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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Escape

Fog oozed into the grove of trees, dripping off the leaves, filling the air with the pungent smell of eucalyptus. Dead skin-like bark littered the ground, making it hard to creep silently through the old cemetery. But creep I did, hiding behind a head stone, looking for my chance.

He lurked out in the open part of the hillside cluster of graves, looking behind each head stone, statue, and crypt, determined to find me, and the others. But, could any of us get away?

My only chance was with the granite statue in the middle of the cemetery, the tallest statue there. That’s where my freedom lay, waiting for me to grab it. I just had to get there without him seeing me. For if he spotted me, I was dead, just another resident of that fog shrouded cemetery.

He was getting closer. My heart raced. I tried not to breathe. Then, a noise, farther up the hill, one of the others most likely. A careless step, that’s all it took. Too bad for them, but it gave me the opening I needed.

He changed course and headed for the noise. I crept to another hiding spot, just a bit closer to the statue. He took a few more steps up the hill. Then, as he stepped behind a crypt, out of sight, I made my move. Running low, from one head stone to the next, I dashed for the statue, stealing glances toward the crypt. Closer. Closer. Then …

“Base!” I yelled, touching the statue and screaming out my freedom. Oh, I loved a good game of hide and seek.

I miss those days, so long ago. Though the Vietnam War was raging, we were oblivious. Our grammar school lives revolved around fun, and we had lots of it. I sometimes wish I could get that feeling back.

Many years later, maybe forty, I saw more meaning in our games of hide and seek. The cemetery was our favorite place, and that same statue was always the base. But then I remembered; it was a statue of Jesus Christ, holding out his hands in a very welcoming gesture. I now see Jesus as my “base,” my source of freedom—freedom from fear, from worry, from anxiety, from depression. And my source of escape from the world—whenever I need a break, he’s there, arms out, welcoming me.

 

And now a thought for anyone who feels they don’t know Jesus, but currently know too well feelings of anxiety, etc..

Look, there’s a lot of s#*t going on in the world right now. I don’t need to elaborate. But, without sounding like some Bible-thumping evangelist, I encourage you to look for help. And maybe the help you need can’t come from the world. After all, it’s the world and all the s#*t that’s the source of our worries. Please consider looking outside the world.

Maybe Jesus isn’t the kind of help you want. But if you think he might be, and you’d like to learn something about him, please check this out (link to cjpenn.com). Maybe it could be a good place to start.


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Death to the Little Devil Within Me

Often, I feel like my personality is split in two—the good me, and the bad me. I’m like a character in a Saturday morning cartoon, with a little angel on one shoulder encouraging me to do the right thing, and a little devil on the opposite shoulder tempting me to do the wrong thing. Sometimes my little devil screams so loudly I can’t hear anything else.

But this morning I realized something. The little devil part of me is actually dead, having died when all sins died, with Jesus on the cross. When Jesus died, he took with him the sins of the world—those sins died with him. Those sins were the collection of the sinful side of everyone who chooses to believe, the collective of our little devils.

So, the devil that seems to exert power over my words and actions is not actually real, but a phantom, or maybe more like a lingering shadow of the sinful me that once thrived. And that shadow fades the more I let the light of the Spirit of Jesus shine within me.

This morning, for the first time, I see and believe in the image of my little devil as dead, sent to the abyss where Jesus took all our sins. It feels so freeing to say that. I’ve prayed for the death of my sinful self for a long time.

I suspect I’ll backslide, and the phantom shadow will con me into believing it has real power over me. But now I feel armed with the reminder that the little sh*t-disturber is powerless and dead.

Here’s what Jesus and the apostle Paul had to say:

If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it. (Matthew 16:24-25)

 “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” (Galatians 2:20)

 “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires.” (Galatians 5:24)

 “For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin. … In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 6:6, 11)

What do you think about all this?

Oh, and if you’re interested, please check out my soon-to-be-published book, We Called Him Yeshua.


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It’s Dark Down Here

How soon I forget! I guess I need to re-read the book I’ve written – the book I’ve been talking about that I’ll start giving away soon. While on the journey of writing that book, I learned how to escape the stress pit I’d been falling into. And yes, that’s what the book is about – finding freedom from stress, (more about that here, if you like).

But I now believe I’ve fallen back into that dark pit, and I have data to prove it, (being an analytical person, I like data). Well, the nature of the data doesn’t matter. What matters is this near-constant, low level feeling of stress. Not the anxiety-grinding stress. Just enough stress to take the fun out of life. And people who know me know I like making life fun.

Anyway, why am I back in the stress pit? I wonder if it’s habit. The pit is familiar to me; it feels almost normal to be down here. Stupid reason, I know. But I really think that’s what I’m doing.

