Category Archives: Discernment

Do you fast?

Do you fast? Then feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, visit the sick, do not forget the imprisoned, have pity on the tortured, comfort those who grieve and who weep, be merciful, humble, kind, calm, patient, sympathetic, forgiving, reverent, truthful and pious, so that God might accept your fasting and might plentifully grant you the fruits of repentance (St John Chrysostom)

The Lord set apart the godly for himself

Beware of which preaching which is defective?

Keep away from foolish and ignorant conversations

But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes. 24 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, 25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; 2 Timothy 2:23-25

 

 

Have nothing to do with foolish, ignorant controversies; you know that they breed quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth,  and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will. (2 Timothy 2:23-26)

Parable of the Wise and Foolish Builders (Parable by Jesus)

Jesus gave us the parable of Wise and Foolish Builders in Matthew 7:24-27 in which he said the following:

“Every one then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house upon the rock; and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.  And every one who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house upon the sand; and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell;and great was the fall of it.”

 

Jesus in the above parable wants us to understand the importance of both hearing his words and also acting on them. There are people who only hear the words of Jesus but do not act on it. Then we have people who both hear and act on the Word of God. Now, both of these types of people will keep building their life and achievements.

And they will face challenges and tough times as well. Only those who have acted on the words of the Lord Jesus will prevail and those who do not act, will suffer great losses. The most dangerous of such losses is when a person loses his or her soul to the Evil One at the time of death because of not abiding by the Word of God in their thoughts, words and actions.

 

But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. (James 1:22)

 

Wise and foolish builder; Icon fresco from Hilandari Monastery, Mount Athos

Never go back to something God has rescued you from

A dog that returns to its vomit is like a fool who reverts to his folly (Proverbs 26:11)

Some people just like to keep returning to their sinful habits, no matter much you rescue them. They still think that the effect of their wrong choices will carry lesser or no negative effects. However such thinking is just plain wrong and is never supported by the Bible.

 

26 For if we sin deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a fearful prospect of judgment, and a fury of fire which will consume the adversaries. 28 A man who has violated the law of Moses dies without mercy at the testimony of two or three witnesses. 29 How much worse punishment do you think will be deserved by the man who has spurned the Son of God, and profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and outraged the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him who said, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay.” And again, “The Lord will judge his people.” 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. (Hebrews 10: 26-30)

 

If the Lord God has rescued you from any evil, be very thankful to him. This is one life that you have, don’t let it go waste on the same things Jesus saved you from. Don’t keep presuming that God will keep saving you each time. The Bible clearly warns us not to put the Lord your God to the test. So simply don’t stand in a place of danger trusting in miracles, when God does not approve of you going there. What place am I talking about? Its the place of backsliding (into any sin) which is just one stop before the place of Eternal damnation!

 

Never go back to bad friends and bad relations

Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.” Come to your right mind, and sin no more. For some have no knowledge of God. I say this to your shame. (1 Corinthians 15:33-34)

He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed. (Proverbs 13:20)

When Jesus saves you from bad friends, don’t walk right back with them, because they will 100% try to entice you to sin. Don’t displease the Lord God who has kept you from those who can ruin your soul with vile and sinful thoughts.

When you know that your past relationship, only made you an alcoholic or and immoral person, that relationship is simply going to lead you nowhere but in more evil things. Not worth your time nor effort, seriously!

 

Never go back to bad habits or sins

The backslider in heart will have his fill of his own ways, but a good man will be satisfied with his. (Proverbs 14:14)

“Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” ( Matthew 26:41)

But Jesus said to him, “No one, after putting his hand to the plow and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:62)

Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. (Colossians 4:2)

What pity will people have for the drug addict who keeps doing back to drugs even after being revived several times due to his or her multiple overdoses? Such a drug addict or let me say recovering drug addicts must take help from those not on drugs to remain off such a lifestyle that can harm the body and mind as well.

In a similar way, going back to alcoholism to ‘forget’ your problems won’t make your problems disappear. These will remain and being drunk will only make it more difficult to fix anything.

Talking about both the above examples and all other sins in general including stealing, idolatry, etc you need to stay clear of them all. The same Lord God who rescued you from these sins and bad habits can give you the grace to never fall back into them. All you need to do is faithfully pray to God to give you the strength to remain true to your calling in Jesus Christ.

“Backsliding, generally first begins with neglect of private prayer.” (J. C. Ryle)

 

Christ be with you!

