"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD." Isaiah 55:8
Have you ever asked God for something in prayer and when He answers it, the answer looks nothing like what you asked for? I know I am not the only one! I have been praying for a particular thing for quite a while, but I had no idea how God was going to manifest it. (In fact, I just felt my inner man leap because I feel an answer to another prayer is on the way! Hallelujah!) Anyway, I had been lifting this certain thing before the Lord for quite some time, and though He tarried, I waited. All of a sudden, it happened. Only, it did not come as I expected! In fact, I had to be convinced of the answer to my own prayer! Can you believe that?
While I was totally surprised by how God manifested my answer, I was grateful. He heard me, and He answered me; that was all that mattered, but it sure made for a teachable moment. I am certain I am not the only who envisions what our answered prayer will look like. Like our Heavenly Father, we have the visionary capacity. We see what we want and then as prophetic people, we move in faith towards its manifestations. However, what happens when the thing you believed for comes wrapped in an awkward box? What happens when what you were waiting on looks nothing like what you expected? Father knows best so trust me, you will rejoice, nonetheless.
Isaiah said it plainly, and we cannot miss it. He tells us not to even bother with trying to figure out the ways of our God. He will always surpass our understanding. The Jews of Jesus’ day assumed He would make His grand entrance riding on the back of a stallion. To their frustration, He rode the back of a borrowed donkey! Go figure! God does His own thing!
Whatever you do, my friend, do not underestimate the cleverness of our God. He will come through for you, yes, but He will also perform that thing how He deems fit. So brace yourself to welcome the answer to your prayers but in that, remain cognizant of the fact that God is a wonder all by Himself. He has His way in the whirlwind, and when He postures Himself to see about you, He will blow your mind. Get ready!
"Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed." Genesis 12:1-3
"And when he was come into the ship, he that had been possessed with the devil prayed him that he might be with him. Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee. And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how great things Jesus had done for him: and all men did marvel." Mark 5:18-20
Friends, here is today's blog. It's my podcast that I am sharing for your listening pleasure. I am talking about The Spirit of Counsel: The Demoniac's Story. This is based out of Mark 5:18-21 as I shared above and this message highlights the needs, responsibilities, and boundaries of those graced with the spirit of counsel. I share a personal testimony here that changed my approach to leadership. Leaders, I encourage you to not take it lightly. In my zealousness, I found myself in trouble with the Lord but thank God, I escaped! Don't make that same mistake. Take a listen, share it with someone who needs it, and be blessed by it.
"Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled." Hebrews 12:15
For today's blog, I decided to go audio instead. I had so much to say that I felt needed to be expressed personally. I pray you are blessed by today's message on Bitterness. Subscribe to my podcast at Soteria Prophetic Ministries and stay with me.
matthew 13:15, "For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them."
I was speaking with one of my spiritual daughters today and she said something that enlightened me. She said, “I have had so many prophets speaking in my ear that I became confused and shut everything down, including God!”
Now, that is a strong statement to make, but I understood her heart and proceeded to minister to her. She was so overwhelmed with so many voices that the enemy confused her and seduced her into even shutting down the Voice of Truth. That is precisely where the enemy wants each of us. He wants to flood our ear gates with so much nonsense that we become overwhelmed, burdened, and frustrated with trying to sort out what God said from what he and she said. Daniel 7:25(b) exposes this tactic, “and shall wear out the saints of the most High.” Apostle John picks it up here in Revelation 13:7, “Then the beast was permitted to wage war against the saints and to conquer them, and it was given authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation.”
Can you see what is happening here? The enemy wants you worn out and weary so much so that you become a pawn in his game of Chess. He wants to access your ear gate. Why? Romans 10:17 tells you so. “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Listen, if your ears are blocked due to being frustrated with people, you may have unknowingly blocked your ear to hearing the truth, too. Moreover, without hearing the word of God, your faith life suffers. Moreover, if your faith life suffers, your ability to move God in any area of your life is rendered null and void. Hebrews 11:6, “But without faith, it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”
I need you to pay very close attention to what I am about to say. When your ear gate has become polluted, contaminated, and toxic, your ability to hear God diminishes. When that happens, the faith you need to provoke God to stand up and fight for you is compromised. Now, can you see why Jesus said the people’s ears are dull of hearing? They are like the person described in Jeremiah 5:21, “Hear now this, O foolish people, and without understanding; which have eyes, and see not; which have ears, and hear not.” Jeremiah called these types of people with dull ears, fools. Let us look further, okay. Ezekiel marries Jeremiah’s thought in chapter 12:2, “Son of man, thou dwellest amid a rebellious house, which has eyes to see, and see not; they have ears to hear and hear not: for they are a rebellious house.”
