Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

Wow.  What a difference a day makes, huh?  April 15th…..Our annual, dreaded tax day.  Most of us were probably either stewing over it or sarcastically joking about it.  Well, the first part of the day anyway. Plus, it was Monday.  Mondays are crazy around here, as they probably are for many of you.  For me, it’s often a frazzling day of in and out, running around, and picking up the house after the weekend.  I got in from one round of errands around 12:30 and took a breather to eat some lunch and, of course, catch up on Facebook, before I had to go pick up the boys at 1:30, take them to batting practice, fix supper, and you know…..the rest of the list that ensues on a typical school night with 3 children.   I ended up not even eating lunch, though.  As I pulled up my Facebook page, I saw K-Love, the Christian music station, had posted this:

                “Breaking News:  Two explosions near the finish line at the Boston Marathon.  Some injuries. Details are sketchy for the moment.  Please pray.”

My heart sank and I suddenly lost my appetite.  I put my phone down, pulled out the laptop and sat glued to the news until time to go get the boys.  I’m sure I was one of millions who sat in disbelief at the horror unfolding.  It looked like a war zone but, this time… was on an American street.  I guess that was the “disbelief” part of it.  Not that we have never been under attack.  How could we ever forget the crumpling of the twin towers on 9/11 and the faces in the pictures of all the missing people feared to be inside, or the bombing of the federal building in Oklahoma City where among the casualties were 19 toddlers and preschoolers  attending daycare inside the building?   As horrendous and unforgettable as those were, nothing really prepares us for seeing our own citizens in the streets, bleeding and maimed.  With all of the smart phones and people ready to snap shots of loved ones crossing the finish line Monday, the reality of the depravity that exists in our world was suddenly inescapable. 

When people are suddenly aware of this depravity, we begin to hear words rarely spoken by the media and government officials anymore: words like evil, prayer and blessings.  We may see trends in the news in the wake of tragedies like the Sandy Hook shootings and the Boston Marathon bombing of people sometimes questioning God, but most often, we see people begin to offer prayers for others or count their own blessings.  I ran across a quote from C.S. Lewis Sunday night before the marathon bombing and had actually shared it on my Facebook page.  It explains this phenomenon better than I could:

“If God were proud He would hardly have us on such terms: but He is not proud, He stoops to conquer. He will have us even though we have shown that we prefer everything else to Him, and come to Him because there is 'nothing better' now to be had.” 

I think we'd all admit we have a country full of much pride and focus on self-achievement.  More than that, we have steered away from labeling truths about right and wrong and instead, placed emphasis on tolerance of everyone’s beliefs.  Therefore, increasingly few will publicly invoke the name of God for fear they’d seem “intolerant”.  It’s no wonder, really, that it often takes dramatic events like these for people to see their true need.   As C.S. Lewis said, we prefer everything else to Him, until there is nothing better to be had.  I think it’s safe to say that those of us watching the aftermath on Monday felt helpless.  Prayers were all we could offer.  But, the thing is, nothing more was probably  desired more than comfort, calm, and peace by those affected…..the kind that is needed so down deep in our souls that nothing and no one else could provide other than our Creator.    People who aren’t even believers have something deep within them (called a soul) that, in these times, recognizes a reality they’ve spent much of their lives trying to deny…..and they call on Him.   Even for believers…..We’ve all been there ourselves if we have any age on us at all.  You may have called your incident a reality check or just a fresh dose of perspective.  Sometimes, they come on much broader scales, though, and can give a whole nation some perspective and a dose of reality.  I doubt any of the runners who sacrificed so much and trained so hard to run the 26.2 miles were thinking of their great personal achievement (and it was great) when they saw what happened or heard the news of it.  A whole other realm of reality set in.  The spiritual realm. 

