Posts Tagged ‘God’s truth’

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 8:31).”

I finally did it for good. I deactivated my Facebook account.

I had done it before. Once I unfriended everyone and THEN deactivated it.

One person thought they had offended me and wrote me. They hadn’t. I had just had it with Facebook.

However, not long after that “killing” of Facebook I activated it again and got new friends. Meet the new friends, same as the old friends.

This time I am serious though. Facebook just isn’t giving me any joy or fun. Indeed, it is doing the opposite.

I was reminded of this when I responded to a blog written by Tim Chailes, a pastor. He had written about what he calls “the lost sin of envy”. I wrote in his comments section:

Tim, this is great stuff. And as a blogger, I’m envious of you. (Just kidding–really.) U know where I got envious this week: looking at people I knew on Facebook from the old days, people whom I haven’t seen in 40 years. They looked happier than me, more prosperous, and so on. It did begin to rot my bones…. I think one of the faults of FB is its false sense of what’s true and real. Heck. I have no idea if those people are really happy or not.

Tim Chailes responded by giving me his link to his earlier blog post called Facebook Makes Us Miserable.  In this piece Chailes notes that instead of making us happy as we intend it to, Facebook conjures up bad feelings when we see other people portray their successes.

What drove me to drop Facebook for good was a photo which included several people I knew. They were posing, showing off a successful activity of theirs.

I knew most of the people in that photo. In fact, except for what I deem an injustice I could have been with them.

There’s nothing really wrong with the people in the picture. I just didn’t care for some of the rottenness beneath it.  I finally thought that then and there that it was time to say goodbye to Mark Zuckerberg’s fantasy land.

Facebook isn’t the only place filled with posers. Today I was on the bus and encountered two people that made my life tough this year.

One of those persons got on the bus and glanced at me and went on. The other never saw me, as they were riding by on a bicycle.

Both of these people had been dishonest in my dealings with them. When I exposed them, things got difficult for me.

In fact, the bus rider came out smelling like a rose in the community in which we participate. I, on the other hand, am on my way out of this group, having been forced out.

The alternative  to constant musing about all these Facebook friends and other less than forthcoming people  is to look to God. However, as Erwin Lutzer pointed out in a sermon to his church this year, this task can be daunting.

Pastor Lutzer decided to preach on this text:

One of the teachers of the lawcame and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”

“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’

 Lutzer told his congregation that thinking about teaching on this Scripture sent him into what he called “emotional convulsions”.  He told them why:

“I thought to myself, ‘this is an awesome passage of Scripture. Who in the world could love the Lord his God with all of his might, with all of his strength, and with all of his heart?  That seems like an impossible dream.’  And I thought to myself,’I’d like to be able to love God like that’, but I looked within my heart and I saw coldness and indifference and thought “who could love God with such passion?’. It seemed impossible.”

I had those same feelings at the time I sought out Lutzer’s message. I had felt led to look at the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20) because I knew my bad feelings about the photos and messages on Facebook violated the last one:

“You shall not covet  your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” (v. 17)

However, as I looked them over I determined that I daily broke about half of them. Oh, I may not commit murder for example, and thus violate the sixth one seven days a week, but I sure get angry at people in my heart. Jesus equated the two (see Matthew 5:21-24).

Indeed, Jesus calls us to an even higher life than pure actions. He wants holy hearts as well.

Lutzer’s message added another disobeyed commandment to my already full portfolio. I learned from the pastor that I am committing idolatry when I value other people, things or circumstances above God. I sure do this a lot, too.

Thus, I have felt like the Chief of Posers this week and Facebook has contributed to that.  Chailes says it all when he comments about our reactions to the messages we get from Facebook. We believe we are the only ones that are miserable when we view Facebook, and drag ourselves down. He writes:

“What a ridiculous lot we are. What a sad, jealous, envious, idolatrous lot.”

We believe the lie. And the world system we live in is indeed a lie.

It tells us that while we are looking at the loving Facebook couples that our marriages aren’t good enough. It communicates that we don’t measure up while we notice the old friend on a world tour. Yet, if truth be told, what I see on Facebook of other people’s lives is just an illusion, only part of the whole picture.

This constant lying in our midst should not surprise. Lying is the native tongue of Satan, the ruler of this world (John 8:44).  We’re all just using our mother tongue.

I know I need to learn a new language: God’s truth.  It’s main textbook is the Bible.

The Bible tells me who God, who I am and who other people are. It tells me what I am supposed to believe and to do.

I’m better off spending my time in the Bible than on Facebook, which Chailes tells us “sucking 700 billion minutes between the lot of us every month.”  At least in the Scriptures I’ll learn the language of truth.


