Prophecy

Discussion in 'Free-For-All Archives' started by Liz, Feb 20, 2004.

  1. Liz

    Liz
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    I would like to hear some viewpoints about the gift of prophecy among modern day Christians. Is this a spiritual gift that we should expect to see in our churches? How can we tell if it is a true word from God?

    The reason that I ask is becuase I have had a "prophetic" encounter before. Here's the story (bear with me please).

    I'm 22 years old and I grew up in a hostile home. My mother has suffered from manic depression and other problems and although she was a stay at home mom, she wasn't always stable for us.
    Neither of my parents graduated from high school nor did they ever take the time to complete a GED. My father at one time had a decent paying job and has always worked hard for his family of 6 but we have always struggled with paying bills on time. It especially became hard when he lost his decent paying job when I was 7 years old.
    We grew up in the Lutheran church during my early years but slipped away some time during my middle school years. My mother at one point decided to take me to a charismatic church but I remember feeling uncomfortable there so I eventually quit going by the time I was in high school. I should also mention that during my adolescent years I started to rebel and experiment with drugs and alcohol. Experimentation led to abuse which led to failure in school. Somehow, I stuck through high school though and managed to graduate with a mediocre GPA. I'm not sure how I managed to even graduate, at one point I had to go before a judge for truancy.
    During this time, I was etremely disrespectful to my parents, blaming them inside for all my problems. We would fight, they would fight, and inevitably the sheriifs department would end up at my house. My family knew nothing about my substance abuse, however, my older brother was also having substance abuse problems at the time.
    One Sunday during my middle school years I was at the charismatic church while they had a guest speaker. I remember that she was this powerful Black woman and I could sense at the time that she was annointed. During the end of her message she had an alter call then began "prophesying" over people in the church. I remember being terrified that she would come over to me...I couldn't have been older then 15 at the time. Well she did come to me and she told me something to the effect that I was like Ruth from the Bible or that I was going to be a Ruth...or something like that. Then she told me that I would walk on foreign land someday. I didn't understand the first word and never thought the second word could possibly come true as I grew up in a small town in the rural south and had never been past the Alabama state line. For the next 5 or so years I ignored that this prophecy had ever taken place but it still remained in the back of my mind.
    When I graduated from high school I wanted nothing more then to move out of my parents' house and that's exactly what I did. I had met this woman through working at a child care that her kids attended. She had recently gone through a divprce and was in rough shape. She hired me as her live in nanny and would watch her precious children while she locked herself away in her bedroom. At this time I also started to work at a bank while the kids were in school. When Lisa's kids were with their father, she and I would drink heavily, go out, or sometimes we would drink heavily and Lisa would get out the pot that had been prescribe to her father who had died of cancer. There were many times when I was living with Lisa that I probably could have gotten killed or killed someone. I would get trashed and then drive over to another friends house. While all of this was occuring I knew it was wrong. However, I think that I blamed my parents for everything that went wrong in my life. I longed for someone to turn to. THings eventually started to go sour with Lisa and we got into fights. Things were also going terrible with my job at the bank. I was making mistakes all over the place and one day one of the other tellers humiliated me in front of everyone calling me an idiot, telling me I was worthless, and also saying that I would never amount to anyone or go anywhere and that I would always be Lisa's nanny. I didn't say a word but the outspoken loan processor stood up for me and an altercation between the two arose. When all was said and done I was blamed for the whole thing. That was my last day at the bank.
    Once I got to Lisa's I sunk down to my knees. At that moment my whole life seemed hopeless. All the dreams that I had had of going off to college and becoming a teacher had diminished. I had never felt so hopeless in my life. I really and truly wanted to end it all there. I felt that I had failed with the life that God had given me I had put all my hope in temporal and even harmful things. I had made these things my gods and looked to them to sustain my life. I spent the next 10 minutes praying and repenting. I had been Baptized as an infant so I truly believe that the Holy Spirit yanked me back into the boat with Christ. I had been saved from drowning.
    I spent the next week of free time trying to decide how I could fix my life. Little did I know, but the Holy Spirit had hold of me and was leading me to all the right people. I went and spoke with the Lutheran pastor at my former church. I barely knew him because he had come after we left the church but I wanted to seek the advice of a figure that I had trusted when I was a little girl, a Lutheran Pastor.
