Archive for the ‘Freedom’ Category

My wife and I walked neighbor’s dogs for a while in order to get to know them better. One day we walked a dog that appeared to be calm but we changed our minds when he tried to attack a couple of dogs while we were walking him. An angry dog was on display and our peaceful walk was over. I wanted to cut the leash or let go and walk away. Separation from that dog was an urgent decision I wanted to make.

We can’t separate ourselves from every aspect of life, but there are decisions we must make to enjoy a more peaceful life.

In John 8:30 and 31 Jesus gives us a simple but way hard challenging two verses giving us a clue to a peaceful heart. Continue means to keep on with what we started. My Word means not the word of a psychologist, our culture or friends living contrary to scripture. Disciple-a person who has a relationship of trust with Jesus and who practices as a lifestyle, what he says. Truth-sometimes we want it and sometimes we don’t, but this is the only thing that matters. Truth aligns itself with reality. Free-freedom only comes as we act on the truth we know and break out of the jail of deception and lies we are daily fed by our culture and those not following Jesus. In John 10:9, Jesus calls himself the gate as he opens us up to new ideas that bring freedom.

It’s only as we make decisions to separate ourselves from whatever contradicts what God has told us in the Word that we experience a consistent peaceful life. And this does not mean the absence of hassels the enemy tries to trap us in, but rather means a settled peace in the midst of them.

What new ideas has God caused you to seriously consider regarding discipleship, what really matters, church,relationships…? If you experience a hesitation in changing your thinking or lifestyle, why do you think that is?

It is certainly important to have all of the doctrinal ducks all lined up and think we’ve got it all figured out. There is a subtle pride however in stopping there. Sometimes I really believe we are afraid to listen to how another person concludes something different from our conclusions. There are never two or three truths but as we continue searching, God pulls back the veil a little more and we see something we never saw before.

I meet with a group of men for prayer every Tuesday morning. I have always known about faith and that God can do anything. These men really expect God to act. I examined that truth and really asked some hard questions and kept going deeper into it. I knew some of my friends might think I was going beyond the truth but I knew God would show me where that line was.

It reminds me of Hebrews 5:11-14 and how easy it is to settle for less than what God wants us to learn and experience. God is not afraid of our questions. Why are we satisfied with 1+1=2 when there algorithms? If we stop with addition, we might miss some confusion, but also a reality that could free us to do unimaginable things.

Think about making disciples. We talk about it, do Bible studies about it and even memorize verses related to it but it is not until we begin to disciple another that we really learn what it means to trust God to do what only he can through us.

Are you afraid to venture into the mysteries that God knows? Are you willing to let God pull back the veil a little more and show you something that will cause you to change something in your life?

Don’t be afraid of the light! Psalm 119:105 reminds us that the Word is a light and lamp for our search.

Flirting with Disaster (film)

Flirting with Disaster (film) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sometimes our relationship with God resembles someone who wants something on their own terms. It’s sort of fun to listen to worship music and then go to that movie you wouldn’t invite your grandmother to come to with you. The Tuesday Bible study group is great because it’s interesting discussion and they serve great snacks but you always forget where you put your Bible as you prepare to go the next week. What the spank is going on here?

We’re just flirting with God! But at least we’re showing up at the study and we have 3rd Day on our Pandora play list. God did not speak us into existence so we could check into him every now and then. Flirting is a common game played by people who really have no intention of developing a meaningful relationship with a person. It’s just fun we say. Flirting can lead to disaster between two people but what about with God? What happens when we occasionally give God some attention? This “beyond extremely shallow” relationship with God, like the game we play with people, will not give us the freedom and full life Jesus promises us.

The people showed up one afternoon to listen to Jesus, they might get a free meal, but what they got was a description of what it really meant to follow Him and all but a handful got out of there as quickly as they could. Seriously look at John 6:47-67 and 8:31&32 and think about whether you are flirting with Jesus. If we act on what Jesus says, then and only then will we know the truth about who God is, how we can make life work, and be set free from the traps of the enemy.

Flirting with God is like partial obedience, in which you are only willing to go so far. In 1 Samuel 15 there is the story of Saul and what his “flirting” resulted in. Don’t settle for anything less than an uncompromising relationship with God.

“Tomorrow” is a word not only in everyone’s dictionary but combined with “think of” or “plan for” not only represents the mantra of our culture but also the passionate obsession of our insistence to control life. So we save, purchase more than we need at the grocery, store away enough to last for weeks or longer just in case… For everything, we are told we can never have too much.

But what if there was an insurance plan that would provide only for today, every day? Would you buy into that plan? God offered that to people a few thousand years ago. But that was then, and this is today and if you live in the Western world you have to think of the catastrophe if you did what they did. Exodus 16 is one of those chapters that you hope is on U Tube but it can’t possibly have meaning for today, right? Just think of what they would have missed or you and I, if we did not trust God to provide every day for our needs-“you’ll realize that I am God, your God.” For most of us, our relationship with God never gets this far.

But of course this is not possible today so we remain in bondage to lifestyles of busyness, striving, gathering for that medical expense, car wreck, or dropped I Pad that is just around the corner. God may not ha

Grand Slam Life Insurance Plan

Grand Slam Life Insurance Plan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

ve changed but our life in these days makes believing God like this not only outrageous but qualifies us for the asylum.

