Posts Tagged With: Jesus

Let God Be True

A key proverb in the New Testament is: Let God be true, & every man a liar.

First, some definitions: There is one God. The word for man includes men and women, young and old. True implies completely trustworthy; liar means not 100% truthful.

This is perhaps one of the most difficult truths to grasp. We are told as children to always tell the truth. Honorable parents discipline their children when they tell lies. And then comes the day when we tell a lie and get away with it. Then there comes the day we realize everyone tells partial truths, half truths, and outright fabrications … even when they are trying to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

It seems the only way we can really trust someone is if they are willing to die for what they believe and insist upon.

Most people are a little shy of death. Death is not our friend. We have defeated the fear of death when we tell the truth and worry not one bit about what people will do to us if we tell the truth.

The difference between a wise truth teller and a foolish truth teller is that a foolish one will tell you everything they know to be true. A wise person has a filter. The wise purify their speech. When we say everything that comes to mind that has factual value, people will not value their time listening to us.

If however, we listen to others and prove that God listens even better by praying with that person then the person with whom we converse will be free to listen to the truths that we share. When God gets into the conversation, He is able to speak life. If we are merely speaking from our own hearts, we are liable to deceive ourselves and our hearers and be led astray. But God is love and He is able to teach us to love.

So what if someone says they love us? We can receive this love as a gift from God or as a gift primarily from the other person. If we look primarily to the other person for love, we are sure to be disappointed, for their love is finite and limited. If we look to the Lord for love, our face will brighten, for He is able to love us even when we are completely unlovable. He will also enable us to love others, even when they disappointment.

People are not always friendly. Sometimes they can be outright hostile. An enemy can even be found in our own best earthly friends, even our spouses and parents and children. Why? Why is it that close family and friends can sometimes be so hard to get along well with, and why sometimes those we trust most disappoint us most?

Is it not because we are called not to trust others nearly in the same way we are called to trust God? Our trust towards God should be 100% and perfect. In fact, human trust in God is limited most of the time. Our trust is made complete in our dying. Even Jesus’ trust was perfected when he breathed out His last, “Into Your hands I commit my Spirit!” The Lord brought perfect peace by dying in perfect peace.

His trust was vindicated by when Jesus rose from the dead 3 days later as He had prophesied and communicating His message once again to his students and urging them to wait for the Promise.

God kept His promise and gave the Promised Holy Spirit. The only way we are able to keep our word is by abiding in the Holy Spirit. If a person is truly seeking out ultimate reality, they will have to conclude that for there to be any meaning there must be a God who raises the dead and judges our lives, rewarding us for what we have done. This God is trustworthy, He alone is the One called Truth, and all He speaks is true. He has come into the world and has spoken to us not only of His law, but has shone forth His light and given us life that we might walk in love together, thus we find liberty, which the law is intended to describe.

If a person rejects the law of God, they will end up rejecting God’s purpose for their lives and tending towards death and purposelessness. Yes, they may prosper greatly, but they live only for a few dozen years and then they vanish and perish.

If a person receives the law as a token of God’s love, they will shine forth the light to the nations. The love which they received will be shared freely and God’s kingdom will advance. Such a person will find their purpose perseveres into eternity.

The person who builds his life on God as True will be founded on Truth and will help others find truth. Such a person confesses freely that they are not the epitome of truth, but Jesus is, the King of the Jews who came from Nazareth.

The person who builds his own life will be proven to be a lie in the end and will have shaky, unreliable foundations. Violence is their means of accomplishing their will. Lust is the only way they know love. Deceit is their default communication, all of which is corrupt. They delight in sin and dark is their light. Doom is their destiny. Less is their hope.

Oh, the delight of those who seek peace and pursue it! Blessed are all who know the truth and do it!!

“Lord, help me speak the truth and let me also always love all. Rob me of my fear and clothe me with your faith and boldness that I might rest within your peace at all times.”

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Perseverance Song

Why do I keep holdin’ on, holdin’ on to Jesus?

All around these things are slippin’ on and on away.

Both day and night are dark and gloomy, filled with drear.

