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 clich├ę. 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

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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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Wednesday, 23 November 2011

The lords of the Gentiles

Sphere: Related Content “But Jesus called them to him and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you;…” Matt 20:25-26 RSV

The Lord Jesus has just finished telling the disciples what would happen to Him in Jerusalem, "We are going up to Jerusalem," he said, "and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles, who will mock him and spit on him, flog him and kill him. Three days later he will rise." Mark 10:33-34 NIV. The next thing we would expect from people close to Him would be to be concerned and sober thinking about what He said. But the disciples had a warped understanding about the mission of Jesus. They thought He was going to receive a physical kingdom in Jerusalem. They began to engage in power tussle about who would sit at His right or left side and who is the greatest. The Lord used the opportunity to teach us the rare principle that we are in dire need of today.

The rulers of the Gentiles are worldly rulers, kings, princes and lords who throw their weight around and glory in their titles rather than serving their people. They love the favours that their positions carry and ignore the responsibilities attached to them. The Lord said that in the world, they are permitted to do these things but among God’s people, it is not permitted. The challenge we have today is, “do we carry on like the rulers of the Gentiles among God’s people?”

In the world, there is hero-worship, but among God’s people, it is not permitted. Sadly, we have among us some leaders who act like the lords of the Gentiles. Exercising their authority is more important to them than giving exemplary leadership. There are people that carry themselves as if they are sacred untouchable cows. They act God among God’s people. They question and require accountability from those under them but nobody questions what they themselves do and are accountable to nobody. They create an atmosphere of fear around them.

The Lord Jesus said that among His people, it shall not be so. As a senior pastor, the junior pastors should not be afraid of you as if you are a masquerade and a tyrant. As a District Pastor, Archdeacon or Bishop, the pastors under you should not be afraid of you as if you are their God, the Alpha and Omega they know, the same way the heathen fear their gods. This is a deception and any leader who accepts it is deceived. People you lead should not be afraid to share their hearts with you. They should be able to access you as a father. Release them and create the window for them to be able to tell you the truth always even when it hurts. This does not come naturally. You intentionally create it and continually strip yourself of any attachment and dependency that puts you in God’s position. There are some denominational systems that make it very difficult for leaders to be servants, but it is the duty of the leader who wants to be like Jesus to take certain firm decisions. This you must do for the sake of your own soul.

When you act as a lord, you will end up surrounding yourself with yes men, sycophants who cannot ask you any questions concerning your actions, with all due respect. Sincere men will be very far from you and we know that deception leads to no other destination than destruction. The example that Jesus left for us is so amazing. Do you realize that He made Himself so simple that Judas had to use a sign to identify Him to those that came to arrest Him that night? No wonder Paul said that “He made Himself of no reputation”.

The Lord Jesus has not called us to wield power and authority around His people, like they do in the world, but to serve them willingly, not greedy for money but eager to serve, not lording it over those entrusted to us but being examples to them. (1 Peter 5:2-30).

Please some things I share here may make some people very uncomfortable. However, you can send me your feedback. It is better we deal with these ‘uncomfortable issues’ here and settle them than living in deception only for God to raise them when we stand before Him. By that time, it becomes too late to make amend. God bless!
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Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Emma Nwosu: So much noise about nothing

Sphere: Related Content This is a good write up, especially for those who have burden for revival for the Church in Nigeria. Send it to your pastors and leaders. Read it please:

One cannot ignore the noise going round in the country without being accused of indifference; Terrorism, Gay marriage and Islamic Banking. Let me state that none of these issues is peculiar to Nigeria or our generation.

....... Each time missionaries come to our gatherings to ask for mission support, our leaders announce that it is time for widow’s mite. Some even divert funds meant for these missionaries for their insatiable materialistic desires. When we are told to pray for missionaries martyred by the governments of these countries, we rush over it to continue with our kill and bury prayers. It was when Afghanistan was liberated from Taliban control that we heard that two lady missionaries- Heather and Mercie- had been held in a dungeon waiting for death.

Even in the bible, religious extremism and terrorism is mentioned. That was what killed Jesus Christ and James the brother of John. Some forty men bound themselves under an oath not to eat or drink until they have killed Paul (Acts 23:12-13).................

If our pulpits become fiery voice of God again and preachers follow the examples of John Wesley and John Wycliffe, we will rule Nigeria from our churches. ............

We all saw the show of shame in the banking sector, those who claimed to be Christians ran the house of fraud in the name of banks. One of our sisters, who was a bank executive, claimed she gave her house-help loan to the tone of thirty six million Naira, but we know the truth. Most of the bank executives were and are still prominent members of our churches who pay in large sums of their stolen money into our cathedrals. If they valued their religion in any way, we will see this wealth in the life of the ordinary man on the street, and then who will have time for non-interest banking. When governments of some States in Nigeria returned schools to Mission organizations, what was the result? Tuition rose astronomically so that almost all the students in these schools were thrown out. If we showed value for those students they won’t face the temptation for going for non-interest banking system of another religion. Does the bible encourage the Christian to lend to his brother on interest? Why are we now threatening to have our own banking system only in response to Islamic banking? So now it was not adopted we go back to comatose, never taking the initiative........................


Please read it here.

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Saturday, 19 November 2011

Obedience is obedience, what do you think?

Sphere: Related Content "What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, 'Son, go and work today in the vineyard.' "'I will not,' he answered, but later he changed his mind and went. "Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, 'I will, sir,' but he did not go. "Which of the two did what his father wanted?" "The first," they answered. Matt 21:28-31 NIV

Religious languages and many religious rituals are going to become irrelevant the day we stand before God to answer for our actions. Pretense and hypocrisy will suddenly be exposed for what they are. A lot of boastings and strong claims will be found empty. Why? This is because the question will be, what did you do with your life? Did you obey the Lord or not? Did you do the Father’s will?

I have made this argument for years that in spiritual matters, obedience is obedience, as long as you did it with all your heart. There are many issues that people raise each time I say this. Some argue that the quality of your obedience will determine whether God will accept it or not. They say that you do not have to struggle when you hear instructions from God. If you struggle and later obey, it reduces the quality. Etc. Look at the illustration the Lord gave in our passage above. The first son struggled but later obeyed while the second son who people around saw as a ‘good’ son the time the father was speaking to them, did not actually do the father’s will. The Lord Jesus asked a question, "Which of the two did what his father wanted?" "The first," they answered. Notice that He did not argue the answer the people gave to His question.

Please no matter what happens; no matter how you have messed up your life; the fact that you are still alive reading this means that there is hope for you and you can have a new beginning. You can start afresh with God. God will never say that you came too late and reject you. You may be among those that came at the first hour who started early. You may be among those who came at the third hour, fine. You may even be among those who joined the work at the sixth hour or even at the eleventh hour before the day ended. Let not bother you anymore. The question on that day will be, ‘who did what the Father wanted?’ What is of utmost importance is that you decide to obey God NOW. Remember that He gave all of them rewards for obeying Him.

