This post is especially for my friends who are more from the ‘reformed’ wing of the church, and will hopefully serve as a gentle reminder that we don’t worship Father, Son and Holy Bible, but rather Father, Son and Holy Spirit! While I completely stand by my initial statement that the Scriptures must always be our ultimate point of reference, especially in the area of guidance, it’d be insanely unbiblical to deny that the same Spirit who wrote the Bible still speaks and guides us in other ways too.
i) He speaks through dreams
e.g. Joseph (Genesis 37, 40 & 41), Joseph (Matthew 2)
Word of warning – some foods such as cheese can give you some MAD dreams! Be careful!!
ii) He speaks through visions
e.g. Paul (Acts 16v9)
A word of caution here would have to go to those who have a history of drug abuse (especially hallucinogenics) or psychiatric issues.
iii) He speaks directly
e.g. Moses (Exodus 3), Samuel (1Samuel 3), Saul (Acts 9)…and shed-loads of others!
In my experience, this happens very rarely. Again, beware the effects of drugs or mental instability (especially schizophrenia). Some of the people who I’ve met who “hear God’s voice” are more nutty than a squirrel’s pantry!
iv) He speaks prophetically through His people
as described in 1Corinthians 12v8-9
I count it a privilege to be friends with many Pentecostal Christians. In fact I look back on my six years serving an Elim church in St.Mellons as one of the most important periods of my Christian life! One of the areas that I was most challenged in during that time was the area of prophecy. I had never really been exposed to prophecy before (in fact I’d been taught to treat ‘prophets’ with suspicion and scepticism) but while I was in St.Mellons, God opened my eyes to some stuff.
Naturally, we met a few Charismaniac fruit-loops (the ones who always see trees and rivers and love the microphone too much!) but we also met the genuine article – men and women who hear from God and have the faith and confidence to speak boldly into people’s lives. Over the years, both me and Michelle have had words spoken over us that were so precise, so insightful and so specific to where we were at that they had to have come straight from God. Even more convincingly, they were words about our lives, ministries, dreams and future calling that ultimately proved true!
I can testify from my own experience that when the prophetic word comes hand-in-hand with God speaking to you through Scripture it can bring real clarity and confirmation, especially when it comes to matters of guidance. It can also deeply encourage your heart when you realise that God is so concerned about speaking to you that He’d bother to send someone across your path with a specific message for you. That’s humbling!
On a cautionary note, the word of the prophet should never supersede or replace Scripture (that’s dangerous ground!) and should always be tested and approved against Scripture by both yourself and godly leaders. But we should never overlook the gift of prophecy or deny its place in our life. To do so is to throw one of God’s most powerful and life-changing gifts back in His face. Rather we should embrace prophecy and allow the Spirit to speak to our hearts through gifted men and women in biblical, timely and compelling ways!
So in conclusion, if there’s no prophetic voices speaking into your life – you need to get off this blog and go make some Pentecostal friends!