They say (whomever they are) if it looks like a duck, sounds like a duck, and walks like a duck it is probably a duck. Well this may be true in the natural realm, but not so my friend in the spiritual realm.  The longer we go with God the more things we think we know and have figured out seem to change right before our eyes. Those ducks in the natural seem to turn into chickens in the spiritual realm. Things that seem one way in the natural often in God are not what they seem.  Now I am not talking about truth.  Truth always seems to change as we grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord.  It is not the truth that changes, but our ability to perceive and understand what the Holy Spirit is working into our spirit.   Truth is always from God’s perspective and is always progressive. What I knew as a child of God has not changed it is still truth, but what has changed is my ability to understand the precepts (original bits of truth) of the word of God from where we get our concepts (guides to run our lives) for daily living.  And what we once could handle as truth (limitations and restrictions in our lives that bring us to completion and purpose), as we grow in God, becomes the foundation on which the progression of truth turns. Truth is always from God’s perspective. So many Christians today are arguing and debating with people we are to win to Christ.  How will they come to Christ if they see us as a threat or competitor?  Jesus said, we are to pray for our enemies not debate or argue with them.  No where in the Bible did Jesus argue or debate with someone. Now Jesus did go after the religious leaders and teachers of the His day (as we to are), but He did not go after the lost sheep who did not know better.  Karen and I were talking with a pastor and his wife over a late night snack and he told us his son was in seminary majoring in debunking the Big Bang Theory and Darwinism, I asked him why and he rolled off the Pentecostal talking points and then I told him we need to tell them the truth in love, but we must love and pray for them instead of debating and arguing with them. Do you really think they care what we know?  They say, no one cares how much you know until they know how much you care. When it is all said and done it does not matter what you know, but it matters who you know.  If you really know God it does not matter what they say.  What does this religious thinking said about the Bible?  Is not the Bible enough to open our eyes to the truth?  Or what does this religious thinking say about the Holy Spirit? Is not the Holy Spirit powerful enough to change lives without a debate or a good argument?  Why must the church always cram the last bit of truth down the throat of the lost, instead of praying for and loving them.  I told him anyway the Book of Genesis is not about creation if it was God forgot a lot of the details.  Oh no my friend, Genesis is about what God says and does. In the first Chapter of Genesis alone 10 times “God said” something and it happened.  So too this is a critical revelation of who God is to us that must be moving in our entire life; God said it and it happened.  God is the only one in our lives who creates things and if He said it then it will happen.  I do not believe the pastor and his wife liked my answers, but I got the tab anyway. Truth changes not, our understanding and the way we handle it does. Did you know the longer you go with God the more He expects of us?  Do we not expect the same of our kids?  The older they get the more we expect them to do what we have taught them. The longer we go with God the more restrictive and limited our lives must become.  Completion and purpose in God comes by way of being obedient to what God wills for our lives.  Not doing what we want to do.  I wonder how many seminary students are majoring in preaching against sin?  Did you know “sin” was Jesus’ number one topic in the Gospels?  Funny how the topic of “sin” is not spoke of in most churches today.  All we seem to hear is; church doctrine or our destiny and who we are in God (mule fritters)  . . . well I better leave that alone.

My friend a spiritual ability to judge righteous judgment is sorely lacking in most Christians today.  Most Christians do not have the ability to, “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try (Strong’s #1381, to test, judge, examine, prove, scrutinize to see whether a thing is genuine or not) the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” (1 John 4:1)  So many Christians have gotten off track because they do not have the ability in God to be able to discern the source of the spirit moving in people.  And sadly many never get back on track and fall away. An ability in God to be able to judge (Strong’s #2919, to separate, put asunder, to pick out or to be of opinion, deem, think, to be of opinion) between righteousness and non-righteousness, holiness and unholiness is critical if we are ever going to be what God expects of us.  Judgment in God is always followed by separation.  Did you know we must separate ourselves from some people and some places if God is going to have a chance in our lives?  This place is unholy, this person is unrighteous so I must separate my self.  I cannot say enough about this critical need in our lives.  Now I am not focusing on judgment in this article, but I am talking about something more deadly and confusing, presumption.  My friend presumption is believing we think we know the truth, but in reality we are wrong.  It is one thing to be wrong, but it is far worse not to know we do not know we are wrong. How can we recover from such not knowing we are wrong?  Only God can open our eyes to this if we allow Him.  Believing right or wrong is very powerful.  How many people have gone to their death throughout the ages believing they were right when hey were wrong.  This is why it matters not what we know and believe, but who we know.  If we know God all else does not matter.  Now it is interesting to know one in presumption always moves in an upward direction, from a place of great self strength of ignorance.  Here Esther is moving in a downward direction in humility the opposite of presumption. “Then the king Ahasuerus answered and said unto Esther the queen, Who is he, and where is he, that durst presume in his heart to do so?  6And Esther said, The adversary and enemy is this wicked Haman. Then Haman was afraid before the king and the queen.” (Esther 7:5-6) Presumption is always a heart condition that moves opposite of God’s heart and His ways.  Remember the way up is really down. You all know the story how Haman wanted to get Mordecai (Esther’s uncle) and kill all of the Jews, presumption wants its own way and is fearful of getting hurt or not getting it own way.  Presumption is not judging, but it is not knowing the truth that leads us over into fear and loss in our lives.  Most often presumption leads us away from Godly relationships.  All throughout the Bible anyone that stood against righteousness and holiness went up or elevated themselves. Please notice what Satan (Lucifer) said, “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!  13For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: 14I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.” (Isaiah 14:12-14) This type of thinking is deadly and will kill the spirit of God in our lives.  Satan’s sin was not one of pride, but one of exalting himself over God’s spiritual authority.

