Our February meeting at the Penmorvah Manor Hotel was another memorable occasion. Starting once again, with the Hotel doing us proud with hot coffee and delicious home-made doughnuts.
The worship music was of the highest quality performed by ‘One Heart’, with Mark Grove worship leading as usual, we were truly blessed this evening.
The ‘life changing moment’ was given by David Kessell.
God heals the body and the spirit but in David’s case it was his emotions that required mending. He had a very difficult childhood. With his mother dying when he was four and with his father working 12-hour shifts, he became the carer for his younger brother. that and with his dyslexia, the stigma of having no mother among his peers and unsympathetic teachers, it is no wonder he had low self-esteem. This sense of worthlessness led to the thought ‘don’t love people because they will leave you’, this especially applied to women. ‘Don’t trust God, because he says he loves you, but he will take away your most treasured person’. Don’t say ‘God has taken her to be with the angels’, because it isn’t true. All God wants to do is beat you up.
Only one teacher saw something in David and encouraged him where others couldn’t and that was John Roberts. Rather go into some quiet job like cleaner or librarian, he encouraged David in his ambition to be a teacher.
Even though he was good at college his self-esteem was still low and though he strived to be good and appreciated, by working hard, joining clubs, church and the Samaritans he still had a crushed spirit. At home things were not better, his wife left him, even his house was against him with mundic block (concrete ‘cancer’).
Things had come to a head, so David took a fortnight off at a Christian house. He asked some people there to pray for him, but they were not required as in his sorrow, Jesus sat with him as he bawled his eyes out. As Jesus held his hand, David could see that Jesus was crying too. The Son of God was sitting with him. After this experience David’s life changed, he is no longer ‘fine’ in the sense he used to be (Fearful, Insecure, Neurotic and Emotional) He praises God every day because now he knows who he is, he is in the Lord who loves him
We had a different style of talk this month as Andy Stayne gave us a flavour of the gift of prophesy by giving us the basic principles and giving some practical experience.
Some people may have looked doubtful, so Andy reminded us that faith was spelt ’risk’ and that faith with no action is dead. Are you willing to be a fool for Christ? Step out and risk getting it wrong? But be in obedience to Jesus and love for people, not in strength but weakness?
Prophesy is not earned, it is not a reward for holiness, it is a gift. A gift used for service, to make the church holy, to build it up to maturity in Christ.
In Old Testament days, prophesy was given to few people, mainly prophets. In these last days Jesus has fulfilled the Law with a new and everlasting covenant in which intimacy with the Holy Spirit is open to all. We are God’s temple where God dwells in us, therefore we should expect God’s gifts to flow. God can use you right now!
Who can prophesy? Paul seems to give contrasting ideas, on one hand he says all can prophesy and then says, “are all teachers, prophets….?” Indicating it is not for everyone. David Pitches gets over this dichotomy by saying that prophesy can be temporary or permanent. All Christians may be able to prophesy on occasion but only those with the ‘office of prophesy’ is it on a constant basis. But however we have the gift, we must use it as Jesus used it, with love, to build up people and especially the church. For prophesy is for now. For edification, a life-giving force, right now! A small element of prophesy is future based, declaring the destiny of people, but it is mainly to reveal the Father’s heart for us to learn and be encouraged.
Prophesy creates an environment of faith and expectancy for others, not ‘what I need’ but how to give, so all go away fed. The Holy Spirit knows people’s needs. But prophets must not work in isolation, the gifts are to be practised and learned as part of a team. Prophets need the other gifts, such as discernment, in order to be accountable. “The meeting place is the learning place for the market place”.
Prophesying is not a frenetic exercise. One must be calm and not be anxious and not worried about getting it right. God is never frustrated, only we are.
What is prophesy like? If you say to yourself the words “I love you”. What did it sound like? That is what it is like, it just appears like that. Picture a fridge in your mind. That is what it looks like, a picture in your mind. If you can picture someone opening the fridge and taking something out, that is what a prophesy is like, a moving picture.
If what you are seeing is not obvious, ask the Lord “What are you showing me?” “Is it for me or someone else?” Simple questions get simple replies.
Sometimes prophets hear God, they dream, or scripture ‘jumps’ out at them. Sometimes music or song even smells or words of knowledge or a bodily pain that points to a sufferer in a healing service, will indicate the many ways in which God will use you.
How do you know if the prophesy is from God? There are three different examples. The prophesy can come from the Holy Spirit, human sources or evil origins. If it is from the Holy Spirit it is helpful, it edifies, it builds up. It encourages, it puts new heart, new energy and new enthusiasm into people and most importantly gives comfort, remember, the Holy Spirit is the Comforter.
If the message is of human origin it will be harmless, generally a self-seeking personal agenda, sometimes prefaced with “The Lord said to me……..”. This, unfortunately is a statement which does not invite testing. A better statement would be “I believe the Lord is saying……”, this gives a better option to test the statement. A good analogy for a prophet is that he or she is like a waiter, they bring the order from the kitchen (heaven) and place it before the customer, occasionally explaining what the item served up contains.
The evil prophesy is from the enemy, it is accusative, it violates the Word of God and leads people away from righteousness. It appeals to the flesh and leads to death, destruction and division from the voice of the Lord.
Prophets then, are spokespersons for the divine Spirit, they bring the light of Christ, a lamp in the darkness to build up the church. The gift needs to work in conjunction with the other gifts of the Holy Spirit and need to be practised. People who do not heed the prophesy will lose it. Andy gave us the example of the Emmanuel Community in France who initially ignored a prophesy. Prophesy keeps the cutting edge and keeps us fresh in the Lord.
After the theory came the practical. Andy led us through a few simple exercises such as simple words to someone we didn’t know and simple sentences to yet another stranger. For my part I am going to have to do a lot of practice but what I received pleasantly surprised me.
To build up our church, we shall have to do as St Paul says and actively desire the gifts of the Holy Spirit.