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WE WISH ALL FATHERS HAPPY FATHERS’DAY

In my Initiation and Pastoral Psychology, I did extensive research on the unique contribution of father and mother and below are the attributes of the father. We have used the term Great Father for the qualities which are predominant in men but also found in a well-functioning woman.

B. THE SUBSTANCE OF THE GREAT FATHER
Wisdom is another property of the Great Father.  Interestingly, the Kikuyu ascribe all wise expressions, idioms, and proverbs to Kikuyu, the father of the tribe.  For this reason, whenever a Kikuyu is using a proverb, he must credit the father of the tribe; it goes this way, “Kikuyu said, ‘The day is for working, the night is for resting.’” It is as though the first father coined all the proverbs that guided the tribe in their daily living.  The Great Father possesses the logos, which is the subtle fire emanating the whole universe.  This logos is characterized by fire or light.  This light illumines and guides the human family.
Initiative, assertiveness, creativity, and objectivity are other traits of the Great Father.  He 6

226 The Great Father
challenges us to venture into new projects, to declare our standpoint, and to be ourselves.  He admonishes us not to waste time with petty things.  He challenges us to be and to allow others to be…. In this regard, the Kikuyu justify their individuality with a proverb, “One does not structure his family as that of his age mate.”  This meant that even though the age set underwent the same school, every person was an individual.  For that reason, the Kikuyu discouraged over-identification.  A person who apes another person was rebuked.  If for instance, Mwangi noticed that Njoroge was over-identifying himself with Kamau, Mwangi would shout, “Kamau identification!” (Kamau Kanyi), meaning, you are not yourself but a false Kamau.  Thus the Great Father urges us to be ourselves.
In his negative expression, the Great Father may ignore the collective responsibility and concentrate on his own personal interest.  For instance, the Great Father in the parliament may use his influential position as a means of appropriating wealth and oppressing the community that has voted for him. He may become corrupt and ignore the law.  He may defend the “haves” and deny justice to the “have-nots.”
The Great Father may become power-thirsty and unreachable to his children.  In this negativity, he becomes as a lion or an elephant that crushes to death those who may be the future leaders.  He may become autocratic and have no interest in consensus of opinion.  This destructive behavior creates a personality that is more interested in power than progress. The sick Great Father may be imbued with aggression and wreck his family.  In this case, he became moody and always attacking  his children, depriving them of freedom of expression and being, which are necessary for personality development.

For more information read Initiation and Pastoral Psychology available at www.amazon.com you can also take a course on Anthropological Approach to Pastoral Care by registering on line at www.ancciuniversity.org/admission.

Dr. John G Githiga
President, ANCCI University
Patriarch, All Nations Christian Church International
www.allnationscci.org


ASCENTION OF CHRIST

They were looking intently to the sky as He was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”    Acts 1:10-11.

The Ascension Daily Office informs us how Jesus Christ ascended into heaven, how He will descend from the sky in his Second Coming, and what we should be doing as we await his coming from the right hand of God who is on the throne in heaven.
In his Second Coming, we will see him as he was seen when he was ascending: “He will come in the same away as you seen him go into heaven”. The Second Advent diverts from the first in that every eye will see him. Revelation puts it this way: “Look, he is coming with the cloud, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him.” Rev 1:7
We should not set the date of his coming.  Jehovah Witness set a date in 1944, and when he did not appear, they lied saying that he came and then went to his glory.  Jesus’ message to the disciples before he ascended was: “It is not for you to know the time or the date the Father has set by his authority.” Acts 1:7. In Mark 13:31, Jesus tells us that even the angels do not know the hour: “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”
What should we be and do? Jesus makes it crystal clear:  “But you shall receive power, when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth.” I believe this is the greatest promise because it was fulfilled forty day after Jesus gave this promise. What is awesome to me is that for the fifty-seven years that I have walked with Christ, there has never been a day when I asked God for the infilling of the Holy Spirit without getting an immediate answer. When the Spirit comes in our hearts, we are empowered for the ministry. We become witnesses, ready to bear the cross. We can tell those who persecute us: It does not matter what you are going to do with my body, as long as I have breath in my mouth I will put my trust God. In my recent research on persecution in India, I found a photo of an 11 year old girl who was burned for refusing to deny Christ. This reminded me of a song which was composed by and Indian girl who was facing the same challenge:
I have decided to follow Jesus
No turning back, no turning back.
These witnesses are able to do this through the dynamic power of the Holy Spirit. So my dear brothers and sisters no matter what you are facing, you are a victor. Know that greater is He who is in you than the one who is in your persecutors. To fuel the fire of the Holy Spirit recite Psalm 47:

Clap your hands, all you peoples; shout to God with a cry of joy.
For the Lord Most High is to be feared; he is the great King over all the earth.
He subdues the peoples under us, and the nations under our feet
Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises.
God reigns over the nations; God sits upon his holy throne.
The rulers of the earth belong to God, and he is highly exalted.

Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!
The grace of our Lord Jesus and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with the people of God.
++John Githiga

A Proper Perspective On Thanksgiving"

Eph 5:19,20; 1Thess 5:18
The following proclamation was made by Governor Bradford in 1623, 3 years after the Pilgrims settled at Plymouth;

To all ye Pilgrims,
Inasmuch as the great father has given us this year an abundant harvest of Indian corn, wheat, peas, squashes and garden vegetables, and has made the forests to abound with game and the sea with fish and clams, and inasmuch as he has protected us from the raids of the savages, has spared us from pestilence and disease, has granted us freedom to worship God according to the dictates of our own conscience; now I, your magistrate, do proclaim that all ye Pilgrims, with your wives and ye little ones, do gather at ye meeting house, on ye hill, between the hours of 9 and 12 in the day time, on Thursday November ye 29th of the year of our Lord one thousand six hundred and twenty three, and the third year since ye Pilgrims landed on ye Plymouth rock, there to listen to ye pastor and render thanksgiving t ye Almighty God for all His blessings.

This Thursday is Thanksgiving. One day in which we like those early Pilgrims set aside time in our busy schedules to give thanks to God. Now, there is nothing wrong with that but the word of God tells us that this should be a continual, daily, attitude. 
So, how do we know that we should give thanks… As our children’s song Jesus Love me , this I know… for the BIBLE tells me so”.   The bible tells us 100 times that we should give thanks and thanksgiving.  100 TIMES!!!  Well, all of us have heard before that the more times something is said, the more important it is… 100TIMES!
And I must say that when I saw that the bible says thanks or thanksgiving 100 times and that the percentage of the old testament is 45 times and the new testament is 55 times…. I IMMEDIATELTY thought of our blood and the percentage of our blood… 45% cells and 55$ plasma… Our live giving BLOOD is the same percentage of times we hear thanksgiving…. GOD-incidence I believe.
Let’s look at some of these
1 Corinthians 10:16 Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ?
1 Timothy 4:4 For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving,
1 Thessalonians 5:18 Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
2 Chronicles 7:3 When all the Israelites saw the fire coming down and the glory of the Lord above the temple, they knelt on the pavement with their faces to the ground, and they worshiped and gave thanks to the Lord, saying, “He is good; his love endures forever.”
Psalm 106:1 [Psalm 106] Praise the Lord. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.
Matthew 26:26 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.”
Matthew 26:27 Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you.
I could go on and on…. AND WE SHOULD! 

