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!

John 14:6 NKJV – Which way, what truth, whose life

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

This is a powerful and strong affirmation that Jesus Christ alone is the way of salvation. To even imagine or proclaim any other way is simply misleading people and forgets the necessity of His coming and redemption. (John 1:4 NKJV)

The world will try to convince us that we can only live as best as we can live and that there is little else we can do. That through our acts of kindness and thoughtfulness to humanity, we can feel secure that we’ve placed our mark on this world. Our legacy rests on being a good and loving person.

Well, that’s one opinion and I simply don’t align with that opinion. My belief rests in the truth and the knowledge of God’s eternal Word that also says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16 NKJV) Certainly, the attributes of Jesus Christ includes being kind and thoughtful. But if we live a life that relies on just this, without the power of God’s Holy Spirit living in us, we are falling fatally short. The things of this world are temporary. We see proof of that each and every day. It’s called disappointment. It happens every day in the life we lead in this world because the world is flawed.

Do I face disappointment being a believer in Jesus Christ? Yes, I do. But I am never disappointed in Jesus. He is where my strength and my absolute trust lie. It’s the world that disappoints me. People disappoint me. Things disappoint me. But God never disappoints me. That’s a lot to believe for someone who doesn’t have a relationship with Jesus like I do or cannot believe because God just isn’t a part of their life right now. I know how that feels. I was in that place as well. And I was disappointed when I lived outside of Christ. I thought I had it all together, but life and this world disappointed me. I needed to find stability in my life and Jesus brings me that stability. His love and truth and mercy and grace and sustaining strength gives me stability in an unstable and mixed up world. I live in this world, but I am no longer of this world. (1 Corinthians 3:19 NKJV)

How do I keep on keepin on? Prayer. The more I pray, the stronger I become. The more I pray, the more compassionate I become. The more I pray, the wiser I become. The more I pray, the more patient I become. The more I pray, the healthier I become. The more I pray, the happier I become. The more I pray, the more loving I become. The more I pray, the more I prosper. The more I pray, the more clearly I can hear. The more I pray, the more I understand. This list can go on and on. When did I learn to pray? When I chose to put my faith and trust in the blood of Jesus Christ and His saving grace. My point is without Jesus Christ, there is no way.

Nowhere in God’s Holy Word does it say that the way to eternal life is being a good person. Nowhere in God’s Holy Word does it say that the way to eternal life is giving the most to those who need it the most. And it’s in God’s Holy Word that I choose to place my trust. “Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3 NKJV)

What or who will you believe? What is your truth? Which way is your way? What or who defines your life? For me, the answer is Jesus. How about you?

Father, thank You for Jesus. Thank You for sending us Your Son to live and suffer and die for us so that in belief of Him we would have eternal life. Forgive us Father when we think that we can control our life. We can do nothing. It’s only in our belief in Jesus and His shed blood on the cross that we can find assurance of our life with You eternally. Draw us Lord unto to You. In Jesus Name. AMEN

Don’t believe me, believe God!

Romans 8:32 – Our protection is in Him

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

Matthew Henry published the following in his commentary, “The ground of the challenge is God’s being for us; in this he sums up all our privileges. This includes all that God is for us; not only reconciled to us, and so not against us, but in covenant with us, and so engaged for us—all his attributes for us, his promises for us. All that he is, and has, and does, is for his people. He performs all things for them.”

If we believe that God is truth as written in His Word (John 14:6, Psalm 33:4), then we must believe that God is all that He says He is and that we can rely on God’s covering against those things that try to rob us from the truth.

Sometimes when we hear things told to us from others, we respond, “I can’t believe that!” Or we might say, “You’re kidding me.” We respond that way because what we’ve been told might be pretty outrageous and our minds can’t comprehend that it is believable.

But God IS believable. Without question. God is our defender (Psalm 68:5), our protector (Psalm 61:3), our healer (Psalm 103:3), our deliverer (2 Samuel 22:2), our redeemer (Isaiah 47:4), our very present help in time of trouble (Psalm 46:1). He sees all and He knows all and He performs all. We are never out of His sight, His mind, His love, His rescue. God is fully engaged for us every minute of time. When we don’t feel that He is around, He is. (Deuteronomy 31:8) When we sleep, He does not. (Psalm 121:3) When everyone else doesn’t have time for us, God does. (Jeremiah 33:3) God is who He says He is. Our responsibility lies in believing.

Holy God, thank You for the truth of Your Word. That God, You are definitely for us and never against us. We can count on it, Lord, because You are truth. You see all that we face and nothing is a surprise to You. Help us Lord, to believe and not waver. Help us Lord, to know that in every instant of time, You are watching over us. And when we pray Lord, You listen. May we honor You Lord, with our belief. 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!

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!