Foundation of Praise • P.O. Box 2518 • Escondido, CA 92033-2518 • 760.741.2755 • www.foundationofpraise.org
Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world (1 John 4:1).
“God told me.” That is one of the most dangerous things I can say to you! Dangerous to me and to you. Why? It is dangerous to me because I may be tempted to be proud. What man can say anything more absolute than “God told me”? How can I be criticized or rebuked by anyone if God Himself has told me what I must do!
It is dangerous to you because if you believe what I tell you to do comes directly from God, and I am wrong, then you will suffer the consequences. Also, if you believe God has spoken to me then you probably will want Him to speak to you too. You may be resentful if He doesn’t. You may even demand that He speak first – before you do anything.
When I first heard God clearly revealing His will to me I was elated. My excitement caused me to tell everyone who would listen. Others began to follow my example, and they too asked God to speak to them.
Some became discouraged and said that no matter how hard they tried they couldn’t receive a message from God. Others reported hearing from God about every 60 seconds. They thought He was answering everything they asked Him. When I questioned how they could be so sure that God was speaking to them, their answers were varied, but they boiled down to one theme. “I asked God, in Jesus’ name, to reveal the answer to me and I know He would not fail me.”
God never fails, but we humans often fail. If God says anything to us, we hear through corrupted ears. We can easily misunderstand what God is saying. We must recognize that we can cause great harm to others as well as to ourselves when we say, “God told me.”
Now, when I believe God has told me something I exercise great care before I tell anyone. I carefully consider every Scripture I can find to determine if His Written Word confirms what I think I am hearing.
Then I seek counsel and guidance of those who I believe are also able to hear God speak. Does what I am hearing sound to them as if it is coming from God?
The Apostle Paul once believed he heard one thing from God, but Peter was doing something exactly the opposite (see Galatians chapter 2). You and I, in spite of our pure intentions, can misunderstand what He is saying. If you know someone who frequently believes that God is making known His perfect will through them, be patient with them. Don’t discredit the possibility that God may be revealing His will to men and women in our times. I believe He does.
Lastly, I emphasize one very important point. Even though there can be great potential for error, hearing God speak to us is a most blessed experience. Some people are convinced that the potential for error is so destructive that we should discredit anything that someone says when they express, “God told me.” I understand their fear, but I also believe the Bible teaches us that God wants to communicate with us. If you believe that He has spoken to you, follow the safeguards I have suggested. Also, be extremely careful to never seek His direct guidance to build your own ego. We all have a higher opinion of ourselves than we should. Never use anything you believe He is telling you as a tool to manipulate someone else. God is powerful enough to change any situation that He wants to change, and He doesn’t need us to say, “But God told me!” (Reprint from August, 1986)
by Mary Carothers
As Christians we have a responsibility to not be tossed about by every new doctrine that we hear (see James 1:6). We need to learn not to accept the message of every book, every article that we read, nor every television speaker, or every preacher we hear, as being divinely anointed. In 1 John 4:1 it tells us to test what we hear and read. We have a responsibility to grow in wisdom and discernment. In the final analysis, we are responsible for what we believe.
The author of every book or article, the teacher of every class, the speaker on the television, the evangelist and preacher – each gives to us their understanding of God’s will for us; their interpretation of scripture. And we are to test it, pray about it, and seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Early in my walk with Jesus, a visiting minister came to town. As a baby Christian I mistakenly assumed that everything he said would be from the Lord. There was no question that he was sincere in what he taught, but it brought fear and confusion to me. Yet it was a good experience, as it helped me grow in wisdom. As I searched the scriptures, God helped me find the verses I needed. I learned to trust in His Word, and I was beginning to learn to test the spirits to see if they are of the Lord.
Some years ago, Merlin and I were in a service where the minister was able to sway the people’s emotions, figuratively holding them in the palm of his hand. It became apparent that he was manipulating, rather than relying on the Spirit of Christ. Think about how this minister differed from Paul. In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul reminded them that he did not preach to them with eloquence. Rather than trying to sway them emotionally, he preached on the power of the cross of Christ (see 1 Corinthians 1:17).
Over the years, I have read some books that at first seemed to be agreeing with scripture, yet as I discerned the spirit of the message it became clear that they were not of the Holy Spirit.
Paul tells us that we are vessels of clay, seeing and understanding imperfectly (through a glass darkly). Our wisdom, understanding and discernment will always be imperfect.
How then, can we grow in the ability to discern? Jesus says in John 10 that His sheep will hear and know His voice. When we hear and know His voice, it’s easier to follow Him, rather than be confused by some new doctrine. And we come to know His voice as we spend time with Him and study the Bible
Memorial Day, the last Monday of May, to many, is another three-day
weekend. It’s also become known as the official start of summer! The true
meaning began after the Civil War to honor the soldiers who had died.
Today, Memorial Day is a day to honor ALL of the Americans who have died
in military service. Take a moment from your day of leisure and reflect upon
the brave sacrifices of those who have given their lives for our great nation.
Power in Praise is one of the best books, if not the best book, I have read about trusting God. Rebecca, E-Mail
God used Power in Praise mightily in my life by showing me to praise Him for all things. This book challenged me here in prison to finally get serious about serving God. Bertrand, MO
Thank you for Merlin’s message of praise to the Heavenly Father and hope for all people! Pauline, CA
I read Prison to Praise and Power in Praise several times since a friend introduced me to Merlin’s books. We own a small motel, and, in each room, I place a Gideon Bible and a copy of Prison to Praise. I’m not aware of how many of our guests have read the book, but every so often I find one gone. God bless you for all you do for the Lord. Carolyn, WI
Thank you for sharing Prison to Praise with my fiancé at Coffee Correctional Facility. He has thoroughly enjoyed the book and has barely put it down. Thank you for spreading the Word. Joanne, GA
Thank you for the good things you people do – God is truly working through you and I wish the best of blessings to everyone. Rochelle, CA
Thank you, Mary and all the people, at the Foundation of Praise and for the encouragement that I receive from Praise News. Rinske, TX
Praise the Lord for everything! Thank you for continuing with Merlin’s ministry. There is value in thanksgiving and praise. William, MN
Your faithful support has
enabled us to send free praise
books to the following facilities:
Orient Road Jail, Tampa, FL
Detention Facility, Dalhart, TX
Correctional Facility, Stockton, KS
Correctional Institute, McCormick, SC
Deuel Vocational Institute, Tracy, CA
Dougherty County Jail, Albany, GA
North Kern State Prison, Delano, CA
County Detention Center, Anderson, SC
Hamilton Correctional Institute, Jasper, FL
Dauphin County Prison, Harrisburg, PA
Wildwood Correctional Center, Kenai, AK
Southeastern Correctional Ministry, Hampton, VA
Washington Correctional Center, Shelton, WA
Greene County Detention Center, Paragould, AR
Nueces County Sheriff’s Office, Corpus Christi, TX
Mothers a joyous
Mother’s Day, May 13!
May your well
deserved day be
full of many
The National Day of Prayer
is Thursday, May 3. Pray
for America. Pray for
Making every effort to
keep the unity of
the Spirit through
the bond of peace.
To place an order, please call Foundation of Praise at 1-800-772-4731, or 760-741-2755