Testing The Spirit

This week's scripture reading:

1 John 4:1 - Acts 17:11-12 - Matthew 10:16 - 1 Timothy 6:10

I recently attended a "Christian" conference in Austin, Texas that booked some pretty big names in sports, commerce, and television. It was located at a megachurch with an auditorium that could seat almost 5,000 people. Needless to say, the place was sold out. As I made my way to my seat you could sense the electricity in the air. When the lights went dark and the stage was illuminated, a very prominent worship leader walked out and the crowd went crazy. I have to tell you, the praise and worship moved me to tears. It was POWERFUL.

As the guest speakers delivered their messages I began feeling a check in my spirit. All of a sudden this "Christian" conference turned a corner and headed down a very slippery slope. Soon, I felt like I was attending one of those get rich quick real estate seminars and sure enough, halfway through the conference the shoe dropped. All of the knowledge acquired by these famous speakers could be obtained for a price of nearly $100. Take $100 x 5,000 and what do you get? 500,000 reasons to run. Which I did.

Throughout their presentations, however, scripture was used, mostly out of context, to support their position on obtaining wealth. Sounded super convincing, if you didn't know your bible. Here's the kicker, the speakers made it very clear they were not preaching the prosperity gospel. As a matter of fact, they denounced the prosperity movement multiple times. However, it appeared to be new packaging with the same product inside.
1 Timothy 6:10 says, "For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs." Now, there's nothing wrong with money. We need it to sustain and provide for our families. The real issue here is what are we seeking? Are we seeking wealth in order to "bless" others? This was the overriding message at the conference. What does the LORD have to say about this? Matthew 6:32-33 tells us exactly what God thinks about material things. "For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well."


I love what Jesus tells us in this week's scripture reading when He says He is sending us out as sheep among wolves and to be wise as serpents yet innocent as doves. This is actually followed up in Acts 17:11-12 which basically says, KNOW YOUR BIBLE INSIDE AND OUT. How about John's words in 1 John 4:1 when he explains that we should "...not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world."

We have many admonishments in scripture reminding us of the evil in this world and not everyone who calls themselves prophets, pastors, or teachers are of God. Even though they may be famous dynamic speakers and they might give great inspiring messages using scripture but, be diligent in how they're using the bible because bending scriptural truth to support their position is not the truth. I ask you what my pastor sometimes asks: How much fecal matter does it take in your milk shake to ruin it?  Ewe! Pastor Paul that's disgusting!

This week's prayer:

Heavenly Father, thank You for giving us everything we need to know in Your word. Give us a strong desire to know the Bible inside and out in order not to be deceived. Guide us into Your truth confirmed through Your word. Thank you Jesus for setting the record straight about where our hearts should be and who we need to seek above ALL things. Bless us and keep us. Make Your face to shine upon us. Be gracious to us and give us peace. In Jesus name, Amen.

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