Travel guide

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Looking for sun, sea and culture? Book flights to Alicante and discover this vibrant city on the Spanish Costa Blanca. Relax on one of the lovely sandy beaches or enjoy the many water sports activities available on the Mediterranean Sea. Admire the remnants...
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Discover the cultural riches of this charming world city. Book flights to Amsterdam and visit the Anne Frank House or Van Gogh Museum before strolling through the Vondelpark. Walking, biking or boating, cultural treats await you on every corner. The...
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Sun, sea and culture combined in 1 city? Book flights to Barcelona and be inspired by FC Barcelona’s magic, the finest boutiques and the tastiest tapas on every corner. Gaudí’s Sagrada Familia, Parc Güell, Casa Mila and Barcelona’s many museums will delight...
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Are you a fan of modern art, good food and a great nightlife? Book flights to Berlin and immerse yourself in this vibrant German city. Be inspired by the gallery district Mitte and go shopping on the stately Kurfürstendamm. In Berlin, you are always...
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Discover the city of the Little Mermaid. Book flights to Copenhagen to see how old and new come together. Sample Danish cuisine, visit designer shops and explore centuries-old palaces. There is much to see and do in laid-back Copenhagen. With everything...
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Do you enjoy travelling with the whole family? Then book flights to Hamburg and experience this fascinating German city. Marvel at the City Hall, visit the world-famous harbour and relax among the animals at the giant Hagenbeck Zoo. Choose from countless...
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Discover the city where East meets West. Book flights to Istanbul and immerse yourself in its unique culture. Walk across the Galata Bridge, visit one of the traditional hammams and take a romantic boat trip on the Bosporus. In the Grand Bazaar and the...
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United Kingdom
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Red telephone boxes and black cabs characterise London’s city streets. Book flights to London and you’ll return home with a mind full of cultural experiences and the very latest trends in your shopping bags. Visit Buckingham Palace and meet the Beefeaters...
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Looking for a city break full of cultural gems? Book flights to Milan and discover a place where Gucci, Armani and Versace are as much a part of everyday life as an espresso coffee. Art aficionados should head straight for Castello Sforzesco, which houses...
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How to Hear God's Voice

Discerning What is God's Voice and What is Not

You have not experienced traffic until you have sat in the border crossing between Tijuana - San Ysidro and San Diego for two hours.
It is unlike anything you have ever seen. There is row after row of cars and it is bumper to bumper as far as the eye can see.
These are some of the experiences we had when we first came to Mexico… border traffic as well as the huge traffic circle that is right in the middle of Tijuana - cars don’t drive there but they aim…
Fortunately, when we first arrived our family, who had already been here and so they could show us around town a bit. That way we could feel a little bit familiar in this extremely foreign land.
It took us a while to realize that there are times it is good to go to town while at other times it is best to stay at home. Having been here a few years now we can judge when the traffic will be difficult and when it will be more easy-going.
We now know where everything is and so when somebody else comes to visit, we are the ones that can show them around. We can show them the places that are good to visit and the places that are not so good. We also know where to get the best and most traditional tacos in town!

As a Prophet You Sometimes Feel Like Being in a Foreign Land

So what has this got to do with how to hear God's voice? Well, as a prophet sometimes you feel like you are being thrust into a world that is very different and foreign to you, especially if you have only just discovered your prophetic calling.
It can be a little scary at times. Especially as you start receiving revelation and you are not sure where to go from there. You think that you are taking a good direction but you end up in a traffic jam or in a bumper to bumper bashing with somebody else and wonder what you did wrong!

Three Different Voices

In short, there are three different voices you can hear in your heart. Sometimes, it’s the Lord who is speaking, other times it can be the enemy and then it could also be you speaking to you - in other words, the voice of your mind.
How do you discern between these three voices? How do you know what’s God, how do you know what’s your mind and what’s the enemy?
Well, I am here to help you with that and show you the best route to go. Hopefully you will be able to go through your prophetic training without getting into hot water and without making too many mistakes.
On second thought though, being a prophet goes hand in hand with making mistakes. It comes with the territory. Regardless of that, I am hoping that you can reduce the level of the mistakes you make.

The Voice of Your Mind

So, let’s jump right in and let’s take a look at what the voice of your mind sounds like. How do you know if a revelation that you are receiving is really of the Lord or if it’s just you coming up with fancy ideas?
I would say that the most outstanding principle is that your mind is logical. This sounds obvious, doesn’t it? Think about it for a while though. Your mind is logical. It is going to think according to what you know, according to what you’ve read and according to the thoughts you have in your mind.
So if you are getting a revelation that is logical and you say to yourself, “Oh yeah, I expected God to say that! Exactly, it makes sense…!” When you feel that way, I would be a little cautious of that word and hold back a bit and wait for some confirmation.
Why? It is called revelation because it is something that was revealed to you that you didn’t know before. You might have a sense in your spirit that God wants to do something or an impression of perhaps where things are going. However, when God gives a revelation even though it seems obvious when you get it, it’s new and fresh. It is something you didn’t consider and didn’t think of before.
And so when you are working along and suddenly you get this very logical idea and you think, “Oh yes, that’s exactly what should happen and where we should go”, I would hold off on that for a bit!
Your mind likes to play tricks on you and it will be logical and that’s why it’s best to wait when you sense something like this. Your mind will tell you what you like to think and what you want to know.
So if you are in prayer and you get a revelation that seems logical, I am not saying it’s entirely not of the Lord, I am just saying that it probably needs to be worked through a little bit. That is why it is so important to have people around you who can be there as a confirmation.
If you don’t have anybody that you can pray or share with, know that we are always there for you. You can just drop us a line.
There is no better way to learn than to ask. There is no better way than to discover your mistakes and your shortcomings. See if you can see where you are messing up and then you will surely know it when you get it right.
There is no better confidence booster than knowing that you know that this word is of God and that you are saying it with authority. It just gives you such faith that when you speak this word it comes out with such power.
So don’t be afraid to sift through the revelations and don’t be so naïve and arrogant to think that every revelation you get is of God!
That would be really naïve because your mind often works over time. Especially when you get too analytical and think about everything from what God should do, what you want Him to do to what this person should do. Then when you get a revelation you try and fit it into all that.
You know, that’s why the revelation comes from your spirit. Also, realize that you are not a teacher! You are a prophet. You will hear me say that to you many times. I am not saying that prophets are stupid dumb bunnies who walk around and don’t know anything but I am saying that your reliance is not on your mind but on your spirit and the revelation God gives you.
The only thing you should be feeding into your mind is the Word of God! When you do that you can be sure that the revelation that is coming up is of Him!

