Sunday, September 28, 2008

PATHWAYS

“What do we see when we walk down everyday life paths, people and things to ignore because ‘they deserve it’ or chances to show mercy? What did Jesus mean when he said, “Go and do likewise?””

Jeff Johnson April 2008

Jews and Samaritans were not the best of friends during New Testament times. While the actual reasons for the hatred between the two groups is not known, it is known that the Jews believed the Samaritans were not pure from a religious viewpoint.
LUKE 10:
30In reply Jesus said: "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other s
ide. 32So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. 35The next day he took out two silver coins[a] and gave them to the innkeeper. 'Look after him,' he said, 'and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.' 36"Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?" 37The expert in the law replied, "The one who had mercy on him."
Jesus told him, "Go and do likewise."

This story has been told a million times. Sometimes the story brings up conjectures of prejudice, but I have a different slant. I want to look at what it took to walk by this man. Remember, this was not an age of 70 MPH freeway driving. I will not diminish the human nature of rubbernecking at whatever speed, but in this historical setting it would be at 2 ‘Mule Speed per Hour.’ Let’s look at the lesson here.

During this period in time the body was covered completely from head to ankle. Here is a man who is stripped naked—I am not sure anyone could ignore this. Maybe on some California beaches today we would ignore it, but not then. The man was beaten half to death. If you are anything like me, when I get a sore throat I am complaining to anyone who will listen—and even to those who will not listen. Being broken and bleeding one could infer a lot of pain, moaning and groaning, with sounds that could be heard at a distance. A person traveling at 2 ‘mule speed per hour,’ without an iPod, cell phone, or CD, will listen to the sounds around them for a long time before arriving at the scene. Once the scene is behind people will listen to the same sounds for a long time, only now it is associated with a face to the story. Three questions come to mind: 1) How many times could someone say to themselves without a ‘conscious’ heart weight being added, “I am not going to help this person no matter what?” 2) How much would a person’s heart weigh after walking away from this situation? 3) When would the cries for help, the moans, the look of terror or blood and dirt caked skin leave the thoughts of anyone? So, let’s rationalize this—I am not trained to help, I am not sure what I am getting myself into—Is it safe—and my all time favorite=The next person will assist. We surely could not use today’s excuse of, ‘I am in a hurry.’ So what is the point here! We all have a purpose in life; we just need to learn how to grow into helpers.

Every person lives their life on a pathway whereby we can be a Good Samaritan. ‘Helper growing’ is a skill we all have to develop and have already started developing in many areas. What if someone would have tossed the wounded man a blanket? What if someone else tossed the man a flask of wine or water or vinegar, and maybe someone else a few coins or a robe—see the point? The person with the donkey was a ‘full fledged helper,’ but the ‘helper growers’ could offer relief through their level of comfort. Jesus command of, “Go and do likewise,” is easier said than done with most of us. But, what if today we said, “Jesus, I am going to be a ‘helper grower’ and take a FORWARD STEP toward filling this command. I will do a little on my path today to help someone in need. Here are some steps to becoming a ‘helper grower:’ 1) Take a look at your heart, feel the weight of a person that you have walked away from just because…2) Think about your level of comfort in giving to this person, 3) Thank Jesus for allowing you to have the capacity to give ANYTHING to someone in need. 4) Now do it. You are now an official ‘helper grower!’ I have always wondered if the Samaritan had a ‘been there done that’ experience and that was his path of ‘helper growing?’ Maybe you are an Inn keeper, a neighbor, or maybe you are a traveler on the other side of the road—become a FORWARD STEPPER towards becoming a ‘helper grower.’ We have the pathway.

I believe in you BECAUSE YOU ARE WORTH IT,

Jeff

Saturday, September 20, 2008

KIDS SPEAK ON MARRIAGE???

Everyone knows I get a huge kick about kids comments. It not only makes me very happy, but I usually smile all week over these comments--ENJOY!

How do you decide who to marry? (written by kids)

