authority, desires, discerning the spirits, dying to self, exhortation, experience, following Jesus, God's guidance, heart, joy, obedience, passions, peace, Satan, T.A. Sparks, The Anointing, the old self
Let’s say, we find ourselves in a situation of which we are not sure how we got there and how we might come out of it (alive), either. I am not necessarily speaking of big things here. Just take an everyday situation. For instance, you meet someone who asks you to do something for them and you spontaneously offer your help. How can we discern here whether our reaction was led by the Holy Spirit or not? Are we always to help everyone or are we to say no to them, too? And if so, when? If we meet ten persons who need our help and we only have time for two or three, we will know that we ought to listen to the Holy Spirit’s guidance, right?
Last Thursday in the afternoon as I was hurrying to another appointment with the dentist, I briefly checked the station clock which told me that I had two or three minutes, still. I was a bit late and kept hastening toward the subway which runs below the rail tracks. The dentist’s office was on the other side of the station so that I was able to arrive on time. Nonetheless, having had toothaches for about a half year now (on and off, but more on than off), I also kept asking the Lord about my future decisions regarding the dentist and these problems with my teeth. It was not the first time that I had raised these questions, but as you might know, God sometimes gives you no answers and then again He might tell you something out of the blue which you do not really understand.
confusion, discerning the spirits, doctrine, entering his rest, eternal life, evangelism, experience, fear, freedom, God's guidance, hope, John MacArthur, mind, Old Self, peace, philosophy, Satan, spirit and life, The Great Commission, thought life, worries
“It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”
After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. So Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” (Jn 6:63-69 ESV)
Jesus told His disciples that the word HE had spoken were spirit and life. How could he claim such a thing? And why is that true? How come that over the centuries so many educated people falsely assumed that the words written in the four gospels would automatically have the same spirit and life in them as they originally possessed when our Lord voiced them? I know that my questions are challenging here. However, it is so important to see how easily confusion can arise when we read for example about the Great Commission.
(Picture taken from https://florentflora.files.wordpress.com/2012/02)
Actually, the Bible gave us some good advice as to how we could stay in God’s peace continually. But oh, on our own we might find it pretty difficult to follow what Paul told the Philippians as he said,
Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you. (Phil 4:6-9 KJV)
It seems to me that ‘Positive Thinkers’, esp. of the Christian kind, took part of these verses and gave them a completely new meaning they originally did not have. Just giving you a few examples in the form of quotes here.
church, deception, demons, discerning the spirits, drawing boundaries, experience, false spirits, following Jesus, God's goodness, God's love, light, peace, Resisting the Devil, RHEMA movement, Satan, T.A. Sparks, Witchcraft, Word of Faith
The following excerpt by T. Austin Sparks speaks bluntly about how evil spirits imitate God by letting people appear ‘holier’ than before they had come into touch with these cunning underlings of Satan. May we not think it is easy to discern the real Christian who is indwelt by Christ’s Spirit (cf. Rom 8:9) from the ‘Christian’ that is indwelt by these evil spirits that comport themselves as if they were beings of light. Sparks wrote,
Albert Barnes, condemnation, curses, discerning the spirits, exhortation, experience, freedom, God's love, joy, judging others, love, obedience, peace, spiritual blessings, spiritual power, T.A. Sparks, true faith
Although this article springs from my own experiences with the fear of God, I did not describe here how it really feels to be struck all of a sudden by this special spirit of Him who rules the universe. If you like to read more about that, though, click here. In this entry you will rather find a definition by T. Austin Sparks’ of the fear of the Lord and some implications of what it means to truly belong to God’s people. Contrasting the evil of fear imposed on us by Satan in order to torment and paralyze us, TAS wrote regarding the fear of God,
But this fear is a holy fear. Let no one think for a moment that this fear of the Lord is death, bondage, stultification and repression. Not at all. Wherever you find this fear of the Lord you find joy, love, peace and liberty. People are not afraid of the Lord. But they are careful not to grieve the Lord. They do not take liberties with the Lord. They do not think of spiritual liberty as spiritual licence. They do not cast off restraint, they do not ride rough-shod over all sacred things, calling it liberty. No, there is holy fear which restrains and in restraining keeps things pure and keeps things clear and makes a straight way for the Lord. The true fear of the Lord is not dread. It is a very blessed and precious thing.
This is another joint article Michael Clark and I wrote which springs from our own experiences and from what the Lord has been teaching us lately.
Paul signed off his letter to the Philippians saying,
Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you. (Phil 4:8-9, nrs)
How opposite this is to our human natures! We search the news looking for the latest terrorist attack or natural disaster. We even listen to gossip hoping to get some information that will make us feel superior to someone we know. Someone pointed out that Christians seem to have a vested interest in the misery of this world. We truly need new hearts and minds from God.