by John on December 11, 2013
by John on December 9, 2013
by John on November 26, 2013
By Jerry Robertsons
Back on 15 April my friend and co-contributor, Rich Brewers, posted How We Respond to Prayer Requests. His post came just two weeks after my official conversion and entry into the Church. I admit that, subsequent to reading his thoughts, praying for others was an action for which I only had about a year’s experience. I simply didn’t know how to pray prior to the singular event which led to my decision to become Catholic. Any prayers I might have intended to offer before this time really couldn’t be considered to be much more than best wishes.
That event was my first Christ Renews His Parish retreat weekend. During the weekend I had the opportunity to pray for others and be prayed over by others. Not really knowing how to do the former, I chose to do the latter. I had a compelling reason. I had just returned the night before from an Easter week visit with family in Missouri. My sister has a 14 year old daughter who is both mentally and physically handicapped. With every visit I would leave saddened knowing that their struggles in life are incomprehensible to me, and frustrated that I didn’t know what I could do about it. This had bothered me for a long time and, so, even though I barely knew these men, I asked them for their prayers for my niece, my sister, and for myself. One of the men praying for me was Jim, the gentleman Rich referred to in his post. I sat in the chair with his and other men’s hands on me and they prayed for the three of us. In my heart I felt something happen in that chapel. I wasn’t sure what it was but it was certainly nothing I had ever experienced before. I was shaken. I thought maybe it was simply the sincerity and love of these fine men. But, I came to realize it was the Holy Spirit working through them. It was such a powerful experience I decided to stick around and participate in the prayers for other men. I’m not sure I can describe the feeling other than to say I found a tremendous sense of fulfillment in doing so.
I believe one of the most difficult obstacles to asking others to pray for you is the fear of appearing weak or of lacking control. What other obstacles might prevent you from asking someone else for their prayers for you?
Since that experience I have had several opportunities to pray for other people both with and without their requests. I’m still not very good at it but I think I’m getting better. I try to pay attention and learn from role models, like Jim and Rich, who make it seem so easy. I’ve also learned that, like golf, to get better at praying you have to spend more time praying. Thus, I usually have two or three intentions on my list at all times and I pray for them daily. I find deep satisfaction in this. Although I may not always see any direct results which can be attributed to my prayers, I have faith they are being heard and the intended recipient will be affected in some positive way. And, somewhat selfishly, I find my time in prayer, even for others, allows me to get closer to Jesus.
But, there is another side to prayer requests – the side of requesting people to pray for you and your loved ones. It’s not as easy as you might think it would be. In many ways, it’s more difficult than responding to prayer requests from others. Such was my case. Up until about a month ago, I had been focused on praying for the needs of others. I never really considered that I would have another significant reason to request their prayers. But, then, one never expects the person whom you love the most to become ill with a disease that requires surgery and further treatment. We discovered what a scary proposition it really is. When we got the news, we, like many folks, thought we would keep it to ourselves. No need to burden others with our situation, right? We thought we might tell one or two people who ought to know. But, then, we decided that sooner or later those one or two people would feel the need to tell someone else and eventually everyone who you didn’t want to burden would eventually learn of it anyway, or be hurt that they were the only ones who had not heard. And, then, fortunately, we turned the table and looked at the situation from the outside in – what would we want if we were a friend or family member of the afflicted? We realized that we would certainly want to know about it for no other reason than we love the person and would wish to pray for them and ask for Jesus’ intercession and healing. We have a large family relatively speaking (pun intended), but our parish family of loved ones is much larger. After realizing we could use all the requests for divine assistance we could get, we decided to let the cat out of the bag.
Have you ever found yourself in a situation seemingly out of your control and hoping for a miracle? Have you kept it to yourself? Or have you sought prayers from others?
Spreading news like this via word of mouth, especially through people who you know love and care about you, is a wonderful thing! It doesn’t take long. By the time I got around to making the official request to be added to our parish’s prayer chain, most folks already knew and had been praying for a while. How do we know? We can feel it. It is the sense of peace that has come over us, the sense that everything is going to be alright, and the feeling that we are in Good Hands. It is in the comforting smiles and the reassuring hugs. It is a feeling borne from knowing that so many people have said rosaries, novenas, offered personal prayers, fasted and made other sacrifices on our behalf. It is the collective, confident assurance from an entire faith community who seem to be saying they have inside information.
If you have requested others to pray for you for personal reasons, how did you feel? Was your faith strengthened? Were you comforted?
Thus, here we are on the eve of the prescribed surgery and I believe we could not have a more positive outlook, feel more at peace with the outcome, or more accepting that this is just a bump in the highway of life. We know we have our immediate families and our extended parish family and friends who will all be pulling for us tomorrow. We have faith in God and the healing power of prayer. Please know that your love and heart-felt prayers are indeed felt and appreciated. We love you.
God Bless you all.
by John on November 22, 2013
The last wishes of Alexander the Great:
On his death bed, Alexander summoned his generals and told them his three ultimate wishes:
1. The best doctors should carry his coffin;
2. The wealth he has accumulated (money, gold, precious stones.) should be scattered along the procession to the cemetery.
3. His hands should be let loose, hanging outside the coffin for all to see!!
One of his generals who was surprised by these unusual requests asked Alexander to explain.
Here is what Alexander the Great had to say:
1. I want the best doctors to carry my coffin to demonstrate that, in the face of death, even the best doctors in the world have no power to heal;
2. I want the road to be covered with my treasure so that everybody
sees that material wealth acquired on earth, stays on earth.
3. I want my hands to swing in the wind, so that people understand that we come to this world empty handed and we leave this world empty handed after the most precious treasure of all is exhausted, and that is TIME.
4. We do not take to our grave any material wealth . TIME is our most precious treasure because it is LIMITED. We can produce more wealth, but we cannot produce more time.
5. When we give someone our time, we actually give a portion
of our life that we will never take back. Our time is our life!
6. The best present that you can give to your family and friends is
May God grant you plenty of TIME and may you have the wisdom to give it away so that you can LIVE, LOVE and DIE in peace
by John on November 8, 2013
In today’s JESUS CALLING from Sarah Young:
“It is possible to be content in any and every situation. Don’t let your well-being depend on your circumstances. Instead, connect your joy to Jesus’ prescious promises:
I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go. I will meet all your needs according to My glorious riches. Nothing in all creation will be able to separate you from My Love. ”
by John on October 17, 2013
Christ Renews His Parish
I had an amazing spiritual experience when I attended my 2nd Christ Renew His Parish (CRHP) Retreat last weekend which is a spiritual renewal weekend designed to help individuals grow in their personal relationship with Jesus Christ and with others in their faith community. It is a process designed to bring members of a parish together in Christ.
“The community of believers was of one heart and mind, …With great power the apostles bore witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great favor was accorded them all.” Acts 4:32-33
For 2000 years communities of Christian believers have been witnessing to Jesus Christ. These communities have been persecuted, mistreated, abused, and many have offered their very lives all for the faith of those who would believe, you and me. Communities have been beaten and battered but have kept the faith alive by trusting in God and encouraging each other in their faith.
