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

Truthful Tuesday: Judging Judgment

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Romans 14:12

“Therefore, each of us will give an account of himself to God. 13 Therefore we must not pass judgment on one another, but rather determine never to place an obstacle or a trap before a brother or sister.”

1 Peter 4:17

“For it is time for judgment to begin, starting with the house of God. And if it starts with us, what will be the fate of those who are disobedient to the gospel of God?”

Judgment.  No one wants to be the recipient, but all have been participants in either judging others or being judged themselves.

In His perfect wisdom, God designed a system of justice in place to judge our actions.  Man sets up his own system of judgment, too, to condemn one another.

At the root of judgment from any human being is pride.  Pride in our own sinful, myopic condition that we would think we could ever be in a place to pass judgment on another creation, made in God’s image.

There are so many more motivations in the act of judgment, though. Sometimes we want to make ourselves feel better about our decisions, or we manipulate others with judgment to try to get them to do something we want.

Sounds pretty ugly.  That’s because judgment from man is going to be man-centered, but judgment that Christ gives is perfect and redemptive.

God judges our hearts to bring us to repentance and show us our sinful condition.  Man judges to prove a position, inflict pain, manipulate or inflate self.

Man cannot judge other’s motivations, for we cannot see the heart – only God can.  Still, the default sinful condition of man is to presume and judge brothers or sisters in Christ.

Despite out corrupt nature, we do not have to give in to judgment.  The heart of man is deceitful, but God.  He is gracious and able to help us lay down our judgments and put on forgiveness.  Sometimes people can hurt us and boundaries have to be put up so they cannot hurt or condemn us further.  Sometimes we have to lay down our desire to please man in his faulty judgments, too.

Maybe some of us feel we deserve judgment – we all do.  But Christ bore that judgment for us all.  In this world we have relationships that are broken from sin and ensuing consequences, and people will judge us until the day we die, but all of those judgments fall off our shoulders and are laid at the feet of our Savior – the One, perfect, Righteous Judge.

Lord, thank You for the sweet victory You give to walk in freedom and forgiveness.  Thank You for bearing our judgment.  Help us to consider others better than ourselves and to discern others in the light of the grace that we have been given.

Truthful Tuesday: Exposed in His Presence

Photo Credits: julieamarxhausen.wordpress.com

Photo Credits: julieamarxhausen.wordpress.com

Leviticus 10: 1-3

Then Aaron’s sons, Nadab and Abihu, each took his fire pan and put fire in it, set incense in it, and presented strange fire before the LORD, which He had not commanded them to do. 2 So fire went out from the presence of the LORD and consumed them so that they died before the LORD. 3 Moses then said to Aaron, “This is what the LORD spoke: ‘Among the ones close to me I will show myself holy, and in the presence of all the people I will be honored.”  So Aaron kept silent. 

Leviticus 11:44a-45

“For I am the LORD your God and you are to sanctify yourselves and be holy because I am holy… 45 For I am the LORD who brought you up from the land of Egypt to be your God, and you are to be holy because I am holy.”

Nothing is hidden from the LORD.  It is folly to try to conceal anything in the first place, but we easily go astray and are deceived into thinking we can rationalize our unfaithfulness and make it acceptable in the sight of the One Holy One.

He is the same God today – still Holy in a new covenant.  He still wants our first fruits, our best – and is worthy of such an offering.  Somehow we buy into the philosophy that this amazing God of grace will wink His eye at our futile attempts because we “tried”.  It is this lukewarm washed down mentality that condones sin as being what is common and yet there is a cry in our souls that we are to seek to be Holy as He is Holy.  He who gave His very best, His only Son, expects such a sacrifice from those Who would receive such a mighty gift.

Aaron’s sons, Nadab and Abihu were serving the LORD.  Not sure what the strange fire was, but it was straying from what God commanded.  What a privilege it is to serve in God’s house.  Not because of position, but because of His incredible redemption – taking rebels steeped in self and sin and changing them to humble servants, seeking to do His will.  So what happened?  How did Nadab and Abihu stray?  Were they placed there in a position that they were not qualified for because of relationship?  Did they have accountability?  There is not much that I detest more than seeing one of God’s children failing spiritually.  The ensuing disillusionment for many affected is devastating – all over choices made to gratify self instead of pleasing a Holy God.

