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)