Spiritual Safety!

...In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit upon all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your young men will see visions, and your old men will dream dreams. In those days I will pour out my Spirit
even on my servants --men and women alike --and they will prophesy.
(Acts 2: 17-18) NLT

     It's no secret...we are in the Last Days! It's summertime, and there are always a lot of public service announcements about water and heat safety because of the many tragedies that happen during this season. But what about our spiritual safety? If you haven't noticed, there are things happening all around us, good and bad-- that have been foretold thousands of years ago in God's Word. One thing that has become very active is the amount of prophecy that is being spoken. The Word clearly states that God has called some to be prophets, to reveal the mind and will of God to great numbers of people, or many have the gift of prophecy, to exhort, build up, and encourage others. But there are also some who misuse these gifts, either out of ignorance, or out of some other motivation that is not of God.

A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other.  To one person the Spirit gives the ability to give wise advice; to another the same Spirit gives a message of special knowledge.The same Spirit gives great faith to another, and to someone else the one Spirit gives the gift of healing. He gives one person the power to perform miracles, and another the ability to prophesy. He gives someone else the ability to discern whether a message is from the Spirit of God or from another spirit. Still another person is given the ability to speak in unknown languages, while another is given the ability to interpret what is being said.  It is the one and only Spirit who distributes all these gifts. He alone decides which gift each person should have.
(1 Cor 12: 14-17) NLT

     According to the Word, spiritual gifts are given by God to help people. They are not to be used as a means to control, manipulate, or dominate them. No one can decide what gift they will have, because God is the One who distributes spiritual gifts. Spiritual gifts are part of the true worship of God, because during worship, God reveals Himself to people and sends the blessings that are needed at that time according to His will. When God speaks a word into your situation or circumstance that no one could know but Him, that word will always agree with the Word of God that has already been written, and the spirit of the word will always agree with the Holy Spirit. Even if it's a word of correction or a word that seems "hard", it will always agree with God's Word and God's Spirit, and carries peace. And, a  true word from God will never tear you down, belittle, or embarrass you.

...Worship only God. For the essence of prophecy is to give a clear witness for Jesus.
(Rev 19:10) NLT

     Worshippers, if you are ever in the presence of someone who wants to "read" you, if you see someone fixating on you as if they are trying to "see" into you, if you feel some type of "energy" trying to pull on your spirit, causing you to feel agitated, disturbed, distracted, fearful, confused, weakened or any other feeling that is not of God, LEAVE immediately! If it's the Holy Spirit, the only things that He brings are power, love, and a sound mind. There are a lot of people who mix God's Word with their own doctrines and imaginations, and even practice what is called Charismatic Witchcraft*. That being said, you have to spend enough time with God to be able to know what is true. When bankers are being trained to know counterfeit bills from authentic ones, they spend hours learning how real money feels and looks, so that when they see a suspicious one, they recognize it right away.  Be careful of those who come into prayer gatherings announcing themselves as "Minister so-and-so" or "Prophet or Prophetess so-and-so" as soon as you meet them. A person who has a true prophetic gift does not need to do those things to call attention to themselves, because their gift will announce them!  Be aware of your spiritual environment. Be prayerful and watch what is going on around you. Don't be quick to run to every revival, prayer meeting, church service or conference looking for a "word". Allow God to lead you, and take your Bible with you to make sure that what is being said is the same thing that God says.  This is not to cause fear, but just as you would protect yourself on the streets, you must protect yourself in the religious community. Remember...we are in the Last Days. God has given us everything that we need to defend ourselves against spiritual attacks from inside as well as outside of the church, but we have to use the information that we have been given:

 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant:
1 Cor. 12:1 (NKJV)

Beware of false prophets who come disguised as harmless sheep but are really vicious wolves.
Matt. 7:15 (NLT)

Dear friends, do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit. You must test them to see if the spirit they have comes from God. For there are many false prophets in the world.
I John 4:1 (NLT)

Yet they will by no means follow a stranger, but will flee from him, for they do not know the voice of strangers.
John 10:5 (NKJV)

     God loves us and does not want any of us to be deceived. He has people strategically placed to minister as He chooses. But just as God uses His people, the enemy has people that he uses to try to confuse us, or cause us to stumble, either because of lack of knowledge, or pure wickedness. Think of it in this way: the 5-year old who brings a gun to school, plays with it and causes it to go off, injuring another classmate, and the adult who deliberately shoots and injures someone has still done the same damage, even though the intentions were different. Don't become a spiritual casualty! Know when God is speaking to you, listen carefully to what is being spoken to you by people, test it against God's Word, and follow what He says about what you have heard. It's the only way to be spiritually safe in the last days.

*Charismatic Witchcraft -Charismatic witchcraft is exercising control over other Christians by leaders or anyone within the church. Charismatic witches use personal prophecy to control others.