The February edition of DIRECTION magazine it out now. Read FIRST WORDS by John Glass and view the contents of this month's edition.
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“Prophecy is a powerful gift to the Church. False prophecy is a curse.”
The latter does not only encompass erroneous teaching but includes the well-meaning individuals who express their wish lists over other people’s lives. This is why the scriptures say that all prophecy should be ‘weighed’.
It can have devastating effects on the lives of good people. It occurs when someone sees the absence of a wedding ring and prophesies a partner or, perhaps worst of all, a word over a childless couple that they will have a baby – the words being misguided aspiration rather than a word from the Lord.
God guards the gold standard of prophetic utterance to the degree that if in the Old Testament a predictive prophecy did not come to pass, the consequences to the ‘prophet’ who made it were catastrophic – Deuteronomy 18:19-22.
Some years ago I was speaking at a large gathering and felt led to make an appeal for people to come forward who felt that they had been the victims of false prophecy over their life. Scores of people later lined the front of the auditorium including a lady who had had a hysterectomy and was ‘holding on’ to a word that she would soon have a child!
I cannot remember a time when more people experienced release than on the night when those burdens were lifted from the shoulders of godly people.
But how practically can we weigh prophecy?
Examine the prophet – what do you know about the man or woman who has offered the ‘word from the Lord’? Do you know them to be ministering under the authority of someone to whom they are accountable? If they get it wrong, can they be contacted and challenged? Be very careful of listening to those who blow in, blow up and blow out, never to be seen again. Pastors – more than anyone else can be trusted with predictive prophecy.
Examine the motive – some people use ‘prophecy’ manipulatively. It gives them power over people, and especially when they flatter with promises of a spectacular future.
Examine the prophecy – if it is a predictive prophecy it should be a confirmation of what you are already hearing from God prior to it taking place. For example, I would never consider selling up and moving to another nation on the basis of a ‘word’ that I have received. If, however, I have been hearing from the Lord about a country and wondering when the timing might be right, then a prophetic utterance on the subject will be taken very seriously.
‘Words’ in the local church are like currency in the economy. If too many are in circulation then the value of everything falls. I would rather hear fewer utterances so that when God really speaks it is both powerful and effective.
Valid prophecy builds the Church and invalid words create pain and confusion. To trust the latter is, like the title of the U2 song, ‘chasing breaking waves’.
Elim Pentecostal Church
Inside the February edition
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CHURCH SHOULD BE LIKE A FAMILY Terry Jennings felt he had come home when he walked into the church he now pastors
NEWS from Elim and the wider church
OUT AND ABOUT WITH THE GS John Glass opens his diary
CENTENARY CONSECRATION More than 600 Elim leaders converge on Birmingham to mark Elim’s 100th anniversary
GOD’S LOVE CARRIED ME THROUGH When NLT member David Campbell was diagnosed with cancer he stayed positive
GROWING CHURCH PRAISES GOD Hartlepool Elim leaders tell how God helped them secure their new building
JESUS CAN ALWAYS REACH YOU If you need the Saviour, don’t worry as he’s only a prayer away, writes Marilyn Harry
GETTING THE WORD OUT UCB’s Word for Today is celebrating a big milestone, but they’re not slowing down
ACCURATE REFLECTION OF GOD Christian band Cenacle want to shine a light in the darkness of the music industry
I’M JUST PART OF A GREAT MISSION Hope for Justice’s Ben Cooley explains his battle against human trafficking
DON’T SHY AWAY FROM ELECTIONS Voting is a privilege many believers can only dream of, writes Lyndon Bowring
MUSIC REVIEWS with Ian Yates
SUPPORTING PASTORS AS LEADERS Leading a church is both a high privilege and a great challenge, says Carl Beech
I WAS BLIND BUT NOW I SEE An accident left James David blind – until he visited a CfaN gospel crusade
MAKE DISCIPLES NOT CONVERTS Discipleship and evangelism can’t be separated, argues Mark Lyndon-Jones
YOUNG PEOPLE RENEWED Serious4God Director Tim Alford reports from the latest Gathering event
ARE YOU TRULY FREE? Don’t let a half-truth become a whole lie, warns Elim minister Keith Jackson
BOOKSHELF with Richard Dodge
ANSWERS with Jim Dick
AND FINALLY with John Lancaster