*Pastor’s Note: I am sorry for the length but I did not want to split this up and I couldn’t see any way to make it shorter and stress the importance of this message. Also, images I am using are towards the end of the article. You’ll see why.
This has been weighing heavy, heavy, on my heart and I can’t hold it in any longer. This is something I pray about all the time and it bothers me that I see ALL over the internet on social media as well as supposed Christian websites.
First, I believe that the gifts of the Spirit are STILL active today! Sorry my mainline, mainstream, brothers and sisters, but I have been doing this too long and have seen AND experienced the hand of the Lord too many times to just sit by and say nothing.
Yes, I believe in prophecy (not just foretelling future events, by the way), Word of Knowledge and Word of Wisdom among other gifts. No, I don’t claim to be Pentecostal or even necessarily Charismatic, for those are just denominational titles, though I was saved (born again) in a little Pentecostal Church, I disagree with SOME of the extreme issues that they have declared doctrine. I am however a fundamental (conservative thinking), full-gospel (believing the WHOLE Bible in its entirety) preacher and teacher. That’s what God through His Holy Spirit called me to do many years ago and I can’t stop until and if He ever tells me so. That INCLUDES calling out false teaching as well as the false teachers and false prophets expounding these misleading lies and ways of “demonstrating” the Word of God!
Now I am going to get into the point eventually but I am going to give you a bit of Scriptures to lay the fundamental foundation, as it were. If you can’t rely on the Scriptures (in the context with which they were written) then you have NO foundation at all! So bear with me. But you HAVE to consider these Scriptures before you can understand my point.
By the way; this shouldn’t even have to be taught among mature, Christ-following disciples of Jesus. Jesus said:
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” – Matthew 6:19-21.
“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” – Matthew 6:25-34.
Furthermore, another lesson concerning our needs AND wants was also given as an example farther along in Jesus’ ministry. Speaking to a young wealthy man:
Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.” But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. Then Jesus said to His disciples, “Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” When His disciples heard it, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” – Matthew 19:21-26.
Before continuing with a few more Scriptures let me just interject here that Jesus is not say to the disciples, us, or even the wealthy young man that wealth in and of itself is bad. He reiterated that the Father knows our needs and if we SEEK the Lord’s Kingdom first and foremost, all of our NEED’S will be met! The lesson that Jesus is trying to give the disciples AND the young wealthy man (as well as us), is that our WANTS don’t always coincide with our needs and often times, if we ARE seeking the Father’s Kingdom, the luxuries and wants in life COULD get in the way of that very goal, seeking first the Kingdom of God!
As Jesus made it very clear, having riches and wealth does not mean a person CAN’T get to heaven, it just means that wealth can be a weight, an anchor as it were that could keep a person from giving his whole LIFE to the Lord.
Now, let’s continue on with a few more Scriptures leading up to my lesson. This comes from the Apostle Paul who was very much aware in his life of having much and having little:
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. – Philippians 4:6-7.
Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. – Philippians 4:11-13.
First notice that Paul is saying it’s okay to ask in prayer for things. But do so with thanksgiving for what we do have, a little or a lot and place those requests in God’s hands expecting His perfect will to come forth in whatever the answer may be and then you will have peace about your situation.
Paul goes on a few verses later and explains himself. If you are a child of God, you are going to have times of plenty and times of want. That is the life in Christ Jesus to be expected. However, again, this doesn’t mean that the Lord WON’T bless you with abundance, but the key is to be content with whatever it is that we are blessed by! This is a radical and foreign thought in most westernized countries where the “National” dream is riches and fame!
I want to point out one final thing before giving you one last foundational Scripture before the point I want to make; “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” is one of the most misused and abused Scriptures there is. I will say this though, it IS a what I like to call a Scriptural Principle in the sense that by itself, it can be confirmed elsewhere in the Bible.
HOWEVER, in the context with which Paul is writing it is used to accentuate and assure that we CAN find contentment in whatever state we find ourselves in, riches or poverty. It is God Who gives us the grace for the strength to not just endure but the grace to be content. That’s a far cry from how so many use and try to apply this Scripture.
Now one final Scripture in laying a foundation. Again, this is from Paul:
Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. – Romans 8:26-28.
Now most of you who know and follow me, know that Romans 8:28 is a favorite of mine, for it encompasses so many areas of our lives; when those lives are surrendered to the Lord! But again, look at the context. The Holy Spirit helps us in our weaknesses (such as not being content for example) by making intercession for us to the Father, because the Spirit that dwells within us knows our hearts better than ourselves and He knows the Father’s heart concerning each of us and exactly what we each, individually need to be perfected in Him.
Now with that in mind, I’m going to give you a few pictures, graphics, memes, whatever you want to call them that are found all over the internet. Most of these are found on supposed Christian sites (and I don’t doubt the people behind the sites are Christian) and in fact these ones I will show were from sites I visit. I have only altered them to the point of size and in a few, removing any identifying text or marks.
These images as well as posts that are just text messages of the same kind are what many are calling prophecy and at the least “words of encouragement.” Many of them, and I mean many, come from people who say they have prayed and this is what the Lord gave them. However, I will say it outright, these are more like divination than they are prophecy for Prophecy (again, not just foretelling the future) is speaking the words that God has given to say to individuals, groups or even a nation. It is a very, very heavy burden for this reason:
“A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”
Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered, saying, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.” But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign, . . .” – Matthew 12:35-39.
