Friday, 30 December 2011

The Spirit of Sudan: The Preacher

Sphere: Related Content This is a must read for all those who love Nigeria as a country. My deep concern is how to wake up the sleeping church. I see most church leaders who are more interested in how to amass wealth and ride the best SUVs, than pay attention to spiritual matters. I see pastors who are more interested in just doing church work, serving the organization, engaging in church politics so as to fetch promotion than to key both themselves and members into God's program and agenda. Please pray, send this to your pastors and church leaders and as many Christians as you can reach. God is warning this nation! I will post the whole piece. You can contact the author through the web address after the write up.


Early in September 2011, while fasting and praying for the national prayer retreat of The Preacher scheduled for later that month, the word of the Lord came to me, “Pray against the Spirit of Sudan.” South Sudan had become independent from the oppressive Islamic north only a few weeks earlier, on July 9. I understood the word to mean that the Satanic principality that had sponsored Sudan’s very oppressive anti-Christ Islamic regime, and sustained twenty cruel years of a most ravaging civil war between the Christian south and the Islamized north, having lost that territory, was seeking another abode, in Nigeria. I took it as a personal prayer point even though, later, I had to send out sms’s to a few friends. The message as I understood it seemed well explained by Luke 11:24-26, especially the first half of verse 24:

24 When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man[a territory, Sudan], he walketh through dry places, seeking rest ; and finding none, he saith, I will return unto my house whence I came out. 25 And when he cometh, he findeth it swept and garnished.
26 Then goeth he, and taketh to him seven other spirits more wicked than himself; and they enter in, and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first.


This reminds me so much of the Kenyan experience decades ago, when a group of intercessors in a teacher training school suddenly had a vision of furious red horses galloping towards their country. Intercepted by timey prayers, however, the horses diverted from the border of Kenya into Somalia next door. Somalia has not been a normal country ever since, with little rest from wave after wave of Islamic insurgencies.

In September 9-11, 2011, there was the retreat of The Preacher in the Middle Belt city of Jos, Nigeria. In the process of the prayer vigil on the second night of that retreat, a sister with remarkable prophetic gifts raised a prayer concern about Nigeria. She used the same words to describe her burden as she called us all to pray against “the spirit of Sudan.” I was frightened. It was no mere coincidence. I realized at once that God had confirmed His word in the mouth of a second witness. Anyone who has gone through the horrors of one civil war will never wish to experience another. Ask them in Liberia, Sierra Leon, Libya, and ask the elders in eastern Nigeria who suffered the Biafran war.

Four days before Christmas, we posted the online message, “When Feasting is Unpardonable Sin ,” warning that in this season of Christmas festivity and the threats of Islamic jihads in Nigeria, it might not be permitted for everyone to enjoy a feast when the land mourns. Yesterday was Christmas, but it was not to be for everybody. I had been fasting for many days, and could not but go on fasting. St. Theresa Catholic Church at Madalla, on the outskirts of Abuja the capital city of Nigeria, was suicide bombed at the close of Christmas service as worshippers were queuing to leave. Over 40 deaths have been reported, besides several injured and inestimable property damaged. What jolted me was the Yahoo News on the tragedy: “Boko Haram is trying to ignite a sectarian civil war in a country split evenly between Christians and Muslims” It sounded so much to me like the word of the Lord about the agenda of the Spirit of Sudan. Could that be a third witness from the mouth of a prophetic internet donkey?

What further bothered me in that news were the remarks attributed to Muhammadu Buhari, who had also contested at the last presidential polls. In the opinion of that retired army general and former head of state, these assaults are a pointer to the failure of the present government of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, a man who has been under the severe assaults of high level sorcery and political snares; such manipulations and sorceries that it takes more than a Sunday school T-shirt to bullet proof.

As we relish, on one hand, the lofty condemnations of the premeditated brutalities of Boko Haram, we, on the other hand, share the worry of Jesus in Luke 11:17, about the paradox of a house divided against itself. Oh, that Prophet Daniel could come down and read us these glittering handwritings on the wall!

About a year ago, a retired army General who, like Buhari, is a northern Muslim and former military ruler of the nation, threatened tacitly in the papers that there could be a civil war attributable to Dr. Jonathan if he did not ‘gentlemanly’ abdicate his presidential ambitions to the ‘north,’ all of whose prominent candidates were Muslims.

