Hearing from the Holy Spirit – by Pastor Don
I got to see Pastor Don in counseling on Friday. Walking downstairs to Bible study he asked me to give him a topic for discussion. I blanked out, but he told me he expected a topic. I came up with Hearing from the Holy Spirit – and Pastor Don taught on that for the full Bible study – he knows the Bible so well that passages just flowed. I want to know the Bible that well, I want to be able to teach like that, to have a ready answer. I pray that God does that in my life!
The most important part of a relationship is communication. Marriages work well when there is communication between the partners. A football coach who does not communicate with his team will not be effective. Neither will a team who does not communicate with the coach work well together.
So often in our personal lives we do not communicate with ourselves. Sometimes we are divided. Hurt and pain causes us not to realize what is really in our best interests. There is often a battle between our Spirit Man and our Soul Man (physical, mental, emotional).
There are ways that we communicate with ourselves. – Spirit – body, Spirit – soul, spirit (ours) to Spirit (Holy Spirit).
When we pray in tongues (our private prayer language), we edify ourselves. 1 Corinthians 14:1-4 Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries. But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men. He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church.
When we speak mysteries to God, we edify ourselves. The Holy Spirit speaks to our spirit.
Romans 8:1 There is therefore now now condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.
The Holy Spirit helps us to live free from a life of sin. The flesh does battle with the inner man, trying to keep him from walking to the dictates of God.
Romans 8:7-9 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.
Verse 9 often gets us in trouble for many use this verse to say that we can lose our salvation. It means more than that, it means we are deadened in Spirit, have doubt in Christ or the Holy Spirit. We have stepped out of faith and into unbelief.
God has given us the Holy Spirit as proof. If I say I can lose that, I have separated myself from God. By faith we accept His salvation. If we teach you can lose that, then we have stepped off into doubt and unbelief like a heathen. Everybody has periods of doubt. God knows that – and he has given us scriptures like this to encourage us not to doubt. The scriptures clearly show that He knows the times when a believer is disconnected from His voice. He knows when we are choosing not to answer the Holy Ghost Phone, and put on the answering machine instead. Peter promised Jesus that he would never turn away from Jesus, but then Peter denied Jesus three times. And later Jesus gave Peter a chance to affirm his love three times.
After we mess up, we can gain our strength back in the ETERNAL CALL OF CHRIST. So often we end up in a hissy fit and turn our back on Christ. But Christ does not move, He is still there, and when we repent, turn back to Him, he is ready to help us. We can’t get his help though if we are disconnected from His answers.
So many people end up with periods of stress, emotional distress, personal troubles or financial issues, and then they blame the church. They leave the church blaming the church and God for their troubles. When they were in Christ, they thought they would have it all together. Not so, we still have to face the challenges of this world, and leaving the church is leaving the one place where we can get it together. But people will use their problems as an excuse to fall away from God and leave the church.
People will get gloriously saved, and then get disheartened when in church they see fights among members, dissension, receive a negative comment, or a bad phone call. The CHURCH IS NOT CHRIST, it is the BODY of CHRIST. The church is the unpurified virgin making herself ready for the wedding – she is not yet wearing a white robe. The Church is preparing itself to be a virgin bride of Christ. When the Church falls short, it is NOT JESUS’ FAULT.
Jesus is not offended by what we do naturally, he has anticipated that we would do these things, and died for our sins before we were even thought of. Died for our sins past, present and future. As parents, we are not offended when our baby soils its diaper, we clean the baby, put on a new diaper and wait until the baby is old enough to take the next step.
In Church someones’ communication system with the Father might break down. Pastor Don told the sad joke about a scruffy man who entered a wealthy church and was shunned by the people, the pastor spoke rudely to him, and pretty much the man felt unwelcome. The man went home and prayed to Jesus asking Him why the church treated Him so. Jesus said, “I don’t know – they haven’t made Me welcome either.”
There are breakdowns in the communication system. Some things communicated in the church are not necessarily received from God. People blame God for these false things, but it is not from God.
A lot of non-Biblical things are in the Church. How can we prevent lack of communication from happening? Only follow instruction and walk in the footsteps of someone you are in constant communication with. (Preferably someone who is being led by God.) Divorces happen because of lack of communication. Church problems also happen because of lack of communication.
Romans 8:9 But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.
Pastor Don said that this lack of communication is something like God wanting to talk to us by email and we are picking up the telephone. While the telephone works, it is not the means that God is using. God wants us to get over to the computer and check our email.
