Category: Gifts

Discernment is defined as “the quality of being able to grasp and comprehend what is obscure; an act of perceiving something; a power to see what is not evident to the average mind.” The definition also stresses accuracy, as in “the ability to see the truth.” Spiritual discernment is the ability to tell the difference between truth and error. It is basic to having wisdom.

Arguments and debates surround spiritual truth because it is obscure. Jesus, speaking to His disciples about the Pharisees, said, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given” (Matthew 13:11). Satan has “blinded the minds of unbelievers” (2 Corinthians 4:4), so God must shed light on the human mind to enable us to understand truth. It is impossible to attain wisdom without God. He gives discernment or takes it away (Job 12:19-21).

Some have mistakenly defined spiritual discernment as a God-given awareness of evil or good spiritual presences—the ability to tell if a demon is in the room. While some people may possess this capability, it is not the biblical meaning of discernment. Spiritual discernment ultimately has to do with wisdom and the ability to distinguish truth from error.

Wisdom is personified in Proverbs 1 and described as someone that we can “get to know” (vv. 20-33). The Bible says that Jesus Christ is “wisdom from God” (1 Corinthians 1:30). Therefore, wisdom, or spiritual discernment, is something that comes from knowing Jesus Christ. The world’s way of getting wisdom is different from God’s way. The learned of the world gain knowledge and apply reason to knowledge to solve problems, construct buildings and create philosophies. But God does not make the knowledge of Himself available by those means. First Corinthians 1: 18-31 says the “wisdom of the wise” is frustrated by God who delivers wisdom to the “foolish” and the “weak” by way of a relationship with Jesus Christ. That way, “no human being can boast in His presence” (verse 29). We learn to be spiritually discerning by knowing Him.

It is not wrong to possess knowledge or have an education, and it is not wrong to use reason and logic to solve problems. However, spiritual discernment cannot be attained that way. It must be given by the revelation of Jesus Christ to the believer, and then developed by way of training in righteousness (Hebrews 5:14) and prayer (Philippians 1:9). Hebrews 5:11-14 shows how spiritual discernment is developed. The writer speaks to those who had become “dull of hearing,” meaning they had fallen out of practice discerning spiritually. The writer of Hebrews tells them that everyone who lives on “milk” (rather than the “solid food” desired by the mature) is unskilled in the word of righteousness; however, the mature Christian has been “trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.” The keys, according to this passage, are becoming skilled in the Word of God (by which we define righteousness) and “constant practice” (through which we gain experience).

So, how does one increase spiritual discernment? First, recognizing that God is the only one who can increase wisdom, pray for it (James 1:5; Philippians 1:9). Then, knowing the wisdom to distinguish good from evil comes by training and practice, go to the Bible to learn the truth, and, by meditation on the Word, reinforce the truth.

When a bank hires an employee, he is trained to recognize counterfeit bills. One would think that the best way to recognize a counterfeit would be to study various counterfeits. The problem is that new counterfeits are being created every day. The best way to recognize a counterfeit bill is to have an intimate knowledge of the real thing. Having studied authentic bills, bank cashiers are not fooled when a counterfeit comes along. A knowledge of the true helps them identify the false.

This is what Christians must do to develop spiritual discernment. We must know the authentic so well that, when the false appears, we can recognize it. By knowing and obeying the Word of God, we will be “trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.” We will know God’s character and will. This is the heart of spiritual discernment – being able to distinguish the voice of the world from the voice of God, to have a sense that “this is right” or “this is wrong.” Spiritual discernment fends off temptation and allows us to “hate what is evil; cling to what is good” (Romans 12:9).

The gift of discerning spirits, or “distinguishing” spirits, is one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit described in 1 Corinthians 12:4-11. Like all these gifts, the gift of discerning spirits is one of the gifts believers are given by the Holy Spirit, who disperses these gifts to individuals for service in the body of Christ. Every believer has spiritual enablement and capacity for a specific service, but there is no room for self-choosing. The Spirit distributes spiritual gifts according to the sovereignty of God and in accordance with His plan to edify the body of Christ.