(1) You got to find somebody who likes the same stuff. Like, if you

like sports, she should like it that you like sports, and she
should keep the chips and dip coming.
- Alan, age 10
(2) No person really decides before they grow up who they're going
to marry. God decides it all way before, and you get to find out
later who you're stuck with.
- Kristen, age 10
WHAT IS THE RIGHT AGE TO GET MARRIED?
(1) Twenty-three is the best age because you know the person
FOREVER by then.
- Camille, age 10
(2) No age is good to get married at. You got to be a fool to get
married.
- Freddie, age 6 (very wise for his age)
HOW CAN A STRANGER TELL IF TWO PEOPLE ARE MARRIED?
(1) You might have to guess, based on whether
they seem to be yelling at the same kids.
- Derrick, age 8
WHAT DO YOU THINK YOUR MUM AND DAD HAVE IN COMMON?
(1) Both don't want any more kids.
- Lori, age 8
WHAT DO MOST PEOPLE DO ON A DATE?
(1) Dates are for having fun, and people should use them to get to
know each other. Even boys have something to say if you listen long
enough.
- Lynnette, age 8 (isn't she a treasure)
(2) On the first date, they just tell each other lies and that
usually gets them interested enough to go for a second date.
- Martin, age 10 (who says boys do not have brains)
WHAT WOULD YOU DO ON A FIRST DATE THAT WAS TURNING SOUR?
(1) I'd run home and play dead. The next day I would call all the
newspapers and make sure they wrote about me in all the dead columns.
-Craig, age 9
WHEN IS IT OKAY TO KISS SOMEONE?
(1) When they're rich- Pam, age 7
(2) The law says you have to be eighteen, so I wouldn't want to
mess with that.
- Curt, age 7 (good point)
(3) The rule goes like this: If you kiss someone, then you should
marry them and have kids with them. It's the right thing to do.
- Howard, age 8
IS IT BETTER TO BE SINGLE OR MARRIED?
(1) It's better for girls to be single but not for boys. Boys need
someone to clean up after them.
- Anita, age 9 (bless you child)
HOW WOULD THE WORLD BE DIFFERENT IF PEOPLE DIDN'T GET MARRIED?
(1) There sure would be a lot of kids to explain, wouldn't there?
- Kelvin, age 8
HOW WOULD YOU MAKE A MARRIAGE WORK?
(1) Tell your wife that she looks pretty, even if she looks like a
truck.
- Ricky, age 10

Sunday, September 14, 2008

THREE MEALS

"The bread was broken and passed around--silence filled the room--everyone had their own idea of what this event would mean to them, but in the end--all except Jesus got it right." Jeff Johnson March 2008

Easter, the death of Jesus on the cross, the resurrection, all of this is so very important to us. But today, this HOLY DAY, I want to discuss three very important meals and their roles.

The first meal--the last supper in the upper room.
Luke 22: 19"And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me." 20In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you." Missing in the room was Thomas, one of the disciples and Judas. Oh yes, Judas was there in body, but missing in spirit and mind. He had his own agenda, bought and paid for! Judas was there to see his own plan through already leaving Jesus with money in hand. Thomas, was absent in body, but present in mind and spirit--wondering about the entire experience--living in fear of what it would mean in the long term message--scared to participate. Which one of these disciples resemble you and I. Are we on this HOLY DAY looking in our hearts and knowing Jesus is there, knowing Jesus is real, having HIM near us feeding us and we are either absent in mind and spirit because we are scared to participate in association with HIM, or absent in mind and spirit because we are participating in our own agenda? During the first of the three meals Jesus mentions "Do this in remembrance of me"--where are you as you remember HIM? The disciples, humans just like you and I, coming to Jesus, remembering HIM, following scripture, just like you and I in more ways than meets the eye.

The second meal is with Thomas. John 20:
Thomas is explaining to the other disciples about how he must see the risen SAVIOR before he believes. Thomas and the disciples are eating together in a locked room and Jesus just appears, 27"Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe."28Thomas said to him, "My Lord and my God!"29Then Jesus told him, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." Talk about just passing through a neighborhood and dropping by--Thomas is face to face with Jesus. Jesus offers Thomas exactly what he needs to believe--all doubts are eliminated--all fear is gone now--conviction on which I stand was transformed from loose sand to solid steel and concrete. The problem with being skeptical is you must consider both sides. On one hand Thomas had to consider his friends view--the other disciples would not have a reason to lie about the resurrection, but on the other hand--he doubts. Where are we at this meal--HOLY DAY after JUST DAY BY DAY we walk the same walk-- we consider during life circumstances how Jesus fits in--is HE real or is there room to doubt. If we believe one word of the Bible--like Jesus died and rose again, then we must take Thoma's story and believe. Jesus said, "In remembrance of me," but in which direction are we going with Jesus as we remember? Both Thomas and Judas had purpose in their direction--do you or I have purpose in our direction with Jesus?

