I was once married to a bona fide, white-shirt-and-tie, bike-riding, garment-wearing Mormon missionary. And not just any Mormon missionary—a master soul-winner for this Christianesque cult.
Of course, I had no idea when I met him that he was even a Mormon. All I knew was he had just returned from a two-year mission to Europe, he never said an unkind word about anybody and he had a sweet heart.
He seemed righteous enough—more righteous than me. But I wasn’t born-again and I didn’t know the difference between a false religion that incorporated Jesus into the mix and true Christianity. My Southern Baptist grandfather tried to warn me, but I just couldn’t see the harm in a Jesus-centered religion. So I ended up marrying a Mormon.
If you are going through a season that has left you confused, fearful, doubtful or just plain misunderstood, take John 13:7 as a prophetic word over your life even now.
Jesus once spoke those prophetic words to Peter, but they are just as relevant for believers who are pressing into the will of God today. Jesus said, “You do not understand now what I am doing, but you will understand later on” (John 13:7, AMP).
Some years back on Jan. 1, the Holy Spirit took me to Isaiah 43:18-19: “Do not [earnestly] remember the former things; neither consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs forth; do you not perceive and know it and will you not give heed to it? I will even make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.”
It was a stark contrast between two prophets: one too busy to bear true kingdom fruit and the other too busy deceiving and being deceived.
I woke up from this prophetic dream disturbed and prayerful and I’m recording this because I’m quite sure I don’t have the complete meaning. I am also convinced the meaning will become more clear as time goes on, so I want to record the details.
Again, it was a stark contrast between two prophets: one too busy to bear true kingdom fruit and the other too busy deceiving and being deceived.
In my editorial role at Charisma magazine I come across all kinds. There are many among the nameless, faceless generation who walk in a level of humility and honor that I aspire to. Then there are apostolic abusers and prophetic prima donnas, divas and all-out “exalted prophetesses” who walk in pride and pretense and don’t seem to care who knows it.
A recent encounter with a prophetic prima donna got me thinking: How do Christians with international ministries, book deals and large staffs become such drama queens (and kings) who think more highly of themselves than they ought?
The Wrong Ladder
Did they start their journey as part of the nameless, faceless generation only to fall victim to pride’s puffery? Or were they always secretly striving for the spotlight? Were they always willing to climb over (and even trample on) anyone and everyone to get to the top of the ministry ladder?
I had never stepped into a church like it before. The worship ushered in the presence of God in a way I had never experienced. And I knew I was home.
Within seconds, the Holy Spirit told me it was a “safe place for this season.” I rejoiced in knowing it was a safe place after following Him out of a spiritually abusive church. But my heart simultaneously sank when He said it was “for this season.” From the moment I walked in, I never wanted to leave that place.
See, to everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven (Ecc. 3:1). I had entered into a season of refreshing and restoration after escaping a congregation where control and manipulation held many in bondage. The Holy Spirit needed to heal me where pastors had worked to shame me. And I needed rest for my weary soul that had been pushed to perform beyond the grace of God.
DC Comics has outed The Green Lantern. Despite his womanizing maneuvers in last summer’s Green Lantern movie, the alien ring-toting superhero has no interest in the opposite sex. It seems when he’s not wearing his neon green garb and accomplishing superhuman feats, the chiseled Green Lantern enjoys kissing his new boyfriend. And an upcoming issue of the comic will show just that to innocent children everywhere.
Perhaps DC Comics is trying to compete with its rival Marvel Comics, which announced just days earlier that it would host the first gay wedding in the June 20 issue of Astonishing X-Men #51. Of course, Marvel Comics has long proved more progressive on the gay superhero front. Northstar, an X-Men character, became the first openly gay superhuman in American comic book history way back in 1992.
And holy cow! There’s also speculation that Batman is about to come out of his caved closet, which would confirm decades-old rumors that Batman and Robin are much more than friends in tights. In the name of gender equality, the comic book industry isn’t likely to leave the ladies out. Will we soon see superheroines like Wonder Woman, Catwoman and the Invisible Woman holding hands, kissing and planning lesbian weddings within the pages of children’s comic books?
Rejection used to have a tight reign on my soul—and I didn’t even know it. All I knew was that I always felt like there was something wrong with me. I often felt like nobody really cared. And I sometimes felt like people were talking about me behind my back.
Rejection works subtly to destroy your self-esteem and your purpose. Rejection causes you to feel sorry for yourself. Rejection spurs you to reject other people before they have an opportunity to reject you. Rejection wants you to base your worth on what you do instead of who you are in Christ.
There is true rejection, but there is also imagined rejection. Indeed, rejection often works through imaginations. The spirit of rejection can twist your perception of circumstances so it looks and feels like you are being rejected even when you aren’t. In the natural, it’s called a misunderstanding. But if you don’t cast down the imaginations that ride on the back of misunderstandings, the spirit of rejection will work to form a stronghold in your mind that controls your thought patterns and makes it easy for this demon to hold you in bondage.
God can—and often does—speak through natural encounters in our everyday lives. So when I saw two U.S. Army soldiers pumping gas in the car next to mine last week—and when my spirit suddenly went on high alert—I knew the Lord was trying to show me something.
