Who’s Telling The Truth?

Which of you convicts Me of sin? And if I tell the truth, why do you not believe Me? —John 8:46

During the 2012 US presidential campaign, television coverage of speeches and debates often included “fact checking” by analysts who compared the candidates’ statements with their actual records. Were they telling the truth or manipulating the facts to their advantage? The apostle John recorded a debate between Jesus and a group of people who believed He was making false claims about Himself.

Jesus told them, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:31-32). They told Him that they had never been in bondage to anyone and asked, “How can You say, ‘You will be made free’?” (v.33).

As the debate continued, Jesus kept saying that He was telling them the truth (vv.34,40,45-46,51). Some believed Him, but others remained angry at Him and unconvinced.

In a sense, that debate goes on today. Those who oppose Jesus seek to discredit His statements and twist them into lies. Jesus says, “I am telling you the truth,” and promises that He will give us a freedom we can find nowhere else.

The Bible record of Jesus’ life is worth “fact checking” as we determine who we will follow. All of us have a choice to make.

Faith is believing, the promise is true,
Trusting in Jesus your strength to renew;
Resting so sweetly, secure on His Word,
Shielded from danger with Jesus the Lord. —Teasley

God’s truth stands any test.

His Empowering Presence

Jeremiah 1:6-10

When was the last time you felt God’s presence? I’m not talking aboutan intellectual understanding that the Lord is with you because He’s everywhere. Instead, what I’m asking is, When was the last time you experienced a heartfelt realization that He personally and intimately abides with you?

If you’re like many believers today, it may have been a while since you really felt His presence. Too many people go about their daily life without a genuine sense of God’s closeness. What a tragedy!

In the Scriptures, when God called someone into service, the first thing He did was to remind that person of His enduring presence. We see examples of this in the stories of Moses (Ex. 3:11-12), Joshua (Josh. 1:1-9), Gideon (Judg. 6:12), and Jeremiah (Jer. 1:6-8), to name just a few. Every time God called one of His servants into action, His message was, “You can be strong and courageous because I am with you. Victory isn’t about your abilities, your strength, your skill, your armor, your gifts, or your dedication; it is completely centered on My presence. You can be strong because I will be strong in and through you.”

God repeatedly assured His followers of His presence so they would remember the reason they could have confidence. And He wants to do the same for you.

The Lord knows how difficult life can be, and He’s aware of the details of each struggle you’ll ever face. As believers in Christ Jesus, we can trust that our heavenly Father will keep His word. He is with us right now, and He always will be (Heb. 13:5-6).

Dark Waters and Thick Clouds

“And he rode upon a cherub, and did fly: and he was seen upon the wings of the wind. And he made darkness pavilions round about him, dark waters, and thick clouds of the skies.” (2 Samuel 22:11-12)

This mysterious passage in David’s song of deliverance (also in Psalm 18) is usually classified by commentators as mere poetic hyperbole. However, it may also be taken literally, if we only assume that David was translated by the Holy Spirit (who “spake by me”—2 Samuel 23:2) far back in time to the great Flood, seeing in vision the Lord in great power unleashing the mighty waters of judgment on a corrupt world, yet delivering Noah through it all. David had a similar vision when he wrote Psalm 29, which speaks explicitly of the Noahic Flood (Hebrew mabbul, v. 10).

In our text above, the Hebrew word for “wind” is the same as “spirit,” so this phrase could refer to “the wings of the Spirit.” In the Bible’s first reference to “the Spirit of God” (Genesis 1:2), He is seen as “moving” in the presence of the primeval waters, the word being the same as that for the fluttering movement of the wings of a great bird. This vibrating motion implies the generating of mighty waves of energy flowing out from the Spirit to energize the newly created cosmos of Genesis 1:1. Similarly, the divine energy emanates again from the Spirit here at the Flood, but this time in destructive rather than creative power.

The references to waters and darkness in these and nearby verses may well refer to the condensation and precipitation of the extensive canopy suggested by the “waters which were above the firmament” (Genesis 1:7), when great torrents of rain suddenly poured through “the sluiceways of heaven,” continuing at highest intensity for 40 days, then at lesser intensity for 110 more days, until the “thick clouds” were emptied and the great Flood covered the whole earth. HMM

But prayer…

“But prayer…” (Acts 12:5.)

BUT prayer is the link that connects us with God. This is the bridge that spans every gulf and bears us over every abyss of danger or of need.

How significant the picture of the Apostolic Church: Peter in prison, the Jews triumphant, Herod supreme, the arena of martyrdom awaiting the dawning of the morning to drink up the apostle’s blood, and everything else against it. “But prayer was made unto God without ceasing.” And what was the sequel? The prison open, the apostle free, the Jews baffled, the wicked king eaten of worms, a spectacle of hidden retribution, and the Word of God rolling on in greater victory.

