After grabbing my hot cup of coffee, journal, Bible, and iPad, I headed outside to sit on my balcony overlooking the marina to have some much needed God-time (one of my favorite places to be!) I immediately heard in my spirit, “read”. As I began to ask Holy Spirit where He wanted me to read (assuming somewhere in my Bible), He clarified and said, “Read the SOP.” SOP is an acronym my very dear friends and I use for Bill and Marsha Burns’ Spirit of Prophecy (which is now called the Prophetic Devotional). Their prophetic words have ministered to me for over 10 years!
The Prophetic Devotional from Marsha at Faith Tabernacle for that particular day, May 20, 2016, was:
There is a spiritual storm coming, says the Lord. There will be shaking, sifting, and scattering. Expect the seeds you have sown to bring forth a harvest, whether good or bad. Many who have deceived and exploited others, will be deceived and exploited. This storm is necessary to awaken those who have fallen asleep or become complacent. My people who are already awake must stay awake spiritually to avoid destruction. Galatians 6:7 – Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.
As my mind wandered to the many events that have unfolded over the last several months after a major shift in our life, I was reminded of the Lord’s warning to me: [Daughter, if you sow a curse, you will reap a curse; if you sow honor, you will reap honor.]
It seems the topic of offense has been running quite rampant both in and out of the church. Although it’s ugly and terrible, it shouldn’t come as a shock. Jesus warned His disciples, “It is impossible that no offenses should come, but woe to him through whom they do come!” (Luke 17:1) He also warned that in the last days, “…many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another.” (Matt. 24:10) “Many” was referring to Christians not the unbelievers.
As I sat in His Presence, I heard the Lord say: [Daughter, the storm is coming. My children have participated in the spirit of offense and have used it to argue, condemn, and make ungodly declarations. Strongholds have been erected. The Idol of Self stands taller than ever. It must be torn down! My children must come to Me to discern My purposes and plans especially when offense arises. I would have you grow through it and learn My wisdom and grace. Those offending must stop – no excuses! Those buried under the offense, must extend grace and forgive. To only know that the spirit of offense exists and do nothing to advance My kingdom, is unproductive and futile.]
As we followed the Lord’s calling to our next leg of our journey, many close to us, who knew us well and our walk with the Lord, prayed for our discernment, peace, direction, and courage and then covered us in prayer for blessings and prosperity, as we boldly said, “Yes!” even though Holy Spirit had not yet revealed “what.” Others, however, out of concern that we may have heard wrongly and perhaps from miscommunication, misunderstanding, or their own hurt or offense, ridiculed, condemned, and slandered us.
Christ followers need to have each other’s backs. Iron sharpening iron. We already have an enemy who’s put a target on our backs. This is why we need to stand side by side and back to back, not facing off at each other. Only disaster comes from this.
In his book, Bait of Satan, John Bevere states, “Many are unable to function properly in their calling because of the wounds and hurts that offenses have caused in their lives. They are handicapped and hindered from fulfilling their full potential. Most often it is a fellow believer who has hurt them.”
In my flesh, I could have taken that spirit of offense and retaliated and the world would have said I was justified in my response. BUT God!! He reminded me that going “from concern to a curse, is a fine line” and I had a choice…if I sow a curse, I will reap a curse but if I sow honor, I will reap honor. So when that happens, I deliberately exclaim, “Bless them Lord!” and repent of any ill thoughts or words. I wish I could say that I handle situations in this manner consistently, but being human, of course, I don’t. No one can force you to take offense. We may get tempted by what we see or hear, but it is always our choice how we respond.
Proverbs 19:11 says, “Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.” And Proverbs 10:12 says, “Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all offenses.” Last weekend, our church had a Living In Freedom Everyday (L.I.F.E.) Retreat following a 12 week Bible study where several hundred people made godly declarations, broke ungodly soul ties, repented, forgave, were prayed for individually (and corporately by many intercessors in the back of the room), and were delivered to live freely the way God has intended, so we can carry out His great calling on our lives. It was incredible! During one session as I was being prayed over, I had a vision of a woman in a white dress surrounded by people throwing slanderous comments, under the guise of “concern or care”. The comments were like mud being slung at her, eventually leaving her in a dirty, tattered dress. And I heard the Lord shout,
“That’s not your garment!”
Then as the blood of Jesus was poured over her, it rolled off from the tip of her head to her toes, revealing the most brilliant, pure white, dress shining so brightly!
Colossians 1: 19-23 says, “For God in all His fullness was pleased to live in Christ, and through Him God reconciled everything to Himself. He made peace with everything in heaven and on earth by means of Christ’s blood on the cross. This includes you who were once far away from God. You were His enemies, separated from Him by your evil thoughts and actions. Yet now He has reconciled you to Himself through the death of Christ in His physical body. As a result, He has brought you into His own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before Him without a single fault. But you must continue to believe this truth and stand firmly in it.”
If someone’s heart’s desire is to follow God at all costs, and you‘re unsure they’re hearing God correctly, than seek God and only God to see from His perspective! Remember, God loves that person more than you and desires to bless them greater than you desire. He’s looking out for them. If God tells you to speak to them, than do it. If He doesn’t tell you to speak to them, than keep praying for them. Pray for blessings. Pray for them to prosper. Support them. Be a comfort to them as God comforted you (2 Cor. 1:4). It’s ok to agree to disagree.
“So, whether you’re still wearing those dirty, tattered clothes
because you are the source of the offense or the recipient of it,
take them off because it’s not your garment!
Put on the Garment of Praise instead! (Isaiah 61:3)