Published on Jun 24, 2013
Published on Jun 24, 2013
Do not quench the Spirit. 1 Thessalonians 5:19
On a visit to the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, I saw a masterpiece called The Wind. The painting showed a storm moving through a wooded area. Tall, thin trees leaned to the left. Bushes thrashed in the same direction.
In an even more powerful sense, the Holy Spirit is able to sway believers in the direction of God’s goodness and truth. If we go along with the Spirit, we can expect to become more courageous and more loving. We will also become more discerning about how to handle our desires (2 Tim. 1:7).
In some situations, however, the Spirit nudges us toward spiritual growth and change, but we respond with a “no.” Continually stonewalling this conviction is what Scripture calls “quench[ing] the Spirit” (1 Thess. 5:19). Over time, things we once considered wrong appear not to be quite as bad.
When our relationship with God seems distant and disconnected, this may be because the Spirit’s conviction has been repeatedly brushed aside. The longer this goes on, the harder it is to see the root of the problem. Thankfully, we can pray and ask God to show us our sin. If we turn away from sin and recommit ourselves to Him, God will forgive us and revive the power and influence of His Spirit within us.
God, show me how I have resisted Your Holy Spirit. Help me to listen when You speak. I want to be right with You again.
Yielding to the Holy Spirit leads to right living.
In Paul’s day, Thessalonica was the largest city of Macedonia with as many as 200,000 people (mainly Greeks). The city had a thriving seaport and was located on the Egnatian Way, a famous trade route built by the Romans. Paul and Silas visited this city on Paul’s second missionary journey, and while there Paul preached in its synagogues for three Sabbaths (Acts 17:1–3). During their visit, some Jews plus “a large number of God-fearing Greeks” and many prominent women were persuaded to follow Jesus (v. 4). But Paul’s stay was cut short when some jealous Jews formed a mob and started a riot (vv. 5–9). As soon as he could, Paul sent Timothy to the young church to encourage and strengthen the new believers in their faith (1 Thess. 3:1–5). Timothy returned to Paul with good news: the people were standing firm despite persecution (vv. 6–8). In response, Paul wrote First Thessalonians from Corinth to further encourage the church. His warning to not “quench the Spirit” appears in a list of final instructions he gave the Thessalonians (5:19).
Is there an area of your life where you’ve been resisting the “nudge” of the Holy Spirit?
Yesterday, we learned the importance of determining goals. We should also be sure to establish them with God’s guidance, rather than devising them on our own and expecting Him to bless our efforts. Our success will be determined by our dependence upon the Lord. If we set out to accomplish anything in our own strength—even a godly task—we are likely to fail.
Other factors can also help us achieve an objective. A consuming passion, for example, can provide us with motivation and prevent us from becoming discouraged. In addition, we should have confidence to reach the goal, knowing that the heavenly Father will equip us for every task He assigns. Think back to David, the shepherd boy: He seemed like no match for Goliath, but the Lord prepared him through his experience in protecting sheep from dangerous animals.
Planning a step-by-step course of action will also help us be successful—a calendar is useful in setting up deadlines for each part of the plan. And two more things we need are courage and consistency. Fear of failure and the opinion of others can be paralyzing. But courage comes from reading God’s Word, praying, and turning a deaf ear to negativity. Then, consistency will keep our eye on the goal so we will not deviate from it.
Is the heavenly Father leading you toward a specific goal? Remember, the Lord is all-powerful. If you depend on Him completely, you’ll experience His ability to do mighty things and accomplish His divine objectives through your willing spirit.
“Let them praise the name of the LORD: for he commanded, and they were created.” (Psalm 148:5)
Certain Christian intellectuals today are promoting the concept of what they call “process creation,” a euphemism for theistic evolution. This is a contradiction in terms, however, for creation by definition is supernatural and instantaneous. The Bible makes this plain.
Our text is in one of the beautiful “hallelujah” psalms in which the entire creation is exhorted to praise the Lord. The sun, moon, and all the heavens are included, and then the testimony of our text is given. As soon as God commanded, they were created, not over long ages, but immediately! God said “Let there be . . .” and it was so.
This is especially emphatic in the 33rd Psalm: “By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth. . . . For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast” (Psalm 33:6, 9). This is also the testimony in the great “faith” chapter, Hebrews 11. The very first object of faith is the following: “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear” (Hebrews 11:3). That is, the things that are seen (sun, moon, stars, etc.) were not made out of preexisting materials (things that appear), but by the spoken word of God.
There is not any need at all to compromise either God’s omnipotence or His inerrant Word by such devices as theistic evolution, progressive creation, or process creation, for no natural “process” could ever generate the complex and beautifully organized systems of the creation. Compromising evangelical scientists and theologians who are intimidated by the ungodly philosophy of evolution should be corrected, not accommodated. HMM
2 Chronicles 3:1
This was the place where Abraham offered up Isaac, and near by the spot where the Lord Jesus suffered as the Lamb which God had provided for sacrifice. The place of sacrifice and atonement is the ordained position of the Church of God.
2 Chronicles 3:6
The timber work was costly, but yet it was overlaid with pure gold, of the best kind, and this was adorned with precious stones. The Lord’s church is not to be built without vast cost, for it is very precious in his eyes.
2 Chronicles 3:7-13
Did these symbolize angels? We think so: and they are here represented as standing on their feet as servants, and not as sitting upon thrones like gods. We do not worship angels, but we worship with angels, joining in their solemn hymn of praise unto the Lord of all.
2 Chronicles 3:14
This veiled the sanctuary, for it was a dark dispensation, and the way into the holiest was not yet manifest.
2 Chronicles 3:17
and called the name of that on the right hand Jachin he will establish
2 Chronicles 3:17
and the name of that on the left Boaz (or, in him is strength). These were vast columns intended for glory and for beauty. The Church is the noblest design of the Great Architect. Holy Scripture gives us a full account of the various parts of the temple, and the different articles of furniture. Everything was ordained of God, and full of instruction, and the effect of the whole must have been beyond measure magnificent.
Go, worship at Immanuel’s feet,
See in himself what glories meet,
No gold or cedar can express
His worth, his glory, and his grace.
Is he a temple? I adore
Th’ indwelling majesty and power;
And still to this most holy place,
Whene’er I pray I turn my face.
1 Thessalonians 2:18
If you are going to do anything significant for the Kingdom of God, you must know in advance that Satan will not be delighted about it. He will try to stop you, thwart you, and dissuade you from staying on track. The last thing he wants is for you to step into the middle of God’s will for your life, because he knows the moment you do, mighty and powerful things will begin to happen that negatively affect his dark kingdom. Therefore, Satan will most definitely do all he can to keep you from getting where God wants you to be!
In the January 17 Sparkling Gem, we looked at a key word in First Thessalonians 2:18. Today I want us to look at this scripture again, for in this verse, Paul gives his own testimony of how Satan tried to hinder him from doing what God put in his heart. He wrote, “Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us.”
The word “hindered” is the Greek word egkopto. As noted earlier, this word was used to depict a runner who was elbowed out of the race by a fellow runner. However, it was also used to picture the breaking up of a road to make it impassable for travelers. This kind of impasse made it impossible for a traveler to get where he needed to go. As a result, the traveler’s trip was hindered, delayed, postponed, or temporarily put off. The traveler could still take another route to get to the same destination, but the alternate route was inconvenient, cost a lot of extra money, and took precious time that could have been used another way.
By using this word, Paul informs us that demonic attacks inconvenienced him on occasion. Satan craftily sought to abort advances of the Gospel by arranging unexpected problems that delayed, postponed, and hindered the missions God had placed on Paul’s heart. But did Paul sit down and cry because plans didn’t work out as he intended? Did he throw in the towel and quit? No!
The apostle Paul never stopped just because the devil tried to get in his way! No impasse or roadblock was going to stop him! He refused to take no for an answer! He was going to get the job done, regardless of the inconvenience, money, time, or effort involved. He was so stubborn about doing what he was called to do that he always found a way to do it.
An example of this is the time Paul left the city of Ephesus because his life was in danger (see Acts 19 and 20). Paul had given three years of his life to the believers in Ephesus. When he left, he could have cried, “Oh, I don’t understand why the Lord let this happen! He knows how much I love the leadership of Ephesus!” Paul could have bemoaned, “Now I’ll never see the Ephesian believers again. The devil has attacked me, and the door to Ephesus is permanently closed for me!”
But Paul understood that crying and lamenting don’t change a thing. So instead, he went down the road to the seaside town of Miletus and secured a facility for a meeting. Then he called for the elders of Ephesus to meet him there! Paul figured if he couldn’t go to Ephesus, why not invite the leadership to come see him? Why resign himself to defeat just because he had hit an impasse in the road? Paul knew that there is more than one way to accomplish a goal. So he put his brain to work and found a way to do what God wanted him to do.
Why should we stop just because the devil gets in the way? If that were the case, we might as well stop everything we’re doing for the Lord right now! There will never be a time that the devil just lets us do what is in our hearts. We must be determined to keep doing what we’re called to do even if the devil tries to slam the door shut in our faces.