Some hundreds of years ago, Egypt was a very Christian territory, as also was Libya and the rest of northern Africa. Today, the story is pathetically different. Ephesus, where Paul once preached, which had the first of the seven churches to which Jesus sent special letters, it is said, does not have a church anymore. Its candle has gone out, as Jesus had warned in Revelation 2:5. Islam has taken over that city, and others like it.

May our children not rise up in the next fifty years to curse us fathers and mothers whose knees were too stiff to bend, whose lazy brains and fearful hands knew nothing to do while the spiritual topography changed against their tender future. As a Bishop recently feared and warned, may they not have to spit on our graves someday, that while we pursued our insatiable greed and stuffed our protruding bellies with stolen wine, we wasted our political privileges in the houses of parliament and the other corridors of economic and political power, shamefully unlike another woman centuries ago who in similar circumstances swore, “If I perish, I perish” (Esther 4:16).

Jos, a city whose name is said to have been derived from the acronym, “Jesus Our Saviour,” which used to be the paradise of many missionary agencies in Nigeria, is now like ancient Berlin with an invisible wall marking the risky boundary between the Muslim north and the Christian south of the city. The city has already conceded some precious grounds to the threatening advance of Islam. Port Harcourt and Lagos are not too south from the ‘northern’ threats. America is not as far away anymore; not farther away now than next door. South Africa and Kenya and Britain are already marked for their own seasons. Ghana and Zambia are stirring. France seems almost like a helpless captive. The list is long. Every place is under watch. It is a global threat, “while MEN slept” (Matthew 13:25). Feeble women and little children may sleep, but when adult men also sleep in some seasons, things go wrong.

There are notable parallels between the two nations of Nigeria and what used to be Sudan. Today, Nigeria is reckoned as the foremost evangelized and evangelistic nation in Africa, a missionaries-sending nation next only to USA in the world. In the 1950s and earlier, the Sudan Interior Mission (SIM) similarly sent missionaries, and especially evangelized the northern parts of Nigeria. Sudan had a dominantly Christian south and an Islamized north. So does Nigeria. Both territories boast a large land mass. Sudan had and still has a species of Islam that is fundamentally fanatical and very intolerant of any other faith, like the Boko Haramians of northern Nigeria. Sudan used the means of politics, governance, and violence (in fact, wars) to pursue its agenda of enforcing sharia over the entire country. The tools have been no different with those who have been invoking the spirit of Sudan into Nigeria. The sounds of ‘Boko Haram’ are the sounds of that spirit already knocking at our door.

‘Boko Haram’ is a political mask. May God expose the masqueraders behind the mask. Boko Haram is a unilateral declaration of war awaiting escalation whenever ‘the other’ should have been provoked enough to reply. When a cock struts out to challenge the sleeping neighbour next door to an early morning fight, check properly; its owner is behind it, waiting with a machete. The coordination, professionalism and sophistication of Boko Haram are not those of some ragtag terrorists or ‘militants.’ They have the intelligence and other backings of certain foreign governments, of notable foreign and local agencies, royal fathers, as well as serving and retired politicians. Until recently, when God exposed one of their moles among the members of parliament, who could have believed that those dissidents had such ‘noble’ membership and patronage? The general public will be shocked the day it learns about the size and skill of their army and the sophistication of their weaponry; but our prayer is that God may do again in Nigeria what He did to Pharaoh and his armies when He overthrew both horses and their riders in the sea (Exodus 15:1). Amen.

Last night, during my midnight prayers, the date “January 12” came to me as having been marked for a surprise attack in an unsuspecting location. I wish I can right away tell where, but it could be somewhere in one of the ‘safer’ southern cities. Watch and pray; pray with eyes open in this season.

Often, one hears the understandable remarks of aggrieved southern Nigerians, that the country should split, and “let them go their own way.” It is not so easy, for many reasons that this is not the place to explain. Besides, by such expressions, unawares, these make prayers in support of the very Spirit of Sudan.

Someday, soon, the mystery of the fifth seal shall speak from under the altar in Heaven, and there shall come “the great day” of the wrath of the lamb that sits on the throne. In that day, there shall be no hiding place in the dens and rocks and mountains “from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb” (Revelation 6:14-17). May that day come soon, in Jesus name. Amen.

May the world join us now to contend against the Spirit of Sudan. We would rather have those prayers now than relief materials later for a war-torn people, should that wandering spirit somehow find abode here, aided by the bloody invocations of its armed priests that have already offered more than sufficient provocations.

If this stirs you, please, pass it on. If it does not, delete it. One will chase a thousand, but two can put ten thousand to flight (Deuteronomy 32:30). Amen.