The third meal is found in Revelations 3:

20
"Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me."
This verse is not time dated--it does not expire, and this meal would be worthless without the other two. This meal has no value without the cross and the resurrection--but with those two events IT IS THE MEANING. Jesus wants to sup with you and I--in our hearts--forever. The food is unlimited and filling to overflow. During the three meals--where are you and I with Jesus--near HIM but absent in some way because of agendas; doubting issues but considering both sides equally; or ready to sup with HIM, accepting HIS open invitation for a meal already paid in full? Just knock on the door--Ask HIM into your heart today--WALK 'TOTALLY' BESIDE HIM---YOU ARE A FORWARD STEPPER--do not walk alone anymore, Jesus is there waiting. Come--this year--this day--lets share a meal together! I believe in you because YOU ARE WORTH IT, Jeff

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

WILLINGNESS

"It is not always the easiest thing to do when we look at any change. Maybe, it is not even the right time in our lives for change to happen, but change happens, change is necessary, and changes make us stronger. "
Jeff Johnson March 2008

I am sorry this week has been light on postings---events have occurred preventing my keyboard time--however, I have had a lot of reflection time---It is all good! :-)

It is not hard to identify changes that we need to make in our lives. When we miss identifying some of the changes we need to make, others identify them for us--always with the right amount of tact. When changes are truly identified, plans are made to initiate steps in a new direction so the change happens, but what are we really willing to do? Willingness makes or breaks our plans for change.

Willingness is a combination of either needing to or wanting to do something versus the fight with the inner voice that softly says <<<identifying and owning" (must be together) the value of the change once competed. So let's put barriers in perspective---THEY EXIST! LOL O.K. now for the more subtle--Have you ever considered that the reason we are changing something has become a barrier in our life for some reason. I like to call barriers stepping stones of unfamiliarity. Becoming familiar with these stones makes them foundations to daily living. Becoming more familiar with something leads to a comfort level that allows us to feel safe and secure--thus we can or want to own it something safe and secure--now we have identifying and owning toge
ther. When these two components are together, this builds our bridge to willingness.

Find the stepping stones of unfamiliarity in your life and stand on them for awhile--slowly and softly at first. Get to know them by observation, touch, feeling them, and exploring their components--then walk on them until you are comfortable. Knowing the stones that lead to the changes you want--increases familiarity and with increased familiarity comes increased willingness. Step out forward steppers--build some foundations toward change today.

I believe in you because YOU ARE WORTH IT,
Jeff

Friday, August 29, 2008

OFF ON FRIDAY

I will be off on Friday, but will resume on Saturday.
Jeff

Saturday, August 23, 2008

UNDER CONSTRUCTION

“We tear things down then rebuild them stronger, we cut flowers and trees back and let them grow out again bigger, we encounter things that bring us down—everything rebuilt is stronger because we do learn from history.”

Jeff Johnson May 2008

The other day I was driving (SEE Wednesday’s BLOG) and noticed a sign ‘Under Construction.’ I noticed the sign previously and wondered what construction was being completed. The roadway area looked very nice and my first impression was the sign was left from a completed job. Today, the sign was in a new place farther down the road. It just seems construction is never complete—there is always something to improve, areas to enlarge or shape, and issues about us we would like improved. Our lives are the same-always under construction.

When we look at things that cause us concern—think I am under construction here—the finished product will be NEW and IMPROVED. When we have areas we are ‘not so proud of in our personality’ tell yourself, “I am under construction and will have a beautiful product when this construction project is complete.” Do not be afraid to move the construction sign to another place in your life. STEP FORWARD to help in areas of strength and accept assistance in those areas under construction. Everyone is under construction in some area of life—we love improvement. You are a FORWARD STEPPER for keeping the under construction signs busy and always looking for new things to re-build or build better.

I believe in you because, YOU ARE WORTH IT,

Jeff

Thursday, August 21, 2008

DO NOT STOP ON GO

“Stopping on 3rd base adds no more to the score than striking out.”

An anonymous client---May 2008

Many of us have played the game Monopoly. We pass ‘GO’ and collect $200, then proceed to give it to another player on the board on the next roll of the dice.—Oh, this is the way I play it LOL. No one stays on ‘GO’ forever because it does not pay again until we go around the board—we must move forward. The same concept applies to our lives. Stopping during good times after a pay-off, or a big plus in our lives, or when concerns are under control is not what we do—we go for it again usually. When tough times come we sometimes stop short of getting to the good times again.

Looking back to review our path to present positions is healthy and should be part of our growth process. Just stop long enough to catch a breath, find the appropriate assistance or encouragement to move forward again, and then be a FORWARD STEPPER. Take the road to third base with the intent of scoring. Look at the strike out like the Dodgers do—we have next year (I can’t believe I wrote that LOL). Take strike outs as a way to mark an area to improve and a place where we set a goal to learn how to score from this position next time. Stopping when things are bleak or we are down only lets us bask in this arena—bask in the sunshine of the new day a more positive place. Savor the positive outcomes we encounter when moving forward. Find ways to score from many positions in life.

Life will always give ups and downs. We will only know this if we are moving. Use the attitude that the spirit of the next journey will bring us forward to a better place. We may have rough roads ahead of us, but smooth roads are just around the corner. Complete the last leg of either a good journey or one that is heading to a better journey for us. Find a way to reap rewards and look at the positive in everything. YOU ARE A FORWARD STEPPER!

