I’m not sure how many of you may be following, or have maybe even heard of the Floriday Healing revival that is taking place right now in Lakeland Florida. I’ve heard and read a lot about Todd Bentley, the man who is part of this. I really like him and believe that he is genuinely a man being used by God.
However, I will admit because of my background I find it hard to really believe some of these things. I believe God CAN heal and I’ve seen it first hand to a certain degree myself. However, individuals that are as outgoing and loud as Todd sometimes put me on the defensive because of past scars. But the Lord has spoken to me lately about the difference between being discerning and being judgmental based on my own human opinions or experiences. My reservations in this case are solely based on thing that have happened to me in the past, people who were not really doing these things for God’s glory. However, I’m also now realizing God still can use these people to do His work.
If you have not checked it out yet, you can see live streaming of this at God.tv
I’m reposting here an email I received from Joni Ames a few days ago (with her permission). Her email hit it right on the head for me. So I’m sharing this, hoping it will also speak to someone else.
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What Is Going On? Is It Real or Fake?
May 11, 2008
When I was in my late 20's (I'm now 53), the church I attended took part in hosting a famous televangelist to come to our city. A large, 5,000 seat theater was rented, and many of us took part in volunteering and helping out. I was very excited, and arrived earlier than anyone else, figuring maybe I'd be able to get a good enough seat to see the miracles I'd heard about first hand!
When I got to the theater, the evangelist's staff was already busy. There was a flurry of activity and they were all quite friendly and seemed genuinely interested in getting to know me. I felt quite honored just to be there! I was a young single mom, and this was the most excitement I'd had in awhile!
As the people arrived, the man's staff was very helpful to everyone. People who seemed to have a hard time getting around were especially helped. They even grabbed wheel chairs to put them in, and gave the more feeble ones front row seats in them! When the people said they really didn't need to be in a wheel chair, the staff winked and said, "That's ok! Being in it will give you a better seat!"
I just did what I was told, and helped unload products onto tables, or did whatever was needed. When I was no longer needed, I went and sat in a fairly unoccupied area to observe it all.
I met a precious older lady who was in a lot of pain because she had been in an auto accident. She was there to get healed. I let the staff know that she especially needed prayer. Some of them went over and struck up a conversation with her. They then assured me that she would get prayed for personally by the evangelist during the service. I was excited about that! I wanted to see her healed and was happy to have helped line her up for that!
The meeting began, and the auditorium was quite full of excitement and enthusiasm. Some staff members got the people to begin shouting, "Jesus! Jesus! Jesus! Jesus!" and to do some other kinds of cheers. They also did responsive type of things like, "Do you believe Jesus heals?" The crowd would say, "Yes!" - They would say, "Oh come on now - do you REALLY believe Jesus heals?" And the crowd would again say, "Yes!" - Then they would tell the crowd, "That was pretty weak! If you want Jesus to heal tonight, you better let Him hear you!"
Next, they had little contests with each section of the auditorium trying to see who was the loudest. They told the people that they were going to be on camera, but not to be intimidated. They needed to keep up the same enthusiasm so that it would encourage the evangelist to press in and get the anointing so good things would happen. They were promised that, if they did as directed, they would see and experience miracles that night. - And reminded that they didn't want to "quench" the spirit and stop those miracles from happening. How smart and how kind of these people to help us know how to help God to show up! (I was young, remember?!)
The services finally began, and the crowd was dutifully pressing in to participate in every way in which they had been directed - even to being responsive in the worship. Nobody wanted to be the one to "quench" the spirit and stop miracles from happening.
The evangelist came out and spoke awhile, and then asked if there was anyone there who had been healed in any of his previous meetings. There were several who came up - and apparently they'd been so touched that they became his staff members, because they were all people that I'd recognized as having been those who had been meeting and greeting and helping people get into that night's meeting! (I told you I was young!)
For awhile, the evangelist told some stories about other places and other times when other miracles had happened. Then He said, "Jesus is here now and is going to do it tonight too!!" Wow! The crowd got excited!
Two or three sets of people came up on stage and got prayed for. He seemed to know everything about them! Even their kids' names, and the town they were from!
Suddenly the staff hurried down to the lady in front of me who'd had the accident! Oh good! She was going to be prayed for and healed! I began to cry for joy for her!
WATCH AND LISTEN!
