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


Your mission today (should you choose to accept it) is to get yourself up out of bed and throw yourself out into the world. That’s right: Get up and get out.

My, how daring we are! Well, yes, when you consider how dangerous a place the world is, and how inadequate we feel when we try to make a difference in it.  But just read this:

For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are the smell of death; to the other the fragrance of life. And who is equal to such a task?2 Corinthians 2:15-16 (NIV)

Now there is a picture: You and me having a significant effect on people, churning up reactions as varied as life and death by our mere presence. It’s no surprise Paul would wonder, in the next breath, who, if any, might be equal to this task. It’s a rhetorical question that he intends to answer, and he does in the next chapter. “Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God who has made us adequate.” 2 Corinthians 3:5-6 (NIV) In other words, we aren’t adequate, but we are. We aren’t adequate in ourselves, but we are in Christ. And we find this out when we jump into the world, believing.

By believing, you are taking the particular characteristics of a believer (a person in whom God’s presence is a factor) out into the world, and by nature of your presence in the world and the presence of Christ in your life, you will make a difference. So, you see, it is all about literally throwing yourself out there and trusting that God shows up when you do, even when you don’t exactly know what’s going to happen next, you just know you’ll be ready when it does by nature of the Spirit of God in you. How about that for living dangerously?

As a friend of mine said once, almost nonchalantly, a true Christian is choosing the most dangerous occupation in the world. I think he’s right, not only because Satan is alive and well on planet earth working to discredit those who believe, but because God likes us living on the edge in believing him. I really don’t think faith is mainstream. I don’t think it gets the popular vote. Real faith does not win mass-market appeal. True faith is a challenge of wits. It’s the mover and shaker of the status quo. Faith kicks us out of our safety net and into the world. If nothing’s on the line, then there’s no faith required. That’s dangerous, but all the more exhilarating when God shows up and shows himself to be true to his promises.

So get up and get out. It’s the only way to truly find out!

by John Fischer
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FURTHER READING

•  The Walk of Obedience – by Mary Pinckney

•  Blessed Obedience – by Idelette McVicker

•  God Requires Risky Obedience – by Jon Walker

Thoughts by All thoughts by John Fischer Thoughts by Men

Serving and giving are two verbs that describe the essence of the Christian life. I wish this weren’t true because I have trouble with both of these. Serving is something I have expected others to do for me, and giving is something I often put off until I have more. My warped thinking goes something like this: When I have enough to spare, I will be more than happy to be a generous person. You will never have seen such a generous person! In fact, I will break the bank on generosity — just you wait and see — as long as I have enough left over for my needs. And since I rarely have enough for my own needs that means I don’t have to worry about this giving stuff.

Right about now, some of you are thinking that I’m not a very spiritual guy. Well, I don’t know about how spiritual I am; I’m just being honest. This idea of characterizing my life by giving and serving is hard. It’s not an easy thing to serve and give when you are thinking about yourself all the time.

Jesus went over to the collection box in the Temple and sat and watched as the crowds dropped in their money. Many rich people put in large amounts. Then a poor widow came and dropped in two pennies. He called his disciples to him and said, ”

I assure you, this poor widow has given more than all the others have given. For they gave a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she has.” Mark 12:41-44 (NLT)

This widow blows a big hole in my excuse theory, doesn’t she? She simply gave what she had. She wasn’t waiting for anything. Actually, according to Jesus, giving and receiving works opposite to what we naturally think. We think, “Once I receive, I will start giving.” Jesus always said,

Give and you will receive. Be faithful with the little that you have and I will give you more.”

A widow once brought a paltry little offering to the temple, but in Jesus’ economy, she out gave the wealthy, because she gave all she had.

Lord, make the subject of my thinking someone other than me for a change. Make me aware of others. Help me to think about those around me before I think of myself. And help me to learn to give, not like the great philanthropists whose wealth I so often envy, but like this poor widow, who, according to you, knew the true measure of giving.

Question: What are some ways that you can encourage yourself to give more freely?

by John Fischer
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thoughts by John Fischer Thoughts by Men


For God had far better things in mind for us that would also benefit them, for they can’t receive the prize at the end of the race until we finish the race.” Hebrews 11:40 (NLT)


This is the way Hebrews 11 ends – that great chapter on faith that includes the faith-driven, God-pleasing exploits of Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Rahab, Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and all the prophets, along with all the martyrs who were tortured, whipped, chained in dungeons, stoned, sawed in half, killed with the sword, or went about in sheep and goat skins, hungry, oppressed and mistreated, wandering over deserts and mountains, hiding in caves and holes in the ground. These are those who now make up that great “cloud of witnesses” in Chapter 12: 1. And they are not just politely cheering us on; they have a stake in our faith.

