John 8:32 NKJV – Knowing the truth

And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free

When I was a little boy, one of the things that my dad always demonstrated was that his word meant everything to him. He spoke the truth and being truthful was a part of his character. When dad went to be with the Lord, I was asked by someone what I remember most about my dad. I responded by saying, “He was a man of integrity. He spoke the truth.”

I learned a lot about truth from dad. Telling the truth always was the best course of action. Even if, by telling the truth, you had to pay some price. As a boy, I paid the price a time or two. Well, more than two. Dad led by integrity and respect. Mom led by the “yardstick”. Come to think of it, we had LOTS of yardsticks at home. You know, the one’s you could get at the hardware store. I called it a 36 inch ruler. Mom was the disciplinarian and called it her attitude adjuster.

Learning that truth is important helped me quite a bit growing up. But then, something happened. I began to see that truth wasn’t as important as I was taught. I saw in the world around me that truth could be manipulated and somehow work to your advantage. You might be able to defer or postpone paying the price. I saw it on TV.   I saw it in government. I saw it in business. I saw it in people. It affected me. I, too, would learn, to manipulate truth. Am I proud of that statement? Not at all. But I’m being truthful.

I found that I could hide pretty much anything I wanted from those around me. I learned to play the game, to be an actor and people believed me. Not cool. Thinking back at those times I didn’t even remember what dad worked so hard at trying to get me to understand. Being a man of integrity was everything.

Those times in my life are not something that I rejoice in. I remember those times as a way of understanding of how much God has done in my life. I have hurt a lot of people along the way with selfishness, self-pride, and deceit. And I have asked and received God’s forgiveness for those sins. I also have returned to those I have hurt and sought their forgiveness.

When I called upon the Name of Jesus and asked Him to come into my heart and be my Savior, I was set free. Free from sin and guilt and shame for my past sins. I was brought into His way, His truth, and His life. And I have learned that truth is everything. That truth sets you free. I don’t manipulate it any longer. I promote it in the things I do. I am not perfect and sometimes I still fail. But instead of accepting being less than truthful, I seek the Truth again and He forgives me. When I pray, I lay it all down before Jesus. I speak the truth that is on my heart. In prayer, we need to not try to hide anything. There’s no sense in that. God knows all things. But He also waits for us to speak to Him in truth. When I spend time with the Lord, I want nothing to stand between us. I want nothing to hinder our relationship.

My past is painful to look back on. I was pretty messed up. But now I’m free. The chains and the shackles are broken. Being a man of integrity means a lot to me. Being a man of God is everything to me.

Dear Lord, thank You for Your forgiveness. Thank You for the Truth. Your truth. The truth of Your Word which has set me free. Continue Your work in my life so that I can demonstrate the Truth of Jesus Christ to everyone I encounter. Guard me and protect me from the lack of truth in this world. May all I say and do give glory to Your Name. In Jesus Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

Proverbs 4:20-22 NKJV – Give attention to what you are hearing

“My son, give attention to my words; Incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them depart from your eyes; Keep them in the midst of your heart; For they are life to those who find them, And health to all their flesh.”

When I was a boy we lived in the suburbs. Just outside the “Big City”, in a neighborhood that was quiet and peaceful. There were kids of my age all around town. We all grew up in the same kind of house and we all went to the same school. Mom would give us a little more freedom in this place than what she gave us in the city. Back then she felt at ease. We could play just about anywhere outside we wanted, but when mom called we needed to be able to hear her.

You see, mom wanted us to give attention that she had something to say to us. She had a message to deliver to us verbally. From the front porch. As loudly as she could she would call, “George and Carl. It’s time to come home.” When I heard mom’s voice, I’d have to head for home. My brother and I knew we had to get going. It was probable dinner time. Mom cared for us to call us back home to be fed and to settle in for the night.

Mom had other words that spoke directly to us. Especially when we weren’t as good as we could have been. My brother and I would get into trouble. But when mom said, “Wait until your father gets home” we were shaken.

