Truth and Deceit

I want to begin this post by apologizing that it has been so long since my last post.  With so many viruses going around, my husband, children, and I have taken turns with illnesses.  In addition, my children are both involved with school sports. I am not attempting to bombard you with too many of my life’s details, but I want my readers to know that my absence has not been from intentional neglect.

If we are all honest, we have all told what is known as bold-faced lies.  Many of us have omitted information that needed to be in our stories or statements, and, truthfully, many of us have added information that was not accurate to our stories and statements.  However, to be fair, we have omitted facts when relating events to people simply because all the details did not need to be told.  Those omissions are hardly a sin.  People do not want to know every detail of every story we tell.

Wisdom Versus Deceit

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The bible is very clear about walking in lies and deceit versus the truth, but sometimes the line between simply using wisdom in what we tell and willfully operating in deceit can be a fine one and even a bit blurry.  Not only does the Bible tell us what is expected of us, but the Word of God also gives strategies for living out His instruction.  Often, we are not looking for those strategies, or, we do not realize that we have come upon something that is meant to serve as an application.

Romans 12:2 is a perfect example of such an application.  We are told that knowing God’s will is accomplished through being transformed by renewing our minds.  In other words, changing our thinking is a key to victory over sin.  The book of Proverbs in the Old Testament is full of practical wisdom in every day situations.  The Holy Spirit is meant to guide us as well.  John 16:13 states that the Holy Spirit guides us into all truth.  Wouldn’t it be logical to assume that since He guides us into all truth that He will guide our words? Of course!

In other posts, I have explained ways to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit.  In a nutshell, prayer and time in Word bring about that sensitivity.  Applying what we learn and obeying God makes us even more sensitive to His voice.  Jesus told the disciples (Matthew 10:19) that they had no need to worry about what they would say when they were facing persecution.  They were assured that God would give them the words to say.

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1 Peter 3:15 states that we must sanctify Christ as Lord in our hearts in order to know how to answer everyone about the hope we have.  The word sanctify means “set apart”.  We must set apart time with the Lord and esteem Him higher than all else in our lives.  In doing this, we will be guided as to how to answer people about various issues with truthfulness, yet, without too much information.

Truth Brings Freedom

There are times in my past in which I walked in deceit with those around me.  If I felt it was needed, I would manipulate details in a story to make myself appear favorable.  Mind you, I was a born-again believer at this time.  Trust me, the Holy Spirit convicted me.  I did something dangerous with that conviction.  I did not listen to it.  Eventually, I hardened to the sound of His voice.  A time of repentance had to be taken to soften what was hardened.

Since that time, I have found such freedom in being truthful in all matters.  Of course, I still seek guidance from the Holy Spirit because I tend to blurt out too much “truth”.  Ephesians 4:15 states that we must speak the truth in love.  Love coupled with truth brings just the right amount of information.  Giving too many details, or, speaking truth too harshly can do more harm than good.  Thank God for His word and for giving us His Spirit to guide us.

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As believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, we want to live with integrity.  Doing this allows others to see Christ in us.  It also maintains good relationships with others.  If you are in the habit of being deceitful, ask the Lord to help you today.  He will never fail to answer.

Rise and Shine

When I wake my children up in the mornings, I have been known to say, “Rise and shine.”  Of course, the phrase is nothing new.  For years, it has been used to get people out of the bed.

There is another wake-up call going out to the church in America.  When I reference the church, I am not talking about a building.  I am referring to people in America who have accepted Jesus as Savior.  The wake-up call that is going out is from the Holy Spirit warning the American church, and I will extend this as far the church in the Western part of the world, to get up and be at the ready.

The Night is Far Spent

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Romans 3:12-14 echo and confirm the call that the Holy Spirit is sending out to God’s people.  The first portion of verse 12 states that the night is far spent, meaning the time for sleeping is over.  The church, as a whole, has been asleep spiritually for quite some time.  While morals are rapidly decaying and America is sinking like the Titanic, God’s people are trying to find a way to blend in with the culture because they do not want to stand out.  This is a mistake.

There is not one scripture in the Bible in which we are commanded to blend in.  I am not suggesting that we make ourselves completely conspicuous by screaming at people with which we disagree, but I am declaring that God’s people need to lose the politically correct mentally, especially when that mentality is not biblically correct.

If you take issue with my words, then it is time for you to go to the Lord and ask Him to renew you.  Ask Him to light a fire in you that will make you bold as He wants you to be.  Boldness and love can go hand in hand.  You can disagree with wrong doing and remain in love.  1 Corinthians 13:6 says that love does not rejoice in wrongdoing.  In other words, love speaks out when someone needs help.  Our nation needs help!  We are divided over politics as immorality becomes more brazen.

