3 Significant ways to increase your prophetic ‘stuff’.

It is intimidating when you look into the life story of Samuel, Elijah and Elisha and see these men – mere men, hearing, seeing, discerning the very words of God, in a way that is beyond us in this day and age. Seemingly.

They hear God, knew his voice, followed his leading, direction, guidance. Simply put, they knew God.

A quest to hear God

A significant amount of  people today are on a quest to hear God and to be increasingly more accurate in their pronouncements of all that God is saying and doing. I personally wonder about the dynamics of what we see going on around us – especially when people are busy trying to connect with  the dynamics of prophetic ministry rather than following how God is already leading. It’s almost like looking to ‘become’ something rather than following what already is.  We don’t have to go far to find three very simple ways that will bring a fresh, invigorating sense of ‘increase’ into the mix of what we do in regards to ‘prophetic stuff’

What is God showing you?

The first of these is rudimentary, but the one that many struggle with most – be honest about what God is showing you. You have nothing to prove. If God has shown you little, it is all we need. Nothing more, nothing less. There is no need to add extra words to affirm what God may be saying or doing. My friend Paul Cain, is well known as one of the most prolific prophetic ministries of these days and the significant thing for his personal ministry in the prophetic has been to carefully share only what God has bought to mind. It is not for us to make sense of what God has revealed or indicated through angelic intervention, visions or dreams. We simply do not know. When God reveals His intention or intervention it is fro Him to interpret or explain. Prophets are just the messengers!

Relentless Pursuit of God

Being honest about what God is revealing is one thing, the second factor is the determined, and Spirit-led proclivity to be one who is on a relentless pursuit of the Presence of God.

Authentic prophets are those who are seeking God, in pursuit of God not for things next Sunday but  for  months away, years away from today. They are committed to God for the long, long haul. It is a unique calling. Sometimes they have nothing to say, because God has not said anything.  Unlike many modern prophets who always have a ‘now’ word from God, they sit on silence with relish – when God is saying nothing, that itself is a remarkable message!

Prophets see and encounter angels. They see, hear, dream, see visions feel, discern and know – really know, what God is saying, doing, showing, revealing – but it is not their secret to reveal. Nothing will be said until God determines that the time has arrived. So, there it is,  Speak only, but only about what God is revealing to you, what He is allowing and telling you to show.

A radical pursuit of God

Finally, something that has nothing to do with the level of gifting, calling, anointing, unction that you feel God has placed on you or want to tell others God has placed for on youi is the call to spend much of your life in secret, alone with God. Such a call comes with an accompanying call that few are prepared to comply with, without bragging about, or let slip in conversation. It’s a call accompanied by silence.

These three things are weighted 2-1 in favour of seeking god. If you are wanting God to reveal Himself, His purposes, His plans and intent, it is weighted in a bias of you seeking, and seeking, and seeking and seeking God.

Nothing, but nothing removes the audacious wonder and value of intimacy with the Living, resurrected Christ.

You will never know a genuine  increase of your ‘prophetic stuff’ until you throw embracing arms around deep, scripture-honouring, Christ-exalting, God-honouring  truth of truths’; the resurrection of the living Christ.

Forget the nonsense of this day and age; press in to know Christ, and the power of His resurrection, and be both willing and prepared, to spend much time in intimacy and friendship with God. After all, God does nothing without revealing it to His servants the prophets…

  1. after all, in Christian circles, such stories, books, videos, dvd’s or even mp3’s sell – and sell really well!  (back)

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The story never ends here.

It doesn’t matter what you have seen, heard, touched, tasted, felt or encountered in the most dynamic lifetime, it doesn’t end here. This is not the final chapter of the story.

There is so much more, so much, much more to come.

What has happened so far in a mere handful of thousands of years of history is but a vapour in the light of eternity, and there is more, so much more to come.

If we are going to face the future with any sense of integrity, courage or hope, we have to do so with a conviction about God. It’s a multi-layered conviction, and if any of them does not hold up under scrutiny, if they are not true – then everything else we hold precious and as a treasure crumbles like dust in our hands…

God is Omnipresent – Omniscient – Omnipotent – Immortal

Four magnificent, incommunicable attributes of God make Him indisputably distinct, unique and separate from us. These are part of the very reason God is very God, and they unambiguously reveal the absolute fallibility, weakness and smallness of man. That itself creates the unsurpassable joy that comes from King David’s perceptive question, “what is man that you are mindful of him?” There is no answer to that everlasting question. Love, the love of God, demonstrated in the life, obedience, death and resurrection of Christ speaks volumes that will take eternity to read, let alone understand.

God perfectly and eternally knows all things which can be known, past, present, and future.

God never discovers something new.

