agape, anger, charity, discerning the spirits, encouragement, experience, family, following Jesus, God's guidance, God's love, God's Provision, God's timing, God's voice, grace, joy, obedience, peace, prayer, Resisting the Devil, rest, Satan, Submission to God, T. Austin-Sparks, the devil, the flesh, truth, Valentine's Day, visions, walking by the spirit
February 15, 2022
In fact, walking in the Spirit can be enjoyable at times. Today I want to share my latest experiences with you on here. It was only yesterday on Valentine’s Day that God helped me see how much He even cares about the little things of our lives.
My husband Paul had come home earlier from work on Monday because he had a doctor’s appointment in the afternoon. As for me, I needed to go on errands to buy some fruit and veggies and, of course, one or two gifts for my hubby. I told Paul that I would accompany him right up to the medical center and then go to a supermarket that sells specialties, too. Without telling him why I also wanted to go there (buying Valentine gifts), Paul saw that it appeared to be a good idea to not go to another discounter close by which has not such a variety of groceries and non-food items. Therefore he said he would go there afterwards as well. ‘Aha! It seems he wants to buy gifts for me, too,’ I pondered. 😉 I said goodbye to Paul whose appointment should have been more than 15 minutes later. Since the supermarket was very close and I did not need to buy much, I expected to meet him only later at home.
Actually, it is not a new thing for me to go shopping with God. However, recently I decided to more and more surrender to His leading as to buy this item or that item or none of them. I saw in the past that my own ideas of what we might need were sometimes wrong. Not knowing the future and relying on my own understanding, I tend to restock the storage rooms and the fridge as soon as possible so that I do not have to go shopping that often (for I do not really like shopping). Time and again I had to realize that God’s tender advice to not buy this or that (which I bought anyway back then) had come from His knowledge of that we would not need it at all. For instance, I had to throw away veggies or meat because the expiry date had finally passed for the simple reason that one of us was sick with nausea or else and felt repelled to eat such food then.
February 16, 2022
God’s timing… You see, I did not finish the blog post yesterday. While I tried to keep writing in the late afternoon, my husband who was searching for a specific HDMI cable suddenly came into the office. My usual reaction (often only inwardly) is to first get nervous about being interrupted, then to get angry and mad, and later to reproach Paul for “always” interrupting me (which is an exaggeration and thus a lie). Well, the third stage would be a fleshly reaction, no doubt about this. As I heard Paul rummaging around behind me, I started to feel nervous (stage 1). Focusing on the blog did not work anymore, helping him was no way out as I had no clue what he was looking for. As soon as I felt anger welling up inside me (stage 2), I asked God what to decide. I felt a strong nudge from Him to go to the kitchen and to start cooking. Listening to His advice, I felt God’s peace coming back at once while I spent the time in the kitchen with a lot of joy in the Lord. Aha! 😊
Lesson learned, I hope. 😉 Asking God first before any fleshly reaction destroys His peace and even hurts another. Yesterday during my prayer time in the evening I finally realized why I struggle so often to spot the thin line between love and discerning the spirits. Still, in the back of my mind, coming from Christian tradition and from a people pleaser mentality, I found this inner tendency to comply with other people’s demands only to keep a sort of “harmony” on the surface. But whenever I caved in to them, I lost God’s peace instead! 🙄 What God showed me then was so plausible as He explained that obedience to Him always paves the right way to choose. That means,
- If we want to love God, we need to submit to God in Christ.
- If we want to love our brethren, we ought to submit to Christ first.
- If we want to love all men, we should submit to Christ and obey Him.
