Nothing Has Changed!

Nothing Has Changed!

“Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of my pasture!” declares the LORD. Therefore this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says to the shepherds who tend my people: “Because you have scattered my flock and driven them away and have not bestowed care on them, I will bestow punishment on you for the evil you have done,” declares the LORD. “I myself will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them and will bring them back to their pasture, where they will be fruitful and increase in number. I will place shepherds over them who will tend them, and they will no longer be afraid or terrified, nor will any be missing,” declares the LORD. “The days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land. In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. This is the name by which he will be called: The LORD Our Righteous Savior. “So then, the days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when people will no longer say, ‘As surely as the LORD lives, who brought the Israelites up out of Egypt,’ but they will say, ‘As surely as the LORD lives, who brought the descendants of Israel up out of the land of the north and out of all the countries where he had banished them.’ Then they will live in their own land.” Concerning the prophets: My heart is broken within me; all my bones tremble. I am like a drunken man, like a strong man overcome by wine, because of the LORD and his holy words. The land is full of adulterers; because of the curse the land lies parched and the pastures in the wilderness are withered. The prophets follow an evil course and use their power unjustly. Both prophet and priest are godless; even in my temple I find their wickedness,” declares the LORD. “Therefore their path will become slippery; they will be banished to darkness and there they will fall. I will bring disaster on them in the year they are punished,” declares the LORD. “Among the prophets of Samaria I saw this repulsive thing: They prophesied by Baal and led my people Israel astray. And among the prophets of Jerusalem I have seen something horrible: They commit adultery and live a lie. They strengthen the hands of evildoers, so that not one of them turns from their wickedness. They are all like Sodom to me; the people of Jerusalem are like Gomorrah.” Therefore this is what the LORD Almighty says concerning the prophets: “I will make them eat bitter food and drink poisoned water, because from the prophets of Jerusalem ungodliness has spread throughout the land.” This is what the LORD Almighty says: “Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you; they fill you with false hopes. They speak visions from their own minds, not from the mouth of the LORD.They keep saying to those who despise me, ‘The LORD says: You will have peace.’ And to all who follow the stubbornness of their hearts they say, ‘No harm will come to you.’ But which of them has stood in the council of the LORD to see or to hear his word? Who has listened and heard his word? See, the storm of the LORD will burst out in wrath, a whirlwind swirling down on the heads of the wicked.The anger of the LORD will not turn back until he fully accomplishes the purposes of his heart. In days to come you will understand it clearly. I did not send these prophets, yet they have run with their message; I did not speak to them, yet they have prophesied. But if they had stood in my council, they would have proclaimed my words to my people and would have turned them from their evil ways and from their evil deeds. Jeremiah 23:1-22 NIV (Read it all)

The Word of The Lord–Always Speaks Truth and Never Lies!

His thoughts about leaders is constant no matter what title or term is used–when those in leadership lie and mislead God’s people, there are consequences all will feel until those who lied are utterly destroyed.

What is Holy Spirit Warning Us About Today?

And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me–the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace. (Acts 20:22-24 NIV)

I must admit, composing a title for my commentary today was a bit of a challenge since a number of themes jumped out at me from these three verses. And before I finish, it’s possible that Holy Spirit will have me touch on all I saw. I submit to His leading.

First of all, we see Paul acknowledging the forewarning of danger through Holy Spirit. In the days of the prophets (those messengers of God to whom God spoke directly before the arrival of Holy Spirit). They were also warned of impending danger and spoke to the people–some of whom heard and obeyed and others who did not. In fact, there were many who took upon themselves to be prophets and did as they were bidden to do by those in charge. These were the false prophets and unfortunately, we have many among us today–those who prophesy lies according to the dictates  of their flesh or the amount of money someone offers them.

But for those who are actually allowing Holy Spirit to lead and guide them in all things, Holy Spirit has been warning of impending dangers and once again–not many are listening and many more are choosing to ignore. When Holy Spirit spirit speaks, people should respect His voice more than E. F. Hutton and listen–closely and obey. He will never lead us astray, but there have been some who listened to E. F. Hutton and we hear from him, no more. I wonder why.

Then, we have those who claim that Holy Spirit speaks to them and we know by what they say and do, they lie. Holy Spirit will never speak on His own, but only those things given to Him and all that He says, will align with The Word. This doesn’t mean that He’ll speak to us in the King’s English–that would be ludicrous unless we lived in England. No, Holy Spirit will speak to us in a language we understand and speak so that no confusion will exist. And though what He speaks may not be The Word–verbatim, the intent and principles will never change. Depending on where we are in our relationship with God, He may have to “paraphrase” The Word in order for us to understand it. In other words, He’ll break it down to the lowest common denominator so we cannot say, we did not understand.

