Archive for February, 2001

False Prophets Beware

“As for the prophets: My heart is broken within me, All my bones tremble;
I have become like a drunken man, Even like a man overcome with wine,
Because of the Lord And because of His holy words. For the land is full of
adulterers; For the land mourns because of the curse. The pastures of the
wilderness have dried up. Their course also is evil, and their might is
not right. For both prophet and priest are polluted; Even in My house I
have found their wickedness, declares the Lord. Therefore their way will
be like slippery paths to them, They will be driven away into the gloom
and fall down in it; For I shall bring calamity upon them, The year of
their punishment, declares the Lord. Moreover, among the prophets of
Samaria I saw an offensive thing: They prophesied by Baal and led My
people Israel astray. Also among the prophets of Jerusalem I have seen a
horrible thing: The committing of adultery and walking in falsehood; And
they strengthen the hands of evildoers, So that no one has turned back
from his wickedness. All of them have become to Me like Sodom, and her
inhabitants like Gomorrah” (Jeremiah 23: 9-14).

“It was the same as happened in the days of Lot: they were eating, they
were drinking, they were buying, they were selling, they were planting,
they were building: but on the day that Lot went out from Sodom it rained
fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all” (Luke 17: 28-29).

Jeremiah 23:15 (continued) “Therefore thus says the Lord of hosts
concerning the prophets, ‘Behold, I am going to feed them wormwood and
make them drink poisonous water, For from the prophets of Jerusalem
pollution has gone forth into the land.’ Thus says they Lord of hosts, ‘Do
not listen to the words of the prophets who are prophesying to you. They
are leading you into futility; They speak a vision of their own
imagination, not from the mouth of the Lord. They keep saying to those who
despise Me, The Lord has said ‘You will have peace’; and as for everyone
who walks in the stubbornness of his own heart, they say ‘Calamity will
not come upon you.’ But who has stood in the counsel of the Lord, that he
should see and hear His word? Who has given heed to His word and listened?
Behold, the storm of the Lord has gone forth in wrath, even a whirling
tempest; It will swirl down on the head of the wicked. The anger of the
Lord will not turn back until He has performed and carried out the
purposes of His heart; in the LAST DAYS YOU WILL CLEARLY
UNDERSTAND IT. I
did not send these prophets, But they ran. I did not speak to them, but
they prophesied. But if they had stood in My counsel, then they would have
announced My words to My people, and would have turned them back from
their evil way and from the evil of their deeds. ‘Am I a God who is near’,
declares the Lord, ‘And not a God far off? Can a man hide himself in
hiding places, so I do not see him?’, declares the Lord. ‘Do I not fill
the heavens and the earth?’, declares the Lord” (Jeremiah 23: 15-24).

This message begins with the Word of God, from Jeremiah the Prophet. Read
the above verses several times before continuing. The Lord has placed it
on my heart, as if with FIRE, to bring forth this message to the self
proclaiming prophets. Today, we see many prophetic writings, dreams and
visions – with an interpretation – as if from the Lord. This message is
meant to instruct those false prophets who are being deceived by their own
imaginations. I am clearly amazed by the amount of self-professing
prophets that belong to this group (many working on the internet).

It is important for all of humanity to know, that before we speak forth a
“word” from God Almighty, that we know and understand the consequences
which a false prophetic “word” will bring upon the person proclaiming
it:

“I have heard what the prophets have said who prophesy falsely in My name,
saying, ‘I had a dream, I had a dream!’ How long? Is there anything in the
hearts of the prophets who prophesy falsehood, even these prophets of the
deception of their own heart, who intend to make My people forget My name
by their dreams which they relate to one another, just as their fathers
forgot My name because of Baal?” (Jeremiah 23: 25-27).

The Lord’s Prophets never intentionally call attention to themselves!
Godly Prophets understand this, and are truly humble before the Lord.
God’s Prophets would never think of placing recognition on themselves.
Typically, they often want to hide – until the Lord places them in His
position for His glory. Nor is it necessary for God’s Prophets to place
titles on themselves, or call themselves a “prophet”. By the word they
speak forth from the Lord, all will know their appointed office. Today,
however, we see many “prophets” calling upon themselves, proclaiming their
own dreams, visions and words – and placing their names on their writings
in a manner which clearly shows that they seek recognition and esteem from
the Brethren. Any “prophetic” word that takes the glory, recognition, and
the message away from the Lord, however, and places it on an individual,
is not from the Lord.

In Jeremiah, God continues to instruct on this matter: “The prophet who
has a dream may relate his dream, but let him who has My word speak My
word in truth. What does straw have in common with grain?”, declares the
Lord. ‘Is not my word like fire?’, declares the Lord, ‘and like a hammer
which shatters a rock?’” (Jeremiah 23: 28-29)

Today, many self professing prophets do not back up their “given word”
with scripture. But the Lord is consistent and does not change. Rest
assured, if the Lord is speaking to you, and wants you to give forth His
word, it is like FIRE. A fire in your heart that is unexplainable! Such
fire comes off your lips – it is supernatural. His words that He speaks
forth are like a hammer, which shatters a rock. Due to the fact that God
does not change, therefore, it is urged that before a person proclaims a
prophetic word from the Lord – that they go to Scripture and get
confirmation from the Lord.

Otherwise, they will hear, “‘Therefore behold, I am against the prophets,’
declares the Lord, ‘who steal My words from each other. Behold, I am
against the prophets,’ declares the Lord, ‘who use their tongues and
declare, ‘The Lord declares.” ‘Behold, I am against those who have
prophesied false dreams,’ declares the Lord, ‘and related them, and led My
people astray by their falsehoods and reckless boasting; yet I did not
send them or COMMAND them, nor do they furnish this people the slightest
benefit,’ declares the Lord” (Jeremiah 23: 30-32).

Today, many self professing prophets steal words from each other. We see
recurrent “themes” from different “prophets”. They all have different
visions or dreams, but the message is the same. They steal from each other
to bring glory on their own heads. Friends, listen to what the Lord says,
“I did not send them or command them, nor do they furnish this people the
slightest benefit.”

We must begin to ask the Lord for discernment regarding these “prophetic”
writings. We need to be asking ourselves, “how does this benefit the
Brethren”. And in this, we must recognize that we are being confronted
with two different issues: One, we must learn to discern the true
prophetic writings from the Lord’s appointed prophets. And two, we must
openly reject everything that we know is in error.

Furthermore, the Body of Christ must examine ourselves carefully, to see
if the Lord has truly given us the gift of prophesy. While many false
prophets are speaking forth simply for the sake of vain-glory, many of the
brethren are being trapped into projecting false prophetic messages as
well, and without repentance, will suffer painful discipline at the hand
of God’s Holy Spirit. Discover the fullness of your gifts, brethren, and
utilize what you have been given – for the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
But, do not impose your personal desires upon the Holy Spirit, and falsely
attempt to present His gifts. His Word clearly dictates that He will not
tolerate this behavior:

“Now when this people or the prophet or a priest asks you saying, ‘What is
the oracle of the Lord?’ then you shall say to them, ‘What oracle?’ The
Lord declares, ‘I shall abandon you’. BEWARE FALSE PROPHETS. ‘Then as
for
the prophet or the priest or the people who say, ‘The oracle of the Lord,’
I shall bring punishment upon that man and his household. Thus shall each
of you say to his neighbor and to his brother, ‘What has the Lord
answered?’ or, ‘What has the Lord spoken?’ For you will no longer remember
the oracle of the Lord, because every man’s own word will become the
oracle, and you have perverted the words of the LIVING God, the Lord of
hosts, our God’” (Jeremiah 23: 33-36).

Friends, listen to the Lord. Listen to the power that Jeremiah was moved
to present, in rejecting all of the false prophets. Every false prophet
must understand that they are perverting the word of the LIVING God!!
And, if you know that you have not heard from our Lord, and are offering
your own dreams, visions and words -BEWARE – for you do not want to speak
for the Living God, when they are not HIS words. Listen to HIS warning:
“Thus you will say to that prophet, ‘What has the Lord answered you?’ and,
‘What has the Lord spoken?’ For if you say, ‘The oracle of the Lord!’
Surely thus says the Lord, ‘Because you said this word, ‘The oracle of the
Lord!’ I have also sent to you, saying ‘You shall not say, ‘The oracle of
the Lord!” (His Warning) Therefore behold, I shall surely forget you and
cast you away from My presence, along with the city which I gave you and
your fathers. And I will put an everlasting reproach on you and an
everlasting humiliation which will not be forgotten’” (Jeremiah 23:
37-40).

