Tag: discernment

How’s Your Sense of Smell and Taste

Developing Discernment Series
Sunday Sermon 9.12.20

I find it totally fascinating that on the list of symptoms for Covid19 is the loss (sometimes permanent) of smell and taste. Vanderbilt University tells us that up to 80% of people who test positive for the virus have complaints of taste and smell loss.

That same study goes on to say, based on their evidence, those who suffer such loss will experience a milder onset of the virus, yet those without any loss of smell or taste “appear to have a worse disease course”. Hmmm.

We all remember that “taste and smell are separate senses with their own receptor organs, and yet, they are intimately entwined.” (Brainfacts.org) Those organs send different and separate signals and those signals will eventually converge and allow us to detect the flavors in foods.

“Just as sound is the perception of changes in air pressure and sight the perception of light, tastes and smells are the perception of chemicals in the air or in our food.” (Brainfacts.org)

Get that? Smells are the perception of things in the air… The spiritual implications are clear, here.

Hence, we have the phrase, often with our head shaking, no, “Something doesn’t smell right”, or “I smell a rat”, or “we’ve got to sniff this out”.

We are talking about developing discernment, with the emphasis today on our senses of taste and smell. In real life, having the ability and perception to sniff out the afore mentioned rat. Perceiving in the air around us that something just isn’t right, it smells rotten. We’ve got a bad taste in our mouth.

You’ve used those phrases, haven’t you? You have identified discernment. That urging to use that spiritual sense inside you, prompted by Holy Spirit to help lead you and guide you into all truth.

I’m not going off some spiritual deep end here, there’s plenty of biblical support for these truths about discernment. Check out these passages:

  • 2 Cor. 2:14 – he spreads the aroma of the knowledge of him everywhere
  • Job 6:30 – can my mouth not discern malice?
  • Ps. 119:103 – your words are sweet to my taste
  • SS 2:3 – the Lord touched my mouth
  • Jer. 1:9 – the Lord put his words in my mouth
  • 1 Cor. 12:10 – to another the distinguishing of spirits
  • Hos. 14:9 – who is discerning, let him understand

Our spiritual smell and taste help us to distinguish good and evil. They work together to help us perceive the atmosphere around us, and get a taste for what is happening.

They pick up signals just as the nose and tongue pick up chemicals. Those signals then, are offered in prayer to the Lord, asking for his clarity, understanding and knowledge. And the Lord in his faithfulness will make clear what we are sensing.

Bottom line friends, allowing our senses to be awakened and alerted to spiritual things is nothing short of the New Testament pattern. Read the Book of Acts, pay attention to what the Holy Spirit did, said, and used people to do, say and reveal. Dreams, visions, wonders, healings, resurrections, miracles, earthquakes, bold explanations, stonings, beatings, trances, angelic visitations, riots, church growth, persecution, government interference, unquenchable faith, casting out demons, turning the world upside down.

I AM IN!! I WANT IT! There’s no more exciting way to live, than being in tune with the Father, and listening to his voice by means of Holy Spirit within us, and having His Word, the Bible as the foundation for everything we do, say, know, and follow.

The Apostle Paul tells us that there are many gifts that Holy Spirit gives, and one of them is – “the gift to discern what the spirit is speaking.” 1 Cor. 12:10 TPT

So my prayer for you echoes Paul’s, as found in Galatians 5:16 – “Walk by the Spirit…” and ” Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.” 5:25 Let’s live in a place and way that we can discern the spirit speaking to us.

Discernment is needed everyday to help us distinguish between God, Satan and the world, and to warn others. We must train ourselves to walk in it and exercise it. Heb. 5:14

In my simplistic discernment, I find it simply amazing that even amid this Covid19 mess, the evil one is seeking to rob people of their sense of taste and their sense of smell. That is not coincidental nor are they unrelated symptoms. It is a spiritual signal that we need to be picking up on.

There are so many of those signals around us. Are you picking up on them?

How is your spiritual sense of taste and smell?

Go with God.

I Gotta Feeling

Sunday Sermon 9.5.20
Developing Discernment Series

Yes, I stole today’s title from will.i.am and The Black Eyes Peas. Woohoo. (Some of you are hearing it play now in your head, right? Go ahead, let it play out, then continue reading.)

As we continue to look at developing discernment in our senses, today we move from the senses of hearing and seeing to that physical sensation of touch, or we could also call it, our feelings.

Remember, the book of Hebrews tells us of a people who have have learned, or have trained their senses to discern both good and evil. (5:14)

So, how can we train our feelings to discern?

