Last month the author of the best selling Christian book, “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” announced that he and his wife were filing for divorce. As if that wasn’t sad enough, on the heels of that announcement, Josh Harris shocked the world by stating he was leaving Christianity. In his renouncing of a faith that he had practiced over multiple decades, Harris also recanted the views that he had affirmed and defended in his book, read by millions.
But in reality, the “gospel” according to Harris, as he eloquently authored, didn’t survive even 3 decades, much less a lifetime or a millennia. Yet many who also reject the Bible and Christianity will now point to Harris as some sort of authoritative basis for affirming their own skepticism, and attacking Christianity.
As I was pondering Josh Harris’ about face, in such a profound and public manner, it started me thinking about the Bible. No, my faith in the Bible was not shaken or challenged by Harris’ rejection of God’s Word. Rather, Harris’ flip-flop reaffirmed and strengthened my belief in the authenticity and inerrancy of the book millions embrace.
You might ask, Why?
Books come and go. Premises, thoughts and philosophies also rise and fall. This reality stands to reason since men do the same. The thoughts and theories of man are at best brilliant, but in themselves men are fallible and frequently contradicted with new discoveries. Sooner or later the words of the best men are diminished and even forgotten.
But if the Author of a book is eternal, then it would seem reasonable that His words would be eternal as well. That’s what we see with the Holy Bible, God’s Word. Consider these facts about the Bible:
Written over a span of 1500 years, By approximately 40 men, In multiple languages, Made up of 66 mini-books, Is cohesive and consistent, Banned by emperors and nations, Remains the best selling book of all time.
Beyond these facts, God informs us in His Word:
“Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will never pass away.” (Matthew 24:35)
The Bible is a spiritual book, but it is also historical, philosophical, archeological, scientific, and poetic. Yet, the more years that pass, the more the non-spiritual facts are validated.
One way we see this is the way in which the Bible describes scientific facts that are contrary to man’s understanding. What we see over time is that these “unproven” truths are ultimately validated as man’s knowledge and comprehension increases. (By the way, when a skeptic takes the time to investigate this reality, he may walk away amazed by this truth, but pride often prevents a person from actually doing this.)
If the Bible was just a book written by men in their own power and wisdom, sooner or later, many of their thoughts and assertions would be displaced as new information and facts are discovered. However, if the Bible is made up of God’s words, penned by men who were inspired and led by God’s Spirit, then its authenticity and inerrancy will forever be affirmed, even though its oldest words were written 3500 years ago.
The Bible stakes many claims, but some of the most important are those it makes of itself. Note these Truths, about how the Holy Book was actually written:
“…no prophecy in Scripture ever came from the prophet’s own understanding, or from human initiative. No, those prophets were moved by the Holy Spirit, and they spoke from God.” (2 Peter 1:20-21)
“All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.” (2 Timothy 3:16)
Josh Harris’ about face does not disprove God’s Word. Rather, his recanting of his marital vows, and his previous spiritual beliefs, merely reveal a man who is broken and struggling, with himself, the people he loved, and the One he at one point worshipped. He needs our prayers.
I cannot look into Harris heart and know his deepest struggles, but I can know that no man’s belief or rejection will change God’s Word, or the ultimate Truth claims the Bible makes.
So the Bible is either true or a lie. The Book is either infallible, God’s very Word, or it’s fallible, simply words of men. Ultimately what you and I do with the Bible and its Truth claims will determine our eternal destiny.
Just as Jesus Christ, referred to as “the Word” in the gospel of John, is “the same yesterday, today and forever,” so too is the Bible. It does not change. It does not wilt. And it remains immutable, regardless of shifting winds or flip-flopping authors. So when everything else around you seems unstable and in constant change, hold on to the only Book that has stood for millenniums, and make it a part of your everyday life. It’s the only Truth that will always stand firm.
We’ve all heard the saying, “the truth will set you free.” It’s possible we’ve even quoted it. But have you ever asked yourself, “what truth?”
