Barnabas Bulletin ~ 205
CONFLICTS IN BELIEVING
The 27th Chapter of the Book of Acts presents to us a clear picture of the conflicts that a prophetic person encounters when he/she hears from God regarding things that will happen if certain decisions are made. Paul perceived (“to see”) that the ship voyage that was planned would end with disaster and loss if they proceeded. When Paul spoke out his perception we read that it was not heeded because:
The centurion was more persuaded by the helmsman and the owner of the ship.
Circumstances told them the harbour was not suitable to winter in.
The majority voices advised that they should set sail.
- The weather conditions looked good for sailing.
Yet, in spite of the fact that all those men had been fasting, none of them recognized the voice of God in Paul’s warning. They ignored it to their own loss. Paul had to endure through their wrong decision as he was also on board the ship. Not long after they sailed, thinking they had made the right decision, they soon ran into a storm that put all their lives in peril. After some time Paul broke his silence and said, “Men, you should have listened to me, and not have sailed from Crete and incurred this disaster and loss. And now I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. For there stood by me this night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve, saying, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must be brought before Caesar; and indeed God has granted you all those who sail with you.’ Therefore take heart, men, for I believe God that it will be just as it was told me. However, we must run aground on a certain island” (v.21-26).
Paul was hearing from God, perceiving His voice and receiving divine guidance. In obedience he spoke out to those who needed to hear it. But they were not perceptive; nor did they believe what Paul said. If only they had learned to recognize the power of the prophetic and have heeded what Paul had said, it would have saved them all from the terrible ordeal they went through because they listened to natural instinct and the voices of the majority, and the circumstances around them! They got it wrong! They made the wrong decision, and they had to experience the results (fruit) of that decision. It was very fortunate for them that they had a man of God in their midst who understood more of the situation than the rest of them! His relationship with God enabled God to rescue them from certain death. They were all saved alive because a Prophetic Man of God was in their midst!
SADLY, THIS EXPERIENCE IS STILL REPEATED TODAY
Tragically the principles that made those men reject Paul’s perception are far too often the same principles that Christians go by today! The voices of the majority, circumstances, and what looks good, are not good judges of being led and guided by the Spirit of the Lord. A number of times over the years, when God has given me prophetic words for a church, they are rarely heeded and one then has to watch (like Paul) the unfolding of things that could have been avoided if they had only heeded the prophetic word.
People always get hurt and disillusioned when a church disobeys God.
Disobedience to God’s voice does not bring good results!
The question is: “When will we learn to trust the prophetic word of the Lord sufficiently enough to allow our life to be guided by it?” If we really want to do the will of the Lord, then we are going to have to develop our perceptive abilities to the point where the voice of the Lord is more important to us than what others say, think, or do. For too long we have allowed circumstances and “what looks good” to influence our decision making ~ when the voice of God is right there for us to take heed to, and obey! When we take heed to His voice we reap the benefits of what He says to us. Until we can trust God’s voice enough to act upon it (regardless of other voices, circumstances and what looks good), then we will never truly know the power of the Gospel to enable us to walk according to God’s supernatural purposes. Let us learn from this example in the life of Paul.
The Prophetic Ministry and the exercising of the Spiritual Gifts (1 Corinthians 12 to 14) helps us to recognize the voice of God more clearly, for the true operation of those Gifts happen as a result of our sensing that God is saying something to us to share with others. God speaks the truth and what He says is more reliable than natural reasonings, circumstances, what others say or think, etc. It is vital that we know the Scriptures as God never speaks contrary to the Bible. Make sure you read it and meditate on it daily. When God speaks ~ whether directly to us or through prophetic people ~ we are the losers if we do not take heed and obey. God always speak truth to us. Be open for God to speak to you in whatever way He chooses to. There are more than 40 different ways that God spoke in the Bible, so we need to know His voice clearly enough so that He can speak to us any way He chooses and we will still know it is Him.
When we learn to recognize the voice of God ~ and act upon it ~ we discover that things always turn out right
It may not be immediately (as in Paul’s situation in Acts 27), but it does turn out right in the end.
Christians are called to trust the voice of Jesus more than anything or anyone else!
We will not know the power and trust-worthiness of the Bible until we learn to act upon what God says to us.
And what God says is always confirmed by the principles of the Word of God (the Bible).
May we all desire to be more alert and sensitive to the voice of God and recognize what He says to us enough to act upon it. Then we will be able to be “transformed by the renewing of our mind, that we may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:1-2). ~ Rodney W. Francis.
Prayer:“Dear Lord, I come to You in the Mighty Name of Jesus, and I ask You to help me to be more discerning in hearing and knowing Your voice ~ in whatever way You choose to speak to me. Help me to know the importance of knowing when and how You speak to me, so I can be obedient to Your heavenly vision. Please forgive me for the times I have not heeded Your voice in times past, and help me to be more sensitive to Your voice. In Jesus’ Name I pray these things, Amen.”