Developing Spiritual Discernment by Pastor Don
Below is the closed captioned transcript. The words in [brackets] are what the congregation said. I count myself so blessed to sit under the teaching of Pastor Don.
Last week one of the members asked me to do some teachings on spiritual things. And I want to continue with that vein. But we have to realize there are different things that happen in our environment, but without spiritual discernment we don’t know whether it was God that did it or we don’t know whether it was the evil one that did it. And we have to develop spiritual discernment so that we know, not only who the players are, but we know what activities they’re carrying out in our lives. Anybody understand what I’m saying? [amen]
If we don’t develop spiritual discernment in these last days, we will be devoured by our own minds. [uh huh] Our own minds will devour us because we won’t know who’s who and who’s doing what. Now, there are two key ways and two key words that I want to focus on today that help us understand who’s acting. Who’s playing a role. And there are not enough devils and enough demons to go around. [amen!] I don’t know where we got this concept, but when satan was thrown out of heaven with the fallen angels, he only was able to muster up about a third of them. And God says that there are billions of angels. [hallelujah] Well why? Because He has made an angel for each one of us on the planet.
We all have a guardian angel. Do you guys know that? [yeah] Mine has spoken to me at different crucial times in my life, when I should have gone left and I went right. You know, he kind of slapped me upside the head and straightened me out. I remember one very important time that I was coming home from college with one of my closest friends. And we were on the Ohio Turnpike and it’s traffic going this way and traffic coming this way. And I was reading a book, interestingly enough on Greek Mythology for one of my college classes. And as I’m reading the book this very gentle voice said to me, “Don, there’s going to be an accident.” And the angel then said to me, “But you’re going to be ok. … Everything’s going to be alright.” I closed the book realizing that this was a supernatural voice and it had not foretold me of evil that was going to be destructive. It told me of evil which we were going to be redeemed from. [amen] So I reached over and I put my hand on my college buddy’s shoulder, and I said to him, I said, “Jerry,” I said, “there’s going to be an accident but we’re going to be alright.” At that moment, a semi truck went by us and we hit, you know, black ice. We hit this ice, our car at 60 miles an hour spun around backwards. We went down the embankment between the traffic and came up on the other side into the oncoming traffic, and two cars whizzed by us, and we did another 360 and went down back into the divider and, and then the engine just stopped. I began to laugh, he began to pass out. [laughter] … Because I had the assuredly of that voice that spoke so calmly to me that we were going to be alright. Needless to say, after we yanked him out of the driver’s seat and got him over in the other seat, I got behind the wheel and there’s cars are stopping cause people saw this. And the people we whizzed by that would have been killed came and they pushed the car a little bit out of the snow. I got in, very easily drove the car back up onto the Ohio State Turnpike and drove all the way to New York City, with no problems. Nothing wrong with us, nothing wrong with the car. [praise God! Hallelujah] But there was something in my spirit that said that was, that was my angel. Today I can’t explain to you how I know. Now, years later after having heard the voice of the Lord, I notice the difference. But I knew that that was, the peace of it, an angel speaking to me.
We have to learn to discern the voices that speak, for they are constant and they come and they go at different times in our lives, but with functional different purposes. Here’s what messes us up most of the time. Most of the time. We create the devil bigger than he is. [amen] It’s big God, little devil. First of all, the devil is not everywhere all the time. He doesn’t have that ability. He is a finite being and God is infinite, so he can only be a few places at a few times. Then the second is, he, his organization is built like an army. So he has some people, some demons, here, some demons there, some whatever. But he’s only got one third of it covered. So, he cannot possibly, listen to me church, he cannot possibly be tormenting all of us all at the same time. [amen] We have to help him. [laughter] Well, glory. [amen] We have to help him. He doesn’t have the ability to be everywhere all the time. And so, he has to make us think that he is, and so his demons will plant a seed that’ll get us thinking in a certain direction, and then usually we will help them. We’ll help them hold us there. Okay?
