Restoration Meditations

Should the Gospel Reach or Convict?


So many people today believe that we should do whatever it takes to engage people, even if it means not preaching the gospel itself. One preacher even went so far as to say we need to stop talking about Jesus! Let’s talk about what the BIBLE says about God, the gospel, and how it’s supposed to be preached.

Are YOU Trifling with God?


Leonard Ravenhill once said that the man who comes to God just looking for forgiveness is trifling with God. In today’s church, we’re often taught a grace that reduces God to little more than a genie, and His grace to mere forgiveness that comes with no call to commit ones life to the Lord. Let’s talk about this, and see what the Bible says about it.

If we remember that the Holy Spirit inspired Scripture, and that ALL of it is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteous, that we would be complete, thoroughly furnished to every good work, then we will understand that Christ did not just die for our sins, but He was also raised up for our justification AND that He is LORD.

Old Testament vs. New testament

Very often I hear people say ‘that’s Old Testament,’ usually in an effort to dismiss some measure of Biblical accountability that they don’t like. However, how did the early apostles of the church view what WE call the Old Testament?

First, they called it ‘the Law and the Prophets.’ While Paul made it clear that we are not under the Law, he was also clear that it was our schoolmaster (Galatians 3). Consider this: Did you forget how to read when you got out of school?

Second we must note that the early apostles taught ONLY from what we call the Old Testament. NONE of the NT had been written at the time of the beginning of the church, and Revelation, for example, was written after most of the apostles were dead.

Third, when Paul wrote ‘All Scripture is inspired by God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work,’ (2 Tim 3:16-17), he was talking about what we call the Old Testament.

Therefore,

ALL of it is profitable for doctrine. Therefore we ought to use it both to teach and as a measure for the standards of conduct, character, and protocol. Deut. 18:22, for example is something false prophets just won’t teach from. Look it up, and you will see why.

ALL of it is profitable for reproof. It is to be the basis upon which we judge character and conduct so that we know when a rebuke is necessary, and it is the basis upon which reproof is administered.

ALL of it is profitable for correction. It’s not enough to merely rebuke, but we must also show people the right way, and it is the Scriptures that give us the standards by which we must correct.

ALL of it is profitable for instruction in righteousness. If we attempt to teach righteousness from the NT scriptures without the OT, we will inevitably distort the doctrine of grace. Remember, the apostles taught ONLY from what we call the OT.

It is impossible to fully understand and rightly explain the NT writings without an understanding of the Law and the Prophets. Without the OT, we ignore the intention of what was written in the NT.

What are YOU watching?

I will sing of mercy and judgment: unto thee, O Lord, will I sing.
I will behave myself wisely in a perfect way. O when wilt thou come unto me? I will walk within my house with a perfect heart.
I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me.
A froward heart shall depart from me: I will not know a wicked person. (Psalm 101:1-5)

I was considering what to post today and the Lord said to me, Psalm 101. The Psalmist here sings of both mercy and judgment, because they are inseparable. Often I hear people say that mercy triumphed over judgment at the cross, and this is a grave error. The truth is that God’s judgement was SATISFIED at the cross. Yet, even with Christ having satisfied God’s judgment, we who name Him as Lord are not free from judgment when we persist in sin.

The second verse has the Psalmist declaring that he will behave himself wisely, and that he would walk with a perfect heart, but today so often we excuse ourselves so readily by saying ‘nobody’s perfect,’ just so we can give ourselves permission to continue in habits of character and behavior that we know to be sinful. If the Psalmist, long before the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, could do this, it must surely be attainable for us.

Yet, despite the immeasurable bounties of the grace and empowerment of God through the Holy Spirit, many of us will continue to argue in favor of a sinful imperfection that is more of a habit than an incurable condition. We then go on to permit things in our lives that contaminate our minds and hearts, which makes sin so much easier to dabble in, and then our assertion that entire sanctification is impossible begins to seem to be proven to be true, when it is not.

One of these sources of contamination is what we choose to set before our eyes. As the Psalmist said, we ought to set no wicked thing before our eyes, yet so many of us are hooked on entertainment media in which adultery is portrayed as love, and the story-lines are written in such a way as to get the viewer or reader to identify and sympathize with the immoral protagonists. Brethren, we ought not to be so easily ensnared. This Psalm makes it clear that we ought to hate the work of them that turn aside… it never says that it matters whether the ones turning aside are fictional.

Yes, saints, in being a devoted fan of Scandal and other such entertainment, we sin against God. What are you setting before your eyes today?

‪#‎selah‬

A Change is coming

A change is coming
a prophetic word concerning 2015 and beyond

———————————————————————————————–

As I’d said earlier, I have for a while now felt as though something is coming. I’d prayed about it, but received no further clarification, and had gone to bed when I heard ‘Isaiah 26.’ So I turned the light back on and opened my Bible.

