Wednesday, December 12, 2012

It's a Wonderful Life

It is during those times when life does not seem to be working out, feeling as if life could have been different, failing to see our impact on others, wishing we had not even been born, that we need to realize that it truly is a wonderful life. 

It's hard to see this throughout the entire year, as we deal with the ups and downs of life regardless of the calendar. It doesn't have to be just at Christmas time, as in the climactic scene in the classic movie It's a Wonderful Life when George Bailey, played by the one and only James "Jimmy" Stewart, found himself in a situation that seemed impossible. George was contemplating ending his life, wishing he had never been born, failing to realize that his life had impacted so many in positive ways until he was shown by an unlikely source, Clarence Odbody (Angel, Second Class) played by Henry Travers, that if he had not been born, the people of Bedford Falls would not have had such a wonderful life.

It's a Wonderful Live - Movie Trailer

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Favored by God

Favored by God, by Gregory A. Johnson
by Gregory A. Johnson

Are you facing something impossible in your life right now? If you read that question and can’t think of anything impossible that you are facing at this present time, please still keep reading. You will face something down the road on your journey that will be an impossible situation for you to handle without help.

For most, as they read that question, something immediately comes to mind as it is always on their mind. They go to bed thinking about it, and they get up thinking about it, and it consumes their thoughts throughout the day. Not knowing what to do or where to turn next, they reason, they plan, and oftentimes they make the wrong choices and execute the wrong plan which only causes more pain and heartache. Impossible situations can overwhelm, discourage, and depress while ostracizing us from those we love and those who love us.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

How to Stay Encouraged in the Midst of Suffering

by Gregory A. Johnson

Christ on the Cross by Eugene Delacroix (1798-1863) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Many people are suffering today, including some who are Christ-followers. Contrary to the belief of some, people of faith also suffer. Suffering does not come only to those without faith. Christ suffered; Christ-followers will also suffer.
I know that suffering is not a topic that brings thrilling goose bumps or makes us want to shout or dance with joy. Maybe that is why some churches and popular church leaders avoid the subject today, but it should not be avoided. In fact, with all the suffering people around the world, we need to talk about it and find ways to help people cope and make sense of it all.
Are you suffering today? Do you know of those who are suffering today? I imagine you can say “yes” to one or possibly both of those questions.
In the midst of suffering, you will always find encouragement in God’s Word. Most of the New Testament was written to people of faith who were experiencing tremendous suffering. The church suffered much during the first three hundred years of its existence. I don’t find the early preachers, like the Apostle Paul and Apostle Peter, avoiding the subject. In fact, they experienced suffering firsthand, and they talked about it openly, bringing encouragement in the midst of suffering.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

How to Face the Impossible

How to Face the Impossible, by Gregory A. Johnsonby Gregory A. Johnson

You may be facing an impossible situation today. If not today, maybe tomorrow you will. Life is full of the impossible.

The nation of Israel faced a seemingly impossible situation when they came up to the Jordan River on their way to the Promised Land. There were no bridges, and the water was deep. How would they ever get to the other side? They faced the swirling currents of the swollen Jordan River, remembering that God got them across the Red Sea on dry ground. He did it before; He would do it again.

As Christ’s followers come upon impossible situations, they stand firm in their faith, knowing that nothing is impossible with God. As they stand in faith, they remember every other impossible situation that God has brought them through.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Will You Dare to Be a Daniel?

by Gregory A. Johnson

Briton Rivière [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Will you dare to be a Daniel? As I recently read through the book of Daniel, I was challenged with that question.

As a young man, Daniel was taken from his home in Jerusalem to serve the king of Babylon during the Babylonian captivity. His environment changed overnight, as he was placed in a culture that was so different than what he was accustomed. He could have allowed this new culture to influence his life, or he could live counter to it. Daniel decided to live counter to culture, regardless of the cost.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

How to Look at Your Circumstances Differently

by Gregory A. Johnson

How to Look at Your Circumstances Differently, by Gregory A. Johnson
I may be tired, confused, and even somewhat depressed when I go into my place of prayer, but I’m strengthened, enlightened, and my heart is full of thanksgiving when I come out. I go in as one person and come out as another. I’m renewed in His presence.

If you pray, you know what I am talking about. You have experienced the same. Do you know why it happens?

Prayer changes us. Even if our circumstances are the same, after we spend time around the throne of God in prayer, we are changed. When we enter our place of prayer, we are not the same person as we are when we come out.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Seeing God's Grace

by Gregory A. Johnson

Santiago, Cubu - Seeing God's Grace, by Gregory A. JohnsonI was preaching the good news of Christ in Santiago, Cuba, on a hot and humid, tropical, spring night to hundreds of people who had gathered elbow to elbow. The small building the church used for meetings was packed full and the crowd stretched out the open doors. There was standing room only as the people flowed into the yard outside and across the street. Later I would be told that there were over nine hundred people there listening that night; most of them outside, listening through loud-speakers because they could not get into the building for the crowd that had gathered.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Peace During the Storms of Life

