KEYWORDS: lord, faith, feelings, jesus, word, god

Shooting Straight, Part 13--Letter Links: Feeling It?

March 22, 2005

(ML #3536, GN 1127)

FD/MM/FM October 2004

Tony's Last Chance

ML #2714:10-39, DB 10


10. (Mama:) You say, "It's hard to live for Jesus when I don't have a strong personal connection with Him that touches my emotions. I long for it, I pray and weep for it, and sometimes I do feel it, but often I don't, or I think I don't."—And you weep and you cry and you agonize for it: "I've hungered for Your touch a long, lonely time ... Are You still mine? I need Your love, I need Your love‚ God speed Your love to me."

11. HOW SAD THAT YOU'RE SEARCHING and CRYING and BEGGING and PLEADING FOR GOD'S TOUCH WHEN HE HAS TOUCHED YOU! His love touches you moment by moment!—Every Family member who lovingly greets you and looks into your face with eyes shining with God's love IS the Lord's touch! … Every Word that you are so privileged to receive from the mouth of God's prophet IS God touching you! Every tender look and sweet considerate act of love by your sweet wife IS God's touch! The love of the little child that the Lord has given you IS God's touch! It is GOD touching you. How can you feel more than that? What more do you want from God than He's already GIVEN you? What more COULD He possibly give you?

12. YOU SAY‚ "SOMETIMES I THINK GOD WANTS ME TO BE AN EXAMPLE OF SOMEONE WHO WILL KEEP SERVING HIM JUST BECAUSE OF THE TRUTH IN HIS WORD without any feelings, without any signs, without any revelations." Yes, I'm sure He DOES want you to be an example of that! But we're ALL supposed to be an example of that, regardless of whether we ever feel ANYTHING or not! God wants us to TRUST Him totally by FAITH, totally by what He SAYS in His WORD. That's what ALL of us have to do.

13. I RARELY GET SIGNS, I SELDOM GET REVELATIONS, I don't get prophecies. I don't frequently have spiritually high experiences, I don't feel thrills and excitement all the time. MOST of our Family don't! We just have to go about our lives for the Lord quietly, calmly, steadily, without a lot of excitement‚ without a lot of hoopla or rah-rah, every day repeating the same jobs over and over again.—Mommies wiping noses‚ changing diapers; kids going to school, washing dishes, sweeping floors; secretaries typing letters, answering phones; cooks preparing meals that are there on the table and gone the next moment and have to be started over again in a few hours, the same routine day after day; witnessers doing the hard work of going door-to-door each day, one door at a time, being received by some but refused by many, and having to struggle with discouragement.—No great signs, no revelations, no great highs of emotion, just the quiet assurance that they're doing GOD'S Will and that HE is with them and cares about them and has everything under His wonderful control—and they're helping HIM and OTHERS.

14. You sound as though you think you're the only one in the Family who has to take everything by faith without any feelings, without any prophecies, without any visions, without any revelations, without any miracles‚ without any voices, without any lights or thunder from Heaven! Why should you need more visual and sensual experiences than the rest of us? You may be very idealistic‚ but you're sure not being very realistic! (Amen!)

15. I don't hear voices, I don't give prophecies, I don't see visions, yet I believe, and I know Jesus touches me. I experience His touch constantly. But I cannot say that in the physical or emotional sense I "feel" Him touching me, and I'm sure that it's the same with the vast majority of our dear Family. We have to walk by faith‚ not by sight, hearing or feeling. (TYJ!)

16. This is a problem that a lot of the so–called "holiness" and Pentecostal church people have; they always want to feel the "moving of the Spirit." They've got to always have a revelation and a strong and tangible "personal connection," and if they don't, they're discontent with simply taking the Lord at His Word. Their faith is based on feelings and big waves of emotional excitement and thrills and tingles and all of that sort of thing.

17. God's Word says we are to "walk by faith, not by sight."—2Cor.5:7. Yet you say you're failing in your walk with the Lord because you don't have enough feelings. Maybe your faith is weak because you're not really living in the Word enough. … "Faith cometh by the Word of God. And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he that cometh to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him."—Rom.10:17; Heb.11:6. Your faith needs to be in the Word and in the Lord's faithfulness to answer prayer and to reward those who seek Him, whether you ever feel anything or not!

18. IT MIGHT DO YOU GOOD TO REMEMBER DAD'S EXAMPLE AS WELL. Dad never even got the gift of tongues until the Revolution was already in full swing when we'd arrived at TSC. He wasn't depending on signs and wonders. He just faithfully did his best to love the Lord and live up to his convictions and obey and follow Jesus and preach the Word and win souls and get others to witness. Of course, the same is also true of most of God's greats in the Bible, the Lord didn't give them outstanding revelations and messages until they had proven themselves faithful to just plug along and obey and do His Will without ANY signs, wonders or feelings.

