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Putting my Thoughts into Words of Action!

Hi I am John. I am so use to just using my first name at group meetings that I would just continue that pattern now. Those of you in any type of recovery work know what I mean. But I refuse to be just be defined by my issue but instead I first say I am a Child of the King who is overcoming….. For so long me any many beloved brothers and sisters in Christ would often say “I’m a sinner saved by grace.” Well I no longer use that line. No that is not me, “I am a child of the King beloved by Father and my Lord Jesus who still occasionally sins.”

This is my first blog post. I am only doing this because my brothers in Christ who are with me in our Hope and Healing group at our church say they are so motivated by the writing I share with them with them they encouraged me to share it with the world in hopes they will be uplifted and find healing from the Master Healer Jesus.

I am not going into a long bio of the hurts hangups and maybe as time goes on I will open that window to you. Let me just say in my time living in New York City I have seen just about every type of crisis a person can go through and experienced some of them myself, yet there is one thing I am certain of

Romans 8:31-39 New Living Translation (NLT)

Nothing Can Separate Us from God’s Love

31 What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? 32 Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? 33 Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. 34 Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.

35 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 hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? 36 (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”[a]37 No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.

3And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[b] neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. 39 No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

I don’t know how often I will post but I hope when I feel the Holy Spirit speak I listen and write.

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My First Blog Post

Remembering Election Day.

Today is election day gentlemen but thanks to Jesus death on the cross we are already the elect. I am so glad that we don’t vote on Friends because how many of us with our own broken ragtag backgrounds would have normally come together. Few things are more precious than those friends that God has put in your life. Today, think about your friends. Thank God for connecting your paths. Then in love offer up your prayers for them to the greatest friend you’ll ever have Jesus.

This was a note I shared with my guys election day, but no matter what day it is with what Jesus did for us at the Cross it is always election day!!

Proverbs 15:22 The Passion Translation (TPT) 22 Your plans will fall apart right in front of you if you fail to get good advice. But if you first seek out multiple counselors, you’ll watch your plans succeed.

Proverbs 18:24 The Passion Translation (TPT) 24 Some friendships don’t last for long,[a] but there is one loving friend who is joined to your heart[b] closer than any other

Proverbs 13:20 Amplified Bible (AMP) 20  He who walks [as a companion] with wise men will be wise, But the companions of [conceited, dull-witted] fools [are fools themselves and] will experience harm.

Thank God for calling you His ELECT!!

Can we have God’s 20-20 in 2020

20/20 vision is a term used to express normal visual acuity (the clarity or sharpness of vision) measured at a distance of 20 feet. If you have 20/20 vision, you can see clearly at 20 feet what should normally be seen at that distance. Having 20/20 vision does not necessarily mean you have perfect vision. 20/20 vision only indicates the sharpness or clarity of vision at a distance. Other important vision skills, including peripheral awareness or side vision, eye coordination, depth perception, focusing ability and color vision, contribute to your overall visual ability. (From the American Optometric Association)

I make my yearly visit eye doctor with some sense of dread.  I am in my 60’s now and for the most part my eyesight is very good.   I can still just go the dollar store or drug store and just get a pair of general off the shelf glasses.  I only occasionally need to wear them when I read and that is when the print is really small.   BTW I think we Baby Boomers need to demand the government order businesses to make their instruction manuals in bigger print.  How am I expected to program my smart phone or set up that Ikea furniture when the print is microscopic.  But I digress, well is it really a digression?  

In this new decade what’s God’s calling for your life?  How is Jesus making a difference in you so you can make a difference in the world?  When God blesses it’s rarely just for you, but it’s to flow through you to bless others.  But can you see those ways God is blessing and working in you or has the fine print, the instructions gotten too small for you to read at the current time?   I go to the eye doctor to make sure I am equipped to be able to see clearly in all the activities that I do daily.   I spend time with God daily in His word and prayer, to make sure my Spiritual eyesight is 20/20.  If you don’t know and can’t see God’s purpose for your life, you constantly feel a sense of aimlessness. You feel as though you’re wandering from thing to thing without any forward progress. You just can’t read the directions.   If I can’t read the instructions I can’t properly put together that Ikea table, cook that great holiday meal or see where the Holy Spirit is trying to lead.  Opening blinded eyes is the very centerpiece that Jesus came to do. He opened human eyes that human eyes would see the way Jesus sees. That we would see one another the way Jesus sees us.

