discernment

Raise Your Spiritual Antenna

“A third time the Lord called, ‘Samuel!’ And Samuel got up and went to Eli and said, ‘Here I am; you called me.’ Then Eli realized that the Lord was calling the boy.” – 1 Samuel 3:8 On Fridays, I often walk a one-mile circle that starts from an okay neighborhood to a decent neighborhood to a really nice neighborhood. Within the nice neighborhood, there are beautiful homes that are worth a lot of money. In the middle of all these gorgeous homes is a home with a giant antenna that sticks out like a sore thumb. I’m assuming that the neighbors, who are probably CEOs and wealthy people, aren’t too thrilled about this antenna.  In technology, antennas transmit and receive signals and are used in televisions, radios, cell phones, and satellites. This home’s massive antenna reminded me that we all have spiritual antennas through which God communicates with us.

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Building Boundaries

“All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.” – Matthew 5:37 We’ve been discussing new practices that will help us thrive in the new year, and yesterday we discussed the importance of leaving gaps in our life in order to be interruptible. Today, I would like to discuss another crucial skill to master: creating and maintaining boundaries. Boundaries are the walls that surround your life and allow you to maintain your sense of self. They empower you to say yes or no to demands from others, preventing your life from spiraling out of control. I’ve discovered that Christians, in general, are terrible at setting boundaries, and pastors are even worse. We prefer to agree to everything in order to make as many people happy as possible because we are God’s servants and the servants of His people. I was saying

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Whose Voice Are You Heeding?

“Then the Spirit of the Lord came on Jahaziel son of Zechariah, the son of Benaiah, the son of Jeiel, the son of Mattaniah, a Levite and descendant of Asaph, as he stood in the assembly. He said: ‘Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the Lord says to you: Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.’” – 2 Chronicles 20:14,15 As the citizens of Judah gathered in the temple to pray about the impending invasion of their land by the nations of Ammon, Moab, and Mt. Seir, they were expectantly awaiting the Lord’s answer. Interestingly, it came in the form of a prophecy that was spoken through a man named Jahaziel. As he was overcome by the Spirit, this faithful priest foretold that God would give the Jews victory over

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Deception Brings Destruction

“But Jehoshaphat also said to the king of Israel, ‘First seek the counsel of the Lord.’” – 2 Chronicles 18:4 Being a good leader means we may have to hear things that we don’t want to hear. This was certainly the case for Jehoshaphat, King of Judah, and Ahab, King of Israel. As we learned yesterday, their two kingdoms were separate; however, once Judah began to enjoy great prosperity, Jehoshaphat wanted to align himself with Israel for the sake of protecting his blessings. There’s strength in numbers, and he knew that if he had the support of his northern neighbor, he would stand a better chance should another nation move in and try to capture his wealth. Unfortunately, King Ahab was not very wise — he was full of himself, and he wanted to utilize the manpower he found in his alliance with Judah to attack the northern country of

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The Struggle of Life

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” – Ephesians 6:12   Although it’s something that can be difficult to admit, the reality is that much of life is a fight. Interestingly, the term Israel means “to struggle with God,” and if this is how the Lord defined the existence of His people from the beginning of time, it remains just as true today. While it might be more accurate to say that we battle against sin (which places our conscience in conflict with our Creator), no matter how we define it, knowing that we’re in a spiritual conflict is an important part of our Christian experience. As much as we want to believe that we reside on a planet full of goodwill, to

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