The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows

Before Jesus left his disciples he warned them about the world, “…In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” –John 16:33. Jesus did not live for himself but for the glory of God, and when he thus live for God’s glory he met with many troubles and finally was killed (though he rose again on the third day). He called every person to follow him for he alone was the way to the father. If Jesus experienced trouble in the world everyone will also face challenges in the world. Trouble does not only come to those who break the law of the land or those who do wrong things. As long as we are trying to live for the glory of God, that means as long as we try to live our purposes out, the way God had created us to live, we will face trouble.  I saw a clip on youtube by Rocky Balboa that sends this message in modern terms.

by Rocky Balboa

Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard ya hit. It’s about how hard you can get it and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done! Now if you know what you’re worth then go out and get what you’re worth. But ya gotta be willing to take the hits, and not pointing fingers saying you ain’t where you wanna be because of him, or her, or anybody! Cowards do that and that ain’t you! You’re better than that!

Why is the Charismatic Movement Thriving in Africa?

[This is an article from Pastor Conrad Mbwe who leads the Baptist Church in Zambia from Kabwata.]

Many explanations have been given for the explosion of the Charismatic movement in Africa. Many have seen this as a powerful visitation of the Holy Spirit. Whereas there is probably more than one reason, I want to add my own observation to this for what it is worth. In this blog post, I do not refer to the old conservative form of Pentecostalism once represented by the Assemblies of God churches. I have in mind the current extreme form that is mushrooming literally under every shrub and tree in Africa. How can one explain this phenomenon?

I think that one reason why the Charismatic movement in Africa has been like a wild bushfire is because it has not challenged the African religious worldview but has instead adopted it. It has simply baptised it with Bible verses and Christian words that previously meant something totally different.

The African Spiritual Worldview

Let me explain what I mean. The African spiritual worldview consists of four tiers.

1. God
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2. Angels and demons
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3. Ancestral spirits
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4. Human beings

It is because of this reality that Africans do not question the existence of God, as is the case with many people in the Western world. To an African, God is there. He is the Creator and ultimate Governor and Benefactor of the whole universe.

Rather, in our spiritual worldview, although God is there he is very far away. Between him and us as human beings lie two layers in the spirit world. One is that of angels and demons (i.e. bad angels) and the other—which is even closer to us—is that of the spirits of the departed.

So, although God is a benevolent, loving, and caring Being, unless the beings that dwell in these two layers that lie between him and us are appeased, his blessings cannot reach us. It is, therefore, important to appease the ancestral spirits and defeat the demons. Only after that will God’s blessings come upon us.

This is where in African traditional religions witchdoctors come in. They are the people with the mysterious power to break through these two layers. They tell us what we must do in order to appease the spirits of our forefathers. They also engage the demons for us through their midnight trances, dances, and incense.

So, a person who is beset with perennial illnesses, failing to get a job, failing to find a spouse or to have children, whose business is failing to thrive, etc., simply goes to the witchdoctor who alone has the key to look into the spirit world. He is told that it is either a deceased person or an evil spirit who is frustrating him.

Sometimes the enemy is a person who is alive. However, the reason why this living individual seems to have a mysterious hold over your life is because he has plugged into those two layers (of either dead ancestors or evil spirits) and you have not. With the help of a powerful witchdoctor you can outsmart him in those two layers, and the blessings of God can once again begin to flow into your life.

Whichever way, the power of the witchdoctor is not in explaining truth but in mindless frenzy. His grip upon the popular mind is his eerie mysteriousness and his capacity to knock you out of your senses and then pronounce you delivered. Of course, this is never done by benevolence. You pay for his services.

The Charismatic Movement’s Rendition

I do not mean to be unkind, but what the modern Charismatic movement in Africa has done is to simply take this entire erroneous superstructure of African religious worldview and baptise it with wrongly applied Bible verses and Christian language. The only difference is that the layer of dead ancestors and evil spirits is now one hotchpotch of confusion. This is why the nonsense of demons becoming spirit husbands and wives, and wrecking havoc in marriages, is taken for granted! This is also why the heresy of generation curses has become so popular. In our minds, bad luck can be passed on from that layer of dead ancestors.

In the African Charismatic circles, the “man of God” has replaced the witchdoctor. He is the one who oozes with mysterious power that enables him to break through those two impregnable layers, which us lesser mortals cannot penetrate. So, when blessings are not flowing our way despite our prayers, we make a beeline to his quarters or his church for help. This explains the throngs in these circles. The crowds are not looking for someone to explain to them the way to find pardon with God. No! They want the “man of God” to pray for them.

