Posts Tagged ‘truth’

Seeing the Truth

July 12, 2014

Seeing the Truth

2 Kings 6:17: Then Elisha prayed, “O LORD, open his eyes and let him see.” The LORD opened his servant’s eyes, and when he looked up, he saw that the hillside around Elisha was filled with horses and chariots of fire.

An army surrounded the prophet Elisha and his servant Gehazi. It looked like no escape. Every side was taken. Spears glinted in the sunlight. Arrowheads looked bright and sharp. Swords were drawn.

What could they do?

When Gehazi stepped out of the tent that morning, he wanted to run. But there was nowhere to run to. It was then that Elisha came out of the tent and looked around. Elisha could see something that Gehazi didn’t. What was it? The armies of God.

Around the mountain, standing between the foreign army and the prophet, were angels. Bright, shining, powerful angels. Later, just one of those angels would slay 185,000 men (see 2 Kings 19). And here was a whole army of them. Imagine what that army could do.

Gehazi, though, couldn’t see this army. So Elisha prayed for him, and God opened Gehazi’s eyes.

Did you know that angels are here with you, too? You are personally protected by God. No one can touch you unless God allows it!

Prayer: Jesus, help me to feel safe in you, because you are the great protector. Amen.

Don’t Misuse God’s Name

May 7, 2014

Don’t Misuse God’s Name

 

Exodus 20:7: “Do not misuse the name of the LORD your God. The LORD will not let you go unpunished if you misuse his name.

 

God gave us ten commandments. You find them in Exodus 20 and also Deuteronomy 5. God wrote them on tablets of stone and ordered that they be put into the Ark, the special box that symbolized God’s presence in the temple. God didn’t want his people to forget what was important.

 

Do you know the ten commandments? Why not read them right now, just to refresh your memory?

 

Are there any that you’re violating? Are there any you find difficult?

 

Probably the most difficult commandment for people of all ages is the one that tells us not to misuse God’s name. Sometimes people use God’s name wrongly when they cuss and swear and add bad words to the name of God. But there are many ways to misuse God’s name. When we just mutter, “God,” when something goes wrong, that’s misusing it. When we say, “Jesus,” and are not talking to him directly, we’re also misusing his name.

 

Watch what you say. God is listening. He wants you to have a pure mouth, one that speaks truth and good things. How are you doing today?

 

Prayer: Teach me not to misuse your name, Lord, so I can please you. Amen.

When You Love Someone

April 28, 2014

When You Love Someone

 

Genesis 45:3: “I am Joseph!” he said to his brothers, “Is my father still alive?”

 

“Can I see that knife?” Jason asked from the group of four college guys who stood in Gabriel’s dad’s garage.

 

The knife thudded onto to the ground and Gabriel stared in horror. That knife had once belonged to Jason, but Gabriel’s father kept it in the garage now. Gabriel had stolen it from Jason years before when they were kids.

 

Jason picked up the knife and gazed at it. Gabriel’s mind whizzed through several strategies, but suddenly he knew only one was right in God’s eyes: tell the truth.

 

He said, “Do you recognize that knife?”

 

Jason nodded. “I think.”

“I stole it from you,” Gabriel said. “I’m sorry. Will you forgive me?”

 

Jason looked up. “Uh, sure,” he said. “But …”

“You can have it back,” Gabriel said. “I shouldn’t have done that. But I’m a Christian now.”

 

Jason shook his head. “You amaze me, Gabe.”

           

Gabriel smiled. “I’m just trying to do what’s right.”

When you sin against a friend, how do you make it up? By admitting your wrong and offering to make it right. It’s that simple. In the above passage, that’s what Joseph did with his brothers. It’s a great example to follow.

 

Prayer: Jesus, help me to be forgiving, always. Amen.

Who is WITH you?

April 27, 2014

 

Who is WITH you?

 

Genesis 39:2: The LORD was with Joseph and blessed him greatly as he served in the home of his Egyptian master.

 

Joseph in the Book of Genesis made some big mistakes as a boy. Number one, his father loved him more than his other brothers, and Joseph let everyone know about it. He even wore a special coat, showing how important he was. Joseph also dreamed great dreams that made him look like a god and his brothers like slaves. That just made everyone angry. Eventually, Joseph’s brothers came up with a plot and sold Joseph into slavery.

 

As you read the rest of the story of Joseph, you’ll be amazed. Every time someone threw a curve to Joseph and got him into trouble, Joseph seemed to make the most of it. He ended up on top even though it seemed everyone was trying to put him down.

