Sunday, June 29, 2008

THE CROSS


"Problems and their successes pass through our life daily. Successful origins of solutions start with a higher power--something more powerful than us--something that created us, a Deity that defeated death. The empty cross is a symbol of the kind of power we are looking for when we need anything. When we need to clean up something really messy we buy a super strength cleaner or a super power absorbent. The symbol of the cross reminds us to trust the power of Jesus--always and in all things. "
Jeff Johnson March 2008

Sunday is my day of worship. This blog will honor Jesus exclusively on Sunday. Research shows that the majority of Americans are seekers--thus my blog during the week is for motivational purposes only. It allows someone to get motivated, upbeat, a welcome and inviting column to lift a spirit, heal a heart or mind, and offer hope in a variety of article topics. Although generalist in spirituality discussions, my opinion is the comfort of being able to seek spirituality on your own has a meaning more intrinsic than preaching at a level you are not ready to receive and I am not capable of giving. But Sunday, for me, is different.


Every solution has a start--just like problems. When seeking a solution to a problem it is important to have a source of healing that is reliable, powerful, and has a proven track record. Jesus is that solution strength for me. I am not perfect, I have problems that still need solutions and things still bother me, but I have a peace inside knowing something more powerful than me is working on a solution. Ending problems is part of life--problems ending is not--Jesus is there in both arenas.

Continue to seek for solutions with positive thoughts and outlooks. Seek for spirituality in your own areas that you have comfort in now--but in all areas of your life be willing to accept growth and change. Humans have an internal design that needs a spiritual piece to be complete. Some say GOD or spirituality is just a crutch--I agree, but we all need crutches from time to time. We also need to have an experience of a deep peace--and we can not get this peace without filling the spiritual gap--I found it through Jesus--the cross is my symbol of this strength that continues to work for me. Today, take time to meditate, pray, seek something in whatever you define as a higher power---grow in another direction. Maybe you need to define a higher power or overcome a hurt from a church experience or a person---seek paths of growth in these areas today. In everything we do today--one day a week to start--look to enhance the spiritual side.
Peace to you and become a forward stepper in the spiritual side today.

I believe in you because YOU ARE WORTH IT,
Jeff

Friday, June 27, 2008

HOPE


"Hope is like a bonfire that has burned a long time: you feel the heat, you see embers fly into the air knowing there is life under the ashes, and you hear the popping of life trying to form again. Stir up the ashes, place new wood on the ashes, and see that hope has been there all the time."
Jeff Johnson March 2008

The saying, "the sky is the limit," or "you are only limited by your dreams,"Ho
pe is a belief in a positive outcome related to events and circumstances in one's life. Hope implies a certain amount of perseverance — i.e., believing that a positive outcome is possible even when there is some evidence to the contrary."

Hope can be passive in the sense of a wish or a prayer - or active as a plan or idea, often against popular belief, and to many times against personal belief. We need hope to sustain ourselves or raise ourselves to a new level in our life. One thing is certain--we need hope to live. We need to think positive about circumstances more than negative. We need to search for good outcomes versus bad--look up more than down and seek others to surround us who do the same.

So how do we get hope when things are hopeless, when we are feeling low or worthless? Look at models, people or things that own successes you are looking for
in life, in business, or most importantly in areas of sickness and healing. Find examples of how failure ( I am not comfortable with the word failure--I like to call everything we do as steps for someones benefit to either follow or avoid) in someones life has that resulted in a huge turnaround of their life--then copy some or all of the steps to find your success. Looking at someones success in an area of similar concern brings hope. I call this the HOPE MODEL. We all have them, areas where we have needed to change and then did it. Many times we just needed to put a new log on the fire or stir old embers to see the glow of light--just enough to start our fire again--just one spark.

Where ever you are in life, whatever is going on in your life that needs change or healing there is hope for you today. Today is a day of choice--we can choose to allow life's actions to lead us down a path that we do not like or we can choose to take persistent, personal action to execute a plan to prove the idea that there is
HOPE for CHANGE based on a HOPE MODEL.
Find someones light today, a path already created for you by someone else and light your path with it--spark your journey to success. Search for new positive meaning and start learning how to adapt it. Share all of your successes so others can follow--SHARE SOME HOPE WITH SOMEONE WHO NEEDS IT TODAY. Then, pick some up for yourself along the way. Everyone has a time to give or receive--do one or both of them today and help someone get their life back--maybe yours.

You are a forward stepper.

I believe in you because YOU ARE WORTH IT,
Jeff

MERRY-GO-ROUND


"The life we lead or want to lead is determined by the changes we make in our life. If we are like the merry-go-round ride we will always have the same outcomes--and may get lost among the choices of colorful animals--all with the same ride pattern, but that look new. To change outcomes--we must change rides not just what we are riding."
Jeff Johnson March 2008

"Getting crazy," that is what he said to me starting the conversation. He continued, "Man, don't you ever want to just 'get crazy'?" The answer was 'yes,' more than you will ever know. In fact, looking at change for many is 'crazy.' More truthfully, looking at staying where we are is crazy. So, do we really want to
stay crazy may be the better question.
In order to have changes in our 'crazy' world we must be willing to change our ability to accept new things. It is more than changing the color of horse on the merry-go-round ride. For example, looking for new ways to escape from the craziness of our situation can be a challenge. All views of scenery look the same--and the faster we try to turn it around the more blurry the surroundings. What a weird and crazy way to learn lessons in life. I am reminded of a story here to make my point. There was a doctor watching a mechanic fix his car. The mechanic looked at the doctor and said, "Doc, you and I are a lot alike, we both go inside something and fix it." The doctor smiled and responded, "yes, but I do it while the engine is running." This is how life treats us--we must fix things while going full speed ahead. How crazy is this?


