he did this he heard a voice that said to him “The just shall live by faith”, he realized this was a portion of scripture he had seen in the Book of Romans, this scripture made such a deep impression on him after he heard this voice speak it to his heart that he got up from there and walked away.

While in Rome he was further burdened by the licentiousness and greed that was a normal occurrence in the behavior of the priests who supposedly stayed at the “very gates of heaven.” He was completely appalled by what he saw and this first led him to seek personal reformation. Six years after his ordination into the priesthood of the Catholic Church and being a professor at the University in Wittenberg he had a personal conversion experience; he felt the power of God’s Word and His Spirit in such a profound way that he immediately went out to start preaching that salvation was a gift from God and was to be received by faith, it was nothing to be earned.
In 1517, Martin Luther went out to write his famous “ninety nine theses” that addressed issues of repentance, forgiveness of sin, and the greed and worldliness of the church hierarchy. What followed was a storm that took the world apart and caused total transformation as the Monastic Cycle took its course. 

As Luther translated the Bible into common language and spread it in the hands of the masses there was mass education as people learned to read and write. They soon found that as they could read the Bible they could also decipher Arithmetics, read Architecture and write Poetry. It is not coincidental that the Reformation practically coincided with that period in history called the Enlightenment.
The Reformers launched reading programs across Germany and other parts of Europe. People were taught to read the Bible and could thus read other things like political pamphlets, news, and books on everything from Geography to Geometry. All kinds of information was then deployed, and this led to the spread of innovations and the release of creative energies. 

As Loren Cunningham noted about the renaissance in Germany at this time, “This changed all of history. Before this, there was no generally rich country on earth. Kings and tyrants were individually wealthy. A few aristocrats were wealthy. But not the common people. Individual potential exploded after the people were empowered by the concept of the priesthood of all believers. And as people learned to read, unprecedented numbers began to use their minds ever more broadly, coming up with ideas that created wealth and changed the lives of many. A middle class blossomed, and whole nations became wealthy after a significant number of people applied the Word of God in their lives. The gaining of new knowledge began to pick up speed. For centuries Europe had actually lagged behind the Middle East and Far East in creative development. They forgot much of their inheritance from Greece and Rome, while the Islamic world happily absorbed it and built on it. The Arabs invented the numbers we all use and the concept of zero; the Chinese had many inventions before the West, including paper and gunpowder. But these innovations soon paled in comparison to bright, new discoveries coming out of Europe. ”

Mariano Grondona, a professor of government at the Law Faculty of the National University of Buenos Aires, Argentina, made a remarkable statement in an article “A Cultural Typology of Economic Development” in the book “Culture Matters” after many years of painstaking research.
In listing his discoveries he said no country was a developed nation before the 1600s, neither in the East nor in the West: “It was the Protestant Reformation that first produced economic development in northern Europe and North America.” He then added that today the rate of economic growth in Protestant countries had declined in part because of the cooling of religious fervor.

We find that the effects of the Protestant Reformation and the Bible as a whole in society are not limited to the economy or educational sector.
In the United States Common Law there are Bible verses certain things are premised on, according to David Burton, constitutional expert, political historian, and author of “The Jefferson Lies” and “God in the Constitution”, John 8:10 was the basis for which a person became constitutionally empowered to stand before his accusers, while Proverbs 18:17 was the basis for the concept of cross-examination in Common Law. 

We find that the Monastic Cycle played a role through the history of practically all developed nations, and we can also trace the dire straits most of such countries found themselves in to the last few phases of the same Cycle, the point at which they turned their backs on the very factors that paved the foundations of their greatness. 

Categories
Current Affairs Analysis Devotional motivational

LEADERSHIP SERIES- THE UNDERDOGS: THE REAL STANDARD FOR MEASURING THE STRONG AND THE POWERFUL (Part II)

LEADERSHIP SERIES
(THE UNDERDOGS: THE REAL STANDARD FOR MEASURING THE STRONG AND THE POWERFUL- PART II)

When we take a look at the disciples of Jesus we notice that He didn’t go in search of those with the most impressive CVs. In fact it would seem that He deliberately went for those who had very obvious defects. There was something that attracted Him to deficient and weak people, He would rather be involved in the making of others than celebrate finished products. 
This is quite different from the kind of “leadership” many chief executives and socio-political leaders are involved in giving. If you have ever been involved in human resource development in any capacity whatsoever, whether as the pastor of a church, as the team leader in a unit at your workplace, or as a teacher who is genuinely interested in the lives of the students you teach you  would have had first hand knowledge of how arduous it is to train or develop people.
The easier things to do would be to avoid “raw material” and go for the “finished products.” 

