Discernment – a Powerful Gift
At the time of writing, a TV channel is airing a programme on the wicked ‘Shannon Matthews’ crime, when her mother kept her young daughter hidden, while publicly crying on TV, asking for people to ‘come forward’ to find her.
At the time, I said to my wife, “The parents are lying!” How could I say that? By looking at the mother’s eyes and the body language. To me it was so obvious. My judgment was instant, as it has been on other occasions when parents kill their children. Not always, but often.
When it comes to assessing people I say without pride that I have never been wrong about people. What they think inwardly is played out on their faces and in their eyes. But, it is more than that. In all cases when I state my observations and judgment, my discernment is instant.
Perhaps this came about when I worked in psychiatry, seeing thousands of patients lying, cheating, pretending to be what they are not, or trying to deceive staff to get what they want out of the ‘system’. This kind of thing is just plain acute observation of humanity. My brother, David, also has a talent for this kind of observation.
As I said, I have never, ever been wrong about people I discern. It is fact, not a boast. Can you say the same? Many Christians pretend to ‘know’ what or who people are, but they don’t really! They speak out of pride or ignorance.
God gives every Christian the gift of discernment. So, if you say you don’t have any, what is wrong with you? It is given to each one of us for a reason – to keep us spiritually alert to danger from satanic ploys, and to show us who real brethren are. It is also used to discover who teaches truth and who is a fake, and to separate truth itself from lies and deception. And because discernment comes from the Holy Spirit, what it shows is God leading us with great precision. If you are ‘all over the place’... then something is not right with your soul/spirit.
Discernment is Either Real or Fake
Discernment is not something you can invent or pretend to have. Nor can you publicly state what your discernment says and get it wrong. Discernment is either right or wrong, so the ‘proof is in the pudding’. Especially when it is uttered immediately.
For myself I am not afraid to show discernment towards a person, thing, teaching, or movement, even if we are talking about a famed preacher or teacher. I am not afraid because I KNOW I have been given the gift for my use, by God. It is within me to be used, not hidden. And because it is of and from God, I am not afraid I might ‘get it wrong’... it must ALWAYS be correct.
Today, I see very little evidence of discernment in the majority of Christians I meet or come across. This sad fact goes back almost six decades... I knew discernment even as an older child. Not so well honed as now, but it was present.
So, ask yourself a vital question... you have been given discernment – SO WHERE IS IT? Why don’t you show it? Why don’t you have the courage of your biblical convictions and state what your discernment tells you? If there is no discernment at all, a more serious question comes to mind... if EVERY person receives the gift when saved, why do you not show it? I think you know the answer!
I know when a fellow Christian is lying about his or her beliefs. I know when they have a pretence of sexual morality. I know when what they say is not true. I know what the future of that person will be. Discernment is an important factor to bear in mind. Check your life for it – if you are saved, it is there.
Interestingly, when I did my course in forensic linguistics it involved detailed analysis of suspect-interviews in murder cases. Even in those instances I knew when a suspect was guilty or not. And I was never wrong, according to my tutor, who was the director of the linguistics institute.
Discernment gives me the same kind of ‘laser’ thinking when observing Christians, too... and with those pretending to be believers. Can YOU see behind the mind of those who claim to be fellow believers but fail to show it? If you can’t, then you will fall prey to deception, and waste many hours, days, months or even years, giving them false support, or believing what is unbiblical (like those who support Muslims, though God hates Islam and its beliefs. As I keep warning, read what God says about pagans in 2 Kings). I hope you can see, the issue is of vital importance. Think on it.
One job of discernment is to know good from bad (2 Samuel 14:17 and 19:35). Can you tell if something is good or bad... or do you wait until everything goes wrong?
Another job is to “discern judgment” (1 Kings 3:11). In this case the word is shama’, meaning to understand, to listen to, to be diligent, to perceive. Another isbiyn (such as in Job 6:30, essential, to know if something is perverse), meaning to consider, to perceive, to be prudent, to instruct.
A similar word is yada’ (Ezekiel 44:23) – same basics, but to know what is clean and unclean. It seems today few Christians know the difference, hence their wicked support for homosexuals. And what of Malachi 3:18, ra’ah, which says that discernment is needed to know who is righteous and who is wicked?
The Lord rebukes and scorns those silly Christians who say ‘we must not judge’, when, in Matthew 16:3 He says we are great at knowing when it is going to rain, but cannot see what is happening in our own times (Diakrinō)!
