To venable (verb): To randomly muse upon this and that.

Archive for the ‘Truth’ Category

Christmas Every Day

Roy Wood and Wizzard first opined back in 1973 that “I wish it could be Christmas every day”. The sentiment underlying the song was that Christmas was too good to be restricted to one day, or one part, of the year. I want to assert to my own soul, and to all other fellow believers, that this is a theme we should embrace ourselves as well.

It’s three days after Christmas Day now and in a sense Christmas is over. As a result we can be inclined to start to pack away all of the reminders about the incarnation. And weren’t they really just for unbelievers anyway, because it is they who need to know about one who came to save. But no surely this is all wrong.

It should be Christmas every day for us as Christians. We should be marvelling day by day about the reality of Christ our Lord being incarnate in the womb of Mary. It is a key ingredient of the faith once delivered to the saints that Mary was found with child by the Holy Spirit.

Having Christmas is good because it makes us once a year trip over the immense realities of Jesus coming into the world. However, it is a problem because it can mean that we “park” the doctrine of the Virgin Birth and the major implications of that doctrine for most of the year.

This is so very much wrong and we should make sure that we aver that we see this as a trap that we do not want to fall into. We do want it to be Christmas everyday. In a sense we need it to be Christmas everyday.  So as we move our of 2019 and into 2020 let us determiner to celebrate Christmas every day. We will be much benefited in understanding our faith and living out our faith, if that is the case.

I have written more fully about these matters here.

Laziness and Ignorance

It is because believers are lazy and ignorant that we do not experience more and more in our souls the visits of grace and the dawnings of eternal glory.” (The Glory of Christ: John Owen p.10).

Mmmmmh that makes me think about where I am at spiritually. So here are some observations:

Christianity does not just happen to people. There is a necessary and purposeful seeking after that which is of God. There is a determination to acquire the Lord for our souls’ welfare. We read scriptures like:

  • From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and the violent take it by force (Matt. 11:12).
  • Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it (Psalm 34:14).
  • “Seek the Lord while he may be found; call upon him while he is near (Is. 55:6).

We must attend to the means of grace. Bible reading, prayer and fellowship are the necessities for spiritual progress. A lack of attention to these things guarantees spiritual inertness. All Christians need to be attending church and learning and growing in fellowship with another. And how about your personal time of drawing close to the Lord through prayer and the Word; how is that going?

We should be passionate about growing in our knowing. Spiritual laxity is often covered over by the attributing of too much to the Holy Spirit. We need to set ourselves to learn that we can’t just sit back and expect the Holy Spirit to insert knowledge into our beings through osmosis.

We have settled for too little. We have drifted into a Christianity which says this is as much as we are going to get. So we have little appreciation of His ways and a shallow understanding of His salvation and our future glory. And yet, I am persuaded that God has so much more for us to experience.

So let us rise up to know the Lord and in our knowing to be full of worship and passionate service of Him who is Lord.

Bible Project

I want to recommend the video overviews of each book of the Bible which are produced by The Bible Project

Here is the link. The videos are towards the bottom of the page.

In a short space of time they reveal so much truth in a ways which are accessible. Please use them and recommend them; they are such a valuable asset for the church.

For anyone who wants to get into into serious Bible Study they are invaluable. And every Christian should want to do that because every Christian should want to know God. And we can only know God through solid Bible study.

Red-Letter Bibles

They really should be banned should they not? That is red-letter bibles. I understand the good intentions behind them to have the words of Christ our Lord highlighted so that special attention is drawn to them. And it is beautiful to know of the words actually spoken by our Saviour.

However, the big cost is found in the fact that all other scripture is regarded as being “also-rans”. Yes it is a Word from the Lord, but is is not as good as the Word of our Lord Jesus. This is just no good. Paul tells Timothy and us. that All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work (2 Tim. 3:16-17).

The words spoken by our Lord are not more important than other words recorded in scripture. They are all equally part of the revelation that the Lord has given to us in His Word.

This also saves us from all false notions about how Paul or Peter had a lesser view, or alternative view, of the faith. Not at all! They all stand on a level with our Lord Jesus in terms of revealing the same faith.

This has to be so because it is the same God who spoke through the apostles who also spoke in Jesus Christ.

Accordingly, we receive the Word as one whole Word from our Lord.

Daily Bread

As part of the pattern prayer delivered to us by our Lord He instructed us to pray Give us this day our daily bread (Matt 6:11). There are two key principles underlying this petition and we do well to have them firmly implanted in our lives.

Necessity

We are called to ask for our daily bread. We are not called to ask for our daily chocolate biscuits or crisps or whatever. It is bread we are called to ask for. Bread was the staple of the diet at the time of our Lord’s ministry. Bread was necessary to survive physically. Accordingly, the Lord is saying that we should ask that the Lord would give us what is necessary for the maintaining of our lives.

What we are being taught is that it is not our wants or our whims that we should be praying for. It is our needs.

Physical food must be included here and so we can literally ask our Father for our daily bread. However, it also, no doubt, should also include other aspects of physical and practical necessities in our lives such as clothes and housing.

Moreover, when we think about necessities in our lives we are led to think of the words of our Lord who said quoting from Deuteronomy 8:3: Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” (Matt. 4:4b). There is a more profound bread that we are in profound need of and that is the bread of the Word of Life. We need to be fed in our souls on the wholesome nourishing Word of the Lord. We should be praying that this should be the case everyday.

But let us never forget in our studying of that Word that the One who is the focus of that book is the Bread of Life. In John 6:35: Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.We need to ask everyday that we would be having our Lord Jesus, through the Word, nourishing our lives.