I believe in you because, YOU ARE WORTH IT,

Jeff
PS: I am off on Friday to spend it with my family--SEE Ya Saturday!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

SEEKING & FINDING

"In order to seek we must find firstpower through the spirit of GOD."
Jeff Johnson April 2008

Hide-and-seek is a favorite game among children. We all have played it and understand the rules of the game. A group of children gather together, picks someone to be “it,” who then closes their eyes—through split fingers, while everyone else in the group hides. The object is to find everyone and tag them before they get to the safe place. However, as we get more experience in playing the game we go just far enough away from the safe place to tempt others to run toward the safe place.

The Bible is clear with many verses on how to seek, places to seek and to avoid (mediums), and assurances on finding. The lessons on seeking, like in hide-and-seek, give us a prompt go to a safe place—GOD’s loving arms so HE can lead us to our destination—our find. For the most part when we are seeking, we need answers to questions whereby we feel hopeless, and vulnerable. But the way to seek is first to find—let me explain.

"For e
veryone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. " LUKE 11:10

The scriptures show us in Matt 6:33 “seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you.” Mark adds, “The spirit is willing, but the body is weak." Mark 14:38 We need to ‘find’ a strong body first through GOD’s spirit, not our spirit and body. In 2 Tim 1:7 we are told, “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power.”
So, how much power can the spirit give us? We learn this in Judges, “The Spirit of the LORD came upon him in power so that he tore the lion apart with his bare hands as he might have torn a young goat.” Judges 14:6 I have never needed to do this, but it would be nice to have this much power in my hour of need.

Here are the rules of seeking and finding: The first thing is to find G
OD’s spirit with all of HIS power to then immediately seek HIS kingdom in (RIGHT) and (WISDOM) which is righteousness. By doing this we take our eyes off what we are seeking and concentrate on the ‘safe place’ in a powerful manner. “God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.” ACTS 17:27 The next thing is within the power of GOD’s spirit, we need to knock as if we want the door open so we can sup with HIM. The main point here is GOD’s spirit gives us the power to not only knock, but to want to enter in and sup with HIM—to be close enough to HIM to eat with HIM. The last step is knowing that GOD’s spirit can and will allow us to ‘find’ gives us a powerful hope. “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” Rom 15:13. There is an additional power in having hope that allows our body to feel different and act anew—with a powerful intrinsic conviction.

In the ad
ult hide-and-seek game GOD’s spirit is walking close enough to us to prompt a run towards the ‘safe place’-- HIS loving arms—to lead us to that which we are seeking.

I believe in you because YOU ARE WORTH IT,
Jeff



Saturday, August 16, 2008

BLOCKS?

“Blocks, we can either walk on them to where we want to go, or see our shadow grow on them.” Jeff Johnson April 2008

Fill in the blanks _____________BLOCKS, or ___________BLOCKS. We can put “building” blocks or “stumbling” blocks as answers. Each answer has a protocol for dealing with those things that block our progress. However, each answer is right, each answer is appropriate; each answer has a place for us to grow forward. YES, GROW FORWARD.

When we are on a growth path and something gets in our way or slows us down we must make a choice. We can either use them as motivators to say, ‘nothing is going to stop me now,’ and climb over them or we can use them as deterrents to stymie our progress. The reason both answers listed above are correct is if the blocks are motivators then this is correct, but if we are stopped, then maybe it is a time to check our energy level and re-charge. The problem is not in being stopped, having problems, being discouraged, or even changing plans, but in the re-starting. It is only a problem if we do not begin again.

When we stop, evaluate why we stopped and most important when are we going to start again. We should NEVER quit, just rest for a bigger growth period when we start again. Look to the brighter side of beginning again, measure successes accomplished and savor them. We all have growth—even little steps allow us to cross a room—look at all the ways you are a FORWARD STEPPER and a GROWTH PATH MAKER. March on!

I believe in you because, YOU ARE WORTH IT,

Jeff


Thursday, August 14, 2008

CUTTING LABELS

“We tear labels off our clothes in some cases and we ‘forget’ to tear them off our clothes at other times, if only we could shed them or display them about ourselves as easily.”

