Discord: Voices of Confusion (5 Pitfalls Series)

While waiting on His promises, it’s easy to allow voices of confusion to create discord in our hearts and minds.

In their Experiencing God study, Henry and Richard Blackaby and Claude King give the principle, “God speaks by the Holy Spirit through the Bible, prayer, circumstances, and the church to reveal Himself, His purposes, and His ways.” If you haven’t gone through this study, I would highly recommend that you do so.  It has been one of the most impactful resources in my own walk of faith.

Father is certainly faithful in speaking and confirming His words and promises to us through those four means:
1)  The Bible

2)  Prayer

3)  Circumstances

4)  The church — other believers

When you’re seeking to discern Father’s words and promises to you, see if the above four things are in agreement in bringing confirmation.  At the same time, keep in mind that Father will never reveal something to you through prayer, circumstances, or the church that goes against what He says in His Word.

Father is faithful in speaking with clarity to His children as a loving Shepherd would to his sheep. (Jn 10:4, 10:27; Is 50:4-5; Is 30:21, 48:17)

At the same time, we can’t underestimate the voices of confusion that will most certainly come our way, creating discord in our hearts and minds.

Remember, one of Satan’s ultimate aims is to:

STEAL . . . KILL . . . DESTROY – Jn 10:10

Satan will seek to counterfeit and/or use the very methods Father is seeking to confirm His words and promises to us to create discord in our hearts and minds and to throw us headlong into confusion.  Sometimes we even aid Satan in this effort.

When you’re becoming confused as to what God is saying and seeking confirmation, watch out for the following:

1)  The Bible — Be committed to seeking to understand and embrace what Father is speaking to you . . . rather than what YOU WANT Him to say to you.

2)  Prayer — Take time to pray and LISTEN!  Write down and date the things you sense Father is speaking to your heart.  Compare these over a period of time and look for agreement and confirmation of what you sensed Father originally spoke to you.

3)  Circumstances — “The Holy Spirit will not bypass the receptors of our past experiences.”  — source unknown

Is 44:20, “He feeds on ashes, a deluded heart misleads him; he cannot save himself, or say, ‘Is not this thing in my right hand a lie?’”

Understand that the filters of undealt-with fears, pain, trauma, or emotional hurts that you’ve experienced can often stand in the way of accurately hearing Father’s voice.  These need to be brought to light, dealt with, and touched with Jesus’ healing touch (Ps 146:7-8, 147:3).

4)  The church — other believers

Seeking counsel from mature believers is a sound and biblical practice.  But rest assured, that if you’re seeking to find someone to tell you want to hear, you’ll find them.  You need to test everything (1 Thess 5:19-21) regardless of how spiritually mature the person you’re seeking counsel from is.

Father’s will for your life is different than what it is for someone elses.  Watch out for those, who are relying on their own life wisdom to provide you with counsel rather than on the Spirit.

Two great quotes from Surprised by the Voice of God by Jack Deere:

“. . . too much of the church today has more confidence in Satan’s ability to deceive us than in God’s ability to speak to us and lead us.”

“Humble people put their confidence in the Holy Spirit’s ability to speak, not in their ability to hear and in Christ’s ability to lead, not in their ability to follow.”

My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. – Jn 10:27

Photo on flickr by Christian Kurz

 


 

 

 

Dilly-Dallying in Faith (5 Pitfalls Series)

Dilly-dallying . . . it’s a fun word to say and in the moment it’s even fun to do. The Free Dictionary defines it as — to waste time, especially in indecision; dawdle or vacillate.

When we think back to the Israelites, a word that could aptly describe them is dilly-dallying.  First, they dilly-dallied in entering the Promise Land.  Then for 40 years, they dilly-dallied in the desert.  As a consequence of their unbelief they had no choice but to live and wander in the desert those 40 years (Num 14:20-23).  Yet, they did have a choice to not continue to dilly-dally in their faith, obedience and belief during the next 40 years.  And yet, they did.

As we wait on His promises, may our epitaph not be as the Israelites — that we too dilly-dallied in our faith, obedience and belief.

King Saul has an epitaph of dilly-dallying in his faith.  God gave him a simple order through the prophet Samuel to TOTALLY DESTROY EVERYTHING in their attack of the Amalekites (1 Sam 15:3).

Saul’s follow-through on this crystal clear command:

But Saul and the army spared Agag and the best of the sheep and cattle, the fat calves and lambs—everything that was good. These they were unwilling to destroy completely, but everything that was despised and weak they totally destroyed. – 1 Sam 15:9

Saul’s explanation to the prophet Samuel of his dilly-dallying obedience:

“But I did obey the LORD,” Saul said. “I went on the mission the LORD assigned me. I completely destroyed the Amalekites and brought back Agag their king.  The soldiers took sheep and cattle from the plunder, the best of what was devoted to God, in order to sacrifice them to the LORD your God at Gilgal.” – 1 Sam 15:20-21

God’s response to Saul’s dilly-dallying obedience through Samuel:

But Samuel replied: “Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the LORD? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams. – 1 Sam 15:22

The Israelites dilly-dallying obedience first cost them 40 years in the desert and not being able to experience the Promised Land.  Then as they continued to dilly-dally in the desert, it cost them heartaches, losses and grief.