The Voice of the Enemy

Now how do you know when a revelation is directly from the enemy? For this I can give you some very clear pictures.
The first thing is that it will be really forceful.
You could be going about your business and the next thing you know is you get this, “You have to drop everything now and you have to go and tell this person that thing!”
This is not the voice of the Lord. The Lord is gentle. He is the epitome of the English gentleman. He leads you by the hand, opens the door and moves the chair for you… that is if you are a lady of course. That is the picture of the Lord Jesus. He isn’t going to slap you on the face, pick you up, run out of the door with you and shout, “Speak to this person here!”
He doesn’t say, “Stop right here at the side of the road and jump up to grab that person and tell them about me!” That is not the Lord and it is not how He operates!
The more you come into that intimate relationship with Jesus you will experience that more and more. He is not forceful! He doesn’t jump on you.
When you see somebody operating in this way, let me tell you, that is not the voice of the Lord! “You must do this now or you will be cursed!” No, that is not the voice of the Lord Jesus. Did you ever hear Him say that to His disciples? Did He ever say to them, “You better go out now, two by two or I will curse you!”?
No, He sent them with a promise and said that He would be with them and they would move in signs and wonders. They wanted to go. In fact, He couldn’t hold them back from going!
The voice of the Lord doesn’t bring fear. Let’s say you were perhaps in a meeting and you didn’t bring the prophetic word and you think, “Oh, I had the word but didn’t bring it”, and now you are so full of fear and guilt.
That is not the Lord at all. It is probably just as well you didn’t open your mouth to speak because it may have been a deception. When you experience that voice and the enemy will come many times like that, he will play on your mind and he will push you and come at you from without.
That is what I think you need to note because that is probably the most outstanding difference between the voice of the Lord and the voice of the enemy (evangelistic ministry aside here).
However, when you feel that push you end up coming under guilt, you feel fear and curses start manifesting in your life. Guess what? The voice that you were listening to was not the voice of the Lord.

What if you Miss It?

What if the word is of God and you miss it…? So what? You know we had old Elijah sitting there wailing about how tough things were, about how he was the only prophet and the Lord said to him, “I have a couple of other thousands that haven’t bowed their knee! You are not the only one.”
Well, the same is true for you. If you miss it, He is gracious. He has others that He can raise up. He is not dead! The whole world doesn’t rest on your shoulders. I know, as prophets we forget this. We think sometimes that if we don’t do it now and if we are not the savior and we don’t jump in the world will stop turning.
We are simply servants doing His bidding and if we don’t do His bidding He will raise up another. What is important is that you keep your heart pure before Him. We are all going to miss it! God is God. He can take care of it. He can even take care of your mistakes if you just had more faith in Him than you did in your weakness and failure!
So if you have these voices that are pushy, don’t EVER run off and give into it. Instead STOP and wait for confirmation and wait till your emotions have died down and wait to be sure of the word.
Then when you are sure and God has confirmed and you still feel the anointing, then step out in boldness. Then there is nothing that can stop it.

The Voice of the Lord

The Scriptures say, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock and if any man answers I will come and eat with Him and he with me.”
The Lord Jesus is like that. He doesn’t come and with a big pole to bash down your door to take your food off the table. No, He knocks and He waits for you to answer. If you answer, then He comes in. That is His nature and it is really the epitome of what the Lord’s voice is like. He won’t come as a loud roaring river.
Perhaps at the beginning when you are not used yet to getting revelation, you might feel the anointing quiet strongly or you will feel like you have butterflies in your stomach. It might come strongly at the beginning. However, relax if you find that the manifestations of the anointing are not as strong anymore. It is okay!
It just means that you are growing up. It is normal. At the beginning it is very strong and very intense and it is all very exciting, but it does calm down because you are growing up. You don’t need all the fluff; you don’t need all the big stuff to know that this is God speaking to you.


The Lord will speak to you in a gentle voice most of the time. If you are receiving a vision, you will just receive the same vision a few times, gently. You will feel that stirring in your belly almost like butterflies but not big ones, just little flatters and you feel that excitement in your spirit.
It brings joy and life and you look forward to sharing it. Now that’s the voice of the Lord. Of course also, in case you haven’t heard this before, it will come with faith, hope and love. Without that, how are you going to mature the Body of Christ?
So these are some ways that you can use to really discern for yourself what the voice of the Lord is like. You know, as you learn to identify this in yourself, you will also learn how to identify it in others.
Somebody will stand up to speak and you will say, “That is coming straight out of his head. There is no spirit or revelation in it!”

