Sacrificing Truth

Sacrificing Truth

Throughout Scripture we are exhorted to follow, believe, do, understand, speak, know, trust in, and be in, the truth. Our post-modern understanding of truth is a funny thing, though, and we’ve gotten far off the mark these days. R.C. Sproul’s definition of truth is “…that which conforms to reality as it is perceived by God.” This simple definition works for me and in this context, I am the chief of sinners. Certainly, most believers see this problem as it exists in the world today, but I contend that this is even more prevalent within the church than without – which may be a much greater evil. Here are five ways in which I’ve witnessed my own the sacrificing of truth: 1. Call it cultural. If it wasn’t meant for me, I don’t have to do it. 2. See No Evil. If we intentionally ignore evil, we aren’t accountable for it. 3. My Truth, Your Truth. There are many “truths,” and one is as good as the next. At the heart of this deception is the “figurative vs. literal” debate. I do not want to live in a world where I get to determine what is true. 4. The Sliding Scale. Perhaps the most prevalent, easiest to adopt, and hardest to recognize, this deception suggests that some “truths” are more important to God than others. 5. Love Conquers All. “Loving” others while disobeying God is to hate God, clear and simple. J. C. Ryle once quoted “Never let us be guilty of sacrificing any portion of truth on the altar of Peace.” I do not know how narrow the gate...
Right and Wrong: Who Decides?

Right and Wrong: Who Decides?

“…but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart.” Ephesians 6:6 A friend facing a moral dilemma recently said to me “I am struggling with my decision, but I want to do the right thing”. As we talked together in an attempt to work through the issue, I asked the question, “Do the right thing by whose standards?” This seems to be the key question as we face many of the difficult decisions of life and attempt to do what is right. “Do the right thing by whose standards” is the question. It is not that there is a lack of standards. Standards abound all around us. Everyone has their standards because everyone believes in moral absolutes. Meaning that everyone has a point where they declare what they believe to be right and wrong. At some point everyone will say “that is wrong” and in so doing they declare what is for them a moral absolute. The issue isn’t whether or not people believe in moral absolutes, the issue is who gets to decide what the moral absolutes are. That was the issue in the Garden of Eden and it is the issue today. A key distinction of being a Christian is that we affirm the fact that God gets to decide what is right and wrong and, in turn, we get to obey. To do otherwise is to expect to have a relationship with God on our terms as opposed to His. Something He is not anxious to do. As Followers of Jesus Christ we must not succumb to the pressure from the world...
Asking and Seeking

Asking and Seeking

A.S.K.ing in Matthew 7:7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.”, Ask:  to beg, call for, crave, desire, require and it will be given –of one’s own accord, to give one something, to his advantage; to bestow, give as a gift Seek:   to seek in order to find; and you will find: to come upon, hit upon, to meet with; after searching, to find a thing sought Knock:  to knock with a heavy blow; and it will be opened: to grant something asked for What should we be A.S.K.ing (Ask, Seek, Knock) for? Verse 11 tells us our heavenly Father will give us what He defines as “good” or useful.  “…how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!” When we approach this question biblically, we quickly identify that it is not simply about asking God for whatever we want.  We should consider asking for (requesting/begging), seeking (in order to find), and knocking for (indicates aggressions) something(s) more “good” than just anything we want. Later on in Matthew 7, v. 21 He says, “He who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.” Consider if this is more about aligning our will (what we want) with what He wants (what is good), and then being intentful about asking and pursuing His desire for us:          Am I working His will to include what I want, or I...
That Dreadful Question

That Dreadful Question

My soul, wait in silence for God only.  For my hope is from Him. Psalm 62:5 Several years ago, I came across a friend whom I had not seen in quite some time. We exchanged the typical greetings and quickly shared several pleasant comments with each other. Immediately following, he looked at me straight in the eye and raised a question that no one had ever asked me before. Ever. “How’s your soul?” he asked. What kind of a question is that? In addition, who asks that kind of a question? At first, I almost took offense. The audacity. I stared back for what felt like an eternity. I am usually pretty good at drawing from a deep well of witty comebacks for such moments. Usually, there is no shortage of clever responses and at times, they even sound genuine. This time, I was speechless. Stumped. Interestingly, his genuine stare begged a genuine response. He proceeded to wait patiently for me to answer the question. I could not even come up with a fabricated response. I remember taking a deep breath and proceeded to mumble a few incoherent words. It has been several years now since I had that memorable interaction and I have never forgotten the question or the stare for that matter. That particular question, however, has caused me to periodically slow down and think about my soul. It is so incredibly easy for me to stop and think about a million other things, but it is so hard to think about my soul. Why is that? The prophet Jeremiah says, “The heart is more deceitful than all...
Old School – New Opportunities

Old School – New Opportunities

Ephesians 4:29 Let no unwholesome talk come out of your mouth, but only that which is useful for building up others according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. I prefer to meet with guys in a public setting, a restaurant, coffee shop etc. for discipleship. Most of the guys I meet with have opted to use the Bible app on their smart phone or some other electronic version of the Bible for reference during our time together. While I certainly use my Bible app frequently, when meeting one-on-one, I prefer to lug my old school “hard copy” of the Bible with me. Over the years, during discipleship meetings, I have been asked by many others who happened to be in the restaurant or coffee shop, (at another table etc.), if I was a pastor, or if I could pray for them. I have found that God has opened opportunities as I attempted to be a part of the process of “…building up others according to their needs…”. It seems to me that when I am in a public place, without realizing it, I find there are lots of “…those who listen.” While the things said are important, it has been my experience that simply having the Bible on the table can open doors. A few years ago, one of my “Timothys” cancelled our meeting. I elected to go to the restaurant on my own to use the additional time to work on my Bible study (on which I was woefully behind). I asked for a table in what looked to be a section that was...
Protect Your Thoughts

Protect Your Thoughts

I was driving along behind a truck the other day when I caught a strong gasoline smell.  The first thing that popped into my mind was “I hope that that’s from the guy in front of me and not me.”  On the surface, this is a natural thought and one to which I wouldn’t give any extra consideration.  What I really said in the quiet of my own heart is “I hope that guy has a problem rather than me.” What I desperately want to think (automatically) is “I hope that guy doesn’t have a problem, and I don’t want one either, but will accept it if it’s God’s will.”  What a sad commentary on the state of my soul when I hope evil rests on another in order to protect myself.  I had little thought for this man’s safety, life, or soul – only my own. There are those of you who may say that this isn’t important and is such a small thing.  True enough; I have not robbed a bank or murdered anyone today (yet), but the longer I walk with Christ, the more convinced I am that we are undone more by the small things than by the large.  We ignore these at our peril.  Consider the following quote: Watch your thoughts, they become words. Watch your words, they become actions. Watch your actions, they become habits. Watch your habits, they become your character. Watch your character, it becomes your destiny Consider these verses from scripture: A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out...