Archive for March, 2011

Mar
30

Use This in Case of Emergency

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boulderA little over three years ago, God challenged me with a particular scripture. It was one of those times when I ‘heard’ the scripture reference spoken to me by God, not knowing its content. When I opened my Bible and read this verse, I knew intuitively by God’s Spirit that it was what we might call a ‘Now Word’ for me and my church family.

The verse was Isaiah 30:15 which states “For thus says the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel: ‘In returning and rest you shall be saved: In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.’ But you would not.”

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endurance (1)John Eldredge captured the feeling we all have at times when he said that sometimes life feels like a long, brutal assault against one’s heart.  Try as we might to explain it away, perhaps the best summary is that life is not what God originally intended. The Fall of Man continues to have rippling effects on all of humanity, and we find ourselves in a less than perfect world with less than perfect people, including ourselves!

The present result of living in a fallen world is often pain, discouragement, and difficulty. We know that God has come to us, offering redemption in our daily lives through Christ and setting in place the ultimate redemption of all when Christ returns.  Yet in the meantime, we often find ourselves hurt and misunderstood and having hurt others.

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Mar
05

How to Know If You Are a Truth Teller

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liesThe ability to know the depths of one’s own heart is not a simple matter. As a follower of Christ, one of my core values is the desire to be an honest person. Yet at times, I don’t live and act in ways that are consistent with this core value. 
 
Am I saying that I am a liar? Yes, at times. Do I intend to be? No, yet at times I find myself living in the shadows of darkness, using subtle mind games to make myself more comfortable with the inconsistencies between what I believe and how I live.
 
There are moments, if I open my heart and soul before God, that I know I’ve manipulated someone else. There are moments when I know that I have protected myself from the discomfort of being completely honest. There are moments when I deceive my own heart in various ways.
 
Psalm 15:3 and Ephesians 4:15 mention speaking the truth in your heart.  It logically follows that if there is a way to speak the truth in our hearts, then there is also a way to not speak truth in our hearts. Stated another way, sometimes we lie to ourselves about our intentions and motivations for doing or saying something.
 
I have found a lot of pain in learning to speak the truth in my own heart. As I’ve looked deeply into my own stuff in the last few years, I have found that there were ways that I deceived my own heart. I’ve also discovered that I was, at times, in conflict with what my heart was speaking to me. 
 
Now please understand that these things were not intentional. The journey to know oneself in truth is just that, a journey. It happens over the span of a life. The true knowing of oneself is inextricably tied to knowing God. The more deeply we know God, the more deeply we can know ourselves and the more deeply we know ourselves, the more deeply we can know God.
 
Psalm 15 lists some ways that we can evaluate, with the Spirit’s help, whether or not we are living from a place of truth in our own hearts. 
 
1. We will have no need to slander others.
2. We will not purposefully harm our friends by doing wrong or evil towards them.
3. We will not “take up a reproach” against our neighbor. 
4. We will be able to judge others righteously, discerning between those who are vile and those who honor the Lord. In other words, we don’t have to be in relationship with everyone and support every idea or movement that comes through. We will be able to have spiritual understanding. 
5. We will keep our word, even when it would be more convenient not to.
6. We will not use our money (or position or influence or selfish desires) to take advantage of others. 
 
(Psalm 15: 1 LORD, who may abide in Your tabernacle?
         Who may dwell in Your holy hill?          
 2 He who walks uprightly,
         And works righteousness, 
         And speaks the truth in his heart;
 3 He who does not backbite with his tongue,
         Nor does evil to his neighbor, 
         Nor does he take up a reproach against his friend;
 4 In whose eyes a vile person is despised,
         But he honors those who fear the LORD; 
         He who swears to his own hurt and does not change;
 5 He who does not put out his money at usury,
         Nor does he take a bribe against the innocent.          
         He who does these things shall never be moved.)
 
Ephesians 4:15 further tells us that this ability to speak truth is grounded in love and is a characteristic of someone who is a mature believer and is on a journey of personal growth. Verse 16 gives us further insight as it reminds us that we are all part of the same body. We are to honor each other by walking in deeply loving and truthful relationships.
 
(Ephesians 4:15-16…speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.)
 
Psalm 15 ends with the assurance that the person who is able to speak truth from their heart in righteous ways will never be moved or shaken. In other words, they are living from a sure foundation.
 
His Spirit is available to change us all and empower us to live in a place of maturity and growth. Being willing to face the truth about one’s own heart can be painful, but it is also profitable. 
 
God is inviting us to a more true knowing of our own hearts, not to condemn us but to free us. Will you ask Him to show you any shadows in your heart? Will you ask Him to help you live from a place of truth?
 
 

 

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Categories : Authenticity
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Mar
01

When You Need to Change, Again

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change image I find myself in a place of change, again. Perhaps I am more resistant than most, but I doubt it. Life seems to be one long season of change and transition. Personally, I get into my little nesting places and get comfortable, even when the nest has briars and thorns in it. The unknown is scary, and yet once again I find myself in a place where I am unsure, grappling over the next step. The answer I find is not one I like. Wait. Trust. Have faith.

At my core, I like to make my own way. I prefer having all the answers. I love having my life road map for the next 10 years or so, yet my life with God challenges me. Unknown territory. Previously unnavigated regions. Dark places. Again and again, God demands my trust.

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Categories : Uncategorized
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