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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Young Frankenstein and Jesus

In the movie “Young Frankenstein,” Doctor Frankenstein strapped his deranged monster and himself to medieval-looking laboratory tables. Igor then threw a series of switches, electricity crackled, sparks flew, and the agitated machinery transferred a portion of the doctors’ goodness into his delinquent creation.

We are God’s delinquent creation. Jesus—God as the perfect, sinless, all-righteous human—nailed himself to the cross for the great exchange. Jesus took our sin, and gave us His righteousness, making us as acceptable in God’s eyes as he is Himself. Our righteousness had to come from God, for there is no one other than God who is righteous.

“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21)

“This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.” (Romans 3:22)


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One With Jesus, or One With the World

Jesus once prayed, “I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us.” (John 17:20-21)

Jesus also said, “On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.” (John 14:20) “Remain in me, and I will remain in you. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. … If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you.” (John 15:4-5, 7)

And finally, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

As I see it, we each have a choice—to be one with Jesus, or one with the world. I can be driven by my relationship with Jesus, by my love for Him, or driven by my love for the world. Well, I know what my preference is.

What do you think?


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Meet Mimi and Humble

Mimi & HumbleAllow me to introduce you to Mimi and Humble, two interesting, yet common individuals. Mimi tends to be the more loud and talkative of the two, sometimes striving for volume in violation of OSHA safety limits. Humble, of course, tends to be quiet and passive.

Mimi suffers a lot, is rarely content, and more rarely happy. Mimi has a hard time thinking about the needs or considerations of other people. Yes, Mimi is selfish, self-centered, self-conscious, vain, prideful, and sometimes downright arrogant.

Humble also suffers at times, but for different reasons. Where Mimi is often angry, Humble is sometimes sad. But we’ll get into that later. I could tell you more about Mimi and Humble, but instead, let’s listen in on a recent conversation between the two.

“Can you believe how stubborn he is?” Mimi whined. “It’s right in front of his face, but he won’t see it.”

“Look, I see how stressed you’re getting about this,” Humble said. “Maybe just let it go. I don’t think you can get him to change his mind.”

“I don’t expect to convince him to change his mind,” Mimi went on to say. “He’s too stubborn for that. But I just have to tell him how wrong he is.”

“Um, do you think that’s really a good idea? I mean, will it help?”

“It won’t help him—too stubborn. He’s beyond help. But I’ll feel better.”

“It just makes me sad to see you so angry and stressed out. This issue between you two has been going on for almost a week now. And it just keeps you in a bad mood.”

“Talk about something else.”

“The news is on. Do you want to turn on the TV and see what’s new with the election?”

“Whatever.”

Humble grabbed the remote and turned on the TV, going to the list of recorded programs and selected the news broadcast that began recording about ten minutes ago.

“Oh, s*#t! If that guys wins,” Mimi growled, “we’re all doomed. What an idiot.”

As Mimi kept complaining about various politicians, and then migrated to other topics to complain about, Humble struggled to remain quiet, feeling there was nothing to say that could help. Again, Humble was sad, sad for Mimi. Mimi seemed unaware of the self-induced suffering. If Mimi could only let go of complaints and worries about things that may never occur. Humble realizes that’ll never happen, it’s not in Mimi’s nature.

When Mimi’s not happy, no one’s happy—the old cliché is so true. It can be hard living with Mimi at times. But that’s the way of life, and Humble is determined to stick it out. So, how can Humble find freedom from the wrath of Mimi? It’s not going to be simple. Humble needs to become stronger, stronger than Mimi.

Who are Mimi and Humble? As you may already know, they are the two sides of our personality. We each have our own Mimi and Humble. Within our personalities, one is often stronger than the other, and it’s usually easy for others to discern which is stronger, Mimi or Humble, for that is who they see. Within some people, it would seem like Humble is dead, as there is no sign of its existence. True peace and happiness comes when it appears as if Mimi is dead, and Humble is thriving.

How well do you know these two sides of your own personality?


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To be an Image of God … Again

It’s safe to say that Jesus was a true image of God, as any child is something of an image of their parents. But I suspect that Jesus, when he walked those roads of ancient Israel, was more of an image of God.

I also suspect that when God first created humans—Adam and Eve—that they were almost as much of an image of God as Jesus. But of course, sin entered in and tarnished that image, nearly obliterating it in some people.

I don’t know about you, but I want that image back. I want to be an image of God … again. How? Well, Jesus told us. Deny my Self and let the Spirit of Jesus fill me with Himself.

