When The Bubble Bursts

Disillusionment is a good thing if it makes you susceptible to the truth.

Think about that for a minute.

dis-ILLUSION-ment

No longer under the illusion of whatever is distracting you from truth.

I’m not saying it doesn’t hurt us or cause us to be off-kilter for awhile when what we thought was true turns out to be a lie.

It does.

The difficult part is accepting that what we believe isn’t true…or truth.

Some people never accept truth or facts. It’s too hard for them to change…

…or admit they were in error…

…or that they believe a lie. Then pride gets in the way and they stay…deceived.

We all get to choose.

The Apostle Paul faced that same choice. He believed he was doing God’s work by imprisoning and killing the followers of Christ. After all, he knew God. He was a Jewish man. And not just any Jewish man, he was a Pharisee , educated in The Law and a strict adherent to the same Law.

That was until those same Christ followers prayed for him and God intervened in Saul’s (Paul) life:

“As he (Saul/Paul) was approaching Damascus on this mission, a light from heaven suddenly shone down around him.  He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul! Saul! Why are you persecuting me?”

“Who are you, lord?” Saul asked.

“And the voice replied, “I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting! Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” Acts 9:3-6

Saul, later renamed Paul, was faced with a choice: continue to hold on to his pride, position and tradition or accept that what he believed might not be true.

Thankfully for us, and for himself, he made the right choice. He made the decision to embrace the truth of Jesus, who is Truth, lay aside his own worldview and become a disciple of Christ. And the rest is history.

As you read the scriptures for yourself, and you come across something that is directly the opposite of what you believe, be willing to let go and grow in the truth of God’s word. And don’t be afraid to ask Him questions or voice your doubts or concerns. The Holy Spirit is a wonderful and creative teacher. He knows what will help you understand and believe.

So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.” ~ John 8:31-32

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Unalterable

If you are seeking truth, you should be able to receive (and recognizethe truth through whomever is speaking it.

“If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.” Mark 4:23

The entrance of Your word brings light

 

“The sum of Your word is truth, And every one of Your righteous ordinances is everlasting.” Psalm 119:160

“Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth.” John 17:17

Don’t reject the truth spoken through someone who might not look, sound or act like you. Or who is older, younger or from a different denomination than you. God’s truth is God’s truth, no matter who shares it.

Keep a humble attitude and a receptive heart as you seek the Lord. He will give you the answers you seek.

Read the passage from 2 Kings 5:2-19 below and see how a captive Jewish servant girl, a prophet’s messenger and the prophet Elisha ministered God’s healing, mercy and truth to a powerful Aramean General.

Blessings! Have a wonderful day!

2 Kings 5:2-19 New Living Translation (NLT)

At this time Aramean raiders had invaded the land of Israel, and among their captives was a young girl who had been given to Naaman’s wife as a maid. One day the girl said to her mistress, “I wish my master would go to see the prophet in Samaria. He would heal him of his leprosy.”

So Naaman told the king what the young girl from Israel had said. “Go and visit the prophet,” the king of Aram told him. “I will send a letter of introduction for you to take to the king of Israel.” So Naaman started out, carrying as gifts 750 pounds of silver, 150 pounds of gold,[a] and ten sets of clothing. The letter to the king of Israel said: “With this letter I present my servant Naaman. I want you to heal him of his leprosy.”

When the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his clothes in dismay and said, “Am I God, that I can give life and take it away? Why is this man asking me to heal someone with leprosy? I can see that he’s just trying to pick a fight with me.”

But when Elisha, the man of God, heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes in dismay, he sent this message to him: “Why are you so upset? Send Naaman to me, and he will learn that there is a true prophet here in Israel.”

So Naaman went with his horses and chariots and waited at the door of Elisha’s house. 10 But Elisha sent a messenger out to him with this message: “Go and wash yourself seven times in the Jordan River. Then your skin will be restored, and you will be healed of your leprosy.”

