Sometimes it’s so hard to discern what’s going on in your life emotionally, psychologically, or spiritually. Something is off-kilter, but you just can’t put your hands on it. You’re not quite yourself. You’re edgy. You’re frustrated. You’re tense. Or your relationships aren’t quite right. You’re distant. Distracted. Touchy.

And then it hits you.

It’s been days since you’ve prayed or spent quality time with God. Or maybe you’ve gotten hooked on a television show or a novel that’s not good for your soul. Or perhaps you’ve been hanging out with a friend who loves to gossip or spew negativity or fear. Now what?

In today’s hyper politicized, fear-mongering, propaganda-driven world, Godly discernment is more important than ever! But how?

Learning to discern such things is a spiritual gift, and a discipline, that you can cultivate in your life. First Corinthians 2:10-14 talks about this gift. It’s the ability to judge between good and evil, and then it’s choosing to live in the light of God’s truth. That’s what makes the difference.

Discernment comes when you understand what God wants for you personally and for your relationships. But wisdom comes when you choose to obey His truth. Sometimes it’s choosing to spend more time in prayer or the word, more time together as a couple or family, and less time with unhealthy friends or listening to media. Sometimes it’s simply applying common sense to something. Other times it’s stepping back, observing a situation and praying, reading God’s word, and finding the truth in the matter.

“Do not let wisdom and understanding out of your sight, preserve sound judgment and discretion” (Proverbs 3:21).

In our personal lives, we need wisdom and understanding more than ever. Our culture has become so tainted with the “wisdom of this world” that it can become difficult to make daily decisions and choose well if we don’t have the plumb line of God’s truth to anchor us well.

In my latest novel, Devyn’s Dilemma, Devyn couldn’t discern who she was and how God loved her. Her past and her fears blinded her to the truth. She struggled to know God’s truth. She believed the lie.

Discerning between God’s truth and worldly wisdom isn’t always easy, but learning to discern wisely is the best way to strengthen your personal life and your marriage relationship spiritually, emotionally, and psychologically. It’s a good way to go.

How have you learned to discern through the years? I’d love to know!

Susan G Mathis

Susan G Mathis

Devyn's Dilemma by Susan G Mathis

Devyn’s Dilemma by Susan G Mathis

Susan G. Mathis is vice-president of Christian Authors Network and an award-winning, multi-published author of stories set in the beautiful Thousand Islands, her childhood stomping ground in upstate New York. Her first two published books of The Thousand Islands Gilded Age series are Devyn’s Dilemma and Katelyn’s Choice. She’s working on book three. The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy, Christmas Charity, and Sara’s Surprise are also available. Susan’s books have won numerous awards, including the Illumination Book Award, the American Fiction Award and the Indie Excellence Book Award. Visit www.SusanGMathis.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Today’s world is full of evil manifesting itself in violence around our nation and even the world. Paul tells Timothy that we are to flee from evil and everything Satan sets before us from his world of darkness. Satan’s words can fill our minds and hearts with such negative energy that we begin to believe the lies we tell ourselves.

How then can we be encouraged to stand for what is right and flee evil? When our hearts and minds are set on anything other than what God has planned for us, we cannot reach the full potential God has set out for us. He loves us so much and wants only the best for us. The best is not always easy to come by. When we seek the best and pursue righteousness and godliness, we will find difficulties and obstacles because Satan loves to see us stumble.

We keep our eyes focused on the Lord Jesus Christ. His hand will guide us down the right path. With faith and love, we can endure whatever it takes to help us reach our goals in life and fulfill His will for our lives. We will draw closer to Him and absorb His goodness. The harder we pursue Him, the closer we come to the goal.

Setbacks do come. That’s a part of life. We must have some failure along the way to truly appreciate the success when it comes.

Remember, we’ve placed ourselves in God’s hands, and there’s no safer place to be.

Martha Rogers

Martha Rogers

A Gift of Love by Martha Rogers

A Gift of Love 

Martha Rogers, a free-lance writer, was named Writer of the Year at the Texas Christian Writers Conference in 2009 and writes a weekly devotional for ACFW. Martha and her husband Rex live in Houston where they enjoy spending time with their grandchildren.  A former English and Home Economics teacher, Martha loves to cook and experiment with recipes and scrapbooking when she has time. She has written three series, Winds Across the Prairie, Seasons of the Heart, and The Homeward Journey. Book three in that series, Love Never Fails, released in November, 2014. Find Martha at:  www.marthawrogers.com

 

 

 

 

 

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The donut and webcam story…

by Molly Jebber

I accepted Jesus Christ into my heart at five years old. I learned early on that Jesus Christ may not say yes to everything we ask, but he cares about all our requests. And thank goodness, He doesn’t always say yes, because the Lord knows what’s best for me when I don’t.

