Month: March 2021

board game spelling "speak truth"

God Never Lies

We’re lied to 10 to 200 times a day, and tell a lie ourselves an average of 1 to 2 times in the same period.” – Pamela Meyer, TED Talk

Jesus called satan the father of lies (John 8:44), and science confirms that humanity is firmly planted in his palm. So, in a world filled with deception, how can we, Christ’s followers, navigate through each day?

My question is not rhetorical. How do you answer when your child tries to teach you things that they learn in school but are lies? How do you instill unwavering trust in God and His Word when the most prevalent media platforms contradict the commands of Christ?

Lies are an obstacle course

Lies are not just an American Ninja Warrior kind of obstacle course for kids. We all are continually attempting to discover truth while being flooded by the firehose of lies spewed forth from secular institutions and media.
Well, I have good news. God never lies.

God, who never lies

Titus 1:2

I know people that believe one of the big lies talked about the Bible: “The Bible is full of contradictions.” I don’t see that. I’ve read the Bible through many times and studied the Bible for, well, let’s just say, a very long time. Nevertheless, if there is something in God’ Word that is a stumbling block to you then be encouraged by Charles Spurgeon:

If I see in God’s Book two truths which I cannot square with one another, I believe them both.

Searchlight on Spurgeon: Spurgeon Speaks for Himself, 73.

You may say, “He was crazy.” No, he knew that God never lies. So, when we are confronted with anything that does not seem to agree with what God’s Word says, then we can rightly stand upon God’s Word. Since we are lied to from 10 to 200 times each day, why would we put our trust in anything that doesn’t align with the Bible? People lie, but we serve the God that never lies!

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash


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pic of a young lamb

Trusting Jesus

Now God tucked away a tiny little phrase in the book of Jeremiah that will become immense within anyone that pauses to absorb what He said. Here’s the verse:
Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD…” – Jeremiah 17:7

Did you catch that? The phrase, whose trust IS the LORD.” How profound is that?! God is so meticulous with His glory (Isaiah 42:8) that even the trust we use to trust in Him, He gives us! Let me say that a different way.

God wants to bless His children, so He blesses us when we put our trust in Him. And the actual “trust” we use IS the LORD; it’s not even our trust. Therefore, two marvelous facts can be seen from this simple truth. We need never fear that we are unable to trust God because He is our “trust.”

1. We need never fear that our trust is insufficient, weak, or lacking for our need because it’s not our trust.

2. God, Himself, is in whom we trust, and our trust, itself, is the LORD.

In and By

This truth of God being in and by something can be found in everything. This is truth because Jesus is preeminent in everything:

“For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.  And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.  And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.”

Colossians 1:16-18

Trusting Jesus

Jesus doesn’t want us to worry about our ability to trust Him and He doesn’t intend for us to struggle to trust Him. What He wants is for us to trust Him, regardless of what happens in life. It really is just that simple.

Photo by Rod Long on Unsplash


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A Christian’s Default

I heard someone say, “Do your own thing” is what satan said to Eve! When you think about it, that’s true, and our culture has completely embraced the “just do it” mindset. This mindset is as old as Adam and Eve. What is new in America is the dichotomy between “just do it” and “no, you can’t do that!” If ever humanity was teetering on the brink of mass schizophrenia, it’s now.

Hell is the default

It’s not virtually impossible, it’s actually impossible, to express any idea without multitudes becoming unhinged. Well, here’s a true statement that I read in one of Jennifer Bagnaschi’s blogs:Hell is the default. Heaven is your CHOICE. Jesus is the WAY!” To that, I say, “Amen!”

Hell is the default. Many people have forgotten that not making a decision is a decision. We don’t get a “do-over.” The decisions we make or don’t make in this life will determine how we live for eternity.

A Christian’s default

Despite the chortling and spitting to which we’ve become accustomed, the default for followers of Jesus Christ is the fruit of the Spirit.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23)

If we infuse this fruit into our every thought, conversation, meeting, blogging, tweeting, and facebooking, then you and I can enjoy our life, now, and enjoy our terrific life in heaven. So, why would we choose any other way to live? Let’s not withhold the Spirit. Let’s allow His fruit to sweeten everyone we meet.

