Leslie

Don’t be shocked, but there was a time when I pursued sin. However, now that I have ended my relationship with sin, and began pursuing Jesus, sin has been pursuing me, relentlessly. And it has showed up at some unexpected times and places. For example, yesterday, I was on a website that I frequent because it is a resource for me to copy and paste Scriptures whether I am writing a book or a social media post. I was shocked when I saw an advertisement for another company on the left side of the screen. It had two images, one of which was of a topless woman, obviously not a “Proverbs 31 woman” (Proverbs 31:21-22). It was surreal that I was on a Biblical website where another company was showing its products, one of which I did not want to see, and it had no place with something that was holy. It was literally like a person with a Bible who has such as photograph in it. Once I realized that what I was seeing was really there, I left the page and began rebuking the devil. Like I said, there was a time when I pursued sin, but since I began pursuing Jesus, sin has been pursuing me. The devil has a smorgasbord of sins on his menu and he will use anything in his efforts to ensnare us. We know the devil as the accuser of the brethren (Revelation 19:10). For some people it is easy for him to accuse them of sin, because they are living in it, but for others, he will falsify a case against them. For those who do not succumb to any of his many seductions, he will use entrapment.

allure

In fact, as I was getting inspired to write and share this post, I was reminded of a dream I had, one I came across in my journal yesterday. I woke up from the dream feeling as if what I had seen in the dream was the Lord telling me why He has been withholding something from me. I woke up feeling as if the Lord has been withholding something from me because I was not ready. The worse part was I felt as if the Lord could not trust me with it. Now, when the Lord says you’re not ready, you’re not ready, regardless of how well prepared you feel. But I kept wondering how it could be if the Lord could trust me with other similar things, then why not that? Another reason why it is also important to also analyze how dreams make you feel is that it made me feel as if I did not deserve the Lord’s best. However, I know that is not the case; the devil simply wanted me to unknowingly come into agreement with him, and he did it in a very underhanded way. Sometimes our humility gives the devil access into our lives. I felt like I was a mere servant of the Lord but the Bible says, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” ~ Romans 8:14 (KJV)

Holy Spirit Led
The gifts and fruit of the Holy Spirit IAW 1 Corinthians 12 and Galatians 5:22-23.

As we draw closer to the Lord, we have to ensure that we do not knowingly or unknowingly come into agreement with the devil. Jesus did few works in His hometown because of their unbelief (Matthew 13:54-58). Fear is basically faith in the devil and unbelief in the Lord. Fear also gives devils room to operate in our lives. Job was a righteous man, and the first two chapters of the Book of Job shed light on how the Lord lifted His hedge of protection from and the resulatant afflictions by the hands of the devil. But there was more to it than that based on when Job said, ‘For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me. I was not in safety, neither had I rest, neither was I quiet; yet trouble came.’ ~ Job 3:25-26 (KJV) What kind of fears have you been harboring or even ruminating on? Lest not forget, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” ~ 2 Timothy 1:7 (KJV) What have devils robbed you of because your fear is greater than your faith, to include feeling unworthy of what the Lord has in store for you?

God, The Love of My Life (2)

Before I close, you may think I went overboard by rebuking the devil for the image in the ad I saw. Well, sometimes you have to recognize the spirit behind certain events, and people. When the devil appeared to Eve, he spoke to her via a serpent, which is described as being more subtle than any other beast of the field (Genesis 3:1). In addition, the devil is described as the “prince of the power of the air”, which is a part of why such filth is broadcast via airwaves. Also, keep in mind what happened when Jesus spoke to His disciples about going to Jerusalem where He would be killed but would rise on the third day. On the surface, it may have seemed like a noble thing when Peter rebuked Him by saying, ‘Be it far from Thee, Lord: this shall not be unto Thee.’ ~ Matthew 16:22 (KJV) However, Jesus looked beneath the surface and He knew who was truly speaking. As a result, Jesus “…turned, and said unto Peter, ‘Get thee behind me, satan: thou art an offence unto Me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.’” ~ Matthew 16:23 (KJV) Again, Jesus looked at Peter but He rebuked the devil. So, “Lest satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.” ~ 2 Corinthians 2:11 (KJV)

I close with the following:

“Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; and walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given Himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour. But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them. For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. Wherefore he saith, ‘Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.’ See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” ~ Ephesians 5:1-16 (KJV)

Again, “…have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.” ~ Ephesians 5:11 (KJV) “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” ~ James 4:7 (KJV)

A Test of My Faith
Endure life’s fiery trials.
Are you a prophet in the cave/wilderness?

Prophetic Ministry: Integrity  

Prophets [and other ministers], maintain your integrity lest you fall into error and bring discredit upon yourself, other prophets, and even the Lord. As a prophet of the Lord you should be representing the Lord. For as Jesus said, ‘He that receiveth you receiveth Me, and he that receiveth Me receiveth Him that sent Me. He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward.’ ~ Matthew 10:40-41 (KJV) Sadly, as many prophets can attest, even when you are faithfully serving the Lord, people will reject you, just like they did with the true and faithful prophets (of the Lord) in the Bible. Similarly to what Jesus said above, God said to Samuel the Seer, an honorable prophet, ‘…they have not rejected thee, but they have rejected Me…’ ~ 1 Samuel 8:7 (KJV) People will reject you because they have rejected the God who sent you so try not to take rejection personally.

