Monday, November 29, 2010


There will always be ‘Scrooges’ in the world who don’t want to celebrate Christmas. There are even some Christians who ‘hate’ this season of the year. Even though there are many pagan concepts mixed in with the traditions of the season, it is up to those who are mature in the faith, to choose what parts we accept and what parts we reject. Why is it so important that Christians continue to celebrate this season?

Someone is Watching…

There is always someone who is watching you,—your children or grandchildren—your neighbors—your co-workers—even your family members. They are looking for consistency and reality in the lives of believers. Do your actions match your values and your theology? But even more important, God is watching! What does God think about the way you celebrate? Is your focus on Him or on the ‘stuff’ we fill our homes and lives with? What do you value most at the Christmas season? Is it the Christmas meal as family and friends gather around the table? Perhaps it is the opening of presents. For some it is going to a service on Christmas Eve. For others, it is taking the time to volunteer to help those in need. Perhaps it is the Christmas music you look forward to along with the special children’s programs at school and church. Who are we trying to please? If it is family and friends, then we buy lavish gifts, and celebrate just the way everyone else does. If we are wanting to please the Lord, then perhaps we need to take a little longer look at what we choose to value. We often ask each other, “What do you want for Christmas?” But have we taken the time to ask the Lord, “What do YOU want for Christmas this year?” What is He looking for in us? “Who may ascend the mountain of the LORD? Who may stand in his holy place? The one who has clean hands and a pure heart” (Psalm 24:3-4) He is looking for actions that match the heart. What we do speaks louder than what we say. As we gather together with family, some of whom may not know the Lord, we need to be a shining light in the darkness, not pushy or obnoxious, not ‘holier than thou”, but loving and kind. Believers should never compromise their testimony. It is sometimes a temptation to ‘give ‘em a piece of your mind’ but when we fail to act like the Christ we represent—we fail. If you must preach a sermon, do it with your life...not your words. Keep your hands clean and your heart pure. But be an example (pattern) for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity. (1 Tim 4:12 Amp)

Someone is Hurting…

For some, this season of the year is the most painful of all seasons. It brings back memories from the past of gatherings with loved ones who are now gone. Sometimes those memories are of childhood abuse, rejection, and mistakes. Some spend the day a jail cell, in a nursing home, or in a lonely apartment. This is a time, an opportunity, to reach out to someone and be a light in their darkness. Help them make some new and healthy memories. Look around you and see who you can bring some joy and put a smile on their face! We often tend to look away from pain and suffering. We fear intimacy with situations we don’t understand. We want to help, but we all too often get the attitude—”let someone else doe it!” We need to learn to do things the way Christ did. He refused to back down from pain and suffering. He chose to touch the ‘untouchable’ in His path. I read a story recently of how one of the greatest fears of St Francis of Assissi was of leprosy. One day while walking, he saw in the distance a man coming towards him who was white with leprosy. His fear rose up within him. His hearts desire was to turn and to run the other way. But as he faced his fear, he made a deliberate choice to not only meet the man, but reached out and hugged his neck and kissed his cheek. As he went on his way, he decided to look back and speak a final word of cheer to the leper. But to his surprise, the man had disappeared. He was convinced that it was a vision of Christ himself and as he chose to reach out in love, God himself was the miracle in the road. We do not know what lays ahead of us, who will be walking on our path, who needs a loving hug or a cheerful smile. God will send you what you need. Who knows but you may be entertaining angels! Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. (Hebrews 13:2)

Someone is Weary…

Perhaps you are the weary one. Today’s schedules often overwhelm us each day. We sometimes get too weary to take the time to do the most important things in life. All we want to do is crawl into a hole and hide from the stresses of life. As you grow older, weariness seems to become a way of life. You go to bed weary and wake up feeling the same way. What tends to lift the spirits of a weary person? It is a loving and caring hand, willing to step up and get involved, expecting nothing in return. Two hands make the work load lighter. Another thing that lifts the spirit is music. But the kind of music you choose to listen to is very important. Choose music that is happy, loving, friendly and that changes a dreary atmosphere into one of happiness, joy and expectation. Good music feeds the soul. Music that ministers to God, ministers to the heart as well. Hallelujah! Thank God! Pray to him by name! Tell everyone you meet what he has done! Sing him songs, belt out hymns, translate his wonders into music! Honor his holy name with Hallelujahs, you who seek God. Live a happy life! (Psalm 105aTMB)

Someone is Learning...

