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Showing posts from March, 2012

“All the blessings of God without urgency to live for His purpose become a terrible waste.”

A thought by Erwin Raphael McManus from his book, Chasing Daylight: Seize the Power of Every Moment (Kindle Location 577). Kindle Edition.
That is so true.  God has really blessed Margaret and me with a beautiful place to live.  We are right across from the pool, it is bigger than we really need but it also fits our needs.  God has been so good but He also has placed us right where we are for a purpose. 
God has used both of us in such a special way to elevate the lives of the people who live close to us.  They have told us that we are an answer to their prayers.  Now what if they had been praying that God would help them?  He would watch out for them. He would protect them; He would be their encouragement and their friend so He sent us to do that.  He blessed us so we could be a blessing but let’s say we would move in and decide that we were not going to make friends, not get involved.  I mean we’re retired.  We have ministered all our lives now it is time for us to rest and enjoy the…

“It's important to realize that fear and faith often go hand in hand.”

A thought by Andy Stanley from his book, Fields of Gold (Kindle Locations 98-99). Kindle Edition.
Fear is always where faith is. 
When we had the opportunity to step out in faith and move from Long Island to Florida I had many days of unrest.  It wasn’t so much the moving but the buying of a home.  If you are renting and you don’t like it you just wait out the year and then move.  But I thought owning was so permanent and I had some fear in that.  For many people it takes great faith to risk but for me the fact that I was saying this was it had some anxiety attached to it. 
The day the peace came was a day that I was at Jones Beach on Long Island praying my anxieties out to God and He let me know that He wanted me to come to Florida to be near my mother and we stepped out in faith and made the move.  I had been seeing in His word that we as God’s children are to take care of the poor and the widows and God reinforced in me that this was my time to do that with my mother who is a widow.

“Without the element of the unknown, there could be no faith.”

A thought by Andy Stanley from his book, Fields of Gold (Kindle Locations 99-100). Kindle Edition.
There are so many different tools that Satan uses in his desire to get at God through us.  He knows he can keep us from stepping out and risking because of our fear in the unknown. 
Now one of the best areas that can open up God’s blessing on our lives is through giving, giving to Him and giving to other people.  But it is also a great area for Satan to use fear and He does it all the time.  He doesn’t want you to be blessed and your faith strengthened by giving so he sets up all these roadblocks of fear that keep you from giving.
Giving is something you do out of faith.  And fear is the antithesis of faith.  It is faith’s enemy. 
For instance, you believe it is the right thing to give to a person who is in need then everything starts going wrong in your life.  It isn’t just one thing but compounded things.  Satan then in your mind says that if you wouldn’t have given then all this bad wou…

“A beautiful day is out there to be seen and experienced, but you will be tragically unaware of it if you're stuck in a moment you can't get out of.”

A thought by Erwin Raphael McManus from his book, Chasing Daylight: Seize the Power of Every Moment (Kindle Locations 153-154). Kindle Edition.
We are really enjoying our move to Florida.  It is so beautiful.  I am sitting right now outside looking at a beautiful park filled with green grass, unbelievable trees and flowering plants.
But in this beauty there are many critters that live here.  It is their home.  So in this beauty, you will possibly see snakes, alligators, squirrels, roaches, and lizards, lots and lots of lizards. 
I don’t like snakes.  I really don’t.  Well we had one come visit us last week at our backdoor.  He kind of disrupted our beauty.  We each one have those things that mess up the beauty in our lives.  They have a tendency to tempt us to lock the doors and stay inside but there is so much beauty to experience outside.
What is it in your life that is striving to keep you from experiencing the beauty that God has for you in your life?  Maybe it is a divorce or some f…

“When shame becomes lodged in our hearts, it eventually impacts our words and behaviors.”

A thought by Andy Stanley (2009-08-22) from his book, It Came from Within!: The Shocking Truth of What Lurks in the Heart (p. 55). Multnomah Books. Kindle Edition.
That is so true isn’t it?   Now how we view the action that brings us that shame has so much to do with how we deal with it.
Back when I was in ministry I did something that brought so much shame on my life and I stepped out of ministry.  Margaret and I moved to another town.  I knew that I had blown it and I started selling Insurance.  The shame changed the direction of my life.  That is until I went to a church in that town and God sent a Godly Pastor into my life who took the time and patience to bring me out of my shame.  You see my sin action didn’t make God turn His back on me.  He pursued me and won me back.
Now if my shame would have kept me from seeking out God then I would have had scars forever but my shame drew me to God and He in turn through it changed me for all time.  He used my shame to deepen my empathy for p…

“Connection is one of the absolutes of life.”