Thanksgiving came from the PILGRIMS… or did it?  An article by Mario Seiglie discusses that the American Thanksgiving holiday may not have been a totally new celebration – but had roots that go back thousands of years to the biblical Feast of the Tabernacles
Did you know that the first Thanksgiving in the United States has some strong similarities to the biblical Feast of Tabernacles? Although the pilgrims did not consciously observe this biblical feast, it is interesting to study the parallels between these two celebrations that share the common spirit of thanksgiving to God.
Both were celebrated in the autumn in the northern hemisphere, and both were a time for giving thanks to God for the blessings of the harvest season. Although forgotten by many, the American Pilgrims were a deeply religious people whose heritage was strictly founded on the Bible, both Old and New Testament.
Why did the Pilgrims have this strong attraction to the Hebrew Scriptures? Is it a coincidence that the Pilgrims were the first successful colony in New England and were able to set their stamp on American culture and religion?
So it seems the Pilgrims didn't base their Thanksgiving celebration on English feasts, which when linked with pagan customs were generally shunned by them. Where then did they get their inspiration for Thanksgiving? Could it have a biblical foundation?
Notice what David Stern says about the Feast of Tabernacles in The Jewish New Testament Commentary: "Families build booths of palm branches, partly open to the sky, to recall God's providence toward Israel during the forty years of wandering in the desert and living in tents.
"The festival also celebrates the harvest, coming, as it does, at summer's end, so that it is a time of thanksgiving. (The Puritans, who took the Old Testament more seriously than most Christians, modeled the American holiday of Thanksgiving after Sukkot [the Hebrew name for the Feast of Tabernacles])" (1996, comment on John:7:2).
This connection is not well known among most secular U.S. historians, but the Jews, who also arrived very early at the New England colonies, have kept track of this historical parallel.
"As Leviticus 23 teaches," explains Barney Kasdan, "Sukkot was to be a time of bringing in the latter harvest. It is, in other words, the Jewish 'Thanksgiving.' In fact, it is widely believed that the Puritan settlers, who were great students of the Hebrew Scriptures, based the first American Thanksgiving on Sukkot" ( God's Appointed Times, 1993, p. 92).
William Bradford, who became the first Pilgrim governor and proclaimed the first Thanksgiving celebration, used the Scriptures—both Old and New Testaments—for guidance in governing the colony.
"Though it's a uniquely American tradition," adds a Jewish Web site, "the roots of Thanksgiving go back to ancient Israel. In a real sense, the Jews invented Thanksgiving. I count 28 references to the word thanksgiving in the King James Bible—all but six in the Old Testament. For the ancient children of Israel, thanksgiving was a time of feasting and fasting, of praising God, of singing songs. It was a rich celebration—and still is for observant Jews today.
"Bradford himself studied the Hebrew scriptures. The Pilgrims took them very seriously. The idea of giving thanks to God with a feast was inspired by that knowledge of the Bible. In a very real way, the Pilgrims saw themselves, too, as chosen people of God being led to a Promised Land...
"In addition to proclaiming a day of thanksgiving, like the ancient Hebrews did before them, Bradford and his flock also praised God's loving kindness, the famous refrain of Psalms 106 and 107 and Jewish liturgy ('Give thanks to the Lord for He is good, for His kindness endures forever')" ("Thanksgiving, The Puritans and Prayer," shalomjerusalem.com/heritage).

So we should not forget that Thanksgiving is a feast of giving thanks, not only for receiving God's blessings today, but also for how He founded America mostly on His biblical laws. He also poured Abraham's blessings on it, intervening time and time again from its very beginnings to turn it into a rich and powerful nation to help lift up the rest of mankind. The nation has not had a perfect record, of course, but it is still trying to defend the weak from oppressors and to provide a home for those being persecuted.

