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“I would like to repent for inaccurately prophesying that Donald Trump would win a second term as the President of the United States.” These are the words of Jeremiah Johnson of Jeremiah Johnson Ministries. He, along with a few other Christian leaders, had insisted that the Lord had told them for sure that Donald Trump was going to have a second term. Yet it didn’t come to pass.
So, what are we to make of these prophets and their prophesies? If they are indeed prophets of the Lord how did they get it wrong? If they are not 100% accurate do they have any credibility at all? Does the gift of prophecy as a spiritual gift even exist today? What do we make of the prophecies of a man life David Wilkerson? These are questions that serious followers of Christ are looking for some guidance on.
In regard to prophets and prophecies, Bible believing Christians have tended to fall into three camps. There are those who completely reject prophecy as a gift for today. Thus, these prophets are seen as having no credibility and many times are written off as kooks.
Others have completely embraced the prophets and their prophecies almost uncritically. Their words are taken almost as Gospel and as equivalent to the Scriptures. This group would believe that these are men and women of God and they are in touch with God. Thus, what they say must be accepted and we must be careful what we say against them because the Scripture says “Touch not the LORD’s anointed or His prophets.”
A third response is the “I don’t know” approach. This, “I hope they are right but maybe they are wrong — but I don’t know so I’m going to freak out a bit” methodology probably is not that helpful. Certainly, there must be a more reasoned perspective.
The bad news is that these prophets and their prophecies have made evangelical Christianity look a little foolish in the world’s eyes. Foolish looking not because of the preaching of the cross which would be what should be expected. Rather, foolish because it is obvious God is not speaking to our leaders the way they say He is.
The good news is that the Bible addresses this matter in the simplest of terms. It addresses the issue of prophecy still existing. It provides guidance regarding what a prophet is and what a prophet is not in our world today. It also provides a framework for dealing with prophets and prophecies within the life of the Church.
The Apostle Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, deals with almost all of this in one short section of Scripture found at the end of the letter to the Thessalonians. The Apostle’s words give us some straightforward guidance. He writes in 1Thessalonians 5:19-22.
19 Do not quench the Spirit.
20 Do not despise prophecies,
21 but test everything; hold fast what is good.
22 Abstain from every form of evil.
A few words of explanation and application are in order.
Quenching the Spirit means “to extinguish a flame.” We should not be those who simply pour cold water on something someone claims is Spirit-led just because we don’t like it. That is forbidden here.
Despising prophecy means “to look down on” or “to ridicule.” We should not reject out of hand a message someone claims to be from God just because it doesn’t jive with our thinking. This command allows that prophets and prophecy exist today. What is a prophet? A prophet is someone who declares the revelation of God. Please note that this is more forth-telling than it is foretelling.
“Testing all things” means that we “examine or take out for a test drive” the claims. We should not accept prophecy uncritically. If we are commanded to test prophecies this means that today’s prophets don’t speak infallibly. They don’t have the same accuracy and authority as the Old Testament Prophets and the New Testament Apostles who are the Christians’ equivalent of Old Testament Prophets. I like to say, with no offense intended, that they are little p’s not big P’s.
Our testing should involve a very simple formula. It should involve:
- What we know about God — our God sense; Does this prophecy sound like God? Does it square with His character? Does it reflect what He has done in the past? Does it line up with His promises?
- What we know about the Scriptures — our Bible sense; Does this prophecy square with what God has already revealed in His Word? Does it come in conflict with clear Bible teaching? Does it violate Scriptural mandates?
- What we know about the person — our people sense; Is the prophet and thus his or her prophecies credible? Are they people known for their integrity or could they have a different motive here that could make what they say suspect?
- What we know about what’s going on in the world — our common sense. Rarely are we asked by God to throw out all reason. God gave us minds to use to come to logical conclusions.
“Holding fast what is good,” means that I “make my own that which passes the test, and believe it.” We should not throw away the proverbial baby with the bath water. We must eat the meat and spit out the bones. Please note that a prophecy may only be partially true as in the case of Agabus in Acts 21:10ff.
“Abstaining from all forms of evil” almost assuredly means to distance oneself from questionable prophets and their prophesies. When we entertain them we legitimize them not just in our own eyes but in the eyes of others. That is not something we want to be doing.
With these verses in mind, what do we do with prophets and their prophecies? We can’t dismiss them. We can’t mock them or ignore them. What we can do is test them, throwing anything out that fails the test and believing and acting on what is found to be trustworthy based on our knowledge of Scripture; our knowledge of God, what we know about the speaker, and what we know about current world events. In other words, we should take seriously that which passes the test.
Today’s prophets are not like the Old Testament Prophets who spoke “Thus says the LORD.” The best they can say, unless they are quoting the Scriptures, is “Thus says the Lord I think.” If anything, they are like those of whom Paul says, “for we know in part and we prophecy in part” and “we see in a mirror dimly” (1 Corinthians 13:9 & 12). In 1 Corinthians 14:29 we read, “let two or three prophets speak and let the others judge.” This again points the need for the Church to police the prophets and their prophecies.