A thought by Leonard Sweet (2012-03-13) from his book, Viral: How Social Networking Is Poised to Ignite Revival (Kindle Location 143). Random House, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
Have you ever watched The Voice on NBC on Monday night?  If you haven’t, there are 4 celebrities who have their backs to a person who is singing and if they want that person to be on their team they push a button and then they are turned around to see what the person looks like.  They make their choice just on their voice not on their looks.  You wonder sometimes if they wouldn’t have made their chose if they would have seen what they looked like. 
In our need to connect so much is based upon our appearance.  I think that is why in many cases social media has been such a success.  We may have more confidence to connect with someone because they don’t know what we look like.  I know the danger in that but I also know the deep loneliness and to many it is worth the risk.
We really do need each other, we really do but we …

“If we are going to seize divine moments, we must accept the reality that we have no control over many things.”

A thought by Erwin Raphael McManus from his book, Chasing Daylight: Seize the Power of Every Moment (Kindle Locations 671-672). Kindle Edition.
It is so true that a lot of the circumstances of our life are out of our control.  I don’t have control over the fact that I am getting older every minute but it is also true that I do have control over my activity, my attitude and my focus.
I got on the scale this morning and I had gained some weight.  I got off track yesterday but I had been faithful in my walking.  Now I do not walk because I love to do it, I walk because my health demands it and I have to hold myself steady to do it no matter the results.  I do not have total control over my success but I do have control over my activity and attitudes.
Now this whole activity of walking is composed of a lot of different elements that will affect my day.  It is exercise, it is listening to positive thoughts from podcasts and it is a time of meditation and prayer.  So if I don’t do it then it a…

“At worst a passive life is only pitied, yet God counts it as a tragedy when we choose to simply watch life rather than live it.”

A thought by Erwin Raphael McManus from his book, Chasing Daylight: Seize the Power of Every Moment (Kindle Location 443). Kindle Edition.
There is word that has been going over in my mind this morning as I have been walking and praying.  The word is steady, to hold steady.  Now to hold steady doesn’t mean to me to be passive.  Steady means to keep doing, to hold steady at doing what you are doing.  To be passive means to do nothing.  That is different.
As I walk I see a lot of squirrels.  It is great to see them holding steady at the tasks that God has placed within then to do every day for their sustenance for their survival.  They could be counted faithful.  They are not tempted to say, “Well, I know that God has said that He will provided for me my daily bread so I am just going to sit idly by and trust God to take care of me.”  If they did that then they would starve.  Something inside them drives them to be faithful at finding food for this day and the days ahead.  God has given t…

“We spend all kinds of effort trying to rearrange the circumstances of our lives in order to insure our happiness.”

A thought by David Stoop in his book, You Are What You Think (Kindle Locations 211-212). Kindle Edition.
I too believe this is the key to happiness in our lives.  But the change must happen inside our heart and inside our mind. 
The Apostle Paul while in prison said it this way, “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.”  So it must not be a changing of circumstance but a changing of your outlook and it can be learned.
Someone has asked me where was my favorite place to have lived?  I have lived a lot of places and I said, “Where I am living at the time”.  Now I didn’t enjoy the snow on Long Island but I loved living close to my kids and I enjoyed the exercise I got when I shoveled the snow. 
I hear so many people say, “I don’t like where I live” and I say, “Then why don’t you move?  And they say, “We can’t afford to move.”  Then I say, “Then chose to be happy where you are. The reality is after a short time you won’t be happy where you move too because happiness is not …

“When someone is where he doesn’t want to be, he already knows the solution; what he needs is direction.”

