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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Praying in the Name of Jesus—an Amazing Experience

I was just reading about what it means to pray in Jesus’ name, in the book, Abide in Christ, by Andrew Murray. And I finally saw a deeper, clearer meaning.

To pray to God in Jesus’ name is as if Jesus Himself is asking Father God on my behalf. Yet instead of Jesus asking for me, Jesus has said I can go directly to God and use His name. It’s almost like he says, “You have my approval to ask the Father.”

I’ve known this before, but today I think Jesus opened my mind to the deeper meaning, which is: Before Jesus will give me his approval to use his name, he needs to be willing. What I need to do is first go to Jesus and ask Him to bless my request. And I completely believe that Jesus will bless all prayers that glorify Father God.

And Jesus will show me how prayers can glorify God, and how to change errant prayers so they will then glorify God. Then, I can go to the Father with Jesus’ blessing and say something like, “Father God, in Jesus’ name and with His blessing, I humbly ask you for (insert request here).”

So today, I did just that. And what a GREAT time of prayer it was! I’ve never felt so certain that a prayer will be smiled upon by God and granted in some way. And now I’m excited to see the outcome.

Give it a try. It’s great!!! And if at first it feels awkward to go to Jesus and ask for his blessing, well, maybe the two of you just need to become closer friends. And the beauty of going to him with requests like that is the more you meet him in this way, the closer you will become.


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Joy Can be Just a Prayer Away

Even when life pulls your mind in random directions and sometimes piles worry on top of worry; even when it seems like all the news is bad; even when the world is held hostage by a global pandemic … joy can be just a prayer away.

Jesus promised his Holy Spirit would be with us always, “to the very end of the age.” He also promised us a peace beyond our understanding. So, all we need to do to find the joy and peace we crave is look for Jesus’ Spirit. And thankfully, we don’t have to look far, for another promise is that Jesus will be IN us, as his Father is in him.

With the Spirit of Jesus abiding within you, always present, even if life pulls your attention away for a day, a week, or whatever … all you have to do is take some quiet time, push back on the distractions of life (that can be the hardest part), and look inside. And when all those thoughts and cares and worries in your mind quiet down enough so you can look past them, you will see the Spirit of Jesus waiting for you. And the moment you feel Him and forget the noise of life, you’ll feel the peace and joy that he promised. It’s just a prayer away.

But, what if you don’t know who you’re looking for? The Spirit of Jesus can feel like an alien to many people, more like an unfathomable heavenly being, than a person. But Jesus was more than the Son of God. He was also the son of man. Jesus was fully human, a person, in some ways like you and me. So, when you go looking for the Spirit of Jesus, it can really help to know the complete Jesus, the man as well as the God.

As a way to get to know Jesus the man, I’d like to recommend my recently published novel, We Called Him Yeshua. It’s the story of Jesus as told from the perspective of some people who followed him as he walked the roads of ancient Israel. You can see Jesus through their eyes, as a person. Then, when you look for the joy and peace waiting within you, you’ll know who you’re looking for.

They called him Yeshua. Maybe you can call him friend.

 

If you’re interested in checking out We Called Him Yeshua, click on the image below to go to the Amazon book page. And for just a few more days, it’s priced as low as Amazon will allow.


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Resurrection

What follows is an excerpt from the novel, We Called Him Yeshua. In it, you can witness the emotions of the resurrection through the feelings of someone who loved Jesus very much. She called him Yeshua. We call him Jesus.

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– Anna –

The crowds had grown thinner. How long had it been? The passing time felt like a numb blur. He had said something to me, the night he was taken: After I’m gone, don’t go looking for me. Instead, wait, be patient. Then three days from now, look for me.

Had it been three days? I couldn’t be sure. I gazed up the hill at the rising sun. Tuning back to face the city—where should I look? Where might I find him? He hadn’t told me that. Or … had he? I couldn’t remember.

I started walking down the hill, heading for the tomb. At least I would be closer to him there. My problem was, I didn’t know where to find it. I had been at the tomb the day he died. I had helped wrap his body in a shroud and watched as they laid him inside. But it had all been in such a tearful haze. I decided to let my legs move and see where’d they’d take me—hopefully they remembered.

