And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
Luke 2:13-14 NKJV
The origin of Christmas amongst Christians is the “Christ mass” or the yearly church gathering in which the birth of Jesus was celebrated. The Bible offers many reasons for why believers celebrate the birth of Jesus as the true meaning of Christmas. I am not saying Jesus Christ was born on the 25th of December but I am focusing on the reason(s) His birth must be celebrates. Personally, the celebration of His birth is in my heart daily. Everyday I see a new day, the thoughts of Him fills my heart and I thank God for this specially.
First, the birth of Jesus fulfilled many Old Testament prophecie, taken from the Book of Isaiah 7:14, which notes:
“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call His Name.
Also another portion in the Book of Isaiah 9:6 adds,
“For to us a child is born, to us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
Second, the birth of Jesus marked God coming to live among His people. John 1:14 shares, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His Glory, Glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of Grace and Truth.” The One who made all things came and walked among humanity: “For by Him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through Him and for Him” (Colossians 1:16).
Third, the birth of Jesus served as part of God’s redemption. Jesus came to earth, lived, died, and rose again to offer eternal life to all who believe (John 3:16). After His resurrection He ascended to heaven (Acts 1:6-11), waiting to return once again for His people (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18).
But why did Jesus come to our world? First John 4:8-9 shares, “… God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent His only Son into the world, so that we might live through Him.” Love was what brought Jesus into this world through a virgin birth in a manger in Bethlehem.
This love also offers us eternal life through faith in Him (Ephesians 2:8-9; Acts 4:12). Though we are sinners, Christ has died for us (Romans 5:8), offering the greatest gift of all—eternal life. The true meaning of Christmas is found in the gift of Jesus coming to earth to offer salvation to all people.
Love was born
Forgiveness was offered
This is the True Christmas! It is about Love, Forgiveness, Reconciliation, Family, Return, Repentance, and Peace.
“Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
James 1:5 tells us that “God offers wisdom to anyone who asks. However, he goes on to warn that if we doubt, our prayers will not be answered. But at times, don’t all of us struggle with some degree of doubt?”
Let’s explore some reasons for our disbelief. First, faith usually defies human reasoning. For example, when we are in financial difficulty, logic says to save every penny, whereas God says He will bless the generous giver. Second, feelings of fear, inadequacy, or guilt can interfere with trusting biblical truth. Third, we often focus on the circumstance rather than our heavenly Father. He is at work, yet we fail to notice His hand. And finally, uncertainty about God’s will can lead us to doubt Him.
Wavering faith has severe consequences: missed blessings, lack of peace and joy, and a heart that is easily thrown off course when difficulty arises. How, then, can we avoid faltering in our faith?
In MARK 9, a man pleaded with Jesus to rebuke the spirit possessing his son. When Christ replied that “all things are possible to him who believes,” the father said, “I do believe; help my unbelief” (vv. 23-24). And Jesus granted his request. Like that man, we can ask the Lord to increase our faith. But we should also spend time reading God’s Word and meditating on His promises.
We know that doubt is common—and that God is patient and understanding. Faith comes from Him. So when you are at a crossroads and the right response requires faith, or when you pray and notice doubt, ask Him to help you believe; He is the Loving Father who holds your hands steady to keep you from falling HEBREW 12:2. The giver of vision is the enabler of fulfilment. As the last Month of the year reveals itself today, do not panic, do not worry yourself sick over unfulfilled dreams or how your needs will be met. Trust me, you will not be disgraced, you will not be embarrassed. The unreached goals and targets will be met. The good Master said, “Therefore, I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and body more than clothing. Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? MATTHEW 6:25-27. HAPPY NEW GLORIOUS MONTH!
“When He had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished (Tetelestai).” With that, He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.” (John 19:30)
Tetelestai comes from the verb teleo, which means “to bring to an end, to complete, to accomplish.” It’s a crucial word because it signifies the successful end to a particular course of action. It’s the word you would use when you climb to the peak of Mt. Everest; it’s the word you would use when you turn in the final copy of your dissertation; it’s the word you would use when you make the final payment on your new car; it’s the word you use when you cross the finish line of your first 10K run. The word means more than just “I survived.” It means “I did exactly what I set out to do.”
But there’s more here than the verb itself. Tetelestai is in the perfect tense in Greek. That’s significant because the perfect tense speaks of an action which has been completed in the past with results continuing into the present. It’s different from the past tense which looks back to an event and says, “This happened.” The perfect tense adds the idea that “This happened and it is still in effect today.”
When Jesus cried out “It is finished,” he meant “It was finished in the past, it is still finished in the present, and it will remain finished in the future.”
Note one other fact. He did not say, “I am finished,” for that would imply that he died defeated and exhausted. Rather, he cried out “It is finished,” meaning “I successfully completed the work I came to do.”
Tetelestai, then, is the Savior’s final cry of victory. When He died, He left no unfinished business behind. When He said, “It is finished,” He was speaking the Truth.
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Matthew 5:5
To be meek is to be gentle, humble, lowly.
“The meek are the ‘gentle’… those who do not assert themselves over others in order to further their own agendas in their own strength, but who will nonetheless inherit the earth because they trust in God to direct the outcome of events.” ESV Study Bible notes
The first reason we should be meek is because Jesus is.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart and you will find rest for your souls. Matthew 11:29
I, Paul, myself entreat you, by the meekness and gentleness of Christ 2 Corinthians 10:1
If God, the infinitely great and all-powerful one, is gentle and meek, how much more should we be!
Meekness shapes the way we relate to our Christian brothers and sisters
I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Ephesians 4:1-3
We’re not to fight and scrape, intimidate or pressure our brothers and sisters to get our way. Rather we should relate to one another with complete – “ALL” – humility and gentleness.
Meekness changes our speech
A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit. Proverbs 15:4
The way to impart life is with a gentle tongue. Anger won’t produce God’s righteousness (James 1:20). Anger may intimidate others to do what we want, but it won’t change their hearts.
Meekness affects the way we correct opponents
And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth 2 Timothy 2:24-25
We can’t persuade anyone by getting in their face. Yelling “murderer!” at a pro-choice person won’t win them to our side. Calling someone who differs with you an idiot won’t persuade them you are right. When we correct opponents, we must realize we can’t change them. Only God can grant repentance. So all we need do is gently submit our correction then trust God to change their heart.
Meekness affects the way we treat people ensnared in sin
We’re tempted to judge those trapped in sin. “How could you possibly do that? I would never do that!” But the Bible tells us we should restore sinners gently:
Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Galatians 6:1
We are gentle when we help others who fall because we remember our own spiritual bankruptcy and sins. Each of us is capable of any sin. Remembering this will go along way to helping us restore others gently.
The world says the assert yourself. Put yourself forward. Grab. Fight. The Bible says be meek and you will inherit the earth. When we inherit something we don’t work for it but receive it as a gift. God gives the meek everything they need. Those who are meek find deep contentment and joy.
