A Prophetic Christmas {An Interlude}

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The Creator comes as Creation. The Maker as the Made. Come to His people–not as a demanding King, a vengeful Ruler, or a dismissive Overlord (although He has a right to be any of those things), but as a child, born in the equivalent of a barn today. Placed in a feeding trough. All to show the Love and the Oneness the Father wants to share with humanity. The holiness of it makes me want to fall to my knees.

Incarnation garnishes the beautiful festivities and jovial times many share during the Christmas season. God and Man mysteriously and somehow perfectly fused together about 2000 years ago, and its effects continue to spread today. And if you know Jesus as Lord and Savior, the Christ becomes our “elder brother” (Hebrews 2:10-13). Thus, Jesus’ first coming is very prophetic. Of course prophetic for his second coming, that which he promised to his disciples as a time of judgment and revelation of all things. But also because by the power of the Holy Spirit, He takes up residence in each one of us, and His story fuses with ours. Romans 6:3-10 tells us that we “have died” with Him, and we will also be resurrected like Him one day. And now we can live beautifully as Jesus did, free to embrace the good, lovely, and beautiful, counting ourselves “dead” to all wrongness (Romans 6:11)!

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Take a minute to let that soak in. Jesus’ life paid the price of sin that we never could. And now, we get to live “as Him” on the earth, demonstrating the same Love he did to everyone around Him by the same power that dwells in us.

The Giver became the greatest Gift to humanity–Jesus, our Savior, our Forerunner, and our First Love. And now we get to be the gifts of the power and the love of God to everyone around us. I pray that today we all feel His love and delight in us, His handmade creations, the only earthen beings made in His image (Genesis 1:27). And I pray that you also experience the same power and love of God flowing through you.

You are a gift. You were God’s idea of exactly what the world and everyone around you needed. And if you know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you are also a living manifestation, a living home of God on the earth. What a privilege, what a joy!

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Declaration: I love God, experience His presence this Christmas season, and connect with Him and the people around me like never before. Like Paul said in Galatians, I have confidence that “I have been crucified with Christ and it is no longer I live, but Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:20). I have fresh revelation about who I am in Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit in me, and demonstrate the kingdom of God to everyone I come in contact with! 

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Prophecy Today? {Part 1}

Prophecy alive and well (and not scary) today? This post will be part of a series to define prophecy throughout the Bible and now in the lives of New Testament believers: 21st-century us! 

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Prophecy. The images that first come to my mind are Moses from “The Prince of Egypt,” a street corner evangelist, and fire and brimstone. Other than in either charismatic or theological Christian circles, its not a word that gets much modern-day use.

Part of the purpose of this blog is to illuminate how prophecy is accessible, relevant, and even vital to the 21st century Christian believer. But first, let’s define what “prophecy” means in the Bible!

The word prophecy first occurs in the NIV Bible in Numbers 24 and is a great example of the human role in God’s communication through man. Balaam, a powerful non-Jewish man, experiences this moment:

When Balaam looked out and saw Israel encamped tribe by tribe, the Spirit of God came on him and he spoke his message:

“The prophecy of Balaam son of Beor,
    the prophecy of one whose eye sees clearly,
the prophecy of one who hears the words of God,
    who sees a vision from the Almighty,[a]
    who falls prostrate, and whose eyes are opened:

“How beautiful are your tents, Jacob,
    your dwelling places, Israel!” (Numbers 24:2-5 NIV)

I love this example because it shows the power of the Spirit of God and His heart toward His people to always bless. Balaam, in this moment, has been called on by the King of the foreign land Moab to curse Israel on his behalf. And yet, God shows up. Since Israel is God’s people, God speaks out His heart over them even when the “point” of this moment was to defame them!

