Christian Devotions

Posts tagged ‘truth’

Integrity

He that walketh uprightly walketh surely:

but he that perverteth his ways shall be known.

~~~ Proverbs 10:9 (KJV)

Eventually everything comes to light. We see this everyday in the headlines. People’s underhanded dealings eventually are exposed to public scrutiny.

This political bigwig has taken money from special interest groups.

That public figure has had an illicit affair and fathered a child.

A financial officer is caught with his hand in the till.

All these people thought they could engage in illicit activity and remain anonymous. No one would ever find out. They were deceiving themselves more than anyone else.

God has promised that the truth will come out. We just read it here. We can be sure that if the Lord says it, it is true. Eventually, all will be made known. That’s a scary thought if you’ve been trying to hide things.

Father, God,

Help us to walk in integrity. Keep us from deceptive practices and thoughts, and let us become the righteous people you intended for us to be.

In Jesus’ most precious name.
Amen.

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The Awesome, Awful Truth

And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.  ~~  John 8:32  (KJV)

Freedom and truth are highly prized in this day – freedom more than truth, I fear.

But without truth, there is no freedom.

So how do we know the truth? There are some clues.

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.  ~~  John 14:6 (KJV)

Jesus came as savior and redeemer to give us direct access to a Holy God Who will not look upon sin without righteous anger.

I don’t know about you, but the righteous anger of God scares the pudding out of me.

Yes, God is a God of love. Yes, He loves all His creation. We have ample evidence of that.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.  ~~  John 3:16-17  (KJV)

Jesus, Himself, is the evidence of God’s love.  Look at these verses carefully. When it says the world, it means every single person in the world, no exceptions.

The daughter who takes care of frailing parents; the man who lives around the street corner under a bridge; the members of the family in the big house on the hill; the loudmouthed gossip at the coffee shop;  all of them. Each and every one of them. And not just them.

He loves the victims of crime AND the perpetrators of those crimes. The saving grace of Jesus, our Redeemer, is open to them all.

Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;

Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:

Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;

To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.  Romans 3:20-26  (KJV)

In the eyes of God, the person who steals a pen from a desk is just as guilty as the one who kills people at random. There is no  degree of sin. Sin is sin, period.

We are not ever going to be “good enough” for God. There is no way for us to earn His favor. Only Jesus Christ can redeem us for eternity with Him.

I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.   ~~   Luke 13:3  (KJV

So what does it mean to repent?  Is it just being sorry we got caught in something shady? Is it just feeling bad about something we said or did?  Well, not really.  According to Merriam Webster:

Repent means — to turn from sin and dedicate oneself to the amendment of one’s life.

This requires a 180 degree change in thinking and behavior.

The other part is believing, believing that Jesus is Who He says He Is; believing that He is the means of our salvation; believing that obedience to His will is paramount in our lives.

Believing that He came for love of us. He loves us – each and every one of us – as if we were His only child.

The awful and awesome truth is that we make the choice. We determine our own eternity. We choose to believe – or we choose to not believe.

Please choose now. Time is running out.

Father, God,

Help us to see ourselves truthfully. Give us the wisdom to acknowledge our sins and the grace to repent of them. Fill us with a hunger to know You and let us empty ourselves of self so that Your Holy Spirit can take full possession.

In Jesus’ most precious name,

Amen.

 

Empty Worship

Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:  ~~  Isaiah 29:13   (KJV)

Many people in this country attend church regularly. If the door is open, they are there. We tend to assume that people who are actively working in church are somehow super spiritual.

That isn’t necessarily the case. This verse should bring us to examine our motives and our hearts.

These people come near to me with their mouth
    and honor me with their lips,
    but their hearts are far from me.
Their worship of me
    is based on merely human rules they have been taught. (NIV)

What constitutes a heart of worship? Where does God rate in our schedules and our scheme of things? Is He, in fact, first? Or is He just an afterthought?

When do we seek Him? Daily? Hourly? Moment by moment? Or do we just call upon him when we have come to the end of our selves and need emergency intervention?

God tells us specifically that He doesn’t care about the trappings of worship, that worship is an attitude of the heart. Only when our hearts long for Him above all else can we worship in spirit and in truth.

Father, God,

Fan the flames of hunger for You in our hearts. Show us that seeking You, Your face and heart, not just Your helping hand, is the way to eternal contentment.

In Jesus’ most precious name.

Amen.

First published in Garment of Praise  6 July 2009.

Making Things Right

Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the Lord.
Therefore thus saith the Lord God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people; Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the Lord.
And I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all countries whither I have driven them, and will bring them again to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase.
And I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them: and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall they be lacking, saith the Lord.
Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.
In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, The Lord Our Righteousness. ~~ Jeremiah 23:1-6

