[anzac] The 4 KEYS to DISCERNMENT - Andrew Strom

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From: "ANZAC Prophetic List" <revival4@...>
Date: Fri, 12 Nov 2004 12:29:26 -0600
The 4 KEYS to DISCERNMENT
-by Andrew Strom.

Practical tips for the End-time church.

Some people say that simply knowing the Scriptures is the
best key to discernment. But this is not always the case. The
Scribes and Pharisees were extrememly learned in the Scriptures
and yet they missed the very Messiah that was prophesied! So
knowing the Bible is good, but it is not the sole key to discernment.

Some of the most basic keys to discernment that God has shown
me are as follows:
(1) Know your HOLY GOD intimately. (-When you have seen His
glory, His holiness and His love - by drawing close to Him in prayer -
then you can usually see through any "counterfeits" because you
know the 'real thing' so well).
(2) Be a "lover of truth". This is very crucial. Are you someone who
will actually stand up for TRUTH - even against the crowd? Or do
you remain silent even when you feel something is very wrong?
(3) Humility. (-For where pride is on display, deception is sure to follow). 
(4) The 'inner witness' of the Holy Spirit. We must learn to NEVER 
over-ride this "still small voice", as it will save us from deception 
again and again. (-More on this below).

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! (-Because we are told in the church-
"Do not judge", 'Touch not the Lord's anointed', "You have a critical 
spirit if you do not join in", etc, etc. This is the very reason why
Christians are often the most gullible and easily deceived). We 
need to realize that the Bible says to "Test the spirits" and warns 
very strongly that the Last Days will be a time of "seducing spirits" 
and great deception. So how can we become more alert to these things? 

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 often
"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 such 
widespread deception that it would "deceive if possible the very 
elect". It also shows that much of this deception will 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, 
some of it is at a level that 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.

As I said in a previous article, 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, deceiving spirits are commonplace today, and 
I believe they are being imparted to Christians on a large scale. 

Let me give you an example. I received the following account from 
a preacher in England recently:
"There were about 20 fellow ministers all gathered together in one 
large room at a local minister's house. We were introduced to the 
special guest... The next 3 hours were the weirdest three hours I 
have ever had to endure, we started listening to [her] testimony
which seemed very powerful, next she spoke of the times that she 
meets with the Angel Gabriel and other spiritual beings, next we 
moved on to portals between this world and the next and then finally 
to how she was going to open up a portal to Heaven in the room that 
we were all in.  Now things started to happen, really crazy things 
and strange noises... As [she] moved around the room ministering 
to individual people they were crashing to the ground, bouncing up 
and down, running around as if on fire and making all sorts of sounds. 
When she came to me she had no prophetic words for me and nothing 
happened to me so she just moved on.  My Vineyard friend was the 
first to crash to the floor. Since that day his church has taken on a 
different guise, it is not the same church any more."

Now, you should know that this 'guest speaker' was one of the very 
people I mentioned in my "Naming Names" article. I believe that 
this is a true account, because it is very similar to what I myself 
observed happening under the same ministry. In fact, what I saw 
was people making involuntary "bat"-like movements all over the 
building and an eery 'wailing' noise filling the air. It was truly awful.

Now, it should not surprise us that there are strong deceptions or 
"powerful delusions" around today, for this is exactly what the 
Scriptures predict will happen. All the way through the New 
Testament we are warned of these days - over and over again.

However, one of the problems we have is that God actually does 
'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 unusual spiritual experiences. 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.

I hope this article has been of some practical help.

God bless you all!

Kindest regards in Christ,

Andrew Strom.