Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Cancel Culture and King Crab Legs


According to Wikipedia, Cancel culture or call-out culture is a modern form of ostracism in which they thrust someone out of social or professional circles – whether it be on-line, on social media, or in person. 

I grew up in a simpler time. When something was broken, we fixed it, we didn’t throw it away. They taught us to look for the good in people, not the bad - even in those who hurt us. We found peace in an imperfect world by adjusting our expectations to reali. We understood that the world was not created for our pleasure. It is not about us and our satisfaction.

Today, we see statues of great men and women removed from their place of honor because of their association with an unjust cause or because of a flaw in their character. It doesn’t matter if most of their lives were exemplary - one misstep and they must go. We vilify politicians of the other party and search for a piece of their past that can be used to tar them with the stigma of evil. We remove game-show hosts and TV personalities because of an ancient Face Book post. 

People spend too much time looking for the bad in others, when we should be looking for the good.

Several years ago, my company hosted a group of Nationalist Chinese business people at our office in San Diego. Our meeting continued into the evening. As dinner time approached, I asked the leader of the group what kind of food they would require.

“We have eaten only in Chinese restaurants since we have been in the United States,” he responded.

“Would you be open to try something different?” I queried.

“Oh yes,Thank you.”

At my favorite waterfront seafood restaurant, we all sat at a large table. The Chinese government official - a rather large officious lady sat directly across from me. At the recommendation of the group leader, she ordered something she had never had before - Alaskan king crab legs.

The orders came out, and our lady across the table stared down at her plate, and before I could offer some help in how to crack the shell and exhume the delicious meat, she picked up a whole crab leg - shell and all, took a gigantic bite, and began to spit out crab shells while savoring the meat inside. While her approach to eating crab legs was not what we all expected, it worked for her, and we can all learn a valuable lesson.

There are too many people today that spit out the good in others while chewing the bad. 

Our broken political system results from people see only bad in their opponents. They are not willing to accept good ideas from the other side. They are not willing to admit that there is anything good in their political foes.

We need to take a big bite, spit out the bad and enjoy the good. 

When listening to others, look for the truth and throw away the false. 

In Jesus’ parable of the "Wheat and the Tares," a man planted a field of grain and while he slept, his enemy came and sowed tares in the field. When his servants saw the tares, they asked the owner whether they should gather up the tares. The owner replied, “No because when you gather the tares you will also uproot the grain. Let both grow until the harvest, then you can separate them.” [Matthew 13:24-30]

We live in a fallen world, and as a result, life can be difficult. Peace will come only when we discover what God wants us to change and work on and then go do that. 

Success is not canceling those with whom we disagree, nor remaking the world to our liking. 

Happiness comes in finding and celebrating the good not the bad. 

Bill Johnson

Monday, August 30, 2021

Crisis Overload


I don’t know about you, but I am in crisis overload. The TV news hits us with news of the mishandling of the Afganistan,situation,  hurricane Ida’s destructive march through Louisiana, Mississippi, and parts north and east, and the latest COVID-19 statistics.

Then last evening we heard our grandson has tested positive to the disease and his father is awaiting the results of his test, and my wife, Rita, woke up last night with severe pains that she had never experienced before.

Is it enough to cause one to wonder, “Where is God?” 

But, having reached this ripe old age, I have not only God’s word to fall back on, but also life experiences that convince me of God’s love and give me peace in these desperate times. 

The Lord has pulled, pushed, and carried me through storms that resulted from my stupid blunders, those of others, and the fallen nature.  I know 

He is in still in charge.

The first time I ever heard God’s voice was many years ago, when I was at the lowest point in my life, and wanted out. My life was in turmoil. I was sliding deeper into a pit of destruction and didn’t know what to do. Laying in bed that night,  I cried out to God for help and to tell me what I should do to break free. He immediately answered my prayer with three words.

“Your big toenail!”

The Lord doesn’t always speak clearly or in an easily understood way, but there was no doubt what He wanted me to do - Nothing,just trust Him o work things out.

Several years earlier, in the midst of a late Friday night bowling match, my sixteen pound bowling ball fell off the rack landing on my big toe. On Saturday, I played a round of golf standing on one leg. By Monday the toe had swollen so much I cut the front out of an old shoe so I could go to work. Seeing the condition of my foot, both my boss and my secretary insisted I go to the hospital immediately.

At the ER, they took X-rays of the damaged digit and set me in a large, darkened exam room. As my eyes adjusted to the darkness, I noted a series of light boxes along the left wall. Soon the technician came in with my x-ray pictures and stuck them on the light boxes, so they were clearly visible. 