The Day Is at Hand

After stating that the night is far spent, the passage goes on to say that the day is at hand.  The word “day” can have several meanings depending upon the context.  In the Bible, when the words “the day” is used, it is commonly referring to the coming of Christ or judgment.  Although no one knows the exact timing of the Lord’s return, there are signs we can look for.  The decaying morals of our culture is one of those signs.  There are many others, but I do not have time to go into those right now.

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What I find interesting is that “the day” refers to judgment in some cases.  There is a final judgment after the return of Christ, but often there are judgments that people and nations reap on the basis of what they have sown.  The day is at hand means that you and I no longer have time to fuss and argue over petty issues.  We need to spend that time in prayer and fasting for our nation and for the church in America.  We need revival.  We need to demonstrate the love of God.  People need to know that they have hope, and Jesus Christ alone is that hope. They will not know there is hope if you and I are too busy trying to blend in.  We have to stand out.  We need to rise and shine, taking our place in the body of Christ.

Wake up, people of God!  Wake up, church!  It is time to rise and shine.  It is time to cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light.  Finally, let that light shine.

On Guard

Throughout the Bible, we are instructed to be on guard, or, to guard various area of our lives.  Our hearts and minds are also to be guarded. If God’s word tells us not once, but several times, to be on guard, then it is important that we pay attention.

Guard Your Heart

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Proverbs 4:23 (CSB) states the following:  “Guard your heart above all else, for it is the source of life.”  The word guard comes from the Hebrew word natsar meaning to observe, keep close, or serve as a watchman.  The only way to successfully guard your heart (spiritually speaking), which is said to be the source of life, is through checking everything that tries to enter.

At important events, particularly those involving government officials, a security guard is often posted at the entrance to check the guests for identification.  It is vital that the guards know who is entering the building because someone who wants to bring harm to a government official could be entering.

It is the same way with your heart.  As tedious as it may seem, you must check everything that comes to your mind because it will eventually make its way to your heart.  The thought must be identified by being lined up with what God’s word has to say about it.  If what is about to enter does not line up, it must be turned away.

Guard Your Mind

In order for the aforementioned security guard to prevent someone from harming a government official, the potential perpetrator must be stopped from entering the building.  Once he has entered, it is more difficult to stop him from doing harm.  It can be done, but often it is not without a cost.

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If you want to keep poison from entering your heart, you must guard what enters your mind.  Of course, you must set an extra guard at the door of your heart, but, if you watch what enters your mind first, entrance to your heart is highly unlikely.  Philippians 4:7 states that the peace of God will guard our hearts and minds.

The key word is peace. If I am listening to the Holy Spirit, I will not have peace about something that is harmful. Neither will  you.  If a thought lines up with the word of God, peace will follow.  The peace God gives is not like anything else.  This peace will warn or confirm ahead of time before it is too late.  This type of peace does not make sense to others.  The only way to have the peace that guards is to sit at the feet of Jesus, so to speak, through prayer and study of the Word.  If you have no intimate relationship with Him, there is no true peace.

Guarding your heart and mind is just the beginning.  We have to guard our words, our relationships, and so much more.  This is a job for the Holy Spirit.  He is the look-out, but we must keep our focus on Jesus so we can know when we need to pay heed to a warning, or proceed on the path.

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I don’t know about you, but I am so thankful for God’s ways that direct and guide.  If we listen, they will keep us from unnecessary trials.

 

If you do not know Jesus Christ as your Savior, there is no time like the present.  Romans 10:9-10 states that if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.  With the heart, you believe resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth you confess, resulting in salvation.

It’s All in Your Mind

Have you ever heard someone say, “It’s all in your mind”?  This can be annoying depending on the nature of your problem. Surprisingly, the fact is that in many cases, it is true.  No, that does not mean you are crazy.  It simply means that many of our battles are either won or lost in our minds.

Change Your Thinking

Change Your ThinkingOften, the changes we wish to see can only come about when we change the way we think about the situation.  If I want to change the way I feel, most likely, I need to change the way I think.  Many of you reading this post might ask me if that is truly possible. According to the Bible, it is totally possible.  In fact, we are commanded to do just that when our thinking patterns do not line up with the Word of God.

Romans 12:2 states that we are transformed by the renewing of our mind so we can live out God’s will in our lives.  I find it interesting and not at all a coincidence that we are instructed in verse 2 to renew our minds after being told in verse 1 to offer our bodies as living sacrifices to the Lord.  Such a feat could only be accomplished through changing your thinking.

