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The 'prophets' who take advantage of promoting the phrase of God – TimesLIVE



There’s a scrumptious comic story doing the rounds. Why didn’t Shepherd Bushiri use SA Airlines to skip the rustic? As a result of SAA is a non-prophet airline.
Bushiri — web price about R2.3bn — no doubt didn’t leave SA on his personal Gulfstream III trade jet, as this is these days within the fingers of the Asset Forfeiture Unit.
Alternatively, why would a person who has time and again instructed his flock that he “walks on air” want an get away jet anyway? The Hawks will have to had been having a look up.
Both means, the Bushiri birds will most likely be again of their coop to face trial on fees of fraud and money-laundering. In keeping with Malawi minister of knowledge Gospel Kazako, Bushiri and Mary, his spouse and alleged associate, have been arrested however have been launched on Thursday pending forms from SA. “We checked out our regulations and determined to behave,” stated Kazako.
Rape fees may also be added to the sheet, regardless that the great Shepherd has disregarded the allegations as not anything greater than other people looking to extort cash from him.
To paraphrase the Guide of Ecclesiastes, we’ve noticed this film sooner than. If he’s discovered to blame, Bushiri will sign up for a pantheon of spiritual leaders long past unhealthy. This rogues’ gallery comprises males — and sometimes ladies — whose crimes vary from petty larceny involving church budget to extortion, sexual abuse and adultery.
The difficulty with the rest according to religion is that it’s a scammer’s paradise. Upload the human frailties of concern, desperation, greed, guilt or hope to the combination and you’ve got a Ponzi scheme with angels’ wings.
The word comes from a rip-off perpetrated by way of a person named George Parker, who allegedly “offered” New York’s Brooklyn Bridge to unsuspecting civilians on many events over a 30-year occupation. Parker would promote both all of the bridge or the fitting to erect a toll each to fee other people a price to stroll throughout it.
Non secular scammery isn’t any much less ingenious than Parker’s trick. Fail to remember vials of “holy water” drawn from sewers — how concerning the piece of Noah’s Ark discovered by way of one George Jammal on a mountain in Turkey in 1993? The invention secured Jammal an look on CBS and all was once going swimmingly till he was once outed as an actor, and the piece of ark became out to be scrap pine soaked in soy sauce.
Jammal’s fragment of boat was once a planned hoax designed to make other people glance silly. The Turin Shroud — a meant remnant of the material by which Jesus was once stated to had been wrapped sooner than being entombed — was once on some other scale.
The shroud, which bears the faint define of a person, was once offered by way of a French knight named Geoffroi de Charny to the dean of a church in Lirey, France, within the 1350s.
Historical past does nor report the place the shroud have been for the former 1,300 years or how the knight were given his fingers on it (even supposing that might had been possibly throughout a campaign to the Holy Land, which in itself is problematic).
Suffice to mention that during a letter to Pope Clement VII in 1390, Bishop Pierre d’Arcis of Troyes stated the shroud was once a pretend and that the artist had confessed as a lot. Carbon courting later established that the shroud dated from the Heart Ages. Regardless of this it stays a respected holy relic.
Non secular scammery is an equivalent alternative supplier. Anywhere there are deficient and needy other people in quest of some way out of distress, poverty or prosaic boredom, there are conmen who will luckily take their cash.
Take the tale of Satya Sai Baba, a massively in style Indian guru who over a 50-year occupation extremely joyful his fans by way of conjuring rings, necklaces, holy ash and little statues it seems that out of skinny air. Sceptics claimed that the guru was once hiding the items in his voluminous gowns and the usage of easy magician trickery to lead them to seem. Being stuck on digital camera by way of a BBC movie workforce palming a relic out of his sleeve it seems that did not anything to dent his legitimacy.
Those have been all scams calculated to mislead gullible other people. How a lot more straightforward it might be if other people simply gave away their cash voluntarily.
To mention Christianity has had an erratic dating with cash for the previous 2,000 years can be like pronouncing kicking a bull Cape buffalo within the groin would possibly finish badly for the kicker.
Cash adopted faith more than likely the similar means that the primary hangover adopted alcohol — kind of 3 hours after its discovery.
Incensed at discovering cash changers and dove dealers within the temple, Jesus chased them out, pronouncing: “My space will likely be a space of prayer however ye have made it a den of thieves,” or so Matthew tells the tale.
That didn’t ultimate.
As soon as upon a time, piety and poverty have been “excellent” and the pursuit of mammon was once “unhealthy” till the prosperity gospel got here alongside and became the whole thing the other way up.
In keeping with this gospel — which, no longer unusually, discovered its herbal house in america’s booming post-war financial system — God needs you to be wealthy, wholesome and glad. To obtain those items calls for a real confession, permanent religion — oh, and donations to spiritual reasons.