Feelings. those pesky things that often overwhelm us, fool us, and ignite us, can be good and controlled on one hand, and be negative, demanding and out of control on the other hand. How can they be trained and exercised for good?

We are triune beings like our Creator/Father, we are body, soul and spirit; and we know our feelings come from the soul part of us which is comprised of our mind, will and emotions.

That ole soul part can be problematic. Within it we find all of our emotions, all of our feelings, all of our thoughts, our conscience, our intuition, and our “gut” – that place where “I got a feeling”.

Because we experience our feelings consciously, and they are often triggered by events, it is so easy for their influence to be driving us. It is so easy for us to be driven by a feeling that may or may not be of God or His Spirit.

And let’s address too, our past experiences, prejudices, and traumas and admit that they too, affect our feelings.

What you have is a powder keg of explosive potential, for good, and for evil.

Hence, the desperate need to develop discernment over our feelings.

I have heard many people say, “I gotta go with my conscience”. (my inner feelings). Here’s the problem with that. Our conscience is determined by our life experiences and influences and therefore can become polluted.

1 Timothy 1:5 says that faith and a good conscience go hand in hand. In other words, without faith in God operating in your life, you will not have a godly, or good conscience.

Titus 1:15 tells us that to the pure all things are pure but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure.

The New Testament is full of this principle:

If you feed on the Word – you will obey God. If you feed on the world you will disobey God.

Therefore, your conscience cannot be trusted to lead you to God/good unless it is filled with the Word and the Spirit. That goes too for “your gut”, your intuition, your hunches and your feelings.

Bottom line, the Holy Spirit is an actual person. Not an “it”. One of his many jobs is to work in the lives of believers and their conscience to notify them of sin, to see to it that no one (or thought, or feeling) takes that believer captive. Colossians 2:8

The Holy Spirit will lead and guide us. He will convince us. He will teach us to discern between our feelings and those prompted by Himself.

The Holy Spirit is a person. He does not evolve. Cannot be conditioned. Cannot be deceived.

Yet, our conscience, our feelings can. They evolve, are conditioned and can be deceiving.

Charles Stanley teaches that there are these types of consciences:

  • good 1 Tim. 1:19
  • struggling 1 Cor. 8:7-12
  • soiled Tit. 1:15
  • seared 1 Tim. 4:2

No matter the number, or the levels, the point is that our conscience, our feelings must be washed by the Word of God and submitted to God for them to be relied upon for guidance.

God wants to speak to us and will do so in any way He chooses and if He is to use our feelings effectively, they must be yielded to Him and cleansed of our own leanings.

God has given us feelings and emotions because He has them. We are made in His image. Therefore, He wants us to feel as He does. To be moved with what moves Him. To be broken with what breaks His heart, to be moved with mercy, justice and compassion as He is.

We cannot be effective in discerning the Spirit of God if we are tied up in the knot of our own feelings and emotions. He cannot reveal His Father’s heart to us if our heart is overgrown with weeds of hurt, distrust, and insensitivity.

Our heart must be tended to, groomed, softened and healed. Our heart must be submitted to God because from it flows everything that we are. Prov. 4:23

From our healed and tuned heart will flow the promptings of the Spirit and our faith will arise to follow that “feeling” – that feeling of the Spirit of God touching a man or woman with the very heart of God. Those feelings that have been trained to align with The Word of God and the heart of the Father.

Those feelings that reflect the influence of God as evidenced by the fruit of the Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Gal. 5:22-23

All the other feelings have been trained to submit to the Word, and so we can quickly distinguish good from evil, wrong from right, God’s will from man’s will. We can feel Him inside of us, directing us and teaching us, we can hear His voice and feel His presence.

That heart, that person – is a powder keg of explosive potential for good!

That is the one to whom discernment will come, because their senses have been trained by reason of much use.

Again, to quote will.i.am :

“Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Friday, Saturday, Saturday to Sunday.”

Let those days be the ones that you discern a feeling…(from God).

Go with God.

Tune In

Sunday Sermon 8.29.20
Developing Discernment Series

We are enveloped 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by radio signals. These radio waves are used for fixed and mobile communication, broadcasting, navigation and many other applications.

They are the lowest frequency waves in the electromagnetic spectrum, and travel at the speed of light. Their characteristics can be long waves and cover the Earth very consistently, or shorter waves and reflect off of the ionosphere and travel around the world; or they could even be shorter wavelengths that bend or reflect very little and travel only in the line of sight.

