Do you really consider yourself a prophet? Do you really get commands direct from GOD?


----- Original Message -----
From: Name Withheld
To: Paul Stringini
Sent: Wednesday, April 11, 2012 2:59 PM
Subject: What do you consider yourself to be?

I was reading your site and was wondering who you think you are. Do you really consider yourself a prophet? Do you really get commands direct from GOD? As in your album you reference what god wants you to do. Do you have an open line of communication with GOD? You must believe so from what you say on your site so how does that work for you?  How does the communication happen? Have you physically ever seen GOD or his spirit when you are being told what to do in life?  Just a couple questions I have from reading your site. 

My Response:

----- Original Message -----
From: Paul Stringini
To: Name Withheld
Sent: Saturday, April 14, 2012 1:51 PM
Subject: Re: What do you consider yourself to be?
Hi, Those are good questions and I have to preface my answer a bit.  I will answer all your questions with specificity.
Preface: I would like you to know is that I am not particularly interested in convincing you, or any one particular person, in anything I am about to say.  That is not to say that I do not care to convince people, if that was the case, I wouldn't bother writing at all.  When I answer a question I like to answer it first for its own sake.  Questions demand answers, and answering questions, especially my own questions, has been one of the core activities of my intellectual life, to convince myself.  People who know me would tell you what a demanding person I can be, so I like to do a thorough job in answering questions.  For the sake of answering, and for the sake of my own curiosity, and no doubt for the sake of those who might listen sympathetically, and for those who listen with skepticism.  So everything I say here I feel is important to answering these questions, maybe you would have preferred short answers, but these are important questions to me.
I never really heard from God until 2005, so I want to bring you quickly to that point. And then I will answer your questions.
You asked me who I thought I was.  Without writing a long autobiography, I was raised believing in Jesus by may father who named me "Paul" for the Apostle.  I never remember "coming to faith" It was bred into me.  Fortunately, I was raised by a father who raised me in the faith mostly by example and assertion.  He never made me read the bible or memorize verses.  He never made me pray. He prayed for me.  He never told me what to believe, he told me what he believed. We didn't go to church.   I raise my kids the same way.
I read my children's bible when I was young, and as I got older I dabbled in the adult bible reading the Gospels, Genesis, and Revelation, I was mostly interested in my life, but as part of my life, I aspired to do great things.  Educators along the way certainly boosted my ego, placing me in "gifted" classes and praising my abilities.  I can't say I was a happy kid,  or that I was constantly sullen, but I was too anxious to grow up, most of my dissatisfaction came from wanting to indulge in the activities that I knew adults indulged in: sex, drugs, and rock and roll.  But a greater sadness arose from a conflicting and deeper desire to be virtuous and strong, and I was neither.
When I went to college, I tried to indulge in those "adult" activities as much as possible. And after overdoing it one night I thought I was going to die so I prayed for God to save my life and promised that, in exchange, I would dedicate my life to serving him.  I doubt that I was really going to die that night, but I was scared enough to keep my promise.  I saw more clearly than ever how mortal I was.  This was winter in 1993, I was 19, and I started reading the bible seriously, for the first time. 
In the summer of 1993 I ran across Arnold Murray's broadcast and started studying with him.  He was the only bible teacher I ever had.  After a short while, I began teaching what I had learned to others.  I did not make any disciples, except for one particularly enthusiastic girl, who had recently recovered from a cardiac arrest, the result of a suicide attempt.   It was the spring of 1994. 
I married the girl in April 5, 1995 in Arkansas, in front of Arnold Murray's desk.  That was also the year I began to realize that some people had no doubts about Arnold Murray. I never invested myself deeply in the guy,  I liked him, I was initiated into his interpretation of the bible and I accepted it, with some small doubts, but he was just a bible teacher to me.  I was used to having differences with my teachers (in high school and college).. 
After we returned from Arkansas, these doubts increased until I couldn't listen to the guy anymore, but that is not the story I want to tell here.
I continued to study and teach the bible for the next ten years.  Nothing remarkable ever really happened to me.  I never really heard from God.  If he was talking to me I was not hearing him.
