January 24 – The Truth, and Nothing But the Truth

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 I was “truth-challenged” as a kid. My “make-believe muscles” were super-keen. It was fun to take a story and stretch it as far as I could. But, I found out eventually that I didn’t want the results of that kind of living.

I’ll never forget my first major wake-up call. I was in the sixth grade. During recess, several of the boys and I had a healthy game of football going when all of a sudden one of the new “tough girls” decided she wanted to play.

Things went fine until some of the boys starting being inappropriate with their tackling. Next thing I knew, I was in the office with the rest of the boys. The young lady had run to the principal saying she had been attacked. I knew that I hadn’t touched the girl, but who was going to believe me?

I was known for stretching the truth, especially if there were consequences to pay. Thankfully, I had parents who knew me and my mom started digging until she got to the bottom of the matter. But that day, something changed for me. I still had more growing to do in the area of my “yes being yes,” but I realized people will judge you by the standard you set. The you they know comes from the seeds you sow!

 If Christ is the Lord of your life, you have His nature of truthfulness living on the inside of you. But because you live in a world that thrives on lies, you have to cultivate a true heart by attending to true thoughts and actions. Feeding on God’s promises and precepts and His Word will establish a trustworthy foundation on the inside of you. If you are training up your children, this is an especially important area on which to work.

Here are five “I Wills” from the Character First curriculum that put truthfulness in a “doable” perspective: I WILL always tell the truth, I WILL encourage others to tell the truth, I WILL not cheat or steal, I WILL admit it when I am wrong, I WILL not exaggerate to make things seem different than what they are.

Embodying a lifestyle of the whole truth can only come by the help of God. Let our prayer today be one derived from hearts who love to be beacons of true light in the earth. For others to learn to trust God, they must be able to trust us!

 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. John 14:6

Biblical Meditation: Psalm 15:1-3 LORD, who may dwell in your sanctuary? Who may live on your holy hill? He whose walk is blameless and who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from his heart and has no slander on his tongue, who does his neighbor no wrong and casts no slur on his fellowman.  

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January 12 – So What About the Son?

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January 12 – So What About the Son?

 Most conflicts, when it comes to religious beliefs, do not ensue around the existence of God. In my estimation, there are more who agree than disagree.

The issue often has to do with the Son of God who is traditionally presented as both God and man. Quite frankly, the whole idea totally messes with people. This is probably because the concept just doesn’t make logical sense.

I don’t know about you, but in my lifetime, there haven’t been very many immaculate conceptions . . .none, as a matter of fact.

So that leaves little to no data for a comparative analysis. And although there is substantial room for an exhaustive debate over the birth and belonging of the Son of God in history, time has taught me that the long-range benefits of debating arguments are not worth the time.

Basic belief, on the other hand, is worth discussing. Everyone was born with an innocent child-like faith. That is why all of us trusted mom, dad, granny and whoever else to change our dirty diaper!

There is no way we would have made it past day one on planet earth without a trusting belief system. And unless something or somebody damages our “believer,” issues with the Son of God are non-existent.

But the sad, sick reality is that the world is full of “belief bashers” who wreak havoc on the young and innocent. When adulthood arrives, if they can’t see it, feel it, or explain it, then in their minds, it doesn’t exist. That is why we have a world overrun with people who are bitter toward God, all in the name of self-preservation.

Struggling with the authenticity of the Son of God is pretty normal and to those who do struggle, I don’t blame them. But I do challenge them to pursue and answer. Get to the bottom of the matter, don’t get stuck in a rut; life’s too short. Either the Son of God is real or He’s not.

So here are three things I encourage anyone to do if they truly want to settle the issue once and for all:

1) Pray-Ask God to make it clear if the Son is really the only way to Him, if He truly died on a cross for the sins of the world, if He is alive right now with God in heaven, and if He is really coming back to earth again to rule, reign and judge the hearts of men.

2) Read- The Gospel of John in the Bible is a great place to start. If there is any validity to the claims of the Christ, the Son of God, John will bring it to light.

3) Observe- Like you’ve never done before, pay attention to your surroundings. Look for unique handprints. Stop taking breath, branches, and babies for granted. Open your eyes without preconceived intellectual notions. And keep a journal close by because I am certain you’ll want to record what you discover!

 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him.

John 1:10 NKJV

 Biblical Meditation: Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

 

December 4-Blessed Assurance!

Luke 1:18 NIV:Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years.”

 In 1999, God began to educate me about the difference between insurance and assurance. For about six months he had been guiding me toward full-time ministry. At that time, I was employed as a youth coordinator in Enid, Oklahoma. As the Lord started redirecting me, however, I really struggled with the potential loss of insurance coverage for my family. My dilemma came from a feeling of irresponsibility. But every day I saw evidence that God was calling my family to weave a thread of unity and harmony throughout His people, His body, and His church.

