To dismiss prophetic confirmation is to do so at your own peril. The law of "double witness" is for your safety. And the Spirit is quickening me to share with you some other guidelines that will help you hear more clearly from the Lord as well as to stay in a sure and safe place in relationship to Him and the body of Christ.
Let's say I have a dream to go to do missions work in Bangladesh. I am convinced I have a true burden from the Lord. Bangladesh is on my mind day and night, and I am committed to this vision. I read everything I can about the country. I download videos from other ministers who have been there doing God's work. I subscribe to periodicals and Christian newletters coming out of Bangladesh. I just know in my heart God is sending me to Bangladesh!!! But, I also know I need to have a confirmation.
Afterall, to make this trip will pretty much deplete my savings, and I'll have to leave my family for a few weeks, so it wouldn't be right not to be able to say I've had a confirmation from the Lord. I pray, "God, just please give me a dream, so I'll know this is from you."
I go to my lady's prayer group, and they know my burden. As we're praying and discussing, a sister says to me, "I'm not totally sure, but I really believe God has placed this on your heart". Another sister seems to "drift off" into the spirit. Her eyes are closed, and since she's pretty much the recognized prophet in the group, she starts saying " I see a large ship...there are letters on the side...what do they say...yes, yes, oh Praise God, they say "destination Bang...Bang...what is that...yes, I see it clearly...it says destination Bangla...oh, it's coming to me...BanglaDESH! Yes, yes, God is confirming to you this burden is from Him!!"
I leave the ladies meeting, and I am happy that I got a confirmation, but there is still this little bit of unrest. Maybe they are just telling me what I want to hear??? (They are!!!) I need to pray God gives me a vision or a dream. I go home, and earnestly pray. That night, my prayers are answered!!! I have this amazing dream!!! I am preaching at an open air meeting in Bangladesh, and then I am praying for little children, and everyone is crying and "getting saved". That's IT!!! That's all I need!!! There is no doubt in my mind God is releasing me now to go to Bangladesh.
I take care of all the logistics. Blood tests, necessary shots, passport, traveller's checks, a neighbor to water my plants, a cousin to feed my cat, and I buy an airline ticket. After all, that vision that sister had about me taking a trip on a boat was just symbolic. God didn't REALLY mean He wanted me going by boat, He just meant to show me in a very dramatic way I'd be making the trip to do His work.
My husband is reluctant, but he sees my fervor and knows my burden, so he approves that I am taking money from our savings to make this trip. Afterall, we know God will give it all back to us, and even MORE because we're moving in faith, and He will be "no man's debtor".
I feel quite inwardly proud of myself. I am launching out in faith to take a huge step, and though I know I have my critics, I am resolutely convinced that I am in the center of God's will because I had my "confirmations". Those little voices gnawing at my spirit are just the devil. He doesn't want me to obey God. He doesn't want me fulfilling God's call on my life.
Well, I get to Bangladesh where I have some lovely people waiting for me. They receive me warmly, and start preparing me for the culture. Within a week, it's just like my dreams envisioned. I'm preaching in meetings, and praying for people, and God is saving and blessing people, some are even getting healed.
But, why is there still this little unrest in my spirit that something is not quite right? Thank God for the internet, I can keep up daily with what is happening at home. My family is proud of me, and cheering me on. This goes on for a few weeks. Then the unexpected happens. There is a family crisis, and it's going to cost money. Money that was earmarked for the trip back home.
When I was making the decision to go to Bangladesh, I valiantly decided that the "same God who got me there would get me back home" and all I needed was the same faith I had in Him to get me there! I am the Lord's servant, so He'll finance the trip. No problemo. And this is truly an adventure in faith!!! I'm being tested and tried, and I'm not going to get all nervous about things 'state side'. This is a little "trial of my faith" more precious than gold according to the Apostle Peter!!!
I've been very magnaminous about the offerings. I see that the people don't have much at all, and are actually quite poor, so in most meetings, I declare we've come there to give, and not to take. How can I, in good conscience, raise offerings from those who have so little? I am just extremely blessed to be doing God's work. But then, I realize, if I don't want to have to start living off my "line of credit", maybe I'd better humble myself and start taking some offerings. I inform the brothers hosting the meetings that we've had a family crisis, and in order to travel back home, I'm going to have to start raising some money in the meetings.
