Truth Lies in God

05/01/2010

Where are the devil’s lies in what we believe and in what we think about each day? Where’s God’s truth in all of it? We all struggle between the true and false thoughts that run through our brains. What if each time we started to get sucked into the lies, the misconceptions, and a skewed view of things, we counteracted it with the Truth? I’m talking about Truth with a capital “T,” God’s Truth that we learn in His Word. What then? Could we live victoriously each day? I believe so because the devil has no defense against, “It is written,” he is rendered powerless!

But you belong to God, my dear children.
You have already won a victory over those people,
because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than
the spirit who lives in the world. 1 John 4:4 (NLT)

I just heard this morning on, “Wednesdays with Beth,” (Beth Moore) that while her daughter was looking through some cancer brochures, she said to her mom, “God knows it’s scary to be us.” Beth said it was one of the most profound statements she has ever heard outside of the Bible. I have to agree. Life can be very scary…when we think about illness, accidents, natural disasters, finances, decision making, changes that come, you name it…there are a whole lot of unknowns out there that we can fear. And we do fear, and we will, unless we pray and depend upon the promises of God to see us through this life—and the only way to do that is to know what those promises are. We have to know what the Truth is and what we can depend upon God for, how we can rest in Him, and how we can walk through this scary world one step at a time holding tightly to His hand.

I know the Lord is always with me.
I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me.
Pslam 16:8 (NLT)

I just got back from vacation, and I had a great time, but my first day back to work I was literally shaking. Why? I’m not really sure. Yes, I am in a new profession. Yes, I’ve only been on the job six months, but I have been cutting hair for 30 years on family and friends, so what’s so different about doing it in a shop? I don’t know, but there I was, hands shaking with my first customer upon returning. The haircut turned out fine, my manager even said so, but I laughed with her afterwards as I told her I was shaking. She said the same thing happens to her. She gets back from vacation, and sort of forgets what it is she does. That’s the way it felt…. “What is it that I do here? How does this work?” How quickly we forget, but how quickly we can get right back into the swing of things in life when we refocus on the job at hand. We can do the same with God, if we will only begin again, do the thing we have been taught in days gone by and refocus on God if we’ve drifted away…then we will not be shaken.

I talked with my brother the other day, he seemed uptight, angry, agitated. I could hear it in his voice even before he told me what was going on. I listened, and at the end of the conversation I asked him if he’d been reading his Bible. I could “see” his smile through the phone, I could hear him pause before he answered, “Well, no…not lately,” he answered. I already knew his answer before I asked the question, because I could tell he was “shaken,” he was forgetting that the Lord was “right beside” him. Just a few days later I met up with my brother, he got into my car with a smile on his face, and he said, “I have to thank you…” He told me, “You know, I don’t always understand what I read in the Bible, but I opened it up and read it anyway, and something happened, I started to feel better.”

For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than
the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit,
between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.
Hebrews 4:12 (NLT)

“Whatever your doubts, ask the Holy Spirit to confront them with biblical truth.”
Charles Stanley

The Bible doesn’t lie, but Satan does. Satan will fill our brains full of gobblety-gook, and then whip our thoughts up into a frenzy until we won’t know which way to turn in life, or even if life is worth living sometimes. It’s not that my brother didn’t have stuff going on in his life, things were difficult, he surely had some struggles, but what had happened was that he had started putting his focus on all the stuff and the lies of Satan, and none of his focus on God’s Control and Truth in the situation. We all do that, I do it, you do it, the world does it….we lose our focus, and we can crash and burn, i.e.: we get angry, frustrated, anxious, weepy, etc… We have to get back to the Truth and rise above the debris that Satan would like all of us to live in.

Thinking patterns are carved in our brain; deep grooves are made as we repeat the same patterns day after day. We can choose what those patterns are, if we want to. We don’t have to think the things we think we have to think, we don’t have to do the things we think we have to do—those are all choices that we make. We can either choose to be puppets on the strings of the Devil, moving at his will, thinking the destructive thoughts he’d have us think, do the harmful things he’ll have us do, or we can refocus daily, hourly, minute-by-minute on the things of God and enjoy living a life of surrendered peace in God’s will, both in thought and action. At this point in life, I find the actions to be easier to keep right than the thoughts, how about you?

Worry….worry, worry, worry, worry…
Trouble…trouble, trouble, trouble, trouble…

I heard a young man sing those words on “American Idol” the other night. He was voted out…I wonder if he would have been picked to go home had he picked a more hope-filled song to sing? I don’t know, but it might have helped. Do we paint our own path of destruction by the thoughts we think, by the words we speak or sing? Does worry help us dig the dark pit we end up dwelling in?

All the Lord’s promises prove true.
He is a shield for all who look to him for protection.
Psalm 18:30b (NLT)

It has been said, “Where the thoughts go, the man will follow.” If we head down Worry Lane, or venture into Stress City, or visit Negative Nelly, then we’re not living in the promises of God, and trusting His ideas and plans for not only our life, but the lives of those we love and care about.

“Fretting springs from a determination to get our own way.
Our Lord never worried and He was never anxious, because
He was not ‘out’ to realize His own ideas; He was ‘out’ to
realize God’s ideas.” Oswald Chambers

God’s ideas…that’s what we should want to be thinking about. That’s what we should want to be filling our brains with each day.

May the words of my mouth and the thoughts of my heart be
pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
Psalm 19:14 (NLT)

This verse is in the Bible for a reason, because it’s a good idea!! But, how do we do this? How do we stop our minds from spinning out of control, how do we stop our need to control everything and anything, how do we stay away from negative words and actions? There’s only one way: Focus! Deliberate focus on the things of God. And how do we do that? By practicing it day in and day out, when we’re alone, when we’re with others, whenever, wherever, whatever we are doing…going back to the source of all that is right and true and good! Is it easy? No!! Everything in our day will pull us away from Truth. We’ll want to be negative. We’ll want to be controlling. Worry will seem like the appropriate action to take. Only one thing will pull us away from those things and toward Truth, the choices we make. It depends on our choice to want to listen and obey God. It depends on our reading material…is it building us up, or tearing us down? Is it God’s Word, or the world’s? It’s simple to understand what’s best, but it’s not easy to do it. It’s hard to choose the better thing, but it’s worth it.

Just this week, one of my friends was going through a tremendous struggle—not with outward sin, but with inward thoughts. These thoughts were destructive, depressing, upsetting, and outright confusing. She didn’t even know why she was thinking them, she didn’t want to, but she was. We talked, and the interesting thing that came out in our talk was that her problem was me—she was mad at me, she had thoughts of wanting to be mean to me, and she didn’t even know why.

The things that she was thinking seemed like the truth to her, but then when she really took a look at them, it made no sense to her. I hadn’t done anything to harm her—but, she did have some things going on in her life that were important in God’s Kingdom work. When we are working hard for God, the devil is usually working hard to distract us from it, and wrong thoughts are a handy tool in the devil’s arsenal of weapons. If Satan can get a hold of our thoughts, and we agree to follow him down that path and act on his lies, then poisonous venom—harsh words and actions—can be spit out all over those we care most about. Thank God, my friend didn’t do this. We talked it through, as I also shared with her that just the night before I had been dealing with some of those wrong thoughts also. We had to stay focused on the things of God and turn to Ephesians 6:10-18. We had to realize that our battle was not against “flesh and blood, but against the evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world…” We had to “Put on all of God’s armor so that you will (we would) be able to stand firm against all strategies and tricks of the Devil.” We had to “Stand your (our) ground, putting on the sturdy belt of truth…” We did, and no harm was done in our friendship, and God’s work was accomplished in a most wonderful way!

God puts Ephesians 6:10-18 in His Word for a reason, because it is needed in our everyday life! If we don’t use these words as “prescribed by God,” we will become sick in our head and sick in our relationships with others, and we won’t even know why. When we pray, and read God’s word, and use “every piece of God’s armor to resist the enemy in the time of evil….after the battle you will be (we can be) standing firm.”

Spiritual warfare is not fun, and it’s not easy, but it is possible to be victorious in it with God’s mighty power and wisdom to see us through it. We need all of God’s armor on if we are to have any chance of having healthy relationships with one another.

Reverence for the Lord is pure, lasting forever.
The laws of the Lord are true; each one is fair.
They are more desirable than gold, even the finest gold.
They are sweeter than honey, even honey dripping from the comb.
They are a warning to those who hear them; there is a great
reward for those who obey them.
Psalm 19:9-11 (NLT)

The reward for choosing God’s Word of Truth is visible. I saw it in my brother’s smile when he told me about the power of opening up God’s Word, even if it’s not fully understandable to him yet. I’ve seen it in the changed life of a friend who is living a new life drug-free after a life-time of abuse. I’ve seen it in my own life, as I experience the daily joy of living in the hope of all that Jesus died to give us and knowing that one day I will be reunited with my youngest son in Heaven. It takes focus, or this world will suck us dry otherwise!! Our minds want to go down the dark road of despair, we’d like to dwell on the misery and harmful thoughts, but we have to choose not to go down that path every day. It takes practice, and prayer, but as we continue to choose the Hope Jesus gave to us, our lives will run a much smoother course. It’s not easy, but it is available if we want it.

The stories are never-ending of all that God can do in a life that chooses the things of God, but the sad thing is, the stories are also never-ending of the destruction caused in lives that choose to follow a path, mentally or physically, not of God. That’s what Beth Moore’s daughter meant by, “God knows it’s scary to be us.” Without God, this is a very, very scary world with all kinds of things to fear and worry about. It’s a world that’s very destructive if we’ll let it be. This life is beyond what we can handle without God! Our thoughts alone are beyond what we can handle without God. Our minds will go places that can torture the life right out of us, even if our daily life looks fine on the outside to the world around us. Depression can take a life in more ways than one…we don’t have to die to be dead. Anxiety can rob us of the joy God longs for us to have in our lives. Stressed may spell “Desserts” backwards, but there’s nothing sweet about it. Life is hard—but God is so much bigger than life, He is life! We must focus on God, on what’s true, and He’ll take care of the rest…and much better than we ever could!

