So much of this world’s goodness has been put on hold. No more do you see the common courtesies that were an interwoven part of the past. Deals were sealed with a handshake and signed with a spoken word of promise. Words like honesty and truth, both words that have been put onto the list of endangered values, now seem to be no longer relevant. How do you deal with the deep, core things of life without the word truth being exercised? What good is anything that is not “the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth”? How do you relate to anything that is a lie, or how do you successfully deal with something that is not true?
Lies only prove to compound the problems of life. If you do not willingly seek the truth of circumstances, then you will never be able to insure the outcome, no matter how serious or concerned you are. You might not want to believe that something is true, but disbelieving will never change the fact if it is the truth. Truth and lies remain consistent; a truth will forever be the truth, and a lie will always be a lie. Before you can successfully deal with a circumstance, you must find the truth of that circumstance. In life, to be completely successful, you must only deal with the truth of every situation and not willingly try to pervert or distort the facts. Dealing with the truth is the only way to achieve a successful conclusion. Lies and deceit only prove to make matters more complicated and solutions more elusive. If our lives are to be stable, they must be built upon the Rock, the Rock known as Jesus Christ. He is the only truth and He must be followed if we are to remain righteous and full of integrity. Building our lives around the philosophies of this world, or what the Bible refers to as the sand, will in no way be preparing them for the storms and trials of life. (Matthew 7:24-27)
As I write, I am made to believe that the seared consciences of humanity will show more concern about the trees that will be sacrificed to publish my manuscript, than the truth or wisdom that has been revealed. This world would have us to believe that innocence and integrity are only values that are to be sacrificed to the gods of convenience and self-gratification. They are in no way worthy of our honor or protection. What we say and what we do are only guided by our desire to have and enjoy. Somehow, the meaning of words and their definitions have been deliberately distorted or altered to produce a desired action or response. To put it a different way, say one thing and mean something else, to confuse or to gain a favorable advantage or control over another. Words are important, and they should not be used simply to get what you selfishly desire. Our words show our character and express our attitudes and intents. To talk of deceit or corruption is somehow justified in some areas of society. It is considered okay, as when you talk of government, “That’s just the way it’s done, a way of doing business.” Power does not justify corruption, and denial does not insure acquittal. The loss of personal integrity will result in the selling of your soul and will remove the possibility of obtaining true peace and joy. Have you ever heard, “I didn’t mean it that way,” or, “You misunderstood what I meant”? I do not say this referring to those words that are changed by some new scientific revelation or finding. Those changes are justifiable. So many conversations today are intentionally given to mislead or gain the upper hand. Like Mama always said, “If it isn’t the truth, it is a lie.” Now I wonder where she got that gem of knowledge. She couldn’t have gotten it from her good old kjv, could she? In the well-enlightened world of today, no more “their word is their bond,” even though I know there are some who still hold to this principal. There are so many things of today that are in doubt, being brought about by the foolish, self-seeking actions of men; but, as I related in an earlier statement, there are still many things that I have learned not to doubt or question. Man today has become progressively more deceitful, and has willingly accepted the lie that truth is relative and not to be embraced. The problem with the belief that anything goes, is that you lose control of the situation, and you must then deal with whatever happens, and anything can happen. The most difficult thing in life to accept is the unknown, and when you are not dealing with true facts, you create situations that are uncertain and stressful. To suggest that you are controlled by this deceitful world, and to succeed you must follow its demands and practices, is in and of itself a loss of integrity. The lie that the end justifies the means has long been employed; but, to this day, has not been proven to be credible. There might be many ways to skin a cat, but by the Word of God, there is only one way to live uprightly and without blame. God’s way is the only way; God’s truth is the only truth; and God’s salvation is the only deliverance. Man has been given, by a loving God, the freedom to choose the way he will live; but unless he chooses to give the control of his life back to his creator, he will never experience the true freedom that is found only in believing in a liberating cross. The cross is complete salvation; the cross is true freedom; and the cross is total triumph.
If God said it, there is no reason to doubt it or to question it. I know that the manner of the world is to perpetuate the thought that everything is in doubt, but even though God created the world, He does not condone many of its ideals or practices. This world is in direct defiance of its creator simply because its prince is the power of darkness (Ephesians 2:1-3). To rely upon Satan’s leadership and to perform his bidding is sin; this is something that, because of God’s awesome love, He has willingly died to provide an escape from. Without God, there is no truth. As He has said in His word, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6). From the beginning, God’s Word has been the truth, and throughout all eternity, the truth of God’s Word will be revealed. God’s Word has not changed; it is the same today as it was in the beginning, and it will remain the same throughout all eternity. The Word of God does not change or adapt to new or different situations; it is in control of, and defines them. All of nature waits for God to speak and then obeys His commands. The only thing in all of God’s creation that is not under His total compliance is His creation: man. Man must follow God’s will to be accepted, but God has chosen to give man the right of choice. God will not force man to choose His deliverance, but He will punish man for his disobedience. Simply put, choose God’s way and you will be forgiven, refuse His forgiveness and you will be destroyed. The elements of nature are governed by God’s supreme authority, they have no choice but must obey His sovereign command. The only one that God has obligated Himself to is His children, and He will honor that obligation until the very end.