Revelation, Not Logic

You know, that’s a very sad state when people who are not spirit filled want to stand up and prophesy. They stand up and talk logic.
Well, it’s logical to say that God will do this, this and this and it is logical to assume the conclusion and they are trying to give a prophetic word using their mind. They haven’t learned to tap into their spirit yet.
You will find this in some denominations that don’t believe in speaking in tongues but they believe in prophesying. Well, try to stand up and speak a prophetic word without being filled with the Holy Spirit, without being baptized… what do you think will come out? Their mind!
Learn to recognize this. Learn to see when somebody is really speaking from the Lord. Is it coming with that gentle flow? Is it coming with that inspiring flow?
You know, it might not always be super gentle because His sword can also be sharp but the point is it brings with it a hope and expectation. It brings life to you and an expectation as to what God will do!
Is that what the word is doing or is the word so strong and pushy that you feel backed into the corner?

The Prophetic Anointing

Excerpt from Prophetic Anointing - Anointed to Worship
Without the anointing, you cannot fulfill the work that God has given you to do. I do not think that any minister of the Word would disagree with me there. What you might not know, as one called as a prophet though, is that when the Lord called you to do His work, the anointing was part of the parcel that you received. Consider this passage:
Luke 4: 18 The Spirit of the Lord [is] upon me, because he has anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he has sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those that are bruised,
In other words, if the Lord has called you to do a work, He has given you the power that you need to fulfill it as well.
I see so many praying for the anointing, as if it is something that the Lord would deliberately withhold from you.You need to change your thinking. The anointing and your calling are a complete package.
Key Principle: When the Lord called you, He gave you the anointing you needed to fulfill that call.
When this principle sinks in, you can spend less time asking God to anoint you, and more time asking how to walk in His anointing by faith.
Many have a strange idea about the anointing though. They think of it as something that comes and goes. You imagine that the Lord anoints you just once, but then you must qualify for it again, and again.
Well, to a certain extent, that was true in days gone by. Before Christ came - that is exactly what it was like when you needed the anointing. The Holy Spirit descended on a great man of faith, and then left him once the work was done.
Samson was a great example of this. The anointing would come upon him suddenly, and when that happened, he accomplished incredible feats. Once the anointing left him though, he was weak once again.
That is because Jesus had not yet died for our sins! Man was contaminated through sin. They had to sacrifice often to atone and “cover over” the sin in their lives. And so a very righteous God could not reside with a very sinful man.
I often wonder to myself how hard it must have been in those days. They had to keep the law using their will alone. They did not have the Holy Spirit within to make right choices. They had to wait for God to "come upon them" before they felt Him.
No wonder the coming of Christ was such a mind-blowing change of thinking for the Early Church. For the first time, the anointing came… and remained!
1 John 2:27 But the anointing that you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you: but as the same anointing teaches you about all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in him.
I love this passage. John tells us here, that the anointing that they received did not leave! It did not "come upon" and then "lift" from them again, and again.
Instead of having to push through with pure willpower, they had a "big brother" in their corner by the name of the Holy Spirit. For the first time ever, a righteous God could dwell within a sinful man – all because of the blood of Christ that washes away our sin.
When you understand this concept, you will not ask God again to "give you the anointing again" but you will ask Him to increase what you already have. You will ask Him for wisdom to use what is already in your spirit.Then just as this scripture above says, that very anointing will teach you what you need to do to fulfill your purpose.
In the next couple of chapters we are going to look at the New Testament prophet. For it is the anointing that differentiates the Old from the New Testament prophet quite considerably.
In the Old Testament, the prophet had to wait for God to suddenly come upon him before he could speak. The same is not true of the New Testament prophet.
Instead, when God calls and anoints you, He deposits that anointing right inside of your spirit. That means you carry it with you everywhere you go. Now that does not mean that it is "your" anointing. It simply means that you have a reserve of power in your spirit that the Holy Spirit can use when He pleases. He does not need to wait for you to be “righteous” according to the flesh, but He just needs to wait until you are available.
Keep these simple principles in mind as we look in greater detail at what we now have in Christ. You will learn that not only do we still have the external anointing just like they had in the Old Testament, but that we now have the internal anointing, which is depicted as streams of living water.
This anointing is what sets you apart as a prophet. So let’s teach you to tap into it, so that you can gush over the Church and bring it to life!