Those signals that envelope us unawares, are a vivid picture of the voice of God that is constantly speaking to us, 24/7.

What is needed? We need to tune in. Check the receiver. Turn on and tune in to His voice.

“It’s the nature of God to speak”

A.W. Tozer

You see, God wants to have fellowship with you and He wants you to hear him.

We have to find His frequency and tune in to it. When we do we recognize His voice and He then is able to lead us. John 10:4

To hear the voice of God, we must listen for it. It is a conscious and intentional choice we make. A decision to find the frequency of God in the midst of a loud, busy and distracting world.

Revelation 3:20 tells us that Jesus is knocking at the door of our heart and the first step we must take is to actually hear that knocking. Not ignore it or allow it to blend in with the noise of the world.

… if anyone hears my voice and opens the door…”

Rev. 3:20

That’s a big if!

The choice is ours to open the door of communication with Him. To recognize His knocking, His voice, His signals surrounding us. To tune in to His frequency.

God is a Spirit, and therefore communication with Him is Spirit to spirt, not brain to brain. John 4:24 Our spirit then communicates what we hear to our mind. Some call this “an inward witness” others a thought or prompting.

The Old Testament prophet called it “the still, small voice”; another translation says, “a gentle whisper”. 1 Kings 19:12

God is a god of communication, words with power. Here are some ways His voice has been heard and recorded in the bible.

He can speak in the thunder of creation, a trumpet blast, loud voice, many waters, in the wind, fire, earthquake, angels, dreams and even inaudibly.

The key is, learning to discern his voice from others. Learning to tune in to His frequency.

His promise is that if we seek Him, we will find Him. Jeremiah 29:13 Applying it to this lesson, if we seek His frequency and recognize it as such, we will find it.

If we call out to Him, He will answer. Jeremiah 33:3

If we hear Him, He will warn us. Psalms 81:8

A key to hearing Him, and tuning in, is being still. Psalm 46:10 It is often in the stillness that we hear His voice. Much like Elijah heard His voice in the gentle whisper, and not in the wind, earthquake or fire. But when he did hear it, he took action. He covered himself and went out. Then the voice kept on speaking to Him. And he was tuned in, picking up the God signals, and hearing the voice of God.

There are lots of other signals that we must tune out and discern their source. We get signals from our own emotions, heart and desires; forces outside of God, from the demonic; and from the Word and Spirit of God.

These all must be discerned, identified and recognized as God’s frequency, God’s voice or another.

Jesus said, “My sheep know my voice and another they will not follow.” John 10:5

As believers, our discernment is based on these foundations: The Word of God, prayer, meditating on His Word and acts, being still before Him and listening for that “inward witness” from His Spirit to our spirit; that gentle whisper from Him.

The signals of God’s voice are all around us, bouncing off Earth’s surfaces and reflecting through the atmosphere. They travel fast and yet are low enough for us to tune in to.

They are meant for us to hear, discern, and tune in to for a clear, two way communication with Him.

“He that has ears to hear, let him hear.“ Let him tune in to the voice of God on God’s frequency, and let him discern the different voices and frequencies all around him.

Go with God.

Eyes to See

Developing Discernment Series
Sunday Sermon 8.22.20

Continuing with our series on discernment, we will look at how our senses are used and trained to distinguish and discern spiritual things.

Today’s focus is our eyes. What we see, how we see and developing our spiritual eyesight.

“There’s more to it than meets the eye” as the saying goes, is a pretty accurate description of what developing discernment with our eyes is like. It is the awareness that there is something else going on here, beyond what we are seeing.

I’m certain that each of you have had that “hunch” at some point in your life. You know, the time when the reaction was waaaaay off balance from the statement or question. Maybe it was with a friend, child, or partner, but you had no problem discerning that there was way more to that response than meets the eye.

Perhaps even in business settings, or world event contexts you have realized there’s something else going on here. Yep, that is part of discernment and yep, you’re right. Something else is going on.

Now to distinguish just what, though.

Remembering that there are two kingdoms we are influenced by and live under, we must learn to see them both, and recognize when one is usurping authority from the other. We learn to recognize good and evil, light and dark.

The Apostle Paul taught us:

  • we walk by faith not by sight 2 Cor. 5:7
  • we have not received the spirit of the world 1 Cor. 2:12-13
  • no eye has seen… but God has revealed it to us by his spirit 1 Cor. 2:9-10
  • the eyes of your understanding may be enlightened Eph. 2:18

When Paul was converted, he was literally blinded. He could see nothing for 3 whole days. Cut off from the world as he saw it, he was about to enter the Spirit realm which would teach him new things and grant him fresh revelation and perspective. His spiritual eyes would be activated, when he was prayed for by Ananias.

