Friday, July 13, 2018

Audacity of Miracles

Audacity of Miracles, Signs and wonders
The whole assembly became silent as they listened to Barnabas and Paul telling about the miraculous signs and wonders God had done among the Gentiles through them. Acts 15:12 NIV
It was some few years back I stumbled into a conference hosted by Church of Christ and the speaker was making much emphasis that miracles no longer happen today. He went further to explain that those who claim they speak in tongues, heal the sick and cast out demons are the deceivers and antichrist the bible warned us about. He made mockery and mimicked healing evangelists and preachers who claimed they cast out demons.
I sat quiet as he summarized his teaching. Fortunately he asked for questions and reactions to his presentation. I indicated by raising my hand and he generously obliged me. I said something like this –
“Sir, thank you for your wonderful teachings and I am especially impressed that you kept referring to the bible all through your lecture. I beg that you forgive me but I am among those that believe that God still performs miracles today; I speak in tongues and have personally driven out evil spirits in the name of Jesus Christ.
Yet, I don’t want it to be a matter of your words and mine; I see that some people in this auditorium are sick because there is a proof of it in their physical appearance. Would you accept a very simple challenge, so that God will vindicate Himself. I want to suggest that those who are sick of any ailment stand out in the center of this auditorium and let everyone who truly believes in Jesus Christ call down healing on all such.
If they all or some are healed we all will then accept that God still heals the sick today, but if none is healed, we conclude that God does not heal the sick today. I promise not to open my mouth to say anything, so that the prayer would have been said by only your members”.
There was silence in the hall and suddenly our teacher said, “We don’t allow that kind of thing here. We don’t put the Lord to the test”.
Then I said, “Is it that you are afraid that the truth will hurt your doctrine or…?”
“I said we don’t do it and we don’t try it”.
I sat quiet but at the end of the meeting many of their leaders thronged after me and most of them confessed that they know and have experienced that God still perform miracles today but were afraid to speak out.
Our text states that testimony of miracles silenced dogmatic argument. People can challenge your grammar but they can’t argue obvious manifestation of God’s power. Miracles, signs and wonders are God’s signature in our meetings.
Jesus Christ pleaded it as evidence He came from God
But if I do it, even though you do not believe me, believe the miracles, that you may know and understand that the Father is in me, and I in the Father John 10:38NIV
For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you,  because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction 1 Thess 1:4-5 NIV
Someone may ask, “Must everyone perform miracles?”
You don’t need to perform miracles but miracles, signs and wonders are proofs that God is in the meeting.
Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it. Mark 16:20NIV
When the crowds heard Philip and saw the miraculous signs he did, they all paid close attention to what he said.  With shrieks, evil spirits came out of many, and many paralytics and cripples were healed. 8 So there was great joy in that city. Acts 8:6-8 NIV
There are obviously counterfeit signs and wonders but that only proves that there are original and genuine signs and wonders
(to be continued)
Emma your brother @PNUR

Danger of Teaching 2

Danger of wrong Teachings – Laying on of Hands
But you have turned from the way and by your teaching have caused many to stumble; you have violated the covenant with Levi," says the Lord Almighty
 Mal 2:8NIV
They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm 1 Tim 1:7 NIV

When we teach what the bible never commanded we actually mislead the children of God and scripture is not silent about God’s displeasure over this. We don’t have to teach people from our views or past experiences or the opinion one great servant of God. The reason we are given the bible is to forestall such occurrences, yet many of us neglect the bible.
In continuing our discussion, we come to a very serious problem that is placing many believers in confusion – Laying on of Hands.
I was a guest preacher in a church and during prayer for the congregation, I beckoned on my host to step down and join me in praying for the people, but he refused. I thought he was having health challenges but I was later to discover that I was teaching something he felt was not TRUTH. One thing I do everywhere I minister is to maintain my emphasis from the bible. So in the cause of the program I taught expensively for five days from the bible. Somehow, this servant of God had closed his mind and was not willing to accept anything different from what he believed. I did not get the signal when he was bragging about great men of God he called his mentors.
The point was that I did not even know what God was using me to do until the members of the church began to give testimonies. This servant of God had boxed his members in with errors which he persuaded them to believe as the only and whole truth.
One would think that the subject of controversy was something very deep; it is LAYING ON OF HANDS. I would not need to mention this here if not for the ugly experience I had only yesterday. A woman had traveled from a distant part of Port Harcourt to see me for prayer. She spent much time asking questions and seeking direction from the Lord. When it was time to pray for her, I noticed that she drew back when I made to lay hand on her. She had been taught that she could contract evil spirits if a pastor laid hand on her during prayers. I was not offended because I have seen that several times but that meant I cut the prayers short and asked her to go and come back another time. Two can’t pray together and have result unless they agreed.
It is true that one can catch evil spirits if the wrong person laid hands on you, but the question should be, why did it happen? Did it happen because the Holy Spirit is not out to protect his own or because the seeker has not set out to seek the Lord but solution to her problem? Without being distracted by this question, let us see what the bible says about LAYING ON OF HANDS
Ten kinds of PAYING ON OF HANDS as taught by the bible
a.     For ordination – 1Tim5:22. This is actually the place these teachers teach out of context; they believe that the bible tells us not to lay hands on people otherwise we could contract their sins or they transfer their demons to us. I am still surprised that in this age of many different versions of scripture bible teaches still work in this error. Well, why won’t they, when many of them still believe that God never authorized any other version outside King James Version, hence they refuse to crosscheck other versions for clarity. But we “worldly” Christians will look at versions for clarity -