For me, obedience is obedience. What do you think? God bless you!

See Matthew 20 for further study.
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Friday, 11 November 2011

Join us for the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church

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Join us for the International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church
Prayer has an eternal impact on the lives of men and women throughout the world. As we pray, closed doors are opened, resistant people are made receptive, leaders are put down and raised up, and the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ is extended.

Join thousands of believers around the world in praying for the estimated 200 million Christians who face persecution for their faith. The International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church (IDOP) is on Sunday, November 13.

For more information, and for downloadable resources you can use with your small group or congregation, visit IDOP International.

"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." -- Ephesians 6:12.

Please pray in your churches, talk to your prayer coordinators etc. God is really doing amazing things in these Last Days. May the knowledge of the Lord spread all over the earth as waters cover the sea. Amen.
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Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Please pray for Pastor Youcef Nardarkhani! What a faith!

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Any time from now, this brother will be executed, except a miracle happens. Bro Youcef Nardarkhani was arrested in October 12th 2009 and charged for apostasy, evangelism and working against the state. Of course, we know that working against the state means that he became a Christian and is evangelizing.

What encouraged me is his response to the judge on Tuesday who gave him the opportunity to recant his faith and be released. "When asked to “repent” by the judges, Youcef stated, “Repent means to return. What should I return to? To the blasphemy that I had before my faith in Christ?” The judges replied , “To the religion of your ancestors, Islam.” To which he replied, “I cannot.”"

What a challenge to us to live for God. Serving God is serious business. People are dying for this faith right now in some parts of the world. You can read his letter from prison to Christian friends last year, 2010 here.

The point is that our Brother needs prayers. "Pray that Youcef will not be declared an apostate. Pray that he will remain firm in his faith and know the presence and peace of Jesus each day. Pray that his wife, Fatemeh, and their two sons will know the comfort and hope of Jesus, and that the family will be reunited soon. Pray that all officials involved will act justly in this case." Pray the he will remain faithful till the end no matter what.Equally pray for yourself that you may stay faithful to the Lord Jesus Christ to the end.

You can read more on this story
Washington Post

Voice of Martyrs

Present Truth
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Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Stop this sacrilege!

Sphere: Related Content The Author sent me this write up and I think you will enjoy it. It is a warning to His Church. May God indeed send us revival as we await the coming in glory of the Lord Jesus Christ.

"You shall not misuse the name of the LORD your God, for the LORD will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name. Ex 20:7-8

For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. John 1:17

It is alarming how our generation has so degenerated in her lack of fear of God. For those who plead the ground of season of grace, the bible states that Jesus Christ brought grace and truth. He did not bring grace only.

What am I talking about? I watched in shock as a senior pastor in Port Harcourt hosted some popular comedians in his church. These humor-mongers used his pulpit and the altar. They cracked jokes with the Blood of Jesus Christ, the Name of Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit and every other thing the Church holds sacred. To make matters worse this was repeatedly shown on popular TV stations in Port Harcourt. To add to the mockery \they showed my fellow pastor laughing deliriously as they made mockery of everything he stands for- that is if he stands for anything.

One would wonder how I knew all these. My children were watching this program and were also borrowing jokes from it. I had to sit them down to try to explain to them why what they were seeing was bad and dangerous and when I came to the point of, “Even if I or another pastor does this, it must not be accepted as a standard. It is wrong.” It was at this point that my children told me that what I was seeing was actually taking place in a church. I turned to the screen, and saw that they were right. I tried to stomach this as I have tried to avoid unnecessary conflicts as I did my job as a minister of the gospel. But now things are getting out of hand.

Gordon, a popular comedian in Port Harcourt rolled out an audio release of his comedy, and I was shocked as I heard this blaring out of the loudspeakers of a music shop. Every holy word and title of Jehovah, Jesus Christ and Holy Spirit was used to crack jokes. As one would expect people were implicated in this sin as they listened and laughed. I saw a poster of a church program. You can guess what I saw. A comedian was posted alongside the speakers. Some of these comedians are notorious characters and drunkards whom these churches are only giving landing pads for the excesses of their reprobate minds.

I stand to say that this is ungodliness. Let everyone who cares hear me; this is sacrilege, it is an insult in the face of God. Whoever does this is drawing the anger of God to himself. We must not add to our many sins this evil also. Is it not enough the many gambling and manipulations with which we tend to make our churches grow? Are we not contented with our romance with murderers, prostitutes and fraudsters in the name of ministering grace? Is our display of shame in the name of fashion not enough? Why stir this hornet in the face of an ignorant and unsuspecting people?

This must STOP! God’s word does not change. Whoever does this is not innocent before God. Those who encourage this, also share in the sin.

I advise the comedians and those who do this to look for something else to entertain themselves. The pastors who are desperate for a large church should try voodoo. To be frank the consequence of involvement in voodoo is far less than the result of the retaliation of an angry God.

In my capacity as a minister of the gospel, a father of children in this generation and the President of Prayer Network for Universal Revival {PNUR}, I wash my hands off this evil. When I heard it I did not rejoice in it, it was not funny to me. Hence I or my family or members of my ministry who obey my teachings will not share the consequence of this abomination. I also ask everyone who does not share in this evil to openly make a public denunciation of this evil.

From the office of the President
Prayer Network for Universal Revival (PNUR)
9b Iriebe Street, D/line, Port Harcourt. Nigeria.
08035724526
pnurnigeria@gmail.com
www.pnurnigeria.org
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Monday, 26 September 2011

The privileged ones

Sphere: Related Content “Bear fruit that befits repentance, and do not presume to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father';…” Matt 3:8-9 RSV

In our previous post here, we shared that in Christianity, a professing Christian must be a practicing Christian. If we say we are born again, what fruit are we bearing to prove it? This is a serious matter because we will be judged by the fruits we bear.

Today, we are dealing with the second part of John the Baptist’s charge, “…do not presume to say to yourselves, ‘we have Abraham as our father’”. Matt.3:9

I want to say emphatically that as far as the New Covenant is concerned, God has no favorites. There are no privileged ones among God’s people. He is not a God that shows partiality or twists His standards because of anybody. It is a deception for anyone to think that he is a privileged one and therefore has license to live anyhow he wants. Never allow anybody to make you think that you are so special to God that He will not bring you to account on the last day when we stand before the Judgment of Seat of Christ. Salvation itself is a privilege and it is a privilege to be saved but there is nothing in Scripture that makes you more privileged than the other child of God that He has equally saved. Among God’s children, He has no favorites.

This will help us to humble ourselves, serve God and one another. It will help us to thread carefully, giving heed to Paul’s exhortation, “ Therefore let any one who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. 1 Cor 10:12 RSV.