I’ve been wrong about these witnesses. I used to think they were there as spectators cheering from the grandstands of heaven – as if to say, “We did it, so can you,” which would be a great encouragement indeed were that the case, but it’s more than that. They are more than witnesses; they are teammates. They are the first runners in the relay race down on the field, all huddled around the finish line ready to receive us because they want to win, but they can’t win without us. They are the rest of the baseball team surrounding home plate waiting for us to touch home with the game-winning run. They are the first three swimmers on the relay team screaming at us from the side of the pool to give it all we’ve got.

So the next time you feel like slacking; the next time you contemplate that little sin that’s not going to hurt anyone but you; the next time you discover yourself thinking your life doesn’t really make that much difference; the next time you start thinking your most significant days of faith are behind you; the next time you think you’re just waiting for eternity to get here, well… think again, because the likes of Noah, Abraham and Paul, himself, are counting on you. You’ve got the baton now, and they can’t receive the prize they fought so hard for until you finish. So get off your butt, John, and let’s go!

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily hinders our progress. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.” (Hebrews 12:1)

by John Fischer
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Thoughts by All thoughts by John Fischer Thoughts by Men

Are you aware of having certain patterns in your life that you are unable – even unwilling to change? They seem so entrenched, so beyond your ability to do anything about. You might even see yourself walking in the same path of a parent or a parent’s parent and you realize this rut runs generations deep. How am I ever going to be able to overcome against these odds?

The scriptures give us a clue as to how to answer that in Romans 12:2 where Paul wrote, “Do not be conformed any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Being conformed to a pattern sounds a lot like being in a rut. We all have ruts we run in. Paul suggests that the way to a new path is through renewing our minds. This makes sense when you realize that the patterns we run in are fueled in large part by our thinking. We have these old tapes that constantly run over and over again. They tell us we can’t change, or we are not loved, or such and such has too much power over us, or it will cost to much in personal investment to change. We might actually have to work at change – be awake and alert to it – make ourselves make different choices. Believe me, this is hard.

By renewing our minds, we remind ourselves that there are new tapes where we are concerned, played by the Holy Spirit and power is available for change through his presence in our lives. Even in this Book of Romans there are life-changing truths that can break the patterns. For instance earlier in this book he told us that we’re all in sin – even the “best” of us – but that Christ’s death and resurrection has set us free from that sin. We no longer have to subject ourselves to the vicious sin and guilt cycle because Christ has removed us from being wed to the law to being wed to Himself. We have a new husband as it were, and this one is full of grace, truth and forgiveness. We are not tied to a taskmaster; we are tied to Christ. And then there is the new life in the Spirit made possible by Christ being in us to the extent that we can actually take off that old life -the one that runs in all those ruts – and put on the new life that Christ has made possible.

This is why we need reminders. New ways of thinking that God has established as a fact in space and time and you and I can count on for our step by step life in the trenches.

Yes, it will take effort. Change doesn’t come easy nor does it come overnight, but it comes as we purposely focus on the new truths about ourselves that Christ has won. We are loved. We are forgiven. We have his Spirit. We don’t have to walk in those old ruts. We can break the pattern. There is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.

There are a lot of bad tapes out there; there’s a lot of negative reinforcement in here. Do nothing and you probably will keep on rattling along in the same rut. Renew your mind with God’s word and His truth about yourself and you can stand down those old tapes and start down a new path. It’s worth it. We aren’t just waiting for heaven. We are fighting a battle here. We are on a mission. We have a gospel to live out. If it doesn’t work in our life, how can we recommend it to anyone else?

by John Fischer
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Further Reading

• Secret of Contentment – by Phil Ware

• Peace and Contentment – A Poem to God by Margaret Mullings

• Secret Power – by Roy Lessin


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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
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Further Reading

Your Kindness Quotient – A Max Lucado Devotional

Loving Like God Loves A Devotional by Max Lucado

Living in God’s Upside Down Kingdom by Kristi Huseby


thoughts by John Fischer Thoughts by Men


Did you know that one of the most significant aspects of our mission in the world is simply being there?