And someday we will inherit the new earth.
Lamentations 3:24 “I say to myself, ‘The LORD is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!”
Have you ever felt hopeless, worthless, or just downright useless? I believe we all have those days, months, or even years where we feel like we are nothing but a shadow in a world of color—like our existence means nothing, or that the day of our birth was a catastrophic mistake in the time continuum.
And while all those things might feel very real to you, I am here to tell you that they’re wrong. In fact, they’re straight up lies.
Check this out: Jeremiah 1:5 states, “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.” Did you catch that? God knew you before He formed you in your mother’s womb. He knew you before you were born. And on top of that, He set you apart from the beginning of time to be someone of substantial worth in His name. Bam! Take that hopelessness!
God is the author of all hope. Hope brightens the darkened soul; it breaks the slave’s chains; it sustains those in spiritual exile, comforts those in a place of suffering. When our hope is in God, our spirits cannot be crushed.
Here’s my point: Today is a day to focus on the hope that God has purposed for your life. It is the day to break away from the lies of Satan and to realize you are purposed for a life with God. Don’t let the opinions of people interfere with the directions given to you by God.
Does this mean things are going to be perfect? No, but this does mean that you have someone in your life who gives you worth, acceptance, and love.
Tell a stranger that your hope is found in God. Share the hope of your Savior to someone who has yet to know it.
It is important as believers for Christians to learn church history. It helps us learn from our ancestors. Followers need to understand where we came from to understand where we are going. We can also learn from the mistakes of early church leaders if we understand their missteps. Lastly, learn key events that occured in church history over the last 2,000 years.
The earliest Christians did not have church buildings. They typically met in homes. (The first actual church building so far found is at Dura Europos on the Euphrates, dating about 231.) They did not have public ceremonies that would introduce them to the public, and they had no access to the mass media of their day. So, how can we account for their steady and diverse expansion over the first three centuries?
After the Apostle Paul, we do not run across many “big names” as missionaries in the first few hundred years of Christian history. Instead, the faith spread through a multitude of humble, ordinary believers whose names have been long forgotten.
Early Christianity was primarily an urban faith, establishing itself in the city centers of the Roman Empire. Most of the people lived close together in crowded tenements. There were few secrets in such a setting. The faith spread as neighbors saw the believers’ lives close-up on a daily basis.
And what kind of lives did they lead? Justin Martyr, a noted early Christian theologian, wrote to Emperor Antoninus Pius and described the believers:
“We formerly rejoiced in uncleanness of life, but now love only chastity.
Before we used the magic arts, but now dedicate ourselves to the true and unbegotten God.
Before we loved money and possessions more than anything, but now we share what we have and to everyone who is in need.
Before we hated one another and killed one another and would not eat with those of another race, but now since the manifestation of Christ, we have come to a common life and pray for our enemies and try to win over those who hate us without just cause.”
In another place Justin points out how those opposed to Christianity were sometimes won over as they saw the consistency in the lives of believers, noting their extraordinary forbearance when cheated and their honesty in business dealings.
When Emperor Julian (“the Apostate”) wanted to revive pagan religion in the mid-300s, he gave a most helpful insight into how the church spread. This opponent of the faith said that Christianity “has been specially advanced through the loving service rendered to strangers and through their care of the burial of the dead. It is a scandal that there is not a single Jew who is a beggar and that the [Christians] care not only for their own poor but for ours as well; while those who belong to us look in vain for the help we should render them.”
On the surface, the early Christians appeared powerless and weak, they were an easy target for scorn and ridicule. They had no great financial resources, no buildings, no social status, no government approval, no respect from the educators. And after they became separated from their first-century association with the Jewish synagogues, they lacked institutional backing and an ancient tradition to appeal to.
But what finally mattered is what they did have. They had a faith. They had a fellowship. They had a new way of life. They had a confidence that their Lord was alive in heaven and guiding their daily lives. These were the important things. And it made all the difference in laying a Christian foundation for all of Western civilization.
Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. . . .
If I could have been present at certain moments in history, one event I would like to have seen was the veil of the temple being torn in two.
In the inner court of the temple in Jerusalem, in the Holy of Holies, was the Ark of the Covenant. That was where the high priest would go once a year to offer atonement for the sins of the people. A veil, a very thick, woven curtain, separated the Holy of Holies from the rest of the temple.
When Jesus died on the cross as a sacrifice for our sins, that heavy curtain was torn from top to bottom. It was not ripped from bottom to top, as though a man were ripping it. Instead, it was ripped from top to bottom, because God was ripping it.
God was saying, “You no longer are on the outside. You can come in. My Son has made a way for you.”
The apostle Paul explained how we can now draw near to God:
Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, and having a High Priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith. (Hebrews 10:19–22)
Many today still stand outside, they are satisfied with anointing oil, blessed water, aprons, prayer points from their pastors who prefer them to know half-truth because of the gratification they enjoy. Outside is dangerous and cold, God wants you to come into the inner room where you will keep warm by His presence. The psalmist says, “they that dwell in the secret place of the Most High.” No one can keep his secret in the open, please come in. The magicians and false prophets stays outside because there is no place for them in the inner temple, separate yourself from amongst them. The veil was torn. Come to the Father, He is not angry with you. Jesus is now our Intercessor. We don’t have to go through a person to reach God anymore. We don’t have to go through rituals anymore. Instead, Jesus made a new and living way for us to reach God.
Jesus paid it all. And that is so important to remember.
Many today are worried about the Zika virus. But I’m just as concerned about certain destructive doctrines that are spreading like an epidemic.
During a recent trip to Uganda, friends there told me of a growing church in the capital city of Kampala that has been infected by the most serious form of American-style “hypergrace” teaching. This church attracts hundreds of young people who like the idea that they can fornicate whenever they want and still be right with God.
False doctrines are nothing new. In the first century, Paul sternly warned Timothy about certain preachers who know how to slice and dice God’s Word to make it fit what people want. He wrote in 2 Timothy 4:3-4: “For the time will come when people will not endure sound doctrine, but they will gather to themselves teachers in accordance with their own desires, having itching ears, and they will turn their ears away from the truth and turn to myths.”
The King James Version says the crowds who crave this reconfigured gospel “have itching ears.” The Greek word here,
knēthō, can mean “to tickle” or “to itch.” It means that people will gravitate toward teachers who tell them what they want to hear instead of what they need. And while the Bible sharply rebukes the teachers of these dangerous doctrines, Paul also blames the people who ravenously consume this distorted message.
The warning is clear: Be careful what you listen to!
There are many false doctrines circulating today, but there are four that have spread widely in the modern Pentecostal/charismatic movement. You may not be able to stop the person who is preaching these heresies, but you should never, ever submit to this teaching or support it financially. Don’t ever believe these four lies:
Lie No. 1: You don’t need to repent of your sin or focus on sin. This is the crux of the “hypergrace” movement. While it is true that many legalistic Christians don’t understand God’s love and forgiveness, we can’t swing the pendulum to the other extreme and portray God as being lax about sin. God is still holy, and true grace gives us the power to live a holy life. If a preacher minimizes repentance, or says you should never worry about sin in your life, you should run out the door.