I have heard some church leaders talk as if they are special and privileged ones in the church. I have seen some pastors talk and relate to others in the church as if they are the privileged ones. In denominations where pastors have some special designations and titles like priests, reverends, bishops, you see them carry on as if these titles, positions, and class make them the privileged ones before God. Some of them do everything to strengthen the unbiblical separation between the clergy and laity. Their body language is as if they drink coffee with God everyday and there is a difference between their class and other of God’s children. For some of them, it is even very difficult to call you a brother and relate to you as members of the same family.

My problem is that I cannot see this kind of separation emphasized in the New Covenant. Once there is this presumption that “'We have Abraham as our father';…” – something that grants us special favour before God more than others , many things go wrong. It went wrong for the Pharisees and the Sadducees during the time of John the Baptist. It is still causing many things to go wrong for those who think they are the privileged ones today.

I have learnt over the years that gifting and leadership positions among God’s people grant us special privilege only among men but increases our weight of responsibility before God. Our position will not make God to judge us with a different scale. Our position will not give us express ticket to heaven. Given, it opens more doors of opportunities to serve God, but definitely does not make us more a child of God than others in the household of God.

God has no grand children!
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A professing Christian must be a practicing Christian.

Sphere: Related Content “Bear fruit that befits repentance, and do not presume to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our father';…” Matt 3:8-9 RSV

Talk is cheap. Anybody can say anything, claim anything and profess anything. All without charge!

When it comes to real Christianity, a professing Christian should be a practicing Christian. What you claim matters. What you profess matters. However, what you practice matters most. That is what actually confirms what you claim and profess whether you are authentic or a liar and a hypocrite.

John the Baptist, in rebuking the Pharisees and the Sadducees, challenged them to prove that they have turned from sin by doing worthy deeds. It’s not enough to come to baptism to show the world that you have repented. It’s not enough to profess to be a Christian. You must bear fruits that show it. You must prove it.

A car sticker once came out with these words, “whether you like it or not, I am born again”. I want to say that this is not in keeping with what we see in the Scriptures. The attitude of I-do-not-care-what-they-say-or-think must be checked to make sure we are not being blinded by arrogance and self conceit.

We must always do self examination. What-they-say, especially if they are saying the truth about us, must give us concern. It must bother us when people around us are pointing to the fact that what we practice is different from what we profess.

If we say we are born again, we must bear fruits that show it. It is not enough to belong to the ‘lineage of Abraham’ or whatever that may mean to anybody. It is not enough to look religious or belong to a popular church or a holier-than-thou group. What we do shows what we believe regardless of what we say. In a world of crashing values and system, those that profess to belong to Christ must live above board and show that they are different. This is the challenge that the Bible poses to us. The world begs to see the difference!
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Monday, 5 September 2011

The Negotiators and Consultants in the Church.

Sphere: Related Content According to the Webster Dictionary, a negotiator is one who confers with another so as to arrive at the settlement of some matter. He is someone who specializes in mediating agreements between two or more parties.

From the definition above, the negotiator is partly a peacemaker and a conciliator. He reaches an agreement that is mutually agreeable and satisfactory to both parties involved in the feud. For a good negotiator, his purpose is peace in the long term.

However, in the church, we have seen another set of negotiators. They pose as the intermediary between God and church members. They act as lords who are the link between God and the people. They cannot be offended because offending them means that God will no longer be happy with you or hear your prayers. They negotiate favor, prosperity, promotions and blessings for the church members and those who pay them homage and believe in them as God's mouth-piece. They expect members to consult them before they travel, marry, engage on business trips etc. They sit in their offices as consultants and expect members to come and tell them their problems so that they can connect to God and bring answers back to them. Oftentimes when they are done with the negotiation, they make the person feel obliged to share the benefits they obtained as a way to appreciate them for the services rendered.

The different between the dictionary definition of a negotiator and this kind of negotiation is the fact that the interest of God, who is supposedly the other party in these negotiations are not considered. The goal is not making peace or reconciling man back to God. The whole focus is on how to get what we want out of God and make the Christian happy and comfortable with all the good things of life. Whatever God is saying in His Word is immaterial.

These consultants do not visit church members because that will be bringing themselves down. They do not jeopardize their honor, respect and pride for anything. They cannot bring themselves down by relating to the poor church members with honor and dignity. Their class is a special one and those who are not 'consulting' with them are labelled as rebels and fought against. They do not have interest in developing the spiritual life of members nor do they encourage members to have personal relationship with God because this may affect their position as the 'negotiators and consultants'. Everything goes well when every member is a zombie and does not ask questions.

I do not think that this is the kind of ministry the Lord Jesus calls us into. As God's ministers and bond-slaves to the Lord Jesus Christ, we are to humble ourselves, lead the sheep under our care towards Him with sacrifice and commitment. When the Lord will appear,He will reward us as His faithful servants. May God bless you!
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Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Purpose-driven Church or Poverty-driven People?

Sphere: Related Content For the past 21 years, I’ve been actively involved in the Body of Christ serving in different capacities by God’s grace. However, a few things have kept me bothered especially some developments in the recent past. I read the books by Rick Warren “The Purpose-Driven Church” and “Purpose-Driven Life” and have kept asking myself: Is the Church purpose-driven or poverty-driven? Are the preachers Spirit-driven or driven by the fear of poverty?

When I see the nature of a lot of prayer points that we pray in churches today and others that are being distributed in Prayer Bulletins and Devotionals, I ask myself, are we being pursued by poverty so strongly that everything we do in church revolves around money and power? Almost all the prayer points are geared towards how Christians can ‘make it’, dominate other people and be on top. They all gear towards asking God to give us money, give us high income jobs, help us own our own houses and high-class cars, help us be promoted and crush our enemies. It is rare for you to attend a church service or prayer meetings and see people guided to pray for personal holiness, righteous living, asking for the in-filling of the Holy Spirit so as to live victoriously above sin and corruption and power for service. It is rare to hear people groaning and interceding for the salvation of the unsaved sinners. From the pulpit to the pews, nobody cares about what breaks God’s heart.

Not only are our prayers concentrating on how to collect materials and power from God to get what we want and live the way we want, the pulpits have been the driving force behind all these vain pursuits. Most pulpits have been turned into podiums for business seminars and self-consciousness motivational talks. Everywhere, people are taught principles of coming out of ‘poverty’ and we are stuck in a web where people take advantage of one another. Preachers tell the hearers that the key out of poverty is by bringing money to them while members mop up as much as they can from the society in order to live as ‘people whom God has blessed.’ Unfortunately, in all the cases, they are progressed at the expense of the poor in the society and nobody cares.

Nobody wants to be poor. Prosperity is good and where we see a deficiency in our members, we teach them principles that will help them; but not at the expense of eternal things. We should desire God, fear Him and pursue after righteousness and holiness. The fear of poverty should not drive our prayers and preaching. Our Father has promised to take care of us and we are safe in His hands. Let us trust Him and focus on World Evangelism and Building the Body of Christ unto maturity as we await the return of the Lord Jesus Christ.
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Monday, 27 June 2011

Pray for the Christians in Sudan

Sphere: Related Content "The Bishop of Kadugli is calling upon Christians worldwide to pray and fast ahead of South Sudan’s secession next month.