Paul talks about this in 2 Corinthians 2:14-16:

But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life.

Part of our mission is consciously telling people about Christ. Another part of it is unconsciously telling people about Christ. This is the unconscious part Paul is talking about here. This is the part of our mission that goes on all the time, and it is one of the reasons God wants us out in the world and not isolated or only associating with believers.

God has us on parade.

That’s what is meant by this “triumphal procession.” The Corinthian believers would have had an immediate picture in their minds of Roman soldiers marching through the streets of Corinth returning from a military engagement somewhere in the empire. It was a public display, and Paul says we are always being lead in one of these things.

Now some of you are already saying, “Wait a minute – I’m not returning from battle, I don’t think I’ve been very victorious lately, and what’s more, I don’t like parades, much less being in one!

Well hold your horses because this is not that kind of parade. This is not you marching through your office leading the worship band. This is a thing between you and God, with Christ being the source. It’s Christ in you carrying on a relationship with God through your life and affecting everyone around you as a result. It’s you and I living our lives of faith out in the world where it will have an effect on those who come into contact with us. This is not putting on airs: this is being who we are as people of faith.

Did you know that living your life out in the world, loving God and following Christ as best as you can is a very powerful thing? It is. That’s why you can have a sense of mission about what you do in the world. You are not just getting by. You are, at whatever stage of faith that you find yourself, putting Christ on display, and people will react to you based on what they see of Him.

So whatever you’re about to do today, be conscious about your relationship with God, and you will unconsciously leave a mark on others.

By John Fischer
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Further Reading

• Within Reach – by Julie Cosgrove

Peace Like a Bright Shining Light – by Kathy Cheek

Light Keeper –  by Randy Kreycik


thoughts by John Fischer Thoughts by Men


“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” Matthew 5:7


Mercy is probably the most useful tool in our Gospel of Welcome toolbox, but perhaps the hardest to find. Believe me, we’re going to be pulling this one out every day. The reason for this is: we are all naturally judgmental. Passing judgment comes much more easily to us than showing mercy. It’s the natural reaction to pass judgment on your fellow human beings; it’s supernatural to be merciful.

The opposite of mercy is judgment. Mercy is not easy for me. My whole character leans toward judgment. When you grow up learning to be a Pharisee in the company of Pharisees, it’s hard to shake the tendency to judge others first, ask questions later.

Marti, Chandler and I were doing some back-to-school shopping for Chandler when we noticed a large group of women taking a yoga class on the lawn in the middle of the outdoor mall. I mentioned something to Marti about how silly they looked, fully expecting her to share a little laugh with me over it. Instead, she rebuked me by pointing out that: 1) they were not all women – there were some men in the group – and 2) if I think they look silly, I should try it, and show us all how silly I would look trying to do the same thing.  Ouch!

This is the ultimate embodiment of Christian hypocrisy: to sit on the sidelines and judge everyone who is participating.

Being judgmental takes no effort. Everybody’s already guilty, so help yourself – there’s plenty more sin and stupidity where that came from; in fact, we’ll never run out of stuff to judge.

Since everybody’s already guilty because of sin, to be judgmental is like taking an unnecessary step. The truth judges us. Our deeds judge us as they reveal our sinful nature. And on top of all this, we are all judged already on the cross of Jesus Christ. Jesus says in the gospel of John that when we accept the gift of salvation He offers, we are judged already. This whole process is already over and done with.

This is why I think Jesus purposely put this backwards in this beatitude. He knew we would eventually find this out. We find out what mercy is all about when we find out what it takes to love and forgive us, jerks that we are. You don’t go muster up a bunch of mercy so God will be merciful to you. You become merciful when you realize what it took for God to be merciful to a scoundrel like you.

You can’t be merciful without God being merciful to you, and God’s mercy to you means nothing until you realize how badly you need it. This is where we learn mercy. We learn it from God. The gentleman I wrote about in yesterday’s Catch who didn’t point out my flaws without also mentioning his own, was being merciful to me. He was handing me something he had received through his own process of walking with God.

Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” Does that mean that if you aren’t merciful you won’t get any mercy? No. It means that if you aren’t merciful, you wouldn’t know mercy if you saw it.

