Tag Archives: discernment

Ecclesiastes 10-12; 2 Timothy 4

I solemnly urge you in the presence of God and Christ Jesus, who will someday judge the living and the dead when he comes to set up his Kingdom: Preach the word of God. Be prepared, whether the time is favorable or not. Patiently correct, rebuke, and encourage your people with good teaching.

For a time is coming when people will no longer listen to sound and wholesome teaching. They will follow their own desires and will look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear. They will reject the truth and chase after myths.

But you should keep a clear mind in every situation. Don’t be afraid of suffering for the Lord. Work at telling others the Good News, and fully carry out the ministry God has given you. (2 Timothy 4:1-5, NLT)

Oh, Lord, help me. So much crowds and clutters my mind, wanting my attention–help me to be intentional about the things that matter. Help me to stay focused on wholesome teaching and seeking truth so that I will be prepared. Help me to keep my mind clear in every situation.

Courtney (66books365)

 

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Proverbs 3-5; Romans 10

23 Guard your heart above all else,
    for it determines the course of your life.

24 Avoid all perverse talk;
    stay away from corrupt speech.

25 Look straight ahead,
    and fix your eyes on what lies before you.
26 Mark out a straight path for your feet;
    stay on the safe path.
27 Don’t get sidetracked;
    keep your feet from following evil. Proverbs 4:23-27, NLT

Sometimes sin is so subtle. It comes packaged as fun or funny, exciting or entertaining.

God, help me to guard my heart. Help my children to guard their hearts. Help our family to build boundaries and set straight paths. Help us so that when troubles and trials and temptations come, we keep our eyes fixed on you.

Courtney (66books365)

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Proverbs 5-6; 1 Corinthians 14:1-20

“Well, whatever happens, I know God will bring something good from it,” she said it so matter-of-fact that I laughed. I love the view of hindsight–and among the many lessons learned from looking back, one is the truth in her statement. However, in the years of the sometime-struggle, I know I wondered often–what good can come from any of this? And it was years more on the other side of it to see that good could come from it. From start to finish, it turned out to be an enormous and foundational lesson on trust. All those things I thought were good, actually weren’t so good in the end (on some level, I think I even knew it). And the thing that looked like a hot mess was the biggest blessing. God sees things much differently than I do.

For the Lord sees clearly what a man does,
    examining every path he takes.
22 An evil man is held captive by his own sins;
    they are ropes that catch and hold him.
23 He will die for lack of self-control;
    he will be lost because of his great foolishness. Proverbs 5:21-23, NLT

I have to watch reading through Proverbs, because my eyes skim and my head nods in agreement, and all too soon it’s out of my mind–this stuff on adultery, poor decisions, laziness. Self, slow down. Aren’t the days evil? Sit with these holy words. Hold onto them. Pass them down.

My son, obey your father’s commands,
    and don’t neglect your mother’s instruction.
21 Keep their words always in your heart.
    Tie them around your neck.
22 When you walk, their counsel will lead you.
    When you sleep, they will protect you.
    When you wake up, they will advise you.
23 For their command is a lamp
    and their instruction a light;
their corrective discipline
    is the way to life. Proverbs 6:21-23, NLT

Lord, I’m thankful for your great mercy. Many of the teachings I received led to dead ends. Thank you for challenging my pursuits, values and beliefs. Open my eyes and heart to your word. Lead me, protect me, advise me. Your way leads to life.

Courtney (66books365)

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2 Chronicles 17-19; John 15

Jehoshaphat got it. He followed the example of his father. He strengthened Judah; didn’t worship idols; sought God; didn’t follow Israel’s evil practices. And good things came his way. He became more powerful; had great riches and was held in high esteem; the fear of the Lord kept other territories from warring with him. When he had his son marry Ahab of Israel’s daughter, I wondered if he was courting trouble. After all, Israel had evil practices in a former paragraph.

Jehoshaphat meets up some time later to feast with Ahab. It seemed a bit chummy, and I wondered where this was leading.

