The Jokes Are Over

Ironically, some comedians make people laugh yet they secretly struggle with depression that is masked by their smiles, sense of humor, and charisma. Similarly, many ministers who preach about being holy unto the Lord, struggle with “secret” sins that are masked by their titles, eloquence, and liturgical attire. Ministers are not immune to the devil’s fiery darts. In fact, they are frequently targeted because when a devil smites the shepherd it expects the sheep to scatter (Zechariah 13:7).

By the way, the terms shepherd and sheep are symbolic of the type of relationship. However, we are people and we need to look out for each other, and that includes the congregation looking out for the shepherd. Don’t hug your pastor on the way in or out of church without doctrinally confronting him about the smell of alcohol coming from his pores. In addition, do not remain silent or excuse any other verifiable bad behavior from the clergy (or fellow congregants). If you won’t confront the issues, at least stop partaking in them and get out of that environment (ministry). Would you drink water from a toilet bowl? If you answered no, which I hope you did, I hope you will not drink living waters from a known contaminated vessel (minister) either.

When the Lord asks a question, make no mistake about it, He already knows the answer. The Lord had warned Cain that sin was crouching at his door but he must rule over it, yet he killed his brother Abel. When the Lord asked Cain where his brother was, he retorted, ‘I know not: Am I my brother’s keeper?’ ~ Genesis 4:9 (KJV) Cain soon found out that was the wrong answer. So please, look out for your brothers and sisters in Christ.

In closing, when confronting issues in the church, please keep the following in mind:

  • “Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses. Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.” ~ 1 Timothy 5:19-20 (KJV)

 

  • Jesus said,Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.’ ~ Matthew 18:15-17 (KJV)

Be your brother’s keeper because many Christians are fighting tremendous battles, alone. “For WE wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” ~ Ephesians 6:12 (KJV) Elijah, a prophet who could call down fire from heaven, was wrestling with the enemy and he felt so alone in the fight that he wanted to give up and die (1 Kings 19). Let US wrestle the enemy, together. As the saying goes, “united we stand, divided we fall” so please do not allow the enemy to “divide and conquer” your brothers and sisters in Christ.

Confrontation

Social Aloe Ministries: “Glorifying God. Exposing the devil.”

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Are you a prophet in the cave/wilderness?

“One-Strike Rule”    

Please, study the Scriptures to ensure no one deceives you, especially with blatant false prophecies, such as those who predict “the rapture” date. Many have tried and all have failed; yet people still keep believing and trusting in those false prophets, to include after their “prophecies” fail to come to pass.

Many prophets are deceived, which means they will deceive others because it is a case of the blind leading the blind. Some “prophets” are deceived because the Lord never called them, they don’t know the Word of God, or they know the Bible but they don’t know Jesus. Some prophets are outright liars who make things up for selfish reasons, without even being seduced by demons. Others fall prey to seducing spirits and they do not test the spirit (1 John 4:1) before making a proclamation in the name of the Lord. I have a “one-strike rule” when it comes to prophets, you miss it once or you intentionally try to mislead me and you are done. Some “prophets” won’t even get a chance with me, especially when the Holy Spirit exposes them beforehand. By the way, the devil has tried testing me on this, as if I am joking. But I don’t play games with prophetic ministry.

When it comes to rapture dates, it contradicts when Jesus said, ‘Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.’ ~ Matthew 25:13 (KJV) In addition, the following significant event is a precursor to the rapture:

“That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition [the antichrist]; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.” ~ 2 Thessalonians 2:2-4 (KJV)

While there are many antichrists, the antichrist has not been revealed yet, at least not to the public. As a result, especially until then, let no one deceive you. Many people who are boldly contradicting the Word of God by making predictions about the rapture are under the following delusion:

“And then shall that wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the Spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” ~ 2 Thessalonians 2:8-12 (KJV)

There are some false prophets who are working with demonic powers, but most are simply phonies seeking attention. I have had to wrestle with many demons, to include in people, who tried to get me to do things that may have initially sounded good, but soon became apparent that I would have gone out of the Lord’s will. As a result, one of the things I have learned to do is keep my mouth shut, especially because I know how a false prophecy can ruin a person’s life, and possibly his or her relationship with the Lord. So many people have had to deal with the disappointment of looking up for the Lord to rescue them on a certain date from this fallen world. Yes, do what Jesus said and watch. However, rather than looking up in the sky, watch for people who need your help, those who need to hear the gospel of Christ so they too may be saved. Rather than looking up in the sky, “Preach the Word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.” ~ 2 Timothy 4:2-5 (KJV)

In closing, rather than focusing so much on your escape plan, “do the work of an evangelist” and distance yourself from those false prophets, and rebuke them if necessary. Do not allow anyone to deceive you more than once or you go from being a victim to an accomplice.