Now, one of the ways that that happens is a very important word. Can you say the word, persecution? [persecution] Can you say the word, persecution, persecution, persecution. [persecution, persecution, persecution, laughter] Huh? Now that word, persecution, has some very interesting Biblical meanings. And Jesus uses it many different ways. He talks about different types of persecution that would come. And too often, sometimes in the Body of Christ, we assume that He is talking about Him bringing that persecution, when actually He is talking about satan will bring this type of persecution. Okay?
Now, I wrote down the Greek for it because I thought it was an interesting word. It’s diogmos. Can you say, “diogmos?” [diogmos] Good. You said it wrong. So did I. But does it matter? No. What matters is the meaning of it. Now, let’s look at this word diogmos, and understand what it says when it says to persecute. The interesting thing is when we first look it up, it says, “to pursue.” It means, watch this, “to follow after, to cause to suffer, or to press forward.” … [hmmm] Ok, persecution, to pursue, to follow after, to do what? To suffer, to cause to suffer or to press forward.
So let me give you a few Biblical examples of this. Jesus says,… umm… let me give you a couple examples. Ah, yes. Matthew Chapter 10. And you don’t have to go there cause I’m going to go fast, so you know, write it down though so you can study it later. In Matthew Chapter 10, in verse 30 Jesus is talking about what it’s going to take to be a real disciple of Christ. And He says that you will have, God will give you, you know family. He speaks of family and He speaks of lands and then He says this, “with persecutions.” So we could assume that God is saying to us, He’s going to bless me 10, 20, and 30 fold and so forth, and 100 fold. With all of these blessings, and God’s the one that’s going to throw in persecution….ha hnh, hnh, unh, unh…unh…. Well I’m going to tell you about that one. So, He says it’s going to be with persecution. Well, hold on now… hold on. Let’s be careful here.
There are certain things that God does and certain things that God permits. [right, amen] … And there’s certain things that happen because we violate or break covenant. [amen] The devil doesn’t have all authority. He only has authority on the earth because that’s what Adam gave to him… Therefore, he only has authority on the earth in proportion to what we give to him. [right] Alright? Adam and Eve gave him the covenant or the authority or the contract on the earth. God said that’s going to be for a set time, a set period of time. And He says, at the end of that set period of time, the Messiah who’s going to be of her seed is going to come and is going to what? Reestablish things…. In the mean time, God establishes with us another covenant. His covenant is that He will never leave us nor forsake us. That is perpetual. Can you say perpetual? [perpetual] Can you say, without disruption. [without disruption] His promise to us is perpetual and without disruption.
But, His blessings are conditional. [right, yep] … That won’t get a big Amen, but [amen] … His blessings to us are conditional. God says, if you do this, I’ll do that. He says, I will to do this, but you shall do that. I shall do this, and you shall do this. And so we get caught in this thing. But conditional, part of that conditional situation is what? Is our responsibility to act in a responsible way. [amen]
Now, if we break down the word responsible, there’s a good way for you to remember your part in that. Responsibility – responsibility is your ability to respond. [um hmn] Or, watch this… your response to your God-given ability. [amen] … You can do it either way. Your ability to respond, responsibility. You have an ability to respond. Or it can be your God-given ability to respond. Our your response to your ability. Any way you cut it or slice it, it works out the same way. Doesn’t it? It means, what are you going to do about what you’re going to do. (laughs) What are you going to do about what you’re going to do.
Therefore, we have to, we have to take the Biblical way, and God is saying, listen, my blessing includes certain things. My blessing of wealth, includes something. My blessing of family includes something. You know, we should come to church because we need family. We need a family bigger than our family. [amen] You know, most of the family that you grew up with are idiots. So, you really need to find some other family that can bless you. [amen, laughter] … Well, let’s tell the truth. See you have to love them, but they don’t have much to give you. You know. So you have to, you have to realize God wants you to have a larger family than just your nuclear family. You need them, you know. We have to look out and help each other, baby sit. We have to help each other find cars or houses or lands. Ah, that’s what He’s talking about then.
