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Is there some hidden meaning or message in the conflagration? R. Loren Sandford says it is never long after such questions begin to surface that judgments and condemnations posing as prophetic words begin to be heard.
Jennifer LeClaire says just like Elijah confronted the prophets of Baal, the time is coming when Gods New Testament mouthpieces will confront modern-day merchandisers.
Dualism remains a problem for many Christ followers. They compartmentalize their lives and miss the presence and light of God in every moment, breath, and context of life. Here are some scriptural truths on the matter:
- Matthew 5:14: “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden.”
- Proverbs 4:18: “The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day” (NIV).
- John 8:12: “When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’”
Ministry by definition is the spiritual work or service of any Christian or a group of Christians. One of the greatest revelations we can ever embrace is that whatever we do in life, is ministry, because the light of God in us and through us never goes dim. Every job, every assignment, our family, our leisure and whatever pathway that the Holy Spirit may lead us, is ministry.
Much of what we are living today we were speaking yesterday. Of course, not everything in one's future is determined by his words. However, in real ways, our words are seeds that bloom in future hopes and fears; they are the trailblazers of our future, the pioneers of our tomorrows.
Still, most of us are too casual, or ignorant, about the weightiness of our words. Recall: it was Jesus Himself who warned, "For every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment." He continued, "For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned" (Matt. 12:36-37).
We will each stand before God and give an account for our words. We actually will be justified or condemned by the things we uttered in life. In truth, idle words create idols, false realities and hollow goals, to which we bow down and serve.
I was involved in another prophetic experience that I think has some great lessons. It happened when I was flying our ministry plane to Nashville, Tenn., with some of our musicians to do some recording.
After taxing to the General Aviation ramp, a line girl directed us to a parking spot. After we deplaned, the wife of one of our musicians said to the line girl as she walked past her, “You get along with animals better than you do people—you should have been a vet.” The line girl looked stunned, and I couldn’t help wondering if this had insulted her.
Our team left with their ride, which had been waiting to take them to the recording studio. Before I left, I gave my fuel order at the service desk when the line girl came in and blurted out, “Was that girl with you a psychic?” I said, “No, but why do you ask?” She told me that when she was parking our plane she was thinking about how she gets along better with animals than she does people and that she should have become a vet. That’s when the musician’s wife spoke to her.
A young woman called me looking for a prophetic word. She was befuddled, sore vexed and all-out desperate to hear from God about a certain situation.
This young, Spirit-filled woman, we’ll call her Tammy, insisted she just couldn’t hear from God. She had prayed. She has worshipped. She had read books on how to hear the voice of God. Yet she adamantly confessed that she could not hear a word. She called me because she wanted to me to “go to the throne” on her behalf.
Tammy went on to rehearse every detail the devil was telling her. She told me how the devil said she was going to get fired on the next round of job layoffs. She told me how the devil said her car was going to break down soon. She told me how the devil said she was going to get sick. And she was full of fear.
Can you see the contrast yet? Tammy did not believe she could hear the voice of God—and this after I had coached her for weeks on how to quiet her soul and listen for that still small voice—yet she could tell me every lie the devil was whispering in her ear with pinpoint accuracy. And her fear testified that she believed those lies.
On May 9 President Obama finally openly voiced his support for gay marriage. Already he has falsely characterized opposition to abortion as a war on women, thus stating his support for abortion rights and further adding fire to his campaign to ignite gender and class warfare.
Evidence of suppression of Christian expression in the military grows. Under Obamacare, freedom of religion has been abridged in the requirement that our Catholic brethren provide employees with birth control coverage through their health insurance programs. The president's "concession" requiring only the insurance companies to make that provision is no concession at all. The Catholic Church still pays for the service. It makes no difference that we Protestants do not share the Catholic conviction concerning birth control. It would be a mistake to assume that this requirement doesn't touch us. If the Catholic conscience can be overridden in this case in violation of the constitutional separation of church and state, then other religious freedoms for the rest of us can be similarly abridged.
These are not simple differences of political opinion, but are rather issues of morality that matter deeply to God. As America's moment of decision approaches, take note and remember these things, together with much that will yet be revealed in the course of the presidential campaign. Listen carefully to what the candidates and their surrogates say, note what is actually done by both of them and then vote according to your conscience.
These past weeks, I felt the Lord leading me to do certain things like sorting through my old records, files and to do housecleaning (throwing out things that are no longer useful to me). This gave me time to work and talk with the Lord. In the process, I found myself sharing my struggles with Him.
I felt that I have not done enough for Him. As I go over the years past, I noticed that many times I felt the Lord leading me to do something which I obeyed wholeheartedly, then along the way events overtook me and I had to let go of those projects and let go of the vision.