Then Ahab enticed Jehoshaphat to join forces with him to recover Ramoth-gilead.

“Will you go with me to Ramoth-gilead?” King Ahab of Israel asked King Jehoshaphat of Judah.

Jehoshaphat replied, “Why, of course! You and I are as one, and my troops are your troops. We will certainly join you in battle.” Then Jehoshaphat added, “But first let’s find out what the Lord says.” 2 Chronicles 18:2b-4, NLT (emphasis mine).

Jehoshaphat is still a God’s guy, I reasoned–see, he wants to get the Lord’s opinion. Four hundred prophets encourage the fight and assure success.

But Jehoshaphat asked, “Is there not also a prophet of the Lord here? We should ask him the same question.” 2 Chronicles 18:6, NLT.

Yeah, Jehoshaphat’s got this … until he doesn’t. A prophet of the Lord does speak and speaks against the attack. I’m surprised that shortly after Jehoshaphat and his men are in a battle, and Jehoshaphat is wearing a kingly target.

28 So King Ahab of Israel and King Jehoshaphat of Judah led their armies against Ramoth-gilead. 29 The king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “As we go into battle, I will disguise myself so no one will recognize me, but you wear your royal robes.” So the king of Israel disguised himself, and they went into battle. 2 Chronicles 18:28-29, NLT.

At the start, it seemed like Jehoshaphat had so much going for him. Focus. Example. Promise. How did he go from that to this?

30 Meanwhile, the king of Aram had issued these orders to his chariot commanders: “Attack only the king of Israel! Don’t bother with anyone else.” 31 So when the Aramean chariot commanders saw Jehoshaphat in his royal robes, they went after him. “There is the king of Israel!” they shouted. But Jehoshaphat called out, and the Lord saved him. God helped him by turning the attackers away from him. 2 Chronicles:30-31, NLT.

It was subtle. A political union. Camaraderie over a meal. Identification in unity. Pursuing the popular opinion.

Jesus tells us he is the true vine.

Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.

“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing. Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned.” John 15:4-6, NLT.

There are times in my life the red flags wave warning over friendships. How long before I’m wearing the target on my back for the enemy’s focused attack?

Lord, it’s not like I’m oblivious to the influence of others. Sometimes there is clear warning that I write off–I’ve got this; I know Jesus. Haven’t I also cried out to you because of poor alliances? Jesus, help me to keep my eyes on you. Help me to follow you and bring glory to you, even when it’s hard.

Courtney (66books365)

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Genesis 3-5; Matthew 2

The serpent persuaded her with words. (Her eyes sealed the deal with want.)

The following verses are like stepping stones leading down a path. The Lord speaks, and there is choice. Listen, or don’t.

He cares. He warns. He commands. Those who listen show wisdom–those who don’t believe to be wise in their own eyes.

  • So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate. Genesis 3:6 ESV.
  • 11 He said, “Who told you that you were naked? Have you eaten of the tree of which I commanded you not to eat?” Genesis 3:11 ESV.
  • but for Cain and his offering he had no regard. So Cain was very angry, and his face fell. The Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it.” Genesis 4:5-7
  • 21 When Enoch had lived 65 years, he fathered Methuselah. 22 Enoch walked with God after he fathered Methuselah 300 years and had other sons and daughters. 23 Thus all the days of Enoch were 365 years. 24 Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him. Genesis 5:21-24 ESV
  • 12 And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way. Matthew 2:12 ESV
  • 13 Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” 14 And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt … Matthew 2:13-14 ESV
  • 19 But when Herod died, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, 20 saying, “Rise, take the child and his mother and go …” Matthew 2:19-22 ESV

Lord, You speak still. I want to be like Enoch and walk with You. I want to know Your voice (to hear it and heed it), and not be persuaded and deceived by unsteady and changing influences of a culture (or even my very own whims). I pray to draw even closer to You through Your Word this year.

Courtney (66books365)

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