Monday, 12 March 2012

Conversations With Jesus Part 3

Recently there has been a bit of a disagreement on DebbieLynne's blog about the topic of whether Jesus actually communicates with His saints in ways other than (through divine intervention of His Holy Spirit)  through hearing His voice from the pages of His book, the Bible, and then only during the time while one is reading.

To give a bit of personal background, I have never been in the "Charismatic movement", and what little I have seen and heard from them directed me away from their forms of worship and teaching. I did come from a very legalistic upbringing, then married a Mormon and was involved in that cult for a few years, and then out of that frying pan into the fires of the New Age Movement, out of which the Lord Jesus by His mercy saved me.

DebbieLynne maintains (as many people do) that Jesus does not talk to people in any other way except through His book only during the moments we are actually reading, and to say that He speaks to us in our spirit at other times, is not only inaccurate (or downright false) but very dangerous and misleading, and causes one to only depend on oneself and one's own feelings, etc.

I admit (and also admitted to DebbieLynne) that there are many persons with false agendas who write books to make money that have come up with all kinds of schemes to manipulate God into speaking to us in any way possible, and they are often those who are influenced by pagan types of mysticism and false worship. However, one must be careful when trying to avoid the false, to not thereby go to the opposite extreme and call anything that might have a faint resemblance to the false also false (thereby "throwing out the baby with the bathwater", as the saying goes).

There always is that danger of when trying to avoid something that we know is wrong, of then going to the opposite end of that spectrum in order to avoid making the same mistake. If, however, by doing so, one then blocks out the Holy Spirit's promptings, or even worse, call His promptings "satanic deceptions", we have a problem.

Mar 3:22  And the scribes which came down from Jerusalem said, He hath Beelzebub, and by the prince of the devils casteth he out devils.
Mar 3:23  And he called them unto him, and said unto them in parables, How can Satan cast out Satan?
Mar 3:24  And if a kingdom be divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.
Mar 3:25  And if a house be divided against itself, that house cannot stand.
Mar 3:26  And if Satan rise up against himself, and be divided, he cannot stand, but hath an end.
Mar 3:27  No man can enter into a strong man's house, and spoil his goods, except he will first bind the strong man; and then he will spoil his house.
Mar 3:28  Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme:
Mar 3:29  But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation:
Mar 3:30  Because they said, He hath an unclean spirit.

Yes, I have seen the above verses used by charismatic "healers" to hide behind, but truly God will judge them, and we have no need to be fearful because of them, and then avoid the above counsel because it will then make us like them. The above counsel IS in the Bible, and Jesus did have it there for a reason. There is a warning there about attributing what is given by God  to the devil. Let us instead be discerning, and thankful to God, for His goodness, and His mercy, and His Holy Spirit who leads us and teaches us. He is not limited in how He chooses to interact with us, His sheep, who hear His voice, and are called by His name. He doesn't require us to do any "quiet listening rituals" or whatever, to hear Him.

Joh 10:25  Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me.
Joh 10:26  But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.
Joh 10:27  My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
Joh 10:28  And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
Joh 10:29  My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. 

Joh 14:24  He that loveth me not keepeth not my sayings: and the word which ye hear is not mine, but the Father's which sent me.
Joh 14:25  These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you.
Joh 14:26  But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

I'll try not to make this a "hobbyhorse issue" of mine. ;)


  1. This is an issue that I've been thinking about, too especially when considering the unpardonable sin. A tree is known by the fruit, and so on.

    The Mr. and I have had some debate on this, too...he on the Sola Scriptura side and me on the -let's-not-despise- prophecies side. I don't argue with him, though. My hubby never tries to be the Holy Spirit for me, nor I for him (anymore..ha)so I feel very blessed. I have had God speak to me in unmistakable ways that are not specifically in scripture, so if I'm deceived, I'm deceived, but I pray and put my trust in God.

    1. "I have had God speak to me in unmistakable ways that are not specifically in scripture, so if I'm deceived, I'm deceived, but I pray and put my trust in God."

      I have also as well, and often what He says goes contrary to what I want Him to be telling me, but things that I know to be true (such as the Saul and David relationship). I won't say that I'm perfect and never deceived, however, like you say, God is there to keep me from falling irretrievably, and that is also stated in the John ch 10 passage for a reason to not fear.

