The Truth Truly Sets us Free

I have witnessed truth freeing moments my whole life!  I know what the truth has done for my own heart and life.  The weight of the burdens of this world are unbearably heavy.  We carry the weight of sins made against us leaving scars, grudges, unforgiveness, emotional pain, mental pain, and sometimes physical.  We carry the burden of regret from our own selfish, self-seeking sin.  Our own sins bring along with them shame, guilt, emotional anguish, mental anguish, and often physical consequences.  The weight that weighs the world down causes the world to want to drag everyone and everything down.  Misery loves company.

In a world that is so full of lies it is hard to know what is true.  Even amongst those that should be speaking the truth and setting truthful examples.  Within my own life the only true TRUTH and FREEDOM has been found within the pages of God’s word.  Everyday God speaks more truth into my heart making the lies of the world more and more clear.

The moments that I have seen God’s light of truth lift burdens off of others and my own life are what I live for and long for these days.   What I am learning is that speaking truth is the only way.  It is very hard and meets resistance, challenge, and sometimes rejection.  In the end it is worth it as truth and love chips away at the scars left by a deceitful world.

John 8:32 Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.

Hey! Guess What!! Wrong is Still Wrong!

It does not cease to amaze me how society has changed literally at warped speed in my short forty two years of life.  Music has gone from eight track tapes to I-tunes.  If a person had a BIG (twenty four inch)  TV in a box when I was a kid I considered them wealthy.  We had a Twelve inch black and white for my first TV in this life.  Phones were rotary dial with a cord that attached to the wall.  Now we carry small computers for phones and have our face in them all the time.  The school principal use to be able to give kids a spanking if they were acting outside of the standards of ethical behaviors.  (How’s that for a politically correct way of saying “when we were bad”?)  Mom’s were able to stay home with their children.   Children were able to freely ride their bikes all over the neighborhood going from friend’s house to friend’s house. What in the world has happened to us?

Now it is constant bombardment of news media with people screaming about their “rights”.   There are a lot of different weaknesses we have as human beings.  We are tempted toward all kinds of addictions, immorality, evil acts, and sexual sins.  What has blown me away is how sin went from consequences or if it was a lifestyle it was kept private to being in the face of the whole world.  Criminals can get  a lighter sentence if they plead “not guilty” when they obviously are guilty.  It amazes me to hear interviews of a person who is clearly in the wrong making their excuses and actually demanding that others say they are right.  It has become our society.  “I will do what I want and get as many human beings to say I am right as possible.  Maybe I will be able to get a few laws changed to say I am right too!!”

The one true standard that will never change is God’s.  Our society can change all it wants.  We can get as many people to tell us we are right and do what makes YOU happy, but it still doesn’t make what’s wrong right.  Nothing within our human power can wipe away the guilt that we all have.  I write this as a sinner.  There have been countless times in my life that I have been brought to the humbling point of realizing my wrongful ways.  In fact the more I try to live for God and ask him to make me more and more like Jesus the deeper realization I have of my sin.  So many times I have been brought to tears and brokenness realizing how wrong I am.   Then the brokenness turns to gratitude as I realize it is the Grace and Mercy of Jesus that has covered my wrongs and has given me hope and a future.    It is when I admit that I am wrong God teaches and grows me into something so much more.   When we demand that our wrongs are right we miss out on so  much that God has to offer.

At first when I see the news I have to admit that I feel frustrated at all the standards of God’s love and God’s creation being broken.  Then the next feeling is compassion.  I know what it feels like to have the burden of guilt and shame lifted by the blood of Jesus Christ.  I know how it feels to have a hope and a future beyond this life with no shadow of a doubt as to where I will be.  As I look at the world I feel compassion because God has created a desire in me for the whole world to have what I have!!!   No matter what standard or no standards we live by in our life we still will all face that final day when we face God’s final judgment.  God will look upon us and see a sinner covered by the Grace of the Cross OR He will not even be able to look at our sinful person and will cast his rightful judgment on a wasted life.  That will not change no matter what other human beings say, what human laws are passed, and no matter what “we get away with” in this life.  God is still God!

2 Corinthians 5:10 “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.”

Why do Bad Things Happen?