He is saying if you come in the Body of Christ, there’s something that’s gonna happen that goes beyond what your nuclear family’s going to do. Because He’s going to enlarge your family. He will give you, it says sisters and brethren, motheren and fatheren. [laughter] You know what I mean? I’m a better father to many of you than your own earthly father was. [amen] Thank you baby. Cause most of you, I’ve not thrown over my knee and slapped and spanked. [laughter] Thank you Jesus! [laughter] Not looking forward to that either. Amen. [amen]
So, God will provide that for us, but it’s going to come with persecutions. Now, God isn’t the author of that, He’s not going to pursue you with ill intent. The root of the word persecution in the English language means to bring hostility… or evil upon someone. To pursue them, to follow them to do something ill to them, bring something bad. I’m going to persecute you. I’m going to bring something ill to you.
Now, we have a problem because we have an interesting concept that comes out of that type of persecution. And that is, a complex… You ever heard of that, that psychological term? You have a persecution complex. [that’s right] And that displays itself in the form of paranoia. Paranoia is you think everyone’s thinking about you. Everyone’s out to get you. A persecution complex is everyone is plotting and planning to do evil unto you.
Now, we see this in the Body of Christ in very simple ways, where we get this devil mentality where the devil’s always, he’s the active one, he’s the active one. You know what I mean. You drive your car off the edge of the road cause you’re not paying attention. You go, “The devil me do it.” [laughter] You know, the devil’s in the Bronx stealing a car and all of a sudden… he didn’t have anything to do with you. [right, right] Right? And then we get these persecution complexes in the Body of Christ. You know, I’ve had people leave the Church, not because of me, but because of some of you all. You looked at him. And he went, “Pastor Don, I can’t come to your church.” I go, “Why?” “The people are looking at me.” [laughter]… How am I supposed to respond to that? You know, if I tell the truth, I’d say, “Yeah, you funny looking. They ought to be looking at you.” [laughter] But, I can’t say that. But that happens. Believe it or not, that really, really happens. And it happens that people say, “Well, I sat next to someone and they felt weird, somehow.” You know. Amen.
And what happens is we allow people to get in our heads because we’re over focused on who? On them rather than on the Lord. [amen] You know, you should come to church and spend a little while in church and not be able to say who was there Sunday. [amen] Except say, “Jesus was.” [amen] “The Holy Spirit showed up.” [hallelujah] You know.
And then the other way that the devil works us is he makes us appoint to people greater ability than we should give them. You know, people should not have the ability to make you sad, or make you happy. They shouldn’t have the ability to drive you out of the church. They shouldn’t have the ability to drive you in the church. And they shouldn’t have the ability to drive you out of your mind. [amen] Glory be to God. [hallelujah] Jesus had hundreds and hundreds of followers.
The Biblical account gives us, you know funny, but don’t you know if He fed you fish and loaves you’d follow Him. I would. You know. The only reason I don’t follow Colonel Sanders is I have to pay for the food. [laughter] But if Colonel Sanders was free, I’d follow him. [laughter] You know, come on, free fried chicken and biscuits with macaroni and cheese thrown in and baked beans. Man, I’d follow that guy. [laughter] It’s the only reason I’m still with my wife for forty years, she can cook. [laughter] She has her own money and she pays for the food. So, I’d follow her in a minute. [laughter]
So we have persecution and it takes these different forms, but here’s the key. You ready? I wrote it down. Persecution, ill treatment, harassment, hostility, and you ready? Everybody say, “I’m ready.” [I’m ready] Worry, and bombardment with questions. When the devil pursues you. When he decides to persecute you, he bombards you with questions. You can’t shut your mind off. Your mind is just spinning this complexity of your rational thought processes and you get caught there long enough in your irrational thought processes, you will be persecuted. (clap) … I’m trying to help somebody. [amen, come on] Cause, see, we too often defend our worrying. We put a label on our worry and our stress.
