One of the most serious setbacks to the church today has been the attack of Satan against supernatural gifts of revelation in the church.
While attending the Vineyard Christian Fellowship of Cambridge, Ontario in 1991, I awoke one morning in great physical pain as a result of a disease I was then struggling with, feeling like my spine was being forced to curve. I knew that, according to the doctors, this is what they said would happen. More than that, as a result of all of the pain I was feeling, I could feel that it was indeed beginning to happen. I did not know a lot about curses back then or how the devil worked in people’s lives, except that I had been a Christian for about 6 years and had indeed learned certain basic and vital things. But God wanted to move me beyond the elementary teachings of the faith. He wanted to move me on to maturity. Hence, a lot of suffering came into my life. “For this reason let us go on from the first things about Christ to full growth; not building again that on which it is based, that is, the turning of the heart from dead works, and faith in God.” (Hebrews 6:1).
I was just learning. I was on the “fast track upwards” to learning all about curses, and sickness, and how to win the victory over disease. More than that, God wanted to teach me about prophecy, and how powerful and important that was. I went to church that morning feeling discouraged. Immediately, the pastor stood up in the midst of 600 people — a man I really did not know at all, and who did not know anything about the physical condition that I was experiencing — and began to say, “There is someone here, and you feel like you are being bent over. You are worried about it. God says, ‘Don’t worry about it.'” The pastor sat down without giving any more “words” of prophecy that morning. For me and for me alone did that man stand up, and I felt a real sense of love and encouragement — not necessarily from the pastor or that church, but from God Himself who would relay such a message to the pastor.
One week later, I awoke again in a lot of pain (as I had that whole week, and that for many long years, in fact), and this time the feeling was different. This time, as a result of terrible inflammation all throughout my ribs, I felt as though I could hardly breath. Every breath I took caused my ribs to move, and caused me great physical pain and aguish. So I took small breaths. It felt as though all of my breath was literally being squeezed out of me. It was painful, and somewhat frightening. That morning, I went to church again. This time, the same man stood up and proceeded to say, “There is someone here, and you feel great pressure every time you breathe. You feel like you are being squeezed. You are having a hard time breathing. God says that you don’t need to worry about it.” Again, as he had done the previous week, the pastor sat down and continued the service without giving any more “words” of prophecy that morning.
I was stunned. Not once — but twice in a row — God spoke to the pastor’s heart about a certain “someone” in his church who was going through great suffering during those weeks. Today, it is a tragic shame, but many churches don’t even believe that God can and does desire to communicate with them on an intimate, personal, basis like this. The most they know is that God speaks through His word, the Bible. The truth of the matter, however, is that, like a passionate lover, God desires to do more than just “write us a letter.” He desires to speak to each and every one of us, personally, and intimately, by His Spirit, through direct words of prophecy, words of knowledge, and supernatural revelation, including, but not limited to, dreams and visions. He wants to do that so that we will be strengthened, and encouraged to do the work which He has called us to do. God knows that He has called us to an amazing work, and that these gifts are needed! The devil knows that, too. That is why, in some “good” church circles, they don’t even believe that God can, and does, desire to communicate with them in this way.
A church that shuns prophecy is not God’s church, it is the church of man. It does not originate from the empassioned heart of God, but from the limited, sinful, mind of a controlling group of men and women who would prefer to submit to the devil’s way of teaching than to God’s supernatural methods — men who want to control what God is doing at every level, so they don’t have to submit to him, but rather to their false ideas of what, and who, God really is. Although God can and does use such churches in limited ways for His glory, such is not the church of the living God, in all its fullness as God would have it.
In whose church would you rather be? All those who say, “In the the church of the living God,” please stand up and make yourself known.