Posted in Faith, Journal, The Prophetic

Three Kinds of Prophet: Which One Are You?

 

12.01.13Prophets.jpg - Photo (c) by pederk / Getty Images
Photo (c) by pederk / Getty Images

The Lord showed me three kinds of prophets we have today in terms of how one handles a word of the Lord. All three have a prophetic gift and receive words from God that are meant to be released as a rebuke, correction, encouragement, or what-you-have. But what makes them different is not God’s word but how they handle it. Some of us prophets sometimes jump from one to the other.

First one is the JUDGEMENTAL PROPHET. This prophet is quick to rebuke people that are in sin or are doing something that is wrong. No, they don’t sugarcoat their words but neither do they rebuke in love as the Bible commands us too. It is not that they do not love God or that they do not love people but pride (or lack of humility), lack (not absence) of love and compassion, and laziness keep them from seeking out a better way of saying God’s word. YES, laziness. So instead, they speak out as they see the wrong that’s going on. And they are often right in discerning what is wrong but they are wrong in simply speaking out what’s wrong instead of first asking God what words to speak (what to prophesy!) in order to turn the situation around because they often forget that the battle is not against flesh and blood but against the principalities that wage war against God’s children.

The second one is the TOLERANT PROPHET. This prophet, outwardly, is the opposite of the first one. This prophet feels so much compassion for people who are in sin. They want to win sinners with the love of God so they are afraid most of the time that if they rebuke people, they will not reflect the love of God and therefore might repel them. They are too afraid to offend to the point that they keep their mouths shut even if God’s word already wants to explode inside them. If the first prophet is guilty of pride and arrogance, the second prophet is guilty of disobedience and fear of man because delayed obedience is still disobedience. Because they do think that they will speak up but they keep on delaying it. They are also guilty of pride because a lot of times they fear for their reputation that is why they keep silent. They fear being labelled as proud or self-righteous for releasing a word from the Lord.

The third prophet is the PROPHET FROM THE CRUCIBLE. This prophet used to be like the first one or the second one, or probably even used to jump from being judgmental to tolerant to judgmental but after having been refined in the crucible of God’s purging, this prophet knows and understands that prophets are called not to seek out man’s approval or a good reputation in the eyes of the world but a prophet must be of no repute, willing to lose face and lose friends. This prophet has the strength of the first prophet – boldness minus the arrogance because this prophet also has the strength of the second prophet – love.

Boldness must be motivated by love. Thus, this prophet is not only bold but compassionate. This prophet does not blurt things out of a discernment of what is wrong or what sin has been committed but this prophets seeks God for wisdom how to speak God’s heart because in the first place, prophesying is not about the prophet’s emotions (whether anger or affection). This prophet is willing to pay the cost. And the cost is not just losing face but falling face down in the presence of God to first truly receive the heart of God. When a prophet comes before the Lord to seek God’s heart on a matter, God reveals the WORD that has the power to transform sinners into saints. God reveals the WORD that speaks life instead of death. This prophet is willing to stay and die in the presence of God in order to be able to transform his/her judgmental heart into a heart that prophesies the glorious thing that the Lord is brining forth out of the hopelessness and negativity that our eyes see for we live by faith and not by sight.

Let us all learn from Nathan, the prophet. And may God give us boldness and compassion to speak His Word – only HIS word.

Nathan Rebukes David (2 Samuel 12:1-13)

The Lord sent Nathan to David. When he came to him, he said, “There were two men in a certain town, one rich and the other poor. The rich man had a very large number of sheep and cattle, but the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb he had bought. He raised it, and it grew up with him and his children. It shared his food, drank from his cup and even slept in his arms. It was like a daughter to him.

“Now a traveler came to the rich man, but the rich man refrained from taking one of his own sheep or cattle to prepare a meal for the traveler who had come to him. Instead, he took the ewe lamb that belonged to the poor man and prepared it for the one who had come to him.”

David burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, “As surely as theLord lives, the man who did this must die! He must pay for that lamb four times over, because he did such a thing and had no pity.”

Then Nathan said to David, “You are the man! This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. I gave your master’s house to you, and your master’s wives into your arms. I gave you all Israel and Judah. And if all this had been too little, I would have given you even more. Why did you despise the word of the Lord by doing what is evil in his eyes? You struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and took his wife to be your own. You killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. 10 Now, therefore, the sword will never depart from your house, because you despised me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your own.’

11 “This is what the Lord says: ‘Out of your own household I am going to bring calamity on you. Before your very eyes I will take your wives and give them to one who is close to you, and he will sleep with your wives in broad daylight. 12 You did it in secret, but I will do this thing in broad daylight before all Israel.’”

13 Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.”

 

Posted in Faith, Nazirite, Prayer

What Can’t You Go Without?

Image credit: WorldNetworkofPrayer.com

Warning: This is a post for me and my Christian brothers and sisters. You may or may not understand parts of it if you have not yet surrendered your life to Christ.

Can you go a day without coffee? Can you go a day without tea? I know there was a time when I can’t. When not drinking a cup of tea seriously messed up my internal balance and I had to drink at least a cup or else I experienced the following:

  • Shortness of breathe
  • Sleepiness
  • Weakness
  • Inability to focus

Can you go a day without Facebook? Can you go a day experiencing the high of somebody liking your social media post? Can you go a day without your ego being stroked. What determines you internal temperature and balance, the praises of man or your identity in Christ? Imagine a day without the following. Will you survive?

  • Your favorite drink
  • Facebook
  • Entertainment from the Internet
  • Your cellphone
  • Worrying about the GREAT WORK you are called to do

Can you go a day without prayer? Can you go a day without reading your Bible? Of course not. You’ve already made it a habit to go through the motions. But can you go a day without God reaching deep into your heart and gripping it with a fresh new Word that is just for the day? Fresh. Pure. Gripping. Tearing your heart at the seams. How many times have you gone without that daily bread we were meant to ask and receive each day? Can you go a day without that? Are there days when you survive without it and choose to be comforted by coffee instead?

I have a grave concern. And it is that coffee culture is subtly taking over our Nazirite vow. It is that Facebook culture is subtly taking over our Esther call. It is that we have allowed our yearning for caffeine to replace our yearning for God, once in a while. It is that we have allowed our affinity with Facebook to replaced our ability to linger in His presence. How many times have we hurried our prayers to check on social media? How many times do we cap our bible studies in time for catch our fave TV series?

I have a grave concern. And it is that, like Samson, the longing to be in (Delilah’s) affectionate arms provides so much instant gratification that we now refuse to grow our hair long, so we just cut it short because coffee, Facebook, electronic games, movie marathons, are always there to provide us quick fixes.

Today, I dare you to wrestle. Wrestle for your heart. The heart He purchased with no small a price.

“‘During the entire period of their Nazirite vow, no razor may be used on their head. They must be holy until the period of their dedication to the Lord is over; they must let their hair grow long. – Numbers 6:5

Posted in Faith

Why Positivity and Good Vibes Fail

I would like to propose that there is something more powerful than positive thoughts, positive words, and all kinds of positivity you could ever infuse in your routine.

By the way, (if we have not been introduced yet,) my name is Riza and I’m a freelance writer. I write all kinds of marketing content for my clients, and since online marketing plays a big role nowadays in a business’ marketing mix, a big chunk of my work includes writing online content.

Like… motivational blogs. I love this kind of writing. But they are also extremely challenging to do for secular businesses that do not exactly teach what I believe is, “more powerful than positivity.”