This call kept growing and growing in me and yet the insurance issue would always cloud my vision. One morning I was working through Psalms 23. All of a sudden, I found myself singing one of the old hymns of the church, “Blessed Assurance.” I can’t quite describe how clear the Lord revealed the power of assurance to me that day. While I was singing, it just dawned on me that the Lord was purposely drawing me to a place where I had to depend on exactly what He said. Insurance and assurance are related to one another. But a distinguishing characteristic of assurance, according to Webster’s 1828 Dictionary, is “to give confidence by a promise or declaration.” In the old days, it was common for a kid to go down to the general store and pick up a few items, with the assurance that his daddy would take care of the bill.

Thank God for modern-day insurance and all the great benefits we receive from it. Along with your insurance, don’t be surprised if God draws you into a place where you will have to take Him at His Word, and His Word alone. It’s been many years since that day and we have seen some things! I can’t promise you it’s easy to do, but I can tell you the Bible will come alive and God’s Word will become more precious to you than anything in the world, as you lean and rely on His blessed assurance!

Suggested Biblical Meditation: Luke 1:18 and Genesis 23

February 25 – Great One, Divine

Everyone tries to get help from the leader, but only God will give us justice. Proverbs 29:26 The Message

I am grateful to live in a country whose government, foundationally speaking, is a “for the people, by the people” administration and mechanic.

And throughout our history, leaders have led well and some, not so much. In both instances, much more than meets the eye contributed to success or lack thereof. Anyone who has found themselves “head” or “in charge” of any affair knows leadership is not for the faint of heart.

That is why the proverbial thought today reminds me of a position I chose long ago when it came to my “demands” and to whom I would demand them.

Only one leader exists that can truly meet my needs and fix my ills. He is Great and He is Divine. He is GOD!

Therefore, it makes no difference how well my local, state or federal representatives’ represent. I call on GOD to assist them, aid us, and administer His Divine will on behalf of us all.

Lorenzo

February 10 – Hit-lure

When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when a wicked man rules, the people groan. Proverbs 29:2

Today’s proverbial thought awakens a moment in history that will affect the world as we know it forever. Leaders come and go and the truly good ones rule well and are often taken for granted because they raise few red flag warnings. They do the job entrusted them with honor and integrity.

But like the truck my son recently found on Craigslist that was “too good to be true,” there are moments in time where “too good to be true” leaders have emerged with vigor. And after the smoke cleared, there was hardly anything left but ashes.

There are several case studies to choose from, but Adolf Hitler is a classic. A decorated soldier in World War I, in many ways, he appeared to have the zeal, passion and vision to make Germany great. But something on the inside was a bit twisted.

His first six years in power resulted in rapid economic recovery from the Great Depression, the denunciation of restrictions imposed on Germany after World War I, and the annexation of territories that were home to millions of ethnic Germans – actions which gave him significant popular support (courtesy of Wikipedia).

When a people are suffering, particularly in the area of finances, they seem to be more vulnerable of this lure by cunning ideology and “quick fix” phantoms.

Hitler’s Nazi Party became the largest elected party in the German Reichstag, leading to his appointment as chancellor in 1933. Following fresh elections won by his coalition, the Reichstag passed the Enabling Act, which began the process of transforming the Weimar Republic into the Third Reich, a single-party dictatorship based on the totalitarian and autocratic ideology of National Socialism (courtesy of Wikipedia).

Any institution of merit has foundation stones. And most of the time, those stones have been well thought out, inspired and strategically placed. Caution should be strongly applied when those views and values become disregarded and or disrespected by a new set of ideas. Change is normal and necessary, but it is far better when it is an outgrowth of that which has already been.

Case in point: God never threw away the Israeli people as His chosen. He just gave birth to the Church age through them by sending Christ as a Jew. Though the “religions” stand alone and individual, the spiritual DNA of both are founded on the same stone.

Under Hitler’s leadership and racially motivated ideology, the Nazi regime was responsible for the genocide of at least 5.5 million Jews and millions of other victims whom he and his followers deemed racially inferior. Hitler and the Nazi regime were also responsible for the killing of an estimated 19.3 million civilians and prisoners of war (courtesy of Wikipedia).

There was a lot of death, destruction and mayhem before the people recognized the hidden agenda. Some never did. They were so indoctrinated, the deception became their reality.

Put today’s proverb in a prominent place so it penetrates your subconscious thoughts.

And from that place…pray for those who would dare lead us.
Lorenzo