Thursday, April 30, 2015

Tell The Truth, The Whole Truth, And Nothing But The Truth

"The entirety of Your word is truth, and every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever."
Psalm 119:160 (NKJV)

When someone is called into court to be a witness in a legal case their testimony will begin with them being asked a question, "Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?" and the witness presumably will answer yes. The witness is then asked to tell what they know about the case before the court.  The witness is not supposed to give opinions, tell what they heard someone else say, or make a guess about something.  The witness is supposed to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth about the questions they are asked.

Psalm 119 is the longest chapter in the Bible and it is all about God's Word.  2 Timothy 2:15 tells us that we need to rightly divide the Word of truth and Ephesians 1:13 says that the Gospel is the Word of truth.  God's Word is the truth and it endures forever.  What we say is extremely important so when we talk about ourselves, our families, the situations we deal with in life, the challenges we face, our future, and anything else, we need to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth about all of these things, we need to say what the Bible says.

Christians are new creations and the righteousness of God in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17, 21), able to do all things through Christ (Philippians 4:13), the Lord is the strength of our life (Psalm 27:1), and God will supply all of our needs (Philippians 4:19).  We may read about this and it does not seem possible or we somehow feel unworthy of such a thing.  But no matter what others have said, what has happened in the past, what things look or feel like it is still true and we have to be sure we tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth; we must say what the Bible says.  That is how we live a victorious Christian life.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Blooming Where You Are Planted

"But the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, who believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away."
Luke 8:13 (NKJV)

Recently I was out running and I saw something very strange.  The path I run on is close to the street and between the path and the street there are some places where shrubs have been planted.  The shrubs are not the nicest thing that could be planted in that space but for the location I suppose it is a good choice.  But, as I was running past one of these places where the shrubs are planted I saw a yellow tulip!  My first thought was that this was a nice change from the shrubs but then I thought about how this tulip is in the wrong place; this is not a place for tulips but for shrubs.

There is a saying that people use about blooming where you are planted.  This is a nice saying but it is not always completely true.  You may have a wonderful flower but if it is planted in the wrong place it will not bloom or even survive.  Palm trees are nice but you don't see many, if any of them, being planted in Germany.  Palm trees do well in a certain type of environment and not so well in others.  The same thing that is true with plants is true with people.  While I agree that in every situation and season of life we can grow, develop, and prosper it is important to be planted in the right place.

In the parable of the sower Jesus talked about the Word being sown as seed and how it produced results based on where it was planted and the conditions involved.  Some of the seed sown did not produce real, lasting results because the seed fell on rock and there was no possibility to take root there.  To really bloom where we are planted we must be sure we are planted in the right place.  If we plant our life into the wrong things we can hear the Word and hear the Word but we will not bloom like we should.  Be sure your life is planted in the Word of God and follow God's direction in life to be sure you are planted with the right people and situations as you should be, that is how you can bloom where you are planted.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Get The Truth And Hold On Tight!

"Test all things; hold fast what is good."
1 Thessalonians 5:21 (NKJV)

When you find something really good you want to make sure you hold on to it; you don't want to let it go or take the chance of losing it in some way.  When you have something good, something valuable, something that might be irreplaceable, you will do whatever you can to hold on to it and never let it go.  The first thing you need to do to have something valuable is to know if something really is worth keeping.  Once you know what that good thing is you have to locate it and then you must hold on to it and not let it go.

The Bible is very clear about the fact that we as Christians are not just supposed to accept anything and everything, especially in the area of our beliefs.  We have to check and recheck what God's Word has to say to know what is right, to be able to discern both good and bad doctrine.  Then once we know what the good things are we should hold on to them, this is what we see in 1 Thessalonians 5:21.  We find the truth and we keep our focus on it; but this is only possible when we actually know the truth.  If we don't know the truth then we are in danger of holding on to something that is false.

There are some things people believe to be true because some family member, close friend, or trusted leader told them that thing.  But, no matter what we have learned, every "fact" must be tested to see if it is true.  We look at the things we already believe, and the things we learn, and check them against God's Word.  Things that are in agreement with the established truth we see in the Bible we hold on to and things that are not biblical must be rejected.  The truth of God's Word is our basis for a successful life, that is why we must prove all things and hold on tightly to what is good.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Set Your Course And Don't Turn Back

"Now it came to pass, when the time had come for Him to be received up, that He steadfastly set His face to go to Jerusalem, and sent messengers before His face. And as they went, they entered a village of the Samaritans, to prepare for Him. But they did not receive Him, because His face was set for the journey to Jerusalem."
Luke 9:51-53 (NKJV)

Whenever I am taking a trip somewhere I check the route and make a plan.  Sometimes I fly to a destination or I might take a train and other times I just drive to the place.  Before my trip begins I will set the course and make the necessary preparations for a successful trip.  But, no matter how good my planning and preparations are I often have issues on my trip where things are less than perfect.  Still, once I have set my course and made a plan to go somewhere I am going to get there no matter what.  Even if there are some difficulties along the way I will reach my destination, I will not turn back.

We are all on a journey in life and things will not always be easy.  No matter who you are or what you do you will face challenges that will tempt you to turn back from the course you are on.  If you ever want to amount to anything or do anything meaningful in life you will have to be determined to go forward no matter what.  When Jesus went to Jerusalem in Luke 9 He was determined to get there.  We can see that not everyone was happy with His decision but He went anyway.  In the same way we set our course in life and follow it until we reach the end, no matter what.

For Christians, God gives us a course in life and we keep going, we don't let anything stop us.  We must first have the correct course from God; that comes through His Word along with direction by the Holy Spirit.  We have to keep our sights set on the goal and not get swayed by any bumps along the way.  We never quit no matter what.  Take the time to get the right course from God and then be resolved to never go back from that path.  Once your course is set listen to any further direction God may give you along the way and be determined to go forward and not turn back.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Input And Output

"Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord."
Colossians 3:16 (NKJV)

Generally speaking, you cannot have more going out of something than you have coming in.  This is true financially and it has been said that if your outgo exceeds your income, then your upkeep will be your downfall.  This principle is true physically, if you expend more energy and effort in activities than you take in nourishment you will become weak.  Another example would be with a car, you can only drive your car as long as you have gasoline in the gas tank. This same principle is also true spiritually, if we are giving out more than we are taking in we will have trouble.

Colossians 3:16 tells us to let the Word dwell in us richly, but this requires action on our part, it is not something that happens automatically.  We first have to take in the Word of God so that it can dwell in us.  The second part of the verse shows the result of our having a rich supply of the Word of God in us, we can teach and encourage each other and we will sing with grace in our own heart.  If our supply of the Word is low it will have an effect on our ability to help others and maintaining a healthy spiritual level for ourselves.  Without a continual supply of God's Word we become weak spiritually.

Some people just think about how important it is for those who are teaching and encouraging others to have a supply of God's Word without realizing the problems each of us will have in our own spiritual life if we do not let the Word dwell in us richly.  Trying to live the life God intends for us to live day after day without continual input from God's Word will create a deficit due to more output than input.  We have to know the Word, speak the Word, meditate on the Word, and do the Word to keep ourselves spiritually fit and to help others.  We need to have an abundant supply of God's Word in us.