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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A Message of Gratitude

My relationship with Jesus Christ has changed, and I’m grateful. For me, our friendship is more real, more intimate. Why?

I published my first novel earlier this year, a story about Jesus told from the perspective of people who followed Him as He traveled the roads of ancient Israel. In this story, I saw Jesus through the eyes of the healed leper, the blind man who now sees, or the prostitute who feels truly accepted and loved.

Now, I don’t know how that story has affected those who have read it. Oh, I’ve seen their review comments, and gotten some feedback from family and friends. But I think those all reflect surface reactions. What I can’t know is how that story affected them more deeply. I hope the story affected them as much as it did me.

But my experience was much different than reading it. During the four years that I worked on writing that story, each day I tried to leave our world behind and go back in time. I envisioned Jesus healing the sick. I felt Him loving the unlovable. I heard Him speak words of profound compassion. By the end of my writing journey, I believe I may have grown as truly close to Jesus as those people who I was writing about. I felt the love and gratitude of the leper who was healed, or the blind man who was given his sight, or even the prostitute who was shown profound compassion.

I wrote this story (yes, We Called Him Yeshua) for other people, but I suspect I’ve benefited far more than anyone who’s read it. Interesting, how God sometimes works that way. He asks us to do something for others, yet we benefit too. Thinking back over my life as a Christian, I believe it always works that way. And I’m so grateful.

So why am I writing about this? I just want to thank Jesus for His love, compassion, and friendship. And I want to express my love for Him, though right now I can’t think of words that are adequate to convey the depth of my love.


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“We Called Him Yeshua,” A Way to Introduce Someone to Jesus Christ

“Finally! This is the vehicle Christians need for winning others to Christ and Christianity, the true Christianity … not the modern day “I will mold Christianity to my liking Christianity.” “We Called Him Yeshua” is subtle and deep at the same time, making for a truly enjoyable and enlightening experience. Penn’s writing is clever, intelligent, and easy to read. Make this one your next book club focus (honestly, whole churches should pick this up).” (Amazon “verified-customer” review)

Is there someone in your life you’d like to introduce to Jesus Christ? Do you know someone who’s expressed an interest in Christianity? The story in “We Called Him Yeshua” can help. This story shows Jesus through the eyes of everyday people who followed Him as He traveled the roads of ancient Israel. In this way, you can see and experience Jesus in a way that can feel deeply personal, as if you too were there.

What an easy way to introduce someone to the person Jesus Christ. Hey, and this book might make a great Christmas gift. To help, I’ll keep the price as low as Amazon will allow until the end of December. Please consider checking it out. You can learn more about the story and get a peek inside the book on the Amazon page (click here).


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“We Called Him Yeshua,” Bringing the Bible to Life

“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. It really brought the Bible into a real life story of many of the people we read about, and how Jesus dealt with each of them as both man and Son of God.” (Amazon “verified” customer review)

We Called Him Yeshua is a story seen through the eyes of everyday people who followed Jesus as He traveled the roads of ancient Israel. Please consider checking it out. And right now, both the paperback and Kindle versions are priced as low as Amazon will allow.

Click here to go to Amazon book page.


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An Easy Way to Get to Know Jesus

We Called Him Yeshua, FREE on Amazon, today only.

If you have an interest in learning about the person Jesus Christ, or if you know a little about him but you’re curious to know more, or if you know him well and would like to know him more, the story in the novel We Called Him Yeshua will give you a good ground-level perspective of Jesus. You will see him through the eyes of people whom Jesus healed and showed compassion to.

Where some books about Jesus might feel dry to you and hard to read, We Called Him Yeshua is a novel, a story, not a history book. And like most novels, it might capture your interest in the characters and give you the desire to follow them and see what happens to them.

And hey! Today the Kindle version is FREE on Amazon. Also, the paperback is priced as low as Amazon will allow. But the FREE Kindle is for today only. So even if you’re not certain about the book, just get it while it’s free. You can decide later if you want to read it or not.

https://www.amazon.com/We-Called-Him-Yeshua-Penn-ebook/dp/B0867BYTF7/


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Does Jesus Know You?

Jesus once said, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’” (Matthew 7:21-23, emphasis added)

Do you believe Jesus knows you? Do you feel you know Jesus? Can Jesus really know you, if you don’t also know Him? A lot of people know about Jesus. They know Him as much as they would know any historical figure. Yet, we can know Jesus as an intimate friend, not as someone who lived in the past, but as someone who lives with us now?

