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What I Feel and What God Says

Adam Ramdin

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Adam Ramdin

Youth Director for the North England Conference of SDA

Conference

Recorded

  • December 30, 2012
    9:45 AM
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This message was presented at the GYC 2012 Conference in Seattle Washington. For other resources like this, visit us online at www.gycweb.org.

 

OK. This morning our workshop is called What I feel and what God says. What I feel and what God says. Yesterday our workshop was called (Anyone remember?) the pre- requisite and we looked at a couple of things. Josephine in the workshop. A couple of things on the prerequisite to knowing God's will. Can any of you remember some of those? Yeah. A purity of heart. So there has to be a purity in our hearts or our desires to want to know what God's will is; and there -key, and then be willing to follow it when it's revealed. There's no point in saying, “Lord, revealed me Your will,” if when He reveals it to us, we're not gonna do it.Do you think God would waste His words on us? I don't think so. I think God pleads with us and maybe He tries and he woes us. It's not like He tells us of one time, “That's My will and if you don't listen to Me, I'm done with you.” We know He does chase us as a/ like a parent who loves us; but at the same time we have to have obedience, purity of heart, and a desire to do what God shows. If there’s not that desire to do what God shows,then I don't think God is gonna just reveal with all His great light if He knows we're not gonna follow it anyway.

 

You know there is a passage of Scripture. I think it's in my next slide. It is. If you turn on your Bible to Ezekiel chapter 20. And this kind of goes along with just reinforcing what we looked at yesterday. Ezekiel chapter 20 and I'm gonna read a few verses there. Ezekiel chapter 20. Now, Ezekiel was written around the time when Daniel, was kind of a contemporary of Daniel. And was Israel behaving themselves at this time in their history, yes or no? No. You could say that they were in pretty bad or they were being rebellious. So Israel is not really listening to God.

 

God wants to talk to Israel. But notice in Ezekiel chapter 20 and verse 3. Notice what it says here. It says “Son of man, speak unto the elders of Israel, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Are you come to enquire of me?” Question. He answers Himself. As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I will not be enquired of by you.”Stop there. Isn’tthat seem strange? God here asks the question, are you come to inquire of me? Then He answered His own question and says, “As long as I live, I am not gonna be inquired of you.”

 

 How many of you if God said that to you, you would be just a little bit disturbed? Right? You're praying to the Lord and He says to you, “You’re asking me a question. So long as I live, I'm not talking to you.” You’ll be like “wooh.”Those weren’t the kind of personal devotions Josephine was talking about this morning. That's a little bit disturbing. But as you read on in the chapter, we are not going to jump to verse 12 right.

 

Let's read on a few of the verses after that and you kinda get the gist of the passage. He opens, “Are you come to inquire of me, as I live, I will not be inquired of you.” What's the issue here in Ezekiel chapter 20? He wrote, reading down it is, “Thus saith the Lord” in verse 5. He's kinda recounting history. He says, In the day when I chose Israel, I lifted up my hand” and in the end it says, “I am the LORD your God.”Verse 6, In the day that I lifted up my hand unto them, to bring them forth of the land of Egypt into a land that I had espied for them, flowing with milk and honey,…”He's kinda recount in his history. Verse 7, at the end of it “saying, I am the LORD your God.” Verse 8, that's the key word there. It is “But.” They did (what?) they rebelled against Me and they would not hearken (or hear) Me, neither did they forsake the idols of Egypt. Then I said I will pour out My fury on them to accompany My anger. Verse 9, it says,they polluted My name among the heathen. Verse 10, wherefore I caused them to go forth from the land of Egypt into the wilderness. Verse 11, I gave them My statutes and My judgments. Verse 12, He says, Moreover, I gave them My(what?)Sabbath to be a sign between Me and them. Verse 13, “But the house of Israel rebelled against me in the wilderness, walked not in My statutes, and despised My judgment which if a man do he shall live in them and My Sabbath they polluted.” Do you get an idea of the picture now?

