Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Get the True Picture

To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, "If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."

They answered him, "We are Abraham's descendants and have never been slaves of anyone. How can you say that we shall be set free?"

Jesus replied, "I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. I know you are Abraham's descendants. Yet you are ready to kill me, because you have no room for my word. I am telling you what I have seen in the Father's presence, and you do what you have heard from your father" (John 8:31-38).

By the time Jesus said, "The truth will set you free," he had turned water to wine, healed the boy in Capernaum, healed the thirty-eight-year invalid, multiplied a small amount to feed thousands, and walked on water. The claims he made regarding his identity were believable to many. They were convinced that he was telling the truth.

He told them that if they would live what they believed - hold to his teaching - then they would know the truth and the truth would set them free.

Do you notice the important connection between knowing the truth and living in the truth? The Jews needed an accurate understanding in order to make the righteous decision regarding Jesus' call to freedom. If they believed Satan, the Father of Lies, then what they did would be wrong; because their actions would have been based on falsehoods.

We withhold the truth. We hide information. We use terminological inexactitudes to keep the truth from being known. We lie because we are habitual liars, or because we are protector liars, avoid-trouble liars, or get-ahead liars. And because we don't allow the truth to be known, truth can't be lived; and bondage remains.

Winston Churchill said, "The great thing is to get the true picture, whatever it is." Knowing the true picture is the great thing because then you can do some great thing about it! That's Life at Work!

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Bucket List of Jesus – Confidently Trust God

In a recent Wednesday night class, we wrote down some words that came to mind when we thought about dying. I wrote, "Relief, release, and freedom. I'm not afraid of dying; though I do fear the process."

I do believe that death means something better for me than what I have here. I'm not rushing the inevitable, but I have an expectation of great reward. I confidently say with the apostle, "I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day" (2 Tim 1:12). I have given up any desire to control my spiritual destiny. I have fully entrusted that to God. What else could I do, after all?

Learning to trust God for what comes after your last breath is a lesson you learn from hearing the words of Jesus on the cross. "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit," Jesus declared just before he "breathed his last" (Luke 23:46). He didn't say that simply for himself. He said it so that the generations of faithful for the remaining centuries could know that they can have that same confidence! That's Life at Work!