The Good

Now, I do have to address the opposite trend that we often see in such cases.  We will understandably often hear and even ask the question ourselves, “Why?”.  However, some will go a step further and rather than seek God, they will blame Him or use senseless tragedies as evidence to deny Him.  You know what I'm talking about.  There will always be those who will hold on to their pride even in the face of such reality and ask the age old question, “IF there was a God and He was so good……how could he allow this??”   That always reminds me of the Pharisees when Jesus was on the cross….”IF you are the Son of God….prove it….save yourself…come down off the cross and then, we’ll believe you.” If He revealed every mystery (as though we could understand)…..then we’d believe Him.  Maybe.  I mean, the Pharisees were staring at prophecy fulfilled and witnessed the power of God in many miracles and they still refused.   So, let me be clear to any who may take issue with God on this: We have freedom of choice in this country.  That’s not a novel idea that originated with our founding fathers.  They simply understood that it was a right we were born with…..correction…..created with.  That’s why they wisely chose the famous words “endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; Among these are the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” (Though I think the pursuit of happiness could’ve been left out or more wisely worded….but, that’s another blog in itself). We were most definitely created to be free thinkers…..much like our Creator.   The only flipside to God creating us with free will was that some would not choose Him and His ways.  They would choose the way of the world, the way of self, and ultimately….the way of evil.   God, however, is good.  All good things come from Him.
James 5:13-17:
 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers.  Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

 Just consider what we really enjoy.  Yes, there are plenty of people who enjoy evil things or try to pervert things that were meant for good into something bad (sex is a prime example.)  But, let’s just think about what we typically truly enjoy and deem as “good”…… beautiful sunsets that have a different array of colors each time; the quiet beauty of a giant oak; the smell of babies after they’ve had a bath and are wrapped back up in your arms;  the way your skin feels soaking up the sun on a warm day after a long bout of cold;  laughing until your sides hurt or being so happy you cry;  the ability to hit a baseball and watch it soar out of the park, to invent a revolutionary new gadget, to create a masterpiece of music….or the ability to run the 26.2 miles of a marathon in under 4 hours.  They are ALL gifts from a good and loving God, meant for our pleasure..…and He is pleased to bless us. 

See, God takes no pleasure in destruction….not even the destruction of the wicked.  I understand.  Don’t you?  How many of us wish any harm on our children, even when they’ve tested us every way possible?

The Bad

Ezekiel 18:23-29:
“Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, declares the Lord God, and not rather that he should turn from his way and live? But when a righteous person turns away from his righteousness and does injustice and does the same abominations that the wicked person does, shall he live? None of the righteous deeds that he has done shall be remembered; for the treachery of which he is guilty and the sin he has committed, for them he shall die.”
 “Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just. ’ Hear now, O house of Israel: Is my way not just? Is it not your ways that are not just? When a righteous person turns away from his righteousness and does injustice, he shall die for it; for the injustice that he has done he shall die. Again, when a wicked person turns away from the wickedness he has committed and does what is just and right, he shall save his life. Because he considered and turned away from all the transgressions that he had committed, he shall surely live; he shall not die. Yet the house of Israel says, ‘The way of the Lord is not just. ’ O house of Israel, are my ways not just? Is it not your ways that are not just?
(He goes on to plead with them in Ezekial 33:11): “Say to them, ‘As I live, declare the LORD GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die O house of Israel?”

You can read through the Old Testament and find that the only destruction God ever delivered was directed at pure ugliness.  As a matter of fact, as a whole, we would do well to revisit some of those accounts and see if we look like any of those people.  I think many would be startled at the resemblance.  This could be a blog all on its own.  So, let me just offer a practical suggestion for times when you ask or are asked questions about God’s justice or goodness like I’ve often heard, “Why would a good God allow so many people to be born into poverty, starvation, and desperation around the world? How is that good?”:   kindly reply, “He could ask us, particularly in our country of excess,  the same thing.”  Why do so many of us drive $50,000+ vehicles, take vacations worth thousands, and pay obscene amounts of money for our clothes and other “stuff” when it only costs $4,000 to place a well for clean drinking water in disease ridden communities of 3rd world countries and even less to feed a family for a year?  Evil doesn’t begin with a fanatic with a bomb.  Pride in our hearts and love of self gives birth to all manner of evil and injustice or allows us to simply overlook it and blot it out of our minds.  The result is that we eventually become so disconnected from our source of good that we forget what the “good stuff” really is and where it comes from.  Not from within ourselves.  That’s for sure.  Is it any wonder why God hates pride so much and opposes the proud?

I hope this doesn’t sound cliché, but, the “good stuff” can’t be bought.   Things like love, joy, and peace….those are the things that are real and are what we crave when everything else has failed us.  Those things come from God (whether we acknowledge Him or not).  I think that’s why we hear those words so much after tragedies like we had on Monday.  If anything good could come from something like these bombings, it would be that people would remember where their true comfort and security lies and ultimately…what’s real.  

The Ugly

I truly believe that is the root of our problem: Somehow, we’re no longer able to see what’s real in this country.  We are so easily and completely deceived.  I have to say that I’m more than a little concerned for our once great nation.  I pray often but need to pray persistently for wisdom for our leaders.  And not the wisdom of the world…..that’s just foolishness.  We have plenty of foolishness in our country already, don’t you think?  The ugliness that results is an epidemic really.  Let’s take the gruesome story of Kermit Gosnell’s clinical practices that have spotlighted late term abortions in the news recently.  It’s horrifying to everyone but, for varying reasons.  Some are as outraged as I am at how negligently the women were treated, how these late term babies were killed…..after birth, that so many people would seek such services and especially so late in pregnancy and that so many others knew about it, were ok with it or even helped. But, sadly and disturbingly, many are not outraged for these reasons.   Instead, I read articles about outrage at the difficulty of obtaining abortions and the burden on women.  As if society and government has pressured these women to have unprotected sex and to wait until they are 5-6 months pregnant before deciding if they want the baby or….. it’s the big bad government or insurance company’s fault for not paying for their bad choices and murderous acts that requires these women to resort to the likes of Kermit Gosnell.  Is this not absolute foolishness??   I’m not unsympathetic to their difficult and often dire circumstances.  We ALL make bad choices and not everyone has a family or support system of any kind.  However, anyone who has been pregnant, felt the life inside them move as you usually can LONG before 24 weeks (the legal time limit for abortion), and still decides to end that life……well, my understanding comes up short.  I don’t see how it could be seen as anything other than taking a human life….AKA….murder.  Ugly.  Furthermore, I’ve heard all the arguments but, still….how our government could say it’s a crime at 25 weeks and not 24 weeks is lost on me.  Maybe that’s the simpleton, Ellie Mae in me.  I may be simple, but, I do know what’s real.    

So, I’m hopeful for our people and our country when I hear words like prayer, blessings, and even evil in the media again.  Because, people sound like they may be coming to their senses… maybe the veil of the world is being pulled back from their eyes and they are beginning to see a glimpse of the reality they’ve been busy denying.  Maybe if we could once again distinguish between the good and the bad, our daily news wouldn’t be so ugly.  I have to tell you, though, when I read the news today and hear how widely unpopular we are with countries such as North Korea, Iran, Russia, etc. and barely tolerated by so many others, I seriously have to stop and pray that God will not be so disgusted with us that He removes His hand from us.  If He did, what happened in Boston Monday or in the offices of one Kermit Gosnell would be the tip of an iceberg named ugliness.  Ugliness, as we said, is simply a byproduct of rejecting His ways and following our own.   I think that’s the ultimate judgment, whether for an individual or for a nation…… the removal of His goodness.  So, I would plead with everyone with a voice, from President Obama, Matt Lauer, or Clint Eastwood to teachers, nurses, or moms at the ballpark… please not disappear again behind the veil of political correctness and re-create that false reality after the shock wears off from this tragedy.    As the kids say (though I could never pull it off), please…do us all a favor and…. “keep it real.”

Sunday, April 7, 2013

To Tell You the Truth......

One of my favorite projects Jude has brought home from church is her big palm leaf made out of green construction paper.  In the days leading up to Easter this year, they talked a lot about different stories that preceded Jesus' crucifixion. This one I love:  Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a donkey and the crowd waving palm leaves, crying, "Hosanna!, Hosanna!" The chief priests ordered Him to silence His followers and He said, "I tell you....If they keep quiet now, the rocks would cry out."  I have to say I love that my 3 yr old knows that story and the word, "Hosanna". It proves she was listening in her class. It's an Easter miracle!! :)

As we get older, we typically gain a better understanding of what holidays are all about. Hopefully anyway. 
Christmas isn't just about presents.
Memorial Day isn't just a long weekend with the family.
The 4th of July isn't about the big firework show.
And Easter isn't just about egg hunts and a big family lunch.
Those are all fun parts that have made many a family memory. But, hopefully, each of us eventually realize the truths behind these celebrations:
Christmas has nothing to do with gifts except the gift given for all of us, wrapped in cloth long, long ago;
Memorial Day is a day to honor the fallen soldiers who gave their lives to a greater cause, securing freedom;
The 4th of July is the day a group of men strong in mind and heart came together and signed a document establishing our country as an independent nation, free from the rule of a select few;
Easter is about the power and love of God that He demonstrated through the life, death, and resurrection of His only Son.

Easter has quickly become one of  my favorite and most precious times of the year for me as I grow and grasp the magnitude of what we're celebrating.   One of the aspects, though,  that has really intrigued me the last couple of years was from the perspective of Pilate. The Saturday morning before Easter, I felt really impressed upon to look up the segment of scripture where Jesus is brought before him. So, I did and found it just as fascinating as ever and wondered why I hadn't heard much about Pilate over the years. (Though, I am a little...or a lot...ADD, and may have missed it). I mean, Pilate is a man, a pagan man, as most Romans believed in multiple gods, seemingly left to decide the fate of the Son of God
So, Pilate was fresh on my mind when Saturday night, I let the boys watch the Passion of the Christ for the first time. (That would be a blog all it's own!) I hadn't seen it since it first came out and had forgotten just how much Pilate is seen. But, at the end, I did share with them one of the things that I wanted to clarify for them. I use to think the inscription, "Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews", written in 3 languages above Him on the cross, was meant to mock Him. When actually, Pilate did that intentionally and refused to change it when the Chief Priests told him to put, "this man SAYS he was king of the jews." I found that very interesting.  As a side note, I also found it interesting that the next Sunday morning, our pastor, Garrick Hanger, preached the Easter service mostly discussing Pilate and the issue of truth, and our issue of trust.  So, maybe Pilate's perspective was taught all these years and I just missed it! :)

John gives the most detailed account of Jesus and Pilate interacting.  Reading it,  I get the impression that maybe Pilate wasn't simply trying to be just with what could at worst be a crazy man. Now, the scripture never tells us Pilate became a believer and I'm not suggesting he turned his life over to the Lord, either. But, I think Pilate, a pagan man, had a better handle on the truth after coming face to face with THE Truth than God's own people.

This is a lengthy portion of scripture to include in a blog but I was really fascinated by the exchanges that took place and the turmoil of Pilate. So, I have to share it before I can finish up.

John 18:28 - 19:22

Then they led Jesus from the house of Caiaphas to the governor's headquarters. It was early morning. They themselves did not enter the governor's headquarters, so that they would not be defiled, but could eat the Passover. So Pilate went outside to them and said, “What accusation do you bring against this man?” They answered him, “If this man were not doing evil, we would not have delivered him over to you.” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.” The Jews said to him, “It is not lawful for us to put anyone to death.” This was to fulfill the word that Jesus had spoken to show by what kind of death he was going to die.

So Pilate entered his headquarters again and called Jesus and said to him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” Jesus answered, “Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?” Pilate answered, “Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have delivered you over to me. What have you done?” Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world— to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” Pilate said to him, “What is truth?”

After he had said this, he went back outside to the Jews and told them, “I find no guilt in him. But you have a custom that I should release one man for you at the Passover. So do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?” They cried out again, “Not this man, but Barabbas!” Now Barabbas was a robber.

