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BETTER THOUGHTS ARE YOUR PORTION

The human digestive system is wired to get rid of waste matter from the body, this should be true of our thinking system, it should have the capacity to get rid of waste thoughts or intrusive thoughts from our minds. Why? Because you are the sum total of your thoughts. Your actions are manifestations of your thoughts. Proverbs 23:7 says, ‘As a man thinketh, so is he’. Waste thoughts should not be allowed to define you. A lot of Christians are like the revised version of the Book of Lamentations because of the way they entertain waste thoughts. May the Holy Spirit detox your mind from waste thoughts. Detoxing creates space for better thoughts. Philippians 4:8 tells us how to manufacture better thoughts. Its a call to reflective thinking:
# Reflective thinkers think on whatever is TRUE

# Reflective thinkers think on whatever is HONOURABLE

# Reflective thinkers think on whatever is RIGHT/JUST

# Reflective thinkers think on whatever is PURE

# Reflective thinkers think on whatever is LOVELY

# Reflective thinkers think on whatever is of GOOD REPUTE

# Reflective thinkers think on whatever is VIRTUOUS

# Reflective thinkers think on whatever is PRAISEWORTHY
If you master your thoughts, then you master your moods and your destiny. By so doing, you create the life you desire. May God fill your mind (YOUR COMMAND CENTRE) with better thoughts. May better thoughts be your portion.

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Posted by on September 13, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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SCRIPTURAL WARNINGS AGAINST OCCULT PRACTICES (PART 3)


In Part 2 of our three-part series we observed that King Saul stripped himself of royal dignity when he consulted the Witch of Endor for supernatural guidance concerning the Philistine threat. In this section we escalate our case to the New Testament era. The Early Church did not tolerate occult practices of their time hence Peter’s rebuke against Simon Magus’ request to buy God’s power for a fee (Acts 8:9-24). Similarly Paul and Silas while in Philippi were annoyed by the proclamation of a slave girl who had a fortune telling spirit and they casted this evil spirit in the name of Jesus (Acts 16:16-21). 
Simon Magus was a powerful and prominent magician or sorcerer in Samaria. After converting to Christ, he wanted to use money to buy supernatural power to transmit the Holy Spirit and confer spiritual gifts as Peter and John were doing. Peter did not take this request lightly, instead he saw wickedness on the side of Simon and he challenged him to repent. Could it be that Simon Magus may not have seriously committed his life to God but rather may have simply been impressed by this supernatural demonstration of God’s power? He probably wanted to harness this power to enhance his magical portfolio hence the monetary offer. However Church History has it on record that Simon Magus is associated with a practice of buying and selling ecclesiastical positions, promotion in Church hierarchies, sale of sacred things or objects and sale of pardon for sins. This practice is called SIMONY. Long ago, getting into full-time work in the Church was a sign of great sacrifice because Churches did not have attractive salaries and lucrative benefits. However the ministerial terrain has changed and there has been a significant improvement in pastoral remuneration in some Christian communities hence becoming a Pastor, Bishop, Prophet, Apostle or simply put, a Man of God now carries an aura of flamboyance, swag and pomp. Could it be that the Christian ministry is now flooded with opportunists who go into ministry for economic advantage? Could it be that the Church is full of preachers with full pockets and empty hearts? Could it be that Church vacancies are now up for auction by the highest bidder with high ranking Bishops pocketing such dirty money? Could it be that the statement, ‘You scratch my back and I scratch yours’ is fast becoming a new normal? Could it be that SIMONY has become the in-thing with the rise in the sale of holy oil, holy water, holy cloth/shawls, holy wrist bands, holy soap, holy juice, holy milk, holy regalia, the list is endless? I call this RELIGIOUS EXPLOITATION which is being done in the name of God. Simony is an occult practice which should be rebuked in our Church ranks. This madness must stop. Church appointments should be administered with reverential fear rather than on tribal, ethnic or racial lines.
Finally the Church exists to put occult practitioners out of business like what Paul did when he casted out the fortune-telling demon. The owners of this slave girl, when they realised that their means of survival had been thwarted, they falsely accused Paul and Silas of advocating customs which are alien to Roman citizens. It is a shame to hear occult practitioners bragging that some of their clients are high ranking Church officials. May God forbid. Its time for the Church to rise up to its biblical mandate in society i.e. being the salt of the earth and the light of the world. I rest my case.

