Thursday, February 10, 2011

Why We Believe A Lie?


      Maybe we choose to believe a lie, because the truth really does hurt.  Perhaps, “WE CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH!   Could it be that the comfortable lie saves us from a cruel pain truth creates?   As we embrace the lie, does it help us cope with the reality that we aren’t as self sufficient as we thought?  Does the lie help us perpetuate the myth that we have no need for others, above all God Himself?  What makes the lie so easy to swallow?   Is the truth really so much harder to grasp?
      In John 8:32 and 33, we find Jesus talking to his disciples about truth and freedom.  He tells them, “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free,” (NLT).   At first they didn’t get it saying, “But we are descendants of Abraham, we have never been slaves to anyone.  What do you mean, ‘You will be set free?”  

      Later in John 14:6 Jesus declares that He (Jesus) is the way the truth and the life.  He goes on to tell us that nobody can come to Father God except through Him.  Jesus is the way.  Jesus is the Living Word of God.  In John 17:17 he says, “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.”
As Christ followers, we need to always be on guard to the lies Satan will use to distract us from the truth found in God’s Word.   Too often we forget the subtle way in which a lie can be presented.  Have you ever met someone who is always handling out flattering insincere comments? 1 Thessalonians warns against this type of disingenuous sweet talk.

      Lies can also hide behind a simple overstatement.  I’m often guilty of exaggeration and my propensity toward this keeps me from recognizing it as a clever lie in opposition to truth.   Ephesians 4:25, tells us to put off falsehood and speak truthfully.   Even a simple failure to correct a false impression, can lead to deceiving others.  Leviticus 19:11, commands that we not to be deceitful.   

      Needless to say we all struggle with lies, believing them and telling them.  However, if I am serious about deepening my personal relationship with Jesus I MUST seek truth.   Even for someone like me, who loves playful teasing, must come to love truth more than a hearty chuckle. 

      In John 16:12-14, Jesus give us some great news.   Jesus says that the truth He had to share with us is more than we can bear so the Holy Spirit will guide us into all truth.   Isn’t that incredible?   We don’t have to hook everyone we meet up to a lie detector machine, to see if they are telling us the truth.  Holy Spirit promises to guide us into finding the truth, all of it.   Don’t believe a lie?   Connect with Holy Spirit and see what interesting truths He is willing to disclose to you.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Brown Leaves

A couple of days ago, our family traveled north to Tallahassee; for the purpose of spending Christmas with my parents and brother.   The early winter had already frozen most of the trees and underlying foliage, but a few multicolored leaves remained.  Because of my father’s worsening Parkinson’s disease, this year’s Christmas was not shaping up to be much better than the Thanksgiving season we had just shared last month.  (My Dad landed in the hospital just as the Thanksgiving weekend ended.)  

Two weeks ago, I was back up here again to assisting my Mom in find a different Rehabilitation program.  Dad was moved last weekend and the transition had been, “challenging.”  Although first diagnosed in 2006, his Parkinson’s had been well controlled until he completed a simple procedure requiring anesthesia.   My father’s normal walk worsened to at best a crawl.  Periodic freezing of his major muscle groups began to dramatically affect his speech, vision, and ability to even remain lucid.  As we pulled into town, signs of a cold gray winter mirrored the dark atmosphere I was already anticipating.        

On Christmas Day, my son’s girlfriend’s grandfather unexpectedly passed away. Yesterday, Bradley drove me back to Orlando so he could help comfort his girlfriend.   After getting him set up with a buddy to spend the week with, I then hopped in the car and drove back up to Tallahassee, (about a five hour drive.)  About thirty minutes into the trip, my wife Cindy called to tell me that the morning had not gone well.  She had stayed with Dad while my Mom and Brother went to church.  Dad had been a little agitated and was resisting therapies.  We knew the facts.  Parkinson’s disease is a chronic progressive condition that, if taken to its natural conclusion, ends with one-on-one direct care.  My mind began to race with next step options.  I wondered what if Dad became combative was kicked out of his current facility?  Needless to say, none of the alternatives were positive. 