We all can make the necessary changes to improve our life if we only stop long enough to see there are other rides. The pauses in life can be brief, medium in duration, or long--but my gosh man--breathe a little before the next move forward. Take some time to explore options, seek advice, and look for something different than what you are doing now. The options are available. The choices surrounding us are blurry because of our speed of life we travel. What an exciting crazy thought that just as we have situations that confound us--the choices to solve the problem can also confound us---Stop it now---really! Just stop, look, and listen to your heart long enough to feel that change is possible if we change rides in life. Take a time out--as crazy as this seems, and choose how and what your next ride will be. The part that would be crazy is if the ride we were on was the only choice---there are many positive choices available.

So, do we really want to
stay crazy may just be our answer--YES, crazy about making changes that are positive in my life, crazy for taking a time out to choose a new direction, crazy to even think for one moment longer that I need to ride this same horse to the same conclusion again. Step forward with me you forward steppers.

I believe in you because YOU ARE WORTH IT,
Jeff

COURAGE

“In the Wizard of Oz, the Lion wanted it, in life we desire more of it, but in reality, we are like the lion—we have it, we just need the ‘courage’ to learn how to exercise it more frequently.” Jeff Johnson May 2008

This will be the last in the series honoring our military. I have enjoyed this week. Salute! To all who have served, are presently serving, and to those who gave the ultimate sacrifice in service—HONOR to you all!!!

“Courage! What makes a King out of a slave? Courage! What makes the flag on the mast to wave? Courage! What makes the elephant charge his tusk, in the misty mist or the dusky dusk? What makes the muskrat guard his musk? Courage! What makes the sphinx the seventh wonder? Courage! What makes the dawn come up like thunder? Courage! What makes the Hottentot so hot? What puts the "ape" in apricot? What have they got that I ain't got? Courage!”
The Wizard of Oz (1939) “Courage”

Courage is the inner strength and will to meet the demands facing us. The moral standard to meet challenges face up and head strong, but most importantly, to look ourselves in the mirror each day and say, “I was able to sustain the good fight today and if not victory today then tomorrow.” Courage gives us a firmness of mind and will in the face of danger or extreme difficulty when it is us versus _______. With this core value, we utilize our mental and moral strength to resist opposition, danger, or hardship without hesitation. We are taking a leadership role towards the task at hand with the mindset of charging towards victory.

Courage is an action looking to not cave in when things become difficult. Many times it is raising the standard of performance during the crisis showing a firm and resilient determination to achieve our goals and overcome adversity. This is not an attempt to admit defeat but to never give up. You are a FORWARD STEPPER by accepting the challenges each day with an “I will face my adversity and will overcome my opposition no matter what in a never give up attitude.” We all have courage, the Lion in the Wizard was wrong when he asked—“ What have they got that I ain't got?” Well we all have it—Courage. Stand true to yourself.

I believe in you because YOU ARE WORTH IT,
Jeff
PS—Saturday’s BLOG is a cute writing I think we all need. Read Sunday’s BLOG—“Healing.

STRENGTHS


"JUST ONE SEED IN A SMALL CRACK WITHOUT MUCH DIRT CAN A FLOWER GROW. JUST ONE FLOWER ANYWHERE CAN MAKE A SMILE APPEAR. JUST ONE SMILE CAN MAKE A DAY--HOW MANY OF THESE DO WE NEED? HOW ABOUT ONE A DAY THAT LASTS ALL DAY-- EVERYDAY?"
Jeff Johnson March 2008

A long time ago--not once upon a time, LOL, I attended an (Alcoholics Anonymous) AA meeting. A man sat down next to me and almost before he could say, "Howdy," another man occupied the seat next to him. The first man seated asked the second man, "How long have you been clean"(not drinking)? The second man responded, "I was drinking today and I would still be drinking if I was not here. How long have you been clean?" The first man replied,"One day, maybe I can help you because I know how to be sober for one day." When I witnessed this I had very mixed emotions. But today, I see the power of strengths--no matter in what quantity.

When we need help, when we are seeking relief, or maybe just looking for a bit of hope during a troubling time, even the least amount of comfort can meet the need. Conversely, we always have something to offer--even when we feel it is only a little or not enough to matter. What is true, on either side of the proverbial coin, giving or receiving, our life improves. This leads me to place the saying, "it is better to give than to receive," in the same category as, "what came first the chicken or the egg." Both play equal roles in improved life.