Lie No. 2: You can live however you want to live sexually. Jesus Himself warned us in Revelation 2:20 about the influence of “Jezebel” in the church. He said she was leading Christians to “commit acts of immorality.” You can see tolerance of sexual sin in many segments of the church today. Catholic bishops allowed their own priests to commit child sexual abuse for years; mainline churches have embraced same-sex marriage. But their error is no worse than that of certain charismatic preachers who minimize or ignore the sin of adultery and cohabitation among straight people. We should never evaluate a minister just by what he or she preaches; we should also take note of what he or she refuses to confront from the pulpit.
Lie No. 3: You can buy God’s blessings. I do not believe in a poverty gospel, but the prosperity gospel that emerged in this country in the 1980s almost ruined our witness. The greedy televangelist who manipulated audiences to give in the offering so he could buy airplanes or mansions will give an account for every soul he turned away from Christ. Especially egregious are the preachers who promised people healings, spiritual gifts or the salvation of loved ones in exchange for a $500 “seed” offering. God’s blessings are free. Shame on those who merchandised His anointing.
Lie No. 4: God never calls us to suffer. Whenever the church enters times of prosperity and ease, our message gets soft. This happened during the 1980s, when preachers in silk ties told us we could name and claim whatever we wanted in Jesus name. And while the verses they quoted about faith certainly apply to prayer, they mixed the message with the idea that life with God is like a bowl of cherries and that any hardship that comes our way is from the devil. These preachers avoided 1 Peter 4:1, which says: “Therefore, since Christ has suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same purpose.”
I don’t know about you, but I don’t trust an arrogant preacher who says he never has struggles or problems. I don’t follow a man because he has a Lexus or a four-car garage; I look for a broken minister who walks with a limp. The preacher who says Christians don’t suffer has never felt the fire of God’s testing, and he is likely an illegitimate son since he has never known the Father’s discipline.
God is cleaning up His church today, and He is refining the message we preach. Don’t prop up or support the false doctrines of the past. Purge their influence from your life and embrace the true gospel—the message calls each of us to take up our cross, die to our own desires and be mature disciples.
I’ve spent the past week sitting by my father’s bed in a hospital in Georgia. He fell while doing yard work (no 89-year-old man should be trimming weeds) and he hit his head on the concrete walkway behind his house. He has a fractured rib, 12 stitches in the back of his head and two bruises on his brain.
After a week, he still has no idea where he is.
On Monday, he said my name. On Tuesday, when I asked him the name of his church, he answered correctly. But when a nurse asked him who I was, he told her I was his grandson.
We don’t know what the next day holds for my dad, or the next month. Hundreds of people are praying for his healing, and there are signs that his motor skills and brain function are slowly coming back online. But whether he pulls out of this and goes back to driving his car, or whether he ends up in months of rehab, or if he dies, I’ve had to face the reality that we all get old, life is terribly fragile and death is inevitable.
We don’t do a good job preparing people for death and dying. I never had a class on it in school. We rarely even talk about it in church until someone has a funeral. It’s easy to develop a notion that life goes on and that we will never get old.
Yet the Bible doesn’t dance around the topic of death. In Genesis, the word “death,” “die” or “died” appear 68 times. It reminds us: “And Adam died,” “And Abraham died,” “And Isaac died.” One entire chapter, Genesis 23, is devoted to the death and burial of Sarah. On and on it goes, like the somber toll of a bell. Death is a cold, dreary specter that is an undeniable part of our existence on this side of eternity.
King David talked about walking “in the valley of the shadow of death” (Ps. 23:4a). He could write those words because he faced life-and-death crisis regularly. Only those who have lost a loved one or cared for a sick person know how tangible that shadow of death really is. It weighs on us like a thick fog. It makes us feel lost and alone.
I have felt that fog this past week. I felt it when I had to restrain my dad from pulling out his IV tube. I felt it when I asked him a simple question and got a blank stare. I felt it when I heard another patient in the hospital scream in pain.
Yet David was sustained in that dark season. He was not overcome. He wrote: “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me” (v. 4). We have the promise of His presence no matter what is going on around us.
If you are walking through the valley right now because of a death, an accident, a serious medical condition, a financial crisis, the loss of a job or any other tragedy, stand on God’s immovable promises and let His words bring security to your soul. These four promises have meant the most to me during the past seven days:
Nahum 1:7 says, “The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble, and He knows those who take refuge in Him.”
“God is good, all the time,” has become a religious cliché. But it is a powerful truth if you let the words sink in. When we walk through dark times we are tempted to doubt God’s goodness. Don’t let the devil accuse God of abandoning you; run into the Lord’s strong arms and let Him remind you of His faithful care.
John 16:33 says, “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”
It does not matter what the world throws at you. Jesus said we would face trials and tests, but those words are followed by a comma, not a period. He calls us to face our difficulties with faith. He has already overcome every possible problem we could face. Knowing this will give you supernatural peace.
Philippians 4:6-7 says, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
When we face a crisis, our first reaction is to worry. But the antidote to worry is prayer. Share your fears and anxious thoughts with Jesus and let His peace override them. His peace will shield you from the darkness of despair.
John 11:25-26 says, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die.” This is the ultimate source of all our joy.
Death is not final when the person who dies is a Christian. Jesus removed the sting of death; it has been swallowed up in Christ’s ultimate victory. Don’t let death or the threat of death steal your hope.
Let God’s promises guide you like signal lights through your dark valley. The future is bright on the other side.
I’m sure you are familiar with the classic email scam from the “Nigerian widow.” The message from “Mrs. Obasanjo” informs us that her late husband, a military general, left behind an estate of $12 million, and she wants to give it to you! But the money is frozen in a Swiss bank account, so she’s asking you to wire her $1,500 to “unlock” the funds.
Few people today would be foolish enough to fall for that tired trick. But the internet has matured, and thieves have grown more sophisticated in their greedy pursuits. Today, a whole new generation of con artists has emerged, and some of them are specifically targeting Christians.
I don’t want you to be a victim! So watch out for these schemes:
1. The too-good-to-be-true speaking invitation. Last week a friend of mine who pastors in Canada received an invitation to speak at a church in England. It seemed like a great opportunity to minister overseas, but there was one catch: The church explained that my friend would need to send funds up front to pay “permit fees” that are required by the British government for foreigners.
Such permits are required, and there is indeed a fee. But in this case, the “church” issuing the invitation was involved in an elaborate religious con job. Thankfully my Canadian friend didn’t fall for it, but many innocent pastors have. As soon as they sent the funds by Western Union—the equivalent of about $775 U.S.—the church pocketed the money, and there was no event and no honorarium for the speaker as promised.
