Like any other day, I opened my front door to fetch the morning paper,
What I saw seemed very strange; I saw a brown paper bag at every door step,
What amazed me was that each bag was neatly arranged,
All the bags looked the same,
I don’t know why, but I looked at mine with hidden shame,
Then I shrugged my shoulders and said with disdain, “it’s just a brown paper bag; no
Colors, no bows, and no frills”,
The bag looked recycled or maybe even used,
Kind of worn, if one was not careful it could easily be torn,
All day long I felt a tug at my heart,
Something was happening, but I was not quite sure,
“Why the big fuss?” I said to myself,
“It’s just a brown paper bag; no colors, no bows, and no frills”,
So I carelessly tossed the bag aside,
Why bother to look inside?
Something was happening, but I was not quite sure,
Surely, it wasn’t the bag, because it just sat in the corner; it was plain, it was uninviting, and not at all exciting,
Again and again, there was a tug at my heart,
The pull was so strong,
Did I do something wrong?
I didn’t know what to do and I could hardly move,
I felt empty and weak, I could hardly speak,
I entered a place of nothingness,
Who do I tell? Where do I hide?
The pull was so strong,
Did I do something wrong?
With trembling fear, I grabbed the bag and opened it,
A warm bright light of many colors filled my house!
Then a soft breeze lifted me!
I floated towards the floor,
With my head bowed and my knees nestled together,
I held on to a brown paper bag,
No colors, no bows, and no frills,
I held on very tightly, I didn’t want to let go!
Something wonderful embraced me, and it felt so right,
Suddenly, I began to murmur confessions, I started to sing, and then I danced,
This was all so new to me,
My eyes were closed, so I couldn’t even see!
But this one thing I know, my heart broke and my mouth spoke.
(Veronica K. is my sister in Christ. She lives in Houston, Tx. She is not a beggar at all, but she felt like one, finding an old, brown, paper bag by her door…Inside there was a copy of the Book of John from the Bible. This is her poem…)
Three things are indispensable for a healthy church: Word + Spirit + Leaders!
1. Preaching true doctrine (the Gospel of Christ Crucified)
2. The Holy Spirit is free to manifest (producing worshipers who give all the glory to God)
3. Godly leadership (the leaders are saved, genuinely called by God and mentor others by example)
Baking a good cake is a science. You need good ingredients in the correct measure. If there is any mistake in their mixing, in their quantity, in the timing of blending or in the temperature of the oven, any of these can spoil the cake.
It is the same with the church. There is a right combination of spiritual elements that produce the atmosphere of a true church as seen in the Book of Acts. The church is not a human company, is not a business center, not a democratic government. The church is the living, ever growing BODY of CHRIST. It is a place where miracles happen and the people grow in the grace and in the knowledge of their Savior and King.
This powerful but delicate, mysterious combination can be damaged by the devil and his agents. We are warned to watch for them that cause divisions, them that desire to destroy the unity of the Spirit and the flow of life. These people pretend to be believers but they have a different vision than that of the main Body. They try to damage the main ingredients: for example, they do not submit to the leadership, they preach another ‘gospel’ and they grieve the Holy Spirit with careless words and attitudes. We are told to rebuke them in love, once, then the second time. If they remain unrepentant, we are to separate from them and hand them over to church discipline. Do not be ignorant of spiritual warfare! Do not be passive and foolish! The Body is too precious to Christ to be damaged by the enemy. God will react and judge the sinner.
Please pray for your church, for your pastors, for your leaders, for the Word of God to be preached from the pulpits and for the Spirit to move in our midst freely.
“Lord, open our hearts to be grateful and open our eyes to be watchful! In Jesus name we pray, amen!”
(Lessons from Titus 3:1-11)
The Watchman (Ezekiel 33) has a great responsibility. The watchman’s duty is to warn others of coming danger. He needs good eyes and he needs to be alert to danger. He has to see before all others and he has to see just one thing: the Sword of God. He ignores all things and counts them as distractions. But if he sees the Sword, he is to immediately blow the trumpet. Then his work is done. In the past, if a watchman in the army is found sleeping on duty, he was to be killed. The lives of all others depended on him.
Anyone who listens to the sound of the trumpet and takes cover will live. Anyone who ignores the sound of life will die.
