Truth or Lie

Do you hear all the rumors? Do you listen to them and believe them? Do you spread false rumors, whether knowingly or unknowingly? Are you worrying about things that are out of your control? Are you looking for relief, peace, and calm?

We hear more false rumors and half-truths than we recognize every day. We see them spread across the various social media platforms. Our gullibility contributes to the spread of them. We have lost the concept of not repeating something unless we have verified it or have full trust in the person we heard it from.

I remember being raised as a child to not lie. Yet, false rumors are just that—a lie. Our politically correct culture won’t call them that, but that’s what they are. That means we are lying when we repeat them. Do we want to be known as a liar?

We can control our reputation. If we don’t want to be known as a liar, if we want to be a trusted advisor, we must stop lying, stop repeating false rumors. Unfortunately, far too many of us like to hear the gossip and speculate about the rumors. We want to postulate and expound on these false rumors—as long as they don’t personal affect us.

We are called by Jesus to not be deceived. What does that mean? It means we are called to verify what we are being told, what we read. You may be wondering how to do that. Well, my friend, science has a wonderful process. Scientists test and retest. They require multiple sources to verify the point being made before it is trusted as being true.

If each one of us are verifying what we hear and read, we will discover the truth. Of course, that means we will either knowingly lie, or we will state the truth. It will be our choice, just as it is our choice to go about our lives blindly or seek the truth.

Jesus tells us there will be a whole lot of upheaval in this world, and that is just the beginning of birth pains. It is nowhere near the end. There is a long life ahead. He also states that no one knows when the end will come. Perhaps we should listen to His truth and stop listening to the false rumors going around.

I pray we all verify what we hear and read. I pray we seek the truth. I pray each one of us will decide to stop lying, whether knowingly or unknowingly. Seek the truth. Stop worrying about the hearsay. Follow Jesus’ guidance. Trust Jesus. Trust God.

Mark 13:5-8 Jesus said to them: “Watch out that no one deceives you. Many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and will deceive many. When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains.”

No Lone Ranger Christian

Are you a loner? Do you often go about doing things by yourself? Do you lack trust in anyone else getting things done? Do you fail to discuss plans with others? Are you continuously isolating yourself?

Some of us are extremely social. We love being around others. We are continually talking with someone. Others of us are much less so, to the point of almost being a loner. We don’t care for a lot of interaction with others. And, sometimes, we isolate ourselves from others whether we are very social or more of a loner.

There are times we may need to a little alone time to sort out some things in our minds. Yet no one can continually go it alone. There are far too many tasks that require more than one person to complete. Even many tasks we think we can complete alone are done better with someone else.

The concept of needing others applies to our Christian walk as well. No one can be a Lone Ranger Christian. We need each other. We need to be in community. We are designed to learn from one another as Proverbs 27:17 states, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”

God blessed each of us with different talents. Each of us has been blessed with different spiritual gifts. Our different talents and gifts are not simply gifts to us as individuals but are gifts to be shared with others. We are to learn from and help each other. As Paul tells us in Romans 12:3-8, we are all part of one body and just as our human bodies have different parts to perform different functions, so we are as the body of Christ. When Jesus sent His disciples out, He sent them in pairs rather than alone.

These points show us that we need one another. We need to attend and participate as groups of Christians. In our current environment, that may mean online participation rather than in-person participation. However, when we can be together, we need to be together. Meeting and interacting with other Christians keeps us accountable and allows us to work for God in accomplishing His plan. It is important for our personal growth in Christ. Otherwise, when left to our own devices, we will stray, misinterpret, and get off the path God has laid out for us.

I pray we all attend and participate in group activities with other Christians. I pray we specifically seek to meet with other Christians with the purposes of learning and contributing. I pray each of us recognizes our need to be with other Christians. Seek opportunities to meet with other Christians. Seek to learn from one another. Seek to contribute to the learning of others. Be both the student and the teacher. Don’t try to be a Lone Ranger Christian.

Luke 10:1 After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go.

Known Prayer

Do you think everything is random? Do you believe there is no control? Do you wish there was someone in control? Do you wish there was someone you could talk to that would understand? Why don’t you spend time in prayer with God?

We see weird things happen from time-to-time. When that happens, we may think the world is a conglomeration of random acts. We may wonder how that weird thing came about. We are surprised when those things hit us out of the blue.

When the weird thing that happens is something bad, we ask why. We want to know how the randomness of the world reached our doorstep. We ponder those moments for a long time. They can completely derail us, if we aren’t consciously countering them with reason.

How can we counter the bad news that comes our way? We have the opportunity to take it all to God in prayer. He knows what has happened. He knows how we feel. He knows what we need. Yet, we still need to go to Him in prayer.