Jesus did neither.

He knew that the most profound treasures were hidden under huge volumes of dross and dirt. He knew that the treasure in the human resource was no different and as long as there was a longing for change in the heart of man and a predilection to work towards it there would be nothing that could hinder transformation from manifesting.
So He picked His twelve and did not pick men who had no reason or desire to be helped. 

It would seem to the untrained eye that He had a bunch of very unpromising recruits; men who would ordinarily not be considered by most of us for such a sensitive task even though most of us are very much like the same men. 

Consider Matthew (also known as Levi) the tax collector. Matthew essentially had a franchise to collect taxes, some of which he most likely kept for himself, while remitting the remainder to the Roman authorities to help support their pagan system. Tax collectors were so hated by the populace that calling a person a tax collector (or publican) by way of insult was considered one of the most derogatory and demeaning invectives.
By rabbinic custom Matthew could never enter the temple, never give testimony in court, and never be forgiven for his sins. No God-fearing Jews would have anything to do with him. That was how much of a traitor he was considered to be.
Yet Jesus picked this outcast among Jews as one of His twelve disciples, and Matthew had the privilege of writing one of the four gospels. 

We could easily imagine why Jesus could be tagged a renegade and trouble maker by some people when we see how He recruited insurgents like James and John the sons of Zebedee to fit into His core circle of twelve apostles. These were people that were known as “the Boanerges”, and the “sons of thunder.”
A little glimpse into the background to all these would explain the mindset and prevailing orthodoxy under which these men operated. 
The Roman Empire ruled over much of Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East.
One of the farthest corners of the Roman Empire, Judaea was a land of ancient traditions and religious fervor and decades of Roman rule were causing ever more resentment among the indigenous people. 
During the first century, Rome had dominion over Israel.  In 63 BC, after the Romans invaded and conquered Jerusalem, in order to keep control over the Galilean and Judean peoples, Julius Caesar and the Senate installed Herod as king. He became one of Caesar Augustus’ favorite military leaders, and was admired by the new emperor because of his immense development program. He undertook several projects successfully and had administrative acumen that endeared him to the Roman authorities.  
Not only did Herod expand the Temple in Jerusalem to be more grandiose and Hellenistic-Roman in style, but he also imposed a sacrifice that the priests would give on behalf of Rome and the emperor.  

Additionally, Herod had whole cities named to give reverence to Caesar as well as imperial temples and fortresses to reinforce Roman control.  The great building campaigns were not possible without taxing the peoples of Galilee, Samaria, and Judea greatly; leaving the majority in poverty.  Not only were they required to pay taxes to the Empire, but they continued to function as a “temple-state” and were also required to pay the customary tithes and sacrifices of the Jewish religion.  There was an intense offense against the Romans that was the product of being forced into idolatry along with the difficult economic reality they imposed on them.
As one writer stated:
“The demand for tribute to Rome and taxes to Herod imposed on them in addition to the willful tithes and offerings to the Temple and priesthood dramatically escalated the economic pressures on peasant producers, whose livelihood was perennially marginal at best.  After decades of multiple demands from multiple layers of rulers many village families fell increasingly into debt and were faced with loss of their family inheritance of land.  The impoverishment of families led to the disintegration of village communities, the fundamental social form of such an agrarian society…”

 The Jews responded in various ways to the rule of Rome and the appointed governors and client-kings.
 The first response saw some Jews, as in the case of the Sadducean priestly order and the Herodian dynasty, live in compromise and subservience to the Empire, implementing the Romans’ wishes and playing the classic Uncle Tom role; this was deliberately designed to secure their place in the scheme of things and maintain the status quo. These people effectively sabotaged all efforts of their kith and kin to attain redemption from the Romans and in return they were rewarded with positions and the perks of office that came with them. 
The second kind of response from another group of Jews was a basic acceptance of Roman rule, with an implied readiness to challenge the Empire when Roman injustice became too much to bear. This “challenge”  was usually carried out as nonviolent subversion and protests.  
The third response was a total and complete rejection, though nonviolent, of Roman rule.  
The fourth way that Jews responded to this circumstance was embodied by the Zealots in violent rejection of Rome, this would lead to the eventual destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD.
 It is in this fourth category you would find James and John “the sons of thunder.”