The Christ Renews His Parish process is just one way to stop our busy lives, see past the pains and lies, and know God, not just experience Him.
So in the words of our Savior we too, invite you, “Come and you will see”, Jn 1:39
Christ Renew His Parish is sponsored by the Catholic Church but welcomes all Christian Believers. I would encourage you to please consider attending a CHRIST RENEWS HIS PARISH weekend in your community.
by John on October 17, 2013
My favorite Bible passage is THE PRODIGAL SON, which shows God’s wonderfully boundless and gracious forgiveness. The book looks in depth at forgiveness from the perspective of the younger prodigal son, the faithful older son and the forgiving father and how each perspective can apply to our lives.
by John on October 17, 2013
This is a book I recommend everyone should read who at times questions their faith with all the distractions of the secular world.
by John on October 17, 2013
This is not the controversial movie many years ago. This is an amazing book I highly recommend. “There are 10 important questions everyone should ask; and the answers to these questions, which lead to ultimate truth, are a matter of reason, not of faith.”
by John on September 10, 2013
THE CONFESSIONS OF ST AUGUSTINE
by John on August 29, 2013
From Sarah Young’s JESUS CALLING, August 29, 2013
Demonstrate your trust in me by Sitting Quietly in MY PRESENCE. This sacred time together strengthens you and prepares you to face whatever the day will bring. Put aside all that is waiting to be done and refuse to worry about anything.
By waiting with Me before you begin the day’s activities, you proclaim the reality of My living Presence. This act of faith, waiting before working, is noted in the spirit world where your demonstration of trust weakens “principalities and powers of darkness.”
The most effective way to resist evil is to draw near Me. When you need to take action, I will guide you clearly through My Spirit and My Word. The world is so complex and over stimulating that you can easily lose your sense of direction. Doing countless unnecessary activities will dissipate your energy. When you spend time with ME, I restore your sense of direction. As you look to ME for guidance, I enable you to do less but accomplish more.
by John on August 27, 2013
Spend Time With Me
Have you ever heard the sayings “an idle mind is the playground of the devil”, or “idle hands are the devils workshop”, or “too much idle time makes one prone to unproductive thoughts”. These can hold true.
Sometimes when we get in a rut, or get bored, or life gets monotonous, our minds begin to wander and negativity sets in. You may start thinking about people that have hurt you in the past, or bad situations from years ago, or perhaps doing something that is dishonest or hurtful. This is when we need to refocus our thoughts on the Lord. Spend some quality time with Him, pray to Him, talk to Him, for He is your friend and is with you always. Once you acknowledge his presence, your thoughts will be put back on track.
Get into the habit of doing this and you will be amazed at how even the darkest day will be nothing but sunshine to you. Peace
8/27/12 devotion by Sarah Young – Jesus Calling
Spend time with Me for the pure pleasure of being in My company. I can brighten up the dullest of gray days; I can add sparkle to the routines of daily life. You have to repeat so many tasks day after day. This monotony can dull your thinking until your mind slips into neutral. A mind that is unfocused is vulnerable to “the world, the flesh, and the devil,” all of which exert a downward pull on your thoughts. As your thinking processes deteriorates, you become increasingly confused and directionless. The best remedy is to refocus your mind and heart on Me, your constant Companion.
Even the most confusing day opens up before you as you go step by step with Me. My Presence goes with you where you go, providing Light for your path.
Psalms 63:7-8; Psalms 119:105
by John on June 16, 2013
(a message from my wife)
I always used to hate Father’s Day. My dad struggled with alcohol abuse and was very troubled in his life and eventually left our family completely. I used to go to the mailbox each year on my birthday hoping he would send me a birthday card, but he never did. I was very sad. He never expressed his love for me so I always assumed he never cared. He passed several years ago and I was never able to reconcile my relationship with him. I realize now as an adult that some people just can’t express their emotions and have their own demons to deal with. I know God expects us to love everyone unconditionally and I am truly trying to forgive my dad. I prayed for him today and hope that he is with Jesus. I send this message today to those who may not have had the relationship with their father they wanted. But know that God understands your pain and sadness and is there for you. God loves us all unconditionally and is our one True ABBA, Father.
by John on April 17, 2013
by John on March 27, 2013
Let nothing upset you
Let nothing startle you
All things pass
God does not change
Patience wins All it seeks
Whoever has God lacks nothing
GOD ALONE IS ENOUGH
by John on March 26, 2013
Poem from a 16 year old dying from cancer.
Have you ever watched kids on a merry-go-round, or listened to rain slapping the ground? Ever followed a butterfly’s erratic flight, or gazed at the sun fading into the night? You better slow down, don’t dance so fast, time is short, the music won’t last. Do you run through each day on the fly, when you ask “How are you?”, do you hear the reply? When the day is done, do you lie in your bed, with the next hundred chores running through your head? You better slow down, don’t dance so fast, time is short, the music won’t last. Ever told your child, we’ll do it tomorrow, and in your haste, not see his sorrow? Ever lost touch, let a friendship die, ’cause you never had time to call and say hi? You better slow down, don’t dance so fast, time is short, the music won’t last. When you run so fast to get somewhere, you miss half the fun of getting there. When you worry and hurry through your day, it’s like an unopened gift thrown away. Life isn’t a race, so take it slower, hear the music before your song is over.
by John on March 22, 2013
This book by Robert Lewis, should be read by EVERY FATHER who wants to raise their son to be a true Christian MAN.
by John on March 22, 2013
“Discovering the Secret of a Man’s Soul”
Amazingly inspiring book. Every Christian Man should read this wonderful masterpiece
by John on March 1, 2013
by John on March 1, 2013
Best explanation of what God’s Grace is truly about and how we are so blessed to receive it.
by John on February 28, 2013
GRACE means there is nothing I can do to make God love me more, and nothing I can do to make God love me less
by John on February 28, 2013
If you have ever asked:
Why is God punishing me?
Why do I have to suffer?
Why is my loved one in pain?
Why does God allow pain, suffering, agony and tragedy in this world?
Then read this book
by John on February 21, 2013
by John on February 16, 2013
There is nothing we can lose in life that does not teach us something worth knowing. Sometimes we learn to pick our friends more carefully; sometimes we learn not to be so committed to what the world calls “success.” Sometimes we learn we have been about the wrong things entirely in life. But there is no such thing as failure as long as we learn something from it. Or, as Michele de Montaigne wrote, “There are some defeats more triumphant than victories.”
by John on February 15, 2013
When you find yourself more likely to cling to schedules, rules, lists, and personal agendas rather than to the needs of those around you, beware. There is something amiss in the compass of your heart.
by John on February 14, 2013
Too often we dismiss the spiritual significance of the unusual act–the visit to the hospital, the conversation with the stranger on the bus, the quotation you write down to pass onto a friend. A life of value is not a series of great things well done; it is a series of small things consciously done.
From the book:
THE RADICAL CHRISTIAN LIFE – A year with Saint Benedict
by Joan Chittister
by John on February 4, 2013
“I found deep comfort in realizing that Jesus loves even me, a ragamuffin, just as I am and not as i should be; that He accepts me, though I am most unacceptable. I came to this book hungry. I tasted and saw afresh that our God is truly good and that He is, after all, for us.”
