Month: January 2020

Grace and Truth

John 1:14
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.


Written by: Brett Humphrey

Jennifer and I have been married for over 30 years and we have three adult children.

She knows me better than anyone else and, for some reason, she still loves me after all this time. I trust her and am willing to hear the truth from her, because I know she loves me. When our kids were younger and I would discipline them, I would ask her to tell me whether I was too harsh with them or not. If she told me I was harsh, I didn’t like it, but I would listen to her and go back and ask my kids to forgive me for being strict with them. If she told me she thought I did a good job, I would believe that too and go on from there. Jennifer still shows me grace and because of that, I’m willing to hear the truth from her as well.

Jesus was 100% grace and 100% truth, all the time. He shows His love for us by telling us the truth and showing us grace at the same time. We must face the truth if we want to grow in Jesus and the truth isn’t always fun to hear. Jesus has given us the grace we need to follow Him when things are good and things are bad. He is also gracious enough to show us truth if we’re having trouble identifying what’s true in a particular situation.

Fight-1.24Thought of the day: Since we need to face the truth to grow in Jesus, we should ask Him to show us if there are areas in our lives where we’re deceiving ourselves. We then accept the grace He has for us to change those things.

Prayer: Jesus, thank You that You are full of grace and truth. Thank You for providing examples of how facing the truth has helped me grow. Even if I don’t feel I can trust anyone else to show me the truth, help me to realize I trust You and You love me enough to see good things for me. Help me see Your grace and truth at work in my life today.

Buckle Up, Warriors!

John 3:21
But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.


Written by: Chris Moss

At Sun Valley, we often say “It doesn’t matter who you are, what you’ve done or what’s been done to you, God loves you.”

Nothing you or I have done is in darkness anymore. God sees everything and He doesn’t miss a detail. God’s extraordinary love shines light and exposes darkness all because He loves us. It shouldn’t be surprising that the first piece of armor we buckle on is the “belt of truth.”

As we learn about God’s truths, the light exposes our own. Sometimes the light reveals good truth about us and our past. And sometimes, it reveals secrets. Secrets have a way of destroying us slowly from the inside out. We have all seen leaders who fell from grace because of the secrets they kept. What secrets do you keep? Maybe it’s the family secrets, the indulgences from the pantry, the glow of just one more video on that website you should block, or even that little mistruth you just told? Anything we do in secret prevents us from fighting our good fight.

How do we use truth to deal with our secrets? When the Holy Spirit reveals a secret (because sometimes we just don’t recognize they are there), we need to confess our sins to one another (James 5:16) and to God to experience healing.

Fight-1.23Thought of the day: The belt of truth is our first weapon. No other weapon after truth will be as effective if we don’t start with a bedrock of honesty. There are no secrets that can destroy us if we confess our sins to someone safe and to God. Find a trusted Christian friend, a counselor, or a small group leader and talk about your secret. If you have a habit, a hurt, or a hang-up, attend Celebrate Recovery. Your good fight depends on truth exposed by the light of God’s love.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, help me buckle up my belt of truth! Free me from the secrets. Reveal the half-truths, the mistruths, and omissions that make me a wounded warrior. Help me to get clarity on any misunderstandings the Holy Spirit reveals. Free me from my bad habits and replace them with new and healthy habits. Let me honestly claim my belt of truth and wear it boldly so I can be a mighty warrior in this fight against evil. In Jesus’ name, amen.

To the Full

John 10:10
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.


Written by: Sarah Gauer

God created each one of us with a deep desire to live a full, abundant life. Our souls long to be nourished and satisfied. It is this very design that draws us to Jesus, our sustainer!

Ever since the Garden of Eden, the enemy has been feeding us the lie that we can live an abundant life through our own strength. At one time or another, most of us have bought into this lie and sought to satisfy the longing of our souls with things that make us feel good in the moment, but don’t last.

Jesus offers us something different. Through Him, we have an invitation to live free and full. With this invitation, we have two choices:

1. Ignore it. 
Sometimes it’s easier to stay in the comfort of our routines, doing things the way we’ve always done them. If we don’t ignore Jesus’ invitation to live a full life as one who follows and trusts in Him, we might have to do hard things. We might have to face our fears, our past, our pain, a difficult conversation, or perhaps even ask for help.

2. Embrace it.
Our second choice is to embrace the wonder and vitality of it, letting Jesus into every part of our lives and hearts, trusting Him fully with each next step. We have the choice to let Him heal our broken pieces and experience the joy and intimacy of being fully known and fully loved.

Fight-1.22Thought of the day: Living life to the full means getting real and getting close with Jesus. What area of your life can you let Jesus into today that will help you embrace fullness?

Prayer: Jesus, thank You for what you have done for me and Your invitation to live a full, abundant life through You. Help me to share all of myself with You so that I may experience the joy of this fullness and share it with others. Amen.

Stand in Truth

Proverbs 16:2
All a man’s ways seem innocent to him, but motives are weighed by the Lord.


Written by: Larry Van Laar

When we take on the “belt of truth,” we are saying that we will be honest with others and ourselves. While it is sometimes tempting to lie by misrepresenting ourselves or to downplay uncomfortable truths to avoid conflict, dishonesty is never good for relationships or our spiritual growth. Truth spoken to friends should always be done with gentleness and understanding. Speaking truth to ourselves is of the utmost importance. Honesty and truth begin within our hearts. Our Lord does not just weigh the words we speak, but also all of the motivations of those words and their implications. Proverbs 16:2 says that “All a person’s ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the Lord.” Standing strong in our spiritual battles begins with the honesty of our own hearts first. This is the first step in growing to look more like Jesus.

Fight-1.21Thought of the day: We often judge others by their actions, yet, we judge ourselves by our intentions. This statement should be reversed. Speak truth to others with compassion and gentleness. Speak truth to ourselves with honest reflection and unyielding resolve.

Prayer: Lord, show me where I am not living a life that is honest and true. Help me to be honest with myself first and others second. Give me wisdom and grace to know the difference.

Freedom

John 8:32
“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”


Written by: Brian Kuhn

Have you ever overreacted to something and later realized your response was over the top? You are not alone! Sometimes our foggy perspective is rooted in past hurts and hang-ups rather than the truth of God’s grace and goodness. Our viewpoints and perceptions are blurred, and the truth of the situation is far from our vantage point when we are caught up in the moment. Our foggy perspective needs to be wiped clean with the truth of God’s word.

Truth is the most important piece of the armor of God as it holds all of the other parts in place. Without the belt of truth, all other parts are not secure, and we become vulnerable to outside influences. When we are not truthful with ourselves, we fall into the trap of believing everything is good: “I’m good, I’m good, I’m all good.” We begin to believe we can do life without God and become a shell of who we are.

God grants us the freedom to be who we are: broken and falling far short of His grace. When we live in the truth, we give ourselves the freedom to be who we are. We can admit we need help. We can admit we don’t have it all together. We can be open and honest with ourselves and those around us. This sets us free to call on God and others for guidance.

Fight-1.20Thought of the day: What are you not being honest with yourself about?

Prayer: Father, thank You for another day to live in Your glory. Reveal to me where I am not being truthful with myself and others. Help me to have the freedom to be OK right where I am, knowing You are there to help me grow in Your presence. Help me to know the truth and give me the freedom to be set free. Thank You for all You have done and continue to do in my life. Amen.