      Satan would try to stop us from hearing Jesus, by fear or by any means such as having false ones do it a false way and then saying: "therefore if you think you hear God's voice you are just as false as those false teachers" and try to make us believe we have fallen out of God's hands. John ch 10 verses 28-29 says that is impossible, we are protected even though we hear His voice (Jesus must have known we would get ridiculed and accused of all kinds of lies regarding this for Him to say this), and not to believe the threats from the enemy.

    2. I also want to add that even though I do think He speaks to us each personally (not "speaks" really, but you know what I mean) there are "dry" times when we HAVE to know that HE has spoken and we must rest in His promises that are written for us.

      Does that make sense:)?

    3. A whole lot of sense, Ma, I agree. There have been "desert times" for me when it seemed He remained "silent" and I sometimes wondered if it was because of my sinfulness that He was so distant from me. It seems that David also talks about such times in his psalms. (Psalm 13 as an example)

  2. Susan, I don't mind you disagreeing with me.

    I do, however, very much mind you misrepresenting my position! In comment to my various posts, I have agreed that the Holy Spirit brings Scriptures to our minds throughout the course of a day. Perhaps I haven't been clear on that point, but I've NEVER once said He speaks ONLY WHEN WE PHYSICALLY READ THE BIBLE! I'm shocked and appalled that you would put those words in m mouth!

    He never speaks outside of His Word, but He does bring Scripture to our minds. Review our discussions carefully.

    I hope you'll post an apology, preferably in a separate post, for slandering me. I'll forgive you either way, but a public apology would be nice. I'll not mention this offense on my blog (either in posts or comments), lest any of my readers who don't read your blog think ill of you.

    1. Hi DebbieLynne,

      I am sorry that you think that I misrepresent your position, and of course everyone can check it out for themselves and form their own opinions in the matter. You did single me out by name as the main person you oppose in your formulations in your thought processes regarding this issue here:

      In that post you seem to make it clear that when God promised us that He would bring His words to our remembrance, that promise is not for us today, but was only meant for the apostles, and that the promise no longer is valid for us. I'm pleased to see you finally admit that He does bring scriptures to our minds, which up to this point you have been ambivalent and ambiguous about (as far as I could tell, anyway).

      I do not think ill of you simply because I disagree with you from time to time. As I have stated before, I do not think there is a person on the planet that I can agree with 100% of the time. If I made that a prerequisite for who I will talk with I would never speak! :D

      I don't think a separate post is necessary, my position hasn't changed on this, and still remains where it needs to remain, in Jesus court and by His gifting as He desires to gift us, not through any working, and not by limits we place on Him stemming from our limited understanding of Him.

      Take care.

    2. "I'll not mention this offense on my blog (either in posts or comments), lest any of my readers who don't read your blog think ill of you."

      I had to smile as I read that, that had to be said "tongue in cheek", right? ...because you have taken this publicly before, in the above linked post concerning "goosebumps"...ok, whatever, it's ok, I won't demand a "public apology" over it, lol.

  3. Hey sister, Let's not point each other out on our blogs unless it is to give praise... We are all believers in Christ and don't need to make a blog post about our differences by naming each other. I recommend using the Matthew 18 approach and handle this between yourselves either through email or better yet - a personal phone call.

    1. It is perfectly ok to point out if one disagrees with someone else, just as Paul also does by naming names specifically. :) We still (for the moment) have freedom of speech and we are to admonish and correct one another, certainly in love, and if I have been guilty of being unloving in this, the Lord knows.

      Thanks for your thoughts. :)

  4. Sure we have freedom to do lots of things, but if my freedom causes hurt to another believer, then I'll pass on using it.

    1. As I stated in the above comments to DebbieLynne, she took the initiative to make it an open discussion "in public", so in public it is. :)

  5. Alright, time for me to add my two cents, which may only be worth one cent. I am sorry to admit this, but I still don't understand everyone's position on this issue. I can be quite thick at times, but I also have no prior exposure to Pentecostalism or "listening prayer", as I have stated on Debbie's blog. I am still not sure what differences there are between Debbie's position and Susan's. Indeed, I'm still not sure that there is a difference. And again, this may just be because I'm thick. I don't want to take up too much space here, as I did on Debbie's blog, but here are some quick thoughts.

