Sunday, April 29, 2012

Seasons Of Change

A contemplative presentation below set mostly to Ecclesiates 3 and a classical piece " Adagio, for violin, strings and organ in G minor". Composer Samuel Barber.

Ecclesiates 3:1-8

1) To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
2) A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted 
3) A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4) A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5) A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6) A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
7) A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8) A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Elevating Angels

The article below was received via email through Andrew Strom's ministry.


- Charisma Magazine.
-Jennifer LeClaire.

I recently heard a prophetic word that described an angelic visitation. Of course, I am all for angelic visitations. Both the Old and New Testament offer plenty of examples of angels appearing to peopleto deliver heavenly messages. But this angel apparently had a creative name. Its name was supposedly "Safe Passage."

It grieves me that we have to go around this mountain yet again in the body of Christ. Wasn´t the controversy over Emma - the female angel who purportedly started the modern-day prophetic movement -enough to put an end to this sort of nonsense? Apparently not.

Let me be clear: There is no angel named Emma and there is no angel named Safe Passage - and it´s assignment is not to escort you safely into new opportunities or to clear fearsome corners and honor your unsung courage.

However, if you Google the keywords "angel safe passage," you might see where a misguided prophetic pen could draw such erroneous inspiration. There´s a Safe Passage playing card that´s a prominent "white angel" in a Dungeons & Dragons-style game. In this context, "Safe Passage" is a sorcerer. On the more benign side, "Safe Passage" was the title of a script for a 1997 episode of Touched by an Angel. Either way, there is no God-sent angel named Safe Passage.

It just so happened that when I stumbled upon the so-called revelation of this angel named Safe Passage I was already studying the topic of angels. In fact, I was in the midst of reading Dr. Lester Sumrall´s Angels to Help You for a second time. Sumrall offered abundant Scripture about the reality of angels, the categories of angels-including their names and ranks - whatangels do, what angels know, angels and prophecy, what kind of people receive angelic service, and much more.

Angels are real. Angels are mentioned 108 times in the Old Testament and 165 times in the New Testament. Angels are messengers. Angels are innumerable. The Bible mentions three angels by name: Michael, Gabriel and Lucifer. But beyond that, you have to go to religions like Zoroastrianism to find the names of angels.

Zoroastrianism, also called Mazdaism, is a religion based on a self-styled prophet named Zoroaster (also known as Avestan or Zarathustra). Zoroastrianism was once among the largest religions in the world, a political power in pre-Islamic Iran. Mazdaism believers prayed to angels like Ameretat, Asha Vahishta and Vohu Mano for protection.

In modern times, the New Age movement has an A-to-Z list of named angels, some of which are supposedly rooted in Scripture. There´s Abdiel, the professed "Angel of Faith." At the end of the New Age list, you´ll find Zuriel, the "Angel of Harmony" who has dominion over the sun sign of Libra.

As you can see, false teaching about angels has been circulating the world since before Christ was born and well after He ascended to the right hand of the Father. False teachings about angels was an issue in the early church and it´s an issue in the end-time church. "And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light" (2 Cor. 11:14).

Paul had an apostolic message for those who hyper-focused on angels and their "teachings" at the expense of exalting Christ. Paul was so bold as to say that if he - or an angel from heaven -preached any other gospel than the gospel of Christ he should be accursed (Gal. 1:8). Those are pretty strong words and ones that should be heeded before we preach sermons or pen articles that exalt angels.

Paul also said, "Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from God" (Col. 2:18-19).

Matthew Henry, an 18th century minister whose well-known commentary provides an exhaustive verse-by-verse study of the Bible, gets to the root of such angel exaltation: "They advanced those notions to gratify their own carnal fancy, and were fond of being thought wiser than other people. Pride is at the bottom of a great many errors and corruptions, and even of many evil practices, which have great show and appearance of humility."

Yes, angels are ministering spirits sent forth to minister to those who will inherit salvation (Heb. 1:14). That´s us! Angels are sent to execute God´s Word. By revelation of the Holy Spirit, David wrote, "Bless the Lord, you His angels, who excel in strength, who do His word, heeding the voice of His word" (Ps.103:20). Angels stand ready to obey the Word of God and bring it to pass.

Yes, in a way angels may help provide us with safe passage. When we make the Lord our dwelling place, no evil shall befall us nor shall any plague come near our dwelling; for He shall give His angels charge over us, to keep us in all our ways. In their hands they shall bear us up, lest we dash our foot against a stone (Psalm 91:9-12). But there is no angel named Safe Passage, at least none of God´s angels.

One last thought: John mistakenly fell down to worship at the feet of an angel who had shown him the revelations he recorded in the book of Revelation. The angel immediately told him to worship God (Rev. 22:8-9). We don´t know the name of this angel. If it were important, the Holy Spirit would have revealed it. I suppose some in the modern church would name him "Revelation," - some may even claim "Revelation" is a female - and that would be yet another error.

Let me end with the words of Jesus Himself: "Take heed that no one deceives you... for false christs and false prophets will rise and show signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect" (Mk 13:5; 22). Amen. -Jennifer LeClaire, news editor, Charisma

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Music In The Church

Interesting article on music (secular and Christian) in the Church below---it offers a lot of points to contemplate. Myself, I have no problem with some different genres of music if it Christian oriented and/or clean, but as the author eloquently expounds upon, what is the end motivation of this music? Is it to appeal to the flesh, generating crowds to be entertained? Unfortunately, too often the answer is yes! Also, interesting to note the Western world influence upon Nigerian churches. This article has got me thinking....