It is from this position that he tells us the things listed above. A position of having his spiritual eyes activated. A position of having eyes to see what the Spirit is doing.

There is a similar story in the Old Testament found in 2 Kings 6.

Elisha was a powerful and famous prophet. He and his servant were in a city that had been surrounded by enemy forces and the servant was very stressed out by it. The servant asked Elisha what they were going to do.

Elisha told him, “those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” v.16 But the servant was having none of it. He didn’t see a thing! He didn’t see what Elisha saw, he only saw with his physical eyes, not his spiritual eyes like Elisha.

So, Elisha prayed for him, “Open his eyes Lord, so that he may see.” v. 17 “And he opened the servant’s eyes and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire…”

The servant’s spiritual eyes were opened, in addition to his physical eyes. There was truly more to it than met the eye. He now had the activation of his spiritual eyes.

In order for us to see into the spiritual realm, our spiritual eyes must be activated. The eyes of our heart must be focused on Him and the spiritual world.

We should expect to see with the eyes of our heart and spiritual eyes if we are maturing and growing in our daily walk with Him. Heb. 5:14

You see, our Creator wants to communicate with us. He made us for just that and sent Jesus as The Word, to reunite us with Him in that perfect relationship of open communication.

That Creator, endowed us with five senses all to be used in that open communication. Because God is a spirit, and lives in the spiritual realm, we communicate with Him in that realm. But we have to grow in the realm and learn to bring that realm down to earth. Remember the prayer – “on earth as it is in heaven”? (Of course God uses the natural realm to speak to us too. He is not limited in the way He can speak to us. But we are.)

There are plans, purposes, strategies and agendas for us to see in the heavenlies and bring down and apply here on earth. The Kingdom of Heaven will ultimately rule here on earth. How? By and through people who see with spiritual eyes and walk in the spirit realm seeing beyond the obvious into motivations and secret agendas.

This is not some weird doctrine, it is the Word.

Matt. 6:23 – the eyes are the light of the body… if your eyes are unhealthy your whole body will be full of darkness

1 Sam. 16:17 – don’t look on the outward appearance, the Lord sees not as man sees

Psalm 119:18 – open my eyes to see wondrous things

2 Cor. 4:18 – we fix our eyes on what is unseen, for what is unseen is eternal

Mark 8:22-25 – Jesus touched his eyes and opened them and he saw clearly

As we develop discernment, our desire is to have our eyes opened, to see into the spirit realm and understand what the spirit is doing.

This will spare us from false teachings, and deception and keep us anchored to The Word and our great God.

We need to be as wise as serpents in these days. Not everything we see is all there is. There is much more behind the scenes and developing discernment, starting with our spiritual eyes is one of the keys to unlock “on earth as it is in heaven.”

I’m asking the Lord to give the readers of this eyes to see.

Won’t you join me in asking for your spiritual eyes to be activated?

Go with God.

I created a bible study for this, it is attached here. Enjoy.

Developing Discernment

Sunday Sermon 8.15.20

Last week we spoke about the need for discernment in these days and I feel impressed to stay with that theme – DISCERNMENT for the next few “Sunday Sermons’. Therefore, today we will begin a series I’ve entitled – “Developing Discernment“.

There is an urgency in my spirit that says we must sharpen our sensitivity to what is happening, changing, being presented and being birthed in our nation and in our lives.

We must see beyond the obvious and evident and see with “spiritual eyes” what is happening. That is where developing discernment is absolutely vital.

Let’s review what discernment means, and this week, look at the biblical definitions.

Discern or it’s related forms are only used a total of 25 times in the bible. The Old Testament uses 5 different words that are translated in a form of discern and the New Testament uses 4 different words.

Taken together, the OT definitions are: to scrutinize, look intently; to hear intelligently; to know by seeing; to separate mentally, distinguish; and to see.

The NT definitions are: to separate thoroughly, in public as a channel; to scrutinize or investigate; decisive, critical or discriminate; and to test or approve.

To help fill out the definition further, here are some synonyms for discernment = sensitivity, shrewdness, insight, perception, discrimination.

And lastly, some antonyms = unperceiving, obtuse, purblind (never heard of that one), tactless.

Thank you for wading through those tall word weeds, I know they can be cumbersome to some. (I hope there are those who ponder and further study those meanings, tho’)

Developing discerning means that we learn to scrutinize, investigate and separate or distinguish with spiritually discriminative senses any given situation, word, person, or spirit.

