Truth Trumps All #20

by admin on May 18, 2015

11 Things I Learned in College

 

1. There’s a difference between your personality quirks

     and your sinfulness.

Some times it’s hard to see how we fit into a group of people. Everyone else is a certain way. We’re the exact opposite. It’s easy to assume that it’s wrong for us to be different, even going so far as to say that our uniqueness is sinful. However, this is not always the case. God made each of us differently so that each of us can glorify him in a specific way. Similar to the distinction between these two categories, our reaction to our sinfulness and our personality quirks should be vastly different as well. Sin should be abandoned. Personality should be developed with increasing character. This means that…

 

 

 

2. It’s okay to be yourself.

It’s okay to try new things. It’s okay to make mistakes. It’s okay if you don’t fit in. You shouldn’t apologize for who you are. At the same time, be aware of your own potential to make someone else feel bad for not being exactly like you. Instead, “in humility count others more significant than yourselves” (Philippians 2:3).

 

 

 

 3. You are capable of understanding and being understood

     by everyone. 

 

We may not be able to completely understand everyone but it is our duty to try. There will always be some who take more patience and humility before we can truly understand who they are. We must not, however, fool ourselves into thinking we know everything about someone without truly listening to what he or she has to say. We don’t even understand ourselves completely. That’s why the Bible says to “trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5). With this in mind it’s safe to say that….

 

 

 

4. It’s difficult for you to give an accurate judgment of yourself.

 

Some of us overemphasize our accomplishments. Some of us focus an unhealthy amount on our failures and weaknesses. Therefore, we can’t completely trust our own view of ourselves. We need people in our lives who will remind us of our strengths, our imperfections, and who God says we are (Ephesians 1:3-10).

 

 

 

5. Stop caring about everything.

 

It’s a very good thing to be compassionate. There are things that you need to care about. However, if you try to do everything for everyone and help out every good cause you will wear yourself out very soon. Each of us only has the capacity to do so much, which means that we shouldn’t expect ourselves to do more than we can handle. Don’t neglect your own spiritual, emotional, and physical needs.

 

 

 

6. What’s the worst that could happen? If the worst happens,

    learn from it.

 

Don’t let potential mistakes stop you from trying. Failure is an exceptional educator. Don’t be afraid of the possible scorn by those who see you fail because they have made mistakes equally embarrassing and will surely make similar mistakes again. That being said…

 

 

 

7. Embrace embarrassment.

 

Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone gets embarrassed. The world never ends because of it which means that it’s never that big of a deal. Life is more fun when you are willing to laugh at yourself.

 

 

 

8. Everyone is a jerk. Including you.

 

You’ve hurt other people before. Sometimes unintentionally, sometimes not. Other people have hurt you before. Sometimes unintentionally, sometimes not. Therefore…

 

 

 

9. Expect the worst from everyone. Then diligently show them

    the same grace God has shown you.

 

Don’t be surprised if someone (even a good friend) is a jerk to you because that happens all the time. When someone else offends you Jesus still calls you (and me) to forgive them. Seek opportunities to genuinely forgive others. Don’t justify your “right” to be angry with them. At the same time, when someone shows kindness to you be grateful for it.

 

 

 

10. There’s a lot that you don’t know. There’s a lot that you

      will never know.

 

There’s a lot that you wish you knew. There’s also a lot that you don’t need to know. Feel free to seek what you wish to understand more fully, but never expect to have all of your questions answered.

 

 

 

11. It’s going to be okay.

 

When you fail that class you only need for a general requirement for the third time, it’s going to be okay. When the only person you’ve ever loved suddenly doesn’t feel the same way towards you, it’s going to be okay. When everything in your life vomits despair, it’s going to be okay. Yeah, it will be rough for a time. However, God knows what he’s doing. God knows what you need.

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Truth Trumps All #19

by admin on May 5, 2015

Just Follow

 

Every blog this year has been based off of the assumption that truth trumps all. The fact that the Almighty God, for whom nothing is impossible (Luke 1:37), loves us is the greatest truth ever conceived.” This means that we can trust the one who is infinitely worthy of our trust no matter what. However, this is not always an easy accomplishment. It is often difficult to comprehend what God’s big plan is when life takes an unexpected turn. It also makes little sense to have unwavering faith in God when life doesn’t take a turn that would benefit us tremendously.