Important questions came to mind. What would be the treatment for a broken big toe? How big a cast would be required? Could I still work? Could I even walk? My thoughts were interrupted as three interns came in, examined the X-ray pictures,  snickered among themselves, marveled at the dangers of bowling, and walked out unsuccessfully trying to hold back laughter. Later, a few more came with the same reaction - serious examination, giggling, and departing without a word to me. Twelve different interns and three nurses examined my X-rays without even acknowledging my presence.

After what seemed like hours of impatient waiting, the doctor came in, checked the X-rays and sat down across from me. Without saying a word, he grabbed my foot in his two hands, put both thumbs on my big toe and squeezed. That pain was several orders of magnitude worse than that of the bowling ball’s impact, which had been somewhat anesthetized by consumption of adult beverages. He put a Bandaid on the toe, gave me his business card, and told me to come see him in three weeks.

Stunned by the total lack of medical care, I asked, “but, what about the toenail?”

“Don’t worry. It will fall off by itself in a short time.”

In God’s three word response to my prayers, The Lord was telling me, “Don’t worry, your problems will fall,off by themselves in a short time.”

Within two months, I accepted a new position, moved half way across the country, left my problems behind, and started a new life.

God acted on my behalf and told me not to worry.

Today, while the world is spinning out of control, I am confident that God is still on His throne and He will lead each of us through whatever crisis we face.

I realize that each one that is reading this message is facing things they never expected, the loss of a loved one, major surgery, test results which might change your world, a deadly disease, or some other obstacle to your peace. All I can say is God will bring you through this time and He is saying to you,

“Do not worry, I will see you through this and it will be only for a season.”

Bill Johnson

Sunday, October 11, 2020

An Act of Love

 If you truly want to show love to someone, learn how to listen to them. 

After over fifty years of marriage, I have learned that when my wife has a problem that she wants to tell me about; she does not want me to fix it for her. She wants me to just listen. Still, I can’t resist the urge to fix her. I want to analyze the problem and propose a solution. 

Wrong! She wants to share how she feels and just wants me to listen. 

Listening is an act of love, it's one of the greatest acts of love that we can give to another person. estimates we will spend over $238 billion in 2020 for mental health services in the US alone.

That includes payment to hospitals, psychologists, and psychiatric services, but doesn’t include voluntary services of church and clergy. Ordinary people who are good listeners could reduce or eliminate much of these costs.

We all have a story to tell. This year has been wild, a pandemic, racial unrest, political intrigue, and an overactive hurricane season. Survivors of catastrophic events have a story to tell and need a place where they can share. Survivors of violence, abuse, and danger all have stories to tell and telling is cathartic.

 Recently I watched an Internet podcast by a survivor of a recent hurricane as they described the storm and its aftermath. As I listened, I couldn’t help but think about my own experiences of Camile, Katrina, and several other lesser storms. 

As I listened, I kept thinking, “I'd love to tell him about my dealing with Katrina.” For a moment I considered sending them a comment with my story. Then I realized what I was doing, yes I had a story, but this was their story to tell and I must give them the courtesy of listening.

I’m sure that survivors of earlier epidemics, when hearing survivors of our recent pandemic share their stories, are anxious to tell their story. Survivors of the Titanic must have been chafing at the bit while listening to the Andrea Doria survivors forty years later telling their stories, and survivors of the Swine Fly pandemic of 2009-20010 which infected over one and a half billion people, want to tell their story while listening to the COVID-19 survivors tell their story.

We don't listen to other people because we are thinking about the story we want to tell them and waiting for the opportunity to jump in when they slow down or pause for a second. 

That reminds me of a story I once heard about a man that survived the Johnstown flood on May 31, 1889 which killed over twenty-two hundred people when a dam broke. This survivor always wanted to tell his story of survival, but people kept putting him off. He died seventy-five years later without ever telling his story. When he arrives in heaven, he thinks, “This is heaven I know I can tell my story here.

 So he talks to Saint Peter who seems to be in charge and Saint Peter says, “That's wonderful, we have a time where people get to share their stories of bravery and survival and you can tell your story. I'll just check the schedule and plug you in at the next opening.”

 Later,  Saint Peter comes up to the man and tells him he is on the schedule. “You are on the schedule to tell of your survival in the Johnstown flood. That's the good news.”

The man stared at  Peter with a quizzical look on his face and asked, “Good news? Is there bad news? What's the bad news?