Chapter 01

The Prophetic Anointing Defined

The first thing you need to know is that you already have the prophetic anointing. If God has called you to the prophetic ministry, you already have within you the anointing to get the job done.
That is the easy part. You know, so many people are confused. They think that they have to hop from conference to conference to get the prophetic anointing. No, you already have it. The part that is difficult is learning to identify it and then to flow in it correctly.
Defining the Anointing
John 7:38 He that believes in me, out of his inward parts will flow rivers of living water.
As a child I was really blessed. I grew up living near many recreational parks. My father, quite the adventurer, loved to take us out on weekends to visit these parks.
There was one in particular that he liked to take us to. With its rolling hills, it was the perfect place for some time alone. The best part of all though, was the meandering river that cut through the hills from one end to the other.
We would head out early, and spread our blanket out on the soft, fragrant grass. A picnic would follow with lots of goodies. After we were done, we would pack up, put all our stuff back in the car, and then we would go walking.
The Bubbling Brook
We would find the river and follow it as much as we could. We would explore and see what there was to find: trees, stones, hidden ditches or bridges. It was fun to seek out the perfect skipping stone to send skimming over the water.
Even though this was years ago, just speaking about it, I can smell the fresh soil and the plant life next to the river. I can hear the sound of the water making a gentle chuckle as it flows over the rocks.
It is as real to me as if I went there yesterday. Each time I bring this memory to mind, it brings with it that familiar feeling of peace.
The picture I painted is the perfect illustration of the prophetic anointing. It is like a gentle, bubbling brook that brings peace, joy and rest. It is not a mighty waterfall that comes splashing, picking you up and tossing you around. No, that is the external anointing and that comes by the will of God alone.
The prophetic anointing is something entirely different. It is a gentle bubbling that originates from deep within you. If you would just stop for a moment, you would come to realize that you have been experiencing this for some time.
Perhaps you have been comparing yourself to other ministers and feeling a little insecure.
The Mighty Waterfall – The External Anointing
You look at all these big revivalists and they bring a mighty outpouring of the Spirit. People talk about the "fire" and the "water," and people are getting slain in the spirit in their meetings. You see healings, miracles, shakings and a whole bunch of other stuff going on.
You take a step back and think, "Wow!"
You compare yourself to them and when you look inside, you think, "Here I stand with just my little bubbling brook."
You know, I had the opportunity to go to the Rheinfall in Switzerland. It is the largest waterfall in Europe. It is absolutely magnificent. The sound of the water is so loud that you have to shout at one another to be heard. It roars in your ears. A fine mist covers the whole river because of the intensity at which the water hits the lake with below. It is incredible. I have been there a few times to visit, and each time has been wonderful, but I didn’t spend hours there. You can only spend so long staring at a waterfall, and well… you have seen a waterfall. It is wonderful, it is magnificent and I take the experience home with me, but it is a place I have visited as a tourist only once or twice.
Waterfall vs. Brook
By comparison, as a child, when we went to the bubbling brook, I could sit there for hours just quietly taking in the sounds and smells. That sound refreshed my spirit. I could go back again, and again and never grow weary of it.
It is great to have the great outpourings. We need them to be refreshed from time to time, but you can’t live there.
Tapping Into the Anointing
What you have is an anointing that people can take home with them. That when touched by it, continues to work within them. It is the kind of anointing that I spoke about in the introduction from 1 John 2:27. It is an anointing that abides.
You don't take a bucket of water and splash the water on their heads. Rather you are releasing a bubbling brook into their spirits. You will bring the spirit inside of them to life! It is an anointing that will continue to bubble and flow like a beautiful spring that will come up and feed them again and again.
What It Feels Like
So when you experience the anointing, realize that it is going to bubble from deep inside. I feel it right in the pit of my stomach. I feel it sometimes like butterflies. It is like the feeling you get the night before Christmas when you were hoping to get that "special something." You lay in bed at night and you were so excited. Your stomach did flips and you couldn't sleep - you couldn't eat. Well, that's how I felt the night before I got married. I couldn't sleep the whole night. I was so excited and terrified all at the same time.
That is what the internal anointing feels like. Now the first time that you experience it, it is probably going to be pretty strong. Yes, there are many different manifestations of the anointing, but I am just just covering the prophetic anointing here.
It may start very strong at the beginning, or perhaps very gentle. It will nudge you from deep within saying, "Hello, remember me? I am here, I want to tell you something." That’s the Holy Spirit speaking inside of you.
How to Identify It
To hear that gentle voice you need to shut up. I know that you hear me telling you to do that a lot, but by the end of this series you will be used to me saying it. That is because as prophets, we either do not know how, or find it really hard to sit quietly instead of shouting our mouths off.
Key Principle: You need to learn to be quiet long enough to hear the voice of the Lord within.
You will feel this anointing as a gentle stirring. The Holy Spirit is not going to run up to you, slap you on the side of the head and say, "Prophesy."

It doesn't happen that way. He is going to gently remind you, and that reminder is going to come from deep down inside. You are not living in Old Testament times when the Lord had to wait for you to be righteous before He could come upon you. Now He can speak to you from within your spirit any time that He pleases. Your part in this conversation is to be silent long enough to hear Him.
How to Tap Into the Anointing
How are you going to tap into it? We know we have this river of living water inside of us, and sometimes you even feel it. Now, what do you do with it?
You need to realize that releasing this anointing is very much the same as journaling. I have already taken you through the whole process of decreeing, and journaling in the Prophetic Functions book. I will also teach you about intercession later on in this book.
So, by now you should be familiar with the stirring you feel inside your belly. When you start to journal it feels slow, but the more you write, the easier it gets. The anointing starts to flow and the words flow faster than you can type - faster than you can speak. You feel that bubbling coming up inside of you.
Well, that is the prophetic anointing that you have been experiencing! You have been experiencing it all along. Now you need to learn to use it when ministering.
1. Make Yourself Available
The first thing you need to do is make yourself available. Say now, you are in a meeting, or somebody comes to you for prayer. You can only say, "Lord, I am a vessel. I have got your living waters inside of me. I open up my mouth and it is for you to fill it."
Key Principle: You tap into the anointing by making yourself available, desiring to be used by the Lord, and by stepping out in faith.
2. Faith is the Key
You can learn to flow in the spirit this way. Once you identify the river of living water inside of you, you can trigger it by faith at any time. If I make a conscious effort to stop and tap into the anointing, I can release that anointing any time I desire, because I am a prophet.
Now keep in mind that I am speaking about the anointing here, and not the gifts of the Spirit! The gifts are only manifested by the Holy Spirit. However, when those gifts do manifest, if you act in faith, the anointing will follow.

Key Principle: The gifts: manifested as the Holy Spirit wills.The anointing that brings the revelation to pass: released by your faith.

When you reach prophetic office, you are going to realize that the anointing is available to you at any time.
3. It Remains in Your Spirit.
There are times though when people come to you and you need to tap into that anointing fast.
People sometimes need ministry at the most inconvenient times! The doorbell rings, and you just had a fight with your spouse, the house is a mess, you messed up at work that day, you stubbed your toe, and then tripped over the dog on your way to answer the door.
There, standing in front of you, is someone saying, "Please could you pray for me?"
With an incredulous intake of breath, you think, "Are you kidding me, Lord? The last thing I feel right now is your power. I had a horrible day, and I don’t feel very spiritual at all at the moment."
Well then, just as well, the anointing is not dependent on you, hey? Thank goodness it depends on the Holy Spirit.
To read more, you can find Prophetic Anointing - Anointed to Worship in our online bookshop here: http://www.ami-bookshop.com/index.php?Product=988&format=2



"Empty Vessel"

