We Pastor’s can be an insecure bunch. I am approaching seven years here at New Life and was reviewing with one of my mentors my concerns over how I was progressing in the ministry. As he kindly pointed out some of the positive things, one of them was you have kept the prophetic vision of the church before the people. Then he remarked about recently speaking to a significant group of pastors. The question he asked was “How many of you are holding on to a prophetic vision, or a heartfelt promise from the Lord?”. To his surprise, only about 10% of the group acknowledged they were looking for the fulfillment of some promise that had not yet come to pass. My response was “a prophetic word is an I.O.U. from God”. Then as I thought about it, I said, “No, it is more than an I.O.U., it is a promissory note.”
As I drove home after the meeting, I continued to linger over the thought of a promissory note. A promissory note is a negotiable instrument, wherein the issuer makes an unconditional promise in writing to pay a determinate sum of money to the payee, either at a fixed or determinable future time or on demand of the payee, under specific terms. This fascinates me because I have always believed we have a part to play in prophecy. We should all have a promise of God we are holding on to. Proverbs 29:18 ESV Where there is no prophetic vision the people cast off restraint, but blessed is he who keeps the law. One translation says people perish without vision.
So let us consider prophecy as a promissory note. First, the issuer is God. I didn’t request the prophecy, it was sent to me. Therefore, since God is the issuer, payment in full is guaranteed when the conditions are met. So what are the conditions. First is faith. If I really believe God has given this word, then I must hold onto it. It is the promise of God that keeps us alive and moving forward in hope. I have about 8 personal promises that I am currently holding on to. Some keep me focused on my pastoral duties and some help me stay true in my personal life. I must always look to God in faith and hold the promises up to Him for fulfillment. Isa 43:26 ESV Put me in remembrance; let us argue together; set forth your case, that you may be proved right. Not only are we to remind Him of his promises, He argues with us and for us, so that He may fulfill that which He has promised.
Secondly, to my faith, I must add action. It may be recording and declaring the word in prayer or it may be some physical act. If we look at Paul who received a prophetic word that he would be a messenger to the gentiles, we find in Acts 16, Paul attempting to take the gospel into Asia and God resisting him until he turned west into Macedonia. Pursue the promise. Search out the scriptures, cover it in prayer, engage others to pray with you, do what it takes to make yourself available for God to move in your life. Might be drastic, quit a job, sell a home; or it may be simple, just believe.
Finally the issue of time. In my personal life I have seen promises happen in as little as six months, some took as much as twelve years and some even longer because they have not yet happened. When it takes long, look back to faith, do I still believe it is a word from God. If so, keep Him in reminder of it. Then make sure I am positioned as best as I can be to receive the word. Finally know this, no promise from God is empty or without value. Isa 55:10-11 ESV “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, (11) so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
If you don’t have a word from God, go after one. Sit under the prophets, seek His face, search the scriptures and grab one. When you get it, hold on to it. A word from God is His priceless guarantee to do you good.