Take heed to the warning of God! All you false prophets who say you are
seeing visions, who say you hear His voice and put forth words from your
own imaginations; take heed, and know that the Lord will deal with you!

Beloved, the teaching is this: If you are a Prophet of God, you will know
the voice of our God who speaks to you and wants you to put forth His
words. You will have no doubt! When He speaks – His prophets are in the
spirit and His voice is like the ocean, rushing wind or thunder. There is
no mistaking His voice.

The gentle whisper we hear in our inner ear, is that of our Lord, teaching
us, giving us something on a personal level. These gentle whisperings are
not normally meant to be put forth as, “Thus saith the Lord”.

Beware, and pray always! Beware and know the Lord’s warning, and the
consequences if you do not take heed to His warning. Pray – search – and
pray! Know that any word that is given, that does not align with
Scripture, is not from God. Any word given that is
not like fire in your heart and on your lips, is not meant for a prophetic
release. Any word given while you are not in the Spirit, is not from Him.
Any word that brings recognition and glory to your own name is not from
HIM. Any word given where you have to distort Scripture, in order for it
to meet your doctrine, is not from Him.

I know that this writing will not be taken well by most. However, His Fire
has come across my heart and my lips. He has offered the scripture that He
wanted to put forth as a reminder. Take heed, beware, and repent! Change
your ways, you false prophets. Return to Him!

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The Marbles and the Grapes

“To what shall I liken this generation?” Today’s state of Christian
fellowship is very much like a large room filled with thousands of sacks
of marbles. The marbles are all similar, with some differences in color
and decoration, and they are divided up among a vast variety of different
marble sacks. The smallest sacks contain only a couple dozen marbles, a
few enormous sacks hold thousands, and there are sacks of every other size
as well. There are simple cotton sacks, somber black sacks, sequined
sacks, sacks of every fabric and design. Some are brand-new; others are
obviously antiques. Some sacks are tattered and patched; some are even
sewn shut at the top. Some of the large sacks are stunningly decorated,
with no expense spared– like Faberge eggs of the marble-sack world.

The marbles in each sack are identified by the sack they sit in. Marbles
in one sack are essentially closed off from marbles in the other sacks.
When you look for the marbles, you see the sacks. And while the marbles in
a sack rub up against each other all the time, they aren’t really
connected to one another in any way. The only thing that actually holds
them together is the sack. I am keenly aware that if a sack were to burst,
all its marbles would fall out and scatter, to be scooped up as prizes by
the owners of the other sacks.

Consider, by contrast, a bunch of grapes. Lovely terminology, “a bunch”–
not a dozen or a hundred or a carton or a case, but a “bunch”. As vague a
description as one could create of the shape, size and appearance of that
conglomeration of individual fruits. How many grapes are in a bunch? Where
do they stand in relation to each other? That is totally dependent on what
kind of connective network the vine produces for that bunch. Grapes are
held together internally, by the connections of the vine. Life flows
through those connections. How does one “identify” grapes? By the vine on
which they grow.

Marbles (and many Christians) are held together by external organizations
owned and operated by men. If you are a marble, you “join” a sack, and the
sacks compete for your presence. If you are a grape, you find the
Vine-connections that God has created for you in Jesus, and His life flows
to you and others because you are connected.

The owner of a marble sack always wants more marbles and a bigger sack.
The vinedresser only wants better grapes.

Are you living like a grape or a marble? Look closely at your connections
with fellow-believers. Did you comparison-shop and choose your present
church because it attracted or suited you? If your group’s Sunday services
and programs disappeared tomorrow, would you go looking for another group?
That’s marble behavior. When someone asks you about your spiritual
identity, do you say, “I belong to First Baptist”, rather than “I belong
to Jesus”? Very marble-ish. Does your group require some form of “church
membership” for a person to function fully there? Does it ask your
agreement to a “statement of faith” or some such set of doctrines? Would
your affiliation be in question if you always went to Sunday morning
meetings with another group? All these are characteristic of a religious
“marble sack”.

You are called to be a grape, so why live like a marble? There is a better
life available in the Vine.

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Buddy Taping

Hi, SheepTrax!

My friend Mike Woelk tells me it is sometimes used as a euphemism for
getting beat up by your spouse – I didn’t – but I did manage to actually
fall down the stairs last week. In fact, I fell hard. I woke up drenched
in cold coffee and, so my wife tells me, screaming unnecessarily. She
claims men feel their pain more deeply than is usually called for.

As the result of my ungracious tumble, I fractured my tailbone, bruised a
rib, jammed bones in my neck together, and broke my now very black and
blue right little toe. If you never had the pleasure of watching medical
professionals struggle to keep a straight face while X-raying your
exposed backside, believe me, it’s a hoot. It was all I could do to remain
still for the X-ray.

I was dreading the thought of being imprisoned in some sort of itchy body
cast for terminal weeks on end. I was surprised when I discovered the
only lasting remedy for these sort of injuries is time. I now sit on
pillows and dread the thought walking to the bathroom. I have discovered
excruciating new levels of discomfort that heighten the meaning of the
word pain. My little hallowed reading room has become my own personal iron
maiden. The only thing, other than those blessed little pain pills, that
has helped speed my healing is the buddy taping of my toes.

It must be middle age approaching, but I have never broken bones before.
Shattered spinal discs, sure, but not bones. Last Christmas an eager young
man who worked for me accidentally dropped a case of jelly on my right
hand and broke my pinky. There was this unnatural snapping sound followed
by a pulse of silence shattered by a piercing shriek that I was quite
surprised to discover originating in my throat. Yep, my little finger was
broken. Alas, I waited too long for medical treatment and now it’s either
pay someone to re-break my finger or get used to it’s slightly crooked
appearance. Except when some overeager ape grabs my hand to briskly
shake,
it doesn’t bother me too much anymore.

My compassionate, lovely daughter Amber Jade leaned down to kiss `Daddy’s
boo-boo toes.’ It was really touching untilshe stood up and promptly
stepped on them. The unexpected pain jolt felt like getting your head
stuck in an active meat grinder.

God is always teaching me object lessons about His Body using my body as a
kind of spiritual Mr. Science Lab. My physician taught me how to buddy
tape my broken toe to the healthy toe next to it. Whatever happens to the
healthy toe now happens to the broken on and vice verse. They have become
one through union with the medical tape. By using my unbroken toe as a
kind of splint, my little toe now has an excellent chance of healing
correctly. Unlike my crooked pinky, the little toe will appear normal.

The Bible speaks of us as being “members of one body.” When I tumbled down
the stairs, only a few places in my body were really injured, but the rest
of my body is still suffering from the fall. My taped toes cause me to
limp, which gave me Charlie-horses in my left leg. My busted bottom has
transformed the simple acts of sitting and standing to a near Olympian
events. When one part suffers, the whole body suffers.

How fitting after a fall that one uninjured part of my body would be the
perfect healing compliment to hold my broken toe in place. In a few weeks,
assuming all goes well, the buddy tape will come off and my little toe
will be as good as new. Unlike my broken pinky, which stood alone thought
it eventually healed, my baby toe will not be crooked.

If life has dealt you a smashing blow, ask God to buddy tape your soul to
the soul of someone who is spiritually healthy. Sure, you might eventually
get over it alone but I suspect you’ll be a bit crookeder and slightly out
of shape for the rest of your life. We humans were made to need each
other. Needing other people is not a design flaw in Creation. If you’ll
allow yourself to be buddy taped to someone in better shape than you,
you’ll find yourself healing and growing straight and strong again.

And who knows, during your buddy taping, you may make a buddy. In this
bone-breaking world we live in, it’s a good and godly thing to have a few
close friends.

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