To think that even after their three years of close proximity to Jesus while He walked on the earth they would still be asking if the aim of His death and resurrection was to lead the final insurrection against Rome that would overthrow it and put Israel in its place was astounding.
He was patient and simply told them it was not in their place to know what times and seasons God had set in His power.

Of course we realize He did not leave them the same way He met them. He was patient to guide them through their misguided notions and obstinacy. He had spent three years teaching them and pointing them towards a superior ideology that was extra-natural, the ideology of the Kingdom of God. Even after all these they were still asking at His resurrection “Will you now restore the Kingdom (authority) to Israel?” (Acts :6)

These were examples of the human raw material He had to work with.

It is completely superfluous to speak about the likes of Judas Iscariot whose penchant for avarice Jesus already knew sufficient about before selecting him to be part of the twelve.
There was Thomas who is the poster boy for incertitude and skepticism. 
There was of course Peter who was noted for his impetuousness, instability, and garrulousness.
These were just some of the other members of the group of twelve whose individual dispositions were equally dismal.

I cannot but imagine the dreary outlook a person who took a cursory glance at this bunch would feel, especially when one considers that it was these same men that would be the custodians of divine secrets. 
It was on these men that all hope for the advancement of the Kingdom of God would lie. 
Jesus did not just take a casual glance at them, He took a long look and saw potential that many of us would not see.
This is the way God sees- He sees the possibility in every “impossibility.” He sees the finished product in the primal matter of the human resource.

It is this same perspective that sets the genuinely strong apart from those that have some indices of power and thus think they are strong.
True strength is measured by how the “strong” treat the weak. 
There are human beings who imbibed this same mindset through history, and it was this mentality that made them strong in the eyes of God.
The one who is genuinely strong is the one that protects the weak. 
The one who is genuinely strong is not the one who is willing to trample on others in order to look like something he is not, he is the one who wants to make men.
He is the one who is committed to making heroes out of zeroes.

This is the kind of leadership we must all aspire to give, and the sort of leader we must all strive to be.

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Devotional

ENEMIES OF GOD

ENEMIES OF THE FAITH

“Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.”
James 4:4

One of the things that is likely to strike the reader of this article would be the image of the man being stabbed in the back.
This is an apt description of what we are about to discuss. Enemies of God are usually not in plain sight if you don’t know what to look for. And this makes them all the more dangerous so when they strike it hits one in the place least expected.

I remember speaking in a Bible conference somewhere once where I used the phrase “enemy of God.” I also remember how someone, a preacher at that, took me to task immediately afterwards and asked me how God could have “enemies”. He went all sanctimonious on me and started lecturing me as to how God loves every single human being and how God only had friends and no enemies.
I agreed with him on the first part that had to do with God loving humans but thoroughly disagreed as to the part in which he claimed God had no enemies. 

I mentioned several scriptures to him and showed that the Bible was replete with references to those that God considered enemies. One of such verses is above.
So, the question later became, “what makes a person an enemy of God?”

When we hinder His program and fraternize with those that want to destroy it we have become enemies of God.
There are three different moulds that are relevant today in order to understand who an enemy of God is.

“Now it came to pass, when Sanballat, and Tobiah, and Geshem the Arabian, and the rest of our enemies, heard that I had builded the wall, and that there was no breach left therein; (though at that time I had not set up the doors upon the gates;) That Sanballat and Geshem sent unto me, saying, Come, let us meet together in some one of the villages in the plain of Ono. But they thought to do me mischief…Then sent Sanballat his servant unto me in like manner the fifth time with an open letter in his hand; Wherein was written, It is reported among the heathen, and Gashmu saith it, that thou and the Jews think to rebel: for which cause thou buildest the wall, that thou mayest be their king, according to these words. And thou hast also appointed prophets to preach of thee at Jerusalem, saying, There is a king in Judah: and now shall it be reported to the king according to these words. Come now therefore, and let us take counsel together. Then I sent unto him, saying, There are no such things done as thou sayest, but thou feignest them out of thine own heart. For they all made us afraid, saying, Their hands shall be weakened from the work, that it be not done. Now therefore, O God, strengthen my hands.”