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“Sing to the LORD a new song,  for he has done marvelous things;  his right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him (Psalm 98:1).”

Yesterday in my grammar class for international students, I came across a sentence in the textbook I didn’t like.  I was teaching the students requests such as “Could you help me?”  In one of these requests, the context was a statement, “Could you help me?  My car is broken.”

There are a lof of things that break, but in my opinion cars are not one of them. Parts of cars break, but not whole cars.  We don’t really use this statement in English to my knowledge, and I told my students this.

Lots of things break or are broken, though. Today is “Tax Day” in America and a lot of filers are probably thinking the government’s method of collecting revenue is broken. One website says, “The complete Internal Revenue Code is more than 24 megabytes in length, and contains more than 3.4 million words; printed 60 lines to the page, it would fill more than 7500 letter-size pages.”

I broke my ankle falling down a hill last autumn.  At the bottom of the hill it was clear to me from the pain that it was broken. I had also heard the “breaking” sound on the way down.

We live in a world where things break.  Relationships break, minds and emotions break, and dams holding thousands of gallons of water break.  Glasses break.  Power lines snap.  Gas mains rupture.

After God created the heavens and the Earth, man sinned and the Lord  cursed His handiwork because of it (Genesis 3:14-24).   It’s been that way ever since.

Some time in the future, God is going to unleash a massive punishment of mankind for the continued rebellion.  Revelation gives an amazing pictures of  ugly locusts with the power to sting being released from a deep, smoking pit to torture people.  It also reveals that huge amounts of people will be killed by a massive army (Revelation 9:1-19).

With all this judgment, you would think people would turn from their evil ways and humble themselves before God. Not so.  Despite all this chaos, Revelation says that the survivors will continue to worship money, kill others and stteal from them,  and engage in the occult and sexual immorality (Revelation 9:20-21).

It doesn’t have to be this way.  When God or other persons who are telling us the truth correct us, we can respond to them and repent.  Truth that corrects brings life (Proverbs 15:31).

Our world may be broken and our own hearts and bodies  may break.  However, I am sure there is One whose powerful  hands and arms don’t break.  He can heal. We can turn over a new leaf.

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“Lead me, O LORD, in your righteousness because of my enemies— 
make straight your way before me. Not a word from their mouth can be trusted; their heart is filled with destruction. Their throat is an open grave; 
with their tongue they speak deceit (Psalm 5:8,9).”

I know a lot of people these days who are ín a period of change.  Some of them have had it forced on them, and others are choosing to move in a different direction.  Others do not have the resources to change, but want  to. Perhaps they are bored, dislike where they live or work, or even feel threatened.  A general theme with most of these people is that they aren’t really sure how to make the change or know what to change to.    

Jesus is a great source of advice when it comes to making changes.  He once met a woman who was tossed in front of Him by a group of religious leaders.  They had caught her in an act of adultery and wanted to know what Jesus thought should be done with her.  After shaming the religious leaders with His wisdom He did not condemn the woman, but advised her to change. What she needed to change was her behavior (John 8:11).  You would think this would be clear to the woman, but Proverbs says that an adulteress doesn’t give thought to her direction, doesn’t even know her behavior is wrong (Proverbs 5:6).  So she needed somone like Jesus to guide her.  She initially had change forced on her, but thanks to Jesus she was now free to make some choices in her life.

After the incident with the leaders and this woman, Jesus gave a talk in which He called Himself  “the light of the world”, the way out of darkness.  (John  8:12).   He told his áudiencealso that if they listened to Him they would be set free and if they acknowledged Him as coming from God, then God would be their Father.

But His audience would have none of it.  They challenged Him, “dissed” Him, and threatened Him.  Jesus might as well have been speakíng a foreign language. In fact, He was. The people were listening to their real father, the devil. They couldn’t understand Jesus, nor even realize they were Satan’s offspring.  The devil’s native tongue,”Lying”, made it impossible to understand Jesus’s language “Truth”.  The people couldn’t understand the truth, nor could they speak it.  They couldn’t see it when its embodiment was right in front of them.  Jesus said that their refusal to change from allegiance to the devil to following Him would eventually prove eternally fatal (John 8:24).

There is an old truth from Japan which says, “If we do not hear, see or speak evil, we ourselves shall be spared all evil.”  It is thought to be the source of a popular phrase, “Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil”, the one associated with three monkeys covering their ears, eyes and mouths. 

This is a good principle.  Avoiding evil will help us unlearn the devil’s language.  We may in fact have been so immersed in it that when we try to communicate with God about our lives, there is too much static.  Satan is still there whispering our native language in our ears while God is trying to speak.  Not only do we need to completely unlearn the devil’s language, we need to be fluent in God’s.  This will help us understand God’s instructions and make the kind of change He wants.

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