    I am very strongly inclined to cessationism about gifts of the Holy Spirit such as prophecy and tongues; and, although I have no experience with Pentecostalism, I am very concerned about the obsession that I see with these spiritual gifts among Charismatic Christians. I also agree that God speaks to His children primarily through Scripture, at the very least. And, I agree with the comment that Friend For Life left on Debbie's blog that when we are trying to discern things like our spiritual gifts, we should look to objective evidence, such as whether we are good at languages and adapting to foreign cultures when discerning whether we might be called to missionary service abroad. Finally, I think that it can be dangerous to seek guidance from God about particular decisions, such as what job we should take, or what city we should live in. The dangers here are numerous - we may mistake our own voice for God's; we may fail to turn first and foremost to Scripture, etc.

  6. Picking up where I left off in the last post...

    That all being said, I am inclined to think that God does sometimes "speak" to us about particular decisions such as which church we should attend, what our spiritual gifts are, what job we should take, etc. At the same time, I am not sure that Debbie or anyone else here would disagree with how I understand such "speaking". Let me borrow an example from Friends For Life. Suppose I want to know whether I might be called to serve as a missionary in a foreign country. I consult Scripture and see that God does indeed call people to spread the Gospel to all nations. I look at my life and see that I am good at foreign languages, I adapt easily to foreign cultures, I have extensive travel experience, etc. I start talking with my pastor and elders, and they all say that they think I would an excellent missionary, and they pledge a large amount of financial support. I attend missionary classes, and my teachers think that I would be a great missionary. Everywhere I look in the church, I see positive signs. Finally, I pray for discernment through this entire process, and I feel an inner call to go ahead with things. Suppose I now become a missionary in Africa. In a case like this, I would say that God "spoke" to me through Scripture, the church, and prayer. Does that mean that I heard His voice like the prophets did? Not at all. Does that mean that I can be completely confident that God wanted me to become a missionary. No, I don't think it does. Scripture doesn't say "Les - go serve as a missionary in Africa", so I can't conclude that I know with certainty that this is God's will. But can I be confident that I have been obedient to God, and that I have followed His will for me? Yes, I think so. And that's all I mean when I say that God speaks to believers about things like their spiritual gifts, or what job they take, or where they live. And, of course, whatever God "speaks" to us in this way must be consistent with Scripture.

    I'm not sure whether Susan or Ma would want to say that God ever speaks to believers in a stronger sense than this, and I'm not sure that Debbie would want to deny that God ever speaks to believers in this sense. To this extent, the question still seems unclear.

    This is an important topic, and I think that all believers - the group of us included - should be able to discuss it amiably. Here's to further amiable discussion!

    1. I agree Leslie, that for the most part the Lord speaks (in my own experience, for whatever that's worth, for some people it's even less than a penny, and that's ok too, lol) in my thoughts, sometimes a scripture verse that comes to mind, or a relationship situation such as what was told about regarding King Saul and the then future King David. Sometimes it is in the form of seeing a picture in my mind's eye, regarding something that I wanted clarity on and that image brings that clarity for me...once I got an answer to a question I had about "spiritual garments" mentioned in one of Jesus' parables, just a couple weeks after I asked the Lord about it. It didn't happen instantaneously like having my answer genie at my beck and call, lol. It happened over the process of time, and my ears perked up when it happened discerning immediately that it was from the Lord. The answer that time came through a radio pastor. I posted about it under the title "Spiritual Garments" if anyone is interested.

      However, you are right, most often He speaks very clearly to me through His scriptures, I think it is a mistake to claim that God is limited to ONLY speak to us that way.

      AND regarding:

      "This is an important topic, and I think that all believers - the group of us included - should be able to discuss it amiably. Here's to further amiable discussion!"


      I almost put it to comment that I would not be accepting anymore comments to this post, but was refrained from doing so. It felt argumentative, and I didn't want it to be that. I do enjoy an honest discussion even when I disagree. I think that it is good to get it out in the open and not be all secretive and what not to try to keep up appearances. Lord knows we have enough of that going around, and look at the trouble such activity causes!

      I've heard it said that whenever there are two rabbis discussing anything, there are at least 3 opinions! LoL. I love that quote! :-P

    2. I guess the correct wording would be "was restrained" and not "was refrained"...

    3. As my Jewish friends put it - two Jews, three views. :)

  7. Somehow through the sovereignty of the good Lord I became involved in this discussion and have come to respect and care for all parties involved. My prayers are with both Susan and DebbieLynne for their well-being, growth in the Lord and that even-though they might be at odds over this issue, they are in agreement in Christ Jesus.

