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Posts Tagged ‘prophets’

“ Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm.” (Psalms 105:15)

I think it is no secret that Satan would try anything to destroy the Church. To keep the flock from straying under Satan’s influence, the Lord has placed the church under the authority of the pastor. Deacons and elders play a subordinate role in most churches, and we are supposed to be subject one to another, but the truth is, most often the pastor is fully in charge and the flock is supposed to submit unto him.

But who does the pastor answer to?

I have heard Benny Hinn say that we should not reprove the pastors because we are not to “touch His anointed”, using David and Saul as the example. Let me remind you that while David would not come against Saul, Samuel had no such inhibition, nor did Nathan, Micaiah, Amos or any other prophet of God.  The king may be in charge, but by God, he’d better listen to the prophet!

That scripture, however, has nothing to do with reproof of a pastor. It is about protection from the enemy. David is speaking in Psalms 105 about how God protected Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob from those who would come against them. He was not talking about reproving pastors and holding them accountable.

So who holds our pastors in check or guides them when they stray? That is the job of a prophet.

A true prophet has a solitary walk. In order to be able to reprove kings, his message cannot be influenced by anyone. He must remain separate, consecrated unto God alone. His job is to stand in the gaps (Eze. 13:5) and call the church, and most especially the leadership, back to a place of repentance. He is not called to be popular or make friends. Jesus said that no prophet is honored in his own country and among his own people. Why? Because he doesn’t tell them what they want to hear. When you do see a prophet that is honored in his own country, it is most likely because he is a prophet of “peace and prosperity”.

Modern prophets of peace and prosperity in this generation like to lean heavily on the scripture in 1st Corinthians 14:3 in their effort to “speak unto us smooth things” (Isa. 30:10), but they never call us to repentance.  According to Jeremiah, however, that call to bring the church to a place of repentance is the litmus test of a true prophet of God (Jer. 23:22), a test that many of today’s blessing prophets fail.

Prophets are called, as the priest in chapter 14 of Leviticus to scour and cut out the leprosy in the house. If the leprosy is cured, then the house can remain. If it is not, then the entire house and everything left in it are to be burned outside the camp. When the leadership of any church is not able to be reproved, leprosy will grow unabated in that house. Satan is ecstatic because he can continue to lead the pastor away without the terrible interference from God’s prophet. It is now only a matter of time before that church falls.

The real losers in this are the unsaved. Sinners will not flock to altars that have lost their anointing.

And that was Satan’s goal all along.

“And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.”  (1Kings 19:10)

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Elijah’s Walk in the Desert

”But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a juniper tree: and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers.

And as he lay and slept under a juniper tree, behold, then an angel touched him, and said unto him, Arise and eat.” (1Kings 18:5,6)

Three hundred miles, maybe more, depending on how circuitous a route he took and where Mt. Horeb was. Forty days walking. That’s a long, lonely walk.

Although prophets of God do not lead normal lives like most people, there can be seen glimpses of our own walks with God in them. You may not have called fire down from Heaven, but every time you stood up against the normal conventions of worldliness to declare the truth of God, you do pretty much the same thing. The world by nature does not like holiness, and it will resist anyone who steps out of the crowd to call it to change. And prophets are considered the worst.

But somebody has to do it, and that’s why God calls prophets. They do not possess pleasant personalities and are not the “life of the party”. They are not swayed by others’ opinions, nor would they be considered “nice guys”. Nor do they care.

Everything is black or white to them; there are no shades of grey. It is either righteous or it is sin. And for some reason, they feel compelled to tell you so.

Even if you are the king.

You will not find them in the spotlight of a big ministry receiving the accolades of the crowd. They just don’t fit in. The corporate ministries of today are foreign soil to them. They are more suited to wearing camel’s hair in the middle of a river than the Brooks Brothers suits and coifed hairdos of this generation’s spiritual leaders. And as a result, they walk a lonely path.

Few understand, and fewer appreciate them, and none realize the price.