The story in the novel We Called Him Yeshua can help you get to know Jesus as a fellow person, that intimate friend, someone you can feel close to and relate to. We Called Him Yeshua is told through the eyes of those who were touched most by Jesus’ love as He traveled the roads of ancient Israel. By seeing Jesus through their eyes, you will see Him as they did, as you’ve never seen Him before.

Please check it out. And right now, the Kindle version and paperback are both priced as low as Amazon will allow–hey, everyone needs a break these days. https://www.amazon.com/We-Called-Him-Yeshua-Penn-ebook/dp/B0867BYTF7/

 


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An Island of Peace … and Love

A third Covid 19 wave is surging in the United States (where I live), and elsewhere. The world is crying … still. And in the US, on top of the surge, some of us are drowning in presidential election anxiety. I’ve voted in over eleven such elections. None of the others came close to the stress level of this one.

This morning while praying, I had a hard time wresting my mind off the election and focusing on God and Jesus. I then found myself thinking about the novel I published earlier this year—We Called Him Yeshuajust as the pandemic was sinking its teeth into the world. Great time for publishing a book, right? Well, this morning I wanted to see if the experiences of the characters in the story might give me clues for how to better respond to the convulsing world around me. It didn’t take long to find an answer.

In my mind, I slid back into that world, with the characters I had grown so close to as I’d recorded their stories. Again, I followed them as they followed Jesus on His final journey to Jerusalem. And again, I could see Jesus through their eyes, the eyes of those whom He healed and showed unconditional compassion. I felt their feelings, I relived their experiences, and like them, I briefly felt my eyes, mind, and heart drawn to Jesus. At times, all they saw was Jesus, all they knew was Jesus, and they where oblivious to the chaos going on around them.

My mind then rushed ahead over 2000 years (my thoughts tend to jump around a lot while waiting for the morning coffee to take hold). I was back in that restaurant kitchen, getting ready for the Sunday brunch rush. It was the morning after my second date with the young woman who later agreed to marry me. Only two dates and I was already crazy in love. And that Sunday morning, as I did the last-minute food prep, I couldn’t get my mind off her, nor the grin off my face.

All through the Sunday morning brunch storm, my co-workers wondered why I looked so happy. I didn’t get sucked into the brunch chaos, like they did. In the midst of that storm, I was a little island of peace, immersed in love for my new girlfriend.

So, how can that memory help me today? And what does it have to do with my detour back into the world of my novel? Though I crave that kind of love for Jesus, where I have to make an effort to pull my thoughts away from Him in order to focus on worldly stuff—well, I’ve rarely experienced it. But I believe in it. And even just that belief and memories of past experiences help me cope.

In the midst of the storms raging around me—the pandemic, the election—I want to be a little island of peace, held steady by my love for Jesus. And kept safe by His love for me. What makes that possible and real (not just wishful thinking), is His Holy Spirit who lives inside me, sharing this body with me.

Look, it’s easier to ride out a storm when we’re not alone. And when you accept the reality and presence of Jesus’ Spirit within you, you’re never alone. I’m doing it. You can too.

I wish for you today a day where you stay safe on your own island of peace and love, holding tight to the rock of Jesus.


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Feeling Crushed? Seeking Escape? Craving Peace?

I spent some time this weekend with a close friend whose life is in the midst of extremes. There’s cause for extreme joy. There’s cause for extreme worry. And, there’s all the other crap going on in our world of 2020. My friend’s day is a roller coaster, to the peak of joy, then falling down to the pit of depression. He wakes each day with no energy or desire to do anything but make it through the day.

There have been times this year when I’ve been on a similar roller coaster. But I had help getting off. And this morning I felt the desire to share that help. It’s simple, really.

Now, if you’re like my friend, you may be something of a fringe Christian. You wouldn’t call yourself an atheist. Maybe more agnostic, not sure what you believe. Yet, you feel you may be open to learning more about Jesus.

Or, maybe you believe Jesus is who he said he was, but that belief doesn’t really mean much to you. Or, maybe you’re more like me, where you believe in and love Jesus, but you still sometimes find yourself on that emotional roller coaster with the unavoidable belly-drops into depression.

Well, here’s a way that might help you climb out of that roller coaster. First, get a Bible. If you don’t have a hold-in-your-hands-paper Bible, there are plenty of online versions available, and there are even Bible apps for your mobile device.

Then, in the New Testament, read the Gospel of John. While reading it, look for the relationship that Jesus wants to have with you. Also, get to know Jesus as the human he was. Try to feel his humanity; try to feel what the two of you have in common. And maybe most importantly, get to know something about the Holy Spirit, Jesus’ Spirit, and the promise of His Spirit.

Then, still in the New Testament, read Romans, especially chapters 7 and 8. The end of chapter 7 may have you screaming, “That’s me!” But chapter 8 can set you free. Read chapter 8 more than once—let the truth of it sink in. Don’t just read it. Feel it. Pray it. Listen to the Spirit of Jesus inside your head read it to you. Oh, and when you get to chapter 12, that’s pretty good too.

If you aren’t yet free of your own emotional roller coaster, start all over again, with the Gospel of John. And hold on tight to what you will read in chapter 8 of that Gospel:

“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32)

And what is the foundational truth that will set you free? Surrender. Surrender your cares to the Spirit of Jesus within you. Surrender your worries. Surrender your Self. And really think about what it means to surrender your Self. Let Jesus take over, let Him lead you, follow Him. And repeat your surrender each morning—the best way to start your day.

One more thing: if you find yourself wanting to know more about the humanity of Jesus, or maybe this thing I call surrender, please leave a comment here or send me an email (seejay@cjpenn.com ). I have plenty of other books I’d be happy to recommend.

Here’s hoping you have a really good day.

CJ


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Looking For Freedom? Look Inside Yourself

The truth will set you free. That’s what Jesus said.

What truth Lord, I need to know?

The truth of love, the truth of faith, the truth of My presence in your life.

Yet free from what? Will you tell me that?

Yes my child. Everything.

What? I don’t understand.

Tell Me child, what burdens you?

Well, I guess, especially this year, almost everything.

Exactly.

But how Lord? Where does freedom come from?

The truth laid out for all to see, the truth hidden in plain sight is this: Me in you and you in Me. My Spirit living with your spirit, with your soul, within your body. The two will become one flesh.

But how?

Just quiet your mind, open your heart, let go of your “self,” and let Me in. By My presence within you, and your surrender to Me, you will be free. I’m already there, just waiting for you to look at Me.


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ebook FREE, One More Day

Today, Sunday October 11th, is the last day to get “We Called Him Yeshua” for FREE on Amazon (though it may be offered for free again sometime in the future).

If you could use a good distraction from all the noise and stress of 2020, then grab this book and let it take back to the past. You will find yourself following Jesus as he walks his final journey on the dusty road to Jerusalem. You will get to know, and maybe become friends with, others who followed him, people whom Jesus healed (both body and mind). And in this way, you may see Jesus as you’ve never seen him before.

You can get your free ebook on Amazon today. Also, the price of the paperback has been reduced another 20% from its already reduced price.


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FREE Book = FREE Distraction

The angry news comes at us from all directions. It feels especially so in the United States right now (no need to say more about that).

At times like these, I need a distraction. And figuring you might need a good distraciton too, I’ve made the ebook of my novel, “We Called Him Yeshua,” FREE for this weekend. I also dropped the price of the paperback 20% from its already reduced price.

So go to Amazon now, get your free distraction, and take a break from what’s happening outside your door.

Amazon page: https://www.amazon.com/We-Called-Him-Yeshua-Penn-ebook/dp/B0867BYTF7/

 


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Looking For A Distraction From You-Know-What/Who?

For many of us in the USA, this election season is the most stress-filled ever. And I think many of us could use a distraction. I know I could. As a way to promote a peaceful distraction from the chaos all around us, I’ve decided to make my novel, “We Called Him Yeshua,” FREE on Amazon for this weekend.

In addition to the ebook being FREE, I’ve dropped the price of the paperback by 20%. The paperback price drop has already taken effect. The ebook being free will take effect midnight tonight (Friday, Oct. 9th). My hope is that people will find the story in “We Called Him Yeshua” a nice distraction from all the stuff we’re currently living through.

So stay tuned. I’ll post a reminder of the free ebook tomorrow morning, once I’ve confirmed Amazon has changed its status to free. And no matter what, I hope you have a great weekend that’s free from all the things that bring you stress.

Cheerio, CJ


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Baffled

I don’t get it. And maybe someone out there can help me understand. I just finished reading the New Testament in a week. Yes, I have plenty of time on my hands. I’ve read the NT many times, but this time I read it from the perspective of wanting to glean what it means to be a Christian. That is, according to the Bible, what is the true character of a Christian?

I didn’t learn anything new—there were no surprises. But the experience lit a fire under a question that’s been nagging me for a long time.

