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SEPTEMBER 2015

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The Truth of the Lie

 

John 18:38 Pilate said to Him, “What is truth?”  John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.”

 

The Lies Never Quit

The Unites States in the middle of another national election cycle.  These campaigns just go on and on and on.  One of things we learn from them is that people can make promises but they can’t always keep them.  Sometimes they don’t intend to keep them and sometimes they simply don’t have the ability to keep them.

 

Another thing we learn is that people lie.  Sometimes they lie when the truth would do better.  Now I am sure that at some time in our lives we have all lied.  Some of our lies are what we call “white lies” and some of them are outright deceitful lies.  But most of us don’t live our lives trying to be deceitful.  When we say we will pay our bills, we mean it.  When we say “I do” at the altar, we mean it.  When we fill out an employment resume, we don’t embellish it.  That is the way most of us try to live our lives even though we aren’t always able to live up to the promises we intended to keep.  But when it comes to national elections, anything that is repeated often enough becomes Gospel truth.  The internet now allows lies to be repeated over and over again until most people are absolutely convinced of the TRUTH OF THE LIE. The lies are usually designed to criticize the ability and credibility of the competing candidates.  Some of these lies are what are known as attack ads.  I personally find our election cycles to be demeaning to the good sense of the people of the United States.

 

There is Truth

I believe that there is truth.  Some of it is just common sense truth, and some of it is Biblical Truth.  Common sense would tell us that no person can really be sure that he can fulfill the promises made in a national campaign.  Biblical truth would tell us that when a person tells us how good he is and how bad his opponent is, he is not acting like a Christian even if he claims to be one.  The Bible says to let each esteem other better than themselves.  A Christian is to be swift to hear and slow to speak.  A Christian candidate would be kind and considerate and would not slander his opponent.  He would admit that he doesn’t have all the answers but would promise that he would do the best possible job that he could.  It would be interesting to see what would happen if someone actually tried running a truly Christian type of campaign.  People are so sick of the attacks and lies in our national elections that an honest humble man just might have a chance.  In fairness I must say that I have seen exceptions to this kind of pride and arrogance in local elections, but I have never seen humility, kindness and consideration win a national election.  In addition, Biblical truth tells us that passing along damning information about a person where we personally have not witnessed or proved the information or event is slander.  The truth is that many people calling themselves Christians think that slandering politicians in not covered by Biblical truth.

 

But what is Truth

The truth is that there is a day coming when there will be a Ruler who is fair but also just and who never lies.  The truth is that He was crucified by religious and political people who considered Him a threat to their own objectives when He came the first time.  But He says He is coming again.  For the believer that will be a blessing.  For the unbeliever, that will not be a pleasant time. 

 

The truth is, the Lord keeps his promises.  To the believer his promise is “Let not your heart be troubled (John 14:1).” To the unbeliever his promise is that His wrath is already abiding on them (John 3:36).  Now it has been a long time since the Lord made his promise to come again and the unbelievers in this world doubt that He is going to keep His promise to come.  Many even doubt that He was Who He claimed to be.  But the Lord had no reason to lie.  And He has the power to fulfill His promises. 

 

Doomsayers are telling us that the “end is coming.”  They are setting dates as to when the great apocalyptic events spoken of in the Book of Revelation will begin.  However, the Bible says that the second coming of the Lord will be ushered in when it is least expected. And so the dates being set are not the truth.  I don’t understand everything that the Lord has told us in the book of the Revelation, but I understand this:  Christians have been saved.  They have been delivered from the wrath to come (1 Thessalonians 1:10).  The truth of John 3:16-18, John 3:36, John 5:24, and Acts 16:31-32, is pretty straight forward.  We don’t need to have volumes written on the basic truth of the Bible which says that the Living God who created us has always wanted our worship and He doesn’t want to share that worship with another. 

 

The truth is, the Lord tells the truth and keeps His promises.  He doesn’t promise believers protection from persecution, and he doesn’t promise them riches; but He promises them that they will never experience His wrath.  Not now, not in eternity.  And for those concerned about Doomsday, you will not find shelter in the political system.  No man will be able to save you. You will not find shelter by storing food and water because if you have it and others need it, they will take it.  But you can find shelter in the Lord.  He says, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved (Acts 16:31).  And if the members of your house believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, they will be saved.  And that is the truth. 

 

 

Meditation for the week of September 6, 2015

Meditate on These Things!

 

Philippians 4:8  Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

 

The Ugliness of September 11, 2011

Today as I am writing this meditation, we are being reminded of the terrible tragedy known as 911.  My wife had seen the first airplane fly into the world trade center that morning on TV and came to tell me that there had been a terrible accident.  As we together watched the second plane fly into that structure, we realized that this was no accident.  This was the result of man’s inhumanity to man.  This was the proof that there really is a Satan, an evil destroyer.  People may not believe in a good God, but logic requires us to believe in a diabolical adversary that wants to kill and destroy.  We as a nation played right into the hands of this deceiver by going to war and killing multitudes of innocent people in Iraq so that this wouldn’t happen again.  But did we win?  Events of the last few years indicate that all we did was upset the balance of power in the Mideast and cause millions of people to resent the United States.  This meditation is not a commentary on whether we should have gone to war.  I am just stating the facts that Satan managed to take multitudes into his infernal eternity.  As a result of 911 and the subsequent wars we have a very unstable world with some people fleeing evil regimes and with other people determined to stamp out both the US and Israel.

