Looking For Love In All The Wrong Places

I was reading a blog the other day that was very sad.

This person told about breaking up with their boyfriend, then going to a terrible party, getting drunk, then feeling miserable about her life. One bad incident triggered three miserable events.

I realize that this happens often, to both men and women.

But why?

There is an old country/western song that said,

 “Looking for love in all the wrong places, Looking for love in too many faces, Searchin’ their eyes and lookin’ for traces of what I’m dreamin’ of.”

Looking for love. That is the very essence of who we are.

Why? Because God created us that way.

God planted deep within our hearts a powerful yearning for authentic love. That yearning was intended to bring us closer to Him. It was also intended to bring us into families. Children desire love above all else. Women long for a deep relationship with one strong man. Men long for a deep relationship with one tender woman. We want to be special. We long for commitment and security in one intimate relationship.

When those longings are not fulfilled, our lives crash. After my own divorce, I hit rock bottom.

The song goes on to say, “Playin’ a fool’s game, hopin’ to win.” And “I did everything I could to get me through the night.”

It doesn’t have to be that way. God has longings too. He longs for us to turn toward Him so He can pour His love out on us. He longs to provide the relationships we desire.

God will hear.

It took me lots of time before I realized I just needed more of God. When I rededicated my life to Him, He filled my life to overflowing with Love!

But we have to ask. Try it. Start talking to Him today. The Name of Jesus is very powerful. Ask in Jesus’ name for what you need. God will hear.

You must be willing to set your pride down and admit where you have gone wrong. God will hear.

Have you experienced God’s love? Share your story here.

Have You Ever Wondered?

Have you ever been out people watching? Go to a public place: like a mall, coffee shop, or a park. Sit quietly and just watch. Listen carefully. What are people discussing? What do they argue about? How do parents handle their children?

Different cultures reveal their value systems by the behaviors of the people within that culture. It is difficult to notice, until you are plopped down in the middle of a foreign culture. That is when we begin to see people acting very differently than we would and we begin to wonder why. And that is when many of us begin to point fingers and accuse.

In Saudi Arabia, families have private, curtained booths in which to eat their fast food. The people who live there say it is to protect their women. Americans say it is demeaning to women. Americans value independence and personal rights above most other things – sometimes to their own detriment.

Philosophy is the study of problems about such things as language, values, reason, mind, knowledge and existence.

 My son, Matt Fujimoto, is currently working on philosophy research in Kyoto, Japan.

In his own words: “I am currently a Ph.D. Student in Philosophy writing my dissertation on comparative Japanese and Western philosophy in Kyoto, Japan. I hope, through my studies, to be able to bring a better understanding of Eastern philosophy to a Western audience.”

He has written articles such as:

  • A ‘language’ for everything
  • Call me Angel
  • Is Shinto a religion?
  • Informal Fallacies or “What could possibly go wrong?”

To read these and more, find Matt at: https://www.patreon.com/mattfujimoto/overview

What values do you see reflected in the culture where you live?

7 Keys to Teaching Children About God

Passing on our personal faith in Jesus Christ to children is one of the most important things we can ever do. A recent Barna study indicates that nearly half of all Americans who accept Jesus Christ as their savior do so before reaching the age of 13 (43%), and that two out of three born again Christians (64%) made that commitment to Christ before their 18th birthday. 

https://www.barna.com/research/evangelism-is-most-effective-among-kids/

Sometimes kids can be difficult to teach. They need to bounce. They need to talk about their pets. They interrupt. But put a few tools in your teaching tool belt and the problems will smooth right out.