Many times when I feel down, or when things are not going right in someones life, giving hope to anyone who is seeking comfort can assist us in our dilemmas. As we try to lift someones spirits we are lifted up. I also see when trying to tear down--well the adverb 'down' gives us more than the direction of our mood too. Life is to short, time is so precious, why waste it on sad, or unpleasant, or negative? When we have a choice to lift up or support someone why tear down or not help? Unless we have perfect lives and balanced moods all the time. Most of the time we need all of the help we can get--great or small at any time. Help your self today--help someone else today--lift someone up--give a praise today--offer a smile instead of a frown--it is not the quality--but the frequency that changes things. Step forward you forward stepper.

I believe in you because YOU ARE WORTH IT,
Jeff

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

TENNIS ANYONE OR ORANGES


"It was just a ball and a racquet and all we had to do was hit this little ball with the racquet--yeahhh--how hard. It ended up taking a lot of focus--maybe the lesson is if we have something that looks so simple we should focus on the outcomes more than the appearance."
Tennis anyone?

Jeff Johnson March 2008

This blog is not going to be about self disclosure--full time. I use examples sta
rting with "I" but the purpose is for motivation. But, if I may, I would like to share a story--still holding true to the blogs purpose. Today, I played tennis with a friend for the first time in 10 years. Can I describe it with a 5 letter word and still have a PG blog rating---yes---my game sucks. I had a blast watching the ball go by as my friend waited for a return shot--he was very patient. Life is like that for us sometimes. We all know the object of some of the games. The tools we use look like it will be simple to succeed or at least play O.K.--but when we set the life movement at warp speed, the tools we have appear smaller than they appear in our hands---we lose more shots than we gain. All is not lost or bad--we still have played the game, gained experience, and yes---we like the Angels (O.K. Dodger fans) we still have tomorrow or next year LOL.

Take time to look at the tools you have in your life. Now this next line will crowd the PG blog rating I want to maintain--so if children are in the room, please use caution-------a 4 letter wor
d is coming----------------------STOP!!!!! Try this as a warm up exercise. Get your calendar out--mark off 20 minutes of time for YOU--and show up on time with an ORANGE. Now follow these directions very carefully and precisely---STUDY THE ORANGE. Look and study the shape, feel it with your eyes open, then closed. Before you open your eyes--smell it--slowly--remember you have 20 minutes--take all 20 minutes--don't skimp. Study the dimples--are they all the same size--or are they like snowflakes or Dodger games--different. Test the feeling when you lightly apply pressure or press it against your face or hand or roll it. Now peel it--slow--what does the first pee look like--the meat--continue this process until you have consumed the orange. Then think about the beauty, the things you observed, the feelings you are having now experiencing it all again. Take the entire 20 minutes and enjoy it. What have you done---in most cases you have now spent more time exploring an orange, analyzing, smiling, smelling, focusing on, and learning about an orange than you have taken on doing the same thing about yourself. Next lesson---you are the orange--repeat as necessary.

Will this help your tennis game or mine---NAAHHHHH--but who needs a good tennis game when we can enjoy an orange and learn about us and life. Take a forward step you forward steppers.

I believe in you because YOU ARE WORTH IT,
Jeff

YOU ARE LOVED


"Without looking into someones eyes you can never love them. Without feeling accepted by someone you will not be able to form a close relationship. Both are the key to a successful relationship"
Jeff Johnson March 2008

In keeping with my promise of Sunday to openly honor the spirituality side of me this blog will serve this role. To repeat to new viewers, weekdays Monday -Thursday my ministry serves in a spiritual passive manner--Sunday I serve GOD in a more open fashion--enjoy both!

I have 5 or 6 favorite verses in the Bible. I will talk about one of them today--John 3:17; yes, you are reading it right John 3:17. Many people ask why not John 3:16, everyone knows that one and it is so powerful---today you will know the answer. Here is the verse:

John 3 (New International Version)

"17For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him."
Many of us, yes my hand raises both first and highest, condemn ourselves for things we wish we could change in our lives--the "If only I could be like," statements we see and feel in our hearts. Something different so we could maybe 'Jump like Mike,' or 'shoot like Kobe,' and be as 'smart as_______.' Perhaps it is more to accept ourselves again after past mistakes or choices where a 'do over' would be meaningful. Condemnation can have a public look as well; stigma for the way we wear our hair, tattoos, piercings, alcohol use, smoking, language, use of our life in certain behaviors like divorce or re-marriage or you name it, and even in certain employment opportunities. Life finds a way of "putting us down" and we as human beings create our own ways of putting us down too. It is not hard to understand why acceptance is difficult in a variety of life theatres.

Jesus did came to this earth NOT to condemn, but to LOVE, HEAL, FORGIVE, and offer ETERNAL life to sinners---you & me. Jesus loves you--yes, just like the popular children's song states, "Jesus loves me this I know because the Bible tells me so," it is that simple. How can we expect a higher power to be a part of our lives, beliefs, and on our want list if we are condemned by it. How can relationships grow, flourish, and thrive by feeling 'less than' all of the time. We are created and wired to serve a higher power unique to HIS purposes because HE loves us and wants what we have been wired to do for HIS glory and honor. Everyone--without exception is LOVED by JESUS---not condemned.