In addition to rejection, you may have to deal with lack of support, which speaks to the heart of this discourse. Lack of support, to include financial support, is one of the reasons why prophets who start off on the right path end up going down the wrong path, which include charging for prophecies and manipulating people to give. When Jesus healed the 10 lepers, only 1 even bothered to return to simply thank the Lord (Luke 17:11-19). Or, as we put it nowadays, only one person returned to give a “praise report”. Chances are, few of the people the Lord uses you to help will even thank you or try to support your ministry with even some words of encouragement. Prophets have to battle discouragement, as the case with Elijah after the miraculous events on Mount Carmel (1 Kings 18-19). However, just like how what happened to Jesus did not cause Him to stop helping others, or compromise His integrity, neither should you. Now that you have read the prelude, let us take a look at some things that could potentially sabotage the integrity of your ministry and your position with Christ.

Holy Spirit Led
The gifts and fruit of the Holy Spirit IAW 1 Corinthians 12 and Galatians 5:22-23.

“…Prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” ~ 2 Peter 1:21 (KJV) That standard has not changed; prophecy is as a result of being moved by the Holy Spirit. While some prophets prophesy more frequently than others, too many people misconstrue prophecy to mean giving personal prophecies (those that apply only to an individual). Most of the prophecies in the Bible were cooperate prophecies as opposed to personal prophecies. In fact, some of those prophecies would be misconstrued today as simply being preaching. One such prophecy was when the Lord told Jonah to go to Nineveh (the second time) and He said, Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee.’ ~ Jonah 3:2 (KJV) Jonah did not even use the Lord’s name when he preached/prophesied in the city. Jonah simply said, ‘Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.’ ~ Jonah 3:4 (KJV) But those were weighty Words from the Lord, much more than a typical sermon, that would have resulted in destruction if the people had not repented.

One of the errors current prophets make is by using the Lord’s name even though He had not spoken to them or commanded them to speak (Deuteronomy 18:20-22; Jeremiah 14:14, 23:32; etc.). In addition, many prophets fall into error by making proclamations in the name of the Lord, as if He is going to do whatever they say. Sadly, the end result is the prophets lose credibility and people become angry with the Lord when “prophecies” fail to come to past. There is a difference between a prophet saying, “I decree and declare…” versus “The Lord said…” The former is most likely words from a prophet while the latter is most likely the Words from the Lord. I prefer the latter because the Lord has an obligation to His Words versus the words of the prophet’s will.

Prophets, it is better to not use the Lord’s name and have something come to pass than to use His name in delivering a false prophecy, particularly a “prophecy” from your soul as opposed to the Holy Spirit of the Lord. If you start blasphemously misusing the Lord’s name, as if He is serving you instead of you serving Him, simply because of your title, you will become a ripe target to begin prophesying through an impure spirit (a spirit of divination, familiar spirit, etc.). The Lord said, ‘…if the prophet be deceived when he hath spoken a thing, I the Lord have deceived that prophet, and I will stretch out My hand upon him, and will destroy him from the midst of my people…’ ~ Ezekiel 14:9 (KJV) Study how one lying spirit deceived king Ahab’s 400 prophets, and they thought they had delivered a true prophecy from the Lord (1 Kings 22). If you want to play games with people’s lives, to include serving another “king” instead of Jesus, the Lord will hand you over so that you as a deceiver will get deceived. Many ministers invite prophets to their church with the expressed intent for the prophets to give out personal prophecies to attendees. Unfortunately, the prophecies do not have to be true Words of the Lord meant to provide exhortation, edification and comfort, but rather, to work people into a frenzy as a way of raising funds. Prophets, you are in error if you are making guarantees to prophecy to everyone in attendance. Even if the Lord gives you a prophecy for everyone, it does not mean He is commanding you to release it. You are committing an arguably more serious error if you have prophetic lines where you prophesy to people based on the money they have to contribute to be in a certain line. It does not take much to start receiving information that is divination (from impure spirits) instead of divine (from God) when money is a motivator. You cannot serve God and money (Matthew 6:24).

Ravening Wolves

The previous comment about prophetic lines brings me to the issue of a prophet who starts off doing the right thing but begins loving money, like Balaam, about whom it is written:

  • “…Beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children:Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness.” ~ 2 Peter 2:14-15 (KJV)

 

  • “…But what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves.Woe unto them! For they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core.” ~ Jude 10-11 (KJV)

Prophesying for money puts one at risk for changing from being a prophet to becoming a diviner, like the soothsayer in Acts 16:16-18. Do not let any internal or external pressure cause you to become a fortuneteller, or one who prophesies deceits, in an effort to raise funds or followers. The gifts and calling of the Lord are without repentance (Romans 11:29), but do not prostitute your gifts or allow others to prostitute your gifts. Do not become a prophet for hire.

