The Truth Always Comes Out!

You don’t know the truth about everything.  You do know the truth about some things, but there are situations and circumstances surrounding your life and the world that you are still left in the dark on.  Some pretend to think they know the truth about everything, but in a world of secrets and lies and coverups and deceptive schemes, there’s no way anyone can be that informed and knowledgeable.

This truth of the truth always comes out and even goes to the core of who you are and who you say you are.  The truth about your life is not known by all or many, but one day, the truth of your life will come out.  How do I know?  Because the truth is so powerful it cannot be hidden or covered up forever, it must come out.  And on top of that, God’s word tells us and shows us that the truth always comes out.

Luke 8:17   “For nothing is secret that will not be revealed, nor [anything] hidden that will not be known and come to light.”

Think about it this way, the religious leaders in the days of Jesus wanted to kill and bury the truth, so they took Jesus and crucified the “Truth” on the cross.  And do you remember what happened on the third day?  Jesus/Truth rose and came out of that grave.

Luke 24:4-8 And it happened, as they were greatly perplexed about this, that behold, two men stood by them in shining garments. 5 Then, as they were afraid and bowed [their] faces to the earth, they said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? 6 “He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee, 7 “saying, ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.’ ” 8 And they remembered His words.

Since you know the truth is going to come out, why not just walk in it today?  Why not embrace and love the truth and accept it and let it do what truth does, it sets you free.  Whatever you do, don’t be a part of the coverup.  A great day is coming and it’s the day of Jesus Christ.  Truth is coming and every wrong will be made right and every lie will be exposed.  Embrace Jesus today!

Need Directions?

Unless we’ve been there a time or two, most of us need good directions, including landmarks, mile markers and visible signs.  Directions, however, do not always have to do with geography, but we especially need to know what to do and how to respond when someone attacks us.  Instinctively, when we come under attack, we attack back in our defense, but which way should you go when someone attacks your character or your place of authority and position?  If you’ve been around for any length of time, you have to know an attack will come, and you should know there are directions for every attack and conflict.  God’s Word is such an incredible navigator to help us survive the unexpected conflicts and attacks that come to us.  You can trust the good directions found in God’s word in an Old Testament story of when David the King and all of Israel came under attack by the Philistines.

2 Samuel 5:17-20 Now when the Philistines heard that they had anointed David king over Israel, all the Philistines went up to search for David. And David heard [of it] and went down to the stronghold. 18 The Philistines also went and deployed themselves in the Valley of Rephaim. 19 So David inquired of the LORD, saying, “Shall I go up against the Philistines? Will You deliver them into my hand?” And the LORD said to David, “Go up, for I will doubtless deliver the Philistines into your hand.” 20 So David went to Baal Perazim, and David defeated them there; and he said, “The LORD has broken through my enemies before me, like a breakthrough of water.” Therefore he called the name of that place Baal Perazim.

Do you see the directions when you come under attack?  When the Philistines “went up,” David “went down.”  David didn’t presume to go up or out against the Philistines, as perhaps he really wanted to, but rather he went down to the stronghold to get directions from the Lord.  God was the one who gave David the authority to “go up” against the Philistines and be victorious.  David had a history of going down and inquiring of the Lord before he ever went to battle with an enemy.  David understood that victories in battle rested exclusively in the power and presence of Almighty God.

Let me encourage you with these directions today.  When the enemy attacks, and he will in some way, shape or form, make sure you “go down” before you ever “go up or out” against your enemy.  God may want to change their heart about attacking you.  God is always looking to see what your reaction will be and if you are depending on Him or not.  Don’t be so quick to defend yourself, but “go down” in humility before God.  If you “go down” before God when the enemy attacks, the chances of you “going up” with God before you and getting victory are guaranteed.

 

Develop the Discipline

Instead of giving God your list of needs and wants in prayer, why not go to Him just to listen?  God has something to say, but so many times we are in such a hurry in our prayer time that we never give Him a chance.  For many years I neglected this part of communication with the Father.  I’ve done what everyone else has done in prayer, I’ve rattled off my top needs, offered some thanksgiving and a little pinch of praise and then hit the “Send” button.  I’ve prayed as if God wasn’t listening in that present moment but would get around to it later on and then in some way respond.

It’s absolutely critical to our walk with God to develop the discipline of listening to God in prayer.  Listening is as much prayer as talking!  The high priest told Samuel when he was just a little boy to tell the Lord he was listening when He called.

1 Samuel 3:9-10 “Therefore Eli said to Samuel, “Go, lie down; and it shall be, if He calls you, that you must say, ‘Speak, LORD, for Your servant hears.’ ” So Samuel went and lay down in his place. 10 Now the LORD came and stood and called as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel answered, “Speak, for Your servant hears.”

