“Cry Out For Discernment”
by Joni Ames
I love the holidays and everything about them! And I thoroughly enjoy the “new hope” that comes as we enter into a new year. I love what the Word has to say about it:
“You crown the year with Your Goodness, and Your paths drip with abundance.” (Psalm 65:11)
While I’m quite an optimist, I also understand that the above statement doesn’t mean “everything” will be rosy and wonderful in the new year for “everybody.” Both good and bad things happen. But what I do understand is that things go better with the Lord on our side.
While watching the news on TV, it gave way to pondering on years past as well as the year ahead. Some of the past years were not so good for me. In my younger years I was one of the most UN-discerning people I’ve ever known! I was so gullible. And even downright dumb at times! I’m not “word cursing” myself. Just being honest! That isn’t so “cute” after awhile. And it isn’t godly. While we are to be as children in the area of faith, the Lord doesn’t desire for us to walk around in the spirit of stupid! In fact, that could be deadly in the time up ahead. His Word says:
“When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man (adult), I put away childish things.” (1 Cor. 13:11)
We need to be more mature in these times than ever, and put away the childish image of being some “sweetsie” little kid.
Jesus gives us clear warning when He says, “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” (Matt. 10:16)
Getting taken advantage of isn’t in God’s plan for us. He tells us we are not to be ignorant of Satan’s devices. (2 Corinthians 2:11) – But it’s up to us to seek God for the wisdom and discernment we need.
I love the book of Proverbs, because it truly is the Book of Wisdom. One day as I was reading it when I was much younger, I came across this set of verses, in which it says to “Cry out for discernment” – I took it seriously and it changed my life! Check this out!:
“(2) Incline your ear to wisdom, And apply your heart to understanding; (3) Yes, if you cry out for discernment, And lift up your voice for understanding, (4) If you seek her as silver, And search for her as for hidden treasures; (5) Then you will understand the fear of the Lord, And find the knowledge of God. (6) For the Lord gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding; (7) He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk uprightly; (8) He guards the paths of justice, And preserves the way of His saints. (9) Then you will understand righteousness and justice, Equity and every good path. (10) When wisdom enters your heart, And knowledge is pleasant to your soul, (11) Discretion will preserve you; Understanding will keep you.” (Prov. 2:2-11)
When I read that, I took it LITERALLY! I began to spend time – LOTS of time – literally laying on my floor crying out, or standing and shouting up to the Heavens: “God! Forgive me for being so stupid and gullible and for thinking that blindly trusting everyone was of You! Help me! I’m crying out to you for wisdom, discernment, and understanding!” – – “Discernment of God, come to me, in Jesus’ name!” – “Wisdom of God, come to me, in Jesus’ name!” – “Understanding of God, come to me, in Jesus’ name!”
I didn’t just do this one time, for five minutes! I spent hours, days, weeks, months, and even years, crying out for it! And I still do it!
We must be willing to “pay the price” of true, intimate relationship with the Lord. – Time! – Spending TIME with Him! When we do that, we will truly get to know Him, His voice, and His ways better than ever before!
We are truly in a time when we must “Contend earnestly for the faith!” (Jude 3) for if we do not, we are in danger of deception. Jesus warns us in Matt 24:24, “False christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.” – Now that is frightening that even the elect could be deceived! Dear God, please help me – us – to be kept from deception!
Do you remember when the “buzz” term went around for awhile, “More Lord?”
Well, when I heard that, it immediately reminded me of an old song, and it says something like this, “I want more of Jesus, so I’ll give Him more of me.” – And when I would hear others say, “More Lord,” I would pray, “More Lord! More of you; less of me!”
I’ve heard it said that we are all as close to God as we want to be. Well, I’m not. So I decided keep crying out and keep giving Him more of me, and I pray to God to give me the gutts, fortitude, and strength to never stop!
I love the scripture, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:30)
There’s an old Larnelle Harris song based on that scripture called “Greater Still” and in it are these words, “I must become less, so much less, so that You become greater still. Lord empty me of anything that keeps me from what’s real.”
When I hear that song, it makes me cry, and I just pray as I sing it to Him, “Yes, Lord! Please do so with me! Always!!!!”
The Word basically warns us that dumb people enjoy and think it is funny to be stupid: “Folly is joy to him who is destitute of discernment, But a man of understanding walks uprightly.” (Prov. 15:21)
A religious spirit will try to come to you and tell you that you are judgmental, harsh, or ungodly for being discerning. But Jesus warns, “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” (Matt. 10:16)
That sounds pretty serious. Nothing to ignore in that, for sure.
The truth is, we are NOT to believe everything that presents itself as spiritual. We ARE to TEST every spirit: “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God.” (1 John 4:1)
That doesn’t mean that we need to go around telling everyone everything God shows us. In fact, that would be stupid. There are times the Lord has shown me things that I know wouldn’t be believed by anyone else if I told them. Even things He showed me about some “famous” ministers. I knew I had to just keep my mouth shut and pray. That’s what prophetic intercession is. That’s why God trusts us with it. Not so we will shout it to the rooftops, but so that we will take it to Him in prayer.
Ecclesiastes 3:8 tells us there are times and seasons for everything, “A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.” – And right now, we are in a time of greater spiritual warfare than has ever existed.
Many are sensing as Jeremiah was in Jer. 4:19 “O my soul, my soul! I am pained in my very heart! My heart makes a noise in me; I cannot hold my peace, Because you have heard, O my soul, The sound of the trumpet, The alarm of war.”
The good news is, our God is with us in battle. Psalm 18:34 says that He even teaches our hands to war.
Of course we know, “(3) Though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. (4) For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds.” (2 Cor 10:3-4)
And God’s promise to us is:
“(7) You will chase your enemies, and they shall fall by the sword before you. (8) Five of you shall chase a hundred, and a hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight; your enemies shall fall by the sword before you.” (Leviticus 26:7-8)
Some of us have gone through serious betrayals. Jesus knows how that feels. Judas did it to him. But just as with that situation, what Satan meant for evil, God will turn for good! This verse is for you:
(9) Even my own familiar friend in whom I trusted, Who ate my bread, Has lifted up his heel against me. (10) But You, O Lord, be merciful to me, and raise me up, That I may repay them. (11) By this I know that You are well pleased with me, Because my enemy does not triumph over me. (12) As for me, You uphold me in my integrity, And set me before Your face forever. (13) Blessed be the Lord God of Israel From everlasting to everlasting! Amen and Amen.” (Psalms 41:9-13)
Whatever your battle, know that Jesus, Himself, is on your side as the third man in your fiery furnace. It’s time to do more than believe that He exists – but also to believe that He is “for” you!:
“He who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” (Heb. 11:6)
It’s time to cry out for discernment; to believe that He loves and cares enough to give that discernment; and then to walk in what He shows us.
(9) And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in knowledge and all discernment, (10) that you may approve the things that are excellent, that you may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ, (11) being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God, (Phil. 1:9-11)