Michael Card, Musician, recording artist, and author
” Brennan Manning does a masterful job of blowing the dust off of shop-worn theology and allowing God’s Grace to do what only God’s Grace can do –amaze.”
Max Lucado, Best Selling author of COME THIRTY and THE GIFT FOR ALL PEOPLE
by John on January 31, 2013
You can’t change the past, but you can ruin a perfectly good present by worrying about the future.
“Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life.” Matthew 6:27
by John on January 22, 2013
Over the last few years I have allowed myself to become so occupied with “the details, noise, worries, hassles, disappointments, struggles and busyness of LIFE” that I had forgotten how important taking time daily to PRAY was. I had forgotten to take time, specific, scheduled, quiet time to Pray and talk to Jesus.. I tried to fill up my life with noise, TV, movies, work, computer surfing….anything that would take my mind off my worries that I lost my way….but I have found my way back and I know Jesus gently nudged me back on the path to HIM.
I now find myself spending up to a full hour a day in the ‘classroom of silence” (as Matthew Kelly calls it) where I find a quiet place, turn off my phone, computer, push everything out of my mind and “Pray-talk-dialog-and most importantly LISTEN to what Jesus is trying to tell me.” If you would have told me that I should or would have taken an hour a day to “Pray” I would have said you were completely out of your mind…..There is no way I could possibly find a full hour…don’t you know how busy I am….how important I am….how many people rely on me……..WOW What a crock…..pure foolish pride.
I started out trying to carve out 10 minutes of quiet alone time and quickly it escalated to an hour. I even put on my headsets to drown out the noise and world on a recent flight and entered the “classroom of silence” and “calmly and quietly talked with Jesus”….had the plane not landed and jolted me I probably would have been “praying” even longer. That was one of the best days I had because I cleared my mind, got my priorities straight and devoted my entire day to Jesus. Not everything went exactly as I wanted but I felt very connected to HIM that I offered the entire day to HIM. I owe HIM so so much.
I now find myself conversing with Jesus thru most of the day because I can feel HIS presence and I know HE is with me.
When I have a chance to objectively and honestly think and pray about my life, my struggles, priorities, I realize how much I need to change in my life. I can’t do it overnight but with HIS help I am trying to take small consistent steps to become what HE wants me to become to Glorify HIS NAME.
Praise to You O Lord Jesus Christ.
by John on January 15, 2013
I had a great experience last weekend attending the JESUIT MEN’S SPIRITUAL RETREAT in Milford, OH. If you have not been before or recently, I highly recommend you consider finding a SPIRITUAL RETREAT which are offered all over the country for men only, women only and mixed. Mine started at 6PM Friday thru Sunday noon.
The objective was to grow in my Spiritual and Prayer life drawing closer to Jesus. It was truly amazing. Here are just a few of the many benefits I received.
A chance to:
-get away from all the non-stop deafening noice, busyness, rat race of daily life
-find peace, quit and a calmness I had completely forgotten and the “joy” they represent
-study and reflect on the bible
-hear over 10 inspiring presentations for reflection
-find quiet time with Jesus
-find quiet time with myself
-watch the squirrels, duck, birds and rabbits by the nearby river
-study the lives of Mother Teresa and Pope John II
-find some amazing books on prayer, the Saints and other subjects from leading Christian authors
-examine my life, priorities, relationships
…..and so much more
Here is the web site: www.jesuitspiritualcenter.com, I attended. If you simply google: “SPIRITUAL RETREAT” you can find a retreat near you. There are retreats taking place all over the US nearly every week.
Give yourself the best gift possible and attend a Retreat.
God Bless You.
by John on January 10, 2013
by John on January 9, 2013
“I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13
by John on January 8, 2013
Chinese Proverb: If you wait for tomorrow, tomorrow will come. If you don’t wait for tomorrow, tomorrow still comes.
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.” Matthew 6:34
by John on January 7, 2013
by John on January 1, 2013
With the passing of each year, there is a sense of a fresh beginning. Hope waits just ahead!
“For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
Happy and Blessed New Year, Everyone!!
by John on December 28, 2012
by John on December 28, 2012
“I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.” John 13:15
by John on December 28, 2012
by John on December 28, 2012
by John on December 28, 2012
by John on December 19, 2012
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.” Psalm 34:18
by John on December 15, 2012
by John on December 14, 2012
Give yourself fully to the adventure of today. Walk boldy along the path of Life relying on your ever-present Companion., You have every reason to be confident, because My Presence accompanies you all the days of your life…and onward into eternity.
Do not give in to fear or worry, those robbers of abundant living. Trust Me enough to face problems as they come, rather than trying to anticipate them. Fix your eyes on Me, the Author and Perfector of your faith, and many difficulties on the road ahead will vanish before you reach them. Whenver you start to feel afraid, remember that I am holding you by your right hand, Nothing can separate you from My Presence!
Hebres 12:2; Isaiah 41:13
by John on December 9, 2012
When you are plagued by a persistent problem, one that goes on and on, view it as a rich opportunity. An on going problem is like a tutor who is always by your side. The learning possibilities are limited only by your willingness to be teachable. In faith, thank ME for your problem. Ask ME to open your eyes and your heart to all that I am accomplishing through this difficulty. Once you have become grateful for a problem, it loses its power to drag you down. On the contrary, your thankful attitude will lift you up into heavenly places with ME. From this perspective, your difficulty can be seen as a slight, temporary distress that is producing for you a transcendent Glory never to cease!
Isaiah 30:20-21; 2 Corinthians 4:17 (AMP)
by John on December 4, 2012
If you don’t handle your fear, your fear will handle you.
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9
by John on December 3, 2012
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:21
by John on November 29, 2012
Stress works like a credit card–it forces your body to borrow resources from tomorrow to get through today. But at some point that bill comes due, with interest!
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
by John on November 23, 2012
(A close friend sent this to his children and I wanted to share his letter with you.)
As your father, I want to give you some advice based on what I have learned over 65 years.
I think it is critically important to go to church, attend church services as a family and be part of a church community. One does not “have” to go to church necessarily to be a “good person.” It seems some may go to church and are Not good people, even though I can’t possibly know what is in their heart as that is between them and God. And simply going out of Sunday obligation as expressed in the 10 Commandments does not seem like the right attitude either. But here are the many, many advantages of being part of a church community for me.
THE WORD. So many times I have heard a certain word, phrase or thought in the scripture as it is read in church that I had not heard before, considered before or maybe heard again, but this time I understand something in a new light about life and God. God gave us the bible as a guide. I don’t read the bible on my own nearly often enough. It is a blessing to know that every time I go to a church service, I have the opportunity to hear the WORD of God. There have even been phrases that caught my attention in the prayers and songs I heard at church that made a difference that day. THE WORD Inspires me to be a better Christian, quit feeling sorry for myself because I don’t have enough money, or am disappointed about something that happened or didn’t happen or angry with someone else. THE WORD encourages me to Praise God in ALL THINGS. It constantly reminds me why I am here and that this life is only temporary as the real goal is HEAVEN for Eternity.
