Jesse is dating a guy she met in college and wants to bring him home to meet her parents for fall break. “Mom, you are going to love Justin.” He is kind, and smart, and so cute.” “I can’t wait to meet him, Jess.” Jesse looked really happy as her mom remembers the same glimmer in her own eyes when she met Jesse’s father. “What’s he want to do for a living when he graduates?” “He is going to be an electrical engineer.” “Does he go to church?”
Jesse thought, here we go again and responded back, Not, that I know of but please don’t start with church stuff again.” “I just want to know what kind of values he holds, thats all.” Jesse’s father Sam overhears and makes his way into the kitchen where he proceeds to ask Jesse, “Does he believe in God?” “Yes, dad he believes in God!” “Whether he goes to church or not is not an issue for me.” Well, it is for me,” he says firmly. Just because Justin and I don’t believe exactly like you do, doesn’t make us bad.”
Jesse’s mom feels terrible, “Honey, we do not think you are bad.” “We just don’t want you or Justin to get hurt.” “Justin will never hurt me, mom.” Susan, thought what a naive thing to say but kept quiet. “Well, we are excited to meet Justin and we love you.” “I’m going to go change the sheet in the guest room.” Jesse looked at her mom in irritation. “Mom, we are grown adults and are going to stay in my room.” “No, you will not in this house, Sam responded. “You know that is not right, Jesse.” Susan could barely get the words out but needed to know. “Honey, are you and Justin sleeping together?” “Yes, mom we are in love,” Jesse said matter of fact.
Jesse and her parents are at a cross road in terms of how they view and tolerate things differently. Jesse would like her parents to be okay with her choices now that she is an adult. Sam, the spiritual leader in the home who has raised his family with biblical principles will not bend in terms of what the word of God says. Conflict has now ensued.
There are many different sources of truth. We, humans tend to think we are the end all be all on truth but little do we know; we know very little. Sam’s narrative of truth is based on his understanding of what God says through His word. Jesse and many people, young and old base their truth from a cultural stance that says moral truth is found within the individual.
Biblical truth- Moral truth is grounded in the character of God; it is objective and universal. This truth is known by discovering the nature of God and His ways as revealed through scripture and within all creation.
Cultural truth- Moral truth comes from the individual: is is subjective, situational and changing. This truth is known through choosing to believe it and through personal experience- you are the creator of your own truth.
When Jesse’s mom told her “I don’t want to see you get hurt.” What do you think she means? If they are in fact in love, then why is sex such an issue for her parents?
Let’s look at these statements for a second and let them resonate before we go on.
“No one has the right to tell me whats right or wrong for me?”
“I can’t tell you what’s right or wrong for you, you must decide that for yourself.”
“It’s wrong to impose your “morals” on someone else.”
“I have the right to do whatever I want as long as I am not hurting anyone.”
“Look, that’s your opinion.”
“Listen to your heart.”
“Only do what makes you happy.”
“That’s not what I was taught.”
“You are judging me and that is not right.”
When moral truth becomes a matter of opinion, personal preference, or the individual’s view and feelings, then practically anything goes. In a culture of tolerance where the individual decides morality, morality has no bounds.
If we truly believe that individuals get to decide what is best for them, then what do we do about the authority of the Bible? The Bible is a book that is the very foundation on which our faith and morals rest. God gave us free- will as a gift but he wants us to use that gift to honor him and his ways, not our own. The reason that God commands us to love him by following him is because it keeps us from sin ( which is harm). The word sin has gotten such a bad wrap as if it means that God and Christians are trying to restrain someone from doing something. That is a lie from the enemy. The Hebrew word for sin is to miss. ie, misbehave, misconduct.
See, God says come to me all who are burden and weary laden and I will give you rest. God does not want us living in a state of confusion, a free for all. He longs to show us how loved we are. Then we can begin to obey His teachings.
Many consider the Bible to be only one resource of many. Just think about all of the self help books out there. People view the Bible not to discover truth and bend their lives to it accordingly but to use it as just sort of a resource to help them form their own version of what’s true and false, good and evil, right and wrong.
Real love isn’t an unlimited endorsement of just any behavior a person chooses to engage in. Many of those behaviors are inherently and inevitably harmful, and to endorse, approve, and encourage them is not loving; it is cold and uncaring. If we care we won’t approve behavior that is damaging and destructive to a person’s life. Nevertheless, expressing real love doesn’t mean condemning people when they live contrary to scripture. God’s love ( real love) because God is love and love is God, exposes cultural tolerances as the counterfeit of love because cultural tolerance fails to point people to a universal standard of morality designed to save them from serious harm. Real love looks out for the best interest of others, and sometimes that means addressing destructive choices and behaviors that can cause harm to themselves and others.
