Discerning Personal Prophecy (Part 2)

Last time, I said that personal prophecy is a gift from the Lord, but that we should make it a priority to hear from Him firsthand, above and beyond what others speak into our lives. Personal prophecy should be icing on the cake, not the cake in its entirety.

Do we accept everything people speak as a “word from the Lord” to us? If we do, we’re going to end up in a mess. Some of these folks are speaking out of their own thinking, not by the Spirit of the Lord. Most of the time, at least on a local level, they are well-meaning people who sincerely believe they are delivering God’s word. They may be prophesying from a place of insecurity, desiring to be recognized and honored as a prophet, or wanting to please others. If they are, their main motive is seeking the approval of men. They may actually get it right sometimes, and at other times totally miss it. We need to be merciful to them, realizing they might be in the process of maturing in hearing the Lord, and they just aren’t there yet. Labeling them “false prophets” could hinder them from ever growing up into who they are meant to be.

Occasionally, we might encounter a person who is listening to an evil spirit and prophesying out of a place of darkness. This could be because they are participating in occult activity, because of deep spiritual wounds which have left them vulnerable to hearing wrong voices, or it could proceed out of refusal to let go of sin, such as unforgiveness and bitterness.

Even well-known prophets can miss the mark, for various reasons. Physical illness or exhaustion can affect how well they are tuned in to the Lord. Spiritual warfare being exercised against them can cause them to have difficulty in hearing God clearly in that moment. They may feel immense pressure to perform, and if nothing is coming, they might step out “in faith” and begin prophesying in the flesh, believing that God will then take over as they speak. In some prophetic circles, there is teaching that the prophet can step into prophecy at will and decree into existence whatever he deems necessary or right. I think that is a dangerous place to operate from, but it takes more integrity than some possess to admit that they don’t have anything from the Lord, or that they are unsure of what they are receiving.

In any case, it is our responsibility to discern any word given to us. 1 Thessalonians 5:20, 21 (ESV) tells us, “Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast that which is good.” 

1 John 4:1 exhorts, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God ….” Although John was speaking specifically of false teachers or prophets who were presenting the heresy of Gnosticism, I think we can see that the concept of testing or trying what is said, to measure whether it lines up with God and His Word, is also valuable in discerning personal prophecy.

Whether a personal prophecy is in accordance with the Bible is the first question we should ask in discerning it. If it does not line up there, there is no need to even ask into it any further. But there are other questions we can apply in the proving process, and we will talk about them in our next two posts.

Previous: Discerning Personal Prophecy (Part 1)

Free Book — 2 Days Only!

HSPrayerKids400

I am pleased to announce that I have written a new book — The Homeschool Guide to Raising Prayer-Filled Kids. It lays out a fun and easy step-by-step plan for forming consistent prayer and Bible reading habits in children, all in the home school setting.

Right now, it is only available as an e-book at Amazon, but we’ll expand its distribution in months to come. Regular price is only $1.49, but for two days only,

Monday, 11-17 and Tuesday, 11-18 (PST),

I am offering it as a gift to you. Simply follow this link to pick it up.

If you like the book, would you be so kind as to give it a short review and/or star rating at Amazon? And would you recommend it to a friend? Thank you!

~ Lee Ann

 

Discerning Personal Prophecy (Part 1)

In 1 Corinthians 12:8-10, Paul listed nine manifestations, or gifts, of the Holy Spirit, which were meant to occur regularly and with power in the Church. Over the many centuries since then, as the Church became corrupted with unbelief and compromise, these manifestations were not seen nearly as much as they had been at the beginning. Fortunately, the Lord began to bring them to the forefront once again in the twentieth century. Prophecy is among these manifestations, and one of the ways it is showing up quite frequently is in personal words for individuals. 

Personal prophecy can and should be a great blessing from the Lord to us, but as with any of the manifestations of the Spirit, we must discern whether it is genuinely from Him or not. We also need to use wisdom in how we respond to it. If we don’t, we will end up being disappointed, disillusioned, and perhaps even in the middle of big mistakes which we wished we had never made.

In this series, I’d like to talk about some guidelines to help us discern personal prophetic words and what to do with them. Discernment is a necessary spiritual skill, if we are to successfully fulfill the unique mission which God endows us with. 

First of all, let me say that I am concerned about the emphasis which some believers put on receiving personal prophetic words from others. There are many today who run here and there to receive a word from the Lord from others, when what they should be doing is spending time in the Lord’s presence, listening for Him to speak directly to them. The reason? It could be a false feeling of unworthiness to hear Him, a fear of either not hearing or hearing inaccurately, or simply not being willing to take the time to patiently wait upon Him. It is just easier to ask someone else to do our listening for us! 

