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 Answers to All Problems

Many people feel alone, overwhelmed with life, worried about stuff, depressed, and they are looking for answers. I believe the answer to all of our questions and worries is an intimate relationship with the Spirit of Jesus Christ.

I know it’s a lot to say that Jesus is the answer to ALL questions. But what makes this true is the relationship between our physical lives, and our spiritual lives. Our spirit/soul lives in another dimension; or you could think about it that way. Look at the spiritual as an umbrella, protecting the physical, mental, and emotional parts of our selves. What happens with our spiritual self affects the rest of who we are.

Or look it this way: your spirit/soul is like a vine planted in the ground. Your physical, mental and emotional branches are connected to the vine of your spirit. When your spirit has its roots deep in the truth of Jesus, then your branches draw up strength through your spiritual connection with His Spirit, living within you.

In this way, everything that is you is connected to Jesus. And this is why Jesus and the truth of His Spirit living within you is the answer to all your concerns and problems. You will find the peace that goes beyond our understanding, the peace that comes from that other dimension, when the roots of your soul are deeply entwined with the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ.


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Pulled Back From the Cliff, Again

The stress of work…

it grabbed a hold of my mind;

it dragged me to the edge of the cliff.

Such agony, teetering there on the edge,

looking down into the black pit,

the stale air rising up from below,

making it hard to breathe.

Every morning as I got out of bed,

my mind would run to work,

and drag me back to the edge of that pit.

My chest would tighten,

my blood pressure rising,

all day long.

And then God took my hand,

and He pulled me back

and into His arms, again.

And God reminded me of what He’d taught me before:

don’t try to control my day;

don’t be a victim of the day;

just Experience each day, with God,

and Trust God with control of my day.

Now I stand with the Spirit of Jesus,

holding His hand,

watching the day go by.

And that cliff is no longer in sight.

And I’m so grateful.


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Do you want to see God?

Friends say my oldest son looks like me. I don’t see it. Both of my sons look unique to me. And that person I see in the mirror looks unique to – he doesn’t look like me, but rather some older guy.

Anyway, this morning I was thinking about how those of us who believe in Jesus, in certain ways we look like our Father God. Of course it’s not our physical features that make us look like God, but rather how we interact with other people. It’s our love and compassion, our patience and understanding, our humility and peacefulness – these are the gifted traits we inherit from God that help us look like Him.

The part that rattles my mind is that other people can actually see God in me, when I let His gifted traits shine out. I’m still trying to get a grasp on that one.

Do you want to see God? Try looking in the mirror.


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Finding Peace in the Face of Terror

(Beware – Jesus Christ inside. If you are uncomfortable with Christianity… well, I’ve warned you.)

 

Does the terror in the world frighten you? Though others share your fears, do you feel alone in your fear? Does it feel like you are standing alone against the fear that darkens your mood? Does it feel like we are fighting the same enemy, but each of us is alone in our private battle?

I think these questions make sense, for since fear is an internal and individual emotion, we cannot band together to combat our private fear.

Look, I’m no preacher. I’m just a regular afraid person, maybe a lot like you. But I’m not alone in my battle against my fears. Yet, because of what’s going on in the world, I’m concerned for everyone who feels the knot in their stomach pull tighter with each terrorist attack. I wish I could help people deal with the terror. Yet, as I said above, you are alone in your battle. I can’t join you there.

But someone can. Yes, this is where Jesus enters in.

No matter what you see on the surface of Christianity, the truth is that Christianity is all about a personal and intimate relationship with Jesus. He’s alive, as Spirit. His body died, but his soul lives. And he wants to live with you.

A relationship with Jesus gives you a real sense that you are never alone. Jesus can be with you, helping you battle your fears. And he can help you understand why the world seems to be falling apart. There are answers that make sense, once you see them.

Jesus can also show you how to escape your world, and enter his world, the inner-mind where his Spirit and your soul live. And that’s where you can find a peace that confounds the terror of the outer world.

Do you want to find a way to fight against the terrorists and their efforts to infect the world with an epidemic of fear? If so, look for Jesus in your inner-mind.

If Christianity is new to you, there are lots of great churches and Christians who can help you. But no matter what path you follow, what’s most important is your personal time with Jesus. Go to a quiet place, empty your mind of the distractions of the world, (this is the hardest part for me), and look inside your inner-mind. With practice, you may start to feel Jesus there. And together, the two of you can win the battle against your fear.