Aha again! That was very enlightening for me to see. I just want to give you one or two examples here so that it gets clearer. About a week ago I was in this particular supermarket as well and I took a picture of a “sweet” creation made out of candy. I thought this miniature of our city hall in Fürth was well done (see picture below). After taking the photo I stepped back without checking what was behind me. In fact, there had been a man who was close to me so that I brushed against him (though softly). I was startled why he had been that close, but I immediately apologized to him. It appeared to me that he did not accept my, “Oh no… I am sorry!” Looking at his facial expression, it seemed he got mad at me. Moreover, the picture I took was not taken from the best perspective possible and I wanted to take another one. But alas, this man stood in this better spot and did not move. God told me to leave immediately and to also submit to Him so that I would not be annoyed with this man, either. I followed His advice and it worked, thank God! 😊
On my way home, only a corner before I reached our street, a woman came out of nowhere. She approached me from the left side, asking me to buy a magazine from her. Without thinking about it, I answered, “No, thank you.” I felt that was God’s leading and so I left with my shopping bags. Yet this woman did not give up. She hurried after me, coming pretty close, asking me again to turn to her. As I hesitatingly looked into her face while praying about what to do, I saw an evil spirit manifesting through her eyes while she was looking me up and down. She asked me now directly for money, trying to explain why she needed it. God’s leading was another “No.” Therefore I left her again. Dear brothers and sisters, it is so strange to both feel God’s pleasure and peace while hearing the accuser say, “That was so un-Christian!” Nonetheless, I have seen time and again that the devil and his minions are helpless in the presence of God. And only there. If we submit to God in Christ first, we may know that Satan must go and leave us alone. James shared this precious truth with us when he wrote,
“Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”?
But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.” (Js 4:4-8 ESV)
What God had shown me last year in summer has proved to be true. Whenever we submit to Him first, He gives us the power to resist the devil. Not because we were strong in ourselves, quite the contrary. It is Christ in Whom the devil finds nothing (of self). If we are in Christ, His righteousness is reckoned ours by grace. What a miracle that is! There is a lot to be grateful for, indeed! 🙂
Well, I do hope, I can now finish my Valentine story now before closing. 😉 To cut a long story short, as I was shopping in this particular supermarket, I needed much longer than expected. Before I thought I would only buy a few things of light weight due to several body pains that start to increase whenever I have to carry something. Asking for God’s leading, He told me that I could buy a liter of milk and a liter of orange juice as well. I had some doubts, still, but I followed His leading. Then He reminded me of a vision I lately had where I drank a glass of wine with Him. For some reason, after that vision I wanted to drink wine for real, too (which is anything but typical for me, esp. in winter). Standing in front of those many shelves filled with international wine, I had no clue what to choose. I only knew I wanted to have a tasty wine, not a rough one.
A simple green bottle with a German Spätlese (late vintage) caught my eye. “Take this one.” I felt it was the Lord’s advice. Due to my often asking God about what to take (although I always have a shopping list), I needed much longer in this supermarket than usual. And what was even more, I could not find any heart-shaped boxes of chocolates! Arriving at the checkstand I had not found them yet. Therefore I asked a clerk close to the counter. In a very friendly manner she pointed me back to the candy aisle where I had just come from. In fact, it was a small shelf sideways this year so that it could be easily ignored. Having put Paul’s favorite box with coconut-almond candy in my shopping cart, I heard a voice calling me, “Susanne, you are really still here!” 🙂 My hubby turned laughing around the (shelf) corner with another box of chocolates and a bouquet with flowers (for me). He was so glad that he could put his stuff into the shopping cart and later in one of my bags, just as I was happy to have heard God properly as HE alone knew that Paul would be there in time to carry all this stuff home instead of me. Thank God, again! 🙂
Below is an excerpt from one of T. Austin-Sparks’ articles (“Abounding in Love”) where he points to the importance of love in comparison with truth and how love is related to God’s rest in Christ. This whole article inspired me to pray about how I could love others more than before. Then God showed me this threefold ‘secret’ of obeying Him first. Always. And then His love starts flowing…
“In the light of the Lord’s coming, it is very important to be well instructed and to have all the light that the Lord can give us, but never let us think for one moment that light and truth and teaching are inevitably the building factors, for there are many people with a vast amount of truth and love who are not very large spiritually; they are very small, shrunken and closed up. It is love that builds. Moreover, it makes differences in those who exercise it, it brings them into rest. Truth alone may bring a strained look into the face and eyes. Love ought to bring into the countenance some suggestion of quiet strength and restful confidence.
Look again at those closing verses of Romans 8 – “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or anguish, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? …Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors.” Look at the things in question – the ultimate things so far as our lives are concerned. No, none of these things can separate us from the love of God. Well, let us sit down in the armchair of His love and be at rest, and then get to work. You cannot work unless you have a background rest, and rest does not spring firstly from truth. It comes from love, God’s love. Whatever else He gives us and adds to us, may the Lord make us a people who are characterised supremely by this love for one another and for all men.”
All images © Susanne Schuberth 2013/2022