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Thieves take for their own benefit. Jesus gives for the benefit of others. His joy is in giving, not getting. Some thieves steal goods and property but the worst thieves are those who steal or destroy your heart. Physical property can be replaced. Physical wounds can heal. But the wounds of the soul are unseen and can take years, if ever, to heal. Love Jesus. Be a giver, not a taker.


It was the battle cry William Wallace Used to spur his makeshift warriors into action against the oppressive rule of England over Scotland.  Freedom, in fact, has been the battle cry since the beginning of time. It’s the search for freedom that has driven nations to war. The search for freedom has been the reasons millions of men and women have given their lives. It’s the desire for freedom that has been the motivation for young people to get their driver’s license and a car!

There are three major things to know about freedom (in my mind at least, maybe you can think of more). First of all, freedom is hard to come by, as is evidenced by the many who have fought bravely to acquire it. Some have given their entire lives to gain the goal of freedom and have never seen it happen.

Secondly, freedom is hard, if not impossible, to hold on to. Holding on to freedom has been a problem since the first man and woman, Adam and Eve, lived in the perfect environment God created for them. We don’t know for sure where the Garden of Eden was, or how large it was, we ascertain from Scripture that is was a perfect environment that was perhaps global in its size. Vast as it was, the perfect couple had complete freedom to enjoy its beauty and a perfect, face-to-face relationship with the creator. There was only one rule, don’t eat from one particular tree. They had one job to do, but the desire for ‘freedom’ caused them to eat of the forbidden tree. Ironically, their quest for freedom (the fruit of the tree) became the one thing that would keep mankind in bondage for the rest of time!

It’s the quest for freedom that keeps the addict tied to their addiction. It’s the quest for freedom that keeps people bound to debt. It’s the quest for freedom that drives people from one relationship to another. It’s the quest for freedom that keeps people from finding peace. It’s the quest for freedom that is manifested in hate and anger.

Why is that? Why is freedom so hard to find and so hard to hold on to? The third thing about freedom is that freedom begins with the heart, not with things. It works from the inside out, not the outside in. That’s why some who are bound by what we consider poverty can have joy. That’s why some who struggle with many things in life have a great disposition. They don’t let the outside control the peace of the inside.

As we’ve seen through human history, this is impossible to do without divine intervention. That’s the beauty of faith in Jesus Christ. That’s why the Apostle Paul can write in Galatians, “So Christ has truly set us free (It’s a heart thing). Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law”. (the external things)

Once your heart with right with Jesus, you’ll find it much easier (not easy, easier) to work towards freedom. Let him change you through the power of his Holy Spirit. You might want to begin by visiting a house of worship where Jesus is lord.


While the Bible was written thousands of years ago, it continues to amaze me, especially in the stories it tells. The stories told are proof that the more things change, the more they stay the same. It’s humbling to realize that after all these years the human race is no closer to figuring out how to treat each other. The result is a sense of fear, frustration and hopelessness.

It’s easy to say ‘I believe in God. He is my hope’ but for many of us, at least for me, it’s much easier to put my hope in God when my checkbook is okay, my kids behave, and I haven’t done something stupid to cause friction in the family!

When prayers go unanswered; when there’s more month at the end of the money; when the doctors report is ominous; when the police are knocking on the door, it’s a little more difficult to follow the Apostle’s advice to ‘count it all joy when we encounter various trials.’

No where is this better illustrated than by Mark in the Gospel bearing his name. A discouraged father reaches the end of his rope. He most likely hasn’t had a good night’s sleep since his son began to have seizures that attempted to kill him with fire or drowning.

In an act of desperation he seeks out Jesus (Even back then it was incredibly hard for a guy to ask for help). The story gets worse. When he arrives at the place where Jesus was reported to be, he finds out Jesus was on a retreat with a couple of disciples. The other disciples failed miserably to be of any help whatsoever. An argument ensued. “You mean to tell me I came all this way and you can’t help?”

When Jesus finally arrived, dad told his story. He asks IF Jesus can help. Jesus says, if you believe, all things are possible. Dad blurted out “I DO believe…” but no sooner were the words out of his mouth than he realized that deep down, he struggled with doubt. He finished his sentence with the words many of us say during the honest moments of our lives, “help me in my unbelief!

It’s easy to believe when life is good. Not always so when life goes south. So, like the dad, I often catch myself admitting my desire to believe is greater than my ability to believe.

Have you been there? When we use human logic; when we put our trust in our own resources, Hope is hard to come by. When we put our hope completely in God we find comfort. But here’s the best part. He knows going into all this that you will struggle with belief. He knows that no matter how many times he shows himself capable, you’ll be attacked with the demon named worry. But that’s okay. His power is as result of who he is, not the level of you’re ability to believe.

Rest in his comfort.


Have you ever been really thirsty, so thirsty in fact, that you began to feel the effects of dehydration. Dehydration can be harmful to the body. The human body can survive for up to 21 days without meaningful food, but only a couple weeks without water. Water is essential for survival.

Not just any water will do of course. Water can look crystal clear yet contain harmful bacteria or chemicals that can make one sick, or even lead to death. People learning survival skills know the importance of testing water in a variety of ways to make sure, as much as possible, that the water is safe for human consumption.

It’s no surprise to me that Jesus refers to himself as ‘living water’. In John 7:38, he says “Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” Living water. When I think of living water I think of a rushing stream cascading over a waterfall. Crystal clear. Beautiful, yet powerful. A never ending sign of strength yet in some strange way, serenity.

In the physical sense, water is beneficial to the body in many ways. It helps to cleanse your organs. It refreshes you. It gives you strength. It satisfies.

In the spiritual sense, a personal relationship with Jesus does the same thing to our souls. In the midst of the wilderness, a refreshing drink of water helps us to carry on. When our souls are in the wilderness, Jesus becomes that source of refreshment that helps us carry on. This living water becomes a source of strength when we don’t think we can carry on.

Jesus is the source of purity. There are other religions. There are other philosophies. There are other ways of thinking. But only Jesus offers the guaranteed love and forgiveness of sin that is available through his sacrifice.

Water refreshes the body, but Jesus refreshes the soul when you don’t feel you can go on.

It’s no wonder the psalmist writes, “My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?” (Psalm 42:2)

Is your soul thirsty? Do you long for some relief from the wilderness you are in? We were created in God’s image and the only way to fill the void in our souls is with the living water of his Son, Jesus.


One of my favorite movies is Apollo 13. An unseen hero in the movie is Ken Mattingly. Mattingly was pulled from the mission at the last minute as a precautionary measure due to exposure to the German measles. While he didn’t get to go into space, Mattingly played a huge part in the mission by helping NASA figure out a power sequence that helped save his fellow astronauts. His efforts behind the scenes were instrumental in saving lives.

There are times in each of our lives when our efforts may go unnoticed by the majority of people. That doesn’t make them any less important. Our efforts won’t all have the same magnitude of Mattingly’s heroics, but doesn’t make them less important.

The other night I stopped for gas at a local convenience store. A young man from a car next to mine approached me. It was a frigid night here in NW Wisconsin. It was late. He asked me if I’d give him a jump if he paid me. I smiled and said “No, but I’d do it for free.” He was startled but grateful. Later, after his care was running, he offered again. I smiled at him and said, “You know, Jesus loved me for free. I figure I can show some love for free too.”

My act wasn’t heroic to the world, but it was to him. I didn’t make the news that night, but my Heavenly Father saw it. Too often we may feel like our actions go unnoticed by people, and they may. But never let that stop you from doing the good thing, the loving thing. Never ever give up showing Jesus’ love! Others may not notice, but Jesus will.

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