Freedom. Truth. Marriage.

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Archive for the tag “freedom”

“Conquer your demons.”

In a discussion with someone, they told me that they hoped I conquered my demons someday. I have an extremely addictive past and they knew the struggles I had been through. At the time of this conversation I had been walking in freedom unlike I had never experienced. Their statement made me ponder if my demons were conquered. Or did I still have conquering to do?

1 John 2:13 says, “I write to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one.”

Romans 8:37-38 agrees with this: “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons…”

Truth takeaway: Biblically I can’t find where those redeemed by Christ have anything unconquered. We struggle. We may have to fight but our victory is assured in Christ.

Freedom takeaway: Your demons have already been conquered! Walk and live in that freedom!

ThingsWeSaw

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“God helps those who help themselves.”

This saying is definitely not Biblical in origin. In Isaiah 25:4 the Bible says, “For You [God] have been a defense for the helpless, a defense for the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shade from the heat…” Romans 5:6 says, “For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.” When we’re stuck and we can’t do anything for ourselves, God will be there.

Often trying to do things ourselves, out of our own self-sufficiency leads to God not helping us. There’s scripture where God is waiting for us to humble ourselves, throw up our hands, and cry out that we don’t have it under control (Psa. 53:1-3, 119:169; Matthew 14:29-30, James 4:10.)

When we can’t do it anymore. When we’re not able to conquer that habitual sin. When we’re emotionally and physically at the end of our rope – God will be there to help even when we can’t help ourselves.

Truth takeaway: God does help those who cannot help themselves. God desires a humble heart and contrite spirit (Psa. 34:18, 51:17). Sometimes God wants to see this more than us trying to fight our way through life.

Freedom takeaway: I think it’s just freeing to know that God is there for me in my distress, struggles, fatigue, etc.

Are you ready to let go and receive God’s help?

 

ThingsWeSaw

“When God closes a door he opens a window.”

From what I’ve found, this isn’t in the Bible. I do know it’s in the Sound of Music film. It’s spoken by Mother Abbess midway through the movie. While Mother Abbess is depicted as a woman of God, I don’t think that qualifies this saying as Scripture.
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An example of God saying “No” to one thing and having his follower go another way is in Acts 16:6-12. Paul and company were heading to Bithynia but they weren’t allowed to. Instead they went to Macedonia.

Sometimes Revelation 3:7 is used to justify this saying. It says, “Write to the angel of the church in Philadelphia: ‘The Holy One, the True One, the One who has the key of David, who opens and no one will close, and closes and no one opens says:'” That seems like a stretch to me, and doesn’t really support this saying.

Truth takeaway: While it sounds good and God can work anything however he wants, this saying isn’t in the Bible. It isn’t supported Scripturally either.

Freedom takeaway: A lot of these sayings that I cover sound great. Some are Biblically supported. Others are almost heretical. Let’s walk in the freedom provided by the truth of the Scriptures, not in fortune cookie sayings that sound religious.

(Image source)

“God works in mysterious ways.”

Here’s another saying we hear often: “God works in mysterious ways.” Is it Biblical? According to Isaiah 55:8-9 it is. Here’s what it says:  “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, says the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

I’m sure we could spend more time really digging in and picking this verse apart. It would mean the same thing. God does work in ways that are mysterious to us. A 25 year old’s lifespan is nothing to an 80 year old. Nor is an 80 year old’s lifespan anything to One who sees across millenia past and present.

Truth takeaway: Yes, God works in mysterious ways.

Freedom takeaway: We can not worry and trust that God has his childrens’ taken care of. We may not understand how, but God’s got it under control.

“God won’t give you more than you can handle.”

I must confess that when I read this misquote I cringe. Not because it’s a distortion of the scripture and Biblically untrue. It has the potential to be hurtful to the recipient.
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1 Corinthians 10:13 is where this comes from and it says, “No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to humanity. God is faithful, and He will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation He will also provide a way of escape so that you are able to bear it.” (HCSB)

This verse is talking about being tempted with sin, specifically. Not life struggles in general. We all have awful struggles in life. God is there when we can’t handle it anymore. I’m not saying He gives or  allows such things to happen, but when they do happen He is there to turn to. He’s our rock in the storm.

How is it potentially hurtful?
Imagine believing there is truth in this saying, then getting hit with a mind-blowing struggle that just leaves you reeling. You recall this passage and think:
1) God is a liar and is giving me too much,
2) I must be a weakling who can’t handle much,
3) Since God’s given me this, He’s testing me to see how strong I am or to make me stronger. I must hold on with all my might.

