Discernment in Difficult Times

For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the
division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and
intentions of the heart. 3 And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and
exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.    Hebrews 4:12-13

Since spiritual discernment is the ability to see life from God's perspective, it requires that we know how He thinks and acts. The Bible is His unchanging, infallible revelation of Himself. However, the Lord doesn't simply give us a list of facts about His character and ways. All throughout the pages of Scripture, He illustrates who He is and how He operates.

Although the Bible is ancient, it's not a dead book. It's alive and as fresh as if He were speaking directly to you. The stories may have taken place centuries ago, but the principles and applications are current and relevant. Guidance for decisions and discernment about how to interpret situations are found from Genesis to Revelation.

God's Word is active and piercing. The words don't simply sit on the page. They penetrate our hearts and judge our thoughts and motives. This convicting quality is why some people don't like to read the Bible. It doesn't always support what we want to do. Some Christians live on a surface level, never understanding why they react to situations the way they do. But if we'll approach the Word of God with an open spirit, it will bring to light our hidden motives and reveal unrecognized sins.

Spiritual discernment involves seeing not just our circumstances, or the activities of the world around us, but also ourselves from God's perspective. Have you learned to embrace the piercing sword of Scripture, or have you avoided doing so because it makes you uncomfortable? Remember, God's Word cuts only so that it can heal.

The recent events of this summer, the shootings in Charleston, SC, the Supreme Court decision concerning marriage, the flap over the Confederate flag, and now, that Planned Parenthood is harvesting and selling aborted baby parts; any or all of which might spur us to various and justifiable outcry, might lead us to unwittingly offend those who hold different ideas and sensitivities, are honestly struggling with these issues or possibly living with unresolved regret over past decisions they've made. How does God's Word guide us? God has the last word!

Meanwhile, as we walk together, we remember that in Romans 12:18, Paul says, "If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all." And in Philippians 4:8-9, he writes, "Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.   What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you." These words emphasize what we are "for" what God's Word leads us to value, rather than what we are "against." What positive options do we provide and support? These are good words of discernment.

As God's people gathered in this place, we acknowledge the wonderful variety of backgrounds and ideas represented here at Ebenezer, but we also celebrate all the wonders of God's Word that unites us as His forgiven people, trusting in the Christ who forgives us our sins and gives us a peace the world cannot give.

Pastor John W. Fair

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Sun Nov 19 @ 8:30AM - 09:30AM
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Sun Nov 19 @ 9:45AM - 10:45AM
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Mon Nov 20 @ 6:30AM - 07:30AM
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