Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Your Prophetic Voice

Dear Friends,

The Apostle Paul said to “Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.” 1 Cor 14:1 The word prophesy means to “declare forth” and speak to people on behalf of God using the words that God puts in his/her mouth. Of all the gifts, this is the one most often counterfeited because this is the money maker. Not all prophetic ministry is false of course, but this is the one most misused for personal gain. The Holy Spirit gives the gift of prophesy 1 Cor 12:4-11 and there are some authentic, gifted prophets today. But we must always use our sense of discernment to determine if what we are hearing is true or false. Paul says “Do not scoff at prophecies but test everything that is said.” 1 Thess 5:19-21 NLT 

One red flag is when prophecies are being sold. There is a huge prophecy business on-line and on television. Please someone just show me one internet prophecy site where I’m not asked to buy something or click on the “ministry partner” button to give them my credit card. Every internet prophetic ministry site markets prophetic books, DVDs and/or personal prophesies and the bottom line is that money is being exchanged for the manifestation of a gift given by the Holy Spirit. Any time money becomes involved, this is a red flag because the Holy Spirit gives us the spiritual gifts to minister to others - meaning to serve others - not to sell to others. 

A few years ago, one of my employees, who knew I was a pastor, came to see me. His father was in his eighties with some severe deteriorating health conditions. The employee told me about an issue he was having with his father and asked me to pray for him. I knew nothing about the father but I immediately began to speak a prophetic word about something in the father’s past that related to the present issue. This was a word from God and its effect was immediate. The man had been sitting forward and he was thrown back in the chair as if he’d been punched in the chest. God showed him something about his father that he’d never seen before and the man was weeping and thanking me. I told him to thank God, not me. How appropriate would it have been for me to pass him a shiny gold plate at that moment to take up a love offering? What if I’d asked if he’d like to support my ministry with automatic donations from his credit card? Maybe this is just me, but I don’t believe the Holy Spirit gives us spiritual gifts to be used as an enterprise opportunity. I don’t consider myself a “prophet,” but many times I’ve been given prophetic dreams and words for people that have been detailed and accurate. Those have been unexpectedly given to me as the Lord pleases for that person for that moment. But don’t ever ask me for a prophetic word because I cannot conjure up a “word” at will. No one can. 

I cringe when I’ve seen “prophets” give personal prophecy in church and then take up a “love offering.” Prophecy does not work like a vending machine. You can’t put in a dollar and out comes a prophetic word. Every authentic prophetic word is given by the Holy Spirit and there is no way that anyone can conjure up a word from God at will. In fact if we try, we join the ranks of fortunetellers and what the Bible calls soothsayers. Deu 18:10-12 

But I believe in personal prophecy and believe that when we sincerely desire to speak forth God’s word to others, the Holy Spirit will enable us to do so. We may not have the gift of a prophetic ministry, but we can develop a prophetic voice

I’ve known older couples who have been married for so long that they look, act, speak and even smell like each other. They’ve been walking hand in hand for so long through life, that they are not just married to each other, they are joined to each other. They’ve crested the heights in life together and survived the greatest pains and suffering together. They have the same dreams, desires and dislikes. They finish each other’s thoughts and speak each other’s words. They have been living in the presence of their spouse for so many decades that they don’t know where the voice of one leaves off and the voice of the other begins.

Do you want to have a prophetic voice that God can use to speak words of edification, encouragement and comfort to others? 1 Cor 14:3 You need to immerse yourself in the presence of God. You need to start walking hand in hand through life with Him. Like the old married couple intrinsically joined together, you need to live so closely in God’s presence that you don’t know where one leaves off and the other begins. And that’s when God’s thoughts become your thoughts and God’s words become your words. And you are declaring forth God’s words of edification, encouragement and comfort to others. That’s prophecy. Amen?

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