Day 18: Telling Ourselves the Truth – Exposing Our Unbelief

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Inspirational Thought of the Day:

In the tunnels of life, we see one way out, but there are actually two. One path seeks God and the other seeks our own way.

Scripture of the Day:

Numbers 13:2, 17-20

13:2a “Send out men to investigate the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the Israelites17 When Moses sent them to investigate the land of Canaan, he told them, “Go up through the Negevand then go up into the hill country 18 and see what the land is like, and whether the people who live in it are strong or weak, few or many, 19 and whether the land they live in is good or bad, and whether the cities they inhabit are like camps or fortified cities20 and whether the land is rich or poor, and whether or not there are forests in it. And be brave, and bring back some of the fruit of the land.” Now it was the time of year for the first ripe grapes. 

It is not until we are willing to examine ourselves and give our sin its worst name that we can begin to declare victory. Sin is deceitful, though, and we often do not recognize the subtleties of deception inherent in the walls of our mind.

Sometimes we can be convinced fully in our mind that we are “ok”, but we are covering over this unsettled feeling that will not let go.

The irony in the discomforts of this life is that God is using them to deliver us from self-preoccupation and into a land of promise.

Reminds me of those Israelites again.

There they were, on the edge of entering the promise land and God told them to go check it out. I wonder if he was delighting to see their joy at the blessings He had in store for them. Kind of like I get more excited than my kids to see their expressions as they see the good I have planned for them for various moments of celebration.

He sent them there when the land was full of hope – the grapes were ripe and plentiful, what a good Father. The scouts had a job to do and a choice to make. Would they focus on all the hope surrounding them, or the potential struggles? They told themselves lies. And they convinced others to believe them. God got pretty angry about it, too. Who wouldn’t? Ever prepared an amazing surprise for someone only to have them say they don’t like it?

Maybe in examining the lies they believed we might recognize our own self-deception, too.

Lie #1 – We are not able

Numbers 13:31 “We are not able to go up against these people, because they are stronger than we are”.

Huge flaw in this calculation – kind of left out the God factor here. They gave a discouraging report that focused on their strength rather than God’s and dissuaded the people from believing God.

Lie #2: Doubted God’s goodness and intentions

Numbers 14:3 “Why has the LORD brought us into this land only to be killed by the sword, that our wives and our children should become plunder?”

Ouch. The first lie focused on our inability, but the second one accused God. To say that God just wanted to bring them out to kill them. After all He had done for them. But our memories fade and we tend to forget all of the blessings when a massive thorn in our flesh comes knocking at our door.

Lie #3: Rebel against God and form our own plan.

Numbers 14:4 “So they said to one another, “Let’s appoint a leader and return to Egypt.”

The Israelites are in pretty bad shape to just say it is time to turn around and go home. Um, where was home? Living in slavery, eating onions and beaten all day? Sure sounds cozy.

They even dared to go ahead and try to claim the promised land their way – not God’s. It did not turn out so well for them.

Lies will flood our mind unless we have the truth ready to dispute it. When we are tested like the Israelites were, we have to counter those attacks with the Word of God.

Truth #1: God is with us – do not fear

Numbers 14:9 “Only do not rebel against theLord, and do not fear the people of the land, for they are bread for us. Their protection has turned aside from them, but the Lord is with us. Do not fear them!

God demonstrated His presence over and over again, through His Word and through actions. We need to believe that He is with us and He is for us. It will be hard because reality sometimes hurts desperately. Maybe our hearts melt within us and it seems there is no way out – kind of like that tunnel image above. Closed in by our circumstances, we see one way out, but there are actually two. One path seeks God and the other seeks our own way.

Truth #2: Disbelief in God is hatred toward Him.

Numbers 14:11 “The Lord said to Moses, “How long will this people despise me, and how long will they not believe in me, in spite of the signs that I have done among them?

Sometimes the fear of the LORD is a good reminder. When we see that our disbelief is wicked in God’s sight, we need to repent and ask God for mercy, to give us faith. None of us would want to say we hate God. But disobedience is not love. As Jesus said, if we love the Father, we will do what He says.

Truth #3: He is good and His plans are good.

