Tag Archives: Truth

The Good Liar

I love a good movie.  There is a new movie out now called “The Good Liar” that stars Helen Mirren and Ian McKellen.  I don’t usually go to R-rated movies but I made an exception for this one and went to see it last night.  It was a good illustration of how casually we lie to others.  It got me thinking about lies vs. truth.

When I was a child, I was generally truthful.  However, there was a particular phase I went through wherein I told a lot of lies.  Sometimes I lied to keep myself from getting in trouble and sometimes I lied for no discernible reason.  I suspect that I was not a “good” liar, though, as I always seemed to get in trouble in spite of my lies (and often because of them).

A lying tongue hates those it hurts,
    and a flattering mouth works ruin.  Proverbs 26:28

That’s pretty amazing to me.  “A lying tongue HATES those it hurts.”  We dishonor others when we are not truthful with them.  Anyone who has been deceived by someone else can attest to this.

I remember the feeling that I had the first time that I realized that someone close to me had intentionally deceived me.  I was a child, but I remember that I was absolutely crushed.  I could not believe that they had lied to me; this was someone I thought I could trust!  Even at the young age of 5 or 6, I started to wonder what other lies I was being told.

Perhaps it’s because of these experiences that I now value truthfulness so much – in myself and in others.  I recently ended a relationship with someone dear to me because of the person’s pattern of deception which repeated in spite of being addressed on numerous occasions.  This person was a good liar, and I often didn’t realize that I was being deceived until the truth came out later, as it inevitably does.  I was unable to “read between the lies”.  I no longer trust that person at all, and it breaks my heart.  This person had an issue of character that played out in our relationship.

On the other hand, I am blessed to have relationships with many who are trustworthy.  Their trustworthiness has been proven time and time again, and I have no need to question it.  Their character has been tested and affirmed.  This Proverb is true of them:

Listen, for I have trustworthy things to say;
    I open my lips to speak what is right.  Proverbs 8:6

It is hard enough when we are lied to within our relationships.  This leads to the death of relationships, but not to eternal death.  However, there is another who will lie to you:

44 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.  John 8:44

He is “the father of lies” and “there is no truth in him”.  This is Satan’s character and it always plays out that way.  He tries to seduce you to his way of thinking, but his deception leads to the death of your soul.

There is One Who will never lie to us or deceive us, and His name is Jesus Christ.  In His Word, He tells us:

The Lord detests lying lips,
    but he delights in people who are trustworthy.  Proverbs 12:22

It is no wonder that the Lord delights in those who are trustworthy because He is truth.  There is no deception in Him.  That is the crux of His character.  He cannot lie or deceive because it would be against His character.

Jesus also says:

“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”  John 14:6

So, then, if Jesus can only speak the truth, we need to examine His claim that “no one comes to the Father except through me”.  This cannot be a lie, because while people can choose to behave out of character, God cannot.  All of His ways lead to eternal life.

Friend, if you want to get to Heaven and to be with the one true God, there is only one way to do it, and that’s through a saving relationship with Jesus Christ.  It’s not through Buddha or Mohammed or being “spiritual but not religious” or any other path.  It’s only through Jesus.  Examine His claims within His Word for yourself and you will find that this is the truth.  Amen!

 

 

 

Praising God for the Trials

We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance.  Romans 5:3 (NLT)

I have not one, not two, but several major trials going on in my life simultaneously.  They have been going on for long periods of time and I’ve been a bit overwhelmed by them at times.  I do not say this in order to have a pity party for myself or to try to evoke your sympathy; it’s just the fact of my current circumstances.  While I am quite familiar with the above verse, I have never rejoiced at the onset of a trial, or in the middle of one.  I rejoice when they’re done.  Anybody with me on that?

This past weekend, I thought the opportunity would arise for a big turning point for the better in two of the trials that I face, so I cued up some trustworthy friends to be praying for that specifically throughout the weekend.  However, by the end of the weekend it was clear that these trials aren’t changing any time soon, much less going away.  I ended up baring my heart through tears to the Lord, letting Him know how much it hurt but asking Him for His perspective.  He finally asked me a question:  Will you believe I’m at work in these situations even when you don’t see any evidence of it?

His question coalesced with the other work He’s been doing in me.  Through various means, the Lord has recently been prompting me to examine the state of my faith.  I thought my faith was pretty strong; faith is actually one of my spiritual gifts.  However, the Lord pointed out to me that although I KNOW the truth of His word (I have it memorized), I don’t always BELIEVE His word (apply it to my own life).