Nehemiah 6:1-2, 5-9 

There were three main sources of opposition that Nehemiah faced while doing the work of God. These are the same three sources of opposition we will face as the Church or as individual believers every time we attempt to do God’s work. 
These sources are symbolized by three men:-

(a) Sanballat the Horonite was a native of Beth-Horon; and his name Sanballat, literally means “Sin the moon god has given life”. The name is worth taking note of, and is highly symbolic as this man represents all satanic opposition to the truth of God’s Word, His Church and His work in our world today.

It is no mystery that the devil has a morbid hatred for Christ, the Church, and individual believers. That is not news.
One of the reasons he attempted to rebel against God is to usurp the Throne of God and claim His glory. This is why he would have the audacity to claim he can give life. 
Satan is real and influences people to act in certain ways for the furtherance of his objective; he is able to give direction to those that give him attention, ….and many do so unwittingly.

Most of us understand that we live in a three dimensional world. 
Almost every tangible thing we see and handle has three dimensions. It has length, breadth, and height. The chair you are sitting on right now, the electronic device you are reading this article on, the bowl from which you would have had breakfast this morning, and practically every other physical thing we use. That is easily seen and easily understood.

What is not as easily understood is the fact that there is a fourth dimension. An invisible, intangible dimension whose major part most people are still oblivious to. The part of the fourth dimension that many of us are conversant with is the intellectual and mental realm, it is in this dimension that we have thoughts and ideas.
For instance, the clothes you are wearing existed somewhere before they showed up in the physical, material realm; the car you drive existed somewhere before it showed up in the physical, material realm. They all existed in the minds of the manufacturers/producers.
That much is understandable.

What many of us do not understand however is that there is more to the fourth dimension than that. Thoughts exist in the mental or intellectual realm, but the intellectual realm is not the only thing that exists in the fourth dimension. There is a spiritual realm that is part of the fourth dimension. There is a sponsor for almost everything we see and do, and that sponsor is either God or the devil. 
As we live our everyday lives we consciously or unconsciously incline towards either of the two pathways. 
Whether we know it or not we are actively living out a script and contributing our quota either to the advancement of the Kingdom of God or the advancement of the cause of the devil…

There is no vacuum in life.
A wise man said it this way-  “Principalities work through Personalities.” 

In Sanballat’s case he was consciously opposing the program of God and knew exactly what he stood for, but he most likely did not understand the consequences.
Today we can readily point to groups like Satanists, New Agers, Occultists, Necromancers, Atheists, and several others, and see that they fall into the mould of Sanballat the Horonite.

Yet the above list is not exhaustive.

There are some ways to pinpoint those that are under this mould even if they fit into any classifications other than the ones listed above.
One way stands out prominently for me. 

Having studied this phenomenon for a while I have come to the conclusion that any person that has an irrational hatred for God, Jesus Christ, the Church, or believers in Christ is a person who is under an influence- a diabolical influence.
I will go a step further and say that the wave of Anti-Semitism all across Europe, the Middle East and North Africa is a product of that same influence. 
The person that sponsors the hatred of Jesus Christ and His Church is the same one that sponsors hatred against Israel. There are many under this influence that are oblivious to the fact that they are. For them their irrational hatred is ordinary.
But we must understand that nothing is ordinary.

(b) The third person who was mentioned was Geshem the Arab; I am putting him second on the list because I would want to end with the second person. 

As I previously mentioned Geshem was an Arab, a descendant of Ishmael, the alternative to faith. 
This man’s name means “Firmness” and he represents all the legalists who with their fleshly strength attempt to do spiritual work. 
He is first and foremost a symbol of Islam and Muslims, especially those who engage in militant Islam. He represents those that actually think they are doing God’s work while all the time they are destroying it. 
The Bible says, “These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended. They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.”
(John 16:1-2)

There are these ones that actually believe they are following God but are unconsciously living in opposition to His will. There are some who have embarked on “Jihad” thinking they will gain heaven by killing others.
Watching commentaries on many of the young men drawn to ISIS it becomes more apparent that a majority of those drawn to this warped ideology are petty criminals and wasted youth who try to make some sort of penance in the hope that they can pay for their previous misdemeanors by submitting their lives for a “higher cause.”
Tragic really.

