The Power of Discernment

The Power of Discernment

Romans 12:1-2 (ESV) I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

To be transformed by the renewal of your mind that by testing you may discern what is the will of God. What is good? What is acceptable? What is perfect? Here’s a hint. People will never lead you to perfection. It is impossible for the imperfect to go where they have not been. Maturity in Christ is an independent mission of finding completion in Him. Discernment takes knowledge of God and as it becomes our understanding it will begin to produce wisdom in our life. Wisdom is nothing more than applied knowledge. To be wise is to make choices based on sound knowledge and good understanding allowing it to change the way we think, live and speak.

“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge.” (Hosea 4:6) A lack of knowledge in our natural life can cause unwanted consequences. For example, if you are not instructed that if you touch a hot stovetop that you will be burned, then when you come in contact with one that you will likely touch it and pay the consequences. Spiritual instruction is absolutely necessary to change our life from natural to supernatural outcomes. We can present ourselves as “living sacrifices” but it is discernment that keeps us aligned with God and following Jesus Christ. We need knowledge. We need understanding. We need wisdom. We need discernment. What if we have it but are not using it? Well, according to Hosea, people are destroyed because they lack…or reject godly knowledge.

I Kings 3:10-14 (ESV) It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this. And God said to him, “Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches or the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, behold, I now do according to your word. Behold, I give you a wise and discerning mind, so that none like you has been before you and none like you shall arise after you. I give you also what you have not asked, both riches and honor, so that no other king shall compare with you, all your days. And if you will walk in my ways, keeping my statutes and my commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your days.”

Solomon was the beloved son of David. David was a man after God’s Heart. Solomon following the footsteps of his father offered a sacrifice pleasing to the Lord. God came to King Solomon in a dream and asked, “What shall I give you?” The king could have asked for anything. He could have asked for riches and honor or a variety of natural desires. Solomon asked for wisdom or more importantly “understanding to discern what is right”. His request pleased the Lord and it was granted to him.

Godly wisdom and good discernment does not make us perfect. It is simply good judgment that readily discerns between good and evil. Good people are not always godly. Religious folks aren’t always godly. We are quick to follow preachers and teachers but reluctant to strike out and follow Jesus especially when He leads us out on our own. People are people. God is looking for those who desire Him above all things.

Remember when Jesus met the rich young man. (Mark 10) He called Jesus “Good Teacher” and quickly the Lord replied, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone.” Discernment. Jesus was questioning the man’s knowledge and wisdom. He knew the commandments and religious rules and regulations. But did this rich young man have a relationship with God? Did he know God? Did he love Him? Did he recognize the Son of God standing before him? Well…when asked to leave this world behind, sell all his possessions and give everything away to follow Christ…he walked away. There are many people with a whole lot of head knowledge about the Lord. We need heart knowledge called discernment to change us and transform us.

I Corinthians 2:14-16 (ESV) The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

We have the Mind of Christ. We must decide to adopt His Mindset and gain knowledge of who He is from God’s Word. In fact, John 1:14 tells us that Jesus is the Word of God who came to us wrapped in flesh. Without a personal working knowledge, there is no wisdom. Without wisdom, it is impossible to discern between good and evil. God is good! He is always good! His Way is always the best. To know His Way, we must know His Word and allow His Spirit to guide us.

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. (Hebrews 4:12)  Jesus is the Word. He is the only Way to God. We cannot access God through man anymore but must personally enter His Presence. To read the Word is to actively engage in the process of spiritual circumcision as the Lord removes the callous hardness applied by life to break our heart and fill it with the Light of His Love. If Jesus is your Savior and Lord, you have been given His Spirit. The Holy Spirit as you will see in the next scripture is called our “Helper”. He takes the Word of God like a surgeon to cut away the worthless and fruitless desires to give us a new life and make us a new creation just like the Lord promised to do.

John 14:25-27 (ESV) “These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

The Holy Spirit is our guide. He teaches us the meaning of God’s Word. He shows us how to apply it in our life through His Gentle Nudging or not-so-easy conviction. We are free to choose our way but in order to choose THE Way – reliance on the Spirit of God in us is important. The Spirit of God aligns our heart and mind with Him. In doing so, it creates inner peace as our heart is no longer in conflict with eternity. It is in this place that God changes us and transforms us. You were not created to be like anybody. God created you to be you. There is no one else that has your potential. There is no one else that can fulfill your purpose. To know Him is to love Him but aside from His Word (Truth) and His Spirit it is not possible to be a true worshipper. Our faith is planted solely in Christ to harvest the confident hoped needed to endure to the end.

Psalm 119:65-68 (ESV) You have dealt well with your servant, O Lord, according to your word. Teach me good judgment and knowledge, for I believe in your commandments. Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I keep your word. You are good and do good; teach me your statutes.

I will be the first to admit that I have asked the Lord for specific “things” and detailed outcomes more than I care to mention. All those prayers “instructing” God on what I needed, wanted, desired or thought that He should do. God’s Word tells us to pray, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed by your name. Your Kingdom come, Your Will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” But then, I have had many pastors and teachers instruct me to tell God exactly what I want and to pray in specifics. This is where the power of discernment works in our life.

I find that when I pray for “God’s Will” to be done – I have greater success in accomplishing peace in my life. Thinking of all those times I thought I knew what was best, but the Lord had something better in mind. There is nothing wrong with praying for specific things but it is better to seek the Will and Way of God. His Hope never leads to disappointment. His Way never comes up short. His Promises always produce fulfillment and full satisfaction. His Economy is abundance. God is good. His Love unfailing. His Goodness always pursuing me. I must simply know Him and love Him to have it all.

Today, my prayer is simple. “Lord, teach me good judgment and knowledge. I desire discernment. To see people, situations, and opportunities through Your Eyes and consider each with the Mind of Christ. This is my heart’s desire to be a living sacrifice and live a life acceptable to You, Lord.”

Proverbs 16:20-22 (ESV) Whoever gives thought to the word will discover good, and blessed is he who trusts in the Lord. The wise of heart is called discerning, and sweetness of speech increases persuasiveness. Good sense is a fountain of life to him who has it, but the instruction of fools is folly.


Cover Me

Cover Me


Galatians 6:1-2 (NIV) Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

There is an American hero by the name of Private First Class Ross A. McGinnis who at just 19 years old gave his life to save his brethren. He was trained to escape the deadly blast of a grenade if there is the opportunity. However, when an Iraqi insurgent threw a grenade into their Humvee, he had to make a choice. This young man had an opportunity to jump from the machine gun turret he was manning and save himself. But that is not what this man of honor and valor did, instead he dropped from the turret into the vehicle falling on the grenade to save his four comrades inside. Months prior to the incident, the same scenario occurred but the gunner followed his military training and jumped out of the Humvee. Fortunately, in the grenade was a dud. Pfc. McGinnis received a Medal of Valor and Purple Heart while his parents received a folded American flag. He gave up his life for his brothers and is an example to us all.

I am challenged by this verse today. I am also inspired by this young man’s story. As believers, there are trials and temptations each day. We face situations and circumstances that cause the superficial Christianity to give way to the truth within our heart. Sin happens. It happens to everyone. We all fall short of the Glory of God not once but daily. Religion often creates an atmosphere of arrogance as some look down on those who are transparent. Rather than reaching out to their brothers and sisters, they reach around them as to somehow prove they have no sin. You who live by the Spirit should restore family, friends, coworkers and even strangers who fall into temptation or succumb to sin. It must never be to pull them up to some invisible level but through the Blood of Jesus surround them with love and hope. When given the opportunity to cover your brother and sister in Christ, what is your response? Hero? Helper? Heretic? Hmm…

Genesis 9:20-25 (NIV) Noah, a man of the soil, proceeded to plant a vineyard. When he drank some of its wine, he became drunk and lay uncovered inside his tent. Ham, the father of Canaan, saw his father naked and told his two brothers outside. But Shem and Japheth took a garment and laid it across their shoulders; then they walked in backward and covered their father’s naked body. Their faces were turned the other way so that they would not see their father naked. When Noah awoke from his wine and found out what his youngest son had done to him, he said, “Cursed be Canaan! The lowest of slaves will he be to his brothers.”

Noah was a farmer who produced a vineyard. Partaking of his choice crop, he became drunk. Succumbing to the situation, he fell asleep naked in his tent. He was not out carousing but inside his home. When his son, Ham, saw him – rather than covering his father and keeping it to himself – he decided to tell his brothers. The response of his brothers, much like Pfc. McGinnis, is a lesson of love and grace needed in the church today. They took a covering and walking backward as not to subject their father to any further humiliation – they covered him up. I cannot stress the importance of this lesson to the Body of Christ. “Bless their heart” shouldn’t be an excuse to share with every other brother and sister the sin of another. Prayer requests on behalf of another can be carefully disguised gossip sessions. The Word of God says, “There is no greater love than to lay down your life for your brothers and sisters.” We are one great big family.

