Monthly Archives: January 2009

Swmming Upstream: “Selling Your Prophetic Words”

After a long period of fervent prayer, the small assembly of believers sat quietly in their chairs, expecting to hear an answer from heaven concerning their problem.

A young man stood up. “Yesterday, I was driving my car when I had this impression about our problem…” He proceeded to tell his story and sat down.

A older man stood up. “My experience completely disagrees with his story. Yesterday morning, Gabriel, the angel,  woke me up while I was in bed and took me up to heaven where I talked with Jesus about our problem. He told me…” He told his story and sat down.

Without being at the meeting and without knowing the problem, most of us would tend to think that the older man’s story had the most validity and that the younger man had the least.  Why? He had the best sales pitch, the most dramatic delivery and the younger man had nothing but a prophetic impression.

But yet, scripture does not tell us to be impressed with sales pitches or dramatic deliveries. Instead, we believers are called to judge prophetic words through spiritual discernment and scriptural knowledge.

This probably sounds trivial, but it is not. In the days ahead we are going to be deluged with prophecies and spiritual experiences. And we believers need to be prepared ahead of time by praying for greater spiritual discernment for ourselves and others, and spending more time studying our Bibles.

If we are not prepared, we could end up in a swamp of misery.

Swimming Upstream appears at this blog site on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. It’s  a little of this and a little of that, all written  to encourage and exhort believers in their Christian jouneys.

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Swimming Upstream: “New Musical Sounds from Heaven”

iPods. MP3 players. The world loves music and so does heaven.

In fact, every new move of God has had new songs from heaven, accompanying the move. The songs have helped fuel the fires of revival and reformation for their generations. Looking back, some of the songs may seem tame to us today, but in their day, the music touched hearts and changed people’s lives.

Martin Luther himself wrote 37 hymns, including the classic, A Mighty Fortress is Our God, which became the Battle Hymn of the Reformation.

In the Great Awakening, John Wesley’s brother, Charles, wrote over 6,000 hymns. One hundred and fifty of which are still in Methodist Hymn Books. His best known works include, Christ the Lord Is Risen Today, Hark! The Herald Angels Sing and Jesus, Lover of My Soul.

A blind song writer, Fanny Crosby, wrote over 8,000 hymns. Many of these were sung by Ira Sankey at a D. L. Moody evangelistic crusade during the late 1800’s, when millions gave their lives to Christ.

Then, the Pentecostals erupted on the scene with the Azusa Street Revival in 1906. Unlike the calmer Protestant churches, the Pentecostals enjoyed uptempo music with lots of clapping and open praising of the Lord during a song. There’s Power In the Blood still gets a old-time Pentecostal out of the pew and clapping his hands and moving his feet.

The Latter Rain Movement. The Charismatic Revival. The Vineyard Movement. The Spiritual Warfare Movement. The Word of Faith Movement. All of these moves of God have had their own unique music.

Now, heaven is poised once again to bring forth a new musical sound. But this time, the music will not end up inside churches with people sitting in pews. This time the music will be like a musical John the Baptist out in the streets, calling people to repentance and making ready a people prepared for the Lord. And like popular music, this music will have a hook which will catch the attention of saints and sinners alike. People who have only heard the music once will find themselves humming and singing the tunes over and over again.

The music will arrive in same fashion as did the Liverpool sound of the Beatles in the 1960’s – all of a sudden. And when the music arrives, all of the other music genres will be pushed aside for the new sounds from heaven.

…You shall surround me with songs of deliverance. (Psalm 32:7)

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Just a Christian And That’s Enough

I receive comments and emails from people who are determined to label me with an adjective in front of the word Christian, dropping me into one camp or another. So, this little post should answer everyone’s questions about my spiritual DNA.

Though I walk in the gifts, I am not a Pentecostal or Charismatic Christian.

Though I have a revelation of faith, I am not a Word of Faith Christian.

Though I believe in John 3:16 and salvation, I am not an Evangelical Christian.

Though I walk in prophecy, I am not a Prophetic  Movement Christian.

Though I believe in home churches, I am not a Home Church Christian.

I am a Christian. Period.

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Swimming Upstream: “God Doesn’t Do That Anymore.”

“Will God show up at this service?” I whispered to my girlfriend, sitting next to me on the hard wooden pew. Somehow, she had convinced me that I should go with her to church before taking in a movie.

She turned to me and rolled her eyes. “God doesn’t do that anymore,” she whispered. Then, she turned toward the front as the organ began playing an opening hymn.

This experience happened forty years ago during my senior year at college. The young woman has long since moved on with her life, but her words still linger in my ears.

At the time, I was a proud, mouthy agnostic.  And she was  a church goer who practiced her faith to the best of her knowledge. Water baptism. First Communion. Confirmation. Church attendance. And so on and so on.

Sadly,  I’ve heard hundreds of so-called Bible believing Christians uttering the exact same words over the years since my salvation in 1985. But of course, we Christians add a different twist in that we believe God could do it if He wanted to, but we believe that He doesn’t want to. Thus, “God doesn’t do that anymore.”

