days of Fibromyalgia kicking my tail and I am so appreciative of the sun shining
outside my windows today. It’s humbling how the feeling of hopelessness can
kick in so quickly and that defeat can consume the mind. Oh did I feel the
drama queen coming out of me during that time! It’s not something I let the world
see, or anyone other than the hubs usually. But it’s a very real side of my
personality. Or should I say “personalities.”
God! for the steadfastness of Jesus Christ. From the Old Testament to the New
Testament God is still God! Somehow or another as I read in Daniel this morning
it lead me to the book of Hebrews.
with me, I promise in my “drama mama” way, this road will lead to discovery, at
least it did for me.
6:26 ~ I make a decree, That in every dominion of my kingdom men
tremble and fear before the God of Daniel: for he is the living God, and
stedfast for ever, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed, and his
dominion shall be even unto the end.
King Darius made that decree after Daniel was
delivered out of the Lion’s den. And Daniel wrote in the following chapter
(7:14)“And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a
kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his
dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom
that which shall not be destroyed.
same steadfast God of Daniel is the same steadfast God of the writer of Hebrews
who wrote in Hebrews 6:17-19 ~ Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of
promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath: That by two
immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a
strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set
before us: Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast,
and which entereth into that within the veil;
Glory to God that stirs this girl’s soul this morning!
I made the mistake of tuning into a Fox newscast on Facebook this
morning of the church bombing in Sri Lanka that killed 300 people on Easter
Sunday. The day after I lay whining on the couch on Saturday.
It put my days into perspective.
What a wicked world we live in. Another thing that has not changed
from the garden is the evil of Satan and his intention of destroying this world
and taking as many souls with him as he can. He is the original drama king of
this world. His focus is on destruction. But Halelujah! He cannot touch our
world… you know… the one we’re headed to, not the one we live in. He’ll have
his day down here, but not there.
knew and shared with Darius what I know and share with my readers. We serve a
living God! That is reason to get dramatic on the side of good news!
Heirs of the Promise
Wherein God, willing more
abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel,
confirmed it by an oath:
Pain won’t last forever! My fibro-weekend wasn’t fun, but today is Tuesday, and
I’m feeling so much better. Can you imagine how much better I’ll feel in that Promised
Land! Glory to God let’s get dramatic!
Lay hold of His Hope
That by two immutable
things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong
consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us:
For a split second, okay, maybe several hours I lost hold of that
hope on Saturday. The pain over took my mind and I was not in the mindset that
I should have been in. I have no doubt that it’s for a reason, and one such
reason is, it gives me a greater understanding of those who suffer. If I didn’t
suffer too, I could never say “I understand, and really understand.” But praise
God, I can share the hope He provides and the promise of a better day.
That hope is what brought Daniel through the lion’s den, because he knew that one way or the other there was a day Darius didn’t control. And so it was with the faith of the writer of Hebrews.
That Hope was Anchored at the Cross
Which hope we have as an
anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within
just celebrated the splitting of that veil that day of the cross when our
Savior died. We now have that anchor to the soul ready and waiting for us to come
to Him, not through a priest but personally, and it’s not going anywhere! From
here to eternity our Lord is Alive and so will we be with Him one glorious day.
may have many “fibro days” ahead of me. Or not… I still pray and believe my
Lord can heal. But if He chooses that I go through instead of out, I’ll live
for Him because He died for me.
I hope these words encouraged you today, because they sure did me… Let the Son Shine!
In this day and age where promises
are so easily broken, I can certainly understand the hesitancy of the unsaved
to believe anything Christians say. Many Christians don’t have any more of a
testimony of honesty and purity than the unsaved.
That truth was an “ouch” moment
for me. I certainly haven’t lived a life above reproach. There are no stones in
my pocket. If anything I’m forever in a state of waiting for someone to hurl
one at me.
So on this Holy weekend I’m ever
conscious of what my Lord has done, as well as conscious of my ingratitude and
lack of understanding of the depth of His love.
