Freedom to be free.

Do you know how to lead a fearless life? Fear means you have a problem with the end results of something that is going on. One thing that most people fear the most is death. They may not realize it but they do.

I don’t fear death. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to die and if someone was aiming a gun between my eyes I would be wetting myself so much Georgia would be the new location of the Great Lakes.

No, I mean I am not afraid of the results of that final destination. If I die, I’m not afraid of being dead. A lot of people will tell you that they are just going to be worm food so why be afraid. That’s what they say. Have a conversation with a great many of those people and you’ll find the story is different.

I’m not afraid because of the whole Christian thing. You see, Jesus on the cross, resurrection, ascension and all of that gives a chance at freedom. People wonder what it means by freedom when it comes to Christianity. The freedom we have is that death has no hold over us because we know where and who we belong to.

If I hadn’t accepted Jesus as my Savior, my Lord then I would fear the torture I would have to face for all the sins I’ve committed.  Instead, I try my best to do my best and will be judged and given a few less gifts in Heaven than I had to begin with. Each time I sin, I get a gift taken away. My idea is, put me at the back of Heaven against the wall and I’ll take it.

Before Jesus, before accepting him, I lived under the control of sin, and what that sin would do to me in the end. Some people don’t believe in sin. They think it’s just a point of view as to what is good and what is bad. I could give some examples and see what you say, but I’m not that sick of a person and some people are sick enough to disagree just to be jerks about it.

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1

What this verse is telling us is this, don’t let the things of this world control you. Alcohol, porn, any other vices, illegal activities, all of it, don’t let any of it be something you think you have to do. What control does it have on you? You’ll die without it? What are you doing with it? Are you truly living with it? You’re afraid or feeling ill with it. Let it go. Be free.

You will slowly begin to feel better. Will your life be better? Maybe not. No one can promise that. However, you will be a better person.


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In God’s Sight.

13 For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. (Romans 2)

Some might find it odd that Romans is one of my favorite books of the Bible, what with it being so controversial at times. It’s only controversial because of the way people take verses out of context and how a letter has been divided into chapters. Maybe I’m being a bit repetitive with my whole dividing books into chapters thing, but I think it’s worth saying, and saying often.

This verse is the one that came up today for me to study and I thought I would share it with you. Let’s look at all of it, and this is Paul speaking to the early church in Rome.

12 All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law. 13 For it is not those who hear the law who are righteous in God’s sight, but it is those who obey the law who will be declared righteous. 14 (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.) 16 This will take place on the day when God judges people’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.

A lot of people ‘hear’ the words of the Bible. Many people even sit in church two or three times a week hearing the Word of the Lord, yet walk out to the parking lot and immediately do the opposite of what they had just said Amen to.

Some of you may have heard that if a person claims to be a Christian they need to do things called works to show they are Christian. I’m not that flavor of Christian. I do believe you need to show in your way of life that a change has come over you, that you are no longer a person that things a certain way is okay to act. What I’m talking about here is living like what Jesus said we should.

A Gentile is a non-Jew. God reaches people around the world through various means, even dreams. He reaches people through their heart. When you see someone being ill treated, even in a minor way, and it tugs at your heart, that’s the goodness of God that’s written into your DNA. We all have that code to unlock.

It’s a shame when professed Christians do things completely opposite of Christ. I share from time to time good words here on my blog. I like to encourage people. I like to give hope. I like to inspire. I like to show a side of Christianity that is nonjudgmental. The only person I can judge is another Christian when I see them doing something against the Word of God, and even then it’s only to say, “Hey, brother, maybe you should take a step back and think about what you’re doing.” I’ve done lots of things in my life, thus I know I’m far from perfect. That lack of perfection gives me the ability and inclination to speak out at times to others to say, “I changed. If I did all of these things with a decision, so can you.”

The world doesn’t become a better place when you become a Christian or if you decide to simply use the words of the Bible as a guide to a good way of living. Actually you see the world with a different pair of eyes. That new world is far worse than you ever knew. You see the problems, you see answers, but you know people think your solutions are just Jesus Freak brainwashing.