So, will God make the sun stand still in the sky just because a man asked Him to do it?  “God doesn’t do that anymore.” (Joshua 10)

Will God raise a dead man that has been in the tomb for four days? “God doesn’t do that anymore.” (John 11)

Do signs, such as casting out demons, speaking in tongues and healing the sick, still follow those who believe in Jesus? “God doesn’t do that anymore.” Mark 16)

Will God kill believers who disobey Him? “God doesn’t do that anymore.” (Acts 5)

Is it possible that our generation is the one that Jesus was referring to in Luke 18:8 when He said:

…Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith on the earth?

If we are, in fact, that generation, we are in for some bad times!

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Is God Judging America’s Newspapers?

From 1950 to 2000, advertising revenue for America’s newspapers had a consistent growth pattern year after year. Then something happened, which changed the whole economic model for newspapers. What was it?

Was it the growth of the internet? Yes, in small part; but this excuse becomes lame when you consider that newspapers could have reaped financial profits by jumping on the internet bandwagon early on. What stopped them from doing so?

Was it the souring of the economy? Yes, in small part; but hey, it was the newspapers who told us day after day after day the economy was bad. Don’t they believe their own words? Why didn’t they make cut-backs?

If it wasn the internet or the economy which has sealed the doom of the newspaper industry, especially the LA Times, Chicago Tribune and the New York Times, then what was it?

The election of George W. Bush as president of the United States. This man was the most lied about, most lambasted and most hated president by the newspaper industry – as a whole – in the history of the United States. The ink on each paper dripped with venom, nothing was too outrageous to print about Bush.

And at the same time, President Bush was the most vocal Christian proponent in the history of the White House. A man whose faith was always apparent for all to see.

So, is God judging America’s newspapers? Of course, He is. He’s a Father who loves His son, George, and knows how to avenge the wrongs done to this man.

Saying, “Do not touch My annointed ones…” (Psalm 105:15)

Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. (Romans 12:19)

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Swimming Upstream

The applause was coming from the garden of the Hyde Park mansion. An internationally acclaimed pianist had just finished a Mozart etude for a charity event of a women’s guild. The women, dripping in diamonds and wearing Yves Saint Laurent dresses, stood up to acknowledge the maestro’s performance.

As the clapping died down, one lady in the front row said, “I would  just do anything to play the piano like that.”

The pianist turned toward her and eyed her up and down. “No, you wouldn’t,” he said in a stern rebuke.

The audience gasped. The woman was known for her kindness and generosity to many causes. All felt her shame as her face reddened and eyes watered. Trying to regain some modicum of dignity, she defiantly mouthed toward the pianist, “Yes, I would.”

The man stood up with his eyes glaring. “No, you wouldn’t,” he repeated in an even sterner voice. “Because if you really meant what you said, you would have been willing to give up your youth, your teenage years and eight hours a day – everyday – of your life practicing the piano. There is a price to pay to sit on this bench. I paid it. And you didn’t.”

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. Knowing therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men…(2 Corinthians 5:10-11)

When the Lord touches our little pile of works with His torch, and the flames reveal what sort they are – whether gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw – maybe we will feel like this lady. Red cheeks. Wet eyes. Wishing that we had paid the price.

Hopefully, this will not be so because it will be too late to do anything about it then.

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Swimming Upstream

“No way! Jesus doesn’t have a sense of humor. He’s always serious about matters that are important to Him, like salvation, Israel and abortion,” he said.

I was shocked. “What?” I blurted, not thinking of a more clever comeback than that.

“You heard me,” he said with his arms folded in a defiant mood.

I shook myself. “So, who created humor – the devil?” No longer tongue tied, I took aim at his ignorance.

He shrugged. “I don’t know,” he said without a smile. “But I do know that Jesus has no sense of humor.” He turned and walked away.

The best I could offer was a loud sigh. So there!

This conversation took place with another Christian, a committed one. He actually believed that his point of view was accurate. Yipes! But who knows, maybe, you agree with him. And maybe, you want me to prove that Jesus has a sense of humor from scriptures, right?

Try this on for size:

At the beginning of Mark 7, Jesus puts down the Pharisees’ and Jews’ tradition of washing their hands and utensils to make sure that no uncleanliness defiles their bodies. The Lord proclaims that it is not the outward stuff that defiles a person, but the inner sins that causes problems.

Now flip to the end of Mark 7, what does Jesus do? He heals a deaf person with a speech impediment. How does He do it? He puts His fingers in His ears and spits on the man’s tongue. The man is healed.

Talk about something from the outside defiling a person. Dirty yucky spit. Yuck! Yuck! Yuck!  It was as if the Teacher wanted to underline His message with a great big, “Gotcha” and a wink.

Want another example?

Look at the wedding in John 2, check out how much wine Jesus created for the party. It works out to something like two or three gallons per person. I’d guess that there was a lot of laughing, dancing and giggling at this party late into the night, right?

There are many other examples throughout scripture.  And guess what? It’s fun searching for them.

Swimming Upstream appears at this blog site on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. It’s  a little of this and a little of that, all written  to encourage and exhort believers in their Christian jouneys.

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