-- or continue reading --
Foreword by Warren Wiersbe
Introduction Ė Horror
Day Shot to Heaven
Give Your Angel a Break
The Power of the Squeaky Clean
Rock of Jell-O
Confessions of an Approval
Live Right, Anyway
Prepare for Failure, Plan for
In Time of Need
- The Fear Advantage
- Twenty Choices
Albert Einstein said that real issue in progress depended on
conscience. That includes individual progress as well as progress in
society. It includes you and me and what we do with our lives.
Conscience can mean progressÖin building characterÖin achieving
goalsÖin relating to other peopleÖin the handling of the defeats
and disasters of lifeÖin making a life as well as a living. This
book is about progress and hope. It's about you and your
conscience. Take it seriously. The future you save will be your own.
Author and Speaker
his unique style and perspective, Joel Freeman exposes the human
conscience. He asks readers to look that their own conscience with
both laughter and conviction. The conscience has an intricate
function in God's design of human beings. Making peace with our
conscience God's way is necessary for healthy Christian living.
Freeman's book is a source of reflection and insight on this
Paul Meier, M.D.,
New Life Clinics
With wit and disarming style, Joel Freeman explains the many
benefits that come from a clear conscience. He offers refreshing
insights on a subject that hits all of this right where we live.
Dr. D. James Kennedy,
President, Evangelism Explosion
Living With Your Conscience Without Going Crazy is for the
many men and women whose conscience is cluttered with guilt over
things they may or may not be responsible for. Joel's humorous
approach makes it easy reading as he leads you on a journey to
resolve the guilt resulting in the freedom of a clear conscience.
Author and Speaker
Integrity, ethics, conscience. These
attributes are sorely lacking, not only in the world today, but
within the church as well! Joel's book gently confronts the real
issues which the church faces today. Rationalization and excuses
have replaced truths and repentance which Joel so poignantly
entitles " weasel clauses". Living With Your
Conscience is easy to read but hard to digestÖI heartily
recommend this book for all who desire to remove the
"sludge" from their Christian walk.
President, High Adventures
Combining biblical case studies with examples from his own
experience, Freeman gives freedom from the tyranny of unrealistic
expectations and false guilt.
HERE to order this book (or continue reading)
She was young, probably in her early
twenties. Her straight, dark hair hung down to a red, semi-revealing
halter-top and framed a rather fine-featured, pretty face that was
lined with boredom. Her smile seemed forced, but inviting. But what
about those cold, calculating, lifeless eyes? Steel-blue.
Penetrating. She seemed to be looking through him - beyond him.
There he was, all alone, with
his car idling pleasantly while stopped at a red light, minding his
own business. Michael, a hard-working, God-fearing, father-of-four,
mow-the-lawn-every-Saturday insurance broker, was at an all-American
intersection. You know the kind with a McDonalds to the right, a
hardware store on the left and a fire station straight ahead.
All of a sudden, out of nowhere she
came. It mustíve been from his blind spot. He didnít see her
until a tapping noise on the passenger side window caused him to
turn suddenly and look. She made a circular movement with her hand
indicating that she wanted him to roll the window down.
Involuntarily, he reached over and cranked the lever - awkwardly
straining to comply.
The first question out of her mouth
stunned him. (For the sake of decency we will not print what she
said.) He had always considered himself to be a fairly unshockable
person, but he was shocked. It was as if someone had sucker-punched
him in the solar plexus.
His mind jerked instantly into high
gear with a hundred rationalizations bombarding him from all sides. Hereís
you opportunity. No one will ever find out. She is rather cute.
Címom, you can receive Godís forgiveness afterwards. Loosen up,
dummy. Youíve walked the "straight and narrow" for a
long time now. How about a slight, pleasurable detour?
For what seemed like and
eternity, Michael stared back at her. Their eye contact probably
lasted no more than one whole second. "No, thank you," he
responded, trying hard to conjure up a tone of voice that sounded
non-judgmental, yet firm.
Without changing her facial
expression, she turned and walked to the rear of the car. Whew, that
was too close for comfort! His emotions turned to Jell-O. He felt
like the moments following a near head on collision with another
vehicle: dazed; relieved; panicky; acutely aware of his mortality.
He reached shakily up to his
rear-view mirror, adjusting it so he could see where she was going.
The guy behind him in the blue sedan was watching her too. After a
brief verbal exchange at the other guyís passenger window, she
hopped in. The light turned green.
Michael turned left on the
Double-lane Boulevard. The guy in the blue sedan wasted no time as
he sped around and then ahead of him. Michael caught a glimpse of
her gazing vacantly out of the window. He tried as best he could to
follow them, but soon lost sight of the car. His mind continued to
Are they going to a motel that
rents by the hour? To her apartment? To a secluded park? Am I
getting some kind of vicarious thrill out of this whole thing?