    We talked and I can't really recall what he said that day because I was an emotional mess but this sixty-year old man who had dedicated his life as a Lutheran teacher then pastor encouraged me. After I left his office I found a computer and started to research where I would go to college. I looked at Christian colleges on the internet and found the Concordia College (at the time) of Ann Arbor, Michigan and I knew that this was where God was leading me. However, I had no idea how I would get there. I quickly applied online but was worried about my high school grades.
    Things happend quickly after this. It was the end of the summer of 2000 and I knew that it was probably too late to get in for Fall but I was determined to at least get to Michigan. I found out that a friend that I had in high school had moved to Michigan so I called them up and the family agreed to let me come stay with them for a few months. I went to my parents house and eagerly told them what I was going to do. I think that they thought I was crazy and was about to embark on yet another failure. I could also see the worry in their eyes. Two days later I packed up my little Dodge Neon and headed north and 3 a.m.. Like I said before, I had never seen anything beyond the Alabama state line so I was in for a thrill. The drive was both frightening and exciting. I had never had any experience driving through large cities and had no idea how to read a map or follow road signs. Somehow I managed to get to Indianapolis before I got lost. By the time I got past Indianapolis into the vast open fields of corn I was getting tired and growing more anxious by the second. Then I saw the most beautiful rainbow I had ever seen and remembered God’s promise to Noah. I felt like God was saying to me too that I would never have to return to my sinful past again. I arrived in a rainy Michigan late that same night.
    The next few months went by fast. I got a job as a waitress and after I received my acceptance letter from Concordia I was ready to make my first visit. After sitting through freeway traffic and getting lost I managed to show up late for my appointment but thankfully not too late. When I walked into the beautiful mansion there I knew this was where I would spend the next four years. They even had a markee at the entrance with my name on it to welcome me there. I sat down with the admissions counselor and everything sounded great until she told me how much tuition was. Tuition for one year was more money then my father made per year at his job. I left in disbelief and doubt but then it hit me, how could God bring me all this way for nothing? In the midst of my disbelief was a growing glimmer of hope that God would somehow provide. Indeed he did. I had to take some cans back just to get gas money to get back to the other side of the state.
    Two months later I arrived on a snowy morning to move into my dorm room at Concordia. I had a severe sinus infection that had only been made worse from my first ever flight on an airplane and I also didn’t have a voice. That same day I also met the man who proposed to me at the Eiffel Tower last August. I settled into my classes that week and had decided on studying to become a teacher with a Lutheran Teaching Diploma. A couple weeks after I arrived I was sitting in my quiet dorm room. All the friends that I had made had gone home to see their families for the weekend. I was feeling lonely and depressed and missed the family that I had taken for granted all those years. Then I remembered that beautiful Black woman who told me that I would be like Ruth. I had never understood the story, or how I would be like a woman whose husband had died and lived with her mother-in-law. So I opened my Bible and read the whole book. When I got to this verse I was astonished. “You left your father and mother and your homeland and came to live with a people you did not know before. May the LORD repay you for what you have done, the God of Israel, under whose wings you have come to take refuge.” Ruth 2 11-12. I spent the next few months in an emotional state of astonishment and thanksgiving.
    I am in my senior year now and after my freshman year I spent the summer as a camp counselor at camp Lutherhaven in Indiana. After my sophomore year I took my first trip to “foreign soil.” I went to Moscow and St. Petersburg in Russian and then spent a month in Siberia doing mission work. This passed summer I went with a church group to England and we did homeless ministry and other mission type work there.
    My fiancé and I recently took a youth group to a retreat. There was a speaker there who spoke about how the world speaks lies to young people. She talked about how young people have to make the decision as to which path to take. She said that one of the best examples is of a woman from the old testament who made that decision and also of her sister in law who made the wrong one. Ruth decided to go where her God would be, but Orpah turned away and went back to her homeland filled with idols. In the lineage of Ruth we find David her descendent….in the lineage of Orpah we find Goliath.
    I have sense then struggled with how to understand something that many Lutherans and other Christians don’t usually speak much about-prophesy. With everything that has happened in my life how can I dismiss what that woman said to me?

