Neisha-Ann Thompson, Ph.D

"Give me a Word to sustain the weary; awaken my ear to listen." - Isaiah 50:4

Tag: discernment

The Fowler

Surely He shall deliver you from the snare (trap set for birds) of the fowler (the one who sets the trap) and from the noisome pestilence (harsh, hurtful, injurious wind; a fatal disease; something intended to harm or kill; an assault against your spirit).” – Psalm 91:3

The intention of the fowler (whatever the trap he uses) is to limit the movement of or detain the bird, and ultimately kill it. The “fowler of our souls” (satan) wants to prevent us from growing (moving) in God and from fulfilling our purpose in God. If he can ensnare us and keep us bound, he’ll eventually weaken us to the point of death. If he can keep you bound in your past…. If he can keep regurgitating past mistakes and cause you to feel like you haven’t grown or haven’t moved, he’ll prevent you from accomplishing all God has for you.

But, glory to God, Psalm 124:6-8 says, “Blessed be the Lord who has NOT given us as prey to their teeth. Our soul has escaped as a bird from the snare of the fowler. The snare is BROKEN, and we have ESCAPED. Our HELP is in the Name of the Lord, who made Heaven and earth.”

Listen to this teaching on The Fowler. I pray it blesses you and causes you to be watchful, sober, and vigilant in your spiritual walk.

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YIC,

Neisha

 

Jacob’s Voice, But Esau’s Skin

“…The voice is Jacob’s voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau…. And he did not recognize him….so he blessed him.” – Genesis 27:22-23

This chapter in the book of Genesis details the story of how a mother (Rebekah) plotted and schemed with her younger son to deceive his father (her husband). The story highlights the importance of the gift of discernment and the act of waiting to be confirmed when we are unsure of a decision or feel pressured into making a rushed decision. Let’s examine some of the lessons from this story that will help guide us when making critical life decisions.

Don’t Bless (Cosign/Condone/Engage In) What You Don’t Recognize

The Bible says “Isaac did NOT recognize Jacob… SO he blessed him…” (vs 23). Sounds absurd doesn’t it? Yet, you and I have been guilty of the very same thing at one point in our lives or another. How many times in life have we proceeded with a decision or an act, in the midst of painful uncertainty, crippling doubt, or lack of peace? It is evident that Isaac was unsure of his decision because even after blessing Jacob (thinking it was Esau), he asked him, “Are you really my son Esau?” (vs 24). There are times that God will warn us of deception in our lives, but we ignore the Spirit’s promptings and proceed anyway. Why? Most times it’s because we’re afraid (afraid of missing out on a “good” opportunity; afraid of losing something we value; afraid of disappointing others; afraid of failure; and the list goes on).

Decisions That Are Truly Spirit-Led Are Never Made From A Place Of Fear

Isaac feared that he would die before blessing his firstborn (vs 2-4), so he rushed ahead despite his doubts. If fear is driving your decisions, recognize that you are playing right into the hands of the enemy, as fear is his most prominent tool. The Bible says “God has not given us the spirit of fear” (2 Timothy 1:7), neither is God the author of confusion, but of peace (1 Corinthians 14:33). So, if it is God who is leading you to make a certain decision, EVERY Word HE sends will serve to confirm or clarify His will, not confuse it. If there is contradiction, that simply means we need to wait to be confirmed by His peace before proceeding.

Use ALL Your Senses

Another very important decision-making lesson from this passage is found in verse 1, which tells us that “Isaac was old and his eyes were so dim that he could not see”. Sight is one of the five senses that God has given us to help connect us to the world. Furthermore, spiritual sight (vision/discernment) is especially needed as we connect with the world and navigate life situations. ALL your spiritual senses must be in tune when making critical decisions. If you’re not hearing God clearly, or you can’t see exactly what He’s showing you; if something smells “fishy”, tastes “off”, or doesn’t feel right…. Do not proceed! Wait for the Holy Spirit to confirm what it is that He wants you to do. One very important lesson I’ve learned over the past couple of years is simply this – When the skin feels like Esau, but the voice sounds like Jacob, do not proceed! Wait to be confirmed by God’s peace!

