Prophetic ministry is often puzzling, often alarming, and often misunderstood. As my wife and I watched the prophetic words flowing in 2008 about the Lakeland Outpouring and then about the election, we were troubled at the disconnect between prophets whose words were not coming to pass and churches and believers in whom prophecies were not producing good fruits.
We saw a culture that polarized around Lakeland, some calling it the definitive move of God for the next few years and others calling it the great end-time deception. It was neither; it was God working through flawed people.
We saw a culture that polarized the church at election time, and many of our prophecies simply didn’t come to pass. Are we false prophets? Are we in touch at all with what God is saying? Frankly, a study of scripture shows that almost every prophecy of God is conditional. There may be more to judging prophecy than many of us realize.
And we went through a scare that lasted several months — a disaster prophecy that frightened many people in our region — and then it didn’t come to pass. JoAnn and I were troubled at reports of children who were crying themselves to sleep because of fear, of people who were making impulsive decisions in their panic, and of prayer warriors who were putting all their energy into warding off the disaster through spiritual warfare.
There will be disasters in the earth. Jesus said so in Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21. But He did not command us to live in a state of hysteria. “Let not your heart be troubled; neither let it be afraid.” The church needs prophetic understanding so we can navigate the difficult times we live in, carrying a cloud of His presence with us.
I believe we are in troubled times. It doesn’t take a prophet to see this; watch the news. But if Christ lives in us, He wants to equip us to live triumphantly in the midst of these challenges. Prophetic ministry is needed because the whole church will need to hear from God so we can overcome. God is faithful to speak, and Christ in you will give you an ear to hear.
But we will need understanding so we can judge the prophecies God gives the church. Judging isn’t just a matter of discerning whether it is true or false; it is a matter of putting prophecy into context so it can accomplish the purpose God sent it for.
And we will need understanding so we can learn to discern God’s voice when He speaks to us personally, and so we can know what to do with what He tells us.
That’s what this blog is about — I’ll address these and other issues one by one as they come up. Your comments are welcome, though I probably won’t have time to answer them all one by one. Please keep them short; feel free to disagree with what I write, but let’s keep a tone of mutual respect.
There is a God in heaven who reveals secrets. He will show all of us everything we need to know so we can do His will. But He expects us to take time to listen, and to use scripture to put His Spirit-given words into perspective.