 
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Posted by on September 7, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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SCRIPTURAL WARNINGS AGAINST OCCULT PRACTICES (PART 2)


In the previous article an attempt was made to glean lessons from the story of Balaam a professional curser par excellence. 1Samuel 28:6-8 introduces us to a female occult practitioner which the Bible calls the Witch of Endor and some scholars call her the Mistress of Necromancy. In this story we find King Saul who had fallen from grace consulting a necromancer after fruitless attempts to consult Yahweh without getting an answer through dreams, Urim and Thummim (a form of casting sacred lots) or a prophetic word. King Saul was desperate for supernatural intervention against the Philistine threat. At this juncture Prophet Samuel had died. Could it be that a lot of believers succumb to the temptation of consulting the occult in their darkest hour? Could it be that to some believers, the death of a prophet in their lives is equal to the death of God. Could it be that believers are prepared to cross the biblical and theological boundaries in times of desperation for the supernatural? Could it be that the occult practices we condemn in broad daylight, we necodimusly consult at night?
Occult practices were strongly condemned in Israel and King Saul had solidified laws against these practices to the point that occult practitioners had to operate in secret and usually at night in fear of the death penalty. This accounts for why the king had to disguise himself as a commoner when he went to consult the Witch of Endor. By so doing the king stripped himself of royal dignity. Could it be that preachers or prophets who consult the occult are stripping themselves of God’s anointing and the integrity to lead God’s Church? Whilst the king was busy trying to disguise himself as well as assuring the mistress of necromancy, sad to say that this witch was more sober than the king. She was suspicious, cautious and fearful. Furthermore she quoted the law and was unwilling to disobey the law unless she had her back covered. Could it be that those believers who indulge in occult practices are exposing the Church big time because occult practitioners do not expect to see us there? Could it be that some occult practitioners are more conscious of God’s law than Church folks? 
Finally the witch gave in to the demands of her client hence the drama of the appearance of the spirit of the dead Samuel. From an occult point of view, a necromancer specialised in communicating with dead including bring the spirits of the dead.  Thank God that the Bible does not give us a clue of what actually took place lest some people misinterpret this event. I subscribe to the view that what subsequently happened was divine intervention leading to the pronouncement of king Saul’s tragic end. Could it be that this story is a reminder that departed spirits are not a source of revelation? Could it be that those who ask for the future from the dead are at the bring of joining them? Peter Miscall rightfully says, ‘He who speaks to the dead soon joins them’. We have dead people walking among us. They are dead spiritually and are awaiting physical death and subsequent hellfire. The Bible is very good at irony. Saul was anointed to be king at Prophet Samuel’s residence. This event was accompanied with a delicious meal. The witch similarly hosted the end of Saul’s kingship with the last meal. This is a story of rebellion and arrogance with its siblings namely witchcraft and idolatry. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. 

 
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Posted by on September 5, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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SCRIPTURAL WARNINGS AGAINST OCCULT PRACTICES (PART 1)


