What You Won't Find In A Christian Bookstore

Hello to all my family in Jesus out there… I want to thank all of you for visiting the website and, more than that, thanks for the letters of encouragement and the prayers. Thank you for letting me know that God has touched you in some way through the articles we’ve put up here and the heart to give freely what the Lord has given to us.

One of my desires has always been that God would use this website as a testimony to those still overwhelmed by traditional religious mindsets that it really is possible to share the testimony of Christ and His truth without charge. I have so often heard professional pastors say that they couldn’t continue serving the Lord in the capacity they do without receiving a full-time paycheck and collecting donations besides so they can carry out “the world of the Lord.” That’s when I have the privilege of telling them about a certain website that has reached hundreds of thousands of people, blessing them with free articles, ebooks, and resources all without ever asking any of them for a donation or charging a fee, and the website author works a full-time job and has a family besides. It’s true I take great joy in being able to show even this one small example of how it really doesn’t take a mega church with millions of dollars in expenses and a professional pastor who begs for money from the pulpit each week and sends out newsletters each month with donation envelopes asking for “love gifts” so that they can effectively share God’s message with people and see folks receive a genuine touch from God wherever they may be. I absolutely LOVE proving that religious stereotype wrong.

Over the years I have received so many emails from people, sharing how God has set them free. I’ve also received letters from pastors that were encouraged by something they read on the site and actually sought to allow the Lord to transform their heart and mind and then put that into practice – no matter the cost to them personally or to the churches they are involved with! That encourages me greatly. I’ve seen at least two church organizations completely drop the false doctrine of tithing and many others, even those who are still involved in institutional religious organizations, open up their hearts to allow the Lord to set them free in their thinking and infuse their lives with the joy of the Lord and a new conviction to turn their hearts fully to Him and yield to His process of transformation in their lives.

I am sincerely humbled and amazed as I watch God work so incredibly through willing vessels who just simply yield to Jesus. I’m telling you, all the religious programming in the world cannot mimic or produce what God accomplishes divinely by the power of His Holy Spirit.

The last several months has been amazing, to say the least. My wife and I have been facing a number of financial struggles, but that’s nothing new and I’m not building up to some appeal for money. In fact, I’m rather sharing that just to tell you that, though circumstances of life often test our faith, I am constantly amazed at how God can take a normally anxious situation and infuse our hearts with total peace. Though the struggles come at us frequently, God never leaves us. He has met our needs and taught us through the seasons of hardship. That doesn’t mean I always respond with swelling faith. I have become sick with worry at times (physically sick). I know, that’s not something I’m supposed to admit right? I’m supposed to be telling everyone that I perfectly hold fast to the words of Jesus who said not to worry because our Father knows our needs and cares even for the little birds of the air… Well, I do believe that – but sometimes it takes me a bit to catch up to that revelation.

It’s easy enough to wish that we would never have any more problems and most of us have probably dreamt about how cool it would be if we suddenly came into wealth beyond measure and all the good and godly things we could do with it, but I often find myself looking back after having just come through a trial and I recognize how God changed me in some way for His glory. I think, one key to the whole thing is to call those lessons to remembrance the next time a trial is at our doorstep. King David used to build himself up in the Lord and though he honestly voiced his fears and struggles and complaints to the Lord, he also encouraged himself by reflecting on the goodness of God and even by observing the wonder of Creation and the stunning design of the universe which manifests God’s glory and power everywhere you look. Suddenly, those big problems become a lot smaller when things are put into perspective.

I was saying what an amazing past several months this has been for Tammy and I… and not just because of the lessons God has been teaching us through circumstances of life, but one of the greatest things that transpired in our immediate family was my wife’s decision to reach out in a deeper way to the Lord and to invite the Holy Spirit to take up a more prominent role in her life. The church crowd would probably just conveniently label this “getting saved”, but Tammy has been a believer for a while… It’s just that it has been a journey of faith for her. Tam grew up in a home with virtually no exposure to church or Christianity. In fact, Tammy tells me that I was the first to share the Gospel with her when we were dating. When we got married, there were a few friends and family that weren’t sure I was doing the right thing by marrying someone with no church background and who wasn’t a “Christian”. This was certainly not the path anyone expected to find me on either. Even I, pretty much, always figured I’d probably marry someone who was hatched in church like I was… but God had other plans and I am so glad I yielded to Him rather than the voice of religion (which was as deep in my own heart as anyone else’s). I am not pointing fingers at anyone. God did a major number on me! Tammy knows and I know that if it wasn’t for God changing my heart (from my last days in church world, leading up to the time I met her), we probably would not be married today… and not only that, but I would still be lost in the chains of religion and Tammy may not even know the Lord. Certainly people have plenty of opinions, but all I know is that God has set me free and He saved my wife… and I believe He is going to continue to do some amazing things in our lives – as well as within the lives of everyone who calls out to Him and follows His lead rather than status quo religion.

