Category Archives: Prophetic Christianity

Living from a Prophetic Perspective (Part 5)

propheticperspectiveWhen I thought to know this, it was too painful for me, until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I understood their end. – Psalm 73:16, 17

In Psalm 73, we have the story of a man who was perplexed and discouraged by unjust things he saw going on around him. Wicked men were oppressing the weak and boasting about it. They committed violent acts, opposed God, and made life miserable for righteous people. Yet they lived prosperously, their crimes went unchecked, and it seemed to the psalm writer as if God was oblivious to what was going on.

We live in such a world today. Injustice abounds, heinous crimes against humanity are committed, perversion runs rampant and is called normal, racism and anti-Semitism are on the rise. Evil is celebrated, and goodness is declared to be evil. And God’s people are persecuted for standing for Jesus and biblical truth.

In the midst of it all, it is easy to become frustrated, discouraged, fearful, or bitter. As a result, many who call themselves Christians are lashing out in response to what they see happening around them. They release angry, hate-filled words, not realizing that they have lowered themselves to the same level as those with whom they are so frustrated.

Asaph, the writer of Psalm 73, discovered a better way. “I went into the sanctuary of God; then I understood their end.” In other words, when he took the time to be with the Lord, to listen to Him and inquire of Him, he gained God’s vantage point. He remembered that the Lord is just, and that He will not always allow the wicked to get away with evil.

We can do likewise. When tumultuous events go on around us, we can enter into the secret place of God’s Presence and ask Him to show us what is happening beneath the surface.

“Lord, where are You in all this?” “Why did You allow this?” “How do You see this event?” “I see only senseless tragedy here, but what do You see?” “God, it looks like we have lost the battle. Is there some way You are going to bring good out of this?”

As we inquire of Him, He will give us His perspective, so that we can pray rightly. God’s viewpoint, when revealed, is often quite surprising. His big-picture purposes in how events play out are beyond what we could ever figure out on our own. He will always take whatever the devil means for harm to bring about righteous justice. Romans 8:28 alludes to this principle: “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”

Furthermore, the devil and people he controls are mere pawns on God’s chessboard to bring His ultimate checkmate. The Lord sometimes uses evil events to bring hidden wounds to the surface so that they can be healed. He can then set things right in a greater way than if everything had simply sailed along smoothly.

When the Lord opens our understanding to see into His purposes, fear departs, hope arises in our hearts, and we gain fresh courage to partner with Him in higher-level intercession.

I encourage you to take your perplexities before the Lord. Ask Him to open your eyes to see as He sees. He will show you His plan and His prayer strategies. You will become a fearless overcomer, who cannot be shaken by what is going on in the natural world around you.

Previous — Part 4
Next — Part 6

Living from a Prophetic Perspective (Part 4)

propheticperspectiveSir Isaac Newton’s Third Law of Motion states, “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” This principle applies not only to motion, but to how many of us respond when people or events cause us problems. We immediately push back. At the very least, we attempt to fix the situation in the quickest, most direct way possible. I am by nature that kind of person. I want to get to the point and fix things without wasting time dancing all over and around the issue.

There is a time and a place for direct action and speech, but I’ve noticed that the shortest route is quite often not God’s way. I am learning that most of the time I get better results by asking the Lord to give me His counsel on how to handle something, and then waiting until I hear back from Him about it. This is true in finding out how to pray into complex circumstances, but it is even more needful when dealing with people. I might have God’s overall mind on a matter, but not His specifics on how to take care of it. If I wait for His inspiration, He will show me a way I would never have thought of to achieve the desired end or to resolve an issue. Here is an example:

A prayer group my husband and I were leading ran into some problems with a person who was praying negatively.  She had a genuine concern, but due to heaviness of heart and frustration, her prayers were coming across as curses, rather than blessings, toward those she was praying for. Usually when something like this happens, we just try to steer prayer into a better direction without addressing the issue at all. Sometimes people simply get a little off here and there temporarily. But this was becoming an ongoing problem over a number of weeks, and we felt it was time to talk with the person about it.

