Grace, mercy, truth, and the fulness of Christ - including His spiritually discerned wisdom, knowledge, guidance and direction - be with those who are called according to His purposes...
As has been rightly reminded to us, in the thread by some, the Bible clearly assures us, "Jesus Christ IS THE SAME YESTERDAY AND TODAY AND FOREVER." (Hebrews 13:8 NASB). I would also submit to you this additional reminder: "...the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. “God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” (John 4:23-24)
Most certainly, we need to know and rightly handle the Scriptures and whole Bible. "All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work." (2 Timothy 3:16-17 NASB) We are also told, "Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God." (Colossians 3:15-16 NASB)
Yet, never lose sight of this reality: Jesus is the LIVING WORD! (John 1:1, 12-18 NASB) He's still alive and well, speaking through both written and spiritually-received and appraised words. How does He do it? Mainly, by way of the Holy Spirit, which the Father sent to dwell WITHIN those called and appointed to believe! Jesus Himself told us, clearly, He would send us a Helper, after He left this earth, saying, "I have many more things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine; therefore I said that He takes of Mine and will disclose it to you." (John 16:12-15 NASB) He also said, "These things I have spoken to you while abiding with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you." (John 14:25-26 NASB)
As a result, whether we read something in the Bible or hear a message from the Spirit, we must be spiritual in our approach - meaning, we must walk by and be filled with the Spirit, relying upon Him to guide, teach, clarify, etc.! Notice the way one cannot go without the other, in this excerpt from Ephesians 6:17-18 NASB: "and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit..." Know and trust the Spirit to be the One to effectively deliver the word of God to us as we are told in Hebrews 4:12 NASB: "For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart."
Paul tells us in Romans 8:14,16 "For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God...The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God..." We need to first be sure the Spirit is actually within ourselves and be led by Him!
***Therefore, humbly, yet boldly and without hesitation, allow me to state this: Anyone who does not acknowledge and experience the reality and need for direct, intimate, individual and group communication and direction, by God via His Spirit, in order to relay to us important things about Himself and His will, with specific detail in this life, is unspiritual and does not worship the Lord in Spirit and truth.
Consider these passages, which speak to being able to understand and distinguish God's ways of communicating with us, intimately and directly.
***“For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so the thoughts of God no one knows except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things freely given to us by God, which things we also speak, not in words taught by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining spiritual thoughts with spiritual words. But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one. For WHO HAS KNOWN THE MIND OF THE LORD, THAT HE WILL INSTRUCT HIM? But we have the mind of Christ." (1 Corinthians 2:10-16 NASB)
Kurt's note: ***Perhaps, more than any other one passage in the Bible, this clearly explains to us the way God reveals things into our spirits and minds, if we have them filled with and set on His Spirit, in order to reveal, teach, lead, etc. Again, anyone who would deny this is fleshly and unspiritual, unable and/or unwilling to receive the things of God.
“Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are varieties of ministries, and the same Lord. There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. For to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, and to another the word of knowledge according to the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit…and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits…But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually just as He wills…” (1 Corinthians 12:7-11 NASB)
Kurt's note: It's always important we keep in mind the role the Holy Spirit plays in distributing God's communications via spiritual gifts. Even if some of these involve speaking something outwardly, the initial sense or recognition of the things being expressed is spiritual, discerned by the gifted peoples minds set on and filled with the Holy Spirit - WITHIN and INDWELLING!
“It is written, ‘MAN SHALL NOT LIVE ON BREAD ALONE, BUT ON EVERY WORD THAT PROCEEDS OUT OF THE MOUTH OF GOD.’” (Matthew 4:4 NASB)
“…and the sheep hear his voice, and he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he puts forth all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. A stranger they simply will not follow, but will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers…I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd.” (John 10:3-5, 16 NASB)
"Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world. You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world. They are from the world; therefore they speak as from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error." (1 John 4:1-6 NASB)
Psalm 143:10 NASB says, "Teach me to do Your will,
For You are my God;
Let Your good Spirit lead me on level ground
Proverbs 3:5-6 says, "Trust in the LORD with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.
At this point, I'd like to point out I have not even mentioned dreams and visions, which are just as prevalent today as in any Biblical story we have read. I've even known one man, who heard the audible voice of God, in telling him the woman he was to marry. Let us never think God cannot and does not continue to communicate in a variety of ways, as He sees fit!
Now, as to Biblical examples, which show us people actually being led by specific promptings and discerned thoughts, communicated by the Spirit internally, consider the following:
“Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led around by the Spirit in the wilderness…” (Luke 4:1 NASB)
from Kurt: **Note the important emphasis Luke places on telling us Jesus was full of the Holy Spirit (inside), being also led around by Him. There is no mention of God’s voice from on high, an angel speaking to Him, etc. Since we are told Jesus is the author and perfecter of our faith, and we should walk as He walked, it clearly follows any genuinely born again, Spirit-filled believer is able and should seek to be led by the Spirit in life on this earth.
