Deception is one of the main signs of the end times. The following prophetic dream and interpretation shows the need for christians to be aware that many antichrists and false apostles have gone out into the world and their goal is to distract us from our high calling of following Christ. The love of money is one such distraction, and many christians in our affluent society have fallen prey to this wile of the devil. It was true when Jesus first spoke it, and it is still true today. "You cannot serve God and mammon."
A prophetic dream and interpretation by Ray Watson
Printed in the NZ ICFM Faith Report August 2002
The morning after our recent ICFM convention, I awoke from sleep with the following impression. I saw an army marching off to war. This army was organised in long columns of soldiers, all marching in step to the beat of drums. There was great unity of purpose and a clear sense of mission in the ranks. But then I noticed another drummer join the army. Soldiers began lining up behind this drummer, supposing him to be one of those appointed by the general. At first he seemed to be in step with the heavenly music that we were all marching to, but gradually the beat of this new drummer began to get out of synchronisation with the other drummers. No one noticed at first, because the error in timing was so slight, but eventually it began to cause problems.
This impression struck me because it reminded me of a problem I occasionally have with my recording software. There are times when the audio track plays back slightly out of sync with the midi tracks. This can be very annoying when you are trying to record new material with the existing tracks, because you are not sure what beat to listen to. This parallel with the impression I had received was immediately apparent. The impression continued, with the beat of the new drummer becoming increasingly out of sync with the rest of the drummers, until it became impossible for the army to march together. Those who were close to the original drummers moved even closer to them so they could feel more sure of the beat. And so the army began to divide. Those caught in the middle were forced to choose. But those on the outskirts, recent recruits, and those not attuned to marching, were not even aware that there was a problem, and were drawn away with those marching to the beat of the different drummer. Because of the nature of discipline in an army, the soldiers were looking straight ahead, and few were aware that there were now two divisions. Each soldier thought he was still marching in one army. But he was not. The true army went off to the battle. The other army - a sizable portion of the original - was drafted off into futility. This group had now acquired a drum major with some very impressive staff flourishing. This army kept marching, but that is all they ever did.
An impression like this can obviously have many applications, but what spoke to me was the issue of Christians being distracted from their calling in life and ministry, and how subtly this can happen. The issue was one of timing. The new drummer was playing a rhythm that sounded the same as all the others, but his timing was slightly off. There are many things in this life that can so easily take our attention and distract us from our purpose if we do not accurately discern their place in our lives. To everything there is a season. I heard the Holy Spirit say, "The stork knows her seasons, but my people do not know their season." Elisha said to his servant Gehazi, "Is it a time to receive money, and to receive garments, and olive yards, and vineyards, and sheep, and oxen, and menservants, and maidservants? "(2 Kings 5:26 KJV) As Elisha poured water on the hands of Elijah and received of his anointing, so Gehazi, who served Elisha, should have walked in Elisha's anointing. But he went out of the presence of Elisha disqualified from the anointing, because he could not discern the times in which he walked. Balaam also went astray for the sake of gain. It is inappropriate to use ones office and position in the Body to promote any cause other than that for which the office was given. The love of money is still a snare, a trap which satan has laid especially in these days for those called to preach the gospel. Have we forgotten that those who covet money have erred from the faith and will pierce themselves through with many sorrows? Whatever happened to, "And having food and raiment let us be therewith content."? There are assignments everywhere against the leadership of the Body of Christ. "Strike the shepherd" - that is the goal. Deception is subtle because it will deceive the very elect - those called to lead. A sure sign of the days we live in.
There is a teaching about the different callings of kings and priests in the Body of Christ. The priest attends to his priestly duties in the house, while the king goes out to make war to provide the finance for the needs of the house. Last year Tom Anderson spoke about the concept of the good steward and Robert T. Kiyosaki's book 'Rich Dad, Poor Dad' in the context of the need for today's christian to be actively pursuing investment opportunities to help provide funding for the gospel. How does a pastor resolve his role as a priest with this concept of being a good steward in seeking out good investment opportunities? I spoke to one minister recently about this. He said he saw his congregation as his investment. He invests in them the principles of the kingdom. He teaches them to be kings, and they in turn seek out investment opportunities in the world. I like his response because, personally, I find it difficult to keep my focus when I am trying to be successful in both callings. The Levites were not allowed to own land, because in owning the land their hearts became attached to the land. I'm NOT saying you can't be a pastor and have investments, but I have seen so many ministries get distracted from their true calling as a priest by trying to be a king, that I have sufficient cause to be concerned whenever I hear of a fellow minister delving into some investment opportunity.
"But we are raising funds for the gospel," they say. Or, "I need the money to fulfil the mandate God has given me." The problem is, I have yet to see anyone caught up in this sort of distraction actually fulfil their calling in the ministry. If we stayed pure in our devotion to Christ with singleness of heart and purpose, we would not allow ourselves to be distracted by these wiles of the devil. Let's keep the house free of merchandising, and keep it a place of prayer. God knows we need the finances desperately, but if we brought the whole tithe into the house we wouldn't need to bring anything else into the house.
"I fear for you least your minds should be distracted from the simplicity that is in Christ."
Whilst I find many of these schemes very attractive and am "almost persuaded," there is something about these things - for me personally - that just doesn't seem to sit right. I have learned over the years to go with my peace. While others may endorse such efforts for the sake of "raising finance for the kingdom" I cannot. One of the reasons is because of the responsibility I carry as a leader - others will follow my example. If I shipwreck my own call and ministry that is one thing, but I carry the guilt of all those who hit the rocks with me. If you are one entertaining such things, I implore you as a friend, as a child who looks to an older brother, and says, "can these things be?" to consider the implications not only for your own ministry but for all those who will follow your example.
We must also be careful that our integrity and good standing as ministers of the gospel is not inadvertently being used to validate the promotion of something outside the business of the kingdom. Paul said, "I purposed to name no one but Christ when among you." ( 1Cor. 2:2 ) I do not want the integrity associated with my name being used to promote any cause other than the cause of Christ. A good name is still more to be desired than silver and gold.
I think it comes down to a question of focus. We are called to be single-minded, set apart for one purpose. People are like sheep. They will follow anything. Pastors are like sheep too - we easily follow one another. As ministers we are in the business of the Kingdom - exclusively so. Any other business is none of our business. Worldly pursuits I cannot follow for I am called to follow another. Others may have their business in the world, but my business is not of this world. We cannot serve God and mammon. Either we will hate the one and love the other, or serve one and despise the other. We despise one of these two when we leave one to follow the other. I have seen men despise the gift and calling of God on their life.
Of course I believe in prosperity, but there are seasons in God, and if the devil can cause our focus to be misplaced we will be out of sync with our seasons. There are four faces of man in the earth. There is a time for every purpose, focus and direction. There is a season and timing for the face of an ox, and another for the face of a lion. "And each one went straight forward; they went wherever the spirit wanted to go, and they did not turn when they went." (Ezekiel 1:12) It requires great sensitivity of the spirit in these days, to know which of the four faces we are to engage. Are we listening to the noise of the wings when there is a change from one face to another? Are we accurately discerning the voice of the spirit for the activity of the hour?
What we seek determines the direction we will look and ultimately the direction we will go. Those who desire to be rich fall into harmful snares and are lead astray. Do you seek great things for yourself? Do not seek them. There are those who seek His hands and His blessing, and there are those who seek His face. What we seek, will determine what drummer we listen to, and set the course of our eternal destiny.
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