Prophets and Prophecy in the Church. The real deal?

On Facebook today someone asked me what I mean when I talked about some prophets being the “real deal.”  The phrase was used in the context of commenting on conflicting prophecies in the Charismatic world on Brexit! This is how I responded. I did so instantly without thinking too much. Sometimes I find if I refine my thinking too much it loses some “life” even if it becomes a bit more polished and “clever.” I have posted my comment on that reality. The definition of the “real deal” in answer to a question put to me then follows  in italics.

“What to do when prophets disagree over Brexit…. as they are doing in the charismatic world- even prophets I admire and suspect are the real deal, not always right of course, but real? Well, I guess I trust most the ones that seem to tally most with the heart of God, the priorities of God revealed in Christ. Some make no mention of that…just ardent proclamation on the political level backed up by pretty inaccurate versions of history. Others are quite beautiful, full of compassion and grace, allied to a desire for righteousness and justice, without claiming the Scriptural high ground. After all, you can make a case for or against Brexit from Scripture very easily indeed, as you can with a lot of issues, so it can’t be settled that way. Leaving aside isolated texts that folk quote to back up their case, to whom does the heart of God go out towards? I look for prophecies that reflect that. They help me to pray with hope and faith. Such prophets sound as though they have nothing to prove and no axe to grind but speak with a quiet authority.”

“The ‘real deal?’ Someone who knows how to be in the counsel of the Lord, to hear His voice. They are marked in my experience, with humility, Scriptural faithfulness, Christ-like character and with a level of accuracy and insightful knowledge that shows this is coming from the Lord who knows all things, even things unwitnessed or unseen on a human level. They will always obey the rule of Scripture for New Testament prophecy, which is that even if there are things difficult to say and to hear, the fruit is seen in that people are strengthened, comforted and encouraged in the will and the ways of God.”

This may be of interest to you…and it may not be!

God bless

Kenny

 

That wave…

I had a dream last night about how often we settle for forgiveness rather than freedom, the comfort of grace rather than the true grace of God leading us to the joy of the Conqueror.

Have you settled for a circle of forgiveness and defeat? Remember that in Christ you have been given the authority and the power to live as a child of God. Don’t stop with forgiveness, though forgiveness alone  would be reason to praise God for all eternity. Pursue freedom.  In Christ you really can get past the wave that so continually seems to have washed you back to the shore in despair and seems to have mocked your desire to get beyond it to swim in the freedom of God. Don’t listen to the mockery one day longer. Ge hold of this truth: your sinful nature has been crucified with Christ.  Declare that truth over familiar temptation anytime it seems to mock you with a sense of its invincibility and of  inevitability of sin.

 “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all, training us to renounce impiety and worldly passions, and in the present age to live lives that are self-controlled, upright, and godly, while we wait for the blessed hope and the manifestation of the glory of our great God and Savior,[b] Jesus Christ. He it is who gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity and purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds (Titus 2. 11 – 14, NRSV).”

Let the grace of God in Jesus be your personal trainer!

God bless you with hope.

Kenny

Ordered steps…

Sometimes Christians like myself make looking for guidance from God a feverish sort of enterprise. It can become a bit of a fraught and anxious affair. Well, this thought was in my mind today in my waking moments. “Put your life into His hands, walk in obedience to His commands, and trust that the ordering of your steps is happening.” As Children of God, we are being guided even when we don’t necessarily have an awareness of it happening.

I like the following words from a poem in one of the books I turn to from time to time as a daily devotional aid, “Celtic Day Prayer, Book 2 (Page 889).”

“..you have put your life into My keeping,
and because you are
depending on Me for guidance and direction,
I shall give it.

Move on steadily,
and know that the waters that carry you
are the waters of My love and My kindness
and I will keep you on the right course.” (Frances J Roberts)

I hope these thoughts bless you today with an awareness of the peace of Christ.

Kenny

Variations on a theme…

Here are 3 short posts I put on Facebook today. In my mind they are variations on a theme, but that may be clearer to me than to you when you read them. They were sparked off by reading a dismissal of the compatibility of Psychiatry and Christianity. Sadly, one often reads of those who claim to believe in the bible and to honour it making claims that deny what the bible actually states and teaches. The thoughts I read seemed to me to be a very disturbing and potentially extremely unhelpful and dangerous should they become planted in people’s minds. The following thoughts seemed to flow in rapid succession to one another..

Thought 1: “One meets incredible thoughts on Facebook at times. Read a comment today that Christianity and Psychiatry can’t coexist. Ah well, it would seem in some folks’ eyes no Psychiatrist can be a Christian and no Christian can be a Psychiatrist. The bible is so inconvenient for such opinions. It contains such a lot of excellent insight and help for the renewal and wellbeing of our minds.”

