Category: <span>thoughts by John Fischer</span>


I learned something very important. It’s one of those commonsense realities that when you hear it, it seems so obvious you wonder why you haven’t thought about it before. In fact, when you hear it, you think, “Big deal; I know that.” But the more reflection you engage in, you realize that you may know it, but you are not acting on it. Indeed, you are acting on something quite the opposite. What I am speaking of is simply this: the past is static; the future is dynamic.

Think about it. Everything in the past is frozen. Our memories are freeze-frames of history. We can’t change what is over and done. Oh, we might be able to re-write it for future generations, but that is just someone’s view of the past. It doesn’t change what actually happened, only how we think about it. To keep going back to the past, or to let the past define your future, is to limit yourself to a huge degree – to stay stuck in one static interpretation of your life when the future is full of possibilities and opportunities you don’t even know exist at this time. This goes both ways, by the way, if your past was awful and something you want to forget, or if it was great and something you want to go back to. Neither is possible, but both can short-circuit our thinking. My particular version of this is to have a past I want to return to.

I am often guilty of thinking I’ve lived my life backwards – as if I peaked into the past and everything has been downhill since then. That was when the Holy Spirit worked. That was when creativity flowed. That was when the gospel went forth in power. Oh really? So there’s no Holy Spirit now … no creativity … no gospel? What a debilitating way to think! What a non-faith approach to life!

And yet, we are constantly doing this, are we not – constantly comparing “now” to “then” and always calling “then” better or worse, and limiting our futures as a result? The extent to which I believe this is the extent to which I go into the future atrophied by the past.

Ah, but the past is so convenient. It always cooperates with how I want to think about it. It never challenges me – never wars with my interpretation – never disagrees with me. And it’s always there. I can complain or reminisce to my heart’s content, but in the process, I will miss whatever God has for me now, and in the future.

The future is unknown, challenging, exciting, dynamic, uncharted, and very scary. I can’t control it the way I can control the past. It won’t cooperate with me unless I continue to let the past rule and freeze myself in time.

Don’t do it. Release your hold on your life and throw the door open on the dynamic of His will for your future. I can guarantee that either way you are thinking about your past, what He has for you and I yet to discover will be better. Guaranteed.

What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived – the things God has prepared for those who love him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9

That tells me one thing about my future. If I have seen it, or heard about it, or can conceive of it, it’s not what God has in mind for me.

By John Fischer
Used by Permission

We Welcome your comments.

Enter Email
reCAPTCHA

Further Reading

•  We Plan – God Directs

•  Why I need to Press the ‘Reset Button’ – confessing sin is like a reset button in our relationship with God

•  Fully Surrender to the Lord

•  Salvation Explained

Share this on:

thoughts by John Fischer Thoughts by Men


When you begin to step out into your dynamic future,  regret becomes something tied to your static past that no longer serves a purpose. Regret, like guilt, is useful only as a passageway to something better. Regret is good in that it gets us to agree with God over what we have done wrong, but it needs to quickly be eclipsed by God’s forgiveness and hope, counting on the new creation that we are in Christ. You regret something only long enough to change. Any longer and it becomes a bondage to one’s past.

Regret is like a hot potato. Hold onto it for any period of time and it will burn you.

Regret can lock you up in the “would have,” “could have” and “should have’s” of life that lead only to a futile rehearsal of our past mistakes with no hope of change. “If only I had or hadn’t done such and such...” Holding onto regret is like turning a key on the closet of isolation, from the inside, that keeps us locked up in darkness and separation. In a twisted sort of way, we like it in that closet, because then we do not have to engage in the life around us. We can selfishly stay, focused on ourselves, drawing all the attention and licking our wounds – wounds that God wants to heal, if we would just stop tearing at them.

Regret nullifies our possibility for change. It says we would rather feel bad about what we did than to learn from it and move on. Regret says that we want to pay for our own sins rather than accept God’s forgiveness. Regret crucifies Christ over and over again when He only died once and for all. Remember? “It is finished.” Regret says, “No it’s not. I have to pay for this first.” And then it’s never over.

Regret basically leaves God out of the picture. It denies the miracle of forgiveness and the hope of change. It says we have only our poor, sinful, dysfunctional selves to deal with.

