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Sunday, November 29, 2015

What About the Refugees? Part 2 – Some Biblical Examples

 

Here is Part 2 in the series on refugees.  This week we’re talking about a few biblical examples of refugees and what we can learn from them.

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In Part 1 on this series we discussed the history of immigrants and refugees who came to the U.S. in the past seeking a better life.  Some of them also brought ungodly or evil things with them.  We also talked about the Good Samaritan and the example that Jesus gave us through that parable.

This time we're going to talk about some biblical examples.

 

David In Gath

Because we need to be honest about the issue of refugees, it seemed like a good idea to think about the story of David when he and his men lived in Philistia as refugees for awhile when Saul was trying to murder David.

Continue Reading.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Evening Song – I Know Whom I Have Believed


2 Timothy 1:12  For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.

Friday, November 27, 2015

How Fleece Is Made


Here’s an interesting video that explains how fleece is made.  Did you know that it is partly recycled bottles? :-)



Next Friday we’ll find out how they make the polyester from plastic bottles! :-)

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving Thoughts

 

Give thanks and praise to God above,
For everlasting is His love;
Praise Him, ye saints, your Savior praise,
Forever good in all His ways.

- from The Psalter

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What shall I render to the Lord
For all His benefits to me?
How shall my soul, by grace restored,
Give worthy thanks, O Lord, to Thee?

With thankful heart I offer now
My gift, and call upon God’s Name;
Before His saints I pay my vow
And here my gratitude proclaim.

- author unknown

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My thankful lips shall loud proclaim
The wonders of Thy praise,
And spread the savor of Thy Name,
Where’er I spend my days.

Isaac Watts

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Hebrews 13:12-15  Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach. For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come. By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

A Thanksgiving Meditation by Martha Snell Nicholson





THANKSGIVING MEDITATION

Since man apart from God is but an abnormal creature, our greatest joys, our deepest satisfactions, come in our relationship to Him. So I thank Him this Thanksgiving season for sins forgiven, for a great High Priest touched with a feeling of my infirmities, for the privilege of being a tool in His mighty hand, for His guidance, for His ear that hears my prayers, for His arm on which to lean, for His precious Word in which He speaks to us explicitly, and for the blessed, blessed hope of His soon coming!

I thank Him, more than all else, for utter safety. In the past I have known what it was to be afraid, but now I know that I am entirely and perfectly secure. I feel that I have come into a safe harbor. Nothing, absolutely nothing, nor my own deeds nor those of others, not the works of devils, not circumstances, not so-called fate -- nothing can separate me from the love of Christ. Pain, sorrow and bereavement can come, shattered nerves and body can be my lot, death can even put my body in the grave; but whatever comes, it passes first through His tender hands, and so I can love it because it comes from Him!

Nothing can keep me out of heaven. I am as safe now as though I were already there. Just these few hard years to live, these few burdens to bear, and then to be forever with Him, our daily portion glory beyond infinite glory! Thankful? My cheeks are wet with happy tears. Why He gives all this to a poor creature like me I do not know -- but I know that I shall need all eternity in which to thank Him for it!

by Martha Snell Nicholson 
[Source]

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Romans 8:35-39  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.





Sunday, November 22, 2015

What About the Refugees Anyway? – PART 1 - A Beginning and A Parable




This is a big issue right now with a lot being said about it.  I wasn’t sure if I should address it at first, but it is getting to be such a “big deal”, and I’ve seen so many things that disturbed me that I finally decided to do so.  As it turned out there’s a lot more to it from a biblical standpoint than I would have thought.  Here is PART 1 of a series.

What About the Refugees Anyway? PART 1 - A Beginning and A Parable

James 2:13 For he shall have judgment without mercy,
that hath shewed no mercy; and mercy rejoiceth against judgment.

There has been a lot of emotion, animosity and heated opinions about the refugee situation.  Sadly, there has been a lot that, from my perspective, doesn't seem to reflect the mind of Christ - and I'm speaking about the Christian context here.  (I don't expect that from the world.)  Quite a lot of this is probably because modern right-wing and conservative politics have been made "the norm" and essential among Evangelicals and Fundamentalists.  But, what do you do when some, or the majority of them, take a position on a significant issue that is contrary to scripture and the example of Jesus Christ?

