Monday, November 22, 2021

Don't Put Too Much Weight On Signs From God

Acts 17:22, Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars' hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious.

One thing that I have seen in my 41 years of being a born-again Christian since age 13 in 1980, is that way too many believers are superstitious. I am guilty a bit myself. In 2013 when I attempted to move from Guam back to the United States, I had simply looked for a regular taxi at the Honolulu airport. Instead a looong stretched limo picked me up and drove me to the Queen Kapiolani Hotel where I had made my reservation. I had only reserved a small room, but the hotel for some reason put me up in their Penthouse Apartment on the top floor, with a beautiful view of all of Oahu. I read those things as signs from God that He was welcoming my home to the United States. I thought everything was going to be okay.

Boy was I in for a rude surprise over the next few months. Things quickly deteriorated when I arrived in Hilo, on the Big Island, where I had intended to move at first. My medical situation with the insurance company became a nightmare, and I couldn't find a doctor that would accept me. For one reason or another I had to keep changing hotels, and they were very expensive. I stayed at hotels in both Hilo and the city of Kona on the other side of the Big Island. It wasn't a vacation, even though I was spell-bounded by the incredibly beauty of the island.

I cannot even put into words the beautiful scene I saw from my hotel room in Kona at the Hilton Hotel. I saw the wonderful volcanoes in the background, standing 12,000 feet high. I saw thousands of gorgeous coconut palm trees, and the most lovely ocean you could imagine, all highlighted by the setting tropical sun. Yet, this incredible beauty was only equaled by the inexplicable pain in my soul, knowing that I needed to leave because things weren't working out. In hindsight, I didn't really have a plan to move, and didn't know what I was doing. I made so many mistakes in my utter ignorance. 

So I moved on to Tennessee, visiting dozens of cities in Tennessee and North Carolina, trying to decide where to settle down. My heart wasn't in any of those places. My life was broken and my soul was in prison. I desperately needed God's help. After another month moving from hotel to hotel in these states, I gave in to pressure and decided to just move back to Guam. I had paid $10,000 for a 20 foot storage container from Guam to Tennessee. Several months later I hired a mover, which charged me $12,000 to bring my stuff from Tennessee back to Guam! All toll, the damages from my failed move cost me $50,000. What a big waste! Yet, I foolishly thought that God was sending me signs in Honolulu at the beginning of my nightmare ordeal, which lasted for four months. It was all a bitter/sweet experience. and an expensive bad decision. 

Having said all that, I am very reluctant now to read into anything anymore as being “a sign from God. I think it is foolish and a dangerous thing for us as believers to read into situations and circumstances as being “signs” from God. I often hear professed believers talking about “signs from God. I don't berate nor discourage them, but I personally do not place any weight about such superstitious things anymore. Some Christians think every time they sneeze that God is judging them. I think not! I have heard saints of God hundreds of times in my life attribute happenings as being a “sign” from God.

What saith the Scripture? Hebrews 1:1-2, “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;” John 5:39, “Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.” Revelation 19:13b teaches that Jesus' precious name is called: THE WORD OF GOD.John 1:1-3 and 14, teaches that Jesus is the incarnate Word of God, Who became flesh and walked among mankind. Jesus is the Living Word; the Holy Bible is the Written Word. Evangelist John R. Rice (1895-1980) rightly used to call Jesus and the Bible “twins.”

Please don't allow superstition to creep its way into your thinking dear friend. A sincere lady recently emailed me, saying that she felt some wind blow over her body while laying down. She asked me if that was the Holy Spirit. I replied to her, “Absolutely not!” Hebrews 1:1-2 teaches that God speaks to us through His Son, that is, the Word of God. That is why Jesus told us to SEARCH THE SCRIPTURES in John 5:39. When the Holy Spirit speaks to us in our soul, He ALWAYS does so through the Written Word. Anytime that you hear someone speaking of spiritual matters (as does Oprah Winfrey oftentimes), but they do not base what they are saying upon the revealed Word of God, run away as fast as you can!!!

Kindly said, I know of a very well-known preacher, whom if I mentioned his name everyone would recognize him. That preacher foolishly said in a sermon, that he was driving down the highway one day and read a sign which mentioned the name of a city which he was considering moving to as their new pastor. He said that God put the sign there as “a sign” (no pun intended), which confirmed that he was supposed to resign his church in Texas and go pastor a church elsewhere. Folks, I totally disagree with using that type of foolishness to make our decisions. Proverbs 2:7, “He layeth up sound wisdom for the righteous: he is a buckler to them that walk uprightly.” God gives us sound wisdom, to the righteous. A “buckler” is a large shield that protects the whole body. God is our shield, to them who walk uprightly in righteousness. Our decisions ought never be based on a whim or superstitious sign that we think we saw.

I used to work for the U.S. Postal Service as a Technician on their automated mail-processing equipment. While on break one night, I shared a Bible truth I had learned with a co-worker. I said that: “If we want to be a good Christian, we ought to live in John 19 and 20.” These are beautiful chapters about Jesus' death on the cross, burial and bodily resurrected three days later. The next night when I came into work, I found the pages of a torn up New Testament scattered throughout my Advanced Facer Canceller Machine (AFCS).

