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

by John Fischer

It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings. Proverbs 25:2 (NIV)

It’s the only bumper sticker I’ve ever really liked: WISE MEN STILL SEEK HIM. I like it because it says at least two things.

1) Those who seek God are wise. God affirms the dignity of the searcher and the search. The fact that God has set it up this way “has concealed His matters and invited us to search for Him” confirms our nobility. It says we have enough smarts to look for Him and recognize Him when we find Him. In fact, the proverb puts the searcher in the realm of kings. It’s a noble task to seek after God.

2) Those who seek God are given the benefit of the doubt, that if they seek Him, they will find Him. This is actually a promise in scripture: “He rewards those who earnestly seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6 NIV). This is why those of us who already know Him don’t have to jump all over those who don’t when they get something wrong or don’t put it in exactly the right words. If they are truly seeking, it will be God who opens their eyes anyway. We need to respect the search of those we know who are seeking and not get impatient with them or think of them as stupid for not seeing what we see. When it’s time, they will.

This may mean you might have to bite your tongue a little bit and not say everything you know all the time. Better to listen for those parts of the truth the seeker has already found and affirm them. Jesus didn’t spill all the beans as soon as He started preaching. He let a little bit out at a time. He talked in code (parables). He asked a lot of questions. He protected the search. He didn’t give what was sacred to dogs or throw out pearls to pigs. He always said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear,” and then He went on to not say everything. He made them hang on His words and come back for more. All of this protects not only the dignity of the search and the searcher, but also the dignity of the truth.

So you can’t put all that on a bumper sticker, but you can put:
WISE MEN STILL SEEK HIM.”

You can comment on this devotional online at:
https://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/2011/12/17/jf_wise-men-still-seek-him/

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Thoughts by All thoughts by John Fischer Thoughts by Men

By John Fischer

It’s hard to love sinners when you are trying so hard not to be one.

daily devotionalI’d be willing to go to the grave known as nothing more than the guy who came up with that sentence. So here it is again…

It’s hard to love sinners when you are trying so hard not to be one.

This statement captures so well the struggle between good and evil in us all. But it is also the struggle between the Old Covenant (the law) and the New (grace). The Old Covenant is all about not sinning. “Thou shalt not...” And if any one of us could actually pull off the Old Covenant, then we would have the right to say anything we want against sinners. We would have the right to only respect those who earn it. We could even despise those who don’t, because our righteousness would vindicate us every time, and condemn them. But alas, the law has condemned us all, so that no one can pass judgment, and no one can earn anything.

The law was given, not so that we could follow it, but so that we would break it, and find out who we really are. We are those who can lock arms and sing along with Kris Kristofferson and Johnny Cash and anybody else who might want to join in: “Lord help me, Jesus, I’ve wasted it so; help me, Jesus, I know what I am.” The Old Covenant-the law-teaches you that. It teaches you what you are really made of. And those who spend their life refusing to believe that, and trying to follow it instead, are going to have a hard time loving sinners. And they will have a hard time loving themselves as well.

And all those Christians who supposedly got saved by the New Covenant and then go back to living like the Old one were possible (if, indeed, you can do that), well, they’re going to have a hard time showing respect to anyone, because… well… it’s hard to love sinners when you are trying so hard not to be one.

“But the Scripture has shut up everyone under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.”
(Galatians 3:22 NASB)

You can comment on this devotional online at:
https://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/2011/12/13/jf_loving-sinners/
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Short Thoughts for Cell Phones – God-daily.com

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Thoughts by All thoughts by John Fischer Thoughts by Men

By John Fischer

To those who fought and never came back
And those who came back broken
To those who wondered why
And those who never questioned

No one asked them what they thought
Of policies and platforms
They only did what they had to do
And thanks was long in coming

On a day we honor the dead and the living
Who know the real cost of war
And those still trapped inside their heads
Who can’t get outside the door

Who can know the awful truth
Of what they must have seen?
And who has lived to tell it
Yet know they never will

