Month: July 2009

A new persecution

I struggle with evangelism. I also struggle with presenting my faith to others. Sometimes you wonder if it’s the right place or time to do so. You wonder if you would be able to say it right. You are scared of being called a religious bigot or if you are in the right spiritual or mental state to do it. But one thing I have come to realise is that what Paul said in IITim 3:12 (Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.) is actually true and is being fulfilled among us even unknowingly. One of the aims of persecution apart from making us deny our Lord is to keep us from witnessing (both are related anyway). The early Christians had it rough, being burnt alive, fed to lions, sawn into two, etc but we are having it rather subtly but equally deadly. Friends hush us or make fun of us when we sound too ‘Christian’, office and school policies are not too favourable. And equally importantly, our mindset, strongly influenced and shaped by the media, would make witnessing out of place when we try to. Our faith and values are seriously being weakened by the internet and media since most of what is thrown at us is anti-God. So a thousand and one opposing thoughts bombard our minds when one thought about shining God’s light comes to mind.
One of the things the devil does when we try to speak for Jesus or the truth is to remind us that we are not particularly any better. He reminds us about our faults. But I believe that if I do something wrong and realise it is wrong and turn from it; I am justified to tell someone else who is doing the same thing that it is wrong without feeling bad. That doesn’t make me a hypocrite; it only means I don’t want you to make the same mistake I made. I think that is witnessing too.
Let us make a simple decision to change our style of praying. Focus more on praying according to the word of God. Pray that God’s priorities would become ours. Ask God to teach us the secrets of pleasing Him. And remember to always pray for others too. And like I have discovered from personal experiences – sincerely – God would always cover your back. That surely does not rule out warfare prayers because we are still soldiers for Christ engaged in battles.
Also in our present world we must make a very conscious and deliberate attempt to stay connected to God via his word and in prayer. There is so much pressure around us, from work or school, from friends, from the media, etc, that hearing from a pastor on Sundays and during mid-week services is not enough. Satan is very busy at his assignment of stealing, killing and destroying and we too should be busier at growing in maturity and talking to others about Christ. It requires discipline and actually setting goals for ourselves, for example concerning how many chapters of the bible we would read in a day, how long we would pray, friends and places we would stop visiting, etc. Yes you might say it is easy to start but difficult to continue. But I say start first. And each time you stop, start again. Very soon, you would be starting everyday to do what you purpose to do. Catch my drift?

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Emails of terror

I believe we have several reasons to praise God for His leadings thus far. We thank Him for the blessings, challenges, miracles, trying moments, high mountains and the low valleys. Yes I know we might be a little disappointed because we have not gotten all we wanted, but in this race of life, if you just turn back for a moment, you would find out that you are way ahead of a number of folks. I don’t think that is too bad either. But one thing I am assured of is that you are still very much entitled to the all the juice God has prepared for you this year. And like the popular saying goes, ‘It is not yet over until it is all over. So expect some very pleasant surprises from Elohim in the months ahead. And don’t forget you lose nothing by constantly tugging at HIS garment like a child would do to ‘remind’ Him about His promises although He hasn’t forgotten. I have proved Him faithful!

Please permit me to share some thots with you on something I have observed and which has actually gotten me thinking. The internet service is a gift to man and of course like anything else, can be rightly used or grossly misused. We could have access to so much treasure online and we could also have a lot of garbage thrown in our face via the net. In an age when we are so close to the end of time and when our beliefs are constantly pummelled by the enemy as never before, I guess the admonition by the Apostle to the Gentiles that we should earnestly contend for the faith which has been delivered to us is most appropriate. We must be aware as Christians that our common enemy, the devil is not just attacking the body of Christ in very obvious ways. He is crafty and he knows that he can be equally effective by just adulterating the truth a bit and presenting it as the whole truth, albeit containing lethal poison. He is slowly infiltrating our belief system and spiritual lives with concepts and ideas that are foreign to the Christian life. Little wonder why the bible says he is transformed into an angel of light. Such activities of the enemy are meant to gradually sway us from the truth almost unknowingly.