Numbers 14:20 “Then the Lord said, ‘I have forgiven them as you asked. 21 But truly, as I liveall the earth will be filled with the glory of the Lord.'”

Despite the constant disobedience of God’s children, He still forgives and redeems. His plans will not be thwarted. He is loving, long suffering, kind.

Truth #4: He sees you.

Psalm 33:13-15 “The LORD watches from heaven; he sees all people. 14 From the place where he lives he looks carefully at all the earth’s inhabitants. 15 He is the one who forms every human heart, and takes note of all their actions.” 

He rules over everything and still considers us. Wow. He saw the Israelites and He sees us. He knows our every thought and He chooses to love us, anyway.

He saw me when I felt inadequate as a wife and sat motionless in the courtroom. He knew the plans that were ahead of me that I could not see when my life was a blur. When my body felt so weak from infirmity for years on end, He spoke strength, even if I could not feel it at the time. Reality sometimes lies to us with its harsh expectations that are void of faith.

The lies come in innocently enough, sometimes cloaked in righteous garb. But we do not have to fall victim to them. We are never trapped. God has a way out that will blow our mind and restore our hope in a way we never thought possible! At the place of our devastation, there is always hope if we will just hold on and trust God.

 

 

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

The Instigator’s Demise

1 Samuel 23:19

“Then the Ziphites went up to Saul at Gibeah and said, “Isn’t David hiding among us in the strongholds at Horesh on the hill of Hakilah, south of Jeshimon?”

1 Samuel 24:1

“When Saul returned from pursuing the Philistines, they told him, “Look, David is in the desert of En Gedi.””

1 Samuel 26:1

“The Ziphites came to Saul at Gibeah and said, “Isn’t David hiding on the hill of Hakilah near Jeshimon?””

1 Samuel 26:19

“So let my lord the king now listen to the words of his servant. If the LORD has incited you against me, may he take delight in an offering. But if men have instigated this, may they be cursed before the LORD! For they have driven me away this day from being united with the LORD’s inheritance, saying, ‘Go on, serve other gods!'”

Sometimes there are people in your life who just want to goad you, but one of the most terrifying things on earth is being pursued relentlessly by someone who seeks to harm you.  Feelings of desperation and helplessness overwhelm you as you wonder if it will ever end.  Driven by jealousy and selfishness and fueled by instigators and false counsel, the pursuer relentlessly seeks his way.

The Philistines’ betrayal made sense.  They were the enemies of Israel – but it is odd that Saul would listen to his enemy. Their motives were surely for their own glory.  You wonder who you can trust as people surround your pursuer with counsel to come after you.  The Ziphites, Judeans like David, betrayed him twice.  Betrayed by his own people.  It does not get much worse than that.

People surrounding Saul knew what Saul wanted.  Despite numerous times when Saul saw his folly, he quickly returned to pursuing David when those around him incited him.  He received counsel from people who ultimately sought his own destruction, as well.  The irony is that Saul reaped the opposite of what he sought and those who informed Saul sought his favor, but ultimately his demise, too.

I was comforted when I read of David’s hiding out in caves for 15 years – not at all by the duration of time, but by the fact that a man of God, chosen to lead, first had to endure severe testing and God was His portion.  Why should it be different with us?

I share personal testimony here because I think somewhere out there someone else might be barely hanging on with a similar suffering and I earnestly desire to serve someone through the pain I endured.  Dragged to court for five years by people who used to be family was one of the most excruciating moments in my life.  False testimony and accusations left scars that only God could heal, but the immense pressure of the pursuit harmed my health and hurt my family deeply.

At the same time, another family member would not accept me and lied about me, spreading rumors about me.  Add to that job loss for my husband and you have an incubator for change.

If I had not had God as my portion, I would have perished.  I sought Him more deeply than I ever had and now see that season as a treasure in my walk with God.  This blog would not have been birthed had I not walked through dark valleys and seen God’s hand in the midst.

David trusted in God and walked righteously.  Despite the attacks, he had a righteous response and saw God deliver him. So it is with us.  When people speak ill of us or are jealous, we have a refuge to run to.  The instigator does not hold sway or power over us – our God is bigger.  We might have to endure false perceptions caused by those who despise us, but it will not last forever and if we keep walking uprightly with God, he will cause our enemies to cease or give us strength to bear it.