We think they are made of some kind of steel that doesn’t feel the loneliness or the pain of rejection. Since they don’t bend to popular attention, we think their hearts are like stones that feel no affinity for others, but the truth is, they are people just like everyone else. They love, they hate, they need, and they feel just like us. They just have to walk a different path and keep on going.

Sometimes it is for three hundred miles with no food or water just to hear the voice of God.

I had a dream many years ago of myself walking in a desert of soft sand, much like the Sahara. Each footstep was difficult as it pushed through the sand. No water, a hot sun, and nothing but sand made it a weariness just to get to the top of the next sand dune and see if the city that I was trying to get to was there. But all there ever appeared was more sand.

I didn’t know where I was or if I was heading in the right direction, but I just kept walking, hoping that I wasn’t walking in circles. And then I heard a vehicle coming from behind me. A young man with blond hair and a bronze tan drove by in a Dune Buggy, waving to me as he passed by, “Hey, Mr. Garris. I’m off to my ministry! Praise the Lord!”. And off he drove over the horizon.

You have to wonder at times like that, what is wrong with me? Why am I here trudging along in this loose desert sand heading seemingly to nowhere, while this young kid is zooming along so effortlessly to his ministry? What did I do wrong? Will I ever reach that city that I am trying so desperately to find?

Do you ever feel like that? Does it seem so simple for others, when everything seems to be a battle for you?

Forty days trudging through the wilderness just to wait in a cave. Make sense to you? I doubt if it did to Elijah either. All that way, then up a mountain to sit in a cave to wait.

First the storm, then the earthquake, and then the fire. But still Elijah waited. And then the still, small voice.

Had Elijah not allowed God to take him through that crucified walk that strips the flesh and breaks the spirit, I don’t believe he would have recognized that voice like he did. It would have been just noise, indistinguishable from all the noise of the world.

You may not have to go for three hundred miles without food and water, or stand up against a king to declare a spiritual famine upon the land. You may not call down fire from heaven or raise a woman’s dead son, but you possess in your soul the ability to declare the righteousness of God to a worldly church that is mesmerized with an easier, worldly doctrine that mistakes grace for sin and covetousness for prosperity.

You will get the same results as Elijah did and you will go through the same lonely walk as he walked. But know that you are not alone – there are 7,000 that God had reserved – and you are not walking aimlessly. You will finally step over the hill of that last sand dune and see the City that you’ve been searching for and you will recognize the still, small voice of God as He speaks to you.

“Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

 

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“Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth.” Acts 19:13

It always sounds so easy. Just say the words, clap your hands twice, click your heels, and kazaam!

I am so tired of hearing that all we have to do is speak positive words and it will bring life or blessings or healing or whatever we are trying so desperately to believe. But that isn’t faith talking; that’s presumption. Motivational speakers like Zig Ziglar may sound inspiring and fill you with neat sayings that make you feel good, but that doesn’t make them prophets of God. The power of positive thinking does not equate to the power of the blood of Jesus.

Those sons of Sceva in the above chapter of Acts saw all the miracles that Paul did and naturally figured that if they did the same things and said the words that they would get the same results. Except they were missing the one thing that made all the difference – the power that only comes through a crucified walk before God in deep, broken subjection to the Spirit of God. Everyone wants to be a prophet, but no one wants to pay the price.

Instead we grasp for shortcuts in our lives. We hypothesize. Just say the words, and it will come to pass. “This will be your year of blessings and prosperity …” Oh, wait a minute. Didn’t we hear that last year? And the year before?

Or how about this? “Call those things which be not as though they were …” And so we run around speaking things into the air to make them happen. But that’s not faith either; that is sorcery. You go to Hogsworth to learn that.

Faith has to be built (Jude 1:20); it is not wished into being. And there is a price for it, just as there is a price for everything in God. Anything other than that is just wishful thinking and will not produce lasting and full results. Every great man or woman of God had their 40 years in the backside of a desert before they were ever brought forth by God to exercise His power.

Ah, but that’s not what we want to hear, is it? We want everything to be quick ‘n’ easy in our microwave society. Snap your fingers and be healed!

