Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Freedom in Truth-Part 2

Last time, I focused on the part of this verse on truth. Truth does set us free. When Jesus spoke these words to the jewish people there, He knew if they’d believe the truth about who He was it would set them free. Being free is a good feeling. Ever been a slave, held captive, or in bondage to someone or something? It is such a burden lifted to be free.

I think about a person who gets out of an abusive marriage or a child who is removed from an abusive home. They are free, no longer held captive by fear, torment, or pain. I think about the addict who has overcome their addiction to drugs, alcohol, pornography, sex, or prescription drugs. They are no longer a slave to a substance or a habit. The truth has set them free. I think about people around the world who are taken hostage and what it must feel like when they are rescued?

Free. It’s not a big word, but it has so much power. Truth is the key that unlocks the door to freedom. Just as knowing the truth about Jesus can set us free from sin, death, and hell, so can knowing the truth and living the truth can set us free from so many bad habits, negative behaviors, unhealthy relationships, and bad attitudes.

I have been a slave to my thoughts for some time now. I have allowed my negative or obsessive thoughts to play over and over in my mind and dwell on them, like hitting repeat on a CD player and playing the same song over and over. For the longest time I was in denial or didn’t think it was as bad as I thought or to be honest, I thought it was normal and just a part of who I was, but I was wrong. I wasn’t hearing the truth or allowing it to work in my life.

I can’t tell you how free I have felt the past couple months since I began to work on “me”. The truth truly has set me free. I am not 100%. Recovering from something is “one day at a time” or “2 steps forward and 1 step back”. It’s a process, it takes time, but I can’t tell you how free I have felt that I am no longer a slave to my thoughts or held captive by my over-thinking. It takes a long time to develop bad habits, qualities, and behaviors, so it takes time to overcome them and then it takes constant effort and attention to maintain, but there is something so freeing in the process.

The truth has set me free. I can’t control other people only myself. I can’t change other people, only myself. I can’t be responsible for other people and their actions, only my own. And only with God’s help. That is true freedom when you realize that. I choose to think about what I want to think about. We can’t always choose what pops into our minds or thoughts, but we can choose how long they stay there and how much attention we give them. We can make a choice to change and do whatever it takes to change if we are WILLING and SEEK God’s help.

My bondage has been my thoughts and now I’m learning to “let go” of things and think before I speak and not dwell on things and think more positively and not negatively. I am not sure what your struggle is? Maybe you have thought issues like me, or maybe it’s something else? Whatever is holding you hostage, keeping you enslaved, holding you captive, or keeping you in bondage, let the truth set you free. Start today. One day at a time, one step at a time, one issue at a time. Eventually over time if we don’t change those addictions, bad behaviors and habits become “normal” to us and to try and do things different seems weird and that is why it’s so hard and difficult to overcome until we are willing to take the steps to begin breaking free and it begins with the truth. The truth we have a problem, we need help, we can’t do it alone, and we have to begin the process of change and freeing ourselves from whatever struggles, issues, behaviors, attitudes, or actions we have that are controlling us or enslaving us.

Freedom. God sent Jesus to give us freedom. Freedom from death, sin, and hell, but He also came to give us life. That means God wants to give us the best life possible and He doesn’t want us to be a slave to sin or struggles, but He wants us to be FREE in Him. Seek the truth. The truth will set you FREE.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Freedom in Truth-Part 1

There are 2 parts to this verse in John 8:32 one is truth and the other is freedom. Today I want to focus on the truth and next time I’ll focus on freedom.

There is something magical about truth. When we know it, it changes things. We can ignore it, we can twist it, and we can only tell half of it, but truth stands alone-it is what it is, the truth. Truth has a way of changing our perspective, motives, actions, attitudes, thoughts, and behaviors if we are open and most of all willing to hear the truth, accept the truth, share truth, and respond to the truth.

Truth should be our foundation and in our DNA. We should stand on the truth, by the truth, and for the truth. What we say should be true, how we treat others should be based on truth, and how we live our lives should be based on truth. We would have a lot less conflict, relationship issues, personal problems, and turmoil if people would simply practice truth telling and living by the truth and seeking the truth.

If you want to know if something is true, go to the source. We would have a lot less gossip, misunderstandings, confusion, hurt feelings, resentment, and third party involvements if people would simply go to the source before they form an opinion, make a judgment, or base their decisions on what they think they know or what they’ve heard that may or may not be truth. We cannot always believe everything we hear, even if we might trust the person who’s telling it, they may not have all the information and then the endless circle of miscommunication continues if we do not go directly to the source.

