Does God speak to you? One of the greatest joys of the Christian life is hearing the voice of God. He may be telling me what to do, which way to go. He may be revealing new insights about Himself or others. Sometimes I just hear a quiet “I love you,” and those are the words I cherish the most.
One challenge in listening to God is that He so rarely speaks audibly. Rather, it’s that “still, small voice” inside of us, whispering to our spirit. We have to still ourselves to hear Him. And while God is perfect at making Himself known, we don’t always hear perfectly what He has to say. Sometimes, we simply get it all wrong.
Twenty-twenty hindsight is a wonderful thing. As I read once again through the books of Isaiah and Jeremiah, God’s warning seems oh, so clear. Both of these prophets warned the people over and over to stop their idolatry, turn to God, embrace justice and righteousness, and live. And over and over the people ignored them.
It’s easy for me, sitting here in 2015, to think, what idiots. God told them what He was going to do! Why didn’t they obey Him? Wasn’t it obvious that an idol they themselves made of wood couldn’t solve their problems? And who would choose to sacrifice their child, when God never asked them to do so?
In January of 2013 I did some rummaging around on the internet and came up with a series of “psychic predictions” for the new year. These are people who make their living from predicting the future—in the old days they’d be called seers or prophets. I’ve always wondered how these people maintained their aura of authenticity when their prophecies never panned out so, out of curiosity, I saved their predictions. In the past, when I went to look for previous years’ prophesies, they had somehow been deleted (I wonder why). So this time, I made sure I’d have access to them a year later. But then I forgot all about it.
Prophets, seers, whatever you want to call them, have only three possible sources for their predictions: God, their overactive imaginations, or demons. If God is the one speaking, we’d do well to pay attention. However, if the prophets are making things up or, worse, if they’re in contact with spirits or other evil powers, we listen at our own peril:
Have you read The Harbinger yet? I just finished this book, and I’m reeling.
Since its publication in January, 2012, friend after friend has been urging me to read The Harbinger, and it’s still setting records on numerous best-seller lists. I finally got my hands on a copy (there was a substantial waiting list at the library)—and read it in one sitting. Yes, it’s one of those books you cannot put down.
Although related as a fictional story, that’s really just window dressing. Author Jonathan Cahn takes a passage from Isaiah—focusing on Isaiah 9:10—and interprets it in light of the events of the past ten years. He relates Isaiah’s warning to Israel to America: the 9/11 attacks in New York and Washington, statements made by prominent politicians (including President Obama), and the subsequent economic meltdown. The details are astonishing.
I used to think the Bible was pretty easy to read. That was when I was young and thought I knew it all. Now I’m older, and I realize I’m pretty clueless!
Take prophesy, for example. As I read through books such as Hosea, Micah and Amos, the prophesies seem pretty clear cut: the Israelites have history with God. They’re messing up. God is distraught. God is warning them to return to him before the bad guys get them. And then he warns the bad guys that he’s going to judge them, too.
Granted, other prophetic books—Daniel, Ezekiel, Revelation—are totally mystifying, but that’s because they haven’t all happened yet. When the time comes, it will all make sense. Isn’t that how prophesy works?
Will Isaac be another Katrina? As the storm approaches the Gulf Coast, memories of the devastation of exactly seven years ago resurface in everyone’s mind. Isaac is in the headlines at the moment, but this has been a summer of disasters.
When I last checked, 70 wildfires were burning west of the Mississippi. Seventy! With the Waldo Canyon fire just a few miles from our house, I’m well aware of how destructive a wildfire can be.
It’s 9 a.m. The weather prediction for the rest of today reads… “Cloudy. Snow in the afternoon. … Highs 24 to 30. North winds 10 to 20 mph.”
I’m looking out my window at a pure blue sky, the sun is shining, and it’s already 30°. At least today’s forecast is more accurate (they did say 50%, not 100%) than one last summer that confidently proclaimed sunny skies and high temperatures, while outside a chill wind drove the pouring rain horizontally. You’d think the weather folks would look out their window before hitting that “publish” button!
Meteorologists are easy to pick on, but lots of people predict all sorts of things—cataclysms, wars, epidemics, economic disaster or economic recovery—usually with a tremendous amount of self-assurance. In fact we’re so sure we’re right, we invite the media to the show.
According to twice-wrong Harold Camping’s most recent prediction, the world will end on October 21, 2011.
If that isn’t a good day for you, how about October 16? I was recently alerted (by a caring friend who was quite serious about this) to the impending destruction of the earth by a small, nondescript assemblage of ice and dirt that is currently heading for the core of the solar system. That’s right. On October 16, 2011, on its way out to space again, the comet Elenin will pass by Earth at a distance of “only” 21 million miles. (By comparison, Venus is 23.7 million miles away.)
In case your New Year’s resolution was to avoid all news media, you should know that as the year turned to 2011, approximately 5,000 dead Red-winged Blackbirds, starlings and grackles fell out of the sky in Beebe, Arkansas. About the same time, around 100,000 young drum fish washed ashore on the banks of the Arkansas River. And on January 4, two million dead juvenile spot fish floated to the surface of Chesapeake Bay.
Of course, once you have a few articles on a topic, many more are sure to follow. Similar events that may have escaped notice a few weeks ago are suddenly headline news: