Truth and Opinion

Opinions are cheap and endless. They’re printed, posted, tweeted, spoken, and advertised; but at the end of it all, these words will still be true:

“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bring forth its fruit in due season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.

The ungodly are not so, but are like the chaff which the wind drives away. Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the ungodly shall perish.” – Psalm 1:1-6 NKJV

As believers, we must choose to focus our attention on the refreshing truth of God and not worry over the presence of the misguided; no matter how loud and obnoxious they are. Their apparent “wins” can unsettle the peace within us if we allow them to, but God says the way of the unrighteous will perish and their shouting is just the noise of a doomed agenda.

So what opinions are influencing you today and from what source do they come?

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Lines in the Sand

When a culture trades truth for compromise, the concept of drawing a moral “line in the sand” is considered extreme. However, in a similar environment, Joshua (leader of the Hebrews after Moses) made a bold statement doing exactly that. Take a look:

“And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the river, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”     – Joshua 24:15 NKJV

Joshua’s statement in verse 15 comes after a brief recounting of God’s faithfulness to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Moses. It wasn’t a random comment. It was a deliberate, bold statement representing the way he led his household; which was to follow God’s standards, instead of carnal, pleasure-centered idolatry.

The truth is, an obedient life has always been a contrast to the lost world. It’s been true since the beginning when Abel’s life contrasted Cain’s.

So where are your lines? Have you taken a stand and said “As for me and my house…”? It’s not a phrase to be uttered or displayed lightly – “Choose for yourselves this day…”

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Wisdom 13.20

“He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers harm.” – Proverbs 13:20 NIV

Over time, peers can influence our values, hopes, and dreams. The ideas and suggestions most often discussed around us will eventually affect choices, and the consequences that follow. So, when it comes to friends and mentors – choose “the voices in your head” wisely.

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There is No Other

In the lead up to Christmas, it’s good to pause and linger on some of words that were part of the prophetic proclamations of Isaiah. Along with the Messianic promises, God paints a vivid image of His character through the pen of the prophet.

“Remember the former things, those of long ago,
I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is none like Me.”

(The gods of this world are dead. The belief systems of this world are powerless, but our God is unmatched and indescribable…)

“I make known the end from the beginning,
from ancient times, what is still to come.
I say: My purpose will stand,
and I will do all that I please.”

(From the start, He saw both ends of time. His ways are unpredictable and beyond our limits…)

“From the east I summon a bird of prey;
from a far-off land, a man to fulfill my purpose.
What I have said, that will I bring about;
what I have planned, that will I do.” – Isaiah 46:9-11 NIV

(His word is sure, His heart is true, His hand is steady, and His way is best!)

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Advent – Week 2 – “Love”

The word “love” in the Bible carries many meanings, but when associated with God’s love for us, it’s always pure, selfless, and enduring. In I John, there are many verses explaining how God loves us, how we’re to love Him, and how we’re to love others. They may sound poetic, but they’re not lofty verses reserved for theoretical application, they’re gritty, earthy words meant to change the way we think and live. Consider a few of them:

“In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” – I John 4:10 NKJV

“And this commandment we have from Him; that he who loves God must love his brother also.” – I John 4:21 NKJV

“For this is what love for God is; to keep His commands.” – I John 5:3a HCSB

May Godly love be present in our lives and shown to others as we celebrate “the most wonderful time of the year”!

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Anchor Points of Encouragement

Our souls long to know there’s more to life than what we see.

In the daily routine, there can be ups, downs, boredom and excitement. Relationships can bring encouragement, but also discouragement and the first century Christians knew the taste of both. Although, there was a kindred spirit among believers, they also knew what it was like for the tide of public opinion to turn against them. They experienced betrayal, dishonesty, abandonment, threats and rejection by those who once welcomed them.

Peter, a man who knew the highs and lows of a spiritual journey, wrote letters of encouragement and challenge. He had first-hand knowledge of personal failure, but he wrote these great words to remind us how to soar:

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away, reserved for you in heaven.” – 1 Peter 1:3-4 NKJV

If your spiritual foundation needs strengthening today, perhaps the following anchor points will help secure it. There is:

  • Abundant mercy (lavish and gracious)
  • Living hope (alive and new every morning)
  • Inheritance incorruptible (untouchable by the world)
  • Reserved for you (He knows your name)

May these truths encourage your spirit today…

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Lyrics of the Soul

There’s something about music that “strikes a chord” within us. Some people are more naturally “musical”, but all of us have the capacity to “sing” within our souls. It may be the verses of an old hymn from childhood, a praise chorus from church, or the rhythmic words of an ancient Hebrew psalm. For Isaiah the Prophet, it was a natural reflection of what His heart knew was true (regardless of the world around him). At his commissioning, he had seen the throne of God and the glory of His presence. His assignment was during dark times in a country filled with evil people, but he KNEW in his heart that Jehovah was still sovereign! He may or may not have been inherently musical, but his heart knew how to sing and he instructs those of us who love God to give praise. Consider:

“Praise the Lord, call upon His name; declare His deeds among the peoples, make mention that His name is exalted. Sing to the Lord, for He has done excellent things; this is known in all the earth.” – Isaiah 12:4-5 NKJV

What are the lyrics of your soul today? Is there a rhythm of praise? Sometimes joyful praise seems natural, and other times not so much. Hebrews 11:15 reminds us to offer the “sacrifice of praise” and “thanks to His name”. “Sing to the Lord, for He has done excellent things…”

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