Bishop Andudu Adam Elnail has warned of a possible “genocide” in the Nuba Mountains region, where violence has broken out in recent weeks.
The region, home to many Christians, will remain under the control of Khartoum and the Muslim North when South Sudan gains its independence on July 9.

As Sudanese tanks and artillery move in, hundreds of thousands of Nuba are fleeing their homes and development agencies have withdrawn their staff.

UN officials and eyewitnesses escaping the bloodshed tell of elders being executed by the Sudanese Army and bombing campaigns that have destroyed churches and homes.

With Khartoum ordering the UN peacekeeping mission out, there are serious concerns that atrocities will spiral unchecked across the state of South Kordofan.

“Once again we are facing the nightmare of genocide of our people in a final attempt to erase our culture and society from the face of the earth,” said Bishop Elnail".

We have to change the kind of prayer points we concentrate on in our churches. Please pray for the Church in Sudan. They are passing through difficult times. May your voice be heard. If you are in a position to influence the prayer meetings in your church, please remember these brethren.
God bless you!

To read more go here!
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Sunday, 26 June 2011

Egypt: Christian Girls Kidnapped and ‘Sold’

Sphere: Related Content "The two girls, Christine Azat (aged 16) and Nancy Magdi (aged 14) were on their way to church Sunday, June 12, when they were seized. Their abductors demanded $200,000 Egyptian pounds for their release. The people of the region quickly put their savings together and came up with the ransom money; but when they tried to give it to the kidnappers, they rejected it, saying they had already “sold” the girls off to another group which requires $12 million Egyptian pounds to return them.

Christine’s father, who has been harrying the police since the minute he discovered the girls were kidnapped—to little avail—says he and his family “have been in a living hell since Christine’s abduction.” Nancy’s father laments that “My daughter has not even outgrown childhood; she is only 14 years old, the youngest in the family, our baby….Since her disappearance my household has been living in continuous depression, misery, and weeping.”"


Wedding is a celebrated event in this part of the world. Many of us have argued that Christians here do two or three types of Marriage Ceremonies in the course of getting married: Traditional Marriage, Court Marriage and Church Wedding and in all of them, we spend extensively. Many of us save for years before we are able to get enough to carry out these activities. What a day of joy when it comes at last!

Unfortunately for these two Egyptian Christian Girls, the dream of a wedding and those ceremonies are gone, maybe for good. This is just one of the many other stories depicting what Christians are going through in Muslim dominated lands. When next you see a wedding ceremony going on, remember Christine Azat (aged 16) and Nancy Magdi (aged 14). When next as a pastor, you are officiating in a wedding, remember Christine Azat (aged 16) and Nancy Magdi (aged 14). When next you are conducting a prayer meeting and urging the people to pray as if material prosperity, positional promotion and marriage are the only reasons why the Lord Jesus kept us here on earth, remember Christine Azat (aged 16) and Nancy Magdi (aged 14) and pray for other persecuted members of the body of Christ.

Read the whole story here!
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Thursday, 2 June 2011

The Coming Fire

Sphere: Related Content No nation on earth prays like Nigeria. We hold the twin record of the largest place of worship on earth as well as the largest Christian gathering. So, why isn’t the fire coming down?

As made clear in James 5: 16, it is not just prayer that brings down the fire from heaven; it is the “effectual prayer of the righteous man” that “availeth much”. Nigerians pray a lot, maybe we are not praying in righteousness. With all the number of Nigerians who attend church, there should be no talk of corruption in the country. Lo, not only is corruption galloping in the Nigerian society, it has also entered into the church. The scandals that rock the church should not be mentioned. They are awful.

Spirit-driven church or poverty-driven people?
True, there has been an explosion in church growth, but can we really say that Nigeria has experienced revival? A look at the history of revival in the world shows that every revival is accompanied by repentance, restitution, societal transformation, and genuine turning to God. The opposite is the case in Nigeria. We have experienced increase in church attendance, but in the true sense of the word, we are yet to experience revival.

According to Wesley Duewel, “revival days are not normal days in the church. They are super normal, supernatural. They are the great days of the church when God manifests His presence in overwhelming reality”.

The Nigerian church is filled with many “great men of God”, “fathers, daddies and mummies in the Lord”, prophets, deliverance ministers, evangelists, anointed men of God, and so on, but in recent years there has been no revivalist. There is yet to emerge a spiritual leader that will mobilize people in the power of the Holy Ghost to genuinely repent from sins, carnality, worldliness, evil and turn to God without expecting anything in return. Most of the “spiritual leaders” in the country today are “spiritual negotiators” and “motivational speakers” skilled in the art of getting material wealth from heaven for men, in exchange for payment of tithes and church attendance.

It is imperative that Nigeria must experience genuine revival if the nation is to escape the judgment of God. The Most High will not always tolerate the iniquities and transgression that have become the hallmark of the Nigerian church and the Nigerian society. Duewel puts it succinctly, “when God calls for repentance and people refuse to repent, how can He awaken them to their danger? He has no alternative but to send judgment. …when people who have had God’s light reject revival, judgment is inescapable”.

Revival or judgment?
Before the Nigerian society can be transformed, the church must experience revival. If the church resists the Spirit of revival, then “the spirit of judgment and the spirit of burning” (Isa.4:4) shall visit the church. Before God will judge the politicians, the police, the judiciary, the military and the business class in Nigeria, He must first and foremost judge the charlatans, the conmen and the clowns masquerading as servants of Jesus Christ though they may be bishops, pastors, prophets, ‘daddies’, ‘mummies’ and ‘papas’. Thus saith the spirit of judgment, “…begin at my sanctuary”. Ezekiel 9:6.

For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: 1 Pet.4: 17. The clarion call in the church now must be the cry for revival. Every prayer meeting must cry for revival. Every heart must yearn for a fresh outpouring of the Spirit of God. “Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee?” Psalm 85: 6. The Spirit of revival must move over this land if we are to avert the danger that is ahead. It is far better that we accept the correction of the Lord than wait for His chastisement.

Culled from OCCUPY Magazine 2011 Vol.30 No.1, a publication of Calvary Ministries (CAPRO). Pastor Bosun Emmanuel pastors the Truth Sanctuary, a missions church in Surulere, Lagos, and is the author of The 7 Signs of Spiritual Maturity. He can be reached at sunemmanuel@yahoo.com
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Friday, 27 May 2011

Trusting God in the midst of storms

Sphere: Related Content I came across this read some years ago. I can't remember the Author but I hope it will be a blessing to you.

