A Short Devotion

When Nora invited me to bring “a short devotion” to the meeting tonight I thought I had better know what that means.

Actually the word “short” is very inexact and to an analytical mind like mine that could mean anything. For instance, it is a short distance from here to the Moon in comparison to the distance from here to the Sun, and the distance from here to the Sun is a very short distance in comparison to the distance from here to the nearest star. So short is a relative term.

Recently, Olive and I were on a walk and I was rabbiting on about something as usual. I guess I was going on for what I might consider a short time, about 5 minutes, but at that stage that was too long for her.

So when I think about the words “a short devotion” I think about my life. Hopefully its devoted and doubtless it is short. So my life, and your lives, qualify as “short devotions”.

All this is really an elaborate excuse on my part for going on for as long as I want. I can call it short no matter how long you think it is!

Then I looked up the word “devotion” on that fount of all reliable information – the Internet. Here is a Merriam-Webster definition that suits my purposes:

“a religious exercise or practice other than the regular corporate worship of a congregation”

I want you to notice the words “other than the regular”. I think that is what you need and I think/ hope the Holy Spirit is agreeing with me in this.

So tonight I am going to get us all involved in some prophetic activations.

As an example of prophecy, here is something that an old Saint wrote over 150 years ago and which I believe he wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. He had Humphreystown House and this congregation, actually this evening, in mind when He inspired Charles Haddon Spurgeon to write this all that time ago. Because He can do that kind of thing. Here is the prophetic word of God to you all this evening:

“Saints are precious, and a congregation of saints is a treasure house of jewels. God is in the midst of saints, and because of this we… long to be among them. They are so full of praise that we feel at home among them ……. The sanctuary is the house of praise as well as the house of prayer. All saints praise God: they would not be saints if they did not. Their praise is sincere, suitable, seasonable and acceptable. Personal praise is sweet unto God, but congregated praise has a multiplicity of sweetnesses in it. When holy ones meet, they adore the Holy One. Saints … gather…. to sing His praise whose saints they are. A congregation of saints is heaven upon earth.”

[From C.H. Spurgeon: The Treasury of David, Commentary on Psalm 149 v. 1]

A multiplicity of sweetnesses.

But of course there is someone here who is trying to sour that sweetness – the accuser of the brethren. Someone pointed out to me recently that the accuser is not accusing us to God. God isn’t listening to him nor does He need anyone to tell Him about us.

No, the accuser is accusing us to ourselves and other saints to us as well, particularly the main speaker at the front. The devil is a liar, so no matter how clever he makes us feel about our discernment, always remember the source. The devil is expert at accusing the brethren, he shouts very loudly and he doesn’t care how he gets us thinking his way as long as he does. It is therefore very easy to find fault with people, especially other saints, and to be convinced in our own mind that we are doing God’s work of protecting His little ones when we do so – or some other such spiritual justification for our criticism.

If you work like I do in a precise engineering environment you are used to having to have everything perfect for it to work. Computer code and computers in general are usually unforgiving when it comes to mistakes.

But we are not God. Don’t listen to any accusations against me or anyone else in this room. Instead, rebuke the devil and submit to the still small voice within you. Just like on a radio, if you tune into the right station, that will completely exclude the devils mouthings.

When I was thinking about what to do tonight I realised quite quickly that there is nothing that I can teach you from the Bible. As Paul said about the Corinthians you are already full of His Word, filled with all knowledge and understanding. I think the most useful thing I can bring to you tonight is the opportunity to practice hearing and speaking God’s word to others.

26 How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.  If anyone speaks in a tongue, let there be two or at the most three, each in turn, and let one interpret. 28 But if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in church, and let him speak to himself and to God. 29 Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge. 30 But if anything is revealed to another who sits by, let the first keep silent. 31 For you can all prophesy one by one, that all may learn and all may be encouraged. 32 And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. 33 For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.

I am going to leave out a couple of verses here for obvious reasons.

39 Therefore, brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak with tongues. 40 Let all things be done decently and in order.

You can ignore that last verse also since there is no way in this place of all places that you are going to start acting like the Corinthians that Paul was addressing. The bigger danger here is that you will do things so decently and in order that you will end up doing nothing at all!

The remainder of this blog contains material from McCollam, Dan. Basic Training for Prophetic Activation . CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. Kindle Edition.

First, you must earnestly desire to prophesy

Earnestly desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy (1 Corinthians 14:1, NASB).