19. YOU REMIND ME OF DOUBTING THOMAS. Do you remember what Jesus said to Him? "Because thou hast SEEN Me, thou hast believed. BLESSED are they that have NOT seen and YET have believed."—Jn.20:29. But you're saying that because you haven't been able to see or feel Him enough, you're having a very difficult struggle in believing that He has touched you. "BLESSED are they that have NOT seen Me, not FELT Me"—physically, emotionally—"YET have believed." (that the Lord is STILL there WITH them‚ that He IS touching them)


20. YOU LAMENT THAT YOU DON'T HAVE A STRONG PERSONAL CONNECTION WITH JESUS THAT TOUCHES YOUR EMOTIONS. Since when do our EMOTIONS have ANYTHING to do with living for the Lord? If we go by our emotions, we are going to be DEFEATED and DISCOURAGED MOST of the time!—Because the DEVIL can play with our emotions and feelings and make us feel what HE wants us to feel. But he can't do anything to alter the FACT of God's Word.—Or the fact that we are the Lord's and that He loves us and touches us daily with His love. If we try to depend upon our EMOTIONS to confirm our connection with the Lord, we're SUNK! That's absolutely UNscriptural and absolutely the WRONG way to do things, and will bring nothing but defeat.

21. OUR EMOTIONS ARE ALMOST LIKE THE WEATHER; sometimes there's not much we can do about them. We can wake up and suddenly just feel depressed, and not even know why. Of course, we don't have to STAY that way. But it shows that the Devil can do things to our emotions without our permission and he can make us FEEL down and discouraged and defeated. Of course, we have the power to refuse to STAY in that place or that position.

22. In other words, the Devil can sometimes get ahold of our emotions and do pretty much whatever he wants with them, at least temporarily. That's why we can't use our emotions as any kind of reliable guide to anything whatsoever! So it's ridiculous to say that you've got to have your religion connected to your emotions!

23. WE WALK BY FAITH, NOT BY SIGHT, NOT BY FEELING, NOT BY HEARING, NOT BY TASTING, BUT BY FAITH! And it doesn't really matter WHAT you feel or HOW you feel! You might feel rotten all the time! What if you happen to be really SICK? If your religion and your faith are connected to your FEELINGS and EMOTIONS, you won't have any faith LEFT! So you can't go by what you FEEL! Our emotions‚ our feelings could be terrible all the time! But we just have to keep going by FAITH that we're in the Lord's hands and we're His and we know that He loves us and He cares about us.—And we're assured of all that through the WORD. The Word is the FACT, which helps us to believe and to have the FAITH!

24. We should never ever try to link our faith to our emotions or feelings or anything but the Word! Emotions are so fickle, feelings are so fickle, and they're so unstable—like a roller coaster! So we'd better not put any confidence in our feelings whatsoever! Maybe if you would just forget about your feelings and seek first the Kingdom of God by walking by faith, the Lord might be more inclined to give you some of these feelings you're seeking.

25. But why do you require a thrill and feeling and emotional excitement all the time? That shouldn't have anything to do with your faith in the Lord. Insisting on having signs and wonders and great feelings and emotional highs and all of that—not only part of the time‚ but all of the time—is a demand that the Lord cannot supply, because it is not in line with His Will. Your view of things is a distorted perception of what life for the Lord is all about. It's just not that way in the Christian's life. You can be thankful for the times that you do have emotional highs or feelings of ecstasy‚ but most of the faith life is just that: Going by faith and not by feelings—plain plodding along, faithfully doing your job for the Lord, even when you don't feel like it—even when it's difficult or unexciting.

26. REMEMBER THE STORY DAD TOLD OF WHEN HE WAS TEACHING A VERY HARD-TO-HANDLE JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL CLASS, and he just didn't know if he could go through it one more day? He looked in the mirror as he was shaving one morning and he thought, "How can I do it?" And the Lord gave him that verse, "ENDURE HARDNESS as a good SOLDIER of Jesus Christ!"—2Tim.2:3. (See ML#897:81-83.) Our life is a test of ENDURANCE, it's an UPHILL climb, it's not a bed of roses! Most of the time you're NOT feeling all that great and ecstatic and high or emotionally "touched" and elated!

27. I'M NOT SAYING THAT WE CAN'T BE HAPPY; OF COURSE WE'RE HAPPY! But our happiness and contentment is something that is CONSISTENT and STEADY—NOT like our EMOTIONS, which are up one minute and down the next. We're happy because we know the LORD and have HIM in our hearts! "Happy is that people that is in such a case‚ yea, happy is that people whose God is the LORD!"—Psa.144:15. Our happiness isn't something that's dependent on feelings or thrills or emotional highs of some kind. We're happy because we have JESUS, the most precious Treasure in the whole World!—True happiness is the peace, contentment and joy that remains in SPITE of all our trials and tribulations and the heaviness we often feel from the burdens of this life.