Jesus told his disciples –

“I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore, be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves”

Matthew 10:16

Did you notice that word, shrewd? It is a synonym for discerning.

Jesus was warning the twelve, and his warning stands for us, we are sheep among wolves in our generation and we need to be exceedingly shrewd, and discerning among the wolves.

In another place it says –

Solid food is for the mature, who have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

Hebrews 5:14

That passages tells us that it is through practice and exercise that we develop discernment. Discernment is like a muscle that strengthens and becomes more defined with regular workouts.

With regular work outs our discernment muscle learns to distinguish between good and evil, truth and error, spirit and flesh, God and Satan. Left alone though, the muscle will atrophy – waste away.

But it takes more than human flexing and pumping and determination to develop our discernment muscle. The discernment that we are taking about developing requires a spiritual activation, spiritual drive and spiritual direction.

The Apostle Paul identified one of the nine gifts of the Spirit as “the gift of discerning of spirits”. 1 Corinthians 12:10 So we know it is a gift of the Spirit.

But all who are born again have received a rebirth by the Spirit and thereby can and should be Spirit led and fed. That is not a spiritual gift, per se, but a benefit of being a child of God and heir in His kingdom.

Therefore, we learn to grow in the Spirit, follow the Spirit, walk in the Spirit and discern the spirits around us. Our life on this planet should be one of developing discernment to the things of God.

I believe, in the months that lie ahead, it will be imperative for believers to understand the times (like Issachar of old) and discern what the Spirit is saying. If they don’t, they will be deceived with the rest of the unbelievers. (check out 2 Thessalonians 2 again!)

It is my prayer, that all believers be strengthened in their Spirit and learn to discern the days and times in which we live, thereby walking in full victory in the Spirit.

To that end, from now until Rosh Hashanah (Sept. 18-19) our Sunday Sermons will be on activating our five senses to discern spiritually.

If that’s your desire, won’t you join me in presenting yourself to Him this week and inviting Him to touch your eyes, ears, mouth, nose, and hands and teach you to mature in developing discernment?

Go with God.

Give us a discerning heart

Sunday Sermon 8.8.20

“Discernment”, “discerning” are words not used frequently these days and yet, in my opinion, they are needed now more than ever.

How would you define them? Go ahead, think about it, create a simple and clear definition. Remember, though, discernment is not wisdom, understanding or knowledge; they are all different words.

It took me several attempts and mental edits to make it clear and concise in my mind. How did you do?

Here’s what the pros tell us discernment is: “the ability to judge well”. Another says, “to separate or distinguish between two or more things”.

Discernment is the ability to see clearly and decide between:

  • right and wrong
  • truth and error
  • good and bad
  • primary and secondary
  • essential and indifferent
  • permanent and transient
  • good, better, best
  • in Christian worldview the ability to think and see Biblically

Discernment is lacking and yet so vital today. It has always been so. So vital in fact, King Solomon, in about 900 BC made it his number one request from God!

“Give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong”

1 Kings 3:9

What a request! He could have asked for anything. He pretty much had a blank check from God. He thought long and hard and concluded that what he needed most in his reign, life and influence was discernment.

God heard, God honored his request and God gave him more than discernment. In fact, because he asked for discernment and wisdom in order to be a good leader and distinguish between right and wrong, God said He would give him wealth and honor greater than any other king. Thus, that is why Solomon is counted as the wisest and wealthiest man of all time. BECAUSE HE ASKED FOR DISCERNMENT.

This so impacted me as a young Christian, Solomon’s request for wisdom and discernment, that I made it my life verse, goal and prayer. It is powerful.

King David also desired discernment.

Psalm 119:66 – Teach me knowledge and good judgement, for I trust in your commands.

Psalm 119:125 – I am your servant, give me discernment that I may understand your statutes.

Some call discernment a 6th sense. Some call it how things look in God’s eyes.

No matter what we call it, scripturally it is called for. Today we need it. We must call for it in our lives in a greater measure.

1 Thessalonians 5:21-22 – examine everything sensibility

1 John 4:1 – do not believe every spirit, test the spirits

2 Peter 1:3 – God has given us everything we need for godliness

Matthew 7:1,6 – be careful not to cast your pearls before swine

In these days, we need to be able to distinguish between truth and error, good and bad. We need to be able to discern or judge well. We need to be able to separate between things and sort and sift wisely.

Let’s join Solomon and ask God to “give us a discerning heart.”

Go with God.