Monthly Archives: September 2022

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Can an entire religious group be wrong?

“23 That same day the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to him with a question. 24 “Teacher,” they said, “Moses told us that if a man dies without having children, his brother must marry the widow and raise up offspring for him. 25 Now there were seven brothers among us. The first one married and died, and since he had no children, he left his wife to his brother. 26 The same thing happened to the second and third brother, right on down to the seventh. 27 Finally, the woman died. 28 Now then, at the resurrection, whose wife will she be of the seven, since all of them were married to her?”
29 Jesus replied, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God. 30 At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. 31 But about the resurrection of the dead—have you not read what God said to you, 32 ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’[a]? He is not the God of the dead but of the living.”
33 When the crowds heard this, they were astonished at his teaching.” Matthew 22:23-33

Once in a while, some will say or even unknowingly believe things like “surely all these people who don’t believe in God cannot be wrong. It is not possible for all these people wrong.” Others might express that differently.  “All (or many) religions point to the same God”.

That same day the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to him with a question

As we see in the scripture above, the Sadducees, as it says here, did not believe in resurrection. It is key to note that the Sadducees were not a handful of people; they were a very prominent religious sect. They were so mainstream that we see them mentioned several times in the Bible. Also, a lot about them is well documented in other historically accurate accounts of that period.

As the verse above says, this big, mainstream religious sect did not believe in resurrection. This was a core belief of theirs.
Jesus tells them why their core belief is wrong – they did not know the scripture and the power of God.
I believe that Christ’s words are still true today. Religious sects and even religions are off the mark are off for the same reasons – no knowledge of the word and the power of the true God.

There is no safety in numbers; one shouldn’t assume that what they believe is true just because it has many converts.
After pointing out why they error, Jesus then corrects them and says that there is actually resurrection. When you consider that this entire group was wrong, it is easy to see why the crowds reacted the way they did. “When the crowds heard this, they were astonished at His teaching”. They were shocked! Jesus had just taught something contrary to the Sadducee’s core belief.
I pray that you and I will grow in the word (the knowledge of the Scriptures) and in knowledge and experience of the power of God. I pray that we’ll introduce others to the Truth & the Power.

No whitewash

Are there bits of the Bible that maybe would have served God better if He’d left them out? 

God doesn’t whitewash things about the characters in the stories He chose to share with us. We see that for the man after God’s own heart, God doesn’t hide the fact that this man killed a trusted, loyal warrior so he could take his wife.

Of the man God chose as the father of our faith, He doesn’t hide the fact that this man laughed when God told Him He’d have a son (Genesis 17:17). He also lied about his wife, calling her his sister.
God doesn’t hide the fact that the man we see spread the gospel so fearlessly was relentlessly hunting down believers to have them put to death.
He shows us that the man from whom the nation Isreal gets its name was a conman.
He doesn’t hide that He was betrayed by one of His prayerfully chosen apostles. Even God’s inner circle had a snake – what a shock!
We see that He cried in the garden of gethsemane (Hebrews 5:7). We see that He asked that the cup be taken away.
He shows us that some of His disciples doubted He’d risen.
He doesn’t edit out the circumstances surrounding Jesus’s birth and the difficult position it must have put His parents in in the society. He leaves in there how a powerful, anointed, wise man like Solomon ended up with thousands of wives and turning away from God.
God doesn’t edit Jesus’s earthly lineage to remove the prostitute. 

God lays it all bare. There’s a lot to say about this but I’ll stick to one thing – In all these stories, we see God loving every one of these people in spite of their weaknesses. We see the story of God’s love for the world working past brokenness to bring us salvation in spite of all the human failures along the way.

God doesn’t whitewash any of these things. I believe that in the same way, He expects us to come to Him as we are, bare, naked and unedited. Let Him continue to do what only He can do – weave a tapestry that stretches all the way from the beginning of time to the end of it. You don’t have to have it all together – you just need to hand it all over. He finds a way to still weave that into His master plan.

Never too busy for you

When the apostles returned, they reported to Jesus what they had done. Then he took them with him and they withdrew by themselves to a town called Bethsaida, but the crowds learned about it and followed him. He welcomed them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who needed healing. Luke 9:10‭-‬11 NIV

Jesus sent out His apostles on a great mission – to go and preach the gospel in many villages. They go out and for the first time, they experience the power of God working powerfully through them without Jesus being physically present with them. They are elated! They return and can barely contain themselves – while Peter’s still telling the others of this old lady who walked after he laid hands on her, Bartholomew interjects and says a demon obeyed his command and left a young boy it had tormented for years, and then John jumps in right at that moment to talk about the wonderful couple that hosted them..Imagine the buzz – 70 people, many cities covered, all having experienced the power of God. Have you gone out on a missional trip before and seen God move? Or maybe you gone out on evangelism? Or have you attended a crusade? Maybe closer – have you attended such a big concert, you and your friends were not all in the same place while it took place? Now, think of that time you get together afterwards and you are excitedly exchanging stories.

they reported to Jesus what they had done” – Imagine them gathered around the Lord, excitedly telling Him all they’d done.

Then he took them with him and they withdrew by themselves to a town called Bethsaida – Jesus decides that now is a good time to take His team on a retreat. They need to be away, alone for some time. He’ll likely teach them some things, maybe they’ll debrief some more, rest a bit and be refreshed. So they all get to Bethsaida and are glad to be away and can’t wait to see what the Master has planned. Then something happens…

but the crowds learned about it and followed him..

This huge crowd gatecrashes the retreat! Over 5,000 people gatecrash the party….

What caught me is Jesus’s response.

He welcomed them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who needed healing.

