An Unalterable Truth

Given the present turmoil of our society, truth seems ambiguous. A floundering concept too shifting to readily grasp, let alone hold onto, as it slips through groping fingers like grains of sand. Solid as granite one minute, then morphing to vapor once a person attempts to take a stand upon it. But the catchword of this falsity is found in those five little letters that spell out “seems.”

Like it or not, the reality of truth is set in just that . . . the reality of truth, regardless of how things “seem.”

No matter the temptation to believe otherwise, truth is certain. Unalterable. Unthreatened by the changing tides of political correctness which could mean one thing today and another tomorrow.

Truth stands even when things my eyes behold make me wonder if it hasn’t upped and packed its bags, moved on to greener pastures — pastures mysteriously devoid of the manure of the masses. At least that’s what I would do. Pack up and move to a place where all is sunshine and rainbows without the acid rain of a world replete with sin’s toxic fallout.

But, thankfully, truth chooses to stay. Standing secure, day after day. Unaffected by the changes occurring all around it. No matter that I am.

Truth continues through the messy and the undefinable. Boldly taking its stance when I’m filled with more questions than answers. Daring me to believe its rightness even when it must go to war with my emotions. Because, let’s face it, truth doesn’t always match up with one’s feelings. But thankfully, it is tenacious enough to withstand them. And to conquer them, albeit sometimes with what appears to be agonizing slowness, as it confronts and overcomes fallacy after fallacy with its relentlessness.

Though life is fleeting, I live with a truth that is timeless. Wrapped in the blood-drenched package of Calvary’s sacrifice, purchased with pierced hands and wounded back of a Savior determined to thrust me from harm’s reach at the expense of His own. A sprawling truth stretching across continents, reaching deep into the worst of cultures, into the blackest of human souls, and extinguishing darkness with the torch of grace. Illuminating the hearts of sinner after sinner and calling them into the light as saints.

Rescued.

Renamed.

Chosen.

Kept.

Perhaps most astounding of all is the keeping power truth exerts, despite our best efforts to discard it.

Truth holds steady when everything within and without trembles and quakes. In this place of too much and not enough. In the quiet and the clamor. Through the calm or the chaotic. When faced with too many options and not enough filling.

With every cry of “Who am I?” the world is hungering for one answer . . . Truth.

My own cries join with the masses as I continue to pen question after question. Tentatively wondering when the answers will come, and if I will recognize them when they do.

Yet still trusting enough to voice them.

Trusting Father hears when my heart is prone to doubt.

Resting in the calm assurance that He has not turned His back on a world that has seemingly turned its own on Him.

I wonder.

I pray.

I trust.

I choose.

Hanging my hopes beside a crown of thorns.

Waiting in the shadow of Cross beams for a glimpse of resurrection’s final dawn.

I side myself with truth and stand with lifted eyes.

© MereWhispers.wordpress.com

 

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To Walk the Ancient Paths: An Advent Devotional – Day Three

From the promise of a Messiah to come as penned in the final book of the Old Testament, to the opening words recording Jesus’ lineage in the New Testament, we step into a world that has mostly forgotten God. It is estimated that by the time of Christ’s birth, of the 300 million people in the world, there was little evidence of more than limited thousands being faithful followers of the Creator God. Four hundred years of silence between the Old and New Testaments allowed for four hundred years of forgetfulness and neglect to take root and flourish. Plenty of time to become enmeshed in the affairs of this life rather than cling to the truths revealed in centuries past. Ample opportunity to forfeit hope to the ever-present futility of trying to make one’s own way, responding more to the external religiosity of the day rather than to the inward reality of a life transformed by God’s love and faithfulness.

Hmm . . . sound familiar?

When God seems slow to speak, rather than patiently wait, we all too quickly fill the silence. After all, it seems awkward to allow the lack of communication to continue. So instead of waiting for the right words to come from the One who is all wise, we senselessly babble our way through life, filling the quiet with counterfeits of “Well, what I think God means is. . .” or “I would imagine God would want you to be happy, no matter . . . ” or any number of self-declared God-speak. In short, we insert our own desires into the silence — something, anything to take the edge off the difficult navigation of living holy through the stillness.