These experiences make me feel like I have been a failure. The enemy of our soul has been quick to pick up the momentum to continually use these memories to torment us about our shortcomings. Many times I felt that I have missed my calling, failed the Lord and am a total failure. I was in this state of mind when the Lord interrupted me with that “small still voice” to give me His message. Furthermore, it was impressed to me that this message is not for me alone. Many of God’s warriors are standing in the same place where I am now. So my prayer is that as I share this message with the body of Christ, that you please allow the Holy Spirit to speak to your heart as well.
“‘The time is surely coming,’ says the Lord God, ‘that I will send a famine on the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord’” (Amos 8:11-12).
The thought strikes me that the famine is not so much for the lack of speaking as the lack of hearing. I have had the increasing impression that God’s people do not know how to hear the word of God. Or, unlike the Thessalonian converts from paganism, they do not believe that the word they are hearing is indeed God’s word.
Therefore, the word is received casually if not indifferently as the word of man, that is to say, without effect. Perhaps we have been filling up on verbal “junk food” and have dulled our appetites for “real food” by the profusion of much speaking of our own that leaves us sated if not bloated, and therefore we suffer malnutrition in the midst of seeming plenty. Certainly we lack the evidence of growth and change that the word of God should accomplish, and we seem fixed in our immaturity and shallowness.
Many Christians debate whether the devil is on the earth or in hell; can he dwell in Christians or only in the world? The fact is, the devil is in darkness. Wherever there is spiritual darkness, there the devil will be.
For most, the term spiritual warfare introduces a new but not necessarily welcomed dimension in their Christian experience. The thought of facing evil spirits in battle is an unsettling concept, especially since we came to Jesus as lost sheep, not warriors. Ultimately, some of us may never actually initiate spiritual warfare, but all of us must face the fact that the devil has initiated warfare against us. Therefore, it is essential to our basic well-being that we discern the areas of our nature that are unguarded and open to satanic assault.
Jude tells us, “And angels who did not keep their own domain, but abandoned their proper abode, He has kept in eternal bonds under darkness for the judgment of the great day” (1:6, NASB).
When Satan rebelled against God, he was placed under eternal judgment in what the Bible calls “pits” (2 Pet. 2:4) or “bonds” of darkness. The devil and the fallen angels with him have been relegated to live in darkness. This darkness does not simply refer to areas void of visible light. The eternal darkness to which this Scripture refers is essentially a moral darkness, which ultimately degrades into literal darkness. However, its cause is not simply the absence of light; it is the absence of God, who is light.
For the past 48 years of ministry I’ve been in love with the Word of God and the Spirit of God. Some of you are familiar with the old saying, “If you have too much of the Word you will dry up. Too much of the Spirit and you will blow up, but if you have the Spirit and the Word, you will grow up.”
Though I’m sure one could pick apart that saying, it does nevertheless contain some great wisdom, insight and common sense. Some churches that major on the Spirit have become overly intoxicated and plain weird, while those majoring on the Word have a tendency to become dead, pharisaical and proud.
When questioned by His disciples as to when the end would come, Jesus warned them that first there would be wars, rumors of wars, earthquakes and pestilence, etc. He also spoke about an increase of supernatural activity by saying that there would be many false prophets that would mislead many. He went on to say; “False christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, to deceive, if possible, even the elect” (Matthew 24:24).
Disturbed. That’s how I’ve felt for the past few weeks in light of the events surrounding the death of Trayvon Martin.
I’ve been a resident of the Sanford, Fla., area for the past six years, a business-man-turned pastor. This week I received a word from the Lord about the current events in my city that was as clear as any word I’ve received in the past 20 years. I knew that receiving such a clear, strong and direct prophetic word was significant and I felt compelled to share it with the world.
I heard during prayer the voice of the Lord say this: “If the church, civil and business leaders do not take preventative spiritual action on the current events, we will be left responding to physical violence in the streets of our cities.”
Supernatural means “super-natural.” As C.S. Lewis pointed out, almost all of the miracles of Jesus were simply the speeding up of a natural process. There was never any wine that did not start out as water and go through a process—Jesus just sped up that process. There was never anyone healed that God did not heal through the “natural” processes He placed in us, but through Jesus and His workers He sped this up.
Words of knowledge, which is receiving information through the Spirit about someone, is like touching one little cell of the mind of Christ. When Jesus looks at something, He knows all that there is to know about that person. When we look at someone in the Spirit, He can give us just a tiny fraction of that information and it seems spectacular to us. If we are given a name, birthday or other details, we’re astounded, as the person usually is too. Even so, this is not to wow people but to help them.
When we receive a bit of supernatural knowledge like this, if we will not get too excited and keep inquiring of the Lord, He will often give us more. Sometimes He’ll also give us a “word of wisdom,” so that we know how to use this knowledge to help that person. Again, it’s not just about getting the word of knowledge, but about helping the person, church or other entity.
