Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom (Luke 12:32).

This is true and it is also very true that the examples of Abraham and later Israel shows we constantly must move forward in knowing about God and using the information to please God daily, till He calls us home or Rapture takes us to the City of God.

Abraham is the first person the Lord spoke of in relation to the City of God; he is our focus today as we begin to look at hindrances on the way to the City of God.

The life of Abraham, from the land of the Chaldees  where he was called from, to the things after is a  reflection for us who are moving from Christian City to the City of God (heaven). The scripture in Heb. 11: 8-16 which tells us that he looked for this city also tells us why God was pleased with him:

These men of faith I have mentioned died without ever receiving all that God had promised them; but they saw it all awaiting them on ahead and were glad, for they agreed that this earth was not their real home but that they were just  strangers visiting down here. And quite obviously when they talked like that, they were looking forward to their real home in heaven. If they had wanted to, they could have gone back to the good things of this world. But they didn’t want to. They were living for heaven. And now God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has made a heavenly city for them. Hebrews 11:13-16 (TLB)

As the days come by, a true Christian should do reflections.  Brother Paul ending his letter to the Corinthians in 2 Corinthians 13:5-6 admonishes us: Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? But I trust that ye shall know that we are not reprobates.

A normal child of God, according to this scripture, is supposed to examine himself habitually, else he qualifies to be called a reprobate. Reprobates are defined as: immoral and unprincipled people. Those who really do not care about being governed or led by the principles of God; they are the ones who will not examine themselves regularly.

A child of God who has been trained over time will form the habit of examining himself because the whole idea of examining yourself is really for you to see if you are still in the place where God has called you to be, spiritually and physically. This was something Abraham the father of faith did not do. He wasted the better part of his life staying in one position (Haran). It was here his uncle died and his father, Terah who called the shots decided to stay put in Haran. His reasons were not given but one can infer from the incident that happened at Haran that despondency came upon Terah after the demise of his younger brother.

Abraham was in this “lukewarm” position for 25 years until God came to him and reminded him he was not yet at His promised land. He was busy making money like they do in Christian city today, yet, he was totally outside the will of God for him. According to the accounts, Abraham’s wealth increased during this period of time. Cattle and flocks don’t multiply much during migration, mating and birthing always happen prolifically during a “settled down condition”.

So it wasn’t that Abraham and his family were wasting their time, they just weren’t doing what God said they should do. They were not moving forward; rather they sat down and were making money. The pursuit of money and riches stopped them from obeying “the call”.

A lot of us can’t sacrifice self for God. Our sleep, money, leisure, pleasure etc sometimes comes before God. That is the meaning of lukewarmness: a state of not looking for God or a state of not being fruitful – pleasing God. Two scriptures throw light on this.

First is Rev. 3:17-22 which talks about the Laodicean church. It says “You say, ‘I am rich, with everything I want; I don’t need a thing!’ And you don’t realize that spiritually you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked. “My advice to you is to buy pure gold from me, gold purified by fire—only then will you truly be rich. And to purchase from me white garments, clean and pure, so you won’t be naked and ashamed; and to get medicine from me to heal your eyes and give you back your sight.

I continually discipline and punish everyone I love; so I must punish you unless you turn from your indifference and become enthusiastic about the things of God. “Look! I have been standing at the door, and I am constantly knocking. If anyone hears me calling him and opens the door, I will come in and fellowship with him and he with me. I will let everyone who conquers sit beside me on my throne, just as I took my place with my Father on his throne when I had conquered. Let those who can hear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches.”

They felt they were okay and didn’t need to do anything for God, nor do they want His kind of righteousness. Now, that must sound strange – His kind of righteousness! Are there different kinds? Yes! There is a warped lifestyle that people call righteousness. Consider this prophecy of the end in 2 Timothy 3:1-8 Living Bible:

You may as well know this too, Timothy, that in the last days it is going to be very difficult to be a Christian. For people will love only themselves and their money; they will be proud and boastful, sneering at God, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful to them, and thoroughly bad. They will be hard headed and never give in to others; they will be constant liars and troublemakers and will think nothing of immorality. They will be rough and cruel, and sneer at those who try to be good. They will betray their friends; they will be hot headed, puffed up with pride, and prefer good times to worshiping God. They will go to church, yes, but they won’t really believe anything they hear. Don’t be taken in by people like that. They are the kind who craftily sneak into other people’s homes and make friendships with silly, sin-burdened women and teach them their new doctrines. Women of that kind are forever following new teachers, but they never understand the truth. And these teachers fight truth just as Jannes and Jabres fought against Moses. They have dirty minds, warped and twisted, and have turned against the Christian faith.

The turning away of the church from the truth is explicitly mentioned in this scripture. If you read all these adjectives used to describe a set of people at the end time, you will think Paul was referring to touts or even ordinary unbelievers, but verse 7 tells you that he was talking about Christians: those who learn about God and the truth, but never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. And if they never come to the knowledge of the truth, then what are they learning in church? It is what you know that you practice; no wonder people are hearers of the word but not doers (James 1:22-24).

