Do You Ever Feel Like a Misfit?

How we perceive ourselves can have such a dramatic impact on everything–how we interact with

Photo by adamr taken from freedigitalphotos.net

Photo by adamr taken from freedigitalphotos.net

others, how we perceive others interactions with us, how we perceive our world, whether we take risks or shrink back in isolation. No wonder Satan works so hard to distort our thinking in this critical area! Today a sweet friend, young adult author Mary Hamilton is talking to all the misfits among us, which I suspect applies to us all at some point or another. As you read her thoughts, ask God to show you where your self-image has become distorted and then ask Him to replace that deception with truth. Ask Him to show you who you are in Him.

Ever Feel Like a Platypus?

by Mary Hamilton, author of See No Evil

Photo by OpenClipartVectors taken from pixabay.com

Photo by OpenClipartVectors taken from pixabay.com

The platypus is a curious creature. His legs are way too short in proportion to his chubby body. He hunts for food underwater like a fish, has webbed feet for swimming and lays eggs like a water bird, but is considered a mammal. He has the body of a beaver but the beak of a duck. Even his name sounds goofy. Platypus.

 

Have you ever felt like a platypus? A misfit? Ever complained that you’re too fat or too short. Your nose is too long, your legs too chubby, your hair too frizzy/curly/straight? I know I have. At different times, I’ve wondered, why can’t I be athletic like him? Why can’t I look more like her? If only I could play an instrument or sing like So-and-so. In other words, God, why didn’t you make me different (i.e. better)?

Remember those funny mirrors that distort your image, stretching your body out long or squishing it together? That’s how Satan wants you to see yourself. Distorted. Out of proportion. A misfit. He’s been at it since the Garden of Eden, where his whole strategy was to make Eve dissatisfied.

Eve? Dissatisfied? She had a perfect husband–they were made for each other. She lived in a

Photo by evert taken from pixabay.com

Photo by evert taken from pixabay.com

beautiful garden home with pets of every kind, fresh food every day, and she and Adam walked with God every evening. What more could a woman want?

The one thing God declared off limits. “If you eat from that tree,” Satan whispered, “you’ll be like God.” Hear that hiss of dissatisfaction? Suddenly, it wasn’t enough to be the woman God made her; Eve wanted to be like God himself.

When we look into the perfect mirror of God’s word, we find that we are fearfully and wonderfully made, woven together by God Himself in our mother’s womb. (Psalm 139:14-15) Thread by thread, over and under, God wove each of us together—hair, eyes, nose, chin, body, arms and legs, hands and feet, fingers, toes and personality.
The next time the Enemy whispers dissatisfaction in your ear, remember that distorted mirrors give you a warped view of yourself. Look to the Lord for a true reflection of who you are, who God made you to be.

***

Alt. headshotMary L. Hamilton grew up at a youth camp in southern Wisconsin, much like the setting for her middle-grade Rustic Knoll Bible Camp series. Each book tells the story of kids who bring their baggage to camp—and learn how to carry it.

Mary is a graduate of Long Ridge Writer’s Group, a member of ACFW and CAN. Her writing has won recognition in several contests including the Genesis and Selah contests.

When not writing, Mary enjoys knitting, reading and being outdoors. She and her husband live in Texas.

Visit her online.

See No Evil:

(Christian fiction for teens / tweens / middle grade.)

Taylor Dixon knew having his younger sister at camp would be a pain, but he never expected the SeeNoEvilFrontDropCroppain to go so deep. At 15, Taylor dreams of getting his driver’s license and driving race cars when he’s older. His sister, Marissa, is the only one who believes in his dream, but her adventurous spirit keeps landing him in trouble. Consequently, Dad won’t let him get his license and predicts Taylor is heading for the same jail cell as his once-favored older brother.

Taylor returns to Rustic Knoll Bible Camp expecting softball, swimming and sermons. Then he finds a classic Mustang in the camp’s garage and jumps at the owner’s invitation to help restore it. But when Marissa falls for his snobbish cabin mate, the war of words and pranks escalates until it threatens both the car and his dreams for the future.

Will Taylor fulfill Dad’s prediction and end up in jail? Or will he finally learn the Truth found in the old car’s engine?

 

Are You a Noise Maker or a Loving Ambassador?

