In the last article, I established the idea that the word of the Lord “comes” to us. That means that we cannot conjure up a word from God. Now, that does not mean that we cannot choose to prophesy. What it means is that after making the choice we cannot control what we hear. There are many examples of people who chose to prophesy and God responded. One that comes to mind is Elisha in 2 Kings 3:14-19 when he gave a word to the kings. In that story we see him make a choice to minister the word of the Lord. But, he did not control what he heard. An even better example of this is Baalam in Numbers 22-24. Balaam is requested to prophesy and so he does. In fact, he does so three different times. But again, he had no control over what he heard. He said to the king who hired him to curse Israel, I can only speak what I hear. So he had control over the opening of his ears to hear, but not over God’s response. He could only speak what “came” to him.
One thing that I find amusing and annoying is the many arrogant prophets who think that they are deep. They usually hinge this attribute about themselves on some teaching of a mystical nature. It is funny to me because what they are teaching is usually not that deep, in terms of revelation. It is annoying to me because they usually take some portion of text out of context to support their view. The reason that annoys me is that they usually came to the erroneous conclusion via their own study. It should be noted, however, that real revelation cannot be searched out. Real revelation must be unveiled by God, and God alone. If you come to a revelation by your own study it is not a revelation, it is a conclusion. Conclusions are good. We are instructed to study to show ourselves approved before God, and study leads to conclusions. But, if you want a revelation it must come to you by no effort of your own. There are no examples of people who “discovered” a revelation. There are only examples of people to whom the word of the Lord “came”; meaning they did nothing to get the information.
This leads me to the second tip for operating effectively in the prophetic realm. Operating effectively in the prophetic realm means understanding that God speaks in “proceeding words.” What is a proceeding word, you ask? Jesus said in Matthew 4:4, “Man does not live by bread alone; but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” The word “proceed” means to continuously pour forth. In other words, God’s words are heard as a continuous flow of thoughts from His mouth. For us, this means that we need to understand two things: one, whatever God says is connected to what He said last and what He will say next, and two, if God speaks once, He will speak again.
I cannot tell you how needed this truth is in the prophetic world. I often see people report that God spoke some random phrase to them that they don’t understand. Then they post that phrase online looking for someone to interpret what God said to them. I personally don’t understand people who engage in this behavior. If God said something to you, are you really going to trust someone else’s interpretation of what He said to you? Less I come across as pushing something perceived as unbiblical, let me back up my statement with the Bible. I know that most people are familiar with the scriptures that deal with Daniel and Joseph interpreting people’s dreams. These two examples seem to suggest that we need others to interpret our communications from God. But, let me show you something. When you look through the scriptures you will see that there were no Israelites that sought interpretations outside of their relationship with God. Every person that needed an interpretation of their revelations from God were “outside” of the Jewish culture. That included Pharaoh, the prisoners imprisoned with Joseph, King Nebuchadnezzar, and his son Beltchachsaer. They were all outsiders! They represent the secular world that does not have a relationship with God. The good thing about this example, however, is that it teaches us that God does indeed speak to those who are not Christians. It is grace in operation. The contrast in idea is visible in examples such as Peter and his vision on the rooftop, Ananias in the book of Acts, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, John the writer of the book of Revelation, Abraham, Noah, and more. All of those listed received the understanding of their revelations directly from God.
What is my point? Often the reason a person fails to understand the first revelation is due to a lack of understanding that God speaks in proceeding words. In fact, I tell people that “revelation, is an invitation, to communication”. The key to getting more is learning how to be perceptive.
Keep Listening, He’s not Finished Speaking!
In my book, You Can Hear the Voice of God Clearly, I write about the principle of “perception.” Perception is the starting point for getting into a position for God’s words to come to us. Job 33:14 (KJV paraphrased) says that God may speak once or twice and man does not perceive it, so he speaks to him at night in dreams. There is a lot to unpack here. First, God speaks more than once! He speaks once or twice, then again when man falls asleep. But, notice where it all starts. It starts at the moment of perception. The passage is clear that God is continuously speaking but the reason we often miss Him is that we are not “perceptive.” There is another key here that I need to unpack regarding this subject. That is the fact that if you perceive the first thing God says to you, you must continue to stay engaged because after you get the first thing there is likely to be more. Remember the passage says God may speak “twice” or a second time, and that there is a moment that God may speak into the night via dreams.
This all means that when we hear the first thing from God that it is the moment when He is making us aware that He has something to say. Remember, revelation is an invitation to communication!
