We Lie

If we claim to have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth.

1John 1:6

I went shopping yesterday. 

It was a brief trip– I knew exactly what I wanted to buy from a leather goods dealer. 

Walking up to the display of purses, wallets and bags, I saw an array of other items on a table nearby. 

There was a tray of rings. 

They looked like beautiful gemstones surrounded by diamonds. 

Somewhat intrigued by how nice they looked, I actually picked one up and looked at it. 

Even though they looked so nice, I knew they weren’t genuine. 

They weren’t locked in a secure glass case, protected from would-be thieves. 

I knew if I purchased one that it would look lovely on my finger for a short time, but then it’s true nature would become apparent. 

After awhile, the finish on the inexpensive metal would begin to wear off and my skin would likely turn green in response to contact with it. 

They may have looked like something of great value, but on closer inspection, these rings were practically worthless. 

Our walk with the Lord must be genuine. 

If we are only claiming to be forgiven and redeemed, while we actually have no relationship with Jesus, we are lying and not really being truthful.

We may look “good” on the outside–our lives may seem to be in right relationship with Him–but when Jesus looks deep within our hearts, He knows if we are genuinely desiring to live for Him or not. 

If we are only pretending, we are lying and not living out the truth. 

Jesus is ready to accept us fully, just as we are.

When we repent and ask for forgiveness, committing our lives to Him, everything changes….

And Teach Me

 

 

 

Many people are concerned about the education of their children.

They want them to go to the best schools.

They want them to have good teachers who are knowledgeable, as well as kind and understanding.

They want a solid curriculum with adequate preparation for living in society and attaining a productive career.

As children get a bit older, some of them begin to feel this way about their own education.

Applying themselves to their studies, they look toward the future and the positive outcomes a good education will avail.

Who wouldn’t want this?

In Psalm 25:4-5, the writer prays:

Make me to know Your ways, O Lord;
teach me Your paths.
Lead me in Your truth and teach me,
for You are the God of my salvation;
for You I wait all the day long.

How important is it to us to know the ways of the Lord?

How important is it to us to have the Lord teach us His paths?

How important is it to have the Lord lead us in His truth?

Do we long to have this spiritual “education” from the Lord for ourselves and our children?

In light of eternity, it will not matter what college we have graduated from.

Our vocational skills here on earth will not be of great significance when we die.

Our relationship with God and our salvation through Jesus, His Son, will be the most important thing then.

Shouldn’t it be the most important thing now?

 

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Free, You Will Be

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There was just something about watching the kite in the distance that made me want to photograph it.

Even then, I thought of freedom.

Kites are free to flow in the breeze, to glide wistfully in the invisible currents of air above.

Yet, they are held securely by a tether.

Attached to the string, they will not be lost.

John 8:31-36 reads,

To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

 They answered him, “We are Abraham’s descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?”

Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.  Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever.  So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

True freedom is found only in Jesus.

It may seem strange to consider that being held securely by His love and power brings us freedom, but it does.

Tethered to His mercy and grace, forgiven and free—we are free indeed.

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free indeed correct

Stride Freely

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Sailboats fascinate me.

Something about them catches my interest every single time I see one out on the water.

This time, it was a rather large boat on the ocean.

Drifting along with sails spread out, the wind above the sea carrying them along on a bright and sunny day.

I took several photographs of the boat, capturing its journey in still snippets of time.

Describing the scene would be easy.

Free.

Unhurried.

Sure.

The definition itself draws me in.

Psalm 119:43-48 from The Message reads,

Don’t ever deprive me of truth, not ever – your commandments are what I depend on.  Oh, I’ll guard with my life what you’ve revealed to me, guard it now, guard it ever;  And I’ll stride freely through wide open spaces as I look for your truth and your wisdom;  Then I’ll tell the world what I find, speak out boldly in public, unembarrassed.  I cherish your commandments – oh, how I love them! –  relishing every fragment of your counsel.

What if I didn’t have God’s truth deep within my heart?

What if I didn’t know how He wanted me to act?

What if He had never revealed anything to me?

I would be lost and desperate.

Bound by confusion.

Uncertain.

Thankfully, I am not without God’s truth and direction.

I can “stride freely through wide open spaces” as I grow closer to Him, like a sailing vessel out on the open seas.

As I find more truth and more wisdom on my journey, I am changed—day by day—into the person God wants me to be.

Free.

Unhurried.

Sure…..

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stride

But In Deed

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When I was a very young child, I would sometimes spend the night at my grandmother’s house.

It was a small home with many areas in need of repair.

My grandmother was in her 70’s and losing her eyesight, yet I don’t remember her complaining about either situation.

