- Series: February 2015
- Scripture: Hebrews 11:1; Colossians 1:12
The Visiting Minister, Pastor David Gonsalves came with Pastor Prakash from South East India who is on his first visit to South Africa. He noted that of all the places around the world that the Prophet speaks passionately about, India and South Africa somehow come out prominently. Pastor David Gonsalves recalled the meetings in North Carolina in 2014 where the host Pastor (Pastor Brian Naidoo) preached and God granted a huge outpouring of the Holy Ghost. He then invited Pastor Prakash, who has over 30 years in ministry in India, to come and greet the church.
Greetings From South East India
Pastor Prakash mentioned that he comes from India. And India features in the Bible as the domain of king Ahasuerus whose boundaries extended from India to Ethiopia. Therefore God knew of the country of his origin in advance. And when Brother Branham came to Bombay in 1954, he wept seeing the many people whom the Lord Jesus Christ had touched. He was leaving them with no Message Church to go to in India. But the Prophet’s prayer has been answered today as there are hundreds of churches now in India. Although it is the first time for Pastor Prakash to visit South Africa, his two sons called Samuel and Boaz, who are also in the ministry as preachers, are frequent visitors to South Africa. The minister then greeted the Spoken Word Tabernacle family in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. He pointed out that the 22nd of March 2015 marks the first anniversary of the passing away of his precious wife. He mentioned that when our loved ones go to be with the Lord, they are not dead but simply waiting for us in some better place.
As someone who grew up in serious poverty, Pastor Prakash knows from experience what it really means to be poor and in need. His ministry therefore revolves around alms deeds and works of charity. To date, the minister runs 4 orphanages whose numbers have grown from the mere 10 who came in at the beginning to a total of 150 children. He also runs 6 leprosy colonies and a total of 50 Old Age Homes. Of all the 700,000 lepers in the world today, 71% of them (500,000 lepers) are found in India, which explains the burden on the Pastor’s heart.
With the help of brethren in America and Canada, Pastor Prakash has built 90 churches in India, with 150 ministers. Special meetings are held every two months where the new converts are baptised. The baptismal figures range from 10 to 50 believers. In the 2014 calendar year, a total of 225 people were baptised. He also distributes free Bibles to people of different faiths. These distributions are made with the help of the Bible Society of India. Therefore if a person from the Muslim faith, Hindu religion or other belief system wants to know about the Bible’s Christ, Pastor Prakash’s ministry just gives the Bibles away for free. From 1986 to date, Bible distributions have been done.
With an unofficial population of 1.5billion people, India is a big country and continues to grow as birth control is not practised, as happens in China whose population is coming down now. Also striking apart from the number of people living in India is the number of gods worshipped there. A total of 33million gods and goddesses in total are worshipped in India. Before his conversion, Pastor Prakash used to believe in those gods too. But none of those gods could help him when he was 15 years old and was dying of jaundice. He was hospitalised for 60 days with no hope of recovery. The 33 million gods failed to help him whereupon he turned to the Lord Jesus Christ. This year marks the 50th year since God delivered him. He is celebrating his jubilee of healing. At 65 years of age now, he has lived the first 40 years in Bombay and the current 25 years in South East India.
There being insufficient time to give his life testimony, the minister stepped aside to let Message from Pastor David Gonsalves come forth.
Pastor David Gonsalves saluted Brother Peter in the congregation. He had prayed for him sometime before when he was involved in a drunken car accident. He was thankful to God that the brother is back and serving the Lord.
From the scripture reading of Hebrews 11:1, the minister exclaimed that how can one have evidence for things not seen. In the judicial system of the world today, the courts require a witness to give evidence which is real. Thus a witness cannot claim to be a real witness when they did not see what they are witnessing about. Their evidence is not acceptable from the start. But God is different. He loves to deal with paradoxes. Like in the creation account, he simply speaks and waits for things to happen. Whether it takes a million years or few seconds, God does not care about time. The same applies to the elders mentioned in Hebrews chapter 11, who obtained a good report. A good report means that they excelled. It is different from the school reports issued by the South African Department of Education which treats a 30% pass rate as acceptable.
Another paradox is in Colosians 1:12 which says that Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. It is confounding how an invisible thing can have an image.
Although the scripture says that we must not forsake the assembling together of the saints, God does not deal with us as a group despite our assembling together. Church service is not group therapy. Each and every one of us must strive for themselves to have an encounter with God. Each one on their own must aim for the higher ground, where old things of the world are dead. Each one must be able to sing on their own the words of this song, Just a Closer Walk with Thee. Each one must walk like Enock walked. We must have a testimony of having pleased God. And we need to ask ourselves whether we are really gaining that higher ground in Christ Jesus. Companies in the corporate world do take stock of the things they own. We must do the same. We must check if we are still in the faith, if we are still geared for the change of the body.
