Day 1 of Butuan Convention – April 13, 2017
It was wonderful to see believers from different places gather for worship. There are some believers I have met before when I was here last time, others I have come to know them through social media and I was glad to now meet them in person. The believers here are so welcome. The family of sister Sarah has been so caring, making me feel at home. All around me are white-skinned people. I guess am adding a little colour to their environment. Well, what I see around me are not Filipinos but brothers and sisters united by that precious blood of our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ. No wonder there is love, peace and joy. They shall come from the East and West and sit down at the feet of the Lord, one song says. And the good old book says, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!“ (Psalm 133:1).
In the first message I introduced a series that I would be speaking on during the meetings titled “WHAT TIME IS IT?” We went back to the beginning of Time when God created the immense Universe out of which came galaxies and planets and all the stupendous works that Science has tried to reach and elaborate on. The sharing was later narrowed down to the tiny speck of dust called “Earth” on which we human beings live. If there is God – why did He create us? Why did He set the fundamental laws of the Universe in such precise order? Was it for us just to wake up, eat, work, grow old and die? Surely not. He had a purpose! And science tells us that our galaxies are in motion. The Earth is also in motion around the Sun. Yes, We are on a great big ‘Bus’ called Earth which is moving through the road of Time. The question is: What are you doing on this bus? What is your destination? Until a man wakes up to the revelation of Purpose, he or she hasn’t yet started living. One must be Born Again and see (perceive, understand, comprehend) God’s work!
Day 2 of Butuan Convention – April 14, 2017
Before travelling on this mission, together with believers of my local fellowship in Zambia, we set two days to abstain from food to seek the Lord for His guidance. It was my desire that the Lord would one way or the other speak like He had done during an earlier mission to India (November, 2016). Well nothing happened. I decided to have another two days of prayer and fasting. This time around our weather in Zambia became so hot. I became very hungry and weak until the condition triggered a terrible migraine headache. I wasn’t discouraged. It was on the morning of 14th April finally when I experienced what I know to have been a spiritual dream.
It was around 3 AM when I was awaked by an evil presence in the bedroom. I started praying, thanking God for the blood of Jesus Christ through which we have our salvation and protection. The evil presence left, and I felt peace. I decided to play a sermon by brother Branham – Is this the Sign of the End Sirs? I started listening to it until I fell asleep. Later around 05:00 AM a dream came:
I was on my way to a building where there was a gathering. The gathering was situated on the upper floor of the building. I was about to get into the elevator when I saw the wife of the bishop of the Pentecostal church I used to go to also heading to the venue of the gathering.
Upon arrival into the building I found a large crowd of people seated. Someone was preaching. He preached so hard that it seemed to make people in the audience uneasy. He wasn’t preaching in the usual style of standing in the pulpit. He walked into the audience as he spoke to the people. His appearance and voice was so austere. Then I saw two Catholic persists clad in their white priestly garments. They were walking to leave the hall when I realised the man preaching was brother William Branham. He looked at the two men and pointing at them said: “You shall not stand in the presence of God with filthy man-made garments.” I was awestruck with his fearless indictment on the two men. The men first stood still to hear what brother Branham spoke. As soon as he finished speaking they continued walking. Even so, strangely, people in the audience seemed not concerned about the stern message of the prophet. The dream ended and I immediately woke up to hearing these words from the sermon which had been playing: “…And, friends, don’t look to me. I’m your brother. Don’t pay no attention to me, because I’m just a mortal. I have to die like everybody else. Don’t you listen to me; but listen to what I’ve said. What I said is the Message. Don’t pay any attention to the messenger; watch the Message. Keep your eyes, not on the messenger, but on the Message. What It said, that’s the thing to look to… And I’ve got a word, THUS SAITH THE LORD, to Brother Shakarian, too. Uh-huh. I don’t know what he’ll do about it, but I’ve got the word to tell him. I don’t know what he’ll do. It’s up to him. Did you notice the last Voice? It’s supposed not to be an organization, but they declared their creed. An organization, then I’ll drop away. I’m out of such.”