Check your circle

Finally, be careful of the manipulators and deceivers that are closely connected to you. It was Rebekah’s (Jacob’s own mother’s) idea to trick Isaac (vs 5-10). Recognize that as humans we are innately selfish; and people, in wanting their own needs met, don’t mind deceiving you in the process. You need people around you who: have your best interests at heart, have the right motives, and will hold you accountable to God’s Word and will for your life. Ask God for wisdom and discernment to reveal the people in your circle.

Prayer: Lord, we want to make decisions that align with Your will for our lives. Help us to not be deceived by the enemy or misguided by people. We recognize that the enemy cannot stop your will, so sometimes he tries to cause us to rush ahead because he knows that TIMING with You is EVERYTHING. We cannot separate Your will from Your timing. Speak to our hearts today Lord; unite our spiritual senses; and guide us by Your undeniable peace. Amen.

YIC,

Neisha

Countering Counterfeits

“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith….” – 1 Peter 5:8-9a

We’ve often heard that the enemy is cunning and deceiving, hence the scripture warns us to be sober (i.e. clear headed; not drunk) and vigilant (i.e. attentive, alert, on our toes), so that we will not fall prey to any of his devices. For the past two days I’ve been meditating on the above scripture and just how, despite its warning, we still end up getting caught in the enemy’s snares. I keep hearing the words counterfeit anddiscernment. I want to challenge you to be very prayerful in this season and to ask God to increase your discernment concerning the people, doors, assignments, and opportunities in your life right now. There are things that may look and feel good, but they are not God.

A counterfeit is defined as something that is “made in EXACT IMITATION of something valuable or important with the intention to deceive or defraud.” A lot of what we are dealing with in our lives right now are really counterfeits; things sent by the enemy to deceive and to distract us from our destiny. Because counterfeits are made in exact imitation of the real thing, I asked God to show me how to identify the counterfeits in my life. He showed me three main ways:

Compromised Integrity
If you find that you are compromising your integrity, values, or morals to get this “thing” (person, opportunity, relationship, etc), you’re dealing with a counterfeit. God’s blessings will never pull you away from Him or compete with Him. He will never send a blessing that you will have to violate Biblical principles to attain or maintain.

OutofCharacter Behavior
If you find that you are acting completely out of character as you interact with this “thing” (person, opportunity, relationship, etc), you’re dealing with a counterfeit. Are you operating in the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23)? Or are your actions diametrically opposed to the Spirit? Does your behavior bear semblance to the characteristics of Love as outlined in 1 Corinthians 13, or is it the complete opposite when you engage or interact with this thing? “Every good and perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning” (James 1:17). Try the spirit by the Spirit (1 John 4:1).

Depletion
If you find that you are drained and depleted after every interaction or engagement with this “thing” (person, opportunity, relationship, etc) or that your spirit is more drained/depleted than it is revived and built-up – you’re dealing with a counterfeit. Since Christ gave us abundant life (John 10:10), we know that He would never send us anything that drains us or depletes the life-giving energy He died for us to have. While we know that everything involves hard work, a blessing from God should never burden or solely make withdrawals from us. God already told us in His Word that His yoke is easy and His burden is light (Matthew 11:28-30).

I challenge you today to ask God to make you watchful, vigilant, and sober; to remove the scales from your eyes so that you may see clearly the counterfeits that the enemy has sent to distract you and deter you from your destiny. Sometimes what we call “divine connections” are really “demonic distractions”. As Gideon did in Judges 7:4, I challenge you to take every person, relationship, connection, opportunity, door, assignment (etc) to GOD and let HIM test them for you and show you what should continue on with you and what you need to separate yourself from. Your destiny depends on it!

Prayer: Lord, we lay every “gift” in our lives on Your altar and ask You to test their authenticity by the fire of Your spirit. May all the counterfeits and demonic distractions in our lives be consumed by Your power; and may the genuine blessings that have come from you, shine as pure gold. We fix our eyes on You as we wait for the fire to burn out, promising to only move forward with what remains. Amen.

YIC,
Neisha

© 2020 Neisha-Ann Thompson, Ph.D

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