21 January 2017
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Jack Thomson (Guest)
Oooops - my memory's isn't what it used to be
A very interesting dream of Mr Thomson's. God did indeed speak to people through "dreams and visions", not only throughout the OT but in the NT as well.
Secular folk obviously have dreams, and we are reminded often that "fact can be stranger than fiction"?
I myself have had many dreams, mostly indistinct and meaningless (to me at least), some very real, involving people I know (from memory), but always if I don't write the dream down immediately (and I never yet have) I have noticed that the dream vanishes away usually within 5 minutes of waking up; try as I may, I cannot recollect it, yet it 'felt so real'.Sometimes later in the day or perhaps weeks, years later even, an event can take place which will bring to memory an event in that dream-a familiar 'feeling'.
No doubt we all have dreams, believers and unbelievers alike, but, we cannot build any form of doctrine, or leadership on an individual's "dreams and visions". And can we trust our memories? No doubt some will spice the dream up a bit?
This is where the damage happens?
Some Christian leaders (mainly of the Charismatic Pentecostal denomination) though I cannot say exclusively so, have even gone so far as to say "God told me to leave her and marry this woman". Yet is it not written "God hates divorce"?
Some people have had dreams telling them to kill someone (which they have done), though I know not of any professing Christian having done so!
So, where any dream or vision clashes with God's Word, clearly it must be rejected.
We may ask then, "where is the guidance in all of this"?
Guest asks: ""where is the guidance in all of this"?
Where it leaves us looking to the Holy Spirit and our knowledge of Scripture to exercise discernment. Christians operate in the spiritual domain (as does the devil) so we need to know 'The Shepherd's Voice' (John 10:4; 10:27) and the Father's Word (Ps 119:14-17; .
Quite clearly any 'instruction' to kill someone is not of the Lord. Neither would a dream inciting anyone to rob a bank, steal from a shop or blow up a plane be seen as 'from the Lord'.
So what we have in the church (as a generalisation) are two groups of people.
One group believes that God doesn't speak by way of dreams and visions while the other does.
So the problem for the first group is that they stand in serious danger of missing what the Lord might be doing or saying; and the problem for the latter is that they need to exercise discernment to avoid being misled.
The typical problems I see across the churches are either:
(a) teachers who do not believe and have not experienced these things and therefore offer no guidance or teaching; thus leaving the flock ill-equipped to exercise discernment for themselves or -
(b) those leaders who go overboard for 'every new thing' without exercising a rigorous scrutiny and applying all the biblical checks and balances; thus leading the flock into error.
Many years ago (under the heading of 'Dreams, Visions and Prophetic Messages') I wrote:
This is a very difficult and often controversial area; and the child of God should exercise the utmost discretion and caution when weighing the validity and interpretation of these things.
It is essential to ask God himself for the wisdom, sensitivity and discernment required to differentiate between the different ‘voices’ that speak to us; and it is always possible in the context of New Testament prophesy, for the ‘flesh’ and the great deceiver to corrupt and/or imitate messages from the Father.
What we must seek to do is find the balance between the two extremes of error:-
At one end of the spectrum, an unbelieving attitude and hardness of heart (e.g. Heb 3:8; 3:15; 4:7; 1 Thess. 5:20) can grieve and hinder the Spirit (Acts 7:51; 1 Thess. 5:19).
While at the other extreme, an uncritical acceptance of everything that comes our way exposes the individual to deception and the risk of being led into serious error.
The balance is to be found in the use of our God-given faculties and gifts to correctly discern the origin and nature of what is being said or offered to us (1 Thess 5:21,22). Everything (that can be tested this way) must be subordinate to God’s word as revealed to us in the Bible.
I certainly agree with the general thrust of what you say.
Clearly any 'prompting' one receives MUST, at ALL times be kept in check by God's Word.
But, I note you omitted adultery in your third paragraph? Maybe this was an oversight.
But it certainly appears you are sailing very 'close to the wind' in regards the area of extra Biblical revelation, as has been evidenced by a number of your other articles.
A regular contributor of yours has twice used the phrase "mumbo jumbo" to this end.
Certainly the gifts of preaching and ministering are with us today, but the miraculous gifts ceased with the apostles. I hope you agree with this?
"the miraculous gifts ceased with the apostles. I hope you agree with this?"
Emphatically I believe in miracles today. See -
But this thread is not the place to discuss same. If you do not believe in miracles then you will not find this site a comfortable place to be; there are many others that might better suit your (non)beliefs.
And regarding posting on threads other than this one, you will have your posts deleted unless you are prepared to identify yourself with your comments.
