Those Hidden, Seemingly Innocuous Sins

Man with fingers crossed behind his backWhen do you find it most difficult to live with integrity? And where’s the line? Do you view some behaviors, like “borrowing” a hand towel from the hotel room or perhaps snatching a few boxes of staples from work, as being harmless? What if the drive through cashier accidentally gave you $10 extra change? Would you count that a blessing, or would your heart prick, motivating you to turn back and around and rectify the error?

My guest today shares a time when she was confronted with just such an instance, one that, depending on her response, challenged her convenience. Read on to see what God showed her through this experience.

Are Half-truths Really a Big Deal?

by Lori Closter

Maybe no one’s watching … but small sins matter.

We’re loading groceries into our car in the parking lot and, as the cart empties, see a small bar of soap. Or a jar of salsa or bag of M&M’s. Something small and alone, unbagged, that we unknowingly smuggled out of the store. And it’s pouring out or freezing or a heat wave, Baby cryingand our toddler’s still screaming for an Oreo or, if we’re older, our bad hip is whining because we did all that raking this morning when we knew better.

Whatever the circumstance, the store looks a mile away, and a molehill resembles a mountain.

What to do? Leave it in the cart, in the cart-return “garage”? Hand it off to the employee conflating those carts into a train to trundle back to the store, and hope s/he’s honest? Or—do the right thing, because God is always watching?

We all know the answer: Do not steal is one of The Ten Commandments. But does honesty really matter in trivial things?

A pastor was once given far too much change from his bus fare and, after some internal struggle due to the inconvenience involved, returned the correct amount to the driver. To his astonishment, the driver grinned and said something like, “Thanks, pastor. I’ll see you at church on Sunday. I just wanted to know if you were for real.” A soul saved?

The rewards for honesty aren’t always so clear-cut. My husband and I once drove back to a home improvement store to correct a $1,100 mistake. Somehow, we’d gotten a free generator. When we pointed out the error, the salesclerk completed the transaction without batting an eye. We were indignant afterward. Shouldn’t our honesty have been acknowledged, maybe even rewarded, as people are who turn in lost wallets to the police? At the very least, we felt we deserved a letter of appreciation from the store headquarters.

Image of woman looking out the window with the text of Luke 17:10Scripture addresses this too, in an illustration of an employer who’d assigned his servant a task. “Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded? So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty’” (Luke 17:9-10, ESV).

No one may seem to be watching. But God is. The day I found the unbagged item in my cart, I did go back. I received no discount or reward (unless you count the surprised look on the face of the customer service employee), but knew I’d kept a “clean slate” or more accurately, heart, before the Lord. “Virtue is its own reward,” John Henry Newman said, and each step on our faith walk strengthens us for the challenges ahead.

If we search our hearts, do we find tiny sins whose unanticipated consequences could damage others? Do half-truths or unkind words tarnish our “light”? Do we drive as if a two-foot high Christian fish symbol were glued to our car? (Ouch!)

Your turn …

Get to Know Lori!

Lori Closter's author photoLori Closter is an assistant pastor’s wife in the spiritually dark Northeast, a mom, and a grammy. Educated at Cornell and Temple Universities, early on Lori wrote non-fiction and worked on educational films made for National Geographic. She then became a Christian, married, and homeschooled her children for many years. During that time, she felt led to study fiction writing and published three stories (one in the teen mag Brio) and a humorous poem that appeared without her knowledge under the byline of the narrator—a goat. Lori kept writing until she dreamed she was showing a film without a take-up reel, and film was spooling all over the floor. She felt God was making a point and is currently (finally) seeking an agent for her mature YA novel, a 2017 Genesis semi-finalist. Her story collection, Riding the Elephant, is also entered in several contests. Lori prays her writing will not only bless Christians, but find its way, like the Apostle Paul, to beyond “where Christ has already been named” (Rom 15:20), bringing hope to the lost. Contact her at Lori@LoriCloster.com or on Facebook if you’d like to be kept posted!

(Note: the novel title is withheld to comply with 2018 Genesis rules. Any YA judges, please do not visit the website now.)

