Posts Tagged ‘ Truth ’

Bridges of Love

But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ… Ephesians 4:15 NRSV

MP900447728[1]In response to a recent posting, one reader left a comment that got me thinking. They pointed out that not only should we speak the truth in love, as Paul tell us, we should use love to build a bridge that is strong enough to bear the weight of the truth we are trying to get across.

The image of building a bridge of love is a powerful one. Bridges allow us to cross otherwise impassable chasms. Bridges support us when there is no ground to stand on. Bridges allow us to make connections that would be otherwise impossible.

The problem with bridges are that some of them are not very sturdy. They may be unable to bear the weight of those who try to cross on them.

MP900442723[1]When we have a truth we want to share to help someone, we better be sure there is a strong enough bridge to bear the weight of that truth. Truth is not always light. It can hit us like a ton of bricks. It may also be difficult to bear. Only when carried across a strong bridge of love, will that truth be able to have the desired impact.

That tells me that I don’t want to just speak truth in love. I want to lay a strong foundation of love, support and understanding. Then, when I am ready to speak the truth, the bridge we travel together will hold us and sustain us until we reach the other side.

FaithJesus did that. He laid a foundation of self-sacrificing love that was so deep and strong that the truth he spoke could be heard, accepted and embraced.

This week, why not build bridges of love, so the truth you witness to draws those who listen to God!

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Tune In To Tune Out

“Be still, and know that I am God! I am exalted among the nations, I am exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10 NRSV

MP900387570[1]God says, “Be still.” Why? Because it’s hard to hit a moving target! It’s hard to talk to someone who isn’t listening, or who is too busy talking. It’s hard to teach a mind that is bouncing all around. It’s hard to heal a heart whose loyalties are divided by competing desires.

I want to know God, and I imagine you do too. But God told us that knowing comes when we are still. Knowing happens when we leave the distractions and challenges of our day behind. Knowing comes when we quiet the thoughts that preoccupy us, and turn from the worries that normally absorb our attention.

The prerequisite to knowing is being still. When we are still, we can know who God is, and what God is doing.

Being still is the prerequisite to knowing.

When I think of being still, I picture water in a pond. If the water is undisturbed and the wind quiet, then the surface is as smooth as glass. If just a single rain drop falls into that pond, it transforms that water into a beautiful pattern of rippled circles. Now picture the rough waters of a storm tossed sea. A droplet of rain lands in that sea, but it makes little difference in the waves, as they toss and turn.

MP900400015[1]Our minds are like that. God’s word, dropped onto the surface of a still mind, can create ripples of truth that transform the entire landscape of a person’s life. But revelation dropped onto the churning waters of a turbulent mind will probably pass unnoticed.

That tells me, we must tune out to tune in. We must tune out the world’s chatter, and tune into God. We must allow ourselves to release worry, and let go of fear. We must allow the peace of Christ to quiet us. Then we will be ready to receive the revelation that God has for us, and ready for it to change us!

beautiful girl portraitAre you hungry to learn? Be still. Are you wanting to know God? Be still. Are you longing to understand God’s ways and will for your life? Be still. Do you really want God’s touch to change your life? Be still. Then, start a conversation with God.

The bottom line is, when drawing close to God, do a lot of listening. If you do, it will change your life!

Be still. Tune in. Know God today!

Prayer:

God, you speak, but I am not always listening. Help me to just be still. Help me to turn from the noise and tune out the distractions that keep me from hearing you and knowing you. Then speak. Your servant listens. Amen!

Awe

Tamed Tongues

But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love. Ephesians 4:15-16 NRSV

MP900430759[1]Children chant, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” That’s a nice saying, but I doubt any of us really believe it. Even the thickest skinned person feels the sting of harsh words, disrespectful speech, demeaning names and angry venom spewed from the mouths of others.

I don’t know about you, but I certainly don’t want to be someone who uses my words as weapons of assault. Paul’s words remind us that we are to first speak the truth, and then we are to speak it in love. That means anything that is not consistent with truth, or is not spoken in love, should not come from our mouths.

Today’s video gives a simple reminder of this truth, and calls you and me to join in the effort to let God tame our tongues. To view the video please click here.

Then, speak the truth in love!

Socially Desirable Responding

They all deceive their neighbors, and no one speaks the truth… Jeremiah 9:5 NRSV

42-15737535I ask my psychology students to conduct a survey each semester. I want them to get a feel for doing real research.

One of the surveys asks, “What are the top five things that make you happy?” One semester a student reported the answers of a mall shopper. After the shopper finished the survey, he said, “Now do you want to really know what makes me happy?” He then went on to list things like alcohol and drugs.

That shows people aren’t always honest in describing themselves. Typically, especially when put on the spot, people tell you what you want to hear. Researchers call that socially desirable responding.

