Category Archives: Prophecy

The Others

The Facebook ‘Others’ Folder… how I hate thee…

Because of what I do, I get a lot of emails / texts / FB messages etc each day.  I don’t always get to them straight away, but I always make a concerted attempt to reply to all the messages that come in.  Especially if people are in need.

But for some reason I always forget about the FB Messenger ‘Others’ folder.  The one time every few years that I remember it’s there, I end up scrolling back through the lists of people who tried to contact me, and now probably think I hate them because I never replied.  All because Facebook in it’s infinite wisdom decided what was ‘important’ and what wasn’t.  Thanks Facebook….

Now, I’m a preacher, so nearly everything that happens to me can be turned into a preaching story in some way.  This is no exception.  So here is the sermon illustration…

I’m convinced that God is speaking to all of us regularly.  There are ways that we expect Him to speak to us – perhaps because that’s how He’s spoken in the past – so we’re ‘Friends’ with those ways, and any post shows up on the regular ‘newsfeed’ of our heart and mind.

However, God also speaks to us through ways that we’re not used to.  Ways that we’re not ‘friends’ with yet.  Maybe we’re looking for a word from a prophet, but God is giving us a dream at night, or a gentle encouragement from a family member.  Sometimes there’s important and powerful messages He wants to get through to us – but they end up in our heart’s version of the ‘Others’ folder.

By all means, keep checking your newsfeed, but don’t forget to check the ‘Others’ folder too.  God will use many ways to communicate to you – and you want to be open to all of them!

[Sermon End] 🙂

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The Key To Becoming Prophetic

“Then the LORD said, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do?”  – Genesis 18:17

 

There was nothing seemingly special about Abraham.  His claim to fame was that he simply believed God.  When God spoke, Abraham listened and obeyed.

This simple obedience proved to be the key for Abraham increasing in his ability to know what God was going to do next.  A person with faith is a God-magnet, and so supernatural activities began to occur around Abraham’s life.

But the key is a very simple one – have faith in, and obey what God has already shown you.  Many people want to grow in prophetic power to know what God is saying about the future, or to have supernatural experiences with Him.  But God won’t necessarily bring greater words to those who haven’t listened or responded to his smaller words.

Training in the prophetic starts with obeying the small promptings of the Holy Spirit.  To believe God for something impossible, to turn away from a particular sin, to share a seemingly insignificant word with someone.  Abraham had become so good at believing God, so reliable at walking out what God wanted… that God said to Himself… “can I really hide from Abraham what I’m going to do next?”.

As we learn to be faithful with the little things… this same question will grow in God’s heart towards us too.

The Call Of A Prophet

In 1 Kings 13 there’s this strange little story about a prophet who goes to Bethel to speak against the altar that Jeroboam had set up there.  On the surface it seems like a bit of a weird account – but there’s some insights in it as to how we follow the call of God, and how we treat those who have made mistakes in their ministry.

1 Kings 13:1-32 (NIV)
1 By the word of the LORD a man of God came from Judah to Bethel, as Jeroboam was standing by the altar to make an offering.
2 He cried out against the altar by the word of the LORD: “O altar, altar! This is what the LORD says: ‘A son named Josiah will be born to the house of David. On you he will sacrifice the priests of the high places who now make offerings here, and human bones will be burned on you.'”
3 That same day the man of God gave a sign: “This is the sign the LORD has declared: The altar will be split apart and the ashes on it will be poured out.”
4 When King Jeroboam heard what the man of God cried out against the altar at Bethel, he stretched out his hand from the altar and said, “Seize him!” But the hand he stretched out toward the man shriveled up, so that he could not pull it back.
5 Also, the altar was split apart and its ashes poured out according to the sign given by the man of God by the word of the LORD.
6 Then the king said to the man of God, “Intercede with the LORD your God and pray for me that my hand may be restored.” So the man of God interceded with the LORD, and the king’s hand was restored and became as it was before.

There is no doubt this man is a prophet – he has spoken out against the idols and altars that Jeroboam has set up, and his word immediately comes to pass.  This would have been a very clear sign to the king that God wasn’t into what he was doing.

7 The king said to the man of God, “Come home with me and have something to eat, and I will give you a gift.”
8 But the man of God answered the king, “Even if you were to give me half your possessions, I would not go with you, nor would I eat bread or drink water here.
9 For I was commanded by the word of the LORD: ‘You must not eat bread or drink water or return by the way you came.'”
10 So he took another road and did not return by the way he had come to Bethel.

