Given today's economy, many of us have become quite efficient in finding ways to make our money go further and last longer. Like those “old school” detectives, we follow the clues to find quality goods and services at a lower price.
Some seek to leverage their income by using “funny money” to pay for their goods or services. The recognizable term for this is “counterfeit” cash. Fake money can be produced simply by using graffiti bleach remover, glue, and an offset printer. More sophisticated modern technology involves plates, computers, scanners, inkjet printers, and a few other office supplies. The methods described are intended to deceive those who offer goods and services. They are paid with fake money.
Within our current environment, the intent to deceive has become as habitual as nail-biting. News accounts, advertisements, entertainment (movies, television), dramatizations, and political statements are often fertile ground where deception thrives.
If you have ever paid attention to the number of fact-checks conducted on assertions made by leaders and different personalities, you will appreciate the intensity of deception. Sadly, this constant practice of deceit has become second nature, making the standards of truth seem abnormal.
In its simplest definition, truth is an attitude of the will and mind. Its application covers:
We seem to be living in an era where speaking the truth is considered unrealistic, politically destructive, and too “religious.” Many people, in their ignorance, think the Bible is outdated and no longer relevant. In addition, philosophical theories attempt to clarify the definition of truth. But truth in speech and action is not merely a verbalization or behavior. Truth is a response of our will and an affirmation of who we are and the characteristics that define us as individuals.
Truth in people or groups should follow the nature and personality of God. He gave us the gift of freedom.(John 8:32) Man’s freedom of existence flourishes when he recognizes his dependence upon the faithfulness and grace of God. When we deceive or intend to deceive, we forfeit our freedom and replace it with fear. It requires a lot less effort to believe the lie or deception rather than to seek to learn the truth. Counterfeit statements and actions are like counterfeit money. Scrutiny or investigation will eventually expose the intent to deceive.
Truth is one of the most familiar words in our daily lives, but few of those are perceived as having an illusive definition. Nonetheless, some things about truth are undeniable:
The highest truth comes when we commit to follow the will of the Spirit of God.
As the holidays approach, my email in-box becomes saturated with invitations to take advantage of buying new stuff. Every well-known retailer has an online presence, and with excellent marketing skills and imagination, they stimulate a successful buying response.
Gift buying takes center stage during the holidays as people strive to express heartfelt love, gratefulness, and appreciation to others. Sometimes these efforts get short-circuited since the person(s) who received the gift may not have liked it, needed it, wanted it, or maybe they even re-gifted it.
Far too often, all the hoopla about gift-giving becomes ritualistic, and these well-intentioned efforts feel like they have been drenched in cold dishwater. Perhaps we would experience greater satisfaction in expressing our gratitude if we altered our perspective on gift buying and instead invested in gratefulness of the heart.
Gratefulness is an attitude. It is not about a once-a-year holiday. It is a 365-days a year commitment.
First, it expresses gratitude for what we have, which may be different for each person:
Gratefulness also expresses what God has done:
Equally important, it expresses thankfulness for the blessings we have received from others:
Reaching the heart of the person(s) you want to gift will convey gratefulness in unique ways.
If you send a card to someone to let them know you are thinking of them during a non-holiday season, this will affirm gratefulness and unconditional love. If you pay a visit to someone in an extended care facility during a non-holiday season, you bring the gifts of joy and hope. If you attend a family dinner that is likely to be contentious, bring flowers. It adds sensitivity to the family mix.
When we convey gratefulness, we reflect the Spirit and heart of God. We are models of God’s grace. There is nothing within humankind that earns or deserves grace. It is a gift from God.
Gratefulness is a gift from you or me absent of payment for its expression. Buying gifts during holidays may be unavoidable, but if you wrap your gift in gratefulness, this will surpass the value of any tangible present you may purchase.