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Aletheia - (ἀλήθεια - "Truth")

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Rock Solid

 

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I crave stability and look for it in countless places, some of which I’m too ashamed to admit.  By a well-established routine, perfectly-ordered home, and carefully-managed relationships, I attempt to craft a world of consistency and security in which I can breathe easy.  After all, everything has been taken care of, every detail attended to.

Except that’s not the case.  My routine changes, laundry piles up, and relationships require constant work.  I strive to keep everything under control only to realize that I’m the one who’s out of control.  I want something I can count on, something I know for sure, something guaranteed.  And I often look for it in things other than (and smaller than) Jesus, leaving me disappointed, tense, and imprisoned.

But there’s good news!  Psalm 62:5-6 speaks to my heart with the truth I so desperately need - Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from Him.  He alone is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will not be shaken.

Psalm 62 is a timely reminder that I will not be shaken.  The stability for which I yearn can be a present reality, not because of my ability to stand firm, but because I am anchored to a solid rock.  And that’s something I can count on, something I know for sure, and something guaranteed.

Written by Abbey Le Roy, MA in Theological Studies from CIU's Seminary and School of Ministry.

"Give us this day our daily bread." Matthew 6:11

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A Happy Ending

 

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I know several people who love reading, but have a habit of turning to the final pages of a book to find out what happens in the end.  Though tempted at times, I’ve never been one to do that myself.  If I know how a story finishes, I don’t always have the motivation to push through the whole book.  

However, I’m grateful that God, in His wisdom, chose to reveal some of how His great story will end.

The kingdom of the world has become the Kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ, and He will reign for ever and ever (Revelation 11:15).

If I didn’t know the story would end this way, some days on this earth would be absolutely unbearable.  I might question the value and purpose of my existence.  There would be times when I’d go beyond questioning God’s character, plans, and ways…I might even run out of hope.  

We don’t know every detail of God’s eternal work, and we don’t need to – what He has revealed in His Word is sufficient to do His work (Deuteronomy 29:29).  But we do know something.  We know enough to know that the end is a happy one…a gloriously triumphant one.   

Questions may arise as we journey toward that day – the day when all will be made right – when every knee will bow at the name of Jesus and every tongue will confess that He is Lord (Philippians 2:10-11).  But as the questions come and go, and as the doubts surface and settle, let’s hold firm to the hope we have – hope that is ours because of His kindness in allowing us a glimpse into the end of the story.  

Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known.  But we know that when He appears, we shall be like Him, for we shall (finally!) see Him as He is (1 John 3:2).

He will reign for ever and ever.

Come, Lord Jesus. 

Written by: Abbey Le Roy, MA in Theological Studies from CIU's Seminary and School of Ministry

"Give us this day our daily bread." Matthew 6:11


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Combating an If-Then Mentality

 

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I recently read a quote by well-known pastor and author Tullian Tchividjian which said, “If you detach every time things don't go your way, it reveals just how much you've built your identity on winning.”  The thought stuck with me and I pondered situations which provoke the detachment about which he speaks.

Academic difficulties…

Financial pressures…

Relational struggles…

…The list could continue.  

I tend to live my life with an “if-then” mentality.  If things go my way, then I will be happy.  If this situation changes, then I’ll be comfortable.  What happens is that my security and emotions become attached to my circumstances and their hypothetical improvement.  Thus begins the detachment and identity crisis Tchividjian identified.

What’s the alternative to letting circumstances – good or bad – define my life?  One step in the right direction is to let the truth of God’s Word be the lens through which all circumstances are evaluated.  What do I know for sure to be true right now?  What has He already accomplished on my behalf?  What does God say about this?  What difference does knowing Jesus make today?  

Try asking yourself some of those questions and coming up with biblical answers.  You might discover, as I have, that regardless of your circumstances, you can agree with King David who acknowledged in the present tense, “my cup overflows.”

Written by: Abbey Le Roy, MA in Theological Studies from CIU's Seminary and School of Ministry

"Give us this day our daily bread." Matthew 6:11

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How Suffering Sets You Free

 

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1997 CIU graduate Tullian Tchividjian is the well-known pastor of a thriving church in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.  While thousands sit under his weekly teaching, his influence extends beyond the pulpit.

Tchividjian, the grandson of Billy Graham, is a visiting professor of theology at Reformed Theological Seminary, contributing blogger for The Gospel Coalition, an editor of Leadership Journal, and insightful author.

Tchividjian’s latest book titled Glorious Ruin: How Suffering Sets You Free was released at the beginning of this month.  In what he describes as his most important work to date, Tchividjian focuses not on the why or how of suffering, but rather on the Who – a Savior scripture describes as “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief” (Isaiah 53:3).

I’m about halfway through Glorious Ruin and it has been simultaneously challenging and encouraging.  Tchividjian’s perspective is fresh, yet steeped in the truth of the gospel.  I hope to finish the book later this week, but here’s a preview for those who might be interested in reading further:

“We may not ever fully understand why God allows the suffering that devastates our lives. We may not ever find the right answers to how we’ll dig ourselves out. There may not be any silver lining, especially not in the ways we would like. But we don’t need answers as much as we need God’s presence in and through the suffering itself. The truth is that when it comes to suffering, if we do not go to our graves in confusion we will not go to our graves trusting. Explanations are a substitute for trust.