What Needs to Change in Your Life?

Everyone has weaknesses and faults that they have to address in some way.  Everyone has situations they would love to be able to handle in a more effective way.  It will not happen until you change the way you think about the given situation.  For example, if I am angry at a co-worker, yet I know I need to forgive this person, I will be unable to do so until I change the way I think about the situation.  In order to make this change, I need to know what God’s word says about forgiveness.  Once I am familiar with scriptures concerning forgiveness, I put those into my mind and allow the transformation process to work.   God’s word says that I must forgive as Christ forgave me.  I would remind myself that Christ forgave me for so much more than what I must forgive my co-worker.  Next, I would repeat the process with other scriptures until my thinking is changed.Change Your Thinking! 3

Taking time to journal through the process helps in two ways.  It helps the process as I am going through it, and it serves as a good reference should I face the problem again.  Barb Raveling has a process that she calls Truth Journaling.  It works very well.  Visit her website for further details.

I realize that this sounds like a great deal of work.  Truthfully, it is, but if you desire the change strongly enough, you will be willing to do the work.  True change comes from within, within your mind, that is.  Being transformed by the renewing of your mind will not happen overnight or through trying the process once.  It is a process that is ongoing, and it will take time as well as patience.  However, it is worth all the work.  Most of all, it is worth giving God the praise when the work is done.

Disclaimer:  If you do not know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, your mind cannot be renewed until you come into a relationship with Him.  Romans 10:9-10 states that if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.  With the heart, you believe resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth you confess, resulting in salvation.

 

Is it What We Are For or Against?

Do not take the title of this blog post out of balance.  I understand that it is necessary to stand against evil.  I just want to make sure that I am not always standing against something but standing for something as well.  Often, Christianity is frowned upon because Christians often talk about what is wrong and name only the list of acts that are sins.

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Of course, the issue of sin is to be taken seriously and dealt with rather than swept under the rug; however, it is important to be reminded that none of us can overcome the power of sin in our own strength.  If we could do that, then, Christ would not have had to come and suffer and die for us.

You Will Know Them By Their Fruit

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In Matthew 7:16, Jesus stated that both false prophets would be recognized by their fruits.  Those who are genuine will be recognized the same way, so, it is important to know what types of fruit we should be looking for.  Galatians 5:22-23 explains what the fruit of the Spirit is.  In other words, if a person has the Holy Spirit dwelling in her, there are certain characteristics that will eventually manifest.  These are love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, and self-control.

Instead of always speaking out against hate, I should speak out for love.  When depression comes, I should speak up for joy.  I should seek out peace when strife comes instead of simply speaking against strife.  Does this make sense?

Although God deals with sin, it is important to remember that He also deals with us according to our righteousness.  In ourselves, there is no righteousness, but when we accept Christ, He is our righteousness.  Salvation is instant, but sanctification is a process.  When Christ is in me, He will begin to help me cultivate the fruit that is the evidence of the Holy Spirit being in me.

Are You Only ‘Against’ or Are You ‘For’?

With all that was just stated, I come back to my first statement:  Is it what you are for or what you are against?  Do you stand for righteousness, or do you simply stand against what you deem to be sinful?  It is important to give thought to this because if you only stand against what is sin without pointing people to the hope that is in Christ, then, you are in danger of developing self-righteousness.  That type of righteousness is no righteousness at all.

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When we speak out against the things that break God’s heart, it is also in the heart of God to point people to the solution.  The solution is always Jesus.  If we only point out sin, but fail to point out the way to righteousness, then our ministries have failed.

There are times when it is important to show righteous indignation, but there are also times when nothing but love will help.  Displaying the fruit of the Spirit in our lives is what will make a difference.  People will take notice of that fruit which will bring glory to Jesus.  They will notice because it is something different from what they have seen before.

How about you?  Are you only talking about what you are against, or, are you letting others know what you stand for?

Erratic Emotions

Emotions are a natural part of our human makeup.  People, particularly women, can experience a variety of emotions in one day.  From elation to depression, our emotions can take us on a wild roller coaster ride through life if we do not find ways to manage them.

Types of Emotions

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Although human beings can experience a wide variety of feelings, some of the most basic types of emotions are happiness, sadness, pride, fear, disgust, anger, surprise, excitement, shame, and embarrassment.  The Bible even speaks of people’s various feelings.  Scripture never promotes suppressing emotions and refusing to deal with them, but we must learn to control them with the help of the Holy Spirit.