Isaiah 26 gives us a song that will be sung by God’s people after the completion of the judgments spoken of in chapters 24 and 25. It testifies of God’s goodness to His people and His rightful severity toward the wicked.

There were several verses which stood out to me in particular.

With my soul have I desired thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early: for when thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.
Let favour be shewed to the wicked, yet will he not learn righteousness: in the land of uprightness will he deal unjustly, and will not behold the majesty of the Lord. (v 9-10)

I found it odd that this would stand out as strongly as it did, because the overall feeling I had about what was coming was not bad. I’d felt quite peaceful, in fact. Isaiah 26 seems to also explain this to some extent in verses 3-4:

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.
Trust ye in the Lord for ever: for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength:

While this definitely seemed to apply to the calm I’ve been feeling in the Spirit, and I felt as though something good was on the way, I also felt as though something terrible was on the horizon, as well, though it did not and does not trouble me. It was then that I began to hear some phrases and felt a need to pray into this some more to know what was going on.

Now, do not take these things as being ‘negative,’ or ‘doom and gloom.’ There is good coming, but these things must be addressed before we get to the good stuff. So please read on.

Systemic sin
This was the first thing I heard at that point. The very religious systems in which God’s people have been functioning are troubled by sin which pervades them. The institutional church system has for some time now chosen to ignore God’s instruction concerning how to deal with sin within the church, and this tendency has spread to where it is now part of the many traditions of men which rule the church today.

Institutional apostasy
‘My people have abandoned my instruction.’ As an institution, much of the church’s persistence in seeking to please men has transitioned its state from error to apostasy.

This apostasy has been some time in the making, and runs so deep that many of us no longer know the true gospel, and many sit in churches, unsaved, and still others sit in the churches so deceived about the identity and character of God that they live in rebellion against Him. Their error is so thorough that many of them dismiss correction as ‘judgmental,’ ‘reliigious,’ or ‘legalistic,’ because they have trusted their leaders who taught them to disregard the Word.

However, deception is a cooperative act. We are usually only deceived when there’s something we want or think we want involved. Much of the deception in the church has been made possible by our own carnal tendency to want to remain as we are. So much of the watered-down gospel being taught gives us ‘permission’ to misbehave, and so many of us are willing to believe it simply because it agrees with what the flesh and our own corrupt nature want.

Leaders’ complicity.
There is so much going on in the world about which the leaders of the church remain silent. Just one example is the vast global networks of child sexual exploitation that extend even into the governmental agencies which are supposed to protect children. In America alone, 800,000 children disappear each year, and the church is, for the most part silent. This silence is both disturbing and revealing. There is much more that could be said, but let it suffice for now to say that more than a few ‘church’ leaders are directly involved in this and other abominations.

Judgment is coming.
The financial fiascoes of 2008 and 2009 were just the beginning. As Isaiah 26:4 says, we will need to ‘Trust ye in the Lord for ever: for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength’

Quiet calamity.
The next phrase I heard after this was ‘quiet calamity,’ and the Lord showed me that there will be a continued shifting of doctrines to more closely match the Luciferian agenda. This has already been taking place, and has until recently been gradual. Now that much of its groundwork is done in terms of causing God’s people to disregard the sovereignty of His Word, it will accelerate with little protest in many mainstream circles. There will be increased demonic activity among ministries.

Open calamity.
There will also be obvious calamities. I don’t feel led to go into detail about this, but rather I feel as though the Lord will carry His people through them. We’re going to need to really trust Him.

A remnant awakening.

Now, for the good stuff. There is a release coming to the faithful among us. It’s not so much that things will become easy, but rather that the appointed time approaches for many of us.

Many among us seem to have been rejected, shut down, shut out, abandoned, or perpetually in an uphill battle for mere survival. These things, however, are going to be overturned.

General quarters
God is calling many of you to awaken!

Dictionary.com gives this definition for general quarters:

A condition of readiness for combat on a warship, during which crew members remain at their battle stations and have guns and ammunition ready for immediate loading.

Your favor is coming, your increase is coming, your release into God’s purpose is coming, but every good thing that is on its way is coming to equip and sustain you for the battles which are both imminent and arising. This is not merely a call for each one of us to be ready for spiritual warfare, but rather a call to our specific positions within the kingdom as a whole. So many of us, especially those of us in the work of the ministry have been doing battle in the small units which we’ve been a part of, and have never moved beyond small group tactics in our warfare. We have lacked cohesive, unified strategy, and God is calling for many of us to come together not for mere cooperation, but for real unity.