I was thinking in terms of having to bring correction — not a pleasant thing to do! I didn’t want to hurt the lady’s feelings, and I didn’t want to drive her away from coming to the group. But it wasn’t healthy to let it go on any longer. I pleaded with the Lord, “Can’t You just speak to her about it? I don’t want to do this! Please, just make the problem go away!”

After several days of sweating it out in prayer, the Lord finally shared with me an approach which did not involve direct correction, and would actually be encouraging to the lady instead. He gave me an unusual, specific angle on how to pray into the very matter which was so frustrating to her.

I called her, shared with her that I had been praying about her concern and that I felt God had given me some light on how we could intercede differently and get the answers she desired. We had a powerful time of prayer together and then talked at length about the deeper purposes of God, with both of us being blessed by each other. Instead of causing hurt or anger, our conversation ended up bringing hope and bonding us closer together. I could never have thought up such an approach by myself, but the Lord knew all along exactly how to take care of it.

Sometimes, as I have sought God for how to tackle a problem, I have discovered that I really did not have God’s mind on the matter at all, although I started out feeling certain that I did.

Someone close to us was about to make a major decision which I did not feel was wise. It also had the potential to adversely affect our immediate family. I prayed about it  for several days, laying my concerns before the Lord and asking Him to help the person see that she was making a mistake.

To my surprise, He showed me that what I thought was an unwise decision was really His leading. The circumstances which seemed to my practical mind to be obvious signs that our loved one was making a mistake were indeed obstacles standing in the way, but not indicators that she was stepping out of His will. The hindrances simply needed His solutions. He then gave me some ideas about how they could be removed.

Had I spoken my mind before getting God’s vantage point, there would have been hurt and frustration between us. But by the time we chatted, we were able to discuss what could be done to make her dreams come true. We shared a happy conversation from a place of agreement.

These examples are meant to show that if we learn  to wait on the Lord before tackling problems, He will give us a higher perspective than we could ever imagine. He can help us to receive better solutions than we could achieve with our own thinking skills. We have to be willing to calm down and listen, but the results are rewarding. It’s even fun to see what He comes up with!

Previous — Part 3
Next — Part 5

Living from a Prophetic Perspective (Part 3)

propheticperspectiveIf we’re going to see the things which go on around us from God’s higher viewpoint, we will need to slow down and pay attention to Him. Last time we talked about slowing down in how we pray. Today we are continuing that theme by talking about how to connect with the Lord’s heart through slowing down in our Bible reading.

Reading the Bible in large chunks at one sitting is great, but meditating on small portions of what we read is also essential. Personally, I think quantity reading, with some in-depth study thrown in at times, should never be neglected. But absorbing Scripture in bite-size doses, where we take extended time to think on what we are reading, adds another dimension to interacting with the Lord through His Word. It is not a matter of choosing one or the other: we need both types of reading.

Some believers are afraid of that word “meditate” because of what New Age and Eastern religion advocates do, where they try to empty their minds to self-project themselves into other-worldly experiences. We are not in any way going there! Meditation, in the biblical sense, simply means to thoughtfully consider, chew on, or take time to digest. It’s time the Church stopped being afraid of this!

The Bible talks about meditating on the Lord Himself (this is part of waiting on Him in prayer, which we talked about in the last post), and also meditating on His Word. Psalm 63:6 says, “I remember You upon my bed, and meditate on You in the night watches,” and Psalm 104:34 comments, “My meditation of Him shall be sweet: I will be glad in the LORD.”

Concerning meditating on Scripture, Psalm 119:97 says, “O how I love Your law! It is my meditation all day long.” Psalm 119:148 comments, “My eyes look forward to the night watches, that I might meditate in Your Word.”

Psalm 49:3 tells us that meditating on the Lord, His ways, and/or His Word brings wisdom and understanding: “My mouth shall speak of wisdom; and the meditation of my heart shall be of understanding.” I encourage you to look up “meditate,” “meditating,” and “meditation” in a Bible concordance. You will be surprised how much the Bible has to say on this subject.

I like to do my quantity reading in the evening, but I often meditate on a phrase of Scripture when I first start praying in the morning. If I start out early in the day by mulling over a small piece of the Word, I’m likely to return to thinking about it at other moments all through the day.

