The Wheels are Turning

I love that moment you notice your child thinking, the moment you can almost see the wheels turning in their head.  The look with the concerned brow, the pondering eyes with a hint of a smirk on their lips which is often followed by a difficult question.  I saw this look recently on my 4 year old son’s face.

Our son had been disobedient and my husband and I were talking to him about obedience.  Right now, obedience to our son means doing what mommy and daddy say. We want him to learn obedience as a stepping stone to being obedient to God and to understand that his choices have consequences.  We explained that his choice to be disobedient was a sin.  Even though he has gone to church his entire life, I do not expect him to fully understand sin, but he does know that sin is bad.  After our explanation, you could tell the wheels began to turn in his mind, and the difficult question was right on the tip of his tongue. “But Jesus died on the cross for our sins, right? Then why do we sin,” he said. thewheelsareturning

I do not even remember the answer I gave him that day, but here is what I should have said:  we sin, because we are human.  When Adam and Eve sinned for the very first time, they introduced sin into our human nature.  Sin is like a virus that is passed down from parents to children.  Jesus is the only man to ever truly overcome and resist sin. When we ask God into our heart, we become sons of God and not just of man. When we trust in God, we recognize that we are a sinner and in need of a savior; we admit that we can never be good enough to enter heaven.  The consequence of sin is death. Jesus died for our sins and accepted the punishment we deserved for those sins.

He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.  (2 Corinthians 5:21)

The truth is that God is perfectly loving and perfectly just.  As a parent strives to teach their children obedience and love, so does God desire to teach us the same.  He will hold each and every person accountable for their sins as a just God.  But because He is also a loving God, He has provided a way for us to be forgiven of our sins through the sinless sacrifice of His son Jesus Christ.

Even though I have asked God to forgive my sins and accepted Jesus into my heart, I still struggle with sin because I am still human, but now I am also a child of God.  God does not expect us to be perfect, but to recognize sin and strive to make better choices.

If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.. (John 14:15)

About the Writer:
Meghan is a former art teacher who feels blessed to now be a stay-a-home mom to her two boys. She loves volunteering at her sons’ school and with the First Baptist Dallas Women’s Ministry and First Impressions Team.  She is passionate about art, cooking, working out, and playing volleyball.

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Truth of God

An open letter to Pontius PilatePilate and Jesus

To Whom It May Concern:

We in America often refer to someone like you as having their “fifteen minutes of fame.” It seems everybody has heard about you. Two millennia later, you are still remembered… though not exactly favorably.  To your credit, you did ask a most astute question to Jesus that morning, “What is truth?”

 You seemed, though, a little too preoccupied for an answer.  Was it too early in the morning?  Were you thinking of more pressing duties of that day?  Or were you being “politically correct,” doing your best to avoid a riot and making sure you looked good to your constituents and Emperor?  Washing your hands so all could see – that was such a great idea, especially since the rioters were beyond listening to words.  You probably thought it made you look decisive to all the “right” people, though history remembers you as the man who “chickened out” and cratered under fear and pressure.  However, the purpose of this letter is neither to judge your character or your actions that day, but instead to ask, did you ever resolve the question “What is Truth?”

Jesus told you that morning that He had come into the world to testify to the truth.

For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth.  Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice.  John 18:37b

Even though you missed an opportunity then, you had until your last breath to pursue your question.  There were several things you could have done:

  1. You could have researched His claims, His ministry and His Resurrection. There were lots of eye-witnesses to interview.   In our day, we can google the stories of two former skeptics – Josh McDowell and Lee Strobel.  Each researched long and hard to disprove Christianity, and instead came to love and trust in Jesus.  Nabeel Qureshi desperately wanted Allah to be truth, but also came to believe in Jesus.
  2. You could have read the Jewish Scriptures, for as Jesus stated, “They testify of me.”  Today we are blessed with the complete Bible where God’s word reveals the truth and has convinced many to embrace its truth. Rosaria Butterfield wanted to research Christianity for negative purposes. So she read “their book” the Bible, and instead came to belief. www.Gideons.org gives many video and written testimonies of lives restored through the reading of the Bible.  Websites like http://www.biblehub.com and http://www.youversion.com help us read and study the Truth.
  3. You asked the mob, “What should I do with this man?”  Instead, you could have talked with your advisors or other contemporaries who knew Him – Nicodemus, Mary Magdalene, the Samaritan woman, the healed blind and lame, and even His disciples.

Today we still read the testimonies of those Bible-time people, plus millions of more stories since then.  They are everywhere – in Christian biographies and Christian writings, Bible lessons, sermons, and websites such as     http://www.myhopewithbillygraham.ca/programs/.

Most of all, Pilate, you could have prayed to God to show you the Truth. He is eager to reveal Himself, and promises, “You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13

About the Writer:
Ruthe serves as the Director of Truett Memorial Library at First Baptist Dallas, where you can find much more information pertaining to the Love of God, as well as stories behind the songs we sing in church. Please visit us, or see our website at http://www.firstdallas.org/library.