We all have friends, co-workers, neighbors that grate on us. Those who appear to be seeking a ready and devoted audience, who’s only aim is to convince others of their beliefs and opinions… at all costs.

Then we have those friends who vacillate between varying ideologies, whatever one is the most popular at the time, so as not to create strife or offend. Or perhaps they say nothing at all, so fearful of other’s opinions they become emotionally paralyzed.

Web1Is there a balance? Today Tamera Kraft, author of A Christmas Promise, attempts to speak to this question, but before you read her thoughts, I encourage you to read the passage I alluded to in my title, 1 Corinthians 13. You can do so here.

I also encourage you to visit Tamera’s blog to read a piece I wrote suggesting five ways writers can strengthen their writing. Yep, she and I did a blog swap! How fun is that? On another fun note, I received my author copies in the mail yesterday. You know what that means, right? This is really happening. 🙂 It also means reviews should be coming out any day now. Eek. That makes me nervous. Add to that the fact that I have an interview on KCRO Wednesday, (You can read about that here.) and that I’ll be speaking down at the Streets in a week from Saturday… (You can read about that here.) Um… I think I’m being stretched, but in a good way.

But enough blabbering.

Speak the Truth in Love

By Tamera Lynn Kraft

Because of our politically correct society, as Christians, we sometimes feel we have to walk a tightrope when it comes to speaking the truth in love. If we adhere to Biblical truth, we’re ID-10035039considered hate mongers and bullies. But if we water down the Gospel of Jesus Christ, are we really showing love?

For instance, if I don’t want to offend somebody who believes all ways lead to God and don’t tell him the truth, that Jesus Christ is the only way to Heaven, how much love am I showing? The truth will set him free. Telling him what he wants to hear will send him to Hell.

Nobody enjoys being cornered by a legalistic, uncaring Christian who only wants to prove others wrong. But we have an obligation to show the love of Christ and build a rapport with those who don’t know or who don’t care about the truth.

The old adage is true: People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.

If we really care about someone, we will tell her the truth of God’s Word. We will tell him sin leads to death, and that God has provided a way to life through Jesus Christ. Jesus, God’s only Son, is not one way of many to reconcile with God, He’s the only way to God.

We need to speak the truth in love, but we need to speak it. Our politically correct society sends the wrong message to this generation, a message that will condemn them to darkness. But we have the truth. Woe to us if we keep silent.

Psalm 86:11 Teach me your way, O LORD, that I may walk in  Your truth; unite my heart to fear Your name.

John 8:31-32… So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in My word, you are truly My disciples, and you will know the  truth, and the truth will set you free.

1 John 3:18 Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed  and in truth.

Tamera Lynn Kraft has always loved adventures and writes Christian historical fiction set in America because there are so many adventures in American history. She has two novellas published: A Christmas Promise through Harbourlight and Soldier’s Heart through Helping Hands Press. She is married to the love of her life, has two grown children, and lives in Akron, Ohio.

Tamera is also the leader of a ministry called Revival Fire For Kids where she mentors other children’s leaders, teaches workshops, and is a children’s ministry consultant and children’s evangelist. She has curriculum published and is a recipient of the 2007 National Children’s Leaders Association Shepherd’s Cup for lifetime achievement in children’s ministry.

You can contact Tamera online at these sites.

Word Sharpeners Blog: http://tameralynnkraft.com

Website: http://tameralynnkraft.net

Facebook: http://facebook.com/tameralynnkraft

Twitter: @tamerakraft

AChristmasPromise_medA Christmas Promise:

A Moravian Holiday Story, Circa 1773

During colonial times, John and Anna settle in an Ohio village to become Moravian missionaries to the Lenape. When John is called away to help at another settlement two days before Christmas, he promises he’ll be back by Christmas Day.

When he doesn’t show up, Anna works hard to not fear the worst while she provides her children with a traditional Moravian Christmas.

Through it all, she discovers a Christmas promise that will give her the peace she craves.

Available at these online stores:

AMAZON

PELICAN BOOK GROUP

CHRISTIANBOOK

 

Let’s talk about this. I suspect each of us tend to err on one side of this issue. I think I jump back and forth between one of two extremes–keeping my mouth shut when I should speak, or blurting out massive amounts of forceful, potentially hurtful, words when I should be quiet and prayerful. It’s a hard balance to find.