The word ‘sword’ in Hebrew means death. It also means drought or poverty. God warns the rebellious that if they don’t repent, they will die poor. That is the sword of God. Repentance means prosperity and life. Rebellion means poverty and death.
Many people, families and nations dared to ignore the warnings of God and His Sword and became poor and wretched. No amount of labor can change that. The Sword of the Spirit has spoken. God does not take joy in the death of the wicked. Repent!
There is a group of people who generally ignore the warnings of the Word of God. To them, worship is just singing, preaching is poetry, and prophecy is entertainment. The root of this foolishness is the stronghold of mammon competing with the God for the throne of their heart. The love of money hardens the heart to the Word of God and its warnings for repentance.
These are some people who took the warning of God and lived are the wise men looking for baby Jesus, Joseph, the husband of Mary and Noah, who built an ark and saved his family (Mt 2:12-14; Heb 11:7).
But there are some people who refused to take the warnings of God; like Nebuchadnezzar and almost all the kings of Israel who rejected the prophets (Dan 4).
“Dear Heavenly Father, I ask for forgiveness for the many times I ignored or despised your warnings. I like Your sweet encouragement but I hate Your warnings in the Word. I now repent. Help me to see danger coming and to warn others of the wrath of God coming on the proud and the rebellious. I now blow the trumpet of life by preaching Your Word, loud and clear! Give me strength to lift up Your name until this nation has repented and has turned away from sin. In Jesus name I prayed, amen!”
This is a female deity worshipped in Africa, and in particular in Nigeria. Her followers believe that she is a spirit that looks like a beautiful woman, fair or sometimes dark, but very beautiful. She has long hair and she is proud of it. She lives in the spirit realm, under the water. She appears to men and women and promis…es them seducing beauty, health, wealth and success. She rewards them that obey her and punishes them that fight her with chronic sickness and poverty and bareness. They say that she is barren and proud of it but that she has spiritual children from her female slaves. Her followers believe that if she loves someone in particular, she will bring bareness upon that person to be like her. Some describe her as a mermaid, half fish and half woman, the top of her body naked. Others say she is half snake.
Water is life. The rivers in Africa are worshipped for their strength, the provision of water, food and transport. The worshippers of the water spirits like ‘Mami- wata’ come together to dance until they enter in a trance and see her. But most of the time she reveals herself to them on one to one basis. Men and women see her in dreams as a beautiful promiscuous woman, a prostitute that pays her clients with great wealth.
She often takes the blame for chronic sicknesses and promises a cure for them that bow to her.
In Nigeria she is generally known as Ogbanje spirit. Different tribes have different names: to the Igbos she is ‘Owumiri’; in Edo she is called ‘Obanamen’; to the Yoruba people she is ‘Yemoja’. The Itsekiris call her ‘Umalokun’ and the Urhoboes, ‘Ulokun’.
(All this information about these different idols I have gathered from the Wikipedia and other sources in the internet)
THE ONLY SOLUTION
The only solution is repentance and deliverance. Come back to the Cross of Christ, back to the simplicity and purity of Christ, radically removing all forms of deception and religious entertainment in our worship. By the power of the Holy Spirit, we are to identify, repent and renounce all hypocrisy and wickedness from the heart.
Do not be sorry for the devil!
Do not pity for any idol!
Jesus is Lord!
Why do people lie?
There are four main reasons:
*Wickedness (people make jokes, mock others using flattery or lies, causing pain and embarrassment, just for the fun of it)
*Fear (for fear of punishment, to avoid it)
*Greed (to make profit in business)
*Confusion (some people do not even know the difference between truth and lies anymore)
The devil is the origin of al lies and the father of liars. Each lie takes you closer to hell. Each lie, no matter how small, gives the devil a foot hold, access to your soul, from where he can continue to attack and torment.
Truth is conformity to reality. Truth is the unveiling of reality. Truth is a privilege and a gift from God.
I remember the time and the place where I became convicted of being a liar. I stopped and made a covenant with God that from that moment on I will always think and speak the truth until it becomes part of me. God uses truth and obedience to the revelation of it, to lead us into His presence.
God is seeking for worshippers to love Him in Spirit and in truth. You cannot lie on Saturday and expect to flow in worship on Sunday.
