2 Peter 3:9-10, “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.”
2 Peter 3:11-15a, “Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation–. . .”
James 1:2-4, “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”
Patience. Patience is one of the hardest virtues and it has been sometimes jokingly stated you never want to pray for patience for you will get more obstacles and tribulation than you ever bargained for!
But patience is many times the price of spiritual wisdom. Patience DOES take practice and as the saying goes, “practice makes perfect.”
With everything going on not just in our country, but in the world and prophetic words coming out of the woodwork like there is no tomorrow, I want to center this lesson on another important area of patience and especially for all true Christian Brothers and Sisters.
In this time we are living, we definitely need to be walking in the spiritual gift of discernment and listening to the Holy Spirit’s prodding as to what is right and from God our Father, and what is false and misleading.
The Apostle Paul told us in 1 Thessalonians 5:19-21, “Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies. Test all things; hold fast what is good.” This is great advice, unfortunately many who claim to prophesy will share verse 20 alone and yet Paul wrote us under inspiration of the Holy Spirit a complete thought. We have, like the noble Bereans, a responsibility in what we accept into our lives as God’s Word.
A verbal word given as coming from the Lord by way of prophetic utterance will NOT contradict anything in the written Word of God. The Bible is our ‘go-to’ source of confirmation and it is our responsibility to be aware of what it says or at the very least to search it that what we receive is truth; God’s Truth.
There are many who have a reputation of giving prophetic words that come to pass, but there are equally as many, if not more, who, for whatever reason are stating that their words, or dreams or visions are from the Lord and they sorely miss the mark. Especially those that give specific times that they state God is going to accomplish something. When I hear dates, months or even years for specifics, I am right away suspicious and head to the Scriptures to see if their utterances match up with examples in the written Word of God!
God DOES warn and reveal spiritual secrets to His children, but He does so in the order and way He already established and informed us to follow. There are an untold number of examples of God’s Word to His prophets in the Bible; patterns and examples in which to follow that reveal the way the Holy Spirit relays information through His designated prophets.
Amos 3:7, “Surely the Lord GOD does nothing, Unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets.”
God is faithful to keep His Church, His children informed, BUT, we have to be wise and KNOW when it is our Father speaking to us through others and when it is the motivated hopes and desires of man, himself.
I love to use the example of Noah as a man who heard from God and was not just obedient but patient concerning God’s Word as well. The Apostle Matthew wrote, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away. But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.” – Matthew 24:35-39.
In Genesis chapter 6 through 8 we see the story of Noah and his obedience to God in constructing an ark. Many believe it took 120 years for Noah to build the ark yet that is not what the Word says. It says Noah preached for 120 years. He was about 500 years old when he started building and about 600 when God shut him and his family in the ark. Never-the-less, the point I want to make is that in the beginning when God instructed Noah on what to do, God never revealed to Noah, at least as recorded by Scripture, the timeline for when the events God spoke of would take place. Noah was obedient, but more importantly He patiently waited on the Lord as he worked. All the while, God watched as the world of Noah’s day became even more and more corrupt.
Noah was obedient, patient and full of faith that God’s Word would come true and he was reward for that obedience, patience and faith. He stands today as one of the greatest men of faith recorded in the written Word of God.
If we consider Noah as a prime example, especially as we are expectantly awaiting the imminent return of Jesus Christ, we need to remain obedient to the Word He has given us and wait patiently, though expectantly for His appearance.
Much of this other stuff going on around us is important and impactful on our daily lives, and yet in the greater scheme of things our motive and obedience should be very clear. Christ’s return is OUR ark of salvation. His Word is clear about the season, not in the natural such as winter, spring, summer or fall, but in the season of events that is going on in the world around us. By these signs we KNOW that His return is imminent, but it is still happening as a “thief in the night,” (1 Thessalonians 5:2).
It is our job, our mission, just as it was in the days of Noah, to continue to preach and spread the Word of God. It doesn’t matter if the world considers us to be “nuts” or not, it is the obedience to the Lord that is important and we are to remain patient, and that patience shall translate into faith. “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” – Hebrews 11:6. We please the Lord through our faith by being patient yet obedient.
Don’t be distracted by everything else going around us. But as the Apostle Paul stated and I reiterate, “Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies. Test all things; hold fast what is good.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:19-21.
Pray about the Words that others speak as coming from the Lord, search the truth in the written Word of God, not to disprove them, but as the Bereans, to make sure that what you accept IS the Word of God. The greatest deception of the enemy is to get our eyes off of Christ, especially in the realm of religion, and to get our eyes and focus on those things going around us.
Remember this; the Holy Spirit is alive and well and active today in our lives. Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise and He will ALWAYS urge us to stay spiritually focused on Christ Jesus. The world and the events in the world will take it’s course just as God informed us and revealed to us. We already know that. God is aware of the details, let’s remember the importance of why we were saved, to spread the Word of God and to make disciples in all nations.
We each have unique gifts and prophecy is a spiritual gift, but it is not to be taken OR given lightly. Whenever any of us speaks, “thus sayeth the Lord,” there is a huge responsibility that goes along with that. Pray seriously about what you hear and remember this important point, anyone who says they are relaying what the Lord has shown them or given them, whether in word, dreams or visions, if it does NOT come to pass, it is NOT from the Lord, pure and simple.
We are human and we have natural tendencies, but as those who have been chosen to walk a spiritual lifestyle, we need to focus our eyes on the spiritual and less on the natural. There are those in the church-world with proven use of their spiritual gifts, but there are many that for whatever motive or reason, are using the turmoil of our time to speak as from the Lord. God will work in the lives of these people as only He can, but our responsibility is to make sure we test the spirits and confirm the spoken word to God’s written Word.
Be steadfast, be obedient, be patient and walk in faith. God Bless!!