He knows all things without exception, all of the time. The discovery made by the greatest physicist in 12 years time? God already knows it. It’s not new to Him, He’s always known it. He is never surprised, never amazed. He never wonders about anything, nor does he seek information or ask questions (except when drawing men out for their own good). God can make the best decisions because he has all the facts. He knows all the possible outcomes, and all the possible effects. God knows how everything fits together. God perfectly and eternally knows all things which can be known, past, present, and future.

God is never taken by surprise. Ever.

What then about you? Your actions will surprise yourself, your mother, your loved one – but never God. Ever.

So the story never ends here. You are at this point, this place, this moment because God…

Because God knew about it before you were born.

The story, the wonderful story of God’s extravagant, overwhelming, loving-kindness and grace… never ends here.

Put your trust in Christ Jesus. Forever. Whole-heartedly. Without reservation.

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    The best advice about prophecy

    In recent years there has been a massive surge of interest in both the gift and role of prophecy in the local church. More recently a dialogue has begun about a wider emphasis of the role of prophecy outside of the local church – in the workplace. Such conversations are healthy, helpful and encouraging but the best advice about prophecy is found in the bible itself.

    An amazing gift

    The apostle Paul goes to great lengths to bring direction and guidelines to the young church in Corinth. It’s a church that is not struggling to see evidences of the work of the Spirit being openly manifest in their corporate gatherings, but rather a congregation  in danger of suffering the negative downside of abuse. Paul’s wisdom as he speaks into the life of the church as an apostle is more than just advice – he knows that he has the mind of Christ and the authority to bring order and direction.

    Paul explains what the gifts of the Spirit do – the encouragement, edification and exhortation; the gifts of the Spirit are clearly essential for the building of the Church. They are significant, and necessary. So much so that he makes an impassioned bold plea to the Church,  “Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy.”

    Especially that you may prophesy – 1 Cor 14:14

    It is very clear from Paul’s writings what the benefit of prophecy is. So much so, that it makes no sense to ever consider the gifts of the Spirit to have ceased, especially when the need is so great! The one who prophesies speaks to people for their up-building and encouragement and consolation, prophecy builds up the church.

    For everyone – including you!

    Paul then ventures further in his passion to see the Church built and strengthened by making a plea to not just the leaders, but to all of the church regardless of their age, gender or role either in or outside of the Church, ” I want you all to speak in tongues, but even more to prophesy.”

    I want you all to speak in tongues, but even more to prophesy.

    Since you are eager for manifestations of the Spirit, strive to excel in building up the church – nothing does it better than prophecy.

    Simply, quoting 1 Cor 14, if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or outsider enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all, the secrets of his heart are disclosed, and so, falling on his face, he will worship God and declare that God is really among you. That’s what you want to see, isn’t it?

    So, my brothers, earnestly desire to prophesy

    Paul really is pressing the point. Prophecy is good for the church because it brings such massive encouragement. And we need as much encouragement as we can get.

    It’s worth really pursuing.

    Prophecy is not about saying whatever comes to mind though. When Paul talks about earnestly, eagerly or coveting the gift of prophecy he is talking about a pursuit of the One who gives the gifts.  Longing for the gift of prophecy starts with praying for it, fasting, reading about it, asking questions about it, discussing it, getting enthused for it. It’s not a complacent approach where revelation is just ‘thrust upon us’ and we nonchalantly just declare it. No, it’s precious, and worth pursuing.

    Paul in Romans 12:6 brings one last encouragement to us about the gift, if you have it, then use it in proportion to your faith. Don’t start prophesying the end of the world! Stick to what God is showing you, not your imagination. If God has shown you something then say so! Let’s encourage each other to be honest about our communication of  what God has really said.

    I wish that all the Lord’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put his Spirit on them!

    All inclusive

    In closing, Moses encounters the same thing (Numbers 11) where God comes on the seventy leaders of Israel, and also on two others who were outside of the camp. They all prophesy. The people wonder about this, but Moses’ encouragement echoes down the centuries to us, “I wish that all the Lord’s people were prophets and that the Lord would put his Spirit on them!”  Have a think about Joel 2.

    So what’s the best advice about prophecy? Desire it, long for it, crave it, make way for it – and never despise it.

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      Elijah’s greatest revelation.

      Elijah appears suddenly on the pages of scripture and history with no introduction. His ministry was nothing short of phenomenal and faith-inspiring, and despite the insistence of James that Elijah was, ‘a man just like us’, (James 5:17) you are left wondering what it would have been like if both he and his successor, Elisha, had continued in a long ministry together, side by side.  All we know as the epic drama of Elijah’s ministry unfolds, is the thing that separates him from all of the other men sharing the name during this day – he is ‘Elijah the Tishbite’.