 

So verse 3, He says, “Have you come to inquire of me? As I live, I will not be inquired of you.”That seems harsh; but, when you read through the context,He says, “Listen I brought you about the land of Egypt. I gave you statutes. I gave you judgment. I gave you the law.” And He says,“you despised my law, you despised my judgments, you trampled on the Sabbath,” which if you read on Ezekiel chapter 8, they started to worship the sun in the sanctuary. He says, “You did all these things and now you want to receive a new word from me.” What is God saying here? He's saying, “Follow me in as much as I have already showed you and then I may give you a new revelation.”

 

Some of us are disobedient in our lives and wanting God to reveal something to us about something else. God says, “Listen, I'm still working on you here. Don't jump to level B or A until you've figured out level C.” And sometimes in our lives’ decisions, we wanna jump forward ahead of God and God may be keeping us at a certain place in order to teach us things about our character before He may give us insight as to the next step in life. I mean, one of the big decisions that we seek God's will for at this age in life? Fifteen to 35 that's a big age range; education - where should I go and study or what should I study? Life partner? Well, that’s a big one, right? Job? What job should I do or where should I go? Ministry calling? These are the big decisions that we kinda ponder in our mind. But it may be, for example in life partner, you're asking, “Lord, I want a partner. Where is my partner?” And the Lord is saying to you, “Listen, I'm still trying to work your character out here before I would entrust you with someone else to be close to.” And then sometimes we get frustrated with God, “God, why aren't You giving me that what I'm praying for. I prayed for five years for it.” “Listen, still working here. You're missing what I'm trying to teach you.”

 

And so Ezekiel chapter 20 and verse 3 and verse 12 I believe is, the issue of the Sabbath, God will stop speaking to Israel and if we’re ignoring God, don't expect Him to give us new light.

 

Notice this quotation here. It’s from Second Selected Messages page 93 paragraph 3 - When persons yield their will in perfect submission to the will of God, and the spirit is humble and(even more important what?) teachable, the Lord will correct them by His Holy Spirit, and lead them into safe paths. So what is it we have to do? We have to yield our will in what kind of submission? Partial? Perfect submission. What does it mean perfect submission? - means a complete willingness to do whatever it is that may be revealed to me when I submit my will. And sometimes that's the biggest challenge.We don't wanna submit our will because we're scared sometimes of what will be the outcome or what God is gonna show us when we do.

 

Notice here. Second Selected Messages. Quite a quotation. It says, “There are some who do not even now view matters in the right light; but these may learn to see eye to eye with their co-workers and may avoid making serious mistakes by earnestly seeking the Lord at this time and by submitting their will wholly to the will of God.” How many of you wanna avoid making serious mistakes in life? Amen. You know they say experience is learning by your mistakes and wisdom is learning by the mistakes of others where you can listen to even your parents or senior people in your church and find out from them what their life's experiences were and you soon realize that though the issues may change and the pressures in particular may change,the real core issues of life are the same generation after generation. And we can avoid making some of these serious mistakes.

 

One important thing that I wanna emphasize in this presentation about what I feel and what God says is the importance of knowing our own character and inclinations and then what it can do is help us guard against thinking that our natural inclination is God as opposed to what you do naturally. Do you understand what I’m saying here? How many of you, I mean this is very general,are people,you're a person that struggled with your feelings driving you in most of your decisions. See. OK. And you would say you're more rational people, logical - if A equals B, then C and D. And your life is very methodical, right? Can you relate to what I'm saying? I am more of a logical rational person as opposed to someone driven always by my feelings on making decisions.

 