None of these points are true about you or anyone else. The idea that “God won’t give you more than you can handle,” is a lie. If anything He’s there for you when you can’t handle it.

Truth takeaway: We will be faced with more than we can handle. We can then turn to God for strength and grace. His strength is made perfect in our weakness.

Freedom takeaway: When you realize you can’t handle it, that’s okay. Confess it, “God I need help! I can’t handle this!”

(Images courtesy of here)

Stuck in a Rut

“Don’t you remember what you used to be like? Why, back then you habitually walked around trapped and unable to get off the track you were stuck on — totally unaware that you were being dominated and manipulated by the constantly fluctuating thinking of the day, by the whims of the times, and by whatever society was giving its approval to at that moment….” Ephesians 2:2 (from “Sparkling Gems From the Greek,” Rick Renner)

Who feels like this? Like they’re being influenced and flowing along by the ideas of society, pop culture, political fights, news media, and what ever else seems good at the time? Who feels like they are filling that hollow, numb spot in their heart with… anything?

How would it feel to be free from that? The feeling of being full of life, firmly established, so that no matter what craziness our culture comes up with next, we know we’re okay.

By God’s grace we were lifted up out of those ruts and through Him can walk through this life fully alive and stable (Eph 2:4-10). stuck-in-a-rut

(Image courtesy of here)

Overwhelmed with Vision

With everythmission&visioning that’s been going on at church, stuff I’ve been watching, stuff I’ve read, and stuff I’ve seen, I think “overwhelmed” is a good description of my head lately. And it’s a good overwhelmed.

God’s brought me through a lot, especially in the last couple of years. Now that I have some major issues no longer entangling me, I feel like I can run. Run towards what I’ve been called to do. Run further away from those entanglements. Run towards things I see that need to be done.

Between helping with Disciple Now at my church (which focused on apologetics) and stuff I saw about the Ken Ham – Bill Nye debate (no I didn’t watch it but I did watch this) I saw a need.  The upcoming generations need to know how to give a well-reasoned answer and defense to why they believe what they do.

I recently read two great books (here and here) that all speak about purity and teaching children the way they should go in regards to purity. One of them also addressed how the church has been lacking in teaching an important marital issue. There are needs that need to be addressed in the church. The controversy surrounding Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty and the Coca-Cola Super Bowl commercial added to my sense of urgency.

All of these have also helped me focus on what I need to be addressing here on Freedom.Truth.Marriage. Also, they’re helping me know where I may need to focus when I go back to school for my graduate degree.

I’d like to share these ideas with you. I share them, asking for your prayers on 1) if they are God’s will, and 2) if so, me being sensitive to knowing how He wants them executed.

  • Teaching scientific and creationist apologetics in our home school co-op classes.
  • Continued work with Freedom.Truth.Marriage.
  • A marriage book for men I’m slowly cobbling together.
  • Which graduate program to enter into, and God’s provision for funding it.
  • Opening up my full testimony for these purposes.
  • Ministry to children who’ve lost one or more parent tragically.
  • Starting a local freedom ministry where people can come to learn about freedom from habits, addictions, problems; receiving healing in those areas; so they’ll be able to run with freedom as well.

Thank you to all of you who read this and have provided support and encouragement. It’s felt and appreciated.

What the Bible says about Truth

Based on what I’ve wrote about proving the accuracy of the Bible, we can know with confidence that the Bible is the Word of God. We can trust that the Bible speaks truth. Since we know it’s true, we can learn what else is true from it. What does the Bible say about truth, as a whole?

A lot is said about Jesus and grace. Jesus was also the Truth. “We observed His glory, the glory as the One and Only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14b). Love of this truth is essential to salvation (2Thess 2:10).

We are to live by the truth. John 3:21
Love rejoices in the truth. 1Cor 13:6
God wants everyone to come to the knowledge of the truth. 1Tim 2:3-4
God is the God of truth. Psa 31:5

There’s been a lot of talk and debate about worship in the last 200 years. One thing that God definitely wants in worship: spirit and truth. John 4:23

Rom. 1:18,25 – The truth can be suppressed by godless and unrighteous people. From there they can switch Biblical truth for their own version of the truth (which is actually a lie and not truth at all). Is this not a description of our society today?

Eph. 6:14 – “Stand, therefore, with truth like a belt around your waist, righteousness like armor on your chest.” The belt holds the other pieces of the armor together. If you don’t have truth holding the other pieces of the armor in place, you become an easy target.