  1. Teach the kids – not the curriculum. Many times, teachers enter the room with prepared curriculum and are insistent that the class get through the material. I have watched kids sit through lessons as words fly past them. Then the kids get up and go home with no idea of what it was all about. Speak to them, look into their eyes, let them ask questions. If you don’t finish all the material, bring it back for a second lesson. It’s better for the kids to go home with one firm thought, than for them to leave with everything over their head.
  2. Ask them if they have any questions. I often start my lessons this way: “What questions do you have about God?” I am amazed at the deep questions the kids have, that no one has taken the time to answer. “How can God be everywhere at once?” “How can Jesus be God if he is on earth and the Father is in heaven?” “Why is the Bible so hard to read?” “How did Jesus know what was going to happen to him?” These are all very important questions. If you don’t know the answer to something they ask, that’s okay. Just say, “I don’t know.” Then go find out and report back. Kids often feel shy about asking these kinds of questions, so I always let them know how important their questions are. The next time, they won’t be so hesitant.
  3. Give them hands on activities to connect with the ideas. Children are tactile. They need to see and touch – even taste. Let the kids act out Bible stories in mini-skits. They LOVE any kind of costumes. Keep the lines short and simple. Usually when we act out a Bible story, it only takes a minute or two, so we repeat it several times with different kids in different roles. Everyone is excited to try every role at least once! By the end of our time, they know the story very well. Paper cut outs, drawings, water paints, and clay molding all work very well too. Give them a theme and let them get to work. You will be astounded at some of the results.
  4. Respect their individual maturity levels. Some kids are full of deeply thought through questions while others just want to talk about their last soccer game. Don’t push kids. When they are ready, they will respond.
  5. Keep it short. Young elementary kids need a change of topic or activity every 10-15 minutes. Older elementary can maybe go 20-25 minutes, then change up the activity. Get them up and moving. Give them something to create. Watch for signs that they need a change. When the kids lose focus, they are not being disobedient, they are being the kids God created them to be.
  6. Really listen to them. What did they go through in the past few days or week that was hard for them? What excites them? Children often struggle with the death of a pet for far longer than we think they should. If they are still talking about something, it’s important to them.
  7. Teach in small groups. Five to eight students in a group is ideal. Any more than that and some kids will get lost in the crowd. Those are the ones who will most likely choose to stay home when their parents give them the choice or when they become teenagers. And they may never come back.

Children love hearing the stories of the Bible. And they love any adult who will sit with them and share their own stories of faith. I teach children because they pour their love right back to me.

What have you found helpful when teaching children? Let’s get a conversation going and reach those kids for Christ.

Commanded to Teach the Children

O my people, hear my teaching; Listen to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter hidden things, things from of old — What we have heard and known, what our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children; We will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, His power, and the wonders He has done.

Psalm 78:1-4

We have been entrusted with a most sacred duty. We are to teach the Word of God – the Holy Scriptures to the children.

  • Truth
  • Christ, his death and resurrection
  • Secrets of life and death
  • The Holy Spirit
  • How to be filled with the indescribable Love of God
  • God’s guidance for living a godly life; wisdom, understanding, drugs, deceit
  • Knowledge for salvation

Our children are the very ones who will run our churches, marry and have children of their own to raise in the church.

The children come every Sunday, sit in these rooms, with eager minds and hearts, they want to know the truth. They drink it in faster than we can pour it out.

And we are too busy.

One parent, when asked to help teach the children said, “Spend time with the kids? No way!”

He (God) decreed statutes for Jacob (God’s people), And established the law in Israel, Which He commanded our fathers to teach their children, so the next generation would know them, Even the children yet to be born, And they in turn would tell their children. Then they would put their trust in God, And would not forget His deeds, But would keep His commands.

Psalm 78:6-7

When no one teaches the children about God and His deeds and laws, then the children wander through life looking for the love they crave. They become lost. They become targets for those looking to use, abuse and destroy.

The children are the future. Will the future be one of life in God? Or will it be one of a living death?

It will be up to you.

The Word of God

The word of God is the heavy Bible that is sitting on my side table. Nestled inside a decorative cover, it sits just to my left on top of a pile of magazines I haven’t had a chance to read.

Yet, the word of God is so much more!

The Word of God is God himself.

            In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  John 1:1-2  (NIV)

The Word of God is also inside me.

            The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart. Rom 10:8

We often refer to Jesus as the Living Word. He is in us.

Jesus said:

             I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. John 14:20

Therefore, God’s Word is living and active inside of my heart right this very minute. The Word speaks to me if I listen closely.

It has taken me many years to learn how to listen to God’s living Word that is inside my heart. There was a time in my life when I began to get serious about hearing from God. I gave away my T.V. and stopped my internet service. I spent my evenings reading scripture, praying and worshiping. Those times were very rich. Sometimes three hours sped by, feeling like five minutes. I slowly learned to hear the gentle voice of God.