Romans 8:1-2 (NIV) Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.

There is no condemnation in Jesus Christ. It doesn’t matter how many rules and regulations religion sets forth, Jesus Christ condemns no one. His Grace is enough. It is sufficient for the covering of sin. (2 Corinthians 12:9) Human insecurity threatens the sufficiency of God’s Grace. One’s inability to accept that His Grace is the sufficiency of our life. Our ability to fully accept the grace that God has given us through His Son, Jesus is based on our ability to crucify pride and humbly receive it. When will begin to boast in our own weaknesses rather than putting our brothers and sisters on blast? The life-giving power of Jesus Christ is not enhanced or any way enabled by a chance in our habits but evident in a heart change that humbly accepts outside of Christ – I am nothing. Those who condemn others by spreading rumors, gossip and even when trying to disguise it as concern will one day reap what they sow. Not my words, but those of the Bible – “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.” (Galatians 6:7-8)

John 8:9-11 (NIV) At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there. Jesus straightened up and asked her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”  “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

The woman was caught in the act of adultery. Yet, she was brought before the Pharisees alone. How many times do we cover the religious and expose the sinner? Just because someone comes to church, serves in ministry and cleans up well, does not necessarily mean that their heart is right with the Lord. In fact, the religious men all sat in judgment ready to stone the woman. Jesus said to them, “Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.” God’s Word tell us plainly that everyone has sinned and fallen short of God’s Glorious Standard. His Instruction to this woman on the verge of death now given a new life – “Go now and leave your life of sin.” There was another woman found in her sin at a well. Jesus didn’t expose her before the masses and make a public example but rather through quiet conversation revealed His Person to her. She became a great witness for the Messiah. I wonder how many people would finally fall in love with Jesus leaving sin behind them if the church represented the love of God rather than the condemnation of the Pharisees. Judgment belongs to God. Condemnation could have belonged to Christ but He chose grace instead. What will we choose today?

James 4:10-13 (NIV) Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up. Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sister or judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor?

Humility will not allow us to judge our brothers and sisters in Christ. Christ died for every single person every created to give them access to new life. The enemy uses pride to destroy sound doctrine as men and women who know God succumb to the lie of the enemy that there is a way to make us better when there is only a better way. Slander and gossip come in many forms. It will always circle back to the one for which it was intended. The grace given to us in Jesus Christ can only be accepted in humility. Religion will never be the way to Christ’s Heart but relationship. The kind of relationships that are made up of people willing to lay down their life, pride, fear, insecurity and doubt long enough to love unconditionally and give grace abundantly. Everyone sins. Everyone falls short of God’s Glorious Standard. There is absolutely positively no condemnation in Jesus Christ only constant covering of our sin with His Precious Blood giving us new life and making us a new creation. When someone falls, it is our calling to cover them. Cover them with prayer. Reach out to them in love. Don’t reach around them to share it with everyone else. Let their humiliation and violation stop with you not be cultivated by you. Give them the same grace required to keep you and me in good standing with God. It is free. We do not have to earn it and neither do they. What will you do the next time you find a fallen brother or sister who is slipping?

I John 4:16-19 (NIV) And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. This is how love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment: In this world we are like Jesus. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us. 

As believers reconcile their life to Jesus Christ – the product must be love. Always love. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” There is no fear in love which means that if we are representing God’s love those who are lost or wandering should not be afraid to come to church. They should not be concerned that there is a kangaroo court of judges waiting to tear them down, make them feel bad, or condemn them in any way. What is your response to the downfall of another? What is your reaction? When the grenade dropped into the Humvee that day, Pfc. McGinnis did not have time to weigh his options. The true character of his heart revealed as he covered the grenade giving up his life for his friends. What will you do? We love simply because He first loved us. We give grace because He has given us grace and more grace. We are Children of God building a family out of love. Lord, create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit full of unconditional love and overwhelming grace for everyone I meet.

I John 3:16 (NIV) This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.


Mercy Triumphs


Lamentations 3:22-26 (NLT) The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!” The Lord is good to those who depend on him, to those who search for him. So it is good to wait quietly for salvation from the Lord.

