I was thinking about a message I heard preached a few years ago entitled Charismatic Witchcraft. The content of the message was disturbing yet so true and relevant to the times we live in. The sermon was dealing with the mis-use of the nine gifts of the Holy Spirit as listed in the 12th chapter of the book of 1 Corinthians. It told how people would use the gifts of the spirit for their personal gain or to manipulate and control people into a way of living or thinking. Many times these methods of false prophesy and heresy would attribute to the greed of the preachers and the money they could scam off the people. As a Pastor and Presbyter I have met many people in our section and I am beginning to see a trend among many Pentecostal and Charismatic churches. What is being revealed more and more is the mis-treatment of the gifts of the Spirit and the order in how they should be used in the house of God. I have been told so many times that this brother or sister came up to me and told me while I was praying that God said this or God said that. So I always ask, was the Pastor present when this was going on or how did it make you feel? Many times the person who received the so-called word from God is left feeling confused or even angry depending on what was said. I want to encourage any spiritfilled beliver to pray for deeper levels of discernment and try to remember that the gifts are to edify the church and should not be 20 different private interpretations every time the alter service is going on. If a lay person feels prompted by the spirit to operate in a gift of the spirit, especially one that would be directed to another individual, then the laity should always go to the pastor first and not just whisper in someones ear. If its a true word from God, then the Pastor or minister will bear witness and give the green light. Its using wisdom to go by 2 corinthians that out of the mouth of two or three witnesses let every word be established. One common mistake I hear a lot is that when some people are giving out these so called words from God is they say I FEEL like God is saying this!!!! The operations of the spirit are not based on feelings or thoughts that pop up in your mind. You have to yield full control to the Holy Spirit and let him talk through you, and not lay your personal interpretation on stuff that comes to your mind. My final warning is to watch for red-flags. If in your church or meeting the same person is going to people and giving them a word all the time and the pastor is never involved and the only ones that are getting these words are younger Christians, then most likely the prophet is self-proclaimed. Therefore avoid such nonsense. Another red-flag is that if a word from God does not confirm something that is already in your spirit. In other words it should never catch you off guard but it will be a reflection of what God is already dealing with you about. These thoughts are simply my opinion based upon my experience as a pastor and someone who has had the priviledge of being used in some of these giftings. I give Glory completely to Jesus Christ and its only because of him that I am able to speak of the things of God. You are welcome to disagree with my viewpoints on the use of the spiritual gifts, but I think we can agree that they must be used decently and in order. Glory be to God!!