Thursday, July 28, 2011

Thoughts on Lying

"...God, who does not lie" (Titus 1:2) NIV "He doesn't break promises" (THE MESSAGE)
"Admit it. You lie. And if you say you don't, you're a liar." (Andy Simmons in Reader's Digest, August edition)

Have you ever had someone break a promise or lie to you? I dare say everyone can point a finger at someone else who did that quicker than they see those other fingers pointing back at themselves. We've all been there, done that and gotten the T-shirt.

This article in Reader's Digest entitled, LIAR, LIAR, caught my eye recently. Simmons lists the ways to recognize a lie. I won't list them, because I may get caught in one or may catch you. How do you react when you discover someone has lied to you?
• explosively,
• cynically
• silently
• revengefully
• seethingly

Invariably we hear from children, "You promised!!" or "You broke your promise". And they don't forget it, either! I've broken many promises in my life and I probably will break a few more. I don't intentionally set out to break them or to lie, but sometimes it happens. Sometimes I 'stretch the truth' so as not to hurt someone's feelings.

"You can't stop lies entirely," University of Massachusetts psychologist Robert Feldman states. Oh my, that is not encouraging. So, who can you trust?
I've been reading the tiny Book of Titus in the New Testament recently and this phrase in the first chapter jumped out at me this morning.

The Apostle Paul wrote a letter to a young Titus encouraging him in his duties to the folks in Crete. Apparently he had his job cut out for him because in verse 12 he says, "The Cretans are liars from the womb, barking dogs, lazy bellies" (THE MESSAGE) Now, I don't know about you, but that's not very heartening. We've served three churches in our entire ministry and two as interim and I surely would not say that about any of them. The fact, however, is that I've experienced broken promises and been shocked to discover liars in the congregation as well as the community. It always cuts to the core, doesn't it?

What about our family? Have you ever lied to them or caught them in a lie? Oh yes!
"Did you take that quarter out of my drawer?"

"No, Ma'am!"

"Then how come I found it in your pocket?"

"LIAR! She lies; she's a liar!" That makes sense.

"Does this tie go with this suit?"

"Um, sure, but let me see if there's a better one."

"What are you doing?"

"Nothing." NOTHING??????

Come on! And we won't even touch the politicians. That's a whole 'nother article, or maybe a book or a library.

So, who can you trust? Certainly not the Crete's. That's why Titus was left with such a task, to tell them they didn't have to lie; they didn't have to break promises. God who doesn't lie or break promises has provided a way of salvation that enables us through His Spirit to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that life without end is ours through Jesus Christ. He also helps us live a God filled life and put our lives back together and live in honest fellowship with Him. AND THAT AIN'T A LIE.

Monday, July 25, 2011


Ezekiel 36:9 "I am concerned for you and will look on you with favor; you will be plowed and sown".

Our garden flopped. It's been a number of years since we attempted to plant a vegetable garden but decided to try it this spring. My husband knows how to grow a garden; his last effort resulted in more vegetables than I knew what to do with. But that was in another place in another time long ago. This year we decided on just a small plot of ground for a few tomato plants, squash, bell peppers, cucumbers and hot peppers.

We plowed, we planted, we fertilized, we watered, and we waited. The plants came up nicely, all but the cucumbers which succumbed to dogs and a resident rabbit. We trellised the tomato plants. The squash bushes did bear fruit until our hail storm. The tomato plants grew and produced tiny tomatoes which never got much bigger. Some ripened but they've all been small. It's been a disappointment over all. We've come to the conclusion that we failed to prepare the soil as we should. There's always 'next year', right?!

In the garden of my life, I wonder if I've been a disappointment at times. Scripture gives so many illustrations of gardening, but I love the one from John 15:1especially: "I am the True Vine and My Father is the gardener." Consulting with the Master Gardener always pays off. Perhaps my soil needs plowing. That's not a pleasant thought but gardens must be plowed each season. It's not that one turning of the soil will do for life.

This morning I ran across this verse from Ezekiel 36 that spoke to me. "I am concerned for will be plowed and sown." The Lord God, our Gardener cares enough about us to plow us under seasonally. He knows our soil and just what fertilizer it needs to grow the crop He has in mind.

The plowing isn't fun, unless you're the one doing it, and not the one being plowed. Reminds me of the poem of Amy Carmichael:
The toad beneath the harrow knows
Exactly where each tooth point goes
The butterfly upon the road
Preaches contentment to that toad.

Father, Gardener of my soul, thank you for plowing and preparing me for what you have prepared for me.