Standing Firm in the Truth


wordWe live in the information age when endless information is at our fingertips. Our minds are daily bombarded with much information. But as we all know, with much information also comes much mis-information which often is portrayed as the truth.

The recent buzz on Facebook has been about the newly implemented “chat application.” Facebook now requires you to download and install an application if you wish to continue to use the chat feature via your iphone  or android mobile device.

Ever since Facebook has required the download of this app, there has been much debate over whether this “new app” is a serious violation of privacy rights. Some even claim that by downloading the app it gives Facebook permission to access features and information on your phone. Due to this and the scare of privacy rights, many Facebook users are choosing not to install the application or to eliminate the use of the chat feature all together.

So where do we go to find the truth? Of course in the internet world, we now have Snopes, which is an online resource that help determine the validity of much of the information out there today.

As I was trying to sort through all this information myself to determine whether the use of the application is safe or not, I saw a parallel that we often face when trying to sort out spiritual truths in our lives as well.

From the very beginning of time, Satan was a deceiver. Satan is often called the deceiver because he can make his lies to appear as the truth. Another name for Satan is the thief because he tries to steal what is truth and replace it with lies which appear as truth.

Thankfully God is more powerful than Satan and he does not leave us defenseless against the tactics of the enemy. God gives us the truth of His Word to combat the lies of the devil. John 17:17 says . . . “Thy Word is Truth.”

Unfortunately I see so many believers that will fall for anything because they are not grounded in the truth of God’s Word. 2 Timothy 2:15 explains that we are to study God’s Word so that we can rightly divide God’s Word of truth.

I believe it is especially important in this day and age of information that as we as believers are equipped to know the truth of God’s Word so we can readily withstand the onslaught of attacks from the enemy of our souls. As a follower of Christ Jesus, our lives should be grounded in the truth of God’s Word. I truly believe that if we don’t stand for the truth, we will fall for anything.

In the book of Acts, the apostles were traveling around trying to spread the good news of  the gospel. When we come to Acts 17:11, the bible says . . . “Now these Jews (Bereans) were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.”

We are continually bombarded with the worlds information. To keep our minds fixed on the truth, we must daily let God’s Word wash and renew our minds so that we can know the ‘mind of Christ’ as given to us through His Word.

We can’t live by the truth if we don’t know the truth. God doesn’t want us to remain spiritual infants, but to grow up in Him so that we are not tossed back and forth by the waves and blown here and there with every wind of doctrine (Ephesians 4:14).

The same way that these Berean Jews were searching the Scripture daily to determine the truth, God wants us as believers to be doing the same thing. As a follower of Christ the bible is our firm foundation in a shifting world of endless information. We do not have to be ignorant to the schemes of the devil. God wants us to have discernment so that we can distinguish lies from the truth and in doing so we can stand firm in the truth of God’s Word.

Father God thank you for your life giving Word.  Help us to daily walk in it so that we can accurately decipher lies from the truth. Thank you for the gift of your Holy Spirit which helps guides us unto all truth. Give us discernment so that we can easily recognize the tactics of the enemy. We thank you for who you are and all you do in our lives. To you be the glory both now and forever. AMEN

 

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The Love Test



If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 1 Corinthians 13:1-7

love testA few days ago in my morning reading time, I read the above verses in 1 Corinthians 13.  I was struck once again (like every other time I read this passage), by the words in verse two which basically reads . . . “without love, I am nothing” and in verse three, “without love, I gain nothing.” The penman Paul was speaking to the church in Corinth who were lacking love in their use of spiritual gifts within the church.  This reminded me that often we have good intentions with one another but if we don’t seek to act in love towards one another, our actions are basically worthless. This is because without love, our actions usually have little to no effect and can even be damaging. Love is key ingredient that makes our actions and gifts useful.

Thinking on this brought to my mind a memory from my childhood. There was this place my grandparents would occasionally take us to eat. It was a buffet type dining experience. We were able to pick any kind of food we wanted and also eat as much as we wanted, this was a kids dream. As a bonus, ( if we had behaved while dining) my grandparents would give each of us kids a quarter to use in the old fashion “love testing” machine that sat in the foyer of the establishment.

The “love tester” was an arcade style type game where after inserting a quarter, you would squeeze a handle on the machine that would invariably move up and down a succession of light bulbs. Eventually the movement of the light would stop illuminating one of the bulbs and therefore telling you the degree of love which you had. This would vary from the highest degree of “red-hot, uncontrollable,” down to the lowest degree of “clammy fish, try again.” Us kids would always get tons of laughs from playing this silly game.

I think it’s funny that when I was thinking about loving God and loving others, this silly memory and machine came to my mind. I think it’s because love really IS measurable. Our love can be seen by our actions towards others and our love for God can be measured by how well we love others. Romans 13:8 puts it this way . . . Owe nothing to anyone–except for your obligation to love one another. If you love our neighbor, you will fulfill the requirements of God’s law. We show love for God by loving others as he does.

As believers in Christ, we are to be defined by our love.  I believe one way we can grow in our love for God and others is by daily putting ourselves to the “love test” of 1 Corinthians 13 and letting it be a reminder of how we are to act towards one another. John 13:34-35 says . . . “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.

We are all sinners saved by God’s amazing grace and will never attain to a standard of perfection here in this lifetime. As we continually seek to walk in God’s love towards others we will also increase our grace toward others because of these immeasurable grace God has given us. As we seek Christ to test our heart and motives, we should see a growing awareness of Christ’s power and presence in our lives. And as we follow God and seek to be led by the Spirit, we should daily ask that he increase our love. May Psalm 139:24 be the prayer of our hearts today: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.