Most motivational blogs today encourages you to “believe in yourself,” “to replace bad habits with good ones,” and “to dream big.” These things are all good and all recommendable. Sure, do all these, if you can. However, the problem with trying to do these out of thin air, out of sheer will, and even through inspiration coming from one’s family, is that we will all come to a certain point in our lives when no amount of these “strategies to keep on going” will suffice. Our strength is not infinite. Neither is our source of inspiration and motivation. Our loved ones are not perfect. They will fail us at some point. Our determination is flawed. It has its limits. If we anchor our faith on “positivism” and a “source” somewhere out there, then we have anchored our lives on thin air. Don’t wonder why if some point you feel like you’re slipping away from the shore.

Our faith needs an anchor that is sure. Not some lingering cloud of good vibes floating above us. Our lives must be anchored onto something that we know is stronger than ourselves. Something real. Not imagined. Something powerful. Not pumped up. Something alive. Not something that gives way when we let go. Because we all will come to a point when we will want to let go.

That said, I would like to propose that there is something more powerful than positive thoughts, positive words, and all kinds of positivity we could ever infuse in our lives. And that is God and His words (as we read in the Bible).

~ Months ago, I wrote on a piece of note a verse from the Bible which I started praying for my family. It was a verse about restoration. I said to God, this is in your Word so you should fulfill it. I expect you to fulfill it. I prayed with tears. The atmosphere at home changed. I took a new set of verses and did the same. Something happens every time. You see the problem with positivity is you have to pull strength from yourself. With faith in God and his word, you pull strength from a person’s love for you.

scripture declarations

~ Months ago, I started meeting a friend who had been diagnosed with a mental /psychological disorder. We studied the word of God together. God’s word about healing. About her identity. About the purpose of lives, which is to glorify God. She is excited to meet up every weekend. She says the meetings are healing her.

Many mornings, I would wake up disoriented. As if I have forgotten why on earth I’m here. I open my eyes, see the notes stuck on my cabinet doors, and remember that a living God has created me for a purpose and a future that is good. Jeremiah 29:11. I don’t know how people are able to survive on “good vibes” alone coming from some cosmos they do not know intimately. During the lowest point in my life, I survived because the love of God held me together. If you and I will choose to have a relationship with Jesus, that ONE THING missing will finally find it’s place in our hearts, and for the first time we’ll know that something right is falling into place. Instead of falling apart.

Do you believe in God? What does faith mean to you? Have you ever felt like there is a god who wants to teach you how to pull your life together? 🙂

GOD'S WORD

Posted in Christianity, Encouragement, Faith, Gleanings

How I Was Set Free from 6 Lies I Struggled With as a Child

(I know that “6” is not a “nice” number but let’s just stick to it.)

When we were born, we were full of hunger and excitement to breathe in and partake of an unlimited adventure upon popping out of a safe, comfortable, but dark world inside mom’s womb. All of a sudden out of water and darkness in our mommy’s tummy, we burst out into a world of sun, colors, shapes, textures, faces—shocked, smiling, or amazed, and 1001 flavors of ice cream. We come out believing that as long as our stomachs are well fed, we can do anything. We were superheroes in our play places, conquering giant pillows and traversing mountains of toys.

Then came fear, because our parents had to protect us from bugs. Then came pressure, because our teachers had to protect our future. Then came rejection, because people had to protect themselves from us. We grow out of childhood innocence into a complicated, self-automated protective default we sometimes called wisdom, or so we think it is.

Growing up is not all that bad though. But despite the good things we learn, we also learn some bad things, things we find ourselves trying to unlearn the rest of our lives. Then again, it doesn’t have to take that long.

Today is my birthday and I want to say “Thank you God for freedom from lies.” Here are the ones I’ve said goodbye to. And believe I will uproot more lies as I go further in my walk. To 33 years and beyond!