Reasons that the journalists
And politicians won
Will never be the same as those
On this side of a gun

So on this day we lay aside
Our arguments and advice
And thank the Lord for those who gave
The ultimate sacrifice

You can comment on this devotional online at:
https://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/2011/11/11/jf_soldiers/

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Short Thoughts for Cell Phones – God-daily.com

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Thoughts by All thoughts by John Fischer Thoughts by Men

by John Fischer

What Jesus said: “Whoever is not against us is for us” (Mark 9:39). Or: Unless a person is an outright proclaimed enemy of the gospel, he can be considered a friend. That means there are lots of friends out there waiting to be claimed.

What it seems like we heard: “Whoever is not for us is against us.” Or in other words, anyone who is not one of us is our enemy. That would mean the world is populated mostly with our foes.

These are actually statements of differing worldviews. How you think about the world determines which reality is true for you. Personally, I like the worldview where I assume friendship instead of anticipating enmity.

I think as Christians in this culture, we have made lots of enemies we didn’t have to make. We have drawn lines in the sand that were not there in the first place, and accused people on the other side of the line for the crime of being over there when we drew it. (We never gave them a chance, in other words.) It’s almost as if we have had to create and maintain a good supply of enemies in order to fulfill this self-proclaimed animosity with the world that incorrectly defines us.

This is not a good way to behave when representing the God of second chances—the God who, if He had not been abundantly gracious would never have called us His friends, and would never have given us even a first chance. I think it best to assume there are a lot of friends of God out there, just waiting to be found.

The writer of Hebrews wrote: “Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it” (Hebrews 13:2). That’s truly giving the benefit of a doubt to those who are not “of us.” It’s a good place to begin.

You can comment on this devotional online at:
https://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/2011/10/09/jf_friends-of-god/

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Thoughts by All thoughts by John Fischer Thoughts by Men

By John Fischer

Christian DevotionalsOne 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”?

You can comment on this devotional online at:
https://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/2011/06/05/jf_thinking-like-a-servant/
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Short Thoughts for Cell Phones – God-daily.com

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Thoughts by All thoughts by John Fischer Thoughts by Men

by John Fischer

Our thought for today comes from a woman who has had more difficulties to deal with than a lot of us put together. That is why she has a right to say what she says, and why we should take notice when she says it.

I know discouragement comes easy, but I also know things happen when God is ready for them to happen and not a second sooner. God knows why he wants things to happen in the order they have to. We just need to be ready when they come.

This is a woman in a complex situation seeking to hold onto a childlike faith while displaying an adult-like wisdom. What she’s saying is that she has recognized there are two different time zones going on when it comes to correlating God’s will and our experience. One I’ll call My Desperate Time (MDT) and the other, God’s Own Time (GOT).

Most of us run on MDT. MDT defines our reality. It’s what we see and feel always. We are conscious of it the minute we rise up in the morning until we put our weary heads on the pillow at night. We measure pleasure and pain by it; we judge our overall state-of-being by it.

God, on the other hand, exists in another time zone entirely. In GOT, His will is always done, and nothing is ever late. GOT also takes into account the MDT of everyone, which can often get tangled up. You see there are as many MDT zones as there are people, and that means they can often be in conflict. But with God there is never any conflict. There is only one GOT and as far as He is concerned, everything is right on schedule.

This is why it is utterly silly to wonder if God has heard our prayers based on whether or not He has acted in MDT. God always hears our prayers — He has most likely already answered them — he just answered them in GOT.

Most of our issues with God are all about time zones. Think about the hapless Bible character, Job. Job was smack in the middle of MDT all the while he was suffering, and his best friends were trying to figure out why God wasn’t doing anything in MDT. Well, we know now that God rarely does; He is always in GOT and we can see that now, in Job’s case, because his life ultimately caught up with GOT. Eventually, all MDT will be GOT. In fact, that will be what heaven is all about. We will all be kicking back in God’s Own Time.

