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"A righteous man hates lying, but a wicked man is loathsome and comes to shame." Proverbs 13:5 When a person is born again, his nature is changed and that becomes obvious to all. He suddenly loves God and is filled with love for the things of God. He has come to love what God loves, and hate what God hates. And among the things God hates is lying. Throughout his Word God repeats again and again his hatred for lying. "These six things the Lord hates, yes, seven are an abomination to him: a proud look, a lying tongue..." Proverbs 6:16-17 "Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who deal truthfully are his delight." Proverbs 12:22 Why is that so? Well one reason is that lying is the very character of the enemy of our souls. Jesus said of Satan: "When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar AND THE FATHER OF IT." John 8:44 The FATHER ...of lies. So when one lies, he can be sure that it is prompted by Satan himself. He puts himself in league with Satan. Because the liar is under the influence of Satan, the ramifications are severe: "But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all LIARS shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” Revelation 21:8 That doesn't mean that every person who has lied is going to hell, because everyone has lied. What it means is that the person whose nature is to lie - is of the devil and you can't walk with Satan your whole life and then think that you'll go with Jesus when you die. The nature of Jesus is truth: “Jesus said to him, 'I am the way, THE TRUTH, and the life.'" John 14:6 Truth is the nature of God. He who is born again will love truth by nature. His nature has been changed, and he is drawn to truth because that is the nature of God. "Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice." John 18:37 This is not to be taken lightly, because God does not take it lightly. If you see in yourself that there isn't a love for truth, it might be a good idea to go to the Lord and ask if you really have been born again. Not being drawn to truth might be an indication to you that though you might be religious, your nature hasn't been changed and truth is a dispensable commodity to you, a good thing to have maybe, but not crucial. The point is that the nature of God is truth and the nature of Satan is lies, therefore look at your nature and see which one best describes you.

"For the enemy has persecuted my soul, he has crushed my life to the ground, he has made me dwell in darkness, like those who have long been dead. Therefore my spirit is overwhelmed within me; my heart within me is distressed." Psalm 143:3-4 Every believer is going to walk through times so painful that it will cause him to stagger. He feels absolutely crushed, and it seems like all is darkness around him. He is overwhelmed. Why is this so? Well, for two reasons. First, Satan does all he can to destroy the believer, and he very nearly succeeds; do not underestimate him. The believer can be brought down to where he is totally helpless, and he's shocked, having never expected this. He staggers under the weight of the emotion that engulfs him, whether it be through loss, rejection, death of a loved one, illness, loss of his/her job with no other recourse, the unexpected turn-around against him of someone in the family or someone he thought was a close friend. The stories are endless but the bottom line is that every believer will pass through a time when the rug has been pulled out from under him and he is left reeling. The second reason is that there are things we need to learn that we can learn only through suffering. Suffering changes everything. It sobers one up. The lessons learned through suffering are deep and profound, and the believer will never be the same afterwards. When I was new in the Lord, I told him that "I want it all, Lord," I wanted to grow as close to him as one can be close to his God. I realized that this passage through this lifetime is boot camp, a preparation, and I trusted the Lord to the degree that I wanted anything and everything that would conform me to his image. At that time I had no idea how much pain would be involved in the answer to that prayer. As it turned out, I journeyed through every one of the things listed above, every single one of them, one at a time. Had I known how painful it was going to be, I wonder whether I would have prayed that prayer. But ...it brings me to the bottom line and that is that I wanted all that is needed to mature me to the greatest level I could attain to, because we only get one passage through this life, and then it's eternity. I was willing to invest all, for the sake of eternity. And now, years later, I know I'd do it again, for the treasure gained is incomparable, indescribable, and it is eternal. So how does one walk in times of great suffering? One thing that helps greatly is to bring back to mind all that the Lord has done in one's life in the past. We go on day by day, and we seldom stop and remember the great stories in our lives, and how the Lord made all the difference in our world. It's a time to think back. For those who keep a journal, it's a time to go back and refresh your mind on the stories you might have forgotten if you had not written them down. Rereading what the Lord did in those stories will refresh one's awareness that we never, EVER, walk through the stories of our lives alone. vs 5-6: "I remember the days of old, I meditate on all your works; I muse on the work of your hands. I spread out my hands to you, my soul longs for you like a