Now, don’t get me wrong because it acceptable for a prophet to accept “gifts” for delivering a prophecy under some circumstances, but woe unto the prophet who refuses to deliver the Word of the Lord unless he or she is compensated. Joseph and Daniel were handsomely rewarded for delivering prophecies to kings (Genesis 41:39-45, Daniel 2:48). But neither made it a requirement for the kings to give them anything. They simply let the kings know the revelation they were about to receive was made possible for the Lord, for His glory, and then they gave the Word of the Lord. Sadly, many people use the following Words from the Lord as an excuse to not contribute to a minister’s ministry: ‘Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.’ ~ Matthew 10:8 (KJV) But they conveniently exclude that the Lord continued by saying, ‘Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat.’ ~ Matthew 10:9-10 (KJV) Which means, those who receive from a minister but do not contribute to the ministry in any way is basically saying the workman (minister) is not worthy of receiving anything in return. The minister may have paid $500 to make the trip for the Lord to use him or her to heal someone, but many people only consider that the healing was free. In addition, “For the scripture saith, ‘thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn.’ And, ‘The labourer is worthy of his reward.’” ~ 1 Timothy 5:18 (KJV) Many people walk away from a ministry session feeling spiritually full while leaving the minister feeling empty, like an ox that has labored without receiving even some water in return to quench its thirst. Consequently, while some people are con artists that start ministries as a way to fleece others, others resort to those manipulative ways so they can survive. Even though the Lord will judge both groups of ministers for their deeds, do not think He will hold you guiltless in the case of the latter. There is a price to pay for being a stumbling block that contributes to or leads others into sin (Proverbs 28:10, 1 Corinthians 8:9, Romans 14:13, Revelation 2:20, etc.).

A Test of My Faith
Endure life’s fiery trials.

Isn’t it amazing how people will have no reservations, with the exception of the cost per hour, to pay a mental health professional to counsel or medicate their demons but will have a major issue supporting a minister who casts the demons out? I have spoken out against the misapplication of Scriptures, particularly Malachi 3:8-12, which is oftentimes used to manipulate people into financially supporting ministries. While it is sometimes based on greedy clergy, it is also attributable to stingy laity. When Jesus said, ‘…freely ye have received, freely give’, what have you freely given in return for what the Lord has used ministers to bless you with? Too many people interpret that to mean they should freely receive without giving. Of the 10 lepers Jesus healed, it was the 1 who returned to thank the Lord who was made whole (Luke 17:19). If you can call your pastor for him to counsel you on the phone, have you ever considered adding some funds to the collection plate to help him pay his phone bill?

Jesus preached the gospel but He needed funds too, especially since He gave up His secular job to enter into fulltime ministry. Do not assume that everyone in fulltime ministry is in it for the money. Many ministers have given up more lucrative jobs to serve the Lord and also you; they dropped their fishing nets to become fishers of people. The following serves as an example of how those Jesus helped supported Him in return:

“And it came to pass afterward, that He went throughout every city and village, preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with Him, and certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils, and Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod’s steward, and Susanna, and many others, which ministered unto Him of their substance.” ~ Luke 8:1-3 (KJV)

I hope you didn’t think this was going to be a one-sided discourse aimed at the shepherds, especially the wolves in shepherd’s clothing.

God, The Love of My Life (2)

Yet, bear with me because there is more. There are times when a prophet will deliver a message from the Lord where even a hungry prophet should not expect to receive an offer to have a piece of bread. For example, when Nathan rebuked king David (2 Samuel 12) or Isaiah told king Hezekiah to get his house in order because he was going to die (Isaiah 38:1). But there are times when a prophet will receive an offering because of the recipient’s desire, yet the prophet should refuse the “gift”. King Jeroboam offered the Judean prophet a reward but he declined based on the instructions from the Lord (1 Kings 13). Elisha also demonstrated discretion regarding when to accept or decline gifts from others. The Shunammite lady was very kind to the prophet (2 Kings 4). She fed him whenever he passed through her village, with no expectation of anything in return. She even went as far as to ask her husband to build guest quarters to accommodate the prophet whenever he passed through. The prophet accepted her offers, but then he later did something spectacular for her when prophesied that her lack of a child would come to an end within a year. She gave birth to a son, which basically meant the prophet did not take advantage of her but gave her more than she gave to him. It speaks highly of the Shunammite lady’s character to selflessly support Elisha’s ministry, and the Lord rewarded her for it. Again, like Jesus said, ‘He that receiveth you receiveth Me, and he that receiveth Me receiveth Him that sent Me. He that receiveth a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward; and he that receiveth a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward.’ ~ Matthew 10:40-41 (KJV)

Breakthrough: When Jesus Sets You Free
Breakthrough: When Jesus Sets You Free

Elisha’s gratitude to the lady also speaks highly of his character. Many prophets want to be served instead to serve. Even though the lady served Elisha, he sought ways to be a blessing instead of a burden to her. Too many prophets are fleecing people, thereby leaving them in a financial bind, and straining and even shattering their relationship with the Lord. There is also another story of Elisha’s character. By the way, if you have read other things I have written about prophetic ministry, to include the book “Raised in the Wilderness: Rogue Reformers, Rallying the Remnant”, you may have noticed the one thing I tend to emphasize is a prophet’s character. A gifted prophet with bad character is a disaster in the making. Now back to Elisha. While he accepted things from the Shunammite lady, things were different with Naaman, the captain of the Syrian army who had leprosy. After the captain followed the prophet’s instructions to dip in the Jordan seven times and was cured of his leprosy, the gracious captain tried to give him gifts but Elisha refused. One of the hallmarks of a prophet is a person who leads others to God and that is exactly what Elisha did. That is evident when Naaman said, ‘Behold, now I know that there is no God in all the earth, but in Israel: now therefore, I pray thee, take a blessing of thy servant.’ ~ 2 Kings 5:15 (KJV) Many people have misrepresented God by leading others to believe the Lord wants their money more than their hearts. Prophets, stop manipulating people into “sowing a seed” before the Lord will do something for them. By the way, the Bible never refers to money as a seed. However, Jesus said, ‘The seed is the Word of God.’ ~ Luke 8:11 (KJV) Prophets need to focus more on sowing that seed, the Word of God, as opposed to receiving financial rewards, like Balaam.