“You delight in showing mercy…Mercy triumphs over judgment.” Mercy by Bethel Music has been set on replay the last few days. God delights in showing us mercy so much so that He gives us new mercy and a fresh start every day without fail. The next verse yields the secret to God’s Mercy. “My past embraced…My sin forgiven.” The certainty of God’s Grace is full acceptance of His Mercy. To wake each morning believing that His Grace is enough for you releases everyone and everything from your expectation. It means that all the wrongs, hurts, offenses and failures of the day before fall off in waves of grace as His New Mercy covers us. “I’m blameless in Your Sight…My history rewritten.” Do you believe that God’s Grace is enough for you today? I am challenged daily with pride that tells me I deserve better than how I am treated and that I have earned more than I have. Faith must overcome such rebellious thoughts to be reminded with each new day and His Gift of Mercy that Jesus is all that I need to share His Mercy with others.

Do you delight in showing mercy? What is your response to hurt, rejection, or offense? Is it immediate forgiveness? Yeah, me either. If you feel left out, slighted or ignored? Do you press in or move away? If you become angry, do you lash out? Do you fight for what is yours? Does love mean more than being right? See God is love and He is filled with unfailing love and compassion for people. Are you? Am I? God’s Faithfulness is enough to complete our life and bring us into full completion and absolute satisfaction. This requires putting all of our expectation in Christ alone. Releasing others from fulfilling our wants, needs and desires. Placing our complete and absolute total trust in Jesus Christ believing that His Grace is sufficient for me.

What is mercy? Mercy is compassionate and kind forbearance shown toward an offender or enemy. It is to maintain a disposition of loving forgiveness. It is also the discretionary power of a judge to pardon someone. God’s Mercy is kindness, compassion and favor. The very qualities that people desire but are often reluctant to give. Feelings and emotions are powerful driving forces in people that will take years of learning to lean on, trust in and depend on the Lord to overcome. The human heart is held together by soul ties. Connections that must be cut and grafted into Jesus Christ (the Vine) in order to overcome to be free to love and be loved. God’s Love is unconditional. To live in His Love our love must reflect His Love. This is full acceptance of Grace when it is enough so we can give it to others..

Lamentations 3:17-21 (NLT) Peace has been stripped away, and I have forgotten what prosperity is. I cry out, “My splendor is gone! Everything I had hoped for from the Lord is lost!” The thought of my suffering and homelessness is bitter beyond words. I will never forget this awful time, as I grieve over my loss. Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this…

Many who read this will immediately have an image in their head of the event or trauma in life that left a mark so deep that a scar has formed on your heart. For some, there is only a festering wound. Constantly poked and prodded by the enemy who uses people as his pawns, whispering lies like “fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me” to cause division, strife, and bitterness. Has your peace been stripped away? Jesus is the Prince of Peace. Have you been in living in a “barren, dry” land? Nothing is going right, nobody can help, and misery accompanies you day and night? He is our Provider. He is the Bread of Life. Jesus is Living Water for thirsty souls. Do you feel like everything you hoped for is lost and every dream dead in a valley of dry bones? Hope is the anchor for our soul. It keeps us trusting and believing when everything falls apart in our life. Without hope, there is nothing to have faith in anymore. Have you decided that you will “never” forget this awful time? Does it feel that your life will be forever marked by sadness, grief and sorrow? “Yet I dare to hope when I remember this…” Mercy triumphs over judgement. Those things that you have ordained as dead, gone and impossible – hope says that His Mercy is new each morning. His Grace is sufficient for us. We must learn to live in grace that allows us to live, breathe and hope in His Mercy for us.

John 3:16-18 (NLT) “For this is how God loved the world: He gave[a] his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. God sent his Son into the world not to judge the world, but to save the world through him. There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son.”

Mercy triumphed over judgment when Jesus Christ came to this world. He died to pay the price for our sins giving us our freedom to enter right-standing with God the Father again. We can do nothing to regain righteousness except accept His Gift of Amazing Grace. Jesus came to give us mercy not judgment. This is so important to know and understand to grow in our relationship with the Lord. You cannot have mercy and judgment at the same time. They are opposites. If I accept God’s Grace, I am giving up my right to judge other people. This includes the “right” to be offended, mad, bitter, jealous, retaliate or reject others due to their actions or attitude. Forgiveness is not option to those who desire to be redeemed by God.

Sowing and reaping includes our actions and attitudes toward others. If we sow love in our life, it will be our harvest. If we sow judgment which means demanding what is deserved, it will be the dismal future of our next season. What you give – you will receive because what you plant you also harvest? With this in mind…

John 8:15 (NLT) You judge me by human standards, but I do not judge anyone.