‘Buy the truth and sell it not!’ (PV 23:23)
‘Whatever is lovely…think of these things’ (Phil 4:8)
We just finished our prophetic prayer and intercession service called ‘Saturday class’. It is 7:30 pm. As I came down the stairs, three children followed me dressed in ‘poor, old’ clothes. They were holding hands. In the middle was the eldest, a girl of about 10. On each side she held her brother and sister, about 4 and 6 years old. They looked happy and they greeted me. I did not see any adult with them and asked:
Did you attend Saturday class?
The girl answered: Yes, mam!
I said: Where are your parents?
She said: They are at home… we came alone…we are the neighbors across the street.
Surprised I asked her: Did you learn anything at all tonight? (This is because what I taught the adults is far above their age).
She answered clearly and happily: ‘Yes, mam! A lot!’
Then dancing to a silent melody in their heart, they went away…
What a great encouragement for me! Children learn ‘a lot’ from my Bible studies?
Jesus is indeed ‘the joy of all generations’ (Is 60:15)
True spiritual ministry is not easy.
If your idea of ministry is just fame and money, then you are deceived.
Ministry is bleeding your soul so that another soul may live. There is an necessary hurt that heals another. There is need to experience a pain so that peace comes to another.
Jesus was touched by a sick woman, bleeding to death. Her faith drew power out of Him. That po…wer stopped the bleeding and defeated death. But Jesus experienced the weakness that signals power transfer.
Do you still want to be a servant of Christ? If you trust Him both for wounds and for healing them, come…the Harvest is plenty and the wounded wonder workers so few…
I promise you, with all the pain, rejection and scars….there is nothing like it, in power, joy, reward and glory unspeakable!
‘By His stripes, we are healed’
(Mk 5:29, 30; Lk 10:2; 1Pet 2:24)
Discouragement is the number one attack on a believer. Discouragement means losing the benefits of salvation. If you are a true child of God you cannot lose your salvation. That is an eternal settlement sealed with the Blood of Jesus. But you can experience seasons of discouragement by losing hope, faith, strength and the joy of your salvation. You may feel depressed and tired, distracted and afraid. You will experience doubt; the Word of God is not ‘sweet and alive’ anymore. Church looks boring and just religious routine…
If you do not recognize the attack as a spiritual wickedness directed to you personally, you will become passive and weak. That will give time to the devil to increase the attack from other directions. If you are a leader, a husband, a father, a wife, a mother, a minster of God, then the attack is to bring you down, to strike the shepherd so that ‘the sheep’ will scatter. Just imagine: if the father is crying, what will the children do?
When all seems lost, when no man has pity on you, when your friends talk about stoning you… do what David did: ‘Encourage yourself in the Lord’. This is the privilege of the believers!
Never forget this! THE BLOOD OF JESUS GIVES YOU THE POWER TO ENCOURAGE YOURSELF IN THE LORD!!!
By the power of the Holy Spirit, stand up on your feet and pray, and worship…until the building shakes and God comes down! For as long as you have breath in you, there is still hope for the future!
‘You hear, O Lord, the desire of the afflicted; You encourage them and You listen to their cry; defending the fatherless and the oppressed, in order that man, who is of the earth, may terrify no more’ (Ps 10:17, 18)
A true (but immature) believer said to me: ‘I am afraid I will lose my salvation and miss rapture, because with all my efforts to follow Jesus, I often feel lukewarm…’
This is my answer:
You have believed a religious lie! It came to you sugar coated in scriptures (the devil is fast to quote the Bible, but always out of context. See the temptation of Jesus! ). Repent of hosting a lie!
This is the true Gospel, this is the truth:
Jesus Christ, the Son of God came down to earth to become a man like us, so that He can die in our place. He took on His body the punishment for our sin and the decree of death. He died publicly on the Cross of Calvary! By His death, He destroyed death and the fear of death that kept us in bondage a life time. He was buried and on the third day He rose from the death. He went back to heaven to God the Father. He promised and fulfilled His promise to send us the Person of God the Holy Spirit who will take all this truth and applies it to our spirit, that we many believe the truth. The Holy Spirit does not teach mathematics, biology…He teaches and glorifies Jesus alone!