Let me give you one example. When I was in college, I was a colporteur leader as I was a student. And so I would be there in school and I knew I was going to be leading the colporteur program that summer and so what I would do throughout the school year was to recruit students from the college that I’m in. And so I go in the cafeteria, you know, “What you do in the summer? You want to come on the colporteur program .” And it was like kinda almost two types of students. There’ll be the ones that in September or October. “Ok, where's the program?” “It's in West Virginia.” What are the dates?” Bang, bang. “Ok, I'll be there.” Done. Sign them up and for the next eight months nothing would budge them. I'm going to West Virginia- June, July, and August. Counting down. Then one of the other students, there’ll be like “do you wanna come?” “I don't know, still praying.” I don't doubt they were praying; but, they'll be praying in September and October and November and December and January and February and March and April and May. Praying, praying, praying, praying, maybe this is you. And then come three days before the program when theysay, “I might come. I think I might come; but I'm still praying.” What would then happen is three days before the program someone else would come and talk to them and tell them “oh, we really need someone to come on a mission trip to Mongolia, would you come?” “Oh, the Lord have spoken.”“Now, I know that I am supposed to go on this mission trip.” And they would interpret that as that is now God's will for them to go there; because, it was like the last minute and you get these dramatic stories, “I don't want to do”; last minute the Lord spoke. Where is me with my rational mind says they thinking “aah.” I make up my mind before and any requests that come after that is merely a temptation to divert from the course of action that God wants me to do.  You see how I see it completely different. I would see that as “No, that’s just a last minute distraction to God's will” whereas someone else will look at this “No, that’s God’s will revealed last minute in answer to my prayers.”

 

Now, I'm not gonna debate whether it's right or wrong, what I'm simply saying is when we know our natural character and inclination, you can sometimes see. Now, naturally I'm the type of person that will do the plan. I'll know my whole year's calendar for next year pretty much in advance and I can outline which weekends I'm free. I know that's just how I work whereas some people aren't like that.

 

I remember there was one story where I was in college and I was looking for an internship as an intern pastor. And what happened is this, I wanted to go and work with Doug Batchelor. I was like 20 years old and I wanted to work with Doug Batchelor. My teachers say, “How you met the guy?” “No.” “Do you know anyone that knows him?” “No, but I want to go work with him.” And I'm the type of person that when a door needs to be open, I'll beat it and beat it and beat it, until you get so fed up with me, you'll eventually open it, you know. So I called up Amazing Facts. “Can I speak to Doug Batchelor, please.” They don't put me through. They put me to the Secretary. So I talk to the Secretary; told the whole situation. “Can I have his email please?” “Oh, sure it's dbachelor@amazingfacts.org. That's the secretary's email that screens everything. So I get that email or start emailing the Secretary. You know it’s the secretary. It’s not really him. E-mailing, e-mailing, emailing and then I called. “Get you get the email?” then I called. And I have been calling on a weekly basis. And every time I get through to the Secretary which is his mother-in-law by the way, and so I'm calling, I'm calling, I'm calling, and by this time we're on like “Oh, you're the guy from last year?” “Yeah, yeah.”“I wanna talk to Doug” and then eventually, eventually I managed to get his personal e-mail address. And I wrote him again and again and then called and called and called and I must have budged that office for like three months. And eventually, I got the green light. “If you really want to come as an intern pastor at Sacramento Central, then you can come but we ain't paying you.” And for me like “that's the way I think that's likeWow.I open the door.”

 

But the reason why I tell you the story is this is because maybe just a few weeks before that I was strongly impressed that that wasn't what I should do. That was my natural inclination. So that's the course I pursued. I ended up going to do an internship site with a pastor none of you have probably ever heard of, in a church where you've probably never heard of it,no known, no cameras, no lights, no action, nothing; but I look back on that experience in my life and think “Well if I had gone to this big famous church as opposed to the one I went to in real life ministry experience, it was probably like that. One of them I would have observed and one of them I actually did. And that was a time in my life where I was going against my natural inclinations in order to do something. So your natural inclination is not always the way God will work with you. Often times it may be.

 

I remember when I was choosing what school to study at and you know sometime God doesn't reveal and for me it was like “where do I go?” This one or this one. They're both good. You know it's like choosing between Harvard or Yale. I wish, I mean that they’re top but they’re good. So this one or this one. What are the pros of going here? Dang, dang, dang. And what’s the cons of going here? Dang,dang, dang. What are the pros of this one? Dang, dang, dang. What are cons of this one? Dang,dang,dang,dang. There was one more con there than there; so that’s where I’m going. There was no relevant revelation from God to me. I just use my reason and trotted out and since then my life has turned out not too bad. I know that God was leading in that decision. Sometimes, I think He does maybe go your natural inclinations; but sometimes He may not. But I want to read this quotation and this one is one that has been a real blessing to me and always stands out in my mind. It’s from Acts of the Apostlespage 279 where it says these words. “Impressions alone are not a safe guide to (what?) duty. The enemy (who?) often persuades men to believe that it is God who is guiding them, when in reality they are following only human impulse. But if we watch carefully, and take counsel with our brethren, we shall be given an understanding of the Lord's will; for the promise is, "The meek will He guide in judgment: and the meek will He teach His (what?) way."

