Tag Archive | John Quincy Adams

Truth: Living Beyond Our Expectations

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We’ve all heard it said, from parents, grandparents, and probably countless episodes of The Waltons or Little House On The Prairie…

“A man’s word is his bond.”

There was a time, not too long ago, in which honesty was valued, commended, and expected. Here was some thoughts about honesty from some people more famous than I am…

Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom. ~ Thomas Jefferson

No legacy is so rich as honesty. ~ William Shakespeare

The high road is always respected.
Honesty and integrity are always rewarded. ~ Scott Hamilton

Fear1Dishonesty has been around since the Garden of Eden. Original sin was the result of dishonesty and deception, when the serpent enticed Eve to partake of the forbidden fruit. Since then, men have cajoled and connived their way through history. And while there was a time in the not-too-distant past when honesty was put up on a pedestal as the “golden standard” by which we should live, society began to take a much more cynical view of this virtue…

All men profess honesty as long as they can. To believe all men honest would be folly. To believe none so is something worse.~ John Quincy Adams

The most important thing in acting is honesty.
If you can fake that, you’ve got it made. ~ George Burns

In his song Honesty, singer/songwriter Billy Joel made this appeal…

But I don’t want some pretty face
To tell me pretty lies.
All I want is someone to believe.

Candidate XSomeone to believe. We all desire to be spoken the truth.Whether it is a doctor giving us a diagnosis, a politician making campaign promises, or a child explaining how the expensive vase ended up on the floor in a thousand pieces, we all want people to be straight with us. The fact is, however, that we have become accustomed to much less. In politics, lies and “back-room deals” have become expected, and we have grown too complacent to alter the modus operandi. On television, we see dishonesty given a pass — even glorified — as long as it serves some noble purpose, whether on a sitcom or the nightly news. As a pastor, I cannot tell you how many marriages and families I have seen torn apart because of dishonesty and deception.

So what does God’s Word have to say about honesty and truth?

In Psalms 15:1-2, the psalmist writes…

Lord, who may abide in Your tabernacle?
Who may dwell in Your holy hill?
    He who walks uprightly,
And works righteousness,
And speaks the truth in his heart…

In 1 John 5:20, we find that truth is a very attribute of who God is…

And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.

After David’s sin with Bathsheba, as he repented in Psalm 51, he says this in verse 6…

Behold, You desire truth in the inward parts,
And in the hidden part You will make me to know wisdom.

In John 4:23-24, Jesus tells us what true worship looks like…

But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.

Throughout Scripture, God puts a pretty high value on truth.

So why should we settle for less in our lives, homes, churches, communities, and government?

CoffeeI would contend that we are not too far gone. I would argue that we are not beyond expecting truth — regardless of how painful — from those around us. Getting back to a place of truth and honesty might be painful for a season, but once we you get there with God’s help, and make that your expectation,  you will be amazed at the freedom that accompanies truth. As the saying goes… “The truth will set you free!”

So friend, I encourage you… get back to the truth. Live it. Walk in it. Operate in it. Find the freedom that is yours in Christ through living a life as He did… in truth.

I leave you with a quote by the late Zig Ziglar…

Honesty and integrity are absolutely essential for success in life – all areas of life. The really good news is that anyone can develop both honesty and integrity.

Freedom’s Holy Light

Lady LibertyA sailor was on his way out of Algeria aboard a ship that contained a sick missionary. Right before the missionary died, he pointed his hand toward the distant horizon and spoke prophetically: “There lies a land there where the seas wash. There is a native people there that have never heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

When the sailor finally arrived home, he told his son – and later his grandson – what the missionary had told him. When the grandson grew older, he also became a sailor. He remembered the old missionary’s words, and wrote many letters and diary entries expressing his desire to see the inhabitants of that land convert to Christianity.

The land the missionary spoke of was America.

The sailor’s grandson was Cristoforo Colombo, or as we know him, Christopher Columbus.