Lo and behold, I literally found the pages of John chapters 19 in the feeder belts of my assigned machine. At first I thought my Christian co-worker was messing with my mind, but as I inspected the entire machine, and found pages of the Bible throughout the machine, and saw that my co-worker started at the same time I did, I reasonably concluded that it would have been impossible for him to have staged this. Plus the way that the page of John 19 was caught and torn in the feeder, would have been impossible for him to fake. My mind was blown away! What are the chances! Was this a sign from God. Although it sure seemed like it, I simply cannot reasonable attribute it to God. One reason is because I don't believe God would allow His Word to be shredded by a machine to communicate with me as His child. As much as I am still intrigued by this strange incident decades ago, I think it was just a random coincidence.

So when you think God is sending you a sign, be careful not to place any weight upon it, lest you be led astray with superstition. One of the great dangers of placing weight upon “signs is that when things are going bad in your life, you may wrongly interpret that to mean God is angry with you or punishing you for something you did wrong. Although the Lord does sometimes chastise us (Hebrews 12:6-8), we need to be very careful in this matter. I don't care how long you've been saved or how good of a Christian you may think you are, you and I still sin every day.

The truth is that we sin every moment of every day in one way or another (Romans 7:14-25). It is a sin not to thank and praise God at all times. It is a sin not to pray for others, for the people in our life. I admit that I don't pray as I ought, and neither do you. Nor do I always do the right thing, and neither do you. I don't have a single fault, I HAVE MANY FAULTS!!! I am a sinner by nature and by choice, and so are you (Romans 3:23; 1st John 1:8-10). So if we think every time that something bad happens, it is because of our sins, then we could easily conclude that God is ALWAYS upset and punishing us. That is simply not true.

I firmly believe that when God scourges and chastises us (Hebrews 12:6-8), that He always lets us know one way or another. I think one of the ways that God chastises us, is by giving us over to our sins, giving us enough rope to hang ourselves, so to speak. Just like a small child who needs to touch the hot stove for the first time, to learn not to touch; so also do we as Christians often need to go astray from the dear Savior, before we learn to trust and obey. It is unpleasantly true that pain is the greatest teacher, which men who have spent years in prison can painfully testify. Would to God that we would all learn in our youth the importance of fearing and obeying God, rather than learning bitter lessons the hard way as adults. I am 100% all for Christian education for every child.

It was the mighty soulwinning preacher, Pastor J. Frank Norris (1877-1952) who wisely said:
“What we need is a school that teaches the whole English Bible. What is needed is a school that will take men from the engine cab, from between the plowshares and teach them the Bible. What is needed is a school that is free from modernism. What is needed is a school that will teach a man how to go out with the Bible under his arms, faith in his heart, and in the power of the Holy Spirit begin in a vacant lot and build a church to the glory of God.”

SOURCE: J. Frank Norris, a quote from the excellent book, “The J. FRANK NORRIS I Have Known" (for 34 Years), by Dr. Louis Entzminger.
Amen and amen! What we need is a whole new generation of preachers in America!!! Today's preachers are pathetic! The average pastor is not a preacher at all, but a mere highly-paid employee of a dead religious organization. God deliver us from career pastors who merely manipulate the clergy as a profession; rather than approach such a privileged position as a divine obligation and solemn duty from almighty God.

Avoid superstition dear friends. Base your decisions upon the sound principles of God's Word. Beware of anyone who claims to have had dreams or seen visions from God. They are liars! They may have dreamed dreams and seen visions, but we KNOW that they didn't come from God, based upon the plain Scriptural teaching of Hebrews 1:1-2. God speaks to us today through His Son. Jesus commands us to SEARCH THE SCRIPTURES to learn of Him (John 5:39). Revelation 19:10b teaches that “THE TESTIMONY OF JESUS IS THE SPIRIT OF PROPHECY.The Bible contains 31% prophecy. The intent (spirit) of ALL prophecy is to testify about Jesus. So when you study Bible prophecy (whether it be past, present or future) always look for how it pertains to the blessed Savior, and you'll never go astray doctrinally.

So I am not supposed to rejoice as a child of God when a stretched limousine picks me up at the airport, or the hotel I am staying at decides to put me up in their grandest penthouse suit on the top floor. Jesus told us in Luke 10:20 to REJOICE that our name is gloriously written in Heaven! Amen, that fact never changes. If we rejoice in temporal things and events, that can and will often change, for the worse sometimes. But if we rejoice that we have an eternal home in Heaven (John 14:1-3), and an immortal body coming someday which will be fashioned like unto the Lord's resurrected body (Philippians 3:21), and that our name is forever written in the Lamb's Book of Life in Heaven, those FACTS will never change!

I hope this blog has been a blessing to you. We all tend to look for “signs from God in our life. But this can be greatly misleading, and even cause us to adopt wrong superstitious thinking that hinders our joy and walk with God. Granted, all of nature and the amazing universe shows forth evidence of our great omnipotent God (Psalms 19:1; Romans 1:20). But we ought not make any of life's decisions based upon anything other than the tried, tested and true Holy Bible.

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