 

She says, “impressions alone are not a safe guide to duty.”So there are only maybe ten of you who put your hands up when I said if you are led more by your feelings than maybe not. My guess is there's more of ten of you in this room that rely on your impressions to make decisions. And we are told that impressions alone like “why you do that?” “Well, I was impressed by the Lord.” And sometimes like I have a feeling of peace that just comes over me, came over me when I made that decision; so I knew that was the Lord.

 

Now, I know that the Lord does use our feelings and we have to be careful that we don't just put feelings aside; but she said, “Impressions alone are not a safe guide to duty.”Sometimes we see people make decisions and it’s like “Where is this decision coming from?” “I was impressed. I just feel I should do it.” And oftentimes in relationships, the area you see the most. Girl and the guy get together. The whole family has no idea why they're together. All the friends are like “What are you doing?” “I just feel right in my soul that I should do it.” You know what I'm talking about. You ladies get together and have a little discussion when she's not there like “What is she doing? She's lost her mind.” Or guys do the same thing like “That boy, he's just lost his mind, not thinking straight anymore.” Because it seems like it's a decision that's been made just on impressions with nothing rational behind it. “But why is she with that guy? He's got no job; can't support himself; can't do this; he's living in cloud 99 somewhere, dreaming about these things he's gonna do; he's gonna invent this and invent that. But she believes in him all the way.” And it just seems like it's a decision based purely on impressions. We are told, “Impressions alone are not a safe guide to(what?)duty.

 

Notice here. Notice here. Jeremiah 17:9, it says, the heart is desperately wicked above(what?)all things and the question is who can know it. That's why I believe Ellen White paragraph previous - Impressions alone is not a safe guide to duty. Why? Because our heart is desperately wicked. If we’re just relying on the passionate heart, it is not going to be a clear enough guide in order to make the decision that we want to make. Some of us are relying on impressions in the big decisions as I've said – relationships, in school, or things like that. And it's scary when we do.

 

Turn in your Bibles, if you will to the next text. We got a couple of texts. They are on the screen, but if you have a Bible, it's good to turn to Proverbs chapter 28, in verse 26. Proverbs 28:26. Just wanna turn to a few texts as to what the Bible I believe says about some of these issues that we may be struggling with. What does the Bible say? In Jeremiah 17:9, “The heart is desperately wicked and deceitful above all things. Who can know it?” In Proverbs 28:26, it says: “He that trust is in his own heart is a (what?) fool;but whoso walks wisely, he shall be delivered.”The heart is wicked. Don't trust in your own heart.

 

This whole workshop, we're not gonna give all the answers in this one. What I'm looking at here is what I feel and what God says. The next workshop, we gonna be looking at clear biblical principles upon which we do really base our decision and how God does lead us.

 

Proverbs 12:58, “The way of a(what?) fool is right in his own eyes; but he that hearkens unto council is wise.” And this brings up, we're gonna probably discuss it later on. One of the ways of knowing God's will is by looking at the counsel from those around you. But you don't just drive forward with your own idea all the time; but it is confirmed sometimes in the mouth of other witnesses as well.

 

Proverbs 14:12, 13. You know this text well. I'm sure. “There is a way that seems right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death. Even in laughter the heart is sorrowful; and the end of that mirth is heaviness.”

 

Psalm 119: 105, it says, “Thy word is (what a?) lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.”God's Word is the one that should guide us more than our deceitful heart, more than our own impressions. For God's word should be the basis upon which we make our decisions. Now, God's word is not always gonna tell you that you should study at this school instead of this school. He lays down the foundation principles and then sometimes you have to exercise your mind beyond that and then make a decision.