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Here, there are a couple of keys to receiving prophecy from God that we will continue to unpack. First, this prophetic word came from Balaam’s survey of Israel — God’s kingdom. It is often in putting our attention on something God has done or is doing that we receive a Spirit-led idea of what God wants to do next. Second, it is the Spirit of God who comes upon Balaam to give him these words. It wasn’t Balaam who mustered up the eloquence, or energy, or even courage. God began the work, and God finished it (his prophecy goes on to describe some more beautiful blessings in the future for Israel). This is again emphasized by verse 4, Balaam says these are “God’s words.” (Interestingly again this is connected to his vision, albeit in this moment spiritual.) Third, Balaam describes himself at this moment as “prostrate” with his “eyes opened.” True prophecy will always lead us to worship, or adore God more and more. It will cause our vision to align with what God is doing in a situation, and we won’t be able to help loving and being in awe of God because of His goodness!

As we continue to dive into what it means to prophesy with your words and your actions, remember this ancient example that demonstrates how prophecy is a communication from the loving heart of God that causes people to draw closer to Him. Although a lot of the prophecy in the Old Testament contains judgments from the Lord, it is always with the purpose of disciplining His people to bring them back to Himself. And thanks be to God, in the New Testament, where we live today, prophecy can become an exciting and hope-filled part of every believer’s life!

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Declaration: Thank you Jesus that I am excited to prophesy and to speak God’s word and draw near to Him more and more! Thank you that I am understanding what it means to see the world from God’s perspective and to come into alignment with His will for me and the world around me. I know I am powerful, able, and worthy to live out the life He has called me to, in the name of Jesus Christ! 

How Do I Hear God’s Voice? {A Guest Post by Vivienne Tam!}

Here’s a treat: a guest post on hearing God’s voice from Vivienne Tam a beloved friend from Princeton and author of the beautiful blog Dancing for an Audience of One and most recently on her two-year international service trip. This woman of God hears Him so acutely and faithfully, what a delight to share her reflections here.

I have always envied people like Moses. Back then, it must have been so much easier, I thought to myself, how could you possibly miss a booming voice from heaven? As for me, I would sit for barely five minutes in silence asking God to speak to me before recent Facebook newsfeed posts would start playing on my mind-screen.

IMG_7699I remember when I first started to learn that with the Holy Spirit, we in fact have even more access to God than Moses.

2 Corinthians 3:7-10 says:

But if the ministry of death, in letters engraved on stones, came with glory, so that the sons of Israel could not look intently at the face of Moses because of the glory of his face, fading as it was, how shall the ministry of the Spirit fail to be even more with glory? …For indeed what had glory, in this case has no glory on account of the glory that surpasses it. 

I know that the Word is true, so when my life does not agree with it, I have to re-align it so that it mirrors the Word. And I knew that my life did not exhibit a ministry of the Spirit that surpassed Moses’ in glory.

So, then began my journey of really yearning to hear the voice of God. I think that’s where it all starts –IMG_8302 with the simple desire. King David expresses this beautifully, “One thing I desire, that I would seek, that I would dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to meditate in His temple.” (Psalm 27:5) I’m still on this journey, still praying that I will be able to hear the voice of God more clearly. But, here I have listed some pointers that have helped me along the way.

  1. Recognize what His voice sounds like.

John 10:3 says “the sheep hear his voice and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.” To familiarize ourselves with the sound of His voice, we need to read the Word. As we remain sensitive to how our spirits respond to the Word we know is from God, we will soon learn to distinguish when a Word from God brings life and peace. Of course, we need to clarify that the impressions we get from God cannot be compared to the infallible Word, but we use the Word to test every prophetic word we get.

  1. IMG_8315Give Him the space to speak

The first step is that in prayer, we leave a period of time for Him to speak back to us. When we first start, it will feel unnatural and thoughts compete for your attention. But if we push through and are determined to wait on God, He will speak, often times in the still small voice he spoke to Moses in.

A lot of times, we complain that we simply do not have the time to just spend waiting on God. I think the key is in creating a daily routine that factors in the prayer and waiting. Perhaps it means sacrificing an hour of sleep to give God that sacred space before the noise of the world rushes in. Perhaps it means putting on your headphones for worship on your way to Fine for Math. Perhaps it means writing your thoughts in a journal to God every night before bed. Whatever it is, make it a habit to have a schedule with space for God to speak.

  1. Step out in faith and learn by trial-and-error

I love the story of Peter walking on water. Even though through the fog he couldn’t see Jesus, he decided to step out of the boat solely based on hearing His voice. IMG_8696

When we are paralyzed with fear that it is not God’s voice, we never act and so often miss it. Yet, we are like children starting to walk, who learn down by falling down.  So, before I act, do I know 100% that it is God? No, but if my spirit is at peace and the Word is aligned with what I know is the character of God, I will act. And as we get our feet wet through small mistakes, the Lord sees our pure heart of obedience, and that brings Him pleasure 🙂

So, I hope that you are encouraged to keep desiring to hear His voice, holding onto his promise that when we seek Him, we will find Him.

Declaration: Thank you Jesus that I hear your voice clearly, and I delight in getting to know you more each and every day. Thank you that I walk in faith and belief in your goodness, and experience the breakthrough and intimacy that comes from my obedience to what You say. You are good, you are big enough to help me understand your communication to me, and I am loving going to the next level in my relationship with you! 

What Does God Have to Do with Me?

IMG_2534In order to understand more about living fully and bringing heaven to earth, it is very important to not only understand what God would want to say to me, but also how it is that I can relate to Him.

God is all about empowerment. When He speaks, He builds his people up (Deuteronomy 31:6). Sure, that doesn’t always look like warm-fuzzy fondness, but who would want a parent that wouldn’t tell them the truth about the world that they were heading into, when they were ready to hear it? Life can be rough sometimes, but we are called to overcome any and every evil that comes against us (Luke 10:19)!

The first awareness of that evil many times comes within oneself. When I realized I needed God, I knew I wasn’t the daughter, the friend, the world-changer I wanted to be. I wanted to do so many incredible things, but I saIMG_7790w that I kept failing. Even internally, I kept beating myself up and making myself feel stupid and small, which I knew I didn’t want to do. Why?

Because we have an enemy. Deep breath, doesn’t that explain a lot? It’s not all your fault. But, that enemy had the chance to get on the inside of us, which means we need some help to live the way we want, we were meant, to live.
And one day a long time ago, a man named Joshua lived and because he was part-God, he never did anything wrong — he lived life like a rockstar, perfectly. That meant that a lot of people got jealous and weren’t too happy with him. But he was so empowered and himself that he could do crazy, supernatural things, like accelerate the body’s natural healing process, and change really depressed and condemned people’s lives into fellow rockstars.

And then the crazy revelation, after he was actually killed for being too awesome, came that he actually lived his whole life not just to be amazing, but so that everyone could live their lives the same way. He did that because although he was killed he actually fought death in the unseen realm and came back alive, himself. And what would his awesome powers and perspectives and opportunities cost, $999 in four monthly payments? Nothing, absolutely nothing. IMG_7630

Take that good news and run with it! That’s what God wants you to do. Tell God you want to know Him, and He will reveal Himself to you just like this. New to the Christian message? Check out this 5 minute rap. And for more information, read the Gospel of John.

How do you live it out?

Feel free to share in the comments!

Declaration: I know God, and I love Him. I am alive to His message of love and freedom, and joyful live in relationship with Him each day!

Can God Really Speak to Me?

This post will be part of a series to lay the foundation and biblical understanding of living prophetically. Later, we will look at the definition of New Testament prophecy, why every Christian has the ability to prophesy, and how prophecy works with God. 

Communicating with the God of the Universe is a profound task.

Philosophers, kings, queens, and sages have been trying to understand it for eons.IMG_5636

In the multitude of voices around us, however, one has to understand who God is before they can recognize His voice. If I didn’t know what my friend sounded like amidst a crowd, how on earth (or in heaven :)) could I locate them?

The God of Israel is everlasting, eternal, immovable, unchangeable (1 Timothy 1:17). He doesn’t change like the shifting shadows (James 1:17). He is just, He does not give people what they don’t deserve (2 Thessalonians 1:16). He is good through and through, there is nothing dark in Him (1 John 1:5). And yet, He is also loving, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love (Psalm 145:8). He is patient and kind (1 Corinthians 13:4). He wants everyone to be in his favor (1 Timothy 2:4). He loves the world He created (John 3:16). And that’s just the beginning!