 

The apostle John documents a conversation between Jesus, Peter, and himself shortly before Christ’s ascension (John 21:18-23). In it Jesus explains what would happen to Peter in the years to come. Peter may have had trouble swallowing the prediction because right away he inquired if John’s fate would be similar. Jesus tells Peter not to compare his friend’s fate with his own. “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!” (John 21:22).

 

 

 

 

YOU FOLLOW ME

 

 

 

 

 

This is the same word we need today. There are so many things that distract us from its obedience. What about this? What about that? Why does it seem like those who disobey God are much better off than me? “Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why do all who are treacherous thrive?” (Jeremiah 12:1). “Why do you hide your face? Why do you forget our affliction and oppression?” (Psalm 44:24).  “Why, O Lord, do you stand far away? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble?” (Psalm 101:1). “Why do the wicked live, reach old age, and grow mighty in power?” (Job 21:7). Why is it that other Christians are being used so much by God but not me?

 

Jesus is not negating the validity of these concerns. However, he is telling us that they are not our top priority. Even if we never find out the answer to any of our questions his command for us is still, “You follow me.”

 

 

 

YOU FOLLOW ME

 

 

 

 

Yet he is not telling us to blindly follow him. Through his faithfulness in our own lives, those around us, and those who have gone before us we can know that he will “work all things out for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).

 

 

 

I will remember the deeds of the Lord;

Yes, I will remember your wonders of old.

I will ponder all your work,

And meditate on your mighty deeds.

Your way, O God, is holy.

What god is great like our God?

You are the God who works wonders;

You have made known your might among the peoples.

You with your arm redeemed your people,

The children of Jacob and Joseph.

– Psalm 77:11-15

 

 

 

 

Who are we to doubt God’s goodness? He has proven himself over and over again! Hesitation to obey him or direct disobedience on our part is unwarranted, even when he tells us, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” (Matthew 16:24).

 

 

 

 

YOU FOLLOW ME

 

 

 

 

 

This is a command that many people struggle with, including those who have been following Christ for some time. When the disciples had difficulty understanding why they could still trust God even in the midst of the raging sea Jesus asked them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” (Mark 4:40). Thus, in the moments that we are scared to trust God’s leading we need to remember his past fidelity and confidently believe that his trustworthiness will continue forever.

 

 

I have decided to follow Jesus


No turning back
, no turning back!

The cross before me, the world behind me

No turning back, no turning back!

 

 

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Truth Trumps All #18

by admin on April 21, 2015

God’s Not Fair

 

 

Fairness is “the quality of making judgments that are free from discrimination.” It’s the idea that everyone should be treated equally. However, God doesn’t exactly abide by that rule. While God is inarguably just (Deuteronomy 32:4, Psalm 7:11) he doesn’t always operate in a way that we would call fair. For example:

 

1)   God offers mercy and grace when we deserve punishment.

  (John 3:16-17)

 

2)   God gives certain blessings exclusively to his people.

(John 1:12)

 

3)   God uniquely favors the humble and the poor. 

(Proverbs 3:34James 2:5)

 

 

 

All of this sounds wonderful when it applies to us. Yet the application extends further. God gives grace even to individuals we wish it would exclude or, at the very least, receive less than they are. For instance, in two different parables Jesus shows how God’s favor towards someone can be a source of contempt for another. In Matthew 20 God pays every worker equally even though some worked twelve hours and others only worked one hour. In Luke 15 the prodigal son’s brother is peeved that his father would honor the scandalous son and supposedly ignore the faithfulness of the firstborn child.

 

 

 

God has the right to be unfair. 

 

 

 

 

In both instances God is being unfair. Shouldn’t the loyal son be celebrated more than the wayward child? Didn’t the worker whose shift lasted an hour earn less than the man who worked all day? That seems logical. This is how Jesus responds:

 

 

“Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?” (Matthew 20:15).

 

 

Jesus is fundamentally proving why he has the right to act in a manner that is considered unfair. He makes the rules. He employs the workers. Whatever he chooses to pay each worker is his prerogative. A dad rejoicing because of an incredible family reunion is his right. These parables each show that God has the right to be unfair. Therefore, how should we respond when God gives his unfairness to someone we wish he wouldn’t? We could respond with jealousy towards the other person or bitterness towards God. However, the Lord would prefer that we extend grace to these people just as he gives grace to us (1 John 2) and trust that God knows what he’s doing even if it doesn’t make sense to us.  