Does this mean Jesus loves our sin--NO! Does this mean Jesus appreciates it when we fail in expectations both HIS and OURS--NO!--We should not be perfect--just trying to be better--which we all do. Part of falling down is getting up--we can and should learn from both experiences. Most important we must share and teach both experiences for others (SEE MY 'HOPE' BLOG). We have choices in our lives--all of us in everything we do. When we are trying to live the best we can--JESUS loves us without condemnation. When we fall short or fail in something Jesus loves us without condemnation--WE ARE LOVED. Our experiences can and should help others. When we feel we have fallen short--use it to grow and to give HOPE to someone before they fall in the same manner or to rise up after a repeat of our performances. Where is there time to condemn--where is there a place for it--why waste time with it. Let it not occupy our heart or mind--RISE AND AND WALK (that quote should be in the Bible--LOL).

Spend less time in condemnation of ourselves when others mock, tease or do not accept us as we are created by GOD; spend no time blaming yourself for things not exactly right in our lives or personal growth--look for the positive lesson's in ALL things even through our positive and negative outcomes. Then, spend time in self reflection to learn how to share it and teach it to others. We can start with ourselves in making our life better with less condemnation but turning it into love realizing we have just created a life lesson to serve others in EVERYTHING we do. We can do our part to make the world better--not through condemnation--but through LOVE and acceptance. Forward steppers---love more in all things--condemn less.

Why does Jesus love us? BECAUSE WE ARE WORTH IT,
Jeff

DESIRE


"We see desire everyday as we watch the sun rise--desiring to have a good day, and every night when we watch the moon appear we desire to have a good nights rest. Each of us has a desire--something we long for, something we want, something we reach for in our hearts, our minds, and our dreams. All dreams start with desire--start yours today."
Jeff Johnson March 2008

Desire is that tug at your heart--the feeling in the middle of your chest when something is truly an intrinsic want--or maybe a need. The feeling of desire can be lustful in nature, cognitive by design, and ever present in time and space--without limits. Desires can be things that we once had and 'want again' or pursuits. Desires can create smiles, laughter, heartache and longings never to be realized or achieved--desires are the things dreams surround. But they must exist to move us forward. They must be identified and conceptualized to a point we can place them in a priority order so as to make sense of them when we search for them to become reality. I like to think of desires as possible realities 'In Vivo,' that which takes place inside a living organism. In science, 'in vivo' refers to experimentation done in a living tissue.

This is the exciting part--we must be alive to have desire--DUH! Not only outside, but inside: emotionally, cognitively, hopeful, dreaming, feeling, growing, reaching out mentally, letting our hearts feel again and again--communicating with our brains to our emotions. The power of desire lifts us up and controls the passions held captive by environment. How powerful is this desire? Nations have been built because of desires, homes and lives have been restored because of desires, communities have attained goals because of desires. Desire is where it all starts--desire allows us to live--to realize we are alive inside. To have desire means we are starting something passionately.Wen we have desire we can change the world. When we have desire we can change our life. When we have desire we can transform this into a hope, that develops into a reality. Yes, if you have just one desire that is enough. Desire starts the dream, dreams start the plan, plans start the......you fill in the rest. Maybe life has dealt the cards wrong THIS TIME, but nothing is forever if we have a desire to change it. Do you feel the desire tug, can you
desire see the other picture--the way you want it? Look, feel, think about the desires you have---this is the power of new life. This is your power through desire. Enjoy the power of desire--it is LIFE because it comes within a life. Now step forward and appreciate something good in your life that has come true because it started with desire. You are a forward stepper.
Vita Abundans Semper
--Life Abundant Always.

I believe in you because YOU ARE WORTH IT,
Jeff

Tuesday, June 24, 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

85 PILLS AND COUNTING



"Round and round I go spinning until I fall on my knees. The room is still spinning, faster, no it is not the room spinning it is me, but I am on my knees and I am not moving. What is spinning, what is it that makes me feel like this--I see straight again--I stand up--I walk--I see clearly what happened. I turn around and around and around and around again--I know what is going to happen--I will end up on my knees again. I stop, get on my knees, and think about how I am spinning---there is comfort on my knees. Relaxed, I bow my head and pray. I realize I do not have to spin to see I am dizzy or to get on my knees."
Jeff Johnson March 2008

Sometimes I wish I could just take a pill and I would be able to sing or think better or learn how to play an instrument. Not long ago I said, "I wish there was a pill to make the dog not bark so loud"--or so frequently--then my headache went away and I didn't care as much about the dog barking. Yes, I did take a pill to make my head stop hurting. Have you ever wanted to just take a pill and make something happen: like lose weight with just one pill, or gain weight, or walk faster, or not hurt, or make an "ex" be nicer:-), or make a teenager act--well not like a teenager? I have in my life asked for all of those things and more.

The other day I stopped and counted all of the pills I wish I could take to change or make things happen differently. I counted 85 pills then I got tired of counting. Just think of the time, money, and emotions that would be altered if this could happen. The other side of the coin is what if someone was taking a pill to change me--into something I would not like or want to be. In the end, I was glad I did not have pills to change all of the things I wished for in my magical world. I was glad I had choices, I was glad I could choose to become not 'morph' into something out of my control. I was glad changes in my life--good and bad came slowly at times, and fast at times. I was happy where I was today--but not that I have 85 and counting, things to change or be changed 'in my own likeness and wisdom.'

