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September 4, 2017

But beyond this my son, [about going further than the words given by one Shepherd], be warned: the writing of many books is endless [so do not believe everything you read], and excessive study and devotion to books is wearying to the body” Ecclesiastes 12:12 rings as true today as it did then but to that we could add sermons, prophetic words, blog posts etc., etc., ad nauseum. The speakers claim to speak for God, or that they have authority from God, to say what they have to say. Some does come from Him but the vast majority does not as it finds its origins in ‘self’. How does one navigate the minefield of words today to find out what God is saying? I hope to shed some light on that.

First off I am not a prophet nor do I claim that my words come from God. They don’t. These words are the fruit of our many years of being pushed through the winepress of the wilderness. It is hard fought wisdom that has been born out and proven true by experience. We share our wisdom gladly but it is wisdom we have earned and not been given through a supernatural experience. I realize that this isn’t appealing these days but it is all we have to offer. I say this because what follows has to be tested against the same plumb-line we use for other people’s words. I will not hold this blog out as an exception to any rule God teaches us to test words we hear.

Years ago Wanda and I were trapped in the cycle of religion going to stale, dead, church services. We sat numb listening passively as a man in a suit relished in his intellectual hubris on the platform every Sunday. It was about as much fun as being bitten by fire ants. When God broke into our world in the late 90’s He opened whole new avenues of His voice to us. We heard from many prophets who spoke words claiming to come from Him. There were also many teachers on the Internet who had something to say about following God. We lapped it all up. It did not take long, however, before we began to see some issues with what we were hearing and seeing. As we were maturing in our relationship with God and reading His Word for ourselves some things just didn’t add up. At first we saw some confusion and contradictions which others tried to explain away. Next we saw that words weren’t coming to pass. Then we began to see that there was sexual impropriety, greed and lust evident in the speakers. To us it was very alarming. We stepped away from the noise of the Internet as God called us to Himself and His Word alone. Eventually He would take us to the desert we call the wilderness where we would have nothing but Him.

Over the years the prophetic and charismatic movements have grown. Those simple words we once saw on the Internet in the 90’s are long gone. They have been replaced with shiny, light, sparkly words boldly and loudly proclaiming grand ostentatious promises of great blessings, wealth and gifts to those that would listen. It has all the hallmarks of a circus and the promotional appeal of a TV infomercial. Unfortunately, what was originally given by God to help guide His believers has been co-opted, hijacked and stolen by ‘self’. Now instead of focusing on character and growth the focus is on optics, what things ‘look’ like. There is no more a call to holiness, faith, sacrifice or maturity in most of the words today. Only a few exceptions now remain. Today most of the prophets, teachers and speakers focus on what you can get not what you can give to God. They trumpet the false health wealth gospel. Name it and claim it is their mantra. An easy spirituality with no cost to you but all the benefit as God will give you anything you desire. These people sit on high with their titles and positions loudly proclaiming their authority to speak for God and tell others what to do and how to live. Don’t look at how they live just accept all their words as being from God is how they think. Unfortunately, those who follow these speakers will be egregiously harmed.

God took us to the wilderness in 2007 to wean us off the words of man so we could hear God for Himself. This is not what the prophets, leaders and speakers want you to do today. They think that God only speaks through them and that you need them to hear God for you. Sound familiar? The Catholic church did the same thing in the Middle ages. The problem is that it isn’t true. You can easily hear God for yourself and, in fact, to be safe in the days ahead you MUST learn to hear God for yourself. It is not easy and it takes hard work and sacrifice but He is worth the effort for everything God says to you will be unadulterated truth spoken in love.