How do you pick a verse to meditate on? I often simply ask the Lord to put one on my heart. Sometimes He immediately surprises me with one I wouldn’t have thought of on my own. At other times, a verse catches my attention during my regular course of reading.

I read the verse or phrase through several times, praying it back to the Lord for myself, thanking Him for it, or simply talking to Him about it. I may look it up in several translations or use Strong’s Concordance to check out the meanings of the original Hebrew or Greek words.

I write the verse or phrase down in a notebook, along with any insights or related verses which come to mind. I may move on to a new verse in a few days, but if it keeps sticking with me, I will continue to chew on it for a week or two. The time frame isn’t important. You don’t have to do a new one each day. Just don’t be in a hurry.

If you are still not sure how to get started, John Paul Jackson wrote a book on the subject which may help to clarify things for you. It’s called The Art of Praying the Scriptures (Amazon affiliate link).

Besides slowing down in prayer and Bible reading, we also have to learn to slow down in our responses to problematic circumstances which arise, and that’s what we will talk about next time.

Previous: Part 2
Next: Part 4

The Coming Great Divide

pendulum-626623_640For many months, I have been hearing strongly about a coming division in the American Church. It is the division between the true Church, and a false one. By a false church, I do not mean those who openly deny the deity of Christ and subscribe to grossly unorthodox beliefs. Those have been with us for a long time already and are fairly recognizable for what they are. No, the false church I am referring to is more subtle. And it is fast gaining influence even within evangelical and Spirit-filled congregations.

Many in the false church were at one time aligned with the true, but have veered off course. For those who are pastors/leaders in this false church move, their deviation from the true may have started with a desire for more church growth, popularity with society as a whole, a fear of being persecuted, or the drive to gain more wealth for themselves and their churches.

Because many started out all right, the lines between the true and false have been blurred, and there has been much confusion about which is which. Some of the leaders of this false church continue to convincingly talk the right talk in some ways, while having shifted into compromise and deception in others. They say a lot of wonderful, highly quotable things, which encourage us all that we are loved by God, that God wants to bless us, and that He intends for us to be successful at impacting our world. Those messages are not bad in themselves. We need to be encouraged. The problem is that these good words are mixed with a lot of humanism — worship of ourselves. The gospel message, with Jesus being central, is distorted or nonexistent, and instead there is a constant barrage of “If you just think and speak positively, there are no limits to how successful you can be!”

In the midst of the fog of who is who and which is which, God is dropping a plumb line into the Church, which will clearly divide the straight and true from the crooked and false. As time goes on, the distinctions between the two will grow more apparent. Believers will have to make a clear choice to come out from fellowshipping within the false and make a conscious step over into the true, if they are going to continue on with the Lord.

Jesus’ parable of the wheat and tares (Matthew 13:24-30) is another illustration of what is currently happening. At first the tares look very much like the wheat. It is hard to discern between them. But as the plants mature, the differences become more noticeable. Likewise, we are approaching the point where the distinctions between the false and the true Church will become more marked. And when we notice the differences, each of us will have to determine whether we’re going to malnourish our spiritual stomachs with “tares” teaching or whether we will only ingest the wheat.

What are some telltale signs of a false message?

1.)  Universalism — The belief that all will be saved, that no one will go to hell, because God is love, is a heresy which has been around in one form or another for a long time. But in recent years it has made large inroads into many evangelical churches. Jesus is presented as the best way to the Father, but not the only way. The end of what Jesus said in John 14:6, “NO man comes to the Father except through Me” is conveniently not quoted.

2.)  A message which is primarily motivational in nature — There is minimal talk about Jesus, the cross, living a sacrificial lifestyle of obedience to Him, or Jesus’ soon return. The focus is on having a satisfying life now, with little emphasis on eternity. YOUR destiny purpose now, YOUR success now, YOUR happiness now is the all-in-all, rather than the Lord’s desires being fulfilled at any cost.

3.)  Anything goes — The message implies or openly states that God understands we all sin and therefore does not mind if we indulge in whatever sin we would like to keep indulging in.

4.)  Acceptance of homosexuality — This is snowballing on us at an alarming rate, and I personally think it is going to be the clearest dividing line between the true Church and the false in the next couple of years. Several prominent ministries have already fallen off the cliff on this issue, and I think that within a year or two we will see some internationally known pastors openly embracing homosexuality as an acceptable lifestyle within their churches. They are already on the brink and teetering.

