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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An Appeal and a Prayer

surrender

One of my strongest desires is for unity within the churches of Jesus Christ. And in the name of unity, today I offer up an appeal to all Christians, and a prayer.

An Appeal

I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought. (1)

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. (2)

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love. (3)

May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. (4)

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (5)

A Prayer

Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name – so that they may be one as we are one. (6)

May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. (7)

I pray … that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. (8)

(9)

For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. (10)

1: (1 Corinthians 1:10)
2: (Ephesians 4:2-3)
3: (1 Corinthians 16:13-14)
4: (Romans 15:5-7)
5: (Colossians 3:12-17)
6: (John 17:11b)
7: (John 17:23)
8: (John 17:20-21)
9: (John 17:17)
10: (Ephesians 3:14-21)
 
[This was first posted July 17, 2008]


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Where There are no Denominations

Holy Spirit inside

In Jesus’ church, there are no denominations. Jesus’ church is simpler than the complex collection of differing manmade Christian organizations. Jesus’ church is the family of Spirit-filled believers.

“Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:19-22)


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For Wounded Christians – a Place for Healing

Wound Group cover photo

In the years I’ve spent on this blog site, surfing other peoples blog sites, and in my life outside the cyber-world, I’ve met many wounded Christians. The wounds come from churches. The wounds may come from other Christians. Or the wounds may come from inside themselves, from false ideas they believe to be true. There is no blame or guilt in all this – it’s just a result of people being normal, broken, sinful & prideful human beings.

I recently stepped out of my boat and ventured into Facebook land. It’s an interesting place. I discovered Facebook groups. I have since been inspired to start a group for wounded Christians. I just hope the inspiration came from God and not me.

This group is for sharing personal stories of suffering and confusion. Sharing stories may help others; by showing them they are not alone. Most importantly, this group is for sharing stories of healing. And this group is about sharing the truth of Jesus Christ. For it is His truth that will answer questions. It is His truth that will heal wounds. It is His truth that will set you free from pain, suffering, confusion, guilt, and many other manmade maladies.

A friend of mine described this Facebook group as “A wonderful group for those of you who love God but have been wounded by His people.”

The name of the group is “For Wounded Christians – a Place for Healing.”


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Is Relevance Relevant?

relevance

Many Christians believe that making the gospel relevant for our times will attract people to the church. Trying to “meet people where they live” is just what Jesus did, so this should be a good approach. Yet, judging by the dwindling numbers of those attending church, there must be something wrong with the drive for relevance.

The flaw of the relevance approach is when they change the message to meet the needs of the day. This takes the focus off the truth of Jesus. His message is eternal, in that it always meets the needs of the day, no matter what day it is. We always need love, always need faith, and always need hope. This is what Jesus has to offer, and it’s always relevant.

What people need is not a customized message for the day, which will loose power as conditions change. It’s not relevance that’s needed, but truth.


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Opening Your Mind

open mind

After Jesus was crucified and came back to life, his disciples had a hard time believing what they were seeing. They thought he was a ghost, still dead. They saw with their eyes, yet still did not understand. Don’t be surprised if you have difficulty understanding what you read in the bible, for even eyewitnesses had trouble.

Yet, as Jesus did for His disciples, He can do for us…“Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures.” (Luke 24:45) Understanding does not come from our own intellect, cleverness, or imaginations. Understanding comes from only one source, the Holy Spirit. “We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us.” (1 Corinthians 2:12)

If you are willing, the Holy Spirit can open your mind and show you the truth. As Jesus said, “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth.” (John 16:12-13)


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Roots of Deception

Roots of deception

Why do some Christians distort the truth of Jesus? There are two reasons. First is ego – to gain honor for themselves. As Jesus said, “He who speaks on his own does so to gain honor for himself, but he who works for the honor of the one who sent him is a man of truth; there is nothing false about him.” (John 7:18)

Ever since Jesus preached His gospel while walking the roads of ancient Israel, people have felt the need to put their own mark on the truths He had proclaimed. Perhaps they felt their own personal revisions would improve His message. Or, maybe they were unable to accept His message as-is, and they decided to reshape it into something they could agree with.

“Everyone looks out for his own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 2:21) Everyone suffers from the temptation of believing that they know more or know better than God does. This disease of pride moves some people to re-make God and His message into their image.

The second reason the truth gets distorted is that well-meaning everyday Christians portray false ideas about the truth of Christianity just by how we live. We are imperfect human beings, tasked with conveying the perfect message of Jesus Christ. Our imperfections are bound to smudge the message now and then. Our human hands too easily mar the heavenly masterpiece of Jesus.


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Truth and Peace

truth and peace

 

“This is what the Lord Almighty says: … love truth and peace.” (Zechariah 8:19)

Truth and peace – I have to admit that I sometimes find it hard to include peace with my blog posts about truth. I indeed love the truth. When I write about truth in a way that confronts some false message within Christianity, I tend to get passionate. Yet I am sometimes a bit harsh in my response to deception. I have a hard time including peace while I lash out at some religious doctrine that is contrary to the truth of Gods word. The truth is so important to me – I lose sight of the need for compassion. My prideful human nature often closes my eyes to the peaceful approach.

The peace I wish to bring doesn’t come from me – it comes from the Holy Spirit within me. So if you read a blog post of mine that includes just the right mix of truth and peace, then you will know that I stepped out of the way and let the Holy Spirit of God speak through me. And if the peace is missing from my message, I sincerely apologize to you, and God.