A Very Bad Trade

If I watch enough of today’s news….

and read enough Facebook posts….

and hear enough ‘discussion’ on talk radio or podcasts……

I will be very confused on what is true.  I won’t know what’s really going on.  I will hear some opinions that I agree with (so they are right 🙂 and other’s I don’t agree with (so they are obviously wrong).

If I listen to all of these voices, my own perspective will lean one way…..

and then the other.   Oh, that sounds good – I’ll climb on that bandwagon!

Look around!  This is happening every day.  If I had to pick one word that I think describes our current culture the best, I would have to pick ‘confused’.

Paul nails it in Romans 1, “They exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator – who is forever praised.  Amen.”

There are way too many loud voices in our world spouting all kinds of lies.  Since we are so digitally ‘connected’ these lies continue to spread and start to look like something people generally believe.

It’s scarey.  Because it’s still lies, no matter how many people believe it.

I am reminded of what is true whenever I sit down with my Bible in my lap.  It gives me the chance turn off all of the voices around me and listen to God speak truth into my head and heart, feeding my soul.  God’s words cut through the cacophony and confusion, providing a solid foundation that does not change as the winds of the world shift and swirl around me.

God is my compass and he is the solid ground I stand on.  His Word is my map which he is using to point out to me – one step at a time – the path that is taking me home…

where I will praise my Creator forever.

Amen.  Let it be so, Abba Father.

Lies and Trickery

Saying things that aren’t true in order to get what we want.

Changing the facts a little to avoid dealing with the consequences for choices we have made.

Making it look like something it’s not in order to get our way.

Lies and trickery.  This all sounds pretty bad when it’s listed out like this.

None of us really do any of this – do we?  Are we tempted?

I have a very strategic mind which means all of the dots in my life connect.  I can see how each choice and decision connect to each other and where they are going to take me.  I can see how I got here and I can tell you where the dots are going.  It’s almost like being able to tell the future.

I am aware that not everyone’s brain works like this and, if I wanted to, I could use this to manipulate others into doing what I want them to do.  Trickery. Deception.  I don’t want to be a manipulator so I’ve worked hard at not using this strength to ‘trick’ anyone.

I don’t want people around me to feel like they’ve been manipulated into doing what I want.

When I read Abraham and Sarah’s story in Genesis, I definitely don’t want to leave a legacy of deception and trickery to my family and friends like they did.  Abraham lied about Sarah being his wife.  Sarah manipulated Abraham into having a son with her servant and then she decided both of them needed to go.  Their children and grandchildren continued this tradition of trickery as they lied to and tricked each other over hundreds of years for personal gain.

As we read through Genesis, we’re able to see all the pain and separation and distrust and suspicion that this legacy caused …….. from generation to generation.

I don’t want that in my family and relationships.  So I choose to be honest and truthful – even when it’s hard.

What about you?

Please help us to be honest and truthful, Abba Father.

Teaching Deception

Rebekah coached Jacob on how to deceive his father, Isaac.Jan 11 2015 teaching deception a

Later in Genesis, Laban deceives Jacob.

Then Jacob deceives Laban.

And then Rachel, Jacob’s wife, steals from her father, Laban.

Deception.

Trickery.

Lies.

Stealing.Jan 11 2015 teaching deception b

This is what Rebekah taught Jacob and what Laban taught Rachel.

When adults do these things, for whatever reason, children are watching….

and learning.

It’s not a legacy to be proud of.  Rebekah taught Jacob how to deceive his father to get what she wanted.  Laban taught Rachel that stealing was the way to get what she wanted because he tricked Jacob and stole from him to get what he wanted.

I’m sure both Rebekah and Laban rationalized all of this in their minds.  We tend to do that when we’re planning to sin.  The end justifies the means.  It would be so unfair the other way – we’re just evening the playing field.

And I’m sure they both complained about what their deception actually gave them.  Both of them were separated from their children and their grandchildren as a result of these actions.

We can see this legacy of deception show up over and over in Isaac and Rachel’s lives.

And we can learn from it.

We definitely don’t want this in our lives, right?

We want a legacy of honesty and truth and love in our family.  With our friends.

So, today, we confess any of our behavior that has not been honest and true and done in love.  We commit to set that standard in our lives so that we can teach and role-model it with our family and friends.

Today is the start of a new legacy.

Please help us, dear Father.

Completely Wrong

“God doesn’t give us any more than we can handle.”december 1 b Completely misquoted

I’m sure you’ve heard this – and you might have said this before.

It’s not in the Bible.  The verse that is being misquoted is in 1 Corinthians:

“And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.  But when you are tempted, he will provide a way out so that you can endure it.”

What?  This isn’t even about struggles or suffering.  It’s about temptations.

And that makes sense to me.  In my experience, God often gives us more hardships and problems than we can face by ourselves.  When these things happen, we are driven to reach out to him, depend on him and he gets us through them.

So, every time I heard someone use this misquote, I knew it was wrong but I just figured out why its wrong.  It’s not in the Bible.

This is a great example to all of us about how we need to be grounded in the truth.

Another saying I hear sometimes is ‘God helps those who help themselves.’  Not in the Bible.  God actually talks to us often about loving others and serving others.

Have you heard any other quotes that sound like they are from the Bible but they’re not?

We know the truth when we read and internalize God’s word to us.   Knowing the truth sets us free from the lies!

Thank you, dear Father!

Sword Fighting Class- Expect His Next Move

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, when you face trials of many kinds, because you know the testing of your faith develops perseverance.  Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.

If anyone lacks wisdom, he should ask God who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.  But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.”

Great job on memorizing James 1!  We’re up to verse 7:James 1

That man should not think that he will receive anything from the Lord.”

And that thinking is so wrong.  We receive everything we have from the Lord.  We’re believing the lies when we get sucked into our culture’s view – that we earn what we have and we deserve what we have and it’s all about us.

It’s all about God.  He owns everything and he decides what to give to us.

When we have this correct in our head, it’s not hard to give back at least 10%.  We get to keep the rest!

And God always answers our prayers and requests.  Sometimes its ‘yes’, sometimes its ‘no’ and sometimes it’s ‘wait, my child.  I have something better coming for you.”  That’s a hard one but it’s very cool later, when we see God revealing what he’s been working on in this area of our lives.  This perseverance thing really works.

So we live our lives expecting answers from God.  Watching for them.  Anticipating the best he has for us.  Listening to the Holy Spirit within us and responding in faith.  With trust.

With Joy!