The example of Aaron’s sons terrifies me because I want to be found faithful but see the same capability in myself. Corruption is the natural course for us all, apart from accountability, the grace of God and the fear of God firm in our hearts. Could this sin have been avoided?  We can try to blame Dad, but his sons were all grown up by this point.  Maybe something was lacking in their training and they could have filled a two-part series on Oprah about the struggles of being PK’s.  I don’t know, but I do know that we have no one to blame for our own faithlessness other than ourselves.

In the struggle of humanity, His grace is still available to all who would reach for it.  The problem is we often do not see our need of it.  The lavish grace and blood spilled out on our behalf was not so we could just be saved and live apart from Him, but His pure, Holy sacrifice serves as a vivid reminder of the depravity of our soul when left to our own devices.  It cost HIm His life.  Back to Aaron’s sons.  They were there, offering sacrifices – right in front of them the reality of sin’s consequences – blood spilled out to cover sins – and it became merely ritual to them, something they could do their way.

This same attitude is in the church today.  Elements of the church service are fought over as different perspectives over how each aspect of our worship service should be done.  Wow, has the body of Christ missed it big time.  It is all about Him. How can we reveal His love and glory to those coming, hungering for more of Him?

In our desire to serve God and share His salvation with a lost world, we can easily get lost and forget in the midst of our programs and plans that we still serve a Holy God.  Familiarity with the church service can become religious dogma, but God is watching to see who acknowledges Him and His holiness in the midst of our routine.  Maybe routine is a distraction that can cover our nakedness before the LORD.  It is easier to go through the motions than to lay our hearts transparent before Him to do surgery.  Don’t get me wrong – order in our services is a framework that can really glorify God, but God help us to never allow that framework to become mere duty.  Nothing is routine with Him and He wants to fill our churches with His presence.

This weary world is spiraling out of control.  Judgment is coming and it starts with us – with God’s church.  The time to quarrel about techniques and perspectives is over.  The days are evil.  We must be all about cooperation and God’s glory. If we rend our hearts and set aside trying to sanitize our waywardness and instead expose our desperate need for a Holy God, in that beautiful place is liberty and true worship of our King.  He reveals our sin that we might confess our sins and find incredible mercy in His presence.

Thoughtful Thursday: Illusive Discipline

Photo Credits: quotivee.com

Photo Credits:
quotivee.com

Proverbs 5:11-12, 23

11 “And at the end of your life you will groan when your flesh and your body are wasted away.  12 And you will say, “How I hated discipline! My heart spurned reproof!” 23 He will die because there was no discipline; because of the greatness of his folly he will reel.”

1 Timothy 4:7

“But have nothing to do with worldly fables fit only for old women On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness.”

1 Corinthians 9:27

“But I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.”

Our flesh despises discipline.  Routine is agony and seemingly inhibits freedom.  I have struggled for most of my adult life to be consistent in exercise, healthy eating and devotions.  Just when I thought I mastered one of these areas, I saw how woefully wrong I was.

We never arrive.  So what is the point of still trying?  It is in the trying, the persisting, the pressing on that character is formed, often unknowingly to the soul that seeks to follow God closely.

Discipline gets bad publicity.  It is seen as wrong in today’s society when applied to the parent/child relationship.  It might even be viewed as abusive to apply punishment for a wrong done.  Denying self seems brutal to many, too, because flesh is the god this world bows to.

Christ knew we would struggle to be disciplined, but He did not lower the bar.  He raised the bar and demonstrated a disciplined life, yielded to God.  We all prefer lavish grace – we are only human, after all.  But God expects more and so should we.  Lowering the bar because we are imperfect is not grace – it is laziness.

We would never accept a lackluster job performance for something we paid for, yet we expect forgiveness, mercy and understanding when we live our lives -which were bought at a high price – for self.  The dichotomy of our expectations and contributions brings us to a crisis.  A crisis of seeing God’s requirement and our inability to carry it out.  In that moment of realization, though, we see our need of Him to help us exercise our will toward righteousness and kingdom purposes.

Being disciplined is so very hard.  The flesh wars against our soul and is a pushy personality.  It wants what it wants – when it wants it. Paul understood this and battled against his flesh, too.  This is where victory lies – staying in the battle. When failure after failure pile up as witnesses against us, we rise again to battle, because the war is already won.  To give up is not an option – we are not defeated if we will only continue to deny the flesh and ask God to help us choose the disciplined path.

Lord, thank You for your grace.  Your laws and precepts are perfect and medicine to our soul.  What we perceive as discipline is what we really need.  Thank You for Your patience, LORD.  Help us to walk in victory, faithfully following Your decrees all for Your glory.