A few weeks ago during lunch break at work one of my co-workers asked the infamous question we all ponder at some point in our life.  Why does God not strike a person down immediately when they do something incredibly evil?  The example of a person harming a child especially in a nasty perverse way was given.  Why does God not swoop in, save the child, and put and end to the evil doer?  My response was just the three letter word “sin”.  It is hard to summarize the entire Bible and God’s plan in just a few sentences.  It is hard to explain and to understand when we think with the concept of time.  Twenty four hours in a day, seven days in a week, three hundred and sixty five days in a year.  We are so bent on instant gratification.  We want our definition of justice served immediately.   God is very clear in His word that at one point in time we will all face His judgement.  It is coming in His time.

Another word that I failed to mention was “freewill”.  God gave us the opportunity to chose Him.  When Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden He provided them with every tree and full run of the garden with the exception of not eating from just one tree.  He did this because He wanted His creation to love Him back.  By not eating of the tree they acted out of trust and love.  A desire to respect God’s request.  It is an obedience that does not come from oppression, threat, or slavery that God desires from us.  An obedience that comes from love.  Once Adam and Eve made the choice with their own freewill to eat of that tree the curse of sin fell on creation.   Mankind from that moment on has had a sinful human nature.  The nature to act in evil, selfish, and prideful ways.

If you study the Bible from cover to cover you will see how instead of just wiping out creation He has given chance after chance for people to come to Him.  Ultimately He came to this earth to become a human, to live a perfect sinless life, and to be the ultimate sacrifice and covering for our sins.  We are all lost to the evil ways of our hearts with the only hope of healing and being saved (literally from our own selves) is through Jesus Christ.   The evil that is in each person’s heart is pretty darn scary.

Our pastor in a recent sermon stated that there are three types of people.   There are people that think and act on a hellish level.  The example he gave was these terrorist groups that will behead a person just because they believe differently.  To go with my friend’s question a person that would steal the innocence of a child for their own sick, perverse, selfish gratification is evil it is a hellish mindset.  Then there is the human way of thinking and acting.  If you are good to me I will be good to you.  If you do me wrong I am going to do wrong right back to you.   The final way of thinking and acting is on a heavenly level.  To only do good even when severely wronged.   That means praying for our enemies and actually giving of ourselves even when the person receiving our gift has done evil to us or others.

The only possible way to truly act on the heavenly level is through the strength and power of God.  It is impossible for us on our own.

I fully believe that God calls us to Him first to be His friend then next to spread His love to a dark and fallen world.   Once a believer, allowing Him to change us into a heavenly thinking and acting person allows us to have the opportunity to protect the innocent.  To care for children, orphans, and widows.  Those who physically and mentally can not care for or protect themselves.  To protect others from those who think and act on the hellish level.

There is a lot of injustice in this world, but there is no greater injustice than that which Jesus faced in His death on the cross.  He was absolutely pure with no fault and faced the most gruesome death.  All for us.  The heavenly level came down and gave it all for those who do not deserve anything, but judgment and death. I am one who deserves nothing but death.  I do not deserve this gift of grace and love.  My God also did not stay dead.  He overcame evil and death by rising again and is alive.

An example of how soon our sin starts (which is immediately actually).  I know that even as a two year old I was a little sinner.  I ran into a pad of freshly poured concrete my dad had just finished.  I hid from my mother in clothes racks when shopping.  I climbed on our kitchen cabinets to steal candy and accidently turned the stove on.  This sinful little act ended up starting a pan of grease to catch fire and I, little two year old Anita, burnt our kitchen.  I bit people at the babysitters.  My mom finally had to bite me back to get me to realize that what I was doing was hurting other people.

Bad things happen because of evil.  God has given us the remedy to this evil in our hearts, Jesus.  Not everyone will choose to follow Him.  Not everyone is willing to turn to a heavenly way of thinking.  It is not easy to think heavenly.  God is giving us the opportunity to make this world a little better, to shine His light and love.  Ultimately God will bring judgement.  He will conquer evil once and for all.  He wants people to choose to be on His winning team.  He tells us in this world we will have trouble.  It is an evil fallen world.  God’s ways are eternal and we only understand the concept of time.  In His time He will make all things new and there will be no more of the injustices and sorrows.

Matthew 25:31-46 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne.  Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.  And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left.  Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.  For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,  I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’  Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?  And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’  And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.  For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,  I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’  Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’  Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’  And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.””

 

Urgency

As I watch this world and my country grow more and more evil everyday I feel a greater and greater sense of urgency to share the love of Jesus and the joy that He fills my heart with. I know who wins in the end and I am on the winning side!  Jesus…King of Kings and Lord of Lords!!  Are you ready?  If you die today where will you go?  Here are some verses that are bringing me comfort tonight.

Isaiah 5:20 “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.”

1 John 4:4 “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”

John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”