 

Lying and Integrity–What We Say Matters

Our culture says certain lies are okay, that motive rather than content matters, and, well, everyone fibs once in a while. But God doesn’t take our words quite as lightly because truly, what we say matters. As believers, we’re telling some pretty outlandish stories. We know this Guy who died then rose again. This same Guy walked on water, gave sight to the blind, and brought the dead back to life. Oh, and yeah, this Guy, this God-became-man, He lives in us.

Truth, yes, but truth that may be hard for some to believe. So why muddy the waters by adding sometimes-fibs, sometimes-truth into the mix?

Lying and Integrity–What We Say Matters

by Michael Ehret

I’ve never told a lie.

And that’s where my smile would give me away if we were face-to-face. Truthfully, I’m one of those guys who can never play poker, but not because of any theological aversion to cards or gambling. No, I can never play because it has become almost impossible for me to lie.

It hasn’t always been that way.

When I was young, I lied about everything.

“Did you go to the drugstore for gum?” Mom would ask.

“No, I was at Steve’s house,” I’d answer, while chewing gum I got from the store.

“Did you walk the dog?”

“Yes, to the park and back.”

“Then why is he still on his chain in the back yard?”

I’d lie even if there was zero risk of getting in trouble. It was my little boy sin nature—and, perhaps, an early manifestation of my ability to fabricate for entertainment value (writing fiction).

I don’t recall the creative punishments my parents used to break me of that bad habit, but I can tell you they worked. Really well. I even have trouble with “little white lies” and lies that would save someone else embarrassment or shame.

Therefore, it’s no surprise to me that personal integrity is important to me, whether in my friendships, family relationships, at work, or in the stories I write.

The male character in my novella “Big Love,” which is part of a seven-author collection called Coming Home: The Tiny House Collection has a lying problem. Nathan “Rafe” Rafferty thinks he has a good reason to lie—and even lies to cover up his lies when he realizes the trouble he’s in.

(Scroll down to read an example, pulled from Michael’s book.)

But like so many sins that plague our lives, once we’ve lied that first time and felt the rush of “getting away with it,” it becomes easier to lie again—and again.

Like the Lays potato chip ads from long ago, “I betcha can’t (tell) just one!” And that’s what gets Rafe in trouble.

A lying tongue is one of the six, no seven, things God hates. (Prov. 6:16-17) According to the website Got Questions, a lying tongue is “one that speaks falsehood, knowingly and willingly, with an intention to deceive others … It is a most detestable evil to God, who is a God of truth.”

I’m grateful my parents cured me of lying and that they considered it the problem that it was because they could see into the future. Little lies can be cute, especially if told by cute little guys like I was.

But even cute little guys can get in trouble from lying. One day they’ll “cry wolf” once too often and no one will believe them at all.

***

Michael Ehret has accepted God’s invitation to a new season of writing and is now the author of the novella, “Big Love,” from the collection, Coming Home: A Tiny House Collection (available for preorder on Amazon.com). In addition, he’s worked as editor-in-chief of the ACFW Journal magazine for the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), was editor-in-chief of the Christian Writers Guild, and he pays the bills as a marketing communications writer. Michael sharpened his writing and editing skills as a reporter for The Indianapolis News and The Indianapolis Star. Visit him at WritingOnTheFineLine.com.

***

Big Love,” from the Coming Home: the Tiny House Collection:

Berly Charles remembers the days before her father was a successful business tycoon in Indianapolis. Growing up a razor’s edge from homelessness planted a tiny desire for home in her heart that she now, as the owner of Le Petite Maison, LLC, fills for others by building their tiny home ideals. Now she has the opportunity to take her tiny house company big timeis this the chance she’s been waiting for?

Nathan “Rafe” Rafferty is a writer for the nationally reputed architecture journal who is used to calling his own shots and covering the biggest and the best architectural accomplishments of the modern world. When his hipster, much younger, editor assigns him to cover a new trend—tiny houses—the idea makes him furious. Could it be because it reminds him of when he and his mother had to live in a lean-to shack under a railroad trestle in Indianapolis?

Buy it HERE.

Book excerpt:

For the second time in two days Rafe looked up from his coffee at the tinkle of the bell on the Starbuck’s entry door. This time, no Berly. Instead, a chattering mob of high school kids looking like they’d just left church poured into the coffee shop. They were dressed in their finest casual clothes. Jeans properly torn and faded in just the right places.