When it comes to the gift of discerning spirits, every born-again believer has a certain amount of discernment, which increases as the believer matures in the Spirit. In Hebrews 5:13-14 we read that a believer who has matured beyond using the milk of the Word as a babe in Christ is able to discern both good and evil. Not only is the maturing believer empowered by the Spirit of God through the Scriptures to tell the difference between good and evil, but also between what is good and what is better. In other words, any born-again believer who chooses to focus upon the Word of God may be enabled to be spiritually discerning.

There are certain individuals, however, who have the God-given ability to distinguish between the truth of the Scriptures and erroneous and deceptive doctrines propagated by demons. Although we are all exhorted to be spiritually discerning (Acts 17:11; 1 John 4:1), some in the body of Christ have been given the unique ability to “spot” the forgeries in doctrine that have plagued the church since the first century. But this does not involve a mystical, extra-biblical revelation or a voice from God. Rather, the spiritually discerning among us are so familiar with the Word of God that they instantly recognize what is contrary to it. They do not receive special messages from God; they use the Word of God to “test the spirits” to see which line up with God and which are in opposition to Him. The spiritually discerning are those who “rightly divide” (2 Timothy 2:15) the Word of God in a thoughtful and diligent manner.

As the apostle Paul writes, there may be diversities of equipping in the body of Christ, but those diversities are meant for the edification and building of that body as a whole. And the success of that body is dependent upon all parts of the body faithfully fulfilling their place in the body as God has enabled them. No spiritual gift should be used to “lord it over” others or claim for oneself a special anointing from God. Rather, the love of God is to be the basis of how we use our spiritual gifts to edify or build up each other in the Lord.

The spiritual gift of prophecy is listed among the gifts of the Spirit in 1 Corinthians 12:10 and Romans 12:6. The Greek word translated “prophesying” or “prophecy” in both passages properly means to “speak forth” or declare the divine will, to interpret the purposes of God, or to make known in any way the truth of God which is designed to influence people. Many people misunderstand the gift of prophecy to be the ability to predict the future. While knowing something about the future may sometimes have been an aspect of the gift of prophecy, it was primarily a gift of proclamation (“forth-telling”), not prediction (“fore-telling”).

A pastor/preacher who declares the Bible can be considered a “prophesier” in that he is speaking forth the counsel of God. With the completion of the New Testament canon, prophesying changed from declaring new revelation to declaring the completed revelation God has already given. Jude 3 speaks of “the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (emphasis added). In other words, the faith to which we hold has been settled forever, and it does not need the addition or refinement that comes from extra-biblical revelations.

Also, note the transition from prophet to teacher in 2 Peter 2:1: “There were false prophets among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you” (emphasis added). Peter indicates that the Old Testament age had prophets, whereas the church will have teachers. The spiritual gift of prophecy, in the sense of receiving new revelations from God to be proclaimed to others, ceased with the completion of the Bible. During the time that prophecy was a revelatory gift, it was to be used for the edification, exhortation, and comfort of men (1 Corinthians 14:3). The modern gift of prophecy, which is really more akin to teaching, still declares the truth of God. What has changed is that the truth of God today has already been fully revealed in His Word, while, in the early church, it had not yet been fully revealed.

Christians are to be very wary of those who claim to have a “new” message from God. It is one thing to say, “I had an interesting dream last night.” However, it is quite another matter to say, “God gave me a dream last night, and you must obey it.” No utterance of man should be considered equal to or above the written Word. We must hold to the Word that God has already given and commit ourselves to sola scriptura — Scripture alone.

  In Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, one of the Beatitudes is “Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy” (Matthew 5:7). Mercy is what we express when we are led by God to be compassionate in our attitudes, words, and actions. It is more than feeling sympathy toward someone; it is love enacted. Mercy desires to answer the immediate needs of others and alleviate suffering, loneliness, and grief. Mercy addresses physical, emotional, financial, or spiritual crises with generous, self-sacrificial service. Mercy is a champion of the lowly, poor, exploited, and forgotten and often acts on their behalf.