Watch out for any teaching which says people can be practicing homosexuals and still be Christians at the same time. No matter how much some may want to explain it away, 1 Corinthians 6:9, 10 still says what it says: “Do you not know that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither fornicators [sexually impure], nor idolators, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind [homosexuals], nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.”

When God drops a plumb line, it is important not to stay on the wrong side of it.  We will have to decide whom we want to please and whom we are willing to offend. We will have to choose whether we are going to compromise in order to stay comfortable (and popular), or whether we will abide by what God says, no matter how much ridicule, and even persecution, we endure.

James 4:4 states the choice clearly: “… Do you not know that the friendship of the world [system]  is at enmity with God? Whoever, therefore, will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.” We can’t have it both ways.

The apostle Paul exhorted the Corinthian believers, “What fellowship does righteousness have with unrighteousness? And what communion does light have with darkness? … ‘Wherefore, come out from among them, and be separate, … and I will receive you and will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters,’ says the Lord Almighty” (2 Corinthians 6:14-18).

Moses asked, in a time of crisis within the Israelite camp, “Who is on the Lord’s side? Let him come to me” (Exodus 32:26). God is asking that same question of us today. Let us get up and step across to Him. His plumb line is the dividing point between spiritual life and death.

Learning to Wear Your Mantle

Business Suit“God told me I am a prophet.”

OK, you’ve got the call. You have experienced some kind of an unmistakable word or experience from the Lord, where He let you in on a major purpose He has in mind for your life. Now what?

There is a process of getting from the point where God first speaks to you of your calling, to where it is a manifested reality. For some, this process starts with a succinct word, such as, “I call you to be a prophet” (or teacher, pastor, evangelist, etc.). For others, purpose unfolds gradually — a word here, a dream there, counsel or insight from another person which fits with what God already is showing you, until you are receiving understanding of your purpose along a consistent theme.

If God’s plan for you is big — and it is, no matter what He is calling you to — it will take time to forge. Very few things of value are made instantaneously, and what God is making of you is no exception.

When we hear a word from the Lord such as, “I call you to be a prophet,” it may feel like a very “now” word. And if we don’t understand that He generally works out people’s destinies as a process, we can make the mistake of telling the world who we are, and then expecting everyone else to be as impressed as we are with our new-found role. With a prophet calling, we might think everyone else has to hang on our every word and act accordingly — or else. A teaching function, in its immature stage, can lead us into annoying our associates by spewing our opinions right and left and sounding like a know-it-all.

But God makes very few of us (if any) overnight wonders. Overnight wonders are usually over … overnight. If it is going to last, a training process must be gone through, and the biggest part of that process is the refining of our character. The Lord will take us from the place where we view our purpose as being for our advantage and exaltation to where we are entirely focused on serving, loving, and encouraging others, all the while glorifying the Lord in our function.

So, how do you get to the fulfilling of the calling which the Lord has spoken over you? You start by wearing your mantle on the inside. God has spoken, you believe what He said, and you meditate on it inwardly. You spend quite a bit of time praying about it, asking the Lord questions about it, praying for its fulfillment, treasuring in your heart whatever He has said to you.

You get used to the idea, beginning to see yourself in your role, so that you think of yourself quite naturally as being whatever God has said you are to be. You spend time “being” in the spiritual realm before you ever begin to “be” in the natural realm. Figuratively speaking, you get comfortable wearing your ministry “suit” privately before you get decked out in it publicly.

At this point, your mantle is pretty much a secret between you and God. You may tell close family members what God has spoken over you. You may even talk to your pastor about it and receive his input. If you are part of a church which understands such things, your pastor should be willing to help you come into God’s plan for you. He may put you in places of service and training which will help you grow up into your God-given role.

Whether you have a pastor who can help you or not, there are multitudes of people who can, via books, conferences, and the Internet. Are you called to bring supernatural healing? You need to prepare by learning from those who have gone before you — Smith Wigglesworth, John G. Lake, Kathryn Kuhlman, and Charles and Frances Hunter, to name just a few. You will also want to hang with people who are involved in healing ministry right in your area — perhaps becoming a member of a healing rooms team. It is the same with whatever ministry you are supposed to fulfill — learn through teaching and active participation as much as possible.

As you continue to consciously wear your mantle inwardly and do what you can to mature and prepare, you will see your ministry function begin to take form outwardly. It may not happen quickly. It could take years. But God will get you there, as you believe and are obedient to Him. Eventually your calling will become a solid fact in the natural realm. You will move in it on a regular basis, people will recognize what you have been given to do in the Kingdom, and they will be blessed as you walk it out.

Patience, a humble servant’s heart, and a teachable spirit are the keys to coming into God’s role for you. If you will submit to His refining process, the day will come when you will fully function in the ministry which He has designed for you to carry out.

The Spirit-Filled Guide to Personal Prophecy

 

The Spirit-Filled Guide to Personal Prophecy,
by Lee Ann Rubsam

 

prophetic teaching

 

Growing in the Prophetic,
audio teaching by Lee Ann Rubsam

Writer’s Block and the Christian Author

Writer’s block is a frustration common to all artists of the written word. Some days, it feels like  a white wall a yard thick is standing between us and the inspiration to get even the first sentence down, while on other days, the idea is there, but the journey to expressing it exactly right feels akin to slogging through mud up to our elbows.

For the Christian author, there can be a reason for writer’s block which goes beyond the common experience. I’ve come to realize that when words refuse to flow, it is often because the Holy Spirit is actively putting up a stop sign.

As a result of that realization, I don’t fight writer’s block as I once did. Instead, I cooperate with it. I lay aside my project in favor of worship and prayer. I ask the Lord to help me get His angle, and I rest from the work. That rest may be for a few hours or a few days. Occasionally it has lasted for several months. I find that as I leave it in His hands, He reveals to me a whole new way of addressing my subject. The seeming impasse melts away.

It’s really about good time management: I can sit in front of my keyboard, trying this and that for hours on end without achieving the desired result, or I can use that same time to sit with the Lord in prayer until He drops the right words into my spirit. If I invest the time in prayer, there comes a point when inspiration arrives, I know the Lord has given me breakthrough, and I go back to writing — and this time the words flow, because I am operating in the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

Now, I understand that some of you do not have the luxury I enjoy of writing part-time. My call to intercession is primary, thereby dictating that I spend more time in prayer than at my keyboard on most days. I don’t depend upon writing to pay all the bills, as some of you do. God understands your deadlines, and that you don’t always have days, or even hours, to leave your projects on simmer. Perhaps what He would have you do is to push your keyboard away for just a few minutes, and in that break time, ask for His revelation to drop into your heart. The important thing is to invite Him to speak, not how long it takes. He can solve your writer’s block quickly, if that is necessary for you.

There are various reasons why the Holy Spirit might initiate a block in our writing. The Lord deliberately puts hindrances in our lives so that we will learn to depend upon Him, rather than ourselves. He wants us to lean on His wisdom and ability, not  merely on our natural talents. When we learn to lean on Him, the result will be better writing, writing stamped with His imprint.

Sometimes He tells me I’m not ready to communicate on a  subject yet. He wants to take me through an experience that will make my topic a living reality. The depth to which we live our topic dictates the depth of authority our words will carry to our readers, once we finally write about it.

Blocks are often put there for the benefit of the people who will eventually see an article. God is into perfect timing. He wants to make sure our readers receive a “word from the Lord” through us at the moment of their need. So, the Lord might hold up something we’re in the process of writing, just because the delay will bring the release of it at the very best time for our readers.

I believe that many Christian writers are called to write prophetically — whether their works are fiction or nonfiction. Some of you have not yet been conscious of that prophetic calling, but perhaps even reading this post will be God’s means of releasing that revelation to you. If we will ask the Lord to use our writing His way, for His purposes, and then will relax enough to let Him direct the flow of what we say and when we say it, our words will take on a new anointing and a new authority. We will change lives and impact our world, as we release what the Holy Spirit places in our hearts.

I encourage you to let God guide you through that next bout of writer’s block. Place your confidence in His ability to use it for His purposes. And, as you lean upon Him to breathe His Words  into and through you,  may your prophetic writing voice arise for the nations.