Geneva Stoddard would have had a cow.

Of course, she’d probably give birth to a whole herd of bovines if she found out what he’d been up to lately. His jeans were intact, but his mother would consider his integrity torn. The woman did not tolerate lies, white or black.

“I don’t care what you’ve done,” she’d always said. “But if I find out you lied to me about it, your punishment will be worse. And the truth always comes out, Nathan.”

The threat had not been enough to keep Rafe on the bright side of dark lies, let alone little white ones, but it did give him pause as he considered pursuing Berly Charles—and all that might mean.

If this was going to happen, he wanted it to start off on the right foot, and that meant coming clean—sort of—about who he was.

Let’s talk about this! Why do you think lying is such a big deal to God? Is this an area you struggle with? Why do you think people are most tempted to lie? Share your thoughts, examples, and questions with us, because we can all learn from each other!

You might also enjoy:

In the Absence of Integrity

What Do Your Actions Say About Integrity

Obedience in the Mundane

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire 

 

 

The Road to Restoration

johnstudy1

The Road to Restoration
by Jan Pierce

Luke 3: 4-6 “As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, make ready the way of the Lord, Make his paths straight. Every ravine shall be filled up, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall become straight, and the rough roads smooth; and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.” 

We believers are aware of the need to “fill the valleys and level the hills” for those who have never heard the Gospel. They may not understand God’s ways or the depth of their sin. They don’t grasp their need of a Savior. But how do we deal with long-time Christians who fall into sin?

They know better.

I’d been saved for over twenty years and my husband was a pastor. I taught Sunday School and women’s groups. I’d studied the Bible forward and backward for many years. I knew heartsickness-428103_640about sin and the wiles of the enemy.

I knew better.

But even though I knew, over the course of several months I allowed a relationship with another church leader to go beyond the bounds of friendship. I moved into a secretive and “romantic” relationship with a man not my husband. And though the relationship never became sexual, my heart was divided.

We’d been friends for years, enjoyed social times as couples, gone on leadership retreats, worked side by side to build a church. We’d even lived with the family for a time while we were in the process of buying a home. We were friends. We loved their children and they loved ours.

I sinned.

Once the relationship became common knowledge we were required to go before the church and confess. We were not allowed to speak to one another again. He lost his leadership position and moved away. I lost my good reputation.

Although all of this took place over twenty years ago, some of the lessons learned are as nature-669592_640fresh today as they were then. I learned first-hand about ways to minister to those caught in the web of sin. I learned what helps and what doesn’t.

My Father God sent Jesus to die for my sins. He wanted me restored to Him. And I was. But as I look back on that time I realize we Christians often don’t know how to love someone back on their feet. We mess it up.

From My Perspective:

  • Though I’d behaved in sinful ways I was shocked at my own behavior.
  • I didn’t expect anyone to overlook my sin or condone it.
  • I was numb both in mind and spirit—it felt as if I had watched another person’s behaviors.
  • Long lists of scriptures handed to me by well-meaning believers were not helpful.
  • Notes and letters of condemnation and shame broke me further.
  • At the most horrible time of my life most friends and acquaintances had no idea how to help. They disappeared.

Over many months and years I received my healing. I traced the roots of my unhealthy need for approval that led to attention seeking. I came to understand some of the “ministry” I received had not been at all helpful, though well-intentioned.

How can we do better? How can we help to “make the crooked straight and the rough roads smooth?”  These are the actions and behaviors that brought healing and eventual wholeness to my heart.

Unconditional Love

While I didn’t expect or want friends to condone what I’d done, I was not able to take in corrective words at rope-1469244_640that time. I was in shock. I was grieved beyond words. I could barely get through the days—going to work, cooking meals, being me. Those who were able to reassure me of their unconditional love were like healing balm to my raw heart. One woman said, “I don’t care what you did, I love you anyway.” Another stood in church beside me and read a verse of God’s redemption with a strong, firm voice. A man I barely knew wrote me a letter telling of the struggles in his own marriage and sending encouraging words filled with love. I’ll never forget those who acknowledged that I’d fallen, but loved me until the day I could stand again.

The Gift of Time

Because we were in positions of leadership, everyone involved went through painful transitions. We lost our leadership positions. We eventually lost our church body. We were like lepers calling out “unclean.” Friends disappeared like a mist. A teacher friend once said, “Nobody loves you when you have head lice.” It was like that. Those who were willing to spend time with me, talk with me, listen and pray—they were gold.

Honesty Concerning Consequences

When sin twists its way into our lives there are dreadful consequences. There is no reason girl-517555_640to minimize them. One friend said: “It will eventually be like a broken bone that’s healed. There will always be that knit-together place,  that scar.” And he was right. The consequences were great. Innocent people were hurt. The ripples of the events traveled out to family members, friends and beyond. We lost people we loved. I had to face dark places in my own being that I’d ignored to my own hurt. To be honest, years and years have passed, but there are still awkward meetings with friends from those days—a wedding where we run into them, a funeral we don’t attend because we would run into them. It’s a sad fact that sin destroys. But…

Moving On

Praise God He sent Jesus to die for the very sins I committed. It was a long time before I healed. It took encouraging words from a new pastor who helped me get “unstuck” from shame and guilt. He offered to pray with me, counsel with me—whatever it took to regain love-699480_640my true identity as a beloved daughter of the King.

There’s a time for mourning and then there’s a time for moving on. I returned to teaching and leading women in the church. My husband and I began a ministry to Christians in India. We rejoiced that our marriage not only survived but became stronger and healthier. We counted our blessings.

John preached the message: “Repent, the King is coming.” And He did. He came and died for your sins and mine. He came to restore and heal. Let’s join hands with Him to bring restoration and hope to His people.

*** 

homegrown-family-fun-frontToday’s children are missing out on old-fashioned unstructured creative play. They seldom run and play outdoors. They don’t spend time building forts or making mud pies. Their primary choices involve computerized screentime. While computerized games and activities can be educational, they eat up the time that would otherwise be spent in active, kid-powered play—the work of childhood. Homegrown Family Fun: Unplugged offers hundreds of ways to encourage healthy play, both indoors and out. Find this helpful family resource at Amazon or Barnes and Noble. Find Jan at www.janpierce.net.

***

jan-109acrop1Jan Pierce is a Christian wife, mother of two, grandmother of four little boys and a retired school teacher. She draws on her life experiences to write both fiction and non-fiction. She is the author of Homegrown Readers and the newly-released Homegrown Family Fun: Unplugged. Both  available at Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble. Find Jan at www.janpierce.net.

The Little White Lie

Speaker Cynthia Spell; author, speaker and acquisitions editor Eva Marie Everson, and me.

Speaker Cynthia Spell; author, speaker and acquisitions editor Eva Marie Everson, and me.

Is there such a thing as a little white lie? What kind of weight do our words carry? And what’s at stake? Today prolific author and fellow ACFW member Darlene Franklin shares a challenging devotion on integrity. As you read her thoughts on Psalm 15:1-2, ask God to show you the areas in your heart in need of cleaning.

GIVE-AWAY ALERT! As a special bonus, Darlene is giving away free copies of her latest release, Christmas Mail Order Angels, one to every ten readers who leave a comment on today’s post.

But first, I wanted to encourage all of you who live in the Omaha area to make sure to scroll to the end of this post, because I’ve got some special announcements. 🙂 (Which may turn into their own post tomorrow, time permitting.)

The Little White Lie by author Darlene Franklin

Lord, who may dwell in your sacred tent?. . . The one whose walk is blameless, who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from their heart;

(Psalm 15:1-2)

The Bible says “out of the heart come evil thoughts” (Matthew 15:9), and don’t I know it. Ask me how I’m doing, and I’m prone to list all of my complaints for the day. I didn’t sleep well, woke up stiff and sore, the nurse was late with my medicine, the kitchen sent the wrong breakfast. . .and those are only my top complaints.

There are other times I’m tempted to tell a white lie. Sometimes new writers send me a sample of their writing. “Is it good? Do you like it?”

I avoid a direct answer. “No.” Instead, I pick out good aspects of the story, be it grammar, creative story line, interesting character. If they push me, I might say, “This isn’t really my genre. Someone else might like it better.” A lie? Or a kind redirection?