Everyday is a day when we can make choices about how we want to live our day. We can, to a large degree control our outcomes and influence our environment. We all have past experiences with consequences called 'baggage'--both good consequences (baggage) and bad consequences (baggage) because of our choices. Some of the baggage we did not initiate, but it remains a part of life nonetheless. Focus on the future today, take steps away from the baggage that haunts us, measure the time and distance each day takes you toward another direction--focus on changing yourself. Maybe 1 minute at a time is all you can focus on changing yourself, maybe 15 minutes at a time or 30 minutes-whatever time it takes you to change--take it. Looking at all of the pill bottles filled with all of the change pills would not be as much fun as looking at all of the "pills"
I am leaving behind as I change my journey to be better. March forward today because
you are a forward stepper.

I believe in you because YOU ARE WORTH IT,
Jeff

Monday, June 23, 2008

BELIEVE


"When we look at our problems we believe they are crushing us to an end and we feel the pain--GREAT or small. Know in your heart and head there is a solution to every problem and feel hope and happiness with the same intensity.
Jeff Johnson--March 2008.


Things in our life, professional and personal will go wrong. Murphy's law says, "If there is a possibility of several things going wrong, the one that will cause the most damage will be the one to go wrong. Corollary: If there is a worse time for something to go wrong, it will happen then." Our lives are filled with stories that fit into a Murphy law category. The reality is we do not have to stay broken.

Everyone must believe in something--so why not believe that what is going on now 'sucks'--and also believe it can be fixed. We do have a choice here. When problems attack us, they come when we least expect it, when we can least afford it, and at a time when we feel it is impossible to deal with it. How much time do we spend looking for success stories that resemble our predicament? How much do we believe there is a solution out there for us, a predicament someone else faced that was this bad and ended up good? If we believe our situation is so bad, then we must believe there is a solution of equal value. Remember, everyone must believe in something--choose well. Make your sustained choice a positive choice.

I believe in you--because YOU ARE WORTH IT,
Jeff

Sunday, June 22, 2008

PICKING SIDES


"We should love people because they are just like us--SINNERS; don't hate them because their sin is different than ours."
Jeff Johnson March 2008

In keeping with my blog format, Sunday will be an inspirational message.

I am not a Bible expert. In looking at a part
icular story where a woman had sinned (the sin is not important here) was taken outside of the city walls by her peers. The purpose was to judge her then stone her to death. Everyone gathered around while the sin was discussed and while the stones were being picked up--since this was the custom. I am sure not all picked up stones. I am sure some picked up stones, most probably threw them, some threw them very hard, some threw them very lightly--just to fit in. Some came to watch--some came to change their life since they may be in the same sin, and some wondered why they were there in the first place. Everyone had a reason to be there and everyone left with a reason on how they would return home. Many would feel like they rid the world of evil, a few would see the consequence and change their life, someone would find a way to help others avoid this scene.

Today we pick up stones in more sophisticated ways, but the end results are the same. We all know someone who is having problems. Maybe the problem is financial, marital, children, grief, homelessness, work, working through a particular issue that is unknown, or just in living a particular lifestyle. Most of us lean towards ignoring the situation under the guise, "I have enough problems of my own", or "I do not have enough time." Ca
n we be real for just a minute...maybe we say, "they deserve everything they are getting and more," or "I hope they suffer for what they have done--look at the hurt they have caused." I am sure you and I can think of our favorites. We don't call them stones anymore, but 'barbs' and isolation and prejudices---HATE with rejection for short.

Jesus tells a new story--a story of HOPE, PEACE, LOVE, UNDERSTANDING, and FORGIVENESS with RESTORATION. In
Matthew 23:37, we read,
37"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing." Jesus is disappointed, but HE wanted to gather to protect, to save, to assist those who were causing harm and destruction. In modern terms--they were hurting others and causing destruction. Jesus answer was not going to stone them, to harm them, to ignore them, but to gather them up for FORGIVENESS with RESTORATION. How can we help those we are stoning?

We pick sides--always--even silence is a side--maybe the wrong side at times. We learn in
Matthew 6:24
"No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other." We can not hate and love at the same time. I do not want to ignore the saying, "I love the person and hate the sin," but here the question must be asked, Which feeling will help me to help them or even motivate me to help them? In our attempt to 'walk a thin line' we must understand the person hurting can not separate the two. While we walk the 'thin line' we must look at both sides very closely to make sure we are on the line evenly. If we are firmly on one side or the other we focus on the side in which we stand. Can we ever separate tea from water, or pain from sorrow--impossible! Walking the 'thin line' does not commit, walking the thin line is the same as carrying the stone and throwing it short hoping to look like the 'in' crowd but trying not to cause any damage. But to the person looking at the stones--does it matter which ones fall short--or who is in the line throwing them?