Never be in a hurry about appointing a church leader. Do not share in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure. NLT

Don't appoint people to church leadership positions too hastily. If a person is involved in some serious sins, you don't want to become an unwitting accomplice. In any event, keep a close check on yourself.  THE MESSAGE
This particular scripture is very specific to ordination or call to a place of leadership. It is not that King James version is wrong but that those who read did not understand
 Lay hands suddenly on no man, neither be partaker of other men's sins: keep thyself pure KJV
b.     For healing – Not only are we encouraged to lay hands on people for healing in Mark 16:18 but Jesus did so
When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, "Woman, you are set free from your infirmity. Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God. Indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath Luke 13:12-14 NIV
c.      For exorcism which is commonly called DELIVERANCE. Jesus laid hands on    people for healing and to drive out demons
When the sun was setting, the people brought to Jesus all who had various kinds of sickness, and laying his hands on each one, he healed them. 41 Moreover, demons came out of many people, shouting, "You are the Son of God!" But he rebuked them and would not allow them to speak, because they knew he was the Christ. Lk 4:40-41 NIV

d.     For infilling with the Holy Spirit – Apostles Peter and Paul laid hands on Christians for infilling of the Holy Spirit.
  Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. Acts 8:17 NIV
When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied Acts 19:6 NIV
e.      To commission for a new assignment – The Apostles laid hands on people given a new assignment who were ordained before
This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism. They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them     Acts 6:5-6NIV
f.       Impartation of spiritual gifts –
Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on you 1 Tim 4:14NIV
For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. 2 Tim 1:6 NIV
g.     Transfer of authority -  Moses transferred his authority to Joshua through laying on of hands
Now Joshua son of Nun was filled with the spirit of wisdom because Moses had laid his hands on him. So the Israelites listened to him and did what the Lord had commanded Moses  Deut 34:9  NIV
h.     Transfer of office. The above scripture can hold this too but they have different meanings; some one can transfer his authority on a person he sends on assignment for a particular purpose in a given time without giving up the office. Moses transferred his authority and office at this given time
i.       Transfer of blessings –
But Israel reached out his right hand and put it on Ephraim's head, though he was the younger, and crossing his arms, he put his left hand on Manasseh's head, even though Manasseh was the firstborn. Then he blessed Joseph and said,….. Gen 48:14-15NIV
j.       Transfer of sin –
"'If the anointed priest sins, bringing guilt on the people, he must bring to the Lord a young bull without defect as a sin offering for the sin he has committed.  He is to present the bull at the entrance to the Tent of Meeting before the Lord. He is to lay his hand on its head and slaughter it before the Lord. Lev 4:3-4 NIV
It is obvious from the above scriptures that the only instance the bible warns us on laying on of hands is in the area of calling people to places of leadership. Unfortunately, this is the place Christian leaders do with laxity; we put people in places of leadership without caution hence the many confusing activities in the Body of Christ.
(To be continued)
Emma your brother @PNUR

