The Voice of Prophecy – Prophets Listening and Speaking Truth

How clearly does the voice of prophecy resound today? Are prophets still listening to God and speaking His prophetic truth in our generation? Has their voice diminished or is it strong? Prophets throughout the ages have been mocked, ridiculed, crucified and burned. Few people, if any, stand in line saying, “Pick me, Lord! Pick me to prophesy!”

Just before Stephen was stoned to death, he asked,

“Was there ever a prophet your ancestors did not persecute? . . .”
Acts 7:52

Of all the spiritual gifts, why does prophecy get such a bad wrap? Undoubtedly, there is a lethargy toward spiritual gifts, an absence of mature mentors and misguided notions of prophecy. All, perhaps, put this beautiful and important gift in dim light.

Gifts of Perfume

Yet, prophecy remains among the gifts God gives to the church.

“There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them . . . To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.”
1 Corinthians 12:4-11

Six times Paul states that the gifts are given by the Spirit “as he determines,” including the voice of prophecy.

Gifts of Love

‘Charisma’ (singular) or ‘charismata’ (plural), commonly translated as gifts, means ‘gift of God’s love.‘ God beautifully lavishes His church with gifts of His love. Another word, ‘phanerosis,’ we also find translated as gift, means manifestation.

Child's ear

For the church to experience God’s love, His gifts must be seen and known. Without the gifts, His love remains hidden, not just from the church, but from the entire world.

For All

The gift of prophecy encourages believers while convicting those who neither know nor acknowledge God.

“. . . prophecy, however, is not for unbelievers but for believers . . . But if an unbeliever or an inquirer comes in while everyone is prophesying, they are convicted . . .”
1 Corinthians 14:22-25

The voice of prophecy bridges the gap between those inside and outside the church. Both declare, “God is really among you!”

“. . . they are convicted of sin and are brought under judgment by all, as the secrets of their hearts are laid bare. So they will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, ‘God is really among you!'”
1 Corinthians 14:24-25

Eyes to See

Honestly, I’ve approached the prophetic praying the secrets of my heart would forever remain hidden. Nonetheless, the unveiling of the heart draws one closer to our loving Father. Whatever God exposes, He redeems!

The Voice of Prophecy

When Jesus, the perfect Prophet, met the woman at the well and told her everything she ever did, worship was her predictable response.

. . . You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”
John 4:17-18

Jesus spoke to her privately, honoring and elevating her to a place of dignity while exposing the real pain and giving her the hope of an intimate relationship with God.

“God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” John 4:24

One prophetic word brought a woman out of a hopeless situation and an entire town into knowing Jesus the Messiah.

True Prophecy

The honest voice of prophecy encourages those who hear and points them not to the prophet but to God. Prophets precisely tune their ears to hear God’s voice and focus their sight to heavenly realms to accurately relay what they hear and see to others.

“But the one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouraging and comfort.”
1 Corinthians 14:3

Although most prophecy adheres to this principle, not all. One doesn’t have to read the Bible long before realizing that the voice of prophecy often brought necessary correction from their loving Father.

Child and Adult

Earthly fathers who refuse to correct when necessary, harm those entrusted to them. Every loving father, including our Heavenly Father, loves enough to speak correction. He invites the listener to strength, courage and comfort.

Covet Prophecy

Paul commands his listeners to covet and zealously pursues prophecy.

“Therefore, my brothers and sisters, be eager to prophesy . . .”
1 Corinthians 14:39

Why such a strong admonishment? Why does he encourage everyone to prophesy?

Microphone

“Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy.”
1 Corinthians 14:1

What is it about the voice of prophecy that brings substantial “strengthening, encouragement and comfort?”

Whenever I have prophesied over others or God has spoken to me through a prophet, the awareness that God knows, sees and loves, even in the midst of personal messiness, inspires greater faith and trust, motivating to godly purpose and calling. Why?

“. . . the one who prophesies edifies the church.”
1 Corinthians 14:4

Testing Prophecy

For this reason, the voice of prophecy must be tested to ensure it agrees with the heart of God and the Word of Scripture, the Bible.