2. The pay-up-front gospel crusade. The scheme goes like this: You get an email from a pastor in a developing country who begs you to help him reach his village for Christ. You begin a long-distance relationship, and he sends photos of his evangelistic meetings. Then he invites you to come to his country, and he promises you will speak to multitudes.
After more correspondence, you agree on dates and he sends you a budget for the six-day event, which includes venue rental fees and the cost for meals for participants. And then he asks for an advance deposit on these fees, which you wire to his bank. Once the money is transferred, the “pastor” vanishes. (Cue the song, “Take the Money and Run.”)
3. The hurry-up-and-send-relief crisis. Within hours of a legitimate international crisis—an earthquake, hurricane or famine—you are contacted by an organization you’ve never heard of, asking you to send donations immediately. If you don’t know the name of the charity, don’t click on the “Donate” button—it could actually be a phishing scam designed to steal your cyber identity. First, go to your browser and see if the charity actually exists. Better yet, give your donation to a group you know and trust.
4. The wealth-laid-up-for-the-righteous investment opportunity. A few years ago, a supposed Christian businessman convinced a group of ministers to invest in an elaborate plan to mine salt from the Dead Sea in Israel and turn it into a more valuable mineral. The plan was shrouded in secrecy and super-spiritual lingo.
The spokesman for the company said only an elite few people were being offered the chance to profit from this amazing venture. Prospective investors were told that Satan was fighting the operation because it would unleash millions of dollars of the world’s money into the hands of Christians. The people who bought into this plan were convinced it would change the world—and make them independently wealthy.
Nothing ever comes of these scams. The people who invest are usually too embarrassed to report criminal behavior once they realize they’ve been bamboozled. But every year, tons of God’s money is flushed down the drain because a scam artist figured out how to use religious lingo to deceive people who should have the discernment to know better.
Jesus warned us long ago: “Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves” (Matt. 7:15). Things are not always as they seem. The church has been infiltrated by charlatans who pretend to be children of God but are actually agents of the devil.
How can you protect yourself? Read every email from a stranger with a skeptical eye. Do your homework and always scrutinize any financial plan carefully before investing. Be cautious when building relationships overseas, and never trust someone who asks you to send funds to them in order for you to eventually strike it rich.
Finally: If you want to have keen discernment, make sure you crucify your greed. It is usually a lust for money that causes people to fall for get-rich-quick schemes that sound too good to be true. Don’t let the love of money pull you into a trap.
I grew up in the South, where football is a religion. Every boy I knew dreamed of becoming a star quarterback. When my relatives gathered for meals, the conversation usually revolved around whether Auburn would beat Alabama this year.
I felt like sliding under my chair during those moments. I was not a football player—and there was no chance of me becoming one. I didn’t have big enough biceps to throw a 50-yard pass, and I didn’t have the frame to tackle a 200-pound guy. I felt like a total wimp. I assumed that when God handed out physical talents, I was stuck at the back of the line.
Thankfully my lack of athletic skills didn’t cripple me entirely. I had other abilities, like writing—and I ended up being the editor of my high school yearbook. But a cloud of inferiority followed me everywhere. No matter how successful I was in other areas, I branded myself a failure because I didn’t measure up as an athlete.
It was only though the power of the Holy Spirit that I eventually overcame this painful sense of disqualification. But now I meet people every day who are slaves of inferiority. Some feel intellectually challenged; some struggle with a physical disability; others are terrified of speaking publicly because they are insecure about their appearance or weight. Others were bullied or abused, and the cruel words they heard on a playground or at the dinner table were stamped into their brains with a hot iron.
What about you? Do you find it difficult to describe your positive qualities? Are you haunted by labels that were pinned on you by parents, siblings, teachers or classmates? Were you ever called “stupid,” “fatso,” “dunce,” “dork,” “lazy,” “slut,” “queer” or the N-word? Words are like knives, and they can leave permanent scars. If inferiority is hindering you in your relationship with God and others, consider taking this journey toward healing:
1. Let God change your self-image. The Bible is full of stories of insecure people who ended up doing heroic things. God loves to use “powerless” people “to shame those who are powerful” (1 Cor. 1:27, NLT). Sarah was barren, yet God called her a mother of nations. Moses was a stutterer, yet God called him to confront Pharaoh. David was an embarrassment to his father before he became a king. If you feel inferior, you are in good company!
2. Bury the lies you’ve believed. False beliefs will not collapse without a fight. You must identify the lies you believe about yourself, and then renounce them. This is not something you can do alone; you must be willing to talk about your inferiority with a counselor, a pastor or trusted friends.
When I was in my 20s, I asked two friends to pray with me because I felt so inferior. This deep insecurity made me shy and fearful, but I wanted to be confident so that I could grow spiritually and discover my calling. That prayer meeting put me on a path toward full-time ministry that has taken me to 30 nations! I would have stayed in my prison of insecurity if those men had not helped me see that God had something important for me to do with my life.
3. Confess your new identity. Gideon felt like a weakling when the angel of the Lord came to him and announced: “The Lord is with you, O valiant warrior!” (Judges 6:12). At that point, Gideon was looking around and wondering, Who is this guy talking to? He did not believe he was a warrior! Yet God redefined Gideon’s identity and eventually changed his name to Jerubbaal, which means (my paraphrase) “The devil is in trouble.”
But it is not enough to simply believe in your heart that you are God’s chosen instrument. You must boldly proclaim who you are now. Joel 3:10 declares: “Let the weak say, ‘I am a mighty man.'” You must say it! If you were told you are a failure, say: “I am more than a conqueror.” If you were told that you are fat and ugly, say: “I am my Beloved’s, and His desire is for me” (Song 7:10). And keep saying it until you believe it!
4. Stop comparing yourself with others. At the core of sinful human nature is the desire to have what isn’t ours. That’s why one of the commandments God gave Moses was “Do not covet” (Ex. 20:17). We live in a culture that celebrates perfect beauty, athleticism, celebrity and wealth—and our media constantly reminds us of what we don’t have by bombarding us with images (actually they are idols ) of “perfect” people. Don’t let those idols control you!
The media doesn’t set the standard for us—God does. Instead of focusing on what you aren’t, celebrate who God made you to be. If I had spent my life lamenting the fact that I couldn’t make the football team, I would have never discovered the other talents God gave me.
5. Be filled with the Holy Spirit. You can never overcome mental strongholds of worthlessness and inferiority in your own strength. It is the Holy Spirit who changes us. Just as He convicts us of sin and purifies our motives, He also strips away the lies we have believed about ourselves and heals us from the words and experiences that crippled us. Ask Him to fill you so full that those lies can’t hang around any longer.
If inferiority has gripped your soul, you can say this prayer now: “Lord, You are more powerful than any label that has ever been put on me. I renounce the lies that I have believed about myself. I am not weak; I am strong in You. I am not stupid; I have Your wisdom. I am not worthless; You died on the cross to redeem me. Thank You that because I am in Christ, I am a new creation. I am not bound by my old identity—I have a new identity in Jesus. Help me to see myself the way You see me—as Your beloved child and as a powerful, anointed, gifted disciple. Amen.