KS77810From the very beginning, our nation had, at it’s very core, a foundation centered on faith in God. While liberals and history revisionists would like to erase every mention of God from the history books, there is no denying the reliance our Founding Fathers placed on The Almighty. Don’t believe me? Listen to them, in their own words…

“The general principles, on which the Fathers achieved independence, were the only Principles in which that beautiful Assembly of young Gentlemen could Unite, and these Principles only could be intended by them in their address, or by me in my answer. And what were these general Principles? I answer, the general Principles of Christianity, in which all these Sects were United…”
~ John Adams, 2nd U.S. President

“God who gave us life gave us liberty. And can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties are of the Gift of God? That they are not to be violated but with His wrath? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever…” ~ Thomas Jefferson, 3rd U.S. President

“Let us then, unite in offering our most grateful acknowledgments for these blessings to the Divine Author of All Good.”~ James Monroe, 5th U.S. President

“The hope of a Christian is inseparable from his faith. Whoever believes in the divine inspiration of the Holy Scriptures must hope that the religion of Jesus shall prevail throughout the earth.” ~ John Quincy Adams, 6th U.S. President

I could go on and on… and on.

The 4th verse of the song My Country, ‘Tis of Thee sums up the prayers and petitions of these great men appropriately…

KS77849

Our fathers’ God to Thee,
Author of liberty,
To Thee we sing.
Long may our land be bright,
With freedom’s holy light,
Protect us by Thy might,
Great God our King.

Freedom’s Holy Light still burns brightly in America…

That Holy Light which was ignited in the hearts of her Founders, kindled by the dreams of her citizens, fueled by the blood of her soldiers, and sustained in the hearts of her children. It was the Holy Flame that burned brightly during two Great Awakenings, at the Cane Ridge Revival, the Finney Awakening, in the streetlamps of Azusa Street, and in the eyes of Billy Sunday and Billy Graham. It is that Guiding Light of God’s love that guided the Pilgrims to the shores of New England, kept freedom’s dream alive in the cold of Valley Forge, illuminated the heart of Abraham Lincoln during the dark nights of the Civil War, was the fire of freedom in the face of imperialism following December 7, 1941, and was the light of hope in the darkness of September 11, 2001.

It was the fire that blazed in the forge from whence came
the timeless inscription on the Liberty Bell:

“Proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof.”
~ Leviticus 25:10

So… let freedom ring.

Let the sound of freedom be heard in the cries of repentance of the people of God. Let the church rise and once again be the vessel that unashamedly bears the message of forgiveness and hope that the world needs to hear.

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where
the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” ~ II Corinthians 3:17

No amount of legislation or Supreme Court rulings will change America… only the cross of Jesus can bring real change.

No amount of political correctness will change a single heart… only the love of Jesus can turn a heart of stone to a heart of flesh.

No amount of wealth-redistribution can force an ounce of compassion… only identifying with the tears of Jesus can break our hearts for a dying world.

It’s time for we as American Christians to wake up, get up, and go. It’s time for us to get on our knees and pray for a breakthrough… in the White House, the Statehouse, the schoolhouse, and the churchhouse. It’s time for us to be salt and light, look the world squarely in the face and say, “This is going to sting, but THIS is the truth, and the truth will set you free.” It’s time for us to BE the revival we have been praying for, and put our lives out there for that which He gave up His life. It’s time for us to stop asking for God to bless America, but for we as Americans to start blessing Him – through obedience, sacrifice, and holiness.

On this July 4th, I leave you with the words of President George Washington, from his Inaugural Address of 1789:

“In tendering this homage to the Great Author of every public and private good I assure myself that it expresses your sentiments not less than my own; nor those of my fellow-citizens at large, less than either. No People can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible hand, which conducts the Affairs of men more than the People of the United States.” KS77759

May America bless God once again.

“I will bless the Lord at all times: His praise shall continually be in my mouth.” ~ Psalm 34:1