There are some husbands that follow their wives around asking them question after question after question. That husband is persecuting you. [whoah] And there’s some women who just follow their husbands around, question after question, yappa yappa yappa yappa. That’s persecution. That is ill treatment and it is harassment. [amen] How am I doing Juma? When I grow up I’m going to be a preacher. [amen] Alright? How’s the Sunday School lesson? Alright with you guys? [yes]
Alright, so, let’s look at some other verses, how Jesus uses this thing, He says in Matthew 5:11, He talks about they will revile you and persecute you. Well, he’s not talking about Him, He’s not saying Jesus will revile you and persecute you. He is saying that the people of God, he is saying that the evil people will be used by demonic forces to do what? To harass you, cause you to worry, and ill treat you. They will justify it, but the fact that they justify it with religious tradition or authority does not make it God. [Come on, come on, right] Doesn’t make it God. Alright?
So, we have to recognize that when, when we become obsessed with an idea, and how do we determine that it’s irrational? Listen, if you can’t get relief from it, it’s irrational, and if it’s irrational, it means then that there isn’t a solution. How often do we get worried about things that we can’t do anything about? [laughter, come on] Lord have mercy! I’m trying to help you. After you look at your checkbook and you can’t pay the bills, you need to just close the checkbook and not worry about it. [come on] It’s irrational to keep worrying about what you can’t do anything about. You only make but so much money and you only have so many bills. If you cannot pay your bills, you might as well go fishing. [laughter]
That’s assuming, you know, you’re not, and I recommend that movie to all you ladies and guys, I mean. The, what is it? The obsessive/compulsive shopper lady. What was that dear? [Confessions of a Shopaholic] Yeah, Confessions of a Shopaholic. You know, this is not the time season to be in bondage to material things. This is the time period to be in bondage to the Lord Jesus Christ. [hallelujah] To be hooked up and chained to Him in an irresistible way. [my God] In an irresistible way. An irresistible, undisconnected way. And the reason is because, this – yeah we got time for this.
This annoying process that the devil brings upon us, we have to fight it. You can’t just, you can’t just accept the fact that you don’t think right….[oooo come on that’s right] You can’t just accept that. You can’t just accept the fact that you’re living in a house with someone who doesn’t think right. … What? Because the devil will use that to persecute you. He will bring what? Irrational harassment and hostility of worrying and bombard you with questions. [amen] Just bombard you, just like, just keep it coming. And you’ll go, wait a minute, I can’t think, I can’t think. I can’t think. How many of you will be honest, I see it dear. How many of you are honest about this? Be honest about this. How many of you have ever, ever used a thing or a method to escape? [laughs and comments] … We’ve got half a dozen blatant liars in here. [laughter] Just out and out didn’t raise their hands, didn’t pay…
Listen, the worries of life will cause you to want to escape. [amen, that’s right] You husband will cause you to want to escape… your wife will cause you… your children… [yep] I can remember coming home from work, I’m not ready to deal with those three little knuckleheads. I remember sitting in the parking lot praying for strength [laughter] and patience so I could go inside the house and act like I love them. [laughter] … Until you begin telling the truth, you can’t get fixed. [that’s right] We have to learn to acknowledge what’s busted and broken and then we can say, “Man, I did take an escape today. I was supposed to go to work and I called in sick.” You know, “I wanted to have one glass of wine and I drank four bottles.” … [laughter] “I drank all that…” What are you talking about?
You know, it’s crazy to me. To hear someone say, “I need a cigarette.” What? It’s a drug. Yes, so you need the nicotine. Why? So it can make you more nervous. But yet, and still you say, “I need to relax. Let me have a cigarette.” [laughter, that’s the truth] What? It’s an irritant to your nervous system. And then you add coffee to it. [laughter] If I could get rid of the coffee, I could get all the cigarette smokers off of dope. [laughter] Let’s tell the truth. Cigarettes is dope. It’s nicotine, drug, and it affects your mental and physical system. Let’s call it what it is and start telling the truth. [amen]
Golf! [laughter] What are you talking about? I saw a brother the other day going on tee, look at brother Ray Stevens, golf can be what? It can be a drug, it can be a way of escaping. I mean, all of these things. Why is pornography so big? … They don’t need the sex. They’re addicted to what? They’re addicted to distracting themselves from their realities that they’re dealing with. Huh?