A thought by Andy Stanley (2009-03-31) in his book, The Principle of the Path: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be(p. 11). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
That is so true.  We sometimes get into situations that we know are wrong.  We know the solution - quit the relationship, lose 50 lbs., change jobs, move away, go to church, get counseling.  We know what needs to be done but we don’t know what to do.
The problem is not the solution but the direction.  When a person is lost they need to change their direction but we too many times keep going in the same direction thinking we will get to a different location. 
Now we know why we are overweight – lack of exercise and eating the wrong food – but we keep doing the same thing and believe that the result will be different.  It never will be until we change what we eat and getting up from the couch and exercising.
We may be having major financial problems but we keep doing the same thing with the same result.  We really believ…

“God has prepared ideal circumstances for you to fulfill what He has called you to do.”

A thought by Miles McPherson (009-11-01) from his book, DO Something!: Make Your Life Count (p. 76). Baker Books. Kindle Edition.
Now Satan understands this and he does everything to appeal to our selfish nature by having us gripe and moan and be discouraged.  But what would happen to our view of each day if we saw it as God sees it?
Have you ever thought that what you look at as negative from your self-focus could be ideal from a God’s focus?  That the circumstance that you are going through is setting you up to do what He has created you to do?  I mean that disappointment that has come into your life may be an ideal way to show those around you how Christ is making a difference in your life. 
If our reactions are the same as those who don’t know Him then how are we any different?  Oh we may pray before our meals or go to church every Sunday or pay our tithe or hate abortion or the gay lifestyle but we react to the negatives of our lives just as a non-Christian would.  We gripe and co…

“Audacity does not discriminate on the basis of age or disqualify because of wasted years.”

A thought by Steven Furtick (2010-09-21) from his book, Sun Stand Still: What Happens When You Dare to Ask God for the Impossible (p. 30). Multnomah Books. Kindle Edition.
I know there would be some who are embarrassed and put off when they hear someone dealing with things in an audacious way.  I know that we are sometimes put off by some of the statements of certain Christian groups who say outlandish things that they believe that God wants to do in their lives.  I understand that feeling.
But I wonder if we should be the ones who are embarrassed about our lack of audacious expectations in our God in our lives.  I mean, God is love, He is omniscient and omnipotent.  There is nothing He can’t do and He said all we had to do was ask and He would do what is best for us.  So we should be embarrassed because we don’t really believe Him. 
Now I understand why we don’t.  We are afraid of looking foolish but because we don’t, we are foolish.  God wants to do things in our lives not just for ou…

“With God, it’s never an issue of “Can He?” It’s only a question of ‘Will He?’”

A thought by Mark Batterson (2011-12-13) from his book Be a Circle Maker: The Solution to 10,000 Problems (Kindle Locations 186-187). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.
If we believe in a big God then we believe that we can’t bring anything to Him that is too big for Him to handle.  There is nothing that is impossible for God but the problem is whether we believe that He cares about us enough to listen to us and do something.  That is a different story.
Trust is a major part of prayer.  Do I trust myself to really know what is best for my life or do I really trust Him?  Is prayer to me just a way to get what I want or is it to get what is best?  If you have the ability to see all the ramifications that come out of getting what you ask for then that is one thing.  But the truth is God is the only one who is omniscient, who knows everything.  So who should you trust?
Now the answer to the question, “Will He?” if you have a relationship with Him, the answer is, “Yes.”  But will He give you exactly …

“There’s an unquestioning optimism that comes as standard equipment when you’re young.”

A thought by Steven Furtick (2010-09-21) from his book,Sun Stand Still: What Happens When You Dare to Ask God for the Impossible(p. 30). Multnomah Books. Kindle Edition.
That is so true.  They haven’t had the disappointments in life that we who are older have experienced.   They still believe that they can climb that mountain and from a physical standpoint they can.  They still have a lifetime ahead of them and they need that unquestioning optimism.  That is true if it is just in themselves and their own abilities.
But for those of us who have found a deep dependency on God to be the key to real unquestioning optimism then I think the older I get the more optimistic I become.  Granted building a great church in St. Petersburg may be out of the question but building a worldwide influence may not.  If God is in it the sky is the limit.  I can sit here in Walsingham Park in Largo, Florida and reach the world with my computer.   I can know from experience that I can trust God because of His…

“Without prayer, we have no relationship with God.”