28. FOR US‚ GOD'S CHILDREN, HAPPINESS IS A PERMANENT STATE OF BEING, NOT MERELY A FEELING. We may feel gloomy and our hearts may be heavy sometimes, but nevertheless‚ at the same time‚ we remain happy with the happiness that Jesus gives us through Faith, Salvation and all the wonderful blessings that come with it. Thanks to Jesus, we know that all of our SINS ARE FORGIVEN and that we're SAVED FROM HELL and bound for an ETERNITY of happiness in HEAVEN! So WHATEVER our temporal FEELINGS happen to be, our HAPPINESS abides! Happy FEELINGS fluctuate‚ they come and go, but our STATE OF HAPPINESS remains. However, for the unsaved‚ for the worldlings, because they don't know Jesus, they can't be truly and permanently happy, although they do sometimes experience a kind of temporary happiness in the form of positive emotions or happy feelings.

29. SO THE BRIEF MOMENTARY SPURTS OF JOY OR DELIGHT OR ECSTASY THAT THEY SOMETIMES EXPERIENCE IS THE ONLY HAPPINESS THEY KNOW—God's merciful bestowing of His blessings on "the just (as well as) the unjust" (Mat.5:45). These passing incidents of happiness include experiences such as the temporary ecstasy of sex or the thrill of being able to do something they've always wanted to, etc. But then almost as quickly as it comes, it goes again. So this is ONLY a TASTE of REAL happiness. They can't have genuine LASTING happiness without the LORD. Their only happiness is very brief and fleeting, it comes and it goes. They may experience the MOMENTARY pleasures of this World that last only "for a SEASON" (Heb.11:25), but we, God's children‚ have EVERLASTING happiness that can only come from knowing the AUTHOR of TRUE happiness, JESUS. (Isa.35:10; 61:7.)

30. THE LORD IS SO GOOD TO US, HE NOT ONLY GIVES US THIS GREATEST OF ALL HAPPINESS, the permanent state of happiness that comes from knowing Him and being filled with His Spirit, but He ALSO frequently gives us all the wonderful FEELINGS of happiness as well—thrills, excitement, pleasure, ecstasy‚ delight—feelings that we often reflect in our physical behavior when we smile or laugh or clap our hands or dance or jump up and down for joy etc.

31. Even though such feelings of excitement and thrill and ecstasy are not a necessity nor something that we hinge our faith upon, nevertheless, because the Lord loves us and wants us to enjoy life, He gives us these feelings as a pleasurable experience, as sort of a bonus. These feelings and sensations of happiness are often the exception rather than the rule, but we do receive them from the Lord on occasion‚ and when we do‚ we count them as a blessing! But we must not expect them all the time or demand and insist that He give them to us‚ or think that we have to have them as some kind of a sign by which we gauge whether or not we're close to the Lord.

32. SO WE‚ GOD'S CHILDREN, ACTUALLY HAVE THE BEST OF ALL WORLDS, the best of EVERYTHING!—We have true, genuine, PERMANENT happiness that comes from knowing Jesus. We're ALSO frequently blessed with thrills and excitement of the SPIRIT that result in tangible FEELINGS, sensations and spiritual "highs."—Not to mention the feelings of PEACE, CONTENTMENT and spiritual REST that we usually have just from knowing that we're the Lord's and under His loving care. Then on top of all this, the Lord ALSO lets us experience all of the pleasurable sights, sounds, feelings, scents and tastes that He has created as a part of His NATURAL Creation.—The very things that most of the poor unsaved people of the World turn to and seek after as their SOLE means of obtaining happiness of ANY kind!

33. IN FACT, WE DERIVE EVEN MORE HAPPINESS and PLEASURE and ENJOYMENT FROM THE NATURAL WORLD THAN THE UNSAVED WORLDLY FOLKS DO! Although they obtain a certain MEASURE of pleasure, peace and temporal happiness from the wonderful natural Creation, "because they KNOW NOT GOD, neither GLORIFY Him as God, and neither are they even THANKFUL" to Him for all the wonders He has made, they are therefore sadly "vain in their imaginations‚ and their foolish hearts are darkened."—Rom.1:21. But when WE‚ God's saved children, enjoy His Creation, we not only marvel at the works of His hands, but we see HIM in His handiwork! And we UNDERSTAND Him better by the things He has MADE, and we truly glorify and praise Him and are VERY thankful, having our hearts ENLIGHTENED!


35. I MUST SAY, I'M AMAZED AT PEOPLE WHO THINK THEY NOT ONLY HAVE TO HAVE THESE HIGHS and excitement and thrills PART of the time, but ALL of the time, and virtually DEMAND it of the Lord! And if they DON'T get them, they weep and cry and beg, thinking, "Oh my, something's terribly wrong!" Their FAITH is not placed where it BELONGS! There's a verse that says, "Your faith should not stand in the wisdom of Man" (1Cor.2:5), and it looks to me like your faith is resting more in your OWN wisdom and what YOU think should be done than it rests in the power of God and the Truth of His Word! Therefore it's not FIRM faith, it's not REAL faith!