Too many prophets, and other ministers, manipulate people by misusing the account of what happened when the widow at Zarephath supported the prophet Elijah (1 Kings 17). They stress how the lady was about to make her last meal for her and her son and then wait to starve to death. However, because she shared her meal with Elijah, the Lord performed a miracle and sustained all three of them for many days. In addition, when the lady’s son later died from an illness, the Lord used Elijah to resurrect him. Sadly, people who expect a miracle as a result of hearing ministers use this Scripture to fleece them seldom receive the miracle they expect. What most people receive is the angst of witnessing their hard-earned resources miraculously going from them to the deceptive/errant minister. As previously stated, prophecy of old was inspired by the Holy Spirit not people’s will. Operating from the soul (mind, will, emotions) is indicative of witchcraft, which is rebellion against God by trying to impose your will to cause others to do things against their will. The reason why those miracles happened was because both Elijah and the widow were adhering to the following instructions from the Lord: ‘Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongeth to Zidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee.’ ~ 1 Kings 17:9 (KJV) As you can see, Elijah and the widow had both received instructions from the Lord. By the time Elijah showed up, the Lord had already instructed her to support him, she simply had to recognize him when he appeared. If the Lord directs you to support a minister or ministry, I recommend that you obey the Lord. And please, do not follow the manipulative teaching that you must give to your local church first. Some people have received more direction from a five-minute encounter with a prophet than five years in a church, yet they will support their pastor more than that prophet.

cover

While some ministers and ministries require more financial support than others, there are more ways to provide support than via finances. Again, one of the factors that contribute to some prophets going astray is the lack of support. I admire how when David was on the run from king Saul, the prophet (seer) Gad gave David some advice that saved his life (1 Samuel 22:1-5). Years later, when David took over as king, he had Gad among his company of prophets. Unless he was fasting, Gad (and the other prophets in David’s court) did not have to worry about having a place to stay or food to eat. Nevertheless, even though he was in David’s court, Gad was the Lord’s prophet as evidenced when the Lord used him to rebuke and proclaim judgment against David (1 Chronicles 21). Sometimes prophets have to refuse things so they do not compromise themselves and end up becoming a person’s prophet, like those who served Ahab and Jezebel, as opposed to being the Lord’s prophet.

Character
“For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.” ~ 2 Corinthians 11:13-15 (NIV)

Sadly, the Lord uses the prophets to bless others who do not even consider how they can help the prophets in return, yet they have no problems returning to seek the prophet for “a word”. When Saul and his servant went to look for his father’s donkeys, they decided to inquire of Samuel to see if the Lord would reveal the location of the missing donkeys. Please note how they did not want to enquire of Samuel without a form of offering to show honor to the prophet (seer):

“And he said unto him, ‘Behold now, there is in this city a man of God, and he is an honourable man; all that he saith cometh surely to pass: now let us go thither; peradventure he can shew us our way that we should go.’

Then said Saul to his servant, ‘But, behold, if we go, what shall we bring the man? For the bread is spent in our vessels, and there is not a present to bring to the man of God: what have we?’

And the servant answered Saul again, and said, ‘Behold, I have here at hand the fourth part of a shekel of silver: that will I give to the man of God, to tell us our way.’” ~ 1 Samuel 9:6-8 (KJV)

Please note how they described Samuel as an honorable man, more on that shortly. They did not have a lot of money, but they wanted to at least offer Samuel something to show that they valued him and his services. But when they inquired of Samuel, he did not take their money. In fact, he had food waiting on them and he threw a feast in honor of Saul, who was about to become Israel’s first king. Whereas many people walk away from prophets with more than they bargained for, meaning they lost a great deal, Saul left Samuel’s house with more than he could have hoped for. Both prophets and the congregation have to be on guard against selfishness and greed. Some prophets started off doing the right things but lack of support contributed to them resorting to doing unsavory things.

Humble Pie
The Lord exalts the humble.

As promised, let us briefly examine what made Samuel an honorable man, beside what you have already seen. You may have noticed that Saul’s servant called Samuel a ‘man of God’. You may have heard me say it before but I am going to say it again. That term is used too loosely in today’s world. Being a Christian does not mean a person is automatically a man or woman of God. The term in the Bible is used to describe those who are in right standing with the Lord. For example, the angel of the Lord who appeared to Samson’s mother (in the form of a man) to announce Samson’s birth was called a man of God (Judges 13:6). In addition, the Bible mentions two prophets in 1 Kings 13, but the term man of God is used to describe the righteous Judean prophet as opposed to the lying Bethelite prophet. By the way, the latter was bold enough give a false prophecy in the name of the Lord (1 Kings 13:18). Men and women of God, do not tell lies in the name of the Lord, especially in an effort to manipulate others. The Bethelite gave a “soulish prophecy” (a form of witchcraft) by using his title for personal gain. Prophets, do not use your title or position to manipulate others because you will have to give an account to the Lord on the day of your judgment. With that being said, here is a great example of why Samuel was indeed an honorable man:

‘Behold, here I am: witness against me before the Lord, and before His anointed: whose ox have I taken? Or whose ass have I taken? Or whom have I defrauded? Whom have I oppressed? Or of whose hand have I received any bribe to blind mine eyes therewith? And I will restore it you.’