The heavens tell of the glory of God.
The skies display his marvelous craftsmanship.
Day after day they continue to speak; night after night
they make him known. They speak without a sound or a word;
Their voice is silent in the skies; yet their message has gone out
to all the earth, and their words to all the world.
The sun lives in the heavens where God placed it. It bursts forth
like a radiant bridegroom after his wedding.
Psalm 19:1-5 (NLT)

Diane On Beach Sunrise SunriseOn my last day of vacation, my best friend and I got up before sunrise and headed to the beach. Being on the east coast, we were headed to watch the sunrise. As we drove the short distance to the shore, we were already experiencing a beautiful gift from God in the silent skies before us—the colors were spectacular and a song played on the radio about the miracles of God. We were in awe! As we sat on the beach after the sun had come up, we opened the Word of God to read and pray together. This is not something I have always done on vacation; this is something that takes conscience effort and practice. God’s Word could be easily left behind when traveling, it’s something that can be easily neglected on any given day—but when choices are made to include God in every day, from the rising of the sun, and into all the rest of the day-in and day-out of life, it is well worth the effort. It sets a tone and a focus that God knows we need, and Satan hopes we’ll forget. God longs for us to live confidently in Him, for He is right beside us, always.

All who seek the Lord will praise him.
Their hearts will rejoice with everlasting joy.
Psalm 22:26b (NLT)

I was asked the other day by a very good friend about where I am with God right now in my life. It’s a good question for a friend to ask, it’s good for us to keep each other accountable in our walk with Him. We need to be reminded about what’s most important, to not lose our focus, to help each other get back on track, or stay on track, or just find out what track we’re supposed to be on in the first place. Right now for me, it’s a peaceful time. After years and years of practicing a daily routine with God—rising in the morning and meeting with Him, opening His Word, and other devotionals that help me along, it seems a good place to be. I have friends and family who listen and support and encourage me, and I have friends and family who I listen to and support and encourage. Life is a give and take as God fills us up and sends us out into this scary world. We need each other, but most of all, we need God. We need God’s Son, Jesus Christ, and all He died to give us. We need the Holy Spirit to fill us up and give us strength. When we neglect a regular time with God, the Holy Spirit is not given full reign in us to work in and through us, and our thoughts and attitudes and actions are not as godly as we’d like them to be. We know when we’re being mean, and we don’t really want to be. We know when we’re being selfish, and it doesn’t feel good. We know when our thoughts are improper, and we’d like to be rid of them. And God knows it all, and He loves us anyway. Do we love Him enough to treat Him like our very Best Friend, and give Him some of our time and all of our love?

Show me the path where I should walk, O Lord;
Point out the right road for me to follow.
Lead me by your truth and teach me,
For you are the God who saves me.
All day long I put my hope in you.
Psalm 25:4-5 (NLT)

We are not alone in our struggles, although lots of times it feels that way. But, if we’ll stop long enough to listen to other people’s stories, we’ll hear some really amazing things, and we’ll realize that we’re all going through stuff. We’ll realize that we all struggle with the lies that Satan bombards us with, and maybe in the listening we can then encourage each other with words of Truth that God would have us share. I was thinking the other day, it’s so much more important to listen to others’ stories than to tell ours. We know our own story, but if we will listen to others’ stories and also the Holy Spirit within, we will learn not only what’s going on in their life but also maybe how we can be of some help along the way.

You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.
James 1:19 (NLT)

Let’s practice being quick to listen to the Truth instead of the lies, being slow to speak until the Holy Spirit gives us words of encouragement to share with another, and slow to become angry, realizing that we’re all just trying to make our way through this life as best we can.

On vacation, as my friends and I drove across the seven-mile bridge to Key West, we talked about the movie “True Lies.” It was filmed there. The Keys are a beautiful place to film a movie, but it’s also a catchy title to a movie…how many times do we believe that the lies the enemy gives us to think about are actually true when they are not? We all get caught in that trap from time to time; we all need to know the way out.

Teach me how to live, O Lord.
Lead me along the path of honesty,
for my enemies are waiting for me to fall…
Yet I am confident that I will see the Lord’s goodness
while I am here in the land of the living.
Psalm 27:11, 13 (NLT)

The good things of God, the best way to live this life, and the Truth of who we are and why we are here, can be experienced on this day. It takes practice, just like most things we’d like to do well…but the rewards are great. When we focus on the Truth instead of the lies, we can stop shaking and be fully confident here in the land of the living.

Until we meet again,

Diane