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industrial chains

Tacitly Condemn

Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, nor of me his prisoner… (2 Timothy 1:8)

People are crazy

Indeed, God sees something in us that we cannot perceive. Taken as a whole, people are irrational, irresponsible, and insufferable, and those are probably our best qualities! Praise be to God, as believers in Jesus Christ our Lord, the Holy Spirit lives within us, and He works in and through us, progressively transforming us by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2). Yet, even though God lives within us, we struggle to mortify (kill) the deeds of the flesh (Romans 8:13).

Worldly condemnation

Consider second Timothy, verse eight. Paul tells Timothy, his “beloved child (2 Timothy 1:2),” not to be ashamed of him. We know from Romans 8:1 that “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” However, this condemnation concerns God’s condemnation; it’s not a “get out of jail, free” card from worldly condemnation. It is common for people, even Godly people, to condemn brothers or sisters in Christ if a worldly institution condemns them. Unquestionably, Paul wanted to make sure this spirit of condemnation didn’t infect his beloved Timothy.

Tacitly condemn

Several years ago, my family and I were members of a community church. Our congregation consisted of people from a wide range of denominational backgrounds. One couple in our congregation was very active in a Christ-centered ministry to a segment of our society that is often in desperate need of help – I’m being purposely vague. At one point in time, the husband was arrested, not for breaking any government law or ordinance, but for expressing his Biblically grounded beliefs. What surprised me was me. 

I knew this man. I knew he was fulfilling God’s call on his life. Yet, my first thought was that he must have crossed the line. My reaction was to trust the authorities and doubt my Christian brother! I quickly rejected that thought. However, as believers called to participate in Christ’s suffering (1 Peter 4:13), I’ve been concerned that we may tacitly condemn our brothers and sisters when they suffer due to their faith in God.

Let us not be ashamed

Yesterday, I read an article about a group of Christians who live in a village in Nigeria. They have repeatedly been attacked by Boko Haram, which left many widows in their wake. It’s easy for us to side with these Christians because the evil is so easily seen. But do we withhold condemnation for Christians that are accosted or arrested in first-world nations? As we continue to mature in Christ Jesus, I pray that we will be like the apostle Paul and teach Christians not to be ashamed of the chains of brothers and sisters that suffer for Jesus.

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God’s Comfort

Same Comforter

My daughter has Irish twins, that is, she gave birth to two babies less than a year apart; her’s are eleven months apart. They are such a blessing to her family and the grandparents. Of course, many times, the “twins” both need to be comforted at the same time but for different reasons; one has a skinned knee, and the other is sleepy. They have different needs, but they need the same comforter.

As followers of Jesus, we too have different needs at the same time and the same needs at different times, but we all need the same comforter. In Isaiah 51:12, the LORD tells us, “I, even I, am he who comforts you….” Jesus gives us further guidance in John 14:26, “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.

As Christians, I don’t think it’s possible to read the Bible and not know that God loves us, provides for us, heals us, comforts us, and has prepared an eternal home for us. These are all accessible to us if we enter the kingdom of God through faith in God’s Son, Jesus Christ, the King of kings and Lord of lords.

A world of problems

If there were no problems, no hurts, and no pains, there would be no need for comfort, but that’s not the world in which we live. The singer, songwriter, and pastor Andrae Crouch said it this way, “If I never had a problem, I wouldn’t know that God could solve them. I wouldn’t know what faith in God’s Word could do.” I agree with him.

We live in a harsh world but be full of courage and stand firm, for it is the one true God who comforts, defends, and provides for us when we, by the faith God has given us, appropriate God’s promises in His word.

A bit of caution

I do want to provide a few words of caution that we find in the Bible. The first one is found in Mark 11:24-25, where Jesus says, “Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.” and in James 4:3 (NLT) where we find: “And even when you ask, you don’t get it because your motives are all wrong—you want only what will give you pleasure.”  So, if we want God’s comfort, then we must behave like God’s children.

