Essential Truths

Matthew 13:55-57  (KJV)   55 Is not this the carpenter’s son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? 56 And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things? 57 And they were offended in him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house.

The known truth may not be the whole truth. People were offended with Jesus because of their insufficient knowledge about Him. Everything they knew about Him was true but they didn’t know everything true about Him. They missed out on what was very important; they had a wrong conclusion; they had a wrong reaction. What a huge miss.

Never make important decisions and conclusions unless we know we have the essential truths. I’m not suggesting that we can know the whole truth about anything, but we at least need to know what’s necessary to make an informed, wise, and appropriate decision. Let’s not take this lightly; some decisions in are life altering; some decisions are eternal life altering. They’re totally worth our time investment for further investigations.

Just imagine missing out on the very solution to our biggest crisis just because we dismiss it as something useless a little bit too early. That’s really sad. Also, let’s not be so quick to conclude something as “either – or” when the answer could be “both.” How many errors have been formulated and how many cults have been birthed; how many important matters have been wasted just because we quickly chose one or the other when we could have chosen both?

Many failed to see Jesus as God’s Messiah. They waited for the conquering king but turned a blind eye to the suffering servant. How many resigned to choosing between the humanity and the divinity of Jesus? The Bible somehow presents Him as both man and God. Why choose between faith and grace? Why choose between God’s sovereignty and man’s free will? Why choose between God of love and God of judgment? Why choose between fearing God and loving Him. Is He our Master or our Father? Point made; point taken – I hope.

Jesus is a lot more than whatever knowledge we possess about Him. Let’s keep on learning. We may need to love and appreciate and trust Him more. We need to know people better – even those who consider us their enemies. We may end up on the same camp when we’ve stepped into their world. We may see the deep and painful struggles they’re under. We may understand why they’ve been pushed into becoming this seemingly repulsive person they themselves couldn’t accept. Love truth. Many have won and many have lost in life’s cases just because some have made it their practice to have their bases covered. Truth – essential truths – sufficient truths – they’re our friends.

Our dear God, we praise You for being the Truth. Please remind as always not to jump into conclusions so quickly. Let us shed enough light into enough truth for us to make wise decisions all the time. And this, most especially when the truth we’re dealing with is about You and Your Words, in Jesus’ Name, amen.

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Firsthand Info

Acts 25:22  (KJV)   22 Then Agrippa said unto Festus, I would also hear the man myself. To morrow, said he, thou shalt hear him.

The visiting King Agrippa was informed by the then Governor Festus about the Apostle Paul and the situation at hand. The king didn’t carelessly jump into conclusion; he didn’t rashly give any opinion; he didn’t impulsively give Festus any advice; he wisely requested to hear Paul firsthand. Festus granted his request but not until the next day. There was no argument on the king’s part. He didn’t push for an immediate audience. He agreed to wait.

Much of the hurtful misunderstandings, destructive fights, wrong decisions and unfair judgments that have created so much chaos and havoc in relationships, both in familial and international scale, has been caused by unwillingness to check out things firsthand.  We  don’t process info properly. We hear something and we get affected. Now, that’s natural; what we hear will usually affect us. But it doesn’t mean we need to believe it and act on it immediately. Especially in dealing with really important or critical matters, we ought to make sure that we have all the info we can get to make a wise and fair judgment before jumping into any conclusion. Of course there are times when we don’t have the luxury of time to patiently gather all pertinent data. In most emergency scenarios, we need to make wise use of whatever facts readily available and act on them quickly. But if we have time, by all means: ask, listen, do research; we need to employ the valuable virtue of patience. It will lead us to right beliefs, right decisions, and right actions. And, it will spare us from many heartaches and headaches.

Dear God of truth and justice, please give us a heart that really pursues truth. Often, our judgments our clouded by our preferences. When a situation or an information favors our preference, we get overjoyed and under-informed. And with our unformed and incomplete basis, we march confidently forward only to find ourselves in very embarrassing position. Please remind us always that truth is our friend. Truth only threatens errors and lies. The more we find genuine materials that lead to further discoveries – the better. They may bring us closer to affirming truth we already believe in or to finding the truth that will save us from errors we may have held on to. Help us to have an attitude that is welcoming and approving of them. There are those who are in stark contrast with what we believe in. Help us to really love them and be friends to them. Many of them are on the same quest as we are. Although coming from different directions, we share the passion for the real deal: truth. – in Jesus’ Name, amen.

Dangerous Disbelief

Acts 13:41  (KJV)   41 Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish: for I work a work in your days, a work which ye shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you.