If you are an ardent reader of the bible, you might have come across those portions of scripture you wish were excluded from the canon because of the controversy and confusion they attract. Three of the most baffling stories involve occult practitioners like Balaam the professional Diviner and Curser (Numbers 22-23), the Witch of Endor (1Samuel 28) and Simon Magus or Simon the Magician (Acts 8:9-24). Why did God allow such stories to be part of his inspired word bearing in mind God’s declared displeasure to these abominations. God said, ‘When you enter the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not learn to imitate the detestable ways of the nations there. Let no one be found among you who sacrifices their son or daughter in the fire, who practices divination or sorcery, interprets omens, engages in witchcraft, or casts spells or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead’ (Deuteronomy 18:9-11). These practices are interconnected because they tap from one source i.e. the spirit world. What lessons or warnings can be gleaned from the stories of these occult practitioners?
Balaam was a prominent entrepreneur in soothsaying, sorcery and divination with a speciality in cursing and blessing using omens and auguries. He was also a practising Polytheist (Greek POLYTHEOS meaning worship of many gods) hence his acclimatisation to Yahweh worship. Could it be that African religiosity also has this polytheistic temperament whereby they see no friction between ancestral worship and Christian worship? It takes radical conversion for a lot of my African brothers and sisters to solely embrace the Christian God without resorting to ancestors in times of crisis. In the biblical narrative, we see Balak the Moabite king sending his messengers to travel more than five hundred miles to hire Balaam to curse the Israelites who were camped across the Jordan river and ready to possess their promised land. The main purpose of the curse was to block the Israelites from entering the promised land thus render the promises of God null and void. Balaam was offered a high fee for this exercise but this time around he embarked on a mission in failure. He had several encounters with Yahweh who aborted his mandate to curse. Out of desperation Balak raised the divination fee but to no avail. Could it be that the charging of professional fees originates from Occult Practitioners and that true Prophets of God cannot afford to cross the line which differentiates true and false prophets. 
From this story comes one of the most quoted bible verses, being the confession of Balaam the professional curser. He says, ‘God is not a man that he should lie, nor a son of man that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfil? There is no divination against Jacob, no evil omens against Israel’ (Numbers 23:19,23). Could it be that those preachers and believers who curse others can only do so by tapping into the occult? From this passage of scripture we glean a few aspects of God’s attributes and the unchangeable nature of his decrees and promises. Check out some of these:
# God’s divine decrees, blessings and promises cannot be altered by the words of mortals be it by professional cursers or by commoners

# People are prone to change their positions, loyalties and their love but God is immutable i.e. God is consistently the same in his eternal being. He does not change like shifting shadows (James 1:17)

# God can change his INTENTIONS as he did with the people of Nineveh when they repented and the Israelites when Moses interceded

# God does not lie like Satan the father of lies because he is a covenant keeping or promise keeping God

# Only God has the power to bless or curse

# A believer cannot be cursed by mortals because there is no sorcery or divination against God’s people

# God is omniscient i.e. he is all knowing hence there is nothing new he has to learn

# God is omnipotent i.e. He is all-powerful 

# God is omnipresent i.e. He is present everywhere at the same time

# God does not have mood swings or mood disorders. He is the same yesterday, the same today and forever. He is the ancient of days and the Rock of ages

# God does not grow or develop e.g. from a vicious and capricious God in the Old Testament to a loving and caring God in the New Testament (MARCIONISM)
In the next article we will look at Simon Magus and how he influenced modern SIMONY i.e. religious exploitation through sale of ecclesiastical positions or consecrated objects like holy water, holy oil and the like. Furthermore we will also look at the Witch of Endor to demonstrate how desperation for the supernatural can tempt believers to consult Mistresses of Necromancy whilst only those who are anchored on the unchanging God will experience the genuine visitation of God in our times. For now I rest my case. 

 
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Posted by on August 24, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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THE DENIALITIS DISEASE


One of the biggest killer diseases we avoid to talk about is DENIALITIS. Psychologists define it as a psychological defence mechanism in which confrontation with a personal problem or with reality is avoided by denying the existence of the problem or reality. It is a deliberate refusal or unwillingness to accept that one has a problem or an unavoidable reality. Denialitis is the quickest escape route from accepting bad news of any kind like being diagnosed with cancer, HIV/AIDS or any other life threatening ailments. Such news leaves us wishing it was just a dream from which you wake up and say thank God it was just a dream. 
Christianity has taught us to have a positive outlook to life hence we make positive decrees and declarations about our well-being. This discussion is not meant to rebut that way of looking at life and dealing with issues. But this writer proposes that denialism closes the doors of hope and possible interventions against a pending life threatening situation if its ignored for too long. A problem recognised is a problem half-solved. The quicker you acknowledge that you are in a muddy place, the quicker you are likely to get help. For example people living with HIV/AIDS die more from denialitis rather than from the actual infection. All things being equal those who recognise their HIV status and quickly seek medication are assured of long life unlike those who deliberately refuse to accept reality. Check out what DENIALITIS can do to you:
# Denialitis makes you to stick your head into the sand so as to avoid painful realities