Stepping out is scary, and there are lots of options to choose from, but that is where the Spirit is. Leave your regrets to the past because they are tethered there and will not accompany you out into the Spirit. The Spirit of God doesn’t like closets, especially dark ones.

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

What is there to regret about that?

By John Fischer
Used by Permission

We Welcome your comments.

Enter Email
reCAPTCHA

Further Reading

•  Struggles, Despair
Testimonies:  Why I Choose God
•  Salvation Explained

Share this on:

thoughts by John Fischer Thoughts by Men


Often, as a child, when I complained about some ache or pain that had no clear physical explanation, the simple parental diagnosis was: “It’s just growing pains.” I used to imagine my muscles and bones actually hurting while they stretched and grew. While I know nothing about the scientific nature of this evaluation, I do know it has a spiritual application that is entirely accurate. It hurts to grow.

It hurts to grow because we have to die to old ways in order to live anew, and old ways die hard.

We place a high premium in life on dying peacefully, but in reality dying almost always is accompanied by pain. We have dependencies with coping mechanisms that have enslaved us. It’s hard letting go of our security blankets.

In a touching scene from an older romantic comedy, Mr. Mom, Michael Keaton has to coax his toddler’s “whoopee” blanket away from him. Upon rendering it up, the little boy asks for a moment to himself to grieve the loss and we can almost touch his pain. We would like similar moments to grieve our little daily deaths, but we have to learn to move on, because the pain of losing is followed by the greater joy of finding God always meets us on the other side of our loss.

It hurts to grow because growing usually means facing into some fear or weakness that has limited us. Though God saves us through no effort of our own, he asks for our cooperation when it comes to our spiritual growth. Real spiritual growth only happens when our effort to act upon God’s word meets the provision of the Holy Spirit in us.

Or as Paul teaches, “Put into action God’s saving work in your lives, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. For God is working in you, giving you the desire to obey Him and the power to do what pleases Him.” Philippians 2:12-13 (NLT).

This is always the spiritual principle of growth. We obey by stepping into our weakness or our fear, trusting in the fact that because it is something He asks of us, He will meet us somewhere along the way with the power to do it. This is almost always a painful proposition because it requires a step into the unknown. What if God doesn’t show up? I suppose we can ask that question, but we will never get the answer on this side of the risk. We have to take the step, believing that there is something there that we can’t see. And if that doesn’t hurt, it’s probably not faith.

Old ways die hard, but new life dances on the gravestones.

By John Fischer
Used by Permission

We Welcome your comments.

Enter Email
reCAPTCHA

Related Reading

•   Going Deeper with God
•   Lessons for Spiritual Growth
•  Salvation Explained

Share this on:

thoughts by John Fischer Thoughts by Men


For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife?” 1 Corinthians 7:16

Your mission is to live your life.

In 1 Corinthians 7, the Apostle Paul addresses believers who are married to unbelievers, and outlines a general rule that if the unbelieving spouse chooses to stay in the marriage, it would be good for the believer to stay, too. He gives two reasons for this: First, the children will have a godly influence through the believing parent, and second, the unbeliever may be converted “because of you.” (1 Corinthians 7:16) (Exceptions to this rule would of course be situations of abuse and endangerment of a spouse or child.)

Just what does he mean by “because of you,” I wonder? Does it mean you are on a personal crusade to save your spouse? Does it mean that you will preach the Gospel to your spouse at every possible opportunity? Does it mean you will turn your house into a religious institution that coerces your spouse to either put up with Christianity or leave? No, it doesn’t mean any of these things.

It means simply what it says: “… because of you” — because of who you are, because of how you live, because of the way your faith affects everything you do, because of the way you carry on your life, because of the reality of Christ in your life. That’s it. No more; but certainly, no less. Paul is suggesting that living your life with a sense of purpose that comes from your faith in God is enough to convert someone.

It occurs to me that this could be applied to all believers in relation to life in the world among people with whom we work and associate who are not believers. General rule: Don’t leave the world. (Where would you go anyway?) Stay in the world — in relationships with unbelievers — for the chance that someone may be converted “because of you.”