Here is a good example. Before I started this article I was sitting on the bed with my wife talking. Then suddenly an idea “came” to me. It said, “Proceeding words”. That was the first word. I knew at that moment that there was more to hear, so I listened for more. Then it “came “to me saying, “Write the blog article on proceeding words.” So I went to the computer and sat down and started writing. As I was writing God directed me in what to write and when I got to this section He unpacked Job 33. So the revelation you are reading is fresh off of heaven’s presses. I am literally getting insight into the subject as I write this to you. What I want you to see is that it started with the “perception” of the first word “proceeding words”. Then progressed into a directional word “write about proceeding words”. Then progressed into a writing. Then finally it progressed into a full revelation. It was all connected and the first thing was related to the next thing.
I’ve got many examples of this in my life. In fact, walking with God means understanding that He is conversational. Sometimes when people tell me that they have a word from the Lord, I immediately know that it a word from their own heart. What is the main indicator for me? The main indicator that they are being led by their own heart is always revealed in the erratic nature of their words. If God is saying something completely different to you every day then it is probably not Him. More than likely it is you. He is conversational! The first word is connected to the next word, and the last word is connected to the previous word.
Here is another good example. Earlier in the year, my stay-at-home wife became a working wife. This change was a bit of a hard adjustment for me. It was a hard adjustment for me because when she got pregnant with our first child we were on our honeymoon. That means that I have only known her as a housewife. That is a big thing considering we have been married for 14 years and for all of them she was at home. The stress of the adjustment started to cause problems in my heart and I suddenly found myself struggling with all kinds of insecurities. It got worse when those insecurities started to affect my behavior towards her and cause problems in our marriage. With all of this happening I turned to the One Person I knew that would address my issues effectively—God! To help me He spoke to me throughout the day to show me the sources of my problem. Then that night, I asked Him to continue to show me what He was showing me during the day, and He did. I dreamed that my wife was at work and gave me a handful of coins and asked me to make change. So I went off to make that happen. When I awoke from the dream I turned to God for the interpretation. Immediately, He pointed out to me that people don’t usually ask people to make a dollar from change. Usually, they ask you to turn a dollar into change. In the dream, I was doing something different and my wife needed me to take all of the moving parts of our former life and help her to bring them together. The overall idea of the dream was that God wanted me make the change easier for her. The next day He continued to speak to me about the issue. Then that night I had another dream that showed me that the issue causing me the most problems went back to a source in my family. The point to all of this is to show you that God speaks in a conversational manner. He is not an erratic speaker talking about all kinds of random things: He is not a rambling person.
Just look through any book of the Bible and you will see this particular trait about God’s communication. Let’s look at Moses. He started out in a conversation with God at a burning bush about leading Israel out of Egypt. Then they had a conversation about why God led him to challenge Pharaoh and how that action led to the harsh treatment of the people. Then they had a conversation about the next miracle. Then they talked about the worst plague. Then they talked about the Red Sea. Then they talked about the 10 Commandments. Then they talked about the people’s hunger and thirst in the wilderness. Do you see it yet? Every conversation Moses had with God, though over a span of time, was related to the last and connected to the next.
Let’s look at Abraham. God told him to leave his country. He then told him that He would give him a son. He and Sarah had their own interpretation of that communication that led to the birth of Ishmael. But God spoke to him again to encourage him about His promise to give him a son from his own body. Then God gave him a son but asked Him to sacrifice him. Then He spoke to Him again to tell him not to do it. Then He spoke to him about being the father of a great nation.
You can clearly see this idea of proceeding words again. If I had time I could show you examples of this all day. I can show you over and over again that God is conversational and everything He says is related to something He has said and will say later. This also makes “repeated words” take on a new meaning. I wrote an article about the difference between confirmation words and repeated words. You can find that article here. https://doinglifeonfire.org/2017/05/26/when-god-confirms-his-word-versus-repeating-his-word-is-there-a-difference/. Understanding the principle of proceeding words will help lend real meaning to a repeated word or a confirmed word
Proceeding Words and Destiny
These two examples also tell us something else. In each of these examples of Moses and Abraham, you will notice that every conversation was centered around their assignment. For people who really want to talk with God on a regular basis, you need to know that He speaks all the time and in line with your assignment. In fact, one of the principles I teach in my book, as a hindrance to hearing God’s voice clearly, is “distractions”. And a distraction can be anything that takes you off your course of destiny.
