SHORT STORIES

Smokes And Mirror

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It’s the 8th Sunday in a row since she last went to church.Honestly speaking, she can’t place a finger on why she stopped in the first place nor can she remember why she went before now. She figures, it just doesn’t matter anymore or maybe it was the day when in between the shouts of “Amen and Halleluiah”, she saw hosts of shady“MEN OF GOD” filling members with false hopes and doctrines, building huge business empires on the sweats of worshipers and enlarging their coasts at their expense!Sadly, she is not the only one.

I see them too, robbing poor and rich alike, buying both necessary and needless luxuries of life, building schools that members cannot afford, owning cars and private jets that can save their congregation and less privileged from wallowing in abject poverty.

I can tell you right now; this is clearly not a case of those that work in the vineyard eating out of it. Seriously, these guys are having a buffet when worshipers can’t even afford a dog’s meal. I think God himself will have to persuade me on this matter because it’s most confusing.

Last week, I visited an old friend she was just coming back from a ‘very powerful Sunday service’ but she didn’t look anything peaceful. Something the pastor said or insinuated got her very upset. Apparently, they are still experiencing hardship in life because they are not serving God in truth and spirit as their impact is not felt in the church. – He went further to say -if he/God wants to help anyone, it will be someone as the assistant pastor who according to him, has always stood by him (the pastor).

The questions my friend threw at me with anguish were:Am I supposed to be in church 24/7 before God will answer my prayers?

Why should I be compared to the assistant pastor who is employed by the church, gets paid monthly -not to mention the many gifts and offerings given to him by members on a daily basis?

Surely even God understands that I have to work because that is how I sustain myself or…?

No doubt, the harsh economic realities has to a large extent prevented some of us from finding true satisfaction in this life, so it’s a great relief when we are told that this is relatively OK –with a promise of finding true happiness in heaven but that does not imply that we can’t even find solace or peace anymore in our churches while waiting for that.

I offered no answers, truly this one is beyond me but it got me thinking though,­ a place of worship should be a place of calm not a place to get incited by someone’s emotion. The pastor probably noticed a decline in the offering box hence the outpouring of “holy anger” on the few faithful present.

Now who is free between these two individuals? One who lives in fear of a “Man of God” reading his/her thoughts, judging his/her every word and action and quickly left to worry about a devil who is always out to hurt them and a God who’s likely to condemn him/her to a fiery furnace of torture for eternity? Or……

One who just lives life the right way possible believing in an ever loving God whose mercies are new every morning and who died once and for all -hence our redemption and salvation?

On the other hand, a colleague of mine got fed up with her church so she decided to leave but her pastor told her that he is not releasing her and if she goes, she is leaving in disobedience and will not prosper. I asked her, when you joined his church, did he ask you if you were released from your former church?The answer was No!

It’s sounding more like cheap blackmail and ringing like a cult. Had he just forgotten that it is a shepherd’s job to love, the holy spirit’s job to convict and God’s job to judge?

Well, well, well, isn’t it now common practice for pastors to merchandize the gospel anyway they can,forgetting that the title of a shepherd is a calling not a deliberate attempt to score some cool dough.

Whilst there is nothing wrong on the surface of selling items such as: daily devotionals, anointing oil, stickers, CDs etc. the profit motive behind it makes it unethical to the purpose of spreading the gospel. Jesus Himself frowned at commercialization in a place of worship to the extent that he physically gave a beating to those involved. He clearly instructed that the gospel should be preached freely –Freely have you received, freely shall you give!

To make matters worse, Have you noticed that when these “men of God” get into any kind of problem, they term it, “challenges or trials of life” “persecution or test of faith”!!!

But when u experience similar issues, they come up with several opinions: ‘Ancestral Curse’ Tithe Offender’, ‘Secret Sins’, ‘Possessed’ etc.

Bottom line: you need deliverance but first, you have to sow a seed! “Dangerous offering” I wonder what happened to Mathew: 9:29 then touched he their eyes saying – according to your faith be it unto you.

They keep delivering you year in, year out, without the much needed advancement, as if it is not the same Jesus that died for us all.My people perish because of lack of knowledge, indeed.

I guess I will never know the discernment that supports these Pastors and GO’s who expend billions building mansions in the name of building Churches. While- Members who are the real “Church” live in gloomy paucity.Matthew 6: 19 “Do not store up treasures on earth!”

Every other Sunday, they ask us to lift up our heads and envision- our mansions waiting in heaven yet they end up building one for themselves here on earth. Well, let’s just say they could no longer wait to get to heaven before living in one here on earth!Then who is to say, that what is good for the goose is not equally good for the gander?

I read a Facebook post by a friend on my timeline: he was of the opinion, that the next time your pastor tells you to contribute to the building of the church, don’t donate cements, blocks or sand, simply convert one sinner and add up to the church growth!

That is how to build a church!

Lol I totally agree!

My logical conclusion; These“men of God” have hit a gold mine and are mining away with reckless abandon. Otherwise, what in heaven’s name is the rationale and justification behind the nefarious activities committed in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit?

Can someone please explain to me again how the call of God rests only on them and their families and the blessings of God only felt in their pockets and bank accounts? Hmmm! He, who has ears, let him hear……..

I’m very positive that the devil is also surprised at the menacing and sinister events surrounding these fake “men of God” and their cults. -Imagine a pastoral aircraft been used for commercial purposes and of all purposes, Money laundering and probable arms dealing. How have the mighty fallen?

Religion is supposed to be the heart of a heartless society, the spirit of a spiritless situation and the soul of a soulless condition instead, it is now a tool to put people under some kind of control, while extorting financial gains from them.

Imagine worshipers having a field day eating grass, drinking fuel and all sorts?

Lord, have mercy!

There is an adage in Igbo that says: (you cannot use what’s meant for cleaning the ears on the eyes) It’s high time we keep at least a bible length away from these “men of God” who give false security, fake miracles—and an illusion of love that quickly distorts our realities.

Man, know thyself!

{BEWARE}

The worst thing on earth from a wolf in sheep’s clothing is a wolf in shepherd’s clothing!

Vivian Belford is a lover of God and all the good things life can offer, a girly girl who believes in having fun with whatever she does. She is currently starring in her own reality show titled, Living and Dying With a Smile! Her Mantra: *Put on some lip gloss,pour yourself a drink, sit back and have a really good laugh!* The world is one big comedy afterall!!!!

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