We are not on a crusade; we are on a mission to live our lives according to God’s purposes. When we do that, we make possible an environment of change where a person who does not have a meaningful relationship with God might become curious about someone who does. “Because of you” is a statement of subtle influence, not coercion, and in the context of Paul’s advice in 1 Corinthians 7, it is a steady influence over time, as would be implied by a marriage. There’s nothing complex or even premeditated about a “because of you” influence. This is a believer going about the process of believing; and this is an unbeliever going over their life with a microscope, observing the good, the bad, and the ugly. It does not matter if God is there.

Thought for the day: Don’t ever sell short what God can do “because of you.”

By John Fischer
Used by Permission

We Welcome your comments.

Enter Email
reCAPTCHA

Further Reading

•  Life Can Bring Joy out of Sorrow by Norma Becker
•  Fully Surrender to the Lord
•  Salvation Explained

Follow Us On:

Facebook
Twitter
Instagram
Pinterest

Share this on:

thoughts by John Fischer Thoughts by Men


Is there anybody you’d rather not see in heaven? What if God chooses to extend mercy to that person? Would you go away and pout like Jonah?

When Jonah finally got his directions straight and went to preach to Nineveh, he was distraught because they heeded his warnings about God’s coming judgment, and God showed them mercy by reneging on his intention to destroy the city. Turns out this is exactly what Jonah was afraid would happen, and that’s why he didn’t want to go there in the first place. In this case, Jonah was all over justice being done, but the city got mercy instead.

Justice and mercy are two sides of God that come together in Christ. The cross of Christ is both the justice of God and the mercy of God. It is the justice of God in that it is the payment for sin. If you’ve ever wished an evil act would get its proper due, that wish was fulfilled in the cross. The cross catches the human race in the act of sin and disobedience. It’s the bad guys getting what they deserve. But it is also the mercy of God in that Christ is on it and not you or me. Christ is on it in our place, and that’s where this gets personal. Everybody gets it, even the bad guys I wish God’s judgment on. If I want mercy for myself, I have to allow it for everyone else with no partiality. This is the lesson Jonah had to learn and I’m not so sure he learned it. Nineveh repented of its evil ways, but there is no indication that Jonah repented of his judgment without mercy.

Mercy is such good news. It is good news for everyone, but especially for me, because I know my sin better than anyone, but it must be given to be received. You can’t receive mercy and still make everyone around you pay. If you get mercy, they get it – even the worst of them – the ones you hope you don’t see in heaven.

We may need to make some adjustments in our thinking.

For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.” James 2:13

By John Fischer
Used by Permission


If you prayed this prayer we would love to hear from you . If you would like to know God deeper we can connect you with an email mentor and/or send you some great links.


Enter Email

Further Reading

•  Life Can Bring Joy out of Sorrow by Norma Becker
•  Fully Surrender to the Lord
•  Salvation Explained

Follow Us On:

Facebook
Twitter
Instagram
Pinterest

Share this on:

thoughts by John Fischer Thoughts by Men


I am a lot more like the prophet Jonah than I would care to admit, but I’m going to try.

Jonah is often called the reluctant prophet because God called him to preach to the town of Nineveh, and he went the opposite direction. And you know what God did about that; He sent a big fish to redirect him back to Nineveh.

But why? Why didn’t he want to go preach to Nineveh?

Did he have sudden stage fright? Was he afraid they would reject his message and come after him? No; none of the above. Jonah’s message was one of both good and bad news. The bad news was that the city was full of wickedness and that God was getting ready to punish it. The good news was that if they repented and turned from their wickedness, God would be merciful and spare the city.

Jonah liked the bad news. He wanted God to rain down His justice on these wicked people. But Jonah had an inclination. He was afraid that if he preached this message, they would choose the good news. The city would repent and God would be merciful, and for Jonah, that was the worst possible outcome.

We don’t know from the story why Jonah had it in for the city of Nineveh. It could have been his own self-righteousness. It could have been that he had a history with these people. Maybe they had hurt him or members of his family in some way. Whatever it was, he wanted the place destroyed.

So, when he finished preaching to the whole town, he retired to a hillside overlooking the city to wait and hopefully witness God’s destruction. But nothing happened. And the more nothing happened, the more upset he got. So God sent a very hot sun to burn down on Jonah from his vantage point without any protection. And Jonah complained about the sun. So God sent a plant to grow up rapidly and provide some shade for him, and Jonah was thankful. But no sooner did that happen than God withered the plant and left Jonah in the sun. And that made him angry again.