We sometimes meet people who think they know all the answers to life’s dilemmas. But there are also those who are learning and growing. If we are continuing to learn and grow, we become much healthier people. Learning is a life-long process. We start out learning to walk and talk, learning the skills we need to make it through successfully. We go to school and learn about history, and math and science and learn skills to provide us with a way to make a living. As we then go through life, we must continually learn, especially in today’s world in which technology is always leaps and bounds ahead of us all. You are never too old to learn to use the computer, or other techno-gadgets. You are also never too old to learn new ways to get along with people who are difficult. If you have anger issues, you can learn new ways to channel that emotion and use it for God. You can learn new disciplines (daily devotions and prayer). We can learn how to share our faith with those who don’t know the Savior. We can decide to read the Bible from cover to cover. We can choose to memorize one scripture each week. Learning is challenging, but it keeps us growing and both spiritually and emotionally healthy. What have you learned this week? "True wisdom and real power belong to God; from him we learn how to live, and also what to live for. If he tears something down, it's down for good; if he locks people up, they're locked up for good. If he holds back the rain, there's a drought; if he lets it loose, there's a flood. Strength and success belong to God; both deceived and deceiver must answer to him. (Job 12:13 TMB) Start with God—the first step in learning is bowing down to God; (Proverbs 1:7 TMB)

Someone has a need. Perhaps you have been so focused on your own needs that you have not looked around you enough to see others with even greater needs. This Christmas season, remember to reach out to others, and give from your heart. Remember this verse when you are tempted to withhold a blessing. Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” (Luke 6:38) Remember that God gave us His best gift...His Son. Can we do less than our best? Someone is waiting to hear...and you have the Words of Life!                  J. Johnson

Dear friends,

We want to wish each of you a blessed Christmas filled with the Presence of God! Christmas is a time to refocus on what is really important—Christ! Please continue to pray for us as we seek God’s placement of our ministry. We are so thankful and so appreciate each of you who take the time to pray and write. God bless you all! God is faithful and we anticipate great things in the future… …Serving the Master

Dave & Joyce

Thursday, November 04, 2010


“I’ll never forgive him!” “I can’t forgive!” How often I have heard other people make these statements. They have been through some horrendous pain that has left a gaping wound and multiple scars in their everyday life. They somehow feel that refusing to forgive, refusing to put the pain into the hands of the only One who can really help them heal, will somehow justify their statement. We have all experienced some kind of pain in our lives. Some have experienced abandonment, while others have experienced abuse of the worst kind. Others have been bullied, and intimidated until their spirits were crushed. They want the pain to cease. They want the person who wounded them so badly to change. They stand alone, hoping, wishing, dying on the inside. But nothing ever seems to change. Even God seems not to notice. What’s a Christian to do?


One of the most valuable lessons I have learned in life is that I cannot change anyone. Only God can change someone’s heart, and He can only do that if they allow Him to do it. As much a I might want to change the behavior, the thought patterns, or even the future relationship—nothing that I can do will guarantee their change—except prayer. Even then, prayer has a way of changing us rather than others. Sometimes we want God to change. But God never changes. He is ever the same. His very nature is marked by His unchangeable character—His immutability. Malachi 3:6 tells us “For I, the LORD, do not change…” He is the One who will continue to be faithful, even if all mankind is faithless. He will continue to love, even when we feel unlovable. When we allow bitterness and anger to build in our hearts, He continues to love us anyhow. He does not love the sin in which we often choose to wallow. But He does love His child. Though God never changes, there is one person that can change—YOU. You can choose to change your attitude about those who hurt you, about the God who seemed to abandon you. Your attitude colors the whole world around you. Those with a wound often carry a boulder on their shoulders. It weighs them down, hinders everything they do. It influences everyone in their lives. That boulder is like a bag of rattlesnakes. They wonder where they can leave it, yet they continue to carry it into every day of their lives. Change must come. It begins with putting Christ in full charge of all of your life. We say we have given Him our heart, but we often don’t give him our mind, or our bodies. We hang on to just the parts we want to control. He tells us to give it all to Him, and we grip that bag of rattlesnakes a little tighter. We know that God wants to control all the uncontrollable things in our lives, yet we tend to hang on to the things we think we can change, as if we deserve the credit. We want to be right. We tell ourselves, “We deserve it!” But the tighter we hang on to our unforgiving attitudes, the more we deserve all the pain we get. God cannot and will not violate our strong and sometimes childishly stubborn wills. He is like the prodigal’s father, who knew the mistakes his son was making by taking his share and leaving home before he should. He knew that a hard lessons would be learned. But he stood there, gave the boy the money, and watched him go down the road while his own heart must have been breaking. He waited, and waited and watched and watched….and one day his faith was rewarded. He longed for his child, and that desire caused him to look longingly down the road, watching for the return of the wayward child. God is like that father. He did not scold the son...he did not lecture him. He did not demand repayment of the money squandered. He ran to him with open arms. He took his coat and put it around his shoulders, put his own ring in his finger and he called him “Son” again. Earthly parents who are at odds with their children do not always behave that way. They want to continue to parent them. They want to show the wayward one they were wrong. It’s silly how we do that. When we make mistakes and learn from them, we know we made the mistake. Forgiveness looks beyond the sins of the past, and accepts the individual just as they are. God does that for us. We don’t deserve forgiveness. We often can’t forgive ourselves. We tend to be hardest on “me.” But there are lessons to be learned, and the prodigal son while still in a far country, had a sudden revelation. Why starve to death, when you can go and work for the finest employer in the land...Father—not as a son, but just as a hired hand.


