Thursday, 18 September 2014

Prophets Prophets Everywhere

Maybe it's just me, but everywhere I look in the Christian world these days there seems to be an abundance of those who call themselves prophets. I receive emails and adverts about various prophetic conferences, and increasingly come across books and TV shows on religious channels, by apparently recognised prophetic ministries, with lots to say for themselves and it seems lots to say to the wider church. Many of theses books, TV shows and conferences seem to be of an instructional nature, teaching the average believer how they too can hear God and prophesy to people. Others are more to showcase these ministries themselves, as they give bold predictions about the future - mostly gloomy, if not downright terrifying.

This of course is not a new phenomenon. Those who were around in the 1970's will remember the best selling book by Hal Lindsay that gave specific predictions on how it was all going to pan out, as he painted his version of the doomsday scenario. Despite the fact that most of his predictions have failed to materialise there still seems to be a never ending appetite among Christians for prophetic utterances, particularly about the future and the end times.

More recently I heard a well known author and speaker, again recognised widely as a prophet, conclude that prophetic ministry was all about finding the gold in people and helping them fulfil their ministry. There may be a certain amount of truth in his point, but is this really what the prophetic ministry is all about? One only has to  look broadly across the scriptures to see that the prophetic ministry is a vital thread that God has used from Genesis to Revelation to demonstrate his heart and will, and to keep his people on track with His plans and purposes. True prophets are not only vital today in God's ongoing plans and purposes, but they also should be easily recognised by God's people.

So what things should we expect to see in a Prophet? Is a prophet simply someone who relates words or pictures in a meeting with a thus says the Lord at the beginning? Let's begin with Abraham, who was the first person whom God refers to as a prophet (Genesis 20:7)....

Friday, 5 September 2014

The rise of the mocker and the scoffer

These days comedians are as big as rock stars, not just in the UK, but in many countries. Top performers are filling fifteen to twenty thousand seat arenas and many of them are becoming ubiquitous on our television screens as they seem to appear on every panel show going. Like most people I love to laugh and I have my own favourite comedians, however I find myself increasingly changing the channel when certain people come on my screen. The Bible mentions them on a good number of occasions and encourages us to avoid them - They are called the mockers and the scoffers.

Mockery is a large part of humour as something or someone has to be the butt of almost every joke, and comedians have always loved to push the boundaries of taste in order to get a laugh. Bad language, strong sexual innuendo and brazen discussion of what were taboo subjects is now the norm.  Certain comedians have openly and vehemently made Christianity and Christians themselves the target of their so called humour. The rise of militant atheism in the last few years has unleashed the court jesters of Darwinism and they have only one target in view. I often see the faces of these funny men (and women) change to reveal an inner rage as they seek to make a mockery of those who put their faith in Christ and his word. "The proud and arrogant person - "mocker"is his name behaves with insolent fury (Proverbs 21:24). Most of them go beyond a little dig at people of faith and actually become preachers of atheism when they get onto the topic. We might feel a little uncomfortable and simply brush it off and continue watching in the hope that he moves onto something we can all laugh at. One atheist comedian who was mocking Christians in particular called us ignorant and said we "needed to read a few more books" to enlighten us. The only problem with his argument is that when one does read some books or look into the evidence(sic) for the atheists theories of life, one finds a case that is so full of holes that it is truly laughable that anyone should believe it much less stake their eternity on it. (See my post on the subject here)

The Bible tells us to guard our hearts. That means that we need to be careful what we listen to, what we watch and what we allow into our minds generally. More of us need to stop entertaining fools in our homes and letting these clowns into our living rooms through the box in the corner of the room. And fools are what they are, for the fool says in his heart there is no God. We shouldn't be at all surprised at the rise of the mocker and the scoffer in our day, for we are warned about them in the scriptures, but we also shouldn't give them the time, attention (or indeed our money) that they crave so much.

Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires ( 2 Peter 3:3)

SCOFF(v) to laugh and speak about a person or idea in a way that shows that you think they are stupid or silly.

MOCK (v) to make something seem stupid or ineffective. 

Cambridge online dictionary