Jeff Johnson April 2008

Labels stick to us and either controls us by how we wear them or we control them by how we shed them—either way, they define us. When we hear certain names in public, even if it is not about us directly, it causes ire, happiness, or mixed emotions. We can be called Republicans, Democrats, Communist or you name the political party name and a certain emotion is stirred. If we are called pretty, young looking when we are---well--- not young (I’m not going there), or told we have a nice build when---well---we ---you get the point—a certain emotion is stimulated. Even when it is not exactly true we have the emotion. Recently, someone asked me how much I weighed—O.K. it was my doctor. I told him and he told me the truth—it hurt. Later in the day I met some friends for dinner and they told me I looked real nice and it looked as if I had lost weight (NOT TRUE). I experienced two separate emotions with the same comment.
So, let’s look at how labels control our life---Yes, I still ordered chocolate cake! See, this label is still controlling my life and defining me—because I don’t LOVE chocolate.

Some labels have very hard lessons associated with them. I am not discussing these today. I am looking at the labels that stop us from reaching our full potential. Some examples are, “You are not __________, “ or “_________,” or you need/should be like_________! Get the picture—my bet is you are like me—I filled in all the blanks and my mind was still saying, ‘Hey, you missed one ______! The words that fill these blanks are stumbling stones. I use the word stone because blocks are to—well the label makes them feel hard to step over. The labels are actually made to allow us to step higher, see farther, and become stronger—WE ARE FORWARD STEPPERS.

Take the labels that are causing the most harm in fulfilling our full potential. Change the way we look at them from negative in my case, ‘Jeff, you are heavy for your height,’ which made me feel bad, but I am on my way down, this is just the place where I am today—wait until tomorrow. When we hear those labels—cut them off in our head and think I am stepping on them to raise myself up, to make myself stronger, this is just a temporary holding spot and watch me move forward. All of the labels I have cut off now make the stones I am walking on feel softer. The labels that stick to me---allow me to enjoy chocolate---not really! STEP FORWARD----FORWARD STEPPERS—

I believe in you because, YOU ARE WORTH IT,

Jeff

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

PEACE--FULL

"There are many roads to peace. Peace be with you, peace be within you, peace be your desire........shhhhh........... peace comes in silence. "

Jeff Johnson April 2008

It is quiet in the night. Only the moon light fills the room casting shadows.
I can feel my body relax—silence fills the room.
I allow it to cover me.
My arms are limp, my hands are relaxed, my feet and legs are still—I close my eyes.
Touching the covers I can feel the threads in
side my fingers.
Thoughts leave slowly, my mind is slowing down.
I am not trying to sleep I am searching for an inner contentment; serenity; a state of tranquility.
Serene; away from quarrels and disagreement, absent of deadlines, removed from cell phones, my mind is almost empty—I am searching for a safe place.
No strife, no conflict, harmony within myself—removing myself from mental involvement---totally relaxed.

Peace.

Try to spend some time here—see how you feel in the AM. Best served with sweet dreams .

I believe in you because YOU ARE WORTH IT,

Jeff

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

GROWING

“Growing, regenerating, becoming new again, reviving, refreshing, all words that make you smile and feel good inside. Come join me as we do them all.”

Jeff Johnson April 2008

The only way you can have growing pains is to offer resistance—or exercise. I hope my doctor doesn’t read this sentence. To many times we feel a need to grow, or expand (not our waistline) but emotionally, internally, spiritually, or professionally. Soon the search is on to fill this need in our life. There needs that are not being fulfilled, something is amiss, or maybe we just need a change. All of these emotions are natural and healthy. But sometimes we don’t have the desire to change; in fact, change scares us or causes emotions that are hard to predict. Some of us have become ‘stuck’ in a rut and the hole is becoming bigger. There is hope for both cases.

RENEW YOUR SELF!! Yes, ‘make yourself new, restore yourself, reaffirm what it is or was that brought you to the point in life whereby you were happy to be there. Take time to REALLY sort this out inside. Sometimes, many more times than we can count, we need to stop and figure out just how fast we are moving. Recharging takes time, it takes a planned opportunity to focus on us—no one else. Think of what it would take to build a small house out of wooden matches. It takes this much focus to change direction and restore the physical and or mental vigor desired. The end result of taking a time out is we can start over, we can become new again, and we can bring into being again, and resume those behaviors when we were once happy.

Step up FORWARD STEPPERS; find that cause to reappear in new form, replenish yourself, repeat those old familiar steps that were once full of life and desire—they are there, list them, walk them again and again, and start over-- regenerate. We can fill our new needs, we can satisfy our yearnings, and just the thought excites us. Instituo-ui-utum reparo—“begin now to renew.”

I believe in you because YOU ARE WORTH IT,

Jeff

Monday, August 11, 2008

POSITIVE + POSITIVE = POSITIVE

“We can be positive or negative—input controls it all.”

Jeff Johnson April 2008

We have learned through science that gravity pulls—so what goes up must come down. This is textbook physical science. I want to propose that mentally if we continue to fill ourselves with positive thoughts, surround ourselves with positive people, and look for the positive in things—avoiding the negative, we can be more positive in our life.