 

Notice 2ndPeter chapter 1 verse 21 – “For prophecy came not in old time by the(what?) will of man: but of holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” And this one is powerful because the Bible didn't come by the will of men; but it was a holy man who spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. Now, some of these verses say, we’ve drawn some small mini principles already. One of them said, “Those that seek counsel are wise.” This one says:holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. So there's an element of the Holy Spirit in guiding our correct decisions as well. And we know that the Word of God is a key decider in our decisions also. Proverbs 29:11, “A fool utters all his mind; but a wise man keeps it till afterwards.”I wanna encourage some of you, all of you I guess. When you haven't made your mind up, it’s good to counsel with a few people here; but try not to be one of those people that you really haven't made up your mind but you’re telling everyone you have made up your mind. So today, “What are you doing? What are you gonna do for the next six months?” “Oh, I’m gonna go study here. Definitely have my calling.” Next week, “I'm gonna go, I'm gonna go to this school now and I'm going to study this.” “Are you sure?” “Yeah, definitely that’s the Lord’s calling on my life.” Two days later, “No, I'm not doing that. I'm going to the mission field. Now, that's God’s calling on my life.” Then, “No, no, no, I'm not going to the mission field. I'm staying at home because I believe in the home environment. I'm gonna get a job here. I'm gonna minister in my home church. That's the calling.” And then three days later, “No, no, it's not that, I have to witness to my family. That's what I'm going to do for the next six months.”

 

You know what I'm talking about. Mine changing all the time. And it's almost as if instead of relying on the Bible or instead of relying on what God is telling you, you're throwing your ideas out there to the general public. It is like a scattergun approach and it's almost like you're waiting to hear back words of affirmation from different people and whichever idea more people tell you with a good idea that you go with, which is a dangerous approach in some ways because what the Brethren think you should do is not always what you should do. It's good to keep your mind until afterwards, until you really know what God has told you to do. Not always just telling the whole world all of your ideas and all of your plans ahead of time.

 

There’s got a quotation from the Spirit of Prophecy I wanna bring to your mind. We've done this one already so I wouldn’t do that one again. There was a quotation that I read in Second Selected Messages. It’s quite a disturbing one. Paragraph title, it’s called man made test lead to know God's will lead to wife swapping. Stuff that's happening in the church. You think it’s only now there's been trouble in the church? Because “Whenever I've been called to me fanaticism in is varied forms, I have received clear, positive, and definite instruction to lift my voice against its influence. With some the evil has revealed itself in the form of man-made test for ascertaining a knowledge of the will of God.”Yesterday in our workshop, knowing the will of God is not always a clear formula. Bang, bang, bang, bang, bang, maybe that's what some of you would like to leave this workshop with. A little, you know, index card. This is how you know God will. Stick it on your mirror. Stick it on the fridge. Put it on the bathroom door. “I know what God's will is now.”

 

You know. So really yesterday we look at the prerequisite was what? Purity of heart, humility, and obedience to follow what God chose you when He does. Well, all too often we like to get a clear manmade almost formula and then follow that because we are a prescription driven generation so to speak. We like the preacher or the teacher to prescribe to with exactly what to do and then we will do that. Man-made test, she says, where is it? Man-made tests. With some the evil has revealed itself in the form of man-made test for ascertaining a knowledge of the will of God; and I was shown that this was a delusion which became an infatuation, and that it is contrary to the will of the Lord. If we follow such methods, we shall be found aiding the enemy’s plans. In times past certain among the believers had great faith in the setting of signs by which to decide their duty. Some had such confidence in these signs that men went so far as to exchange wives, thus bringing adultery into the church.

 

Sometime we set signs that are man made. There's a story I was told. You may have heard, if you listen to Audioverse and I was on there. I'm a bit to claim it as original. There’s a girl who told the pastor that a sign that the Lord was gonna reveal who she should marry was when the man showed up on a door that would have a big bunch of flowers. And then she asked the pastor to please go and tell the guy that she liked that that was her sign. Man-may test. This is my sign, “Lord, if a man shows up on the doorstep with a bouquet of flowers, that’s the one I’m gonna marry. But please go and tell the man I like.” Who’s going to do that?