My firstborn son nearly died, several times, in his first year. I remember running his lifeless, breathless, little, two week old body into the doctor's office the first time.   We prayed, and he was saved. Seven months later and again we prayed and he was saved after several operations and errors.  But I knew that other people, more devout  than myself, had probably prayed for dying sons and watched their sons die in their arms.  Death has always been very real to me, very present, very final, and from a child I have been touched with the sadness of mortality. I think it goes back to when my grandfather died when I was nearly four, his death weighed heavily on my mind right through my teenage years.
In 2001 we moved to our house in the country, I was living my dream, married to the woman of my dreams, but I was also busily undermining and destroying the dream through my drug and alcohol abuse (not to mention pornography).  I prayed about that many times, in sincere tears, I tried to cast it all off.  I didn't have the internal recourses to do it.  I didn't have the moral fiber.  And it seemed like God did not care one bit about it. 
Of course, I was familiar with the bible, so I knew that God supposedly didn't want me to do these things.  Then why was I so weak to them?  Why did they have such power over me?  The bible is not really a "pull up your own bootstraps" book, as some might suggest.  The bible promises real help. I wasn't seeing any, none at all. 
I had always believed in God, but I can't say I never doubted.  I can't say that I didn't always harbor the thought deep inside that maybe I was just deceiving my self.  I would look at the stars and say, "Maybe it was all just chance, random luck, we are here and there is no God besides the one we imagine.
At that time, I would describe my view of my faith as an intellectual pursuit.  Explaining how the world worked, why God has to do things this way and why God has to do things that way with varying degrees of satisfaction.  It was all tied up with Arnold Murray's doctrine.  The most important thing was answering the question in an intellectually satisfying way.  Making the bible fit into a story that satisfied my intellectual needs.  But by 2003 the story had fallen apart.  I had encountered too many contradictions and inexplicable passages to maintain enthusiasm for the doctrine I had been instructed in. And the bible had no answers for my personal problems, only vain promises.
From about the time I got married (and baptized) in 1995 I had begun to sing the bible, and even through all my problems I kept writing songs using the words of the bible as a template and I had my webpage to distribute the songs.  In 2005 a young man contacted me.  He was a fan and he wanted to meet me.  He brought a friend to my house and the two of them spent the night.  I remember sobering up the day before they came, I also remember making note of places that sold liquor on my way to their church, I was going to play there, and on my way home, I was going to get a couple of forty ounce malt liquors and turn the pain off for a the rest of the day.
March 20, 2005, I was greeted warmly at the church, the pastor and the minister of music were also fans.  I played a few songs and then I sat and I listened.  It was a very lively place.  They ran around and spoke in tongues.  Arnold Murray had taught against tongues, and so had I, it was emotionalism and babble, "the flesh" as he would say.  But I had become more tolerant of other people's beliefs because I thought it was hypocritical for me to be so strict about doctrine when I was myself a drug abuser. 
I looked at people who had "god experiences" as being well meaning, sincere, idiots who couldn't tell psychologically induced ecstasy from a real supernatural event.  I looked down on them with kindly and indulgent condescension.  I believed that they believed in the things they said God was doing and saying, but I didn't believe anything was really happening to them.  Nothing ever happened to me.
So the pastor was preaching away, he was talking about righteousness, in a very simple way.  My view had been that, God wanted us to be moral, but that was impossible, so he sent Jesus to forgive us.  Beyond that I had given up thinking most everything I believed mattered.  I had studied the bible for ten years and only knew that I still clung to faith in Jesus (based on Psalm 22, Isaiah Chapter 53 and the new science on the Shroud of Turin, these were the things that kept me from becoming an agnostic) but beyond that, I didn't really think anything mattered anymore.
"This is what righteousness is, and if you do not fulfill it, then you are not righteous."  That was the most memorable line.  I have gone into a lot of detail about what happened that day, and believe it or not, I'm trying to keep this short.  But I went home very thoughtful about the message I had heard, really for the first time.
I had always excused certain passages from the bible from their plain meaning based on a theological construct, the "imputation."
That is to say that I believed that God looked on me as righteous, even though my behavior was contrary, because of my faith.  For the first time someone had called this into question. 
