Tag Archives: Truth

Does ‘Redefining’ Change Anything?

21 Oct

As I looked at my reflection in the mirror in the bright morning light, sans make-up, I breathed a heavy sigh.

“That’s it,” I said. “I’m officially calling my age spots ‘freckles.'”

I’d already redefined the wrinkles around my eyes as “smile lines.” And the silver (Ok, gray) around my hairline as “highlights.”

My mom calls her double chin a “wattle,” but I’m still searching for a happier way to define the fleshy flap of skin under my jawline. Rooster wattles are meant to gain hens’ attention. Frankly, I don’t want ANY attention going to my double chin.

No matter how I redefine my bodily changes, it doesn’t really change anything.

I’m getting older. It’s programmed into my DNA. No matter how I try to eat healthier and move my body, my bones will likely grow more brittle with age; my hormones and fat storage will likely change; and my voice, eyesight and hearing will likely weaken.

Solomon talked about this in Ecclesiastes 12:3-13.  In old age, our muscles slacken, our grip weakens, our joints stiffen, and the shades slowly pull down on our world.

The promises of scripture for the aging are God’s continuing presence and opportunities to bear fruit for His Kingdom (Psalm 71:18; 90:10, 12; 92:14, 16; 71:9).

But this redefining thing bothers me.

Redefining reality doesn’t change it.

Redefining only makes us feel better, perhaps, about our challenges.

Or it allows us to go our own way rather than seeking God and His will for our lives.

We live in a culture that tries to redefine so many things.

  • Redefining gender.
  • Redefining femininity and masculinity.
  • Redefining roles.
  • Redefining marriage.
  • Redefining parenting.
  • Redefining love.
  • Redefining tolerance.
  • Redefining salvation.

I’m not going to go into all those re-definitions; but only want to note: We’re ending up with a culture lived in shades of gray. We’re doing what seems right in our own eyes (Proverbs 21:2).

We need to be careful not to redefine what God, in His infinite wisdom, already defined in bold, living color in scripture.

Either He is our Lord and final authority, or He is not. And He already made clear what the consequences are for not recognizing His lordship over every area of life (Matthew 7:21-23).

The One who redeems us also lays claim to our lives, and He has the right to define how we live.

Redefining what the Lord declares doesn’t change anything!

Redefining age spots as freckles is laughable; redefining “thus says the Lord” is not.

What are you trying to “redefine” in your life? Is it flying in the face of the Word of God? 

 – Dawn

 

 

 

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Don’t Call It ‘Embellishment’

25 Jan

Pastor Mike was a wise old man. “Next week I plan to preach about the sin of lying,” he told his congregation. “To help you understand my sermon, I want you all to read Mark 17.”

HandsRaised_croppedThe following Sunday, Pastor Mike walked to the pulpit and looked over his flock. Just before he delivered his sermon, he asked for a show of hands.

“All right, people,” he said, “How many of you read Mark 17 this week?” Every hand went up.

“Now that’s interesting,” Pastor Mike said with a grin. “Mark only has 16 chapters. Now you know why I’m preaching on the sin of lying this week!” *

While that kind of lying is obvious, there’s another kind of lie that’s not. It’s called “embellishment.” Embellishment is a temptation for anyone, but especially communicators – even Christian ones.

When I traveled with a Christian ministry, people called it “evangelistically speaking.” Some speakers are known to pump up their evangelism statistics … as if God saving even ONE soul were not miraculous enough!brown and beige scroll textured border pattern

I caught myself embellishing the truth recently as I shared a story with a Christian friend. The story I had to share already had touches of the wonder of God all over it, but for some reason, I felt compelled to add to the story, to embellish it with extra details. It was all false “fluff” to make the story more appealing, I thought.

But later, as I contemplated why I did this, I believe the Spirit of God spoke to my heart: “The Devil is a liar, and you played into his hands. This was devilish embellishment.”

I didn’t like the sound of that – devilish embellishment. But isn’t that what embellishing the truth is? The more I thought about it, the more I knew God was convicting my heart. And with good cause.

It was Satan’s strategy from the beginning to ruthlessly misrepresent the words of God.

Sometimes Satan takes away from God’s Word; sometimes he adds to it. The Serpent (Satan) told Eve she would become like God if she ate the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil (Genesis 3:5); but all God had said to Adam was, “in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Genesis 2:17). Satan embellished the truth to make a better story … to tempt Eve.