Heavy gray clouds hung above me all the way back to Tallahassee.  I was keenly aware of the depression seeping in.   My thoughts and the radio weren’t helping.  Reaching into my box of CD’s, I grabbed one Cindy and I use for praise and worship in the choir we sing in at church.  Halfway into the trip the doldrums began to lift.   I did what I had been trained to do.  I got my praise on!   In no time, the worship music redirected my thoughts to what an amazing all powerful God we serve.  I was reminded of who I am in Christ and the many promises I possess as His son.  I remembered that I am always being sheltered under His strong wings and empowered to face any challenge fearlessly because the Creator of everything resides in me.  He can sustain me through any and every challenge I face.  No matter what laid ahead, with God I could Move Forward! 

The Bible tells us that our praise to God attracts his presence to us.   He’s always there, but when we begin to praise God that honors Him.   Then He lets us experience His presence in a variety of ways.   The Lord brought to mind some other key thoughts I had been taught over the years.   One is that doubting and complaining kept God’s people wondering around in the wilderness for forty years.  On the flip side, by trusting God and thanking Him for all His benefits, we participate in having our atmosphere changed.   Instead of living in a land of doubt, frustration, and depression we can choose to live in the Promise Land God has provided.   Even if we face death it will not overwhelm us.  We each have countless friends and family members already rejoicing on the other side, encouraging us in our race forward in Christ. 

I began to think of King David and the many battles he faced, often sending his secret weapon out first.  The power of Praise!   The weapon of praise and thanksgiving confuses our enemy (Satan) who wants to deceive and overpower our thinking.   Praise changes everything!  

I once heard Joyce Meyer make a statement that, “When jumping we have to first go down to get the power and strength we need to shoot up forward.”   How many times do we seem to be going backward just before the breakthrough comes? 

As I began pulling into town, bright rays of sunshine began to break through those droopy clouds that had preoccupied me all day long.   The overcast skies were breaking up.  Those barren trees I had focused on earlier that morning, taunting me with the harsh realities and fragility of life, had now been lit up with a brilliant light.  The lingering vegetation which still clung to the withering tree branches, now shimmered with multicolored beauty, as pure penetrating light overwhelmed internal weakness.  The simple changing of the leaves reminded me that though with age our competence may fade, yet if we choose to let Him; the all powerful light of God can transcend our natural capabilities displaying his SUPER-natural power.   Light always wipes out darkness. 

As I parked the car on the way up to the Rehab Center I was reminded of Paul’s compelling words in 2 Corinthians 4: 16-18 (NLT):
“That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day.  For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever!  So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.”

Saturday, October 9, 2010


My Granny from Alabama was an excellent cook.   Before, my brothers and I had gotten up from the pallets we had slept on the night before, we could already hear Granny rattling skillets.  It wasn’t long before the grown-ups were up, dressed, sipping coffee and discussing how they had slept.  In time a few whiffs of the fresh cured sausage, smoked bacon, grits, eggs, and homemade biscuits pulled us from the covers and into the den to watch TV.

By now, the grown ups had begun reading the newspaper.  Before breakfast, they had discussed the major issues of the day.   Soon everyone was stuffed.  The women begin clearing the table and once the dishes had been washed by hand; my Granny would  commence with preparing of a dinner meal, for the lunch hour.    We kids would by this time have found our way outside to toss a ball, explore a field, or watch the grass grow.   (My parent’s favorite past time suggestion for us!)   We knew the drill to come.

A delicous lunch would be followed by a rest, or short nap.   It seemed strange to  that the grown ups needed to rest when they hadn't done anything?   Rest from what we kids were never quite sure.  At any rate, by two thirty or three at the latest it was snack time.   That always consisted of a homemade cake or two, a cobbler, or fresh tarts. Our favorite was the lane cake.

I guess looking back now, it could have been the sugar high that made us so antsy.  At any rate my brothersand I always had the suitcases packed and waiting by the door long before snack time had commenced.

All these thoughts of reminiscing started me thinking the other day.    Aren’t many of us taking this same posture when it comes to going home to Heaven?   We would all like to go there one day; but just because JESUS is our Ticket, do we have to be just sitting around and waiting to go?  Doesn’t He have prayers that need to be prayed?  Aren’t there missionaries that need to be sent?   Can’t ministries still be discovered?   Won’t people all around us always need the Good news and a positive word of encouragement? 

In John 5:16  we find Jesus even working on the Sabbath.  In verse 17 His response to the Jew was simple: “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working."