“But an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip saying, ‘Get up and go south to the road that descends from Jerusalem to Gaza…’ So he got up and went; and there was an Ethiopian eunuch…Then the Spirit said to Philip, “Go up and join this chariot.” (Excerpts from Acts 8:26-29 NASB)
from Kurt: **Take note, the distinction between the angel first speaking; then, the Spirit directing Philip. Because the Spirit is within, it is very plausible, even likely, this communication was within his own spirit/mind, not external and audible. In any case, whether from within himself or outwardly, the Holy Spirit guided and directed Philip’s course of action.
“Paul purposed in the Spirit to go to Jerusalem…” (Acts 19:21 NASB)
from Kurt: **Whether the Spirit gave Paul very specific direction or not, he made a spiritual decision, as one filled and led by the Spirit.
“While Peter was reflecting on the vision, the Spirit said to him, “Behold, three men are looking for you. ‘But get up, go downstairs and accompany them without misgivings, for I have sent them Myself.’” “The Spirit told me to go with them without misgivings.” (Acts 10:19-20; 11:12 NASB)
from Kurt: **This came shortly after Peter had been spoken to, verbally, during a vision. Again, we see a clear distinction, in the text, between God using the sound of a voice, compared with His Spirit communicating. Since the Holy Spirit is generally referred to as filling people, internally, it follows the direction given by the same Spirit is, at least commonly, via internal thoughts - discerned by the one to whom the Spirit is communicating God’s wisdom, will or direction.
“For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay upon you no greater burden than these essentials…” (Acts 15:28 NASB)
“While they were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’ Then, when they had fasted and prayed and laid their hands on them, they sent them away. So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia and from there they sailed to Cyprus.” (Acts 13:2-4 NASB)
“And there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Spirit was upon him. And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And he came in the Spirit into the temple…” (Luke 2:25-27 NASB)
Now, I'd like to acknowledge some of you, in this thread, who very-well communicated simple, central, aspects of being actively guided by the Lord. Forgive me if I leave anyone out, as I'm trying to get the point across, more than be exhaustive my posting:
I think we see it all over in acts, The spirit speaking to people, telling them where to go and sometimes stopping them from going. Sometimes the spirit sent forth men, The Holy Spirit is not as much a feeling as he is a person. God spoke, Jesus spoke, And the spirit speaks, God is the same. Mat 10:20 For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you. God may speak to me and through me by his spirit...of course he wont contradict his already written word.
Brother in Sweden, I may also testify to countless times the Lord's Spirit has led me in similar ways to those you describe - hallelujah! Thank you for sharing.
Now the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Christ and, born again, we have the Mind of Christ. Meditation, thinking Gods thoughts after Him is a perfect aid here. I have never heard of anyone who does not consider that part of the growing in Christ we experience. Paul takes pains to distinguish between what is of Christ and what is of Paul on some points. Making such a distinction is clearly possible and at times necessary.
This certainly parallels the passage from 1 Corinthians 10:16 NASB
from unnamed entry on 5/28 at 20:46
I have traveled extensively, preaching the gospel in the far east. I did so by revelation, in each instance, even unto the exact cities, sometimes. How was this possible? I am often bewildered, but I am often led by God, as He directs me in a multitude of ways, and yes, some of them similar to New Testament revelation. I love the Scripture, but there is a small still voice that I am learning to hear, more and more.[ I hope.] What does it mean to you as the Word says; "He that has an Ear, let him hear what the SPIRIT says unto the churches." Could the Spirit be ministering conviction, righteousness and Justice in specific ways? If the Bible is the embodiment of everything He ever wants to communicate, why is He yet speaking to the Church?? If you take the supernatural guidance out of the New testament, from ACTS on, I doubt if there would be a Church. As you fondly referred to these historical leaders, do you have any idea how many of the saints in these archives had regular experiences of guidance outside of the scriptures?; and had amazing prophetic experiences with the Father? No one is excluding the authority of the Scripture, and admonishing Saints to follow their impressions , yet as we know Him more, and are aware of being led by the Spirit more, then we are able to hear his voice better, just like the Bible says. There is safety there also. Sometimes things grieve me in the body. This is not all because I know the scriptures have been violated, but because of an inner witness in which my spirit bears witness with His Spirit, and I am aware of death or deception, even beyond my senses or my mind. Sometimes these too, are very specific. I have known hundreds of Christians that have had these witnesses. How? I give according to my leading; Often specific amounts of money[ not always]. I give according to my burden. This is guidance to me.
I would suggest you ask the LORD to teach you to recognize his voice when he speaks to you. I would think we would all agree He will not tell you to do something contrary to the Word of God, but what you are interested in is in the everyday things of life which calls for a decision and you are at a loss to know which way to go. I have learned also that the LORD will often tell you to do something that defies logic - at the moment. When you do the logical thing, you will discover later you should have followed that still small voice instead.