And God had something to say about that:

You have been concerned about this plant, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight. And should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left-and also many animals?” (Jonah 4:10-11)

Jonah was so caught up in his own self-righteousness that, in the end, all he could care about was himself and a stupid plant. Meanwhile, God was having compassion for a hundred and twenty thousand people who were trapped in their own ignorance, along with many animals, which God cared about, too.

I really get this story, and painfully so. It hurts how much I identify with Jonah – his self-righteousness and his focus on his own needs to the exclusion of those around him. And that silly plant! I get that too, based on the silly things that become so important to me when I am inwardly-focused. And I identify with his desire to see justice meted out on all the bad people in the world. But in the end, I am also relieved to find that God is the way He is. That He is full of mercy and unlike me. Because if God were like me, I wouldn’t have a chance.

God, help me to see people the way you see them, as those who don’t know their right hand from their left (as if I knew any better). May I be quick to show mercy to all, because mercy is what I want for myself. And take my eyes off me and my needs and put them on you, and on others.

You’d think that after three days inside a whale Jonah would have learned more than this. Then again, self-righteousness is a hard thing to shake.

By John Fischer
Used by Permission

We Welcome your comments.

Enter Email
reCAPTCHA

FURTHER READING

Learn more about knowing Jesus at: https://thoughts-about-god.com/four-laws/


Follow Us On:

facebooktwitterinstagrampinterest

 

 

SUBSCRIBE BY EMAIL: FOLLOW THIS LINK


Share this on:

thoughts by John Fischer Thoughts by Men


For you have been called to live in freedom — not freedom to satisfy your sinful nature, but freedom to serve one another in love.” Galatians 5:13

What will you use your freedom for? It’s an important question, since one of the greatest things about being born again is the freedom that comes from the Spirit of God. “And wherever the Spirit of the Lord is, he gives freedom.” 2 Corinthians 3:17

In Christ we have been set free from the power and the penalty of sin, free from trying to earn God’s favor, free from the insatiable need to please ourselves, and free to know the truth. Even though we may not be aware of all these freedoms, they are nonetheless true and available to each of us by faith.

But the question Paul addressed in Galatians is what we use this freedom for. He suggests that we use this freedom to lovingly serve each other.

Notice the things we have been set free from, they all revolve around the self. Think about it. Most of us have spent the better part of our lives getting all the attention. Even the guilt, self-pity, and regret we love to wallow in are all about us. Imagine freeing up the thinking time we put into self-indulgence — feeling guilty, judging others to feel better by comparison, and figuring out how to please our selfish desires — and imagine spending that time on someone else.

First you will need to remind yourself of your freedom in Christ because forgetting that is what gets us stuck in the first place. Then use that freed-up time to identify with what someone else is going through and plan how you can serve him or her.

If being free to serve sounds like an oxymoron, it’s only because we have all become so used to being in bondage we can’t imagine being free. But free to serve is what we were meant to be. It’s how we become useful to God.

Next time you catch yourself absorbed in you-know-who, stop and think about what you can do for someone around you. Remember your freedom in Christ and spend it on others. Think about what their needs might be — ask them, if you don’t know — and serve them in love. It’s time for someone else to get our attention for a change.

Question: During this difficult time, what’s one way you can share Christ’s love with others?

By John Fischer
Used by Permission

We Welcome your comments.

Enter Email
reCAPTCHA

FURTHER READING

Learn more about knowing Jesus at: https://thoughts-about-god.com/four-laws/


Follow Us On:

facebooktwitterinstagrampinterest

 

 

SUBSCRIBE BY EMAIL: FOLLOW THIS LINK


Share this on:

thoughts by John Fischer Thoughts by Men


Dear friends, do not believe everyone who claims to speak by the Spirit. You must test them to see if the spirit they have comes from God. For there are many false prophets in the world. This is the way to find out if they have the Spirit of God: If a prophet acknowledges that Jesus Christ became a human being, that person has the Spirit of God.1 John 4:1-2 (NLT)

God becoming human is the true message of Christmas. It is a cataclysmic event – a pivotal moment in the history of planet earth. It is without question the single most important event in human history apart from Creation. This is the reason for the star, the wise men and the angelic hosts – God’s way of celebrating and signalling what He was up to, while, at the same time, keeping it pretty much a secret except for a small crowd of lowly shepherds and a few kingly stargazers.