 

 

(Originally posted on Dec. 5, 2015)


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It is Finished

The pain is constant. Searing. It feels like I’m on an ocean, and the waves of pain are crashing over me. When I lift up on my legs to breathe, the waves crash into my feet, up my legs and into my core. And then, when my legs give out and my full weight again falls on my arms, the waves crash into my chest and back, and my dislocated shoulders, and my arms and hands. And my skinless back rubs against the harsh wood of the cross. There is no escape.

Yet what feels worse than the pain is this feeling of being alone. Surrounded by this growing crowd, yet I don’t feel His presence. My Father is gone. I’ve never known this before, this emptiness, this parched, vast void of emptiness. It’s crushing my soul. The pain of the whip and the cross becomes numb next to this feeling of being so alone. Yes, I still feel the pain. It’s still there, sharp and mean. But its intensity is being overpowered by the agony of this aloneness, the agony of my Father no longer here with me. Oh, my humanness is shattered by the pain of the torture they whipped and pounded into me. But my spirit is collapsing under the weight of this emptiness.

“Father, why have you forsaken me?”

Yet I know why. It’s the sin. The sin of the world is upon me.

The pain is fading now, it’s becoming softer. It’s starting to feel more like a dream than real. And the light is fading; the sky darkens. The end must be near.

There, opening up before me, is a dark, lightless pit. Empty. Alone. This devouring emptiness is spewing from there… the very pit of hell. The presence of my Father is nowhere. Over there, toward the city gate, I see people and earth and sky. I see God’s creation. But this pit before me – there is nothing. No Father, no creation, just void. Hell; absolute emptiness, gaping wide, reaching for me. So dark, and hungry. It ravages me. It consumes me. It’s pulling on me, adding its dead weight to my dying arms. It’s rising up to grab me and pull me down, gripping me in its ravenous maw. With my death it will have me. It will swallow me. That inky, thick, black fog of dread and evil; it’s flowing over me. I’m drowning in the smothering dread of hell. I cannot breathe!

The pain is gone. The nails are gone. The cross is gone. I’m falling… into hell. All light and life are gone.

“It is finished.”
(An excerpt from a book I’m writing. Copyright 2015, CJ Penn)


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I am With You Always

Do you feel close to me, the Spirit of Jesus Christ living within you? Do you feel my presence? Have you grown to rely on me to be with you, always there when you need me? Do you feel the peace of our shared life together, our shared love together? Do you hunger and thirst for my presence, and do you feel a sting of panic if you don’t immediately sense me when you look my way?

One more question, a request really: imagine how you would feel if you looked for me and I was no longer there. Imagine what your life would be like without me.

If you feel a sense of utter, overpowering despair, then you have a small taste of how I felt when I died for you on that cross. For when I took the burden of the sins of humanity, my Father God and I were separated, no longer together, no longer one. His presence was gone. And I fell off that cross and into the black, empty void of despair… into hell.

But do not despair, for I will never leave you. I will always be with you.

“And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)


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The Last Guilty Man

I, the Spirit of Jesus Christ, am the last guilty man. For I became guilty of the sins of all humanity. I carried the burden of all sins through the streets of old Jerusalem and up that hill, where I paid the final penalty… the death sentence for my guilt.

Guilt died with me. There is no more guilt. It was my guilt that set you free of your guilt. I am the last guilty man. This is the truth.

“If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31-32)

 

 

(Originally posted on Dec. 4, 2015)


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Thank You

I’m a sinner.

It’s who I am.

I try not to, but fail.

Just a typical, weak human being – that’s me.

But He forgives me.

And more than forgive, He picked up the penalties for my sins and carried that burden Himself…

… all the way to the cross.

Dear Jesus, you paid my debts.

And left me free.

And I’m so grateful.


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How Would You Feel If…?

What if you knew for certain that tomorrow you were going to be tortured and killed? How would you feel today, knowing what waits for you tomorrow?

A weird and disturbing question, I know. But your answer may help you feel some of what Jesus felt, as he waited for His fate.

I don’t ask this to stir up feelings of guilt. Instead I hope you will feel overwhelming love and gratitude. What Jesus did for all of us was not easy. He suffered so we won’t have to. So how do you feel?


