Date: Friday, November 8
Scripture: 1 John 4:1-6
Verse: Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God; for many false prophets have gone out into the world. (1 John 4:1)
If you don’t know about Snopes.com you should. The people at Snopes do research for us, checking out all those email and Facebook claims about quotes being attributed to celebrities, reported news stories, whether Bill Gates will really send you money, and more. For example, and this is my absolute favorite one, you have probably heard the statistic that the average person swallows 8 spiders per year. It is not true. A 1993 article in PC Professional magazine fabricated this statistic as an example of ridiculous things people will accept as truthful simply because they read them on the internet. Ironically, that is exactly what happened (check it out for yourself here).
In today’s passage, John is encouraging us, his readers, to do our own checking. We shouldn’t simply accept things about God to be true just because someone in authority has told us it is. We need to check it out for ourselves. John is even subtly encouraging his readers to check out what he is writing to see if it comes from God. Good preachers will encourage you to do the same. We do this when we check it against scripture, compare it to what we know of Jesus, and sense from the Holy Spirit whether it is life affirming or not.
There are some eloquent authors, speakers, preachers, and others, whose message sounds good on the surface, but when we investigate more deeply we find it may not be of God after all. Like the swallowing spider story, it may simply be something that has been repeated so often we accept it as true before we check it out for ourselves.
This Sunday our vision team is going to share a new vision for our congregation. They spent hours seeking God’s guidance for our church for the next several years. We hope you will check it out. We think you will agree it comes from God.
Prayer: Give me a discerning spirit, O God, that I may know what is truly from you. Amen.
Action: Spend some time on Snopes.com. Consider how you might use a similar research method for your journey with Christ.
Respond: Do you know a good story that Snopes, or some other source, told you was not true? Answer by clicking “Leave a Comment” below.
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