    Thank you for taking the time to read this….I failed to proofread it b/c of the time and emotions it took to write it.
     
  2. Ray Berrian

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    I read your life story with great interest.

    I was brought up in a Nazarene home, and have attended most major denominations including Assembly of God. Personally, I don't think that penecostals have a monopoly on the Holy Spirit. Our Lord can speak through and has spoken to other people even by people like you and me. This is the miracle of God's wonderful providence. How big is your God? I am sure that I underestimate the mighty power and abilities that Jesus has woven into all of our lives.

    I remember my fiance, now my wife, once said to me that some area of my life was my god.
    It seemed like a sledge-hammer hit me over the head. The Holy Spirit really spoke to me through her words. I overcame an area of sinfulness and weakness that I at that time enjoyed.

    I'm so glad you found Jesus, or was found by Him. You really are a 21 century Ruth. Keep loving Christ and keep in His Word and He will use you mightily.

    I have used the 'rule of thumb', to witness as in-depth as non-Christians will let you go, before you stop your witness. I asked them to receive Christ by praying a prayer in alottments of words as a guide for their submission to Him in faith. Then I encourage them to start reading in the Book of St. John and check to see how they are doing from time to time. Bringing them to church is a good idea or at least make sure they are going to an evangelical, Gospel preaching church where they can grow.

    I am a pastor and not a prophet. I am sure that the Lord is going to use you greatly in your service to Him along with your soul-mate. I'll remember you in prayer as the Spirit reminds me.

    Dr. Berrian, Th.D.
     
  3. just-want-peace

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    While I do not believe that we have "prophets" a'la OT, I equally believe that we (generic WE) limit God too much. The biggest box most of 'make' for God is far and away too small to contain Him.

    I believe that all the gifts of the NT are active today, just not as obvious and maybe not as numerous, but still "HERE".

    Good luck, and may God richly bless you in your Christian journey! [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  4. BobRyan

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    God has already spoken on this subject - and we can trust Him.

    Yes we can believe Him.

    But perhaps that is "not enough" for the doubter -- so God has added for us..

    And yet there are those who refuse that NT Apostolic teaching and find it difficult to accept as "still being true". So God adds even more...

    And then to point out that in fact the gift actually exists - God said that non-cannonized local Prophets are for real ...

    Read it.

    Believe it.

    God's Word is for us today.

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  5. gb93433

    gb93433
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    Your story could be told by so many becasue of God's grace. The world will beat us up and kick us around but God restores us.
     
  6. Chemnitz

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    Liz, nice to meet you. I hope your studies at Ann Arbor are richly blessed. I have several friends who went to Ann Arbor.

    I believe there are people with the gifts of prophecy, but I tend to be sceptical of people who claim to be prophets. There are many frauds out in our world. In your case what she may or may not have said could be prophecy, but I would hesitate to say that it really is prophecy. Although in retrospect it could be prophetic but how much did her saying those things affect your decision. Plus, not all prophecy is fortune telling. One of the duties of a prophet was simply to proclaim God's word and encourage His people to repent and turn from their sins.

    As we are reminded judge everything from Scripture. Keep that memory as a fond memory but don't live your life according to it. Remember, true prophets will point you to Christ and His saving grace. Stand firm in the word and live by it. Live in His grace.

    May God richly bless you and your fiancee.
     
  7. Liz

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    Thank you for your reply. I see that you are very skeptical and you have said many things that I have already heard. You say that you believe that there are people with the gift of prophecy but you don't describe anything about these people. Could you elaborate on what makes a true prophet different then the woman who spoke to me or any other "false" prophet? You also say that what she said may have influneced the decisions that I made. Well it never dawned on me what the story of Ruth meant or how it would apply to my life in the future until I had already made the leap of faith to come to MI. As far as the overseas thing...I don't believe that it would have ever taken place had I not made it here. Finally, you say prophets point people to Christ. Did this woman not use scripture in what she said and in a sense point me to the Word? Are you also asserting when you say that I should keep these events only as a "fond memory" that I should entirely omit what this woman said to me when sharing my testimony of how God recovered me or that I should keep my testimony entirely to myself? The events that she spoke about have already come to pass and they have only pointed me to the Word and helped me acknowledge the work of the Holy Spirit. Finally, a far reaching explanation occurred to me when you wrote "how much did her saying those things affect your decision[?]" that perhaps I only knew what the story of Ruth meant subconsciously and when I say subconsciously, could it be that the Holy Spirit had revealed these things to my subconscious and I was acting on them completely subconsciously? (Way to mix a little Freud with spirituality?...lol!) Because I seriously had no previous knowledge of what the story of Ruth was about except that it was about a woman whose husband had died and that she was close to her mother-in-law. THe "ephiphany" did not occur until I had been in Ann Arbor.

    To God be the glory!
     
  8. Chemnitz

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    You seem to think that I am criticizing you and the lady. I am not, I am just being cautious. You can keep the event in your testimonial, just be careful that you do not read more into the situation than you what you can say for sure. I myself tell similar stories about my journey to the seminary, but I have always down played them. It is very possible she was the vehicle God used, but there is no way to know completely for sure.

    It is a stretch to say that she pointed you to Christ, although you ended up there. She pointed you to Ruth, but even that was very open ended. Pointing to Scripture and pointing to Christ are not necessarily the same thing. Just look at the Mormons and the Jehovah's Witnesses, they point to Scripture all the time, yet point people away from Christ.
     
  9. Liz

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    Why would one want to "down play" the work of the Holy Spirit and the amazing things that God has done in one's life? Why "down play" on a message that could bring hope to someone, contain a gospel message and point them to the word?


    We are all so comfortable in our padded pews...but so cautious to get out of the comfort zone.
     
