Saturday, May 11, 2013

Do I want to know the truth?

I woke up this morning and I went out to my front porch to sit and be still.  God gave me the gift of simplicity as I heard the birds chirp and I watched the wind blow through the leaves on the trees.  I breathed in a deep breath and exhaled.  I felt God's presence in the moment.  I was reminded that I was not alone in the world...

I was then led to Psalm 139 and I read it.  Psalm 139 is a wonder-fully personal Psalm.  David starts by saying, "You have searched me, LORD, and you know me" in the first verse.  From there, David describes how God knows us and every detail of our lives.

I received great comfort knowing that the God who created and sustains all things cares about me.  The following thoughts flowed into my heart and mind:

God knows me.
God knows me by name.
God knows my fingerprint.
God knows my DNA.
God knows my strengths.
God knows my weaknesses.
God knows my biggest mistakes and he loves me nonetheless.
God has never given up on me.
God knows me.

The final verses of Psalm 139 include a prayer that I have prayed in the past but I was struck by it afresh this morning.

Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.   
 Psalm 139:23-24

This is a bold prayer.

I thought, "Do I really want to pray this prayer?  Am I willing to let God in... really?  Do I want to know the truth?"

I have come to realize that I guard myself.  Like most people, I recoil at the thought of being hurt by another person.  I have been hurt in the past and I know the painful feelings that come with being hurt.  I have come to see that I naturally guard myself even as I seek to reach out and connect with others.

This prayer, the prayer of Psalm 139:23-24, invites God into that guarded space and says, "I am open to your examination."

Do I want to know the truth?

If I truly trust God, then I will let him in.  If I truly trust God, then I will have faith that he will share with me what I need to know in a perfect way in his perfect timing so that I can grow and be transformed to be more like him.

Do I want to know the truth?

If I truly believe that God is the God who loves me uncondionally and has the best in mind for me and that he can bring that about in his perfect way, then I do want to know the truth.  I want him to share the truth with me - through his Word, through my relationships, through his creation, through everything.  I want to know the truth.

Jesus said, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth and the truth witll set you free." (John 8:31-32).

I want to know the truth and I trust that God will set me free to be more like him...

- to love others in the way that he loves me
- to love what draws me to him
- to love myself in the way that he loves me
- to love what he loves and to serve others in those areas

I want to know the truth.

Do you?

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

How is Life like an Open Book Test?


How is Life like an Open Book Test?

I spoke to a friend yesterday who shared an insight that has been echoing in my spirit.  

We were talking about the role of the Bible in our daily lives.  More specifically, we were discussing the impact of Biblical truth on our specific decisions. 

He then injected the observation, "Life is not like an open book test because challenges and decisions come too quickly for us to stop and look up the answer every time."

His observation immediately brought some questions to my mind:
  • When is the last time that I took a test?  
  • How did I face the challenge of completing the test and getting the right answers?
  • If the test was an "open book test" then how much time could I take to actually look up the answers?

Life is like a test.  We face problems every day that require an immediate response.  We base our responses on our experiences and knowledge.  Sometimes, we ask for help from another person or a source of information if we do not have the answer.

If we look to God and his wisdom in the Bible, then we can receive insights into how to respond to the challenges in our lives and we can receive his help to enact the best response to a problem.

The challenge, however, is that we cannot always open up our Bibles in the moment.  In some instances, we may have the time to turn to God's Word and look up the wisdom we need at that specific moment.  In most cases, however, we do not have the opportunity to sit down, open up a Bible, locate a relevant passage and then apply it to our situation.

Life is like an open book test.  We have the resource to find wisdom for our challenges.  If we had an infinite amount of time, then we could locate the necessary wisdom and insights in the Bible.  The reality, however, is that we need to know the content and how it can be applied before we get to the specific challenge or problem.  

We need to know the Bible and how to apply God's wisdom.  

We need to know the God of the Bible and ask for his tutoring help in our lives.
This doesn't occur by engaging the Bible only on Sunday mornings or every once and awhile.  On the contrary, we will come to know the Bible through regular, disciplined reading and study.  Furthermore, we will cement our learning and connect our thoughts to our actions through sharing our God-given insights with others and putting them into action in our daily lives.  

Life is like an open book test.  

The book is available but do you know the content and how to apply it?

The tutor is available but do you know him and ask for his help?

Psalm 119:11 - "I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you."

Paraphrase - "I have studied, learned and applied your word so that I know it before going into life's (open book) tests so that I may respond wisely in an obedient way that pleases you."