Wherefore Art Thou, Truth?

Don’t allow closed minds to deprive you of an abundant life . . .

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The following was posted five years ago under the title “Getting Traction in Your Life.” At that point in time I could not have envisioned a culture such as we are currently experiencing.

Thinking carries a moral imperative

My purpose then was to point to the only truth we can depend on. Since that time I posted  “Navigating True North, in a ‘Post-Truth’ World,” a look at the unbelievable growth in relative truth, which is no truth at all.

I believe these truths are more pertinent today than ever, as we witness apostasy in the Church like never before. This is true worldwide, but perhaps at a greater shift in the USA.

“To think well and usefully a man must be endowed with certain indispensable qualifications. He must, for one thing, be completely honest and transparently sincere. Another qualification is courage. The timid man dare not think lest he discover himself, an experience to him as shocking as the discovery that he has cancer. The sincere thinker comes to his task with the abandonment of a Saul of Tarsus, crying, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? Thinking carries a moral imperative. The searcher for truth must be ready to obey truth without reservation or it will elude him.” [A.W.Tozer Devotional; Chasing Truth]

The very definition of truth negates any idea that it can be relative.


Foundational truth, guided by wisdom, is the only means by which an individual – and hence a society – will weather the inevitable storms of change. Unfortunately there is a strong movement in these times to sell the idea that truth is relative. We hear this stated oftentimes, in various ways, but few people ever stop to evaluate what that actually means. It might sound good, perhaps even intellectual. Acceding to such a philosophy makes us feel we are connected with the mainstream. Rarely do we hear opposing views to dissuade us. But, truth is NOT relative. Truth apart from wisdom is a dangerous thing. “Knowledge comes, but wisdom lingers.” (Alfred Lord Tennyson)

The very definition of truth (‘a transcendent fundamental or spiritual reality’; Merriam-Webster) negates any idea that it can be relative. There are some areas where there is little disagreement on that. For example, does anyone believe that 2 + 2 does not equal 4? No, there will be no argument with that because it can be seen in concrete form, and there is no moral dilemma associated with it. Each person’s fingerprints are unique. DNA is unique. The laws of thermodynamics are repeatable. In fact, the very essence of research into the physical worlds of health, science, physics, etc, is based on repeatable norms and baseline truths. Rather than dispute these basics the scientist/mathematician accepts them as foundational truth and builds from them.

Why, then, do we so quickly jump to the conclusion that truth applied to life can be relative in certain areas, e.g. morality and the realm of faith? Most, if not all historians agree that moral decline precipitated the fall of the Roman Empire. However, social commentators in the twentieth century have viewed the contemporary decline in morals within Western civilizations as proof we are evolving to a more enlightened state. If God is the Creator of everything (a foundational truth that man has denigrated over the past three hundred years) then every aspect of His axiomatic Self is foundational and fixed. “The LORD by wisdom founded the earth; By understanding He established the heavens.” (Proverbs 3:19) There must, by definition, be foundational truths that are not variable over time and cultures and generations.

In Western civilization the student has become so full of himself/herself, that he/she questions the very foundations of the knowledge gained from the teacher. Our ego and associated pride create hindrances to accepting the truth of the ages and to realizing just how simple foundational truth can be. “The intelligent man who is proud of his intelligence is like the condemned man who is proud of his large cell.” (Simone Weil) Perhaps we have so dissected the Word of God that it no longer bears resemblance to His authorship, and we then, arrogantly, say we have proven there to be error. The classic conundrum!

The drive to justify self-centered, amoral and immoral lifestyles is gaining so much momentum that any truth standing in the way must be disavowed and discredited. Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life.” (John 14:6)

A genuine seeker of truth, regardless the venue, remains objective and open to evaluate whatever she finds. “But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul.” (Deuteronomy 4:29, emphasis mine). This could be considered a challenge by Almighty God. It is one that a large number of people have accepted and have proven true. James, the brother of Jesus, said this: “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.” (James 1:5)

Don’t be afraid of truth. Don’t allow closed minds to deprive you of an abundant life available through a relationship with the only living God. Seek Him through His Word, the Bible. His Spirit will be your guide

Becoming Overcomers

Jesus overcame Satan by the shedding of His blood, and thereby defeated death for us.