Many ministries have been languishing under attack by the enemy without making much headway, but this, too is being overturned. God will be raising up new apostolic voices who will provide vision and direction for His people that will overcome and overwhelm the enemy. Beware, however, those who claim apostolic authority and seek to impose their ‘covering’ upon you without inspiring you to follow their leadership and without providing any clear vision.

The genuine apostolic leadership which God is raising up will be characterized by humility, fidelity to and revelation in the Word, and real authority to deal with the forces of the enemy.

Your favor is in your faithfulness.
Yes, God does grant unmerited favor, and yet there is favor that can only be granted when we can be trusted with it. It is time to grow up and put away every childish and petty thing which has rendered us incapable of being trusted with vision.

For some of us, it’s time to lay aside the tendency to be so easily offended. Some of you need to go eat some crow, mend some fences, and bake some humble pie. Others need to realize that forgiveness is not an emotion – it’s a decision! Where God wants to take you, you can’t be burdened with petty grievances and offenses. So many of the things we get offended by or hold grudges over won’t matter in eternity, and many of them don’t even matter now. It is time for some of us to admit that thee is a certain degree of emotional, carnal satisfaction in holding a grudge. Saints of God, this is beneath you, and it denies you the riches of the kingdom.

Others among us need to renew their commitment to God’s purpose and let go of personal agendas. For many of you, your self-interest is the greatest hindrance to your blessing and release. I challenge you today to take your self-interest, ambition, desire for respect and admiration and every other carnal objective to the altar and let God burn it. God can do more with the ashes than you could ever do with a life that is not yielded.

The greater works are not separate from the lesser ones.
While I was waiting for clarification on what God was showing me, I listened to an old sermon by Leonard Ravenhill, and at one point he mentioned how people in ministry were always talking about how the church would do greater works and he commented ‘I’d like to see some of the lesser ones first.’ So many in the church who do believe in the supernatural works of God have for some time now been too fascinated by ‘signs and wonders,’ while at the same time rejecting the inner work of the Spirit, and this is evident in the rampant sin which continues in the midst of the contrived ‘revivals’ which have had no real impact on the communities in which they occur.

Can YOU be trusted with the glory?
An honest answer to this question will reveal the extent to which you life will manifest God’s power. For most of us, our pursuit of God has been squandered on our ow immediate needs, wants, desires, and ambitions, and we have by this tendency to be selfish so often rendered ourselves incapable of being trusted with what God desires to commit to our hands.

If we will repent of our selfishness, childishness, carnality and rebellion, and pursue God with a whole heart committed to HIS way, we will experience some major shifts with regard to our situation, or vision, and the extent of our kingdom participation.

Divine supply.
If we are faithful, we will see not just His goodness, but His bounty. I am not saying that God is going to make us rich or prosperous on the world’s terms, but that He will supply our need in ways we have not seen up to this point. He is looking to prepare you to properly steward His supply not just for your own exclusive benefit, but rather for the good of His people.

Fruitfuless.
Many ministries and businesses which have struggled will begin to flourish and become productive. Some of you are going to be called to specific patterns of consecration to receive strategy and clarity of vision. This is going to lead to far more productive effort without being so busy with things that don’t matter or aren’t conducive to His purpose.

For some of you, this is going to mean putting away the drama, the ego, the oversensitivity, and selfish ambition. For those who heed this, God is going to bring a hush upon the noise in your life and show you how to get more done being still before Him than you ever could with all your anxious busy-ness.

Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail with child: for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, saith the Lord. Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations: spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes; For thou shalt break forth on the right hand and on the left; and thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles, and make the desolate cities to be inhabited. (Isaiah 54:1-3)

Prepare for your increase!

Are you praying for financial increase? Start stewarding what you have now with better faithfulness. Are you in lack? Eliminate wastefulness and things which are not necessary. Yes, God can bring you into abundance, but thrift and wisdom now will prepare you to put that abundance to far better use.

Are you called to preach? Prepare your sermons. Preach them to yourself if you have to, but preach them. While you do this, LIVE your sermons. Lay before the Lord and ask Him to bring you through the process of being the first partaker of the word he puts in you.

Are you called to missions? Pray for the regions God has placed on your heart. Intercede, fast, and weep for the souls God has appointed to you. Seek Him daily for guidance on where you need to go, who you need to go to, and why.

Are you called to prophesy? Learn to be still, to be silent, and to listen to the Lord with an attentive heart. I heard ‘Go hide thyself,’ and then looked it up and found myself once again in Isaiah 26:

Come, my people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee: hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast (Isaiah 26:20)

There is an exodus underway. So many have stewarded the prophetic so poorly that they have rendered it to be little more than a horoscope or a psychic reading, and there are many among the flock which now operate in divination by familiar spirits and not the Spirit of God.

