How to Test God’s Truth Claims

How to Test God’s Truth Claims


Truth is according to many in this day and age, relative.Relative, it depends on the person speaking, the situation at hand, and the feelings in general.Really?Because when I order a Big Mac, the person at the first window knows exactly how much I owe…to the penny.It is not relative, nor opinion, or based on my feelings. Truth is reality. Jesus presented a method for testing truth claims from God.


The people were surprised when they heard him. “How does he know so much when he hasn’t been trained?” they asked. So Jesus told them, “My message is not my own; it comes from God who sent me. Anyone who wants to do the will of God will know whether my teaching is from God or is merely my own. Those who speak for themselves want glory only for themselves, but a person who seeks to honor the one who sent him speaks truth, not lies.” John 7:15-18 (NLT2)


Jesus began teaching during the Feast of Tabernacles in Jerusalem and the people marveled at him being able to teach them so much and not having the proper degrees and institutional training associated with the teachers in the Temple.Jesus provided a method for determining truth, a willingness to do the will of God.Those teaching to glorify God will speak the truth; those who are seeking glory for themselves may bend the truth to fit what gets them attention and applause.What happened then happens now.If we want to test the truth of Jesus’ teaching, we must act on it.


A person who wants to do the will of God and not just talk about it is an odd duck.That person is courageous and has faith in God that encourages them to go beyond the normal human experience and understanding.Doing the will of God rocks the status quo.Jesus spoke the truth, and those who acted on it knew the truth of it.Those who were skeptical and stayed safe missed it.


Jesus’ message was from God the Father.He communicated in unique ways, and, according to Hebrews, chose to make his message clear through Jesus.


Long ago God spoke many times and in many ways to our ancestors through the prophets. And now in these final days, he has spoken to us through his Son. Hebrews 1:1-2 (NLT2)



How do you respond to God’s truth spoken through Jesus?

Do you check the truth of what God is saying by doing what he says?

How has God’s truth, Jesus’ teaching, been confirmed to you?

Take a moment to thank Jesus for teaching God’s truth.


Speaking Favorably of Jesus

Speaking Favorably of Jesus


Speaking favorably of Jesus in some contexts can be dangerous.  For those who speak favorably of Jesus among Fulani Herdsmen of Nigeria or the Taliban of Afghanistan, it can lead to death.  In the first century, as Jesus walked among the people, some spoke well of him, and others did not. 

The Jewish leaders tried to find him at the festival and kept asking if anyone had seen him. There was a lot of grumbling about him among the crowds. Some argued, “He’s a good man,” but others said, “He’s nothing but a fraud who deceives the people.” But no one had the courage to speak favorably about him in public, for they were afraid of getting in trouble with the Jewish leaders. John 7:11-13 (NLT2)


The man, Christ Jesus, without sin, the Son of God, was perceived as a fraud who deceives people.  Consider the depth of discernment functioning in those who said such things.  They are with us still, offering their skepticism as intelligence, and as utterly wrong as were their predecessors millennia ago.  During the Second World War, the BBC had C.S. Lewis present a series of talks over the radio on Christianity.  The content was later made into a book called Mere Christianity.  He, in that mid-Twentieth Century time of tragedy, addressed people’s mistaken views of Jesus. 


I am trying here to prevent anyone from saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: ‘I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept his claim to be God.’ That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic– on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg– or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as a demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come up with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to.”


We may agree with Lewis that Jesus is Lord and God, but will we risk saying something favorable about him?  We may strongly disagree with those who diminish or demonize Jesus, but will we boldly say something favorable about him in public, at work, at a family gathering, or even at church?  If asked in a church meeting even after experiencing Jesus in personal and powerful ways, would you say something about Jesus? 


Some people struggle.  It is too much, far too much, for them to go beyond what they consider safe limits to say something favorable about Jesus.  But who should say something about him, those who reject him or those who rejoice in him?  If Jesus has done something for you, is doing something now, and you expect he will be doing something in the future, why not say something favorable about him?  If not you, who?  If not now, when? 


Think about Jesus, who he is, what he has done, is doing, and will do.  What favorable characteristics or works came to mind? 

How is Jesus impacting your life today?

When you have an opportunity today, will you say something favorable about Jesus? 



The Importance of Boundaries in Accomplishing God’s Will


Jesus says, “Come, follow me.”  In one phrase, he has set in motion many boundaries for his followers.  If a person follows Jesus, he is not following someone or something else.  If others come along saying, “Follow me,” the answer is, no, because the direction is set, and there is a natural boundary to protect the relationship.  The greatest commandment is to love God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength, which again creates boundaries.  If a person loves the world, they are not loving God.  Loving the world indicates a person has crossed over boundaries and broken the relationship with God. 


Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. 1 John 2:15-16 (NLT2)


Jesus shows his commitment to his Father and to accomplishing his will by exercising boundaries.  He does this when his brothers try to get him to go to Jerusalem for a festival, and he doesn’t go with them. 


“You can’t become famous if you hide like this! If you can do such wonderful things, show yourself to the world!”  For even his brothers didn’t believe in him. Jesus replied, “Now is not the right time for me to go, but you can go anytime. The world can’t hate you, but it does hate me because I accuse it of doing evil. You go on. I’m not going to this festival, because my time has not yet come.”

