Yesterday we were considering the power that is released, that comes into our lives, as God speaks. Taking hold of what He says, receiving His words and agreeing with Him, as He reveals Himself to us through those words, can have a mighty effect in our lives; renewing our minds and transforming us to become more and more like Jesus.
When God speaks His words can also bring change to our circumstances, as it did for Blind Barteamaus, and others that we read about, like the centurion who said to Jesus ‘Just say the word and my servant will be healed. Matthew 8:8. In Isaiah we have an amazing promise from God about His words. Speaking to the Israelites He said ‘As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seeds for the sower and bread for the eater, so is My word that goes out from My mouth; it will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it’. Isaiah 55:10,11.
Now we know that as well as speaking to us through scripture God speaks to us prophetically by His Spirit through the gifts that He freely gives. In these days, when there is an increase of God speaking ‘prophetically’ through his children, (and remember, we can ‘all prophesy’ 1 Corinthians 14:31), we clearly need to be able to be sure that the words that we hear through each other, or directly for ourselves, truly are from God. Paul encourages us to ‘weigh carefully what is said’, 1 Corinthians 14:29.
If we do want to give someone a ‘word’ or when we are receive a ‘word’, our first means of ‘weighing it’ is through the scriptures. This is because we know that the Spirit is the Spirit of truth and so no word ‘inspired by the Holy Spirit’ is going to contradict the scriptures. We should also be able to sense within our own spirit a measure of agreement with what is said to us, and of course we should always share those ‘words’ with others who we trust, so that they can add their understanding and verification of what God is saying. ( See 1 Corinthians 14:29 )
The wonder of hearing from God through a prophetic word or picture, a word of knowledge or a word of wisdom, is that faith rises in our hearts because it feels like God has seen us, seen our situation and heard our hearts cry, and then spoken to us personally. This is especially so if the person bringing that ‘word’ does not know our circumstances. It is not hard in those situations, when we have an immediate ‘witness’ in our spirit that these words are from God, to rejoice and be thankful. Giving thanks for any ‘prophetic words’ that we receive can also be a way of testing those words because our spirit and Holy Spirit will be in harmony.
Thanksgiving for a prophesy is also important in making it ‘active’ and effective in our lives too. This is because prophetic words are not the same as fortune telling, which carries a fatalistic message. When God speaks a word to us, through scripture or directly, we need to keep revisiting those words and talking to God about them. As we hold the words that we believe God has spoken into our lives before Him, with gratitude in our hearts, that He is loving and caring for us, we can know that he is ‘watching over His word to perform it’. Jeremiah 1:12. Our faith will then grow with time rather than be depleted. This is so important because the fulfillment of God’s word is not always instant, and His timings are so very often different to mine. It may well be longer, requiring patience and perseverance. Hebrews 6:12.
Thanksgiving will not only sustain and increase our faith, it will also help to grow our understanding of what God is saying, and it will help to keep us from presumption about how those words might be fulfilled. Thanksgiving and ruminating over the words that God has spoken to us will enable us to really take on board at a deeper level all that the Lord is saying, and will keep us alert and open to the Holy Spirit to guide us if there are conditions that we need to fulfill ourselves.
When Mary had that very dramatic encounter with the angel concerning the birth of Jesus, she asked quite understandably, ‘How can this be?’ Then after being told, ‘For nothing will be impossible with God’ she says ‘may it be done to me according to your word’, Luke 1:34-38, NASB. Shortly after she meets Elizabeth and gets a ‘confirming word’, and her soul breaks out in praise and worship. Luke 1:43,44.
None of us are going to get a word like Mary but her response is a model for us. If God is speaking, the Holy Spirit is definitely involved, and will be instrumental in the fulfillment of that word, our part is to give thanks and praise and to walk with the Lord, building our faith and understanding as we go.