God gives us clear moral commands and boundaries in his word. Now, some people do not know this because their parents did not teach them or perhaps even know themselves. However, once we do know, then we now know truth. At first we think that God’s moral commands are restrictive and negative but they are actually freeing and positive. God did not concoct a set of rules just to be a buzz/joy kill or to throw his weight around. He gave us rules because he loves us and wants the best for us. How can we ever question our creator on this topic? It just shows how prideful and arrogant we really are when we do.
I was, for sure and still am but now that I know God’s goodness, I go to him for direction and to help work out the harmful stuff in my life for He is gently and firm with me.
Real love makes everything right! This is the character of God and what he wants to teach His children. The predominant quality of God’s love is that it is other focused; sacrificing for the good of others.
When we turn to our own understanding and what we think works best, we are not necessarily living from a place of sacrificing for the good of others. This is why we have so much destruction going on in our world.
Joyful are people of integrity ( Hebrew meaning is completeness, wholeness) who follow the instructions of the Lord. Joyful are those who obey his laws and search for him with all their hearts- Psalm 119
Make me walk along the path of your commands, for that is where my happiness is found-Psalm 119
My child, listens to what I say, and treasure my commands. Tune your eyes to wisdom, and concentrate on understanding. Then you will understand what is right, just, and fair, and you will find the right way to go. For wisdom will enter your heart, and knowledge will fill you with joy. Wise choices will watch over you and understanding will keep you safe- Proverbs.
The Lord your God requires you to Fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, and to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the Lord’s commandments and His statues which I am commanding you today for your good.
The Beauty of Intolerance- Josh/Sean McDowell.
People who need help on the inside are often the ones who look like they don’t on the outside– Glennon Doyle Melton
When we are children our lives are relentlessly paced. Someone tells us when to eat, when to go to bed, and when to go to school all the while stuffed with activities. Then we become adults practically overnight and are no longer on a forced schedule. This is a pivotal time, a moment of silence. If we are wise we will begin to ask ourselves who am I? What do I want to do with this time? How do I want to give to others? Knowing that there will be consequences on both sides of these questions. We feel fear rise up because we don’t know the answers, yet! God says if we are listening that we have nothing to fear. This can be an adventure as we embark on the path less traveled. There will be rocks and cliffs but there will also be beautiful sunsets and blue waters.
The uncovering of our self discovery is opening our eyes, getting outside of ourselves and looking to our creator for guidance. Our devotion to God is essential to our purpose and plan. The gifts that have been given unlocks our potential into the signs of our destiny that our precious Lord lays before us.
It’s not about our occupation or our popularity, it’s about our work. What are you passionate about? What is truth?
We often times have to undo what our parents good intentions and desires are for us. It’s an awakening into our identity.
For me it didn’t begin until well into my thirties. God, who are you? God tell me where to go? God, tell me who I am ? God, please lead me where you see fit.
It’s not that God isn’t speaking to us throughout our lives but the question becomes are we listening? He has been there the whole time- I formed you in your mother’s womb and set you apart. We have to be still and listen.
Wes Moore, the author of The Work says huge swats of people spend their entire working lives performing tasks they secretly believe do not really need to be performed. That is 1/3 of people’s lives. Since man is so full of error, I would imagine this rings true for many today. The moral and spiritual damage that comes from these situations is profound.
But, what if….
What if we began to listen more to the only voice who knows what has and is yet to come? Can you imagine all the heartache we could prevent for ourselves and others?
Know this…. God has placed a dream inside of you; tailored made for just you that didn’t come from your parents or your peers but from God himself. So tap in…. Go to your secret place and ask God daily to unleash the dream into your conscience mind. It won’t always be easy but it will be worth it. Don’t force your way, just ask and receive. God will give you what you need along the way when you feel depleted.
Questions to ponder….
What will my impact be on humanity?
Do I fill heaven and earth?
Where are my blind spots?
Who am I in Christ?
How well do I love others? Who teaches me how to love?
What are my talents and how am I giving of my time and resources to others?
Who is this really about? Me? My occupation? My kids? or perhaps God?
When is it time to let go?
The best is yet to come!
Are you offending yourself?
I’m going to talk about our conscience today. The bible says you are to be at peace with yourself, with others, and with God. Just take a minute to think about that question…. I’m not talking about your circumstances. I’m talking about your conscience.
One of the most miserable ways to live is to know that what you are doing is wrong and keep doing it. Do you have secrets? Do you plot in your mind like a chess game? Are you pressured by things you are hiding?
All of us have blind spots but God came to bring life into the darkness of those blind spots. In order for us to really begin to see our blind spots ( deceit, pride, self-seeking, lust, manipulation,) we need God! I’m not talking about just believing in God though. See, we only have two options when our time here is up and the choices we make now will have an impact on where we land. Sometimes, in this life but definitely in our eternal life.
Let’s break down scripture so I don’t frighten you but help you open your eyes to what I am also opening my eyes to.
