Letting Truth Out of the Bag

“When the Counselor comes, who I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of Truth who goes out from the Father, He will testify about me.”

Jesus, in John 15:26

A little more than a year ago I inherited the teaching duties in our church’s Thursday morning seniors “Mustard Seed” Bible study fellowship. At age 65 I am the “kid” in the group, and I can barely describe how enriching it is to share Scripture with this weekly group of seasoned, Bible-savvy saints.

Currently we have not met since Thursday, March 12, which was pretty much the last open day in Indiana before everything, including our East 91st Street Christian Church, area schools, and public meetings started shutting down Friday, March 13.

Mustard Seed–no argument there–is the kind of group that especially needs not to meet when a pandemic like COVID-19 is an evident danger to older folks.

But what I wanted to talk about this week is not the dire, dour, and depressing isolation of our nation’s and indeed the world’s present situation. Nor can I think of anything new to say about our individual and largely home-bound circumstances. To all those folks still out there working every day in hospitals, grocery stores, gas stations, and other life-saving and society-sustaining endeavors, I say “Thank You!”

What I do want to discuss is the plain-as-the-nose-on-my-face fact that perhaps the greatest joy-robbing, hope-jangling feature of this unprecedented time is the utter absence of what I would call reliable truth about virtually anything having to do with the reporting, media narrative, and politics surrounding the pandemic. Who can we trust? 

From China to Washington state to New York City to Washington D.C. to Italy to my home here in Fishers, Indiana, I wonder who is pushing which social, political, or economic agenda. What is the real danger: the disease or our reaction to it? Since “tomorrow is guaranteed to no one,” let’s not panic about the presently more intense vagaries of “tomorrow.” What we all need are facts and truth, not fear and spin.

I started by talking about “Mustard Seed” because our past several months have been a study of “The Words of Jesus.” Especially illuminating to me personally, in the Last Supper and Gethsemane sections of John 14-17, is Jesus talking through these four entire chapters about God’s unwavering righteousness, eternal truth, boundless love, infinite glory, their relationship… and His disciples’ responsibilities going forward. 

This truth–His truth–marches on. In His last hours it is virtually all Jesus talks about.

When we can’t see truth–in anything, whether particular or whole–our human misery most likely is in our inability to see God, relate with Jesus, and listen to the Holy Spirit. The world, for unrighteous reasons in times like these, prefers our focus to be on fear and anxiety. These are man’s evil shackles that choke our free breath in Christ.

I listen carefully for God’s truth. I know that’s what Jesus brought into the world–freedom not just from our own sin and the wiles of wicked men and women, but toward faith, hope, love, peace, creativity, and joy that our trust in God’s eternal truth assures.

What a better world we make, and what joy we reap, when we believe in and testify to God’s truth. The fallen world controls us in fear, but Jesus by His life, death, resurrection, and sending of the Spirit let God’s righteous, saving truth out of the bag.  

Sometimes we have to fight for that truth, but our joy always is in knowing it.

Walters (rlwcom@aol.com) watches little mainstream news but stays informed and prays big sincere prayers… regularly. For more of Walters’ columns, see commonchristianity.blogspot.com. For his books, see www.lulu.com/spotlight/CommonChristianity.

Weathering the Storms of Fear

Steve is still battling health issues as a result of fungal pneumonia last fall. Yesterday we found ourselves back in the doctor’s office, getting results from tests and bloodwork completed last week.

We were hoping for, “You are great! Let’s get you off this medicine and on to living your life as usual.” Instead, we got, “Let’s keep you on the medicine another six months before we do another CT. We’ll do more blood work in June to check all your levels. Right now, your lungs are stable.”

Stable. That’s good, right?

Our minds were spinning.  This season of prolonged illness has left us both tired on all fronts; mentally, physically, emotionally, even spiritually. We would love nothing better than to lift a prayer heavenward, and pouf… instant healing.  

I have seen and believe God to be Healer. I have also seen God use times of sickness to take an individual beyond physical healing. He goes deep into the heart of man for transformation. This was one of those times, and I knew it.

As we left the doctor’s office, we made light of the news we had been given. We stopped to grab some lunch, laughing at trivial things. On the outside, we looked normal. But I knew on the inside there was a storm of questions brewing that would surface as the day went on.

The storm of questions hit late that evening. How is the prolonged use of this medicine going to impact his overall health? What are the side effects? How do we strengthen his immune system? If his immune system is compromised, then what do we do to protect him against Coronavirus (yes, it just hit our town)? How do we keep ourselves encouraged in the faith and not driven by fear?

We sat holding each other tightly. Tears ran down our cheeks. At that moment, there was no trying to “fix each other.” We gave each other permission to process through the pain. So, we wept. And through our sobbing, we gave voice to our fears.

