Archive for the ‘Truth’ Category


by Katie Buttons

Ok. That title is somewhat deceptive. In reality there is no gray area only true or false. But that is not how we think is it?

Good, God-fearing Christians know better than to out and out tell obvious, bold face lies. We don’t typically do it. However, we have invented an area of lying that is neither white nor black. It is gray. And if good, God-fearing Christian people are going to lie, we try to keep our lying within the boundaries of this gray area.  This most certainly is how I lie. Rarely do I tell big, black, blatant and obvious lies. However, I can be tempted to lie, which sometimes is called “spinning” the truth. Here are three examples of “Christian lying.”

  • Taking Away From the Truth: Truth is truth and to take away from the truth makes truth an untruth. If my family finds a Dunkin Donuts bag in my car and I tell them I went in to get a cup of coffee but leave out the part about the Blueberry Cake Donut, I have deceived. And to intentionally leave out parts of the truth, when we know better, many times is motivated by a desire to deceive. Altering the truth is a lie.
  • Adding To The Truth: To embellish is to lie. This is taking the truth and adding more to it than what the truth is. When a politician says, “The American people want______________” is embellishing because not every American person may want___________. To spin things for effect or to make yourself look better than you really are is a lie.
  • Avoiding The Truth: This is an evasive tactic. This is another temptation for me. When I’m pressed to tell someone my real sin issues I’m tempted to avoid the truth because I do not want them to know the real truth. I evade. I’m dishonest. I’m a liar. In this moment my self-righteousness kicks-in and I do whatever I need to do to avoid the truth. There is another word for presenting myself as better than I am: HYPOCRISY.

One final thought: Most of us are tempted to lie in this gray world of neither truth nor lying. But the truth is, lying is lying.

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“Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale, a tale of fateful trip.”  A few years ago my friend Dana, my son Clayton and I set out on a gulf fishing adventure.  We were all excited and anticipating a big day of reeling in a huge fish haul of biblical proportions.

I think the plan was to go about eleven miles from shore before dropping anchor.  It was a beautiful Florida sunshiny day as we finally arrived at the top secret GPS location Captain Dana had marked on a previous successful trip.  We were grabbing our rod & reels and positioning ourselves to do battle when it hit.  It knocked me off my feet and within seconds I was swinging on the precipice of death… SEASICKNESS!

I was feeling like the guy I heard of once who was leaned over the rail of the ship on a long and rough Atlantic crossing. He’d already turned several shades of green when a steward came along and tried to cheer him up: “Don’t be discouraged, Sir. No one’s ever died of seasickness.” The nauseated passenger replied, “Don’t say that. The hope of dying is the only thing that’s keeping me alive!”  

Captain Dana being the wise captain that he is immediately recognized the symptoms and swung into action.  He pulled up anchor, strapped down the rods, and started the engines.  At this point I’m in a dark place unaware of my surroundings.  All I remember is saying,” Oh God” and “Ralph” numerous times.  The next thing I know the boat came to a halt and Dana was saying, “Hop out of the boat.”  He had navigated us to a small island with a sandy shoreline. 

I jumped over the side of the boat into waist deep water and I kid you not, the relief was instantaneous.  I was healed.  It was amazing.  All symptoms were gone and I was back to as normal as I get.  I just needed to get my feet back on solid ground and that sad episode – with the exception of the memories held dearly by Dana and Clayton – was over.

I am reminded of that day often when I am counseling people who come in with symptoms of a seasick life.  In most cases this person needs a trip back to solid biblical principles.  They need to be taken back to a word from the Word.  So I listen trying to hear clues that will tell me which island of truth I need to navigate our counseling toward in order to get a solid foundation underneath his or her feet. 

Too often we do what Paul says in Romans 1:25 “They exchanged the truth of God for a lie.”  Anytime we take “Exit 1:25” there is disaster just ahead.  I encourage you to seek God’s answer to the problem you are facing.  If you need help… get it.  Don’t be too proud to ask for it.  Pray the prayer of the Psalmist, “Send forth your light and your truth, let them guide me; let them bring me to your holy mountain, to the place where you dwell” (43:3).  If I can help contact me through my website www.ready4lifecounseling.com

By the way.  We did go back out and had a fairly good day of fishing.  “Of biblical proportions,” naw… but it was great to be alive!

