Podcast Episode 2: What is the truth?

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Show Notes:

(Blog format for all those who like to read below)

I can promise, that right now, most of us feel like we know the truth and the facts for the most part, about what’s happening in our own homes, our own lives and in our world.  We have each convinced ourselves to believe a certain way. We’ve mulled over it , analyzed it, reasoned it and then we stamped it with our own personal stamp of logic and called it “fact or truth.” And then when we sit down with someone else, (actually anyone else) we find that their facts and truth are not the same as the ones we believe.  They may be close to ours or they may be far from ours, but one thing is for sure- they are never exactly the same. Which is interesting, especially when you hear the definitions for fact and truth:

Definition of Fact- a fact is a thing that is proven.

Definition of Truth-  truth is the property of being in accord with fact. 

So if these are the definitions, how can there be so many versions of fact and truth about a particular subject?

Well, I am afraid not much has changed since 550 BC even with all the so called “facts” we think we have at our fingertips. 2,520 years ago in Israel, it was written in the book of Judges that “every man did that which was right in his own eyes”. And that meant that they almost always did what was wrong. Historically speaking, these days were known as some of the darkest days in Israel. It was filled with sin and oppression.  It was a time when the people forgot who God was. This book is all about a generation who didn’t know who God was and what He had done for His people all because the previous generation failed to teach them. They relied on their own “facts and truth.” The results? Tragic! Sound familiar?

Have we been a generation not raised on Truth?  Who have forgotten Who God is? And have we turned to ourselves?

Here is the truth

Lately I’ve been pondering that idea.  As believers, we should be spending so much time seeking truth that we can see more clearly then the rest of the world. And then when God reveals it to us, we can not stop there.  This is where it has cost so many of us. Especially in today’s climate. We go to the Word, we get sound biblical truth and then we think “oh I know the truth and now I’m going to just drop truth bombs on everybody!” And honestly, that’s where it gets ugly in my experience. That is when people stop listening because we lose our light. If we are a generation raised on truth then there is a second “truth” that goes along with it that can not be left out.  If it gets left out, we’ve made a grave mistake. And that critical truth is that God is both just and merciful.

For example, in the book of Exodus, the Lord is about to lay down the law on Moses.  But do you know what He says first? He says “the Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness.”  Here God is ready to say all the laws that He knows people will never be able to live up to and yet He makes sure Moses really knows who HE is first. He makes sure that Moses knows that His mercy can extend even to those that complain, sin, rebel and worship things other than Him.  He makes it known that no one is beyond forgiveness. God never gives truth without buffering it with His mercy. And neither should we.

Time to get honest

How many of us lately have just gone full force with only one part of the truth?  We rest our hearts in being righteous in our thinking and we forget who God is. We end up showing others only the side of God that is just and we throw out His mercy in conversations.  That’s not truth. It’s a half truth. And a half truth is not truth no matter how hard you try.  Have your kids ever told you a half truth?  Then you know what that means! You need the other half or plain and simple it’s a lie!

And then on the flip side, how many of us just go full force on a merciful God and leave out that He’s also just?  Maybe because we want more followers, a bigger influence, or because it’s easier to exclude what could hurt someone when we confront sin, so we just tip toe as to not offend anyone. But that isn’t God either! God makes sure Moses knows that “the guilty will not go unpunished” Exodus 34:7. There are consequences to sin. But even though he punished the sin, he loved the sinner and provided mercy with His forgiveness.

You see, it’s hard for us to comprehend how God’s mercy and justice can be true, so we tend to focus on the one we like best. For some of us, we love to feel “right” and we error on the side of spitting God’s truth with justice.  And then some of us don’t like to ruffle feathers or we are people pleasers and we deliver everything with God’s mercy and no truth about sin and its consequences. But in either case, whichever side we tend to error on, we are left with nothing but a lie. We end up just like the people in Exodus, just doing what is right in our own eyes, and lately, we see that we have been left with tragic results. Broken friendships. Broken Families. And an even more broken world.

Our Answer

So how do we change this? How do we revive the church and its people? Like I mentioned earlier, it is really difficult for us as humans to view every subject with just and merciful eyes.  We can get really fired up wanting justice for certain things. And we can be really merciful looking at other things. How will we ever have that balance?

