The Truth Is (My) Relative

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We have all heard the saying “truth is relative”, meaning that it depends on the circumstance, or the person, or some other outside influence. When Pontius Pilot is having a conversation with Jesus before the crucifixion he voices the same belief after Jesus tells him that “I came to testify of the truth”.

John 18:38 (NIV), “What is truth?” retorted Pilate. With this he went out again to the Jews gathered there and said, “I find no basis for a charge against him.”

That common philosophy of Pilot’s day is still common in our day. So many people talk about the “grey areas” or that “there is no black and white, just different shades of grey.” I disagree.

Jesus made it very clear. There is TRUTH and it is HIM.

John 14:6 (NIV), “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” 

Instead of saying, “truth is relative” he said, “TRUTH is my relative”. I love that. I am one with Christ, a joint heir, a son of God, and Jesus is the way, the truth and the light, so I am related to Him.

God’s word is true, He is not a man that He should lie, and Jesus is the Living Word.

His word is alive! And it is True!

Truth isn’t relative, but He is my Relative.

Be blessed.

Brainwashing?

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Ephesians 4:22-23 (Holman Christian Standard Bible), “You took off your former way of life, the old self that is corrupted by deceitful desires; you are being renewed in the spirit of your minds;”

At our Church our pastors and teachers frequently tell us to “repeat after me” and then we say things like “God is my Father,” or “I can do anything through Christ,” and one of my favorites “I am the righteousness of Christ Jesus.”  We confess God’s word and His plans for us at Church and at home. It is a way of life, it is common place for us so I don’t think about it too much. Then I brought someone to Church with me recently, who isn’t in the habit of going to Church, and afterward when I asked her what she thought, she mentioned the “repeat after me” thing. In her words “it was like brainwashing to me, I don’t like someone telling me what to say.” I quickly explained that to retain what you learn you need to hear it, read it, and write it (the same explanation of why I took notes during the message) and that by saying it out loud, it helps us even more to remember what we have learned.

I don’t remember exactly what we repeated that day, maybe even a few things. It was either scripture or scriptural and uplifting, so I pondered that for a while. I thought, if we repeated something like “drink the Kool-Aid” or “kill the infidels” I would understand better the objection. Then I thought, people do that all the time in marketing seminars, self-help seminars, and feel good about yourself and life seminars. They repeat things like, “I am a winner,” “I can sell anything,” or “Nothing can stop me.” I don’t really have a problem with any of that. When I realized this didn’t bother me because it was positive thinking, it was to help and build up confidence, it suddenly dawned on me (or the Holy Spirit finally got through), it was brainwashing!

Now, I realize that a lot of bad brainwashing goes on. Just watch TV or any commercial. If we don’t have that new car, we haven’t arrived yet. If we don’t wear those clothes, we aren’t part of the in crowd. If we don’t drink that booze, we are so less than cool. We are brainwashed to believe that youth is the only type of beauty and then only if it is a size six with perfect skin, hair and nails, and teeth white enough to see from space. We are brainwashed into believing that the government can do a better job of raising our kids, and that a women that stays home to raise her own must be lazy. But, is all brainwashing bad?

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Hebrews 4:12 (NIV), “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

My answer I “NO!” If our minds get filled up with so much junk, bad words, bad images, bad attitudes,  pure “crap” from the world, and lies from the enemy, shouldn’t we be washing that all out! Of course.

So yes, I wash my brain and if you go to a good Church they will ask you to wash yours too. They may even say, “repeat after me.”

Less you think that just repeating a few lines on Sunday is enough to brainwash you, think again. True brainwashing happens by repeated and continual exposer. So, repeat, read your Bible, and then do is all again. Daily.

Happy washing!

 

Book Review for “The Kings Scrolls- Ilyon Chronicles Book Two(Christian Fantasy)

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I was given a copy of “The King’s Scrolls” in exchange for an honest review. when I agreed to read this book I didn’t realize that it was a sequel. So I purchased book number one “Resistance” and fell in love with it. I couldn’t wait to read this one and it did not disappoint. This series is a wonderful fantasy that also happens to be Christian. The story is full of your usual fantasy aspects as well as the good versus evil theme. This story has included some dragons and dragon fights and we meet some new characters. The characters are very fleshed out and feel like someone you’ve known forever. I hated to see this one end and am looking forward to book three. There is no sexual content or swearing, there is fighting. I give it five stars. I loved it! I can recommend for teens and up. (on a side note, though it is Christian fiction it is not “preachy”)

It’s An Inside Job

I Samuel 16:7 (NIV), “But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.””