Paul the apostle wrote that if Christ was not raised from the dead, we who believe are of all people most miserable. It all rests on this. And for Him to be raised from the dead as a human being He had to be born as a human being. The birth was a miracle. The death was payment necessary for salvation. The resurrection was another miracle opening the pathway to heaven for the rest of us human beings.

And it all started in Bethlehem,

This is why we celebrate all this. This is why we wrestle from Jack Frost, roasting chestnuts, sleigh rides, reindeer and Santa, the real point of the season: God became a human being. It’s so important it becomes the litmus test of a false prophet.

God became a human being and entered the world He created through the womb of Mary, a young girl at the time, engaged to Joseph of the line of David. It all ties together in a brilliantly orchestrated plan. Just dust off the fake snow and you’ll find it. No one need spoil it for you. They are all trying to find it, though they may not understand the full portent of what they seek. Who can? Such a thing defies reason.

And prophets are determined by it.

I have seen the Son of Man
In the human caravan…
Rejoice!

by John Fischer
Used by Permission

We Welcome your comments.

Enter Email
reCAPTCHA

Comments: If you don’t see our response form, please go to https://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/john-fischer_christmas-test/

Learn more about knowing Jesus at: http://thoughts-about-god.com/four-laws/


Follow Us On:

facebooktwitterinstagrampinterest

 

 

 

___

Share this on:

thoughts by John Fischer Thoughts by Men


“But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” 2 Corinthians 4:7

This is the key verse to understanding how the new covenant works – the interplay between God and us, and how God gets His message across through us. Understand and act on this, and you will not be ineffective in your Christian life.

Notice that it starts with that same conjunction “but” that we encountered when Paul had just confessed his anxiety over not finding Titus in Troas, and had left behind an opportunity for spreading the gospel there, only to say, “But thanks be to God, who always leads us ...” He set up one thing, and contrasts it with another. He should be anxious over Titus, guilty over walking by a door the Lord had opened for him, and depressed over the whole thing. Instead, he is thankful and confident that he is being led in Christ’s victory, and even being put on display.

Here, the “but” is referring to the incredible treasure we all contain described as “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ,” (vs 6) and yet that treasure is going to be housed in a most unlikely – perhaps even inappropriate – place. You won’t believe it when you hear it. It’s almost a joke, the contrast is so significant. All that glory and brightness and presence is going to be where? In you and me? You’ve got to be kidding!

The contrast is everything. The contrast is the whole point. Anything we do to eliminate that contrast is to take away from the effectiveness of this plan. The contrast between our fragile, clay-like (from the earth) bodies and the immeasurable brightness of Christ is something that should be obvious so that everyone will know the power must be coming from God, because it certainly isn’t coming from us.

You can see how the power of this message is made more effective by the commonness of our humanity. In fact, the power of God in our lives is in direct proportion to our weakness. The more honest we are with our humanity, the more the power of God can be seen and recognized in us. Conversely, the more we try and show ourselves as adequate and spiritual, the less anyone will ever know about the power of God. This is the tragedy of “playing church.” Everybody is hiding the power of God behind a false spirituality.

This is also why the new covenant is so freeing. In it, the greatest power is in concert with our greatest need. No need to hide anything.

Understanding this sets us free to live our lives with a kind of forthright boldness, counting on the Lord to show up, because He always does. The only thing that can stop Him is our manipulation of what he wants to produce in us through our genuine transparency.

By John Fischer
Used by Permission

We Welcome your comments.

Enter Email
reCAPTCHA

Comments: If you don’t see our response form, please go to https://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/john-fischer_cracked-pots/

Learn more about knowing Jesus at: http://thoughts-about-god.com/four-laws/


Follow Us On:

facebooktwitterinstagrampinterest

 

 

 

___

Share this on:

thoughts by John Fischer Thoughts by Men


 “But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.” (- Jesus Christ) Luke 6:35

If you want to get a little taste of what God is like, try loving your enemies, lending money to those you know won’t pay you back, and then try being kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. What does this do to one’s sense of justice and fairness? What could this possibly be about? Jesus can’t be serious about this, can he?

Here’s what I think. I think Jesus is getting us to think this way because he wants us to see something important about ourselves.

