Simply put, discernment is the ability to distinguish between good and evil, truth and error, right and wrong.
What appears to be appealing is appalling without God’s approval. First Thessalonians 5:21–22 reads, “Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.”
This passage presents a three-fold word to the wise.
- Faithfully examine all things.
Here are just a few of the things that need to be tested.
There should be sermon testing. The Bereans “were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so” (Acts 17:11).
There should be spirit testing. First John 4:1 reads, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”
There should be soul testing. Second Corinthians 13:5 reads, “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? Unless indeed you are disqualified.”
- Firmly embrace good things.
Psalm 97:10 reads, “You who love the Lord, hate evil! He preserves the souls of His saints; He delivers them out of the hand of the wicked.”
If you are to hate evil, conversely you are to love good. Firmly embrace the God of the Word.
Joshua 23:8 reads, “But you shall hold fast to the Lord your God, as you have done to this day.” This means to love Him, to walk in obedience to Him and to serve Him with all your heart and soul (Josh. 22:5).
Firmly embrace the Word of God. Revelation 2:25 reads, “But hold fast what you have till I come.” Proverbs 4:4 reads, “He also taught me, and said to me: ‘Let your heart retain my words; Keep my commands, and live.’”
- Fully eliminate evil things.
Job 1:1 reads, “There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil.”
We must avoid evil places. Proverbs 4:14–15 reads, “Do not enter the path of the wicked, And do not walk in the way of evil. Avoid it, do not travel on it; Turn away from it and pass on.”
We must avoid evil people. Proverbs 24:1–2 reads, “Do not be envious of evil men, Nor desire to be with them; For their heart devises violence, And their lips talk of troublemaking.”
We must avoid evil practices. There were eight good kings and 31 evil kings in Israel and Judah.
The good kings pleased the Lord by obeying Him; the evil kings displeased the Lord by disobeying Him.
Remember in the Christian life there is some discernment required!
By Franklin L. Kirksey
Inviting pastors into crucial moments of life
I strongly believe every person needs a pastor and church family to walk with them during life’s critical moments: weddings, births, hospitalizations, surgeries, deaths, family crises, celebrations and losses.
Being God’s instrument of pastoral care is a great responsibility that ministers take very seriously.
There are times, however, when pastors can’t minister because members fail to inform them of their need.
Only God is all-knowing. The rest of us need to be informed when a ministry opportunity arises. Blessed is the helpful member who gives the pastor a ministry prompt by sharing when a person may need a call or visit.
So call your minister before planning your wedding. Call your minister when a baby is born.
Call your minister when a difficult decision confronts you. Call your minister before making funeral arrangements.
Call your minister before your marriage reaches the breaking point. Call your minister when you or someone you know needs help. Call your minister when you are slipping into depression.
Call your minister when you have questions about your faith, or about your church. Ministers will gladly help.
When you need information about some process or matter in church life, go “straight to the top” and seek first-hand information. If the minister doesn’t know, he’ll be glad to find the answer or information.
Ministers are here to help.
They love God and God’s people and are called and privileged to serve.
Pastor David L. Chancey
Coping with challenging, difficult days
Roy Blount Jr. nailed the way you feel some days with a book entitled “One Fell Soup: Or I’m Just a Bug on the Windshield of Life.” Do those days arrive too often?
Paul knew that kind of day. He laid bare his personal feelings in 2 Corinthians.
He sacrificed for the Corinthian church. But opponents accused Paul of selfish motives, heavy-handedness and troublemaking.
He felt like a bug on a Corinthian windshield. It hurt.
Paul declared His reliance on God’s compassionate nature (comfort) to help meet the challenge of bug life.
Paul received God’s undeserved mercy. It compelled him to pass comfort on to other strugglers.
The missionary acknowledged that as Jesus suffered in life, so do His followers.
Paul admitted that at times he felt utterly weighted down. He considered giving up on life.
Ever been that far down in the dumps?
Paul knew where to turn when smacked by life’s windshield. He sought God’s hope for deliverance from the death grip of despair.
Paul pled for prayer support from other believers to assist in stabilizing his mind.
When the bug life of anxiety, fear, guilt, loneliness or thoughts of self-harm descend, receive God’s peace to guard your unsettled mind (John 14:27; Phil. 4:6–7).
Jesus made it possible.
Who can you call to pray for you when you’re on your last leg?
Remember. You’re no bug in God’s eyes.
A midweek devotional written for Liberty Baptist Church in Chelsea
and first published in “Liberty Living”
At times God would show me the next step to take without revealing the complete plan. Yet to be honest, periods occurred where I wanted to see the entire picture before I took the now-step I knew God was calling me to take.
However, I have learned a very important truth: Obedience to God’s now-step will always lead to God’s next-step. A pastor once stated the following: “One of the greatest things God will ever ask you to do is the last thing He asked you to do.”
Remember, whatever step God is prodding you to take, make sure you take it. For again, obedience to God’s now-step will always lead to God’s next-step.
My experience with missions was that when you’re called, it’s for life.
IMB missionary in Thailand
My French is OK. … But amazingly enough, when I began to share that three minutes of the gospel, my French just went into overdrive and everybody understood as if the Spirit of God was just giving me the proper pronunciation of those words to say.
Groups and relationships that are centered on the Word of God unify a congregation and motivate people to work together on the mission of the church. Churches with few people participating in groups are not in a healthy position to be making more disciples.
You don’t have to go overseas or go to another country. … Every day that you wake up as a Christ-follower, you are a missionary.
First Baptist Church
Launch a fresh vision for hospitality in your church. The guests from your community deserve no less than your best as you point them to God’s best for their lives.
From the Twitterverse
Parents, never underestimate what God’s grace can do through your imperfect influence and persistent prayers.
We’ve got some important areas to work through on cooperation at the #SBC level, but every week as a pastor over and over again, I’m convinced the local church is where it’s at.
Leadership begins with competence. Both are essential and the order matters. People have to first see (and trust) that you are competent to do the job you’ve been asked to do.
“She will give birth to a son, and you are to name him Jesus because He will save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21 (CSB)
Practicing the Sabbath reminds me that:
- I am not Jesus. I can’t save people.
- I need a day of delight.
- I can have boundaries.
- I am not that important.
- I need Jesus more than ever.
There is an incredible irony in the lives of many pastors. Pastors give their lives for the sake of caring for the souls of the people in the congregation … at the expense of their own soul.
Pastors, make sure you are caring for your own soul so that you can care for others.
Every revival in history has had its critics, usually within the Church, because they disagreed with how God was doing it.
When hurtful words come our way, we must be humble enough to receive any truth from what’s been said but stable enough to let the rest go.
Their unkindness is usually an indication of unresolved pain in their life that probably has very little to do with you.
God is faithful. He always does what He says He will do. Even when we can’t see how it’s humanly possible.
The Holy Spirit will never lead you to do something that contradicts the Holy Bible.
If our leaders are not passionately driven by right beliefs, we are headed for disaster.