These words took me in deep thought. The bishop’s wife unmistakably pointed to the denominational church systems which missed God’s work in this day. Denominations, especially Pentecostals, desired to be entertained by man-made ministries rather than what God had sent. Next I thought about brother Jackson’s dream which brother Branham had gone at length to narrate in the sermon IS THIS THE SIGN OF THE END SIRS? I remembered that in that dream the people had been told to fix their eyes on the rock. But when Brother Branham left, people became frantic as they started asking “Where did Bro Branham go?” People went in different directions and FEW remained to look at what the prophet had said. It was refreshing for me to think about those words of admonishment when I woke up – “ What I said is the Message. Don’t pay any attention to the messenger; watch the Message. Keep your eyes, not on the messenger, but on the Message. What It said, that’s the thing to look to…” Have Endtime Message believers given heed to this warning or have they idolized the Messenger? What is the Message that the prophet emphasised we need to look at instead of looking at the messenger? It is important to note that brother Branham preached so many sermons – over 1,100! – however, he only preached ONE MESSAGE, and that message was “BACK TO THE WORD!”
The sermon on the second day of the convention
That morning I asked believers what the signs of the last days are. Is it just about “nations rising against other nations” or hearing “wars and rumours of wars”? Everyone seems to know about such signs! Pick a dead drunk person and he will be able to quote those words of Scripture to you. Denominational movements preach about such signs. However, what we see in the Bible is that before a significant prophetic event occurs God gives SPECIFIC INSRUCTIONS TO HIS ELECT. That’s what happened before Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed; Abraham was told about what would happen. Before the flood came, Noah was given specific instructions on how to build the boat which would save him and his family. Similarly at the time of the First Advent of Christ, there were a select few who knew about the imminent appearing of the Messiah. There was Zachariah and Elizabeth. Concerning this couple the Scripture says “they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless” (Luke 1:6). There was Anna the prophetess who “departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day” (Luke 2:37). Then there was Simeon, “the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel” (Luke 2:25). To this man was revealed that “he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ” (v.26).Looking at these precedents it is very clear that before the appearing of Christ in the Second Advent there should be definite signs that will make the Elect aware of something about to happen. No, these won’t be generic signs of “wars and rumours of wars” but specific spiritual encounters that will begin to signal something to God’s Elect. One of the most important signs which has already occurred was the appearance of the Forerunner in this Age. And now, if there was a ministry to prepare people in the First Advent there shall definitely be a ministry to forerun the Second Advent.
Strangely what happened in the ministry of the forerunner for First Advent of Christ, John the Baptist, is repeating itself today. They thought John was the Christ, and today some people think Branham was Christ! For many, for a preaching to be right it has to be flavoured with “Brother Branham said”. Once in Namibia I had preached at a large gathering and it seemed everyone was happy and excited until one person, a Congolese, approached me. Our conversation was dramatic:
“I am disappointed with you brother” he said to me.
“What is it?” I asked.
“You only where talking about the Scriptures and never said ‘Brother Branham said this and that’” He pointed out.
“Oh, but what I preached is what brother Branham preached!” I answered, not wanting to go into futile arguments.
“No.You are supposed to say, ‘Brother Branham said’ inorder to show that you acknowledge him’”
“What is ‘1+1’ sir?” I asked him.
“2!” came the resounding answer.
“You are wrong because you haven’t said, ‘Professor Right said it is two’ ” I dismissed his answer.
Imagine a son who has been taught that “1+1 =2” and when another person asks him what is “1+2” all he says is “I only say what daddy says, and daddy has never said anything about 1+2”. Surely no daddy would be with such. Such a child has not ‘learned‘ but only been ‘tamed‘. It should be simple to see that if the desciples of Christ were quotists, they would never have produced Acts 2:38 out of Matthew 28:19! Many tried to identify with the ministry of John but with lives that were not manifesting the fruit of receiving the Word, and the same has happened today. Many have only got new exciting knowledge about the Original Sin, about Church Ages, about the Seven Seals but yet live lives which are void of Christ. Lives which bring reproach upon the cause of Christ. Lives which do not bear the fruits of repentance. It is said that one should not jump higher than he lives. Many take pride in identifying themselves with the prophet but yet cannot exhibit the simple life of humility and consecration that he lived. John declared to the Abrahamites: “O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham” (Luke 3:7-8).
TO GOD BE ALL THE GLORY
Leyte believers singing a Special…