Repent

Soul Searching

I feel convicted when I hear some messages, even to the point of inquiring of the Lord if and how the message applies to me. Most of the times it does not. Yet, I do not want to fall into the error of doing things that are displeasing to the Lord, or even worse, staying in the condition when confronted with that fact. If I get off course, I usually look for the very next off-ramp marked “Repentance” so I can get off the highway to hell. Moreover, it is important to note that there is a difference between sorrow and repentance. Many people claim they are sorry yet continue going down the highway to hell. They feel the Holy Spirit’s conviction as He tries to turn them away from sin, but they quench, and even grieve the Holy Spirit, and continue down the path to soothe their soul.

Let us take a look at what happened when Jesus said one of His disciples was going to betray Him to illustrate the difference between sorrow and repentance.

“And the disciples did as Jesus had appointed them; and they made ready the Passover. Now when the even was come, He sat down with the twelve. And as they did eat, He said, ‘Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray Me.’

And they were exceeding sorrowful, and began every one of them to say unto him, ‘Lord, is it I?’

And He answered and said, ‘He that dippeth his hand with Me in the dish, the same shall betray Me. The Son of man goeth as it is written of Him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! It had been good for that man if he had not been born.’

[Note: They were sorrowful, but that was the time to transition to repentance.]

Then Judas, which betrayed Him, answered and said, ‘Master, is it I?’

He said unto him, ‘Thou hast said.’” ~ Matthew 26:19-25 (KJV)

By the way, Judas asked the Lord that question after he had consorted with the chief priests and was looking for an opportunity to betray Jesus (Matthew 26:14-16). Again, sorrow is not the same as repentance. Many people are sorry for things they have done and/or are doing but will end up in hell if they do not repent. Repentance is not simply being sorry, it means to stop and turn away from sin, to include making restitutions if necessary. Repentance requires making changes in an effort to draw closer to the Lord.

6, 3, 40, Forever

When Jesus told the “Parable of the Wedding Banquet” (Matthew 22:1-13), keep in mind what happened to the guest who was invited to the banquet but did not take the take to change into a wedding garment prior to showing up:

“And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: and he saith unto him, ‘Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. Then said the king to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness, there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen.’” ~ Matthew 22:11-14 (KJV)

The parable is not about showing up to church dressed a certain way, “your Sunday’s best”. Jesus never turned away lepers or refused to feed the hungry because of their appearance. But rather, it speaks to the condition of the heart. Don’t get cast into outer darkness, eternally separated from the Lord, because you showed up in His presence with an unrepentant heart.

Humble Pie
The Lord exalts the humble.

 

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Are you a prophet in the cave/wilderness?

I Had A Dream  

One of the ways the Lord communicates to us is via dreams (Genesis 20:3, Numbers 12:6, Matthew 2, etc.). If you are a prophet/seer, dreamer of dreams (Deuteronomy 13), or operate in the gift of prophecy (1 Corinthians 12), it is easy to become consumed with the things the Lord communicates to you about other people and things and lose sight of what He communicates to you about yourself. Critics of those who have a lot of prophetic dreams oftentimes use the following Scriptures to discount those dreams:

  • ‘Behold, I AM against them that prophesy false dreams, saith the Lord, and do tell them, and cause My people to err by their lies, and by their lightness; yet I sent them not, nor commanded them: therefore they shall not profit this people at all, saith the Lord.’ ~ Jeremiah 23:32 (KJV)

 

  • ‘I have heard what the prophets said, that prophesy lies in My name, saying, I have dreamed, I have dreamed. How long shall this be in the heart of the prophets that prophesy lies? Yea, they are prophets of the deceit of their own heart; which think to cause My people to forget My name by their dreams which they tell every man to his neighbour, as their fathers have forgotten My name for baal. The prophet that hath a dream, let him tell a dream; and he that hath My Word, let him speak My Word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat? saith the Lord. Is not My Word like as a fire? saith the Lord; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?’ ~ Jeremiah 23:25-29 (KJV)

 

  • ‘I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran: I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied. But if they had stood in My counsel, and had caused My people to hear My Words, then they should have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings.’ ~ Jeremiah 23:21-22 (KJV)

Visionary (2)

I am not here to address the critics, but I am here to warn those who receive a lot of dreams (and visions) based on the Words of the Lord in Jeremiah 23.