This also explains the stranglehold that “men of God” have on the minds of their devotees in these circles. In the Evangelicalism of a former generation “men of God” were primarily preachers of the word of God, but in the new setup they are primarily priests who enter the inner sanctuaries to bring down blessings to us.

This also explains why the answer to almost any problem that you take to these “men of God” is “deliverance” and “breakthrough”. God wants to bless you, but you need to break through these impregnable layers before those blessings can reach you. The prayers of the “man of God” will bring deliverance because at the overnight prayer meeting or on the hill he will bring about a breakthrough. Who can doubt that these two phrases have become the key words of this movement?

This also explains why prayer in the modern Charismatic movement in Africa is literally a fight. In fact, the people praying are called “prayer warriors”. Although they begin by addressing God, within the first few seconds they divert from God and begin to fight the spirits in these impregnable layers with their bare knuckles. The language is almost always, “We bind every unclean spirit in Jesus’ name! We loose the Spirit that breaks the yoke in Jesus’ name!”

The “prayer warriors” scream at the top of their voices and chant the name of Jesus. They sweat as they put up a gallant fight with these spirits, straining every muscle of their beings until they prevail (so they think). That is when they reach through to God and his blessings begin to flow. This is nothing more than the African traditional religious worldview sprinkled with a thin layer of Christianity.

Notice also how teaching is not the strength of the modern Charismatic movement in Africa. Its chief proponents survive on a few, well-worn, tortured verses: “By his stripes we are healed,” “We are not the tail but the head,” etc. There is absolutely no effort to properly exegete Scripture. Rather, by chanting phrases and making people drop under some trance, in witchdoctor fashion, they are holding sway over the popular mind. The people love it and are paying for it! The “men of God” are becoming stinking rich as the crowds just keep on coming.

This is not Christianity

What worries me is that this is so obvious that I am wondering why we are not seeing this. Or if we are, why we are not warning Christians against this. For the love of crowds, we have allowed African traditional religion to enter the church through the back door. Like the Arabian camel, it has since kicked out the truth. This is why I am not excited by the multiplication of churches—or ministries—under this banner.

We need to sound the warning that this is not Christianity. I know that this approach is filling our church buildings and classrooms to overflowing, until we have to multiply church services in order to accommodate the crowds. But this is not Christianity. It does not lead to heaven. It is a thin coating over the religion that has been on African soil for time immemorial, which Christianity was meant to replace. We have lost the Christian faith while we are holding the Bible in our hands and using some of its words. This is really sad.

The religion of the Bible does not teach a God who is so far away from us that unless some powerful humans come in and give us a breakthrough he cannot bless us. No! The Bible teaches a God who is near us. The only barrier between God and us is our sin, and Jesus has dealt with that by his death on the cross.

When we pray, we are in the throne room of divine grace talking directly to God. We do not need to address demons and ancestral spirits before we break through to him. We do not need to chant and jump around like witchdoctors around their fire under the midnight moonlight. God is our heavenly Father. Only our sin can hinder our prayers.

Listen! Angels and demons exist, but they are not an impregnable spiritual strata that needs someone reeking with anointing to breakthrough their layer before we can access God’s blessing. They are simply beings that either carry out God’s commands or the devil’s commands. They are not between God and us!

Finally, we do not need “men of God” to lay hands on us every Sunday (or at Friday overnight prayer meetings, or on hills in the outskirts of our cities) in order for us to know God’s blessings. There is only one Mediator between God and us—it is the man, Christ Jesus. All others are imposters and must be rejected with the contempt they deserve.

Little things…

I saw this beautiful picture from the internet and decided to keep it for myself. I like it because it challenges me, i am a person who like big things and therefore i tend to take for granted things i consider little. For example when i started having bible studies with a student at Wits University, i regarded that task as a little thing, and hence did not put much effort in terms of prayer and faith that God could work mightily.  Jesus once said, if one cannot be trusted with little how can they be trusted with much.  My psychology works like this, if someone gave me one cent or two cents to keep safeguard for them, i would not really take them serious as compared to if they gave me 1Mil dollars to keep. Jesus though he was sent by God, came from above, could raise the dead to life, saw and experienced God’s holiness, yet he came down to live among mankind he came to save mankind from their  fundamental problem of sin (rebellion against God)  through laying down his own life for sinners. Though sometimes he would preach before crowds yet we also find him expression great compassion to individuals, though he had limited time in his human body on earth yet he served each person one by one…if i was in his shoes i don’t think i would have had time for one person i would be anxious to only speak to crowds so i could reach more people with the good news, i would consider only reaching one person a little thing considering the limited time Jesus had…so indeed God works through little things…out of the twelve disciples Jesus chose the world today is growing in the knowledge of God.

like Batman said in the movie Dark Knight Returns, “A hero can be anyone. Even a man doing something as simple and reassuring as putting a coat around a little boy’s shoulders to let him know that the world hadn’t ended.”