Did Michael handle this
situation with integrity? Oh, sure, he said no to temptation,
but why did he feel a twinge of regret for saying no? Why did he
even have second thoughts? Where did the adrenaline come from?
Integrity. Though stuff. Another
day shot to heaven.
It was a "typical" day at
the office. Phone calls to be returned. Reports to be drafted. A
general atmosphere of tension.
Saundra, a pleasant, professionally
attired woman in her thirties, was suddenly interrupted by the
half-whisper of her respected co-worker, Harold.
"I need to talk to you real
bad," he confided in hushed tones. "Can we get together at
lunch time? I canít stand it any longer. Iíve got to talk to
somebody real soon or Iím going to burst. Youíre the only
person I can trust."
As Saundra went back to her task at
hand, she smiled. It sure
feels good to be trusted.
The morning passed quickly. Before
she knew it, Harold was calling her by name and they both settled
down for a hearty lunch.
"Itís Duane," Harold
said. "I canít stand him."
Saundra knew Duane vaguely. He had
been on the job for approximately a month. "What seems to be
the problem?" she queried.
As Harold detailed the situation,
Saundra listened intently with genuine desire to help. Within a
matter of minutes, however, she made the awkward conclusion that
Harold was gossiping. It was the way he tore Duane down and built
himself up. It was his tone of voice and demeaning spirit.
Several times Saundra attempted to
interject thoughts that would objectify the situation, but to no
avail. She soon realized that he wasnít really interested in a
solution. She was merely a sounding board for his frustration.
Harold kept plowing forward - full steam ahead.
She began to feel extremely
uncomfortable. Harold wouldnít be talking like this if Duane were
present. She didnít want to be unkind or represent and attitude of
superiority yet she didnít want to be a party to what was
Should she keep quiet and not say a
word in order to avoid injuring her working relationship with
Harold? Or should she tell Harold to work out his differences with
Duane - alone?
Perhaps she should gently stop him.
Admitting, "I have a real problem with listening to gossip. I
love to hear every nasty juicy bit a scandalous rumor. In fact, I
have to slap my hand every time I stand in line at the grocery store
checkout counter. While Iím waiting I have to fight the desire to
read about Liz Taylorís latest UFO lover in one of those national
sleaze journals. You see, I have real tough time hearing negative
things about other people when Iím not a part of the problem or a
part of the solution. Thank you for understanding."
Integrity. Tough stuff. Another day
shot to heaven.
Sharon, a woman in her mid-fifties,
had been attending several months worth of meetings at the church I
pastor. Her husband Jerry had come with her several times but
portrayed a general disinterest in spiritual matters. He was a
no-nonsense, gruff, General Patton-type of guy. I was intrigued by
him, and for some reason I had a desire to really get to know him.
One evening my wife, Shirley, and I
were invited to their home for dinner. Shirley immediately joined
Sharon in the kitchen, Jerry and I settled down in the living room.
In short order we discovered a common interest - hunting. We
discussed such esoteric subjects as muzzle velocity, bullet weights
and shell reloading techniques. He showed me his gun cabinet. With
near-reverential awe, I inspected each piece of his collection of
"By the way," he said as
he watched me fondle his finely etched double-barreled shotgun,
"how would you like to go rabbit hunting with me in a couple of
"Hey, that would be
great," I responded, thinking about the welcome break it would
bring into my busy schedule.
"Good! Iíll arrange a date
with my friend who lives up near the Pennsylvania border. He owns a
fruit orchard and there are plenty of good places on his land."
Then came the crucial question.
"Do you have your hunting license?"
"Oh, sure," I said
quickly. "No problem there. Itíll be all taken care of."
Actually, I had no intention of
getting my license. My rationalization gears were already whirring. Hey,
nobodyís gonna check for my license. Weíll be hunting on private
land, anyway. Furthermore, why blow a twenty-dollar bill for a lousy
license that I probably wonít have time to use for the rest of the
season? What? Me worry? No problem! The rest of the evening went
by quickly. All was well. Or so I thought.
I pulled into Jerryís driveway
about 4 oíclock on the morning we were to go hunting. The early
morning air was clear crisp. His hound dogs knew what was on the
agenda for the day. Their enthusiasm was catching.
After we exchanged some small talk,
he asked, "Whereís your hunting license?"
This took me by surprise. I
didnít expect him to bring the subject up. Instinctively, I began
to pat my pockets as if I was looking for my license. "Oh my
gosh," I blurted, "I mustíve left it at home."
Secretly I was hoping that heíd consider the forty extra minutes
it would take to drive to my apartment a waste of time and say,
"Oh, letís just forget about it."
But he didnít. Instead he made
the dreaded statement, "OK, then, weíll drive to your house
and pick it up."