Do not quench the Spirit. Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil.”
1 Thessalonians 5:19-20

The scrutinizing of the voice of prophecy ensures the purity of the word spoken. When God gives His gifts, it is the recipient’s responsibility to exercise and develop those gifts to reach their fullest potential and greatest benefit to His Kingdom.

Positive and Negative Image

The prophet requires a safe and loving atmosphere to hone the prophetic gift. Godly prophetic mentors, solid in the faith and established in the Word guide the maturing process.

We often see groups of prophets hanging out together in the Old Testament. For good reason! Here they developed, became accountable and grew in their gift (2 Kgs 6:1). Elisha followed Elijah, learning and growing in his gift. The disciples followed Jesus, watching and training as prophets.

The Prophetic Office

Testing the voice of prophecy is especially essential in regard to the office of the prophet. Few prophets mature to a recognized place of holding the position, or ministry, of a prophet, which is different than operating in the prophetic gift.

“So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”
Ephesians 4:11-13

Many people today create business cards identifying themselves as apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor or teacher. How God labels a ministry matters far more.

Sound Studio

Though many operate in the gifting found within the five-fold ministry, few hold the true spiritual office of that position. One of the frustrating aspects of any ministry is being pigeon-holed under a title, not God-given — frustrating for the individual and for the people under his or her ministry.

Avoiding man-made labels and maintaining a humble, godly attitude ensures the free-flow of the gifts God gives. He calls each of us to pursue spiritual gifts, test and hone them, then use them for His Kingdom purposes.

Prophets and prophetesses boldly arise! May your senses be open to perceive the currents of heaven releasing the prophetic voice once again for the strengthening, encouraging and comfort” of all.

Wake Up Deborah! Part 1 – Take Your Position

Wake Up! Take your Position!

Deborah was an Old Testament wife, prophet, and judge. Awake to the call of God upon her life, she fulfilled each position with distinction. Deborah’s unmovable stance earned her the name “Mother of Israel. Hear her call, “Wake up! Take your position!”

We can all learn from Deborah’s position of preparation that would secure national victory.

Deborah’s position was neither a title nor a job description. She chose to seat herself under a date palm. Deborah and the palm became synonymous of each other.

Deborah Sat

She would sit under the Palm of Deborah
between Ramah and Bethel”
Judges 4:5

When her nation was busy in the chaotic worship of idols, she sat. With the strong arm of Canaanite oppression destroying her people, she sat. As people came to her, crying in their pain, she sat.

Deborah was neither complacent nor indifferent. She rested in the security of her calling, anointing and gifts. Deborah knew her place and her God.

The Palm of Deborah positoned between self-promotion and self-protection.

She sat between Ramah, meaning “hill or height” and Bethel meaning “house of God.” It would have been easy for her to push toward Ramah for status, promotion and position. She did not! It would have been just as easy for her to escape from the pressures and ugliness of her imposing culture in Bethel, secluded in God’s presence . She would not!

Chose the place between self-promotion and self-protection! Resist the compulsion to do either. Click To Tweet

Deborah chose the place between self-promotion and self-protection. Moving prematurely upward or continuously inward would not only be sinful, but also incapacitating. She resisted the compulsion to either.

Unlike other judges who sat at the city gate, or held circuit court from city to city, Deborah sat among her people. To this remote location, they came. Day after day, morning until evening, she was accessible to all. The Mother of Israel was always on duty!

Double Fruitfulness

Ramah and Bethel were in the hill country of Ephraim. Ephraim means “double fruitfulness.” As we align ourselves with God’s purpose and direction, there will be double fruitfulness.

The palm is beyond a doubt fruitful. It begins producing at 6 to 8 years and bears abundant clusters of fruit until well over a hundred.

Double is actually the smallest dimension of blessing available to us. Though double is good, a hundredfold is possible!