And they said [to Samuel], ‘Thou hast not defrauded us, nor oppressed us, neither hast thou taken ought of any man’s hand.’

And he said unto them, ‘The Lord is witness against you, and His anointed is witness this day, that ye have not found ought in my hand.’ And they answered, ‘He is witness.’” ~ 1 Samuel 12:3-5 (KJV)

Prophets, if you are in error, repent before it is too late. Note how Samuel was willing to make restitutions if peradventure he had defrauded or oppressed anyone. Christ is a Savior and a Redeemer. Do not fleece the flock, which is His flock (John 10, 21). If someone is going to support your ministry, let it be because the Lord inspired him or her to support you. If the Lord directed others to support you and they failed, that is between them and the Lord. Never forget, “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.” ~ 2 Corinthians 9:7 (KJV) Stop compelling people to give, especially their money. In addition, if you have been misusing the Lord’s name, especially to fleece the Good Shepherd’s flock, hear now the Word of the Lord, ‘Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh His name in vain.’ ~ Exodus 20:7 (KJV) You cannot change the past to undo previous mistakes, but you are in control of what you do from this point forward. Take the time to maintain, or if necessary, repair your integrity. A prophet is not simply one who communicates for the Lord, he or she also has to represent the Lord with his or her character. Be like Job and maintain your integrity, despite the fiery trials of life and your ministry (Job 1-2). Many ministries are dying because of lack of support, and quite frankly, some of those ministries need to die because of how the ministers have dishonored the Lord. “‘For both prophet and priest are profane; yea, in My house have I found their wickedness’, saith the Lord.” ~ Jeremiah 23:11 (KJV) Do not be a profane prophet.

Minister to the People
Minister to the People

In closing, being a prophet is not a position for one to take lightly. Keep in mind that Jesus said, ‘…that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.’ ~ Luke 12:47-48 (KJV) In addition, “Then the Lord said unto me, ‘The prophets prophesy lies in My name: I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spake unto them: they prophesy unto you a false vision and divination, and a thing of nought, and the deceit of their heart. Therefore thus saith the Lord concerning the prophets that prophesy in My name, and I sent them not, yet they say, ‘Sword and famine shall not be in this land’; By sword and famine shall those prophets be consumed.’” ~ Jeremiah 14:14-15 (KJV) Don’t play games with the Lord or His beloved and faithful children.

P.S. The Lord gave me the opportunity to give a sneak peek of this post on the following Blog Talk Radio program that aired on June 15, 2017: https://youtu.be/-lI8hIX7uJ4

 

Holy Spirit Led

The “Five-Fold”  

Many ministers are succumbing to unnecessary pressure because they are doing more than the Lord called, trained, equipped, commissioned, and sent them to do. For example, a pastor who is prophetic is not the same as a prophet. Similarly, a prophet who preaches well is not necessarily a pastor. For example, when the Lord sent the prophet Jonah to preach against Nineveh, He did not send him there to be their priest or pastor (Jonah 3:2).

Minister to the People
Minister to the People
Shepherds (pastors) and sheepdogs (prophets) watch over the flock, to include defending against predators, but they do so differently. In addition, sheepdogs are gifted to detect the enemy well in advance of the shepherds; sheepdogs (prophets) are designed to warn the shepherds (pastors). Sadly, many pastors have gotten rid of the prophets from their congregation and are now struggling to be the shepherd and the sheepdog. Lest not forget that Jesus “…gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the Body of Christ.” ~ Ephesians 4:11-12 (KJV)

Raised in the Wilderness (cover)
Are you a prophet?
Whatever the Lord has called you to do, do that and leave the other functions under the applicable “five-fold ministry” office (gift). If you want or try to be a jack-of-all-trades, you will become a master of none. Jesus is the archetype of all ministerial positions, and He served in all of them equally well. Many ministers have tried to be like Christ, which tragically sometimes means violating 1 Peter 5:2-4 by trying to lord over people. As a result, they have buckled under the pressure of trying to do what only God can do. Let God be God and you simply serve Him as He directs as opposed to what you desire.

See “Raised in the Wilderness: #Rogue Reformers, Rallying the #Remnant” for more information. Now available at: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1944255486/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1492026661&sr=1-1

Breakthrough: When Jesus Sets You Free
Breakthrough: When Jesus Sets You Free

 

Are you a prophet in the cave/wilderness?

Prophetic Ministry: “Did God really say?”

Many people glamorize what it means to be a prophet of the Lord; even prophets sometimes make their position appear more glamorous than it is. Consequently, many people want to be prophets, or say they are, without truly knowing what they are getting into. Thank the Lord that no one is His prophet unless He ordains the individual.

