Tag Archives: free

I Love Jesus Because… What about you?

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Do you love Jesus? Why do you love Him?

I love Jesus because He is Magnificent!

This week Hurricane Isaac is making landfall in South Louisiana. The force of the winds are nothing compared to His power and might. He makes mountains crumble and forms canyons at His will. He paints the sky with such an array of colors that it takes one’s breath away. He created the intricacies of nature such that we humans are daily discovering new things about His creation. He is Magnificent!

I love Jesus because He is Reliable!

Since I gave my life to Christ, there has never been a time when Jesus has not been near. I may feel like He is distant or that He may fail, but He never does, and it is usually me who has moved away. It is never Him who moves. Many times in my life there has been uncertainty, and time after time He provides exactly what I need. Does this mean times aren’t hard? No! Anyone who tells you that if you come to Jesus you will have an easier life is selling you snake oil. Jesus never promised you that. What He promises is that when the storms hit, He will be right there with you helping you along. If you want His help He is a prayer of faith away. He is Reliable!

I love Jesus because He is Gentle!

As I read the account of the trial and crucifixion recorded in Isaiah hundreds of years before it happened, I see how gentle Jesus was. He took all the accusations and abuse without saying a word. He could have called legions of angels to defend Him, but He chose not to because of his compassion and love for us. He has never shunned me, His child, because of my sin. He doesn’t kick me out at the first sign of insubordination. He gently reminds me through His word and the counsel of others of my need to come back in line with His example of humility and gentleness. He is Gentle!

I love Jesus because He is Liberating!

Many people think that being a Christian will lead to having more and more rules that you have to follow. This is not the case. In Christ there are only two rules: Love God (which is easy because He loved us first), and love everyone else as much as you love yourself (which is much harder because we are very selfish beings). I don’t have to have all my religious rules in place to follow those two rules. In fact, most of the religious rules that churches require their members to follow are merely traditions. Those traditions may help you follow those two rules, or they may not. Regardless, Jesus has not called you to tradition but to love. He wants you to do whatever you want to do. However, when you become His follower, hopefully you want to live in the example that Jesus set for you. He is not going to stand over you and force you to do good or condemn you the moment you do wrong. Jesus is no micro-manager. There is freedom in Christ. I am no longer a slave to sin. I am no longer a slave to unforgiveness or guilt or hatred. I am no longer a slave to anyone but Christ who calls me brother. He is liberating!

I love Jesus because He is Forgiving!

Jesus came to rescue the world from itself. He came to take away all the wrong you have ever done or ever will do. On the cross all the sins you have ever or will ever commit were placed on Him and nailed to the cross. They are there. We are the ones who want to continue to cling to those sins and continue to commit them. Jesus wants us to let them go so that He can truly forgive us. For we aren’t truly able to live in the forgiveness of Christ until we are able to forgive ourselves. He isn’t standing over us reminding us of all the wrong we have done. Jesus doesn’t shame us into submission. He loves us, and He shows us His love through His willingness to continually overlook our faults. Jesus is Forgiving!

I love Jesus. I hope you do too. Why do you love Jesus? I’d love to hear your story. You can comment on this article at http://www.mrdobbs.org or via email at jddobbs@verizon.net.

If you haven’t allowed Jesus to be all these things in your life, I’d love to begin walking with you as you seek that kind of health in you. I’d love to show you Jesus. Blessings to you, and may His love shine in us as we walk in His footsteps

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It is for Freedom Christ has set us Free

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We live in the greatest free country on the planet…well, almost. We do live in the greatest country on the planet, but it’s not necessarily free, and more people are taking notice every day.

One of the hottest discussion points around the country these days is the new verdict about what is referred to as “Obamacare”. The Supreme Court ruled that is was perfectly fine for them to impose this regulation on the general public. I don’t want to get into my preferences about this policy, but I do want to note that if this goes through it will be another example of the government taking away one of our freedoms.

We already have regulations wherever we turn. We have regulations on how we drive. We have regulations on how we raise our children. We have regulations on how we provide food for our family. We have regulations on how and what we teach our children.

We aren’t allowed to make any money without paying some of it to the government. Some of your money goes to helping poor people whether you like it or not. And now, if nothing changes, you will be forced to have health insurance whether you can afford it or not.

Some of these things frustrate me, and some of these things are great in order for us to have an orderly way of living. Granted, if certain rules weren’t in place there would be mass chaos. We need laws to maintain order in the country. However, this is not necessarily a “free” country.

Churches often have the same kinds of laws. Some churches dictate how you dress. Some churches dictate where you sit. You are instructed when to sit and when to stand. You are told what to believe about certain things, and in many churches you are ostracized if you believe differently than the masses. All of this makes me think of a verse in Galatians 5.

“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.”

Are you free? You may say so, but then again you may be bound by traditions and regulations. Apparently we are called to be free.