36. How sad that you've had to agonize and cry and weep and plead and beg for emotional highs or feelings when all God wants you to do is to simply believe and have faith. You've asked and asked and asked for something that He's already given and you already have. When you asked your Heavenly Father for bread, He didn't give you a stone‚ He gave you bread!—Mat.7:7-11. The problem is, you just don't like the kind of bread He's given you! You've rejected it. You want something more tasty‚ more titillating, more exotic!—Something you can feel!

37. AND YOU EVEN HAVE THE GALL and THE ARROGANCE and THE PRESUMPTION to admit, after all your murmuring that you CAN'T feel God through your emotions, that God HAS often touched you emotionally and given you the feelings that you demand!—And clearly SHOWN you that He is with you! But just because He doesn't give them to you ALL the time and KEEP you on that emotional high CONSTANTLY‚ you murmur and complain that the only thing left is the WORD, and that the Word is NOT enough! So you continue to beg Him for that excitement and thrill‚ just like a little spoiled child who easily becomes unhappy and dissatisfied and demands to be constantly entertained.

38. You complain that the thrill of the feelings and "touches" the Lord has given you fades away, and the only thing that's left is the Word: "So I continue hungering for that personal touch." You belittle and demean the Word when you say‚ "Oh, all I've got left is this same old thing‚ the Word, and all the thrill and excitement and personal touch just fades away!" Of course that fades away! The only thing that lasts is the Word! "Heaven and Earth shall pass away but My Word shall never pass away! Forever, O Lord, Thy Word is settled in Heaven!"—Mat.24:35; Psa.119:89. So it seems that you need a major rewiring of your outlook on the faith walk. It is just that, a faith walk, and not a sight or feeling or thrill or excitement walk!

39. MAYBE YOU SHOULD READ "BUT IF NOT" AGAIN (ML#313)‚ ABOUT HOW FAITH and OBEDIENCE COME FIRST, and THEN GOD ANSWERS PRAYER! Your main burden and desire should be to be OBEDIENT and YIELDED to the Lord‚ to love Jesus with your whole heart.—Not to see signs and wonders or to feel great feelings. You would do much better and become much stronger if instead of hungering so much for "that personal touch," you would hunger more for the WORD, and LIVE and DWELL in the WORD! Then you would be like the tree that's planted by the rivers of waters that will be bringing forth the Lord's fruit.—If you meditate in the Law of the Lord day and night! (Psalm 1)

Feeling Close to Jesus

ML #2746, DB 11

1. (Mama:) Quite a few people seem to have trials and battles because they don't feel close to Jesus.—"Oh, I must not be close to the Lord because I just don't feel close to Him!"

2. The Bible makes it very clear that we're not supposed to go by our feelings "We walk by faith, not by sight!" (2Cor.5:7). If we start trusting or relying too much on our feelings as an indicator of how well we're doing spiritually, we're going to be very unstable! We'll be continually tossed to and fro by every wind of feeling that happens to come along. (See Eph.4:14; Jam.1:6.) We'll never know how we're going to be doing tomorrow, as that would be determined by how we feel when we get up in the morning.

3. Regardless of how we may happen to feel, if we love the Lord and are walking by faith and obeying His Word, then we know that our relationship with the Lord is still firm. And we certainly know that His love for us is unchangeable, unwavering. He says, "I have loved thee with an everlasting love.—For though the mountains should depart and the hills be removed‚ My kindness shall not depart from thee! For I will never leave thee nor forsake thee!" (Jer.31:3; Isa.54:10; Heb.13:5).

Walking by Feelings Invites Discouragement!

4. If you're running on your feelings, then the Devil is going to do his best to get you feeling terrible most of the time!—Because he knows if he can just get you feeling down‚ then he can actually get you down! He'll "come in like a flood" with his negative thoughts, trying to convince you that you're a failure and that you're so horrible, until he's got you totally defeated, discouraged and in despair. Then he'll say, "You certainly aren't close to the Lord! In fact, you must not even love the Lord.—And He must not love you either, because look how terrible you feel!"

5. When you're relying on your feelings, the Devil can play with your emotions and make you feel very unclose and far from the Lord for days or weeks or even months at a time! When he sees that you're walking by sight, he can figure, "Aha, this person is an easy target for me! I'll just make them feel terrible, and then they'll think they're not close to the Lord, and then they'll get completely discouraged, completely in despair and they'll think something's wrong with them or something's wrong with the Lord, and they'll lose hope!" So it's dangerous to walk by sight, by feelings! When besieged with such doubts, you've got to "fight the good fight of faith" and resist the Devil and his lies! (1Tim.6:12; Jam.4:7).

If You Don't Feel Close to Jesus, Don't Worry About It!

6. I know that some people do feel close to the Lord, they feel close to Jesus. For example, the other night when Techi was going to bed she said‚ "I'm just going to snuggle up in Jesus' arms now." She can imagine that. Well, I'm glad she can; most children can‚ as can many adults. But I don't have that ability or that kind of imagination. I don't feel like I'm resting on Jesus' breast when I go to sleep. I'm just not all that creative or that imaginative. I never have been; that's just the way I am.

7. Some people just have more of an imagination, more creativity to be able to picture and fantasize and enjoy things like that. I can't fantasize because the Lord hasn't given me that kind of an imagination. Some people have more imagination and are more creative in their minds, they can picture things more easily. Whereas others of us can't just imagine or picture things like that.

8. We all have certain personalities‚ and some of us are very much more emotional and very much more feeling than others. But just because I don't feel a big emotional closeness to the Lord, I can't sit around moping, "Oh, poor me, I just don't feel close to You‚ Jesus! Please give me some feelings and make me feel closer to You."

9. If I were worried about that all the time I'd be constantly down in the dumps and I would be in a mess! I'm enough of a mess as it is without having worries and problems like that! So we just have to take things by faith! There aren't too many verses in the Bible on feeling, but there are a lot about faith and trusting the Lord and believing His Word!

How to Know if You're Close to the Lord!

10. So how can you know if you're close to the Lord? You can know by His Word, that says if you "draw nigh to God"—by your submission and obedience to Him—"He will draw nigh to you!" (Jam.4:7,8). Even if you can't feel anything, any closeness at all, you can still know you're close to Him if you're doing your best to love the Lord and please Him and obey His Word and do what you know He has said.

11. We've got to just go by the facts, by the Word. And your faith in His Word and your obedience and yieldedness have nothing to do with your feelings! So it doesn't really matter whether you feel close to the Lord or not. You don't have to feel that emotion!

What if You've Slipped, Fallen or Disobeyed?

12. Of course, when we slip and fall because of sin or disobedience‚ it's easy to feel condemned, like, "Oh, I can't possibly be close to the Lord because of my sins‚ because of all my faults and shortcomings!" But you must not let the Enemy—or even your own heart—condemn you (1Jn.3:20). Even if you have disobeyed the Lord, if you're sorry for your sins and you sincerely desire to be close to Him, "He will be merciful and gracious to you, slow to anger and plenteous in mercy. And though you fall, you will not be utterly cast down, for the Lord upholdeth you with His hand! For if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. For a broken and a contrite heart, He will not despise" (Psa.103:8; 37:24; 1Jn.1:9; Psa.51:17).

13. An awful lot has to do with your heart, with your attitude. If you sincerely want to please the Lord and do His will, to love Jesus and live for Him, then He will certainly "draw nigh unto you" when you call out to Him. He says, "The Lord is nigh unto all that call upon Him in truth. He is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit" (Psa.145:18; 34:18).

14. So regardless of any feelings of discouragement or condemnation that the Enemy may try to barrage you with‚ if you know you're truly seeking to love and please the Lord‚ to obey His Word and follow Him, then you're close to Him!—Whether you happen to feel close to Him or not!

15. In fact, sometimes people are the closest to the Lord when they feel the furthest from Him! For example, when we're humbled by our own mistakes and shortcomings and sinfulness, we don't usually feel so inspired or close to the Lord, but we may, in fact, be very close to Jesus at such times! And there are also times when some people may feel that they are very close to the Lord when they may actually not be close to Him at all.—Particularly if they're self-righteously trusting in their own so-called goodness or good works‚ instead of relying on the Lord and His goodness, grace and mercy! This is a point that Dad brings out very clearly in the "Benefits of Backsliding" Letter (ML #312), which says:

16. "When people lose their innocence, they don't feel they are as close to the Lord as before. That's because they don't really realize what God's righteousness is. Their idea of righteousness is so different from God's! When you feel so righteous and good, it's because you are self-righteous and not closer to God, but closer to yourself! But confessing that you're a sinner, really exposing yourself and your sins, reminds you that you're no picture of purity and innocence! And though you may no longer feel quite so angelic‚ you're a whole lot more saintly according to God's idea of saintliness!"

17. So just because you're feeling down does not necessarily indicate that you're far from the Lord. You can be very close to the Lord even if you're feeling terrible!

18. And we cannot say that every time you're feeling down or badly about something that it's the Devil's doing. There are times when the Lord tries to get through to you through your feelings as well!—Feelings of guilt or remorse or sadness, etc., which can often come as a result of His checks, His chastenings or His conviction. Just as the Devil and his demonic imps try to hinder and condemn and discourage us from doing God's will through our feelings, so the Lord and His Holy Ghosts try to help and convict and encourage us to do His will through our feelings.—Even though they may sometimes seem to be unpleasant or "bad" feelings.

