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)


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The Spirit Speaks – To My Friend

Friend

Dear friend,

I, the Spirit of Jesus Christ, am your friend; your best friend. A true friend is someone who is always there for you, when you need them. You can tell them anything… your problems, your joys, your worries, your criticisms… and they will not judge, they will not correct you, they will not pretend they have all the answers. But they will listen, and they will understand, and sometimes they may give you gentle advice that is sincere and loving and truly helpful. I am such a friend, for you.

Please look into your heart and see that you’re not alone, ever. I am with you always. Whether you feel my presence or not, I am here, within you. I will never leave you.

How does it feel to have the Spirit of God, the creator of all that exists, as your best friend, living within you, sharing your life, your joys and pains, with you?


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The Spirit Speaks – From Just Below the Clutter

clutter

Does it seem like your conscious mind is overflowing with clutter? Scattered thoughts and worries about work, school, relationships, desires, chores – these things and more make a mess of your mind.

Yet I’m right here, just below the clutter. Today, find a quiet place away from the world, close your eyes and grab your broom. If you can sweep clean a corner of your mind, you will find me, the Spirit of Jesus Christ, right here within you. I’m always here, waiting for you to look for me. And you will find me when you look hard enough.

Please look. I so want to have time together, without the clutter getting in the way. And when you push the clutter aside, and we look on each other, eye to eye, you will see peace, you will feel peace, you will be peace.

“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord. (Jeremiah 29:13-14)

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27)


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The Spirit Speaks – of Rest

Burden

Come to me, the Spirit of Jesus Christ. Come, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. When you look within, to me, for help while traveling the path of your life, I will take your hand and guide you. Come to me, and the burdens of your journey will become lighter, for I will lift them from your shoulder. Oh, the burdens of humanity don’t go away. But I will help you carry them… sharing the load.

By my human death, I, Jesus Christ, saved your soul. By my Spirit within you, I can save your life. Just look within and come to me, please.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)


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Divorced? No Communion for You

Pope Francis

You may have read about it in a newspaper or a news website. If you’re Catholic and have gotten a divorce and then became remarried, the church will not allow you to receive communion. The Pope wants to remove this rule, and allow such people to share in the sacrament of communion, but conservative bishops have successfully resisted him. The rule stands.

In defense of their position, one of the leaders of those opposing the Pope, Cardinal George Pell, was quoted in one article as saying, “Christ’s teaching on adultery and second marriages is very clear.” Very true. But so is His teaching on forgiveness and second chances.

The Bible is full of second chances and forgiveness. And God’s forgiveness of our sins is obviously more complete than human forgiveness. For as God said, “I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” (Jeremiah 31:34). For those who believe, God forgets the sin of adultery that results from divorce and remarriage. Too bad the Catholic bishops cannot forget as well.

And look at what these bishops are trying to do. Communion is sharing the symbolic body and blood of Christ. Communion signifies the most intimate relationship God’s children can experience… Jesus within us and us within Him. This is what Jesus prayed for, as He said to His Father, “I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.” (John 17:26, emphasis added) It looks like the Catholic bishops are trying to deprive adulterers from having a personal relationship with Jesus.

Yet I feel sorry for those who oppose the Pope on this issue. They have surrounded themselves with so much manmade church doctrine and personal opinion that they cannot see Jesus themselves.

If I could contact the Pope, I would encourage him to respond to the bishops in the same way Peter responded to the stubborn religious leaders of his day, when he said, “Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you rather than God.” (Acts 4:19)


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The Spirit Speaks – Come as You Are

come as you are

I, the Spirit of Jesus Christ, love you with all of my being. My love for you is perfect, true love. Do you love me too? And does your love sometimes feel weak, half-hearted, and far from perfect? Please, don’t feel bad if this is your heart. I cherish your love, just as it is. I gratefully accept your love, weak or strong. I encourage you to accept it too.

Many of my Father’s children hesitate to come to Him because they feel they are not worthy. They feel their love is too weak or their sins are too strong. I come to you today to ask you to put aside your self-judgment, and come as you are. God accepts you as you are, God loves you as you are. And I, God’s Son Jesus, love you as you are. Please, look within yourself to me, and love me, as you are.


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The Spirit Speaks – of Second Chances

new life

You have a second chance at life – it’s my promise to you. For I, the Spirit of Jesus Christ, give to you the chance of a new birth into a new life. If you’re not happy with your life, or simply bored with life, look to me. And I will deliver you to a new life, filled with hope and joy and love and excitement. For living with me is never boring.