Reading this passage, I am struck by its similarity to our times.  We have preachers and teachers who dilute the scriptures and preach a social gospel which is not the word of God. Many of our traditional congregations are dwindling because our church leaders want to be popular in order to garner the gifts of the congregation.

Other congregations are springing up – some of which are true to the Word and others are true to the quest for money.

When we water down the words of God, we are feeding the flock plastic Easter grass, not the nourishing fresh green shoots of a verdant pasture. The Lord promises to let us reap the consequences of our actions. “…behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the Lord.

There are multiple adages that echo this truth. “What goes around comes around.” “You reap what you sow, more than you sow, and later than you sow.” “Sow the wind and reap the whirlwind.” “Every action carries within itself the seed of its own reward or punishment.”

We know this truth, but we behave as if it weren’t so.

Do not despair. God has promised a faithful remnant. We may have to endure many faithless shepherds and dedicated charlatans, but there is a Redeemer.  We know Him as Jesus Christ. We just celebrated His victory over death and destruction. We have the benefit of the Paraclete that He has sent to dwell with us personally.

If we listen to the whispers of that Comforter, examine everything in the light of God’s word, and obey His directions from the Scriptures, we can be sure that we are in God’s will, doing His work, and reaping His rewards for the faithful.

The word “righteousness” as used in our text for today carries the meanings of justice, virtue and prosperity. Can we be surprised that justice and virtue lead to prosperity?  I think not.

God is clear in His directions. In His world there are no shades of gray. It’s yes or no, right or wrong. Our choice is also clear. But it is our choice to make. Will we be part of His faithful remnant?

Father, God,

Even as You give us clear choices, help us to make the right decisions. We would hear Your voice only. Grant that we may filter out the din and cacophony of this world and enter into your quiet place where we can hear Your words distinctly.

In Jesus’ most precious name.

Amen

Grace and Truth

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.  ~~ John 1:14

Jesus came! He became man. He came to redeem us. He set aside the fullness of His deity and constrained it in humanity, just like our humanity. He understands our human limitations and makes allowances for them. That is grace.

He is God. God with us. He is the standard of Truth, all truth. When we are confused or perplexed, He will lead us to The Truth. With that truth, we can grow towards His perfection. Towards the plans He has for us.

Grace and Truth, the doorposts of a life with God.

Father, God,

Thank You for Your generosity in sending Jesus as a man to be our redeemer, our example. Thank You for loving us. Thank You for sharing Your Truth with us. Fill us with Your grace that we may extend that same grace to all we meet in order to help them understand Your Truth.

In Jesus’ most precious name,

Amen.

Grace on our Lips

Psalm 45:2 Thou art fairer than the children of men: grace is poured into thy lips: therefore God hath blessed thee for ever.

I read this today and suddenly saw something more.  As Christians we are different from the children of men. We were born into the sins of the flesh, but when we became Christians, we shed that identity like a snake shedding an outgrown skin.

2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

We are no longer children of men.  We are sons and daughters of God.

1 John 3:1 Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.

We are saved through the grace of God. His gift of Salvation is both free and priceless . It requires only that we put our complete trust and faith in Him.

John 3:16-17  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

The portion of our theme verse that hit me hardest was “grace is poured into thy lips”.  How is grace poured into our lips?

Luke 6:45
A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.

“of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.”

Where do we get the abundance of the heart?

“John.16.13”
Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

Jesus spoke these words to his disciples as he was preparing for Golgotha. Here He is speaking of the Comforter, the Holy Spirit. The presence of the Comforter is the means by which God pours grace into our hearts.  From that grace, we  speak grace and evidence grace to those around us.  It is a sacred trust and high privilege to be able to extend that grace to others.

Father, God,

Help us to see the rare privilege that you have given to Your children. Grant that we may exhibit and extend Your grace to the world around us. Help us to carry this priceless treasure carefully and share it generously.

In Jesus’ most precious name.

Amen.

The Conversation

A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.  Proverbs 15:1 (KJV)

In today’s world, we have a glut of words. Everyone has an opinion and a belief which he/she is willing to express to all who will listen. Traffic on Twitter and Facebook is at an all time high.

I am appalled, however, by the vitriol spilling forth in some of the conversations. Whether we agree with something or not, there is no reason to speak uncivilly to others.

My sainted grandmother used to say “Make your words sweet and tender. You never know when you may have to eat them.”  It was her way of reminding me that I was not all-knowing or infallible.

It grieves me especially when those who bear the name of Christ in this world speak harshly and critically about things that we know are not right.  We are to speak the truth in love.

In fact, it is because we love that we speak the truth. As an example of that love, I recommend that you read the blogs of Lori Stanley Roeleveld.  She speaks truth, but couches in terms that are palatable, even if the message is not what the world wants to hear.

Father, God,

Grant us the wisdom and courage to speak your truth in this world. Help us to speak from Your love, not our own arrogance.

In Jesus’ most precious name.

Amen.