Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire {2.29.16}

liar pants on fireLiar, Liar, Pants on Fire. Just a silly rhyme of children? Maybe not. We all probably said that as children (and I have to admit I still say it occasionally when joking with others). But, until this week I never did make the connection between being a liar and fire. It finally hit me that this saying must have come from scripture. We know who the “father of lies” is – Satan.

John 8:42-44 “Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here. I have not come on my own; but he sent me. Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

So, we know where lies originate. They are from Satan himself. We all fall into that trap and have said a lie before, haven’t we? A “little white lie” maybe? But, lies are serious to God, like all sin. Our sin may start small but can grow and spread like crazy. Before we know it we find that our sin identifies us. We don’t want that! Look what John saw and wrote for us in Revelation. Liars are among sinners specifically mentioned.

Revelation 21:1-8 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new”! Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars – their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”

There is good news in the above scriptures but the last sentence is hard when you think about the cost of choosing unwisely. God had a perfect plan for mankind to live with Him in the Garden of Eden but through the lies of the devil/deceiver, sin entered in. God cannot co-exist with sin. He is light and sin is darkness. Thankfully, He made another way for us to live with Him now and forever – Jesus Christ, our redeemer. God does not send anyone to hell. People end up there from their own choices. Satan didn’t start out there but he and some angels turned against God. Hell was created for them and thus, all of their followers will have an eternal dwelling place there as well.

Jude 1:6 “And the angels who did not keep their positions of authority but abandoned their own home – these he has kept in darkness, bound with everlasting chains for judgmhellent on the great day.”

Luke 10:18 “He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.”

Matthew 25:41 “Then he will say to those on his left. “Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”

Matthew 13:40-43 “As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear.”

We had an experience recently where we tried to help someone. Even though options had run out for this person and bridges had been burned with family and friends, the lies continued. One lie piled on top of another and another and another and it kept up for several days. The lies were brought out into the open and proved but even then, the lies did not stop. This person continues to lie and we don’t understand it. No matter what the truth is, a lie is worse. One lie leads to another and another and before you know it I think you can start believing your own lies. Besides all that, it seems like way too much trouble to try to remember all the lies! Lies hold us in bondage for sure. I can’t even imagine the stress. But, THE TRUTH WILL SET US FREE.

John 8:31-32 “To the Jews, who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

John 14:6 “Jesus answered, “I am the way, and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Jesus is the truth. There is such freedom in being true and truthful, isn’t there? Oh, the freedom we can have in Christ – awesome freedom, freedom from sin’s control. To live for Christ is freedom. To live for sin is death. We must choose. Will we choose Jesus and Heaven or Satan and Hell?

angels in heavenIn Revelation, John tried to describe the vision he saw but when I try to imagine it, I realize I can’t. Even those of us with the best imagination can’t fully grasp the reality of heaven. We know it will be wonderful. We know it will be beautiful. We know there will be no more tears or pain. We know we will all want to worship God. But, we really can’t imagine how wonderful. At the same time, we really can’t imagine the horror of hell. We know it will be never ending torment and fire. We know there will be gnashing of teeth. We know there will be horrible pain and no relief. But beyond that, we really can’t grasp just how horrible it will be in hell. These realities should cause all of us to pause and reflect or adjust our priorities. We must share the good news and hope we have in Jesus – before it’s too late.

So the moral of this story is…

If you don’t want your pants on fire – never, never be a liar.

Outside our Control vs. Out of Control {2.25.16}

This week we have seen things in the news that are totally outside our control. Tornadoes and blizzards are certainly things of which we have no control. Only God can control the wind and rain, sky and stars, ocean waves, etc. We can try to be prepared for possible trouble but it is outside our control. We are totally dependent on our Creator. His power is evident in nature.

There are other things outside our control. We can’t control what other people think, say or do. We can’t control whether or not disease or disaster come our way. What we can control is how we deal with situations that are outside our control. Our attitudes and heart are within our control. We can show hope or despair. We can bring a smile or a frown. We can love and forgive or hate and grow bitter. What do we want people to see as they watch us live your lives? Light or Darkness? I believe that many times our greatest witness is when we go through trouble and don’t lose our hope or joy because it is in Christ and through His power. People notice that.