COMMUNITY. We recently moved and started attending another church. I find it tremendously inspirational to be in the presence of other God-Fearing, Christian men, women and children. I see people who attend church, not just on Sunday, but every day I go during the week, I see some of the same people. They are not simply fulfilling their Sunday obligation. They want to be there in the presence of Our Lord Jesus Christ. I know these are good, honest, holy people,….not saints, but sinners, like me who are trying to live a good life. They smile at me and welcome me. They are not decked out looking to impress others with how fancy their clothes are or how expensive their car might be.
FAMILY. Recently, after a Wed morning mass, one of the men I saw many times at mass, who also frequently was a lector, asked me to have a cup of coffee at UDF with some of the other men who meet there often after mass. I accepted his offer and met with 6 men, 60-80 years old who welcomed me like I had been their friend for life. I felt so comfortable with them. No one was putting on a facade about how successful or great they were. We just joked, had fun and talked honestly about our life. Two had recently lost their spouses of over 60 years of a blessed marriage. Two were P&G alumni. One had 10 grand children. Some were seriously hurting financially. I was so inspired and humbled, it brought me to tears as I drove home for these reasons:
1. They completely welcomed me and loved me from the moment they spoke to me. I felt they accepted me as part of their family.
2. They were good, honest, Christian men, fathers, husbands, grandpas, siblings who loved Jesus Christ more than anything.
3. They put their family first before everything else
4. They lived “in” the world but had not been seduced by its deadly vices and temptations
5. They did not flaunt their faith; they cursed, joked, had fun with most situations in life but in their hearts I could tell they were focused on making sure they kept their eye on the goal of achieving Heaven for Eternity.
6. When they asked me “how I was doing” they meant it and I felt completely uninhibited and told them we were seriously struggling financially. They were so gracious, supportive and inspirational as each one encouraged me to “keep the faith” and many cited their own struggles. There are no other social gatherings in my life where I don’t feel compelled to put up a wall and try to impress the group. Not so with these Christian men.
7. They completely inspired me to be a better Christian, husband, father and grandpa. What a blessing to be in the presence of other men who inspired me to be better in all aspects of my life. Most men I encounter in business, life and by chance unfortunately don’t always inspire me to be a better person. But these church-going, Christian men could not have been more inspirational.
8. It is an incredibly wonderful feeling to know that I can connect with other men whom I consider family where we all have a common faith and beliefs. They made me feel like I am not alone. It was so encouraging to know there are such good wholesome people out there. But I would not have known them had I not made the effort to go to church.
9. They made me feel very special because they were genuinely interested in me and my family and they wanted the best for me.
10. Now I have one more positive reason to get up and go to church as often as possible because when I see them before, during or after church I am excited to speak with them and look forward to our UDF “coffee” (in my case, decaf tea) sessions.
MY FATHER’S LEGACY. My father took me to morning services and communion at 6AM hundreds of times when I was a child. Those were some of the times I felt closest to him. His example of making the effort to go to church and take me during the week when he was not “obligated” to go as on Sunday, is one of the reasons I have always felt compelled and inspired to attend church often. His actions and example are one of his wholesome legacies for me. He inspired me to continue going to church and church has helped me get through some of the most challenging times in my life.
YOUR LEGACY. I challenge you to consider what legacy you leave with your own children. Our actions speak volumes when it comes to how we affect our children. I believe that church community is a Gift God gives us if we only make the effort to attend…and HE will do the rest. Please consider giving your own children the Gift of church community to provide a lifetime of inspiration, encouragement, and source of peace and contentment for them while they fulfill God’s Plan in this very temporary existence until they spend Eternity with their Savior.
God Bless You.
by John on November 14, 2012
The beginning of anxiety is the end of faith; the beginning of faith is the end of anxiety.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus
by John on November 13, 2012
Learn to appreciate difficult days. Be stimiulated by the challenges you encounter along your way. As you journey through rough terrain with ME, gain confidence from your knowledge that together we can handle anything. This knowledge is comprised of three parts: your relationship with ME, promises in the Bible, and past experiences of coping successfully during hard times.
Look back on your life and see how I have helped you through diffcult days. If you are tempted to think, “Yes, but that was then and this is now, remember who I AM. Although you and your circumstances may change dramatically, I remain the same throughout time and eternity, This the basis of your confidence. In MY PRESENCE you live and move and have your being.
ISAIAH 41:10; Psalm 102:27; Acts 17:28
by John on November 11, 2012
I have been listening to a lot of Christian CD’s from church lately and one message has really captured my imagination. The message is called “CAREFREE TIMELESSNESS” as it relates to nurturing any relationship. What it means is that every relationship needs to have regular CAREFREE TIMELESSNESS which means scheduled time where there is no agenda, no clock, no deadline, no distractions and other priorities but simply to be completely and totally be consumed and focused on that person.
The CD went on to say to schedule CAREFREE TIMELESSNESS with God in addition to your other significant relationships: spouse, child, parents, grand children, siblings, significant other, etc.
The message I got from the CD was that as life gets difficult due to stress, money, work, medical, sickness, other relationships, etc., we tend to stop making time for that CAREFREE TIMELESSNESS. We can be in HIS presence, but if we are distracted with other worries and preoccupied, not only do we miss the opportunity to connect with HIM, but we cheat ourselves of nurturing that most important of relationships.
The CD encouraged everyone to make a promise to spend at least one CAREFREE TIMELESSNESS session with GOD once a week at a minimum. It does not have to be in church, but it can be anywhere, in the car, back porch, on a plane, at the coffee shop, even at my desk. When I am able to clear my mind and really be focused on HIM, I begin to better understand what HE wants for me and from me.
My life is very difficult at times, but I try not to forget to Thank God always for everything. I ask HIM for help not only to do what I need and want to get done, but to ask HIM to give me the Grace to accept whatever happens. Most of my anxiety comes from me not getting what I want or think I need or deserve. When I let go and turn it ALL over to HIM, I find I am happiest and more often at peace.
At the end of the day, God is in control…we are not. We need to try to step back and understand, accept, embrace and thank HIM for HIS Plan for us. It is easy to say “not to worry” which is so difficult not to. Especially when we have other family members who rely on us. But I truly believe God does not want us to worry but try our best with what we can do on our own and then trust that HE will help us in this life. We may not get everything we want or think we need or deserve, but if we accept HIS Plan willingly, and let go, that is our best chance for peace, contentment and happiness in this life. And then we have Eternity to look forward to be in Bliss with HIM forever.
Praise to You O Lord Jesus Christ.
God Bless You.
by John on November 5, 2012
“A cheerful look brings joy to the heart, and good news gives health to the bones.” Proverbs 15:30
by John on November 2, 2012
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time.” 1 Peter 5:6
by John on November 1, 2012
One can easily understand a child who is afraid of the dark. The real tragedy is when grown men and women are afraid of the light.