LivingbyGracepicHow do you believe we find the perfect balance between speaking the truth and loving our listener? When we find we’ve erred on one side or the other, what can do? Share your thoughts in the comments before or at Living by Grace on Facebook.

 

Going Straight to the Source

This morning I read 2 Thessalonians, which talks about the man of lawlessness and the miracles and wonders he’ll perform. Honestly, it kinda freaked me out.

2 Thessalonians 1-12 1 Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers and sisters, 2 not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by the teaching allegedly from us—whether by a prophecy or by word of mouth or by letter—asserting that the day of the Lord has already come. 3 Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. 4He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.

 5 Don’t you remember that when I was with you I used to tell you these things? 6 And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. 7 For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. 8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming. 9 The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, 10 and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie 12 and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness. (NIV)

My main concern? If this were to happen tomorrow, how would I respond to these signs, miracles, and deceptions? How close am I to God? How clearly do I hear His voice? How well do I know His truth?

But before I could spin in worry, God addressed my concerns in verses 15-17, providing very clear instructions on how to stand firm amidst confusion (emphasis mine):

15 So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.

 16 May our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal encouragement and good hope, 17 encourage your hearts and strengthen you in every good deed and word.

The conclusion of this chapter tells me to do two things:

1) Hold on to sound teaching

2) Rely on God

Sound teaching is found in the Bible. Bible studies and commentaries are great. Books written by dynamic teachers and blog posts sharing personal examples pertaining to a passage can be great supplements. But extraneous works must never substitute the Word of God.

If you want to stand firm, unwavering, grounded in truth, then immerse yourself in truth. Not someone else’s opinion or interpretation of truth, but pure truth as presented in God’s Word.

I’ve seen numerous Christians follow some strange teachings. Likely you have, too. From my experience, one characteristic dominates the decieved–they’ve become more dependent on what man has to say about the Bible than what the Bible might be saying to them.

Here’s what I mean. Let’s say you found a great Bible study. You start using the Bible study, but you’ve only got so much time in your day, so pretty soon the Bible study replaces your morning Bible reading time. What’s happened? You begin to turn to the study for answers instead of God’s Word. 

Don’t get me wrong. Studies are great and I believe God gifts writers and leaders to clearly present His truth, but even so, our first responsibility as children of God is to go directly to the source. Begin with the Bible. Rely most on the Bible. Use everything else as a supplement.

The second truth presented in 2 Thessalonians reminds me that most of the battle belongs to God. In verses 16-18 I am told that God will comfort and strengthen me. My ability to stand strong, then, comes from drawing near (and remaining near) to God, allowing His Spirit to permeate every part of my being.

 

Resisting the Extremes

Yesterday while surfing the internet I stumbled across some disturbing information on an evangelical personality I once admired. It seems, if the articles are true, this individual has wandered from the faith and is preaching a message contrary to the gospel. I’ve seen this happen before, and not just among public figures. As people “mature” in their faith, often they’ll slide into one of two extremes: either they’ll fall too far into grace, denying justice; or they’ll surround themselves with rules and regulations.

Both extremes are dangerous and contrary to the truth, and I can’t help but wonder if both are rooted in human pride. Human pride elevates man to the extent that justice seems unheard of, or, on the other extreme, elevates man to the extent that he thinks he can somehow earn God’s favor.

And yet, I think this tendency reveals an even deeper issue–man’s depravity. From the beginning of time, man has rebelled against truth, finding ways to twist it to fit our agenda and understanding. The moment we think we are above this–the moment we begin to rely on our understanding, we are in danger of falling.

So how can we avoid this delusional progression?

1. Approach God’s Word with humility. I think one of our greatest faults, as humans, lies in the need to understand, and explain everything. Not everything has an explanation, and if the explanation isn’t there and we assign one, we are crossing the line and elevating man.

Here’s an example. Walk into any seminary and you’ll find shelves upon shelves of commentaries on the book of Job in man’s attempt to explain why Job suffered–to explain God’s purpose in it. But what did God say when asked? He didn’t go into a long dissertation on suffering and the sovereignty of God. Instead, He reminded Job that some things were beyond his understanding. (Read Job 38-41)

That isn’t to say we shouldn’t discuss biblical passages and theological issues, but we must do so with a heavy dose of humility, being careful not to make the Bible say what it doesn’t say.

