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Luke 4:31-37 Click on this link to read the passage. You may select your own version of the Bible after the link opens.

After leaving Nazareth, Jesus returned to the region of Galilee and went to the city of Capernium. On the Sabbath he went to the synagogue and taught the people who were amazed at the authority with which he spoke.

A man in the crowd was possessed by a demon who knew who Jesus was. The demon began mocking Jesus and identified him as the Holy One of  God. Jesus told the demon to be quiet, and then commanded him to go out of the man who had been possessed. The demon left throwing the man down, but did not injure the man.

The people were all the more amazed at Jesus, at his authority in his teaching, and at his power to command the spirits. And the people spread the word about him to the surrounding communities.

Jesus wasn’t just another teacher, he had demonstrated his authority in many ways to the people. It was in his teaching, in his miracles, and in his ability to cast out demons.

Today we have many spiritual teachers who use various techniques to get their messages across to their listeners. Some have earned our respect through their command of the Scriptures, and are able to bring many people to their knees under the conviction of the Holy Spirit. Many great teachers also effectively use their spiritual gifts for healing and for casting out demons even today. Praise God for his faithful messengers who are able to use their God-given spiritual gifts to reach the lost for Jesus.

Unfortunately, we also have spiritual teachers who have resorted to less than honorable methods to reach the lost. They use manipulation to create an appearance of a “movement of the Spirit.” While there are many examples, a few of the more common ones include noise for the sake of noise, people falling back with a push on the forehead rather than an authentic experience of being “slain in the Spirit,” and tongues that can be self-generated instead of Spirit-generated. Often spiritual leaders who use deceitful methods can also be spotted by an over-indulgence of self-promotion as well.

I am aware that I will have probably offended many of my readers at this point. I am not saying that all instances of noisy worship, people being slain in the Spirit, or people speaking in tongues, are less than acts of God and his Holy Spirit. We serve an awesome God who manifests his glory and his love in more ways than we can count. He has used each of these and more to meet the needs of his people.

Heavenly Father, grant us discernment as we seek out genuine Christian teachers who will handle your Word faithfully as they help us to draw closer to you. Give us wisdom that we might recognize the wolves in sheep’s clothing who might deceive us into blindly following their leadership which may lead us farther away instead of closer to you. Help us to fix our eyes on you alone as revealed in your Son, Jesus the Christ.

Copyright © 2008 by Janice Green

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2 Chronicles 6:12-17  (Click to read NIV or select your preferred translation of the Bible. Please read the scripture first.)

In front of the entire assembly, King Solomon knelt down and with lifted hands prayed to God Almighty praising him for keeping his promise to his father, David. He also petitioned God to continue to keep his promise to keep one of David’s sons on the throne if they would walk according to God’s law.

King Solomon had made an awesome statement before he ever opened his mouth on that day. The kings’ subjects were supposed to bow down to the king; kings were not known to bow down to anyone. But King Solomon acknowledged to all the people on that day that Almighty God was the highest authority, and that he as king must be in submission to him.

What a different world it would be if all leaders would acknowledge God as their highest authority. One day this will happen. On that day every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that righteousness and strength are found in God alone. (see Isaiah 45:23-24)

Father God, we acknowledge you as the one true God Almighty. May our daily lives also serve as a witness to our faithful submission to you. We pray for our leaders at every level, that they will recognize you as the only “Higher Power” worth serving, and that they will in turn serve their peoples accordingly.

Copyright © 2008 by Janice Green

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