Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Bullet of Truth: Know It, Live It

I am committed to doing as much as I can about all the issues facing our world but only inasmuch as I determine God is leading me to respond. Although I know my life is to be the answer to many problems, I also know my life isn’t the answer to all problems. I go with King David here when he said in Psalm 131:1, "Lord, my heart is not haughty, nor my eyes lofty; neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for me." What a relief! Knowing my limitations is my first great step to liberation; that is why I once entitled one of my sermons "The Liberation of Our Limitations."

On this earth I am the Master’s willing slave, His joyful servant and His obedient follower. My entire existence should be measured and standardized around what He knows is best for me to think and do. Our passion for daily living should no longer be determined by the "everythings" of the world, but by the "everythings" of God. It’s a thrilling way to live! One soldier cannot win the whole war. His is too limited. Yet he is unlimited when it comes to fighting his own battle. That is the only fight the Commander has ordered you to win!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Bullet of Truth: "What Can I Do?"

We live the best life possible when we base our decisions only on what is authentic – the truth. We live the worst life possible when we base our thoughts and actions on what is false – the lie. The person who experiences the maximum positive meaning for these years on earth is the one with the most earnest and unrelenting passion for truth … Christ’s truth. The following is one of my most exciting finds in God’s treasury of truth.

Sometimes I tend to despair over all the tensions and problems of life that bombard my mind. If you love living, love people and love our world like I do, I’m sure you share my sense of being "overwhelmed." I’ve often asked myself, in light of the world’s dilemmas, "What can I do? I’m just one little man!" I mentioned that to the Lord one morning in my prayer time, and His answer nearly blew me away!

"What can you do?" I sensed Him saying as He threw the question back to me. Then, as clearly as I’ve ever felt the Lord tell me something, a new liberating message began to wash through my mind. "H.D., you can do everything I want you to do. Nothing more and nothing less!" The Greek puts it clearly and emphatically to Peter and to each of us in John 21:22: You Me Follow!

My heart was suddenly captured with a new exhilaration for contented action and an overwhelming peace for whatever was ahead of me. Terrorism, the national economic crisis, continued unrest in the Middle East, nations in revolution, the culture war, the church, politics, the terror of AIDS or the American tragedy of abortion, etc., etc. are no longer the biggest issues in my life. Neither are some of the less dramatic and smaller demands and duties which seemed to dominate so much of my time and thinking. Mowing the yard, paying the IRS, taking out the garbage, changing the oil in the car, mailing in the monthly bills, making a run to the grocery store and post office, the honey dos, or keeping up with my modest little investments, etc., etc. are just some of the "everythings" that the Father is pleased for me to accomplish. Seeing the Father’s purpose in it all can easily be missed. That purpose is to use every event in your life … big or small … as a microphone for His Voice. To hear and yield to His Voice is the biggest thing little people can do and it covers all the bases!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Bullet of Satisfaction: True Fulfillment

The world in which we live judges almost everything by the dollar sign and by what one possesses. This subtle spirit has permeated the Christian world as well. We need to radically heed the warning of our Lord and beware of greed, of always wanting “more.” But for many of us, resisting this temptation is difficult because we don’t want to discourage it completely. God has promised to provide an avenue of escape as we confront areas of weakness in life but it won’t help if we keep leaving a forwarding address!

The solution? Stop comparing yourself with those around you and realize that God accepts you as you are. In addition, realize that all you own is a loan from God – it really belongs to Him anyway. As stewards we own nothing but are responsible for everything entrusted to our care. Everything we have is a gift so be grateful and humble. Only then will we understand true satisfaction in life. Only then do we learn the lesson of trusting Christ – not ourselves. Otherwise, we will be like the man in Dallas who had a Rolls Royce with a telephone in it. His friend saw it and decided he needed one too, so he saved and saved and finally bought one. He called his friend and said, “Bob, this is Bill calling from my Rolls Royce.” Bob said, “Can you hold a minute? The other phone is ringing.” The most powerful six letter word in our language to create peace is the word “enough.” To truly yield all things to Christ creates “enough in you” to handle everything else. Remember, noting is enough unless you are enough.

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do it all through Him who gives me strength. Paul in Philippians 4:12-13 (my adaptation based on the NIV)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Bullet of Satisfaction: Insidious Greed

A certain Quaker, in order to impress a lesson upon his neighbors, put up a sign on a vacant piece of ground next to his house which read, “I will give this lot to anyone who is really satisfied.” A wealthy farmer read the sign and said to himself, “Since my Quaker friend is going to give this piece of land away, I might as well have it as anyone one else. I am rich. I have all I need, so I am well able to qualify.” He went up to the door and explained to the aged Quaker why he had come. “And is thee really satisfied?” asked the owner of the lot. “I surely am,” was the reply. “I have all I need, and I am well satisfied.” “Friend,” said the other, “if thee is satisfied, then what does thee want with my lot?”