2. We must understand that the Bible is a unit. One of the first things I learned at Calvary was the need to read biblical passages in terms of context. We quote so many verses out of context, often assigning meanings that were never intended. This, again, elevates man by conforming the Bible to fit our ideas instead of conforming our ideas to the Bible.

Lately I’ve noticed a trend to deny the existence of hell. To do so, you must throw out large portions of the Bible. You must throw out direct quotes from Jesus. And any time you start cherry picking which truths you rely on, you’ve become your own God. You’ve become your own basis for truth. Considering the human heart is deceptive, that is a very dangerous place to be.

I’ve also noticed the opposite side of this trend emerge–those who want to assign rules and regulations God never intended. This also elevates man.

3. Recognize your ability to err. It often amazes me how much I thought I knew before I started taking Bible classes. The first thing I learned was half of what I thought I knew I really didn’t know, and the more I learn, the more I realize I don’t know. That doesn’t mean I throw my hands up in nihilism, but it does mean I speak with humility, recognizing that I could very easily be wrong. It also means, at times, I keep my mouth shut.

4. Recognize your position before a Holy God. We speak so casually about eternal things. God will hold us accountable for every casual word spoken.

5. Stay in community. Isolation leads to deception. If everyone else in your Bible study disagrees with you, consider the possibility that you are the one in error. If you are feeling tempted to pull away and isolate, recognize this is not from God. God desires believers to live in community. Satan wants us to live in isolation because then we are wide open for attack. This doesn’t mean we will always agree with everything our church or church members believe, but even when we disagree, we should do so with a healthy dose of humility, recognizing that we very well could be wrong.

I have a mentor. She acts as my safeguard. She doesn’t care how many people read my blog, how many articles I sell, or if I write the next best seller. She cares about one thing–my walk with Christ, and she’s committed to hold me accountable.

6. Pray, pray, pray. I’ve shared before, but I often pray Romans 12:1-2 out loud, asking God to daily transform my thinking, helping me resist the downward spiral of cultural influences. My desire is not that I would conform to the practices, ideologies, and opinions of the world around me, but instead, that I would be daily transformed by the renewal of my mind, so that I will know and understand God’s good, pleasing and perfect will.

A Heart That Bleeds

A couple months ago, I noticed our daughter had shifted friends, so I asked her about it. A girl she used to speak of frequently was now rarely mentioned. She explained that although she was still friends with the other girl, she struggled connecting on a deeper level for spiritual reasons. Concerned, I pressed her further. Apparently, this girl claimed Christ but didn’t live it out, and many of her behaviors made our daughter uncomfortable.

She shared a few things with me, then I explained how we’re all at different stages in our faith, but her final comment got me thinking: “I’m not even sure if she’s a Christian. She never shares her faith.”

The wisdom of a teenager–but the more I thought about it, the more sense her statement made. Can we truly love and be close to Christ and not feel burdened for those who don’t know Him?

Here’s how I figure it: the closer we grow to Christ, the more His desires become our own–the more He aligns our heart with His and pours His love through us. Yes, He cares about the little details in our  lives and wants us to help one another, but what He’s most passionate about is seeing people made right with Him. The salvation of others isn’t a casual concern for Him. It was on the forefront of His mind when He knelt in the Garden of Gethsemane in anguish. It was on the forefront of His mind when He faced His accusers, and like a lamb before His shearers, silently endured. It was on the forefront of His mind as He walked that long, humiliating, treacherous road to His death. It was on the forefront of His mind as He hung on the cross and looked down upon His tormenters and said, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”

This week, I’ll be sharing stories of people who said yes to God and allowed Him to love others through them. As you read these accounts, ask yourself, “What if they’d said no? What if they’d been too shy, too busy, or perhaps just too distracted?”

Every day, God opens innumerable doors all around us. Each day, His prodigal sons and daughters are crying out to Him, asking some hard questions like, “Do you really love me? Are you really there? Can you hear me?” And each day, God wants to use you to provide the answer the human heart so desperately needs.

Today Connie Stevens, author of Leave Me Never (love that title!) shares a very touching story of how God used her in the check-out line to shine a tiny glimmer of hope on another woman’s day.

