False and Fragile Chains

A inspirational speaker a few months back reminded me of something about elephants in captivity used for entertainment (years ago, not sure if the practice is still used.) When the elephant calves are small they tie a chain around a hind leg and attach it to something solid that can’t be moved. Over the years the elephant learns that it can only go so far, before the chain stops them in their tracks. Eventually a small rope and a tent stake will hold this enormous animal in place, actually it’s the ingrained belief, not the fragile rope at all.

Why did this speaker, Jonathon Thomas, use this elephant story? To point out that what we think, how we train our minds, is very important.

For years, I suffered from anxiety. At one point it almost had me paralyzed. Like those elephants, I believed I could only go so far, with certain “safe people”, and lived a horrible life of fear and bondage. All of this happened while I was a born again Christian! Why did it last so long?

I think mostly because I had to change the way I thought and my expectations. Instead of believing made up lies of the enemy, I should have believed what God said. When I expected God’s best and quit expecting the worst, life got better. Once I sat through a dentist appointment with no pills and no anxiety, the next time wasn’t problem. When I could wait in line, sit in a crowded room, and manage a new situation without the sky falling or the ground swallowing me up, and without fainting or seemingly heart failure, I knew that God had my back.

Whenever feelings of anxiety try to come back, I rebuke them and quote His truth.

What fragile and false chains are holding you back?

His Truth is Everlasting

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Psalm 117;2 (NASB), “For His lovingkindness is great toward us, And the truth of the LORD is everlasting. Praise the LORD!”

Webster’s defines truth as
: the truth
: the real facts about something
: the things that are true
: the quality or state of being true
: a statement or idea that is true or accepted as true
And the word true is defined as
:agreeing with the facts
: not false
: real or genuine

The very essence of the truth is supposed to be something we can trust, something that isn’t changeable, or corruptible. However, according to the world’s definition it is none of those things. Over the ages philosophers and parents everywhere have been trying to get to the bottom of this mysterious truth.

Here are some of the world’s ideas about truth.

It will never be possible by pure reason to arrive at some absolute truth. ~Werner Heisenberg, Physics and Philosophy

There is no Truth. There is only the truth within each moment. ~Ramana Maharshi, attributed

Every truth bends and reshapes itself or is reshaped by other forces. ~Leslie Woolf Hedley

There is no truth. There is only perception. ~Gustave Flaubert

And let’s not forget the famous words of Pontius Pilate, “What is truth?” (John 18:38)

If it wasn’t obvious to you before, I hope it is now, the world has no idea what truth really is. God tells us in His word exactly what the truth is. It is not a collection of facts, it is not just something that is accepted as true, it is not elusive, it doesn’t reshape itself, and it most definitely is. The Truth is Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh. God’s word is truth.

John 1:14 (NIV), “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

Facts can tell us that we have cancer; God’s word tells us that we have been healed by the stripes on Jesus back.

Facts tell us that we can’t change who we are, but God’s word tells us that He has made us as new creations, that all things are brand new to those who have given themselves over to Him.
The truth, God’s truth sets us and continues to make us free.

Free from what? Sin, our past, the lies of the devil, the bad reports from the world, and even our own stinkin’ thinkin’.

God’s truth never changes, ever. It is set in stone, engraved on our hearts. Circumstances won’t change it, public opinion can’t change it, and no matter how we might try to manipulate and misinterpret it, it stands in itself, as TRUTH.

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.”

Now let’s read Psalm 117 again.

Psalm 117 (KJB), “O praise the LORD, all ye nations: praise him, all ye people. For his merciful kindness is great toward us: and the truth of the LORD endureth for ever. Praise ye the LORD.”

His truth is everlasting, it endures forever.

Aren’t you glad.

Truth?

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Psalm 25:5 (Darby Bible Translation), “Make me to walk in thy truth, and teach me: for thou art the God of my salvation; on thee do I wait all the day.”

Psalm 12:6 (NIV), “And the words of the LORD are flawless, like silver purified in a crucible, like gold refined seven times.”

David wanted to walk in God’s truth. He understood that God’s word protects us and keeps us safe.

II Samuel 22:31 (English Standard Version), “This God—his way is perfect; the word of the LORD proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.”

Samuel also points out that His word, His truth, is a shield for us.

So, you would think that all of God’s people, His chosen, His children would want His truth.