The short of the long is to simply ask the LORD to be taught by Him and mean it when you ask and be willing to follow through with obedience. Disobedience is the greatest hinderance to experiencing the Spirit-filled life. Actually, the scriptures calls it sin.
Amen and amen; well said! Your entry reminds me of this, from 1 Thessalonians 5:19-22 NASB: "Do not quench the Spirit; do not despise prophetic utterances. But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil." I also love your point about things God directs not always being logical. I've definitely experienced that, very commonly, seeing things work out wonderfully, despite not being able to anticipate the end result ahead of time. Also, my experience tells me He may simply being testing us, helping us learn to discern His voice more clearly, as well as disciplining us by testing whether we will simply obey - logical command or not. May we learn to focus on simply heeding His commands, rather than questioning and wondering, first!
God is looking at your heart and your willingness to submit to him. Obedience is better than sacrifice. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever more, he does not change. Yet he requires us to change, he who has an ear let him hear what the Spirit of the Lord is saying.
Amen and amen; well said!
from unnamed on 5/28 at 6:28:
This is why we must wait on the Lord, live a life of the kind of submission and worship that positions our self to be led by Him, and to hear him. Ask God to lead you and guide you each an every time you leave your house. Ask him to bring the "order of the Lord" into every day as you begin your day. Begin each and every day with that spirit. Begin every day with devotions, bible reading, and worship until it becomes habitual, and then as you know Him more, you will hear Him more, naturally. Develop a secret life with God. Stop depending on any other to hear God for you, and he will give you ears to hear Him.
The best way to hear God's voice is to quickly obey Him when He asks you to do something (or not to do something, which is equally important). If you're slow to obey, he'll be slow to speak. It's not complicated but I oftentimes forget this simple concept. The second question is do I have an agenda other than the kingdom of God? If the answer is yes, they'll be a mixture of self with God and it's gets very difficult to discern between the two. The only way out of this is for the self to die. This has been quite painful and I've often fought against this. The third question to ask oneself is "Am I believing a lie of the devil?" He'll always portray God in a negative light. For example, when asked to fast by the Holy Spirit, he'll say that's not fair to fast one day or week or for a prolonged period. I f he asks me to give something I don't want to give, then will I do it or say I'm not sure that was God and not do it. That's the great fear of my heart, is that we simply ignore the Holy Spirit when He's not telling us what we want to hear. He has not been unkind to me but is very straight and honest with my heart...
Ed, you are not rambling, Brother; thanks for everyday, real examples which well illustrate the points being discussed!
On the other hand, God often has us do things that we don't want to do, or that don't make sense, so that we learn, besides other things, to trust only and completely on Him. He can be very persistant, and to many people that in itself is a sign of God's hand. I would advise getting alone before God and seeing if the thoughts continue to bug you. I know this may be controversial for some people, but if you resist the devil, he will flee from you (Jas 4:7
"Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you."). Once you have resisted him in Jesus' name, and the thoughts still come back, then it is probably from the Lord. When I have had experiences like you have explained, I will often ask God to show me if it is really from Him by letting me positively know that He is the one speaking to me - and He does! God will help you to know if you are trully seeking the truth.
Thank you, Brother; He will make Himself clear to us, if we listen carefully, test the spirits and resist those which are of the devil! The point you made about obeying His promptings, even if they don't seem to make sense, harmoniously echoes things ginnyrose and I were testifying to, above.
from crsschk/Mike: I think you made several worthwhile contributions, which were numerous and, thereby, difficult to encapsulate. Brother, since you live in Santa Clara, I'd like to see if, perhaps, we might meet and fellowship in the Spirit, sometime, in order to edify and encourage one another. Feel free to email me, if interested; I may reach out to you, soon, as well.
On that note, allow me to finish by humbly saying, with much thankfulness and rejoicing - with sincerity and a clear conscience before my Master in Heaven - I can testify to very, very many times and ways in which God has led and directed me over the years after being baptized and filled with His Spirit, learning to walk by Him. He has directed me in and out of jobs, with precise instruction and timing. He led me directly to my wife and orchestrated, step by (illogical!) step, our very unusual, short, completely unpredictable courtship and process of getting married - despite shortcuts to the normally strict, deliberate steps of her country and culture. He has strictly governed my relationships, protected me from harm, shown me ways to address and improve health concerns (with or without a doctor involved), and much more. If you are willing to believe it, He's even prompted and commanded me, in the minute details of everyday life, including telling me which clothes to wear, foods to eat, places to run errands, etc. I'd gladly share more details, with anyone who wishes to fellowship, via communications inside or outside (preferable, to offer more opportunity for substance, is my heart's desire) the thread and forums, just in case any of you share this desire to be mutually encouraged and edified.
As some of you rightly point out, it takes obedient discipline to discern, keep hearing and find peaceful righteousness in the process. Most certainly, I will attest to the truth expressed in Hebrews 12:5-11 NASB, which includes, "It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness."