Welcome to the Truth@Life Blog Site by Curtis Songer

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Sunday, February 12, 2017

Part 2 of 3: Set Free - No Longer a Prisoner

You can be a Christian and be set free and no longer be in bondage, but still you choose to continue to live in bondage.

“To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.””
‭‭John‬ ‭8:31-32‬ ‭

In WW2, it took almost a week for the news of Hitler's death to reach nearly the entire world.  Until that news arrived, many soldiers kept fighting and being enslaved to the war and the possibility of defeat!

Everyone has the opportunity to know the truth and to be set free.  But many people have lived in bondage to sim for so long, that they don't know how to live any other way.

“Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.””
‭‭Genesis‬ ‭4:6-7‬ ‭

You can overcome it, because God gives you the strength.  How do you live in victory.  Three things:

1. Turn to Jesus and rely on Him.  “Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭6:12-14‬ ‭

If you turn away from sin, you must turn toward God.  You can't just turn away, you have to turn towards something.

2. You have to share your struggles with other people.  This is hard.  People don't like to admit they are vulnerable / weak / failing / incompetent.  This shouldn't be so hard because most of us have common struggles.  There are plenty of people out there who have the exact same struggles.  “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”
‭‭James‬ ‭5:16‬ ‭

We need an accountability and an encouragement partner.  Finish this sentence: "In 2017, I will share my struggles with ______________."

3. Fight for freedom.  “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.”
‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭10:3-4‬

Change happens when the pain of the same exceeds the pain of change.

In summary: “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.”
‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭5:8-9‬ ‭

For more truth about life, see...   www.truthatlife.com

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Week 1: Set Free - Being redeemed from being a slave to sin

Redeemed is being freed.
Abraham, Isaac, Jacob (Israel) & Esau, Joseph & 11 brothers.  400 years of slavery.
“So they put slave masters over them to oppress them with forced labor, and they built Pithom and Rameses as store cities for Pharaoh. But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread; so the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites and worked them ruthlessly. They made their lives bitter with harsh labor in brick and mortar and with all kinds of work in the fields; in all their harsh labor the Egyptians worked them ruthlessly.”
‭‭Exodus‬ ‭1:11-14‬ ‭

Slavery is being used ruthlessly.  The Israelites endured this for over 400 years!  Then Moses comes along and see a burning bush.

““Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” Then he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God. The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.””
‭‭Exodus‬ ‭3:5-10‬ ‭

God promised He will redeem the Israelites.  Why didn't they listen?

“Moses reported this to the Israelites, but they did not listen to him because of their discouragement and harsh labor.”
‭‭Exodus‬ ‭6:9‬ ‭

They didn't listen because they were distracted by their worldly concerns and they had no hope.

Pharaoh initially would not let them go, when pushed beyond his limits, he lets them go, then has a change of heart...

“When the king of Egypt was told that the people had fled, Pharaoh and his officials changed their minds about them and said, “What have we done? We have let the Israelites go and have lost their services!” So he had his chariot made ready and took his army with him. He took six hundred of the best chariots, along with all the other chariots of Egypt, with officers over all of them. The Lord hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, so that he pursued the Israelites, who were marching out boldly. The Egyptians—all Pharaoh’s horses and chariots, horsemen and troops—pursued the Israelites and overtook them as they camped by the sea near Pi Hahiroth, opposite Baal Zephon.”
‭‭Exodus‬ ‭14:5-9‬

The greatest army in the world is descending on a group of slaves - and they were scared to death!

“As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians, marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the Lord. They said to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, ‘Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians’? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!” Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.””
‭‭Exodus‬ ‭14:10-14‬ ‭

Sometimes slavery, as bad as it is, is familiar, and so we stay in it.

Only Moses has faith.  LIFE LESSON: The Lord will fight for you, if you will only be still.

Imagine you were an Israelite back then - put yourself in their place...

“Then the Lord said to Moses, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on. Raise your staff and stretch out your hand over the sea to divide the water so that the Israelites can go through the sea on dry ground. I will harden the hearts of the Egyptians so that they will go in after them. And I will gain glory through Pharaoh and all his army, through his chariots and his horsemen. The Egyptians will know that I am the Lord when I gain glory through Pharaoh, his chariots and his horsemen.” Then the angel of God, who had been traveling in front of Israel’s army, withdrew and went behind them. The pillar of cloud also moved from in front and stood behind them, coming between the armies of Egypt and Israel. Throughout the night the cloud brought darkness to the one side and light to the other side; so neither went near the other all night long. Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and all that night the Lord drove the sea back with a strong east wind and turned it into dry land. The waters were divided, and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left. The Egyptians pursued them, and all Pharaoh’s horses and chariots and horsemen followed them into the sea. During the last watch of the night the Lord looked down from the pillar of fire and cloud at the Egyptian army and threw it into confusion. He jammed the wheels of their chariots so that they had difficulty driving. And the Egyptians said, “Let’s get away from the Israelites! The Lord is fighting for them against Egypt.” Then the Lord said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea so that the waters may flow back over the Egyptians and their chariots and horsemen.” Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and at daybreak the sea went back to its place. The Egyptians were fleeing toward it, and the Lord swept them into the sea. The water flowed back and covered the chariots and horsemen—the entire army of Pharaoh that had followed the Israelites into the sea. Not one of them survived. But the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left. That day the Lord saved Israel from the hands of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians lying dead on the shore. And when the Israelites saw the mighty hand of the Lord displayed against the Egyptians, the people feared the Lord and put their trust in him and in Moses his servant.”
‭‭Exodus‬ ‭14:15-31‬

How did they respond:
Egyptians had hard hearts and plunged forward into their sin and destruction. They recognized God too late.

The Israelites followed God when there was no other choice.  Then, when they recognized His hand if protection, they were amazed.  Being freed, they were joyful!

Many who think they are free, are actually slaves.  Slavery is being controlled by another person or thing.  Excessive devotion to, or dependence on, something (alcohol, drugs, porn, work, money, materialism, power, food, exercise, video games).

Think about the Katie Perry hit single:  "Last Friday Night"
the song says there is no hope for change....This Friday night will be no different.  No hope - no change.  Slavery!
She needs to sing a song about "Last Saturday morning!"
How do you get set free?  Two words:  BY GRACE.  It's a free gift.  We think it can't be that easy.  It's free - a free gift.  Apart from the saving grace of God and His transformational way, there is no freedom - only different forms of slavery.

But don't think that is easy.  Surrendering to God is not easy.  Letting Him fight the fight is not easy.  Letting go and letting God is not easy.  We want to do our part.  We want to earn it.  We want to keep control.  We may fear what would happen if we gave complete, full control to God to do whatever He wants!  But He loves us and knows what is best for us.  Can you accept that?  Can you surrender your life so that God can truly free you?

For more truth about life, see...   www.truthatlife.com

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Step 3 for a Successful Life in 2017: Eat the Frog!

“Eat a live frog first thing every morning, and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” – Mark Twain
If you’re like most people, there is a task every day you procrastinate because it scares or overwhelms you. This task is your frog, and according to Mark Twain, you should eat it right away in the morning.The problem with procrastinating eating your frog is that it’s hard to concentrate on getting other things done; you’re too busy thinking about the frog you need to eat later. Also, putting it off makes it seem even more overwhelming because you have time to imagine every possible thing that could go wrong with the task.

Eating the frog early in the day gives you a sense of accomplishment, and it’s great to start the day feeling successful. Finishing your dreaded task immediately can give you the momentum you need to get other tasks done throughout your day. Plus, they’ll all seem easy compared to the frog you started with.
For more truth about life, see...   www.truthatlife.com

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Step 2 For a Successful Life in 2017: Set/Review the Schedule for the Following Day

Time is our most precious resource, and it’s irreplaceable. If you really want to be successful, you’ll need to plan how you’re spending your time.  It starts with defining your priorities which I covered un Step 1.  One way to do this is to take time each evening to write out a schedule (or review the schedule of activities on your calendar) for the next day. Writing out your schedule helps for three main reasons: It helps you maximize every hour you are awake; it helps you set aside time to focus on your priorities every day; and it helps you discover if you're wasting a lot of time. I recently read that the average American spends 5 hours a day watching TV. Setting a schedule will help you avoid the trap of time-suckers like TV.
For more truth about life, see...   www.truthatlife.com


Sunday, January 1, 2017

Some Great Parenting Tips for 2017

Family physician, psychologist and author Leondard Sax wants parents to know that they are “raising kids wrong.” The author of “Boys Adrift” and “Girls on the Edge” has written a new book, “The Collapse of Parenting: How We Hurt our Kids when We Treat them Like Grown-Ups.” 
“Most American parents are completely confused and going utterly in the wrong direction,” Sax said. “There’s a collapse of understanding what parenting involves.” He offered some solutions:
Have family meals at home and make that a top priority. “You have to communicate that our time together as a parent and child is more important than anything else,” he said. One study found that for each additional meal a family had together, the children were less likely to internalize problems such as anxiety or externalize problems such as skipping school. It also helped children develop good nutrition habits, lessening the obesity problem.
Take screens out of the bedroom. This includes cell phones, computers, TVs and video games. Kids are chronically sleep deprived, which leads to poor behavior and can even be the reason why kids are getting mental health diagnosis.
Put screens in public places and limit how they are used. This generation lives life in a virtual world. Online friends can quickly become more important than the friends children see in person. They don’t know how to communicate with someone face to face or have outside interests and hobbies. Video games also rewire the way their brains work. And what they post online never goes away. Install software like My Mobile Watchdog, which will share every photo that they take or post with you.
Teach humility. Give lessons that show children that they are not the most important people in the world. They need to be able to see the world through another lens and be able to handle rejection or failure. Teach your kids how to cope with defeat.  It's not always someone else's fault when they fail.  Not everyone gets a blue ribbon for participation in the real world.  It really cannot be “everybody gets a trophy.”
Have an alliance between the school and you. If your child did something, don’t approach  teachers or administrators with suspicion and distrust. “Parents swoop in like attorneys demanding evidence,” Sax said. Instead lessons of honesty and integrity should be enforced. That means that a brilliant kid who cheated takes the 0.
Parent what they do. No, your 14-year-old cannot go to a party with college students or to the beach for spring break. No, they will not be at parties where alcohol is served, and you will not be the one serving it. You have to think of worst-case scenarios like drinking and driving, alcohol poisoning and sexual assault, and know that these are not decisions that they are ready to make because they are not adults. They need an adult, and that’s you. And even if their peers’ parents are fine with something, you don’t have to be. “Other parents don’t have a clue at what they are doing,” Sax said. “That’s why what they are doing doesn’t have good outcomes.”
Some of those things, especially if they are new for your family, can be difficult and might be hard to enforce. Sax recommends persistence and commitment.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Step 1 For a Successful Life in 2017: Define your priorities.

What are your main three priorities in your life? What three things do you do with the majority of your time? Do your priorities match up with where you’re spending your time? If so, awesome. If not, you’ll need to work extra hard to be intentional about spending more time on your priorities, and getting rid of the junk that prevents you from doing what’s important to you. Really think about how you want to spend your life – you will likely only feel successful if you spend your time on what matters most to you.
For more truth about life, see...   www.truthatlife.com

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

A message from me to my kids.... What I want for Christmas

What do I want for Christmas? I want you. I want you to keep coming around, someday when you have your own - I want you to bring your kids around, I want you to ask me questions, ask my advice, tell me your problems, ask for my opinion, ask for my help. I want you to come over and rant about your problems, rant about life, whatever. Tell me about your job, your worries, your spouse & your kids (when you have them). I want you to continue sharing your life with me. Come over and laugh with me, or laugh at me, I don't care. Hearing you laugh is music to me. I spent the better part of my life raising you - now, give me time to sit back and admire my work, God's work, we're both I'm pretty proud of it. Raid my refrigerator, help yourself, I really don't mind. In fact, I wouldn't want it any other way. What do I want for Christmas? I want another year of you.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Part 1: Maxed Out

Our lives are maxed out.  This is especially true around the holidays.  And the busier we become, often the things we fail at first are the most important.  When we get too busy, bad things happen.  Is this the best way to live?  Jesus says "no."

What if the secret to a successful and fulfilling life is not doing more things, but doing more RIGHT things?

Where are you at?  Are you feeling maxed out?  Jesus has some answers.  There are some intentional things we can do to be more fulfilled and less maxed out.

Do you have margin in your life?  Downtime to reflect and dream?  Do you have spiritual margin - time to pray and meditate on God's Word?

Let's look at Mary and Martha...

“As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.””
‭‭Luke‬ ‭10:38-42‬ ‭

As the busyness in our lives increases, internal stress in our lives also increases, and our relational intimacy decreases!  WOW. Did you read that?  Think about it!

Martha was stressed and her relationships suffered greatly - with her sister and her God.

Jesus said Mary CHOSE the better way.  You have to intentionally build margin in your life.  We need to CHOOSE a fulfilled life, not a filled life.  Fulfilled lives are relational lives.  Why am I cursed with an ENTJ personality?

Ask your self the following questions:
Do I often feel stressed and maxed out?
Is my relationship with Jesus stressed?
Is my relationship with family stressed?
Is my relational intimacy with either lacking?
What am I continuing to hold onto things instead of dropping things that I need to let go of?

Dear God, please show me how to build margin in my life!  

For more truth about life, see...   www.truthatlife.com

Monday, November 28, 2016

Part 3: Politics & Flannel Graph Faith (the stories you learned in Sunday School seen in a new way)

“Then a new king, to whom Joseph meant nothing, came to power in Egypt. “Look,” he said to his people, “the Israelites have become far too numerous for us. Come, we must deal shrewdly with them or they will become even more numerous and, if war breaks out, will join our enemies, fight against us and leave the country.””
‭‭Exodus‬ ‭1:8-10‬ ‭

Given enough time (200 years) new leaders forget what was important to the original leaders.  Leaders driven by fear make very bad decisions!

