The weight of prophecy, notsoskinnydreams.com

The Weight of Prophecy

I received a prophetic message not too long ago. At the time, I was both excited and skeptical. Anyone who knows me, knows I believe in receiving directly from God what he wants to tell me. So when I hear from others that God spoke to them about me, I turn around and ask God “what’s up? Is what they’re saying true?” However, this time the more the prophet spoke the more I could not deny the ring of truth in their words. The words confirmed things that I had been privately seeking God for confirmation on. Also, I had to trust the holy spirit within me that didn’t twinge with a shade of hesitation at the prophet’s words. Initially after receiving the message I felt lighter and more enlightened. Then as days passed, I felt weighted down by what I’d heard. It felt like an albatross around my neck. It’s only now that I realize the weight or seriousness of prophecy.

If you are seeking prophets, it’s a dangerous game.
Knowledge can be a scary thing. Your actions from here on will either take you on the right path or completely off in the wrong direction. Then can come the addiction to always “know.” This is how people become prophet junkies where they depend on them to hear from God. Instead working on hearing from Him themselves, they find more satisfaction in seeking another person. My mother warned me of this herself. That it’s easy to fall into a trap of “easy answers.” Where you make another human being your oracle. I could see how that could happen. As we talked to the prophet it felt so comforting to have another person do the legwork for us. Which is why I personally felt weighed down and worried. Worried that this could become a dependency and weighed down by the responsibility of hearing. It weighed on me that I was told both the good and the bad. That inadvertently I could fall into the bad. Today after taking my morning walk, I’d had enough of the worrying. I also decided never to seek out a prophet again. The root problem was my relationship with God, else I wouldn’t seek anyone else out.

Don’t get me wrong. The prophetic gift is a wonderful gift from God. Paul held prophetic gifts in high regard and considered it higher than speaking in tongues.

For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to people but to God. Indeed, no one understands them; they utter mysteries by the Spirit.But the one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouraging and comfort. Anyone who speaks in a tongue edifies themselves, but the one who prophesies edifies the church.” 
1 Corinthians 14:2-4

The prophetic message I received was comforting and consoling at a time I dearly needed both. However, like I said when your relationship with God is weak then even a prophetic message can have the adverse effect. The relationship is not stronger because of a mediator. It’s up to you to work on it. The prophet cannot do that for you, they are just the messenger. If prophets could change hearts, just by speaking, then the old testament would tell another story. Once the message has been shared their job is done. It’s now left to the one receiving to do the rest. That part is what weighs on me. The rest, making the right or wrong decisions are left to me. I recognize this weight as a result from a lack of intimacy with God. I know how it feels to be completely intimate with Him. In those times, nothing can shake you. Not that things don’t happen, but a profound sense of peace is rooted in your spirit. I’m a daughter of God and I know it will be well. He has never forsaken me and never will.

I now believe that before hearing a prophetic message you should be prepared to hear it – spiritually. Especially if you’re going to seek a prophet out. In seeking, I see a selfishness to it. A desire to console the “self.” To self-exalt. To take a short-cut. I remember being jealous when a prophet would visit our church and skip over me. Even my little sister, sitting beside me, would receive a message. This kind of jealousy is pure fleshly desires. A desire for the spotlight. When the spotlight should be on God. I read an online book on Prophets and Prophecy in Today’s Church. Chapter 2 was on The Dangers of Prophecy.  It was an insightful read. The section on “Helping God” spoke the most to me. Here is an excerpt:

“Any time we decide on our own to help God’s word come to pass, we are acting in the flesh . . . the same as Abram and Sarai. God spoke to me in the early 1970’s that He was sending me as a teacher of His church among the non-Western nations of the world. It wasn’t until 1988 that the Lord said, “Now is the time.” Because I understood this principle, the only action I took when I initially heard this personal prophecy was that I tried to be a diligent student of God’s word and His principles. In other words, I tried to learn all I could so I would be prepared to go teach. I left the timing and commissioning to God.

When God gives a promise, through prophecy or otherwise, our part is to 1) believe it, and 2) make the necessary preparations. Then we must let God bring it to pass. Otherwise, we act in the flesh and produce “an Ishmael.” ‘

I definitely do not want to produce an Ishmael. It won’t be an easy task but now starts the due diligence part. Where I put my head in the bible and my heart in prayer. For however long it takes for God to do his work in me.

