Finding God in “Customs”

by John on August 22, 2010

I was in Toronto, Canada this week on business as I presented products to Shoppers Drug Mart, headquartered there. It took me about 90 minutes to clear customs coming back to the US at 5 AM in the morning. There were about 600 people going through customs with me at that time which made it take so long. There must have been over 20 nationalities and languages present amongst all the people, many with families, very diverse. Here are a few of my observations as I studied the crowd.

1. Each family dynamic seemed similar, the young kids hugging their parents, and vice versa and siblings pushing and shoving each other.

2. Mom and Dad working together to keep the family together, keep the kids calm and reassured, helping and leaning on each other as partners. Lots of eye contact between parents/partners, more non verbal communication than audible communication

3. Most everyone was a little on edge for several reasons. Too early in the morning. Worried about clearing customs to make their respective flight as most people were surprised at the crowd, including the Customs staff.

4. I was taken by the diversity in clothing, hairstyles, colors, makeup, tattoos, shoes, jewelry/piercings, obviously language, smell, nails, facial hair, head gear, lifestyles, height, weight, width, different head shapes and body types and sizes.

5. I smiled at all with which I connected with their gaze and nearly all smiled back in a friendly and warm way. The older the person, the more friendly and genuine the smile.

6. I was suddenly amazed at how Magnificent my God is because as we are all so incredibly unique and distinctive on the surface and from an outside point of reference. This was only a microcosm of our world, around 600 people but yet the diversity and complexity becomes beyond my scope of comprehension when I consider the billions of people present, past and yet to come.

7. The look in their eyes, the shared apprehension, tension, the obvious connection to their spouse, significant other, and family and for the most part, connection to me was so universally consistent, it was shocking that so much separation and diversity on the outside could also be so much consistency and commonality on the inside.

8. I was humbled that I was only one among billions of God’s children and at first felt insignificant and “lost in the numbers.” But the more I thought about it, the more special and excited I felt because a God this Amazing Loved me as much as everyone in the room and on the planet. HIS SON died for everyone in that room and all I had to do was accept and worship HIM and I was saved.

9. I then felt not so alone, or the only one with problems, fears, worries, disappointments because it was obvious standing in that room that we all go through the same turmoil of ups and downs. I was encouraged that we all shared the same uncertainties of this existence but more importantly, the certainty of eternity.

10. I realized once more how fortunate it is to be a Child of God and it made me want to Praise and Worship HIM even more!

The message that’s always true

by John on August 20, 2010


by John Fischer

Here is what the Spirit of God says to us: “Tell him I love him.”

It could be to a friend recovering from bypass surgery in the hospital; it could be to a homeless man, smelly and half nuts; it could to be your husband just going out the door for a few groceries… and never coming back again; it could be to the lady who cut in front of you in line; it could be to your best friend, the one you won’t ever see again who left the party early to walk home. For all of these situations, the Holy Spirit wants to have us “Tell him I love him,” sooner than later.

It could be to the guy you cut off who is pointing to the sky with his middle finger; it could be to the lady who cheated you out of the last parking space; it could be to your kids lying asleep in the still of the night; it could be to the man who took you for a fool and made off with the money before the job was done. It’s what the Spirit wants you to say: “Tell him I love him.”

It could be to the man in drag in the gay pride parade as well as the hate-filled “Christian” holding a sign that condemns him; it could be to the neighbor on one side who keeps to himself, and the one on the other that you wish would; it could be to the friend you just met and the one you’ve known forever; it could be to the one who abused you as well as the one you abused; it could be to the one you owe or the one who owes you; the message is the same: “Tell him I love him.”

The message will always be the same: “Tell him I love him.” You can’t go wrong.

Grandson is wise Yoda

by John on August 18, 2010


My 2 year old grandson is a very wise teacher…….. just like Yoda from Star Wars.

I had an extremely hectic trip flying to Chicago and NYC the last 2 days for business. I was all bent out of shape from travel hassels, business issues, blah, blah, blah and was in a bad mood when I got home.

The first thing my grandson said when I saw him was…..”Pa, do you want to play?” Well, those few simple words from that angelic face was all I needed to burst out of my bad mood and realize just how truly fortunate and blessed I was.

Everyone has problems. But so often I act as if my minor and many times insignificant problems are the most important things in my life…….which is “so” not the case.

The most important things in my life are my family, my grand children, my faith and reminding myself that GOD is the center of my life………not that Delta made me sit my fat behind in the middle seat!!

My grandson reminded me once again of my priorities. Classic role reversal. He is about the size of Yoda so I guess I am his “obi wan kenobi.” Next time as Yoda, my grandson will probably say to me:

“Pa, with me you play, now, yes?”

Forgiveness – Last Post

by John on August 14, 2010


Someone recently asked me what single word would best describe what Christianity stands for. For me that one word is FORGIVENESS.

Forgiveness is not something you do for someone else; it is something you do for yourself. Give yourself the gift of forgiveness.

A wonderful book to help with Forgiveness, especially, forgiving yourself, is TOTAL FORGIVENESS by R.T. Kendall. Thanks to Scott for recommending it to me.

Forgiveness Part 7

by John on August 14, 2010


By David Schell

When someone won’t forgive refusing to forgiven in return is no answer. That’s like wrapping yourself in the other’s chains. Keep yourself free; forgive

To help you forgive, picture the other person surrounded by the light of God. See yourself stepping into that same light and feel God’s presence with you both.

Forgive even when there has been no apology or restitution. If you withhold forgiveness until a wrong is made right, you risk condemning yourself to a life sentence of unresolved bitterness; you risk letting your life by shaped by someone else’s actions

Forgiveness Part 6

by John on August 14, 2010

By David Schell

Ask yourself whether “I can’t forgive” means I won’t forgive.” Then turn your heart toward the warmth of God’s love and allow that love to thaw your heart.

Forgiveness takes courage and determination. Dig deep and you will find the strength you need.
Allow forgiveness to open the door to reconciliation. Today’s bully could be tomorrow’s friend.

Accept the possibility of rebuilding a relationship. Past offenses can be bulldozed and buried and a better life built atop the debris.

Don’t put conditions on your forgiveness or your inner peace will depend on the decision of the person who hurt you. Make your own choice.

Forgiveness Part 5

by John on August 13, 2010

by David Schell

Forgiveness takes practice. Start with small hurts and work your way up to the big ones.

Forgiveness is a lifelong process. Forgive over and over, even for the same offense.

Forgiveness may seem futile when you see no immediate results. But healing and growth are like aged cheese…..not instant mashed potatoes. Give forgiveness time.

No one can make you feel bad. You have the power to choose between getting bitter and getting better. Take responsibility for your feelings; claim your power.

You cannot change someone for the better by holding a grudge. Grudges only change you, for the worse.

Forgiveness Part 4

by John on August 12, 2010

by David Schell

If you find it hard to forgive your parents for their imperfect parenting, remember; they were shaped by the imperfect parenting they received from parents who were shaped by their own parenting, and so on and son on…

Forget about forgetting an injury. That’s not always possible, and maybe at times not even desirable. Rather, choose to move on, past remembering to forgiveness.

Let forgiveness be the catalyst for a healthy chain reaction. Forgiveness sterilizes the wound, which permits healing, which releases energy for growth.

No loving relationship is free of hurts. Bind up the wounds of love with forgiveness.

No offense is unforgivable, unless you make it so. Use your power wisely.

When you are having a difficult time forgiving, recall a moment when you wanted to be forgiven. Offer the other person what you wanted to receive.

Forgiveness Part 3

by John on August 11, 2010

by David Schell

Recognize how you’ve refused to forgive. Keeping inner monsters at bay requires energy. Instead, use your energy to affirm and embrace life.

Victims are helpless, at the mercy of the offender. By showing mercy to an offender, you put yourself back in control. Take charge by forgiving.

Know that forgiveness is possible even in the most hurtful circumstances, even toward someone you may not trust or respect, even when someone doesn’t seem to deserve forgiveness. It is a testimony to the goodness of your Creator instilled within you from the first moment of your being.

Forgiveness is the only real prescription for the pain you feel over someone else’s behavior. The healing choice is yours to make.

Think of forgiveness as a powerful survival skill. It helps you find your way through the wilderness of misunderstanding, hurt, resentment and hatred.

Forgiveness Part 2

by John on August 9, 2010

by David Schell

You have the right to feel sad, betrayed, angry, resentful when you’ve been injured. Understand, accept and express your feelings. Pushing them below the surface only means they will erupt in another place, at another time.

Confront those who have hurt you; tell them how you feel. When that’s impossible or when that could harm you or someone else, speak to them in your imagination.

Forgiveness does not mean accepting further abuse or continuing destructive relationships. Establish boundaries for what is acceptable to you and make those boundaries clear to others. Hold them accountable for their actions.

Justice may right the wrongs, but forgivesness heals the hurt. Seek forgiveness beyond justice.

Sometimes people hurt you because, like you, they are learning and growing. Forgive their incompleteness, their humanness.

To refuse to forgive is to continue to hurt yourself. Victimized once, your lack of forgiveness keeps you stuck as a victim, holding on to a victim’s identity. Instead, claim the identity of one who forgives.

Forgiveness Part 1

by John on August 8, 2010


I struggle forgiving myself for the harm, injury, hurt and disappointments I have caused my God, friends and family. I know God forgives me unconditionally through HIS SON JESUS CHRIST, but I pray that HE can help me forgive myself. I also tend to not forgive others nearly as quickly as HE would want.

“Forgiveness” was so important to Jesus that he mentions it in the Only prayer HE told us to pray: “and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us”

I am going to share words I have read from a wonderful little booklet called “FORGIVENESS THERAPY” by David Schell which has helped me. I hope it helps you as well as you forgive yourself and others.

“Forgiveness means bending without breaking, being strong enough to withstand the heavy weight of injury but resilient enought to recover. Be forgiving.

Life is never perfect and often unfair. Forgive life’s inevitable failures.

Forgive yourself: for what you regret doing and for what you wish you had done, for not being fully yourself andf for being only yourself.

Self-forgiveness cleanses the soul, washing away shame and guilt. Out of self-forgiveness comes the power to extend forgiveness to other.”

Praise to you O Lord Jesus Christ.

Grain of Sand in the Hour Glass of Eternity

by John on August 6, 2010


I would like to share a response I received from one who read my post yesterday. These encouraging words are much appreciated and helps me keep “things” in perspective. Thank you.

(COMMENT RECEIVED YESTERDAY)
“Hang in there! Life is hard for many these days. Everyone is working twice as hard for less. Many people are doubting themselves. Even as you struggle you are blessed – God, faith, family, a 35 year marriage – don’t lose sight. Each day you struggle is like a grain of sand in the hour glass of eternity. It has a purpose and some day you will look back and realize you made it. “At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. At present I know partially; then I shall know fully, as I am fully known. So faith, hope and love remain…” 1 Corinthians 13: 12 – 13. I enjoy reading your post. I get it on my Blackberry and sometimes it is just the message I need to hear. Peace be with you and your family!

Especially Need Jesus Today

by John on August 4, 2010


Feeling lost, lonely, tired, depressed and home sick today. Feeling sorry for myself. Been gone too long from home for work. I miss my family and children…..and my dogs, too!

I have not slept in my own bed next to my childhood sweetheart and wife of 35 years but 1 night in the last 14 days.

I need Jesus today to help me and keep me company. I need Him everyday………but especially today.

My negative and depressed mood is the ideal “playground” for the devil to
try and trick me, but he won’t be successful.

Jesus, please be with me today in everything I do, think and say. Help me be aware of Your presence and guide me.

Praise to you O Lord Jesus Christ

Your job should express your heart

by John on July 29, 2010


by Rick Warren

From now on if you listen obediently to the commandments that I am commanding you today, love God, your God, and serve him with everything you have within you, he’ll take charge of sending the rain at the right time …. Deuteronomy 11:13-14 (MSG)
“Don’t waste your life in a job that doesn’t express your heart. ”

Repeatedly, the Bible says to “serve the Lord with all your heart.” God wants you to serve him passionately, not dutifully. People rarely excel at tasks they don’t enjoy doing or feel passionate about. God wants you to use your natural interests to serve him and others.

How do you know when you’re serving God from your heart?

The first telltale sign is enthusiasm. When you’re doing what you love to do, no one has to motivate you, or challenge you, or check up on you. You do it for the sheer enjoyment. You don’t need rewards, or applause, or to be paid, because you love serving in this way.