Truth = Freedothm.
The truth sets us free from sin. If we’re set free, we’re really free (John 8:32,36). Also, where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. (Notice that it doesn’t say: “Where there’s lack of sin in one’s life, there is freedom?”) (2Cor 3:17). So freedom comes from truth, and the Spirit of the Lord. This makes  sense when you consider that the Spirit of the Lord, who is the God of truth, is truth.

Having a concrete, consistent source of truth is a blessing. There’s a lot of lack-of-truth going around. Some intentional deception, some just misguided information. That’s why I really felt led to start this blog: To dispel a lot of things that we think are true, but actually aren’t.

Infinite Forgiveness

FathersonforgivenessI was in 4th grade when I was baptized. The church I went to was very legalistic so I read the Bible and developed an interest in how to understand it. My problem was – as it is with most kids – living it out. There was an adult male who, technically, had authority over me. He went to the same church until he grew up, then he quit attending. I don’t know what he was taught back then but something got distorted along the way. Quite often he would use Bible verses to make me feel guilty or ashamed of something I did.

There’s one of those talks that really sticks out to me. I had done something I had been told not to do again. He said something like “What does God think when you keep doing ____?”
I replied, “I’ll just ask him for forgiveness.”
He spoke as if he had knowledge of the Bible when he responded, “Do you think God will just keep forgiving you over and over?”
“No.” I answered. I think my answer was more out of fear of him. Because I know that’s the answer he was looking for.

When retelling this to a counselor years later, I told them that deep down I believed that lie I responded to. They showed me the truth of what God’s Word actually says about infinite forgiveness and prayed with me. I haven’t believed that lie since.

Here’s only a few verses that talks about Gods forgiveness versus condemnation:

Nehemiah 9:17 “But You are a forgiving God, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in faithful love, and You did not abandon them.”

Psalm 86:5 “For You, Lord, are kind and ready to forgive, rich in faithful love to all who call on You.” …He’s ready to forgive all who call on him. Ready. To forgive!

Psalm 103:3 “He forgives all your sin; He heals all your diseases.” …All means all. Not a limited number of times.

John 3:18 “Anyone who believes in Him is not condemned, but anyone who does not believe is already condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the One and Only Son of God.” …I never was condemned, even back then. Likewise…

John 5:24 “I assure you: Anyone who hears My word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life and will not come under judgment but has passed from death to life.”

Romans 8:1-2 “Therefore, no condemnation now exists for those in Christ Jesus, because the Spirit’s law of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.” …No condemnation. None. None means none!

Romans 8:34 “Who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is the One who died, but even more, has been raised; He also is at the right hand of God and intercedes for us.” …Whether an authority figure, parent, church leader, age, size – no one can condemn those in Christ.

Hebrews 8:12 “For I [God] will be merciful to their wrongdoing, and I will never again remember their sins.” …By remembering it means God won’t hold them against us.

It can’t get more plain than this: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9. …No stipulations. No use limits.

Truth takeaway: God forgives. He’s ready to forgive, not reluctant to. There’s no limits to his mercy, grace, and forgiveness.

Freedom takeaway: If you feel God can’t or won’t forgive you because of something you’ve done; or if you feel like you’ve just done too much – He will. He can. As often as you need it.

Let’s see…..

….if I can figure out how to do this.

After deep conversations with various friends and family over the years, a common thing I’ve been told is, “You need to write a blog!”  I’ve been reluctant. While I have things to say I sometimes feel like not everyone else wants/needs to hear my ramblings. Another reason is that our society is full of commentating all the time! I didn’t want to add to the clamor. But after the last year and a half of life events, encouragement from people whose opinions I admire and respect, and a Spiritual leading it’s time to give it a shot.

Rather than come up with a clever, witty title  I just named it after 3 subjects I often find myself reading about and commenting on on others’ blogs and pages. Freedom, truth, and marriage.

When I say “freedom” I’m talking about the freedom to be who God has made us to be. The freedom to break away from bad habits, bad thought patterns, emotional baggage, wounds, and weaknesses.

Marriage is becoming a byword for miserable, tied down, and broke. Because there’s so many marriage blogs out there I’ll probably do more time linking to good articles rather than cobbling my own.

Without truth the other two aren’t possible. Truth is required to have a strong, stable, and happy marriage. Truth is what sets us free. The love of truth, particularly in the Christian community, is becoming more rare.

This blog is only my convictions and opinions. Take what you will. Disagree if you like. Tell me what you think. …And hopefully I’ll remember to come on here and update enough to keep it interesting.

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