There are also things in our lives which are totally out of control. When I look around me I see that families are falling apart by any number of sins. Sometimes it’s drugs, sometimes greed, sometimes infidelity, sometimes selfishness. You name it – sin is out there in full force. It seems to me that everyone I know either has these issues within their own families or the family of someone they know. When we turn on the TV we see many examples of people whose lives are out of control. We sensationalize it. We have many TV talk shows to exploit it. They wouldn’t be on if we didn’t watch. What is it about those types of shows and news stories? Do they make us feel better about ourselves? It’s an illusion if we do. We are often our own worst enemies. It’s sometimes hard to really look in the mirror of our hearts and souls because what we see isn’t pretty. But, it’s necessary to be real with ourselves, isn’t it? After all who are we deceiving? God already knows and probably others do as well.

Satan is a deceiver and he can be very subtle. Sometimes we don’t even realize our behavior is a sin because we justify it. We also tend to judge other people by our own lives instead of judging our lives against Christ, our example. Murder is a sin. Theft is a sin. Gossip and gluttony are also sins. Hmmm. We don’t like to look at sin that way, do we? It is hard to understand another person’s sins if we don’t struggle with the same things. I don’t understand how a parent can choose drugs over their children. But, I don’t walk in those shoes. What I do know is that if we give sin a chance, it will rule our lives. I think the old saying is, “Don’t give Satan an inch or he will take a mile.” The good news is that we don’t have to give in to sin.

“No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful, he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.” 1 Corinthians 10:13

prayer in hands of godWe must be in prayer asking God to help us each day to choose well. We must also pray for others to do the same.

“As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by failing to pray for you. And I will teach you the way that is good and right.” 1 Samuel 12:23

So whatever it might be in your life that seems outside your control or out of control, give it to God and watch Him work in your life, as you surrender it to Him. If we do our part, He will certainly do His. Keep on praying…

Love {2.21.16}

Love means a lot of different thing to a lot of people, doesn’t it? To a child it might mean a kiss and Band-Aid on a hurt knee or a hug when they are scared. To a teenager it might seem like the do all or end all of their daily activities. To a young couple, it might mean flowers, movies, love notes (probably in the form of text messages). To an older couple, it might mean taking care of and helping each other remember things. No matter what stage in life, we all hunger for love.

valentine flowers

A friend showed me the Valentine’s Day gifts her husband gave her this year. She received a beautiful necklace and earrings. Her smile beamed as she showed them to me. It made me very happy for her. I am a romantic at heart, I have to admit. The rub comes in that my “valentine” is not so much. But, he shows me love in a million ways and after many years together we know and accept each others differences in how we share and show love.

There is one expression of love, however that all of us need and desire (even if we don’t know it). It’s the unconditional love of God. It’s a redeeming love, a saving love, a true love –  that Christ died for all of us so that we may live a victorious life here on earth and an everlasting life in Heaven after this life is over. Once we receive (accept) this love offering from God, we are able to share it with others. Sometimes it’s easy to love others. Sometimes it takes the divine intervention of the Holy Spirit to enable us to truly love. I think this quote is a great expression of our responsibility to love others. love others

As you go about your day, look for those who seem to need some love and share yours. I’d love to hear your stories. Please share here – it will encourage the rest of us.


Moving Mountains {2.19.16}

Do you ever feel like there is a huge mountain in your life? God tells us in His Word that through faith as small as a mustard seed, mountains can move. I’ve seen some move but often it takes much longer than I wanted. Often though, I have found that God gives me the strength to get through the mountain. This can be one of our best moments to share our faith as people watch how we deal with our mountains and wonder what it is that allows us to endure. How about you? How have you dealt with your mountains?

On The Table {2.15.16}

Do you ever find yourself “down in the dumps” so to speak? It can certainly be depressing to listen to the news or read the newspaper, can’t it? Often we can get a negative attitude just by listening to the talk around us, whether it’s at work, school, the grocery line or in our own homes. The old saying that “one bad apple spoils the bunch” can be true – IF we let it. I guess that’s why God tell us in His Word what to think about (Philippians 4:8), what is true, noble, right, pure, lovely admirable, excellent or praiseworthy. Sometimes just a kind word or smile can turn things around (especially our own attitudes). Have you ever seen positive results from a simple act of kindness, a kind word or a smile? If so, what happened?