Everyday we make choices about children, our job, opportunities, family, and attitude. We choose what we eat, when we eat (at times), and how much time we spend doing things we like and don’t admire as much. Many control what our children see on T.V., listen to on the radio, and even the words they use—hopefully. It is just as important to control our input.

Search out positive things to put in our mind, dwell upon those ‘something’s’ in your life and claim mentally that they will turn out better than anticipated. Change our initial thoughts to a positive outlook as a first response. Create a confidence that we can and will move forward “No Matter What.” Reduce doubt, and spend more time focusing on the movements forward. This will take work and must not be confused with fantasy land thinking. However, if the positive inputs are in greater intensity and volume than negative, then positive outputs will be easier as well. Even if things do not turn in our favor—there is always a next time and more good to come attitudes to admire. Step forward in a sure manner FORWARD STEPPERS—Positive thinking brings positive output.

El Pensar positivamente lleva a un camino positivo----SONRIE! (To think positive leads to a positive walk---SMILE!

I believe in you because YOU ARE WORTH IT,

Jeff

Sunday, August 10, 2008

PATHS

“What do we see when we walk down everyday life paths, people and things to ignore because ‘they deserve it’ or chances to show mercy? What did Jesus mean when he said, “Go and do likewise?””

Jeff Johnson April 2008

Jews and Samaritans were not the best of friends during New Testament times. While the actual reasons for the hatred between the two groups is not known, it is known that the Jews believed the Samaritans were not pure from a religious viewpoint.
LUKE 10:
30In reply Jesus said: "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other s
ide. 32So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. 35The next day he took out two silver coins[a] and gave them to the innkeeper. 'Look after him,' he said, 'and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.' 36"Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?" 37The expert in the law replied, "The one who had mercy on him."
Jesus told him, "Go and do likewise."

This story has been told a million times. Sometimes the story brings up conjectures of prejudice, but I have a different slant. I want to look at what it took to walk by this man. Remember, this was not an age of 70 MPH freeway driving. I will not diminish the human nature of rubbernecking at whatever speed, but in this historical setting it would be at 2 ‘Mule Speed per Hour.’ Let’s look at the lesson here.

During this period in time the body was covered completely from head to ankle. Here is a man who is stripped naked—I am not sure anyone could ignore this. Maybe on some California beaches today we would ignore it, but not then. The man was beaten half to death. If you are anything like me, when I get a sore throat I am complaining to anyone who will listen—and even to those who will not listen. Being broken and bleeding one could infer a lot of pain, moaning and groaning, with sounds that could be heard at a distance. A person traveling at 2 ‘mule speed per hour,’ without an iPod, cell phone, or CD, will listen to the sounds around them for a long time before arriving at the scene. Once the scene is behind people will listen to the same sounds for a long time, only now it is associated with a face to the story. Three questions come to mind: 1) How many times could someone say to themselves without a ‘conscious’ heart weight being added, “I am not going to help this person no matter what?” 2) How much would a person’s heart weigh after walking away from this situation? 3) When would the cries for help, the moans, the look of terror or blood and dirt caked skin leave the thoughts of anyone? So, let’s rationalize this—I am not trained to help, I am not sure what I am getting myself into—Is it safe—and my all time favorite=The next person will assist. We surely could not use today’s excuse of, ‘I am in a hurry.’ So what is the point here! We all have a purpose in life; we just need to learn how to grow into helpers.

Every person lives their life on a pathway whereby we can be a Good Samaritan. ‘Helper growing’ is a skill we all have to develop and have already started developing in many areas. What if someone would have tossed the wounded man a blanket? What if someone else tossed the man a flask of wine or water or vinegar, and maybe someone else a few coins or a robe—see the point? The person with the donkey was a ‘full fledged helper,’ but the ‘helper growers’ could offer relief through their level of comfort. Jesus command of, “Go and do likewise,” is easier said than done with most of us. But, what if today we said, “Jesus, I am going to be a ‘helper grower’ and take a FORWARD STEP toward filling this command. I will do a little on my path today to help someone in need. Here are some steps to becoming a ‘helper grower:’ 1) Take a look at your heart, feel the weight of a person that you have walked away from just because…2) Think about your level of comfort in giving to this person, 3) Thank Jesus for allowing you to have the capacity to give ANYTHING to someone in need. 4) Now do it. You are now an official ‘helper grower!’ I have always wondered if the Samaritan had a ‘been there done that’ experience and that was his path of ‘helper growing?’ Maybe you are an Inn keeper, a neighbor, or maybe you are a traveler on the other side of the road—become a FORWARD STEPPER towards becoming a ‘helper grower.’ We have the pathway.

