Ask Pastor Adrienne: Thus sayeth the Lord...
Q: Dear Pastor,
How do you respond when someone says, “The Lord told me to tell you ...”
A: Before I answer that, let me say that some of the most important, impacting statements in my life came to me exactly that way. A prophetic declaration, in its essence, is a moment when God speaks; we hear it and declare it, through either verbal or written (sometimes musical) expressions. I wholeheartedly believe in the gift of prophecy since the Holy Spirit regularly distributes it to believers in accordance with First Corinthians 12:10.
There are countless people today who are operating in a God-given, prophetic gift; some in the office of the prophet and some as normal, everyday folks in the kingdom. Case in point: Donald Trump’s presidency, regardless of what you think about him, was prophesied by numerous people long before he actually took office. You see, God knows what is about to happen and he always makes sure he tells someone on earth about it. I’m referencing the statement found in the Book of Amos: “Adonai, God, does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets,” (Amos 3:7, CJB).
Contrary to the lies Satan has seeded throughout certain branches of Christendom, we are living in a Joel 2:28 season on the earth: “It will come about after this that I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; and your sons and daughters will prophesy; your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions,” (NASB). God is speaking here to the prophet Joel; asking him to record a message for us, the believers who may witness the second coming and the end of all things. God is explaining what it will be like in that day. In fact, the message was so important, God repeated himself to the founders of the early church in the Book of Acts chapter two.
All that said, prophecy, like anything else, can be misused and abused. When a stranger approaches me with “I have a message from God for you,” I brace myself for one of two things: 1) a religious spew that has more to do with their opinion than anything God has to say, or 2) a bone-rattling confirmation of something God has already been pressing into my spirit. Prophecy, in its highest form, is used to instruct and uplift people - to confirm what God is doing and bring hope and peace to the situation or the person. Prophecy is also frequently used by God to bring a warning about future events. (God never leaves his children unprepared.)
Every year I take a sabbatical in January. The weariness of the Christmas season for a member of clergy is indescribable. It’s like continuously throwing a party for everyone you know for a whole month straight. God strengthens his anointed for that season, but when January comes, most of us are flat on our backs secretly begging for mercy. This year, I drove to the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains where, for over a week, God arranged encounters with prophetic people, sent to encourage me. Camped out alone in a remote cabin on the side of a mountain, I would wander into local church gatherings, prayer groups and home meetings for company. Each time I went, someone would say, “The Lord wants you to know ...” and they would prophesy to me. Everything they said lined up with scripture, was a direct quote or was an encouragement to my heart so personal, only God knew of my need. These sacred, prophetic statements from strangers healed my weariness.
It is vital that we execute extreme caution with modern prophecy. Many people have been abused and sent off-course by false prophets who see themselves as policemen of the faith. Sometimes, even well-meaning people who have the gift of prophecy make mistakes, too. The Bible is your compass and final word on this topic. If what is said does not line up with biblical teaching, or it is given in the wrong spirit (used to criticize, complain or punish), do not receive it. Brush it off and move on. No harm no foul and clinging to God, I always say!
Do you have a question or comment for Pastor Adrienne? Send your inquiries to: firstname.lastname@example.org or write to P.O. Box 214, Harrison, OH 45030. For more information on Pastor Adrienne, or to purchase her book, “Ask Pastor Adrienne: 100 Best-loved Columns,” please visit www.adriennewgreene.com.