Saul apologized several times but David knew he could not be trusted.  There was still the capability for the same sin to rise up in Saul and David had to walk in wisdom and protect himself from Saul’s potential attack.  Sometimes in our own lives we need to protect ourselves from people who have harmed us in the past.  David forgave Saul but he was not going to place himself in possible danger willingly.

More than deliverance, however, and the character earned along the way, is the beautiful surrender of our spirits to God. Our temporary suffering is not about us, after all.  What the instigator and pursuer sought results in blessings when we hide ourselves in Jesus.  If God allowed it in, there is a divine purpose that we might not understand, but God can always be trusted.

Lord, thank You for Your protection and healing.  Help us to trust in You completely even when it seems like we are forgotten.  Your ways are not our ways and You are good all the time.

Not Our Home

Photo Credits  jlhaughton.blogspot.com

Photo Credits jlhaughton.blogspot.com

Ephesians 4:1

“I, therefore, the prisoner for the LORD, urge you to live worthily of the calling with which you have been called, 2 with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, 3 making every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.  22 You were taught with reference to your former way of life to lay aside the old man who is being corrupted in accordance with deceitful desires.  23 To be renewed in the spirit of your mind.  24  And to put on the new man who has been created in God’s image – in righteousness and holiness that comes from truth.  Therefore, having laid aside falsehood, each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members of one another.  27  Do not give the devil an opportunity.”

Ephesians 5:11, 15-17

Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.  15 Therefore be very careful how you live – not as unwise but as wise.  16 Taking advantage of every opportunity, because the days are evil.  17 For this reason do not be foolish, but be wise by understanding what the LORD’s will is.

Imagine walking out your door in the morning to find everyone speaking a language you don’t understand.  As you go about your day, you notice you do not have much in common with all those around you.  You have a choice to make: will you try to be like them, or choose to be different?  Such was a similar scene in the sci-fi thriller, “The Bodysnatchers” which terrified me as a child.  Every person’s souls were snatched away, one by one, replaced by look-alikes who had no soul, no god.  The panic was tangible – being the only one still with a soul, running into friends who were no longer who you thought they were.  So it is today.

The native tongue today is lies.  Flattery and white lies are uttered throughout the land.  Even more bold, outright falsehood and slander permeate our society.  If you speak the truth, it is not perceived or understood. Blinded by political correctness and dressed-up “truth”, we each swallow the daily dose and march to the drum we are told to march to – or not.  When I was first saved, my eyes were opened that I had been “bodysnatched” before, not really living at all.  Once I knew God and His truth, suddenly the world around me seemed odd.  Walking into a grocery store, I had never before been bothered by magazines with ungodly images, but now my heart felt differently.  I was a citizen here in the United States, but also simultaneously a citizen of Heaven.

Such talk might sound strange to the unredeemed, but to those who have tasted and seen that the LORD is good, there is nothing this world has to offer that could ever come close to what God has given.  Striving for self glorification is replaced with dying to self, serving others and glorifying God.  Talking about others is substituted with praying for others.  Former desires, which were once carnal and worldly, are now saturated with a desire to please God.

Oh, but if we could just stay there.  I fear that the bodysnatchers have returned to deceive the elect – if that were possible.  Once saved, we can begin to grow comfortable in our new culture and begin to adapt to a new blend – Christian hallmarks, with a touch of the world to be “relevant”.  Once we have been redeemed, we can’t forget the cost for that redemption.  We need to be vigilant to place reminders all around us, lest we grow lukewarm.  God help us to not acquiesce to the culture around us, slowly being numbed to the evil all around, which is sometimes dressed up to look righteous.

Lord, no one is good, no not one.  We all stumble in so many ways and each of us has gone astray.  Strengthen your bride, LORD.  Please help us to not compromise in this day and age and boldly live for You, no matter what the cost.  Our cost could never compare to Yours, LORD.  Thank You for paying the ultimate price for our salvation – may we cherish that sacrifice and live worthy of that payment!