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Archive for the tag “truth”

“To thine own self be true”

This phrase actually has it’s origin in the Shakespeare play, Hamlet. The character Polonius is giving advice to his 18 year old son. He tells Laertes, “Neither a lender or borrower be. This above all; to thine own self be true.” Pastor David Dykes provides this commentary about this phrase:

“It combines two concepts that cannot be ignored: self and truth. Americans are involved in a continual love affair with self. Our mantra has become: Take care of #1. Know yourself, love yourself, and be true to your self. Self has become the basic standard for truth. Americans bow down at the altar of Sovereign Self. How far this is from the words of Jesus spoken in Mark 8:34 when He said, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.” Today, we hear, love self; protect self; promote self–and Jesus said, “Deny your self.” He wasn’t talking about denying yourself some thing–like going without food, or pleasure. He meant to deny self’s desire to constantly climb onto the throne of your life.”

The passage he mentions, Mark 8:34-36, Jesus says this,

“If anyone wants to be My follower, he must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me and the gospel will save it. For what does it benefit a man to gain the whole world yet lose his life? What can a man give in exchange for his life?”

Truth takeaway: To God only are we to be true. This idea of being true to our self sounds good, but is self-centered. If we’re true to our Creator, then we’re ultimately true to who we’re really supposed to be – who he created us to be.ThingsWeSaw

Are there pets in heaven?

This is a sensitive subject to many but I felt it really needed addressing from a Biblical perspective.

When you think of the reason why people love their pets one of the first things that comes to mind is unconditional devotion. They don’t desert us or talk about us. Even when they get angry and disappointed with us, they don’t hold a grudge. They are always glad to see us. They depend on us and give us something to care for – something we can pour into. We can be vulnerable with them without fear of being hurt. We often get attached to our animals for these reasons.

Ideally these are qualities we should be able to find in human relationships. Ask someone to picture the ideal friend or parent and you’ll get similar descriptions. We turn to our animals to get what people can’t or won’t give us. For many, people have hurt them so bad in the past, they prefer relationships with animals over people.  There was a house fire in the city I work in where a dog was rescued. A photo that went viral showed a chief fire officer affectionately comforting the dog. One commenter online said (paraphrase), “I would go in and rescue the dogs before I would the people.” Others echoed the sentiment. I’m glad I don’t have to depend on them to save my life.

Naturally, those we love we’d like to see in heaven some day. From that we buy in to the hope that there will be dogs and cats in heaven. (Notice that people rarely talk about other animals such as skunks and snakes in heaven). We love to think that the best thing about eternal life is those loved ones we haven’t seen, or would like to see – including our favorite pet.

Some verses suggest there may be animals (Isa. 11:6-9). There will be animal like creatures in heaven but the descriptions of them in the Bible are so beyond what we have here on earth it seems crazy to us – 4 wings, 7 horns, head of a lion, etc. etc. Yet no mention is made about our specific pets being with reunited with us. The animals in heaven may not be earthly animals that have died and came back to life. These may be whole, newly created animals.

Of all the creatures of the earth only humans received the breath of God. Only people have had eternity put in their hearts (Eccl 3:10-11). Only humans were made clean by God-incarnate coming to die just for us. Based on that I’m doubting any other created item (animal or otherwise) on this earth will be reborn to be present in the spiritual realm of heaven. There may be newly created creatures, but not ones dead on earth then reborn again.

If anyone reading this has ever spent time in prayerful meditation or worship, and experienced the presence of God, or heard the voice of God speaking to you, I can tell you there’s nothing like it. It’s a combination of admirable, fearful respect, and peace such that even if you were to fall over dead you’d be over-joyed; an all-filling unconditional love. There’s nothing like it. When we’re in his presence eternally no one else there will matter. I don’t think anyone is going to be overjoyed by seeing a pet. I don’t think anyone is going to notice their pet isn’t even there. Things that brought us comfort and joy in this life (close friends, loved ones, pets) won’t compare to being in God’s presence.

Truth takeaway: As humans we are eternal. There is no scripture supporting that our animals have eternal life. When we’re in heaven, we’re going to be so enamored by the presence of the Creator Himself, other created beings will be a much lesser part of our concern.

Freedom takeaway: When we realize how good we’ll have it in heaven, in the presence of God, just being there. Why get hung up on what won’t be? 1 Corinthians 2:9 says nothing has seen, heard, or entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for those who love him.

For more reading and scriptural explanation on this check out this page.

 

“This too shall pass.”