19. Remember the story Dad told about the time that he had a "near death experience," when he sat up out of his body in bed and saw Dr. Koger‚ etc.? (See "Another Holy Ghost Story‚" ML #679.) Dad had just said "no" to the Lord, telling the Lord that He should get someone else to pioneer and open up a Soul Clinic school in Miami. When the Lord sent Dr. Koger to come for him, to take him to meet the Lord, as soon as Dad realized what was happening, how did he feel? He said, "I was so ashamed! I think I never felt so cheap in my whole life! I never felt so little and so mean and so horrible, to think that I'd refused the Lord‚ and now I had died and I had to go face the Lord!"

20. So although we're not ignorant of the Devil's devices, and we know that he frequently tries to use our feelings to discourage and get us down, we can't say that all bad feelings are of the Enemy. Sometimes we feel bad because the Lord is speaking to our hearts about something, convicting us of a sin or even warning us about something. So we can't just dismiss all bad feelings and say they're all of the Devil. When we're feeling bad, we often need to "examine ourselves, whether we be in the faith" (2Cor.13:5), and find out why we're feeling that way, or what the Lord's trying to show us!

The Keys to Closeness: Fact, Faith and Obedience!

21. So how do you know if you're close to the Lord? How do you get close to Jesus? You get close to Jesus by obeying His Word and by yielding to His will!—That's how you get close to Jesus! Jesus says‚ "If a man love Me, he will keep (obey) My Words, and My Father will love him, and We will come unto him and make Our abode with him" (Jn.14:23). So if you're obeying and keeping what He says in His Word, then of course you're close to the Lord! He'll come and make His abode with you.—That's pretty close! It's as simple as that. It's not a matter of feelings at all. But I don't know what you can do to feel close to Jesus. I don't think you can do much of anything. I know I can't.

22. The point is, we can't trust or put our faith in our feelings. We don't walk by our feelings! Whether you feel close to Jesus or not is beside the point! You can be close to Jesus whether you feel close to Him or not! His Word says, "Let us draw near (close) with full assurance of faith!" (Heb.10:22). You just have to go by faith! "The just shall live by faith!" (Heb.10:38). There are many times when some of us don't feel emotionally close to Jesus, but that doesn't matter, because we're not supposed to go by our feelings! We're supposed to go by fact and faith, and our obedience and yieldedness.

When You Think You Should Feel Inspired‚ but You Don't!

23. There are feelings and thrills and ecstasies and excitement of the Spirit that we experience sometimes.—Like the spiritual highs that we may feel when we've led a hungry soul to Jesus, or when the Word has spoken loudly and clearly to us, or when the Holy Spirit manifests Herself through us with a prophecy or message or vision, etc. When we experience such feelings at such times, they are a token to us of the Lord's love. He knows we like to feel these things, so He gives them to us as pleasurable experiences.

24. But even at times like that, we can't insist or demand or depend on having such feelings. Although most of us do experience such feelings at moments like that, if we don't‚ we shouldn't be discouraged or feel that something is dreadfully wrong with us or with our connection with the Lord. Just the fact that you've led a soul to Jesus, or that you've had time to feed from His Word, or that the Lord used you or spoke through you, should be enough. In other words, if you don't feel ecstatic after winning a soul, don't go home and condemn yourself for being backslidden in your heart just because you didn't get all excited or "feel inspired" when someone received the Lord.

25. Normally you probably will feel inspired and excited about winning a soul‚ but there are times when either the Enemy tries to come in and discourage and rob us of those beautiful feelings that the Lord would like to give us‚ or the Lord simply withholds such feelings because He's testing our faith. Likewise, if you pray in tongues and prophesy, but you don't happen to feel a big thrill in the Spirit‚ don't let the Devil tell you that you're out of it or you didn't really get something from the Lord or you're backslidden because you didn't get excited over a manifestation of the Spirit.

26. Or if you read a new Letter and you're not dancing up and down in your heart and feeling full of inspiration and enthusiasm, don't let the Enemy tell you that you're all washed up, you've lost your fire, you don't love the Word any longer. Just fire back at him‚ "Of course I love the Word—I'm living it! I'm a 'doer' of the Word, and I'm going to get up from here and do what the Word says regardless of how I feel! Jesus says, 'If you love Me, keep My commandments,' so I know that I love Him because I'm doing my best to keep His commandments! And I know I love the Word because Jesus is the Word, and I love Jesus because I'm keeping His commandments!"

27. So don't let the Devil trick you with his condemnation and accusation of, "Ah, look at you! You don't even love the Word!—Because you're not even excited about it! You don't love the Lord because you're not ecstatic or even feeling inspired!" Just rebuke the Enemy and laugh in his face and tell him, "Shut up, you liar!—I know I love the Word because I do what it says!"

28. You're not always going to be excited and feel inspired and be jumping up and down for joy! Sometimes you're hungry or tired, sometimes you're sick.—And let me tell you, when you're sick, it can be pretty difficult to enjoy anything! Sometimes you feel like you can barely even get out a little cry of help to the Lord‚ as you struggle just to keep your mind on the fact that He loves and cares about you‚ and that if you just hang on long enough He's going to pull you through.

Being Close to Jesus!

