Tag Archives: discernment

Mary Did Know, Do You?

 

Mary Did Know…Do You?

By Carolyn Dale Newell

“Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”

Matthew 1:23 NKJV

How did this teenage girl know that the child she was carrying would not only be her Savior, but also the Savior of the world? Mary believed the angel Gabriel’s message when he spoke to her. Mary’s response to Gabriel demonstrated her vast knowledge of Old Testament Scriptures. Actually, she understood them better than most because she knew a day would come when Jesus would have to die.

Mary was troubled at the appearance of Gabriel, but it isn’t every day you receive a visit from an angel (Luke 1:29). His news may have come as a shock, but it was what every girl in Israel dreamed about.

When Gabriel explained to Mary that she was the blessed one chosen by God to give birth to the long-awaited Messiah, she was not frightened by the news. She rejoiced in what God was going to do.

Though people would not believe her, and they may scorn her, she knew she was giving birth to the King of kings and Lord of lords.

She recognized her babe as Immanuel, the God-Man, fully God and fully Man. Jesus Himself said, “I and My Father are one” (John 10:30).

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1).

Yes, Mary knew, and she also realized she needed a Savior just like each one of us. We have all sinned, but our sins can be forgiven because Jesus paid the sin debt on Calvary’s cross.

A king was born in a humble stable, with animals to welcome Him into the world. He lived a sinless life, and He died a cruel death so we can be saved and have eternal life in heaven. Mary did know, but the question is: do you believe? Have you received Christ as your Lord and Savior?

Do you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ? If not, God has made you aware of that. Why not seek forgiveness and accept His free gift of salvation today? Tomorrow may never come. We are not promised another breath. What an amazing gift that will be for your loved ones who have been praying for you.

Lord, I confess that I am a sinner. I believe that You came to this earth, born of a virgin, and You died to pay for my sins. Cleanse me of all sin, and set me on the right path to serve You. I need You as my Lord and Savior. Amen.

DIG DEEPER

Read Luke 1:29-38.

HIKING THE TRAIL

Christmas is a time of miracles. The greatest gift we’ve been given is the free gift of salvation. Who can you share the gospel with today?

Copyright 2018 Carolyn Dale Newell.

 

Walking the Thin Line of Judgment

WALKING THE THIN LINE OF JUDGMENT

By Carolyn Dale Newell

“Judge not, that you be not judged.”

Matthew 7:1 (NKJV)

This is one of the most misunderstood verses in Scripture. People use it without knowing the true meaning. There are two ways we can judge someone: discernment and criticism. There is a thin line between the two. We must be careful to know the difference.

Jesus said, “Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment” (John 7:24). Christians must discern, or make righteous judgments.

A few verses below our focal verse, Jesus said that we should not give anything holy to dogs, nor should we cast pearls before swine (Matt. 7:6). That requires discernment. We need to differentiate between holy and unholy.

Further down in the same chapter, Jesus spoke about false prophets. He said, “You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit” (Matt. 7:16-17).

We are fruit inspectors, and we should lovingly rebuke a sinning brother as directed in Matthew chapter 18. With witnesses and in love.

The judgment we must abstain from is self-righteous criticism. In verses 3-4, Jesus gives the example of trying to remove a speck out of a brother’s eye while having a plank in his own eye. Although the plank can be any sin, it likely refers to self-righteousness. “…remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye” (Matt. 7:5). Clean up your own life and then you can make righteous judgments. In particular, remove all holier-than-thou thinking. Refrain from hypocrisy.

As David said, “Create in me a clean heart, O God…then I will teach transgressors Your ways, and sinners shall be converted to You” (Ps. 51:10a, 13).

Prayerfully consider whether your judgment is one of loving discernment or harsh criticism. Never judge hastily, and always have all the information before making a judgment. Never play God nor allow yourself to become a gossip. Always show mercy, just as God has been merciful to us.

Heavenly Father, thank You for mercy. Help me to be merciful to others, and help me distinguish the differences between discernment and criticism. Cleanse me of all self-righteousness. For I know this is Your will for me. Amen.

DIG DEEPER

Read Matthew 7:1-6, and 15-20, Matthew 18:15-20.

HIKING THE TRAIL

Examine yourself. Have you neglected making righteous judgments because you were fearful of judging? Have you been critical of someone? Has it turned into gossip? Seek God’s wisdom in these areas.

Copyright 2015 Carolyn Dale Newell.