After all, what are we thinking here… that we are God’s friends, that we always pay back what we borrow, and that we are most certainly grateful and holy, and that’s why it’s so hard for us to understand why God would ask us, the holy ones, to be kind to all these wicked and ungrateful folks? Gee, somehow we’re going to have to find it in ourselves to love these awful people. But I suppose that if God can do it, we can too. It will be a stretch, but we will try… Is that what this is about?

Hardly. Here’s what I think it means:

There is relatively little difference between the most ungrateful, wicked people I can think of and me, and I had better be deeply grateful that God is, in fact, “unfair” in this way, because otherwise there would be no hope for me. I know this is what Jesus is saying because the very next verse is: “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful [to you].” And that is followed up with: “Do not judge and you will not be judged.” See where He’s going with this?

When you look at it this way, it changes the whole picture.

Love your enemies and be kind to those who, like you, have received the kindness of God when you didn’t deserve it. And if you are ever tempted to think of God as being unfair, then go all the way and rejoice in the glorious inequity of grace that has made unlikely room for you and me, and in that same spirit of “unfairness,” make room in your heart for others.

By John Fischer
Used by Permission

We Welcome your comments.

Enter Email
reCAPTCHA

Comments: If you don’t see our response form, please go to https://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/john-fischer_god-isnt-fair/

Learn more about knowing Jesus at: http://thoughts-about-god.com/four-laws/


Follow Us On:

facebooktwitterinstagrampinterestrss

 

 

 

___

Share this on:

thoughts by John Fischer Thoughts by Men


For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”  Ephesians 2:8-9

Grace is the free and unmerited favor of God.

It is the knowledge that you are pleasing to God right now regardless of what you have or haven’t done.

Grace is the realization that you have already earned a place in the kingdom of God, but you didn’t do anything to get it.

Grace is knowing that the law has already been fulfilled. There isn’t anything more you can do or anything you can add on to make it any better.

Grace is knowing you’re forgiven.

Grace is receiving the gift of being everything you wanted to be.

Grace is looking in the mirror and liking what you see, only because you know that’s what God does.

Grace is a starting point. It’s starting at a point at which you never thought you could be, even if you spent your whole life working for it.

Grace is the absence of judgment.

Grace is utterly and completely received. There is nothing you can do to get it.

Believe it or not, we don’t like this. Grace, as wonderful as it seems, gets turned down every moment of every day. We don’t like it because we have nothing to do with it, and that doesn’t set well with us. We don’t like receiving free gifts; we get very nervous around that. We feel much better being in control of something. We were made this way – made to earn our way.  We want to get somewhere by following the rules or sit around and complain about how we can’t. But to start out where we are already pleasing to God … what is that? That doesn’t compute using the math we learned in school. It just doesn’t add up, and that makes us nervous, because if this is true for us, it’s true for everyone. And if this is true for everyone, then it changes dramatically how I see and treat other people.

Or as a friend of mine just taught me: “How dare I judge anyone that Christ gave His life to forgive.

How dare I lay on other people burdens that Christ has not laid on me.

How dare I have one set of rules for me and another set for everyone else.

How dare I make a big deal about anyone else’s sin except my own.

These last few observations are all about grace turned outward. Once I realize and accept God’s grace for myself, I must of necessity apply it to everyone around me, or I am merely showing that I have, in fact, not received it for myself. You can’t turn grace outward without fully taking it in.

Surrender. Receive. Jesus paid it all; there’s nothing more you can do but accept it. And once you’ve accepted it, you won’t look at anyone the same way again.

By John Fischer
Used by Permission

We Welcome your comments.

Enter Email
reCAPTCHA

Comments: If you don’t see our response form, please go to https://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/john-fischer_grace-turned-outward/

Learn more about knowing Jesus at: http://thoughts-about-god.com/four-laws/


Follow Us On:

facebooktwitterinstagrampinterestrss

 

 

 

___

Share this on:

thoughts by John Fischer Thoughts by Men


“His unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. And this gave him great pleasure.” Ephesians 1:5

I know something about this feeling. We have an adopted son and the pleasure he has brought us has been unequaled. And I thought I was doing him a favor.

We have two of our own who are now adults and pretty much out of the house. This new little guy could be our grandson. I often tell people having a child at this stage in life is like being a grandfather without having to give the child up. I know grandparents are supposed to like the fact that they can return their grandchildren to sender, but in this case we are doubly blessed because that would be very hard to do, as attached as we are.