Don’t just embrace that this gift is for today; believe that the prophetic gift and grace is for you personally. Desire it. Dream about giving others powerful, accurate, prophetic encouragement. Some would say, “I don’t know if this gift is for me” or “I am not very prophetic.” Remember God’s dream—that every son and daughter would prophesy. God made that dream possible for you by pouring out His Spirit on all people. Do not in any way disqualify yourself. Embrace the grace that is yours through the sacrifice of Christ and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Instead, say to yourself: “I was created for this. This is my gift. This is my grace. I was made to prophesy.”

Break ties with any past negative connections with the prophetic.

Do not treat prophecies with contempt (1 Thessalonians 5:20).

Many people share that they have had a bad experience with those who have mishandled prophetic grace. Others have heard stories of believers being manipulated into marrying the wrong person, quitting a good job, or giving away their life savings through false prophetic guidance. You may have even grown up in a religious tradition that taught that these gifts were no longer for today, and anyone who practices these gifts is moving by the power of the devil. Thoughts like these, along with feelings of spiritual inadequacy, can leave us with contempt for prophecy. You need to break ties with those doubts, fears, and hurts. Mistakes have indeed been made in the Body of Christ, both through wrong practice and wrong theology. Nevertheless, it is time to forgive. It is time to heal. It is time to move on in our own God-given destiny. Don’t let the mistakes of others hold you back from being part of God’s dream. If you have had negative connections with prophecy, break them right now through repentance, forgiveness, and declarations of personal faith.

Ask for, believe, and receive the gift of prophecy.

For everyone who asks receives…(Luke 11:10).

You may ask, how do I know I will receive? Be confident in God’s Word which promises that everyone who asks will receive. Let’s expand the above verse from Luke.

For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him! (vs.10-13)

There are so many fear-of-receiving issues addressed in this passage. The first fear addressed is being afraid that you might not receive. God clearly answers this with the simple phrase, “Everyone who asks receives.”

The second fear God addresses is the fear that one could receive something evil from the devil when asking the Father for the Holy Spirit. God uses the common metaphors of the snake and the scorpion to represent the devil. He basically says that if you ask for something good from your Father in Heaven, He will not give you something from the evil one. You can be confident that when you ask for something good, God will protect that transaction. God is a certified secure site for heavenly transactions.

Finally, God addresses the fear that you have not been good enough to receive or that you don’t deserve this blessing. God’s gifts to us are based upon His goodness, not ours. God is a good Father who knows how to give good things to His children.

If you have never asked God for the gift of prophecy, then do so right now. Ask with confidence knowing that you will receive a good thing from a good Father. Begin to receive His gift to you by faith. You are receiving God’s grace to operate in a certain aspect of God’s divine character, power, and nature. Be assured in your heart that something very real and powerful is happening regardless of what you do or do not feel.

Act upon the gift and grace you have received.

Do not neglect your gift, which was given you through a prophetic message when the body of elders laid their hands on you (1 Timothy 4:14).

Fan into flame the gift…(2 Timothy 1:6).

Many people wait for some irresistible urge to use their spiritual gifts. God is not looking for robotic followers who have no choice but to obey the commands given. God has always been looking for family, friends, and partners. The supernatural is always God’s “super” and your “natural.”

McCollam, Dan. Basic Training for Prophetic Activation . CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. Kindle Edition.

As we do some prophetic activations tonight remember the following:

  • The ABC of prophecy is “Always Be enCouraging”.
  • Be brief.
  • Be kind
  • Be humble
  • Be bold.

Activations

Prophetic Name

The first activation is going to be based on people’s names. I want everyone to break up into groups of 2-3. Prophesy something to someone else in the group that is based on their name. This can be something based on

  • the meaning of their name, e.g. Naomi, beautiful
  • a famous person with the same name e.g. Michael Jordan or
  • some word that sounds like their name, e.g. Stan and Stand.

Try not to over think it. Remember God wants to bless the other person and you have the Holy Spirit in you. Quite often the first thought that you have is the right one.

Ok, do you want to do another exercise?

Favourite Bible Character

Each of you choose a favourite bible character, someone you admire in character and actions.

Now, introduce yourselves to the others in the group by the name of your favourite bible character.

Others should now prophesy over you based on that character. Look for prophetic insights as to why they relate to that character.

Assigned Identities

Ok, now I want you to get into pairs with people from different groups.

Each person should assign a new identity to the their partner by changing his /her name.

Prophesy over your partner why you would give them that particular name and describe its prophetic significance.