The doctrine have been round for the reason that nineteenth century, but it surely in point of fact took off within the nice Nineteen Fifties curative revivals, huge prayer-and-healing campaigns whose megastar points of interest have been evangelical preachers Oral Roberts and William Branham.
The 2 males crammed stadiums of other people attracted to be forgiven and “healed”. Roberts even held a pageant at Wembley stadium in Johannesburg in 1955, an match that attracted 25,000 other people and, the Sunday Specific famous sourly, clogged the town’s streets with visitors.
The boys – they usually have been most commonly males – using the prosperity gospel have been helped by way of two issues: america’s hastily rising heart magnificence and the unfold of the best opiate of all: tv.
The prosperity gospel is all about “making an investment” cash, which can then go back to you in abundance. Some name it seed cash that it’s a must to sow so as to reap riches.
Like maximum televangelists, Todd Coontz of Rockwealth World Ministries is a natty cloth cabinet and bursting with herbal humility.
“Pastor, evangelist, tv host, writer, humanitarian, philanthropist, businessman are some phrases that others use to explain Dr Tom Coontz,” says the About Tom Coontz web page on his web page.
Coontz claims God referred to as him as a monetary deliverer, in step with a up to date BBC article. To ensure that him to ship, regardless that, it’s a must to make investments by way of purchasing “seed” for a long run harvest.
It’s all effectively spelt out at the web page. First you will have to “sow a seed”, and higher but, in “high quality soil”. You will have to sow “proportionately with expectation” (probably the extra you sow, the extra you reap) and sow “with obedience”. After all, you will have to additionally “wait patiently for harvest time”, as a result of ready is “the evidence that you simply consider in God”.
If any evidence have been wanted that there’s cash in faith, glance no additional than the fleet of luxurious automobiles — together with a yellow Lamborgini — reportedly owned by way of Alleluia Ministries World (AMI) common overseer Alph Lukau. Like Bushiri, Lukau is a televangelist celebrity. His church is founded in Sandton and has branches throughout southern Africa. Lukau’s services and products draw hundreds of other people, and AMI’s YouTube channel claims 1-million subscribers. The movies — that have titles similar to Do No longer Concern and What Is It That You Are After — have racked up the rest from a few thousand to just about 4-million perspectives.
Elevating the no longer deadAs in style as AMI’s movies are, the person who went actually viral was once the place the pastor “raised” a person from the lifeless, in February 2019.
The video presentations Lukau praying over the open coffin of a person named Brighton Moyo who had “died” a couple of days in the past and whose weeping circle of relatives had introduced his coffin to the packed church.
Urging him to wakeful, Lukau puts his fingers on Moyo who then sits up, wide-eyed and open-mouthed. Regardless of Moyo’s horrible performing — he appears extra zombie than resurrected — the congregation is going wild.
The “miracle” was once hastily debunked as a stunt. Lukau back-pedalled fiercely, pronouncing the “curative” will have to have already came about sooner than Moyo arrived in his coffin.
There are allegations, alternatively, that Moyo had in the past been paid to take part in different curative miracles, TimesLIVE reported.
In a scene instantly from the comedy Grimy Rotten Scoundrels, Moyo was once as soon as allegedly dropped at a provider in a wheelchair and crushed with a keep on with turn out he may just no longer really feel the rest in his legs. After a curative prayer, he stood up and walked.
AMI denies the allegations.
In the meantime, the resurrection video spawned the #ResurrectionChallenge by which other people faux their very own resurrection miracles on video. Moyo has since died, allegedly from meals poisoning again house in Zimbabwe.
Elevating undead other people from the lifeless is an simply rumbled trick. Much less so are the claims believers make themselves.
US evangelist Benny Hinn constructed an enormous ministry round his curative crusades. At a 2001 campaign, nine-year-old William Vandenkolk claimed that his eyesight have been restored.
When tracked down by way of ABC Information nearly a decade later, Vandenkolk, then 17, was once nonetheless legally blind.
Vandenkolk instructed the community he have been stuck up within the second. “Being as younger as I used to be, pondering this would in fact be conceivable … I simply began feeling unhappy, a little bit disappointed that this in point of fact didn’t occur.”
Relatively nonplussed when faced by way of ABC, Hinn stated he wasn’t actually the healer however that God healed other people of their seats and that he — Hinn — was once no longer accountable for what other people claimed after they were given onstage.
Great swerve.
Again house, the miracles endured unabated. Pastor Lesego Daniel of Pretoria-based Rabboni Ministries as soon as prompt individuals of the congregation to drink petrol that he claimed to have was pineapple juice. The petrol was once set alight first to turn out that it was once, actually petrol, and then Daniel carried out the conversion.
In keeping with more than a few information experiences, prepared individuals of the congregation coated up for a gulp and reported that the liquid was once “candy”.
