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.

The Big Day Is Coming – I Will Lead You!

The Big Day

The big day is coming! I hear a gentle voice whisper, “I will lead you.”

It probably didn’t take you long to guess? My big day is the arrival ofOlivia & Me! If you were here you would see me vacillating between dancing around the room and chewing on fingernails.

I must admit the present excitement has not always been my attitude. Writing a book can be quite a journey!

I will lead the blind by ways they have not known,
along unfamiliar paths I will guide them;
I will turn the darkness into light before them and
make the rough places smooth.
These are the things I will do;
I will not forsake them.”
Isaiah 42:16

This has been one of my guiding verses through the processes of writing, illustrating, publishing and now marketing. Count them! Five times God says “I will!” I am the blind; He is the “I will”.

I Will Lead You

Unfamiliar Paths

Talk about “unfamiliar paths”; every one of these processes has been a new and fearful element of a journey I never asked to take and never anticipated going.

Mine, it turns out, is an adventure of joy!  This pathway exposed

exposed deep insecurities,
revealed hidden fears,
broke my heart on many occasions,
changed the entire course of my life
and has been a refiners fire of cleansing and healing
that I didn’t even know I needed.

Giving Birth

Five times in the natural I experienced both the pain and the joy of giving birth. (Hum! Five “I will”s and five births!)

“A woman giving birth to a child has pain
because her time has come;
but when her baby is born
she forgets the anguish because of her joy
that a child is born into the world.”
John 16:21

Birthing brings unavoidable pain; a pain that seems impossibly more than one can endure. It is the temporary transition to joy. Joy is the treasure of holding what has been carried, nurtured and laboured for.

Joy

God is Into Birthing

Just in case you male readers are getting a little squeamish with all this feminine birthing stuff, relax, God is into birthing! He is birthing forth amazing things in the lives of His children, both corporate and individual.

I see new gifting springing up in the lives of the younger people I mentor and meet. Like ‘Olivia & Me‘ it has been surprising and sometimes scary for them as well.

God has many spiritual gifts for us. These may show up immediately, be connected with natural abilities, or they may “suddenly” be  birthed in us for the good of others. Ephesians 4:12 reads,

“…to equip his people for works of service,
so that the body of Christ may be built up…”

Spiritual Gifts

“I Will Lead You” Jesus Says

We cannot be “big headed” about a gift! A gift is received unmerited! The Giver does ask that we develop  and use those gifts wisely for the encouragement and benefit of others.

Like any true gift, it is ours! If we choose to misuse or neglect it, it is still ours! However, there will be an accounting before the Giver of how we used them. (Luke 19)

Admittedly it can be scary stepping into places you have never been before. Remember God is always the I WILL… He is the “I WILL never leave you nor forsake you”.

He says, “I WILL be
down on the ground beside you while you crawl
the hand lifting you up along the precipice
the ONE at the finish line cheering the loudest
the gentle arm of encouragement
the whatever you need in the moment
…I WILL

You aren’t alone! The I WILL is with you every step of the way. I have experienced Him in new dimensions and on multiple occasions in my painful birthing processes – ways I would never have known Him before.

With a quiet joy I both look back and ahead, confident not in me, but in the “I WILL” who is with this blind child…..always leading…always holding…

Your Promise

Thank you Lord that every promise
You give is an assurance of your presence
with us and for us.
Thank you that we NEVER walk alone!
I am grateful for both the
pains and joys of living,
as well as all you teach me along the way.

__________

Further Reading:

Nothing is Impossible – With God Your Problem is God’s Opportunity!

Olivia & Me – Helping Children Live Emotionally Healthy Through Tragedy