Ouch!  He was right.  He showed me that while I have no problem believing that His word is true for other people, I have not believed that it’s true for me also.  I haven’t dared to hope that it could be true for me and that He would work in miraculous ways in my life as well as in the lives of those around me.

So here I was, at a crossroads.  I was faced with choosing to continue in my unbelief or to change paths and start to believe that His word is true for me as well as for you.  It felt like a big risk to believe that I could have the hope of all of His promises for myself.  However, the decision was an easy one – I chose to believe Him.  I repented for my unbelief and chose hope instead.  This was equivalent to a tectonic plate shifting in my heart.  Wow!

My first request of the Lord was for Him to give me joy in spite of my circumstances.  I cannot manufacture joy in my life even when things are going well, and I certainly couldn’t do it in the face of the trials.  It had to come from Him or not come at all.

It didn’t come immediately.  I had to push through a lot of garbage and lies from the enemy by continually affirming that I trusted Jesus and Jesus alone and affirming that His word is true for me.  I reminded the Lord of His promise to give us joy and of His Romans 5:3 promise that we can rejoice in the middle of trials.  It felt like re-programming my 54 year old heart to believe differently.  Soon, the joy came.

There is still no end in sight to my trials.  They might rage on for several more days, weeks, months or even years for all I know.  What I know is that my heart would not have been changed without the simultaneous onslaught of these trials.  I have learned not just to praise God IN my storms but to actually praise Him FOR the storms.  What a blessing!

Friends, if you find yourself facing problems and trials today, here are some things that will be crucial to navigating them with a soft heart towards God:

  1. Get people praying for you and with you in the middle of it.  Don’t just say, “I’m going through a hard time,” but let yourself be known!  I cannot overemphasize how important this is.  Doing life in community MATTERS.  Prayer MATTERS.
  2. BELIEVE God.  The word “believe” is a verb; it denotes action.  Put your trust in Jesus and Jesus alone.  Don’t tough it out and grit your teeth until you get through it – trust that He will bring you through and also that He has your very best in mind.
  3. Praise God.  Praising Him for Who He is takes your eyes off yourself and puts them squarely on Him, where they belong.  Ask Him to help you praise Him FOR the storm – He will do it!
  4. Ask God for everything that you need.  No, I don’t mean that you need your problem or trial to end.  I mean, do you need more joy while you’re in the storm?  More endurance?  More strength?  More wisdom?  Ask Him – He is eager to answer.

Let me know if I can be praying for you too.  Comment below or send me a private message if you prefer.  We can be on this journey together.  🙂

Chosen

Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes.  Ephesians 1:4

When I was a kid, one of the most tangible ways in which you could suffer was to be picked last or near last by one of the team captains.  Thankfully, this humiliating experience didn’t happen to me too often; I was usually chosen somewhere around the middle of the pack. However, there were a few occasions when I really sweated it out because I thought I would be the last one to be picked.  It felt so good to be chosen.

Time went by, and much later in life I found myself at a weekend church leadership retreat where I paid rapt attention to what was being said.  I maximized the use of our quiet times to listen to the Lord and invited Him to work in me.

Towards the end of the retreat, our pastor encouraged us to really assess what the Lord had done in us during our time there and to share it with someone else.  He urged us to be succinct in our descriptions of what had happened.  My friend Martha and I agreed that we would process what the Lord had done and share it with each other the next day.

The evening that the retreat ended, I was asking the Lord to help me understand what He had done in me.  I knew there had been significant shifts in my heart but I couldn’t quite put it all into words on my own.  His answer was quick and succinct:  “I moved the Truth that you are chosen from your head to your heart.”

WOW.

I was totally blown away.  He was absolutely right (of course) – I now knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that I was chosen by Him.  Immediately I began to thank and praise Him because this shift was so critical for my heart.  I prayed, “Lord, please let the Truth that I am chosen mark me from this day forward.”  His answer, however, astonished me.

“If you want it to mark you, why not get it tattooed?”

I had long wanted to get a tattoo above my ankle of a cross with a banner across it and the date I gave my life to Christ underneath the cross.  However, I had long debated what word or words I wanted to have on the banner so I had delayed getting it done.  I suddenly knew that the word “Chosen” would be perfect for it.

I went that very night and had it done.  🙂

Tattoo

 

The Truth that I am chosen has marked me in other ways also.  I have struggled in the past with abandonment issues.  I’ve also had a long battle with low self-esteem where I felt less than, unwanted and insignificant.  Now when those issues raise their ugly heads, I am able to stand and say, “Actually, I know that I have been chosen by God, and His voice is the one that defines me.”

