Archive for the ‘Truth’ Category

I Get It Now (Psalm 73; Ezekiel 25)

September 22, 2014

“Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I discovered their end.”  Psalm 73:17

There are truths that sometimes seem to allude us.  For example, I have always struggled to understand how electricity is generated.  Even thought I have studied, had others teach me, and even experimented with the process, I still struggle to get it. Certainly no one is intended to understand everything in life.  However there are some things every follower of Christ should be able to understand.  One of those things is in our reading for this day.

The Psalmist has come to the end of an exploration in which he has gained wisdom.  His ending thesis is, “God is good to those who are pure in heart.” It is of great importance to note that the Psalmist does not claim personal perfection, but in Christ he has been brought to a place of righteousness.

There was a moment (Vs: 13) when the writer struggled to understand the value of this righteousness.  Here he was, suffering as a follower of Christ and it seemed the wicked were being blessed (Vs: 3).

Think it through:

1.  The life of the wicked, Vs: 4-11

The wicked seemed to be living lives of ease.  They seemed to be blessed in their pride and arrogance.  They were openly defying the Lord.  Their lifestyle became one that lured so-called believers to follow their path.

The Psalmist struggled for a moment in wondering how the path of righteous had more value.

2.  The end of the life of the wicked, Vs: 16-21

Suddenly, as the Psalmist sought God he understood.  The wicked were in ease sliding toward hell.  They were blind to their mortality.  In a quick moment their lives will come to an end.  Eternity will hold no joy and happiness.  The party will be over.

Now the Psalmist understands.  It has been God who has given him mercy in bringing him out of this lifestyle.  It has been God who has given him true purpose in life.  It is God who has given him eternal life.

Brothers and sisters, “these are things we need to understand!!”

Our response:

We should respond as James teaches is in James 4:7-10, “Submit yourselves to God, resist the Devil, and he will flee from you.  Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.  Cleanse your hands, you double-minded.  Be wretched and mourn and weep.  Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom.  Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God, and he will exalt you.”

Tradition Vs Truth (Mark 7, Jeremiah 21)

July 25, 2014

“You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men.”  Mk. 7:8

One of the toughest moments in a teacher’s life is when one of his or her students decides to reject their teaching.  I can remember Paul’s shock with the people in the church at Galatia.  He thought it unimaginable that the people would “turn so soon to another gospel,”  Gal. 1:6

Brothers and sisters, “Truth is always under attack.”  Today’s passage in the Gospel of Mark should be a powerful reminder of our need to known the truth.

Think it through:  

The religious leaders have elevated the oral law (unwritten) to an equal value or even higher value than God’s Word.  These leaders claimed that Moses spoke more laws that the one’s given in His Word.  To these they laid the greater emphasis in carrying out.

To this Jesus addressed Himself in Mark 7.

At best tradition is a covering for the outside of man.  It covers the inner corruption of the heart.  But deeper still only God’s truth can change the heart.  Out of the heart flows the reality of our lives.

Only God’s truth can change the heart!!!

Question, “Are you fighting for truth or are you fighting for your tradition?”  I want to fight for the truth!!!

Our response:

Each day we must test our viewpoints against the Word of God.  Each day we must choose to forsake the tradition and follow the truth.  This may be hard for some who have followed tradition so very long that it has become in their minds, truth.  But the journey is worth it because we should want to be different from the inside out and not just the outside only.

Will anyone tell the truth? (Jeremiah 5, Matthew 19)

July 9, 2014

“And when your people say, “Why has the Lord our God done all these things to u?  You will say to them, as you have forsaken me and served foreign gods in your land, so you shall serve foreigners in a land that is not yours.”  Jeremiah 5:19

Recently I spend some time (Very little time) investigating the senate race in our part of Georgia.  I happen to know one of the candidates who is running.  He and one other person were the top two vote receivers and now they are engaged in a run-off election.  As is the case with most elections in America, there is a lot of accusations being spread about each others opponents.  The question that came to mind is this: “who is telling the truth?”  Sadly some people are asking about our leaders in Washington, “Will anybody tell the truth?”

Now before we look deep into their spiritual closets, we must ask ourselves the same question, “Are we telling the truth?”

Consider Israel in the time of the Prophet Jeremiah:

1. A terrible thing has happening, Vs: 30-31

“The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priest rule at their own direction; my people love to have it so, but what will you do when the end comes?” 

To our shock the leaders are lying about God’s Word and God’s ways.  We see this illustrated in Vs: 12-13

2.  A terrible thing is happening, Vs: 20-29

The people are wicked both spiritually and socially.

