Two Truths and a Lie?

We often assume Satan is all about lying, and he is—John 8:44 says he is the father of lies. But often, he gets to us believe the lies because they masquerade as truth. It’s like that game we used to play as teenagers–two truths and a lie. You said three things about yourself that all could be true, but the person had to guess which one was the lie. The lies are easy to believe because, at least on some level, many of the taunts of the devil are quite true. God does call the weak, the meek, the lowly, and the poor, and we may easily identify ourselves in that way.

If we dwell on that alone, we might be tempted toward despair or self-pity. We want our lives to look better, so we end up defending ourselves and what the world sees as important—our status, our job, our cause—instead of defending the gospel.

But we don’t have to defend ourselves, because we know a more powerful truth. We know our standing is with Christ and that His word is true. We can defend the gospel while admitting we are weak, because our strength is not in ourselves, but in Him (2 Corinthians 12:9).

So next time Satan, or the world, tells you these things or similar thoughts—cling to your standing as a child of God. It is our only sure hope.

  • When you hear, I don’t belong here. It’s true; I don’t. Nothing on this earth feels quite right. But, this world is not my home, and soon I will be with Christ in heaven forever (Hebrews 13:14).
  • When you hear, I am worthless. It’s true; any of my good works apart from Christ are filthy rags. But my worth is found only in Christ and I can never do anything to earn His love or forgiveness or salvation; it is only by grace that I am saved (Ephesians 2:8-10).
  • When you hear, I look awful (or old, or ugly…). It’s true; outer beauty is fading. The cares of this world are many, and it can show. True beauty is found in the one who created us in His image.
  • When you hear, I just did that again. I am hopeless. It’s true; I do fail often. I am a sinner and I will never be perfect this side of heaven. But God does not treat us as our sins deserve (Psalm 103:8-14), He gives good gifts to his children when we ask (Matt 7:9-11), and He is pleased to give us the kingdom (Luke 12:32). My hope is in Christ alone. However, He does continue to sanctify me and I must be teachable in order to grow in Christ-likeness.

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How Long, O LORD? (Psalm 6)

If you’ve ever dealt with grief or depression, the cries of this psalmist will sound familiar. I love the transparency of the psalms. The raw emotion of the heart. The honest cries of broken people fighting to trust in a God who is there, but often seems distant.

The psalmist asks to be dealt with in love, not anger, so the soul is not sent into despair. His bones are troubled. He is physically weak. Could this be an outward sign of inner soul trouble? His soul is also weary. How long, O Lord? He asks for mercy, for deliverance. Perhaps even doubting his salvation. Save me, so it will glorify you! He has no words, only tears. All of this grief is exhausting. Send a morning full of joy!

And then comes this sudden strength. Strength to fight the darkness. The confidence to believe the LORD has heard his cries and his prayers. He does not give in to the taunts of the enemy. He finds peace in the thought that it is God who triumphs, who puts his enemies to shame.

What caused this change of focus? Perhaps he came to the end of himself, to the bottom of his grief, to the emptiness, and there he found that God was still with him. That God will never leave or forsake his children. That God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. That God has won this battle. Perhaps the Lord spoke to him in his grief. Perhaps his countenance lifted because he was praying.

“Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” (James 5:13-16)

Psalm 6

O LORD, rebuke me not in your anger,
nor discipline me in your wrath.
Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am languishing;
heal me, O LORD, for my bones are troubled.
My soul also is greatly troubled.
But you, O LORD—how long?

Turn, O LORD, deliver my life;
save me for the sake of your steadfast love.
For in death there is no remembrance of you;
in Sheol who will give you praise?

I am weary with my moaning;
every night I flood my bed with tears;
I drench my couch with my weeping.
My eye wastes away because of grief;
it grows weak because of all my foes.

Depart from me, all you workers of evil,
for the LORD has heard the sound of my weeping.
The LORD has heard my plea;
the LORD accepts my prayer.
All my enemies shall be ashamed and greatly troubled;
they shall turn back and be put to shame in a moment.

A Late Prayer

Have you ever told someone you’d pray for them and then forgot until it was “too late”? Or your friend overseas asked you to pray for a specific event and you missed it because of the time change? Or your burden to pray is great, but you just have no words?

I really think that if God is not bound by time like we are (and he’s not), then he is also not limited by our imperfections and sin, including not praying how or when we ought. This is not me saying it’s okay not to pray because God will do whatever he wants anyway. God is sovereign, yes, but he loves to use the means of prayer and loves to hear the prayers of his children.

What I am saying, is that God knows what you will pray before you pray it. He knows your heart. And He hears your prayer because we have an advocate. The Spirit intercedes for you before the Father!

“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. (Romans 8:26-27)

Did you hear that? According to the will of God. How glorious! Not our will, but His.

And though the answer may not come in the way you’d hope or imagine, He will use it for good. He will grow your faith. He will encourage the saints. Don’t be discouraged by your weakness—God’s power is made perfect in your weakness! (2 Corinthians 12:9)

Keep praying, friends. Even in weakness.

“The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” (James 5:16)

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Undeserved Grace

Do you feel like God is disappointed in you? Like you will never measure up? Like you fail too often?

If I am honest, I think like this often. But if 2 Corinthians 5:21 is true (and it is),

For our sake he made him [Jesus] to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

and if Psalm 103:10-14 is true (and it is),

He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us. As a father shows compassion to his children, so the Lord shows compassion to those who fear him. For he knows our frame; he remembers that we are dust.

then if you are in Christ, though your sin grieves him, God looks at you with the same love and delight as Jesus, his perfect son.

Even if your sin goes deeper than you could ever imagine, God’s grace goes deeper still.

You could never do enough to please him on our own, but Christ. We are weak, but Christ! He really does love you. His Word really is sufficient. His promises really are true. Trust that his sacrifice is enough for you today!

“All of the sin I have committed
Was placed upon Your righteous Son
And now You see me through His perfection
As if I’d never done any wrong”

Always Forgiven, © 2003 Sovereign Grace Worship.

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