I have a friend who is a gifted worship leader, a loving husband and an affectionate father. He’s funny, smart, passionate about his faith and wholeheartedly committed to his church. People who know him say he’s a model Christian.
But underneath this joyful exterior is a lot of pain. He struggles with depression, and then he condemns himself because Christians are supposed be happy. When emotional heaviness drags him to a low point, he knows how to put on his convincing “church face.” Nobody knows the dark thoughts that torment him.
My friend is not unique in this struggle. Countless Christians I know engage in a daily battle with the enemy of their souls. And Satan is relentless in his attacks. He is described in Scripture as “the father of lies” (John 8:44), and the “accuser of the brethren” (Rev. 12:10). He wags his bony finger of condemnation and tries to deny us access to the Lord’s love and mercy.
You will never find victory in the Christian life if you don’t expose, confront and renounce Satan’s groundless accusations. If the devil has been replaying his lies in your head, you must hit the “EJECT” button now! The spirit of condemnation always makes these outrageous statements listed below:
1. Jesus can’t use you if you have a weakness. The devil is always ready to remind you that you are fat, unattractive, prone to depression or addiction, sexually broken, traumatized or fearful. But guess what? The people God used in the Bible were far from perfect. Every Christian has flaws. God made us weak so we would find our strength in Him. If you were perfect, you wouldn’t need a Savior.
2. You should give up if you constantly struggle with sin. Many Christian men I know feel spiritually disqualified because they haven’t totally overcome their addiction to porn. They feel bad for being tempted, and then if they stumble, they feel defeated for weeks. This can lead to discouragement and despair—and then they lose all hope of overcoming the habit. The secret to victory is not sweating and straining to resist; instead we must meditate on the love of God and allow His Spirit to rise up inside of us to override sin’s power. If you are struggling, do not give up! The Spirit will help you!
3. God’s promises are for other people, not you. Do you feel God’s goodness always bypasses you? You may have an orphan spirit. Many Christians don’t believe the heavenly Father loves and accepts them. They may have been rejected by their parents, or lacked parental affirmation. Life’s pain can block our ability to see God as He is. But if you have given your life to Christ, the Father has adopted you, He delights in you, and He has given you full inheritance rights. His promises are yours to claim!
4. God is always mad at you. Many believers base their relationship with God on performance. If they read their Bibles and pray every day, they feel they are on God’s “good side”; if they miss their morning devotions they assume He is upset. The devil loves this legalistic mindset because it prevents us from experiencing God’s grace. You must come to understand that the Father does not love you for what you do; He loves you because you are His child. He is slow to anger and full of lovingkindness. When you allow this truth to soak your soul, you will enjoy true intimacy with Jesus.
5. Your past mistakes disqualified you. I met a Christian man recently who loves God with all His heart, yet he sits in the back of his church every week feeling inferior because he committed adultery 35 years ago. His wife forgave him, and he repented for his sin, but he assumes he wears a scarlet letter around his neck and that he has been banished to a spiritual wasteland. That’s a lie! If you have repented for your sin, God has forgiven and forgotten it! Nothing can separate you from God’s love—not abortion, divorce, sexual sin or any other unspeakable mistake you regret.
6. You have committed the unpardonable sin. I’ve counseled several troubled Christians who read Matthew 12:31-32 and decided that they had blasphemed the Holy Spirit and therefore could not be saved. This is a ridiculous notion, because a person who committed the unpardonable sin mentioned in this passage wouldn’t care if they had blasphemed. If you are worried that you did this, then you haven’t! Your heart is turned toward God and you want to please Him. That alone is evidence of His grace working in you.
Romans 8:1 is one of the most liberating verses in the Bible. It declares: “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” This promise is for you! Jesus took your punishment and removed all guilt from your record. And His blood is more powerful than any lie Satan can throw at you.
You are now qualified. Your past is irrelevant. You don’t have to work to win God’s love. When the Father looks at you, He doesn’t see your past sins or present struggles; He sees a robe of righteousness. Renounce the devil’s lies and believe God’s promise. He loves you with an indescribable, unfathomable, unconditional love.
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.”
James 1:5-8 NKJV
If we believe that God is who He says He is and will do what He has promised, why do so many of us habitually waver in our prayers? Instead of exercising bold faith, we come to the Lord “hoping” He will hear us and answer our requests, but we’re just not sure He will. With this kind of thinking, we cannot expect to receive anything from Him.
One reason we are so prone to doubt is that we fail to see God at work in our circumstances. We asked, and nothing happened. But the Lord is not some cosmic bellhop who jumps in response to our requests. He sees past, present, and future and knows the right time for every answer. His invisible hand is already at work on our behalf—arranging situations to accomplish His will, opening hearts,
and preparing us to receive what He wants to give.
Another cause for uncertainty is ignorance. If we don’t know God’s ways, we will be disappointed in His response. All too often our prayers are accompanied by expectations of how He will work. When He fails to intervene according to our timetable or anticipated method, we start to doubt. But placing our faith in the Lord and trusting in His good and perfect ways gives us stability as we wait for His answer.
To overcome doubts, spend time in the Word to learn God’s principles and ways. Then you’ll begin to grasp what He wants to achieve in your life and how He goes about it. Examine your past from a biblical perspective—faith will grow as you see the unexpected ways He answered your prayers.
“So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple.” (Luke 14:33)
Are you a disciple? Just because you are a Christian doesn’t necessarily mean that you are a disciple. Every disciple is a believer, but not every believer is a disciple. Muslims believes, according to Quranic injunction for them to believe in all prophets, Jesus inclusive but they are not disciples. How are you better?
Jesus gave us the definition of a disciple in Luke 14. Three times in this passage, He said that if we do not do these things, we cannot be His disciples.
First, Jesus said, “If anyone comes to Me and does not hate his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and his own life also, he cannot be My disciple” (verse 26). A statement like that is shocking, but let’s understand what Jesus was saying. He obviously was not telling us to hate in the traditional sense. Rather, Jesus was saying that your love for God should be so strong, so intense, that all other loves would be like hatred in comparison.
Second, Jesus said, “And whoever does not bear his cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple” (verse 27). If you want to live life to its fullest, then you must deny yourself and put Christ first. You take your goals, desires, dreams, and aspirations, and you present them to God. And ultimately you will discover that God’s plans for you are always the best.
Last, Jesus said, “For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it? . . . So likewise, whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disciple” (verses 28, 33). You must count the cost to follow Jesus. Yes, it costs to follow Jesus. But it costs more not to follow Him.
Jesus called us to go and make disciples (see Matthew 28:19). But it takes one to make one.
Summary sentence: Every disciple is a believer, but not every believer is a disciple.
Lifestyle evangelism calls Christians to live an attractive, winsome, holy life that captures the attention of neighbors and coworkers to earn a chance to share the gospel. Lifestyle Evangelism, a book by Joe Aldrich, defines this style.
Lifestyle evangelism combines proclaiming Jesus (Romans 1:16) with living a life that shows others the difference Jesus makes. Paul told the Ephesians, “I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:1–3). Clearly there is a particular “lifestyle” that Christians are meant to live. 1Peter 3:15 says, “but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.” This implies that our lives should be lived in such a way that others are curious about our faith and that we need to be able and willing to share our faith with others.
Some say lifestyle evangelism falls short or allows Christians to avoid sharing the gospel verbally, but true lifestyle evangelism requires telling the Good News in the context of personal relationship. Other strategies, such as tracts and media, are more direct but less personal.
Peter proclaimed the gospel verbally in Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost and 3,000 were baptized into Christ (Acts 2:41 ). He, and others, also showed compassion by meeting the needs of widows (Acts 6:1–7). He both shared the gospel as well as lived it out.
The beginning of the church, as told in Acts, also shows us that Christians were known in their communities for their kindness (Acts 5:13) and shows us they told their neighbors about new life in Christ (Acts 5:20–21). Again, we see both the lifestyle and the verbal sharing about Jesus.
Paul instructed Timothy about his behavior and speaking the message of salvation in 1Timothy 4:16 : “Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.”
Christians should not focus solely on showing God’s goodness nor solely on sharing the gospel verbally. Both are required and work best together.
Truly knowing God begins with accepting His salvation. Without the sacrifice of Jesus, we are dead in sin (Colossians 2:13). A dead person cannot raise himself to life in order to come to know anyone. However, once we have accepted the gift of Christ through faith, we can begin to truly know God. The wonder of salvation is that we are not only saved out of an eternity in hell, but to a life in Christ. We are invited into fellowship with God (John 17:20-26), made part of His family (Romans 8:15-17).
After salvation, knowing God starts with hearing what He has to say about Himself. Though we cannot know God fully in this lifetime (Isaiah 55:8-9; 1 Corinthians 13:12), we can know Him in part. He has revealed certain things about Himself to us. We find these revelations in God’s written Word—the Bible—and the Word incarnate—Jesus. We also glean them through creation, which is His general revelation to all (Romans 1:20). Believers have been given the Holy Spirit so that we can make sense of God’s Word and perceive the things He reveals to us (John 16:13).
The Word of God is given primarily to us, not for intellectual stimulation. We cannot study the Bible like a book of Chemistry or a novel, this is not the way God intended it to be. God want us to study His Word in a way that it will apply to our lives first: to equip us for a better living, and for more effective ministry work. If you have not allowed the Word of God to work in your life, please, do not bother to use it to teach others “Now the purpose of the commandment is love from a pure heart, from a good conscience, and from a sincere faith, 6from which some, having strayed, have turned aside to idle talk, 7desiring to be teachers of the law, understanding neither what they say nor the things which they affirm” 1TIMOTHY 1:5-8. Apostle Paul said, “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” 2TIMOTHY 3:16-17NKJV.
Most Christians never seem to concern themselves with the deeper Truth of God, which is the more reason they fall into error. We can only receive the deeper Truth of God according to the measure of our spiritual growth as we surrender our will to Him. The more we allow Holy Spirit to bring to light the Word of God into our heart, the more we overcome giants in our lives, and the more we grow to the stature of Christ. What are these giants? All unfruitful works of darkness (GALATIANS 5:19-21). Our life in Christ does not stop only at been born again; but if we refused to grow, we shall remain in a baby level. Babies cannot chew meat; and if you remain a baby all your life, where they feed you with anointing oil, prayer points list, anointed water, apron, people’s pictures for you to be praying with, and handkerchiefs, which is the condition of most believers today. Then, you will be toss to and fro by every wind of doctrine that comes your way. If our concern is only to become born again, and falls into a routine of: “my sins are forgiven, and I am on my way to Heaven, full stop. My job is to bring others to the place where their sins can be forgiven, and they are on their way to Heaven, full stop. In addition, others too should witness to others, full stop.” Assuming this was the case, then, majority section of the scripture should be removed, and thrown away, because we do not need them.
Humanly speaking, if a baby is born, and the mother refused to feed and nourish it with care, food and other things necessary, in no time, the baby would become malnourished and may die eventually. Let us ask ourselves, why are there so many doctrines and teachings in the New Testament? ANSWER: God does not want us to stop with the forgiveness of sins alone. God does not want us to stop with been born again and drinking milk alone. He wants us to grow up into maturity on earth; and the more we grow into maturity, the more effective our testimonies on earth are, for the Lord. EPHESIANS 1:4 says “just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, (not only to be Born Again), that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love (THERE IS A LIFE, AFTER BORN AGAIN”
God is not only involving in a program of taking people mainly to Heaven, we need to understand that. He is also involving in program where there must be a powerful matured testimony for Christ on earth, in place after place after place call a local church. The Book of Ephesians deals with a Heavenly life on earth. A Church and a Christian can fulfill its functions on earth only if they are heavenly minded. The more heavenly minded we are, the more we can fulfill Gods purpose for us on earth. The more Heavenly minded a church is, the more she can fulfill Gods purpose for her on earth. The earthly minded we are, the more useless we become to fulfill God’s purposes on earth for our lives, even if we say we are going to Heaven when we die. Unfortunately, this is what is happening in the Christendom. You must be Heavenly minded while living on earth, as God said in the Book of DEUTERONOMY 11:21 “Your days on earth shall be like your days in heaven.”
Along with reading Scripture, we also engage in things like prayer, fellowship, and worship. God desires to have a personal and intimate relationship with us. We grow that relationship as we would any other – through time, conversation, sharing our hearts. We study the truth of the Word and also pay attention to our experiences. We ask God for His guidance. Jesus said, “And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened” (Luke 11:9-10). We have been invited to seek God. We can do so boldly (Hebrews 4:16).
We also come to know God by obeying Him. Jesus said, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. … You are my friends if you do what I command you. …You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you. These things I command you, so that you will love one another” (John 15:4, 14, 16-17). When we obey someone, we begin to understand his desires. When we obey God, we also experience the blessings He has for us because His commands are meant for our good. Abiding in God is one way we come to know Him; and when we do, our attitudes and actions will begin to reflect God’s character (Matthew 12:33; Galatians 5:22-24; Ephesians 2:10).
Hebrews 11:6 (NIV) sums up the key to truly knowing God: “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” First, we must have faith to believe in God. Then we must understand His character – that He has good things in store for us. Finally, we must seek Him earnestly. We are called to love God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength (Mark 12:30). Knowing Him is a life response to His love for us. As we engage daily life, we do so with God on our hearts and in our minds (Colossians 3:17).
