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

By John Fischer
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You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who haven’t seen me and believe anyway.” John 20:29

‘There is no question that there is an unseen world. The problem is, how far is it from midtown and how late is it open?’– Woody Allen

Christians believe there is an unseen world that in some ways is more real than the one we see. Not that the one we see isn’t real, but the unseen world sometimes is thought of as being more important because of its permanence. The unseen one will last forever; this one is temporary, and yet for now, this temporary one is our reality.

That’s why I like Woody Allen’s question about how far the unseen world is from us and how late it stays open. In other words: How accessible is this unseen world? I think he may be on to something. As the saying goes: Some Christians are so heavenly minded, they’re of no earthly good.

The Gospel is all about caring for the real human needs of people, not just about getting them into heaven.

Suppose you see a brother or sister who needs food or clothing, and you say, “Well, goodbye and God bless you; stay warm and eat well,” but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing. What good does that do? So you see, it isn’t enough just to have faith. Faith that doesn’t show itself by good deeds is no faith at all — it is dead and useless. (James 2:17)

Jesus Christ brought the Good News of the Kingdom of heaven to earth, but he didn’t just touch down for a momentary appearance. Sometimes we forget he carried on a ministry here for three years. He connected with and did something about the suffering needs of the sick, dying, and mentally ill. Faith in action brings two worlds together.

The reality of heaven doesn’t make earth less real or less important. If our longing for heaven and focus on eternity is disengaging us from earth, we should probably check and see if we have the right heaven. If we have the right heaven, the opposite should happen. The more committed we are to heaven (the more we get an eternal perspective on life), the more deeply we will be committed to this life and those around us. Heaven brings meaning to earth, not an escape. It brings dignity to every human being, a reason for our existence and a desire to want to connect everyone to God.

When Jesus came, one of the first things he did was announce that the Good News of the Kingdom of heaven had come. Heaven is at hand. Let’s live in such a way as to show people like Mr. Allen that the unseen world is right around the corner, and what’s more, it stays open all night.

Question: Have you observed anyone whose faith didn’t seem to make a difference in their lives? How did that make you feel?

You can comment on this devotional online at:
https://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/2009/01/08/jf_faith/

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Thoughts by All thoughts by John Fischer Thoughts by Men

by John Fischer
_________________________________________________________

If you are anything like me, you have probably caught yourself trying to make your own sin out to be something less than the big sins that everyone else commits. You know, the biggies that are in the Ten Commandments like murder, adultery, stealing, lying … stuff like that. Certainly I’m not that kind of sinner. No, I’m a minor sinner. When I sin, it’s more like “sin lite.”

Thinking like this creates a ridiculous state of affairs when it comes to Christ dying for all our sins while we attempt to rationalize them. Sure I’m a sinner and all that, but my sins are mostly the private ones that don’t hurt anyone else. Oh sure, they may not hurt anyone else but they killed Jesus! Let’s think about that the next time we’re considering one of those little private sins. Did Jesus die less for my little sins than for anyone else’s? Did my sins only make Jesus die a little bit? If sin means missing the mark (which it does), by how much I miss it is a non-issue. No one’s out there measuring how far we missed it by. We missed it. Line up for the death penalty. (Thank God, this is where Jesus comes in.)

When you’re dead, you’re dead. I’m not a medical professional, but I’m pretty sure there’s no such thing as being just a little dead. Yet try telling your rationalizations that. Look at the silly consequences we create whenever we try to rationalize the truth.

There is no such thing as a little sin. Sin is sin, and the wages of sin is death, says the Bible, “but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23) You can’t any more sin a little than you can get a little eternal life. There is only one way this works: Sin, death, gift of God, and eternal life, in that order, and they’re all big time – full strength. Whenever we sin, we sin big, and we die big; but Jesus died big time, so that God could give the gift of eternal life … and that’s big too! That’s forever! To belittle any one of these is to belittle the rest.

So if you ever catch yourself comparing your sin to others and trying to tell yourself that your sin is less significant, just remember Christ died for our sins, and there’s never anything little about that!

No one can be just a little bit dead.