God is calling His remnant away from the prophets who would have you dependent upon them for a word when God called you to live by faith. God’s judgment is coming upon the prophets who have misused the gift and office, and upon those who have flocked to them because their desire for a word has been far greater than their desire to seek God for themselves. Take heed! There is a lying spirit that is coming upon many prophets that is going to ensnare many. If you have been chasing prophecies, repent!

For those who do repent, the Lord is going to lead you out into a place of abundant revelation and prophetic clarity that you have never experienced before.

A proliferation of the miraculous is coming.
God is going to use His remnant in the working of miracles, but most of it will not be for general public consumption. This also comes down to whether we can be trusted with the influence that the miraculous brings.

Saints of the Most High God, the Lord is calling us to a closer walk, to true accountability, and to rightful stewardship, but also to repentance from every tendency, habit, and character flaw that we have refuse to let go of up to this point. Who among you will weep between the porch and the altar? Who will take up the sackcloth and ashes? Who will cry aloud and spare not?

Saints of God, a release is coming. Will you be ready to receive it?

 

 

 

I said this the other day on Facebook, and someone asked what deliverance was.

Deliverance is when you’re truly free: when what had you bound has no power over you, when it does not move you and cannot tempt you.

How then, do we get free and stay free? yes, someone can come and cast the devil but unless we deal with the root causes of bondage, we will just end up worse than before (Luke 11:24-26). We do have some measure of responsibility in staying free. I don’t believe this has to be complicated.

The short answer on staying free is… not necessarily in this order…

1. When tempted, pray, and pray hard.
2. Separate yourself from the source of temptation.
3. Stay in the word
4. When tempted, and prayer seems hard, go into worship.
5. Fast.
6. verbally renounce the thing tempting you
7. Deal with the underlying tendencies, circumstances, and experiences which left you susceptible.
8. Take responsibility for your own role in becoming bound.

This isn’t so much about trying to do it in your own strength but rather about running straight to God when temptation comes.

Do you really need to tithe?

The OT Law NEVER defined the tithe as 1/10 of income. In fact, it was expressly defined as being 1/10 of the crops and livestock produced that year. We are not under the Law, and even if we were, the tithe was NEVER income.
You may have noticed that preachers who promote the tithing heresy will read from Malachi, which never DEFINES the tithe, and then they go on to give their own definition while ignoring how the BIBLE defined it.
When confronted with this, most of you tithe pimps will claim that it was an agrarian society back then with a barter economy and no money. That’s an outright LIE. In Genesis 23:16, 500+ years BEFORE the Law, we are told by the BIBLE that Abraham bought the cave of Machpelah for MONEY.
Thus we must understand that income tithing as it is taught today is a doctrine and commandment of men.

The rationalization that ministry costs money does not justify LYING to God’s people and telling them that they will be cursed if they do not obey a command which God never gave to us even under the Law.

So give freely, but don’t let anyone tell you that you HAVE to tithe.

Things that make you go hmmm…

Ever notice that so many of today’s preachers will boldly preach that you’re an overcomer when it comes to hurts, careers, finances, and ministry, but NOT when it comes to SIN?
‪#‎ThingsThatMakeUGoHmm‬

Is the Prophet ‘better’ than the teacher?

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

The very first reason why God inspired apostles and prophets to write scripture is DOCTRINE, also known as teaching.

Thus we must understand prophetic is not ‘better’ or more important than teaching Yes, the Apostles and Prophets are the foundation of the church, but remember this: they are sent to preach the gospel and to TEACH people the ways of God. Think about this for a moment.

To even be a prophet, at some point someone had to TEACH you how to speak. Someone taught you to write, to communicate, and so on. How would you recognize the word of the Lord if you’d never learned to speak?

When a prophet comes with a warning, for example, like Jonah did, the people who heard the warning LEARNED that God was displeased, and that judgment was coming if they did not repent. Thus very often the prophet teaches, even if he’s not expressly a teacher.

Remember also that Jesus taught more than he preached, and in the end preaching teaches, because it often introduces new information to those hearing it. Thus teaching is inseparable from the apostolic and prophetic office.

Now, let’s also understand something about someone who is a teacher, but neither apostle nor prophet nor evangelist nor pastor. They are not ‘lesser’ than the others. Do not despise the teacher, and learn not to look at the prophetic office some somehow more desireable. Yes, we ought to desire to prophesy, but when Paul said this in 1 Corinthians 14:39, he taught this in the context of pursuing the gifts in the context of exercising the love of God, which is never selfish, and too often when we look to the prophetic as more desirable not because of its kingdom function and purpose, but because of our ego and the vain desire for recognition.

