ACTS 16:16-17

Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune telling. This girl followed Paul and the rest of us shouting, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved.”

It was late one afternoon when I heard the PA system announcing an evening prayer meeting in a nearby church. I had never been to the church before and so I seized that opportunity since I had no particular engagement that evening. After joining the rest of the congregation for prayers, a certain visitor came in and my mind told me that he was probably the guest speaker. I was wrong, since he too was a visitor, and that evening, two visitors, him and I, started an impromptu relationship.

The visitor (who introduced himself as a pastor from a large ministry) was welcomed and out of good will, I took the visitor to my residence and introduced him to my family. He had a catchy story since he could prove his pastor hood through various photographs and brochures. But with all the proofs, I did not take long to discern that he was a crafty man. I was stopped from emailing the senior pastor in his ministry to prove his authenticity by my family. They regarded him as a pious gentleman from the surface, since he preached wonderful sermons, and seemed to have no ill motives to suspect.

I then made a mistake. I refused to call his pastor and ask whether he had such a pastor within his ministry, so I just tried to keep it cool. All the same, sent a friend of mine to another pastor in the same region to enquire about my visitor since I had seen a Bible mark in his Bible bearing the contacts of that pastor. It did not take long before he stole from the house and made away. On the same day he left, the friend I had sent to enquire the man’s whereabouts brought information to me to beware of him since he was a criminal who went round, robbing men of God as he pretended to be a pastor.

Maybe you have also heard of similar stories about conmen who use the Lord’s name in order to fleece faithful of their valuables. We should be careful as the Bible cautions us that in these last days; ‘watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly, the are ferocious wolves” (Matthew 7:15) and “not everyone who says to me ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 7:21). The Lord further cautions in Matthew 10:17a to “be on your guard against men.”

The Lord can see us through this and such like men by His Spirit which will enable us to discern such people. Through discernment, Peter was able to know about the fortune tellers prediction was not godly even though she told the truth. To avoid falling in such snares, constant prayers and fasting is essential in strengthening the inner man within us to keep us informed on every bit of an acquaintance. Just recently my wife was telling me about one of the teachers who teach my children. She told me that the lady is good naturally though she is not a believer. This is where many people make poor judgments in. any person who refuses to accept Christ is not to be trusted at all.

However good the intentions may be portrayed by the individual, sin remains in him/her and therefore one can be used of the devil even in her goodness. After all, goodness is a fruit of the Spirit of which the Spirit demonstrates through believers. Any other face that pretends to be good, honest, faithful, loving… is only a con-face.

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