In referring to Jesus, John the Baptist once said, “He must become greater; I must become less.” (John 3:30) That’s my constant prayer, for the Spirit of Jesus to become greater in me, and for my natural, flawed, human nature Self—you know, the selfish, self-centered, prideful, greedy, blah, blah, blah part of me that has often dominated what people see—to become less. Jesus must become greater, my Self must become less. Actually, my hope is that the Spirit of Jesus becomes everything in me, and my Self becomes nothing.

And the more there is of the Holy Spirit within me, the more I will be an image of God, as Jesus is an image of God.


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“We Called Him Yeshua,” Kindle Still FREE on Amazon

Have you ever wondered what it was like to follow Jesus as He traveled the roads of ancient Israel? What did those people see, and feel? I’m talking about the people Jesus interacted with as recorded in the Bible. Like the woman who wept at Jesus’ feet while He was having dinner at the house of a church leader, and the compassion she felt from Jesus while the dinner host chastised her. Or the leper who said to Jesus, “If you are willing, you can make me clean,” and what he must have felt when Jesus placed His hand on the man’s shoulder, the man feeling the touch of another person for maybe the first time since he’d contracted that disease.

These people and more will tell you their stories in the pages of “We Called Him Yeshua.” And through their stories, you will see another side of Jesus’ story.

In honor of Easter, the Kindle version is FREE on Amazon until midnight Thursday, April 1.

Please recommend this to friends, while it’s still free.

(click here to go to Amazon book page)

Free promo 3-21 #2


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A Friend for Easter, and Beyond

“We Called Him Yeshua” will take you down the road leading to that first Easter Sunday. By seeing through the eyes of hopeful people who followed Jesus on that road, you might feel yourself drawn into their world, walking with them, seeing what they saw, feeling what they felt. And, you will see a side of Jesus that you share, His human side. They called Him Yeshua, and friend—by sharing in their experiences, you too may come to call Him friend.

But Jesus wants more than a casual friendship. Jesus wants to share His life with you. And, He wants you to share your life with Him. Yet as with any relationship, to share our life with someone, we need to know them on a level that’s deeper than a casual friendship, far deeper. “We Called Him Yeshua” may take you there.

In honor of Easter, the Kindle version is FREE on Amazon from Sunday March 28, to midnight Thursday, April 1.

Please recommend this to friends, while it’s still free.

(click here to go to Amazon book page)

Free promo 3-21 #1


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A Good Read for the Easter Holydays

Palm Sunday is almost here, followed closely by Good Friday, culminating in Easter Sunday. Are you looking for something to read that might help you better see and appreciate these holydays?

Amazon 3-26-21“We Called Him Yeshua” is a novel that will take you down the road leading to that first Easter Sunday. By seeing through the eyes of people who followed Jesus on that road, you might actually feel yourself sharing in their experiences, almost as if you were there too. You can read more about the story, and even get a peek inside, on the Amazon book page.

Also, in honor of these holydays, the Kindle version will be FREE on Amazon starting this Palm Sunday, March 28. And it will remain FREE until midnight Thursday, April 1.

(click here to go to Amazon page)

If you like, please refer this book to a friend.


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The Dominion of … Take Your Pick

In addition to being the dominion of God, heaven is the dominion of love, forgiveness, grace, and humility. The world, on the other hand, though there is still love and the rest, is mainly the dominion of pride, selfishness, and other such aspects of our fallen human nature.

So this morning, while holding that image in my mind of the world as the dominion of pride, I read these words of Jesus:

“They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.” (John 17:16)

“If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world.” (John 15:19)

“In me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

“My kingdom is not of this world.” (John 18:36)

“—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him no knows him.” (John 14:17)

We can be in the world, but not off the world—a common phrase I’ve often heard. We physically live in the dominion of pride, but our heart and soul can reside in the dominion of love, forgiveness, and especially humility. For it’s humility that opens the door for love and forgiveness.

And that brings me to the last verse I quoted above. The world cannot accept the Holy Spirit because Pride will not allow it, pride cannot see the Spirit of Jesus, nor know Him. So, if we want to come to know the Spirit of Jesus, I think we first need to let humility be dominant over pride in our lives. I wish we could be free of pride and the harm it brings. But we can at least nurture our humility so that it becomes stronger than pride. And then, we will be able to see, and know, the Spirit of Jesus within us.


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Invasion of the Body Snatcher?