A good example of mercy is found in Matthew 20:29–34: “As Jesus and his disciples were leaving Jericho, a large crowd followed him. Two blind men were sitting by the roadside, and when they heard that Jesus was going by, they shouted, ‘Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!’ The crowd rebuked them and told them to be quiet, but they shouted all the louder, ‘Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!’ Jesus stopped and called them. ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ he asked. ‘Lord,’ they answered, ‘we want our sight.’ Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed Him.” Notice that the blind men associated mercy not with a feeling but with an action. Their physical problem was that they couldn’t see, so to them, the act of mercy was Christ’s intervention to restore their sight. Mercy is more than a feeling; it is always followed by an action.

This gift has a practical application of active service as well as a responsibility to do so cheerfully (Romans 12:8). Additionally, we are all called to be merciful. Jesus says in Matthew 25:40 that “whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for Me.” Matthew 5:7 promises mercy to those who are merciful toward others. As spiritually dead and blind sinners, we are no better off than the two blind men in Matthew 20. Just as they were utterly dependent on Christ’s compassion to restore their sight, so are we dependent on Him to “show us His mercy and grant us His salvation” (Psalm 85:7). This bedrock understanding that our hope depends on Christ’s mercy alone and not in any merit of ours should inspire us to follow Christ’s example of compassionate service and show mercy to others as it has been shown to us.

The word discern and its derivatives are translations of the Greek word anakrino in the New Testament. It means “to distinguish, to separate out by diligent search, to examine.” Discernment is the ability to properly discriminate or make determinations. It is related to wisdom. The Word of God itself is said to discern the thoughts and intentions of one’s heart (Hebrews 4:12).

A discerning mind demonstrates wisdom and insight that go beyond what is seen and heard. For example, God’s Word is “spiritually discerned.” To the human mind without the Spirit, the things of God are “foolishness” (1 Corinthians 2:14). The Spirit, then, gives us spiritual discernment.

King Solomon was known for his power of discernment, making many wise decisions and moral judgments (1 Kings 3:9, 11). Christians today are to be discerning as well. Paul prayed for believers “to discern what is best . . . until the day of Christ” (Philippians 1:10).

A discerning person will acknowledge the worth of God’s Word: “All the words of my mouth are just; none of them is crooked or perverse. To the discerning all of them are right; they are faultless to those who have knowledge” (Proverbs 8:8-9). Seeking discernment is a goal for all who desire to walk righteously: “Who is wise? He will realize these things. Who is discerning? He will understand them. The ways of the LORD are right; the righteous walk in them, but the rebellious stumble in them” (Hosea 14:9).

We are commanded to “hate what is evil; cling to what is good” (Romans 12:9). But, unless we have true discernment, how can we determine what is “evil” and what is “good”? In order to maintain the purity of the gospel, the church must distinguish truth from heresy.  Wisdom also demands that we properly discriminate between what is “best” and what is merely “good.”

Discernment has many collateral benefits. “My son, preserve sound judgment and discernment, do not let them out of your sight; they will be life for you, an ornament to grace your neck. Then you will go on your way in safety, and your foot will not stumble; when you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet” (Proverbs 21:24).

Just as Solomon sought discernment and wisdom (Proverbs 1:2; 1 Kings 3:9-12) to explore the handiwork of God (Ecclesiastes 1:13) and seek the meaning of life (Ecclesiastes 12:13), so should believers seek “the wisdom that comes from heaven” (James 3:17). We must study the Scriptures which are “able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15).

May our prayer be “I am your servant; give me discernment that I may understand your statutes” (Psalm 119:125).

“Stripes,” (Isaiah 53:51 Peter 2:24) in the language of the King James Version of the Bible, and in some  others, means “wounds,” as seen in more modern translations such as the New  International Version. These stripes were administered by whipping the bare  backs of prisoners whose hands and feet were bound, rendering them helpless. The  phrase “by His stripes we are healed” refers to the punishment Jesus Christ  suffered—floggings and beatings with fists that were followed by His agonizing  death on a cross—to take upon Himself all of the sins of all people who believe  Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior. “I am the way and the truth and the life. No  one comes to the Father except through me” (John  14:6).