 

notsoskinnydreams

WAR ROOM

A couple of weeks ago I saw the movie “War Room.” As someone with a background in video production, I was a bit skeptical on whether I would like it. I was used to Christian movies that fell far short from what I considered a basic standard of quality. However, “War Room” despite the few quirks here and there fully satisfied my needs. The message was so deep that I was able to look passed minor flaws and receive what the makers were giving me—a message of love. A persistent love that withstands any situation life throws at you. I learned a new method of praying.

A better word would be STRATEGY. I never thought of strategizing my prayer life or writing down prayers. I left the cinema excited and on a mission to make my own war room. Unfortunately, I could not find a space in the house for one. Instead, I compromised by starting a “war journal.” I’ve started writing down the season I’m in, whether it is a desire for career fulfillment or praying for discernment. I write it at the top then break down the prayer in sections. First is praise, where I put down every reason I love God just for being God. Then I pray for those who have wronged me in any way in an effort to fully forgive them and move on. Then I confess my own sins to God and ask for forgiveness. After that, I pour out my heart to Him about all that is weighing on my heart about that particular topic. Everything is interspersed with bible verses to help support the foundation of the prayer. The research alone is helpful because the bible has all the answers and promises God has already given us. It confirms that as long as what we ask for is not against His will He will answer us as His children.

Prayer is a powerful weapon against the enemy and, of course, we should not wield it lightly or haphazardly. So far, I like this way of tackling the situations in my life. If nothing else I desire a kinship with God and any way to get closer to him I will try.

Dealing with Depression

Dealing with Depression

Depression is not something a lot of people like to talk about or reveal. I’m not talking about the light stuff. This is the deep down, “I just don’t want to live anymore,” kind of depression. I’m not ashamed to say I’ve been through it. What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. Through a testimony I gave recently, other people have approached me about their own depression. It is more prevalent than we like to think. The saddest thing about it is that because we hide what we are going through we miss the opportunity to connect with others that can help us. From my own experience, I’ve found that once you’ve gone down the darkest path possible in your thoughts it never completely leaves you. If I’m not careful it has its moments when it passes by reminiscently. Caressing my thoughts and darkening the edges of a forced smile. In a moment futility hits me… then I shake it off the best way I know how – with God.

As a Christian, I deal and have dealt with my dark moments with the Word. That double-edged sword that cuts deep both ways. Cutting the enemy/sin and also yourself with its pure and unadulterated TRUTH. A truth that acts like an ambient light, making no room for shadows. My prescription is a hearty daily dose of the bible. Nothing else has worked for me. Not even just reading other Christian books or listening to motivational speakers. It’s the word that He passed down to us to help in all our seasons that has proven my most powerful pill. In Philippians 4, Paul tells us not to let anything bring us down but to give everything to God so that His peace that passes all understanding would guard our hearts and minds. He especially tells us to think on good things; the noble, pure, lovely… The bible does that for me. It keeps my thoughts on the right things.

I recently read Esther and her story encouraged me. Here is a woman who did not know that God was placing her in a position of crucial importance and timing. Where her access to her husband, saved a whole race of people. Even knowing she could die, by just trying to speak to her husband – the king, she still went forward saying:

Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast for me; and neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. I also and my maids will fast as you do. Then I will go to the king, though it is against the law; and if I perish, I perish.
Esther 4:16 (AMP)

“If I perish, I perish.” Wow! that line hits me to the core. Esther was dealing with a situation where if she did nothing she would die, maybe not immediately but eventually, and if she did something she could still die. A seemingly hopeless situation. However instead of miring herself in depression, she stepped out despite her circumstances to make a difference. When I read accounts like this I feel strength and hope. Also, a giddiness bubbles up from right beneath my breastplate that makes it hard not to smile ruefully. In those moments, my thoughts leap into thankfulness and wonder.

How wonderful is our God! How excellent are His grace and mercy! The Lord of Heaven’s Armies so powerful is your might! Who shall I fear? on earth??? No one compares to you!

I understand how David could burst into song because of his God. Even when he was going through the worst moments of his life, he thought of God and rejoiced! As I wrote in “Women of Blood” the only audience you should really care about is the one On High. For Him, even when I’m feeling low I put a little bounce into my step, a little jig in my hips, and a smile on my lips that says everything is and will be ok. Soon my spirits are up. I want God to look at me and know that I am thankful for everything.

But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who love your salvation say continually, “Great is the LORD!”
Psalm 40:16 (ESV)

The World can Kick Rocks

The world has been bringing me down.