I sometimes refer to this kind of discernment as ‘joining the dots’, when I see plainly what seemingly disparate things have to do with each other. In a scornful way, then, Christ was asking ‘Surely you aren’t blind or stupid?’ Referring to the same incident, Luke uses the word dokimazō (12:56), meaning that we must examine our times, to approve or reject, to prove whether or not we can accept it as for/of the Lord. And Hebrews uses the word diakrisis, meaning to know when an argument is genuine or not, and if something is good or bad. Most modern Christians cannot do so, and so the churches are in an awful mess!
Discernment is vital, especially today. If you are a believer USE IT! I suspect many do not use it because they know they are faking it and fear that they will be found to be lying about what they say they ‘know’.
A Favourite Lie
Amongst atheists it is a favourite lie – that the ancient Hebrews thought the earth was flat, so Christians today are just as stupid. (Followed by a false and hollow laugh; “Ha, Ha, Ha”!).
Next time you hear that old chestnut, point out that the flat earth idea belongs to the Presocratic philosophers. Such as Thales... who said the flat earth floated on water.
One of his philosopher-peers, Anaximander, thought the earth was a large cylinder (made of solid mist) in the middle of a ring of fire.
Another of their Greek compatriots thought the world was flat and floated in the air like a leaf.
Yet, the ancient Hebrew, Isaiah, living several hundreds of years earlier, said the earth was round. So, atheists – gotcha, stick that in your pipe and smoke it!
The UK government falls over backwards to give Muslims anything they want. I often watch the reality TV programme about High Court Enforcement officers.
It is significant that a huge number of people they have to evict from premises for not paying their rent, are Muslims. And most are unemployed.
They came for the benefits... and get them. Well, what a big surprise. Invariably many of them also have a lot of kids, paid for by our government from our taxes.
What annoys me is that those evicted then go to the local council offices and get rehoused or placed in hotels, all expenses paid. And a lot of them get really angry if they don’t get what they want.
My question is this – WHY let them into the country in the first place (being unskilled, unemployable, and arrogant Muslims)? WHY allow them to rent houses or flats they cannot and will not pay for?
The Enforcement agents testify that most of them never intend paying for their property, and just move to another one when evicted!).
WHY give them the more expensive emergency housing, when home-grown citizens are denied what immigrants get easily? WHY not just stop them entering the UK, and, if found already here, deport them immediately? The system is just godless!
This is not hard-hearted. They live in the UK for nothing, take whatever benefits they can get, have no intention of having a job, and are belligerent. UK taxes are paid by UK citizens who work, for services that are for them – not for freeloaders who get everything but pay for nothing.
These people enter the country KNOWING the government will give them whatever they want, with no investigation as to their origins or circumstance, whereas British born citizens must prove everything many times over in great detail, WITH proof, to receive the most basic of help.
Unemployment offices do not check whether or not immigrants are working, or if their claims are based on genuine work-seeking. But, the same bodies check in detail if British citizens are trying to find work constantly. If they don’t, their money is stopped. As they say, ‘One rule for one, and another for the rest’.
This is why it is vital for the UK to get strict – stop ALL immigrants who are unskilled or without work, and whose education level prevents them from being employable. The UK DOES NOT WANT large numbers of immigrants who have no hope of working, or no interest. This goes for ALL immigrants, but ESPECIALLY for Muslims, whose only interest is to have large numbers of babies so as to subvert the UK with sharia and Islam.
The UK must GET REAL, or decline and swiftly disappear within the next ten years.
“He who created us without our help will not save us without our consent.”
Who said that? I had the comment sent to me by an Arminian who felt quite elated that it was said by John Calvin.
But, it was not said by Calvin. It was said by Augustine, and, as one theologian remarked, “It must have been said in his earlier life, because later he said “I used to entertain ideas of ‘free will’, then the grace of God prevailed”!
But, wait! Some go on to say it is a mistake to attribute it to Augustine. The Vatican quotes it in different words, and another Vatican source suggests it was said by Catherine of Siena. And there’s more!
So, is this quote misused by Arminians as a deliberate intellectual ploy... or is it just that Arminians and others can’t be bothered to check their sources? One thing is definite – Calvin didn’t say it! But, we can expect a Catholic to say it.
When Augustine said it, he put it this way: “But God made you without you. You didn't, after all, give any consent to God making you. How were you to consent, if you didn't yet exist? So while he made you without you, he doesn't justify you without you. So he made you without your knowing it, he justifies you with your willing consent to it.” (Not a logical argument by the way).
Aha! says the Arminian – so he DID say it! Not quite as you might think he said it... following this statement, he said that “It is he who does the justifying...”. That is, it is He Who saves us and we then agree to it – because we have no choice in the matter.