# Denialitis makes you to sweep your problems under the carpet so that on the outside nothing is broken and nothing is missing

# Denialitis makes you to live a lie and play hypocrite in the presence of other people but when you are alone reality breaks you big time

# Denialitis makes you to live a self-sabotaging and self-fooling lifestyle

# Denialitis affects your ability to make informed choices and it also deliberately prevents you from making informed choices

# Denialitis prevents you from taking appropriate actions at the appropriate time

# Denialitis ruins your vertical relationship with God and your horizontal relationships with other people

# Denialitis causes uncontrolled mood swings due to emotional illiteracy

# Denialitis leads to low self-esteem, self-blame, self-hatred and social isolation

# Denialitis kills your health, your mental capacity, your well-being, your dreams and your destiny
GET OUT OF THE CACOON OF DENIALITIS

 
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Posted by on August 16, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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OCCULTISM: A NEW RELIGIOUS NORMAL IN THE PROPHETIC MOVEMENT IN AFRICA (Deuteronomy 18:9-12)


In recent years there has been a global shift of Christianity from the northern hemisphere to the southern hemisphere, from the west to the east. This migration has left former Christian communities like Europe secularised whilst the former mission field of the third world has become the centre of Christianity. The Pentecostal and Charismatic brand of Christianity has greatly impacted the African Church. This global shift of Christianity is an opportunity for the African Church to add the African flavour to the global Christian expression. It is true to say that the vibrancy of African Christian expression is vital to global Christianity. 
However this writer is concerned with the way in which the Prophetic Movement within Pentecostalism in general is altering the character of Christianity in significant ways. This movement is subtly bringing OCCULTISM into the Church. This is shameful, shocking and shuttering because sooner or later occultism will be a new religious normal in the Church. Occult practices are slowly being introduced into the Church through the psychological processes of LEGITIMATION, DIGNIFICATION & GLAMORISATION. 
Occultism has to do with connecting oneself with the world of spirits through divination, soothsaying, augury, necromancy, sorcery, use of charms, mediums and wizardry or witchcraft. God clearly warns us against indulging in these abominable practices. Practitioners of occultism do so to gain knowledge which allows them to exert power and control over people or events. They use psychic powers to control people by casting a spell over them. Scriptures clearly instruct us not to learn, experiment, follow or do these abominable practices. In Biblical times occult practitioners were excluded from the community of God’s people. This spiritual harlotry costed Saul his kingship when he consulted the Witch of Endor. The New Testament warns us against the madness of the fee charging occultist Balaam (2Peter 2:15-16). Balaam was an occultist whose specialty was blessing and cursing. He attracted high fees for his trade. His attempt to curse the people of Israel was a total fiasco because according to his confession later, “There is no enchantment against Jacob, no divination against Israel” (Numbers 23:23). These modern false prophets and false teachers are bringing respectability to occultism through syncretism and polytheism. I refuse to be complicit to the spread of occultism in the Church of God. Those who practise occultism in the name of God should be named and shamed because in their rebellion, they belittle God and exalt humans. They view God as inadequate in revealing mysteries hence pilgrimages to shrines in secret locations. The Global Church deserves something better from Africa. This return to primitive occult practices must stop. May the Church in Africa maintain its vibrancy from which the global Church may glean handfuls of purpose. 

 
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Posted by on August 3, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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ARE POSITIONS OF RESPONSIBILITY IN THE CHURCH TO BE BY APPOINTMENT OR BY ELECTION?