There was an Old Testament king, Ahab, who most of us know about. He was married to that great manipulator, and idolater, Jezebel. In II Chronicles and I Kings we read about this notorious king of Israel. He did evil in the sight of the Lord, more than any of his royal ancestors. At one point he is trying to convince Jehoshaphat, King of Judah, to go to war with him. Jehoshaphat agrees on one condition, he wanted Ahab to inquire of the Lord. Ahab gathers 400 false prophets who give him the wonderful, and fully false words, “go and you will be victorious.” Good King Jehoshaphat wants a true prophet of God.

Against his better judgment, Ahab calls for Micaiah, who he says always gives him bad news. When the messenger warns Micaiah to speak the same words as the false prophets his reply is sure.

II Chronicles 18:13-15 (NIV), “But Micaiah said, “As surely as the Lord lives, I can tell him only what my God says.” When he arrived, the king asked him, “Micaiah, shall we go to war against Ramoth Gilead, or shall I not?” “Attack and be victorious,” he answered, “for they will be given into your hand.” The king said to him, “How many times must I make you swear to tell me nothing but the truth in the name of the Lord?”

Notice Ahab, he is sitting with a righteous king, he has already admitted that Micaiah always gives him bad news, so he acts the righteous ruler and admonishes the prophet for lying. But, did he really want the truth.
No. Let’s take a look.

II Chronicles 18:16-27, (NIV), “Then Micaiah answered, “I saw all Israel scattered on the hills like sheep without a shepherd, and the Lord said, ‘These people have no master. Let each one go home in peace.’  ” the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “Didn’t I tell you that he never prophesies anything good about me, but only bad?” Micaiah continued, “Therefore hear the word of the Lord: I saw the Lord sitting on his throne with all the multitudes of heaven standing on his right and on his left. And the Lord said, ‘Who will entice Ahab king of Israel into attacking Ramoth Gilead and going to his death there?’ “One suggested this, and another that. Finally, a spirit came forward, stood before the Lord and said, ‘I will entice him.’ “ ‘By what means?’ the Lord asked. “ ‘I will go and be a deceiving spirit in the mouths of all his prophets,’ he said. “ ‘You will succeed in enticing him,’ said the Lord. ‘Go and do it.’ “So now the Lord has put a deceiving spirit in the mouths of these prophets of yours. The Lord has decreed disaster for you.” Then Zedekiah son of Kenaanah went up and slapped Micaiah in the face. “Which way did the spirit from the Lord go when he went from me to speak to you?” he asked. Micaiah replied, “You will find out on the day you go to hide in an inner room.” The king of Israel then ordered, “Take Micaiah and send him back to Amon the ruler of the city and to Joash the king’s son, and say, ‘This is what the king says: Put this fellow in prison and give him nothing but bread and water until I return safely.’ ” Micaiah declared, “If you ever return safely, the Lord has not spoken through me.” Then he added, “Mark my words, all you people!”

How do we know the word was from God? It comes to pass.

There are spirits that the enemy sends to deceive us. God allows one to work in Ahab’s life to help fulfill His own word earlier. They are more than ready to convince us that a lie is the truth. Our flesh is weak and our ears “tickle” to hear what we want to hear. We want to hear facts (the doctor’s report, the news report, the stock market report, the latest statistics) but do we really want to hear The Truth? Or are we like Ahab, putting on some self-righteous act, saying we want the truth, but scorning it when we hear it?
Worse yet, do we hear the truth, and not obey it? Notice that though Jehoshaphat asks for a prophet of God, and listens to the word, he still goes with Ahab into battle. He even allows Ahab to disguise himself as an average soldier while sending Jehoshaphat out in his royal robes. Ahab was killed that day by a random arrow, by the way. God, in His faithfulness to the promise He made David, spared Jehoshaphat when he cried out to Him during the battle. But on the way home, another prophet of God soundly rebuked him for going out to war with Ahab.

James 1:22 (NASB), “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.”

When Jesus is confronted by Pilate He told him that His whole purpose for coming into the world was to witness to the Truth.

John 18:37 (ESV), “Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.””

Are we like the philosophers of Pilate’s day, as well as our own, who say, “What is truth.” (James 18:38) Here is another common and popular saying, “Truth is relevant.” I want to know, “relevant to what?” Our own stinking thinking? Our whishy washy beliefs? How about our ever changing and changeable circumstances? I would like something a little more concrete, wouldn’t you? Then how about The Truth. Written by a God who cannot lie, a Truth that doesn’t look at “facts,” ignores the statistics and negative reports, the Truth that does not change, ever!

Give me that Truth.

Then once I have it, and continue to search it out, and listen to it when it comes through sound teaching, I pray that I have the courage to walk in it. To do what it says, what He says.

John 14:6 (KJB), “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

Let’s follow Him.