Learning to listen to God in prayer will be a challenge because we’ve been taught to talk and sitting in silence waiting for God to speak is not our strong suit.  That’s why you have to develop this discipline, because God sees us in prayer and delights when He sees us not in a rush, but deeply interested in what He has to say.  Think about it, shouldn’t the main speaker in our prayer time be God?  Think about it, doesn’t God already know our list of needs?  Yes and yes, and don’t misunderstand, God wants us to pour our hearts out to Him, but He also wants to get a word in and communicate love and guidance in our lives.  The next time you go to God in prayer, go to listen instead of listing out the needs.  When it comes to your relationship with God, develop the discipline of listening and when He speaks, just say, “Yes Lord!”

Matthew 17:5 “While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Hear Him!”

Easter Sunday Services

 

Keep Moving Forward

Sometimes we stand in line with other people and get busy talking or looking at our phones and the line has moved, but we haven’t.  It’s that way in lines or at traffic lights and it’s that way in life.  The horn blowing behind us makes us look up and take off again, or the person behind us may bump us to get us going again.  The thing is, you need to keep moving in your faith and walk with God.  Yes, there are things that get our attention and cause us to stop and spiritually pause longer than we should.  There are other things that we just need to put down because it’s not helping us move on.  Every follower of Christ should learn to repeatedly lay things to the side that are not helping us follow Christ.  We find that practice in Hebrews 12.

Hebrews 12:1-2 “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares [us,] and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of [our] faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.“

John Piper was the preacher who said, “The lowest question a person can ask when determining to continue a specific action is, “What’s wrong with it?”  He said the greater question to ask is, “Does it help me run?”  So, is there anything in your life that’s hindering your walk/run with God, and if so, don’t you think you should lay it aside?

You will continue to be handed things in life, and the Bible teaches us to evaluate each thing and to faithfully practice laying things aside.  Many things we have to lay aside are good things, not harmful or hurtful or even sinful, they are just not spiritual catalysts.  Your faith in God as a follower of Christ means you must keep moving forward.  Since Jesus is constantly moving forward, following means moving forward.

Conquering Spirit

There are those among us today who are easily defeated and quickly turned away.  All it takes is one little obstacle, one small setback, one discouraging remark, and they turn away from whatever it was they were striving for.  On the other hand, there are those among us who have a conquering spirit, a spiritual tenacity about them that nothing can turn them away from their mission and goals.  When King David came to Jerusalem to establish the Kingdom of Israel and the city as the capital, he was met with belittling opposition.

2 Samuel 5:6-7 And the king and his men went to Jerusalem against the Jebusites, the inhabitants of the land, who spoke to David, saying, “You shall not come in here; but the blind and the lame will repel you,” thinking, “David cannot come in here.” 7 Nevertheless David took the stronghold of Zion (that [is,] the City of David).

It would have been easier for David to have stayed in Hebron and ruled from there or even to have found an easier city to claim as the capital, but God must have laid it on David’s heart to claim Jerusalem.  The Jebusites underestimated David’s conquering spirit, and more so, the power of God who was with him.  They overestimated their own fortified position and infrastructure of the city.  The Jebusites mocked David by saying, (my paraphrase), “We’re not going to use our best soldiers to defend us because the blind and the lame should be able to hold you off.”  In essence, they were telling David maybe the same things that have turned so many others away from accomplishing their goals and the things God has laid on their hearts.  “You don’t have what it takes.”  “You will never be able to pull this off.”  “You don’t belong here, so turn away before you embarrass yourself.”  “It’s not going to work.”  “You don’t know what you are doing.”

You can be the kind of person who is easily turned away or you can be the person God created you to be, it’s that simple.  God’s word even describes you as, “more than conquerors through Him who loved us. Romans 8:37.  You have been described as an “overcomer” in 1 John 4:4 because, “You are of God, …..and, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”  Only when we live with a conquering spirit do we ever bear witness that Christ the King of Glory lives inside of us.  Live your life in faith in the One who lives inside of you.  He can still take down giants and part the waters and raise the dead, so don’t let anything turn you away from doing all He has laid on your heart.

 

It’s Official

It’s official, you are human!  One thing for certain is that even though some people act strange and weird and like nothing bothers them, they are still human.  Regardless of what the tabloids say, there are no aliens among us and there are no super-humans.  There may be those who don’t seemed to be bother by what bothers most, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be bothered or upset and discouraged.  We all suffer from the same things and we struggle, some more than others.

Accepting the fact that you are human can also be encouraging in that you are not alone in the struggle and you are not alone in the need.  The fact that we get upset, worried, hungry, angry, discouraged, overwhelmed, annoyed, sad, lost, confused, bitter, greedy, jealous, compulsive, obsessive, motivated, aggravated, exhausted, vindictive, destructive, protective, violent, lonely, resentful, prideful and cynical is the short list that verifies we are indeed human.  And all of these, to whatever degree they are experienced, originate from one characteristic we were born with.  We are sinful and so we struggle in this life and in this world because of our embedded nature.  The apostle Paul said,

Romans 7:18-20 “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but [how] to perform what is good I do not find. 19 For the good that I will [to do,] I do not do; but the evil I will not [to do,] that I practice. 20 Now if I do what I will not [to do,] it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.”