  8. My wife read my comments here before bed last and said she disagrees with me. In particular, she said that some of her friends have claimed to hear God speak articulate sentences to them about particular situations, such as "So and so, go here and do this. I am YHWH." My wife says she believes that these friends really had these experiences, and that the experiences themselves were genuine - i.e., that God was really speaking to them. I'm not sure whether anyone here has had such experiences. I certainly haven't, and I wasn't even thinking about such experiences when reading all the comments here and on Debbie's blog.

    I haven't thought about these experiences enough, but, unless someone can show me otherwise from Scripture, I would not deny that other believers can have such experiences. However, I would insist that no such experience can be genuine if it contradicts Scripture or purports to reveal new doctrines - the Bible is God's word, and it is also His final word. I would also caution people not to place perfect confidence in such experiences and to be very careful not to set aside Scripture and start seeking mystical experiences, which would be very dangerous. Such things need to be handled very carefully. At the same time, if someone feels in his bones that God has spoken to Him with precise words and articulate sentences, then I don't see why I should deny it. But again, if someone can challenge this position from Scripture, I am always willing to listen. God bless.

    1. I've never heard an audible voice or anything like that. But I know of a few dreams that I attribute to being from God (all is of God, but you know what I mean).

      And in circumstances, things that work out (or don't work out) in such ways that you know He is working them out.

    2. There was one time that I did hear what was so clear and pierced my darkness that I was going through at the time, it sounded like an audible sound, but not sure, I can't describe it except to say it sort of sounded like bells, or a very clear trumpet like sound, not loud, just very piercing and clear, and the words were: "Worship the Truth"

      It was at a time that I was VERY troubled, and I was crying out to God to please help me know what to do, to help me through the tangled maze of my messed up mind, and then those words clear as a bell.

      I thought on those words for a few minutes (I was sitting in my car, around midnite, had just gotten home from work), then ran in and wrote how I could in practical ways do what that voice said...worship the truth...what does that look like?

      Truth: Jesus, honesty, integrity, the Word, keeping one's word (promise), faithful, the sword, accuracy in all things

      Worship: love and adore, praise, enjoy with all your heart, by being truly thankful and show your thanks in how you live

      There were more things, but you get the idea, I filled up a lined notebook paper page full of words that were practical ways to worship the truth. :) and as I followed this simple advice, the Lord brought me out of my horrible dark mess in my tangled up brain...:D Halleluja!!! He is faithful!

    3. Susan, was that part of your experience in coming to Christ? (Sorry if you already answered this question in one of your recent posts.) And yes, God is indeed faithful! Amen!

    4. I think I did mention it before (now where did I put that??? I'm always losing stuff!) It happened the year that I was saved, 1988. I had been involved in witchcraft (white not that it matters, it is still evil... and tried my hand at "channeling" ) and did mushrooms and XTC :( I was one messed up woman. :( There were a few times during the first couple of years in my Christian infancy, where I thought my mind was completely gone, and prayed through those terrifying moments, and I believe the Lord healed me a bit more each time, in stages. It was a terrible time, but Jesus pulled me through it.

    5. God be praised for all He has done for you. But you should turn those frowns to smiles, for God has called you, and He has done great things for you. :)

    6. :) True enough, Leslie

      Ma, Didn't overlook you...I agree about dreams and circumstances. There are many times and ways that Jesus does talk with us, and often I know I am guilty of failing to listen....or at least give Him the credit for it...I know I've been guilty of giving the credit to "coincidence" or "luck", what a terrible slap in God's face to instead give away what He has said and done and attribute it to such demons. Let God alone get the credit for the good things He does every day in each of our lives.

  9. Even before I was a Christian, I always had a belief that there are no coincidences. It's a good thing to remember when things get tough, too!

    1. Hi Ma,

      Yes, too true, I've been sensing lately that everything God does is for our good, even the things we think are not (like suffering). The spirit is willing but the flesh is very weak and fights like crazy for such a weak thing, sigh.

  10. "Bible Treasures and Pearls" has been included in this weeks Sites To See. I hope this helps to attract many new visitors here.

    1. Thanks for the link up :)

    2. By the way, I would like to hear about your experience in the Seventh Day Adventist church at some point. Have you written about it?

    3. Hi Leslie,
      I have a little here and there, but not on this blog (I don't think, I did anyway) Maybe I can do that in the next day or so.


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Colossians 4:6 Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.

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