If you want to know what God has to say about something, you go to the truth, the Word of God. People have a lot of beliefs, opinions, and convictions in their lives based on tradition, what they’ve grown up being taught, or their own selfish agenda and none of it has to do with God or His Word. If God doesn’t say it in His word, then it’s not our place to add to it or take away from it so that it will fit into our life the way we want it to.

Truth. It is what we should always tell people. Many times we want to hide the truth to protect our own pride and selfish behavior. We might tell half the truth or bits and pieces of the truth so that others think we are telling the whole truth, yet we are not even telling the truth to ourselves. Many times we go to great lengths to minimize our behavior, justify our actions, or reason with ourselves and God that we are telling the truth, but we are simply compromising it and abusing it to save ourselves.

Truth. It will set you free. I have learned a lot about that the past couple months. I’ve learned if I’m honest with myself it changes me. I’ve learned that if I base my life on God’s truth it changes my thoughts, my attitude, and my behaviors. If I live faithfully by the truth of God no matter what happens, what people say about me or to me, or how people treat me, I know in God’s time and God’s way truth always has a way of coming out. That is true freedom to not be burdened by lies, what is false, deception, or misguided half-truths. Truth is true freedom!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Doing Good


“Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.” James 4:17(NIV)

Sometimes we look at sin (missing the mark/anything that separates us from God) as doing something bad. Like I cussed, or was dishonest, or was rude, etc….but sin is not only something we do, sometimes it can be something we neglect to do. Knowing to do something good and ignoring it or not doing it also causes us to miss the mark and be separated from God or as the bible says, sin.

God obviously wants us to work on the sins in our lives that we commit. He wants His children to be honest, dependable, and loyal followers who work on their character, integrity, and strive to admit their mistakes/sins and learn from them and work hard on the bad habits and qualities so they can be the best Christian they can be. However, I think God also wants His children to DO GOOD because HE IS GOOD!

Doing good can mean helping someone in need, it can mean doing the right thing even when others are doing the wrong thing, it can mean giving of your time to serve God in the local church, it could mean standing up and defending a friend or co-worker who is being wronged, or it could mean saying or doing something that could help someone because it’s the right thing to do.

I read recently we always have 2 voices going on in our minds. One that gives us doubts, fears, or keeps us thinking or being negative. The other is there and is quieter and sometimes gets drowned out by the louder/harmful voice. That quiet voice is God. It’s beckoning us to think positive, to be honest, to have integrity, to be compassionate and loving, and to do good. We must not let the negative thoughts/voice drown out the positive/good voice or it will keep us from being and doing good.

Whatever ways you can find in your lives, circumstances, or walk in life strive to not only be good, but do good. Even when it’s not popular, even when you will not get the credit, or even when your flesh/human nature is telling you to do the opposite. Do good. The more good we do, the better we’ll be, the closer connected to God we’ll feel, and the better we’ll grow our faith and character. We can be good and do good because God is good, and as the saying goes, “God is good all the time, and all the time God is good”!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Some helpful Reads

I've been reading some different books and wanted to pass along some suggested reads for you guys if you are looking for a good resource for yourself or to share with others. These are several books on several different issues.

This is a great book on learning to forgive and not give in to becoming bitter.

This is a great read geared toward men, but male or female could get alot out of this book on overcoming burnout, hurt, pain, anger, and getting your focus on God.

This book is dealing with sexual, relationship, or romance addiction.

This is a great read using mostly the Pslams to help you find God in different life situations

This is a book I am currently reading and it's awesome. It's a great resource to change your thinking and your life.
Let me know if you are reading or have read any good books that helped you. Ofcourse the Bible should be something we are always reading and studying in our life, but reading other books, especially christian based books are always a great learning tool to help yourself or others.

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Other Half of the Battle

The Other Half Of The Battle

We like to say that to people don’t we? “Knowing is half the battle”. We say that to the alcoholic, the addict, or the person with chronic or habitual sins or problems. Becoming self aware or finally being honest with yourself that you have a problem might be “half the battle”, but that doesn’t make the “other half” of the battle any easier. I can know I need to lose weight or finish a project, but just because I know or realize something doesn’t mean it’s going to happen. The saying should be “Doing is the other half of the battle”, it may even be ¾’s the battle.