Yikes! Why did he have to play
this one by the book? My emotions bottomed out. Whatís he
gonna think of me when he finds out the truth? Heíll probably lose
all respect for me. Suddenly I had a surge of hope. Maybe
I can find last yearís license and put it in the plastic holder
pinned to the back of my jacket. Sure, last yearís license is a
different color, but during the whole trip Iíll position myself so
that heíll never get a good look at my back. Itíll be hard, but
I can do it.
I couldnít allow him to catch me
in this lie. After all, heíd probably never come back to church
and Iíd be a laughing stock behind closed doors. Heíd say,
"Sharon, are you going to hear that hypocritical, lying
preacher again this Sunday? Donít waste your time. Heís a
phony!" I could almost hear those accusing words burning in my
The pickup truck ride over to my
apartment was one of the longest Iíve ever experienced. It was
still dark, so he couldnít see the glum expression on my face.
Upon our arrival, I walked purposefully up the steps and unlocked
the door; once inside, however, nervous energy took over as I raced
to the bedroom. I grabbed a flashlight, not wanting to wake my wife.
Frantically I searched through my infamous junk drawer filled with
maybe-it-will-come-in-handy-sometime treasures. Last yearís
license was not to be found.
I looked at the clock. Five minutes
had elapsed. What was I to do? I buried my face in my hands. When
everything else fails - tell the truth. The simple truth. Right?
Wrong. At least not yet. I went to one more spot where it could be
hidden. It wasnít there. Now it was time to really panic!
I walked back to the truck. The
light flickered on in the cab as I opened the door. I could see the
expectant look in his eyes. Quickly I shut the door. I felt more
comfortable in the darkness.
"Jerry," I said
tentatively while looking straight ahead, "I lied to you. I do
not have my hunting license. Please forgive me."
He started the truck and shifted
into gear. Silence. I felt like a tiny grease spot. A little blob of
We drove for a good ten minutes
without talking. What a
stupid idiot! Why didnít I have the guts to tell him the truth
right from the beginning? Why did I prolong the inevitable? I was
forced to tell him the truth anyway. Why did I try to cover it up?
Iím a poor excuse for a pastor. My credibility with him is shot to
smithereens. Why doesnít he say something?
He finally broke the silence.
"Weíll pick up a license at a sporting goods store thatís
on the way. Oh, by the way donít let what just happened bother
you. Itís all going to work out." It was his way of accepting
I finally told him the truth, but
did I do so only because I was caught? Why did I feel so guilty even
after asking for and receiving forgiveness both from God and Jerry?
Was I more concerned about Jerryís estimation of me than I was
Godís? After all the Bible training, counseling and preaching
experience I had, why did I succumb to the age-old trap of trying to
cover up one lie with a bigger one?
Integrity. Tough stuff. Another day
shot to heaven.
In the manufacturerís
handbook, the Bible, the apostle Paul claims that it is possible
to do such incredible things as give our bodies to be burned, sell
all we own and give the money to the poor, or have such faith that
we could actually move mountains - and still not possess divine
The same principle holds true with
integrity. It is possible to return undeserved change given by the
grocery store cashier, report every earned penny to the IRS, and
drive 54.9 mph in a 55 mph zone - and still not have genuine
"Iím depressed,í I can
hear someone groan. "I might as well stop reading now."
Donít give up. Thereís hope! I
have discovered some wonderful principles that, when applied, can
transform the lousiest attitude and can sharpen the blurriest focus.
Instead of having our days shot to "hell" by the
unexpected, unplanned-for circumstances, we can undergo an attitude
change and can literally find ways to bleed the most impossible
situations for every drop of spiritual maturity we can squeeze from
it. Then weíll be ready to say. "Well, itís been another
day shot to heaven. Itís been filled with eternal value. Canít
wait till tomorrow to learn more about integrity!"
Are you ready to grow together with
As we head into the next chapter,
pull your Neurotics Anonymous membership card out of your wallet,
tilting your head while looking at it with a rather neurotic
fondness and letís enter into a meeting that is about to be called
to order. My card had already been presented.
Bert and Ferd will be there.
Points to Ponder
- When was the last time you were
confronted with a lack if integrity in your life? Try to
remember what your innermost feelings were at that time.
- Your past, present and future
lapses from integrity are prime candidates for Godís healing
love and grace. As you read Living With Your Conscience
Without Going Crazy, ask Him to help you apply the
principles you will be learning.
HERE to order this book (or continue reading)
H O R R O R
S T O R I E S
I N T R
O D U C T I O N
Has the gift of blab ever gotten you in
Has your mental gymnastics
exercise program ever included "jumping to conclusions"
and "throwing temper tantrums"?
Do you hate being in the presence of
Have you ever focused your hatred upon a
Have you ever tried to build your success
upon someone elseís
Have you ever struggled with the highs and
lows of guilt addiction?
