By Maria Fontaine
The ability to hear from the Lord through prophecy and to involve Him integrally in our lives brings about many beautiful fruits, particularly a deep intimacy with the Lord and closeness to God’s Spirit. The Lord gives so many faith-inspiring and motivating words through prophecy, which help us to draw closer to Him.
One of the core beliefs that the Family was founded on is the belief that God continues to speak today and to impart His messages to His people through prophecy, revelation, and inspired words of spiritual direction and counsel. Our relationship with prophecy began in the Family’s earliest days, when David encouraged the first members of the Children of God to take the time to stop and hear from God:
“Prayer is not just getting down on your knees and speaking your piece, but it’s letting God speak His, too—and waiting until He answers. You’ve got to get not only in prayer, but you’ve got to get in the Spirit. And if you do, He’ll tell each one of you what you’re supposed to do.” (From “Stop, Look, Listen”)
“Every day should be a new day, a new experience, a new listening to the voice of the Lord. Why just live on yesterday’s food; why not have something fresh every day? You can hear from God every day, and you should be hearing from Him every day. It doesn’t have to be out loud; it doesn’t have to be with an audible voice. It can just be in that still, small voice that you feel inside of you. Sometimes it’s not even words, just an impression that you have. God doesn’t even have to communicate in words. He can just give you a feeling or a picture or an idea.” (From “Hearing from God”)
“You cannot look to your own wisdom; you cannot rest in your own understanding. You must look for the supernatural, miraculous, powerful leading and guidance of the Holy Spirit. It’s impossible to solve these problems on your own. “Lean not to your own understanding, but in all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5–6)
“So remember that you cannot possibly solve these problems in your own wisdom, your own strength, your own mind, your own understanding, your own trying to put two and two together. You’re going to have to ask the Lord by the supernatural, miraculous power of the Holy Spirit, to give you downright, outright, upright revelations, heaven-right, straight from Him, to show you exactly what to do. (From “For God’s Sake Follow God”)
Following God has been a hallmark of our movement, based on the belief that if we sought Him in full faith, we would find Him. (Jeremiah 29:13) We have also been convinced from Scripture that God would “pour out His Spirit on all people” in the last days, and His servants, both men and women, would prophesy. (Acts 2:17–18 NIV) Receiving God’s contemporary messages specific to our calling and service for the Lord is a cornerstone of our faith.
The fulfillment of God’s promises can be somewhat subjective and even mysterious, and we can’t always know for sure whether they will be fulfilled in the way we expect or interpret them, or how or when they might be fulfilled in the future. When John received his revelation of the endtime 2,000 years ago, there were indicators that these promises would be fulfilled much earlier in history. The fact that they haven’t yet been fulfilled has meant that Christians have had to adjust their interpretation of these scriptures and trust that God will fulfill His promises in His perfect time and way.
Christians often claim promises that were given, for example, specifically to the Israelites. We have had the faith to claim those verses because we consider them to be God’s Word, which could be called upon in different situations, even if they were given for a particular situation or have yet to be fulfilled. We know that the principle of God’s miraculous power as exhibited by His promises and their fulfillment is a principle that can be claimed in prayer. We can always benefit from the spiritual principles underlying a promise that was given for a specific time or situation.
We can’t fathom the full scope of God’s plan and will regarding His promises, which is why Paul said, “Who can know the mind of the Lord? … How unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out.” (Romans 11:34,33) Only He knows whether, how, or when His promises will be fulfilled. Nor can we say that they won’t be fulfilled in the future. The fulfillment may come about in ways that are different from what we expect or how we may have interpreted the prophecy and expected it to be fulfilled.
He works within the boundaries of our understanding, just as a parent does with a child, who takes the child where he’s at in his development and works within the limits of his capacities. We only know in part. We can only prophesy in part. (1 Corinthians 13:9)
God will generally speak to us within the context of our faith. However, if the Lord wants to give us something outside our understanding, we can trust that as we call on Him desperately for His plan, He surely will—even if He has to come through with revelations beyond our previous experience and faith. By the same token, if He, for reasons known only to Him, decides not to lead us in a new direction until the time of His choosing, we also need to understand that it is within His prerogative to do so.
Ultimately, this is where the God factor comes in, knowing and believing that He is greater than our human limitations and understanding. He guides us in answer to our desperate prayers, even when that might mean expanding beyond our previous boundaries and faith.
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