How? How can someone who’s a Christian, someone who accepts Jesus and the words in the New Testament, someone who at least tries to live up to the character description of a Christian—well, how can someone like that support a person whose character is the polar opposite of the Christian character? How can someone who calls themselves Christian support a person like Donald Trump?

I’d love to hear a better answer than the one I came up with. For I believe such a person is not really a Christian. You’ve heard of RINO’s, Republicans In Name Only? Well, it appears to me that this country has a bunch of CINO’s, Christians in name only.

I wonder what Jesus thinks of all this. And I’d really like to hear what you think.


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FREE BOOK – For One More Day

You’ve read the historical story of Jesus in the Bible, and maybe you’ve seen His story as portrayed by movie producers. Now you can hear His story as told by people who where there, following Jesus on His final journey to Jerusalem.

Yes, being a novel, a lot of what these people will say is fiction. But most of what they will tell you will help you experience what they felt—the power of Jesus’ presence, His touch, and His words.

Just 1 day left to get your FREE ebook of “We Called Him Yeshua.” Free promotion on Amazon ends midnight, Sunday September 6th.

Get your FREE book here: https://www.amazon.com/We-Called-Him-Yeshua-Penn-ebook/dp/B0867BYTF7/


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** FREE Book **

Get “We Called Him Yeshua” for FREE, this weekend only.

The ebook is available on Amazon for FREE until midnight, Sunday September 6th. Go here to get your copy.

Description:

“If he weren’t so human,” Anna groaned, “I wouldn’t love him so much.”
You may know him as the Son of God, by his Greek name, Jesus Christ. Anna knew him as a person, by his Hebrew name, Yeshua.

“We Called Him Yeshua” is a journey, following Anna, Neri, and others, who all find something special in the love and compassion of the wandering prophet, though what they find may not be what they expect. For Anna, the farther she follows Yeshua and the closer she gets to him, the stronger her love grows. Yet for similar reasons, so grows her fear.

Those who will tell you their story knew Yeshua in a way that may be hard to imagine. They knew him by the warmth of his hand on their shoulder, by the thrill of his healing touch freeing them of an illness, and by the kindness in his voice. They were more then eye witnesses, for they didn’t just see his love, courage, and humility—they felt them.

What do you think it would be like to know Jesus as they did? To walk with him, as his disciples did? To talk with him, as his friends did? You can. And maybe that journey begins right here. Follow this story back to the time when Jesus walked the roads of ancient Israel. Walk with him, listen to him, watch him put his love into action. And through the other characters in this story, feel his presence—his love, courage, and humility. They grew closer to him with every step toward his destiny—so can you.


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Please Consider a Review

I’ve been thinking back to several weeks ago, when I sponsored a free ebook promotion of my novel, We Called Him Yeshua. I’m grateful for how many people took advantage of that promotion and got their own free copy. And lately I’ve been wondering how many of those people have finished reading the book. If you’ve read this book, I’d like to ask you a favor: please consider leaving a review on Amazon. Your review can help others who might be considering getting the book for themselves.

And if you or someone you know is interested in checking this book out, I just lowered the ebook price down to as low as Amazon will allow: $0.99. And the paperback version remains discounted at $9.95. Please check it out at the Amazon book page.


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“We Called Him Yeshua,” Last Day for FREE

If you haven’t already grabbed your FREE ebook version of We Called Him Yeshua, please do so today, while it’s still available on Amazon, (until midnight tonight, Pacific Time, USA).

If you have the book already, please consider sharing this with a friend, so they can get their own free copy.

And maybe like the characters in the story, you too can come to see Jesus not just as the Son of God. Maybe you’ll come to know him more as a friend.

Follow this link to the Amazon book page to get your FREE ebook. And thank you.


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“We Called Him Yeshua” FREE for 2 More Days

“We Called Him Yeshua” is historical Biblical fiction with a bit of romance and suspense, told from the perspective of people whom Jesus healed. Once healed, they then followed Jesus on his final journey to Jerusalem, along the way telling you what they saw, heard, and felt. Through their eyes, you can see Jesus as you may never have seen Him before—not only as the divine Son of God, but also as the human son of man.

In writing this story, my hope was that it would help people feel closer to Jesus, as I believe it’s easier to fall in love with another person, than with a God. When you see Jesus as someone whom you share a common humanity with, maybe you too will experience changed feelings for him.

In an effort to make this book available to as many people as possible, I’ve made the ebook FREE on Amazon until the end of tomorrow (Sunday, August 2nd). So please get your copy free while you can. And thanks.