Ravening Wolves

Social Aloe Ministries: “Glorifying God. Exposing the devil.”

 

 

Eclipse of The Heart  

Prince Charming met Cinderella when she was looking her absolute best, stunning. But it was not her looks that left an indelible mark on him; it was her character. As a result, when he reconnected with her after an extensive search, he did not see the external image he had seen before. Yet, he was not disappointed or deterred because she had retained what mattered the most, her character. The prince confirmed her identity by having her try on the only reminder he had of the woman who had captivated him at the ball, the glass slipper. The glass slipper was another thing that set her apart from all the other women in the kingdom. It was custom made for her so it fit her feet perfectly and effortlessly. And such is love, it is transparent as glass and it does not hurt when it is the right fit. The glass slipper is also symbolic of how the prince could see the character of the woman he desired, despite her outward appearance. Love is clearly unwavering.

By the way, ladies, please take note of how the prince held on to the only remnant he had of the woman he had fallen for, and he searched for her. Ladies, you never have to spend time pursuing a man who has your “glass slipper”. If he has your number but never calls, your social media account(s) and never checks or comments… I hope you get the picture. If a man has your “glass slipper”, and he knows you are interested in him, yet he is not pursuing you, don’t ever pursue him. Never walk a mile for a man who would never walk across the street for you; Prince Charming scoured the kingdom in his search for Cinderella. When you read the Book of Ruth, take a look at how Boaz reacted after Ruth expressed an interest in being in a relationship with him; Ruth never pursued Boaz and she never had to (Ruth 2-3). After all, “The man who finds a wife finds a treasure, and he receives favor from the Lord.” ~ Proverbs 18:22 (NLT) A woman who pursues a man will find misery, in part because he won’t treasure her.

As a Christian, whether a man or woman, do not commit idolatry by pursuing a relationship with a person instead of the Lord. If you cannot let go of a person, surrender him or her to the Lord, that person has become an idol (a god) in your life. If a person permeates your thoughts more than the Lord, that person may be a god in your life. It is idolatry if getting into a relationship, to include marriage, is more important to you than being with the Lord. If you are trying to make someone be with you, especially when the person clearly has no interest in you, that person has become an idol in your life, the god you truly worship. That includes even if you believe the Lord told you the individual is going to be your spouse; I recommend that you read Genesis 24:1-9 and meditate on the eighth verse. The Lord is not going to violate anyone’s free will, so woe unto you if you do, or if you try. If you are trying to resurrect a relationship the Lord has allowed to die, not only is that person a god in your life, you have become the god of your life. I could provide more examples of idolatrous relationships, or attempts to be in such relationships, but I leave you with the following Words from the Lord:

‘You must not have any other god but Me. You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea. You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods. I lay the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected—even children in the third and fourth generations of those who reject Me. But I lavish unfailing love for a thousand generations on those who love Me and obey My commands.’ ~ Exodus 20:3-6 (NLT)

 

Anatomy of a Heartbreak: When SAMson met Delilah
A narrative of recovering from heartbreak and reaching Jesus in the process.

Social Aloe Ministries: “Glorifying God. Exposing the devil.”

 

 

 

Anatomy of a Heartbreak: When SAMson met Delilah

Love Notes

Love Notes: Rest in Peace  

Do not stay in an abusive relationship because of the lack of physical violence. “Death and life are in the power of the tongue…” ~ Proverbs 18:21a (KJV) Stress is a slow and silent killer that contributes to a multitude of signs and symptoms. Get rid of the stressors before they get rid of you. God has called you to peace; Jesus is the Prince of Peace.

 

Love Notes: If…  

If you knew what some people went through in their relationship you would never encourage them to stay in or return to it.

  

Love Notes: Narc  

If you are in a relationship and you finally discover that your partner is a narcissist, create an exit plan, and when you leave, do not return. By the way, even if you are in love with a narcissist, despite the abuses, one of the best things a narcissist can do for you is dump you. For a narcissist, a relationship is usually not over until he or she says it is over, which is why it is usually better for the narcissist to leave. Sadly, many narcissists will stay in a relationship because they get pleasure from seeing or making others suffer.

