I love the TV comedy series, Miranda, because I can relate to so much of her background.
I was sent away to boarding school, aged 11, and I hated it. I especially hated the
Sunday services at the traditional Anglican church, as they were so old-fashioned and boring, and the language was totally incomprehensible to me.
Throughout my teenage years the Lord increasingly became part of my life, until at one Lenten address in the same Church of England, I responded to an altar call and knelt to totally give my life to Christ. Hallelujah! - I was 15 years old.
Suddenly, the liturgy was full of meaning and beauty. I could understand the Holy Bible and I loved taking Holy Communion. My grandfather was a believer, but as he had died, I didn't know any practising Christians to share this experience with at the time.
I never had any prophecies or visions when I was part of that denomination. That came later at a different type of church, but I have never rejected my roots, and I still love the depth of meaning of the liturgy as well as the freedom of worship in less traditional settings.
My prayer is that Christians from all denominations will enjoy this blog site. I honestly believe we have so much to learn from each other. My aim is to be biblical, not unnecessarily controversial, but the truth is that Jesus was radical and the early church was very different from most, if not all, of our present-day denominations.
The early church in Corinth is an example.
The worship here is described by the Apostle Paul, not by me.
What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up.
If anyone speaks in a tongue, two—or at the most three—should speak, one at a time, and someone must interpret. If there is no interpreter, the speaker should keep quiet in the church and speak to himself and to God.
Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said.
And if a revelation comes to someone who is sitting down, the first speaker should stop. For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged.
The spirits of prophets are subject to the control of prophets.
For God is not a God of disorder but of peace—as in all the congregations of the Lord’s people.
1 Corinthians 14 v 26-33
It is clear from the passage that in the early church there must have been prophets, hymns, words of instruction, revelation, tongues, its interpretation and prophecy.
God spoke order into chaos at the beginning of time. God is a god of peace, and so order in meetings or services is important. Christian prophets don't lose control or go into trances. They are humble, making way for others and allowing others to weigh what they believe is from God.
If we come before God on our own before the meeting, we can all bring something to share as we come together. Everything that is from heaven is to build the church up, to instruct and encourage.
We have the responsibility to feel the weightiness of a prophecy.
Is it fluff, honest wood or pure gold?
Or is it not from God at all? To be rejected.
We can't believe everything we read in the newspaper, so why would we believe everything that anybody says, even if they preface it with the Lord says ? We are taught to weigh the words we hear.
We are His sheep and so we recognise His voice. We have read his word and so we can see if a prophecy lies up with the truth. Does it deny Christ Jesus? Do others that we respect in our church accept it? (You can read more about these 4 tests in The Voice of God.)
In my experience God confirms any directional or significant prophecy. When we moved to Turkey we had 2 prophecies which confirmed each other.
As we were contemplating the idea of moving abroad from England, we went on a weekend away to explore this possibility. During a time of prayer, someone brought a prophecy about 3 footprints.
A year later, at a similar weekend, a woman who didn't know us and who had never heard the first picture, prophesied we would make 2 steps.
Two steps and three footprints - it's the same picture!
Watch this space - Turkey is only Step 1.
I believe these were prophecies for us - but they were only confirming what the Lord was already speaking to us both - in our hearts. It wasn't in a vacuum.
We still weighed them and asked advice from our elders and leaders and visited Turkey, before we moved here.
The best context for prophecy is within a church, with wise brothers and sisters around us, so we can weigh the prophecy together. Prophecy is not dead. God is not silent.
A W Tozer talks about
...a wrong conception of and a wrong feeling for the Scriptures of Truth
A silent God suddenly began to speak in a book and when the book was finished lapsed back into silence again forever
The Lord has been speaking since the beginning of time, when he said Let there be light, and he is still speaking today.
Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
Revelation 2 v 7
This reminds me of the Anglican responses I was familiar with as a teenager, although our church choir was not nearly as good as this one. If this is not your church tradition, you might recognise phrases from the liturgy such as, Lighten our darkness, we beseech thee, O Lord. The Anglican liturgy is full of beauty and meaning.
Beautifully sung by the combined choirs of seven Scottish episcopal cathedrals.
Composed in the 17th century by William Smith.