Are you sick and discouraged, weak and weary, facing trials and trouble that seem more than you can bear? Then remember these 5 glorious facts from Mal.3:3

“And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness”. (KJV)

1. HE CARES – You are precious to Him “as silver and gold”
2. HE CLEANSES – The fire purifies and “purges them”
3. HE CONTROLS – Yes, the fire is under control. “He shall sit as a refiner”
4. HE COMFORTS – He’s with you in the fire. “And He shall sit” by the fire.
5. HE KNOWS – Be assured He knows when the work is done. He looks for His image. Climb upon the pinnacle of faith with Job and cry, “when He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold”

It’s easy to trust God when there is no trouble, but it is more needful when trouble comes.

When you take God’s cure (Prayer, praise & thanksgiving), there may be no change in the circumstances, but there will come a great change in your heart and mind.

It is not only the words we speak, but the circumstances under which we say them that reveal real character. “I believe God” is easy to say, but no one ever said it under more unbelievable circumstances than Paul. Acts 27

It pays to be on prayer terms with God when trouble comes.

It is easy to get up in prayer meeting and say, “I believe God”. It takes a real faith to say it when a storm is raging. It is easy to believe when the waters are smooth, but it takes real faith to trust when the storm comes.
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Tuesday, 3 May 2011

The Church on the wheels (Part 2)

Sphere: Related Content • A church committed to love and the welfare of the individual members: Being very conscious of the instruction of the Lord Jesus Christ to love one another, the early church practiced love. The Lord gave it as a commandment that the individual members of the church should love themselves the way God loves us. (See Jn.13:34,35; 15:17) 1 Jn.3:16 “By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren”. We must love to the extent of laying down our lives for the brethren.

It is with this kind of love alone that we can be united and build community. That is the only thing that can cause us to have burden when a brother/sister is in problem so that we pray for him/her. Just as the church prayed for Peter (Acts 12:5), and Jesus prayed for the church (Jn.17). Only this kind of love can make people to have genuine interest in the affairs of one another and pray for each other. Family altars will be filled with prayers for others who are in one need or the other; even without the individual knowing it. Instead of making the weakness of a person a subject for gossip, it is made a topic for prayers.

The early church practiced love and when people saw it in Antioch, they called them Christians – Christ-like (Acts 11:26). Jesus said that “by this shall all men know that Ye are my disciples” (Jn.13:35 KJV). Love is the criteria for the people of God to be seen by the world as Christ’s. We remember that the apostles knew how important mutual care is and appointed 7 deacons to handle the affairs of welfare. The love was genuine and they increased tremendously. (See Rom.12:9,11; 1 Jn.3:17-23). Love is the greatest. One of the challenges of the contemporary church is making sure that the church is not dominated by bureaucracy and organizational hierarchical politics that they forget to take good care of their members. It is a lie that if you take good care of your pastors and they live well, you have taken care of the church. Taking good care of the church institution with teeming members struggling with the basic provisions is an indictment to the so-called wealthy church. The life of the members, without any contradiction, is the life of the church.

• A church committed to holiness and right living: The apostles taught the members to abhor sin and live righteously as children of light. Because of the challenges and accusations from the Jews, especially, trying to find a loophole or an opportunity to discredit the gospel, the early church committed themselves to letting their light shine. The people saw their good works and glorified God.
The first day Peter preached, he asked them to “repent…for the remission of sins” and “save yourselves from this untoward generation” (Acts 2:38a, 40b). Later at the Solomon’s Porch, Peter urged his listeners “repent ye therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out.” (Acts 3:19) RSV. The church knew the real devastating nature of sin and were exhorted to avoid it. They lived for God. The teachings of the apostles emphasized the issues they majored on. Peter instructed the church, “as he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in all your conduct”. (1 Pet.1:15 RSV). The writer of the book of Hebrews also declared “strife for peace with all men and for holiness without which no one will see the Lord” (Heb.12:14). Both leadership and the led all gave themselves to living up to what they claimed they believed. The life of the church was different from the life of the world and the border line was very clear. Peter even agreed that this kind of living can change a man without speaking to him. (1 Pet.3:1). Though persecuted, their righteous living was an indisputable challenge to their accusers. They prospered.

• A church obedient to the leading of the Holy Spirit: Finally, we see that the church was filled with men and women who were willing to do the bidding of the Holy Spirit. They recognized that the Holy Spirit is the One in charge of His church and they listened to Him. He has to lead and teach His church. He was allowed to work unhindered. Peter broke his Jewish barrier and entered Caesarea in order to preach to Cornelius in obedience to the Holy Spirit. (Acts 10:17-20). They buried their sentiments and obeyed the Holy Ghost in their first Council in Jerusalem (Acts 15: 28-29) where they decided the fate of the Gentile Christians as concerns the Jewish dogmas. When the Holy Spirit asked them to separate Saul (Paul) and Barnabas in Acts 13, they obeyed. Paul on one occasion was forbidden to speak the word in Asia and in another occasion, he was stopped from going into Bithynia to preach the gospel (See Acts 16:6-10). He was asked to enter Macedonia. In all these circumstances Paul did not argue with God. He obeyed. Because they were obedient to the Lord of the harvest, they had abundant prosperity in the work. He showered His gifts on them and they were continually edified. They increased.

In conclusion, we have seen the 7 things the early church was committed to which made them successful. If we are to succeed in our generation and prosper as a church participating in God’s agenda, we must consider seriously these points. If we desire to get the kind of results the early church got, we ought to do what they did. It is left for us whether to be a church on the wheels or a sleeping church.
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Tuesday, 26 April 2011

The Church on the wheels (Part 1)

Sphere: Related Content A good study of the first century church shows a lot of progress that the apostles made. In spite of the fact that they were introducing an entirely new system over an already existing old one, it is evident that they prospered. 3000 men gave their lives to the Lord the first day Peter preached. Later 5000 believed in Christ and the Lord continued to add to their number day by day those who were being saved. Both Jews and Gentiles were obedient to the faith. The church blossomed.

It was not a stagnant church. It was not a lukewarm church. It was a vibrant and dynamic church - always on the wheels. They were able to withstand, by the power of God, the challenges of their days and had something they kept for the subsequent generations.

Now, why and how did they succeed? What made them so prosperous? What did the apostles do that made them record such tremendous results? In trying to answer these questions, we shall consider the 7 things the apostolic church committed themselves to. For us to have similar results, we are expected to do what the apostles did.

• A church committed to God: The first thing we discover is that the members of the church were not just committed to the church religious practices. They were committed to God and His glory. They had vibrant personal relationships with the Lord, thus they were able to co-exist in love in their fellowships. Individual members having a personal knowledge of Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour, through repentance to God and faith in Jesus Christ, is the only basis or foundation for a church having a cooperate relationship with the Lord. Organizational structures are useless, no matter how religious, if the members do not know God and pursue His glory. Our horizontal relationship with our fellow humans cannot be good when our vertical relationship with God has problems and vice versa. If a church is filled with people who do not know the Lord personally, it is going to be very difficult for it to pursue the glory of God. We find that in the early church, the people were totally sold out to God Himself. When they were imprisoned and beaten, they rejoiced and counted it as a privilege to suffer for the Lord. They were even ready to die if that was God’s will for them. It was a church made up of people that knew their God. No wonder they did exploits.