You can comment on this devotional online at:
https://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/2008/11/29/jf_dead/

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Thoughts by All thoughts by John Fischer Thoughts by Men

by John Fischer and Robbie Goldman
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I opened a newsletter this morning from my good friend Robbie Goldman who heads up Dry Bones, a ministry to homeless teenagers in downtown Denver, and found a sobering conclusion to our discussions this week about Christians leading with the hellfire and brimstone message. The lead story is all about Robbie and his staff’s shock and awe over the behavior of Christian protesters at the Democratic National Convention in Denver earlier this summer where signs like “Ask me why YOU deserve HELL,” and “WARNING: Baby Killing Women, Party Animals, Rebellious Women, So Called Christians, Liberals, Jesus Mockers, Porno Freaks, Muslims, Drunks, Homosexuals, Sex Addicts, Mormons… GOD WILL JUDGE YOU!” greeted them along with insults hurled from the holders of those signs, as in “Can you even read?” and “What planet are you from?”

We watched the spectacle with a growing sense of despair and sadness,” he wrote. “I was sick to my stomach. The scene was one of the single most heartbreaking experiences of my life.”

Examples like this may be extreme cases of misrepresenting Christ, but harboring even the slightest attitude of judgment or hatred is only a matter of being a few degrees away from this. It’s headed in the same direction. To the degree that we let any of these feelings take hold, we might as well be a sign-holding screamer of insulting epithets.

I walked away with my co-workers; some of us were crying. Others like me simply walked in silent shock. Above all the emotions – sadness, anger, shame – I felt something else that had a stronger pull. I was motivated and rejuvenated. More than ever I was convinced of my job, and your job, to love. We must re-define Christianity to a watching world.

What if we became a group of people known for the way we love homosexuals? What if we became a group of people known for coming alongside those struggling with addictions? What if we became a group of people known for the way we embrace people of other religions and backgrounds? What if we became a group of people known for the way we love women who have had, or are thinking about having abortions? What if instead of calling these women murderers, we told them how much they and their children are worth? What if we decided right now, today, to adopt would-be-aborted babies? We tell young women not to have abortions, but are we willing to give them another option?”

Robbie concluded with, “I am convinced that when we love like Jesus, we are slowly but surely helping to prepare someone’s heart for God to do His work. Love well, brothers and sisters. Re-define Christ for the people in your life with love and see what happens.”

And I can’t help but think that whoever carried that sign about the Baby Killers and Porno Freaks is in for a big surprise when he is eventually welcomed into heaven by all the people his sign condemned. There will be tears.

[For more on this subject, see: “The Separation of Church and Hate: Finding the Way to Real Cultural Change” and more of my related articles for Breakpoint.org at http://www.breakpoint.org

[For more on Dry Bones, see www.drybonesdenver.org.]

You can comment on this devotional online at:
https://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/2008/11/04/jf_love-like-jesus/

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Thoughts by All thoughts by John Fischer Thoughts by Men

By John Fischer
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I have a good friend whose daughter has a fantastic singing voice and is sailing through a bunch of open doors in the music business in L.A. and Hollywood. It has thrown her, as a Christian, into a largely non-Christian world, and my friend called me today to record his appreciation for the things I have been discussing here lately in regards to our purpose-driven mission as Christians in the world.

In light of this, he told me how his daughter is often asked to answer questions like “Are you one of those born again Christians?” to which she responds, “Well, what do you mean byborn again“?” Pretty consistently the answer she gets to that question prompts her to say, “Well if that’s what you mean, no, I’m not.” What then transpires is an opportunity for her to tell what she does believe. Inevitably, people are more interested in her definition, and are much more willing to accept her as a Christian.

I suppose she could answer the “born again” question in the affirmative and end the discussion right there, but nothing would be gained.

Her open-ended response is wise for two reasons. 1) It gives her an opportunity to correct what wrong impressions people have of Christianity. 2) It allows her to tell her own story and put the meaning of her faith into her own words.

Talking about Jesus needs to be more about meanings than about words, anyway. As Christians we get so wrapped up in words that we don’t stop to consider what meanings our words are conveying. That’s why we need to ask questions instead of just giving answers. I think sometimes we hide behind words because then we don’t have to think about the meaning of what we say. We can just say it, go on our way, and feel justified for having said the right thing.