A religion/creed/ideology that is based heavily on works and the deeds one must undertake to secure salvation is one that will breed an air of superiority and arrogance in the mistaken assumption that they will pay their way to heaven through observances.
Thus, they will fight those who believe in concepts like the original sin, and that Jesus Christ is the Son and the Lamb of God who came to take away the sin of the world. 

Geshem is the profile of those who try to use strict religious observances like absolution, praying five times a day, zakat, and all other fleshly practices to gain spiritual and Providential acceptance. 
Tragically, there are also some in the Church who are trying to follow God using the same pattern. The legalistic means they follow is what keeps them bound by the law

(c) The second person in the trio mentioned in the Bible after Sanballat was Tobiah the Ammonite; a descendant of Ammon, the son of Lot. I have placed him last on the list because his profile is the most strategic and tragic of the three and concerns believers the most. He is the most unfortunate character of all three.

We might remember that Lot was Abraham’s nephew and lived with him for many years.
On his own Lot was described as a “righteous man” (2 Peter 2:7); this means that Tobiah had a godly heritage and lineage. 
 Tobiah’s name literally means “The Lord is good.” 
So obviously he understood the language of the Kingdom and if we were to use modern day parlance we could say he was a “church boy”.
Yet he was obstructing the path of the Lord by joining in with Sanballat. 
Tobiah was part of the fifth column.

“A fifth column is any group of people who undermine a larger group—such as a nation or a besieged city—from within, usually in favor of an enemy group or nation. The activities of a fifth column can be overt or clandestine. Forces gathered in secret can mobilize openly to assist an external attack. Clandestine fifth column activities can involve acts of sabotage, disinformation, or espionage executed within defense lines by secret sympathizers with an external force…Emilio Mola, a Nationalist General during the Spanish Civil War, told a journalist in 1936 that as his four columns of troops approached Madrid, a ‘fifth column’ (Spanish: Quinta columna) of supporters inside the city would support him and undermine the Republican government from within.”

Fifth columnists exist everywhere. Even in Church. The contest between the Kingdom of God and the kingdom of the devil is for souls and for the eternal destinies of nations. It is for influence over this world- to purify it and make life worth living, or to corrupt it, deface it, and absolutely destroy it. 

Tobiah represents the 5th columnists, the lip service and carnal “Christians” who cause trouble and hinder God’s program with their fleshly thinking and actions. The name suggests they belong with us, but their words and action prove they are strangers to the covenant of grace. They are in Church but not really of Christ.
Tobiah was more or less a spiritual Uncle Tom.

I have seen people who are supposedly people of God and “insiders” who are the first to blow a whistle on even the smallest indiscretion of their pastors or any other church leaders; they do this even when they are far from perfect and have done even worse than what they broadcast outside. I have seen people who are blessed by a ministry and have had their whole lives turned around only to turn against that same ministry further down the road.
I have seen people who criticize the way their church handles finances even when they have not contributed a dime and have no moral rights to do so. These ones who don’t share in the weight of the vision and contribute absolutely nothing still are the ones that go out to say things they have absolutely no understanding of.
I have seen people who think there are things they should have but the moment their pastor has the same things they are up in arms, even when they have given him nothing. They criticize the pastor, the congregation, the vision, and every other conceivable thing when it does not go their way.
I have seen some church people who are within the church but are not part of it; they use their carnal mindset in decision making and pursue only what they stand to gain from…absolutely not interested in what God wants.
They will readily foist a political candidate on their community or nation for parochial and primordial reasons like race, tribe, or personal financial gain. They would not as much as think about what the Kingdom of God either stands to gain or lose.

When a church person goes out to spread anything that will bring shame to the Church without considering the effect it will have on the unsaved then he fits into the mould of Tobiah. 
When a church person goes out to defame the Church or his pastor because of a personal grievance or for some individual gain he fits into the mould of Tobiah.
When a church person takes it upon himself to openly criticize church leaders especially when there is no contribution of his to the church he fits into the mould of Tobiah.
When a church person does not consider the divine program before selecting who will govern him and millions of others he fits into the mould of Tobiah.