We agree because we see His gracious mercy towards us and cannot do anything BUT accept such a free gift. Got it yet?? (See John E. Rotelle, O.S.A., ed., WSA, Part 3, Vol. 5, trans. Edmund Hill, O.P., Sermons, Sermon 169.13 [Hyde Park: New City Press, 1992], p. 231).
The translation is made by a friar of the order of St Augustine... a Catholic order... so Arminians can’t accuse genuine Christians of fudging it!
I just completed a course in ‘Prescriptive Exercise’ with the School of Medicine, Dublin University. Very informative! I joined so that I could see how to help my wife, and started exercises for her straight away, with good results. The academic bits were fascinating, but all I wanted was to see if exercise would be of use.
It was an eye-opener to see that exercise can apply to even chronic physical illnesses. A big benefit is that appropriate exercise reduces or stops pain, increases psychological wellbeing, improves appetite and outlook. So, even if someone has, say, severe arthritis, exercise is invaluable. At first it might hurt, but at least the joints don’t seize up or get worse. In some cases aerobics are needed, and in others ‘resistance’. All are of immense benefit.
Many are put off by exercise, especially when older – but as the university says “Any exercise is better than none”! I was very surprised to see that even sedentary occupation counts towards better health (no, I don’t mean lying on a sofa and watching TV all day!)... using a computer, and even reading! However, one should not be tempted to stay at a computer for many hours (as I tend to do) – get up every hour and just stroll around the house.
I urge all readers, then, to exercise. Being supervised is better than unsupervised – but all exercise reaps much benefit, reducing possibility of heart attack, breathing problems, the extra difficulties caused by diabetes, and more.
Exercise helps prevent cancers, too – we have about 25% less chance of having cancer if we exercise. And the possibility of strokes or heart attacks is also greatly diminished. Those at risk of these things, older people, and those who are sedentary, need to walk for 30 minutes a day EVERY day (or swim or cycle). Surely this is worth any discomfort or reluctance?
I did walking exercise every day until Diane was made bedbound... and this caused much pain as the fatty tissue underneath both feet has gone, making walking feel like hobbling on sharp stones. But, apart from generally feeling better it helped to keep my blood pressure stable. So – go ahead and walk!! Cycling and swimming are also of use.
My young nephew, Josh, is a living example of the benefits of exercise (he has Type 1 Diabetes), as he is a kind of sport freak – even high risk sport! Go for it, Josh... you’ll feel much better for it in the long run. I’m proud of the way he handles life and his condition, not letting his condition rule his life.
As for my wife, Diane, her limbs are now more supple, she is eating better, and bodily functions are close to normal... plus she is more observant and bright.
There is another benefit, too. Our spiritual life is often hampered or empowered by our physical condition, which can dampen our mental condition, which, in turn, can degrade our spiritual life. Having a good attitude to our physical wellbeing does wonders for the way we think and act, and also reduces the choice (yes – choice) to be depressed and sluggish. So, whether older or younger, get out there and exercise!
Benefits of Prayer
The Elijah List issued ‘Four Benefits to Prayer’. Typically for charismaticism, the report looks at four ways human beings can reap rewards for themselves by praying. By talking about the ‘benefits’ of prayer, the response is to ‘pray’ even if you are not called to do so, in a mechanical way.
Forget the ‘benefits’ of prayer! Yes, there ARE benefits – but not in this mechanistic fashion! Prayer is our link to the Lord. He gave us this link. When we speak with Him in whatever way (see our articles on prayer), we obey His commands and hear from Him. Also through prayer we learn how to live. The ‘benefits’ of mechanical prayer are – zero! What’s important in our Christian life is NOT what we can get out of God, but that we obey Him utterly. This includes prayer.
The report speaks of less depression, anxiety and physical ailments such as dementia. So readers will automatically treat prayer as a medical pill to cure them of their ills, instead of a sincere act of faith, talking with our Father. Let prayer arise truly!
What Colour is Blue?
Might it be... blue? Are you sure? Okay, here’s a trick question – what colour is red? Oh, you got it! I thought you’d be caught by that one.
Do you find that blue is blue, and red is red? Or, do you call them something else? After all, that’s what many Christians do nowadays – they call what God hates, something to love and support!
Like homosexuality, fake religions, violent immigrants, false environmentalism, nasty politics... You’d better wise up, friends. If God hates, we may not love. If He condemns we may not uphold. If you get it wrong your life will become a misery.
What God says is blue STAYS blue!
© April 2017