Our friend Charlie Forrest* began a conversation in the comments section of my last blog post on ‘The Heart of A Discerner.’ His thought-provoking observations are so good that I have decided to put the discernment series on hold in order to share the discussion with you.
Here are Charlie’s comments, in blue italics (I’ve added the emphasis in bold), followed by my own responses.
Would you like to add your own thoughts to this conversation? Feel free to join us in the comments section of this post. (If the comments box is not visible, click on this link and scroll down).
Charlie: ‘Thanks for the reply Helen, just a couple of extra points. I believe the need of intimacy with the Father is vital for the prophetic to function as it should. A prophet has absolutely nothing to say if he does not hear what the Lord is saying.’
Charlie, you are so right—the whole point of prophecy (and other revelationary gifts such as word of knowledge and discernment) is to speak forth the heart, mind and will of the Father. Intimacy is vital if we are to accurately represent Him.
How tragic to catch the revelation of God’s purposes—His mind and will—but to miss His heartbeat!
I believe it is the apprehension of His heart that will enable us to frame a prophecy in such a way that His love—and redeeming purpose—shines through (1 Cor 13:1-2). Without this, a prophecy is empty and incomplete.
Charlie: If he does speak and does not hear from the Lord the source of what he is saying is coming from either the flesh or worse, demonic. This will cause much hurt in the body.
Personally, I do not believe that all prophecy sourced in the flesh (out of our natural heart and mind) is damaging, although it can be, especially if it is misleading or employs soulish manipulation. A prophecy (or ‘word of encouragement,’ as it may better be termed), spoken out of our own heart, may fall short of being God’s best; but if it is encouraging, simple, Biblical, and spoken in faith—with love—I believe God can still use it.
If we allowed ourselves to fear speaking ‘in the flesh’ (out of our natural heart and mind), many of us, myself included, would never speak a prophecy at all!
I believe this potential for us to fall short in prophetic ministry, and for damage to be caused, is the reason Paul exhorted the Corinthian church to ‘weigh carefully’ prophetic words (1 Cor 14:29). And as he said in 1 Thess 5:20-21:
‘Do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything. Hold on to the good.’ Unsaid, but inherent in the text is, ‘Reject what is not good.’
These guidelines were given by the Holy Spirit to the church to help purify prophetic ministry.
It continually amazes me that Jesus entrusts us, His church, with gifts that are—not in terms of source, but in our expression of them—imperfect and incomplete (see also 1 Cor 13:9-10). His higher plan is for us to be interdependent upon each other in the use of our gifts.
Check out an earlier post I wrote on this subject:
The other point that flows from this of course is, ‘What do we do about damaging prophecy?’ I started to explore this in the comments section of the following post:
This topic is much broader than what we can cover here.
Charlie: Secondly from being in the Fathers presence we learn His heart and are then able to discern what is from Him and what is not.
So true. And I do agree with your implication that the ability to discern is not limited to those with a gift of discernment.
This leads us to your question about spiritual gifts, which we will dialogue on in next week’s post.
Charlie: I have heard a lot of prophetic words lately and I feel much is wishful thinking and the flesh. I long for the day when there will be men and women released in the body who know the Father and will speak his word in power and humility.
Charlie I know this is also the cry of my heart and many who read this blog will agree.
Deep down we know there is more. We live in the tension between our current experience and what we know is available.
I feel as though I am paddling in shallows, but longing for deep waters.
However, I am also mindful of the scriptural injunction to not despise the day of small things (Zech 4:10).
The greatest thrill I have in prophetic training is to watch people who have never received a prophetic word before receive and share a simple revelation from the heart of God.
It is not perfect, but it is a little baby step. And I know that just as a parent delights in a child’s first steps, our Heavenly Father takes joy in these moments too.
The thing is not to stop at that place, but to keep moving closer in intimacy with the Father, growing in character and in skill in the use of our gift.
I love your heart, Charlie, and your hunger.
Let the hunger spread.
* *Charlie Forrest pastors New Hope Fellowship in Auckland, New Zealand. Charlie has many years leadership involvement in missions with Asian Outreach and is also a Bible College lecturer. Charlie and his wife Brenda are responsible for launching The Hunk and I into missions ministry around 23 years ago.
**Next week I will continue the dialogue with Charlie Forrest on the topic of spiritual gifts. Charlie has raised some provocative questions, for which I don’t have all the answers. But we can certainly explore them together.
A Dialogue On Spiritual Gifts
‘The Heart of A Discerner.’
‘Not Word Perfect: Understanding How Prophetic Ministry Works In The Church Today.’
‘How Do I Know A Personal Prophecy Or Dream Interpretation Is From God?’
© 2010 Helen Calder Enliven Publishing
Now on team with David McCracken Ministries