Thought 2: “It is no dishonour at all to the uniqueness of Christ, no denial of Jesus as the only Name in which salvation can be found, to speak of God’s common grace toward all: the blessings He gives to all mankind for their good, whether a person is a Christian or not. So, for example, I am grateful for medicine, education, harvest, friendship, love, to name just a few of a thousand common grace blessings from God. I am so glad they do not just belong to Christians. I would find that intolerable. I cannot imagine anyone with the love of God in their hearts for the world in its lostness and need could ever find that anything but intolerable. Even other religions according to the bible can be seen as a feeling after God, indeed that is specifically taught in the New Testament. It is Apostolic truth. There is no need to attack everything in order to defend Christ. So often I have felt the anointing of God’s Spirit, His Presence come into the midst, as people who are not believers in Christ have spoken of their profound gratefulness to a God who they make no pretence to truly know as yet. Gratefulness is a good start.”

Thought 3: “God in the New Testament honours the preaching of His Word by interrupting it. Do we want that? Are we praying for that? Satan interrupts the Word as well. We need to learn who is interrupting and what to do when it happens, otherwise we may well reject God’s Spirit from the life of the Church because we think it is the devil at work, or welcome the devil because we think his activity is God at work. Remember when the devil interrupts in the New Testament he is usually declaring the truth of who Christ is. Biblical Orthodoxy, though it is a good thing to pursue, is not a fail-safe guide as to what is happening.”

God bless

Kenny

Send the Fire!

Felt the fire of God upon my body through the night. Wondered if I had been healed. Not the case, I think, but you know what? It showed me God can heal me any time He chooses, if He can touch me like that. You know something else? Compared with the wonder of His very own presence, healing seems a much lesser treasure to be desired. His Name shall called “Wonderful!” He is Life. His glory is not imagination but is unimaginable. Flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom. We could not survive it. Thank God we will be changed to bear His presence and love forever. Thank God for tastes of eternity, moments that speak to us of an eternity to come. Praise the Name of the God who appears and who hides Himself, who captures out heart and lures us deeper in. What would it be like if His presence and Fire came down on a congregation? Revival! What if that presence spilled over into the community? Awakening. This God can turn a community back to Him in a single day. I believe it! Whatever you are called to be and be doing for God, God bless you in it, but don’t stop believing for Revival, for another Awakening. The “normal” work must go on, and for that we will give account. We cannot sit back and do nothing as those who have been given the Good News, but oh for days as in times of refreshing in the past in Scotland, when all that people can say in communities across the length and breadth of this land is, “God has come!”

I love this hymn penned by General William Booth.

Verse 1
O God of burning cleansing flame
Send the fire
Your blood-bought gift today we claim
Send the fire today
Look down and see this waiting host
And send the promised Holy Ghost
We need another Pentecost
Send the fire today
Send the fire today

Verse 2
God of Elijah hear our cry
Send the fire
And make us fit to live or die
Send the fire today
To burn up every trace of sin
To bring the light and glory in
The revolution now begin
Send the fire today
Send the fire today

Verse 3
It’s fire we want for fire we plead
Send the fire
The fire will meet our every need
Send the fire today
For strength to always do what’s right
For grace to conquer in the fight
For power to walk the world in white
Send the fire today
Send the fire today
Verse 4

To make our weak hearts strong and brave
Send the fire
To live a dying world to save
Send the fire today
Oh see us on Your altar lay
We give our lives to You today
So crown the offering now we pray
Send the fire today
Send the fire today
Send the fire today

God bless

Kenny

Love suffereth long

It has taken me nearly fifty years to understand some of what I understand about Christ and for some things about me to change by the power of God’s grace and truth. God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit has been very patient with me. Oh how patient. No doubt He has been extremely patient with you too. We need to remember that when we get frustrated with one another and don’t understand why someone or other is not getting something or other or walking in victory over something or other as quickly as we think should be the case. Why the confusion? Think often of how patient and long suffering God’s love has been with you and with me, how often we went round and round and round the roundabouts, and are still going round a few no doubt.

“Thy patience, Lord. Please help me to treasure Thy patience in me for me. Help me to want  to make room for Thy Patience in me through me for others.”

God bless

Kenny

 

Be yourself and use what you have got!

I once shared in a conference in America with R.T. Kendall and John Paul Jackson and David Ravenhill (son of Leonard). I am not name dropping, honest! The point is, I felt afraid. I respected these men so much and felt on the human level I was out of my league. I blurted out these feelings to JPJ in the lift in the hotel one morning. I told him about my inadequacies, the shortcomings and failings and sins. I said I wanted him to know all these things about me, and how unfit I was to be sharing in the conference he had organised. He laughed and smiled with great love and said, “Kenny, years ago, God told me that he builds his flock with the spotted and the speckled, and I was to build with the spotted and the speckled too.” It was a reference to the story of Jacob. My heart was set at peace instantly, and I was set free to be me at the conference without any more worries.

That came to mind today for one or two reasons. I felt I wanted to share it. We are all spotted and speckled. Don’t turn down an opportunity God opens to you by counting yourself out. One of my heroes, JPJ, has passed into glory leaving much blessing and enduring influence. You and I are still alive. My favourite Proverb? “Better a live dog than a dead lion.” If you are alive this day, don’t let awe of lions stop you from rejoicing in the gift of a bark! Use it!

God bless

Kenny