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“Jesus answered: ‘I am the way and the truth and the life’. No one comes to the Father except through me.'” John 14:6

“Then you will know the truth and the truth shall set you free.” John 8:32

“Pilate said. “Don’t you realize I have the power either to free you or to crucify you?” John 19:10

“‘What is truth’, retorted Pilate'” John 18:38

Truth – a judgement, proposition or idea that is true or accepted as true. Merriam-Webster

I was watching a news/commentary show the other day and several people were discussing aspects of current events and utilizing the words truth and facts and interjecting them into the discourse synonymously. Even as the discussion was taking place, it was clear that the panel engaged in the discussion believed that they were making their points on the basis of truth. In addition the “truths” they were basing their points on were not shared or in agreement.

It got me to thinking about how much conflict there is these days over our differing truths. The truth is this happened during the 2020 election or this did not. The truth is this vaccine will end the pandemic and the truth is the vaccine is dangerous and doesn’t work. On and on we, not only have different truths, but we are willing to go to the greatest lengths to defend our truths and destroy any truth we find in conflict. So I wondered; just what is expected of us when we come up against “other truths”, especially those truths which are demonstrably false?

Let’s look at Jesus. While Jesus was on earth, He certainly dealt with disparate truths. Pontius Pilate had a truth that the Empire of Rome was the greatest power in the world. There is nothing in scripture concerning Pilate’s faith in Roman gods but he certainly had faith in the power of Rome and how that power translated to his power to deal with Jesus. The Jewish leadership had a truth that Jesus could not be the promised Messiah. Jesus was a self serving fraud from Nazareth who was trying to steal power and lead the people astray. A Samaritan woman had a truth that a Jewish man would never talk to a Samaritan women, especially one unaccompanied and ask her for a drink. There were many other “truths” during the time of Jesus and about Jesus.

Yet Jesus was the only One to have the real, total truth. Jesus knew the total truth about the Father because Jesus was the Only Begotten Son. Jesus was the only One who knew the truth about Father’s plan for salvation. Jesus was the only One to know that complete truth that would set the captive free. Jesus knew that He was the truth.

So Jesus is God on Earth and is the only one who has the real, accurate truth. How does he handle all these false-truths and those who are purveying them? You might think, as God, He would completely wipe away any false-truth and utterly destroy they who were spreading that false-truth. Jesus certainly had the power to do just that. However, Jesus didn’t. Jesus confronted the false-truths wherever He came across them. Jesus did not change His truth to make it more palatable, less confrontational for people.

But really notice what Jesus did and instructed should be done. When Jesus sent His disciples out to teach the truth, if a place didn’t accept the truth or wanted to espouse a different truth, Jesus instructed His disciples to simply, walk away. Jesus, Himself, confronted and refuted the false-truths but took no revenge on those who were spreading them.

It is probable that Pilate went to his death continuing to believe that Rome was the highest power that existed. We know that the Jewish leadership continued to believe that Jesus was not the Messiah and that they were more powerful than Jesus’s believers.

So what did Jesus command? He commanded to go forth and preach the truth; tell the Good News. That’s it. Don’t change the truth if it’s not received. However, also don’t attack those who don’t accept the News and are living by a different truth. Just walk on and continue to spread the Good News in other places. If Jesus, Himself was not going to destroy those who had a different truth and purveyed it to others; why are we so angry and feel so justified in attacking and wanting to destroy those whom we feel have a false truth?

Boy I can hear some gnashing of teeth as this is being read. Where’s the accountability? Some might be screaming. These people of the other, false-truth are getting away scott-free for all the damage they’re doing. Dear Sisters and Brothers please understand, Jesus declares that there is a terrible day of judgement coming and those who believe in and spread false-truths will have an extremely horrific judgement against them. Yet Jesus is also clear, that judgment comes from and is based on the timing of our Heavenly Father and is not something we are to be concerned with. Instead we are to be free from that anger, frustration and pain because we’re living in the Truth of Jesus Christ.

Dear Sisters and Brothers, through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and by our Father’s grace, we are allowed to know The Truth. Then let us be about spreading that truth. Understand, God needs no defense from us. He wants us to live in peace and love, forgiving those of a false-truth and not being concerned with their judgement. It is in living and spreading the truth of Jesus Christ in a calm strength and leaving the judgement and conflict to God, that we bring glory to His most Holy Name and live the lives of peace and blessing He intends for us.

