Jesus said, “His followers will do more than He did” - Jn. 14:12. Without more facilitation from God, this is not possible; but will happen exponentially as we make Him the first and last in all things. I have heard it been said that a western minister was praying for an increase for his church up to ten thousand congregants thinking this was a stretch for his ministry. Yet, on average in eastern churches such as in Nigeria or South Korea, has the numbers more like fifty thousand per sermon, with some having more than two services per day and starting as early as four thirty in the morning. Now, is God bias to the east than to the west? He can’t be because of his person! Are the western ministers less capable than those of the east? I don’t think so; they all preach the same message with equal fervor, just like Reinhard Bonnke; a western evangelist in Africa. What is very obvious is a hunger in the east despite having more economic trials than the west. The east is placing God first and last over every other care of life and God has honored their sacrifice by providing places of Praise, Thanksgiving, and Worship to reveal Himself to them. Some may say, the Word is needed more now in the east than the west, but statistics tell us that in the west, people are desperate for something or someone to lead and uplift them, to the point many are leaving this world before Salvation can be offered. It is in our hands, to “force” God to move.
For Christians, the Word is God’s embodiment in action to not only speak but demonstrate. This has no effect unless things are kept in the ordained order given by God, such as Faith without works is dead and of no effect without love. Ever wondered why the very arm of God’s power has now been relegated to fifth place on the rung to His Throne. Before the foundations of the worlds, there is God, the Word, the Holy Spirit and the Angels. There are Angels of different and special classes serving one God, one Word, and one Holy Spirit; all working together as the Holy Trinity. Yet, without the Angels, nothing gets done as they are the carriers, deliverers, and fulfillment of God’s will. It is interesting that it seems God’s demotion of the angels resulted because of a single angel’s rebellion and although man equally failed, and rebelled; it is only by Grace is a man given an equal seat to that of Jesus; maybe because man is a direct descendant of the God image. It’s like God is stating that treason from any rung and means, results in an obvious separation or distancing from His Throne. The Angel's responsibility and abilities did not change; only their “proximity” to God in terms of hierarchical structure; being subject to what is now the lowest creation of God’s image, assigning them to our welfare by; “ command His angels concerning you” - Lk. 4:10, and “having the authority to bind and loose”; essentially evil and good angels respectively. - Matt. 18:18. God is showing, He must be first and last even at the Heavenly level and opposition to this is not tolerated. In the bible, many stories seem to enforce this especially for those charged with leading others, as with Moses who was not allowed to go into the promise land - Num. 20:12. Other examples would include Samson, Saul, and even David; all who at some point failed to keep the first and last of God as their very source for life and direction.
God is all about Himself. That says it all and it is why He is the first and last of everything we think, say or do. God is Love - 1 Jn. 4:8, but equal and of more importance to that, is His Righteousness - Ps. 145:17, "The Lord is Righteous in all His ways and deeds". His actions bring into equity His very Righteousness; first to do and honor His very nature and to demonstrate and is right before His Throne. So His demand is; we put Him first and last. Now, consider the World’s way and all the distractions and deceptions that purvey the societies of this world. The main goal is to turn man from God; so that we cannot be Righteous in His sight. But some says, “we have been made the Righteousness of God” - 2 Corth. 5:21. This is true, but only by condition and our walk in it. A person of nobility has a title, but if he does not walk with this right as required, he disrespected and ridiculed by his peers and even his subjects. So it is with Christians. A Christian cannot claim he is the Righteousness of God if his walk is about exclusivity and not inclusivity, as it is said, “He who loses his life will gain it” - Matt. 10:39. It’s like a church that only allows “saved” people into their pews or an evangelist preaching to the “saved” only or for that matter Christians from one group are not allowed to share or join other Christian groups. Our Lord, Jesus came for the Jews which is exclusivity but allowed inclusivity for Righteousness sake with the gentile woman saying, “even dogs eat from the master's table” - Mk. 7:28. God exposes Himself to darkness, but never allows it to establish a foothold on His doorstep and so must we. How could Jesus be as effective and far-reaching if His ministry started and stopped with the chosen people; and would not this demonstrate a lack of Righteousness of God’s part and a bias in His integrity. If we hope to be sons and daughters of God, we must be prepared to get our outer garment soiled, all the while maintaining our inner garment by placing God, His commands, decrees, and the Word; first and last in our lives. By allowing inclusivity, we allow the Spirit of God to take charge by Faith to work out all the intricacies that we are unable to, neither have the time or resources to do.
