Word on Fire

Paul writes to Timothy

'I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you'
(2Tim 1:6)

so, to help the church with this, we offer this brief word, because

“Is not my word like fire,” declares the Lord'
(Jeremiah 23:29)

Hearing from God

“He who belongs to God hears what God says”
John 8:47

Easy, isn’t it! Maybe some readers are confidently asserting “Yes, it is!”, but others are just as likely muttering “Not for me, it’s not”. I can relate to both of these positions, strangely enough. I’ve found it can be so easy to hear God’s voice sometimes, then at others it seems such a struggle!

I’ve been really blessed in hearing the clear voice of the Lord since the time that I chose to follow him. Way back then I heard his audible voice so clearly it stunned me, and as I grew in spiritual maturity I also learned to hear the less distinct, still, small inner voice. Over the years, some highly respected ministers have affirmed the prophetic edge to my ministry which comes from hearing from the Lord, and yet still today I struggle at times to hear what he wants to say to me. Let me illustrate the dilemma.

Sometimes it seems so ‘natural’, so ‘everyday easy’ to hear and recognise God’s voice, especially when he wants to use me to reach someone else. In March 2008 I ministered to a flight attendant whilst on my way to India. Back then I may have written or spoken about leading her to return to the Lord, then healing her colleague of stomach pain whilst in the galley at the back of the ‘plane. Well, yesterday as I was sorting through my mission file I came across the email address she’d given me. I felt a spiritual nudge to contact her and as I decided on this the Lord spoke. He told me to say to her that he knew of her pain and confusion over a certain relationship, and that she could trust him to work it out if only she would follow his guidance. Later last night I had a jubilant response from her confirming that what I’d told her was exactly what she needed to hear. She was having a rough time, with lots of decisions to make, but said that her faith had been strengthened by my words. It’s an example of a definite, clear and accurate word of knowledge and prophecy that wasn’t at all hard to discern.
But then why has it recently been so hard for me to hear our Father’s voice for myself, on an issue that is so very important to me? Normally it’s as easy as having a conversation. Since returning from my last visit to India I’ve been asking the Lord why my application to renew my visa hasn’t been dealt with yet. It has left me in limbo, unable to plan another trip. It has been a really tough time for me because India is still so very much on my heart. When God removes a ministry, it is my experience that before he does so he removes the burden for that work from my heart. He hasn’t done that with India. I’ve been eagerly listening for his news of what is happening about that visa, and when it will come. That’s been the problem, and it has stopped me from hearing his voice!

A couple of years or so ago I was ministering in the States. Also speaking was a younger man with a recognised prophetic ministry, who had prophesied the Asian tsunami, the Mount St Helen’s eruption, and more. Yet it was me the Lord used to speak to his wife in a manner so powerfully precise that her tears flowed like a river. Why?

You know how scripture says to “fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith” (Heb 12:2)? Well, sometimes we take our eyes off Jesus and put them on the outworking of our faith in him – on our ministry, our expectations, on the answer we are yearning to hear. We know that, don’t we, but we never seem to be alert that it could be us doing it! My guess is that the American prophet had his eyes on his growing national ministry and had failed to see something closer to home. As for me, and my visa preoccupation, I took my eyes – or rather, my ears – off what God wanted to say to me, and instead I was listening for something that he wasn’t ready to talk about. In this sense the voice of God is "like a fire", but without its noise! The roar and crackle of the fire of ministry can, if we’re not careful, drown out the voice of God’s guidance, as Elijah discovered. “After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. … Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” (1Kgs 19:12-13).

It’s like when you think you hear a sound in the night, and you listen intently for that sound. Instead all you hear is the beating of your own heart. If any of this is happening to you, you need to quieten your heart, soften your breathing and just let the sound (or let God’s voice) come to you. Just be ready to hear it, not focussed elsewhere or distracted by your own agenda.
We also need to be able to listen to others who hear from God on our behalf. It often seems easier to hear from God if we’re less personally involved in what he might want to say! We need regular time with people who are listening in at heaven’s gates on our behalf.

Many years ago the Lord told me about his plans for my ministry. They would involve India, the USA, and elsewhere. I don’t think that either of the former are finished, but still there’s an awfully big elsewhere waiting for his word “Go”! I have come to realise that I should not have been asking “When India again?”, but “What now?”. If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got, and I want more! I’m presently exploring various indications of his call to Pakistan and Kenya, and perhaps a return to the USA, that I’ve received from other believers. Now I’m not letting my own noise – even the noise of ministry fire - get in the way of God’s voice! I hope and pray that you are hearing him clearly, or that you will do so from now on!

January 2010

More Words on Fire: this list will be added to as new messages are posted on this page.
Some of the links, below, are not yet activated as the site is being rebuilt. These pages will become available during the next few days/weeks, so keep checking back!

We Need the Fire; Take Up Your Life By Faith; Olympic Shame; Fire Kept Burning; Tsunami - An Act of God?; Sea Mixed With Fire; Hurricanes and Heavenly Barricades; The Blacksmith; The Goblet of Fire; Satan's Mistake; Finding and Fanning; Victory Fire of Unity; Delayed Fire; Babylon Burning; Church of England's Babylon Exile; The Burning of Christopher Wade

“He who does not quote, is not himself quoted”
Charles Haddon Spurgeon