Thursday, November 5, 2015

Perceiving Differences

There is one ability that separates the simple and the fool from the wise; that separates the immature from the mature. That ability is the ability to perceive differences: the ability to discern. It is ability to perceive a thing and perceive the differences between it and other things.

 the mature ... have their senses trained to discern good and evil. (Hebrews 5:14)

One of the most important things we may discern is the difference between what is real and what is not. Reality is beings, things, places, powers, processes, authorities, events, and the state of things. Being able to perceive the powers and processes that produce beneficial results and those that produce harmful results help us align our lives.

Another of the most important things we may discern is the difference between truth and error: between accurate and sufficiently complete descriptions of things that are real and descriptions that are not accurate or sufficiently complete.

Other important things we may discern are the differences between what is reliable and what is not; what contributes to shalom and what hinders it.

Still another thing to discern is the nature of our own being: whether the nature of our being is beneficial to us and others, or is harmful. We need to perceive the powers and processes that work to change the nature of our being and align our lives with those that make us reliable contributors to truth and shalom and align our lives against those that make us hinderers.

How does one gain the ability to perceive differences?

Perceiving things and perceiving differences between them is not an ability we have or can obtain. It is an ability that God has. We can be partakers of his ability by seeking his guidance and submitting ourselves to follow his guidance. When we do this he leads us in a way that reveals things and the differences between things to us.

How does one discern?


  • Ask God to send the Spirit of Truth to guide us into all the truth of the thing we are attempting to discern.
  • Make a sufficiently thorough investigation, following the guiding of the Spirit
  • Test, weigh, and compare as the Spirit guides

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Fear of the Lord or A Path Leading to Death

The Proverbs are written to endow us with caution. (Proverbs 1:4) Caution is needed if something we might do will result in loss, destruction, or death to ourselves or those around us. Unfortunately, we face a twofold danger.
 There can be a way which seems right to a person, but at its end are the ways of death. (Proverbs 14:12, 16:25)
There are paths that we might take that seem perfectly right and safe to us, but end in loss, destruction, or death. We might take one of those paths because we don't think about the possible consequences. We might take it after serious research, study, and analysis that fails to seed the true end of the path.

A second danger is that we have an enemy who is setting traps and snares to cause us loss, destruction, and death.
For in vain is the net baited if any bird can see it. (Proverbs 1:17)
So there are some paths that seem right, but end in death because the enemy has made the path appear to be right and has hidden the net.

The first thing Proverbs says to endow us with caution is this:
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. (Proverbs 1:7)
The way, the only way, to avoid the paths that lead to death is to seek for and follow God's guidance. This is fear of the Lord: endowed with the knowledge that there are paths that lead to death and the only way to avoid them is by submitting to follow the path God has for us.

The Proverbs are all about paths that lead to death and those that lead to life. It is filled with descriptions of paths to avoid and ones to take.
Those who pay attention to me will live securely, untroubled by fear of misfortune. Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not rely on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him; then he will direct your paths. Don't be conceited about your own wisdom; but fear the Lord, and turn from evil. (Proverbs 3:5-7)
The aimless wandering of the thoughtless will kill them, and the smug overconfidence of fools will destroy them; but hose who pay attention to me will live securely, untroubled by fear of misfortune. (Proverbs 1:32-33)
You will walk your way securely, without hurting your foot. (Proverbs 3:23)
Listen, my son, receive what I say, and the years of your life will be many. I'm directing you on the way of wisdom, guiding you in paths of uprightness; when you walk, your step won't be hindered; and if you run, you won't stumble. Hold fast to discipline, don't let it go; guard it, for it is your life. Don't follow the path of the wicked or walk on the way of evildoers. Avoid it, don't go on it, turn away from it, and pass on.(Proverbs 4:10-15)
There is a time coming where the whirlwinds of destruction will swirl around us. If we have fear of the Lord and follow God's guidance on the path of his direction we will live. If not, we will not live. The time to chose fear of the Lord, to pray for it, to cry out for it, to seek it above all other things is now. If we wait until the whirlwind appears it will be too late. Not choosing fear of the Lord now is the first step down a path that leads to death.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Impelled not Compelled

God has been teaching me the importance of living a life impelled by the Word of God dwelling in me. Today I saw that teaching again in the parable of the ant in Proverbs 6:6-8,
Go to the ant, O sluggard;
consider her ways, and be wise.
Without having any chief,
officer, or ruler,
she prepares her bread in summer
and gathers her food in harvest.
The ant lives an impelled, not compelled, life. The force in life steering the ant's behavior comes from the nature of the life in the ant (impelled) and not from some outside force (compelled). The ant has no chief, officer, or ruler to compel it to behave a certain way. It behaves the way it does because of the nature of the life within it.

God's Word dwelling in our hearts works in us to will and to do God's will: to impel us to do God's will. The nature of the life in the Word impels us to act in a way that produces the fruit of that life for the benefit of ourselves and those around us.

Of course, there is an alternative. If we allow the seed of corrupt desires to dwell in our hearts, it impels to act in a way that produces destruction and death to ourselves and those around us.

Romans 7:15 describes the person who is impelled by the nature of sin dwelling within them.
For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.
All have allowed some corrupt seed to conceive and dwell in their hearts. Jesus said that we can command the corrupt tree that has grown from that seed to be plucked up by the roots and cast into the sea and it will obey us.
If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you. (Luke 17:6)
We will be impelled by the nature of the life of the seed we sow. God's seed to life. Satan's seed to death.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Rushing to the pit

God speaks once, even twice, and still the hearer misses the point. In a dream, in a vision at night, when slumber falls upon people, as they sleep in their beds, he opens people's ears and seals the matter with a warning, to turn a person away from his action and protect a man from pride, so that he will keep himself away from the pit and from perishing by the sword. (Job 33:14-18)

God speaks to us to

  • turn us away from our action
  • to protect us from pride

so that we will keep ourselves away from

  • the pit
  • perishing

This means that without God’s intervention, our actions are not sufficiently aligned with truth to avoid the pit and perishing. We are trusting in a representation of reality that is not sufficiently accurate or complete. We are trusting in error or deception the the consequences are the pit and perishing.

We make this mistake because we do not stay away from pride. We consider ourselves able to perceive, measure, and understand truth well enough that we do not need God’s guidance. Of course, we don’t realize that we are doing this. (So much for how much we really perceive.)

God warns us that:

To act without knowing how you function is not good; and if you rush ahead you will miss your goal. (Proverbs 19:2 - Complete Jewish Bible)

Part of the truth we do not perceive, measure, or understand sufficiently is how we function. We do not see when we function in pride. We do not ask God to guide us into truth and wait for him to guide us. We rush ahead with little thought to how little we know of the truthfulness of the things in which we are trusting. As a result we follow the path to the pit and perishing.

Ask God to send the Spirit of Truth to guide you into all the truth and show you things to come. Ask him to send the Spirit of Truth to guide, direct, and order your steps so that you find the path of life and stay away from the path to the pit.

Friday, March 13, 2015

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