Spiritual Highs: Real or Counterfeit?

  • September 28, 2015
Monday 28

Luke 9:28-37

God gives us high spiritual experiences in order to reveal truth about Himself. But how do you know if your experience is authentic or not? Any spiritual event that magnifies itself or some other activity but does not direct your attention to God is, more than likely, counterfeit. When God lifts us up, He does so to focus our thoughts on Him.

That’s what happened at the Mount of Transfiguration: As they stood in the presence of God in human flesh, Peter, James, and John saw Jesus in all His majesty. Observing Him there with Moses and Elijah, who were deceased, the disciples realized there is life after death. The things they learned frightened them, but the Lord was revealing something they would never forget.

Why does God open our hearts and give us glimpses of Himself? By doing so, He strengthens and motivates us for His purposes. At the same time, He helps us to absorb understanding that will transcend any future doubt. Peter and his companions were never the same after the transfiguration. Even when their beloved Lord was taken and crucified, nothing could erase their indelible memories of the miracle they’d witnessed.

The idea that God is somewhere far away from us isn’t scriptural. He wants to unveil Himself to His people and commune through His Holy Spirit. If you have never heard God speak, could it be that there is too much noise in your life distracting you from Him? Next time you are in church, don’t simply go through the motions. God wants to say something to you that will make a difference in your life. If you listen to Him, He will.

Bible in One Year: Zephaniah 1-3, Haggai 1-2

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28 Some eight days after these sayings, He took along Peter and John and James, and went up on the mountain to pray.

29 And while He was praying, the appearance of His face became different, and His clothing became white and gleaming.

30 And behold, two men were talking with Him; and they were Moses and Elijah,

31 who, appearing in glory, were speaking of His departure which He was about to accomplish at Jerusalem.

32 Now Peter and his companions had been overcome with sleep; but when they were fully awake, they saw His glory and the two men standing with Him.

33 And as these were leaving Him, Peter said to Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here; let us make three tabernacles: one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah"--not realizing what he was saying.

34 While he was saying this, a cloud formed and began to overshadow them; and they were afraid as they entered the cloud.

35 Then a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is My Son, My Chosen One; listen to Him!"

36 And when the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent, and reported to no one in those days any of the things which they had seen.

37 On the next day, when they came down from the mountain, a large crowd met Him.

1 The word of the LORD which came to Zephaniah son of Cushi, son of Gedaliah, son of Amariah, son of Hezekiah, in the days of Josiah son of Amon, king of Judah:

2 I will completely remove all things From the face of the earth," declares the LORD.

3 I will remove man and beast; I will remove the birds of the sky And the fish of the sea, And the ruins along with the wicked; And I will cut off man from the face of the earth," declares the LORD.

4 So I will stretch out My hand against Judah And against all the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And I will cut off the remnant of Baal from this place, And the names of the idolatrous priests along with the priests.

5 And those who bow down on the housetops to the host of heaven, And those who bow down and swear to the LORD and yet swear by Milcom,

6 And those who have turned back from following the LORD, And those who have not sought the LORD or inquired of Him."

7 Be silent before the Lord GOD! For the day of the LORD is near, For the LORD has prepared a sacrifice, He has consecrated His guests.

8 Then it will come about on the day of the LORD'S sacrifice That I will punish the princes, the king's sons And all who clothe themselves with foreign garments.

9 And I will punish on that day all who leap on the temple threshold, Who fill the house of their lord with violence and deceit.

10 On that day," declares the LORD, There will be the sound of a cry from the Fish Gate, A wail from the Second Quarter, And a loud crash from the hills.

11 Wail, O inhabitants of the Mortar, For all the people of Canaan will be silenced; All who weigh out silver will be cut off.

12 It will come about at that time That I will search Jerusalem with lamps, And I will punish the men Who are stagnant in spirit, Who say in their hearts, `The LORD will not do good or evil!'

13 Moreover, their wealth will become plunder And their houses desolate; Yes, they will build houses but not inhabit them, And plant vineyards but not drink their wine."

14 Near is the great day of the LORD, Near and coming very quickly; Listen, the day of the LORD! In it the warrior cries out bitterly.

15 A day of wrath is that day, A day of trouble and distress, A day of destruction and desolation, A day of darkness and gloom, A day of clouds and thick darkness,

16 A day of trumpet and battle cry Against the fortified cities And the high corner towers.

17 I will bring distress on men So that they will walk like the blind, Because they have sinned against the LORD; And their blood will be poured out like dust And their flesh like dung.

18 Neither their silver nor their gold Will be able to deliver them On the day of the LORD'S wrath; And all the earth will be devoured In the fire of His jealousy, For He will make a complete end, Indeed a terrifying one, Of all the inhabitants of the earth.