      We’re aware of the astonishing stories, the miracles, the dilemmas, the fear and anguish that accompanies his life, including the rather odd and itchy choice of clothes. Elijah was a man just like us, true, but he was a man with a ferocious love, trust, faith and ambition for the person and purposes of the majestic, holy and unique God that he served. Therein lies a stirring and profound challenge that throws down a gauntlet in this present day with all its challenges, terrors and fears. It’s a confrontation to the saints who even in this day and age. despise the choices of other saints in the democracy that we so value, because of their own fears and haunting concerns of heart and ultimately, their lack of trust in God who alone, reigns supreme over time and history. It’s also the balm that repairs the heart, vision, dreams and aspirations of all the church.

      Many years ago, J.B.Phillips published his book, “Your God is too small” where he asserts that too many of us, are crippled by a limited idea of God. Resident Policeman, Pale Galilean, and Perennial Grievance are some of the stereotypes he demolishes before suggesting ways we can discover the real God of the Bible for ourselves.  It emerged from a growing conviction that “if it is true that there is Someone in charge of the whole mystery of life and death, we can hardly escape a sense of futility and frustration until we begin to see what He is like and what His purposes are.” Phillips doesn’t have to look far to see in Elijah a startling revelation that we need to visit afresh in our day and age.

      Elijah’s encounter with King Ahab and the big showdown with the false prophets is one worth reading and meditating on (1 Kings 18:16-45). It’s worth reading because you need to see the revelation that Elijah not only already has, but wants to communicate to a onlooking generation that purports to have its vision and values initiated and directed by God alone. Elijah raises the bar on the onlookers, determining that if there is a God in Israel, then He, and He alone is the one that will answer by fire.

      Jump back in history and we hear Moses encouraging the people with God’s word, that there is no other God – not a single one except YHWH. He is the only One. Not only that, but God’s wise and learned command is that Israel would have no other God but Him. Any other god was one of their own making. Man made gods,  mere idols – impotent, powerless, pathetic, weak and tied to a single location – and always made out of wood or stone. Gods other than YHWH were created out of the immense stupidity and foolishness of mankind, and more than that, they were and are pretend gods, created by the imagination of sinful mankind in rebellion to the real God.

      And that is where Elijah’s great revelation comes in. The god who answers by fire is the real God. Elijah taunts the many false prophets that if their creation, borne out of their depraved  imagination was a real god then surely he would hear them! (1 Kings 18:27) They are unaware that in the process of declaring other gods which they have created, that they are in fact declaring themselves to be god.

      The revelation that Elijah has is an important one for you because of what lies ahead in the coming days. You are going to have to make important choices. Elijah’s revelation to you is not that this YHWH is one god among many, but that there can only be one God, and He is it. He is the God.

      We’ve lost sight of the majesty and supremacy of God in these days. It is not that He is supremely more (here come the big words – look them up!) omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent and immutable than we are. He is different, unique. He is not the same as humans.  He is the creator. He’s infinitely more powerful on a scale that is beyond our comprehension to a level that means with Him, nothing is impossible. That makes Him the God that makes a difference, who alone, without any assistance form any created being, is able to initiate and effect total and utter breakthrough in the most difficult circumstance that life on this planet can possibly bring.

      He’s not as small as we have at times unwittingly made Him appear both by our words or actions. We have forgotten how awesome He is. The fallen angel created by him with a mere word (called satan) is no match to His immeasurable wisdom, genius and knowledge. When life is falling to pieces it is the God (remember, there are no other real gods, only the pretend-ones we make) who can help us, restore us, redeem us and transform us. He is our great hope – and we know Him in Jesus.

      Elijah got it right. the God who answers by fire, He is God. He’s the only God we have. The only God that can make a difference, because there is no other god.   Now you need to take a long look at Jesus and start to connect the dots together because a storm is gathering across every nation. Get your heart ready.  Who are you going to turn to in your moment of need, of crisis, of despair or when you need a friend? Jesus is that One. He is the God that all mankind needs to turn to – never failing, for ever faithful and utterly trustworthy. He is not just as good as His Word, He is His word. He is what He says He is.

      The God? It’s a strange turn of phrase, but it is true – but it also takes away some of our ‘chumminess’ and adds distance and weightiness to Him. He’s not our buddy, our pappa or our secret helper. He is the God who needs nothing, is entirely sufficient in Himself, lacking in nothing, never-changing, never becoming more awesome or increasing by one millionth of a micron in gloriousness. He is infallible, unsearchable, indescribably holy and perfect.

      Having read that and beginning to feel very small, remember also, mystery of mysteries, that He says He will never leave you or forsake you, and that He has a plan for your life – and more mind numbing, includes you in His inheritance – having removed your sins as far as the east is from the west and having removed all of your sin, shame and guilt!

      Elijah saw the sheer magnificence of the revelation that had already gripped his Tishbite heart, nothing and no one compares with the God.

      He is awesome.