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Tuesday, 27 December 2011

The January “Covenant” Craze

Sphere: Related Content In the next few days, we’ll enter the month of January and into a New Year, 2012. One of the focuses of many preachers will be to find a way to give hope to many of their members and raise their expectations for the New Year. For many of them, their theme in December 2011 was, “It’s not over yet. You can still make it before the year runs out”. Then suddenly, the year comes to an end and 31st December night and 1st January Services will be another declaration periods. Now, is there anything wrong with raising people’s expectations and giving them hope? NO! But is there anything wrong with raising people’s expectations based on lies and giving them hope based on false prophecies? YES! Everything is wrong with it and those who want to live their lives in such a way that they please God must avoid such falsehoods.

In January 2011, many churches organized fasting and prayers and at the end of the period, made many ‘prophetic pronouncements’ and led the congregation into covenants. These covenants were followed by covenant offerings depending on what you are expecting from God in the year. In fact, in one of the churches, their covenant was so unique that they brought articles of sand, stone, flowers etc to present to God to represent people’s situations. Some questionable things indeed! This actually disturbed me so much that I had to start doing further studies on the issue of covenants, the result of which I will document in a book that will come out soon.

For some churches, they have done this so called covenant Sundays for years with their associated prophetic declarations. My concern is that nobody monitors these prophecies and asks questions. Nobody tries at the end of the year to take stock of the things declared the previous year before buying into the declarations for the New Year. Everybody seems to flow with the tide and enjoys the palatable words and feels good. This is a very disturbing trend indeed especially since we know that one of the major tools the enemy of our souls will use in these Last Days will be deception.

Several questions come to mind: why are we making all these covenants? Who are we to initiate these covenants with God? Do we have precedents from the Scriptures? I mean, did Jesus or the apostles teach such a practice? When we read old Christian materials by church fathers, do they allude to Christians entering into several covenants with God apart from the celebrated and commemorated Covenant the Lord Jesus Christ brought us into? Covenant agreements can be entered into between equals; between a higher and a lesser and between peoples. In our case, we are the lesser trying to initiate a covenant with God, who is the Higher. Where did we get the mindset that we can initiate a better covenant than the one God Himself initiated in Christ?

For the New Covenant we have with God in Christ, the whole New Testament books of the Bible make up the pact. Remember that New Testament means New Covenant. There in are all the promises and oaths of God that supports the New Covenant. Of course we know that some of the words have their connections to some sayings in the Old Testament. The Lord Jesus is the Guarantee. Who told us that because we have some needs and a few troubles and challenges, we will have to enter into other covenants with God for them to be solved? Who told us that for God to show up in our affairs in the year, we will have to enter into another covenant in the first month of the year? Who wrote down the pact for the covenant? This is because, you cannot use the pact of the New Covenant we have in Christ (The Bible) to claim to enter into another covenant. Meanwhile what brought you near in the first place, to have anything to do with God, was the New Covenant in Christ.

This is all about deceptions and confusions. Some people feel that these things are working, hence dry men, who are struggling with what to tell their congregations buy into it. Some buy into it because it seems popular while others do it so as to keep their roaming members who are having itching ear challenges.

If we understand the New Covenant we have in Christ, initiated by God, made effective and guaranteed by Christ who also officiates as the High Priest before the Altar in heaven, sealed by the blood of Christ which equally serves as the Covenant Offering, strengthened by His Oath and Words of Promises, confirmed by the Presence of the Holy Spirit and commemorated through Holy Communion, then, we can be content and say to our hearts, “He is enough for me”. The new birth brings us into this covenant relationship with God. How we fare in our personal experiences depends on how we obey the terms and instructions of this New Covenant - The Bible. The Bible is actually a Covenant Book. All the authority and dominion we exercise, promises we claim, position we occupy as sons and heirs, and the ultimate hope we have are based on this New Covenant. Every other covenant we saw in the Law and the Prophets all either points to this New Covenant or to the Person of Jesus Christ. All we can do now is to renew our loyalty, dedication, devotion and commitment to this New Covenant, to love and obey Him.

Please let nobody get you deceived. If you base your Christian practice on lies, your spiritual house will definitely crumble sooner or later. But if you base your Christian life on the Truth of God’s Word, though may not be popular among the Last Days believers, you will discover that you have built on the Solid Rock that can never fail. It does not matter who wants to introduce another covenant into your life again this January, do not play the ignorance any more. God has not placed anybody, no matter his/her position in your church, to be a facilitator of covenants.