I was a keynote speaker for the Southern California Christian Authors Conference recently. Due to the virus, the event was virtual. My webcam on my computer went out the day before the conference.

Wearing my mask, I went to six stores. All were sold out of webcams. Sales personnel said with everyone working at home, they couldn’t keep webcams in stock. I went to Walmart, which would be my last hope, thinking they’d be the first store people would go for everything. I sat in my car in the parking lot before going inside and prayed they’d have a webcam.

In the electronics department, a tall lanky man wearing his Walmart badge stood over the counter with a donut in his hand. “Want a bite of my donut?”

Laughing, I said, “No, but I would sure like a webcam.”

He threw his donut down, waved his arms, and told me to follow him to the camera area. I’d felt stressed at the other stores, but now I laughed and hurried behind him.

Lifting a small box, he said with a smile, “You’re getting the best webcam.”

It was easy to install and worked great. I thanked the Lord not only for providing the webcam but also for making me laugh.

From our biggest to smallest care, Jesus Christ wants to know about all of them. He knows the number of hairs on our head. He cares about every big and little thing in our lives. He’s our best friend, and He loves us.

Molly Jebber is a best-selling award-winning Amish Historical Romance author whose books have made the Publisher’s Weekly Best Ten List, media worldwide, and USA Today. She’s a national speaker for Women’s Christian Connection, a mentor to English students at Ohio State University and guest lecturer for many groups on writing, publishing, and marketing. She loves God, family, and friends, and she is grateful for her readers.

 

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Waiting is one of the most difficult of all the spiritual disciplines.

In our hurried, driven, fast-paced culture we have lost the art of waiting well. If there’s a long line at the grocery store or coffee shop, we sigh and wonder if it’s worth it. We use microwaves and Instant Pots. God, however, is in the waiting. He uses delay in our lives to sharpen us and set the stage for His future plans. We see this in the Psalmist David’s life.

David was well-acquainted with waiting. Many Bible scholars feel he waited at least seventeen years before the fulfillment of God’s promise to him that He would be King. We feel the struggle with David when he cries, out, “How long, Lord, Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart?” (Psalm 13:1-2).

How did David make peace with God and settle His soul? We find the answer at the end of Psalm 13 where David writes, “But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing the Lord’s praise for he has been good to me” (Psalm 13:5-6).

I find tucked away in these verses three choices that David made as he waited:

  • He chose to trust.
  • He chose to rejoice in what God had promised.
  • He chose to praise.

Friend, waiting is a part of our spiritual journey. But as you choose to trust, rejoice and praise God, He will use the season of waiting in your life to bring about His perfect plan.

Becky Harling

Becky Harling

Becky Harling and her husband, Steve, are veteran church ministry leaders. Both certified by the John Maxwell team, the Harlings have a heart to see pastors and other ministry leaders grow their influence through incarnational listening.

 

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A week ago at sunset there was a wall of flames approaching our little town here in the Sierra Valley: #LoyaltonFire.

More than 700 firefighters had battled it for three days before it headed down the mountain toward spent and dry meadows that bordered our town of 860. The same angry beast had jumped two state highways in other directions the day before—one of those eight lanes wide. Now it was headed our way.

Because I have prayer walked my town for the last twenty-two years, I have seen the hand of God answer one prayer after another for my friends and neighbors. I knew God would work through the firefighters who were taking a stand at the highway. However, because I also formerly worked as a reporter for a daily newspaper, I wanted to see for myself what was going on. So, well after dark I walked to the other end of town to see the firefight for myself.

Like a child who is exhausted but still resisting going to bed, the fire was still arguing but waning—no larger than three side-by-side homecoming bonfires. All would be well.

Later I learned of miracles: a ranch with a historic barn surrounded by flames…saved, and an entire hillside burned but friends’ barn, home, and 100 sheep…untouched.

Two days later I read, “For the Lord will go before you, and the God of Israel will be your rear guard” (Isaiah 52:12 ESV). God may intervene directly in our lives, but sometimes He uses dozer operators, firefighters, and even writers to effect His sovereign plan. In any case we can always know He does indeed doze a path for us. He’s always got your back.

Prayer Walk

Janet McHenry is a speaker and the author of twenty-four books—six of those on prayer, including the bestselling PrayerWalk and her newest, The Complete Guide to the Prayers of Jesus. She and her rancher-husband Craig have raised four children in their little town in the Sierras, where she formerly taught English to every single high school junior and senior.

 

 

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