And the demon taunted back to the sons of Sceva, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?”

He knew who Paul was. I’m sure Paul was famous in hell. Why? Because Paul, unlike Sceva’s lightweight sons, had paid the price in blood, tears, and prayer. He had stormed the gates of hell armed with a faith that had been built one block at a time, and he had declared victory in the blood of Jesus Christ over everything Satan had thrown at him. Oh yes, that demon knew who Paul was … and he feared.

But empty words of presumption based on a theological faith without any suffering, blood, or effort will not turn back the tides of darkness. Faith is built one precept at a time, and power in God is brought forth out of the crucified depths of prayer. There is a price for power in God, and it is not cheap or easy.

That is why we see so many false prophets running around the church today, like Pied Pipers declaring all the things that our itching ears want to hear (2 Timothy 4:3). Our church world has become little more than a revolving social circuit of entertaining speakers speaking great swelling words of encouragement to a church that instead is in desperate need of repentance. Instead of bringing us into the fear of the Lord, they are leading us in the power of positive thinking. In doing so, are leading us away from the altar of repentance which is the one place we need to be in order to see revival.

“For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.” 1 Corinthians 4:20

 

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I read a Scripture yesterday that really stopped me cold.

I am always ready to talk about the Fear of God, and how the modern church has diluted it to a more socially correct definition of “respect”. The Fear of God is rarely preached today like it was generations ago, and as a result, our whole attitude toward Judgment has deteriorated. God, who was once the holy, awesome Almighty before whom we stood with fear and trembling, (or as the old prophet said, “let Him be your dread”) has now been relegated to a God of all-embracing Love who is our “Daddy” instead of our God.

I try to be quick to explain that God’s Love is contingent upon our walk in holiness. He loves those who keep His commandments – yes, He does — but He hates the workers of iniquity. (His words, not mine.) That’s not exactly “unconditional love”. Let’s face it, God is a Jew. He makes deals, and that is the deal.

Nevertheless, when I read in 2nd Corinthians how that they had received Titus, a minister of God, with fear and trembling, I had to pause. What a different picture than what we have today!

Imagine receiving one of our popular televangelists today with fear and trembling. Or consider listening with great trepidation to one of our many prosperity preachers who expand the concept of Love into an art form for tithing. Imagine yourself hanging fearfully on every word from your Pastor. It’s just not going to happen.

Why should we? Our Pastors are all nice guys, our prophets are wrapped in garments of peace and love, and our preachers entice us with soft, unchallenging messages. There’s no room for those old Holy Ghost messages of hellfire and brimstone anymore. They’re just old-fashioned, crotchety old men whose pants are on too tight, and they just don’t get it. We’re too sophisticated these days for any such a hard-edged Gospel as that. Today, it’s all about Love.

We are missing those men of God who had real authority – the kind of authority that you can feel way down in your bones – the kind of men that, when they walk in a room, you can feel the power of God upon them, that when they speak, everybody listens. What ever happened to those guys?

Well, we’ve dismissed them. We don’t like that uncomfortable feeling we get when we listen to them, and we really don’t want to give up our ideas of personal independence and submit to reproof with abject humility. Naw, we like those other guys that tell us smooth things, that prophesy unto us deceits. They have a Gospel that goes down a lot easier.

And yet, God expects his ministers to be a flame of fire. (shudder)

Remember when the woman who had the issue of blood was cleansed when she touched the hem of Jesus’ garment? She fell down with fear and trembling. Why was that? Because Jesus had that powerful authority in God. And how did Jesus get that authority? The Bible says he was heard in that He feared!

It is the fear of God that gives you authority and power in God to stand as a true minister with the supernatural presence of the Holy Spirit upon you. Without the fear of God, you can only get skin-deep. The fear of God is wisdom; it is strength; it is confidence; it is true happiness; and it gives you holy boldness.

When a minister of God stands with that kind of authority in God, you will feel that same fear and trembling that the Corinthians felt. There is a power in his words and an anointing in his presence that can be felt way down in your soul. It is not the man whom we fear, but the power of God that is upon him.