I don’t intend to make too much noise. But I want to beseech us to be careful about the kind of mails we forward to one another especially members of God’s camp. Take for example, the mails that promise some wave of luck or fortune when you forward such to a number of people and some misfortune when you disobey. Or the ones that talk about some so-called mantra and/or surprises coming your way when you send the mail to a certain number of people. I’m sure you know them. In my personal opinion, I don’t think that follows any principle in the scriptures. The sovereign God is a God of purpose and destiny. He has not tied our blessings to some set of man-made procedures but to his faithfulness and our obedience to His Word. I used to respond to those mails with such threats of misfortune if I disobeyed until I stopped to think and check if it had an alibi in my new DNA. I didn’t find any so I stopped responding. I believe the blessings of the Lord make rich and its wagon has no space for sorrow. If God has blessed me or is about to, my sending a mail or not, affects nothing except on clear instructions from Him. By the way, such mails are an intrusion on my personal freedom offering me mandatory choices I never bargained for. Please note that this does not include mails that contain good stuff like scripture-based prayers that we are encourage to pray with and forward to others with no strings attached. Of course, in one of the testaments we are encouraged to pray for one another. I have made my choice and if you are game, you could break the circle of such mails by just tossing them aside with a wave of the hand when next they show up at your door. But I think you can encourage someone by recommending this post. I have not promised any blessing or curse for forwarding or not forwarding it.

SMS FROM GOD?

 

Recently, I received a phone call concerning a text supposedly from one of the respectable men of God in Nigeria urging Christians to offer prayers at a certain period of the night so that they would not mourn over any loved one. I learnt that text messages were sent and received all over the world concerning this. But then subsequently, a confirmation came that the purported text was not initiated by the man of God, although he still encouraged everyone to pray, of course because it wouldn’t be wrong to pray anyway. I have heard from several sources that people obeyed and offered prayers as ‘instructed’. My findings reveal that there was approximately 100 percent compliance. In fact I am told some streets were exceptionally noisy that night because of the intensity of praying in various houses.

Three things would have happened that night. One, the telecom companies would have noticed increased network activity that night which automatically translated to more revenue generated, thanks to the countless short messages sent that day. Secondly, God would have had an increase in the number of humans talking to him at the same time. If He were a man running a prayer call centre, the lines would definitely have been jammed that night. Thank God Jehovah is not a man. I guess the last time He got such level of attention would have been on New Year eve when most people would have spent the first minutes or hours of the New Year in the house of the Lord. Lastly, people would have found out that they had more well-wishers than they actually thought. Text messages crossed international boundaries to various corners of the world. Some even sent to people they had not spoken to in a long while, Christians and non-Christians alike. People showed that they were their brother’s keepers.

But as my Spirit churned this event, some issues/questions came to mind that really got me thinking:

Are we actually praying Christians? Do we need to be ‘threatened’ before we get to pray? It is not out of place if the period specified for the prayers in that text was regularly spent with God every night. God will be so pleased with us. We all have so many things to talk to God about that 2 or 3 hours might not even be enough. Do we realise that we would have greater successes and victories if we spent more time talking to God? Our lives should be prayer-lived lives so that such messages don’t come as sudden interruptions; rather they would just dovetail seamlessly with our plans, as long as they are of God.

 I also started wondering what our response would have been if the content of the text were different.  What if the text had urged us strongly to evangelise and win a soul for Christ during the week? Would it have gotten a commensurate response? Well, maybe, if there were an attached blessing, like some super financial blessing for all who follow the instruction. I guess this reveals where our focus is and our level of selflessness or should I say selfishness. All instructions from Jehovah must be taken seriously, whether it concerns us or others, obvious blessing attached or not.

And to what level are we willing to search and see if what we see, hear or read is true? How much of our walk with God is influenced by sensationalism and sentiments? How committed are we to checking in our spirits to see if we have a witness from God about any issue? The Holy Scriptures speak of the Berean Christians as followers who went back to research what they had heard to know if they were true. This should apply to everyone and everything that come to us in the name of our Saviour. We should be willing to test every spirit, every word, every revelation that is labelled ‘of Christ’ to know if it is actually so. This is what our Father commands. Some do not even believe that God could speak directly to them except through someone else. I can assure you, even God enjoys pillow-talk with his pals. It is very important that God and his instructions via the Holy Scriptures are the number one priority in our lives. His commands from the scriptures MUST carry more weight than that of any man.

Well, in all this I am grateful that in a world were few are trusted, some men of God are still held in such high regard that we can take whatever is said to come from them. And I believe this is on account of their level of integrity. I pray God will make us trustworthy pillars of relevance in our generation that others can look up to too in Jesus’ name. Amen.