When we insist on picking up the telephone when God is on email it is us acting in the flesh according to our own understanding. It will get us to the wrong place every time. If we have disease, stress, anger, or fear we are not on God’s frequency. When we are in the molly grubs (a word none of us knew which means depressed) it is hard to reach God. The only way to reach God in depression is when we come to the end of our depression, at the end of despair. When we are angry and upset and we don’t hear from God, we get mad at Him. It is misplaced anger, and God does not acknowledge our yammering when we are speaking out of faith. The only time God will stop to hear is when we get the the end of ourselves, and we turn around (repent) and say BUT GOD…..
If God responded to our anger and despair he would be resounding in the flesh, not in His nature. God does not want to teach us inappropriate responses. (Heather’s note: in teaching my kids not to have temper tantrums I had to ignore very valid requests until they were stated in an acceptable manner. Throwing ones’ self on the ground and kicking and flailing would not get the requested thing. I knew that if I gave in, then the kids would learn wrong behavior and think that they could get whatever they wanted by kicking and screaming. How much more our loving Father will wait until we are asking in faith in the right attitude. He too wants us to grow in Him).
Now God has gotten angry, two times come to mind. When the Israelites built the idols, God told Moses to go down from the mountain so he could work up his anger. And then when Jesus threw the money changers out of the temple, he stopped and braided a cord to use as a whip. Uncontrolled anger is unproductive. Pastor Don spoke about how his sons at times were very rebellious but in such funny and clever ways that Pastor Don would have to leave the room to get his face set in angry mode so that he could discipline the kids with proper attitude, not laughing at their foibles.
What we need to realize is that our upbringing, habits and attitudes can lead to our destruction. After awhile, even a person addicted to cocaine will realize that it is deadly for them, and that it will kill them if they do not make a life change. Same way with our negative thinking and habits. We have to come to the realization that they are our downfall. If we are looking to others to make us happy, and we are miserable in attitude, nothing that the other person will do can be enough to break the cycle of misery. If we are angry with or without the input of another person. The only way to break out of the cycle is to look up to God for guidance.
Romans 8:11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.
Pastor Don asked if you had salt and pepper shakers and looked at them, how would you tell if one had salt or pepper – the answer was look through the transparent glass. If we become transparent we can see what is in us and holding us back. If we are speaking through lying and deceit, we can’t change. The only way we can change is becoming transparent.
Life will always provide us with a reason to get upset. Life is not perfect. Some think that when they are unhappy money and things will make them feel better. But the problem is, you never have enough money. There are many happy people who we would consider poor that are happier than many of the rich people we know. The real issue is, “Where do you set your meter of satisfaction?” Unhappiness, depression, anger is related to where the meter is set, but we can reset the meter.
Pastor Don and Cynthia (his wife) went down to New Orleans and started talking with people. Two best friends who were both Christian, had the same insurance company and similar damage to their homes spoke with Pastor Don. One was bitter and angry, the other was happy – she had a job, a room to stay until her house was rebuilt. The other lady was complaining bitterly to the insurance companies, and anyone else who would listen. Her friend told her to be sweet and thankful, but she did not. The end result was that the other woman was happy, and God did a remarkable outpouring of blessing into her life to get her back on her feet. The bitter, angry woman held onto her bitterness. Another waitress counted herself blessed and highly favored because God was good – this woman was a waitress (had a job) and had a room that she shared with six family members but was grateful.
Pastor Don said that we have to ask: WHO IS TALKING TO WHOM.
Romans 8:12-14 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors–not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.
You can’t be led by somebody you aren’t talking to. If you are not leading under guidance of the Spirit, you are like the blind leading the blind, and you will fall into a pit. To be led you have to have someone going ahead of you.
Pastor Don gave an example of how many people “follow” God. He said imagine you are in your car and God is in a car. God knows the way to go, and you “follow” God by being the lead car. You come to a stoplight and turn right, then you glance in your rear view mirror and notice that God’s car isn’t there. You stop to get a latte at Dunkin’ Doughnuts. Then you go back to the stoplight where you last saw God’s car. You go straight and don’t find His car. You then go back to the stoplight and make a left turn. There is God in His car waiting on the side of the road for you to get to where He is. He then waits to see what you will do, will you again take the lead or will you wait for God to move and follow Him. Either way, He will not leave you or forsake you, but He will let you go your own way until you finally realize that in order to follow Him, you have to FOLLOW HIM.
So often we go our own way and then feel God has left us. We get angry when we are not going the direct way, when we go the wrong way. We have to communicate with God to know where He wants us to go and where He is going.
Then someone asked a question about anger, and Pastor Don said Ephesians 4:26 “Be angry, and do not sin” do not let the sun go down on your wrath. And Psalm 4:4 Be angry, and do not sin. Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still. Selah
Most any emotion that we have can either be used in a Godly fashion or as a sin. Pastor Don asked: Is there love that is a sin? Is there grief that is a sin? Is there gladness that is a sin? (glad someone you don’t like got in trouble) Is there joy that is a sin? Anger is just another emotion.