Memorized phrases and stock words only mean something to those who are already members of the Christian club. They provide a certain security against not knowing what to say. On the other hand, if you have a living, vibrant relationship with God through Christ, you will never be at a loss for words when asked about your faith. It will be the most natural thing to talk about, and you will be able to phrase your response in terms that will take into account the person you are talking to.

Next time someone asks if you are a Christian, ask what he or she means by “Christian.” You might just have the chance for a real conversation, and in the process, find out what you really believe!

Question: How do you respond when asked about your faith?

You can comment on this devotional online at:
https://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/2008/10/07/jf_born-again/


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Thoughts by All thoughts by John Fischer Thoughts by Men

By John Fischer
______________________________________________________

I was reunited with an old college classmate this weekend. We were both in the 1969 graduating class at Wheaton College, a Christian college in Illinois founded in 1860. He shared a humorous story with me about how a number of years ago, he got a chance to visit with Hudson T. Armerding — the man we lovingly referred to as “Hud,” who was the president of the college when we were students. Dr. Armerding confided in him that of the seventeen years that marked his presidency, we were definitely the worst class.

I have to admit; it is a distinction of which I am quite proud, because I am pretty sure what he meant by “worst.” He meant we had a high concentration of rowdy, non-conforming, troublemakers among us. In other words, we gave the administration a hard time. And though I’m sure some of it was unnecessary and non-productive, at its core there was an underlying hunger for truth among my peers at that time. We wanted to know what was really going on in the upper echelons of power. We did not accept easy answers. We did not come to college to fill up blank notebooks with knowledge. We came with lots of questions. I can see where we would have caused administrators lots of grief, but I know a different story from some of the professors during that time. A number of them have told me they found our class to be among the best.

When students ask questions, it generally means they are hungry for answers, and that is a very good thing. It also means they might be thinking for themselves which will inevitably make for a much deeper ownership of the values and truths they are learning. Most teachers will tell you it is actually the troublemakers who will go on to make a significant impact on their culture.

Oswald Chambers has said that we don’t truly own our faith unless we have struggled over it in some form. Belief is not pure acceptance. God desires interaction and He revels in our working through the process of believing Him. He wrestled with Jacob and even let him win.

So don’t be afraid to question. Even doubt is a legitimate step in the process of faith. God welcomes the serious questioner. It means we care enough to persist in finding the answers we need. The person who is threatened by questions has much too small of an understanding of God.

Is it any surprise that the year of the “worst” class at Wheaton College was also the beginning of the greatest spiritual revival of our generation in this country? Nor has it escaped at least my notice that the latest crop of college freshmen doesn’t seem to be completely satisfied with the status quo.

Question: Do you use your questions to bring you closer to God?

You can comment on this devotional online at:
https://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/2008/09/08/jf_the-questions/

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JOHN FISCHER, as Senior Writer with PurposeDrivenLife.com, has specialized in a daily devotional that now reaches an audience of over 400,000 people five times a week. John’s career spans over thirty-five years of distinctive ministry, first as a singer/songwriter, recording artist and pioneer of\ Jesus Music, then as a best-selling author, and currently as a popular speaker at conferences, retreats, churches and colleges/universities nationally.
You can contact John at: john.fischer@mac.com or visit his website: http://www.fischtank.com/ft/about.cfm

 

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Thoughts by All thoughts by John Fischer Thoughts by Men

By John Fischer
______________________________________________________________________

Researchers at the University of Queensland in Australia have released a recent study showing that caffeine makes people more open to logical argument, even when it runs counter to their previously held opinions. The caffeine group, across the board, tested out as being consistently more open-minded than the decaf group. This would definitely lend new credibility to the belief that conversations over coffee are a good thing.

An open mind is necessary for any relationship to grow. You have to be open to another way of thinking to relate to someone, because we are all different — we have different backgrounds, different gifts, and we see things from different points of view. Lasting relationships grow out of accepting one another’s differences. We appreciate each other more through consensus than through conformity.