Does your conscience have an 8th
degree black belt?
If you answered yes to any of these
questions, this book is for you. Hey, join the club. I know a bunch
of people who can join me in answering yes to every one of
these questions. Even though I have an all-consuming desire to serve
God in an honorable, fervent manner, sometimes I, like many others,
feel like a hypocrite and a fraud - professing one thing while
As a radio talk show host, pastor and
trained counselor, I have counseled literally hundreds of people
over the years. Many have expressed acute agony over the guilt
experienced because of the frightening disparity between their
actual emotional state and their perception of the way they ought to
be. Itís like living in "no-manís land."
Itís plain and simple. Sometimes we lack integrity.
Sometimes we feel like weíre going crazy. Weíre not proud of it
- but thatís reality.
Iím not, however, content with staying in
a rut. How about you? I want to grow - Godís way. Thereís a
poster hanging above my younger sonís bed that says it all: God
loves me just the way I am and too much to let me stay that way.
How true! Thatís what itís all about.
Warning. This is a serious book.
Everyone has heard a "horror story." You know the
kind - the respected minister suddenly leaves wife and kids, quits
the ministry and moves in with another woman. Everyone is shocked.
It was discovered that the affair had been in the works for over a
year, complete with secret meetings and clandestine rendezvous at
various motels. And he seemed to be so sincere. Lip-smacking,
finger-wagging, head-shaking scandal.
What about the "Christian "
businessman who has all the appearances of a genteel rip-off artist?
He tools down the highway in his vehicle, complete with "Honk
if You Love Jesus" and "Christians Arenít Perfect, Just
Forgiven" bumper stickers. Anyone who deals with him on any
level deeper than his saccharine smile and bionic handshake is left
with a sour taste and feels used. He leaves a trail of people who
stock their bookshelves with volumes on the subject of forgiveness.
Or how about the girl who was a typical
(whatever that means) teenager? You watched her grow up and remember
her as a vivacious, fun-loving youngster, but something happened.
Almost overnight, it seemed, she turned into a sullen, obstinate
person. The transformation was frightening. Right around fifteen
years of age, you figure. One morning you wake up to see the bold
print headlines screaming, Local Girl Dies in Suicide Pact.
You become unnerved. Shattered. What went wrong? Why? Why? Her
internal world mustíve been a confused mess.
This is a challenging book. Everyone
had lived a "horror story." You know what I mean -
the kind where you lie on the floor, drawn up in a fetal position,
sobbing until there are no tears left. A cruel verbal attack from
someone you thought was a dear friend? Divorce? Rebellious son or
daughter? Fired from your job? Jilted by a girlfriend or boyfriend?
You fill in the blanks.
This is a probing book. Everyone had told
a "horror story." Itís no laughing matter. Ignoring tons
of scriptural mandates about the dangers of judging and the wily,
untamable nature of the tongue, you listened to some juicy gossip
about another person. It felt to good to hear that someone else had
"blown it." You had thought all along that underneath the
exterior goody-two-shoes image of that individual was a two-faced
hypocrite. And now what youíve heard about him had justified your
suspicions. The spotlight was shifted from you and your own
imperfections to someone else. You couldnít wait to blab it to
some acquaintance, adding a few embellishments of your own.
Many of us have settled on the big
issues. Embezzlement. Murder. Sexual immorality. Drugs. Legalism or
the fear of getting-caught-with- your-pants-down may keep us from
But what about the "tiny" things?
What can a series of small compromises do to the course of our
lives? Are there tangible, positive benefits that flow from a life
of integrity - one characterized by a clear conscience?
A life of integrity. Is it dull? Is it a
boring, rule-laden endeavor? Is it an unattainable goal? Is it one
step forward thirteen steps backwards? Just how do you live
with your conscience without going crazy?
Iíve done a lot of contemplating on those
issues, the bulk of which you now hold in your hands. But before
addressing those questions and more, I want to thank God for many
people who have contributed to my life and my way of thinking. In
the 13th century, Bernard of Clairvaux said, "We are
like dwarves on the shoulders of giantsÖ"
Such "giants" of the past as
Andrew Murray, Oswald Chambers, Watchman Nee, C.S. Lewis, A.W.
Tozer, and a host of others have influenced my writings. Many of my
contemporaries, some of whom are mentioned in this book, have also
supplied their "shoulders" for me to "stand
upon." Many of my contemporaries, some of whom are mentioned in
this book, have also supplied their "shoulders" for me to
Bert and Ferd know them all.
here to order this book
Before ordering I want to
check out Dr. Freeman's other three books.
By the way, Dr Freeman's books are
currently in 28 foreign translation editions. Check out the open
letter inviting you to participate in more of these foreign
With People Who Drive You Crazy!"ģ
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