CONTENT

Prayer, The Holy Spirit And Boldness

This video caught my attention, i just like the way Francis Chan is so literal with the bible.  I have been bothered with the current Sunday messages i have been hearing at my church. I have been complaining within my heart, comparing the messages with what i hear else where, hoping that the Sunday messages would get more deeper and be filled with power.  However from listening to this video i realize that i am the one who has to repent. I have not been praying for the Sunday messages and even when i do get the chance to,  this video made me realize i was not really praying by faith. I was just praying out of a routine as a Christian who should pray for Sunday messengers.  This video reminds me of the things i have been asking myself.

1. How come the disciples in the bible are filled with power and a sacrificial spirit to do the work of God. It seems like they have something i do not have, as if they have seem something i have not seem.
2. I do think that i believe what the bible teaches, however how come i i feel so lazy and without zeal to present the gospel to others.
3. So i think my sin is more zealous, i am loosing trust in what the bible is teaching.

Anyways, this video really talks some sense to me. I just love it when i listen to something or someone and they just make the bible exciting and an up to date living book. It looks like there is great fear among believers, a form of distrust in God and this is revealed through the messages and our everyday lives. Many of us find it difficult or hard to testify the gospel to others. The very gospel i testify to have revealed the salvation work of God to save sinners like myself. The gospel which Paul taught that it was the very power of God to save. However apostle Paul did not trust in his human abilities or strength(not even the fears he felt) “Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel.” Firstly, the apostle believed in prayer, not in his strength or placed confidence in the future ministry based on the success of the spiritual victories in his past. When he prayed he believed that God could indeed grant him boldness and a fearlessness to preach the gospel. And the fact that he even mentions fear also alludes to what he himself could have been experiencing when he had to preach the gospel. Yet he put all his trust in God, he understood what needed to be done, he also understood that the power was all from God. Secondly, (this one i struggle from the most) he also believed in the power of the prayer of the believers, hence his prayer request is directed towards the believers. The unity of the believers is power for when they pray together they can unleash and extend the evangelistic work of God across the globe. The apostle had that faith. This video is just nice…

Don’t Give up…

By Jon Bloom

“Here is a call for the endurance of the saints” (Revelation 14:12).

We all long for rest and refreshment. That’s a God-given longing that he promises to fulfill: “I will satisfy the weary soul, and every languishing soul I will replenish” (Jeremiah 31:25).

And in a very real way Jesus gives rest to “all who labor and are heavy laden” and come to him (Matthew 11:28). But in this age, it is not the complete rest.

In this age, Jesus grants us the gospel rest of ceasing the impossible labor of self-atonement for our sins (2 Corinthians 5:21). But in embracing the gospel we find ourselves also drafted into a war — a war to keep believing the gospel and a war to spread it to others. In this age we “strive to enter that [complete] rest” of the age to come (Hebrews 4:11).

And wars are exhausting — especially long ones. That’s why you are often tired. Most soldiers who experience the fierceness of combat want to get out of it. That’s why you feel urges to escape or surrender. That’s why there are times you’re tempted to give up.

But don’t give up. No, rather “take courage! Do not let your hands be weak, for your work shall be rewarded” (2 Chronicles 15:7).

Don’t give up when that familiar sin, still crouching at your door after all these years, pounces again with temptation.

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it (1 Corinthians 10:13).

Don’t give up when you feel that deep soul weariness from long battles with persistent weaknesses.

“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me (2 Corinthians 12:8–9).

Don’t give up when your long prayed-for prayers have not yet been answered.

And he told them [the parable of the persistent widow] to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart (Luke 18:1).

Don’t give up when the devil’s fiery darts of doubt land and make you reel.

Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day…in all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one (Ephesians 6:13,16).

Do not give up when the fragmenting effect of multiple pressures seems relentless.

But as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger . . . (2 Corinthians 6:4–5).

Do not give up when the field the Lord has assigned you to is hard and the harvest does not look promising:

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. (Galatians 6:9)

Do not give up when you labor in obscurity and you wonder how much it even matters.

Your Father who sees in secret will reward you (Matthew 6:4).

Do not give up when your reputation is damaged because you are trying to be faithful to Jesus.

Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account (Matthew 5:11).

Do not give up when waiting on God seems endless.

Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. (Isaiah 40:30–31)

Don’t give up when you have failed in sin. Don’t wallow. Repent (again), get your eyes off yourself and back on Jesus, get up and get back in the fight.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9); if we are faithless, he remains faithful — for he cannot deny himself (2 Timothy 2:13).