There is a right and a wrong. To have an open discussion upon what is right and what is wrong is just to delay the final outcome. If God says it is right, it is right. If God says it is wrong, it is wrong. Now, how difficult is that? A stubborn, defiant child who says he cannot and will not accept or live by God’s standard brings about the only difficulty in life. Even when, in the light of time, God’s way is proven to be superior, man chooses to wallow in the misery of disobedience. God’s only way is love, God’s only want is love, and God’s only work is love, for God is love. The common sense fact that there is a higher power, a creator who is in constant control of everything, is made even more evident when you take the time to reflect on life. Life, the ability to think and to breathe, is simply God’s greatest creation. His ultimate gift was the giving of His own life to save the souls of His creation, the supreme sacrifice. God, who is eternal, being willing to die for someone who is mortal, should be the only fact that is difficult to fathom. Being difficult to accept or to understand in the mind of man does not mean that it is impossible or foolish. The many truths of God that are a mystery in the minds of men are the evidences of faith in the lives and hearts of the believers. His existence should never be in question; His actuality is proven by His creation and is advanced by the fact that modern man chooses to discredit His existence. Simply put, why do you need to disprove the existence of someone who, in your mind, does not exist? There is no worse place to be found than in a place of uncertainty. The most disheartening fact of life is that so much time is spent, so much energy wasted, to discredit those things that He has given us to bless and enrich our daily lives. This world is deceitful. Explain to me, if you would, what is fair and unbiased about anything that this world seeks to do? The evil desires of humanity have taken over, and sin is no more considered evil. We are being governed by those whose hearts are evil, and the agenda has become one of deception and greed. When to say one thing and do another is considered good policy, we need to re-think our priorities. God is not in the evil thoughts and actions of degenerate man, and, without His power and guidance, we are sure to fail. Like the poison given to a convicted criminal is meant to destroy, so is the poison of sin taken by a people who are corrupted by the sin of an evil world. Greed runs unabated, and there is no apparent need for personal integrity or self-examination. In business today, there is little credibility, and all parties, employee and employer, customer and merchant, seek to gain the advantage and forget to do the honest or just thing. Everyone has his or her own opinion; and, due to the rights of free man, has a privilege or right to that opinion. The problem arises when selfishness and greed are introduced, and we are presented with what is known as a standoff. It is impossible to see the other person’s side when you have been blindsided by selfishness and greed. Everyone has a need, a desire to survive, but what constitutes survival is described in debatable terms. Today, many who are rich are in want of more; they look for their salvation in the things of this world and not to the cross.
We have forgotten the needs of others; and, in so doing, have overlooked our own necessities. How do we live without caring for those who are in need? So much of the poverty in this world is a poverty of not caring, not of being without materialistically. To have a good life, it is just as essential that we show the loving kindness of a gracious Savior, as it is that we have our daily needs. Poverty in any form is just as horrid, whether it is having to live in deprivation or in a state of total selfishness. How sad the life that has been enormously blessed with plenty and has given no thought to sharing. The loneliest soul on earth has been given no more cause for pity. Rightly enough, both sides have been given room for improvement, and that improvement does not necessarily mean gaining something of a material nature. What has gone wrong? The rich only seek to selfishly gain more for themselves, and the poor are jealous and covet the wealth of the rich. We have all become insensitive to the needs of others, and when we do not care for others, we also end up not caring for ourselves. To think only of material possessions and overlook your spiritual needs is a major oversight; it is a cause for concern. It doesn’t take much time or effort to look around and see the examples that are on every side of you. When you see something that is unjust, it is not time to consider what it will cost you to change, because injustice is far more costly than impartiality. Where do inner satisfaction, personal integrity, moral rightness, honor, and honest principals come into play? That is where you hear those sayings like, “walk a mile in my shoes,’ or, in biblical terms, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” When will it be time that we see each other as the creation of God, here to fulfill one purpose: the worship and honoring of our Heavenly Father? How is it that we all can talk with our mouths of world peace and not be willing in our hearts to care for one another?
