The Discernment Of The Heart

There are many things that are missing from our daily routines of prayer and Bible study.  Sometimes we are motivated by our favorite Bible passages that give us comfort and assurance that God will see us through. However, when it comes to discernment, we find ourselves lacking the understanding of what discernment really is. There is a community in the body of Christ that calls themselves “discerners” they spend their days watching and examining how the church or the leaders are getting it wrong.  Now, I am not saying that these folks are bad, I do think we need to have a quality control group watching out for deception that may be creeping into the church unbeknown to us. Some people have that gift of observation, or understanding, and can be helpful in identifying some troubling teachings that may come along and on the surface sound okay. However, discerners by the nature of their observations can be negative and sound judgmental.  When I was asked recently about discerners, and how to keep the gift of discerning from becoming pharisaical, I responded in the following way.  

1 Corinthians 13

1If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am become sounding brass, or a clanging cymbal.  2And if I have the gift of prophesy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.  3And if I bestow all my goods to feed the poor and if I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.

Religious people have a huge tendency to focus on issues of truth, and fail to realize that truth is a big stick that can be harmful if not coupled with love. I am not suggesting we stop telling the truth, but without love, truth will be less effective in today’s world.

Ephesians 4:15 but speaking truth in love, we may grow up in all things into him, who is the head, even Christ;

This is the mistake of the “Discernment Community” they lack the discernment of knowing that it is love that makes the truth palatable for the human heart.

The Apostle Paul who was gifted, called and anointed with the passion of taking the gospel to the Gentile world understood that without love, all your religious activity doesn’t make a lot of sense. In other words, your religious activity doesn’t profit you. It reminds me of the words of Jesus in Matthew 7:

21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.  22On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’  23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

Again, religious people think it’s by their works God is impressed, and that just isn’t the case. It is true we need to be visible to the world by the kind acts of love we display to the poor, and disenfranchised, but it is not a gage for any spiritual kudos with God.  God wants His people to be truth tellers with heart of love. He wants His people to be courageous, loving, and firm warriors for Him, not timid, weak, and compromising people. He does not want the spirit of the church of Laodicea mentioned in Revelation 3, to dominate His church. The lazy, take the easy way out church, who always plays in the middle of the road is not the church in the Bible.  His church stands tall and convicted about the truth of God’s Word, and they have a heart full of love for the people who oppose them. God is not happy when the wicked perish; He has repeatedly said in the Bible that He takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked.  Why?  He does not want one soul to perish in the eternal fires.

So, here is a kind word to you discerners.  Your enemy is not ignorant Christians who don’t know better, your enemy has never changed, it is Satan and his kingdom, the principalities and powers of this world.  Discernment is a teaching gift, not a judgment gift where we punish people by our opinions. Your gift is to discern deception, not condemn people, and warn of the dangers of evil in our day. The Apostle Paul brings that to our attention in 1 Corinthians 12

  1. All gifts are for the common good of the body…..not judgment!
  2. The gift of discernment is to distinguish, to identify and expose the works of darkness masquerading

To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.  8To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of  wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit,  9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit,  10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.  

All Christians are vulnerable to distraction, and mistakes, and our job is to restore, reconcile, and redeem all who will listen and in order to accomplish these three, you need a heart of love. Please don’t become a spiritual bully that many have become, puffed up and prideful because you have a discernment gift.  Your pride will find you out, and your lack of love in administering your gift will never profit you in God’s Kingdom.

Keeping it honest and truthful….K


Are You Willing To Pay The Price?

America is in a moral tailspin and most people see it, but aren’t willing to say much.  They don’t say much because they don’t want to pay the price of the stigma that comes with the questioning the status quo of the attitudes that prevail in America today. Even the attitude we encounter within many churches today, where the leaders don’t want to cause anyone any discomfort, and so we avoid pressing against the issues of culture with the truth. 

What does it mean to “pay the price?”  Simple, are we willing to do what it takes to be both in the world and not of this world?   To be in this world there is a price to pay when you confront the moral decay and take a stand for righteousness. There is also a price to pay when you seek to become a member of God’s Kingdom and surrender yourself to God in body, soul and spirit.  Either way, there is a price to pay, and the decision by many is to do nothing.

Jesus told us that few will choose the path to eternity with God, because it will cost you everything.

Matthew 7:13-14

 13 “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.  14For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few.

