Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. John 8:32
It’s a difficult time for truth.
At the end of 2016, the Oxford English Dictionary declared “post-truth” as the word of the year. The adjective is defined as “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.” We also have “alternative facts” to deal with when the reported facts are deemed to be incorrect. And when the sources of our information are deeply ensconced in their own opinions, it’s almost impossible to sort out the objective truth. We have numerous versions of the truth but most of it appears to be opinion, and no one trusts sources that tell them something other than what they want to hear.
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There is no place in the believer’s life for blame. Blame is never justified and it never serves a positive function. It is as old as Adam and as prevalent as sin. It’s the way we divert anything incoming that might humble us or help us face the truth about ourselves and what we are doing wrong. It’s a diversion. If we are charged with something, right or not, blame throws back something on the other person, and since we are all sinners who fall short of the glory of God, you can always find something to blame someone else for.
Some of you may have noticed the Catch went out late yesterday. When that happens you can usually assume technical difficulties or personal issues. The latter can come from the fact that I spent most the morning on a Catch that didn’t work, or I’m having some kind of personal struggle with the subject matter. Both were true yesterday. After spending most of my time creating a Catch that Marti nixed (you and I are both lucky she did), I then struggled with the subject matter of a new one. The Catch I ended up sending out was a revised version of something Marti had written some time ago to explain something about relationships. Perhaps you will remember the following:
Our attitude towards someone always determines our altitude. If you think you have married the “wrong” person, like Esther, but choose to treat him/her like the “right” one, that person will turn into the right one. On the other hand, if you married the right one, yet treat him/her as the wrong one, that person will turn into the wrong one. This holds true for all our relationships. How we treat each other will determine who we become.
The big question was, and still is: how much shall I tell you about where I stand in my own marriage on these things? Shall I just put this out there as information you can apply to your own relationships, or shall I apply it to mine with my wife? I know that personal application is always the way to go, but how much shall I reveal?
I would wager that we all would agree that God has a purpose for our lives. But I wonder how many of us are convinced that God has a destiny greater and better than our present circumstances. I ask, because I am not sure I am living to its fullest extent the life God has designed for me to live among the relationships He gave me to embrace. If I am not connecting His purpose for my life with those who are the closest to me, how can I expect to suddenly fulfill His purpose when I answer His call to “Go out” and make a difference in the world?
There was a big high wall there that tried to stop me.
The sign was painted, said “Private Property.”
But on the backside, it didn’t say nothing.
This land was made for you and me.
– Woodie Guthrie
It’s hard to talk about Christianity in culture right now without getting tangled up in politics — something I prefer not to do from the the Catch if I can help it. But on the currently contested issue of immigration, I can’t help it. Mainly because there is a biblical mandate, both New Testament and Old Testament, to welcome the stranger and the homeless. If we are going to be marketplace Christians, we need to exhibit God’s attitude toward strangers and foreigners regardless of what our government does. We may disagree over what we want the country to do, but there is no discussion when it comes to us individually.
I bow down to pray
I try to make the worst seem better
Lord, show me the way
To cut through all his worn out leather
I’ve got a hundred million reasons to walk away
But baby, I just need one good one to stay
from “Million Reasons” sung by Lady Gaga at Super Bowl LI
Leave it to Lady Gaga to pray for the healing of the nation at a Super Bowl, no less.
Artists have an immense amount of power to galvanize or polarize people. Knowing Lady Gaga’s strong support of the political left, there was some speculation and no small amount of trepidation over what she might do or say given the huge platform she was given for the halftime show of the Super Bowl at a time of great division and dissatisfaction with the current administration. Certainly not one to shy away from an opportunity to make a statement, Lady Gaga could have just as easily polarized the nation even more. Instead, she chose to bring it together.
“In the spring of the year, when kings normally go out to war, David sent Joab and the Israelite army to fight the Ammonites. They destroyed the Ammonite army and laid siege to the city of Rabbah. However, David stayed behind in Jerusalem” (2 Samuel 11:1).
Recipe for trouble. David got lazy. He sent someone else to fight his battles and lounged around his palace “when kings normally go out to war.” Sure enough, one afternoon, after His afternoon nap, he was lounging around on his porch and spied a beautiful woman bathing on a rooftop below. After inquiring about her and finding out she was Bathsheba, wife of Uriah the Hittite who was off fighting the Ammonites where David should have been, he had her brought to him and he slept with her. When he later found out she was pregnant, he sent for her husband, Uriah, to come home from the battlefield. There David wine and dined him, gave him gifts and sent him home to his wife. But Uriah didn’t go home. He spent the night with the palace guard.
Ruth, Ruth … What do you hold in your hand?
Do you know more than you understand?
Is it the wheat the plains of Moab have yielded into your hands?
Or is it your life you cast up into the wind?
Ruth is the story of loyalty, hope, love and redemption.
When a severe famine hits the land of Israel, Elimelech takes his wife, Naomi, and two sons to the land of Moab. There, after both sons take Moabite wives, the father and the sons all die leaving a bitter Naomi to return to Israel with no husband and no heir. After insisting that her daughters-in-law stay in Moab where they belong, Ruth, instead, clings to Naomi, preferring to stake her claim as a foreigner in the land of Israel with her mother-in-law. This is where the famous lines that are quoted in many weddings come from: “Where you go, I will go; where you lodge I will lodge; your people shall be my people, and your God, my God.” While beautifully suitable for a wedding, the original words were spoken by Ruth to Naomi.