Truthful Tuesday: The Truth Hurts

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Inspirational Thought of the Day:

How will the world be able to believe the truth if it sees it shrouded in deception?

Scriptures of the Day:

Ephesians 4:25

“Therefore, having laid aside falsehood, each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members of one another.”

Colossians 3:9

“Do not lie to one another since you have put off the old man with its practices.”


When someone loves you enough to be honest with you, it can hurt – for the moment. The opposite is also true – when someone is untruthful with you it can hurt – for a long time.

There is something about deceit that communicates a lack of genuine care. Choosing to protect self instead of the person we are deceiving is demeaning. It places value on ourselves over the other person’s perception of us and is a facade of who we really are.

Lying, the native tongue of the devil, has become the language of our culture, as well. The need to escape responsibility is fueled by the desire to present ourselves in the best light, even if it is not reality. But living in a false fantasy is not comforting in the end and makes truth foreign, almost indistinguishable. Far removed from reality, we can lose sight of what is really important in this life.

Assuredly lies would be far away from the Christian’s mouth, right? Hopefully most Christians would see that lying is a sin condemned by God and seek to be obedient in this aspect of their walk with God, but there are many levels of deceit that we need to guard against. If our hearts our deceitful and beyond cure, then we might not even realize we are lying and being deceived ourselves.

The spectrum of deceit begins with embellishment or polishing of facts to make them more palatable to the hearer. It might be as simple as flattery (which works ruin) or slightly altering the facts to make a story more exciting. Or maybe deceit can be a fudging of the facts and an ethical compromise that we think no one else sees. Our conscience sold for a small perceived victory or famed reputation. These might seem harmless in a small matter that we think just involves ourselves or is just about vanity, but this habit can begin to penetrate our conscience and dumb down conviction in the area of honesty.

Beyond the polishing of facts, we can enable deceit by giving it righteous garb – it is ok to lie in this instance, because we are protecting someone else and that person would be hurt. Ironically, the prevention of pain is not accomplished, for when deceit is revealed, the deceived feels betrayed and has lost the ability to trust to some degree.

Then there is the savage all out lying to protect self. Just flat out making up stories to avoid consequences. This might make the liar feel accomplished to be able to “pull one over” on the victim of their deceit, but sadly, they are the one deceived. If a deceiver is able to trick others into trusting him, is that really something to boast about – trying to make others believe we are something we are not?

True character can never be faked. Being who God made us to be is sometimes humbling, but all the time freeing. There is no need to try to be something more because we are accepted by a Holy God just as we are. Wow. No need to add to that, and if we did, it would be filthy in God’s eyes. He alone is our righteousness and truth.

The motivation to lie is crushed and the fruit of lying exposed when we realize that doing so hurts our relationship with God and others. Lying destroys intimacy and God made us to enjoy relationships where we can be fully known and accepted for who we are. The very people who love us no matter what deserve truth from our lips. It might mean a loving rebuke, but what a gift that is to the condoning of sin, which destroys us.

From outright lies to a calloused heart who cannot even distinguish between truth and falsehood anymore, we must surround ourselves with people who are willing to impart truth into our lives and constantly put truth into our hearts through the word of God.

The beautiful feeling of conviction from the Holy Spirit is like no other. We are both humbled and grateful when we can see and understand truth and our desperate need of it. The church and Christians must rid themselves of deception and speak the truth to one another, for we carry the Truth and are all members of one body. How will the world be able to believe the truth if it sees it shrouded in deception?

Lord, thank You for revealing sin in our lives and showing us our need of You. There is no truth in us apart from Your grace. Thank You for the gift of the Holy Spirit, guiding us into all truth. Keep falsehood far from us and help us to guard and walk in Your truth all the days of our lives – especially when it hurts.

Denise Pass Promo Pic Denise Pass | Author | Singer/Songwriter | Speaker

http://www.seeingdeep.com

Thoughtful Thursday: Whose Fault Is It?

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Proverbs 11:5-6

“The righteousness of the blameless will make straight their way, but the wicked person will fall by his own wickedness.  The righteousness of the upright will deliver them, but the faithless will be captured by their own desires.”

Proverbs 12:12, 21

“The wicked person desires a stronghold, but the righteous root endures.  21 The righteous do not encounter any harm, but the wicked are filled with calamity.”

Genesis 4:7

“Is it not true that if you do what is right, you will be fine? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at the door. It desires to dominate you, but you must subdue it.”

Romans 6:12-13

“Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its desires, and do not present your members to sin as instruments to be used for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who are alive from the dead and your members to God as instruments to be used for righteousness.”

James 1:15

“Then when desire conceives, it gives birth to sin, and when sin is full grown, it gives birth to death.”

Jeremiah 19:5

“They have built places here for worship of the god Baal so that they could sacrifice their children as burnt offerings to him in the fire. Such sacrifices are something I never commanded them to make! They are something I never told them to do! Indeed, such a thing never even entered my mind!”