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One week before Christmas, I received a case of author copies of my debut novel, Leave Me Never, from Heartsong Presents. Giddy with excitement, I gave a few copies to friends and family. I remember, when attending a writer’s conference, someone said to always carry a few of your books with you because you never know when God will give you an opportunity to network with someone who can help you promote your book, or use the book to introduce someone to Christian fiction. So I stuck a book in my purse as I was heading out to run errands.

The week before Christmas every place was crowded, the lines were long, and patience seemed in short supply. My last stop was the grocery store. The girl who checked me out looked and sounded tired and discouraged, so I smiled at her. She tried to smile back but her effort appeared forced. I asked her if she was ready for Christmas. When all she did was lift her shoulders, something hit my heart and I knew this girl was going through a difficult time.

As she finished checking out my groceries, I asked her (a bit apprehensively) if she liked to read. She kind of half-shrugged and said, “When I have time.”

I sent a prayer heavenward and pulled the book out, handed it to her and said, “Merry Christmas. This is my debut novel.”

Again, the forced smile and a mumbled thank you. The bag boy tucked the last bag into my cart and turned it toward the door, waiting for me to join him. I saw the cashier out of the corner of my eye turn the book over and glance at the back. As the bag boy and I reached the door, the girl called out behind me. I turned. She had tears in her eyes as she held up the book. She tapped her finger on the back cover. “Is this what this book is about?”

I smiled (much bigger this time and not the least bit apprehensive) and said, “Yes.”

You know how sometimes you “lock eyes” with someone and unspoken communication zings back and forth? I saw hope in her eyes and this time her smile wasn’t forced when she said, “Thank you. Merry Christmas.”

The first line on the back cover of my book reads, “Does God keep His promises?”

I needed a tissue before I could drive home.

The image of this girl and the tears in her eyes has lingered in my memory. Since my book didn’t officially release until three weeks later, this cashier was among my first readers. My heart was arrested by that term—readers. As Christian authors, the reason we write goes beyond entertainment. Our writing is a ministry. We never know who will be impacted by a character or a plot that draws that reader in and points their heart in the direction of Jesus. Praying for my readers has become a new passion.

*             *                 *

Connie Stevens lives in north Georgia with her husband of thirty-seven years, John. One cantankerous kitty—misnamed Sweet Pea—allows them to live in her home. Some of Connie’s favorite pastimes include reading, browsing antique shops, collecting teddy bears, and gardening. She also enjoys making quilts to send to the Cancer Treatment Centers of America. Leave Me Never is Connie’s first published book, and is the first book of her Home To Willow Creek series. The second book of the series, Revealing Fire, releases in March, and the third book, Scars of Mercy, releases in July. Visit Connie’s website to find out more!

*     *     *

And I leave you with this verse: Colossians 4:5-6 “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”

Be wise, be alert and full of grace. May everyone you come into contact with today be blessed because they crossed your path. And notice how closely this passage mirrors Ephesians 4:15 and 1 Peter 3:15. Truth and love go hand in hand. One without the other is devastating!

When Words Fall Flat

Sometimes it’s very hard to sit down and write. I feel like one of Job’s friends, tucked away in my nice, air conditioned house, married to a man who treats me like a princess, surrounded by special friends, and connected to a vibrant church, telling everyone “trust God and everything will be okay”. I know many of my readers are hurting, and many of them due to circumstances that are out of their control. You’ve done all the right things, said all the right things, and life smacks you upside the head anyway. And to be honest, I don’t have much to say. Oh, I could tell you that God is with you, holding you, loving you, whether you feel Him or not. And I could pop off a bunch of verses about how God will turn all things to good for those who love Him, but you know all that. In your head. But sometimes the pain is so deep, it blocks the truth from settling in our hearts.

Perhaps it is the sign of the times, or maybe I’m just becoming more aware of the pain around me, but ever since I started my weekly marriage column on Reflections, I’ve encountered numerous broken marriages. Shattered by infidelity. And to be honest, I don’t know how to respond to something like that. It broke my heart, made me sick, just to think about it. Caps left off toothpaste, socks on the floor, toilet seats left up, I can handle. Violated trust? Wow, that cuts deep. And it’s easy to blame ourselves. Maybe if I were prettier, more attentive, cooked more, cleaned more, whatever, my spouse wouldn’t have strayed. True, all of us could do a better job in some of those areas, but boundaries are boundaries and just as the bank teller isn’t responsible for the room full of injured people, neither are you responsible for your spouse’s choice.

