IN THE 17th century, Martin Luther once taught that: “God our Father has made all things depend on faith so that whoever has faith will have everything, and whosoever does not have faith will have nothing.”
This teaching was true then and it is as true, if not more so, in our day. We all are very much aware that we are living in challenging times. Economic uncertainty is prevalent in the world today, but God proffers ways for us to overcome these challenges through his servants.
The crusade against the preaching and teaching of what the media and many others have called the “prosperity gospel” continues.Satan’s influence is flourishing, not only in the hearts of those who seek to vilify and criminalise God’s servants, but also on the morality and integrity of people everywhere. Our safety lies in the virtue of our lives. Our strength lies in our righteousness. God has made it clear that if we will not forsake Him, He will not forsake us.
Notwithstanding the perilous nature of our time, many Christians are falling into the trap of slandering men of God, who are sent with a special message to liberate us from the bounds of poverty. It has become normal to not only criticise but insult men of God, we call them all sorts of names, we deny the word that God has sent them with and the blessings thereof, simply because they drive fancy cars and live comfortable lives, a template which is argued does not match that of Christ.
The question is: if they moved around on the back of donkeys, as Jesus did, would you pay heed to the message that they preach? The message that has been labelled “the prosperity gospel” is in actual fact the message that unshackles you from the bounds of poverty, lack and disease. The tragedy is that a great many of those who claim to be Christians oppose this plain but true message because they lack knowledge of how God works with his servants (his prophets).
“Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for my sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in Heaven. For so, they persecuted the prophets who were before you (Matthew 5:11-12).”
I was one of those who fell into this category. Every time someone mentioned the name Prophet Makandiwa or Angel, I would leap up and say “matsotsi” (crooks), they steal from the poor, but, little did I know then that I was blind to the liberating effect of the gospel that those propagating the so-called-prosperity-gospel preached. I had argued and argued and fought against this message to a point of convincing myself and perhaps others that these men only wanted to enrich themselves.Advertisement
My brother, Bishop Chikosi, will testify that I called him all unpleasant names under the sun as he tried to show me the light. Even as I write this, I am aware a great many will be wondering what has gotten to Brilliant Pongo, the once fierce opponent of the prosperity gospel. “Atengwa here?”, they will ask? But the simple answer is I was blind but now I see. I thank God for sending his prophet Uebert Angel who took time to personally call me and expound on the scriptures that I had previously misunderstood.
I had never spoken to, neither had I been to any of the churches that preach the so-called prosperity gospel. I, like many of my journalist brothers and sisters out there relied heavily on hear-say which was mostly used to write news articles about those championing the prosperity gospel. Men of God are denigrated, attacking the men of God and the message they preach has become a way of entertaining readers or audiences and many half truths are peddled as fact. Today, most of our views and cognitions on the men of God and more so, the message they preach, is shaped by what the people consume from the media.
However, the challenge rests in the question “in what way are you engaging the so-called prosperity gospel; what is your present conduct, with regards to the way you treat and interact with the servants of God?” Your success in this life is dependent on how you treat the Lord’s servants, the Lord sent them to guide his people in the right way. “Yet He sent prophets to them, to bring them back to the LORD; and they testified against them, but they would not listen (2 Chronicles 24:19).”
It has been said that one of the greatest tragedies of our time is that so many people live so far below their potential. We have seen this in most of those who call themselves Christians today, many believe poverty is part of being Christ-like, that luxuries are associated with evil. This message has been normalised by the media. A greater tragedy is that the media propaganda associating Christ-like living with poverty has found traction, even many Christians have bought this dummy sold to them by the devil, and have thus remained captive to Satan.
I was, not so long ago, at the forefront of not only denying the gospel of prosperity but vilifying the Men of God. May I take this opportunity to publicly apologise to them more particularly Bishop Chikosi, and the prophets Makandiwa and Angel. Not forgetting all those who I may have influenced through my writings to condemn a liberating message. It is my prayer that those who had separated themselves from the Men of God be reconciled with this message of truth. Indeed, the way and manner in which you interact and treat the men of God will be critical to your success.
It is to our benefit to listen to God’s prophets. 2 Chronicles 20:20 “… Hear me, O Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem: Believe in the LORD your God, and you shall be established; believe His prophets, and you shall prosper.”
I was blind, but now I see. I was one of those who strongly believed that God wants us to be poor on this earth, for indeed His Word says otherwise. It is a serious sin in the eyes of God to believe that God wants us to be poor, this is because it gives God a terrible name, it paints a picture of God as being a cruel distant taskmaster, as opposed to loving a God who heals, blesses and restores us every time. For God is good, all the time and such is his nature.
No earthly father would want his children to be poor and miserable, so why would we paint such an ugly picture of our Heavenly Father, who takes pleasure in showering us with good things?
Matthew 7:9-11 says: “Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?”
Nothing is more remarkable or important in this life than to know that God our Eternal Father and his Son, Jesus Christ, have spoken again from the heavens and have called prophets and apostles to teach the fullness of the everlasting gospel once again upon the earth.
The fullness of this gospel that God’s servants teach influences every major decision you make. It changes the course of your life to a safer one because it provides an anchor that helps you hold fast to the teachings of the gospel despite the evil influences all around you that entice you to drift toward sin and transgression.
If there is any one thing you and I need in this world it is faith, that dynamic, powerful, marvellous element by which, as Paul declared, the very worlds were framed (Hebrews 11:3). Faith — the kind of faith that moves one to get on his knees and plead with the Lord and then get on his feet and go to work — is an asset beyond compare, even in the acquisition of secular knowledge.
I do not minimise the need for study and labour. I would add to these faith and prayer, with the sacred promise that “God shall give unto you knowledge by his Holy Spirit, yea, by the unspeakable gift of the Holy Ghost.”
Prayer is as essential to a righteous life as food and water is to our daily sustenance. Taking this analogy one step further, if we had to live on the sustenance and the frequency and intensity of some of our prayers, many of us would be much thinner than we are today.
As I reflect on my youth and the initial development of my testimony, nothing had a greater impact on its development than the faith of my mother and her daily application of that faith in her prayers. The Lord responded to her faith and prayers, and as a grown man I witnessed the hand of the Lord in my personal life and in my family.
I am grateful for all those who have fasted and prayed for me to see the light. I ask that we continue to supplicate for and on behalf of all our families and all friends and all of God’s people who are yet to be liberated from the bounds of the evil one, from the grips of poverty and lack. May God forgive all those who insult the men of God and those who blaspheme His holy name and his word, in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.