Please tell me I’m not the only one who can get so wrapped up in asking God to speak to me that I fail to listen to what He has already said. I’m sure I have at least a few partakers in this with me.

Distracted in seeking a new word, we forfeit the ancient truths already spoken. Wanting something more in touch with the times of current culture, we neglect the age-worn paths which have proven effective in times past. Perhaps the crux of the matter is we don’t so much want God’s truth as much as we want His stamp of approval on our life decisions, even when they run contrary to His commands. Political correctness is not just a system now prolific in our nation, it has overtaken the culture of God’s people. One wandering life at a time. Instead of following hard after truth, we pacify our sinful natures with placebos the world hands out like Halloween candy to children masquerading as something they are not.

Hebrews 2:1-3 is a wake-up call warning us of the importance of our precarious position:
So we must listen carefully to the truth we have heard, or we may drift away from it. For the message God delivered through angels has always stood firm, and every violation of the law and every act of disobedience was punished. So what makes us think we can escape if we ignore this great salvation that was first announced by the Lord Jesus himself and then delivered to us by those who heard Him Speak?

As God’s beloved children, we must listen carefully to the truth we have heard, or we may drift away from it. The tides of immorality are swirling, and much like they were in the days between Malachi and Matthew, God’s people are succumbing to the undertow. Because God seems silent to our ears today,  we refuse to remember the words He has already spoken. The Church does not need a new rendition of the Bible; it needs to stand solidly on the Word that is already in place. We need to remember Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

This is the direction of God’s will for us — to remember Him. And to live in ways that adhere to His word and emulate His nature. If you find yourself feeling restless today, wondering what you should do, how you should respond to a particular temptation, or what you are to believe about a “truth” that somehow doesn’t ring quite true, I encourage you to go back to what has already been spoken.

This is what the LORD says: “Stop at the crossroads and look around. Ask for the old, godly way, and walk in it. Travel its path, and you will find rest for your souls. But you reply, ‘No, that’s not the road we want!’ — Jeremiah 6:16

The Bible is filled with ageless wisdom still relevant for overcoming today’s problems, but seeking it out will require both your effort and your compliance. It may lead you to a crossroads where you have to take a good, hard look at your life and answer a few honest questions about yourself. It may mean giving up some selfish desires you’ve been pursuing or turning from a sinful habit in your life. My prayer is that you will meet God in these moments of truth. That this crossroads will find you setting your feet firmly upon the ancient paths and walking toward righteousness, enabled by the One who keeps His covenant to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commands.

Where is it you really wish to travel?

crossroads1-1FOR REFLECTION
The directive from Jeremiah 6:16 was spoken to Israel, yet they chose to ignore it. They stubbornly clung to their own way of living and reaped the consequences of a nation separated from God. The same choice is before you and me today. We have the option of accepting its encouragement or not. While the choice is left to the individual, the consequences will be much more far-reaching. How you respond to truth today will play out in the lives of the people surrounding you, for generations to come. If you choose to look for God’s truth with an open mind, you will see Him faithfully pull you from error and teach you the way of life. But you have to be willing to listen and to walk in the way He directs. Are you really willing to do that?  What is your response to the crossroads before you today? What steps can you take toward strengthening your footing upon the ancient paths of truth?

An Invitation to Advent: Day One

What you and I need is usually not a brand-new teaching. Brand-new truths are probably not truths. What we need are reminders about the greatness of the old truths. We need someone to say an old truth in a fresh way. Or sometimes, just to say it.

This excerpt from the preface of John Piper’s book The Dawning of Indestructible Joy caught my attention. For unknown reasons, my heart has been gently stirred toward sharing devotional thoughts throughout this Advent season. Not that I have anything new to say on the subject of remembering and anticipating the arrival of the Christ child already come, but sometimes we need to rehear truth.

We need someone to say an old truth in a fresh way. Or sometimes, just to say it.

My words shared here will most likely fall under the description of the latter. I may not cause one to wonder at the eloquence of my syntax, but I pray you will be captured again by the wonder of truth retold. For while the realities of joy and peace and hope cannot be taken away from those who are in Christ, I daresay our awareness of and response to them can be lulled to sleep. If you’re anything like me, you may need to be reawakened to wonder — to have your soul stirred to the miraculous glad tidings of great joy — the presence of Immanuel come. To stay.

I invite you to join me on this journey through the month of December as we open hearts wide to receive anew this great joy that is for all people. How sad if we stand before the miracle of Christmas and feel nothing but the hustle and bustle the world throws our way. How awful if, in our busy holiday schedule, we overlook the very One whose life we profess to celebrate.

So the Word became human and made His home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen His glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son… From His abundance we all have received one gracious blessing after another. For the law was given through Moses, but God’s unfailing love and faithfulness came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. But the one and only Son is Himself God and is near to the Father’s heart. He has revealed God to us.  — John 1:14,16-18, NLT

What an incredible wonder – God come to us to reveal Himself through the person of Jesus Christ. But not just for a mere thirty-three years’ life span. When Immanuel was birthed into His earthly role, He came with eternal goals in mind. He came to bring good news of great joy for all people and to break the chains of death which had hovered over creation since the fall of Adam and Eve. When Jesus descended to earth, it was to save mankind for keeps.

The Savior came to claim us with His presence and to transform us daily and forever by the power of His Holy Spirit within us. Did you get that? He didn’t just come near us; He came to live in us, setting up shop to change us from the inside out so that we could not only see His glory, but so we would reveal it to others by living a new life in Christ. Never more to live without hope. No longer struggling through life without peace. But chosen and called to declare His praises with every breath breathed on this side of eternity . . . and beyond.

This Advent, I invite you to join me in a holy soaking. I pray we fall so deeply into the wonder of this Good News that we are overcome by the great joy He has promised. I hope you personalize this gift, realizing in deeper measure than ever before that this joy is for you. Whether your holiday preparations find you breathlessly scrambling to prepare for a celebration with a multitude of folks or if it is yet another heavy and grievous reminder of your loneliness, I pray you see Jesus above it all. I pray you turn your heart heavenward. May you take a deep breath and quiet yourself to wait in restful anticipation of His coming even as you invite His holy presence to be present with you in every moment of this Christmas season.

Lift up your head, dear one, and look. I mean, really look for Jesus in these moments that surround you, wherever you may find yourself (especially if where you are is not exactly where you wish to be). He is here. He is with you. And He is inviting you to invite Him to come and stay for awhile. To linger long and to fill you in on His best kept secret.

And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you the assurance of sharing His glory.
– Colossians 1:27b

What we need are reminders about the greatness of the old truths. We need someone to say an old truth in a fresh way. Or sometimes, just to say it.

Let this be your reminder.

May the wonder of Advent be birthed in your heart beginning today.

FOR REFLECTION
Colossians 1:26-27 shares the message that had been hidden for centuries but was now revealed to God’s people so they would know that the riches and glory of Christ are meant for everyone, Jews and Gentiles alike. And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you the assurance of sharing His glory. Think on that and personalize it for yourself: Christ in me. The Hope of the Ages; The Light of the world; Savior and Redeemer . . .  in me. What is your response to realizing the secret of Jesus in you? How will believing this truth affect the way you live today?

img_5899NOTE: This exploration of Scripture is happening on a daily basis in my life. It has not been thought out ahead of time nor will it follow the traditional readings you would likely find in writings on the subject of Advent. I tend to “bunny trail” in my study time, so who knows where the Lord will take us. I’ll do my best to post daily up until Christmas, but if I miss a day or two, please bear with me. I hope you enjoy and are encouraged by this journey, but more importantly, I hope you rediscover the wonder of Christmas’s King. Immanuel has come, my friend. He is here, and He is coming again. That’s a timeless truth worth retelling.