Conservative politics and many conservative Christians say that Syrian refugees are very dangerous and must be refused.  There are cries for our safety, accusations that most of them are "young men", and a fairly broad disregard of all the other refugees from other countries that need help.  We've heard similar claims about the Mexican situation, except that the "loss of jobs" has been a major complaint on that.

First of all, I want to say that I am in no way trying to "solve the problem" here.  I don't have a perfect answer for a situation as complicated as this.  I actually doubt that anyone really does.  Messy situations usually require multi-faceted answers.

Continue Reading.



Saturday, November 21, 2015

Evening Song – To God Be the Glory


Matthew 6:13  …For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

Friday, November 20, 2015

50 Little Projects to Make with Fat Quarters

 

Photo ©crazylittleprojects.com

If you’re a sewist – sewer – seamstress – and you like the idea of fat quarters but you are not into quilting, you may feel like you’re missing out on the fabric fun.  Here are some nifty little projects to do with fat quarters from crazylittleprojects.com.  A lot of these items would make nice little gifts, and if you are trying to apply my first Christmas challenge to your holiday season, this would be one way to do that. :-)

25 Things To Do With Fat Quarters

 

25 *More* Things To Do With Fat Quarters

Also, if you have a selection of fat quarters or scraps of a similar size languishing in your stash, you can find a lot of ideas here for using them up.  Headbands, doll clothes, children’s clothes, wall art, zip pouches, and more.  Fifty ideas to use up those fat quarters without quilting. :-)

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

That’s A Lot of Manna!

 

This tidbit comes from my Gramma Hoover.  I don’t know who did the calculations, but she gave a copy years ago.

Did you ever stop to think about how much manna it took to feed the Hebrews while they were in the wilderness for 40 years?

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How Much Manna was Gathered?

One omer per day for each of two million people…

                   1 omer = 6 pints
6 pints x 2,000,000 = 12,000,000 pints per day
                               = 9,000,000 pounds per day
                               = 4,500 tons per day

Needed each day = 10 trains of 30 freight cars (each car loaded with 15 tons)

Over a million tons gathered each year – and this was continued for 40 years!

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Psalms 78:22-25  Because they believed not in God, and trusted not in his salvation: Though he had commanded the clouds from above, and opened the doors of heaven, And had rained down manna upon them to eat, and had given them of the corn of heaven. Man did eat angels' food: he sent them meat to the full.

How often do we doubt God’s ability to supply our needs?  It seems like He’s more than able based on those statistics. :-)

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Thoughts from the Past – Two Ways to Fear God

 

Here is another short Bible study that I wrote some years ago and edited today.

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There are two kinds of fear of God.  One is that of the unsaved and/or rebellious who will not submit to God willingly. Their fear is only in evidence when they are confronted with the power of God in such a manner that they cannot resist. The other is the respectful fear of the submitted Christian that causes us to look to God as our Father, in love and with obedience.  Obviously, you can't have both kinds.  They are exclusive, so to speak.

These two fears were demonstrated at the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Matthew 28:2 And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it. 3 His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow: 4 And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.

This is the first kind of fear…

Continue Reading.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Evening Song – Praise to the Lord the Almighty

 

Psalms 150:6  Let every thing that hath breath praise the LORD. Praise ye the LORD.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Cheap, Pretty and Good – Natural Autumn Beauty for Home D├ęcor

 

JES at Strangers and Pilgrims on Earth shared these nice ideas for decorating our houses with natural things for autumn.  Since Thanksgiving is approaching in the U.S. I thought some readers might be interested in some ideas for simple, potentially inexpensive decorations. 

JES got her ideas from The Pottery Barn, but she explains how to do them with things that you may have on hand.  For the clear vases she recommends canning jars, but you could use clear glass vases if you have them or the clear glass chimney part of an oil lamp or candle.  Even glass bowls will work as I did above.

You may also like one of my old posts from the “Shop Your Own Stuff” series about Bringing the Outside In.

