Thursday, February 6, 2014

Knowing the Signs of the Times - The need for discernment part 2

These are exciting times that we live in! Yes, there is a lot of sin in the world but where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more (Romans 5:20)! A word the Lord keeps giving me is, "A new day is dawning! What others in the past have longed to see, you will see!" John 14:12-14 says we will do even greater works than Jesus did when he walked the earth. I believe these are the times we are coming into. The things we are going to see and do will be amazing! The key is to stay on the right path, keep our eyes on Jesus and not grow weary. 

Galatians 6:9 - Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

The Lord has shown  me a harvest of souls that is coming. It is going to be unprecedented! In the early church, thousands were added to the church every day. We are going to see this type of harvest again, I believe in our lifetime. NOW IS THE TIME TO GET READY!!! 

Now is not the time to fall asleep and get bored with the faith and doing good. It might be tempting because the water of the Holy Spirit might seem like drops right now and your spiritual life might seem stagnant, kind of like a Ferris wheel that stops frequently before it gets going. It is normal however for a person's spiritual life to go through peaks and valleys. It may appear that not much is happening right now in the spiritual realm. It may even be tempting for some to get off the ride.

If you have ever ridden a Ferris wheel, you know that in the beginning it stops frequently to let people off and on but then once it gets going, it is thrilling and the view is breath taking! It might seem like this in the spiritual realm. Right now in the Body of Christ, the Lord is realigning leadership. He is strategically placing people where he wants them and in areas that will be best to be able to handle the harvest that is coming. This could feel like a Ferris wheel that is stopping to let some people off and others on. Persevere!!! If we take advantage of all the drops of grace the Lord is offering us right now, they will build up into an over-flowing fountain. 

Let's be like the five bridesmaids who kept oil in their lamp and were ready for the bridegrooms return (Matthew 25:1-13)!

Now, the enemy also has an idea of what God is up to and is doing everything in his power to distract God's people and get them off track. The key is to walk in humility and never think we are beyond deception. Just because something appears to be holy and from God, does not mean it is. If deception was easy to spot, it wouldn't be deception. 

I believe two of the biggest schemes of the enemy is to distract and cause anger which leads to division. Just because something appears holy, has truth to it, and seems to be bearing some fruit does not automatically make it from God. Miracles also are not an automatic sign that something is from God. Satan is able to perform some miracles and may I even dare say, limited healing. 

Matthew 24:23-24 “Then if anyone tells you, ‘The Messiah has arrived at such and such a place, or has appeared here or there,’ don’t believe it.  For false Christs shall arise, and false prophets, and will do wonderful miracles so that if it were possible, even God’s chosen ones would be deceived. "

The miracles Satan performs however are not original. He is not able to create and will copy or counterfeit something that has already been done. Also, usually the miracles he performs are illusions. An example of a true, authentic miracle would be the miracle at Fatima where everyone present witnessed the spinning of the sun. At a false, counterfeit apparition site, some people might experience this phenomenon but it is more of an optical illusion that is only experienced by some.  It also does not bother the enemy if his deception is causing some people to come to faith and if it is bearing some good fruit. If it is also distracting people from the true gospel mission and causing division he feels successful. For example, there could be a strong push to pray for peace which is a good thing to pray for but could distract people from praying for what is most important, which is conversion of hearts. When hearts are converted there is true peace. Without conversion of hearts, peace is superficial. Anger, hatred, and division could really be brewing underneath. The personal feeling of peace is also not proof that something is of God. The feeling of peace can be counterfeited. Satan can counterfeit every gift and fruit of the Spirit that comes from God. 

It is also important to look at the general tone of a message or phenomenon. A message can contain mostly truth but is unconditional love conveyed or does the message come across more like a strict parent reluctantly putting up with his/her wayward children?

Another thing to look at is humility. When someone is questioned about a certain phenomenon, are they open to criticism or do they get defensive about it. Does their faith depend on this certain thing being true. If it was declared as false, would they humbly submit or would it cause division?

As you can see, deception can be very difficult to spot. You might be wondering, how does anyone keep from being deceived especially if Satan can counterfeit the things of God. One thing I really like about being Catholic is we have the teaching authority of the Church to help us discern. She takes her time and is very careful in investigating different phenomenon in order to protect the faithful. I trust her that she is guided by the Holy Spirit and this makes me feel safe.  Obviously I am open to prophetic revelation but when  private revelation has become popular to the public, I prefer to remain cautious and discerning until it has been approved by the Church.

1 Thessalonians 5:19-22 - Do not put out the Spirit's fire; do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil.

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