Invasion of the Body SnatcherOkay, this might at first sound weird, but please stay with me to the end. Maybe you’ve seen movies like Invasion of the Body Snatchers, where people’s bodies get taken over by some other creature. Now, with that bizarre and maybe scary image in your mind, please consider this …

When Jesus walked the earth, back in the days of ancient Israel, His Spirit lived within His body, naturally. Then, Jesus died and went to heaven. But, as He had promised, he has sent His Spirit, the Holy Spirit, to be with us.

Well, maybe this could be somewhat like a heavenly version of those dark movies. Jesus’ Spirit wants to live in our bodies. Jesus wants to walk the earth again, in our bodies. But of course, Jesus won’t do this unless we open up and let Him in.

An invasion? No. Not at all.

Rather, Jesus is giving us an invitation. An invitation to live with Him and never be alone. He’s not looking to take over, like in those B-rated movies. He’s looking to share, and take care.

So, what do you think about this image I’ve tried to paint for you?


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“We Called Him Yeshua” FREE on Amazon

Hello there everyone,

It’s been almost a year since I published my first novel, We Called Him Yeshua. To celebrate that, I’m having a promotion where the Kindle version is FREE on Amazon from today until midnight Wednesday, March 10th.

If you’ve ever wondered what it was like to follow Jesus as he traveled the roads of ancient Israel, this might be a great story for you. In it, you will see Jesus through the eyes of people who followed him on his final journey to Jerusalem.

Also, if you know anyone who might enjoy this book, now would be a great time to refer them to it. Maybe you could share this post on your social-media-of-choice, or even email this to a friend (see buttons below).

Finally, if you would like to leave a review or just a star rating on Amazon, that would be terrific. I’m especially grateful to hear what readers think of the book. Feedback can help me make my next book better.

(Click here to go to Amazon page)

Thank you and I hope you have a great weekend.

All the best,

CJ


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A Cure for Cabin Fever

Are you suffering from winter COVID cabin fever? Locked down. Shut in. Alone. Or, nearly alone. Zoom calls don’t help much anymore. Tired of watching TV. Definitely tired of surfing news websites. Tired of it all. All I can offer is this—it may not seem like much, but I believe it has the potential to help in unexpected ways:

A good story, a good book that will take you away to another time and place—maybe that would help. Oh, you’ve tried that already? Yes I now, there are lots of great books out there. But the problem is, once you close the book, especially for the last time, you’re still stuck in today. Well, I’d like to recommend a book that along with taking you to another time and place, might also help you bring some of it back when you return to here and now.

We Called Him Yeshua introduces you to someone who can come back with you once you close the book and return to today. This someone can help you cope with today, and even thrive.

How is that possible? Well, the story introduces you to Jesus Christ in a way more intimate than maybe you’ve ever felt. And by the time you finish the story, close the book for the last time, and return to the here and now, you’ll be able to bring Jesus with you. And I don’t mean that figuratively. I’m talking about the actual and real presence of the Spirit of Jesus. You need never be alone again.

So what exactly is this piece of historical fiction about?

The story shows you the human side of Jesus as seen through the eyes of people who lived with him during his final weeks on earth. They’ll tell you what they saw and felt, and how they grew closer to Jesus. They’ll tell you of his love, courage, compassion, strength, and humility.

Listen to Anna and others tell you about their experiences with Jesus as they all follow him down that dusty road to Jerusalem. Hear Neri describe what it was like when Jesus healed him of leprosy, or Timaeus tell you about being able to see for the first time in his life, and then Anna, as she falls deeper in love with Jesus. She doesn’t care about his divinity—all she cares for is his humanity.

We call him by his Greek name, Jesus. They called him by his Hebrew name, Yeshua. They knew him not just as a prophet, not just as the Son of God, but they knew him as a friend. As you read their stories, maybe you too will come to know Jesus as your friend.

And if you ask Him, He will come back with you when you close the book and return to today. Get to know Jesus the man—that’s where this book will help—and then let Jesus the Holy Spirit come and live with you in the here and now.

By the way, I’m keeping the price as low as Amazon will allow. Why? Because I want to make the book available to as many people as possible. And these days, money is scarce for many of us.

(Link to Amazon book page)


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WWJD 2.0

What Would Jesus Do? Somewhere around here I think I still have a colorful wristband with WWJD on it, and even a necktie. I don’t know if it’s still a popular slogan, but I remember using it many years ago when I helped lead a church youth group. The problem was, WWJD became so widespread and so popular that I think it sometimes lost its meaning, which is, if Jesus found himself in my situation, what would He do.

I reminded myself of the WWJD thing this morning, as I was reading something in my Bible. Lots of messages in there that basically encourage us to do as Jesus would do. Good advice. But with us, it’s doomed to failure.

For me to do as Jesus would do is simply impossible. I know. I’ve tried. Whenever Jesus told us to do as He would do, He knew exactly how futile our efforts would be. He knew it would be impossible for us to always do as he would do. Yet as he also told us, what’s impossible for us is possible for God (Luke 18:27).

So, why did Jesus tell us to do the impossible? Because he wants to bring us to a state of despair over our own weak and failing efforts so that we will finally surrender to him and let His Spirit live through us. By His Spirit, Jesus can do what only He can do, what’s impossible for me to do.

WWJD is still a good slogan, but it needs a redefinition, a reboot. Instead of What Would Jesus Do, how about What Will Jesus Do? Instead of being a statement of reflection and struggling for impossibilities, it could be a statement of anticipation of certainties. Instead of being a question of what I might do under my own power, it becomes a question of what Jesus will do within me by His power.

How you choose to ask this WWJD question may indicate how you choose to consider Jesus. Do you see Him as a passive influence in your life? Or, do you see Him as alive, God’s Son actively involved? If you believe, you can live looking forward to what the Spirit of Jesus might do next in your life.


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Discovering the Spirit of Jesus Within You

It seems the Spirit of Jesus is often ignored in many Christian churches and individual lives. Because of that, I’ve become passionate about spreading the truth of the reality of the Spirit. I’ve frequently let that passion spill into my blog posts.

But I now wonder if I leave people with an annoying question. They may come to accept the reality of the Holy Spirit, but how do they experience the Spirit in their own life? How do they come to actually feel His presence?

I think we sometimes believe there’s a mystery behind such things, some puzzle to solve where the clues are scattered throughout the Bible. Only when we uncover the hidden clues and solve that puzzle, will the secret door be opened and through it will walk the Spirit of Jesus.

Well, over the years I’ve come to realize that the puzzle is only in our imagination (if we choose to imagine such things, that is). As I’ve discovered with many other aspects of Christianity, the answer is clear and simple, and right out front for all to see. God didn’t create puzzles for us to solve, Jesus didn’t create a mysterious and complicated Christianity. It’s humans that have made Christianity complicated.

Okay, enough of my whining—I’m getting off track. I want to answer the question about how people can experience a very real presence of the Spirit of Jesus in their own lives. My explanation is clear and simple. Here goes …

First, get to know the human side of Jesus. Come to know the man. Don’t just look at his divinity. Get to know him by his human love, kindness, compassion, courage, strength, and humility. And begin to see in your mind’s eye how Jesus showed his love for other people when he walked the earth as a man. Like with all your experiences with people, the more you get to know him, the more certain your feelings for him will become. And you may find yourself falling in love with Jesus.

Next, now that you love the human Jesus, you will likely begin to crave to know more of the Spirit side of Jesus. And you’ll start looking for Him.

Finally, as God first promised, “‘You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,’ declared the Lord.” (Jeremiah 29:13-14)

And Jesus made it clear and simple—if we love him, He will show Himself to us: “Anyone who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.” (John 14:21)

There is a door, though not a secret one. It stands between you and the Spirit of Jesus. But as Jesus also said, “Knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” (Matthew 7:7-8)

So as I see it, and as I’ve experienced, finding and knowing the Spirit of Jesus in your life begins with getting to know the human Jesus. And that’s the only part I can help you with. The next stage, the love for Jesus stage, will have to come from you. And the final step on this short journey will be taken by Jesus, as His Spirit steps through that door and into your life.

To help with my small contribution to this journey, I wrote the novel, We Called Him Yeshua. The stories will introduce you to a human side of Jesus you may never have seen before. These stories are also told from a perspective you may not have seen before—through the eyes of people who knew the man Jesus in their own very personal ways.

Would you like to know more of the human side of Jesus? If so, please check out We Called Him Yeshua. It’s priced as low as Amazon will allow because I want it to be affordable to as many people as possible (especially during these tough times).