Oh, I know some out there may give you the impression that life as a “Christian” is boring. And I know there are some who paint an image of Christianity that is not very pretty. But that’s just their own human flaws showing through – all people share similar flaws. There’s no blame… it’s just the way it is.

But please don’t judge me, please don’t judge the promise of a new life I offer you, by what you see in others. Look beyond what you see in them, and look directly to me. And you will see the truth, and my truth will set you free to live a new life, to have a second chance.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” (1 Peter 1:3)


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The Spirit Speaks – of Messiness

[Look, something brought you to this blog post. But if you’d like to see something else that may be more worth your time, please check out the blurb about my soon-to-be-published novel on my new website. It’s basically about seeing a different perspective of Jesus, through the eyes of some background characters in the Bible. New website: cjpenn.com]

messy living room

Has someone ever invited you into their home, and you walked into a house full of clutter and filth? Dirty clothes scattered on the floor, random trash ignored in the corners, tattered furniture, a floor barely visible through the debris, thick dust, and a stale locker room smell – home sweet home. How would you feel walking into such a place and invited to sit on a drink-stained couch? Uncomfortable? Disgusted? Looking for an excuse to leave? Or, maybe you could look beyond the surface filth, to the person who lives there. Maybe you could give more attention to the relationship than the clutter.

I, the Spirit of Jesus Christ, look beyond the clutter. Many of you have messy lives, and you may believe that the filth of your humanity turns me off. But I look beyond the filth, to you. The greatest desire of my heart is to share your life with you, to live with you in the living room of your heart. And I don’t care how messy your heart is.

Please, invite me in.


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Book Challenge Day #94 – Deadline Done, But Book Isn’t

Deadline

Zero days left in my personal challenge to write a book, from concept to self-publish, in 3 months. The first draft isn’t even done. Oh well. But now that the first draft is almost finished, I’m starting to think about what to do next. Of course I’ll immediately start on the second draft. But I’d also like to get this blog more involved. Here are some ideas for upcoming blog activities. Please take a look and let me know what you think. Do you have other cool ideas that you could share with me?

  • Blog about a summary of the story, finally letting it out from the confines of my notebook. I haven’t mentioned much about the story yet, just because it’s been evolving. But now that it looks solid, I’d like to share it with you.
  • Ask for book cover ideas. Then I could take some of these cover ideas to my artist niece and see what she would do with them. Then, post the artwork for the ideas and have a vote to select the one to use.
  • After I hire an editor to do the final copyediting and I type up the final draft, I’d like to start posting the book on this blog, one chapter at a time. With sixteen chapters, and posting a chapter every day, in a little over two weeks you could read the entire story. And each chapter is short.
  • Hopefully, people who read the story on the blog will post some critique comments. I could then use those comments to make the story better.
  • And then, with the final cover and story, I’ll put the book on Amazon Kindle for free. I will then ask all of you who download and read it to leave a review. Then, after there’s a good collection of reviews, I’ll see what the consensus is. If people perceive the book as poor, with little value, then it will not be worth putting a price on it. If people see value in the book, then I’ll basically set the price based on how may stars it gets – more stars equals higher price. In this way, those who first read and review the book, will set the price for the book. After all, it’s the readers opinion that counts, not mine.

So what do you think? Thanks a lot, CJ

 

(October 18, 2015: day 93 down, 0 more to go, of The Challenge… to write a book, from concept to self-publish, in 3 months.)


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The Spirit Speaks – Dear Child of God

Father God

I am the Spirit of Jesus Christ, the very Spirit of God, present with you, living within you. If you believe. And you are my child. I know; you may be very familiar with my title of Heavenly Father… too familiar. I see that within many of my children, the true meaning of our relationship is lost.

I AM your Father, your perfect parent. As my child, I love you unconditionally. My love cannot be diminished by anything your do or think or feel. My love for you is constant and pure.

Think of the most loving parent you know, and how they feel about their child. Get an image of them and their love in your mind. See how such a parent shows their love, with far more than words. See how they share in their child’s joys, and their suffering. See the power of their compassion. See their wisdom in how they guide their child into adulthood. See how all of this is an expression of their love for their child.

I love you even more.

I have sent my Spirit to live with you, to care for you and watch over you … and to help you see the reality of your childhood.

“For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.” (Romans 8:14-16)


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The Spirit Speaks – Hey, I’m Right Here!

Im right here

So patient. I, the Spirit of Jesus Christ, won’t push you. I’ll honor your free will and let you come to your own conclusion about me, in your time, when you are ready.

But I wish my Church didn’t ignore me so much.