 

The Problem of Men Using Religion

Obviously the real tragedy that morning was to see men who didn’t care who they hurt in order to accomplish their political goals.  The real tragedy is that men use religions to control people rather than using religion as a means of serving others.  Today we are being asked to “remember” the events of 911.  But in remembering those evets we are focusing on hatred that goes back thousands of years in the Mideast.  We are focusing on ugliness.

 

Things We Cannot Forget

There are things in life that we will never be able to forget.  For example, I remember the death of my six week old sister because she had come down with whooping cough.  I remember the death of President Kennedy in November of 1963 and the explosion of the space ship Challenger in January of 1986.  These are things that I remember that I wish I could forget.  And I think that is why Paul tries to direct our attention to something better.  He wants us to think on things that are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, and of good report.  He wants us to think about virtue, that is about things are good. He wants us to think on things that are worthy of praise or things that we can approve or commend.  Is there anything or anyone in this life that we can think about that meets these qualifications?

 

Yes, we can think about the Lord Jesus.  I know that people criticize God as revealed in the Old Testament as being cruel, and some even criticize God as revealed in the New Testament for sending His Son to the cross.  Any criticism of God is a criticism of the Lord because in Him dwelt all the fullness of the Godhead bodily (Colossians 2:9).  He is the Word that expresses God and as the Word, He is God (John 1:1, 14).  But He was full of grace and truth (John 1:14).  All the virtues of Philippians 4:8 are seen in Him.  He healed, He fed, He taught, and He stilled storms.  He always did those things that pleased the Father.  He didn’t ask his disciples to die for Him, He died for His disciples and for us.  When we think of the cross, again we see the inhumanity and cruelty of men energized by Satan.  But when we see the Lord, we see grace, mercy, compassion, and love.  If Christ wasn’t who He claimed to be, He shouldn’t have been crucified.  He should have been institutionalized.  If He was who He claimed to be (and He was), He should have been crowned with a Victor’s crown, not with a crown of thorns. 

 

Conclusion

Thinking about 911 is depressing.  Thinking about the crucifixion is also depressing until we understand it’s God-given purpose.  But thinking about the Lord who suffered and died to save ME is praiseworthy.   No one else has “had my back” like the Lord has.   I am going to “meditate on these things.”

 

Meditation for the week of September 13, 2015

The Question

 

John 15:12-13 This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends.

 

Four Words for Love

The Greek language has four words for love.  One of the words is the word often translated charity and is love that is expressed to another but that is not necessarily appreciated by the recipient.  It is often associated with duty.  It is associated with sacrifice.  It is the love that God shows the world in John 3:16:  “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”  Another word for love is the word from which we get friend.  Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love, takes its name from this Greek word.  This kind of love is a love that is appreciated by the recipient.  Normally this kind of love is associated with a relationship between two people. The Greek language also has a word for erotic love which is not found in the New Testament.  In addition, another word translated kindly affectionate is found in Romans 12:10.  Obviously, the two words that God uses to express the beauty of the basic scriptural command to love God and love one another are the word for charity and the word for a friend. 

 

So would you rather be loved by God with his love of charity or would you rather be loved by God as a friend?

 

Some have said that the love of charity is the greatest love.  I am assuming that they are basing that on the last statement in that great love chapter, 1 Corinthians 13:  “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”  Since we cannot argue with Scripture, charity is greater than any other gift mentioned in chapter 12, 13, and 14.  But friendship is not one of the gifts mentioned in these chapters.  So is charity greater than friendship?  It is in the sense that Christian charity should be a permanent characteristic of those who say that they are Christians.  It is greater in the sense that it self-sacrificing and friendship may be self-serving.  However, there is something satisfying about a personal intimate relationship that may not be present when charity is shown.  Charity lays the basis for that intimacy, and friendship should be the result.  In one sense friendship is better (perhaps greater would not be the best choice of words) than charity because friendship is a two way street while charity may be only a one way street.  Charity may be offered but it may not be accepted; and, sometimes when it is accepted, it may not be appreciated.  Friendship usually is greatly appreciated and meets emotional needs not always met by charity.

 

What is MY Answer?