A thought by Miles McPherson (2009-11-01) from his book, DO Something!: Make Your Life Count (Kindle Locations 914-915). Baker Books. Kindle Edition.
I find it so interesting how people believe that they can have a relationship without talking.  Somehow our little boys are learning that from watching their dads who never talk to their wife, their kids, and their parents or even to God.  They are teaching their sons a very harmful lesson.  Their family is dying because of their not connecting with those around them.
The same is true in our relationship with God.  That relationship is also enhanced through talking.  And that is a something that Satan wants to keeps us doing.  He knows the power that is available to us from a relationship with God and He knows that we are week in that relationship if we don’t talk to God.
I am just now seeing this as an important time in my day.  Oh I always have some of those quick acknowledging times with Him – thank You for this meal, God helps us – but…

“Seeing danger and doing nothing doesn’t accomplish anything.”

A thought by Andy Stanley (2009-03-31) from his book, The Principle of the Path: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be (p. 48). Thomas Nelson - A. Kindle Edition.
If you have spent any time with me here on JCTT you know that I have been following a fairly successful path of losing weight.  I started at 260 lbs. and I got down to 211 but I have hit a danger zone.  My path to weighing less than 200 lbs. has hit a detour and I know it but to see the problem is only a part of the solution.  I must now do something.
We have gone through a change in location and with that some changes in routine.  Now my path for success had walking a hour and a half six days a week and eating right in it.  But with the move both of those had stopped.  The walking has come back but without the success.  In order to get back on the right path then I need to make adjustments also in my eating habits.  I cannot live off of past successes but keep focused on the future goals by continuing my walki…

“Until you believe God is with you and for you, fear and hesitation will characterize your life.”

A thought by Steven Furtick (2010-09-21) from his book, Sun Stand Still: What Happens When You Dare to Ask God for the Impossible(p. 102). Random House, Inc.. Kindle Edition.
I am looking on my other blog, bill’s front porch, at The Lord’s Prayer.  It is what Jesus shared with His disciples when they asked Him to teach them how to pray.
Now the first request He told them to ask for was to ask that God’s name be hallowed.  Now to hallow means that we are to acknowledge who God really is.  One way to do that is to start your prayer with praising God.
I am right now sitting on a picnic table outside close to a beautiful Florida lake.  I am in the middle of my walking.  In my first part of my walking I listened on my iPhone to last Sunday’s message by Brian Moll who is the Pastor of Forefront Church in Manhattan and when that was done I had a time of focused prayer.  Now in the first part of my prayer I acknowledge who God was through praising Him.
Some think that praising Him and thanking Hi…

“We can never be free as long as we’re in the habit of lying to ourselves about the reasons behind the choices we make and the paths we take.”

A thought by Andy Stanley (2009-03-31) in his book, The Principle of the Path: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be(p. 73). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
So much of the dishonesty is that we play the blame game which is to be lame.  It is so easy to say it’s my parent’s fault, the way they raised me.  Or it’s my spouses fault, they made me do this.  I didn’t really want to do it.  But somewhere we have to be honest as to why we are on the path. 
The Bible says, “the truth will set you free”.  And that is where you start?
Just be honest. Why do I choose the wrong people to have a relationship with, people who will hurt me, people who are totally selfish, and people who have a track record of no commitment?  Why have I continually chosen that path of failure? 
You start with a question?  That is the first step in being honest.  Why did you choose this path?  And for many that is a difficult thing to do because it puts the results back on you not someone else. You quit bl…

”In the Scriptures forgiveness is never presented as a feeling; it is always described as a decision.”

A though by Andy Stanley (2009-08-22) from his book,  It Came from Within!: The Shocking Truth of What Lurks in the Heart (p. 145). Multnomah Books. Kindle Edition.
Have you ever thought about forgiveness that way?  Usually we say, “I’ll forgive you when I feel l like it,” but the truth is with that attitude you will never feel like it so you will lose.
You see, not forgiving hurts us more than it hurts the other person.  It hurts you inside, it hurts you in your other relationships and it hurts you with God.  He said, He can’t forgive you if you don’t forgive others.  So if you don’t forgive them until you feel like it then Satan will make sure you never feel like it.
No, you and I forgive because we choose to do it.  Not because they deserve it, but because God demands it and you need to do it to break the chains that have bound you to the action of the other person that has hurt you so much.  Forgiveness frees you.
I had a situation that had happened to me some 5 years ago.  That perso…

“Is Jesus’ vision that we live as disconnected individuals who use everything, including him, to meet our personal needs?”