So faith is mostly all about time zones. When you pray, know that you were heard, and move ahead, believing in GOT and just maybe, MDT won’t be so desperate.

Question: What “time zone” do you see yourself usually operating in?

You can comment on this devotional online at:
https://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/2010/11/09/jf_time-zones-faith/

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Thoughts by All thoughts by John Fischer Thoughts by Men

by John Fischer

Life is hard. How often we forget that this is the way it is supposed to be. We push against the difficult circumstances in our lives instead of allowing them to work God’s character in us. We act as if the good life is what we deserve. Even the good life we will enjoy in heaven is not what we deserve, so what business do we have assuming everything will be easy down here?

Everything we are going through is for a purpose. God does not waste any experiences on us; He uses everything. “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them” (Romans 8:28). There are no qualifiers on this. It doesn’t say everything except the stupid things we do, or everything except when we blow it, or everything except for our sin; it just says “everything.” No exceptions.

The only reason this isn’t always tremendously good news for us is the little clause: “according to his purpose for us.” We forget that it is His purpose that is being worked out in our lives, and the only time this would be a problem is when His purpose is not necessarily ours. At issue here is who defines the success, fulfillment and purpose we are seeking – our culture or the Lord?

We get into a lot of trouble when we use our culture’s definition of fulfillment and apply it to our understanding of God’s purpose for our lives. We often assume God is blessing us when things are going great, and God is cursing us when things are going poorly when the opposite could very well be the case. God’s hand and his love are hidden in the difficult things. We should actually be wary when things are “easy,” for this world is not our home nor is it a place to seek the comforts of life. These are culturally defined, not spiritual.

The spiritual things in our lives have to do with what builds character in us, and these are most often the more difficult things. “We can rejoice, too,” says Paul in Romans 5:3&4 (NLT), “when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us” they help us learn to endure. And endurance develops strength of character in us, and character strengthens our confident expectation of salvation.

So when things are going well for you or things are going poorly, the first things you should ask is “According to whom?”

You can comment on this devotional online at:
https://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/2010/09/24/jf_according-to-whom/

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Thoughts by All thoughts by John Fischer Thoughts by Men

by John Fischer
Rod Mayer has been the youth pastor at Capo Beach Calvary in Capistrano Beach, Calif., for 15 years, and many in the church credit he and his wife Janet for being an instrumental tool in their children’s faith journeys. Through Janet’s recent three-year struggle with cancer, she kept a positive outlook and was often the one who cheered others who were saddened by her condition.

The Sunday after she died, the church was treated with stories of how Rod and Janet, knowing the end was near, had spent a beautiful week together in Hawaii. We also heard how Rod had taken their two children’s favorite toys and put them in a paper bag out of sight. He told them that although they couldn’t touch their toys or play with them, they knew where they were, and it was going to be the same with their Mommy. They wouldn’t be able to touch her or play with her, but they would know she was in heaven.

Two days later, with Janet in heaven, a memorial service was held at the church. There was not enough room for everyone who came. There were stories about Janet from those who were closest to her. Some tried to laugh and bring lightness to the heavy emotions by recalling her sunny disposition. I imagined Rod on the front row, choked up by all this. I wondered if he might speak, but then, if it were me, I surmised I would not be able to.

Suddenly, Rod was up on the platform speaking. He told us how in her last few moments Janet stood up in bed, reached her hands up to heaven and spoke. When he asked her who she was talking to, she said, “Angels.” And then he and a friend laid her back down on the bed, and she died.

I thought it was pretty courageous of him to do this—to tell us these things—given his situation and the frailty of human emotions. But I was soon to be even more surprised when he strapped on a guitar and began leading us in songs of praise & worship. Let me tell you, that was an experience like no other. It was the closest I’ve ever come to worshiping with the saints in glory. Solid. True. There was such a sense of reality in knowing that Rod could not do this if he wasn’t looking out over the edge of heaven right then as he sang. This was not drummed-up praise. This was exuberant, from-the-bottom-of my-shoes praise. There was no lie in it.