By John Fischer
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Further Reading

• The Mercy of the Lord – by Charles Spurgeon

Where Your Choices Can Lead You – a true story

Jesus Desires Mercy, Not Sacrifice – A Devotional by Jon Walker


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thoughts by John Fischer Thoughts by Men


“What do you have there in your hand?” (Exodus 4:2)

Anyone familiar with the calling of Moses by God to be the one to free his people from Egypt knows that calling took place amidst a long litany of excuses and objections on Moses’ part. It is such a human story full of excuses, insecurity and fear.

But who am I to appear before Pharaoh?”  (Exodus 3:11)
How do you expect me to lead the Israelites out of Egypt?”  (3:11)
They won’t believe me.” (3:13; 4:1)
“O Lord… I’m clumsy with my words.”  (4:10)
Lord, please! Send someone else.” (4:13)

Any of these sound familiar? It’s hard to believe that with this feeble beginning, God turned Moses into one of his greatest leaders. It just goes to show that serving God doesn’t depend on great things from us; it depends on our availability to a great God.

This has been God’s strategy from the beginning – to pick ordinary, fallible people like you and me, and do great things through them by faith. I don’t know how we miss this so often, but we do. The Old Testament is riddled with people like this. We often think that we could never be like other people God is using mightily, when, if truth were known, they probably feel just as insecure as we do. Greatness, in God’s book, is not a measure of our natural abilities as much as it is a measure of our courage to believe God is with us in our weakness.

Still, God will use what we offer of ourselves, but only after we give it over to Him. I believe that is what the shepherd’s staff Moses carried around represented – something Moses had been leaning on all his life. God asked him to throw it on the ground and when he did, it immediately turned into a serpent. Then He told him to pick it up again (that would have been the hardest part!) and it turned back into a staff. (This little trick would later come in very handy when Moses was tested by Pharaoh and his magicians.)

When we give up what we have in our hand – the few things we do have that we have come to trust – then God can turn even these things into something He can use for His purposes. He can start the miracle.

What’s in your hand? What have you been leaning on all these years? Is it a natural ability? Is it a drug? Is it something you’re good at? Is it your reputation (or lack of one)? Is it your excuse or excuses (I’ve got lots of those)? Throw it down. Whatever it is, throw it down. It will most likely turn into something scary that God will ask you to pick back up, but that’s where the miracle begins.

by John Fischer
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Further Reading

• Clean House –  by Sue Tholken

The Pain of Letting Go – by Mary Pinckney

Letting Go, Even When it Hurts – by Deborah Oladayo


thoughts by John Fischer Thoughts by Men


Why do we all have different passions?

So everything that’s supposed to get done will get done.

Sometimes we get overwhelmed because we are constantly exposed to people with various passions for service, and when they represent their cause, they are so committed to that which has captured them that we feel guilty for not sharing their zeal. We seem indifferent in comparison.

When I was in college, we had chapel every day and almost every day we heard a message from someone who had a passion for some particular ministry. They were usually in some ways recruiting us for service, whether it was in missions, or in the church, or in society, or among the poor. It was overwhelming, and often frustrating, because everyone made every concern sound like the only thing any caring person would support.

The same thing happens in our churches. Sometimes we feel guilt because we don’t have the same passion as the last person who talked about missions, or abortion, or the homeless, or marriage, or singleness, or men’s ministry, or AIDS prevention, or prisons, or evangelism, or the military. What we forget is that there are so many needs because there are so many of us to meet them. We aren’t supposed to get our bell rung by every appeal that comes by. We are a body made up of different parts and different hearts; we don’t have to all be moved by the same issues and needs.

This is where the concept and the practical nature of spiritual gifts come in. There are a variety of gifts and there are a variety of ministries, but the same Lord working in all and through all. No one has to do everything; no one can. It is up to us to find out where we fit and what God put us here to do. Soon you will be just as passionate about something because it’s your thing. This is the way it’s supposed to be. We only get frustrated when we forget this and try and take on everything, or get so overwhelmed that we take on nothing at all.

All of this should just make us marvel at the wisdom of God even more. He’s designed us all with different abilities and different interests so that we are not only good at what we do, we do not have to be frustrated or depressed over what we aren’t good at. When we all do our part in the body of Christ, everyone gets a job, everyone gets honored and everyone’s important. That’s the way it’s supposed to be.

Question: What has God given you a passion for, and how can you honor God through serving Him in exercising your passion?

By John Fischer
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Further Reading

•  A Passion to Obey – by Charles Stanley

•  Businessman Ken Kolek on ‘Putting People First’

•   Be Recharged – by Mary Pinckney


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thoughts by John Fischer Thoughts by Men

Does God only love Christians?