If we can pull all of these schools of thought together, we can arrive at a very revelatory conclusion. Your ears are one of your most precious assets. You can hear God, discern the truth from a lie, rejoice at what is God, and reject what is not. If your ears are dull, you will not know the difference. You will not know what to ‘Amen,’ because everything sounds like God when your ears are dull. The enemy wants us to operate in dull hearing or heavy ears, as one passage of scripture tells it. The enemy inundates the unsuspecting with his spawn of hell and entice us into believing it is God, frustrate us when we find out it was not, and then persuade us to stop listening altogether. In that, we develop a mistrust of the people of God, and we initiate the process of rejecting the truth. This is where both prophets, Jeremiah and Ezekiel, come in to say, if your ears are dull, you are setting yourself up to be played like a fool, and if you continue operating in dull hearing, ultimately you will find yourself in rebellion. And we all know how that ends.
So, my friends, that was a rather lengthy dissertation on the importance of guarding your ear gate. I pray you will devote a few moments to studying those passages of scripture I shared and allow the Holy Spirit to minister to you. Receive deliverance from every evil spirit seeking to contaminate your ear gate and return to the Voice of Truth who will never lead you astray.
“Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5
If you take a look at the image displayed above, you may notice that it has a grimness to it. It is almost ominous when you think about it. Then, consider the man and the dog. Now reread the passage of scripture. To cast down imaginations and bring something into captivity is to arrest anything that wanders through your mind that threatens your peace of mind and that goes contrary to what God has said about you.
The man in this picture indicates anyone, really. A family member, co-worker, neighbor, ex (or not), or a group of people. This man is running through someone’s mind right now. He has not asked permission to be there, he is not there for the right reasons or purpose and he is a dark, shadowy dark. Who is that person running through your mind that leaves you feeling dark and gloomy? Who are those groups of people that occupy so much of your headspace? Cast it down!
Take a look now at the dog. He is fiercely running toward a target. What could that target be? Could it be your health, your relationships, your finances, your goals, or your prophetic promises? This dog symbolizes the enemy that takes up space between your ears. He hears what God has spoken, and he whispers back to you that nothing will ever change. He is in pursuit of your destiny. Take the dog captive! Receive a dog catcher’s anointing in Jesus name.
John 14:27 says, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” Jesus left us with gifts, supernatural gifts. One of those gifts is the gift of peace. When you become proactive in monitoring your own thought processes, you can have peace. Guard your peace. Jesus paid a heavy price for your peace. Do not let anything or anyone, for that matter, steal your peace.
Psalm 37:23, "The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delighteth in his way."
Many times when we hear that God has ordered our steps, a common perception is that we are being led through places of beauty, serenity, and peace. Although that may be the case at times, prepare yourself for those seasons when the Lord orders your steps through routes that contain storms and rains.
I reflected over a season in my life when I know for a fact that my steps were ordered but, my God, I had no idea what I would have to endure in the process. I had been under the assumption that when God orders your steps, that all things become easy for you, that nothing withstands you, and that all goes well with you, but I testify to you that nothing could be further from the truth. When God is developing you in a certain area, He orders your steps through terrain that is specially formulated with that purpose in mind. He leads you to places where you are destined to develop that particular attribute He wants you to have.
I emerged from that particular season with swollen and bruised feet, chipped toenails, and heels so tough that you could kick down a wall! That's a little humor for you, but the sentiment is the same. Yes, God ordered my steps. Yes, I heard Him clearly. And, yes, He brought me through and out of it, but it was a process designed to toughen me up, literally. Trust me, it did what it did!
So, I do not want you to be alarmed when you encounter challenges in your journey. I do not want you to feel as if you missed God or that you made a mistake. Honestly, in some cases that may be true, but understand that there are routes and passages that God-ordained that escort you through some highs and lows. Encourage yourself in the Lord and know that though He may slay you, you must keep your trust in Him. Things are going to work out for your good. Lastly, though those feet may appear bruised as you come out of your journey, like Jesus, those scars will tell a glorious story as they radiate the beauty and faithfulness of the Lord.
Job 12:12, "With the ancient is wisdom; and in length of days understanding."
In this dispensation of time called, "Hurry up!" it is also incumbent upon us to slow down and listen. As a therapist in training, one of the skills I am learning to develop is a term called 'active listening.' Active listening involves using more than your ears to listen to your client, it also requires listening with your eyes, your mind, and your heart. Similarly, when graced to sit in the presence of someone blessed with the gift of wisdom, it is likewise helpful to utilize active listening. Why? Because a wise person imparts wisdom in a variety of ways. You can learn wisdom by the way they conduct themselves, by listening to their conversations, by studying their movements, and, believe it or not, by meditating on their mistakes. Yes, a wise person can you teach you a lot by the way they handle their mistakes.