I challenge you today to examine yourself and your perspective of the prophetic.

How is YOUR Life marked?

From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus. (Galatians 6:17)

In the culture of Paul’s day, there was a way for a mistreated permanent slave to be freed from his master. The slave would escape, and flee to the temple. Once there, he would wake the priest. The priest then gave him a choice. He could wait for his master to catch him (and beat or mutilate him for escaping), or he could choose a god and be branded with that God’s mark.

Slave's hands were brandedThe priest would then brand the man’s hand, instep and nape of the neck. Now the man became the property of the god whose mark he bore, and his old master could NEVER take possession of him again. The former master now had no power, no authority, because the slave was now the slave of his god.

Who do YOU belong to? Does Christ REALLY own ALL of you, or just part of you? Does he own your thoughts, your habits, your aspirations, your dreams, your spare time? Christ did not die just to ave you from sin, but also to save you for HIMSELF.

Slaves branded to the service of a god were OBVIOUSLY the possession of that god, because they were marked. How is YOUR life marked?

What to do with a real prophetic word

For the vision is yet for an appointed time;
But at the end it will speak, and it will not lie.
Though it tarries, wait for it;
Because it will surely come,
It will not tarry. (Habakkuk 2:3)
What to do with a prophetic word:

God never intended for us to chase after prophecies, and no, you don’t ‘need’ a word for every situation you’re in. The Bible says that the just shall live by FAITH, not by prophecy. I’ve got some heavy situations going on right now, and I DON’T want a word about it. I’ve decided I’m going to trust that God didn’t lie to me, that he hasn’t forgotten me, and that my appointed time will come. There’s a time and place for a word, and there’s a time for FAITH which produces works (see James 2).
What then, should you do with a prophetic word? Assuming you’ve tested it and it really was a word from God…
1. Wait for it to come to pass (Hab. 2:3)
2. Speak it back to God
3. Pray concerning it
4. Take action in accordance with the word
5. Ask yourself, ‘What do I need to be doing to position myself to receive what God promised?’ This is NOT in the sense of earning it, but rather in the sense of being ready to handle the responsibility of stewarding the blessing.
6. Ask God the same question.
7. Do what is necessary from #5 and 6.
8. Study scripture related to what God told you.
9. Keep your life CLEAN. The angels don’t cry ‘love, love, love.’ They cry ‘holy, holy, holy.’

Do you preach for men, or for Christ?

Oh, preachers, when will you CEASE to present Christ as a fire escape in a humanistic appeal which reduces God to a mere means of achieving human happiness and fulfillment?
If only you would present the might, majesty, splendor, righteousness, holiness and glory of the True and Living GOD who sent his Son for a world worthy only of His utter condemnation, men would realize the enormity of their sin, the magnitude of their crime in rebelling against so great and holy a Creator.
Do not preach to men because they need Jesus, but rather preach JESUS because the LAMB is WORTHY to lay claim to all the souls of men.

What we must understand is that Jesus did not come so that we could be saved and happy, but rather that he came for this  reason:
And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. (John 17:3).

‪#‎FeelingThePresenceofGod‬

Don’t be too quick to give a word

Sometimes a seer will see or otherwise perceive something about someone but they may not perceive it within its proper context or time frame. For example,a prophet’s word could have a lot of truth to it, but they had seen a condition which had already been resolved, mistook it for a present circumstance, and then spoke of it before understanding it fully . This can happen easily, especially if we’re very compassionate and caring.

There are times when as a seer you may perceive something, but it isn’t necessarily meant to be spoken or otherwise disclosed right away or even at all. In this particular instance it may have been best to pray into it a bit more to see whether God had something to say concerning those past things.

We must also be cautious when we receive such revelation because we can very easily get caught up in our own perception of what we’ve seen and then any prophetic message we have might very well be mixed with our own opinion. Don’t be in a hurry. Slow down, listen carefully, and pray for clarity before you release a word.

The Prophetic Demands Discipline

In Matthew 14:23, Mark 1:35, and Luke ^:12, for example we are told that Jesus would go off alone to pray, sometimes before the sun was up. This shows us a pattern of prayer discipline we would do well to follow.

Something you must understand about the prophetic mantle is that its proper administration demands a life of discipline. The prophet who is always running his mouth, can’t keep a secret, doesn’t fast, can’t pray for long, won’t study the word in depth, and cannot overcome personal emotions, their own ego, and the opinions of others will always be a prophet with little substance.

The just shall live by FAITH!

Someone needs to hear this.

The just shall live by faith, not feelings! Not by what it looks like. Not by what it sounds like. Not by what people say it is, or what it seems to be.