As we learned to hear God for ourselves we learned a key principle that has kept us from many errors. The principle is simple, if you want to spot the counterfeit you must study the real. People who check for counterfeit money use the same principle. They spend long hours studying real money, right down to the finest detail so that when a phony bill comes up they can spot it in a heartbeat. Walking with God is no different. He is the real, true One. When we study under Him, listening to Him and reading His word we are focusing on the real so when we come across any word supposedly coming from Him we can tell if it is fake in a heartbeat. The important part is to know what God is saying. His message has not changed in millennia, despite the cry of many to follow the latest fad. God has kept the main thing the main thing. His focus has always been, since the dawn of time, for His people to mature and become like Jesus so they can enter fully into union with Him. Full stop. God is looking for people to live lives of faith, sacrificial love, maturity and holiness just like He always has. The problem is that ‘self’ in man does not like this message and so it tries to make others things the main thing. Words that come from ‘self’ do not come from God and are false, counterfeit.

As we matured we began to look at the fruit from these prophets, speakers and leaders. We quickly learned that if they were not living a life of faith, humility, and sacrificial love to be very careful. We would often see in these people’s words elements of ‘self’ coming through. Some would promote themselves over God. Others would seem to be overly focused on money and getting things. Still others had pride, selfishness and a haughtiness that made them look down on others. Through their words we also saw witchcraft, which is the domination, control and manipulation of the free will of others. All of this ‘fruit’ we saw came from ‘self’ in the speaker. Despite the shiny optics they could not hide their character coming forth from their words. In Matthew 12:34 Jesus taught us that, “You brood of vipers, how can you speak good things when you are evil? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart.” That overflow is what we have been trained to watch for and unfortunately we see more ‘self’ than spirit in many words today.

There are many words that sound good but are false simply because they have no basis in the Bible or what God is saying and doing with His people. These words sound good because they appeal to our ‘self’ nature. Other words we choke on because they are calling out and exposing our ‘self’ nature. Too often people reject these words as not from God when they very much are from Him. Most of the words on the Internet have mixture and we have to pick through the weeds to hear God. This is like the gleaning of the fields Ruth did when she came to Bethlehem with Naomi. It is hard work to separate ‘self’ from spirit but it must be done to get to the truth. Remember that your ‘self’ nature will hate and despise any word that calls it out so God can kill it. Likewise, your spirit will rejoice and be gladdened by any word from the Father.

People who write and speak come in all levels of maturity. To be sure we all make mistakes in our immaturity. Mistakes are not the problem it is what we do with them that becomes the crux of the matter. If speakers are letting their ‘self’ be put to death, they will grow in humility and repent of their mistakes. They will grow in maturity and the word of the Lord will come through them in ever greater clarity. If they do not acknowledge their mistakes and repent pride will grow and ‘self’ will take over any word they speak. As listeners and readers it is up to us to discern, over time, which direction the words are taking. Grace needs to be given to the immature but we must withdraw from those that promote ‘self’ over spirit. It is for our own eternal spiritual safety that such drastic action must be taken for God will not tolerate ‘self’.

All of this training to know the true and spot the counterfeit will take time and effort. To be safe in the days ahead, however, I do not believe we have much choice. We need to hear God for ourselves for then we will be able to safely hear Him through others. The key is to know His word, the Bible and know the Word, Jesus. Once we know both the Bible and Jesus you will begin to see Him confirm His word to you through others. We find these ‘code words’ and confirmations God uses to speak to us as a tremendous boost to our spirits as we journey. Please remember though that any word God gives you, and confirms through others, He expects you to believe and act on. Listen and obey. You do not have the luxury of cherry picking what words from God you will choose to believe and follow. Many have tried this and have ended up shipwrecking their faith. You may not like what He tells you, but once God has confirmed to you what He has said it is up to you to follow them.

The optics ‘self’ uses are just a distraction used to keep you from hearing Him. Keep the main thing the main thing. Jesus is the One we are to follow and become like. His example and voice are the only One we need to follow in the days ahead. Despite the cries of others, focus only on Jesus. Read 1 Corinthians 13 many times over to acquaint yourself with the true nature of Jesus. Don’t get lost in the shiny things.


Homer and Wanda