Listening Precedes Speaking

Listening Precedes Speaking 4.19.17
 
It is not a new concept to understand that what you hear is what you speak. When we were new born babies, we heard many words, but we could not speak any. So, we had to learn to listen, before we could learn to speak. The same is true in the spiritual as it is in the natural. Until we learn to listen and hear clearly, we will not be able to speak clearly. Paul said, “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me” (1 Corinthians 13:11). Our level of hearing, determines our leveling of speaking. I think we can all agree on this.
 
Here is the challenge the body of Christ is facing, whether on Facebook, Instagram, or in pulpits and on platforms all over the world, we have people wanting to speak before they have learned to listen. This is bringing much confusion to the body of Christ and causing many to get their hopes up around what sounds like a prophetic word, but is actually just someone’s vain imagination. Jeremiah 23:16 says, “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.” This is not just about prosperity prophecies, this is also about gloom and doom, Jesus is returning soon prophecies. People are speaking before they are listening and it is leading the body of Christ astray.
 
When I was 19 years old and newly saved, I had zeal without knowledge. I was ready to preach to anyone who would listen, that Jesus Christ is Lord. I do not think that evangelism like this is harmful, because the zeal is so strong that you do not care what others think about you, all you know is that you were once lost and now you are found. The challenge is, when people who have zeal but no knowledge are in our pulpits, conferences or on our news feeds. Their zeal can be contagious, but their knowledge is weak, because they have pursued speaking over listening.
 
When I was in my first Bible Training School, one or our Pastor said he spent 8 hours to prepare for one sermon. I remember thinking, what are you doing for 8 hours, when you only speak for 20-30 minutes? But now that I have grown up, now that I have learned the value of listening and stopped trying to be a speaker, I realize how crucial it is to listen for many hours on end and speak for very few. Solomon even said in Proverbs 17:27 “Whoever restrains his words has knowledge, and he who has a cool spirit is a man of understanding.” The less we speak, the more we know, because when you really know something, you have no need to be heard, rather you wait to see if anyone wants to hear what you have to say.
 
The body of Christ has been going through what I call accelerated maturity. It has been a time for those who agreed to it, to learn in a rapid way how to hear the voice of God, clearly, so they can speak the words of God, clearly. They are not taking scripture out of context to match their message; they are not slapping a verse on people’s problems; they are not pursuing a pulpit or platform; they are learning to listen to the still small voice in the secret place of the most High. They have learned wisdom, patience, timing, intimacy and authority; they are not in a hurry to make their name great, but they are prepared to make His name glorious; they went in as unbroken wild horses and are now broken power horses with a fiery love in their eyes and a word in their mouth. When they speak, demons are going to flee; the dead are going to be raised; the sick are going to be healed; relations are going to be restored; and the lost are going to come to Christ.
 
The leaders that are about to arise learned that listening precedes speaking; they learned that if they don’t hear clearly, they won’t speak clearly; and they learned it is not about training your mind, it is about letting the Lord heal your heart, for they know, that out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks, not out the abundance in their head. They have been in the secret place getting a heart transplant, heart surgery and cardiovascular healing, so when they speak, there is synergy between their heart and their mouth, because they know they can only speak what they hear. God is more interested in you learning to hear His voice (which means consistently obeying what you hear), than He is in you speaking, writing a book or putting out another prophetic word. You can’t side step it, He is a God of order and learning to listen precedes speaking in the kingdom age leaders.

No Delay

“There is no such thing as delay, there is a lack of understanding the day.” This is what the Lord spoke to me this morning while in prayer. It has become popular to tell people they need to bind the spirit of delay; they need to prophesy, no more delay; and a variety of other variations of this vein. But, the Lord said to me, “there is no such thing as delay, there is a lack of understanding the day.” As I pondered these words, I realized we feel like there is a delay, because we put a time frame on the promise God has spoken. That is not delay, that is us not understanding the day.

In Joshua 6 the Lord speaks a word of promise to Joshua and the children of Israel about the city of Jericho, saying, “I have given Jericho, its king, and all its soldiers into your hands.” When God says something, it is going to happen, but when it happens is in the following verses, for the chapter goes on to release the strategy that needs to be employed for the promise to be actualized. Joshua 6:3-5 gives the strategy, “Every day for the next six days, you will march once around the city walls with all your fighting force. Seven priests will go in front of the covenant chest, each carrying a trumpet made from a ram’s horn. On the seventh day, you will march around the city walls seven times, and the priests will blow their trumpets.  When they play a long final blast, then all the people will give a mighty shout. The city walls will collapse in front of you, and all the Israelites will charge in and take the city.” Anyone of those soldiers could have decreed no more delay after day 1, 2, 3 or more, but it was not a delay, rather they were unaware of the day. If it is day 3, 4 or 5 there was not going to be any sign of victory for it was not the right day.