King Saul’s dilly-dallying obedience cost him his kingdom.

What has your own dilly-dallying obedience cost you?

OR

What will your dilly-dallying obedience cost you in the future?

Author and pastor, Steven Furtick, poignantly speaks to this reality in his article,  A 13:13 Moment.

In his song Alrightokuhhuhamen,  Rich Mullins also aptly speaks to this struggle as well as a great remedy for it . . . learning to consistently say four words to acts of obedience Father impresses upon our hearts and minds.

ALRIGHT

OK

UH-HUH

AMEN

The Israelites, King Saul, and we would do well to practice those words on a daily basis.

As Rich sings, “You can argue with your Maker or know the joy of saying yes to, to Him . . . Alrightokuhhuhamen”

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Doubting His Trustworthiness (5 Pitfalls Series)

Waiting is probably one of the most difficult things that we do in our walk of faith.  We have an intense desire to have things resolved, to have the outcome settled, to know the process in getting there, to tangibly see steps in the process before we take them.

While waiting on His promises, we often encounter the pitfall of doubting His trustworthiness:

1)  Is He really trustworthy?

This question one of Satan’s most common tactics that he’s used against Father’s children since the Garden of Eden (Gen 3:1-13)

2)  I’ve been waiting so long! He’s forgotten.

According to our human perspective, the wait can be lengthy between Father’s promise being a reality He’s impressed on our hearts and/or spoken to our minds as being true  in the spiritual realm to the time it becomes a reality that plays out in the physical realm.

3)  He’ll be able to carry out His promise to me  if I can help Him out.

We become convinced that Father needs “our help” to carry out His promises.  Abraham and Sarah fell into this trap and so Sarah told Abraham to sleep with her servant Hagar (Gen 16:1-6) to produce the offspring Father had promised (Gen 15:5).  And yet, Hagar’s son Ishmael was not Father’s provision to Abraham and Sarah . . . Isaac was.  Genesis 21:1 reads:

Now the LORD was gracious to Sarah as he had said, and the LORD did for Sarah what he had promised.

4)  It’s hard for me to imagine anything that good happening to me.

We feel unworthy or inadequate of receiving such a reality and reason that there are too many human obstacles that Father would have to overcome to carry out His promise.

We ask, “But who am I?” . . . “God do you have the right person” . . . “Do you remember that I ___________?”

We forget that He is God:  He can do whatever He wants, whenever He wants, however He wants, and through whoever He wants.

5) Logically, it’s not possible.

The physical realities of our circumstances surrounding us don’t seem to add up to being conducive to  Father’s promise playing out.

Jer 32:27, “I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me?”

Father is perfectly faithful (Is 25:1, 9).  What He says, He brings about.  What He plans, He does (Is 46:11)

And when He does we believe His promises and we sing His praise. Ps 106:12

photo on flickr by Gueorgui

5 Pitfalls While Waiting on His Promises

Father’s children give up far too easily and way too early.  We are called to walk by faith not by sight.  We are called to wait with confidence not doubt.

Abraham (formerly Abram) is heralded as a man of great faith.  Father promised him a son . . . 25 years passed between the pronouncement of the reality of that promise in the spiritual realm (Gen 15:5) and that promise playing out in the physical realm (Gen 21:2).

Father told Abraham (Gen 12:1) to go to another land that He would show him.  Father did not detail where it was, what the living conditions were, or how long he and his family would reside there.  He simply commanded His dearly Beloved son to go and then as Abraham obeyed, Father revealed the next step of his journey of faith.

We live in a world of quick information.  A trademark phrase we hear and say when there is an unknown is:  “Let’s Google it.”

We’re so used to being able to do a web search for almost every unknown in our life, so much to the point that we want our walk of faith to operate the same way.

Even when Jesus walked on this earth, embodying the very answers to any unknowns the people who surrounded Him had, He still demanded that they walk by faith.  Mt 13:58 tells us of the result of people’s thirst for Him to spell out the unknowns before they were willing to proceed in belief:

And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.

People missed out on miracles, His gifts, because their thirst “to play it safe” and to know the unknowns overrode their willingness to believe and walk  by faith.

In this series, we’ll look at 5 pitfalls we can all fall into while waiting on His promises:

  1. Doubting His Trustworthiness
  2. Dilly-Dallying in Faith
  3. Discord:  Voices of Confusion
  4. Dangers of Relying on What is Seen
  5. Difficulty in Verifying

Join me as we explore these further.

What pitfalls do you need to watch for in your own walk of faith today?

Photo on flickr by CmdrFire

At the Crossroads of Decision

The crossroads of decision . . .

We’ve all been there countless times.

How many times are we at the crossroads of decision when Father has clearly spoken to our heart and confirmed it over time and through various means

. . . and still we waver and puzzle over which way “we think” we should go.

We lean on our own understanding (Prov 3:5-6) and set the counsel of others side-by-side with Father’s prompting on our heart.

. . .and over time, our crossroads became many, varied and of the same weight . . . in a sense, like the pictured cross wires.