Follow this link to the Amazon book page.


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Ebook Now FREE for Next 3 Days

I wrote this story to help people feel closer to Jesus, to see him more like a friend, and to help them see the reality of an intimate relationship with his Holy Spirit. From the feedback I’ve received, it works. Now, I hope for as many people as possible to have their own chance for such a relationship with Jesus.

That’s why I’ve made the ebook FREE on Amazon for the next three days. Starting today (Friday), and ending Sunday, the Kindle version is FREE to EVERYONE. So please consider checking it out. Thanks

Follow this link to the Amazon book page.


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The Other Side of the Wall

Coronavirus, roller coaster stock market, rising infection rates, increasing death tolls, extended restrictions and growing fears, financial worries, angst over not being able to see and hug my adult children (other than on Zoom, which just doesn’t cut it). These and more are the stones in my wall, my wall of distraction. It’s the wall that blocks my view of Jesus, who’s always there, waiting for me on the other side. But, given quiet time and a chance to empty my mind, the stones of jumbled thoughts disappear, and there’s Jesus smiling at me.

Yet it helps so much to know who I’m looking for, to know whom I’ll find on the other side of that wall. It was harder before … before I’d gotten to know him. But now, I know him as more than Jesus the Son of God. I also know Jesus the son of man.

Would you like to more easily look beyond your own wall, clear your mind of the “world,” and see the Spirit of Jesus within you? Would you like to have a clearer image of who you’re looking for? Would you like to see Jesus as his closest followers saw him, as a fellow human … the son of man?

I wrote the novel We Called Him Yeshua to help people better know the human side of Jesus. Why? Well, because I think it’s easier to fall in love with another person than with a God. I believe the more someone knows the human side of Jesus, the easier it will be for them to love him and be devoted to him. Yet I believe that most people see Jesus as God, and therefore, out of intimidation or whatever, they hold him at arm’s length. So I wrote a story I hope will help them see Jesus the man, and instead of keeping him at arm’s length, pull him into a loving hug.

In an effort to make this book available to more people, I’ve arranged for the ebook to be free this weekend. So, from Friday (July 31) to Sunday (August 2) you can get We Called Him Yeshua for free on Amazon. I’ll be sure to post a reminder on Friday.

Finally, if you’ve already read the book and you’d like to leave a review on Amazon, now would be a good time as your comments might help others decide if they want to grab a free ebook or not. Plus, I’d be grateful to see what you think. Thanks.


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Standing at the Crossroads

With all that’s going on in the world right now, it feels like humanity is standing at a crossroads. And it’s there, at the fork in the road, where a battle is raging. The battle is against some nasty forces—racism and bigotry, arrogance and oppression. And of course, a worldwide pandemic. Sometimes it feels like there’s a war against the wellbeing of humanity. The weapons of the enemy include the hate, ignorance, arrogance, and these days … that dreaded virus.

But what’s the deal with this crossroads? What choices do the two paths present? And which way will help us most to win the battle?

One path is the way of the world, using the same tools we use in all of humanities endeavors to fight for what we want. Against certain nasty forces, things like peaceful protests can win the day. As a race, humanity typically tries to get what it wants by its own power, following this first path. But is that enough? Maybe it’s time to give up, and look somewhere else for the power that’s needed to overcome the forces fighting against the survival of humanity.

I think it’s time to turn to God and Jesus. I’m not talking about religion, with all its man-inflicted warts and blemishes. I’m not talking church-ianity, with a focus on tradition and prescribed worship, etc. I’m not talking about a faith that still relies on human effort to get what we desire. I’m talking true Christianity, not following the dictates of some manmade church, but following the Holy Spirit of God and Jesus. This is not only a radical thought for the secular world, but also for many who call themselves Christian. For Christianity is polluted with the ways of humanity. It has been for centuries.

Oops, I’ve wandered away from the crossroads. Let’s get back to it.

Will humanity still rely on its own strength to overcome forces of evil? Or, will we rely on God? The crossroads I’m envisioning does not represent two different courses of action. Rather, I think it’s a crossroads of reliance. One way is the same path of relying on ourselves, on human effort. Standing at the entrance to the other path is the Spirit of Jesus, holding out his hand, inviting us to rely on him.

If we give up on our self-efforts, if we embrace the reality of the Spirit of Jesus as a person and not a thing, and if we stir up enough love for the Spirit of Jesus to crave his presence within our very selves, then …

Well, imagine what might result if more and more people relied on the Holy Spirit of God and Jesus, rather than ourselves.