This prophet not only had a message from God, but he had a METHOD that God had given Him concerning that message.  He was not to eat or drink in the land, and he was to return by a different route.  When it comes to us walking in our ministries – it’s not just our message that’s important, but it’s also those things that we feel like God has told us to do or not to do as we bring that message.  There are things that God drops into our hearts and consciences – and these things are of vital importance as we will see.

11 Now there was a certain old prophet living in Bethel, whose sons came and told him all that the man of God had done there that day. They also told their father what he had said to the king.
12 Their father asked them, “Which way did he go?” And his sons showed him which road the man of God from Judah had taken.
13 So he said to his sons, “Saddle the donkey for me.” And when they had saddled the donkey for him, he mounted it
14 and rode after the man of God. He found him sitting under an oak tree and asked, “Are you the man of God who came from Judah?” “I am,” he replied.
15 So the prophet said to him, “Come home with me and eat.”
16 The man of God said, “I cannot turn back and go with you, nor can I eat bread or drink water with you in this place.
17 I have been told by the word of the LORD: ‘You must not eat bread or drink water there or return by the way you came.'”
18 The old prophet answered, “I too am a prophet, as you are. And an angel said to me by the word of the LORD: ‘Bring him back with you to your house so that he may eat bread and drink water.'” (But he was lying to him.)

19 So the man of God returned with him and ate and drank in his house.

So the prophet  again tells this other prophet about his call.  But this is interesting – the old prophet says an angel has told me something different.  And based on this he manages to turn the young prophet away from his call.  The key here is that the word from a visible angel should never be greater than the word of our invisible God.  Paul said to the Galatians to hold fast to what they had originally received from God ‘even if an angel should bring you a message that is different to what we have brought you’.  In God’s word alone is the protection for us as we walk out the ministry he has called us to.

So the young prophet goes home with the old prophet, and eats and drinks – and then the old prophet declares that the young prophet will be judged from turning away from God’s word.  I think it’s important at this point to move around questions such as ‘would God really send a prophet to try to take down another prophet?’ – and look at what happens next.

24 As he went on his way, a lion met him on the road and killed him, and his body was thrown down on the road, with both the donkey and the lion standing beside it.

The young prophet ends up being killed by a lion – but the lion doesn’t eat his body, nor does it attack the donkey with him.  It simply stands next to the body, which is highly unusual for a lion.  It’s a sign to everyone around that something is happening here which is from the hand of God.

The point which I want to make out of this part is that if the young prophet had ignored the lying voice of the old prophet, and stayed true to what God had originally sent him to do – he wouldn’t have been killed by the lion.  In the same way there are those who are called by God into particular ministries, and this needs to be a sharp reminder to us all that we have to take God’s METHODS that He’s given us seriously.  They may just save our lives and ministries!

26 When the prophet who had brought him back from his journey heard of it, he said, “It is the man of God who defied the word of the LORD. The LORD has given him over to the lion, which has mauled him and killed him, as the word of the LORD had warned him.”
27 The prophet said to his sons, “Saddle the donkey for me,” and they did so.
28 Then he went out and found the body thrown down on the road, with the donkey and the lion standing beside it. The lion had neither eaten the body nor mauled the donkey.
29 So the prophet picked up the body of the man of God, laid it on the donkey, and brought it back to his own city to mourn for him and bury him.
30 Then he laid the body in his own tomb, and they mourned over him and said, “Oh, my brother!”
31 After burying him, he said to his sons, “When I die, bury me in the grave where the man of God is buried; lay my bones beside his bones.
32 For the message he declared by the word of the LORD against the altar in Bethel and against all the shrines on the high places in the towns of Samaria will certainly come true.”

This final part of the story gives us some insights on how to deal with those who have ‘fallen’ in ministry.  I’ve been aware over the years of people burning the books and resources of those who have made mistakes in their ministry with God – as if because of one mistake they’d made, suddenly all the good things they’d done were tainted.

But the old prophet HONOURS the young prophet.  He says that his words will certainly come to pass.  He asks for his body to be buried with him.  In the same way, there will be times that there are messengers from God who bring a prophesy or a revelation back to the body of Christ – and then make a major mistake that costs them their ministry.  While we don’t condone the sin that has taken place – it’s also important that we remember and honour what God did through them when they DID obey what He was calling them to.

