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Entries in Truth (30)

Saturday
Sep232017

Football and faith

I bet without hesitation you can name your favorite football team, start singing the fight song from memory and have at least one jersey you could pull out on game day.  Am I right?

I love the passion and conviction of college football fans. Fans scream, yell, point big foam #1 fingers in the air, paint their faces and some their bodies. Fans high five, chest bump and can't sit still.  Their team colors are displayed in endless pieces of clothing and accessories. Even babies are dressed for game day. (They recruit them young!)  If attending the game and in anticipation, they arrive early, watch their team warm up and start singing and keep on singing their team's fight song. The energy and the sound level are high.  It's intense and electrifying.

During a college football game, there is no way you can be a passive observer.  Eventually, you'll be drawn in by the passion and conviction of the fans. Before you know it, you'll be jumping up and down, screaming, giving high fives and singing the fight song.  Oh, you'll pick sides alright.  And, if you aren't careful, fans might win you over to the other side.  Let me give you an example of what I'm talking about.

I'll never forget attending the Oklahoma vs. Tennessee game in Knoxville in 2015.  I think they said that event set an all-time sound decimal record.  We went to the game with Oklahoma fans and were seated in a sea of Tennessee orange and white.  Me, I'm not so much into football, but I love the social aspect of being with my husband and friends.  In other words, I go for the fun and not so much the football!  But, this event was beyond fun.  It was intense and electrifying. I jumped and screamed for OU and wished I had a big foam #1 finger.

The coaches and teams fought hard to win!  The teams, bands, cheerleaders, and fans were all in!  They shared the common goal:  Victory!  Bands played their fight songs over and over and over again.The cheerleaders and band kept rallying the fans, and in response, the fans sang louder, chanted more, swayed and fought hard to cheer their team on to victory.  

Oh, did I mention that Tennessee played "Rocky Top" a bazillion times?  The first few times, a yeah, alright, okay - we hear you kind of experience.  A catchy tune but somewhat intimidating as it reminded us that we were in their territory.  Then, it got irritating.  Enough already.  Of course, they didn't stop, so the song continued and continued to be played. At one point, we looked over to find one of our die-hard, season ticket OU fans standing in his seat singing Tennessee's "Rocky Top."  What?  How is this possible?  I remember my husband and the others giving him a really hard time about it and yelling so he could hear them over the music. "What are you doing singing 'Rocky Top'?  Get down." While he wasn't won over or converted into a Tennessee fan, he was caught up in the moment and drawn into the passion of the people in orange and white. What possible harm could there be in singing the opposing team's fight song?  Uh...like I said, he was caught up in the moment and forgot himself.

College football is one of those places where being passionate and convicted is expected and acceptable. As obnoxious as it all can be at times, football fans show each other a lot of grace. I love it because their passion and conviction are very appealing and in many ways makes an appeal to me and to you to join in.  Football fans love to invite people to come watch the game, hang out, bring and eat food.  They recruit. Hanging out with them and it won't be long before you are wearing their team's colors, singing their fight song and filled with the same passion and conviction as those around you. Yep, they recruit young and they recruit hard!

In a way, football fans "contend earnestly" for their team! Their team is THE best. Even if their team is having a bad season, they are still the best. Team fans might talk among themselves about not being happy with the team, a player or coach performance.  Sometimes they'll fight among themselves about such things.  This is all normal and acceptable.  But, if someone on another team starts talking negatively about their team, player or coach - watch out. It might not be a fight song that breaks out. Let me say it again.  Football fans are a passionate and convicted group of folks.

Okay, so you know this preaches, right?

I started writing out the book of Jude this week.  I've only written out the first 3 verses because I can't get past verse 3.  It's grabbed my heart and mind.  I've read the verses that follow, so I know where Jude is going with this, but still, I'm stuck in verse three.  Let me share it with you and explain why.  "Beloved, while I was making every effort to write to you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints."  

