Monday, March 23, 2009

"If not truth, then it is a worthless lie."

Tumbling around inside my head today were fragments of thought from my Bible study this morning that included Jesus conversation with the Samaritan woman at the well, conversations with a friend of mine about waiting on the Lord and then the final straw, a quote from a book by Nicholas Evans called The Smoke Jumper.

In the book,  Evans' character, an African warlord, says, "If truth is a loaf of bread and you pick up a crumb, do you have the truth? If not truth, then it is a worthless lie..... The truth is that there is no truth, only crumbs. You have yours and I have mine. But I have more of them and mine are gathered with knowledge and experience, not under a false banner of piety and prejudice."

It took me back to the morning reading in the Book of John. The Jews and the Samaritans fought over where God should be worshiped. Supposedly worshiping the same God, they fought with each other over their own "truth" when both only possessed a crumb. Jesus said to the woman at the well, "Woman, believe Me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we know what we worship, for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth." John 4:21-24

There's that "truth" issue again. We who claim to be disciples of Jesus Christ want to worship God as He wants; we want our worship to be a pleasant aroma. Jesus says, here's the way, in spirit and in truth. So, from where do we obtain truth? Are we to gather our truth from human experts, from our friends, from the Oprah book club, from our President or even the pastor of our church?

I would propose that God says no, with conditions. If the human experts, our friends, the president, our pastor and, yes, even Oprah, speak the word of God, then this is the truth. If any of our contemporaries choose to mix and match the philosophers, great teachers and scholars of our day into a melting pot of theology, then my God has been blasphemed.

I am sorry, we'll, no, I'm not sorry, I am one of the remaining remnant that believe the scriptures contained in the Holy Bible are God breathed, given through divine inspiration to those who penned them to paper. That same book of Living Scripture tells me that, if I study, if I seek God and His direction in my life, the Holy Spirit promised by my saviour that now lives within me will take those words, inspired by God, and teach, instruct me in the ways that I should go.

I truly believe that through this relationship between me, Gods everlasting and faithful word and the work of His most Holy Spirit, God will reveal Himself to me one layer at a time. As I am ready, through fire-tested perseverance, my relationship and closeness to God will grow ever deeper as the river of life shown to Ezekiel in his vision of the New Jerusalem. (Ezekiel 47: 3-5)

All in all, the mortal question is from what source we have decided to gather our truth and in what state of completeness we gather it. For, I'm afraid, taken in crumbs, we can all justify our own truth, but taken as a whole from God Himself, we can find the truth Jesus called us to add to the spirit of our worship!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

No Sign of Exemption or Removal!

I think our human nature is to hope that God will hold us exempt from trials and tribulations or, maybe, remove us from certain situations, but that's not the way that I read it. I don't find any place where God's word says He'll just take us out of the situations life hands us.
There are many places, however, that remind us that He will bring us through. There is the old saying we've all heard in church that proclaims God will never "bring us to something that He won't bring us through" and that admonition of my elders was brought back to my mind the other day as I read in Lamentations, chapter 3, verses 22 and 23....
"Through the Lord's mercies, we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness."
Amen and Amen! I don't know about you, my friends, but I need His compassion and mercy on a daily basis. All we have to do is ask. As Jesus has shown us in the model of how we should pray, "Give us, this day, our daily bread......Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one...Forgive our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us...", it is a daily battle.
He tells us in His word that all we have to do is ask in His name and it will be granted. In other words, whatever we ask in prayer, if it is according to God's will, will be granted us. The Apostle Paul reinforced the idea by reminding us to "pray without ceasing" If we do not have joy and peace in our lives, our relationship with our Creator, Savior and Sustainer is not as it was designed.
It seems obvious, then, that God's will is that, through everything in our lives, we depend on Him; that we look to Him for guidance and strength. His word goes on to say that we have to ask and petition our God in faith and without doubt. It follows, then, that how we react to life after we have involved our God through prayers, supplications and thanksgiving will reflect the truth and strength of our faith to those who are watching our journey.
So, let us praise God for His compassions, for His daily provisions of strength and thank Him that He feels us worthy of trials. Let us thank God that He is preparing us, through the "fire" for a new revelation of Himself, for a new level of spiritual growth!