Rod’s voice carried over everyone else’s, and there was something about it that was different. It had a strength and confidence that was mystical, if not eerie. It was almost as if he stepped over the edge of heaven for a moment and sang to us from there. I swear I heard a glorified voice.

And then, if that weren’t enough, he had us all bow our heads and he gave an invitation. Yep. I’m not making this up. He told everyone at his wife’s funeral that this would be a really good time to make sure they were ready to die, and then he told them what they needed to do to receive Christ. From the edge of heaven, he welcomed a number of people into the family of God.

Rod is not a big man. He’s not a tall man. He is slight in build and usually a little nervous around people. But let me tell you something: Rod is a huge man now in my eyes. Bigger than anyone I’ve ever met. I’m sure he will go through some long, lonely days. By the time you read this, they may be his longest ever. I don’t know, but I hear it’s the little things you miss—the coffee ready, the toothpaste squeezed in the middle, the sniffle during a touching scene on television, or simply turning around and forgetting for a split second, that there is no one there. Not to mention all the support you had the first few days that is now gone. Not anybody’s fault; it’s just that way. They have to get back to their lives, and you have to go back to yours, except yours will never be the same.

I know after that service I’ll never be the same, and I hope you won’t either, even just from reading this. And you know what else? If you don’t know what’s going to happen to you when you die, Rod would want you to do something about that. Right now. He would want you to make his loneliness worthwhile by meeting him someday, at the end of days, on the edge of heaven. You can do it right now.
http://www.thoughts-about-god.com/4laws/law0.html

You can comment on this devotional online at:
https://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/2010/08/16/jf_edge-of-heaven/
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Thoughts by All thoughts by John Fischer Thoughts by Men

by John Fischer

Remember the famous 1980s sitcom that launched the career of Michael J. Fox? Family Ties became one of the most popular family shows in American television in the tradition of Ozzie and Harriett, Leave It to Beaver, Donna Reed, and Father Knows Best.

Then shows like Married with Children and Rosanne introduced the dysfunctional family to television with unabashed bravado, bringing large doses of reality and yet still with the capacity to touch us with charm. Love manages to break through now and then.

Those old enough to remember may feel nostalgic about the happy families of bygone television days, but in truth, those families were sorely idealized, even by the standards of their day. It was all about appearances then. Were families any less dysfunctional in the ’50s and ’60s? I think not. It’s more a factor of how much truth society will accept at any given time.

But regardless of whether it is Homer and Marge Simpson or Ozzie and Harriett Nelson, what touched us about these shows was the commitment. It’s all about commitment. In spite of how bad it might get, no one’s leaving. If the ties are strong, we can put up with almost anything (with the obvious exception of abuse).

The real key to all these shows is not how perfect the families are, but how committed they are to each other. How much are they tied together at the end of the day? The shows that last and continue via reruns are successful because no matter how hurtful the members of these families might be, by the end of each episode, they are tighter than when they started. Love wins out over all obstacles.

As members of the family of God, we have a family that is short on grudges and long on patience and love. This is a family with the grace to accept every member and the love to see through any situation. It doesn’t mean we aren’t dysfunctional as a spiritual family, it means we are tied together by an invisible cord that nothing can separate. These are the true family ties in the Family of God that will never break because it is God who ties them.

Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or are hungry or cold or in danger or threatened with death? No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved usRomans 8:35-37 (NLT).

God never promised us an Ozzie and Harriett existence. Yet He did promise that nothing can ever break us apart. That’s because through it all, Father does know best. And that makes for pretty strong family ties.

You can comment on this devotional online at:
https://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/2010/06/17/jf_family-ties/

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Thoughts by All thoughts by John Fischer Thoughts by Men

by John Fischer

My thought for today is a brief, but profound one. So since it takes only a short time to read it, spend an additional amount of the time thinking about it, because it is a thought that demands some reflection. It comes from an old Hebrew prayer and that’s all I know about its origin, because that’s all I was able to write down from the Internet source where I found it.

