His Truth Will Set You Free

Listen to what Jesus says; “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32 NIV)


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Christian Decline in US

PEW Chart

The PEW Research Center recently released the results of its 2014 Religious Landscape Survey. Since its first such survey in 2007, the number of Christian adults in the US has shrunk by an estimated 5 million people. Yet over that same time, the US adult population has increased by 18 million. Why is the Christian church shrinking in the US?

Jesus knew the answer: “But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” (Matthew 7:26-27)

I believe that some churches have moved from a solid foundation of the truth of Jesus Christ, to a foundation of sand. Resting on manmade traditions and rules, and preaching popular opinion rather than the true essence of Christianity – this is the foundation of many of today’s churches. And they are crumbling. The PEW research shows the result.

Yet turning those survey results around is easy.


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Stirring Our Soul

choc chip cookies

Bacon sizzling in the frying pan;

chocolate chip cookies right out of the oven;

fresh cut grass;

summer rain on hot pavement.

These things stir our memories, senses, and emotions.

 

God’s words of love, forgiveness, and hope;

An image of Jesus suffering on the cross, for us;

A sense of His Spirit’s presence within our heart;

A wave of love crashing over us, flooding us with emotion.

These things stir our soul, and breathe fire into our life.

And I’m so grateful.


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The Approaching Stress Cloud

storm cloud

5:30am – an hour to go before the call. No big deal. Just an early morning work conference call, where I’ll be giving a presentation. But for my co-workers and me, this is a big presentation. I want it to go well. And so my tendency would be to get stressed out. But I don’t want stress. Stress would hog the next hour and keep me from doing what I want to be doing – writing.

So I pray to the Holy Spirit of Jesus within me, and this is what came into my mind: “The presentation doesn’t matter. It’s purely worldly and has no value. What matters is relationships, and love.”

As the reality of this truth settled into my mind, the approaching stress-cloud melted away. And I’m so grateful.


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Another Day in the Parking Lot

parking lot

Another lunch hour when I’m able to free myself from the hungry grip of work and grap some time alone. But not really alone. I drove to the nearby office park with the half-empty parking lot. My usual tree-shaded parking space is open. It takes a few minutes to quiet my mind and flush out all the work noise. But soon, here comes the Holy Spirit into my thoughts, here to share my lunch with me, and my writing time. I enjoy taking these writing breaks in the middle of my workday, when I can.

Oh, here come those two women who like to walk the loop around this large parking lot. The dark-haired one is doing the talking, as usual. And she’s whining again about something. She’s always whining, at least every time I see her. I feel sorry for her. She seems to have so much to complain about.

Dear Jesus, please help the dark-haired woman find peace. Please help her find freedom from complaining. I suspect you won’t remove her problems, the things she likes to complain about. But she could find true joy in the freedom that comes from letting go of her problems.

Lord, you’ve opened my eyes to this freedom and joy. Oh, I still complain, but not as much as I used to, before I let you into my heart. Thank you for coming in and healing my self-inflicted wounds. I’m so grateful.


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Working for God

My hearts desire is to write, but I’m stuck in my engineering job, shoveling stress and trying to cope with corporate “junk.” Sometimes I fail and let the stress consume me – I just can’t shovel as fast as they pile it on.

Many times I’ve asked God, “Why am I here? I look for meaning in my job, but can’t find anything that matters. I feel like I’m wasting so much time of my brief life. Why am I at this meaningless job when my hearts desire is to surrender to You and devote all my time doing whatever you want me to do? Well, I guess you want me in this job.”

Today I was thinking, what can I do for God while in my “meaningless” job. Well, I could try to find joy in every moment, knowing and trusting that in that moment, I’m where God wants me to be. I could strive to be like Brother Lawrence, who found joy and peace in everything he did, because he was always in the presence of God.

Then it hit me: maybe the reason I’m in my meaningless job is because my feelings about the job make me crave more closeness with God and Jesus. If I didn’t have a stress-pit of a job, I would not be so hungry for the presence of Jesus in my life. The more stressful the job, the more I look for Jesus to help me. I think I’m now sincerely grateful for my job, and for more than just the financial security, which I’m always grateful for.

I know I’m weak and this joyful feeling may be fleeting, but I sure an grateful for my time with the Spirit of God and Jesus, no matter what I’m doing.


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Being a WWJD Christian

WWJD

Do you want to be an imitator of God? “Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children.” (Ephesians 5:1) Do you want to be a WWJD Christian, every moment doing what Jesus would do? You can’t… on your own.

The only way you can is to let Jesus live within you, doing what He would do through you. You can be a WWJD Christian if you let Him. But it’s not “What Would Jesus Do,” as if you are trying to imitate Him. It’s “What Will Jesus Do,” as He lives and acts and speaks from within you – His Holy Spirit sharing your body, mind, and soul. We can be more than imitators of God. And I’m so grateful.


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Diving into His arms

cliff diving

Here I am again, at the edge of the cliff.

Not a high cliff – it’s a short drop into His arms.

Jesus is waiting for me, with His arms open wide.

Just a brief fall away.

I come here every day, to the edge of this cliff,

this cliff of absolute trust and surrender.

I remember the first few times I came here.

Something would bring me to the very edge,

a prayer, a flood of emotion, the gentle hand of God on my shoulder.

Yet for reasons I’m unsure of, I would back away.

Falling into Jesus scared me back then.

But no more, for His love is more powerful than my fear.

So this morning, filled with the passion He’s given me,

I leap off the cliff.

I so love you dear Jesus.

Let me back up and get a running start.

Weeeeeeeeeeeeee

Floating into His arms of love and compassion,

those arms again spread out for me,

those arms first spread out on the cross, for me,

and you.

Today I’m diving into Jesus’ arms, with absolute trust and surrender.

Dive on in… the Holy water is great.

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