The opposite is also true: When you don’t have a heart for what you’re doing, you’re easily discouraged.

One characteristic of serving God from your heart is effectiveness: whenever you do what God wired you to love to do, you get good at it. Passion drives perfection. If you don’t care about a task, it is unlikely that you’ll excel at it.

On the other hand, the highest achievers in any field are those who do it because of passion, not duty or profit.

We’ve all heard people say, “I took a job I hate in order to make a lot of money, so someday I can quit and do what I love to do.” That’s a big mistake. Don’t waste your life in a job that doesn’t express your heart.

Remember, the greatest things in life are not things. Meaning is far more important than money. The richest man in the world once said, “A simple life in the fear-of-God is better than a rich life with a ton of headaches” (Proverbs 15:16 MSG).

Don’t settle for achieving “the good life,” because the good life is not good enough. Ultimately, it doesn’t satisfy. You can have a lot to live on, and still have nothing to live for. Aim instead for “the better life” – serving God in a way that expresses your heart.

Figure out what you love to do – that which God gave you a heart for – and then do it for his glory!

A little humor

by John on July 28, 2010

Stepping into a new life

by John on July 24, 2010

by Rick Warren

“Come!” answered Jesus. So Peter got out of the boat and started walking on the water to Jesus. Matthew 14:29
“By our obedience, we learn to be faithful.”

When Peter stepped out of the storm-tossed boat and onto the water, where was the safest place to be? In the boat or in the arms of Jesus?

The answer, of course, is Jesus, and for a brief time, Peter saw that. Right then he got a glimpse of what it is like to TRUST in Jesus and what it is like to operate within the realm of costly grace as a citizen of the kingdom of heaven.

And we get a glimpse of that too. We see that following Jesus requires us to step into apparent insecurity in order to find true security.

It’s a paradox of faith: Our first step of faith places us in a position where faith becomes possible. By our obedience, we learn to be faithful. If we refuse to follow, we never learn how to believe. We stay stuck in the shallow end of faith, trusting in ourselves, living by sight and not by faith.

The essence of discipleship is Jesus constantly pushing us into new situations where it is possible for us to trust him even more. He pushes us toward “the impos­sible situation in which everything is staked solely on the word of Jesus,” says the German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer.

For my good friend

by John on July 22, 2010


A good friend told me yesterday of his struggles, like many of us — business, financial, relationship problems. He was not whining or complaining merely acknowledging that it was very difficult for him currently.

He said through his struggles his self-esteem had never been lower which made matters even worse when his spouse criticized him for their problems.

I believe God allows these “crosses” in our lives for several reasons.

1. To help us make sure our priorities are where they should be

2. To realize our self worth is not a function of how much money we make or how successful we are or how big our house is.

3. To realize our self worth is a function of being a child of God; of being chosen by God; of what “good” we do in our life; of how we can positively affect others; of how we can Spread HIS WORD and be an example of what it means to be Christian.

4. To realize the best way to be a Beacon for God is Profess Our Faith when we are taking “up our Cross” and accepting it as God’s Plan.

5. To realize Jesus’ defining moment on this earth was when HE was rejected and crucified for us. He never lost sight of HIS mission. He never lost HIS faith, love and admiration for HIS Father, Our God. Jesus’ greatest struggle on earth is what has been the most important and impactful act that inspires my faith.

So my advice to my good friend is the same advice I give myself which is to never lose the faith, never lose sight of our eternal goal and never stop Praising His Holy Name.

3 Times before the cock crows

by John on July 20, 2010

A good friend recently gave me a refreshing new insight into the bible passage where Jesus tells Joseph you will “deny you know me 3 times before the cock crows.”

I always thought this was only intended to reveal how weak we are as humans.

But the new insight I got from my friend is that the more important message here is that God’s Love surpasses my capacity to understand.

Jesus is saying to Joseph, I know you will deny me and disown me 3 times and abandon me. But I continue to Love you and hold you close to my Heart because I realize you are scared and weak and afraid for your safety to admit you are My disciple.

But despite your weakness and fears, I will always Love and Cherish you. I forgive you. I want you to know that I will always be there for You.

I am so blessed to have My God Love me unconditionally. Praise to You O Lord Jesus Christ.

God is my “GPS”

by John on July 18, 2010


Sometimes I worry and regret choices and decisions I make thinking my life would be different if I had only done this or that.

It seems a waste of time to try and second guess the past. There is nothing I can do about the past. Yes, I can learn from it and hopefully make better choices and decisions going forward.

But I truly believe that God is in control of my life and I am exactly where HE wants me to be at this very moment. The good and bad things that have happened, the people HE has placed in and out of my life, the good and bad choices and decisions I have made have brought me to this point and that is where HE wants me to be.

This thinking greatly helps me achieve a certain degree of peace of mind rather than wishing “what could have been.” I try my best to say this is what HE wanted. All that has happened in my life has lead me to this point and that is exactly what is part of HIS Plan for me and all that I have experienced is better preparing me to be HIS Witness.

So as I approach each day I try to keep an open and positive mind and accept what God has in store for me. I am ready for what HIS Purpose, Plan and Design is for me today…..and everyday.

GOD is my GPS!

The Positives of Suffering

by John on July 16, 2010

What God does in us while we wait is as important as what it is we are waiting for.

“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

Intellectually I know “suffering” is an opportunity to prove my Love for God. But rarely can I “buy in” to this idea when I am actually sick or suffering.

Recent physical “suffering” I have endured have been kidney stones and swine flu (very painful headaches). I know there is much greater pain in many other people’s suffering but these are what I know.

While I was extremely eager to take as much legal pain medication as I possibly could, while in the hospital in both of these situations, I did discover an important lesson. When I fought, rejected and “cursed” the pain, the more it seemed to hurt regardless of how much pain medication I took. The more I felt sorry for myself, the more miserable I was.

There were brief periods of time. however, when I surrendered to the pain and told God I accepted the pain in His Name. When I was able to do that, the pain lessened and there was much more clarity in my thinking. When my mind is completely absorbed in the pain, everything else, all other worries and other problems disappeared. My priorities seemed to rectify themselves at that time.

I believe God affords me the opportunity during periods of pain, suffering and “waiting” to examine my life and take stock of where my priorities are at the moment.

In my lifetime, there have been several situations when pain, suffering and waiting have helped me make significant changes in my life that needed to be made. I believe God allowed those events as a way to help me see what needed to be changed in my life.

While I will never welcome pain, I have tried to take a broader perspective of “suffering” such that I now consider it an opportunity, a gift from God, to examine my life without all the myriad distractions of daily pain free life to honestly examine my life and priorities.

That in itself to me is a very positive aspect of suffering.

Accepting God’s Plan

by John on July 15, 2010


Don’t let life discourage you; everyone who got where he is had to begin where he was.

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

Life can be so discouraging, so many disappointments, unexpected surprises, some good, some not so good.

I have read self help books and studied various philosophies that promote accepting “what is.” Life “happens.” How I deal with life and accept or reject it, feel sorry or disappointment for myself is up to me.

That all sounds good on paper. But when the pressure is on, and others are relying on you and your have goals, aspirations and want some peace, stability, calm and contentment in this life, what is on paper does not always seem to help.

At the end of the day, the only thing I can do when faced with life’s discouragement is to Pray to God and ask HIM to help me get through it. The key for me is to realize my prayer has to be “God please help me get through this and accept Your Plan for me” vs “God give me what I want.”

Love is a journey, a process

by John on July 13, 2010

Once you have learned to love, you will have learned to live.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, 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.” I Corinthians 13:4-7

I have read this bible passage at my daughter and niece’s wedding. It’s my favorite. Today I stopped and really looked at each word. It is rare to “experience” and “express” love as the bible defines it here.

I always struggle with Patience. I try to be kind but it seems the more impatient I become, the harder it is for me to always be kind to everyone.

No envy, boasting, pride…..while I succeed here more than I fail, I am guilty at times of each.

Rude, self-seeking, easily angered, no record of wrongs. Not so good here either.

No delight in evil…CHECK. Rejoice in the Truth…CHECK

Always protects, trusts, hopes, perseveres. While I get different “ratings” of each depending on which “relationship” I evaluate: spouse, family, friends, business associates, strangers….enemies, God expects me to adhere to these standards of love in Every relationship.

Jesus was the perfect model adhering to this rigid standard in all HIS relationships. Jesus loves me in this way. While I fall short in most of these areas, I try to continue to improve. My intentions are good but my will and control are weak.

I believe just as life is a journey, my expression of Love in my relationships is also a journey, a process. Today I am praying to Jesus to help me continue to stay on the path that will lead me to live up to HIS expectation of Love in all my relationships.

Praise to you O Lord Jesus Christ

Purpose

by John on July 13, 2010


Here is a way to determine if your life has a purpose: If you are alive, it does.

“’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

What you think about

by John on July 12, 2010


by John Fischer

What do you think about when you’re not aware of what you’re thinking? An argument could be made that a person’s thoughts are their own business. This is true to a point, but sooner or later, a person’s thoughts become the business of everyone around them. That’s because a person’s thoughts never stay their thoughts. Eventually their thoughts determine their actions—more than that—they determine who they are.

Jesus put it this way: “The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of the heart his mouth speaks.” (Luke 6:45) When this overflow takes place, we don’t know. A person may be able to live something that is contrary to their heart for a while, but sooner or later his inner life becomes his outer expression, good or bad.

Many Scriptures place a high value on what we think about, but none as clearly as Paul’s admonition in Philippians: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praise-worthy—think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8)

This verse immediately raises the question as to how one does this. Are we to arrange our world and our experiences so as to only encounter that which is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, and worthy of praise so that these will be the things that fill our minds most of the time? Though this appears to be the most common interpretation of this verse, it is hard to imagine anyone really finding and maintaining such a pristine environment for any length of time. Our environment and responsibilities in society force us to encounter much that is false, ignoble, wrong, impure, ugly, less than admirable, and not worthy of praise. How can we limit being exposed to bad things if we live in a world that constantly throws both bad and good at us? Can we realistically ensure only good things will enter our minds?

The important distinction to make here is that Paul is not talking about what we are exposed to—what we encounter in the world—but rather, what we think about. What we observe and what we think about are two very different things. This is not about what is in our field of vision as much as it is about what occupies our mind. You can’t always control what you see, but you can control what you think about.

So decide what will you think about today. It will make a difference in who you are, and what you do.

…but not just yet

by John on July 9, 2010


Have you ever been in a situation where you know God expects you to “let go” of something you really want that is destructive, sinful, unhealthy, offensive to God or just plain wrong but you justify “I promise to let go of ‘this’…..but not just yet.”

This is where I believe the devil is at his evil best. He tricks me into rationalizing it won’t hurt if I just hang on to ‘this’ just a little bit longer and then I absolutely promise to let go of it….get it completely out of my life….never to be affected by it ever again!

But what happens in reality, the longer I hang on to “it” the harder it is to let go. Or I substitute something equally as destructive justifying “well at least I let go of ‘that’ as promised.”

My prayer today is to ask God and Jesus:

1. Help me see thru the illusion of “what I want and what I think it is doing for me”

2. Help me realize that NOTHING in this life is worth losing my soul for eternity

3. Help me say NO to the devil’s evil suggestions and temptations

4. Please intercede for me and Help me “let go.”

5. Lead me not into temptation

6. Deliver me from evil

7. Help me see “it” clearly for what it really is and what it is doing to me, my life and those I love

8. Help me understand what purpose “this” is serving in my life, what need it is fulfilling and help me find a suitable and wholesome replacement.

9. Help me see “this” thru Jesus’ Eyes

10. Forgive me.

Short Leash

by John on July 7, 2010

(Email from good friend)

John–
Being a dog lover, I really enjoyed your last blog entry about your dog, Lilly. I see we think alike…I, too, am quick to judge, stereotype people.

I found that the LORD used our family dog of 14 years (shown above-he’s in K9 heaven now) to teach me about our relationship. Max was a very energetic, curious wire-haired Fox Terrier. When taking him for a walk, he’d always need to be on a leash, for he’d take off chasing after anything that moved–squirrels, birds, bunnies…etc. I found the “master-dog” relationship to be so illuminating about my relationship w/God. I loved him more than Max could ever understand.