The first warning is for you to test the spirits as stated in 1 John 4:1 to ensure your dream (or vision) is from the Lord as opposed to your soul or an impure spirit. Now, there are things you can glean from all three types of dreams (and visions). Briefly stated, a demonically induced dream or vision may indicate what the devil is trying to stop you from doing, or where he is trying to mislead you into going. Some people do not know what the Lord’s plan for them is and the short answer is it’s the opposite of what the devil wants for you. A dream or vision from the soul may indicate something from within you that is blocking the things of the Lord. For example, your cares of this world may be hindering your relationship with the Lord and you need to cast your cares on the Lord. Cast your cares upon the Lord because He cares for you (1 Peter 5:7). In addition, “Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” ~ Philippians 4:6-7 (KJV) Philippians 4:7 also serves as a reminder regarding how a dream or vision from the Lord tends to provide hope whereas one from the enemy leaves you feeling hopeless and fearful. The Lord dealt harshly with king Abimelech in a dream, but that was to stop him from sinning. In addition, the Lord gave him hope of escaping judgment (Genesis 20). Dreams and visions from the Lord can be placed in various categories such as warning dreams, where He may warn you of traps the enemy has set for you or others (Matthew 2). The Lord may also reveal His plans for you in a dream or vision (Genesis 28, 37). Keep in mind when the Lord said to the Israelites regarding their return from captivity (Jeremiah 29:10), ‘For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.’ ~ Jeremiah 29:11 (KJV) Also, please note that you may have a dream with multiple segments so you have to test the spirit behind each scene. There are times when you will have a dream from the Lord and a devil may try to sow “weeds among the wheat” by adding to the dream. That may explain why you may have a wonderful dream but then it transitions to something different and fearful, even to the point where you may forget what the Lord had communicated to you. So to reiterate, please test the spirit behind your dream, especially before you broadcast to others that the Lord had shown you something in a dream.

 

Inner PeaceThe second warning is to ensure you pay attention to when the Lord is telling you about yourself. When you stand in the Lord’s counsel, to include in a dream, there are times when He will reveal things to you about yourself that could or will result in disaster if you do not repent. Note how the Lord warned Cain by telling him that sin was crouching at his door but he must rule over it (Genesis 4). Tragically, even after standing in the Lord’s counsel, Cain killed his brother Abel, and he paid a serious price for his disobedience and sin. There are many ways to stand in the Lord’s counsel but the most important thing is to take His counsel.

Repent
People will recognize you by your fruit. ‘Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.’ ~ Matthew 3:8 (NIV)

The third warning is if you are getting a lot of revelations about others and none about yourself, particularly things you need to work on, I would be (very) concerned. The prophet Isaiah said, ‘But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.’ ~ Isaiah 64:6 (KJV) One of the functions of the Holy Spirit is to convict us of our righteousness (John 16:7-15). Yes, you read that correctly, the Holy Spirit convicts us of our “righteousness”. If you are more focused on Him showing you things to come, you may lose sight of His reminders that without Christ, our righteousness is as filthy rags to God. Lest not forget the following encounter Isaiah had with the Lord:

“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.’ 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.’” ~ Isaiah 6:1-5 (KJV)

Isaiah stood in the presence of the perfectly holy God and the Lord’s holiness illuminated unclean things about the prophet to himself. Isaiah prophesied about the birth of Jesus, the Son of God (Isaiah 9:6-7), but he was not above being humbled by his own shortcomings. I know many people are discouraged by professing prophets who claim to have dreams and visions about things to come, yet cannot see their own demise if they do not repent of their ways. Whether you are a prophet/seer, dreamer of dreams, or you operate in the gift of prophecy, never forget that Jesus said, ‘Not every one that saith unto Me, ‘Lord, Lord’, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of My Father which is in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Thy name? And in Thy name have cast out devils? And in Thy name done many wonderful works?’ And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from Me, ye that work iniquity.’ ~ Matthew 7:21-23 (KJV)

Humble Pie
The Lord exalts the humble.

Standing in the Lord’s counsel may make you want to tell others about your dream or vision, but it should definitely make you want to tell people to repent lest they perish. There are also times when an experience with the Lord will let you know that you need to repent, even if there is something minor or even nonexistent now that could become a major problem later. When the Lord spoke to king Solomon in a dream, He promised to give the king wisdom, riches, and honor. But the Lord also warned the king to walk in His ways and keep His statutes and commandments (1 Kings 3:12-14). Sadly, years later, Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines, some of whom turned his heart away from the Lord to the point of where they started practicing idolatry in Israel (1 Kings 11). Do not overlook the revelations from the Lord about what He wants you to do for Him, such as to repent or walk uprightly, in favor of what He plans or promised to do for you. Gifts from God come with responsibilities.

Please keep in mind that the Lord disciplines those He loves (Hebrews 12). 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

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

 

 

 

Sowing vs. Planting 

Whatever you do in life, stop “sowing” and start “planting” in order to increase the return on your investment.