Here is another example from the New Testament of God speaking in line with our assignment. You will also see some prophetic application here. Paul the Apostle first heard from God when He was knocked off of a horse and blinded for three days. The next time He heard from God was in a time of prayer. At that moment God showed him a man coming to give him his sight back. That man, Ananias, came and spoke into his life. Then Paul had several encounters with the Lord that obviously led to what he wrote in his letters. Then in Acts 13:2, the Holy Spirit asked that he and Barnabas be separated for the work of ministry. Then He, the Holy Spirit, told Paul that he could not enter a certain city. Then Jesus appeared to him to tell him that He is with Him and that he has trouble ahead. Then He told him via a prophet that he was going to be arrested in Jerusalem. Then He told Him the same thing again via the Evangelist Philip’s four virgin daughters. Then Jesus told him he was going to Rome to preach before Caesar. See what I mean. Every conversation was in line with the assignment. Paul’s life was one big proceeding, conversational word, where the first word was related to the next word and the last word was related to the first word.
The Prophet Application of Proceeding Words
So what is the prophetic application of this truth? After all, this article is about “prophetic tips.” There are a few applications to consider. They are:
There is a flow to the Holy Spirit
Jesus said out of the belly of the believer would flow rivers of living water. This He said of the Holy Spirit (John 7:38). A river has a current; a forceful that keeps the waters moving in a particular direction. It is the current that pushes anything in the water along. Anything in the waters will go in the direction of the current. There is a parallel in the Spirit. The Holy Spirit is a current that is carrying the believer along. Remember Jesus said I call my sheep by name and “lead them” out (John 10). So the first thing to keep in mind when prophesying, whether it be to an individual, a nation, or a congregation, is that God is taking this person or group somewhere.
Flow also implies that there is a beginning point, a middle point, and a destination point. For the man or woman of God who taps into the “flow” of the Holy Spirit to speak to another, you must understand that you are engaging someone that is either in the beginning of a journey, the middle of the journey, or close to the destination. Now, that journey can be a life journey or a specific journey such as a pastor in the middle of building a church. Regardless, everyone is somewhere is the process of a journey.
A great example of this is when Ananias speaks to Paul and gives him his sight back. He perceives a word that God spoke to set Paul in a direction that began his journey (Acts 9:17). Then there was Agabus who spoke to Paul about being imprisoned in Rome (Acts 21:10). That was a part of the flow at the end of Paul’s journey. But either way, we see the principle of the proceeding word again. Though both prophesied to Paul at different stages of his life, both gave words that were related to each other. See, God speaks conversationally throughout our life. That truth is factual regardless of the mode of communication.
So when you speak God’s word into a person’s life, your word to them should fit into their journey. It will either be related to the beginning, middle, or end. Knowing this makes it easier to know where God is going next.
Start with the First Word
The second application of “proceeding words” is easier to understand if you accept the first principle that there is a flow to the Holy Spirit. Earlier in this article, I established the idea of perceiving first words. “First words” is where most people stop with God and the reason as to why they don’t understand the meaning of what He says to them. The first word gets our attention. But the next word unveils the truth. Daniel had a dream. That was the first word. Then he got the revelation in the second word. Peter had a vision on the rooftop. That was the first word. But he got the revelation in the second word. Jesus did it this way too. He spoke in parables in the “first word” then unveiled them in the “second word”. The principle of “the next word” is important in the prophetic. Again, a lot of people stop at the first word. Now, for the sake of balance, sometimes the first word is the only word. That being said, when the first word is the only word the revelation of that word is contained therein. In other words, you don’t have to interpret that kind of word because it will be plain. If the word you get is not plain then you need another word to add context and meaning to the first word.
God’s Words Growing
Sometimes people marvel at my insight and revelations. It is clear to most that I get genuine revelations from God. The secret to the depth of my revelations is that I know that God “speaks once” and that is when I listen. Then He “speaks twice” and unveils what He said the first time He spoke. Listening to the Creator of the universe explain the complexities of life by allowing His word to “come” to me allows me the deepest of insight into any given subject.
Jesus teaches us about His growing word as well. In the parable of the sower and the seed, He tells us that His word is a seed. Another word for “word” is “voice”. In other words, God’s voice produces words that grow. That growing word leads to a growing understanding for the one that listens. When God is teaching me it always starts with a seed idea that grows in understanding as I listen. Sometimes the conversations are a day in length. Sometimes they go for days and into the nights as dreams, then pick up in the morning.
