Thursday, May 31, 2012

Chicken Bones, Tea Leaves and the Spirit of God

Ever been in a situation where you are looking for direction from God?  Perhaps it is a pressing situation where the clock is ticking and decisions must be!  As a Spirit-filled Christian I am continually looking for not only God's direction, but also for Him to break though into my life in very real and tangible ways.  It is a great joy of mine to look back and see how the Lord has led me, provided for me and used me.  However, if I am honest in my looking back, those times were filled with doubt, uncertainty and fear.  You see God never showed up exactly how or when I wanted Him to.  And in those times I was constantly searching for His will so that I might live accordingly.

So here's the thing.  It is so tempting during these times (I am in one of those times again) to get caught up in looking for "signs."  Because of fear, timeline pressures, expectations of others, etc. Christians can drift toward superstition.  Certainly God uses signs to communicate to us, but that is not His main voice.  Signs usually only serve as a CONFIRMATION of what He has already spoken.  BUT, it is difficult during transitions times.  

As my wife and I have been praying about different churches that we have had conversations about regarding me coming to pastor, in each case we saw different "signs."  Although we were never sure what they meant exactly.  As I was talking to one church in Ogden, UT and I saw a man jogging and on the back of his shirt in big orange letters was the word "OGDEN."  I thought...well this must be it!  It wasn't.  If I had been paying attention in my heart I would have known.  Other times there have been similar "signs," but something was always absent internally.  It can be a confusing and frustrating time.

So where do we learn how to discern God's will?  The same way we learn anything about God; we turn to His Word.  In His Word, we see the Holy Spirit taking the lead.

Ever notice that Judas' replacement was chosen kind of OT style in Acts 1, but after Pentecost and the coming of the Holy Spirit to dwell in believers there is never again any mention of "casting of lots?"

Some people look at times of delay or things not working out smoothly as having missed God.  How ridiculous!   Again we look at God's Word.  Did things always work out "smoothly" in the life and ministry of Jesus?  How about the Disciples and the early church?  Weren't most of them killed in a gruesome way according to Church history?  What about the expansion of the Kingdom of God through the centuries?  Smooth sailing? Hardly.  Fact is that there will be gaps, struggles, flesh issues that are part of the mix in following Jesus where He leads.

So put the chicken bones, tea leaves, and fortune cookies away.
In all seriousness don't be an 'dumb donkey' and start opening up your spirit to the demonic by consulting horoscopes, tarot, or so-called psychics.  

Trust in the Lord.  (Prov. 3:5-6) Walk in His Spirit. (Gal. 5:25) Live in His love and provision for you.  (Matt 6) He will lead you as He has led my family and I so faithfully all these years.


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