Besides the isolation, rejection, and the spiritual warfare, there are those assignments from the Lord that are not easy for a prophet to receive or execute. Lest not forget the following assignments the Lord gave to some of His prophets of the Bible, which may set the tone things the Lord may require of His current prophets:

  • “At the same time spake theLord by Isaiah the son of Amoz, saying, ‘Go and loose the sackcloth from off thy loins, and put off thy shoe from thy foot.’ And he did so, walking naked and barefoot. And the Lord said, ‘Like as My servant Isaiah hath walked naked and barefoot three years for a sign and wonder upon Egypt and upon Ethiopia; so shall the king of Assyria lead away the Egyptians prisoners, and the Ethiopians captives, young and old, naked and barefoot, even with their buttocks uncovered, to the shame of Egypt.’” ~ Isaiah 20:2-4 (KJV) Isaiah was most likely unaware of what he had volunteered for during this prior encounter, “Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?’ Then said I, ‘Here am I; send me.’ ~ Isaiah 6:8 (KJV) I used to criticize Moses for doing the opposite by asking the Lord to send someone else when the Lord commissioned him to go to Egypt (Exodus 4:13). However, experience is a cruel teacher. It will make you go from saying, ‘Lord, here am I; send me!’ to laying low and letting the Lord call on you when He needs you. We know that Jonah disobeyed God when the Lord told him to go preach against Nineveh. However, how would you feel if the Lord sent you to warn your persecutors to possibly give them a chance to repent and avoid the Lord’s judgment? Don’t forget that Nineveh was a part of the Assyrian empire, one of many empires that conquered Israel. I am not encouraging anyone to disobey the Lord, in part because I do not want you to end up in a whale of a situation. This is simply to open your eyes to the potential realities of being a prophet.
A Test of My Faith
Endure life’s fiery trials.
  • “And theLord said unto Samuel, ‘How long wilt thou mourn for Saul, seeing I have rejected him from reigning over Israel? Fill thine horn with oil, and go, I will send thee to Jesse the Bethlehemite: for I have provided Me a king among his sons.’ And Samuel said, ‘How can I go? If Saul hear it, he will kill me…’” ~ 1 Samuel 16:1-2 (KJV) Some assignments from the Lord puts a prophet in danger, yet it does not mean the Lord will spare the prophet from being afflicted. Too many ministers nowadays are too quick to make it seem as they should not be persecuted by saying, ‘Touch not Mine anointed, and do My prophets no harm.’ ~1 Chronicles 16:22/Psalm 105:15 (KJV) However, Paul, an apostle, let us know some of what he suffered in his ministry for the Lord when he wrote: “Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.” ~ 2 Corinthians 11:23-27 (KJV) There are also times when the Lord is the source of a prophet’s afflictions to ensure his or herbholiness and humility. For as the Lord said, ‘Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction. For Mine own sake, even for Mine own sake, will I do it: for how should My name be polluted? And I will not give My glory unto another.’ ~ Isaiah 48:10-11 (KJV)
Humble Pie
The Lord exalts the humble.
  • “The beginning of the Word of theLord by Hosea. And the Lord said to Hosea, ‘Go, take unto thee a wife of whoredoms and children of whoredoms: for the land hath committed great whoredom, departing from the Lord.’ So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim; which conceived, and bare him a son.” ~ Hosea 1:2-3 (KJV) After Gomer left Hosea and went to be with another man, the Lord said to His prophet, Go yet, love a woman beloved of her friend, yet an adulteress, according to the love of the Lord toward the children of Israel, who look to other gods, and love flagons of wine.’ ~ Hosea 3:1 (KJV) Hosea’s redeemed his wife, which is symbolic of Christ’s role as our Redeemer from our sinful ways.
Holy Spirit Led
The gifts and fruit of the Holy Spirit IAW 1 Corinthians 12 and Galatians 5:22-23.

I close with one of the many challenging assignments the Lord gave to Ezekiel, along with a reminder from the Lord that ‘…For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required…’ ~ Luke 12:48 (KJV)

“Also the Word of the Lord came unto me, saying, ‘Son of man, behold, I take away from thee the desire of thine eyes with a stroke: yet neither shalt thou mourn nor weep, neither shall thy tears run down. Forbear to cry, make no mourning for the dead, bind the tire of thine head upon thee, and put on thy shoes upon thy feet, and cover not thy lips, and eat not the bread of men.’

So I spake unto the people in the morning: and at even my wife died; and I did in the morning as I was commanded. And the people said unto me, ‘Wilt thou not tell us what these things are to us, that thou doest so?’

Then I answered them, ‘The Word of the Lord came unto me, saying, ‘Speak unto the house of Israel, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I will profane My sanctuary, the excellency of your strength, the desire of your eyes, and that which your soul pitieth; and your sons and your daughters whom ye have left shall fall by the sword. And ye shall do as I have done: ye shall not cover your lips, nor eat the bread of men. And your tires shall be upon your heads, and your shoes upon your feet: ye shall not mourn nor weep; but ye shall pine away for your iniquities, and mourn one toward another. Thus Ezekiel is unto you a sign: according to all that he hath done shall ye do: and when this cometh, ye shall know that I AM the Lord God. Also, thou son of man, shall it not be in the day when I take from them their strength, the joy of their glory, the desire of their eyes, and that whereupon they set their minds, their sons and their daughters, that he that escapeth in that day shall come unto thee, to cause thee to hear it with thine ears? In that day shall thy mouth be opened to him which is escaped, and thou shalt speak, and be no more dumb: and thou shalt be a sign unto them; and they shall know that I AM the Lord.’” ~ Ezekiel 24:15-27 (KJV)

God, The Love of My Life (2)

Holy Spirit Led

Idle Warnings

The Lord does not give idle warnings. As a result, when the Lord takes His time to give you a warning, take your time to believe Him and prepare yourself for what will most likely come so it will go well with and for you. By the way, that includes paying attention to, and writing down the conditions associated with a prophecy.