The salvation offered in Christ is called great and eternal. It cannot be lost by any sin of yours because you did not buy it with money and no man gave it to you.
The Blood of Jesus covers all sins, past present and future. Your understanding of salivation is weak and faulty. You have to pray that God will show you ‘the crack’ in your spiritual foundation and you will be willing to let God repair it.
Just like a pig, that thru the miracle of God became a man. he can never become a pig again, even if he decides to sleep with the swine. He will be dirty and smelly, but the genetic code of a man cannot be reversed to be an animal again. That change is permanent.
A true believer is not called a sinner anymore. He is a saint. He can fall into sin, but he does not enjoy sin (that is called backsliding). A believer does not remain, abide or happily dwell in sin. He hates sin; he repents and comes out of it, sooner or later. The confusion comes when a religious man is not really born again but comes to church and does ministry. He is always afraid to lose his ‘salvation’. This is because he did not have it from the beginning. The Holy Spirit will not confirm, will not assure him of his eternal identity in Christ and sure ‘mansion’ in heaven. A religious person like this is very dangerous to himself and others, because of this deception and lie that he has believed. He has no peace or rest with God and His Word.
Please take note: A backslider loses rewards, opportunities for ministry and the joy of salvation. But no child of God can lose his eternal Salvation and go to hell!
This is the true Gospel of Christ!
Pray that by the power of the Holy Spirit you will receive the assurance of salvation, the gift of God!
In Jesus name, amen!
The leaders in the church are to serve God’s flock by being examples to them, representing the Chief Shepherd.
The young people are to be humble and submissive. False, religious humility has its root in the worship of demons. It is to be rejected. Why come to church and pretend?
Pride is the stamp of the enemy. The devil is not your friend. He is your enemy and you should treat him as such!
God opposes, brings to a standstill the proud people. All their boasting will end into nothing if they do not repent of sin.
The same God helps, encourages, strengthens and gives favor to the humble children of God. We are to cast all our cares and anxiety on Him at the Cross. The word ‘cares’ in Greek means ‘distractions’; multiple activities that complicate and confuse your mind. Martha was distracted with all ‘kitchen’ preparations. Fretting produces evil. Mary sat at the feet of Jesus, the lowest and highest of all available places. He that seats at Jesus’ feet fears no fall; he cannot be intimidated or demoted. It is the best and most secure place in the universe. Come and see!
The devil looks around for potential victims. The proud are his easy targets. His plan is not just to torment them a little but to ‘devour’ them. The word means to swallow them whole. The devil wants to destroy all about you: your body thru sickness, your mind thru anxiety, your marriage thru divorce and your business thru ‘recession’…His plan to ‘kill steal and destroy’ is bigger than you can imagine.
The solution: ‘RESIST THE DEVIL!’ He will flee from you! Take pleasure in seeing the down fall of satan in your world! All these commands are warfare words. There is great reward for all spiritual military accomplishments done for the glory of God.
Our only protection is the God of ALL grace! Christ is the only Person who has the power to destroy evil. Be on Christ side!
After you have suffered a little, God Himself has promised to make you royalty in His personal entourage. He will give you the Crown of glory that never fades away.
God will do this for you:
*Perfect you (join the scattered pieces of your broken heart)
*Establish you (confirm your position as a victor, a general on His army)
*Strengthen you (give power to your body, to your mind, that you may understand His deep revelations)
*Settle you (consolidate your foundation, approve your ministry)
I testify that this is the Gospel of the true grace of God! (1Pet 5)
Stand fast in faith!
In Jesus name, amen!
Nimrod was a mighty hunter before (or ‘against’) the Lord. His name means ‘rebellion’. He was a great leader, a religious and army commander. He did not hunt only animals, lions or tigers, to impress others. He hunted men, he captured them, he kidnapped than to make them his slaves. He was a very intelligent and ambitious man, among the greatest men that ever lived, according to the world.
He was the founder of Babylon. His concept of the tower of Babel was an architectural masterpiece. The tower was ‘a skyscraper’ designed to be tall enough to reach the throne of God. He did that more than 4000 years ago. He did not believe in God coming down to man, so He did not believe in Jesus. He believed that men should use their creativity and reach God. This is of course an impossible task, a cursed religion, ambition and adventure that receives the punishment of God. Babel means confusion, madness and chaos.