When a church person does not understand he is a representative of the kingdom and puts his selfish interests forward and ends up in partnership with the enemies of the cross and possibly ends up spreading what could cause further damage, whether factual or not, to the cause of God and the Body of Christ he, just like Judas Iscariot, fits into the mould of Tobiah. 

David, the king of Israel and man after God’s heart, was faced with a situation where he learnt about the death of one who had sworn David must first die; he was told of the demise of one who had sought his destruction in a vengeful manner; he was told of the death of Saul. But because David looked beyond the man who intended for him to perish and saw the significance of his death and the shame it would bring to the cause of He whom Saul once represented, he said-

“The beauty of Israel is slain upon thy high places:
how are the mighty fallen!
Tell it not in Gath,
publish it not in the streets of Askelon;
lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice,
lest the daughters of the uncircumcised triumph.”
2 Samuel 1:19-20

This is how a kingdom minded person would think. 
So, assess yourself and see if you are an enemy of the faith

Categories
Devotional Infomation

WHY GOD DOES NOTHING WHEN BAD THINGS HAPPEN

WHY GOD DOES NOT INTERVENE 

WHERE IS GOD WHEN BAD THINGS HAPPEN?

“There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, in the end, ‘thy will be done.'”- C.S Lewis

A plane crashes in the Alps instantly killing hundreds of passengers, among whom are about twenty children, at least two of which are infants. 

A young girl who is less than six years old gets sexually molested from that age by an uncle, and then her father over the next twelve years…at least two hundred times.
A four year old girl is given away to a “cousin” by her mom who knows fully well that she would be trafficked and plunged into the underworld of crime and prostitution by the pimp who calls himself a family member. The girl grows up through this sordid maze and sleeps with different breeds of men, in some cases having over 80 different customers in one day, in order to survive.

Adolf Hitler murdered at least 6 million Jews.

Multitudes of black men and other minorities lie in unmarked graves, victims of terrible racist acts perpetrated in the South of the United States. Slave-masters abducting people from their lands in Africa and transporting them like logs of wood for thousands of miles across the Atlantic. White Supremacists lynching innocent blacks through centuries of slave trade, and still doing so today through institutionalized methods even after the abolition of slave trade. 
Like the invaders who snatched lands from the Native Americans and subjugated them to years of oppression the Apartheid government of Boers kept the majority black population in repression, unfathomable humiliation, and untold hardship for years on end.

Hundreds of thousands of people have been killed in Syria since the turn of the Arab Spring, caught in a conflict that is not of their own making, many bombed to smithereens while others are singed by chemical and biological weapons.
A bunch of brigands referred to as ISIS obliterates entire cities and towns, pillaging them and beheading the inhabitants like sheep in an abattoir. As they do this they abduct Yazidi girls and sell them off in their slave market. Their vampire colleagues called Boko Haram storm remote villages with machine guns and machetes hacking down innocent and defenseless people like they were playing a computer game.

Ebola strikes entire communities in West Africa killing multiplied thousands and drastically affecting the economies of the countries in which those communities are. A story I remember vividly was about a victim of Ebola in a Liberian community who died with her 5-7 month old baby in her arms. The medical workers were called in, they got there to find the gory sight of the infant crying and sucking on the breast of the corpse.

There are, no doubt, many more of such cases and examples of the evil with which this world is besieged. Not only is evil ubiquitous, it seems to also be proliferating at an alarming rate.

We live in a world where terrible things happen. Of that there is no doubt. What seems to be in doubt though is a good God who is well intentioned, magnanimous, and benevolent “allowing” such terrible things happen.

I have heard well meaning people ask this question, and I have seen those who seek to support their vacuous claims of the non-existence of God attempt to use this as a rhetorical question in a bid to fortify their arrogant ignorance. 

So, where is God when bad things happen? Where is He in the face of tragedy?

The answer is “He is there”

The next question then becomes, “Why doesn’t He do anything to stop the tragedy from happening?” or “Does He do anything to stop the tragedy from happening?”

