No Pretenses

Acts of the Apostles 5:4   (NLT)   The property was yours to sell or not sell, as you wished. And after selling it, the money was also yours to give away. How could you do a thing like this? You weren’t lying to us but to God!”

Pretense is a serious offense in the Kingdom of God.  Good deeds marred by lies—especially against God’s very own children—can have devastating consequences. Deceiving God’s people is a direct assault on God. God doesn’t take those things lightly.  Acts 5.4 - No PretensesSin of all kinds always has consequences. The consequences may not manifest right away; some wrongdoers may think they’re getting away with it. Consequences—though they may not come immediately, they will come surely.

We better be careful with the words we speak; there is wisdom in thinking before speaking. Believers aren’t invincible when it comes to deception and lies. Others want to appear better than who they really are; they want their work to appear bigger than what they really do. Who doesn’t want to look good, right? Pretense becomes a weapon in accomplishing this. We must be very careful not to be lured into its very superficial benefits.  As believers we ought to be careful in using figures of speech: exaggeration, hyperbole, euphemism, similes, metaphors, overstatements, etc. They are beautiful and creative ways of expressing ideas when utilizing them obviously as that—figures of speech. But the temptation is there to exalt oneself by blurring the line between creativity and reality. We ought to be careful; it will keep us from trouble.

Dear God thank you for being a God of integrity and honesty. You’re not One who lies to us. You are the God of truth. In fact, you are the Truth. We can absolutely depend on You because what You say is what it is. There isn’t a pinch of possibility that You don’t mean what You say, or that You ever deceive us. Help us to be like You in this. May we be people of truth. Let nothing—bribe, greed, envy, jealousy, self-exaltation—lead us to embellishing or twisting reality. We are children of truth—children of light. Help us to live as one, fearless of exposure because we have nothing to hide.

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Of Truth and Silence

acts-23-22-of-truth-and-silence

Acts 23:22   (KJV)   22 So the chief captain then let the young man depart, and charged him, See thou tell no man that thou hast shewed these things to me.

Truth is important; truth will prevail, but truth need not always be told and need not always be known. Truth is safe in the possession of the good; it may not be as safe at the hands of evil people. To be clear: contrary to what others believe, I believe that hiding truth isn’t equivalent to lying. Even God, in His perfect wisdom finds it appropriate to keep secrets, even from us—His very own children. We need to be very careful in the way we handle the truth. True, not everyone can receive it well, not everyone uses it well.

 

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.

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.