These were Apostle Paul’s words. He preached the Good News of salvation to his audience. It was a very clear message showing that Jesus was the Messiah who was spoken of in the Scriptures. He would come, He would die, and He would rise again. Paul repeatedly showed them that Jesus was the fulfillment of very specific prophecies about the Messiah and that Jesus’ experiences fit those prophecies perfectly. And then he encouraged and cautioned them to be careful and to avoid missing out on this eternity-changing truth.

There are people in the world who just won’t believe the truth. It’s not that they haven’t heard; it’s not that they don’t know; it’s just that they won’t believe. They have positioned themselves against God. They have sufficient proofs, but no convincing evidence is enough for those who have convinced themselves that no evidence is convincing enough. They are more concerned about how to discredit anything that has to do with God, to arrogantly mock God and those who believe in God, and to rally others to share in their obstinacy. But let’s beware. The greatest shock of their lives will come. By then it will be too late. Their disbelief in the truth doesn’t make truth untrue. Just because they didn’t believe in God here on earth doesn’t mean they won’t believe in God after “earth.” Just because they don’t think God exists doesn’t mean God stops existing. Just because they don’t believe in the final judgment doesn’t mean God stops judging. There are more than sufficient proofs. That’s why there are thoroughly convinced believers. Yes, there are blind followers, and that’s not right either. But there are those who have found that critically important intersection of faith and reason. Instead of being consumed with trying to defend our position and attacking those who believe differently, let’s us openly and humbly believe, live out, teach, and keep pursuing truth.

Dear God, You are Truth. We pray that there’s where our growth will be. Help us to not be arrogantly immovable in our beliefs when there’s a possibility that we may be wrong. Help us to be always willing to surrender our erroneous doctrines. But that will require us to be willing to accept that we may be wrong. Help us to humbly admit the reality of our imperfections – even in interpretations. As we keep desiring, adjusting to, and aligning ourselves to the truth, we’ll find ourselves in the right place and in the right track. Thank You for leaving us Your Word and Your Spirit to guide us into all truth, in Jesus’ Name, amen.

“Either – or” or Both

Luke 24:25-26  (KJV)   25 Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: 26 Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?

Even those closest to the Lord Jesus missed out on the facts of His death and resurrection. They saw overwhelming evidences that Jesus is indeed Who He claimed to be: the Christ, Son of the living God, Lord and Savior. But when He died; their faith “died.” Their minds were set on the glorious aspects of the Messiah. They saw the wonderful demonstrations of power; great! They expected an ever expanding trip from glory to greater glory. After all, the Scripture repeatedly and emphatically speaks of a Messiah Who will reign forever. Their expectations wouldn’t be amiss; He will indeed reign forever;  but it was lacking. There was another side they failed to see: the Messiah had to suffer first. His suffering didn’t disprove His “Messiahship;” it confirmed it. They saw an incomplete picture; that’s why even in the triumphs of the resurrection, they couldn’t rejoice – they had a hard time understanding. They missed the suffering part, now they were missing the glory part; they couldn’t rejoice when Jesus gloriously defeated death and victoriously rose from the grave.

To choose “either – or” when the Scripture speaks of “both” is to end up with many possible wrong and even dangerous interpretations, doctrines and expectations. Same is true when we choose “both” when the Scripture teaches “either – or.”  The Scripture teaches the Messiah – the Prince of Peace Who alone would bring ultimate peace to all of creation, but would also be a reason for divisions. The Scripture teaches of God’s sovereignty, but also teaches on the free will of man. The Scripture teaches that we can’t be saved by good works, but we ought to strive to do good works as saved people. The Scripture teaches a God of grace, but also a God of justice, a God of love, but also a God of holiness, a God to love and a God to fear, a God Who’s our Father, but also our Master. It teaches of woman not allowed to teach in the congregation but are allowed to prophesy. Whenever we pull towards one teaching and discard the other equally true teaching, we run into a very dangerous proposition. We don’t want to miss out on the truth. We therefore ought to open our hearts, be unbiased, and be humbly and totally submitted to it. This means all truths – whether it runs contrary to our preferences or not.

Our God of Truth, may we genuinely have a heart for You. You are the Truth. Please help us to be humble that we may wave a white flag of absolute surrender to Your teachings – no matter how different they may be from what we may formerly know. Thank you for all the beliefs we have that are faithfully aligned to Your Word. Please show us where we’re amiss, and may we do what’s right. In Jesus’ Name, amen.