While this phrase is often attributed to Solomon, it’s not actually found anywhere in Scripture. Upon researching it most sources say “this too shall pass” originated from medieval Persian Sufi poets. It’s often attached to a fable of a great king who is humbled by the simple words. This phrase first became popular in the 19th century. It was used by Abraham Lincoln before he became president.

Wikipedia has an article about it here.

Truth takeaway: Things will pass, good and bad. But thThingsWeSawe Lord, his Word, and his Kingdom will be forever.

“Idle hands are the Devil’s workshop.”

Here’s another “Stuff We Say” that has been addressed by someone else better than what I could have. Here’s the link that explains the truth behind “Idle hands are the Devil’s workshop.” While this article is simply their interpretation and opinion, it’s one I agree with.

Truth takeaway: Yes, idle, lazy hands are “the devil’s workshop.” We are to be busy with God’s work. Sure sometimes we need to rest. Sitting around doing nothing will make it easier for us to be doing something we don’t need to be.

(Disclaimer: While I don’t agree with all the answers on Gotquestions.com, this is one subject that I felt they covered very well and truthfully.)

ThingsWeSaw

“Hate the sin, love the sinner.”

In our society and cultural debates these days, this one comes up often. I’ve used it a lot myself. To me, it just sounds “right.” But what sounds right to us and what the Bible declares as truth isn’t always the same. I was really eager to look into this saying to determine its truthfulness. The phrase itself is actually a quote from Mahatma Ghandi. So is it Biblical?

A lot of the time I’ll find one of these sayings. As I’m looking into the history of it and comparing it with the Bible I’ll find what others have said about it. This is one of those where I feel like someone has already explained it, and has provided good Scripture to support their explanation.

This link explains the truth behind “Hate the sin; love the sinner.” While this article is simply their interpretation and opinion, it’s one I agree with.

Truth takeaway: We tend to treat people based on what they’ve done wrong. This is wrong in itself. No matter how heinous the offense they’ve committed they are loved by God. The same God that loves you and me. Their actions/behaviors that are incited by the Evil One are to be hated, but not the people.

Freedom takeaway: If we could remember to see people the way God does – as children needing loved – how would we deal with those we’d normally shun? What would it be like to be able to deal with people without having disgust for their actions cloud our dealing with them or praying for them?

ThingsWeSaw

“God wants me to be happy.”

How many times have we heard about, read about, or know someone who excused a decision by this phrase: “God wants me to be happy.”

Does he want us to be happy? Within the bounds of his standards, I believe he does. He wants us to find our happiness in Him. Unfortunately most of the time when people say God wants them to be happy, they’re pursuing happiness apart from God’s will for us.

Biblical happiness isn’t found in stuff of this earth – physical, material, or even emotional. Nowhere in the Bible does God look fondly on one who rebels against his standards. Including for one’s own happiness.

One word that conveys happiness in the New Testament is “makarios.” It’s usually translated as “blessed.” God does want to bless us. But that blessing is most often dependent on our obedience (Ps 103:17-18; Jn 8:31; 2Cor 7:15). “Makarios” is found in the the Sermon on the Mount, and the book of Revelation (1:3; 14:13; 16:15; 19:9; 20:6; 22:7, 14). Another Greek word is “euthymei” which means “be of good cheer.” This is found in James 5:13. In the OT the Hebrew term is “ashre.” It means “blessed,” “happy,” “elated.” It’s found in 2 Chronicles 9:7. That will be all for today’s ancient language lesson.

God has often asked those that truly follow him to make decisions that will make them unhappy. Choosing not to deny Christ as you’re being martyred doesn’t sound very happy. There are times when exacting revenge on someone would’ve made me a lot happier than forgiving them. This idea of “I deserve to by happy because… And if I’m not happy, I should be allowed to do whatever to be happy. Nothing else matters,” is ridiculous! And I’m talking about born-again believers here.

Sometimes it doesn’t matter if someone else is going to get hurt, people will still think that God is blessing their decision. “But God gave us free will.” Yes, he did. We have free will, but it’s not without consequences. If you choose to have unprotected sex with multiple partners, statistically, you will get a non-curable STD. That’s a consequence of free-will. If you choose to be unfaithful to your spouse (even in an internet chat room) you may likely face the consequence of losing your family and home in an ugly divorce.

Truth takeaway: God wants us to be happy in following his will; staying within his standards. Because he knows that’s the the only place real peace and contentment are found. Outside of that, your happiness is irrelevant. What God really wants is personal sanctification (set-apartness) from us.