Babylon is the system of this world; the gathering of unbelievers who live like God does not exist. They have their own schools, hospitals, different forms of entertainment and the hall of fame of their great men, of which Nimrod is at the top of the list.
Are you not surprised how the world goes on, passing thru different trials and sorrows, and never remember to pray? For example, have you seen any CNN presenter praying during their ‘breaking news’? Prayer is not something they even consider.
Then there is the Body of Christ, the fellowship of the true believers everywhere. Here God is everything to us. Christ is the head of the Church. There is no fear of hunters of men. There is peace, and joy, and all things are done in the unity of the Spirit that is so pleasing to God. In the Body of Christ there is protection and order. God is in charge! Life is simple and clean. The primary purpose of every member is to give glory to God. What a wonderful, blessed life!
This is my personal testimony: I was born in ‘Babylon’ and were so my parents. I was in that system for more than thirty years, so I know how they feel: confident outside, but trembling of fear inside. My world was ‘falling’ and I could never settle my soul. I thought that the Christians were weak people, like crying children, never strong enough to stand on their own.
O, how wrong I was…thank God for salvation!
Dear friend please listen: There is no middle road. There is no third option. Repent! Jesus said: ‘I do not pray for the world’. You will not like to live and die outside the spiritual covering of Jesus! Take the warning and run away from Babylon! Run towards God! He will not reject you! That is His promise to all who believe. Amen!
(Gen 10, 11, Jn 17:9; Rev 18)
(The picture is the ruins of the ancient Babylon, with one of Saddam’s palaces at the backgound)
These are the sins of the women of Sodom, the friends of Mrs. Lot:
‘Behold, this was the iniquity of your sister Sodom: pride, overabundance of food, prosperous ease and idleness were hers and her daughters; neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And they were haughty and committed abominable offences before me; therefore I removed them when I saw it and I saw it fit’ (Ez 16:49, 50)
The women described here are still with us. They add to the danger of these difficult ‘last days’ when men shall be ungrateful, rude, rebellious and wicked. They love pleasure rather than God. The solution is simple: ‘From such, turn away!’ (2Tim3:1-5).
If you want to live a life free from fear of condemnation, free from the anxiety of ‘losing’ your salvation, free from a guilty conscience of being a barren branch in danger of destruction, then do the things commanded by the Lord. Love God and love others. Do good things, pray and fast in the secret chamber for the glory of God alone. Reject all forms of religious hypocrisy!
Be especially careful with them you call friends, mothers, sisters or mentors.
Remember Lot’s wife! Do not be like her! Run from these hopeless, wicked, ‘wild beasts’ who live only for the moment saying: ‘Let us eat and drink for tomorrow we die’. Do not be deceived! ‘Bad company corrupts good character’…Come back to your senses’ (1Cor 15:32-34). Go to the Cross and see Christ crucified for you! Pay the price for spiritual maturity when you can never ‘fear bad news’ (Ps 112:7). Be generous and kind, humble and faithful!
May ‘your works bring you praise at the city gate’ (Ps 31:31)!
May God bless you!
(The picture above is the salt statue of Lot’s wife by the shores of the Dead Sea in Israel)
Queen Esther had a need that only the King could fulfill…Her people will live or die, depending on her intercession…
As intimacy is the foundation of authority, Esther had doubts about the level of favor with the king. She forgot that the authority entrusted upon her at the coronation ceremony was for a life time. The crown is not just for beauty and honor. The cro…
This is a lesson we have to learn as believers. We may not have heard a fresh word from God recently. Walk on the basis of the last word He spoke to you in the past. The word of the king is eternal. The assurance of salvation and the authority we have in Christ is also eternal.
Do you want to know Esther’s secret!!! She was a woman of God! She was a woman of the ‘ministry of the interior’ as some call it. She knew God and He made her into a true princess, or better said, a queen. It is not her beauty or her charm that made her to fulfill her destiny. It was God, the One whom she worships.
No one can withstand the man or woman who comes out of the furnace of the Spirit. Like Moses’ face who shone, no one can resist the power of the Spirit upon the one who is intimate with God.
‘You shall receive power with God and men once the Holy Spirit comes on you!’