3.  A terrible thing will happen, Vs: 15-19

God’s chosen judgment will come at the hands of a foreign power.  The people would wail at the sight of their enemies. But judgment had been determined.

Think it through:

Every nation that does not serve the Lord has this same spiritual DNA. Every nation that does not serve the Lord has a strong feel of false living and false speaking.

The only hope for Israel was in the coming of a deliverer.  We see this hope coming in Vs: 18, “I will not make a full end of you.”  Only in Christ do we see truth and only in Christ do we see a true way to live!!!

Our response:

I want to tell the truth this day, “There is nothing good in Keith Joseph without God.”  The only good in me is Christ!  This day I can tell the truth and I can live in truth because of what Christ has done in my life.  I praise the Lord that all people have the opportunity to tell this same truth if they will only come to Jesus!!!  John 14:6, Matthew 16:24-28

Beaten By the Waves (Matthew 14; Isaiah 66)

July 4, 2014

“But the boat by this time was a long way from the land beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them,” Matt. 14:24

On this Fourth of July,  we as Americans pause and give thanks for the freedoms we so enjoy. We give thanks to the men and women who have died to purchase and protect our freedoms.  We give thanks to men and women who are still serving in protecting our freedoms.  We give thanks and offer prayers for our political leaders who have an overwhelming task of protecting our freedoms.

But above all we give thanks to God who has made us (As Christ followers) free in deed!!!  This was clearly pictured for us in Matthews account of Jesus ministry in Matthew 14.

Think it through:

The chapter begins with King Herod’s confusion concerning the ministry of Jesus.  As Jesus fame begins to spread we get an up close and personal view of His ministry.  From these various viewpoints we are able to see God’s power over all the ways of life:

1.  We see His power over the waves of selfishness, “You give them something to eat.”

2.  We see His power over the waves of hunger, “feeds 5000 men with 5 loaves and 2 fish.”

3.  We see His power over the waves of storms, “Fear not, It is I.”

4.  We see His power over the waves of sickness, “He healed them all.”

We serve a God who is King over ever wave of life.  On this fourth of July we celebrate the freedom we have in Christ.

Our response:

Have you come to experience the Great Freedom We have in Christ?  If so, face the storms with full faith (Hebrews 11:1) knowing that you are going to go make it through the storm!!!”

If you have not come to experience this freedom in Christ, I challenge you to follow the advice of Paul in Romans 10:9-13!!!

Practical Advice (Proverbs 6; Galatians 5)

March 19, 2014

“For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching a light, and the reproofs of discipline are the way of life,”  Proverbs 6:23

His practical advice seemed exactly what I needed to hear.  I immediately wanted to carry out the plans he had set before me.  I made the proper preparations to execute his plan, but then something happened.

The something was, “I read the Bible.”  In this moment I realized the advice given was totally in opposition to what God said.  So, now I was in a dilemma, I did not want to hurt the person’s feelings, because I had sought his advice.  But at the same time, I did not want to disobey God.

My decision, “I decided to follow Jesus.”  This decision caused me to be at odds with my friend’s advice.  Oh, by the way, the friend was my old nature.  Paul writing to the church at Galatia helps us to see this battle in all of our lives, “For the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do,” Gal. 5:17.

Think it through:

Because of Christ, Galatians 5:1, you and I are set free from the bondage of the Old Nature.  We can listen and obey the New Nature (II Cor. 5:17).  We can now live our lives with a Biblical worldview!!!

Consider the Biblical worldview issues in Proverbs 6:

1.  Always seek to be free from obligating yourself for others debts, Vs: 1-6

2.  Follow the path of diligence in a proper work-ethic, Vs: 7-111

3.  Steer clear from the things God hates, Vs: 12-19

4.  Keep the Word in front of your mind at all times, Vs: 20-23

5.  Never walk in the path of a prostitute, Vs: 24-35

Our response:

Every moment of every day should we governed by the roadmap of God’s Word!!!  Anything less would be like taking the practical advice of a friend who is in opposition to God.

Rebellion leads to refusing the truth (Exodus 17; Luke 20)

March 6, 2013

“Behold I will stand before you there on the rock at Horeb, and you shall strike the rock, and water shall come out of it, and the people will drink.” And Moses did so, in the sight of the elders of Israel.”  Exodus 17:6

“Tell us by what authority you do these things, or who it is that gave you this authority.”  Luke 20:1

“This is not the reason, I know the reason and it is not what you just said.”  These were the angry words given by a son to his father after his father said, “Son, you did not obey me, because you are in rebellion.”