Give comfort

I want to challenge you to not only seek comfort but also to give comfort. I’m sure that many of us fear providing comfort to others, to strangers. However, there’s no reason to worry if these opportunities come from the same God that comforts you. In fact, I have a place for you to start.

When you are at a fast-food drive-thru window, bless the person working there. You’ve got 10, 15 seconds max. Don’t start a conversation, for there’s not enough time for that. Don’t attack them for unsatisfactory service. If it’s true, tell them you like their uniform or thank them for their help. If this fast-food stop is part of your routine, you’ll see them regularly. Let them know you recognize them, learn their name, and say their name when they are helping you. Let them know you appreciate them. Comfort goes both ways.

Prayer

Father, I ask for Your peace. Please save me from foolishness. I know giving comfort is often a challenge. Dear God, my spirit has been made alive through Christ’s work on the cross. Therefore, I will seek out Your promises and hold fast to them. I will remind myself that You said, “I, even I, am he who comforts you…” Thank You for Your comfort and strength so that I have Your peace. In the Name of Jesus of Nazareth, I pray. Amen

Photo by Jelleke Vanooteghem on Unsplash


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Suddenly Jesus

Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings”, he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”

Matthew 28:9-10

Suddenly is a characteristic of Jesus. In the Gospels we often read of Jesus suddenly doing things, like: “When Jesus reached the spot, he looked up and said to him, ‘Zacchaeus, come down immediately. I must stay at your house today.” (Luke 19:1-10)

In an instant, at the call of Jesus, Zacchaeus changed from a greedy person to a philanthropist. When Jesus suddenly does something, He wants us to know that what was before is over, something new now exists. By His power, something has eternally changed.

As Christians, when we pray, we know that Father God loves us (John 16:27) We know we are not here in this world as orphans (John 14:8). We know we’ve been given the Holy Spirit (John 14:16). We know that all authority has been given to Jesus, our Lord (Matthew 28:18). Therefore, we know that, just as with Jeremiah, the triune God (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) is for us and not against us. (Jeremiah 29:11)

Therefore, with this profound knowledge that Jesus is the Son of God, we need to keep our spiritual ears open. We dare not miss Him when He calls us. Only He knows what eternally good intent He has for us!

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Hope That Is in You

but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect

1 Peter 3:15

Real Hope

What an extraordinary life we have as believers in Jesus Christ the Lord! We find in 1 Peter 2:9 that we are a peculiar people, called out of darkness into God’s marvelous light. It’s no wonder that unsaved people are so uncomfortable around us.

Consider today’s text, 1 Peter 3:15. From this verse, we see that real hope, hope built with faith in God (Hebrews 11:1), lives in us. Our hope is not like the hopes we had before we received God’s gift of salvation (2 Peter 3:9, one of my favorite verses).

In our old life, our hopes had no merit. Our hopes deserved nothing, and they never would. They were empty thoughts contrived from what we wanted. Now we’re different; we’ve been transformed from death unto life. The hope that we have has substance; it is deeply rooted in the Rock, Jesus Christ.

Now we’re different

In our old life, our hopes had no merit. Our hopes deserved nothing and were worth nothing; they were empty thoughts contrived from what we wanted. Now we’re different; we’ve been transformed from death unto life. The hope that we have has substance; it is deeply rooted in the Rock, Jesus Christ.

There’s a state park near where I live. It has many hiking trails with varying degrees of difficulty. I’ve often hiked the paths that took me deep into the forest, down into old, narrow crags. In those crags, the trees are fascinating because they are old. Yet, you can see their roots firmly established into the sides of rocks. That’s a picture of the faith that is applied to build our hope.

Hope That Is in You

Our hope is a living hope (1 Peter 1:3-5), for God is living. Our hope is constrained; it only lives in God’s children. Our hope is not wishful thinking but hope that has God’s power behind it and imparts God’s peace into us. Our hope is genuine, not ginned-up emotions. Our hope brings God into needs.