1 Gather yourselves together, yes, gather, O nation without shame,

2 Before the decree takes effect-- The day passes like the chaff-- Before the burning anger of the LORD comes upon you, Before the day of the LORD'S anger comes upon you.

3 Seek the LORD, All you humble of the earth Who have carried out His ordinances; Seek righteousness, seek humility. Perhaps you will be hidden In the day of the LORD'S anger.

4 For Gaza will be abandoned And Ashkelon a desolation; Ashdod will be driven out at noon And Ekron will be uprooted.

5 Woe to the inhabitants of the seacoast, The nation of the Cherethites! The word of the LORD is against you, O Canaan, land of the Philistines; And I will destroy you So that there will be no inhabitant.

6 So the seacoast will be pastures, With caves for shepherds and folds for flocks.

7 And the coast will be For the remnant of the house of Judah, They will pasture on it. In the houses of Ashkelon they will lie down at evening; For the LORD their God will care for them And restore their fortune.

8 I have heard the taunting of Moab And the revilings of the sons of Ammon, With which they have taunted My people And become arrogant against their territory.

9 Therefore, as I live," declares the LORD of hosts, The God of Israel, Surely Moab will be like Sodom And the sons of Ammon like Gomorrah-- A place possessed by nettles and salt pits, And a perpetual desolation. The remnant of My people will plunder them And the remainder of My nation will inherit them."

10 This they will have in return for their pride, because they have taunted and become arrogant against the people of the LORD of hosts.

11 The LORD will be terrifying to them, for He will starve all the gods of the earth; and all the coastlands of the nations will bow down to Him, everyone from his own place.

12 You also, O Ethiopians, will be slain by My sword."

13 And He will stretch out His hand against the north And destroy Assyria, And He will make Nineveh a desolation, Parched like the wilderness.

14 Flocks will lie down in her midst, All beasts which range in herds; Both the pelican and the hedgehog Will lodge in the tops of her pillars; Birds will sing in the window, Desolation will be on the threshold; For He has laid bare the cedar work.

15 This is the exultant city Which dwells securely, Who says in her heart, I am, and there is no one besides me." How she has become a desolation, A resting place for beasts! Everyone who passes by her will hiss And wave his hand in contempt.

1 Woe to her who is rebellious and defiled, The tyrannical city!

2 She heeded no voice, She accepted no instruction. She did not trust in the LORD, She did not draw near to her God.

3 Her princes within her are roaring lions, Her judges are wolves at evening; They leave nothing for the morning.

4 Her prophets are reckless, treacherous men; Her priests have profaned the sanctuary. They have done violence to the law.

5 The LORD is righteous within her; He will do no injustice. Every morning He brings His justice to light; He does not fail. But the unjust knows no shame.

6 I have cut off nations; Their corner towers are in ruins. I have made their streets desolate, With no one passing by; Their cities are laid waste, Without a man, without an inhabitant.

7 I said, `Surely you will revere Me, Accept instruction.' So her dwelling will not be cut off According to all that I have appointed concerning her. But they were eager to corrupt all their deeds.

8 Therefore wait for Me," declares the LORD, For the day when I rise up as a witness. Indeed, My decision is to gather nations, To assemble kingdoms, To pour out on them My indignation, All My burning anger; For all the earth will be devoured By the fire of My zeal.

9 For then I will give to the peoples purified lips, That all of them may call on the name of the LORD, To serve Him shoulder to shoulder.

10 From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia My worshipers, My dispersed ones, Will bring My offerings.

11 In that day you will feel no shame Because of all your deeds By which you have rebelled against Me; For then I will remove from your midst Your proud, exulting ones, And you will never again be haughty On My holy mountain.

12 But I will leave among you A humble and lowly people, And they will take refuge in the name of the LORD.

13 The remnant of Israel will do no wrong And tell no lies, Nor will a deceitful tongue Be found in their mouths; For they will feed and lie down With no one to make them tremble."

14 Shout for joy, O daughter of Zion! Shout in triumph, O Israel! Rejoice and exult with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem!

15 The LORD has taken away His judgments against you, He has cleared away your enemies. The King of Israel, the LORD, is in your midst; You will fear disaster no more.

16 In that day it will be said to Jerusalem: Do not be afraid, O Zion; Do not let your hands fall limp.

17 The LORD your God is in your midst, A victorious warrior. He will exult over you with joy, He will be quiet in His love, He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy.

18 I will gather those who grieve about the appointed feasts-- They came from you, O Zion; The reproach of exile is a burden on them.

19 Behold, I am going to deal at that time With all your oppressors, I will save the lame And gather the outcast, And I will turn their shame into praise and renown In all the earth.

20 At that time I will bring you in, Even at the time when I gather you together; Indeed, I will give you renown and praise Among all the peoples of the earth, When I restore your fortunes before your eyes," Says the LORD.

