Midweek Fellowship – June 1, 2016
Fr. Gary W. Thurman
Last Sunday, a prophetic word came forth. Bishop Ricardo Alcaraz began to prophesy, which is one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is. We are going to learn about the gifts as we go on because we are the Charismatic Church and we need to be very comfortable with the gifts of the Spirit.
I would like to speak about the gift of prophecy. 1 Thessalonians 5:20 says, “Despise not prophetic utterances.” What does this mean? When God brings us a prophetic utterance, when He gives us a word of prophecy, we should pay attention to it. Too often, we don’t pay attention. Maybe, we listen while the prophecy is going forward and we wonder, “Is this in the Spirit or not?” “Hmmm, that is good!” “Hmmm, I like that.” “Amen!” When the person is done, we say, “Yaay!” as if we are saying, “Good word, God! Nice job. Way to go, God!”
When Paul says to the church at Thessalonica to despise not prophetic utterances, he means a lot more than just, “Yaay, God! Go, Jesus! Good job, You who spoke the word. It is nice for You to do that.” What Paul meant is to go back and listen to it. Study it. Apply it. Don’t just take it for granted, and by all means, believe it.
Bishop Ricardo gave a prophetic utterance that the Lord gave him, and I want to emphasize on some points from this. Bishop Ricardo is not a member of the Cathedral of the King, and he attends at the Cathedral once in a few months, but yet, it was as if he had been here every Sunday and every Wednesday night all year long. He was touching on so many things that we have been sharing, reflecting on, and applying ourselves to.
Looking at the prophetic utterance:
“The Lord says, ‘Never forget that I have already spoken My Word to you. I will never leave you; I will never forsake you. I have spoken that a long time ago. It never loses power. Don’t ever forget that My light is greater than your darkness. Don’t ever forget that I am fully capable of delivering that which I have promised to you.’ There is a Scripture that says which God promised, He is able to perform. Abraham believed the thing which God promised to him and he was able to perform.
‘Straighten your shoulders and walk with a sense of thanksgiving.’ We are not to murmur and complain nor criticizing, but thanksgiving.
‘Walk with a sense of praise towards Me for I rejoice in your praises. I have noticed your tears.’ Psalm 56 says, “Lord, keep my tears in Your bottle. They are in Your book.”
I have taken them. They have served as reminders to Me. One day, you will see that which I am preparing for you.
For those who are saying that it might take a long time, have you forgotten that I have spoken that the nation would become a nation in one day? You are living in a time of acceleration. Do not measure achievements and events by how you have experienced them in the past for I am releasing My angels, My hosts and they are delivering provisions and resources to you.
For those of you who would respond to My call, don’t wonder that I have been waking you up early in the morning. I am asking you to spend time with Me. There is something that I would like to do through you.
For those of you who would respond, you will find yourself walking in a deeper sense of anointing; you will walk in the spiritual gifts. Begin to desire them. Be not afraid of that. I have given them to bless you and the people around you.
I am your God and I will never leave you nor forsake you.”
This is the Word of God for us, His direction for us. As Paul says, “Don’t take it lightly. Don’t neglect it. Don’t despise it.”
I want to highlight some points in the prophecy. The first paragraph says, “Walk with a sense of praise towards Me for I rejoice in your praises.” The first point I want to bring is: don’t take for granted the privilege of pleasing the Lord in your worship. Never let praise be a routine. Never let worship be something else that we do in the service – on Wednesday night or on Sunday morning. Sometimes in the Bible Study, we sing. When we are commuting, we have a little song in our minds. Never take that lightly. Listen to what the Lord says and He says, “I rejoice in your praises.” Do you know that you have the power to make God rejoice? He is the Almighty Creator of the universe. He is the One where that everybody is under His feet. Every name that is named, everything that is created, and everything under His feet can make Him rejoice! You are a person that God gave the ability to make Him rejoice. Don’t take this for granted – on Sunday, on Wednesday, and every minute of your life.
This is especially to you who have been given the calling and the ministry to minister in the King David Ministry. Never, ever go and say, “Oh no, another rehearsal.” Instead say, “Fr. Dino, can we extend rehearsal today, please? Can we rehearse two days a week, please?” This should be in our hearts whether this is logistically possible or not. If an opportunity for ministry should come up, be it in a wedding or a Resurrection Mass, an extra service or an evangelical trip, we should be the first to say, “Yes! It is a chance to make God happy. Count me in!” This is because of the calling and the anointing that God has given us.
It is not just for the King David ministers. All of us have been gifted with the ability to please the Lord. Don’t take it lightly. It is a privilege and a joy to do this because when we worship the Lord, His presence is there, and in His presence, there is fullness of joy.