A lady from another country commented on a recent post about how her own faith leads to thinking much like my own, and words much like that of the Bible. Gentiles are given God’s words and will in so many ways. Who knows, maybe He spoke to someone and said, “Put this down, tell your people this.” I am not above saying God won’t use anything good to do his will.

Do good. Do what Jesus says. You can’t go wrong. Even Gandhi loved the Sermon on the Mount, Matthew Chapter 5.

Casting Crowns has a great song about how people in a church don’t really do what they are hearing.


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KEEP ON LOVING.

1Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering. (Hebrews 13)

Beautiful words, aren’t they? Some may even be surprised they come from the Bible. There are people that don’t realize there are two parts of the Bible, a historical half and an application part. I always like to point to the fact the ugly parts of the historical being included as being signs of how true the Bible is. If all those who put the Bible together wanted was a positive point of view without any negative parts for people to point fingers at, they would have left the Old Testament out.

But more about those words up there. I have a friend visiting the south this week. A stranger to this country and especially this part of the world. Southern Hospitality has reined and dispelled some naysayers to how Americans are, and how Southerners might be. I’ll be surprised if she doesn’t get adopted into a family here before she makes it to the airport for her trip back home.

As a Christian, living in the Bible Belt of the nation, I like to think some of the verses above seep into the culture. Even those not attending church, not reading or believing the Bible, are exposed to the behavior of Christians. Some say these characteristics are only basic polite gestures. If so, then why don’t all parts of the world do the same? I’m not saying all parts of the world don’t have nice people, every part of the world does have nice people.

What I’m saying is, here in the South we have this culture of politeness and respect for one another that even the young get eventually. They like to act a certain way in front of their friends but once away from them, they slip into the polite culture. They KNOW how to act.

Or perhaps it’s that they act that way around adults who don’t jump to a conclusion about them. Perhaps it’s to those adults that treat them with respect and pleasantries they will reciprocate. If anyone can find fault in the words above, well, it would be interesting.

Just because we have a loved one in prison does not mean they cease to exist. And as for those suffering, have you not suffered in some way that you cannot empathize?

The scripture at the beginning of this post are the first verses of Hebrews Chapter 13. As some of you who have read me long enough may know, I don’t like the chapter divisions of the Bible.

The end of Hebrews Chapter 12:

28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, 29 for our “God is a consuming fire.”

The above is the paragraph right before the paragraph I started off the post with. I like to show previous verses at times to show context and how one leads into the other.


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Renew your mind and the rest will follow.

For the “Change” theme of the Writers Quote Wednesday Writing Challenge this week, which I chose, I wanted to share one of my favorite verses.

“2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. (Romans 12:2a)

A lot of people stop at this point in the reading. I’ve heard this partial verse preached on a number of times, but I always have my Bible out to read further. You see, I understand something many preachers don’t preach about.

The writings of the Bible were done as letters, not books, chapters, and verses. One sentence leads into the next. I like what some pastors say, if you see a “Therefore” in the Bible, it means it’s “there for” a reason. With this verse, you look at the next sentence.

Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:2b)

Now that your mind is not polluted by the goings on of the world, you will be able to see for yourself the truth of God’s will. Polluted is a strong word. However, I’m not certain what other word to use when I think about what happens when the TV, movie, and music influences begin their work on an individual. Tiger Woods didn’t become a sex addict by watching Bugs Bunny or Andy Griffith. He became corrupted by everything around him that fed his ego and appetites.

In the Bible there have been headings added within the created chapters. This can break up meaning at times.

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.” (Romans 12:3)

Here you see a continuing explanation of the Romans 12:2a. Paul is reminding us that even with the renewing of our minds, our new unpolluted selves, we are still not higher than anyone else, and are only as good as we are by the faith God has given us.

We need to be on guard to not allow the pollution in. We worry about the ozone layer, climate change, and landfills, but we care little about the one true unique resource on earth, ourselves. Each of us is unique. You could have a twin and they are not exactly like you even if they look and sound like you. Perhaps they even walk and move like you do, they are still not exactly like you.

