Truth Trumps All #5

by admin on October 21, 2014

Masks

 

This month the American culture celebrates Halloween by putting on costumes and taking on a different persona. But, believe it or not, masquerades happen daily. Every day people pretend to be what they aren’t. Maybe it looks like someone who is going through a difficult time and doesn’t want everyone to keep bugging them about it, so they keep a smile on their face. Or maybe you’re trying to impress a group of people so you do everything you can to fuel the impression that everything you do is flawless.

 

Where do you find your identity?

 

We all do it. And maybe we’re so used to doing it we don’t realize it half the time. But have you ever thought about why we wear masks? Here are a couple reasons:

1)   Pride. The mask makes us look better than we actually are which fuels our ego and own self-righteousness.

2)   We believe people would like us better if we were just a little more impressive.

So now the question becomes whether or not this habit is beneficial for us. In many ways it is actually harmful for us. Why? Let’s say I break my arm. It’s not life threatening but it needs attention. If I pretend nothing is wrong I won’t go to the doctor for help. Eventually I’ll assume it is normal for my arm to behave how it does. The doctor won’t even know I need treatment. I’ll endure a great deal of pain that could’ve been prevented. It is also likely that more than just my arm would end up being affected.

The same concept is true spiritually. If there is sin in your life that you don’t acknowledge it will be detrimental. In fact, the Apostle John wrote,

If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” - 1 John 1:5-8

Therefore, hiding sin in our lives from even the ones closest to us only ends up hurting us. Thankfully, he goes on to say that

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” – 1 John 1:9

 

But what if it’s not sin that I’m hiding? What if I’m really just trying to fit in better? In that case, God already knows us for who we are including every little personality quirk. Plus, he already loves us more than we can imagine in spite of our oddities. Therefore, we have the freedom to open up to others and show them who we are while our joy rests in the fact that God’s love will never leave us.

If we walk in the light,

as he is in the light,

we have fellowship with one another.

 

So what’s your mask? What are you hiding? What are you pretending to be? Where do you find your identity? What are you afraid of? What are you worried about? What brings you the greatest satisfaction? Answering these questions may help us to stop unnecessary masquerades.

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Truth Trumps All #4

by admin on October 7, 2014

God is bigger than the Boogeyman

 

“Since 1993 Veggietales has been helping children discover that God Made Them Special – and He Loves Them Very Much!”  – http://veggietales.com/vtmain/whoweare/

 

The creators at Big Idea Entertainment have told countless, humorous stories over the years that teach kids about God, the Bible, and good behavior. One of their videos, entitled “Where’s God when I’m Scared?”, featured a segment about a boy (Jr. Asparagus) who watched a scary television show before bed time, then became afraid of falling asleep because he was convinced there were monsters in his closet. That’s where good ol’ Bob and Larry stepped in.

 

No matter what fear we have

we can have the hope that God is

bigger than what we are afraid of. 

 

 

But here’s the thing. They NEVER tell Jr. that his fear is irrational because monsters aren’t real. They say, “God is bigger than the Boogeyman [or any monster for that matter] and He’s watching over you and me.”

 

And as our society celebrates monsters, horror movies, and other terrors we can learn from this same truth. The truth is NOT that monsters aren’t real so it’s irrational to be afraid of them. There are monsters, or more accurately evil spirits, roaming the earth. No matter who you are, if you saw one you would freak out. But here’s the thing: God is bigger than them. God has them on a leash. And he loves his people so we can trust that he won’t let them touch us. He’s watching over his children. He’s the good shepherd protecting his flock.

 

 God is bigger than the Boogeyman

and He’s watching over you and me.

 

 

But the application of this principle extends beyond the fear of monsters. Perhaps you’re more afraid of heights, snakes, spiders, public speaking, what others think of you, failure, or the unknown. No matter what fear we have we can now have the hope that God is bigger than what we are afraid of AND he’s watching over us.

 

So no matter what may cause you to be afraid, delight to know that it is nothing compared to our great and majestic God. And believer, never doubt for a second this God is fighting for what’s best for you.

 

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

– Romans 8:28

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Truth Trumps All #3

by admin on September 23, 2014

Pruning & Cultivating

 

Many of the people in Jesus’s day lived off of the land. Because of this, his illustrations often involved farming or gardening. And even today, although many of us aren’t farmers by trade, we can still understand these illustrations because many of us invest a significant amount of time and energy into sustaining a healthy yard or garden.

 

 Before there is room for more of what is healthy,

what is unhealthy must first be stripped away.

 

 

One day this summer I helped someone trim a row of bushes. While we were working he told me, “The more you cut it, the more it grows.” The more you take away what’s already there, the better it is in the future. Jesus said something similar.