Like father Abraham, we might be accused by people around us of living in denial. When we ignore circumstances, the world calls that denialism but that is what Faith is. We walk by faith and not by sight. We have been given the Bible and Message of the Hour not to reason out but to believe. The Prophet says that by reasoning out, we get further away from God. If there are things we do not understand, we must simply go ahead and God, in His time and season, will provide clarity. That’s why we need the Holy Ghost, which is the mind of Christ and serve God with the inside man as opposed to the 5 senses. We might adorn the outside man with costly shoes and coats, but what is the state of the inner man? No wonder people have more confidence now in google-searching anything on the internet instead of approaching God. People have more faith in Google than in the Word.
Pastor David explained that at his church there were doing a series on My walk in God. He observed that all trials and tests are meant to extract the best out of us. That is why there is a reward for every one of those 7 church age believers. That should make us sing All the Way, I’m going all the way.
The statement by the apostle Paul that Christ is the visible image of the invisible God is contrary to common sense. It is an example of an oxymoron, which is a figure of speech which deals with contradiction in terms like open secret, deafening silence, serious joke, bitter sweet, clear confusion and other such terms. The Bible case of the virgin birth would fit in here as well. Imagine how Isaiah might have felt when God told him to take up his pen and write A virgin shall conceive. It was contrary to logic but the Bible says men of old spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. So Isaiah only had to write and it would be God’s duty to let those Words come to pass. The same applies to the father of faith – Abraham.
Christ is the visible image of the invisible God as we are the visible image of the invisible Christ. The word image derives from the Latin for imitate. In that context, an image is a visible representation of something which exists. As images of God ourselves, we only need to display the Edenic beauty of the world before the fall. There were no headaches then. No cases of arthritis. It was Paradise, with free food, everything paid up for. No need to shop at Pick n Pay or Shoprite retail chains. The only condition was not to eat of the forbidden tree. However, God comes around and allows us to eat again of the Tree of Life on condition that we have overcome. It is the overcomer’s reward.
God is supernatural. He does not care how serious the situation is. Actually he has given us the power already, and we only need faith to operate it. The Prophet was just the first fruit, the evidence of the exploits of the first mature son of God. That is why he could speak to a little fish and give it back its life. He could speak to the storm. Like Joshua who needed extra time to wind up the battle with enemies of God’s children, there was no 4 day fasting that was done. There was no time for such. It was just the power of the spoken word.
Let us be like our father Abraham who, against hope, believed still in hope that he would be the father of many nations. Faith in the Word is what we need. Heaven and earth will pass away but the Word of God will not pass away. That is why the promise of a son did not pass away even after 25 years of waiting by Abraham and Sarah. God allows these long waiting spells for us to focus on the one who made the promise. Not for us to look at symptoms. Symptoms will not help us. Jonah refused to look at symptoms, which were plenty to discourage him. Here he was surrounded by intestines of the whale, by the sea weed in the whale’s belly. Every direction he looked had obstacles in form of symptoms that are negative. But he remembered the prayer of Solomon when dedicating the temple and he prayed looking east towards Jerusalem while in the whale’s belly symptoms. And God answered. This makes one to sing the song He knows my name, He knows my every care, He sees each tear which falls, and hears me when I call. And one of these days, all the dead in Christ will hear that name and resurrect while we which are alive and remain shall be changed in our bodies.
Each day we must ask ourselves: Is this the day you are coming Lord? We should not be trapped in the Laodicean spirit of just having enough Holy Ghost to quit stealing and lying. That is not sufficient for the rapture. We should not get lukewarm just because we perhaps all the material things we need or have good jobs that enable such life of ease and comfort.
Remember God operates according to seasons. He comes to Moses in Exodus 3 after some 400 years of bondage. Jacob on his deathbed had prophesied of departure from Egypt and had charged his children to bury him in Macpelah. Just like Joseph had also instructed them to carry his bones to the Promised Land. But God comes at a particular time. And Abraham, not knowing that Job was buried in Macpelah, bought that piece of land in Mamre. He refused to take the land for free. He did not want trouble down the road at resurrection. Or maybe when his children some generations later would have that land taken by descendants who know nothing of the friendship of the parents. That is why Abraham paid those 300 shekels in exchange for the cave.
When God’s season arrives for Him to deliver his children from Egypt, God appears to Moses in a burning bush which does not burn. A bush that burns without burning is another case of an oxymoron. But God proceeds to deliver children of Israel even at the Red Sea when there was no hope. It was not that God was a poor general, as Pharaoh thought. But God shares His glory with no man and will do things to show that it is Him and Him alone.
