Many years ago I had an experience that I value to this very day. It permanently altered how I look at things when it comes to religion. It taught me how to test the spirits. There are a lot of confused and false doctrines out there in the world today. Learning to discern what is of God and what is not of God is one of the hard things we must do as Christians. The secret is to be thoroughly grounded in the Bible. If it goes against the Bible, it is going against God. There are a lot of awesome speakers who call themselves preachers yet have no true knowledge of the Bible. They have "their" view of the Bible. Which is not necessarily the same thing.
Being a trucker it was often my experience to attend church on the road. When people asked me what church I attended I would say, "I attend the church of the eighty foot parking lot." It was the truth. When you drive a truck that is seventy-eight feet long you need a big parking lot. Many times I would attend a church regardless of the denomination. The criteria for me attending was a place to park. As long as it is a Christian church it should be founded on Christ. Even if it is not totally in line with the Word of God there will usually be at least a couple of people who have a relationship with Christ. Over time I met some really interesting people in some pretty interesting ways. Spent New Years Eve one year in a parking lot in Madawaska, Maine with a couple feet of snow on the ground. It is about as far north as you can get in the continental part of the United States. I was delivering air conditioners. However as I learned these were not regular air conditioners. These were a type that allowed them to recirculate the air so they could save energy by not heating the subzero air that was normal in winter for them. The only place open in the whole town was a Subway sandwich shop. I went in and ordered. Just to make small talk I asked the guy working there if he knew of any churches in the area. He looked at me funny, with a smile on his face, "Sure," he said stretching the word out into a statement. "there is one in the basement." Because of the smile I thought he was kidding, but he assured me there was definitely a for real church in the basement. After eating I wondered downstairs and sure enough there was a sign on the door. It was a couple hours till meeting time. So I went back to my truck.
Sitting in the truck I was facing the door to the church. To kill time I did paperwork and tidied up the sleeper area. Finally I saw some people starting to filter into the "church." I waited till a few minutes before service time and I wondered in. The people were all very friendly. The guys mostly had beards and the women all wore head coverings. It was a different kind of meeting from any I was used to in my past. They were focused on the end time message and it went on for a few hours. After the service we all sat and talked and they shared some fliers with me that gave a rundown of what the church believed. They were a very sincere and very nice bunch of people. I would like to go back and see how they are doing sometime. However not in the middle of winter. It was a Spirit filled New Year's Eve.
Over the next few months I attended several services. For some reason I kept running into a situation. After the service the preacher would corner me and say. "I perceive you are not filled with the holy spirit." Well it boiled down to the issue of tongues I discovered. Following the Lord was not an issue for me. I was sure I was where the Lord wanted me to be. Doing what the Lord wanted me to do. You would have to read my biography to understand why I am so confidant in saying that. Anyhow after the third time it happened I took the matter to the Lord in prayer and told him to show me by his Word if I was not in the "Spirit." Well the next time I opened my Bible I turned to 1st John 2:26-27 and it set me at peace with myself, it reads,"26 These things have I written unto concerning them that seduce you. 27 But the anointing which you have received of him abideth in you, and you need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him." Reading that verse humbled me. I had read it several times in the past, but I had not seen the meaning in it. One of the next verses I turned to was Jeremiah 17:5 "Thus saith the Lord; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord. It seemed to me the Lord was confirming to me that I should not worry about what the preacher in the truck stop said. When I read Matthew 24:4-5 I was convicted that I was right, "4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. 5. For many shall come in my name, saying I am Christ and shall deceive many." Suddenly I had peace in my heart in the situation.
My life verse is Proverbs 3: 5-6, it was given to me and written in the back of the Bible presented to me after my baptism at Bible camp. I did not always follow it, but I found it when I was at the lowest point in my life and it has guided my life every since. At that low point I had nothing and I told the Lord. As I have nothing I will tithe my time in your Word. From that point on for years I spent two and a half hours a day in the Bible. At first it was easy because I was unemployed, but when I started working it became harder, but I managed to get it done. I broke it into three sessions, but they totaled at least two and a half hours. That was a time when I really grew in the Lord and came to know he was guiding every step of my life. My job was to search my heart and make sure I was actually listening to him and not myself or some outside source that would set me on the wrong path.
The verses I have listed so far should guide anybody who is sincere in their walk and search for the Lord. As my walk with the Lord progressed I found John 3:8 and it has guided my life pretty much since I found it. Sometimes it makes me go in ways that I would not normally go. A couple times because I followed it when it did not make sense it actually saved my life. Those stories are to long to put in this piece, but if I get a message that anyone is interested in knowing how that happened I may share it latter.
The final two verses I want to leave with anyone who is seeking the Lord in their life are really pretty simple but not applied by many people. The first is Hosea 4:6 "My people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shall be no priest to me: seeing thous hast forgotten the law of the thy God, I will also forget thy children" That is a pretty heavy saying. If you do not seek God he will turn his back on you. He is not talking to the heathen in this case. He is talking to those who profess to believe and follow him, but have no time for him or his Word and use their own misguided views to create their own concept of worship that they are comfortable with.
This final verse is one that I have to constantly fight to obey. However when you learn to walk in it and not use your own mind and just follow your heart where God leads you. You will not go wrong. It is hard because we try to do so many things on our own and don't let God get involved till we have no other way to turn and sometimes then it is to late. Using this verse is what allows you to hear that small still voice and opens your eyes to see what you would not normally see. The verse is Matthew 7:7-8 all we need do is ask. Jesus himself told us so. It is reaffirmed in several places. Matthew 21:22, Luke 11:9-13, John 14: 12-21 and finally in John 16:23-30. Getting a firm grip of those verses will help your walk with the Lord tremendously. Also James 4:1-6 explains the cost of not getting it. Just understand as it says in James 4-6 if you know the Word and apply it Satan will flee from you and has no power in your life.
There is an old Indian proverb. There are two wolves, one good and one evil. They are battling and the one that wins is the one you feed. If you are not grounded in the Word and don't know how to defend yourself with the Word and build up your strength in it. You will easily fall prey to the evil wolf, however, you can hold him at bay and defeat him if you pray. Which do you want in your life and what happens is determined by your actions. Are you the victim or the victor.