Father is increasingly bringing His government upon the earth to quicken mankind towards His image and intentions. It is time to assess and discuss the complex aspect of human behavior from a kingdom perspective. I pray we ask the Lord often to reveal to us what needs to be known—that which may be hidden—and help us to receive it and implement it in our lives for His glory. He desires us to be free, and empowers us to act against the very nature of self.
The gospel of the kingdom is the redemptive manner in which God intends for His will to be accomplished in the earth. This, in itself, should alert us to the misappropriation of prevailing messages of the “preparing us for heaven” gospel. Yes, thankfully heaven is in the mix, but the place called heaven is for later while the work of spreading heaven on earth is present and ongoing.
This kingdom is more than the redemptive act accomplished in the Person of Christ, resulting in our going to heaven. We are thankful for redemption, but we cannot remain stuck there, waiting on Him or heaven, while all the while, He is waiting on us. He has empowered us with His Spirit and therefore the power of heaven is within us. No more hanging on for Jesus to return when He is hanging out with us to occupy until He comes.
Exhaustion; that’s the best word to describe how I’ve felt for the past three weeks. And there is no natural reason for it. I’ve been sleeping plenty. Drinking lots of water. Getting plenty of exercise. (Enjoying more than my quota of Starbucks!)
Yet the morning I penned this article—despite sleeping nine hours the night before—I went back to sleep for two hours after taking my daughter to school. And when I woke up, I was still exhausted—and disgusted.
I was starting to wonder what was wrong with me. And then I got a friendly reminder revelation from the Holy Spirit: It’s witchcraft. Wicked witchcraft. How could I forget? It caught me off guard. Now I'm warning you.
This week I’m ministering at Trinity Christian Centre, one of Singapore’s largest churches. It is led today by Dominic Yeo, but for 30 years it was pastored by Naomi Dowdy, a brave American missionary who grew the church from about 250 believers in 1976 to more than 4,000 members in 2005. The Pentecostal congregation has grown even larger since then, when Dowdy set Yeo into his pastoral role so she could do more traveling ministry.
Dowdy is a friend and a spiritual mother in my life. I’ve ministered with her in Malaysia, Nigeria, Venezuela, Ukraine and other countries. I’ve gleaned from her leadership skills, benefited from her counsel and been inspired by her zeal for missions. I view her as one of the planet’s best examples of a female church leader. When I consider her amazing legacy I’m grieved that we don’t have more women like her.
The primary reason we have so few Naomi Dowdys today is that the church does not encourage trained and anointed women to step into leadership. A second reason is that many women have either disqualified themselves from taking on such roles, or they aren’t willing to face the criticism that inevitably comes when a woman defies tradition.
I agree with the makers of the 2011 film Courageous that Christian men should demonstrate integrity, sexual purity, family values and moral courage. But isn’t the same response needed from women? For every brave Abraham, David and Mordecai in the Bible there was a fearless Sarah, Abigail and Esther. God’s women don’t just sit around waiting for the guys to act when things get tough.
Throughout biblical history you will see that God used young people, even children, especially when adults became spiritually redundant and the only progress was to recreate history, or "bring back those good old days." Looking back has its rewards but unfortunately creates feelings of nostalgia and morbidity.
You have to be dissatisfied with your present conditions, surroundings and supply of joy, peace, happiness, etc. before you will really look forward. So inevitably, God will allow things to run their course and people will become dissatisfied. Suddenly what was once exciting, fresh and tantalizing is now boring and repetitious. You are dull and the self-environment is uninteresting, dim and blunt. You can either sit and complain for as long as you can, or you can change it.
Make war with repetition, be at odds with dullness, spit out lukewarmness and start a fight with blah, blah, blah. You weren't born to be satisfied with "just enough" to keep you going. Once you've tasted of the better that is to come you never want to go back. Imagine driving a car forward, while looking in the mirror, hoping that what is behind you will assist your progress.
When I was praying about the year of 2012, I kept hearing the Lord speak to me about grace. In fact, when you observe the year 2012 and actually add the numbers—two plus zero plus one plus two—it all adds up to five. Biblically, the number five is the number for grace. Therefore, when I heard the Lord begin to minister to me concerning this year and He continued to speak of grace, I really got encouraged when I added those numbers together!
Most of us are aware that grace is unmerited or undeserved favor. I believe this year we will revisit the gift of grace and gain greater understanding of God's goodness. Because God's grace is undeserved, this means that God's goodness is not expressed to each of us because we are good; it is given to us because He is good!
Sometimes it's hard to even wrap our minds around this fact. This is because most of us have, in reality, believed that grace is based upon performance and our religious works. However, receiving grace from God has absolutely nothing to do with our performance at all; it is completely based upon undeserved favor. Think about this for a minute. If God's favor were based upon our ability to do right and perform well, then we would not need His grace, would we? We would then believe that because of our own abilities we have been blessed. This is such a deceptive lie of the enemy.