What’s really going on here is something I’m not quite sure I can explain, it’s just that I haven’t loved anyone in quite the way that I love my adopted son. There is no question that he is mine. It’s not like he’s in second position or anything less than my own. In some strange way he is more mine than my own, and I know that I can’t explain that. The fact that he doesn’t belong to me by birth means nothing because he belongs to me anyway. I’ve always loved him. He has my name. I have his papers.

I grew up in a family that did not look very favourably on adoption. I had a cousin who, according to the adults in the family was always causing trouble. And I always heard she was trouble because she was adopted. Bad blood. Should have stuck to our own. Never know what you let in otherwise. If someone even hints of this kind of thinking in regards to my adopted son now, they will meet with my wrath and it will not be a pretty sight.

By the way, I haven’t been in touch with my cousin very much but when I do talk to her I realize how wrong we all were about her. I don’t know of anyone with more love and compassion than this person. And she will do anything for you at the drop of a hat. She has so many legitimate reasons to be resentful, but she is not.

Now here’s the point. How I feel about my son is just a small picture of how God feels about you and me. We have all been adopted into the same family. No one can degrade us or take us away from where we belong. And there’s a whole bunch of us who, as brothers and sisters, share this incredible privilege together. And here’s the catch: God did this so we could bring Him much pleasure. I understand this now.

By John Fischer
Used by Permission

We Welcome your comments.

Enter Email
reCAPTCHA

Comments: If you don’t see our response form, please go to https://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/john-fischer_adopted/

Learn more about knowing Jesus at: http://thoughts-about-god.com/four-laws/


Follow Us On:

facebooktwitterinstagrampinterestrss

 

 

 

___

Share this on:

thoughts by John Fischer Thoughts by Men


One of the prerequisites for being a servant of God is to think like a servant.

This would be fine if it wasn’t so impossible. We are all naturally wired to think only of ourselves.

Learning to give preference to others is one of the true marks of a Christian because it is so contrary to human nature. That’s why desiring it comes from God, and doing it comes through the Holy Spirit.

Paul said of Timothy: “I have no one else like Timothy, who genuinely cares for your welfare. All the others care only for themselves and not for what matters to Jesus Christ” (Philippians 2:20-21, NLT).

Hidden in these verses is the secret to making an attitude of servanthood become a part of your thinking. It starts with Jesus. When you fall in love with Jesus, you focus on Him and worship Him. As you do this, you find out about Him – you get to know Him as you would a friend – and soon you come to know what matters to Him, until finally, you start to realize that what matters to Him, matters to you. This is not just a factor of familiarity, either. There is a supernatural element at work here as well. What matters to Jesus connects with the Holy Spirit in you, and the Spirit answers from deep inside you to the call of truth.

Other people mattered deeply to Jesus. He could read their hurt and pain. Scripture says He was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. Well where did that grief and sorrow come from if it didn’t come from the suffering of people around Him? In other words, He was carrying their grief. He was empathizing with their sorrow. Once a woman touched him in a desperate need to be healed, and He could feel the compassionate power go from Him even though He didn’t see who touched Him in the press of the crowd. He was that sensitive to the needs of those around Him.

Now truly, thinking like a servant doesn’t automatically make you one, but it goes a long way toward getting you there. If you are thinking like a servant, you are noticing others; and the more you are aware of others, the more the Holy Spirit can use you in reaching out to them. All this increases the opportunity for the gospel. People are simply not used to being served.

Take it from me, a guy who is not by any stretch servant material, it’s actually a relief to get off my most popular subject “me” and on to someone else. Ask God to help you think like a servant today, and I’m certain you’ll get a chance to be one.

Question: Where are there opportunities in your life (at home, work, church, or elsewhere) to “think like a servant“?

by John Fischer
Used by Permission

We Welcome your comments.