When we do go to Him in prayer, we should not ramble on and on and on. As I mentioned above, God already knows. What we are to do is pour our heart out to Him and release it into His hands. He will take care of us.

When we want to ask God to help in our situations, we don’t need to go out in the streets and pray loudly in front of others. We are told to pray in our room. We are to pray for God’s help in secret. We are to make our requests succinctly.

Even making our requests succinct may mean we pray for several minutes or an hour. We may be praying about many things. I have found myself sometimes praying for nearly an hour. Yet, on those occasions, I am praying for more than 20 people, our country, our community, our churches, and many other things. So, pray as long as you need, but don’t ramble.

I pray we all spend time with God in prayer each day. I pray we are succinct in our prayers. I pray each one of us pray powerful prayers. Spend time with God in prayer. Make your requests knowing He already knows. Trust God to handle your situation.

Matthew 6:5-8 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”

Bear Fruit

Do you strive to be a better person? Do you work hard at it and seem to make no progress? Are you wondering if you will ever be better than you are today? Are you on the verge of giving up trying? Have you turned to the One who can make the change?

Amidst the chaos going on in our world right now, we see some people striving to rise above the fray. We see some going the extra mile to do good for others. We see some making a special effort to be nice. We see some doing good.

Yet, many of us are struggling. We are struggling with the stay at home orders. We are struggling with the health safety precautions we need to take. We are struggling with not going to the movies. We are struggling with not going out to eat. We are struggling with things being far from normal.

As we go through our struggles, we find ourselves dealing with lethargy, short tempers, depression, and desires to do something, anything. We are restless. We feel conflicted, wanting to go, and yet, not wanting to go. We are looking for relief.

There is One who can provide the relief we need. There is One who can provide us with the peace our soul needs. There is One who can satisfy our strivings for being better. He is always with us and waiting for us to allow Him to work in our lives.

When we were baptized and accepted Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, God put His Spirit inside us. As Jesus teaches His apostles in John 15:1-8, He is the vine and we are the branches. As the vine, He is rooted in God, providing the nutrients for the branches to bear fruit. Those nutrients come through the Holy Spirit, much like the nutrients drawn into the vine are passed along to the branches.

We see in today’s passage the fruit we will bear when we allow the Holy Spirit to work in our lives. Notice, the fruit comes naturally. It’s not something we do on our own. It comes by way of the Spirit and our following His guidance and direction.

I pray we all allow the Spirit to work in our lives. I pray we follow His guidance and direction. I pray each of us bear much fruit. Experience the peace that comes from God. Listen for the Spirit’s guidance. Follow His lead. Bear the fruit of the Spirit.

Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Unrelenting Light

Are you tired of hearing about all the violence on the daily news? Do you wish people would simply get along? What are you doing about it? Are you willing to make a difference in the world? Will you stand up for what is right in the eyes of God?

We all see and hear the news. There is violence in our streets every day. There are arguments at our work locations, in our homes, and in our schools every day. Our society has devolved into a continually dissatisfied people. What can we do about it?

There are certainly valid reasons for being upset and looking for a positive change. Yet, violence is not the way to make positive change. We can find a reason to argue every day. But we don’t really win arguments, even if we might win a debate. You see, there is a difference.

We seem to have forgotten some old sayings that contain a lot of truth.

  • You attract more bees with honey than vinegar.
  • Violence begets violence.
  • No one wins an argument.
  • One bad apple can spoil the whole bunch.

What our world needs are positive examples to follow. We need people who show others how to change their lives in a positive way. We need to re-learn what it means to be the upstanding person who quietly influences those around us. Otherwise, Satan continues to win.

We are called to be a person of positive character, a person who shows the light of Jesus to others. We are called to be the example of joy, peace, and calm. We are to be the ones who bring a message of hope to the people we encounter.

Don’t misunderstand. Things won’t change in the blink of an eye. Change takes time. It takes our unrelenting push for change. Yet, being unrelenting doesn’t mean forcing change in a negative manner. Unrelenting positive change is like the trickle of water that eats away at the rock minutely each day.

I know, we are impatient. We want things our way today—right this moment. Yet, it is the person who understands the reality of human nature and God’s nature, who will patiently continue to shine the light of Jesus, who will make the positive change.

I pray we all choose to make a positive change. I pray we are unrelenting in our patience. I pray each of us will shine the light of Jesus every moment of every day. Be unrelenting. Be patient. Be the light of Jesus. Be the positive change.

Matthew 5:14-16 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

Choose the One

Do you want to follow someone who is in charge? Do you want to follow someone who is in control of everything? Do you want to follow someone who has all authority and wants to give you the most prized gift in all the world?