So, many of us run from conference to conference, hoping to get a knock-your-socks-off word from a national prophet. Or, we call a prophet’s hotline for a personal word, perhaps even slapping down $20.00 or more to the person on the other end before receiving it (which appears to me uncomfortably akin to calling a psychic hotline). Maybe we run from one prophetic person to another in our own acquaintance, looking for that special word. One of the latest trends seems to be joining prophetic groups on social media sites, where the members give and receive prophetic words. I can’t think of a worse way to attempt to receive God’s counsel than that, as there is no way of knowing who most of these people are and what they might be into. 

Step #1 to hearing the Lord is to give Him our full listening attention in prayer. He wants to speak to each of us personally. Whether He chooses to speak or not, we are honoring Him by giving Him our availability. Eventually, even if He is silent at first, we will come to understand His heart and dwell in His counsel. 

Does that mean it is wrong to receive a personal prophecy from others? No, it just means we should set our priorities in order. Direct communication with the Lord is to be sought over hearing from Him secondhand. But that said, genuine personal prophecy is a gift from God to His people, which, according to 1 Thessalonians 5:19, 20, should neither be quenched nor despised.

Next time, we’ll take a look at common reasons prophetic people miss the mark with personal prophecy.

 

Next: Discerning Personal Prophecy (Part 2)

 

Eternal Prayer Investments

treasure chestWe often talk about the time we “spend” in prayer.  A number of years ago, one of our pastors said that he liked to look at prayer as an investment, rather than as something we spend our time doing.  I think maybe he was onto something. Spending tends to bear more of the idea of  a giving-out action which depletes us, while the connotation of investment is more positive: we are putting something in, which will be stored up and will bring a multiplied harvest.

So, how is prayer an investment? In Matthew 6:19-21, Jesus talks about how to accumulate treasure in heaven:

Do not lay up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust corrupt, and where thieves neither break through nor steal: for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

We usually apply this Scripture to how we use our finances, and rightfully so; the correlating Scripture in Luke 12:42-34 specifically addresses what we do with our money. But a broader principle in these verses is to make whatever we give, including our time, count for eternity. Time invested in prayer is of eternal value, which should not be underestimated.

It goes with the territory of prayer that we do not always see immediate answers. Sometimes we put a lot of effort into intercession without seeming to see a commensurate amount of results in the short-term scheme. We are not always sure exactly how to intercede, so the prayer process can include some floundering to find the way, along with overcoming our own naturalistic thinking in order to come to a place of believing that God will act. It often takes time to come up into God’s higher perspective, so that we can pray rightly. In addition, we experience unseen opposition in the spirit realm, which requires persistent effort to overcome. All of this can be exhausting and daunting to our faith. We may wonder if it is really worth the effort.

However, the Lord sees our intercessory labor differently than we do. We are laying up treasures in heaven which can never be lost — for those for whom we pray, and as rewards for ourselves, too. Our prayer effort is never wasted, even when we do not receive the full answers we had hoped for or expected. (Let’s be honest: no matter how good we are at hearing the Lord and praying out His will, none of us has a 100% prayer answer track record.)

The Lord knows that our faith is not always perfect, and that our understanding has limitations. Paul reminds us in I Corinthians 13:9, 11, 12: “For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. … When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child …. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then we will see face to face. Now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.”

The Lord delights in and even rewards imperfect prayers, as long as they come from sincere, trusting hearts. Psalm 103:13, 14 tells us, “Like a father pities his children, so the LORD pities those who fear Him. For He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.”

I would like to leave you with a quote which encourages me when the praying is long and the answers are not forthcoming in the way, or as soon as, I would like. Wesley Duewel, one of my heroes, comments in his book, Touch the World Through Prayer,

Prayers prayed in the Spirit never die until they accomplish God’s intended purpose. His answer may not be what we expected, or when we expected it, but God often provides much more abundantly than we could think or ask. He interprets our intent and either answers or stores up our prayers. Sincere prayers are never lost. Energy, time, love, and longing can be endowments that will never be wasted or go unrewarded.

So keep praying — even when you don’t yet see the fruit. Some fruit will become visible here on earth, and some will only be visible from eternity’s perspective. In either case, your intercessions matter. Entrust them to the Lord, and do not grow weary in your well-doing of prayer. They are investments which will come back to you.

Intercessor Seminar Free Download

YesYouCanCD

I’m pleased to offer the 1st session of our Yes, You CAN Be an Intercessor! seminar as a FREE download. Yes, You CAN Be an Intercessor! is a seminar / workshop which we present live, but since many of you may not have the opportunity to attend in person, we’ve created the next best thing — an audio version, which is available as an mp3 download or CD set.