You are thinking unique thoughts. Those thoughts can be for a good reason or not. Not every thought needs to be for the betterment of the world. Dreams and fantasies exist to help our minds cope with a world that is not like we are.

There are people out there who hear the word Christian and automatically think of stereotypes brought about by a small, but visible/vocal minority. It’s kind of like when they have that local on the ground interview about a robbery or natural disaster and for some reason the news reporter picks the most illiterate and socially inept person they could find to put in front of the camera. That’s what happens with Christianity. We end up with the vocal and media seeking individuals representing us.

Christianity is a personal thing. One on one. It’s not a group think, or a group mind thing. It’s not the exact same thing for any two people. My thoughts differ from others in my own home. I have a more understanding nature than some. I look at things below the surface and don’t pass judgement. Yes, I will say something is bad when I believe it is bad. Beating a child is bad. If you say it is good, then I think you have a problem. If you say that it might be okay for the society that person doing the beating lives in, then I say that society is bad. If that is being judgemental, call me guilty. I generally take things on a person by person basis.

Change. Do you want to change how you think, what you think, what you think is acceptable? Renew your mind, however you want to. Hit your reset button about what you think is acceptable. I’m not saying become a Christian. I’m saying reset your humanity button. Do you watch porn? Do you look at images on the internet? Do you watch or listen to things promoting degradation of women? More than likely you do and don’t even think you are. That means you support it.

The rest button is a hard thing to do. You’ll hit it several times. But eventually—eventually, the habits you develop from your intentional training of your mind will lead to a permanent change in your heart as well.


You can check out my other Change post on the prompt post HERE, as well as seeing links for other entries.


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Intentionals happen.

I’m a praying man. At times in my life I had lists of names and specific needs to pray for. These days I don’t pray as often as I should. I still have my conversations with God, but not nearly as many as I need to have.

When I had those, not only daily but deeply and intentional, prayer times, my world was good. That isn’t to say everything went my way. By having the talks, I was reminded that God was bigger than me. God knows more. God understands more. God knows where things lead in the end. God isn’t the reason things go bad.

I’ve seen where a decision is made and the result be disaster while at the same time seeing where it would be if the other decision had been made. I was able to accept things as they happen, knowing in the end I’m okay, and that one event may be disaster but not oblivion.

16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5)

Many people don’t like the idea of praying. They don’t like the idea of God. Conversely, some don’t like the idea of meditation because they see it as anti-God. For the latter, let me say this, what do you think having quiet time with God is? What do you think Jesus did for those 40 days?

I like to combine prayer and meditation, talking to God and cleansing the mind and soul. While some of you focus on the breath, others focus on God.  You can see a breath in winter. You can see God in action around you.

When I was praying without ceasing, continually, I began to recognize the voice of God, and his handwriting, around me. Solutions to problems became clearer because I was able to bypass the clutter and noise of the world.

Prayer is one of my favorite subjects. I talk about it here on RW sometimes. Call it what you like. I enjoy talking to God. I enjoy having that best friend who listens without a judgmental tone of voice or look of eye. After all, God already sent Jesus to sacrifice for us. I accepted Jesus, thus I have no qualms about telling God everything. I mean, really, who already knows everything anyway?

Sometimes getting things off my chest helps. Sometimes it takes longer than a quick prayer, or even several long prayers. That’s my fault. I’m the one needing to deal with it, not God. There may be some feeling of remorse inside me that I have yet to realize God has forgiven already. That’s one place where ‘pray continually’ comes in. By praying continually, we keep in mind the forgiveness of God. We then let those problems we have inside.

When I was fully engulfed in my prayer like, the world was the most beautiful place it could be. I would take a walk and see the beauty of God’s work all around. I would see what some called coincidences, and I called intentionals happening. You see, I don’t believe in coincidence. There are two forces in the world. Either the good or the bad is happening at any given time. The simplest action we may see as being nothing has some repercussion somewhere else or some-when else. The question is, is that for good or bad?

With my prayer life in the right place, I am more closely in tuned with God and no better what the best decision will be. I may not be right every time, no one is, but I have a better chance at it.


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