Contend earnestly for the faith.  Jude feels it necessary to appeal to us to contend earnestly or fight with sincere and intense conviction for the faith (conviction of truth).  And the picture I have painted above is what comes to my mind.  It's time to put on our game faces, dress the part and get out our big foam finger that points to Jesus.  With passion and conviction, we fight for our faith. When those on the front lines fight their way up the field, all stand to their feet, wave with all we have and cheer them on to victory. The preacher preaches, the choir sings, the band plays, and the faithful sway!  Every inch of ground gained is a victory in Jesus.  Sure, we get pushed back, fumble the ball, miss the kick and even get intercepted.  But, we keep cheering, trying and believing.  We keep contending for our faith.  We sing fight songs!  The chorus of one goes like this:

OH, VICTORY IN JESUS,
MY SAVIOUR FOREVER
HE SOUGHT ME
AND HE BOUGHT ME
WITH HIS REDEEMING BLOOD

And, if we see one of us standing in their seat getting drawn into the passion and conviction of the other side, what do we do?  We contend earnestly for the faith.  With passion and conviction and over the noise of the opposition, we yell "what are you doing"?

Okay, so when I think of contending earnestly, you know what visually comes to my mind.  So, if you see me with a cross painted on my cheek, pom-poms in my hand or a big foam finger pointing toward Jesus and I'm singing about victory in Jesus, you'll show me some grace and remember I'm passionate about Jesus, my faith, and the truth!  You can expect that I might dance a little jig, jump up out of my seat or shout, post, and tweet over and about truth.  Oh, and I probably need to warn you, if I see you acting like you are getting caught up in the passion and conviction of the world and talking anything other than the truth, I will ask you "what are you doing?"

Saturday
May042013

Soldiers at War

I fell this week and broke a bone in my knee.  I knew immediately I hurt something but also prayed immediately that God would spare me a broken bone.  He didn’t. So, I’ve spent the week learning to adjust to pain, an immobilizer,crutches, the inability “to do” (on many levels), having no energy and not being able to concentrate.  Wow!  Who knew one broken bone could cause such a ruckus in one’s life. 

Thankfully, because I know the God of the Word, I can rest in the truth that He allowed this to happen and since I know all of His dealings with me are good, I can trust He will purpose this event for my good and His glory.  God’s Word also tells me why trials come,what they produce and how I am to respond (James 1).  Isn’t that awesome?  Because I know these truths, I no longer have to walk around acting as though some strange thing is happening to me as a result of breaking a bone (1 Peter 4:12).

This broken bone hasn't been brought into my life to slow me down or stop me. No!  It’s to test my faith which produces endurance.  I need to learn torun with endurance and how to fight the good fight of faith.  Yes, I need to take care and give my body time to heal.  But, slow down? Are you kidding me?  This week’s news included the fact that without parental consent, 15 year old girls can purchase and take the “morning after” pill and the Air Force announced that leaders of all levels (including chaplains) may not "promote their personal religious beliefs to their subordinates or to extend preferential treatment for anyreligion." The penalty is court-martial.  Slow down?

For far too many years I pursued the things of the world rather than the things of God. Fight?  Hardly.  Because I didn't fight, I'm part of the reason truth has literally stumbled in the streets. Much ground has been lost. So,today as I sit here with a broken bone, I also remind myself I am in God’s boot camp because I need to learn endurance.

Here’s how todaysmilitary.com describes boot camp basic training and combat training.  I think this relates to being in God's army.It says: "Basic training prepares recruits for all elements of service: physical, mental, and emotional. It gives people the basic tools necessary to perform the roles that will be asked of them for the duration of their tour." Yep,this will preach! This is exactly how God intends to use the various troubles and trials that come my way! It goes on to say: "combat training is a journey of self discovery...discovering inner strength and learning valuable skills that will help them succeed as soldiers in the army and in life." Preach it some more! God has certainly used the troubles and trials in my life to help me to discover HIS strength as well as teach me valuable skills that ARE helping me to succeed as a soldier in His army. Oh, how I need to remember that life here is not about me, my comfort, my anything. It's about Him and advancing HIS kingdom. No longer do I want to play the role of the harlot princess pursuing the "good life"and the riches of this world or who whines and complains and wishes she were anywhere other than where God has her. That me didn't even know she'd been recruited into God's army - let alone boot camp. I'm embarrassed that I can say I totally get where Private Benjamin is coming from in the below scene from"Private Benjamin." No more...

I might have a stint in a leg immobilizer but I’m still mobilizing forward! How about you (whoever is reading this)? Are you in or are you out?


Saturday
Nov102012

What is truth?