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Dangers to Teaching 1

Dangers to Teaching
Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly James 3:1 NIV
It has been observed that our human nature runs at variance to what God desires; in another way put, we often rush for things God would wish that we avoid.
I have watched in dismay as preachers try to pass on what they consider to be truth; some of these teachers say with much emphasis some things I am very convinced to be false. The above scripture seem to warn genuine believers, not false teachers, about the danger of teaching things that we don’t really understand or have not crosschecked with other scriptures. It states that the matter is not over after the teaching but there is imminent judgment for presumed teachers. Below is an example of this kind of teaching and teachers.
Some men came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the brothers: "Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved. Acts 15:1 NIV
Observe that these brethren that came from Judea paid their airfare and sacrificed their precious time to do what they believe was God’s work. I believe that if they died in the process, their families and friends will think they died in service to God. They felt there were things going on in the churches that needed to be checked. It is also interesting that they were ready to stand up for their beliefs and argue to logical conclusion to persuade others to see reason with them. But below is the effect and result of their efforts.
We have heard that some went out from us without our authorization and disturbed you, troubling your minds by what they said Acts 15:24 NIV
1.     They disturbed the peace of a thriving church – Barnabas and Paul were taking time to establish this young church, they were making sacrifices and in the words of Apostle James, they were risking their lives. but these zealous brothers came in and disturbed the peace of the church and turned attention from the central gospel and building up of the saints to arguments about rituals and methods
2.     Troubled their minds – The minds of these brethren in Antioch was at peace as they celebrated their salvation and sat down to learn more about Christ and His ways, but these zealous teachers troubled their minds. In today’s modern English, they confused them. The believers were no longer sure about their salvation or whether God has really forgiven and accepted them in His Kingdom. They were no longer sure whether the Blood of Jesus was enough for the debt of their sins
3.     They also interrupted what God had started in the lives of the new converts through Barnabas and Paul. They interrupted a process of progress
4.     They distracted Paul and Barnabas because we read in the account that they had to leave their duty post to go and tidy up issues about their teachings
Today, there are a lot of zealous people who don’t want believers to go to hellfire from the church. As good as that intention is but I personally discovered that a lot of lies are told about death, visit to hellfire and resurrection. One of such men pirated my book and manipulated some things in it just to pass his message.
Must we lie to help God? Must we add to His word to assist Him get souls saved? Must we deceive people with false experiences to scare people to accept Christ? When did the simple message of the gospel of the Cross lose its power, so that we need falsehood to assist it?
There are also those who would warn us about the danger of use of earrings, necklaces and wearing of trousers by women. Like the above group, this group also manipulates scriptures, twist a little here and a little there just to get to their point. This group also target new converts that are trying to get stabilized and teach them that those who labor daily to establish them are only leading them to hellfire.
There are also the GRACE group that target new converts in Holiness churches and advice them to stop listening to those who teach them to avoid sin. They encourage them to retain their old ways of life as God is too merciful to punish a sinner.
There is this other group that attacks other believers who exercise their spiritual gifts in helping believers; they major in attacking the concept of deliverance and healing. One of such in this group is Andrew Wommack, he must be very rich because he has managed to spread his books in Nigeria bookstores and at very cheap prices. I can feel the fire in his bones but honestly I feel sorry for this brother. Like those brethren from Judea he has been making a lot of sacrifices but only ends up confusing new converts who are trying to find their footing in the Christian faith
All these zealous people rarely go to unbelievers to make their converts and then teach their “great revelation”; NO, they target those whom others have won over
Like the people in our text, these people mean no harm but they cause harm all the same. It is now understandable why we are warned that we should not rush to become teachers. I was in a church in Bamenda in Cameroon while a young man was teaching a group of youths what he claimed he got by revelation from the Holy Spirit. At a point, I am sorry to confess, I interrupted him openly and made him to understand that what he was teaching was not scripture. I wounded his ego but I saved the Body of Christ
That brings us to an important issue; do we train those we send to train others? Somebody would argue, “They won’t sit down to be taught.”
Ok. But is there an ordered program for those who would want to be taught? Do we teach the whole bible or do we just pick from the scriptures what we want them to hear? In our center in Port Harcourt, we don’t piece up the bible books. We take the bible, book after book. We don’t skip any verse or discussion. In this way we are able to encounter every area of scripture’
(to be continued)
Emma your brother @PNUR

Monday, July 2, 2018

Don't Let Them Fool You

Patient dogs have never eaten the fattest bone anywhere in the world
“Slow and steady” has never won any race anywhere in the world
Don’t believe them when they say there is no competition in destiny; Jacob was destined to rule over Esau but go read your bible and you will see that he bowed down seven times before Esau
You were perhaps told that what you don’t know will not know you, meaning that evil only locate evil people. That is rubbish! Good people are dying every day for what they know nothing about
Did somebody tell you to be the best of yourself? The best of your self is ZERO. You are promoted over and above somebody
There is only one Secretary General of United Nations Organization – the world can’t have two
There is only one Secretary General of African Union – Africa can’t have two
There is only one President of your country – your country can’t have two
There is only one Governor of your State – Your State can’t have two
There is only one Chairman of the multinational company where you work – they can’t have two
Hear me; you are not created to be the best of yourself. You were created to be best over other people.
You are alive because you won a battle over more than six million sperms injected into your mother’s body. Those other sperms had equal capacity and opportunity to become humans but you won and so are alive today.
You will not get anywhere until you outdo somebody’s record and abilities
When people are promoted they take somebody’s place, even in the church.
Don’t believe them when they tell you that you have to beat only your record. If you will beat only your record you will be a LOCAL CHAMPION.
What they teach you is rooted in Karma which in itself is rooted in idolatry. It is a class-system ideology where people are taught to remain what their karma detects for them. So if your father is a gateman, you become the best of the son of a gateman. If your mother is a poor street trader, you become the best of the daughter of a street trader.
Shout, “God forbid!” three times.
This was probably what your father believed and so could not reach to the height ordinary determination could have gotten him. Perhaps your mother believed those trashes and could not push out of the chains of “Nobodyness”. So you inherited a life which is only a product of their own definition.
You may not be a champion today, but if you work hard, you can be one tomorrow
You may not be multimillionaire today but you have all it takes to be the richest man in the world
Life is battle, brother
Life is battle, sister
Life is battle, young man
Life is battle, my lady
The only mistake Cain made in the bible was that he wanted to erase the competition; he meant to take down the rival so that the world and God will have no choice but to manage him.
That is very bad; let your rival be there, but prove to him and the world that you are better. Don’t poison him, don’t try to kill her. Just put up a fight!
That is what it means to be CHAMPION
Get up from there and get busy with the battle of life
If you lose, you get lost
You just must win and don’t accept that it is over until you are declared the winner
Happy New Month
Emma your brother @PNUR