It is the beginning of forgiving yourself. It is the awakening to reality. Yet how often we want God to do the humbling. He can’t do it. We must humble ourselves. “Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord and He will lift you up.” (James 4:10) How do we do this? By sincere repentance. Real humility comes when we choose to do the very thing that we hate to do—submit. Submission to God means total yielding of every area of our lives—our past, our present and our future. We fight submitting because it means that we are no longer in control...God is. But what better place to be—in His hands. He knows the future. He knows the pain. He knows all about our relationships. He knows the deepest hidden secrets in our hearts that we have never told another soul. He knows how to fix everything that is broken and make it like new. He is the one who totally forgives, and acts like it never ever happened. But family—well, that’s another thing. The prodigal’s younger brother who now owned all the rights to his Father’s remaining wealth, was shocked by the forgiving Father. He was jealous of his brother. Family may not respond like God does to us. But how should we respond to them? How did Jesus respond to those who hurt Him? “Father, Forgive them, for they know not what they do….” (Luke 23:34) Jesus knew the wicked hearts of those who crucified Him. He was not like many of us who as children were sometimes forced to say “I’m sorry,” when in our hearts we knew we were not sorry one little bit. We were play acting to appease our parents. Sometimes we carry forward into our adult lives those little pantomimes, and we say we forgive on the outside, but inside we are just waiting for the right moment to seek revenge. Jesus never pretended. Jesus, from His wounded heart, chose to deliberately forgive. Why? He knew the consequences of unforgiveness—sin, separation and death. He would have failed in His divine mission. He did not fail—He forgave!

This year, as you meet with family and friends during the holidays, take a moment in the privacy of your home and kneel before the God who chose to forgive you. Then choose to forgive those who have hurt you. It demands obedient hearts. He will walk with you into the most painful moments and put peace in your heart. If there has been a wall dividing hearts, take the adult step of offering your repentance and saying those two little words “I’m sorry” and “Forgive me”. If you want to truly experience God in your life, forgive. You can chase revivals, seek out the prophets and evangelists, have others lay hands on you, but if you do not forgive, God can’t forgive you. Unforgiveness causes all kinds of grief, including sickness, unanswered prayer, and broken relationships with God and man. “Don’t grieve God. Don’t break His heart. The Holy Spirit moving and breathing in you is the most intimate part of your life, making you fit for Himself. Don’t take such a gift for granted. Make a clean break with all cutting, back biting, profane talk. Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:30-32 TMB) J. Johnson
Praise reports and prayer requests…..

Pray for revival! Pray for those who are struggling with forgiveness.

Pray for the Johnsons as they seek a new place of full time ministry...a church that needs strong leadership. Pray for grieving families who have lost loved ones.... Pray for Pastors, Evangelists, Missionaries, and Teachers. Pray for US Army Chaplain Steve Maglio

Pray for those needing a healing touch in their bodies: H Johnson (having back surgery Nov 1 recovering nicely) T Johnson (still having pain from her heart problems) J Deike (cancer) D Barth (cancer), J Brandon, (cancer) D Sherwin (cancer), L. Gardner (cancer). Pray for those dealing with chaos, anger, abuse, temptations and carnal sinful habits. Pray for the nation, for the President, for our service men and women, for Israel, for the unsaved, and don’t forget to Praise and thank the Lord!

Dear friends,

We have enjoyed a ministry opportunities in October in southern IL. Had a wonderful time in the presence of the Lord. Please pray that more doors of ministry will open for us in the days ahead. Please continue to pray for us as we seek God’s placement of our ministry. We are so thankful and so appreciate each of you who take the time to pray and write. God bless you all! God is faithful and we anticipate great things in the future… …Serving the Master

Dave & Joyce