11 But Naaman became angry and stalked away. “I thought he would certainly come out to meet me!” he said. “I expected him to wave his hand over the leprosy and call on the name of the Lord his God and heal me! 12 Aren’t the rivers of Damascus, the Abana and the Pharpar, better than any of the rivers of Israel? Why shouldn’t I wash in them and be healed?” So Naaman turned and went away in a rage.

13 But his officers tried to reason with him and said, “Sir,[b] if the prophet had told you to do something very difficult, wouldn’t you have done it? So you should certainly obey him when he says simply, ‘Go and wash and be cured!’” 14 So Naaman went down to the Jordan River and dipped himself seven times, as the man of God had instructed him. And his skin became as healthy as the skin of a young child, and he was healed!

15 Then Naaman and his entire party went back to find the man of God. They stood before him, and Naaman said, “Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel. So please accept a gift from your servant.”

16 But Elisha replied, “As surely as the Lord lives, whom I serve, I will not accept any gifts.” And though Naaman urged him to take the gift, Elisha refused.

17 Then Naaman said, “All right, but please allow me to load two of my mules with earth from this place, and I will take it back home with me. From now on I will never again offer burnt offerings or sacrifices to any other god except the Lord. 18 However, may the Lord pardon me in this one thing: When my master the king goes into the temple of the god Rimmon to worship there and leans on my arm, may the Lord pardon me when I bow, too.”

19 “Go in peace,” Elisha said. So Naaman started home again.

Feelings Are Not the Standard of Measure

The following passage is a foundational scripture for anyone seeking to live a life that is pleasing to God:

For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12 NASB

 When consistently followed, the practice of judging your thoughts and feelings by the Word of God will bring spiritual growth and maturity. It will set you free from depression and combat fear. It will reveal insecurity and unbelief, and divide truth from lies. Paul instructed the Roman believers to: “… not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Romans 12:2)

 Transformation and change is what we are after—to be new, different, righteous! To be conformed to Christ’s image! To be light and salt, God’s ambassadors to a lost and hurting world.

Jesus said we are to live by “…every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4). How do we do this? First we have to know what God says, and He has spoken (and speaks) through His word, which is the Bible..

Jesus said that a characteristic of His true disciples are those who abide, or live in His word. His word reveals truth…it is truth, and truth brings freedom. Feelings are fickle, constantly changing, influenced by whoever we are in contact with or whatever we are focusing on at any given moment in time. I can feel like doing or saying many different things when I’m driving in my car, but just because I feel like doing it, doesn’t make it right.

The U.S. is experiencing the fall-out from years of people choosing to do what feels right vs what actually is right. Violence and hate is pervasive. Sin is glorified instead of confronted and put down. The family unit is in confusion, dysfunction and disarray while parents abdicate their responsibility, letting children choose their own way, rather than instructing them in the way they should go. We have gone from a mostly moral nation (knowing right from wrong and choosing right), to immoral (knowing right from wrong and deliberately choosing wrong), to a nation with a rampant exhibition of amoral behavior: one lacking a moral sense; unconcerned with the rightness or wrongness of something (Webster). And people wonder why!

We can become righteous again. We can be a nation, a people who are concerned about what our Creator thinks, a people who seek Him and His ways.

And it starts with you…and me. We cannot point the finger at others if we do not submit ourselves to God’s instruction and truth. When I instruct and warn my children against doing something, it’s not because I want to spoil their fun. It’s because I love them and want to protect them from harm.

And here’s the thing, God’s word is not all thou shalt not…it’s also the catalyst for joy, peace, freedom, healing, security and love.

Let me share some practical examples of how you allow the word of God to work in your life, to divide soul (feelings, emotions & thoughts) from Spirit (truth, righteousness, God):

Let’s say you are someone who battles guilt and shame, even after you have confessed your sin to God. That lingering feeling of condemnation is just that: a feeling. It is not truth. If you don’t actively battle this feeling you will always be subject to it. You will believe that no matter what you do, God is mad at you. Or you might think that you deserve punishment, or that you need to “work off” the sin, somehow redeeming yourself.

