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Authors: Melody Carlson

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Our dreams, if they are truly of the Lord, should clearly line up with the Word and thus correctly reveal His character. We must always be very careful to test the words, interpretations of circumstances, dreams, visions, and advice that we receive. Satan wants to deceive us, and he has deceived many Christians into thinking that God is speaking when He is not. So how do we know if it’s actually God’s voice we are hearing?

First we have to look at the Bible and see how and what He has said in the past, asking the question,
Does what I’m hearing line up with who God shows Himself to be and the way He works in Scripture?
Below is a list of references to dreams and visions in Scripture that will help you see what God has said about these gifts:

  • Genesis is full of dreams and visions! Check out some key chapters: 15, 20, 28, 31, 37, 40, 41

  • Deuteronomy 13:1-5

  • Judges 7

  • 1 Kings 3

  • Jeremiah 23

  • Several passages in the book of Daniel

  • Joel 2

  • The book of Ezekiel has a lot of visions

  • There are a lot of dreams in the book of Matthew, specifically in chapters 1 and 2

  • Acts 9, 10, 16, 18

  • The whole book of Revelation

If you want to learn more and have a balanced perspective on all this stuff, you’ll probably want to research the broader category of spiritual gifts. Every Christian has at least one spiritual gift, and they are important to learn about. Here is a list of books and Web sites that will help:

  • Hearing God’s Voice
    by Henry and Richard Blackaby

  • What’s So Spiritual about Your Gifts?
    by Henry and Mel Blackaby

  • Showing the Spirit
    by D. A. Carson

  • The Gift of Prophecy in the New Testament and Today
    by Wayne Grudem

  • Are Miraculous Gifts for Today?
    edited by Wayne Grudem

  • Keep in Step with the Spirit
    by J. I. Packer

  • www.expository.org/spiritualgifts.htm

  • www.desiringgod.org
    . Click on Resource Library and choose Topic Index. Then under Church & Ministry, check out Spiritual Gifts under Church Life.

(Note: If you’re doing a Google search on spiritual gifts or dreams and visions, please make sure you type in
Christian
as well. This will help you weed out a lot of deceitful stuff.)

As you continue to research and learn about spiritual gifts, always remember: the bottom line is to focus on the Giver, not the gift. God gives to us so we can glorify Him.

Signs and wonders are not the saving word of grace; they are God’s secondary testimony to the word of his grace. Signs and wonders do not save. They are not the power of God unto salvation. They do not transform the heart—any more than music or art or drama that accompany the gospel. Signs and wonders can be imitated by Satan (2 Thessalonians 2:9; Matthew 24:24), but the gospel is utterly contrary to his nature. What changes the heart and saves the soul is the self-authenticating glory of Christ seen in the message of the gospel (2 Corinthians 3:18-4:6).

But even if signs and wonders can’t save the soul, they can, if God pleases, shatter the shell of disinterest; they can shatter the shell of cynicism; they can shatter the shell of false religion. Like every other good witness to the word of grace, they can help the fallen heart to fix its gaze on the gospel where the soul-saving, self-authenticating glory of the Lord shines. Therefore the early church longed for God to stretch forth his hand to heal, and that signs and wonders be done in the name of Jesus.

— John Piper,
Desiring God

About the Author

M
ELODY
C
ARLSON
is the award-winning author or more than one hundred books for adults, children, and teens. She is the mother of two grown sons and lives near the Cascade Mountains in central Oregon with her husband and a chocolate Lab retriever. She is a full-time writer and an avid gardener, biker, skier, and hiker.

P
AYBACK
P
UBUSHED BY
M
ULTNOMAH
B
OOKS
12265 Oracle Boulevard, Suite 200
Colorado Springs, Colorado 80921
A division of Random House Inc.

Scripture quotations are taken from the King James Version.

The characters and events in this book are fictional, and any resemblance to actual persons or events is coincidental.

Copyright © 2008 by Carlson Management Co. Inc.

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying and recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.

M
ULTNOMAH
is a trademark of Multnomah Books and is registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The colophon is a trademark of Multnomah Books.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Carlson, Melody.
    Payback : a novel / Melody Carlson. —1st ed.
       p. cm.— (The secret life of Samantha McGregor; bk. 4)
    Summary: Samantha works to prevent a senseless tragedy after she has a vision of violence at a prom.
  eISBN: 978-0-307-56153-4
[1. Visions—Fiction. 2. Christian life—Fiction. 3. Proms—Fiction.
4. High schools—Fiction. 5. Schools—Fiction.] I. Title.
  PZ7.C216637Pay 2008
  [Fic]—dc22

                                                                      2007044162

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BOOK: Payback
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