What Do You Believe?
PART 1 in the series on The Supernatural in the Church
by Terry L. Craig
copyright © 2008
What place should a vision, a message from an angel, or a "word of the Lord" from someone claiming to be a modern-day prophet have in our day-to-day walk and in our plans for the future? Does the Lord still impart spiritual gifts and speak to people? Do miracles still happen?
I believe the Lord still moves in this realm (I have supernatural events in my fiction books GATEKEEPER, SOJOURNER, & SWORDSMAN) -- but I must quickly add:
First, I don't think that anyone must exhibit or claim some outward supernatural manifestation (such as tongues) in order to be accepted as a brother or sister in the Lord. It is God who decides how to disburse His gifts, when, and to whom. A study of scripture shows that, more often than not, the Lord would rather do things via what would be seen as natural means. It's not that He isn't ABLE to give us some supernatural sign every moment of the day, it's that He would rather we walk by faith and not by sight.
Second, I am heartily embarrassed by a lot of the self-serving, manipulative, and soulish things that some "charismatic" people have done and called it the Lord's doing.
Third, I am grieved by how quickly people will shift focus from the Lord onto a phenomenon or a person. It's shocking to see how easy it is to manipulate others by using the words, "The Lord told me" or "I saw a vision." I've seen more than a few people who claimed to follow the Lord yet seemingly shipwrecked their lives and/or the lives of others because they clung to a "vision" or a "word" they believed they (or someone they knew) had from God or from an angel.
So why not just shun the supernatural, spiritual gifts, the talk of angels, and miraculous signs if they cause so much grief and division? After years of hearing so many people say things like, "That can't be God -- look at the division (or problems) it causes!", I seriously considered not moving in the spiritual gifts, and avoiding those who did. But avoiding the topic won't make it go away. Unscrupulous, wacky, and wicked people will continue to use power (or the appearance of it) to control others who are desperate for solutions to their problems.
In contrast to those who would use falsehood to garner support or a personal following, we can see many passages in the New Testament where God's people were willing to wade into the darkest places (where Satan held the territory so to speak), and as they allowed God to work through them and glorified HIM, the results were nothing less than stunning. Should we be doing any less or expecting any less from God? What you choose to believe about all this is YOUR Square One.
Ask yourself, Am I willing to let GOD be God, to let Him speak truth into my life? It's not a "safe" place, or one where you will be in charge . . . but it is the way to Life.
Copyright © 2008 Terry L. Craig
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