The Truth Principal

Buy the truth and do not sell it; get wisdom, discipline, and understanding. Proverbs 23:23


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God’s Living and Active Word

As I write this, I am sitting in the Wichita airport, waiting for my flight back home. I have been visiting my family to attend the funeral of my aunt, my mom’s only sister. It was a wonderful time with family, remembering a life well lived to the glory of God. I’m at the age when I have many loved ones already in heaven. It makes you consider your own mortality and realize how fleeting this life is. I think of this life as a “qualifying race”. It is when we make our choice whether we will live for Christ or reject Him, and when we prove our love and devotion. We sometimes live as if this is THE life, but it’s not. THE life is in eternity. Not that this life is not important; it is. But it pales in light of eternity.

While I have been here this week, I have also been reading through the gospel of John with a friend. We read a chapter a day and meditate on it and share our thoughts daily through email. While I have been here, we have read John 3-6. In John 3 Jesus talks to Nicodemus and the importance of eternal life and how it is obtained (by believing in Him). Yesterday, in John 5:28-29 I read, “Don’t be so surprised! Indeed, the time is coming when all the dead in their graves will hear the voice of God’s Son, and they will rise again. Those who have done good will rise to experience eternal life, and those who have continued in evil will rise to experience judgment.” (NLT) Yesterday, as we buried my aunt, I was also at the grave of my sweet mother, aunts, uncles, and grandparents. What a precious verse, knowing all of these precious family members will be reunited with me some day!

If you read the Bible faithfully, no doubt you have had this experience. It seems, wherever you are reading in God’s Word, it was meant for you that day. Hebrews 4:12 tells us that God’s Word is living or alive and active. When I find God’s Word reaching out and speaking to my particular situation, I think of this verse. His Word is not some dead old manuscript. It is alive and active! It is always and continually relevant because it is truth that comes from an eternal, unchanging God. Those who live by it, know this is true.

There was another part of John 5:29 that I pondered yesterday. “Those who have done good will rise to experience eternal life, and those who have continued in evil will rise to experience judgment.” This should alarm us! We have loved ones who we know have rejected Christ. Today, in John 6:44 it says, For no one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them to me, and at the last day I will raise them up.” We should both be sharing the gospel with those who don’t know Christ and praying that the Father would draw them to Him. When you gave your life to Jesus, didn’t you have a sense of being drawn to Him? I fear we lack concern and urgency with the lost.

I want to challenge myself and you, to continue to read God’s Word daily, listening to His voice, and unabashedly and lovingly sharing truth with the lost souls around us.

At this point many of his disciples turned away and deserted him.  Then Jesus turned to the Twelve and asked, “Are you also going to leave?”

Simon Peter replied, “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words that give eternal life.  We believe, and we know you are the Holy One of God.”

John 6:66-69

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Entitlement Christianity

What does it mean to be entitled? It means to have an intrinsic right or claim to, usually because of position or birth. The president is entitled to certain rights and privileges that are inherent to the office of president, such as round-the-clock secret service protection. In our society, entitlement has come to mean “deserving” something that you haven’t earned either because of your race, your gender, or other socioeconomic class, your desire to have it, or for no particular reason at all except someone else has it and therefore you “should” too.  At least, that’s how it appears to me. At its core, entitlement is self-centeredness.

Recently, I have become disappointed by how vastly the entitlement mentality has infected Christians. It’s everywhere and so often, we don’t even recognize it. It is glaring in my children’s generation. I have thought about this a lot. This is the generation whose parents worried about damaging their self-esteem. So little girls were treated like princesses and they grew up to think they actually were and everyone should treat them as such. Competition was frowned upon (“it would hurt their self-esteem to lose”) so everyone got a trophy they didn’t earn. Those same children, all grown up, think they should always win, and because they haven’t had the experience of losing and losing and finally winning because of hard work, skill, effort, and perseverance, they give up easily. There is no reward quite like winning after so much struggle, but in order to avoid a little pain and tears along the way, we robbed them of this joy. We made their whole childhood about them, and now, remarkably, we are surprised that they still believe it. All of our foibles in parenting were done with such good intentions, but we allowed societal and church fads and trends to lead us.

Ultimately, regardless of who our parents were or how well we parented, every person makes their own choices about who they are and what they allow to define them. We have all seen people from terrible home situations overcome their past to be thoughtful, productive, gracious, loving people. We have likewise seen people raised in loving homes with every benefit waste their lives in laziness, addiction, or empty and self-centered pursuits. And we know that, by God’s grace, when we give our life to Him, we become a new creature; new things have come. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

As I have been thinking about this plague of entitlement alongside my theme of obedience, they keep intersecting. God calls us to a life that is completely opposite of entitlement. If anyone has a legitimate claim to entitlement, it would be Jesus, the King of kings. And yet…

For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give his life as a ransom for many.”  Matthew 20:28

You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.

 Though he was God,
    he did not think of equality with God
    as something to cling to.
 Instead, he gave up his divine privileges
    he took the humble position of a slave
    and was born as a human being.
When he appeared in human form,
     he humbled himself in obedience to God
    and died a criminal’s death on a cross.

Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor
    and gave him the name above all other names,
 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
 and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father.

Philippians 2:5-11 

He gave up his divine privileges. Can you imagine? No person on earth, no matter how rich or powerful, can even come close to having what Christ gave up. This is amazing. And He gave it up for us – to serve and save us – not because we are “entitled” but simply because of His great love for us, love that we don’t deserve.

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me.”  Matthew 16:24