This first and last towards God is not without its benefits, for He is also a generous God knowing the intent of the heart of man. For from it comes good or evil - Matt. 15:18. When King David murdered Uriah by the sword because of an illegitimate son by Beersheba; being born of lust, God states. “this child will die” which happened. In the same breath, God rejoices in their next child from the same union after the marriage is legitimized saying. “Jedidiah” meaning beloved of God - 2 Sam. 11 and 12. God responds equally or even more as He deems. His promise for putting Him first and last is a multiplication of thirty, sixty or one hundred fold. Job’s losses by fear wiped him out; devastating his life; but once he ordered it as God wants; receives a multiplication of what he lost - Job 42. We can’t outdo God, not because God is boastful, but because God is not only copious and will never allow a man to hold “one” over Him. He will always demonstrate His sovereignty above you. God treats us like a father with a child, who seeks favor by endearing themselves to the father and in turn “have him around their little finger” asking for things at their will. But even this child will not receive their desire without placing the father first and last. To place God first and last means to sacrifice our initial instincts to be safe, comfortable and supported. It means to walk by Faith.
For without Faith, we cannot please God -Heb. 11:6. He purposefully linked these so as to place Him not only first and last but above all others things. The things of this world that many hoard, fight and deceive for. God is basically telling us to let go and allow Him to go. Jesus and the apostles exhaust parables and examples of this, but many find it difficult to even understand the concept of releasing all their inhibitions. With years of being taught; protect your homework or don’t share a good thing; many grapple with God’s concepts of trust, giving and faith. We all are on a personal journey towards this end and as such control and delay the true freedom Jesus and God promises for His. Without recognizing, many Christians have surrendered the very things that bring God to their aid and allow the devil to cloud their spirit and keep them from receiving all the Faithful promises by God’s Faithfulness to not only His Word but more so His very person. God wants to do for Christians the very same appropriation and even more than He did for Jesus.
Sept. 7, 2016.
The First and Last.
The devil has mastered deception, having centuries to practice; improve and streamline it. And with all the glitter, monetary and social gain; it’s no wonder it appeals and is the very opposite of what is to be Christian; a follower of Jesus Christ. Now, don’t get me wrong, for if the world is moving in a self-serving direction, as in separation from God; then we have very little choice, but to find ways to interact and as such “ride the wave” if we want to save as many before all comes crashing down. Like a tsunami, sooner or later it will reach its summit and then come crashing down onto the unsuspecting, and fearful bystanders and for those who are riding its wave carefree and blindly, not realizing it’s a fatal ride will meet the inevitable demise of such obsessive engrossment. The Christian need to know when to jump off such waves, by keeping the first and last priority in focus daily.
Yes, our lives are a sacrifice for those who being blinded by the cares of the world need someone to constantly tap on their shoulders to have them examine their life and we have to learn to use and control the very things distracting many to death. Just as Jesus did, we control the word and also must control the technology so as to reveal Salvation. Jesus kept Himself in the center of things at that time but did not partake of its vices. He did this to form relationships, where He could have an opportunity to share and demonstrate the power of God. We are competing with hundreds of distractions, some even found within Christianity itself. The message must be pure, direct and be the truth, all in right standing before our God and Savior, Jesus Christ. Without keeping the right alignment, the right order, and the right attitude, there is little or no effect from our efforts. The Christian must stand and be supported by the foundations of God’s Throne. Part of this foundation is inclusivity to all parties and having an "open store” for many to enter, sample and then buy. We can’t coerce people to buy our goods for the sake of Christianity. God is not in the business of control which is opposite to what the world is doing by creating social media platforms that are exclusive, based on the individual interests. The average user joins platforms based on their interests and shares with others of like mind. These platforms are essentially making their theme the first and last thing for its members. Some may ask, what’s wrong with this as its common ground that builds relationships. Where there is truth in this, it is not the real aim of such insidious endeavours. These exclusive social medias are nothing more than a metaphor or shadow of another exclusive platform that God destroyed by stating, “And nothing will be held back because they are of one mind” - Gen. 11:6. Social media is Babel 2.0 reincarnated. Whenever sharing is exclusive and not inclusive, the work of darkness is usually behind it. Other exclusive platforms known as organizations include the Freemasons or the Skull and Bones.