Jesus’ Name, still makes me want to worship and to pray

‘Til he draws me close and draws me up so very near.

Cause He keeps holdin’ on, keeps holdin’ on to me!

And he’ll keep keepin’ on, keep keepin’ on with you!

 

Why do I keep walking on, keep walking on with Jesus?

Jesus seems to go too fast, and other times too slow

I want to run ahead, but then I got catch my breath with Christ

Where exactly do we plan to let the path to go?

But I’ll let Him pay my aweful, final price,

Cause He kept walking on, kept walking on for me!

And he’ll keep keepin’ on, keep keepin’ on with you!

 

Why do I keep lookin’ on, lookin’ on to Jesus?

I look beyond horizons when skies are lookin’ dim.

I gaze beyond the moonset, when mournin’ ain’t to fun,

But He looked beyond my frets, past the dark within.

He suffered on that cross, though there was no Sun,

Cause He’ll keep looking out, keep lookin’ out for me!

And He’ll keep keepin’ on, keep keeping on with you!

 

Why do I keep standing up, keep standin’ up for Jesus?

I face the roughest storms in the coldest, hardest days.

I’ve climbed the high old hills against the hottest harshest wind.

But he climbed a deadly hill against the hateful storm.

He stood again the third day, so I will stand with Him,

Cause He’ll keep standin’ up, standing up for me!

And He’ll keep keepin’ on, keep keepin’ on with you!

 

Yeah He’ll keep holdin’ on, holdin’ on to you.

Yeah He’ll keep walkin’ on, walkin’ on with me.

Yeah He’ll keep lookin’ out, lookin’ out for you.

Yeah He’ll keep standin’ up, standin’ up for me . . .

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Mental Illness & the Message of God

Dedicated to all my friends & family with “mental health challenges,” myself included.

The beginning was once a mere mystery,
Now it is revealed history.
Wanting the very best, I find my self broken.
Being broken, I offer something more precious than treasure from within.
I pour out grace & wisdom that can’t be measured.
My stigma a sign:
Though curses cross my path, I fear no wrath.
Though you call me crazy, we have Christ’s mind.
With that, let the Word of God be spoken:
“Reorient your life, since the kingdom of God is at work.”

I’m honored to be loosely associated with Jesus, the Son of Man,
humbled to have my prayers answered eventually
in the name of the Son of God.
with a simple heart and much learning in store,
I’m a fool for Christ, though a fool no more.

Ridiculed for following the law that leads to the deep well of freedom.
Crazy enough to believe the truth is personal, universal, and tangible.
Mocked for telling others that life is eternal,
and also light and love in the Father’s family.
Though my faith was a flickering wick,
now the light of Christ is well lit.

Glad to be called a moron for the Messiah.
Happy to be treated as the local village idiot.
Rejoicing to be regarded as demonized
as they regarded the Christ, (John 8:48)
Blessed with the Holy Spirit.

Angry at sin, yet seeking not to.
Care free in the world, yet caring for you.
Liberated by the friend of sinners, I regard weak souls as winners.
The strong shall be shattered the voices mere clatter,
but all that will matter is that the Lord shall appear,
Yes, the One who came as our ultimate Peer,
Yes, the Lord, He is near.

So let love be your bond, and life be your banner.
Let the music go on as the fizzles grow flatter.
May our meds do no harm;
May the angels be our morning alarm.
Yet peculiar people need not fear,
for yes, the Lord, He is near.

Categories: Peer support, Persecution, Poem, Suffering, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

No God But One: Book Review

(Disclaimer: I was given an advance copy of this book for review.)

One thing that struck me as I read this book was the compassion and profound insight simply stated. The whole discussion of the book is framed as one would expect to occur between friends who care deeply about each other. Since much of the book reflects the conclusion of faith that Nabeel Qureshi came to as a result of an ongoing dialogue with his debate partner, it should not surprise the reader that the format is somewhat similar to a debate where a question and counter question is posed in each of the dialogues on various topics related to Islam, such as the difference between Islamic law (Sharia) and the grace of God found in the Gospel of Christ.