SatanIn today’s sophisticated, deluded culture, the devil is either a cartoon character, a suave charlatan that can give you everything you desire (for a price), or an incredibly powerful and evil being depicted in fictional venues as virtually unstoppable.

Christians need to understand that Satan is a real, yet created being. His powers are no greater than ours, just far more focused. He is not omnipresent, e.g. he can only be in one place at one time. He has an enormous number of demonic beings who do his bidding. These demons exercise great power because they know the Scriptures far better than most Christians. It is only natural that a soldier learn as much as possible about the enemy he faces in battle.

“You believe that God is one; you do well. The demons also believe — and they shudder.” [James 2:19 HCSB]

The devil’s ability to delude so many in our culture rests in his careful reading of our strengths and weaknesses.

The devil’s ability to delude so many in our culture rests in his careful reading of our strengths and weaknesses. He works to move us to distraction, tempts us to seek personal satisfaction through things and stuff. The child of God who is committed to the Scripture and prayer will find the way to stay the course – with a life committed to serving our Master.

“For though we live in the body, we do not wage war in an unspiritual way, since the weapons of our warfare are not worldly, but are powerful through God for the demolition of strongholds. We demolish arguments and every high-minded thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God, taking every thought captive to obey Christ.” [2 Corinthians 10:3-5 HCSB]

Jesus overcame Satan by the shedding of His blood, and thereby defeated death for us. He gave His life for you and I.

Jesus overcame Satan by the shedding of His blood, and thereby defeated death for us. He gave His life for you and I. Can we not rally to, at the least, defeat Satan’s attempts to destroy our lives and those of our families? Our nation’s future depends on a reawakening to the truth of God’s Word and the simple fact that we have been bought with a price.

I would ask you to consider these words and, please, read the Bible passages. Then ask the Spirit of God to guide you in every endeavor with the wisdom of our Creator!

Read Psalm 81:13-14

“We must realize that it is not Satan who defeats us; it is our openness to him. To perfectly subdue the devil we must walk in the “shelter of the Most High” (Psalm 91:1). Satan is tolerated for one purpose: the warfare between the devil and God’s saints thrusts us into Christlikeness, where the nature of Christ becomes our only place of rest and security. God allows warfare to facilitate His eternal plan, which is to make man in His image.”

Francis Frangipane, ‘The Three Battlegrounds

God created everything. Even my furnace of affliction was created for His purposes!

Read Psalm 91:1-10

Read Psalm 92:14-15

God created everything. Even my furnace of affliction was created for His purposes!

“no weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and this is their vindication from me,” declares the LORD.” [Isaiah 54:17 NIV]

“In the battles of life, your peace is actually a weapon. Indeed, your confidence declares that you are not falling for the lies of the devil. You see, the first step toward having spiritual authority over the adversary is having peace in spite of our circumstances. When Jesus confronted the devil, He did not confront Satan with His emotions or in fear. Knowing that the devil was a liar, He simply refused to be influenced by any other voice than God’s. His peace overwhelmed Satan, His authority then shattered the lie, which sent demons fleeing.”

Francis Frangipane, ‘The Three Battlegrounds

“”To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”” [Revelation 3:21-22 NKJV]

“Let us recall that the Lord delivered the ancient Hebrews out of Egypt so He could bring them into the Promised Land. Likewise, we are delivered out of sin, not that we might live for ourselves, but that we might come into Christlikeness. Our goals must align with God’s, for if our nature does not change, we will invariably find ourselves in the same problems that caused our difficulties in the first place.”

Francis Frangipane, ‘The Three Battlegrounds’

Read 1 John 3:8-9

Satan is not an equal power with God; he is a vanquished foe.

“Spiritual authority is not a tug-of-war on a horizontal plane; it is a vertical chain of command. Jesus Christ has all authority in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28:18). He’s at the top. He has given His authority and power to His servants to be exercised in His name (Luke 10:17); we’re underneath Him. And Satan and his demons? They’re at the bottom, subject to the authority Christ has invested in us. They have no more right to rule your life than a buck private has to order a general to clean the latrine. Why, then, does the kingdom of darkness exert such negative influence in the world and in the lives of Christians? In a word, the lie.

Satan is not an equal power with God; he is a vanquished foe. But if he can deceive you into believing that he has more power and authority than you do, you will live as if he does!”