God will honor placing Him first and last in our individual life; our family life and any other aspect of our life. Where many have fallen short and need to be encouraged, reminded and even admonished is where we spend the time given to us. To put it bluntly; we don’t have any excuse for not keeping Him first and last. It takes commitment, scheduling, discipline and tenacity till it becomes a habit without thinking that makes God first and last and not looked on as a chore. Remember, a Christian is a follower of Christ and even though we have been given great examples like Paul; it is Jesus who lays the road map for us to copy, emulate and exult others of the same Faith to do so. Jesus made God first and last; “did not consider equality with God as something to cling to” - Phil. 2:7; but out of obedience allowed Himself to be “lower than the angels” - Heb. 2:9; for the redemption and Salvation of man.
Ultimately, by placing God above all and keeping Him first and last in every decision, we not only honor God but demonstrate our love for Him. This places us as close as we can get to Him while here in this bodily form and through the Spirit ascend into His very Spirit to the point we are no longer living for ourselves but for Him. When this is achieved, then be prepare to see His very presence come into your life and demonstrate His embodiment of His Fatherhood as every human father desires to be. Always looked to for provision; to be the icon and the standard of the family; ready to be gentle, gracious and all at once strong in defence of his; leading with vision and being first and last for all those he cares for and loves. That is God!
Flush it Out! - Placing God first and last puts us His children in the middle of Him.
What is the first and last for the legalistic mind? It’s everything! There is no in between; half way mark, or any amount of logical dissertation that can override what God has clearly stated, “you shall have no other gods before me” -Ex. 20:3.; “Honor Me and I will honor you” - 1 Sam. 2:30; and “choose life over death” - Deut. 30. We cannot comply with everything else; not to murder, lie or covet, and to love others; without God being first and last. Because it will be of no effect other than keeping another set of laws as the Jews of old did. God’s covenant has always been to love Him, His ways, and His vision; and to make them our own. To sacrifice the flesh for His Spirit, His notion on, and of things. I once had a discussion with a brother, who in frustration of his life stated that he and God had an understanding; a deal if you will. As much as I knew my words would pierce his soul, it could not be controlled and instantly, I heard the words flow out, “how can that be, for who are you to God”. His face immediate contorted into despair as his spirit knew the truth. It’s what the redemption plan is all about and what God demonstrates to satan since the garden to this day with the blood of Jesus - “who are you to God”. Now, satan gets the full brunt of this truth and so will many at the end of this age, but Thanksgiving to God who by Grace has a mind for inclusivity of His Kingdom and its promises. God is going to keep that “open store” until time has run out and then shut it. We need to treat it like there is a “fire sale” going on and can only do this by making Him, first and last in our life. You don't run towards the "end zone" or "goal" without getting directions or play first from your coach.
When we place God first and last in our endeavors and life, we place Him obligated to fulfill the Word promises, especially His own saying, “My word does not return to me void” - Is. 55:11. It’s like we are proving Him in our lives by standing in Faith on the very Words that He has spoken. In this life; the Christian comes in all shapes, sizes and dispositions and all have equality of making God first and last in their life; just as Jesus, the Holy Spirit and the Angels do. They all sacrifice Praise, Thanksgiving and Worship in one form or another. So must we. For why would we think we are not required to do the same in this physical form; and even after the promise of transformation; to do the same as has been done for centuries. Make God first and last.
Today’s world is so filled with the spending of time that many have not been able to organize or recognize the true priorities in life. It’s like white noise that we hear but we pay no attention to it and in many respects become desensitized and narrowed in our thinking. Mankind is becoming overwhelmed by the information that is targeted to the eye and ear gate, and every other physical sense that the body interacts with. Some have sought meditation techniques and philosophies that promise control, peace, and perspective in an attempt to make sense of their life and world. Ultimately, with all the noise and the 360 interactions from all different sources, many without realizing it, become introverts into their personalized and contextual world of taste, interests and social cliques through social media, games and causes. That may be good for the secular person, but not the Christian man.
ChristnMe @ 2013