When I think and say that America is in a moral mess am I being intolerant, judgmental or pushing my opinions? Good question! My answer might turn you off or bore you but... I believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God. That means I really believe that God through His Spirit moved in the hearts of men to record His Words. Yep, I really do believe this! I also believe that the inspired Word of God is the supreme and final authority for my faith and for my life.  Bear with me one more second because I also believe that Jesus Christ is God who left His throne in Heaven, took on flesh and died for me and for you so we could have forgiveness of our sins and a relationship with Him now and for all of eternity. Oh and something else - I believe that the moment I acknowledged these truths and in my heart and declared Jesus as my Lord and Savior that God put His Holy Spirit within me to enable me to live as Christ lived while on earth - righteous and holy.  Thank you for letting me share this.

So, what I believe does and should impact what I say, do and how I behave. Some might say, well that's fine for you but that's not what I believe and you shouldn't push your opinions on me. Okay - I understand it's just that I have to ask: What is truth?  Is there absolute truth or do we all just do our own things based on whatever sounds right?  I read a Barna report that observed "people's willingness to draw from a variety of conflicting sources" when determining truth. "This is perhaps most clearly evident through the finding that a plurality of adults (44%) contends that, 'the Bible, the Koran and the Book of Mormon are all different expressions of the same spiritual truths.' Just 38% of Americans reject that idea."

Very revealing! Here are some more stats:

  • By a 3-to-1 margin (64% vs. 22%) adults said truth is always relative to the person and their situation. (Barna.org)
  • By far the most common basis for moral decision-making was doing whatever feels right or comfortable in a situation. Nearly four out of ten teens (38%) and three out of ten adults (31%) described that as their primary consideration. (Barna.org)
  • 32% of those born again believe in moral absolutes, compared to just half as many (15%) among the non-born again. (Barna.org)
  • One third of born again adults (33%) say that abortion is a morally acceptable behavior, compared with 45% of all adults.
  • The United States has one of the highest abortion rates among developed countries ... At current rates, an estimated 43 percent of American women will have at least one abortion by the age of 45." (Carrie Gordon Earll)
  • Divorce is more common among "born-again" Christians than in the general American population. (Ronald J. Sider, "The Scandal of the Evangelical Conscience, Why don’t Christians live what they preach?"
  • 30% of all adults consider having a sexual relationship with someone of the same sex a morally acceptable behavior. (Barna.org)
  • 14% of Elders, 32% of Boomers, 41% of Busters and 40% of Mosaics consider having a sexual relationship with someone of the same sex a morally acceptable behavior. (Barna.org)
  • Though many believe pornography is a harmless pastime, it's estimated that more than 20 million Americans are addicted to it ..." (Bill Wilson, “Porn’s Effect Discussed in D.C.)
  • About half of all adults (49%) contend that homosexuality is due to non-genetic factors such as upbringing and environment, one-third say people are born gay (34%), and the remaining 17% are not sure. (Barna.org)
  • By a 2-to-1 margin (62% - 30%) adults disapprove of clergy marrying gay couples or blessing their marriage unions. (Barna.org)
  • Nearly half of the adult population felt that two other behaviors were morally acceptable: having an abortion (45%) and having a sexual relationship with someone of the opposite sex other than their spouse (42%). About one-third of the population gave the stamp of approval to pornography (38%), profanity (36%), drunkenness (35%) and homosexual sex (30%). The activity that garnered the least support was using non-prescription drugs (17%). (Barna.org)
  • More than half of all adults (54%) believe that if a person is generally good, or does enough good things for others during their life, they will earn a place in Heaven. (Barna.org)

What is truth?  Well, I can say with absolute certainty that God's Word is truth and God, in His Word, speaks clearly about each of the above stats, thinking and behaviors.

Did you know that God says in His Word that we suppress the truth. He goes on to say that He has made Himself evident - His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature have been clearly seen and understood by all. Now, that's an out there truth. God talks like that in His Word. God puts the truth about Himself and us out there and we have to deal with it. We can choose to accept it as truth or we suppress what He says we know or go and live based on what we think is right. This is a true statement because I experience it every day of my life and certainly every time I come face to face with God through His Word. So I ask myself - if I really believe there is a God and the Bible is His book, then why would I choose to suppress the truth and do my own thing? Or, why would I stop proclaiming truth?

