The Barker

Sunday, November 20, 2022
Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "When The Roll Is Called Up Yonder"1 (Lyrics)

Kayley, one of my collies, is three years old now and is still a barker. She barks at anything and everything, despite my training, discipline, and frustration with her and this noisy bad habit. Collies do tend to bark, since they are herding dogs and are often in charge of livestock. They need to be aware of dangers, and they use their voice to tell predators, "Back off! This is my territory!" But Kayley lacks something very important in regard to her barking. She lacks discernment.

Discernment is the ability to recognize small details, to accurately tell the difference between similar things, and to make intelligent judgements by using such observations.

Discernment is something that Kayley would greatly benefit from regarding what she does and doesn't need to bark at.

Likewise, God's people need discernment.

1 John 4:1 – Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. (NIV)

We need to be able to read the events and actions that are happening within our world as well as within our churches. We must be able to test the spirits to see whether they are from God. Do they line up with the Word of God, the actions of Jesus, and the wisdom of the Holy Spirit? Are they pure and holy, or do they stem from this world and the ruler of this world, the prince of darkness? Discernment allows us to recognize small details that may seem like truth, but when they are closely examined, they are revealed to be untruths. We need to be able to tell the difference accurately between ideas or thoughts that seem true and make intelligent, godly judgements by using such observations.

Some Christians want to bark at anything and everything that may be new or different from what the church has always done. Others don't want to bark at anything, choosing to go with the flow and keep the peace, even if they believe that certain decisions are not godly. Both of these actions display a lack of discernment, which is damaging to the body of Christ. Using discernment brings the ability to judge well what is false and what is true. This in turn leads to wisdom, which is the application of the knowledge that we have discerned, allowing us to know when we need to stand up and bark — fight for the truth — or else to be quietly supportive of godly changes that we may or may not like.

I continue to work with Kayley, and yes, even pray that God will grant this creature of His a little more discernment. I also continue to pray, amidst these troubling times, for the church, the world, and myself to have the discernment that we need in order to recognize what it true and what is false, for God has spoken in today's verse: "Do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God."

Prayer: Father God, we pray for the gift of discernment for ourselves as well as for all Your children. May we, the body of Christ, be able to test the spirits and know whether or not they are from You. May our individual lives and our life as the body of Christ shine pure and clear as a message of truth and salvation within our tired and struggling world. In Christ's name, we pray. Amen.

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About the author:

Lynne Phipps <lynnephippsatlin@gmail.com>
Atlin, British Columbia, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    What a great devotional and so timely!
    Shalom.


    Thanks for the fresh insights that are in your devotionals. Always appreciated.


    Great post, Lynne. A great reminder for us all. Thanks for sharing your wisdom!


    Thanks Lynne, your devotions are always so helpful and an inspiring way to start the day. Blessings to you and your family.


    Lynne,
    Many thanks for your reminder in today’s devotional. It’s so important!
    God bless.


    I have said it before and I will say it again, that your talent for writing is most appreciated. More than that, it is God given.
    Blessings to you and yours.


    Thanks for the collie story. We enjoyed having collies too and one was a barker, but her mother was quiet.
    This is a great reminder to pray for discernment. Thanks again, Lynne.


    Dear Lynne,
    I need to remember this huge kernel of wisdom many times a day. Thanks for your devotional. Blessings to you.


    Lynne, I have come to recognize your writing style and always feel uplifted and encouraged by your devotionals.
    May God bless you and continue to inspire your work!


    My favorite line here, Lynne, is “Do they line up with the Word of God, the actions of Jesus, and the wisdom of the Holy Spirit?” I like that distinction and differentiation. You gave us good cautionary words for today.


    Hi Lynne
    This is one thing I do regularly to pray for discernment so that I may walk in the truth of the Lord, so that what I do, what I say, and what I think may be in line with the will of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
    Blessings.


    Wow Lynne, I heard a phrase that beautifully communicates all too many congregation leaders like elders who bark at Session meetings making noise and not willing to provide details and obvious about calling wolf. It took me years as moderator to learn how to silence unhelpful vocal noise.
    Blessings.


    As always, a meditation that is insightful regarding the approach to have, especially these days.
    BTW, if Kayley tends to be an excessive barker, just think of those of us who have Cairn terriers – although very smart they probably top the list of intractable barkers.


    Lynne, when you get Kayley trained, would you please journey south to teach our English Setter about some discernment in his barking. He is a most wonderful dog, but his greatest joy in life is sitting in the front seat of our car and barking, barking, barking. Fortunately, we live in the country and the other person he really annoys is me!
    Thanks again for your insight!


    Dear Lynne,
    What a great devotional you have written. You certainly have been blessed with a special writing talent. Your words today are right on and it is so true that discernment is truly needed with the way things are occurring in our present world. May more people especially leaders give deep thought before they act and seek the guidance of our Lord before they rush ahead with their own decisions.
    Many blessings for your writings and I pray for good success as you work with Kayley to decrease the barking situation.


    On discernment: Are you aware of what is being proposed within our Presbyterian church in Canada? Very troubling.


    Thank you, Lynne. These sentences are such good characterization:
    Some Christians want to bark at anything and everything that may be new or different from what the church has always done. Others don’t want to bark at anything, choosing to go with the flow and keep the peace, even if they believe that certain decisions are not godly.


    Oh Lynne, you’ve got a barker…too! Mine thinks she needs to protect me from all sorts of intrusive critters like squirrels and rabbits!
    Nothing I do or say keeps her from carrying on except the command “leave it!” Then when I call, she comes running. For sure, I think we should run to God every time He calls us…especially after He tells us to “leave it!” Thanks for sharing. Blessings.


    Nicely done.
    (NS)

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