Okay, so why am I writing about this? Look, as humans I think we sometimes gravitate to the things that are familiar, even the harmful things. You may do this too. If so, don’t chastise yourself for doing something that’s part of your human nature. Rather, make a decision to change, and then act on that decision.

Also, maybe this blog post is a disclaimer in advance. If you decide to accept a free copy of my book  – when I finally finish it that is – there’s a good chance you’ll find freedom from your own stress pit. But I think there’s also a chance you’ll fall back in, like me. (that’s the disclaimer part)

However, I now know how to get back out again – that’s where I’m going now. See ya…


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Stress – It’s an Epidemic… But with a Cure

Stress Time cover

Check out this small sample of statistics from The American Institute of Stress:

  • 44% of Americans feel more stressed than they did 5 years ago
  • 1 in 5 Americans experience “extreme stress”
  • 40% of workers reported their job was very or extremely stressful;

Follow this link (http://www.stress.org/stress-is-killing-you/) to even bleaker statistics on the effects of stress. Or maybe don’t – the data just might add to your stress.

I read somewhere that stress is considered an epidemic in the United States, and probably all over the world. After all, humanity has a talent for creating stress-inducing situations. I sure suffer from it, though not as often and not nearly as intensely as I used to. In fact, feelings of stress are getting rarer for me.

Several months ago I made a decision to escape the stress in my life, without actually escaping life. And I kept a journal of what I learned and felt as I eventually found a way out of the stress pit I had dug for myself. And I’ve turned that journal into a book which I’m giving away for free. (more on that here: Not for the Money).

Now to be perfectly candid, if you don’t think you could ever be open to believing Jesus Christ is who he said he is, then my book won’t help you – you’re on your own in dealing with your stress. But even if your thoughts on Jesus amount to only a mild curiosity, it’s possible this book could lead you to true peace, and freedom from the stress pit that may hold you prisoner.

Now I’m not quite finished with the book – it’s currently at my editor for final fixes. Just a few more weeks and then it will be ready to release. Would you like to check it out? Why not? After all, it’s free. So if you’re interested, sign-up to receive your free pdf copy by clicking on the link below. And then when the book is released, I’ll send you an email with a link to download the book.

And whether you try out this book or not, I wish you the best of luck in your own journey to escape stress.

(Sign up here)


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Stress Sucks – But Life Doesn’t Have to be This Way

Does it sometimes feel like stress is dragging you down into a pit of despair? Are you looking for a way to escape the stress pit? So was I. We’re not alone.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. You can escape the stress that holds you captive. I have a book that might help, and I’d like to give it to you… for free. The book is only a few weeks away from being finished. When it’s ready, I can send you a free pdf copy.

In this book, titled Oh… Jesus!, you can follow me on my journey to escape the stress pit that I fell into almost every day. Follow me, and you may find a way out of your self-dug stress pit. But know this: you can follow me on my journey, but I’m not the one who will pull you out of your stress pit. Only Jesus can do that. Please, give Him a chance.

Why am I giving this book away for free? Well, the complete answer is within the pages of the book. The brief answer is, because I believe it’s the right thing to do. And it feels good to give something away that just might help someone else. So if you’re looking for a way to escape your own stress pit, follow this link and sign up. When the book is done, I’ll send you an email with a link to go download it.

(Sign up here)

 


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I Surrender

I can’t handle the world – the world handles me.

It craves control of my mind,

It hungers to direct my actions.

I’m tired of being manipulated by the world.

But there is another way.

Time for a change.

I’m no longer a victim.

Surrender!

I wrest my life from the world and surrender it to God.

I pour out my self, and God fills me with Him.

What next?

That’s up to God.

What’s that I feel?

Excitement?

Anticipation?

Oh boy!!!


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Chasing Peace – Day 44 – The Beginning

My journey to escape stress and find peace has become a journey to surrender to God. That’s where I’ve found true peace… in surrender, and trust. Trusting God with my life knocks down the walls of my mind and lets His peace come pouring in.

Anyway, I believe this is my last blog post about this journey. Well, I want it to be my last– but I’ll soon see if God agrees.

I’ve decided to pull together all my blog posts about chasing peace and turn them into a small book. And writing this book should help remind me of everything I’ve learned while on this journey. Also, once the book is done, it will give me something to refer back to when I wander off the path, as I’m sure to do.

And you know, this book just might be helpful for other people. That’s why I plan to give it away. And I believe with more help from the Spirit of Jesus within me, and with some heavy editing, the messages will be stronger, and more helpful.

And maybe through this book, other people will find the peace they seek. And they will find that peace in their own personal relationship with the Spirit of Jesus. They too can learn to surrender to the peace within them.

 

←Day 43