Truth

Truth is loving. Truth always wins out.

We lie to avoid tough conversations. That is not loving…it’s selfish.

We lie to avoid confrontation. That is not loving…it’s selfish.

We lie to avoid consequences. That is not loving…it’s selfish.

We lie to deflect responsibility. That is not loving…it’s selfish.

The Bible instructs us to speak the truth in love…because the truth is loving.

My dad always said that a half-truth was a whole lie.

Jesus says that He is Truth.

Jesus says that Satan is the father of lies. “You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

Jesus said that he would send the Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive, and he will guide you into all the truth. John says, “We are from God; he who knows God listens to us; he who is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.”

How do we profess Jesus with our mouths and then lie and do not tell the truth?

How do we legitimize and rationalize lies when we know the origin of lies and the origin of truth?

Let’s Talk About Jesus and More

Even when I talk about my hurts, habits, and hangups…

Even when I talk about my hardships, ailments, and pain…

Even when I talk about my suffering, trials, and tragedies…

Even when I talk about my enemies, oppressors, and abusers…

I want to talk about them in light of Jesus. Even though I may experience these things, even though I may be struggling through these things, even though I may be treated in these ways…

*I’m so glad that Jesus has gone before me and endured them before me.

*I’m so glad that Jesus has already declared victory over these battles for me.

*I’m so glad that His Comforter walks through this valley with me.

*I’m so glad that His strength is made perfect in my weakness.

*I’m so glad that I have His promises spoken over me.

*I’m so glad the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.

LET’S TALK ABOUT JESUS MORE AND MORE

Let’s talk about Jesus, the King of kings is He,

The Lord of lords, supreme, throughout eternity

The Great, I Am, the Way, the Truth, the Life, the Door

Let’s talk about Jesus more and more!

Let’s talk about Jesus,

Let all the world proclaim.

The pow’r and majesty

Of such a wondrous Name.

The Babe of Bethlehem,

The Bright and Morning Star,

Let’s sing His praises near and far.

Let’s talk about Jesus,

The Bread of Life is He,

The Saviour of the world,

The Man of Galilee.

The Prophet, Priest and King,

The Mighty God is He,

The well of Living Water free.

Let’s talk about Jesus,

The Prince of Peace is He,

The Great Physician too,

Down through all history.

The Lily pure and white,

The Rose of Sharon fair,

The Shepherd of such tender care.

Let’s talk about Jesus,

The Rock of Ages He,

The Lamb for sinners slain,

That Man of Calvary.

The Great Emmanuel,

The Word of God sublime,

He is our Bridegroom so divine.

#LovingOneAnotherWell

#LovingOneAnotherWell is rarely easy. Those who embrace sin and elevate self will never feel loved by God, His Character, His TRUTH, or His People. Only those who truly understand the depth and breadth of the offense of their sinfulness before God as well as the resulting damnation to their soul…only those will truly understand the depth of love in TRUTH. BUT, their lack of understanding and their pride do not negate or remove the responsibility and privilege of the redeemed to be vessels through which God’s love flows.

We live in a world that has been HEAVILY influenced by demonic powers that minimize the character of God and elevate the sinful desires of men.

We are trained to view the world through the lens that there are two groups of people in the world: the oppressed and the oppressors. Gone are the righteous and the unrighteous. Gone are the obedient and the disobedient. Gone are lovers of God and lovers of self.

We are being trained to believe that every way of a man is right in his own eyes. There is no God. There is no righteous and unrighteous…no obedience and disobedience…no right and wrong…only oppression and freedom from oppression.

We are trained to believe that the oppressed can and should set the oppressed free. We are to take what we want. The oppressors (those with whom we disagree) should be shamed, minimized, and extinguished…the target is the oppressive God of the Universe. The oppressed become the oppressors.

We are trained to minimize and remove the personal shame of doing what God hates. We are front and center to the searing of conscience against the common grace of God that restrains us from our own debased minds…the common grace that serves as our natural moral compass, whether we are followers of Jesus or not.