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        Being formed and shaped by God

        Being formed and shaped by God

        What is God doing in your life right now? The answer to that question may not be easy to express. So much of what God is doing is hidden from our eyes and our understanding, the full implications of how God works in the ocean-deep depths of His providence and sovereignty leave us speechless in awe and wonder.

        The way that God expresses His altogether infinite omniscience, omnipresence and omnipotence can more often than not, be incomprehensible to our finite minds, but we know from what God has chosen to reveal about Himself, that He has not set us on our way in life devoid of His help, care, love, affection and intervention.

        We’re being formed and shaped by God.

        Jeremiah’s prophecy (Jeremiah 18:1-12) is a clear message of God’s hand on the life of Israel, but in his dealings with them as a nation we see the signature of God in what He is doing in our own lives. He’s forming us and shaping us with great intention – we are after all, called to be light to culture and society, sharing the good news of the gospel with all, even if they will not hear it.

        What we are being formed into is clear in Galatians 4:19 when Paul urges the Galatians to press in to God, “My little children, for whom I am again in the anguish of childbirth until Christ is formed in you!” It is not about us being helped to find our greatest potential. That fullness can only ever be discovered by finding our place in Christ, and having Christ formed in us.

        The idea of potential is always about a focus on us; our abilities, creativity, words and deeds. The fact is, all of humanity have, given the time and resources, the same potential. If everything we have comes from the hand of God, then our fullest potential truly does lie in the hands of what God is forming us and shaping us to be.

        So what is our highest, most glorious potential?

        Being a world-class pianist, surgeon, economist, linguist?  The answer is simple, but before we get to that we need to encourage our hearts with the gospel; Read these through slowly – don’t skip over them…

        • “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28)
        • My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Cor 12:9)
        • You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.(John 15:16)
        • But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.(1 Peter 2:9)
        • 29 For those whom he foreknew (you) he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. 30 And those whom he predestined (you) he also called, and those whom he called (you) he also justified, and those whom he justified (you) he also glorified (you) . (Romans 8:29-30) Awesome!

        Our highest potential is to serve God, live our lives for Him in faith, love and obedience, but more than anything – to draw near to Him in intimacy, friendship and deep, trust. God is forming you and shaping you so that He can spend eternity with you, enjoying your presence and for you to be enjoying Him too.

        Q. 1. What is the chief end of man?
        A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.

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          It starts with purity

          It starts with purity

          As a Christian you have a call to a different lifestyle – it’s a lifestyle change that invites immediate accusations of hypocrisy because being what and who you can be is so visible.

          If you say something that, “is not very Christian” before your heart convicts you the ‘helpful’ non-Christian will have quickly drawn your notice to it!  Notice though, that I said that it’s about, ‘who and what you can be’ and not what you should be.

          Transformation

          There is a difference, and it is one that others may not fully understand or appreciate. The Christian life is one of transformation. It is a process. Transition takes time and doesn’t happen all at once. The qualifier for us is that we are in Christ, and it is His righteousness imputed and imparted to us which gives us acceptance with God, not what we have done, or any of our own goodness or virtue.  If it ever becomes about us, what we do, think or say – then it literally becomes about us. We never earn our way into heaven.  It starts with purity of heart, and ends with that too.

          Preserving

          My friends, Stephen and Charlotte are good at home-comfort cookery, including making jam and marmalade. I am told that when it comes to making jam that the secret is to ensure that the jars are kept sterile during the process. This stops the loveliness contained in the jar from being infected and spoiling.

          It’s no different for us. During the Passover the Jews ensure that all leaven is removed from the house and is rigorously sought out, and with much effort and diligence. Just the smallest bit of leaven will affect everything. (Galatians 5:9, 1 Cor 5:7) The message was not so much to give the house a jolly good spring-clean, but to speak volumes to the human heart. We have to watch out for the things that pollute it.

          A default position

          For me that can often prove inconvenient. My default position is not righteousness. I have to remember to ‘put on Christ’, to love God and others, to consider them before myself. I’ll never be perfect in this life, but the bible tells me to be perfect even as Christ is perfect. (Matthew 5:48) What then am I to do in response to that?

          It’s a call to remember who I am in Christ and what He has done for me in giving His life for me, reconciling me to God on His terms, and not my way of doing things. It gives me hope. If God has started something in my life, then it is His prerogative to continue and complete it. (Philippians 1:6)

          Guard your heart

          My part in it, as is yours, is to guard my heart and give myself to a lifestyle of cooperation with him, embracing the change and transformation that draws me ever towards not only what I can, or should be in God, but what I want to be. (Proverbs 4:23)

          It’s worth the work. Stephen and Charlotte know that full well – if they have put the work in preparing the jars then what they put in them will be enjoyed by so many others.

          And the delight that others show when they taste the fruit is well worth it!

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