Posts Tagged ‘true discernment’

The Source and Supply of All Discernment

June 20, 2018

Sometimes I find myself getting into trouble with people who have varying opinions in regards to proper Christian/biblical discernment issues.

For instance. Back in April of 2016, I wrote a post entitled Syncretism Stew. That post has gotten a lot of attention over the past 14 months.

When questions arose several months ago regarding a family issue, all the differences came up in a family discussion about Christian beliefs.

As a Bible-based Berean Christian believer, I recognized the drill. Often, it is people who haven’t studied the Bible who are most critical of those who have, and thus they are labeled as “too religious.” Then, we have the opposite end of the spectrum where we find individuals who celebrate “diversity” to such an extent that they lack any type of discernment regarding genuine Christian beliefs.

When I had the opportunity to share a link to that Syncretism Stew post several months ago, the responses weren’t even dealing with the content. I imagined that many readers in the group text let their eyes  glaze over. Apparently, it was too much information at one time. So, I just shared and described the following graphic:

I added the definition of Syncretism too:

 

Today, via Truth 2 Freedom’s blog, I found a great essay that tells us how to avoid falling into the trap of syncretism.  It involves the need for discernment!

John McArthur’s Grace To You website has a wonderful new post up entitled The Source and Supply of All Discernment.

MacArthur asks:

If you could ask God for anything, what would that be?

Isn’t that a great question?

He goes on to cite what Solomon chose when God asked him that very question!

When he became king after the death of David, the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Ask what you wish Me to give you” (1 Kings 3:5).

Solomon asked for discernment: “Give Your servant an understanding heart to judge Your people to discern between good and evil” (1 Kings 3:9). Scripture says “it was pleasing in the sight of the Lord that Solomon had asked this thing” (1 Kings 3:10).

It pleased God that Solomon asked for wisdom (discernment).  It was an unselfish choice.  People desiring discernment need to “step outside of themselves,” be vulnerable (these days, being vulnerable especially to verbally and even physically abusive attacks), and realize that requesting an understanding heart to judge people and to discern between good and evil will cause conflict!  It’s inevitable!  Especially in today’s world of “anything goes” and if you don’t believe the same way as others, you are labeled as a bigot, hater, mean,  etc.

MacArthur writes:

Modern evangelicalism, enamored with psychology and self-esteem, has produced a generation of believers so self-absorbed that they cannot be discerning. People aren’t even interested in discernment. Their spiritual focus is on self and getting their own “felt needs” met.

Wow!  Is that ever true!  Many adherents of “modern evangelicalism” come from the Millennial generation.  They often fall into such a trap as this and are missing the call for true discernment in how they act with others.  Being “self-absorbed” can often be done with the influence of manipulators.  For example.  Just because someone has a degree in psychology, even a so-called “Christian” based type, does not mean that they will use it properly.  What’s more, someone who claims to have a “light” within them may not be following true discernment, and thus think more highly of themselves which can also lead others astray.

We know that God granted Solomon more than just wisdom.  He also provided riches, honor and long life.  The caveat was that Solomon was to continue to walk in the ways of the Lord.

John MacArthur has excellent advice for us all:

  In the same way, James 1:5 promises us—as New Testament believers—that God is still eager to provide us with the discernment we so desperately need: “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5).

Hat tips:

Truth 2 Freedom’s blog
Grace to You

Graphics websites

Discernment Through Christ, With Love Incorruptible

May 3, 2018

On Monday, May 2, 2018, I watched a Dr. Phil show about a young woman who was brought into a cult group known as “The Church of Wells.” Readers can see several videos about this cult at YouTube.

Here is one video describing the two-part broadcast on this cult:

I saw the second broadcast which was mostly about the tragic story of the Grove family whose daughter has been there since 2013. She tried to escape four times.

Parents:

A photo of their daughter before she was brainwashed and indoctrinated:

A photo after years with the cult:

It was truly heartbreaking and very sad to hear how desperately grieved the parents were over the mind control and indoctrination that made their daughter into a completely different person!  Apparently, she made it home one time but left and returned to the cult.  Sometimes, the mind control is so strong that it renders the victim helpless to break out of it.

The “church” building is creepy!

The “elders” are creepy!

 

 

*******

Can “love” be corrupted?  I think so.  It can be corrupted,  by unregenerate people who utilize obviously extremely wicked, heinous and vile techniques and ideas on others, as well as those who are more sneaky and subtle in their “counseling” approach.  “Discernment is not knowing the difference between right and wrong.  It is knowing the difference between right and almost right.”C.H. Spurgeon

 

You might think that Christians would know to avoid such obvious examples of cult behavior and severe indoctrination techniques (i.e. secretly drugging them through water given; plus food, bathroom and sleep deprivation, and the “deep dive” mind control methods) which were used on the victims at Wells.