I’m sure I’ll get lots of teeth-gritting, nasty comments hurled my way for this post, but that’s fine. My Mac will shield me from even the most rotten tomatoes. And I’m not saying throw in the towel. Nor am I saying hold on with both hands. What I am saying is I have no business saying anything, except run to Jesus and rest in His arms. He’ll tell you what to do.

About a year ago, a dear friend was dealt a devastating blow. Her husband was caught up in addiction–an addiction that was destroying him, their relationship, and her children. After much prayer, she decided to leave. It broke my heart to see my friend suffer, but what hurt me even more was all the “well-intentioned” advice thrown her way, clouding out God’s voice with human expectations and obligations. Oh, how clearly we hear the voice of God for someone else.

A few years ago Casting Crowns came out with a song called, “What If My People Prayed.” One line has stayed with me ever since. In the song, they ask, “What if families turned to Jesus and quit asking Oprah (or Melba, or Gramma, or Jennifer Slattery, grin) what to do.” This got me thinking, does God really need me to speak for Him, or would He rather speak directly to my friend Himself? Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying God doesn’t call people to speak truth. And I am not saying that God doesn’t speak to us through others. I am saying, however, that He probably calls us a lot less frequently than we think. And yet, God always, always, always, longs to speak to our family and friends Himself.

So, the next time we’re tempted to pop off some religious mumbo-jumbo, what if we pointed our friends to Jesus instead? He’s big enough, strong enough, and loving enough to speak into their lives Himself. And yeah, they may make a mistake. They may even hear Him wrong. But they’ll be one step closer to their Creator, and in the end, isn’t that what it’s all about? Learning to sift through all the garbage noise in order to hear God’s voice more clearly?

And for those of you who are barely holding on today, turn to Jesus. Seek Him out until His voice breaks through. Record His promises to never leave you nor forsake you on three by five cards and pull them out when the fears and insecurities threaten to overwhelm you. And know I’m praying for you.

A Relentless Investigation

It’s easy to write about love, mercy, grace and protection, dancing on the edge of truth, sprinkling just enough to spark ones curiosity yet failing to speak the words of life. So many of us have forged our own views of reality, based on nothing more than what appeals to us. We’ll grab a little Buddha, sprinkle in some New Age philosophy, and top it off with Christian ethics. And so long as we are sincere, and no one gets hurt, we’re good to go. Until one day we stand in the great throne room of God and He asks us the only question that matters: What did you do with My Son.

Borrowing from Francis Chan, “When we face the holy God, “nice” isn’t what we will be concerned with, and it definitely isn’t what He will be thinking about. Any compliments you received on earth will be gone; all that will be left you is the truth.

The truth, not our version of reality, but reality as it is. Funny, we spend more time studying the stock market or the next political wave than we do searching out truth. It’s as if we expect spiritual answers to be handed to us. In our spiritual apathy, we readily adopt the popular view of the day, discarding it when a new, more appealing view comes along. Basically, we create a virtual world in our head consuming ourselves with things that will last but a moment without a second thought for those things of eternal significance.

A few Sunday’s ago our pastor told a story about a man who had crossed over from Mormonism to Christianity. Why? Not because he had thoroughly investigated Mormonism and found it to be false but because he had thoroughly investigated (like a single-minded detective who wouldn’t rest until he’d uncovered the truth) Christianity’s truth claims and found them to be true. Truth is the ultimate reality, and if we search for truth openly and honestly, not allowing our deceptive desires to sway our interpretations, we will find it. And if we seek God, honestly seek Him, we will find Him.

If you’re interesting in investigating, for yourself, this thing called Christianity, some great books to start with are:

Evidence New that Demands a Verdict by Josh McDowell

Testing Christianity’s Truth Claims

The Case For Christ by former atheist Lee Strobel

Mere Christianity by CS Lewis

And to gain a better, and coherent, understanding of various other truth claims, The Universe Next Door is an excellent book and has been used in many university classrooms.