Sorting Out the Truth

Today, anyone with internet access has the ability to make their voice heard around the world.  Many write from places of strong opinion, strong emotion or humor. Much of what is written will resonate with you and much will repel you. How do you sort it out? You compare it to truth. As a Christ follower I’ve made the choice, the commitment, to always choose God’s word as my ultimate truth. I don’t apologize for this.

Because I’m often found with my nose in book, or blog, or website reading, I must be constantly on guard to test it all with my chosen truth, God’s word as found in the Bible, no matter how much what I’m reading may resonate in my heart.

I can be lazy, I can listen to other Christ followers, or read what they’ve written, or read their analysis of what others have written. However, when I do this I run the risk of following the wrong truth. It can also cause me to doubt the truth of the Bible, which just plays right into the hands of the enemy! So, while I appreciate that you read what I’ve written, and although my goal is to always test what I’ve written by God’s word, I don’t want you to take anything I write at face value. Use it as a starting point to test it against your own chosen source of truth.  Why?  Well, here are some things I know:

Christ followers must follow Christ, not those who follow Christ.

This isn’t an issue that is new to our internet age. We seek charisma, we like being spoon-fed rather than doing our own work, we get led down wrong paths by both well-meaning folks and those who have set out to deceive.

For the wisdom of this world is foolishness to God. As the Scriptures say,“He traps the wise in the snare of their own cleverness.” And again,“The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise; he knows they are worthless.”So don’t boast about following a particular human leader. I Cor 3: 19-21a (NLT)

Emotions deceive us.

“The human heart is the most deceitful of all things,and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? But I, the Lord, search all hearts and  examine secret motives. Jeremiah 17:9-10a (NLT)

Sometimes we don’t even recognize our own motives.  We are all pretty good at fooling ourselves.

For from within, out of a person’s heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, lustful desires, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. All these vile things come from within; they are what defile you.” Mark 7:21-23 (NLT)

God, who created the universe, is perfectly capable of making himself understood.

You can read and understand God’s word with God’s help. Which by the way, he is happy to provide. Feeling insecure and inadequate when you stand yourself up against a popular source, a paid source, an eloquent source?  If you do, then you are depending upon the wrong thing.  Seek God, read the words he’s given, he will lead you to truth, real truth.

The commandments of the Lord are right,bringing joy to the heart.

The commands of the Lord are clear,giving insight for living. Psalm 19:8 (NLT)

And my message and my preaching were very plain. Rather than using clever and persuasive speeches, I relied only on the power of the Holy Spirit. I did this so you would trust not in human wisdom but in the power of God. I Cor 2:-4-5 (NLT)

You see? God’s word contains everything we need and it’s the role of the Holy Spirit to show us what we need, when we need it. This is one reason prayer and Bible study, together, are so powerful.

 

 

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A Position of Influence

I had a fabulous retirement celebration!  I threw my own party.  I invited the women who saw me through the working years.  Those women who cheered me on in good times and hard.  Those women who dared to ask “what are you thinking?”.  Those women who helped me figure it out when I didn’t have a clue or assured me I was on the right track when I stood at a crossroads.  Then,  they decided to toast me, it was a bit awkward.  But one thing I did learn, I really did have influence, and mostly it was good.  And, because I feel it’s what God has called me to have, I reveled in that!

Are you in a position of influence?  God wants you to be influential, and I hope it’s something that you will strive for. Should you try to influence your co-workers to seek a life of faith? I think you should!  However, I think you must be thoughtful in the way to try to exercise your influence.

Who will influence me?

I am influenced by people who seem to respect me and treat me well. They are successfully performing the responsibilities of the workplace and often reach out to assist others with their work, they are generous with time and knowledge. They don’t grumble and complain all the time.  I enjoy working with them, and spending my personal time in their company. On a personal level they probably enjoy some of the same things I do and I perceive they enjoy life.  They are happy, generous, and deal well with adversity that comes along at work or in their personal lives.

Who will not influence me?

I’m not influenced by those who don’t carry their share of the load at work or who are difficult to work with. I’m not influenced by the grumpy, the mean or the complaining. I’m not influenced by someone who falls apart with every little crisis or who has a personal life in constant meltdown and I know that because it’s an excuse for why they aren’t doing well at work.

So, I believe that God has placed you in the workplace to be a positive influence.  But in order to influence others you must first win their respect and live a life that looks like a life they too could enjoy living. Does this mean that you never deal with difficult things? Absolutely not! But it does mean that when difficult things come along, you handle them well. Influence takes time, you must wait for relationships to form.

For those who have struggled

A final word for those who feel they fall short.  I did not influence people in my life because I lived a perfect life.  What is inspirational about a life that’s storybook perfect and unattainable?  Nothing, that’s what!  I was not impactful in spite of my challenges and failures, I was impactful because of them.  That is when people notice, when you are struggling, and then they see how you deal with the struggle or recover from the mistakes.  Just so you know, I’m not letting you off the hook because you failed to live up to some mythical standard of perfection.

What are the characteristics of those whom you allow to influence you?

How do you feel about being influential?