Deuteronomy 13:1-3 NIV
If a prophet, or one who foretells by dreams, appears among you and announces to you a miraculous sign or wonder, and if the sign or wonder of which he has spoken takes place, and he says, "Let us follow other gods" (gods you have not known) "and let us worship them," you must not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer. The LORD your God is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul.
This is probably one of the easiest ways in the world to get off track where God is concerned. There are so many inspiring people to listen to on the radio, to watch on TV and to read their words in books. And a good portion of them are truly anointed of God. Unfortunately, a good portion of them are out in left field, too.
This is not a new occurrence. It happened in Moses' day, around 3,500 years ago. It happened during Jesus' time. Paul talked about it. One after another, false prophets have shown up touting their "special" insight into God's word. Remember the near 100 people who died in Waco a few years ago? And the even larger number who died following Jim Jones in Guyana? And let's not forget the ones who committed suicide, thinking they would be swept up by a comet. But those aren't the only ones. Followers of false prophets fall prey to their evil teachings daily, committing all manner of evil acts in the name of what they are being taught is God. Many of them are very obvious to those of us who are Christians.
But many are not so obvious. Many of them have nationwide, syndicated radio and TV shows, and beautifully bound and printed books where they spout their "inspired" words leading millions of people in the wrong direction... and they do it all in the name of Jesus Christ. The problem is, the Jesus they're talking about is not the Jesus of the Bible. But they won't tell you that, and as always, their deception is, many times, complete.
How can we protect ourselves and our families? By being like the Bereans (Acts 17:11) and checking the Bible to see if what these people say is true. By studying the Word daily and developing an intimate relationship with Jesus. By listening to the "check" in our spirit when something seems wrong. By discerning whether the person is leading us toward Jesus or toward himself (or, even more insidious, toward ourselves). There's nothing wrong with new ideas... as long as they point to the Lord.
"Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'" Matthew 7:21-23 NIV
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