Get to know the signs of narcissism, both for yourself and to help others who are enduring narcissistic abuse. One of the major signs of narcissism is a lack of empathy for others but the narcissist will want empathy from others.

By the way, there are various types of narcissists and degrees of narcissism. The degree of narcissism basically determines how fast the person will suck the life out of you if you remain in the relationship.

The Sound of a Fallen Tree
A collection of poetry about heartbreak.

Love Notes: Snapdragon 

Be careful of any relationship where the other person brings out the worst in you and causes you to act out of character.

Several years ago, a minister met his estranged wife (a fellow minister) in an effort to rekindle their relationship. Things did not go well because the male minister was later arrested for aggravated assault. They subsequently divorced and she is still single but he married another minister. His first marriage lasted 6 years and it may have seemed as if he had anger management issues. But he has since been married for almost 8 years and there have been no such publicly disclosed information regarding him being violent.

Sometimes the victim is actually the victimizer; the seemingly dedicated and loving spouse is the one who pushed the other to the brink. The one who got physically abused was the one who had been emotionally abusive. Take note of how Jesus preached about peace, and He is the Prince of Peace, but it was like He snapped when He saw how they had turned His father’s house into a den of thieves. Various Scriptures tell us that God is slow to anger, which means He does get angry. God is love, and He is very patient, but there comes a time when He will no longer tolerate certain things and He will use His rod of correction.

The following is a cautionary tale based on the Lord’s character to be careful about making someone who is greater in power than you angry. “The Lord is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked: the Lord hath His way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of His feet.” ~ Nahum 1:3 (KJV)

As was the case with the previously mentioned male minister, when someone acts out of character, look at the reason for such a reaction. Sometimes the “victim” sowed the wind and reaped the whirlwind. So, like the Lord said, ‘Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.’ ~ John 7:24 (KJV)

This is especially for the ladies, if you get into an argument with a man and he tells you to be quiet, or he walks away, hold your peace and do not go after him. If you let your emotions get the best of you in the heat of the moment and do not hold your peace, he may not be able to control his emotions and hold his peace either. Keep in mind that when two small flames come in contact they will create a bigger fire. Also consider this. Would you jump into a lions’ den with a piece of steak wrapped around your waist? If you would, I hope you would do so after the lions have had a huge meal and are taking a nap. Well, an angry man who is trying to walk away is like a hungry lion.

This month (August) marks the anniversary of when the United States dropped two atomic bombs on Japan. But the devastation started when the Japanese awoken a sleeping fire-breathing giant that had been reluctant to enter into World War II by its attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. One of the most prolific quotes from WWII was, ‘May God have mercy upon my enemies, because I won’t.’ ~ General George S. Patton The Japanese naval admiral Isoroku Yamamoto is credited with saying after that fateful attack, I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.’

Whether a man or woman, do not be a fire starter in a relationship and then complain when you get burned by the fire you started. Even God gets provoked to anger, and you would not like to be on the receiving end of His wrath.

I do not condone any form of abuse, but the example I provided of the two ministers is a reminder that two Christians can be unequally yoked, and even the meek can be provoked. Never assume that being with a fellow Christian means you are compatible. Judas was a Christian, yet the Lord made the following comment to His disciples regarding Judas, ‘Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?’ ~ John 6:70 (KJV)

 

 

 

Knowledge is Power (cover)

Positive ID  

The Lord does not always show you a person’s true colors for you to take the information to the individual in an effort to cause him or her to change. On the contrary, the revelation is for you to change how you interact with the individual. A herd of zebras getting ready to cross a river does not need to convince what they thought was a floating log that it is actually a crocodile. The crocodile already knew its identity and intentions while pretending to look like an innocuous log. But rather, it is the responsibility of the first zebra that positively identifies the log as a crocodile to alert the rest of the herd.

Knowledge gives you power over the enemy, especially when you demonstrate wisdom by wisely using the information. Moreover, the Lord give us knowledge because as He said, ‘My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge…’ ~ Hosea 4:6 (KJV)

True Colors
The Light exposes a person’s true colors.

Social Aloe Ministries: “Glorifying God. Exposing the devil.”

 

 

 

Are you a prophet in the cave/wilderness?

No Ordinary Ordination

Ministers the Lord groom in the “wilderness” as opposed to in churches and/or seminaries will most likely get interrogated about the source of their ordination. One of the points of discussion in “Raised in the Wilderness: Rogue Reformers, Rallying the Remnant” is that ordination ultimately comes from the Lord, and He does not always give out ordination certificates to those He certifies. Sadly, many people are serving in ministerial positions outlined in Ephesians 4:11 even though the Lord did not call or ordain them. Some are self-appointed and others where appointed by people instead of God. I will try not to rehash much of what is written in “Raised in the Wilderness”, but I am inspired to remind you of the importance of having an ordination from the Lord, and also how sometimes having a piece of paper from an institution is more coveted than an endorsement from the Lord.

Minister to the People
Minister to the People

When the Lord called Jeremiah to serve Him, He said, ‘Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.’ ~ Jeremiah 1:5 (KJV) It is a potent reminder that the Lord ordains His servants, even when He uses someone else to make the proclamation, as was the case when the Lord directed Elijah to anoint Elisha as a prophet (1 Kings 19:16-19). Whereas one ordination was private and the other was public, the most important thing was that it was from the Lord. One of the reasons why some ministers end up in the wilderness after receiving their calling from the Lord (in a private setting) is because they get rejected in churches. The source of that rejection may be because the Lord has not made others aware of His calling. Conversely, “they” may know but not want to acknowledge it, or worse, they may be trying to snuff it out. Joseph and David ended up in the “wilderness” because others tried to kill the calling the Lord had on their lives. Even after the Lord had Samuel anoint David as Israel’s next king, in front of his family (1 Samuel 16), rather than treating David as the next king, his eldest brother Eliab said, ‘Why camest thou down hither? And with whom hast thou left those few sheep in the wilderness? I know thy pride, and the naughtiness of thine heart; for thou art come down that thou mightest see the battle.’ ~ 1 Samuel 17:28 (KJV) Yet, please do not assume that everyone who opposes your calling is jealous of you. Doing so may indicate pride that the Lord needs to purge from you in the wilderness. However, expect opposition, to include from those closest to you, once you receive your calling from the Lord, even when He does it privately. For David, his brother wanted him back into the wilderness to tend to the sheep. But that was only the beginning for David. Once David’s calling caught Saul’s attention, the king spent years of his life trying to kill David. Consequently, the wilderness is a place of isolation and insulation. The Lord may place you in the wilderness to insulate you from those who should have mentored you.

Humble Pie
The Lord exalts the humble.

Unlike where the Lord called Jeremiah and gave him instructions from the onset of his calling, Samuel’s calling was subtle. Even though Eli, the priest and Samuel’s guardian, was in close proximity, he had no idea what the Lord had told Samuel. As a result, don’t expect others to know what the Lord has told you. The Lord did not tell Eli about Samuel’s calling and He may not tell your pastor about yours. In addition, unlike how Eli believed what Samuel had to say, some people will not believe or acknowledge your calling from the Lord. Sadly, many people are not fulfilling their calling from the Lord because they are waiting for their “pastor” to prepare them for and release them into that ministry. The Lord told Jeremiah that he was a prophet but he had to bear fruit commensurate with that calling. Conversely, the Lord did not initially tell Samuel that He was calling him as a prophet, but as you will see, Samuel’s fruit proved his calling: “And the child Samuel grew on, and was in favour both with the Lord, and also with men… And Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him, and did let none of his words fall to the ground. And all Israel from Dan even to Beersheba knew that Samuel was established to be a prophet of the Lord.” 1 Samuel 2:26, 3:19-20 (KJV) By the way, some people will see your fruit and will “somehow” remain clueless about your calling from the Lord. You can tell a lot about a person’s calling based on their fruit, such as how he or she conveys messages or the type of messages. For example, when the Lord called and commissioned Ezekiel to preach against the house of Israel, this was a part of the Lord’s instructions: ‘And they, whether they will hear, or whether they will forbear, (for they are a rebellious house,) yet shall know that there hath been a prophet among them.’ ~ Ezekiel 2:5 (KJV)

If you are or have been in the “wilderness”, you may have dealt with frustration of the Lord pointing you out to others yet they refuse to believe what the Lord had called you to do. In addition, if you tell people what the Lord has called you to do, and they either cannot recognize it or simply want to deny it, they may accuse you of being self-appointed. Yet, do not consider such things as being strange because your Lord, Jesus, experienced the same thing. There were many signs that Jesus was the Messiah, even from His birth (Matthew 2, Luke 2). But let us fast forward to when Jesus was older. Even though the Heavenly Father let people know Jesus was His Son, many people refused to believe (Matthew 3, John 12:28-30, etc.).

