|The funny noises come and go. Jim will vacuum out the guts of the computer if it gets worse.
Pastor Don told me that Pastor Dongo is going to the Arise Christian Center in California, with Pastor Ron Tailor (not sure of spelling) and not sure of city. I teased Pastor Don today that our church seems to have a Don thing. We have Pastor Don, Pastor Dongo, and Pastor Danquah. Lots of Don’s.
Friday Bible study started with a question. Someone was watching a TV special with an “expert” who was pointing out that Jesus had to be human and have sin or why else was he baptized. I did not see this special, but it figures that people keep trying to downgrade Jesus. Pastor Don feels that experts are wrong when they do not consult the whole counsel of the Bible.
So he took us to John 1:24-29, Since Jesus is the Lamb of God, it would be impossible for the sacrificial lamb of Passover to have a blemish, so Jesus would have to be without sin because sin would have been a blemish on the Lamb of God.
We then went to Matthew 3, and pointed out how John the Baptist quoted many of the prophesies about the Messiah. And in Matt. 3:11 it is water unto repentance. Water is the Word of God which cleanses, washes and purifies, and makes us available to receive the gifts of the Spirit and the blessing of the Holy Ghost.
In Romans it points out that as humans we have to recognize that we are not God, and we are not the creator, we are the creation.
Jesus came to earth, born of woman. As an enlightened man (both God and man) if he wanted to, he could have skipped a few steps along the way, he didn’t need to be baptized to be remitted of sins. But Jesus is our Shepherd, and he walked the path that we must follow. If he skipped say steps 3 and 7 (which he could as God), we in our human pride might figure that in following Christ, we too could skip steps. Jesus knew that would not be in our interest, so he led us through his actions and mentors us by doing all the steps. He did all the steps so that we would know what to do.
Remember when he called Lazarus from the grave, he said that he spoke out loud for our sakes, so we would know what He did. The sacrifices in the temple were sacrifices of repentance, so he had to take that step, so that he could take repentance a step further to full covering of sin through His blood.
No matter how Holy and Righteous you think you are, you have to go and repent. Jesus taught us that. If you think you are perfect, know that Jesus WAS perfect, and yet he repented. Who else did the sky open and a dove descend for, since Jesus’ baptism. NONE.
Righteousness will always humble himself before God in accordance of the first commandment, and be mindful of the possibility of offense.
Jesus described John as the most righteous person alive, and Jesus is told by John that John felt that he needed to be baptized by Jesus.
John’s baptism opens the way for Christ, and for us.
Personal note, I love how Pastor Don answers questions extemporaneously. His knowledge of the Word of God blows my mind, and I hope one day to have such knowledge of the Word. I feel so blessed to sit in his Bible studies.
Then Pastor Don went to the topic he was going to discuss which is Spiritual Discernment.
We looked at Mark 10: 29-30, and the verse says that if you do for Jesus and the Gospel you are going to suffer loss, and changes in the relationships of those near and dear to you. But then you shall receive 100 fold (on earth, now, not heaven later). houses, brothers, sisters, etc.
And Pastor Don pointed out that if his house burned down, he would have hundreds of houses he could go and live in, and family (church family) to lean on in such a time. But persecutions are not optional. Whenever God is moving in our lives, whenever we are making changes, we do attract the attention of satan, and his minions, and there are challenges. But these persecutions are not because we are sinning or unrighteous, it could be because righteousness also attracts persecution. He pointed out that, after the baptism of John, Jesus was led in the wilderness to be tempted. Sometimes the challenges are tests.
Most of us are living below our multiples. We are not living in the full blessings that God wants us to have. God wants us to have houses, and fulfillment.
If we have discernment, we can be aware of when persecution is from a supernatural nature (principalities and powers).
God is ready to bless us,and we need to do the work He wants us to do. We do not want to mess God’s plan up by disobedience. satan will send us persecution to try and mess up the plans of God, to pull us off course and off focus.
When we begin our days, and often through the day, if our spirits are moved or we are unquiet inside, we need to stop, drop, and pray to gain discernment of the situation. For then we can avert problems.
1 Samuel 18,
David was anointed by God to be King, but it was not the time for him to be king yet. He had to deal with demands and demons. David fought Goliath and the Philistines, he had his plate full.
Sometimes when we are very busy for God and our plates are full, people around us, including family add one more straw to the camel’s back, and cause things to be more difficult for us.
So at Chapter 18, David had done everything possible to withstand the Philistines. and if you look at this chapter you see some parallels with Jesus.
