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September 1, 2022 7:05 am
Let's say you're facing a very difficult decision such as taking a new job in another city. Maybe the promotion involves disrupting your family life and there's a lot of risk and what you decide to do well.
How are we supposed to discern the will of God. Can we truly understand what is trying to tell us today on Insight for living Chuck Swindoll addresses these relevant questions.
This is message number seven is teaching series called flying closer to the flame Chuck titled today's message those unidentified inner promptings in case you forgot, we are engaged in this fascinating study of the spirit of God were learning how to fly closer to the flame were learning to be comfortable in his presence were learning to get to get a sense of closeness and oneness with him about whom we know the least among those within the Godhead.
I say it's fascinating because we are we are dealing with dimensions that are seldom addressed and I really don't know why they are not addressed more often because these are experiences as I'm going to describe them that we have all the time I'm I want to talk in this particular message about those unidentified inner promptings that we seldom connect to the work of the spirit.
For example, have you ever had an uneasy feeling shining in the pit of your stomach. Maybe you're coming to a decision and there's a fork in the road and you can go either this way or that, and there's no biblical guideline to lead you one way or the other. Both are could be right.
However, you know that God doesn't lead in both directions and you have to make a decision is interesting isn't it that when you you come right to that that place of decision and you think of going in that other direction. There is this churning that accompanies you and you pull back and you go in the other direction and you look back and you realize what a difference it would've made in your life. Had you gone in the first way that you thought of going I'm leaving it vague on purpose, not what we call that will normally we give that the name of intuition just intuitively I knew that I that I shouldn't go there but I should I should do this and not that why is it we do not realize that most often it is the direct influence of the spirit of God, who works often within the feelings of our lives. Another example your spending time in the Scriptures are sitting at the kitchen table you need. The truth somehow to what we call speak to you, and yet no light dawns. It seems like mere print on the page and you you were searching God's word for for some direction. Suddenly, in an unusual moment of in a rare moment of understanding a passage of Scripture that might've been very familiar or for that matter, unfamiliar to you opens up to you and you're able to grasp the truth that you've never seen before and it brings a sense of contentment and peace and delight when we call that we usually call that insight you give an insight into this section. Why is it we do not call it the inspiration or the illumination of the spirit of God that that inner promptings that comes to you and gives you such a refreshing understanding of this slice of life. Why is it we do not realize it is the work of the spirit is not just human insight. One more for me. You're going through a severe test you can't see your way through not only is it deep it is long and is heavy you're discovering the longer you live in this test and the less understanding you get in it, you lose your appetite, you lose your ability to sleep well fear and panic. Replace quietness and peace. There's a growing sense of isolation. You don't even want to be at church with other believers fact you are in sort of an unhealthy pensive mood and it will lift and so I by the way, I've had this experience. Three.
Four times in my life. What I can remember like it was yesterday. Though it happened in the early 1960s, and in my case I remember walking out of our home. We live in another state in another place at that time and out behind our home was a long alley you you you entered your driveway in the back of the house rather than the front and I walked out the driveway and I turned and I walked on this long alley that lasted about three blocks and it was a moonlit night and I whipped the whole time I walked and was so heavy over this. I I by then, didn't know what to ask for. I just said Lord I can't can't take this much longer.
I remember coming to the end of the of the alley and turning around to go the other direction and the burden was gone. It was as if God slipped into my life lifted this 95 pound pack off my back, took away the tears were gone. I didn't have.
Not necessarily have the answer as to what was going to change.
I just knew the burdens going through four times it's happening in my life when we call that we usually call that relief or coming to terms with the pressure. Why is it we don't give credit to the one who lifts the burden Holy Spirit destined.
These are those inner promptings that were not able to to tag with it with and with the title and yet there there. They happen in life.
Not infrequently show you why in the Psalm in the Psalms number 139, I turned to that Psalm. One of my favorite by the way I'm going to look at this on a sanctity of life Sunday as we take a careful look at life among the unborn.
So I'm not really develop verses 13 to 18 here, but just want to see how you I want you to see how David leads up to a statement he makes about our makeup. Verse seven Psalm 139 work I go from thy Spirit. The implication is, I can't get away from is your spirit. Lord, and in a good Hebrew poetic fashion. He asked the same question in an amplified manner or where can I flee from thy presence theologically.
It's a reference to God's omnipresence wherever I go, God goes, it's impossible to flee from his presence.
St. Augustine said, in a time of temptation is life.
