Archives For Truth

Who Am I?

July 13, 2015 — 1 Comment

Today’s post is a guest post courtesy of my amazingly talented wife, Alisha Anderson.  You can follow Alisha on twitter at: @AlishaAnderson7

MirrorWhoAmIWoman

There seem to be a sweeping attitude in our American culture today that upholds, admires, and respects individuals for their extreme commitment to science, industry or work accomplishments.  However, when put in context of ones religious or spiritual beliefs, that is held lightly.   You see this all throughout popular culture; in our films, newspapers, magazines, etc.  Characters and individuals are praised for what they do – but not what they believe (ironic, considering what they believe is likely at the core of why they do it).

We have become focused only on the earthly and temporal and have not given credit to God.

This attitude says, “I’m a Christian, but if that offends you, I won’t act like one around you.”  Or, “I’m a Christian, but that’s just my Sunday thing, so that won’t impact everything else, I’ll keep it PC.”

It seems holding firm to your religious faith just isn’t “the thing” anymore.  It’s outdated thinking and deems you to be intolerant or not open to other ideas.

I am a wife, mother, real estate agent, soccer player, and much more. These are roles I play and things I do, but central to who I am is a Christian. I believe I am who the God of the Bible says that I am and I cannot separate that from the rest of me.  Furthermore, it is the belief as a Christian that is the most central to me and defines everything else about me.

Does this make me not open or intolerant?  I don’t think so.  I respect others for their commitments to their beliefs in the face of a society that increasingly says “anything goes”.  I believe it makes me more loving to all people types, wanting to share the good news of God’s grace with them, just as He has shown me His grace.

My standards are not something I have conjured up on my own, it is not me deeming what is moral and what is not. Rather I’ve decided to adopt God’s standards. By doing so, it removes me as being the judge – everything rests on what God’s word says.

God is pretty clear – His way is better than ours!

For as the Heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:9 NKJV)

Question: Do you have examples that you have seen of this type of attitude in our culture?

Who Defines Morality?

June 28, 2015 — 1 Comment

equal justice under law

This week, after the Supreme Court decision, Christian bloggers from across the globe took to the internet to express their opinion. Social media lit up with a flood of cheers as well as an onslaught of groans. I would venture to say the hashtag of #lovewins is likely one of the most trending topics on the internet.

I don’t know that I have anything new or unique to add to this topic, yet I feel compelled to chime in. As I read many of the blogs over the past few days, my heart just broke. It broke for 2 very distinct reasons:

1. My heart broke for those who call themselves Christian and spew such hatred and venom in their rhetoric. No matter your opinion on the subject, we are to always walk in love (now, that doesn’t mean we don’t express our opinion – we just need to have a better method of doing so…read more below).

2. My heart broke for Christians who have a distorted view of what Godly love is and of what Jesus demonstrated as love.  My heart breaks for the Christians that have compromised God’s Word and refuse to make a statement. My heart breaks for those Christians who don’t love their neighbors enough to tell them the truth found in the Word of God. My Heart breaks at an open acceptance by Christians of a sin.

Let me state the obvious: I believe in the Biblical definition of marriage – one man and one woman. Period. End of story. Let me be absolutely clear as a follow up to that statement – this does not mean I think anything less of the LGBT community or their desire to “marry”.  Do I think it is a sin? Yes. Do I believe the Bible calls it a sin? Yes. Do I love these people? Without a doubt!

I also think stealing, cheating, adultery and fornication are sins – but yet I love those people as well. There is no difference in my eyes – one person is not worse than another due to their sin.  The Bible is clear in Romans 3:23

For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God!

You, me, everyone. We have all fallen short.

As Christians, it is our job to be the light in a dark world and the example of God’s love – not His judgement.

The Supreme Court of the United States does not and cannot define morality – nor can they re-write God’s law. Yes, I believe all people should be treated equally with equal rights, but I do not believe that a “law” should be made that encourages someone to walk further out of God’s will for their lives.

If a law made by our legals system stands contrary to God’s law, we must express our concern. We as Christians must stand up and be the voice of morality according to the Bible.

I am fully aware that others will not agree with my opinion just as I don’t necessarily agree with theirs. That is what I love about our great country. We all share an equal right to believe what we believe and to freely express those beliefs without fear of persecution.

So where do we go from here? As a Christian, how do we proceed?

To me, it is simple. We show the world what #LoveWins really means. We show them that 2,000 years ago love won because a man died on a cross for you and for me. He died to free us of our sins. We show the world – just as Jesus did – that we can love and that sometimes love means we tell you what our God defines as a sin – that we open our Bibles and share with you the Truth.

Our desire should be the same as God’s desire – that none shall perish, but that all shall have everlasting life. The only way to do that is by boldly declaring His words through love.