At one time I would have said that I would rather have God’s charity than God’s friendship.  But as I have thought about it, I believe that friendship that results from God’s charity is where the real blessing is found.  In John 15:12, the disciples are commanded to have charity for each other.  Then they are reminded that His charity led to His friendship.  He laid down His life for His friends.  The Lord did call Judas a friend when he betrayed Him in the garden, but by and large the word friend is reserved by the Lord for those who trust Him and worship Him.  Abraham, the father of faith, was a friend of God.  Obviously, God was his friend as well.  In John 11, the Lord was a friend of Lazarus, but He also was showing charity to Martha, Mary, and Lazarus.

 

My answer to the question I have asked is that I am glad that this is not an either/or proposition.  I am glad to know that the Lord has shown me charity but I am also really glad that He is my friend.  He has proved that over and over again.  And in our relationship with other Christians, we need to show charity, but it seems to me that charity that does not lead to true friendship is really empty.  

 

We Need to be Real

Sometimes we have our so-called friends come to us and tell us that what they are going to say is because they “love” us.  Often, those people have done nothing in a charitable way to prove their love, but they feel free to criticize without really knowing the person that they are “loving.”  I personally do not find that they are doing what they are doing because of their love, but instead they seem to be establishing who is in charge.  Sometimes I wish that those who express their love so that they can express their criticisms would love me less.  Now those who have proven that they would die for me, they can correct and criticize me all that they want.  But I suspect that those who would die for me, would also do their correcting the way the Lord corrected Peter in John 21.  You will remember that He asked Peter if he really did have charity for Him.  Peter had to admit that he only had the love of friend.  And he reminded the Lord that He really already knew this.  That was good enough for the Lord, and from then on the Lord knew that He had a faithful friend who would be willing to die for Him.  Peter who had failed, was commissioned to tend and feed the Lord’s sheep.  I think his friendship was probably just as important to the Lord as his intended charity for the Lord.

 

Yes, charity is great, but friendship is really precious, particularly when it is the Lord’s friendship.

 

Meditation for the week of September 20, 2015

Blood Moons

Mat 24:44 Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

Frantic Expectation

There is a certain frantic expectation in the fall air. It is associated with a fourth blood moon that is set to occur on an important Jewish feast day, the first day of the feast of Tabernacles. Since many prophetic events have been associated with Jewish holidays, could this next Jewish holiday be prophetically significant, particularly since it is associated with a blood moon?

Can we Know Something Now that wasn't Known or Revealed by the Lord?

A blood moon is produced during an eclipse of the moon when the moon is closest to the earth. These happen rather rarely. Since there will be signs in the heavens associated with the Lord's return, is this one of the signs? We know that the Lord's return consists of rapturing the church to save believers in Christ from the coming wrath of God on the earth during the tribulation period as well as the tribulation itself. It will also include the Lord's coming as King of Kings and Lord of Lords to set up His righteous thousand year reign at the end of the tribulation period. People have speculated over and over again as to when these things are going to happen. Several years back we had "88 reasons why the Lord was going to come in 1988." Of course, history proves that the Lord did not come. Harold Camping of Family Radio set several dates for the Lord's return. Even after being wrong, his followers still believed him when he said he knew the procedure for calculating the date but had just miscalculated. Harold Camping has now met the Lord and I am sure he has apologized for causing such a stir when the Bible clearly states that we are to be always ready because the Son of Man will come when we do not expect it. The Lord clearly tells us in Mark 13:32, "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father." So can we know something now that even the Lord did not know when He was here on earth? Probably not! I think the word know here probably means "reveal" but we will leave that discussion for another day.

People have always wanted to be privy to information others do not have. So there is now a book on the best seller list explaining the mysteries associated with the Shemitah year. A man by the name of Jonathan Cahn says he understands this mystery. Now a true Biblical mystery is something hidden in the Old Testament that is revealed in the New. But Cahn's mystery is something that only he seems to understand. I frankly can't follow his reasoning. However, the Lord gave the Bible to the common man in languages easily understood at the the time the books were written so that the people of that day could all read it and understand it. The message is not hidden for a select few to understand. And since I understand the plain teaching of our verse for today and since that plain teaching seems to violate all the teaching of date setters, I think it would be better to read and study the Bible and to believe it rather than to read and study our current generation of so-called prophets.

I Plan to Enjoy the Show

I have one problem with the house we have purchased. It isn't well located when it comes to seeing northern lights and eclipses and other night time phenomenon. We have a shopping center to the north that has a lot of light hiding the night sky. However, if I get a chance to go out in the country to see this blood moon, I will probably go and enjoy the sight. If the Lord comes during it, I am ready to go. If He doesn't come during it, I am still ready to go. But frankly, if I understand our verse for today right, it is more likely that the Lord will return the day before or in the days after the blood moon than on the day when everyone expects it. However, since I am not really expecting the return of the Lord on that particular date, maybe, just maybe. . .

By the time you read this, the hype will all be over and once again people who do not actually read their Bibles will think that the Bible is wrong. The Bible isn't wrong but the false prophets who make money selling these doomsday scenarios are. I am confident that the Lord will come in an hour that we do not expect. But I am ready and I hope you are too.

Meditation for the week of September 27, 2015