Shopping….cooking… Mrs. Moore would you step out, I want my wife to step out. [laughter] Do you know sometimes when the pressures of life are on her, she’ll cook? She doesn’t know I know, but you know, you live with a counselor, I mean, 30 years I’ve been counseling. I learn to observe behavior. If she’s really had it with me, had it with the world situation, she goes in the kitchen and cooks. [laughter] Cause while she’s cooking she’s just looking out that window, she just gets into a different space and she’s cooking. And she’ll say things like, “Don’t bother me now, I’m cooking.” [laughter] Come on, wave at me. Is she smiling? Is she smiling? Is my wife smiling?
Ok, I’ve got three minutes left. Now, let’s wrap this up. Let’s get a conclusion to this thing. When we look at these different scriptures, I’ll give you a couple more. Matthew Chapter 5 verse 10, it says that persecution for righteousness’ sake. It says in Matthew Chapter 12, it says that the prophets were persecuted for the sake of the Gospel. When we look at those scriptures, it says, it says something to us about understanding persecution. In Matthew Chapter 13 verse 21 it says that persecution will arise because of the Word of God…
So, there’s two different aspects of persecution. One is persecution will arise because you’re stupid. Persecution will arise if you don’t balance your checkbook, you don’t pay your bills, pressure. Pressure is going to come. Things are going to get out of whack. If a husband doesn’t attend to his wife, if he doesn’t remember. I bought my wife flowers last night. Nice purple flowers. When I walked in the purple flowers matched her purple outfit. I didn’t plan that, cause I didn’t dress her this morning. [laughter] But, what I’m saying is, if I don’t do that, circumstances and situations in our relationship will get stressed. And then she will bring persecution on me. [laughter] We’re just telling the truth here. You follow me? We’re just telling the truth here.
But here’s the point. When the evil one brings persecution on us, it’s either because we’re stupid, we messed up, we’re either in sin or we’re still not dealing with our deep rooted problems. There’s some deep rooted stuff that, if we don’t deal with it, it will continue to cause what? The devil has to do what? He has to go before God to get permission to oppress you. He can only get permission from God to oppress you if, by your sloppy behavior or violations of your covenant, you have opened the door. And God has to say, “He’s my child.” Same thing he said to Job. He says you can’t touch his soul, but have at his flesh. How many of you all figured out your brain is flesh? [hello] Ok, so, if you’re worrying and stressing and your thought life is disrupted, it may be demonic. If you are worried and oppressed, fear, you’re worried and you cannot control it. You can’t stop it, it’s probably being demonically aided. Because, if you’re walking in the love and the truth of God. It says, God has not given us a spirit of fear… so that fear did not come from the Lord. [amen] It just wandered in your mind.
But, there’s another type of persecution that comes that has great validity and must also be addressed, but needs to be understood. And that is, persecution for the sake of the cause of the Word… That persecution, well, I don’t want to put “good” on it. You don’t want to be inviting it. Listen …. there’s enough crosses for all of us. Let’s not be in a hurry to get up on one. Persecution for the Word’s sake, meaning, because of your righteousness and because of your activities. Because of your prayer life, because of your sanctification, because of your dedication, because of your commitment, because of your fellowship, because of your faithfulness, because of your servanthood, because of your determination, because of your fight on the battlefield to destroy the enemy, because of your love for the brethren, because of your desire to see them benefited and blessed, the devil targets you. And he will oppress you. He will persecute you. He’ll come after you. But guess what? It’s in that one that you can begin making your declaration. [amen] It’s in that one that supernatural help will come from Heaven.
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