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 Son of Man—a Thought on the Nature of Jesus Christ

Jesus frequently called himself the son of Man. He followers were well aware of his divinity, as the Son of God. All the miracles, along with the depth of the wisdom in his words, constantly reminded them that Jesus was much more than a man. But I’ve been thinking, maybe Jesus called himself the son of Man to help remind them, and us, that he was indeed still a man. I can imagine that if I had been one of Jesus’ followers while he walked the roads of ancient Israel, it would have been easy for me to lose sight of Jesus’ humanity. I could have quickly come to see him purely as the Son of God, which is the sole way a lot of us see him these days.

Yet Jesus seemed to feel it was important to remind us of his human heritage. Why? Well, this morning another thought came to mind. As the son of Man, Jesus inherited everything we inherit, that is, human nature. The doom we all inherit is our natural human pride, which is the root of all sin. As the son of Man, Jesus shared all aspects of our human nature, even the temptation to be pulled into the pit of pride. The difference between Jesus and us is that his divinity was stronger than his humanity.

But the Bible promises that as children of God, we are also heirs, with an inheritance of our own. Where Jesus inherited our humanity, along with all the challenges that come with that, we can inherit his divinity, along with all the healing, peace, and love that come with that.

By the way, if you’d like to see more of what Jesus’ nature might actually have been like, please check out this novel. It will show Jesus from the perspective of those who felt the miracles, listened to his words of wisdom and love, and followed him along those dusty roads. On Amazon, this book is currently priced as low as Amazon will allow.


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Knowledge Puffs Up, But Love Builds Up

Last week I wrote a post that presented a choice for how to grow closer to God and Jesus—either through acquiring knowledge, or surrendering to a personal relationship of love.

This morning, while reading out of 1 Corinthians, I received a lesson from Paul on eloquence and brevity, where he said, “Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. The person who thinks they know something does not yet know as they ought to know. But the person who loves God is known by God.” (1 Corinthians 8:1-3) I had written a page that Paul captured in three short sentences.

What I wrote about last week, and what I want to scream from the rooftops again today, is this: Biblical and theological knowledge is okay, but only if the purpose is to help us find our own intimate, personal, and loving relationship with the Holy Spirit of God and Jesus living within us.

So today, as you open your Bible or other inspiring Christian book, or login to your online Sunday church service, or maybe you’re fortunate enough to be able to attend a live church service (with safe social distancing, etc.): as you read or listen, look for the Spirit of Jesus in what you see or hear.

Don’t try to learn. Instead, try to be. Try to feel. Try to believe. Be open to the Spirit; let His love and presence fill your very body, mind, and soul. And know with certainty that the Spirit of Jesus loves you as the Father loves Him, and that He is IN you, as the Father is IN Him.


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Books For the Next Step of Your Journey

A critical and sometime treacherous milestone on our journey to get closer to God and Jesus is when we come to the fork in the road where straight ahead is just a continuation of the road we’ve been on. But the path that splits off from this takes us away from the maps we’ve always relied on—the written word and spoken sermon—and leads us down the path of the Spirit of Jesus. If we choose the path of the Spirit, Jesus will take our hand and lead us the rest of the way.

But we need the maps to find this fork in the road. We need written or spoken words to lead us to an indwelling relationship with the Holy Spirit. Other than the Bible, the books I recommend are ones I found to help me the most in my journey, and that led me to my own relationship with the Spirit of Jesus within me.

At some point while on your own journey, you may find that there are no written words that can continue to satisfy the hunger that burns within you. You may find that the only food that fills you can come from the Spirit Himself, where it’s His presence that fills you. The presence of Jesus will satisfy you even more than the Bible.

You may discover the best moments in life are when you sit quietly, empty your mind of the world and your “self,” and let the Spirit fill your mind, heart, and your very soul. And that’s where you will find the peace that goes beyond human understanding.

Oh, we can always draw satisfaction from books and sermons, but those will only serve as appetizers. Our real spiritual meal can only come from the Holy Spirit.

As William Law said in one of the books* I will recommend:

“But as Christ’s teaching in the flesh was only preparatory to His future vital teaching by the Spirit, so the teaching of Scripture by words written with ink and paper is only preparatory, or introductory to all that inward essential teaching of God, which is by His Spirit and truth within us.”