Wouldn’t it make sense then, if there is a God who is so able and caring with the people He created, that He would want to speak with us? That he would want to communicate about Himself to the people He created?

And here’s a point in that can subtly deceive many people: if God is not hindered by anything (He is God after all), than He certainly can speak to human beings. Sometimes IMG_5408we think that we have the ability to block out God’s voice, or that He is not speaking. God is always seeking to communicate with His people (Job 33:4). We can definitely ignore God’s voice, but when you do stop and listen for Him, He will speak.

But what He is trying to say to us? There are many ideas floating around in our culture that have caused many to not want to hear him speak. We’re told He would condemn us. Or remind us that our bible hasn’t moved from our bedside in weeks. Or that we need to try harder, again.

But if God is so kind and loving, and describes Himself as the Father of all (Ephesians 4:6), than what good Father, upon connecting afresh with His children, would first tell them that they have some serious work to do? May the LORD take this deception away from us! No matter what your relationship with your earthly Father looks like, know that God is the perfect Daddy. His first and foremost view of you in Christ is that He loves you so much, and He desperately wants you to know it so that you can be reconciled and close in spirit with Him every day. Who wouldn’t want to hear God’s voice then?IMG_1064

I encourage you to take some time this week, regardless of whether you have heard God’s speak to you before, to listen for His heavenly call. It will feel like your Father talking, and it will touch upon your heart strings. It is almost too tender a topic to broach here.

Hear His call of love? Feel free to share your experiences and thoughts in the comments section!

Declaration: I know that God is my loving Father, and I relate to Him as such. I easily hear His voice and am in a love relationship with Him. I grasp His feelings towards me and am emboldened by them more and more everyday!

Living Prophetically: A Monday Morning Introduction

“The Sovereign LORD has spoken — who can but prophesy?”

–Amos 3:8Coffee

When the wind and the waves haven’t felt the fresh sun upon them, there is a stillness that echoes throughout the land. At the start of a new day, a new week, there is a dewy sense of promise: what will these waking hours hold?

Living prophetically means that you, right where you are, will take hold of that answer. In the coming weeks, we will explore how to live in step with Jesus’ voice, in connection with the meaning of New Testament prophecy, and the riches such a lifestyle houses for your daily decisions. We will seek out the voice of the Lord in the smallest and biggest of choices, and do what the Light leads us to do. Living prophetically means that you are aware of God in the menial matters of clothing, words, meals you make yourself and others, games you play, words you say, and the way you lead others. It isn’t hard, keeps you aware of Love’s still small whispers, and helps you take control over the seemingly erratic aspects of your life.

BreadRight before Amos 3:8, God says “Surely the Sovereign Lord does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets” (Amos 3:7). If you seek out Love and Light Himself, God wants to reveal to you what he wants to do in and through your life in this season. And it is a lovely path! “You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore” (Psalm 16:11). Living prophetically sets you up to be mind-full of God’s ways, according to Proverbs 3:6: “In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” And the best news is, this doesn’t just apply to who you are going to marry and what you are going to major in in college (praise Jesus!). You can “acknowledge” the Light in every decision you make, and possess the land of your life the Lord has given you (Deuteronomy 1:8)!

A note on declarations: At the end of each post, I will have a declaration for you and I to declare to “speak life” over ourselves and receive the truths God wants to give to us, according to Proverbs 18:21: “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” Declarations are some of the most prophetic acts we can make, and we will explore why this is so in the coming weeks. Speak them out loud and with authority!

Declaration: I am coming into an understanding of how to listen to Jesus’ voice in every area of my life this week. I am not afraid of being led by Him, for I know by experience that His plans for me are good. I will walk in wisdom, revelation, faith, belief, and victory today. Praise Jesus for His joyful and abundant presence in my life!

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