ID-100112495

Photo by Marin taken from freedigitalphotos.net

What is the truth in my heart? I can go to my selfish, carnal self. The half empty glass quickly drains of anything good. I can dwell on my worries, my fears, my health, until I make myself sick.

Or. . .I can speak God’s truth, that the Holy Spirit whispers in my heart. God is good. He is faithful. He will provide for my needs.

Instead of complaining about other people, I can compliment them: a smile, a new blouse, a job well done. The more I appreciate them, the fewer reasons they give me to complain.

Instead of my list of complaints, I can focus on whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, or admirable. (Phil. 4:8-9) In a word, think about anything that is excellent or praiseworthy.

The truth in my heart will depend on what I put into it.

FINAL MOA vol 1Darlene’s novel, Christmas Mail Order Angels:

A dying town populated by miners eager to settle down. . .but not a single marriageable woman lives in Angel Vale, Wyoming. The women of Merville, Maine, have lost too many men to the Civil War and to the sea. When the Ladies Aid Society receives the request for mail order brides, eleven matches are made. Enjoy the first six novellas in the collection by Darlene Franklin, Susan Page Davis, Cynthia Hickey, Brandi Boddie, Jennifer AlLee, and Teresa Ives Lilly.

Buy it HERE.

Best-selling author Darlene Franklin’s greatest claim to fame is that she writes full-time from a jan 21 15nursing home. She lives in Oklahoma, near her son and his family, and continues her interests in playing the piano and singing, books, good fellowship, and reality TV in addition to writing. She is an active member of Oklahoma City Christian Fiction Writers, American Christian Fiction Writers, and the Christian Authors Network. She has written over fifty books and more than 250 devotionals. Her historical fiction ranges from the Revolutionary War to World War II, from Texas to Vermont.

Visit her online at her Website and blog, stay up to date at her Amazon Author Page, and connect with her on Facebook.

livingbygracepic.jpLet’s talk about this! How would you describe integrity? How do our words fit in with that? What are your views on those “little white lies”, and how might our credibility affect the gospel, or our attempts to share it?

Share your thoughts in the comments below or at Living by Grace on Facebook.

Before you go, I’ve got some fun news. First, today is the official release day of Intertwined. Yay! To celebrate, I’m doing a signing at the Oak View Mall Barnes and Nobles. If you’re in the Omaha area, pop in and say hi!

  • AND… Reality Church is hosting a hilariously fun, bejeweled event just for ladies next weekend. I hope you’ll come! We’ll start with dinner, a slightly-self-mortifying talk (embarrassing for me, not my listeners!) glittery shoes, cowboys, and piles of manure, followed by live worship led by the amazingly talented Shelly Conn and Angie Wayman. And on Saturday, speaker Lelia Chealy will fill our hearts with encouragement as she encourages us to shine like the cherished treasures we are.

Here’s the speaking topics:

Friday night:

Speaker: Me, with special guests Susan Aken and Trisha Baker

Embracing Our Identities in Christ
  1. We are cherished, redeemed women of grace, treasures to Christ and meant to shine with His brilliance. But so often, we allow past wounds, regrets, shame, and negative thinking to hold us back, hinder our relationships and our joy, and distort the radiant glow from within. In this 30 minute presentation, Jennifer uses humor and personal stories to remind women of who they are in Christ and to embrace their God-given identity.
Saturday brunch and lunch:
Speaker: Lelia Chealy
Making of a Treasure
So often as women we don’t see ourselves the same way God sees us…as a treasure. In this session Lelia shares a story from the Bible where God sees someone as valuable, unique and usable. (1Samuel 9, 10)
Making Beautiful Shine

Just as a brides’ sparkly diamond ring, God wants us to shine. Lelia shares from her own life as

Photo by digitalart taken from freedigitalphotos.net

Photo by digitalart taken from freedigitalphotos.net

well as a story from the Bible of a woman who felt unnoticed in every area of her life, until she crossed paths with Jesus. (Mark 5)

Find out more and register online HERE. And bring a friend, because we can all use more meaningful connections in our lives and the reminder that we’re radiant and cherished and more than enough.

(If you’d like to book me, Lelia, and Shelly for your next women’s event, you can email me at jenniferaslattery(at)gmail(dot)com.)

Now, as promised last week, where I’ve been.

Tuesday, my husband joined me for two radio interviews. In the morning, we visited with Dave and Kristen from the morning show at KGBI the FISH. You can listen to our interview HERE.

Later that morning, we visited with Dave again, this time on the Heartland Viewpoint, and Kathy Andersen, the mother of the teenager who went into kidney failure, and whom my husband donated a kidney on his behalf, joined us.  You can listen to the whole miraculous story HERE.

Yesterday I visited Genesis 5:20 to share where I get my story ideas, among other things. You can read that interview HERE.

On the 6th, Margaret Daley interviewed Tammy Kuhn, the main female character in Intertwined. You can read that interview HERE.

Also on the 6th, I visited friend and author Delia Latham’s blog to share some fun tips on how to have a successful book launch.  You can read that HERE.

65eef-whendawnbreaks_n154102_300dpirgbOh! And I almost forgot! Amazon has When Dawn Breaks listed for a crazy discount! You can get the print or kindle version for under $3! Buy it HERE.

On October 3rd I visited Salt and Light to tell about an older woman who opened her home to a bunch of barefoot, dirty-faced, squirmy kids, and how doing so changed my life for eternity. You can read that HERE.

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire!

GE DIGITAL CAMERAIntrinsically, we know lying’s wrong. I think that’s part of our inner compass. But then, we get older and socially “aware”, and somehow the lines become blurred. We might even be tempted to believe some lies are good–if they are told for a good reason, perhaps to protect someone’s feelings or create a positive, altruistic outcome. And what about deception by omission? Those times when, perhaps we don’t verbally lie, but we allow others to believe a half-truth? Today my sweet friend, Beth Farley digs into Proverbs 19:9, challenging us to honestly evaluate our honesty. 🙂

Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire by Beth Farleyliar

Proverbs 19:9: NLT
A false witness will not go unpunished, and a liar will be destroyed.

What is a false witness? I looked up the definition and it read that it is a person who deliberately gives false testimony, someone who has lied or lies repeatedly. Why do you think people feel they have to lie? We see it so often; at least I do working with the public. I can’t tell you how many people are dishonest about library fines. You read that right. LIBRARY FINES. It shocks me.

You know, I’ve always thought about Proverbs 19:9 pertaining to telling lies all of the time as being a false witness, but just recently I had an opportunity to really think about it more. I began to monitor myself the other day and caught myself “stretching the truth” about something to a co-worker. I had to stop in mid-sentence and evaluate what I was saying and the worst part of all was that this co-worker is a Christian, so there was no need to do that. Do you ever do that? Do you allow things to fly out of your mouth before you even consider if you are about to bear false witness?

Look at what the following scriptures say about false witness: all taken from the KJV:

Proverbs 19:5: A false witness shall not be unpunished, and (he that) speaketh lies shall not escape. (ouch!)

Exodus 20:16: Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor. 1 John 2;4: he that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. Revelation 21:8: But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.

Ephesians 4:25: Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor: for we are members one of another.

If we are members of one another, then why do we feel the need to tell those little white lies, bear false witness, say things and give ourselves the glory rather than give God the glory? I think we need to do an honest assessment of ourselves and see if we are really being truthful in who we are. It’s easy around the house with family, praying in safe environments, at church and with other Christians, but hey, maybe not. I almost fell into it amongst a fellow Cristian.

Look at the second half of the scripture: Liars will be destroyed. Let me say it again, BE DESTROYED. It doesn’t read, bad liars, huge liars, consistent liars; it reads LIARS…All sorts of liars, the little-white liars and the fibbers. I think in order to effectively mirror God with our whole self; we must find and use our authentic voices. We can reflect in unique and distinct ways, however, without our voice (telling the truth), then we are not walking in the image of God. I don’t know about you, but I really need to work on this. I don’t consider myself a liar; however, I see how easily I can get caught up in the snare of a lie.

Lord, we thank you so much for all that you do for us. We thank you that you loved us to send Christ to the cross for our sins. Please forgive us for falling short of walking in truth. Please forgive us when the little white lie rolls off the tip of our tongues. We long to be more like Christ. Have your way with us. In Jesus’ precious name; amen.