“…truly hear and understand God’s word
and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty or even a hundred times
as much as had been planted.”
Matthew 13:23

Position in double fruitfulness

Deborah knew who she was and what she was called to. Here she stayed unwavering. May we all see clearly God’s plan and position for our lives and be willing to stay in His chosing:

as a homemaker or a doctor,
a bus driver or a trucker,
a teacher or a lawyer,
a janitor or an executive,
a garbage collector or an engineer…

Don’t move from God’s position! Excel where you are. Remain faithful to the task in front of you. Increase comes by staying the course.

Under the Palm

The date palm was rare in Palestine. In majesty, its height reached 60′- 80′ above the plains, as far from earth and as close to heaven as possible. Here it flourished in perpetual greenness.

“Even in old age they will still produce fruit;
they will remain vital and green.”
Psalm 92:14

Syrians credit 360 different uses to the palm. One for every day of the year and more! Under the Palm of Deborah, there was no shortage of wisdom and justice. Beneath the straight and upright palm, Deborah proved herself true to God and compassionate to the needs of others.

As tokens of peace and victory, Solomon had palm fronds carved ornately in God’s temple. As she sat under the palm, Deborah declared peace and victory over her distraught nation.

Growing from Within

The Palm of Deborah beautifully stood in stark contrast to the barren landscape. Similarly, Deborah arose, unhindered amid spiritual drought, oppression, and cultural discrimination.

“The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree.”
Psalm 92:12

The rough bark of a palm forms an almost impenetrable barrier. We all face extreme pressures and hindrances in our development to maturity and fullness in faith. Many Christians succumb to cultural demands to conform and comply. Deborah did not!

The rugged hard bark of a palm tree.

As an endogen, the palm grows from within. What a fitting image of a Christ follower! From the inside out, we are empowered and enabled by Holy Spirit to grow beyond imposed barriers.  Hard outer restrictions yield to the invisible, internal movements of God. Ever expanding outward and triumphantly stretching upward, we grow.

Nothing can hinder God or keep us from our calling. Nothing!

Positioned in righteousness, Deborah flourished like the palm! With ears open to God’s voice, she surrendered to His leading – even when His leading was sit.

Position to Lead

Daily Deborah sat under the palm with it’s truck permanently scarred by fallen leaves – each scar a visual reminder of those who had fallen into idolatry.

A palm trunk scarred by fallen leaves.

“I have no greater joy
than to hear that my children
are walking in the truth.”
3 John 1:4

The greatest sorrow is the opposite. Deborah’s tears mingled with those weeping over the stranglehold of idolatry. My shoulders, too, have been stained with the tears of the broken; my pillow drenched with tears for the fallen.

A Roman coin bears the imprint of a woman weeping beneath a palm. If it was Deborah, we do not know. But while she sat, Deborah interceded for her people, seeking their freedom. Our ministry must never exceed our willingness and ability to pray on behalf of others.

Deborah joined the crescendo of the cries of her people as they

cried out to the LORD for help.”
Judges 4:3

The Word of Victory

God gave the word of victory! My tendency would be to jump up and dance; Deborah did not move. She sent for the military leader, Barak.

“One day she sent for Barak…
“This is what the LORD,
the God of Israel, commands you:
Call out 10,000 warriors from the tribes
of Naphtali and Zebulun…”
Judges 4:6

Out of Naphtali, “haven, habitation”, and Zebulun, “obtained by wrestling (in prayer)” warriors were called out, “Arise!”

Smaller palms flourish at the base of the parent palm.

At the base of the parent palm tree, young palms began to flourish. Deborah’s unmovable position allowed her to spiritually parent people ready and willing to do business with God.

In her place of habitation and prayer, warriors of habitation and prayer were mothered. Deborah’s position of sitting where God chose created strength and stamina in herself and others that would soon be released.

The Palm of Deborah was a perfect symbol of this woman’s internal strength, divine call, anointed leadership, and powerful intercession. Her greatest time of fruitfulness was about to explode, because she positioned herself in humility and excellence like the palm tree under which she sat.

(To be continued next blog….)

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Resources

Further Reading: The Lord is my Helper! “I Will Help You!”

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