I want to encourage all of you that even if circumstances seem grim, don’t lose heart – keep trusting in Jesus! It is possible to experience complete peace and true joy even in the very midst of horrible circumstances and trying struggles. My friend Johnny often remarks how that God is never too late… Sometimes we may think so, but we shouldn’t forget that even Lazarus died and when Jesus showed up (four days after his death), people were complaining that God was late. The Scripture records that “some of them said, ‘Could not He who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?’” (John 11:37) You see, they were essentially saying, God was too late… but God wasn’t too late. HE RAISED LAZARUS FROM THE DEAD! Let that detail really sink in for a moment! What this tells me is that things can look pretty grim at times and there may seasons that our flesh tempts us to conclude that God isn’t going to come through… but remember that even death cannot stop Him! Lazarus was DEAD AND BURIED! He was, in every sense of the word “LATE”… That seems pretty final doesn’t it? He didn’t get his healing… for all the prayers that went up for him… for all the hope that Jesus would get there in time to work a miracle that didn’t happen… Lazarus’ family watched him suffer and then lose his very life. Imagine the pain they were going through. Imagine how they must have felt like God was too late, and by man’s estimation He obviously was… but God doesn’t work according to man’s estimate of Him. He is God! And God can work miracles even after man thinks it’s just too late! Our thinking has to change… and I am speaking this to myself as well.

Remember the story of Job? How often do you suppose he was tempted to say, “Where is God? Why me? He’s not coming through for me! What did I do to deserve all this?” Job indeed faced those very thoughts and even complained to the Lord about his situation… In the end, God not only delivered Job out of ALL his trials, but restored to Him double of everything he lost.

This gives me great hope and fuels my faith. I have one version in my mind of how I think God should do things. I want Him to swoop in like Superman and whisk me away from the trial but when I really think about that, I see what a diminished view of the Lord that is (Superman… really???) and I must repent…. He is not Superman – HE IS GOD!

I hope that encourages someone reading this… It is because of the trials I have encountered in my own life, as well the as the trials I’ve observed close friends and family go through, that I say this will all sincerity that I truly pray God will speak to each of you in your moment of struggle. I pray that He infuses you with hope, peace and joy despite the circumstances. I also pray that He encourages you to be mindful of others in their plight and to attend your ear the voice of the Holy Spirit if He directs you to serve as His vessel in some way to another person.

One of the things I’ve observed with what people often refer to as “social media” (things like Facebook, Twitter, websites, etc.) is that they often give the appearance of “community” but rarely deliver anything truly social. Most of us have heard stories about young people in the news that have hundreds of Facebook and Twitter friends, yet they are depressed and sometimes suicidal. How can that be with all those “friends”? People will sometimes share a need they have, but even out of masses of “online friends” (even “Christian” friends) all they get in response are “likes” and religious platitudes. But what about someone – anyone – actually trying to meet the need?

I’ve often wished there would be some way to connect with true Believers through some kind of electronic medium (be it social media or whatever it may be called) so that real needs could be shared among the family of God and perhaps met as well in tangible ways. When I’ve tried to accomplish this before (even posting to literally thousands of people through such means), it astounded me how few actually respond at all. I don’t know exactly why this is. Part of me wonders if we are being deceived just a bit in this society to trade real fellowship for more “convenient” methods, which are not fully able to accomplish what only a face-to-face connection can do. That having been said, please understand, I am NOT against social media. I think it can be an amazing resource and certainly it can be entertaining and thought-provoking, but I also recognize how it tends to isolate us more and more from each other… I know God can use it; Especially when we are talking about coming out from the religious system and unto Jesus, it can be hard to find folks around (locally) who relate to us. So often it seems that the only place to find (so-called) Christians is inside churches, but most all of us know how that often goes. This is where social media, in my opinion, has some value – because it does enable folks to connect on some level with people on a similar journey and much encouragement can be experienced through this medium; however, it still rarely addresses the issue of what my heart longs to see, where believers (like the first century believers) have “all things in common.” Where someone expresses a genuine need and the rest are right there to meet it.

I know there must be some way to see this realized, but I do not yet know how. I’ve often thought, how great would it be if a group of believers (and perhaps there might even be thousands of them, connected through some kind of social media online) were made aware of a person’s need, whether it be an electric bill they can’t pay or groceries for the week, or a mortgage payment, and each one contributed a small amount to help meet that need. Even if a person was only able to afford as little as a dollar, this would be a magnificent help among a groups of thousands who are connected in this way.

Some folks complain, “Yeah, but people will abuse it.” Part of me thinks, “Really? A couple of bucks given to someone in kindness, is gonna kill you, even if they don’t spend it as you think they should?” I feel like we often spend so much money on junk we don’t need and no one complains about that kind of financial waste, but if it’s intended to help someone, then suddenly we are concerned about abusing our resources. Sigh… I know there is not any quick, convenient answer to this issue and I don’t mean to lecture anyone. I confess I do not have a good answer. These are just some of my thoughts.