The whips used were made of braided leather, with pottery  shards and sharp stones affixed to the ends, which tore open the flesh of the  prisoner with each cruel swing of the whip. When we picture this terrible,  inhumane form of physical punishment we recoil in horror. Yet the physical pain  and agony were not all Jesus suffered. He also had to undergo the mental anguish  brought on by the wrath of His Father, who punished Him for the sinfulness of  mankind—sin carried out in spite of God’s repeated warnings, sin that Jesus  willingly took upon Himself. He paid the total price for all of our  transgressions.

Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the apostle Peter  wrote, “He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, so that we might die  to sins and live for righteousness; by His wounds you have been healed.” In  Isaiah 53, Jesus’ future life on earth was foretold in the clearest of terms, to  include his eventual torture and death: “But He was pierced for our  transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought  us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds (stripes) we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5; 1 Peter  2:24).

Although these two verses are central to the topic of  healing, they are often misunderstood and misapplied. The word “healed” as  translated from both Hebrew and Greek, can mean either spiritual or physical  healing. However, the contexts of Isaiah 53 and 1 Peter 2 make it clear that  they are referring to spiritual healing, not physical. “He himself bore our sins  in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for  righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed” (1 Peter  2:24). The verse is referring to sin and righteousness, not sickness and  disease. Therefore, being “healed” in both these verses is speaking of being  forgiven and saved, not being physically healed.

Isaiah 53:5, which is then  quoted in 1 Peter  2:24, is a key verse on healing, but it is often misunderstood and  misapplied. “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our  iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.” The word translated “healed” can mean either  spiritual or physical healing. However, the contexts of Isaiah 53 and 1 Peter 2  make it clear that it is speaking of spiritual healing. “He himself bore our  sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for  righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed” (1 Peter  2:24). The verse is talking about sin and righteousness, not sickness and  disease. Therefore, being “healed” in both these verses is speaking of being  forgiven and saved, not physically healed.

The Bible does not  specifically link physical healing with spiritual healing. Sometimes people are  physically healed when they place their faith in Christ, but this is not always  the case. Sometimes it is God’s will to heal, but sometimes it is not. The  apostle John gives us the proper perspective: “This is the confidence we have in  approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And  if we know that He hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked  of Him” (1 John  5:14-15). God still performs miracles. God still heals people. Sickness,  disease, pain, and death are still realities in this world. Unless the Lord  returns, everyone who is alive today will die, and the vast majority of them  (Christians included) will die as the result of a physical problem (disease,  sickness, injury). It is not always God’s will to heal us physically.

Ultimately, our full physical healing awaits us in heaven. In heaven, there  will be no more pain, sickness, disease, suffering, or death (Revelation 21). We  all need to be less preoccupied with our physical condition in this world and a  lot more concerned with our spiritual condition (Romans  12:1-2). Then we can focus our hearts on heaven where we will no longer have  to deal with physical problems. Revelation  21:4 describes the true healing we should all be longing for: “He will wipe  every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or  pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

The spiritual gift of healing is the supernatural manifestation of the Spirit of  God that miraculously brings healing and deliverance from disease and/or  infirmity. It is the power of God that destroys the work of sin and/or the devil  in the human body, such as the healings that Jesus and the disciples performed  (Matthew  4:24, 15:30; Acts 5:15-16, 28:8-9). The gift of healing given to the church is  primarily noted in 1 Corinthians 12, where the spiritual  gifts are listed.

Spiritual gifts are powers, skills, abilities, or  knowledge given by God through the Holy Spirit to Christians. Paul tells the  church that the purpose of gifts to edify other believers, and ultimately, to  glorify God. God gives these gifts for His use, but in the Corinthian church,  they were apparently a type of status symbol or being used to indicate  superiority. Interestingly, 1  Corinthians 12:9 refers to “gifts” of healing in the plural, which may  indicate that there are different gifts of healing. The gifts of healing could  mean a very wide range of skills or abilities. This could be from the power to  do miraculous or dramatic healing, like making the lame walk, or the use or  understanding of medicine. It could even be the ability to empathize and show  love to others to the point of removing or healing an emotional wound.