I believe in you BECAUSE YOU ARE WORTH IT,

Jeff

Saturday, August 9, 2008

DOORWAYS

“Opening a new door or closing an old door can change a life forever. It really all depends on where you are going.”

Jeff Johnson April 2008

We all have experienced a door slam closed in our face or behind us? In some cases, the experience has been a blessing in disguise or perhaps a heart break. The symbolism of the door slamming has multiple meanings. One thing is for sure—when a door slams we must move out of the doorway into something else. Many times this is the hardest part—leaving something comfortable or uncomfortable and finding something ‘new.’ Sometimes it is voluntary and more often than not—involuntary. We are creatures of habit, so making choices to change is very difficult. However, when they are made our past experiences can allow us to accept better positions in life or consider enhanced alternatives.

Today, if a door has closed for whatever reason, pick up and take a look at what was important behind the door that is left behind. Look at the door as a separation time to evaluate both sides of the door. Consider the experiences necessary to remember for growth and what events should be left behind the door so forward movement can begin. Make up your mind now that “I can do better next time,” or “I will improve my life from this experience”—even if the experience is good or bad. We should learn from every experience in life.

Believe that an old door opens to a new door. Understand the experiences behind the old door can allow us to choose a new door that will allow us to grow into something better than we are leaving. Make up your mind to turn this experience into a positive life changing step—BECAUSE you are a FORWARD STEPPER. Step forward now and take control of the new experiences that are waiting for you.

I believe in you BECAUSE YOU ARE WORTH IT,

Jeff

Thursday, August 7, 2008

MIRROR REFLECTIONS

"What is a mirror but an instrument to shine light on something beautiful—like us—and make it brighter."

Jeff March 2008

Mirrors are funny things, we can look thinner, fatter (well it’s true), smaller, taller, and almost any shape under the sun—that too. We use mirrors to apply make up (O.K. the secret is out), shave, admire our outfit, think while looking at ourselves, and an array of things not mentionable here. But when we walk away from a mirror we have with us exactly what we started with—us—what a beautiful thing. When we look in the mirror we are looking at something unique—something special—something worth developing, molding, and applying our purpose in life with the image we are viewing. Mirrors just tell part of the story—we need to learn how to see beyond the reflection.

Looking at the surface of almost anything never tells the entire story. So, why do we look at the mirror and accept a surface story, a reflection so to speak, to consume our life. Inside we are beautiful, outside we are beautiful-no matter what, what we want to be is and remains a beautiful thing and it is growing. Just like the mirror, we can make our inside and outside look like anything. Knowing we are growing, we are looking up instead of down, and continuing to find new ways to develop—even slowly—does not show up on the mirror. Keep walking FORWARD STEPPERS—there is a whole new world to seek out—do not be limited by the mirror images—because the inside is still developing. The outside may be distorted by the mirror, but the inside of us, the side that really matters is being shaped up for life. Mirror Mirror on the wall--I am the fairest of them all--on the inside too.

I believe in you because YOU ARE WORTH IT,

Jeff

PS: I am off on Friday, please read my Saturday BLOG and Sunday's inspirtional BLOG.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

SMILING

I made someone smile today, it only cost me a smile. I made someone smile today, it only cost me a compliment. I made someone smile today, it only cost me a wave. I made someone smile today, it only cost me a thank you. I made someone smile today, it only cost me a little time to help. At the end of the day, I realized I had smiled the entire day.
Jeff Johnson May 2004

Make someone smile today--maybe even you.

I believe in you because YOU ARE WORTH IT,
Jeff

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

SUCCESSFUL CHANGES

"When we want to ‘be better’ what will that look like? How will we begin? Where will we end up and what will it feel like? It seems when we start something new there are more questions than answers. Can we just say “see ya when we get there?” Jeff Johnson March 2008

Knowing there needs to be change in some situations is easy. Wanting things to change for the better or just disappear can be easy. So, why is change so difficult to start? Many times we want change but we want it now rather then later and we lack focus. Focus requires we have a level of concentration that most irritations do not allow. The purpose of having focus is to have all energy directed at the area of change—both in positive changes to our life and removing irritations. One point remains true, when we want change we will either focus on the area we want changed or on the changes we need to make—only one focus area will move us forward.

Everyone has made changes in life. Some are more memorable than others. However, when we have objective— goals which we believe we can attain, then we remove a huge barrier to moving forward. You can make changes in your life. Presently, if you are contemplating changes or you are in the process of changing, you are already changing. The steps are already in place—it is the change in focus that you are working on now. It can be done, it can start today, and successful changes in the past can be repeated. Take the next step today, be thankful for the process of change no matter how small that you have already been passed, and move forward one more time. You are a FORWARD STEPPER—even if the steps are slow, even if the steps are small, even IF… Never give up, never stop moving forward, never let step sizes be the measurement of success—let the steps taken be the measure of success.


