Preface by Marc Dupont
Allow me to introduce you to the wisdom of Don Atkin, for those of you unfamiliar with him. Don has been functioning as an apostle to the body of Christ for decades now. Over the last 3 years I have begun to have a a growing friendship with Don, and an appreciation for the wisdom and encouragement he imparts to the Body of Christ. He and his wife, Barbara, are based in Matthews, North Carolina. His website is found at: http://donatkin.com/
Some ten years ago I wrote an article entitled ‘True Prophecy builds Faith, not Fear”. I wrote this in the aftermath of all the false prophetic words that had been given regarding ‘Y2K’ and the world wide economic collapse that was going to follow as a result. The real problem was not that false words were given, but rather that the basis of them was off. They promoted fear, rather than faith in God and His redemptive purposes in allowing catastrophe. On the heels of the current shaking, which is quite Biblical (see Haggai 2 & Matthew 24), that has taken place this year once again a lot of so called ‘prophetic words’ are coming forth. Like some 13 years ago, again, many of them are lacking essential Biblical standards for prophecy. I suspect some of the authors operate out of the same ethos of the news media- bad news sells! My point is not whether bad things will happen, but rather understanding that in the middle of any crisis God is still God. As I was contemplating redoing the article I received this article from Don which is right to the point.
Remember: when the going gets tough the righteous get bold and take action! Marc A. Dupont
How Do We Face the Future by Don Atkin
Seismic activity and earthquake prognosticators predict quakes that are inevitable for the West coast of the USA, and likely to spawn a killer tsunami. They are absolute, but unable to predict a timetable. Hurricane activity along the Atlantic coast is predicted to be well above average this year. Forty-three people perished in the USA this week, victims of tornados. Japan’s recent earthquake and subsequent tsunami has resulted in unimaginable loss of life and property, and also dangerous radiation issues at their damaged nuclear power plants.
We may all be facing a global financial meltdown that could come in one giant tsunami wave. While this may indeed be prophetic, it is also simple “cause and effect.” When our outgo exceeds our income, our upkeep becomes our downfall.
Global media coverage instantly beams catastrophic events into our homes. The Internet is rampant with prophecies, sometimes contradicting one another. Respected prophets, Bob Jones and David Wilkerson both predicted these particular catastrophic events many years ago.
Nevertheless, confusion and fear are rampant. Is there not a more sure word of prophecy? Is there not a safe voice for the people of God? I believe that there is.
God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son.
He spoke in time past by the prophets. He now speaks to us by His Son. So many precious believers seek the prophets when we should be seeking Him.
“This is My beloved Son. Hear Him!”
For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus.
Old Testament Scriptures are loaded with references to and words of prophets. Even the gospel recording of Jesus’ life and ministry includes many references to Old Covenant prophets and prophecies. However, the New Covenant testimony and instruction, Acts and the Epistles, have very few references to the prophetic. Perhaps this is because Jesus has made a way for all of His people to hear Him through the Holy Spirit.
God, who is no respecter of persons and not willing that any should perish, has made Himself present in Christ, through the Holy Spirit. He does not dwell in temples made by human hands. Neither does He any longer merely inhabit the praises of His people. He now inhabits His people, perpetually, all the time, and everywhere. Unbelief summons His presence; faith acknowledges His presence.
APOSTLES, PROPHETS AND INFRASTRUCTURE
That He can and does still speak through His infrastructure is evident. For example, He dictated letters to John for the messengers of the seven churches in Asia. He also spoke through Agabus, part of a group of prophets who went from Jerusalem to Antioch.
We need to learn to hear from Him for ourselves, through one another, and also through His master builders and foundational ministries, so that we may corporately embrace and function together in His Spirit. Do not despise prophecies.
Those who claim to be apostles or prophets, and have not been properly built into God’s organic infrastructure are unreliable voices. Apostles and prophets operating after Old Covenant models or independently often carry the leaven of legalism or licentiousness. Both are intended to function within the body, rightly relating to master builders, and functioning with them as foundation stones for what Jesus is building in the earth.
PREPARING FOR HARD TIMES
Being in Christ is our preparation for the future, regardless of what the future holds. To hear His voice and obey Him moment-by-moment is how we should live. “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own troubles.”
The presence of fear is the absence of faith. We are to be built up in our most holy faith. That is where we find today’s bread and provision. That is where we will find tomorrow’s bread and provision.
Lest you think this to be an oversimplification, let me add that the presence and power of Christ in us inevitably leads us to be prepared for any eventuality. It is better to heed His alert than the world’s alarm.
Wise master builders only build what can be sustained regardless of circumstances, even in the worst-case scenarios. We can live by faith and in peace now, in ways that cannot be affected by the storms of life. We are equipped to face life as it comes.
A truly prepared saint is ready to die, loving the one who is taking his life.
Prudence—the characteristic of exercising sound judgment in practical affairs—is a virtue, a part of the way that Christ lived, and the way He lives in us today.
When the prophets speak, we should:
- Discern whether or not they are carrying the voice and message of the Lord to us.
- Examine the message along with the others with whom we are joined.
- Evaluate the relative urgency of their message.
- Inquire of the Lord as to specific changes or adjustments that may be in order.
- Expect Him to operate within us within the framework of His prudent character.
- Make certain that any conclusion or direction is consistent with His life within us.
- Come to conclusions within the context of body life.
- Do not choose to do anything that would violate His higher thoughts and ways.
- Fear not. Have faith in God.
The witness of the Spirit of Christ within is our most valuable asset in determining our direction. The corresponding witness of the brethren provides additional confirmation and/or correction. Alignment with one another is a huge part of God’s provision for our direction and our fruitfulness in Him.