Most people would love to have a precious gift given to them. They long to have something given to them that is of such high value they no longer have to work. All we have to do is look at how many people play the lottery. There is a gift available to all of us more precious than the winnings of any lottery ever held.

There are people who won’t believe in that gift. There are people who want the reward now rather than having to wait for it. It is truer today due to our instant, consumer, got-to-have-it-now society. We want it with a click of a button.

Having a firm belief in something bigger than ourselves seems to have gone by the wayside. Our belief in team, community, and country has lost its grip on our minds. Many in our communities and country have no real idea who God is.

Yet, we are told clearly in Scripture that God the Father has placed everything into the hands of Jesus the Son. He has complete authority over all we see and don’t see. He has won the war between good and evil. He is the One who can grant us an eternity of blessedness in the presence of God.

Our decision is to join His team or fight against Him. It really is that black and white. Oh, we like the shades of gray that Satan lies to us about. We like to believe we can dabble in a little bit of the bad stuff but remain mostly good and still get heaven. We want to push the edge of the envelope as far as we can. Then, we wonder why our communities and world have gone crazy.

Folks, we are called to be the light of Jesus in our communities and all the world. We are called to follow Him wholeheartedly. God wants us working beside Him. We can change our world, one person at a time. No, it won’t happen with the snap of our fingers. After all, anything worth having takes time and effort on our part.

I pray we all dedicate ourselves to God. I pray we spend our time and effort in spreading the light of Jesus. I pray each of us will make the right choice, the choice to be a disciple of Jesus. Choose the One with all authority. Choose to be a disciple of Christ. Choose to do the right thing. Choose to be the light for others. Choose God over this world. Reap a reward beyond comparison.

John 3:35-36 The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands. Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on them.

Mature Love

Have you ever stopped to spend some time thinking about love? It’s really an odd emotion isn’t it? It’s more than simply liking someone or something. It’s a strong emotion that often causes people to do things that others just shake their head at.

Our human love comes in a few different forms. There is the crazy love that happens when two people fall in love. When young folks do so, we may even call it puppy love. Why is that? Much like the name, it’s a young love that isn’t going to last. It won’t stay in that stage forever.

That means love must mature. Mature love is something quite different from puppy love. It includes several other desires with it, such as caring, doing, longing, appreciating, and even continuing to love when you don’t like something the other does or says. If we think about it long enough, we can come up with more components of mature love.

We don’t fully understand what causes love in our lives. Oh, we know that the initial emotional love between two people often starts with a physical attraction, but not always. It may start with a common interest. In either case, love creeps into the picture, sometimes without our recognizing it until it hits us that we love the other person.

In other cases, we grow up with love. For many of us, we love our parents with an appreciating love. We trust and appreciate them because they cared for us as children and helped us to grow into adults. When we have this type of love, it lasts longer due to it being deeper and having grown for several years or decades.

Jesus tells us that our love for God is to be stronger than any other love we have. He covers the three components that make up our being—heart, soul, and mind. Our heart is the emotional piece. It’s the one that starts as puppy love and matures into something more.

Our mind is the piece that appreciates who the other person is and what the other person does. It is was causes us to do for the other. The rational thought of our mind combines with the emotional love of our heart to mature our love.

The soul is the component we struggle to understand. It is a gift from God. It is internal and not seen. Yet, it is what connects us to God. When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, God puts His Spirit inside us and joins us to Him. I think of it as a big brother coming along side and putting his arm around my shoulder and talking in my ear to guide me. Loving with our soul is a key component to loving God with all our being.

I pray we all love God with our whole being. I pray we love Him with heart, soul, and mind. I pray each of us will take time to ponder our love with God and recommit to Him. Love God with your entire being. Strive to mature your love for God. Spend time with Him. God loves you.

Matthew 22:37-38 Jesus 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.”

Reliable Witness

Are you a good witness? Do you observe what is going on around you? Can you relate it accurately? Do you only see what you want to see? Is your recounting of what happened skewed by your personal preferences?

We see many, many things happen each and every day. We hear and participate in many conversations each day. When we think about it, we are witnesses of everything we do each day. Yet, we often aren’t very good are recounting what we witness each day.

Science and research of our brains will inform us that it isn’t that our brain doesn’t record everything. It’s more about us recalling what our brain recorded based on our personal perspective. If we stop to think about it objectively, we can quickly see the truth in it. After all, even if we realize something was our fault, we often will point to something or someone else who was a cause, perhaps going back years.

We all know, when the police interview witnesses, they will get different perspectives. This requires them to piece together what really happened by sifting through the witness accounts carefully. Each person saw what happened and filtered it based on their own point of view.

Our experiences over the course of our lives influence our perspective. As we interact with our world and other people, we gain an understanding of how things work and general actions or reactions of others. We come to expect certain results based on what is going on.