Neil Anderson, ‘The Bondage Breaker

Read 2 Thessalonians 3:3

Read Psalm 33:20-22

“I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful Jesus Returnsand True. With justice he judges and wages war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Coming out of his mouth is a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. He will rule them with an iron scepter. He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: king of kings and lord of lords.” [Revelation 19:11-16 NIV]

Prayers for the First 100 Days of the Trump Presidency

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As of 12:01 PM, EST, January 20th, 2017, Donald Trump will be the 45th President of the United States. Regardless of your religious, political or social leanings, he will be the President. It is incumbent upon us all, just as most Christians did on January 20, 2009, that we acknowledge his position and pray for him. The future of our nation, and of our children and grandchildren, depends on this country re-asserting its leadership position in the world.

Christians who read their Bible know that God establishes leaders in their positions.

President Trump and his transition team have set forward an aggressive plan to turn our nation around from the insanity of the previous eight years. The first 100 days of this Administration are extremely crucial in establishing his agenda.

President Trump and his administration need God’s Wisdom and blessings.

In other words – they need to hear from God!

In other words – we need to pray!

The following information is reprinted from the Harvest Prayer Ministries website: http://harvestprayer.com/resources/pray-for-america

Pray 100 Prayer Effort

A major effort to rally pray for our new president is underway, sponsored by dozens of prayer ministries. There are currently three place you can go to sign up for different aspects of this prayer initiative.

For a prayer to help you focus each day, go to a Facebook page: facebook.com/prayfirst100. Please click like or follow at this site to have the prayer posted to you. We recommend liking or sharing the prayers when the first ones come so Facebook will know that you are serious about wanting to see these posts.

facebook.com/prayfirst100

Most of the prayers here will be posted by Dr. David Butts, the chairman of America’s National Prayer Committee and the author of With One Cry: A Renewed Challenge to Pray for America.

If you would like a devotional each day to help you better focus, go to http://pray100.org. If you sign up, these devotionals, each written by a different leader, will be emailed to you each day.

Pray100

a-cross-at-sunset

It is not an option to sit in the grandstand. There are no spectators. God has heard our cries for our nation and granted His Mercy!! But He requires us to take up the standard in obedience to Him.

The Church must lead out in humbling ourselves before a Holy God, confessing our sins in abject humility, and asking Him to heal our land!

If that scares you, sounds too ‘religious’ for you, then you should know for sure God is convicting you; and you can know for sure the Devil, the arch enemy of the Church, is deceiving you!

Please make every effort to pray for the Church, for our country, for this new Administration, and especially for President Donald Trump.

Navigating True North, in a ‘Post-Truth’ World

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Post National . . . Post Modern . . . Post Christian . . . Post Toasties® (?!?)

And now, to make 2017 a truly delightful year – we embrace ‘post-truth’!!

“Oxford Dictionaries has declared “post-truth” as its 2016 international word of the year, reflecting what it called a “highly-charged” political 12 months.

“ . . . It is defined as an adjective relating to circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than emotional appeals.”  [BBC News; 16 November 2016; UK section]

“ . . . editors said that use of the term “post-truth” had increased by around 2,000% in 2016 compared to last year.

“ . . . (post-truth) had taken on the meaning of “belonging to a time in which the specified concept has become unimportant or irrelevant”.  [Guardian News and Media Limited; 15 November 2016]

A time where truth has become unimportant or irrelevant? Where objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than emotional appeals? The fact that we now acknowledge this, could, in fact, be a moral high-point; a splash of cold water in the face; a wake-up call. However, I fear that we, regardless of cultural, religious, ideological, geographical or national viewpoints, will blow right through this, quickly seeing it in the ‘rear-view mirror’ of our cultures, and simply accepting it as the way things are!

STOP!

Truth is important. Truth is relevant. Truth is absolute!

And, Truth is Infinite!!

That Intelligent Being who created everything – who has introduced Himself in the Holy Bible as the Almighty God – set forth Truth. It is seen in the foundation of everything in our modern world. And, by His very nature, God is Immutable – never changing.

As surely as 2 + 2 = 4 and ∏=3.141592653589793 . . . etc., God exists and His Truth is the foundation that enables a culture or civilization to survive and thrive’.