If a bigger, mean dog threatened him, I’d put myself in danger to protect him. Once when he ran out in front of a car, I chased after him w/o regard for my own safety. Max didn’t speak my language, knew a small fraction of what I knew about the world…but when we went on walks, down paths he was unfamiliar with, he trusted me. I could see cars coming far down the road that he couldn’t see. I could pick up that big, mean dog way far away, and change our trek to avoid that danger. I took him on the safe path. Occasionally, Max would see something interesting that he’d want to sprint after, going down the wrong path. I’d gently tug on the leash to get him back on my path…the way I wanted US to go together.

My prayer each and every day is that the Lord would keep me on HIS path, that he’d keep me on a short leash to keep me out of danger! I love life richly when I can walk down the path with HIM!
Have a super day in HIS love!

A Big Lick

by John on July 7, 2010

“Lilly,” our 4 month old King James Cavalier Spaniel, continues to teach me “The Way.” Lilly weighs 12 lbs and met our son’s 130 lb Rottweiler, “Harlem,” recently. Lilly instantly cozied up to this creature that was over 10 times larger, different breed, male and very intimidating looking. Lilly did not judge, think about it, or flinch. She saw a new creature and assumed the best case scenario and since Harlem was in Lilly’s house and her master seemed “OK” with Harlem, she was “OK” with Harlem, too.

So many times I will see someone new, different culture, race, heritage, different clothing, maybe they have tattoes, funny looking hair, or simply just a different look from me. My first reaction is to “judge” them and stereotype them. I start to compare and evaluate them vs my belief system and my perceptions. Some would call it ethnic or racial profiling. Whatever name one uses, the mere act of judging someone based on appearance is just wrong….but I am guilty as charged at times.

There are, of course, certain situations, locations or environments when caution would be prudent, but in general when I meet someone totally new and different from me in a neutral and safe environment, there is no reason not to accept them and embrace them as one of God’s Children, just as I am. I should not judge them, even think about the differences but accept them as who they are, an equal in God’s Eye and embrace them looking for the good in them b/c the “good” is there if one only looks for it.

Lilly is so good natured she seems to look for the good in every creature she meets, animal and human, and her first reaction is to give them a big lick. Now I am not recommending going around licking everyone I meet for the first time (nor sniffing their behind as Lilly often does), but I am going to try my best to not fall into my old habit of immediately judging.

Since we are all part of God’s Family, that seems like the right thing to do.

Voices in my head

by John on July 6, 2010

At Sunday church service I tried my best to stay focused on why I was there….to Praise Jesus Christ. I made a galant effort but I was amazed at how easily I was distracted and all the random thoughts that popped into my head.

Here is a brief exerpt of the “random thoughts” that flashed thru my mind.

“Good, my favorite Priest is saying mass today b/c his homily is always great”
“I have to remember to email Scott tomorrow about our trade show.”
“Who is that sitting in the front row? I never saw them before.”
“I wish the lector would speak louder when reading scripture.”
“I never heard that message before in that scripture…that is something I never thought of….. good”
“I wish they would turn the air conditioning down. I am freezing.”
“I wish my wife would move over and give me more room on the kneeler.”
“God please forgive me for XXXXXXXXXXXX yesterday”
“I love Father’s humor in his homily b/c it always makes me laugh and is so relatable”
“xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx”
“I hope I did not forget to record the tennis match that comes on during church today”
“Father makes a great point about commitment.”
“I have not seen them for a long time….I wonder where they have been?”
“Where should we go to eat after church?
“I wish that baby would stop crying b/c I can’t hear Father.”
“I love this Hymn.”
“My hip hurts…….”
“Praise to you O Lord Jesus Christ”…………………………………………

I really am Not Schizophrenic!!!

I am embarrassed to admit how difficult it is for me to stay totally focused on God at church. It reminds me a bit of when the apostles kept falling asleep when Jesus asked them to pray with HIM the night HE was taken. Sometimes I have to think that I am such a disappointment to God. I can’t even stay focused on HIM for one hour at church. My spirit is willing, but my body and mind are so weak.

When I think of how imperfect I am, and How Perfect God is I am so humbled to think that HE would sacrifice HIS only Son for me so I could spend eternity with THEM. It is beyond my comprehension that God Loves and Cherishes me…….imperfect, sinful, weak, troubled, unworthy me! I am so fortunate that God has Chosen me b/c I am completley unworthy of HIS Love. But that is what makes My God so worthy of my Praise, Admiration and Love.

Wrong Company

by John on July 2, 2010

It is better to be alone than in the wrong company.

“Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.” 1 Corinthians 15:33

Church Bulletins

by John on July 1, 2010

The Fasting & Prayer Conference includes meals.
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The sermon this morning: ‘Jesus Walks on the Water.’ The sermon tonight: ‘Searching for Jesus.’
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Ladies, don’t forget the rummage sale. It’s a chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house. Bring your husbands.
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Remember in prayer the many who are sick of our community. Smile at someone who is hard to love. Say ‘Hell’ to someone who doesn’t care much about you.
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Miss Charlene Mason sang ‘I will not pass this way again,’ giving obvious pleasure to the congregation.
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For those of you who have children and don’t know it, we have a nursery downstairs.
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Next Thursday there will be tryouts for the choir. They need all the help they can get.
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Irving Benson and Jessie Carter were married on October 24 in the church. So ends a friendship that began in their school days.
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At the evening service tonight, the sermon topic will be ‘What Is Hell?’ Come early and listen to our choir practice.
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Eight new choir robes are currently needed due to the addition of several new members and to the deterioration of some older ones.
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Scouts are saving aluminium cans, bottles and other items to be recycled. Proceeds will be used to cripple children.
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Please place your donation in the envelope along with the deceased person you want remembered.
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The church will host an evening of fine dining, super entertainment and gracious hostility.
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Potluck supper Sunday at 5:00 PM – prayer and medication to follow.
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The ladies of the Church have cast off clothing of every kind. They may be seen in the basement on Friday afternoon.
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This evening at 7 PM there will be a hymn singing in the park across from the Church. Bring a blanket and come prepared to sin.
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Ladies Bible Study will be held Thursday morning at 10 AM. All ladies are invited to lunch in the Fellowship Hall after the B. S. is done.
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The pastor would appreciate it if the ladies of the Congregation would lend him their electric girdles for the pancake breakfast next Sunday.
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Low Self Esteem Support Group will meet Thursday at 7 PM. Please use the back door.
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The eighth-graders will be presenting Shakespeare’s Hamlet in the Church basement Friday at 7 PM. The congregation is invited to attend this tragedy.
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Weight Watchers will meet at 7 PM at the First Presbyterian Church. Please use large double door at the side entrance.
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The Associate Minister unveiled the church’s new campaign slogan last Sunday: ‘I Upped My Pledge – Up Yours.’

A Billion Years from now………

by John on June 29, 2010

My StarBucks friend joined Jesus recently but I just became aware of it today as I had not been to my local “coffeeing hole” in awhile. She lost her battle with cancer…..but won the prize of Eternity with God.

I woke up this morning, hopped out of bed onto my knees and asked God to please help me today as I had several major events primarily in business that were supposed to happen. I was nervously optimistic as the day unfolded and as it turns out, all of the “things” I had hoped were going to happen either simply did not happen, the outcome was not as I had hoped or no resolution.

So, feeling sorry for myself and “fighting” being angry with God because of the day’s disappointments, I pulled up to see my friend’s “In memory of” picture at the Starbucks window. I sat there looking at her picture trying to imagine where she was and what she was experiencing at that exact moment. I became so excited I could hardly contain myself. My tears were of joy and sadness, as I had to drive around again to compose myself to order my favorite frappachino. (That was embarrassing!)

As big and concerning as my problems and disappointments seemed today, I realized how totally insignificant these details were when faced with the reality of living my life daily, Praising HIS HOLY NAME and receiving my reward for all Eternity. One year from now my problems today will not even be a memory, let alone a worry. But a Billion years from now…………………

Praise to You O Lord Jesus Christ!!

Pray continually for your children

by John on June 20, 2010

by Rick Warren

I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those You have given Me, for they are Yours. John 17:9 (NIV)

“Even if you are not a father, or a mother, you will help others move toward the heart of God by praying for them and the purposes God planned for their lives.”

Jesus reflected the father heart of God when he prayed for the disciples. As a father, or mother, you can pray that your children will focus on the five purposes of God.

God’s five purposes for your children are the same as God’s five purposes for your life and the same as the five purposes for the church. Jesus prayed for all five purposes in the lives of those He was leading —

Jesus said, “I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given Me, for they are Yours.” (John 17:9, NIV)

We can pray that our children will LIVE FOR CHRIST joyfully: “I pray these things while I’m still in the world so that they will have the same joy that I have.” (John 17:13, GW)

We can pray that our children will GROW STRONG spiritually: “I’m not asking You to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one.” (John 17:15, NLT)

We can pray that our children will SERVE CHRIST effectively: “Make them ready for Your service through your truth; Your teaching is truth.” (John 17:17, NCV)

We can pray that our children will EXPERIENCE FELLOWSHIP personally: “My prayer is that they will be of one heart and mind, just as You and I are one, Father … and the world will believe You sent Me.” (John 17:21, LB)

We can pray that our children will BRING OTHERS TO CHRIST regularly: “I pray not only for them, but also for those who will believe in Me because of their message.” (John 17:20, TEV)

Even if you are not a father, or a mother, you will help others move toward the heart of God by praying for them and the purposes God planned for their lives.

Lucifer is Brilliant

by John on June 17, 2010

The devil seems to find those temptations that are hardest to resist. He seems to be able to look into my heart, my soul and my desires at any point in time and tempt me with what I am most susceptible to give in to at that moment. He is brilliant in his selections. He must have a detailed file on every mood I have and what is hardest to resist by mood.

The closer I get to Jesus and the more I grow in my faith journey, the more aggressively satan attacks me. I would have thought that the stronger my faith, the less tempting his evil lures would be. I had hoped that I would eventually be immuned to the demons that haunted me thoughout my life but I have not found that to be true.

I do, however, find that the stronger my relationship is with Jesus, the more I can rely on HIM to help me withstand the devil’s relentless, escalating attacks. I know I can not do this on my own. I have to have Jesus in my life and an active and vibrant relationship with HIM to avoid satan’s temptations.

The devil has tried so hard to separate me from Jesus by making me feel guilty and unworthy. At times when I was embarrassed and ashamed of my sins I was reluctant to reach out to Jesus for help but it was at those times when I was most vulnerable.

Jesus, please help me resist satan’s temptations, protect me, help me, guide me.

“….lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil.”

The thought of HIS Return gave me so much Joy

by John on June 15, 2010


I was driving home from the airport tonight in the middle of a major lightening and thunder storm. My wife called and said there had been several tornadoes spotted around town.

I made it home safely but I had not been in a storm quite like that where lightening flashed every few seconds, as if the sky was constantly lit up. I kept looking for a funnel cloud but did not see any.

Several things crossed my mind. First I was scared. Second, I wondered what it would be like when Jesus returns and lights up the sky with HIS legions of Angels with blinding light. Would I be scared then also?

I also felt very insignificant, small, out of control as the lightening and thunder swirled around me on the freeway.

When I admitted to myself that God was in control at that moment I actually felt a sudden and surprising Calm come over me.

I stopped being afraid. This storm seemed very intimidating but for some reason I knew I was going to get home safely. I thought God was not done with me yet as I had so much more to accomplish for HIM. I also thought that what ever happened…..God would see me through it.

I was encouraged and humbled to think that Jesus was actually coming back soon in all HIS Glory…..for me! The thought of HIS Return gave me so much Joy.

Praise to You O Lord Jesus Christ.

Get up….again…and again….don’t be afraid

by John on June 12, 2010


Saw great new movie today, KARATE KID, Jaden Smith (Will Smith’s boy) and Jackie Chan. Same story line. Great acting.

Two things caught my attention. 1. Jaden gets knocked down again and again and kept getting up. 2. The last time after the most vicious knock down, he had to get up so he could stop always being afraid.

Recently I was feeling sorry for myself about my problems (knock downs) complaining to my spiritual mentor, Dennis, and he lovingly referred me to the Book of JOB, who lost everything, but never gave up. Job kept getting up and was steadfast in his faith and belief in God. Job finally accepted God’s Will and stopped being afraid while continually trusting in God. Job’s life got much better in this world, but his real reward was with his Eternal Father in Heaven.