The person who has sinned--all of us, yes even me, needs love through the sin, despite the sin, over the sin,
not because of the sin. The desire to help should be humans helping a person in need not curing a sin--JUST A SIMPLE LOVE TO A PERSON. Can we walk with Hate (stones) in our hand and have an open (loving) hand at the same time? I have not been able to do it. The first step to helping is to learn how to love blindly. Learning how to see people through our heart, trusting GOD to guide us during the first few miles of the journey--so we can learn how to love more effectively. Learning how to let hate go and embrace love is to give our talents no matter what the outcome--just to love giving help--people to people--sinner to sinner.

Take that first step FORWARD STEPPERS--not to cast stones but to look at our hands. Are we holding more stones or opening them up to gather in? Open hands drop stones.

I believe in you because YOU ARE WORTH IT,
Jeff

Saturday, June 21, 2008

THE RULE OF M & M'S

The other day someone said, " If you drink cold water versus room temp water you will burn more calories." Then, someone told me if I walk the stairs versus taking an elevator I will burn more calories. I have read about exercising to burn calories since I was a kid. The way I look at it, I should be able to eat everything I want anytime I want for as long as I want if I am willing to exercise an equal amount of time. Then, I read an article telling me to walk 100 yards to burn off 1 M & M. Yes, I did ask the question, was that a red M & M or a green M & M?" The answer is pending.

We all want to be able to do things with little work and fast results. In the 1960's and 1970's we would heat leftovers for 20 minutes in an oven--after a 15 minute warm up time, or cook soup out of a can in 20 minutes--stirring the entire time. If we could cook any meal from start to finish in 25 minutes or less it was fast food. Why do we love microwave ovens, butter popcorn in 3 minutes, quick this or that, and drive through services 24-hours a day; so we can do more stuff or not focus on our stuff.

Growing into a change takes time. The enjoyment of the journey is part of the quality of the outcome. Not rushing it, taking the time to 'get it right,' feeling it, and understanding the outcome is part of being comfortable with the changes and outcomes we want. If we look at the rule of the M & M'; the red ones have more calories and require extra steps--JUST KIDDING--slow down, take your time to change, and do not get in a hurry to make things different, cook soup without a microwave this week. Healing is not always fast. My favorite thing to remember--I get to eat in the end no matter how long I cook the meal. If I microwave it I miss the opportunity to smell it before I eat it--savor each moment of your life.

I believe in you, because YOU ARE WORTH IT
Jeff

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

EXPECTATIONS


"When our heart speaks, we hear it with all of our senses. This is better than Doby surround sound." Jeff--March 2008.

Illustration ONLY. The young person saved money to build the most modern dream home. Architects were hired; plans were drafted and amended to include the latest technology and fashion. The individual spared no expense on landscape and amenities. The contractor selected was perfect, so meticulous, very skilled and experienced--the project was completed on time. When completed, the individual never moved into the home; the individual never executed the plans.


Whatever belief system you adapted on creation; something has allowed us to be individual and unique. We ALL are wired to do something, given talents and strengths unique and meaningful. Many times I stand and watch American Idol while the young and younger sing like angels. i even see talent in the way Simon dresses--LOL. I have walked along the beaches watching artist sketch and paint scenes that resemble digital photos and I stand amazed at the auto mechanic who can tell me in one minute how $1500.00 will allow him/her to fix my vehicle--and be right about the repair and off +$500.00 on the price! These are all talents. YOU CAN contribute to not only your own well-being with your talents, but assist in the growth of others too.

TODAY is a bright and wonderful new day. Your talents are already designed and built waiting to be utilized. Everyone is worth the time and effort to search for their talents and develop them. Maybe we will not sing, draw, or fix automobiles, but your skills and talents are unique and CAN make the world a better place. Look for the supports necessary to assist you to utilize the wonderful 'home' already built for you. YOU ARE WORTH IT, no expense has been spared--you are priceless, included are the latest in technology and amenities to perform as designed, the architect has designed you perfectly for your talent. Everything has been prepared so meticulously, with a lot of skill and experience you have been crafted, but most importantly--completed on time--NOW.
Carpe Vita Diem (Harvest/Seize Your Life Today).

I Believe In You because YOU ARE WORTH IT,
Jeff

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

OPPORTUNITIES


"We can not always choose what problems will confront us, but we can pick how we will face them. It is a choice to look at them as obstacles or opportunities. The difference between the two choices is with one we are stuck and with the other we grow; choose well. Jeff Johnson--March 2008

It would be nice to not have any problems--if only life were near perfect I would feel so much better. I had someone say to me, "If I had ____(You fill in the blank with your skill set wish list) all of my problems could be cured." I have joined in the joke that if I had half of the money of a Donald Trump or a Bill Gates I would not have any problems. But everyone has problems no matter how much money or what skill sets you acquire.

There is good news; we have the skills to overcome our problems. The saying, "God never gives us more than we can handle," means HE can fill the basket up--and HE has with me, but it will never overflow. I must admit I have caught stuff pouring over the sides before. However, as human beings we are not wired to do things alone. It is so important to find someone--just one person or more to share our problems. I call it 'my time' to spread the wealth-- 'my' opportunity to grow through helping someone or 'my' time to receive help.

