Tag Archives: truth

The Fearless Power Of For

“Let mine be a merry, all-receiving heart, but make it whole, with light in every part.” ~George MacDonald

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True power belongs to those who are for.

For love, for light, for life.

Beauty from ashes, the triumph of truth, goodness turning the tide–this is the plan set in motion from the dawn of human history. The Creator is for his creation.

Are you?

Don’t listen to the lie–that all is lost, that child-like trust in God is for cowards, that brute and crude power will prevail. Boastful hubris is as old as the Fall, the discordant rant of small-hearted fear. Those who choose to be against, choose blindness, choose to create hell right where they are.

Some of us have lingered in the dark doorway for too long, lulled by the bitter, beguiling wailing within. The drumbeat beckons, the dissonance croons, “be against, be angry, trust no one but your own kind. Blame them, hate them, bomb them, fear them, send them all away.”

Repent! The only voice worth heeding has already spoken. “Forgive, forget offenses, forbear the failure and limitations of others, and of yourselves. Forgo self-interest, embrace the forlorn. For I will never forsake you, I am with you.” *

The momentum of history is always forward. God brings us through the frightening present, and never circles back to placate our dim-eyed nostalgia. “Behold I am making all things new” (Revelation 21:5) is not wishful thinking, but daily signposts to the future even now unfolding.

The Power of For or the Power of Fear?

The news is forbidding, the odds seem impossible. You are sickened and dismayed by the poison you’ve inhaled. Throw open the windows! Breath in the fresh air of the Real!  Be for what God is for.

Reject

  • rigid ideology
  • political polarity
  • religious pretension
  • and cynical despair,

before you lose the only thing that, in the end, will matter.

“Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell, ” Jesus warns us in Matthew 10:28.

Do you understand what he is saying? The only One with ultimate and complete power over you is the God who sent his Son to die for you.  The cross demonstrates God’s unfathomable, unfailing determination to rescue us from the only thing he has set himself against–the already-defeated, hell-bound usurper we mimic when we refuse God’s “compassion on all he has made” (Psalm 145:9).

The redemptive power of Jesus or that ancient anti-everything deceiver–in this fear-mongered, formidable hour, which will you choose to resemble?

Embrace the fearless power of for, before it is too late.

 

*See, for instance, Matthew 6:14, 16:24-25, 28:20; 1 Corinthians 13, Romans 12, Galatians 5: 19-26

Photograph by Melanie Hunt
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A Better Truth Than The Mirror Tells

When a man really tells the truth, the truth he tells is that he himself is a liar. ~G.K. Chesterton

baby in mirror

Truth: a long-dreaded look in the mirror. (Does this blog post make me look flawed?)

Harsh fluorescent lights cast grey and yellow shadows where yesterday (in the dreamy denial of candle-glow) rosy colors assured me, you’re fine, compared to most.

We’re in the Lenten season, somewhere in the middle. In Lent, we learn to face our flaws without flinching.

We’ve been too easily impressed with the air-brushed versions of us–our eloquence, our god-like wisdom, our mountain-moving accomplishments.

What does the mirror of truth reveal? Freckled impatience, kind-less warts, our envious ear-hair and boastful pores; an arrogant profile, by rudeness puckered, our wrinkly insistence on having our way; irritable ulcers and resentful rashes and our habit of gloating when mirrors were smashed. (1 Corinthians 13:1-6 bathroom-mirror paraphrase).

Now we’re done. God’s made his point. Look away from the mirror with a grateful sigh.

Embrace the truth: God is what we are not. Turn from harsh fixtures to the light of  his patient, kind, generous, gentle, forgiving, forbearing eyes.

In his reflection you will find no rejoicing in evil. God only rejoices in truth.

No Longer Afraid Of The Truth

Only those who follow Jesus and cleave to Him are living in absolute truthfulness. Such men have nothing to hide from their Lord. He knows them and has placed them in a state where truth prevails….At the moment of their call Jesus showed up their sin and made them aware of it. Absolute truthfulness is possible only where sin has been uncovered, that is to say, where it has been forgiven by Jesus….It is only because we follow Jesus that we can be genuinely truthful, for then He reveals to us our sin upon the cross. The cross is God’s truth about us, and therefore it is the only power which can make us truthful. When we know the cross we are no longer afraid of the truth.

