We all known the proverbial carrot and donkey analogy. The promise is always there but never actually reachable. Beginning of month and beginning of year prophecies can act like that. ‘May is the month of breakthrough’ – yippee I have been needing a breakthrough. ‘July is the double blessing month, money will be found on the money tree, and it will grow in your garden’ – great though I live in an apartment and don’t know if the money tree can grow in a flower pot. OK, although the examples were not real ones (or were they?) you get the gist.
Those kind of prophecies do give me a few problems. Though before I go into that I also believe at a personal level there can be incredible fruit. June 1997 I received one such prophecy. It went roughly along the lines of ‘great favour coming to you and to your household and this will include financial blessing, and it begins in August’. June to August, only two months, only two months to hold on. Not too big a test that one. So along comes August… nothing. Ah, I think, I have been there before, expectation had it nailed (2 months) but which year? So another 12 months to wait… along comes the next August and expectation up… nothing. I think I might have looked again the following year but soon put the word on one side. In February 2005 Sue passed away. In August 2005, I can remember exactly where I was when out of the blue as I was minding my own business I suddenly heard a voice as clear as any audible voice could be, I heard, ‘this was the August I was speaking of’. I had a choice to make – agreement or not. I agreed… ‘if that is what you are saying I receive it’. So there certainly are ‘this is the month when…’ type words.
So how do we respond to the ‘July is the month of unprecedented breakthrough…’ kind of words?
With many of them a healthy dose of cynicism. Words have to be confirmed within, and unless there is a rise of faith (not simply a consolation of hope) we should simply not get too excited. And adding ‘believe the prophets and you will prosper’ is adding the stick to the carrot.
But let’s try to find something a little more positive in the response, and to do that we need to take a step back.
Revelation connects with expectation and then we are off on a journey that will not lead anywhere too productive. ‘You are the Messiah’ led to ‘but no way will you be the crucified Messiah’ which prompted a response from Jesus of ‘I might have called you Peter, you rock-man, but for now I will rename you as Satan… the enemy’. Expectation so messes us up and enables us to miss what could have been, indeed expectation can take genuine revelation and as a result resist the very revelation being fulfilled. Maybe there is the same word for every month and every year cos we miss it each month and each year? And at the start of the month God says – OK how about this month, this year – ready to give it a go (again)?
Now let’s try and work out what kind of things go wrong.
Not understanding what it means to be alive. That might just be an issue. Defining life for Adam was pretty straightforward. What was happening in him. He eats, drinks, walks, talks… a living being. Life for Jesus, and for those who are in the resurrected Jesus though life is not defined that way. Life is what happens to others.
You will be a millionaire… more likely means you will see a million (and more) go out from you to others – and if you get good at it it does not need to go anywhere near your pocket nor wallet. Gayle and I try to learn a bit about this. But that is not practical we can retort with, thus revealing that we think the prophetic can only work in the ‘practical’ realm! In that period of time when things began to unfold (August 2005), I visited a bank I had been with since 1977, so had a good track record there. I had a mortgage with another company at the time and I was planning on changing it to the bank I had been with all those years. They went through all my figures and said – sorry we cannot offer you a mortgage of any amount, you had better stay with the company where you are. Interesting I thought. I went away rejoicing for in that period we (I include Sue) had just enabled two people to purchase property through our help. I am not sure how it happened and the bank certainly did not understand how.
Now let me interject with a word… This month is the month when the Lord wants to teach about new levels of handling finances, indeed he wants to clue us in on alternative economies that are based on faith, not resulting in more money available to you but to others. And the word for October will be pretty much the same as this is a journey that might start at the beginning of a month but certainly will not end at the end of that month.
We have to understand life. Life is not what happens to us, it is the effect of how we respond to heaven so that others get the benefit of it. (I kind of thought that was the gospel?)
Another pitfall is when We have a view of God that is transactional and is about to reward us for our good behaviour.
God is always toward us, working all things together. Does not mean s/he orchestrates all things, but is involved in the nitty-gritty pulling out of it something that would not have been there if there was no God. It does not mean that nothing bad happens to those who love God and are called according to God’s purposes. As the wisdom sayer says ‘sh** happens’. Oh yes it does. I have two friends currently undergoing treatment for cancer. Did God initiate the cancer? No way (and sovereignty answers don’t cut it the way that Scripture cuts it)… my prayer for them is that something will be the other side of the journey that is remarkable, that God will indeed work something out of this. That does not mean that the cancer is ‘sanctified’ but the journey becomes holy.
‘This is the month…’ but it is the journey that is holy. The events might be pretty rough. Maybe the month of breakthrough will be full of the not so good stuff, but maybe our eyes will be open in a new way to see God with us. That would be a true breakthrough. Maybe the thief giving back might not be the restoration of what we assessed was stolen, but some far larger issues, such as an ability to forgive, to empathise, to live simpler.
I am sure that we need to see a new level of the prophetic. I have been impacted, and been privileged to see others impacted, through prophetic words. Words that release faith. I am far from cynical about the prophetic, but we need to get beyond the donkey and the carrot (and stick), the tantalising bless you words, to digging deeper. God has much to say, but far beyond the making a nation great (again!!), or a person the most blessed person. There are transforming words to be given, and those transformations are far more focused on my neighbour than me, on Afghanistan than…
Time to grow up. Time to embrace the journey that is involved in responding to God. Time for the multiplication of millionaires for example, of ones who have moved finances / healing / new opportunities where it was needed. And this does not mean that there won’t be visible, tangible blessing for those who do so, but the effects of the ‘month of breakthrough’ will be so much more visible elsewhere.
Prophecy… we could go on. I was with Gayle in Brazil on the eve of the last election and I gave a word as to who was going to win. The people were on the edge of their seats… and then I released it. ‘The one who gets the majority of the votes’. Apparently did not satisfy the hunger… and now with the way that democracy is decaying I am not sure that we will be able to continue to say the one with the greater number of votes will win. Read the signs. Democracy has been decaying for decades in the west so it should have been no surprise that in a recent election that a huge question was raised over the numbers, indeed the one who had the most votes was proclaimed by some as having not won! Even some prominent prophecy sites have the previous incumbent as the leader to pray for… I might not agree with how the text ‘all leaders are appointed by God’ is taken, but certainly find it interesting that that Scripture is quoted and used until God has not appointed the leader!! A semblance of democracy might remain for a while, leaving behind the democratic process shell, but there comes a day when that too will disappear unless a journey of self-centredness is brought to an end.
The answer my friend is not blowing at the centre of government, but there are answers blowing in the wind, and the trouble is we have used the wind as a metaphor of the Holy Spirit. Jesus used it somewhat differently. The month of breakthrough on offer to the body of Christ is always at hand, but the kind of breakthrough on offer is apparently not that attractive to some!
Anyway September starts real soon. It is the month of breakthrough, breakthrough like I have never had, breaking me out of ‘me-ness’. If I don’t rise in faith I guess God will offer October as the month of breakthrough.