When I share this information, I can see a cloud cross the countenance of the hosting minister's face. What comes next? He informs me in the few meetings where they did take offerings, the total didn't even come to $35. (I never took any of the money, and insisted the full amount go to the hosting pastor.) I'm embarrassed that I even brought the subject up. I should have trusted the Lord, and had more faith. But wait....I had always been taught that to give people who had little the opportunity to "sow" into a ministry was indeed for THEIR good, no matter how poor they are. Now, I am feeling a little bit muddled and confused.
I go back to my own little room in the pastor's home, and get before the Lord.
I feel sick and uneasy, but I pull myself together. I won't say one more word about the offering, but will trust God. If offerings are to be taken, He will put it on the pastor's heart. I freshen up, and skype my husband. I tell him the situation, and he is reassuring. What else can he do from the other side of the world? He tells me he'll put plane fare on the credit card, and that I've been gone long enough, and I need to get back home. I agree. I'll speak in meetings until the end of the week, and then by the following Tuesday, I'll be boarding a plane for home.
I want to get to the point of this little journey so I'm going to forego giving more
dramatization to this story by simply saying things also went awry with our credit, and I ended up being stuck in Bangladesh for far longer than I intended to stay. As in most situations where living arrangements go past their limits, things got a bit testy with the host family. I began to feel like an overly large stuffed couch in a tiny living room that already had too much furniture. Very uncomfortable!!! The meetings lost their momentum. I lost my zeal. Other new exciting ministers were coming through, and my "ministry" now didn't mean much at all, even though I prayed and had the anointing. People just didn't seem much to care.
This simply was NOT at all turning out like I had planned, or like I had "believed God" had showed me it would. I knew I had to get myself into the "quiet place" to really hear from God because now I really want a true word from the Lord. I thought I did before I came to Bangladesh, but now that all my resources are dried up, and there no electric spiritual dazzle connected to what I'm doing, I have to face gut reality about myself and my "prophetic confirmations".
Of course, this is a highly dramatized situation, but what I want to share with you applies to any situation where you believe you are hearing from God regarding any change or course of direction, whether a "short term" missionary trip, or a long term financial commitment to a new home in a different state.
If you get an "inner witness" not to buy bananas at the Food Giant this week and just go without bananas in your smoothie for a week because Walmart Super Store is going to have them for only 20 cents a pound next week, and you refrain from buying bananas in anticipation of the big sale at Walmart, and then the next week comes, and Walmart has actually doubled their price on bananas....well...obviously, you missed it, but it's no big deal.
We all get those little intuitive feelings that don't come with much consequence at all. Some prove to be wisdom from on High. Some are just too much pizza before bed time. They can get to be embarrassing if you're one of those people who go around all the time saying, "God told me this, and God told me that", and it doesn't pan out. But if you stay relatively quiet, no real problem.
But, when some life altering situation comes along, and you are declaring you have heard from God, and you're digging your heels in, and you don't want to hear anything except for a "positive word" about your plans, I can tell you beyond any shadow of a doubt you will hear EXACTLY what you want to hear! You can even get the Bible to say exactly what you want it to say.
So, when you're about to make a major decision, or when you think God has told you to do something unusual, I want to give you these guidelines to help you stay the course, and to lessen the chance of being willfully self-deceived.
1. Recognize the deceiving and manipulating power of the soul realm.
Gifts of the Spirit are exactly that. They are God's Spirit working within our spirit to bring blessing to others, according to what the particular gift is ordained to accomplish.
It is in the soul realm where familiar spirits, psychic spirits, occultic spirits operate. Soulish manifestations operate out of the second heaven, and you can learn to discern their presence by a few simple observations. To one extreme, people operating from this level can be extremely silly and flippant and you won't find any reverence for holy things anywhere near this type of manifestation.
To the opposite extreme, religious spirits love this realm, and it's all about creating an effect of "superspirituality" and mysticism. Condemnation thrives in this atmosphere because often those who aren't well-schooled in this type of religiousity will feel no matter how hard they try, they will never be "spiritual" enough. This type of atmosphere comes with an unusual heaviness, and even a tiredness and dullness that people often mistake for the presence of God.
