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One of the hardest things for any of us to do is to be people of honor in an argument. This is especially true when we know the truth or are being personally attacked or wrongfully accused. It is during these times that honor is difficult if not impossible to hold on to. For the believer in Jesus Christ it is imperative that we remain people of honor; that we are salt and light not purveyors of darkness adding fuel to the fire. To the unbelieving pagan Jesus simply spoke the truth and by his actions showed love and acceptance. To the arrogant religious people, who were bent on attack, he lashed out at their shallow actions but in the end said “Father forgive them”. It’s no wonder that James writes, “Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way.” (James‬ ‭3:2‬) Knowing when to hold our tongue is a sign of spiritual maturity and honor. It is a process accomplished over time and with reliance on the Holy Spirit.

What you eat determines, in many ways, your health. This is true in the spiritual realm as well as the physical realm. Technology has given us an unimaginable amount of opportunities to grow in our faith in Jesus Christ and improve our walk with him so others will see their need for him. At no other time in history are we able to be salt and light to a lost world. But we also have the danger of filling our spiritual appetite with junk food. There are many who teach opinion rather than fact so well we buy into it. With so many resources available, we are in information overload and Biblically illiterate. Don’t take someone else’s word for truth. Study it first hand from the Bible. 

Nothing is hidden from God! He sees through everything, and we will have to tell him the truth. Hebrews 4:13

A friend of mine is an investigator for a local law enforcement agency. We were talking one day about how dishonest people can be and I asked him how he could tell if a person was telling him the truth or not.

“There’s no way to tell for sure of course, but usually I have a pretty good idea by the third story.” He stated with a slight smirk on his face. “You see,” he continued, “the first time I ask a person of interest anything about a case he generally denies any involvement or even any knowledge of the situations. I’ll generally leave the topic at that point but then I’ll ask him again and he’ll admit to having some information. The third time I ask him questions I’m pretty sure I know if he’s the person I’m looking for or not. Sometimes they make it easy for me by confessing on the third interview!”

All one needs to do is perform an internet search on the topic of lying and you’ll find a wealth of information on how to determine if someone is being truthful or not. Truth can be determined if the story remains consistent, the person can look you in the eyes, behavior doesn’t change when you ask them questions, and a variety of other tips. Sadly, some are very accomplished at what they do and one can never be sure about the truth.

liesUS News published an article in 2012 on how lying affected a person’s health. The article was based on a study done on honesty by Notre Dame University. The study found that people were healthier when they told the truth!

That should really come as no surprise. Adam and Eve had no shame until they tried to hide the truth of their sin. While some people are very good at lying, there will come a time when all your lies are revealed. God has promised that nothing will be hidden forever. That’s the bad news. The good news is that God has also offered a way of escape from the tyranny of guilt associated with lying.

Forgiveness comes through faith in Christ. You may not be able to escape the ‘earthly, temporal consequences of lying’, but you can experience the freedom of knowing that God knows your heart. Only he can clean it for eternity.

Oh, and one more thing. Those lies that are being told about you? He knows about them too. What a refreshing truth that is!

PRAYER: Father God, please help us to realize that the truth about us will be revealed through your grace. Forgive us for those times when we knowingly shroud the truth. Empower us to be honest with others, honest with ourselves, and most importantly, honest with you. Amen.

And don’t be afraid of the people, for I will be with you and will protect you. I, the Lord, have spoken!” Jeremiah 1:8

bibleThe story is told of an illegal Bible Study found out in a communist country. The soldiers who discovered the Bible Study told those in attendance that they would all be shot. Then, in a moment of false mercy, the head soldier said, “I’ll let you go if you spit on the Bible we’ve discovered. One by one people approached the Bible, spit on the open pages and left hurriedly. Then, a young girl approached the now spit covered Bible. She knelt, wiped away the spit with her dress and kissed the Bible. The soldier pointed his gun and pulled the trigger.

What a brave story of heroism and love for the Lord Jesus. This young girl looked at the situation before here and realized she could not acquiesce to the man with the gun. Perhaps she realized, more than anyone else in the room that the real power didn’t lie with the gun. The real power was in God’s word and she could not deny that.

The prophet Jeremiah encountered a somewhat similar situation. He was called to be God’s messenger during a very perilous economic, political and social time in his nation. Not only that, but God’s Word was looked down upon by many in the nation and he was but a youngster.

We live in a similar time today. We’re told by society at all levels that our message is, at best, no different than any other religious message. We are accused of being out of touch, intolerant, judgmental, and a whole litany of other adjectives. The reality is, sometimes we deserve those accusations because we use God’s word and a weapon rather than the source of love, hope and grace it was intended to be.

The question for each of us today is the same as it was for Jeremiah and for the young girl who literally had a gun pointed to her head. Will you stand for God’s word when your classmates ridicule you; when you are confronted by those antagonistic to Jesus; when it would be far easier to stay quiet, but more prudent to speak the truth in love? Jesus says you can’t serve two masters. Who will you serve today?

PRAYER: Father God, I’d like to think that I would take a bullet in the head before denying you, but I confess my weakness. While no one has pointed a gun at my head, there have been times I should have spoken up but did not. Forgive me for my fear. Help me to trust you completely. Amen.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction. Proverbs 1:7

The depth of our worship often determines the level of our wisdom. Solomon is considered to have been the wisest and wealthiest of all the kings of the ancient world. He had wealth in the form of money (gold), land, and cattle. But it wasn’t earthly holdings that Solomon clung to as his security. After all, he wrote in Ecclesiastes that he had spared nothing in his want of pleasure, and found all of it to be worthless in attaining fulfillment.

What was it then that was foundational for his greatness? Solomon says that the beginning, the foundation, the footings for all knowledge was the fear of the Lord. A better rendering of fear hear would be, as Gill says, a filial fear, a reverential devotion to his Heavenly Father. In a word, the beginning of knowledge is worship.

After all, worship is giving our allegiance to that which we hold in highest esteem.  Our human tendency is to worship that which we perceive with our senses. We worship what we can hold, what we can hear, what we can taste. We don’t need to name our objects of worship. We show by our actions what is the most important. Relationships, Religion and Riches are the top three. But Solomon had all three of those and came up empty, just as many of us do.

Knowledge is made up of facts, figures and information. Wisdom is the ability to act according to the knowledge you have. If your knowledge is faulty, your wisdom is inevitably so as well. In the same way, if your knowledge of God is shallow, your worship will be shallow.

Some would say that there is knowledge and wisdom that is apart from God, that we need to separate the ‘religious from the political’, but Solomon tells us that the beginning of any knowledge is actively worshipping the God of the Universe.

Others may say, “I’ve asked God for wisdom and got nothin’!” But my question is how well do you know the Father? The closer we are to the author, the more we understand the book. James tells us in his letter to the church that if we lack wisdom, we can ask God and he will give it to us.

If you are looking for answers to life’s difficulties start with renewing your relationship with the one who invented the idea of relationships. If you want to know the meaning of life, begin with getting to know the giver of life. If you are looking for direction, seek the one who laid the four corners of the earth. Apart from him there is no true wisdom. Learning to worship him is the best way to gain wisdom.

PRAYER: Father God, I thank you for being the source of all wisdom. I pray for those of us who are going through difficult times with our families, businesses, finances or relationships. I ask that you would help us to grow in our worship of you so that we may have wisdom to face today’s challenges. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

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