There are two answers to these questions. They are what I choose to call “Legality” and “Morality”

LEGALITY: 

“The heaven, even the heavens, are the Lord ‘s:
but the earth hath he given to the children of men.”
Psalm 115:16

In creating this world God handed it over to man; this singular action gave man legality on the earth. It was not ownership of the earth that God gave to man, it was stewardship. This stewardship was a lease, and this lease will expire some day, but up until that time man has legality and will only have what he permits, by commission or omission, in his life.
By way of illustration, if Mr. Williams owned a facility that Mr. Harold chose to lease for his fast food restaurant, for let’s say ten years, that facility although owned by Mr. Williams would be under the administration of Mr. Harold for the duration of time covered in the agreement. Although Mr. Williams still owns the building he would not be at liberty to walk into the offices and kitchen of Mr. Harold’s restaurant because though it is technically his building the business it is being used for is another person’s.

In a similar manner, God gave man the earth to steward on a lease but humanity (through the actions of the progenitor of the human race) lined up with the devil. It is this alliance that has produced the diabolical desolation the world is experiencing today.

This is why redemption became imperative. 

As many as have given their lives to Christ have been legally delivered from the devil’s bondage and are no longer under his authority. And because man has legality whoever he invites into the “facility” (his world) is who comes in.

America drives God out of her schools and gets perturbed when the devil replaces Him? Europe send Him out of her national life and blames Him when things go wrong? He seems to be the one to shoulder the blame for all the tragedy. And that would make sense IF He were the one that ran all the affairs.
It would be fair to blame Him for the tragedy if He were the one that ran the earth. But He is not the one. He handed over power to man and man gave it to the devil…willfully.

This is why the Church is here. To advance the cause of the LORD and expand His kingdom.
This is the reason for redemption. To stand with God for the deliverance and liberation of countless multitudes flung on the path of perdition but for whom the price of freedom has been paid.
If you are saved you are required to help God in this regard; work with Him and help Him as a partner-

Someone might ask, “Does God need help?”

“Curse ye Meroz, said the angel of the Lord,
curse ye bitterly the inhabitants thereof;
because they came not to the help of the Lord,
to the help of the Lord against the mighty.”

(Judges 5:23)

Since leasing the world to humanity He has maintained the legal position of non-interference, not getting involved until He is invited.
This policy is still what applies today, and it will be so until the lease expires and He reclaims the possession which was handed over to man. Until then, He needs someone to help Him intervene in the affairs and issues causing so much pain and decadence in the world today.

In the end, the question will be “Did you live for your will, or did you live for His?”

MORALITY: Force and Freedom make uneasy partners and an emphasis on one always diminishes the other. Coercion does not produce Freedom and this is quite clear in human history. How many times have we seen force produce real freedom?

The U.S invasion of Iraq is a case in point. It was supposed to “free” the Iraqis from the tyrannical grip of the despot Saddam Hussein. That show of force has produced just about as much freedom as a rock in the desert produces orange juice.

The parents among you will undoubtedly understand how it is possible for one to rebuke a recalcitrant child and make him sit down when he wants to stand. Sometimes, even a cursory glance at that child will reveal his thought pattern as the scowl on his face tells you, “I may be sitting on the outside but I’m standing on the inside.” 
This is exactly what God faces if He attempts to force or coerce anyone to do His bidding.

In the Bible records show that Intervention without Invitation does not produce Transformation. The Old Testament nation of Israel had God intervene on their behalf after their cries for deliverance from the affliction of Pharaoh reached His ears. He sent Moses and set them free through mighty signs and wonders, but it would take only a few steps into the Sinai for the people to forget and start showing monumental levels of ingratitude as they complained against Moses and murmured incessantly while yearning earnestly for the lifestyle they were delivered from. The mental conditioning of slavery made it practically impossible to move these people into the Land of Freedom.

The Bible also tells us prophetically about something that will happen when Adam’s lease ends. The Lord Jesus Christ will return again and the devil will be imprisoned for 1,000 years; this millennium would be one of unprecedented increase and bliss for everyone. The shocking thing though, is that after it the devil will be released from His prison and will go to the four corners of the earth seeking support, and will find active supporters from those who would have partaken of the 1,000 years of bliss and abundance. There are those who will still embrace the devil willingly even after all the love God Almighty would have shown them…try and imagine how many would embrace Satan’s deception if God used force on men and turned us all to subservient machines.

It is against the boundaries of a Moral God to coerce or force a person to do anything; even if it is for the good of that person.

It is for these reasons that God will not intervene until He is invited.