The most common command in the Bible is to not fear.  It causes us to act the opposite way God desires us to act.
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”
‭‭1 John‬ ‭4:18‬ ‭

Things started going VERY BADLY for Israel.....
“So they put slave masters over them to oppress them with forced labor, and they built Pithom and Rameses as store cities for Pharaoh. But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread; so the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites and worked them ruthlessly. They made their lives bitter with harsh labor in brick and mortar and with all kinds of work in the fields; in all their harsh labor the Egyptians worked them ruthlessly.”
‭‭Exodus‬ ‭1:11-14‬ ‭

In Genesis 15:13, God told Abraham this would happen.  But He had a plan.  It felt awful to the people at the time, but it was all for the best.  It helped Israel to put their faith in God and not in the nation of Egypt.  Just like in America today.  So we freak out and worry about who will be elected.

“Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭13:1‬ ‭

God is always in charge.  Your faith cannot depend on your circumstances.

““When you are helping the Hebrew women during childbirth on the delivery stool, if you see that the baby is a boy, kill him; but if it is a girl, let her live.””
‭‭Exodus‬ ‭1:16‬ ‭

Sounds horrible, disgusting, unthinkable.  Right?  Inconceivable?  Yet Americans do it to 1,000,000 boy and girls every year.  It's called abortion.  To date, since Roe v Wade, Americans have killed over 50,000,000 children.  Makes Hitler, Stalin, and Castro not such bad guys in comparison!

Pharaoh's command did not work, so he comes up with another (worse) idea:
“The midwives, however, feared God and did not do what the king of Egypt had told them to do; they let the boys live. Then the king of Egypt summoned the midwives and asked them, “Why have you done this? Why have you let the boys live?” The midwives answered Pharaoh, “Hebrew women are not like Egyptian women; they are vigorous and give birth before the midwives arrive.” So God was kind to the midwives and the people increased and became even more numerous. And because the midwives feared God, he gave them families of their own. Then Pharaoh gave this order to all his people: “Every Hebrew boy that is born you must throw into the Nile, but let every girl live.””
‭‭Exodus‬ ‭1:17-22‬ ‭

One family prayed for a daughter so they would not experience this horrible tragedy.  But God gave them a son.  What would they do?

“and she became pregnant and gave birth to a son. When she saw that he was a fine child, she hid him for three months. But when she could hide him no longer, she got a papyrus basket for him and coated it with tar and pitch. Then she placed the child in it and put it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile. His sister stood at a distance to see what would happen to him.”
‭‭Exodus‬ ‭2:2-4‬ ‭

What a horrible situation, now what?  Read on - in the midst of all the horrible evil and chaos, God was still in control!

“Then Pharaoh’s daughter went down to the Nile to bathe, and her attendants were walking along the riverbank. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her female slave to get it. She opened it and saw the baby. He was crying, and she felt sorry for him. “This is one of the Hebrew babies,” she said. Then his sister asked Pharaoh’s daughter, “Shall I go and get one of the Hebrew women to nurse the baby for you?””
‭‭Exodus‬ ‭2:5-7‬ ‭

What a brave little girl and what a cool idea.  Who will she go get?

““Yes, go,” she answered. So the girl went and got the baby’s mother. Pharaoh’s daughter said to her, “Take this baby and nurse him for me, and I will pay you.” So the woman took the baby and nursed him. When the child grew older, she took him to Pharaoh’s daughter and he became her son. She named him Moses, saying, “I drew him out of the water.””
‭‭Exodus‬ ‭2:8-10‬ ‭

So God took Pharaoh's commandment and defied it, orchestrated a plan in which his own daughter in his own house would raise one of the Hebrews as the prince of Egypt!!! Moses will eventually be the savior of his people, used by God to deliver His people.  He is a foreshadowing of Jesus, the one true Savior.

What about you?  What have you placed your faith in?  God or your bank account or your nation.  Who or what is your functional savior?  Your reaction to the outcome of the election will answer that question.

Prepare your heart and your mind now.  Victory or defeat, your way or your opponent's, how will you respond?  What have you put your trust in?

Regardless, God is in control.  Your past is your past and it will not change.  In many cases, you cannot change your circumstances.  But like God drew Moses out of the Nike, God can draw you out of your circumstances.

It doesn't matter if Clinton is president or Trump is president, as long as God is in control!  Our joy, freedom, and salvation is only in Jesus Christ!  Praise be to God for what He is about to do!!!  

For more truth about life, see...   www.truthatlife.com