We all get knocked down: Sickness, business, money, addictions, relationships, death of loved ones….We have a choice. We can Curse God. Wallow in self pity. Try to drown our pain and sorrow in one or more numerous addictions. I have done all of these.

But I choose to “try” and accept God’s Will. I try to get back up. I try to release my fear, trusting in God’s Love. I want to believe HE never gives us more than we can handle. I also try to realize that my days in this life are numbered while my eternal life with God……….NEVER ENDS. Jesus made it possible for me to be in GOD’s presence forever. I try to think about that when I am about ready to “give up or give in.”

Praise to you O Lord Jesus CHRIST.

…dawned…..

by John on June 6, 2010

Has it ever dawned on you that nothing has ever dawned on God?

“I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come.” Isaiah 46:9-10

Pretty cool, huh?

Patience

by John on June 4, 2010


God’s time table is not mine. I am too impatient. I want what I want, when I want it.

When I pray and nothing seems to happen I sometimes get impatient and frustrated. But I know in my heart God is testing me and wants me to patient. HE wants me to accept HIS Will and release control to HIM.

I really want to do that. Intellectually I can embrace that but emotionally I have trouble “letting go.”

I know HE IS IN CONTROL but I find myself fighting “what is” and it causes so much anxiety.

I am praying today to ask GOD to:

1. Bless me with patience

2. Help me accept and embrace that HE IS IN CONTROL

3. Help me LET GO

4. Help me Surrender to HIS WILL

5. Help me Accept HIS Loving Kindness

6. Remind me to Rejoice in HIS NAME

7. Remind me that our brief existence here is a spec of time compared to Infinite Eternity with HIM

8. Remind me that He Gave His Only Son for me so I could spend eternity with HIM

9. Forgive me for my sins, weaknesses and for hurting those I love

10. Help me Re-dedicate my life to Glorify and Honor HIS HOLY NAME.

‘To serve’ and ‘to give’ should define your life

by John on June 3, 2010

by Rick Warren

Your attitude must be like my own, for I, the Messiah, did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give my life. Matthew 20:28 (LB)
“For Christians, service is not something to be tacked onto our schedules if we can spare the time. It is the heart of the Christian life. Jesus came ‘to serve’ and ‘to give’—and those two verbs should define your life on earth, too. ”

We are commanded to serve God. Jesus was unmistakable: “Your attitude must be like my own, for I, the Messiah, did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give my life.” (Matthew 20:28 LB).

For Christians, service is not something to be tacked onto our schedules if we can spare the time. It is the heart of the Christian life. Jesus came “to serve” and “to give”—and those two verbs should define your life on earth, too. Serving and giving sum up God’s fourth purpose for your life. Mother Teresa once said, “Holy living consists in doing God’s work with a smile.”

Jesus taught that spiritual maturity is never an end in itself. Maturity is for ministry! We grow up in order to give out. It is not enough to keep learning more and more. We must act on what we know and practice what we claim to believe. Impression without expression causes depression. Study without service leads to spiritual stagnation.

The old comparison between the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea is still true. Galilee is a lake full of life because it takes in water but also gives it out. In contrast, nothing lives in the Dead Sea because, with no outflow, the lake has stagnated.

The last thing many believers need is to go to another Bible study. They already know far more than they are putting into practice. What they need are serving experiences in which they can exercise their spiritual muscles.

Serving is the opposite of our natural inclination. Most of the time we’re more interested in “serve us” than service. We say, “I’m looking for a church that meets my needs and blesses me,” not “I’m looking for a place to serve and be a blessing.” We expect others to serve us, not vice versa.

But as we mature in Christ, the focus of our lives should increasingly shift to living a life of service. The mature follower of Jesus stops asking, “Who’s going to meet my needs?” and starts asking, “Whose needs can I meet?”

I just wish I were one of them

by John on June 2, 2010


by John Fischer

Someone wrote to us about the authors of so many Christian books and devotionals: “I’m sure these writers are helpful to so many people, I just wish I were one of them.”

I bet everyone has felt this way at least some of the time, and others feel this way almost all the time. That book, devotional, study guide, seminar, retreat, or church service was helpful to so many people… I just wish I were one of them!

Here’s what makes this even worse. A lot of people are acting like they are one of them for whom it is working, when deep down inside, they are not. This is when playing church can be so damaging. Church should be where you go for help, but if no one needs it, no one gets it.

Church should be a little like heaven—full of a whole bunch of people who can’t believe they got there, know they don’t deserve to be there, and can’t wait to find out what happens next.

Church is not a building full of beautiful people who hide a secret that the Christian life is working for everyone but them. It’s a community of folks who know they shouldn’t be there in the first place, and yet they got there anyway, through no merit of their own, and because of that, they have nothing to lose.

There is power in conformity; we just need to decide to what we will conform. Will we all conform to being something we are not, or will we make a corporate decision to be who we are, whatever the cost, and let Christ be the one who conforms us to His image as He sees fit?

You don’t have to wish you were anything except to be who you are. That’s the way Jesus found us, and that’s how He will make us into the men and women He desires us to be.

Heart of Wisdom

by John on June 1, 2010

A tragedy of life is not that for some it ends too soon, but that some wait too long to begin it.

“Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90:12

We are not perfect, but our God is

by John on May 23, 2010

by Jon Walker

As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the LORD is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in him. 2 Samuel 22:31 (NIV)
“If you struggle with perfectionism, then ask God to help you deeply understand that he loves you unconditionally.”

We are not perfect; God is perfect

We are flawed; God is flawless.

God takes his perfection, mixes it with the blood of Jesus Christ, and paints his perfection over our imperfection.

God takes his flawlessness, couples it with his strength, and forges it to the flaws that weaken us.

What does this mean?

If you struggle with perfectionism, then ask God to help you deeply understand that he loves you unconditionally. You can not earn your way into his love because he freely gives it. You not only need not be perfect; there is no way you can be perfect. Praise God for Jesus.

“This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” (Romans 3:22-24 NIV)

If you are frustrated with your flaws, then be honest with God. Ask him to help you see how he works through your flaws and accept your flaws as God’s way of keeping you dependent upon him.

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV)

A Real Relationship with God

by John on May 21, 2010

In most relationships that are open and “real” there is a commitment to be completely candid sharing not only one’s opinion and thoughts but emotions and feelings as well. I learned through Marriage Encounter with my wife that “feelings” are neither “right” or “wrong”; they just “are.”

In my relationship with God there is an added dimension that is unlike any other relationship I will ever have. God already knows my opinion, emotions and feelings on everything including my thoughts about HIM.

Recently, unexpected events in my life resulted in me being angry with God. One might argue that I have no right being angry with God but the bottom line is I experienced angry feelings toward God. I even verbally expressed my anger to God. I know God was aware of my angry feelings before I expressed them. I did not classify those angry feelings as either “right or wrong” because denying or ignoring them did not make them go away.

I believe Jesus wants to have an intimate relationship with me. If so, there will be times in our relationship when I will become angry. But like most relationships even when one becomes angry, it is the faith, love and trust in that relationship that bonds the two together and helps them work through the anger.

I don’t know why bad things happen in my life as they do in everyone’s life. But if I have a real relationship with Jesus then I believe HE expects me to express my love, faith, fears, insecurities, desires and yes, anger to HIM because that is what a real relationship is all about. Some day I will know exactly why everything happened in my life, good and bad, because it was all Part of HIS Plan for me.

But until then, I won’t deny my feelings about God, good and bad. And when I am angry I will continue to tell HIM so because that is what it means to have a Real Relationship.

Praise to you O Lord Jesus Christ.

God’s Polygraph Test

by John on May 20, 2010

Some day I will be in God’s Presence and HE will review every moment of my life….a detailed conversation with God about my life. We won’t go thru the non-essential things like how much money did I make, how big was my house, how many cars did I own, how many awards did I get. None of that matters in heaven.

God will spend a lot of time going thru what was in my heart and if I was Faithful to HIM throughout my life. My life has 2 realities. What people see on the outside, what I do, what I say, how I act. And the other reality that Only God knows…what is in my heart.

My real hidden thoughts, desires, motivations, intentions which only God knows will be our topic of discussion on my judgement day. While I am ashamed realizing I am not always proud of what is in my heart, I am motivated to try harder when what is in my heart, is not what I really want there. Knowing it will all be exposed motivates me to rethink, re-examine, “refresh and reboot” (in today’s vernacular) what springs from my heart.

God’s total awareness of my “heart” is like a polygraph test in that I cannot lie or fool HIM as to what is there. Some couples use a polygraph test when there are infidelity issues. Knowing one has to take a polygraph test can be a great deterrent.

God’s Polygraph of my heart becomes a deterrent and reminder to strive to keep in my heart that which God would be proud of because HE Will be asking me about it…….soon.

Do you believe in Jesus Christ?

by John on May 17, 2010

I was in another city recently on business and was walking into my hotel in the evening and a middle aged man approached me and asked if I could spare any change. He appeared to be homeless and had very sad eyes. Impulsively I said “yes I have some money I can give you but could I first please ask you a few questions.” He said “Yes.” I said “do you believe in Jesus Christ?”. His eyes opened wide and he stared at me for several seconds and then said “Yes.” I told him that most of us struggle with our own demons, vices, addictions, problems and obsessions and for me Jesus was the only answer. I gave him some money and asked him to trust in Jesus and please use the money for something, anything, positive in his life. I told him I would pray for him, gave him my email address and asked him to email me to let me know how he is doing. I shook his hand and went into the hotel.

I have been criticized for giving money to the homeless because they said I was only enabling their addictions. That may be true. But there is more to this story.

Several weeks later I got an email from this friend I had met that night. He said he used the money to buy a bus ticket home, went to his minister who helped him enter a drug addiction clinic. He also said he reunited with his son. He thanked me not for the money but for asking him if he believed in Jesus.

I know it was God’s Plan for me to spend 30 seconds with this person. I am in awe of the Love, Goodness and Healing Power of my God. I will remember this incident the next time I start to judge someone. I will also remember it when I have another opportunity to share my faith.

Praise to you O Lord Jesus Christ.

Fair Weather Fan

by John on May 14, 2010

Count your blessings every day—even on days when there aren’t as many as you’d like.

“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

I find it a lot easier to Praise His Name when things are going well. When things are tough, tight or not going my way, I am less likely to Thank Him. At those times, I find myself asking more “for help” than praising HIS Name.

On the one hand why would I want to Thank Him when things are bad? But I guess that is the point. My faith and devotion to Jesus is not based on “how am I doing at the moment?” It is like being a “fair weather fan.” I find it easier to cheer for my sports team when they are winning and get down on them when they lose. What kind of loyal fan does that make me?

God has given me Everything. My life, my family, my health, my Eternal Salvation. Yes, my life, family, health and daily fortune will not always be there and will go up and down. But my Eternal Salvation is…..forever and HE made that possible.

So when I find myself in the middle of misfortune, uncomfortable circumstances and something I don’t want, I try to focus on living FOREVER, FOR ETERNITY with my Savior. That helps me want to be a “FOREVER FAN” for God regardless of “what the score might be at the moment.”

Praise to You O Lord Jesus Christ.

Reality Check

by John on May 7, 2010

I always try to be upbeat, positive and look on the bright side, look for the silver lining. But today I am going to acknowldge to myself I am not feeling very optimistic. There are a lot of issues in my life right now that are uncertain, unresolved, pending and some forebodding and I am worried and anxious. I know all these issues will come and go….and then there will be more issues, good and bad, and they will come and go. …and so on. I imagine it is the same for most of us.

I wish I could simply say, “God, no problem, everything is in Your Hands so I am simply not going to worry about it.” Maybe my faith is not that strong yet. But the fact is I am worried and I do have a tremendously strong faith and belief in my Saviour.

Jesus was worried and afraid. HE even said (to paraphrase) “God, I would rather not have to go thru ‘this’ but Your Will be done.”

I don’t like my current circumstances, I am worried and I would rather it all suddenly change, improve or just go away. So to be worried at times like this seems….human. But I do also accept the reality that God is ultimately in control. That does not mean I have to be happy about my current situation.

But I know God Loves me. I do Trust Him. I can’t see the future as HE can so I don’t know what is too come but even though I am worried and afraid I am willing to accept whatever HIS Plan for me is. And I will continue to Praise and Glorify HIS Holy Name!