Peter responded, “You will share right after Noah tells his story.”

 It's so hard to listen to others while we wait to insert our comments. That's why communications has become so garbled in our modern world. We do not seriously listen and that is why we cannot get along. Our minds are too busy thinking about what we want to that we can't hear others. When we cannot hear what they are saying, we misunderstand and jump too often false conclusions. It would be a different world and we would all get along better if we could listen better.

Listening is valuing others. When we listen to others, we give clear evidence that we value what they have to say, and therefore value them. 

Proverbs 12:15 Fools think their own way is right, but the wise listen to advice (NRSV)

James 1:19 So then my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.

How we listen and respond

Romans 12:15-17 “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion. Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men.”

Humility sensitizes our spiritual hearing, whereas pride dulls our ability to hear. 

Wouldn't it be great if we started a ministry of listening, listening without an agenda, listening without trying to tell our story, can we do this? 

I don't know,

but we need to try. The next time your best friend, spouse, child, or parent wants to tell you something, try to listen;

  •  Listen without thinking about what you're going to say, 
  • Listen without disagreeing 
  • Listen without interrupting 
  • Listen with your mind, listen with your soul,  listen with your heart. 
  • Try to understand what they're saying.
  • Try to understand what they're feeling. 
  • Try to understand them in this way and you will be showing them great love. 

You will probably eliminate a lot of arguments and you might learn to love them deeper hand 

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Truth or consequences II

[ I originally wrote this article in 2003, but felt it is worthy of repeating

Bill Johnson]

When I was a child growing up there was a radio program and later it was placed on television, named “Truth or Consequences”.  They gave contestants difficult, sometimes impossible questions to answer.  If they failed to tell the truth - gave the wring answer - they had to pay the consequences.  The consequences were to perform some embarrassing acts that required suffering.  There had no choice, if they missed, they had to pay the consequences.  After they paid the consequences, they received a prize for their efforts.

 I grew up realizing that all of my actions had consequences - some were good and some bad.  It was a simpler time.

 Our neighbor’s chicken house intrigued me and my friend Norman. We loved to go in and scare the chickens.  It was fun to watch them squawk and fly away as we invaded their privacy.  Once, a chicken flew into a window that was not open, breaking the pane and causing a cut on the chicken's leg which bled profusely. We tried to sneak quietly away, but got caught. Before I got home, my grandfather was waiting for me ready to mete out a stiff penalty.  We had to pay the consequences for our mischief.

 Fate was against me, every time I did something bad, I got caught and had to pay the consequences. Cheating in school was not an option. I was a terrible liar, so I always got caught.

The thought of consequences was a strong deterrent to bad actions. I had heard gruesome stories and watched those dark videos in school about the consequences of sexually transmitted diseases, and that was before AIDS became common. 

The deterrent for bad behavior was that you would always be caught and then there would be consequences to pay. 

Our society has changed. Today there is a laxity in enforcing the rules and even civil law.  

Now imagine a basketball or football game without referees. And you can visualize the problem. The biggest or meanest kid wins.

 Several years ago, a new police chief came to town to try to make a dent in the growing crime rate.  One of his first orders was to enforce all laws, including the speed limit on the Interstate Highway during the morning rush hour.

You could hear the squawks of all those decent citizens, “We hired you to put an end to the growing crime rate, not bother us upright citizens.” 

What the people didn't realize was that upholding the law does not mean to let lesser kinds of lawlessness pass and then stop it when it gets violent.  If there is no consequence to a minor infraction, people will continue to push the envelop until they get stopped and have to face consequences.  Once you go too far into lawlessness, it is difficult to stop.

Our society insists upon eliminating the consequences for whatever actions people want to take. Today, rather than face the consequences, society provides ways of reducing the consequences. Abortion has become an easy way to eliminate the consequences of extra-marital sex. 

Today we are fighting Islamic fundamentalist terrorism on our own shores. Suicide bombers do not mind blowing themselves up as long as they take people with them.  In their mind, the consequences for their actions are a blessing in heaven.

We have to take another look at consequences.  If you don't tell the truth, you have to face the consequences.  If you destroy someone else's property, there must be consequences. Most people realize that there are many factors which cause an individual to take part in riots, looting, violence, and other anti-social activities, but there have to be consequences for these acts. Some would rather blame society for creating the atmosphere in which they take theses actions. It does not matter why people do these things, it is their choice. But there must be consequences for their actions. 

Changing people is not accomplished by allowing them to escape the consequences of their actions, but by ensuring that there are consequences.