In this age of relativism, it’s also often said, “truth is whatever you believe it to be.”
But how can both of these statements be true? For if you or I want to be free, and truth is whatever we believe it to be, then can just anything you or I believe give us the freedom we seek or long for?
Of course not. Believing such absurdity can easily be disproved. Consider this example. If the one struggling to free himself of his addiction to meth, also believes the cursed chemical frees him from his struggles, then the second “truth” will never lead the addict to the freedom he desires.
So it’s incumbent for us to define and limit truth to its absolute claims, in order for truth to set us free.
When Jesus stood before Pilate, just moments prior to His crucifixion, Pilate asked Jesus a question every human must ask, “What is Truth?”
It’s ironic that Pilate asked this question of the One who had earlier claimed, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life…” (John 14:6)
This would be akin to asking Elon Musk the question, “What is an electric car?” or Ronald Reagan, “What is a conservative?” They were both authorities in their fields so they were equipped to answer their respective question.
Jesus had spent His entire earthly ministry living and explaining Truth. His teachings revealed Truth. And His life was a living example of Truth. So when the Authority on Truth shared the secret to being set free by the Truth, we should consider His words:
“You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32)
Did you catch that? There is only one way to know the Truth, and that is: 1) to know the teachings of Jesus, and 2) to remain faithful to those teachings.
His teachings are both. But the teachings of Jesus are also profound. If you want to truly know those teachings, they will not be learned solely in a class, a YouTube video, or sitting in church (although these may all be helpful).
Rather, the teachings of Jesus will be learned as we spend time daily in the book of Jesus’ teachings (the Bible). They will be learned as we “pray without ceasing” (meaning live our lives in a constant state of prayer). His teachings will be learned as we try them, stumble, get back up, and try them again. They will be learned as God’s Spirit reveals them to us, and empowers us, as we earnestly seek God. And His teachings will be learned as we meditate on them, and share them with others.
Ultimately, we will be “faithful to Jesus’ teachings” as they become the Truth that literally consumes and dominates our lives. As we faithfully do this, “the truth will set us free.”
Are you ready to be set free from whatever entraps you?
“So if the Son sets you free, you are truly free.” (John 8:36)
Greed is a character flaw that runs deep within the heart of America and one that we see too often in business, government and individuals. The sin of Greed is a powerful force that can easily infect us individually, and it’s one I have struggled with at times. So we must constantly be on guard against it. But we should also call it out when we see it reflected in our government and its institutions.
In case you missed it, TVA just filed suit against several individuals to gain access to their farmland “for the taking of a temporary right under the power of eminent domain and award of just compensation to the owners and parties of interest.” It has been reported that the owners of the subject land are not interested in selling their land.
TVA’s lust for the property of others is a sin. But an agency or organization does not sin on its own. Rather, sin is committed by individuals. So when we see an organization, agency or government committing insidious acts, we must resist the temptation to blame the entity alone. Rather, we must look to its members, executives or representatives. Never let this truth pass you by.
There are individuals within TVA who are individually responsible for the Greed that is being displayed in their unjust desire to take and to steal what is not theirs. These individuals may hide behind the three letter agency name they represent, but they are personally responsible, and to blame, for the evil acts of the agencies they lead. And yes, taking another individual’s personal property without their consent, otherwise known as stealing, is evil.
There is a second truth that we can learn from TVA’s latest strategy. Do not be deceived into thinking that just because courts might rule that something is “legal” it is then just or right. This includes ruling that a developer, agency or government can take land from an unwilling party.
Declaring something to be “legal” has never set the bar of what is right, nor righteous. Whenever man establishes an arbitrary standard, that standard can always be reversed or revised, thus affirming the truth that man’s laws are fallible.