Jesus judges no one. He said it right here. God judges people. Those who are covered in the Blood of Jesus accepting His Grace will have mercy. Jesus is our example. I cannot judge others and be one with Christ. So now when given the opportunity to be hurt, mad, resentful and bitter…these words rise up in me…”mercy triumphs over judgment.” “And this is the message I proclaim—that the day is coming when God, through Christ Jesus, will judge everyone’s secret life.” (Romans 2:16)

James 2:12-14 (NLT) So whatever you say or whatever you do, remember that you will be judged by the law that sets you free. There will be no mercy for those who have not shown mercy to others. But if you have been merciful, God will be merciful when he judges you. What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don’t show it by your actions? Can that kind of faith save anyone?

The “Law” that sets us free is God’s Grace. To fully accept God’s Grace is to let go of our right to judge other people. I could not and still cannot keep all of the rules and regulations of God’s Law, therefore; His Grace must be sufficient for me. The minute that I choose to judge another person as unworthy of mercy is the very moment that I exempt myself from it as well. I need God’s Grace to make it into forever with the Lord. I cannot imagine this being all there is to life. My faith is investing in faith. Faith though small it is mighty. It allows me to plant things in others that they are not willing to give me because they are not the source of my life or satisfaction. When I put my full expectation in Jesus – it really doesn’t matter what others think of me or how they treat me because if I will just give them the mercy that I have God’s Promises are mine. I will be complete lacking no good thing. I will have the Mind of Christ and peace that goes with it. I will remain free indeed because I will be one with Jesus. No man or woman can do for you what Jesus did for you and continue to does for you each day. His Love is perfect. His Grace is flawless. His Favor is abundant. Why settle for less by being unforgiving, unrelenting and unmerciful when you already have more than enough and full sufficiency in His Grace! Jesus will satisfy the soul that cuts the ties to human emotions and rights to be right or revered.

Faith is not only the acceptance of God’s Grace but administration of mercy, love, compassion and favor to others as you have received from the Lord. Judgment is to withhold any of these because you feel the other unworthy. Submission to Jesus means surrendering our mind, will and emotions to a God who is greater than our feelings. He is giving us new mercy today! Mercy triumphs, wins, overcomes and removes judgement from our life. What will you do to preserve God’s Grace and give mercy in your life today? What are you willing to give up? Forget? Forgive? His Mercy will meet you the moment you let go!

Mercy (Bethel Music)

I will wake and spent my days…Loving the One who has raised me up…From death to life, from wrong to right…You’re making all things beautiful. You delight in showing mercy…mercy triumphs over judgment.

2 John 3 (NLT) Grace, mercy, and peace, which come from God the Father and from Jesus Christ—the Son of the Father—will continue to be with us who live in truth and love.

Condemned Buildings


Romans 8:1-2 (NLT) So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death.

When purchasing our house, the home inspector came to examine the property for inherent defects that may be detrimental to our family’s health. The inspector looked for evidence of faulty mechanical, electrical and structural defects pointing out each and every tiny flaw in a detailed report. He inspected the property from pillar to post. The pest control folks came out to see if there was evidence of a termite problem or any wood rot on the property. Not only did we want them to come to check things out, the bank who financed our new home required it to secure their investment. They did not want to lend us the money to purchase a condemned property. A property appraiser came to establish its worth. In our eyes, it was the perfect home for our family. We had decided in our hearts to move here. However, it had to be deemed sound in order to make that happen.

The structure of our new life in Jesus Christ is based on a foundation of faith. Faith in God that the sacrifice of His Son provided enough grace to allow us righteousness to have a right relationship with Him once again. It really is simple. The three most important things in life now are faith, hope and love demonstrating our relationship and deep abiding connection to Jesus Christ. However, we have built fancy houses and even fancier sanctuaries that have faulty foundations. Beginning with good intentions, sometimes our ideas of what God meant and thoughts on His Ways take shape into something that is far from the structure the Kingdom of God is building. We must examine the contents of our hearts, capture the ideas circulating in our mind, and even chew on the words of our mouth to determine if it is still a profitable investment in the Kingdom.

There is no condemnation is Jesus Christ. Say that again, “there is no condemnation in Jesus Christ.” This is a freedom verse for those who love the Lord and have accepted Him as Savior and Lord. It doesn’t mean perfection but rather persistence in our pursuit of Jesus. When Christians try to add importance to our investment rather than understanding the significance of the solidarity of His Sacrifice, it is easy to become prideful, stubborn and selfish. God doesn’t need us. God desires us. Christ doesn’t have to have us. He wanted us enough to die for us. There is nothing for me to contribute to the Kingdom outside of accepting the Love and Grace of Jesus Christ. My love for Him will keep me from willful sin. It secures my wandering feet from finding the dark. He does it with love not condemnation. He clothes me with righteousness based on compassion. What am I offering the world? Is it what I have been given? Or what I think I deserve?