The gaze is not about desire, it's a threat
To statues of falsehood that stood forever
and we forget every dream you're scared to chase
swallowed in the rapid pace of day-to-day-to-day
When the world has a virus from the core to the sky
Some try to salvage, some watch it die
I don't want to be a vacuole an empty vessel
Ignorant, in comfort and consolation
In the darkest hearts we have compassion if we choose
An alternate to self importance and filtered news
Should be shaken off our back
Banish the imposing pest
How can I protest?
When the world has a virus from the core to the sky
Some try to salvage, some watch it die
I don't want to be a vacuole an empty vessel
Ignorant, in comfort and consolation
Heed the warming of the prophet condemning your course of action
Pinpoint the moment when it all began to come down


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Prophecy is largely despised by the church. It has been surrounded by misunderstanding, confusion, and fear. Yet, from the standpoint of the Scriptures, the gift of prophecy is the most important spiritual gift. Paul considers it vital to the upbuilding of the church. Just what is the role of prophecy for the church today?
Prophecy has been despised before. Moses, finally convinced that God wanted to delegate his governing authority to a larger number, called seventy elders to a "committee meeting" at the tabernacle. Two failed to show up. The Spirit of God fell on the sixty-eight who attended. But the Spirit also came upon the two who remained in the camp who began to prophesy as well. Every one wanted them to stop, uncomfortable at the direct voice of God and jealous for Moses' uniqueness as God's prophet. They reported the incident to Moses and demanded that he stop them. One can almost see Moses chuckling, and then longingly reflecting on the blessedness of the Spirit's presence in his life: "Would that all the Lord's people were prophets, that the Lord would put his Spirit upon them!" (Numbers 11:29).
Moses' dream began to be fulfilled on the day of Pentecost, when the Spirit fell on the infant church and prompted them to speak out in tongues the "mightinesses of God." Peter, under the inspiration of the Spirit, interpreted the phenomenon thus:
This is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: "And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; yea, and on my menservants and my maidservants in those days I will pour out my Spirit; and they shall prophesy...." (Acts 2:16-18 quoting Joel 2:28-29)
Amazingly, Peter classifies the Pentecost expression of tongues as a variety of the prophetic gift. The New Testament Scriptures make it clear that the Spirit is a universal gift to the church, and that prophecy is the characteristic gift of the Spirit. The Apostle Paul indicated that the gift of prophecy was for every believer: "For you can all prophesy one by one..." (1 Corinthians 14:31; see also vss. 5, 24). As we desire the renewal of the church this expectation of the universality of prophecy among God's people fills us with hope.[1] If we take Paul's letter to the Corinthians seriously, we must come to the conclusion that the gift of prophecy is indispensable to the church. When we try to build churches without this gift being active, it is like trying to walk across America on crutches: it can be done, but it is certainly the hard way. The importance of the gift of prophecy is seen from from Paul's urgency for it. He commands the Corinthians to "earnestly desire to prophesy" (1 Corinthians 14:39; see also 12:31 and 14:1). In all the various lists and discussions of the gifts in Paul's letters the only constant gift is prophecy.[2] Whenever Paul makes an attempt to classify the gifts in terms of importance, prophecy is given preference over all the rest (1 Corinthians 14:1; 1 Thessalonians 5:19f). Only in the two passages where Paul speaks of gifted men (prophets) rather than of the gift (prophecy) do prophets fall into second place behind apostles (1 Corinthians 12:28; Ephesians 4:11; cf. Ephesians 2:20).[3]
As God led me in my study of the gift of prophecy, I was convicted by the Apostle's command: "Earnestly desire to prophesy" (1 Corinthians 14:39; see also 12:31; 14:1). My zeal (Greek zeloo) to prophesy or encourage prophecy in the church certainly was not conformed to the Word. But as I discovered what God intends prophecy to do for His church, my desire and faith for the gift increased. Why is prophecy so important? Just what is its purpose?
Its several functions may all be subsumed under the purpose of building up the Church. Since love for the brethren is to be the motive for desiring the spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 13), the purpose is to build up the brethren. The Greek word oikodome was first used of building houses, temples, and pyramids, but quickly moved to a figurative sense in secular Greek.[4] In the context of spiritual gifts it means "building" as a process, "construction" and is "figurative of spiritual strengthening, edifying, edification, building up."[5] The Spirit of Christ is fulfilling Jesus' promise, "I will build (oikodomeo) my church ..." (Mt 16:18). The Spirit is in the business of constructing people and the community. The ways in which prophecy builds up the body are spelled out in detail in 1 Corinthians 14.

Exhortation and Encouragement

Exhortation and assurance are two common purposes of prophecy. Paul contrasts tongues (a Godward speaking) with prophecy (a manward message): "He who prophesies speaks to men for their upbuilding (oikodome) and encouragement (paraklesis) and consolation (paramuthia; 1 Corinthians 14:3)." Paraklesis has a wide range of meaning. Its root carries the idea "to call alongside to help." The word can denote "encouragement, exhortation." The range of meaning of parakelsis in verse 3 extends from "admonishment" (e.g. to "live a life worthy of the gospel", Hebrews 13:22; cf. Romans 12:1) to "loving encouragement" (e.g. during affliction, 1 Thessalonians 3:2-3). Another idea expressed by paraklesis is "appeal, request," even "pleading". The word also extends to the idea of "comfort, consolation" (Romans 15:4; Colossians 4:8; 2 Corinthians 1:3f).[6] Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit would come to His followers as "another Paraclete," One who would come alongside to the disciples them (John 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7).[7] A vitally important way the Spirit is fulfilling this ministry of paraklesis is through the exhortation, appeal, and comforting assurance of the prophetic word.
Paul uses the word paramuthia in 1 Corinthians 14:3 alongside paraklesis to explain the purpose of prophecy. This word means "encouragement," especially "comfort, consolation,"[8] but is difficult to distinguish clearly from paraklesis. It derives from para, "beside" and muthos, "speech, word, saying." In classical Greek it could refer to "any address, whether made "for the purpose of persuading, or of arousing and stimulating or of calming and consoling.[9]
Exhortation to obedience and service as well as encouragement and comfort from the Spirit to those experiencing pain and trouble are one aspect of the Spirit's building up of the church through prophecy.

A Specific Revelation for the Occasion

Revelation is the particular characteristic of prophecy which sets it off from preaching and teaching. Indeed, one of the primary ways the Spirit builds up the church is by means of prophecy's revelation. Although the gift of prophecy has a great breadth, we should not imagine that its primary purpose is the setting forth of doctrine, even though "instruction" was part of its original function (1 Corinthians 14:19). Rather, the gift of prophecy was a revelation from God with a word for the particular moment.[10] Cecil Robeck observes,
Prophecy appears to be given with an existential value in mind. It is given through a specific individual, to a specific individual or group of individuals, at a specific place, and within a specific time frame. Within that context it may be said to have a specific message with specific value.[11] A glance at the prophets mentioned in the early church certainly underlines this conclusion. Agabus' two recorded prophecies were specific predictions, revelations (Acts 11:27-30; 21:10-11). At the Antioch church the Spirit spoke through a prophet to confirm Paul and Barnabas in their missionary calling (Acts 13:1-2). Grudem observes, "Prophecy, then, is superior to the other gifts because the revelation on which it depends allows it to be suited to the specific needs of the moment, needs which may only be known to God."[12]
The great value of prophecy to the church today is the contemporary Word of God to encourage and guide His people.[13] The prophetic message is "a word fitly spoken" (Proverbs 25:11), directly from God, "good for edifying, as fits the occasion, that it may impart grace to those who hear" (Ephesians 4:29).


A specific revelation can be particularly powerful in bringing conviction of sin and of God's presence to unbelievers or backsliders who are present in a church gathering. Paul suggests to the Corinthians how prophecy can work in this way:
If all prophesy, and an unbeliever or outsider enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all, the secrets of his heart are disclosed; and so, falling on his face, he will worship God and declare that God is really among you (1 Corinthians 14:24-25). For the outsider, prophecy can be a powerful sign of God's presence among His people.
Problems with individuals in the body or with the body itself may also be pinpointed by the gift of prophecy. James Dunn observes, "Prophecy prevents a man pretending to be other than he is--prevents the believer hiding behind a mask of pretended righteouness, of apparent spirituality. At any time the prophetic word may expose him for what he is."[14] Thus prophecy builds up the church by converting the unbeliever and purifying the believer.
The variety of ways the church is built up by prophecy accentuate its necessity for the present day church. Words of comfort and assurance, words of pleading, words of exhortation and admonition, words of exposure and correction--all of these are designed by the Spirit to bring and maintain renewal in Christ's church.
We cannot afford to despise the gift of prophecy. Nor can we allow its capacity for misuse and misunderstanding prevent us from embracing it. Rather we must diligently seek to curb its abuses by the guidelines of Scripture and "test all things" (1 Thessalonians 5:20-21), so that the great constructive value of prophecy may be experienced by our churches.[15] Through this unique spiritual gift the church is enabled to grow, mature and move forward according to the will of God. "Make love your aim, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy ... so that the church may be edified" (1 Corinthians 14:1, 5).
[1] That Luke and Paul believed that any believer could prophesy is affirmed by a number of New Testament scholars, e.g. James D. G. Dunn, Jesus and the Spirit (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1975) p. 170; Gerhard Friedrich, "prophetes," in Theological Dictionary of the New Testament [abbreviation TDNT], eds. G. Kittel and G. Friedrich, trans. G. W. Bromiley (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, ET 1964-1974 [1933-1972]) VI, p. 849; and Wayne Arden Grudem, The Gift of Prophecy in 1 Corinthians 12-14, unpublished Ph.D. dissertation, University of Cambridge, 1978 (now published as The Gift of Prophecy in 1 Corinthians [Washington, D.C: University Press of America, 1982, with different pagination.]), p. 246.
[2] Romans 12:6-8; 1 Corinthians 12:8-10, 28ff; 13:1-3, 8ff; 14:1-5, 6ff, 26-32; Ephesians 4:11; 1 Thessalonians 5:19-22.
[3] Dunn, pp. 227-228.
[4] Otto Michel, "oikodomeo," in TDNT, V, p. 137.
[5] W. Bauer, W. F. Arndt and F. W. Gingrich, A Greek- English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1957)p. 532, oikodome, 1,B,a.
[6] See Otto Schmitz, "parakaleo," in TDNT V, pp. 793-799.
[7] An extended treatment is found in my unpublished paper, "Theology of the Spirit in the Fourth Gospel," 1974, pp. 15-17.
[8] Bauer, Arndt, and Gingrich, p. 626.
[9] Joseph Henry Thayer, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, reprinted 1962, 1889 edition), p. 485. See also Gustav Stahlin, "paramutheomai," in TDNT V, pp. 816-823.
[10] See Michael Green, I Believe in the Holy Spirit (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1975), p. 170; David Hill, New Testament Prophecy (New Foundations Theological Library; Atlanta: John Knox Press, 1979), p. 127; and Dunn, p. 230.
[11] Cecil M. Robeck, Jr., "Problems in the Contemporary Use of the Gift of Prophecy" (an unpublished paper given at the Society for Pentecostal Studies, November 14, 1980), p. 13.
[12] Grudem, p. 187.
[13]God guided the early church in Jerusalem through prophecy to escape the siege of the city. Eusebius records, "But the people of the church in Jerusalem had been commanded by a revelation, vouchsafed to approved men there before the war, to leave the city and to dwell in a certain town of Perea called Pella" (Church History, III, 5, 3).
[14] Dunn, p. 232.
[15] Careful judging of prophecy is important so that the gift is honored in the congregation. For guidelines in judging prophecy, see Cecil M. Robeck, Jr., "How Do You Judge Prophetic Utterance?" Paraclete 11 [Spring 1977], p. 15; Robeck, "Problems"; Bruce Yocum, Prophecy: Exercising the Prophetic Gifts of the Spirit in the Church Today (Ann Arbor: Servant Books, 1976), pp. 106-118; and Ralph F. Wilson, The Holy Spirit as the Agent of Renewal, unpublished doctoral dissertation, Fuller Theological Seminary, 1984, pp. 149-154.
This article is part of a chapter on prophecy in Ralph F. Wilson, The Holy Spirit as the Agent of Renewal, unpublished doctoral dissertation, Fuller Theological Seminary, 1984, pp. 149-154. The three articles in this series found in the Christian Articles Archive are: (1) Is Preaching Prophecy? (2) The Purpose of Prophecy Today and (3) Beginning to Prophecy