Where God's glory truly is being expressed through His Presence, there will always be these three things: the joy of the Lord, a reverence for His holiness, and a true prophetic flow. God's Spirit is a quickening (life-giving) Spirit. It doesn't leave you feeling dull. It leaves you feeling revived!!!
In either soulish atmosphere, whether it be a church convention, or a ladies' prayer meeting, I will most likely hear what I want to hear because familiar spirits are in abundance, but it's very rare that I'll hear a true word from God.
2. Look for "objective" prophecy rather than "subjective" prophecy.
Years ago, I knew a man who had an impressive spiritual heritage. I was introducing him to some people who had not yet met him, and there was every reason to believe there'd be a prophetic flow in the meeting. He made this request of me: "Please do not reveal my heritage". This man wanted any prophecy that came to him to be based on a person truly hearing from the Lord rather than flattering him with ego-exalting prophecies because they were impressed by who his father and grandfather were! We did not tell anyone about his family tree, and the word of the Lord that came forth was right on, and the prophet in that meeting truly 'read his mail'.
When you share all your heart and your vision with your prayer group, what comes back to you will be very "subjective", and you are the subject, and they will tell you what you want to hear because again, this is more of soulish human nature simply wanting to please you, whether consciously or unconsciously. Does that mean you shouldn't share with them? Of course not!!! They are your dear friends and prayer partners, and they've always been there for you, and prayed you and your family through many hard times. But when it comes to major issues, they won’t be able to prophesy objectively to you because they are too connected to you, and in the exception of someone who has a true prophetic anointing even bordering on the apostolic, there will be too much emotional influence in their “leadings” about you and your vision.
When you get an "objective" prophecy, that one prophesying to you has received none of the details that might influence him to stray from the true word of the Lord, and he or she is not so involved with you that they are in some way emotionally or soulishly intertwined with you.
3. When going into a prophetic situation, always pray beforehand, and ask the Lord to bind any voices or spirits in operation that would not be truly from Him, no matter what the cost is to you personally.
Familiarize yourself fully with the Bible story about the "lying spirits in the mouths of the prophets", found in 2 Chronicles 18, and 1 Kings 22. Be fully aware that if you want your own way more than you truly want God's perfect will, you're a candidate to be deceived. Don't let it happen!!!
4. Don't approach God, or His holy prophets with false humility because they see right through it.
If you've got a dream or a desire, yes....you may have some selfish ambition that needs to GO, but there is a good chance God placed that vision within you primarily for the purpose of working that OUT of your character so He can do the good work He started, and so you come to the end of yourself, and give God all glory for what He has done through your life. God is not against you or your ministry being blessed or prospering. In fact, He's very much for it, and Joshua 1:8 tells us He even plans for it to happen and gives us instruction on how to make it happen!!!
But Peter teaches us that while you're in that place of waiting for His promises, He's at work perfecting your inner man!!!
4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge;
6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness;
7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Peter 1:4-8
5. If what you’re doing in the Name of the Lord according to prophecies you’ve received puts you in constant “defensive mode”, RED FLAG!!!
Something is very wrong!!! I’ve seen people in a “Bangladesh” situation suffering for YEARS without even ONCE having to defend or explain what they were doing! Why? Because they had a true word from the Lord that gives a confidence and a peace that simply is not even AWARE of a need to give constant explanation or defense of the decision made! It is the warfare in your own mind and spirit that makes you do this. You are not personally sure of your decision, and so you think everyone else is thinking negatively about you when there is a good chance they are not, and you’re simply uncovering your own lack of true spiritual clarity.
In my little made-up “Bangladesh” story, I was showing myself to be the victim of a false, self-deceiving leading. But when there is a true word of the Lord, a true leading, a person can go through far worse than anything I described even for YEARS, and be in complete victory, even when the well seems to be running a bit dry. And this brings me to my next guideline.
6. A true word from the Lord which will require you to pay a price (and that is across the board….emotionally, financially, property wise, family relationships, etc.) or meet conditions will ALWAYS allow you to have significant time to do either or both without losing “the fire” of the leading of the Lord.