Luke 6:36-38 (NLT) You must be compassionate, just as your Father is compassionate. Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn others, or it will all come back against you. Forgive others, and you will be forgiven. Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.

You must be compassionate just as Your Father is compassionate. Is the Body of Christ compassionate? Do they see sin as a desperate situation or call for condemnation? Have we forgotten that a single sin is enough to convict us? If we murder with our heart, it is just as bad as if we do it with our hands. If we consider evil, it is committed in our heart. Our religion has overtaken our relationship when how a person looks and how they act is more important than what they believe. Our church life should represent our daily routine. Worship is a life style. Praise is provision in all things. To honor God on two days and live for the world for five is adultery in the eyes of God. To decide that what I think is right is more important than compassion is judgment. Judgment condemns. It condemns me.

Compassion leaves no room for condemnation. To condemn another is to restrict their growth and development by imposing a personal set of standards and rituals that are not part of Christ’s plan. The Holy Spirit is our teacher. He is our helper and our guide. As far as I know, we are to build up and equip other people. Fanning the flame of the Holy Spirit so our hearts are consumed with godly passion that is compassion. Stirring up the Spirit so our own fruit is worthy of sharing rather than spewing our own poisonous rhetoric on people and imposing our own set of standards outside of love, grace and mercy. Our churches are empty because our construction is flawed. In our doing, we have condemned the building called church and defiled the temple. With what you may ask? Judgement, pride and selfishness.

The church is being judged as an exclusive organization. People searching for an authentic God to give real faith to have come up short due to the lack of compassion found among His People. Forgiveness is forgotten in our self-justified state. Seventy times seven has become one and done. How do I know? What gives me the right to say such a terrible thing? Well, the Word of God says in verse 38 to “give and you will receive. Your gift will return to you full – pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.” If we were giving love selflessly, the relationships in our church houses would be solid and significantly growing day by day. We would add to our numbers rather than daily dividing and falling apart. What we are sowing is what we are reaping? Crying out for revival is pointless if I don’t want to change? My heart must change. My mind must change. My life must change. To follow Jesus and have His Way is constant change as I turn more and more of my life in for more and more of His Love, Grace and Mercy. It would hypocrisy to take such a thing and give another.

Luke 19:20-26 (NLT) “But the third servant brought back only the original amount of money and said, ‘Master, I hid your money and kept it safe. I was afraid because you are a hard man to deal with, taking what isn’t yours and harvesting crops you didn’t plant.’  “‘You wicked servant!’ the king roared. ‘Your own words condemn you. If you knew that I’m a hard man who takes what isn’t mine and harvests crops I didn’t plant, why didn’t you deposit my money in the bank? At least I could have gotten some interest on it.’ “Then, turning to the others standing nearby, the king ordered, ‘Take the money from this servant, and give it to the one who has ten pounds.’ “‘But, master,’ they said, ‘he already has ten pounds!’ “‘Yes,’ the king replied, ‘and to those who use well what they are given, even more will be given. But from those who do nothing, even what little they have will be taken away…’”

The Parable of the Ten Servants (Luke 19) tells of a nobleman who went away on a trip. He called together his ten servants and them each ten pounds of silver with one simple request, “Invest this for me while I am gone.” When he returned, he called each servant to give account of that entrusted to them upon his departure. The first servant invested his money receiving ten times the original amount. Well done, he was told and given a reward. The second servant’s investment yielded five times the amount. He was also rewarded the same. Then the third servant came with to show as he did not invest what he was given at all.

“I hid your money and kept it safe. I was afraid…” The king’s response was to call his servant wicked. It was not fear that kept him from investing at all. Fear was his excuse. What is mine? What makes it alright to decide others are not worthy of this Gift that I have been given? We seek the lost yet destroy the saved with condemnation every single day. Along the Highway called Holiness – how could we ever lose sight of grace? We do. We live in condemned buildings called church who judge each visitor who walks through the door by the weight they carry or the label give rather than seeing and responding to the person. Jesus is compassion. It was our need for His Love and Grace that led to the compassion that nailed Him to the Cross. He is our Savior. He is always our Savior. Even when the sin in our life is less, it is present. When we repent and accept righteousness – it is still in our imperfection. Lord, teach us to love and build the Kingdom as you have prescribed rather than tearing it down from the inside. Give us humble hearts given to compassion rather than hard ones solidified by pride.

