Saturday, 2 April 2016

Discernment ~ Rabqa

Mother Teresa said: "Holiness is not the luxury of the few; it is
simply duty, for you & me."

Those who are full age are the ones who mature, not physically but spiritually. Physically we are as babies & grow into adulthood. In the same way, we are born spiritually as babies & are expected to grow into maturity, to the measure of Christ.

There is a significant difference between the two. Physically maturity is bound to time. You probably have never heard of a two year old been six feet tall, it takes fifteen to twenty years to reach that height.

However spiritually growth is not bound to time. Have you ever encountered believers who are only one year old in Christ but are more mature then those who have been saved twenty years or more. Heb 5:1

But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

We see from this that the more advanced teachings are adapted to mature believers, whose spiritual senses are able to discriminate between sound & unsound doctrine & between wholesome & unwholesome conduct. We need to recognise that is is only through a sustained daily effort to apply God's Word to our life that we will become more mature.

The disciple is an apprentice to Jesus, learning to live as He did. God disciplines His children, correcting & training them to live in His kingdom. Correction if received with the right attitude of the heart produces the fruit of righteousness. The Fathers object is to bring His Children into maturity.

It is important that you note that your heart has five senses just like your body does. This fact is evident throughout Scripture. Ps 34:8 Taste & see that the Lord is good... We see this same metaphor of tasting was used by Peter in calling inquirers to examine the wonders of God. (1Pet 3:10-12).

Two senses are covered in Ps 34:8. & Jesus said in Matt 11:15 He has ears to hear let him hear!

Paul quoted God's statement to Israel

Therefore, come out from among unbelievers, and separate yourselves from them, says the LORD. Don’t touch their filthy things, and I will welcome you. 2Cor 6:17 Paul combines words from Is 52:11 which affirm God's desire for an exclusive loving relationship with His people. Paul also wrote that God Through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place.2 Cor 2:14)

Conduct yourself with every clear conscience so that you will not be easily be shaken by peoples reactions. Realise that righteousness also sometimes triggers negative reactions.
Godly living may result in disfavour with others because it warns of judgement for the ungodly. Godly individuals live by the ethic of love selflessly asking how can I live for the benefit of others? They are not lawless or sloppy in the way they live; rather seek to do right in everything.

All five sense are covered in these four verses alone.
How do we keep from mixing up good with evil in a day when deception is rampart? How do we not fall into the same trap Eve fell into eve when she believed evil to be good, pleasant & wise? The answer is by discernment & we developed it through the authenticate of God.

The prophet Malachi foretold that in latter times there would be two groups of believers-those who fear God & those who don't. In the midst of hard times, those lacking godly fear complain, compare & murmur. They dislike that they must serve God yet suffer opposition, affliction, & hardship, while those who are wicked & posses no relationship with God are prospering.
Those who fear God go through the same hardships but do something different. They speak of the goodness of God. They fight through adversity by believing what He says about their difficult circumstances. They are more concerned with God's desires, plans, & kingdom then with their temporary discomfort they know that they are established in His faithfulness. There attitude is this.

Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the LORD! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation! The Sovereign LORD is my strength! He makes me as sure-footed as a deer,
able to tread upon the heights. Hab 3:17-19

Remember to praise & worship the Lord & thank Him for His faithfulness no matter how devastating the circumstances, look with the eye of faith for God's plan for the future. When all the circumstances of our life paint a negative picture-in failure & loss or when the natural reaction would be grief or complaint-this is the time to put faith in God & in His Word. We then can see through God's eyes to the final glorious outcome. This brings worship & praise even before our circumstances have changed.

Paul referred to special vessels in 2 Tim 2:21 If you keep yourself pure, you will be a special utensil for honourable use. Your life will be clean, and you will be ready for the Master to use you for every good work. Mal 3:18 Then you will see the difference between the righteous & the wicked, between those who serve God & those who do not. The more we fear the Lord, the more we are able to wisely discern. In the beginning of Solomon's reign he cried out...Give your servant an understanding heart...that I may discern between good & evil... 1Kings 3:9.

The wisdom by which Solomon ruled was astonishing, in his years he was following the Lord in Prov 2:3-5 he said Yes, if you cry out for discernment, And lift up your voice for understanding, If you seek her as silver, And search for her as for hidden treasures; Then you will understand the fear of the LORD, And find the knowledge of God.

Apply your heart, pay attention & turn your ear to wisdom & understanding, understand that you must embrace them both, not just know about them. However when Solomon lost his fear of God, he was confused & couldn't tell the difference between good & evil. To him everything had become vanity & grasping for the wind. We see this in the book of Ecclesiastics which paints the picture of a bewildered & perplexed man who's lost his fear of God & consequently, his discernment. He was in a sad state of mind. Our passion should be first & foremost to fear God. If this is our top priority, then abundance will not deceive us.

 We are told in Prov 11:28 He who trusts in his riches will fail. yet in the same book we read in prov 8:14,16 By humility & fear of the Lord are riches.& in Prov 22:4 By humility and the fear of the LORD Are riches and honor and life.

True riches are the resources that enable you to fulfil what God has placed you on this earth to do, & this always entails impacting others, which is building the kingdom. A question we should honestly be asking ourselves each morning is: Am I motivated today by the fear of the Lord or by obtaining abundance? If your answer is godly fear, then it will protect you from the deception of engaging evil to do what is good. Riches, resources, wealth, & abundance are good. But if these are your target, you'll lack the discernment to recognise if the means to acquire, them is evil. To show you this in biblical terms: In Israel it was the custom to bring an offering or a gift to a prophet. As a young man, the future King Saul & his servants were searching for his father's lost donkeys. After an exasperating hunt, the servant recommended they travel to a nearby city to see if the prophet Samuel who lived there could help them locate the donkeys.

Saul's immediate response was, If we go, what do we have to give him? There's no bread in our sacks. We've nothing to bring as a gift to the holy man. Do we have anything else? (1Sam 9:7) This gives insight as to how the prophet's were supported. When we trust God above any shadow of doubt, like Abraham, God asked him to sacrifice his one & only son, whom he had waited many, many years for, Abraham could have said no way I've waited to long for him, but no, he trusted God, he got ready with his son Isaac & his servants, they journeyed for three days to the foot of Mount Moriah, he said to his servants Stay here with the donkey's; the lad & I will go yonder & worship. Gen 22:5)

Now he was not going to sing songs of worship to God. Abraham was going in obedience to God, to put his most treasured possession, his one & only son to death. His worship was defined by obedience.

As today is Communion Sunday, Abraham's obedience reminds me of Christ's obedience going to the cross, so man may live eternally with Him. Before that happened He sat down with His disciples to the Last Supper Matt 26:26-30. And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take, eat; this is My body.” Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.

And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. We are to celebrate the Lords Supper often. Approach it with faith, receiving the life & healing it provides. Obeying the Father was supremely important to Jesus. Obedience is the response of faith to any instruction from God. Jesus taught that true faith-will always be manifested in obedience to God's revealed will. Successful Christian living results from seeking & knowing God's will & then doing it in faith.

Acknowledgements John Bevere.

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