Prior to Cain murdering Abel, “…the Lord said unto Cain, ‘Why art thou wroth? And why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? And if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee shall be his desire, and thou shalt rule over him.’” ~ Genesis 4:6-7 (KJV) Cain heard the Lord’s warning but he did not respond appropriately to it. Similarly, this was how Peter handled a warning from the Lord:

“…The Lord said, ‘Simon, Simon, behold, satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.’ And he said unto Him, ‘Lord, I am ready to go with Thee, both into prison, and to death.And He said, ‘I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest Me.’” ~ Luke 22:31-34 (KJV)

The Spirit of Truth

The Lord is never wrong. As a result, Peter found out the hard way that he should have taken the Lord’s warning more seriously. Today, we have the Holy Spirit to guide us, and like Jesus said, ‘Howbeit when He, the Spirit of Truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will shew you things to come.’ ~ John 16:13 (KJV) The Lord told the wise men, and later Joseph, of king Herod’s plans to kill Jesus shortly after His birth. It went well for them because they took the Lord’s warnings seriously and immediately took evasive actions (Matthew 2). So please, do not ignore the Lord when He takes the time to warn you; He does not give idle warnings. It may deter the enemy from attacking you if he sees you alert and wearing the full armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18).

Now for a warning regarding conditions associated with a prophecy. By the way, the Lord gives conditions associated with a prophecy at the time of the prophecy, not after. When the Lord spoke to Solomon in a dream, He gave the new king wisdom, riches, and honor. But the Lord also gave Solomon the following condition: ‘And IF thou wilt walk in My ways, to keep My statutes and My commandments, as thy father David did walk, then I will lengthen thy days.’ ~ 1 Kings 3:14 (KJV) Sometimes the Lord’s warning comes in the form of the word “if”, which is also a condition for a prophecy. One of the things king Solomon should have adhered to regarding the Lord’s commandments was when He said, ‘Thou shalt have no other gods before Me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate Me; and shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love Me, and keep My commandments.’ ~ Exodus 20:3-6 (KJV)

Solomon did not heed the Lord’s warnings, which is why he was the cause for the kingdom being split in two, Israel in the north and Judah in the south. Despite the Ten Commandments, and the Lord’s personal warning to Solomon, “…king Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites: of the nations concerning which the Lord said unto the children of Israel, ‘Ye shall not go in to them, neither shall they come in unto you: for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods’: Solomon clave unto these in love. And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart. For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father. For Solomon went after ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. And Solomon did evil in the sight of the Lord, and went not fully after the Lord, as did David his father. Then did Solomon build an high place for chemosh, the abomination of Moab, in the hill that is before Jerusalem, and for molech, the abomination of the children of Ammon. And likewise did he for all his strange wives, which burnt incense and sacrificed unto their gods. And the Lord was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the Lord God of Israel, which had appeared unto him twice, and had commanded him concerning this thing, that he should not go after other gods: but he kept not that which the Lord commanded. Wherefore the Lord said unto Solomon, ‘Forasmuch as this is done of thee, and thou hast not kept My covenant and My statutes, which I have commanded thee, I will surely rend the kingdom from thee, and will give it to thy servant. Notwithstanding in thy days I will not do it for David thy father’s sake: but I will rend it out of the hand of thy son. Howbeit I will not rend away all the kingdom; but will give one tribe to thy son for David My servant’s sake, and for Jerusalem’s sake which I have chosen.’” ~ 1 Kings 11:1-13 (KJV)

Some warnings from the Lord may strike you as being very odd; especially because they pertain to something you could never envision yourself ever doing. For example, Peter could never envision himself denying his beloved Savior. Warnings from the Lord vary but they should never be overlooked. Again, the Lord does not give idle warnings. To be forewarned is to be forearmed. Thank the Lord for revealing the enemy’s plans before they pose a threat.

Red Flags

 

Minister to the People

Evangelism 101: Feeding the Needy

The Book of Esther does not specifically refer to God, yet the Lord is all over the story. Similarly, evangelizing does not always require mentioning Jesus’s name, in fact, there are times when mentioning the Lord’s name will cause others to reject you and whatever you have to offer. I was just reminded of how I sometimes evangelize by distributing books the Lord has inspired me to write to individuals and organizations. There have been numerous encounters, especially in other countries, where all I really had was a minute to give someone a book. In one such encounter, I was seated on a bus across from a rabbi. I offered the rabbi a book but he would accept it as long as it did not mention Jesus’s name. That was a problem, which begs the question: How does a person spread the gospel of Jesus, the Christ, without mentioning His name?

Well, the Book of Esther provides examples. For example, when Esther approached the king without being summoned, it was punishable by death, unless the king extended his golden scepter, which is sometimes referred to as the “scepter of grace” (Esther 4:11). Now think about the significance of when Christ sacrificed Himself for us and the veil of the temple was torn from top to bottom. The torn veil to the inner sanctum of the temple, the holy of holies, is symbolic of the way we now have unprecedented access to God, through Christ Jesus (Matthew 27:51). Jesus is like God’s “scepter of grace”, and as it is written, “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” ~ Hebrews 4:15-16 (KJV) But please do not take that lightly because God’s holiness, and our filthiness (without Christ) is far greater than we can imagine. The prophet Isaiah’s encounter with the Lord illustrates that:

“In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and His train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. And one cried unto another, and said, ‘Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of His glory.’ [Lest not forget that God is holy.]  And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke. Then said I, ‘Woe is me! For I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.’ Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar: and he laid it upon my mouth, and said, ‘Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged.’” ~ Isaiah 6:1-6 (KJV)

Humble Pie
The Lord exalts the humble.