1. The vampire is out to get me.

I don’t remember who first introduced me to the “vampires.” Sesame Street’s Count Dracula does not seem harmful but for some reason I grew up dreading nightmares and encountering vampires in my dreams. (They were not yet the romantic protagonists we have now. They were villains during my time and I believe they still are.) I used to pray each and every night before I go to bed specifically asking God to not let any bad dream come in, especially vampire thoughts. I would sleep with lights switched on and made sure my palms were facing downward because of the scary TV episode I watched where something really bad happened to the hands of the characters and their palms were faced upward when that happened. Every prayer worked even though most of them were neurotic prayers.

I prayed neurotic prayers for a long time. But then, a shift came when I asked God to take away the spirit of fear in my life. Soon, I could stay brave in the middle of a bad dream. I can walk alone in the dark. I sleep with the lights switched off now.

2. I am ugly especially if I put headband on.

negative self image?

“Self Image”

When I was around 7 years old, I tried a headband on in front of the mirror and thought it made me look worse instead of better, not like the way it made other girls pretty. Then, I realized whatever I did with my hair, I still look ugly. Then, I realized it’s because I’m ugly and there isn’t much that can be done!!!

When I was in kindergarten, my teacher went around the room to complement each student with one adjective each. I was expecting she’d say I was pretty but she said it to some other girl instead. She said I was “intelligent.” I didn’t know what “intelligent” meant so I was disappointed.

when I was in 3rd grade - around 10 years old. i still wore the headband after all!

“When I Was 9”

When I was in seventh grade, I was nominated to represent our class in our school’s beauty contest because all the pretty girls had represented their previous class already years before. I felt some hope that even though I’m just the nth choice, I still made it to the options list. But it was not what others thought that changed the way I see myself. You see, no matter what people say, I saw the same ugly face in the mirror. But this changed when God began to heal my self rejection problem. One day, it was as if I no longer saw the “ugly face” and saw something different… it’s the same face but this time the girl looks pretty. I realized it was my vision that had to change, not the face, but my belief.

3. I can’t sing beautifully. I sing out of tune and that’s how it will remain.

I grew up with people saying I can’t sing, that out of six cousins, I was one of the two who should recite poems instead. And so, during summer workshop, I joined a reading workshop instead of music or acting or those things I liked. I got so bored reading.

Then one time while I was in a worship-prayer gathering, I felt God burn a passionate desire in my heart to write songs. I thought myself, “I’M SCREWED.”

Rick Warren’s book “Purpose Driven Life” became very popular around that time. The book said something like (and I might be harshly paraphrasing this due to the extreme effect it had on me when I read it), “…forget about pursuing something that is in your “heart” only but you have no “hands” to do.” It said that it has to be both “hands” and “heart” and not just one of those two. “Hands” represented capability, talent, ability, skill… I hated that paragraph and I didn’t finish the book because of that chapter. I told God, “If this dream is from you, you better make it clear and make it work because I don’t know how it’s gonna happen and I’m gonna die of frustration if I burn with this desire without pursuing it.”

Now, I can sing. I have written a few songs. And if I were Rick Warren’s editor, I’d ask him to revise that part of the book. There is something more powerful than “skill” and it is “love.” Music, for me is an expression of my love for God and nothing can keep me from giving him the songs he deserves. Even lack of skill or talent can be overcome for the sake of love.

let's jump to freedom.“Let’s Jump to Freedom”

Aside from these three, there are a handful of other things…

4. Like that belief that theater and communication arts is only for extroverts. I am an introvert and I took a scary risk when I joined a drama class in college. Until now, it is still my most enjoyed class throughout college, next to Great Books which talked about classics like Dante’s Inferno.

5. Then there’s the lie that I can’t get into Computer Science because I’m not techie or geeky. I realized later than ANYTHING, absolutely anything can be learned if you want to.

6. And there’s the lie that God cannot fill the void in my heart and match the intensity of emotion I feel — something that comes out as an obsession with thought of falling in love. Hah! He did. And looking back, it LOOKED really impossible that time but what can I say, miracles happen.

Right now, a big challenge that is in front of me is starting a ____. (It’s still a big secret.) Oh yes, let me tell you about the conventional beliefs we are trying to break right now by taking this leap of faith. But that will be for another blog post.

