Friday, August 23, 2013

A Beginner's Guide: Prophecy - If it's a gift, do I question the Giver?

Are you new to a church that claims it's charismatic?  Are you familiar with the spiritual gift of Gift of Prophecy? 

I've been very much curious about this new gifting of being prophetic. 
I've asked a few trusted people and recently began to read some materials about this gift of prophecy. The fact that we talked about this in our home group just a few weeks back had made this curiosity re-emerged.

I still have my own questions, left unanswered.  But one thing I agree with is that it needs to be tested.  
One friend told me how encouraged and amazed she is when she heard my story about my gift.  I, too, think that it is a wonderful experience of being asked to pray for someone in a way I have never experienced before. 

If you read my previous posting, to me, the gift came uninvited. And I'm not sure if the verse that God gave me as an answer for is the part where I got the "prophetic moments" tested. 

As curious (or frustrated) as I have been, I want to grow (yes, I do think the spiritual experiences have been helpful in my personal relationship with God) in this gift. And as encouraged before, I could practice it. 

This is practically new to me, and began rather more intensely since early this year, I'm afraid I may not handle this very well. Sighs. 
Looking at what Piper suggests about this gift, as below, I think I lack of boldness (again, an issue which has been addressed by my home group leader to me personally). Because faith is not cowardly.

Click here for the source.
Using Our Gifts in Proportion to Our Faith, Part 1
The Gift of Prophecy
John Piper, October 2004

Let’s see if we can have these common aims together even if some call it the gift of prophecy and others don’t. Let’s go back to Romans 12:6 and take up the command to use the gift of prophecy “in proportion to our faith.”
1. The Exaltation of Christ
Using the gift in proportion to our faith will mean that we use it to exalt Christ. That’s what faith does. Practically that means that as I bow my head before entering this pulpit I ask for the gift of prophecy. That is, I say (and you can say this about your small group as you are driving there), “Lord, bring to my mind thoughts and words, beyond my preparation, which will have the greatest effect for the glory of Christ. Bring to my mind applications and insights and words, besides those I have prepared, that will penetrate through hard hearts and convict, and others that will encourage and console and guide. Yes, I believe you have given me edifying insight already in my preparation. I am only now asking that to the gift of teaching you would add a gift of prophecy.” I pray that way and you can too.
2. Humility and Boldness
Using the gift in proportion to our faith means that we will use it both humbly and boldly. That is, we will not speak the prophetic word with any claim to divine authority, but with a humble claim to divine insight which we offer to be tested. But faith is not cowardly. It’s humility is not silent. It speaks. It speaks the tough or tender word. It does not say, “The Lord told me to tell you . . .”, but “I sense (or I think) that the Lord wants us (or you) to . . .” This leaves room for the testing the Bible calls for.
3. Love as the Measure of What We Say
Finally, using the gift in proportion to our faith means that we will make love the measure of what we say, because “faith works through love” (Galatians 5:6). Once a woman prophesied over me that my pregnant wife would give me a daughter not a fourth son, and that my wife would die in childbirth. That was not a helpful prophecy. It was pointless. And, as you know, it proved false. Love did not govern the use of that gift. That is not the way saving faith uses gifts. 

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