Does this question even need to be asked? Unfortunately, yes, because there is an impression out there that that He does. I encounter it in innuendo and assumption. I used to encounter it in myself and the attitudes caught from a strongly Pharisaical upbringing, and I have found it to be an attitude that is hard to get rid of.

The way this usually works out is that God doesn’t love anyone I don’t love, and the human inclination is to not love anyone who is not like me. That makes God’s love an extension of myself, instead of the way it should be, with me as an extension of God and His love. I have much to learn about God’s love. God is love; I am not. I am the one who needs to change. I am the one who needs to learn to love like God.

God is love” (1 John 4:16), says John. God is synonymous with love. How could God not love His entire creation? It is His nature to love.

God so loved the world that He gave...” (John 3:16).

The tragedy of God’s love is that it is not universally received. “He came to that which was His own, but His own did not receive Him” (John 1:11).  What a tragedy. Do you think God feels that tragedy? Personally, I think that is why the prophet Isaiah called Him a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. That is why Jesus wept over Jerusalem because He wanted to gather everyone up and bring them to Himself, but they would not all come.

How is it that God being God would create a world where His love was limited by the free will of those He created, making Him appear helpless to do anything about those who would reject Him? I honestly do not know how this works, but I do know God feels these feelings because He has expressed them in the inspired scriptures handed down to us.

My point today is not to enter into a theological debate over this, because that is where these discussions often lead, but to capture some of the nature of God in His love for us and suggest that we should at least share in these same attitudes and emotions, primarily that we should be governed more by the tragedy of those who reject God’s love than in their judgment or their wrong doing.

Do we weep or do we condemn? If you ever catch yourself shaking your head in judgment and condemnation, stop. Stop judging and weep instead. That’s what God did, and He even has the right to judge (and will someday). The cross has put that judgment aside so that He can love. Can we do any less?

So if you love like God, you will love and hurt at the same time.

by John Fischer
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Further Reading

•  God is Bigger than all my Problems

•  God Demonstrates His Love

•  Salvation Explained


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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
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There is only one you. But this information is much more important than to just be boosting your self-esteem. It is to help you better serve others by being more confident about your God-given role in life.

No one else fits your shape. No one else has your blend of gifts, talents and natural abilities making you very important in the whole scheme of things. ‘God made our bodies with many parts,’  wrote Paul, ‘and He has put each part just where He wants it’ (1 Corinthians 12:18). And as it is with the human body, so it is with the Body of Christ, the corporate collection of all who believe.

But this uniqueness goes beyond giftedness; it reaches as well into the depth of each of our experiences in life. No one else has your life. No one else has your pain, your hardship, your joys and sorrows. Everything in life shapes us and we are shaped by everything for a reason: so that we can touch others in a unique way based upon who we are and what we’ve been through. God doesn’t waste anything in our lives.

Every piece of our lives and experiences can be used of Christ to touch someone else. We were made for each other; we live for each other; we even die for each other. We die with hope so that others who live might see the reality of Christ in even the darkest of hours. God uses everything.

Are you just getting by, or are you living for a reason? Think about your unique gifts and ask yourself how those gifts are benefiting others. What specific way is God using you to touch others in the Body of Christ?

Do you seem to have an extra measure of wisdom, or mercy, or discernment, or knowledge, or administration, or desire to serve? These will help determine how you can look for opportunities to help others.

And then think about the things you have gone through so far in your life, especially the difficult or challenging things where God has met you with His presence and power. That information is not just for you, it’s for you to empathize with and encourage others who have encountered similar struggles.

God isn’t messing around here. There are no accidents with our lives. Whatever we have received and experienced has shaped who we are, and because of that, we are qualified servants. There is truly no one else like you – for a reason.

Question: How has God crafted you uniquely, to make you uniquely you?

by John Fischer
Used by Permission

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Further Reading

•  The Re-Knitting Hand of God 

• Your Father’s Heart Longs for You

•  Salvation Explained


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thoughts by John Fischer Thoughts by Men


God doesn’t desire more of our time sometimes; He desires more of our attention all the time.


