Giver of Good   

James 1: 17

Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation, or shifting shadow.

Every good gift comes from our Father who is in heaven.  Where do you suppose every bad gift comes from?  Not the Father of lights, for there is no darkness in Him, no hint even of a shadow.  Honestly this sounds like a very simple principle.  Well, I suppose it is, but people get confused about it all of the time.  John 10: 10 tells us that the devil comes only to steal, kill and destroy and this verse tells us that good gifts come from our Father.  Why is it, then, that so many people think that God sent them cancer or some other portion of the curse.  He is the Father of light, the author of the blessing.  The devil is the one trying to kill you.

In 2 Corinthians 12: 7 Paul tells us about his “thorn in the flesh.”  Now some folks will tell you that God gave Paul that thorn in the flesh.  I don’t know how they get there intellectually since the verse says plainly that it was a messenger of Satan.  Do we think that God sent a messenger of Satan to Paul?  Well, of course not.  That is silly.  So why do we think God sends us thorns in our flesh?  Well, the answer is that we have been deceived.  The devil is a liar and the Father of lies according to Jesus (John 8: 44).  We don’t have to believe his lies though.  And we must be diligent to know the Word of God so that the devil cannot deceive us any longer.


Proverb 6: 16 – 19

There are six things which the Lord hates, yes, seven which are an abomination to Him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that run rapidly to evil, a false witness who utters lies and one who spreads strife among brothers.

This is an amazing passage to me. First of all, it is so interesting that of the things God hates, I mean really hates, He has included haughty eyes and a lying tongue. Now we all expect Him to hate hands that shed innocent blood, feet that run to evil and a heart that devises wickedness. I don’t imagine any of that is a surprise but what about the haughty eyes and lying tongue? Did you think that God hates those as much as the others?

Secondly, the haughty eyes and lying tongue are mentioned before those heinous attributes that we all recognize as wicked. Also, the author uses a body part to describe each of the things that God hates until He gets to the end. He starts with eyes, then tongue, hands, heart and feet. When he gets to the end he just goes straight to talking about God hating a person who does these things. That is really strong. You may not have thought that spreading strife was that big a deal or making false statements, but it seems to me that those two don’t even get the benefit of a body part to hide behind. The writer just levels those straight at anyone who participates in that kind of behavior.

Lastly, I am struck that three of the things God hates have to do with how we use our mouths and two of them have to do with lying specifically. This is a great revelation. These things are an abomination to God. He hates a lying tongue, a false witness who utters lies and one who spreads strife. The first two are pretty obvious. As for strife, how is that usually spread? By the words of our mouths usually. Look, Jesus described himself as the truth so of course lying and bearing false witness are an abomination to the Lord. The truth and a lie cannot exist together. The devil, God’s mortal enemy, is the father of lies (John 8: 44) so we have no business having any part in deception of any sort. Jesus is the truth and the Holy Spirit was called, by Jesus, the Spirit of truth (John 14: 17) which stands to reason since Jesus is the truth. So, the truth is completely incompatible with deception and lying. We must choose. It is either truth or deception, God or the devil. You cannot have it both ways. Choose truth in all circumstances and don’t grieve the heart of God.

The Simple Truth

Proverbs 19:22

What is desirable in a man is his kindness, and it Is better to be a poor man than a liar.

I appreciate when God is very clear about what He wants in and from us and this verse certainly meets that litmus test. Obviously there are two parts to this. First, kindness is a premium value in God’s heart. We saw from our study of 1 Corinthians 13 that one of God’s characteristics is that He is kind. He wants us to be people of kindness too. Maybe He even expects it of us.

Kindness is one of those things which can be demonstrated in many ways. Often, kindness is found in the small matters. I think of it as preferring others’ comfort. Some people seem to have a talent for doing the small things that just make you feel better. Others of us are going to have to be purposeful about kindness. Sometimes kindness is found in the way we speak to others and well as the way we behave. The thing we can do is to ask our Father to teach us about His kindness and then be sensitive to how He leads us.

The second part of this verse really amazes me. One might expect that this is a message which never need be spoken and yet I am continually amazed at how Christians will bend the truth, avoid the truth, deceive, mislead and even outright lie. If you looked up the things God hates last week then you know that two of them are liars (Proverb 6: 16 – 19). With that staring at us, how can we still play around with this. God tells us it is better to be poor than a liar, this coming from a guy who paves His driveway with gold. Jesus told us that lies and lying are of the devil (John 8: 44) so we must do whatever is necessary to walk in the truth.

Do you think it odd that these two ideas are contained in the same sentence? It is as if God says to us that we cannot accomplish the first directive, to be kind, without first abolishing lies from our lives. And here is a news flash, just in case you didn’t know, many times, most times probably, people know when you are lying to them. They may not say anything to you (probably because they are exercising kindness) but they know. Think of that the next time you are tempted to lie. Just think, “This person is going to know that I am lying to them”. If that does not help you restrain yourself, then we need to have another discussion and that one will also involve the word kindness.

Because we truly love our Father, we want to please Him. Well, today’s verse is a prescription for doing just that. Honor others around you by telling them the truth and being kind. Remember, you do not have to do it on your own. Your Dad is happy to help you.