Because prophecy today is at best “in part” and at best, “we see in a glass dimly,” it is necessary that what is prophesied be judged — to be sifted through. Therefore, we must follow through with the Biblical principles Paul has outlined in evaluating prophets and the prophecies that come our way. If we do so we will strike the balance outlined in Scripture, not miss what God is truly saying to us and at the same time maintain our credibility and sanity.
Blessings, Pastor Dave Watson
An Inauguration Prayer
Lord we come to you today to pray knowing that it is the greatest privilege we have and the most important thing we can do. When Solomon became the 3rd King of your people Israel he prayed. He asked You not for riches or success. He asked You for “an understanding mind to govern your people that I may be able to discern between good and evil” saying “who is able to govern this your great people.”(1 Kings 3:9) With that same humble attitude Solomon for himself and his sons or David for Solomon wrote this Psalm (Psalm 72). Its tone is for the inauguration of the leader(s) of a nation. We pray it to You Lord today for the incoming President, Joe Biden and Vice-President, Kamala Harris and their administration. We know that good government is a gift from You and a blessing to Your people so we are praying that they will govern wisely and in a way that please You.
1 Give the king your justice, O God, and your righteousness to the royal son! 2 May he judge your people with righteousness, and your poor with justice!
O God, our God , we ask that You would give our new President and Vice-president, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris and their administration Your justice and Your righteousness. What they can bring on their own is not good enough. They need, as all of us need, to be enabled by You. Help them to decide what is right or wrong regarding Your people with righteousness and regarding Your poor with justice. Lord these people are You people. They are not the government’s people. May our elected officials and may we always see them that way.
3 Let the mountains bear prosperity for the people, and the hills, in righteousness! 4 May he defend the cause of the poor of the people, give deliverance to the children of the needy, and crush the oppressor!
May prosperity and righteousness extend to every part of our nation. May this administration take up the cause of the poor. May they rescue the children of the needy, even the unborn, and may they triumph successfully over those who oppress and exploit both the poor and the needy, especially the unborn.
5 May they fear you while the sun endures, and as long as the moon, throughout all generations! 6 May he be like rain that falls on the mown grass, like showers that water the earth! 7 In his days may the righteous flourish, and peace abound, till the moon be no more!
Lord, may President Biden and Vice President Harris fear You above anyone or anything else. Because of their reverence for You may this nation as a whole have an enduring fear of You. May that reverence be renewed and last through the generations. Because the administration and the nation fear You may their term in office be like a needed rain that refreshes the land. In their days may those who are righteous, those who are trying to please you, flourish and may peace, Your shalom, multiply in our homes, our places of business, our neighborhoods, our places of worship, our cities and our streets for generations to come.
8 May he have dominion from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth! 9 May desert tribes bow down before him, and his enemies lick the dust! 10 May the kings of Tarshish and of the coastlands render him tribute; may the kings of Sheba and Seba bring gifts! 11 May all kings all down before him, all nations serve him!
Lord, we know this part of the Psalm will only fully come to pass when Your Son and our Savior the Lord Jesus comes and rules. In the meantime, please help President Biden and Vice-President Harris to export Your values from the Atlantic to the Pacific and from this nation around the world. Your kingdom culture is good for all. May our leaders and our nation be respected in all the continents across the globe. May they want to work with us because of our integrity and our values which come from You.
12 For he delivers the needy when he calls, the poor and him who has no helper. 13 He has pity on the weak and the needy, and saves the lives of the needy. 14 From oppression and violence he redeems their life, and precious is their blood in his sight.
May President Biden and Vice President Harris and their administration deliver the needy when the needy look to them to do so. May they rescue the poor because there is no one else to help them. May they be compassionate on those without strength and save their very lives. May they do so because the lives of all, the born and the unborn, the poor, the rich, the black and the white and every hue in between is precious in their sight because they are precious in Your sight. May they redeem their lives from oppression and violence of any form. That is the job of government, to protect the innocent. May they do just that.
15 Long may he live; may gold of Sheba be given to him! May prayer be made for him continually, and blessings invoked for him all the day! 16 May there be abundance of grain in the land; on the tops of the mountains may it wave; may its fruit be like Lebanon; and may people blossom in the cities like the grass of the field! 17 May his name endure forever, his fame continue as long as the sun! May people be blessed in him, all nations call him blessed!
May their legacy continue throughout generations. May they be rewarded in this life as well as the next. May this President, this Vice-President and this administration be prayed for and have Your blessing pronounced over them because they are blessable all the day long. May the tops of the mountains overflow with blessings. May there be incredible abundance in this nation with which we bless the world. May those in the cities flourish as well as those in the country. May this President and this Vice-President and this administration be so good in Your sight that their name and their fame continue long past their earthly lives. May the nations bless them and our nation loudly because we are right with You and doing what is right in Your sight.