God’s Word is something worth hearing. God’s Word has something to say. We must give attention. God’s Word has a message for us. God’s Word cares for us. God’s Word is given for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. To take heed. To learn and to keep close to our hearts. God’s Word is a road map to us for everything we face. God’s Word is our lifeline. It’s a lamp to our feet; a light to our path. Without God’s Word, we are blind. God’s Word will bring us back home God’s Word will feed us. And God’s Word will shake us up. Hallelujah!

Thank You God, for Your Word. Help us set aside the things that keep us from hearing You and keep us from Your Word. Teach us Lord; instruct us Lord, in Your Word. May we walk in Your ways as a result. Light up our path, Lord. So that we remain on the narrow path. Bring us back home and shake us up, Lord. In Jesus Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!

Deuteronomy 28:13 – Am I looking ahead or am I looking back?

And the Lord will make you the head and not the tail; you shall be above only, and not be beneath, if you heed the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you today, and are careful to observe them.

Obedience to the Lord will bring you blessings. That’s a powerful promise. This is a covenant promise given to Moses by God and a gift to the children of Israel if they chose the blessing. God would make them “above and not beneath”. The blessing included personal blessings, family blessings, national blessings, and the favor of God which can be described as the fountain of all blessings. Or the curse which would have real effects like utter ruin and destruction.

You see, we all have a choice. Either we choose the blessing or we choose the curse. It seems like a simple choice on face value, doesn’t it? Who wouldn’t want to choose the blessing? Especially, the blessings of God. But what if you didn’t know for sure what the blessings of God were or the world on face value seems too good to pass up. Hey, we’ve all been there. I’m not trying to be preachy here. But, I’ll be transparent, I still make bad choices. Hopefully, not as many, but I mess up.

When I first heard this Scripture passage, I likened God’s promise this way: I would always rather be “The head and not the tail” because I wanted to always know where I was going instead of seeing where I’ve been. Ya know what I mean? God’s plan for you is absolutely filled with blessings, and favor, and abundance. He promises, 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.” (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV) And God is leading the way. All we need to be is obedient and choose wisely.

Jim Cymbala, in his book, “Breakthrough Prayer” he says, “Do you know that in addition to describing God as Creator, Comforter, and King, the Bible also calls Him “the Hearer of Prayer”. This is the sweetest yet least known descriptions of the Lord in Scripture. “O You who hear prayer, To You all flesh will come”. Or, more literally, “Hearer of Prayer, to you all men will come.” (Psalm 65:2 NKJV)”

Jim also points out that, “Many of us fail to call on God because we don’t understand the need to pray about something God has already promised to you.”

So you see, you have a great promise given to you in Deuteronomy 28:13 that obedience to the Lord will bring you blessings. And another great promise, that God promises to prosper you and give you hope and a future. And finally, God promises to hear your prayers. So I ask you, can you take some time in prayer this week and pray the promises of God for yourself, your family, your friends, your co-workers, and even your enemies? Why not start out with thanking God for His promises and begin to believe and speak truth into your life and the lives of others from the promises of His Word.

Heavenly Father. Thank You for being the Hearer of Prayer and for establishing a plan for each of us that is filled with blessings. Help us to remain obedient, always looking toward your promises that give life. Protect us and help us turn away from the shallow promises of the world that cause us to look back and do not give life, but take it away. Build a hedge of protection around our family, our friends, our neighbors and co-workers against the schemes of the enemy. Help us understand how much You love us and desire to bless us. And Lord, bless our enemies so that they may understand that their hope lies in You Lord. Use us Lord to be a lighthouse to them. In Jesus Name. AMEN

Don’t believe me, believe God!

Psalm 119:105 NKJV – The Lamp, the Light, the Path, the Way

Your word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path.

I have always been a firm believer in having enough light to do whatever I need to do. What I mean to say is, enough light so that whatever you are working on is clearly illuminated OR there needs to be enough light in the room in the evening so that as you traverse between rooms there isn’t the spine tingling sound when someone has just stubbed their toe.