Now getting back to thanksgiving and praise; as Paul told us, over and over, we need to do this continually.  Paul’s main subject here is PRAISE, THANKSGIVING. Notice the other important words in these passages; ALWAYS, CONTINUALLY, and IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES. It sounds as if Paul is talking about a church service here, especially in Eph. "Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart..." But he isn’t. He is talking about a continual attitude for Christians - an attitude of the heart. How we are to be to each other. But how, you may wonder, can we have this attitude continually, especially "in all circumstances?" I believe the answer lies in our perspective of thanksgiving. We need the proper perspective.
To be thankful in all circumstances, we need a proper perspective of our circumstances and of our God. Only then we will be able to give thanks to the Lord always.
Now, I believe there are at least three attitudes that steal away our gratitude. Three things that keep us from being thankful.
1) One is our pride. This is the attitude that says, "Nobody ever gave me anything, I worked hard for everything I have." For years
you studied hard and now it is finally paying off. With this kind of attitude, we feel that we have no one to thank but ourselves.
2) Another attitude that keeps us from being thankful is a critical spirit or constant complaining. Instead of being grateful, this person will always find something to complain about. 
"A lady known as an incurable grumbler constantly complained about everything. At last her preacher thought he had found something about which she would be happy, for her farm crop was the finest for miles around. When he met her, he said with a beaming smile, `You must be very happy Mary. Everyone is saying how healthy your potatoes look this year.’ `True they’re pretty good, but what am I going to do when I need bad ones to feed the pigs.’"
3) A third attitude that keeps us from being grateful is carelessness. Someone once said that if the stars only came out once a year, we would stay out all night to watch them. But 
they are there every night and we have grown a costumed to them. 
The Israelites grumbled because they had no food so God miraculously sent manna (a crust-like bread) to cover the ground each day except the Sabbath day. Then they started to grumble because it was the same thing every day. 
They had a miracle - straight from God every day but were no longer satisfied. Because of pride, carelessness or a critical spirit we will never be truly thankful for all that God has given us.
THANKSGIVING SHOULD BE EXPRESSED
One of the choruses we sing is found in Ps.100 which says, "Enter his gates with thanksgiving in your heart." David says in Ps. 107
"Give thanks to the Lord for he is good." We should express our thanks to God and others. 
In Luke 17 we read about ten men who were healed by Jesus of their leprosy. Out of those ten men only one came back to give thanks and Jesus said, "Where are the other nine?" He was the only one willing to take time to go back and say "thank you." Because of that Jesus said to him, "Rise and go; your faith has made you well."
Have you ever wondered why Jesus said that? I mean like the others, the man was already healed of his leprosy from the time they went to show themselves to the priest. But when Jesus says to this one man, "Your faith has made you well," he wasn’t just talking about a physical healing, he was talking about a spiritual one, a mental one. He was made whole.
We too are made whole by our thanksgiving. Psychologists today tell us that sincere gratitude, thanksgiving, is the healthiest of all human emotions. Hans Selye, who is considered the father of stress studies, has said that gratitude produces more positive emotional energy than any other attitude in life.
And a thankful heart will endear others to us and us to others.
For you see thanksgiving is not only good for the giver but also good for the receiver.
God appreciates our thanksgiving. It lifts Him up and it glorifies Him. And thanksgiving endears him to us. It draws us closer. If we are not grateful, if we do not express our thanksgiving, then it can have the opposite affect. In Rom. 1:21 Paul says, "For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened." 
This passage seems to imply that people who are ungrateful to God will soon fall away - their hearts will become hardened. Here, we see pride keeping people from worshipping God and being thankful.
Before we leave this point that thanksgiving should be expressed let me list a few ways that we can say thank you to God.
You say thank you to God when you;
1) Spend time with Him (not just 1 hr a week)
2) When you forgive others
3) When you serve in His church
4) When you share His Plan of salvation
5) When you reach out to hurting people
6) When you give God the best of your TTT
7) When you praise Him enthusiastically from the heart 
OUR THANKSGIVING SHOULD BE EXPANSIVE
And as our thanksgiving expands, it should include 3 things; 
1) The Blessings of Life. 
What are you thankful in your blessings of life?
Do you realize that two thirds of the world goes to bed hungry every night? 
Our prayers are often very general. We say, "Thank you God for all your blessings" but what blessings are we really thankful for? Count your blessings...name them one by one...count your blessings see what God has done.
Our Thanksgiving should also include
2) The Burdens of Life. 
This is a tough one. I Thes. 5:18 says, "Give thanks in ALL circumstances." Eph. 5:20 says, "always giving thanks." You may think, surely Paul made a mistake or even that this was easy for him to say. But it wasn’t. Paul suffered from some very difficult problem that he called a thorn in the flesh. He also had been run out of town, beaten, whipped, imprisoned, betrayed by friends, naked, cold, hungry shipwrecked, and stoned because of his faith. Yet, Paul never stopped giving thanks. 
Paul said several things that really show he had the proper perspective of the burdens of life...
"I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing to the glory that will be revealed in us..." Rm 8:18
"That is why for Christ’s sake, I delight in weakness, in insults, in hardships, in persecution, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong..." 2 Cor 12:10
"Now I want you to know brothers that what has happened to me has really served to advance the Gospel..." Phil 1:12 
When we like Paul have the proper perspective we to can give thanks in all circumstances...
In our weakness God can make us strong. When we are struggling God is able to work in our lives. He helps us through times that we could have never faced on our own.
I never thought I would say this but I have learned to be thankful in the difficult circumstances my family has faced. Now, notice, I didn’t say I was thankful for them, but that I was thankful in this difficult time. 
You see, I don’t believe Paul is saying that we have to be thankful for our problems but rather - IN THEM." And being thankful; in them allows God to use them for His greater good.
Understand others can come to Christ because of your example especially in the midst of difficult times.
Our thanksgiving should include
3) The benefits of life as well.
When the Israelites focused on what they didn’t have, they failed to see ALL that they DID have. We are constantly adding to our prayer list but more than anything we should be adding to our
praise list. 
Oh, we have all had some difficult times. Maybe even times that we have despaired even of life itself. But, if we really look at all the benefits of life, I think we will find that its good to be alive. To feel the wind in our face, to see the sunrise, to fall in love, to see our new born child for the first time, to feel our child or parent or even a friend hug us and tell us we are special.
An experiment was done in New York’s Central Park where an advertizing firm dressed a man up as a blind man and gave him a cup to collect money. One day they put a sign around his neck that read, "I’m Blind." On that day he collected about $4.00. The next day they dressed him the same way, placed him in the same place but changed the sign to read, "It’s Spring and I’m Blind." That day he collected nearly $40.00. That day, those people realized how blessed they were by the beautiful flowers, birds, the sunrise and sunset. 
And as Christians there are other benefits of life. We can be sure that we are forgiven and free. Oh, It’s good to be alive!
Not only should our Thanksgiving be expressed and expanded but also we learn that,
OUR THANKSGIVING IS EXPECTED
Paul says we are to "give thanks in all circumstances BECAUSE this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus." This is God’s will for us. And he knows, if we will do it, that our lives will be changed.
1) This is the mark of a Growing Christian.
For example, a baby is ungrateful. You can take a little baby when it has colic and walk the floor with them for hours and when you put that baby down - they don’t say, "Thank You." More than likely, they will just yell a little louder. A child has to be taught to be thankful. It just doesn’t come naturally. Sometimes you have to almost force them to say thank you. 
When we realize how blessed we are by others and by God and express that - we are growing. 
2) Our thanksgiving is also the mark of a Giving Christian. 
When we realize how much God has done for us and how much he continues to do, we should be more than happy to give something
back to him. This comes through our time and also our financial giving. Someone has said that for Thanksgiving to be real Thanksgiving, There must be "Thanks" and there must be "Giving."
When we go to a restaurant, we are more than happy to give a good waitress a 15% tip, but for some reason, many have a problem with giving God 10% of all the good gifts he has given us. We need to ask ourselves if we are truly thankful.
Remember God loves a cheerful giver.....
Thanksgiving is a mark of a growing Christian, a giving Christian and 
3) A Glowing Christian. 
If you are thankful to God then you will be glowing. Your will not
be constantly critical and pessimistic but eternally Thankful. Though the difficult times are just that - they will not break you.
Paul says in II Cor. 4:8, 
"We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed but not in despair; persecuted but not abandoned; struck down but not destroyed...For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen."
Henry Frost served for many years as a missionary to China. In his journal he wrote of a very difficult time in his life. He says,
"I had received sad news from home, and deep shadows had covered my soul. I prayed BUT the darkness did not vanish. I summoned myself to endure, BUT the darkness only deepened. Then I went to an inland station and saw on the wall of the mission home these
words: ’TRY THANKSGIVING.’ I did, and in a moment every shadow was gone, not to return.
Yes the Psalmist was right, ’It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord." 
Have you been going through some difficult times? 
Have you prayed but they’re still there? 
Have you told yourself to keep on going and it would some day disappear - but it got deeper? 
Then why not try THANKSGIVING?
Patriarch John xiii