If the imputation was not the end of righteousness, then I was missing something.  But I knew that, over the course of my life I had prayed many times for God to send me his Spirit and to become a better person.  This is actually a very confusing thing.  Some people just tell you to ask for the spirit of God, and then, when nothing happens, they declare that you have received it.  That is not exactly satisfying, so it lead me to ask for God's spirit many times, because I sure seemed like I was lacking something.   Sometimes I would try to "have faith" that the spirit of God was in me when I asked.  Basically, it is like positive thinking.  Totally unsatisfactory.
I went home and decided to take a close look at the stated beliefs of that church.  When I was there, I had played up how similar my doctrine was to theirs.  And to some degree this was true, and to dome degree it was true in that I didn't really firmly believe anything anymore.  Still I saw my faith as this intellectual quest, and I was not about to ask strange people from a strange church to pray for me if I thought they were not up to intellectual par.
The stated beliefs were simple enough, except the stuff about tongues, I didn't believe in that.  If God wanted me to talk tongues it was going to be by a miracle because I was never, ever going to babble voluntarily, as I suspected most people did.  But then again, I was the guy who had lost control of his life.  Who was I to judge?
I called Mark (the pastor) that Monday, March 21, 2005, and told him I had to come back because I wanted them to put their hands on me and pray for me that I would receive the Holy Spirit.  He agreed to meet with me and I drove the 100+ miles to their church and I talked to the pastor and the two young men about all my sins and troubles.  I wanted to be free of them and I believed that if God sent me his spirit, I could be made free...maybe
They put their hands on me and prayed, after a couple of minutes I thought to myself.  "You are going to stand here all day, like an idiot, and nothing is going to happen,"  Then I thought to myself, "Come on, Paul, You have to have a little faith,"  I sighed deeply and whispered, "Lord Jesus, grant me my heart's desire."  At that point my hands began to feel like they were vibrating at a very high frequency, this was a very strong feeling, I remember looking at my hands and saying "what is happening to my hands?"  (or something like that) It was just my hands, not my forearms or anything.  The same feeling then went to my ears and my feet, and then finally to my lips.  When I tried to talk it wouldn't come out straight, my lips were literally jumping around on my face, this was an extremely peculiar experience which has never occurred to me again.  So yes, I talked with "tongues" if you want to call it that, it didn't make any sense to me.  I know there are other possible explanations, but the one that makes sense to me is the one I believe and follow.  I'm the only own who really needs to be convinced here.
I have written more about that experience, and I'm trying to get to your questions.  The bottom line is that this experience changed my life, I never drank or used drugs again,  many things about me changed, I did not become perfect in every way, but I received enough of a down payment on righteousness and knowledge to turn my wavering faith into a rock solid certainty.
My understanding of the scripture underwent a transformation.  I reread my bible and suddenly it was open to me.  Everything made sense to me but in a totally different way. 
Does God speak to me?  God has already spoken by his former prophets and Apostles, and now I have heard him. He has spoken by the scripture and I have listened and finally understood. His spirit within me makes me to understand and I follow.  Do I have an open line of communication with God?  No, Not in the sense one would like. 

I would like to say, "Good morning God" and have him reply from heaven, "Hi Paul, how are you today?"  God does not ever talk to me like that.  He is in me and so the communication comes from within. But that does not mean that I  think that my thoughts are his words (well, I have more to say on that a few paragraphs down.).  I trust that he is in me, guiding me, and leading me. And sometimes he speaks to me by thought, but it is very hard for me to know the difference or to accept that as a day-to-day thing.  If he is thinking for me, I just take it on faith without getting all grand about it.
I feel more like an animal guided by an intelligence that I cannot comprehend,  but that forces me to go the way it wants me to go. Like instinct.  If I feel led to do something, I try to do it. Sometimes roadblocks come up, I try to jump them, go around, barrel through.  Sometimes the leading is painful, because I am like a dumb animal banging its head against the wall when I ought to just turn around.   As I write that, I perceive that this must seem like a poor way for God to lead someone.  I guess my view is that if God wanted to do this the easy way, he might have made the world differently, but he chose this way because it pleases him. 
As a prophet, God does not speak to me so much as I speak for him.  A prophet is a mouthpiece for God.   I do not speak to God and hear from God, so much as God knows me, moves me, and I speak for him. He has made himself known to me by his spirit, by revealing his word to me.  God changed me, he did not give me a lecture, it was like he flipped an internal switch and I was changed in a moment.