Here I used a small pumpkin that I bought and some pine cones.  The leaves I used are fake, but if you still have real leaves that are pretty in your area you could collect some for this.  You could also cut some out of craft paper or fabric.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Mocha Texas Sheet Cake

 

Ok, I’m very tempted to call this “The BEST Texas Sheet Cake Ever”, but that might be a bit over ambitious!  Anyway, it’s the best I’ve ever had. :-)  My friend Elisabeth shared the recipe with me.  I don’t know where she got the original, but I understood that her mom made some changes to it.  So, here’s how to make the “yummieness” as I’ve experienced it. :-)

Mocha Texas Sheet Cake

In a large saucepan add:
2 sticks butter
1 cup water
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp instant coffee granules

Heat the above ingredients, mixing well, until butter is melted. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, add:
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 tsp baking baking SODA
1/2 tsp salt

Whisk above ingredients together until well-combined.

Add:
1/2 cup buttermilk
1-1/2 tsps vanilla
2 eggs

Mix well. (It helps to use an electric hand mixer). The batter will be very thick and sticky.

Add warm cocoa mixture. Mix well, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl. Pour into greased cookie sheet (15"x10"x1" is a standard size) and bake at 375F for 20 minutes.

For icing:

In a saucepan add:
1 stick butter
1 tsp vanilla
2 tsps instant coffee granules
1/3 cup buttermilk

Mix well and heat until mixture barely bubbles, then remove from heat.

Add in:
Approximately 3-1/2 cups of sifted confectioners sugar.
You may need more or less depending on the consistency you want the icing to be.  Spread on the cake.

Enjoy!

NOTE:  This cake freezes well in a single layer with the pieces pre-cut.  It can be eaten frozen or thawed and is good either way.  I would recommend not leaving it in more than a month, or two at the most.

(Note: I think when I made the ones used for the photo above I used two cake pans of a smaller size, so mine might have come out a little deeper.)

Below is one my friend made and served with fresh strawberries.  It was very good! :-)  (The photo was taken at my parents’ house where we had gathered for a meal and fellowship.  Happy times.)

Sunday, November 8, 2015

The Voice of One Who Wept – A Poem by Martha Snell Nicholson

 

Turkana women – Tanzania – 1960

This poem is a good reminder, especially as the frantic holiday buying season is upon us.  I read recently of one family’s personal challenge to give as much as they spend on the Christmas holiday.  This would certainly limit the spending, and giving to missions would be a good place to start.

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The Voice of One Who Wept

Today I heard the voice of one who wept
In far off lands
Because of sin and misery,
And begged with outstretched hands
For one small lamp to light his dark.
Now fain I would have slept,
So - stopped my ears, but in my heart
That sobbing voice still wept.
And then I heard the voice of one who
Counted not the cost,
But left His ivory palaces to seek and
Save the lost.
He said, "The sound of one who weeps
Is coming up to Me.
Dost thou forget that last command
Which I gave unto Thee,
To preach my Word to all the world?"
O, bitter be our shame!
Still hopeless millions walk the earth
Who never heard His Name,
And still the world spends lavishly
In every crowded mart,
And still the voice of Him who wept
Is sobbing in my heart!

by Martha Snell Nicholson

Mark 16:15  And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

Acts 16:9  And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Evening Song – Great Is Thy Faithfulness

 

Lamentations 3:22-23  It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Sew Happy Friday–Mini Charm Bookmark Tutorial from Shabby Fabrics

 

Here’s a great little tutorial by Jennifer Bosworth from Shabby Fabrics on how to make bookmarks with mini charms (2 1/2” squares, also called Moda candy). 

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Monthly Challenge – November

 

Since November is a month when we particularly think about being thankful here in the U.S., it seemed like it might be nice to incorporate that into this month’s challenge. 

Here we go:

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Send a “thank you” note to a lady who has been a blessing to you (or your children) spiritually – a pastor’s wife, Sunday School teacher, Bible study leader, etc.

And/Or

Write a letter or email to a missionary lady who is far away from home.

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I am focusing on pastor’s wives and lady teachers and leaders because I was a pastor’s daughter and I know that sometimes people forget to thank the ladies in the church who either are teaching or doing work behind the scenes in the line of ministry.  Verbal thanks is good, but a written “thank you” is really meaningful.  It means someone actually took the time to stop and write down some thoughts, not just say “thanks” in the hall and rush on with their lives.  If you know what I mean…

I will also add that I’m not talking about your mother or grandmother here.  I sincerely hope that if you have godly parents and/or grandparents that you let them know on a regular basis that you appreciate them.  This is about the women who aren’t usually thought of as “needing” to be thanked.  Galatians 6:6  Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things.