Every battle starts on our knees. Friends, we’ve got to PRAY! We can’t do it. I’ve seen that more this year then ever before. It can’t be us. It can’t be us who delivers the message! It’s got to always be the Holy Spirit through us delivering truth.  So my prayer today, is that we really learn how to lean on the Lord. Surrender our ways and let our ways be His ways. We need to pray for boldness and courage to speak truth.  We have to pray that He makes us a people who bearer His image and that He gives us the wisdom and words to speak. And we need to pray lastly and probably most importantly, that He gives us the chance to be that light on the hill.

Matt. 5:13-20

Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.

Be the truth. Be the light.

Always praying for each of you.

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Podcast Episode 1: The best news! (in a world of bad news)

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As a busy mom myself, I realize it’s not always easy to sit and read. For that reason, I have fallen madly in love with the podcast format and have been a podcast junkie for about 4 years now.  I listen while I’m cleaning, or driving or folding laundry.  It puts “me time” in my day when I wouldn’t normally have it. And for this reason, I have decided to do the same for you.  Here is the very first episode of The Growing in Goodness Podcast.

Show Notes:

(Blog format for all those who like to read below)

Rest, hope, joy, freedom.

Seems like these words are so hard to grasp these days. We reach for them and when it feels like we can almost touch them with our fingertips another wave knocks us down with the next bit of bad news.  Trust me, I get it.  I was living everyday like this.  But these words- they are ours already and somehow I forgot that. I forgot that rest, hope, joy and freedom is mine. And they are yours too!

Have you been letting headlines become your outlook? I’m not saying this to condemn you.  I am saying this because I have and I’m guessing I’m not the only one. I have been looking through the wrong lens too much and too often.

Ok. Let me explain what I mean…. I’ll never forget the way it felt when I first became a Christian. I had literally received the best news ever! The news that my sin was gone! I just couldn’t fathom it but I knew it and believed it. The news that I would live forever in the presence of God and that my Father in heaven had an amazing plan for my life. Before I felt so lost but now I had a purpose and understanding that there was more. The world looked brighter and absolutely nothing could steal my joy.  Every morning I opened my eyes with so much hope knowing I had God on my side now and nothing was impossible.  All my dreams, hopes and life was in His hands and it was a cloud I never wanted to come down from.

But since then, time has passed and though I say “my joy is in the Lord”, I have to be honest, I don’t always act like it.  Though I still find my joy in the Lord, my day doesn’t reflect that at every moment. Our human minds forget so easily.  And guys, if we don’t live in this Truth, we will fall for any lie. Satan is good like that. Yes, I get out my Bible every morning and pray to Him daily.  I’m constantly pursuing Him.  But if we aren’t holding fast to the simple gospel, that Jesus died on a cross so that we could live in the hope of what’s to come, then we’ve missed it! And I have missed it lately!

I have missed remembering that I can REST! I can rest because when Jesus was on the cross he said “it is finished!” It is already done! All this fighting going on and yet the battle has already been won!  We can rest in his finished work of redemption.  We don’t have to fight for it or work for it or pay for it.  Up on that cross, I received grace for all my sins of yesterday, today and forever. I am not getting what I deserve.

I have missed remembering that I can HOPE!  I can live in expectancy and look forward to the future because Christ is coming to restore everything that has been broken!  I told my boys this during homeschool this morning.  They asked about their old dog Roxy and their Grandpa that passed and my sons words were “I hope he comes tomorrow!” Are we living like that? No wonder Jesus says we should have a childlike faith! We want to hold onto this world and children don’t think twice about wanting what’s waiting for us.

And lastly, I missed remembering that I can have joy and freedom, no matter my circumstances. The joy in knowing that I will be relishing in His presence forever, frees me from feeling like I am in any kind of bondage on here earth.

Those are the eyes I need to be seeing out of.  Not out of the eyes of the worlds headlines.  That news is nothing compared to the best news we have.

I told my kids today that no matter what bad news they get, it will always look so small since we know the Good News! I told them if they have a bad day, remember the good days that will be coming! Here I am teaching them and yet preaching really to myself.