I am reminded of Isaiah 40:8

The grass withers, the flowers fade, but the Word of our God stands forever.

There is nothing that can come out of Washington DC that will change the Word of God. To those in the LGBT and Christian community – let us find a better way to have the discourse. Hear me clearly, on behalf of Christians – we are sorry for any hatred spewed toward you – that is not the intent. We desire to introduce you to a savior that is all sufficient, all encompassing and all loving. It might sound foreign based on what you have seen – but Jesus desires nothing else but to love you and show you a better way.

Question: How do you show God’s love?

Intoxicating Success

March 3, 2015 — 2 Comments

vsportrait

On this day, March 3, in the year 1863 a resolution was adopted proclaiming a National Day of Prayer and Fasting. The United States of America continues to recognize this resolution on the first Thursday of May each year.

I was reading the speech that President Lincoln gave on March 30th following the signing of the resolution. It is a fascinating read and can be found in its entirety at this link.  This was a President who recognized the need to honor the God in whom all things have been created.

There is a quote that stands out as particularly intriguing to me:

Intoxicated with unbroken success, we have become too self-sufficient to feel the necessity of redeeming and preserving grace, too proud to pray to the God that made us. – President Abraham Lincoln

President Lincoln recognized that we can get to a point in life where self-sufficiency overrides our perceived “need” for God.  We find ourselves in a place of complacency.

This does not just happen to those outside of the Church – it happens just as quickly inside the Church. We find our routine. We go to Church on Sunday, serve as an usher, show up once a month for a mid-week service – but outside of that, we can’t seem to find the time to dig into His Word – pray, seek and discover. We might “walk the walk” but where is the fruit?

This post is short and simple: I pray we not be intoxicated with unbroken success, as President Lincoln said. Rather, let us be brought to a place where we are overwhelmed with a desire to know God on a deeper level than we did yesterday.

Let us be sickened by complacency and strive toward change.

Question: How do you overcome complacency?

 

It is Finished!

April 18, 2014 — Leave a comment

It Is Finished

So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit. (John 19:30 NKJV)

Those are three of the most powerful words ever spoken in the history of the World. “It is finished”.

At the time, the disciples watched in horror as their teacher took His final breath on that fateful Friday. Everything they had been taught over the previous years was now being put to the test. Little did they know that this was just the beginning. Some followers fled, and some even denied ever knowing Jesus. To many of them, those final words meant exactly that – “it is finished”. What we had hoped for, dreamed of and desired are gone. Everything was shattered.

But Jesus meant something completely different. Those three words were not a statement, but a proclamation. A deceleration of Freedom, Forgiveness, Grace and Love. “It is finished” meant that we are now the Righteousness of God in Christ Jesus, that we are heirs of an amazing inheritance, that sickness and disease must flee. Those three words bring forgiveness, healing, joy, strength and provision to all who simply believe and accept.

The cross was gruesome. The cross certainly appeared to be an unfortunate and disastrous finale. We have to go through the cross to arrive at Redemption.

It’s not over. It’s never over. No matter what you may feel, think or see – the joy of Sunday’s resurrection is coming fast. When Jesus uttered those three words from atop of that cross sitting on the hill, He was thinking of you. All the pain or sorrow that you may have, He was speaking to you – He was paying the price on your behalf and stating that all of the sadness and pain is over – you have an option for joy beyond description, for forgiveness that is unexplainable and peace that is insurmountable.

I am sure for the disciples, this was the darkest hour they ever experienced. It was in this darkness that all things came to pass and the plan of God was finished.

Don’t let the dark hours deceive you. The deceleration has been made. The work has been done. The sacrifice has been paid.

It is finished.

Question: How do you stay focused on the fact that we are the Righteousness of God in Christ Jesus?

Who I Am

November 26, 2013 — Leave a comment

Who I Am

I am one of those people who is motivated by simple words of encouragement. Even in my employment, it is not the financial opportunities that drive me nearly as much as a simple acknowledgment of a job well done.

The reality is, I think we are all in that same boat. Each and every day we seek acknowledgment and approval from those around us; strangers, co-workers, family and friends. We seek validation of our accomplishments, hopes and dreams. Some days, we receive it and some days not so much.

The problem arrises when we rely only on what people say about us and we forget what God says – after all, it is His opinion that truly matters.

So what does God say about you?  He says you are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14), He says you “are the apple of His eye” (Psalm 17:8), He says you are His Treasured possession (Deuteronomy 7:6), He says you are His Workmanship – a piece of art (Ephesians 2:10), He says you are an overcomer (1 John 4:4), He says you are seated in Heavenly places (Ephesians 2:6) and best of all, He says you are loved (John 3:16).

Today, don’t let any discouragement get in the way of your true identity in Him. Trust the opinion of the one who created you.