thirsty land." When we're in a time of great learning, we are to pray that the Lord lead in every aspect of what we're going through. He is our source, sometimes our ONLY source. It becomes very clear that it matters not what anyone says, only what HE says. The counsel of friends is unsure, but HE is sure. It strengthens our faith, and solidifies the knowledge that this story is between him and me, and only between him and me. The only role friends may play is in the sympathy they offer, but that is moot compared to the knowledge that this is between me and my God alone. It has to be this way. All others will fall short, only he has the knowledge of all that has made up our lives, only he has the perspective and understanding of the goal this story is leading to. He is the ONLY one who can bring us through to the desired end. vs 8: "Cause me to know the way in which I should walk, for I lift up my soul to you." Later, when the story is complete and we are returned to some semblance of peace, we look back and see what the Lord accomplished even though he seemed so absent at the time. He never was absent, but when darkness overwhelms us it SEEMS that he is absent. When he does not speedily solve the problem, it SEEMS that he is absent. When the time through suffering is long, it SEEMS that he is absent. But later we will come to see that he was very, very present, and we rejoice in the changes that our passage through suffering brought about in us and in our lives. vs 10: "Teach me to do your will, for you are my God. Your Spirit is good, lead me in the land of uprightness." Yes, teach me Lord. Teach me all I can know about you. Teach me, because truly you and you alone are my God. You are everything to me and I surrender all to you because I have learned to trust you, and you alone ... and gladly so.

"Jesus said, 'Take away the stone.' Martha, the sister of him who was dead, said to him, 'Lord, by this time there is a stench, for he has been dead four days.'" John 11:39 The scene is at the graveyard where Mary and Martha's brother Lazarus was buried in a cave. Jesus told the attendants to roll back the huge stone that covered the entrance. Imagine what they must have thought when he told them to roll the stone away! In fact, Martha told him that Lazarus has been dead now for four days and if they roll back the stone there's going to be a stench, especially after four days of Middle Eastern heat. But they rolled back the stone, and were totally unprepared for what Jesus was going to do next. Not in their wildest dreams… vs 41: "Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead man was lying. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, 'Father, I thank you that you have heard me.'" Four days before, when someone had been sent to Jesus asking him to come because his friend Lazarus was sick, Jesus waited four long days before going. Mary and Martha were appalled that he didn't come when they called for him, because they knew it was crucial that he come NOW, because Lazarus was dying. But Jesus did ONLY what the Father directed him to do, and the Father directed him to WAIT. Have you expected Jesus to show up - yet it was as though he hadn't heard you? When God says "wait," you can expect something greater than the request you had put in. Jesus knew there was a greater result coming than the desired healing of Lazarus. After four days Jesus showed up. And everyone was watching: Can you imagine the wonder… vs 43: “Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth!” They watched, and waited ...and then: vs 44: "And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with grave-clothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, 'Loose him, and let him go.'” "LOOSE HIM ..." Salvation is a supernatural miracle in every person who comes to the Lord, in every one who has been brought out of darkness into the light of Christ. Every person who is born again has been taken out of death and brought into new life. He saves us - then he looses us from what has bound us. The miracle of salvation doesn't stop there. After Lazarus was brought out of death into life, out of darkness into light, there was more - Jesus said, "Loose him and let him go." When a person has been walking in the world for a long time, when he has lived in sin, he needs more than just salvation. He needs to be loosed, to be set free from those things that controlled him, and this miracle is as great as the first. Many of us have been praying for a long time for loved ones to come to the Lord and be saved, and we've learned only too well that our arguments with them are not able to bring them in. But when the prayer is answered, then we know we've seen a miracle, for the grace of repentance is a supernatural gift from God, and is not the result of OUR efforts to persuade them. Only God can bring them in, and he knows the best time and place and circumstances needed to bring them into his Kingdom. He knows HOW to best approach them. He knows what they will respond to, and what they will not. While waiting - TRUST him! One of the greatest things one can witness in life is to see how a newly born-again person's life changes drastically. The things of his former life pass away, and everything becomes new. "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." 2 Corinthians 5:17 Friends, when you pray for the salvation of a loved one, don't stop there. Pray for the grace of repentance, and ask for the total restoration of the sinner. Ask that he/she be loosed from the grave clothes that had kept him bound. And prepare yourself to witness a miracle.