Upping the ante, Finish Occasions Disciples Ministries chief Penuel Mnguni — considered one of Lesego’s protégés — was once photographed feeding his fans snakes and rats, which he claimed to have was chocolate.
The prize for hands-on curative, alternatively, will have to no doubt cross to Bishop Daniel Obinim of World Godsway Ministries in Ghana. Movies display Obinim greedy males’s crotches in a purported try to heal their erectile disorder. Every other video presentations him praying over a congregant’s uncovered penis, in step with a BBC file.
On a continent stalked by way of poverty, the cruellest of all of the miracles, regardless that, is the only the place Nigerian pastor Andrew Ejimadu of Christ Freedom Ministries — referred to as Prophet Seer 1 to his fans — is noticed in a 2018 video “vomiting” cash into a girl’s purse throughout a provider in SA.
Ejimadu, who’s founded in Zambia, has just lately earned the ire of that nation’s political status quo by way of threatening to make use of his powers to reveal politicians. In a rambling video, Ejimadu claims he isn’t attacking Zambia.
“Any time a canine needs to die, he doesn’t understand the odor of meals,” he says, whilst claiming that more than a few politicians have benefitted from his largesse. Stories don’t say if he vomited on them.
Getting shot within the clay footThe bother with getting wealthy and well-known on TV is that it opens a large number of doorways that are meant to more than likely have stayed closed.
Take Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, as soon as upon a time america’s golden televangelist couple. With their Christian TV programme The PTL Membership, the Bakkers constructed a multimillion-dollar televangelist empire between 1974 and the overdue Eighties. Audience signed per thirty days pledges and source of revenue from the couple’s personal satellite tv for pc TV community swelled the coffers.
In 1987, Jim Bakker’s fans have been dismayed to be told that the ministry had paid a reported $279,000 in hush cash to former church secretary Jessica Hahn, who alleged Bakker and some other minister had drugged and raped her. Bakker stated the intercourse was once consensual.
Enveloped by way of the scandal Bakker stepped down from PTL (for “Reward the Lord”). In March 1988, he was once convicted of defrauding traders and spent 5 years in prison.
Bakker turns out to have an inexhaustible provide of self-belief, regardless that some would possibly name it a penchant for self-immolation. This yr he was once again within the information as he confronted fees in Missouri for touting a pretend coronavirus remedy referred to as Silver Resolution — yours for simply $80.
Responding to the surprise of the 1987 scandal, fellow tv evangelist celebrity Jimmy Swaggart stated Bakker was once a “most cancers within the frame of Christ”.
That was once wealthy coming from Swaggart, who slightly months later would himself plummet from grace after being filmed leaving a motel room with a prostitute named Debra Murphree.
Swaggart claimed it was once a set-up — Murphree therefore failed a few polygraph assessments. However in 1991, police in Indio, California, pulled him over for using at the flawed facet of the street. With him within the automotive was once a prostitute named Rosemary Garcia.
What Swaggart in point of fact had to assist cover his fleshly interests was once a non-public jet — without equal televangelist image of good fortune.
Being earthbound can also be tricky for a hectic pastor with a clamorous flock unfold all over the place, which is why Hinn instructed ABC Information that he “completely” wanted a non-public aircraft to move unfold the phrase.
“If I will have to fly business I might put on out,” he stated. “With my agenda? It might be insanity.”
Televangelist Joel Osteen is said to have stated to fellow televangelist Jess Duplantis that flying business was once like getting “in an extended tube stuffed with demons”.
Osteen, whose present experience is an Airbus 319, angrily berated a reporter for asking him if he stood by way of his demons remark.
“No, I don’t, and don’t you ever say that I did,” he stated.
Duplantis himself reportedly will get round in a $54m (R830m) Dassault Falcon 7X. Fellow flying pastor Kenneth Copeland — whose Kenneth Copeland Ministries operates 3 jets — stated in a 2019 video that the plane have been sanctuaries the place the pastors may just communicate at once to God.
Copeland’s spouse and ministry co-founder Gloria, a preacher in her personal proper, has garnered popularity as considered one of US President Donald Trump’s evangelical advisors. In a panoramic head-on collision between good judgment and religion, she additionally earned notoriety by way of claiming that youngsters didn’t want flu photographs as a result of Jesus had already carried the sector’s diseases and sicknesses — which makes one surprise what the purpose is of all the ones curative drives.
Bushiri’s jets — the quantity levels between one and 4 — would possibly or might not be related will have to he and Mary be returned to SA to face trial.
In all probability, as he stands within the dock, he would possibly take note John Gillespie Magee’s poem Prime Flight, which starts with the road “Oh! I’ve slipped the surly bonds of Earth” and ends with “Put out my hand, and touched the face of God”.
Or in all probability he’ll be pondering of Icarus and really feel the molten wax drip from his wings
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The Friend Who Sticks Closer than a Brother