Certainly Israel did not think she was in rebellion when she complained to Moses in Exodus 17.  In the people’s minds they were about to die without water and they needed water.  However a deeper look reveals their rebellious heart that wanted what they wanted when they wanted it.

Certainly the religious leaders in Luke 20 did not think they were in rebellion against God as they were questing Jesus.  But this is exactly at the heart of their questions.  Because of this rebellion they refused the truth.

Consider just the first 8 verses:  “These leaders come to Jesus to question his authority.”  Jesus responds with a simple question, “Was John’s ministry from heaven?”  In this moment the leaders got together and considered their response.  They decided not to respond because they could not admit that John’s ministry was from heaven (Because that would mean they were saying, “John’s message is true.”)  What was that message?  “Behold the lamb of  God…”

At the same time the leaders could not say his ministry was not from heaven because the people held him in such high regard.  So they were silent.  At the core was their rebellion against God.  This rebellion caused them to refuse the truth that was before them.

Question, “Are you in a dry and discouraging moment?”  Does it seem that you cannot get through all of this and you cannot hear an answer?  Could it be that God has given you an answer, but you have refused to hear because of a rebellious heart?

Brothers and sisters, do not take offense at this.  I have been there.  Confess your rebellion and come back into sweet fellowship with God.  Then you will hear and be able to heed the truth.  There will be spiritual water (John 7:37-38) coming from the Rock which is Jesus.

Sitting Around The Table (Exodus 11:1-12:20; Luke 14)

February 28, 2013

“Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male a year old.  You may take it from the sheep or from the goats, and you shall keep it until the 14th day of the month, when the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill their lambs at twilight.”  Exodus 12:5-6

And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out into the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house will be filled.'” Luke 14:23

One of my favorite things to do is to sit around the table with family and friends and  simply talk.  Over the years our dinning room table has hosted many glorious moments as God was teaching us. Today he continues to teach us many things.

Imagine as the people of God gathered around the table to partake of the sacrificial lamb in Exodus 12. In a few short hours the Death Angel would come and destroy all the firstborn sons of Egypt, but because of the blood of the Lamb, God’s people would be spared.  This is the true meaning of Passover (Jesus becoming our passover lamb).

Imagine as the disciples gathered around a table with Jesus that was set by a Pharisee.  Here Jesus sets forth a situation that needed an answer and here Jesus sets forth two stories that needed an answer.  Jesus teaches us how important it is to be humble as we come to His table and how important it is to call others to His table.

Oh how blessed my family is as we sit around the table:

1.  Because of the blood of the Lamb we sit around the table in forgiveness, favor, and with a future.

2. Because of the love of Jesus we sit around the table knowing we are only there by his grace.  We sit around the table knowing we are to compel people to come to grace so that they can sit around the table as well.

Question, “Do you ever sit around the table and do you ever call others to the table?”  Oh how I want to encourage you to do these things simply because of the blood and love of Jesus Christ.

The News Is Out

February 29, 2012

“Now the Apostles and the brothers who were throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God.” Acts 11:1.

Honestly there are days when I dread reading the news.  Now I know what you are thinking, “So why do you read it?”  My answer is simply this, “One must be informed of his or her environment in order to make application in sharing the gospel.”

This morning I read about a multitude of things including: “increased gas prices, political wars, hints of war between Iran and Israel, and murder suicides.”  Believe it or not this was just a small sampling of what is going on in our world.

In many people’s eyes these things give us a reason to become discouraged.  But one must not life his or her life based on the course of this world. One must live his or her life based upon the course of another world.

I have good news, “The gospel is going forth and the Kingdom of God is growing.”  As this world is on a self-destruct mode, the gospel is rescuing people from this world and is preparing them for the Kingdom Of God.

This was vivid to me as I read Acts 11.  Acts 11 accomplishes two things.  First there is the good news of the gospel reaching the Gentiles.  Peter was used of God to communicate the gospel to the Gentiles.  The people of the circumcision party were confused, but Peter stands firm in the gospel.  “He will declare a message by which you will be saved.”  Secondly we read of the wonderful news of the gospel coming to Antioch.  Here we see the church developing under the leadership of five great Elders including Paul.  This would be the church that would take the gospel to the uttermost parts of the earth.

So, what is the application for your life and my life?  I believe there are two applications: The gospel finds success when it is shared.  As Peter was obedient to share, the Kingdom of God grew.  Certainly God does the saving, but at the same time he uses obedient Kingdom members to communicate his word.  The gospel still needs to be shared with those who have never heard.  This morning, I was reminded that many people have only heard the bad news of this world and have never heard the good news of the Kingdom of God.