(Link to Amazon book page)

 

 


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We Called Him Yeshua

I’ve just revised my book description on Amazon. I think it’s better than it used to be. I’ve copied it below. Also, I’m keeping the price of the ebook and paperback as low as Amazon will allow. I’m not looking to make money with this book–I just want to make it available to as many people as possible. Especially during these tough times when so many people are out of work, I wish I could give these away for free. Anyway, please let me know what you think of the revised book description and my pricing strategy. Thank you, and I hope you have a really nice day.

**************************

Oh, she’d heard about him. The name Yeshua had dominated many whispered conversations in the towns and villages around the Galilee. And if the rumors were true, Anna knew to stay away from him, far away. She knew his type, and she didn’t need the scorn. But then it happened, she couldn’t stop it, and Anna’s life changed forever. She saw the change coming, and worried—was it change for better, or worse?

Listen to Anna and others tell you about their experiences with Yeshua as they all follow him down that dusty road to Jerusalem. Hear Neri describe what it was like when Yeshua healed him of leprosy, or Timaeus tell you about being able to see for the first time in his life, and then Anna, as she falls deeper in love with Yeshua. She doesn’t care about his divinity—all she cares for is his humanity. Yet as her love grows, so grows her fear.

You know him by his Greek name, as Jesus Christ. They knew him by his Hebrew name. Read their stories and experience what it was like to walk with Yeshua, to talk with him, and to feel his love, courage, and humility.

What readers have said (from Amazon reviews):

  • “I really enjoyed reading this book as it brought the characters of the Bible to life. It seemed like I was reading personal diaries of some of the people that Jesus lived with and miraculously changed.”
  • “I found myself really enjoying this because it was real. It wasn’t preaching at me, it was telling me story in a very real and human way. I could relate to it.”
  • “I appreciate how the author shows you the compassion, humbleness and gentleness of Jesus as he interacted lovingly with messy people.”
  • “Great talent this writer has to put you in the story.”
  • “I think this book is a great read for people curious about God and Jesus, and offers a glimpse into Jesus’ true nature.”
  • We Called Him Yeshua is subtle and deep at the same time, making for a truly enjoyable and enlightening experience.”

(Link to Amazon page)


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A Good Distraction for These Times

Are you looking for a distraction from all the chaos surrounding you? Would you like to tear your mind away from what’s going on outside and take it for a walk someplace else? To my friends in the US, could you use a distraction from the craziness and stress of the presidential election? And of course, there’s the pandemic.

Please consider checking out We Called Him Yeshua, a historical fiction story about Jesus, told through the eyes of some of the people who were drawn to him as he walked the roads of ancient Israel. That might be a nice place for you to visit and get away from the present-day chaos for a bit. And as one of the Amazon reviewers has said,

“I could read this book again and again. It made the people of that time so real. Really made me realize the difficulty of just surviving. The hardships of day to day living that we don’t have in today’s world. But the hardships of today’s society makes me think which would I choose? Great talent this writer has to put you in the story. I could almost feel the heat, taste the dust and feel the hardships these people lived. As well as the joy of being in the presence of our Lord. Oh how well he wrote of the personal closeness He had with each person. Highly recommend this book. It’s a keeper. One I will read again and again.” (Peggy Amend, Amazon review)

Click here to go to Amazon book page.


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What Jesus Wants to See

What do people see when they look at Christians? For most of those on the outside of the Christian establishment in the US, they see such things as:

  • Hypocrisy and judgment, fear and bigotry
  • A movement intent on forcing themselves and their values on others
  • A group more interested in politics than following the call of their leader, a group where policies are more important than faith, hope, and love
  • A religion that embraces a man who is the antithesis of the values that Jesus promoted (yes, I’m referring to Trump)

Of course, not all Christians display these characteristics. But the most visible ones do. Like the insurrections storming the US capital waving Jesus flags, shouting His name, or even kneeling in prayer before they attacked (though I’m not sure who they were praying to).

As another example, yesterday I shared an article about the reaction of many white evangelicals to Barack Obama as compared to their reaction to Donald Trump (you can read it here). You may not agree with Obama’s policies and political position on things, but he really did appear to be a decent person. Oh sure, he has character flaws, like all of us. But nothing like Trump. You may agree with Trump’s policies, but his character is toxic, his morals are despicable—all very visible for all to see.

In trying to understand why so many white evangelicals and other Christians seem to ignore character and support Trump, here are a few things I’ve discovered:

  • He’s apparently against abortion
  • Some Christians fear attack of their religious freedoms from the left, the supposed war on Christmas and all that—a very valid concern. And they see Trump as a defender of their right to practice their chosen religion. Look, Christianity’s been under attack from the beginning. The Pharisees who pushed for Jesus’ crucifixion tried to kill it, Roman emperors tried, and I suspect many others over the centuries have tried. But God and Jesus defended their Christianity just fine on their own—no need for the support of an elected official.
  • And of course, money money money. The value of Christian 401k’s was often cited as an excuse for supporting Trump. VERY often cited.