He spoke to himself and recorded in his journal fool, dost thou not know that our carrying God around with the he was stating in simple, practical words, the omnipresence of God everywhere I go. God gives he resides within me and as a child of God. He resides within you. I can go nowhere to flee from your presence. I cannot get away from it and then he uses all the different extremes. If I ascend to heaven here there fact Hebrew just uses the pronoun. If I ascend into heaven, thou if I make my bed at the grave. Thou if I take the wings of the dawn. It's a picture of hitchhiking on the morning rays of the sun. I could travel at the speed of light. Almost 200,000 miles a second and suddenly find myself in the remotest part of the sea, even there thou not in light of that, since your spirit is within me, and since it is impossible to find a place on this planet. Or I can be away from, or escaped from him or something.
He's doing within me.
Verse 14 just a phrase I will give thanks to the for I am fearfully and wonderfully made letter.
I study those words.
I think there's some of the most fascinating words in the Old Testament fearfully and wonderfully made. It's a statement of all. Regarding the human anatomy, a Jewish writer named Cohen says this even with his elementary anatomical knowledge. The psalmist is inspired with all and wonder Lord, I realize that there are secret chambers within my life. There are hidden capacities that the brute beasts of the field do not possess and I have been all Lord, I realize I am able to receive divine information from you all. Lord I understand that I have the capacity to grasp the depths of spiritual truths and to respond to you as no animal can respond or not even the trees of the field or the fish of the sea.
You have given me your image the embargoed day. The image of God is within me.
I'm fearfully and wonderfully made, and because of that men and women, we are able to grasp the promptings of the spirit of God and to be led. Unlike animals could be led who often need leaders or often go by what we call instinct. We do not rely on instinct. We do not need leaders in these deep moments of our lives. We have within us the compelling impelling presence of the Spirit of God is in inimitable still small voice addresses needs in my life and makes known to me truth that I need because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Now how does this work in first Thessalonians chapter 5 like to have you looked there next verse 23 is an unusual verse because it names the makeup of the human person. We are made up of body soul and spirit.
All three are named in first Thessalonians 523 this is the this is not the only verse but this is one of the clearest ones now may the God of peace himself sanctify you entirely. I look closely and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Some people take great pains to describe the difference between the soul and the spirit. I'll leave that argument to them. It will only get a sidetrack sometime.
I see them as being equated in Scripture and sometimes they seem to be divided. That's not my subject let's put them together.
It's called at the sole spirit.
The part of us that can be felt and seen the part of us on which the surgeon works with scalpel is the body you go to the doctor. He wants to look in your throat. He wants to listen to your heart to pump around on your back or your loan or your chest feels down at your stomach and your and your red abdomen is working on the body. So we are made up of body and then we have an invisible part of ourselves. There is a there is this old spirit part of us this very interestingly, this is the best description of death. Death occurs, and it always means separation when the sole spirit separates from the body. What we bury is the remains the body of an individual. But there's no personality because the sole spirit is been lifted their move to another realm. And that's another subject, but we are made up of body and soul, spirit, the visible and the invisible. Look at Hebrews 412 and over them going so stick with me here. Hebrews 412 says for the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and the same word of God is able to judge pretty costs is the Greek word critic comes from it.
It is able to tell the truth about the true condition of the intentions of the heart is able to judge, it is able to discern the thoughts and intentions of the heart you've read the Scriptures at times and you thought how did he know he is as he gets exactly where I am.
I preach the Scriptures and I've had literally had men walk up to me in the front of the church and say my wife talk to you this week didn't see said no, no really gives me his name.
I don't know the name and he said no that she called you and she she we've had these arguments and I said no she didn't know she didn't call you I said no she didn't call me Kate. I don't know you and because I had preached something that cut to the heart of this man's life. He was so convinced that I had been informed about him I was using him without calling his name as the example of my message when I didn't even know them at all what happened the spirit of God took the truth and drove it into his heart. Even worse, surgeon, scalpel, cannot touch. No surgeon can do surgery on the soul. That's the work of the spirit, no matter how brilliant the neurologist may be, he cannot with all he may know of the brain and nervous system of the spine. He cannot touch the spirit that God's around. We are fearfully and wonderfully made were able to understand gross anatomy were able to understand the body by observation and centuries of searching, and in the study of it is fascinating but how little we know of the soul and spirit. That's the realm for the spirit of God works that explains why you can be in the midst of recovery from an intense surgery and have a remarkable piece because the spirit of God is flooding you with that sense of relief bringing about that prompted remember this is this is very mysterious. This is one of those examples of divine truth. We cannot kneel down and dissect with precision. However, we cannot deny it. I would say virtually everyone of us in God's family has experienced at one time or another. Some inner prompting of the spirit going to illustrate for examples of just a moment we call them other things we call them hutches. We call them intuition. We call them premonitions. We call them flashes of insight we call them simply a sense of peace. I got a good rest last night so I really feel better today may have very little to do with rest last night though that does help at times mysterious work of the Spirit of God can give you peace. Even though you haven't had enough rest is all part of his working and it so seldom mentioned recently. Feel strange when we talk about. We shouldn't let me show you for biblical examples of the work of the spirit, and one is found in first Kings chapter 19 so turned back there if you will and you and I will track our sort of leave through the Scriptures and track down for examples of these inner promptings. Not only did they happen then, but they still happen today you like to take notes.