Obviously in my Bangladesh story, I had not counted the cost. I had not sat down and figured out what could possibly happen if things went awry financially. Had I done that with an honest heart, I would have been halted from a wrong decision. An honest heart would have made me realize I really did NOT have the faith for what I was about to do, and the numbers on a piece of paper copied off a calculator would have caused me to know surely it was a bad decision!!!
But, “Counting the cost” is not just about figuring out if there’s enough money in the bank to cover it. It’s about being truly up to the challenge in every way so you can victoriously fulfill the Lord’s commission to you.
Even with a true word of the Lord directing you to do something, God has given you the arbitrary, decision making right to decide if you are truly up to the challenge, and if you feel you’re not, then you can ask the Lord to graciously relieve you of the burden, and send someone else, OR you can ask Him to prepare you so that you can meet His challenge. God gives conditions so that He can condition us!!!
For some, I know this item may seem like sheer heresy. Am I saying we should ever say NO to God? Yes, I’m saying exactly that because in God’s Word He has made it plain we are to say “NO”, if we find that we cannot pay the price, and it’s the wise thing to do!!! But the even WISER thing to do is to “buy gold tried in the fire”, and then we indeed can “pay the price”!!! Read Luke 14:28-31, andRevelation 3:17-18.
7. When God places something in your heart, and you feel that He is telling you to do some extraordinary thing, always pray for MIRACLE confirmation!!!
I don’t mean you need to pray for the bed to jump three times while you’re praying in the middle of the night in order to believe He has spoken to you your heart. By miracle confirmation, I mean you should pray the Lord gives you a sign from Him that in no way could you have possibly been manipulating or controlling the events leading up to it. Your little dreams you have at night after you’ve thought about a thing all day long simply aren’t dependable. It’s your soulish thought processes leaking into your subconscious mind. Should you never receive such a thing as from the Lord? Of course not. But, what you should do is ask the Lord for a MIRACLE confirmation to that dream! Again, something totally outside of your abilty to have any influence or control.
8. Never, ever, ever, never, ever EVER diminish the power of EXACTLY what the Word of God says in order to receive a confirmation from His Word that you want to hear.
Some years ago, I was living a compromised life, and I wanted God’s approval on it. I am horrified when I look back and see how I justified myself by twisting the scriptures! In some ways, it’s almost comical how the human mind can find ways to make God’s word say what it wants to hear. But, it’s also very tragic because it can ruin a life and send a soul to hell if repentance does not come. I’ll give you two examples:
I took the scripture, “In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct thy paths”. I was actually telling myself that since I loved the Lord, and always acknowledged Him, He was the one leading me down this wrong road. How absurd!!!
I took the scripture that Jesus cites about how David ate the shewbread when he was hungry which was not lawful for those to do who were not of the priesthood. The devil and I agreed that I had definite “needs”, and rather than go hungry, the Lord wanted me to meet them in a spiritually illegal way. Afterall, I have the “heart of David”. So, by manipulating that scripture, I got away with all sorts of carnality. How utterly prideful and ridiculous!!!
I pretty much ignored scriptures that went to the heart of the sin in my life, and replaced them with scriptures that I could twist to get my own way. I praise God for the day when He brought true repentance to my heart, and showed me how very willingly self-deceived I was. Now, when I see a brother or sister in the Lord falling into this trap, I can pray for them not only out of a knowledge of how the enemy misuses the word when we are at our most vulnerable, but also with some compassion because I understand what it’s like to be so ensnared by wrong passions that I would even compromise my love for the truth.
9. Always stay in relationship with others in the body of Christ whom you respect as having more in God, and knowing more in God than what you do, especially in the area of discernment.
And this is for EVERYONE. If there is anyplace where the devil has a field day it’s in an environment of no accountability. I remember a time in my life when I thought I was spiritual beyond just about anyone around me. I had a good friend who thought she was very spiritual too. We enjoyed being quite spiritual together. We were what you would call “super spiritual”. We had all sorts of spiritual inclinations, and we would run them by each other, and wow….it was quite amazing how we constantly confirmed each other. She was a little older than me, and I was very impressed with her in a big way.