(Dietrich Bonhoeffer (1906-1945) from The Cost of Discipleship)

What’s the truth about you and God? The cross is the only answer you need.

Have you been needlessly afraid of the mirror?

This is post nine of our Lent To LoveA Return to the Source series on 1 Corinthians 13. Join us on the journey to Easter!

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Change

Christ wants us to face reality as it is, including all the fears, hurts, resentments, and self-protective motives we work hard to keep out of sight, and to emerge as changed people. ~Larry Crabb

private sign

Scandinavian genes, New England upbringing, introverted by nature– privacy is fiercely defended territory in my DNA. Add to that a 15-year bout with legalism–the conscious attempt, by outward behavior, to become what I was not–I was in trouble.

When our energies and efforts are directed toward trying to prove we are better than we are, we embrace a lie, and slowly die.

  • We pretend to be better (I’m a good person!)
  • We pretend we are doing better…

…than the voice of longing and disappointment deep within would claim.

Church people are often the worst. Testimonies are given in the past tense–I once was lost, but now I’m fine, was blind, but now I’ve arrived. So, who is most likely to stay home on a Sunday morning? The empty, doubting and confused or the self-satisfied and full?  

When I wasn’t looking, Larry Crabb’s book, Inside Out, slipped right past my PRIVATE, THANKS sign. His words exposed the true motivation behind my pious efforts–to avoid facing my own inner mess.

Change begins when we face the truth:

This life will never be complete. We will never be what we wish we could be. We will hunger and thirst, long for and sigh, disappoint and be hurt as long as we are here. To face that truth is to begin to change.

Come, all you who are weary, who hunger and thirst for what you cannot name. Come, you doubters and sinners, you losers and quitters. Come, you hopeful and despairing, haters and lovers, complainers and grateful. Come to me, the Living Water. In me your thirsty souls will find relief. 

(Psalm 63:1  Isaiah 55:1-2  John 4: 13-14; 7:37-38  Revelation 22:17)

 

 

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12 Ways To Live Truth

All Christianity concentrates on the man at the cross-roads. ~G.K. Chesterton

path to truth

An English teacher did not invent the sacred rule of fiction writing, Show, Don’t Tell.

God did.

It was his voice that first cried, “Don’t tell me what you believe is true, show me.” At the end of the journey we won’t be asked to recite a creed, we will listen to the story of our lives.

And as the plot unfolds, we will remember every moment, each encounter as a fork in the road. The tension will build as the story is told–did we walk in truth, or did we live a lie? Did we choose the path to the wisdom, character and purposes of God as revealed in Jesus, or did we pursue a dead end?

The road always divides, even now. At the end of this page an errand will be run, a person will walk in, a thought will cross our minds. If we listen carefully we can hear an urgent voice on the wind…live truth every moment of this day.

10 Ways to live truth

  1. Choose mercy over judgment.
  2. Choose kindness over indifference.
  3. Choose generosity over greed.
  4. Choose humility over self-importance.
  5. Choose forgiveness over disengagement.
  6. Choose trust over worry.
  7. Be self-giving, not self-serving.
  8. Be hospitable, not hostile.
  9. Be an encourager, not a competitor.
  10. Be slow to anger, not easily provoked.
  11. Be teachable, not unyielding.
  12. Say yes to God at every turn.

Which path will you take today?

Deuteronomy 30:15-20   Matthew 25:31-46   James 2:26


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3 Things Truth Is

This is the way; walk in it. ~Isaiah 30:21

God hates lies, deceit, treachery, hypocrisy, pretense, flattery, slander, slurs, oath-breaking. The oh-so-close, just a bit off, slight twist of truth is what God especially loathes; almost-originals are the most effective counterfeits.

Why does God hate lies? Because any lie is ultimately about him.

Truth involves far more than accuracy–facts can easily be manipulated, actions and attitudes too often shout the opposite of our words. How does the Bible picture truth?