 

You know, I was a. There’s a friend of mine. She was doing Bible work in a city in America and it was a guy who liked her and he prayed to the Lord that if she showed up on Sabbath with a blue dress on that that would mean she was the one for him. And guess what? She showed up on Sabbath with a blue dress. But guess what? They didn't get married. Amen. Because she didn’t believe that sign. I mean. You were probably got four dresses in the wardrobe. There's a 25 percent chance you're gonna wear a blue one. That’s not God’s will.

 

The problem with some of these man-made test is that they can be relatively easy to be fulfilled. You can almost stack the deck in your favor. You know.

 

Notice this, Third Selected Messages page 404, “There would be counterfeit messages coming from persons in all directions, one after another will arise, appearing to be inspired when they have not the inspiration of heaven, but under the deception of the enemy. All who receive their messages will be led astray. Then let us walk carefully and not open wide the door of the enemy to enter through impressions, dreams and visions. God help us to look by faith to Jesus and be guided by the words He had spoken.”

 

She says, let us walk carefully and not open wide the door of the enemy to enter through impressions, dreams and visions. Notice here, not always a special vision. Third Selected Messages page 53. I write this for I dare not withhold it, she says. When she writes that you know is pretty important. It's kinda like what she said at the beginning of the paragraph “The Lord has shown me.” He showed everything that when she writes that I think it’s even more particular. “I write this for I dare not withhold it, you are far from doing the will of God, far from Jesus, far from heaven. It is no marvel to me that God has not blessed your labors.”

 

You may say God has not given Sister White a vision in my case why then does she write as she does. We got people say, “Ah well, Ellen White has written me a letter personally to me.” You know she wrote personal letters. And you would have been scared to live in the Prophet's day. Imagine getting a letter through your letter box from Elms Haven, you know, Angwin, California, and you opened it. “Dear Brother A.” “Aaaah” You know, I mean. That will be enough to scare the living daylights out of you, you know. “The Lord has shown me” like “woooh.” No wonder the brethren didn't like her, you know. In a letter to the General Conference, “Dear Elder, the Lord has shown me that in your home.”“Wooh” I mean, we read that today like it’s nothing; but imagine if you were the one getting those letters. He got people to say, “Well, I didn't get a letter from the prophet.” So they must mean “I'm OK to do whatever I'm doing.” She's saying, no, not everyone, I get a special vision for you. Don’t think you're so important. Likewise, also not everything, all every decision we make, you can always find someone that she may have had a vision about that thing. That's why the Bible deals often in broad strokes of principles.

 

The people of God can come,Second Selected Messages 325,“The people of God can come to the correct understanding of their duty only through one sincere prayer and earnest seeking for the (what?)sanctification of the Holy Spirit.” What does sanctification mean? We're not doing a workshop on righteousness by faith but it’s essentially, sanctification is what? It’s the daily living in your life the Holy Spirit day by day. So as you're seeking for the Spirit to lead you on a daily basis, throughout your whole life, and as you are praying earnestly and sincerely as she says, when they seek aright for instruction concerning their course of action, these strange and unreliable methods will not be acceptable to them - Girl showing up in church with a blue dress; man standing there with flowers; a special letter to come in my letterbox; if they say hi to me in church today, I know that the one. If I get a prospectus, do you use the word prospectus here? No. Let me educate you. You know, university, there whole, you call it brochure like. No, not syllabuses. Like that the thing that tells you like that you know that we have this course and this course and this course and this course. Catalog. So you’re getting a store. A course catalog. I don't like that word. When you get a prospectus, it sounds more intelligent I think, in the post, “Lord, if they send me a prospectus from Yale then it is your will for me to go there” You know what I mean.

 

All these different type of the ways, she says, then they will be safe from haphazard work and from the confusion that is ever the result of depending on human devising. Ok. So, she brings out three things there: sincere prayer, earnest seeking of the sanctification of the Spirit. It’s interesting because it doesn't just say earnest seeking for the Spirit to guide me in the decision; but is broad in earnest seeking for the sanctification of the Spirit in my life. Because maybe you really think God's will is going to go here and it could be completely opposite; but it's only when you're humble and teachable and earnestly seeking that that you can be open to that.