Revelation 22:18-19 warns people not to add to or take away from God’s Word. Some people choose to ignore that warning. They either overlook (ignore) parts of the scripture, or they make it say something it’s not. Some question it altogether! But God is clear when He says, “Don’t tamper with my words!”

Likewise, when we embellish our stories – especially our stories about how God worked – we’re tampering with the truth.

Why do we do this?

  1. We want people to admire us. Maybe we are insecure about our standing with people. We want them to think we are smart … knowledgeable … authoritative. We embellish to draw more attention, to garner praise for ourselves.
  2. We want people to remember us. If our stories are “better,” we think, they’ll be remembered and perhaps, quoted. We’ll become famous!
  3. We may even want people to be like us. And this is especially sad, because we should be pointing to Jesus. We should want people to be like Him!

Padding a story should never be called “embellishment.” And it’s not just exaggeration. It is lying, pure and simple. (Actually, it’s not so pure. It’s wrong, it’s foolish, and it’s all  rooted in pride!)

Satan, the Father of Lies (John 8:44), wants us to follow in his footsteps instead of following Christ, who is the Truth (John 14:6). Jesus, the greatest storyteller who ever lived, is our example. He knew how to wield the truth of scripture in creative ways. Sometimes He made up stories (parables) to teach a truth principle or make a point; but we never see Him “adding” to true stories.

The Word of God admonishes us to speak truth to each other (Ephesians 4:25). The next time I’m tempted to embellish a story, I’m going to stop, ask myself why I’m tempted … and then follow Jesus!

Whose example are you following? Are you struggling with exaggeration or embellishment of the truth? Ask the Lord to give you a truthful heart that only pours out truthful stories.

– Dawn

*Humor adapted from Christian jokes at broadcaster.org.uk

Get Real

12 Oct

Gilbert, South Carolina, is such a small community, Beau was surprised they had a community paper. He asked an  old-timer about it.

“You really have a newspaper, eh?” he asked.

“Well, we all know what everybody else is doing,” the Old Timer said, “but we like to read the paper anyway … to see who’s been caught at it.” *

I lived in a small community like Gilbert once. Everyone knew everyone’s business.

I didn’t like it.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate authenticity, transparency and honesty. I’m a “Get Real” person.

“Get real” isn’t just a sarcastic comment with me. It’s an invitation to living in truth.

  • It’s tempting to wear a mask. To be a hypocrite. Get real.GetRealHeart
  • It’s popular to make choices in the culture to get ahead, to impress, to be a “success.” Get real.
  • It’s destructive to follow the crowd – when it takes you somewhere you don’t want to go. Get real.

Living in truth means living an authentic life, refusing to compromise who we are and what we believe. Isn’t that what we want from the Family of God?

As Ann Voskamp, author of One Thousand Gifts, wrote on her blog: “I have felt it – how no one wants anything of anyone but to be honest and real and to trust enough to take off the mask.

We crave authenticity, but we don’t get to define what that word means – God does.

My husband recently taught his way through 1 John, and as he taught, I caught some of God’s signposts for Authentic Christianity.

1. Authentic Christians confess Jesus as Lord (1 John 4:15). They aren’t afraid to identify with and speak up for Jesus, the Son of God – no matter the circumstance.

2. Authentic Christians have a heart for righteousness and hatred for sin (1 John 3:9). They can’t snuggle up to sin. Guilt from habitual sin makes believers uncomfortable. They don’t excuse sin. They claim God’s forgiveness and then live the exchanged life (“put off – put on,” Colossians 3:1-7).

3. Authentic Christians love “the brethren” (1 John 5:1). They enjoy being with other believers because they want to love, encourage and edify one another (Hebrews 10:24-25). Authenticity is transparent, others-focused, and grace-motivated.

4. Authentic Christians are obedient to the Word of God (1 John 2:5; 5:3; 2 Timothy 3:16). They consider the scriptures God’s manual for living – a source of wisdom – and how God reveals Himself in the world. They value the wisdom of God.

5. Authentic Christians are eternity-minded (1 John 3:2). No matter how real they try to be in this world, they are certain their true reality is in the future. This life is the believer’s journey to become more like Christ, and finds full fulfillment in heaven.

Are you living in authenticity? If not, GET REAL!

*Adapted from Cybersalt Digest, Issue #3744, 9/16/11

— Dawn

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