There is a very common saying that I have heard from the time I was little. I said it to my children, grandchildren, and those students that I had over the years. “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” It’s a way to convince children that we can’t write someone off just because they have frizzy hair, buck teeth, old clothes, or different color skin. However, we all do just that (especially when buying books!) Because we have a tendency to do this, we project this trait on God. We think that we have to clean ourselves up before we totally surrender to Him. Worse yet, we expect others to do the same. That somehow changing what you wear, covering the tattoos, losing the piercings, cutting your dreads, or wearing a suit and tie, make us more acceptable to God.

The good news is, He had always accepted you. He loved you before you were created, in fact before He even created time. He can’t ever love you more, even if you surrender your life to Him and live perfectly (not that we ever will be perfect). On the flip side, He will never love you less. If you were to turn your back on Him and deny His very existence, He wouldn’t stop loving you. You are accepted in the beloved. God loves people. All people. Why? Because He is love. Not, He shows love, has love, feels love…He is love. Because of this truth, the whole performance issue of trying to look and act a certain way to gain His favor and approval is ludicrous. We may be able to fool a few people, maybe eve ourselves, but we can’t fool God. He knows us better than we do. Our mask of “spirituality” is made of clear glass. He sees right through it into our hearts.

Isn’t that what Jesus told the Pharisees?

Matthew 23:25-28 (NASB), “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye cleanse the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full from extortion and excess. Thou blind Pharisee, cleanse first the inside of the cup and of the platter, that the outside thereof may become clean also. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which outwardly appear beautiful, but inwardly are full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so ye also outwardly appear righteous unto men, but inwardly ye are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.”

When has behaving “holier than thou” ever led someone to Jesus? Does that mask we put on make people want to be just like us? Isn’t that the main criticism of Christianity today, that we are a bunch of hypocrites?

So what do we do? Should we bag trying to live Holy and live like the world? God forbid. Do we need to air all of our dirty laundry and expose every weakness? Please don’t. But, we do need to be real! Our faith should be genuine, not an act. We will have days that our faith seems to be nonexistent, but we will attract people to God if we can show them that it is only a temporary setback, that God’s children get back up. We mess up, we act stupid, we forget who we are representing, often our foot is in our mouths, and we look ugly on the inside and the outside. The point is to let them see that we aren’t trying to just clean up the outside, that we are truly allowing God to clean us from the inside out. That it isn’t in our effort, but just in surrendering to Him and letting Him do the work in us. It’s about admitting those weaknesses and allowing God’s strength to work in and through us.

The greatest witness of Jesus is always His love. Was it His condemnation of that woman caught in adultery that changed her heart? No, He clearly said that He didn’t condemn her; He showed her love and compassion, by treating her with respect. Think about the things that Christ was criticized for compared to what modern Christians are criticized for: They complained that He was a friend to sinners, they say that we are judgmental and hate sinners. He ate with sinners and publicans, without conforming to their ideals and behaviors, we separate ourselves completely from them behaving like they have leprosy, or we behave just like they do and live the exact same way. He repeatedly said, “your sins are forgiven” and boy did that make the religious leaders mad, but we say “you’re going to hell.” He insisted that God loved them, we say “God hates homosexuals” or “God loves me, but not you.” Jesus wanted one big family of God, and we continue to preach “us and them.” He came to tear down walls, we continue to re-build them.

Before you get mad at me, I know that all Christians aren’t like this all the time. However, I confess that sometimes I find myself with that same ugly mindset. We have to constantly remind ourselves of who God is, and how we should be thinking. God is just like Jesus. He said so. We need to behave more like Him. Not is some cheesy “what would Jesus do” way, but in genuine love. Get to know the God we are supposed to be representing. Then represent Him well. God forgive us for letting the world think that you are unforgiving and quick to judge. Forgive us for letting them think that you don’t care about them, but are so concerned about how they think, act, and look. Forgive us for forcing them to think that they could never please you or earn your love. Help us to be more Christlike!

Romans 2:4 (NIV), “Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?”

It’s when we show His love, how good He is to us, and to those who don’t even know Him yet, that they turn to Him. Repentance isn’t so much about turning away from sin, but more about turning to Him. Are we living in such a way as to help others turn to Him? Or are we too busy pointing out all of their faults, bad behaviors, wrong thinking, and sin? I have said it before, we aren’t called to be sin police. The Holy Spirit is quite able to do the job of convicting of sin and convincing of righteousness. We are called to preach the good news, heal the sick, cast out demons (including the demons of self righteousness and religion). We are called to love and to grow the family of God. What child in an orphanage wants to go home with the parents who spend their “getting acquainted” time pointing out all of the things they don’t like? “Your hair is much too curly, those fingernails will have to be clipped and washed, stop picking your nose, don’t play with that dirty boy over there, your grades are much too low, you need to apply yourself…” Some of those might be legitimate things to say to your own children as you help them grow up and train them up, others are just downright wrong, but all are inappropriate for conversation and expectations on adopting a new child. God has adopted us. Why did we run to Him? Because He convinced us of His love!