 

 

Moment of Truth

Do you remember that time when you faced a “moment of truth” and you really didn’t know how it was going to turn out?  Most of us can immediately recall one.  I certainly remember mine.

There we were, my first “girl-boy” party in the 7th grade.  I was so nervous, I couldn’t sit still in the car as my mother drove me to the house where my friend Danna’s birthday was ground zero.  It wasn’t long before the “spin the bottle game” was announced (I really think if Danna hadn’t told me it was happening, I would have been able to sleep much better in the weeks approaching this dreadful day).   The instructions were given “ the pointy end faces you when the bottle stops spinning, you gotta pick someone to walk around the outside of the house together.”
It didn’t tLife Saverake long.  Jerry (name changed to protect the innocent) chose me, and around the house we went.  As we approached the back fence, that moment of
truth happened.  Would I kiss him or would I not? Thankfully there was a set of post-hole diggers behind me to receive his advance when I ducked!  Whew! That was a close one!  But I knew, the day would be coming again where I couldn’t duck growing up.  I would face this moment of truth again some day.

It’s kind of that way when we come to the moment of truth about trusting God.  Sure, we might believe that He is God, that He loves people, that He wants the best for all of us in general.  But when it comes to believing in faith that He intends these truths for me, I start wiggling in my seat again.

It’s not surprising that in the Psalms we read 33 times about the truth of God, and nearly every single time the writer is referring to truth as one of the attributes of God’s character.  It is here that God’s truth is linked with His lovingkindness, and His righteousness.  And it is also here that I soon discover, this “moment of truth” has success written all over it!  Because His truth doesn’t depend one bit on me, it’s all His.  I can receive His truth, His lovingkindness, and His righteousness, because He decided to give it to me!  Doubting and fear ends, and believing begins.

The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth. Psalm 145:18

Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; for You I wait all the day.  Psalm 25:5

You, O Lord, will not withhold Your compassion from me; Your lovingkindness and Your truth will continually preserve me.  Psalm 40:11

Lovingkindness and truth have met together; Righteousness and peace have kissed each other.   Psalm 85:10

Today, commit with me that we will no longer face our moments of truth with fear and doubt, but will believe in faith that the One who IS TRUTH, will bring it to pass.

About the Writer:
Pam Brewer is Director of Women to Women Ministry of First Baptist Dallas, a wife, a mom, a grandmother, and grateful to be included in this great team of Yada Yada writers.

Big Little Lies

 

Couple with secret

Lying to yourself is really pretty easy. The trajectory usually starts by our having a lie told to us by a parent, friend, boyfriend, spouse, or any significant person in our lives. We may immediately recognize the statement as hurtful, but not recognize the detrimental effects of believing the lie until years or even decades later. As a counselor, my clients are often surprised at the necessity of exploring their childhood in order to identify lies they grew up believing. While all lies are not from childhood, they tend to be the ones most ingrained. Without fail, I’ve watched people time and again uncover lies they were told and experience great healing by choosing to start telling themselves the truth. The obvious question is, “What is the truth?”

I define lying to yourself as “Telling yourself anything that God does not say about you or your situation.” That really narrows down what we are allowed to tell ourselves! Scripture time and again states the necessity of guarding our thoughts and believing truth. Romans 12:1 states, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is- His good, pleasing, and perfect will.” This verse is a powerful plea to change our thought life in order to be capable of realizing God’s plan for us.

The number one question I ask all day long in my counseling practice is “What are you telling yourself?” People tend to think their emotions are what need to change in order for them to experience relief from anxiety, depression, eating disorders, stress, etc. However, a thought always comes before an emotion. It is impossible to tell yourself lies all day long and have contentment, peace, and intimacy with God. Scripture tells us Satan is the “father of lies” (John 8:44), however, often we do his work for him. In closing, here are three questions to ask in order to help you identify and change lies you may be telling yourself.

  1. What am I telling myself about my situation, my worth, or others in my life?
  2. Is this what God says about my situation, my worth, or others in my life?
  3. What does the Bible say about my situation, my worth, or others in my life?

Benjamin Disraeli describes the link between our thoughts and the quality of life in this famous quote, “Nurture your mind with great thoughts, for you will never go any higher than your thoughts.” The great thing is, we don’t have to come up with the “great thoughts”. God has told us His great thoughts about us in His Word. Psalm 139:14 states the we are “fearfully and wonderfully made.” This is not God complementing us. It is His truth about His creation and it’s time for us to claim it! I challenge you as you go about your day to ask the simply but vital question, “What am I telling myself?”

I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;  Psalm 139:14a

About the writer:
Julia is a counselor at Meier Clinics where she specializes in treating teenagers and women struggling with eating disorders, depression, anxiety & self-harm. She is the Girl’s Ministry Associate for the Student Ministry at First Baptist Dallas and a professional youth speaker for Just Say Yes. Julia has served in student ministry alongside her husband for the past 7 years. Julia has a heart to see people experience the same freedom through Christ that she has experienced!