This, my friend, is an area I try very hard to take heed in and pay attention to what I am thinking.  God has been very good to open my eyes in this area.  Back in 1998, when Romania was still wild, I was traveling back from Suceava to Bucharest about a nine hour train ride.  It was late at night and I was traveling alone with a large sum of money.  The train stopped and two of the toughest men I have ever seen got in my six seat section of the train car.  These two guys were filthy their clothes was nothing but rages.  Their faces were scarred, gouges of their face was missing like they just got into a bar fight and lost.  One was smaller than me, but the other the bigger of the two was bigger than me. I feared for my life. As they got settled in they started talking in Romanian, I thought for sure they were plotting my death.  They would look at me and then turn away suddenly.  The smaller one got a beer out of his bag and opened it with his teeth.  I thought these two guys are the toughest guys I have ever seen they are going to kill me. So I started to pray.  Presumption is always concerned with self-life.  Esther prayed, “if I perish I perish,” now that is the best definition of faith.  As I sat there wondering how I was going to get out of this fix; presumption always operates from a man made independence not a dependence on God.  God spoke and said to get a Halls so I reached in my backpack, with their eyes following my every move, and found my Halls.  God then said, offer them a Halls.  I thought no they will kill me and I will never see Karen and my kids again. God a second time said offer them a Halls so I did.  Presumption is always overcome by obedience to God.  I extended my hand with the two Halls in them and the smaller of the two quickly grabbed them.  I thought for sure this was it, when in the softest and most gentlest voice I have ever heard the biggest of the two said, “thank you.”  I could not believe my ears. All of my fear and presumption wasted away into the night as I showed them a map of Romania.  What fellowship we had. What joy filed my heart, a joy unspeakable and full of glory.  I could not speak Romania and I guess their English was not so hot, but we had a communion between us that lasted the entire night until the morning when they got down from the train.  What a lesson.

More recently and by way of confession (is not confession good) the Lord has reminded me of the danger of presumption.  I often go to the fitness center on one of the many bases in the area.  The price is right (free since I am retired) and they have a great sauna. I sometimes see my good friend Carl Sutton (always a highlight) and lately I have been sharing the Gospel with some of the other retirees in the sauna.  I usually do around 35 minutes (2 miles) on one of the three stair stepper treadmills and then pump some iron on seven different machines.  Well one day as I was pumping some iron I noticed a very beautiful well defined lady walking down the main passage way.  You could tell she works out often.  Her arms and legs were well sculpted and unlike me had no problem with her weight. She had a very lovely wholesome smile and a sure and steady gait.  Everything about her seemed perfect.  I thought she must be the wife of some big officer.  Outwardly she was complete.  What is she doing here I thought?  Who is she trying to impress?  As time went by I would see her (I guess God worked our schedules together so He could kill me the more) come and go, always smiling and cheerful.  Well one day I just started my 35 minute stair stepper treadmill workout when the lady stepped up on the next machine beside me.  I thought oh boy now I will get a chance to find out who this lady is. We greeted, did some small talk, and some how started talking about the politics of the day when she told me her husband had been killed in Iraq.  Wow! How my heart dropped within me.  To sacrifice a loved one in military circles is the highest sacrifice one could make for their country.  Jesus said it like this, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”  (John 15:13) Now I do not believe Jesus was talking only about laying down our physical life, but our spiritual life too when we put our friends and even enemies ahead of our desires and comforts.  When we willfully take the humble place and allow others to be exalted over us.  But here her husband laid his life down for his family and country.  The thought cut me to the quick.  I could not believe this outwardly perfect lady went through hell with the death of her husband.  She told me a little of what she went through and man how foolish I felt.  How I presumed she had no care in the world, yet her world was ripped out from beneath her with a phone call. All I could do was say I was sorry.  Now she thought I was saying this because of the death of her husband, but I was saying I was sorry for my weeks of presumption of which she did not know.  And now she knows as we later talked and as she reads this article. I told Karen about our conservation on the treadmill and she said she knows the lady is humble because she has just had her heart ripped out. When we endure such things it humbles us and gives us a better sense for the broken hearted and hurting around us. I did not judge her, but I did presume her and her life was something it was not.  God is good at teaching us lessons if we have the desire, humility, and heart.

Yes our wondrous walk with the Lord is mysterious and the longer we go with Him the more mysterious He and His lessons become.  But they should He is God.  Who would want to serve a God we could figure out?  Never forget God’s goal in our learning is two fold.  The first, to train and teach us how to function and operate in our next life.  If not on earth when will we have the time to know how God functions and operates?  Did you know we will judge the world and even the angels?  Paul tell us, “Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? 3Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life?”  (1 Corinthians 6:2-3)  When will we learn how to judge angels?  Now on earth as God leads, trains, and guides us with His Holy Spirit into the next reason.  To be conformed into the character, nature, and image (icon) of God’s precious  Son Jesus Christ. When does this happen? On earth as we open our heart and lives to His dealings and judgments.  Make no mistake my friend, a spirit of discernment for righteous judgment is critical in our lives, but presumption has no place.  If we see the many things we encounter in life as always being ducks take heed my friend God is good and longsuffering to open our eyes and teach us about the chickens also in the barn yard.