Last night was our Good Friday Communion
Service at Victory Baptist church. Lifting that bread and cup to my lips is
difficult. I’m never sure that I even should. That’s the depth of failure I
feel. But Praise His Holy and wonderful name He does not intend for me to stay
in that state.
Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ
by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus.
2 Timothy 1:1
Not your typical Easter
scripture. But for me it reminded me of what the cross meant…
The Promise of Life
That promises is only found in
Christ Jesus and His finished work on the cross. Not Shari’s work, not the
preacher’s or the deacon’s or anyone else in this world, but Christ alone.
It’s the life that the unsaved
long for but they don’t even know it. It’s a life that can only be experienced
by accepting what the blood of Jesus did that day on the cross.
Red Makes White
As an artist I’ve on more than
one occasion mixed a strong pigmented color in with a lighter color and ended
up with a gallon of paint trying to fix it. Yes that’s an exaggeration. Red
into white would certain cause that effect. But not with Christ.
In reading this scripture this
morning that’s what happened with me. All my failures and sin were covered with
that promise Christ made at the cross. And it’s what gives me the strength to
go on. I understand Paul when he said that “by the will of God, according to
It is God’s will that we continue
on serving even on the days that we don’t feel worthy. It is His will that His
children continue His work. The work that He died for on the cross.
Stir it Up!
That was Paul’s advice to Timothy
in verse 6 of Chapter 1:
Wherefore I put thee in remembrance
that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my
Paul had laid hands on Timothy
and ordained his service for the Lord. And while that is a wonderful testimony
and service of the church, it doesn’t mean that we who have not had the hands
of man laid upon us are not ordained for a work in Christ Jesus. Start searching
your heart for the truth of what it is God has called you to do and you will
stir something inside of you that you may or may not have felt before. But it’s
the work, and it’s a specific work that God has called you alone to perform. I
I don’t believe there is anyone
else who can or should do what I’ve been called to do. But I also am painfully
aware that I have taken on other people’s callings because I was too impatient
to wait for them to step out in faith and do it.
Don’t let me or anyone else rob
you of the blessing that comes from serving Christ. Let God stir that gift up
in you as He did Paul and Timothy!
Paint the Town!
For God hath not given us the
spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
My tendency to fall into a vat of
guilt keeps me from doing the work I’ve been called to do. It stops my
productivity and creativity in the Lord. What a sad statement. But that’s Satan’s
goal when he reminds us that we are unworthy. Which if it were only of
ourselves would be a true statement; but not according to the promise of life which in
in Christ Jesus!
In that promise we can paint the
town red. By sharing what the blood of Christ has done in our life. But only if
we ourselves believe it to be true, and live it like it is.
every day since the heart attack has been filled with a plethora of emotions.
There are days I feel awesome! And I appreciate those days because they’ve been
less than more. I ask not for pity. It’s just the process of aging and the
result of having poured more junk into the vessel the Lord gave me rather than
healthy fuels. The truth hurts… sometimes literally. The same is true spiritually.
spent a lot of time in the book of Psalms lately. It’s my go to place when I’m
in need of encouragement. Most likely because I can relate to many of them which
were penned by David, who certainly experienced more than one lifetime of
emotions through tribulations and celebrations. Take Psalm 103… Just in the first 5 verses it
describes my day to day:
That is my prayer this
morning as I approach the Easter weekend and attempt to dry nigh to the Lord
Jesus. It’s difficult when you’re in the flesh and throwing a pity party for
your aching arthritic bones. I find myself saying “Oh my stars!” more than “Oh
is exactly why I needed to fuel my body with His words instead of mine!
The Benefit Package
1Bless the Lord, O my soul: and all that is within
me, bless his holy name.2 Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his
While insurance companies are paying less and
less on the average health care bill, the benefits of serving the Lord have
been multiplied. A fact I need to remember. As a matter of fact it’s a
prescription dose we all need this week.
Because of the cross our benefit package is out
of this world. There is nothing that our God cannot do so long as it’s His
will. And His will is for certain that His children walk in truth and joy.
The Prescription Plan
3 Who forgiveth all thine iniquities;
who healeth all thy diseases;
In 2017 I took no medication. At the beginning
of 2018 I took 2, by mid 2018 to now I’ve been on 9-13 daily meds to make this
body of mine function. How ridiculous is that!