Proverbs 19:3

“A person’s own folly leads to their ruin, yet their heart rages against the LORD.”


Daily we bear the sins of one another as well as our own.  In vanity we scramble to attempt to cover our shortcomings, but underneath is the same intent and heart.  In all the stress of our messy lives, a sinless Lamb covered all of the sins of the world and yet our hearts somehow still can blame Him.

Every day sin captivates mankind and every day the consequences of those sins are born and the blame is cast.  Sin ravages our souls and is often permitted to do so by the very ones whose lives it wreaks havoc upon.

A sane mind would not seek to suffer purposely, yet that is exactly what we do when we give in to sin’s deception.  God’s laws still stand whether or not we pay heed to them.  Like gravity, our decisions will affect the course of our life and the weight of sin will be felt, much like the joy experienced from the fruit of obedience.

God hates sin.  He hates what it does to us.  Our flesh hates the rules and boundaries set, thinking we are being deprived. All the while God wants to spare us from the spreading cancer which threatens to steal our joy and imprison us.

Time and time again throughout history God’s people are lured away by sin’s promises deceitfully dressed up in an attractive array.  There is nothing new underneath the sun.  How is it we cannot recognize the same strategies of the enemy and refrain from indulging our flesh?  Especially when we have seen in history the effects of sin on this weary world?

Deception.  Lust of the flesh.  Distrust.  Rebellion.  Self-reliance.  If in the moment of temptation we cry out to God, He will provide the grace and strength we need to overcome.  But all too often we don’t.  He makes a way out and we rationalize that our way seems better.  Or maybe we doubt God’s goodness or His ways and choose to be our own God.

While the prevalence of sin in our culture can be discouraging, there is still hope.  We can stop blaming others or God and put no confidence in our flesh.  We can turn away from sin and ask God to help us recognize it for what it is.  We are left without an excuse, but God forgives us anyway.  What kind of grace would choose to bear our blame?  Selfless, Holy grace – from the Only One Who can grant it.

Lord, help us to recognize sin in our lives and to turn away from it, the enemy of our souls.  Thank You for Your gracious covering and for setting us free!

Intolerable Tolerance

2 Corinthians 11:3-4

11 But I am afraid that just as the serpent deceived Eve by his treacheryyour minds may be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. 4 For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus different from the one we proclaimedor if you receive a different spirit than the one you received, or a different gospel than the one you acceptedyou put up with it well enough!

1 John 4:1

“Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”

Matthew 24:4

“And Jesus answered and said to them, “See to it that no one misleads you.”
Ephesians 5:6

Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.”

One thing that tops the chart for me as something I detest is being lied to.  We can excuse deceptive behavior by calling it a white lie or giving it a righteous spin by saying it protects the one being deceived, but it is far more painful to discover the truth later on than to face the truth from the beginning.

Lies have a way of growing over time and the harm done to the deceived multiplies in intensity, as well.  Deception is evil, yet we can play a role in willingly allow it without noticing and the church can be one of the most affected.

We do not want to be judgmental, but we can be lulled into lies by believing the best in the name of grace – without discernment.  The religion of tolerance has slipped into the church and mouths are silenced by the theme of acceptance to all.  This might at first blush seem exclusive, until we see that there are absolutes in God’s Word.  Living in a relativistic world where anything goes allows evil to thrive silently.

God will grant us wisdom to recognize false doctrines if we ask Him.  Motivation to be purposeful in discernment concerning the newest revelation comes from a desire to maintain a pure devotion to Christ.  To “put up” with false beliefs is to accept them.  Over time the convictions we held can be replaced by whitewashed “enlightened” viewpoints if we aren’t careful to hold on firmly to the true Gospel.

We are not called to be pious, self righteous or judgmental, as we are reminded that we have blind spots, too.  But we are not called to compromise, either, in the name of grace.  Grace is undeserved favor, but it does not placate or permit someone to remain in sin.  Finding balance between abusing grace in the name of liberal freedom and strict adherence to fundamentalism that imposes expectations beyond the written word is challenging, but not impossible.

No one has perfect doctrine, but we all continue to grow in our understanding and relationship with God.  Some beliefs we have held onto need to be debunked if they do not line up with the Word of God and some need to be held onto tenaciously.  God is faithful to speak to us through His Holy Spirit and to guide us into all truth.  We have a choice whether we are going to allow ourselves to be deceived or be like the Bereans, searching out God’s truth.

The church needs to speak the truth with grace.  May we endeavor to do so passionately, but never let go of love in the process.  If the church becomes just like the world in the name of tolerance, we lose our effectiveness and souls, as well.

Lord, forgive us for our lackadaisical compromise.  We are so needful of You to open our eyes to see our own hypocrisy. Wake us up to zealously cling to Your Word and help us to not tolerate sin but to love the sinner.