The scriptures say that with the mature, there is wisdom, and among those who are older, is great understanding. I have found out that in many areas, those who have been engaged in a thing for a longer period time than you have can teach you a lot. We know that older does not always translate to wiser; however, we cannot deny that older does point to a person with more experience, good or bad. Therefore, active listening is a skill set to use when allowed to sit in the presence of a mature person. This will make for a learning experience, undoubtedly.
As a child, I would often find myself in trouble because I loved being around my elders. I was mature for my age because I had to grow up quicker than I should have so I felt more comfortable around older people than those my own age. I now know that God created a thirst within me for wisdom. Of course, my elders didn't always perceive it that way! And I got my share of rebukes for, "not staying in a child's place," but I could not deny what I gravitated to.
Being an elder now, I appreciate the gift of wisdom. I embrace those who have gone before me in a particular thing, and I also know when to stay in my lane and be quiet when wisdom is crying out to me from the lips of my elders. I found wisdom to be an intrinsic part of who I am and what humors me, even at this point in my life, is when I am in the company of someone whom I can impart wisdom to, and they cannot discern the difference. It is painful and reminds me of what the Preacher said in Ecclesiastes 1:18, "For in much wisdom is much grief: and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow." Listening is half the battle, and in some cases, determines who wins.
One of the things I often focus on is the word “inventory”. In fact, I hear myself often saying, “You have to take inventory,” and what I have found out is that not everyone knows what that means. When I say, “Take inventory,” I mean that each person should take the time to discover what God has placed inside of them.
My husband is a sales manager in the building industry. A few months ago, he was obligated to work a few Saturdays for ‘mandatory inventory’. It means that he and other staff had to take time out of their weekend to personally count every single item in the warehouse. Go figure! So, when I say, “Take inventory,” it means to take the time out of your life to count every skill, talent, gift, and ability God has placed inside of you. And check this, don’t even think for a moment that you can accomplish that on a Saturday afternoon. No, it will take the rest of your natural life to take inventory because you grow, develop, and unfold as a person every day. Again, you have to take inventory of who you are. When you do that, you identify what is in within you and THEN you are in better position to apply who you are in whichever environment you find yourself in.
Many times, when we hear the prophetic words that, “God is sending you to the nations,” for some reason, we define that to mean we are about to travel to some remote country somewhere and start preaching. Now, I am not saying that you shouldn’t do that, I will say that you shouldn’t limit yourself to ministering with a passport. When God sends you to nations, He is sending you to a certain group of people. These may be nations of women, men, and children. These may be nations of wealthy, impoverished, or underprivileged people. These may be different races, different mountains of culture, and nations of subcultures. Shall I go on? When you take inventory, discover what you are carrying, then you are properly positioned to do something with who you are. Listen, when you know what you carry, you won’t wait for someone else to PERMIT you to execute your purpose. Stopping here for now, but think about it!
I think one of the most quoted and misunderstood passages of scripture is Jeremiah 29:11. – "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you," declares the Lord." (NIV)
Why is it misunderstood? Because we often read it out of context. And what does that mean? It means that we extract a portion of scripture and use it without connecting it to its full purpose. Yes, God knows the plans for us and yes, they are good. Those plans include our prosperity, protection, and a productive life, BUT there is more to what those blissful words reveal to us. If we read on, we will discover that in order to meet the qualifications for Jeremiah 29:11, we have to fully participate in what comes behind it.
God tells us to, “Call upon Him, Come, and Pray to Him.” Imagine that! We thought that Jeremiah 29:11 was all-inclusive. No! In order to experience what is recorded in Jeremiah 29:11, we have a responsibility to call upon the Lord, draw near to Him, and pray! Then, after that criteria is met, God promises to meet us and reveal Himself to us. Isn’t that wonderful?
Listen, God has plans for you and me that have never crossed our minds. Many times, we are so inundated with surviving the day, that we fail to appreciate the glorious future God has in mind for us. Yes, we fall down, make horrendous mistakes, and process through the disappointment we have caused ourselves and maybe others, but God’s plans have not changed. He is not making them up as we go; He has allowed for every misstep and mishap we will ever experience while keeping consistent with His plans. I want you to be encouraged, but even more so, be enlightened. Do not stop at Jeremiah 29:11; go a little further that you can find yourself enjoying a beautiful and wholesome relationship with the Lord of all glory. He wants to do amazing things in your life, but you must participate!