Prayer

by John on May 6, 2010

Dear Lord, I thank you for this day. I thank You for my being able to see and to hear this morning. I’m blessed because You are a forgiving God and an understanding God. You have done so much for me and You keep on blessing me. Forgive me this day for everything I have done, said or thought that was not pleasing to you. I ask now for Your forgiveness.

Please keep me safe from all danger and harm. Help me to start this day with a new attitude and plenty of gratitude. Let me make the best of each day to clear my mind so that I can hear from You.

Let me not whine and whimper over things I have no control over. Let me continue to see sin through God’s eyes and acknowledge it as evil. And when I sin, let me repent, and confess with my mouth my wrongdoing, and receive the forgiveness of God.

And when this world closes in on me, let me remember Jesus’ example — to slip away and find a quiet place to pray. It’s the best response when I’m pushed beyond my limits. I know that when I can’t pray, You listen to my heart. Continue to use me to do Your will.

Continue to bless me that I may be a blessing to others. Keep me strong that I may help the weak.. Keep me uplifted that I may have words of encouragement for others. I pray for those who are lost and can’t find their way. I pray for those who are misjudged and misunderstood. I pray for those who don’t know You intimately. I pray for those who will delete this without sharing it with others. I pray for those who don’t believe. But I thank you that I believe.

I believe that God changes people and God changes things. I pray for all my sisters and brothers. For every family member in their households. I pray for peace, love and joy in their homes that they are out of debt and all their needs are met.

I pray that every eye that reads this knows there is no problem, circumstance, or situation greater than God. Every battle is in Your hands for You to fight. I pray that these words be received into the hearts of every eye that sees them and every mouth that confesses them willingly..

This is my prayer.
In Jesus’ Name,
Amen.

Voice Modulation

by John on May 5, 2010


“Train your mouth and heart until you can say the right thing at the right time in the right way for the right reason.”

“Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips.” Psalm 141:3

I need a lot of work here. I sometimes say things, blurting them out, impulsively, without thinking of the consequences and I end up hurting the ones I love in the process.

On SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE several years ago, Will Ferrell had a skit on “Voice Modulation” where he would shout out inappropriate comments because he said he had no filter between his mind and “condition” of Voice Modulation. It was really funny. He would blurt something mean out and then say, “did I really just say that out loud?”

But what is not funny is when I say things “with no filter” between my mind and my voice that insults, hurts or embarrasses people around me. I seem to be really susceptible to saying hurtful remarks when I am tired or angry.

God, I am praying today to ask YOU to please help me get my “voice modulation” under control so I don’t hurt the ones I love.

When the Future seems Uncertain

by John on May 4, 2010

by Rick Warren

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans … to give you a future and a hope … You will find me when you seek me, if you look for me in earnest.” Jeremiah 29:11, 13 (LB)

No matter what the pollsters, pundits, and prognosticators claim, no one can accurately predict all that is going to happen this year, let alone in the next few weeks. Our best forecasts are just educated guesses.

Change is not only increasing in speed and intensity, but also in unpredictability.

The Bible suggests three timeless principles for facing an uncertain future:
Set goals according to God’s direction
It’s foolish to make plans without first consulting God. He’s the only one who DOES know the future – and he’s eager to guide you through it.

The Bible says, “We may make our plans, but God has the last word.” (Proverbs 16:1) In other words, planning without praying is presumption. Start by praying, “God, what do YOU want me to do in 2010?”
Live one day at a time — While you can plan for tomorrow, you can’t live it until it arrives. Most people spend so much time regretting the past and worrying about the future, they have no time to enjoy today!

John Lennon once wrote, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” Decide to make the most of each moment this year. Jesus said, “Don’t be anxious about tomorrow – God will take care of your tomorrows. Live one day at a time.” (Matthew 6:34)

Don’t procrtatsinate – DO IT NOW! – “Don’t boast about what you’re going to do tomorrow, for you don’t know what a day may bring forth.” (Proverbs 27:1)

Procrastinating is a subtle trap. It wastes today by postponing things until tomorrow. You promise yourself that you’ll do it “one of these days.” But “one of these days” is usually “none of these days.”

What did you plan to get done last year that you didn’t do? When do you intend to start working on it?

Lilly reminded me………

by John on April 30, 2010

I was gone for a week at trade shows and came home to a new member in the family: Lilly, a 2 month old, 5 pound Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. My wife was afraid I would be mad but how can you be mad with a face like Lilly?

Lilly is lovable, sweet, clumsy, playful, silly, cuddly, amusing and very funny. She is the perfect playmate for our 5 year old Jack Russell Terrier, Sadie, who lost her 15 year old brother, Teddy (Jack Russell) who went to Doggie heaven (not exactly sure where that is but I believe it exists).

Lilly does not have a care in the world. She trusts that we will provide everything she needs to survive. She does not seem to worry about anything. She is always so happy and always eager to give us a loving lick. Her eyes light up and she gets excitedly animated when she see us which make us feel good, too.

Lilly has taught me a lot in the few days I have grown to love her. She reminded me that God wants me to stop worrying all the time. HE will provide for me if I only trust HIM. HE wants me to love HIM and be joyful as HE has prepared a place for me with HIM for all Eternity.

Java Jolt – and a real jolt

by John on April 23, 2010

Today on the way to the airport I stopped by my local Starbucks to get my java jolt. I asked where Robyn was who usually waits on me at the drive up window and they told me her breast cancer had returned and she would not be coming back to work and her prognosis is not good. She is such a positive, Christian woman who always had a smile on her face.

I am now on my flight to Florida on Delta’s GOGO Internet Service and I am trying to get work done but I can’t stop thinking about Robyn. I am trying to hide the tears but I am very sad. I said a prayer for her and her family.

Robyn will very likely meet her Creator soon. The more I think about it the more I realize that I should be happy for Robyn and I am trying to be because soon she will leave all the pain, emotional roller coaster and worry behind. But I feel sad for her family and the loved ones she leaves behind.

I feel sad and scared for myself, too, because I will be before Jesus some day as well. I have many regrets about the many mistakes I have made especially hurting my wife and family. But I believe God does forgive. I just wish I could forgive myself.

I believe God is All-Loving and Forgiving and He forgives me for my sins. HE wants me to be with HIM forever and ever. When I imagine being in Heaven basking in God’s Glory and Love for Eternity, an uncontrollable excitement replaces my fear, guilt and sadness.

Jesus, Please be with Robyn and her family today to give them PEACE. And Please be with me today as I Praise Your Holy Name in everything I do.

Clear Conscience

by John on April 23, 2010

Never underestimate the value of a clear conscience.

“May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope is in You.” Psalm 25:21

Venture out side my comfort zone

by John on April 20, 2010

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At church Sunday, the Homily was about Jesus’ Disciples venturing out of their comfort zone and sharing their faith and spreading the WORD. They had been scared and were unsure what they were supposed to do and how to they were supposed to do it. But when they saw the Risen Jesus they had the courage, grace, and Holy Spirit to take HIS message forward. They were on a mission.

I find myself at times afraid to share HIS WORD and my faith because I am afraid someone will make fun of me, or think I am a fanatic or my actions could hurt my business relationships.

I try to visualize standing before JESUS as HE asks me if I carried out HIS mission and shared my Faith with those HE brought into my life. This vision gives me the courage and confidence to venture outside my comfort zone and share my Faith with a friend, business associate or stranger.

I believe God only asks that I share my faith. It is not up to me whether or not the person I share with, acts on my words or gesture. That is between God and them. So I don’t have to worry what happens after I share. I just need to be more conscious of the opportunities God gives me to spread HIS message.

And I find the simplest gesture, Word of Encouragement, “God Bless You,” kindness, charity, an occasional “Jesus Loves You” seem to go a long way because I can see it in their eyes. I don’t have to preach, or make a scene or even be obvious. The more I share privately on a 1 on 1 basis, the more I sense it is meaningful to the recipient.

Praise to You O Lord Jesus Christ.

“Try – Angle”

by John on April 14, 2010

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The best angle from which to approach any problem is the try-angle.

“But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.”

2 Chronicles 15:7

Let Yourself Be Loved

by John on April 13, 2010

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You can’t make anyone love you. What you can do is let yourself be loved.

“For God so loved the world [that means YOU!] that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16

Let HIM worry about it

by John on April 13, 2010

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Have you ever been in a situation where you were really scared about the outcome but the end result was completely out of your control? Usually if I am in such a predicament, I worry, fret, become anxious, annoyed and difficult to be around.

Recently I found myself in a difficult situation which was really bothering me so I started down the familiar path of stressing out. I prayed for help, guidance and strength to deal with it but this time I did something different.

I told God I was going to completely turn over the entire situation to HIM and let HIM worry about it. I determined I had done everything in my power and there was absolutely nothing else I could do but wait to see what happened.

I decided I was not going to worry about the outcome and trust it would all work out IN HIS HANDS. The situation did come to a conclusion, not the way I wanted but not nearly as badly as it could have been.

The remarkable thing was, however, that once I truly released my stress and turned it over to God, an amazing Calm and Peace came over me. I engaged in a lot of “self talk” such as “what is the worse that can happen….and if the worse happens, then I will find a way to deal with it with HIS HELP.

After it all came and went, as all problems tend to do, I realized how much more enjoyable my life was by refusing to give in to the stress. I literally told God it was HIS PROBLEM NOW and I trusted that whatever happened I had faith that I would cope.

I believe the stronger my faith becomes, the more I will be able to do that over and over again. Worrying is such a waste of precious moments. “Worrying is like paying the interest on a loan you never even took out.”

God, please help me to learn from this experience, trust in YOU more everyday and turn my problems over to YOU as often as I can, after I have done what I can to solve my problems. In doing this I not only grow deeper in faith, but I also avoid the wasteful and painful stress that serves no purpose but to make my life miserable and those around me.

My Mission

by John on April 11, 2010

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At church today, I heard a new message from the familiar “doubting Thomas” Gospel. The disciples were huddled behind closed doors afraid for their life thinking their Savior had died, not to Rise again. But then HE DID, and they realized their Mission was to SPREAD THE WORD.

Like many of us, I struggle and have various problems at different times: financial, relationships, business, legal, fear, insecurity, low self esteem, I am a sinner, health – I passed a kidney stone this week on a plane no doubt…….great fun :(

When I find myself in the middle of one or more of my struggles, I tend to turn inward, feel sorry for myself, shut down, push others away and forget my Mission in life. My Mission is to spread HIS WORD. I think the devil is very clever. He uses my struggles to try and prevent me from sharing my faith.

I can be so “into” my problem that I forget everyone and everything else. I judge myself as unworthy of sharing my faith because I am a sinner and at times my faith waivers. God never said I had to be a perfect saint to spread HIS WORD. HE just asked that I share my faith.

As bad as circumstances can get in my life (and at times they can seem very bad), they all will pass. I am on this earth for likely 70-80 years, God Willing, which does not seem that long away when one approaches 60. I try to think what is 80 years of various problems and struggles compared to MILLIONS and MILLION of Years with Jesus in Heaven for all Eternity!!

When I think of Eternity with God, I find it easier to rise above my current struggle and look for opportunities to share HIS WORD. That is why I am sending you this Blog.

Don’t let it slip away

by John on April 9, 2010

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by John Fischer

Last night, Marti and I enjoyed a night out at our local community theater. It’s a date night for us once a month during the season, and that’s why we buy tickets in advance, because if we’ve already paid for the seats, there’s a good possibility we might go.

After a great show and the opportunity to do Q&A with the cast, we filed out of the side entrance. In front of us, moving very slowly and carefully was a group of elderly ladies, some on their own, some being assisted by their more able peers. The side door was large and heavy and incapable of being propped open, so it became the responsibility of one after another of them to have to navigate the heavy door. Marti told me to lend them a hand, so I moved on ahead and held the door until they all passed through. It was a small gesture (anyone of you would have done the same), but I was amazed at how appreciative they were. Their faces brightened and the pleasure they received from this overwhelmed me.

Marti reminded me later that they would have each had a man of their own at one time to handle things like this. But now, with no one but another shaky widow to lean on, they were missing that simple dignity. I looked at their faces and immediately saw them younger and vibrant. In that simple act, I was giving something back that age and frailty was threatening to steal from them, their dignity.