You can do whatever you can to overcome the negative side effects of being human, but they will always be with you so long as you live.  It’s like when you were born, you got the same flesh suit everyone else did and it is installed with a nature that is oppressive to your life experience and detrimental to your eternal future unless something is done about it.

Here’s the deal, every human needs Jesus because we are born with a nature that separates us from God.  God sent Jesus to override that nature and provide a new nature for us so we can live joyful, peaceful, grateful, hopeful, graceful, merciful, selfless and loving lives.

It is official that you are human, but you should make sure it’s also official that have been given a new nature through Jesus Christ.  The apostle Paul recognized the old nature and he recognized the only answer and he made it official.

Romans 7:24-25 “O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 I thank God–through Jesus Christ our Lord! …”

Actors

You may love Hollywood actors, but you really don’t know them.  Recently there’s been much reaction to Will Smith going on stage at the Academy Awards show and hitting Chris Rock.  Was that real or were they acting?  I don’t know, but I do know that Hollywood is all about ratings and of all things they are good at, it’s acting, and pretending to be someone they are not.  The best actors, however, never attended acting school, it just came natural and it started at an early age.

If the nominees for best actor came from characters in the Bible, the award would have to go to…..(drum roll please)…..Judas.  Think about it, Judas had everyone fooled that he belonged and was part of the true followers of Christ.  Judas knew when to look shocked and surprised, and he probably was at times.  He knew when to have that deep look of interest on his face, all the while thinking about the money bag.  Judas knew the language and gestures but it was all fake.

There are people like Judas today who are spiritual actors and they play their role well.  They have memorized some scripture verses and regularly attend church and sing with the music, but they are only acting.  What that means is that there is a spiritual disconnect, just like it was with Judas.  Here’s what Jesus said about spiritual actors,

Matthew 15:7-9 “Hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy about you, saying: 8 ‘These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with [their] lips, But their heart is far from Me. 9 And in vain they worship Me, Teaching [as] doctrines the commandments of men.’ ”

Jesus called spiritual actors “hypocrites.”  It means to impersonate, pretend, and to play a part.  Judas was playing his part and no one ever knew the difference except for Jesus.  Jesus was well aware of Judas’ acting, and Jesus also knows when we are pretending.  Jesus gave Judas every opportunity to quit pretending and start living for God in truth and with his heart, but he never did so and it cost him eternally.  What a tragedy to be right there with the Savior of the world, but never give your heart to Him completely.

The world is full of naturally actors and the church is full of spiritual actors who play the role and have everyone fooled.  All that we can do about that is make certain we are not acting.

Dangerous Assumptions and Evil Assassins

We assume a lot of things, and we do it constantly like breathing the air, but there is a danger—several dangers—when we live by our assumptions.  To be considerate, some of our assumptions are spot on accurate and even encouraging, but then many of them show how blind we are and can be very hurtful to others.  We assume, including myself, that everything we watch and hear on the news broadcasts are exactly what’s taking place in the world.  The older and wiser we become, we learn that assumptions are very misleading.  We assume we are the ones in control, when the reality is that’s only an illusion.  We may have some control, but there are other forces at work that can put us in our place at any moment.  God is in control and that’s no assumption.

We assume everyone thinks like we do and everyone feels the same way about something than we do.  Wrong!  We assume that tomorrow will come and that we will still be here.  We assume things in our relationships.  We assume our children should naturally know to clean their rooms and to take showers.  We assume our spouse knows they love us.  Someone once said, “Assumptions are the termites of relationships.”

Don’t we assume things about God?  We assume that God despises the same people we do, but that’s not true.  We assume that God feels the same way about things that we do.  We assume God will swing heaven’s gates open for us because we have lived a morally upright life and we have treated people really good and have given to good causes.  We assume that since we attended church and never missed a Sunday and never used God’s name in vain, we get a ticket for heaven and eternal life.  We assume that Jesus will not return in our lifetime.  We assume that we are doing God’s work alot of times, when the reality is, it’s our work and what we want.

There were two brothers who lived by their assumptions and they both ended up dead because of it.  They were captains in an army and went together and killed their king so that another king could come to power. They were evil assassins with false and fatal assumptions. The believed with deep convictions they were doing the right thing and what God wanted them to do.  Here is what they said,

2 Samuel 4:8 “And they brought the head of Ishbosheth to David at Hebron, and said to the king, “Here is the head of Ishbosheth, the son of Saul your enemy, who sought your life; and the LORD has avenged my lord the king this day of Saul and his descendants.”

