How do you know whom to believe? How do you know what to believe? We hear lots of competing claims for truth these days.

As Christians we claim to follow the one who is “the way, the truth and the life.” (John 14:6)

Today, hear God’s promises as the honest truth, the real truth, the most trustworthy truth.

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As it is written: I have appointed you to be the father of many nations. So Abraham is our father in the eyes of God in whom he had faith, the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that don’t exist into existence. When it was beyond hope, he had faith in the hope that he would become the father of many nations, in keeping with the promise God spoke to him: That’s how many descendants you will have. Without losing faith, Abraham, who was nearly 100 years old, took into account his own body, which was as good as dead, and Sarah’s womb, which was dead. He didn’t hesitate with a lack of faith in God’s promise, but he grew strong in faith and gave glory to God. He was fully convinced that God was able to do what he promised. Therefore, it was credited to him as righteousness.

Romans 4:17-22

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Sometimes people believe and act on incredibly stupid things as matters of religious faith. It’s easy for us to see the problem with that and maybe laugh at their expense — or be afraid of the danger they unleash. Too many people have done harmful things acting on sincere religious conviction. How can we discern the difference from good acts of faith?

One test (and there are surely others) is found in today’s verses: Does what God calls us to do bring life out of death or does it create death where there is life? Abraham and Sarah’s story is one of new life blooming from a couple who are “as good as dead,” Scripture says. God’s genuine work in the world always calls us forward for good, always brings more people into the family, always expands the tent. When discerning the will of God, ask yourself: Is this life-giving or is this soul-killing?

Mark Wingfield

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God of life over death, lead me on your path to goodness and mercy. Make me a wise discerner of your good, gracious, and life-giving will. Amen.

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Go, empowered by the real truth of God’s promises and commit to be a truth-teller yourself.

Go in peace, live in truth.

Mark Wingfield

Mark Wingfield serves as executive director and publisher of Baptist News Global, a nonprofit daily news service.

Be Still My Soul

Rodrigo Rodriguez

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