Truth is NOT relative. It does not change as a civilization or culture decides to redefine it. A post-truth world would be a morass of human failure. Karl Marx, Charles Darwin, John Dewey, Bertrand Russell, Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin, Adolph Hitler, Jean-Paul Sartre, Margaret Sanger, Fidel Castro, and Mao Zedong – just a very few of the leaders who were convinced they could redefine truth, and left a wide path of social and/or human destruction in their wake.

In the USA, particularly over the past 18 months, truth has taken a beating! ‘Fake News,’ which is a term that soft-pedals the fact it is a lie, e.g. not truth, is being bandied about; and it seems to be taken lightly.

“The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.”” [Isaiah 40:8 NIV]

As a leader in the rapid downward spiral of culture and morals, the USA continues to grovel after personalities and hedonistic lifestyles. In order to do so with an anesthetized conscience, it is necessary to deny that foundational truth exists.

We are clearly seeing how poorly we have chosen. No one in their right mind could posit an argument that we are morally or culturally better off today than even 50 years ago. Look at the news headlines. Our cities are war zones. Our out-going President and his former Attorney General actively sought to encourage lawlessness in order to advance a socialist agenda! All they accomplished is to create an environment where the law enforcement agencies are viewed as the bad guys. An admitted felon campaigns for President of the USA, and she nearly wins. Racial violence and prejudice is increasing. Persons flooding across our borders illegally are given more rights than citizens.  I could go on and on; but, does anyone care?!?

As a nation we spew this poison around the world. Where once stood a ‘shining city on a hill ‘ now lurks a specter of ‘post-truth’ relationships, abject immorality, back-stabbing of allies, elevation of evil regimes and two-faced diplomacy! We are like a ship whose anchor chain has broken, and it is moving to and fro, responding to whatever direction the wind blows.

Truth pre-existed what we know as the Creation, because God is Truth. He made it clear that Truth emanates from Him when He introduced Himself to Moses.

“And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,” [Exodus 34:6 KJV]

As the people through which God would redeem the fallen world, the Jews were enlightened with this body of Truth through God’s revelation to the Prophets. And the Israelites were forewarned about the fatal consequences of rejecting His Truth, while scrambling after the lusts of the flesh and the pitiful efforts of mankind to redefine truth. They chose the wrong path, and God brought judgment on them!

” . . . LORD, who may dwell in your sacred tent? Who may live on your holy mountain?” The one whose walk is blameless, who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from their heart, whose tongue utters no slander, who does no wrong to a neighbor, and casts no slur on others;” [Psalm 15:1-3 NIV]

Mankind has always sought ways to justify their self-centered pursuits, their pride, and the familiar lust for money, power and unbridled sexual licentiousness. Our courts are making a mockery of justice. Journalism is lost in editorializing every subject to advance an agenda.  Money and ideological power are prostituting the system, corrupting our Constitution. God’s Word is clear; as it was 3000 years ago, so it is now!

“Friend deceives friend, and no one speaks the truth. They have taught their tongues to lie; they weary themselves with sinning.” Jeremiah 9:5

“There are those who hate the one who upholds justice in court and detest the one who tells the truth.” Amos 5:10

“These are the things you are to do: Speak the truth to each other, and render true and sound judgment in your courts.” Zechariah 8:16

Historians have proven that societies and cultures based on a solid Judeo-Christian foundation have always prospered. Only as those cultures began to reject that foundation, for the express purpose of seeking to pursue an amoral lifestyle, have they begun to falter. God, who is infinitely Merciful, is also infinitely Righteous and Just. We are seeing His Judgment played out in our country today.

“Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” [John 14:6 NIV]

The organized church has caved to the ravenous desires of the backslidden and the non-believer for entertainment and anti-biblical approval of their sinful lifestyles. The apostate church vehemently argues against God’s Truth, just as in the days of Noah!

There would be no turning back from an actual ‘post-truth’ culture. I don’t I believe we are there yet; nor do I even know what that would look like! But we are definitely on the downward side of that slippery slope.

Let us commit ourselves to telling the truth in love, in every circumstance. On an individual basis we will find our lives easier to navigate standing on a hard-rock foundation of Truth. Let us stand our ground for Truth, no matter the cost. God will honor such steadfast, unwavering pursuit of the truth.