I am not sure how long we sat crumpled on the floor holding each other. What I do know is that mingled in with that voice of fear was a whisper of hope. Earlier that day I read Hebrews 10:23. The words latched on to my heart and followed me throughout the day. Now, they were competing for the attention of my heart.
 

So now we must cling tightly to the hope that lives within us,
 knowing that God always keeps His promises!

Hebrews 10:23, TPT

Regardless of the storms we face, when the clouds roll in it is easy to forget that just beyond those black clouds, the sun still shines. This whisper from Hebrews was a reminder that the Son was still shining. He had not left us. Though the clouds of uncertainty hung over us, His promise to complete the work He had started in us remained.

We fell into bed, worn but with a renewed sense that we were not alone.

Just like the wind moves the storm clouds along, God’s Spirit blew through the night as we slept, moving fear out of the way. This morning we woke with a renewed sense of hope. God gave us a verse that we are holding on to today.

But in the day that I’m afraid,
I lay all my fears before you and trust in you
With all my heart.

Psalm 56:3

My friends, whatever storm you may be facing regardless of how big or small it seems, grab hold of God’s promises. Open up His Word or turn to your Bible app and listen. Ask God to give you a promise to cling to today. Don’t be afraid to wait in the silence for His gentle whisper. He wants us to rely on His goodness and grace. Let His promises be the anchor that tethers you to the hope found in His faithfulness.

Until next time, let’s find hope in the journey.
Evelyn

P.S. If you have a promise that you are clinging to at this time in your life, I would love to share that with me. Just send me a quick reply via email. Let’s keep encouraging one another to stand strong in our faith.


Hi There! My name is Evelyn. I am a lover of all things family, faith and Fall. So grateful that you found your way here. The chaos of life can leave us feeling a bit worn around the edges. Sometimes a little ray of hope is all we need to provide courage for the next step in our journey. So come on in, take a deep breath. My prayer is that in this space, you will be able to grab hold of hope. For more of my blogs, visit my website Hope for the Journey.

Enough

By Social Club Misfits | Lyrics from Songtexte.co

This Friday, celebrate the fact that Jesus is enough…

I was born to walk through the fire
I was made to run through these flames
Yeah, even when I’m broken and tired
You are enough, enough, enough

And I know you’ve been feeling like nobody cares
Looking for love everywhere, but nobody’s there
Your secrets are hidden and buried deep inside
You try not to show it, but all I see is pride
All I see is fear, that’s not welcome here
Fight hard, persevere, slowed down, switch your gears
Focus, make this the year
Yeah, you’re hopeless, give Him your tears
And I remember going through the same thing
All that weight on my shoulders tried to break me
Father stretch Your hand down from heaven, please save me
I’m holding to the promises that You gave me, You made me

I was born to walk through the fire
I was made to run through these flames
Yeah, even when I’m broken and tired
You are enough, enough, enough

Yes, You are
Yeah, lately my prayers sound more like complaints
I’m trying to fight insecurity while balancing faith
Nobody ever changed the world by playing it safe
When you’re afraid is the only time that a man can be brave
So, don’t tell me God is silent when your Bible is closed
I know that I’m far from perfect, but I wanna be close
Even on this broken road I know that God’s in control
I’m not where I wanna be, but I’m not where I was
Yeah, so I don’t wanna over complicate it
Your love doesn’t change, it made me who I am yeah
And even when I don’t think I can make it
Your grace surrounds me, I’ma sing it ’till the end yeah

I could give up, I could just hide
But You walk with me through all of my fires
You do, yeah, You do
I could give up, I could just hide
But You walk with me through all of my fires
You do, yeah, You do

I was born to walk through the fire
I was made to run through these flames
Yeah, even when I’m broken and tired
You are enough, enough, enough
I was born to walk through the fire
I was made to run through these flames
Yeah, even when I’m broken and tired
You are enough, enough, enough
You are enough, enough, enough

God’s Eyes

Do you ever wonder what people think of you?
Someone overhears a snippet of your conversation and you wonder what kind of person they make you out to be. “What if they think I’m an unwed mother?” “What if they think I’m a spendthrift?”

When we place ourselves at the mercy of public opinion, we lose sight of the fact that God Himself is the ultimate judge.

He knows why we’re doing what we’re doing: why we hold back our words or gush over, why we’re paralyzed by one fear or eagerly expecting the next moment to come. We should care about others, but not to the point that we allow what they think to override what God knows.

When we’re walking with God, it takes the fear out of life. If we allow Him, He can love us out of our irrational fears–every fear that tells us that it’s more important than Him.

Isn’t that good news? Scratch that… isn’t that the best news?