God Told Me to Tell You

This post is not intended to offend anyone. It was written on Wednesday, September 9 – just two days prior to Lois’ death. Until now I really wasn’t comfortable posting it.

Tuesday I received an email from someone I know on a professional basis – or, to use churchy terminology, a “brother in the Lord.” We’ve really never had one of those heart-to-heart conversations that create true friendship – but we know each other. He is somewhat annoyed with me but after reading this agreed to let me post it.

The email opened with, “When I was in my prayer closet this morning, God revealed something just for you.” This is not a particularly bad thing. The writer establishes, up front, that what is about to be shared is from God just for me. That’s a claim that’s difficult to argue over. And no argument would be necessary if what came next was a quote from the Word of God. After all, everything in the Bible is from God and I believe it’s very possible for God to show one person something in the Word that is appropriate (or even life-saving) to be shared with someone else. Isn’t that what pastors are called to do week after week as we open the Word of God to “teach and admonish?”

I would have been grateful for a Psalm or Proverb or something of encouragement from one of the many promise filled passages of God’s Word. But that’s not what the writer shared. Instead “God told” this writer to tell me that I should take Lois to a clinic in another country that specializes in using an extract from horse urine to cure colon cancer. (Well, not exactly horse urine, but . . .)

To make sure everyone understands: Lois and I looked into numerous alternative medicine treatment options. We seriously considered some but in the end we made decisions based on a number of factors: 1) We prayed and waited on the Lord for direction. 2) The advice from our most trusted friends and advisors confirmed the direction we felt God provided us personally. 3) All of us, at different locations and a various times spread out over several days, arrived at the same Biblical narrative which we all felt confirmed the mutually agreed upon decisions.

So, what I am to think and how should I react when someone writes, “God told me to tell you?” Now that I’ve laid out the ground work, I have some questions. I’ve already asked the email writer to respond and now I’d appreciate your response to the following:

1. Why would God talk to you about me but not speak to me? Does this somehow suggest that something is wrong with my spiritual walk? (Of course, that’s very possible!)

2. Why would God choose to speak to you and not to my trusted friends whose advice and counsel has proven Biblical, insightful and correct for over 20 years? Would God leave these advisor/friends in the dark?

3. Of even greater concern, why would God tell you one thing and me and my advisor/friends something different? Does God bring confusion?

4. What is the Biblical basis for the right to be extra-Biblical?

5. Is there a point at which any of us “cross the line” when we claim “God revealed” something? If so, where is the line?

Please post your responses. I am open to reprimand, correction, criticism, or even agreement but would like some dialogue on this subject.

6 thoughts on “God Told Me to Tell You”

  1. Jim you ask great questions here & I gotta say I agree with you 100%. The timing of that email must have seemed incredulous. I guess some people just claim they have the gift of “Immaculate Perception” i.e. the way they see things is surely the way God sees things. *facepalm* Anyways, enjoy your day & you remain continually in my prayers. I’m always thankful to you for the role model & example you have been to me.

  2. John Thompson :

    John Thompson :Greetings Jim, I am always suspect of these kinds of “special revelations”! I have looked extensively at these claims just to note a commonality; Charismatic,word faith movement,mystic,etc.. I find this no where in church history according to the early church fathers on up. If there is ANY kind of “revelation” other than Scripture, that would make Scripture incomplete and obsolete!! Like the lady who told her pastor (John MacArthur) ” I don’t care what the Bible says, I KNOW what God told me”! There is the danger of this movement! Jim, if God were to speak to us outside of the WORD, Then why read the Bible? Just wait for Him to speak directly to us. “Extra Biblical”? Jude quotes from non-canonical sources such as 1 Enoch (vs 14) and the Assumption of Moses (vs 9). But Jude was under direction of the Holy Spirit and indeed was accepted into the canon as such. “Extra Biblical” (such as this) for learning and/or teaching, yes, but “special revelation” NO! This may seem dogmatic, (which seems to have become taboo of late) but the church has been dogmatic for 1800 years. And I think likewise on this topic. I am dealing with an old friend in Missouri that claims “revelation from God”, and it was “revealed” to him that Jesus is not only not God, but “a God in the making just like you and I” and much more. This man can almost quote the Bible word for word from Genesis to Revelation, VERY STUDIED but LOST!! (And also extremely difficult to “deal with”) Note; even if the “horse remedy” was found to be true,does not mean it came from God!

  3. Jim -What about dissernment? Does God only speak through scripture? Are we limiting God when we say that? Asking those questions did not lead me to agree with the man who thought God gave him a message for you. Why would God wait until it was too late to tell you, through someone else, of a life saving treatment for Lois? I don’t think God is that cruel. I’ve never had God give me a message that clearly for myself or for anyone else. I have often said it would be great if God could just e-mail me and tell me what God wants me to do. Perhaps I’m not as intune to God as your sender was? However I can’t think of two people who were more intune to God than you and Lois. So if God was going to be that direct about Lois’ treatment surely God would have told the two of you and not someone else. I’m glad the sender allowed you to post this, it will cause a great many of us to think about how God talks to us today, and about how we tell others about what we think God has said to us. Blessing to you and yours. Carla

  4. “In a multitude of counselors there is safety,” says the wise king of Proverbs. Sounds to me like you had already surrounded yourself and Lois with safety.

    I think that God does speak to us today — often with prompts to acts of obedience God would like us to preform; sometimes with impressions or ideas the Spirit wants to channel through us to others to knit the body together in mutual care. I often get impressions, especially while praying with and for someone, but only share ‘tentatively’ and humbly with the other person. The Holy Spirit will bring the conviction of truth/usefulness/direction to the other person — as will those safe counselors already on board.

    The message to me is a reminder to be often in communion with others of like heart along with my communion with Jesus Christ – worshiping, reading, sharing, praying together for each other provides lots of fertile soil for God’s Spirit to grow the crop God wants to harvest. I want to honor and learn from the revealed and written word, but save my worship for the incarnate Word.

    Thanks for your blog as one way to ponder together about these important things.

  5. One more thought: I’m convicted this morning that I failed to acknowledge how much your friend must care for you, Jim, and how sad s/he must have been that Lois was dying in spite of everything that you and Lois and your prayer surround had done. I’m sure at the bottom of the desire to share a ‘word’ at such a hard time there was much love and grief and those feelings we all have of wanting to grasp at all possibilities to prevent a deep loss for ourselves and those we care about.

  6. Greetings friends, just a couple questions to ponder and a couple comments; “What about discernment”? Q: What is the FINAL authority for our discernment? “Are we limiting God…”? Q; A better question would be, CAN we limit God? God sets the limits! (See Heb.1;1-2) Having said this ,let me say that I do agree with Judi (#4) that God does indeed “prompts… with impressions or ideas”. But! Still the FINAL litmus or authority of these promptings is ultimately Scripture.

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