Tag Archives: honesty

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire!

People lie with incredible ease these days. Empty, unkept promises fill the air, and it’s common to speak what we believe people want to hear. Flattery brings a smile or manipulates but leaves the victim empty and the liar or flatterer headed for destruction. Let me give you a couple of personal examples.

Years ago, a pastor would say, “Ron, I love you!” during each visit. The words, empty as I soon discovered, made me feel good at first. However, he regularly didn’t honor his word in our relationship. Outright lying and not fulfilling promises had become his way. I recently had a negative experience with a local business and was promised a call by one manager who didn’t keep his word. A second manager also made empty, unmet promises. The situation was finally addressed, but distrust had set in. Perhaps many of you have had similar experiences of flattery, empty promises, lies, broken contracts, or deceit in relationships. Maybe it’s a phone call that never came or an email that never materialized. I’m sorry if so! It wasn’t always this prevalent and certainly isn’t what God intends!

“A man’s word is his bond” was a common phrase once upon a time. And a handshake was as good as a contract because people kept their word. The understanding was that if a person could not be trusted, they would be of little value as a community member. God-fearers and Christ-followers understood that God valued honesty and word-keeping and that anything else would bring deadly consequences.

Telling the truth has always been important to God. At the beginning of time, He spoke, and stuff happened. The heavens and earth appeared, as did all creatures on land and sea and in the air. God spoke through the prophets and what He said through them came true. God promised to provide a way back to Him. Once again, He kept His word. God is fair and just; He does what He says He will do. Honoring His promise to send a savior is one reason why God is love – the kind of love He desires from us (1John 4:17-21). He has no use for liars and deceivers in this world, His Kingdom, or the coming age:

He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son. But for the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death. —Revelation 21:7-8.

So, keep your promises, do what you say you’ll do. Don’t lie or deceive others but be trustworthy as God is trustworthy. In that, we can love as God loves and join Him in this age and the next.

Questions or comments? Email publisher@taylorpress.net.

Blessings and peace,

Pastor Ron Braley, Northview Christian Church

In Loving Fairness (previously “Apocalyptic Misquote: God is Love”)

In our feel-good experiential Christian culture, I’ve often heard said, “God is Love!

Actually, God IS love; however, this ‘love’ is grossly misunderstood. And, the common misunderstanding of the love that God is and does lends itself to a dangerous and pervasive view that anyone in His good favor should never suffer and will have anything they want . . . Please see my earlier blogs titled “God has a plan for me!”, “I can do all things Through Christ”, “No Weapon Formed Against me will Prosper” and “In Jesus’ Name” in Apocalyptic Misquotes Parts I, IV, and VI for more information related to this prosperity Gospel and spiritual rock star mentality so prevalent in churches today.

This misunderstanding is based on 1John – 1John 4:8 and 16 in particular. The first thing we must do is understand the context of John’s comments about God being love. The next thing we’ll do is explore the meaning of that ‘love’, which you’ll learn is consistent, appropriate action – not emotion.

The theme and context of 1John Chapter 4 boils down to a fair and just God that will judge the world and save the righteous. This text serves as a reminder that our actionable love, which is obedience to Jesus’ commandments out of our faith, mirrors God’s just nature and is the basis for our coming salvation. Here’s a breakdown of the verses.

Verses 1-6: Differentiating ourselves from the world.

Verses 7-17: God is actionable love. He has promised a savior for mankind and kept His promise.  We should be like Him and actionably love one another because He has done the same for us as we abide in Him and He in us through the Spirit.

Verses 18-21: A sobering reminder that actionable love born of our faith is critical to salvationrescuing from God’s judgment to come. Being nice, feeling spiritual, belief alone, or having lots of knowledge about the Bible kept private are of no use to God, our Christ, or the Church.

I keep mentioning ‘actionable’ love, which is based on the Greek agape and agapao (is love and action born of love). Nowhere does Scripture or the New Testament Gospel or letters suggest God is ‘nice’ or that we should be that way. With the exception of a few uses of a Greek-based phil love (i.e. Philadelphia – brotherly love), the only ‘love’ you’ll see related to God and our Christ is actionable, non-emotion-based, agape/agapao love. This is one that equates to, “I’ll treat you appropriately despite how I feel.” Instead, we’re to be fair, kind, patient, repentant, self-controlled, etc.  Hmmm . . . sounds a lot like the actions (fruits) shown by those who belong to God and, therefore, have the Spirit as they abide in God and He in them . . .

So, God is love because He has treated us appropriately and kept His promise to send a savior despite the way He has ‘felt’ toward mankind at times throughout history. He is just to save and to forgive when we are in covenant with Him as so many of the New Testament letters show. Please see my earlier blog titled, “True Love” for more background on the kind  of love God had and has for us, and we should have for each other.

Act fairly, justly, kindly, and consistently as our God also has done for us . . . and live!

Keep an eye out for “Finding Answers to Stuff Churches Don’t Discuss!” scheduled for a mid-2015 publication. There, you’ll find roughly 60 topics related to daily life (such as sex, religion, finances, tattooing, and everything in between!) along with practical application of God’s guidance for navigating those difficult waters!

And, for a very comprehensive and detailed study of the very important topic of God’s judgment to come and being rescued from it, feel free to read my 2011 guide titled, “Finding the End of the World” available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and from www.ronbraley.com in paper and e-book formats. In the guide, you’ll find roughly 500 pages of building blocks to help you do your own complete and unbiased study based on Scripture and history!