Many times a search through the spiritual side yields strength and perspective. If we do not believe in a higher power, then we are the highest power--and we have problems. I do love Jesus and find my spiritual truths in the Bible and through Jesus. During problem times and good times I depend on my spirituality to help me, guide me, and comfort me. More than once I have found I had the ability--and you do too--to overcome the problem. So many times my approach to the problem was off, the time line was altered, outlook was negative, or my information about the situation was not complete. In the end, my resolve came through the strength of turning it over to my higher power, finding solace in friends, supporters, and NEVER GIVING UP. Problems never end, but neither do solutions. You can conquer what you face with help--your time now is to do it. Choose well.

I believe in you because YOU ARE WORTH IT,
Jeff

Monday, June 16, 2008

Looking Behind Us=Going Forward


"Looking at something behind us means we are moving forward. Otherwise everything would be facing us or beside us. Looking behind us=going forward". By Jeff Johnson---March 2008

Do you ever find yourself looking at the past like I do? Studying old behaviors, past sins, and wishing I had a 'do-over' on a particular scene in life--realizing all to well it is now history. Looking backwards is not a bad thing. We should learn from our mistakes, but most importantly we should learn from what we have done right--equally. Many times it is the awkward or the wrong things that stick out and we wish we could correct, but how much time do we examine the 'right' things we do? If we spend more time looking at the 'right things' praising ourselves for a job well done our 'wish-we-had-a-do-over' scenes would have less impact. Those scenes that need adjustment would be small in number in our recent memory history compared to the large number of 'right' things we accomplish. The impact would be less because the more positive things we do would be on the top of our memory list. By review of our past positive events equally, we develop a strength to face the 'do over' events with a more positive attitude. This is a learned behavior developed through practice.

I find myself now looking at the more forward pictures in my life. The behind me scenes still exist as part of what my forward trip should not be like--at times. However, my behind me scenes were not all bad. I have some very positive scenes there too. Sometimes I must focus on both the positive and negative behind me scenes to grow and to improve my present forward journey. I must admit, it is nice to know I am moving forward knowing that what is behind me is really behind me, stopped in time, and what is in front of me is endless. The scenes in life
categorized as,"I wish I had a do over there," now form the building blocks to strengths that allow us to grow knowing it is stopped in time forever. We can choose to repeat them or avoid them in another time.

Look forward at the endless opportunities but spend some time looking backward knowing that what is behind me allows my forward journey to be filled with realizations that I have grown. I am a forward stepper.

I believe in you because YOU ARE WORTH IT,
Jeff

Sunday, June 15, 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

Saturday, June 14, 2008

HOW TO CHANGE


"Looking for things is a good way to find things. Looking intrinsically at ourselves may do the same thing. " Jeff Johnson--Feb. 2008


Yes, I write sayings. I may have about 20,000 of them--most of which I will never use again--some are repeats. I enjoy writing sayings that touch hearts, minds, and me. I plan on posting my motivational sayings too.

So, how do we change?

Everyday we do things that has value in our lives. Maybe we have a job we like, or maybe we value the money only. Perhaps it is a place or activity we frequent because of the value we perceive it brings us. But what if this place or activity brings us severe negative consequences?

I have one of those places--the buffet line. I love food--more importantly, I love food that is sweet. The value I get is that it taste good, it is filling, and it is abundant in choices--I can choose something new daily. The problem is I don't like to gain weight. Eating sweets by itself is not what puts on weight. Lack of exercise, lack of control on portions and number of servings, and the total amount consumed before the 'sweet spot'--all contribute to weight gain. So, if we know all of this why do we continue to indulge? The answer is we value the weight gain more than measuring the other considerations first. Our overall plan is to go eat without regard to outcome--until later.

When we really see change begin is when we place more value on the new behavior and consequences than on the old behavior and outcomes. I am not going to give a dissertation on how to change in this blog. My point is change starts with a new 'owned' perception in values. Many times the hardest part of change is not goal setting or finding the right intervention to make it happen--but accepting ownership and belief we will succeed.

Before I start on a change in my life, I set realistic goals with a lot of support and advice. This is the easy part--the hard part--accepting success of this change in my head and heart. I keep thinking of how many times I have started and failed, how many promises I have broken, and how many plans are laid to rest because I got what I valued most---quitting and giving up.

What is it that will make you accept, "I can succeed at anything." What are the barriers to building successes in your life? How do we change? Read the saying/quote I wrote above--the answer is partially there. Look at changes that have succeeded in your life, look at the positive in your life and grow on the elements that made those succeed. Do not be afraid to accept hard times, but find strengths already existing inside you to keep you working towards new values and changes. We change by:
1. Identifying things (1 at a time) we want to change
2. Believing in ourselves that we can change--owning the new changed value
3. Using our strengths already developed inside us to NEVER GIVE UP.

I Believe in you because YOU ARE WORTH IT,
Jeff

Friday, June 13, 2008

SEEING DOUBLE

I have an important exam I need to take in the next 30+ days. I must re-run old blogs in order to make time for proper study. Passing this exam will help my family and promote me professionally. Please pray for me and continue to read my BLOG. I will publish some fresh stuff from time to time. I Thank you in advance for your prayers and support.
I AM A FORWARD STEPPER FOR taking time to fill my role as a dad to my family.

