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How to be Led by the Spirit V
God told me!

Peace is a spiritual fruit. As we saw in the previous lesson, peace is the voice of the Holy Spirit. When He speaks to you, peace comes. Peace becomes the guiding force of your life. You make decisions based on the peace you have. If you donít have peace to go a certain direction, then you should not go that way.

Satan has a counterfeit fruit that resembles peace. Jesus said, "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid" (John 14:27). The world has a form of peace, and if we are not careful we will confuse the peace of God with the peace of the world.

A minister acquaintance of mine, Howard Pittman, tells the story of the time he suffered an aneurysm. While he lay on the hospital bed, he could feel his spirit start to leave him. He first fought against this, until he heard a voice say, "Relax, and let go." He felt peace when he heard this voice. So he concluded it was God. Consequently, he obeyed the voice. As he was dying, he realized the voice was Satan after all. He fought against it and came out alive. He learned not every soft voice is Godís.

The Bible says to test the spirits to see if they are from God. You canít believe every voice, no matter how godlike the voice sounds.

Psychics

"'Do not turn to mediums or seek out spiritists, for you will be defiled by them. I am the LORD your God. (Lev 19:31)

What are spiritists? They are people who try to listen to their spirits. They live on the spiritual plane. Just like a gymnast works in the gym, so a spiritist works in the spirit. Modern day spiritists would be the psychics. How do they make predictions? They listen to their intuition. The intuition is the voice of spirits. For the Christian the intuition should be the voice of the Holy Spirit. For psychics, they often are listening to other spirits. This is why God forbids listening to spiritists.

There would be nothing wrong with spiritists if there werenít evil spirits in the world. But since there is, it becomes dangerous to listen to any voice. The voice of evil spirits sounds like intuition as well. The devil will also try to deceive a child of God in this area.

As I mentioned in the previous article, a spirit, who told James Dobson that his father was going to die, deceived him. It didnít happen. To be fair James Dobson does not believe it was an evil spirit who told him that; he simply attributes it to his emotions. I believe it was an evil spirit who spoke to him.

Someone who has been through this bad experience can become very wary of listening to the Holy Spirit. Theyíre afraid to get deceived again. We canít let a bad experience drive us away from a godly experience. The Bible clearly teaches that the Holy Spirit speaks to us today. We canít be afraid of His voice, simply because there are other spirits speaking. At the same time, we must learn to discern the voice of the Holy Spirit from the voices of deceiving spirits.

I Feel Led

How many times have we heard a Christian say, "I feel led to do this," and when she does it, she falls flat? We rightly question whether or not she has heard from God. There are many sincere believers who honestly felt God leading them in a certain directionóperhaps in ministryóbut they soon discover they were mislead. It can happen to anyone.

I have thought deeply about this issue. I wanted to find answers, so I and others would not make the mistake of thinking God was leading us into certain directions, only to find out we were wrong. As I was in prayer, God showed me a powerful story in the Bible which answered my questions about being misled.

Before we read the following scriptures let me give you some background. David and his men were fugitives of Israel because of the hatred of King Saul. David was afraid of Saul, so to hide, he went to the Philistines to fight for them. That was a mistake. The Philistine king told David to take his men and leave. So they left. This is where the scriptures begin:

David and his men reached Ziklag on the third day. Now the Amalekites had raided the Negev and Ziklag. They had attacked Ziklag and burned it, and had taken captive the women and all who were in it, both young and old. They killed none of them, but carried them off as they went on their way. When David and his men came to Ziklag, they found it destroyed by fire and their wives and sons and daughters taken captive. So David and his men wept aloud until they had no strength left to weep. David's two wives had been capturedóAhinoam of Jezreel and Abigail, the widow of Nabal of Carmel. David was greatly distressed because the men were talking of stoning him; each one was bitter in spirit because of his sons and daughters. But David found strength in the LORD his God. (1 Sam 30:1-6)

This was one bad day for David. He had lost everythingóhis wealth, family and now his position as leader. What was he going to do?

Have you ever been in a situation where you feel there is no where to go. You are in trouble if you do and in trouble if you donít. You find no answer. The problem is insurmountable. David was in this type of situation.

When there is no way that seems right, remember, with God there is a way! God has never met a situation in which He did not know the answer. You see, most people make bad decisions because they see no way out. Donít ever make a decision out of helplessness.

What is the first thing David does? He does not pray. Now listen, the worse thing to do when you are discouraged, despondent, confused, hurt, or betrayed is to first pray. Did I shock you? People will tell you when you are hurting that you need to pray. Iím telling you they are wrong. Prayer can be very dangerous when you are discouraged.

Here you are, you are very discouraged. You need Godís help. So in the midst of your despondency you pray.

"Oh, God, please show me the way! I donít know what to do. I need your help!" You weep.

Have you ever prayed something like this? Now in the midst of this prayer, you are quiet. Then suddenly a thought flashes to your mind. You begin to think it is God speaking to you. You feel good about the idea you have. You then get up from your knees. You believe you have heard from God. Have you really?

"Well, I feel at peace. It must be God." Are you sure? Can you see how weak you felt? Satan does not come to you when you are strong. He knows better. Like a roaring lion, he looks for a weak, sickly prey. Satan did not come to Jesus until after He was hungry. At Jesus weakest moment, Satan appeared. He even spoke the Word of God to confuse Jesus. Satan comes to you when you are weak.