I followed the path down to the main road, turned right, away from the city, and walked up the hill until I came to another path that lead me around the outside of the cities northern wall. I eventually entered a natural garden, with trees starting to blossom in the early spring sunshine. It was so peaceful, and quiet. But from there, I didn’t know where to go next.

I heard voices coming from up ahead. I crouched behind a tree and peered down the path. It was the sister of Lazarus, the pretty one called Mary. With her was Miriam, the woman from Magdala. What were they doing there?

I stepped out from behind the tree.

They looked up, startled, and then relaxed when they recognized me. I walked forward. We stood silently looking at one another, trying to smile, but each failing. Miriam reached out, touched my hand, and nodded as she and Mary turned onto a faint path leading farther up into the rocky hill. Though nothing looked familiar, I knew they were going to the tomb.

Suddenly we stopped. The cave stood open before us, with the tombstone rolled to the side. Miriam crept forward and peered into the blackness. A moment later she looked back, her face white, her mouth gaping. I pushed passed Mary, ran to the tomb and looked inside. As my eyes adjusted, I saw a shallow cave, with a rumbled, blood stained shroud laying the floor. But … no body.

I jumped up, stared at the shocked faces of Miriam and Mary, then ran, feeling as if I’d run this path before. Where was he? Had someone stolen his body. Maybe those Pharisees. With his body gone, how could he come back to life, as he had promised?

Almost like the evening of his death, I found myself back in the grove, panicking and not certain how I had gotten there. I fell onto the well-worn spot under my tree and lost my thoughts on the only piece of him I had left.

“Anna!” I looked up from my bloodstained dress to see Neri running into the olive grove. “They saw him! He’s alive!”

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Would you like to read more? Click on the image below to go to the Amazon book page. Then look inside (with Amazon “Look inside” feature), see what you think.


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United We Stand

What an unprecedented moment in human history we live in, where most of us on this planet are experiencing similar restrictions, similar concerns, and many of the same feelings.

Our past is littered with fighting, fighting against each other. We’re still fighting, but now aligned together against a common enemy, a worldwide pandemic. I think it’s possible that this has never happened before in the history of humanity—I mean, how we so quickly formed a worldwide alliance.

Consider that the last pandemic, in the early 1900’s, infected the earth before there was rapid transportation from one continent to the next, and before there was instantly shared communication throughout the world. I haven’t seen any data, but I suspect this new pandemic has spread faster than any in history. The fear and panic have spread just as quickly.

But still, we are all now united in the fight against the Coronavirus. Has the entire world ever been this united before? I don’t really know. What might our unity lead to? I can’t even imagine. But, I have a growing hope that something amazing will emerge. I believe all this presents the possibility for a turning point in the human race, in the midst of the chaos. And I strongly feel that, though the pandemic will bring death and severe pain, our unity can only bring good.

What form will that good take? How long will it last? Of course, I don’t know and I can’t even guess. But as a Christian, I really believe that Jesus will make something good out of all this bad. And with Jesus involved, I’m excited. I hope you can be excited too.

I think the best thing we can do is pray, hope, and trust. And excitedly wait to see what God does with our trust and unity.


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“We Called Him Yeshua,” Easter Sale

I sometimes fret over the sales of my recently published book, We Called Him Yeshua. But the other day, while praying, I think Jesus gave me something more important to think about. My primary desire now is to write and post things that can hopefully help people deal with the crisis we are all currently in. I like that new purpose. It feels good to me, and right. And to be honest, I think it helps me deal with the crisis—by trying to help others and not be just another victim.

So I’ll let Jesus deal with the sales of my book. If he wants a lot of people to read it, he can do a far better job of promoting than I ever could. But there’s one thing I can do (and feel called to do), that can help.

I’ve again reduced the price of the book. Both the ebook and paperback are now priced as low as they can go. My hope is that this will make it easier for people to get a book that just might be helpful during this unprecedented time where almost everyone on this planet is experiencing the same struggles.

Curious? Click on the image to go to the Amazon book page. Then look inside (with Amazon “Look inside” feature), see what you think.


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United by a Common Enemy

Walking through the near-empty streets, he waives at people he never waived at before. He even pauses and chats with strangers who no longer feel like strangers. Somewhere in the shadowed corners of his mind, he feels that none of us are strangers. Not now. Not anymore. The Enemy is bringing us together (with a safe social distance, that is).

He smiles at the irony.

He’s beginning to feel that at some level, we all know each other. Maybe it’s because of our common enemy. The common fight. The fight against fear, anxiety, and the Enemy itself. The Enemy has a name. COVID-19. Coronavirus we call it. It fights us. We fight back.

He sees the thing all such enemies have in common. Whether a pandemic-spreading virus, or a man, a notorious dictator, a tyrant—they bring all their victims together in the common cause. But this time is different. For all humanity is united like never before.

Today he feels that humanity is one. Humanity is whole.

He feels a shiver of excitement race through his chest, tickling its way up his neck and into his mind. Could it be that because of how humanity has been brought together, could it be that when we emerge from this battle, something will have changed in the human relationship? He can’t imagine what form the change might take, but he feels a thrill at the idea of it. And his hope swells.


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Seeing the Crucifixion Through New Eyes

See the crucifixion of Jesus Christ from a new perspective, through the eyes of someone who followed him not because he was called, but because he couldn’t help it. What follows is an excerpt from the novel, We Called Him Yeshua. They called him Yeshua, we call him Jesus.

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– Neri –

I turned to find Lydia standing next to me. She grabbed my arm and rested her head against my shoulder. “Neri,” she whispered, not taking her eyes from the top of the hill.

“Lydia, what are you doing here?” My words sounded so much louder than I’d intended.

“Chased Anna. Lost her. Been searching all over this lousy hillside, and here …” Her voice trailed off as she looked at Anna on my other side, still collapsed on the ground, her arm wrapped around my leg, her head hugging my thigh. Lydia then looked back at the top of the hill and took a slow, shuddering breath. “He looks … almost hollow.”

“Death will do that.”

“So, he’s dead already.”

“No. Close.”

It was almost noon. He’d been up there since mid-morning. The stale and stagnant air hung heavy around us, filled with the tang of sweat and dust. People covered the hillside, most of them silent. Except for the mockers, jeering him still. The vultures.

A wave of disgust, terror, and confusion rose up in my chest. I wanted to collapse next to Anna and let the tears flow. But I couldn’t—had to be strong, for them.

I glanced back up the hill, over the heads of those in front me. There he hung, the cross perched high for all eyes to see, even from the city walls. His chin quivered as he struggled to breathe—I could almost hear the rattling gasps. Then, with great strain, he pushed up with his legs and his breathing seemed to ease, just a bit.

Without taking my eyes from him, I whispered, “Lydia, how’s Ruth? Is she safe?”

“Yes. With Timaeus and—”

Lydia froze as night suddenly started filling the sky. Beginning over our heads it spewed out in all directions, turning the grey clouds coal black. The only light came from the edge of the western horizon, where the dark blanket ended. A rooster crowed. I looked toward the Temple and its golden spires—faint outlines in the thickening sky.

The darkness seemed to suck up all life and sound. I felt locked in a dungeon: nothing to see, stale air to breathe, nowhere to move. From the top of the hill scattered words drifted down. Yeshua was speaking.

Time seemed to slow to a crawl, the unchanging dim light making me feel as if time had actually stopped. It fed my growing agony. The silence again was broken as his enemies tried still to taunt him, though their voices now betrayed their fear.

About the third hour past noon, a sudden loud noise cracked from the direction of the Temple, followed by a cry from the top of the hill. Then, just for an instant, I felt weightless and dizzy. The ground trembled. Anna screamed. Yeshua died.

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Would you like to read more? Click on the image below to go to the Amazon book page. Then look inside (with Amazon “Look inside” feature), see what you think.

The story might start to pull you back to another time, and another place. And maybe, just for a moment, you can find escape from the time and place we are all currently stuck in. The story might do more than distract you, do more than temporarily pull you free of the pandemic stress-pit we’ve all fallen into. Maybe the story will open your mind’s eye to see the Holy Spirit of Jesus, waiting within you. He’s there, waiting to take your hand, lift you free of the pit, and help you walk the path we are all currently on, the path through the minefield of this coronavirus pandemic.

Since I think it’s more important during this historic situation to help people than to make money off this book, I’ve reduced the price again. Both the ebook and paperback are now priced as low as they can go. My hope is that this will make it easier for people to get a book that just might be helpful during this unprecedented time where almost everyone on this planet is experiencing the same things.