Truth!

John 8:32 ( ESV) “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

I have searched for truth since childhood. All I knew was that God’s Word said, “Truth was a person and it was all important.”

The word truth itself sounds simple enough, but the more I searched for it, the more I realized we humans tend to entertain all degrees of what we consider it to be. Not to mention the enemy’s deceitful imitation of it, which often looks and feels like the real thing, but is not! We tend to forget the word “truth” means true fact, reality or certainty.

I like what Priscilla Shirer said in her book, The Armor of God.  “The enemy shades reality with enticing colors, seducing us away from black and white principles and he hides the consequences in the fine print while highlighting only the parts that appeal to our self-gratifying selves.” Amen Sister!

Today I realize we must be very careful where we pursue truth. because most claim to possess it. Everyone from the current latest greatest champions of products to those trying to convince us that they are the true blue political solve it “allers” of our day. Christopher Mims, writer for the Wall Street Journal recently had this to say about truth and political issues, He said, “Christians are called to stand above the partisan dissension and demonstrate a better way. Should we care about our country? Yes. Should we vote? Yes. Should we have an opinion? Yes. and as a believer, it’s time we talk about politics in a way that models the teachings of Jesus rather than mocking them.”

I believe “Real Truth” is the foundation for all else in life, unlike the worldview which is usually distorted. This amusing little poem reminds me of this kind of distortion. My face in the Mirror, Isn’t wrinkled or drawn. My house isn’t dirty the cobwebs are gone. My garden looks lovely, and so does my lawn. I think I might never put my glasses back on.” (unknown author)

So how does one go about deciding what real truth is? For me, it all begins with the Word of God, which is the most owned and read book of all time. In fact, the accumulated discoveries of archeology over the past few decades confirm that even its smallest details are accurate. It is also a deep well of wisdom where we can find answers to every reasonable question.

That said, Believers need to use God’s Word as a filter for their choices. For example, in the upcoming election the biggest question of the day is, “Whom should a Believer vote into office”?  Well; that would be persons whose lives are the closest aligned to Godly principles such as honesty, integrity, tenacity, humility, self-control, and experience, only to name a few. A leader must define and exhibit high moral and ethical character. They need to say what they mean and mean what they say. They also need to have a solid reputation for honesty and honor. After all, God’s Word says, “Do not to be unequally yoked,” and that doesn’t mean just with spouses. No one can tell you how to vote, but WISDOM provides an excellent set of credentials as a guide, and “TRUTH” must be the first in the lineup.

What about you? What does truth mean to you and how do you measure it?

A Family Kind of Love

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NIV)

As a little girl, I deeply yearned to feel unconditionally loved and protected but I felt neither. My parents were married young and Dad was in the Air Force. Four months into their marriage they were expecting my brother and a year later they were expecting me. My dad was shipped overseas and my mom returned home to her parents, to a less than perfect situation. She arrived with my three month old brother cradled in her arms and me growing inside her. Needless to say, times were difficult for our small family.
Years later my father returned from the war and we resumed life as a family. Ours was a strict and rule-laden home and though I know my parents did the very best they knew to do, we often felt that their love was conditional upon our behavior. That message burned so intensely in my heart that I likewise thought of God’s love in the same manner, conditional upon my behavior.
For a lifetime I longed to know and feel a forever kind of love and mercy, the kind that despite my flaws would be a place of refuge and safety, a place where I could be accepted just as I am.
As I grew in my knowledge of Christ, I recognized that the message of God’s love being conditional on my behavior was completely false; in fact it couldn’t be farther from the truth. God’s word says He chose us to be the object of His love even before the earth was formed; He adopted us into His family. This truly was incredible news to me because not only had I been selected and saved, I would be forever safe and protected in His care.
God’s love is fiercely protective and has worked in my heart to heal my deepest wounds and diminish my strongest fears. God has taken my childhood scars and transformed them into a thing of beauty. He has even worked the most difficult of times together for good by making me aware of His unconditional love, which impacted the choices I would make for how to love my own family.
When I became a mother I knew I didn’t want to raise my children in the same way that I was raised. I felt so deeply blessed by God to have been entrusted with each child and I loved them with all of my heart. I also loved God’s word and within its pages I found the wisdom, comfort and guidance I sought for how to raise my family.
I believe 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 is the perfect example for how to treat your children, especially since it is the way God chooses to treat His children, loving them unconditionally. Our Heavenly Father’s example of love is the strongest and healthiest kind of love on earth, a true family kind of love.