A thought by Darren Whitehead and Jon Tyson (2011-07-19) from their book,Rumors of God: Experience the Kind of Faith You´ve Only Heard About (Kindle Location 1529). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.
I am having some problems with some of the issues that we as CHRIST followers champion.  We came and founded this country on religious freedom but we are now it seems on the side of restricting people from coming to the USA.  Something about that they might take jobs away from us.
I heard someone say that our poverty level here would be the middle class in Europe.  That’s not even talking about some of the countries in Africa.  It is no wonder that the world wants to come here.  Our poverty level is a major step up to the rest of the world.  
Now I do appreciate the fact that the Evangelical world has gotten the vision to help those in need in a greater measure but we may have a problem with them sitting next to us in church.  I will give and I will go but I don’t want them coming here.
Now the…

“You make decisions today as if today is isolated from tomorrow.”

A thought by Andy Stanley (2009-03-31) from his book, The Principle of the Path: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be (Kindle Location 658). Thomas Nelson - A. Kindle Edition.
There are principles in life that need to be learned at an early age that will make a difference in the effectiveness of our lives.  One principle that is sabotaged by many parents with their children is the principle of cause and effect.  Their child gets in trouble at school and the parent blames the school.  Of course it is not their kids fault.  But that attitude will have far reaching consequences on the child at facing responsibilities for their actions.
You see we all need to understand that each action does not stand alone but that it has consequences both positive or negative that go with it.  Let me give you an example. 
I am 64 years of age.  I will turn 65 in three months.  Now a few years back I realized that I was slowly because of inactivity turning into an invalid so I started walk…

“Is your goal how long you live or that you live?”

A thought by Erwin Raphael McManus in his book, Chasing Daylight: Seize the Power of Every Moment(Kindle Location 1037). Kindle Edition.
What if that had been Jesus’ goal?  God sent Him to earth to experience life as we know it and to be an example for how He wants us to live it but He died when He was in His thirties.  Longevity was not His goal, impact was.
What about you?  I know many people who all they are living for is retirement.  They are worried about having enough money to survive.  That is always on their mind.  Now to me that is not living that is existing.  Living life to its fullest is all about service not about security.   Jesus showed us how to really live life to its fullest.  He lived out the purpose that God sent Him to earth to do.  He came to give His life so we could live.  So if He is our example why do we put all out life into getting to the point that we do nothing?  That is a wasted life, a life with a wrong purpose.
God has created each one of us with a pu…

“The most pernicious aspect of procrastination is that it can become a habit.”

A thought by Steven Pressfield, (2010-08-30) from his book, The War Of Art: Winning the Inner Creative Battle(p. 22). PREMIERE. Kindle Edition.
My wife, Margaret and I have just in the last two weeks moved from Long Island in New York to Seminole, Florida which is between the Gulf of Mexico and Tampa Bay.  We have been working hard to get our condo here organized and also doing some fun and exploration.  I said all of that to say that I have not been reading and writing as a priority.  But I finally wrote yesterday my first post here on JCTT in 2 weeks and it felt good.  I did not want procrastination to become a habit.  I wanted the writing of this blog to get back into being a daily habit.
There are some things that are a good habit.  My getting up every morning at the same time as a retired person is a good habit.  My posting my other blog, bill’s front porch at the same time six days a week is a good habit.  My taking vitamins every day is a good habit.  My walking 6 days a week f…

“Learning about something new forces your mind out of its natural tendencies.”

A thought by Mark Batterson (2009-12-09) from his book, Primal: A Quest for the Lost Soul of Christianity (Kindle Location 1819). Random House, Inc. Kindle Edition.
Do you read?  Well I guess you do, you’re reading this blog and I congratulate you.  Reading is one of the greatest ways to expanding your knowledge and potential.  I love to read and my family loves to read.
One of the main purposes of this blog is to expose people to different writers.  Let me remind you that if you hit the title of the book under the highlighted thought of each post you will be sent to the section in Amazon.com where you can order the book, usually new or used and if you chose you can also get the Kindle edition instantly.  I do this to help you grow in your mind, in your character, in your relationships, in your life.  Learning can be the key and reading is one of the great ways to learn.
So if you would like to continue the thought of an author that I have posted and see more of what he has to say about …