So, the next time someone asks you, “What makes you think something good is going to happen?” make a compassionate, respectful defense of your life in Jesus and our living hope. It will bring joy to you and good news to your audience!

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Portrait of a couple in love

Withstanding Compromise

Husbands have a knack for frustrating wives. I heard the story of a sweet little girl that visited a Sunday School class. To start the class, the teacher asked if anyone had a favorite Bible verse. The girl quickly raised her hand. Feeling so pleased, the teacher asked her if she could quote the verse. She said, “‘Curse God and die!’ That’s the verse Mommy tells Daddy when Mommy gets mad.”

Yes, Job 2:9 states, Then his wife said to him, ‘Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die.’” But Job refused. Job’s life demonstrates to us the value of not yielding to the pressure to compromise Truth. For His children, God will take our mess, our pain, our most profound disappointments, and He will make something good out of them.

Our faith must be firmly grounded in Jesus Christ, our Lord. When it is, then we can rest in Romans 8:28And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

Job’s faith in God cost him everything

If we had lived during Job’s lifetime, we might have come upon him during his time of testing. If so, we would have found him sitting in a pile of ashes while scraping off boils that covered his whole body. He probably would have been crying because of the murder of his children and their families. He also lost all his earthly possessions, and his friends called him a sinner and said he deserved all his troubles!

Perhaps more painful than these troubles, his wife, the person that knew him better than anyone else, decided he was a fool for standing firm in his faith in God. How completely devastating her statement must have been to Job. Nevertheless, Job withstood all the troubles that satan poured out on him. He would die but never yield. He would not compromise.

Withstanding compromise

Right now, in our world, we are approaching a tipping point. The evil to come will be as ubiquitous as the evil before Noah and the flood (Matthew 24:37). We must not think the way worldly people want us to think. We must not act the way worldly people want us to act. Those of us who put our trust in God must remain in God – “Anyone who does not remain in me is thrown away like a useless branch and withers. Such branches are gathered into a pile to be burned. (John 15:6 NLT)” 

God has drawn a circle around His people. He has told us to “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. (Ephesians 5:15-16)” Those that are in God’s house are His, and those that are not are not His. In or out, there is no other place. 

The good news

We cannot be of the world and be reconciled to God. We must come out and be entirely His. Salvation through Jesus is the only way to be reconciled to God. Both the one who makes people holy and those who are made holy are of the same family. So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters(Hebrews 2:11 NIV)”

The good news is that, as we withstand the pressures of the world to compromise, our love for Jesus and our love for others grows intimate and purer. Take comfort in Psalms 16:1-2:

Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.
I say to the Lord, “You are my Lord;
    I have no good apart from you.”

Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash

danger high voltage sign

Disruptive, Destructive, Dangerous

To be a follower of Jesus Christ requires that we receive the whole gospel of Jesus Christ. If each word of Jesus were a single piece to a puzzle, then it would be impossible to have a complete picture of Jesus if we only chose the puzzle pieces that formed the outer edge of the image. Likewise, for us to recognize our Savior and be equipped to tell His good news to others, we need to know all the pieces; we need a complete picture of our Lord Jesus Christ.

When we consider all the words of Jesus, we see Jesus accurately, and perhaps, differently than who we expect. So, let’s looks at three attributes of Jesus that are rarely found in His puzzle picture.

Disruptive

Jesus the Messiah came to the Jews in a way they did not expect. Jesus fulfilled every aspect of the Messianic prophecies. But He came so differently than their traditions taught that the leaders rejected Him.

His ministry disrupted the Jews and set the Jewish leaders against their people.