• A church committed to the Great Commission: Also the early church was committed to the preaching and spreading of the gospel. Having received the charge from the Lord to preach the Good News in Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria and the Gentile Nations of the world, they were all out to obey their Master. (See Mat.28:19 Mark 16:15). Peter was a married fisherman but he was involved. Barnabas was a rich man and yet he obeyed the commission. Luke was a Medical Doctor but became a missionary physician. Philemon and Onesiphorous were wealthy people and yet were committed to missions. Timothy was a young man and yet preached the gospel. Priscilla and Aquila was a couple that supported missions and gave out their house for fellowship. Throughout the Book of Acts, we see the early church on fire for the Lord. Men from different walks of life were committed to the preaching of the gospel. One thing is clear, whenever a church is distracted and is not committed to the vision of preaching the gospel and the expansion of the Kingdom, the devil will commit her with trivial issues, quarrels, division and politics.
Furthermore, the gospel was not just preached to fulfill all righteousness, it was preached with power and demonstration of the Spirit. (See 1 Thess.1:5; 1 Cor.1:24; Col.1:27 etc). It is a sin for a church to lack the power of God or to preach the gospel of God as if it has no power.

• A Church Committed to prayer: We equally notice that the church was a praying church. Jesus once threw away the money-changers out of the temple telling them that the temple was supposed to be a house of prayer. (Lk.19:45,46). The church is not a place where emphasis on money and earthly success should take upper hand. It must be made up of a people who have both private and cooperate altars – people that pray as individuals and together as a church. The apostles once decided on issues of priority saying “it is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables…we will devote ourselves to prayer” (Acts 6:2, 4a. Also see Acts 12:5,12; 3:1; 16:13 etc). Paul gave testimonies of what his prayer life and that of those who worked with him was like. (See 2 Thess.1:11,12; 1 Thess.1:2,3; Col.4:12; 1:3,4; Eph.1:16-23 etc). In line with the Lord’s admonition in Luke 18:1, “Men ought always to pray and not to faint”, Paul urged the Thessalonians to “pray without ceasing”. (1 Thess.5:16). The early church was a praying church and members were involved. No wonder they experienced the power of prayer.

• A church committed to the Word of God: In Acts 6:2-4 as we noted above, another issue of priority the apostles decided was the Word of God. They said, “we will devote ourselves to prayer and the ministry of God’s Word”. Christians were not lazy to study doctrines (See Acts 2:42). They were committed to both teaching and exhorting each other in their homes, house fellowships and in the temple. Many of the people following the apostles were determined to confirm what they were being taught by themselves like the Boreans (Acts 17:10-12). Members of the church were not slothful as we see today in most of our churches. They were not swallowing hook line and sinker what the preachers tell them. They were both individually and as a church committed to the study and obedience to the Word of God. Paul instructed Timothy, “Till I come, attend to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching, to teaching”. (1 Tim.4:13). There are plausible words of wisdom, the so-called ‘prosperity’ gospel, and peddlers of God’s word (2 Cor.2:17). Unfortunately, none of these can save a man from hell nor change his eternal destiny. The apostles majored on the things that matter. 1 Cor.2:12; 1:23-25. They preached the full gospel. If the Bible is not the sole guide for faith and practice for a church and its members, man-made traditions and vested interests will dominate and they will not be able to accomplish anything tangible for God.

To be continued...
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Friday, 22 April 2011

'New Birth' without Repentance?

Sphere: Related Content “19 Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;” Acts 3:19 (KJV)


There are many things that keep me scared in the church today. As I listen to several preachers and teachers around us both from the pulpit and other media outlets, and then reading the preaching and teachings of the Apostles and several church fathers, I see a world of difference. One wonders why we are having different results from what they experienced. We live in a generation where sin is rarely mentioned and everybody is taught how to appropriate the blessings of God and live comfortable here on earth but no emphasis is made on how to live a life of victory over sin and self, which determines one’s eternal future. Nobody is saying that a Christian should not work hard and live comfortable here on earth as much as God allows him, but comfort should not be pursued at the expense of eternity. An ungodly life with all the wealth and comfort that this world can offer is wasted and doomed as long as the Kingdom of God is concerned. A life that is lived for pleasure and self has no hope and cannot end up in the bossom of the Lord no matter the positions and power it commanded on earth. Just being religious cannot make a soul experience "a time of refreshing from the presence of the Lord".

The Apostles did not frequently use the word ‘born again’. Reading through the epistles, I have not seen anywhere where someone was asked “Are you born again?” But were people getting born again? Sure! Were people’s lives being changed? Sure! Were Christians living in victory over sin and self? Absolutely yes! Now, what is the difference between their preaching and ours today? What was the content of their message that we have abandoned today? I want to share just one of them.

The Apostles vigorously preached against sin and asked people to repent and be converted. As I just opened the Concordance and typed in the word ‘repent’, it came out to be a word that is widely spread through both the Old Testament and the New Testament. (See Acts 2: 38; 3:19; 8:2; 17:30; 26:20). I have asked myself several times, “Is it possible to get born again without repentance?” The answer is NO! But unfortunately, the kind of gospel we preach today seems to tell people that it’s possible to be ‘born again’, experience all the blessings of God without repentance. We invite people to give their lives to Jesus we have not told them Who He is or what He has done to save them. We only present Him as if He is a tool to be used to achieve our dreams. So after preaching about ‘reigning in life’, ‘how to dominate over others’ and ‘how to destroy all our enemies and win in the war over poverty etc’, we then tell them that they cannot experience the blessings except they get ‘born again’. They would walk the aisle and ‘give’ their lives to the Jesus they do not know. They only know Him as the One to help them achieve all the things mentioned to them. Hence you find Christians who confess being ‘born again’ doing all kinds of terrible things in their workplaces so as to make money. You meet Christians who are as hardened as a rock in the Churches who the Word of God does not shake. They speak the language, do the activities and pray all the prayers but their lives are not different from their average countrymen.

As if that is not enough, some pastors make them feel that all they care for is their money and some are even given positions of authority. By doing this, their hearts are deceived that all is well. They are puffed up and they close every door to humbling themselves in repentance to God. Some of them resort to doing everything possible to just make sure they defend and please the pastors thinking that doing so ultimately grants them favour before God. What a great deception! The pastors allow it so because it feeds their relevance and pays their bills.

Indeed, we are in deep trouble and I’m deeply scared! Sin is still sending many to Hell and nobody seems to be shouting on top of his voice for people to hear, “repent and be converted”.