That makes those lesser voices shut up pretty darn quickly.  The voices also come around less frequently than they used to.

My friends, you can find that same freedom for your life because YOU ARE CHOSEN.  God made you so that He can love you and so that you can love Him.  However, you have to choose to love Him, too.  Won’t you choose that today, if you haven’t already?  It will be the best choice you’ll EVER make, guaranteed.  Just message me or leave a comment below if you would like some help in making that choice and I’ll be glad to help you.  Blessings to all!

 

 

 

A New Creation

17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!  2 Corinthians 5:17

On the day I gave my life to Christ, my pastor encouraged me to look up the above verse after I got home, so I did.  As someone who was not overly familiar with the Bible prior to that time, I found the words mesmerizing and full of possibilities.  But what did it really mean for me?

First, we have to understand what it means to be “in Christ”.  This means that you have humbly surrendered your will to His and accepted Him as your Lord and Savior, the leader of your life.  You can do this by praying a simple prayer.  (I’d be privileged to lead you in that if you haven’t already done it; just comment or message me!)

Next, we are told in this passage that the “new has come” and “the new is here”.  I have found that when the Word repeats itself, I’d be wise to pay attention to what it is saying because it’s something that is important for me to understand.  Once you surrender to Jesus, you are not the same person that you were before; the truth of who you are is fundamentally changed once you surrender to Him and the “new” has come.

Third, the passage further emphasizes this change by declaring, “the old has gone”.  What was shall be no more.  But what did that mean?

As soon as I prayed to receive Jesus into my heart, I felt different.  I just knew instinctively that everything about me was different. Part of that change was to leave old sin patterns behind (“the old has gone”) and to let Him teach me His ways instead (“the new has come”).  Some of that happened immediately and some of it we’re still working on, to be honest, but the truth is that the change happened for me in that moment of surrender on October 14, 2001.

Neil Anderson compiled a list of Scriptures that detail the changes that happen the moment we receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior.  He wrote about it in his book “Who I Am In Christ,” which is a book that I highly recommend for all believers.   I am borrowing here from his work by sharing with you some of those details:

  • I am God’s child.  (John 1:12)
  • I have been justified (declared righteous).  (Romans 5:1)
  • I have been bought with a price and I belong to God.  (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
  • I have direct access to the throne of grace through Jesus Christ.  (Hebrew 4:14-16)
  • I am free from condemnation.  (Romans 8:1-2)
  • I am hidden with Christ in God.  (Colossians 3:1-4)
  • I am God’s workmanship.  (Ephesians 2:10)
  • I am God’s temple.  (1 Corinthians 3:16)
  • I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.  (Philippians 4:13)

For me, this was revolutionary.  I had always struggled with low self-esteem prior to giving my life to Christ and this turned my whole concept of myself upside down – in the best way possible.

If you have received Jesus as your Lord and Savior, these things are TRUE about YOU.  There is no need to argue with God about any of this; you can accept it and believe it and let it change your life.  Even if you don’t feel like it’s true about you, you can still accept it as a fact because it is written in His Word just for you.  What would it do for you if you were to accept these truths for yourself?

 

 

Dream Accuser

I don’t often remember my dreams, but I had one a couple of weeks ago that really stood out to me. In it, I was talking to a dream character about goals that I have for my life. The conversation went really well until someone else came in and started telling the first dream character about all the mistakes that I’ve made in my life. The first character then started laughing and jeering my goals, saying, “How could someone like you ever hope to attain those goals?” and reminding me of all the things that I’ve done wrong.

Have you ever had something like that happen to you in real life? Sometimes it’s the people around us who discount our goals for one reason or another. (This doesn’t always happen out of meanness; sometimes it’s done with the idea of “helping” us choose a “better path”.) Sometimes it’s less well-intentioned, as it was in my dream — someone telling us that we’ll never measure up, we aren’t good enough, we’ve failed so many times before that how can we expect anything but failure in the future. Most often, it’s the voices in our heads that mock us in this way.

The thing that really stood out to me about the dream is that I didn’t buy the lie.  Even in my sleep I rejected the voices of accusation because I know that I am forgiven and washed clean of my mistakes – past, present and future.  My mistakes may have marked who I was in the past, but they don’t mark who I am today.

One thing that I know is true is that God has even bigger and better plans for my life than I have for myself.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord.  “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

I’m so grateful that my hope is in the Lord!  My future is in His loving hands.  Is yours?