Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying: ‘Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you…’ – Jeremiah 1:4-5 (NKJV)
Last week I began coaching my first practice client who happens to be a good friend. I was trying to get a feel as to whether or not life coaching might be for me. She was trying to get clarity on her personal and business goals. As our “session” progressed, we got onto the subject of receiving guidance from God through dreams. Later the topic came up again in our day to day conversations.
As we moved from dreams to other types of God given guidance, I found myself sharing both experience and opinion. Some of those opinions were about prophecy outside the Bible. About what it is and what it is not.
I’m sure that there a lot of Christians who aren’t especially concerned with the prophetic or where modern day prophecy comes from. Or what is of God and what is not. But if you’ve been deeply involved in the new age or the occult these things matter. Because you already know what’s out there – not completely of course, but to a greater degree than most – and how deceptive it can be.
When you’re first out of the occult and still new to the faith, there is a strong temptation to stick with Scripture and shut everything else out. But then God works through the passages of your Bible or through your dreams or through your heart or through your mind. And you know that it is of God because it comes in answer to a prayer.
You know that it is of God for the simple reason that late Bible teacher Derek Prince gives. If we ask God for bread, he will not give us a stone.
Or in the words of Jesus:
‘Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!’ – Matthew 7:7-11 (ESV)
I believe that Matthew 7:7-11 covers us when we ask for all things that are in agreeance with scriptural, including the spiritual gifts spoken of by Paul in 12:4-11.
Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills. – 1 Corinthians 12:4-11 (ESV
We don’t know what gifts God will give us but we do know that if we ask Him for guidance we won’t receive a stone. But what about others? What about those who call themselves prophets? We don’t know what they ask for. Or if they ask at all. Or who they are talking to. Or why. And sometimes the YouTube prophets I have seen sound a lot like mediums or psychics or me or my friend when we were still reading cards.
Which may be why I am suspicious of anyone who prophesies for others. Personal guidance is one thing, I told my friend during our discussion, but prophesying for others looks a lot like new age.
I was very sure of myself then but afterward I wondered. Who was I to say how prophecy worked? Who was I to tell God what he could or couldn’t do? I repented and prayed for guidance and then I opened my Spirit-Filled Life Study Bible, not in search for answers, but because I try to read the Bible everyday and it was getting late.
The first thing I noticed was that the ribbon was at the very beginning of the book of Jeremiah. Not because I planned on reading Jeremiah but because the ribbon had gotten creased and I had laid between the pages at random to press it out. Jeremiah, I thought, not very cheery. But I read the first page anyway.
I didn’t make it to the second. Because there in my Spirit-Filled Life Study Bible was a passage and a sidebar and a footnote that directed me to the Truth In Action section. All of which were on the topic of – you guessed it – the prophetic.
As I read through the material on prophecy I realized there was a lot I didn’t know. And I understood that God was telling me that I should read the entire book of Jeremiah and the sidebars and the footnotes and the referenced verses and the Truth in Action section.
Not because I’m a prophet in the making but because if I learn about this topic I can share it here in New Age To Christian and eventually in my upcoming ebook. That, I’d like to believe, is the gift that God has given me.
These images show the Spirit-Filled Life Study Bible pages mentioned in the post. The sidebar I mentioned is in blue on photo 1. If you look carefully at that photo you’ll see how the footnote for Jeremiah 1:4-10 (bottom left column) leads directly to section 5 of the Truth In Action section in photo 2.
I will include the full text of Jeremiah 1:4-10 below because I know it’s hard to make out in the photo.
The Spirit-Filled Study Bible is available in multiple editions on Amazon and on Kindle. I don’t use Amazon Affiliates or any other affiliate program in this publication, but I would like to share this link because the Spirit-Filled Study Bible is amazing.
Full Text of Jeremiah 1:4-10
Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying:
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you;
Before you were born I sanctified you;
I ordained you a prophet to the nations.”
Then said I:
“Ah, Lord God!
Behold, I cannot speak, for I am a youth.”
But the Lord said to me:
“Do not say, ‘I am a youth,’
For you shall go to all to whom I send you,
And whatever I command you, you shall speak.
Do not be afraid of their faces,
For I am with you to deliver you,” says the Lord.
Then the Lord put forth His hand and touched my mouth, and the Lord said to me:
“Behold, I have put My words in your mouth.
See, I have this day set you over the nations and over the kingdoms,
To root out and to pull down,
To destroy and to throw down,
To build and to plant.”
– Jeremiah 1:4-10 (NKJV)