Today, I want to share good news with a world that has enough bad news.  May this become a passion in the life of everyone who knows Christ.

One footnote in closing:  You cannot share what you do not know.  “If you turn at my reproof, behold, I will pour out my spirit to you;  I will make my words known to you.” Proverbs 1:23.

Listening To The Right Person

September 13, 2011

Wow, “Who’s telling the truth?”  This is a question all of America should be asking during these tough economic times.” But even deeper than this, “Where does the truth really come from and how should the truth affect us?”  The Bible teaches us that truth is contained in a person, Jesus Christ. Here is what Jesus said, “I am the way, The truth, and the life, no man comes unto the father but by me,” John 14:6.  

When a person listens to Jesus, he or she is listening to the right person.  However, when we listen to the wrong person our lives can be greatly hindered.  A recent New York Times article reported on the adverse affect of the news on Americans.  The article identified an alarming increase in stress, anxiety, and mental breakdowns among people who have become engrossed in what the news media is saying.  One lady who was interviewed said, “I have stopped sleeping at night.  I used to sleep eight hours a night, but now I toss and turn all night worrying that I might lose my job and then my home.”

Maybe, you find yourself listening to the wrong person or persons?  If, so allow me to encourage you to cease listening to the people around you and begin to listen to Jesus.  Here is what Jesus said in John 10, “When He has brought out His own, He goes before them and the sheep follow him, for they know His voice.”  Why would they follow His voice above all others?  “I am the Good Shepherd.  The Good Shepherd lays down His life for His sheep,” John 10:11.

The fact is, no one else is worthy of following.  All the leaders before us, including myself, have failed and will fail.  Truth is not contained in humanity.  Truth is in Christ.  We follow Christ.  He is one we listen to and He is the one we follow.  Who else, “Leads us out, protects us as the door, provides for us as our Shepherd, died in our place as Savior, and is preparing for us a home in heaven?”

This very day, I proclaim to the world that I am listening to the right person, Jesus Christ!  I say with Martha, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world,” John 11:27.  

Oh brothers and sisters the key to your success in this day and in every day is in listening to the right person.  Now the question that comes to my mind is this, “If I fail or if I find myself discouraged I must ask, who was I listening too?”  The fact is, listening to anyone above Christ will lead to failure.

This day, I encourage you to cease listening to yourself and others who are not being led by the truth.  I encourage you to dig into God’s word and listen to what you read.  Then you will be assured of listening to the right person.

What Do You Want?

May 18, 2011

Yesterday, I had a few hours to spend with my youngest son before traveling to speak at revival services.  As we sat talking John came up with a wonderful (In his mind) ideal.  He said, “Daddy, would you please take up a love offering for your son tonight?”  I asked, “Why?”  John responded, “Tell the people, your son has no way of transportation, and he needs a bike to be able to get around.”  Oh the wit and wisdom of a little boy.

This morning, I found myself focusing on the subject of wisdom as I read the first five chapters of I Kings and the first chapter of Ecclesiastes.  In I Kings 3 Solomon has a dream and in the dream the Lord says: “Ask what I shall give you,” Vs:6.  God was asking Solomon, “What do you want?”  Amazingly Solomon does not ask for what most kings ask for, such as long life, wealth, or victory over his enemies.  Solomon truly ask’s for what is truly valuable in a believer’s life.  The wisdom of God is better than the riches of men.

Question, “What do you want?”  Truly, what do you find yourself asking God for on a daily basis?  Solomon wrote the following, “All things are full of weariness; a man cannot utter it; the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing,” Ecclesiastes 1:8. I am convinced that most of us ask God for things as well as for deliverance from trials.

I am also convinced that the better things to ask God for are such things as wisdom to trust in His provision as well as wisdom to know what He is teaching us in our trials.  Maybe this very day you are crying out to God and He is asking in response, “What do you want?”  Our reply should be the same as Solomon’s: “Give your servant and understanding mind.”

Solomon was only around twenty years old at this time.  He was inexperienced and He was overwhelmed with the task before him.  But one thing was certain, he knew what to ask for.  God was pleased with his request and in giving him wisdom, God blessed Solomon to be able to gain wealth, victory over his enemies, and long life if he would remain faithful to God.

All of this reminds me of the words of our Lord and Savior, “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you,” Matthew 6:33.  May the truth of what we have read today, become such conviction in your life that daily you pray, “Father, grant you servant understanding in all things.”