While other kids ate candy for breakfast, we had to have cereal, eggs, and toast. When others had a Pepsi and a Twinkie for lunch, we had to eat sandwiches. And you can guess our mother fixed us a dinner that was different from what other kids had, too. Mother insisted on knowing where we were at all times. You’d think we were convicts in a prison. She had to know who our friends were, and what we were doing with them. She insisted that if we said we would be gone for an hour, we would be gone for an hour or less. We were ashamed to admit it, but she had the nerve to break the Child Labor Laws by making us work. We had to wash the dishes, make the beds, learn to cook, vacuum the floor, do laundry, and all sorts of cruel jobs. I think she would lie awake at night thinking of more things for us to do.
She always insisted on us telling the truth the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. By the time we were teenagers, she could read our minds. Then, life was really tough! Mother wouldn’t let our friend’s just honk the horn when they drove up. They had to come up to the door so she could meet them. While everyone else could date when they were 12 or 13, we had to wait until we were 16. Because of our mother we missed out on lots of things other kids experienced. None of us have ever been caught shoplifting, vandalizing other’s property, or ever arrested for any crime. It was all her fault.
Now that we have left home, we are all God-fearing, educated, honest adults. We are doing our best to be mean parents just like Mom was. I think that’s what’s wrong with the world today. It just doesn’t have enough mean parents anymore.
Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and Mark McGuire were all eligible for induction into Baseball’s Hall of Fame this year. Bonds is the all-time home run leader. Sosa is the fastest player in baseball history to hit 500 home runs. And McGuire is the single-season home-run leader. All should have been first-ballot inductees. All remain on the outside looking in. Why? Because they cheated and then lied about their cheating. Lying and cheating – the two are so prevalent in American culture that they hardly raise an eyebrow. And so when Lance Armstrong finally admits what we’ve suspected for years or Manti Te’o confesses that he knowingly lied about the death of an imaginary girlfriend, we shrug and blame it on a culture that is spiraling ethically downward.
Jesus was the antithesis of that mindset. Peter’s firsthand conclusion was that “he committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth” (I Pet. 2:22). Think about that. Every word was accurate; every sentence was true. Not once did He fudge the numbers in His business; not once did He exaggerate the truth in His teaching. Nothing shady, nothing questionable – He was the epitome of integrity. Clearly, we who wear His name and represent His interests in this world are to be of the same spirit. “As He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct” (I Pet. 1:15-16). Understanding that, it is no wonder that Solomon observed, “Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who deal truthfully are His delight” (Prov. 12:22).
Read more →
When Jesus in John 3:16 says “whoever believes in Him shall not perish,” notice that he didn’t say “whoever believes ONLY…shall not perish.” Many religious groups today affirm that all you have to do is “believe only” and you are saved at the very first instant of faith without ever having to do anything else. The New Testament doesn’t teach this. In fact, James chapter 2 shows conclusively that “faith alone” is insufficient to save.
James 2:14 “What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?” (NKJV)
Read more →