Posts Tagged With: law

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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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

Silence Leads to Violence

The complacency of fools will destroy them. (Proverbs 1:32b)
One who is slack in his work is brother to one who destroys. (Proverbs 18:9)

We are all limited in our knowledge, to some degree or another. We are all also limited in our service to the Lord, in one way or another, either due lack of ability or lack of faithful effort. Anyone who fails to serve is subject to destruction. Jeremiah knew this full well:
A curse on anyone who is lax in doing the Lord’s work!
A curse on anyone who keeps their sword from bloodshed! (Jeremiah 48:10)

The reasons there are wars & rumors of wars at this time is because of the shortage of those doing the Lord’s preferred work of blessing the nations. If we do not bless, we will be accursed. If we do not build up the Kingdom of God among the nations, we will have to tear down the kingdoms of man called nations.

Ezekiel (3:16-21), who prophesied about the same time, received a message from God that made what Jeremiah prophesied clearer:

At the end of seven days the word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. When I say to a wicked person, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn them or speak out to dissuade them from their evil ways in order to save their life, that wicked person will die for their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. But if you do warn the wicked person and they do not turn from their wickedness or from their evil ways, they will die for their sin; but you will have saved yourself.

“Again, when a righteous person turns from their righteousness and does evil, and I put a stumbling block before them, they will die. Since you did not warn them, they will die for their sin. The righteous things that person did will not be remembered, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. But if you do warn the righteous person not to sin and they do not sin, they will surely live because they took warning, and you will have saved yourself.”

In other words, if a person does not share the wisdom that God has given them with those who are ignorant, the wise man must execute judgment. Silence leads to violence.

In what was likely one of the first portions of the New Testament that was written down and distributed, Paul wrote in Galatians: As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let them be under God’s curse! (1:9) Later on in the book, Paul expanded later in the book of Galatians how we are to identify with Jesus’ ostracism from the community of the self-righteous by setting the example: For through the law I died to the law so that I might live for God. I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (2:19-20) So we see that there is a dying that must take place to identify with Jesus.

Paul went on to make it clear that:
For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.” Clearly no one who relies on the law is justified before God, because “the righteous will live by faith.” The law is not based on faith; on the contrary, it says, “The person who does these things will live by them.” Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.” He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit. (3:10-14)
To follow Jesus is to believe that His death on the cross was sufficient to take all the curses that you deserve, so that through the Messiah Who was crushed, you might be lifted up with Him Who is exalted over every other name and so receive the Spirit of God through the promise you trust. We who receive this promised spirit then are able to bless the nations.

Back to an idea in Proverbs about character: Who are we? Paul says, “We are fools for Christ …” (1 Corinthians 4:10a) To be fools for someone means you will do some things that seem foolish because of your attachment to that person. This may seem like a bad idea, but the alternative to being zealously in love with the Lord is not a good one. Paul includes in the conclusion to his letter to the Corinthians, “If anyone does not love the Lord, let that person be cursed! Come, Lord!” (16:22) Whoa! Either we love the Lord or we love the world. There is no middle ground. The world may seem good and full of goods, but God is the Truly Good.

Yet our love for the Lord should lead to a love for the lost that says, “Better I die & go to hell, than that many people would die & go to hell.” Again, Paul testifies in Romans 9:2-4a “I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it through the Holy Spirit—I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people, those of my own race, the people of Israel.” As he was about to go to Jerusalem and then on to Rome itself, he said, “I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.” (Acts 20:23-24) The only reason we live on planet earth after we receive Jesus Christ as our Savior & acknowledge Him as Lord is to make known the Kingdom of Heaven known on earth. God is patient with us so that we might make known His salvation known through our whole life.

Lest we think of this as merely exemplary living, Paul opens his letter to the Philippians with a meditation on his future on earth:
I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exalted in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me. Yet what shall I choose? I do not know! I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, so that through my being with you again your boasting in Christ Jesus will abound on account of me. (1:20-26)

The point of his life is not himself, but Christ who lives in Him. Christ has become our hope of glory. Let us glory not in being right in ourselves or right with the world. Rather, let us boast of the Righteous One who has come to our defense.

Do you lack any joy? Stop looking for joy in special seasons or special saints or special gifts or special sources of happiness. Let all your springs be in the Lord Jesus. Take offense at no humbug this season. Let not death quench your happiness, but let all things lead you closer and closer to Jesus. Let Him be the Word of God to you. Let Him be the Open Door that is set before you. Let Him be your Bread of Life. Let Him be your Resurrection & your Life. Have you lost your way from the path of peace? Look to Him as the Prince of Peace and pledge allegiance to Him alone. Follow Jesus as the Way. Believe in Him as the Truth. Love Him as the Life. He will bring you to the Father from whom all family derives its name and your spirit will mingle with the Very Spirit of God this Christmas.

Let us go out and tell our families, our friends, our neighbors, and yes, even our enemies what the Lord has done for us not only at Christmas, but also on the cross. The devil also needs to hear more about the saving victory of the Lord Jesus Christ who is risen and coming quickly. Marana tha!

Categories: Evangelism, Holiday, Missions | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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