“This is the message we have heard from Him and declare to you: God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all.” 1 John 1:5
by John on October 31, 2012
“Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.”
by John on October 30, 2012
Trying to grasp and understand as a human being the omnipotence of our God is like trying to put all the waters of the Earth’s oceans into a thimble.
Praise to you O Lord Jesus Christ.
by John on October 26, 2012
A wonderful couple close to us shared the following. One spouse was worrying obsessively about the severe hardships and times they were enduring. The other spouse wrote the letter below in response.
Every person on the planet, all 7 billion of us, has something to worry about: hunger, pain, health, disease, children, parents, spouse, grand parents, addictions, money, work, promotion, failure, taxes, discrimination, bullying, politics, religion, world peace, terrorism and on and on. No one is exempt from worry. One’s quality of life and happiness is directly proportional to one’s attitude and faith. One can choose to focus on the worries because Everyone has worries. One can spend their whole life worrying about something until suddenly their life is over. So they and those around them are miserable because of “worry.” Or one can choose to focus on all the positive in one’s life…and we have so many and so many more than so many people. Consider a few basic facts.
1. 16 million US children will go hungry today. 15 million children die worldwide every year from hunger. Our kids have never been hungry
2. We have healthy children and healthy grand children
3. 1.5 billion people are not allowed to practice the religion of their choice
4. Only 30% of Americans have a college degree. We and our children have a college degree.
There are over 100 references in the bible about not giving into to worrying about the future.
It is human nature to be concerned about future events especially about family but when one obsesses about it to the point that it makes them physically, emotionally and spiritually sick then it suggests that they have given up on their faith that God is in control and that there is a Plan.
One of the most wasteful aspects of worry is that one cannot enjoy and embrace “the now, today, this moment” if one is preoccupied with the future worrying about “what it?” Throwing away this moment worrying about the future wastes not only the worrier’s life but can also waste or distract or destroy those around the worrier.
One can CHOOSE to not be depressed all the time. The circumstances that prompt the “worry” are many times beyond our control. But our reaction and response to that which is worrying us is Completely within our control. One can choose to be depressed, wallow in self pity and convince themselves that no one on earth since the beginning of time has had to endure the same hardships or worries as they have.
Or they can choose to do everything in their power to try and fix, improved or correct “that” which is worrying them. And after they have done all they can do, they turn that worry over to God and ask for HIS Help, Grace and Guidance to not only Help but provide the strength to cope with what every happens.
That is the only way one can achieve any semblance of Peace on this earth in the face of problems and worries. This earthly life is temporary, a mere blink of the eye compared to eternity. Rather than waste “the blink” here one should first Praise God, work towards helping their family and resolving and easing all our suffering but at some point the Only thing a Christian can do is to turn it all over to God because we cannot do it all ourselves. The only Peace on this earth comes from complete faith and trust and surrender to God. And ironically by surrendering to God, and releasing constant obsessive worry is the only conduit to Peace and Happiness on this earth.
As bad as we have it, so many, many have it so much worse. Our crosses are heavy. But They are no comparisons to many.
We have a choice to make the best of what we have. We can choose to give in to worry. Or we can try to allow our faith to see us through it, what ever it is. The choice is ours.
by John on October 24, 2012
Boredom is a matter of choice, not circumstances .Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God
by John on October 22, 2012
I have known Don Cormell for over 15 years. He passed away recently, suddenly. He was in his early 70′s. He has been my friend, broker, advisor and brother. He could have retired some time ago but loved what he did and was very good at it. He always had time to talk business but more importantly, loved talking about his grand children more than anything else. Everytime I spoke with him I felt uplifted, encouraged and always ended up thinking more about my own family, children and in particular my grand children. His positive and Christian attitude and outlook had a very positive influence on me. Don was one of Jesus’ messengers as he always SPREAD THE WORD in a very subtle….yet incredibly effiective way. He was always so positive. He never preached or flaunted his faith, but when you got to know him you realized how close he was to Jesus. I am a better person, Christian, father, husband, and grand father because I knew Don. I know he is with Jesus at this very moment and I look forward to seeing him again some day. Praise to You O Lord Jesus Christ.
by John on October 9, 2012
In order to hear MY voice, you must release all your worries into MY care. Entrust to ME everything that concerns you. This clears the way for you to seek MY Face unhindered. Let ME free you from fear that’s hiding deep inside you. Sit quietly in MY Presence, allowing MY Light to soak into you and drive out any darkness lodged within you.
Accept each day just as it comes to you, remembering that I am sovereign over your life. Rejoice in THIS DAY THAT I HAVE MADE, trusting that I am abundantly present in it. Instead of regretting or resenting the way things are, THANK ME IN ALL CIRCUMSTANCES. Trust ME and don’t be fearful; thank ME and rest in MY sovereignty.
1 Peter 5:6-7; Psalm 118:24;1 Thessalonians 5:18
by John on October 4, 2012
But my favorite movie this year, bar none, all genre, is UNCONDITIONAL. A wonderful Christian message with real world issues and brilliantly acted. Please do yourself, your family, spouse, friends, significant other and even “your faith” a very big favor and go see the movie: UNCONDITIONAL.
by John on October 2, 2012
While it is difficult not to “be concerned about the future” or think about the “past”, worrying about either is a complete waste of time. There is nothing I can do about the past. While I can “plan” for the future, “worrying” about it accomplishes nothing except wasting time, draining my energy, raising my blood pressure and stealing precious time and focus away from the only moment I have the ability to impact….which is NOW. I regret when my wife and kids says to me….”dad, where are you at this moment, as you are certainly not here with us.” I am distracted, preoccupied or fixating on the future, or “what if,” or something in business that is happening in the future. And in the process I rob myself and my family of time together.
The stronger my faith becomes, the more I can TRUST that God will be there for ME in the future. In fact, HE is already there so why should I spend time worrying about what is going to happen then. HE already knows and whatever happens, I believe HE will help me get thru it.
Praise to you O Lord, Jesus Christ.
by John on October 1, 2012
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:2-4
by John on September 25, 2012
When you fear God, you fear nothing else. When you do not fear God, you fear everything else.
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Proverbs 1:7
by John on September 22, 2012
Wouldn’t the world be a better place if we lived by this Corinthian’s passage:
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
by John on September 19, 2012
A young couple our family knows waited for several years to conceive their first child and when they did they were so thankful and excited but their baby was born prematurely and soon after passed. I struggle with my Faith when I hear of such tragedies. I want to believe that “it’s part of God’s Plan………….There is a reason…………..”good’ will come from bad……………there are no mistakes.” But I don’t understand. Hopefully some day I will.
I tried to step back and see what possible “good” could have come out of this bad situation. I realized that all the couples with babies and children we know who were aware of this sad story expressed how grateful they were for the precious gifts of their children. Many said they would hug and cherish their children and thank God Daily for HIS gift of family. They also expressed how fleeting life is and we never know for sure how long we have.
While I can’t imagine the agony of the couple who lost their baby, I know many who were forced to look at their life, their children and the uncertainty of this existence because of this event, may have benefitted because they appreciated each moment so much more.
