Spiritual Discernment-How is it gained?

You have probably read or heard how counterfeit money is recognized. It is by intensely studying the real thing. If Jesus is our Lord and Savior, the Holy Spirit opens up God’s Truth to our hearts and minds. Hours, days, weeks, months and years spent intensely studying “the real thing” (God’s Word) makes error stand out by contrast. More and more of the Word of God becomes clear, understandable and life-changing. In Hebrews 5:14, the writer of Hebrews explained how this works: “But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, (even) those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.” By using our “senses,” not our physical senses, but our God enabled Spiritual discernment, we are given strong Spiritual meat that we can “sink our teeth into.” A fascinating discovery is made when we deeply engage with Scripture. We interact with God and He reveals more and more of Himself, His love, His plans, etc. When we pray for discernment, depending on His help, He grants us more and more understanding of His Word and the response He expects from us. The more we grasp, the more exciting our walk with Him becomes (and the less we are victims of error and deception).  L. Tuttiett’s hymn, “O Grant Us Light, is filled with pleas for discernment. Let them be our pleas: “O grant us light, that we may know the wisdom Thou alone canst give; that Truth may guide where’er we go, and virtue bless where’er we live. O grant us light, that we may see where error lurks in human lore. and turn our doubting minds to Thee, and love Thy simple Word the more. O grant us light, that we may learn how dead is life from Thee apart, how sure is joy for all who turn to Thee an undivided heart. O grant us light, in grief and pain, to lift our burdened hearts above, and count the very cross a gain, and bless our Father’s hidden love.O grant us light, when, soon or late, all earthly scenes shall pass away, in Thee to find the open gate to deathless home and endless day.” Selah! Let’s be clean vessels that He can fill with knowledge of our Lord and Savior and with His Truth!    Ron

Questions? E-Mail me at knowingtheway1@gmail.com

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Spiritual Discernment-What is it?

Discernment (the word itself) is defined this way in Webster’s New World Dictionary: “to perceive or recognize clearly.” It carries the idea of separating, or dividing apart. For the purpose of this article, let us view it as distinguishing between Truth and error. One other aspect is to see the whole picture clearly. Discernment, when qualified by the word “Spiritual,” is something only those who know Jesus as Lord and Savior can experience. Paul, in I Corinthians 2:14, makes this clear: “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know (them), because they are spiritually discerned.” Those who do not know Jesus (the “natural” or unsaved man) can glean some surface Truth from the Bible (if he or she even cares to try). They cannot see the whole picture clearly. Only the Holy Spirit grants increasing discernment of Scripture. The closer we walk with God, spending quality time in His Word, listening as He speaks to our hearts, the more we can see “the big picture” clearly. One of the great discoveries (for a genuine Christian) is that you can never exhaust the Truth of God’s Holy Word. Read it 10,000 plus times with your heart attuned to His voice and more Truth will be clearly seen. Only sin and disobedience clouds the vision. We who know Him would do well to personally pray these pleas found in the hymn, “Open My Eyes, That I May See,” by Clara H. Scott: “Open my eyes, that I may see glimpses of Truth You have for me; place in my hands the wonderful key that shall unlock and set me free. Silently now, I wait for Thee, ready, my God, Your will to see; open my eyes, illumine me,  Spirit divine!” Selah! God waits to reveal many wonderful Truths as we respond properly to Truth He has already revealed to us.   Ron