Each of us must determine whether God is being straight with us today and if so, how we are to apply it, but we must not automatically assume these words are irrelevant today. Consider Proverbs 30:8 & 9 along with Philippians 4:12 & 19 and don’t forget that prayer-…give us this day…”

I was sitting in our living room and decided to open the blinds. Our apartment overlooks a lake on about 250 acres of a wildlife refuge. In a matter of a few minutes one of the two bald eagles dove from a tree and sped along the water at about two feet. Then it was back to the tree. But next the juvenile eagle comes and repeats the lesson. They did this twice. What if I had not opened the blinds?

Jesus’ revolutionary perspective on life often clashes with the accepted American or Christian practices. We can easily keep the blinds closed and not take a hard look at what will bring us freedom and a joy in doing and not rationalizing what he said. Jesus was known for saying “you have heard it said, but I say…” These statements introduce us to a very radical challenge. Take for example Matthew 5:27,28 or 33-37 and then there is the suffocating old law of “hate your enemies” and Jesus’ “I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies” in verses 43-48. His take on leadership in Matthew 20:26-28 is also refreshing.

Are you willing to open the blinds and act on what you see?

Perspective gourmande ~ Greedy Perspective

Perspective gourmande ~ Greedy Perspective (Photo credit: twiga269 ॐ FEMEN)

A 16mm jacket dupe microfiche

A 16mm jacket dupe microfiche (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You might have to microfiche for this headline but its importance can’t be overstated. It was a typical Sabbath day, the people were there probably not expecting too much to happen but there was one factor they had not counted on-Jesus was in the house! The meeting started well but by the time it was over, the people were trying to kill Jesus. What the spank was going on? Look at Luke 4:14-30 and especially verses 18-21.

Jesus identified his purpose but the people thought he was pushing it too far. But think about verses 18 and 19. Why is this good news? What is good news to those who don’t know Jesus or who get up every morning to go to work and come home to crash for the rest of their life?  Is the good news inviting them to meetings, challenging them to only eat certain food, washing their hands for all kinds of things or is it much more? We must know what would be good news to those not following Jesus.

This in part requires listening to our friends. People trying to make life work without Jesus are locked up in jails of all kinds. They can’t see how to escape the many traps of life and they are hammered, crushed and broken down by countless inventions of men that just tie the knots tighter. Freedom, Sight and Release are what Jesus is talking about. Do our friends not following Jesus get this? Do they see this message in us? Can you give someone a little hope today?

Noise or distractions-we don’t want them and don’t need them but they are everywhere. So let’s drive to Denver and buy some of those Bose head phones to eliminate noise or any distraction. Last Friday we drove to south Denver from Loveland which is normally an hour drive. The noise from traffic and the thousands of distractions and more than one accident on I-25 left us almost wishing we were on a tractor in the middle of a 1 million acre farm in eastern Colorado.

But you can’t usually find that farm and you have to make trips to IKEA even when it is south Denver. So, how do you keep the noise and distractions at bay in everyday life? Noise and distractions are thieves that rob us of the life God intended. We need Bose head phones or…something else.

What is it that will allow us to focus on what really matters in the midst of the noise and distractions that surround us? Psalm 46:10 is not only a challenge but also an essential lifestyle decision we must make in our world of fast pace everything.

What are you willing to change in order to live free from the ever pursuing marketing schemes of the enemy to provide everything that never satisfies? For extra credit check out Luke 10:38-42; 12:14-21 and Colossians 3:1-2.

Bose retail store located in Century City, LA, USA

Bose retail store located in Century City, LA, USA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Wrong Game

Posted: November 27, 2012 in Freedom, Hiding, Honesty, Lifestyle, Pretending

I’m sure everyone has played a game where you pretend you are someone you really aren’t or you play the old “hide and seek” standby. Games like this are fun unless you are sent out on a snipe hunt. However, there are games we play as we get older in which we are not rewarded with snow cones or chocolate chip cookies when the game is over.

Somehow we seem to process life in ways that send us chasing the ever evasive snipe until we come to our senses and really believe that God is not pretending when he plays the “serious” role. We pretend or we hide and the result is always the same: God does not free us as long as we hide or pretend. 

We can only pretend to be the “Incredible Hulk” for so long and we can’t go under cover indefinitely although some of us might win an Oscar for our amazing ability to deceive others and ourselves.

The first couple on the planet tried itI’ and their hiding didn’t last long. Check Genesis 3:8 for the first hide and seek game. For another consequential result of pretending, look at Acts 5:1-11.

God’s truth (John 8:31,32) does free us but only through obedience and not hiding from or pretending we are following the rules.

Have you been real this week with people? With God? Or do you have some cool hideouts?

Open 24 Hours a Day

Posted: November 22, 2012 in Addictions, Fear, Freedom, Perspective

This is what we like and want-something available whenever we want it. I mean, we have the right don’t we? We may not go all of the time but the potato chips and butterfingers are always there if we want them. Who wouldn’t want this availability?

However, almost everything in this store that’s edible has about as much nutritional value as rubber bands. We know we should go to Whole Foods because it is better for us but this 24/7 store always has the lights on.

Whole foods

Whole foods (Photo credit: parislemon)

We so easily forget how we have been trapped by our enemy and thrown in jail. But the jail is not locked and we might leave but we can always return. Living life our way or the enemy’s way is like this. We have been set free from a life dominated by frustration, anger, discouragement, pride, anxiety, loneliness, comfort…but the light flashes “Open 24 hours a day.” Don’t believe the lie that we can “check out any time but we can never leave.”

Why not grab on to Psalm 146:7, John 8:31,32 or 10:10 and experience life as God intended?