 

Notice this quotation. This one was very interesting. And this brings out one of these ways that maybe some of you have even found out God's will for your life or made decisions. Notice here, “To our people I will say,let none be led from the sound sensible principles that God has laid down for the guidance of His people and to depend for direction on any such device as the tossing of a coin.”How many of you have ever done that? What should I do? Flip a coin - heads or tails, headsand tails on this. No. Heads or tail? Such a course is well pleasing to the enemy of souls. Why? For he works to control the coin. Wow. And through his agency worked out his plans. Let none be so easily deceived as to place confidence in any such tests. Let none belittle their experience by resorting to cheap devices for direction in important matters connected to God's will.

 

Don’tresort to such cheap things, she says. Let me just flip a coin. Shall I go to GYC or not? You're never flip the coin, shall I read my Bible or not? So why after you open your Bible would you then flip a coin? What should I read this morning for devotion?... Isaiah 63. You know. I'm not saying the enemy would guide your finger in the page. I'm just saying it's a bit of a frivolous way to approach important things; but she does say that the enemy work to control the coin - what side it lands on. It may not be a coin you’re flipping; but it may be some other cheap devices for direction that you may be choosing. And all too often it's almost natural for us to do that. And I mean this.

 

I'll be honest with you I only read this quotation about three weeks ago for the first time as I was preparing for the seminar and it kinda shocked me. I thought wow that's pretty heavy. You know. That, he would even try and work to control the coin. I would think, well, you know. Let's be careful in how we are seeking God's will for our lives.

 

Some of you may say but what about Gideon? Gideon put a fleece out. You know, some of them like Gideon's fleece. I’ve never preach a sermon on it but I think I'd like to. We always say Gideon was a great man a faith. I would suggest that Gideon wasn't really a great man of faith because the Lord came to him by an angel and say “God and do this.” “Give me a sign.” “Ok, I'll stay for dinner put some food on the rock.” Boom it blows up. Surely that's a big enough sign that God has with you. Aahby that Lord.“I know you just sent an angel to talk to me. I know you just burned them blue to food in the dinner up but I want something more than that.” “OK, put a fleece out, I’ll make it wet.” So, he puts a fleece out, it’s wet.” “I don't know Lord, that's the easy anyone can do that. I want the grass to be wet and fleece to be dry.” “Ok, grass is wet, fleece is dry.” I mean, I mean, it's a debate we could have - was Gideon cautious or did he have a lack of faith? I don't know; but when you look at all that God showed him, to me, it kinda about wow, you know, an angel comes and talk to you, food blows up and you still want another sign. And when you get the other sign, that’s pretty good but can you reverse it. I mean, what was he waiting for, picks the fly, you know, and then he's like “Ok, I'll go and fight for you.” I would suggest to you that the men that fought with Gideon were men of faith because they're following the leader in the battle that you know barely believe in his own mother, it seems.

 

But notice what the difference with Gideon is this.You may be Gideon with the fleece and that kind of stuff, fine and we can argue caution or faith; but the point is this - All of these signs was only to confirm what God had clearly told him already and the signs were only there because of his caution or lack of faith. The problem with that is sometimes God hasn't told us clearly what to do, we haven't studied clearly what we should do, and then we'll rely on the fleece to show what it is. With Gideon, the fleece only confirmed what God had told him. It was not God's primary way of telling him and that's a key point. That's the key point I think the difference with Gideon there. It wasn't the key way or the method that God was gonna show to him.

 

Let’s just one example from the Book of Acts as we are on ACTS conference. Acts chapter 10. We have here is an illustration of pizza. Acts chapter 10. We’re just gonna read this one passage and then I think we will see how we go. Acts chapter 10. You know what happened in Acts chapter 10, anyone? Peter's vision. What’s his vision about? His vision is about unclean animals; it's not about unclean foods. Well, maybe you could say unclean foods, yes. So he sees a sheet coming down from heaven and is all these unclean animals on it. And it says there in verse 9, “Rise Peter.”No, it’s not verse 9, verse 13, “Rise Peter, kill and eat.” So he sees this sheet,“Rise Peter, kill and eat.” And Peter says, “Not so Lord for I have never eaten anything common or unclean.” And verse 15, it says, “What God has cleansed, don't call that common.”Now what does this mean? The Bible says, it was done three times in verse 16, and the sheet went back up to heaven.

