Prophecy – How should I respond?

John Piper (founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary) shared this very interesting story of when he and his wife, Noël, were expecting their fourth child, and how this lady shared with John a very dire “prophecy”: “Noël would die in childbirth, and the baby would be a girl.”

‘How would something like this encourage me’, was the immediate thought that went through my mind and as I continued to listen to John speak, he wisely said nothing about it to Noël. A few weeks later in the hospital, the child was born a boy, and mother and baby came through just fine!

There is this scary aspect that we do face regularly, sometimes people are motivated by self-interests and the use of the gift of the Holy Spirit and, this most often keeps Pastors and many of us move away from using it in our churches today. Even in the apostle Paul’s day, he had to strongly urge the churches and their leaders to “not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good”. The easiest way to avoid the messes this gift can make is to avoid the gift as much as possible, because we do not want to encourage anyone right!

John Piper (@JohnPiper) is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is author of more than 50 books, including Desiring God: Meditations of a Christian Hedonist and most recently Why I Love the Apostle Paul: 30 Reasons.

The more we begin to understand, the more important it is that we must not let the misuse of prophecy cause us to miss out on the benefits the Spirit wants us to receive through this gift’s proper use. I have personally benefited from it many times — mostly on the receiving end.

On the 31st of December last year, in a certain church in Sri Lanka, this Prophecy was given in the Sinhala language, its on video and I will be happy to share it with you if you are interested. Below is the translation, some points have already been witnessed and, it is the fervent prayer of many of us who have access to this, to continue to pray, as we prepare. Many of us are burdened and very concerned that we did not heed the warnings but, today we have a responsibility for our nation.

2019 WILL BE A YEAR WHERE

1) The people will come on to the streets

2) The people will come looking a piece of bread, they will come to the streets

3) The 3rd month will be a month of stirring .

4) A war will be seen again in the land in the 4th month

5) Gun fire that was silenced will be heard again.

6) Many deaths will occur by road accidents more than during the times of war

7) It will be a year where people will be treated like dogs , beaten up, and left to die on the road sides.

8) No answers to resolving Political situations

9) The peoples economy will suffer

10) The country weeps much in this year.

11) Wasteful ! wasteful ! decisions, all of them.

12) Peoples minds will be distorted, by force

13) Political decisions are made in favour of themselves

14 ) Political decisions of self again

15) Many will migrate to other lands

16) The prevailing government will take a terrifying decision in the 8 month

17) people will be forced to the street for lack of food.

18) An year in which the rich will flourish in palaces while the needy are forced on to the street

19) Strange (distorted) doctrines in the church and Church teachings that deceive people

20) There will be distorted ideologies

21) Lovers of money and of themselves (in church)

22) God’s Name will be sold for money in the church

23) Two noble Churches will become commercialised.

24) People will mortgage their churches to foreign nations and be reduced to be dependants.

25) One leading and important church will fall 3/4 of its congregation will walk away.

26) Yet! This is a year of salvation in the land

27) It’s a year when people’s eyes will be on Me and their ears will hear My voice for they will have no other to turn to or place to go for help.
My grace will be their place of victory for those who are helpless. My grace alone will be there for them, My grace alone this year.

I say I am responsible because, as an individual, I have failed to lift and include my nation and its governance into my personal prayer life sufficiently. As a church, we have failed to be fervent, we have no passion for our nation, we let the nation run on its own, we never support it sufficiently in prayer. We are good at criticising, finding fault, specially when things go wrong, forgetting each moment that we are not willing to submit to governing authorities, which in turn brings about judgement on ourselves.

All of us must have a desire to obey our God, we need to pursue the spiritual gifts He gives us because they are truly gifts from Him! Just like we all love to receive gifts like little children, so also does God desire to give us so much more, only if we can ask and listen. God wants to reveal Himself to us, He is preparing us, He Loves us and therefore is reminding the Church and all of us who belong to the church that we have a part to play for our nation. This is why he is preparing us, building us, bringing us together, working in and through us and now using us for a greater cause.

More on the subject of Prophecy

Marriage Prayer

Our god-son tied the knot two weeks ago. This young man was our pageboy at our wedding in 1997!!

The curious Pageboy!

The family requested that we lead the intersessions during his wedding ceremony and this gives me the opportunity to share this prayer with all of us who have made this important life choice:

Amy and Adrian are today joined together and have become one body, two different parts are joined together, and we celebrate and give thanks to our father.

Lord, we thank you for your design on how families are to function. We thank you for the roles you have set up for each member to play and perform to function properly as one family as per your design.

Thank you, Lord, for designing Men and Women differently, Amy and Adrian are different, and this is by your design. These differences are for each other to complement one another, not to compete or clash.

Thank you, Lord for your Design of family.

Father, we pray for Adrian as he takes on the role of Husband. We also remember all husbands present today.

As stated in Ephesians 5:23, Adrian is the head of his wife Amy, just as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which Christ is the Savior. 1 Peter 3:7 (NLT) guides all Husbands and, we pray for Adrian that he must give honor to Amy. Treat Amy with understanding as you live together. She may be weaker than you are, but she is your equal partner in God’s gift of new life. Treat her as you should so your prayers will not be hindered.

Ephesians 5:25-26 reminds us Husbands, and we pray for Adrian that he would love Amy, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for the church to make the church holy, cleansing the church by the washing with water through the word.

Thank you, Lord for your Design of Husband.

Father, we pray for Amy as she takes on the role of Wife. We also remember all wives present today.

The greatest need of a wife is love. The greatest fear of a wife after marriage is that her husband will not love her and cherish her anymore but, take her for granted.

Proverbs 31:10-12 & Titus 2:4-5 guides a wife and we pray for Amy that she be of help to Adrian, assist, aid, support and encourage him, to prioritize Adrian and to do good to Adrian all the days of your life.
Ephesians 5:22 reminds a wife to submit herself to her own husband as she would do for the Lord. This is further explained as to why this is so in 1 Peter 3:1-2 that if your husband does not believe the word of God, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of their lives.

We thank you Lord that your word helps us to understand that submission is ultimately not between the wife and husband, but between wife and God.

Thank you, Lord for your Design of Wife.

Each one of us must love our wives as we love ourselves, and the wife must respect her husband as said in Ephesians 5:33. Sadly today, husbands and wives are under attack because we have lost the real purpose of family. Families are affected, and we are surrounded by single parent homes, divorce, wrong values, live-in or cohabitation, premarital sex and teenage pregnancy, gender confusion and same-sex marriages, addiction to substances, internet, media and violence, all that goes against healthy, godly and family values.

The great news as said in Genesis 1:27 helps us to clearly understand that the family is God’s creation, God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them, and in Genesis 2:24 we learn that a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.

Thank you, Lord for your Design of Family.

We pray Lord that you will bless Amy and Adrian in their new family life from this day forth, Amen

December 29, 2018. Cathedral of Christ the Living Savior, Colombo
I pray that every married couple will experience this level of happiness.

Selfish Ambition?

For me, the word “ambition” has a negative impact often, I am called to be a person who must “run in such a way as to get the prize” and “press on toward the goal” for which I have been chosen and called. The “goal” is to know this “someone” intimately but the prize is “eternal and everlasting”!

Whichever way I may interpret it, ‘ambition’ guides me to know and follow this “someone”, not just at home or at church, but at my workplace, the bus station, the restaurant and everywhere I go! This therefore requires that this “someone” has to be in total control over ‘my world‘!

Common to my workplace that I have observed over the years is the temptation to use others as stepping stones for our own success. We steal the credit for a subordinate’s or co-worker’s work, we withhold information from a rival for promotion, we shift the blame to someone not present to defend themselves, we take advantage of someone in a difficult situation, I have seen this, I am also guilty that I have had some connection.

Overall, this is selfish ambition! My thinking is purely my i-factor – its all about me, me, me and me!

I can make it my goal to know Him more and live for His glory wherever I am, but, it requires my total surrender and absolute willingness to know and follow Him. The outcome of such an ambition is also characterized by my concern for the welfare of others. As I grow in knowing Him, I know that I can develop a passion for Him and His redemptive purpose that I am here on this earth for.

I am not called to look at my own interests, but I am learning that it should and must be the interests of others! The i-factor is automatically dropped off!

As German Catholic theologian Johannes Baptist Metz has observed:

“We are all members of a species that is not sufficient unto itself. We are all creatures plagued by unending doubts and restless, unsatisfied hearts.”

We are, in other words, proud people who attempt at every turn to minimize our reliance on God and inflate our sense of self-importance. When our dreams exceed our reach, we have a choice. We can lose heart and despair or we can say thank you and wait for further guidance.

The answer lies in me submitting. I must submit to God whenever I put my ambition in the service of others ahead of myself. I want to rise to a position of authority and excellence, do you? How can we begin by helping others increase their authority and excellence? Can we invest in the success of those around us?

Humility

Greatest quality?

Do we believe that love could revolutionize the world? What are tangible ways that we could love better?

All of us are blessed with great qualities and gifts. Recently I was meditating on 3 qualities; Faith, Hope, Love! Little did I realize that one of the three is greater than the rest! I have read about it but, I had certainly talked about it but, honestly, I had not let this truly seep into a personal reflection and ‘application’ until I really began to let in ‘digest’ inside me!