This kind of open-mindedness in relationships is important for more reasons than just our differences. It is important because we are always changing. The only way a person becomes static is when he or she is dead — and even then it is only the physical that stops changing. The real personhood is continuing on somewhere else.

Since we are all in process, we have to remain open to that process in each other. My road will not be yours; yours will not be mine, even if we walk together. God has different plans for each of us. Jesus Christ did not die to create clones. He died so he could fill each one of our unique natures with himself.

And finally, part of who we are becoming involves those closest to us. We are not who we are in a vacuum. We are a product of the people we know and how we have grown together. We shape each other. When this aspect is strong, there is a healthy push and pull at work. “As iron sharpens iron, a friend sharpens a friend.” (Proverbs 27:17 NLT)

Belief has commonly been associated with a closed mind. This is unfortunate because nothing could be further from the truth. Belief opens you up to God and gives you his Spirit to help reinterpret the world around you. Belief is all about discovery, and just as our relationships with each other are not static, neither is our relationship with God. We are constantly discovering more about God and his world, and we are constantly discovering more about ourselves and those we relate to.

So pour another cup of coffee for you and that friend, open your hearts and minds to each other, and get ready for a surprise. You never know what you might find out while under the influence!

Question: Your “open mind” is like an open window, such that it needs a screen to keep the bugs out! How can you properly screen ideas you come across?

You can comment on this devotional online at:
https://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/2008/09/03/jf_open-mind/

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JOHN FISCHER, as Senior Writer with PurposeDrivenLife.com, has specialized in a daily devotional that now reaches an audience of over 400,000 people five times a week. John’s career spans over thirty-five years of distinctive ministry, first as a singer/songwriter, recording artist and pioneer of\ Jesus Music, then as a best-selling author, and currently as a popular speaker at conferences, retreats, churches and colleges/universities nationally.
You can contact John at: john.fischer@mac.com or visit his website: http://www.fischtank.com/ft/about.cfm

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Thoughts by All thoughts by John Fischer Thoughts by Men

By John Fischer
___________________________________________________________________

What do you have there in your hand?Exodus 4:2, NLT

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 be 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 our natural abilities, but only after we give them over to Him. I believe that is what the shepherd’s staff Moses carried around represented. 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. God would later use this as a display of His power through Moses to 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. When we turn from reliance on our natural abilities to a reliance on God, he makes even more of our abilities.

What’s your staff? 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? Or is it something that makes you think you’re good, but is really lying to you? Throw it down, and see what God can make of it.

Question: Check out the questions in the previous paragraph and answer them for yourself … what is your “staff“?

You can comment on this devotional online at:
https://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/2008/08/25/jf_throw-it-down/

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JOHN FISCHER, as Senior Writer with PurposeDrivenLife.com, has specialized in a daily devotional that now reaches an audience of over 400,000 people five times a week. John’s career spans over thirty-five years of distinctive ministry, first as a singer/songwriter, recording artist and pioneer of\ Jesus Music, then as a best-selling author, and currently as a popular speaker at conferences, retreats, churches and colleges/universities nationally.
You can contact John at: john.fischer@mac.com or visit his website: http://www.fischtank.com/ft/about.cfm

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Thoughts by All thoughts by John Fischer Thoughts by Men

By John Fischer
________________________________________________________

Did you ever stop to think about what a bad deal Jesus got when He chose us to be His bride? No one would blame Him if He gave up on us. Good thing He doesn’t think like we do or He would have left this marriage a long time ago.

Listening to our culture, one might get the impression that a good relationship is something for which we all have an inalienable right. This conclusion comes from observing how quickly we look for the back door on any difficult relationship, and how that exit is usually justified on the basis that the current relationship is just too hard – the assumption being, there’s someone out there with whom a good relationship is a much easier proposition. That’s a far cry from realizing all relationships are going to have their challenges, and even the best will be severely tried.

This is when you have to think of Christ’s marriage to us. As Dan Haseltine, of Jars of Clay, wrote in Relevant magazine, “Look at the marriage of Jesus… the one with the bride who sleeps around, never listens, disowns, scorns, dishonors, runs away, intentionally proves to be more interested in anything but her husband, is selfish and bears the children of every affair and the scent of every escapade. It was a marriage that killed Jesus. And it was the Gospel that brought Him back to life to love once more.”