Way of truth

Truth is:

  1. A PATH: A way to follow, a voice to obey, a Person to know. The way things really work.
  2. A ROCK: God’s character–faithful, dependable, trustworthy, consistent. The way things really are.
  3. A GOAL: God’s plan and desire for all he has made–restoration, new life, another chance. The way things really will be.

God commands his people, “Act like I do, be like I am, want what I want.” That is truth.

But how do we know? It is easy to be

  • bewildered by what God does
  • baffled about who he is
  • unclear what he wants of and for us.

God’s answer is Jesus, who declares, I am the path, the character, the plan. Take Jesus seriously–not the Jesus you imagine, not just doctrine about him, not just the religion that claims his name.

Know Jesus–by his Spirit, through his Word, in the lives of his people–and you will know truth.

So what is truth?

If your heart is open to Jesus, your ears listening for his voice, your feet willing to follow, your eyes alert to his movement, your hands quick to serve him, your words reflecting his qualities, your character one he can count on, your determination to seek his way,

you will know.

A few verses to check out: Psalm 25:4-5   Psalm 33:4-5, 11  Isaiah 11:1-9; 45:19  Jeremiah 7:28  John 8:31-32; 16:13; 18:37   1 Peter 1:22  (In the OT the Hebrew word for truth is often translated faithfulness).

 

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What is Truth?

And diff’ring judgments serve to declare that truth lies somewhere, if we knew but where. ~William Cowper

Inspector Clouseau

I love truth. I imagine my role in life to be the troublesome child who announces that the emperor is wearing no clothes. Often, the “elephants” in the room are clearer to me than other humans nearby. I go for days accomplishing little because the inside of my brain resembles a disassembled toaster–nothing is left unexamined down to its smallest particle.

But, to my continual frustration, emperors avoid being faced with the obvious, elephants are perfectly comfortable where they are, and a toaster in pieces is not good for much.

Still, I am convinced of the beauty and priceless value of truth, and am ready and willing to do battle against its too common counterfeits:

  • Self-righteous offense–“How dare you believe differently!”
  • Pious platitude–“I’m sure he didn’t mean to hit you.”
  • Cynical sneer–“It amuses me to prove how deluded you are.”

Do you see yourself in any of those three? The tendency to moralize, to sentimentalize or to destroy any idea or thought left unguarded?

Or, to put it another way, is truth my fiercely guarded possession, silly putty to suit my fancy or a weapon of snarky destruction?

When I indulge in any of the three, I am holding truth hostage to lies.

What is truth? The Roman governor Pontius Pilate asked that question of Jesus, and it wasn’t because he was stupid or unfamiliar with the prevailing viewpoints of his day. There was a reason he failed to see.

And I think I know what it was. (To be continued…)

What have you noticed about truth’s counterfeits?


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Truth and Love

The first reaction to truth is hatred. ~Tertullian

Truth

The relationship between Truth and Love is confusing. In a previous post, 7 Things Love is Not, I noted that biblical truth and love are inseparable twins. So why do I find it so difficult to live happily with both?

In recent years Truth has taken quite a beating. 

  • What once was true is now in question, so you can no longer trust your beliefs.
  • What once was evident is now computer-edited so you can no longer trust your senses.
  • What once was reliable is now filtered and slanted, so you can no longer trust the facts.

Any truth left over, any perspective we all still share, is as tasty and invigorating as yesterday’s leftover coffee. We thirst for something so much better…

In contrast to tepid relativism, the Truth-tellers among us seem strident–more hostile and mean than accurate. Rigid lines are drawn and defined, with no middle ground, no grey areas allowed.

If the choices are Truth-as-hammer, or Truth-as-bias, most of us will choose neither. Both feel like the opposite of Love.

But the opposite of Truth is not love, it is lies. And the opposite of Love is not truth, it is indifference.

An indifferent liar is exactly what God is not. And therefore is the worst thing that we can be. So,

  • The impulse to pretend,
  • To refuse to care,
  • To keep our heads down and thoughts to ourselves is not from God and is not who he is.

The problem is not with Truth, the problem is with us. We’ve forgotten its meaning, we’ve misunderstood; we’ve become hardened, skeptical and afraid. But oh, the delight that awaits us when we rediscover Truth once more.

So, what is Truth? What do you think?

 

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