I will give you an honest occurrence that happened while I was in the job market. I was told one time, by a member of management, that I was on all merits, worthy of a pay hike. However, I was told, “If we give you any more money [or what you deserve], that would mean we would have less to spend on ourselves.” While the example is humorous, it is also very sad. There are many instances in the business world where such an occurrence exists, even though the honest reason for it happening is not as blatantly expressed. I know that many times, both sides are at fault; and, while excuses are being made for one’s lack of performance, the whole system is being corrupted and everyone loses. To only think of self and forget the need of others, robs you of the joy that is obtained by sharing. No matter what you might think, it is possible to enjoy something more completely by sharing it with others. To give of yourself is not a worthless cause, and to deny yourself the blessing of sharing, will not cause you to rejoice. This world can be a brutal place with all of its anger, hatred, and selfishness. Life on the planet earth is not one of peace and total fulfillment, and if there is not an adequate opportunity to fill all the void and emptiness that is present, you can find yourself in a place of complete doubt and despair. Nothing that this world has to offer will ever alleviate the pain and hurt that is caused by an inadequate social standard. The cure for any ailment is seldom more of the same, and anything that this world has to offer would only prove to be more destructive.
As I listen to my radio or log on to the Internet, I am constantly being reminded of man’s inhumanity to man. Murder, rape, suicide, theft, beatings, and the like, are everywhere you look. Someone has just attempted to blow up a passenger plane in flight. His motive: hate and revenge. So many people whose lives are tarnished by sin are looking for the truth and are unable to find it. It is not that the truth does not exist; it is only that it cannot be found in the corrupt solutions of a world that is evil and divisive. When you have chosen to deny the existence of God, you have also chosen to deny His truth, His salvation. I agree that there would be nothing worth living for if it were not for the goodness of God. But you know, I am just this radical, right-wing wacko that doesn’t have a brain one. Wait a moment. It’s okay to deny that there is a God, and, because you feel that life isn’t worth living, you have been given the right to strap a bomb to your waist and blow up everyone who is in your way? How can you say that this is a better way? How can anyone even consider such nonsense? To feel sympathy for the poor, misguided soul who has gone out into eternity, is somewhat puzzling, when the bodies of his innocent victims are lying all around him. Where do we draw the line? To have someone tell you that God is the answer, and then not just refuse to listen, but aggressively strive to destroy His solution, is somewhat perplexing. Why not just check it out? They could just be telling you the truth. When you buy a coat, you try it on to see if it fits. When you buy a car, you take it for a spin to see how it runs. Doesn’t God deserve the same consideration? If He can meet your needs, and He can, would you still refuse Him because of a personal prejudice? If so, wouldn’t you consider that foolish? You are told to be your own person, to stand up and take care of yourself, but when it comes to the things of God, you listen to the crowd and not believe anything that He tells you. God is speaking if you are ready and willing to listen.
Terror reigns supreme. Hatred and vengeance are on the minds and in the hearts of many who roam this land. The fact that it has become so commonplace is a warning or signal as to what the future holds. The Bible teaches that this present world is not forever. One day, this world will end, and as we are approaching that end, the days will become more perverted and evil. (Read Matthew chapter 24.) To kill and destroy because you have been taught that God has predestined for you to do so, is utter nonsense. To kill and destroy with the possibility that you will be given an elevated estate, is only allowing yourself to be fooled by the devil. How could God bless the act of murder? How could any god seek only to destroy? What peace can be found in serving a god of hate? What hope is to be found in eternal death? Surely, this world has been given an abundance of the blessings of God, but when those things that He has provided are used to promote hatred and violence, we must seek His forgiveness. God has said that the love of this world is sin. Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. 1 John 2:15-17
We must not allow our affections to be placed upon those things that should be considered un-desirable. When we give our lives to God, He will use them to bless the lives of others as we fulfill His commandment to love one another (John 13:34). As others are being blessed, our lives in turn are made to reach a much greater level of joy and spiritual fulfillment.
I do not consider myself to be a pessimist, but to be optimistic about a world that only offers pain and death is a fool’s game. To say, “Maybe this,” or, “Maybe that,” could be acceptable if we were playing a game of chance, but life is for real, and all the consequences and end results are guaranteed. To say that it won’t happen just because you choose to disregard the truth doesn’t make any sense. To tell yourself that you do not have cancer when the doctor has confirmed it for the tenth time is somewhat imprudent. The truth is and will always be the truth; to deny something that has been established from the beginning of creation is just as imprudent. Styles might change; we might find different definitions or meanings of terms, but through it all, God’s purpose and intentions will always remain the same. If you are allowed a place in God’s heaven, it will be because of your acceptance of God’s laws and principals that were established from the very beginning. There is nothing new in the sight of God, and, He has chosen and established, for all time, that it remain as such. To disregard God as being unnecessary or excessive, is playing a fool’s game and will cause you to be cast into that place of utter torment. There is no rationale that is more foolish or self-defeating.
