Sunday, January 20, 2013

LI(V)ESTRONG: The Agony of Deceit

This past week, I was stunned by famous cyclist Lance Armstrong's shocking interview on Oprah. After years of vehement denials, he finally came clean about his illicit use of performance enhancement drugs, EPO's, steroids, growth hormones, and other banned substances during each of his seven Tour de France races. A famous cancer survivor and founder of the LIVESTRONG charity, Armstrong has turned out to be yet another celebrity with an ability to "Lie Strong" and deceive many. What a massive disappointment!

It cuts deeply to learn that such an internationally renowned icon and athletic hero has plummeted from his pedestal to the proverbial pigsty. Quite frankly, it's hard not to become cynical about other professional athletes. At the risk of sounding a bit melodramatic, I'm almost left asking: Is anyone out there legit? But, it's also a reminder to me of something critically important, deceit is a treacherous path with painful and far-reaching consequences.
The Bible has much to say regarding the sin of lying and deceit. First of all, concerning God, we learn in Hebrews 6:18 that "it is impossible for God to lie" as it completely flies in the face of his holy nature and pure character. Moreover, of Jesus scripture says, "He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth" (1 Pet. 2:22, ESV).
Jesus revealed in John 8:44 that the devil "was a murderer from the beginning, and has nothing to do with the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies." Remember how in the Garden of Eden the serpent deceived Eve into believing that if she ate of the fruit of the forbidden tree she would not surely die? We all know how that turned out!
When Ananias and Sapphira attempted to deceive the apostles and lie to the Holy Spirit regarding their generosity, they literally paid for it with their lives (Acts 5:1-11). From their story, in a very graphic way we learn that "the wages of sin is death" (Rom. 6:23). As Christians, we are exhorted to "not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator" (Col. 3:9). In a list of detestable persons, Revelation 21:8 clearly states "all liars . . . will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death." God's wrath is thus provoked by a chronic lying, cheating, deceitful life-style, one without remorse or repentance.
So why do people lie and seek to deceive others? Three reasons: (1) Pride (to appear better than they really are); (2)Personal Gain (to manipulate others); and (3) Position (to secure political power and status). 
Our fallen human nature makes each of us susceptible to engaging in deceit. But God knows. In fact, we are ultimately only deceiving our selves. And one lie begets another eventually snowballing into something with a life of its own, one that inflicts unimaginable pain and destruction to all in its path. So-called "little white lies" eventually turn into whoppers that irreparably damage relationships destroying trust. Only the truth can set us free. Therefore, honesty is not just the best policy, but the ONLY POLICY!

Note: This article was originally posted on my former blogsite (

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

My First Blog Article

Well, greetings kind readers. I wish to extend a warm welcome to you as you check out my brand new blog. Thanks so much for taking the time and effort to do so. I recognize how busy you are and how many other voices out there are vying for your attention. This is hopefully the start of something worthwhile for both you and me. Please know I am humbled and honored to have your initial interest. It is my heartfelt prayer that I will earn your ongoing subscription to my blog.

The concept of blogging is actually quite new to me, so I am pretty nervous about it to be completely honest with you! I have been thinking for some time now about what my unique contribution might be through this online platform or medium for sharing concepts and ideas. On a personal level, it is important to me that I remain true to myself in this novel and exciting endeavor. What would be the point of writing about things that hold little importance in my own life? That would certainly constitute a waste a time and energy. While there are many specific types of conversations I could initiate, there are no doubt certain topics that are more worthy of my attention and your consideration than others. So what are the types of things that I am truly passionate about?
My particular interests lie in areas of Christian living, pastoral theology, practical biblical studies, ministry concerns, pastoral care and counseling, and marriage and family issues. As a preacher, counseling professor, pastoral counselor, husband and father, my interest undoubtedly gravitates to certain related areas. By the way, I also have a great appreciation for the outdoors and especially hiking and camping, which is something I am blessed to do on a regular basis with a number of great male, Christian friends.
So rather than limiting myself in this blog to only one or two topical areas or fields, I want to allow myself the luxury of having sufficient latitude to draw from a variety of thematic interests. However, at the heart of my musings will generally be ideas connected in some tangible way to God's heart and to matters of Christian faith, ministry, and service. As someone who was raised on the mission field in South Africa and who has spent the majority of his adult life in fulltime ministry, I have a deeply ingrained pastoral identity. It is unquestionably a big part of who I am. I find great fulfillment in helping people discover spiritual meaning in their lives and develop (or hone) skills for better serving their fellow human beings in the name of Jesus Christ.
I hope you will find something of spiritual and practical value in my ongoing blog entries that resonates with your own areas of interest, passion, and personal concern. At the bare minimum, I recognize the need for my offerings to remain relevant to our collective contemporary experiences as we strive to live out our faith in a post-modern world, one that is antithetical to Christian values. It is my prayer that you will choose to join me on this great adventure as a fellow sojourner. I also look forward to receiving your honest feedback and personal insights along the way as we strive to sharpen one another.
Let's commit to grow together in knowledge, compassion, and faithful dedication to Christ. Thanks for joining me for this important dialogue. I look very forward to our future conversations together!
Ryan N. Fraser, Ph.D.

Note: This article was originally posted on my former blogsite (