1 In the second year of Darius the king, on the first day of the sixth month, the word of the LORD came by the prophet Haggai to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, saying,

2 Thus says the LORD of hosts, `This people says, The time has not come, even the time for the house of the LORD to be rebuilt."'"

3 Then the word of the LORD came by Haggai the prophet, saying,

4 Is it time for you yourselves to dwell in your paneled houses while this house lies desolate?"

5 Now therefore, thus says the LORD of hosts, Consider your ways!

6 You have sown much, but harvest little; you eat, but there is not enough to be satisfied; you drink, but there is not enough to become drunk; you put on clothing, but no one is warm enough; and he who earns, earns wages to put into a purse with holes."

7 Thus says the LORD of hosts, Consider your ways!

8 Go up to the mountains, bring wood and rebuild the temple, that I may be pleased with it and be glorified," says the LORD.

9 You look for much, but behold, it comes to little; when you bring it home, I blow it away. Why?" declares the LORD of hosts, Because of My house which lies desolate, while each of you runs to his own house.

10 Therefore, because of you the sky has withheld its dew and the earth has withheld its produce.

11 I called for a drought on the land, on the mountains, on the grain, on the new wine, on the oil, on what the ground produces, on men, on cattle, and on all the labor of your hands."

12 Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, with all the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of the LORD their God and the words of Haggai the prophet, as the LORD their God had sent him. And the people showed reverence for the LORD.

13 Then Haggai, the messenger of the LORD, spoke by the commission of the LORD to the people saying, `I am with you,' declares the LORD."

14 So the LORD stirred up the spirit of Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and the spirit of Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and the spirit of all the remnant of the people; and they came and worked on the house of the LORD of hosts, their God,

15 on the twenty-fourth day of the sixth month in the second year of Darius the king.

1 On the twenty-first of the seventh month, the word of the LORD came by Haggai the prophet saying,

2 Speak now to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and to the remnant of the people saying,

3 Who is left among you who saw this temple in its former glory? And how do you see it now? Does it not seem to you like nothing in comparison?

4 But now take courage, Zerubbabel,' declares the LORD, `take courage also, Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and all you people of the land take courage,' declares the LORD, `and work; for I am with you,' declares the LORD of hosts.

5 As for the promise which I made you when you came out of Egypt, My Spirit is abiding in your midst; do not fear!'

6 For thus says the LORD of hosts, `Once more in a little while, I am going to shake the heavens and the earth, the sea also and the dry land.

7 I will shake all the nations; and they will come with the wealth of all nations, and I will fill this house with glory,' says the LORD of hosts.

8 The silver is Mine and the gold is Mine,' declares the LORD of hosts.

9 The latter glory of this house will be greater than the former,' says the LORD of hosts, `and in this place I will give peace,' declares the LORD of hosts."

10 On the twenty-fourth of the ninth month, in the second year of Darius, the word of the LORD came to Haggai the prophet, saying,

11 Thus says the LORD of hosts, `Ask now the priests for a ruling:

12 If a man carries holy meat in the fold of his garment, and touches bread with this fold, or cooked food, wine, oil, or any other food, will it become holy?'" And the priests answered, No."

13 Then Haggai said, If one who is unclean from a corpse touches any of these, will the latter become unclean?" And the priests answered, It will become unclean."

14 Then Haggai said, `So is this people. And so is this nation before Me,' declares the LORD, `and so is every work of their hands; and what they offer there is unclean.

15 But now, do consider from this day onward: before one stone was placed on another in the temple of the LORD,

16 from that time when one came to a grain heap of twenty measures, there would be only ten; and when one came to the wine vat to draw fifty measures, there would be only twenty.

17 I smote you and every work of your hands with blasting wind, mildew and hail; yet you did not come back to Me,' declares the LORD.

18 Do consider from this day onward, from the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month; from the day when the temple of the LORD was founded, consider:

19 Is the seed still in the barn? Even including the vine, the fig tree, the pomegranate and the olive tree, it has not borne fruit. Yet from this day on I will bless you. '"

20 Then the word of the LORD came a second time to Haggai on the twenty-fourth day of the month, saying,

21 Speak to Zerubbabel governor of Judah, saying, `I am going to shake the heavens and the earth.

22 I will overthrow the thrones of kingdoms and destroy the power of the kingdoms of the nations; and I will overthrow the chariots and their riders, and the horses and their riders will go down, everyone by the sword of another.'

23 On that day,' declares the LORD of hosts, `I will take you, Zerubbabel, son of Shealtiel, My servant,' declares the LORD, `and I will make you like a signet ring, for I have chosen you,'" declares the LORD of hosts.

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Publish Date June 26, 2017
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