KINDSHIP OF CHRIST AND VULNERABILTY
As we were celebrating the Kingship of Christ, I felt somewhat vulnerable, as my wife was in night shift and we had 8 inches snow and it was dangerous to drive. I prayed that the Lord may help her to maneuver the car. When she knocks at the door I thought that it was her angel knocking. I was jubilant to see her. Most business and churches including our church were closed. On the same day it was reported that 18,000 people were evacuated from a Chinese coastal city after an oil pipeline explosion which killed at least 47 people and sent a thick black smoke billowing into the sky. So many people in Philippines are still homeless after the super typhoon which killed over 4000 people
Thus the most relevant message for us is to ponder kingship of Christ and human frailty .Today’s Gospel is about the vulnerability of Christ. Crucified between two criminal, he was mocked by his own people and the Roman soldiers. “He save others let him save himself, if he is the Christ.” Even one of the criminal who hung there hurled insult to Him. Aren’t you the Christ? Save yourself and us!” Yet this time of unspeakable pain became the most reconciliatory event in human history. Luke records two statements: “Father forgive them for they do not know what there are doing.” The human respond would be Father for give them for they are idiots.” Or Father destroys them all. To the repentant thief he said: “today you will be with me in paradise.”
The great message we learn from Christ is: forgiveness and reconciliation. As Paul puts it:  “God was in Christ reconciling the whole world unto himself, not counting their offences against them."
We also learn that Jesus in the Prince of peace. In Colossians he is revealed as the Lord of the Universe who possesses all the qualities of God. The Africans name of God tells us about the substance of God which are also the attributes of Christ. He is addressed as the Great one of the Forest, The Wise one, Great Provider, The Sustainer, the Great Provider, the Being who is self existence and preeminent.
While Christ, our king possesses all these qualities, Colossians reveals him as the divine agent of creation. All things were created through, by and for Him. “For through him God created everything in heaven and on earth.” Thus all worship should be directed to God through Christ. In Him all things hold together. He reconciles the conflicting elements within self and  brings families together. He has authority over the angels, celestial beings and principalities and for that reason those who are in Him should feel secured. Your daily attitude should be: “Nothing which will come on my way which God and I cannot handle.”
Like Logos, Christ is all pervasive. To use the New Testament cosmology, the cosmic Christ came from the first world; he dwelt with the people of the second world, after death he descended to third( or lower world) world, after his resurrection he ascended to the first world. “He is the first born Son who was raised from death in order that He alone might have the first place in all things.” This is why in his painful moment on the cross, he told the repentant criminal: “Today, you will be with me in paradise.”
Thus when we are in Christ, we are assured that we have victory over death. Death is self defeating. It opens endless life with God where we will experience perfect love, perfect peace and perfect joy. So, we have nothing to fear even the fear itself. This is what Jesus says: “I am a good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” When the fear knock at your door pray with David: “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.” When anxiety invades your mind: knock it down with the words of the Psalmist: The Lord is my life and my salvation- whom shall fear? The Lord is the strong hold of my life- of whom shall be afraid?”
Copyright: Dr. John G Githiga
All Nations Christian Church International
P.O. Box 19805, Amarillo, TX 79114