See, I used to live a mile outside the gate of Fort Rucker in Ozark, Ala. Interacting with military personnel was part of everyday life. But since I returned to South Florida 10 years ago I haven’t seen a single military man (or woman). At least not one in uniform. These men were dressed in their camouflage gear complete with boots. No one else seemed to notice them, but I couldn’t take my spiritual eyes or ears off them.
As I watched and listened to how they interacted, I was impressed with both the camaraderie and respect they showed one another. I noticed at least one of them had been deployed—risking his life for the security of the nation—and returned home safely from war by the patch on his sleeve. Finally, before they left, I stepped out and thanked them for serving our country. The major’s smiling response: “It’s our pleasure.” Humble.
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.
Exhaustion; that’s the best word to describe how I’ve felt for the past few 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.
God has given us the ability to reason—but too much mental reasoning blocks spiritual discernment and breeds plenty of confusion.
With that in mind, is it possible that you are reasoning yourself out of prophetic wisdom that could be blocking your spiritual growth, your blessings, and even the full manifestation of your destiny?
I’ll admit it. I am analytical. I tend to reason through every possibility before making a decision. But I also pray after my thoughtful analysis and ultimately submit my plans to the written Word and the Spirit’s leading (which always agree). Of course, I’m not perfect. But my purpose is to lean not on my own understanding—even when my own understanding seems plentiful in my own eyes (Prov. 3:5-6).
While I was praying over 2012, I received impressions about many things—some warnings and some promises. But what burned most on my heart to share with the masses wasn’t a list of predictions or a prophetic directive. What burned most on my heart to share are four simple words: Revival begins with you.
We yearn to see signs, wonders and miracles manifest today as they did in the book of Acts, don’t we? But are we willing to pay the price the early church paid? Are we willing to die to self? Are we willing to relinquish control to the Holy Spirit so He can move like He wants to move? Are we willing to repent for the character flaws that hold us back? Are we willing to walk in love and unity with true believers who don’t believe exactly the same as we do? Are we willing to war against the spirit of compromise that is raging against the church in this age? Revival begins with you.
The book of Acts never fails to fascinate me. It is the Holy Ghost in action, the gifts of the Spirit made manifest, a charismatic believer’s delight. Indeed, many of us want to see the Holy Ghost move in the church—and in the world—like that again. Well, I beseech you to consider these four words: Revival begins with you.
There’s plenty of talk about prayer, prophetic intercession, standing in the gap, making up the hedge, prayer burdens, and, of course, spiritual warfare. But how do we discern the call to prayer? How do we recognize a proverbial prayer burden?
These questions may seem simple, but far too many saints have come to me carrying burdens they thought were their own when in reality they were feeling the weight of oppression over a person or a city. I know how they feel. It took me some years to learn to accurately divide soul and spirit.
The turning point for me was during a mission trip to Nicaragua. I woke up feeling severely depressed for no apparent reason. I felt down and out, like giving up, throwing in the towel, calling it quits and running home to pull the covers over my head. It felt like my best friend had just died. I sat there for about 20 minutes trying to figure out what was wrong with me and crying out to God to help me escape these oppressive feelings.
In yet another ridiculous end-of-the-world assertion, Harold Camping claims that people who accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior after May 21 aren’t really saved at all.
If you didn’t believe in your heart and confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord before Camping’s trumpeted “Judgment Day,” he argues, it’s too late for you.
The 90-year-old Family Radio Founder, also known in some circles as the prophet of doom, maintains that the world has been under God’s judgment since May 21. Camping had predicted the world would end on May 21. When it didn’t, he claimed May 21 was indeed Judgment Day in a spiritual sense and that the world would probably end on Oct. 21.
Did you know that about 17 percent of Americans believe the Bible is full of man-written fables and fairy tales? Only 30 percent believe the Word of God is the literal Word of God. So says a recent Gallup poll.
Although fairy tale writers draw inspiration from the Bible, I’m here to tell you that the Bible can in no way be compared to Cinderella, Alice in Wonderland or Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, where a wicked queen peered into a mirror, mirror on the wall to get assurance that she was the fairest of them all.
However, there is a supernatural mirror, if you will, that we can look into to get assurance that we are the most cherished of them all. This mirror transforms us from glory to glory. It’s called the Bible, the Word of God, the Holy Scripture. And its authors, inspired by the Holy Ghost, compared it to a mirror on three occasions. By exploring the Bible as a mirror, we gain a clearer understanding of how to become more like the holiest of all.
Every time I step out to do something God has called me to do I get smacked upside the head with naysayers and nasty name-callers. The same thing probably happens to you.
So what are we going to do about it? I'll admit it. I've wasted far too much time worry about being misunderstood. It can be painful to have your motives misjudged by mean-spirited people. I guess it was a couple of years ago that the Lord told me, "Stop worrying about what people think of you!" Can you say deliverance? Those words carried me a long way.
I still don't like when people say ugly words about me-and I always examine my own heart to see what grain of truth might be there-but I am learning to kick the dust off my feet and use the persecution as a propeller to the next thing God has in store for me.