It deals with one of my favorite concepts: Learning to see God and His truth all around us, and realizing that at any given time, there is so much more to know and experience of Him than what we are currently aware of.

The psalmist writes, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge” (Psalm 19:1-2).

Ever wonder where that barrage of information is going? How it must be wasted on us!

Days pass and the years vanish and we walk sightless among miracles. Lord, fill our eyes with seeing and our minds with knowing. Let there be moments when your Presence, like lightning, illuminates the darkness in which we walk. Help us to see, wherever we gaze, that the bush burns, unconsumed. And we, clay touched by God, will reach out for holiness and exclaim in wonder, ‘How filled with awe is this place and we did not know it.‘”

You can comment on this devotional online at:
https://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/2010/05/04/jf_unconsumed/

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Thoughts by All thoughts by John Fischer Thoughts by Men

By John Fischer

Vicky never gave up. For 42 years she prayed for her uncle. Last year she thought she could see some cracks forming in his 101-year-old heart. Earlier in the summer, Vicky’s daughter joined a short-term mission group in Hawaii. Her emails home were all about what God was doing in her life, and Vicky’s uncle read them all. Vicky wasn’t sure, but he seemed moved by them. And then something happened that broke his heart. Was God was opening up a place in the hard heart for Himself?

“I am a scientific person,” he once screamed at Vicky, “and I need scientific evidence. I need proof! I won’t believe unless I have proof!” C.S. Lewis has said that God dragged him, kicking and screaming, into heaven and Vicky decided to hold onto the hope that God was dragging her uncle in like Lewis. He’s an intelligent man and a self-made millionaire. He’s been fighting God for 100 years. Those are hard odds to overcome, but nothing’s impossible with God.

Vicky and her daughter went to see him after her daughter’s return from Hawaii. “We went with highest hopes,” Vicky said. “As usual, he was incredibly distracted and appeared not to be listening. My daughter kept trying to steer the conversation back to Jesus and he kept changing the subject. Finally I told him how I knew he had no purpose and hope for living and asked him if he wanted to pray with us to find the peace that his sister and I had found in Christ. Miraculously, he softly said, ‘Yes.’ My daughter and I couldn’t believe it!”

Shortly after Christmas, the sister he dearly loved and had looked after all his life, passed away. Vicky believes it is the grace of God that kept her alive long enough to see her brother’s salvation. Though he was deeply saddened by her leaving, Vicky’s uncle was visibly buoyed by the knowledge of being able to be reunited with her in heaven. This is the same man who only a few months earlier had claimed there was nothing after death. Nothing. Now he has a new purpose for his life, and, by the way, another sister to take care of. This one is only 96 and in better health than her older sister, which puts a little sparkle in her brother’s eyes because it means he can get out again. He may not be screaming anymore at 102, but he’s still kicking!

Last October, Vicky’s family got to celebrate her uncle’s one-hundred-second and her aunt’s one-hundredth birthday with the joy of adding the celebration of his first natural birthday as a Christian. Born again at 101. Proof that it’s never too late; and encouragement to all to never give up, even amidst the most obstinate resistance. Just ask Vicky.

Question: Is there someone in your life who you’ve been praying for, seemingly without results, for a long time? Can you recommit to continue praying for them?

You can comment on this devotional online at:
https://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/2010/03/10/jf_born-again/
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Thoughts by All thoughts by John Fischer Thoughts by Men

By John Fischer

Jesus once set a guilty woman free from her accusers by showing that the people who were judging her were just as guilty of sin as she was. “All right, stone her,” He said to the religious leaders who were ready with stones in hand, to deliver the judgment she indeed deserved. “But let those who have never sinned throw the first stones” John 8:7, NLT

This incident shows us something very important about our purpose as Christians living in a world of sinners. Our job is not to throw judgment upon sinners, but to identify with them. The Pharisees and religious leaders were trying to separate themselves from this sinful woman they had found in the act of committing adultery. By judging her they were going to be able to feel much better about themselves. Jesus put a stop to their little charade by putting them in the same boat with the woman they were accusing. They were just as guilty.