John 5:24 (NLT) I tell you the truth, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life.

Romans 5:18 (NLT)Yes, Adam’s one sin brings condemnation for everyone, but Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone.

Perhaps, the church might try a new approach to the people who enter their doors. Rather than judging them by the way they dress, how they smell, the lifestyle they live or the choices they make…what if for a moment our objective is to give them exactly what we have received from Jesus Christ. Love. Grace. Mercy. Acceptance. Seeds of hope rather than a list of changes. What if we let the Holy Spirit convict and instead adopt the role of builders rather than inspectors? Those who hear His Voice and do not harden their hearts but believe “will never be condemned for their sins but have already passed from death to life”. One sin brings condemnation for everyone. Even me, I know that I sin and need God’s Grace every day. I guess when I master sin in my own life then I will tell you how to live. For now, we are all in this together – one body, one church. Christ’s one act of righteousness brings a right relationship with God and new life for everyone. If you hear nothing else hear this today – we all need Jesus. Just Jesus to make the foundation of our life secure. We do not need religion. We need a relationship with Christ alone. We are to be builders not demolition experts. Expert builders will stand the test and be found complete when Jesus returns to inspect the foundation of our life. In the meantime, my faith is in Christ alone.

Can we do a little better? Absolutely. Should we give a little more? Yes! People don’t need our opinions or advice. They certainly don’t need me to tell them what to do or how to do it. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. When I share these things with you, it is because the Holy Spirit is convicting my heart of those things that keep Christ’s Investment in me from multiplying until it is shaken together and running over in my life. Are you living in a condemned building today? Do you want revival to come to your church? This could be the hour of restoration. A radical makeover that produces a sound return on God’s Investment and Christ’s Sacrifice for our life. God lives in us. He connects us and completes us. We must build the Body of Christ and stop tearing it apart. It begins with me and you. We are the Body. The Temple of His Spirit. Together we can make a difference if our objective is compassion demonstrated by His Love pouring out to all mankind.

I Corinthians 3:13-17 (NLT) But on the judgment day, fire will reveal what kind of work each builder has done. The fire will show if a person’s work has any value. If the work survives, that builder will receive a reward. But if the work is burned up, the builder will suffer great loss. The builder will be saved, but like someone barely escaping through a wall of flames. Don’t you realize that all of you together are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God lives in you? God will destroy anyone who destroys this temple. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple.

A Good Measure

A Good Measure

Luke 6:38 (NIV) Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

Who doesn’t want a good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over in our life? To give must mean that as I give financially that I can expect a return. Maybe. I believe that sowing and reaping applies to everything in our life. Living long enough to experience many seasons gives one great hindsight vision. I don’t know about you but my life has felt the pressure, shaking and running that is often associated with routine and responsibility. To God be all the glory as He has blessed our family every way possible, yet in my heart I know that there is more.

We will soon sell the house that our family has lived in for more than a decade. Our youngest daughter doesn’t remember life before it. It is filled with memories good and not so good. It is the shell of refuge where we have dwelled a long time. Labeled sanctuary many times, it is filled with the Holy Spirit because we ask Him to come in regularly and be our guest. We are settled here. (Sigh) I believe that we all would settle where we are building comfortable places and allowing complacency to fill us if the Lord would allow it. But those who seek to know the Lord, do His Will and experience His Glory live a life of being pressed and shaken. In 2 Corinthians 4:7-9, it reminds me that I am but a jar of clay filled with this treasure of God’s Power. I am hard pressed, but not crushed. I am perplexed but will not live in despair. I am persecuted but never abandoned. I will be struck down but not destroyed. This is the process of a good measure. Our lives pressed and shaken until God’s Glory spills out running into our lap.

Mark 4:24-25 (NIV) Consider carefully what you hear,” he continued. “With the measure you use, it will be measured to you—and even more. Whoever has will be given more; whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.”

With the measure you use, it will be measured to you and even more. These words are important to those who want more out of life. We must decide what that “more” looks like and create clear objectives and goals to attain it. The earth provides opportunity to sow into the natural reproductive cycle of life. We have families. We are allowed to build finances. To commit ourselves to a better life here and now – limits one’s future and hope. The weighable substance of life in the Kingdom is faith. We must take the measure of faith (Romans 12:3) provided to us and sow it now.