Iíve seen more believers get misled during their times of weaknesses. They are so desperate for an answer; they will believe any impression they feel.

Think back for moment in your own life. You felt frustrated. Then you believed you heard from God. Often things did not turn out as plan. You realized you missed God.

Perhaps were felt you will never find a mate. You pray and are sure God told you someone was coming to you soon that you were to marry. Sure enough you allow a person to sweep you off your feet. You feel good about marrying him, why? It might be because you feel desperate, and in your desperation you felt peace that someone was coming to your life. And it seemed to have happened. Later you discover the big mistake you made.

Or you donít like your job. You are discouraged. Then suddenly the idea comes across you mind to go into the ministry. You believe you heard God tell you to enter the ministry. Years later, you still struggle. Did you hear from God earlier? Could it be that you felt God speaking because you were unhappy with your career? Can you see how the mistakes we make in following Godís leading stems often from our frustrations?

Now look at David carefully. There is no mention of prayerÖyet! He does one thing: But David found strength in the LORD his God. One translation says, "David encouraged himself in the Lord." Prior to this David was in no position to make any major decisions. He had wept until he had no more strength to weep. He was not ready to hear from God. He must, first, encourage himself in the Lord. Only then can he rightly seek Godís direction.

Then David said to Abiathar the priest, the son of Ahimelech, "Bring me the ephod." Abiathar brought it to him, and David inquired of the LORD, "Shall I pursue this raiding party? Will I overtake them?" "Pursue them," he answered. "You will certainly overtake them and succeed in the rescue." (1 Sam 30:7-8)

David did not inquire of the LORD until he had first encouraged himself in the Lord. Prayer came after he was encouraged. Prayer is not the means for encouragement. The Word is the encourager. Romans 15:4 says, "Through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope." After being encouraged, David sought Godís direction. David was not desperate. He was not discouraged. He was not afraid. He knew God was in control. From this galvanized state of mind God spoke to him. Itís clear. Pursue them. You will certainly overtake them and succeed in the rescue.

David had truly heard from God. He did not hear from God while discouraged. He heard after he encouraged himself and was strong in God.

Learn from him. Donít seek Godís direction while in a state of stupor. Wake yourself up. Get encouraged about where you are now, before you find out where you should go. You get encouraged through the Scriptures.

If you are fearful at your present state, you will not find out where you should go in the future. You need to be encouraged now, before you know what to do later.

My Experience

I was in a very precarious situation (specifics are left out so as to not offend anyone). It did not look like I could ever succeed after what I had just gone through. I saw no hope for my situation. I knew I was going to have to make a major decision, which would either sink me or make me. I just did not know what to do. No decision seemed right. Thankfully, I did not have to make a decision until about two months from then. So what did I do?

The first thing I did was to go to every Christian meeting I could attend. I went to hear Kenneth Hagin everyday for a week. Next I attended Kenneth Copelandís meeting for three straight days. What was I doing? I knew I was in no condition to make a major decision without the Word. To tell you the truth, they never said anything specifically to give me my answer, but the Word was still good. My life did not center on my decision, no matter how important it was. I still needed to be strengthen in areas I was not aware I needed strengthening. Donít think because the minister did not preach on your situation that you did not get something out of it. You still needed what they preached.

After those meetings, I went to the Word myself. I began to dig into the Word concerning my situation. I looked up every reference I could find related to my situation. What was I doing? I needed the Word of God to keep me from hearing a wrong voice. You see, many mistakes are made, which could have been prevented if people would have been grounded in the Word of God. Instead, they went off into a tangent, and now they have shipwrecked their faith.

I wanted to make sure I read nearly every reference in the Scriptures concerning my situation. I read stories in the Bible. I studied great men and women who went through what I went through. I found out what they did that worked. I study what others did that did not work. I did not want to make their mistakes.

After reading all this material, I had a good understanding of the possible direction to take. But I did not have the specific direction. I needed something specific. A general answer was not enough for me. I needed specifics.

A couple of days before the big decision I was reading scriptures when all of a sudden I saw a verse of Scripture. This was a rhema word. I knew specifically what to do.

The day for the decision came. I finally knelt in prayer, and told the Lord all Iíve found in His Word. I then prayed everything would turn out as Iíve seen it from the Word. And it did.

What seemed hopeless, turned out far better than I ever hoped it could turn out. I looked like a genius, but really it was the Word of God that gave me the wisdom to make the right decision.

Did God speak to me? Yes. I think that sometimes people misunderstand me when I say God spoke to me. They think I was whistling and walking merrily by when all of a sudden I heard God's voice. Nothing could be further from the truth. Quick words from supposedly God, without the grounding of the Scriptures, usually turn out to be manís own ideas, not Godís ideas.

Great men and woman who have claimed God has spoken to them, generally have spent consider time pondering Godís direction and looking at Scriptures before claiming that God has spoken to them. Yes, God speaks. He will give you peace. Make sure, however, that you are strong in the Lord at the time you hear from God.

To avoid deceptions learn to process the Word of God. Take the Scriptures, especially the part related to your situation. Put them into your heart. Understand the context of the Scriptures. Donít take isolated passages, instead, get a thorough understanding of what the Word teaches concerning what you are going through. Those Scriptures will keep Satan from deceiving you into hearing a voice which is not Godís. As you process those Scriptures, the Holy Spirit will use them to speak to you.

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