Let me give you this. First let me give you a title for this first prompting and then will analyze it from first Kings 19 here it is in times of extreme desperation in times of extreme desperation. The Spirit prompts hope and encouragement in times of extreme desperation. You might even add the word loneliness spirit of God prompts hope and encouragement. First Kings 19 is an interesting context. It is sort of the climax of Elijah's life. If not, 18, Elijah has been the one who stood before King Ahab and pronounced the drought and it didn't rain for 3 1/2 years.
Elijah is the one who commanded the the fire of God to fall on the on the altar that was flooded with water and it fell to the amazement of the prophets of bail and then they were slain. Elijah is the one who has witnessed the power of God giving him survival in the midst of a dried up brook in the dry wilderness of his world. He has known the presence of God and on the heels of these great occasions of of victory when we were when he was most vulnerable. Jezebel, the wife of Ahab the King threatens his life and it hits and where he is and prepared to be hit and is devastated. Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword.
Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, may the gods do to me and even more if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by tomorrow about this time. Now before you feel, easy about all of this and wonder why Elijah made so much of it. Chances are good you've never had your life threatened if you have ever had your life threatened or it is a serious threat and somebody tells you within the next 24 hours you will be history that you understand the feeling Elijah had specially when it was someone in authority who had her henchmen all around and was a wicked woman to the core. She says to Elijah, you're as good as dead. Of course, theoretically I like you should've said, Lord, I ask you to come down to be my protection and by the end the very present help in time of need. Stop all these attempts give me a sense of, but he didn't do that.
He ran for his life in an unusual moment of depression and desperation and loneliness full of doubt we all have such moments, he ran deep into the woods and he sat down under a tree and he asked the Lord to take his life.
Apparently, the thought of suicide did not enter a Elijah's mind is another subject, but he does say verse four. It is enough. Take my life, for I'm not better than my father's, so he's at the bottom, a more pathetic picture of personal heartbreaking loneliness cannot be found in the Scriptures than here. This is Elijah who had withstood Ahab and Jezebel call down fire from heaven, faced the profits of value. What does God do God doesn't shame him. God doesn't rebuke him God ministers to recess to him. Verse 11. Go instead of the mountain before the Lord will the Lord's passing by in a great and strong wind was rending the mountains and breaking in pieces and walks before the Lord with the Lord was not in the wind and after the wind there was an earthquake.
You don't need an illustration of that do you. After this howling land in the wilderness. There was this this giant earthquake with the Lord wasn't in the earthquake after the earthquake there was this flyer in the Lord wasn't in the fire after the fire.
Look closely, there was a sound of a gentle blowing pause right there.
The old King James Bible says that there was a still small voice. As we get the words.
Still, small voice, the new King James renders it in a similar manner but gives this footnote, a delicate, whispery voice, the new international version of the Bible says after the fire came gentle whisper. It was in a soft gentle rustling that he revealed himself to were midway through this important message from Chuck Swindoll.
He's describing what he calls those unidentified inner promptings.
This is insight for living. To learn more about this ministry, we invite you to visit us firstname.lastname@example.org will you be glad to learn that Chuck wrote a book that parallels today's topic. It's called embraced by the spirit untold blessings of intimacy with God to purchase a copy right now. Go to insight.org/store. Bear in mind that while you're listening to Chuck's teaching today.
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Many of them are just learning how to walk with God and summer recovering from poor decisions they made long ago but there's a common thread of gratitude of the messages we receive God is using insight for living to transform the hearts of willing listeners through the power of our companion. The Holy Spirit, these transformational stories are made possible in part because people like you give voluntary donations and if you're among those who give let me encourage you with the comment we received this person from Tennessee said Chuck. I recently experienced a painful marriage separation with betrayal, unfaithfulness and deception. It was your teaching on forgiveness and God's grace that brought so much light darkness today.
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