Then, we had one of our profound “leadings” where I had to have it checked out by an older woman of God, and a woman of keen discernment. I was sure she was going to be every bit as impressed with “Katy” (not her real name) as what I was. Well, she was not impressed in the least. Katy was leading me down a path of rebellion, and using spirituality to do it, and it was a manipulative controlling spirit of witchcraft, and the more seasoned woman of God called it exactly what it was, and I got set free. We all need someone like that in our life, especially if we have an inclination to love being “led by the Spirit” who can shake up back to reality when we need to be shook!
10. Don’t be intimidated by man. Fear not the face of clay!
If you have lived in proximity or relationship to any person of prophetic renown, it’s easy to shirk your own responsibility tolearn the voice of God for yourself. John 10:4-6
God never meant for any prophet to run your life for you. If He did, he would not have given you a heart to know Him, and a desire for a personal relationship with Him . If He did, then when the Holy Bible got restored into the lives of the people to no longer be the sole property and concern of a ruling clergy in the Catholic Church, history took a WRONG turn!!!! Any one who would make you believe that has the old Babylonish spirit of the papacy ruling their thinking!
The rhema word of the Lord to you from another person should always be more confirming than amazing or suprising. There may indeed be times when you will get an “amazing” or “suprising” word, but that is not the rule. You should have a personal relationship with God in the secret place of prayer and waiting on God where you hear His voice, and then let the thing He says to you privately be confirmed through the prophets. But then, if that prophet tells you something that doesn’t agree with the Word of God, always choose the Word over the man. This may bruise his ego, but it will save your life.
Many years ago, my husband and I were in a situation where employment opportunities were very scarce. He was a graduate architect with a master’s degree, and there was no work in his field in theplace we lived. We were in this situation for over a year, and getting desperate, but were very fearful that if we moved to another place we’d be in rebellion because the Lord was moving in the local church of which we were part. And we were not the only ones struggling. It just seemed to be something “understood” that the mind of God was to stay and stand behind the man of God no matter what the situation.
Then the Lord caused me to see very clearly that God would NOT be telling us to stay in a place where my husband could not provide for his family. He was not in the work of the ministry which might require him living by faith of meager tithes and offerings from the people. (And in most situations like that I’ve seen the man of God willing to supplement his ministry income with employment outside of the ministry). Why would God contradict Himself? Why would He say that if a man doesn’t work, he doesn’t eat, and if he doesn’t provide for his own, he has denied the faith and is worse than an infidel, and then bind us to a place where he couldn’t get employment! See 1 Timothy 5:7-9 and 2 Thessalonians 3:9-11.
We had to get over the fear of man and what people would think of us in order to obey the Lord. We didn’t appear as spiritual as some who were “sucking it up” and sticking it out in a hostileeconomic environment, but we got set free, and it proved to be one of the best decisions of ourlives!!
In conclusion, I want to say I’m a strong believer in a person banking their life on the word of the Lord! When you hear a true word from God, there is nothing that will bring more stability and blessing into your life than that! I can give testimony after testimony of times when God spoke to me either through His servants, the prophets, or in some way by more direct revelation, and it proved to be truly the Lord. This article is not written to make anyone fearful or reticent regarding stepping out in faith on a word from God. The intent of my heart is to keep you from some pitfalls that I have seen people, including myself, go through when the prophetic gift is in some way mishandled, when soulish activity usurps true prophecy, or when one is too overly-dependant on getting “a word” rather than seeking the Lord with all diligence until there is true clarity in the Spirit.
As you’re believing God to do great things in your life, and as you wait on Him to lead you by His Spirit, you can be very sure-footed as His Word is lamp unto your feet, and a light unto your path.
Heavenly Father, in Jesus Name, we thank You that you’ve given us a life of adventure as disciples who have a heart set upon doing Your will, even unto the ends of the earth if that would be Your calling.
We ask you simply to help us to apply Your wisdom and discernment, as is not only our right, but also Your very best as Your servants that the Name of Jesus may be always glorified in all we do when we claim that You are the One who is leading us!
In Jesus Name! Amen and Amen
Always in the Love of Jesus,