HOW WILL THIS BE? ESTHER 7 MESSAGE
I would like to draw your attention to the most genuine and profound question which the mother of Jesus posed to the Angel. This question wasn't only relevant during the announcement but also the resurrection. It is also the question which comes to mind when God calls and commands us to do things which are beyond our strength and resources. In the calling and sending to missions, we always find that the task is far greater than the resources and the means of accomplishing it...
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         After the vision, God normally delays the provision so as to put us on our knees and thereby prepare us for the task. The other deeper underlying reality is that God wants us to be first in that particular undertaking. We ask, “How will this be?” because we have not seen someone else doing it and there appears to be no footsteps to follow.
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During the announcement Mary asked this question because she was a virgin. The answer she got from the angel was beyond her imagination “The Holy Spirit will come upon you.” said the Angel. “And the power of the most high will overshadow you, so that the one to be born will be called the Son of God” Mary not only is the first to have this experience, she will be the only one who will have this experience in all of the history of the human race.
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....  ..   The Angel assured Mary “For nothing is impossible with God”
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........ When God commands us to do what is far beyond our resources and strength, we need to listen to the message of the Angel. “For nothing is impossible with God” We should also respond in the same way “I am the Lord's servant, may it be to me as you have said.”
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         The Easter story has the same message. Even though Jesus had repeated over and over again about his death and resurrection, the disciple’s response was “How will this be?” for them it was impossible for the Messiah to die and then rise again. Besides, their Scriptures states “curse is he who die on the cross.” Yet God wanted them to witness the first and the greatest event so as to be the FIRST witnesses. More than likely, each one of them was first in something. We are indeed a community of the first day of the week.
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........ Mary Magdalene, representing the women, became first to go to the tomb. She was first to see the empty tomb. She was first to see the angels and first to see and hear the voice of the Risen Lord then first to report to the disciples.  So Peter (who was in the afternoon of his life) and John (a young man) ran to the tomb. John was first to reach the tomb and to believe that Jesus has risen from the dead. Peter, representing the elders, was first to enter the tomb. Thomas, representing the skeptics, was first to worship Jesus as God: He hailed Him: “My Lord and My God.”
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........ I have learned that the greater the undertaking, the greater the deprivation is of the required resources. This particularly happens when we are preparing for overseas missions and other ministries which require taking risk.  I still remember the challenges we had, many years ago when I led an overseas mission which brought so many people to the Kingdom of God.  As I was preparing the mission team which comprised of Christians from different church families, I was accused by the Lay Pope (a leader of the church who thought that they had hired me) of being too ecumenical and not spending enough time with the small clique which had “hired me”.  Consequently my salary was cut by one third. When we arrived in Kenya I went to get some cash and I was told that my account was frozen or inactive. When I returned to the USA I found out that my bank had just merged with another back and my money was not accessible to me at that time. Despite this deprivation the Lord did great signs and wonders during and after the mission. When you are going through trials and tribulation remember our Lord Jesus underwent intense social, psychological and physical anguish before he arose with a glorified body.
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         You may be in a situation in which you are asking: “How will it be?” The answer to this question is to listen to the message of the Angel: “for nothing is impossible with God.” If you allow the Holy Spirit to fill every fiber of your being you will be greatly blessed and you will be a blessing to the nations.
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You will experience eternal Easter. Your humiliation will lead to exaltation. Thus “have this in mind which is yours in Christ, who, thou he was in the form of God did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but he emptied Himself, taking a form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself and became obedience unto death, even the death on the cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him a name which is above every name. That in the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, in heaven and on the earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God and the Father.” Philippians 2:5-11