What does this mean, then? Do we throw out everything for the sake of freedom? Not just yet.

This freedom comes in a certain way of perceiving the world around us. When you come to Christ, and you devote your life to him, then you are called to have the mind of Christ. The mind of Christ is in total love with God, and it follows the will of God wherever it goes.

Does that mean it is a slave to God? Not really. What are the laws of God? Love God and love your neighbor. That’s it – just two. Every other command we read in scripture is merely a commentary on how to do those two laws.

When you get to the point that you love God, then it is a result of that love that you begin loving your neighbor. When your mind comes into alignment with the mind of Christ, then what you want IS to obey those two laws. You are totally free, and you can quit whenever you want, but the more you love God and others the more you find that you really like this way of living. It is so much more fulfilling than a life of selfishness.

The laws (written and unwritten) within churches aren’t necessarily bad, but if they are given without being couched in the context of the two laws of God, then they are merely man made rules that do not serve the church well at all.

The best thing about being free in Christ is the concept of grace. We are free to do what we want. What we want is hopefully to fulfill the two laws of God in our lives. When we mess up we have grace. We may deserve to be punished for our transgression of the law of love, but because He loves us, He forgives us over and over again through the blood of Christ.

Most of the “laws” in churches are traditions. When we truly grasp the freedom in loving God and loving our neighbor, then we will be free to extend grace ourselves when others don’t match up to or behave in the way of our expectations.

This week is Independence week. Let us throw off the shackles of slavery to sin. Let us be truly free in Christ to live in the mind of Christ. Let us love unendingly, and let us extend the grace of God to others daily. This, truly, is much more fulfilling than the alternative.

If there is anything I can do for you, feel free to contact me at jddobbs@verizon.net or at the office at 245-1611. You can also join the conversation about this as well as my other articles at http://www.mrdobbs.org. God bless you as you live I the freedom found in Christ.

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Waging War with a Pocket Knife

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Imagine the scene with me if you will. You’re watching the news some evening when you see a report that there is intelligence that Iraq is planning to invade your country. Iraq apparently has specific targets that they want to hit and certain people they want to assassinate.

As the news report goes on they begin to give the list of people targeted, and your name is on the list. You’ve never been a threat to Iraq, but there it is – your name – in living color on the screen.

Immediately your phone begins to ring, and it is family members and friends calling concerned about your safety. Government officials call as well to offer their support, but one after another you turn their offers down. You tell them you believe it isn’t going to happen, so you don’t want to change your life based on an assumption that probably isn’t true.

Over the next week you go about your normal routine with work during the day and watching your favorite shows on the tube each evening. During your favorite show one evening the news cuts in with breaking information about the beginning of the invasion of Iraq into the country, and they’re starting in your state.

This raises concern, so you do the only logical thing you can think of. You have put this off for so long. Now it is down to the wire, so it is time to get ready. You want to be prepared for the battle, so you go to your room and open your closet. There, on the shelf, is your trusty pocketknife.

You take the pocketknife and head back to the couch – fully prepared for the invasion to come.

What’s about to happen? You’re about to get assassinated, that’s what. A country has declared war on you and you come to the gunfight with a pocketknife.

This scenario sounds totally ridiculous, but it happens to each one of us every day.

My friends, Satan has your name on his list of people to assassinate. He may not physically kill you, but he definitely wants to render you ineffective and useless. There is a war. You are in it. But you don’t even realize it.

In Ephesians, Paul speaks of the severity of this war that is raging all around us with the spiritual forces of evil. So many of us, however, bring our pocketknives to the battle.

What do I mean? Scriptures mention the Word of God as being a sword. But we’re not fashioning our lives according to the Bible. We are also called to pray, and yet we do that as an afterthought. We spend countless hours preparing plans for how we are going to live our lives. Then we stop and pray and ask God to bless our plans.

We are coming to the battle with weak weapons at best. No wonder so many of us are spiritually struggling. You’re a prisoner of war, and only desperately seeking the King will set you free. When you seek Him in this manner He will send His Spirit to free you from the bondage of sin and selfishness. He will free you to live a full life. It is a life of service, but this isn’t the empty unfulfilling kind of service. This is service that brings you joy and excitement in your life. It is service to the One who loves you and whom you love. That kind of service doesn’t feel anything like slavery…it feels like freedom.

Back to the weapons, however. When Satan was attacking Jesus in the wilderness, Jesus fought Satan off not with a sword but with the Sword of the Word of God. He quoted scripture to put Satan in His place. Do you know any scripture by heart? The more you know the scriptures in your heart (i.e. memorized) the easier it is to allow that scripture to help you have the best life possible. It truly helps to direct your paths to a place where there are no regrets.

The weapon of Prayer is offensive and defensive. Through prayer we have communication with our Commander in Chief – God Almighty. He is the source of all power, and if we try to fight this battle or make these plans without that power we will constantly fail.