I am praying to YOU today, Jesus, to please help me appreciate daily the many Gifts YOU have bestowed on me in the form of my family. Praise to YOU O Lord, Jesus Christ.
by John on September 17, 2012
click the word “DASH” directly above this line to view this wonderful 2 minute video
by John on September 13, 2012
Hope is the fuel that the human heart runs on.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13
by John on July 25, 2012
Happy 37th Wedding Anniversary, Joy. It has gone by so fast and we have so much to be thankful for – 4 wonderful children and 4 wonderful grand children. God Blessed me most of all with you!
My “booted flower plant” anniversary gift symbolizes my request not to be “booted from your life or kicked to the curb.” HA
I love you. Love, John
by John on July 5, 2012
We moved recently to a small rural area of Cincinnati, down sizing, to Maineville, OH, I was pleasantly surprised when I attended a local church service on July 4th, 2 miles away. I was amazed there were over 200 people there that day at 9am (and there was nearly 100 people the next day). What was so refreshing and inspiring was:
1. How many good, Christian people showed up
2. Singing GOD BLESS AMERICA and AMERICA during service (I had forgotten religious freedom was such a big part of our Independence)
3. The Homily focused on the blessing of our religious freedom and our responsibility to cherish, defend and support it
4. I felt right at home the first time I walked in as I had been a bit discouraged feeling out of place at my former church
5. I immediately connected with the pastor and even made arrangements to speak with him privately
6. God is in control and wanted me to attend this church as I have a really good feeling about it and have committed to try an attend 9am service when I am in town
Praise to You O Lord Jesus Christ
by John on July 2, 2012
It’s always better to say much too little than a little too much.
“The mouths of fools are their undoing, and their lips are a snare to their very lives.” Proverbs 18:7
by John on June 23, 2012
Jesus Gives Honest Counsel
by Rick Warren
“Do not use harmful words, but only helpful words, the kind that build up and provide what is needed.” (Ephesians 4:29a TEV)
Correcting another person in a loving way is powerful. Done the right way, it builds people up. The difference between the right and the wrong way is your attitude.
If all you’re doing is pointing out faults, then stop. The purpose has to be to correct, not to condemn. You need to ask, “What’s my motive in this? Am I correcting him for my benefit or for his benefit?”
A lot of times we want to correct people just because they’re being jerks and they’re hassling us. We think, “If they would stop being such a jerk, my life would be easier.”
That’s the wrong motive.
Instead, follow Ephesians 4:15, which says to speak the truth in love. The key to proper correction: Affirm the person, then correct the behavior.
by John on May 31, 2012
“Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying ‘This is the way; walk in it.’” Isaiah 30:21
by John on May 29, 2012
Remove far from me vanity and lies: give me neither poverty nor riches; feed me with food convenient for me:
How wise and prudent are you? Do you fear wealth as much as poverty? Do you know that financial success is a vain lie? Here are two of the most important prayer requests you can ever pray! Agur gave inspired instruction to his two students about the danger and deception of money and riches, and your future success and tranquility depend on it.
Agur had a great desire for two petitions (30:7). He knew the dangerous consequences of not obtaining them (30:9). He understood the deceitful and damning nature of both financial success and poverty, so he begged God to deliver him from the arrogance of being rich and from the temptations of being poor. He begged for a moderate income.
Agur prayed for two things: (1) to be saved from vanity and lies, and (2) to obtain only moderate success in life, avoiding both poverty and riches. What vanity and lies are under view? The vanity and lies of riches and success! How so? Let the connection, context, and Bible drive the interpretation (I Cor 2:13), since there is no hint at lies of false religion, evolution, false gods, a cheating spouse, hypocrites, perjurers, or other such lies.
Vanity is anything futile, profitless, worthless, or empty. You know what a lie is. Riches are both! David wrote, “Surely men of low degree are vanity, and men of high degree are a lie: to be laid in the balance, they are altogether lighter than vanity” (Ps 62:9). God condemns men and their empty accomplishments. Agur wanted to be saved from wasting his life chasing the illusion of riches and success (23:4-5; Ps 119:136-137; I Tim 6:6-10).
Think honestly and wisely about money! It does not satisfy, even when you get lots of it; this is vanity (Eccl 4:8; 5:10)! It disappears quickly (27:24; Eccl 5:11)! It corrupts morals (Mark 10:23-25; I Tim 6:9-10; Titus 1:11)! You cannot take it with you (Matt 6:19-21; Luke 12:13-21; I Tim 6:7). It chokes out and destroys fruitfulness (Matt 6:24; 13:22). What vanity! Are you wise enough to believe these warnings and pray against wealth?
A wise man prays for a moderate income and estate, so he can avoid the temptations to sin on either end of the financial spectrum (30:9). He prays for contentment, and he learns contentment, knowing it is the true measure of success (I Tim 6:6; Phil 4:10-13). A wise man maximizes life by walking with God, regardless of assets or enemies (Heb 13:5-6). He fully despises obsession with filthy lucre (I Tim 3:3,8; Titus 1:7; I Pet 5:2).
by John on May 28, 2012
Laughter is like changing a baby’s diaper–it doesn’t solve any problems permanently, but it makes things more acceptable for a while.
“A cheerful heart is good medicine.” Proverbs 17:22
by John on May 28, 2012
Rationalization is making up an excuse in your mind for what you know is wrong in your heart.
“My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me…He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men’s hearts.” 1 Corinthians
by John on May 5, 2012
by John on April 17, 2012
by John on April 13, 2012
I mentioned several months ago that I was given what seemed like a great business opportunity unexpectedly so I felt blessed that it came into my life. When I had said it “fell into my lap,” my close friends said there is a reason and it was part of God’s Plan.
As it turned out, it was not what it appeared to be and the business opportunity dissolved. I was depressed and resentful at the time but since have realized the “good” that came out of it. Several key people entered my life as a direct result of that situation. One in particular has been a great spiritual inspiration. Some key business opportunities have emerged as well.
I believe Everything that happens is Part of God’s Plan. I need to try harder to be open to HIS WILL and stop complaining and whining when I don’t get exactly what I “think” I want and need at that moment. I am not in control…………HE is!
My prayer today is to ask God to help me be more open and willing to accept HIS WILL and Trust that HE IS IN CONTROL and that it is “ALL PART OF HIS PLAN.”
Praise to you O Lord Jesus Christ.
by John on April 3, 2012
A longtime very good friend in business, Wayne, recently announced his retirement after many successful years as a senior executive with a leading global distribution and retail company. As a tribute to Wayne, I am including below, the email I sent him.
“Wayne, congratulations on your retirement.
Wayne, you have obviously done an amazing job in your business career but I would like to comment on what I think is an even more significant achievement on your part.
Wayne, you are one of the few true Christians I have had the pleasure to work with in business. Everything you do flows from your faith and belief system. You have always treated everyone with respect and fairness. You are such a great example of a successful Christian businessman. You always saw the bigger picture That GOD is in Control. You were always concerned about people, not just the bottom line. You have always been an inspiration to me. Your response to my comments about family and grandchildren showed your priorities were always in the right place.