I don't believe what I believe because someone told me to believe it or that was how I was raised or because I just determined it in my own mind. No, I've personally experienced the power of God through His Word.  The truth has jumped off the page, gone straight to my heart and the Word of God together with the Spirit of God have changed my heart, my life, my attitudes, my thinking. I know by experience that God's Word is truth.

I say we all owe it to ourselves to makes absolute certain that what we believe is TRUTH. I say we owe it to ourselves to know if there really is absolute truth.
If you are reading this and don't believe the Word of God is truth or you've not yet come to know God through His Son Jesus Christ, then I beg you to ask yourself....what if I am right?  What if God's Word really is absolute truth? Would you consider taking an hour of your life to sit down, ask God if He really is real and if His book the Bible really is truth?  If you are willing,  please go find a quiet place and pull out your Bible and read through the book of John. Or, go to http://www.esvbible.org/search/John/. As you read, ask God to make Himself real and His Word alive.

I thank God for you.




Sunday
Sep232012

Mission Impossible?

Here's a blast from the past.


So can I be honest here?  That message of the 80's was the image of womanhood I thought I was suppose to live up to. After exhausting myself, burning more bacon than I ever brought home and giving my husband shivers not eluded to in this commercial, let me assure you the 24 hour woman needs more than perfume!

Last week while studying Genesis, I was reminded that we females are "fashioned" by God.  We come in all sizes, shapes and colors. We can be prissy, athletic or both! We can love pink or NOT. The point is we’ve all been created distinctively female and according to the"helper design". Remember what God said…no helper suitable was made for Adam so God provided one. You say, but I’m not married. I'm not talking about being married. I'm talking about ALL women fulfilling their purposes according to their role as helper (helper design). Read what Susan Hunt says about out helper design:

“Helper is not a fragile word, and we are not called to a mission of fluff. This is a life-giving ministry of nurture, defense, comfort and caring. Adam celebrated the purpose and privilege of this design when he ‘called his wife’s name Eve, because she was a mother of all living’. Two words summarize the helper ministry: community and compassion. But sin marred woman’s design, and now she thinks about her womanhood in terms of her own self-fulfillment. She seeks her own completeness. She is her own reference point. She is her own authority. She abandons her design and mission for a never-ending quest for her own happiness. Woman became a life-taker rather than a life giver… It is because of our redemption that we can live out our helper design. Redeeming love breaks the reign of sin in our lives and empowers us to fulfill our creation mission. And it is our knowledge of our Redemer’s love that compels us to do so.”  Susan Hunt - The Legacy of Biblical Womanhood
Being in the world but not of the world (John 17:16), is all about the hard selfless work of nurturing, defending, comforting and helping others on behalf of God Himself.  And, in doing so, we reflect His image.  Sound beautiful and I want it so much to live this way.  But...

This kind of work is both emotionally and physically exhausting. And, I admit - there are times...days...okay even weeks where I want it to be "all about me."  People’s lives can be messy and getting involved can be costly. Honestly, this life giving mission is impossible apart from the Holy Spirit of God.  And, as Mrs. Hunt says, in the world this kind of helper ministry lifestyle doesn’t fit or make sense. Truthfully, helper ministry only fits and makes sense within a community of women who have surrendered their lives to Christ and understand, embrace and live out their role as helper. Thank God for my sisters!

The Enjoli commercial spoke into my life independence, "self sufficiency is power", pride in my ability to bring home the bacon, fry it up in the pan and never let him forget he’s a man. It was all about me and my glory. The message of the Enjoli commercial is a lie that my generation believed and it is the lie we have passed on to the next generation and the next… This lifestyle and thinking is in stark contrast to the Word of God.

“Helper is not a fragile word, and we are not called to a mission of fluff. This is a life-giving ministry of nurture, defense, comfort and caring.”
Married, single, divorced, widowed our mission and role as helpers is life giving. Reconciliation with God brings life and we speak reconciliation with words, actions, behaviors, and attitudes that nurture, defend, comfort, and care. This is serious, life giving work!  As women, we have a unique role in God’s plan (as do men). Before the foundation of the world, God planned for us. He knit each of us together in our mother’s wombs – distinctively female according to the helper design. God has prepared specific works of nurture, defense, comfort and caring for us each one of us to accomplish. These works are life giving and God glorifying and prepared specifically for each one of us.  Wow!