29. So sometimes you might not feel close to Jesus. Other times you might feel close to Jesus. Usually when you feel close to the Lord, you probably don't have a battle or problem with that. The battle or trial usually comes when you lose those feelings of closeness to the Lord, when you don't feel close to Jesus. But don't let that worry you: Even if you don't feel close to Jesus, you can still be close to Him.—Because closeness to Jesus is much more than a mere feeling!

30. See, that's the drawback or problem that the people who frequently feel close to Jesus often face: When they don't feel close to the Lord, they then begin thinking that something must be very wrong, and it easily discourages them and gets them down. Because they are able to feel close to the Lord, they tend to rely on those feelings, so when they don't have them, they often go through big trials. But those of us who don't feel so much can't rely on our feelings, and therefore, we're more apt to rely on more stable and solid sources—like the Word and our faith and obedience to it—to determine whether or not we're close to Jesus.

31. Some people just feel close to Jesus more than other people feel close to Jesus. But those who feel close to Jesus more often than others are not necessarily any closer to Him or more spiritual than those who don't feel close to Jesus so often.

32. There's really no way you can gauge a person's spirituality by how much they "feel" spiritual, how much they shout or cry or sing or sigh or prophesy or loudly pray or look ecstatic or jump up and down for joy! Feelings are nice if you have them, but you can't judge your spirituality by them. Whether you feel close to Jesus or not is beside the point. What we want to do is to be close to Jesus!—Whether we feel close to Him or not!

33. So just forget about trying to feel close to Jesus! If you do happen to feel close to Him, be thankful, thank God for it. If you don't happen to feel close to Jesus, don't be discouraged. And remember, you can know you're close to Jesus if you're doing His will and being obedient and yielding and doing all the things you're supposed to do.—Especially if you're feeding on His Word and trusting the Word and drinking in the Word and applying the Word and doing your best to live the Word. Then you can know you're close to Jesus, which is a whole lot better than just feeling close to Him!

34. This little poem by Martin Luther beautifully sums up what I've been talking about:

For feelings come and feelings go,

And feelings are deceiving;

My warrant1 is the Word of God,

Naught else is worth believing!

Though all my heart should feel condemned

For lack of some sweet token2,

There is One greater than my heart

Whose Word cannot be broken!

I'll trust in God's unchanging Word

Till soul and body sever3;

For, though all things shall pass away,

His Word shall stand forever!

[1) authorization or guarantee.

2) a sign or indication.

3) separate‚ as in death.]

Feeling 'Inspired' to Do God's Will

ML #2747:1–5, 16-21, DB 11

1. (Mama:) We all have certain responsibilities and duties that the Lord expects us to fulfill whether we feel like it or not! Even prayer—our communion with the Lord—is a duty. It's something the Lord expects us to do and that we know we're supposed to do! So whether you feel like praying or not, it's your duty, your responsibility.

2. Memory work is another one of our duties, it's one of our responsibilities. Witnessing is another very important duty of ours‚ a definite responsibility. A lot of things are our duty and responsibility, which means we just need to do them because the Lord expects us to, whether we feel like it or not! We don't always feel inspired‚ enthusiastic and like jumping up and down for joy to go out witnessing or to memorize or to read the Word, or even to pray! So we need to get the idea out of our system that we have to feel like doing something in order to do it!—That the only time we should do something is when we really feel "inspired" about doing it!

3. Sure, we're going to feel like it once in a while, but if that's what we're going to go by, our feelings, the Enemy is going to make us not feel like it most of the time! We can't go by our feelings! Of course, it's nice to be thrilled about doing any of these things that are our duty to do, that's wonderful. And if our teachers can help our kids to get thrilled and inspired about doing something, about learning new things, that's wonderful! That's the ideal, that's great!

4. But we cannot sit around waiting until we feel inspired, or think that we've got to feel good about doing whatever it is we're supposed to do, or we're probably going to end up never doing anything! The Devil will see to it that we don't have any of those nice feelings‚ because he can often steal our good feelings away. We just can't go by our feelings or live by our feelings, or we're going to be sunk!

5. We would like people to be inspired, but you don't have to feel inspired or feel anything about what you know the Lord wants you to do.—You just need to do it!

16. So whether you feel inspired about it or not, if you know that something is God's will‚ just obey Him and do it by faith, as unto the Lord, and He will bless you for it! "For without faith, it is impossible to please Him!" (Heb.11:6).

17. If the great men of God in the Bible had only obeyed the Lord if and when they felt "inspired," they would have never accomplished anything for Him! Moses certainly didn't feel like socking it to Pharaoh and leading all those Jews out of Egypt! Nor did the prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, etc., feel like doing all of the difficult and dangerous things that the Lord commanded they do.—In fact‚ most of them argued with the Lord that He had the wrong guy and that He should get someone else to do the job!

18. And we know that Jesus didn't "feel inspired" about dying on the cross for the sins of the world‚ and even pleaded with His Father that "If it be possible, let this cup pass from Me!" But the bottom line was, "Nevertheless, not My will, but Thy will be done!" (Mat.26:39).