Do we know the power of our supernatural weapon? Do we dare to use it with the authority of a faith that commands as well as asks? God baptize us with holy audacity and Divine confidence! He is not wanting great men, but He is wanting men who will dare to prove the greatness of their God. But God! But prayer!—A. B. Simpson.

Beware in your prayer, above everything, of limiting God, not only by unbelief, but by fancying that you know what He can do. Expect unexpected things, above all that we ask or think. Each time you intercede, be quiet first and worship God in His glory. Think of what He can do, of how He delights to hear Christ, of your place in Christ; and expect great things. —Andrew Murray.

Our prayers are God’s opportunities. Are you in sorrow? Prayer can make your affliction sweet and strengthening. Are you in gladness? Prayer can add to your joy a celestial perfume. Are you in extreme danger from outward or inward enemies? Prayer can set at your right hand an angel whose touch could shatter a millstone into smaller dust than the flour it grinds, and whose glance could lay an army low. What will prayer do for you? I answer: All that God can do for you. “Ask what I shall give thee.”— Farrar.

“Wrestling prayer can wonders do,
Bring relief in deepest straits;
Prayer can force a passage through
Iron bars and brazen gates.”

Horror hath taken hold upon me because of the wicked that forsake Thy law

“Horror hath taken hold upon me because of the wicked that forsake Thy law.” Psalm 119:53

My soul, feelest thou this holy shuddering at the sins of others? for otherwise thou lackest inward holiness. David’s cheeks were wet with rivers of waters because of prevailing unholiness; Jeremiah desired eyes like fountains that he might lament the iniquities of Israel, and Lot was vexed with the conversation of the men of Sodom. Those upon whom the mark was set in Ezekiel’s vision, were those who sighed and cried for the abominations of Jerusalem. It cannot but grieve gracious souls to see what pains men take to go to hell. They know the evil of sin experimentally, and they are alarmed to see others flying like moths into its blaze. Sin makes the righteous shudder, because it violates a holy law, which it is to every man’s highest interest to keep; it pulls down the pillars of the commonwealth.

Sin in others horrifies a believer, because it puts him in mind of the baseness of his own heart: when he sees a transgressor he cries with the saint mentioned by Bernard, “He fell today, and I may fall tomorrow.” Sin to a believer is horrible, because it crucified the Saviour; he sees in every iniquity the nails and spear. How can a saved soul behold that cursed kill-Christ sin without abhorrence? Say, my heart, dost thou sensibly join in all this? It is an awful thing to insult God to His face. The good God deserves better treatment, the great God claims it, the just God will have it, or repay His adversary to his face. An awakened heart trembles at the audacity of sin, and stands alarmed at the contemplation of its punishment. How monstrous a thing is rebellion! How direful a doom is prepared for the ungodly! My soul, never laugh at sin’s fooleries, lest thou come to smile at sin itself. It is thine enemy, and thy Lord’s enemy—view it with detestation, for so only canst thou evidence the possession of holiness, without which no man can see the Lord.

I am the Lord, I change not

“I am the Lord, I change not.” Malachi 3:6

It is well for us that, amidst all the variableness of life, there is One whom change cannot affect; One whose heart can never alter, and on whose brow mutability can make no furrows. All things else have changed—all things are changing. The sun itself grows dim with age; the world is waxing old; the folding up of the worn-out vesture has commenced; the heavens and earth must soon pass away; they shall perish, they shall wax old as doth a garment; but there is One who only hath immortality, of whose years there is no end, and in whose person there is no change. The delight which the mariner feels, when, after having been tossed about for many a day, he steps again upon the solid shore, is the satisfaction of a Christian when, amidst all the changes of this troublous life, he rests the foot of his faith upon this truth—”I am the Lord, I change not.”

The stability which the anchor gives the ship when it has at last obtained a hold-fast, is like that which the Christian’s hope affords him when it fixes itself upon this glorious truth. With God “is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” What ever His attributes were of old, they are now; His power, His wisdom, His justice, His truth, are alike unchanged. He has ever been the refuge of His people, their stronghold in the day of trouble, and He is their sure Helper still. He is unchanged in His love. He has loved His people with “an everlasting love”; He loves them now as much as ever He did, and when all earthly things shall have melted in the last conflagration, His love will still wear the dew of its youth. Precious is the assurance that He changes not! The wheel of providence revolves, but its axle is eternal love.

“Death and change are busy ever,
Man decays, and ages move;
But His mercy waneth never;
God is wisdom, God is love.”