The Well-Developed Spirit of Discernment…

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Phil. 1:1-10 (KJV)

1 Paul and Timothy, the servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons:
2 Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.
3 I thank my God upon every remembrance of you,
4 Always in every prayer of mine for you all making request with joy,
5 For your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now;
6 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:
7 Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace.
8 For God is my record, how greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ.
9 And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment;
10 That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ;

Things are not always what they seem is the mantra of many mystery novels and television shows, but it’s also a wise attitude for successful living.

Too many people make decisions based on feelings or judge situations by what appears to be real.

God has given every believer a spirit of discernment so we can determine what’s best.

Think about how many decisions a person must make on a daily basis—choices about family, finances, work, and more. Ideally, a decision would have a correct choice and an incorrect one. As a result, the choice would be easy.

In reality, what seems right isn’t always what’s best. Some things, while neither wrong nor sinful, are nonetheless outside of God’s will for us.

Scripture doesn’t contain specific directives regarding every possible life scenario.

Instead, it’s filled with principles laid down by direct teaching or, at times, through stories. Believers are able to grow in spiritual maturity so that biblical principles coupled with guidance from the Holy Spirit become tools for making godly judgments.

The question isn’t whether a certain choice looks good or feels right, but whether it’s God’s will for that point in a person’s life.

A well-developed spirit of discernment is essential for living in God’s will. Without this sensitivity to the Lord’s plan, a man or woman takes everything at face value. Many choices that look good and feel right are actually contrary to what the Lord desires for a believer’s life.

That is why we must evaluate situations from a biblical perspective.

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Never Outdated or In Need of Correction…

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Mark 16:15-20 (KJV)

15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;
18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.
19 So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.
20And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.

Suppose I asked what the mission of the church is—how would you answer?

Although the church accomplishes many tasks, its only message to the world is the gospel of Christ. Everything else we do is merely an extension of that primary goal. The gospel we offer the lost is superior to every worldly philosophy.

Never outdated or in need of correction, it is always sufficient to meet humanity’s greatest need: reconciliation with the Creator.

Although the message is always the same, methods of making it known are many—including the spoken word, music, printed material, and electronic media.

But all these avenues of communication require the individual involvement of God’s people.

It is every Christian’s responsibility to use his or her spiritual gifts, talents, and abilities to help fulfill the Great Commission.

Some Christians think that this role is given only to pastors, missionaries, or other people with an “up-front ministry.” But all of us have the responsibility to be involved in whatever way we are able and in whatever opportunity God gives us.

Not everybody is called to go abroad as a missionary, but we all can give, pray, and tell friends and family what the Lord has done for us.

When you’re truly committed to getting the gospel out, God will reveal what work He is calling you to do. He has a place for every one of us—nobody is insignificant or unusable.

The limiting factor is not the Lord’s ability to use us but our availability to His call.

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Our Source of Security…

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Romans 8:33-39 (KJV)

33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth.
34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.
35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,
39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

No quick solution exists for overcoming insecurity.

First, we have to acknowledge we feel insecure.

Then, we should try to identify what generates those feelings. Finally, we must decide to overcome that state of mind. Drifting into security is impossible; we must work toward it.

Having a sense of security involves more than just building self-esteem.

Jesus Christ is our genuine source of strength and confidence. If we attempt to overcome our insecurity without Him, we’ll simply be masking it with our own efforts.

The way we see ourselves isn’t necessarily the way we truly are.

Instead, we have to ask how the Lord sees us. To shift our focus from ourselves and our mistakes, we must get into God’s Word. Therefore, to overcome insecurity, we must first deal with any doubts we may have about the Bible.

 Scripture is so powerful that when we read what God says about us, our thinking starts to change, and we can step out of insecurity’s destructive mindset.

To continue the process, focus on the positive qualities in your life.

Take a blank sheet of paper, and ask the Lord to guide you in an honest assessment of your advantageous traits.