So what do we do? We pray, but normally it is a prayer around the table to thank God for the food. Or maybe it’s a prayer before or after a meeting to ask God’s blessings on said meeting. When was the last time you really spent some time deeply praying to the Father about the things on your heart? When was the last time you emptied yourself to the Father who loves you and wants to refill you with all good things? When was the last time you prayed to God asking for His direction instead of telling Him your plans and asking Him to bless them?

We are called to wield powerful weapons. These weapons have healed the sick. These weapons have driven out demons. These weapons have raised the dead. And Jesus gave these same weapons to us.

It’s time to get engaged in the battle. If you haven’t been fighting, then you are already a prisoner of war. Satan has already rendered you useless. But God can reenlist you and wants to do so. If you’ve already made a commitment to Him at some time in your life, then He just looks to you to re-commit, to re-dedicate your life to him. Prayer is a good weapon to use to do that.

If you haven’t committed yourself to the battle in the first place, then there is no better day to start the fight than today. Before Jesus ascended to Heaven to prepare the victory celebration for you, he said that whoever believes in Him and is baptized would be set free from sin. But all those who don’t believe are prisoners still.

May you join the fight. May you bring more than a pocketknife. The devil is out to get you, and this battle is more real than what you can see. Let’s not waste another day; rather, let’s use the weapons given to us to proclaim victory in Jesus’ name!

If you’d like to talk more about this – especially about committing your life to Christ – then please feel free to contact me at 979-245-1611 or via email at jddobbs@verizon.net. God bless you, and keep fighting!


Freed Men Living Like Slaves

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Culture is changing rapidly. It used to be that the technology we use was the fastest thing changing in our culture, but I see that the ways we talk and act are keeping in step with the pace of technological change.

Churches, too are changing, though most church leaderships do not want to admit it or do what it takes to address the change.

The thing that alarms me most, however is that the culture of the lives of Christians looks almost exactly like the culture of the lives of non-Christians.

I spend a lot of time on social media and talking to people of various Christian faiths throughout my week. As I interact in those various places I hear and read as much profanity as I would expect from the world. I see the same negative attitudes. There is just as much alcohol abuse and drug addiction. The divorce rate is the same as that of the world. Disrespect is just as rampant.

Why is this? I think it has to do with a couple of definitions that have been skewed over the years.

The first is “Christian”. It is a word that has come to mean anyone who professed a belief that Jesus is the savior. This is NOT the biblical case. A Christian is supposed to be a Christ-follower. The scripture says that even the demons “believe”, and they even tremble at the thought. We claim belief, and so many of us don’t even give it a second though much less have any emotional or intellectual feeling about it.

The next definition that has been morphed over time is the word “grace”. Grace is a gift given to someone who doesn’t deserve that gift. It is paired with “mercy” which is not getting the negative consequences that we deserve. Our society has taken this idea and soaked it in to the point that it has become a license to live just like the world. This is completely different than the idea that Jesus presented. He wanted to make sure that we lived in the world, but he wanted us to look nothing like the world. Jesus never promised you happiness. He never promised you peace. In fact, he said he didn’t come to bring peace.

In 1 Corinthians, Paul makes a statement that is mentioned twice in that book: “everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial” (6:12; 10:23). The idea behind this is that we can do all those things, and we will be able to be forgiven of those deeds, but that doesn’t mean they are good nor should we do them.

I can cuss a blue streak, and I can probably be forgiven of that sin, but the path of destruction left in the wake of my tirade is a much longer lasting consequence than I should have caused.

In the book of Hebrews, the writer reminds us that anyone who knows the good he or she ought to do, and doesn’t do it sins.

We are called in Romans 6 to be done with the life of sin. Completely. Totally. Holistically. Done.

What the culture of the church has done, however, is cuddle up with sin as its marriage partner. Jesus made it pretty clear that you must choose your bridegroom. Jesus is not willing to be in a relationship with us where we are living as his bride on Sunday morning and Wednesday night, but we are cheating on him with our girlfriends Selfishness and Sin.

Church, it’s time for a wake-up call. It’s time for the church to rise up and show the world what it means to truly be forgiven for good. We need to show the world the saving grace of Jesus that heals us of our hang-ups and addictions. We need to show the world that Jesus truly is the Master of our lives.

It has been said that the whole world is a slave of sin, but we who are in Christ have been set free from slavery to sin. It’s time to stop living like we are still slaves. You are free! Live in the freedom that comes from living the life God has called you to.

There is much work to be done. Would you join with me In praying that this church culture can change so that the world can be turned upside-down? Would you also pray, as I do, that the change would begin in each one of us?

Thanks. God bless you. And if you need anything, as always, you may contact me at jddobbs@verizon.net or at the office at 245-1611.


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