Two years ago today, over 115 people seeking healing and an encounter with God died when the building they were staying in collapsed on top of them. Countless others were injured, some never being able to walk or work again. In July 2015, the coroner released his report – proving that the building collapsed was inevitable due to a litany of serious structural failings, for example:
1) Inadequate beams of 750mm by 225mm (should have been 900mm by 300mm)
2) Inadequately reinforced columns (should have been reinforced with 12 x Y25 bars or 20 x Y20mm bars. Instead they used 10 x Y20 bars (as seen in the video released by SCOAN).
3) Inadequate bearing pressure for the central column due to the 2m x 2m x 0.9m foundations.
4) Failure to introduce rigid zones for bracing the structure and did not design the frames as an unbraced structure.
5) Failure to provide movement joints that could have absorbed any movement due to creep, contraction, expansion and differential settlement etc..
6) 8 out of the 12 main beams of the structure failed because they were undersized, under-reinforced (both in tension and shear), the tension bars were poorly anchored to the column supports and 8 x Y20 was used instead of 14 x Y20.
7) The ground floor columns were slender and readily gave in to buckling.
The coroner Oyetade Komolafe ruled that SCOAN were criminally negligent, and should be investigated and prosecuted, “The ‘church’ was culpable because of criminal negligence resulting in the death of the victims” (Source: BBC).
In April 2016, after many attempts by SCOAN to disrupt or stall the court proceedings, charges were finally read. The charges are “failure to obtain building approval contrary to Section 75 of the Urban and Regional Planning Law of Lagos State 2010 and involuntary manslaughter causing death contrary to Section 222 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State 2011“. In June 2016, the trial started, but after a couple of days it went silent without conclusion. SCOAN have not been cleared of the charges, but nor have they been found guilty – the whole case has gone silent.
Where is the justice for the many families who have lost loved ones, or those whose lives will never be the same again due to their horrific injuries? We belief Lagos State Government can do better than this – by showing authority, exhibiting passion to defend the defenseless, and bring this case to a tangible conclusion. Even if you are a SCOAN supporter, surely you can agree with us that it is not in SCOAN’s favor to have this unconcluded criminal investigation over their head? Reports show that visitors to SCOAN has reduced by up to 90%. Either SCOAN is guilty and should face the consequences of their lethal actions, or they should have their name cleared. This limbo situation is in nobodies favor (except SCOAN, if they know they are guilty).
DECEPTION OF THE AGE
T.B. Joshua has become an embarrassment to Nigeria. What more could prove that this charlatan, con-artist is a dangerous false prophet than him not been able to see the collapse of his own building which killed over 115 gullible foreigners. He is very quick to put out over edited videos and Photoshop pictures, purporting to have predicted many disaster happening around the world to look relevant, but right in his compound he could not predict those that add up to the number of people that perished in his own house. Joshua is a psychopath with zero empathy for the victims of tragedies as he releases fulfilment of false videos to corroborates lies. Now, read this: This is neither an allegation, nor a speculation; as someone who had lived in the synagogue for over a decade, and has worked in various departments in leadership capacity, closely to the direct source, I know some deeper things about tbJoshua and the synagogue. There are two major reasons that points to the collapsed of the Synagogue, I can not be wrong on them. They are: 1. Joshua use the people for spiritual sacrifice with the aim of gaining more power in the evil realm. He has been doing it before now, people mysteriously dies in the synagogue, workers die, members die, ‘disciples’ dies and they are buried secretly, but this is Huge, Joshua can’t hide it. Since the time I left synagogue in 2008, for over 6years to 2014, Joshua had not been able to travel outside the shores of Nigeria for his usual scam crusades; but shortly after the collapsed, Joshua went to Mexico to display falsehood. Never in the history of the Church of the living God do the children of God suffer such disaster in the hands of a satanic agent like Joshua. The more reason people should know their Creator and serve Him devotedly without running to prayer arrangers, especially places like Synagogue ‘church’. Synagogue is not a Church of Jesus Christ, you can never tell when Joshua’s demons wants to strike to drink Blood and unleash mayhem upon innocents. No one knows the days they are thirsty, it can be in the least time people expected. I have witnessed how people died suddenly and their deaths were covered up in terrifying secrecy. We don’t want to magnify satan, Joshua has demons, disembodied spirits at his beck and call, which he sends on errands, and they affect and wreck havocs in the lives of those who are not standing firm in the Lord. Our Lord said it, that if it were possible, even the very elect, satan want to pluck them MATTHEW 24:24. Life is a battle ground, we shall all engage in one battle or another. Some shall be devoured, and there are some that cannot be devoured. DANIEL 11:32-33 says, “Those who do wickedly against the covenant he shall corrupt with flattery; but the people who know their God shall be strong, and carry out great exploits. 33And those of the people who understand shall instruct many; yet for many days they shall fall by sword and flame, by captivity and plundering.” People of God, stop living in carnality, the food of satan is dust, if you don’t live in the Spirit, you may become food for satan. Anyone who lives in the flesh (dust) is a candidate to be devoured by the devil and its agents 1PETER 5:8. God does not shift base; we are the ones that experiences God in dimensions. “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you” JAMES 4:8.
Now, Joshua has done his evil work, the dead are gone and he believes that the whole noise of prosecuting him by the government of Nigeria would soon die down. He always boosts that whenever things of this nature happens to him, it is for a higher height and promotion. Must Joshua continue to kill for more evil power at the detriment of the innocents? We pray that this will not continue; every individual who thinks they are untouchable even in the extreme instances of causing so many deaths shall face reprisal from God. TBJoshua belongs to different occult society with some top Nigerian government officials, who returns favor to each other in time of trouble, but God will expose you all.
Now, 2. I know how Joshua reasons in regards to building structures in the synagogue. Joshua is desperately trying to buy all the land adjacent to the synagogue area because in the figment of his mind, he is into competitions with Redeemed Christian Church of God, and Living Faith Church. He uses people to front for him to buy various lands around synagogue environs, because people would not have sold their properties directly to him. After buying, he builds ramshackle structures on them in the name of expansion. These can be corroborated by some ‘ex disciples’ who have gained their sanity back after leaving synagogue. Paul Agomoh, Linda, Kazeem, Lola, Bisola (myself), Ogra, Falusi, Baba Amala and some other people which I cannot remember their names now are the ‘Job men’ Joshua uses to supervise laborers. The people I mentioned knows nothing about building constructions. I was a banker before I got to the synagogue, Baba Amala was a printer, Linda was a beautician, Ogra was an artist, Lola was a teacher, Paul was into Publishing/song writing, and others were into various trades, but we were converted to builders without any fundamental training. (Excerpts from ‘Deception Of The Age Unmasked’)
We need to keep the families of the departed in our prayers to be strong, and continue to used this sad occurrence as a deterrents to others who are in habits of looking for spiritual arrangers and false prophets.
