Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Tell The Truth

Tell The Truth

Proverbs 12:17NIV
An honest witness tells the truth, but a false witness tells lies

Sounds pretty simple doesn't it? It should be, but for many it is not.  They choose to lie, stretch the truth, mislead, or fashion the truth into whatever it is that may make them look good, feel good, or get what they want.

Truth is truth, there is not form or fashion of it, it's either true or not, I don't care what anyone tells you there is truth and there is lie.  There is no inbetween, to say anything else, changes the very defintion of the word.

We need to be people of truth. If someone asks you a question, you give them a truthful answer. If someone asks you what happened, or how you feel about something, or what is going on, you give them the truth.  When you tell the truth and give the truth you never have to think, re-think, or ponder your answers. People who lie, always have to lie to cover up lies, and have to constantly think about what they say because they can't keep their lies straight.

Tell the truth, no matter the cost, because lying will cost you more.  Tell the truth, even if you have to tell it alone, because lying will leave you much more a lone. Tell the truth, at the risk of making someone mad, hurting their feelings, or threat of losing them, because lying or being dishonest with upset God, damage your feelings, and threaten your integrity an character.

People need truth and if they don't like it or don't want to hear it, that is their problem not yours or mine. It is not our job to change or adjust the truth to accomodate people's feelings, emotions, or ego's. Truth is truth.

You cannot hide the truth, no matter how much you lie, manipulate, scheme, or hide it, the truth always eventually comes out in one form or fashion, or one way or the other, and we can be sure that God is always a God of truth and will not stand for dishonesty, lying lips, and deceivers.

We all have fell short at times of telling the truth, even if our intent wasn't to lie, maybe we stretched the truth, or hid it, or ignored it, to save our feelings or someone elses, or to not hurt someone, or protect someone, but I don't care the situation, I think it is always best to be honest and tell the truth and that is what God expects of everyone.

One of the 10 commandments is "You shall not Lie", I think it's pretty important to God to not lie and be truthful, no matter the circumstance. I'd rather tell the truth and risk hurting someone's feelings, or making someone mad, or whatever the case, than live with the guilt or shame of ruining my character by not being a man of truth.   Now, I am not talking about giving people our opinions or running our mouths to or about people, based on our opinions or feelings and not actual facts or truth, that happens alot, we pick and choose our truth, but again it goes back to the simple equation, truth is truth.  

Be truthful in your relationships, your dealings and treatment of others, your words and actions, and most of all in your faith.  Every day of our lives lets strive to be truthful and honest in each and every situation, don't make excuses or justify your behavior, be truthful with God, be truthful with others, and be truthful with yourself, until you do you will never heal, get better, or be the person God wants you to be.  No one wants to be around or deal with a liar.

Psalm 25:5niv
Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Parent of the Year

Parent of the Year

We may joke that sometimes when we mess up "there goes our parent of the year award" all in fun, but the truth is there are many parents out there who aren't making honest mistakes in everyday parenting, in truth, they are absent in parenting, not accepting responsibility in their role as a parent, and even extreme cases of abuse or neglect by evil or hurtful deadbeat parents.

As I was thinking about Mother's Day and Father's Day sermons for the holidays it got me thinking that some people probably dislike these holidays because they have/had a horrible mom/dad.  It's hard to honor or celerate someone who is absent, neglectful, selfish, violent, an addict, or mean.  Not everyone has a loving mother or father.

It takes no effort to be a sperm donor or a baby mama, but it takes alot of hard work and responsibility to be a responsible, loving, and good parent figture.  Some womem get pregnant at the drop of a hat or some guys go around sleeping with everyone they can find without even consdering the consequences and we end up having alot of babies being born into a world where their parents don't want them or in cases where they do keep them, they don't care for them properly or the way they should.  Children need nurtinging physically, mentally, emotionally, and  spiritually, as well as taught respect, honesty, and how to treat others, just to mention a few of the roles of responsible parents.

Truth is not everyone grows up with that or gets to experience that and it's easy for us that grew up in a fairly stable or normal home to not understand or get why people are angry, bitter, or end up the way they do.  We are a product many times of our home environment, I know there are definitel exceptions to the rule, but many children grow up not being treated well, loved in healthy ways, or being taught respect, compassion, or responsibility. They grow up around hate, neglect, abuse, drugs, alchol, sex, violence, vulgar language, and the list continues of negative attritbutes and experiences they pick up on and live through, no matter celebrating mom or dad isn't at the top of their list.

I want to encourage you today to love on those who don't or didn't have a good mother or father figure. Many of us can be a mother or father figure to those kids at church or our chlidren's friends, or kids on our kids ball teams or cheering squad.  We can invite them to our home for family times and functions so that they see and experience what a family should look like.  We also can pray for them, and encourage your children to model for them good behaviors.  We can also report cases of neglect and suspected abuse if we notice it.

The most important thing we can do is not enable or dismiss poor behavior by kids, do not use their homelife or situation as an excuse to let them get by with disrespect, lying, or bad behavior.  That is the worst thing we can do for them,  we need to model and teach them these positive behaviors and correct them, so they know that isn't normal or accepted if they are acting out.

There are good mothers and fathers out there, praise God!  We also have a Heavenly parent, our Father, God, who is ultimate example of love, discipline, and how we should live and act.  Let's be good parents, and let's help  those who don't have good parents to see, there is hope, and our situation or circumstnaces don't have to determine our future, and not all parents bad.