(Would that be what the Chief Priests and Pharisees would call "the lesser of two evils? Really?? A man they'd seen perform great miracles vs a man who was in prison for murder, among other crimes against society?? Pilate was trying, I think.  But as he would soon see, you can't reason with fools.  Surely we'd never be so foolish......)

Then Pilate took Jesus and flogged him. And the soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head and arrayed him in a purple robe. They came up to him, saying, “Hail, King of the Jews!” and struck him with their hands. Pilate went out again and said to them, “See, I am bringing him out to you that you may know that I find no guilt in him.” So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Behold the man!” When the chief priests and the officers saw him, they cried out, “Crucify him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Take him yourselves and crucify him, for I find no guilt in him.” The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and according to that law he ought to die because he has made himself the Son of God.” When Pilate heard this statement, he was even more afraid. He entered his headquarters again and said to Jesus, “Where are you from?” But Jesus gave him no answer. So Pilate said to him, “You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?” Jesus answered him, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin.”

From then on Pilate sought to release him, but the Jews cried out, “If you release this man, you are not Caesar's friend. Everyone who makes himself a king opposes Caesar.” So when Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called The Stone Pavement, and in Aramaic Gabbatha. Now it was the day of Preparation of the Passover. It was about the sixth hour. He said to the Jews, “Behold your King!” They cried out, “Away with him, away with him, crucify him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar.” So he delivered him over to them to be crucified.  So they took Jesus, and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called The Place of a Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha. There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, and Jesus between them. Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” Many of the Jews read this inscription, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and it was written in Aramaic, in Latin, and in Greek. So the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but rather, ‘This man said, I am King of the Jews. ’” Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written.”

Now, let me just say, as I did when discussing Job a while back: They will not be asking me to write a commentary on Pilate or anyone else in scripture.  These have come from reading scripture myself and seeing it in a new light, as the Lord so amazingly allows and I simply want to share how it touched me.

What struck me as odd about Pilate's role is that he did not enjoy the position "God's people" had put him in. Especially after his wife advised him to steer clear of this holy man after a disturbing dream. At a quick glance, it would seem Pilate was wishy washy at best and at worst, quick to turn Jesus over, as if he didn't care. But, as I look at the wording here, I think the phrases, "after he heard this, he was even more afraid" and "from then on he sought to release Jesus", gives us a glimpse of a man torn.   We should note here, though, that like the man playing Pilate in the Passion movie was cast for the role, Jesus let Pilate know in a round about way that he had been cast in his role by God Himself and that those who brought Him to be put to death were the ones who "had the greater sin." Though Pilate didn't likely worship the One true God at that time, I think maybe he knew he was in God's presence. He even went back to Jesus again to ask where He was from.  He knew what he was seeing and what the Jews were saying didn't add up.
Well, we know how it ends.  Pilate eventually gives in to them and washes his hands of the whole thing.  He does make a point to repeatedly present Jesus to the Jewish people as "King of the Jews".  They hated that.  Maybe he was doing it for spite.  But, as I said before, I wonder if we aren't seeing the glimpses of real belief in the words he chose.   

The Truth of the Matter:

So, here's the thing....I'm not singing Pilate's praises as a saint.  I'm just thinking that it's ridiculous that a pagan man had the gumption to seek the truth about Jesus when the supposed spiritual leaders were determined to destroy it.  This whole scene brought the question to mind, How often do we really WANT the truth?"
You hear it sometimes asked or stated, "You wanna know the truth??", "Truth?", or "To tell you the truth....".
But, like many of the Jews and the chief priests and elders, we can come face to face with truth, but because it's not what we want....we can sometimes rationalize, dismiss it, and ultimately lie to ourselves. Depending on the evidence, often we have to go to great lengths to do so....just like the chief priests.  Do we not deny evidence to the obvious? We have done that so much in our politically correct society that people don't seem to believe in truth anymore. "Each person determines their own truth". When, simple logic tells us there is, in fact, truth.