The second part of the challenge is, I think, self-explanatory.  Missionary ladies may not get many personal letters from someone just reaching out in love to thank them or encourage them.  If possible, I really recommend sending snail mail.  It is such a blessing to received a real letter from someone “back home”.  But, when it comes down to it, I think they will be happy with an email as well.  And, please, try to write a personal, friendly letter.  Half a dozen questions about their work and a brief synopsis of the weather is hardly going to make them feel loved and cared for.  Tell them about your kids, your projects, something you’ve learned in your walk with God, maybe even share a recipe if they are in a place where they can get Western ingredients.

Romans 12:10  Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;

Hope you enjoy this challenge! :-)

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NOTE: I have a question.  Shall I continue the monthly challenges next year?  Are you enjoying them?  Thanks for your input.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Word of the Month – Attributes of God: True

 

Attribute n. - a quality or feature regarded as a characteristic or inherent part of someone or something.

[See the rest of this series.]

 

As we look about us it is good to remember that though the world is full of lies and uncertainty there is One True God and He has given us His absolute truth in His Son and in His word.  This is the attribute that I suggest we think upon this month – that God is true.

John 18:37-38  Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice. Pilate saith unto him, What is truth?…

This is an age old question that man had been constantly trying to answer.  The tragedy of history, and also the present, is that very few really want the correct answer.  They want philosophy, humanism, false religions, theories, lies, entertainment and so much more.  (Yes, there are people who would rather be lied to and entertained than to know the truth.)

God has answered this question for us, however.

The One True God

God has declared Himself to be the true God.  Because He is the true God, He, and only He, is able to do this.

Jeremiah 10:10  But the LORD is the true God, he is the living God, and an everlasting king: at his wrath the earth shall tremble, and the nations shall not be able to abide his indignation.

1 Thessalonians 1:9-10  For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God; And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.

All the gods that are worshipped in this world are false and are nothing.  There is only one true God, and that is the God of the Bible, the LORD God Almighty.  He is all-powerful and living and He is able to deal with all of this earth and all that the nations have done or will do.  There is none besides Him.  He alone is the true God.

Humans Are Liars

We read in Romans 3:4,  …yea, let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That thou mightest be justified in thy sayings, and mightest overcome when thou art judged.

All of mankind are liars.  I know there are some people who are obsessed with being truthful, but they have fallen short.  I found out for myself that it is impossible in this sinful world.  The most simple lies we tell regularly are when people ask us, “How are you?” and we answer, “Fine” or “Doing good”, when in fact we are not fine or doing good. But, we know they don’t really want to hear how we feel so we feel compelled to hide behind this falsehood.  

I remember years ago when a friend of our family’s told my mom that her son had never lied to her, that he was always truthful.  Later my mom pointed out to me that she should not have said that because there is no such thing as a child who never lies.  She said to me that she was concerned about that lady’s claim and the bad fruit that might come from her mistaken view of him.  But then, perhaps the lady herself was the one who was lying.  Who’s to say?

John 3:31-34  He that cometh from above is above all: he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth: he that cometh from heaven is above all. And what he hath seen and heard, that he testifieth; and no man receiveth his testimony. He that hath received his testimony hath set to his seal that God is true. For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him.

As earthly beings, we speak earthly things.  This includes not always telling “the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.”  Jesus Christ was sent by His Father to speak the truth of God to us, and whoever believes His testimony is saying that God is true. 

Humans Mishandle God’s Truth

Mankind also has a way of mishandling the truth.  They may deny it outright, as with atheists, evolutionists, and many who are offended by God’s definition of sin.  They may use the truth to justify their lies or give themselves credibility, as with cults and –isms that have elements of truth which they use to deceive people into thinking their lies are true. (Examples: the Roman Catholic Church, the Latter Day Saints [usual disclaimers apply], Seventh Day Adventists, Torah keepers, the Patriarchy Movement, Jehovah’s Witnesses, etc.)  By incorporating a large or small portion of God’s truth into their belief system, they hope to justify the lies that they also teach.  (I speak of the systems, not the individual followers who are often ignorant of the deceptions that they have been taught.)