But our values have changed. Fear and Hell have become four-lettered words that we avoid like … well, … like what they are.

There just isn’t much of a market these days for ministers of fire, and, as they say, you get what you pay for.

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“…and His truth endureth to all generations.”  Psalm 100

Think of that!  We get to have the same Truth that Adam had, and Noah, and Abraham, and even the Apostle Paul.  The very same Truth!

But we live in a world today that feels that the times they are a-changing.  How we look at what is right and what is wrong is relative to new sets of morals.  That may be OK for Bob Dylan, but it doesn’t work for God.

I have written that the problem started when Satan entered the Bible Colleges – not as a student like everybody else, but as one of the professors.  Let me take that back – not as a professor, but as the chairman of the Board.

Once Satan was in charge, the fiery edge of the Gospel was diluted to be more “socially conciliatory”.  No more “hellfire and brimstone”; no more trembling fear of God; no more judgment for human sin and failings.  Everything is relative, and everybody is “nice”.

It’s a simple formula.  Change the personality of God, and guess what?  You get a new modern Gospel – one that is kinder and gentler, and more “loving” to include more people into “God’s Love”.  They tried the same thing at the foot of Mount Sinai when Moses went up the mountain.

God is wearing new clothes these days.  Yep.  He has changed out of them old white robes and has put on some new fashionable digs.  They probably have him dressed out in bell-bottom jeans and a T-shirt.  In some cases, they’ve even traded in His old clothes for a dress!  I’ve heard that He may even be a She.

With all this confusion, is it a long stretch to believe that Jesus Christ was a homosexual?  Believe it or not, there are those who believe that.  So I guess it’s OK to have homosexual Bishops.  It all falls into their definition of “God is Love”.

Am I dreaming, or am I living in a world of idiots?  What, you can’t read?  The Love of God is not some warm, fuzzy emotion – it’s the keeping of God’s commandments.  At least that’s what God says.  And since He wrote the Book, I’ll go along with Him.

Ah, but there’s the rub, isn’t it?  We don’t read the Bible anymore.  We listen to our new, modern-age preachers who tell us all the new stuff they’ve learned.  We watch TBN that tells us that everything is love – that is, as long as you send them your money.  We study Christian self-help books as if they have the answers to Life.  We are now embracive of all religions because, after all, we all worship the same God.  As for that old-fashioned King James Bible, well, it’s a simple stretch to re-phase it to change the words that we don’t like, and if necessary even omit whole passages.  And we’ll call it a new International version to make it seem easier and more in tune with our new world that we have built.

And you wonder why our church world has lost its power in God?  Then again, maybe you don’t wonder because it’s been so long since you’ve experienced a real outpouring of the Holy Ghost that you don’t even know the difference anymore.

That same Bible that we’ve relegated to a dusty bookshelf warned us that these days would come, and here they are.  And it will get a lot worse before it gets better.  Soon, they’ll be hunting down anyone that holds to the original precepts of the Bible and will kill them thinking they’re doing God service.  Standing against sin will be considered a “hate crime”, and preaching repentance will leave you open to lawsuits for hurting people’s feelings.  Saying that Jesus Christ is the only name under heaven by which a man can be saved will be deemed intolerant, judgmental, and divisive – a crime against humanity.

The Word of God is not a textbook or a novel.  It is the very Bread of Life, and without it you will never be able to see through the subtle deceptions that are coming upon the face of the earth.  It is Light, and if you don’t read it, you can’t see.  It is Life, and if you don’t eat it, you will die.  It is Truth, and without it you are in a lie.

The Word of God will not change, no matter how many secular versions they come up with.  The Truth will endure throughout Eternity, and I, for one, will never compromise it.  I will not back down, back up, or give in.  I will stand for it because it is the only truth upon the face of the earth and it will never change.

I’m not interested in being “nice”, and neither were the prophets of God. I’m interested in being right with God.

I’m not worried about hurting anyone’s feelings.  They will hurt a lot more if they end up in Hell.