Jesus knows your works (Revelation 2:2) and he understands the war (Hebrews 12:3). “Fight the good fight of the faith” (1 Timothy 6:12). Finish the race (2 Timothy 4:7). “By your endurance you will gain your lives” (Luke 21:19).

Don’t give up.

Jon Bloom is President of Desiring God, which he and John Piper launched together in 1994. He lives in the Twin Cities with his wife, Pam, their five children, and one naughty dog.

I just added a bit of this video i found from YouTube that i think demonstrates the spirit of not giving up…this event occurred at the Barcelona 1992 Olympics.

My Visit Home

Its been a while since i wrote on my blog. Though i am writing in little time i try something. Well i was able to go to South Africa and stayed for almost a month . My first three days were consumed by a bible conference in Johannesburg. The conference was very graceful and the spotlight was one of the brothers who felt convinced in his heart that God has called him to go to Mozambique as a missionary. He delivered a message based on the book of Acts, his message theme was, “But you will receive power when the holy spirit comes on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

Bible Conference Night fire…(August 10-12)

His message was so graceful as it had a stamp of his conviction to go to Mozambique as a missionary. I was also happy to see my brothers and sisters whom i used to have fellowship with, it was so good to see all of us joined together for one hope, to know God and live for his glory. The theme of the conference was, “you will be my witnesses”, this is what Jesus Christ left the believers with before he returned to heaven to the father. We also heard great and wonderful testimonies which testified that Jesus indeed is alive and is working the hearts of many raise them as witnesses of God’s glory and love.  While in Johannesburg i stayed with my friend and brother Desmond, he took good care of me, took me to wherever i wanted to go, i am very thankful. I was also able to see my brother Sekwati, though i spent little time with, he is very busy, sometimes i worry for him he is just too busy. Now i will stop here regarding the conference otherwise this page will never be enough…

Cultural dance filled with gospel message

I was also able to see my family, i was introduced to my nephew and niece (Amogelang and Kabo) see their beautiful picture below.

My Nephew and Niece

From this point i realized that whether i like it or not i am a leader, my other nephew Moipone already looks up to me,  i have to be careful on what i speak and how i speak, she can see the things i love and the things i am not pleased with. On Sunday i  was able to visit the church they go to. I will not say much with regards to that Sunday so that i do not end up discrediting my own words. All in all in the little time i had with them it was joyous. So that i may have this in record, when i arrived at home it did not feel like home as i had expected. In fact i was even afraid to open the fridge as if i was in someone’s house. I was just sitting there as if i was a guest, however thankfully with time it came back to me that i was at home even though i had to keep convincing myself that i was at home.

There were some sad things, i head of some schools being burnt due to a strike for social services, this took me aback, i could not believe that a community could do such a thing. I understand the strike, but burning of the schools was just not the way.  Anyways whom am i say anything at this moment, education is a building block you do not burn a building block down in the name of building a society…come on eish. Its like shooting yourself on the foot, one man said, the community thinks that the government is doing them a favor. Another thing that i could not understand in Kuruman was the many cars we own. Mind you these were not just cars but nice cars, it was as if Kuruman was Klerksdorp or Johannesburg. This to me did not look right, i mean the buildings in Kuruman have not changed, the roads are still the same, yet nice cars all over the show. To me it looks like a man who is dressed up well yet at home has nothing. As if like a man/woman who continues to grow rich yet does not help those close to him/her. I head a story about two guys who worked at a mine, both of them got a salary increase. One of them started looking at investments and the other was looking at the latest cars on the net. I do not want to racialize this use, however the one who was looking for the latest cars happens to be a black guy..lol. Imean one of the indicators that something is wrong in our society is the increased crime, increased car accidents, strikes that results in the burning of schools and locking school gates so that school kids may not be educated. I wish to talk more on this issue as i said i have limited time…let me stick to the good nice stuff…my grannyyys…

I was also able to see my two grannies…from my fathers side and my mothers side.

Both of them live in Mafikeng.

The great people of the earth…

“The great people of the earth today are the people who pray! I do not mean those who talk about prayer; nor those who say they believe in prayer; nor those who explain prayer; but I mean those who actually take the time to pray. They have not time. It must be taken from something else. That something else is important, very important and pressing, but still, less important and pressing than prayer. There are people who put prayer first, and group the other items in life’s schedule around and after prayer. These are the people today who are doing the most for God in winning souls, in solving problems, in awakening churches, in supplying both men and money for mission posts, in keeping fresh and strong their lives far off in sacrificial service on the foreign field, where the thickest fighting is going on, and in keeping the old earth sweet a little while longer.” S.D. Gordon