Jesus addressed the problem of greed many times during His three and a half year ministry. In fact, it was a major issue in His teachings. In Luke 12:15, the apostle records our Lord’s words, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist (hold together, adhere, stick firmly, subsist) in the abundance of his possessions.” Our rule should be to want nothing more and expect noting more except what our Lord desires of us or gives to us. Only that kind of Disciple knows satisfaction in its fullness.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Bullet of Truth: The Perfect Model – Jesus

If our source of knowledge is a “satanic lie,” then we faith-act on illusion, that, ultimately, with the passage of time, diminishes and destroys us. If our source is “human wisdom” that reflects only our culture, we experience a mixture of good and bad consequences. Even if one’s earth experience is mostly good, there remains a growing spiritual emptiness. Natural living at its best is ultimately powerless to fill a person’s spiritual void and hunger! Without Christ the older we get the hungrier we become for significance and meaning.

Believing satanic lies leads a person into a life of deception, fantasy and waste. Although commitment to human wisdom is often flawed, it can bring temporary good; yet it offers no final solution to our deepest human problems and real needs.

Biblical truth produces “godliness which is profitable for all things” (I Timothy 4:8). The most significant life ever lived was that of the Lord Jesus. He faith-acted on His knowledge of the Father’s will and lived the most magnificent life earth has ever seen and time has ever known. A true Jesus Disciple creates eternal significant in proportion to his or her intake of Truth. Sorry spiritual nutrition and discipleship diets produce weak Christians. Mature Christians have healthy appetites for the Scriptures and for truth everywhere and anywhere they can find it! Massive doses of truth allow them to experience the joy of abundant living. It’s the only way to stay fresh in a world of fatigue! Only Truth as seen in Jesus and truth as grasped in the world will make one godly in a fallen world.

For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. I Timothy 4:8 (NIV)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Bullet of Truth: Sources of Knowledge

Scripture seems to indicate three sources of knowledge. First are the lies of Satan; second, the fruit of human wisdom; and third, the truth of a living God. Only these three choices are open to us. They alone are the sources that feed the knowledge banks of our minds.

It is readily apparent why we become what we think. It’s because we can faith-act only in response to what we know … or think we know! These responses and reactions over a period of time mold our character, our contributions, our desires and our destinies.

A beginning pianist learns notes and music (knowledge). She practices vigorously (faith-acts) and becomes (in time) an accomplished musician. Or a discouraged teenager hears that drugs bring release and happiness. He faith-acts on this knowledge and in time becomes a powerless addict! Options are endless for good or bad as we faith-act on our knowledge and face the consequences in time. The more of Christ, Who is the truth of all truth, that I can fill my mind with the more my faith-acts cannot help but increase my conquering in the future!

But solid food (a maximum truth diet) is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. Hebrews 5:14 (NIV with my annotation)

Thursday, January 08, 2009

The Bullet of Truth: The Groundwork of Growth

Several years ago I was speaking to a group of pastors on “Staying Fresh in the Ministry.” The committee evidently viewed my thirty-five years, no-quit, non-surrender ministry at one church a valid credential. Certainly, to endure, to persist, to keep playing in spite of pain is one of the most powerful attributes of living. The Greek word for endure in my view means to “stay under the weight of truth.” Don’t run from the pressure of obedience.

It is my conviction that the ability to stay fresh while enduring is totally dependent on massive doses of truth! Increasing your capacity for the knowledge of TRUTH is the first essential in the triad of growth. Authority and significance for living come only through the three essentials of growth in the expansion and discovery of the wonders of the Lord:
1) Knowledge – intake of truth or lie
2) Faith Acts – applications of and response to our level of knowledge
3) Time – reaping the consequences of choices

Of these three, knowledge is the one which primarily separates qualities of living. We all “faith-act” … respond to choices put before us in accordance with our faith (confidence, values). We all have the same amount of “time” … twenty-four hours a day. Yet we do not all possess the same “God-knowledge.” Hence, it is the source of one’s “knowledge” that differentiates the greatness or mediocrity of life. Will our most authentic source be from our own limited conscience, our culture or our Christ?

For the LORD gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding. Proverbs 2:6 (NIV)