Posts Tagged ‘discernment’

  

“At that time Jesus prayed this prayer: ‘O Father, thank you for hiding these things from those who think themselves wise and clever, and for revealing them to the childlike.'” (Matthew‬ ‭11:25‬ ‭NLT‬‬)

In November of 2013, 10-year-old Nathan Grey made a discovery, according to livescience.com. With the help of his father, Dave Lane, owner and operator of Abbey Ridge Conservatory in Stillwater Lake, Nova Scotia, little Nathan became the youngest person to ever discover a supernova, which is an exploding star. Not bad for an elementary student!

Just as a simple child can make a scientific discovery, so also does God help our simple minds to grasp His fantastic truths. If anything, the smarter we become in ourselves, the less likely we will be willing to accept God’s ways, preferring concrete evidence over faith and trust. God becomes too simple.

The truly wise are not just those with higher education degrees. What a shame to miss the most profound discovery of all, God’s love and grace, because we wanted something more rational and complex! Keep it simple! You are loved!

  

Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches.” (Revelation‬ ‭3‬:‭6‬ NLT)

As I sat on the couch, reading something or other, my toddler daughter was talking to me about things that were on her little mind. As a dutiful Dad, I’d nod and give her an obligatory nod or say something like “Oh really?” or “Isn’t that interesting?” She finally came up to me, pushed aside my reading material, gathered my face in her tiny hands while staring deep into my eyes and said with the exasperation of a four year old going on fourteen, “Daddy! Are you listening to me?!”

Everyday, God is reaching out to us. He desires to teach, train, or warn in order to grow us. But He competes with our schedules, desires, conflicting priorities, and any other little thing that we can invent to throw in the way. Pretty soon we lay flat on our backs, run over by Life, and wondering why God isn’t right there giving us aid and comfort! Our hearts would scream, “Why didn’t you say something, God?!” And His reply would have to be, “I did, but you weren’t listening to me…”

As you come to church today, consider that He has been trying to continuously communicate with you all week. He has even gone to the trouble of putting together an outstanding worship experience just for you! Don’t let your life drown out and cause you to miss the most beautiful opportunity in the world: To sit with your Father and know that He hears you and that you hear His loving voice too! You are loved today! Come experience it for yourself!

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But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. Nevertheless I tell you the truth.” (John‬ ‭16‬:‭6-7‬ NKJV)

In times of crisis, the Bible has given me hope. When I have grieved a loss, it’s words have brought me comfort. As a pastor, I also have the privilege of dispensing these same words of life to others that are going through similar circumstances. But could God also bring tough words into our lives? You bet!

When the Lord speaks words of conviction into guilty ears, our heart breaks because we know we’ve done wrong. When the Holy Spirit wisely reveals to us that tough times are a’coming, we cringe at the unseen. To understand these tough words of God, you must understand the context from which He speaks to us: Out of the great love of His heart. He doesn’t aim to hurt us but to draw us to Himself, so that nothing, including sin, can separate us from intimacy with Him.

True love will speak the tough truths to you. I love, but I’m not great at it. That’s why I’m grateful for a loving Savior who can correct all of us the right way. Don’t be discouraged, just correctable. It always leads to blessed places! You are loved today!

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Then the LORD called out again, ‘Samuel!’ Again Samuel got up and went to Eli. ‘Here I am. Did you call me?'” (1 Samuel‬ ‭3‬:‭6‬ NLT)

Around 1998-99, my father called me, said he had been praying and the Lord had impressed on him to sell his stocks quickly and believed I should to. When I called my accountant, himself a minister, he called me crazy because the market was really high. Torn between the two, I sided with my Dad and was glad I did! A few weeks later, the market crashed but out investments were safe.

When it comes to hearing God, Oswald Chambers once remarked, “God never speaks to us in dramatic ways, but in ways that are easy to misunderstand. Then we say, ‘I wonder if that is God’s voice?'” It’s not that God longs to be mysterious or misunderstood, but that we would take the extra time and effort to be still and listen to Him for further information instead of assuming and moving in self-reasoning.

Hearing and understanding God takes time and practice. Although it requires effort, it is important for us to learn this facet of spiritual discipline. Don’t let God be a mystery! He wants you to know how much you are loved!

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But Jesus knew their thoughts.” (Luke‬ ‭6‬:‭8‬ NLT)

Mark Twain was reported to be a sucker for bad investments. Once he made his money in writing, Twain made a string of horrible investments. A particular flop was in an engraving machine called the Kaolatype, which he dreamed would revolutionize the printing industry. When the printing shops “mysteriously” burned down TWICE as he was coming for a visit, he realized it was a scam and quit investing.

Unlike Twain, Jesus knew when people were misbehaving. Many times over, religious leaders were plotting against Him, but Jesus knew their thoughts. So what does He think of our thoughts? What rationalizations or schemes do we concoct thinking no one sees, except for the fact that He does?

Jesus knows our thoughts and hearts. All the more reason to behave! Even our good works done with bad motives or improper thoughts suffer a loss of value because God knows what others can’t. Keep your mind pure and the overflow of blessable good works will keep coming! You are loved today!

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You light a lamp for me. The LORD, my God, lights up my darkness.” (Psalms‬ ‭18‬:‭28‬ NLT)

I can’t help but shake my head as the morning news/talk show reports about Apple’s CEO “coming out” with his sexual preferences. Seriously?! The whole world REALLY needs to know his intimacy preferences? With every other issue we face in our nation and world, the news sometimes amazes me by what they think is important.

The reason this is disturbing is because it shapes how people think and what they will view as important. Pop culture is like a Twinkie, good every now and then but not for a steady diet! And when the culture we are being fed celebrates what God cannot condone, it shapes a generation to choose their view over God’s, which is a losing proposition everytime.

As you live your day, ask God to enlighten your world as to what is important to Him. Even when the world says that God approves, always go back to His word for yourself. His light of knowledge cuts through the murky darkness of unstable disinformation. Be enlightened by His words today! You are loved!

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As a face is reflected in water, so the heart reflects the real person.” (Proverbs‬ ‭27‬:‭19‬ NLT)

In the state of Washington rises Mount Ranier– nearly three miles high– the greatest extinct volcano in America, outside of Alaska. It’s majesty is second to none! Not far away is the picturesque Reflection Lake, made famous in photos for capturing the twin beauty of Mt. Rainier. No matter what the conditions are on the mountain, you can see it clearly reflected upon the pristine waters.

Our life and actions serve as our personal Reflection Lake. If we are happy or sad, content or jealous, it is reflected for the world to see, except for the person themselves. We are usually the last to comprehend how our tone and posture telegraphs to others what’s going on inside. While we think we have our personal issues covered, the world sees our true reflection.

As you get your mind ready for church tomorrow, consider gazing into your own Reflection Lake. What do you see? How do you feel? If you notice that things aren’t just quite right, which we all come to, bring it to God. He waits everyday to make your heart free again! You are loved today!