Truth Be Told

Know the truth

truth-257160_1280In order to know the truth, we need to listen to the truth.  We need to read the truth.  So, how do we know when we are getting the truth?  We get the truth when we listen to God.  We can listen to God’s truth by reading the Bible.  “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.” John 17:17  We can also listen to God’s truth through his Holy Spirit.  “I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it through the Holy Spirit—” Romans 9:1

Yes, the Holy Spirit speaks to us through our conscience.  The problem is that we hear a lot of other voices too.  The Casting Crowns song “Voice Of Truth” captures this idea well…

But the voice of truth tells me a different story
And the voice of truth says, “Do not be afraid!”
And the voice of truth says, “This is for My glory”
Out of all the voices calling out to me
I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth

Having knowledge of the truth can change our lives.  Imagine being an expectant mother and having little understanding about the life of a child in the womb.  Imagine not being convinced that unborn children are living beings.  Imagine what it would be like to consider aborting your unborn child in part because you were told that your child is just a fetus.  Then you read God’s word and the psalmist declares that there is life in the womb.  And not only is there life, but there is wisdom and understanding.  “Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb; you taught me wisdom in that secret place.” Psalm 51:6

Tell the truth

From a young age my father taught me to always tell the truth.  Of course, I failed at being honest all of the time.  However, telling the truth was a well known expectation that my father had for me.  That expectation gave me a sense of love.  My dad wanted to be able to trust me.  He also wanted me to have integrity for my own benefit and for the benefit of others. “A truthful witness saves lives, but a false witness is deceitful.” Proverbs 14:25

Our heavenly father wants us to tell the truth. “An honest witness tells the truth, but a false witness tells lies.” Proverbs 12:17  God wants us to speak the truth in love so that we can grow to be more like him. “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.” Ephesians 4:15

One way to know that we are telling the truth is when we give God the glory, instead of seeking glory for ourselves.  “Whoever speaks on their own does so to gain personal glory, but he who seeks the glory of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him.” John 7:18

Live the truth

When we are deceitful, it is almost like we hide from God.  When we lie or believe a lie, it is almost like we temporarily remove ourselves from God’s presence.  Believing in or telling half-truths, myths and lies are all traps from the enemy and are not pleasing to God.  “But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger.” Romans 2:8

The freedom experienced in believing and telling God’s truth removes so much pressure.  Once you know the truth, you will have freedom from the stress of constantly covering things up.  “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” John 8:32

Once you have that freedom you should have a greater desire to live your life in accordance with God’s word.  Live out God’s truth in your life, so that other people will see his love shine through you.  What lies are holding you captive?  What truths can set you free?

Love God and Love Your Neighbor

Jesus summarized the entire law

stroller-502934_1280A Pharisee once asked Jesus, which is the greatest commandment in the law.  Jesus summarized the Ten Commandments when he replied… “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-40

Yes, it is that simple

Our world is broken, because of sin.  However, we would be a whole lot better off if we would obey these two commands…

  1. Love God! 
  2. Love your neighbor!

In order to love God, you need to know God.  You need to have a relationship with him.  Have you given your life to Jesus?  If not, maybe today is your chance to do just that.  Call to him.  He is there, waiting for you.  “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.” Revelation 3:20

Who is God calling you to love today?  You know there is someone in your life that you haven’t loved recently.  Make today the day to show them how much you love them.  Or maybe it isn’t someone you even know all that well.  Maybe today is the day to show a random act of kindness in demonstration of God’s love.  Show someone else that God loves them.  “We love because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19

Love your enemy

Neighbors can be friends or they can be enemies.  In comparison to loving your enemy, it is easy to love the ones that love you back.  What is extremely difficult to do is love those who hate you.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’  But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” Matthew 5:43-45

Have you prayed for an enemy of yours lately?  I mean a sincere, loving prayer.  Have you done that?  I know I need to.  God gives life to all of us.  Maybe you can give some life to someone who really needs it today.  Jesus did!

Stop Trying to Predict the End of the World

The end is near

fireball-422746_1280It is becoming more and more popular these days for people to predict the end of the world.  Some Christians have recently predicted the worlds end as well.  Many Christians believe that we are in the end times.  And those Christians are correct.  We are in the end times.  However, we have been in the end times for approximately 2,000 years.  The end times began at the first coming of Jesus.  Notice how the author of Hebrews refers to the end times as “these last days” (Hebrews 1:2).  The author clearly acknowledged that they were already in the last days at that time.