           

Why did this happen? The Bible reveals one basic reason: God was with him.

 

Do you sense that God is with you? How can you tell? Several ways. One, you’ll defeat temptation more than you’ll give in to it. Two, you’ll experience joy and peace in your heart. Three, you’ll see some success in life, and you’ll know it’s not just because of you. It’s because God opened the door and led you through.

 

If you’re a Christian, God is with you. He will lead, help and encourage you every step of the way. So trust him.

 

Prayer: Father, I praise you that you’re with me. Keep me thinking about it. Amen.

Dreams

April 25, 2014

The Dreamer

 

Genesis 37:5: One night Joseph had a dream, and promply reported the details to his brothers, causing them to hate him even more.

 

Kyle woke up in a sweat. “Wow, what a weird dream!” he muttered.

 

In his dream, he had stood in a stadium and told a Super Bowl crowd about his faith in Jesus. And everyone started laughing at him. It was horrible. He woke up feeling as if he would scream.

 

Dreams can be strange, comforting, weird, or wild. You just never know. In ancient times, though, God sometimes communicated to people by dreams. He did so with Mary and Joseph, the parents of Jesus. He also gave dreams to Daniel, the wise men and others. Joseph dreamed many strange but prophetic dreams. His dreams actually told what would happen in the future.

 

Few if any of our dreams will do that. Joseph’s mistake was to tell the dreams which made him look important and powerful to his family, making them look inferior and like slaves. It would all lead to bad things for Joseph. When pride strikes and we begin to think we’re really something important, we are on dangerous ground.

 

Do you ever think of yourself as better, or more important than others? Watch out. You might be in for a terrible surprise!

 

Prayer: Father, help me to think rightly of myself, and not be proud. Amen.

The Race Discussion We Need to Have

March 25, 2008

The Race Discussion We Need to Have

by

Mark Littleton

    

   I’ve thought much about this discussion Sen. Obama thinks we need to have about race in our country. To be perfectly honest, I’ve struggled with racism for much of my life. I remember my white friends using racist words on occasion as I grew up.

   I also recall the day Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot, and how some in my high school joked about it, saying King “had gotten what he deserved.” 

   I never voiced such thoughts. Nonetheless, the n-word and a multitude of others often coursed through my mind as I saw those people in the walk of life. I didn’t understand it at all. No black person had ever done anything to me. Blacks on our high school championship football team, some of whom were the best players we’d ever had, were heroes.

   And yet, this internal bigotry persisted. If it wasn’t really pounded into me by my family, school, or culture, how was it that a few oblique and stupid references had such an impact on me? 

   In 1972 I converted to a robust faith in God and Christ. In a matter of weeks, everything changed. I saw racism as an innate part of our humanity that we had to fight tooth and nail to excise. Because of what the Bible called our “lost state” and “fallenness,” I discovered I had a natural tendency to bigotry. One person said, “If God made us all the same color, sex, and creed, within fifteen minutes we would have divided up into groups with racist words for everyone not quite like us.” 

   As a believer, I saw that every kind of evil thought inhabited my heart. One of Christ’s greatest goals was to unite Jews, some of the greatest racists of his time, and Gentiles into one church. It’s been a difficult goal to achieve. 

   As I studied the Bible I came across verses where Jesus pointed out the real problem. He said at one point, “For from within, out of the human heart, come the evil thoughts, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, deeds of coveting and wickedness, as well as deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness”(Mark 21-22). Why do we read about these things happening every day in our world? For a simple reason: it’s the human heart that’s the problem. 

   The prophet Jeremiah wrote, “The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately sick”(Jeremiah 17:9).

   Our problem is not Rev. Wright’s bigoted words against whites, Mel Gibson’s nasty statements about Jews, or the average suicide bomber’s hatred for Americans, Jews, and just about everyone else. No, it’s the human heart. It’s desperately sick. 

   The truth is that all of us struggle with such evil internally. I think it’s time for us all – black, white, Jew, Muslim, and Christian – to admit we all experience racist thoughts and feelings. In most cases, we are appalled when they arrive. We may even cringe in frustration and anguish that they exist at all. The vast majority do not act on them, or even admit them. But they’re there. 

   That’s the discussion we ought to have about race in this country. Our hearts have serious problems, all of our hearts, from President Bush and Sens. Clinton and Obama, down to the dishwasher in the local McDonald’s. Until we can own up to this reality, we will never realistically deal with the problem of racism, or any other kind of evil in this world.