A Testimony of Seeking God the Right Way
As I lay across the bed weeping, I heard the lord say, “My people, My people . . . they don't know me”. As I continued to weep, I literally felt the broken heart of my Lord.
I had just returned to Tulsa from a meeting in Dallas, Texas, where I went as part of a ministry team. So many things happened in that 24 hour period. I saw people cater to the every whim of the leader, rub her back, iron her clothes, literally wait on her like she was some sort of a god. When she got up to speak at the meeting, she was surrounded by a group of insiders and the “prayer team” was seated away but close enough to be called into action.
The leader was into casting demons out of everyone that had legs, and preaching with power, but looking back on it now, I can see that it was clearly not the power of God. I remember being asked to pray for some people, but it was dry, no anointing . . . and I felt that we were making things up.
A number of the women who attended that meeting were among a group who would later follow this woman and her ministry to the east coast dragging their families into what would eventually become a cult. Time has marched on and the fruit of that ministry is in. The Lord was right. His people did not know Him. Had they known Him, they would have sought the Word for truth and followed it word for word and not followed a charismatic leader. I can't say that that encounter with the Lord kept me from total error. I
too walked a path into legalism where freedom was surrendered, submitted to pastors who did not have the heart of God and became too focused on demons rather than on the finished work of the cross.
That evening when God spoke to me, I wondered why He would show me His heart. As time has passed and my understanding of the Word increased, I am now able to look back and see the panoramic view of the deception of the church.
You see it starts in the small things. I was raised in the church, saved at age 6, attended Bible College, but never got to know the Lord in an intimate way. Seeking the Baptism of the Holy Spirit in my twenties, I found a dimension that I knew was missing. Eager to know more about God, His Word and living the Christian life, I was off and running to every meeting, listening to every tape and really excited to find out that there was a cutting edge that I could be a part of. The sad thing was that the cutting edge I found, cut me and my family into shreds. You see, their idea of “cutting edge” was legalism. In an attempt to find God and His power, I found power and a wrong god. Scriptures were taken out of context on every hand as it was declared “new revelation”. We were “privileged” to be the first to get it ..... and the deception and darkness continued as we fell headlong into a bottomless well that led to burn out and depression. I was not declared medically depressed, but I was hitting bottom. Nothing was “working”. I was spent. My family had been wounded by ungodly pastors and my children were running away from God. On the outside they seemed ok, but even as they attended Christian college I sensed them both slipping into darkness.
I love it when the scriptures say “but God . . ...” God intervened in my life in the process of time. The Holy Spirit moved in such a gentle way while I read an article on spiritual abuse. My healing had begun and it would be a process; I received the courage to take the first step.
This article is not about my family getting out of where we were, but avoiding error. Truth is wrapped in a beautiful package called the Word of God. It is time that the church stop running here and there listening to and following every teacher on the planet; it is time for the people of Godto read the letter He has written to us. We have not even walked in the “revelation” He gave us and yet we are looking for more? Has the Word become outdated? Is the Holy Spirit not able to minister to us through the Word?
There are those in the body of Christ who are using the “prophetic word of the Lord” in place of personally hearing from the Lord. Now I am not denying the Lord's ability to give a Word, but we are to judge the Word.
How can a believer judge a word when one is not educated in the knowledge of the Word? Meetings are flocked to when Christians find out that a minister is there who gives “words” or flows in some sort of power with signs and wonders. The desire for a prophetic word or sign and wonder weekly is not God's plan. A word is to edify, exhort or comfort. Does one need this weekly? Actually one can get daily edification, exhortation and comfort from a daily dose of God's Word and a consistent prayer life. Believers who “need” a word are like addicts who must have a fix in order to get through the day! Besides, do you really think that every “preacher” who gives a “word” is doing it by the Spirit of God? There are counterfeit spirits. I know a person who didn't feel like she needed the Word of God because she had a “personal prophet”! Do you see the problem?
We should be running to hear the word taught; not preached but taught. Unbelievers need preaching, believers need teaching! We should be buying up study books, concordances, learning the Hebrew and Greek idioms. The book of Timothy says to, “study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth”. You see even God says that we will be ashamed if we don't study. Without study of the Scriptures we are unable to rightly divide between truth and error. Without an understanding of God's Word, there is a guarantee that at some point you will get into error. Don't even trust your pastor to give you
100% truth all the time. Even pastors make mistakes. You are to study. The Holy Spirit was given to you to be your teacher, your counselor etc.
“Well, I have the Holy Spirit to show me.”.... The Holy Spirit will lead you into Truth and truth is found in the Word of God.
“My pastor does not teach the Word”.....then go elsewhere.
“My pastor receives new revelation weekly” . . . . .you better check his doctrine.
Should you see yourself in any of the above scenarios, what should you do?
First of all repent for not putting the Word of God first place in your life. Ask the Lord to forgive you for putting more credence in the “personally given word” than in the Word of God itself. Purpose to become a person skilled in the knowledge and understanding of the Bible. Purpose to allow the Holy Spirit to be your teacher. Have a consistent prayer life.
You will only get to know the voice of the Lord by spending time with him. He longs for your presence. Do you hunger for Him and His Word? He longs for you.
What happened to me is not unique but common in the church. If you live in the Midwest, the North, the South, West, East or around the world, people are hungry for the power of God. People want to hear from God. We have been created with a void in our life that can only be filled by His presence. We just have to know where to go to get the void filled. Elijah was in a cave and the wind came but He was not in the wind. Then there came an earthquake, but He was not in the earthquake. Then came fire, but God was not in the fire. Finally there came the still small voice, the voice of the Lord. I Kings 19: 11 & 12.
Discover the small voice You will never know Him fully by being a meeting hopper or worshiping a preacher.. He is waiting for you to come into His presence where He can get to know you and you can share in His intimacy. He longs to have you understand His written Word. Don't make Him wait.... run to the secret place and wait on Him. You will never be the same. His Word and His Spirit will give you the life you are looking for.
By Karen Johnson firstname.lastname@example.org