In the face of an attack, God sends the prophet Isaiah to speak to Ahaz.  God’s message to Ahaz ends with these words,

“If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all.” (Is 7:9)

Rest assured:  what Father leads your heart to do will most often stand in opposition to your own understanding and will require standing firm in your faith to follow through in obedience.

When our ears are listening, our heart is seeking, and our spirit is in step with Father, the crossroads of decision become a picture of Is 30:21:

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”

In reading this, if your mind is twinging and your spirit is stinging from the remembrance of that time when you made clear crossroads into similar sets of cross wires and then proceeded to go the way your own understanding thought was best . . .

Repent, confess, and embrace Father’s compassion and grace and choose the next “obey.”

Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; He rises to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice.  Blessed are all who wait for him! – Is 30:18

photo on flickr by eskimo_jo

When Logic Stands in the Way of Faith

“All to often, when God tells us to get up and do something,
we find it difficult. . . .We shuffle our feet and rationalize
that we’re not quite certain that we heard God correctly.
We check and double check the inward call to obey
so many times that, before you know it,
we’ve reasoned away the command to obey God.”

Joni Eareckson Tada, Glorious Intruder

Sound familiar?

What instance or instances in your life does it bring to mind?

When you’ve sensed Father was asking you to believe Him for the humanly unattainable or seemingly impossible have you thought:

  • I don’t want to.
  • It doesn’t make sense.
  • What will they think of me?
  • What if God doesn’t come through?
  • Why me?
  • That’s outside of my comfort zone.
  • That’s a radical thing to do; I just want to be a regular Christian.

How many times has your logic stood in the way of your faith?

Is it that we have a hard time hearing God;

OR

does it have more to do with the reality that we don’t like what we hear and so we allow fear, logic, and other’s words to cause us to back off and reason His voice and His call away?

Gideon could have told God that he didn’t want to lead an army of 300 men equipped only with trumpets, torches and jars.

Joshua could have told God that walking around Jericho seven times didn’t make sense.

Mary could have focused more on the question of “what will they think of me?” instead of her response in Lk 1:38, “‘I am the Lord’s servant,’ Mary answered. ‘May it be to me as you have said.'”

Ruth could have legitimately asked the question, “What if God doesn’t come through?” and stayed in Moab instead of returning with Naomi to Bethlehem and coming face-to-face with our God who always comes through . . . Boaz became her kinsman redeemer and their son Obed was in lineage of Jesus.

Jesus could have asked “Why Me?” as He prepared to give His life to save us from our sins.

Luke, Peter, and John could have said, “That’s outside of my comfort zone,” and gone back to their trades instead of making disciples of all nations.

Paul could have said, “That’s a radical thing to do; I just want to be a regular Christian,” and not gone and preached the Gospel to the Gentiles.

WHAT ABOUT YOU?

Will your logic stand in the way of your faith?

OR

Of you will people be able to say:

“Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!” (Lk 1:45)

Just to know You… fought for me
Oh really know You…set me free
Just to know You…died for love
Oh really know You…God above

Oh and I
Have a choice
And the choice for me
Is to live life like a man
Who will love with abandon
Follow the promise
And pay any price
I’ll give all I can
Just to stand in Your glory
And long for the day
Oh to look in Your eyes

Mark Schultz, Just to Know You

But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Php 3:13-14)

Obey or Disobey

When is the last time, you vividly chose between obeying or disobeying?

In choosing, what were the blessings or the consequences of your choice?

Pastor Steven Furtick, author of Sun Stand Still, does an excellent job detailing the consequences of our disobedience in his post, “A 13:13 Moment.”

“You acted foolishly,” Samuel said. “You have not kept the command the LORD your God gave you; if only you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time.”
1 Samuel 13:13

It’s a moment you never want to have.
A 13:13 moment.
The moment you realize just what you could have had, if only you had…

In the ministry of prophetic intercession Father has given me (Heb 7:25, Job 16:20-21, Ro 8:34), I am amazed again and again at the attitude that 13:13 moments are things of biblical past or only applicable to the commands of Scripture.

Father still speaks prophetic words over His Beloved children’s lives; the Holy Spirit still confirms those words to our spirits and hearts (1 Thess 5:19-21, Is 50:4-5, Is 30:21); and Jesus still requires obedience to what He has clearly confirmed as being of Him (Num 23:19, Is 48:17).

I once wrote this response to a pastor, also a dear friend, who was grappling with this aspect of my prophetic intercession:

Why does Father show me, have me intercede over, and sometimes involve me in the possible outcomes of people’s life choices when He sovereignly knows that they’re not going to choose that  step of obedience and thus that outcome.

In pondering this question, Father brought to mind the examples of Esau, Jonah, King Saul, the Israelites, Judas Iscariot, Ananias & Sapphira.  Each one experienced Father laying before them an outcome they sadly didn’t choose . . . and so they missed out on Father’s best.

Each disciple of Christ has the same choice . . . and for some reason Father sometimes uses His prophetic intercessors to lay out the choice at hand and intercede over the choice of obedience for long durations of time .  . . when He knows, in the end, they won’t choose it.

Obey or Disobey?

Blessings or Consequences?

 

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