This way of life is what sets us apart.  It’s not that believers won’t sin, or will have more in life. It’s that our outlook looks different then the rest of the world’s. And at the end of the day, that is exactly what brings people to wanting to know more about our Jesus.

My prayer today is that you live with the Truth. I pray that whenever bad news come you remember the best news ever.

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Heart Check and Reminder for Godly Women

We can sometimes get so tied up in “knowing” the Word that we forget how to be an example of It.  I can say this because I am so guilty of it! I’ve been hard pressed the last couple years to really know God.  Which is a great thing! But somedays I have gotten so lost in my studies that I have stopped applying what I already know.

A couple weeks ago, a friend of mine did a heart check quiz on her Instagram and oh what a heart check it was! (Her IG handle is @running_redeemed. You should give her a follow if you don’t already :))

She asked these following questions:

  1. Do you have a tendency to grumble and complain?
  2. Do you let circumstances dictate your happiness?
  3. Do you easily forget the good and focus on the bad?
  4.  Do you find yourself “venting” a lot?

Ladies, I could have answered “yes” to every single one of those questions. And here I am, finally living a life I prayed for, and I was focused on everything that I could find wrong with it. This is when I realized, “Jill, what good is reading the Bible, if you’re acting like a person who has no joy in the Lord?”  

I prayed each morning after that and I asked God for His help and wisdom.  Without fail, each morning since, He has handed me something new and I want to share them with you.

Here are the 5 things He has reminded me to embody as a godly woman:

  1. Joy- “The joy of the Lord is our strength.” Nehemiah 8:10.  We must have a spirit of joy! Joy isn’t dependent on what’s happening to us.  Our joy depends on Christ.  Joy makes us strong and helps us to bear all things. And to cultivate joy we have to focus on the positive aspects of our lives.  Joy is a choice and we can decide to be joyful at all times.  Remember that whatever we focus on is what we will see, so see joy!
  2. Peace- “Peace I leave you, my peace I give to you, not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled or afraid.” John 14:27.  Peace was a gift Jesus left for us. It is a part of our inheritance as believers.  It is also a fruit of the spirit.  Peace is something we have to pursue.  If something doesn’t bring us peace, we have to be discerning and ask God to lead us on how to let go of the thing that is causing us turmoil in our heart.  Letting “peace rule our hearts” settles every issue that needs a decision. The answer to your question is “what brings you peace?”
  3. Hope“Hope in God and wait expectantly for Him” Psalm 42:5. Tonight I was at church and they were singing a song called “Living Hope” and the words God put into my head when I was singing was “Jill, if I’m really your hope, then act like it!” It was like a punch to the gut. God knows what we need to hear and I needed to hear that.  Hope is turned on by our faith and positive attitudes.  Our attitudes have to go beyond what we are feeling and instead be based on the fact that we know God is good! Do you really believe that?  Do you believe His Word when it says “For I know the plans I have for you says the Lord, plans to prosper you, not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:1.  If we really believe what God says is true then we can live with hope!
  4. Positive Thinking- Whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things.” Philippians 4:8. Being a positive person starts in our minds.  Scripture literally spells out how we should think and so often we focus on the opposite.  We have to always remember that our thoughts shape our lives. Proverbs 23:7 says that we become what we think. And Paul tells us  in 2 Corinthians to take every thought captive and make them obedient to Christ. God clearly has shown us in scripture time and time again that what we think about matters. A lot! Negative thoughts can ruin our relationships and eventually our whole life turns into a mess.
  5. Positive Words-  “Our tongue has the power of life an death.” Provers 18:21. I remember early on in my Christian walk I read a book by Joyce Meyer and she said “We can not have a negative mouth and a positive life!”  That made so much sense to me and it really stuck with me. The bible says that positive words bring life where as negative ones can bring death! That’s how powerful our words are. For this reason we should be very discerning when we speak.  This is why it is so important to think positive because it would be almost impossible for a positive person to easily speak negative words that would bring death.

This is a work in progress for all of us! But I have really enjoyed pursuing each of these daily as they have been handed to me.  I pray that you will join me in this worthy pursuit.  Let’s be the light in a world that needs it!

Tell me, was this a good heart check and reminder for you? I’d love to hear from you.