By: Undre Griggs, Jr.
In the last days truth will become increasingly difficult for people to understand, accept, and acknowledge. Since truth is like a compass that directs our path; a lack of truth in the world will create a dangerous environment for all.
2 Timothy 3:1-4 (NIV): But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God
Truth is the architect of our morals and plays a vital role in how we treat each other. When we ignore truth, there remains no opportunity for humans to universally agree with each other. We will each rationalize every action and dismiss every critique. We will only be concerned with what satisfies our needs and be willing to do anything to achieve that goal. Even though truth is criticized and rejected by many in the last days; it can only be resisted, not conquered.
2 Timothy 3:7-9 (NKJV): always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the faith; but they will progress no further, for their folly will be manifest to all, as theirs also was.
As a result of truth coming from our Creator (Jehovah), we each have a generally accepted understanding of how to treat others. It is widely accepted that people should not steal or murder. We believe that people should keep their word and that we should treat others how we want to be treated. As worrisome as the last days are, we must remember that “men of corrupt minds” will only be able to seize truth for so long before it is liberated.
1 John 5:20 (ESV): And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.
In the end, truth is the light in a world of darkness. While some may attempt to manipulate or destroy the light; find comfort in the knowledge the truth will set you free (John 8:32). Find peace knowing in our darkest hour that truth will not disappoint us in anyway. Remember that truth cannot be bought, it cannot be altered, and it cannot be defeated. Blessed are those who find more comfort in speaking, hearing the painful truth, than they find in the comfort of a lie.
By: Undre Griggs, Jr.
Of the many things that Jesus taught, He consistently urged us to judge each situation based on its own merits. We should not show preference or bias by assuming or treating anyone more/less important than anyone else. And with good reason: if we show partiality when judging a situation, we are possibly excusing good or justifying evil.
James 2:9 (ESV): But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors.
We see examples of Jesus trying to break this habit by continually using the most esteemed of professions in a less than favorable light. At the same time, Jesus would exalt those who the people would rather have nothing to do with. We see the parable of the Good Samaritan exhibiting all of these characteristics (Luke 10:25-37). The Jews were known to dislike the Samaritans to the point they would not even speak to them in passing. That is why the parable of the Good Samaritan is so powerful. A Jew was beaten/robbed and left for dead, when a priest and Levite did not stop to help to him (vs. 31-32). It was not until the least likely person to help a Jew came by, that he received the care that he needed.
John 7:24 (ESV): Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment.
It would not be difficult to imagine the outrage that many people felt as Jesus appeared to be attacking the most esteemed in His parables. But it was not only in His parables that He would speak against the evil committed by the scribes and teachers of the law.
Mark 12:38-40 (NKJV): Then He said to them in His teaching, “Beware of the scribes, who desire to go around in long robes, love greetings in the marketplaces, the best seats in the synagogues, and the best places at feasts, who devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. These will receive greater condemnation.”
Jesus understood the problem of the people excusing sin if they considered the person to be in a prestigious position. He also understood the problem of condemning a person because they were a Samaritan, tax collector, or any position people felt was less than ethical. We should not find ourselves judging any situation without the evidence and we surely should not judge innocence or guilt based on our preconceived notions. Whether those notions have us correct some or most of the time, God shows no partiality (Romans 2:11).
By: Undre Griggs, Jr.
Christians are to be a holy nation and find joy outside of the joys of the world. This is largely due to the fact that the world is full of evil and darkness. We see so much evil, crime, and mistreatment that it can deter us from doing good. We are confused and bewildered when we see righteousness considered evil and evil considered righteousness. Often times, many consider the commandment to be spotless in the world a difficult task; but we should consider it a necessary task. We should look at it like the task of eating and staying hydrated. A person who abstains from the joys of the world is going to be a healthier person (mentally and physically) than someone who is a part of the world.
1 Peter 2:9 (ESV): But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
When we remain in the light of Christ, we are able to cut through the darkness of the world and every action we take contrary to the world will be an opportunity to proclaim the Gospel. People are looking for change and people understand the warmth that light creates. Unfortunately, that does not change the difficulty that we will face as we attempt to shine our light.