If I were staying the night in the summertime, it would be quite hot in the little house.

There was no air conditioning.

Only an old, black metal fan.

I saw a fan similar to that one today.

It reminded me of going to sleep at night with the air flying past my skin as I snuggled up on the feather bed made with real feathers.

By morning time, the air would make me feel almost cold.

The air in the room did not change temperature, but the fan moved the air and my body’s response to that was a cooling effect.

Moving air made quite a difference.

At any time, the fan could be plugged in and turned on.

If it wasn’t, it didn’t help anyone feel better.

It was just part of the room’s decor.

I can be like that fan.

I can really care about someone in my heart, but if I don’t show that by my actions, it will not be known.

The care and concern in my heart will not reach out and touch another person if I am only static in my love.

Like the air around a fan, my love must move to another’s need in order to be effective.

Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.

—1 John 3:18

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in truth

My Mind Tastes Truth

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The sun was shining so brightly on the flowers in the yard this afternoon.

After looking out the window for a few moments, I decided to get my camera and walk outside for a closer look.

I noticed a butterfly on a lantana bush.

He was a busy guy, and I only took two photos of him.

Looking at those photos more closely on the computer screen, I could clearly see the butterfly’s proboscis inserted into the yellow flower.

It was dinner time!

Or, perhaps, just part of his regular day-long activity, taking in nourishment as he found it.

He would not have found any nourishment in plastic flowers, even if they had graced my patio table with delicate colors.

Nor would he have found it in neatly lined stones on the ground.

What he needed could only come from specific sources.

Sources that God created to do certain functions—like feeding butterflies.

Wisdom and truth come from God.

We can’t find it anywhere else.

Looking for wisdom and truth apart from God is like a butterfly trying to feed off a plastic flower.

Discerning what our eyes see and our ears hear is vitally important.

Are we seeing and hearing truth?

That is a significant question to ask—-

all day long.

From the book of Job, chapter 12:

Just as my mouth can taste good food, so my mind tastes truth when I hear it. –verse 11

But true wisdom and power are God’s. He alone knows what we should do; He understands. —verse 13

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mouth can taste

Shortcuts to God

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Self-help books.

Besides school texts, self-help books are probably the most numerous species of literature thriving in my in-home shelf habitat.

For some reason, I have had quite an interest in the past years in learning how to make life better.

Do these things and…….this will happen.

Think this way and…….this occurs.

There are so many “you can make big changes on your own if you read this” books out there on the market.

Lose weight.

Gain weight.

Get happy.

Stay happy.

Get rich.

Get simple.

Get more.

Get less.

Wear this.

Don’t wear that.

Whatever you want to improve, there’s probably a written guide somewhere to help you achieve your goal.

These written offerings can be quite insightful.

I have personally learned a lot through the years by purchasing books here and there that have spoken toward my eventual success in some area.

The fact is, I get to choose what to read.

If the words on the page suggest unlikely shortcuts to my goal, a red flag of concern should go up.

I shouldn’t even hope to lose ten pounds in a week or look ten years younger in a month.

Changes like that must take time to be effective and not harmful.

Shortcuts to success are not usually a true way to success at all.

What about shortcuts to God?

John 14:6 reads,

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Think of it this way:

Suppose a 5k race is scheduled on a path around a large lake.

Runners must stay on the path and arrive on the other side at the finish line.

There is one person in charge at the finish line to verify who has crossed by them.

Anyone trying to take a shortcut by running over a bridge to get to the other side of the lake will miss the proper finish line and will be disqualified.

There are so many shortcuts to God that are promoted.

If you are just good enough, you will go to Heaven.

If you give of yourself, volunteering or working for others, you will go to Heaven.

If you achieve a particular goal in life, you will go to Heaven.

The list could go on and on.

The problem with these statements is, none of them says that we must come to God through Jesus.

They are like a bridge that will not lead to the true finish line.

If we want to find our way to God, the Bible tells us how.

Do these things and…….this will happen.

If we put our faith and trust in Jesus as our Savior, repenting and asking for forgiveness, we will live forever in Heaven when we die.

Think this way and…….this occurs.

If we believe that God is faithful and that He has forgiven us, we feel a peace and inner joy knowing that fact.

No shortcuts.

Only the way, the truth and the life.

 

 

Don’t look for shortcuts to God. The market is flooded with surefire, easygoing formulas for a successful life that can be practiced in your spare time. Don’t fall for that stuff, even though crowds of people do. The way to life—to God!—is vigorous and requires total attention.

–Matthew 7:13-14  The Message

 

 

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