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1. Does it agree with what the Scriptures reveal about God’s will? 2. Does it harmonize with the example and teachings of Jesus recorded in the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John)? 3. Does it bring me peace and clarity, rather than confusion and tension? 4. Does it match God’s past work in my life? 5. Does it harmonize with the advice of experienced, godly people I know and trust? If you can honestly answer yes to each of these questions, the message you think you have heard is safe to follow and should bear good fruit. If your word from the Lord does not fit questions four and five—if it contradicts God’s past work in your life or the advice of godly friends—be very cautious; search the Scriptures with an honest heart and spend much time in prayer before accepting it as a word from God. Unlike points four and five, points one and two are absolutely essential. God does not contradict Himself, so He will never tell you to do something contrary to the Scriptures or the teachings of Jesus in the Gospels (1 Timothy 6:3–5). Many people claim to hear prophetic words from God but live in disobedience to the clear teachings of Jesus. Their path leads to deception and disaster; do not follow them (Luke 6:46–49). If you seek the truth with a humble and obedient heart— searching the Scriptures, studying the life of Jesus, using sound reason, asking advice, learning from your experiences, and listening for the Spirit’s voice in your heart—God will reward you with truth and wisdom, and His truth will set you free (John 8:31–32). God does not contradict Himself, so He will never tell you to do something contrary to the Scriptures or the teachings of Jesus in the Gospels. 26 | Loaves & Fishes • Issue 32


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