You’ll be surprised at what God shows you about yourself. But it’s important not to look at others’ talents to see how you measure up. No one’s like you, so it’s pointless to make comparisons. Our mission is to follow Jesus in the way He calls us individually.

Consequently, we can look to Him as our source of security.

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The Pitfalls of Insecurity…

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Psalms 40:1-5 (KJV)

1 I waited patiently for the Lord; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.
2 He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.
3 And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord.
4 Blessed is that man that maketh the Lord his trust, and respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies.
5 Many, O Lord my God, are thy wonderful works which thou hast done, and thy thoughts which are to us-ward: they cannot be reckoned up in order unto thee: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered.

Insecurity may not sound as explosive as landmines like pride or jealousy, but it, too, is a very dangerous pitfall.

A great deal of damage can result in the life of a person who habitually feels insecure.

Such feelings can develop from many different kinds of situations. We may experience tragedy, like the loss of a parent in our early life, or we may grow up in an environment that throws us off balance.

Sometimes we feel insecure because of major failures we’ve experienced.

Whatever the root cause, the effects are often similar.

We may be indecisive because our fear of making the wrong choice leads to avoid decisions altogether.

Sometimes we have a difficult time establishing lasting relationships because we are afraid we won’t be a good friend. Or we might keep our distance from fear of rejection—people frequently perceive this as pride or snobbery.

Sooner or later, we may become critical of others.

When we’re hurting, we often want other people to feel bad, too. At the same time, we can fall into the trap of believing success is based on approval and acceptance by others.

The truth is that God has a special path for our lives, where success cannot be measured by human praise.

Insecurity isn’t something we can confess and thereby gain freedom. Rather, it’s a condition we must confront over a long period of time. Ultimately, we must decide to trust what God says about us and not what the enemy whispers.

Tomorrow, we’ll learn how God can restore our security.

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When We Set Our Course…

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Genesis 5:21-24 (KJV)

21 And Enoch lived sixty and five years, and begat Methuselah:
22 And Enoch walked with God after he begat Methuselah three hundred years, and begat sons and daughters:
23 And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years:
24 And Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him.

Enoch’s walk with the Lord was so close that Scripture tells us, “God took him” (Gen. 5:24).

This implies Enoch didn’t die but was taken directly into the presence of God. What a wonderful testimony!

As we seek to follow God with this same passion, let’s review some specific steps to help us keep up in our walk with the Lord.


This concept carries the sense of God moving toward us.

We can be joyful because the responsibility is all His. Through the cross of His Son Jesus Christ, God has already made His move in our direction. Scripture says, “Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation” (2 Cor. 5:18).

When we trust in Christ, we immediately take part in that reconciliation.

Trusting God.

We must have faith, not only that God is concerned with our walk, but that He has, through Jesus Christ, provided all we need to walk intimately with Him anytime.


To appreciate the closeness God longs to have with us, we must agree with what Scripture teaches about His Son, His Word, the church, and our problem with sin.


Just as human relationships fall apart without regular contact, our intimacy with God weakens when we don’t spend time with Him.

Walking with God is not an impossible mission, but it does require careful attention to the details of our Christian lives.

When we set our course for God, He’ll always be there to direct our paths (Prov. 3:5-6).

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An End to Our Alienation…

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2 Corinthians 5:14-21 (KJV)

14 For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead:
15 And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.
16 Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.
17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
18 And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;
19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.
21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

Separation, rejection, and alienation are unpleasant experiences that we usually try to avoid at all costs.

But we live in a fallen world, so we cannot totally escape them.

Isolation from other people is bad enough, but what’s worse is that many individuals live apart from the heavenly Father.

How tragic and futile life must be when it is spent completely detached from its Creator.

God planted within each of us a desire to be in relationship with Him, so until we find our connection to Him, we will always feel that something is missing.