These brothers assumed this was what King David wanted and they assumed they were doing the work of God.  They also assumed they had killed all of Saul’s descendants.  In their assumptions, they got it all wrong and it cost them severely.  First, this was not what the LORD wanted, second, King David was not pleased, and third, there was still one descendant left.  King David had those assassin brothers executed because they lived by their assumptions.

The devil wants you to keep living by your assumptions  instead of knowing and living with understanding.  He wants us to live that way because he knows we get it wrong most of the time.  We can avoid a lot of hurtful misunderstandings just by talking to people and asking questions.  God wants us to know the truth about Him and not go around assuming things about eternal life and heaven.  Those who live by their assumptions rarely consult with God in prayer and study in His word because they believe in their intuition and their own intelligence, but God’s word says something different about that in

Proverbs 14:12 “There is a way [that seems] right to a man, But its end [is] the way of death.”

Proverbs 12:15 “The way of a fool [is] right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel [is] wise.”

Instead of living in danger by living by our assumptions, let’s continually go to God in prayer asking Him to show us the truth.  Let’s do the work in knowing the will of God.  Let’s be bold enough to ask questions when our relationships are involved.  Let’s use caution with our preconceived thoughts.  When eternity is involved, don’t assume anything about your relationship with God, but ask God to show you if you are His or not!

A Bad Report

Who gives us bad reports?  Sometimes a teacher in school will give a bad report concerning a student conduct or academics.  A mechanic looking at your vehicle may give a bad report or a plumber who finds a blockage in your drain.  But when we think about bad reports, we mostly think of doctors.  Usually a doctor will come to an individual or to a family and say, “There’s nothing more that we can do.”  Or they might say, “The cancer or sickness has spread too far for any treatments to help.”  Bad reports come to us from about every area in our lives, but none effect us so deeply as those that concern life and death.  And when a bad report comes, your faith in God is either going to sustain you or you will be crushed emotionally and mentally.

Luke 8:49-50 “While He was still speaking, someone came from the ruler of the synagogue’s [house,] saying to him, “Your daughter is dead. Do not trouble the Teacher.” 50 But when Jesus heard [it,] He answered him, saying, “Do not be afraid; only believe, and she will be made well.”

Jarius had done the right thing concerning the life of his daughter and called for Jesus to come and heal her.  Jesus was slightly delayed by another women who came through the crowd to touch Jesus for healing, but then a messenger with a bad report came to Jarius and Jesus and delivered the bad news.  Jairus’ daughter was dead.  What happened to Jairus in that moment is what would happen to anyone of us, his heart immediately sunk.  When you get a bad report, and you will at some point in your life, it’s important to have Jesus right there beside you.  After all, Jesus is the One who is over all life and death.

What should you do when you get a bad report?  Do what Jesus said,

”Do not be afraid; only believe,…”

When Jairus came to Jesus in the beginning, he came believing, but the bad report all but killed his faith in Christ.  To keep believing when you’re receiving a bad report is the challenge we must rise to.  You have to believe to the end and believe through every exam and every treatment and every doctor’s visit.  You must keep believing and keep your eyes fixed on Jesus to your very last breath.  The only way to not be afraid and to keep on believing is to listen for Jesus’ report.  What did Jesus say?  “She will be made well.”  I can promise you that the report Jesus gave overpowered the bad report the messenger delivered.  Believe today that Jesus has the final say.

 

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Sunday Service 3-20-22

 

Bring Jesus!

The house can be full even when there’s not very many people in it.  We routinely count people to determine if a house is full or not, but it’s possible to be in a large house with only a few people and it still be full.  You can also be in a small house packed full of people and it still be empty.  What really is the determining factor of whether a house is full or empty?  It depends on who you are asking, but ultimately it’s best to let God decide.  As far as God is concerned, a house being full or empty must not have anything to do with the number of people or room capacity, and it must not have anything to do with the size of the house.  Jesus actually gave us some numbers to consider when measuring the fullness of a house.

Matthew 18:20  “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”

Think about it, the presence of the Lord is what determines the fullness of a house, not seating capacity.  What would you rather have, great numbers of people, but no presence of the Lord, or the presence of the Lord no matter the number?  It’s clear and God declared it to us that He wants His house to be full, full of people, and full of His presence.

Luke 14:23 “Then the master said to the servant, ‘Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel [them] to come in, that my house may be filled.”

What a blessing when the house is full of people and full of the presence of the Lord, but what a challenge as well.  The question is, however, and the one we should be asking is, “Do you bring Jesus into the house?”  Can you bring Jesus with you Sunday?  When you go to your house, do you bring Jesus?  When you go to work, will you take Jesus?  Why not make it your personal responsibility to see that the house is full wherever you go, by bringing Jesus with you?  Only Jesus—say that with me—only Jesus can make a house full!

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