I have never heard the audible voice of God, but I have friends who have. One friend tells the story of how he was sitting in his regular spot in his favorite bar, on the day of his daughter’s birthday. God literally spoke in his ear. “Is this how you intend to spend the rest of your life?” My friend turned around, looking behind him for the source of the voice. No one was there. He got up and walked out the door, leaving his sitting on the bar, half full. To this day he has never entered a bar again.

 This work of commitment and active listening is not easy. It is hard work. I had to make the decision every single day. I spent many hours that year sitting at God’s feet. I often took notes on what He was telling me. I read and reread the New Testament. I studied the Old Testament as well. I wanted to be sure that what I was hearing from God was truly Him, and not simply my own desires.

Once I learned to discern His prompting, I returned to a busy life of serving people at church and in my community. I do have a T.V. now, but I am careful to not let it devour my time or fill my mind with desires of the world. I stop often and spend time with God, listening.

How much time do you spend listening for God’s voice?

Politics?

Image result for politics

I do not like politics. I have never written about politics and probably never will again.

Last month, a man named Howard Schultz announced he might be running for president in 2020. A 60 Minutes interview profiled this intriguing man.

            I will run as a centrist independent, outside of the two-party system, we’re living at a most-fragile time not only the fact that this president is not qualified to be the president, but the fact that both parties are consistently not doing what’s necessary on behalf of the American people and are engaged, every single day, in revenge politics. (cbsnews.com)


Finally, someone speaking with common sense!

            I look at both parties– we see extremes on both sides, well, we are sitting, today, with approximately $21.5 trillion of debt, which is a reckless example, not only of Republicans, but of Democrats, as well, as a reckless failure of their constitutional responsibility.


Howard Schultz calls our national debt “reckless.” I believe our nation Can Not survive with this kind of debt—and going higher all the time. Imagine what will happen when the United States of America crumbles because the politicians refuse to address reality. What will our lives look like? I believe we must stop being greedy, self-centered individualists and start doing what is best for the nation. Sure, we all want free college tuition and free health care. Yet, it simply cannot be done without severely damaging our nation.

            Can an independent candidate win an election? Mr. Schultz says:

            What we know, factually, is that over 40 percent of the electorate is either a registered Independent or currently affiliates themselves as an Independent. Because the American people are exhausted. Their trust has been broken. And they are looking for a better choice.


I have recently become an independent because neither Democrats nor Republicans are using common sense. They spend their time on attack and revenge, not to mention power grabs and layers upon layers of lies.

I do know that issues regarding running the government are important and I do try to stay updated on what is going on. I take my responsibility to vote seriously. However, politics leaves a bitter taste in my mouth these days.

I have not decided for sure that I would vote for Howard Schultz, but I am watching very carefully what he does and what he says. We need someone like Howard Schultz.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/howard-schultz-starbucks-ceo-considering-independent-run-for-president-60-minutes/

https://www.howardschultz.com/

The following link is an inciteful opinion about the direction in which our two-party system (helped along by the media) is taking our country.

https://www.news-journal.com/opinion/will-howard-schultz-would-spoil-what-exactly/article_b1985c30-3cb1-11e9-8a97-239f63ad3e0e.html

What do you think about someone running as an independent?

How many people do you know who consider themselves an independent?

How Long Are We Here For?

On Tuesday I posted a blog about our purpose in life. Little did I know that within 24 hours of posting that blog two friends would pass away.

Tuesday evening a good friend went outside in the evening for a quick errand. When he did not return, his wife went looking for him. He was laying in the snow and was already gone.

Wednesday in the early morning hours, a lady (whom I know from church), rolled over in bed and discovered that her husband had died in his sleep.

Both of these deaths were completely unexpected!

We cannot know the day nor the hour that God calls us from this life into the next.

We can know our purpose here in this life. It is not to live as many days as we possibly can. It is not to accumulate as much stuff as we possibly can. It is to “love God and serve Him will all our might.”

One friend never attended church and one did. Church attendance does not indicate salvation. I do not know where either of these men were, in their relationship with God. However, their opportunity to make a decision for Christ is now past.

Friend, do not wait. You do not know at what hour God will call you from this life. Only a commitment to Christ can ensure your next life will be in Heaven, surrounded by the love of God.