As a teen in the 70’s I remember going to play and later seeing the movie “Godspell.”  One of the great songs from the show is “Day by Day.”   The writers of “Godspell” were, in fact, influenced by Saint Richard’s Prayer. That is, the prayer that Richard of Chichester, a thirteenth-century bishop uttered.  Richard is widely remembered today for the popular prayer ascribed to him:

Thanks be to Thee, my Lord Jesus Christ

For all the benefits Thou hast given me,

For all the pains and insults Thou hast borne for me.

O most merciful Redeemer, friend and brother,

May I know Thee more clearly,

Love Thee more dearly,

Follow Thee more nearly.

Richard is supposed to have recited the prayer on his deathbed, surrounded by other clergy. The prayer was adapted for the song “Day by Day.”

Day by day,

Dear Lord, of thee three things I pray:

To see thee more clearly,

Love thee more dearly,

Follow thee more nearly,

Day by Day.

We don’t have to be on our death bed to ask God to see Him more clearly or follow Him more nearly.   We don’t have to wait to be going blind to have our vision checked.  When Jesus invited Andrew and his friend to “come and see” in response to their question, “Where are you staying?” (John 1:35-51 ), they saw far more than Jesus’ abode. Rather, they encountered the Messiah! Jesus knew his identity. He SAW himself as the Father SAW him. To walk like Jesus, we ultimately need to see God’s vision and calling clearly.  Take time to ask our Lord and Savior for you 20/20 vision as you walk Day by Day in His love and wisdom.   Make it your mantra to say

 I WILL SEE 20-20 IN 2020 BY THE POWER OF THE HOLY SPIRIT! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ekoHxB4idmg

Can we Advent like Mary?

Advent is a season of the liturgical year observed in many Christian churches as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for both the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas and the return of Jesus at the Second Coming. Advent is the beginning of the Western liturgical year. Wikipedia

Luke 1:26-38 Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

The Virgin Mary

26-27 During Elizabeth’s sixth month of pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to a virgin girl who lived in Nazareth, a town in Galilee. She was engaged to marry a man named Joseph from the family of David. Her name was Mary. 28 The angel came to her and said, “Greetings! The Lord is with you; you are very special to him.”

29 But Mary was very confused about what the angel said. She wondered, “What does this mean?”

30 The angel said to her, “Don’t be afraid, Mary, because God is very pleased with you. 31 Listen! You will become pregnant and have a baby boy. You will name him Jesus. 32 He will be great. People will call him the Son of the Most High God, and the Lord God will make him king like his ancestor David. 33 He will rule over the people of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.”

34 Mary said to the angel, “How will this happen? I am still a virgin.”

35 The angel said to Mary, “The Holy Spirit will come to you, and the power of the Most High God will cover you. The baby will be holy and will be called the Son of God. 36 And here’s something else: Your relative Elizabeth is pregnant. She is very old, but she is going to have a son. Everyone thought she could not have a baby, but she has been pregnant now for six months. 37 God can do anything!”

3Mary said, “I am the Lord’s servant. Let this thing you have said happen to me!” Then the angel went away.

Most of love this season. We do the shopping, decorate the tree and drop a few coins in the kettles and the boxes of the sidewalk Santa’s. But if we forget that Jesus is the reason for the season then we miss the point of Advent. So let me ask you “Can you Advent like Mary?”

When the angel Gabriel told Mary she was going to be the mother of Jesus her first thought was “Who me?” But I think there are several things we can all learn from her to follow in our preparation for the coming of our Lord.