 Luke 9:62

 62Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”

This is why our churches are filled with people with blind eyes and deaf ears. They spend more time investing in things that mean nothing at the end of the day, and ease their conscience by attending a weekly worship service.  We spend more time around things that cannot build an eternal foundation, and then we wonder why we are saddled with such unfulfilled lives.  We are unfulfilled because we are not willing to pay the price for what it will take to know God without reservation. It is the nature of sin to be self absorbed and self centered, and it is in serving ourselves that we find little to no presence of God. Our hearts are serving the growth of our personal wealth and fulfilling our bucket lists of desires.   Churches are dead with religious expression; nice formats of trite religious talk, but most find little relief from the pain of life. We pride ourselves in growing large churches, yet as with many things we super-size, they don’t become more effective in fostering the kingdom; they just get good at drawing a crowd. This is not to say our churches aren’t sincere, they are, but it is not sincerity that changes a life, nor does it change the world. 

When we think of the massive task of taking the gospel to the ends of the earth, and reaching every person, every neighborhood, every nation and every continent, it seems like such an overwhelming task. Are we willing to pay the price for such an undertaking?  Are we growing disciples who are willing to pay the price?  Do our churches have more of an interest in building His Kingdom than they are in building theirs?  Are we willing to drop all identifying names for what we call ourselves and simply call ourselves Christians, followers of Christ? Are we more interested in following the doctrines of denominations and men than we are to follow the dictates of God’s Word?  For me I am questioning everything these days because I have found that much of what I have believed has be tainted by the good intentions of personality, giftedness, and years of tradition. My belief system needs to stand next to God’s Word to see if measures up to being faithful to what the Bible teaches. It is easy to grow a Christian life based upon the false premise that you don’t need to invest much to get much. Jesus told a parable about the talents, and one of those men who received the least amount did nothing with it except bury it.

Matthew 25:24 He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, 25 so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.

The story concludes by the master of the talents being angry at this servants lack of investment. He called him a wicked and evil servant. I think the point of this story was to illustrate that God has entrusted to us a precious message, much like that of the talents, and is requiring that we do something with it.

Paying the price is what we do with the message God has sowed in our hearts, we can bury it, and wait for His return, or we invest it giving the message a chance to influence as many people as possible so they may came come into His Kingdom.

I pray that you will not be afraid to invest what God has so richly poured into you for such a time as today.

Keeping it honest and truthful…K


What’s In Your Eye?

I was sawing some wood recently on our backyard deck and a small piece of saw dust ended up in my eye.  It’s been there for two days, and no matter how much I rinsed my eye, it still remains lodged somewhere under the eyelid. I have a greater appreciation for the words of Jesus as He talked about being more concerned about someone else’s issues rather than paying attention to your own.

Matthew 7:3-5

 3Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?  4Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye?  5You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye.

There is nothing more irritating than having something in your eye, which is probably why Jesus used it to illustrate this principle of self-examination.  Self-examination is always more difficult because it asks the harder questions, questions only you can answer. Self-deception is the worst form of deception, because you are lying to yourself. Most of us when in the act of lying, know we are not telling the truth, but somehow we are convinced that lying will benefit us in some way. Lying will work for a season, but sooner or later like the sawdust under the eyelid, it will make you feel miserable in time. However, lying to yourself is something different. We fool ourselves into believing things that are false, and we refuse to believe things that are true.

Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoyevsky said; “Above all, don't lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love.”

Dostoyevsky also said: “Lying to ourselves is more deeply ingrained than lying to others.”

I wonder if Jesus had lying in mind when he talked about the log in the eye. In light of what Dostoyevsky is saying, I am wondering if lying to ourselves is the big log in our eye? Many have written about being self aware, which is the accountability factor to lying to self.  Self Awareness is having a clear perception of your personality, including strengths, weaknesses, thoughts, beliefs, motivation, and emotions.

Here is a list of seven areas from INC. Magazine that reveals that you might not be self-aware:

You're a bully. You go on the offensive and bully to protect something deep within you, something you don't want people to see, often feelings of weakness and vulnerability. Ironic, isn't it?

You're defensive. When objective feedback makes you agitated or even angry.

You're controlling. When you behave in a controlling way--when you micromanage, pick on the little things--it usually means you're not dealing with a big thing that's really bugging you

You're passive aggressive. It's a deflection, an attempt to throw off the scent so you don't have to deal with something that affects you deeply.

Your behavior changes. If someone brings it to your behavior to your attention and you're defensive, that's an even bigger sign.

You're grandiose. When we make over-the-top overtures to how confident you are in your ideas, and plans, or your goals don't pass the smell test, that's a sign we're genuinely in over our heads

You make excuses. Pointing fingers and blaming others are common avoidance techniques that communicate our resistance to being held accountable. 