by Gregory A. Johnson

Peace During the Storms of Live, by Gregory A. JohnsonWhen we receive Kingdom peace from Jesus and move throughout life living under His expectation that we go, live, and walk in this peace, does that mean we will never have tumultuous times? No, it does not mean that at all. We will have storms that come throughout our journey. Some will be sudden and unexpected. Some will be short-lived in duration, while others will be marathons. As the storms come and go, we are to remember who is in the boat with us. The disciples had to learn this, and so do we.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Taxes, Choices, and Jesus

by Gregory A. Johnson

Taxes, Choices, and Jesus, by Gregory A. JohnsonToday there is much fuss about taxes. I pay my taxes, but I’m no tax expert nor am I an economist with an opinion on what tax structure is best for people and the economy. One thing I do know is that I would rather be paying taxes today than in Jesus’ day.
In Jesus’ day there was much fuss about taxes also, but He did not get involved in the debate. One thing He did was go out of His way to befriend the tax collectors even though the taxes they imposed were both oppressive and unjust.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Called by Grace

by Gregory A. Johnson

We see much grace displayed by Jesus as He handpicks ordinary people to be His followers. He gives the imperative to follow Him, but all will have to choose whether or not they will obey Him. We learn through Scripture that receiving the grace of the Kingdom offered to us by God through Jesus is a choice—Jesus calls us to follow Him, but the choice is ours.
While the world today is looking for leaders to step up, Jesus is looking for followers to step out. The call to step out and follow Him is all grace. The act of stepping out will require faith and that faith is initiated by Jesus in those whom He calls. Jesus calls us right where we are; He calls us just as we are. He makes us into what He wants us to be, as we answer the call and follow Him.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

One at a Time

by Gregory A. Johnson

One at a Time, by Gregory A. Johnson
While pastoring in central Kentucky, we were fortunate to have a very capable and talented Christian education director, Rae Jean Slusher. Rae Jean conducted training conferences for our teachers and in one of those trainings she gave an illustration that has stuck with me ever since. She showed a video clip that told a story about a boy on the beach who is dismayed by all of the starfish washed up on the beach, knowing that with them being exposed to the rays of the sun and without water, they will dry up and quickly die. The boy starts taking the starfish one by one, throwing them back into the water where they will live.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

What Is Happening in the World?

by Gregory A. Johnson
What Is Happening in the World? by Gregory A. Johnson

What is happening in the world today? What does the future hold? How can I make sense of it all? How can I be saved from it? These are all relevant questions that are being asked by many. Please allow me to point you in a direction that can shed some light.

Psalm 2 is both a prophetic and messianic psalm that points us to Jesus and that which is to come. The present condition of our world is described prophetically in the first three verses. It describes our day. "Why do the nations conspire and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the LORD and against his Anointed One. Let us break their chains," they say, "and throw off their fetters" (Psalms 2:1-3 NIV).

Friday, September 7, 2012

Be a Star for Jesus

Be a Star for Jesus, by Gregory A. Johnson
by Gregory A. Johnson

Have you ever been in the country away from city lights on a clear summer night when the moon is less than half-full? The stars are so bright, twinkling, and glistening, and you can see so many more of them than you can in a well-lit city. It is one of those spectacular sights that reminds all of creation that God is the all-powerful Creator. I can sit under a sky like that for hours and praise God in all of His splendor and glory.

Our culture today is darkened by sin; it is crooked, twisted, and greedy. We can choose to grumble and complain about how bad things are, or we can be like the stars whose light pierces the darkness. The choice is ours, but we will not make a difference by only talking about how bad things have become.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

When are We Most Satisfied in God?

I came across a quote today attributed to John Piper saying: "God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him." The quote made me stop and do some thinking. I want God to be glorified in me, and I imagine you want God to be glorified in you—I don't think there is any question about that. A good question that generates much self-inspection is this: when are we most satisfied in God?

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Getting through Trials and Afflictions

by Gregory A. Johnson
Getting through Trials and Afflictions, By Gregory A. Johnson

As we follow Christ, there will be many times when our journey will take us through trials and afflictions that test our faith. During these times, all we need to do is cry out with a simple prayer: "Father, help me through this. I don't know what else to do but to simply wait on you and your help."

There have been many times in my walk with the LORD when I have prayed that prayer, I've still been left with worry and anxiety. I've learned to recognize that these fears are the fruit of the sin of unbelief, and so now, I quickly repent and ask the LORD to forgive me, thus renewing my trust in Him.

The best thing we can do in our times of trial and affliction is to ask the LORD for help, and then wait on Him to help us. You can rest assured that help will come, but you must know that it will come in His time and in His way.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Olympic Running and the Race We Run

With the London 2012 Summer Olympics well under way, Olympic running has started. If you have done any running, you know the tremendous training that is involved in order to finish a race, let alone win it. Running is not easy.

It always amazes me how well tuned the Olympic runners are. They have trained for years to reach the level of athletes they have become. When they go to the starting line, their confidence is in their training. Each one runs the race to receive an Olympic medal. Fixing their eyes on the finish line, they will give it all that they have.

Each one of us has a race to run; our life is a race. No one else can run it for us; we run our own race at our own pace. How we choose to run it will determine our ultimate destiny. How can we successfully run our race?

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Sharing Favorite Scripture

This is my first post on my brand-new website. I thought it would be appropriate to share what I love to read, study, apply, obey, teach, preach, and write about—Scripture.

Let me share four of my favorite Scriptures with you. It's hard to pick just four, but here they are: