The Skill of Discernment: How to Discern Right and Almost Right

The Skill of Discernment: How to Discern Right and Almost Right

When it comes to discerning truth from error, sometimes it’s in plain sight. The error sticks out like the ugly duckling. But oftentimes false doctrine is hidden with biblical words, Christian clichés, half-truths, and near-truths. Spurgeon’s words sum up discernment succinctly; it’s usually the difference between right and almost right. It’s like examining a well-done counterfeit painting—we need an expert, well-trained eye to see the tiny detail differences between the genuine and the fake. But how is this eye for detail trained? How do we strengthen our discernment muscles? We begin in God’s word—studying it well and hiding it away in our hearts—and we turn to church history and qualified sources to help guide us.

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Learning how to Discern Our Feelings

Learning how to Discern Our Feelings

As natural as our feelings are, they don’t always communicate what is true. Our feelings often fall short of reality, though they can easily convince us of a different perception. But as believers, we are called to live by and think on what is true—not what feels true—and the truth of God’s Word must always prevail over our feelings.

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Loving God and Loving Neighbour Well by Knowing the Word

Loving God and Loving Neighbour Well by Knowing the Word

 When we think of ways to grow in our love for God and our neighbours, we often think of public or visible acts of service in which we give our time and resources: volunteering in church, donating money and clothes, babysitting for a tired mom, cooking a meal for a mourning family, and the like. But have we ever considered that loving God and loving our neighbours well means that we must know God’s Word well?

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When My Faith is Weak and Weary, Give Me Jesus

When My Faith is Weak and Weary, Give Me Jesus

Maybe you have felt that too, that grasping in the air for faith while your hope is depleted. What kind of counsel and encouragement have you found in those times? Were you told that your miracle was in God’s hands waiting for your faith to be stronger? That you needed to work with God to get this miracle? That it’s time to brace up and just start trusting God more? This kind of counsel is similar to a mirage of water—from a distance it appears as a cool, refreshing drink, but in reality it’s only the sun beating down on the dry sand. Friend, if your faith is weak and you’re stumbling through a barren land in search of something to strengthen you, there is one who loves you, who supplies your every ounce of faith, even when you feel faithless.

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When My World Feels Overwhelming, I Look Around

When My World Feels Overwhelming, I Look Around

Maybe this is only true for me, but I think when we spend too much time in our own heads, thinking about all that’s wrong and going wrong, our worlds magnify themselves beyond their true size. Small problems bloat beyond their true size. And while it’s valid to mourn and to acknowledge these difficulties, I’m seeing that sometimes what we really need is to take a step back and see how big everything else really is.

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Why I Journal My Prayers

Why I Journal My Prayers

Rather than continuing to stumble my way through the same prayer each morning, I found a journal and started writing my prayers. At first, it felt awkward, almost forced, but soon it became my new rhythm. Maybe this is a practice you could take up, too. Though it may feel strange at first, doing so might grow you in ways you never expected through diversifying your prayers, focusing your mind, and preaching the truth to your own heart.

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Hold Me Fast Through Sleepless Nights

Hold Me Fast Through Sleepless Nights

The value of something can be proven when it stands the test of time. Like the hymns we sing at church on Sunday, or at home any day of the week. These theological melodies are timeless and are worth our time, attention, and voices still today. For me, the hymn He Will Hold Me Fast has greatly encouraged me and strengthened me through this first year of motherhood.

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The Promise is His Presence (Book Review)

The Promise is His Presence (Book Review)

This is when I picked up Glenna’s book, The Promise is His Presence. In her book, Glenna took me by the hand and led me through her story of suffering, waiting, and unanswered prayers alongside the redemption narrative of Scripture from Genesis to Revelation. As she did, she showed me how God’s promise isn’t an easy life, immediate answers to our prayers, or a lack of suffering. God’s promise is to always be with his people, and he fulfills this promise throughout the entirety of the Bible.

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Seven Strengths of a Caring Mentor

Seven Strengths of a Caring Mentor

We know the call of Titus 2—to teach the younger women “to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled” (vv. 3-5 ESV). But how do we do that? How do we do this in a caring way? How do we become mentors like the ones who have discipled us? How do we become older women to whom the younger women can go?

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How to Take Unruly and Stubborn Thoughts Captive

How to Take Unruly and Stubborn Thoughts Captive

As those who have been redeemed by the gospel, we should have heavenly thoughts. As Paul says to the Colossians, “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory,” (Colossians 3:2-4 CSB). But how do we do this? How do we take those thoughts captive and make them obedient to Christ? By installing Philippians 4:8 as a guard over our minds.

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At Home Discipleship

At Home Discipleship

My ideal of discipleship involved weekly meetings, formal Bible studies, answers to hard questions, and in-depth counseling. But this wasn’t what God provided at the time. Rather, God provided me with something much less intentional, but no less formative—a family who showed us hospitality. You see, discipleship doesn’t only take place in quiet rooms with books, Bibles, and coffee—it also takes place in the bustling homes of our fellow brothers and sisters as well.

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When You Don’t Have a Good Dad on Father’s Day

When You Don’t Have a Good Dad on Father’s Day

But on this Father’s Day, we can still be encouraged. Though we may rightly lament the pain our earthly fathers caused (and seek help if we are in an abusive situation), we can also find hope in our sonship with our Heavenly Father. Though our earthly dads fathered us in sin, he fathers us in perfection and righteousness. We are not fatherless.

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Sufficient Hope in Post-Partum Depression: Book Review of Sufficient Hope

Sufficient Hope in Post-Partum Depression: Book Review of Sufficient Hope

Christina Fox’s book Sufficient Hope came to me during one of those waves of floundering and showed me what I truly needed: to be reminded of the gospel. “Whatever experiences we face in motherhood, we all need Jesus—and he is sufficient. That’s what this book is about: our need for the gospel of Jesus Christ. In every moment, in every season, and whatever our circumstances, the gospel is sufficient to give us hope” (p. 14).

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Change Begins with the Gospel

Change Begins with the Gospel

What we see outlined in Ephesians 4:22-24 is not a one-time instruction manual with promises of immediate success. Instead, it is a place we will return to often, probably with the same struggles, and the order may change. But God is faithful, and he will bring us to completion in his timing and lead us as we put off sin, renew our minds, and put on the new self.

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Learning to Love Our Bodies

Learning to Love Our Bodies

In the Fall, both soul and body were broken by sin. Our bodies were then plagued by sicknesses and diseases, and ultimately death. Our bodies would be pushed and worked hard in order to survive. What was created to live with God in perfect relationship forever would now return to the dust it came from—but not without enduring physical hardships. But before this, when God formed us, he declared the whole of us as good—not just the soul. Both are created by God, both are created to glorify him, and both will be redeemed by God. 

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How to Counsel Those Who Doubt

How to Counsel Those Who Doubt

I am not writing this article as a professional, experienced counselorstriving to teach other counselors—I am nothing of the sorts. I am writing this as a believer who has battled her way through the thorns of doubt, and who has discerned both the goodand poor counsel given from others. I also come with humility, recognizing the times I have given the same gut-wrenching, doubt-inducing counsel that was once given to me. If there is anything to be taken away from this, I hope it is this: Let’s counsel those who doubt with the gospel—not their works. 

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When God Withholds The Warmth and Sunshine

When God Withholds The Warmth and Sunshine

Maybe you can relate. Maybe you love the snow, but the beating down of the summer sun makes you cranky. Or maybe you’re sick of trudging through muck and puddles from the seemingly endless rain. I’ve been there too. I didn’t think much of it—its just what everyone does. Complain about the weather, maybe try to find something good in it, if you can. I had little consideration for my complaints because I was so used to hearing them—from both my own mouth the mouths of others. Until I saw myself wandering the wilderness with the grumbling Israelites. 

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The Gospel Doesn’t Promise a Healed Mind

The Gospel Doesn’t Promise a Healed Mind

Perhaps you’ve heard this variation: “Depression, anxiety, heartbreak—you are not bound to living that way. You don’t have to suffer anymore. Freedom exists in Jesus. Come to him and find freedom.” This is a false gospel. This gospel motivates people to believe in it by presenting your best life now if you’ll just come to Jesus. This is a damning lie. Jesus doesn’t take away your suffering—he promises it (John 16:33). And because we live in a fallen world, your body will fail you—both mentally and physically. But the true gospel, presents a truth much greater than this prosperity gospel could ever conjure up. 

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Love Hopes All Things—And Tosses the Worst Assumptions

Love Hopes All Things—And Tosses the Worst Assumptions

With the admonition to be slow to speak should come the caveat, So be slow to assume. Based on one action, with no thought on the past, I had conjured up an assumption of my husband that was far from true. Offering no charity, I assumed the worst of my husband’s motives. Maybe it’s ironic and hypocritical, but I’m assuming I’m not the only one. I believe many of our conversations as believers would be much more edifying and our relationships much less tense if we lived by the phrase, “Love hopes all things,” (1 Corinthians 13:7). Our relationships within the church could be more unified if we remember the grace and charity we have been shown by Christ, who knew the depths and sins of our hearts, and seek to show charity to one another in our assumptions of each others words and motives.

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When He’s Not the Spiritual Leader of Your Dreams

When He’s Not the Spiritual Leader of Your Dreams

In the church today, you probably didn’t even have to read one of those books to hear the term spiritual leadership tossed around. We hear the plea, “I just want to find a man who will lead me spiritually,” or, “I’m so sick of my husband not taking up his role of leading me spiritually.” Perhaps you share that plea. Maybe the man you married hasn’t turned out to be the spiritual leader of your dreams. If so, there are two temptations I’d like to encourage you to guard yourself from: Taking up your chisels to carve your husbands into an idol, or carving yourself into an idol for him. 

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