If your hand or foot causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life maimed or crippled than to have two hands or two feet and be thrown into eternal fire. And if your eye cause you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into the fire of hell- Matthew 18:8-9
What in the world did Jesus mean in this scripture? Sounds so terrifying because we all fall short. Remember, our righteous acts are like filthy rags so how?
What Jesus means in this scripture is that whatever behavior ( your behavior) is offending you cut it out because it is like a poison. Considering the subtlety of Satan, (Satan entices and then slowly destroys.), the depravity of men’s hearts, and the foolishness that is found there, it is morally impossible for us to do anything of eternal value without God.
See, this life is not about us, it’s about God and what God can do through us if we grant Him total access. He is patient and kind so He will help you in your times of trouble.
Maybe you have done things wrong for so long that your conscience is so seared that you don’t see right from wrong anymore. We will give an account for the way have chosen to live. We cannot live in purposeful, continuous sin and think it’s going to keep working for us. In order to ascend we need to descend- the foot of the cross. God gave us this amazing gift of free-will but it was not meant for us to take advantage of our Father and others. He put laws and commands to help guide us. Our bible is our guide. However, if we don’t know who we are in Christ first, we will struggle through our works. Once we repent and surrender; God picks us up and starts the heart and brain transplant. Our part is turning to Him and receiving all He has for us.
Joyce Meyer says it’s a high price for a cheap moment when we let temptations pulls us down where the enemy wants us. When you sow to the spirit, you will reap life. When you sow to the flesh, you will reap ruin, decay, and destruction.
You get into the word of God daily and God will start convicting your conscience in the most loving way. He will break those chains that the enemy loves to bind you in. To think that wrong behavior is right is a terrible way to live. We are in times where people think good is evil and evil is good.
God wants more for you and me than we will ever know but Paul said to Timothy, warn, urge, encourage, and rebuke God’s people.
Anyone who really loves us will bring correction, just like parents with their children. God is the only one with all the answers and all the truth. Give Him room to move in your life so you can have your rightful inheritance.
This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses, Now choose life, so that you and your children may have life. – Deuteronomy 30:19
He’s saying to all of us, “Come up higher!” “Humble yourself before Me so I can do a good work through you.” It all starts with opening up your bible. You cannot be in the presence of God and not receive healing and correction if you allow Him room. Unpack your busyness and rest in Him.
Therefore put on My image and know who you are in Christ.
My sheep recognize my voice and follow me….John 10:27
Many, many people do not even consider or think about God on any given day so why would they think it’s important to hear from God? Let me speak truth over you today. This is not my version of the truth. This is a fact. You should not be satisfied with the status quo in your life. We serve a living God; a God that listens and acts on behalf of those who believe in Him. Take a look inside and ask yourself, “Will I really be okay with not hearing from my Father in heaven?”
There are 4 reasons why it’s vital to hear directly from God.
- It proves you’re in God’s family. When you tuned out the noise and make room for God, it confirms your relationship. It is scripture that God talks to His children. Do you consider yourself His child? If so, are you hearing from God?
- Just as parents talk to all of their children, God talks to all of those who believe ( His kids). He doesn’t play favorites. He talks to all believers, whether they are mature or immature. You have direct access. Just as children recognize their parents voices, we should be able to recognize God’s voice. They only way to do this is to grow spiritually. Pray, Listen, Wait, and Believe.
- Hearing God’s voice protects you from mistakes. If you listen, you will make fewer mistakes because you will hear Him warning you in advance. God will get very real with us if we receive. Proverbs says, ” Listen for God’s voice in EVERYTHING you do, and EVERYWHERE you go; He’s the one who will keep you on track.” It didn’t say listen to man’s voice. See, we make life changing mistakes when we listen to the voice of others over God. Notice the verse didn’t say just in church or just in your bible study but in everything you do and everywhere you go! God saves us from wasting a lot of time if we will be obedient.
- It produces success in life. This is not the kind of success the world talks about ( more stuff) where you are rich and famous. This is God’s definition of success which is being exactly who God created you to be so that your life can have real meaning. “I will guide you along the best pathway for you ( your life, not someone else’s). ” I will advise you and watch over you.” Listen for His voice, make room, cut out the noise and the endless busyness so you can live the way God intended. There is nothing that our God cannot do if you make room. He says that we can accomplish more by doing less if we are dependent on Him. Where are you currently deceived? It’s a daily dying to the flesh. It’s a daily lying your life down at the cross so He can make your path straight. YOU CAN DO IT because your are His beloved and He will help you.
Pray this simple prayer….
Dear God, I am tired of trying to figure out what to do next. Please forgive me for leaning on my own understanding and not listening to you. I want to lay my heavy burdens at your feet right now and ask that you direct the course of my life. I ask for strength and tenderness as you do a good work in me. I ask that you help me to stay in your presence when I go off my path. I realize you and only you bring freedom and eternal life. In Jesus name, Amen ( let it be).