And yet as crucial as that relationship is to our well-being, something stands in its way: Whether by our thoughts or actions, we have all violated the Lord’s commands (Rom.3:23), and our pure, holy God cannot be in the presence of sin.

Romans 6:23 states that the penalty for sin is death, which is an eternal separation from the Lord. therefore, we will always have a void.

What a bleak outlook for mankind!

But our loving Father solved the dilemma by sending His Son to pay our penalty.

Fully God and fully man, Jesus lived the perfect life, took all our iniquity upon Himself, and died a gruesome death on the cross. No longer are we condemned for our wrongs, because Christ took our place.

And three days later, He victoriously rose to life.

Salvation is available to anyone who believes and receives this remarkable gift.

John 3:16 describes how reconciliation puts an end to our alienation:

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”

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Mixing Praise Into Prayers…

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Psalms 89:1-10 (KJV)

1 I will sing of the mercies of the Lord for ever: with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations.
2 For I have said, Mercy shall be built up for ever: thy faithfulness shalt thou establish in the very heavens.
3 I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have sworn unto David my servant,
4 Thy seed will I establish for ever, and build up thy throne to all generations. Selah.
5 And the heavens shall praise thy wonders, O Lord: thy faithfulness also in the congregation of the saints.
6 For who in the heaven can be compared unto the Lord? who among the sons of the mighty can be likened unto the Lord?
7 God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are about him.
8 O Lord God of hosts, who is a strong Lord like unto thee? or to thy faithfulness round about thee?
9 Thou rulest the raging of the sea: when the waves thereof arise, thou stillest them.
10 Thou hast broken Rahab in pieces, as one that is slain; thou hast scattered thine enemies with thy strong arm.

David’s cries for help fill the pages of the Psalms.

His prayers are a blend of requests and worship recalling God’s greatness, love, power, and protection. Praying with recognition of God’s amazing attributes reminds us He has the wisdom, strength, and compassion to meet all our needs.

Here are examples of this type of prayer:

  • “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?” (Ps. 139:7). God is everywhere. He’s not limited by time or space—we are never away from His awareness for a single moment. So, even when we feel isolated or friendless, we’re not alone.
  • “Great is our Lord and abundant in strength; His understanding is infinite” (Ps. 147:5). God knows everything. When we bend our knees to pray to Him, He’s already aware of the feelings and needs we’re about to mention. So we can be certain that when we ask for direction, He’ll provide clear guidance if we’re submitted to His will.
  • “As for me, I shall call upon God … the one who sits enthroned from of old … with whom there is no change” (Ps. 55:16, 19). God’s character is constant. Since we can always trust He’ll be faithful, reliable, and merciful, we can place our confidence in Him no matter the situation.

When believers recall an attribute of God that meets their needs, they place the focus of their prayers on the Lord rather than on the request.

By mixing praise into our prayers, we end up asking for less, worshiping better, and receiving more because our emphasis is in the right place.

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Our Areas of Weakness…

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Judges 16:1-24 (KJV)