 

 

 

 

 

If there were no tribulation

 

If there were no tribulation, there would be no rest; if there were no winter, there would be no summer. — Saint John Chrysostom

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit

 

 

No wise person would want friends who always are selfish. Do take note that a selfish person can cause harm to anyone especially friends and family, in his or her vain pursuits for self-gratification. This harm can be financial losses, loss of reputation, and even loss of life to name a few.  Would you still want to be friends with such friends who are selfish?

 

If you don’t want a selfish friend, it’s only fair to ask of you to never ever be selfish yourself. If you are not selfish it doesn’t mean that you to be self-harming nor self-deceiving. In fact, you’re better poised to help your friends and family. You can progress in life by being a blessing to others and yes it’s totally possible. So, if you choose to never be selfish and simply follow the Word of God you will be found truly worthy in this life and in the afterlife.

 

Verses for reflection:

  1. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful. (1 Corinthians 13:4-5)
  1. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. (Philippians 2:3)
  1. Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor. (1 Corinthians 10:24)
  1. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. (James 3:16)
  1. Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered. (Proverbs 11:25)
  1. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. (Romans 15:2)
  1. A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion. (Proverbs 18:2)
  1. The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these. (Mark 12:31)
  1. Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. (1 Corinthians 3:18)
  1. Incline my heart to your testimonies, and not to selfish gain! (Psalm 119:36)
  1. But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. (Acts 20:24)
  1. I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)
  1. And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” (Mark 8:34)

COVID-19: How Christians Should Respond to the Coronavirus & What the Bible Says (Video)

Youtube video courtesy of ronnieandmel.com

The Bible is written to change you so don’t try to change it

Some people in vain try to change the Bible. They try to re-interpret it as per their convenience. However, when it comes to understanding the Bible, context is king. In fact text without a context is just pretext.

 

 

Jesus himself condemns the misuse of the Bible regardless of what reason anyone would give. He even exposed them in the following Bible verses of Mark 7:8-13:-

You leave the commandment of God, and hold fast the tradition of men.” And he said to them, “You have a fine way of rejecting the commandment of God, in order to keep your tradition! For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and your mother’; and, ‘He who speaks evil of father or mother, let him surely die’; but you say, ‘If a man tells his father or his mother, What you would have gained from me is Corban’ (that is, given to God) — then you no longer permit him to do anything for his father or mother, thus making void the word of God through your tradition which you hand on. And many such things you do.”

 

If Jesus condemned the Pharisees of those days, how can we even expect the Risen Lord to now condone anyone to rewrite the Holy Scriptures! I’m not telling you sometime thing new. This has already been confirmed in the Bible:

 

1)Rejecting the Scriptures (the Word of God) by not doing as per it results in Judgement

If any one hears my sayings and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world.  He who rejects me and does not receive my sayings has a judge; the word that I have spoken will be his judge on the last day. (John 12: 47-48)

2) God will prove all those who add to the Scriptures to be liars

Do not add to God’s words Or He will reprove you, and you will be proved a liar. (Proverbs 30:6)

3) God has not given anyone permission to removing anything from the Scripture

You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you. (Deuteronomy 4:2 )

 

You might ask what makes this relevant to today’s context. I’d answer that by saying people are still doing the same error like the one’s Jesus condemned the Pharisees for. People still come up with many crafty religious explanations to justify their vile deeds.

I remember many years ago, a preacher and some of his helpers came to my house reminding my family to pay our offerings to God. I happened to notice one of them was someone who had just passed out of college. So I asked this girl, “Are you going to pay your offerings to God as well?”. And she angrily replied, “No, since I sing in the Church choir my service equals all financial offerings that I could ever give”. Immediately the preacher was upset with her answer and said, “I’d deal with you later” to her. And he continued to speak to my family about why we should be making our financial offering to God.

Therefore, you must always follow the Holy Scriptures (the Word of God) in the right context or you will just find ways to avoid doing what God told you in the first place. Try to understand why the Holy Scriptures are given to us and you will do well.

 

What are the Holy Scriptures given to us for?

  1. First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation (2 Peter 1:20)
  2. All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
  3. “The secret things belong to the Lord our God; but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law. (Deutronomy 29:29)

 

Instead of trying to rewrite the words of the Scripture in our own image and likeness, simply follow it as God meant it to be followed. It will save you a lot of trouble and give you a lot of benefit as well.

 

And finally please do remember the punishments for trying to add or removing are not just one-off punishments that end in a few minutes. These are eternal punishments! So take heed because you have been warned for your own good.

I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues which are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book.  (Revelation 22:18-19)

%d bloggers like this: