Verses for Week 11

Now before the Feast of the Passover,
Jesus knowing that His hour had come
that He would depart out of this world to the Father,
having loved His own who were in the world,
He loved them to the end.
John 13:1

Knowing that soon He would die, Jesus loved His disciples.  When I read this verse, I wondered how I would respond if I knew I had only a little time left before I would die.  I remember that the last thing my mother told me before she died was that she loved me.  In the weeks before my father-in-law died, he wrote people letters and made sure that we here knew that he loved us.  I think that shows the quality of person that they were.

But what about me?  It is so easy to say that you love someone, and then get upset with them over little things.  What seems to stop our love?  A lazy child?  Not getting supper on time?  A wrong answer?  Such little things in the space of eternity cause us to think wrongly about another person.

Of course, if our love stops, then it was not really love.  True love lasts and does not stop.  It may weather some storms, but it will be standing afterwards.  This love is found in 1 Corinthians 13.  This love is also commanded by God.

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another,
even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.
By this all men will know that you are My disciples,
if you have love for one another.
John 13:34-35

It is a love worth giving.  I think it will take a lifetime to perfect it, but it is worth the work.

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The Blessings of Discernment

Yesterday I wrote about Samson who showed a lack of discernment.  Today I would like to write about Moses who showed discernment.  I will begin his story with the day that he was in the wilderness and saw the burning bush.  This amazing sight of a bush burning and not being destroyed by fire caught his attention (Exodus 3).  God Himself was in the fire.  God chose Moses to be the one to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt.  Moses showed a lack of discernment at this point.  Instead of believing God and trusting that He would help, Moses complained of being unable to speak well.  He showed enough discernment to agree to go to Egypt and to speak to the Pharaoh. (Exodus 4:28-31)

When Moses reached Egypt, we begin reading a phrase that is often repeated from Exodus to Deuteronomy.  This phrase confirms that Moses had discernment.  It is written of Moses that he did all that God commanded.  The result of his obedience was that he was able to lead the large group of Israelites out of Egypt. (Exodus 12:35-42)

After they had been out of Egypt for a while, the Israelites chose to worship a golden calf instead of God.  When this happened, God told Moses that He would make a great people from Moses.  What higher honour could a person receive than to have a great nation from his own family!  Moses showed discernment and refused this honour.  Instead he was concerned for God’s testimony among the peoples of the land.  He also reminded God of His promises to the children of Israel.  Moses was more concerned about God than himself.  He wanted God’s glory to shine.  He wanted to understand this glorious God better so he asked to see God’s glory.  God said that Moses could not see His face, but He would permit Moses to see a part of His glory.  Moses who was more concerned that God receive glory was blessed in a very special way  (Exodus 33).

Moses’ use of godly discernment enabled him to have an incredbly close relationship with God.  God refers to Moses as the man He spoke to face to face (Exodus 33:11).  His life also encouraged others to serve God as well.  One man who seems to have followed Moses’ example was Bezalel.  Bezalel was a skilled craftsman who was able to make many different things and was able to work with different types of materials.  He was known to do “all that the Lord had commanded Moses.”  (Exodus 36-39).

Moses’ story began with a lack of discernment, and it ends with one as well.  One time God told Moses to speak to a rock, and water would come out.  Instead of speaking Moses struck the rock angrily.  As a result God to Moses that he would not be able to enter the Promised Land.  For the past forty years Moses had been looking forward to going to the Promised Land.  After only doing one thing wrong, God would not permit Moses to fulfill his dream.  In the midst of great personal sorrow, Moses chose to be guided by discernment.  Instead of bad-mouthing God or complaining about his loss, he chose to praise God and to speak well of Him.

There is none like the God of Jeshurun,
Who rides the heavens to your help,
And through the skies in His majesty.
The eternal God is a dwelling place,
And underneath are the everlasting arms
Deuteronomy 33:26-27a

Samson did not allow godly discernment to guide his life and he suffered greatly.  He did not do much for God, except to kill 3000 Philistines when he died.  Moses, on the other hand, led about two million people out of Egypt.  He was able to see part of God’s glory and to have a close relationship with God.  If we choose to be guided by godly discernment, we will receive blessings as well.  Our blessings will, probably, not be the same as Moses; but they will be great and wonderful.

The integrity of the upright will guide them,
But the crookedness of the treacherous will destroy them.
Proverbs 11:3

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Discernment – The Lack of It

Our theme for the month at school is discernment.  I defined it as making choices guided by God.  To receive this guidance we need to read and study God’s Word.  Having discernment will keep us out of a lot of trouble.  Samson and Moses are two Bible examples who show the results of having or not having discernment.

Samson was specially chosen by God before he was born (Judges 13).  An angel spoke to Samson’s parents and told them that they would have a son.  This son was consecrated for the Lord’s work from birth.  Samson was the strongest man, so it would seem like he had it made.  He had a special work to do for God and the strength to do it.  It looks like that should be a life of blessedness, but Samson’s lack of discernment destroyed that blessing.

The first thing we see Samson doing shows a lack of discernment.  He looked at Philistine women for a wife.  He found one and got married.  At the wedding he gave a riddle.  His wife told the answer to the other men.  Samson exhibited another lack of discernment – he got angry and went to his parents.  The result of this lack of discernment is that his wife was given to another man – he lost his wife (Judges 14).

He didn’t learn from that experience and got involved with another Philistine woman.  The result of this relationship was that she betrayed him to other men who bound him in chains.  They took out his eyes and made him work like an animal.  Because he had no discernment, he did not realize that God’s Spirit had left him.  His lack of discernment spoiled his relationship with God.  It also brought a lot of trouble and heartache.  In the last moments of his life he had enough discernment to call to the Lord for help.  With the strength God gave him, he destroyed a building and 3000 people (Judges 16).

Samson’s life did not produce much for God.  His lack of discernment led him away from God repeatedly.  Because his name is listed in Hebrews 11, we know he was man of God; yet, he did very little for God.

My son, if you will receive my words
And treasure my commandments within you,
Make your ear attentive to wisdom,
Incline your heart to understanding;
For if you cry for discernment,
Lift your voice for understanding;
If you seek her as silver
And search for her as for hidden treasures;
Then you will discern the fear of the Lord
And discover the knowledge of God.
For the Lord gives wisdom;
From His mouth come knowledge and understanding.
He stores up sound wisdom for the upright;
He is a shield to those who walk in integrity,
Guarding the paths of justice,
And He preserves the way of His godly ones.
Then you will discern righteousness and justice
And equity and every good course.
For wisdom will enter your heart
And knowledge will be pleasant to your soul;
Discretion will guard you,
Understanding will watch over you,
 To deliver you from the way of evil,
From the man who speaks perverse things;
From those who leave the paths of uprightness
To walk in the ways of darkness;
Who delight in doing evil
And rejoice in the perversity of evil
Proverbs 2:1-14

Next time “The Blessings of Discernment”

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How to Handle the Day

Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.
Nehemiah 8:10

Blessed be the Lord,
Because He has heard the voice of my supplication.
 The Lord is my strength and my shield;
My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped;
Therefore my heart exults,
And with my song I shall thank Him.
Psalm 28:6-7

Whom have I in heaven but You?
And besides You, I desire nothing on earth.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
But God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Psalm 73:25-26

Seek the Lord and His strength;
Seek His face continually.
Psalm 105:4

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Fears

Fears are real.  We can fear so many things.  Fears are normal, but they should not be part of a Christian’s life.  Read the Gospels to see how often the words “Fear not” are used.  God does not want us to be fearful.

 There is no fear in love;
but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment.
He that feareth is not made perfect in love.
1 John 4:18 KJV

The problem with fear is that it has torment.  Fear brings agony and anxiety of mind.  We can have nightmares that ruin our sleep.  Fear can cause all kinds of physical difficulties.  Some people are completely unable to function because of fears.  Our fears also keep us from maturing spiritually.

Love is the key to conquering fear.  It can’t be our love because our love is flawed.  Our love has the possibility of changing.  We need a stronger love to conquer our fears.

“Perfect love casteth out fear.”  Perfect love is only in God.  Jesus is the personification of that love.  First, we need to trust Him as our Saviour from sin.

For God so loved the world,
that he gave his only begotten Son,
that whosoever believeth in him should not perish,
but have everlasting life.

John 3:16 KJV

Next, we need to let Him take care of our fears.  We cannot get rid of them ourselves.  We need to trust that He is able to take care of the things that we fear.  If we allow Him to fill our lives with His love, the fears cannot fill our lives.  “There is no fear in love.”  God is big enough, strong enough, and loves us enough to take care of our fears.

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Abounding in Love

And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more
in real knowledge and all discernment,
so that you may approve the things that are excellent,
in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ
Philippians 1:9-10

Abounding in Love
helps us to
Approve excellent things
which helps us to be
Sincere and Blameless

For clarification’s sake:  The love that is talked about here is the kind of love found in 1 Corinthians 13.

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Verse for Week 10

My soul, wait in silence for God only,
For my hope is from Him.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
My stronghold; I shall not be shaken.
On God my salvation and my glory rest;
The rock of my strength, my refuge is in God.
Trust in Him at all times, O people;
Pour out your heart before Him;
God is a refuge for us.
Psalm 62:5-8

My thought this past week has been that God is sufficient.  He can be totally depended on to do right, to help me to do right.  Whatever I need He can supply easily.  The key is for me to trust Him completely.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places
in Christ
Ephesians 1:3

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