Sunday, October 08, 2006

A Word About Prophecy

I enjoy reading prophetic words. Some of them sound like motherhood and apple pie - almost like good old common sense - sometimes even cliches. Other times they are deeply challenging and cause me to think of how I'm living my life and in what ways I need to change. Some really pump me up and get me going.

The New Testament understanding of prophecy is described in I Corinthians 14:3. "But everyone who prophesies speaks to [people] for their strengthening, encouragement and comfort." Or as the Message describes it: "so that [you] can grow and be strong and experience his presence."

So a "word" like the last post is given for our edification - to strengthen us, or encourage us or to bring us comfort as opposed to being predictive or directive. The predictive or "foretelling" type of prophecy is more typical of the Old Testament and is usually restricted to the realm of those who would be gifted and recognized as prophets.

This prophecy by Chuck Pierce challenges me to take more risks and to trust God at a deeper level. It challenges me to lift my eyes to see things beyond my own "barnyard" and to get involved in things that are actually beyond my comfort zone. I should not be intimidated by challenges that are bigger than I'm used to (the giants) but to walk confidently in the knowledge that God is with me.

Sowing seed has also been a significant metaphor for me. Seeds speak of past fruitfulness, the results of the last season's harvest and hard labour. It speaks of tradition and the past. You can either eat seeds or plant them. Eating them gives temporary satisfaction but planting them is an investment in the future. It requires sacrificing what you have in hand for a future return. It truly is a sacrifice because the planted seed dies as it begins to grow into something else.

Seeds also speak of patience. There are many days that pass before any difference is seen - before any sign of growth is noticed. You cannot go digging up seeds to see if they have germinated. The conditions must also be right - enough water, nutrients and warmth.

Seeds are ideas, thoughts and concepts described with words and then planted by communicating them. If God has given you an idea begin to think and talk it through and plant it by taking action on the idea. That is what this word is challenging us to do - take the success of the past and begin to apply it in new ways.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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