When we are unaware of what day we are in, based on the strategy God has spoken to us, we will cry, delay! But it is not a delay, we just don’t understand what day it is. People do this with so many things. We do it with prophesy, we do it with scripture, we do it with our end time ideas. If we don’t know the day, we won’t know where we are, but one thing is for sure, there is no delay. Joel 2 says, “In the last days…” (plural); Matthew 24:36 says, “On that day…” (singular); Galatians 6:9 speaks to a “due season”; whereas Romans 13:11 says, “now is the time and the hour…”. There is no such thing as delay, but there is a lack of understanding the days, day, season, time, or hour.

Many of us have a promise from God, we know that we know, God said…but the timing is where we are off. If we were honest, God did not give us a when it would happen, He only told us what would happen. For maturity to take place, it is important that we stop imposing our thoughts, our time frame, our faith in ourselves, rather we must listen not just to the promise, but the strategy about how to employ the promise and then we will better understand the day we are on, so we can be patient in the process, for the promise will not delay. Remember Habakkuk 2:3 “For the vision is yet for the appointed time; It hastens toward the goal and it will not fail. Though it tarries, wait for it; For it will certainly come, it will not delay.

“Don’t yell or shout. Don’t let your voice be heard until the day I tell you. And then I want you to shout with all your might” (Joshua 6:10).  If you are still in the silent stage, don’t worry it is not a delay, it is just not the day. Once the day arrives, trust me, you will shout, the walls will fall, the victory will be sure and the battle will be won quickly, for the Lord will say, NOW! Shout unto God with a voice of triumph! (Psalm 47:1). It is not a delay, it is design, because with God there is no delay.

What Are You Hearing?

Is God saying more than one thing at one time? Is He declaring one thing to you and another thing to me about the same nation? Is the Lord the author of confusion? In a social media world, there are many benefits, people who do not have a platform for a variety of reasons, can use social media to get their message out. But social media is extremely dangerous as well, for it is riddled with confusion as many self-proclaimed and self-appointed prophets are saying, “Thus says the Lord.” With many people on a spiritual quest, one of the places they are looking for spiritual insight is online, but the challenge is, the church, Christians are proclaiming many things that are not biblically accurate. This is both dangerous for the hearer and the speaker, for the Bible is not silent on the issue of making declarations that God did not make. 
Ezekiel 13:1-3 says, “Then the word of the LORD came to me saying, “Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel who prophesy, and say to those who prophesy from their own inspiration, Listen to the word of the LORD! ‘Thus says the Lord GOD, “Woe to the foolish prophets who are following their own spirit and have seen nothing.…” (NASB). Jeremiah 23:15-17 says, “For from the prophets of Jerusalem Pollution has gone forth into all the land.'” Thus says the LORD of hosts, “Do not listen to the words of the prophets who are prophesying to you. They are leading you into futility; They speak a vision of their own imagination, Not from the mouth of the LORD. “They keep saying to those who despise Me, ‘The LORD has said, “You will have peace “‘; And as for everyone who walks in the stubbornness of his own heart, They say, ‘Calamity will not come upon you.’…” (NASB). 
Yahweh speaks with clarity, not confusion. He is not speaking many things at the same time, He has so much authority He only needs to speak one thing at a time. One word from heaven has the authority and power to transform the earth. As prophets in training, the first thing that must be learned is how to discern the voice of God, amidst all the other voices. Many people who prophesy, don’t know the word of God in context, so their prophecies are of their own making. One of the greatest challenges we face in Christianity today is the inability for people to hear the voice of God. Because this is an epidemic in the church, many people are looking to those who say they hear God to tell them what God is saying. The challenge with this is, if God is not saying it, but they are told God said it, then they get disappointed for they thought God said something God never said. 
1 Corinthians 14 says, all should desire to prophesy and in the book of Numbers, Moses said, he wished all of God’s people prophesied. But in order to prophesy, you need to know the word of God, for that is the first step in hearing the voice of God. The second indicator of whether you are hearing God is if what you are hearing is being confirmed by those who are seasoned at hearing the voice of God. For example, the Lord spoke to me and said, 2017 is a year of Victory, I posted this on January 1st on my Facebook page, then today, Chuck Pierce came out with a video today that declared 2017 the year of Victory and Bill Johnson of Bethel Church in Redding, CA said at their Sunday morning service on January 1st, that the word God gave him for 2017 is Breakthrough. So, when men and women that are known for hearing the voice of God are saying the same thing you are hearing, it is a good indicator you are hearing God and not your vain imagination. 
The Bible says to whom much has been given, much is required. If you have not been given much, not much is required of you, but if you want to be given more, than be a good steward of what you have been given. You have been given your Bible, it is the voice of God to you and to the nations, but it must be righty applied. 2017 is a year of Victory, for you to experience victory, you must learn to hear the voice of God. You hear the news, you hear your family and friends, you hear what others are saying on social media, but can you hear the voice of God in His word? What are you hearing? Hearing the voice of God is the key to the abundant life. He loves to talk, that is why you have a Bible, my prayer is that this year, you will hear His voice.