Look for opportunities like this to spread a little worth around. Watch the value return to the countenance. It’s only what they are due—what should be the nobility of a long life, and what all of us will wish someday we could reclaim. See to it that you do what you can do to never let it slip away.

A Good Marriage

by John on April 6, 2010

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Someone recently asked me what advice I would give after 35 years of marriage so here are my thoughts.

1. God has to be the center of the relationship. Things will go wrong and tragedies will happen and the only answer will be both of you turning to God. Ask God to Bless Your Marriage everyday……everyday. Pray together and go to church together

2. Laughter, a great sense of humor and not taking oneself too seriously WORK.

3. The only thing better than one child…is the blessing of many

4. There is never a good time financially, economically to “decide” to try and have children…..Let God Decide because HE IS IN CONTROL

5. Forgiveness is critical. Like most marriages you both will likely hurt, disappoint, offend and neglect each other. Just as Jesus forgives unconditionally, couples should, too. Forgive each other and say I LOVE YOU Everyday. Same goes for your children

6. Children grow up So fast….never waste a minute of not being with them. You can never turn back the clock to make up for lost time.

7. Find time for just yourself away from each other and vice versa. If he wants to be with his buddies that doesn’t mean he doesn’t love you. If you need your time or career, carve out time for YOU because we all need our space, too, to maintain our own identity, self esteem and confidence.

8. Even though society wants us to think Men have all the answers, never cry and don’t get emotional, these things are just not true. We don’t have all the answers. We can’t always be strong. We need to cry and be emotional. Tell him you understand and support him in all things. Encourage him to tell you what he is really feeling. Share his fears, anxiety, worries.

9. Never stop finding time for each other. It will be easy early on. But as work, stress, age, kids, money, in laws, and the world get in the way, make sure you never forget why you two fell in love and find special time just for each other

10. Talk, communicate, often and really lovingly insist he share his feelings because for most of us it does not come easy. Ignoring problems and disagreements like In Laws, finances, expectations, sharing, etc., will only make matters worse. Have the courage to confront all issues in a loving and direct way. And all healthy marriages I know argue in a constructive, direct way by setting boundaries like don’t bring up unrelated “hurts” from the past, don’t curse, don’t say hurtful things for revenge, “agree to disagree” sometimes. I find sometimes I say mean things in anger and fear and so regret it because I can’t retract the words. I can apologize but like the nail analogy I mentioned before in my blog, hurtful words are like nails, you can apologize and “remove the nail” but the hole in the wood remains.

God Bless You and Your Marriage.

AMISH GRACE

by John on April 2, 2010

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I saw a TV movie recently, AMISH GRACE, based on a true story where a man killed 5 young Amish Girls at a school house in PA; then killed himself. He was angry with God because his daughter died at birth. The movie focused on one mother who lost a daughter and could not forgive the killer….I don’t know how I could forgive either.

But what was meaningful to me was how the Amish defined forgiveness. They said the killer will be judged by God. It was not their place to judge him. They would never forget their loss or what happened. But they “forgave” for their own personal sake and sanity primarily because if they did not let go of the anger, hatred and revenge, it could consume and ruin their life and prevent them from loving and being happy again. They said God expected them to forgive. They also were comforted knowing their child was with God in heaven.

I don’t know if my faith is that strong…….yet…..but I pray I can someday be able to forgive in such a Christ–like way. When Jesus was on the cross, HE asked HIS FATHER to forgive those who crucified HIM. That is the example HE gave us of forgiveness. In the 1 Prayer Jesus gave us HE said…”forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us.”

During Easter Sunday Mass, I am going to ask God to help me be more forgiving, let go of my anger, hatred and desire for revenge that I sometimes feel. I know that is what God wants for me and expects of me.

“CRY out to Jesus” (video)

by John on April 1, 2010

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CLICK LINK ABOVE TO WATCH VIDEO

Hope for sinners like me

by John on March 31, 2010

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It is the sick person who truly knows what health is.

“Jesus said to them, ‘It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Mark 2:17

There is hope for me!

Think about it

by John on March 30, 2010

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Ability and availability

by John on March 25, 2010

by John Fischer

God doesn’t want your ability as much as he wants your availability.

We shine in our abilities; God shines in our availability.

Our ability makes us strong; our availability makes us vulnerable.

People are impressed with our abilities; God is impressed with our availability.

Practice improves our ability; faith improves our availability.

Our ability makes us popular; our availability makes God popular.

Not everyone is able; but anyone can be available.

Our ability draws on our natural talents; our availability draws on our spiritual gifts.

Ability can put us in the way; availability keeps us out of the way.

Our ability is fine; our availability is better.

God teams up with our ability; He gets inside our availability.

These are all reasons why God doesn’t want our ability as much as he wants our availability.

Jump

by John on March 24, 2010

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by John Fischer

Three frogs are sitting on a log. One decides to jump down. How many are left? Three. He only decided he was going to jump. He didn’t actually jump. Oh, he may have made a great decision. He might have even decided he was going to jump really far when he jumped down, or scream all the way and make a big deal of it. Or his decision may have come out of a good deal of soul searching. He might have been thinking: This time I’m really going to do this. I’m committing myself whole-heartedly to jumping off this log. This is it; there’s no turning back now. But regardless of what he tells himself or how far he stretches this out, until he actually jumps, nothing has changed. He’s still just a bump on a log.

A friend of mine often says that a decision without action is delusion. I’ve only deluded myself into thinking I’ve changed when I really haven’t. The decision was only in my head.

Yesterday I wrote a about being a good listener to someone in his or her time of grief. After speaking with my sister upon the rapid decline and death of her husband, I was somewhat reluctant to keep calling. What do I say now? There are no words that can possibly reach this pain. That’s when I realized, that I could call my sister even if I didn’t have anything to say to her, because I had realized the most important thing I could do for her is listen well. And I’m sure I gave the impression that the next thing I was going to do was to pick up the phone and call her. But did I? No. You see I decided I could call her, I even decided I would call her, but I didn’t actually call her.

I’m still only a bump on a log.

Jesus constantly talked about being doers of the word and not just hearers only. It was one of his major themes. It must have been important or he wouldn’t have repeated it so much. We have lots of hearers in evangelical Christianity. Some of us have gotten so good at this, we could be known as professional hearers. We might even make a decision supported by going forward in a meeting and sealing our decision with a witness and a prayer. But until we do something about it, we are just a bunch of bumps on a log. Professional bumps—deluded bumps—but bumps nonetheless.

There’s only one way off this log… Jump!

“Therefore, everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock… But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand.” (Matthew 7:24 & 26)

Don’t get discouraged

by John on March 20, 2010

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by Rick Warren

Here’s another benefit from God knowing everything: He sees everything you do that is good and right. Every time you choose not to sin, every time you resist temptation, every time you take a stand because of God’s Truth, he sees your faithfulness to Him.

The Bible says every good deed will be rewarded, no matter how insignificant and regardless of whether anybody else on earth sees it.

Every encouragement you give to other people, every kind word you give to your children, every time you do a thoughtful act for your husband, every time you pick up around the office when it’s not your job, every time you set up chairs in church or stuff bulletins, every act of courtesy, every time you refuse to gossip, every time your positive instead of negative — God sees it all, no matter how small. (Matthew 10:40-42)

Imagine yourself on a giant stage and you’re the only person on that stage. You’re acting out your life. In the audience there is only one person and it’s God. He’s out there clapping and saying “I see that good thing you just did. Keep on going! Nobody else saw it, but I saw it.”

So what should be my response? If God sees all the good things that I do and He’s out there cheering me on, then my response should be, “Don’t Be Discouraged!”

You may be thinking, “I’ve been trying to do the right thing in my marriage. I don’t see any results. I’ve been trying to be the right kind of person and respond correctly with my kids or to my parents. I’ve been trying to do the right thing at work or at school. And I don’t know if it’s paying off. I don’t see it making any difference in anybody’s life.”

God says, “I see it and it doesn’t matter who else sees it.”

Nothing good we ever do is ever done in vain: “So we must not get tired of doing good, for we will reap at the proper time if we don’t give up.” (Galatians 6:9, HCSB)

A long way to go….

by John on March 18, 2010

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Recently, parts of my life seem out of control….and circumstances “out of my control” seem to be hovering over me like a dark cloud.

Sometimes, I really don’t know what God expects of me. I try to be patient, trusting, try not to worry. I Pray and ask for patience, guidance, Peace of Mind. But when you have your family relying on you, bills to pay, commitments to fulfill, fears about health and uncertainties about the future and circumstances out of your control standing in your way….sometimes I don’t know how to cope with it.

Sometimes I get angry with God. When I turn to the Bible for answers I read of God pushing HIS followers to their limits. Testing their faith.

I want to “let go” and turn complete control over to HIM but my faith has not grown enough yet for me to do that.

I have no choice but to try harder to Trust in HIS Goodness, Mercy, Blessing and Guidance. I seem to have a long way to go in my Faith Journey!

New Meaning to Prodigal Son

by John on March 14, 2010

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Today’s sermon at church was about the Prodigal Son. To be honest I thought, “I have heard this so many times before.” But today I heard something different.

What caught my attention was the older “good son” who resented his father giving a feast to the returning prodigal son. The good son resented his father’s unconditional love for his brother.

I realized how many times I have resented or felt envious of other’s good fortune. Or how many times I judged others thinking “how could God forgive them for what they did.” I was ashamed realizing how judgemental I can be.

The story also made me realize how fortunate I am to have a God who loves me unconditionally. It is not about me earning God’s love. I try to lead a Christian life but I am a sinner and I fail often. It is about God’s sacrificing His Son so I can spend eternity with HIM. All I have to do is Believe and Follow Him. As hard as I may try, I cannot lead a perfect, sinless life. I cannot earn my way into heaven. I can only accept the Gift God has given me and Praise His Holy Name everyday.

Trusting God when I don’t understand

by John on March 7, 2010

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by Rick Warren

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)
When the children of Israel were finally set free from Egypt after 400 years of slavery, they started marching out to freedom and the first thing they came to was the Red Sea. There were impassable mountain ranges on two sides of them, the sea in front of them.

Behind them, in hot pursuit, was the Egyptian army because the Pharaoh had changed his mind about letting them go. The path before the Israelites looked like a dead end.

But God knew exactly what He wanted to do. He had not made a mistake. He could see what they could not see. He opened the Red Sea and they walked through to safety. Years later, the Israelites looked back and sang, “Your road led by a pathway through the sea—a pathway no one knew was there!” (Psalm 77:19 LB).

You may be facing a dead end right now—financial, emotional, relational—but God can see a path that you don’t know about. If you will trust God and keep on moving in faith, even when you don’t see a way, He will make a way.

It will become more understandable as you head down the path he sets before you, but understanding is not a requirement for you to start down the path. Proverbs 4:18 says, “The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining brighter till the full light of day” (NIV). One day you will stand in the full light of eternity and view the big picture. You’ll see God’s purpose behind the path He specifically chose for you.

What do I do in the meantime? You do what Proverbs 3 says: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” What does He mean “don’t lean on your own understanding”? You don’t need to try to figure it out. In truth, you’re not going to understand most of the things that happen in your life until you get to heaven.

Be patient. God knows what He’s doing. God knows what’s best for you. He can see the end result. You can’t. All those problems, heartaches, difficulties and delays — all the things that make you ask “why” — one day it will all be clear in the light of God’s love.

But for now, we’re learning to trust God.

Surrender

by John on March 5, 2010

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Today, I have strong feelings of apprehension, fear, uncertainty, worry and concerns about the problems in my life. We all have problems. But sometimes my fear is overwhelming, especially for those problems over which I have very little control. I try to say the Serenity Prayer:

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference

But it does not always help or make me worry less. I am really trying my best to SURRENDER my fears to God and turn them over to HIM to manage. Sometimes, I am able to do that and many times the problems seem to resolve themselves or the consequences or outcome of what I was worrying about are not nearly as severe as I feared.

A close spiritual friend told me recently, that “worry is like paying the interest on a loan which you never took out.”….a complete waste of time, energy and unnecessary anxiety.

But today I am going to “Talk” to Jesus and ask HIM to help me learn to have more faith in HIM and Truly Surrender to HIM. I know intellectually HE is in control, but I struggle letting go of the perception that I am in control. Being out of control and not controlling most things in my life is one of my biggest fears that can sometimes cause me to panic.