Enter Email
reCAPTCHA

Comments: If you don’t see our response form, please go to https://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/j-fischer_servant/

Learn more about knowing Jesus at: http://thoughts-about-god.com/four-laws/


Follow Us On:

facebooktwitterinstagrampinterestrss

 

 

 

___

Share this on:

Thoughts by All thoughts by John Fischer Thoughts by Men


When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, “At home even the hired men have food enough to spare, and here I am, dying of hunger! I will go home to my father....”
(Luke 15:17-18)

Most of us can identify in some way with the story of the Prodigal Son. He had spent all his father’s money on wild living and “came to his senses” when he ended up working on a pig farm just to survive and noticed that what the pigs were eating suddenly looked good to him. That’s when he decided to go back to his father, admit his bad decisions and offer to work as a hired hand on his father’s estate. The surprise was that he wasn’t given even a chance to apply for the job. He was welcomed as a son. Before he could get a word in edgewise he was smothered in his father’s love and a welcome-home party began.

What can you do in the face of this other than put the welcome mat out to all other scoundrels out there like you? This is like no love we have ever known before or will ever know. God the Father’s great big hands are open to us and we are embraced without judgment. How can you ever wish for anyone else to pay for you got for nothing?

We crawled back home ready for the worst – ready to eat crow. We were prepared for the taunts from the others in the family – even from the servants. We weighed the cost and decided the embarrassment was worth it. We calculated all that. We left bragging and returned in humiliation. We left on top of the world and returned a failure. And yet there is no “I told you so” speech. There is just joy and acceptance. We come home willing to negotiate a servant’s position and receive a son’s welcome. One day we were sucking up to pigs, the next we are escorted into our father’s house and in the process, we discover the wonderfully good news that we’ve always had a home here. This is where we belong.

Okay, let’s take this one step farther. Let’s think about all the other sons and daughters who are out there ready to come home – looking for a place to belong. How are we going to treat them – like the older son who wanted the younger to pay for his sins, or like the father who forgave?

Once we’ve experienced this, you and I need to put the welcome mat out to everyone – even those we’d rather not have in our family. If there is a selection process, that’s up to the Lord, not us. As far as we know, we are in the business of welcoming sons and daughters of the King, and that includes everyone.

So put out the welcome mat and get ready to have a party!

by John Fischer
Used by Permission

We Welcome your comments.

Enter Email
reCAPTCHA

Comments: If you don’t see our response form, please go to https://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/john-fischer_welcome-mat/

Learn more about knowing Jesus at: http://thoughts-about-god.com/four-laws/


Follow Us On:

facebooktwitterinstagrampinterestrss

 

 

 

___

Share this on:

Thoughts by All thoughts by John Fischer Thoughts by Men


But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.” – Jesus Christ
Luke 6:35

If you want to get a little taste of what God is like, try loving your enemies, lending money to those you know won’t pay you back, and then try being kind to the ungrateful and the wicked. What does this do to one’s sense of justice and fairness? What could this possibly be about? Jesus can’t be serious about this, can he?

Here’s what I think. I think Jesus is getting us to think this way because he wants us to see something important about ourselves.

After all, what are we thinking here – that we are God’s friends, that we always pay back what we borrow, and that we are most certainly grateful and holy, and that’s why it’s so hard for us to understand why God would ask us, the holy ones, to be kind to all these wicked and ungrateful folks? My goodness! somehow we’re going to have to find it in ourselves to love these awful people. But I suppose that if God can do it, we can too. It will be a stretch, but we will try! Is that what this is about?

Hardly. Here’s what I think it means:

There is relatively little difference between the most ungrateful, wicked people I can think of and me, and I had better be deeply grateful that God is, in fact, “unfair” in this way, because otherwise there would be no hope for me. I know this is what Jesus is saying because the very next verse is: “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful [to you].” And that is followed up with: “Do not judge and you will not be judged.”  See where He’s going with this?

When you look at it this way, it changes the whole picture.

Love your enemies and be kind to those who, like you, have received the kindness of God when you didn’t deserve it. And if you are ever tempted to think of God as being unfair, then go all the way and rejoice in the glorious inequity of grace that has made unlikely room for you and me, and in that same spirit of “unfairness,” make room in your heart for others.

by John Fischer
Used by Permission

We Welcome your comments.

Enter Email
reCAPTCHA

Comments: If you don’t see our response form, please go to https://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/john-fischer_grace/

Learn more about knowing Jesus at: http://thoughts-about-god.com/four-laws/


Follow Us On:

facebooktwitterinstagrampinterestrss

 

 

 

___
Share this on:

Thoughts by All thoughts by John Fischer Thoughts by Men