We can make this life more comfortable or we can live as temporary residents now to bask in forever. We worry about what we wear on the outside rather than being clothed in righteousness on the inside. The accumulation of our life that matters to the Kingdom will never be according to the wealth of this world. However, God’s People often live below His Standards because they cannot let go of what they have to possess all He is. Faith is not just reserved for the impossible but gives us the opportunity to live according to God’s Glorious Standard once forsaken by sin. The more the pressure and shaking in our life, the more evident those things that are keeping us from fulfillment.

2 Peter 1:5-9 (NIV) For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.

Make every effort to add to your faith. Every effort put forth in the course of a day should be wrapped in faith pursuant to hope. Our life should be viewed through God’s Word for fulfillment. Each request brought boldly before His Throne before another. Before our foot falls that step considered according to the Way, the Truth and the Life that is given to us. We have His Spirit living inside of us. Is He a silent partner or closest friend? Salvation is when we turn to Jesus. Faith are the steps that form our following of Him. To call Him Lord yet still live according to selfish motivation and daily aspirations to have a better life places a limit that Christ never intended for His People to have. In fact, just before going to the Cross, Jesus prayed for us. His Disciples. His Followers. The believers who would live long after His Departure. He promised those who endured the pressure, shaking, and like would be given a full measure of joy in return. (John 17) God thoughts are always higher than our own and His Ways far exceeding. Faith is the only way to have the Promises of God through Jesus Christ. If there is no faith evident in our life, there is nothing of worth to increase.

The Word of God reads like a recipe. Take your faith and add some goodness to it. Fold that goodness into the Word of God which is knowledge until it becomes self-control. Allow self-control to sit and wait until it becomes perseverance. Now mix perseverance with some godliness until it produces love and mutual affection for everyone. God’s commodity in our life is His Love. We have faith because God loved us first and loves us best. To commit our life to faith is not necessarily to produce natural things or creature comforts but rather to increase our faith inside until the only thing we become desperate for is God alone.

Ephesians 3:16-21 (NIV) I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

As a believer, I have the Power of God working in my life to change me into the person that I was created to be. The operative power in my life is faith. It is the measureable substance that the Lord examines in me on a regular basis. He looks at my heart. He listens to what I say. The Lord weighs the Fruit of His Spirit to see if I am producing properly. All of these things lead to my fulfillment. However, rather than comparing my life to Jesus, I become distracted and begin looking around. This is dangerous because God’s Plan, His Future, His Hope and His Inheritance for my life doesn’t look like anyone else’s. If I begin to desire what others have, do or become, then I immediately begin to settle, compromise and all substitutions in my life. 2 Peter 1:9 comes with this warning, “But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins.”

Luke 6:37 warns us not to judge, not to condemn, and to forgive. Leading into verse 38 which begins with the word “give”. It is human nature to be selfish. It is the character of God and Jesus Christ to give. We are called to be givers. I believe money is the easiest thing to contribute to the Kingdom and the least desired by God, maybe that is why the streets of Heaven are paved in pure gold. God wants us to have faith. Trusting Him for our life – all of it. However, when we read this verse in Luke 6, it is much easier to accept it as the giving of our personal wealth rather than the giving of our life to a higher standard. The Lord desires to open our eyes to the real value and worth of our life that only seems to come about when we are pressed or shaken. It causes us to reexamine the content of our life looking for faith. Faith is the only substance that makes hope possible. It is the commodity and currency of God’s Kingdom that leads to fullness and complete satisfaction.

“To know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” The Lord has a better way. Judgment is often born of comparison. We measure our life according to another which creates substandard expectation in our life. Our desire should be to be filled with the measure of all the fullness of God. To pursue Him with our whole life not just bits and pieces along the way. If we would take all the possibilities of our life including the probable and improbable and place it in His Capable Hands, faith will add to the substance of our life making what we hope for the impossible come to pass. Here’s the catch: God always does immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine. It is according to His Power at work in us which is represented by our faith in God alone. God wants to bless you more than you can ask or think. Are you limiting your life today? Perhaps if we dumped out our cup and allowed the Lord to fill us up, we would see that our life can be better and more satisfying than we ever thought possible In fact, the Lord guarantees it. Are you feeling pressure to give God your situation today? Do it. Are you experiencing some turbulence in life that has you all shaken up? No worries. God is just making room for more faith that will make all things possible.

Philippians 3:13-14 (NIV) Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.