Have a blessed Easter
Copyright: Dr. John G Githiga




WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS ABOUT TITHING AND GIVING TO GOD
Introduction
I am writing this paper in response to public outcry both inside and outside the church. The saying goes that churches have converted to business enterprises where the bishop or the pastor is the CEO. Prosperity gospel has dominated the pulpit. It is important we all understand what the bible teaches about tithing and giving to God and the reason behind the giving. How should the funds be utilized? During the Old Testament times; all that was given in form of tithes and other donations was used for sustaining the ministry of the temple. The Levites and the Priests did not own land or business in which they could earn their livelihood. The needy were also taken care of from the proceeds. Similarly in the New Testament times; ministers of the gospel were taken care of and widows and orphans were considered in the distribution of what the church had collected from the members.
Ministers of the gospel today need to emulate Paul who never burdened the congregation. This is what he said “I have coveted no man's silver, or gold, or apparel.
Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me.
I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:33-35)
Let us go through the scriptures together:-
Old Testament
Before the law
Tithe is first mentioned in Genesis 14:20
“And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God.
And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth:
And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all”.
Abraham’s nephew had been taken captive in Sodom. Abraham organized an army from his household servants and pursued the captors. He overcame them and rescued Lot and others with him. Abraham also brought back all the spoil. He met Melchizedek who blessed him and Abraham gave him the tenth of the spoil. Before this transaction there was no mention of tithes. What we know now is that two men of God are involved; Abraham and Melchizedek.
The next mention of tithe is in Genesis 28:22
“And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God's house: and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee”.
Jacob, Abraham’s grandson had a vision and promises to give God the tenth of everything he has if he goes and returns safely.
The law relating to tithing
Leviticus 27:30-34 “And all the tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land, or of the fruit of the tree, is the Lord's: it is holy unto the Lord.
And if a man will at all redeem ought of his tithes, he shall add thereto the fifth part thereof.
And concerning the tithe of the herd, or of the flock, even of whatsoever passeth under the rod, the tenth shall be holy unto the Lord.
He shall not search whether it be good or bad, neither shall he change it: and if he change it at all, then both it and the change thereof shall be holy; it shall not be redeemed.
These are the commandments, which the Lord commanded Moses for the children of Israel in mount Sinai.”
Purpose:
The purpose of giving the tithe is stipulated in Numbers 18:26-32 and Deuteronomy 26:12
Numbers 18:26-32 “Thus speak unto the Levites, and say unto them, When ye take of the children of Israel the tithes which I have given you from them for your inheritance, then ye shall offer up an heave offering of it for the Lord, even a tenth part of the tithe.
And this your heave offering shall be reckoned unto you, as though it were the corn of the threshingfloor, and as the fulness of the winepress.
Thus ye also shall offer an heave offering unto the Lord of all your tithes, which ye receive of the children of Israel; and ye shall give thereof the Lord'S heave offering to Aaron the priest.
Out of all your gifts ye shall offer every heave offering of the Lord, of all the best thereof, even the hallowed part thereof out of it.
Therefore thou shalt say unto them, When ye have heaved the best thereof from it, then it shall be counted unto the Levites as the increase of the threshingfloor, and as the increase of the winepress.
And ye shall eat it in every place, ye and your households: for it is your reward for your service in the tabernacle of the congregation.
And ye shall bear no sin by reason of it, when ye have heaved from it the best of it: neither shall ye pollute the holy things of the children of Israel, lest ye die.”
Deuteronomy 26:12 “ When thou hast made an end of tithing all the tithes of thine increase the third year, which is the year of tithing, and hast given it unto the Levite, the stranger, the fatherless, and the widow, that they may eat within thy gates, and be filled;”
Result (curse or blessing):
During the revival pioneered by Hezekiah king of Judah; we learn that refusal to pay the tithe had some repercussions. Looking at the following scripture, we learn that blessings came when they brought tithe to the house of the Lord.
2 Chronicles 31:4-10 “Moreover he commanded the people that dwelt in Jerusalem to give the portion of the priests and the Levites, that they might be encouraged in the law of the Lord.
And as soon as the commandment came abroad, the children of Israel brought in abundance the firstfruits of corn, wine, and oil, and honey, and of all the increase of the field; and the tithe of all things brought they in abundantly.
And concerning the children of Israel and Judah, that dwelt in the cities of Judah, they also brought in the tithe of oxen and sheep, and the tithe of holy things which were consecrated unto the Lord their God, and laid them by heaps.
In the third month they began to lay the foundation of the heaps, and finished them in the seventh month.
And when Hezekiah and the princes came and saw the heaps, they blessed the Lord, and his people Israel.
Then Hezekiah questioned with the priests and the Levites concerning the heaps.
And Azariah the chief priest of the house of Zadok answered him, and said, Since the people began to bring the offerings into the house of the Lord, we have had enough to eat, and have left plenty: for the Lord hath blessed his people; and that which is left is this great store.”
New Testament
Jesus teaching
Jesus gave no direct command about tithing. According to the following scripture; tithing is okay but it is not the only thing; justice and love of God are very important in our daily life. “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.(Matthew 23:23). However, Jesus taught more about the relationship of our wealth and the kingdom of God.
Apostles teaching:
While giving is highly emphasized in the writings of the apostles; we do not find specific command for the newly converted Christians to tithe. This is what Paul says about giving: “But this I say, He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.
Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:6-7)
Purpose
The purpose of giving was to sustain the ministers of the gospel and caring for the needy. We note in Acts 4:34-35 “Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices of the things that were sold,
And laid them down at the apostles' feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.