Then the leading priests and the older Jewish leaders had a meeting at the palace where the high priest lived. The high priest’s name was Caiaphas. In the meeting they tried to find a way to arrest and kill Jesus without anyone knowing what they were doing. They planned to arrest Jesus and kill him. They said, “We cannot arrest Jesus during Passover. We don’t want the people to become angry and cause a riot.”Matthew 26:3-5

And this disruptive attribute of the Gospel is carried on in Christ’s Apostles and on down through us. For example, when Paul was in Ephesus:

About that time there arose no little disturbance concerning the Way [the Gospel of Jesus]. (Acts 19:23)So the city was filled with the confusion, and they rushed together into the theater, dragging with them Gaius and Aristarchus, Macedonians who were Paul’s companions in travel. (Acts 19:29)

Destructive

Everywhere the Gospel of Jesus Christ is preached, His Gospel overthrows false religions. Jupiter, Juno, Mars, Mercury, Neptune, Venus, Apollo, Diana, Minerva, Ceres, Vulcan, and Vesta were the Roman gods worshipped throughout the Roman empire. But, after three-hundred years of Rome’s torture of Christians, the empire changed to a “Christian” empire.

The gospel of Jesus destroyed Roman gods, making them nothing more than myths and characters in old movies.

However, the destructiveness of the gospel of Jesus Christ is not limited to false deities. His gospel is destructive to families. This aspect of the gospel has always been the case, but only recently have we seen this in America.

Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a person’s enemies will be those of his own household. Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me…Matthew 10:34-37

Dangerous

Being a follower of Jesus is dangerous. God freely gives salvation, but to receive, we must give Him our all – Jesus must be Lord of our lives. Living in Jesus doesn’t deliver us from problems. He calls us to travel paths that may result in the loss of all our possessions, the loss of our freedom, and even the loss of our lives.

Strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God. Acts 14:22

Disruptive, Destructive, and Dangerous

The message of Jesus is good news. He came from heaven, wrapped Himself in the flesh of man, and proclaimed the Word of God from Isaiah 61:1-2:

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
    because he has anointed me
    to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
    and recovering of sight to the blind,
    to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

However, these words are just the border of the picture of Jesus which God gave us in the New Testament. We need to know and communicate Jesus accurately and completely, “rightly handling the word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15)

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Rear view of a RCMP viewing horses

Dudley Do-Right

Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. 1 John 3:18

Do-Right

About a hundred years ago, maybe more, back when I was a kid, I used to watch a cartoon called Dudley Do-right.Dudley Do-Right is a dim-witted, but conscientious and cheerful Canadian Mountie who is always trying to catch his nemesis, Snidely Whiplash, and rescue damsel in distress Nell Fenwick, his boss’s daughter, with whom Dudley is deeply infatuated.” – Wikipedia

I thought of Dudley this morning as I was praying. Hey, we all have our quirks! Anyway, as I was praying, I asked Jesus to help me to “do right and not sin against Him.” That’s when Dudley popped into my brain. But he got me thinking, as followers of Jesus, do we fear how others perceive us?

Don’t fear Dudley

We may not tell anyone that we fear how others perceive us. We may not even be aware that we suppress a fear of being a Goody Two-Shoes or a Dudley Do-Right. Pause a moment if you would. Ask yourself, “Am I afraid of being perceived as too-good or coming across as haughty?

I’ll answer for myself: There was a time when this fear was a daily battle for me. My heart condemned me. I represent Jesus to people. Is it right to be thought of as a do-gooder, a holier than thou person, a dim-witted, conscientious, cheerful, Dudley Do-Right?

Impress Jesus

So, let me save you a few decades of introspection; the only person we need to impress is Jesus. God’s Word in 1 John 3:19-20 says, By this we shall know that we are of the truth and reassure our heart before him; for whenever our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and he knows everything.

From 1 John 3:19-20, we learn that we need to use our energy to pleased God and stay in the right relationship with Him. “The Word of God which acquits us must prevail over the word of our hearts that condemns us. (RSB Study Note)

Be conspicuous

So, go ahead. Be a proud Dudley Do-Right, a conspicuous Goody Two-Shoes, a “foolish” do-gooder. These characteristics far exceed those of the chilled, witty children of the world.

Photo by Bryton Udy on Unsplash


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