Jesus, please help me today, at this moment, to let go of my fears and worry and place my trust in YOU.

A few reflections on window washing

by John on February 26, 2010

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by John Fischer

It’s not just a window I’m cleaning, it’s a lens, and since it’s a lens to the outside, I feel like I’m cleaning the whole world. That’s all that’s necessary, you know. We’re not going to clean up the world, but we can clean up the lens through which we look at the world and others who live in it. “He who seeks good finds goodwill, but evil comes to him who searches for it” (Proverbs 11:27).

A lot of people are looking for evil these days. Is it any wonder that they are coming up with it? I think we could stand a bit more window cleaning and a lot less demon hunting. It’s amazing what a little Windex will do. We’re always trying to fix up somebody else’s place, while neglecting our own dirty windows. Pretty soon, someone’s going to notice how dirty our windows are and suggest to us that this might be why the world looks so bad.

“He who seeks good finds goodwill.” Jesus found it in the most surprising places: in a young boy who desired to share his lunch, in a Roman soldier’s faith, in an outcast Samaritan woman, in the sinners and tax collectors at Levi’s house—in the madmen and lepers and lame and numb and dumb—in you and in me, he found goodwill. “Peace on earth to men of goodwill.”

Connect by being considerate

by John on February 24, 2010

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by Rick Warren

“Look out for one another’s interests, not just our own.” Philippians 2:4 (GNT)

The second principle for connecting with people is to be considerate of other people’s needs.

In other words, if you want to connect with people, you’ve got to start with their needs, not your own. That’s how you make that initial connection. There’s an old Chinese proverb that says, “Seek to understand before seeking to be understood.”

The Bible talks about this in Philippians 2:4: “Look out for one another’s interests not just your own.” That is such a counter-cultural verse. Everything in our culture — from the moment we’re born – tends to train us to think ‘me first.’ As a result, we’re all disconnected because we’re all thinking about ourselves and not thinking about the needs of other people.

Yet, as I wrote in The Purpose Driven Life, “It’s not about you!” The world doesn’t revolve around you just as it doesn’t revolve around me. You’re very special in God’s eyes. You were created for a purpose … but the world does not revolve around you.

Here’s another truth — If you want your needs to be met, first start focusing on meeting the needs of other people. Why? Because God wants you to learn to be unselfish. He wants you to learn to love, to be generous like Him. Colossians 3:13 says, “You must make allowances for each other’s faults and forgive the person who offends you. Remember God forgave you so you must forgive others” (NLT). Part of being considerate of other people’s needs is making allowances for their faults.

Dear Abby once ran a letter from a divorced woman. She wrote, “I’m 44 years old. I’d like to find a man my age with no bad habits.” Abby wrote back, “So would I.” There simply aren’t any people with no bad habits or faults. We have to make allowance for each other’s faults.

Proverbs 17:9 says, “Love forgets mistakes.” It’s not that you are blind to someone else’s faults; rather, you choose to overlook them. Great friends are good forgetters. They forget the bad stuff intentionally. They don’t rub it in, they rub it out.

Nail

by John on February 23, 2010

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There have been times when I have said hurtful things to my family and wife in anger and impatience which I truly regret. Recently someone told me an analogy that made a deep impression on me.

My hurtful words are like nails that penetrate the heart of those I love. When I apologize it is like I am taking a hammer to remove the hurtful words, like removing a nail from a piece of wood.

But like that wood, even after the nail is removed, and the apology is given, there remains a lasting hole where that nail penetrated.

I have tried to remember that analogy and prayed that God help me control what I say.

Tell them……..

by John on February 18, 2010

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If you want others to know what Jesus can do for them, tell them what He has done for you.

“I will tell of the kindnesses of the Lord, the deeds for which He is to be praised.” Isaiah 63:7

Money Part 2

by John on February 16, 2010

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I think I have always had a “love/hate” relationship with money. Sometimes I seem to love the feeling I get when I have more money, or make more money. Money can at times make me feel good about myself, happy, what I accomplished, achieved, like I conquered something. Sometimes I have used money as a status symbol. Money itself could become a drug for me as “the more I have, the more I want.” The sad thing is that it is the illusions and fantasies I have about money at times that make it wrong for me.

Money at times has given me the illusion that I am “worth” something, that I am important, that I am safe, special, secure, something more than I am. By the same token, when I have been tight on money, I have the same illusion that I am not important, or lacking, or insecure, even scared.

I am not so naive to think money is not necessary when you have so many financial obligations with a family, but at times my appropriate and basic need to have financial security goes well beyond what I would want as a Christian.

Jesus had no money. Many homeless people have no money. The poor around the world have no money. Does that mean God does not think they are important? It is not like there are 2 lines entering heaven. One line is for people with money and the other is for people with no money. I don’t think so!

I have been searching my soul recently examining how I really view money. I can see at times my attitude towards it is unhealthy. For me at times the illusion of power, status, security, significance, invincibility, obssessiveness, not needing anyone or anything else for me is sinful. There have been times when I have put my family, my priorities, even my ethics aside in pursuit of money and the power and feeling I thought I would have once I got more of it. Greed is a terrible thing.

I am embarrassed knowing that God can see into my heart and know my relationship with money which at times has been so wrong.

I am going to pray to Jesus today to ask HIS forgiveness and plead HE help me focus on the real priorities in my life: Praising and Worshipping Him, my eternal soul, my family, people in my life.

Money

by John on February 15, 2010

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I have a problem with money in that I feel more secure and content, protected and “safe” when there is ample money available. Not that money is bad per se and that we don’t need money to provide for our family.

But I am uneasy and nervous when money is tight. I should feel secure, content, protected and safe all the time because of my savior Jesus Christ but I don’t always feel that way. I don’t seem to have enough faith and trust in HIM.

I need to pray about this because I seem to tie my perception of my self worth and self esteem with how much money I have or am making and I don’t want it to be that way.

I know on judgement day, God is not going to ask me how much money I made or had on hand at any given moment. But HE will ask me how I treated everyone HE placed in my life.

Prayer

by John on February 10, 2010

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When we depend on man, we get what man can do; when we depend on prayer, we get what God can do.

“Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us….” Ephesians 3:20

The Devil is happy

by John on February 9, 2010

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The devil is quite happy to let us claim we are Christians—especially when we don’t act like we are.

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35

Consult your calendar

by John on February 8, 2010

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The friend who finds time for me on his calendar is cherished, but the real treasure is the friend who for me does not even consult his calendar.

“A friend loves at all times.” Proverbs 17:17

True North

by John on February 7, 2010

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The Bible is like a compass, always pointing True North.

“Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” Psalm 119:105

Prudence

by John on February 3, 2010

Little things affect little minds.

“A fool shows his annoyance at once, but a prudent man overlooks an insult.” Proverbs 12:16

God’s Financial Provision-Ask Him for Help

by John on February 1, 2010

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by Rick Warren

You can be sure that God will take care of everything you need, his generosity exceeding even yours in the glory that pours from Jesus. Philippians 4:19 (MSG)
There is an amazing, incredible and all-encompassing promise in Philippians 4:19 (NIV) regarding provision: “… God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”
Note the first two words: “God will ….” It doesn’t say, “He might meet your needs,” it says, “He will meet your needs.” It’s written as a fact; God is staking his character and his reputation on it.

Then the Bible says, “God will meet all. …” It doesn’t say, “I’ll meet some of your needs.” It says all.

Now, understand that it doesn’t say, “I’ll meet all your greeds.” There’s a big difference between needs and wants. As a parent, do you give your kids everything they want? I hope you don’t. You don’t do that because you love them. And your heavenly Father loves you. He’s not going to give you everything you want because if he did, you’d be spoiled to death.

He won’t give us everything we want, but he will give us what we need. Then why do you have financial needs? Did God fail? Did he lie? Exaggerate?

No! With every promise, there is a premise; there are conditions and requirements. When God makes a promise, he says, “I’ll do my part and you do your part.” God’s wisdom, his financial principles are clearly laid out for us in his Word. Although the Bible discusses many aspects of financial health, including principles of saving, spending, giving, investing and stewardship, over the next few days we’re going to look at five specific conditions for financial stability.

First, ask for his help – Jesus says, “Ask, using my name, and you will receive, and you will have abundant joy.” (John 16:24, NLT) Here’s a good rule: Before you pay for it, pray for it. Give God a chance to provide before you go out and charge it. You probably depend more on your charge card than you do Jesus Christ.

Why does God want me to ask? So he can give.
Why does he want to give? So I can receive.
Why does he want me to receive? So I’ll be full of joy.
Why does he want me to be full of joy? It’s a great advertisement for Jesus Christ. Joyful Christians are a positive testimony.

Tomorrow still comes

by John on January 27, 2010

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

Proud

by John on January 25, 2010

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I saw a movie recently as I am a big movie fan. The movie was not particuarly important but what one of the main characters said, struck me as very important.

He said: “My mom told me if I knew that today was the last day I was going to be on this earth, would I be proud of the way I had conducted my life?………If not……………do something about it!”

Close to the bone

by John on January 22, 2010

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by John Fischer

36 men who attended a men’s retreat I spoke at last week in the Pocono Mountains of Northeastern Pennsylvania are joining us today. Welcome, gentlemen!

At that retreat, I sort of coined a new phrase I’ve never used before at least in this context. I talked about living close to the bone, and by that I mean living in such a way as to have little to hide. Not that we broadcast all of our dirty laundry, but when there are at least some people who know all about our struggles and temptations, then everyone gets the benefit of a more realistic, humble person.

Men especially live under the weight to perform flawlessly as a husband, father, spiritual leader, problem solver and expert on just about everything. And if we can’t pull any of this off, or if failures crop up in any of these areas, we hide them and fake the rest. This may work for a good period of time, but sooner or later, the cover-up breaks down and we are found out usually through something catastrophic like an affair, an addiction, divorce or a nervous breakdown. You can’t live a lie forever.

If our faith is going to have any substance at all, it has to be built on principles that transcend the failures and the weaknesses we all have but seldom admit. And the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ is that it is exactly suited for that—something that transcends our failures and weaknesses, allowing us to embrace them and not run from them, while at the same time giving us strength to make progress toward fulfilling our roles as leaders. This is what I mean by living close to the bone, and had more spiritual leaders found out how to do this, there would have been fewer moral breakdowns.

In the new Christmas movie “Everybody’s Fine” starring Robert DeNiro (you’ll have to wait for the DVD; it lasted all of 2 weeks in the theaters), DeNiro plays a newly widowed father who while in the local supermarket stocking up for an expected holiday visit from his three children announces repeatedly when questioned about his family: “Everybody’s fine.” Of course the rest of the movie is the discovery that behind the scenes, everybody is actually far from fine.

In his review of the movie for Christianity Today, Gordon MacDonald links this same charade with what commonly passes for fellowship in most Christian circles. “All it would take is for a few people to say ‘we’re not… I’m not… fine’ and the simple but dazzling grace of our Lord Jesus would start to take over.” There it is. That’s living close to the bone—close to where the grace of God works because, well, nothing else is working out.

Growth

by John on January 21, 2010

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Growth in wisdom is exactly proportionate to decrease in bitterness.

“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4:31-32

How to be thankful in tough times

by John on January 18, 2010

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by Rick Warren

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Philippians 4:6 (NLT)

Don’t worry about anything.
Worrying doesn’t change anything. It’s stewing without doing. There’s no such thing as born worriers; worry is a learned response. You learned it from your parents. You learned it from your peers. You learned it from experience. That’s good news. The fact that worry is learned means it can also be unlearned. Jesus says, “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” (Matthew 6:34, NLT)

Pray about everything.
Next use the time you’ve been worrying for praying. If you prayed as much as you worried, you’d have a whole lot less to worry about. Some people think God only cares about religious things, such as how many people I invite to church or my tithing. Is God interested in car payments? Yes. He’s interested in every detail of your life. That means you can take any problem you face to God.

Thank God in all things.
Whenever you pray, you should always pray with thanksgiving. The healthiest human emotion is not love — but gratitude. It actually increases your immunities; it makes you more resistant to stress and less susceptible to illness. People who are grateful are happy. But people who are ungrateful are miserable because nothing makes them happy. They’re never satisfied; it’s never good enough. So if you cultivate the attitude of gratitude, of being thankful in everything, it reduces stress in your life.