When the reality of this truth sinks in there is no way we can look around and measure our lives against the lives of others. Knowing this, why would we ever entertain the thought that we are less than or our good works are not as important as the good works of others? I’ll tell you why. We’ve believed a lie! The one that immediately comes to mind is: “Surely God is holding out on me!” Trace it all the way back to the fall. Eve’s and ours! Are you mad yet? Satan’s crafty, lying, killing and scheming ways have distracted us, taken us on a detour, and robbed us of understanding and fulfilling our unique God given purpose. Just like Eve, the evil one has come along and caused us to doubt God’s word, His will and His good intentions toward us.

Enough! We are mad and we aren’t going to take it anymore! Let’s forget all that WAS or even IS and focus on what CAN BE and SHOULD BE!  We can do it!  Amen?

Saturday
Sep082012

I am woman hear me ROAR

In 1972, Helen Reddy wrote a song entitled “I Am Woman” which became the anthem for the women’s liberation movement.  Here it is:

Okay, listen to this: Reddy credits the song as having “supernatural inspiration.” She said:

 “I remember lying in bed one night and the words, ‘I am strong, I am invincible, I am woman’, kept going over and over in my head. That part I considered to be divinely inspired. I had been chosen to get a message across.” 

In October of 1972, the song reached No.1 on the Billboard charts and won a Grammy Award. In her acceptance speech for Best Female Performance, Reddy thanked “God, because She makes everything possible.” In 1973, the National Organization of Women (NOW) closed their annual convention with the playing of “I am Woman.” NOW’s founder Betty Friedan said

“Suddenly women got out of their seats and started dancing around the hotel ballroom and joining hands in a circle that got larger and larger until maybe a thousand of us were dancing and singing. ‘I am strong, I am invincible, I am woman.’ It was a spontaneous, beautiful expression of the exhilaration we all felt in those years, women really moving as women.”

Women were mad and they weren’t going to take being treated unfairly any longer! “I Am Woman” is the song of a feminist heart. The song lyrics reveal her experiences deepened the convictions (strong belief) of her soul. She had been:

· Down on the floor
· Bent but not broken
· In pain and paid a price

She goes on to say that wisdom was born from this pain. She infers that she has learned from this experience or experiences and that her thinking about herself and the direction of her life has changed.

Are we as women today so different? Some of our decisions have been born out of pain due to the actions of others.  This can certainly change the directions of our lives.  We can feel a need to protect ourselves, fight for our rights, or finally be heard (a/k/a ROAR). We have many reasons to thank those brave women who went before us fighting for equality and justice on our behalf. But have we come too far?

Often, our opinions, attitudes and actions are made based on what we feel or think is right based on our circumstances. So then, since truth is relative to our circumstances, we do whatever feels right, is comfortable, makes others happy, results in the least conflict or produces a positive outcome for us.  Here's the thing though - opinions, attitudes and actions can be influenced and, therefore, can change.  Is there any way to know that we know what is true about us no matter what is going on around us? Is there absolute truth in the face of our circumstances?

I believe God’s Word is absolute truth and God, in His Word, has a very clear standard for us as women and individuals.

Standard means…something set up and established by authority as a rule for the measure of quantity, weight, extent, value, or quality.

If we proclaim to be followers of Christ, then truth is not relative to our circumstances. We must make decisions based on what God says is right in a situation.  There is absolute truth and there are moral truths and principles that do not change no matter the times or circumstances.  No matter what is going on in society or culture, we can cling to absolute truth. No matter what our feelings or circumstances tell us, God’s standard for us remains the same. All kinds of bad things can happen to us and demeaning things said to us but God’s people make their decisions based on His Word - Truth. Every lie that demeans and devalues comes from the father of lies – the one who is a murderer from the beginning. We must remember his crafty schemes are devised to destroy us, our families, and our society. And, if we don't believe in absolute truth then any 'ole lie will do...and will eventually destroy us.

Our choices and behaviors not only impact our own lives, they have a ripple effect on our families and our society in general. But, we can turn this around.  We can do it!  First, we have to decide what we are going to believe.  Are we going to believe the liar or the one who is God – Truth?

I am woman hear me ROAR:   there is absolute truth!  Let's remember, to live otherwise has and will continue to put our families, homes and society at risk.  Amen?