Result (curse or blessing)
In His teaching Jesus said “Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.” (Luke 6:38). In the same tone Paul told the Corinthian Church that “God loves a cheerful giver”

Conclusion
In the Old Testament dispensation; tithing is contained the law. You must tithe (10%) or else you are stealing from God- Malachi 3:8-10 “Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.
Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.
Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.
In the New Testament, Paul gives us a formula “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:6-7)
Finally brothers and sisters, having stipulated what the scriptures says about tithing and giving to God; let us examine ourselves. Christians have withheld giving generously and for that reason pastors and their finance boards have devised methods and tricks of raising money for the ministry. Unfortunately these methods are unbiblical and most of them motivated by greed and self enrichment. It is sad to say that in many occasions I have heard televangelist telling their listeners to plant a seed of 1000 dollars. They promise blessings such
as their mortgage being written off miraculously. Christians in their desperation for such blessings give this money to the televangelist (do you remember the story of cardinals selling indulgences in Europe? Christians paid enormous amounts of money to deliver souls of their relatives who had passed on from purgatory. They were desperate for salvation and for that reason church leaders exploited their situation). In another occasion I personally witnessed a televangelist in a national conference asking for 100 dollars from any Christian who would like to be anointed by the man of God. I was surprised that scores went to the podium for the anointing. They even extended credit to those who were willing but had no money. They can pay later. This is ridiculous and deviation from truth. When such methods and tricks are employed, Christians withhold their giving even more. What shall we do?
-Christians should give generously to support the work of the ministry. Pastors and bishops need your support.
-Those who preach the gospel of prosperity (which is crown without the cross) should stop to overburden their congregation with luxurious living.
And now may God’s light shine upon us all. Amen.

Rev. Dr. John Mwaniki
Ezradevotionalministries.com

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© ANCCI 2016 Abiding In The Anglican Tradition