We are trained to set up earthly kingdoms that serve our own personal pleasure, entertainment, and SELF-gratification. We minimize hard work and service to others in order to maximize the pleasure of serving our own flesh.

There was only one wrongly oppressed, righteous Man that can set other oppressed unrighteous men and women free. He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth. It was the will of the Lord to crush Him; He has put Him to grief. For our sake He made Him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, He did not threaten, but continued entrusting Himself to Him who judges justly. He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By His wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

He did not come to set us free from the oppression of wicked men. He did not come to set us free from the judgment of self-righteous men. He did not come to set us free to continue in sin that grace may about. He did not come to minimize the awfulness of sin against His Father. He did not come to redeem sin and make it a matter of selfish pride. He came to set us free from our bondage to sin. He came to set the captive free. He did not come to redeem sin. He came to redeem the sinner from their prison of sin.

Searching

Every single person seeks meaning for their life. All of us go through life searching for something. Perhaps we long to be loved, or accepted, or seen for who we really are. Maybe we yearn to understand who we are ourselves, and why we’re here on this Earth. We desire to be closer to our God and creator, even if we aren’t aware of it. We have this desire for meaning because this is how God has made us. And it is only his meaning which fulfills our searching. “You have made us O Lord for yourself, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in you,” as St Augustine famously put it.

What am I searching for in this season of my life? What am I longing for?

Loving Father, I ask You to light the path of my friends who don’t yet know Jesus. Help them to find You, even if they’re not fully aware that, ultimately, You are the One that they are looking for.

Father, help me to live this day to the full, being true to You, in every way.

Jesus, help me to give myself away to others, being kind to everyone I meet.

Spirit, help me to love the lost, proclaiming Christ in all I do and say.

Amen.

A Question

Why is it that some find freedom, joy, and celebration in the teachings of Jesus, the Prophets, and the Apostles and yet others find condemnation, judgment, and misery in the same Words?

I believe it’s all in our response to those Words.

I am set free to live as God designed me when I am convicted by His teachings about how the desires of my flesh offend the character and person of my Creator. I find joy in the fact that Jesus bore my sin in His own body on the cross so that I might die to sin and live to righteousness – to be zealous for what is good. I celebrate that He reveals the selfishness and sinfulness of my heart and actions and THEN redeems me from my wicked captor, reconciles me to Himself, regenerates and restores me to once again live as He designed me. I am ELATED that He wants to purify me for Himself (meaning, remove the impurities), a people for his own possession who is zealous for good works.

Those who choose to see these teachings as condemning, judgmental and hateful do so because they choose self-righteousness as king instead of Jesus as King and Savior. They choose denial, deflection, and rationalization over confession, repentance, and allegiance. They choose indulgence over obedience. They choose self over sacrifice.

If Jesus is calling me to repentance, I am running into His arms, not away from Him. I’ve seen the kingdom built by my own hands and I deeply await the blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our Great God and Savior Jesus Christ.

For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, [12] training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, [13] waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, [14] who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. [15] Declare these things; exhort and rebuke with all authority. Let no one disregard you. Titus 2:11-15 ESV

Treasures and Passions

We make time for the things that we treasure.

For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. Luke 12:34

Where we leverage and invest what God has entrusted to us – our family, our time, our money, our possessions – will always point to our true passions.

Colossians 3:1-4 ESV

[1] If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. [2] Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. [3] For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. [4] When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

Philippians 3:7-10,18-20 ESV

[7] But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. [8] Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ [9] and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith- [10] that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, [18] For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. [19] Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. [20] But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,

Matthew 6:31-34 ESV

[31] Therefore do not be anxious, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' [32] For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. [33] But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. [34] "Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

Check Your Heart

It is NOT wrong to have a concern or even a preference – whether it’s taste, climate, comfort, etc. What is offensive to our Creator is to whom and HOW we express it.

Some are passive-aggressive.

Some are sarcastic.

Some just exaggerate.

Some prefer to engender and manipulate “sides” for or against.