* “The Power of the Spirit, Extracts From the Writings of W. Law,” selected by Andrew Murray.

So, if you’re interested in more, please follow this link to my new book recommendation page on my cjpenn.com website.


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How About Something New to Read?

Another weekend. A lot like last weekend. Same routine, different day. This might be a good weekend to check out a different book, something new to read. And this book might be like nothing you’ve read before.

Plus, this weekend it’s priced as low as Amazon will allow. Follow the link, “look inside,” and see what you think. https://www.amazon.com/We-Called-Him-Yeshua-Penn-ebook/dp/B0867BYTF7/

 

 


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Which Tree Will You Eat From?

The decision that tempted Adam and Eve is the same decision we all must make. Which tree shall we eat from—the tree of Life or the tree of Knowledge? Of course, many of us make no decision at all between Life with Jesus verses Knowledge of Jesus. And maybe that’s because we don’t realize there’s a decision to make.

Those who choose the tree of Knowledge includes people like me, who love reading books about Christianity, always chasing after new insight. It can also include people who go to seminary and get a divinity degree, with their heads now crammed full of Biblical and theological facts, histories, and commentaries.

But what about those who choose Life? This choice is always available to us, even to those who first choose the tree of Knowledge. I’m so grateful we can always change our minds. In choosing Life, we’ll find what we seek in only one place, the Holy Spirit of God and Jesus. The fruit of the tree of Life is the fruit of the Spirit, for the Spirit is life.

The way of the Spirit does not rely on knowledge, but rather on love and surrender to the leading of the Spirit. True Christianity is not about knowledge, but rather about an intimate relationship with the Spirit of Jesus.

We find true life when we put down the book, quiet our minds, close our eyes and heart to the world, and look inside for Jesus who lives within us. And He will help us sweep away the clutter of life and knowledge so we can more clearly see Him.

Oh, books and sermons and such sources of knowledge are good, but only when they lead us to the Holy Spirit. Knowledge for the sake of knowledge is meaningless, a mere chasing after the wind.

I don’t mean to demean reading the Bible or any other form of Christian study. But the value won’t come while trying to understand with our own human wisdom. The real value in learning comes when we read and listen through the Spirit within us. And only then will the Spirit open our eyes and minds to the true meaning and value in the printed and spoken words. The Spirit of Truth will guide us into the truth. Let me give you an example.

I just finished reading a chapter in the book “Abide in Christ,” by Andrew Murray. I’ve read this book three times before, and never saw the truth that I saw today. And the truth I’m referring to isn’t solely in this one book, for it’s also clearly spelled out in the Gospels. Jesus himself states this truth, in words that could not be any clearer. But I’d never see that truth, it never sunk into my thick head, until today (I’ll probably write a post about this particular truth sometime soon).

Anyway, I believe I finally saw that truth because the Spirit of Jesus opened my mind to it. And it left me wondering—what other clearly defined truths have I been blind to in the Bible?

Are you looking for something more than head-knowledge of Jesus? Just look inside yourself, and let the Spirit of Jesus open your mind and show you the way. As he said: “I praise you, Father, … because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned.” (Matthew 11:25) And, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart.” (v. 29)

“And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.” (Romans 8:11)


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A Thought on Jesus and Love

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud (love is humble). It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no records of wrongs (love is forgiving). Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth (love is truthful). It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)

Patient, kind, humble, forgiving, truthful, protective, trustful, faithful, never ending. All of these are captured in one word—Love. Now consider what John said about love: “God is love.” (1 John 4:16)

And as Jesus is God, we can then sincerely say, Jesus is patience and kindness. He is humility and forgiveness. He is truth, protection, and trust. Jesus is faith. Jesus is love, and Jesus never fails.


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Record Unemployment – My Feeble Effort to Help Out

I just saw the headline, “April Unemployment Rate Rose to a Record 14.7%.” Unprecedented 20.5 million jobs lost as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

The headline is huge, but what follows feels so little. Anyway, I don’t know if it will help anyone, but because of that headline, I’m dropping the price of “We Called Him Yeshua” down to as low as Amazon will allow. It feels like nothing. But if it helps one person get the book, who may not otherwise, and if it helps them find comfort and escape within the pages of the book, then to me it’s well worth it.

You can find the book here: https://www.amazon.com/We-Called-Him-Yeshua-Penn-ebook/dp/B0867BYTF7/