Wayne, while your business legacy is a shining example of how business is supposed to be conducted, successfully, your faith and Christian beliefs shine even brighter and have positively affected so many people, far more than you might realize. You SPREAD THE GOOD WORD just by living your faith and for that I thank you…….and so does Jesus!
God Bless You and your family and grandchildren in retirement.”
by John on April 1, 2012
Please pray for our childhood friend who is having stem-cell surgery this week.
by John on March 30, 2012
“Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” Romans 5:3
by John on March 27, 2012
A friend shared this with me recently which I really needed to read because of a major setback in business lately. Thank you. John
No Excuses ….. Today is the Day!
Beginning today I will create a new future by creating a new me.
No longer will I dwell in a pit of despair moaning over squandered time and lost opportunity.
I can do nothing about the past.
My future is immediate. I will grasp it with both hands and carry it with running feet.
When I am faced with a choice of doing nothing or doing something. I will always choose to act.
I seize this moment, I choose now.
I am a person of action.
I am energetic, I move quickly, knowing that laziness is a sin. I will create a habit of lively behavior.
I will walk with a spring in my step and a smile on my face.
The life-blood rushing through my veins urging me upward and forward into activity and accomplishment.
Wealth and prosperity hide form the slacker but rich rewards comes to the person who moves quickly.
I am a person of action, I inspire others with my activity.
I am a leader, leading is doing.
To lead, I must move forward.
Many people move out of the way for a person on the run: others are caught up in his wake.
My activity will create a wave of success for people who follow.
My activity will be consistent, this will instill confidence in my leadership.
As a leader, I have the ability to encourage and inspire others to greatness.
It is true, an army of sheep led by a lion would defeat any army of lions led by a sheep.
A person who moves neither left or right is destined for mediocrity.
When faced with a decision, many people say they are waiting for God, but I understand in most cases God is waiting for me.
He has given me a healthy mind to gather and sort information and the courage to come to a conclusion.
I am not a quivering dog, indecisive and fearful.
My constitiution is strong and my pathway clear.
Successful people make their decisions quickly and change their minds slowly.
Failures make decisions slowly and change their minds quickly.
My decisions come quick and they lead to victory.
I am a person of action. I am daring, I am courageous.
Fear no longer has a place in my life.
For too long, fear has outweighed my desire to make things better for my family.
Never again! I have exposed fear as a vapor, an imposter who never had any power over me in the first place.
I do not fear opinion, gossip, of idle chatter of the monkeys for they are all the same to me.
I do not fear failure in my life, failure is a myth.
Failure exists only to the person who quits: I do not quit!
I am courageous. I am a leader. I seize this moment. I choose now
by John on March 26, 2012
I saw 3 great Christian movies this week I wanted to share with you. The first one is currently in Theatres called OCTOBER BABY. It had a special meaning for our family and was so beautiful.
The second was on HALL MARK TV this weekend called BEYOND THE BLACKBOARD. It is an amazing true story starring Emily Vancamp who is currently the lead character in the Hit TV series REVENGE.
The 3rd is called THE SECRETS of Jonathan Sperry out on DVD. What is very special about this one is a new business associate and now good friend gave me this video after only our 2nd business meeting and I cherish the movie and friendship.
It is encouraging to know that there are still wonderfully, entertaining Christian movies available that have a real Spiritual Meaning as each of these Share the Message of Jesus.
Praise to You O Lord Jesus Christ.
by John on January 4, 2012
God is Good. Life is Good. Regardless of what the day brings, good news, bad news, no news, I want to PRAISE HIS HOLY NAME.
God Bless You Today and Everyday.
by John on January 2, 2012
I resolve to:
1. Attend church weekly
2. Have a “conversation” with Jesus daily, praying and not just asking for what I want and think I need but “listening” to what HE is trying to tell me.
3. Try my best to become the Christian HE wants me to be
4. Accept HIS Will; in good times PRAISE HIS NAME. In bad times, PRAISE HIS NAME.
by John on December 18, 2011
I was in Ireland this week meeting with a client and they took me to New Grange
Newgrange was constructed over 5,000 years ago (about 3,200 B.C.), making it older than Stonehenge in England and the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt. Newgrange was built during the Neolithic or New Stone Age by a farming community that prospered on the rich lands of the Boyne Valley. Knowth and Dowth are similar mounds that together with Newgrange have been designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Newgrange is now recognised to be much more than a passage tomb. Ancient Temple is a more fitting classification, a place of astrological, spiritual, religious and ceremonial importance, much as present day cathedrals are places of prestige and worship where dignitaries may be laid to rest; designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
I stood inside the tomb and was awstruck by:
1. How such an amazing, massive and intricate structure could have been made 5000 years ago – a testament to man’s achievement
2. I was even more struck by how powerful it was that these creatures of God would be so compelled by their worship of their deity, that they would spend 50 years constructing a monument to Praise their God. – a testament to God and Man’s Devotion to HIM.
3. It helped once again to put “things” in perspective for me about what is really important.
Praise to You O Lord Jesus Christ.
by John on December 9, 2011
Be the kind of man that, when your feet hit the floor each morning, the
devil says “Oh Crap, He’s up!” . Brother, life is too short to wake up with
regrets. So love the people who treat you right. Forgive the ones who don’t,
just because you can. Believe everything happens for a reason. If you get a
second chance, grab it with both hands. If it changes your life, let it.
Take a few minutes to think before you act when you’re mad. Forgive quickly.
God never said life would be easy, He just promised it would be worth it.
Today is Brothers’ day; send this to all your brothers, fathers, sons. If
you get back 7, you are loved. Happy Brothers’ Day! I LOVE YA BROTHER!!! To
the cool men that have touched my life. Here’s to you!! A real Brother walks
with you when the rest of the world walks on you. Send to all your Brothers,
because the phony ones won’t.
by John on November 26, 2011
by Rick Warren
“That you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” (Deuteronomy 30:20 NIV)
Today we’ve bought into this myth that love is uncontrollable, that it’s something that just happens to us. In fact, even the language we use implies the uncontrollability of love. We say, “I fell in love,” as if love is some kind of a ditch. It’s like I’m walking along one day and — bam! — I fell in love. I couldn’t help myself.
But I have to tell you the truth: That’s not love. Love doesn’t just happen to you. Love is a choice, and it represents a commitment.
You must choose to love God; he won’t force you to love him (Deuteronomy 30:20). You can thumb your nose at God and go a totally different way. You can destroy your life if you choose to do that. God still won’t force you to love him because he knows love can’t be forced.
This same principle is true about your relationships: You can choose to love others, but God won’t force you to love anyone.
During the Christmas season, we gather to celebrate with family and friends. It is often a joyous time. But I’ve been a pastor for more than 30 years, so I know it can also be a time of tension and heartache.
Is there someone you might have trouble loving this Christmas season — someone in your family, a friend, or a neighbor? God will help you love that person if you make the choice to do so.
That doesn’t mean everything will become perfect; it doesn’t even mean that person will accept your love. But you are the only person who can stop you from loving someone else — because love is a choice you make.
by John on November 23, 2011
I saw this phrase, “SMOOTH SEAS DON’T MAKE SKILLFUL SAILORS”, on a local church sign and it caught my eye. At first I thought it was “clever” talking about “being tested in sports, competition, work, and a career” where the “obstacles and challenges” provide the battle ground to hone one’s skills.