In some sense, this is a very precarious position, it feels like one.  What if I'm deluding myself?  Then God has suffered me to be deluded and there is no hope for me anyway.   So the only thing that makes sense to me is to be true to what I believe I have received from God.  I'm not so proud as to be more worried about deluding myself... more worried about that, than about being diligent in the things I feel that God is leading me to do.  If I am stubborn, I will have my pride and intellect to thank, and if I let those things rule me and guide me, I might totally miss out on what God has opened to me. 
And the truth is that I can't let those things rule and guide me because it is not in me to be like that anymore.
Let's go over your questions to make sure I have answered them:
Do you really consider yourself a prophet?
Well, a prophet is someone who does the things that a prophet does.  So I am a prophet, because I dare to speak on behalf of God.  Whether or not I am a true prophet, I can't tell you, except to say that like most false prophets, I believe that I am a true prophet.
Do you really get commands direct from GOD?
I suppose you mean actions like, "Paul, go thou to this place and say thus and thus."  Only once like that...
Shortly (weeks) after I received the spirit of God, I was sitting talking to someone up in the sound control area of that church. One of my kids came up and was standing there waiting for me to stop talking, I looked at him and the most powerful thought I ever had came to me in an almost audible voice.  "Put forth now thy hand,  for the boy is about to smash his face on that corner." it was really weird because it came to me all "King James" like that, and I don't usually think like that, to be honest I forgot the exact words, maybe it was just fulfilled expectations, but I put my hand over the sharp corner of the counter as my son stepped forward and tripped, his nose harmlessly hit my hand but with such force that I knew he would have been in a lot of pain if the corner had stuck him in the face there.  I remember the guy next to me said, "Wow" or something, because it was really weird and pretty cool.  The words came to me very strong, very powerful, it seemed external, I never had anything like that happen before or since.  There are of course other explanations, but this is how I see it: I guess maybe God wanted me to know what it would be like when he talked to me, so I wouldn't go off all half cocked, like some people, thinking every thought is God talking to me.  So that is the only time I believe God ever gave me a direct command like that.
Not very impressive, but I got the message.
As in your album you reference what god wants you to do.
This was a more indirect form of communication, which is more usual. God took away my business and foiled all my other plans and I began to feel that he wanted me to finish Revelation.  Since then he has supported me in that in ways that I understood.
It is really hard to nail down, but since the day I had that powerful experience I just trust that God is leading me, and if I need to change course, he will somehow show me.
Do you have an open line of communication with GOD?
Not in the sense I would like to.  I know he hears me.  I wish he would talk to me, but have come to accept that the trick is to walk on the water without Jesus having to hold your hand constantly. (that is my favorite thing I have written to you)
You must believe so from what you say on your site so how does that work for you? 
Its more organic than mechanical.  It is based on trust and audacity.  Belief and boldness. Also, I believe my time as a prophet is not really come yet, I believe I am an end-times prophet, and we are not living in the end times.  That is one of my prophetic messages, that we are not living in the end times, not yet anyway.
How does the communication happen?
I think you may have got the sense of how I hear from God.  It may not be impressive, but It makes an impression on me. 
The role of the prophet is to be that line of communication.  People ask me questions and I give them God's answers.  I don't do psychic readings or any stuff like that.  I talk about things that are important to God, I can advise people based on my experience and wisdom, but I would not call that prophecy (as some do).
I have told you the truth about how I hear from God, and you can see it is not much, not impressive, but what is hard to tell is the degree to which I can truly tell people what God has to say on a particular subject.   Right now, proving my status as a true prophet is not important to God, or me,  but I do want people to understand what I mean by that claim.
Have you physically ever seen GOD or his spirit when you are being told what to do in life? 
Not at all. Never seen him. Except in the face of Christ on the shroud of Turin.
Just a couple questions I have from reading your site. 
I hope I've done a decent job explaining, If you have any further questions please ask because I would like to answer them.  These are good questions, not simple to answer.  Part of me wants to anticipate other questions you or others might have but I have to resist right now because of this album. 
For ten years I prayed and got nothing except more doubt, but one hour of one day can change a lot, and even that fades over time, but I'm different, and I want to live forever, I believe Jesus did rise from death and that it is possible for me to rise from death as well, there is nothing in life worth pursuing more than that. 
Paul Stringini