We humans have this tendency to center our attention on anything based on our gifts and accomplishments, we call this our ‘experiences’. In management and Leadership, this is considered a key factor for success!

The worldly standard for defining success is by far, the standard of measure today!

FAITH: If I have faith as much as a mustard seed, then I can move a mountain! It makes me realize that because I have this positive and strong attitude, I can be above others! What I also do not realize is that this makes me proud and arrogant!

Experiences and nature also proves that faith can reach and grow people!

HOPE: My daily work routine required that I must have hope in a person and this I can do all the time! Its not necessary to love the person we have hope in, its more of our expectation of that person for what he or she is doing for us!

Experience and nature also proves that hope can reach and grow people too!

LOVE: Love never fails; it never comes short. Love involves caring and giving, selflessness and sacrifice. Love reaches and grows people far more than any other gift or quality. True love is a clearly a gift of God because one can know true love only as we come to know the love of God!

Experience and nature proves that love is not in our human nature, but in the nature of God. God is love. Therefore, when we love a person, we can have genuine hope in the person.

Without question, what our world needs more than anything else is love. If people loved each other, really loved each other, there would be no more war, crime, abuse, injustice, poverty, hunger, homelessness, deprivation, or immorality. Love is the one ingredient that could revolutionize society. Love is the greatest quality of human life. Love is the supreme quality, the most excellent way for us to live.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

1 Corinthians 13:13 NIV https://www.bible.com/bible/111/1CO.13.13.NIV

Success?

I love this, I tried it! Who would you consider to be the most successful person in the list below and Why?

  1. A CEO of a multinational corporation whose headquarters are in New York, USA
  2. A freshman at a local university
  3. A street sweeper in one of the megacities in Asia
  4. A computer software engineer working at a start-up at Silicon Valley, CA, USA
  5. A stay-at-home mom
  6. An expat working in Western Europe
  7. A first class honours graduate who now works for a non-profit organisation
  8. An elementary public-school teacher
  9. A domestic helper working for a multinational company in the Middle East
  10. A certified box-office hit actor
  11. Your child’s nanny
  12. A business owner in his 30s who landed on the Top 50 of Forbes Magazine’s richest people for the past 5 years

Keep your answer simple and clear and lets face it, there is this persistent drive we cannot deny in our heart, to chase after the ‘good life’. It can come as the desire to get to live our true passion or simply to accumulate to experiences the next dream ‘get-away’. There is this great ‘Hunger in our lives’ where there is this huge hole in our hearts that no matter how much we try through our own efforts, we can never seem to be able to fill it up!

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

 

My heart keeps longing for more and more and am hardly satisfied with what I already have and it is my greed that transforms my heart into being selfish.  What this does in return is that I become selfish and selfishness robs me of my compassion for others.

Last night, we were chatting over dinner and asked ourselves, can we honestly take our riches when our life is over? What happens after our life is over?

And the more I think about this, the more I am convinced that the best things in life are not ‘things’, it is not about keeping ‘things’ for ourselves but how can we honestly and sincerely enrich others?

And so I ask, how can I aim for success that lasts? Should I be rich towards ‘things’ or should I be rich towards my God?

Friendships

We met a fellow countryman, he had decided to make the sacrifice of working outside the home country whilst the rest of his family remained home due to education and the broader family network. One year ago, we were at this same crossroad, wondering what was best. Its a very tough decision to make.

Last evening we decided that we must cook some dinner and visit our friend, just being with him and making him feel at home was very much appreciated by him. In the few hours we were with him, we listened, we discussed, we discovered how small the world was and our boys even upgraded his tech skills by introducing him to different social media platforms, helping him to stay connected with all that was going around him!

Can we take a moment to consider the people in our life? Is there anyone I can risk being brave enough to go deeper in relationship with? Call them today! Just like for me, if there’s an opening, just show up. Just take with you yourself! All we need to do is listen and seek to know and understand our friend better, it will do them so much good!

There was this inner feeling of encouragement I got, that there is power in presence. In the same way that God is with us, is it not possible to demonstrate His character and nature when we choose to be with others? When I think back of last night, I am just convinced that presence provides comfort, care, and a sense of security to others.

We are not here to solve life’s problems nor do we have the answer to life’s problems, and we don’t have to act like we do. I just felt like wanting to be with my new found friend, as he processed his life, and all we as a family can do is look to God for His help.

We are so caught up in our own world of activities and responsibilities that we seem to be inside this dark hole where we forget that friendship is crucial as we navigate life. We’re all hungry for meaningful connection and the kind of relationship where we can raid each other’s fridge and keep no hidden agenda. We want to be received ‘just as we are’ and we want to be encouraged to grow into who God created us to be. I just felt how much I was able to find God more, as we devoted to be with a friend and share a little bit of love.