Questions? E-Mail me at knowingtheway1@gmail.com 

He’s Really Bad; She’s No Good

How often do we view people like this? While our assessment may be accurate, does this mean that we should write them off and avoid them? We justify ourselves for doing just that, by identifying that person with his or her sinfulness. Aren’t we thankful that Jesus didn’t give up on us while we were very sinful? We need to distinguish between the person  and his or her lifestyle and thinking. Jesus didn’t fellowship with sinners, but he didn’t avoid them or write them off. They were His enemies! Nevertheless, He loved them and died for them! Romans 5:8 tells us: “But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” When we loathe someone’s sinfulness, let’s not loathe the person! Religion often rejects these people; redemption reclaims many of them. “Rescue the Perishing,” a hymn by Fanny Crosby reminds us: “Rescue the perishing, care for the dying, snatch them in pity from sin and the grave; weep o’er the erring one, lift up the fallen, tell them of Jesus, the mighty to save. Though they are slighting Him, still He is waiting, waiting the penitent child to receive; plead with them earnestly, plead with them gently. He will forgive if they only believe. Down in the human heart, crushed by the tempter, feelings lie buried that grace can restore; touched by a loving heart, wakened by kindness, chords that are broken will vibrate once more. Rescue the perishing, duty demands it. Strength for thy labor the Lord will provide; back to the narrow way patiently win them, tell the poor wanderer a Savior has died. Though they are slighting Him, still He is waiting, waiting the penitent child to receive; plead with them earnestly, plead with them gently. He will forgive if they only believe. Rescue the perishing, care for the dying; Jesus is merciful, Jesus will save.” Selah! Remember: “Jesus’ blood can make the vilest sinner clean!” (By Anna W. Waterman)           Ron

Questions? E-mail me at knowingtheway1@gmail.com    

The Lord’s Day-Dr. A. W. Tozer-Guest Article

The Lord’s Day

A Latin hymn dating back to the sixth century begins:

Welcome, happy morning!” age to age shall say; Hell today is vanquished; Heaven is won today. Lo! The Dead is living, God for evermore! Him, their true Creator, all His works adore.”

This sets forth the theological reason behind the joy of Easter. Christ was dead, but His death was not an accident; neither was it the result of sickness or age. He died to vanquish hell and win heaven for men. Christ was dead, but He is not dead now. Lo! the Dead is living! And how can believing men keep silent?

No Bible-taught Christian can allow himself to live in bondage to days and times and seasons (Colossians 2:16–17; Romans 14:4–10; 2 Corinthians 3:5–18). He knows he is free from the Law, and the Judaizing brethren who seek to rivet a yoke on his neck will not have much success. But he nevertheless appreciates the value of one day in seven to devote to prayer and praise. And since Christ arose from the dead on the first day, the Bible-loving man will see the spiritual appropriateness of the first day as the Christian’s voluntary sabbath day.

Verse

Upon the first (day) of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as (God) hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come” (First Corinthians 16:2).

 

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Set Apart, Come Apart, or Fall Apart

Why does a child of God, who really gets down to business with God, seem to be very Spiritual? I suggest that this kind of person should be the norm. Since that is not the reality, this serious Christian, by contrast, reveals the low level of the “average Christian” today. How many want to get down to business with God today? How does one become that serious with God? The starting point is a personal relationship with Jesus as our Lord and Savior. All who do are set apart (dedicated, consecrated) to God. Paul, in Ephesians 1:4, tells us that God: “…. hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.” Although a Christian is set apart, they often don’t “stay put.” Unless we “come apart” faithfully to spend quality time with God, we will never be more than mediocre. In Mark 6:31, Jesus told His early disciples to: “Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while.” While this had to do with physical rest, there is a Spiritual application as well. We get alone with Him to be nourished and strengthened Spiritually! Jesus, in John 15:5, told His disciples: “….without Me ye can do nothing.” Without Him, we fall apart! Let’s be much with Him in the quiet place. Ralph Carmichael spoke about “The Quiet Place,” In his hymn by that name: “There is a quiet place, far from the rapid pace, where God can soothe my troubled mind; sheltered by tree and flow’r, there in my quiet hour with Him, my cares are left behind. Whether in a garden small, or on a mountain tall, new strength and courage there I find; then from this quiet place I go prepared to face a new day with love for all mankind.” Selah! If you are “set apart,” “come apart!” If you do this faithfully, you need not fear “falling apart.”    Ron

Questions? E-Mail me at knowingtheway1@gmail.com

 