Breaking Open Historic Wells

From there they continued on to Beer, the well where the LORD said to Moses, “Gather the people together and I will give them water.”  Then Israel sang this song: “Spring up, O well! Sing about it, about the well that the princes dug, that the nobles of the people sank– the nobles with scepters and staffs.” – Numbers 21:16-18 (NIV)

In their journey towards the Promised Land, the Israelites came to a place where God promised to give them water.  It was called ‘Beer’ (which in Hebrew means ‘water’) – but interestingly it doesn’t seem like there’s any water there – as God has to specifically tell Moses that He will give water to the people.  So the people sing, and the princes and nobles dig, and the water flows. 

Leadership Principles

There’s some keys in this passage for those who are leaders – as every leader in some way is a shepherd, with the responsibility of both feeding the sheep and leading them to water.  We feed them with the Word of God, but in order to water them, we must bring them into places where they encounter His power and presence.  Churches and leaders need both the Word and the Spirit working simultaneously in order for the ‘sheep’ to be healthy.  So how do we get a ‘well’ going for our people when it seems like it’s all dry?

Key 1 – Find An Historic Well

The Israelites came to a place called Beer, called water.  There may not have been any water there when they arrived, but there must have been water there at some point in the past for it to have received the name it did.  God has ordained a whole lot of different ‘wells’ for His people to drink from, but many of them have been stopped up or stopped flowing over the years.  But the water is still there, under the ground – ready to be tapped.  Some of these wells include salvation, healing, revival, worship.  When these wells get tapped then power begins to flow and the people of God get refreshed. 

Key 2 – Gather The People Together

The power of unity is well documented in the Word of God – and is an essential key if we’re going to get a well going.  The people must be gathered together, and given a common focus and plan.  Without a united group people – no well will be opened.  But when the people are together – then God’s blessing quickly comes upon the work.  We unite the people by showing them why they need the well – and what has happened historically when that well has been opened.

Key 3 – Sing To It

Worship has supernatural power to unblock wells.  One of the best ways that we can start to unblock a particular well is by choosing songs that we sing together about that well.  For example, if we want to see a healing well unblocked – then it’s important that we’re corporately singing songs about God’s healing power.  The worship not only ‘speaks’ to the situation with words of power, but worship also carries God’s transforming power to change the hearts and minds of those who worship.  Worship gets into the hearts and minds of the people.  Whatever we sing to will spring up in our midst! 

Key 4 – Get The Leaders And Nobles Digging

The final key is to get those who have visible leadership – the ‘leaders’ and ‘nobles’ – to get them ‘digging’ alongside you.  Get them committed to prayer & fasting, and to speaking and encouraging the others.  Get them investing in it. 

In Conclusion

When Israel rocked up to Beer, there was no water there.  But they left behind them a flowing well.  God is calling us to be people like that too – who come into situations where there is no life, and not only get life flowing in our time, but leave behind us a legacy for those who will follow as well. 

Hope For End Times

Joel 3:16 – Yahweh will roar from Zion, and thunder from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth will shake; but Yahweh will be a refuge to his people, and a stronghold to the children of Israel.

There are days coming on this earth before the return of Christ that will be tumultuous and difficult.  This verse gives us great encouragement in the midst of this. 

The Lord will roar and thunder from Jerusalem – his power and vengeance will be displayed on the earth.  As well as this, the heavens and earth themselves will shake.  There will be signs in the heavens and upon the earth – famine, pestilence, wars, bloodshed. 

YET – in the midst of it God will be a refuge to His people.  Just as the nation of Israel was divinely protected during the days of Moses and the plagues on Israel – we also will find divine protection as we shelter in Him and remain faithful to that which He has called us to. 

A Great Attitude!

Philippians 4:18 – But I have all things, and abound. I am filled, having received from Epaphroditus the things that came from you, a sweet-smelling fragrance, an acceptable and well-pleasing sacrifice to God.

This is a powerful statement from Paul.  He could have been looking at all the negative things going on around his life – stonings, beatings, rejection, hardship. 

But instead, he follows his own advice and keeps his mind on that which is pure, noble & worthy of thought (Philippians 4:8). 

However we think in our heart affects how we live our lives!  Be POSITIVE!