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Steve Thompson is the executive vice president of MorningStar Publications and Ministries in Charlotte, NC. He also oversees the prophetic ministries of MorningStar Fellowship. A gifted teacher and prophetic minister, he travels throughout the United States and abroad as a conference speaker. He and his wife, Angie, live in North Carolina with their three children, Jon, Joshua and Madison.
"You May All Prophesy!" is published by MorningStar Publications, ISPN 1-878327-96-8, copyright 2000.
The next lesson will give the general overview of the book, including a definition of what prophecy is and why it is important to the church. In short, Thompson defines prophecy as "speaking divine encouragement," as well as "hearing from God and speaking what you hear in order to build, comfort, or encourage someone." Thompson discusses various type of revelation, including words of knowledge, words or wisdom and discerning of spirits.
Thompson also discusses the importance of interpretation (which is correctly understanding what God is communicating) and application (or knowing how to respond to God's Word in our personal lives and walk). And he points out that we must understand the realm of authority that God has given us and stick to that. We are not to try to bring correction in situations where we have not been granted authority through responsibility.
In that context, Thompson discusses the ways we receive information from God, which include:
Impressions can be considered entry-level revelations. This does not mean, however, that they are not significant. The interesting thing is that impressions are not only thoughts being dropped into our minds, but they can also manifest in our bodies or our emotions as well as through our senses. Let's get into a little more detail.
When we minister we may start feeling certain spots on our bodies getting sensitive. This is when the Lord is highlighting an area in the person's body that He wishes to heal. Other times we may feel in our emotions what another person is feeling. God allows this so we can pray for that person. Also, God will at times reveal His heart to that person through our emotions. This is when we minister to somebody and suddenly experience profound joy or a sense of protection over a person.
Thompson states: "Many people who receive impressions like this may believe they are unstable because their emotions can change abruptly as they move from one situation to another. They do not understand that God is 'pulling the strings on their emotions' in order to speak to them."
It is obvious that not everything we feel through our emotions is from God. For us to distinguish between our emotions and God stirring our emotions, we need to know God's Word because the Word discerns our thoughts and motives. As we get intricately acquainted with God's Word we will be able to quickly determine what does and does not come from the Spirit of God.
When God uses our spiritual senses, we will receive revelation through sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch.
For instance, when a person we have never met reminds us of another person we know. At times God uses this familiarity to point out areas that are similar to the person we know. Through this God may point to the same callings or perhaps the fact that the person may be born in the same state, etc. It could also mean that the person may be oppressed by the same spirit.
Another way God will point out things to us through spiritual sight is by allowing us to see things on people that are not visible with our natural eyes. Thompson talks about a time when he prayed for a woman when suddenly her hands seemed to turn completely white. God wanted to point out to this woman that he was seeing her as spotless, with clean hands. Because this woman had experienced tremendous hurt due to having been wrongfully accused, this revelation greatly encouraged her.
Often when we hear a name or somebody speak of a certain person, God will give us further revelation about that person. It is important to know that spiritual hearing is not knowing when somebody sounds depressed or excited because of the tone of voice, but instead is spiritually discerned.
God will also speak to us in a small voice, internal voice or audible voice. The still, small voice is considered a lower-level revelation whereas the internal voice and audible voice are higher-level revelations. The small voice is highly subjective since it is internal and quiet. While it is a valid way God communicates, it must be judged in light of the desires of our own hearts.
The internal audible voice, however, is a loud booming voice, not originating from our thoughts, but instead is a voice cutting through or interrupting our own thoughts.
The audible voice of God isn't necessarily loud in volume, but it is immense in nature. Thompson describes his experience hearing the audible voice of God: "The first three times I heard the audible voice of the Father it was like hearing eternity speak, and I was shaken for weeks afterward."
This could mean smelling a demonic presence in a room or an impending attack of the enemy. However, it could also mean the ability to smell something the Lord is doing in that person's life. Again Thompson uses an example of when he smelled incense while ministering to a woman in Switzerland. The Lord wanted to reveal to the woman through this that His presence was radiating from her life as an incense.
These are impressions we receive through touching. This can happen when we touch an item and the Lord reveals truth to us about the person who sent the item or through directly touching the person. Suddenly, we will receive spiritual insight into situations or even spirits that are at work in that person's life.
When we taste something that was not there prior to ministering. These are prophetic revelations concerning the person we are ministering to.
Other Forms of Revelation
"Glimpses in the Spirit" are fleeting internal pictures. They are the lowest level of visions. Brief in duration and usually containing only a still picture, they are usually symbolic.
"Gentle Internal Visions and Strong Internal Visions." These are seen internally. The pictures include a storyline of transpiring events. These visions are clearer and more pronounced than glimpses.
"Open Visions." These visions are received when your eyes are open and they are not stopped by distractions. They can start and continue even when we are involved in activities such as driving a car. It is like seeing a scene acted out physically as on a movie screen.
God also speaks to us through dreams. Please note there are different types of dreams:
"Literal Dreams" are these quick vignettes, showing us the future under certain circumstances. They are easier to understand because they usually are short.
"Symbolic Dreams" are symbolic and must be carefully interpreted over time. It often requires much prayer and meditation to receive the interpretation.
"Dreams of Angels or the Lord" are not visitations; they are dreams, but they are high-level revelations.
"Trances" are higher levels of revelation and subjective in nature. Being caught up in the Spirit is similar to a trance, however, the believer is actually transported somewhere.