Dependence

The fact that we have to ask for “daily bread” and ask for it “this day” means that each day we have to come afresh. We are not bidden to ask for six months supply. But rather we are called to ask for a daily supply. Everyday I must come again and ask for His supply.

This applies in every realm of the necessary bread required for our lives. Even though I may have a freezer full of food. I should continually be aware that I cannot presume on tomorrow. Everyday I need to come and acknowledge the Lord as the giver.

Moreover with the spiritual food from the written Word I need to come every day for fresh supply from His store. Yesterday’s food was for yesterday. Now we need today’s food. Any food left-over from the previous day putrefied.

The experience of the nation of Israel in the provision of the manna was a clear example of this principle. To find out more read Exodus 16. Daily, except on the sabbath, they had to go and get their daily food. Any food left-over from the previous day putrefied. They had to learn to depend on God everyday.

We live in a society where we are encouraged to be self-dependent so that we might be self-made. The Lord’s prayer teaches us, in the request for daily bread petition, that we need to be God-dependant and God-made.

 

Tell the Truth

Are you a truth person? If you call yourself a Christian and are not a truth person then you must question yourself about whether you are a Christian or not! This is because our whole faith is a truth faith. Our God is a God of truth; He is the God who does not lie (Tit. 1:2b). He commands His people  ‘You shall not give false testimony against your neighbour (Ex. 20:16). And our Saviour is of course the who is the way, the truth and the life (see John 14:6).

So let us be careful as regards to our attitude to the truth. I put it to you that we should be:

  • Accurate. Our words should accurately describe what we have seen or heard.
  • Clear. We should go to great lengths to make sure that our words convey the accuracy that we seek. Some of us are given to expressing ourselves more clearly than others. But all of us should strive to be clear in what we convey
  • Consistent. We should be those who maintain our understanding of a situation. We should not be those who judge the truth by the face we face. What I mean is that many people fit the truth to the person they are speaking to. This is so as to be acceptable to all. Rather, the Christian should speak the truth without any thought or reference to popularity or convenience. Others are just casual and cause confusion through not being thoughtful about their accuracy and clarity. This leads to an inconsistency which us unacceptable for a Christian.

And finally remember these words from Proverbs 6:16-19:

There are six things the Lord hates,
    seven that are detestable to him:
       haughty eyes,
        a lying tongue,
        hands that shed innocent blood,
         a heart that devises wicked schemes,
        feet that are quick to rush into evil,
         a false witness who pours out lies
        and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.

Who Can You Trust?

Of course, you cannot trust anyone nowadays, can you? Is that true? Alas, as a general statement, it is only too true. However, you should be able to trust a Christian. In fact, if someone professes to be a Christian and is not trustworthy then they are showing that they have no right to call themselves a Christian.

We live in a society where people show themselves up to be increasingly untrustworthy. People respond to situations on the basis of what will bring the best outcome for themselves. Accordingly, if they have to lie to achieve this or get involved in so deceitful manoeuvring then they see that there is nothing wrong with this. But the Christian should not be like that? A Christian should be trustworthy.

Why is it that a true Christian is of trustworthy character? It is because they fear God. A Christian has been brought to know God. A Christian knows God as Father. The world operates according to self—interest because, “there is no fear of God before their eyes” (Rom. 3:18). But the Christian fears God. He has a deep respect for God. He does not want to offend God. And our God is a trustworthy God who hates lies and deceitful manoeuvrings. In what ways then does a Christian show themselves to be trustworthy? He/she should be:

Honest Christians are people of truth. We glory in truth. Our faith is founded on the Man who is truth. Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life” (John 14:6). Therefore we tell the truth; we are honest people. And the ninth commandment of our God is, “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbour” (Ex. 20:16). Moreover, there is condemnation for the liar. One of the categories of people, “consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulphur” (Rev. 21:8), is liars.

It has to be asserted as well that a Christian does not just tell the truth when it is convenient. The default position is to be accurate in representing the reality of situations always. Hard circumstances and potential personal harm do not force a true follower of Christ to divert from the truth. Let us hear this proverb Whoever walks in integrity walks securely, but whoever takes crooked paths will be found out (Prov. 10:9). Some people tell you what you want to hear (and then tell someone else something different because they reckon that is what they want to hear). Are you like that? Surely, it is not proper to act like that as a follower of the Lord of truth.

Reliable In Psalm 15 we have the description of the person who dwells in God’s holy presence. One statement concerning this person is that the person is one:

who keeps an oath even when it hurts,
and does not change their mind”
(Psalm 15:4b).

The true follower of Christ is reliable. They are not forced to give up truth because that truth now puts them in a difficult situation. In the world people happily break their word if they realise that it puts them at a disadvantage. The Christian is not like that. We keep our word always.

However, there may well be times when we are not able to keep a certain commitment. Circumstances may well develop which mean that we can no longer keep an appointment, for example. In such a circumstance we contact whoever may be affected by our failure to keep the appointment. Moreover we apologise for our failure as appropriate.

Consistent With some people you do not know where you are at with them. One day they will be saying this and the next day they will be saying that. One day they will be taking a certain position on an issue and the next day they will be taking an alternative position. In our lives we are to show forth something of the life of Christ who was utterly consistent. He had a purpose in coming to this world and He kept to it. He came to show forth the glory of God in all His ways. This should be our desire.

Paul’s injunction to Titus follows that line. In respect of the the younger men he was to, “In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us” (Titus 2:7-8). May we seek to be men and women of such character.

So are you a trustworthy person? Or are you just following the lies, unreliability and inconsistency of the world. As the world becomes increasingly godless so should our Christian lives shine the more brightly. So let us be trustworthy people, “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matt. 5:14-16).

(Taken from the Feltham Evangelical Church newsletter of March 2014).

 

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