How to Tell a Shepherd from a Showman
Shared by Patricia Backora, author of the book
Tough Love in Christ’s Millennium
Which you can order online from: http://www.publishamerica.com
Do not be deceived, My people. Those who truly minister in My Name manifest My nature. Next time you go to a service, wondering what manner of man (or woman) is addressing you, consider these questions:
1. Do you discern the peace of God in this place? If there is extreme discord between My Spirit and that prevailing in the meeting hall, a Spirit-filled visitor will invariably feel ill at ease there, no matter how much he tries to persuade himself that nothing is really wrong.
2. Do you sense the love, peace and joy of Christ in the speaker? My Spirit within you will bear witness with your own spirit when you are in the presence of one who is letting Christ shine forth His glorious light through his life and message. A Spirit-led individual will exude a joyous enthusiasm for what he is doing. You will feel
refreshed by that one, because you are really being drawn to the Christ within him.
3. Is Christ being lifted up through his ministry, or is the speaker merely trying to promote “faith formulas”? I said in My Word: Have faith in God. It is possible to have faith in faith itself, and be preoccupied with the notion that you are not generating sufficient “faith” through mental exertion, and thus, will miss out on
your miracle. Faith is an inner knowing, deep in your spirit, which is one with My own Spirit. Faith is a divinely imparted grace. Faith is not mental gymnastics!
4. Is there an undue emphasis on donations? Do you feel pressured to “give till it hurts”? Consider the example set by My Son. On those rare occasions Christ told people to sell all their possessions, He told them to give the proceeds to
the needy, not directly to Himself!
5. Does the speaker infer that God will not undertake for you if you fail to give money in the meeting? That is spiritual blackmail, plain and simple, and I resent that inference as a slur on My loving nature!
6. Does the speaker manifest a meekness of bearing and tenderness of heart? People should go to meetings of the saints to encounter Christ, not to watching a show centering around a vociferous stage performer. A minister with a true heart will want to get the people’s eyes off himself, and direct them instead to the Christ he envisages through the eyes of faith. He will literally exude the tender love of Christ, and genuinely care that people are hurting and need a touch from the Master’s hand.
7. Does the speaker share with you the whole counsel of God, or does he fudge on vital issues to avoid criticism? Holiness has never been a more unpopular topic in My Church than it is in this permissive age. Sometimes I’ve had to be blunt with an individual seeking special prayer for healing or deliverance from problems. Through the Gift of Divine Knowledge, My servants might receive
a revelation from Me as to why the supplicant’s prayers have been blocked. Whenever besetting sin is the cause, I can do nothing to help that person unless he first repents
and gets that hindrance out of the way. Proud individuals have often stalked angrily away when I told them the whole truth, blamed the speaker and forfeited their miracle. A false minister will never say anything which would diminish the
market value of his message!
8. When you leave the service, do you feel like you’ve had an encounter with Christ Himself? If My Son has truly touched your life, you will never be the same person afterward. You will feel like a recharged battery, renewed in inner strength and reaffirmed in My love. You will feel cleaner inside. If all you’ve done is heard a sales pitch, you will feel let down. You might even feel like you were “taken to the cleaners” if you fell prey to the speaker’s wiles and gave him too much of your money. You might try to keep a positive attitude and hope that the books or tapes you’ve just purchased will help you to eventually get My help. And in your heart you’ll sigh: “Oh, well, maybe next time.”