Thursday, August 27, 2020

My Desert Storm

 As I am writing this, Hurricane Laura is closing in on the Louisiana Gulf Coast,  and it makes me wonder, "Why." 

Why do we have storms? Is there any prophetic meaning in them? Some writers have speculated that it is God's vengeance on sin, but I am not so sure about that. I do believe that there is a correlation between the physical world and the spiritual realm. However, it's far more complex than simply attributing disasters to God's vengeance. 

We need to pay attention to these signs and learn from them.

I never knew what trusting God meant until the day I lost my eyesight during "Operation Desert Storm." No, I wasn’t in that war in Iraq. In fact, it had been over twenty years since I wore a uniform. We were thousands of miles away in Southern California, a few miles from the back gate of Camp Pendelton, the home of the 1st Marine Division which was fighting in Iraq. We were leading a renewal event at a church in Vista, CA. where many of the families were praying for their loved ones deployed to the Middle East. 

Driving through the glaring sun and afternoon heat of the San Pasqual Valley on highway 78, my friend Mylon was driving while I navigated. We were on our way to visit an elderly family who were unable to attend our meetings because of illness. I had directions on the border of a local map that now lay in my lap. Suddenly, something unexplainable happened. 

Like most sighted people, I took my vision for granted. Eyesight is important for reading, viewing a computer screen, observing nature, and people watching.  I love the changing colors of fall, the snow-covered trees in winter, and the vibrant blossoms breaking forth in spring. It is a spiritual experience as God reveals Himself through His creation. When you can't see these things, a large part of your life disappears,

One minute all was fine. The next minute, I could not see. The map in my lap disappeared into a black abyss. Looking up to the road ahead, all I could see was a halo of kaleidoscopic colors with a dark center. 

My immediate reaction was not fear or panic, but curiosity as I analyzed the situation. I shut my right eye, leaving the left open, then reversed the order. There was no difference. Whatever happened had happened to both eyes. I leaned back in my seat, closed my eyes, and told Mylon he would have to get us to our destination by himself. I remembered enough of the map to give some help. Mylon wanted to take me to the hospital immediately, but I refused.

"No, we have to see these people. There will time later to see a doctor."

We Arrived at our destination, and Mylon led me to the front door. Our host invited us in and down a cool, dark hallway. It felt good after the bright sun and dusty Santa Ana winds outside. As we passed into a well-lit bedroom, our host introduced us to his sister, laying in the bed. 

Somewhere between the front door and the bedroom, my sight had returned to normal. 

As we visited, we discovered that the man was visually impaired. He explained that he lost his sight after finishing a round of golf when he bent over to retrieve his ball. Instantly, he lost his sight. He described his blindness as seeing colors and figures around the periphery, but the center of his vision was like a black hole. It was identical to my recent experience. He seemed content with his condition and admitted that it had given him opportunities to develop relationships in the church that would not have happened if his sight was normal. 

We felt that my experience might have been a sign that we were to pray for the man's eyesight to return. We did, but had no sense that God was healing him. We also prayed for God to heal his sister, which had an immediate effect. As far as we know, the man is still without sight, but his sister was up and walking the next day for the first time in several months.

I am not sure what happened that day, but three possibilities come immediately to mind.  

1.  God allowed me to experience the man’s condition so I would be more understanding and know how to pray for him; 

2. I experienced the same condition, and God healed me instantaneously.  

3. The Lord sent a storm into my life to get my attention.

Theologically, it makes a difference which of these is true, but to me it doesn't really matter.

I learned a very valuable lesson.

Rita and I had been following Christ for several years, we were ministering beyond the local church, leading conferences and training events, and I was preparing for full-time ministry.  

Like many, I trusted God, but fear held me back from freely following the Lord. I was playing it safe. If I kept one foot planted firmly on the ground over which I had control, I could stretch the other foot out over the rough waters of uncertainty.  Like Peter hearing the Lord's voice and trying to walk on water, I wanted to take the big step, but fear prevented it.

Then on that day I lost my sight, I came face to face with the realization of my vulnerability; How could I trust myself to be in control if I could not protect myself from losing something valuable, like my eyesight? Everything I had could be taken from me in a second. 

We live in a dangerous world, pandemics, wars, violence, and severe weather. We are not in control, but we cannot just hide from trouble, we have to live life. So let's trust in God, not just for our eternal destiny, but for our life here and now.

I had to trust God for everything. That day, I decided to no longer play it safe. I would follow the Lord wherever He led. 

That very day, the war in the Persian Gulf ended, and California's longest drought in recorded history ended. 

Within a month, we made decisions that forever changed our life.

When God calls, it is time to take on tasks that will stretch you beyond your comfort zone, so that you become dependent upon Him. Take such action that if He doesn't show up, you will fail dismally.

It is well worth the trip. 

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

When Storm Clouds Gather

It was a great day for sailing. A steady six knot offshore breeze was just enough to keep us comfortable as we anchored a thousand yards out in the Mississippi Sound observing the sailboat races sponsored by the Pascagoula Yacht Club. 

Our boat was a twenty-three foot John Allmand, Ticonderoga we named “Myrioko,” meaning “attraction” or “fascination.” It had been my dream to own a boat, and then living on the Gulf Coast, my dream had become a reality. 

My crew that day consisted of a couple of friends and a Seaman 1st class from Coast Guard Station, Pascagoula. As an active member of the Coast Guard Auxiliary, we were on the rotation for patrol one weekend each month. This was our weekend and our assignment was to monitor the sailboat races. At about four PM, most of the larger sailboats had finished and their crews were back at the club eating and having some adult beverages as the children and youth continued tracing in their Sunfish and other smaller sailing craft. 

On such a beautiful calm day, what could go wrong?

The time it took from my spotting the wall cloud until it hit the race course was less than three minutes. We raised the anchor, pointed the bow into the wind and prepared to ride out the storm. The wind, rain, and hail rammed us like we had run into a wall and the temperature dropped twenty degrees. I climbed down from the flying bridge and took control in the cabin. 

The radio blasted a frantic message from shore, “Boats over - kids in the water!” The “Myrioku” held steady as the Chrysler 350 I/O  kicked in and held us straight on course to the first capsized Sunfish. As we pulled alongside and pulled the young sailor from the water, he appeared to be in shock as they wrapped him in blankets and lay him on bed. Then we received directions to the next boat. By this time the rain was so intense the wipers could not keep up, I was flying blind. We had to steer by compass and get directions from the crew on deck. I had never been aboard a small boat like this in such a storm. In fact, I am not sure I have ever been outside in that kind of storm. It was sheer terror all the while the storm lasted. The adrenalin was pumping, and we had a job to do. But I did not feel capable in handling it, nor was I sure my boat could perform. All I could do was pray, ask the Lord to guide me. and trust those around me.

When the storm had passed, I was proud of the “Myrioko” and how she had  stood up to the storm. On the other hand, I was a mess physically and emotionally. But we had done all we were asked to do with six scared young sailors on board, wrapped in blankets, and still shaking from the now chilly air or their extreme ordeal. We were headed back to the Yacht club, to reunite the kids with their parents, when we received a radio call to go help an eighteen foot catamaran that had been turned upside down close to shore, about a quarter mile away.

It was an interesting sight, this catamaran with its mast stuck in the sand and two would be sailors wading in the waist deep water. We got as close as we felt was safe and threw them a line. After a couple of unsuccessful attempts, we were able to right their ship and offer them a tow back to the club house as the winds had quit entirely. As true sailors, they refused a tow from a "stinkpot" and thanked us for our help. We returned to the Yacht Club with our precious cargo.

That was a day, I will never forget, and it taught me several life lessons:

1.  There will always be intense storms in your life.

2.  They will not last forever, they will pass almost as quick as they arrive.

3.  You do not know how strong you are until you are tested by the storm.

4.  You are much stronger than you believe you are.

5. When in the midst of a storm, keep moving into the storm. Meet it head on. If you try to run from it, or hide from it, it will hurt you.

6. Always, always have positive people around you that you trust to help, encourage, and support you.

I invite your comments.

Bill Johnson

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Stop Worrying - It doesn't help!

Ever since I can remember, I have been a foodie and collector of restaurants, always seeking a novel experience. In a previous life, traveling was part of my job description and dining on an expense account a perk. The places I remember most are the ones with the best food, service, and atmosphere. For instance,  Keen’s Chophouse in New York City, served a calves liver steak that was out of this world, and after dinner I could call for tobacco and my churchwarden pipe, which hung from the ceiling along with those of Babe Ruth, Teddy Roosevelt, Will Rogers, and many thousands more. 