I believe in you because YOU ARE WORTH IT,

Jeff

Monday, August 4, 2008

I LOVE...

"We all have likes and dislikes, we have things we love, like the Dodgers, or the Angels, and yes some even love the Yankees, but then there are things we should love--like ourselves."
Jeff Johnson March 2008

I love _________, can you fill the blank in with something you love? List the top five things you love in some order--tie(s) are acceptable. Was you name on the list? We all list children, pets, neighbors and friends
, organizations that have meaning to us, sports teams, and even food items. O.K., everyone should just assume chocolate as the king of all food items. Let's look at how much time we spend thinking about the things we love in a positive manner.

We are creatures of habit. We comb our hair in the same way each time, we brush our teeth in the same manner, we sleep on the same side of the bed each night, and we eat a lot of the same foods each day. Our habits are formed because we like routines and we like to be happy. When we think of ourselves my guess is we look at the things we need to fix versus the things we like. For example, we may say, 'I am to fat or to skinny," I need to do this about myself or if I only had______, I would be O.K.' For each one of those 'I wishes' we place on the 'less than' side of the coin how many 'atta boys' do we give ourselves in return? We can improve o
ur image if we do just a few things. We can feel better about ourselves if we spend more time thinking good about us instead of bad.

Start everyday with saying something nice about you, Maybe begin with "I am a good person, or I am smart, or I did something good today for someone, or I went to work today when I felt bad, or I worked as hard as I could at something today." Prai
se yourself more by writing things down and place the notes on the refrigerator or the bathroom mirror. Continue to say I am improving instead of I need to change this, say I am worth it instead of I have so many bad things about me. Looking at a positive way to see us is harder than looking at a negative part of us. Everyone has many good qualities to share and be thankful for. Make a decision to always see a positive when looking at a negative in everything. Try to reduce the time spent thinking bad and focus more on good things. Increase the time you think good about your life instead of how much you need to improve. Look up instead of down, and most of all know you are moving forward because you are a FORWARD STEPPER. Life is good, you have wonderful and good qualities, and there is a plan and purpose for your life. Spend more time thinking good about you and live life smiling.

I believe in you because YOU ARE WORTH IT,
Jeff

Sunday, August 3, 2008

SAFETY NET

“Understanding there is a safety net to protect us should end some fears right away”

Jeff Johnson April 2008

IN STICKING WITH MY PROMISE TO GOD, SUNDAY’S BLOG IS DEDICATED TO HONOR HIM AND WORSHIP HIM WHO CREATED ME.

When the lights go off at night some children become afraid; when we pray for career choice decisions in school or job changes we have a fear. When we do new things for the first time or adjust to new changes, and even become sick, we have fear. So, how can we manage our fears? Many of us have an inner strength we call GOD that comforts us. Many of us have an inner strength we call GOD and do not believe HIM enough to understand what HE wants us to do with our fear. Gaps on this point need a bridge, so how does it work if there is belief and yet fear still exists? The answer starts by observing that we are raised in fear e.g. “The ‘ole’ saying, “wait until your_______gets home,” or perhaps, “the new job will include these NEW duties and skill sets,” —so why expect anything else when our life events become more complicated? We must now change our views to look at how GOD challenges fears in our life.

GOD can heal everything without exception—even today in 2008. I find it very interesting that HE has not ‘removed’ fear, but he pointed us—again—to HIM through rescue from the life event. In Exodus 3:11 Moses said to God, "Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?"12 And God said, "I will be with you.” GOD is providing this relief of fear through RESCUE. Look at the prophet Jeremiah 1:6 "Ah, Sovereign LORD, I do not know how to speak; I am only a child." 8 GOD said, “Do not be afraid …, for I am with you and will rescue you," declares the LORD. In Isaiah 41:10 we read, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you.” In each one of these instances, a designed plan was presented to Moses, Jeremiah, and Isaiah, as each one expressed in a kind way—REMOVE THE FEAR! However, GOD responded by saying I will rescue you by: supporting you, strengthening your weaknesses, and helping you—ALL forms of rescue.

We all have gifts to use for GOD’s glory and service. Many life circumstances cause us to fear. We fear moving forward, we fear rejection, we fear things that are new, and you can add your own fears here. GOD will rescue you by just turning to HIM. Rest in the loving arms that want to strengthen, comfort, heal, and yes---rescue you. Step up FORWARD STEPPERS into the life GOD has for you—by preparing to be rescued instead of stifled inside of fear.

I believe in you because YOU ARE WORTH IT,

Jeff