Tag Archives: truth

God Speaks

When we hear a fanciful story, it is all too easy to dismiss it – often rightly so.  But when it turns out that the event has witnesses, it has to be taken more seriously, and the more witnesses, the more believable it becomes.

The Message about the Glory of Christ

16 When we told you about the power and the return of our Lord Jesus Christ, we were not telling clever stories that someone had made up. But with our own eyes we saw his true greatness. 17 God, our great and wonderful Father, truly honored him by saying, “This is my own dear Son, and I am pleased with him.” 18 We were there with Jesus on the holy mountain and heard this voice speak from heaven.

19 All of this makes us even more certain that what the prophets said is true. So you should pay close attention to their message, as you would to a lamp shining in some dark place. You must keep on paying attention until daylight comes and the morning star rises in your hearts. 20 But you need to realize that no one alone can understand any of the prophecies in the Scriptures. 21 The prophets did not think these things up on their own, but they were guided by the Spirit of God.

There appear to be mutterings about the truth of what Peter has told them, questions about the validity about what they are claiming about Jesus.  So Peter writes to assure them that these are not made up stories, but these are truths that he and others have seen with their own eyes.  They were there at the transfiguration (coming tomorrow); they heard the voice declaring,

 This is my beloved son.

They had seen with their own eyes and heard with their own ears.  This is not a second or third hand account, but the truth told by someone who was there.  And what they saw and heard in Jesus made them more convinced of their faith in the Old Testament prophets too.

These are not made up stories, they are God talking to his people – and notice should be taken.

We do not have the privilege of seeing Jesus as he lived and walked on this earth.  But, we do have the knowledge of his presence in our lives day by day.  I know what he has done in and through me.  It is not a wild story, but a truth.  We will each have had that experience, when we have just known that God was there, working, speaking, nudging, equipping, moving us on – though we may not always have noticed it at the time.  Saying here I am, what are you going to do?

This is the truth we can stand on – the truth of our experience of God in our lives.  It might not have been a flashy experience like the transfiguration, but it will have been just as real, just as much God’s presence with us, giving us the strength we need to follow him, to speak his word, to know him in our lives.

Thank you Lord
for the times when I have known
your presence,
very real,
very near,
totally true.

 Thank you
for the confidence that gives,
to rely on you,
to speak of you,
to work for you.

 As I hear your voice,
may I be equipped
for all that you ask of me,
all that you take me to,
and to share that truth
with others

Lord, I come to you

Who Is It For?

Who can come?
Who is it for?
Who can be here?
Who is able to stay?

This is your Temple Lord,
your holy place.
Who is welcome?
Is it for me?
What do I need to do?
What are you asking
of those who want to be with you?

You need obedience,
a willingness
to do what you ask,
what you need,
to follow your ways.
This place,
here in your holiness,
is for truth,
not hearsay,
conjecture,
muck-raking,
or downright lies.
It is a place
to build people up,
not knock them down;
to be fair
and honest,
not economical
with the truth.

You demand respect,
not for yourself,
but for those we live amongst,
who help us,
provide for us,
those we see
and those we don’t.

You need us to keep our promises,
better to say nothing
than to promise
and not deliver.
You are not looking for empty words,
meaningless platitudes,
commitments
that come to nothing.
Words cost,
and we need to be willing
to pay the price
of what we say we will do.
Cheap options
are not your way,
but the way of sacrifice,
inconvenience
and honour.

These things are holy Lord,
the things you ask
of those
who want to be with you,
to live your ways,
to be in your presence,
day by day.

Psalm 15 (CEV)

(A psalm by David.)

Who May Worship the Lord?

15 Who may stay in God’s temple
    or live on the holy mountain
    of the Lord?

Only those who obey God
    and do as they should.
They speak the truth
    and don’t spread gossip;
    they treat others fairly
    and don’t say cruel things.

They hate worthless people,
    but show respect for all
    who worship the Lord.
And they keep their promises,
    no matter what the cost.
They lend their money
    without charging interest,
    and they don’t take bribes
    to hurt the innocent.

Those who do these things
    will always stand firm.

They Who Do Justice

Fight!

If you thought you were going into battle, how would you protect yourself?

Ephesians 6:10-20

The Fight against Evil

10 Finally, let the mighty strength of the Lord make you strong. 11 Put on all the armour that God gives, so you can defend yourself against the devil’s tricks. 12 We are not fighting against humans. We are fighting against forces and authorities and against rulers of darkness and powers in the spiritual world. 13 So put on all the armour that God gives. Then when that evil day comes, you will be able to defend yourself. And when the battle is over, you will still be standing firm.

14 Be ready! Let the truth be like a belt around your waist, and let God’s justice protect you like armour. 15 Your desire to tell the good news about peace should be like shoes on your feet. 16 Let your faith be like a shield, and you will be able to stop all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Let God’s saving power be like a helmet, and for a sword use God’s message that comes from the Spirit.

18 Never stop praying, especially for others. Always pray by the power of the Spirit. Stay alert and keep praying for God’s people. 19 Pray that I will be given the message to speak and that I may fearlessly explain the mystery about the good news. 20 I was sent to do this work, and that’s the reason I am in jail. So pray that I will be brave and will speak as I should.

Imagery of the Christian Faith as a battle have, probably quite rightly, gone out of fashion.  Hymns such as ‘Stand up, stand up for Jesus, Ye soldiers of the cross and ‘Onward Christian Soldiers’, once so popular, are not now sung very often.

Yet the writer to the Ephesians, reminds us that there is a battle, the struggle of good over evil  is still raging, and if we choose to follow the way of Jesus, we will be caught up in it.  So if that is the case, how do we protect ourselves?

The image of armour, or perhaps more helpfully protective clothing, gives us an idea.

If you don’t want to get burnt, you wear fire-proof clothing to keep you safe and able to breathe.

We need to clothe ourselves in God’s ways – to defend ourselves from wrong possibilities with truth, justice, faith, peace and God’s power.  These are the characteristics we should surround ourself with – the way we should live if we want to be able to fight against wrong.

And, again, pray.  Pray for ourselves, but pray also for others.  Pray for safety, pray to behave the right way, pray that others will see God’s ways to live.

Then we’ll be ready for the fight.

Lord,

sometimes life is a battle

 – the battle to do the right thing;

the battle to stand up against injustice,

lies,

unfaithfulness

and a general turning from you.

Lord I pray that you will equip me for the fight,

keep me safe,

that I may stay firm and strong

in your ways,

and live for truth,

justice and peace

in you