Are you getting this? The same thing that drew us to our new Daddy is what is going to draw this lost, broken, hurting world to Him. Love. All that stuff that needs to be healed and fixed, He’ll see to it in His own way and in His own time. We don’t have to try and clean them up. Again, not our job.

Loving others never means that we are accepting their sin as good. We can’t say, “So, you murdered your neighbor, that’s ok.” But we can say, “So you murdered your neighbor, God still loves you and wants your life to be better.” A victim of child molestation doesn’t want to hear that what happened to them was acceptable behavior, or worse, was ordained by God, but they do want to hear that God cares, He loved them, and wants to heal them. I am not saying we need to call evil good, or good evil, or that we ignore sin. I am saying that we need to convince them that their lifestyle choices don’t matter to God in the light of His love. He loves them anyway. Once they accept that, and they won’t do that if we keep pointing out how horrible they are, then the ever gentle, loving Holy Spirit will work on those things that need to be changed. We drive people from God, by pointing out sin. The Holy Spirit draws people to God, by wooing them with His love. Big difference.

Now, go be loving.

Book Review for “Thicker Than Blood”- Christian Fiction

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I enjoyed this book. I read the second one first, each book can be read as a stand alone, so I had to go back and read this one. I loved the writing style, the characters are real and face real life situations. Some romance, some action, and a good storyline. Will definitely be reading more by this author. I give it five stars. No swearing or sexual content, it does talk about not living right (smoking and drinking), so I can recommend for teens and up.

Do Over!

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Lamentations 3:21-26 (NASB), “This I recall to my mind, therefore I have hope. The LORD’S lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “Therefore I have hope in Him.” The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, to the person who seeks Him. It is good that he waits silently for the salvation of the LORD.”

Remember the school playground? When we were kids whether we were playing foursquare, hopscotch, or kickball, at some point you would hear the words shouted, “Do over.” Usually it was by the kid who threw the rock across the blacktop instead of in the hopscotch boxes, or tripped instead of kicking that ball. I loved that phrase. It allowed us to pretend we hadn’t messed up. Our mistake didn’t count against us. We could totally miss the ball and then in a “Do over” hit it out of the park.

Have you ever, as an adult, wanted to shout “Do over!”? Or maybe you weren’t that kid, so that phrase isn’t one you are comfortable with. Instead you would say to yourself, “why did I do that?” or, “I wish I could start over,” this one is popular, “If I had it to do over again…” When we say or think these things it is always with regret. In our thinking it’s a done deal. There is no “do over’s” in real life. Right?

Psalm 103:8-18 (God’s Word Translation), “The LORD is compassionate, merciful, patient, and always ready to forgive. He will not always accuse us of wrong or be angry [with us] forever. He has not treated us as we deserve for our sins or paid us back for our wrongs. As high as the heavens are above the earth- that is how vast his mercy is toward those who fear him. As far as the east is from the west- that is how far he has removed our rebellious acts from himself. As a father has compassion for his children, so the LORD has compassion for those who fear him. He certainly knows what we are made of. He bears in mind that we are dust. Human life is as short-lived as grass. It blossoms like a flower in the field. When the wind blows over the flower, it disappears, and there is no longer any sign of it. But from everlasting to everlasting, the LORD’s mercy is on those who fear him. His righteousness belongs to their children and grandchildren, to those who are faithful to his promise, to those who remember to follow his guiding principles.”

David wrote this, before Jesus paid for our sins. Under law, he knew of the compassion and mercy of God. Our opening scripture in Lamentations, still under law, written before salvation had come to mankind. If Jeremiah and David knew that “His mercies are new every morning” and that “As far as the east is from the west” He has removed our sins from us. How much more, now that Jesus has died for our sins, should we know of His everlasting mercy and grace?
So are there still “Do over’s”? You bet there is! It’s the biggest “Do over” of all, and it won’t cost you a thing.

You just have to be like that little child again and admit you messed up. Go ahead, dare to think it, yell it, or even scream it… “DO OVER”, now accept the work He did for you and let’s move on to a better life, shall we.

Father God, Thank You for Your patience. Only You could continue to love me, care for me, and extend Your hand of mercy again and again. Your love knows no bound, Your forgiveness is complete, and your patience is monumental.

Review Anyone?

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I have just published my third Devotional, “Further In” and am in need of some reviews. Reviews sell books! If you are interested in reading this book, or any of my other books, and leaving a review for me on goodreads, amazon and/or smashwords, I can email you a digital copy of one, or give you a code to purchase one (for FREE) on smashwords. I am only asking for an honest review. If you are interested you can comment or email me at authorjodiwoody@yahoo.com
Thank You!
Jodi

Here is the link to my author page on Amazon if you are interested in any other books: http://www.amazon.com/Jodi-Woody/e/B00BYDBQ0A/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1429101933&sr=1-2-ent