After saying these things, Jesus remained in Galilee. But after his brothers left for the festival, Jesus also went, though secretly, staying out of public view. John 7:4-10 (NLT2)


Jesus’ brothers assumed Jesus would want to be a celebrity at the festival, but that was not the point of Jesus’ life, ministry, or the festival.  They had it all perfectly wrong.  Jesus sent them on their way, which would provide a diversion for those searching for him to do him harm.  He was able to come in the back door and appear when the time was right. 


Many times, those who want to do God’s will do some of what God has directed, but not all of it because they include other influences.  They listen to the whims and wishes of others which may conflict with God’s will at that time, plus there are feelings of insecurity and inadequacy, leading a person to want the acceptance of other people.  This is not including the dark influence of the evil one who whispers doubts and other directions. 


Jesus stays the course.  He loves God the Father, listens to him, and he does not allow otherworldly influences to get him off course.  He stays the course not with harshness or meanness toward people but because he loves them and his faithfulness and determination lead to the salvation of the world.  Keeping proper boundaries is important for accomplishing God’s will. 


Do you know God’s will in some area, and you have not maintained proper boundaries in that area?  What was the result?

Have you violated God-given boundaries, which seemed harsh to you, or because you wanted to please someone?

As a follower of Christ, what boundaries are necessary for you to maintain?



Do I Follow My Feelings or God?

Do I Follow My Feelings or God?

Feelings are primal, close, familiar, and a force.  If you like chocolate cake and there is an opportunity for a slice of that chocolatey goodness, your feelings will give you a nod to get it.  In John chapter seven Jesus is presented with a decision to go with his feelings or with God.  You may have decisions like that to make at times too.  Let’s see what Jesus does. 

The scene is an invitation to go with his brothers to Jerusalem to the big Fall Festival of Tabernacles.  The festival would be something Jesus likes and it is in Jerusalem with lots of celebrating and worship at the Temple.  He could go with his brothers like they did as kids.  The Torah says the men of Israel are to attend three festivals each year and this is one of them. Jesus could justify going with his brothers because he needs to spend more time with them and they invited him.  Jesus could feel it would be the right thing to go to the festival because of religious obligation and it is fun.  Jesus has to keep in mind God’s plan for him.  He must choose between his feelings and God.  He chooses God’s plan. 

After this, Jesus traveled around Galilee. He wanted to stay out of Judea, where the Jewish leaders were plotting his death. But soon it was time for the Jewish Festival of Shelters, and Jesus’ brothers said to him, “Leave here and go to Judea, where your followers can see your miracles!  You can’t become famous if you hide like this! If you can do such wonderful things, show yourself to the world!”  For even his brothers didn’t believe in him. Jesus replied, “Now is not the right time for me to go, but you can go anytime. The world can’t hate you, but it does hate me because I accuse it of doing evil. You go on. I’m not going to this festival, because my time has not yet come.” After saying these things, Jesus remained in Galilee. John 7:1-9 (NLT2)

Jesus’ walk with God the Father required awareness of priorities and overcoming personal feelings for what is greater.  In Luke, Jesus speaks to the feelings about family and being his disciple. 

A large crowd was following Jesus. He turned around and said to them,  “If you want to be my disciple, you must hate everyone else by comparison—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:25-26 (NLT2)

Feelings guide many decisions and can fog making the right ones.  Choosing God’s way leads to good things for ourselves and our family too. 

Have you made decisions to go with God rather than submit to feelings and do something else?

Have feelings for family fogged your view of God’s light?

Have you or someone you know adapted God’s truth due to feelings for a family member?

Have you chosen to be Jesus’ disciple? 



Master of Ceremonies

The Master of Ceremonies


There is something about Jesus, something that surprises and supersedes.  Having him around and seeing what he does brings joy.  He is viewed by many as a killjoy, but he is far from that, he is the source of life, meaningful and abundant life, and joy. 

Jesus, during a discussion about his departure and prayer, made a wonderful statement about the intersection of himself and joy. 

You haven’t done this before. Ask, using my name, and you will receive, and you will have abundant joy. John 16:24 (NLT2)

Abundant joy is something those who have a relationship with Jesus can experience.  The relationship matters.  Someone who is a friend of the owner of a restaurant can ask for food cooked particularly, that would then be prepared just right, and there is joy.  Jesus says to his friends that they are to ask using his name, and they will receive and with that comes joy. 

When Jesus attended a wedding feast, a problem arose because the wine ran out, and Jesus being Jesus and being able to do what he can do, changed water to wine.  The wedding planner, master of ceremonies, wine connoisseur, sommelier, tasted the wine and was surprised the good wine had been held back. 

When the master of ceremonies tasted the water that was now wine, not knowing where it had come from (though, of course, the servants knew), he called the bridegroom over. “A host always serves the best wine first,” he said. “Then, when everyone has had a lot to drink, he brings out the less expensive wine. But you have kept the best until now!” John 2:9-10 (NLT2)

What joy that wine must have been for everyone involved.  Jesus, far from being one who ruined the party, was rather the real Master of Ceremonies.  His presence and his present of the wine brought abundant joy. 

Have you ever not invited Jesus to an event in your life because he would take the fun out of it?

Did you know your relationship with Jesus included asking privileges and joy?

How would you like Jesus to be the Master of Ceremonies at all your special occasions?