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Freedom from Stress

The stress of work climbs onto your shoulders and tries to wrestle you to the ground.

Troubled relationships reach into your gut, mess with your nerves, and stir up an anxious soup of sickness.

The world around us is trembling with explosions and death.

Do you sometimes feel like a tortured prisoner of life?

You know what I’ll say next. Those of us who try to follow Jesus know where our freedom comes from, though it’s often hard to feel that freedom.

Close your eyes to the stress. Look away from your anxious feelings. And look to the Spirit of Jesus within you. He will calm your nerves and set you free.


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The Essence of God Within You

I am the Holy Spirit, the Voice of God.

As best you can, empty your mind of the noise of your world. Turn your back on the clutter of your life and let it fade away. And turn to me, here within you. Trust me to be here. Listen for my voice. Focus only on me. See me in your minds eye, and feel my presence. Feel me more with each breath you take, and I will renew your soul – the energy of life that is you.

Oh, I also hear the worldly racket pounding on the door of your mind, wanting to come back in. Ignore it, for now. Let you and me have our alone time together.

Do you feel me? How does it feel to have the essence of God here within you, speaking to you? That peace you feel is love, my true love. You might now be ready to open the door and step out into your day, where you can share my love.


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Love Is???

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-5)

Love is… HARD!

Think about it. It’s hard to truly love when our natural human tendency is to be impatient and self-centered. But that’s okay. For true love doesn’t come from you or me. It comes from God. If you truly feel the love of God, then His love will inspire you to love Him, and others. God’s love overpowers our natural impatience and pride. Gods love demolishes the walls we build with our natural flaws, and replaces those human traits with a love that never fails.

Get to know Jesus, and you will come to truly feel His love for you. Read about Him in the Bible, and pray… look for His Spirit within you. And when you find Him there, you will feel His undeniable love for you. And His love for you will feed your love for Him and others.

As the Apostle John said of Jesus, “We love because he first loved us.” (1 John 4:19)

And in speaking of the Holy Spirit, John also said, “If we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. We know that we live in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.” (1 John 4:12-13)


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Do You Long to FEEL the Holy Spirit in Your Life?

I believe what many Christians hunger for is an undeniable sense of the reality of the Holy Spirit in their lives. You believe, but you may not feel… the Holy Spirit. I don’t know about you, but I really want to FEEL His presence in my life.

Look, life is hard and sometimes painful for all of us. We can’t handle it alone. Other people can only partially help us, as they have their own problems to deal with. So we look to the Spirit of Jesus, for somewhere deep inside we know that He is our only hope.

Do you feel this longing too? Even if you don’t consider yourself fully Christian (whatever that means), does your gut tell you that your true hope in dealing with this messed up world lies in some kind of relationship with God? Maybe you can’t name what you’re longing for, but you know something is missing, and you’re hungry to fill the void.

Could it be that the hunger you feel is coming from the Spirit of Jesus Himself? He may be within you now, living deep inside where your soul lives, feeding your hunger for life with Him. Do you feel it? That’s the presence of the Holy Spirit within you.


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Escaping Into Yourself

Is stress lurking around the corner, waiting for you to step out your door and head off to work or school? Or has stress invaded your house? Is it standing beside your bed, just waiting for you to open your eyes, and your mind, and let it invade your thoughts?

As you go about your day, there is a way to escape from stress. Close your eyes and step inside yourself. You may still hear the world and stress clamoring for your attention. But as you go deeper into yourself, two things happen. The noise of the world becomes muffled, and your view of Jesus becomes clearer. And the more you feel the truth of the presence of the Spirit of Jesus within you, the less you will feel the stress that you left locked outside. For the peace of Jesus’ presence will envelope you and protect you.

Oh yes, you’ll have to step outside again and deal with life. But you always have a place to escape, and a person to escape to; you and Jesus, living together in your quiet place of peace.


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Beyond Church

Church is a great place to learn about God and Jesus, strengthen your faith, and establish long lasting relationships with new friends. But when it comes to your most important relationship, church can sometimes be a distraction. You’re relationship with Jesus is not established and strengthened in the midst of a crowd. You will find and feel your relationship with Jesus in your quiet time with Him.

In His instructions for how we should pray, Jesus said, “When you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen.” (Matthew 6:6) That’s where we will find Jesus, in the quiet and solitude of our own private place.