Considering the importance of Holy Spirit’s role in the lives of Believers, I don’t understand why there aren’t more people saved and filled with His Spirit, living in right relationship with God. I can only surmise that the ridicule that accompanies anyone proclaiming God speaks to them, is justification for many to either ignore His warnings or they choose to keep silent. Neither is a good idea since we are all called to be “watchmen” and it is the responsibility of the watchmen to warn the people of impending danger. It is the responsibility of the people to act on the warning and when they don’t, whatever happens is on them, not those who were courageous enough to warn.

Knowing what lay ahead of him, Paul chose to keep going–to keep testifying of God’s grace–in order to fulfill the calling on his life. Do we have the same boldness to keep going–knowing that ridicule and persecution lie ahead of us? Knowing that not all will receive what we have to say? Knowing that every time we write a blog or respond to an article containing controversial content, we will be attacked by those influenced by the enemy? Knowing that the enemy seeks to engage us in meaningless conversation to keep us distracted from our mission? Are we bold enough to continue the race set before us and testify of God’s goodness in spite of the naysayers and the doubters?

If our answer to any of the questions is “yes” then we have a testimony about how God changed us and put us back on the path He had established for us. Let’s share the testimony with all who will hear and watch as we see The Word come alive for we are told, “we have overcome (the enemy’s ploys to destroy us) by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony.”

Whatever our testimony is–the change from what we were doing in opposition to God’s Word to living according to His Word– it is what people need to hear. We have the power within to know who needs our testimony in order for them to be overcomers and if we listen to Holy Spirit, He will indeed direct our footsteps, and govern our tongues so souls will come to Christ!

How Can They?

“But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!” (Romans 10:14,15 NLT)

Paul reminds us in his letter to the church in Rome that, “all who call upon the name of The Lord shall be saved” and he anticipates the doubters response by answering their questions before they are asked.

Those same doubts–unbelief in Jesus Christ and in Him as the Risen Savior–still plague The Church (the body corporate) and it is evident in the things we see people–proclaiming to be Christians–do.

The real problem is that then–the descendants of the tribe expected a “warrior” to save them because that’s what they understood. They could not believe–for the most part–that a man preaching, trying to get them to repent of sin and live for God–could save anyone. When they witnessed His crucifixion, they mocked Him about saving Himself. The answer was right in front of them, but they could not see it because their minds were clouded and focused on expectations based upon their limited understanding of how God truly works. They missed knowing the relationship that God so deeply desired with them and there are those today, who still miss it.

How can they still miss the importance of being in right-relationship with God? When people think that “religion or religious affiliation” is the answer to their problems, they miss God. The answer is still right in front of us–we must repent of sin and secure our “relationship” with God. It is our relationship with Him that will draw us nearer to Him so we can clearly understand how He wants us to live.

How can we move closer to Him? WE MUST REPENT OF SIN–AS A NATION–AND AS INDIVIDUALS and learn of Him, receiving instruction and direction from Holy Spirit as He speaks to us. There is no other way that mankind is going to be saved from destruction and captivity–devised in our own minds–when we choose to ignore God and the messengers He uses to warn us!

What messengers should we heed? The messengers of God will only say what God says, they will not speak on their own behalf. God is not doing a new thing pertaining to visions and dreams–He still uses them to persuade people to hear Him, but those visions and dreams are not going to oppose His Word–no matter how much people want to change what He has said. God will use whoever is willing to be used by Him–accepting His sovereignty and love–knowing it is He who is leading them in all things.

How wonderful it is for people of faith to be used by God in promoting the Gospel of Jesus Christ! These are those who are sent–not the ones who just got up and went based upon their own logic and rationale of what they “think” needs to happen. Those who just go–on their own–have a modicum of truth to share, but ruin it with their own take on how things should be and much of what they say is in opposition to what God has already said. We won’t know that if we do not know The Word and have such a close relationship with God that we can seek Him for ourselves for clarity and understanding.

What we need more than anything on earth right now–is the enough sense to know we all need to repent and receive God’s forgiveness so we can move forward, taking care of God’s business, while He takes care of ours.

Father, I cannot repent for others, but I stand before You right now, repenting of all those things that are not like You. Forgive me for daring to think I could do anything on my own without You in my life. I submit my thoughts to You, I declare my faith in everything You have said and will say to me to share with others so that all of mankind will be saved, in the name of Jesus! I will do all You prompt me to do, no matter what people say, for I  know that my eternity will be spent with You! And I pray that all who proclaim the name of Jesus will repent–individually, and as a nation and seek You while You may yet be found. In Jesus’ name, I pray, and receive Your response, Amen!

They Tell Lies!