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I have thought of this parable many times today: Luke Chapter 12 –

13 Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”

14 Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?” 15 Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”

16 And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. 17 He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’

18 “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. 19 And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’

20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’

21 “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”

This very day reach out to Jesus.

Why Are We Here?

We still wrestle with the same problems that preoccupied Plato and Aristotle centuries ago: Where did we come from? Why are we here? Where are we going? We search for answers, but the signs all seem to say “no exit.”

But the Cross boldly stands against the confusion of our world, a beacon of hope in the midst of darkness and doubt. In the Cross, Christ not only bridged the gap between God and us, but there we find the answers to life’s deepest questions. There we discover our true identity: forgiven sinners who now belong to God. There we discover our true destiny: a glorious eternity with God in Heaven. There we discover our true purpose: to love God and serve Him with all our might.

Celtic Cross in Ireland

Never underestimate what Christ did for us through the Cross. By it our salvation was won, and by it our lives—and our world—can be transformed. What difference does the Cross make in your life?

By Billy Graham in Hope for Each Day, Words of Wisdom and Faith

The Caribbean – Part 4

My husband and I jumped in the taxi at the Red Hook Ferry terminal. We were headed for the rental car company that had confirmed a car for us for the next few days.

Ten days earlier, when we had arrived in St. Thomas, Budget Rental car at the airport had confirmed a car for us, but they had not saved us one. That is not the way it is done in the States, but I do understand. St. Thomas is such a small island and there are an overwhelming number of tourists. The rental car companies have to do the best they can. There simply is not enough physical space on the island to hold all the rental cars that are needed. If they hold a car for someone, then if that person does not show up, they lose a significant amount of money. I understand the system, I simply wish they had told me that when I made the reservation. To get off the airplane, tired and hungry from the long trip, expecting to have a car, and not have one, is a bit disconcerting. Yet, in the end, it saved us a lot of money to do taxis for the first week we were there. Also, it gave us time to get used to the roads and the flow of traffic. In the end I was very happy.

So now, here we were walking into the Dependable Car Rental Agency on St. Thomas recommended by our bnb. Would they have a car for us? Yes! They did! They were very kind and had an extremely comfortable and clean SUV waiting for us. We were off!

The Fort

The bnb (Casa Grand View on Airbnb – check it out!) that we had booked for our last few days was up on top of the mountain with a fantastic view out over Megan’s Bay, out to Tortola, and beyond. But, to get there we had to follow some very interesting directions. Drive past the Fort, take a left at the light, follow the road up the hill (there was a left turn not mentioned but we figured it out). Follow the winding road till you come to an arch and a burnt-orange wall. Hmm, several arches, but no orange wall. Finally, after a few more zigs and zags, there appears before us a huge burnt-orange wall on our left, and lo and behold an arched doorway just before it. There we take a left. A few more zigs and zags, then a stop sign that is very well hidden. Oops. Didn’t make a stop as the road turns very quickly up to the right around a sharp corner. Next came Sib’s restaurant. (Great place to eat.) Take a right. Watch for the lime-green school and the Catholic church. There we take a left. Looking for a grey house with green shutters. A mile or so down the road and we are “home”. Great directions.

Megan’s Bay

The view is fantastic! We stand on the deck and just stare. God’s creation is beyond belief!

Once we have settled in, we drive down to the Fruit Bowl grocery store. We hear it is a bit on the expensive side but they have lots of fruit and a fantastic salad bar. We picked up some hot food and a few salad choices for our evening meal, much cheaper than going out to eat again and the food was delicious. We returned the next day because we loved it so much.

One day we drove down to Hull Bay. It was quiet (no cruise ship people) and pretty, but not much of a swimming beach. We sat and watched the surfers for awhile and ate at the restaurant. Great food!

Another day we drove down to Megan’s Bay. Absolutely gorgeous!! We went early and staked out some shade under a palm tree. Follow the beach down to the left and it won’t be so crowded. We had great fun watching the pelican’s diving for fish right in front of us. On the way back up the hill from there, we stopped at a restaurant called Brooks Restaurant and Bar. The food was incredibly delicious and the portions were gigantic! You have to go there.

We visited the Mountain Top view spot. The view was great, but not any different than our bnb. The gift shop was lots of fun. There was a wonderful pirate on the wall which I wanted to buy, but the lady just laughed at me and said he was not for sale.

