“What takes the cake is, I have two couples—one couple separated and the other divorced—and all four of them are still coming to the church sitting on opposite sides of the auditorium and just eyeing each other throughout the whole service, and then after the service, they do all these maneuvers to avoid running into each other. And what’s so sad is, after the services, the children get to running back and forth between them. If that does not convince them to try to work things out, I don’t know what else will,” Bishop Akron said.
“Yes. I’ve seen that even in my church down through the years. You can see the bitterness and the hatred between them. I have quoted this verse from Ephesians that says, ‘Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice’ so many times I have lost count,” Prophet Malcolm said. “Then God showed me that they were quenching the Spirit. I’ve preached so many messages on leaving your gift at the altar and go make amends with your brother and sister in Christ and especially with your spouse, and with your children, and children with your parents. In fact, I had gotten to the point of saying, do not even bother to bring your gift to the altar. Just keep it. Keep that tithing as I don’t want ‘hate money’.”
“That’s what it is. Hate money,” Prophet Malcolm said with a chuckle. “Until you take care of business with those you hate, do not bring me your tithe, do not teach Sunday school, do not usher, do not sing in the choir, do not sing the special solo, do not even clean the bathroom or cut the grass outside. God is more interested in how you are treating each other than He is in you giving Him service.”
“I say ‘Amen’ to that.”
“I have never experienced divorce myself, but from just counseling those who stubbornly ignored my advice to stay together and went on ahead with the divorce, they tell me that it is a bitter thing, and that it is worse than death. I tell them that that is because God hates divorce. Couples do not realize that they are trying to sever a cord that God has bound together. On top of that, they vowed to God to keep the marriage together until death do them part, and God says not to make a vow to Him if you are not going to keep it. I share that with couples when I do marital counseling,” Prophet Malcolm said with much conviction. “I can see the bitterness, the envy, and the hate floating back and forth between divorced couples sitting in the pews. Sometimes it is so thick, it’s almost blinding.”
“I have seen it too,” Bishop Akron agreed.
“But I also see the love that was once there surfacing every now and then,” Prophet Malcolm continued. “You know, they just need to show God’s unconditional love, accept their situation, be content, and go on together for Jesus and give the devil a black eye. Many do not stick it out long enough. I had this one couple married for almost fifty years to tell me that it does get better and that husbands and wives just need to settle down and realize that things often have to get worse before it gets better, especially in a marriage as you have two stubborn and rebellious sinners wanting their own way. That’s all the devil wants: to cause havoc in our homes and break up Christian marriages so we’ll be a poor testimony for God. May the Lord help us.”
“You know, Prophet Malcolm, I know I don’t say this too often, but I thank God for you, brother. We may not see eye to eye in light of your many years of walking with the Lord above me, but I appreciate your taking the time to impart some words of wisdom to a hard head like me.”
“Brother, that’s what I am supposed to do: help the younger saints become strong in the Lord so they can take over after I pass off the scene,” the Prophet said.
“Wait a minute now, Prophet Malcolm, you’re not thinking of passing off the scene any time soon, are you?” Bishop Akron asked in a more somber tone.
“I don’t plan on it. However, I have no will about it. I am like Paul: I am ready to die and be with the Lord, but I am also ready to keep on living and bringing more souls to Jesus. With all that is happening in the world today, I don’t want to keep on living in this sin-cursed world. I am ready to check out of here. I am in a twixt between two, but I say with Paul, ‘I am now ready to be offered, and the time for my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.’ Even so come, Lord Jesus, come, is my prayer.”
“Well, hang in there with me for a few more years, Prophet,” Bishop Akron said somewhat nervously. “I honestly wish I could say the same as boldly and with as much conviction as you. But I must admit, I have not reached that stage of maturity in my walk with the Lord. I have not reached that state of contentment, yet. I want the Lord to come, but I am afraid I still have a lot of junk in my life that I need to get rid of before He comes. When I stand before Him, I want to hear Him say, ‘Well, done thou good and faithful servant. Enter into My Kingdom.’ To be honest, I just don’t see that happening—not yet, at least. I do envy you, my brother.”
“You don’t have to envy me. This Christian life-walk to maturity, to perfection, is a process. It does not happen overnight. All God calls us to be is to be faithful. In Ecclesiastes, Solomon says, ‘Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.’ That is all God wants us to do: just obey Him. Is that asking too much of us after all He has done for us?” Prophet Malcolm said.
“No, brother. That is the least we can do for Him,” Bishop Akron said with guilt, and even though he was envious of Prophet Malcolm’s obvious peace, he was not quite ready to go all out for Jesus. The praises of men, the applause he heard each Sunday coming from his congregants, and his fat wallet and bank accounts were incentive enough for him to not be too eager for the Lord to return.
“You know I am an old-time prophet and people nowadays do not want to hear me speak because I am going to preach against their evil and about God’s wrath to come. I even preach against my own sin,” Prophet Malcolm chuckled. “I tell people God gives us space to repent, sometimes too much space, but when that space runs out, God’s judgment begins to fall. Sometimes, I have to shake them up,” he said.
“Shake them up?” asked Bishop Akron.
“Yep. I’m here to preach against all the sins they love to do and against all their hypocrisy—calling themselves Christians but not living like one,” Prophet Malcolm said calmly. “Many Christians are taking God for granted, who, because of His mercy, gives us more than enough time to repent. But when He brings the hammer down it comes down suddenly, it comes down hard and with a mighty force. My granddaddy used to say, ‘The wheel of God grinds slo’, but it grinds sho’.”
“It grinds for sho’,” Bishop Akron agreed.
“You know, Bishop, the Bible says people who persist in their sins and are warned often, will be destroyed—suddenly—without remedy,” Prophet Malcolm said.
“That’s for sho’,” Bishop Akron said. “Now, Prophet Malcolm, before I go, if you were on your deathbed, what advice would you give to someone like me or any Christian for that matter?”
Without hesitation, the Prophet replied, “Well, I would tell you and them, you do not have time for evil in your life, and that judgment must and will begin at the House of God, and I would add, suddenly and without remedy.”