Happiness is seen as a positive emotion, and there is certainly nothing wrong with being happy.  The problem comes when I expect other people to do for me what only God can do.  What I am about to state is certainly not popular, but the Lord never promised that we would always be happy.  He did, however, promise that we could have joy.

What is the difference between joy and happiness?  Although the two words are used interchangeably, happiness often depends upon circumstances while joy goes much deeper.  The joy we experience from God is a part of the fruit of the Spirit.  In other words, joy is the result of having the Holy Spirit (given to us at salvation).  Happiness can only take me so far, but joy gets me through all circumstances, good or bad.

Fear and anger are considered to be negative emotions.  A healthy fear, such as being afraid to walk out in front of a moving vehicle, is not negative.  It is needful, but a terrifying fear, such as always fearing the future, is not of God.  In fact, His word teaches us to overcome such fears (2 Timothy 1:7, 1 John 4:18).  Anger is not always negative. There are times when we need to have anger in order to act; however, anger that is not dealt with properly is dangerous and leads to other sins.  Anger is another emotion that the Bible teaches us to control (James 1:20, Ephesians 4:26-27, and Proverbs 29:11)

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Emotions Out of Control

I must admit that I have days when I am easily angered, or, my feelings are hurt very easily.  Sometimes, there can be physical explanations such as lack of sleep or hormonal imbalance.  Other times, out-of-control emotions can be a symptom of something that is lacking spiritually.

Earlier, I stated that people often expect others in their lives to make them happy.  I have made the mistake of placing responsibility for my emotional well-being in the hands of my husband, children, friends, or family.  I am certainly not saying that the people in my life do not want me to be happy, but I am saying that it is not their responsibility to manage my emotions.  The responsibility is mine, and the only way I can assume it is to go to God for emotional healing when my feelings seem to be wreaking havoc.

Once you let others off the hook for your emotional stability, and you give this to the Lord, you will begin to see more balanced emotions displayed.  The things that used to irritate you or hurt your feelings will not have as much power over you.

Godly Response

When negative emotions arise, as they often do, you should not suppress them; however, you should not give full vent to them either.  First, go to the Lord in prayer about them.  He is neither surprised nor perplexed by your emotions. Next, find a trusted friend with which to speak.  Ask other believers for prayer.

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Most of all, you need to spend time with God on a daily basis, both in prayer and in His word.  I realize I sound bossy, but, trust me, I have had loads of experience in the emotional realm.  Unfortunately, I have given full vent to my emotions which have never brought about good results.  Thankfully, there are also times I take them to God and ask for His intervention.  The latter choice is always best.

As I mentioned earlier, happiness is a wonderful emotion, but if I believe I must always be on an emotional high, I will eventually bottom out to depression.  Emotions must be stabilized and balanced so as to avoid either extreme on the pendulum swing.  I am not suggesting that managing emotions is an easy feat.  I know better, but I also know that nothing is impossible with God.  He gives us grace for all areas of our lives, including our feelings.

What Does It Mean to be Christ-like?

The word Christian means being Christ-like.  Most people have head knowledge of this fact, but I wonder if  what many of us have is simply head knowledge or heart knowledge of the true meaning of being or becoming Christ-like.  Knowing and doing are not always the same.  The scripture states in 2 Corinthians 5:17 that if anyone is in Christ, he or she is a new creature.  The old is passed away, and the new has come.

What is the new?  Newness in this context is a new nature.  Romans 6 clearly explains that the flesh and the spirit are at war against one another, and Paul further teaches what must be done to allow the spirit to be victorious.  While this is true, and this is what I teach, there is a little more practicality that I would like to bring into this subject.

Observe the Actions of Christ in Scriptures

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Of course, the flesh has to be crucified for Christ to live through us, and this is a process.  As with any process, there will be times of victory and times of failure.  (Please note that I am not saying that is fine to be comfortable in sin.) The scriptures teach us what we must do when we have sinned and how to overcome that sin, but something that we often fail to do is to observe the true actions of Christ during His life on Earth.

Certainly, we will not be exactly like Him until we are in the eternal state, but we must strive to be as much like Him as possible while on this planet.  When you read the gospels, there were several aspects of His life, ministry, and personality, yet, all of these aspects were perfectly balanced.

Christ went about doing good.  He rebuked sin, but He loved the sinner.  He associated with those that many deemed unworthy, yet He loved and visited the homes of certain Pharisees as well.  He kept Jewish traditions contrary to many false teachings.  He taught people to lay aside legalism, but He did not teach a free-for-all-anything-goes-gospel.  He turned tables in the temple out of righteous indignation, yet, He loved those who were guilty of the abuses that took place in the temple.  He was the perfect epitome of social justice.  He treated people with love, rebuked people when necessary, and did not compromise the commands of His Father in the process.