There has been much debate about the usage of the spiritual gift of healing  among Christians. Some believe the gift of healing and some other sign gifts are  no longer operative today, while others believe the miraculous gifts are still  in operation today. The power to heal was never in the gifted person  himself/herself. The power to heal is from God and God alone. Although God does  still heal today, His healing through the gift of healing belonged primarily to  the apostles of the first century church to affirm that their message was from  God (Acts 2:22; 14:3).

God still  performs miracles. God still heals people. There is nothing preventing God from  healing one person through the ministry of another person. However, the  miraculous gift of healing, as a spiritual gift, does not seem to be functioning  today. God can certainly choose to intervene in whatever manner He sees fit,  whether “normal” or miracle. Our salvation itself is miracle. We were dead in  sin, but God entered our lives and made us new creatures (2 Corinthians 5:17).  That is the greatest healing of all.

The spiritual gift of faith is found in the list of the gifts of the Spirit in 1  Corinthians 12. Verse 9 says that some people are given the gift of faith, but  the gift is not specifically explained. All believers have been given saving  faith by God as the only means of salvation (Ephesians  2:8-9), but not all believers are given the spiritual gift of faith. Like  all the gifts of the Holy Spirit, the spiritual gift of faith was given for the  “common good” which means the edifying of the body of Christ (1 Corinthians  12:7).

The gift of faith may be defined as the special gift whereby  the Spirit provides Christians with extraordinary confidence in God’s promises,  power, and presence so they can take heroic stands for the future of God’s work  in the church. The spiritual gift of faith is exhibited by one with a strong and  unshakeable confidence in God, His Word, and His promises. Examples of people  with the gift of faith are those listed in Hebrews chapter 11. This chapter,  often called “the hall of faith,” describes those whose faith was extraordinary,  enabling them to do extraordinary, superhuman things. Here we see Noah spending  120 years building a huge boat when, up to that time, rain was non-existent and  Abraham believing he would father a child when his natural ability to do so had  ended. Without the special anointing of faith as a gift from God, such things  would have been impossible.

As with all spiritual gifts, the gift of  faith is given to some Christians who then use it to edify others in the body of  Christ. Those with the gift of faith are an inspiration to their fellow  believers, exhibiting a simple confidence in God that shows in all they say and  do. Extraordinarily faithful people show a humble godliness and reliance on  God’s promises, often so much so that they are known to be quietly fearless and  zealous. They are so convinced that all obstacles to the gospel and to God’s  purposes will be overcome and so confident that God will secure the advancement  of His cause, that they will often do infinitely more in the promotion of His  kingdom than the most talented and erudite preachers and teachers.

So to  sum it up, God gives all Christians saving faith. The spiritual gift of faith is  given to some, who exhibit extraordinary amounts of faith in their Christian  walk and who, by their faith, are a joy and an encouragement to others.

No matter what our discouraging situation, there are encouraging verses in the  Bible that can give us hope:

When you’ve lost something, or someone,  who has been very precious to you:
Matthew 5:4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”
Revelation 1:18 “I am  alive forevermore.”
John 11:25 “Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me  will live, even though he dies’”

When excruciating waves of chronic  pain and weakness are crashing over your head:
2 Corinthians 12:9 “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
Hebrews  4:16 “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we  may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

When your cupboard is bare, and your last crumb has been scraped up: 
Matthew  6:33 “Seek first God’s kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things  will be added to you.”
Psalm 23:1 “The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.”
1 Thessalonians  5:18 “… give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in  Christ Jesus.”

When no one seems to understand, or even to care: 
Psalm 55:22 “Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the  righteous fall.”
Isaiah  40:11 “He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms  and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.”

When you are being persecuted for your faith:
2 Peter 2:9 “the Lord knows  how to rescue godly men from trials and to hold the unrighteous for the day of  judgment.”
John 15:18 “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.”