God is . . . joyful in truth

1 Corinthians 13: 4 – 6

Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth.

I hope you are enjoying this series on the characteristics of God. We continue with 1 Corinthians 13, delving into the very nature of God. Our Father is a God of truth. Jesus taught us that the devil is the father of lies (John 8: 44). He said of himself “I am the way, and the truth, and the life” (John 14: 6). So, Jesus told us that he is the truth and we discover from 1 Corinthians 13 that God (love) rejoices with the truth. Well, that is a no-brainer when you put the pieces together like that. Of course the Father rejoices with the truth because the truth is Jesus.

This is why lying is one of the things God hates (Proverb 6: 16 – 19). You can see why. Not only is Jesus the truth but Satan is the father of lies. Therefore, when people lie it is almost like worshiping the devil. It truly is choosing his lifestyle over Jesus’.

God rejoices in the truth and so should we. It isn’t always easy to tell the truth. I think we are afraid of the consequences of telling the truth but when you think this through, it becomes clear that the consequences of lying are higher. One cannot abide in Jesus and not also abide in truth. God speaks truth and in the truth there is freedom and power. Jesus said, “You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (John 8: 32). It seems obvious that God would rejoice in truth because love will always want you free. Abide in the truth. Abide in Jesus and rejoice with the Father.

Who’s Your Daddy

 John 8: 44

You are of your father the devil, and you want to do the desires of your father. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him.

Putting aside for the moment all of Jesus’ vitriolic comments about lying, let’s look at an interesting little phrase in this passage. Jesus calls the devil a murderer and says that he has been a murderer since the beginning. Okay, so Jesus, who did the devil murder? Can you think of one instance, especially early on where the devil murdered anyone? I wish to suggest that Jesus was referring to the Garden of Eden.

In Genesis 2:16 – 17 God said, “From any tree of the garden you may eat freely; but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you shall surely die.” Enter in the devil. I am sure he was able to hear what God said and plotted a way to get to God’s people. Fast forward to Genesis 3: 4; “And the serpent said to the woman, ‘You surely shall not die! For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.’” Now, how much of what the devil said was a lie? Look back at today’s verse. What did Jesus say about Satan? He said he is a liar. We have taken some of Satan’s words to be true. Eating from the tree would not make then like God, nor would it give them the complete knowledge of good and evil. How do I know? Look around you. Do you think humanity has always known right from wrong, good from evil? The real point of the story, though, is that God said that eating from the tree would cause death. Then the devil came along and twisted it and lied. He said, “You surely won’t die.” Wait a moment! God just said they would die. The devil lied to Eve and she believed him.

Jesus, thousands of years after this event, doesn’t just call Satan a liar for what he did to Eve and Adam. He also calls him a murderer because of the deception he created. Whatsmore, he says of the Jews who were attacking him that they are just like their father, the devil, and effectively calls them liars and murderers too.

Recall that this is a passage on lying. It is intriguing that in a discussion about truth, Jesus goes all the way back to the first lie. He doesn’t stop there though. He holds the devil responsible for the murder of Adam and Eve, and in fact, of all humanity. Then he convicts the Jews that were plotting against him, pronouncing them as liars and murderers. Further, their lying ways makes them, in Jesus’ eyes, sons of Satan. That is pretty steep. Jesus had tolerance for all sorts of people but he showed none for liars.

Set Apart

2 Thessalonians 2: 13

But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth.

Before time began, in the beginning when there was only the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, God chose you and predestined you for salvation. That is some good news and you could use a little good news. There has never been a moment throughout all of history that your Father has not has His mind on you. He predetermined when you would be born and He awaited that moment with great anticipation. 

By the grace and love of God you have been set apart, sanctified, to God. You were chosen. The love of God and the Spirit have called you out and you have been called specifically to this point of time. Your sanctification is by the Spirit of God and your belief, your faith in the truth.

The truth is a constant guide for us. Thy word is truth (John 17: 17). Jesus is the truth (John 14:6). The truth has set us apart and we are set apart for the truth. A lie will never lead us into our appointment. The devil is the father of lies (John 8: 44). Lies are what lead us away from our ordained position in Christ. That is what happened to Adam and Eve, they believed the lie instead of following the truth. They lost their way and lost their pre-ordained appointment with God. They were in the most enviable of positions but lost it all because they entertained the lie instead of adhering to the truth.

We all are in the same position today. We have been ordained, set apart, for such a time as this. Each one of us has a God anointed and ordained position in His family. We have been sanctified for this purpose by the Holy Spirit of God. Ultimately, though, it is our choice whom we shall serve. Shall we follow the truth and accept our inheritance through Christ who is Lord? Will we turn our eyes to the Word of truth and fill our spirits with the life of Jesus? Or, will we follow the lie? The world constantly floods our environment with the lies and fear. And those words can be very enticing and, of course, they appear to be the truth if we don’t hold them up to the light because the devil is a deceiver. He makes the false look true and the truth to look ridiculous. It takes an effort to follow the truth but that is why Jesus gave us the Spirit. He will always lead us in the truth and pave the way to our glorious position in the Father. 

Your faith in the truth has set you apart for God’s glory. Never take your eyes off of that which saves.