Nigeria: Rock Music and the Rock of Ages
By Femi Aribisala

I walked into the City of David parish of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Lagos, for the very first time and was surprised to hear the choir playing the theme song from the blockbuster movie, Mission Impossible III. Don't get me wrong; the choir was excellent. But you start to wonder if you are not actually at a pop-concert as opposed to a church.

Newspring Church in Anderson, South Carolina (USA) even upped the ante. It was reported in the news that they started a church-service with the song Brick House by the Commodores. Part of the lyrics of the song goes like this: "The clothes she wears, the sexy ways, make an old man wish for younger days. She knows she's built and knows how to please. Sure enough to knock a man to his knees." How in heaven's name can anyone think such a song is appropriate in a church of all places? But then churches are no longer what they are supposed to be.

According to The Telegraph, Pastor Sunday Adelaja of Embassy of God, Kiev, Ukraine encourages his congregants to "shake their booty and praise the Lord." Reporting on one of his services, the new-spaper observes that: "As 'Pastor Sunday' prepared to make a grand entrance, the choirgirls shook their pompoms, the disco lights started to flash and a fanfare sounded. The lights cut out, and Mr. Adelaja emerged from a shroud of dry ice. Children holding flags of the world wafted round him and the choir bellowed 'Sanctus!'"

What exactly is happening here? Is it a worship service or a rock concert? Is Christ the bright and morning star or is the pastor the sup-erstar? I daresay some churches have gone astray.

Babylonian songs

In the single-minded pursuit of size and numerical growth, new-generation churches have re-configured the church-service into a show-business where men come to be entertained on Sundays for the "gate-fee" of an offering. The thinking is that by spiritualising popular music, the church becomes more attractive to unbelievers.

The danger in this approach is that the modern church becomes increasingly worldly. The playing of secular music in churches does not facilitate the conversion of the lost. Indeed, music is never used in scripture as a means of reaching the lost. Instead, music is primarily used as a means of reaching God, because the Lord inhabits the praises of his people. (Psalm 22: 3). However, God is not likely to be reached through "urban contemporary gospel." Jesus said to the Samaritan woman: "God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." (John 4:24).

Click here to continue reading:

Monday, April 9, 2012

Racism Still Exists In America

Yes, that "taboo" subject on a major social problem people often ignore, and some claim no longer exists is dominating headlines again. Racism. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the President of Iran claims the Holocaust did not exist despite all the evidence--concentration camps, photos, documents, etc. Racism still exists in the United States, and true, progress has been made in the past several decades--but not enough. Stereotypes abound and racial profiling abound. Racial hatred is a dangerous thing.

Let me give my take on the Trayvon Martin’s case. I think there is a big problem for a person to track a stranger down and confront him because he is walking along a street. I think it is a very reasonable assertion to believe racial profiling may be at play here. Furthermore, I can say with absolute conviction-- if both parties were white, black, green or yellow;, I believe George Zimmerman should had been arrested. Judging from the video, it does not align itself to Zimmerman's account of the events that night. An unarmed teen carrying tea and Skittles is now dead--his life cut short. Trayvon Martin was no doubt alarmed when Zimmerman approached him. Would you be alarmed if some brawny unauthorized fellow came up to you demanding questions in a confrontational manner?

But laying the emerging facts and evidence surrounding this particular case aside, I am amazed at the hostility this has generated by some folks because people are demonstrating and calling for justice regarding Martin's case. Hostility has erupted because Americans are once again discussing racism--I think discussion is a good thing. Racism has been an issue often ignored in the Church and in the United States today.

1 John 2:9-11

9) He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now.
10) He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him.
11) But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes.

Many black churches were instrumental in mobilizing people into the Civil Rights movement. These churches played a tremendous role in dialogue, orchestrating marches, and appealing to people to contemplate their prejudiced attitudes. Martin Luther King and fellow demonstrators were mocked, ridiculed, and berated--indeed, history often repeats itself. Because people like Al Sharpton and Jessie Jackson are questioning Trayvon Martin's killing, and demanding answers does not make them inciters of violence, nor does it fuel a bad fire. The hornets’ nest was there long before Trayvon Martin was killed. What is getting the goat of many, including some church leaders, is the necessity of dealing with the "question" of racism. Appearances sake could also be at play --racism never looks good for a community. Yet, give people enough credit to discern that a particular individual acting on hatred in one area does not make everyone a hater in a specific locale. Nevertheless, specific organizations in certain areas may have discriminatory practices or prejudices which need be addressed.

Recently, 5 people--all black were shot in Tulsa, Oklahoma by two white people. One of the shooters used racial expletives on Facebook--you know the N-word. His father was shot by a black man nearly or on two years before to the date of these crimes. Three of the victims were killed, two survived wounded. If this shooters father had been killed by a white man, would he began to target his own race--whites in revenge? No. The racial hatred was already embedded in his heart and soul.

Racial hatred is a dangerous thing. Not just for the victims either. When you stand before the throne of Almighty God, you will give an account for your actions, and for what was in your heart when you were upon this earth. Through His grace and power, people can overcome racial hatred, but it takes a deep look into oneself, and a first step towards acknowledgement.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Ever Merciful Lamb Of God

Luke 23:32-43

32) And there were also two other, malefactors, led with him to be put to death.
33) And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left.
34) Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.
35) And the people stood beholding. And the rulers also with them derided him, saying, He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the chosen of God.
36) And the soldiers also mocked him, coming to him, and offering him vinegar,
37) And saying, If thou be the king of the Jews, save thyself.
38) And a superscription also was written over him in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew, THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.
39) And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.
40) But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?
41) And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.
42) And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.
43) And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.

Romans 10:9-10

9) that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
10) For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.