The second point comes from the statement: For those who are saying that it might take a long time, have you forgotten that I have spoken that the nation would become a nation in one day? This is talking about God fulfilling His promise to the Cathedral for the last thirty-five plus years. This is a passage from Isaiah 66:7-10 talking about Jerusalem, God’s people, “Before she travailed, she brought forth; before her pain came, she gave birth to a boy.” The Lord says this is how quickly He is going to do His work. “‘Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such things? Can a land be born in one day? Can a nation be brought forth all at once? As soon as Zion travailed, she also brought forth her sons. Shall I bring to the point of birth and not give deliver? says the Lord. Or shall I who gives delivery shut the womb?’ says your God.’”
In this, God is saying, “Shall I give you the land and not give you the ability to build on it?” “Shall I give you the Holy Spirit and not give you the ability to minister under the anointing to people who are under the bondage of darkness?” God says that if He has brought us this far, He is going to bring us to the rest of the way. Once He has gotten us here, we will be surprised one day for it will happen. Verse 10, “Be joyful with Jerusalem and rejoice for her, all you who love her; be exceedingly glad with her, all you who mourn over her.” The Lord says that it is not going to be a long drawn out thing because He is the God who can make it go down in one day.
Continuing with the prophecy, the third point is: “You are living in a time of acceleration.” When Bp. Dick said that phrase, it perked up my ears. This is one of the key phrases in the prophecy. It is explaining the previous sentence, but it also has something of its own when it talks about the time of acceleration. He is not just talking about doing His work quickly, but He is talking about doing the work with passion and with intensity.
There are several ways you can get from one place to another. Sometimes, when my family and I are going to a certain place, a lot of times we walk because it is sometimes faster to do this than wait for the transportation plus the traffic. This is what I call the stroll. To be honest, I hate to stroll. If am a tourist and I am going to some place that is new, the stroll is fine; but if I want to get somewhere, I want to walk. People tell me that I walk fast and this is because I want to get to my destination and I want to do what I need to do and get back and do the next thing. Another way to get to a place is by walking. But the Lord says, “You are not living in walking days. Right now, you are at a time of acceleration.” In times of acceleration, we don’t stroll, walk, but we run. At this time of acceleration, it is a time to run. To run is something you do with intensity. To run is something you do with purpose.
It is interesting because the Wednesday before this Sunday, I got a Scripture from the Lord and it was in Psalm 119:32 which says, “I will run the way of Your commandments.” This is unusual because many, many times in the Bible, it says, “To walk in God’s ways; to walk in manner worthy; to walk in the paths of the Lord.” The phrase “to walk” is used often. Rarely, maybe two or three times does it say, “To run in God’s ways.” This is because it is a time of acceleration. It is a time of intensity.
At the end of last year, the prophetic word that came from the House of Bishops was: intensity of prayer. Now, the Lord is saying, “Don’t just be intense in your prayer, but be intense in your faith.” Be intense with your life with the Lord. It is a time to run; it is a time of acceleration.
Psalm 119:60 says, “I will hasten to keep Your commandment.” Hasten means to go fast. We are talking about a time of acceleration, a time of intensity and speed. It reminds me of Elijah, after the Mount Carmel experience, after he called down fire from heaven and then, he defeated all the four hundred prophets of Baal and slayed them. Then, there had been a drought and so Elijah said, “Okay, the battle is not over yet. We’ve got to see rain come again, and so he started praying for rain.” Elijah got down on his knees and put his head between his knees, and was praying so fervently. Eventually, after he looked seven times and prayed seven times, a small cloud started to appear. Elijah told the king, “You better get ready because it is going to rain.” The king took off from his chariot from Mt. Carmel and began to go to his palace. Elijah, filled with the Spirit, started to run and he outran the king all the way to Jezreel. The distance from Mt. Carmel to Jezreel is about twenty-five miles. Can you imagine outrunning a horse and a chariot at twenty-five miles?
In Elijah’s life, it was a time of acceleration. One man against four hundred prophets of Baal and he won. This is acceleration and God is fulfilling His promise to His prophet. This is the time we are talking about - the time of acceleration; the time God in fulfilling His purpose. In one day, He defeated all the work of the enemy in the kingdom of Israel.
The fourth point, “For those of you who would respond to My call, don’t wonder that I have been waking you up early in the morning. I am asking you to spend time with Me. There is something that I would like to do through you.” We have been talking about intense prayer, seeking God, truly seeking His face for how many months already. The prophecy says, “I have been waking you up.” The purpose of spending time with God is so that God can tell you what He wants you to do. God has something for you to do – a job, a mission. Knowing that is good, but knowing what it is is even better. God is waking you up in the morning so that you will know and hear His word and accept the calling and say, “Yes, Lord. I will take this mission and this calling. I will run with it.”
The fifth point: For those of you who would respond, you will find yourself walking in a deeper sense of anointing; you will walk in the spiritual gifts. Begin to desire them. Be not afraid of that. For those who will say: “Lord, stop waking me up early in the morning. I am sleepy,” don’t expect a lot of anointing from God. He will still love you; He will still use you; but if you really want God’s best for you, when He wakes you up, shake yourself and listen.