Matthew 6:14NIV
For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

It's Personal

It's Personal

1 John 3:18(NIV)
Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth

Think about certain things in life; issues or topics that sometimes can be heated or we can be very opinionated or judgemental about and how they change when all the sudden they affect us personally:

-We are against homosexuality, until our son or daughter or brother or sister comes out of the closet and all the sudden our stance changes.
-We are dead set against divorce until that family member or loved one goes through it, then all the sudden it's hard to be so damning.
-We blame parents and think it's disgraceful when I teenager or unwed girl gets pregnant, until it happens to be our daughter or our son who does the deed, then it's a mistake or could happen to anyone.
-We badmouth addicts who are drunks or druggies and the people who enable them until it's our parent or best friend.

My blog isn't about these issues in particular I am just using these as examples, you can pick any subject or hot button topic of the day, but the bottom line is we are very hard-headed and stubborn about our beliefs, convictions, and opinioins, until all the sudden it affects us, hits a little too close to home, or we become personally touched by whatever situation or issue it might be.

What changed?  What changed is it's easy to be against something, to take stand for something, or be vocal about a subject until it becomes personal.  When you mix in emotions or feelings toward a loved one or friend our viewpoint suddenly shifts because all the sudden it's in my life, it's in my family, it's happening to my loved one.

Had God's word changed?  Has society changed? Has our morals or values changed?  The truth is me and you change based on our circumstances, becuase it's personal. It's easy to bad mouth someone elses problems, or be judgemental of a stranger, or take a stand against an unknown enemy, but when all the sudden the issues affects my son, my daughter, my parents, my aunt, my nephew, my best friend, etc...then no matter the issue, our emotions and feelings for that person take over and it changes my stance, my opinion, my view, not because I've discovered a new truth, or educated myself, or had positive discussions, but because it became personal.

The fact is, no matter the subject or topic, if it's wrong in God's word, it's wrong, it doesn't matter who or what it affects.  Truth is truth, and no matter the issue, if we have to lie or be dishonest to protect someone we "love", we aren't really loving them.  I know this may be hard to swallow for some and others may disagree with me (it's ok, you can), but we can still love our family and friends and not agree with their choices, their lifestyles, or their decisons.   We can support them, or help them, or love them without giving approval, enabling them, or lowering our standards, morals, values, or even our faith.

When it's all said in done what God says matters most on any subject or topic.  If you don't believe in God, or want to change or manipulate His word to fit your situation then that's between you and God, but even changing that, won't change the ultimate outcome.  God is God and we are not.  His Word last forevers and we change our views and opinions like the shifting sand as soon as it become uncomfortable, doesn't go our way, or affects us personally.

Again, please understand this blog is not about divorce, teen pregnancy, gay rights, drug abuse, addictions, or any one topic, the blog is what do you do when something in your life hits home and affects you personally.  Do you bow down to peer pressure, do you look the other way, do you justify or make excuses, or sacrifice truth for a lie or right for wrong, or do you realize you can still love your family and friends even when you don't like or agree with their choices or problems.

Something for us all to think about, we live in an ever changing world, where ethics have become situational and morals have become relative to the individual, (world's standards, not God's) but that doesn't change truth, rightness, or God.    Most of all we need to take our faith personally no matter the subject, topic, situation, problem, or how close it hits to home or how personal it becomes with a loved one, and remove the feelings and emotions and realize you can still love someone and not compromise your own values or beliefs or faith if we are willing to work through it and stay open to God's leading and direction and overcome the temptations and distractions that the devil can throw at us.  Love people, not their sins, problems, or choices.  Accept them without accepting those things you cannot with a good conscience or heart accept.  I can love someone without accepting their bad decisions, opinions, choices, or lifestyles.  My relationship and love for them doesn't change, we can choose to love and disagree and in matter of need, we can help them and support them.

2 Corinthians 10:4-5(NIV)
4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

Friday, May 04, 2012

In The Midst

In The Midst

Last evening I went to a special National Day of Prayer Service held at a local nursring home.  As I was sitting in the program surrounded by many of the nursing home residents, there was a lady near me that kept repeating a phrase over and over, her name was Geneva.  She kept saying repeatedly, "In the Midst of Jesus Christ".

I couldn't get this phrase out of  my head. I am not sure if she was quoting a song or something from her past, but the phrase she kept saying over and over, couldn't be more profound.  Midst literally means the the middle or center of something.

So, what the saying means is that we need to be snack dab in the middle of Jesus Christ, or Jesus Christ needs to be the center of our lives.

Isn't that a good place for us to be?  Shouldn't we all strive to live in the "midst" of Jesus Christ.  How different would our lives look, our circumstances, or our sitatuions be different or have a different perspective is we saw them from the center of Jesus Christ or in the middle of His presence or His will?

So many times we want God to join us where we are and move to us, when it's the oppositve, we need to meet God where He is and move toward Him.  He should be the center of our lives and from there our lives, problems, and situations could look and be a lot different, but when we try to handle things ourselves, do things our way, or keep our bad or wrong attitude, it is hard for us to not only be in God's will, but to center our lives around Him.

"In The Midst of Jesus Christ"  that is where I want to live and serve and be.  I appreciate that sweet still voice reminder from this precious little old lady named Geneva from the nursing home.   May we all strive to live in the midst of Jesus Christ and keep our lives in His midst.

1 Corinthians 3:16(NIV)Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in your midst?