Being in the presence of the holy God convicted Isaiah of his unrighteousness. It illustrates why Jesus said the following about the Holy Spirit, ‘And when He is come, He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.’ ~ John 16:8 (KJV) The hot coal on Isaiah’s lips that purged his sin and iniquity is symbolic of the cleansing power of Christ’s blood (1 John 1:7).

Again, the absence of the Lord’s name in the Book of Esther does not mean He is absent; the Lord is simply behind a veil, hidden in plain sight, like He is in so many people’s lives. When Mordecai said to Esther, ‘Think not with thyself that thou shalt escape in the king’s house, more than all the Jews. For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father’s house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?’ ~ Esther 4:13-14 (KJV)

It was the Lord who selected Esther to be in that position at that time. Lest not forget, the king had many women to choose from when he was seeking a bride to replace the rebellious (former) queen Vashti. The Lord made the other women seem like grass on a field while Esther stood out like a lone sunflower in full bloom on that field of grass.

In closing, here are some oftentimes overlooked evangelism tips from Jesus, which serve as a reminder that sometimes our actions are more important than our words:

‘Then shall the King say unto them on His right hand, ‘Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave Me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave Me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took Me in: Naked, and ye clothed Me: I was sick, and ye visited Me: I was in prison, and ye came unto Me.’

Then shall the righteous answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when saw we Thee an hungred, and fed Thee? Or thirsty, and gave Thee drink? When saw we Thee a stranger, and took Thee in? Or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we Thee sick, or in prison, and came unto Thee?’

 And the King shall answer and say unto them, ‘Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me.’ ~ Matthew 25:34-40 KJV)

Yes, it is important to speak about Jesus, but sometimes it is more important to be like Christ and do things for others like He would while evangelizing. There are times when nonbelievers can tell that Jesus’s name is on a person’s lips but that person’s heart is far from Him. In addition, hungry nonbelievers can also tell when people are more interested in feeding them the gospel of Jesus instead of feeding their physical need. As a result, don’t make receiving food or anything else contingent on receiving the gospel. Don’t tell a suffering person how much God loves them when showing them is more effective. I recall the Lord giving me an assignment to go to another country. My initial reaction was to ask the Lord what He wanted me to do when I got there. But the Lord’s response was to let me know what He wanted me to be. I wanted to do things but the Lord wanted me to be His representative. The Lord had things for me to do in that country, but His response made me even more focused on what He wanted me to be for people’s good and His glory.

You may feel as if you were ineffective by evangelizing without mentioning Jesus’s name. But remember that some plant, others water, but God will give the increase (1 Corinthians 3:6). Don’t try to do it all, especially in one encounter or day. One of the most important Scriptures to remember as an evangelist (Ephesians 4:11), or when doing the work of an evangelist (2 Timothy 4:5), is John 6:44 when Jesus said, ‘No man can come to Me, except the Father which hath sent Me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.’

Breakthrough: When Jesus Sets You Free
Breakthrough: When Jesus Sets You Free
Are you a prophet in the cave/wilderness?

The Sheepdogs

Many people say there are no prophets of God today, in part because believers have the Holy Spirit. While the latter part of the previous statement is correct, the former is not. One of the many reasons why prophets of the Lord are needed is because the devil’s prophets are busy leading people away from Christ. This is evident by the number of Christians who are supporting things God hates. If that applies to you, and you do not repent, woe unto you when you stand before Christ on the day of your judgment (see Matthew 7:21-23).

When Jonah preached against Nineveh, he simply said, ‘Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.’ ~ Jonah 3:4 (KJV) Note how Jonah delivered the Word of the Lord but he did not use the Lord’s name. However, the Ninevites took him seriously enough to humble themselves and repent. So, whether a prophet is serving the Lord or the devil, the prophet will not always use the name of the god he or she is representing when delivering a message. Many “prophets” of the devil are leading people astray to do or support sinful acts all in the name of love.

For those who say they have the Holy Spirit and don’t need to a prophet to hear from the Lord, good for you, but you may want to reconsider. Many people have the Holy Spirit but they do not listen to Him. That is particularly evident when a person has been living in sin without even giving a thought to repenting and getting things right with the Lord. In addition, David was a prophet. He wrote Psalm 22, which describes some of the things Jesus would say and endure during His crucifixion (Matthew 27). Yet, even though David was anointed, and he heard from the Lord himself, the Lord used prophets to speak to David, to include using Nathan the prophet (2 Samuel 12) and Gad the seer (1 Chronicles 21) to rebuke and proclaim judgment against the king.

beach-boundary

As previously stated, the devil has his bevy prophets so the Lord has His prophets also. Similarly to on Mount Carmel with the prophet Elijah against the 450 prophets of baal, the Lord still uses His prophets to point people, to include Holy Spirit filled believers, to the true and living God. Like Elijah said to the Israelites on Mount Carmel, I say unto you, ‘How long halt ye between two opinions? If the Lord be God, follow Him: but if baal, then follow him.’ ~ 1 Kings 18:21 (KJV) Many Christians are professing Jesus while serving other gods, even though Jesus said, ‘No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon [money].’ ~ Matthew 6:24 (KJV) So, on this day, choose which god you will serve. Lest not forget that God said, ‘Thou shalt have no other gods before Me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God…’ ~ Exodus 20:3-5 (KJV)

God, The Love of My Life (2)