Perhaps.

But how about the more subtle cases of pulling someone away from their family and friends?

How?

  1.  Through mind control
  2.  Anti-biblical indoctrination techniques (often disguised as “counseling”)
  3.  Making victims think that their previously good upbringing was somehow “bad” for them.
  4.  What about the churches who steer people away from the truth of the Bible?  There are so many of them!  And, the Bible warns us that the closer we get to the end times, many who aren’t discerning about such churches will be fooled.

That is where recognition of such errors is ESSENTIAL in order to avoid heresy and to utilize the discernment Scriptures in the Bible when any individual needs to, and should, evaluate what someone with possibly subtle nefarious intentions is doing to them!

Excerpt with some good advice and a warning:

Only the spiritual man (regenerate) possesses the knowledge of God’s will….because he has the mind of Christ.  Henry calls to our attention that it is through reading the scriptures that the spiritual man receives the knowledge of His will.

Before we move on we must add a word of caution from blogger and author Tim Challies.  Speaking on discernment in “How can I increase my spiritual discernment?” he wrote:

Some have mistakenly defined spiritual discernment as a God-given awareness of evil or good spiritual presences—the ability to tell if a demon is in the room. While some people may possess this capability, it is not the biblical meaning of discernment. Spiritual discernment ultimately has to do with wisdom and the ability to distinguish truth from error.

So – how do Christians grow in spiritual discernment?  Two ways.  By allowing the Holy Spirit to be their guiding light; likewise, thorough carefully studying the Bible.

What should we do to determine if a person’s teaching is unbiblical? We are commanded to test what’s being taught. In fact, Paul urges believers to “test everything; hold fast what is good.” (1 Thessalonians 5:21) Likewise, John encourages us to “test the spirits to see whether they are from God.” How does one test a spirit?  By reading the scriptures, in context, for that’s where Truth is found. Why is “testing” so important? “For many false prophets have gone out into the world.” (1 John 4:1) False prophets/teachers distort the truth….which is why the Bible refers to them as false teachers and wolves in sheep’s clothing.  It’s no exaggeration to say that a large number of charlatans knowingly—and without a smidgeon of guilt–lie through their teeth. Admittedly, examining someone’s teaching is no easy task.  But nowhere in Scripture are we told that it should be left to “professionals”; it is clearly our responsibility.

We mustn’t ignore the fact that any teaching that fails to line up with what the scriptures say is not from God.  And if the Bible’s not the source of his/her teaching, most likely its source is the “spiritual forces of evil in heavenly places.”  Satan’s not called the father of lies because he’s a truth teller!

Far too many Christians rely on the discernment of other believers, like those of us involved in online discernment ministries. It’s okay to learn from each other (iron sharpens iron), but again, we must do as the Bereans did – test!  Regrettably, when it comes to testing for errors, a growing number of professing Christians deserve a failing grade.

Yes!   We must do as the Bereans did – test!

FYI, In a question and answer page at the Berean website, a pingback link to TalkWisdom’s post entitled “Syncretism Stew” is at the bottom of the page.

My prayer continues that through the leading of Jesus Christ in my life that I would be corrected when needed in my writings here and most of all, be led to write Biblically accurate and discerning posts for as long as I run this blog.

I also pray, dear readers, that you each would be led towards discovering the truth within God’s Word through diligent study of the Scriptures so that each of you can earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.

In Jesus,
Christine

Hat tips to all links.

How Can We Distinguish Between Deception and Truth?

May 26, 2017

The current onslaught of the “fake news” meme today can often be confusing.  How can one know whether or not an article or news report from the media is true or fake these days?

Well, Kingsjester’s Blog has a great post up today that shares the fact that almost 2/3rds of people polled believe that the media of mass deception is full of fake news.

My comment there:

Thanks for sharing this poll with your readers. I often wondered what percentage of people in our nation were falling for the made-up Trump/Russia meme. Glad to see that at least 2/3 recognize the lies of the media of mass deception!

Loved what you wrote here:

At the rate that these stories are being debunked, most Americans have accurately surmised that the MSM’s “anonymous sources” are the voices inside their own over-sized heads.

Sad…but true! And it made me laugh, too!

Did you see (or hear) President Trump’s commencement speech at Liberty University? It was wonderful! I loved how he included that the naysayers in life should be ignored and that the students should never, ever give up on their goals!

I actually feel sorry for the snowflakes in the liberal universities and colleges that are having their heads filled with progressive propaganda. I pray that someone will share the truth of the written Word of the Bible and the “peace that surpasses all understanding,” the Living Word, Jesus Christ with them.