The greater question I think we need to ask is, DO WE BELIEVE GOD STILL SPEAKS TO US? If we do believe that, then shouldn’t we act on that? I remember one night a few years back that the Lord woke me up in the middle of the early morning (around 3am) and I really believed He wanted me to go to the grocery store and just sit in the parking lot. I almost turned over and went back to sleep, thinking that was a crazy thought, but I didn’t. I got up and drove to the store. There wasn’t a soul there. I waited for a bit and then, finally, decided to get out of the car and walk into the store and grab a donut or something… As soon as I opened my door, a man was standing there with a knife. A chill went down my spine but at the same time I just found it so odd that this dude showed up at my door out of nowhere so I said (actually with a smile on my face), “Are you planning to kill me?” He immediately, pulled the knife away and said, “Oh no, no no, I’m sorry… I only meant to offer it for sale to you, if you want it. I have no money and I am hungry and just passing through town. I’ve been riding busses and hitching rides.” So, I took him shopping. He filled up a bag and was grinning ear to ear. As we both walked outside, I was feeling that religious compulsion to tell him about Jesus… I say religious compulsion because I now know it wasn’t the Holy Spirit. God was about to teach me something. Since I already knew God was probably the one who got me down here at this hour, I figured it must be so I can tell this guy about Jesus. I got out only these words, “Hey man, here’s some more money (you can go and buy the beer you were probably hoping to get as well – haha) and I just wanna tell ya God loves you.” He turned around and looked me right in the eyes and said, “I know, and I know you know Him! You would not have done what you did for me tonight if you didn’t. Message received man… Thank you!” He walked off and across the street and out of sight. Another interesting part of that story is that (this happened while I was still a good little tithing church boy) and, the night before, I had just asked God to help me know whether tithing was really a false doctrine and if I was intended to give as I am led by the Spirit of God or not… When this happen, I knew!

The point I want to make by sharing this is that I WAS LISTENING FOR GOD TO SPEAK. I didn’t know how He would speak. I didn’t really even know how to listen. But my heart was fixed on this desire… and GOD MET THAT DESIRE OF MY HEART. What I am saying to you all is that we must fix our desire to listen and then to act when He speaks to us! That’s why I think there might be some way to share needs and not worry so much about how everything is organized and filtered to make sure no one abuses the system. We don’t need a system. We simply need to listen to the Holy Spirit and then obey. I have no idea what that guy did with the rest of the money I gave him. I don’t even know if he originally intended to threaten me or assault me. All I know is that I listened to God and God spoke to me that night. The amount was really immaterial and unimportant. Most of us with church backgrounds have relied upon the religious system to regulate everything for us – in terms, especially, of how we approach things like giving money. I say, flush that thinking! Flush it good!

I think it would be so easy to do so much for so little if we pulled together… but at the same time, I don’t ever want to get ahead of the Holy Spirit and I don’t ever want to build something in human strength that God has not blessed or called into being. We have thousands and thousands of good attempts at what I just described… They are called “church organizations”…. As most of you realize, despite the good a few of them actually manage to accomplish, most are just big money-absorbing bureaucracies where more money is wasted on the organization and its employees than it is on the people it is presumed to intend to help. So, all of that to say that I’m not going to build something new. I’m not going to try and make it happen. I don’t know how to do that anyway.

All I can tell you is that, while TruthForFree has never been and never will be about asking anyone to support me or this website, I cannot be ashamed to share the needs of others God has brought into my life and to allow some of you the opportunity if God leads you to help meet a genuine need. I have no special organization or process here to qualify for you that this need I am sharing (which I will explain in a moment) is legitimate, except to tell you that I know of a genuine need right now that can easily be met if brothers and sisters in Christ will simply listen to the Lord and respond as He leads.

I have witnessed the Lord work so many good things in my life and I know He has for you as well. With that in mind, I want to bring to your attention, again, some close friends of mine that I’ve talked about before – Johnny and Lynne Johnson. They have not asked me to say anything. Johnny has been out of work for several months and they have not been able to pay their rent and have been scraping by. More recently, they have received an eviction notice from their landlord and are supposed to be out within the next week. Despite these distressing troubles, they have not allowed fear to overtake them. They are trusting God to intervene because they have done all they can do in the natural and there is nothing left but Him at this point.

I am asking every person to simply listen to the Lord and see if this is a need He desires you to respond to. That’s it. Those of you who know me and have visited this site over any length of time, know that I don’t ask for donations for myself or this site and I have never put any kind of financial press on anyone for anything and this time, really, is no different. I’m not even asking you to give… I’m only asking that you listen to the Father and do what He asks of you. If that’s prayer, then that’s perfect. If it’s a note of encouragement for my friends, thank you and I know they will greatly appreciate that. And if it’s something financial you have in your means to give, then thank you for this as well. Currently, they owe around $8,000 in back rent. That’s the need, but it would be wonderful to see that met and beyond, so they can get back on their feet. There are a lot of other bills to pay as well, but the $8,000 is what is needed to keep them in their home right now.

Thanks you guys! Please feel free to use the Pledgie campaign I have posted below if you want to give something. The money goes directly to their PayPal account.

 
 

Click here to lend your support to: Please help the Johnsons - Sincere Thanks! and make a donation at pledgie.com !

You may also give directly through PayPal and/or send them a note of encouragement through the following email address:
LynneJLJ@hotmail.com

Lynne-Johnny
Johnny & Lynne Johnson – Walla Walla, WA

 
 

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