I know that there are several of us who have been seeking for the spiritual gift of praying in the Spirit. Don’t despair if you haven’t received it yet. The Lord is reminding you that He will give it to you; He will give you this deeper sense of anointing. You will walk in this spiritual gift. The more that you desire it, the more sure it is that you will receive it. Don’t be discouraged and say that you are not just good enough or it is not God’s plan for you. Don’t fall into thinking that you are doing something wrong or it is not real. God knows the right time that you need to receive it.
From the passage of Ecclesiastes, it says, “To everything there is a season.” There is a time for everything. God knew two weeks or one week ago that it was not the time for you. Maybe, God knows that tonight is the time for you. The Lord promises and says, “Seek those spiritual gifts. Seek that deeper walk.” If you haven’t received what we call the prayer language or praying in the Spirit, keep seeking and you will find. Jesus said, “Seek and you will find. Knock and the door will be open. Ask and it shall be given.”
The six thought about this prophecy is: I have given them to bless you and the people around you. One Sunday in June last year, God said, “We drifted from blessed to be a blessing and now we are blessed.” The reason we are blessed is to be a blessing. We have lost this and the Lord is bringing us back there. In the last year, the Lord has taken us through really hard trials and some hard places, but His goal is to get us back to the place where we hunger and we thirst for the righteousness of being a blessing to other people; to being a light to those in darkness; to being a healer to those who are sick; to being a word of truth to those who are in the darkness of deception. He is bringing us to a place where we are hungry for this and this is the reason He says, “This is why I have gifted you with these gifts so that you can bless others.”
I sense that a number of us have this hunger in our hearts, “Lord, let me serve You. Lord, let me touch one of Your people. Lord, let me be a source of encouragement. Lord, let me be a source of hope, of light to those around me.” As you pray that prayer, the Lord says, “I am giving you gifts so that you can fulfil these.”
There is one more point that I am bringing out, which is the summary of it all. These past two Sundays, our themes has been: The Goal of Knowing His Authority and The Goal of Knowing the Trinity. What we have in common for these themes is: the goal. Where do we come up with the goal? Why is that there for these six months this year?
Back in November 2015, we had our All Worker’s Meeting, and Bishop Ariel gave us a word from the Lord, “I have heard from God. This is the theme for this year: pressing on toward the goal.” If this is a prophetic word from the Lord, again, we should not despise this prophecy. We should take it to heart. Yes, we are pressing on toward the goal – not just the goal of the piece of land, but the goal of being on fire, dedicated, fervent, intense ministers of the Holy Spirit for the glory of God. If we have that, building the Church won’t be a problem. Building seven churches won’t be a problem. St. Paul tells us to press on toward the goal. We can’t be intense without the spiritual attitude of pressing on.
The prophecy last Sunday is calling us back to this intensity. It is calling us back to this fervent spirit. It is calling us back to that focus, to that strong desire, to that zeal to serve God and to bless His people by His Holy Spirit. Have the prophecy in your heart. Fulfilling that is part of why we are here tonight because what we have been doing on Wednesday nights is to pray intensely. We have learned a lot about it, we have been practising it, and God’s has been working and answering prayers.
In this time of prayer, let us pray for several issues of prayer. One is for our mission team who are already in Leyte. Pray that God will anoint them with His Holy Spirit and that His work be done, and the purpose for which He sent His word would be performed. We have no idea what God is going to do at that time. Expect something greater. Expect something beyond. Let us pray for something more than what has been done in the past.
Like in the prophecy, those that was then, this is now. “Do not measure achievements and events by how you have experienced them in the past for I am releasing My angels, My hosts and they are delivering provisions and resources to you.” What are these provisions and resources? It is the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Let us pray for these gifts to come upon our team members, and that the Lord can do His work in that place. Let this week have the continuity, the expansion and something that has explosive growth. Let it be the beginning of the explosive growth in the Diocese of the Visayas. Let it be so that Bishop Dick is at a lost for what to do because there is so much kingdom work that is right in front of him and a lack of ministers to bring it forth. This is the will of God. Pray that it will happen in Luzon.
Another prayer item in reference to Psalm 119:32, “Lord, You make me run into the way of Your commandments because You will enlarge my heart.” This does not mean that the heart gets bigger; but physically, this happens to runners because the muscles of their hearts are exercised so they get larger. The Lord is not talking physically of a bigger heart, but a spiritually large heart. When He is talking about heart, He is talking about courage, passion, bravery, commitment to the Lord. Desire to be zealous for God. Pray, “Lord, enlarge my heart this night.” You can also pray that for someone else, someone you know.
Pray with intensity, with passion, and with focus in the Spirit and with the understanding on the will of God.