Ever feel frustrated because you hear messages about getting closer to God and you definitely desire this for yourself, but you are inundated with so much to do already that this only makes you feel guilty because you are too busy for God? I think we all feel this at one time or another, but carving more time out of your busy schedule to be with God isn’t necessarily the only answer to this question. Look at the following scriptures:

I have set the Lord always before me.” (Psalm 16:8 NIV)

My eyes are ever on the Lord.” (Psalms 25:15 NIV)

I will extol the Lord at all times; His praise will always be on my lips.” (Psalm 34:1 NIV)

Reading these words makes you wonder if these are the words of a monk who had nothing else to do but devote himself to God. Actually, they are the words of David, King of Israel, a great ruler and warrior. How did he manage to run a nation at war, and keep his eyes on the Lord at all times? The only conclusion is that he did this while he did everything else. It’s a continual awareness of God that we are talking about here, not necessarily more time devoted to spiritual pursuits.

I once saw a sign that read: “Your God is what you pay attention to.” You see, I believe you can pay attention to God while you are doing everything else. It’s all about doing everything for God and seeing God in everything we do. It’s about bringing God into the boardroom, the exercise room, the living room, the bedroom. Now of course He’s already in all these places but we’re talking about being aware of His being there at all times. That’s what it means to set the Lord always before us.

Worship is a frame of mind that always has God in the picture. We don’t need church, or Bible study, or devotions to remind us about the Lord if we’re already aware of Him all the time. These opportunities then become more precious to us because we can devote all our attention to that which we have been doing all along.

by John Fischer
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Further Reading

•   Sample Prayers

•  How to Pray

Struggles, Despair


thoughts by John Fischer Thoughts by Men


Love your enemies
Pray for those who persecute you
If someone forces you to go one mile, go two
If someone takes your shirt, give him your coat, too
If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also
Give to those who ask
Don’t turn away from those who want to borrow
Return good for evil
Do not judge others
Forgive those who sin against you
Get rid of the log in your own eye so you can help with the speck in another’s
Treat people the way you want to be treated
Don’t make any vows you can’t keep
Don’t worry about tomorrow
Show mercy if you want your heavenly Father to be merciful to you.
(Read Matthew 5)

You may be thinking, “What kind of poppycock is this?” This, my friend, is Jesus’ way. This is true Christianity. If you must measure yourself, measure yourself by these things.

I would dare to say these are the most ignored words by Christians in all of scripture, yet they are the basis for everything Jesus stands for. I have grown up in the church all my life and heard these things seriously talked about maybe a handful of times. Why is that? Because they run contrary to us all. Because no one can hold to these things unless they are born of God. Heck … no one can even want them unless they are born of God.

These are not suggestions. This is not Jesus trying to shock people so He can get their attention. (Jesus doesn’t really mean these things. Oh yes He does.)

Not only does He mean these things; this is rudimentary. This is the real thing. This is true Christianity. This is Following Jesus 101.

Instead, I’m used to: “What’s the Sermon on the Mount? That’s that weird part in the beginning of Matthew that no one seems to understand or pay much attention to.” Or if they do, they explain half of it away.

This is how you know if you are a true Christian.
This is how you know if the Holy Spirit has been born in you.
This is how you can check yourself – by these attitudes and actions.

If these attitudes are not yours, but you want them, keep following and asking the Lord to change you by His Holy Spirit.

If these attitudes are yours, and they are increasing, be glad!

If these attitudes are not the way you want to live, then it’s probably time to get off this train.

Notice how most, if not all, of these things are against human nature? That’s because you have to be born again to have them. You have to be born of God.

This is what you want to build into your life – these attitudes and these actions.
This is what you put on your refrigerator.
This is what you stick to your mirror.
This is what you ask God for.
And in case you missed it the first time, here it is again:

Love your enemies
Pray for those who persecute you
If someone forces you to go one mile, go two
If someone takes your shirt, give him your coat, too
If someone slaps you on the right cheek, offer the other cheek also
Give to those who ask
Don’t turn away from those who want to borrow
Return good for evil
Do not judge others
Forgive those who sin against you
Get rid of the log in your own eye so you can help with the speck in another’s
Treat people the way you want to be treated
Don’t make any vows you can’t keep
Don’t worry about tomorrow
Show mercy if you want your heavenly Father to be merciful to you

By John Fischer
Used by Permission

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Further Reading

•   Love your Neighbor

•  The Way of Love – I Corinthians 13

•  Salvation Explained


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Thoughts by All 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

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Further Reading

•  A Bible Study on How God Demonstrates His Love

•   A Study on the Heart of God by Sylvia Gunter (Alphabet)

•  Salvation Explained


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thoughts by John Fischer Thoughts by Men