The Bible declares that Jesus is coming back soon.  “Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done.” Revelation 22:12

Our understanding of God’s time is limited, so the meaning of the word soon in this context is not easily grasped.  “But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.” 2 Peter 3:8

What does God’s word mean by soon?  Does soon mean a day, a week, a month, a year, a century?  It doesn’t seem likely that the word soon is referring to a specific length of time in this instance, since it has been almost 2,000 years since the book of Revelation was written.  We do know that God’s word describes Jesus’ return as a sudden occurrence.  “For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.” Matthew 24:27

Sign of the times

During the Olivet prophecy (Matthew 24), Jesus declared that there would be signs of the end times.  He said there would be wars, famines and earthquakes.  He said that wickedness would increase and the love of most will grow cold.  Why did he give us such generic signs that have occurred throughout history?  It is popular among Christians to believe that he gave us those signs so that we could know when he is returning.  Although, doesn’t that belief contradict the Bible, “…It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.” Acts 1:7

There are more specific biblical prophecies that have already occurred or will come true in the future, but even those prophecies do not give us a specific time table for the end.  Jesus wasn’t trying to give us a secret code to figure out the time of his return.  Jesus was telling us that his coming could happen at any time so that we could be prepared.  The truth is that there is no secret code in the Bible that tells us when the end of the world will be.  There is no way for us to know for sure when the end of the world will be, so we would be wise to stop speculating.

Harming our testimony

What do Pat Robertson, Hal Lindsey, and Harold Camping all have in common?  At some point in their lives they professed Christ and later they failed miserably at predicting the end of the world.  Why would anyone want to follow Christ after hearing a professed Christian wrongly predict the end of the world?  I certainly wouldn’t if I were in that position and I wouldn’t blame anyone else for not doing so.  Falsely predicting a future event is a form of deception and is as much a sin as lying is. 

As Christians, our testimony can be devastated by false claims.  God’s word clearly states that no one knows when the end will be.  “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” Matthew 24:36

We should spend our time loving God and loving our neighbor.  We should spend our time doing the good that God has prepared in advance for us.  There is no biblical reasoning for predicting the end of the world, but there is a biblical reason to be ready for it.  “So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.” Matthew 24:44

Why the U.S. Constitution Still Works

The forgotten governing authority

As citizens of this nation, the U.S. Constitution is our governing authority.  Therefore, according to God’s word, we are called to be subject to it.  “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.” Romans 13:1

Yes, God established the Constitution as our governing authority.  Why does it seem that so few Christians understand this simple truth?  When speaking to other Christians about our governing authorities, I am surprised at how many of them believe that the President is our governing authority.  Have we forgotten that the executive, legislative and judicial branches are all subservient to the Constitution?

It is almost like the Constitution is this forgotten document that used to mean something and all of the sudden, the President is King.  Is the Constitution dead?  As Lee Corso would say, “not so fast my friend”.  Despite the government’s disdain for following the Constitution, there is evidence to suggest that it is still alive.

First of all, we still have freedom.  Yes, many of our freedoms have been lessened or eliminated.  However, we still enjoy many freedoms that most nations couldn’t even begin to understand.  Secondarily, even the President acknowledges the existence of the Constitution every now and then.  In his most recent inauguration he said, “Each time we gather to inaugurate a president, we bear witness to the enduring strength of our Constitution”.  Congress still debates the constitutionality of law.  And court decisions are still made based on that rule of law.  Despite all of the lawlessness occurring in our nation, the Constitution is still our governing authority.

Why our nation is struggling

First and foremost, we have turned our backs on God.  The Constitution was made for people who have a relationship with God.  John Adams said, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”  We must remember that, “Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain…” Psalm 127:1

We have turned our backs on the rule of law.  This nation was entrusted to the people and we have not fulfilled that great responsibility.  Many of us have given up.  Maybe we don’t think God is big enough.  Maybe we think that he doesn’t care.  Either way, I believe that our own apathy towards government is part of the reason for the problems we face in our nation.  The more we turn away, the worse it gets.

We have believed the lie that the Constitution is a “living document”.  The “living document” argument is a distortion of the truth that some government officials use to ignore or alter the rule of law.  The meaning of the Constitution was never meant to change.  By accepting the “living document” lie, we have given our government a license to abuse the rule of law.  The founding fathers believed that the Constitution should be strictly adhered to and so should we.

Why the Constitution works

Here are five reasons why the U.S. Constitution works for our nation when it is followed…

  1. It allows us to worship God as individuals in our own unique ways
  2. It was written by men who acknowledged God as a higher authority than government
  3. It reinforces the God given rights we already have
  4. It helped allow our nation experience a greater amount of freedom than any other nation before
  5. It separates the powers of government into three branches to prevent abuse

We have forgotten that one of the greatest rewards of liberty is the freedom to worship God.  Our Constitutional form of government has allowed for that liberty and we have taken it for granted.  With God’s help, rescuing the Constitution would be a big step towards our nation’s recovery.

Of course, sharing the Gospel and living as Christ teaches, are the most effective ways to renew hope for our nation.  However, holding our leaders accountable to the Constitution will also go a long way to restoring hope in the land of the free.