An effective witness for Christ could be defined as a person whose life bears fruit for the gospel. Ultimately, when a person is saved, it is by God’s power (1 Peter 1:3-5 ), not ours, and as we speak the truth to unbelievers, it is important to remember that their salvation does not hinge on our speaking abilities or the strength of our faith, or how well we know how to explain things. Even in cases where we speak the truth very clearly and with conviction, it may not result in the salvation of the hearer. In the end, each person bears the responsibility for his own choices (Galatians 6:4-5 ). This should not be a deterrent, however. We are called to do everything in our power to witness to the lost, and to aim for effectiveness. Here are a few basic guidelines to being an effective witness for Christ.
An effective witness is humble. We cannot judge who will or will not accept the message of the cross, so we should be impartial and unprejudiced about whom we approach with the good news, remembering that our own need for salvation is just as great as the need of every person yet to be saved (Romans 3:19-20 ). An effective witness will approach unbelievers with kindness and patience, rather than an arrogant, quarrelsome attitude (2 Timothy 2:23-26 ).
An effective witness represents the Scripture. God has chosen to reveal Himself to the world through a book, the Bible. Regardless of whether this makes perfect sense to us, it is the way He chose to do things. We are called to be ambassadors of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20 ). An ambassador for a nation speaks only what he hears his king or President speak—no more, no less. When we invent new gospels, or bend the truth in an effort to make God’s message more palatable or easier to accept, we are being unfaithful, and if people are converted, they are converting to a false gospel. The truth will always be fragrant to the one who desires salvation, and powerful to effect that salvation (2 Corinthians 2:14-17 ). We should not be ashamed of it (Romans 1:16 ).
An effective witness represents the Savior. Just as we are faithful to accurately speak His Word, we should be faithful to accurately portray His character. The world has an image of Jesus that is often incorrect, and we should strive to make His true nature known to them. Jesus Christ was not always nice. He rejected the hypocritical religious leaders of His day, pronouncing woes on them (Matthew 23:1-36 ). He spoke the truth with conviction (John 3:1-15 ). He confirmed the existence of eternal separation from God (Matthew 7:21-23 ). At the same time, He accepted the outcasts of society and forgave them freely (Luke 19:1-10 ). Nobody who wanted to be with Him was rejected. His focus was to save them, rather than to judge their sin (John 3:16-18 ). An effective witness for Christ will be intimately acquainted with Christ’s character and attempt to emulate Him.
An effective witness is honest. Not every mystery in the Bible can be explained or understood, even by the wisest theologian or the most studied scholar. If an unbeliever asks a question we cannot answer, we should not be afraid to say “I don’t know.” Honesty, and acceptance of our inability to fathom God, is not a sign of weakness, but rather a trust in God that is unfathomable (Hebrews 11:1-3 ). How can we hope to fully understand a God whose mind is so far above ours? But we are not called to fully understand, but simply to trust (Proverbs 3:5-6).
In his passage on reconciliation in 2Corinthians 5, Paul says that Christians are ambassadors for Christ (vs. 20). An ambassador is an official envoy who represents a foreign sovereign, providing a link between his host country and the country he represents. Ambassadors work to build relations and develop policies that favor both the host and the home of the ambassador. An ambassador is appointed by the leadership of those he represents and is given authority to speak on their behalf.
An ambassador must walk a very fine line. He lives in one country, but he is responsible to another. He must represent the message of a leader who is not directly present. He must also embody the character of his home country, following laws and customs that are not necessarily known or even welcome in the host nation. All while respecting the laws and customs of that host.
In 2Corinthians 5, instead of a nation, Paul is an ambassador of the Kingdom of God. Unlike modern political ambassadors, Paul did not originate from the “nation” he represented. He had to be adopted in, through Christ’s sacrifice, and then he had to undergo a change of perspective. He was no longer a citizen of the world and he no longer saw things as a citizen of the world. He saw things through the perspective of a citizen of the Kingdom of God — he was a new creation (vs. 17).
Paul’s work as ambassador was to spread his Ruler’s message to his host nation. That message was reconciliation. God wanted to be personally reconciled to the people Paul lived with. In a way, Paul was asking his hosts to commit treason against the kingdom of the world and pledge citizenship to the Kingdom of God.
They could then follow in Paul’s footsteps by becoming an ambassador for Christ in their own lives — as can we. It starts with a change in citizenship. If we are to represent Jesus to the world, we must first belong to the Kingdom of God instead of the kingdom of self. We must live by the standards of our new King, even though we are temporarily away from Him (vss. 6-9). Most importantly, we must accept that this earth is not our home — our home awaits us, “eternal in the heavens” (vs. 1) — even if we are imprisoned and abused by our host country (Ephesians 6:20). Finally, ambassadors must then spread His message: that everyone is welcome to have such a relationship with God.
Being an ambassador for Christ is the fulfillment of the incredibly important kingdom perspective. To follow Christ means to give up the kingdom of self and the kingdom of the world, and pledge allegiance to the Kingdom of God. It means our home is heaven, not earth. Our responsibility is to tell others about that good news so they can join the Kingdom of God as well.
When Jesus knew His time to go to the Cross was getting closer, He prayed for His disciples and all believers in Him in John 17. He said, “I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” John 17:14&16
First, believers need to be “in the world.” It could be taken for granted that believers are in the world; we reside on Earth, after all. However, being in the world implies more than simply inhabiting it. We need to actually be involved in our societies. Jesus told His disciples to “go therefore and make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19 ). They were not to set themselves up apart from the world and expect others to come to them to hear truth. They were told to “go.” Similarly, in John 17:15 Jesus prayed regarding His disciples, “I do not ask that You take them out of the world, but that You keep them from the evil one.” His disciples needed to stay in the world, not be removed to heaven.
Acts 1:8 and Isaiah 43:10 tell us that we are to be witnesses to the world.
Matthew 5:16 tells us that our light is to shine before others to point them to God. Allowing our light to shine requires us to be around people. There are certain Christian sects (such as the Amish) who believe in a “Christ apart from culture” model of evangelism; however, such separation is not the biblical norm.
To be “not of the world” requires us to be free of worldly influence. This does not mean that we do not participate in government or typical social processes. It means that we do not act as the unsaved world does. We are not slaves to our sinful natures but act in accordance with righteousness (Romans 6:6 , 11). We are told to put to death things that are of our sinful natures and to flee from immorality (Colossians 3:5-10 ; 1 Corinthians 6:18 ; Galatians 5:16-24 ; Ephesians 5:3-11). We “train [ourselves] for godliness” (1 Timothy 4:7); we are “imitators of God” (Ephesians 5:1); we have nothing to do with “unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them” (Ephesians 5:11). We submit to authorities and prepare ourselves for good works (Titus 3:1). In essence, we act according to the new nature we have been given rather than the sinful nature of the world (2 Corinthians 5:17, 21 ; Titus 3:3-8). “We are ambassadors for Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:20), spreading His fragrance (2 Corinthians 2:15-16) through the world.
First Peter 2:9 says, “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” We live in a world of darkness, but we are not part of that darkness. We are not of the world because we are in Christ; we have the light. And while we are still in the world, we are called to be set apart, to shine the light that others might know Him and be saved (Matthew 5:13-16).