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 Passion Behind My Writing

ghost writer

The world is screwed up – from the other side of the globe, all the way around to the street where I live. I often whine to myself, and God, about all the pain and suffering and craziness I see in the world. I believe all this messiness comes from the natural brokenness of our humanity. It’s an unchangeable characteristic of our species – we’re naturally screwed up.

Now I can’t change our messed up human nature. All I can do is try to change how I cope and react to the messiness. And I just realized that everything I write – my blog posts and the books I’m writing – are just me sharing my methods for coping. And by sharing, my hope is that others will benefit from what I’ve written. Maybe my methods will work for you too.

This is my passion: to help people find their own ability to cope with our messed up humanity, to endure the pain and craziness of this world, and to find their methods for coping in their relationship with Jesus Christ.

So if you too feel the burden of being a part of a messed up race of broken humans, if you feel that life in this world is out of control, and if you sometimes struggle with how to cope with it all, then please visit again. Maybe I’ll share something that will help you too.


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What is Christianity?

Being good, loving others, going to church, having faith in Jesus. These are all good pieces of the Christianity puzzle. And then, being hypocritical and judgmental … oops, I wandered off into people’s perceptions rather than the truth.

But what is the core truth of what it means to be a Christian? The Apostle Paul might summarize it as having faith, hope and love. I like this answer. But for me, the core answer goes even deeper … to trust.

It’s my trust in Jesus that allows me to have faith, hope and love. Christianity is trusting what Jesus said and promised as recorded in the Bible. It’s trusting that Jesus alone will save us, rather than our own efforts. And it’s trusting in the presence of the Holy Spirit of God and Jesus, here within each of us who believe. And to believe requires trust.

Christianity is trust.


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Self Control? That’s a Laugh

My mind loves to go places where I don’t want to. I’ll try to tackle my mind and keep it from going on a rocky path, and sometimes I wrestle it down and win control. But other times I just follow my mind down that path… too many times, actually.

Oh, at work it’s not too difficult to keep my mind focused on whatever task I’m doing. And at home after work, the TV helps me keep my mind focused on “Downton Abby” or “The Bachelor,” or whatever I’m watching while trying to keep my eyes open as my body melts into the couch.

Are you like me in that it’s hard to control where your mind goes? And is it sometimes hard to control your actions, and often what comes out of your mouth?

If you crave self control, then give up. Instead of trying to gain control, give control of your mind to the Holy Spirit. Focus your thoughts on the Spirit of Jesus Christ, who lives within you. He’s there, sharing your mind with you. Now give Him a bigger share. Let Him control your “self.” That’s where true self control comes from.


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Looking for Peace of Mind?

Well, maybe you need to give up and let go of your mind in order to find the peace you seek. My mind is usually consumed by all the stuff going on around me – there’s no peace there. So I try to let go and give control of my mind to God.

How do I give control of my mind to the Spirit of God and Jesus? It seems like most of the time, it’s turning my back on all the worldly stuff that screams for my attention, and letting my mind focus on nothing but Jesus, here within me, within my mind and with my soul.

And in those moments where there’s nothing and no one in my mind but God and Jesus, that’s when I feel the promised peace, the peace that comes from letting God control my mind. Just at the Apostle Paul promised, “… the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace.” (Romans 8:6)

Are you looking for peace of mind? Then please, give yourself as much time as you need to let go of all the worldly stuff that screams for your attention. And as your mind empties of the noise, let God come in and fill the vacancy. And He will bring His peace.


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Wreckage?

I’m floating in a sea,

surrounded by debris and wreckage.

The wreckage of this broken world;

the wreckage of my life.

Surrounded,

unable to clearly see the horizon

for all the wreckage.

I search the horizon for Jesus.

I look for Father God.

I know they are here;

something inside me feels their presence.

But the wreckage crowds my view.

Without God, there is only wreckage.

And finally, the wreckage breaks up.