For the life of the believer, one thing is beautifully and abundantly true: God’s chief concern in your suffering is to be with you and be Himself for you. And in the end, what we discover is that this really is enough.”

Written by: Abbey Le Roy, MA in Theological Studies from CIU's Seminary and School of Ministry

"Give us this day our daily bread." Matthew 6:11

An Unchallenged Reign

 

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One of A.W. Tozer’s most popular books, The Pursuit of God, has been labeled a “Christian classic,” which he wrote for believers “whose religious lives are marked by a growing hunger after God Himself.”  I encourage you to read the whole book, but for now, consider what Tozer shares in the chapter titled “The Blessedness of Possessing Nothing.”

Writing about God’s command to Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac, Tozer says, “[Isaac] represented everything sacred to his father's heart: the promises of God, the covenants, the hopes of the years, and the long messianic dream.  As [Abraham] watched him grow from babyhood to young manhood, the heart of the old man was knit closer and closer with the life of his son, till at last the relationship bordered upon the perilous.  It was then that God stepped in to save both father and son from the consequences of an uncleansed love.” 

Abraham, as we know, woke up early the next morning, intent on obedience.  “God let the suffering old man go through with it up to the point where He knew there would be no retreat, and then forbade him to lay a hand upon the boy.  To the wondering patriarch He now says in effect, ‘It's all right, Abraham.  I never intended that you should actually slay the lad.  I only wanted to remove him from the temple of your heart that I might reign unchallenged there.  I wanted to correct the perversion that existed in your love.  Now you may have the boy, sound and well.  Take him and go back to your tent. Now I know that thou fearest God, seeing that thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son, from Me.’”

After reading that, it is obvious to me that there are often things and people which challenge God’s reign in my life.  My heart echoes the prayer with which Tozer closes this chapter: “Please root from my heart all those things which I have cherished so long and which have become a very part of my living self, so that Thou mayest enter and dwell there without a rival.”

Written by: Abbey Le Roy, MA in Theological Studies from CIU's Seminary and School of Ministry

"Give us this day our daily bread." Matthew 6:11

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Certainty

 

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So much of life is uncertain. 

Days go by and we are left with unanswered questions or unfulfilled longings.

Despite our best attempts to plan and schedule, we cannot predict what tomorrow will bring…if tomorrow even comes. 

This is not a new struggle.  Throughout all of human history, man has attempted to know things – to really know them – with absolute certainty. 

Although there is much uncertainty, there are some things we can know for sure.  Hosea points out one of these things:

As surely as the sun rises, He will appear; He will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth (Hosea 6:3).

In my entire life, I’ve never witnessed a single day in which the sun failed to rise.  I’m thankful that, like Hosea, I can know for sure that the Lord will return.

And it will certainly be a glorious return.

Written by: Abbey Le Roy, MA in Theological Studies from CIU's Seminary and School of Ministry

"Give us this day our daily bread." Matthew 6:11

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He must become greater; we must become less.

 

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“Our greatest fear should not be of failure, but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter.” –Francis Chan

We live in a world that constantly markets good things.  Success, popularity, and money, just to name a few.  While there’s nothing inherently wrong with any of those things, they certainly aren’t suitable foundations upon which a life can be built.

Before Jesus began His public ministry, John the Baptist was growing in both success and popularity.  He was proclaiming a message, and people were responding in large numbers.  Crowds began to gather and follow him around.

However, once Jesus came on the scene, some people who had been following John actually left him to follow Jesus.  This didn’t escape the notice of John’s inner circle, who interpreted this as a ministerial failure:

“John, don’t you understand what’s happening?  You’re successful – people are responding to your message!  But now people are leaving you to follow Jesus.  Do something!  Your popularity and success are at stake!”

John’s response provides a glimpse into his heart’s motivation, a stark contrast from the focus of his friends: “He must increase, but I must decrease.”

John wasn’t enthralled with the praise of men or devastated with their desertion; either way – popular or unpopular, successful or a failure, rich or poor, well-liked or despised – his focus was on pointing others to Jesus.  

The aim of John’s life was to proclaim Jesus, viewing his circumstances as a platform from which he could re-direct the gaze of his audience.  He set the stage and drew a crowd.  But at the critical moment, when the spotlight flickered on, John knew in his heart where he rightfully belonged.  Figuratively, he pushed Jesus into the spotlight and was content to slip behind the curtain.  He had done his job.

It has been said that “The great use of life is to spend it for something that will outlast it.”  To spend our lives on good things might mean missing out on giving ourselves away for the greatest thing – knowing Jesus and making Him known.

Let us with dignity and joy follow the example of John, content to sink into obscurity as the name of Jesus grows increasingly cherished in our particular spheres of influence.

He must become greater, we must become less.

Written by: Abbey Le Roy, MA in Theological Studies from CIU's Seminary and School of Ministry

"Give us this day our daily bread." Matthew 6:11

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