Is it possible to be like Christ?

While I certainly do not believe we will be completely perfect in this life, we can live as Christ much more than what we do.  Philippians 4:13 clearly states that you and I can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.  He came to live, die, and live again to give us what we need to be like Him.  When you look at the context of Philippians 4:13, Paul was clear that Christ could and would strengthen us for both wonderful and horrible times as well as what lies in between.

To say that Christ excused sin is a lie.  To say that Christ was ready to pound everyone on the head who was not doing everything perfectly is a lie as well.  He came to seek and save those who were lost.  There were times when He had to speak frankly and boldly.  At other times, He spoke in kindness and gentleness.

Finding the Balance

How did Jesus balance these two polar opposite extremes?  The answer is quite simple.  He spent time with the Father.  When reading the gospels, you will notice that He spent time with people, but He also spent time alone with the Father.  He and the Father were and are one.  He obeyed the voice of the Father.

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Jesus gave us the capability to do the same when He sent the Holy Spirit.  We can listen to the Father.  We can obey Him.  He will teach us through the Holy Spirit and His word how to walk in balance and avoid pendulum swings that range from abusing grace to rigid legalism.

We can live as Christ lived, but we will not live this way by accident.  It will take surrender–total surrender to the Father.  It will take time in prayer and  the Word of God. It will take resolve. You can live as He did because He lives in you if you belong to Him, and He gave you just what you need to accomplish the Father’s will.

Will You Stand in the Gap?

I love my country.  The United States has always been my home, therefore, I have great patriotic feelings toward this land.  The United States of America is a blessed nation.  God’s hand has been on her from her beginning.  I am afraid that God will eventually allow our nation to reap the fruit of her deeds.

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What is troubling is the sight of our nation going further down the slope of immorality.  The immorality that I am speaking of is not the building of a wall.  My intention is not to demean anyone because that is not of God, but there comes a time when the truth must be spoken.  It is my intention to speak the truth with as much love and humility as possible.

For many years, immorality has slowly taken over our nation.  I will not list all of the nation’s sins in this post except one.  There is one that is becoming more blatant and celebrated, and that is the killing of innocent babies. When such an atrocity is disguised as a woman’s right, I feel such sadness in my spirit.

The Gap

America needs a turn around.  I realize that the latest abortion ruling took place in the State of New York, but the responsibility falls on us as a nation.  Since Roe v. Wade in the 1970’s, people have been desensitized by the enemy of our souls to the sanctity of human life.   Like any other sin that has not been covered by the blood of Jesus, the act of aborting human babies has become more blatant and celebrated.  Although I feel anger and sadness over this issue, hating the culprits will not solve the problem.

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In Ezekiel 22:30, the Lord was looking for someone to stand in the gap for another straying nation.  What is meant by standing in the gap?  Intercession through prayer is how we can stand in the gap for our nation.  There are cases in the Bible in which the prayers of God’s people changed the most dire of circumstances.

Of course, standing in the gap might also include speaking the truth in love at certain times.  I am not saying that you must get a picket sign and go scream at someone, but I am asking you to seek the Lord about ways you can stand up for the rights of unborn children.  If your actions are led by the Holy Spirit, you will not be wrong.  Fast, pray, and then take the action that the Lord might be leading.  It could be writing a letter, sending an email, or making a telephone call to any one of the parties who can bring change.  On a more challenging level, the Lord might be calling someone to adopt a baby, or help a single mother who is struggling.

Will You Stand?

I am challenging you to spend time praying for our nation and leaders.  The individual states have certain rights, but these states are still part of one nation.  When babies are being killed, and now can be killed up to birth, it is time for everyone to get involved.  These are our children.  They are the future!  If Jesus Christ does not return, life will go on even after you and I are gone.  We need young people!  We can not afford to write off the lives of our unborn babies as if they are nothing.

Pray for change to come to this situation.  Pray for repentance and revival to rise up in our land. God cares about these unborn babies.  He knows each of them, and He has not forgotten them.  Proverbs 6:17 speaks against the shedding of innocent blood.  Jeremiah 1:5 proves that God has a plan for every life that is put into a womb.

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Certainly, I do not have all the answers to the problem, but I know God does.  I also know that this type of post is unusual for this blog, but I have to speak someway.  I want to do all I can to stand in the gap for our nation and for the unborn.  Will you stand in the gap too?