It is so tempting to think, especially after being a Christian for a while and spending a lot of time around Christians, that you are better than other people. You start to separate yourself from sinners, forgetting it was your sin that brought you to Christ in the first place. I know this because I’m so good at it.

The gospel comes best from people who identify with the sins of others, because they have become so familiar with their own sin. It is noted in the account that as the self-righteous leaders were convicted by the presence of sin in their own lives, “they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest” (John 8:9 NLT). That makes sense. The oldest would be the ones most aware of their own sinfulness. There comes a time in your life when you can’t fool yourself anymore. There were probably a few young, arrogant idealists who hung on as long as possible, but even they had to finally give in to the truth about their own guilt.

The proliferation of both spoken and unspoken judgment found primarily within Christians, has forced many into the world, unarmed and without a known Christian friend and mutual sinner. We are constantly trying to separate ourselves from a world that Jesus wants us in. Not only that, He wants us to see our own sin and not make such a big fuss over everyone else’s. Our sin nature is our connection with our neighbor, our salvation is our hope, and the good news of the gospel is our message.

Sinners can spot a mile away the hypocrisy of proclaiming a gospel about the forgiveness of everyone’s sins but your own.

Question: Jesus preached more about hypocrisy than most other topics; do you see hypocrisy in the church (or yourself) and how can we (and you) start correcting this?

You can comment on this devotional online at:
https://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/2009/11/24/jf_guilty/

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Thoughts by All thoughts by John Fischer Thoughts by Men

By John Fischer
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As Jesus was speaking to the crowd, his mother and brothers were outside, wanting to talk with Him. Someone told Jesus, “Your mother and your brothers are outside, and they want to speak to you.”

Jesus asked, “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers?” Then He pointed to His disciples and said, “These are my mother and brothers. Anyone who does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother!” Matthew 12:46-50, NLT

Everyone wants to be on the inside. The existence of clubs, secret societies, membership, and associations indicates there is something in all of us that seeks a special identity apart from everyone else. No one wants to be lost in a crowd.

In the instance quoted above, Christ’s immediate family tried to pull rank on the larger group Jesus was addressing. The implication in their request is that they expected Jesus to give them priority over the crowd; they wanted Him to stop what He was doing and pay attention to them. We have no idea what the urgency was, it may have even been some important family matter they felt was worthy of an interruption, but Jesus used the opportunity to teach everyone something: He has a much bigger family than His nuclear family, and in that family, everyone has priority.

How does it feel to be a part of Christ’s immediate family? We have priority. Even if Mary His mother showed up, Jesus would say, “Just a minute. I know you’re my mother, but I’m talking to my mother over here.” Our requests receive the same significance as those from Mary, the mother of Jesus, and Christ’s earthly brothers. We have privilege, by walking in God’s will.

It’s a testimony to his humility that one of those brothers waiting to talk to Jesus that day was James, who went on to become one of the most important leaders of the early church, respected by Jews and Gentiles alike, and the author of the New Testament book by his name. When he introduces himself at the beginning of that book, he calls himself: “James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ.” James 1:1 Nothing else. You would think he would have thrown in “and brother of Jesus,” just for extra measure (I would have), but he did not. He didn’t want his place to be seen as any different from anyone else’s.

James knew that we could all say we are “the brother/sister of Jesus” by rebirth. He was not in a special position by birth; he was in a special position by a new birth into God’s family by faith. The same can be true for each of us.

Question: How can we try to remain humble, given the fact we are considered family with our Lord?

You can comment on this devotional online at:
https://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/2009/10/21/jf_family/

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Thoughts by All thoughts by John Fischer Thoughts by Men

by John Fischer
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Truth is incontrovertible. Ignorance may attack it and malice may deride it, but in the end, there it is.” Winston Churchill

The TruthThe concept of truth has fallen on hard times lately. Something I grew up assuming everybody knew existed is not a given anymore. Post-modernism has rendered truth relative to each individual, personal experience has trumped it, and fiction has cast waves of doubt upon it, but in the end, there it is. Or perhaps we should say, there he is, because Jesus is the one who said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.”