1Then went Samson to Gaza, and saw there an harlot, and went in unto her.
2And it was told the Gazites, saying, Samson is come hither. And they compassed him in, and laid wait for him all night in the gate of the city, and were quiet all the night, saying, In the morning, when it is day, we shall kill him.
3And Samson lay till midnight, and arose at midnight, and took the doors of the gate of the city, and the two posts, and went away with them, bar and all, and put them upon his shoulders, and carried them up to the top of an hill that is before Hebron.
4And it came to pass afterward, that he loved a woman in the valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah.
5And the lords of the Philistines came up unto her, and said unto her, Entice him, and see wherein his great strength lieth, and by what means we may prevail against him, that we may bind him to afflict him: and we will give thee every one of us eleven hundred pieces of silver.
6And Delilah said to Samson, Tell me, I pray thee, wherein thy great strength lieth, and wherewith thou mightest be bound to afflict thee.
7And Samson said unto her, If they bind me with seven green withs that were never dried, then shall I be weak, and be as another man.
8Then the lords of the Philistines brought up to her seven green withs which had not been dried, and she bound him with them.
9Now there were men lying in wait, abiding with her in the chamber. And she said unto him, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he brake the withs, as a thread of tow is broken when it toucheth the fire. So his strength was not known.
10And Delilah said unto Samson, Behold, thou hast mocked me, and told me lies: now tell me, I pray thee, wherewith thou mightest be bound.
11And he said unto her, If they bind me fast with new ropes that never were occupied, then shall I be weak, and be as another man.
12Delilah therefore took new ropes, and bound him therewith, and said unto him, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And there were liers in wait abiding in the chamber. And he brake them from off his arms like a thread.
13And Delilah said unto Samson, Hitherto thou hast mocked me, and told me lies: tell me wherewith thou mightest be bound. And he said unto her, If thou weavest the seven locks of my head with the web.
14And she fastened it with the pin, and said unto him, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he awaked out of his sleep, and went away with the pin of the beam, and with the web.
15And she said unto him, How canst thou say, I love thee, when thine heart is not with me? thou hast mocked me these three times, and hast not told me wherein thy great strength lieth.
16And it came to pass, when she pressed him daily with her words, and urged him, so that his soul was vexed unto death;
17That he told her all his heart, and said unto her, There hath not come a razor upon mine head; for I have been a Nazarite unto God from my mother’s womb: if I be shaven, then my strength will go from me, and I shall become weak, and be like any other man.
18And when Delilah saw that he had told her all his heart, she sent and called for the lords of the Philistines, saying, Come up this once, for he hath shewed me all his heart. Then the lords of the Philistines came up unto her, and brought money in their hand.
19And she made him sleep upon her knees; and she called for a man, and she caused him to shave off the seven locks of his head; and she began to afflict him, and his strength went from him.
20And she said, The Philistines be upon thee, Samson. And he awoke out of his sleep, and said, I will go out as at other times before, and shake myself. And he wist not that the Lord was departed from him.
21But the Philistines took him, and put out his eyes, and brought him down to Gaza, and bound him with fetters of brass; and he did grind in the prison house.
22Howbeit the hair of his head began to grow again after he was shaven.
23Then the lords of the Philistines gathered them together for to offer a great sacrifice unto Dagon their god, and to rejoice: for they said, Our god hath delivered Samson our enemy into our hand.
24And when the people saw him, they praised their god: for they said, Our god hath delivered into our hands our enemy, and the destroyer of our country, which slew many of us.

The book of Judges tells of a man named Samson, who was so strong he could kill a lion with his bare hands (14:5-6).

He possessed physical strength unequalled by any human being.

But this could not compensate for his inner weakness.

All of us have areas of weakness.

God wants these character flaws to show us how totally dependent we are upon Him.

When we handle them properly, they drive us into a deeper, more intimate relationship with the Lord.

 But uncontrolled weakness wreaks havoc in a person’s life.

Samson’s Achilles’ heel was uncontrollable lust.

Although he was raised in a godly home and had a clear calling in life, he gave in to his desires and deliberately violated the truth he knew so well.

Despite Nazirite laws forbidding involvement with foreign women, Samson pursued a harlot in Gaza (16:1). Later, he met a woman named Delilah, and even though her motives were blatantly treacherous, he gave himself over—heart, mind, and spirit—to sexual indulgence.

He was in such bondage to the sin that he ultimately allowed it to dictate his actions, even at the cost of his life.

Before he died, Samson lost everything: his strength, eyesight, and honor. The man who once led his country mightily became a slave to his enemies (vv. 18-25).

What is your weakness?

Is it lust, insecurity, fear, greed, gossip, or pride?

Personality flaws can be a powerful motivation for good or ill, depending on our response. A proclivity for sin can ruin your life—as it did Samson’s—or drive you to utter dependence on God.

The outcome is up to you.

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