How ironic that a big-shot tyrant can move the world for tax purposes while God’s only Son is birthed in some backwater stable in an overcrowded town, noticed by a couple of scraggly, smelly shepherds. How could God the Father allow such a stark contrast?

By the way, Caesar’s full name? Much in today’s news? Notable, quotable sayings? Draws a blank in my mind. Okay, his name is Caesar Augustus, but that’s actually his titles, not his birth name. What about the name of that baby born in Bethlehem? Any guesses? Much in the news? Keeping who in Christmas?

Such irony–Caesar (not the salad!) and Jesus (yes, the One and Only Savior). It’s this great divide we think of during Advent. That heebie-jeebie tension carries over into our daily lives with how we think about and participate in this season. The tinsel effect versus focusing in on the coming Lord of all, Jesus.

Nothing wrong with giving gifts (my home address available upon request!), decorating shops, homes and apartments, sending greetings to friends and family, eating special food. The paradox sticks in our throats when that’s all there is about Christmas. Half-baked wink-and-nod to the Babe, ‘Frosty the Snowman’-type songs including too many Jingle Bells and Santa coming to town, along with itsy-bitsy glances at the story of Jesus’ birth found in your Bible, reluctantly giving teensy-weensy donations to Christian causes which need more like a 7-11 Big Gulp.

We know that we need more Jesus. Less Santa. More joy. Less grumpiness. More pondering. Less purchasing. More charitable open-handedness. Less tight-fistedness. We know that. Don’t we?

Not an easy balancing act. Somewhat like the circus performer, who whirls and spins plates on poles until the plates begin to wobble and fall. All need constant attention before crashing. This takes work. Determination and a keen eye. But no pain, no gain.

Ready for more Jesus? How about even more of His affectionately, confectionately loving of us.

Lord Jesus, I worship and love you. Amen.

GUTSY GAL 2 Kings 5

Who hasn’t felt too small when big efforts are called for?  Often I’ve second-guessed myself even after success shows up.  All kinds of infernal, internal questioning, betraying subpar confidence.  Then I read (misread?) in Christian books that we’re not to have self-assurance, so shouldn’t I rejoice?  Finally made it to the top at the bottom of the heap!  Whoopdedoo for me!  

For a different twist, read 2 Kings 5– the story of a servant girl, who’s abducted from ancient Israel into Syrian enemy territory.  Kidnapped into slavery to a heavyweight, major league military bigwig named Naaman.  As it turns out, he’s a good guy.  2 Kings 5:1–‘Naaman, commander of the army of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master and in high favor…He was a mighty man of valor…’  Nice accolades.  Agreed?  

But all’s not well.  He contracts a skin disease, making him an outcast and pariah.  He’s helpless until this gutsy gal opens her mouth, boldly offering her two cents–‘…Would that my lord were with the prophet (Jewish Elisha) who is in Samaria (northern Israel)!  He would cure him of his leprosy’ (2 Kings 5:3).

As young and powerless as she seems, she speaks up for the Lord.  Humbly suggests that Naaman can find help with God’s prophet in Israel, in the waters of its Jordan River.  When Naaman humbly works through his arrogant objections, he heads south to the prophet Elisha, where he receives healing and conversion to the One true God.

I keep thinking about the heroism of this young gal.  Her spunk and chutzpah.  She could face the end of it all by opening her mouth.  Servants weren’t tolerated when offering unsolicited, know-it-all ideas.  Praising a foreign religious-type in enemy territory to the commander of the King’s army requires divine oomph.  Maybe she’d best keep her mouth shut.  Not be bold as brass with this Top Brass.  Advice she tosses out the window. 

How about me?  And you?  What holds you back from speaking up for Jesus?  From sharing the Gospel with someone else?  Intimidated?  Have cold feet?  Fears consume?  Of what?  Being criticized?   Or worse, not being liked (now I’ve stepped on my own toes!)?  Made fun of?  Cut off from family and friends?  She’s already been down that road.  In spite of all that, still her compassion rules the day.  Take it or leave it, she knows what to say.  And does.  Consequences be…well, you know. 

Come on, Fischer.  Show some guts.  Stand up… for Jesus!  With God’s help that’s exactly what I’d like to do.  Loud and clear.  No matter what.  Really?  And you?   


Lord God, I need your courage to speak up for Jesus.  Please help me.  Amen.


Here’s a title to lift your day– ‘Deceived, Doubting and Downcast’!  Should you stop reading this?  Maybe, just maybe, the Lord has something to say to you and me from deep within the Old Testament, from 2 Kings 4.