According to Merriam-Webster, there is a subtle difference between sowing and planting. To sow is “to scatter (seed) upon the earth for growth; broadly”. On the other hand, to plant is “to put or set in the ground for growth”. Many of you have not received a return on your investment because you have been sowing “seeds” instead of planting them. When Jesus told the Parable of the Sower, only 25% of the scattered (sown) seeds had a chance of bearing a harvest (Luke 8:4-15). Before I share the parable with you, do not be deceived by anyone who claims to be “fertile ground” for you to sow your seeds on because you may still not reap a harvest. Lest not forget that the birds Jesus referred to will also go on fertile grounds and eat the seeds. In addition, sometimes the person who claims to be fertile ground is the one who is eating your seeds and/or reaping and keeping your harvest. On that note, here is the Parable of the Sower:

“And when much people were gathered together, and were come to Him out of every city, He spake by a parable: ‘A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it. And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it. And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundredfold.’

And when He had said these things, He cried, ‘He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.’

And His disciples asked Him, saying, ‘What might this parable be?’

And He said, ‘Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand. Now the parable is this: The seed is the Word of God. Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the Word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the Word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away. And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection. But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the Word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.’” ~ Luke 8:4-15 (KJV)

When you give, do so selflessly with the expectation of nothing in return. But when you invest, do so with wisdom. Sometimes sowing, or more accurately planting, is about the fruit the seeds will bear in the lives of others. Jesus said, ‘The seed is the Word of God.’ Have you been planting that “seed”, the Word of God, in other people’s lives?

New Thing

If you have been sowing or planting with an expectation of a personal return on your investment, examine where and also how you are investing. Are you haphazardly scattering your precious seeds or are you carefully planting them? In addition, lest not forget that plants require nurturing to protect them from various threats to their growth and productivity. I planted some seeds in two flowerpots in front of my house in 2016. I watered the seeds and waited for the flowers to germinate, but they never did, not even a single plant. I believe the seeds were good, and I had fresh potting soil so I had planted in good grounds. However, I had noticed some birds around my flowerpots but I never realized they had dug up my seeds and eaten them. That meant my seeds were probably deposited somewhere else where they took root. All I know is I planted, and I planted in good ground, but I did not protect the seeds (my investment). Moreover, those seeds would have been even more vulnerable if I had simply scattered them on top of the good ground. At least the enemy had to work to get to the seeds. So, armed with last year’s failure, when I repeated the process this year, I planted the seeds even deeper to protect my investment. As a result, now the flowers are in full bloom. Stop sowing when you need to be planting.

"Labor Pains"

 

Helping Hand

If your right hand gets dirty, when you use your left hand to hand to wash the right, both hands get cleaner in the process. So, whenever the Lord gives you an opportunity to help others, He is also giving you an opportunity to help yourself in the process. Doing something good for others is oftentimes good for you too in pleasantly surprising ways. Have you ever helped someone who was feeling and possibly looking downtrodden and felt worse when that person thanked you with a smile? Smiles are precious, especially when they break through and emerge from a previously broken or hardened heart. Hands are precious too, particularly when they are used to convey the love of Christ Jesus to others.

Additional Reading: Luke 13:10-17 and John 5:1-15

Minister to the People
Minister to the People

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

 

"Labor Pains"

Parental Rights

Typically, parents want what is best for their children. However, despite their wisdom, they should never try to lord over their children’s lives, particularly when it means usurping the Lord’s will for that child (to include adult offspring). Many parents have ruined their children’s lives by preventing them from fulfilling their Godly calling because of their selfish desires. The following provide Scriptural examples of how parents either helped or hurt their children:
 
• Bethuel had plans for his daughter Rebekah, but that changed when Abraham’s servant showed up and wanted to take her back to marry Isaac. When Bethuel realized the sudden turn of events was from the Lord, he immediately consented but wanted to spend ten more days saying goodbye to his daughter. Yet, even in that time in history, Rebekah’s family consulted with her and accepted her decision to leave immediately. It is amazing that her family consulted with their daughter to at least get her opinion, and then they respected it. In addition, they did not resort to manipulation (witchcraft) in an effort to get her to stay and delay her destiny (Genesis 24).
 
• Laban made his daughter Leah’s life very bitter by deceiving Jacob into marrying her. As a result, Leah ended up in a plural marriage with a man who hated her. And to add insult to injury, Leah got a front row seat to witness her husband loving another woman, all because of her father’s selfish interference (Genesis 29).
 
• A concubine ran away from her husband and went to her father’s house. When her husband went to get her, her father kept delaying their departure. The husband had had enough after five days so he took his concubine and left. Sadly, the delayed departure resulted in the woman getting abused and killed at the hands of others. In addition, the event sparked a war between the Israelites and the Benjaminites, which resulted in 40,000 Israelites getting killed (Judges 19-20).
 