The Friend Who Sticks Closer than a Brother

Embracing True Friendship: The Friend Who Sticks Closer Than a Brother

Friendship is a valuable asset that enriches our lives by providing companionship, support, and a shoulder to cry on. But have you ever had a buddy who goes above and beyond—someone who remains closer than a brother? In a world where relationships can be fickle, a friend who sticks by us through thick and thin is a rare and priceless gift.

More Than Just Blood Ties

Consider the tie between siblings, which is based on blood and shared history. Consider a buddy who is more than just a family member. “One who has untrustworthy friends soon comes to ruin,” says Proverbs 18:24 (NIV), “but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”

This verse describes a friendship that goes beyond basic conditions. It’s a bond founded on trust, loyalty, and real concern for one another.

Continuous Support

Consider a buddy who is present not only during happy times but also during difficult times. This type of friend is unconcerned about changing circumstances or personal gain. They provide their presence, encouragement, and steadfast support.

Jesus expresses the core of such friendship in John 15:13 (NIV): “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. This selfless affection serves as the foundation for a lasting connection.

Journeys Together

Consider a friend you’ve shared many stages of life with—the highs, the lows, and everything in between. This shared experience forges a link that extends beyond surface-level exchanges. The value of companionship is brilliantly captured in Ecclesiastes 4:9–10 (NIV): “Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.”

A friend who sticks closer than a brother is someone who goes beside us through life’s ups and downs, lending a solid hand and an ear to listen.

A Mirror of God’s Love

As a symbol of God’s love for us, consider the buddy who sticks closer than a brother. God Himself offers an unbroken, unchanging, and everlasting companionship. “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord,” says the Bible in Romans 8:38–39.

God’s love is the ultimate paradigm of true friendship—a love that is not conditional but remains faithful regardless of what happens.

Conclusion: Value true friendship.

A friend who sticks closer to you than a sibling is a treasure to be treasured. This type of friendship is founded on love, trust, and mutual care rather than convenience or shared interests. May we seek to be that sort of friend to others in our lives, just as God offers us His unfailing love.

In a world where relationships can be fleeting, let us create friendships that will endure. Let us be the sort of friends who are present in both joy and sadness, who offer unconditional support, and who mirror God’s unfailing love. We are reminded of the beauty of true friendship, which clings closer than a brother, as we welcome and cherish these unique and valuable ties.

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The Just God




The Just God

The Just God: The Divine Balance of Justice and Mercy

The concept of justice is intertwined with the fabric of human society. We seek justice, responsibility, and reparation for wrongs done. But have you ever pondered a God who is not only just but also perfectly just? The Just God is a lighthouse of truth and righteousness, providing a profound awareness of justice and kindness that transcends human comprehension.

Justice in Pursuit

Consider a world where wrongdoers go unpunished and the disadvantaged have no recourse. The pursuit of justice is a natural human goal that reflects a feeling of rightness and order. And if we as humans value justice, how much more should the Creator of the universe, who is completely just?

According to Deuteronomy 32:4 (NIV), “He is the rock; his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. He is a loyal God who does no wrong, who is straight and just. This verse reveals God’s character, which is characterized by unwavering justice.

Justice and Mercy in Balance

Consider yourself in front of a judge who holds you accountable for every action and decision you make. Imagine that same judge showing mercy and giving you a second opportunity despite the evidence against you. The just God is kind as well as just.

This delicate balance is captured in Psalm 103:10–11 (NIV): “He does not treat us as our sins deserve, nor does He repay us according to our iniquities. For his love for people who fear him is as high as the skies are above the earth. God’s justice is balanced by his unending love and kindness.