Romans 1:18  For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;

Romans 1:24-25  Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

Changing the truth of God into a lie could almost be called an epidemic.  There are so many ways this is played out.  We see the effects of this throughout U.S. culture: from the Bible publishers who make horrible changes to the word of God and publish and sell it as “God’s word”, to those who justify sexual deviations by denying what the scripture says, to those who declare that God approves of their political agenda because they are “right”.  At least some of these are present in some other countries as well.  It is no wonder then that we see a world that is given up to uncleanness and to dishonoring their bodies (and I don’t think this just means sexual things as there are so many other ways this is appearing in Western culture now).

God Is True and His Ways Are True

God is not only the true God, He is also true and His ways are true.  Being the true God means that He is the only God, the only real God.  When we say that He is true and that His ways are truth, this speaks to us of what kind of God He is.

Psalms 86:15  But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plenteous in mercy and truth.

Revelation 15:3  And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.

Deuteronomy 32:4  He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he.

One of the tough things to deal with regarding God’s ways being true is that we don’t always understand His ways.  We read in Isaiah 55:8-9,  For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.  This can make it hard for us to understand His truth at times.  But, this is OK because this is an aspect of God that we must take by faith rather than through our own flawed reasoning.  Because God is true and we are not, we must accept His word over our own false thoughts.  This is the way of safety and of truth.

John 14:6  Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

Jesus Christ, as the Son of God and God in the flesh, is the way and the truth.  If we would come to the God of truth, we must come through Jesus Christ or we cannot come at all.  The true God whose ways are true has given us one true way by which we can come to Him, and that is through the person of His Son!  This is wonderful and miraculous!

John 8:31-32  Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

Truth and freedom are available to all who will believe on the the Lord Jesus Christ!

God’s Word Is True

John 17:17  Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

If there is no version of God’s word available that is true, how can we know that God is true?  If we have a true God who is a God of truth He must have a true word and, we can only come to know Him in truth through His true revelation of Himself.  This is one reason that the devil has worked so diligently to corrupt the true words of God.  We believe and are sure that God has preserved His word in the Received Text of the Greek and the Masoretic Hebrew and through a number of translations based upon these texts in various languages.  I do not have time or space to delve into this subject deeply here but one outstanding indication that many of the English, and other language, translations are not true is that they contain lies and/or they make God a liar. [Further reading on this subject.]

When God gave David the promise that his house and kingdom and throne would be established forever (2 Sam. 7:16) David replied before God, and part of what he said was, “For thou, O LORD of hosts, God of Israel, hast revealed to thy servant, saying, I will build thee an house: therefore hath thy servant found in his heart to pray this prayer unto thee.  And now, O Lord GOD, thou art that God, and thy words be true, and thou hast promised this goodness unto thy servant:”  2 Samuel 7:27-28  David believed that he would receive this promise because he knew that God’s words are true.  We also must believe that God’s words are true if we would receive the promise of eternal salvation.  You cannot call God a liar and know His truth at the same time.

We read in Psalms 19:9,  The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether.

The judgments of the LORD are true and consequently are fully trustworthy. 

“We may trust Him fully
All for us to do;
They who trust Him wholly
Find Him wholly true.

Stayed upon Jehovah, hearts are fully blest
Finding, as He promised, perfect peace and rest.”

- Frances Ridley Havergal

2 Thessalonians 2:13  But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:

Conclusion

John 17:3  And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

Because Jesus Christ is the Son of the true God,

and because He is the way, the truth and the life,

and because He is the word of God (John 1:1-14) and God’s word is truth,

it is no wonder that He is inseparable from our way to God and that He IS our way to God.  You cannot have the truth without the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the true God and the true God in the flesh.  Your eternal life depends upon it.  John 3:36  He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

Let’s meditate upon the the true God and His Son who is the truth, and upon the true word of God through which He reveals His truth to mankind.  If we will focus on the truth, the lies will be self-evident.  As darkness is expelled by light, so lies are exposed by the truth of God – both in our own lives and in our view of the world.  In a world full of lies, this is a profoundly reassuring truth.  And, our salvation depends upon it.

1 John 5:20  And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.