If you’re believing God for something, and you’re being faithful in what you’ve been given to do, but things just aren’t coming together, or it seems like God is dragging his feet, or you feel like you just can’t go on…

Tell your feelings to SHUT UP in Jesus’ name and profess your faith in God!

I BELIEVE your will for me is GOOD.
I BELIEVE, God, that you are who you say you are.
I BELIEVE that you WILL keep your promises.
Though you slay me, yet will I trust you.
Your will, not mine, be done, in Jesus’ name, and for Your Glory.

How to Prophesy, Part 2

So often many of us want to prophesy, but don’t understand that God reveals his secrets according to specific criteria, including but not limited to:
1. Those who need to Know
2. Those who serve Him
3. Those who can be trusted with secrets

The prophetic a tool to build the church, and a weapon against the enemy, but it is NOT  a toy. If you really want to prophesy, learn to respect the things of God, keep your life clean, and make yourself useful to the Kingdom.

What Jesus had to say about being Religious

I know a lot of preachers today will use the word ‘religious’ like it’s a cussword, but what Jesus had to say about being religious may surprise you.

Prophecy Junkies?

God never intended for you to be chasing after a prophetic word every day. This insatiable addiction to prophecy I’ve seen in churches and in Facebook groups is not from God, and it renders people highly susceptible to seduction by the familiar spirits that some ‘prophets’ move in.
To some extent this happens because the leadership of the segment of the church which believes in the prophetic has created a dependency which gives the prophet an idolatrous place in the life of the believer.
Feeling discouraged and need a boost? In 1 Samuel 30, when David and his men returned to Ziklag to find that the enemy had burned their homes and taken their families captive, his men started talking about stoning him, because they clearly blamed him for being away from home when the enemies came. He didn’t go looking for a prophet to comfort or encourage him:
And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God. (1 Sam. 30:6)
Later in the chapter, he DOES inquire of the Lord for himself, not for encouragement, but for direction. He then takes his men and goes after the enemy. The recover EVERYTHING, and take additional spoils. David then uses his share of the spoils to send gifts to the leaders of Israel in the towns and cities David frequented.
What can we learn from this? The answer to your need for encouragement isn’t always in some prophet, but often in your own mouth, and when you ACT on the word of the Lord, God will position you not just for restoration, but for promotion, IF we ACT, and then use the fruit of our action to bless OTHERS.
When David sent those gifts, it wasn’t just about their inherent value. It also made a statement: I’m your king, I fight our enemies, and when I do, I do it for YOU, too… that even when David was fighting for his family and the families of his men, he still thought of the rest of Israel and its leaders. This communicated to them that they could trust David to think of them, even when handling his own personal business.
Are you called to leadership? Stop chasing prophecies, and ACT on the prophetic words you’ve been given already. God and his prophets will still have more to say.

Is ALL prophecy inspired by God?

I said 1 Tim. 3:16, but it should have been 2nd Timothy 3:16. oops!

That scripture tells us that all SCRIPTURE is inspired by God. It doesn’t say all prophecy, and for good reason! Throughout the Bible, we’re told about prophets who prophesied by Baal, by their imagination, from their own heart, or who prophesied outright lies. Thus not all prophecy is inspired by God, and therefore anyone claiming that their prophecies are on par with Scripture is NOT to be trusted…

 

 

Should the Church ‘reclaim’ occult practices?

  Sorry for not shaving 🙂

Some very popular ministries are now saying that we should ‘reclaim’ occult practices like astral projection and having spirit guides because they ‘belong’ to the church.

In John 16:13, Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would lead us into all truth. No additional spirits are neede to guide us.

In Deuteronomy 18: 9-13, God expressly tells his people not to take up the customs of the people in Canaan because He was driving them out for doing those things that the occult and new age movements embrace…

 

 

Should we judge others?

If a pedophile wanted you to hire him to watch your children, would you hire him? Of course not. In deciding against it, you’ve judged him, and rightly so. Did Jesus really want us to never judge anyone, ever? Let’s take a quick look at what Matthew 7:1 was really about, and whether we really should judge people.

Shot just outside of Toronto in Brampton, Ontario while my wife was shopping. 🙂

How to Prophesy

I shot this little video while my wife was grocery shopping. Sorry for my shaky hand. 🙂
With so many schools charging thousands of dollars teaching people to guess or to try to prophesy, I have a burden on my heart to see people really learn to hear from God.

Prophecy should never be a matter of trial and error. Indeed, the Bible shows us that the opposite of the Spirit of Truth is the Spirit of Error! So, why should we allow error to be part of our ministering?

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How to prophesy, Part 1

The short answer on ‘how’ to prophesy isn’t so much a matter of ‘stepping out in faith’ as it is a matter of learning to listen to the Father. Think about it. Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Elijah, etc., never had to step out in faith or try to prophesy. The Word of the Lord CAME TO THEM.

