God is alive and well and actively involved in our lives. One way He demonstrates His involvement is through the operation of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit at work in and through people who have surrendered their lives to Him. I have no intention of getting into an intellectual, theological discussion. I do not have a seminary degree nor do I hold a leadership position in any church that would give me the authority to do so. Please just allow me to express some of the things I’ve been thinking about…which is the purpose for my entire blog—a place for me to unload my brain.
There is a difference between the Gift of Prophecy and the Office of a Prophet. The Gift is something that all believers in Jesus have the potential to experience and walk in; however, that does not make each person a Prophet who has a specific calling from God and a particular jurisdiction in which to operate—some locally, some globally, and yes, there are true Prophets in the earth today, and we should pay attention when they speak. Much more to say on this subject, but I wanted to focus on the Gift of Prophecy for this writing and share some of my personal experiences.
The purpose of prophecy is to make known the secrets of God. The apostle Paul expresses his desire that all in the church would be able to move in this gift—that means everyone. He desired that all believers would walk in such intimacy and unity with the LORD that He would lay bare the secrets of His heart to them and that they would give expression to the things He reveals for each of them to draw closer to God and to one another…to be enabled to encourage and challenge one another toward a deeper life with God. Most if not all believers desire to hear the voice of God, and they want everyone to know/think they’ve heard from God, when sometimes all they’ve heard is the desire of their own hearts for what they would like to see God do.
I’ve had a number of people tell me that God was going to give me a singing ministry; however, I can’t carry a tune, and if I hear one more person declare that I am royalty and will stand before kings, I’m going to throw up. I’ve had a number of people prophesy things that they would like to see God do in my life, but they were just that, good wishes. How do I know the difference when a person is speaking from their own imagination or when they are truly inspired by the Holy Spirit? I have my own relationship with God; I am a sheep who knows my Shepherd’s voice. I also have a bit of a process I follow when someone prophesies to me…I actively forget about it. This is not to say that I reject it, rather I put their words on a shelf, so to speak. More often than not, I don’t give those words another thought and their memory fades away. Sometimes I can’t shake it. Those words keep replaying in my mind. That’s when I pay attention and act on them, mostly by praying about it or grabbing my Bible to study deeper. Another time I pay attention is if someone speaks something that enhances or gives further insight to what God spoke to my heart previously.
For the first seven years of our marriage, my husband and I were childless and wanted to become parents. At the end of a church service, one of the elders of our church came up to me and whispered in my ear. His wife was horrified when I told her what he whispered, and all I could think at the time was, “Wow! You’re brave to say that to me.” What did he say? He said, “God told me that you are pregnant.” Not “you will be,” but “you are.” I put those words on the shelf. A little while later, during the same service, another elder, who had no idea about what was whispered in my ear, was praying for me and my husband. He was about to say something, but stopped. He was hesitant to speak. We dragged it out of him, “I just keep seeing a baby.” A week later I took a pregnancy test and saw a faint line. I wanted to be sure, so I requested a blood test from my doctor, and she called me a few hours later with the news, “You’re going to be a mommy!” Wow! It happened. We were thrilled. Then we went to my first OB/GYN appointment, and there was no heartbeat. Wait, what?! That baby was prophetically announced! How could there be no heartbeat? There wasn’t. A miscarriage. Devastating and overwhelming sadness. How did I respond to that? I lifted my hands before the LORD and worshiped singing, “Blessed be the Name of the LORD. He gives and takes away.” I still don’t understand why this happened, but it did, and God is still good.
Well-meaning people said that they knew I would conceive again soon. I didn’t. Each month was met with renewed disappointment and sadness which culminated when we reached the month when the miscarried baby should have been born. We decided to pursue adoption, but then God surprised us with another positive pregnancy test. This time there was a heartbeat! Just after that first OB/GYN appointment when we knew everything was going to be fine, I attended a women’s retreat. The main speaker was a woman who was known for a strong gift of prophecy. During one of the meetings she was encouraging the mothers in the room to teach their children to spend time with the LORD and to recognize God’s voice. Suddenly, she pointed her finger at me and declared, “You have a prophet in you. He is called to be a prophet of God. He was prepared in Heaven for this time, and God specifically chose you and your husband to be his parents.” I felt like a lightning bolt shot through me. I was only ten weeks along, so there was no way of knowing if my baby was a boy or a girl at that time, but 8 weeks later it was confirmed through ultrasound—a boy! Months later, at my baby shower, there were several prophesies from well-meaning people about the baby in my womb, most of which I forgot, but one I didn’t…the prophesy was that there was something very remarkable about my son.
We have yet to see if my son will become a prophet. He is 8 years old and very remarkable. He is not like most boys his age, in fact, he is autistic. Wait, what? The prophetic words were that he was called to be a prophet, prepared in heaven for this time, remarkable. We were not prepared for him to have a special need that prevents him from attending school and making friends and functioning in public normally. Nonetheless, my son sees things from a different and insightful perspective that is truly remarkable. Time will tell.
An example of a time when a person prophesied something the LORD previously spoke to me was when God was calling my husband and I to transition to a different church. During prayer I saw myself standing on the banks of a river and a barge floated by heading east; however, I felt an urge to go west. I felt the LORD say, “If you get on board you will be taken far away from where I want you to go.” I understood that the barge represented the church we were going to at that time. I am not at all saying that the church was heading in a wrong direction, just not the direction my husband and I were supposed to go. We knew we were supposed to leave the church; however, we didn’t know where to go, and we didn’t want to jeopardize valuable friendships. We held this vision in our hearts. About two years later, a prophet came to minister at this church. He asked me to stand, and he declared, “God is taking you out of one river and putting you into another.” Yes! That word brought me back to the vision of the barge. We were released from the church. We shared this with the pastors who were sorry to see us go, but completely understood. We left with a blessing and in blessing them. All friendships are still intact.
Of course there are many more stories I could tell about how God has involved Himself, intervened, interacted, and initiated things in my life. It humbles me to know how interested He is in my life…who am I that the Creator of the Universe would take such notice of me? I am His workmanship. I was created for His purposes in the earth, even my small part. In the same way, He is interested and takes notice of you. Cool, huh?