Today, I want to thank God for freedom. The freedom to be 33 and thankful.

Posted in Encouragement, Faith, Journal, Waiting

When It is Time

loved-best-by-God

It is both good for desire to be kept waiting and for it to be fulfilled. Waiting causes fire to burn brighter and fill deeper. It enlarges longing and exposes the soul’s capacity to dream, and keep dreaming. It tests the spirit and purifies the soul. Fulfillment is God’s ultimate plan and it will satisfy and fill, saturate and soak up, until you drip with laughter and love. He will not fail to satisfy even longings undiscovered by your heart.

When to bring the waiting to an end, God knows perfectly the time. I will never trade these years of pain and joy in waiting, of longing and finding intimacy, of swift encounters with Jesus, I will not trade it for anything. But I will gladly leave it to embrace him when God finally sends him here.

When God says, “It is time,” I believe it is. And I love Him for showing me that His Time is beautiful. Even now, I know I am entangled in His Wisdom. At times I yield, at times I wrestle. But every time, I am more loved. In waiting and in fulfillment, I am loved best by God.

Posted in Encouragement, Faith, Healing, Poetry

Altogether

God’s love is best understood in our brokenness. His love does not change depending on how good or bad we’ve been. He loves us at our best, and at our worst. He loves our every part. He loves us to bits. Literally. He is in love with every detail of who we are. Here’s a love poem from Father God to us, His children.

Let me love you
The broken you
Not just the worshipping you
Or the ministering you
The strong you
That stands on a pedestal
Let me love you
The just you you

Let me love you
And all the pieces
The pieces strong and wild
That you are fearful men would fear
The pieces meek and fragile
That you hold cautiously with trembling
The pieces you have tucked underneath
The pieces you find hard to bear
The pieces you wished were never there
The pieces that screwed everything up
That tore everything apart
Let me love you
And all your pieces

Let me love you
Even the broken you

I put the pieces together
And I love every part
Torn, whole, sewn together,
Or breaking away
You are held together
And loved altogether
Even when you think you’re falling apart

Let me love you
Most of all, the broken you
By me, you are pieced together
And I love your every part

Photo credit: pinterest.com/stevemaraboli
Photo credit: pinterest.com/stevemaraboli
Posted in Faith, Journal, Ministry, Prayer, Revolution

Love Wars

This reminds me of a spy movie. It’s the part wherein you, the normal civilian, suddenly becomes in possession of a sought after article. Just yesterday, you can come out of your front door anytime of the day. Now, you have to use the back door to escape the enemy lurking outside your house. Overnight you’ve turned from status quo into most wanted. You don’t know when it is that someone might fire a bullet targeted towards you. Before you could leave any building, you make sure you’re covered and safe.

What did you do to make you deserve so much attention? Or perhaps the right question would be: what are you capable of doing that made these people want to take you down?

I love peace. I don’t like fighting. Although I’m competitive, I’m peace loving. But I would not avoid a fight if shying away also meant compromising my principles. I will fight until all my strength is gone.

“Why am I here?” I’ve been asking God almost the whole day, “What in the world is going on?!” For perhaps the hundredth time now, I thought of resigning. I’ve been having these “episodes of contemplating resignation” since I entered my company almost a year ago. And no, I don’t hate my job nor am I having trouble getting along with my officemates. In fact, I feel so blessed and privileged to be in such a position of influence. But there are a few things that are making it so difficult to stay sane and sober in it.

First, I feel that 48 hours a week of work is draining the life out of me. I miss staring at the sky without time limit. I miss strumming my guitar until I run out of melodies. I miss poetry that wakes me up in the middle of the night to write it.

Second is, I always get sick nowadays since I started working! Sometimes I feel that not even much sleep can offset the emotional and mental tiredness that goes with this position. And I really think that I need to stay healthy and ALIVE if I were to fulfill my purpose in life, right?