• Shaphat and his wife probably had plans for Elisha to take over the family’s farm. However, when Elijah showed up to fulfill the Lord’s command to anoint Elisha as a prophet, Shaphat did not hold on to his son. In fact, Elisha kissed his parents goodbye. In addition, Elisha killed the yoke of oxen he had been using to plow the field when Elijah showed up to change his life. Elisha killing the yoke of oxen was symbolic of him closing the door on his past, to include his parents, because his calling involved doing incredible works in the name of the Lord instead (1 Kings 19:16-21). It was more important for Elisha to do his Heavenly Father’s will as opposed to his earthly father’s will, which for many professing Christian parents today is unacceptable. Prophetically, Elisha’s obedience to God’s will is symbolic of when Jesus said to His disciples, ‘My meat is to do the will of Him that sent Me, and to finish His work.’ ~ John 4:34 (KJV)
 
• Hannah, who had been barren, petitioned the Lord for a son, whom she promised to give to the Lord as soon as she weaned him. The Lord granted her petition and blessed her with a son named Samuel. Hannah could have held onto the child, but she took Samuel to the temple to serve the Lord as soon as she weaned him, just as she had promised the Lord. The Lord rewarded her faithfulness by blessing her with five more children. Samuel grew up and became a prophet and the last judge over Israel (1 Samuel 1-7). If you asked the Lord for a child, and made a vow to commit that child to serving the Lord, the Lord has done His part but have you done yours? By the way, Hannah, who had been barren, could have held on to Samuel and he probably would have been her only child. However, because Hannah did not interfere with Samuel’s destiny, the Lord blessed her with five more children. If you only knew what interfering with your child’s destiny is costing you.
 
I know parents usually have wisdom, and they can help guide their offspring on the right path, but parents have to learn how and when to let go and trust the Lord. By the way, this applies to an offspring’s chosen profession, and spouse. Sometimes parents do not like the person the Lord has ordained as their offspring’s spouse… Sadly, many parents claim to have let their offspring go, yet are praying to the Lord for Him to make their offspring’s ventures to fail so he or she will return and do what the parents want that offspring to do. That is a form of witchcraft and parents will have to give an account to the Lord for it. When the man with two sons fulfilled the younger son’s request to give him his inheritance, the father complied. The young man moved out and squandered his inheritance, without his father having to pray witchcraft prayers to force his son back home. Yes, the young man hit rock bottom and decided to return to his father’s home, and his father was happy that he returned (Luke 15:11-32). Yet, that father strikes me as the type of man who would have been happy for his son if he had never returned because he was successfully fulfilling his calling in life. One of the things the father demonstrated is that his love for his son was unwavering; the son did not have to do his father’s will to earn or retain his father’s love. Sadly, many young people are afraid to pursue what the Lord has placed in their heart to do because they know their parents would basically disown them.
 
If you have been praying for a loved one to fail, stop! Again, that is a form of witchcraft (manipulation). You may think you are praying to the Lord when in fact you are giving devils access to your offspring to fulfill your desires. That is equivalent to dedicating your infant to a devil and the child grows up wondering why he or she has been suffering throughout life, to include failed ventures. Devils enjoy stopping people from reaching their God-ordained destiny. If a devil stopped you from reaching your God-ordained destiny, do not allow or be the reason why the same happens to your child. Please keep that in mind before you even think about praying against your offspring for your will instead of God’s will to be done. In addition, Jesus said, ‘Ye have heard that it hath been said, ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.’ But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.’ ~ Matthew 5:43-44 (KJV) How do you think the Lord will respond to you for basically cursing someone you profess to love since He directed you to bless your enemies? Many parents who have been petitioning the Lord in an effort to control their children’s destiny are in trouble with the Lord themselves. Woe unto those parents who did not fulfill their calling from the Lord, so the Lord blessed them with a child who would do the Lord’s will, but the parents are trying to block that also.
 
Let me stop before I really get started. However, before I go, we will all have to give an account to the Lord for our individual actions, and that include those who obeyed their parents instead of God. If your parents won’t willingly let you go, like Hannah, so you can fulfill the Lord’s purpose for your life, you may have to simply kiss them goodbye, like Elisha, in order to fulfill your Godly purpose. If your parents decide to pray against you doing the Lord’s will, they will have to answer to the Lord. Again, we will all have to give an account of ourselves to the Lord, and He said, ‘Yet say ye, ‘Why? Doth not the son bear the iniquity of the father?’ When the son hath done that which is lawful and right, and hath kept all My statutes, and hath done them, he shall surely live. The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.’ ~ Ezekiel 18:19-20 (KJV)
 
God, The Love of My Life (2)
P.S. Obey God! You may be in a bit of a quandary because you want to do the Lord’s will for your life but your parents are opposing it. And, after all, Jesus said we should honor our parents. But the Lord also said, ‘Think not that I AM come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I AM come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after Me, is not worthy of Me.’ ~ Matthew 10:34-38 (KJV)