Sunday, September 26, 2010

Mountains and Valleys

As I was reading through an article at, I came across an illustration that struck me as profound. The author compared stages of our growth and maturity in Christ to mountains and valleys. We reach certain heights in our relationship and knowledge of who God is, but we need to go through "valleys" in order to reach new heights with God. As I was digesting this thought, it seemed applicable to many situations in my own life and in the lives of many close to me. My thoughts came out in the form of a song, which I sang at church this morning. Here are the lyrics of the song I wrote. I hope you will find the song to be encouraging to persevere through the highs and lows of life and to always give God the glory and the thanks--because He is with us all along.


Mountains and Valleys

I stood up high upon a mountain
My gaze went out unto the sea
Before I started on this journey
I never felt so free

Then I heard the master’s voice beside me
“The view is beautiful from here
But if you wish to know these mountaintops as I do
You must follow me to higher mountains still”

Ahhh, ahhh, ahhh [Follow me to higher mountains still]

And so we left the lofty mountain
The next peak clearly in our sights
And as we made our way down into the valley
The daylight slowly slipped away to night

Twisting shadows leading nowhere
Losing sight of where to go
Wolves and coyotes howling, stalking
Where’d the master go?

Cries for help come back unanswered
Have I lost the way?
Come despair, come quick; devour me
I’ve failed anyway

But then I heard the master’s voice
Whispering in the wind
“Don’t give in to the valley’s taunts
Or nighttime’s frightening grin
You need to persevere, my child
To reach my goals for you
Don’t fear, I’m near, I’m watching you
Your time is almost here

As morning broke on the horizon
I felt my mind and strength renewed
And as I turned to look behind me
The valley was far from view

With panting breaths, I climbed onto the mountain peak
The master swiftly grabbed my hand
“Now look, my child, at all the awe around you
Look beyond the sea; there’s yet another land”

Ahhh, ahhh, ahhh [Beyond the sea, there’s yet another land]

Master, I have but one simple question
Right now I see you face to face
But all the time that I was in the valley
The wolves were near, but, Master, where were you?

“Come now, my child, and listen closely
I never parted from your side
I led you through the valley, child
So you’d grow strong inside”

Ahhh, ahhh, ahhh [So you’d grow strong inside]

Between two mountaintops
There’s always a valley
Between two mountaintops
There’s always a valley
[Look, there’s a mountain up ahead]
[Come, meet me there…]

Ahhh, ahhh, ahhh [Come and meet me there]
[Come and meet me there]

Friday, September 10, 2010

Prophetic Visions

For those of you who are interested in reading the latest prophecy news (like me), I have one piece of advice. Test what you read against what God has revealed to us in Scripture. We know that there are many deceiving spirits leading people away from God's truth--even "Christian" prophets are led astray by the whisperings of the devil and his angels.

So, how can we know if a prophet is truly from God? It is fairly easy to tell, actually: if the prophet acknowledges Jesus as God's Son who came in the flesh to atone for mankind, then the prophet is from God. True prophets speak truth that comes directly from the heart of God the Father, so the message will contain the truth about who Jesus is so that the people who hear the message will acknowledge him as Lord.

There are a few simple messages that God repeatedly sends us through prophets: encouragement (revealing how He loves a person or nation uniquely), instruction (a.k.a., a call to obey His Word), and warning (= these bad things will happen unless you obey). Plus, the messages that come from a prophet of God are always accurate. If a prophet gives a prophecy that turns out to be false (or if he goes back to re-interpret its meaning after it appears to be false), then pay no attention to that person, for he is deceived.

I've discovered some features that are similar in messages from false prophets. One is that the message itself is unclear ("like viewing through a fog") or can't be remembered fully. Another is that the prophet gets his visions from "spirits of light" that don't acknowledge Jesus (...if you have to ask who sent them, they're probably not from God). The most common thread, though, is that the message is either one of world harmony (usually accompanied by an encouragement to seek "the power within") or of world catastrophe (along with instructions for how to protect yourself and survive the ensuing chaos). The "world harmony" message is usually given to a person who doesn't acknowledge Jesus as Lord. On the other had, the "world catastrophe" message is panned off to people who are within Christian circles of influence. The latter case is harder to distinguish from true prophetic messages, since these people acknowledge Jesus as their Lord--but, when we test their message against God's Word, it doesn't line up.

What sorts of things should we expect a true prophet of God to say in these last days before the return of our Lord Jesus? I believe they would tell us to spread the love of Jesus to as many people as possible before it's too late. I also believe they would tell us to stop lusting after our worldly desires and start submitting ourselves to God's Will! Our primary goal is not to get rich, fat, and entertained--it's to love people the way that Jesus did while on Earth. We are to imitate Him! So, what about the coming trials and tribulations described in the book of Revelation? What will the prophets say about that? Well, the Bible says things like "whoever loves his life will lose it" and "those beheaded for the name of Jesus will reign with Him in glory." Jesus also tells us not to worry about what we will eat, drink, or wear because our Heavenly Father will provide what we need just as He does the birds of the air. In other words, prophets who tell you to stock up on food and ammunition in preparation for the battle of Armageddon are NOT from the Lord! Let's start studying the truths that God has given to us in His Word so that we will not be deceived by false prophets in the days ahead!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Speaking in Tongues?

When reading the New Testament, I see a correlation between speaking in tongues and receiving the Holy Spirit. All Scripture is profitable for teaching and training in righteousness, so what am I (or any Christ-following individual) supposed to draw from this correlation?

Some denominations assert that the correlation between tongues and receiving the Holy Spirit existed only during the early church era, when Christianity was in its infancy and was supernaturally validated by tongues when it spread to a new geographical region. Other denominations say that speaking in tongues is a sign of being accepted into the body of Christ through the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and that a person can't possibly be a true Christian without having spoken in tongues. Still other denominations say that speaking in tongues comes as a result of submitting oneself to God, being completely filled with the Holy Spirit, and experiencing the full power that God intended for His children to have on earth. So, we still have the question: what are we to think of speaking in tongues?

Well, my husband and I have become more and more curious about this, so we decided to do an experiment. We followed the instructions of a "Practical Guide to Being Filled with the Holy Spirit" (see the full article here) to see if we would start speaking in tongues spontaneously. Interestingly, Josh and I both had very clear phrases that came to our minds (in a language we didn't know... and we suspected that our minds may have just made up the words in anticipation of speaking in tongues). This happened to Josh before, actually, and at that time he looked up the phrase and found out that the words were Hebrew. So, we decided to do look up the words, and sure enough, they were Hebrew. I also had a couple more phrases come to mind later that day and the next. Here are all the phrases that came to mind after asking the Holy Spirit to fill me (I'll spell them as best I can):

Shekem malak -- Ala asa tum (or tom) -- Oto kaba

So, I don't know if this is speaking in tongues or not, but if it is, it's nothing like I expected it to be. I will keep pursuing God about this and see what happens!