A couple of questions I had about the Jewish elders and priests was:
1) After Jesus died and the earthquake came, the sky turned gray, the rocks split and the temple was torn in two, did it not occur to them that maybe this was more than coincidence and they'd been wrong? Some "simpletons" came to that conclusion. Did they even entertain the thought?
As Beth Moore speculated in her study, "Jesus, the One and Only", "Could it be that as Jesus told the chief priests when entering Jerusalem that the rocks would cry out if his people were silent, that it proved true that day when during His greatest victory, when He had accomplished what He was sent to accomplish and His people fell silent in mourning instead of praise....could it be that the rocks cried out??"
2) Prior to delivering Jesus over, did any of them ever secretly think they were wrong and maybe just got caught up in the "group think" mentality, too afraid to speak up? I mean after all the miracles they'd heard of, did they not ever consider this kind of power to be similar to the kind of power God showed His people when bringing them out of Egypt, in the wilderness, and into the promise land? That is, until they chose their own way so many times over His that He quit speaking to them at all.
Well, I guess I could derive an answer to that question in this passage in Matthew's account of the resurrection:

Matthew 28:1-4; 11-15

Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men.;  While they were going, behold, some of the guard went into the city and told the chief priests all that had taken place. And when they had assembled with the elders and taken counsel, they gave a sufficient sum of money to the soldiers and said, “Tell people, ‘His disciples came by night and stole him away while we were asleep. ’ And if this comes to the governor's ears, we will satisfy him and keep you out of trouble.” So they took the money and did as they were directed. And this story has been spread among the Jews to this day.

See, the truth of what happened wasn't pleasing to them. So, they made up their own truth. So, no, I don't think they had doubts. Because you see, they had no real interest in the truth. It wouldn't have mattered how much evidence, if Jesus appeared to them again Himself, they still would have gone their own way because He wasn't what they wanted. This I know, no point in trying to reason with someone who is determined to be a fool. Pilate knew it. I know it. You know it.

In rereading these passages, there were some really good reminders for me from this whole scene:
1) When it comes to sharing Christ or our own testimonies with others, we should take courage that many people are open to truth, even searching for truth.....they just aren't hearing it. We have become very sensitive to the prospect of offending someone and of them rejecting us and we keep silent a large portion of the time. We forget that there are many people who would welcome the truth if they heard it. Plus, we also forget it's not up to us whether or not they believe it. The Holy Spirit holds that key.
2) There are some who simply don't want to hear it and no matter what you say or how you say it, they may never really hear and believe. Scripture assures us of that but tells us to press on and reach who we can. Though many will refuse to hear it, it doesn't mean we should shy away from sharing the Truth because some will hear and believe and we may never know what kind of seeds we might have planted that God will grow later.
3) It's definitely a healthy thing to take a good hard look at our own lives and make sure we're not deceiving ourselves. There are many issues that don't seem spiritual on the surface, but they very much are: friendships, careers, family, romantic relationships, finances, plans, etc etc. If we aren't intentional, before we know it, we may have been deceived or even deceived ourselves. We all have that potential, no matter how spiritually strong we believe we are. None of us want to be a foolish Pharisee. So, we should ask ourselves if we are ignoring the obvious and choosing only to see what we want to see in any given situation.
One thing I've learned is the Holy Spirit can and will guide us in ALL areas of our lives, provided we want to get real and know the truth. There IS truth. There are some things that ARE right. There are some things that ARE wrong. There are some directions He WANTS us to go and some directions He does NOT.  Some things seem scary but are good for us in the long run and some things seem wonderful but are harmful to us in the long run.  We will find ourselves at many crossroads in this life.  Before we go barrelling along full force in either direction, before we take one step even, we need to muster up some patience and persistence as we seek direction from the Lord and as the Holy Spirit teaches us His truths in the matter. 
You see, truth is not as much of a matter of interpretation (as many like to say today) as it is a matter of revelation. Divine revelation. 

John 14:15-17

“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you."

I don't know about you, but to tell you the our rapidly, and ever changing world, those are some super encouraging words for me these days!