They are all logs aren’t they? And as Jesus said, it is easier to find splinters in others in order to deflect self-examination.  Coming to grips with your own sin is a process that is painful, yet freeing. When you are honest about your shortcomings, and are willing to admit God is still working on you, then I think you are on the road of self-awareness.  Many Christians have a hard time with self-awareness because they don’t want fellow Christians to know how they are falling short in following Jesus. However, we are all on the same journey, to know Him better, and to live for Him regardless of circumstances.

Take a good look at yourself in the mirror tomorrow morning and start the honest process of telling yourself the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God, it will help get that log out of your eye.

Keeping it honest and truthful…..K




The American Pulpit

I found a recent survey by George Barna extremely interesting.  He surveyed nearly 3000 active church attendees on topics they would like to hear from their pulpits. Here is that list.

Top 12 Issues the Church Wants to Hear:

1. Abortion: Beginning of life, right to life, contraception, adoption, unwed mothers. 91%

2. Religious persecution/liberty: Personal duty, government duty, church response, global conditions. 86%

3. Poverty: Personal duty, government role, church role, homelessness, hunger, dependency. 85%

4. Cultural restoration: Appropriate morals, law and order, defensible values and norms, self-government. 83%

5. Sexual identity: Same-sex marriage, transgenderism, marriage, LGBT. 82%

6. Israel: Its role in the world, Christian responsibility to Israel, US foreign policy toward Israel and its enemies. 80%

7. Christian Heritage: role of Christian faith in American history, church role in US development, modern-day relevance. 79%

8. Role of Government: Biblical view, church-state relationship, personal responsibility, limitations. 76%

9. Bioethics: Cloning, euthanasia, genetic engineering, cryogenics, organ donation, surrogacy. 76%

10. Self-governance: Biblical support, personal conduct, impact on freedom, national sovereignty. 75%

11. Church in politics/government: Separation of church and state, legal boundaries, church resistance to government. 73%

12. Islam: Core beliefs, response to Islamic aggression, threat to US peace and domestic stability. 72%

Now I find this very encouraging, since I did not think the majority of Christians cared much about many of the topics listed. However, depending on the worldview of the preacher who will be delivering these sermons will be the test of whether or not the Bible will be consulted. Many intellectual pastors will combine a humanistic viewpoint supported by a scripture verse or two, and end up with a non-Biblical understanding on the theme.  One could argue that doctrines of denominations could also influence the outcome of a sermon. For example, if a denomination had a replacement theology doctrine concerning Israel, that sermon would certainly not be based upon a Biblical viewpoint. 

Even though I am encouraged by the interest in themes other than social justice issues, I still see no interest in eschatology.  The coming of our Lord is described in scripture as “the Blessed Hope,” yet we never hear about that “hope.”  I find that inexcusable by Bible believing preachers.

Titus 2:13

13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ.

When I look at the Bible, I see two over riding themes.

  1. Redemption
  2.  Judgment

The history of Israel lends itself to the story of redemption and judgment, giving us a clear picture of God’s character and values.  Then we come to the history of the church, and it too is a story of redemption and judgment. I remind people all the time that the same Jesus who hung on the cross to redeem humanity, is the same one in the Book of Revelation who will judge all of humanity.  In fact, the message of the gospel is a story of redemption and judgment, we have two choices, heaven or hell, and it’s that simple.  Humans however can’t keep it that simple; they need to invent A to Z doctrines to identify theological positions that separate them from the rest of the Body of Christ. Often I get into conversations that go something like this: “Well I was raised Catholic, or I was raised Lutheran,” which means they were schooled in a specific theological interpretation of the Bible. Rarely do I hear of someone saying, “I was raised in a Christian home with Biblical values and beliefs.”  It is my observation that we are often tainted by those denominational teachings that makes it difficult to see the real Jesus.  In fact, in my earlier years I thought that Mary and Joseph were a good Catholic couple, and not Jews. 

I think the survey give me hope that the American church is beginning to have an interest in deeper issues that affect everyday life. Going deeper requires some fundamental tools that will help you procure and develop a strong spiritual life.


  • Read your Bible without any previous theological bias, so you absorb the full meaning of what you read without any hindrances of preconceived ideas. 
  • Realize that the foundation of our Christian faith is based upon the Jewish relationship with God, and the scriptures were given to the Jews. 
  • Read the scriptures, as one story from Genesis to Revelation. Jesus did not come to do away with the Old Testament, He came to fulfill it. 
  • Read the scriptures with a watchful eye on the world, and with a heart that pursues God in prayer. Use a Biblical worldview to address the issues of today.
  • God wants a relationship with you, without going through your pastor, or favorite Christian author. Don’t parrot the beliefs of others; study to know the scriptures for yourself, and pursue God with integrity and a hungry heart.

Let us encourage our pastors to preach truth, and be fearless in presenting it.

Keeping it honest and truthful…K








When A Muslim Rules From Washington

Matthew 7:16-20

 16 You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles?  17 So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit.  18 A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit.  19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.  20 Thus you will recognize them by their fruits.

Ben Carlson sure got some heat for saying that he wouldn’t support a Muslim for president.  But he is right, Muslim theology would never cooperate with our western world, because it is the desire of Islam to conquer it, and replace it with a global caliphate. 

So why are Americans so stupid when it comes to Islam? Islam treats women as second-class citizens, so why isn’t this a negative for western women?  Why would women be comfortable with having a Muslim president who would relegate them into a class that degrades them into second-class citizenship?  How about the gay community?  They kill homosexuals in the Muslim world, so what would the gay community have to profit from a Muslim in the White House?  I think as some of these groups look into this a bit further, they might come to Carlson’s defense, but probably not, because the only group more feared than an American Islamic caliphate would be a conservative who is right.

In Columbia Heights, a suburb here in Minnesota there was uproar over comments made by a School Board member who voiced his opinion about Muslims using school bathrooms to wash themselves and making a mess.

Columbia Heights board member faces firestorm amid anti-Muslim flap.As an overflow crowd chanted for his resignation, Columbia Heights school Board Member Grant Nichols sat emotionless in his seat at the board meeting Tuesday evening.Nichols, who allegedly made an anti-Muslim comment on a Facebook post, made his first public appearance since the incident occurred in order to fight calls for his resignation from Gov. Mark Dayton, the school board, parents and students.Nichols posted Sept. 6 on a Star Tribune article shared on Facebook that Muslims were unsanitary. The incident sparked an investigation and a Sept. 15 special school board meeting, at which members failed by a single vote to force Nichols to resign.

Muslims have become the new golden child that you can’t criticize or you will be sanctioned for being racist against a people group. Yet Americans know so little about Islam, they forget that it is because of Islam that we have the kind of world we live in today with the constant threat of terrorism. Some love to say, well it’s the radicalized Muslims who are to blame, yet if you study the Quran, it outlines the foundation of Islam, which by design, is to deceive and control by intimidation and murder.

The Quran contains at least 109 verses that call Muslims to war with non-believers for the sake of Islamic rule.  Some are quite graphic, with commands to chop off heads and fingers and kill infidels wherever they may be hiding.  Muslims who do not join the fight are called 'hypocrites' and warned that Allah will send them to Hell if they do not join the slaughter.

Muslims lie when it is in their interest to do so and “Allah” will not hold them accountable for lying when it is beneficial to the cause of Islam. They can lie without any guilt or fear of accountability or retribution. A lie in the defense of Islam is approved even applauded in their “holy” books.

Muslims are permitted to lie: (1) to save their lives, (2) to reconcile a husband and wife, (3) to persuade a woman into a bedroom and (4) to facilitate one on his journey. Muslims are even permitted to disavow Islam and Mohammed if it is not a genuine heart-felt rejection. Muslims will tell you that concealment of a truth is not an abandonment of that truth if it benefits Islam.

And speaking of lying, I wish someone would clue in some of our officials in Washington about negotiating with Muslims.  This Iranian Nuclear deal is the biggest joke America has  ever agreed to. Read the following and think about this latest deal with Iran. 

Muslims have no hope for eternal salvation without their good works, so they must keep working to advance Islam. If a few lies will accomplish that goal, then lying is not bad but good. If they can get good publicity for Islam by lying, then lying is acceptable, even desirable. The Muslim is earning his way to heaven by lying to a non-Muslim.

You have to understand the worldview of a people group before you can trust what they say, because what they say is based upon what they believe. Now, do my words place me against Islam, no, I don’t hate Muslims, I just don’t trust them. I cannot bring myself to trust in any religion, if that religion calls for the elimination of the Jewish and American people. Islam has a goal to destroy Israel and America and that goal is set by the highest Muslim leaders in Iran. What would we think of the Catholic Church if the Pope came out tomorrow and said, “All Catholics need to kill all Lutherans because they perverted our church?” How would we view the Catholic Church?  We would hear an outcry that would be heard from here to the Vatican.

Listen, Jesus said you will know them by their fruits, and I find little to no fruit in the Muslim faith. Islam is a religion of lying and violence, and Muslims justify this behavior by their Holy Book.

I agree with Ben Carlson, I don’t want my President to lie to me. However, if we look at Washington today, perhaps we can see a foreshadowing of what it would be like if we did have a Muslim President. I am glad we have a few running for President who aren't afraid of telling the truth. 

Keeping it honest and truthful…K

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