Monday, January 04, 2010

Prepared for the Times, Part 2 by Rick Joyner


Prepared for the Times, Part 2

Week 2, 2010 
(go to for great resources or to read part 1.)

     The written Word of God, the Scriptures, is the basis for all Christian doctrine. The gift of prophecy is not used for establishing doctrine—rather it is used by the Lord to direct His people in the present and sometimes in revealing the future. When prophetic revelations have been wrongly used to establish a new teaching, these have inevitably been false teachings and have often resulted in the beginning of a cult. We should never give credence to one who seeks to use a revelation to establish a doctrine. The written Word of God alone is given for doctrine or the teachings of the church. 
     Likewise, the written Word of God was never intended to supplant the Lord's personal, present communication with us, which He often does through the gift of prophecy. As we are told in John 10, His sheep know His voice, and they follow Him because they know His voice. Even under the Old Covenant, God's people were exhorted repeatedly to obey His commandments and heed His voice. Just as the quality of a relationship is determined by the quality of the communication, this is also true of our relationship with the Lord. This communication is not just in what He has said in the past. We are told that we do not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God (see Matthew 4:4), which is present tense.
     One of the basic metaphors of how Jesus relates to His people is as the Head of His body, which is the church. Just as our head communicates with every part of the body, Jesus wants to direct His body with communication to every part of His body. Every member of the body of Christ can, and should have, their own communication with Him. He has a personal relationship with each of His people. Every Christian should know His ways as taught in the Scriptures, and they should know His voice.
     All metaphors are limited in their application. However, we can expect before the end of this age for the Lord's people to be so close to Him and sensitive to His leading and working in such harmony that they will be a marvel for even a perfect human body, such as is prophesied in Joel 2.
     Other metaphors of how He relates to us must be considered, which implies different ways that He speaks to us. For example, His church is called His bride. A loving, romantic communication from God has little or nothing to do with strategic purposes, or work, but is simply about love. As we have previously considered, what kind of relationship would it be if on the wedding day the bridegroom handed his bride a book and told her that he wrote this for her so he would not ever have to speak to her again! Do not let anyone, or any teaching, rob you of your personal relationship with the Lord.
     Having accurate doctrines is important. We can have the truth but not love the truth. It is the person who is in love who will remain faithful to the end. Our main job description is to love God above all else. This is not just a doctrine we must agree with, but one we must do. This love is built by interchange, communication, and personal touches, which God is the greatest of all at doing. Those who just have doctrines without a personal relationship to Him have a form of godliness, but not the real power of it. One personal touch from God can accomplish what many years of teaching cannot do. However, teaching is also important.
     Developing a personal relationship with the Lord is just as important as growing in the knowledge of sound doctrine. The healthiest Christian lives will be in pursuit of both. With maturity comes greater authority, just as is true with children. The more mature they become, the less we need to instruct them about every little thing. The same is true in the Lord. The apostles were not led around by the hand but were sent by the Lord. As we see in the Book of Acts, they made many decisions about what to do and where to go without a direct revelation from the Lord. When the Lord needed to redirect them, He would give them a dream, vision, or word, but these were trusted servants, mature enough in the Lord for Him to trust them with making most of their decisions. Only the immature need constant guidance, just like children. The more mature in the Lord we become, the less He has to direct us. However, it is right for the immature to be immature and need much more guidance. It is in these times that they will come to know His voice.
     We should have a basic devotion to know the Lord's voice and to obey Him in all things. We should also seek to become mature so that we know His mind and heart, and by sharing these, will be mature and trusted enough to be given authority of our own. Such mature sons and daughters are the joy of any truly noble father, and this is true of our Father in heaven. Even so, our Father is also King and will forever be this, and forever it must be our devotion to do His will.
     A great deal of the knowledge of the Lord and His ways are given to us in the Bible. For this reason, we should also have a deep and continual devotion to sink our roots deeper in knowledge and understanding of His written Word. It is not either/or with knowing His voice and the Scriptures, but both together. As we begin to know His voice, we can begin by knowing that His voice will never contradict His written Word. True prophecy will never be in conflict with sound, biblical doctrine. We have this truth as a firm foundation for getting to know His voice.

     Our devotion this year will be to sink our roots deeper into the Scriptures, loving His truth, and wanting to know His ways enough to seek them. We will also seek to know His voice better by getting closer to Him. If we stay focused on this pursuit, this will be one of the best and most important years of our lives. In the times to come, our lives will likely depend on how well we have pursued these basic disciplines as true disciples.