 

For my thoughts are not your thoughts,

    neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.

For as the heavens are higher than the earth,

    so are my ways higher than your ways

    and my thoughts than your thoughts.

– Isaiah 55:8-9

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Truth Trumps All #17

by admin on April 6, 2015

Photosynthesis

 

Sunflowers

 

Plants aren’t designed to get food in the same way that animals or humans do.  They have a few limitations that are unique to them. Plants can’t move from place to place. They can’t prepare a meal with a number of ingredients. Therefore, in order for them to receive the needed nourishment necessary for continuing their plant life shenanigans something special must occur: photosynthesis.

Photosynthesis is the process through which plants receive light energy, typically from the sun, and convert it into chemical energy that can be used for their sustenance. In photosynthesis, sunlight naturally just comes to the plants. It gives them energy. They don’t do anything to deserve it. They don’t kill or prepare their food at all. They just sit and enjoy the light. Of course, internally there is work being done. This procedure is completely unnoticeable from the outside. Nonetheless, it is still happening. It is proven by how alive the flowers are.

 

 

“Abide in me.” – Jesus

 

 

 

Christians are like plants. We don’t get food in the “normal” way. Our growth doesn’t depend on our ability to do anything. In fact, we can toil all we want to be a good, mature Christian but that may only prove how well we can put on a show. If that’s the case then how are we as Christians supposed to stay alive spiritually? There is only one solution: spiritual photosynthesis. We need to sit in the light of the Son, the Christ, and his light will give us the energy we need to live. Similar to plants, there’s nothing we can do to earn this energy. God gives us his presence because he is a gracious God, not because we deserve it. Hence, when a Christian senses God’s presence to be with him or her, it is a remarkably delightful sensation.

How exactly do we “sit in the light of the Son”? Paul answers with, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly” (Colossians 3:16). He then goes on to show that practically this is done by “teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” James and Paul also attribute trials as a necessary avenue of developing spiritual maturity (James 1, Romans 5).

 

 

 

Christians are like plants.

 

 

 

 

Jesus himself simply says, “Abide in me, and I in you” (John 15:4). He goes on to explain what he means but that sentence is his thesis. That’s it. That’s all we need to hear. Therefore, while it’s helpful for shepherds like the apostle Paul to give examples of what abiding in Christ looks like we must not mistake these actions as the end goal. The examples of abiding in Christ should point us in the direction of abiding in Christ, not just doing those things for the sake of doing them. Paul’s examples are merely the means to our desired end. We must not forget our end goal is to bask in the light of the Son.

“Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze at the outcome of what was being brought to an end. But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” – 2 Corinthians 3:12-18

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Truth Trumps All #16

March 24, 2015

Forgiveness    What’s the opposite of holding a grudge? Extending forgiveness. However, truly forgiving someone for wronging us comes about as easily as a two year old attempting advanced calculus. With that in mind, the Bible sheds light on two truths about forgiveness.     1) If we follow Jesus, we are expected to forgive those […]

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Truth Trumps All #15

March 10, 2015

Anger   We live in a world in which we are constantly fed the ideology that my primary concern should always be myself. You should be most concerned about yourself. Sure, we’re expected to be a good person, help others, give to charity, etc. but it’s often more about making ourselves feel good than it […]

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Truth Trumps All #14

February 24, 2015

The Root of Bitterness   “Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; that no one is […]

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Truth Trumps All #13

February 10, 2015

Sheep/Wolves   How much do you know about wolves? How much do you know about sheep? The Bible mentions both of these animals several times, often juxtaposed against the other. It’s important for us to understand some of the distinguishing traits of these animals in order for us to get a better grasp of why […]

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Truth Trumps All #12

January 27, 2015

Coveting   To covet means “to desire earnestly, criminally, exceeding reasonable limits what belongs to another.” Arguably every human being covets. It can be extremely difficult not to. However, one of the Ten Commandments is dedicated to the prohibition of this practice, which means that coveting is something we should strive to purge ourselves of. […]

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Truth Trumps All #11

January 13, 2015

Why TTA?   Truth Trumps All. The simple phrase has been the title of our blog series this school year and by now you may be wondering why. If you want a short answer, it’s because the phrase is accurate and easy to remember. A more in depth explanation is in the paragraphs below. But […]

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