Here’s a story about the prophet Elisha and a couple from Shunem, a town in the northern part of ancient Israel.  Of the couple, it’s the wife our author focuses in on.  They’re probably a tad wealthy, so she suggests to her husband that they build a room for Elisha, on the upper story of their house, for when he comes their way.  She’ll also provide necessary food.

When Elisha stops by one day, he feels obligated to return the favor.  2 Kings 4:13–‘…See, you have taken all this trouble for us; what is to be done for you?’  Elisha’s sidekick, Gehazi, pipes up that they would love to have a child.  They’re a bit long in the tooth with biological clock about to strike midnight.

2 Kings 4:16–‘…At this season, about this time next year, you shall embrace a son.’  Wow!  Really, Elisha?  Are you joshing us?  Putting one over on us?  Snow job in the hot desert?  She’s unsure.  Maybe he’s lying, trying to butter her up, keeping this free Airbnb alive and well.  ‘…O man of God, do not lie to your servant’–2 Kings 4:16.  Liar, liar, pants on fire?  Not so.  For next year she cradles a lovely baby boy, all of their own, as promised.

Time passes and this boy grows up into a young man, who helps his father in the fields.  One day their son experiences searing head pain, causing him to collapse.  Carried back to his mother, he dies.  She seeks out Elisha for emergency help saying–“Did I ask my lord for a son?  Did I not say, ‘Do not deceive me?'” (2 Kings 4:28).  Not only lied to but deceived.  Torrid finger-wagging right in Elisha’s face.

Elisha rushes to the deceased boy’s side and you know what happens.  A miracle!  Life restored!  Not by Elisha but through you-know-who.  The mother now rises up in gratitude for what the Lord has done.  Note that Elisha doesn’t gloat over his success or throw salt in her wounds by maligning, denouncing and tearing into her for being faithless.  A hint there?  About how considerate I am of other’s frailty?  How Jesus treats me?  How I care for myself?

Even when downcast, especially then, the Lord wants to draw near, not with scorching, strident potshots, but with kindness, understanding, and tender loving care.  I often expect the back of His hand only to find the one that helps.  His forgiving love more than anger.

I need more of Jesus as He truly is.  Not as my peabrain misreads Him.   Don’t you want the same?  Gone on–grab hold…of Jesus!

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for being here with me today and always.  Amen.


Please forgive me for this brief ad. Think it might help with a holiday gift or two. I’ve written 2 daily devotional books that you can order on Amazon. The first is entitled ‘Reflections Out Of Time’ and the second is ‘Reminders for Daily Devotion’. Could be that one or both are just the right gift for someone you want to encourage or even witness to about our Lord Jesus. Might be. Just wanted you to know…blessings and Keep Christ in Christmas! John

KEEP TO THE BOOK 1 Corinthians 4

Where can you find a solid rock to stand on, an anchor in rough seas, a cave to slip into when howling winds threaten to topple you?  In other words, where can you feel safe and secure?

Not with big bucks, or from baby-kissing, two-bit politicos or owning the latest tech wonder-gadget.  We’ve made them life-and-death, major league necessities, yet none satisfy.  Not completely.  I’ve tried some.  In ministry, there’s always some new angle that promises to beef up our churches or my clergy awesomeness.  The pastor as clown.  No comments, please!  Purpose-Driven stuff.   I’m Okay/ You’re Not So Great!  Pop psychology that poops out.  Business techniques that grow our congregations, competitively topping me out as the numero uno very best pastor in town!  On and on.

But when push comes to shove, there’s one safe place.  It’s in that book you have.  Your Bible.  That’s the place to be safe and sound.  One given by God Himself.  Listen to the Apostle Paul–‘…that you may learn by us not to go beyond what is written…’ (1 Cor. 4: 6).  Hear that?  Stay within God’s boundaries found in His Word.  Inside you’re home free.  Outside?  Well, you know.

God’s ancient peoples wander away from what’s written.  Amos 2: 4–‘…because they have rejected the law of the Lord, and have not kept his statutes, but their lies have led them astray…’  Ever since Adam and Eve fall prey to the deception of that slithery, satanic serpent, mankind has gotten sidetracked all over the map.  Gladly, eagerly following hooey and hokum rather than God’s truth.  Swiveling and swerving away from God’s light at first opportunity, only to find that darkness increases exponentially.  Jesus says this– ‘…the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil’ (John 3:19).

Now what?  Grab your Bible.  Keep to the Book.  Crack open its pages.  Dive in.  Make it like 3 meals a day.  Balanced and nutricious.  Vitamins included.  Most of all, enjoy getting to know the Author, finding yourself deeply loved, intrigued by His genius, relishing the Son-shine, standing on solid ground.

Keep to the Book.

Thank you, Father, for your dependable Word.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.