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Have you ever felt like you were getting nowhere in life? Have you ever thought, “If only I had a better boss, a better job, a better home, or a better life? Well, I have learned that it is not what life dishes up that makes the difference; it is how you digest it!

The main difference between productive people and unproductive people is NOT circumstances, nor is it environment – it is excellence in work ethic. If you want to be successful you have to recognize that you cannot rely upon titles or positions. To be successful you have to continually be working to improve and to grow. There is no place in the line of successes for slackers. Good intentions are just that – intentions. To be effective it takes work, it takes effort.

Proverbs 13:4 (NLT)Lazy people want much but get little, but those who work hard will prosper and be satisfied.

When the crowds approached John the Baptist, they wanted to know how to be successful, and John told them what to do.

Luke 3:8-14 (NLT) – Prove by the way you live that you have really turned from your sins and turned to God. Don’t just say, ‘We’re safe—we’re the descendants of Abraham.’ That proves nothing. God can change these stones here into children of Abraham. 9 Even now the ax of God’s judgment is poised, ready to sever your roots. Yes, every tree that does not produce good fruit will be chopped down and thrown into the fire.” 10 The crowd asked, “What should we do?” 11 John replied, “If you have two coats, give one to the poor. If you have food, share it with those who are hungry.” 12 Even corrupt tax collectors came to be baptized and asked, “Teacher, what should we do?” 13 “Show your honesty,” he replied. “Make sure you collect no more taxes than the Roman government requires you to.” 14 “What should we do?” asked some soldiers. John replied, “Don’t extort money, and don’t accuse people of things you know they didn’t do. And be content with your pay.”

This is not an all-inclusive list, but if you build these five things into your life you will be much more productive with your life.

 

1) BE GENEROUS WITH ALL THAT YOU POSSESS (vs. 10)

 The first principle for being productive in life is to be generous. Give and give and then give some more. Why? Because:

  • Success is not measured by what we POSSESS; it is by what we INVEST in others.

 Proverbs 11:25 (NLT)The generous prosper and are satisfied; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.

 Proverbs 11:24 (NLT)It is possible to give freely and become more wealthy, but those who are stingy will lose everything.

You can only be successful as you give generously to others.

 

2) BE HONEST IN ALL YOU DO (vs. 13)

 Proverbs 11:3 (NLT)Good people are guided by their honesty; treacherous people are destroyed by their dishonesty.

 It can take a lifetime to gain the trust of someone, but only moments to lose that trust. You cannot be successful if people do not trust you.

  • If you are in sales and someone does not trust you… (you are a used car salesman, right?) how successful will you be?
  • How successful would I be as a pastor if I lied to you and cheated? I would be a mockery and an excuse for people to avoid church.

 Luke 16:10-12 (NLT)“Unless you are faithful in small matters, you won’t be faithful in large ones. If you cheat even a little, you won’t be honest with greater responsibilities. And if you are untrustworthy about worldly wealth, who will trust you with the true riches of heaven? And if you are not faithful with other people’s money, why should you be trusted with money of your own?

Honesty is an integrity issue, and you cannot be productive without integrity. When you are honest with people then you gain their trust and their respect. When you are honest with God you gain His trust and blessing.

Proverbs 11:1 (NLT)The Lord hates cheating, but he delights in honesty.

You will not be productive if you are not honest.

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CHANGE OF MIND

Have you ever noticed that we gladly take credit for our accomplishments, but we often blame our failures on extenuating circumstances?  For example, how many times have you heard someone say something like, “I’m sorry I lost my temper? It’s because I’m so tired…or I’m under pressure…or you were getting on my nerves.”

Our natural tendency is to blame someone or something else whenever we fail. When people say, “I’m not myself today” they most often mean that they are at their worst, not their best. It’s not always easy to accept responsibility for our failures, but we have to if we want to get our lives back on track. We have to change our mind about who is making the decisions in our life. We have to stop blaming others and accept responsibility for our actions.

In 1980 New York City Mayor Ed Koch appeared on a local news program in the middle of the city’s financial crisis. Koch had spent over a quarter of a million dollars constructing bike lanes in Manhattan, and they turned out to be a disaster. Cars were driving in the bike lanes, pedestrians were walking in them, and bikers were getting crowded out. It was a mess and many people in New York were irate about it.