That would mean that John the Baptist looked at Truth when he said, “Look, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29)

Peter answered Truth, “You are the Christ, the son of the living God.” (Matthew 16:16)

A Samaritan woman had a conversation with Truth and said, “Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did.” (John 4:29)

A man born blind to whom Truth had given sight, said, “Lord, I believe,” and worshiped him. (John 9:38)

The council of elders asked Truth, “Are you then the Son of God?” and Jesus replied, “You are right in saying I am.” (Luke 22:70)

And Truth said, “He who believes in me has everlasting life.” (John 6:47)

Pilate stared Truth in the face when he said, “What is truth?” (John 18:38)

A criminal hanging on a cross looked over at Truth in a similar circumstance as he and knew there was something different about this man. “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” And Truth replied, “Today you will be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:42-43)

A Roman soldier who felt the earth shatter when Truth died, said, “Surely he was the Son of God!” (Matthew 27:54)

Mary Magdalene saw the Truth alive again and said, “I have seen the Lord!” (John 20:18)

Thomas touched the wounds of Truth fresh from the grave and said, “My Lord and my God!” (John 20:28)

And two men dressed in white said to a crowd of followers who had just seen Truth pass into the heavens, “Why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go.” (Acts 1:11)

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.” (Philippians 2:9-11) In other words, everyone will eventually recognize the Truth.

Truth is incontrovertible. Ignorance may attack it and malice may deride it, but in the end, there it is.”

And there He will be.

Question: How will you choose to respond to the Truth today?

You can comment on this devotional online at:
https://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/2009/06/25/jf_truth/
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Thoughts by All thoughts by John Fischer Thoughts by Men

by John Fischer
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The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. (Westminster Catechism)

Do you realize that if you stop right now and worship God, think about Him, marvel at His attributes, call His name Holy, let your heart burst into song, lift your hands, dance … whatever you want – you will be fulfilling the prime reason for your existence? What could be better (or easier)? And on top of that, you have the assurance that your offering is joyfully received.

We were created to worship – to notice the song of the birds, to catch the shape of the clouds, to feel the penetrating heat of the day, to observe the twist of the lips that makes one smile different from another, to catch a drop of rain on the tongue, to hear a humming bird hum, to taste the sweetness of an orange and notice its color – these are far and away the most important observations we can make. And look at how accessible these are!

What we’re talking about here is living with an attitude of praise. Anyone can do it – rich or poor, new Christian or old, healthy or sick – we can all un-clutter our lives by arranging everything around God and the celebration of why we are here. Nature is doing it unconsciously. Children do it most easily. We need a little instruction – a little prodding – only because we get distracted and we forget.

Outside my window right now is a tree unlike any I have ever seen. It grows out as much as it grows up. Its branches defy gravity, growing horizontally for 20 feet or more before shooting up with heavy branches, as if held up by an invisible hand. This one tree provides shade for five houses. Cut it back and it keeps growing. New shoots are everywhere. What is this tree doing right now? Praising God. It can’t help it. It is old and wise and sturdy, yet still putting out new life. It is a living monument to its Creator. God thought this tree into existence and put it here, years ago, for his pleasure and mine. He and I share this tree together. And when it flowers, the buzzing of a thousand bees can be heard in the early morning quietness. It’s our tree throbbing with audible praise.

We can do it too. Even more so, because we have a mind, heart, body, soul and spirit. We can hum our thanks to our creator with words and meaning, for we were made for this, and we are restless souls without it. Let everything that has breath (and even that which does not) praise the Lord! Praise ye the Lord!

Question: What is your favorite way to give the Lord praise?

You can comment on this devotional online at:
https://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/2009/05/07/jf_praise/
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Thoughts by All thoughts by John Fischer Thoughts by Men