Among the ecclesiastical fraternity there is a new crop of fly-by-night briefcase preachers. The majority of these zealotic roving preachers are of no fixed abode and are not accountable to any Church establishment. They freely churn out their sermons to unsuspecting listeners and the social media is giving them publicity because their genres are in line with popular religion. Their preaching is devoid of hermeneutical tools of rightly dividing the word of truth let alone homiletical standards of presenting the Gospel. What is attractive in their sermonising are jokes, illustrations, stories, community gossip and insinuations of anti-establishment. One of the popular genres these preachers capitalise on is to venomously attack structures and systems of established Churches. However this article is not there to cover up any evil things which may be happening in the Church. Truth be told, there is no perfect Church or perfect system. Somebody said that if there is a perfect Church, do not join it because you will contaminate it. 
Of late there has been an onslaught attack on the electoral process by which Church Officials are elected. They dismiss this practice by arguing that Jesus Christ was not elected but appointed by God and that the twelve disciples were also appointed and not elected. This is a clear belief in the autocratic system of governance as opposed to democracy. I have yet to see a Church which does not have the electoral process unless its a newly formed Independent Ministry run by the founder. Its true that our Lord Jesus Christ was not elected but appointed by God. From a sociological point of view he used Charismatic authority to run his newly founded Christian Movement better known as the Church. When Jesus Christ died, rose again and ascended to heaven, he left his disciples to continue with his mission. The Church continued to be run on Charismatic authority under the tutelage of its key eyewitnesses (Disciples) but reality on the ground demanded a gradual shift to the need for the electoral process. This shift begins with the replacement of Judas Iscariot by Mathias (Acts 1:21-26) and the appointment of seven deacons to serve on tables (Acts 6:1-7). 
The electoral process led to the development of Bureaucratic authority whose authority is position or office-based rather than Charisma-based. The Early Church believed that the electoral process was God-ordained hence an elected officer was deemed to have been appointed by God. The Early Church put prayer first before casting lots and the qualities of contestants to be nominated were clearly stipulated. The struggle that exists in the Christian community comes from newly founded ministries. A founder of a ministry carries Charismatic authority hence he has the autocratic power to appoint leaders below him usually without using the electoral process. He does not only have the power to hire but also to fire and his decision is final, RIGHT OR WRONG. Such authority does not exist in an established Denomination which has clear guidelines on the electoral process and regulations on disciplinary matters. Pastors operating in denominational settings are sometimes tempted to emulate Charismatic authority vested in the founder of a ministry. However, Charismatic leaders and founders of ministries do not live forever hence each ministry will always evolve from Charismatic authority to Bureaucratic authority. 
The case of the founding of the Apostolic Faith Mission (to which this writer belongs) is unique in that it did not necessarily evolve from Charismatic authority to Bureaucratic authority, neither did it evolve from autocracy to democracy. The determining factor of this is that the AFM was founded by a team of five Missionaries who encountered the Azusa Revival in Los Angeles, USA. They did not come with positions in mind. It was only plausible to apply the electoral process to elect a chief leader among equals in order to establish accountability protocols. But even within a system with bureaucratic authority, there are some individuals who have higher levels of charisma than others hence the existence of tensions between the two forces in play. This is also true of John Graham Lake who is more celebrated as the founder of AFM compared to his older counterpart and team player Thomas Hezmalhalch. But Church archival records show that the first Chairman and President of the AFM of South Africa was Thomas Hezmalhalch followed by John Graham Lake.
While the electoral process is the most democratic system of appointing leaders, it is imperative for the Church to continually have checks and balances so that this noble process does not mirror corrupt tendencies happening in the world. Well-meaning and God-honouring elections can easily be manipulated by both insiders and interested parties from outside. Manipulation of the electoral process by insiders or outsiders is evil because it hijacks a godly practice thus make it an abomination to the Lord. In conclusion I can safely say that free and fair elections in the Church are a means by which God appoints Church leaders into positions of responsibility. Therefore the electoral process exists to confirm those whom God appoints.

 
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Posted by on July 9, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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