While this may sound old hat to someone who grew up in the church, when a person discovers that the reality that God is love and all of the diverse implications of this, whether in the arena of theology proper (including the meaning of the trinity and how the doctrine of the trinity is the way of describing God that most honors the Creator) or in the area of an understanding of violence in the history of Islam and the Christian Church (When did Christians start fighting wars? years after they were first called Christians and the empire was converted en masse.)

It becomes very clear through the reading of this book that not only does Nabeel have a clear knowledge of the basic issues related to Islam and Christianity, their similarities and differences, but he also loves both Muslims and Christians. Even though some Muslims may misunderstand the motives for why a truth seeker would embrace Jesus and the church and even though some who grew up with Christian traditions may question whether this is truly possible, Nabeel manifests an irenic spirit throughout, and confesses that he has not always behaved as the best example of Christianity after having chosen to identify with the Lord Jesus.

People need to hear these sorts of questions: questions that are centered not so much on the historic truths of the Gospel, and the verifiable & life transforming factual truths of the crucifixion, the resurrection and Jesus’ claim to deity; rather Questions that are centered on the sincerity and depth of our understanding & obedience to those truths.

Are we willing to seek to truly understand the truth?
Are we willing to suffer for what is true?
How much are we willing to suffer?

The good news is a life and death issue. The Gospel cost Jesus’ His life and frees us from our deadness. When we see the extreme love of God, we will be awakened to delight in our Creator, as a maiden delights in her groom when she realizes that not only is He a noble person, but that he truly does delight in her.

May you be awakened to the First, the Ultimate, the Supreme Love of the Author of Life.

#NoGodButOne

Categories: Book Review, Good News, Islam, Suffering | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Process of Salvation

Jesus is Jesus, for the Lord is our Salvation.
Jesus is predicted throughout the Scriptures, for He our Predestination.
Jesus was conceived in the virgin Mary, for He is our New Creation.
Jesus was greeted by John in the womb, for He is the Father’s Salutation.
Jesus was born in Bethlehem, for He would bring Regeneration.
Jesus and Mary were cared for by Joseph because He is our Adoption by our Father in Heaven.
Jesus was circumcised and later dedicated in the temple, for He is our Sanctification.
Jesus was worshipped by the Magi, for He is the Focus of our Adoration.

Jesus was immersed in water, so we would know Him as our Initiation.
Jesus overcame the temptations of the devil, He brought our Liberation.
Jesus called people to turn from sin, for He is our Correction.
Jesus announced the Kingdom of God, for He is the Lord of all hosts and our Invitation.
Jesus invites us to humble ourselves under His yoke so He can grant us honor, for He is our Instruction.
Jesus showed people the pattern of service before success, for He is our Vocation.
Jesus sent out the disciples on mission trips as He brought Redemption.
When Jesus led groups of His disciples up the mountain, we became His Congregation.
When Jesus raised the dead in Israel, He proved to be our Resurrection.

As Jesus had his last Passover, He offered Himself as our Libation.
When Jesus laid down His Life on the cross, He became our Sure Foundation.
When the sun was darkened, the earth shook & the veil was torn, Jesus proved to be God’s Revelation.
Jesus’s body was laid in the tomb over the Sabbath, for He is our Restoration.
Jesus rose from the grave, for He is our Justification.
Jesus appeared to the missionaries, so He became our Proclamation.
Jesus ascended on high to sit at the right hand of the Father, He for is our Intercession.

When Jesus baptized the Church with the Spirit so we could preach with power from on High, thus He is our Vindication.
When Jesus joined foreigners to the family of Abraham, both Jew & Gentile,
we became a new and true and holy nation.
He will come again to judge the living at the dead, for the Lord is the Source of our ultimate Glorification.

Categories: Good News, Poem, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Coming to the End of Myself, Again.

It’s too much, too, too much.
I long to fly to the desert and escape,
to hide in a cave, far, far away.
I dream of healing a heart that is broken, my own.
of hearing a Voice that touches my deepest wounds.

Broken legs, walk again.
Broken hands, serve again.
Broken mind, think again.
Broken heart, love again.