Psalm 4:1-8 Hear me when I call, O God of my righteousness! You have relieved me in my distress; have mercy on me, and hear my prayer. (2) How long, O you sons of men, will you turn my glory to shame? How long will you love worthlessness and seek falsehood? Selah (3) But I know that the LORD has set apart for Himself him who is godly; the LORD will hear when I call to Him. (4) Be angry, and do not sin. Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still. Selah (5) Offer the sacrifices of righteousness, and put your trust in the LORD. (6)There are many who say, “Who will show us any good?” LORD, lift up the light of Your countenance upon us. (7) You have put gladness in my heart more than in the season that their grain and wine increased. (8) I will both lie down in peace, and sleep: For You alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.
(Heather’s note this Psalm also talks about where one puts the meter of satisfaction and joy. gladness in a hear even more than when grain and wine harvests increased). But Pastor Don pointed out that this is a good Psalm to read when you are having problems sleeping at night.
Thinking of God gets us out of distress and away from focusing on ourselves. When we speak praise to God, He hears and responds. Verse 3 – God sets apart those who are godly, It is ok to get upset, but don’t focus on it to the point where it will get you to sin. Righteous indignation is ok. If I offend you, you have a right to get upset, but you do not have the right to gossip about it, curse about it, profane God, or use profanity if you speak to me about it. You sin when you are angry and the resulting action is inappropriate and wrong. You can speak to me about the thing that caused anger, communicate your feelings, take them to God – that is permitted.
Then Pastor Don pointed out that God schedules divine appointments for us, but that doesn’t mean that we have to attend, we can choose to not listen to the Holy Spirit and miss the appointment. The way God schedules divine appointments is to lead people to where we are supposed to be, but many of us do not go to where we are supposed to be. And if we are there, we are not doing due diligence. Usually when we learn from God, God is prompting the students down a road. Sometimes satan tries to mess with God’s guidance. Pastor Don asked us if we have ever been driving in a car to someplace and had an urge from left field to crash into a tree, or had an urge to date a person that we know isn’t God’s best for us? If satan can send us on a side excursion or tempt us to do harm to ourselves physically, emotionally, or spiritually he can prevent us from making our divine appointments.
We need to check ourselves and our promptings – not all promptings are from God. Ask ourselves, “AM I HEARING FROM GOD?” We need to make sure we are on the correct frequency.
Not all the shows on Christian Television are giving accurate Word of God. Some are saying that they are speaking prophetically, but where they are getting their information is NOT from God.
Romans 8:15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adaption by which we cry out “Abba, Father.” You need to know when something you have received is not from God. If it brings fear on us, it is not from God. The only kind of fear we can have with God is Godly fear – which is awe and respect. We are not meant to be in bondage, or in fear, fearing consequences that may not come about.
Romans 8:16-19 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.
God’s nature is in us, in our spirit. It will be revealed on the outside so that it impacts other people. If I am a Christian, I want people to see it in how I walk, how I talk, how I live my life.
Pastor Don kept reminding us “THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU ARE THINKING ABOUT, AND THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU ARE FEELING. Are you functioning out of fear or out of faith? Are you looking in the rear view mirror, or following God? Are we communicating with the Great Communicator, or acting on our own? Before you make a decision, take a moment, and ask your inward witness what your decision should be. When we are a follower of Christ, we must apply every aspect of what we are doing to what Christ is wanting for us. Who are you listening to? Make sure it is from God!
When we are unsure, ask God. He will get the answer to us. If we find we have missed God, go back to where we last saw Him. Ask: WHAT CAN I DO FOR THE LORD? Where are my talents and how does God want me to use them? How has God prepared me to use them? What further preparation do I need to do what God wants me to do? Are my excuses for not doing these things valid? Most often, we don’t have to do as much as we think in our own understanding that we have to do.
The Church needs simple stuff. If God has given you a job to do you must keep doing the job until you find a Joshua (Joshua carried on where Moses left off), or until God tells you to stop doing the job. If you stop because you are tired or bored of the job you are out of line.
We often spend a lot of our life doing things both we and God get little benefit from – jobs we may like to do, but God is not there telling us to do them. God prepares us, gives us the background and training for future things we have to do. God does not want us so busy that we neglect our life – our family, our spiritual growth. We have to take time out to hear God’s voice, to read His Word, to pray.
We must learn to hear His voice and He will speak to us. Sometimes it is through the radio, through a song, through our Bible reading, through Prayer, through the Holy Spirit, through others, at church, during a sermon, even unsaved people might have a message from God for us. We just have to make time to listen to God and obey His Word.
Hope you have a blessed day today. In New York, Columbus Day is a holiday, so kids are off from school.
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