When  the nation, the world, and even the family and the church, seem to be  disintegrating:
Isaiah  14:24: “The LORD of hosts has sworn, saying, ‘Surely, as I have thought, so  it shall come to pass, And as I have purposed, so it shall stand.’”
Jeremiah 29:11 “For I  know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not  to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

When life’s fears  and insecurities gang up on you:
Psalm 27:1 “The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the  stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?”
Luke 12:7 “Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all  numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”
Romans 8:1 “There is, therefore, no condemnation to those  who are in Christ Jesus.”

When your mood is dark:
Psalm 118:24 “This is the  day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice, and be glad in it.”
Romans 8:29-30 “For those  whom God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his  Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he called, he  also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.”

When worn out  and worn down to the point of giving up:
Hebrews  12:2-3 “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and completer of our faith,  who, for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising its shame, and sat  down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such  opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”

When abandoned by everyone meaningful:
Deuteronomy 31:6 “Be  strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the  LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”
Hebrews 13:5-6 “… God has  said, ‘Never will I leave you, never will I forsake you.’ So we say with  confidence, ‘The Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can man do to  me?’”

When friends and even family seem to be abandoning God: 
Psalm 100:5 “God’s faithfulness endures through all generations.”
2 Timothy 3:1-4 “But  mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers  of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their  parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without  self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited,  lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God”

When under powerful  temptation:
1  Corinthians 10:13 “No temptation has seized you except what is common to  man. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can  bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can  stand up under it.”
James 4:7-8 “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  Come near to God and He will near to you.”
2 Timothy  1:12 “He is able to keep what I committed to Him against that day.”
Hebrews 2:18 “Because He  Himself suffered when He was tempted, He is able to help those who are being  tempted.”

When stung by your enemy’s false accusation:
1 Peter 3:14, 16 “But even if you should  suffer for what is right, you are blessed. … keeping a clear conscience, so that  those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed  of their slander.”
Matthew  5:10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for  theirs in the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you,  persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.  Rejoice, and be exceeding glad, because great is your reward in heaven”
Romans 8:31-34 “What,  then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us?  He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not  also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge  against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that  condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at  the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.”

When  circumstances lead you to doubt God:
Psalm 42:5 “O  my soul, why are you downcast? Put your hope in God: for I will yet praise Him,  my Savior and my God.”
Mark 9:24 “I  do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”

When gripped by  unrelenting anger and even hatred:
Ephesians  4:31 “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along  with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving  each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.”
James 1:19 “My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow  to speak and slow to become angry, for man’s anger does not bring about the  righteous life that God desires.”
1 John 4:20 “If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone  who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has  not seen.”

When defeated with guilt, shame, and remorse:
1 John 1:9 “If we confess our  sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all  unrighteousness.”
Romans  8:1-2 “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ  Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free  from the law of sin and death.”

When about to go over the edge with  overwhelming demands, pressures, and expectations:
Matthew 11:28 “Come unto  me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
John 15:5 [Jesus said] “I am  the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will  bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”
Philippians 4:13 “I can  do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

When the road forks  unexpectedly, or when the multiplied factors of a crucial decision bring  darkening confusion:
James 1:5 “If  any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without  finding fault, and it will be given to him.”
1  Corinthians 14:33 “God is not the author of confusion.”
Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in  the Lord with all your heart. Lean not on your own understanding. In all your  ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your path.”

When you are  famished of soul, longing for purity and righteousness:
Matthew 5:6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for  righteousness, for they will be filled.”
Psalm 23:3 “He leads me in paths of righteousness, for His name’s sake.”

When  all roads have been cut off so that only despair seems left:
1 Corinthians 10:13 “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful;  he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are  tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.”
2  Corinthians 4:8 “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed;  perplexed, but not in despair.”

When the grave opens before you: 
John 3:16 “For  God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes  in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
John  11:25-26 “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will  live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.
Hebrews  2:14-15 “Since the children have flesh and blood, He too shared in their  humanity so that by His death He might destroy him who holds the power of  death—that is, the devil—and free those who all their lives were held in slavery  by their fear of death.”

A blessing for all circumstances:
Romans 15:13  “May the God  of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may  overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”