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.”

 

 

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.

 

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?
Holy Spirit Led

“Spiritual Covering”

It is amazing how many ministers will tell you who their “spiritual covering” is, despite being engaged in dishonorable behavior. It leaves me to deduce that the “spiritual covering” is either ignorant of their “spiritual child’s” activities, or he or she endorses them. If people would only get out of the Holy Spirit’s way so He could do what He was sent here for. Jesus clearly said the following when describing some of the functions of the Holy Spirit:

‘Nevertheless I tell you the truth; it is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you. And when He is come, He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they believe not on Me; of righteousness, because I go to My Father, and ye see Me no more; of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.’ ~ John 16:7-12 (KJV)

If some ministers had the conviction of the Holy Spirit, they would not dishonor the Lord the way they do. Furthermore, why do some ministers rely on or claim to have a “spiritual covering” from another fallible person who also needs a Savior? “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” ~ 1 Timothy 2:5 (KJV) Another function of the Holy Spirit is to point us to Jesus; He does not even speak of Himself. I speak of the Holy Spirit because He is God and He deserves the commensurate level of respect (1 John 5:7). In addition, because ‘…He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will shew you things to come. He shall glorify Me: for He shall receive of Mine, and shall shew it unto you.’ ~ Jesus (John 16:13-14 KJV)

Do not put your faith in people instead of God, especially when your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, and one of His functions is to lead you on the path of righteousness. Lest not forget: ‘Thus saith the Lord; ‘Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord. For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited. Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit. The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?’ ~ Jeremiah 17:5-9 (KJV)

I yearn for the day when believers start serving Christ more than they serve the clergy, when Christians follow the commandments of God instead of the doctrines and traditions of other people. “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.” ~ Colossians 2:8 (KJV) Some people refer to their “spiritual covering” as “spiritual parents”, even though Jesus said:

‘For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers. But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, and love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, and greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, ‘Rabbi, Rabbi.’ But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ. But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted. But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.’ ~ Matthew 23:4-13 (KJV)

The “spiritual covering” doctrine is like a religious Ponzi scheme to defraud the Holy Spirit of the Lord of His reverence, and His function as our Comforter. No one knows how to convict us of our sins and lead us to Christ better than the Holy Spirit, Christ asked the Heavenly Father to send Him to cover us.

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