One other beach we visited was at Secret Harbor. Most of the beach is for the resort, but go down to the end on the right and you can rent lounges and umbrellas. We got there early so the parking was easy and the umbrella available. Before long, the cruise ship people came and they were out of luck. The snorkeling was good, and the best part was the restaurant had a beach waitress so we didn’t even have to move from our chairs to get drinks and food. Loved it!

And so our Caribbean Trip came to an end. As one sign said, we had “Sandy toes and salty kisses.” The Caribbean is a fantastic place to visit – but we are always glad when we reach home.

There’s no place like home!

The Caribbean – Part 3

St. John – Red Hook Ferry

Riding the ferry to St. John, we saw numerous nearby islands, floating on the Caribbean Sea. It was a quick 20-minute ride. As we departed the ferry terminal in St. John, we were quickly surrounded by taxi drivers. We dove through the group and swam out the other side. Our ride was waiting for us. The lady who hosted our bed and breakfast met us in the cute little park opposite the ferry terminal. Since we had no rental car, we decided to try the taxis for a day or two. Our hostess said her house was about a mile and a half from Cruz Bay.

“That’s not very far.” I told my husband. “Let’s just walk to Cruz Bay in the morning and get a taxi from there to the beach.” Our hostess smiled and said, “Well, it is a difficult walk,” and she gave us phone numbers for several taxis. She drove us around Cruz Bay in a quick tour and then headed up the hill, then around some crazy corners, then down a hill, then up a very steep hill, then down some more hills, more crazy corners, then up, and up again, then waaaay up. That last hill was incredible—I never thought any vehicle could make it up that hill!

My husband looked at me and said, “I am not walking to Cruz Bay!” We climbed out of the car, grabbed our bags and headed into the house. It was a beautiful view straight through her living room, out the sliding glass doors, and out over the Caribbean Sea. Tropical greens and blues spread out before us as far as the eye could see. Our room was upstairs with its own balcony looking out over Rendezvous Bay across the sea and even out to St. Croix, over 40 miles away! We simply stood in awe. The room was beautiful, extremely clean and private. Check her out on Airbnb. It’s called Hawk’s Rest, Cruz Bay, St. John USVI. She went out of her way to make sure we had everything we needed.

The view from our balcony at Hawk’s Rest.

The next morning, she gave us a ride into Cruz Bay where we bought some sandwiches and easily grabbed a taxi headed out to the beaches. The taxi was an open-air Safari taxi. It was fun riding along looking out over the bays and islands, not worrying about keeping my eyes on the road. As the wind was up, we chose to start on Maho Bay. The waves were up, but not too much. We dove right in and swam to our hearts content. We did try to snorkel, but the waves had stirred up the sand so there was no visibility. Instead we built sand castles, stretched out in the sun, ate our delicious sandwiches and swam to our hearts content.

When we were ready to head back to our room, we stepped out onto the road behind the beach and looked around like we were lost. What if no taxi ever comes again? Before we had all the sand brushed off our feet and our shoes back on, a taxi came to our rescue. The following day we spent some time shopping in Cruz Bay and had a delightful strawberry and banana smoothie! Cruz Bay is quaint and delightful during the day. In the evenings, everyone has music blasting and the bars are overflowing with people having a great time. When Friday came, I announced it was time to rent a Jeep tomorrow and drive ourselves. Our hostess mentioned that most car rental companies are closed on Saturday, so we headed down immediately and found a Jeep available at the first place we stopped.

I have driven on the left side of the road before so no problems there. But those hills! Sharp corners with extra steep switchbacks make blind driving very interesting. Yet no problems occurred. The speed limit is usually 20 mph and everyone is kind and willing to wait their turn. We spent a few more days swimming and snorkeling, investigating all the beaches in turn.

Our favorite place to eat turned out to be the Sun Dog Café at the Mongoose Junction. Their Shrimp Vera Cruz was excellent! My husband said the Stuffed French Toast was the best food he had ever eaten. The mango and cream cheese stuffing literally explode in your mouth!

Sun Dog Café

The Jeep had to stay on St. John so we turned it in and headed back to St. Thomas. Our final Airbnb recommended a car rental company so we put in a call. Yes, they had a car and yes, they gave us a confirmation number…