 

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch of mine that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.”

“By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.”

- John 15

 

In other words, we are either going to be cut off completely or pruned. If you had a tree that had some branches that were completely dead and others that were completely alive, wouldn’t you get rid of the dead ones and do what you can to continue cultivating life in the others?

 

Jesus is a skilled gardener so that’s exactly what he does. Now honestly, neither options sounds like an enjoyable process. But if we know that if God prunes us with a trial or by another means and in the end it’ll actually be better for us, that’s what we should strive for. In the midst of the hurricane it’s hard not to question God; after the storm has passed the benefit of the trial starts to become visible.

 

“It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline?” – Hebrews 12:7

 

If you follow Christ, he wants to cultivate you into his vine. Into His image. But cultivating starts with pruning. Before there is room for more of what is healthy, what is unhealthy must first be stripped away. And as we mature in Christ this is continually a two-fold process. The more Jesus cuts away my sinfulness, the more I can grow into his holiness. And what is more, he will break every chain that any sin has on us, but before any chain can be broken it must first be revealed. Only when we are aware of a sin will he free us from it.

 

However, it also means taking away what is good and healthy to make room for something even better. It may never be easy or completely make sense. But some times we need to give up what we want so He can give us what we need.

 

I want to live for You, I want to die to me


I want to be emptied, 
I want to be freed



From all that holds me captive


All that brings me down

All that’s tried to lose me


Now that I’ve been found


I want to live for You

Connersvine

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Truth Trumps All #2

by admin on September 9, 2014

“Why do you seek the living among the dead?” – Luke 24:5

 

These words were originally spoken to the women who came to the tomb on Easter morning but it is a question for every Christian. Why do seek the living among the dead? Why do you search through death hoping to find life?

Who would look for a newborn baby in a cemetery?

 

But that’s exactly what we do when we indulge in sin instead of obeying the Christ. You see, our very souls long for life. Jesus is that life. He is the only source of that life.  For some reason, even after becoming a Christian, we think we can find that life elsewhere. This mentality is not true which means that it is also sin. Believing this lie will just push us down death’s steep cliff.

 

Why do you seek the living among the dead?

 

Why do you desire satisfaction from that which will never give contentment? And why is it so easy to do? Maybe we’re just forgetful. Maybe we have to many things that distract us from the truth. Maybe we’re afraid of what it would mean for us to really believe the truth.

 

Honestly, I don’t know which, if any, of these hypotheses are completely correct. But I think the point is for the question to be too ridiculous to answer. Who would look for a newborn baby in a cemetery? That doesn’t make sense. And so the point becomes not to justify our sinful actions but to give us reason to change those actions and, ultimately, seek a change in our hearts as well.

 

Brothers and sisters let us seek life and contentment from our living Saviour and learn to forsake all else.

 

“Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty forever. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” – John 4:13-14

 

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Truth Trumps All #1

August 26, 2014

God’s Truths are Like a House   In many ways the truths of God’s word are like a house. They provide rest, security, joy, hope, peace, and many wonderful memories. They are well-defined boundaries that we strive to live within.   “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like […]

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Behind the song: Elohei Tehillati (The God of my Praise)

April 25, 2014

In the last days before his ascension, Jesus had a remarkable conversation with Peter (John 21:15-17). Jesus asked, “Peter, no matter what happens, no matter if the Romans crucify me again or if they crucify you or if you never see me again on earth, will you still love me? Do you love me as […]

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Behind the song: Adonai Tzidkenu (The LORD our Righteousness)

April 24, 2014

One of the basic principles of the Christian faith is that we as humans are separated from God. However, we cannot blame God for this separation. As Isaiah 59:1-2 explains, “Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, or his ear dull, that it cannot hear; but your iniquities have made a […]

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Behind the song: El Gibbor (The Mighty God)

April 23, 2014

Jesus told us “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you” – John 15:18. This implies that if we are His, we will be hated. The real enemy of those who follow after Christ is not persons who hold other convictions but Satan, his demons, and our own sinful nature. […]

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Behind the song: El Hannora (The Awesome God)

April 22, 2014

Nature is a popular place for Christians to go with the intent of deepening their relationship with God. The act of intentionally getting away from the distractions of the modern world and focusing on God’s creation enables us to have a better picture of who he is, and what we can praise him for.   […]

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Behind the Song: Yahweh Shammah (The LORD is there)

April 21, 2014

What’s the opposite of love? This is an honest question. As you formulate your answer let me offer my two-cents worth.   I believe the opposite of love is fear. If I don’t love someone, it’s not because I hate them, it’s because I’m afraid they’re going to hurt me. Now, it’s natural, not to […]

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