I have some things in my life I’ve been struggling with. I know they are struggles. I know they are bad qualities, I know they affect my relationships, I know I need to change them, and I want to change them. Now I’m taking the steps to actually change them. With God’s help, others help, and my own effort I’m going to defeat these bad qualities in my life and be a better person. You can too. We all have things in our lives we need to change. We all have bad habits, personality traits, negative qualities, or self-inflicted problems that we are ignoring, justifying, making excuses for, or honestly might be self unaware of. We need to know about them, be aware of them, and admit we have them, but then we must take the steps necessary to change them, defeat them, or overcome them.

Where do we start? Well knowing and admitting is a start. Then sharing it with God and asking for His help. Maybe finding a person or people in your life you trust who will keep you accountable and not only pray for you, but help you with whatever it is you are struggling with. Read books and articles and things that might help give you tools or steps to take to overcome or defeat the negative things in your life. If it is more serious like drugs, alcohol, or something illegal or deceitful maybe seek out professional help. I think all of us know once we acknowledge we have a problem or a struggle, we know what is not working, we have to find the things that will work to help us not only win the battle, but win the war.

It may be small or big in your life. Or it could be small in your mind, and reality it’s bigger than you want to admit. We have to stop lying to ourselves and admit we need to make some changes. I know I’ve still got a lot of work to do to, but I’m changing. I can feel it, and my attitude is changing and my desire and will to become a better person and be the man God wants me to be is strong than ever.

Whatever it is you are ignoring, putting off, justifying, pretending doesn’t exist, or being “self-unaware” about, it’s time to fight half the battle of knowing(which is the easy part), the “other half of the battle” is the tough part, doing something about it. If you want to have a healthy relationship with God, with others, and be healthy with “self”, do whatever it takes to fight the battle and win the war to a better you.

“Therefore prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given to you when Jesus Christ is revealed.”
I Peter 1:13(NIV)

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

20 lbs

Starting weight

So Far

20 lbs. 3 months ago i started going to the gym and trying to lose weight, eat better, etc...so far i've lost 20lbs and went from approx. 245-225. My goal is 30lbs and a weight of 215. I feel so much better already.

Monday, July 06, 2009


You ever feel that way? I do. Broken. Life has a way of breaking our hearts at times. Our circumstances, situations, and problems. Relationships, marriages, children, dating, careers, divorce, death, sin, struggles, etc…the list is long of the things that can leave us feeling alone, desperate, irrational, overwhelmed, sad, depressed, anxious, guilty, angry, and broken.

What do we do when we feel this way? Where do we turn? I wish I had an easy answer, I wish it was an easy fix because there is not much worse a feeling than to feel broken. The answer is God. However, the answer may be easy, but accepting the answer and allowing it time to work in our lives is the difficult part. I know God loves me unconditionally. I know God wants what is best for me. I know God is the ultimate source of strength, wisdom, compassion, comfort, and guidance. I know God created me to bless me and protect me.

Just because we know God is there and He loves us, that is not going to keep us from hurting or being broken. We live in an imperfect world with imperfect people(including ourselves), with imperfect relationships, imperfect marriages, imperfect jobs, and imperfect lives. Sometimes when we pray to God or are so overwhelmed with grief, hurt, pain, or sorrow we go to God and we want an instant fix, I know I do. I want to stop hurting and I want to stop hurting now! But, reality is, it takes time for God to heal our lives, but really it takes time for us to allow God to work in our lives so that He can heal us. Sometimes the pain is too big and it just takes time for us to see God through the pain.

There are no quick fixes when it comes to being broken, no matter the circumstances we face in life. The good thing about being broken is there is no place to go but up. Sometimes when we are broken, we are finally at a place where God has our undivided attention and once He has that, He can begin the healing process. Whether our brokenness is our fault or someone else’s or a little of both, when we are broken God finally has an opportunity to grow our faith in a mighty way. It’s like breaking a bone. The break hurts and sometimes there is more pain as the Doctor has to re-set the bone, maybe put in some pins, and then place on the cast. Sometimes you have to hurt for awhile before you can be healthy again. As a bone takes time to heal in the cast, so our hearts and lives need time to heal in the cast and care of God’s love.

I hate being broken-hearted, I hate being patient and giving things time, but I love the fact that no matter how bad I feel, how much I hurt, and how tore up life can get, that God never ever leaves me, even when I feel unlovable. He is always there and when I’m ready to listen, participate, and obey, He will being the process to healing me. Then we move from broken to restored.

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
Psalm 34:18(NIV)