19. And look at the many times and situations in which the Lord tried and tested Dad's faith and obedience.—That's what the entire Letter "Shtick" is all about! (See ML #703.) There were many times when he didn't feel particularly "inspired" about sticking with the difficult and wearying assignments that the Lord gave him.—Such as being his mother's bag-boy, chauffeur and servant for 20 years, or being Fred Jordan's underpaid and overworked road–man for 14 years‚ leaving home and family to travel alone throughout the U.S. in order to book Fred's Gospel TV show across the nation.

20. Nor did Dad feel inspired to wake up every morning to face driving a school bus full of rowdy System kids to and from a school where he had to teach them as well!—A class that was so unruly that all of the previous teachers had walked out on them and quit! But Dad stuck to it day after day, month after month, until the Lord gave him a new assignment, two years later! At one point during his bus-driving/school-teaching time he wasn't even sure if he could keep it up for another day, and the Lord told him to "endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ!" (2Tim.2:3). So he did!—Whether he felt like it or not!

21. And that's how it should be with all of us: When we know the Lord wants us to do something, whether we particularly feel like it or not, we should just go ahead and do it, knowing that that's what we're here for. We're His servants, His love slaves whom He's bought and paid for, and He can do with us as He pleases! Amen? PTL!

Endure Hardness as a Good Soldier

ML #2786:15-17, DB 11

15. (Mama: ) In our personal battles and trials in the past, if we didn't bounce back full force and come out from under our clouds of discouragement, depression and heaviness within a few hours‚ or at the most, a day or two, we'd be worried that we were never going to. If we couldn't feel inspired or loved or anointed for a few days or a few weeks‚ we'd worry that something was dreadfully wrong and we became almost persuaded to give up the fight.

16. For the future‚ you may have to make up your mind that you may have extended periods of not feeling much at all, times when, if you in fact feel anything, you may be feeling pretty rotten!—When you'll not be able to go on your feelings at all, but will have to cling to the fact of His Word, that God still loves you and God still cares, and is expecting you to go on for Him, no matter what you feel like, and no matter how long you feel or don't feel like it! You're going to have to learn to keep going even if you feel like a zombie or a robot just going through the motions, just doing what you're supposed to do because God says to do it!

17. You may have to keep going even when absolutely everything seems to have turned against you, just believing that truth will triumph in the end‚ and Jesus will be victorious.

Word Basics: Faith

1–2, Word Basics

1. What is faith?

A. Faith is a belief in the unseen:

2Cor.4:18We look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen...which are eternal

2Cor.5:7We walk by faith, not by sight

Heb.11:27By faith he...endured, as seeing Him Who is invisible

(See also Rom.8:24)

B. Faith is a substantial and real thing:

Heb.11:1Faith is the substance (title deed) of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen

2. The importance of faith:

Gal.5:6[Nothing] availeth any thing, (except) faith which worketh by love

A. We are saved by faith:

Jn.3:16Whosoever believeth in Him (Jesus) should...have everlasting life

Jn.3:36He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life

Lk.7:47-50Thy sins are forgiven. Thy faith hath saved thee

Acts 10:43bWhoever believeth in Him...receive remission of sins

Acts 16:31Believe on...Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved

Rom.5:1Being justified by faith, we have peace with God

Gal.3:26Ye are all children of God by faith in Christ Jesus

Eph.2:8,9For by grace are ye saved through faith

Eph.3:17aThat Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith

(See also 1Pet.1:9)

B. We must live by faith:

Gal.2:20Life which I live, I live by the faith of (Jesus)

Heb.10:38aThe just shall live by faith (See also Rom.1:17b)

1Jn.5:4bThis is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith

C. We cannot please God without faith:

Heb.11:6Without faith it is impossible to please Him (God)

Rom.14:23bWhatsoever is not of faith is sin

D. Faith gives us the strength to keep going:

Psa.27:13I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living

Rom.11:20aThou standest by faith

2Cor.4:16-18We faint not...while we look not at things which are seen‚ but at things which are not seen



If you don't personally experience big emotional feelings when you're talking to Me, or loving Me intimately, or praising Me from your heart, don't worry about it‚ and don't think that there's something wrong. I understand your desire to please Me and to be obedient to My Words and to fulfill My needs.

I understand that you may not always experience the same emotional feelings and highs or thrills or ecstasies that you may have heard others testify of, but it does not mean that there is anything wrong with you. On the contrary, if you are obeying by faith and whispering your words of love to Me from your heart, it means that there is everything right, and that you are doing the right things. All you have to do and all I want and need is for you to tell Me that you love Me in whatever way you can, with whatever words you choose, and in whatever way you choose to express it from your heart.

I know that you love Me, and I see and feel your love when you tell Me so. Whether you feel anything emotionally or not does not matter to Me, so don't let it matter to you.

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