Does God have a right to a better relationship? I suppose so, since He’s God. But does He take it? No. And thank goodness He doesn’t, or we would all be out on the street for sure.

We could stand to think a little more like Jesus when it comes to our relationships. He never allows Himself an out. He is in this for the long haul including whatever suffering is involved. He is able to do this because He isn’t thinking about Himself or His own rights. He is thinking about us. He even sees us as holy and blameless, yes, as even beautiful. He makes it so. We become beautiful in that He sees us that way, even now, when we know darn well we are not. He sees the finished product that He paid for and washed clean through the blood of His forgiveness on the cross. And if He can see us that way, we should be able to see each other that way as well, at least enough to be more patient with the process. This is love over the long haul, and there’s just no way any of us can be in fallible relationships without this.
 
You can comment on this devotional online at:
https://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/2008/08/12/jf_long-haul/

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JOHN FISCHER, as Senior Writer with PurposeDrivenLife.com, has specialized in a daily devotional that now reaches an audience of over 400,000 people five times a week. John’s career spans over thirty-five years of distinctive ministry, first as a singer/songwriter, recording artist and pioneer of\ Jesus Music, then as a best-selling author, and currently as a popular speaker at conferences, retreats, churches and colleges/universities nationally.
You can contact John at: john.fischer@mac.com or visit his website: http://www.fischtank.com/ft/about.cfm

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Thoughts by All thoughts by John Fischer Thoughts by Men

By John Fischer
_______________________________________________________

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?

You can comment on this devotional online at:
https://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/2008/07/18/jf_different-parts-different-hearts/

**********************************************

JOHN FISCHER, as Senior Writer with PurposeDrivenLife.com, has specialized in a daily devotional that now reaches an audience of over 400,000 people five times a week. John’s career spans over thirty-five years of distinctive ministry, first as a singer/songwriter, recording artist and pioneer of\ Jesus Music, then as a best-selling author, and currently as a popular speaker at conferences, retreats, churches and colleges/universities nationally.

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Thoughts by All thoughts by John Fischer Thoughts by Men

by John Fischer
_______________________________________________________

In counseling session, I inadvertently lean on a pillow that emits a faint electronic warble. I only hear it subconsciously, as I am deeply engaged in the conversation. Then it happens again and I look down and discover my pillow is screaming at me. An electronic chip inside is responding to the pressure of my elbow. On the face of the pillow is a rendering of Edvard Munch’s famous 19th century expressionism painting, “The Scream“—that wavy image of a wide-open mouth and gaunt, skeletal face cradled in the hands of its own desperation. You may have seen it rendered as a popular Halloween mask. It has become a universal depiction of the cry of the human heart.

In the painting, the screaming victim is standing on a bridge with a red, turbulent sky behind him and two figures in the background. In the artist’s own words, the inspiration for this painting came when an unexplainable sense of dread overcame him while out walking with two of his friends. “My friends walked on—I stood there, trembling with fear. And I sensed a great, infinite scream pass through nature.”

Until I read this description, I saw the figures as approaching and for some reason coming after the screaming victim, but according to the artist, the two figures have passed on ahead, seemingly oblivious to whatever it was that gripped him with fear. This underlines even more the loneliness expressed. His companions have their backs turned on his desperation. They are no help to him. Only he can hear the scream; and their apparent disinterest makes you feel the scream is silent.

This is not a painting of a human being on a bridge surrounded by landscape; it is an abstract capturing of the human soul. It is a painting of the state of mind that people are in today. We live in a time of momentous fear. Terrorism and economic hardship grip many people, but their screams are mostly silent. Those who could help are walking away.

Where are you in this picture? Are you the screamer, or one of the ones passing on?

To view this painting, go to:

http://www.ibiblio.org/wm/paint/auth/munch/munch.scream2.jpg

If someone you know was screaming like this, would you know it? How?
 