There is only one standard that is true, right, infallible, and righteous. And God has weighed in on all matters of significance and consequence, including Greed in general, and taking someone else’s property in specific. There are literally countless passages in the Bible that instruct us about this topic, including the ten commandments, moving boundaries, taking the property of the weak, and so many more. To be clear, all of us are “weak” when compared with the multi-billion dollar budgets, holdings, and resources of TVA.
So, when it comes to TVA’s abusive effort to take what is not theirs, using the power of a court, via the threat and cost of a lawsuit, rest assured that evil intentions are at work. But remember that these decisions are not simply some impersonal government agency’s policies at play. Rather, know that it is a man or a woman, or even several men and women, who are willfully conspiring to take what is not theirs to advance their own selfish desires.
In this specific case, I have met some of the individuals responsible for this Greed via TVA. Some are members of local, bible-teaching churches. Yet their faith is at odds with their choices in their workplace. They are doing to their “neighbor” what they would never want done to themselves. In so doing, these men and women are violating a foundational value that they would likely say they embrace. What a sad reality. But they are not to be condemned but rather challenged in a respectful and even prayerful manner. We should all remember that we are all frail and too often struggle with our own shortfalls and character flaws. But we must still share truth regardless.
Just as God judged Ahab and Jezebel for stealing a citizen’s farmland several thousand years ago, I believe He will judge these men and women who are seeking to steal the farmland of several of their local citizens and their families. Since God is “the same yesterday, today and forever,” He does not change with the whims of man, or the rulings of a court. His Truths remain, as does His Justice.
So the good news is this. Sooner or later Justice will prevail, and Greed will be exposed and punished. Of course, most of us like to see justice prevail in the short-term though. So if you agree with these sentiments, please share this article with others. Perhaps God’s Truth, or a groundswell of opposition in our community, will cause the men and women responsible for this latest TVA effort to reverse their course of Greed.
“Listen to me, you who know right from wrong, you who cherish my law in your hearts…” (Isaiah51:7)
What if I told you that the Key to Life was just one word? Would you believe it? Could you guess the word?
I believe most, if not all, of humanity has often wondered what that Key is. The fact is most who have searched for the Key have never found it because they have gone down the wrong path looking for it. Without the Truth to instruct them, they invariably realize the key they’ve pursued has failed to open the door to Life.
So just what is that Key? I believe we can find it over and over in God’s Word, but perhaps the following verses are as plain as it can be made:
“Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live! You can make this choice by loving the Lord your God, obeying Him, and committing yourself firmly to Him. This is the key to your life…”(Deuteronomy30:19-20)
Did you catch that? The Key to Life is a Choice. And that Choice is a deliberate decision: “…loving the Lord your God, obeying Him, and committing yourself firmly to Him.”
It’s really that simple. A Choice.
But to be honest, while simple, it is quite hard, as far as I’ve discovered — hard because we live in a difficult, broken world.
This “Hard” is realized each day because, while we may make this Choice in the morning, by noon, or even earlier, the enemy (Satan) has likely tempted us to forget that Choice. And because we are frail, and our “spirit is willing but our flesh is weak” we may fall, again and again.
But God recognized this trait of humanity. He understood that “the godly may trip seven times, but he will get up again.” (Prov. 24:16) To be clear, this is not because the godly are good, or better or stronger than others, but rather because God promised that “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” (2 Cor. 12:9)
In my own life, I have found myself failing and falling way more often than succeeding. Why is this? I believe it’s because we are truly engaged in the war of the ages. It has been going on since the beginning of time “for we are not fighting against flesh and blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12)
I have often met to discuss God, the Bible and spiritual matters with friends who question, scoff at, or even reject God. My heart is often heavy for them. But I believe if they are honest with themselves, they too will admit that they are engaged in an inner struggle — one which they most likely cannot understand or explain. Yet God did not desire us to be ignorant concerning Life or these deep personal struggles. Because God “is not willing that any should perish…” (2 Peter 3:9)
But God is also not one to demand or force someone to do something they do not want to do. And so we come back to that simple truth:
🔑 The Key to Life is a Choice.