Chained tongue, speak, be free!
Chained ears, hear, listen!
Shackled mind, explore, discover!
Shackled heart, expand, express!

Closed eyes, see, gaze into glory!
Closed mind, ask, seek!
Closed fist, knock, open wide!
Closed door, open, let the King of Glory enter in!!

Do you see that crown of life?
It shall rest upon your head.
Do you see the Lamb upon the throne?
He is all and enough for you, risen from the dead!
Do you see the book of citizens who live?
The Lord will redeem you just as He said!!

If God is able to save the worst,
then He can save me.
If Jesus can love the least,
then He wlll also love you.
If the Lord can heal to the last,
then He defines eternity!
If the Father is calling,
then He will also listen to you.

Come & rest awhile in His arms.

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The Work & Ways of Jesus.

Jesus gently, faithfully, sov’reignly helps:
drawing us unto Himself.

Jesus gladly, lovingly, graciously saves,
lifting us out of the waves.

Jesus freely, powerfully, joyfully heals
as long as His name is revealed.

Jesus rose again yesterday and always lives:
this is the life that He gives.

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Jesus Loves Members of the Islamic State

I would encourage you to join in prayer for ISIS members. That they, like Saul turned to Paul, would bear the fruit of the Spirit and would be reached in every place of the world where they are operating.

https://files.ctctcdn.com/198b864e001/6acfa5e8-226c-4d65-ba54-a52a6a52a689.pdf

Categories: Persecution, Prayer | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Resurrection

Resurrection praised above the heroes of pagan peoples’ past:
Conquering fears, false confidence, and every sin.
The death prick was plucked out and wounds were healed
through him who was scourged for us and rose again.
Bearing burdens of all who’ve fallen into sin,
Lifting all who start to trust in Him,
He carried the beam outside the gates
and emptied the tomb for those who’d rest
and wait for the First Day to come.
He rose with healing wings
and simple, saving outstretched arms.
Light shines and darkness flees.
The day extends and terror ends.
Soon the nations will bend their knees.

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Pray for your Enemies to Make More Friends

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi needs to become a friend of Jesus.What I mean by the title is not merely that you pray that your enemies be winsome people who get more people on their side. Rather, that we must pray that our enemies would repent in order that they might become our friends. This is a risky way to pray.

It means you may have to leave the comfort of your home, your internet connection and go to meet someone you are scared of face to face. It may mean confronting your persecutors with the standards of the law so that they will be ashamed enough to repent … They may not necessarily repent, but if you pray, and pray faithfully, you may persuade God to persuade them to change their heart.

There is a risk you could lose a fortune on your new friends. You could lose the comfort of financial security. You could lose your health by going to people who are diseased or who intentionally infect you and seek to do you harm. You will at the very least have to spend time you could use making money and spending time with easy friends in order to represent the Kingdom of God in “hostile territory.” Indeed, you could die, without winning any new friends from among your enemies in your own lifetime.

Is it worth it?

Yes … if you do it on behalf of Jesus, completing the sufferings He suffered.

He promised that those who are persecuted for righteousness sake have the kingdom of Heaven which is peace, joy, and righteousness. You just can’t beat that deal. But first pray. Indeed, the beginning of the beatitudes is, “Blessed are those who are beggars in spirit, for theirs IS the Kingdom of Heaven.”

You have the treasures of heaven available, if only you will come before the Throne of God and beg, if only you will obey until you suffer. Wow!!

If you were to ask the Gazan Christians if this was easy, they would tell you that they count it all joy. If you were to ask the observers of the character of Christians who fled terror in Iraq, you would hear that the Christians did not respond in kind with violence, but with kindness. The saints violate the normal tit-for-tat way of doing things by forgiving enemies.

This sounds too hard, you say, too surreal. Let me ask you a question: Would you rather suffer a little in this life, or suffer for all eternity apart from the presence of God?

Take up the cross Jesus hands you, or suffer all loss because you do not understand Jesus.

I hope that as you count the costs, and consider the benefits in the long-term of following Jesus, you will follow Him with a glad heart.

Peace,
Mert Hershberger

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