If they didn’t have to try, no one under the better covenant of grace needs to try, either. Instead, relax, earnestly pray for your brethren, and listen for what the Father may have to say.

Don’t stress if he doesn’t say anything, or show you anything all the time. Remember that your first ministry is worship. The gifts flow more readily from that place.

One thing I used to do, and still do from time to time is I get up before everyone else in the house, and get quiet before God. During that time I either don’t speak at all, or I speak to no one but God. If you try this, be sure to plan ahead with spouses and family members so they don’t think you’ve gone off the deep end. 

A lot of times our lives and minds are so cluttered with ‘noise’ that doesn’t even matter, and we are either distracted or just neglect the fine art of listening to UNDERSTAND instead of to respond.

That also helps in our human relationships. Because we focus so much on how we want to respond or what we want to say next, we frequently misunderstand each other. Not surprisingly, we do the same thing with God, so even when we do hear/see something from him, it’s distorted by the noise of life, culture, opinion, and so on.

So, get quiet, and start listening to understand, and see what happens

Your children will tell on you!

As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate. (Psalm 127:4-5)

Many of the principles that apply to our natural children hold true when it comes to our spiritual offspring. They are indeed our fruit, and bear seed for the next generation. In both cases, our influence helps to shape the kind of people they will become, for good or ill. An apple tree may not appear as such to the untrained eye, at least not until it produces some fruit. Likewise, there are often aspects of our purpose, our vision, and even our character that may not become apparent until it finds expression in our spiritual children. Furthermore, just as new strains and varieties of apple may come forth from later generations descended from that same tree, there can be characteristics, good, and bad which may not show up until our spiritual offspring have had a chance to produce some of their own.
I do not resemble either of my parents. In fact, when my brother and I once worked at the same facility, our co-workers had originally thought we were friends because we share no resemblance at all. However, I have been told that I am nearly identical in many ways to my grandfather. I did not grow around him and only saw him for a few days during a trip to Puerto Rico when I was three years old. Nevertheless, I smile, laugh, talk, and walk like him, I have been told, and share the same height. Unfortunately, I also apparently inherited his unique gift for exaggeration, and the Lord dealt with me for years until I finally broke the habit. At the same time, I am persuaded that there was an anointing upon his life that was passed on to me that has, in my life, found expression.
These things I say both as encouragement and admonition to those of you called to lead God’s people in whatever way He has called you, that there may be some beautiful things that Lord will do through the people you serve, so take care how you prepare your arrows. Likewise, let us ever be mindful of our influence that we prepare them well, not only for their immediate role in the vision God has given us, but also for the specific call upon their life.
In this respect so many of us in leadership find ourselves guilty of a truly heinous crime: we have, in many cases, developed people only just enough to be of immediate usefulness to our vision, our ministries, and sometimes even our own personal agendas. I once knew a leader who had in his church at least 5 people called to function as apostles, and more than a dozen called to be leaders with their own ministries, but he would not disclose this to any of them,and used a variety of tactics to actually prevent their further development. He was known to frequently say “Don’t get too hot, because I got some wet blankets.”
In his case much of the motivation for this was simple jealousy arising from an incident in years’ past when a trusted minister actually attempted to take over the church. Because of this, a powerfully anointed man of God called to raise up many leaders and bring clarity, focus and consecration to many others became jealous and controlling, and this eventually robbed his ministry of much of its potential.
What can we learn from this? Arrows are made for shooting. When God gives spiritual children to care for, it is our sacred duty to bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, and to release them into His purpose. That purpose may involve continuing to be a part of the work He gave us to do, or it my very well involve them picking up and heading to some remote corner of the globe, but whichever it may be, we had better shoot that arrow, and mind our aim when we do.

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6)

A great deal of what God has called us to do in the lives of His people is to provide them with guidance. In modern terms, think of your spiritual children as smart bombs and you’re God’s ballistics engineer installing the guidance systems. Remember, that we are to train them in the way they should go. God has not called to raise spiritual couch potatoes, He has called us to raise up a people who will do His will. Part of our own walk of faith is trusting God enough to let our “kids” grow up and move on, even if that means they must leave our church or ministry and seek out a purpose that is divergent from that of our own call.
All this having been said, what testimony will your spiritual offspring bear? Will they resemble you in deep consecration, or in having none at all? Will they preach a word in season, inspired by God and full of His power, or will they have empty words full of men’s wisdom? Never forget that a father will often gain most of his honor through his sons. Abraham was the father of the faith, but he never conquered Canaan, but David did. David conquered the Promised Land in a way that even Joshua did not, but he could not build the Temple, that was given to Solomon to accomplish. Generations later, the great Promise was fulfilled by Jesus Christ.
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Phillipians 2:5-11)
God’s glory in redeeming man from the Fall was accomplished and expressed through His Son, and we as leaders ought to always bear in mind that Christ is to be our example in all things. Let us then therefore humble ourselves, be obedient unto death, deny ourselves the questionable privilege of personal agendas, and shoot the arrows the Lord gives us, that we may see God’s glory manifested as He has purposed.