This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: “Do not let your prophets and fortune-tellers who are with you in the land of Babylon trick you. Do not listen to their dreams, because they are telling you lies in my name. I have not sent them,” says the LORD.(Jeremiah 29:8,9 NLT)

Who was Jeremiah talking to then and does it apply, today?

Jeremiah, God’s chosen prophet, was talking to the children of Israel who had been taken captive by their enemies. He was warning them and encouraging them as we can see if we continue reading this chapter. If we really think about current events and all those who “falsely” prophesy anything, we can most assuredly say, what was said then, applies now.

While I know there are many people who believe in fortune-tellers, astrological charts, luck and the counterfeit prophets, I stand firmly in the wisdom of God–knowing that “luck” has nothing to do with God. We are warned to stay away from fortune-tellers because many simply manipulate others with false hope (as seen in ACTS). Those who profess to “read tea leaves” play on the vulnerabilities of those who are seeking answers, but from the wrong person. And the counterfeit prophets–there are so many out there I cannot begin to count. Wise people know better than to believe in “a horoscope” that seldom changes and is usually written by people on a whim, who have no knowledge of astrology, but consider themselves expert in reading the stars and making predictions.

Now, I will be the first to admit that when God gives people gifts (as outlined in 1 Corinthians 12), He does not take them back, even when we do foolish things with them. And some are doing foolish things with the gifts God intended to be used by the Body of Christ, for carnal profit. Even though the gift remains theirs, so too is the reward they will receive for misusing His gifts.

Those who try to make themselves something when they are not, lie! The fortune-tellers lie; the false prophets lie, the horoscopes lie, the tea-readers lie and anyone who claims “good or bad luck” lies because there is no “luck” with God. We are either blessed or cursed.

How do we recognize the liars? Easily! When we know The Word, we can spot a liar about The Word because what they say, won’t align with The Word. Now, some are clever! They will use just enough of The Word to make some believe they know what they’re talking about, but it is deception–cleverly devised to deceive and know it is from the devil--that master of deception.

Don’t believe the hype when “prophets” tell you things that God has not spoken to your heart. If you have a heart to hear God, He’ll speak to you and confirm through others who don’t even know you. Those prophets chosen by God speak truth whether it is warning or encouragement and what they say, aligns with The Word.

Don’t believe the “horoscopes” like some have and become so addicted to them, they won’t leave home without reading them. Read The Word–therein lies the truth! Horoscopes are mass-produced with slight changes–designed to convince and they are so vague and general, what is said could apply to anyone, born at any time.

Don’t believe the “tea-readers” who can fool only the foolish who believe that tea leaves forming a certain pattern in liquid means anything.

Believe The Word–because God is not a man that He should lie and since He hates liars–He will not oppose Himself who is Truth.

Got problems and need answers? Seek Him early while He may be found and know the Truth. The others–tell lies!

Has He Spoken To You?

“On that day I will gather you together
and bring you home again.
I will give you a good name, a name of distinction,
among all the nations of the earth,
as I restore your fortunes before their very eyes.
I, the LORD, have spoken!” (Zephaniah 3:20 NIV)

The true prophets spent a great deal of time encouraging, admonishing, and attempting to motivate the Children of Israel–always ready to speak what God spoke to (and through) them. When we understand the role of a prophet–we know that a prophet does not speak according to their flesh, but according to The Word of God as God speaks it. And we know–that God’s Word is true and whatever He says, will come to pass–in His timing, not ours.

That was then. Now, we can hear directly from God through Holy Spirit and confirm that it is Him speaking when we know the Word. God is yet speaking to the hearts of His children and when we are in relationship with Him, we know it is Him speaking and we can count on whatever He tells us–it will happen–when He has designed it to happen.

Don’t despair over the timing of things that God has spoken to your heart. He will do it and we know this because He is not a man that He should lie.

At the same time–don’t listen to every person proclaiming to be a prophet. Many speak according to their flesh based upon the situation–they lie–attempting to convince and will say whatever they think someone wants to hear. And even though they attempt to manipulate The Word to make what they “sound” good, if what they say doesn’t line up with The Word–don’t listen. When a prophet speaks what God says (and He is still using some as prophets today) and it can be confirmed and aligned with The Word–meditate on what they say and go directly to the throne of God for yourself–before doing anything! When we hear a prophetic Word that is meant for us, it should be confirmation of something He has already spoken to us–not something new. strange, or bizarre.

Knowing The Word for ourselves will save us time and aggravation–and puts us in position not to be misled by those who would seek to misguide by their ability to manipulate the Word and prey upon a person’s emotions. Know when God is speaking to you. If He has not spoken to you yet, keep listening and keep studying The Word. Chances are-He has spoken and you may not have known that it was Him!

Speak Lord–Your children are listening and ready to obey!