I remember when we first were married, my wife and I each tried to settle in and learn each other’s idiosyncrasies. We wanted to learn what made each of us “tick”. So we watched each other, listened to one another, and then finally gathered enough information so that we could feel somewhat comfortable in any circumstance together. But there is still one thing that I just can’t figure out. You see, my wife can work and walk and cook and do just about anything in the lowest light possible. She said when she was growing up, there wasn’t any light turned on that wasn’t absolutely necessary. I, on the other hand, believe the more light there is, the better. So one thing led to another, and we have night lights placed in strategic locations around the house to help ME see and to keep ME from having an accident. I know this may sound like a lot of joking around, but seriously, light is beneficial.

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God’s Word promises to be the lamp and light we need to clearly see. Clearly see what you may ask? It illuminates that which we cannot see by ourselves. God’s Word shows us what is amiss, it directs us in our work and in our way, and without it the world would even be darker. It is a lamp which we may take up ourselves and carry for our own use. It must not only be a light unto our eyes, but also a light unto our feet and our path to direct us.

The cool thing that came to my mind while writing this is that it’s God’s Light. His Word. The illumination coming from it cannot be measured. The Glory of God resides in it. Hallelujah!!! Now that’s what I call a well-lit path.

Heavenly Father, thank You for Your Word which brings light into a dark, dark world. Thank You that I can carry this Lamp and use this Light to instruct me, to guide me, to teach me, to restore me, to encourage me. Help me show others Your Light in my life so that they too, can follow the path that You have designed for them. In Jesus Name. AMEN

Don’t believe me, believe God!

1 Corinthians 1:9 NKJV – Never give up! (Part 2)

God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Back in March of this year, I wrote about this Scripture and the faithfulness of God. That we must never give up and turn our eyes upon Jesus. We can face the future with absolute confidence that God will order our steps and He will bring us back when we wander off on our own.

Today, I write with a little different point of view. Sometimes we face situations, circumstances, or even just life that causes us to doubt our existence; our ability to stand firm in it. Even worse to stand firm in the promises of God. Simply put we lack confidence that God will do what He says He will do. But confidence actually originates from God. Confidence does not originate in us. We cannot be confident in anything outside a relationship with God. God is unchanging and faithful. “For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.” (2 Timothy 1:12 NKJV)

I don’t know what you are facing. I don’t know the circumstances you look at each day. And I don’t know if I can convince anyone to trust in God. But I know this. God’s Word is the truth and through it, you will be set free. “Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” (John 8:31-32 NKJV) God and His Word are a trustworthy foundation for life because He speaks the truth and is utterly reliable and consistent in His character, His revelation of Himself, His promises and His pronouncements.

The gospel cannot be subscribed to half-heartedly or in part; it must be either accepted or rejected. The gospel calls for a positive response. “For Moses writes about the righteousness which is of the law, “The man who does those things shall live by them.” But the righteousness of faith speaks in this way, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down from above) or, “‘Who will descend into the abyss?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:5-13 NKJV) So I guess the choice is yours. To believe or not believe. If you choose to believe, you will find understanding and confidence in God’s Word so that you can repeat what Jesus said, “Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done.” (Matthew 21:21 KJV)

Friend, I really don’t know what your mountain is, but you can’t give up. Turn toward God and His Word, Jesus. Set your eyes on Him and the promises of His Word. Let God’s Word transform you, encourage you, strengthen you, enlighten you, give you hope and peace. Your struggle may be insurmountable. But with Jesus, nothing is impossible. “But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, with men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26 KJV)   Call upon Him, and He will walk with you and your circumstance will be under His power and authority.

Heavenly Father, You are faithful. Your Word is the truth and we can place our complete trust in it. Nothing is impossible with You. Father, help us to see our circumstances and our situations with Your eyes of faith. Father, help us to stand firm in the face of uncertainty and say, “I will not give up for God is with me”. Teach us the truth in Your Word and may it reside in the center of our hearts. For Your Glory and Honor. In Jesus Name. AMEN.

Don’t believe me, believe God!