This world is about physical pleasure, but pleasure is only temporal and will not allow us to gain those things that will take us into a glorified heaven. The ultimate goal is, or should be, to one day enter paradise; and to settle for nonessential, momentary minutes of pleasure is foolhardy. Pleasure only pertains to those things that are fleshly; it has no lasting or redeeming value. Physical pleasure is short-lived; it cannot provide us with those things that are given unto us by the joy of true salvation. Pleasure is something that must be repeated over and over if we are to gain any gratification, while joy becomes a part of us and is a continual, equipping dynamism. The working of God’s Holy Spirit provides true joy of life by its constant renewing of the promises of God within us. Joy is not a feeling or emotion; it is a way of life. Joy is only experienced when we allow God’s presence to indwell us. This world is a distraction. We have been placed upon this earth to show honor and give praise to our Creator, but so many of the things we involve ourselves in really have no redeeming qualities. To consider this to be a thing of chance, is to reveal your true ignorance, and, to not attribute it all, to the god of this world, is true folly. Satan has intended from the very beginning to draw men away from the Creator and to get them to place their eyes and minds upon the creation. Satan’s intent is to get men to concentrate upon their surroundings instead of on the one who is in control of all circumstances. Distraction, confusion, and commotion are his ways of promoting ignorance and causing men to doubt and despair. If you do not know that you are about to fall into a ditch, you will not make preparations to see that it does not happen. Ignorance of the situation, is the best guarantee of its occurrence, but it does not warrant its necessity. Ignorance in and of itself is no excuse and will not always be accepted as such. Ignorance of any situation is only evidenced by a lack of sufficient knowledge and can be eliminated by the proper information or study. To remain ignorant causes the blame to be fixed upon the one who so chooses to remain uninformed. God has given to all the knowledge and wisdom of His Holy Word and has promised that anyone that searches for Him will find Him. “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you; For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened” (Matthew 7:8-9). How can we hope to place our circumstances and our disobedience upon the back of ignorance, when God has willingly placed all sin upon the back of His only begotten Son? Christ died so that everyone could escape the penalties of hell. By His death, all ignorance and indifference has been forbidden, and we no more have an excuse to refuse His redeeming grace. It is time for all men and women to realize what He has done for them; and, that they no more have an opportunity or excuse of refusing Him because of their ignorance. (Read Romans 1:17-32, the guilt of man.)
This world has no answers. All the knowledge and understanding of this world is given by God, and without Him, there would be no awareness or comprehension. Those who do not even acknowledge the existence of God, but disbelieve or doubt His existence, consider such a statement foolish. Man is not the creator of knowledge. To simply refuse to believe in God’s existence does not insure that He is nonexistent. Since the beginning of time, man has tried to disprove the truth of creation and has tried to replace it with the theory of evolution. Man has not been able to disprove even the simplest truth of God’s spoken Word and has wasted endless hours attempting to do so. It would seem that, after thousands of years of failure, man would be giving in, but somehow, the opposite is true; he is more frantic than ever before. Foolishness should be giving in to logic, but it seems that failure has been swallowed up by incompetence. As we discussed in the preceding paragraph, disbelief has become a distraction, and we are willingly giving into the diversions and detours of the devil. Satan has no answers or solutions that he will give to soothe the problems and pain of a weary world. Satan knows what should fill the hearts and minds of all humanity, but he has chosen not to relent in his deadly fervor to defeat and destroy what God has intended for us. Satan never has to wonder about the things of God; he knows the truth of God’s Word, and he is out to destroy its influence upon all humanity. “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble” (James 2:19). We are caught between doing what is right and holy and doing those things that are evil and corrupt. Satan’s eternal state is not in doubt, and all of his efforts are intended to destroy those who have the opportunity of a better condition. What is your opinion of, or how do you consider, someone who is such a sore loser that he wants to destroy and take away all the hope and happiness of those with whom he contends? Do you consider him to be your good friend? His deepest desire is to deny you God’s eternal blessings. If you consider him your enemy, then have you refused to listen to what he is saying? Satan’s efforts are not without cause; he is not passionate for the sake of being passionate. Your loss of innocence and integrity are his daily thought and desire, and he is willing to do all that is within his power to destroy.
You say, What does all this have to do with living the abundant life? Without the strength that God will give you to resist the powers of sin and the devil, your life will be wasted and unfruitful. To gain the knowledge needed to mature and grow, you must be made aware of the deceitfulness of your enemy: Satan. To combat any enemy, you must be made to understand all there is to understand about them and then prepare yourself to counter their advances. The only defense for sin is the saving blood of Jesus; the only chance of victory is total dependence upon God. To give everything to Satan is true loss of integrity. To do his bidding is total loss of innocence. God wants to spare you from the pain and discomfort of sin. Why not ask Him to give you that abundant life He so ardently wants to give?
Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. Revelation 3:20-22