I believe in you because YOU ARE WORTH IT,
Jeff

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

WELCOME BACK


"Welcome Back! What a greeting. When we hear this we smile, wait to feel a pat on the back, a hand shake, and maybe a hug—we are welcome—we are accepted. " Jeff Johnson June 2008

It is to often when we can not accept ourselves for something we did in the past, something we are doing now, or even thinking we do not have hope to succeed in life issues being planned out now. What if we looked in the mirror every day and said, Welcome back you work horse you, or Welcome back you__________, and fill in the blank. Maybe the door to our pathway would appear more inviting than the one we prepare now.

BE A FORWARD STEPPER and make the welcome mat to victory more acceptable to us instead of something we steer clear. Pave a way to victory, plant the seed to succeed, and march forward to a smile from victory lane.

I believe in you because YOU ARE WORTH IT,
Jeff

Sunday, June 8, 2008

PEACE BE STILL

(Sea Of Galilee on Mt. of Beatitudes)

“We seek a place to heal—to find peace—but when it comes we are in awe of the power displayed before us—should we not start there?” Jeff Johnson June 2008

LUKE 8:

24The disciples went and woke him, saying, "Master, Master, we're going to drown!" He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. 25"Where is your faith?" he asked his disciples. In fear and amazement they asked one another, "Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him."

The Sea of Galilee is a Sea whereby storms can come upon it in a moment and disappear just as quickly. Many a fisherman has been caught in one of these flash storms—some did not make it out alive. The disciples were on a ship in the Sea of Galilee with Jesus as explained in Luke. For some of them this was not the first time they encountered this phenomenon. They knew the risks of going to Sea and most likely have seen violent and catastrophic outcomes. Now, according to Luke, the disciples called on Jesus to save them. I like to look at this example in scripture of how Jesus reacted to the storm—HE was sleeping. HIS trust level entering the storm was absolute.

The Sea of Galilee is like life. We can have calm one minute and rapid violent environments in the next minute. But do we sleep or at least rest in the wake of knowing that JESUS has the power to heal us, save us, and allow us to be safe through all storms. With two words from Jesus, “Be calm,” our problems are calm. Do not be dismayed, start by knowing JESUS has brought peace, healing, and ended suffering by those same two words. Today, we should follow Jesus and rest—knowing our faith will save us through Jesus Christ our LORD. Rest! JESUS IS HERE.

I Believe in you because, YOU ARE WORTH IT,

Jeff

Saturday, June 7, 2008

KIDS & 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

Thursday, June 5, 2008

GRADUATION DAY


Today, my daughter graduates from High school. I will pause today to attend and celebrate this wonderful achievement in her life. Friday, I will be off but will publish again Saturday.
I believe in you, because YOU ARE WORTH IT,
Jeff

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

IN ONE ACCORD

“When a Nation is divided it is a Nation searching for answers for change. When we are divided inside ourselves, we do the same thing.” Jeff Johnson June 2008

A while back, I had to do two debates on a subject picked from a list. Simple enough, but the two debates were on the same subject presenting both view points. I picked a topic that I really had strong emotions to both sides of the coin. Thinking I could resolve myself to a point of view that made sense more than another—I took on the challenge. After a lot of research, I did not change my opinion of believing both sides had good stances, but the split feeling inside still existed from having two viewpoints that contrasted each other.

Everyone has issues whereby we have contrasting or torn points of view. Many times our ideas do not have a resolution or we have multiple choices for behavior modification and all seem justified. Finding a peaceful state of tranquility intrinsically means we need to focus on those things we do not find disquieting. This is not a position to proverbially stick our head in the sand, but it seems those issues we have the most choices about dominate our time, emotions, and leaves little time for harmony time and focus. BE A FORWARD STEPPER by thinking more on those things that bring us joy, generate happy thoughts, and give moments of peace.

I believe in you because YOU ARE WORTH IT,
Jeff

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

HAPPY

"I have learned an important lesson from clowns--You can not mix happy faces with sad faces." Jeff Johnson June 2008


Is the word happy a stranger to us?
Many times I fight it when things just do not align up right. No, I am not talking about the Age of Aquarius, but maybe my day slides off the straight and narrow just enough to dispel contentment. What is it that we need to say, ‘WOW, I am really happy?’ Pleasure? Being satisfied? I have a suggestion.

Real happiness comes from more sources than the written word can capture. Happiness—real happiness comes from inside us when we are content with ourselves. When this happens, things around us improve too. Life looks brighter and we are seeing the positive first, and then easily placing the negative in the background as noise.

Seek contentment in your soul, your inner being by telling yourself, I am at peace with who I am because I am doing my best. As I go along this day I am going to get better and better. My life may not be perfect now, but it is preparing me for a greater tomorrow. We should enjoy what is given to us now, savor what we have, and only want the most out of now versus what desires drive us.

You are a FORWARD STEPPER BY looking at today with all the love possible for what you have—and being content with it.

I believe in you because, YOU ARE WORTH IT,
Jeff