 

So what does this mean?Sees unclean animals,“kill and eat.” “No, I have never eaten anything common or unclean” and the Lord says back to him, “what I have cleansed don’t call common.” Now all of our ecumenical Sunday church friends, they say that this passage says you can eat whatever you want. It has nothing to do with what you eat this passage. Nothing to do. If you stop right there in verse 16, it would appear that way; but as you read on, you come down to verse 17, what happens there? It says Peter doubted in himself what this vision meant. So even after this Peter doesn't know what it means. So why should we come to verse 16 and conclude what it means when Peter didn't even know what it meant. That means we have to read on. Verse 19, the Bible says, he thought about the vision and the Spirit said to him, so on, so on and so forth. So what happens? Verse 28, he goes into the house and he meets a man called Cornelius. Was Cornelius a Jew? Yes or no? He wasn't a Jew. And he comes to verse 28. Finally, when Peter says, and he said unto them, you know that it is unlawful for man that is a Jew to keep company with one of another nation. But God has shown me I should not call any man common or unclean. When you come to verse 34 and the Bible says, Then Peter opened his mouth and said, “Of the truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons.”

 

So never let anyone tell you that passage is about food. It's about, verse 34, respecter of persons. Why do I read just this story? If Peter was to follow his own natural inclinations or even his own feelings, would he have witnessed to Cornelius? Yes or no?He would have not witnessed to Cornelius even though this was after the Great Commission in Matthew 28. He still wouldn't have done. Why? Because he didn't like Gentiles. So the Lord had to come down to him, speak to him directly, and show him his course of action was wrong. Because his natural inclinations, his own feelings would not have been correct in guiding him in his decision of who to witness to. And after the Lord showed him, Peter was more than happy to go and evangelize to whoever.

 

But you see how even here in the book of Acts, Peter was even so caught up in his own feelings and emotions that God had to jolt him out of it in a very strong way, in a very strong way.

 

We only have a few minutes left, four minutes or so.

 

What is faith mean? What’s the definition of faith? Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. What is our faith based upon?

 

Romans 10:17, it says, “For faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” I mean it's a subject for maybe greater debate or greater discussion and we'll have the next two or three minutes for what role do, you know, what role does, in a sense, the feelings play to a greater extent. I believe feelings. God has given us feelings and feelings are from God. Amen. We have joy, we have anger, we have frustration, we have happiness, we have these different types of feelings; but our feelings should not be what is driving our decision. We may have anger when God reveals His will to us. Is a possible, yes or no? We may have frustration when He reveals His will to us. It’s not always that your feelings are happy after God showed His Will to you. And it’s then when you may have anger or frustration that you need to have the humility to follow. Sometimes you have joy. And sometimes you have happiness. And when you have those feelings, all is fine and steam right ahead. And it's often when we don't have the warm fuzzy feeling and we have some, you know, more negative feeling that there is a struggle within our soul whether we follow our feelings what we naturally wanna do as opposed to what God has already showed us. And that's why we come back to the prerequisite of obedience and purity of heart. Feelings can motivate us or feelings can be a struggle that we fight against after He has shown His will.

 

What I feel what God says. Maybe be driven, not by logic, maybe be driven not by reason or by feeling, impressions. Both of them, I believe, are equally dangerous, in a sense, that God revealing His will to us. May we have the purity of heart and humility to follow God as He reveals to us and then we can enjoy the blessings afterwards.

 

Let’s bow our heads as we close for a word of prayer.

 

Father in Heaven, Lord, we pause for a moment to thank You; to thank You that we do have feelings and emotions; that we're not just robots here on this earth and this is what often provides some of the spice to life. I pray Lord that we would not be people that resort to cheap devices to know Your will though; that we would not rely solely upon the way we feel when we wake up in the morning or what side of bed we get out of or whether it's sunny or cloudy today; but that we would truly seek Your will in Your word and in sincere prayer and in earnestly seeking for a changed heart. Bless us Lord today. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

 

This message was recorded by Fountainview Productions for GYC. GYC, a supporting of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church, seeks to inspire and equip young people to be Bible-based and Christ-centered Christians. To download or purchase other resources, visit us online at gycweb.org.

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