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

You may know what the Lord has called you to do to advance His kingdom, but others are not aware of your “identity in Christ” or they are in denial. Jesus went through the same thing because He knew he was the Son of God, even when others did not or had seemingly forgotten. When Jesus was 12 years old, and His family inadvertently left Him in Jerusalem, they returned to the city to find Him in the temple. Then the following unfolded:

“And He said unto them, ‘How is it that ye sought Me? Wist ye not that I must be about My Father’s business?’ And they understood not the saying which He spake unto them. And He went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them: but His mother kept all these sayings in her heart. And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour with God and man.” ~ Luke 2:49-52 (KJV)

Mary should have known better, and understood what He meant. Lest not forget the following encounter with the angel of the Lord, Gabriel:

“And the angel said unto her, ‘Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call His name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David: and He shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of His kingdom there shall be no end.’ Then said Mary unto the angel, ‘How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?’ And the angel answered and said unto her, ‘The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.’” ~ Luke 1:30-35 (KJV)

God, The Love of My Life (2)

It can be frustrating if you are waiting for others to validate what you already know. As you will see later, Paul did not consult with others upon receiving his calling from the Lord. While it was like Mary had forgotten that Jesus was the Son of God, He knew exactly who He was. But after spending 30 years in relative obscurity, hidden in plain sight in “the wilderness”, the Heavenly Father did several things when He ordained Jesus to start His ministry. As was the case of when Elijah anointed Elisha, the Lord used a prophet, John the Baptist, to proclaim who Jesus was. Now, while it came as a surprise to people, Jesus already knew what John had declared. Life in the wilderness is difficult, yet a person can get comfortable in the midst of the obscurity and affliction, until something like the following happens to remove the cloak:

“The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, ‘Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. This is He of Whom I said, ‘After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for He was before me. And I knew Him not: but that He should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water.’ And John bare record, saying, ‘I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon Him. And I knew Him not: but He that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, ‘Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, the same is He which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost.’ And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.’ Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples; and looking upon Jesus as He walked, he saith, ‘Behold the Lamb of God!’” ~ John 1:29-36 (KJV)

God used John to blow Jesus’s cover so to speak, similarly to how He will use people and/or situations to expose you to the world (in due season). Joseph and Daniel interpreted dreams and visions but their lives changed when the right people discovered their gift from God. Ultimately, a gift from God is to benefit others while glorifying Him. However, sometimes what determines whether a person stays in or gets out of the wilderness is based on how the gift is used. In a manner of speaking, interpretation a dream or vision for a “baker” will lead to a dead end that keeps you in the wilderness. On the other hand, interpreting a dream or vision for a “cupbearer” will open doors for you to get out of the wilderness. Yet, as Joseph discovered, getting out of the wilderness is totally up to the Lord, regardless of who else he knew (Genesis 40-41). Many people have the misconception that serving their pastor is the only way to launch their ministry. Sadly, many pastors have taken advantage of people by limiting people’s ministry to just that, serving them. But like Joseph and so many others have discovered, “…promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. But God is the judge: He putteth down one, and setteth up another.” ~ Psalm 75:6-7 (KJV) The Lord ended Eli and his two sons’ lives and ministries to replace them with Samuel. Similarly, Saul perished so that David could replace him as king. Woe unto any minister who puts emerging ministers in a position of servitude in an attempt to prevent them from fulfilling their calling from the Lord! Senior leaders can either give others an opportunity to learn and grow or they can become obstacles in their growth. The Lord supports opportunities but He will remove obstacles. John the Baptist was the most popular prophet on the scene until Jesus was unveiled. But John remained humble when Jesus’s ministry began to flourish and he said, ‘He must increase, but I must decrease.’ ~ John 3:30 (KJV) Their ministries did not compete because it was all for the glory of God. Just imagine if the focus among ministers was to build the kingdom of God as opposed to individual empires.