Think about the right things.
If you want to reduce the level of stress in your life, you must change the way you think; the way you think determines how you feel. And the way you feel determines how you act. So if you want to change your life, you need to change what you’re thinking about.

This involves a deliberate conscious choice where you change the channels. You choose to think about the right things: focus on the positive and on God’s word.

Why? Because the root cause of stress is the way I choose to think.

When we no longer worry, when we pray about everything, when we give thanks, when we focus on the right things, the Apostle Paul tells us the result is, “The peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

What a guarantee! He is guaranteeing peace of mind.

Offering HIS Arm

by John on January 15, 2010

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God never sends a burden to weigh us down without offering His arms to lift us up.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11

Tapestry of my life

by John on January 12, 2010

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On Sunday, the minister’s homily was about the “Tapestry of our life.” The message was that God stitches together every thread of our life in terms of the people HE brings in and out of our life, the events that happen to us beyond our control, the Crosses we need to bear. And even though we cannot see the completed masterpiece of our life as it all fits together…….as HE intended it to be………we will be made aware of the Tapestry of our life when we meet our Creator. HE will then turn over this majestic Tapestry to reveal the totality of our existence on earth. God has a Plan for us and we can either accept it or deny it as the choice is ours. If we accept HIS Plan and “do the right thing” then our Tapestry should be a testament to the Glory of God.

What struck me about this metaphor was that we are so caught up and close to “each thread” that we usually cannot see the big picture. How we affect everyone we come in contact with, how they affect us, the joy, and peace we can bring to others or the misery by are actions or omissions. Many times I feel so insignificant not having any impact in this world but then there are times when I get a brief glimpse of a much bigger role I am playing when someone gives me feedback about the difference I made, or how a certain seemingly insignificant action on my part had a dramatic positive or negative effect on someone else.

What I took away from this message was:
1. There are no random events. Everything happens in our life for a reason as it is part of God’s Glorious Plan for us

2. With that in mind, I am going to try and be more tolerant, trusting and have more faith that when things don’t go the way I want, there is a reason and I should be thankful that God is in control

3. Everyone that comes into my life is there because God wants them to be there. So I am going to try to be more aware and conscious of the possibility of being a positive influence on everyone whose life I touch………and vice versa

4. I am going to try and have more faith in that I am Part of God’s Plan which makes my existence important with significant meaning, even if I cannot see that significance.

5. I am going to try and think twice when faced with the choice to do something evil, or unkind or charitable because that action will become a permanent part of my Tapestry for all eternity.

6. I am going to try and not worry as much about what I did or didn’t do in the past or what might happen in the future. All I can really do and effect is the decision I make at this very moment and ask myself is the “right” thing I should be doing at this very moment. If I do that, then my “Tapestry” should be in pretty good shape.

7. I am going to try and have faith that I am right where God wants me to be today and I am in the midst of HIS Plan for me. So I don’t have worry about what I could have, should have or would have done. I can trust HIM knowing He is in control. If I focus on Jesus everyday, then my Tapestry will be as God intended it to be.

Beyond My Comprehension

by John on January 10, 2010

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Many of us have experienced the sadness and loss of having to “put down” an aging and beloved pet. Our 15 year old Jack Russell Terrier, Teddy, was so old, suffering, weak and infected that the vet said the merciful thing to do was to “let him go.” Our whole family had gotten so close to Teddy and considered him part of the family. It was a terrible loss and incredibly sad for all of us. The most painful thing of all was that we had to “give permission” to the vet to release Teddy from his pain and suffering. It was our choice to let him go.

As incredibly sad as it was to let our pet go to save him from intense pain and suffering, I can only imagine how God felt to intentionally send His only Son to be tortured and die for us. I don’t pretend to actually have any concept as to how God Thinks or Feels. And I realize that even though we were incredibly attached to our pet, he was, in fact, still just our pet and we loved him as much as one can love their pet.

But I believe God is an All-Loving and Compassionate Father who truly loved His only Son, Jesus. For God to Choose to Sacrifice His Only Son for me is beyond my comprehension. The Sadness, Pain and Loss God must have experienced is beyond my imagination. And for Jesus to willingly accept His Fate and embrace His Destiny for us again exceeds my limited ability to fully understand How both could do this.

But they did. And Because of both of Their sacrifices, They gave me the opportunity to spend Eternity with Them. This is one of the many reasons Why I try to Praise God and Thank Jesus every day.

What Really Matters

by John on January 6, 2010

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My wife and I had the wonderful opportunity to babysit for our grand child tonight so “mom and dad” could spend some long over due and much needed time together. This was the first time we spent the whole evening with our nearly 2 year old grand son and it was one of the most enjoyable evenings I have had in a very long time.

I tend to get so caught up in worrying about work, money, bills, deadlines, travel, clients, details, follow up, what people think, etc., that my anxiety and preoccupation rob me and my family of “me being present” for them when we are together. But tonight was different. I was totally present in the moment and put every worry out of my head. It was such a wonderful, enlightening, refreshing and enjoyable experience.

At the end of the day, all the worldly worries will come and go and next year at this time, I won’t likely be able to remember even one of the “worries” that I thought were so incredibly important yesterday.
I want to be responsible and provide for my family but I have to do a better job of preventing my “career” from keeping me from realizing what really matters.

But next year and for many years after that my grand son and my family will be there for me. They are the constants in my life…….not the daily struggles I have….but I shamefully give so much of my “time and attention” to these struggles.

So many Scripture passages encourage me to stop worrying and put my trust in the Lord which I never do completely. But tonight I was blessed with one more brief glimpse of the sheer Joy I can experience when I completely block all worry from my mind.

The real insight I gained tonight was that one of the ways I can literally free myself from the burden of my worries is to “let go of the anxiety” and embrace family time as the most important thing in my life during those moments …..as I did tonight. So my family becomes a double blessing in that they are truly a wonderful gift from God first because He placed them in my life; and second, by focusing on them I can put my trust in the Lord through them and free my mind to experience the Joy of “what really matters.”

Sounds like “A Plan”

by John on January 4, 2010

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I have a great feeling that 2010 is going to be a wonderful year in the Lord. I am very optimistic. It does not mean I am going to get everything I want or that everything is going to work out just the way I planned but I know God will answer my prayers and that may mean one of several outcomes

1. HE gives me the GRACE to accept whatever comes my way
2. I work very hard to achieve important goals in my personal and professional life and GOD will be with me Every step of the way.
3. Jesus will be my Co-pilot and I will include HIM in everything I do and all aspects of my life and I know HE will always be there with me.
4. I will continue to Praise Jesus Everyday.

Sounds like “A PLAN” to me!

Serving from the heart

by John on December 31, 2009

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by Rick Warren

From now on if you listen obediently to the commandments that I am commanding you today, love God, your God, and serve him with everything you have within you, he’ll take charge of sending the rain at the right time …. Deuteronomy 11:13-14 (MSG)
Repeatedly, the Bible says to “serve the Lord with all your heart.” God wants you to serve him passionately, not dutifully. People rarely excel at tasks they don’t enjoy doing or feel passionate about. God wants you to use your natural interests to serve him and others.

How do you know when you’re serving God from your heart?

The first telltale sign is enthusiasm. When you’re doing what you love to do, no one has to motivate you, or challenge you, or check up on you. You do it for the sheer enjoyment. You don’t need rewards, or applause, or to be paid, because you love serving in this way.

The opposite is also true: When you don’t have a heart for what you’re doing, you’re easily discouraged.

One characteristic of serving God from your heart is effectiveness: whenever you do what God wired you to love to do, you get good at it. Passion drives perfection. If you don’t care about a task, it is unlikely that you’ll excel at it.

On the other hand, the highest achievers in any field are those who do it because of passion, not duty or profit.

We’ve all heard people say, “I took a job I hate in order to make a lot of money, so someday I can quit and do what I love to do.” That’s a big mistake. Don’t waste your life in a job that doesn’t express your heart.

Remember, the greatest things in life are not things. Meaning is far more important than money. The richest man in the world once said, “A simple life in the fear-of-God is better than a rich life with a ton of headaches” (Proverbs 15:16, Msg).

Don’t settle for achieving “the good life,” because the good life is not good enough. Ultimately, it doesn’t satisfy. You can have a lot to live on, and still have nothing to live for. Aim instead for “the better life” — serving God in a way that expresses your heart.

Figure out what you love to do — that which God gave you a heart for — and then do it for his glory!

New Years Resolution

by John on December 30, 2009

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In the New Year I need to lose more weight, exercise and walk more, eat healthier and drink more water, work less, sleep more, spend more time at home, read more and relax more often…so many different things I could or should do.

But my one and only New Years Resolution I am going to really try to focus on is to GET CLOSER TO JESUS. I want to Thank HIM when I get up in the morning and before I go to bed. I want to tell HIM throughout every day how I am feeling, my fears, my joys, concerns, needs, worries. I want to take quiet time to be just with HIM and just talk to HIM.

I think this is going to be an excellent New Years Resolution for me.

Making Progress

by John on December 28, 2009

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Making progress has little to do with speed but a lot to do with direction.

“Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and your plans will succeed.” Proverbs 16:3

Jesus is the Reason for the SEASON

by John on December 22, 2009

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With hospital time, trying to get back into business mode, just starting to travel again for business after one month, trying to get caught up on Christmas “shopping”, planning “family” get togethers, etc., I have completely forgotten about the REAL REASON for Christmas.

Jesus Christ was born for us, died for us and now awaits spending eternity with us if we only accept HIM. It is pretty much THAT SIMPLE.

The Christmas lights, presents, hoopla are all fun and I know “kids” especially enjoy it. But at the end of the day (and end of our life) it is ALL ABOUT JESUS!

The Holy Spirit’s whisper

by John on December 18, 2009

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by John Fischer

Here is what the Spirit of God says to us: “Tell him I love him.” It could be to a friend recovering from bypass surgery in the hospital; it could be to a homeless man, smelly and half nuts; it could to be your husband just going out the door for a few groceries—and never coming back; it could be to the lady who cut in front of you in line; it could be to your best friend the one you won’t ever see again who left the party early to walk home by himself… In all of these situations, the Holy Spirit wants to have us stand in for him. He wants us to deliver the message. It’s the ultimate gift, and it explains why God sent his son into the world, but it’s less complicated than that. It’s distilled into three words, one phrase, and it’s the point of it all: “Tell her I love her” or “Tell him I love him.”

It’s the Holy Spirit’s whisper. He whispers it in our ear while we stand in front of someone it would be impossible for us to love otherwise. And he whispers it in our ear as we casually say good-by to the most familiar face we know. And why do I need to do this? She’ll be back in just a few minutes. Will she? “Tell her I love her.” Don’t miss an opportunity.

Because it’s ultimately what the Father said to the Son when he watched them nail him to a cross and had to turn his back as he agonized alone, covered in sin that was not his and forsaking his only begotten: “Tell them I love them,” God said. And he did.

Release your fears at Christmas

by John on December 16, 2009

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by Rick Warren

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid.” Luke 2:10 (NIV)
Christmas is not just a season, but it is a time specifically chosen by God for Jesus to come to earth: “But when the right time finally came, God sent his own Son.” (Galatians 4:4 TEV)

Knowing that Christmastime is God’s chosen time teaches us that Christmas is the time for us to release our fears.

What are the things you’re worried about? The economy? Your health? Your bills? Your kids? Are you worried about the future? The fact is there are lots of reasons to be afraid in today’s world, but God’s message at Christmastime is “Don’t be afraid!” (Luke 2:10 NIV) Release your anxieties; let go of your fears.

It’s interesting to note that there are 365 verses in the Bible that say, “Fear not.” God provided us with one ‘fear not’ message for every day of the year! Do you think God is saying, “Get the message. Don’t be afraid!”

Why does he want us to get the message? Because a lot of people are afraid of God! But God says we do not need to be afraid of him. He is for us; not against us.

And with the birth of Jesus, God shows he is with us.

This Christmas release your fears to the God who says we no longer need to be afraid.

Rest

by John on December 15, 2009

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Taking time to rest is important to God—in fact, a day of rest made His Top Ten List!

“Six days you shall labor, but on the seventh day you shall rest; even during the plowing season and harvest you must rest.” Exodus 34:21

Tested

by John on December 10, 2009

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In school, first you learn the lesson and then you’re tested. In life, first you’re tested and then you learn the lesson.

“Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.” James 1:12