No one likes slavery except the captors. There is no freedom in slavery; our basic human nature yearns for freedom.
The challenge is that sometimes we are shackled and don’t even know it. A person who grew up in a home where there was verbal abuse, for example, may be angry and may even imitate the behaviors witnessed during childhood. The same is true for any type of negative behavior that was modeled during one’s formative years.
To make matters more complicated, some of the things we feel compelled to do make the body feel good temporarily. Sometimes we are motivated to engage in destructive activitites so we can feel accepted by the crowd, even if there is a massive price to pay financially, emotionally, physically, and spiritually.
Whether the things we struggle with are addictive to the point of destroying our bodies, minds, families, homes, or finances or whether we simply don’t stick to good boundaries with those who are unkind, many of us are hurting. And those hurts hold us back from what our most hearts strongly desire, beginning with love, inner peace and confident expectation for the future.
So how do we find these seemingly illusive things in a world where we can feel imprisoned regardless of the amount of money, education or status we have? How do we find peace whether we are literally living behind bars or feel bound because our religion is a rule book rather than a relationship?
We obviously have to look for a new resource or a new perspective.
During a time of fear, Jesus offers peace.
“When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’” John 20:19 from the Holy Bible, New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
When the winds and the waves of life surround us, Jesus can quiet the storm if we will trust and follow Him.
“Immediately he made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead to the other side, to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. After saying farewell to them, he went up on the mountain to pray. When evening came, the boat was out on the sea, and he was alone on the land. When he saw that they were straining at the oars against an adverse wind, he came towards them early in the morning, walking on the sea. He intended to pass them by. But when they saw him walking on the sea, they thought it was a ghost and cried out; for they all saw him and were terrified. But immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.” Then he got into the boat with them and the wind ceased. And they were utterly astounded,” Mark 6:45-51 NSRV
Jesus gives us reason to have hope for the future.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” John 3:16 NSRV
Would Jesus accept and love you? If so, how could His love give you love, true freedom and a confident expectation for the future?
Learn for yourself.
In each of the lessons below there are a few Scriptures from His book, the Holy Bible, for you to read. There are questions to help you think through what you have read. Open your mind to truth that you may have never truly known if you sincerely desire to know the Source of Love in this world and how that Love can transform your life.
Lesson 1: Jesus Loves You
- I Corinthians 13:4-8a Write the characteristics of love.
- Galatians 5:22-23 List the fruit of the Spirit. (Note: The “Spirit” is the Holy Spirit of God and Jesus.)
- Do you want to have more of this kind of fruit in your life?
- John 4 How did Jesus treat the woman from Samaria?
- What was the result of her testimony about Jesus?
- How did Jesus show love to the Official?
- Matthew 6:25-34 How does worry make you feel?
- What does Jesus promise for those who seek Him first above these other things?
- What are your thoughts and feelings about what you read?
Lesson 2: Who is Jesus and Why Did He Come Here?
- Jeremiah 23:5-6 What did God promise He would raise up?
- Matthew 16:13-17 What is Jesus described as?
- John 1:29-35 What is Jesus described as?
- Genesis 1 What happened?
- Genesis 1:26 Was God alone?
- John 1:1-29 Who was with God in the beginning?
- John 1:29 What was His name?
- John 10:1-18 For whom does the Good Shepherd lay down his life?
- John 6:25-40 How is Jesus described?
- John 8:12 How is Jesus described?
- Write your thoughts and feelings about what you have read, especially any thoughts or feelings of faith, hope and love.
- Do you believe that Jesus is the Son of God? Believing is the first step to following Him.
Lesson 3: The True Act of Love
- Isaiah 53:1-12 What is the prediction?
- Matthew 20:17-19 Jesus said leaders will condemn him to what? (Note: The phrase “Son of Man” refers to Jesus.)
- Matthew 26:1-4 What was Jesus prediction?
- Matthew 26:14-16 Who handed him over and what was his relationship with Jesus?
- Matthew 27:22-35 How did Jesus die?
- Matthew 27:50-56 What extraordinary things happened when Jesus died?
- This Scripture says truly He was whom?
- 1 John 3:16 For whom did Jesus lay down His life?
- Matthew 28:1-10 What was the rest of the story?
- Romans 3:23-26 (Note: “Sin” is something we do that is against God’s way of Love, as revealed in His Holy Bible.)
- Who has sinned?
- Through whom did redemption come?
- What did Jesus become by shedding His blood?
- Romans 5:6-8 How did God demonstrate his own love for us?
- John 3:16-17 To what extent did God to show us His love?
- John 20:24-29 Blessed are those who have not seen but have done what?
- Do you believe Jesus is the Son of God?
- What does having Jesus’ love mean to you?
Lesson 4: What Do God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit offer Christians?
- Galatians 4:1-7 The apostle Paul is speaking to Christians in a city called Galatia. What did Paul say Christians are?
- Ephesians 1:3-8 What will He do about your past sins if you follow Him?
- 1 John 1:5-10 He will continually cleanse you from your sins so long as you do what?
- John 14:15-27 What is the very special gift God gives to His followers? What will the Holy Spirit do for God’s followers?
- 1 Corinthians 1:8-9 How is God described here?
- John 3:16 When this life is over, what will He give His followers?
- Do you want to become a follower of Jesus?
- How do you think your life will be different when you are following Jesus’ way instead of your way?
Lesson 5: How Are Scriptures Described and Why Do We Follow Them?
How does each of these Scriptures answer the question above?
- 2 Timothy 3:14-17
- Jeremiah 10:23
- Jeremiah 17:9
- Hebrews 4:12-13
- 1 John 2:2-6
- 1 John 5:1-5
- 1 John 5:13
- John 12: 47-48
Questions for your consideration.
- Who inspired the Bible?
- What characteristic of the heart is revealed in these passages?
- What is described as a scalpel of the soul?
- What are we to obey?
- What matters most in the end?
Lesson 6: Hearing vs. Doing
- Matthew 7: 24-25 Describe those who hear and obey.
- Describe their stability.
- What is the source of their stability?
- Who is the Christian’s foundation?
- Matthew 7:26-27 Describe those who hear but do not obey.
- Describe their stability.
- Why are things as they are for this person?
- What do rain, streams and wind symbolize?
- James 1:22-25 If we merely hear the word and do not practice what it says, what are the results?
- What are the results if we hear and obey?
- Are we truly following Him if we simply hear what he has to say and do not put it into practice?
Lesson 7: The Problem
What does each Scripture say about disobedience to God?
List some of the ways that people rebel against God.
Questions for your consideration and application.
- Can you identify ways you are disobedient to God, which separates you from God?
- Does God want to be separated from you?
- What are your thoughts and feelings about this truth?
- What are the results in the lives of people when they do things that separate them from God?
Lesson 8: God’s Solution: Believe, Turn, Have Your Sins Washed Away
- 2 Corinthians 7:9-11 What is godly grief or sorrow?
- Luke 14:25-33 Summarize this Scripture.
- 2 Thessalonians 1 What are the outcomes for those who follow God and those who do not?
- Read the entire chapter of Acts 2. Write a summary beside each of the passages below.
- Definition: “Repentance” means to turn around, to change direction, to turn from my ways that are against God’s will and turn toward God.
- 2 Peter 3:9 What does God want all of us to do?
- Do you want to be a follower of Jesus?
- What do you want most from Him?
- What do you believe will be the most rewarding part of turning away from doing things your way and turning to God’s way?
- Is there anything you want more than to have Jesus as your Lord?
- Is there anything that you are not willing to give up in order to have Jesus as your Lord?
- How will turning from your way to His way provide the benefit/s you desire?
- Are you willing to repent – turn away from your own ways (sins) and surrender to God’s will? (Note: Ability to stop sinning is not the same as willingness. God’s Holy Spirit will work in you throughout your life as a Christian to help you obey. No one is ever good enough to become a son or daughter of God (Christian); otherwise we would not need Jesus as our Savior.)
- Now that you believe and have repented, are you ready to be baptized to have your sins washed away?
Note: If you need help with this step, send an email to JesusFreedomBlog@gmail.com.
- John 3:23
- Acts 8:26-40
- What did a baptism look like in the New Testament? Sprinkling or pouring water on the body or being immersed in water?
Lesson 9: God’s and Jesus’ Spirit Living in You
- John 14:15-27 What are the promises here?
- Who is the Advocate?
- 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 How is the body of a Christian described here?
- Galatians 5:22-23 The Holy Spirit produces fruit in the life of a Christian. List the 9 fruits of the Spirit.
- Ephesians 3:14-21 Write the benefits listed here.
- When you become a Christian, you are not on your own. God will give you His Spirit to live inside you. Write your feelings and thoughts about what you have read.
Lesson 10: The Enemy
- 1 Peter 5:8-11 Who is the enemy?
- How is he described?
- What is his goal?
- What are we told to do?
- What will God do?
- John 8:42-47 What was Satan from the beginning?
- He is the father of what?
- Do you know any ways you have been deceived?
- James 1:13-15 Describe the process of temptation.
- Temptation gives birth to what?
- What gives birth to death?
- 1 Corinthians 10:13 What are the 2 promises related to temptation?
- How do you feel about these promises?
- James 4:7-8 What are we instructed to do toward God?
- What are we instructed to do to Satan?
- Satan is not a little guy in a red costume with a plastic pitchfork. He is like a roaring lion and wants to devour you here on earth and for eternity. What has been your concept of Satan in the past? What is your concept after reading these verses?
- Even though we have an enemy, God provides us with armor to fight him. The next lesson will give you great confidence.
Lesson 11: God’s Armor for Battle against the Enemy
- Ephesians 6:10-11 What 2 things are we told to do and why?
- Ephesians 6:12 What do we learn about our struggle?
- Ephesians 6:13 What are we instructed to do?
- Ephesians 6:14-18 What is the first action we are instructed to take?
- Describe each of the pieces of armor God provides to use in our fight against our enemy.
- Gospel of peace
- (with which you can do what?)
- (What is the Sword described as?)
- Be alert
- Continue to do what for whom?