Summer of Shaking

Turn on your television, go to the mall, meet a friend for coffee, go to church, everywhere, everyone is aware this summer has been and continues to be a summer of shaking. Someone will let you know about the latest attack, whether in Kabul, Afghanistan, Baton Rogue, LA, Dallas, TX or Munich Germany. The attacks are seemingly more often, more publicized and more unexpected. Shopping malls, peaceful protest rallies, random traffic stops, you name it, something unexpected is happening in the least expected places. If the shootings were not enough, we have weather patterns bringing intense heat which is producing wildfires, droughts and evacuations. Let us not forget the mosquito’s and the many exposures of people who have been involved in corruption being brought to justice and not being brought to justice. This is a summer of shaking, can we agree on that?

Most would say, yes this summer has been shaking, and many are trying to explain what the shaking is for, what brought on the shaking and what is God doing with the shaking. Depending on your biblical worldview, the shaking could be the judgment of God on the nations; it could be the consequences for our sin; it could be the days of Noah, which usher in the second coming of Christ; or it could be something else. I would like to present to you a potential something else thought as to what has brought about this summer’s shaking. I, in no way am saying this is the final word on the subject, but I do believe it is a word on the subject of this summer’s shaking.

Last week I was reading through the book of Nehemiah and I stopped at a friend’s house for our children to play, while there I shared with her this revelation and she added insight to it, which confirmed to me, what I was sensing was more accurate than I first thought. So, here is what I think the summer of shaking is possibly about.

In the book of Nehemiah, we see that Nehemiah was cupbearer to the king and he got word about the condition of Jerusalem, so he asked the king for permission to leave his post as cupbearer and go to Jerusalem. Nehemiah’s request was granted and resources were sent from the king and his kingdom to help rebuild the walls of Jerusalem and repair its broken down gates. My first thought is that Jesus, the cupbearer to the King, our Father, has gone to His Father, by making intercession for us and the kingdom of God has released resources for the rebuilding of the walls and gates around nations. I believe the shaking we are experiencing this summer is because heaven has heard earth’s cry for help.

Once the kingdom Nehemiah worked for, agreed to resource the project to rebuild Jerusalem, Nehemiah and the people began to rebuild the walls and repair the gates. Not long after they started this project, Sanballat and Tobiah, began to mock, ridicule and sought to dissuade them from rebuilding, but Nehemiah and the team could not be persuaded otherwise. My second thought is, Dutch Sheets and the Appeal to Heaven team, along with Lou Engle and the Azusa Now team and the many Pastors and leaders who met in Washington, DC for the Call prayer rally, have been the ones, along with intercessors worldwide and prophetic voices like Lana Vawser, Cindy Jacobs, Doug Addison, Kris Vallaton, and many others who are not known to the public have kept building with their words, despite the enemies mocking and ridiculing.

Finally, Nehemiah 4:7-8 it says, “Now it happened, when Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites heard that the walls of Jerusalem were being restored and the gaps were beginning to be closed, that they became very angry, and all of them conspired together to come and attack Jerusalem and create confusion.” I believe this is why we are having a summer of shaking, because we have been rebuilding the walls of protection around our nation and nations of the world. This rebuilding we have been doing in prayer and prophesying, has made the enemy very angry, because heaven has sent resources to help us build. I believe what we are seeing around us is evidence of the walls we are rebuilding and the gates we are repairing.

The final scene before the wall is built and the gates are repaired according to the book of Nehemiah is a company of people who can pray, prophesy (build) and can wield the sword (word warriors). I believe the word warriors are being released for the finishing of the rebuilding of the walls of protection around our nation and other nations of the world. The enemy is increasing his attacks, because he sees how much progress we have made on the walls and the gates. Jesus is our cupbearer, He drank the wine of the wrath of God, so we could be redeemed, revived and renewed. Keep praying, keep prophesying, keep speaking life, the evidence of an enemy in the summer of shaking is proof we are near completing the rebuilding of the walls and gates around our nation.