Do you hunger for a stronger relationship with Jesus? Then look beyond church. Look to the quiet and solitude within your heart, for that is where the Spirit of Jesus lives.


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When All You Have Is Self

When all you have is selfishness, the meaning in your life is defined by your selfish desires. “Me, me, me” defines you. And since its part of our human nature, we all are selfish, each to our own degree.

But there’s misery in selfishness. For reasons I don’t understand, selfishness seems to hold onto pain. Selfishness cannot forgive. Selfishness is alone. Selfishness is greedy. And selfishness is rarely satisfied with life. When all you have is self, life is miserable. When you all have is self, you cannot truly see others, and you cannot see Jesus.

But when you begin to add humility to your natural selfishness, misery diminishes as your selfishness is diluted by the humility. And where selfishness clouds your vision, humility opens your horizon. And when you can look beyond self, you will truly and clearly begin to see the Spirit of Jesus, within you. And that’s when life begins.


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Imagine… Jesus at Your Side

Imagine what your life would be like with Jesus at your side. He’s there by your bed when you get up in the morning. He offers His hand and helps you out of bed – if you’re like me, you’re grateful for the help. He’s softly talking to you as you make your coffee, eat your breakfast, and brush your teeth.

He’s sitting next to you in the car as you drive to work. And He mentions His sorrow over the person who just cut you off, because He knows of all the grief that person is suffering. Though your can see Jesus sitting next to you, others cannot. So sorry, you cannot drive in the carpool lane.

Jesus is with you at work, never leaving your side. You chat about whatever comes to mind. He answers your questions and He gives you advice. And He warns you when your thinking starts to head in the wrong direction. And when your mind does go to the dark side, and you get in an argument with a co-worker, imagine Jesus there to help you let go of those dark thoughts. He comforts you, and if you feel you need forgiveness, He forgives you… always. And when you get distracted by other things and lose sight of Jesus, when you turn back, He’s always there, right beside you. All day. Every day.

Imagine Jesus with you as you go home. He sits with you as you eat your dinner. He lounges with you as you watch TV. And when you go to sleep, He pulls up a chair and sits down right beside your bed. He’s holding your hand as you drift off to sleep.

Now believe that this is real. For this is the relationship Jesus hopes we have with His Holy Spirit. Yet closer than by your side, Jesus’ Spirit is here to live within you.

So today, imagine… Jesus at your side.

 

(And maybe come back here later and leave a comment about how your day went.)


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The Voice of God – Really

Look, I’m real, okay. I’m not a thing. I’m not a symbol. I’m not a myth. I’m real. I am the Holy Spirit of God and Jesus Christ. Though I’m often ignored, that doesn’t make me less real.

If you wish, you can think of me as the voice of God. I am the voice of God, speaking to you. Okay, I didn’t write this blog post, though I did ask CJ to write it. But my hope is that these words CJ is writing will inspire you to quiet your mind, look deep inside yourself, and listen for my voice. That’s where you will truly hear me. For I’m here, within you… if you believe and let me in.

Please, listen for my voice, the voice of God, within you.

(Note from CJ: I used to call this series of posts “The Spirit Speaks…”. But now I like “The Voice of God…” better. So that’s what these posts will be, unless I find something I like even better.)


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Political Nightmare

Does the future of the United States look crazy to you? Is this presidential election cycle twisting your mind into knots?

If you are a Trump supporter, is your enthusiasm for Trump at least partly a reaction to how messed up the current political establishment is? Is this your way of screaming into the face of the establishment and saying, “I’m tired, and I don’t want to take it any more.”?

If you are anti-Trump, are you growing fearful that a person with his qualities might actually end up being president of the United States?

No matter what side you’re on, are you looking for an escape from your uneasy feelings? Are you looking for a way to cope with the craziness that seems to surround you?

All I can offer is what works for me. The world is a messed up place, and the mess comes from our natural human ego, selfishness, greed, etc. I’ll lump these terms and more into the plague that infects all humanity – pride. Natural human pride is the muck that messes up the world we live in. And the only way to cope with this mess is by looking away from the world, and focusing more on Jesus.

Pry your thoughts away from this crazy world, and instead peer deep inside yourself, down into your soul. That’s where the Holy Spirit of God and Jesus lives. The more you stare at the Spirit of Jesus within you, the more peace you will feel. And the messiness will fad away.