Regarding the fear of attacks from the left, Jesus might say, “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” (Romans 12:20)

Or, He might say, “I tell you who hear me; Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. … Do to others as you would have them do to you.” (Luke 6:27-29, 31)

And regarding money, most people know what the Bible says about having too much interest in money, like obsessing about our 401k. As Jesus said, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. (Matthew 6:21) And as Paul warned Timothy, “For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.” (1 Timothy 6:10). Wow, isn’t that the truth!

All of these reasons for Christians supporting Trump, and likely others I haven’t mentioned, boil down to an exhibition of profound hypocrisy, all because these people are more concerned about their wants than what Jesus wants. To this, Jesus might say: “You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.” (Mark 8:33)

 

So, what does Jesus want to see when He looks at followers of His Christianity? He gave us the answer quite clearly:

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. (John 13:34-35)

Imagine how outsiders might react if, when they looked at Christians, all they saw was love—no hypocrisy, judgment or other ugly stuff. Imagine the influence that visible love would have on those outsiders. Might some of them even be motivated to turn to Jesus for help? Might they want to experience the same love themselves? Imagine the Island of Love Christianity could become, being a paradise and refuge in these days of turmoil, anger, violence, and of course, COVID-19. Please, try to imagine it.

And if you can conjure up an image in your mind, now consider that that is what Jesus wants to see too.


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What we see, verses Jesus’ Christianity

I invite you to read the attached article with caution. Though some of you may read it and absolutely agree, others will vehemently disagree. The words are harsh, but unfortunately, I see them as accurate. Too many people have drifted away from Jesus’ Christianity.
Note, this article was written a few years ago, but the message is maybe more relevant today that back when it was written.

John Pavlovitz: An Open Letter to White Evangelicals


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Kindness to the Victims

Coffee in hand, looking out the window at the early morning sky grey and cloudy, I try to quiet my thoughts and look down at the devotional sitting in my lap. But I fail. My mind just can’t pry itself away from the world. New Covid-19 variant exploding. Case and death counts rising fast. And then just to distract us from all that, what looks like an attempted coup in the US capitol. An insurrection they call it.

As my coffee was brewing this morning, I read an account by one of the people who stormed into the capitol building. And I began to see their point of view, and the view of some of the people that person was with. I started to see them as victims.

Lots of people in the US are frustrated with the federal government. That’s a big reason why Trump won in 2016. And I suspect it’s a reason why so many people still support him. As long as the feds remain as they are, I also suspect such chaos may continue.

Look, I think at least some of the “insurrectionists” see themselves as victims of our failed, dysfunctional federal government, as we all are. We’ve all watched the fractured, broken, uncompromising, self-serving, arrogant government representatives for years, as they effectively fail to serve those who voted them into office. I guess some people just couldn’t take it any longer, and decided to make a statement by breaking into the capitol building, encouraged as they were by you-know-who. Well, statement clearly made—I hope. (By the way, I don’t support their methods for statement-making).

But, those statement-makers are also victims of lies, conspiracy theories, and fake news. And maybe that’s partly because those lies support their already-strong sense of a broken system.

Looking beyond what happened in Washington DC this week, I now see that we are all victims. It’s not just the federal government that’s broken. The entire world is broken, and we’re all victims of it. Victims of bad relationships, miserable jobs, no jobs at all, illness, depression, anxiety, fear, unfulfilled dreams, heartbreak, abuse. No point in me continuing with the list—you can do that on your own.

But thankfully, a new thought drifted into my mind while my coffee cup warmed my hands. You see, as the events of this week kept yanking at my thoughts, another part of my mind kept trying to get back to the devotional in my lap. And right there on that page was something Jesus had said that was influencing how I was looking at the insurrectionists: “A new command I give you: Love one another.” (John 13:34)

I think it’s easier to love one another when we realize that those other people, no matter how much they might irritate us or how much we disagree with them, are also victims of something. As Philo of Alexandria once said, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle.”

Okay, I’m going to wrap this up with another thought that popped into my mind. Yes, our world is full of victims. We all suffer from something. But, there are NO victims in heaven. Think about that one for a bit.