The Longfellow House in Pascagoula, MS,  where the poet presumably wrote some of his best stuff, served a Crabmeat au gratin you would die for. Who says you don’t mix cheese with seafood? Then there was; She Crab Soup at the Kitty Knight House on Maryland’s Eastern Shore; Prime Rib and strawberry shortcake at Boston’s Durgin Park; Pompano en papillote at Antoine's and  Eggs Hussarde for breakfast at Brennan’s both in New Orleans. 

Each fine dining experience left a lasting impression, but one changed my life. 

That one dining experience had a spiritual impact that kept drawing me back. The setting was so exceptional that I don't even remember the food, although I am sure it was great.

Two miles inland from Kaneohe Bay on the windward side of Hawaii’s island of Oahu lies the Haiku Gardens and its restaurant, Haleiwa Joe’s. Entering the restaurant, the hostess will lead you around an enormous salad bar - with many tropical fruits and salad mixings - then if you are lucky - out to the lanai where your table overlooks the gardens below and the mountains in the distance. The gardens are set on the rim of a long extinct volcano, where bright colorful flowers grow wild in the lush jungle. 

Everything not blooming was a brilliant shade of green. I had never seen the variety of colors outside a flower show. Hundreds of black Mynah birds, boldly visited the diners and enjoyed the crumbs on the floor. Some even landed on tables and attempted to eat off plates. About one hundred below, on the floor of the crater, was an acre of clearing. The grass in the clearing was neatly cut. The gardener had piled grass clippings in one corner waiting burning.

 In the clearing was a small pond with a gazebo. A foot bridge allowed people to walk out to the gazebo. On that first visit, there was a wedding in the gazebo, and we had a ring-side seat. 

The entire vista felt like landing in the Garden of Eden. Immersed in the peace and beauty of the setting, Jesus' instruction in the Gospel of Luke Chapter 12 came to mind;
Then Jesus said to his disciples: "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. Consider the [MYNAH’s]: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest? 

Jesus prescribes the proper attitude of His followers. It is a warning against worry. He tells them not to worry about their life.

Is this possible?

Fear and worry are intertwined. In these unsettling days there is cause for concern for our health and wellbeing. When there is fear, we worry. When we fear that our needs will not be met, we worry. When we are not in control we worry. Worry is the fear of insufficiency.

Jesus gives us a loving command, “Do not worry!”

We often fail to appreciate what damage worry does in our lives. Research clearly shows that stress deteriorates our immune systems; people under constant or high stress show lower T-cell counts, essential for immune response. Stress has a definite effect fertility. Prolonged stress affects the brain, it makes a person less able to respond to future stress. Stress is also related to sudden heart failure.

We don't have to point out that these are stressful times in our nation and in the world. Everyone feels stressed from time to time, over half of all Americans say they feel stressed out at least once a week. Only ten percent say they never feel stressed.

Myna birds picking up crumbs under my table at Haleiwa Joe’s didn't worry where their next meal was coming from. God sees to it that they have food. If the restaurant closed, they would go back to feeding off the plants and trees in the jungle below.

Worry doesn’t stop because we close our eyes to our circumstances, but because we know a loving God is greater than all our needs. Worry is not productive, the stress it brings in our life does nothing but destroy. Trusting in God makes sense; if He takes such good care of the birds, the flowers, and the grass, won’t He take care of us, His children? Worry can’t make you live longer, and worry can’t make you any taller. If it is futile to worry about small things that are out of our control, it is even more futile to worry about big things even further out of our control.

Instead of worrying, Jesus wants us to have a child-like faith in Him. Children don’t worry about paying the bills, or such things. They live lives of simple trust in their parents. 

God cares for the flowers, but every day is not sun and sweetness for the flowers. If every day was sunny without clouds and rain, the flowers would die quickly.

God’s intention is that your attention be on His kingdom and His treasure, not the treasures of this world. 

And do not set your heart on what you will eat or drink; do not worry about it. For the pagan world runs after all such things, and your Father knows that you need them. But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well. 

"Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions and give to the poor. Provide purses for yourselves that will not wear out, a treasure in heaven that will not be exhausted, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.     

But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you. 

We can seek God in what we do every day; For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. The correlation between where your heart is and where your treasure is isn’t a suggestion; it is a simple fact. If you regard your material possessions as your treasure, then your heart is set here on this earth.

How can we ignore all the worries and seek His kingdom? Do not hold on to any physical thing too tightly, hold on to eternal things.

It was not too long after my first visit to Haiku Gardens that an incident that could have devastated me, tested my renewed faith. I lost my eyesight for almost an hour while on a mission trip, While I have to admit I was concerned, but did not panic. 

Believe that God loves you and wants the very best for you!