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-by Andrew Strom.

In the days that we live in right now, it is essential for Christians
to hone their discernment as much as possible. For the Bible
clearly states that the Last Days are an age of deception. And
the coming Revival can only survive if it is grounded in the
wisdom and discernment of God.

What I am about to share with you is one of the most basic
keys to discernment in existence. But so many Christians
forget about it that we need to remind ourselves that it is there.

Did you know that even an unbeliever can often spot a 'con-man'
or a snake-oil salesman? They get a kind-of "gut feeling" about
such things. And they are often right! In fact, they are often
less gullible than the Christians! I believe that God has placed
within every human being at least a measure of an inner
"warning system" to protect us from being easily deceived -
just as He has given us all a conscience. It is something that
He has built into every one of us, in His mercy.

But what I have found again and again with people who give
themselves over to some form of deception is that they almost
always "override" these alarm bells. They go against their
'better judgement'. They ignore the little voice deep inside them
that is telling them that there is something wrong. Christians
do this all the time. That is how they get themselves involved
in such foolish deceptions.

This may all sound very obvious, but I am telling you, this one
basic area alone could wipe out half the deception in the church
right now. If only people would listen to these internal 'alarm
bells' and act with common sense, half of it would be gone overnight.

The Bible is very clear that the Last Days are a time of "seducing
spirits" and great deception that would "deceive if possible the
very elect". It also shows that much of this deception must
arise from within the church - luring believers with "itching ears".
Do we see evidence of this kind of thing taking place today?
Certainly! In fact, from what I have seen recently in the Prophetic
movement and sections of the Charismatic movement, the extent
of deception is alarming indeed. Some of it is truly shocking. And
yet it is all accepted as perfectly "normal" by many Christians.

One of the problems, of course, is that those who bring in these
deceptions are 'trusted' by the congregation. They have a
reputation and they put across some very convincing-sounding
arguments and surround the whole thing with Biblical terminology.
And thus the deception is harder to spot. (After all, if it were not
"deceptive" then it would not be called 'deception'!) People see
spiritual power operating and assume that it "must be God".
But this is a very dangerous assumption to make in these days.

There is also a lot of "peer pressure" involved as well. For if
everyone in the church is getting into something, then shouldn't
you just ignore those little 'alarm bells' and jump right in? This
is what is happening all the time in the church right now. And
some preachers are very good at making people feel that they
are 'hindering the Spirit' if they do not get involved.

So how do you avoid being deceived in this way?

Very simply, you do not go along to these meetings in a
"gullible" frame of mind. And you do not allow yourself to be
carried along with the crowd. You listen carefully to the
preaching and make sure that it truly is Biblical. Then you
watch the ministry happening down the front of the meeting
and discern whether it really is of God or not. You do not
"override" any feelings of unease or any 'alarm bells' going
off inside you. And you do not allow yourself to be swayed
by 'peer pressure'. Even if the whole church is getting into
something, it does not mean that you have to. If you do not
feel quite "right" about it then DO NOT GET INVOLVED. If
you need to, make some excuse and get out of there! You
do not have to get involved in things that do not feel spiritually
"right" to you.

A lot of people today will go down the front to get something
"imparted" to them by almost every visiting speaker - almost as
a matter of course. I tell you, in today's climate this can be a
very dangerous thing to do. In fact, some of this 'impartation'
business has very flimsy backing in Scripture. Who knows
what on earth these preachers are imparting? And who knows
where they picked it up? I tell you, there are a lot of preachers
out there today whom I would not even allow to impart
something into my pet cat, let alone a human being! Deceiving
spirits are commonplace, and I believe they are being imparted
to Christians on a large scale.

This should not surprise us, for it is exactly what the Scriptures
declare will happen in the Last Days. All the way through the
New Testament we are warned of these times - over and over again.

One of the problems is that God actually does do 'strange and
unusual' things Himself. (-Especially in Revivals). So we cannot
simply throw out everything "unusual". Angelic visitations
DO HAPPEN. Strange prophetic signs DO OCCUR. And being
a strong Charismatic Christian myself, I expect to see believers
speaking in tongues and moving in the gifts of the Holy Spirit as
well. Now, there is no doubt that many of these things could be
termed 'unusual' phenomena. So how do we tell the difference?

Well, God never goes against His own holy character. Or
against Scripture. And as I often say, we may see Him do
'unusual' things but I believe we need to draw the line at "weird"
or ugly. Some of the deception that is around right now has a
'touchy-feely' New Age sense about it. Remember that the New
Age movement majors on "inner healing" and a lot of dangerous
teaching on inner healing is infiltrating the Christian church
today. I do not believe in 'guided visualisation' or anything of
that kind. And neither am I very fond of the writings of Catholic
mystics or the like.

However, I have personally found it very helpful to immerse
myself in the writings of past Revivalists and the accounts of
great moves of God. A lot of the men and women involved in
these Revivals lived very close to God and knew Him intimately.
They knew His holiness, they knew His glory, and they knew
His love. And it is enormously helpful to one's discernment to
immerse oneself in these writings, I have found. I would
recommend this to all Christians everywhere.

If you have been touched or involved in any way with
manifestations or experiences that you think may not have
been from God, then I urge you to utterly RENOUNCE (with
your mouth, but also from the depths of your heart and soul)
any links or involvement with that experience or 'anointing'.
Please do not put this off, my friends. Some of this stuff is
extremely dangerous. RENOUNCE IT today.

Promoting Genuine Biblical Revival.
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