Deep, Low, and Simplified

Today, I’d like to share with you what I think the Lord is saying about His Church in America. God wants His people to go deep and to go low. 

Gong deep:
By deep, I mean being rooted, anchored, fastened on Jesus. That only comes through investing time in fellowship with Him through prayer and reading His Word. Trees with shallow roots don’t survive adverse weather. Wind storms uproot them. During times of drought, if their roots don’t grow downward deeply enough to reach lower ground water levels, they dry up. But the Lord’s promise is, “If you will put your roots down deep in Me, I will water you.” If God’s people are to live a faithful testimony for Him in the days ahead, we are going to have to go deep in Him.

Going low:
Going low is about humility. We don’t hear much from most of our pulpits or TV evangelists these days about emptying self and laying down our lives for others and for the Gospel. The incessant din in our ears is about being successful (usually meaning financially), about becoming influential, about me … me … me. 

God does want us to be successful, but success in God’s eyes is not measured with the same yardstick our society uses. To hear our sermons, it would seem we’ve forgotten that. God’s measure of success is whether we are walking out our lives in obedience to Him, staying in the flow of constant communion with Him. He does promise to provide for us financially, and there is nothing wrong with having wealth, but some of the most successful and influential people in God’s eyes are Christians living in countries hostile to the Gospel, who have lost every material good for His Name’s sake. Some of them do their influencing in prisons, just as the Apostle Paul did. We must never forget that — or them.

Simplifying:
Going low will involve some changes in the corporate Church. The Lord is going to simplify His Church down to the things that really matter. This will include getting back to core doctrine. Currently, we’ve got a mess on our hands, with twisted teaching abounding and even becoming mainstream. We are preaching on tangents, many of them questionable, instead of on God’s all-absorbing focus — Jesus. As in New Testament times, there are many who are “tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive” (Ephesians 4:14). 

Deception will continue and worsen, because we are always moving further into the last days before Jesus’ return, but at the same time, the Spirit of Truth will strip away wrong teaching from those who are Jesus’ true followers. The Apostle John gives us a simple directive: “Let that therefore abide in you, which you have heard from the beginning. If what you have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, you also shall continue in the Son and in the Father” (1 John 2:24). “What you have heard from the beginning” refers to core doctrine — the tenets of the Faith which were laid out by Jesus and the original apostles. My frequent prayer is that the Lord will raise up many teachers of truth in our day, who will patiently re-instruct the Church in the simplicity of the Gospel.

As part of “going low,” I’ve been hearing that “trappings” in the Church will be stripped away. Our perceptions of how church must be done, how God can and cannot move, and what revival/awakening must look like are part of that.

We  have grown used to superstar preachers, especially in Charismatic / Pentecostal circles, and we act like we think God can’t do without them. He can, and will. It is time for the hype and shenanigans to end. God is looking for people who don’t need the celebrity status, the title, or the recognition of men. He is looking for those who would rather die than usurp His glory unto themselves. Years ago, Dr. Michael Brown referred to these humble, God-focused people as “somebodies who become nobodies for the glory of God.” It was a nice thought on Dr. Brown’s part back then, but it is also the reality of what must come.

Does this mean that current ways of carrying out church life will completely disappear? Probably not. God often seems to let the old go on as it always has, while He brings forth something new quite apart from the old, right in the midst of it. The picture that comes to my mind is of land covered with old vegetation that is dying, but with new, green shoots relentlessly pushing their way to the surface through the old. 

Yet, not all of the old is bad.  Timeless traditions founded on the Word of God will never become passé. We’ve heard some rather loudly proclaim their disdain for all that is old, scorning anything that has stood the test of time as “dead religion.” That position is not in line with the wisdom of God. Patterns which are from the Lord will endure or, if already lost, will be restored. 

Ultimately, the changes that need to take place can only be accomplished by the Holy Spirit. He is the One Who adjusts hearts, promotes and demotes, and drives the circumstances which bring the Father’s purposes into being. 

Our part is to cooperate with the Lord by interceding for His desires for His Church to be fulfilled, and by committing to personally going deep and low. God works out His purposes for His Church as a whole through the individuals within that Body who will offer yielded hearts to Him.