Now That’s Amazing Love…

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38-39 (NIV)

What an awesome truth. There is a love that is not only real but one that will last forever. A love that no one could ever take away; now that’s amazing love.

I had always desired to give and receive this kind of love but felt that I often fell short. I truly yearned for a love that was genuine and enduring but could not seem to find one. Then, as a young woman, during one of the most difficult times in my life, I met and fell deeply in love with Jesus Christ. He was the most caring and honorable person that I had ever known. I had no idea that I would ever find the life changing love He had to offer.

It truly was hard to grasp that The Son of God Himself, the Savior of all mankind, wanted a real live personal love relationship with me. In fact, He said He loved me enough to pay the price for my past, present and future poor choices. For the first time in my life, I had found the most amazing and healthy love relationship, the one where I not only felt wanted but valued and safe.

Jesus Christ had also given me a new name, “Child of God,” “Daughter” and “Believer.” Along with those names came a wonderful group of people, who like me, had experienced failure, disappointment, and heartache followed by mercy, grace and forgiveness. They called themselves “Church Family.” Through this group of people, God has shown me just where to find an abundance of real love, real peace, and real hope, the kind I had always desired. They were certainly not a perfect bunch but have become dear friends and spiritual brothers and sisters.

Today Jesus remains the light of my life. He is pure love and grace, which is an essential part of His character and His words go far beyond the empty unbelieving words of this world. His love is all encompassing and ever-lasting; it goes deeper than the deepest flowing river. His love provides comfort for the hurting, rest for the weary and protection for the frightened. It is patient and kind, and does not envy or boast, and is never proud. His love does not dishonor others; it is not self-seeking or easily angered.  God’s awesome love keeps no record of wrong-doings for those who believe in Him, nor does it delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. His love always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres, and I can honestly tell you, I love Him more today than I did some 50 years ago when our journey began but more importantly, He still loves me and has my back no matter what; now that’s amazing love!

So sorry! Too busy!…

In all your ways acknowledge Him, and he will make straight your paths. Proverbs 3:6 (ESV)

There is a normal and healthy pace to living that allows the Lord to be our guide, but we often are running so fast doing an endless amount of “good things” that we find ourselves ignoring His voice on the best things. We might even whisper over our shoulder, “Sorry Lord! I’m just too busy,” and even if we do not say these words, we certainly think them. Thank God that He loves us despite our self-absorbed, foolish-at-times, way too busy self.

I have been guilty of living life on the edge leaving little room for the unexpected. Most of the time I had such great excuses for my busyness that it had become a lifestyle for me. I honestly think that I thought the idea of being too busy was virtuous. Trust me! It was not. In fact, it cost me dearly.

One day an old friend of mine from New London, NC called and asked if I could visit. She lived almost an hour and a half away. The last time I had seen her was at her husband’s funeral several months earlier. I told her I would love to come but my plate was full at the moment. I assured her that I would call after the holidays and we would get together. A few weeks later I sent her a Christmas card including a note asking if she would like to spend a few days with us. I even told her I would come and pick her up if she did not want to drive. I didn’t hear back from her and before I knew it was spring. I could hardly believe that time had passed so quickly. Things had slowed down a bit by then, so I called to see when might be a good time to get together.

My husband and I had a dinner party to attend that same week. At the party, we sat beside someone who also knew my friend Enid. I asked him if he had talked to her recently, telling him that I had tried to call her the day before but had not gotten an answer. He proceeded to tell me that she had suffered a massive heart attack two weeks earlier and died a few days later; he assumed that I knew.

I was devastated and felt sick to my stomach. Guilt washed over me like rushing water. I could not believe that I had allowed my so-called “busyness” to take priority over spending time with one of my oldest friends before her death. All I could think of for days was, “If only I had gone when Enid first called…” but I didn’t and it was too late now.

In the weeks that followed my heart ached terribly over my poor choice. I cried out to God to help me change my priorities, and recognize the difference in doing “good things” and “the best things.” I knew He was helping me learn this painful lesson. Today my prayer is to never again live with a “woulda”, “coulda”, “shoulda”, choice that allows “busyness” to rob me of precious time spent with a friend or family member.