The Eyes Have It

Photo Credits creepypasta.wikia.com

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Genesis 9:22-25 (NET Bible)

22 “Ham, the father of Canaan, saw his father’s nakedness and told his two brothers who were outside. 23 Shem and Japheth took the garment and placed it on their shoulders. Then they walked in backwards and covered up their father’s nakedness. Their faces were turned the other way so they did not see their father’s nakedness. 24 When Noah awoke from his drunken stupor he learned what his youngest son had done to him. 25 So he said, “Cursed be Canaan!  The lowest of slaves he will be to his brothers.”” 

Job 31:1 (NIV)

“I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a young woman.”

Matthew 5:28

“But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

Genesis 19:26

“But Lot’s wife looked back longingly and was turned into a pillar of salt.”

Psalm 119:37

“Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways.”

We live in a visually heightened society.  Eye candy is everywhere and it can become overwhelming.  The perception is that the images flaunted on the covers of magazines are perfection and should be our aim.  I confess – I am one of those who flips all of the magazines around when standing in line.  I want to protect my eyes as well as my children’s. Of course sometimes the back of the magazine is just as bad, if not worse, then the front.  Sigh.  I also have taught my children from an early age to look the other way when walking in the mall and passing an ungodly store.  It has become instinct now to do so.  Why take such precautions? Conviction.  Fear of God.  Obedience.  Awareness of the need to make no provision for the flesh even if it is not currently a temptation.  In humility, I know it could be apart from God’s grace.  Vigilance offers sweet reward and protects us from calamity.

Even with protective measures in place, we can all stumble across something we wish we hadn’t.  It is what we do in those moments that can set the course for moral victory or failure.  Ham must have felt that the discipline was a bit extreme for his child and future generations to be cursed from one peek.  There are many commentaries on this, but a parent knows his child’s heart.  The foolish, wicked response Ham demonstrated revealed what was in his heart.  Perhaps this was already evident in his son, Canaan, as well.  The curse did indeed extend through Ham’s son Canaan, whose descendants eventually populated Sodom.

Even if we are not involved in an impure lifestyle, do we condone it?  Lot’s wife also looked longingly with her eyes at what she was leaving when God was burning up Sodom and Gomorrah.  Scripture does not say that she was participating with the moral filth all around her, but her eyes were also the source of her demise.  I would have wanted out of there in a big way.  The flames from the sky would not have been the only reason, but the flame of lust all around.  The company we keep can also greatly impact whether or not we walk in purity.  I think the moral decay was probably already apparent before Lot’s neighbors were banging his door down to sexually violate his house guest – and he offered his pure daughters instead.

The sins of the father do not have to be duplicated in future generations.  Noah’s discipline could have been a turnaround and produced repentance and righteousness.  Revelation of the action being sinful is actually grace.  It is ignorance and a culture of impurity unnoticed that breeds moral depravity extending down the family line.  If only we could see what the momentary indulgence of the eyes does.  The effect is profound – a wife unloved while her husband gazes on images which have no life, just to satiate his lust.  What a waste.  Families falling apart because parents do not teach their children to guard the eye gate, which our very life’s direction can be altered by.

There is nothing new underneath the sun.  The same sins which threaten to undo our society were the same vices thousands of years ago – the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the boastful pride of life.  Compromise can slip in almost unnoticed.  It might be an item of clothing – fashion that maybe is a little revealing, but we can rationalize it away and accept it as appropriate.  It might be allowing certain media or programming in your home, which fosters ungodliness and worldliness.  God help us to not just abstain from impurity, but to cultivate purity.  No matter what our past, today can be a new benchmark of holiness and chasing after God’s heart instead of the world’s cheap substitute.  Past mistakes do not have to be a harbinger of the future.  They can instead serve as a guide of what to avoid and an impetus to walk faithfully with God.

Lord, help us to keep our eyes open to Your ways and to recognize sin in our lives.  Help us to devote our eyes only to worthy things which bring You glory.  Amen.

Tattoos in Whose Image?

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Leviticus 18:1-5

1 “The Lord spoke to Moses: 2 Speak to the Israelites and tell them, ‘I am the Lord your God3 You must not do as they do in the land of Egypt where you have been livingand you must not do as they do in the land of Canaan into which I am about to bring you; you must not walk in their statutes. 4 You must observe my regulations and you must be sure to walk in my statutesI am the Lord your God. 5 So you must keep my statutes and my regulations; anyone who does so will live by keeping them. I am the Lord.”

Leviticus 19:28

“You must not slash your body for a dead person or incise a tattoo on yourself.  I am the Lord.