I think the more sensitive the topic is, the more likely people are to answer in socially desirable ways. That is especially true when it comes to matters of faith. Today’s video vividly illustrates that point by contrasting the witness a young man professes, with the thoughts the young man is thinking. To view the video, please click here

Thankfully, God knows the heart. God looks behind our words MP900443136[1]and searches our inner being. What we say many sound good and create a respectable image. But the faith we profess is of little use if it does not match how we truly think and feel on the inside. The truth lies within.

God knows what you and I really think. Why not be honest, and talk with God about where you really are in your faith journey. Then invite Jesus to meet you there. As you do, he will lead you to where God really wants you to be!

A Changed Mind

Then Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” John 8:31-32 NRSV

MP900398791[1] “I once was lost, but now am found, was blind but now I see.” That’s the experience many of us have had. We saw things our way, and harbored self-serving doubts about God and Jesus.

But then God’s amazing grace got hold of us, and turned us around. God changed our thinking by taking us beyond our lost ideas and false beliefs, and opening our eyes to the truth.

That experience is beautifully illustrated in today’s video. As you watch, you will see God turns doubts and lies into redeeming truth. Click here to watch the video.

Then, let God continue to change your mind. As you do, God will fill your life with the truth that redeems, renews, restores and recreates!

Remember Who You Are

To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. Romans 8:6 NRSV

MP900403330[1] One of my favorite Disney movies is the Lion King. I especially like the moment the lost lion hears the voice of his father telling him, “Remember who you are.” That moment transformed his life and destiny.

Before that encounter, the young lion had run away from home, sold himself short and ignored his calling. Immediately after it, he began to remember who he really was, and fought to regain his rightful place in the circle of life.

MP900385315[1] When Paul writes the Romans, he asks them to do something very similar. He asks them to remember who they are, what Christ has done for them, and the certain promise they have of a glorious future. I imagine Paul believes that if they realize the truth, they will step up to the plate and answer the high calling of Christ. They will stop wandering, worrying and wasting time, and start becoming the people God created them to be!

Not all of us feel as lost as the young lion who was to be king.  But all of us have times when we lose sight of what is most important. Our perspective gets clouded and our feelings start to toss us around.

Today’s video uses the ideas shared in Romans 8 to encourage us to remember who we are, and what Christ has done for us. Take a moment to enjoy it’s message. Click here to view it.

Then, be the person Christ is calling you to be!

The Obedience of Faith

…but now is disclosed and through the prophetic writings is made know to all the Gentiles, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith. Romans 16:26 NRSV

MP900411797[1] Paul is just finishing up the longest of his letters. He wants his readers to have a systematic presentation of the truth about God and the redemptive plan that was fulfilled through Jesus Christ. As the letter draws to a close, Paul realizes that revealing truth is only half the battle. He has done his part. The results depend on the response of his readers.

Revelation always requires a response! When faced with new information, people react. Some react with a cold indifference. For them, the truth about Jesus Christ goes in one ear and out the other. Others respond with polite attentiveness. They look like they are listening, but they have no intention of changing. Then there are those whose minds and hearts are open. When revelation crosses their path, they respond with faith. They believe what they hear. They put their trust in the truth.

Revelation requires a response.

Stock Photo of Children Discovering ReadingThe truth that we put our faith in becomes the truth that sets the course for our lives. It guides our actions and determines our destiny. So, when it comes to God’s revealed word, faith is always the right response! 

If I put my faith in the good news of Jesus Christ, then I will live by his words. God will be at the center of everything I do. The Holy Spirit will guide my actions. I will live as a humble servant of Jesus Christ.

The bottom line is that we obey what we believe. If we say one thing and do another, then we really don’t believe what we are saying. Paul knew this. That is why he talked about the “obedience of faith.” He wanted the Romans to know that just hearing the gospel is not good enough. What God has so graciously revealed to us must be met with faith. Once we respond to the truth with faith, then it becomes a part of us.

We obey what we believe.

MC910216397[1]Those who believe God’s word are those who are defined by that word, guided by that word and inspired by that word. They enthusiastically take up their cross and follow Jesus Christ. They live Christ-centered lives. They become the people God created them to be!

What we trust, we will obey. So let’s put our trust in God’s word and in the truth about Jesus Christ. Let’s be more than hearers of the word. Let’s be believers!

Then let’s live out what we believe. Let’s be doers of the word too. Let’s show the world the obedience of faith!

Trust then Obey!

Prayer:

Giver of truth, your word shows me the way. Help me to keep on believing the truth, and responding to all that your word asks of me. Make me a hearer and doer, so that my life might be a witness to the world of a life changed by the obedience of faith!

Amen.

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