Admin point: The heading on this thread invites: "Site members and Christian site visitors are invited to leave examples of how the Lord has guided them in them in the past."
It is about actual 'guidance' scenarios (as experienced by believers) and is NOT a discussion about whether or not the gifts of the Spirit operate today.
Accordingly posts which are 'off-topic' have been and will continue to be deleted.
His Word convicted me that I was lost in my sins, and that Jesus Christ is the
ONLY way of salvation through His blood alone John 14.6, Acts 4.12 etc. After coming to faith, subsequently I discovered from the Word that He found me!
And so having believed I am being guided by His Word. Often I stumble and fall, but He is faithful to forgive if we confess our sins 1 John 1.9?
So my "guidance scenario" is to walk according to His Word.
Sorry if this is not what you are looking for (it is a bit boring/pedestrian?) But none the less it is true!
But no doubt this isn't
Praise God for all who "walk by His Word" (and by His Spirit).
As someone rightly remarked:
All Word and No Spirit we Dry Up
All Spirit and No Word we Blow Up
By the Word AND Spirit we Grow Up
As it is self-evident that Christians are (or should be) led by and through the Word of God so there is no need to repeat this facet of guidance.
This thread is designed to give opportunity to describe (at a personal level) how the Lord gives guidance (in and through the Holy Spirit) by other means. For instance many are led into different forms of ministry by the following coming into harmony -
* Inner Conviction (witness of the Spirit to the individual)
* Discernment of personal gifting (from the Lord)
* Confirmation from other believers
* An 'invitation' (or call) from a third party
Jack Thomson (Guest)
On the eve of my baptism a sister (in Christ) suggested that, as an appropriate gesture to mark the forthcoming occasion, I give something (of value)up............
On hindsight I know now that she must have been targetting my 40 a day smoking habit - but it never registered at the time. Anyway, such had been the extent of my personal losses at the time that I had concluded that I had nothing of (natural) value to give up....except an unexplored ambition to write - which I duly gave up to God.
Several weeks later while making ready to pray the words PSALM 45 appeared in very bold white lettering against a black background created by my closed eyes.
Being very unfamiliar with scripture I rushed to check my Bible and the second part first verse read: My tongue is the pen of a ready writer......
Could God be giving me my ambition back ?
I decided that he was, and proceeded to write....but with no success
I became convinced that I had misinterpreted my experience - and, one Saturday morning prayerfully asked God for correction/clarification - thereafter walking to a local John Menzies shop to buy a Jack Higgins book - which was my weekend habit at the time.
On pulling such a book from the shelf a piece of paper fell from it and fluttered to the floor at my feet.
It contained a central scripture reproduced in full (Acts 20/24-27) with reference to two others Colossians 4/17 and 1 Peter 4/1-6.
On reading these scriptures I once again assumed it was confirmation that God wanted me to continue writing...and so I did.
Thereafter I met with limited success - I was published in a local and National Newspapers - but nothing I could really 'write home' about..........
Several years later - again out of despondency I sought God's guidance and on returning from my (prayerful) walk the scripture Ezekial 9 intruded into my distracted thoughts - this contained early reference to a man clothed in linen with a writers inkhorn at his side.
The man's ministry was go through Jerusalem and place a mark on the foreheads of those who he recognised as true believers .......
Concurrent with these experiences I had been (providentially) led through all sorts of denominational experiences/relationships with the Spirit of God not allowing me to rest in any of them...the recurring theme was and is 'passing through'.....
As I write I wonder if I have been living out some grand (charismatic/pentecostal) deception..or, has the successful fulfilment of my experiences yet to happen?
I certainly agree with the opening line on your last comment.
As for that poem, all God's children are led by His Spirit.
"But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. Romans 8.9.
"For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God" Romans 8.14.
As for "Inner conviction", "Discernment of personal gifting", "Confirmation from other believers" and "An 'invitation' (or call)from a third party", I would only say, (as I have tried repeatedly so hard to do so) that we must continually anchor ourselves in God's Word to see if these things are "from the Lord" or not, this is ONLY what I am contending for.
"Prove all things; hold fast to that which is good" 1 Thessalonians 5.21.
"Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. 1 John 4.1.
We should be like the "noble" Bereans who "searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so." Acts 17.11.
If one believes in on-going revelation from God, one tends to esteem the written Word lightly. It seems to me that those with a light view of the Reformation, tend to be such.
On a personal level I have been let down, lied to and and deceived by 'Christians'.
I need not remind you that we are in times of great apostasy.
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