Distorting the Truth

Study to show yourself approved to God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth (2 Tim 2:15).

 One of the enemy’s most effective weapons today is the perversion of the truth–making evil seem attractive, or good, or even ambiguous. This is not a new strategy. It all started a few years back in the Garden of Eden, and it is flourishing in our world today. You can fill in the examples, but let’s refocus and look directly at God’s word.

People often point out “contradictions” in the Bible. I have personally questioned concepts many times and have found over and over and over again, that I was pulling a phrase totally out of context. Has anyone ever repeated something you may have said and without “the rest of the story” the meaning not only changed, but was even the opposite? The enemy delights in twisting God’s word and having us blindly believe it.

Much of the Old Testament concerns the Jewish law, over 613 rules, impossible for the even the most devout Jewish high priest to follow. Many of these Jewish rules are good guidelines for our health, for cleanliness, or like the Beatitudes, for our own righteous behavior. Some, like animal sacrifice for atonement, are fortunately unnecessary because of Jesus’s sacrifice that totally paid the price for our redemption. Because of grace we are free from those laws.

Contradictions? No, just a different context.

God wants us not only to comprehend the truths of His word, but to apply them in our lives. It is the formula for joy, peace and confidence for every believer.

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Diverse

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or empty pride, but in humility consider others more important than yourselves (Phil 2:3).

Another spiritual concept that has been compromised and distorted is “diversity.” Not only are we unique, but we are each so very special to the Father that even the hairs on our heads are numbered. Can you imagine?! There are 7.5 billion of us, and I know that my number changes hourly.

Grouping us by any one characteristic makes no sense at all. We are more unique (can I say that?) than a snowflake, the traditional symbol of diversity. Stereotyping, even by positive qualities is wrong because it strips away our individuality. We are all distinct, a minority of one, each differing in looks, talents, motivations, fingerprints, DNA, and each designed by the Father for His one-of-a-kind plan for us.

We work best whenever we work together—whether it be a family, a workplace, a church, or a country. Unity is possible when we learn to value each other. The eye cannot say to the hand, “I do not need you.” Nor can the head say to the feet, “I do not need you.” On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable.

We are all created special, and are a witness to God’s diversity.

 

 

Twice Born

Therefore if anyone belongs to Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold new things have come (2 Cor 5:17).

The term “born again” has been used so flippantly that the depth of these words has been blurred. When we choose a spiritual rebirth through accepting Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection as a personal gift from God, the old person has passed away. We become a new creation with new spiritual DNA.

There is a renewal of the mind that urges us to live in accordance with God’s word and will, doing or avoiding things we may have never before even considered. If we choose to disobey, an inner conflict signals a warning.

For some, the change is dramatic. I would think for most the changes are gradual, but in hindsight we can look back and recognize spiritual growth. We can look back even as older believers, and see the gentle guiding hand of our loving Father whose mercy is new every morning.

 

Walking in Truth

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth (3 John 1:4).

I truly believe that after my children took their first breath, they each (yep, all of them) wailed, “Okay world, I’m ready to take you on.” God blessed them by creating in each of them strong bodies, strong passionate hearts, and strong minds to think, will and direct.

Then God, in a manner, stepped aside after creating them, and granted each a free will. He allows them, and all of us, the choices that affect our physical bodies, our emotions, our thoughts. If we choose to submit to the power offered to us through His Spirit, only then can we truly follow the plan He outlines for each of us in His word—the truth (every word of it).

We can’t successfully do it without Him. We’ve seen the distressing results of bodies that have succumbed to every unhealthy desire, tongues that spoke hurtfuln and harmful words, and rampant emotions that led to depression or even tragedy.

Why wouldn’t I want my children to walk in the truth? Today there are more and more people who are living in acceptance of the lies of the enemy and moving further and further away from the truth. In order to walk in the truth, they would be walking against the flow. It may not be as severe as in some countries where believers, even young children, are beheaded for refusing to denounce their faith. Nonetheless, in today’s world, holding firm to unpopular biblical truths can be quite distressing.

To me there is still no greater joy, because living true to the convictions defined in His word can lead to a life without inner-conflict, contented and gratifying here on earth, and a promise that we’ll be together for a phenomenal eternity.

Those Who Seek

I love those who love Me; And those who diligently seek Me will find Me (Prov 8:17).

In discussions with other believers, the topic of God’s will never fails to eventually come up. God, for sure, wants us to know His will, to desire to do and say things that align with His word. But more than even that, He wants us to grow in the grace and knowledge of His Son. In other words, not to just seek His will, but to KNOW Him.

To understand concepts like this, I have to relate it to my experiences, in this case, as a wife. When my husband and I first began building a relationship, we learned things about each other—likes, dislikes, annoyances…. Later, as our relationship grew, we learned about each other on a much deeper level—what we valued, what was in our hearts. Because of this, we could each anticipate how the other might react to a situation.

The great thing about our perfect Father is that the more we know, the more amazed we are. He is the author of every good thing, the very definition of love. And as knowledge of Him grows, it is both astonishing and humbling to be considered His dearly beloved child.

Tuning in to The Good Shepherd

He calls His own sheep by name and leads them out. When He has brought out all His own, He goes ahead of them, and His sheep follow Him because they know His voice (John 10:3-4).

I was raised in an Italian household where almost daily there were lots of people there, talking all at once, usually at a high volume. I learned early on to block out conversations and to concentrate in the midst of chaos. This isn’t always a good thing because now when I tune-out, I sometimes miss some very important information.

Tuning in to the Good Shepherd is vital for every believer. It is one conversation that we don’t want to miss or dismiss. Hearing His voice is important, not only for direction, but also to build a relationship with the One who loves us so much. And when He does direct us, it is in ways that are the best ways.

He never pushes or forces, but gently guides us to “have a life that is full and good.”

Go and Sin No More

Go and sin no more (John 8:11).

At present I attend two ladies’ Bible studies, both different in a number of ways, but in both the word “judge” came up. In one, the focus was on a person; in the other, as an action. In a well-known scriptural passage, the adulterous woman was brought before Jesus and He was asked, “What do you say?”

The goal of these religious leaders was to trap Him, but His response neither dismissed her sin, nor condemned her. He turned to the accusers and said, “Let the one who never sinned throw the first stone.”

Whenever we point the finger of judgment (accusation) at someone, three fingers are pointing back to us. The ONLY sinless person, the ONLY one who has the right to judge said, “I do not condemn you.” The woman hadn’t even asked for forgiveness!

God’s character is one of both love and justice. Aren’t you glad!? He doesn’t dismiss our unrighteousness (justice); but He doesn’t use it to condemn us (love). Rather His motive is to draw us into an even closer relationship with Him.

So where do I fit into this scenario? Here is my role as a judge—DON’T. And as an unrighteous woman—Go (without condemnation) and sin no more.