The entire seminar covers the topics:

  • Why intercession is important and how you can impact your world through prayer
  • Various ways to hear God’s voice and how to recognize that He is indeed speaking to you
  • What a “prayer language” is, and how it will help you be a more effective prayer warrior
  • How to tap into the flow of praying what the Holy Spirit reveals to you — so that you can hit the bull’s eye in prayer
  • Tips for getting the breakthrough answers to prayer which you desire

As I said, Session 1 of Yes, You CAN Be an Intercessor! is free (and the rest of the seminar is very reasonably priced too!).

To get Session 1, simply e-mail me at leeann@leeannrubsam.com with the subject line “Free Yes You Can” and I will send you the link to the mp3 download.

Thanks! Happy listening!  ~ Lee Ann

What Christians Can Do to Stop Ebola

newprayerA few weeks ago, I wrote about a dream I had that Ebola was coming to the U. S. and that we could stop its spread through prayer.

Now that Ebola in the U. S. has become a reality, I would like to follow up with a few more thoughts about how to go about stopping this plague from spreading — through prayer. Here are some specific steps that all praying Christians can take:

  1. Know that, biblically, God has given us authority to receive answers to prayer. That is what prayer is for. I have for you two links to specific Scripture verses which promise that He will answer us: Our God Is a Listening God and The LORD Answers My Prayers (both at my website).
  2. Understand that we have biblical precedence to intercede  for plagues to be stopped and to receive God’s intervention.  Moses and Aaron did this in Numbers 16:42-50, when plague had entered the Israelite camp.
  3. Have faith, not fear. This is a time to watch over our words carefully, and to speak what is in alignment with the desires of God. For me personally, I understand from the Ebola dream I had that it is God’s will to stop this disease from spreading if His people will partner with Him by taking authority against it in prayer. So I will speak in oneness with the revelation I believe He has given to me, and not wring my hands in fear.
  4. Begin now to pray and fast — and stay at it. The sooner we get started, the sooner we may see an answer. Ideally, we want to see this nipped in the bud, but even if things would grow worse for a time, we should persist in prayer until we see results.
  5. Spread the word to other intercessors. The more people who pray, the more we can expect a speedy answer. Leviticus 26: 8 tells us, “And five of you shall chase a hundred, and a hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight: and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword.”
  6. Encourage your prayer group to pray together on this issue. There is power in the prayer gathering. Jesus promised us, “If two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of My Father Who is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in My name, there I am in the midst of them.”
  7. Pray for our government and health care leaders to take preventative steps to protect our nation from further inroads/spread of Ebola.
  8. Pray for a breakthrough in treatment for prevention and cure of this disease. Pray for divine inspiration/ideas for researchers.
  9. Pray for those who are already suffering so greatly in Africa. We can’t only be concerned for ourselves. Stand in supportive prayer with the intercessors in those afflicted nations, that they will see the waning of Ebola there.
  10. Pray Psalm 91 over your loved ones. This is a great idea at any time, but particularly when it comes to sickness. There are verses in this Psalm which particularly apply:
  • V. 3 — Surely He will deliver you … from the noisome pestilence (noxious disease).
  • Vs. 5-7You shall not be afraid for the … pestilence which walks in darkness …. A thousand shall fall at your side and ten thousand at your right hand, but it shall not come near you.
  • V. 10There shall no evil befall you; neither shall any plague come near your dwelling.
  • V. 16With long life will I satisfy you, and show you My salvation.

Let’s get the word out and encourage many to be praying. I believe we will see God’s intervention, if we will pray.

Dining on Prison Swill

ball and chainRecently, I had a short dream in which I saw prison keepers in a dungeon-like setting, who were eating “the prison diet.” This meant that they were eating the same poor-quality food as the prisoners whom they were guarding.

After pondering the dream and praying into it, I understood that the prison keepers represented any of us who, in our minds, hold other people under lock and key.  We do this by having attitudes of unforgiveness, offense, jealousy, envy, and criticalness. We may feel justified in doing so, because in many cases those whom we mentally hold in prison really did something that was wrong.

But by holding such grudges, prison keepers end up in the same bondage as the prisoners. They become like them, not enjoying the goodness which God meant for them to enjoy — hence, the picture of them eating the prison diet.

If we want to live in the freedom which God intends for us, we have to let those whom we have “locked up” in our minds go free. In giving freedom, we receive it.

Perhaps this is one of the reasons why Jesus told us, in Matthew 5:44, to bless those who curse us and pray for them who despitefully use us. What we dish out to others is what we end up eating ourselves.