Verse 1. David left his family, and was abandoned in part by them for he was the anointed one. His family wanted nothing to do with him, read the conversations before David slew Goliath to see the kind of jealousy he faced. So God gave him a new brother, Jonathan, and Jonathan was very faithful and stuck to David.
So, satan came in in the form of some women to create division. The women sang the song, Saul slayed his thousands and David his 10 thousands. Now this only raised the jealousy in Saul, and Pastor Don said that David probably wished these women had kept silent, for their singing only added to David’s burden, which was Saul’s jealousy.
We also have to be careful in church not to let the seeds of jealousy and competition creep in. Some people are very spiritual and quiet, others are more in the open and loud. Yet both are necessary in God’s kingdom, and we are not to compare and contrast ourselves with each other. Such a spirit of jealousy and comparison can cause division in the church.
Verse 8 – Saul was angry
Verse 9 – Saul eyed David. There was a root of suspicion. Sometimes we, in our jealousy and pride, feel we need to police the saints. To pick and watch them, pointing out where they miss their mark, where they are not Biblical, etc. This causes division in the Body of Christ. Better to let the Holy Spirit police the saints, and if something needs to be done, then the under-shephard of the Holy Spirit will take care of the problem. Better we ask the Holy Spirit where we are missing the mark and make corrections in ourselves, rather than looking and eyeing the other saints.
Verse 10 – The spear in Saul’s hand. Saul was a warrior, and his spear throws should have hit the mark. In Hebrew there is no permissive verbs, so when the verse speaks of God sending a distressing spirit, it really means that God permitted the distressing spirit to trouble Saul. God does not have a distressing spirit at his command. Satan needs permission to act. Sometimes God will permit this to point out a hidden sin, to test us, to help us grow closer. The Holy Spirit took Jesus to the wilderness to tempt Him. Jesus was not a sinner, so sometimes when we face a distressing spirit, it is not because we are living in blatant sin, there could be another reason why it is permitted.
The way we can get a sense of what the Spirit is and why, is discernment, and we get the discernment by taking the problem to God in prayer.
Pastor Don had two volunteers go forward and stand one on either side of him.
On one side was Supernatural (Holy Spirit) awareness, then there was the natural man (Pastor Don), and then there was the natural experience.
Most often we live through a natural experience and then later on try to find a supernatural reason for the experience, but this is not the best way.
Sometimes the Supernatural awareness will clue our natural man that something is coming. Now what is coming could be immediate, or it could be in the future. When the event occurs, we remember our supernatural awareness of this, and we discern more about the event.
The greater reality is the supernatural, and it occurs first. Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. When something unexpected occurs, we try to rationalize and look for a supernatural reason. This is not always accurate. Sometimes we find a supernatural cause, but the Holy Spirit wasn’t part of it, it was just a random event and we try to put a spiritual meaning onto it. That is called spiritual speculation. And often we succumb to spiritual speculation.
You cannot really ascertain if something has a supernatural cause unless you discern this before the natural event occurs.
Now, once you discern something in the Spirit, then you can pray and ask God to intervene. So it is wise not to start your day until you are prepared for where the natural will be impacting your life, so you can put on your armor of faith.
Back to 1 Samuel 18.
Now David knew what Saul was feeling, so while he was harping, he also was on guard. David escaped two throws of Saul’s spear. Given the kind of fighter Saul was, it meant that David was aware of the situation from a spiritual level.
We know that nothing that is not ordained by God will happen to us. And like David, until we get orders from God to do something else, we cannot let our flesh (the need to flee the madman) to rule the situation.
Later on we see how David’s wife only added to his burden, not helped it.
Satan is always alert for any area of weakness in us, anger, pride, sin, etc. If we show those enemies prompted by satan love they will leave. If we give in to our weaknesses in relation to them, they will push that to the limit.
And it is also important to remember that most of the demonic spirits only are hurting the person who has them, not the whole body of Christ. They are usually causing the person to hurt themselves by actions or thoughts, or behaviors. So if we can love the one who seems “off” then we can help to build them up and help them to get rid of these demonic spirits.
We had to stop for our Bible study had gone on for about two hours. Pastor Don jokingly offered to write out excuses for those of us who would be getting home late.
As always, I was writing notes at a fast pace, if there is a Biblical error, I am certain it is mine, not Pastor Don’s. Some of this stuff is new to me, so I have to sort things out and could have gotten something wrong. Hope you enjoy your weekend.