When someone needs counseling or spiritual guidance, they go to their pastor. When they feel the need to confess their sins, they go to their priest, or maybe a close friend. There’s nothing wrong with any of this…

… But hey, I’m right here! My purpose for living with you is to be your counselor, to be your guide, to be your confessor. Of the three persons of God, I, the Holy Spirit, am the most important to your life on earth, for I live with you, within you, as you toil your way through life.

Yet I am frequently absent from sermons. Oh, someone may mention me in a prayer, but my true purpose for living often goes ignored. This is ironic, for without me, there is no Church. For the One True Church of Jesus Christ is the collection of believers in whom I live.

So please, look always to me. I’m right here, within you. And remember my promise… “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever – the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.” (John 14:16-17)


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Book Challenge Day #90 – Oops

ghost writer

I thought I had the whole book mapped out, the book I’m trying to write and publish in three months. The first drafts of 13 of the 15 chapters are in the bank, written and typed up. And the remaining chapters have detailed outlines and notes – all I need to do is put them into a readable flow. And it all feels good…

… Except for the ending. I recently accepted that it sucks. Oh, it’s a necessary and critical part of the story, but it’s a painful way to end. It’s a bad place to leave the reader. I know I’d hate being dropped in that place, without a well lit pathway out.

Well, I was driving to work recently, whining to myself about the end of the story. I don’t think I had yet seen and accepted that it sucked. So I prayed about it. And as with all the chapters in this story, God gave me the new ending, the best ending (in my opinion anyway). By the time I got to work, I had complete notes recorded on my iPhone voice memo app. I so love writing with God, even in my car.

You may have noticed I have only four days left in my 3-month challenge. And the first draft isn’t done. Oh well. Anyone out there have a similar writing experience?

 

(October 14, 2015: day 89 down, 4 more to go, of The Challenge… to write a book, from concept to self-publish, in 3 months.)


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The Spirit Speaks – of Surrender

surrender 2

In this world, surrender paints an image of imprisonment. Yet I, the Spirit of Jesus Christ, am not of this world. And when you surrender to me, I will set you free from the shackles of the world that bind your mind and weigh down your soul.

Judgment, expectations, pride, selfishness, greed, worry, fear, anger… sin; these are the links in the iron chain that binds you in the dungeon of human suffering. But you can escape by surrendering to me. Let me inside you; let me free your mind of the shackles that weigh you down. And with my freedom, you will find true life and true peace.

“The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace. … You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you.” (Romans 8:6, 9)

“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32)


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The Spirit Speaks – Please Don’t Give Up

Never Give Up

I know it’s hard to see me, the Spirit of Jesus Christ, within you. I know it’s difficult to feel a connection with me. The distractions of the world rise up like a wall, between you and me, blocking your view.

But as you tear your mind away from each distraction, the stones in your wall will begin to fad. As each distraction disappears from your mind, so it disappears from the wall, until the wall is gone and you and I again stand face to face.

Yes, the distractions in your world are ever-hungry, craving your full attention. But I ask you today to not give up with your efforts to look away from the distractions and look to me, within you. No matter how long it takes you to find me here, I will never give up on you. I’m patient. I’ll wait for you. Please, be patient too. Please, don’t give up.


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The Spirit Speaks – I Love You

[Look, something brought you to this blog post. If it was a mistake—sorry. But if you’d like to see something that is probably more worth your time, please check out the blurb about my soon-to-be-published novel on my new website. It’s basically about seeing a different perspective of Jesus, through the eyes of some background characters in the Bible. New website: cjpenn.com]

Love of Jesus

Good morning. I, the Spirit of Jesus Christ, just want to say I love you. Remember when I said that the most important thing for you to do is love God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind? Well, this is how my Father and I love you. I so hope you can feel our love. My children expend much effort trying to express their love for me. Yet they sometimes forget to relax and soak in my lavish love for them.

Today, please make a quiet moment for yourself. Find a place to block out the noise of the world, close your eyes, and look inside yourself, to my Spirit within you. And then relax, open your heart and let my love flow through you. For I love you, with all my heart, all my soul, and all my mind.


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The Spirit Speaks – of Those Special Moments

spiritual hug

Have you ever felt a special moment with me, the Spirit of Jesus Christ? I’m talking about a moment where you truly feel my presence within you, where you feel the closeness between the two of us. Whether you’ve felt my presence or not, does your heart crave closeness with me?

If you’ve ever felt the tears of joy and love that come with those intimate moments, please know that I’ve felt those joyful tears too. Oh how I crave those special moments with you.

That’s why I’m always looking to you to turn your sights inward. You will always find me there, within you, waiting for you to sweep away the clutter of your mind, the clutter that piles up between you and me. I’m waiting for you to make a clear path for the two of us to come together and embrace; my Spirit and your soul. Oh, those moments are like medicine for an aching heart, aren’t they?


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The Spirit Speaks – of Your Childhood

Child of God

Your childhood is now. No matter how old you are, no matter where your heart is, no matter what you think about me – the Spirit of Jesus Christ – or my Father, you are a child of God, right now.

I know some people who believe that you are only a true child of God once you believe in me and accept me as your savior. Some believe that God considers you His child only after you show true faith in Him and me. But what kind of father is that? That sounds like a father who loves with conditional love, a love that’s given as a reward for belief. But my Father’s love is unconditional. My Father’s love is true, and constant and never changing.

Look, I once told a story about a wayward son who left his father. You may know this as the story of the Prodigal Son. The son disowned the father, in effect declaring the father dead to the son. But the father never disowned the son. In fact, the father kept looking for the son to return home, and when the son finally changed his ways and headed for home, the father ran to him and welcomed him with compassion and love. The father in this story is an image of God. And like the father in this story, your Father God never lets go of you as His child.

You are a child of God. And your Father is ever scanning the horizon, looking for you to turn to Him. And when you do, He will run to you, and pour His love into you.


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The Spirit Speaks – of The Wall of Pride

Wall of pride

I, the Spirit of Jesus Christ, have spoken of The Wall before, the wall of false ideas that stands between you and me. The stones in this wall are all the beliefs about me and my Church that are not true.

This wall of lies is built on the foundation of natural human pride. For it’s pride that twists the truth to meet the self-interests of humanity. Look, pride focuses on self rather than others. Pride focuses on personal preference, rather than truth. Therefore, pride stands in the way of a healthy relationship with others, and with me.

Though I despise the wall of pride that blocks your view of me, I still love my pride-filled children. For pride is not a choice you make. Pride is a plague that infects all of humanity. Yet it’s a plague with a cure, and I’m the doctor who can cure it. Look within yourself to me, within you. As you focus more on me, the wall of pride will begin to fade, as will your own prideful nature.


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The Spirit Speaks – of Piece of Mind vs. Peace of Mind

peace of mind

The world is ravenous for your attention. The world wants all of you. All the things going on in your world compete for a piece of your mind. Work or school demands a large chunk. A troubled relationship demands more. And dozens of other daily distractions clamor for whatever scraps of your mind fall their way, until there’s nothing left for you.

Drag your mind away from the things of the world and look inside yourself to me, the Spirit of Jesus Christ. Escape from the noise of the world, find a quiet place, and rest with me. The more you practice being with me in your quiet place, the easier it will be to find me again when the world is loud and hungry all around you.

Give me not just a piece of your mind, but all your mind. And by my presence within you, I will give you peace of mind.


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Church for the Dechurched

Dechurched

Are you a dechurched Christian? I am. Survey’s show that there are millions of us American adults who once were active in a church, but attend no more. We are called the “dechurched.”

Yet there is a church for us. Though I don’t attend church on Sundays, every day can be a church day. Every day can be a day with God.

Jesus founded the church and then passed it onto the apostles. The apostle Paul defined the new church as follows: referring to Jesus, Paul declared, “And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.” (Ephesians 1:22-23, emphasis added)

The church is the collection of believers in which the Holy Spirit of Jesus lives… the body of Jesus Christ. As Paul also said, “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? … for God’s temple is sacred, and you together are that temple.” (1 Corinthians 3:16-17)

Church is not a building or manmade organization. Intimate and quiet time with the Spirit of God within you is what real church is about. As long as we look to the Spirit within us, we are not “dechurched.” We ARE the church.


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Oregon College Massacre – Ignoring the True Root Cause

oregon college shooting

I opened the paper this morning to the tragic news. You’ve probably seen it yourself. Ten people dead, shot by a lone gunman on a small college campus in Oregon. And the politicians are already blaming gun laws, lead by Obama.

oregon college shooting - 2

Oh how I wish gun availability were the root cause of the problem. If it truly were, that would be easy to fix. But people like Obama are ignoring the more difficult truth. The true root cause of these shootings is not gun availability, but the deterioration of our society.

Morals, compassion for others, integrity, humility, … Love. These things and more are fading away. Yet it’s these things that are the glue that holds humanity together. When the glue disintegrates, humanity falls apart. It is falling apart, as seen in these shooting tragedies.

Yet tackling our crumbling social glue is a lot more difficult than blaming gun laws. Ignoring the true cause of the problem will definitely not fix the problem. And the shootings will continue.