18 Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel, who alone does wondrous things. 19 Blessed be his glorious name forever; may the whole earth be filled with his glory! Amen and Amen! 20 The prayers of David, the son of Jesse, are ended.
Lord we bless You and Your name because You alone do wonderous things. We put all our hope in You today. We look forward to the day the whole earth is filled with Your glory. Until then please make America blessable and please, God bless America. Amen and Amen
January 2, 2021
Hello Calvary Family.
January is finally here and 2020 is in our rearview mirror. Praise the Lord. You and I are not sure what 2021 will bring but we know our Lord remains in control. We can count on him to sustain us. Before we move forward I want to write a few words about 2020 and our church and church family.
First of all, thank you for who you are as church. I am grateful on an almost daily basis for your work of faith, labor of love and steadfastness of hope in Christ Jesus (1 Thessalonians 1:3). Recent times have been hard… very hard. Thank you for not wavering and for standing fast. It says a lot about your relationship with the Lord and the work that He is doing in and through you. Thank you
Secondly, thank you for praying. We’ve hosted over 90 virtual prayer meetings (Not including the prayer times our Mission’s Team holds weekly) and many of you have been on almost every one of. If this pandemic has done nothing else it has taught us the importance of praying and praying together. By God’s grace our online times of prayer have become something that is incredibly powerful and something that has drawn us together in an amazing way. We’ve seen so many miraculous answers to our prayer from our prayer meetings. Two examples immediately come to mind. God’s healing of our own Linda Rosario from a severe case of Covid 19 with a prolonged hospital stay, as well as His healing of Gabby, a young lady who has attended our Night to Shines.
Thirdly, thank you for being generous. Because of your generosity and the hard work of the Pantry Ministry we have been able to provide food for many, many people in our community. In addition, at the height of the pandemic, through a partnership with Basil Cucina, we were able to provide meals for over 350 healthcare workers on their jobs during a five week period. Even beyond that we were able to transform the garage, henceforth known as “God’s Garage” into a great useable space for meetings and ministry. And then we out did ourselves. To God be the glory, we provided 1374 Operation Christmas Child Shoe Boxes of Love, which provided 1374 gospel opportunities around the world. Children and their families will come to know Jesus Christ as a result of Calvary’s efforts in this endeavor. Thank you!
Fourthly, thank you for participating and co-operating. You have shown up to everything: online church, in-person church, outdoor church in the ballpark and everything in between including prayer meetings online and in-person and NYIBS. We have functioned about as well as we possibly can under the circumstances and made the best of a very difficult situation (a special shout out also to our Media Team for their labors here). Thank you.
I can’t end this letter without stopping to remember the very special people we have lost in our fellowship over the last nine months. They will be deeply missed.
We lost Brown Samson who came to the first service with his wife and two young children. He was a hard-working man from Nigeria. Please continue to pray for Charity and their children as they seek to build a life without him.
We lost Tommy Smith who came as often as he could to the 11:15am service. Though limited physically, Tommy loved the Lord and was always seeking to grow. He heard our sermons every week in person or on the radio. I missed his call the day he was taken in to the hospital. He left a message asking for prayer. Please pray for his two adult sisters who miss him.
We lost Jasper McCarter who was a special man who came dressed to the nines every Sunday to the 11:15 am service with a distinctive hat. The last words I remember him speaking to me were “I love you Pastor” as he walked out the door. Please pray for his adult children. He was one of a kind.
We lost Eliana Cruz who was incredibly special to many of us, but of course even more so to her daughter Mary Ann, son Carlos and daughter-in-law Denise. I personally was privileged to spend many an early afternoon with Eliana talking about Cuba, world events, and Jesus. She would often help me with my pronunciation of Spanish words and phrases. Please pray for her family and our church family as we continue to grieve her loss. She was like a second mom to many of us.
In addition to these four beautiful people, we have had other losses from Covid or Covid related issues among people who are connected to Calvary. I know each loss stings and each person is missed. Let’s keep praying for one another. Loss without closure in this environment has been almost unbearable.
Back in late March, I mentioned that we were in for a marathon with this virus. I was wrong. It has been more like a triathlon. The secret to running this race was and is waiting on the Lord, looking to Him in faith through prayer and claiming His promises found in His Word (Isaiah 40:28-31). As we wait on Him I am confident He will give us the strength to keep running until we are on the other side of this and beyond.
In closing, I want to especially thank our elders as well as Pastor Schooling who have worked tirelessly throughout this incredible time. I am blessed to call Sam, Raul, Carlos, Rev. Dave, Rudy and Pastor Paul fellow laborers and we are blessed to have them as leaders in our church. In addition, we are blessed to have Jonathan, our worship leader and Sharon our administrator who both have worked incredibly hard serving the Lord and His church during the last year.
2020 was a very tough year, but the Lord got us though. Whatever 2021 holds for us we know He holds us and will never let us go. I hope to see you soon.
In His Grip,