*******

The following is a portion of a post that was shared back in 2013 at my former blog.  It holds true even more today, as the perpetuation of lies has increased even more since that post was written!  The question isn’t really “what” can help you distinguish between deception and truth.  The question (and ultimately the answer) is Who can help you do this!

 

~ Christine

Deception Can Cause Many to Suffer
The Bible has a lot to say about deception.  This post will not be totally comprehensive about the subject of deception and/or deceiving people.  However, it will give us some insight into the machinations of this type of evil and what it tragically often leads to in this fallen world.

Deceit (a.k.a. dishonesty, lying, tricking) is a tool used by people in order to accomplish certain outcomes in which they desire to reap power, monetary gain, fame, tyranny over others, and a whole host of other reasons.  The ability to “get away with it” in a world of disinformation runs rampant.  People don’t know what to believe anymore.  They are so conditioned to believe what they are told on the news.  But, what if the “news” being reported is not the truth?  What if many are being told to lie to us?  What if they are “programmed” to trick us into believing even the most bizarre event(s) ever seen by mankind; just because the ignorant and uninformed continue to trust them?

People who are propped up as being “dignified” and “above the fray” are often the very same individuals who deceive the most.  Getting away with dishonesty is easy when so many others are either mesmerized by a popular (but deceptive) individual and thus miss the fact that such a popular person is actually complicit in the lies being perpetrated.

The Bible informs us just who is called the deceiver.

Read Revelation 12:1-9.

However, the key Bible verse is:

This great dragon–the ancient serpent called the Devil, or Satan, the one deceiving the whole world–was thrown down to the earth with all his angels.  (Revelation 12:9)

We can see that the Bible describes Satan as the deceiver.  The devil is not some cartoon character or made up entity.  He was originally an angel of God whose pride made him corrupt.  The name Satan means “adversary” or “accuser” (12:10).

As 1 Peter 5:8-9 informs us, Satan actively looks for people to attack.  He especially likes to seek out believers who may be young in the faith, vulnerable in some way, or not involved in fellowship with other believers.

Despite the fact that God allows (due to Adam and Eve’s choice to do evil in the Garden of Eden) the devil to do his work in the world, God is still in control.

Unbelievers often try to mock Christians for their beliefs.  They hate Christ and try to diminish the fact that Jesus has complete power over Satan.  This was demonstrated during Christ’s three-year ministry on the earth.  Scripture tells us that when Jesus was tempted by Satan, Christ used Scripture to send him away.  Only the Word of God was needed to make Satan flee!!   That is an important fact to remember!

You may or may not know (or believe) that when Jesus died for the sins of mankind and rose from the dead, it was at that moment that Satan’s future was doomed and Jesus has the keys to heaven where he goes to create mansions in eternity for believers.  Revelation 20:10 tells us that one day Satan will be bound forever, never again to do his evil work. (1)

Next, read John 8:42-47.

The key Bible verse:

You are the children of your father the Devil, and you love to do the evil things he does.  He was a murderer from the beginning and has always hated the truth.  There is no truth in him.  When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies.  (John 8:44)

[Notice that] Jesus called Satan the father of lies.  The attitudes and actions of these leaders clearly identified them as follower of Satan.  They may not have been conscious of this, but their hatred of truth, their lies, and their murderous intentions indicated how much control the devil had over them.  They were his tools in carrying out his plans; they spoke the very same language of lies.  Satan still uses people to obstruct God’s work (Genesis 4:8; Romans 5:12; 1 John 3:12). (2)

From the John 8:44 verse, we learn that lying “is consistent with his (the Devil’s) character.”  Satan was “a murderer from the beginning and has always hated the truth.”  There is “no truth in him.”  What’s even more disturbing is the realization that the “children of your father, the Devil, love to do the evil things he does.”

The Devil can have much control over the un-saved.  They can become “his tools in carrying out his plans.”  They speak “the very same language of lies.”  Also, see the Bible verses that describe how Satan uses people to obstruct God’s work.

No wonder Jesus told us that He is the truth! Christ informs us that God’s Word is Truth!   And the “truth will set you (us) free!”

People will lie, deceive, hurt and murder others because they hate the truth (Jesus Christ).  There is no truth in them, and they LOVE to do the evil things that Satan does.

I don’t know about you, dear reader, but when I see what is going on in this world of lies, deceit, sin, evil and death, I sometimes shake my head in disbelief that others don’t recognize that they are being lied to and so heavily deceived!!  However, when I delve back into God’s Word, I realize that we have been warned of this.  Deception is exponentially getting worse because we are heading closer and closer towards the end times.