Some talk to people who can do nothing about the problem.

Some just gripe and complain.

Check your heart first. Are you being self-centered/self-absorbed OR is this something that can really adversely affect multiple people and God has ordained you to be the advocate of positive change?

Take it to the Lord second. Ask His Spirit to check your heart, to give you wisdom and discernment. Ask Him to surround you with truth and to fill you with compassion and consideration.

Third, if you have peace from the Holy Spirit, go to the person who is responsible and/or has the authority to make the change that you believe is necessary and engage them with honor, dignity and respect.

The goal – that the Lord God Almighty be Glorified through it all.

Misplaced Priorities

Sometimes we tell ourselves (and others) that our lives are so much more busy, crazy, important, tough, tragic, _______ than that of others (fill in the blank with your own adjectives).

As image-bearers of God and followers of Jesus, we’re all gifted with the same number of minutes in an hour, hours in a day, days in a week, weeks in a month, etc. We have the same basic needs, are designed by the same Creator, and have been given the same basic mission in life – to glorify God in all that we do. We all face various difficulties, challenges, and hardships – some due to our own failures and some because we live in a broken world cursed by sin. We all have access to the same sufficiency of grace, the same power in our time of weakness.

It’s our priorities that are different.

It’s our perspectives that are different.

It’s not that we didn’t HAVE time to do something we should’ve done…it’s that we didn’t take the time to do it because of different and/or misplaced priorities or because we’re trying to fit something in that He never desired for us.

It’s not that our problems are worse than others…it’s that we place higher values on OUR struggles and on OUR desired outcomes. We place less value on the One who offers to bear our burdens with us and less value on the One who is in constant care for and absolute rule over us, for HIS glory and the good of HIS people.

Philippians 4:12-13 ESV

I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. [13] I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 ESV

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. [10] For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

John 3:30 ESV

He must increase, but I must decrease.

Love and Kindness

Love and Kindness, great BIBLICAL words – great BIBLICAL commands – but they have been sorely and grievously redefined by the world.

We as followers of Jesus are instilled with the Spirit of love and Truth and are commanded to love and show kindness to one another without accepting, approving, or embracing the desires of the flesh, the desires of the eyes, or the pride of life. However, the culture in which we live is trying to tell us that to not accept, approve and embrace these things of the world is to be unloving and unkind. We are told that to express opposition to the desires of the flesh, the desires of the eyes, and the pride of life is to be hateful and judgmental.

I know that there is a lot of real HATE, dishonor, and disrespect spewed toward God’s created masterpiece, both male and female who bear His image. It comes from all sides, even from image bearers who claim to be “christian”. This ought not to be so. This grieves the Lord just as much as the desires of the flesh, the desires of the eyes, and the pride of life.

There are also people who foolishly believe a sovereign all-knowing God would give them a pass to do what violates His Holy nature. Others wrongly believe they can practice unholy behavior because He doesn’t understand civilized society.

These passages do not contradict one another. If you think that they do, take a deeper look.

1 John 2:15-17 ESV

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. [16] For all that is in the world— the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life— is not from the Father but is from the world. [17] And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

1 John 4:7-11 ESV

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. [8] Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. [9] In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. [10] In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. [11] Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

Isaiah 5:20-21 ESV

Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! [21] Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and shrewd in their own sight!

Isaiah 55:8-9 ESV

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. [9] For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

My Burden To Our Burden

Galatians 6:2 ESV Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

When a burden is shared, it is halved. When a joy is shared, it is doubled.

When you come alongside me and genuinely share my burden, there will certainly be empathy, grief and maybe even tears.

But sharing my burden does not mean that you are drawn to the same depths as me. It doesn’t mean that you groan the same groaning. You don’t take on my burden nor do I pull you into the pit of despair with me. That helps NO ONE.

When you bear my burden, you come alongside me and share it. It is made more bearable…not because you feel as awful as I do, but because you have shouldered some of the suffering…you’ve EASED MY burden because it’s become OUR burden. The burden becomes lighter…it is cut in half.