Jesus welcomed them. God is busy doing some life-changing things for the apostles but that immediately takes a backseat when a crowd hungry for Him shows up. He is never too busy. It isn’t interruption. He turns his full attention to them, teaches them, heals them and then eventually feeds them.

This got me thinking – how do I react when what I’m doing is interrupted by something God wants to do for someone else? Do I lay my well-laid plans down and recognise that He wants to touch someone (or some people)? Or am I too busy to be moved? How about you? Are you too busy? It isn’t that there wouldn’t be impact – the disciples were benefiting immensely from having time away from everything, alone with the Lord – but the impact of welcoming the interruption led to over 5,000 being fed. I pray you and I will see and welcome some interruptions and feed God’s people.

God in fashion

While studying Exodus, I came across a fascinating passage.

And you shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother, for glory and for beauty. Exodus 28:2 NKJV

In this chapter, God gives very detailed tailoring instructions on how to clothe Aaron, the priest, He has chosen for the people of Israel. God is particular about the purpose of the clothes that are to be made for Aaron – they are “for glory and for beauty”. Isn’t that fascinating? God has selected Aaron as a member of His staff and He doesn’t just let him wear anything – He wants him to look good. He cares what he wears.

Have you looked up visuals of what the final attire looked like? Check them out on YouTube. You might be just as fascinated as I was seeing what God wanted. It is like Him walking into a fashion house and giving specifications on what to make for His member of staff. It might be one of the only such descriptions we have in the Bible.

So you shall speak to all who are gifted artisans, whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom, that they may make Aaron’s garments, to consecrate him, that he may minister to Me as priest. Exodus 28:3 NKJV

It gets even more interesting – not just anyone could make these garments. Only gifted artisans could, those filled with the Holy Spirit! God’s members of staff were to wear custom, tailored attire. There’s a transition from being naked and unashamed in the garden (Genesis 2:25), to God Himself weaving clothes together for Adam and Eve after the fall and then to this…God giving instructions for garments to be made by someone for glory and for beauty.
Notice also that the clothes were also supposed to consecrate the priest – to set him apart so he could minister to God. Did you know that clothes do that? They have the capacity to consecrate you – to set you apart?

Checkout something else:

“Then you shall take two onyx stones and engrave on them the names of the sons of Israel: six of their names on one stone and six names on the other stone, in order of their birth. Exodus 28:9‭-‬10 NKJV

Notice the attention to detail – the stones had to be arranged in order of their birth! Wow! God is into all sorts of things – military strategy (checkout the strategies He keeps giving David and other kings and judges to win), animal husbandry (see the tips He gives Jacob), astronomy (leading wise men with a star), business (see Jesus’s parables), charity (see the Bible 🙂 ), parenting (see the parenting tips He keeps giving). He’s into lots of things. I’d never considered that God is into fashion too.

He cares about clothes. His desire is that they are both for beauty and for glory. If you are a designer, are you making garments for glory and for beauty? If, like me, you just wear what’s been made, are you careful to choose those that consecrate you?

Into new hands

In November 2018, my wife and I visited Emmanuel Medical Center in Entebbe. Friends of ours had just welcomed their first born and as we made our way up to the room where the mother and baby were, I noticed that the Medical Center was very likely an ordinary house just a few years prior.

I imagine the owner of the house had a family in it. The children likely played soccer on that pretty lawn, using slippers and sticks as goal posts. The parents probably threw birthday parties, held a graduation party, hosted a kwanjula and celebrated Christmas and Easter with the extended family in that home. Many people likely had fond memories of laughing so hard at uncle’s ridiculous jokes, they needed to hunch over and hold their bellies as he recounted stories from his school days. The house likely did amazing things for that family. It likely held many special memories. Many precious memories. Someone else though looked at the same building but didn’t see a house – they saw a hospital. When the building changed hands, what was once a house for one family now became a vessel through which lives were being saved and babies were being brought safely into this world. A change of hands brought a much grander purpose to the house.

In your hands, you have a precious life. You can do a lot with it – entertain guests, raise children, study hard, get accolades. All valuable stuff. In God’s hands, He sees a lot more. He’d love to do amazing things with your life if you’ll let Him. He’d like to save lives.
As a parent, maybe your children don’t act the way you want them to. Maybe there are habits you might not be happy about. Or maybe in your case, you are looking for a spouse. Or maybe business isn’t going the way you envisioned starting out. Maybe in your case, work is tough and your supervisor seems to be out to get you. Maybe your husband doesn’t quite love you like Christ loves the church. Or your wife has no idea what Proverbs 31 is. What is it that you’ve tried to handle your way and it isn’t going according to plan? 

Well, the good thing is, God has something to say about this. He says come to me all who Labour and are heavy laden and I’ll give you rest. He gives you rest by carrying the load. He takes the load off your shoulder. That battle becomes His. The load shifts into the hands of the Lord. Matthew 11:28-30 28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am [f]gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
What do you need to turn over into the Lord’s hands today? If a man could take a home and turn it into a hospital through which new life comes into this earth, how much more can God do with whatever it is you have in your hands? Is it your finances? Is it your marriage? Is it a relationship with parents? Is it a relationship with a loved one? Put it in God’s hands. Invite Him in, seek His guidance and listen as He guides you. 

What would the world look like if ordinary houses everywhere were turned into sources of life? If we opened our homes and our Hearts to the Lord to do His thing His way. What would happen if our marriages were turned over to God? How different would this world be if our finances were turned over to the one who doesn’t know lack?

What can you hand over to God this week? Spend time with Him and seek His wisdom on what you need to handover into His hands. He’ll guide you. His hands are big enough.