So as you listen for God’s voice, as you seek to speak into a person’s life, you will find that the first word that started as a thought, will blossom in your mind as you give attention to it. Then, before you know it, the one word has turned into two words, and so on and so forth.
Here is a biblical example of this at work. In 2 Kings the prophet Elisha sends out a student prophet to give a word. His instruction were simple. Tell Jehu, God says, “You are anointed the new king” (2 Kings 9:1). So get the picture. Elisha has gotten a revelation about the next king and He gives that word to his student to deliver to Jehu. When the young man finds Jehu he delivers the word. But as he was giving the first word the next word came to him and the word of the Lord grew! (2 Kings 9:6-9) This is very common in the prophetic. Most times God will give you a piece of information as a launching point. It will be a word of knowledge, advice, or foreknowledge in nature. Then when you step out to give the first word, the second word will come to you. Or as you release the first word your understanding of its implications grow and you end up giving a more in depth word.
So this is tip #2, God speaks in proceeding words. This means that you should not stop at the first thing that you hear. The fact that you heard the first word is evidence that He has more to say. Remember, God is conversational. Just read through the books of the prophets. You will see an ongoing conversation about Israel and other nations as you read their writings. Also, you need to remember that “proceeding words” also mean that God is not erratic. He speaks in such a way that each idea is related to the next. Isaiah said it this way, He speaks line upon line, precept upon precept, here a little there a little (Isa. 28:10). The implication here, “line upon line, precept upon precept” speaks to the logical nature of God’s word to us. When you have time read through the lives of the people in the Bible and watch for this truth. Having this information unveiled for you will now allow you to see the progressive and logical nature wherewith God speaks.
In fact, a perfect example comes to mind of this in operation today, when I think of Bishop T.D. Jakes. Many people are used to seeing him as he ministers to huge crowds. What they don’t realize, however, is that he is most certainly prophetic. My church and our sister church host him every year for revival. He usually preaches on Friday and comes with a powerful prophetic corporate word. Then on Saturday, he ministers to us early in the morning at what started as a leader’s conference. It used to be that it would be a crowd of no more than maybe 800 people. Lately, we’ve gotten up to about 2,000 attendees. (I know that 2,000 people sounds like a lot. But our church has 18,000 members. So to me, 2,000 people is a small crowd.) Anyway, at the end of preaching on Saturday, and with the relatively reasonable size of the crowd, Bishop Jake usually launches into personal prophetic ministry. Sometimes it is to the leaders and other times to the attendees. Yet, at other times he ministers to both. Either way, he ministers in a deep prophetic flow.
What is unique about Bishop Jakes’ flow is the fact that he usually prophesies in accordance with the word he preached. For instance, if he preaches on the healing of the heart, he will minister prophetically to those who need healing of the heart. Likewise, when he does, he goes deep. By deep, I mean that he calls out their secret thoughts and intentions, ministers in the visions he sees, speaks into the person’s future and even cast out any demons. Trust me, he hears very, very, very well. Much better than a lot of self-proclaimed prophets I have seen.
But I noticed that he too follows the principle of proceeding words. He starts with the idea that God gave him to preach. Then he moves into deeper ideas for each person. And every personal word is related to the corporate word. It is an example of God building line upon line and precept upon precept. And there are a lot of other prophetic ministers that operate the same way. They start with the corporate word and move into personal prophetic words that relate to what God has said corporately. One reason this works so well is due to the fact that they have tapped into the “flow”. Remember, out of us “flows” the Holy Spirit. Once you tap the flow by accessing the first idea, the next ideas are sure to follow. They may lead you to a corporate word or from a corporate word into personal words.
Let me leave you with this recap of what we have covered so far. Prophetic tip #1 is the word of the Lord “comes” to us. Prophetic tip #2 is, God speaks in proceeding words. In the next article I will deal with Tip #3, “it starts with a desire.”
Now I am going to let you in on a little secret. A few days ago I asked God to teach me His version of the prophetic. I got tired of all the varying views on the subject. Plus, who knows better than Him. Plus my experience with Him tells me that He never swims in the shallow end of the pool of information. So these prophetic tips are from Him to me. I know a lot of things already, but a lot of this I never knew. So I am bringing you along with me on the journey. Also, this is a great example of the types of information that “comes” to you; information that you cannot get by natural means. What you are witnessing is “words of knowledge” and “words of wisdom” from God in real time. The knowledge coming to me is informing me about this subject. The wisdom that is coming to me is His advice on how to use it.
Welcome to Doing Life Of Fire and stay tuned for tip #3!