Suddenly the presence of the Lord came on me, personally, in a serious tone. He sternly said, "Watch and Listen! I'm going to teach you something tonight that you will carry with you for the rest of your life!"
The evangelist asked the lady if she had ever met him before. "No."
He repeated the question and added, "So we have never had a conversation before this moment, right?" She responded, "No, but I spoke to some of your staff members."
Irritated, he said, "That's not what I asked. Pay attention. You and I have never had a conversation before this moment, right?" She got a little uneasy, "No, but..."
"Do you believe God knows your name?"
"Do you believe God knows everything about you?"
"Is your name ____, and do you have a son named ____?"
"Let me ask again...Have you and I ever had a conversation before tonight?"
"Don't interrupt the atmosphere, just answer yes or no to my questions. ...Have you and I ever had a conversation before tonight?"
She looks down at me, pleadingly, as if to say, "What do I do?!"
He continues, "You had a wreck about 2 years ago, yes or no?"
"You hurt your back and haven't been able to bend to touch your toes since then, yes or no?"
"Do you believe Jesus heals?"
"Yes, but..." He stops her as she tries to say, "But I spoke to YOUR STAFF and told them these things!"
"Don't grieve the atmosphere, just answer yes or no to my questions. ..Do you believe Jesus heals?"
"Yes, of course I do! But..." As he stops her from speaking, she begins to nervously cry.
"There it is! Don't be afraid to weep! That weeping shows that He's coming on your right now!"
The woman looks pleadingly at me again. The evangelist addresses the crowd. He reads a couple of healing verses. He asks them if THEY believe God's word, and if THEY believe Jesus can heal her tonight. They respond enthusiastically, as previously directed to do. The evangelist says, "All 5,000 of you here in this auditorium tonight, stretch your hands forth towards this woman! We're going to see her healed tonight!" He recites a prayer, reminding God of His word, and that if two or more agree, He will do what is asked. The crowd gets caught up in more responsive comments. He tells the lady to touch her toes now (which she couldn't do before) and she does it! The crowd goes wild! He has her do it and some other things she couldn't do several times. Now the crowd is on their feet!
That woman is finally sent back to her seat and he goes over to the wheel chairs and commands people to get up out of them and walk. The crowd goes even more wild!
But I remember that those people didn't need to be in the wheel chairs in the first place. Now I begin to see what is going on.
The Lord draws my attention back to the lady who just got healed. He says, "See her face? She is grieved because she was a part of how things just went down. Get ready to go meet with her in the lobby and tell her not to loose her healing."
The Lord continues, "You see, what just happened here is that I honored My Word, My Name, and the faith of My people. My Word does not go forth and return void, and when 5,000 people agree on My Word and in My Name, people are going to get healed."
"The gifts and calling are without repentance. It is up to each one as to how they use them."
"As for him, I'll deal with him in time. You see, what happened tonight is why My Word says that there will be those who say they healed and cast out demons in My Name, yet I'll tell them to depart from Me because I never knew them."
"But My Word will NOT go forth and return void, and I will honor it when My People believe and agree on My Word and in My Name."
"Go tell her I love her, and not to loose her healing, and explain this to her."
At that, she rose, ran out of the auditorium, and down the hall. I ran after her and did as the Lord said. She just kept weeping and saying, "I don't deserve to be healed! I helped him lie!"
I don't know what ever happened to that lady. She left in tears. As for the evangelist, a few years later he was exposed as having used an earpiece to get information from his staff while he ministered, and he spent time in prison.
I later went on to work for several large ministries throughout my lifetime. At some I learned what to do, and at others, what not to do. Still in all, I mainly tried to believe the best until proven otherwise. Then the Lord showed me in His Word that He really wanted us first to "Test the spirits as to whether they were from Him." So that took me down another road called discernment. Not judgmentalism. Discernment. And love.
In Phillipians 1:15-18, Paul says, "(15) Some indeed preach Christ even from envy and strife, and some also from goodwill," (16) "The former preach Christ from selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my chains," (17) "But the latter of love, knowing that I am appointed for the defense of the gospel." (18) "What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice, yes, and will rejoice."
OTHER SIMILAR EVENTS
Since that time, I've worked at and been around many other ministries before God launched me into my own. Most of them were sincere and real. But I've seen many things that were not good as well. I've seen people fake the gold dust, fake the gems, and fake the prophetic. I've watched people try to blow others down, push them down, and cause them to laugh themselves silly. But God is the same yesterday, today, and forever - and is forever real and true. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth, and God has been faithful to still be real and show up and honor His Word and His Name.
