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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Stirring Our Soul

choc chip cookies

Bacon sizzling in the frying pan;

chocolate chip cookies right out of the oven;

fresh cut grass;

summer rain on hot pavement.

These things stir our memories, senses, and emotions.

 

God’s words of love, forgiveness, and hope;

An image of Jesus suffering on the cross, for us;

A sense of His Spirit’s presence within our heart;

A wave of love crashing over us, flooding us with emotion.

These things stir our soul, and breathe fire into our life.

And I’m so grateful.


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Open My Eyes Lord

“Open the eyes of my heart Lord, open the eyes of my heart.

I want to see your, I want to see you.” *

When I was helping with our church youth group, we sang this song often. I love the lyrics. I’d close my optical eyes and try to open the eyes of my heart – it was usually difficult. As I’ve traveled on this journey of getting to know God, I crave to see God more often, within me. For me, it’s more of a feeling of God’s presence that I crave – that’s what it means to me to see God.

My hope is that you are able to quiet your mind and open your heart, and see and feel God and Jesus within you. They are there already, waiting for you to look their way.

 

* “Open The Eyes of My Heart,” by Paul Baloche


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Dear Jesus…

child in lap

Dear Jesus, I give you this day, I give you my life today, one day at a time, as it’s the best I seem able to do. But this offer sounds silly to me, as I feel that my life, this day, is not even mine to give away. I believe it’s already yours; always has been. So what should be my prayer today?

Maybe this: Dear Jesus, thank you for this day that you will share with me, this day that is yours already, my life that is yours already, sharing these precious things with me. Thank you for being greater in my life, and for my self-centered self being less.

What will we do today, together? The joy of following your lead – this is truly living.


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God so loves the world…

crying

… that he GAVE his one and only Son. Such is the magnitude of Gods love. Father and Son had been together for eternity. Then God held out his dearly loved child, and sin snatched the Son away and nailed him to the cross. Imagine the pain of a parent watching a child suffer (I’m sorry for those of you who know this pain).

Jesus was not the only one who suffered on the cross. God suffered too – all because of His love for us.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)


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My Father God

To me, God is my perfect parent. God, my Father, loves me unconditionally. He may not always like some of the things I do, and He may even get angry at me sometimes. But like all really good parents, there is nothing I can do that will affect the love He has for me. And like all loving parents, what He may desire most is a close, intimate relationship with His children. “Yet to all who did receive him (Jesus), to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” (John 1:12)

I am so grateful to be a child of God.


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Christianity has gone commercial

“Shrinking mainline Protestant denominations are turning to marketing to help stem decades of membership losses and stay afloat.” So begins an Associated Press article I recently read in my local newspaper. It seems churches, such as the United Methodist Church, believe large amounts of advertising dollars will help fill the pews again. The Methodists are spending $20 million on their ad campaign.

I can’t help but wonder, what would Jesus do if he were in charge of filling the pews? Would he throw money at the problem of dwindling attendance, or something else?

Jesus and his apostles were faced with a similar challenge around 2000 years ago; how to increase attendance. And yet in a single day, the church in Jerusalem added 3000 new members (Acts 2:41). Christianity spread throughout the Mediterranean in a phenomenally rapid manner, and without the help of television, the internet, or pesky telemarketers. How did they do it? What was their “marketing” secret?

The answers to these questions illustrate the differences between them and today’s mainline churches. The first church leaders devoted themselves to the truth. They were passionate about spreading the truth of the gospel. Their message was not always popular, and many lost their lives because of it, but that didn’t stop them from sticking to the truth.

Today’s mainline churches take a different approach. Many of them preach whatever they think would be a popular message, the politically correct message, with little regard for the truth. They have lost touch with Jesus. That is why they continue to shrink; they are no longer attached to the true vine. When a branch is cut from the vine, it shrivels up and dies. That is what is happening to many mainline churches today, and no amount of advertising will help. What they need to do is become re-attached to Jesus.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.” (John 15:5-6)

I dare say that the $20 million from the Methodist Church would be better spent feeding the poor, rather than feeding Madison Avenue ad agencies.


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In Whom do You Trust?

In our lives we have choices about what or whom we want to trust. Many of us place our trust in Jesus and God. In addition, we place some of our trust in other things, such as money, other people, ourselves, civic leaders, laws that protect us, or maybe even traditions that help us feel like we’re staying on the right track. What does this look like, this sharing of our trust between Jesus and these other things?

Picture an old fashioned balance scale, with the two bowls hanging from either end of the cross arm. Let’s say you have a pocket filled with 100 pearls, with each pearl representing a bit of your trust. All of the pearls together make up all of the trust that is within you. Your task is to place the pearls into either or both of the bowls on the scale.

World…………………………..Jesus

One of the bowls represents things you are used to placing your trust in, like money, other people, ourselves, traditions, etc. Let’s call this bowl “world”. These things of the world sometimes help you make it through your life. You count on certain people to help and protect you; you trust in the civil laws to protect you; you count on doctors to heal you; you count on yourself to use your cleverness, knowledge and wisdom to solve your life’s problems; you count on your paycheck to provide you with the things you need; you count on your traditions to help give you a sense of wellbeing. So depending on the amount of trust you give to each of these worldly things, you place the appropriate amount of pearls into the “world” bowl.

The other bowl represents Jesus and the things of God. Let’s see, you trust Jesus with your eternal salvation; that’s a biggie, so maybe you put several pearls in His bowl. You trust Jesus to answer your prayers, so a few more pearls in His bowl. Continue placing the pearls in the two bowls until you have emptied your pocket.

Yet, as you go through life, you may move your trust from one bowl to the other. Let’s say you just got a raise at your job. Congratulations! With this increase of money coming in, maybe you decide to get a better car instead of that clunker you’ve been driving, or maybe you just feel you can now take on more debt since your raise will allow you to make higher monthly payments on your credit card. Basically you decide to put more trust in your money. But where will this trust come from? You’ve already emptied your pocket of your trust pearls.

Whenever you decide to place more trust in the “world”, you end up taking trust away from Jesus; that’s the only place where you can get more pearls. And the scale leans a bit more to the left, to the world. And your focus is drawn more to the world as well, since that is where more of your trust resides. What does your scale look like? Are there more pearls on the left or the right?

Now the all-important question; what does Jesus think about all this? Does He want only a portion of your trust? Maybe He would quote from Proverbs, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5)

Please consider this; would you regard trust as an expression of love? And what kind of love does Jesus want from us? Does He just want a portion of our love? “Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'” (Matthew 22:37) Jesus wants All your trust, All your love.

Yet do you believe that you can rightly share your trust and love between Jesus and the world? What might Jesus say about that idea? “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.” (Matthew 6:24)

Please give some thought to how your trust is divided, and, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.” John 14:1