For more information on the New Birth, download my book here free of charge.

HAPPY EASTER!
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Tuesday, 19 April 2011

The Last Supper date??

Sphere: Related Content I scanned thru this writeup last week but didn't really read it. However, I've taken my time to read it now.

“Professor Colin Humphreys, a scientist at the University of Cambridge, believes it is all due to a calendar mix-up -- and asserts his findings strengthen the case for finally introducing a fixed date for Easter.
Humphreys uses a combination of biblical, historical and astronomical research to try to pinpoint the precise nature and timing of Jesus's final meal with his disciples before his death.

Researchers have long been puzzled by an apparent inconsistency in the Bible.

While Matthew, Mark and Luke all say the Last Supper coincided with the start of the Jewish festival of Passover, John claims it took place before Passover”.


From here

For me, I do not have any problem with those who are doing research on these topics and their inferences. The Jewish Bible that we are using today as the OT has endured centuries of harsh criticisms but has come out strong as a historical compilation one can trust. And if the records therein are true as have been proved, then one can hang his/her life, both here and hereafter, on the God of Israel.

The records in the NT are fundamentally correct. A lot of other historical accounts confirm that. Hence, if the issues are fundamentally right and follows up the OT, in a progressive manner, then they can both be trusted.

As concerns the dates for Easter and Good Friday, I cannot argue with any man. That is why I do not want to be a theologian. I want to just do Biblical Studies if God gives me the opportunity to do it in an official form. There are a lot of garbages people debate over in Theological Studies, but in Biblical Studies, you study doctrines and teachings of the Bible. If you handle the Bible in a balanced manner, comparing Scripture with Scripture, all seeming controversies are sorted out. The Bible has not contradicted itself in any way. Yet, even difference in some interpretations has brought about a lot of denominations. But the beauty of our diversity is that we all agree and believe the fundamental teachings. I know that there have been enormous attempts to discredit the Bible but all archeological evidences continue to strengthen the Biblical records.

In conclusion, whether Jesus was arrested on Wed or Thurs does not bother me so much. They are among what we call the non-essentials. It has nothing to do to my salvation. The essential thing is that He died and rose again. He is alive. I can hang my life and future on Him.
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Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Modern-Day Idolatery in the Church – Human Worship

Sphere: Related Content “At this I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, "Do not do it! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy." Rev 19:10 NIV

“I, John, am the one who heard and saw these things. And when I had heard and seen them, I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who had been showing them to me. 9 But he said to me, "Do not do it! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers the prophets and of all who keep the words of this book. Worship God!" Rev 22:8-9 NIV

I have wondered what would make a man like Brother John to feel like bowing down to worship the Angel that was talking to him, revealing to him the mysteries of God and the things that would happen thereafter. Perhaps, like Mathew Henry puts it, he had “his thoughts at the present overpowered by the vehemency of his affections”. From Chapter 19 to Chapter 22, God began to reveal to him the coming glory – the Alleluia Choruses, the Millennial Rule, the judgement and final defeat of Satan and the New Heaven and New Earth. In a great contrast, in the previous chapters we saw the battles, the powerful manifestation of the Anti-Christ and his false prophets and the part the fallen church would play. Maybe, they informed “the involuntary impulse of adoring joy at so blessed a prospect”.

Unfortunately, when we look around us today, we see the same fallen nature manifesting among Christians today. John was lucky to have an Angel around him who rebuked him. But today, there is nobody to rebuke the other. One of the things the reformists condemned was the papists’ practice of the worship of the elements of bread and wine, angels and the invocation of saints. Regrettably, while they were invoking the dead saints to pray for them, today what we see are people invoking both the living and dead church leaders to pray for them and bless them. The same way John turned to the Angel who was revealing to him the mysteries of God to worship him, today people turn to church leaders that reveal God’s mysteries to them and demonstrate God’s power to worship them. We worship those who are in authority and fear them more than we fear God Almighty and they accept it so because it feeds the fallen nature. The caution the Angels exhibited is thrown to the winds. In so doing, we both destroy ourselves and destroy our leaders. The leaders also help in destroying themselves.

Now how do some leaders help in destroying themselves? When they arrogate powers to themselves and exercise them with impunity because nobody will dare ask them any questions. When they present themselves as the Messiah of their Church members and the ones that have the powers to both bless and curse. When in the same way that God exercises His sovereignty and does whatsoever pleases Him, they also do whatever pleases them because of the position they occupy. The major task of Spiritual leaders is to point men to Christ through their lives, as examples, and the teaching of the Word of God. But these ones point men to themselves. Why they deserve pity is that they are surrounded by sycophants who cannot tell them the truth, which they do not even want to hear anyway. Hence they will continue to be a distraction to God’s people and continue on this slippery road of deception.

There are leaders that we kill as followers. We elevate them to the place of a mini god and ascribe powers that only God can exercise to them and they are not vigilant enough to correct the followers at the onset. There are leaders in the Church we have made to believe that they are infallible and their words are laws. And because it feeds the flesh and makes it feel good, their heart are deceived that eternity will accord them the same privilege the day they will stand before God. A young man told me last week, “your prosperity lies in the hands of your pastor”. All my attempts to let him know that what he was saying and the mind-set he was carrying have no place in the New Covenant, proved abortive because that is a lie he has been taught to believe and he preaches it with great zeal.

I was at the Imo State Airport sometime ago to carry my director and incidentally, aboard the same flight with him was the wife of one of the General Overseers of one of the leading denominations in this country. A lot of her members came from Port Harcourt to welcome her there too. Suddenly, as she left the Arrival Lounge coming out, many of the members rushed to her and knelt down before her and she was touching them. They came with an entourage and still met us on our way back. They were running against the traffic, harassing other road users and demonstrating all kinds of impunity.

When we do all these things, there is a deception that works in our minds that makes us think that we deserve and should look forward to all of these. The same deception has made some Church leaders adopt lifestyles that are not different from what our politicians have and we feed these deceptions. Those who are in high places pursue and amass wealth, oftentimes at the expense of those under them while the junior ones dream of when they will have promotion and enter those privileged positions.

The major problem I have with this behaviour is that it does not add up when we look at the teachings of the Lord Jesus in the Gospels and the teachings of the Apostles in the Epistles. We use all kinds of modern reasons and languages to slide back to the exact things the Reformers fought against in the Dark Ages of the Church. We use, “Man of God”, “Servant of God”, “God’s General” “Lord Bishop” etc as if there are champions and privileged ones that are above God’s judgement. Some say it is giving respect to whom it is due, but the truth is that they worship the god they can see. Even some have gone to the extent of telling me that their ‘bishop’ is the god they see.

