In the decade of the 80s, it was popular to say, ”Thus Saith The Lord” when giving a prophecy, of course using the King James. (That’s how you knew it was God speaking!)
I heard about an older gentleman who stood up in church and said, “Thus saith The Lord, just as I was with my servant Noah when he parted the Red Sea, so will I be with thee.” Sitting down, his wife promptly leaned in and whispered something to him. He quickly popped back up and said, “Thus saith The Lord, I made a mistake. It was Moses not Noah.” The congregation all snickered knowing that God wouldn’t have said, ‘I made a mistake.’
There is a human element in prophecy but God chooses to speak through humans. The truth is that sometimes we get it wrong but sometimes we get it right. And that’s ok. We are human and God already knows that.
There is plenty said about prophesy in the Bible. One only has to Google – ‘scriptures on prophecy’ and in .61 seconds 706,000 results pop up!
This week we are writing about the gift we operate in most freely. Just a few years ago I wouldn’t have professed prophecy and today it probably isn’t my best but it is the one I want to work on the most. Last year I had a pastor prophesy that I would begin to operate in the gifting of prophecy. I walked away thinking… What? Really? But afterwards I began digging into what the Bible has to say about prophecy. And then we began a series on the Gifts of the Spirit, prophecy being one of those we are encouraged to ask for.
This verse is the one that I have settled on to help me understand exactly what this gift looks like.
But the one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouraging and comfort. 1 Corinthians 14:3
I believe that we can go to the Bible and ‘pick and choose’ a few verses to line up with just about anything we want to believe, especially if we omit a few. BUT we need to understand the Bible as a whole and let the Bible interpret the Bible. It is important to read the verses before and after to insure that we’re lining up with the context.
So in context:
Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy. For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to people but to God. Indeed, no one understands them; they utter mysteries by the Spirit. But the one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouraging and comfort. 1 Corinthians 14: 1-3
- Strengthen – to grow stronger
- Encourage – to inspire
- Comfort – to reassure
Every time I have taken a spiritual gifting test, I always score highest on encouragement. As a mater of fact, I have to be careful not to encourage falsely. Because it comes so easily to me, it can seem like I am just puffing someone up. So I am choosing to learn to operate in this gift of Prophecy a little more cautiously. My parameters are that it should strengthen, encourage and comfort.
I have found that when I keep my ears clean so I can hear God’s voice and purpose to say only what I hear Him saying… it’s typically spot-on. I have told people things that I could have never known. Clearly it wasn’t me but Him. I try my best to be scriptural. (It was Moses who parted the Red Sea.) But I also know that I am human.
I wonder if many of us with the gift of encouragement don’t often use it to prophesy. (encourage, strengthen and comfort)
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Cindy Willingham is a landscape designer, small group leader, avid encourager, and sinner saved by grace who is eight years new to Birmingham, Alabama. Her sweet husband of 37 years, two married children and four grand-kiddos fill her life with unbelievable fun and sweet snuggles. She thinks God is awesome and that the best adventure starts with saying yes to that still, small voice. ~ To read Cindy’s BoP Bio click here.