This past winter my wife and I put in a patio made of paver stones. I looked up how to lay them on YouTube. It looked easy enough; at least it did until I started the project.
First I had to prepare the ground. Instead of taking a few hours, it took a few days! I won’t go in to all the details; but suffice it to say, I felt the anger starting to come back. I thought I’d beaten my anger challenge, hadn’t I? As the frustration rose, I wanted to start yelling – an old drug of choice of mine. Yet, I caught myself. I knew where this was going so I started filtering the patio situation through the FREEdom process. I calmly told my wife, “I’m gonna lose it, so let’s just stop right now before I do or say something stupid.” I calmly put my tools and materials away, closed the garage door, and went inside the house.
After getting something cool to drink, I asked the Spirit to show me why I was getting so uptight about a stupid patio. He showed me that it was because I really didn’t know how to do it. Though I like to work with my hands I’m not a construction guy. I’m a child of God who is not defined by some patio job. Jesus loves me no matter what, so why was I letting those pavers cause me to lose it? I later called a construction friend who came over and helped us figure it out. We then were able to get the patio project done! Friends are nice, aren’t they?
I thought I had beaten the anger drug. Apparently, my enemy was checking. You see, this patio is in our front yard where my neighbors could watch how I handled things. Some know I’m a pastor. Would my life shine on Jesus or would I be just another “Christian” disappointment?
A well-known pastor once said, “You’re a product of your past but you’re not a prisoner of it. You can choose to change.” I daily practice using my biblically-based truth filter, so Jesus could give me the victory when the test came. I didn’t have to be the same person I was years before. I could experience the victory of a changed life today. Yes, some old defeated behaviors want to come back. In the power of the Spirit, I don’t have to let them.
Set “FREE” Nowww
I recently had someone tell me, “Chris, you’re a pastor. It’s supposed to work for you. You can’t expect everyone to experience God like you.”
My standard answer these days is this, “Is your way of living working for you?” If it is, there’s nothing I can say to change your mind. Keep living each day the way you think best. I can teach you about living with a BWV until I’m blue in the face, but if you are not ready to hear it, you’ll simply keep on living the way you do.
But if it isn’t working, I’m ready to share about how Jesus’ way of living does. Jesus knows how we were created to live on this planet and for ever. Who better to listen to than the Creator Himself? Proverbs 10:29 states, “The way of the LORD is a refuge for the righteous.” The more I hear His voice and do what He says (i.e. a BWV), the better I feel about life today and tomorrow. Living His way keeps me safe, secure and loved.
Because my way of living wasn’t working, I was ready to listen to Jesus: the need to daily filter every aspect of my life through Jesus and His Word. Sure, it’s taken time to retrain my brain in “how” to use the Word, not just “know” the Word, in everyday decisions. Yet because I do, I’m experiencing more of Jesus’ love than I have ever felt before.
Sure, you can choose to live any way you so desire. No one is going to stop you, surely not me the pastor. Do remember this, though. There is freedom in choices, but not in their consequences. If you decide to live any way other than how Jesus created you to live, you won’t be satisfied.
Jesus didn’t come to only set pastors free from their drugs of choice. He came to set everyone free. He came to not only give pastors significance, but to every believer in Him as well. It’s your choice. Are you filtering your daily life through your biblically-based truth filter? If not, how’s it working for you?
Se“T” Free Nowww
You’ve got your coffee cup in its holder. Your cell phone is in its cradle. And your hands are on the wheel. It’s a beautiful day as you drive to work. The sun is shinning. The skies are clear. You’re enjoying your drive. Yet you seem to be going in circles. No matter how hard you try, you always end up in the exact same spot – home.
Guess where you are? The Autopia ride at Disneyland! The reason you end up at the same place is because there’s a guide rail that runs between your tires. Though you can turn the wheel, it will only let you turn so far before your tires hit the rail keeping you on the “road.” Yes, you’re “driving” the car, but only where Disneyland wants you to go. Though you’re driving the car, they’re in control of your life while you’re on their ride. The only way to drive some where different is to remove the guide rail.
If you want to see your life changed, you must remove the old guide rails within your thinking. Someone once said, “The systems you currently have are perfectly designed to give you the results you’re now getting.” It’s the same with your brain. If you don’t input new data from another source, your brain will think the same thoughts over and over again, always bringing you to the same destination.
Where do you get that new data? From the only source guaranteed to set you free from your drugs of choice – the Word of God. Running your old thoughts through your BWV – listening to Jesus, the Word of God, and doing what He says – is the only way to experience something different – freedom. “Blessed are they who keep His statues and seek Him with all their hearts.” (Psalm 119:2) If you want more peace and joy, you must listen to and follow what’s in the Word of God. What other source can make such a guarantee?
If you want to experience freedom from your drugs of choice, you must change the way you think. Your current system is designed to take you to them, rather to freedom in Christ. If you want to freedom, a changed life, you must blow up your old thinking through daily contact with the Word. Sure it’s not easy. Yes it will take time. But wouldn’t seeing new territory be more rewarding and satisfying?
S“E”t Free Nowww
In the US, today is Memorial Day. It’s a time when Americans stop and say, “Thanks” to those who made the ultimate sacrifice for the freedoms they enjoy.
Today, people all over the world are crying out for freedom; and yet, they are looking for it in the political arena. Governments can give and take freedom away; but only Jesus can set the person free from what truly enslaves them – their sin and their sinful choices. People can be free outwardly, but be in bondage inwardly. Jesus sets people free inwardly, regardless of what takes place outwardly – a freedom that can never be taken away by any government, person or situation.
Galatians 5:1 states, “It is for freedom that Christ has us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”
True freedom starts in the heart and mind. Are you free today? If not, it is time to trust in the only One who can free you from the inward bondage you experience. Tell Jesus that you are a slave and cannot free yourself. Tell Him that you believe He died and rose from the grave to give you freedom. Right now, ask Him to be your God, Lord and Savior. Go ahead. Become free today.
If you are free, it’s time to give thanks to the One who paid the ultimate price to give you true freedom, Jesus Christ. Thank Him for not only setting you free, but for also giving you the power to live in freedom from your drugs of choice each and every day of the week, not just on Sunday.
“S”et Free Nowww
Ever been in this guy’s shoes? “The only survivor of a shipwreck washed up on a small uninhabited island. He prayed feverishly for God to rescue him. Every day he scanned the horizon for help, but none seemed forthcoming.
“Exhausted, he eventually managed to build a little hut out of driftwood to protect himself from the elements, and to store his few possessions. One day, after scavenging for food, he arrived home to find his little hut in flames, with smoke rolling up to the sky. He felt the worst had happened, and everything was lost. He was stunned with disbelief, grief, and anger. He cried out, ‘God! How could you do this to me?’
“Early the next day, he was awakened by the sound of a ship approaching the island! It had come to rescue him. ‘How did you know I was here?’ asked the weary man of his rescuers. ‘We saw your smoke signal,’ they replied.”
As you end your week, did you face any burnt hut situations? Are you still processing them through your biblically-based truth filter or have you given in to discouragement? Or maybe, even picked up your drug of choice? Remember, as a child of God, your Father is big enough to work in your life using those supposed disastrous situations (Hebrews 12:5-11). If you let Him, He can use them to bring you closer to Jesus, the source of love, significance and security.
As you look back over your week, instead of saying, “Oh Lord, why did You let my hut burn down?” Ask, “Jesus, what are you trying to do in, for or through me because my hut burnt down?” Then wait upon Jesus, He’ll rescue you in ways you never expected.
“S”et Free Nowww