Freedom takeaway: By living a life where our happiness comes from walking with the Lord in personal holiness, we’ll be truly happy and blessed. We’ll be free from chasing happiness that leads nowhere.

ThingsWeSaw

 

“Conquer your demons.”

In a discussion with someone, they told me that they hoped I conquered my demons someday. I have an extremely addictive past and they knew the struggles I had been through. At the time of this conversation I had been walking in freedom unlike I had never experienced. Their statement made me ponder if my demons were conquered. Or did I still have conquering to do?

1 John 2:13 says, “I write to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one.”

Romans 8:37-38 agrees with this: “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons…”

Truth takeaway: Biblically I can’t find where those redeemed by Christ have anything unconquered. We struggle. We may have to fight but our victory is assured in Christ.

Freedom takeaway: Your demons have already been conquered! Walk and live in that freedom!

ThingsWeSaw

“Spare the rod, spoil the child.”

This saying has been used to defend corporal punishment for centuries. Is it in the Bible? Is it a Biblical principle?

Bibleornot.org says the actual quote was written by Samuel Butler, a 17th century poet. It is probably inspired from Proverbs 13:24, “Whoever spares the rod hates their children, but the one who loves their children is careful to discipline them.” Proverbs goes on to mention the rod a few other times:

22:15 “Foolishness is tangled up in the heart of a youth; the rod of discipline will drive it away from him.”
23:13-14 “Don’t withhold discipline from a youth; if you beat him with a rod, he will not die. Strike him with a rod, and you will rescue his life from [Hell].”
29:15 “A rod of correction imparts wisdom, but a youth left to himself is a disgrace to his mother.”

New Testament verses about disciplining children include:

Heb. 12:6-7 “for the Lord disciplines the one He loves and punishes every son He receives. Endure suffering as discipline: God is dealing with you as sons. For what son is there that a father does not discipline?”

Eph. 6:4 “Fathers, do not exasperate you children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.”

I’m not going to get into a debate on here on whether or not these verses about “the rod” mean corporal punishment or gentle guidance like a shepherd’s rod. While “spare the rod, spoil the child” isn’t a Biblical quote, the principle of disciplining your child is. I think what Gill’s commentary says about Proverbs 13:24 makes for a good truth takeaway: “Who withholds or withdraws his rod of correction, which is in his hand, which he has power to use, and ought to exercise at proper times; he, instead of loving his son, may be said to hate him; for such fond love is no better than hatred; and, if he really hated him, he could scarcely do a more ill thing by him than not to correct him for a fault”ThingsWeSaw

 

“God helps those who help themselves.”

This saying is definitely not Biblical in origin. In Isaiah 25:4 the Bible says, “For You [God] have been a defense for the helpless, a defense for the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shade from the heat…” Romans 5:6 says, “For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.” When we’re stuck and we can’t do anything for ourselves, God will be there.

Often trying to do things ourselves, out of our own self-sufficiency leads to God not helping us. There’s scripture where God is waiting for us to humble ourselves, throw up our hands, and cry out that we don’t have it under control (Psa. 53:1-3, 119:169; Matthew 14:29-30, James 4:10.)

When we can’t do it anymore. When we’re not able to conquer that habitual sin. When we’re emotionally and physically at the end of our rope – God will be there to help even when we can’t help ourselves.

Truth takeaway: God does help those who cannot help themselves. God desires a humble heart and contrite spirit (Psa. 34:18, 51:17). Sometimes God wants to see this more than us trying to fight our way through life.

Freedom takeaway: I think it’s just freeing to know that God is there for me in my distress, struggles, fatigue, etc.

Are you ready to let go and receive God’s help?

 

ThingsWeSaw

Is karma Biblical?

 

Another br220px-It_Shoots_Further_Than_He_Dreamseak from the “Stuff we Say” series. Though in a way, it’s not. We’ve often said things that agree with the idea of karma. Karma, in our Western culture basically means “What goes around, comes around.” (The actual principle of karma in the Hindu beliefs where it originates is actually more complex.) While the Bible doesn’t directly say “What goes around, comes around,” there are two verses that speak to that principle

Obadiah 1:15 “For the Day of the Lord is near, against all the nations. As you have done, so it will be done to you; what you deserve will return on your own head.”

Galatians 6:7 “Don’t be deceived: God is not mocked. For whatever a man sows he will also reap,”

Truth takeaway: While not actually called “karma” in the Bible, the concept is the same.

Freedom takeaway: When we’re hurt by someone else or see injustice done we want them to pay and pay dearly. These verses are a promise from God that He will deliver what is deserved.

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