In Mauritius, Pastor David Gonsalves used the story of Moses’s encounter with the Burning Bush in a wise and humourous way. He was preaching wearing a size 7.5 shoe which was very tight on the toes and was giving him a hard time in the pulpit. Although he had brought along his formal suit, he did not have formal shoes except the sports shoes (takkies) he was wearing. Not wanting to offend the body of believers, he accepted a smaller shoe availed to him. His ordinary size is size 9. But as he preached, he was now concentrating on the pain in the shoe instead of the Word of God. When the inspiration took him to Exodus and the burning bush, he removed the shoe and carried on barefooted.
The positive attitude of Joshua and Caleb is what we need. God hates an evil report. The same positive attitude was displayed by the Hebrew children in Babylon. There was Daniel, Shadreck, Misheck and Abednego. They were in a strange land. They were far from the deacons and Pharisees and other church systems to police them. But they were faithful to what they believed. When the fiery furnace was lit up to burn them, the three boys refused to bow to images. There was no compromise in them. Fire or no fire, they were not going to worship strange gods. And that is what we must do at work or on business travel. We do not need a split personality that talks of the world at work while pretending to love the Word when in the presence of believers.
We are lively stones. Stones are not living organisms and lively stones really are a paradox. Ordinary stones, dead as they are by nature, are used as tombstones. But we are not tombstones. We are lively stones. (God had said he would raise stones to praise Him if people kept still). When God was creating, he created the light to energise the seeds. But the same light also shone on the stones. Seeds have potential of life but stones do not have such. But the light shone on both. There was a difference between the seed and the stone.
See how Pentecost occurred. The people were in oneness. They had forgiven one another and fixed their lives. The Holy Ghost came down. We also have the Holy Ghost right now in our midst, instructing as Boaz did to the reapers for sheaves to be dropped down for Ruth. We must behave differently when the Holy Ghost comes down.
As part of His three fold mystery, God was in Christ and Christ in the church. Christ only did what He saw the Father do. The Bride must also do the same or she keeps still. Christ saw the Father resurrect Lazarus and he did the same. He did not go and resurrect the entire grave yards in Israel because the father did not do that. God is not an entertainer of people. Let us have thoughts like Enoch. Enoch’s thoughts were Thus-saith-the-Lord. We must be perfect by the indwelling Christ who perfects us. He is the one who wants to use our hands, feet, mouth and every member of the body.
Could we imagine how Noah preached about rain, when it had never rained before? He could not explain rain. He had not seen it before. But God had said it would rain anyhow. The doors of mercy closed and no one could enter. God does not take excuses. Even the old granny who failed to make it quickly to the ark was left behind. God could not listen to stories of back-aches or cramps or whatever excuse the granny might have given.
Let us be like the 5 wise virgins who had extra oil for the hour of visitation. We need the Holy Ghost today. We cannot rely on the events of 50 years ago. We cannot stand on the past. We need the evidence of today.
Our God is not like Indian gods who are sometimes burned during certain festivals. He is not like the heathen gods whose worshippers decide when they should have them and so on. He is a sovereign God. No wonder Gordon Lindsay says that were it not for the numerous vindications in Brother Branham’s ministry, one would be justified to believe the testimonies were far-fetched.
When we are hungry, it does not help us to stare at the bread. We must eat the bread and quench the hunger. So must we eat the Word. After all, we are building a house on the foundation of the apostles doctrine, with the Lord Jesus Christ as the Chief Cornerstone. We therefore must not give the devil a chance to say anything evil against us. We must always be praising God, like the Shunamite woman who said all is well even when her son was dead. And when Elijah stretches himself over the dead child mouth-to-mouth, the child sneezes 7 times and resurrects. There was no medical journal with that kind of procedure for a dead patient to come back to life.
In the Message Who is this Melchizedek, the Prophet says that the Word is eagle food. We must forsake all things and eat the Word. We must hear from our theophany.
The birth of God in us is a revelation. When we catch it, we will know our position and who we are and the rapture will go. There are scriptures right now hanging over us. We must also be waiting for such a time what we can say, like the Lord Jesus Christ, that this day, this scripture is fulfilled. Christ fulfilled the Word in His day while in a church service. We must go to church. Christ went to the synagogue. And the Bible says expressly that it was His custom to go to the synagogue.
In Hebrews we are told the heroes of old are waiting on us. They can not be made perfect. When they look at us with 200 million devils after us, they wonder how we are managing. Let us not live below our privileges. Let us not have an inferiority complex when we compare ourselves with men of old. God is progressive. He raised Wesley when Luther failed. He raised Pentecost when Wesley failed. And He raised the Word when Pentecost failed. Therefore we are the final voice to the final age. If it is not us, who then? And if not now, when then? And if not here, where then?
Like Mary, let us say Let it be according to thy Word. The season has come, like when David was sent to the battle to feed his brethren and came across Goliath. Our God plays tricks on the devil all the time. But we are the final voice to the final age.