In the Scriptures we have above, the first Angel told John, “Do not do it! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy." Rev 19:10 NIV and the second Angel equally told him, “Do not do it! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers the prophets and of all who keep the words of this book. Worship God!" Rev 22:9 NIV

The principle should be, “I will not engage in this subtle human worship and no man will worship me”. May God help us to overcome the temptation of human worship. May we not boldly thread where angels are afraid to step on. May we not eat the food that angels were afraid and refused to eat. God bless you!
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Thursday, 27 January 2011

Billy Graham's pieces of advice to younger generation

Sphere: Related Content He was asked, "If you could, would you go back and do anything differently?"

He answered, "Yes, of course. I'd spend more time at home with my family, and I'd study more and preach less. I wouldn't have taken so many speaking engagements, including some of the things I did over the years that I probably didn't really need to do—weddings and funerals and building dedications, things like that. Whenever I counsel someone who feels called to be an evangelist, I always urge them to guard their time and not feel like they have to do everything.

I also would have steered clear of politics. I'm grateful for the opportunities God gave me to minister to people in high places; people in power have spiritual and personal needs like everyone else, and often they have no one to talk to. But looking back I know I sometimes crossed the line, and I wouldn't do that now."

Billy is a man that many of us can look at as an example. I'll take heed to this advice. I hope that you equally do.

Read the whole Q & A here.
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Monday, 10 January 2011

Enemies of the cross

Sphere: Related Content “For I have told you often before, and I say it again with tears in my eyes, that there are many whose conduct shows they are really enemies of the cross of Christ” Phill.3:18 NLT

A careful examination of this passage shows that the people Paul is calling enemies of the cross of Christ are not men outside the church. Perhaps, they were once disciples and believers in Christ but now have become enemies of the cross. That is why Paul talks about them with tears in his eyes. Why tears? Firstly because they have been deceived and lost. Secondly they have the potential to deceive and become a bad example to others. Hence Paul’s admonition: “Pattern your lives after mine, and learn from those who follow our example” Phil.3:17.

Also from Vs18, it’s as if these people have some cloaks on them which can deceive except you look very carefully. It’s as if there are things in their lives that you look at and you conclude that they are disciples except their conducts. If you look at the way they live, you will discover that they are REALLY enemies of the cross of Christ.

There are 4 characteristics Paul gives us here for these enemies of the cross of Christ:
1. Their god is their appetite: The reason why they are in the church and teach and say what they say is because of their belly. Their appetite drives them. There are people that have been pummeled with the deception: ‘sow seeds into the life of the man of God’. So since last December, they have been sowing – seed for children because it was Christmas (pity those who are either childless or have problematic children), seed for cross over because the year was coming to an end, seed of new year because the year just began, seed for covenant after the fasting and prayers, seed for the new month, seed for the new week, Easter/resurrection seed so that every dead around you will rise, seed of quarterly thanksgiving, harvest seeds, pastor’s birthday seed, pastor’s marriage anniversary seeds, promotion seed, favour seed etc. I can go on and on to list the different names that deceivers have used to exploit gullible and vulnerable men and women in order to enrich themselves. All they scheme is how they can get more to satisfy their appetite.
2. They brag about shameful things – in fact, they glory in them: A man once was telling a story how he gave “Holy Ghost” slap to his interpreter on the stage because he was making some mistakes while he was preaching. He lost his temper and slapped another man’s servant in front of the congregation and has the audacity to talk about it without remorse! A brother abandons his wife and children and gets entangled with another woman and some churches still carry him in honour even give him some positions because he has money. Lord Jesus said that man shall not live by bread alone but by every Word of God. But we have changed it by the way we live saying, ‘man shall not live by the Word of God alone but by any bread you can lay hands upon’. Many shameful glories! Somebody just finished killing another person he considers to be his enemy by 12.00am in the midnight through ‘dangerous prayers’ and witchcraft using the ‘name of Jesus’ and comes in the morning to give it as a testimony and we brag about it.
3. All they think about is this life here on earth: When the Bible is saying that we should set our minds on things above, the enemies of the cross say no we should set our minds on the things of this life. The cross gets us to die to this world and be alive unto God but they teach contrarily. They teach both by word and deeds that we have to be very much alive to this world. The components of the world have to do with the lusts of the eye, lusts of the flesh and the pride of life. (1 John 2:16). All the rat race and scheming for privilege, power and position even in the churches focus us here and make us forget that we are citizens of heaven. They make us live as enemies of the cross of Christ.
4. Their future is eternal destruction: Paul concludes that eternal destruction is actually the end of those that live as enemies of the cross of Christ it is not possible to live for this world and heaven at the same time. We cannot set our minds on both the things that are above and the things of this world altogether and expect to carry our cross daily. These all lead to confusion in this life and eternal destruction in the life to come. No wonder Paul was saying it with tears in his eyes.
May God help us not to live as enemies of the cross Christ! Amen.
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Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Beware of liars

Sphere: Related Content This is another year that the Lord has granted us the privilege to enter. He has ordained everything that concerns you and all that are yours. As you walk with Him in relationship and obedience, He will perfect all that relates to you and bring you to a place of fulfillment. He has promised, “Never will I leave you and never will I forsake you”. Heb.13:5

However, you have to ‘beware of dogs’ Phil.3:2. Those wicked and mutilators of God’s Word. They come in different garbs and tend to speak for God but the truth is that their god is their appetite. They will speak and declare all kinds of things even when the Lord has not spoken.

At the beginning of every year, people are full of expectations. By our make up, we want new beginnings and look forward to better things. This is not bad in itself. But if you do not remember that the God that saw you through 2010 is still alive and watches over you and will definitely see you through 2011, you will become gullible. Nothing makes January more divine than February. Nothing makes March more divine than April and every other month. After all, we must not forget that the world has used all kinds of dating systems before now and what we are using today was introduced by Pope Gregory XIII, after whom the calendar was named, by a decree signed on 24 February 1582. There is nothing divine about it.

The fasting that many of us do at the beginning of the year is for us and not for God. It is for us to prepare ourselves for whatever God may want to do just like every other time we set apart to seek His face. It is not a way to bribe God for the year. Some of these liars may even confuse us to sow some certain ‘seeds’ for 2011 as if we have to invest for the year and go and sit down with a hand-fan telling our hearts that we have paid our bills.

There is nothing that makes January different from December in divine agenda. What God does in our lives is an ongoing thing. This January and in fact 2011, God will continue what He has been doing in your life in December 2010 and through the past years. They are all connected. For example, if there is any demand of obedience that God was making on our life last December, He will not suddenly change it just because one man declared 2011, ‘A year of laughter’, or ‘A year of new favours’ or any other tag like the ones you see on car and door stickers. For your personal spiritual health, the best thing to do is to listen to God’s instructions and obey them. If you do, you will be blessed.

11 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jer 29:11 NIV

Your life here on earth is like a single string that connects your birth and your death. It has no breaks. The plan God has for your life connects from one end to the other and beyond. It is only by following Him will that plan be accomplished. 2011 is only a part of the piece where the plan works out. God bless you!
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