God-Confidence & the Cloak of Many Colors

Philipians 4:13

I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

2 Timothy 1:7

For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control. 

Joshua 1:9

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”  

Psalm 27:3

Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet I will be confident.

My stomach betrayed the personna of confidence I wanted to convey.  Why did I doubt myself so much?  Then suddenly the LORD gave me a visual: a cloak of confidence.  I did not recognize that I was wearing so many cloaks that needed to be cast off, one by one.  The cloak of insecurity, the cloak of fear, the cloak of unworthiness, the cloak of guilt, the cloak of self-doubt and my biggest one: the cloak of rejection.

We all are wounded in this life and do not realize that while we have forgiven and moved on from places of pain, we still carry the wounds . . . subtly . . . without recognizing it.  While I do not believe truly in self-confidence as much as I do in God-confidence, there is a role for self in the confidence cloak we need to put on.  We must choose to wear the cloak of truth in who we are in Christ and His promises.  Sure, we are aware of our weaknesses, but that does not need to hold us back.

This cloak of confidence reminds me of an atonement cover – blotting out those aspects of my personality that are still like a frightened little girl, and covering them with Christ’s acceptance, Christ’s strength, and Christ’s enablement.  It means no longer contemplating all of the reasons we are not qualified and putting on all of the reasons Christ says we are qualified.  It means looking at ourselves with truth and grace.

Fear of failure can make us run and hide underneath counterfeit cloaks, but they never give the peace of Christ like abiding in Him and trusting in His word does.  Healthy confidence is confidence placed in God and a willingness to step out in faith in the calling He has on our lives.  It does not depend on or is not obtained by man’s opinion or even perceived success.  It is found in obedience and quiet trust, silencing the deafening accusations swirling around in our own mind or in the minds of others.  May we wear this cloak with gratitude and offer Christ praise for what He will do in us.

Called to Die

Somehow we were tricked into thinking that this Christian life was to be a cushy one.

Romans 8:5-6, 12-13

5 For those who live according to the flesh have their outlook shaped by the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit have their outlook shaped by the things of the Spirit. 6 For the outlook of the flesh is death, but the outlook of the Spirit is life and peace, 12 So then, brothers and sisters, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh 13 (for if you live according to the flesh, you will die), but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body you will live.

I do not imagine that many of us, when we came to Christ, were eager to die.  We had just been given eternal live – death was probably not on our minds.  Somehow we were tricked into thinking that this Christian life was to be a cushy one.  No pain, rose-tinted glasses, maybe even prosperity.  Certainly not suffering or hardship.

Where was the disconnect?  Christ made it clear that in this world we would have trouble.  That we would be hated because of Him.  Not much of a salesman, it seems.  He said we would have to carry our own cross, too.  Who would want to follow that plan?  Perhaps it is because of our view of death.

The flesh wants us to live for self.  We want to live!  God placed eternity in our souls – a desire to continue past this space and time, but the way our lives are lived might be the problem.  It is all about us – our pleasure, our peace, our way – until the LORD opens our eyes to see.  To really see.  Not just a temporary view of our fallen nature, but the realization that there truly is no good thing in our corrupt flesh.

The grace of God enters and we are changed.  Over time we can forget what we were saved from and begin to think the righteousness was our own, God forbid.  Why would we be redeemed and then called to die?  Because living for self means we do not see the hurt all around us.  Living for self means we are not living for the Kingdom of God.  When we accepted that free gift of salvation, it was a call to die and live solely for Jesus and His glorious kingdom.

Die, friend.  In the best sense of the word.  Dying to self means we are alive in Christ.  Live sold out to Jesus, available to His call and make the flesh submit to His will – You belong to Him.

Lord, help us to not lose the sight and understanding You gave us.  We want to be used by You – effective to minister to others all for Your glory.  Thank You for dying for us, LORD.  We will never be worthy of all You have done for us.

Thoughtful Thursday: Job’s Lessons – Trusting God in Affliction

Job 8:5-7

“But if you will look to God and make your supplication to the Almighty, 6 if you become pure and upright, even now He will rouse himself for you and will restore your righteous abode.  7 Your beginning will seem so small, since your future will flourish.”

Sitting in handcuffs, dazed and shocked, I wondered how this could happen to me.  I was innocent.  But in that moment the LORD spoke to me clearly.  “Guilty by association”.  Associating with one who had lied to me and placed me in a mess. You’re a modern day Job, lady”, the police officer told me sarcastically, yet laced with compassion.  Me?  Job?  No, I could not compare my sufferings with his.  Or could I?

Life has some crazy turns in it – many we would rather avoid, but traveling down those roads leads us to unexpected places with cherished lessons learned.  Job’s counselors all speculated that some hidden sin caused his demise.  Why would a good God allow such suffering in, after all?  I am sure Joseph felt similarly.  He was only prophesying what God placed in his heart, only to find himself at the bottom of a well and then a betrayed slave.  What was God thinking?

Staring at the spot on the ceiling of my hospital room, I wondered how I got there, too.  Worried faces of doctors unsure of what to say, I laid there and trusted.  Patiently.  In the midst of that hard place, a resolve began to form that was not from me.  Even in that horrid place, God spoke to me.  Would I be willing to let Him use me in this way?  Yes, God.

Back to Job.  He questioned himself, examined what could be the cause of such difficulty in his life.  He did not know that Satan had asked if he could mess around with his life.  Job’s chief sin was in doubting God and in justifying himself rather than God.  When we cannot figure out what God is doing, we can cry out to God to trust Him and place our faith in Him. Lack of understanding is not wrong, but doubting God’s goodness and purposes are.  Introspection at times of confusion is a great gift – an opportunity to pause and clarify our lives before God.

In the end, God blessed Job more than he was before.  Sometimes we cling to what we knew as the past, wondering if we will ever see God’s goodness again.  Our view of the past just might not be all that we thought it was, either.  God has new heights, new blessings for us.  His idea of a blessing might be different than ours, but He and His ways are always good.

Lord, when we don’t understand, help us to draw near to You and to trust You fully.  Be glorified in our mess – You Who makes sense of everything, almighty, sovereign LORD!

In Good Company

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By: Denise Pass © 6/26/14

Psalm 62:4, 12, Psalm 63:11b, Psalm 64:3, 7, 8,10

:4 They spend all their time planning how to bring him down. They love to use deceit; they pronounce blessings with their mouths but inwardly they utter curses. 12 And You, O Lord, demonstrate loyal love. For you repay men for what they do. Psalm 63:11… everyone who takes oaths in His name will boast, for the mouths of those who speak lies will be shut up. Psalm 64:3 They sharpen their tongues like a sword; they aim their arrow, a slanderous charge. 7 But God will shoot at them; suddenly they will be wounded by an arrow. 8 Their slander will bring about their demise. All who see them will shudder. 10 The godly will rejoice in the Lord and take shelter in Him. All the morally upright will boast.

Ever had someone who just did not like you? You try to do everything you can to affect their feelings, but to no avail. Perhaps it is just the position you hold in their life, but making sense of it appears to be impossible. Accepting it is even more difficult.

When I am tempted to be absorbed in self-pity due to the discovery that someone has slandered me or expressed to others their hatred, I find comfort in God’s word. It just is not about me. Godly men in Scripture suffered similarly and had drama surrounding them. David had enemies – Joseph did, too – within their own household. David’s son would betray him, Joseph’s own brothers would be blinded by jealousy – but God would ultimately use it for good. In fact, all throughout Scripture there is a pattern repeated many times within families. Separation due to jealousy, anger, hurt feelings. Sometimes due to faith, too.

Such behavior seems nonsensical, inane, but assuredly most everyone will encounter and have to deal with being the object of scorn. How can we glorify God in that situation? First, bringing the pain to God and asking Him to reveal any hidden sin in ourselves can shed some light. Seeking His perspective, not ours, begins to make things clearer. Asking questions of myself, such as why it bothers me when I am slandered, helps me to understand that I am seeking glory, seeking to be admired and accepted. Did Christ worry about people liking him? Not so much. He embraced the reality of dissenters and prayed for them.

What if I was more worried about God being robbed of glory than myself? Ultimately it is all about God’s glory and He is my Defender. Resting in His deliverance versus striving on my own brings peace and joy. If I lay down the idol of my reputation and seek to glorify Him in my response, perhaps then I can see how something so insidious as someone talking about me can actually work for my good and God’s glory. Lastly, counting our blessings and focusing on all the good in our lives puts the focus where it needs to be.

If you find yourself despised today, know that you are in good company. Our Savior and many amazing biblical characters suffered similarly. He is able to help you take your eyes off of yourself and set your gaze on Him – the only One Who truly was innocent, and Who we all were once enemies of.

Lord, it hurts when we are shunned or when people believe slander about us. Help us to rejoice in those times that we can experience a tiny portion of what You endured. Be glorified, Lord – in our afflictions and momentary hardships – which can never compare to Your willing sacrifice.