This line of thinking is not scriptural and needs correcting. The correction comes when we believe God’s word and allow it to change the way we think. This is how we become conformed to God’s way of thinking.

Here is what truth says regarding sin, condemnation, confession and God:

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” John 1:19

 “So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1

 “Come, let’s talk this over, says the Lord; no matter how deep the stain of your sins, I can take it out and make you as clean as freshly fallen snow. Even if you are stained as red as crimson, I can make you white as wool!” Isaiah 1:18

It’s the truth you know (and believe and speak) that sets you free, so be free!

Seek God in His word. Love truth, and allow it to correct you. None of us, I repeat NONE of us, is born knowing right from wrong, is born without sin, is born without need of the Savior. The scripture that so many people know, but so few embrace, is the start of a love relationship with God, our heavenly Father:

“For this is how much God loved the world—He gave His uniquely conceived Son as a gift. So now everyone who believes in Him will never perish but experience everlasting life. God did not send His Son into the world to judge and condemn the world, but to be its Savior and rescue it!” John 3:16 The Passion Translation

Fight the good fight of faith with the only weapon that triumphs, the word of God. Speak it out of your mouth, inspired and empowered by the Holy Spirit of Christ!

Hebrews Epistle image

Blessings!

Only One True God

Sharing this excerpt from a Francis Frangipane post today.

For anyone going through the valley, wondering where God is, this is for you.

“I am the Lord, and there is no one else;
There is no God except Me.
I will embrace and arm you, though you have not known Me,

That people may know from the rising to the setting of the sun [the world over]
That there is no one except Me.
I am the Lord, and there is no other” 

Isaiah 45:5-6 Amplified Bible

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The Valley of Fruitfulness

The battles we face are often intense times of weakness, distress and confusion. If the events of our lives were charted, these would be the lowest points. Yet God is no less with us during difficulties than at other times. In fact, these valleys are often as much the plan of God as our mountaintop experiences.

There is a story in the Bible that speaks plainly to this truth. Israel had recently defeated the Arameans in a mountain battle. In 1 Kings, chapter 20, we read:

“Then the prophet came near to the king of Israel, and said to him, ‘Go, strengthen yourself and observe and see what you have to do; for at the turn of the year the king of Aram will come up against you.’ Now the servants of the king of Aram said to him, ‘Their gods are gods of the mountains, therefore they were stronger than we; but rather let us fight against them in the plain, and surely we shall be stronger than they'” (1 Kings 20:22-23).

The enemy said that the God of Israel was a god of the mountains, but if they fought the Jews in the valleys they would defeat them. We read in verse 28:

“Then a man of God came near and spoke to the king of Israel and said, ‘Thus says the Lord, “Because the Arameans have said, ‘The Lord is a god of the mountains, but He is not a god of the valleys,’ therefore, I will give all this great multitude into your hand, and you shall know that I am the Lord”‘” (1 Kings 20:28).

No matter what the enemy tries to tell you, Christ is God of the mountains and He is God of the valleys. He has not stopped being God because you happen to be in a valley. He is the God of glory as seen in His power and miracles. In the valleys He reveals Himself as faithful, loyally committed to us in our difficulties and distresses. In and through all things He is our God.

When we are on the mountaintop of a Christian experience, we can see our future clearly. We have perspective and confidence. When we are in one of life’s valleys, however, our vision is limited and our future seems hidden.

Yet valleys are also the most fertile places on earth. Valleys produce fruitfulness. You can expect there to be a harvest of virtue when God dwells with you in the valleys of life.

Lord help me to worship you where I see you in the high places or in the low. Lord, I trust that you will work all things for my good and no weapon formed against me will ever prosper. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

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The preceding excerpt is adapted from the book The Shelter of the Most High by Pastor Frangipane.

Ministries of Francis Frangipane

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