It was unexpected since I’d been riding on a cloud of affirmation from God. I’d stopped looking to man for self confirmation but some how this resolve weakened recently. I’ve learned that Christianity is a constant battle. A battle between you and sin, between you and the world, between you and yourself. Even though a couple of weeks ago I felt great. I felt completely encased in His presence, in His embrace. Now I’m looking at the gaping holes in my spiritual house and wondering what the heck happened. It was so bad that during service today, I had to go outside and take a walk. I just wanted to understand what was going on. The weight of my emotions though oppressing inside the sanctuary was easier to bear in the light of the sun, the expanse of the sky and freedom of air flowing around me. There exposed to all the elements I turned inward. Still not understanding how to fix the problem, I stopped trying. I looked up to where my help comes from and asked God to help fix me. He is my ultimate doctor. As I prayed for Him to inspect my heart and reveal to me where I have been wrong and turned away from him, I slowly awoke to what I had been sleeping on. Since my friend passed I’d been using emotional blocking to cope. Unfortunately, I blocked most of my emotions including those that helped me feel euphoria spiritually. Even when I accepted her passing and worked to look to the future, I’d left myself emotionally blocked. I wasn’t sad but I wasn’t happy. I was just ok… just neutral. I’d become tepid in countenance, in reaction, in living. This way of living sapped my spirit day by day. Something I’d been working so hard to build up, was weakened by Lukewarmness. In this state the criticisms of people around me started to get to me. A general feeling of inadequateness pervaded my thoughts. As I prayed outside today I realized that my sight had shifted from God to the world for a couple of weeks now. Instead of focusing on how God saw me, on his plans for me, on honoring him with my life, I focused on how the world saw me. How they desired things from me that did not align with the calling I’d been given, how they desired things from me that I had no desire to give them.

I prayed to God to help me get back on track. Meandering around emotionally stunted and dwelling in the flesh is not where he wants nor needs me to be. It amazed me that just one incident among many smaller incidents had put me off course so much. Why is it that we can miss one day of work and still be in-sync with our profession. However we can miss one day of communing with God and can fall down a progressive hill of spiritual detachment. I said earlier that Christianity is a constant battle. If we don’t fight against the creeping fingers of the enemy, which can sometimes be ourselves, we are pulled away from the Lord and can end up meandering around like spiritual orphans.

I let the world bring me down. I can let God bring me up.

In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
Proverbs 3:6 ESV

Olorunfemi Oluwakemi Banwo

In Remembrance of Kemi

My friend’s funeral was on Saturday. It was 9am, the morning was not so bright… not so anything really. I cant remember how the day was. It just seemed like any other day but that we were going to my friend’s funeral. The invite said “home going” which had helped me push it from depressing to acceptable. However on the day of, as I wore my black dress, black stockings and shoes it didn’t seem so quite acceptable anymore. As if every piece of black was a nail on the truth that she was dead. Kemi was actually dead. She was never coming “home” again. At least not in our sense of the word home. I hadn’t cried since the first couple of days, when I’d been told. My coping mechanism had been to put it completely out of my mind and move on with whatever I had to do for that moment, that day, that week. Then July 18th came and I was forced to remember. I chose the biggest black bag I had, not because I had a lot to carry, but because its drag in my grip felt like an anchor. An anchor that I could balance my stride to and focus my mind on.

The service was, not to sound morbid, wonderful. A friend of mine echoed my thoughts recently. That it was the best funeral she had ever been to. Kemi had always been a force to reckon with and the testimonies of family, friends, and acquaintances all enforced that. The church was so full of people that eventually you had to stand because there were no more seats. Every aspect of the ceremony testified to Kemi’s love of Christ, from the dance, spoken word, musical numbers, and more. It was so wonderful because of the impact everyone could feel that Kemi had had on people’s lives. There was a point that I could not hold my composure, when they played two videos of Kemi talking about God and how you should “give him a try.” It was truly more than I could handle. However it was beautiful in that even in death, she was still preaching of His glory. In her days at the hospital, in the cancer ward, she even went to the rooms of other patients to encourage them. She had so much love coming from her family and her friends that she knew that not everyone on her floor had that same support. There were people who were alone in their fight. She had the giving heart to encourage them even in the midst of the biggest battle for her life. When she said in one video, that you are alive and should be happy in that truth and in that blessing, I felt so inspired. I knew my mourning was not for Kemi but for myself in losing her. She was in the bosom of our Father and in a much better place. No way would she want to come back here to the trials and tribulations. However in her absence she has given us a message: To live!

To live in Christ. To live for Him. To fully and truly LIVE. In the days since, I have been reflecting on my life.

Have I truly lived?

I don’t think so. However its not too late. For any of us.

In memory of her fight her family has set-up a memorial fund for cancer research : link.

You can also read Kemi’s testimony about how she overcame breast cancer. Published in 2012: link.