The Redemption of Justice

Consider a debt that you will never be able to repay—a debt of mistakes and wrongs that weigh heavy on your soul. In His perfect justice, the just God provides a solution. God provides a mechanism for justice to be served and redemption to be offered through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ.

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” says Romans 3:23–24 (NIV), “and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. This is an example of justice being met via the redemptive act of Christ’s sacrifice.

A Call to Justice

Consider a society in which justice is not simply a notion but a way of life. In our interactions with others, the just God calls us to exemplify justice. Micah 6:8 (NIV) states unequivocally, “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. What does the Lord expect of you? Act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God.”

Living justly entails treating people with fairness, compassion, and respect, as the character of the just God requires.

Finishing: Adoring the Just God

The Just God asks us to comprehend the breadth of His justice—a justice that supports truth, requires accountability, and strikes a balance between mercy and justice. God’s justice and mercy merge in the person of Jesus Christ, offering us redemption and restoration.

May we turn to the just God as our ultimate standard as we traverse a world that frequently grapples with issues of fairness. May we seek His wisdom and counsel in order to live justly and treat others with love and justice. We find not only a paradigm of perfect justice but also an invitation to experience the transformative power of His kindness when we embrace the Just God.

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The Pleasure of Serving Others: A Pathway to Achievement




The Joy of Serving Others: A Pathway to Fulfillment

The Pleasure of Serving Others: A Highway to Contentment

Have you ever ever felt the nice and cozy glow that effects from lending a serving to hand to a stranger, the enjoyment that lasts for days after the act of kindness? That emotion offers a way of the pride of serving to others. The straightforward act of serving to can give us a sense of function and pleasure in contrast to the rest in a society that incessantly pushes us to place our consideration on ourselves.

The Want to Serve

Believe a society the place everybody labored to fortify the lives of people of their instant neighborhood. The need to lend a serving to hand, proportion a load, and supply comfort is on the core of carrier. The instance used to be established through Jesus Himself when he stated, “For even the Son of Guy didn’t come to be served, however to serve, and to provide his lifestyles as a ransom for plenty of.” (NIV, Mark 10:45)

Serving others is extra than just a nice deed; it is a way to emulate the compassion and love that Christ proven for us.

Discovering Pleasure in Selfless Giving

Believe spending time with the aged or going to a neighborhood refuge to hear their stories and cause them to really feel essential. Those tiny acts of kindness won’t appear to be a lot, however they be capable to make any person’s day higher, create relationships, and toughen a sense of group.

A better feeling of pleasure emerges after we set aside our personal issues and be aware of the wishes of others. The Bible admonishes us, “Every of you can use no matter present you’ve gotten won to serve others, as trustworthy stewards of God’s grace in its more than a few paperwork.” (NIV) 1 Peter 4:10 We specific the particular talents God has given us through serving others, and it’s in those deeds of carrier that we discover authentic pleasure.

Have an effect on Unmeasurable

Take into consideration the impact if all of us realized to experience serving to others. If we take a bit spoil from our tense schedules to lend a hand a neighbor, supply a sympathetic ear, or donate cash to a reason we reinforce. Small acts of kindness have the facility to unfold, sparking a sequence response of generosity and optimistic exchange.

In step with the NIV translation of Matthew 25:40, Jesus stated, “Actually I inform you, no matter you probably did for this sort of least of those brothers and sisters of mine, you probably did for me.” No longer simplest can we fortify the lives of other folks we serve, however we additionally perform Jesus’ command to like and deal with the ones round us.

Development Relationships and Connections

Believe the sensation of camaraderie that comes from cooperating with others to reach a shared purpose. Folks come in combination via carrier, growing ties and friendships that differently won’t have took place. It serves as a reminder that we’re all part of a broader group, and that group would possibly take pleasure in the acts we do.

Serving others permits us to peer the arena from many angles and to realize the demanding situations and victories of other folks round us. Our lives are enriched and {our relationships} are deepened through this sensitivity.

Conclusion: Discovering Contentment Via Carrier

Every people has a skill that is able to be opened: the pleasure of serving to others. It serves as a reminder that our lives are meant to be about extra than just our personal pursuits; they’re an opportunity to fortify the lives of others.

Let’s thus embody the pride of serving to others, if it is by means of deeds of kindness, volunteering, or simply being conscious about their wishes. The easy act of serving would possibly supply mild and hope in a global that every so often turns out overwhelming. As we emulate Christ and prolong ourselves in love, we no longer simplest exchange the lives of others but additionally revel in a deep feeling of success and enjoyment that overflows into our personal hearts.

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