A church is a place where you learn about God, and then practice what you have learnt. How do you handle a situation where people go to church always, ever learning, but don’t practice what they have learnt? It is unbelievable! How can a Christian be described as heady, unthankful, unholy?

These adjectives should describe touts and armed-robbers.

The Living Bible says of 2 Timothy 3:1, 2 – “a time will come when it will be difficult for people to become Christians…” Why would it not be difficult, when those who are supposed to be role models – the Christians – are thieves, traitors, unthankful and unholy?

A long time ago, pastors were well respected by people; but today if you say you are a pastor, people will hiss at you. We see a generation that manifests very wicked character, but are in church. They can never acknowledge (practice) the truth, which is the word of God. (Titus 1:16)

That is how the King James Version renders that verse 7.

That is why they can never want to hear about prophecy, because it pricks something in their souls, telling them that they are heading for hell. Each time you mention that the world will end, they will be afraid. On the outside they are Christians because they go to church, but on the inside they live whatever kind of life they choose to live and their spirits and souls know where such acts will take somebody to – hell! They will always try to excuse prophecies, asking you “how do you know that these things will be?” They are described as scoffers by Apostle Peter:

But regardless of your attitude towards the word of God, or God Himself, His word will still come to pass, and you will wake up in hell one day to acknowledge this! God does however not want you in hell: That’s why He warns severally so that you can be aware of what is going on, and be stimulated to desire to be raptured to heaven.

Prophecies are guiding time markers. Their fulfilment are meant to encourage us – to press forward towards the mark of the overcomer. So this is something that should interest students of prophecy and indeed all Christians, but hey, it’s the opposite I see in the church system. Just look around, take a look at the posters heralding church programmes, it’s all about elevating self: 7 steps to Recovery; Open Heavens; Anointing for Securing the First Born; Becoming The Champion; Special Anointing For Prosperity….

Let’s face the fact, many that come into the commonwealth of the faith don’t know what they are in for. Many thanks to the unbalanced prosperity preachers of today who call people in just to receive from God, instead teaching them how to serve God, how to live the Christin life in preparation for heaven.

The immediate result is a myopic understanding of Christianity. The walk into the knowledge of the ways of God which gives maturity and ensure productivity eludes such people. And that is mainly what is responsible for the mediocre status of many Christians today. Jesus never said, “Come and receive blessings.” He said, “Come and receive blessings – cast your cares on me – as you learn of me and as you work for (with) Me (Matt. 11:28-29; Jn. 4:34-36).

There’s also the usage of the words, “zealous” and enthusiastic in Living Bible:

“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” Titus 2:11

They speak volume about our wrong attitude –zealous is marked by active interest in a thing; enthusiasm (as used by The Living Bible) on the other hand is a feeling of excitement, eagerness and exuberance.

 All these should be shown as we do what He desires or feel we should do for Him.

From even the fellowship which He so much craved, they didn’t give Him. No wonder He said He was looking for someone to sup with –supper time being the family reunion time when you freely discuss happenings for the day and what to do next with your family, especially the father.

Abraham therefore spent 25 years of his time, making money but annoying God. Eventually, God said “I already made a promise that I will fill this world with people like Myself. Adam failed me, I gave a promise that the seed of this woman will bruise the head of Satan. I repeated it in Gen. 24:60, when I told Rebecca, your seed shall possess the gates of the enemies, a direct prophecy about Jesus and His church (Matt. 16:18-19; Rev. 1:6-8).

Before then, somebody had to come to live by faith as an example for coming generations. I tried with Noah, but he failed – I didn’t tell  him to plant vineyard or to become a drunkard or to curse people. I only told him to replenish the earth and fill it with people like himself (godly people).”

Nimrod coming after Noah and his generation could not live by faith, they wanted to build a tower that would reach heaven; perhaps to come to take part in discussions on issues that concern them.

 This need for a man of faith made God to still try again with Abraham.

1Tim. 2:14 says Adam was not deceived. i.e. he simply chose to disobey God to die like Eve died – apparently, he loved her more than he loved God and couldn’t imagine life without her! Adam had a bad attitude, he preferred Eve to God; Noah also had a bad attitude and God, out of his exasperation still said “I will try again with Abraham.” And like all genuinely called men of God, Abraham did not staydown forever; one-day God called and he responded. By now he had learnt his lessons – you don’t put self before God if you are on the way to the City of God. When he moved forward, we found that he was now dead to self and the world by the positioning of the altar that he built : (Gen. 12:1-10).

Ai means “heap, ruin” and Bethel means the abode of God. He faced Bethel, backing Hai. He was by this act saying “I won’t go back. I’m moving forward, facing the city of God and I won’t go back to the Christian city, the land of complacency.

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