Beth Ann Farley is a dear friend of mine and one of our Yahoo Bible Study group members. She is married with three grown children. She lives in Kansas City, MO where she serves as librarian. She loves to read, write, decorate and spend as much time as possible outside with her Peek-A-Poo. Beth is a lover of the Lord. “He is my-everything and I can’t start a day without visiting with Him.” Beth came to know the Lord when she was 30 years old and has served Him on committee’s such as Missions Outreach, Local Missions, Diaconate Committee, Youth Committee, and was a church secretary for several years. Beth loves Women’s Bible Studies, has hosted several in each one of her homes that she has lived in and has led a few as well. Beth is now taking time in life to move forward with her writing in whatever way God directs her.

Visit her online at: http://firsthalfday1.wordpress.com/

Share your thoughts. Do you believe white lies are ever okay and/or appropriate, and if so, why and when? If not, why?

Share a time when someone lied to you or deceived you. How did you feel? Did that affect your relationship? If so, how?

If you are a parent or grandparent, do you model integrity and honesty? Before you answer, pause to consider: Do you ever ask others to tell a caller you aren’t home when indeed you are?

Join the conversation here, in the comments below, or join our Yahoo Bible study group. (It’s not too late! We’d love to have you. 😉 )


Click to join ProverbsStudy

Click to join ProverbsStudy

You might also enjoy: In Absence of Integrity

Authentic Living

Understanding God knows everything about me–my dreams, my thoughts, my fears, my deepest secrets, and darkest sins, yet loves me anyway, is freeing. It frees me to live an authentic life. No hiding. No pretending. Just me and God, doing the best I can each day to follow His leading. Do I make mistakes? Wow, too many. But that’s the beauty of grace–a mistake is an opportunity for grace, when handled correctly.

We can either run from God, like Adam and Eve did in the Garden of Eden (which didn’t turn out to well, btw) or we can run to God in honest repentance.

Honest living–truly honest living, is hard. We want to present an image of goodness. We want to hide our bad traits–the selfish thoughts that fight for dominance in a given day, the times when our mouth flies and our actions resemble more like gut-punches than acts of love. But God sees it all–the good and the bad. And He’s not surprised or shocked. He remembers who we are–fallen man desperately in need of redemption!

So what does He do? He doesn’t ignore our sin or minimize it. He’s too honest for that. But He doesn’t crush us, either. He’s much too loving for that. Instead, He made a way, through Jesus Christ, to fulfill His justice–the necessary consequence for man’s rebellion against a Holy God, while demonstrating the amazing depths of His grace. Jesus’ death and resurrection allows the Christian to live a totally authentic live.

Psalm 32:2 “Yes, what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of guilt, whose lives are lived in complete honesty.”

Knowing we are loved, forgiven, and accepted encourages us to remove the barricades of self-protection.

But unfortunately, we live in a fallen world with sinful man. Which means, humans are going to misunderstand and misjudge us. So how do we continue to live authentically when surrounded by judgmental, critical man?

We keep our eyes on our Redeemer, the only one worth pleasing.

I have a phrase I often repeat whenever I’m in an uncomfortable situation or around people with a critical spirit. I say, “Just you and me, God. Just you and Me.”

2 Timothy 2:4 says, No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs–he wants to please his commanding officer.God is my commanding officer. God is the only One who truly knows me–all of me. And He is the only one I must please. Knowing this allows me to rise above the opinions of man, living authentically, with complete honesty, in God’s grace.

What about you? How does it feel understanding God knows you intimately, and loves you deeply?

And are you living honestly? According to 1 John 1:8, If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. (NLT)

Authentic living, then, begins with honest evaluation. Honest, heart-searching evaluation leads us to genuine repentance, and genuine repentance leads to freedom and authentic living.

When we confess our sins and turn from them, God forgives us of our sins and cleanses us of all unrighteousness. He doesn’t offer us a bandage to hide our nasty filth. Instead, He washes us clean, reaching to the deepest recesses of our heart, so we can hold our head high and say, “I’m forgiven! I’m accepted! I’m loved by the King.”

What about you? Are you living authentically?