VIVA LA DIFFERENCE
In most cases, we don't have to deal with whether something or someone is or isn't of God. The various "offices" all have their own "personality." The "evangelist" is known as the more showy, loud, excitable, "Simon Peter" type of anointing. They get so excited that they often embellish the numbers in the crowd, etc. - In fact, Simon Peter got so excited that he lopped off a man's ear!
I learned to not expect everyone to do things "my way." But I've also been freed from other's expectations to try to get me to be "like them" as well. I'm a more laid back person. So I minister in a more calm manner.
The Lord showed me that's ok! After all, David couldn't walk in Saul's armor to kill the giant, so we cannot walk in anyone else's personality, style, or anointing to kill ours!
There are people who like the more loud, showy ministries that others can't stand nor receive from. By the same token, there are those who are bored by the more calm and gentle ones. But isn't God good for giving to us a variety so that all can be met right where they are?!
Sometimes we just need to give a little grace to the person to be who they are and to operate in their own personality and style, without demonizing them because of it.
WHAT TO DO?
Since God uses people, we just have to realize that, although each move seems to bring about a new facet of the Lord, we will also see new personality type in the people He uses to convey it through.
The over zealous ones will try to demonize those who don't run with the new thing, and visa versa. The ones involved in the 'new thing' will try to demonize those who don't participate with them as being religious spirited.
What we need to remember is that God's word tells us that ALL parts of the Body are needed, and to not disrespect or minimize any of it. Additionally, in Eph. 4:16 we are told that "When EVERY part does it's share, it causes growth in the Body."
Hence, we each need to do what we are called to do and finally get that Kindergarten principle down and learn to "Get along well with others!"
WHAT'S GOING ON NOW?
I heard that some Osprey were seen carrying fish over the stadium in Florida where things have been happening recently. Osprey are kind of related to the eagle family. I feel that, through that, God was showing us that the "offspring" of the previous healing evangelist era and the prophetic movement are bringing in the "fish!"
What we are seeing right now is a full blown example of the zealous healing evangelist anointing, combined with the prophetic, coming forth. The evangelist is sometimes wild, loud, aggressive, and seemingly obnoxious. To them, everything is extraordinary and over the top. They need their "papas" - their apostolic/prophetic/pastoral coverings - to help them out so that they don't get strange and out of balance. We all need that! But they are still needed! They are fire starters.
Let's rejoice and take what is happening as a sign that the harvest will now begin to come in. We've been getting equipped and ready for this day, and with the healing evangelist anointing coming forth again, the harvest is on it's way!
In that, don't leave YOUR post if that isn't your call! And you don't have to feel "guilty" or "bad" about it. But let's not try to "kill" them either! Just say, "Yay God! Another part of your team is coming forth!" Then keep on doing what you are called to do and don't word curse them.
By the same token, those who are going full blown into what is happening don't need to say to the others, "Your day is over - get on this boat or die." - Because that isn't true. Those who are called to teach and activate the Body of Christ need to keep on doing it! There is a whole new crew about to come in that we need to tend to and to train up now as well! Their job isn't "over;" rather, it has begun anew once more!
So, what is going on? And is it real or fake?
The bottom line is, it takes all kinds to minister to all kinds.
Will there be lying signs and wonders and some fakes? Jesus said there would. But in the process, there will also be some folks who may just be rough around the edges, or different than we are used to, who aren't necessarily demons, but just different. And hey, God used a donkey, and he uses you and me, so why not others?
In the process, God honors His Word, His Name, and the faith of His People. His Word does not go forth and return void. So, when people agree on His Word and His Name, stuff is going to happen.
Are signs, wonders, and miracles a sign that someone is right with God? Not necessarily. The gifts and calling of God are without repentance. If someone is doing something and their heart isn't right, God will deal with them in time. The Word says that there will be those who say they healed and cast out demons in His Name, yet the Lord will tell them to depart from Him because He never knew them.
But, again, even if the person preaching it isn't perfect, God's Word will NOT go forth and return void, and He will honor it and the use of His Name with genuine healings, signs, wonders, and miracles when His People believe and agree on His Word and Name. Good thing. Because none of us are perfect.
- Joni Ames
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