“You Shall Recover It All?”

prophecy hype

Not long ago I ran across this Facebook post: “I heard the Lord say. . .“YOU SHALL RECOVER IT ALL!’ No matter what it looks like you are VICTORIOUS and nothing can stop the blessings of God on your life! In Jesus name! If you receive that TYPE AMEN!” And of course, after such a “prophetic” post there were countless comments of “Amen!” It seems that everyone is giving and receiving a positive prophetic word from the Lord these days! But what bothers me about all of this is that most of the prophetic utterances being given are taken completely out of context and are applied to people and situations with no regard for their specific context or situation! For instance; the idea of recovering it all comes from 1 Samuel 30:8. While David and his men were away from home, their enemy came, attacked and ransacked the city and carried off their treasures, old men, wives and children into captivity. In the particular verse in question, David inquired of the Lord whether or not they should go and pursue the captors and the Lord said: “Pursue: for thou shalt surely overtake them, and shalt without fail recover all.” (ESV)
Now for our discussion, I want to raise some points from this particular context that are usually conveniently left out of many of the modern “prophetic utterances.” First of all, David and his men suffered this tragedy because they were in the wrong place at the wrong time! The only reason their stuff, wives, women, and children were taken was because they were away from home and had left their homes defenseless! Before a blanket prophetic utterance of “recovering it all” is received, perhaps it would be wise to analyze how and why all was lost! People are so quick to blame the devil for stealing their stuff, but the truth of the matter is that more often than not, the lost can more rightfully be attributed to negligence, lack of wisdom, and in-aptitude! Before focusing on recovering it all, it would be wise to understand why and how all was lost! Sometimes, all was lost because of bad decisions. Sometimes all was lost because of a sinful lifestyle! Before there can be any recovery, these issues must be addressed! God is not wasteful! God will not put water back into a bucket that still has a hole in it!
Secondly, David didn’t just take off in pursuit of the enemy, he inquired of the Lord as to what he should do! In the original context, this was not a blanket prophetic utterance; it was a specific answer to a specific question! David realized he had messed up and he wanted to know from the Lord what course of action, if any, he should take! One thing many people, even some preachers, seem to forget or ignore is the fact that whenever we read the Bible, we are reading someone else’s mail! The text was not addressed to us; it was addressed to the original recipients! Therefore, before we can apply it to us, we must know what it meant to them! Some texts were written to a specific person or people in a specific place for a specific time for a specific situation. Some texts were written to a specific person or people in a specific place at a specific time, but have universal application for all people in all places for all times! For instance, the concept of women covering their heads and veiling their faces in the bible is more of a specific cultural concept than a universal spiritual concept. It was specific for Paul’s time, situation and location!
The third point I want to raise from David’s context is that David understood that he wouldn’t be able to recover it all without a fight! People often talk about having victory, but you can’t be victorious without a fight! It’s not just going to be handed over; there must be struggle and hardship! Note that even before the fight, David had to pursue! If there is to be any recovery, don’t expect it to come back like a lost puppy finding its way back home! No, if there is to be any recovery, there must be some pursuit! And at the end of the pursuit there will be a fight! People, by nature are lazy, but if there is to be a recovery, there must be some effort and sacrifice! David understood that if he was to get his stuff back, it wasn’t going to come back to him; he had to go get it! He also understood that the enemy wasn’t going to just give it back to him without a fight! If he was going to get it back, he had to take it back!
I brought all of this out because most people fail to understand that in prophetic utterance, there’s always more to it than what it seems! Therefore, before any prophetic utterance is received, these points must be considered: (1) What is the original context and does that original context allow for universal application? (2) Does it neglect or ignore the necessity of repentance from sin? (3) Does it neglect or ignore the necessity of a right-relationship with God? (4) Does it neglect or ignore personal responsibility? Weigh carefully the answers because what is being offered as a prophetic utterance might not be a prophetic utterance at all, it might just be someone trying to “sound prophetic!”

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The Language of Prayer

Language of Prayer

“Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.”
Romans 8:26-27 KJV

A spiritual discipline that is essential to the vitality of the Christian life is the discipline of prayer! Much prayer; much power! Little prayer; little power! No prayer; no power! However, there are many Christians who are hesitant in prayer because they erroneously think that the effectiveness of their prayers is tied to their eloquence or command of the English language. But Jesus’ instruction to his followers in Matthew 6:7 was this, he said: “But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.” Real prayer is not a matter of words! Paul stated some very interesting concepts about prayer in Romans 8:26-27. First of all, Paul said that we do not know what we should pray for! The reason for this is because real prayer is petitioning and communicating with God according to the will of God. And because of our human limitations, we can never fully know the will of God! But the Holy Spirit helps us in this regard because the Holy Spirit, who is the Spirit of God, fully knows the mind of God because the Holy Spirit is God! Therefore, the Spirit intercedes for us with groanings that cannot be uttered!

 
Now this is the main point I want to communicate in this post! The Bible says the Holy Spirit searches the hearts and knows the mind of God and intercedes for us according to the will of God! Therefore, when we pray, God is listening to our hearts and not merely our words! Have you ever been in a position wherein you wanted to express something, but it seem like there were no words to adequately express what you were feeling or thinking? You knew in your heart, but your mouth could not express it! Well, that’s similar to what happens in earnest prayer! There are no words to adequately express the content, longings, and desires of the heart!

 
Now, some have taken this passage as an allusion to speaking in tongues, or what many refer to as praying in the Spirit, but the text says, first of all that it is the Spirit that makes the intercessions; not us! Secondly, the Spirit makes the intercession with groanings that cannot be spoken! So when we pray, the Spirit takes the longings and desires of our hearts that constitute our prayers and filter those longings and desires through the strainer of God’s will! So, in the final analysis, real prayer is an expression of the heart and spirit rather than the mouth and the mind! Of course, we should strive to bring what we verbally pray in line with the desires and expressions in our hearts, but in the meantime; thank God for the intercessory aid and translating power of the Holy Spirit! For when we don’t know how to pray as we ought, the Spirit of God knows the language of prayer which cannot be formulated with spoken human words! The language of prayer is the deep inexpressible desires and longings of the heart! So, when you pray and you struggle to find the words to say, don’t worry about it: God still hears and understands!

We’re So Smart: We’re Stupid!

stupid peoplePaul wrote of mankind’s rejection of God in Romans 1:22: “Claiming to be wise, they became fools [professing to be smart, they made simpletons of themselves].” (The Amplified Bible). Wow! Isn’t that where we are today? Particularly here in America, where we claim to be more civil, sophisticated and smarter than the rest of the world! Yet in America, we have more people incarcerated per capita than any other advanced nation! As of January 15, 2015, according to the International Centre for Prison Studies, there are 2,228,424 prisoners in the United States. That is enough to make the United States rank first in that category. The second highest number of prisoners is in China, at 1,701,344. According to the Brookings Institution, in 2013 there were 710 Americans imprisoned for every 100,000 residents. This makes the United States rank first out of thirty-four OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) countries ranked in that category. The average incarceration rate among the OECD nations is 115. We spend more money on education than anyone else, yet we are NOT among the list of the 3rd quarter rankings of The World Top 20 Educational Systems! According to the site: Ranking America, the United States rank 14th out of forty countries ranked in the category of cognitive skills and educational attainment!
A study by two New York City cardiologists found that the U.S. has 88 guns per 100 people and 10 gun-related deaths per 100,000 people – more than any of the other 27 developed countries they studied. Japan, on the other hand, had only .6 guns per 100 people and .06 gun-related deaths per 100,000 people, making it the country with both the fewest guns per capita and the fewest gun-related deaths. Drs. Sripal Bangalore, who works at NYU Langone Medical Center, and Dr. Franz Messerli of St. Luke’s Medical Center studied the statistics of guns per capita and gun deaths. They used firearm injury data from the World Health Organization and guns per capita data from the Small Arms Survey to put together a list of 27 developed countries.
In view of the seemingly monthly occurrences of mass-shootings in America, coupled with juvenile behavior of government on all levels, it is obvious that we are not addressing “the elephant in the room!” When we have problems, we think we can fix them by throwing more money at them! But of course, before we do that, we must conduct studies of the studies to verify the finding of the studies! Then we must have meetings to plan the meetings so that we will be more productive in the meetings! I’m sorry, but nobody told me when or where the funeral was held; but apparently, common sense has died! If it is not dead, it is definitely not as common as it used to be!
What is the elephant in the room that we don’t want to address? The fact that the basic problem in this country is something that money, studies, gun-control, and government cannot address! It is the problem of sin! Call it psychoses, social maladjustment, or whatever! The real issue in America is a matter of the spirit! Gun control or even having more guns makes no difference if we have no self-control! But self-control does not come naturally! It comes as one’s spirit is influenced by Spirit of God! But the problem there is that, in America, for the most part, at best, we have restricted God and spiritual things to church buildings on Sunday mornings. And at worst, we deny the reality of spirit, by insisting that a bad home life, mental illness and other factors are to blame and that psychology and behavior modification (Pavlov’s dogs) are the answers! But the truth of the matter is this! Some people just don’t do evil things; some people are evil! And evil is not just restricted to behavior; evil is a malady of the spirit! And the malady of the spirit can only be fixed by the God of the Bible that America seeks to restrict to the pages of the Bible!
Wow! What a mess we have made! We are seeking morality without the Author of morals! We are seeking peace without the Prince of Peace! We’re trying to make people act right while all the time denying the reality of right! In this country, we’re so smart; we’re stupid!