Question: How else does God describe you?

 

Who is Holding You?

September 5, 2013 — Leave a comment

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This past week we took our first out of state trip (which included a 3+ hour plane ride) with our almost 3-month old. As we approached our trip, I spent countless hours canvasing through blog after blog digesting the wisdom of brave parents who have traveled before with an infant. I will admit, I had some fear about this task (ok veteran parents, now is your time to laugh at me for dreading travel with just 1 baby).

Needless to say, everything went even smoother than I could hope for. It was on this trip that a concept my wife discussed with me weeks ago came to light.

On this trip we submitted our little one to numerous new encounters; planes, hotels, car rides, museums, and the worst of them all, a carnival midway. And along the way, it never mattered to him where he was – but rather, who he was with.  Anytime the situation would become questionable, he would look to me or my wife for stability and then he would simply relax for the journey. Commotion, change, weather, and even carnies – nothing shook him as long as we were holding him.

What a lesson for us. Just as he was confident in our arms, so should we be in the arms of our God.

It never matters what is going on around you, as long as you know who has you.

In Hebrews 13:5 you will see that the Lord declares that He will never leave us or forsake us.  That is a good truth to cling to.

Life will always bring challenges and struggles. Change is a guarantee. There might be dark seasons in your life when challenges seem insurmountable. None of that should matter when you take into account who is holding you in His arms every step of the way.

The One who made the Heavens and the Earth cares deeply about you and your every need. He has you in the palm of His hand.

My 3-month old taught me a valuable lesson this week. No longer can I let situations around me dictate my emotions. It brought 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 to light:

17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

Let me challenge you this week to also look to what is unseen – keep your eyes affixed on Him who is carrying you.

Question: What do you do to maintain your focus on Him despite the situations around you?

Independence Day

We are coming off of Independence Day and with that, you are drawn to take a pause and reflect on what it all means. What is freedom? What does it mean for our country, our society, our way of life, or better yet, what does it mean for me individually?

The sacrifices made by multitudes of men and women throughout the history of our nation cannot be taken in vain. They all had a core belief for the freedom of man. The founding fathers also believed firmly in religious freedom and established the laws of the land based on the doctrines of the Christian Word.

I was reading a quote this weekend by Patrick Henry that really struck me:

“It is when people forget God that tyrants forge their chains.”

Patrick Henry could not have been more right. When you step away from the power you have in God, you allow a stronghold to enter in and a chain to develop.

Bondage can only exist where freedom is non-existant.

Jesus made it plain in John 8:31-32 when He said:

Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

A lot of times we tend to grab right onto verse 32, however, we forget the requirement. Yes, truth makes us free – but how do we know the truth…by abiding in Him and His word.

This holiday, I hope you took time to celebrate the freedom we have as United State Citizens. We live in a great nation and that deserves to be celebrated.  But as we move into the coming weeks I encourage you to remember that true freedom can only be found in Jesus.

Question: How do you stay focused on your freedom in Jesus?

Your Time is Now

April 8, 2013 — 1 Comment
Photo by: http://www.flickr.com/photos/nyoin/

Photo by: http://www.flickr.com/photos/nyoin/

There has been one verse that has been running in my mind all week:

Then Jesus said to them, “My time has not yet come, but your time is always ready.” (John 7:6 NKJV)

This statement comes on the tail of one of Jesus’ largest public miracle – the feeding of the 5,000.  Following that miracle, you can see a chain of events in John 6. I recommend reading it in its entirety – but I will provide the readers digest version here.

We see Jesus make some very bold statements throughout John 6 that He is the bread of life and whoever seeks after Him will be redeemed.  These statements perplexed many and offended others resulting in somewhat of a dissension in the ranks. John 6 tells us that many of His disciples turned away and stopped following Him. His own people rejected Him.

This statement in John 7 is given to His disciples who desired to go into Judea while Jesus did not:

My time has not yet come, but your time is always ready

A bold call. I believe this was not just meant for those 12 – but for all who are still following Him. For me and for you.

I spend quite a bit of time discussing seasons in life, the ups and downs, but one thing holds true with the words of Jesus: your time is now!

Everything you see written in red letters in your Bible is meant just as much for you living today in the 21st century as it was for those walking with Him over 2000 years ago.

I have always been a big fan of taking the promises we see in the Word and making them personal. Put your name in there, write it down, hang it on the fridge:

Then Jesus said to them, “my time has not yet come, but <insert your name>, your time is always ready.”

Are you in a place of loss? Your time is now. Are you in a place of victory? Your time is now. Are you walking through a desert season? Your time is now.

We are to be ready in all seasons. Do not believe any lies that try to propagate themselves in your mind. Today is a day of victory. Today you are being told: your time is now! Be always ready.