When the Lord ordains a minister, He has many ways of letting others know the minister is one of His and that He sent the minister. But that still does not mean the minister will gain acceptance, or that others will listen to that minister’s messages from the Lord. You may have wondered how anyone could have doubted who Jesus was after the following: “And Jesus, when He was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto Him, and he [John the Baptist] saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon Him: and lo a voice from heaven, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, in Whom I AM well pleased.’” ~ Matthew 3:16-17 (KJV) You may have had the Lord publicly acknowledge what He has called you to do yet doubt that calling. Well, we have an adversary, the devil. After the Heavenly Father publicly acknowledged Jesus as His Son, and the Holy Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness, the devil came along and tried to cast doubt regarding the Lord’s identity (Matthew 4:1-10). Do not let any person or devil cause you to doubt your identity in Christ, especially after He has revealed and confirmed it to you. By the way, one of the signs that you have a calling from the Lord is based on how the devil tries to resist you…

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

There are times when the Lord ordains an individual and others simply will not be able to perceive it. But again, an ordination from the Lord is more important than a piece of paper. Some people will doubt your calling but it will be an indication of their relationship with the Holy Spirit of the Lord. The following serves as a reminder that some things from the Lord are beyond the discernment of others:

‘Now is My soul troubled; and what shall I say? Father, save Me from this hour: but for this cause came I unto this hour. Father, glorify Thy name.’

Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, ‘I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.’

 The people therefore, that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered: others said, ‘An angel spake to Him.’

 Jesus answered and said, ‘This voice came not because of Me, but for your sakes.’” ~ John 12:27-30 (KJV)

 Some people are hardhearted and they cannot perceive what the Holy Spirit of the Lord has to proclaim about you. In addition, if you tell them about your calling, they may accuse you of being self-appointed and seeking to glorify yourself. They may even go as far as to say that Jesus never proclaimed Himself as the Messiah. However, there were times when Jesus revealed His identity to others:

  • “The [Samaritan] woman [at the well] saith unto Him, ‘I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when He is come, He will tell us all things.’ Jesus saith unto her, ‘I that speak unto thee am He.’” ~ John 4:25-26 (KJV) Jesus plainly told her that He was the Messiah. In fact, prior to the Lord’s admission, the lady had perceived that Jesus was a prophet (John 4:19). She perceived He was a prophet and believed He was the Messiah so she went back to her village to tell about her encounter with the Christ.

 

  • Jesus said, ‘My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand. My Father, which gave them Me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of My Father’s hand. I and My Father are one.’ Then the Jews took up stones again to stone Him.” ~ John 10:27-31 (KJV) There was another instance when people wanted to stone Jesus to death to proclaiming that He was the Son of God (John 5). You may also face persecution from those who refuse to acknowledge your calling from the Lord, and they might also chastise you for declaring your calling openly.

There are times in today’s society where an ordination certificate is required, such as to perform as wedding. But a person can be an officiant without being a minister of Christ. If your calling requires an ordination certificate then let the Lord show you how to obtain one. But ultimately, a certificate is not as important as having the Lord’s seal of approval on your calling and ministry, His Holy Spirit. The examples cited where people obtained favor with God and men was a result of the Holy Spirit. Jesus’s ministry did not officially start until the Holy Spirit manifested His presence. Even Jesus said He could do nothing of Himself, but He did what He saw His Father doing (John 5:19). That was as a result of the Holy Spirit. Many ministries are off track because the Holy Spirit is not leading them, and that includes ministers who are serving in the wrong position. It may come as a surprise to you, but many people have a legitimate calling from the Lord but He did not call them to serve Him in a church. Daniel was a prophet but the Lord had him work for foreign kings. Jesus spent a great deal of time ministering to people outside of the temple and synagogues. The apostle Paul spent a lot of time traveling to synagogues and churches. Yet, some of the most impactful things about his ministry were the epistles he wrote, to include while in prison, which now comprises much of the Bible’s “New Testament”. It is great if you are serving the Lord in the office in which He has called you to serve Him. But are you doing what He ordained you to do? Some of Jesus’s disciples had the title apostle, but they were out of position as they cast their net on the wrong side of the ship, until Jesus showed up and instructed them to cast their nets on the other side of the ship (John 21). Despite the large quantity of fish they subsequently caught, they were still out of position because the Lord had called them away from catching fish so they could become fishers of men (Matthew 4:17-22). Sometimes an ordination from the Lord means He will call you away from the institutional church, similarly to how Paul was serving the high priest until his encounter with Christ changed that (Acts 9).

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

I close with the following reminder from the apostle Paul, regarding how the Lord called and prepared him (in the wilderness), and how the Lord may also call and prepare you:

“For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it: And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers. But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by His grace, to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus. Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days. But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord’s brother. Now the things which I write unto you, behold, before God, I lie not. Afterwards I came into the regions of Syria and Cilicia; And was unknown by face unto the churches of Judaea which were in Christ: But they had heard only, That he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed. And they glorified God in me.” ~ Galatians 1:10-24 (KJV)

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

Raised in the Wilderness (cover)
Are you a prophet?

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