  10. BobRyan

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    Liz said
    If you want to "see" a real prophet in action - read the book of Isaiah. Read the words of the prophets in the book of Acts. Here we see specific wrongs dealt with - and we also see specific prophecy - explicit and clear when directed towards an individual.

    The cryptic style of prophecy such as you see in Daniel and Revelation is not used for individuals but it is used for entire nations for the wide ranging summary of the future century after century usually.

    The modern tactic in the charismatic movement of issuing vague cryptic predictions at the individual level for Christians within the community of Christ - finds no support in scripture.

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  11. BobRyan

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    There are "Two errors" here.

    #1. Some do not believe in any legitimate Gift of Prophecy as listed in 1 Cor 12 and as defined in Numbers 12.

    #2. Others do believe in a gift of prophecy that remains but it is nothing like those that are called prophets in the Bible.

    Both errors are wrong.

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  12. Chemnitz

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    "Why would one want to "down play" the work of the Holy Spirit and the amazing things that God has done in one's life? Why "down play" on a message that could bring hope to someone, contain a gospel message and point them to the word?"

    Down play something that you can not say for sure is anything more than random chance? Yes.

    Now God's love for you is something you can know for sure and should be played up to its full extent.

    "We are all so comfortable in our padded pews...but so cautious to get out of the comfort zone."

    Since, I don't sit in a padded pew, I will go with the thought you don't mean me. And sometimes a little caution is a good thing. Even in Paul's letters caution is advised when dealing with prophets and their prophecies.
     
  13. Briguy

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    Hi Liz, sorry to hear of your tough upbringing but glad to see God has gotten a hold of you and made you new.

    Anyway, we have covered this topic before and there are differences in opinion, to say the least. The word prophecy in greek means "to speak before", but not before as in time, but as "in front of". A person with a gift of prophecy, is one who speaks before others and builds them up. Before the Bible was complete, a gifted "prophet" may speak a new revelation (the Bible completed God's revelations), but even then that was probably rare, the gift was for building the body up. It was never intended to be some personal future or fortune telling service. That just is false and anyone doing that in the name of being a "prophet" is not speaking on behalf of God. I can give you more if you wish but figure I will stop here for now. Good to meet you Liz,

    In Christ,
    Brian
     
  14. BobRyan

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    Here is how God defines the Gift of Prophecy.

    Numbers 12
    5 Then the LORD came down in a pillar of cloud and stood at the doorway of the tent, and He called Aaron and Miriam. When they had both come forward,
    6 He said, ""Hear now My words: If there is a prophet among you, I, the LORD, shall make Myself known to him in a vision. I shall speak with him in a dream.


    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  15. Briguy

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    In the NT God says this about prophecy: KJV 1 cor 14:
    3] But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.
    [4] He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church.
    [5] I would that ye all spake with tongues, but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying.

    Prophecy is a speaking gift that comforts the body and builds others up. The Bible is clear here.

    In Christ,
    Brian
     
  16. Liz

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    so should i conclude that this woman was possessed and that her message to me was from the devil? is your definition for prophet from the original greek or hebrew?
    i'm not saying what this woman said to me can be compared to OT prophets that spoke of Christ or anything of that magnitude...i'm just wondering about its existenence in the church today.
     
  17. Briguy

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    Hi Liz, I guess what I am saying is that there is no Biblical basis for one person predicting things for another. Prophecy, as a gift in the NT church, was and is what I said before. There is no "gift" which allows predicting the future and no verse in the Bible, that I know of, saying that it is OK. I think Satan can influence what "prophets" say and much is imagination and guessing. It is not of God, that I am sure.

    In Love and Truth,
    Brian
     
  18. Liz

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  19. BobRyan

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    There are in fact a number of cases in the Bible where a prophet does speak about the future or the past of an individual. Nathan with David, Samuel with Eli and with Saul, the NT church prophets with Paul etc.

    In Christ,

    Bob
     
  20. Briguy

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    Hi Liz, If you look at what the "Prophet" told you it was very vague. Every person who goes away to college or gets a job away from home fits the verse you quoted. Many many people walk on foreign soil. In fact had you never left the country you could have thought of Mi. as foreign soil. I don't want to down play what you feel was a great experience and something you hold dear to your heart. I am just trying to help you head in the right direction in terms of what "prophecy" and/or "prophets" are in our time. Please don't be offened or feel attacked, it is not my intention at all.


    Bob, the examples you give of future telling were Biblical. What I mean by that is that they were specific events that God used and included in His Word. There was some revelation going on in those great men of God, but only at directed times for directed purposes and included as God's Word. When a "prophetess" tells a person now, they will be on foreign soil some day that hardly compares with something like Daniel said to King Neb. We are talking big apples and dired up oranges here.

    In Christ,
    Brian
     

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