But the more I thought about it, the more I realized there was a deeper meaning. God placed us here on this earth as a test to see if we would follow HIS WORD. If we were never tested, then how could we show God how much we love HIM. I know I have failed many of HIS “tests” because many of the rough storms “at sea” in my life got the best of me and I have given into temptation.
But I have also “weathered many storms” and in fact, there are times when I can look back and see just how far I have come towards getting closer to God and Jesus.
On the one hand, the worse thing I could do is become over confident of my progress because then I know the devil would challenge me with the most exquisite temptation and my cockiness would be my downfall.
On the other hand, I sometimes see the “temptations and raging storms” as a gift from GOD for me to show HIM I am determined to spend eternal life with HIM. I can point to several “raging storms” in my life where I was devastated to the brink of despair, only to find out later that that “storm” allowed me to realize how out of control my life had become and forced me back on the “straight and narrow…..a true blessing. and devine intervention.”
I also know that the closer I get to God, the raging storms are becoming more violent. I choose to see those ever increasing temptations as a gift, an opportunity to secure my place forever with my Creator and Savior.
Praise to YOU O LORD JESUS CHRIST.
by John on November 22, 2011
At church Sunday, the homily was about being ready because we don’t know when God will call us home. Here are my thoughts about this incredibly important subject and one most of us avoid
1. Only God knows.
Rather than live in fear and terrified of thinking about when that day will come, I TRY to live my life as if it was my last day and TRY to keep in God’s Good Graces at all times. I am not always successful. I am a sinner. But rather than ignoring the inevitable and not thinking about meeting my Savior tomorrow, for instance, I TRY at night in my prayers to say God if it is Your Will that I live another day, then please help me TRY to Worship you in everything I do tomorrow. If my time has come, Praise to You O Lord Jesus Christ.
2. Have I told my loved ones I love them lately?
I am guilty of assuming I will always have plenty of time to tell my loved ones that I love them. There are so many things I need to say to them and I am inclined to procrastinate thinking “there will always be time to get around to that!” But in my heart I know I should not put off telling those closest to me how much I cherish them, how much I love them, how much joy they bring into my live and how blessed I have been that God graced me with their love.
Praise to You O Lord Jesus Christ
by John on November 9, 2011
(click “I Can Only Imagine”….below to hear and view video)
They sang my favorite song at church this weekend.
by John on November 1, 2011
There are now 7 billion humans on planet earth. That is 7,000,000,000…..count ‘em…..9 “zeros.”
When I heard this I immediately felt so insignificant and trivial. I thought how in the world (‘pun” intended) could My God truly care and be concerned about my little world, my little series of problems, drama, ups and downs, daily tribulations and seemingly meaningless existence. Why would HE even care about One in 7 billion, not to mention the billions who have come before me…………..and will come after me?
Then I realized why would anyone, willingly, especially “GOD,” sacrifice the life of HIS only SON unless the Purpose of that Sacrifice was so important to HIM to allow and justify the pain, suffering, torture and death of someone loved so dearly?
Jesus died for me and the other countless Billions of Souls so that we could live for eternity with GOD.
That thought makes me feel very special, privileged, humbled and blessed. My life does matter to GOD. HE created me. Sacrificed HIS SON for me and HE wants me with HIM forever.
And all I have to do is Accept Jesus Christ into my life and follow HIS Teachings.
My life truly has meaning!
Praise to YOU O LORD JESUS CHRIST
by John on October 23, 2011
A Guide to Help You Decide
by Rick Warren
“He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way.” Psalm 25:9 (NIV)
The Bible says there are several things we need to do to receive guidance from God, but the very first thing is this: I need to admit I need a guide!
Sheep, by nature, tend to wander off the path. The Prophet Isaiah says, “All of us like sheep have strayed away! We have left God’s paths to follow our own.” (Isaiah 53:6 NLT)
Most of the time we don’t want to follow God or anybody else. We want to go our own way. We don’t want to admit we need direction or that we need a guide.
Another thing about sheep is that they have poor vision. They can’t see very far ahead. That’s why they need a shepherd.
God made you so that you would not be able to see into the future no matter how much you try.
Why did God do this?
He did it so you would depend on Him. Proverbs 14:12 says, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.” (NIV) We’ve all made decisions that at the time seemed right but later on turned out to be wrong. Some paths lead to dead ends and we end up off track. That’s why we need to admit, “God, I need help.”
by John on October 19, 2011
When You Give, You Are Performing a Service
by Rick Warren
You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion … your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God. 2 Corinthians 9:11 (NIV)
What an amazing verse! God makes you rich in every way so you can be generous on every occasion, which will result in thanksgiving to God.
God doesn’t bless you to be greedy; he blesses you so you can be generous. God doesn’t give you things so you can pile them up. When you let go of what’s in your hand, it’s now empty to receive greater blessings from God.
God’s giving to you is based on your attitude. That’s why it’s so important to live with an attitude of gratitude and to be content with what you have. The Bible says, “This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God” (2 Corinthians 9:12 NIV).
When you give, you are performing a service. To serve and to give is the same thing. It’s two actions of love. You can’t love without serving and giving. Your service leads to expressions of thanksgiving to God and to contentment.
Take a moment to pray and express your gratitude to God. Ask him to show you the way to contentment. Then, ask him to bless you so you can be a blessing to others.
by John on October 12, 2011
So many women in our broader family suffer from or have suffered from or worry about breast cancer. I don’t begin to assume I have any idea just how devastating, frightening, painful, demoralizing and hideous this dreaded curse can be.
I am offering up a prayer today to Jesus to Please help all who suffer and their families, to receive God’s Grace, Mercy and Strength to not give up hope.
Trust in Jesus, our Savior.
Praise to you O Lord Jesus Christ.
by John on October 10, 2011
Encouragement Needs to Be Specific
by Rick Warren
“We who are strong in the faith ought to help the weak in order to build them up in the faith.” Romans 15:1
Jesus encouraged people, and he told those who are strong in faith to make a point of encouraging others in their faith.
You should encourage the people around you too.
We all need confidence. When you know that someone believes in you, it brings out your best. Jesus did this with the Apostle Peter. Peter’s name, Petros, meant pebble. But Jesus said, “Pebble, you’re going to be a rock. I’m giving you a new name.”
When Jesus said that to Peter the apostle was anything but a rock. He was Mr. Impulsive and Mr. Foot-in-Mouth, but Jesus didn’t tell Peter what he WAS. Jesus told him what he could BE. Jesus encouraged Peter to live up to his potential.
When you give encouragement, it needs to be genuine. Give it from the heart and with sincerity. Encouragement also needs to be regular. Don’t be stingy with your encouragement.
In addition, encouragement needs to be specific. For instance, instead of saying, “I enjoyed the meal,” say, “I can tell you put a lot of effort into this meal and the seasoning you chose was perfect.”
Who will you encourage today? What specific thing will you say?