I’m not interested in being socially or religiously “correct”.  I’m interested in the Truth.

I don’t want to be part of the majority.  Only the few that choose that narrow path will make it to Heaven.

A revival is coming, folks, but it is not coming through the established church world.  It is going to come through a fierce people set in battle array that will not break their ranks and will not surrender to a changing world.  You may not recognize them because they won’t look like your polished, theological seminary graduates.

They’ll look like John the Baptist — and he had his head cut off for preaching the truth.

 “And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.”   Job 28:28

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“O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness: fear before him, all the earth.”
Psalms 96:5

When I look back on the revivals that have happened throughout history, I see certain elements that have always been evident. I’ve put many of them in my book, “Four Steps to Revival”, but there are a couple that I don’t think I have emphasized enough – holiness and prayer.

Today’s messages are all about grace and love and mercy, not holiness. And who could argue against that? What wonderful things they are! How great and wonderful is our Salvations that rely upon the grace, love and mercy of God. We would be so lost without them? But is that all there is? Or are we using Grace to minimize the effect of sin, and thereby turning the grace of God into lasciviousness, like it says in Jude 1:4? Have we been so focused on receiving blessings that we have ignored the call to a crucified walk in the sufferings of the Body of Christ? Has this loving modern gospel offered us so much comfort that we have refused the Cross in our pursuit of the Crown?

Every revival in history has been preceded by a time of deep, broken-hearted repentance and remorse for our worldly sinful ways. Desperation, weeping and howling at the altar as it is described in Joel chapter 2, is what brings God’s attention to our cry for revival, not the singing and dancing of a superficial worship that bears no marks of the Cross. The Church is complacent in her mediocrity and feels no shame or remorse. She has a “whore’s forehead”. She refuses to be ashamed (Jeremiah 3:3), and therefore the harvest has been witholden and the revival has not come. Without holiness, no man shall see the Lord.

The other thing missing is prayer. Revivals are birthed in the labor room of deep, prevailing prayer. The men and women of God that brought forth great moves of God would contend and wrestle in brokenness before God for hours and hours. Four and five hours every day, crying out to God relentlessly was not uncommon. Four or five hours every day! I know of no one in 45 years of ministry that has prayed like that, and yet you will see it in the early labor pains of every revival. How is it that we can be so foolish and cavalier to think that we can just snap our fingers and bring forth a microwave revival – no price, no pain, no tears, no ripping and tearing of our souls. Just waggle our finger in the air with a Howdy Dowdy wooden grin and say “Praise Jesus”.

That kind of prayer brought forth men and women of great power and authority. Know anyone like that today? Me neither. The ones I knew are all dead. All we have left are some nice pastors with nice messages for nice people. There are no John the Baptists left to challenge us, no Elijah’s to call down fire, no Martin Luther’s, Billy Sundays, Wigglesworth’s, or any of those who walked with true God-given authority to call us to our knees in broken repentance and crushing prayer. And yet Jeremiah cried out that the effectiveness of a true prophet of God was seen in his ability to bring the people of God to a place of true repentance (Jeremiah 23:22), not in their ability to entertain us with message of peace and love.

But what difference will this article make? People will read this and bob their heads up and down like apples in a barrel of water, and then go on the same ways they have been accustomed to. Same ol’, same ol’. Like water, we always seek that level that we are comfortable with … until something terrible comes along to rattle us out of our apostasy.

Something terrible is coming that will shake to the roots our modern Christianity with its Pollyanna attitude of personal blessings, sweet Jesus and a love and mercy that excuses sin and dismisses the fear of the Lord. But we don’t believe that because we don’t want to. And so we will not listen. And as a result, we are destined to face it.

The Lord once told me as I was watching this modern Christianity run in their hypnotic trance straight for the edge of a cliff, that even if they could hear me – which they could not – they will not listen. They are too set in a doctrine that they want to believe and like the children of Israel at the foot of Mt. Sinai, they are given over to the golden calves that they have created for themselves.

“And all the people brake off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron. And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.” Exodus 32:3-4

 

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