People may mean well, but people today are so wrapped up in signs and wonders. I don’t believe God has stopped using signs and wonders today, but God uses them to back up His Words and NOT for sensationalism or just to make people “happy.”
The Prophet Jeremiah is the perfect example of this and before you think that what the Lord told Jeremiah to say was JUST for the people of his day, then you do not and cannot believe that the Word of God does not change! But I tell you, God does NOT change and His words back then are just as powerful and potent today. Maybe the circumstances has changed, but intent has not, nor will it ever change.
Jeremiah was dealing with the Lord’s discipline upon the nation of Israel and yet all the prophets and priests were saying all will be well, when God was telling Jeremiah and a handful of prophets what was coming in the way of warning and discipline.
“Therefore do not listen to your prophets, your diviners, your dreamers, your soothsayers, or your sorcerers, who speak to you, saying, ‘You shall not serve the king of Babylon.’ For they prophesy a lie to you, to remove you far from your land; and I will drive you out, and you will perish.” – Jeremiah 27:9-10.
“Therefore do not listen to the words of the prophets who speak to you, saying, ‘You shall not serve the king of Babylon,’ for they prophesy a lie to you; for I have not sent them,” says the LORD, “yet they prophesy a lie in My name, that I may drive you out, and that you may perish, you and the prophets who prophesy to you.” – Jeremiah 27:14-15.
You can substitute Israel’s problems with whatever it is you desire today. It is exactly the same thing only different circumstances. Today we have the same thing. Prophets or wannabe prophets who find nice things to say thinking they are encouraging God’s people when in fact they are stating things that God has not told them to say. It is the same principle that Psychics and Mediums use today to hook people in with money, although the motive of these well-meaning “Christians” is not money, it is doing damage the same. The world and those who NEED the truth, don’t know what to believe. We don’t make the devil’s work harder, we make it easier for him!
I’m here in the name of the Lord to tell you to Stop it! Don’t speak a so-called Word from the Lord until you know your Bible in and out. Then don’t speak a so-called Word from the Lord until you have prayed about it and then prayed again! You may mean well in your own way, but that is the problem, it is YOUR way and not God’s way. God has been using His Word and His prophets for centuries and He’s not going to stop until Jesus comes back and prophets are no longer necessary.
If you want to, encourage one another. Do it with Scripture. Do it with Scriptural principles. Pray for one another, and stir one another up to good works as Hebrews states, but quit using the world’s and the enemy’s way of doing things to try and encourage God’s people.
Now here are some images I want you to see so you know what I’m saying. At the end of them, I’m giving you some images from Psychic and Medium’s advertisements. You tell me there is a difference. I’ve done this too long and have fought New Age practices in cities with colleagues and peers. I’ve seen churches get mixed up in this type of thing due to bad and false teaching! But I’ve also SEEN the hand of God close these things down, New Age establishments and churches alike. Don’t you, as a child of God enable them or be a part of it.
This first set are actual images of posts on Christian sites on social media. They sound like fortune-telling to me. You be the judge and use the discernment the Holy Spirit gives to all believers:
Now just because people mention God and may use the name of Jesus, does NOT mean that they are speaking in direct obedience to the Lord as guided by the Holy Spirit! The Bible is NOT a book of magic formulas and incantations. It is meant to lead you and guide you into ALL truth, not be some book of spells. While researching the images and such, I found an image someone posted that stated, “Jesus is not your fairy godmother, He doesn’t work like this!” I have to tell you I agree whole-heartedly.
The following are real psychic ads from social media and the only thing I have done is to obscure people’s identities, names, places and numbers to reach them. Tell me you can’t see the similarity:
I have so many more I can draw from, and many of them promise the same things the so-called “Christian” memes do!! The Bible WARNS us to stay away from these kinds of practices. We are to trust God and have faith in His plans, but faith is not always seeing what it is ahead of you and part of that faith is trusting His timing and learning to be content with where we are in Him at any given time!
People we are at war! If you didn’t know it all you have to do is look around. It is spiritual warfare FOR the Kingdom of God! The enemy is subtle and wily and that is why we have listen and follow the directions of Jesus the same way when He told His disciples back then:
“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” – Matthew 10:16.
Are you a sheep or a wolf. Even if you don’t realize it, you could be a wolf, but only if you practice the ways of the world and the only way to NOT fall into that trap is to read, read and then study the Word of God! The time IS getting shorter! God’s army needs soldiers now, not when it is too late.
In closing, our Lord is ever so aware of not just what we need but also our wants. But He also knows that not all our wants are for our own good no matter what some teachers and prophets try to convince you, by twisting the Word of God. God wants us to be more like Jesus. If you have any doubts, consider the life of Jesus and then consider the lives of the Apostles and disciples who followed after Him.
I hope you accept this with eternal love, but I also hope and pray you accept it for the seriousness that it truly is, this late in the age we are living. Jesus is coming back soon; keep looking up and keep praying for the lost AND for one another!