Let me start off by saying, as a man obviously I have no idea on what it’s like to be pregnant. Yes I am the father of two but that is no substitute for 9 months of child bearing. But if we view Advent like pregnancy then let’s follow what Mary did.

  1. Mary took time for reflection.

1:29 Amplified Bible (AMP)

29 But she was greatly perplexed at what he said, and kept carefully considering what kind of greeting this was.

During Advent do you take time for prayer and reflection about the coming of our Savior? Mary’s Advent was 9 months and I’m sure during that meeting with Gabriel and the months after she was in prayer about the coming of Jesus. And if married are you in prayer with your spouse? Joseph also had a word from an angel to convince him that Mary’s child was from the Holy Spirit. Are we seeking a word from the Spirit in pray as we anticipate Gods greatest gift to mankind.

2. Mary and Joseph for that matter fasted. Fasting is the willing, abstinence or reduction from something for a period of time.  Most people associate fasting with food, drink, or both.  In Mary and Josephs situation it was they didn’t have relations until after Jesus birth.

Matthew 1:25 The Message (MSG)

24-25 Then Joseph woke up. He did exactly what God’s angel commanded in the dream: He married Mary. But he did not consummate the marriage until she had the baby. He named the baby Jesus.

What are we willing to give up in ourselves in preparation for the coming of Jesus. Many Christians associate the season of Lent with the idea of personal sacrifice but anyone woman will tell you during pregnancy there are many things they will give up in preparation for their baby. In our individual Advent/pregnancy journey what will you lay aside in your personal life to have your heart ready to receive the King of Kings?

3. What are you willing to give? Christmas time is the season we focus on giving. Gifts for mom, dad, the kids, relatives, great friends etc.. We might make a special donation to our favorite ministry, or mission board and many other things. Don’t get me wrong those thing are great, but are we willing to give of ourselves during this time? Mary willingly gave her body to God to do with what He wanted.

Luke 1:38 The Passion Translation (TPT)

3Then Mary responded, saying, “This is amazing! I will be a mother for the Lord![a] As his servant, I accept whatever he has for me. May everything you have told me come to pass.” And the angel left her.

Serving God sounds really great on paper but when reality sets in it can be a different story. Now understand Mary had no idea how Joseph was going to react. Can you see the conversation in your mind. Hey babe how was your day? Oh well Jospeh I’m pregnant but it’s cool cause this angel came by and said that is was carrying the Messiah! Yea right and there’s this bridge over the Nile I want you to buy. Ok you get the idea.

Plus in that society she could have very easily been put to death by stoning for being an adulterer. But Mary was ready to risk it all to follow God. I would bet a number of people especially those who are the high and mighty types had calculated how long Joseph and Mary had been together and viewed Jesus as bastard. Yet Mary didn’t back off from serving God not matter how much potential anguish she might face.

Can we saying “That’s amazing” like Mary in doing what God calls us to do? First all all will we respond to Gods call of salvation to all of us through Jesus?

John 3:16 Living Bible (TLB)

16 For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son[a] so that anyone who believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

And if we already know Christ are we satisfied with just salvation or are you ready to go deeper? Mary was ready to risk it all to go deeper in her relationship with God. In this Advent season have you spent as much time seeking God as you do looking for that perfect tie, latest video game? Have you spent more hours on black Friday lines or at checkout counters than you have on your knees? Have you sought God in prayer as to what is His desire for your life as you await the coming of our savior Jesus? Or more sought the schedule for your favorite college teams bowl appearance, NFL schedule, baseball free agent signing or who is getting the rose in the Bachelor(ette)show.

Yes let’s do Advent like Mary and go all out for Jesus or is just another day on the calendar.

GRACE Needed! But not deserved!!!

Ephesians 2:8-9 Amplified Bible (AMP)

For it is by grace [God’s remarkable compassion and favor drawing you to Christ] that you have been saved [actually delivered from judgment and given eternal life] through faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [not through your own effort], but it is the [undeserved, gracious] gift of God; not as a result of [your] works [nor your attempts to keep the Law], so that no one will [be able to] boast or take credit in any way [for his salvation].

It is the Christmas season and we are thinking about Gods amazing gift of Jesus coming to earth.  Jesus is the Fathers’ gift of grace to us.   But when you think about it, what is grace?   We sing about it….Amazing Grace how sweet the sound….and we preach about it.  Heck even the businesses in the Christian and secular world understand the concept of grace.  You know how it is, we sign on the bottom line saying we promise to pay on the 1st or 15th please give me the car, the furniture, the house, etc.  But sometimes you just can’t pray.  But how precious it is and how much we appreciate those 15 days grace.   Needed but not deserved!

Some may say there are more important words, how about LOVE!  We talk about love we sing about love and erect statues about love.  Yes we thank God for His love.   But in Grace there is always love but in love there isn’t always grace.   Look I know my mom and dad loved me, but I grew up in a time parents didn’t mind a giving a good whippin!  And my mom and dad believed in whippin!  There were times I did wrong and I know I did wrong and I know a whippin was coming.  Mom was standing there, belt in hand and fire in her eyes, I’d be crying momma, momma no momma, please I won’t do it again!   But every now and then a little bit of grace would come over momma and she’d say …… boy you better go sit down somewhere just get out of my face!!!..  Yes I know grace that was Needed but not deserved!   

To me one of the best example of needed but not deserved was demonstrated by my old neighbors Ari and Elisheba Kline.  The Klines were a number of people I knew growing up who were holocaust survivors.  They both passed away years ago. 

When I was a teen Mr. Kline told me a story about a trip the two of them took back to Flossenbürg, Germany to see the camp where they were imprisoned.  But while in the town they took the time to try and find families of the prison guards from the camp.   The Kline’s found 11 relatives of those men and for the ones who would speak with them to give them a message of forgiveness.  Despite the loss of the Klines’ family and friends at the hands of the Nazi these two showed grace to their abusers’ families.  They didn’t give them what they deserved, they gave them what they need. Needed but not deserved! 

That story reminds me of another time of unmerited grace in the parable of the Good Samaritan.  The Jewish people were cruel and oppressed the Samaritan people even though they all shared the same bloodlines.  Hatred between Jews and Samaritans was fierce and long-standing. There are countless modern parallels to the Jewish-Samaritan enmity—indeed, wherever peoples are divided by racial and ethnic barriers.  But yet while others Jews passed by one of their own who was injured in the ditch and even walked on the other side of the road to avoid him it was the Samaritan who showed grace.  I can imagine what many of us would have done in that situation.  I could see us saying…….

“Well look who’s in the ditch, that can’t be you mister high and mighty man down in the ditch.  No you told me for so long I am the dirty one.  Well now you stay in the ditch, and I hope you rot in the ditch”

But no,  the Samaritan didn’t give him what he deserved he gave him what he needs.  Needed but not deserved! 

The ultimate show of grace with out a doubt was Jesus on the cross.   Jesus looked down from the cross upon a scene that must have been distressing to Him. The Roman soldiers were gambling for His clothing (John 19:23–24); the criminals on the crosses to either side of Him, one was reviling Him (Matthew 27:44); the religious leaders were mocking Him (Matthew 27:41–43); and the crowd was blaspheming Him (Matthew 27:39). Surrounded by this most unworthy lot, Jesus prayed for them. “Father, forgive them” is a prayer of unmatched mercy and love.  Even in His agony, Jesus’ concern was for the forgiveness of those who counted themselves among His enemies, He gave them grace. He asked the Father to forgive the thieves on the cross who jeered at Him. He asked the Father to forgive the Roman soldiers who had mocked Him, spit on Him, beat Him, yanked out His beard, whipped Him, put a crown of thorns on His head, and nailed Him to the cross. Jesus asked forgiveness for the angry mob that had mocked Him and called for His crucifixion.  Jesus didn’t give them what they deserved, He gave them what they needed.  Grace, needed but not deserved! 

If you’re a follower of Jesus, are you ready to give people grace despite the current situation?  Are you ready, no matter how you are treated, ready to show amazing grace?  Can instead of giving people what they deserve you give them what they need?  Don’t get me wrong, grace is not excusing or ignoring what they did that was wrong, No grace is not allowing the issue to take up space in your life. Or as Pastor Rick Warren says “Don’t let them live in your head rent free in your head.” Grace is needed but not deserved and we got it because it is a gift of God.    If you are ready to give that gift, then let’s sing….

Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God
Oh, it chases me down, fights ’til I’m found, leaves the ninety-nine
I couldn’t earn it, and I don’t deserve it, still, You give Yourself away
Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending, reckless love of God.

Are we telling folk to reach out and touch!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yt6DvapiK-w

In the late 1970’s–80’s around the Christmas holiday season the telephone company ran this advertising campaign called “Reach out and touch someone!” Telling people to connect with love ones far away by long distance telephone calls. It worked and people started flooding the lines with calls to momma and poppa, uncle Bill and aunt Betty. To just touch base with someone who loves you. A few years earlier Diana Ross had her hit song “Reach out and touch somebody’s hand. Make this world better place if you can.”

Anyway those phone spots reminded of another campaign telling people to “Reach out and Touch.” And this media blitz didn’t come from Madison Avenue, a twitter feed or Black Friday door buster. But it did have people lining the streets. This campaign started from one woman’s act of faith.

Your  faith matters, your living holy matters, your daily  prayer life matters, your mindset matters. Everything about you matters and God wants to use your life to impact people daily. So don’t quit hold fast to your faith in Jesus. Reading this morning in my quiet time about the woman with the issue of blood the Gospel of Mark version 5:25-34. She had unshakable faith even though she had been suffering with this issue for years with no result, no Miracle no change. Yet she didn’t quit and then she came to Jesus and said if I am just able to Touch the Hem of His Garment I’ll be made whole. Now this isn’t in the Bible but if she had been suffering with this issue for 12 years I’m quite sure a bunch of people knew it and what a testimony it must have been to all those that she knew when they saw her healed and she can say it was from our Lord.

The point I wanted to say is that while the Bible is not specific in saying that this women went out and told people about how Jesus healed her her if you go to the next chapter Mark chapter 6 verse 56 it makes the point I believe her Witness made a difference

Mark 6: 53-56 (MSG) They beached the boat at Gennesaret and tied up at the landing. As soon as they got out of the boat, word got around fast. People ran this way and that, bringing their sick on stretchers to where they heard he was. Wherever he went, village or town or country crossroads, they brought their sick to the marketplace and begged him to let them touch the edge of his coat—that’s all. And whoever touched him became well.

Where do you think the people learned about this stuff? Whether woman with the issue of blood directly told them or not they saw in her something that was different that has changed. What a press agent, a walking billboard, an advertisement of the power of Jesus! That is our Witness that we are a light in the world and people see something different in us and they want that healing that difference.

So are we willing to say  I don’t know about everything else that happened in our life. Are we willing to say I don’t care  about everything else that happened,  who hurt us  or what mistakes we made.  And are we like the woman going to say right here, right NOW  I’m going to try again. I’m going to seize this opportunity because I know  the one who is passing right in front of me IS MY HEALER AND REDEEMER! The woman with the issue of blood could have very easily said yes I’ve heard all these wonderful things about Jesus, but  why try again and be disappointed again.  This is where  our lives must shine for the Lord, we have to be His ad campaign, people have to see in our ups and downs Jesus at work and want to touch Him. And when our faith in our savior continues our joy in the Lord remains. So are we willing to just say I want to touch the Hem of His Garment and believe in our healing. You may be in a season where you received all the prayer you can from others, you’ve gone to all the conferences you’ve heard all the prophetic words read all the books attended all the services. Yet something has not broken yet, you’ve yet to receive the miracles you’ve been seeking, the breakthrough that that brings you closer to the Lord.  So everything in you is saying I know I’ve suffered disappointment, I know that I’m climbing through some setbacks, I know that I can’t see how God is going to do it right now. However something else in you is saying He makes a way when there is no way.

Luke 18:27  (NIV)  Jesus replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.”

Yes I know I have suffered disappointment but if I can just Reach out and Touch the Hem of His Garment.

Keep walking in God’s grace, your story of faith your story of boldness your story will make a difference in the lives of people who you may not even know. Your story of unwavering faith will not only bless your life but will be a blessing for others.

Acts 13:47 (ERV)This is what the Lord told us to do: I have made you a light for the other nations, to show people all over the world the way to be saved.’”
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Tell the tall tale of how thankful you are of what He is doing in your life!

1 Timothy 4:6-9  (GNT) A Good Servant of Christ Jesus

6 If you give these instructions to the believers, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, as you feed yourself spiritually on the words of faith and of the true teaching which you have followed. 7 But keep away from those godless legends, which are not worth telling. Keep yourself in training for a godly life. 8 Physical exercise has some value, but spiritual exercise is valuable in every way, because it promises life both for the present and for the future. 9 This is a true saying, to be completely accepted and believed.

One thing I love about getting together with family during Thanksgiving is all the old stories we swap with each other. The Tall Tales get taller and the Feats of Conquest get bigger and the times of laughter get louder and longer. We welcome new additions to the family and offer up remembrance for those who are no longer with us. But it’s also a time for us to speak truth and really reflect on what we need to be thankful for.

The Apostle Paul did not take for granted the godliness of his spiritual son Timothy. Though Timothy had been His companion and Co collaborator for a number of years Paul still felt it necessary to write him train yourself to be Godly and if Timothy needed this encouragement then surely we also need it today. It’s during these times of family gathering that we need to let our light shine before others. It’s nice to tell stories but it’s better if people see our godliness and Jesus light shine in US. That’s the tall story we want to share how big and great is our God. In life and Recovery we are training ourselves to be more Christ-like and that is always something to be thankful for. We don’t reflect the nature of the world we reflect the power of our savior. Yes we laugh about old stories from years ago but we rejoice about what God is doing in our life now and that is so much to be thankful for.

Remembering why I am Thankful!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Having stuffed myself with all the turkey and stuffing, I now can settle back with my family and feel joy with all that God has blessed me with. It’s easy for me to feel gratitude when  life is  going well,  but when days are  hard is it hard to find my faith?  On this Turkey Day season let’s get stuffed with the Holy Spirit and be thankful for Gods love

Almighty God, thank You that I don’t have to earn my way to heaven. Thank You for the gift of faith. I know that I have been made right with You because of my faith in Your Son, Jesus Christ.  You go before me, and I am so glad. You know the many times I’ve prayed for specific things only to be grateful later that You said no.

You have the big picture. So often You’ve answered my prayers with something much better than I could have ever imagined. You are in control, not me. Thank You for that.
Every day, I want to give thanks in every circumstance. In Jesus name Amen.

Psalm 107:8-9 The Passion Translation (TPT)

So lift your hands and thank God for his marvelous kindness
and for all his miracles of mercy for those he loves.
How he satisfies the souls of thirsty ones
and fills the hungry with all that is good!

It’s Ok to be Molded

There are some things you just can’t do on your own. And one of those things in reality is managing yourself. That’s when you need to admit that you are the clay and God is the Potter you are the work of his hand. So give yourself up to him. Let God take you over completely! When you do then He will mold yo u into what He wants you to be something that is more than good in His eyes. Then you’ll be equipped enabled and empowered to do His good work.

2 Timothy 2:21 Amplified Bible (AMP) 21 Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things [which are dishonorable—disobedient, sinful], he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified [set apart for a special purpose and], useful to the Master, prepared for every good work


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