In His capacity as the High Priest of this New Covenant, Jesus Christ has no assistants.
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Friday, 23 December 2011

BE GLAD IN THE LORD AND REJOICE!

Sphere: Related Content Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice,
All ye that are upright in heart;
And ye that have made Him your choice,
Bid sadness and sorrow depart.

Rejoice, rejoice,
Be glad in the Lord and rejoice;
Rejoice, rejoice,
Be glad in the Lord and rejoice


The song above was written by Ma¬ry E. Ser¬voss (1849-1906) and was based on Psalm 32:11 “Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart.”

What an admonition in a world where competition and rivalry are the order of the day! This competition keeps us under the pressure to perform and the meter for measuring this performance is always set by the world. In the course of all these, we often sacrifice our inner need for contentment and fulfillment. It is possible to achieve success, according to the worldly view of success, and yet not be fulfilled.

Now, how can one be glad and rejoice when circumstances are not favourable to him? How can one be glad and joyful in the midst of disappointment and pain? Is it possible to be glad and rejoice in the middle of a prolonged challenge like unemployment, delayed marriage, childlessness, troubles, persecution and imprisonment?

As Matthew Henry puts it, “All our joy must terminate in God; and our thoughts of God must be delightful thoughts…Observe, It is our duty and privilege to rejoice in God, and to rejoice in him always; at all times, in all conditions; even when we suffer for him, or are afflicted by him. We must not think the worse of him or of his ways for the hardships we meet with in his service. There is enough in God to furnish us with matter of joy in the worst circumstance on earth... Joy in God is a duty of great consequence in the Christian life; and Christians need to be again and again called to it. If good men have not a continual feast, it is their own fault.”

The aim of this write up is to call on us again to rejoice no matter what. As the year runs out, many take stock and make certain conclusions about their walk with God. For some, they say that God has been faithful but that as a religious cliché. Right in their heart of hearts, they question what God is doing in their lives. We visited a Christian couple recently who God showed mercy and caused the wife to give birth after fifteen years of a childless marriage. This would have made the people around to celebrate with them, but a scandal was broken on them based on unconfirmed allegations which made friends and well-wishers to abandon them. What would have brought happiness turned around to bring pain and they are very hurt. The man lost his father and two younger brothers in a succession within four years. In the middle of our discussion, he said, “It’s as if life has no meaning anymore especially after the death of my last younger brother”. Is it possible for this brother to be glad and rejoice?

The psalm where Ma¬ry E. Ser¬voss based her hymn above actually commands the righteous and upright in heart to be “glad in the Lord, and rejoice, … and shout for joy”. Let me make it clear here that what we are saying is not that someone in pain goes about smiling at everybody as if nothing happened, living in pretense and denial. NO! We are saying that there is joy in God which the righteous is supposed to have in spite of his circumstances. You must constantly tell your soul, “God is enough for me”.

As we celebrate Christmas, “Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, All ye that are upright in heart; And ye that have made Him your choice, Bid sadness and sorrow depart. Rejoice, rejoice,
Be glad in the Lord and rejoice.”

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR!
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Thursday, 1 December 2011

Please pray for the Rev Chander Mani Khanna

Sphere: Related Content

A few months ago, the Rev Chander Mani Khanna of the All Saints Church, Kashmir India,baptized 7 converts from Islam. Since then, there have been fireworks of persecution against him.

He was arrested and put in jail in November. The Jammu and Kashmir Bar Association has called on its members not to provide Rev Khanna with legal counsel. Though the court has granted him bail, there is great fear that his life may be at risk even after his release.

A few days ago, the pastor’s wife, Kanta Khanna, spoke with her husband by phone. “I was concerned about his health,” she told AsiaNews. “He’s diabetic and his eyesight is deteriorating. Nevertheless, his thoughts are for our children and me. He continued to reassure us, saying that God is with us. He told me to find strength in the Scriptures, to read Chapter 10 in the Gospel of Matthew and the Act of the Apostles. He is frail in body but firm in his faith.”

Pray for the Underground Church. Christianity preaches Life that is irresistible to any hungry soul. It's not just a religion. Because their powerless message cannot match the Life Christ offers, they resort to violence and intimidation, and it's happening all over the world. But thank God for a lot of testimonies of what God is doing in Islamic world.

Please thank God for the Bishop of the Diocese of Amritsar, bishop P.K. Samantha Roy, and Sajan K George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC) for their support for the Rev. Khanna. Pray for courage for him stand firm till the end and that he may be released. Pray for his family that God may protect them and keep them. God bless!
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