So, we might ask what happens when we deceive others?

Bible reading:  Luke 8:16-18

Key Bible verse:

Everything that is hidden or secret will eventually be brought to light and made plain to all. (Luke 8:17)

We cannot hide our sins from God.  In God’s eyes, people’s hearts–their thoughts and motives–are as visible as a lamp mounted in the open.  No matter how hard we try to cover up bad attitudes, deeds, or words, we cannot deceive God.  Instead of hiding our faults, we should ask God to change our life so we no longer have to be ashamed.  If you are trying to hide anything from God, it won’t work.  Only when you confess your hidden sins and seek God’s forgiveness will you have the help you need to do right. (3)

The only way to avoid falling prey to deceit is to ask God to help you distinguish between deception and truth.

Keep on praying, America!

Keep on reading and studying the Bible on a daily basis!

Psa 119:160 The entirety of Your word [is] truth, And every one of Your righteous judgments [endures] forever.

 

Jhn 17:17 “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.

 – Jesus Christ

References:

1 The Handbook of Bible Application, Second Edition, 2000, Neil S. Wilson Editor, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois. p. 135 (paraphrased).

2 Ibid. (quote)

3 Ibid. (quote)

True Discernment: Here’s How the New Christian Left Is Twisting the Gospel

March 20, 2017

My search engine stats have shown a great interest in “The Importance of the Parable of the Wheat and Tares.”  I think that this parable well describes why there are many different types of Christians, and how important it is to “weed out” those who would twist the Gospel of Truth.

John at True Discernment has an excellent post up that informs us:   Here’s How the New Christian Left Is Twisting the Gospel.

Excerpt:

It is no secret that there is an expanding gulf between traditional Christian teachings and contemporary moral values. But the sad truth is that the ideological gulf between America’s evangelical grown-ups and their kids, aka the millennials, seems to be widening too.

Somehow the blame for this chasm is being heaped on traditional churches. They are accused of having too many rules as well as being homophobic and bigoted. Yes, we’ve heard those false claims from popular culture in its desperate attempt to keep Christianity imprisoned within the sanctuary walls. But now popular culture is being aided by Christ-professing bedfellows whose message to “coexist,” “tolerate” and “keep out of it” is more marketable to the rising generation of evangelicals.

The seasoned Christian soldiers are noticing these distortions of the gospel. But for young evangelicals, the spiritual haze is harder to wade through. Desperate for acceptance in a fallen world, many young evangelicals (and some older ones) choose not to take Christ out of the chapel, and so they are unwittingly killing the church’s public witness. In this uphill cultural battle, mired by scare tactics and fear, three types of evangelical Christians are emerging:

  • Couch-potato Christians: These Christians adapt to the culture by staying silent on the tough culture-and-faith discussions. Typically, this group will downplay God’s absolute truths by promoting the illusion that neutrality was Jesus’ preferred method of evangelism.

  • Cafeteria-style Christians: This group picks and chooses which Scripture passages to live by, opting for the ones that best seem to jive with culture. Typically, they focus solely on the “nice” parts of the gospel while simultaneously and intentionally minimizing sin, hell, repentance and transformation.

  • Convictional Christians: In the face of the culture’s harsh admonitions, these evangelicals refuse to be silent. Mimicking Jesus, they compassionately talk about love and grace while also sharing with their neighbors the need to recognize and turn from sin.

I highly recommend reading it all HERE!

My comment there (may still be in moderation) with some additional information:

This is by far one of the best posts that I have read describing the divide in the millennial generation regarding their Christian beliefs. I know individuals (some are even baby boomers!) who fit into the “couch potato,” “cafeteria-style,” and the best – convictional Christian categories. One big reason for the “CP” and “CS” kinds of millennial Christians being more abundant than the convicted Christians believers are because so many of them went to secular colleges!

We are living in the times that Jude described so vividly!

There would be a great falling away.  However, at the same time, the Gospel would be preached all around the world and many will come to true faith.

The “itching ears” types of Christians are described in 2 Timothy 4:3-4

2Ti 4:3
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;

2Ti 4:4
And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

The Syncretism Stew that is being pushed upon believers informs us exactly why Jesus gave us the parable of the wheat and the tares; and the exact reason why “they would grow together” and then the “wheat” would be separated from the “tares” at the harvest.

Our job, as biblically-based Christian believers, is to alert people who would fall for the deceptions of the enemy of our souls [see: Satan’s #1 Weapon] and preach the true, sound doctrine which does not water-down the need for repentance of sins at the Cross of Christ!

Hat tips to True Discernment and graphics links.


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