And the hardest question for me today was: Do I really need to resign in order to get my “life” back? Or is there some other way?

I really just started with a dream and an open door. After four years of waiting, this was the door that God opened, my current job. Today, I felt like I am being vomited out of the company. The late work hours, the workaholic culture, the tolerance towards religiosity, the intimidation, the burden of intercession, the challenge of casting a new vision, the grueling task of coming against a culture… Many times, it feels like I will get swallowed alive and carried away by a tsunamis of tradition. And then at times, I’m swimming against the tide, I’m warring and making progress, trying my words against the mountain. And other times, just like the past few days, searching for a way out, hoping I could find a portion of the sea where there’s less religiosity to clash swords against.

Many times, I get disoriented. Is this still my battle or is it time to “pull out”?

But one thing I realized. The enemy sure is after me. I decreed that mountains will move and atmospheres will shift. I have determined to make it my non-negotioable to live under open heaven. Either the heavens shift or I go some place else where God is calling me. I cannot accept a scarcity of the presence of God. I would die. And perhaps, this is why the devil hated me.

Perhaps, I dreamed what meant the destruction of age old strongholds. I am fragile. I prefer a quiet life, but for sure, not a life without the overflow of the love of God. And so I woke up and all of a sudden, just because I love God and His presence more than anything, I must go to war. No not for a day. But who knows how long? Do they really tell you when a war would end?

So the culture here seems to be trying to take me down, that’s one way of looking at it. But what if, I’m the one who’s taking them down — with all the things that hinder love? Shaking it up!  Besides, what ‘s so scary about a quiet girl? Or maybe it’s because they know I won’t ever give up until them all exposed.

So what are you fighting for? Are you just like me? I admit I get scared at times. And at times, I just wanna go on vacation for a two whole weeks. But until God says war is over, this we must make sure: Your enemy is the one scared of you and not the other way around. Remember, why would he try to take you down if you’re not downright threatening his territory?

Posted in Faith, Journal

all set for jakarta, except for my bags and delirious timeline

 Last April, I paid the $100 registration via credit card.

Then came the bill, which I paid with almost half my monthly salary.

Living on P500 for 2 weeks, I was blessed to work during a 4-day youth camp, all expense paid. So I had less days to fit into the P500.

Weeks before, the WPA released a budget for sponsoring young people to join the prayer assembly in Jakarta. 100% accommodations support was bestowed upon international delegates 30 years and below. Then 50% of my airfare was subsidized. *Jaw drops*

The last stretch would be the travel tax and pocket money.

Then, behind my back, my Dad was raising money. I didn’t know until recently when he asked me to pray for the solicitation letter that he sent. I don’t know what to say but it seems that the thousands of pesos I used to pay for my airfare and registration is about to be reimbursed by the support that was recently pledged, giving me enough finances for the tax and pocket money… 😀

Whew!

I wanna cry.

When we work so hard in the ministry, sometimes pride creeps in and we begin to think that we deserve all this. All the support. All the favor. All the VIP treatment. But that is not true. God is a gracious God and every supernatural provision is a message of grace, mercy and undeserved favor.

I really want to repent for my arrogance in almost scolding God for telling me to go but not telling me how to find the provision for my trip. It gets tricky when we start talking about faith and dependence on God. Honestly, many times I feel like scolding God for making things so difficult. Haha.

But like I said in my previous blog post, I am learning. I have not mastered the art of dependence on God’s faithfulness. (Well, who has, right?) But it’s quite obvious that I have so much to learn and so much pride to lay down. But I am thankful that it’s not about my faith but His faithfulness. The Lord Jehovah Sovereign had spoken, and He lives up to His word.

And we are stunned. Exposed. Mesmerized.

We’re all set for Jakarta, minus the packed bags and tons of work — day job and freelance assignments. Another mile to prove God’s faithfulness. So help me, God.

Bow*