Every week I get at least a handful of digital requests from precious people all over the world desperately seeking a prophetic word. Some come begging. Others come demanding. Still others come with money in hand to buy a prophecy or dream interpretation.
Seriously, this happens just about every day and more than once on most days. It’s an unfortunate symptom of modern-day prophetic ministry—prophetic ministry that has too often taught people to depend on prophets to “go to the throne” and “get a word” for them instead of fulfilling the Ephesians 4:11 mandate to equip the saints.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not at all against personal prophecy. In fact, over the next two weeks I’ll be ministering on prophetic promises at my church. I fully expect the Holy Spirit to move. I fully expect many hungry believers to receive prophetic words. Personal prophecy—edifying, exhorting and comforting believers—is vital in this hour.
I was taking a long drive from South Florida to Orlando, praying in the Spirit, and asking the Lord to reveal some prophetic direction for 2013. I must have prayed in the Spirit for two hours before I heard these three words: “Return to Antioch.”
With a long, dark stretch of highway still in front of me, I could not readily dive into Scripture to seek understanding about what the Holy Spirit was trying to tell me. So I continued praying in the Spirit and meditating on those three words: “Return to Antioch.”
When I opened my Bible to Acts 14, prophetic revelation for the body of Christ—particularly the leadership of the body of Christ—began to unfold:
When God called me to build the house of prayer, I knew it would come with opposition. I’ll admit, I never thought it would play out with literal Sanballats. But that’s just what has happened—and often these Sanballats come in sheep’s clothing.
Sanballat is an enemy of revival and brings strong opposition to what God wants to build. Sanballat is a critical persecutor who brings false accusations against the work and the people putting their hand to the plow. And Sanballat will rally others to the opposition against you, like Tobiahs and Geshems, just like he did to Nehemiah.
The spirit of Sanballat’s goal is to discourage you—to get you to quit what God has called you to do. This spirit’s overarching mission is to thwart God’s work. It’s a judgmental, mocking, insidious spirit that, again, sometimes comes in sheep’s clothing. Someone flowing in this spirit may even offer to come alongside and help you, but its intentions are to tear down—not build up—the figurative wall God is calling you to build.
While in prayer over the vision God gave Steve Hill about the “spiritual avalanche that could kill millions,” an alarming question nagged my soul: Could the great falling away already be underway? Could we be witnessing the first fruits of the great falling away even now? Are we at least seeing a shadow of the Great Apostasy?
There is much talk about Christ’s soon Second Coming. But we know that Jesus will not return for a church without spot or wrinkle unless the falling away comes first … (1 Thess. 2:3). Although it’s nothing entirely new, we are indeed witnessing a fast-progressing departure from sound doctrine and a holy life.
Even a quick comparison between what Scripture tells us about the last days and the manifest sin that has penetrated our generation should serve as a wake up call to every believer: Don’t ignore the signs of the times. In His discussions on the end of the age, Jesus warned us not to let anyone deceive us (Matt. 24). If it weren’t possible to get caught up in the Great Falling Away, Jesus wouldn’t have issued such a strong warning to His followers and left a record of it for you and me.
In a global event that eclipses the hype of Y2K, doomsday preppers all over the world are readying for the end of time. As born-again, blood-bought, Bible-believing, and, yes, tongue-talking Christians, we, of course, know better than to buy into the Mayan calendar hype.
But what if Dec. 21 really was the end of world? What if Jesus cracked the sky on Friday and we were caught up to meet Him as Scripture prophesies. That’s not likely to happen, either. Even doomsday prophet Harold Camping finally admitted no one knows the day or the hour of the end of the age.
Still, it’s times like these that I can’t help but hear the lyrics to an R.E.M. refrain dancing around in my mind. You may know the rapid-fire song I’m thinking about called, “It’s the End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine).”
This is coming to you from a man who has just passed through the valley of the shadow of death. Since my close call with eternity just a short while ago ... everything has become clearer. I can hear His whisper. Unabated obedience has become my mandate. That is why I'm writing this word from the Lord.
A few days ago, after enjoying quality time with Jesus, I was surprised by an alarming vision. I saw a massive, majestic mountain covered in glistening snow. It reminded me of the Matterhorn in the Swiss Alps. Its peaks were sparkling white and I was amazed by God's attention to detail. It was so realistic I wanted to go skiing! But I sensed that there was more that the Holy Spirit was about to reveal. As I closed my eyes, I was in a winter wonderland bustling with thousands of vacationers. The ski lodge, condos, hotels and cabins were at full capacity at this popular resort.
Day quickly turned to night as the skiers, snowboarders and sports enthusiasts were settling in. Anticipation grew as the snow began to fall. Everyone headed to bed believing tomorrow would be a day of sheer enjoyment on freshly covered slopes. For an avid skier, the exhilaration of being the first one to race down a new blanket of snow is a dream come true.
When I kicked off a preaching series on #MakeTheRightChoice at church before the elections, my senior pastor charged me with bringing a word about Tuesday’s presidential elections.
I knew it would be a hard word because the body of Christ is divided over whether to reelect the first African-American president or whether to install a practicing Mormon to our nation’s highest office. I had to get the message across: It’s not about skin color or religion—it’s about biblical values.
As I ticked down some of the harsh realities we’ve come to face over the last four years, most of the congregation was eerily silent. I read and report on these issues every day, but it dawned on me that many don’t follow the state of the union as closely. The looks on their faces revealed that they hadn’t previously heard much of what I was saying.
I call them “baby dreams”—and these prophetic encounters have been a running theme in my life over the past decade. It seems God has been laboring with me to birth a new thing for nearly that long. Along the way, there was at least one Ishmael, a couple of near-abortions, and plenty of spiritual warfare. But God in His grace somehow worked all things together for good.
There were lessons in this series of prophetic dreams. When I put those principles into practice it caused what looked like a stillbirth to become a healthy baby. I still don’t have all the answers, but God has made one thing clear to me: Sometimes a small shift makes all the difference.
The First Dream: Surrendering My Will
The “baby dreams” started about eight years ago. I had a dream I was pregnant. I was not happy about it because it was going to turn my life upside down—but I knew I couldn’t do anything about it. I tried to pretend it wasn't real, but ultimately pretending wasn’t an option. The lesson of this first prophetic dream was that I had to be like Mary, who gave her will over to the Lord despite the trouble it was going to cause her in the natural. I woke up and committed in my heart to let the Lord’s will be done in my life and moved ahead.
If you've experienced persecution, it's seriously time to rejoice. God has counted you faithful and the enemy has counted you a threat.
Both Jesus and Paul prophesied that believers would face persecution. But if you respond the right way in the face of persecution, increase will come.
I've read about it. I've witnessed it. I've lived it. i can guarantee it.
When I arrived at Independence Hall last Friday night for the America for Jesus solemn assembly, I was struck with the reality that our Founding Fathers had gathered in that very spot more than 200 years ago to declare freedom and deliverance for our nation.
Just steps away from where Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, James Madison and others drafted and ratified the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights and the U.S. Constitution, a remnant of impassioned believers gathered to declare freedom and deliverance for our nation once again: freedom from the spirit of greed; deliverance from the spirit of Jezebel; liberation from pride; and justice for the unborn.
As the youth rally got underway, I stepped aside to observe and pray. As I did, the Holy Spirit showed me the remnant is rising. After all, it was a remnant who founded this country—a remnant looking for, among other things, religious freedom. A 21st century remnant was now making a new declaration of independence from the ties that are binding our nation.
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.
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.