Our Most Gracious Heavenly Father, we proclaim that there is only One Truth and that Truth resides in and comes from You. We are so thankful that You chose not to hide or keep secret that Truth from us but shared that Truth, sending it in the Person of Your Son Jesus Christ, to share it with us. Forgive us Father when we are tempted to and even sometimes do turn from Your Truth, seeking or composing false-truths of our own. Also forgive us, when we seethe in anger and strike out against others and their false-truths instead of leaving that judgement and consequence to You. Let Your Truth shine in us Dear Father that through Jesus Christ we might also shine that Truth in peace and confidence to such a false-truth torn world. That in living into and sharing Your Truth, we may bring glory to Your Most Holy Name. We pray in the name of the Truth, the Way and the Life; Jesus Christ. Amen

Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will be no means enter it.  Mark 10:15

I want to first say to those who read this who live in a part of the world where there is much snowfall and many difficult tasks because of it, I do not want to minimize or trivialize the difficulty of those situations.

So I live in a place where it does not snow often.  On the few times a year that it does snow, most often it is looked at as a significant inconvenience to an outright danger.  It is true that things get closed and accidents happen.  Driveways and sidewalks have to be cleared, walking can become treacherous.  It is cold.

Yet whether here or when you see news reports concerning snow almost anywhere in the world, you see a very different reaction from children.  Children see snow as a wonder.  They see it as a gift.  A gift that is almost magical.  It is not rain which keeps them inside.  It’s not sunshine that is something that happens most everyday.  It is a wonderful transformation of their world into something that they can slide on, they can build things with, yes; in fun they can pack together and throw.  I saw this as I walked around my neighborhood recently when it snowed.  I was trudging slowly through the snow hoping not to slip and fall on the sidewalk, bemoaning the cold in my toes and fingers.  Yet at the same time I was hearing squeals of delight from children who gladly abandoned their indoor electronic games to explore and find blissful excitement in this winter wonderland.  I also noticed a marked difference in the response of adults.  Adults like myself, who were outside trying to cope with the inconvenience of the snow, did not display any joy in the moment.  Adults who were outside with their children were playing and building and seeing the gift of the moment through the eyes of their children.  The cynical would say the children’s joy only comes from the day off from school.  I might have tended to agree with that assessment had it not been for the fact that it was a Saturday.

And this is the rub.  We adults say to ourselves:  “They will grow out of it”.  And sadly they probably will.  Children will mature and will be taught by us adults the true aspects of life.  Life is hard and it is the hard who become successful.  To take the time to look for the good in a situation is only looking at things with “rose colored glasses” and as such is a waste of time.  Be suspicious of things you don’t understand and challenge people to prove it, before you believe it.  Expect that everything and everyone will let you down so guard your trust and withhold your faith.  The really good things in life cost a lot.

Jesus Christ sighs.  Surrounded by adults who are trying to block children from coming to Him, even some of His closest disciples, Jesus rebukes them and pulls the children close, to a place of honor right in front of Him and He imparts a priceless lesson.  When it comes to Our Heavenly Father and believing in Him, be like a child.

For many of us, there was a time when we believed that our parents were all powerful.  There was a time that no request of a parent seemed silly or impossible.  There was a faith that our parents would provide for every need that we had.  That our parents were the ultimate repository of knowledge and wisdom, able to correctly answer any question, no matter how many whys attached.  As we grow, we learn the human limitations of our earthly parents.

As Christ uses examples of nature, lilies and sparrows to illustrate the great lengths our Heavenly Father goes to support His creation, He extols us to understand how much more valuable we are in Our Father’s Eyes and how much more He desires, through a loving relationship, to provide for us and keep us safe.  As adults we would say (as the Jewish leaders said to Christ) prove it and then I’ll believe. Christ says that we can ask anything of the Father, to include moving mountains, and if we believe, it will happen.  Adults reply: “Be real, that can’t happen” scoffing at the concept, relying on ourselves and becoming mute to asking of and communing with Our Father.

We often use words like magical to describe that time of life we call childhood.  And then because we don’t believe in magic we dismiss that time as a time of whimsy and fantasy with little to no lasting impact.  Christ sighs.  Being One with the Father and a human being, Christ understands.  He understands that eventually we will ask things of an earthly father, they can’t answer or can’t supply.  Yet even more, Christ understands that, with the Heavenly Father, there is no request too large for the Creator of everything in the universe or too trivial for a Father who knows us each by name for He formed us in the womb.

May it be that we will be like a child with Our Heavenly Father, knowing with all certainty that He will supply all things perfectly.  May it be that we believe, whether we understand or not, that the Father’s plan is perfect and the more that we can be obedient to that plan the better it will be for us.  May we look at God’s creation with the excitement and wonderment of a child, being ever ready to squeal with excitement and ever flowing with thanksgiving and praise.  May we be open to His Love, seeing that He holds nothing back, even the life of His Precious Son Jesus Christ, to bring us into a loving relationship with him.