And it’s our decision. No one else’s. But even though we choose God once and for all for our eternal destination (heaven), we must also continuously choose God moment by moment in order to have the “rich and satisfying life” that Jesus promised (John 10:10).
Easter… A week has passed since the day that people around the world celebrated the resurrection of our Savior, Jesus Christ. It was a day of victory and triumph. But unlike other holidays, which come and go until a year later, the truth of Easter is one that followers of Jesus should acknowledge and celebrate every day of the year.
The disciples had spent nearly every day with Jesus, for the three years leading up to the crucifixion. He had become not just their constant companion and Friend, but also their Teacher and God. So when Jesus fulfilled His own prophecy, and arose from the dead three days after His death, the disciples’ grief turned to joy and exhilaration.
The example of the disciples over the next several weeks following the Resurrection, is one from which we could all learn. As we read in the Gospels of the interactions between the followers of the Messiah, and Jesus, we see men and women who were continuously joyous at being reunited with their Savior. But their joy and celebration was not limited to a singular day or even those few weeks. Rather, “He is Risen” became the Truth that defined the rest of their lives.
That Truth also became the reason that fishermen became apostles, uneducated men became giants in the faith, and those dozen men ignited a worldwide spiritual flame that would never be extinguished. Even agnostics and unbelievers who heard them were astonished at these unlearned men, who had spent three years with the Author of Life. Within years though, that truth of the first Easter morning ultimately sustained them as they were eventually martyred by a world who rejected them and their risen Savior.
Fast forward though a couple thousand years to our present day. We just finished up another Easter week. But is Easter over for you? Was it just another holiday? Was it merely a time to spend with family and friends, and perhaps a quick visit to an Easter service somewhere? Or are you like the early disciples, whose lives were forever changed by their resurrected Savior?
If you profess Christ, then remember that He is Risen today too, and He is ever present with you as He was with His disciples, regardless of the circumstances or trials that might momentarily overwhelm you. But if you are walking this life apart from the Messiah who defeated death when He arose from the grave, then I urge you to open your life and heart to the One who not only died for you and me, but who also arose to give us that same victory over death.
“Blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.”Jeremiah17:7-8
If you’re alive, troubles will come. If you’ve been alive long, you’ve seen a lot of troubles. Some are our own doing and some are simply a part of life, and may be completely unrelated to anything you or I have done. How you or I prepare for and respond to those troubles though, can make all the difference in the world.
Do you just float along, and deal with troubles as they come?
Do you dread troubles, fearing them, as a howling storm headed your way?
Or do you understand that troubles, like the setting sun, will come? If so, you prepare yourself properly; building your character; developing relationships; drawing close to God; cultivating that one-on-one time with the One who sustains everything by His very Word.
If you do prepare for life’s storms, you will be like majestic hardwood trees that stand strong and erect, driving their roots deep into the soil, finding the water far below. It’s a known fact that as the wind blows against a tree, the tree responds by driving its roots deeper into the soil.
Because of their years of preparation, these trees can and will withstand the storms that will undoubtedly come their way; winds, rain, storms, lightning. Sure, they may bend during their times of trouble. They may sway. They may even lose branches. But if they are tied into the very foundation that enables their strength, they will stand to see another sunny day, and grow even stronger from these storms, preparing them for the next trials that will certainly come.
Are you and I going deep in our relationship with God? Do we seek the “living water” that God offers through His Son, Jesus Christ? Are we tied into Him daily? Do we drink the nutrition that only He can give us, that will strengthen us like only God can do?
When we do this, we will be prepared to not only withstand the trials that come our way, but we will thrive in the midst of life’s storms. And as we do so, we will not only grow stronger for the next storm, but we will also be an encouragement to those around us who may not be preparing as they ought.
Go deep. Grow strong. Don’t fear. Drink Him in. God is your Hope and Confidence.