10 Biblical Reasons why Jesus Died on the Cross (A Good Friday Devotion)

Martin Luther once referred to the Gospel as a treasure chest. I love that metaphor and I want to use the same illustration for today’s devotional. Like opening a treasure chest and admiring its rubies, pearls and sapphires, I want us to handle carefully these Scriptures of great value. I want us to feel the worth of Christ's sacrifice today that will cause us to worship deeply.

See, in our self-centered culture, we have made the Gospel self-centered. Somehow we believe that the reason God loves us is because we are lovable. When people think this way, even subconsciously, we are disregarding the valuable jewels of Scripture.

God is not glorified when I think He loves me because I’m lovable. Rather, what makes the gospel beautiful is that because I am so unlovable, God still chooses to love me. In that God is glorified! “But God shows his love for us in that while were still sinners, Christ dies for us” Romans 5:8. My aim in sharing this devotional is for you to ponder and reflect why Biblical reasons why Jesus came to die on the cross.

#1. He came to seek and to save sinners
For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.” Luke 19:10 

I’m so glad God did not come for the elite or the popular or the wealthy. Christ made it very clear who the gospel is intended for, “those who are lost.”

Several years ago, I was preaching in Cairo, Egypt at the Harvest Conference. I spoke from Luke 15:1-7 where Christ seeks out the one lost sheep. My opening statement in that Muslim dominated land was, “The greatest distinction with Christianity is that in all other religions of the world, man is seeking God. In Christianity, we see God seeking man.”

How beautiful is it that Christ came to seek and save those of us who were lost! I’ll never forget an older man, probably in his early 70’s coming up to me after the service with tears in his eyes. In broken English he said, “All my life I have searched for Christ. Tonight, Christ found me!” Why did Jesus come to die on the cross? So He could seek and save those who are lost. What a Savior!

#2. He came to glorify His father
“When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, ‘Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.’”
John 17:1-5 

There is enormous truth packed into this short prayer that Christ prayed before facing the cross. Jesus models to us how we should glorify God in our lives.

First, He teaches us to glorify God before we face difficulties. Notice as Christ prays, He says, “Father, the hour has come.” He knew His work on the earth was finishing and it was now time to face the cross. He looked to glorify God through the darkest hour of His life. Are you and I looking to glorify God, even while going through hard and difficult seasons?

Second, He glorified the Father with the time He had on the earth.
Notice what He says in this prayer, “…having accomplished the work that you gave me to do.” Can we say this about our lives? Are we focused on accomplishing what God has put us on the earth for or are so busy, so distracted and so overwhelmed that we are missing what we are really put here to do? Lastly, Christ tells how to obtain eternal life. “That they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” I love that phrase. Why did Jesus have to die? So that you and I could have eternal life through knowing God the Father through His death!

#3. He came to cancel our record of debt
“By canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in him.” Colossians 2:14

Do you realize there is a “record of debt” that “stands against” you? When I ponder the record of debt I have, I think of Romans 5:20, “Now the law came in to increase the trespass…” Remember when Jesus taught that if you look at a woman with lust then it as if you committed adultery in your heart? Christ says that if you hate someone it’s the same as committing murder in your heart? The law adds to our list of sins.

So you may think you’re a good person because you’ve never done anything real bad. But if Christ showed you the sin that is in your heart and the sin you are capable of, you would see just how big your “record of debt” really can be.

But here is the good news, Christ took that record of debt, (which in the Greek refers to a handwritten document like a promissory note. It’s an admission of guilt saying that we are responsible for our sins). Christ took that record of debt and nailed it to the cross! He canceled our debt of sin! Why did Jesus come to die? To not only forgive our sins, but to completely take them away (John 1:29).

#4. He came to give power to the Gospel
“For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” 1 Corinthians 1:18

I love the contrast Paul makes. He draws the line in the sand and boldly says the message of the cross is foolishness to those who perishing. However, for those of us who love the cross, we love the sacrifice Christ made, to those of us who are being saved, it is the power of God.

Why did Paul say, “to those who are perishing”? I always find it interesting when I’m watching tv and Hollywood makes fun of “Born Again Christians.” It happens a lot. The phrase born again gets thrown around and stomped in the mud often. But you know those are precious words. Why? Because the Bible teaches in Ephesians 2:1, that we are “dead in the trespasses of sin.” Until we become born again, we don’t have the life of God or eternal life within us.

In the next phrase, Paul says, “…but to those of us who are being saved, it is the power of God.” What does he mean by those of us who are being saved? 1 Peter 1:23 says, Since you have been born again” and 1 Peter 1:3, saying that God has “caused us to be born again to a living hope” we are now a “new creation in Christ” 2 Corinthians 5:17. Jesus said, “Unless a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God” John 3:3. The next time you hear a tv show mocking being “born again” you should pause and thank God for allowing you to be born again!