1 John 2:15-16 (NIV): Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world.
That is why we need to frequently spend time with likeminded Christians. We need to congregate together in the assembly of God whenever we have an opportunity to attend. It is necessary because we need to recharge and strengthen our spiritual body from continuous persecution (Romans 12:2). The church is that refuge built on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Titus 2:14 (NKJV): who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.
His love for us is evident when we look at the safe haven He built for us. He built us a place to learn, laugh, sing, and praise His holy and beloved name. It is His sacrifice that strengthens us to do good works while we are being persecuted and it is His sacrifice that purifies us in a world of full of hate.
By: Undre Griggs, Jr.
Jesus said to love one another (John 13:34). Do we meditate on how we can do this? Do we understand the selflessness that is required of us to be able to love one another?
1 Corinthians 13:4-8 (ESV): Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.
We must love one another with a love that we do not expect to be repaid. Remember, it is better to give than receive (Acts 20:35). And why must we love one another in the manner we read in 1 Corinthians 13?
1 John 4:20 (ESV): Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen.
Now some will say, well I don’t hate them. Hate is such a strong word and I don’t know if I hate anyone. We have to understand the word hate did not mean to them what it does to us today. The Greek word for hate here can be translated as “loving less than another” or simply “love less”. For example, you read in,
Luke 14:26 (ESV): If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.
Jesus is not telling us to hate our family the way we understand hate today. He is telling us, we have to love our family and ourselves less than we love serving the Lord. Jesus didn’t want His disciples to be doubled minded and hindered by a greater commitment to themselves and/or their family. John is telling us the same thing when he says we cannot love our brothers and sisters less than we love God. This concept is consistent with the parable of the sheep and the goat.
Matthew 25:44-45 (NKJV): “Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’
We do not have the ability to love man less than we love God; because the manner in which we love our fellow brother is the exact manner in which God will consider our love for Him.
By: Undre Griggs, Jr.
This was the bold proclamation a newspaper made in response to a mass shooting in California. Included in this article were quotes from several politicians and public figures encouraging prayers for the victims. The premise of the article: politicians have the ability to end gun violence and instead are speaking platitudes, asking people to pray for the victims.
Isaiah 26:4 (ESV): Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.
Prayer is the most powerful tool in our arsenal and with good reason; we do not have much of an ability to alter and/or control life. Consider a hurricane that is going to reach our shore in a week. We can prepare for the hurricane by boarding windows, buying nonperishables, water, and other supplies; but we cannot ensure the hurricane won’t kill us. Our lawmakers can create mandatory evacuation laws, but they cannot force us to leave our home; nor can they guarantee we won’t die in a car accident during the evacuation. God is the only consistent thing in this life and He wants us to lean on him.
Proverbs 3:5 (NKJV): Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.
We frequently find an excessive belief in man to solve our problems will lead to disappointment, heart ache, and suffering. You may recall the story of Bernie Madoff. He was a financier and stock broker who had 4,800 clients investing with his firm. Despite the investigations and red flags, his clients continued to trust in him because of the results he was promising. In 2009, Madoff was sentenced to 150 years in prison with $170B in restitution for stealing from his clients in an elaborate Ponzi scheme. Many were paid back pennies on the dollar and lost their retirement and entire life savings.
Jeremiah 17:5-6 (NIV): This is what the Lord says: “Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who draws strength from mere flesh and whose heart turns away from the Lord. That person will be like a bush in the wastelands; they will not see prosperity when it comes. They will dwell in the parched places of the desert, in a salt land where no one lives.
From a practical standpoint; if everyone prayed before acting, the extra time spent gathering thoughts would be beneficial to the outcome. From a spiritual standpoint, praying for the victims to be healed and their families to be comforted should be encouraging to all. In the end, it is always important to remember that prayer and other acts of faith will lead us to express our faith further. Similar to Noah’s faith motivating him to build the ark; our prayer for the victims may move us to visit them in the hospital or send a card to their family. It may even promote advocacy to where we work with lawmakers to create necessary change in our society. Prayer should be the first and last thing we do, not because we don’t want to help in other ways, but because we want to make sure the right change takes place.