Koch was coming up for re-election, so a handful of journalists cornered him on this show, planning to tear him to pieces for spending money so foolishly when the city was nearly broke. One reporter said, “Mayor, in light of the financial difficulties New York City is facing, how could you possibly justify wasting $300,000 on bike lanes?” The stage was set for a half-hour confrontation.  Instead, Koch said, “It was a terrible idea. I thought it would work, but it didn’t. It was one of the worst mistakes I ever made.” Then he stopped. None of the journalists knew what to say or do. They were expecting him to squirm and make excuses, but he didn’t even try.

Another journalist stammered and said, “But Mayor Koch, how could you do this?” Koch said, “I already told you. It was a stupid idea. It didn’t work.”  Then he stopped. There was still 26 minutes left to go on the news show, and the reporters had to find something else to talk about. The last thing they expected that day was for the mayor to take responsibility for his actions.  Ultimately, of course, Koch went on to receive both the Democratic and the Republican endorsements for re-election.

The principle here is that we have to change our mind about who is in control of our lives. We cannot blame our sin on anyone else. We are responsible for our own lives. It does no good to say, “I am a victim of my environment, or a victim of my circumstances, or a victim of genealogy, or a victim of bad luck.”

David could have said, “It was Bathsheba’s fault-look what she was wearing at the time.” Or he could have blamed God. Or he could have blamed his other wives (yes, wives-he had hundreds of them) for not being sensitive to his needs. He could have placed blame in several different areas, but he realized that it was now time to take responsibility for his actions and regain control of his life.

That’s why he said (Psalm 51:4) Against you, you only have I sinned…You are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge. I have been a sinner from birth.  David was saying, “I am responsible for my actions. I can’t blame anyone but myself.”

How’s your relationship with God?  What about your spouse or kids?  It is easy to get sideways in our our lives. Getting back on track requires a change of heart, a change of mind, and a…

Photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mickie


FILTER YOUR MOUTH THROUGH YOUR MIND

My wife and a few church members are constantly reminding me to use my mind to filter my mouth. I think that could very well be what James is saying to us in James 1:19 “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.”   There’s a designated order here: First be quick to listen and then slow to speak.  If you’re quick to listen you will be slow to speak.  If you’re slow to speak, then you will be slow to become angry.  If you have a problem with anger you need to work on being quick to listen and slow to speak.  The result will be you’ll be slow to anger.  You may even be able to keep someone else from getting angry.   

What does your tongue say about you?  There is a series on TV called FLASHPOINT.  Just about every week they begin with a situation.  A bad situation.  Someone or a group of someones is being held hostage by a person with a weapon or a bomb.  Then the story rewinds real fast to the start of the day and the events that led to the hostage situation.  If we were to rewind a tape of every conversation we’ve had this past week, what would we learn about ourselves?  God hears it all.  Our tongues tell the story.  Our tongues control the direction of our lives like a rudder, a bit.

A bit and a rudder must be under the hand of a strong-arm.  James is saying that the only way to get control of your tongue is let God have control of your heart.  What’s in your heart is going to come out in your mouth.  You let God’s hand be on your bit, your rudder and let Him direct your life.

Perhaps you need to go to your kids and say, “I’m sorry.  I’m inconsistent the way I talk to you. Sometimes I’m loving, sometimes I’m harsh.  That shows I’m like everybody else.  I’m human.”  We all stumble in many ways — all of us.  Maybe you need to apologize to your wife or your husband. “I’m not as loving to you in the way I talk to you as I ought to be.  I tend to be apathetic, cold, indifferent.  I talk to you harshly.  I boss everybody around.  I’m inconsistent and inconsiderate.” Ezekiel says, “Get rid of all your offenses you’ve committed and get a new heart and a new spirit.”  God is in the business of creating new hearts and new spirits.  It does no good to filter your mouth through your mind if you are constantly filling your mind with the junk food of this world.  You must be filling your mind with the truth.  That is what the Bible is… TRUTH.  Truth will always guide you to the right thing to say regardless of the situation. 

What I am about to write may be thought of by some as the “Preacher” thing to say but I am a preacher because I believe this more and more with every breath I take.  Truth is a person and that person is Jesus the Christ.  When we filter our mouths through the mind of Christ, all heaven breaks loose!