Is it not interesting that God would take the lowliest death of that day to display His power? Does it not echo Isaiah 55:8, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord”? Knowing that God chose the cross, for it was never Plan B…it was plan A from the before the world was created. Read Revelation 13:8, “…Belonging to the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world.” No wonderful Paul was able to exclaim “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes” Romans 1:16. Why did Jesus die? Because His death, burial and resurrection is the Gospel (1 Corinthians 15:4) and it is the power of the gospel (1 Corinthians 1:18 and Romans 1:16).

#5. He came to heal us from disease and sicknesses
“That evening they brought to him many who were oppressed by demons, and he cast out the spirits with a word and healed all who were sick. This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah: “He took our illnesses and bore our diseases.” Matthew 8:16-17

Do you know why sickness is in our world? It came through sin. The calamity of sin was so great, that it brought sickness and death upon mankind. They are that closely related. So when Jesus came to die on the cross, He came not only to conquer sin…He came to conquer sickness. That’s why, as Christians, we can pray and stand against sickness. Just as God can save from sin, He can save from sickness!

Now does that mean Christians won’t struggle against sickness? No! Even Christians have to fight against sickness. Why? Because we still live in a fallen world, we feel the effects of sin and sickness both. But what it does mean is that because Christ not only died for our sins, but for our sickness, we can pray for one another the Bible says that the prayer of faith can heal the sick (James 5:15). If you are suffering in your body some type of illness, ponder deeply Isaiah 53:4, Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.”

#6. He came to destroy the works of the devil and the power of death
Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.” Hebrews 2:14

The author of Hebrews confirms why Jesus came to die on the cross. Listen to his godly logic…since humanity is flesh and blood, Jesus “likewise partook of the same things.” Meaning, He became flesh and blood through the Virgin Birth. Remember John 1:14, And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

The result of Christ being willing to be made flesh is that now He could die a death that had the power to destroy Satan, the one who had the power of death, and as a result, freeing us who were in slavery to Satan and had a fear of death.
Now there is no need for me and you to fear death. Isn’t that an audacious statement? In my flesh, I fear death. But in my spirit and through faith, there is no need to fear. Why? Because Satan no longer has the “power of death.” Christ stripped him and robbed him of that power (Colossians 2:15).
Now what happens to a Christian once he dies? We belong to the Lord! Romans 14:8, “For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.” That means whether we are on this side of eternity or on the other side of eternity, we are the Lord’s!

#7. He came to take on our sin and to make us righteous
“For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:21

Just ponder the first phrase of this verse, “For our sake.” Isn’t that beautiful? It’s beautiful because it is personal. I’m so glad God isn’t distant. He is a personal Savior. For our sake, Christ allowed Himself to become sin. For what purpose? So that through Christ, you and I might become the righteousness of God.

Remember the worst sins of your life? You know those things that no one else knows except you and God? Yet God still chose to make you righteous! See why these Scriptures are as treasure?

What does it mean to be righteous? It means to be a “right standing” before God. Remember when Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden and what they did? They hid from God. Sin causes us to hide. Righteousness means we can stand upright before a just and holy God. You and I could have never accomplished this on our own. It is only through the work of Christ on the cross. So why did Jesus come to die? To make us the righteousness of God!

#8. He came to bring us peace
“But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5

So many are not at peace with God, as a result they are not at peace with themselves and for many, they are not at peace with others in their lives. One of the wonderful results of Christ’s death is that it brought us peace with God.

#9. He came to reconcile us to God – Ephesians 2:16
“And might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility.” Ephesians 2:16 

Christ came to die on the cross because of the hostility between humanity and God. When Adam ate the fruit in the garden that God forbade, mankind rebelled against God in a way that affected all of mankind. Romans 5:12 explains it, “Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned.” Sin has always brought death and always will. This is the great calamity of sin. But God had a plan!

Christ came to reconcile man to God through the cross. Man still rebels against God. Man still refuses the terms of grace and the mercy God offers. It’s the same pride, same rebellion, same sin that has plagued man for all of our history. Yet Christ came to kill the hostility between God and man and to reconcile us to God.

#10. He came to absorb the wrath of God
“In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” 1 John 4:10

The Bible tell us how God has demonstrated His love toward us. Again confirming His fierce love in 1 John 4:10 He says, “In this is love.” In what? Not that we would choose to love God. We don’t have the ability. Sin ruined that in us. We are fallen. We are broken. We are unable. We who do love God, only love Him because He first loved us. Do you see how God is glorified in this? I couldn’t choose to love God. He had to love me first and how did He show His love? He sent His Son! No wonder Paul says, “Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift” 2 Corinthians 9:15.

Then the Bible gives us a remarkable word…Propitiation. This word has an incredible meaning. It means that Christ became our substitute to absorb the wrath of God. See God is angry with sin. It’s against His very nature. One commentator reminds us that if God kicked out 1/3 of the Heavenly angels for sinning, what makes us think He will look over our sin?

Sin is a serious offense to God. John Piper has wonderfully said, “Sin is not small because it is not against a small Sovereign.” If God is just, then He must punish sin. Now here is the beauty of why Christ came to die on the cross…

Christ became the substitute for God’s wrath. God did not waive His wrath…He did not ignore it or pass over it. Christ took the very wrath of God on the cross and like a sponge, absorbed the wrath meant for me and you. Let that thought that Christ took the anger of God over sin on our behalf wash over your heart.

So for those of you who fear that God is angry with you…He isn’t! For those who can’t past your past and you dread the day you will stand before God and you worry that one day your past sins will catch up to you…remember, Christ absorbed the wrath of God for you! He became your propitiation…your substitute!