“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” [John 8:32 NIV]

 

Much Left to be Said

I began this Blog in 2011 with a passionate desire to communicate ideas and cultural commentary grounded in a Biblical Worldview. As the title of the Blog suggests (The Way:Redux) I seek to reignite a people committed to return to “The Way”, as the Church was referred to in the 1st Century AD (Acts 24). That Church literally spread the Good News of Jesus Christ throughout the world in less than 200 years.

I came to a point where I found myself being drawn into discussions outside that scope as I witnessed the cultural “plate-tectonic” shift. I realized more effort was being spent on dealing with symptoms rather than rooting out the actual causes of our Apostasy. I decided to back away from the Blogging world and focus on other writing and idea development as I evaluated my own responses to this tsunami of change.

Although I believe the basis for these shifts we are experiencing in our culture today began in earnest over 200 years ago when Christian pastors and seminary leadership began a slow but steady slide away from being Biblically grounded, Christ-centered change agents in the culture, withdrawing from the public square, and focusing more energy on development of the institution of the corporate church That’s when our pulpits shifted emphasis from deliberately affecting change by leading people to a relationship with Jesus Christ, to activities and entertainment that would draw people into the ‘church building,’ requiring larger buildings and more paid staff. The focus was on fighting the symptoms of our Apostasy until recently. Because I believe in our Almighty, Eternal, and Unchanging God, I lay the problems the USA faces today at the foot of the church in this country. Our Creator God will not allow His children to wander away from Him forever. Christians have been “asleep at the wheel.” Our Holy God is patient – not blind.

For example, the Supreme Court decision which opened the door for legally dehumanizing the unborn child, as well as legalizing the brutal murder of that innocent child, did not happen with Roe v Wade in 1973. That was the consummation of a process that began years before. The birth of a baby is not when that baby exits the birth canal. It actually became a baby 9 months before when the egg was fertilized and a life created by God. What we saw with the Supreme Court decision in 1973 was a resultant symptom of a culture turning away from God, turning inward and becoming self-absorbed. The current battle to change marriage from what God has ordained to include same-sex marriage is an even more relevant example.

“The real pivot point was the end of World War II. By the fall of 1945, Americans had endured 16 years of hardship, stretching back through the Depression. They were ready to let loose and say farewell to all that. There followed what the historian Alan Petigny called “the renunciation of renunciation.” The amount of consumer advertising on the radio exploded. Magazines ran articles on the wonderful lifestyle changes that were going to make lives easier — ultraviolet lights that would sterilize dishes in place of dishwashing.

“There was a softening in the moral sphere. In 1946, Rabbi Joshua Liebman published a book called “Peace of Mind” that told everybody to relax and love themselves. He wrote a new set of commandments, including “Thou shalt not be afraid of thy hidden impulses;” thou shalt “love thyself.” Liebman’s book touched a nerve. It stayed atop The New York Times’s best-seller list for 58 weeks. , , ,

“In 1952, Norman Vincent Peale came out with “The Power of Positive Thinking,” which rejected a morality of restraint for an upbeat morality of growth. That book rested atop the best-seller list for an astounding 98 weeks.

“Then along came humanistic psychology, led by people like Carl Rogers, who was the most influential psychologist of the 20th century. Rogers followed the same basic line. Human nature is intrinsically good. People need to love themselves more. They need to remove external restraints on their glorious selves. . . .”                [from The Culture Shift; N Y Times, The Opinion Pages; by David Brooks; 4/17/2015]

As this shift hit the church, sharp minded, energetic young people, passionate about Jesus, were steered away from professions such as law and politics, even business and technology, and encouraged to “pursue vocational ministry;” thereby leaving the legal and governmental arenas, as well as the marketplace, devoid of the Davids, Daniels, and Pauls who live by a Biblical Worldview, affecting change. (Read Matthew 5:13-16)

“Like a muddied fountain and a polluted spring is a righteous man who yields, falls down, and compromises his integrity before the wicked. He who has no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down and without walls.” [Proverbs 25:26, 28; Amplified Bible]

As I begin again to offer Blog Posts I would greatly encourage and appreciate interaction and discussion – pro and con – with readers. Perhaps we will all see things more clearly then.