Putting Away Childish Things

Toys, Pretend, Act out, Childish games, etc. are fine when you are a child. However, if you are still doing these things when you are in your later teens, twenties, thirties, etc. something is very wrong! This is much worse in the Spiritual realm. In I Corinthians 13:11, Paul wrote the Corinthian church: “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” Instead of acting out the Christian life, we are to mature to the point of living the Christian life. Instead of thinking as a child, we are to mature in our thinking. We need to have our minds honed to take in God’s Truth and apply this Truth in our lives. Instead of life being fun and games, we are to be able to deal with life from a Biblical perspective. Becoming Godly involves study, discipline, commitment, determination and hard work. “Growing up” Spiritually means that we don’t run around nursing a bottle of milk. It means being able to take a good piece of steak and sink our teeth into it and chew and digest it. How many are running around in spiritual diapers, years after they are born again? Elisha A. Hoffman‘s hymn, “The Spirit Touched Soul,” provides us with some serious thoughts on Spiritual maturity: “God planned for me a wondrous life of constant victory and pow’r, I might have lived this life of faith and walked with Jesus hour by hour, I might have overcome the world and broken from its hard control, and had the sunshine of God’s love with joy and peace to flood my soul. Around me are the earnest souls whose faith on Jesus Christ is stayed, to whom the Lord of righteousness a fount of blessing has been made; they have a joy I do not know, they have a peace I do not feel; O that the Lord would in my heart this deeper, richer grace reveal! No more will I walk separate from Jesus Christ, my precious Lord; with strong desire to be His own today my inmost soul is stirred; I yield my life and love to Him, I consecrate myself anew to be the Lord’s forevermore and all His holy will to do. O Holy Spirit, flame of love, burn from my soul the earthly dross, let self and sin be mortified and nailed to Jesus’ cross, possess my heart, control my life, inspire my will, and make me pure, thus, Heaven-touched and cleansed with fire, in faith may I endure!” Selah! Let’s be Spiritually healthy, strong, and mature!   Ron

Questions? E-mail me at knowingtheway1@gmail.com

Why “Go to Church?”

When we speak about “going to church,” we have in mind a local church (or group who meets together). Why do we go? For many, the answers might include: good music, preaching, fellowship, learning, it’s the thing we should do, etc. How many go for the right reasons? What are some of the right reasons? Consider these: To worship, to honor God, to listen to Him and talk to Him, to sing God exalting hymns, and be a blessing to brothers and sisters in the family of God. In other words, we don’t go for just what we can get; we go to give and be a blessing. Psalm 100 gives us inspired counsel: ” Verse 1: Come with joy: “Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands.” Verse 2: Serve gladly and sing God’s praises: “Serve the LORD with gladness: come before His Presence with singing.” Verse 3: Honor and reverence God: “Know ye that the LORD He (is) God: (it is) He (that) hath made us, and not we ourselves; we (are) His people, and the sheep of His pasture.” Verse 4: Give thanks and praise. Exalt His name: “Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, (and) into His courts with praise: be thankful unto Him, (and) bless His name.” Verse 5 tells us why we should do these things: “For the LORD (is) good; His mercy (is) everlasting; and His truth endureth to all generations.” Joachim Neander seems to have had these things in mind when he wrote, “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty.” Ponder these timeless words: “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation! O my soul, praise Him, for He is your health and salvation! Come, all who hear; now to His temple draw near, join me in glad adoration. Praise to the Lord, above all things so wondrously reigning; sheltering you under His wings, and so gently sustaining! Have you not seen all that is needful has been sent by His gracious ordaining? Praise to the Lord, who will prosper your work and defend you; surely His goodness and mercy shall daily attend you. Ponder anew what the Almighty can do, if with His love He befriends you. Praise to the Lord! O let all that is in me adore Him! All that has life and breath, come now with praises before Him. Let the Amen sound from His people again; gladly forever adore Him.” Selah! Ask not what your church can do for you; ask what Jesus wants to do for His church through you.    Ron

Questions? E-Mail me at knowingtheway1@gmail.com