So what if Satan shut the door to Ephesus? That was a good time for Paul to look for a open window! If he couldn’t go to the elders, why not call them to him? Paul discovered an open window in Miletus. He called for the leaders, met with them, and finished his assignment, exactly as God had ordered him to do. Mission accomplished!
You see, Paul had an attitude that would not give up. It didn’t matter how much opposition was leveled against him, he had already decided he would outlive the opposition. Somehow he’d find a way to do what God had called him to do.
You can do anything God calls you to do too! Determine in your heart that you will not allow Satan to do anything to stop you, thwart you, or dissuade you from staying on track with the assignment God has given you. God’s will for your life is where mighty and powerful things are going to happen! That is why the devil is putting up such a fuss to try to keep you from getting there. He’s afraid of what will happen if you actually do what God has put in your heart to do.
So dig in your heels, and determine that you are not giving in or giving up. Refuse to back up or relent, and keep on pressing ahead. The devil may have put an impasse in the road before you, but that doesn’t mean the show is over! If you’ll listen to the Holy Spirit, He’ll show you another route to get you where you need to be.
The Holy Spirit needs a partner who is committed. So just commit yourself to pressing ahead, regardless of the opposition. As you do, the Spirit of God will empower you to conquer every attack that comes against you. Then He will masterfully show you another and more effective way to fulfill your divine assignment. In the end, the devil will be sorry he messed with you!
Lord, I ask You to help me stay fiercely committed to fulfilling the assignment You have given to me. Forgive me for the times I’ve given in to weakness and allowed myself to complain when I should have grabbed hold of Your strength and pressed full steam ahead. I repent for allowing my flesh to talk me into moments of defeat. Today I choose to push forward to do exactly what You’ve told me to do. Holy Spirit, if the devil creates an impasse for me, please show me a better route to take so I can fulfill my divine assignment!
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
I confess that I am led by the Holy Spirit and that He shows me how to get around every obstacle the devil tries to put in my path. No impasse the devil puts before me is sufficient to prevent me from achieving what Jesus has asked me to do and to be. I refuse to accept no for an answer, and I reject any temptation to quit. I am empowered by the Spirit of the Almighty God, and I can do anything He will ever ask me to do!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
Determine in your heart that you will not allow the devil to do anything to stop you, thwart you, or dissuade you from staying on track with the assignment God has given you. Isn’t it time for you to start declaring that you can do anything God calls you to do?
“I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope. My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning.” (Psalm 130:5, 6) (See Psalm 5:3; 130:5-7; 17:14; 37:7, 34; 38:15; 119:84)
“WAIT” (Author Unknown)
Desperately, helplessly, longingly, I cried: Quietly, patiently, lovingly God replied. I pled and I wept for a clue to my fate, and the Master who gently said, “Child, you must wait.”
“Wait?” You say, wait!,” my indignant reply. “Lord, I need answers, I need to know why! Is you hand shortened? Or have you not heard? By faith, I have asked, and am claiming your Word.
“My future and all to which I can relate hangs in the balance, and You tell me to wait? I’m needing a ‘yes’ a go-ahead sign, or even a ‘no’ to which I can resign.
“And Lord, You promised that if we believe we need but to ask, and we shall receive. Lord, I’ve been asking, and this is my cry: I’m weary of asking! I need a reply!”
Then quietly, softly, I learned of my fate, as my Master replied once again, “You must wait.” So, I slumped in my chair, defeated and taut, and grumbled to God, “So, I’m waiting… for what?”
He seemed, then, to kneel, and His eyes wept with mine, and He tenderly said, “I could give you a sign. I could shake the heavens, and darken the sun. I could raise the dead, and cause mountains to run.
“All you ask me I could give, and pleased you would be. You would have what you want – but, you wouldn’t know Me. You’d not know the depth of My love for each saint: You’d not know the power that I give to the faint.
“You’d not learn to see through the clouds of despair: You’d not learn to trust just by knowing I’m there; you’d not know the joy of resting in Me when darkness and silence were all you can see.
“You’d never experience that fullness of love, as the peace of My Spirit descends like a dove; you’d know that I live and I save… (for a start), but you’d not know the depth of the beat of My heart.
“The glow of My comfort late into the night. The faith that I give when you walk without sight. The depth that’s beyond getting just what you asked of an infinite God, who make what you have last.
“You’d never know, should your pain quickly flee, what it means that ‘My grace is sufficient for Thee.’ Yes, your dreams for your loved one overnight would come true. But, Oh, the loss! If I lost what I’m doing in you!
“So, be silent, my child, and in time you will see that the greatest of gifts is to get to know Me. And though oft‘ may My answers seem terribly late. My most precious answer of all is still, ‘wait.‘”