The apostles also had many human experiences. They had expectations. Yet, their experience with Jesus completely changed their lives. As they witnessed about Jesus, they had personal experience walking with Him for three years. They knew, without a doubt, who He was.

We, too, can experience Jesus in our lives. In fact, God works in our lives far more often than we realize. We simply allow what we’ve been taught about how the world works to overrule and explain away God’s actions. We fail to see God working due to our human blindness.

If we will open our eyes and recognize God working in our lives, we will not be able to deny His works. We will be just like the apostles when it comes to witnessing about God. When we experience God, we are amazed, and our excitement cannot be contained.

I pray we all open our eyes. I pray we see how God is working in our lives. I pray each of us will witness to others what God is doing in our lives. Look objectively at what is going on around you. Recognize God working. Tell others how God is working in your life. Be a witness for God.

Acts 4:18-20 Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John replied, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.”

Do The Right Thing

Do you do the right thing? Are you concerned with what is right according to all people? Will you do what is morally right? Are you willing to do the right thing, even if it means allowing someone else to “get away” with something? Will you leave judgment and revenge in God’s hands?

We are often offended, hurt, or even abused by other people. Our immediate reaction is to take revenge on the person. Our culture tells us that we should not allow them to get away with it. Our broken human nature wants to avenge the wrong.

Yet, we are told that it is God’s place to avenge any wrongs against us. We are to trust God to make the final judgment. That goes against our nature and our desire to settle ourselves. But God knows the situation, all the background, and our own desires.

God will take care of the offender. It may be that He punishes the person in a way that we don’t understand. He may use the offense as a means of drawing the other person to Him. Of course, in our state of mind immediately following the offense, that is the last thing we want. This is just one of the ways in which God’s ways are not our ways.

God has a plan for each person. Though we may stray, God can draw us back to Him, no matter the situation. He has the ability to use nearly any situation to draw us to Him. If we continue to turn away, He continues to try through other means.

We may ask, “Why doesn’t God just make the person come to Him?” That isn’t God’s way. He allows us the opportunity to choose Him of our own volition. God wants us to make the choice for Him, but He won’t force us. Yet, He won’t stop seeking us in our various situations.

For those of us who have chosen Him, we are to trust Him. That means we are to allow Him to work in the offenders’ life. We are to allow Him to either avenge the wrong or use it to draw the person to Him. This is the choice God wants us to make, trusting in Him.

I pray we all trust God to handle the situation. I pray we leave revenge in the hands of God. I pray each of us will do the right thing in the eyes of God. Trust God. Do the right thing. Allow God to handle the situation. Be at peace with everyone.

Romans 12:17-19 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.

Comparison Failure

Why do we compare ourselves to others? Do we feel better if we think we are better than someone else? Have we not learned that, even if we do, it’s a temporary feeling? Do we not know that God only looks at us as we are and how He wants us to be?

Our culture is filled with people who put others down simply to make themselves feel better. They chase a false dream and fleeting feelings of happiness. In fact, far too many of us chase after those fleeting feelings. We have not learned to be content in who God created us to be. We have not learned that God created us to be far better than we are willing to settle for.

The world around us wants us to compare ourselves to others. It is driven by Satan’s lies, the lie that we will feel better when we put someone else down. Oh, we might feel pretty good for a few minutes, but it all falls apart within a few minutes.

God created us to love Him, serve Him, and follow His plan for our lives. Yet, we get off the path He has set before us, wondering aimlessly in the dark, searching for something that only God can provide. If we are to find lasting joy, we must return to the path God wants us on.

I have stated this before, and I am continually disappointed with the refusal of people to listen to the message and live by it. God has such a wonderful plan for each one of us and we throw away the life-long treasure for fleeting moments of cheer. We throw away a blessed life for the dregs of humanity. We throw away God’s love in order to follow the lie Satan continues to tell us. The lie of comparing ourselves to others and believing we must put them down to make ourselves look good.

God created each one of us to fulfill a plan He laid out for us before we were born. He created us for good works. He created us to live an abundant life. He created us to have joy, peace, and contentment in Him. But we only get the wonderful life He has laid out for us if we choose to follow His plan. The unique plan He has for each one of us.

You see, we are all unique, while sharing common human tendencies. Each one of us is loved by God uniquely, while also being loved with the same love God has for all. We are all uniquely blessed with skills, even if our skills are similar to those of others. No two of us has the exact same DNA.

I pray we all stop comparing ourselves to someone else. I pray we let go of our jealousy of someone else. I pray each one of us decides to follow the unique plan God laid out for our lives. Give up the insanity of comparing yourself to someone else. Decide to follow the path God put before you. Be the person He created you to be. Trust God’s plan and live the abundant life.

2 Corinthians 10:12 We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.