And God opens a way, from Him to me.

And now He’s here;

His Spirit is within me, floating here with me.

And the wreckage pulls away from God,

unable to touch Him.

With the Spirit of God and Jesus within me,

the wreckage of my life floats off,

and I feel peace.

———————-

This is a typical morning for me, quietly sitting with coffee mug in hand, surrounded by the wreckage that fills my mind. And then God appears. Oh Lord! Dear Jesus! I love you as much as I am able. And I live because you live within me.


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The Spirit Speaks – I Cherish Your Love, As It Is

I, the Spirit of Jesus Christ, am with you always. My love flows through you always. My love for you never changes. Yet does your love for me rise and fall, like the tide? Is your love for me sometimes full, sometimes empty, and often in between? Do you see your love for me as imperfect?

Well, that’s okay. Sometimes you may not feel it, especially when your love is weak. But I feel your love, even when you don’t. And I cherish your love for me, as imperfect as it is. I don’t demand perfect love, for that’s impossible for flawed humanity. But I do cherish whatever you can give me.

Now close your eyes. Look inside yourself, to me here within you. Do you see me smiling at you? I smile because every time you look my way, that’s an act of love. I love you too.


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The Spirit Speaks – of Being a Peacemaker

Are there people in your life who suffer from the burdens of this world, from conflicts and strife? Silly question, I know, for everyone suffers. But are there people you love whom you sincerely want to help find peace in this life?

If so, then look to me, the Spirit of Jesus Christ, living within you. There is no better peacemaker than me. There is no better relationship healer than me, no better diplomat than me, the Holy Spirit of God. And there is no better evangelist than me.

Please, let go and let me make peace, through you. Let me heal relationships through you. Let me resolve conflicts through you. Let me evangelize through you. And by doing so, you will feel the thrill of witnessing me living through you.


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Maybe a Small Step, But it Feels BIG to Me

Yesterday I registered a domain name for my author web page – which doesn’t exist yet. Eventually you will be able to find my author page at www.cjpenn.com. But clicking on this link won’t get you anywhere today.

Though it was easy to get this domain name registered, I was surprised at how difficult it was. Confused? Me too. Technically it was easy. Emotionally it was hard. This feels like a huge step for me.

Though I’ve been writing for this blog for almost 10 years, and working on writing some books for almost 9 years (nothing yet published), I feel like I just took my first step into a whole new phase of my writing – the marketing phase. And it feels awkward and uncomfortable. I feel like I just climbed into a rocket about to blast off to Mars.

My author web page will be all about marketing me and my books. From the research I’ve been doing, an author page that’s separate from my blog is essential. But this whole marketing bit just doesn’t stir the passion and excitement in me that writing does. I’ll just have to force-feed the passion, I guess.

Anyway, I think I’ll start blogging about my experiences with this new phase of my writing life. So if you’re interested in such things, please check back in. AND, please give me some advice. I could use it. Thanks


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Blogging Friends

My blog friends filled my thoughts as I filled my mug with coffee this morning. We’ve never met in person, but I see you whenever you “like” or comment on one of my posts. I smile when I see your familiar name and image show up in my email, announcing your visit to my blog. I feel we know each other in a small way.

And as I thought of you this morning, I became filled with gratitude. I’m grateful for you and your visits. I’m grateful for your friendship, unconventional as it is. And I’m grateful for Jesus, for He brought us together. It was our mutual relationships with Jesus that connected us via this intangible, untouchable realm called the Internet.

And now I’m thinking… Jesus is all about relationships, and friendships. He promised He will be our friend, if we believe in Him. And I now see Him using manmade things such as the Internet to help make other friendships, such as yours and mine. That’s kind of cool.

But back to my original thought… thank you blogging friend. Thanks for your visits. I hope you have a great day.

CJ


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Living in the Moment

Like a lot of people, I tend to live for the future. I have goals and dreams I hope to achieve. Often I project myself into the future, imagining I’ve living my goal. And my imagination can get pretty focused and detailed. But this imagining of the future almost always ends in disappointment.

The disappointment is usually bred from my impatience… I want to bring tomorrow’s dreams into today. I want to reach my goals NOW. But I guess the disappointment is good, because that’s when I tend to step back, fall down, and pray.

And this is what comes to me in those times when I quiet my mind, damp down my active imagination, and listen for the Spirit of Jesus: by focusing on tomorrow, I’m missing the chance to live in the moment, which is where the Holy Spirit lives.

But then I wondered what it means to live in the moment. Well, for me it means to live WITH the Holy Spirit, sharing the moment with Him, and with His guidance look for things I can do now, for Him. For example, no matter where I am or what I’m doing, there’s always an opportunity to have a relationship with someone, to interact with whomever I’m with, aided by the presence of Jesus. And for those times when I’m alone, I can focus on my relationship with the Holy Spirit of Jesus, who is always with me.

There’s no disappointment there.

But my imagination still likes to run ahead into the future. I wish I could sling a lasso around that rambunctious boy and keep him here with me, and Jesus. Oh well… it’s who I am.


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Feeling Surrounded by God

Redwood trees

I went for a hike in a redwood forest yesterday. I admire redwood trees; so tall, so old, so strong. My mind drifted away from my life and wondered at the lives of the trees. Most of them are hundreds of years old, and some are over a thousand.

And then I felt it – the majesty of God. Surrounded by trees that had witnessed hundreds of years of God’s creation, I also felt surrounded by God. Oh, I feel the presence of God’s Spirit within me almost every day. But most days, God and I are surrounded by the chaos of the world, and I don’t often see God in the midst of that chaos.

But yesterday, in the midst of that majestic redwood forest, there was no chaos – only God. And it felt great.

Thank you Lord.


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Don’t be Afraid; Just Believe

Job interview today. I really want this job. Nervousness keeps trying to drown me in fear. I feel the waves of anxiety crashing over me whenever I think about the interview. I try to run from the waves; sometimes I stumble and the wave knocks me down. But I look up and there’s Jesus, reaching down to help me get back on my feet again.

I was reading chapter 5 of the gospel of Mark this morning. A synagogue ruler’s daughter was sick, and then she died. At that, Jesus looked at the ruler and said, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.” And of course, Jesus then brought the little girl back to life.

Today I hear, and feel, Jesus saying that to me… don’t be afraid, just believe. As long as I focus on what I believe – that the Spirit of Jesus is within me, even during the interview – the waves of fear recede and vanish. I won’t be alone in that interview; the Spirit of Jesus will be with me. And I’m so grateful.


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Satan is Terrified

Jesus confronted Satan many times during His life on earth. This morning I was reading about one of those times in the gospel of Mark. Jesus came across a demon-possessed man causing trouble among some tombs. In referring to the man, Mark writes:

“When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him. He shouted at the top of his voice, ‘What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? In God’s name don’t torture me!’” (Mark 5:6-7)

The demons of Satan were absolutely terrified of Jesus. Satan fell on his knees at Jesus’ feet and begged Jesus for mercy. I stopped reading and just focused on that fact. What does it mean to me, that Satan is terrified of Jesus? Think about it – what does it mean to you?


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The Spirit Speaks – of Heaven

Heaven is for real

People are hungry for heaven. They want proof of heaven; they want to know that this life isn’t the end. They want to know that heaven is for real. IS heaven for real? The answer is waiting inside of you.

Heaven is not only real; it’s here, right within your grasp. I, the Spirit of Jesus Christ, am heaven within you. You don’t need to physically die to see heaven. Just close your eyes and look inside your soul to me. I’m here, bringing heaven to you.

When you look to me living here with your spirit, you will know with certainty that heaven is for real, and that this life is not the end, it’s the beginning.