Question: What do you do to stay ready in all seasons?

God desires to bless you. It is as simple as that. He desires to bless you and make you a blessing to others. No need to overcomplicate it – the word declares we need to grab ahold of that promise!

One of the scriptures that I have taught on in the past starts in Psalm 67 verse 5:

5 Let the peoples praise You, O God; Let all the peoples praise You. 6 Then the earth shall yield her increase; God, our own God, shall bless us. 7 God shall bless us, And all the ends of the earth shall fear Him.

Pay particularly close attention to verse seven. Why is it that the ends of the earth shall fear Him? What is causing that fear?  What leads to it? The answer: His blessing on us. That means, His blessing must be so great that others will take notice and fear Him because of it.

I fully realize the topic of prosperity can ruffle some feathers amongst Christians – but the truth is God desires to bless you not just financially but in all areas – relationally, spiritually, health, favor amongst others and yes even money. The list goes on and on.

So how do we receive this blessing? It begins first with praise. Once we stop and praise Him, the exchange is open. You must praise Him in all areas. (Take a look at my most recent post – it all begins with worship!)

You must also declare the truth over your life! If you walk around saying “nothing good ever happens to me” than I promise you, nothing good will ever happen to you. But, if you walk around declaring God’s desire to bless you stating “I am favored and blessed by Him, the Lord of all” the blessing has no choice but to infiltrate your life!

Perhaps you don’t quite feel as though God is “blessing” you in the season that you are in right now. There are always seasons in our lives that can feel like that. Let me challenge you today to try something different. If you have never taken the Word of God and spoke it over your life and made it personal, now is the time. Take the verse above, write it out, make it personal and read it every morning. For example, I would write and read this for my self:

I, Paul, will praise the Lord! Then the earth shall yield her increase; God, my own God, shall bless me, Paul! God shall bless me, Paul, and all the ends of the earth shall fear Him!

If you take this simple step for even a week, I know (because the Word promises it) your world will start to change. Things that seemed helpless will suddenly show hope. Areas of lack will suddenly be areas of surplus. You have to trust and praise Him!

Question: Do you have a testimony you can share when you put this principle into action?

© Patrícia Soransso, All Rights Reserved

© Patrícia Soransso, All Rights Reserved

Earlier this week we started with the first two truths we can take away from the story of Joseph:

1. It doesn’t matter where you find yourself, God will show you favor!

2. When you are favored, everyone around you will be benefit!

This brings us to the next stage in Joseph’s journey and another promise. During Joseph’s time as a slave in Potiphar’s house, he was falsely accused of a crime and thrown into prison. I would think it in a public vote, prison would not be a place that many would chose to go. Yet, Joseph knew that God was with him and favor yet again followed him (see Genesis 40).

We see in Genesis chapter 40 that while in prison, Joseph interprets the dream of Pharaoh’s cup bearer. When the cup bearer was released, Joseph asked him, this man of power, to remember him. He didn’t and it says that Joseph remained in prison for two more years! We don’t see Joseph become discouraged or walking away from God during this time – he maintains his focus. This is where we find truth number three:

3. Even if a season persists longer than you think it should, it doesn’t mean God forgot about you!

No matter where things stand, when we keep our focus on Him, we allow an opportunity for God to demonstrate His power and ability to bring us through better than we could ever imagine.

I always am in awe when I read Ephesians 6 starting in verse 18:

18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints— 19 and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

Here we see Paul in prison while he writes this. Notice what he asks those to pray for: that he may boldly proclaim the gospel!  If I were in prison writing this letter, I know I would be asking for others to pray for my release! Not Paul. He knows that his God will make all things good. That whatever the season, whatever the pain, whatever the trial if he keeps his eyes on Him – than it will all come together in a more miraculous way than he himself could conjure up.

Back to Joseph. A chapter later, we see his release as Pharaoh needs a dream interpreted and the cup bearer now remembers Joseph.

Pay attention to these verses in Chapter 41:

14 Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they brought him quickly out of the dungeon; and he shaved, changed his clothing, and came to Pharaoh. 15And Pharaoh said to Joseph, “I have had a dream, and there is no one who can interpret it. But I have heard it said of you that you can understand a dream, to interpret it.” 16 So Joseph answered Pharaoh, saying, “It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh an answer of peace.”

Note his answer to Pharaoh in verse 16 as this is where we find the final truth:

4. Your position and ability mean nothing without God!

Joseph recognizes and emphasizes to Pharaoh that it is not him, but God who preforms! So many times we can allow our “position” or even our lack of “position” dictate our behavior. Remember, it is not your story – it is His story! If He is endorsing you, than it does not matter what your position is! Simply follow His command.

Question: How do you find encouragement from the story of Joseph?