Points for Consideration:

1.What are some ways in which you can improve your aim with the “arrows” God has given you?

2. Consider the people God has given you to lead, or called you to lead, and prepare a definitive outline for their spiritual development.

3. Take some time to consider a particular person under your care, and pray about their specific development and what the Lord would have you do to to give them direction.

4.Do you plan for the future development of the budding leaders in your midst? If so, name 5 elements of how you intend to develop them, and determine whether in truth such development has been progressing. If not, prayerfully consider what the Lord would have you to do in the interest of specific discipleship for His people.

It’s not over!

Your pain does not determine your position! Just because it hurts now, just because it may look like it’s all said and done, just because God didn’t answer the last 237 times you asked him to deliver you, doesn’t mean anything other than your appointed time has not yet come.

You may have been cast down, but you were called up high. You might not look like much, but the hope of glory lives in you. Your life story might be one of seeming defeat, drudgery, despair and doom, but it falls to me to tell you today that it’s not over until you overcome!

The Process of a Promise

Preachers, stop assuming that folks who are going through something or aren’t being blessed are in their circumstance because they did something wrong or they didn’t forgive or they sinned in some way that no one else has or some other such nonsense. For some this may be true, but too often you are putting people in bondage by basically telling them that while God didn’t punish the people who wronged them, he’s punishing them. The inevitable result of this, when the person HAS forgiven or has been living right, is that it can cause them to either resent God or to second guess whether they’ve forgiven and the resulting guilt you’ve laid on them will cause them to develop incorrect perceptions which then become firmly held beliefs. These beliefs then replace truth and poison both their relationship with God and with people.

The truth is that too often, preachers, you mistake someone’s pain for PUNISHMENT when it’s really the PROCESS of a PROMISE. Ruth had lost everything, but God was going to bring her to Bethlehem because there was a KING in her, and she was necessary to the PROCESS of bringing about THE PROMISE made to Abraham that all nations of the earth would be blessed.

Take care who you presume to be under some kind of punishment by God. They could just be on the long, hard road to their Bethlehem.

Does the enemy know you?

“And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are who?” (Acts 19:15)

I once knew a man who was dealing with a demon inside a woman. When he mentioned a certain man of God, the demon began to scream, “NO, NOT HIM!”

I don’t know about you, but I’m fed up with limp-wristed saints and leaders who are scared of demons when they ought to be scared of you.

Does the enemy even know you?

Spiritual authority?

You will never have to lecture people about your spiritual authority as a congregational leader if your character commands respect and inspires trust.

Preacher, work harder on YOU than you work on your sermons, and you’ll stop struggling to lead.

Thoughts on Valentine’s Day

“Therefore concerning the eating of things sacrificed to idols, we know that there is no such thing as an idol in the world, and that there is no God but one.” (1 Corinthians 8:4)

In today’s church, many people twist scripture to justify conforming to the world. Taking one verse out of the context of the whole of scripture might satisfy someone’s need to rationalize conforming to this world, but it’s not truthful. Paul spoke concerning food, and in particular eating out of necessity. For example, some of the early saints lived in households which were unsaved and ate food dedicated to various gods. In such cases, the idol was nothing. How can we come to this conclusion? In Acts 15:29, the new gentile converts were told NOT to eat thing sacrificed to idols, so it is clear from context that the permission given in 1 Cor. 8:4 is situation-specific, and not a green light to go and willfully participate in the worship of other gods.

Thus we must understand that when one believes that 1 Cor. 8:4 can be used to justify celebrating Valentine’s day or other pagan holidays, one has been deceived by the enemy.

You may not want to hear this, but then the Bible did warn that a time would come when people could not endure sound doctrine…

A season for breakthrough?

Prophets, have you been telling people that THIS is the year of breakthrough for decades while the only people getting a ‘breakthrough’ are you, by way of the larger offerings excited (and gullible) people give?

Come on, folks. Wise up. You’re still broke, year after year listening to these charlatans. Keep your money and do something useful with it. When Isaac sowed in a time of famine, he sowed into HIS OWN BUSINESS, not into some preacher’s pocket. That’s where YOUR hundred fold increase is, in the stewardship of your own house, not in someone else’s. It’s good to give, and God will bless you for it, but please use better judgment in your giving.