We are surrounded by voluminous propaganda today regarding how we should live.  Some tout alterations to their body as freedom, and hurl insults at anyone who would say they cannot do what they want to their bodies.  The world might choose to honor satan with their bodies, but we who belong to God are called to be different.  Our bodies and the very life we have been given is not our own, if we have surrendered to Christ.

Pervasive among us are recommendations made – piercings, tattoos, clothing, lifestyle – which all mirror and glorify our culture or society, not the God in whose image we were made.  What is appealing about marking our skin with ink, which never washes off?  I do not know.  Perhaps it is a status symbol, a mark of rebellion or daring to do so?  Not something I typically boast about.  Maybe it is acceptance with others who have chosen to mark themselves in that way.  Much as we like to sanitize the origin of the tattoo and consider it harmless, the roots of tattoos are founded in the occult and paganism.  We cannot sugar coat this fact for political correctness, and dare not gloss over it as insignificant.  We must not be negligent and “go with the flow”, thinking it does not matter.  Little by little our resolve and convictions can be whittled away until we forget where the compromise began.  It all matters to God.

God punctuates His command to not tattoo our bodies by saying it is He who said it.  It is not man’s opinion that should sway us, but God Almighty Who made us in His image.  Lastly, can you picture Jesus sporting a tattoo?  To those who would argue that this is the Old Testament, Jesus came to fulfill the law, not abolish it.  God does not change.

If you are reading this and have had tattoos done, God forgives you.  Turn away from that behavior and honor God with your body, which is the temple of the Holy Spirit.  Don’t make excuses or try to justify your behavior.  We all fall short in many ways, but God can use those very shortcomings to bring God glory.  Holiness still looks the same today as it did thousands of years ago.  Changing cultures and time do not take away from God’s precepts.  Dare to be Holy, not to indulge the flesh.

Lord, help us to live for Your glory and to not rationalize what holiness might look like in today’s society and to boldly for you.  May we not walk in ignorance, but in wisdom.

Under the Influence

Photo Credits dannyhageman.wordpress.com

Photo Credits
dannyhageman.wordpress.com

1 Kings 11:4

“When Solomon became old, his wives shifted his allegiance to other gods; he was not wholeheartedly devoted to the LORD his God, as his father had been.  6 Solomon did evil in the LORD’s sight; he did not remain loyal to the LORD, like his father David had.  9 The LORD was angry with Solomon because he had shifted his allegiance away from the LORD, the God of Israel, who had appeared to him on two occasions  10 and had warned him about this very thing, so that he would not follow other gods.  But he did not obey the LORD’s command.”

This passage should humble us all – the wisest man that ever lived turned away from the LORD.  Should not his wisdom have guided him to avoid wicked influences?  Compromise is subtle – we often do not notice or perceive that a slight alteration is chipping away at our integrity and commitment to God.  It is not enough to simply have moral ideals – the life in Christ must be a loyalty which makes us shudder at the thought of indulging the flesh with something that would pull us away from our God.  But unfortunately, we cave in to “minor” influences.  PG-13 movies that have “some” curse words, which we trivialize because we can “handle” them.  The problem is that the slope is headed downward – not up.  Decisions are made one by one, but add up to an avalanche over time.

We need to be vigilant with every influence in our lives.  There are many sources which influence us – media in multiple forms – including television, internet, social media and e-mail; and peer groups, which include people in many different environments; friends, family, peers at work, and at church (oh yes, there, too!).  Vigilance does not mean shunning, but rather setting clear boundaries that you abide by.  Sometimes folks around us can resent our boundaries, citing them as legalism, but it becomes sin to us if we violate our own consciences to appease those around us.  While it is uncomfortable to maintain your convictions, consider it a test – do you really believe in what you claim you do?  A little persecution presented by peers snubbing or labeling us is a pretty mild test.

Fame and riches were part of Solomon’s downfall.  Perhaps he thought he was invincible or that the wisdom he had enabled him to handle all of those temptations.  Not so.  Bad judgment call.  We will all be tempted, for sure.  We will have our decisions to make, one by one. Stay sober – do not allow yourself to go under the influence.  Stay in the Word of God and be alert.  Remember that we do not ever “deserve” to sin, or to choose to violate God’s commands out of comfort or pleasing others.  The price He paid was too high for that casual, liberal application of the costly grace given to us.

Hold fast to the convictions God revealed to you.  Don’t allow people to define for you what your standards should be.  Hold fast.  The visual of an anchor helps me in this regard.  It is unmovable, fixated where it needs to be and though it is so small, it is capable of holding in place large vessels.  Small decisions matter.  Guarding ourselves from negative influences in our lives is essential, but we cannot stop there.  Instead, we must be the bold, positive influence that the world needs – not in a harsh, judgmental way, but in a godly confidence that helps sheep around you see that they, too, can exert their power to choose to protect and guard righteousness in their lives.

God, wake us up and help us to be faithful.  We need You to keep us grounded in Your word, walking blamelessly before you!