Be sure to set aside a tenth of all that your fields provide each year…… Deuteronomy 14:22. Do not give me riches or poverty…………for if riches I may disown you…. Proverbs 30-7

Today, that which is provided to us and what we do about it consumes a tremendous amount of our time and our church’s time.  A church can see its very survival in the amounts given especially when those amounts are far less than 10%.  And the people feel that they are barely making it by needing every scrap to make their ends meet.  Plus what they have comes from titanic daily struggles.  God is the God of all creation, surely he needs nothing from us.

Yet to me, there seems to be some inherent promises in God’s commandment about giving ten percent.  First He expressly says where the 10% is supposed to come from.  It comes from the production of your land.  In this day and time it would come from the outcome of your vocation.  So first and foremost it appears that there is a promise that your land is going to produce.  God’s plan would seem to indicate that He is going to provide.  Do remember that this edict was first given after the Israelites had left Egypt and were heading for the “promised land”; the land “flowing with milk and honey”.  God then as is the case now plans to bless His people. 

So if it is His and His gift in the first place why does He need a tenth of it back?  It is not in His need to receive but in our need to give.  Part of the divine mystery is our ability to disregard God.  To completely live our lives as if He did not matter and that we are masters of our own domain and the builders of our own good fortune.  Sadly that type of living is not only seemingly increasing in our society and thus our penchant to give glory to self made people and those who have seemingly made it on their own without help.  Yet that mindset leads to a life devoid of the ever so needful recognition of where it is that our livelihood comes from in the first place.  Whether we acknowledge it or not, God has seen fit to GIVE to us the abilities and circumstances that allow us to make a living in this world.  Those who choose not to see that feel that they are the sole reason that they have been successful and thus their success and whatever outcomes there are from it belong completely to them.

We need to bring the 10% to acknowledge to God that there is an additional 90% which is ours to keep and to in a broad sense do as we see fit.  God several times goes further to say that even though He is already promising an additional 90% beyond what is being returned to Him; by keeping this commandment He promises even more blessings to come by virtue of that faith.

So there is a danger in our keeping the entire 100%.  We now become not only the rightful owners of all the 100% but lose site of any acknowledgement that there was any other hand involved in our getting the 100% in the first place.  The worst part of the that path is then we can come to believe that, there is no reason to go to God with our thanks or our requests.  God knows what we need, not only materially but most important spiritually.  He knows that our only chance at true life and love is to connect with Him in all things.  Only then can all things work to our favor within His Name. 

Therefore, know that a 100% is coming and is in His plan.  It is not that He asks for the 10th back in as much as He asks for our recognition of His providing the 100%, a more than sufficient amount, in that we are faithfully, willing and indeed joyous to acknowledge Him in that 10% that we return.  All Honor and Glory be to God Almighty.

Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal.  But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy and where thieves do not break in and steal.  Matthew 6:19

I want the flashy new car.  I want to work out so I have a great body.  I need a bigger house or that next promotion.  Which surgery is going to make me look by best?  Today there are quite a few things we find ourselves working towards.  We are told that we need goals to inspire us and to keep us on track.  The world lays out a lot of enticements through media and popular culture to what we should be aspiring to.

So I find that I need to ask myself; what is the intent behind my striving?  Do I have an objective behind the desire for the object and is that objective worthy of the calling of our Almighty Father.  For example, do I want work out because I am a creation of My Father and this body is a work of His?  Therefore I should be a good steward of this body which I did not create and try to keep in health to the glory of Him?  OR do I want a body that men would envy and women would lust after.  I want to show off my strength and prowess.  My body is my creation and the building up of it is for my glory.

We are told to find a job or vocation that we love.  Yet if I can find something similar for more money then that is what I will go after.  And I must be striving for more.  If I’m not moving ahead then I’m automatically being left behind. We all need a college education to land that good job so there is something less than worthy for someone who choses a different path.  The goal seems to be to strive very hard, even if you love what you are doing so that you can stop doing it and retire to leisure at the earliest possible time and then it is time to enjoy life.  To what end?  What is the objective during each day for this mad rush to succeed and exceed all others.  Is it to glorify ourselves, to show ourselves worthy of praise and wealth?

Jesus points to nature first.  He gives examples of unparalleled beauty and strength, GIVEN by God not earned by the plants and animals listed.  None of those were examples of creatures who were created in His image like we are. 

Jesus also gives us a warning.  As we strive so hard for the objects in our lives we miss out on the overall objective.  To live in a Loving relationship with Our Heavenly Father who will supply those objects we need freely.  Worse yet when we strive ourselves for the objects and obtain them, we then find ourselves praising us for our achievements and finding no place or need our Heavenly Father.

Alas, this world and the objects in it will pass no matter what we do.  Age and wear and tear will eventually diminish if not destroy them all.  Do not focus on the object so much that you completely lose sight of the objective.  Jesus tells us “Your Heavenly Father knows that you need them….” 

Live first the objective of Loving our Heavenly Father and then loving each other.  He promises that the objects will fall into place.

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