You can comment on this devotional online at:
https://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/2008/07/03/jf_silent-scream/

***********************************************
JOHN FISCHER, as Senior Writer with PurposeDrivenLife.com, has specialized in a daily devotional that now reaches an audience of over 400,000 people five times a week. John’s career spans over thirty-five years of distinctive ministry, first as a singer/songwriter, recording artist and pioneer of\ Jesus Music, then as a best-selling author, and currently as a popular speaker at conferences, retreats, churches and colleges/universities nationally.

You can contact John at: john.fischer@mac.com or visit his website: http://www.fischtank.com/ft/about.cfm

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Thoughts by All thoughts by John Fischer Thoughts by Men

By John Fischer
____________________________________

There is a quirky piece of music written and recorded by the British composer Gavin Bryars that features a continuous running tape loop of a homeless man recorded on the streets of London singing an old gospel song, “Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet.” The old man’s voice is wistful and wobbly, with a Cockney accent that somehow carries with it a toothless grin you can almost see, and a confidence that stands in stark contrast to his situation.

Jesus blood never failed me yet, never failed me yet,
Jesus blood never failed me yet.
This one thing I know, for he loves me so
.

A reporter who was a friend of the composer recorded this little song by accident while researching a story on London’s poor, and Bryars had been captivated by its simple grandeur. He was haunted by the power of the old man’s sincerity and the boldness of his hope even though, by his own admission, he does not share his faith. That’s when he had gotten the idea to immortalize the man’s testimony by writing an orchestral accompaniment that would weave intricately in and around the sinewy voice as it repeated, over and over again, its confidence in the never-failing love of Jesus. The end result is a 75-minute recording that gradually works its way through various musical shades and colors while the toothless voice grins on and on.

Little did he know it was going to turn into something of a phenomenon. The piece scored a pop hit in Britain and did fairly well in America. Though it is considered a classical recording, its unique composition appealed to a broad range of people, especially a younger audience that turned it into a sort of pop icon.

Think of it: a bum out on the streets in the lowest of states, carrying a hopeful message to hundreds of thousands of people about the reality of Christ’s love that defies his health, his circumstances and the physical conditions that are his daily reality. Hearing it always makes me see whatever I might be going through at the time in a different light.

Whether we are high above the sky or in the deepest ocean, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord(Romans 8:39 NLT).
Or, to put it another way, whatever happens to you or me, we can always say: “Jesus blood never failed me yet.”

You can comment on this devotional online at:
https://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/2008/06/28/jf_jesus-blood/

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JOHN FISCHER, as Senior Writer with PurposeDrivenLife.com, has specialized in a daily devotional that now reaches an audience of over 400,000 people five times a week. John’s career spans over thirty-five years of distinctive ministry, first as a singer/songwriter, recording artist and pioneer of\ Jesus Music, then as a best-selling author, and currently as a popular speaker at conferences, retreats, churches and colleges/universities nationally.

You can contact John at: john.fischer@mac.com or visit his website: http://www.fischtank.com/ft/about.cfm

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Thoughts by All thoughts by John Fischer Thoughts by Men

By John Fischer
________________________________________

Some readers have wondered why I would quote the likes of Woody Allen andRabbi Kushner, or make mention of Jimmy Buffet and certain Hollywood films in my devotionals. Aren’t devotions supposed to lead us away from the world to focus on something higher? It’s true that looking away from the world may represent an element in our devotion to God, but certainly not all of it.

All truth is God’s truth,” is something that has stuck with me since I first learned it from Dr. Arthur Holmes, former head of the philosophy department at Wheaton College. Because God created the world with a full set of natural laws, scientists and philosophers who may want nothing to do with a belief in God can indeed make observations and conclusions about life that can be supported by a biblical point of view.

For instance, I know nothing about the faith of the artist I met who paints silk shirts for Jimmy Buffet and his band, but the man taught me how to see the light from the sun in late afternoon in such a way that left me worshiping God. That truth belongs to God. The man may believe in Karma, Buddha, Elvis or Scooby Do; it doesn’t take away from his adding to my worship of God.

You might be wondering why this is important as a devotional thought. It’s important because it could potentially turn your whole day into onecontinuous devotional thought. Here’s how. It’s all according to how you perceive it.

First, we don’t have to look away from the world to worship. This is good news since we all, of necessity, have to pay a good deal of attention to the world in order to live here. After all, the world is our address. If I can pay attention to the world and to God at the same time, I can turn more of my life into worship? potentially, all of it. I can have my devotions at work, at the movies, at the ballpark, at the gym, or during my commute. I don’t have to stop what I’m doing to focus on God.

Secondly, our ability to find truth in our culture provides points of connection that prove valuable to our mission, which is to tell others about Christ.

The clearest example of this in the scriptures comes by way of Paul, who when he was in Athens addressing the Greek Epicurean and Stoic philosophers, chose things from their culture (words of their own poets) and even their pagan religion (an idol to an unknown god) to help convey his message about Christ. He didn’t say, “You’re all wrong.” He said, “You’re right about this, this, and this… now based on that, please consider the following…” (Acts 17:16-34)

All this to say: Keep your eyes open and your spiritual insights working at all times. You will find more opportunities to worship God and celebrate the truth, and more chances to connect the truth of Christ to a culture that may have left the door open on the subject without knowing it.

Question: Should we embrace our culture, or flee from it, or approach it from some other more complete & biblical angle?

You can comment on this devotional online at:
https://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/2008/06/09/jf_according-to-you/

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JOHN FISCHER, as Senior Writer with PurposeDrivenLife.com, has specialized in a daily devotional that now reaches an audience of over 400,000 people five times a week. John’s career spans over thirty-five years of distinctive ministry, first as a singer/songwriter, recording artist and pioneer of\ Jesus Music, then as a best-selling author, and currently as a popular speaker at conferences, retreats, churches and colleges/universities nationally.

You can contact John at: john.fischer@mac.com or visit his website: http://www.fischtank.com/ft/about.cfm

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Thoughts by All thoughts by John Fischer Thoughts by Men

by John Fischer
____________________________________________

Yesterday morning, immediately after reading through the day’s Catch about being on a mission instead of just muddling through life, I was about to write in an email reply to a friend who asked how I was doing: “Well, I’m hanging in there.” The words were already in my head and I started to type them out, but I suddenly remembered, and typed instead: “I’m on a mission.”

That I could forget so fast my own message shows how breaking paradigms takes constant focus. At the same time, it really drove the message home to me, because I immediately applied the truth to my situation, and let me tell you, it’s much more fun being on a mission than just hanging in there. It lifted my spirits.

Come to think of it, I don’t think “just hanging in there” should even be in our vocabulary. No matter how desperate the situation, we are still on a mission. We are still being lead by Christ. We are still a part of His Kingdom on earth and His plan for that Kingdom.

So I guess you could complain that this is just a repeat of yesterday’s Catch and you would be right. But what I’m saying is: “I got it this time. I applied my own message to my life and benefited by it.”

It also impressed upon me how quickly we can forget, and how necessary it is to remind ourselves of new paradigms — new ways of looking at things. Being on a mission or just hanging in there is all up to me. It’s how I choose to look at my reality, and when you’ve spent a lifetime looking at life one way, to change it takes a conscious choice, all the time.

So do I look at my reality the way God looks at it, or do I choose to trash it and just survive. This isn’t just wishful thinking or hocus-pocus; it is an act of faith. You tell yourself “I’m on a mission” by faith, and it will always be true regardless of how you feel.

I’ve got a mission today. It’s as big as the Kingdom of God on earth. Find out my part today and do it. “Hanging in there” not allowed!

You can comment on this devotional online at:
https://thoughts-about-god.com/blog/2008/05/20/jf_hanging-in/

*********************************************

JOHN FISCHER, as Senior Writer with PurposeDrivenLife.com, has specialized in a daily devotional that now reaches an audience of over 400,000 people five times a week. John’s career spans over thirty-five years of distinctive ministry, first as a singer/songwriter, recording artist and pioneer of\ Jesus Music, then as a best-selling author, and currently as a popular speaker at conferences, retreats, churches and colleges/universities nationally.

You can contact John at: john.fischer@mac.com or visit his website: http://www.fischtank.com/ft/about.cfm

Share this on:

Thoughts by All thoughts by John Fischer Thoughts by Men