Jesus himself warns us in John 9:4: “As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work.”   Too often I get tired or bored and want to take a break.  We don’t find Jesus sitting on his suitcase waiting to go back to Heaven.  In John 4:34 Jesus likens his ministry to being like the necessary food he ate just to stay alive.  Jesus honors His Father in John 17:4 as he proclaims: “I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do.”  
Throughout the New Testament the apostle Paul continually exhorts us to complete the work God has given each of us to do.  In 1 Corinthians 15:58 he says, “stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain."   It will soon be time to go, but in the meantime there is much to be done!   

Thursday, October 7, 2010


This morning I sat in my truck waiting for daybreak, so I could start mowing.  Facing the east, I could see just a sliver of the white light reflecting off the moon.   It was the narrowest crescent moon I had ever observed.  Within the next ten minutes, everything had changed.   The brilliant rays of the sun had illuminated the entire sky.  Through the black silhouette of trees, I could see hues of the softest yellows mixing with orange, white and pink.  All of a sudden, that moon which had once dominated the entire black sky was now scarcely visible.  A new day had begun.

A fifteen year old student, at another local high school; had twice been a pupil in my wife’s sixth grade class.   His Mom had sung with us in the church choir before the boy was even born.   Sadly last week, his father had found the young man dead from a drug overdose.  On Tuesday at the packed funeral service, many of his classmates and best friends sat at the front of the church, coming face to face with the end result poor decisions.

Two weeks ago none of those students expected to be spending their Tuesday afternoon looking into a casket.   The young man had been in drug rehab before and knew of the horror of detox.  He knew that sobriety was possible.  Yet, for whatever reasons we will never know, this young man could not face life without a drug high.  

Life at any age is hard.   All of us need relief from the pressures and difficulties of life.   Jesus said to the Samaritan woman at the well, to partake of the living water that will continually satisfy.   What stops us from reminding each other of the availability of living water that is always there for us to drink?   In these times of calamity, depression among all sectors and in every age group is soaring.   Untreated or undertreated depression progresses.   We each have a responsibility to encourage each other and do our best to get those in trouble the help they need.   This might often be a word of support, a listening ear, a positive word, and if necessary counseling or even confinement. 

Like the crescent moon, this fifteen year old student had only a sliver of light to help him find his way in the world that had become a dark place for him.   As Christians, Jesus has filled each of us with light.  Pray with me that we will not be afraid or ashamed to let our light flood the lives of those in need.   Lord, help us to encourage those around us that we can each live in the beauty of daybreak if we share our light!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Did I Stutter?

This is one of my son's favorite questions.  Have you ever wondered if God might be thinking the same thing?  If He took the time to get forty different authors, on three different continents; to write the Bible over a period of 1,500 years, could He wondering why we don't get it?   

The apostle Paul tells us in 2 Timothy 3:16 that "From childhood you have know the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation."  Even Jesus was constantly referring His listeners and the Pharisees back to the scriptures.  Are we or others expecting Him to give us a word that is superior to His written word in the Bible?  Perhaps we're searching for something easier or less demanding? 

I caught a snipped of a TV interview with some celebrity atheist the other night ragging on the Bible.   His major point of contention, was how God could sanction rape, incest, and brutality and then condemn us with the ten commandments?   He couldn't seem to wrap his mind around how the Bible could allow these atrocities and blast people for premarital sex, homosexuality, lying, and idolatry.   

It was obvious that this celebrity had not read the entire Bible as he had claimed.  How could he have missed that God called Abraham the friend of God?  Did he skip over the familiar 23rd Psalm that describes our Heavenly Father as the Good Shepard?  Did the celebrity miss the fact that God sent prophets to warn his people to turn from their sins, and often put up with their rebellious sinning for hundreds of years?   Maybe he somehow missed the fact that God the Father wanted a love walk relationship with each of us so much, that he provided His own son as a ransom for our sin and rebellion?

The longer I watched thisshow the more I realized what an ignorant actor this guy was.   Its so easy for us who understand the extraordinary gift of salvation.  We take it for granted that everyone understands God's love.  My prayer is that we will consider how blessed each of us have been, that God has put someone or several someones in our life to teach us the light of God's Word.  Let's make sure we are full of the light of His Word and then share that light with others.