Well, I may not like it, but it’s what keeps me
going. Missing anyone of those pills can make life difficult. The same holds
true with my spirituality. Failure to take the prescribed daily dosage of God’s
word and time in His presence takes its toll on me. I feel terrible. And not
only that, I miss the blessing of
feeling clean and whole through His forgiveness. And for certain I lose sight
of the fact that He has the power to heal this body and strengthen me for His
The Forgiveness Clause
4 Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with
lovingkindness and tender mercies;
This was an
“oh my stars!” moment for me today. Only God has the power to take back the
damage that I have inflicted to this soul and body. He created me, through sin
and poor decisions I destroyed me, through doctors and medicine He restored me,
but He can just as well heal me. He has that ability and His mercy may go there…
or it may not. But either way He has given me so many opportunities I did not
deserve. Yes Glory to God it is an Oh My Stars! Kind of day.
5 Who satisfieth thy mouth with good
things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
Unlike the insurance world enrollment isn’t
limited to a certain time. It’s any time. God’s ready and willing for us to use
our benefits and renew our relationship with Him. This is a good week to think
who are saved know there is power in the Word of God. But we sometimes forget
that the power is literal, not figuratively speaking. Just by speaking it out
loud, things can happen.
not magic. It’s understanding that the Holy Ghost is within us and when we
speak what He tells us to speak, there is power in those words. The key word
there is what “He” tells us to speak. When people put the power in incantation
(chanting or reciting something over and over in religious discipline) then
they’re actually saying that they have the power. Examples are: Reciting the
Lord’s prayer without thought of what those words mean, reciting the prayer of
Jabez for the purpose of greed. Those scriptures are not evil, they’re the word
of God. Us reading and studying and even reciting those prayers aren’t evil. They
can stir the soul and cause you to draw nearer to God through the testimony of
those writers. What’s wrong is putting the power in the word (little w) and not
the Word. (big W!)
of my favorite mental images is that of Christ blowing people down with His
words. Wouldn’t that be a great ability for the child of God? J
What biblical super power would
you like to have? (Elijah’s fire) (Moses’ staff)
can’t blow people down, but sometimes the Word of God blows me away; especially
when it reveals things to me and causes me to think about the Word like I hadn’t
before; like Doug Rowe did in Sunday School class last week. It causes me to
search deeper into the word of God to discover what God wants me to know during
this Easter season that will help me appreciate Him more.
1When Jesus had spoken these
words, he went forth with his disciples over the brook Cedron, where was a
garden, into the which he entered, and his disciples. 2 And Judas also, which betrayed him, knew
the place: for Jesus ofttimes resorted thither with his disciples. 3 Judas then, having received a band of
men and officers from the chief priests and Pharisees, cometh thither with
lanterns and torches and weapons. 4 Jesus therefore, knowing all
things that should come upon him, went forth, and said unto them, Whom seek ye?
5 They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth.
Jesus saith unto them, I am he. And Judas also, which betrayed him, stood with
them.6 As soon then as he had said unto them, I
am he, they went backward, and fell to the ground.7 Then asked he them again, Whom seek ye?
And they said, Jesus of Nazareth.
There’s not always safety in numbers, as
Judas thought because God doesn’t control things from a human perspective. Judas
knew somethings about Jesus, but he didn’t know Jesus.
What are some things we know about Jesus
that the unsaved wouldn’t know or understand?
Where do you see people of the world thinking they’re in control?
When searching your life during this
special week before Easter, where do you see places in your life that you
“think” you have control or you’re taking control when you shouldn’t?
The Power of His
who had seen the Power of God at work and believed that He was the Messiah,
missed the mark as a child of God on several occasions. This was one of them.
He attempted to “fix” the problem.
Peter missed God’s directive.
8 Jesus answered, I have told
you that I am he: if therefore ye seek me, let these go their way:9 That the saying might be
fulfilled, which he spake, Of them which thou gavest me have I lost none.10 Then Simon Peter having a
sword drew it, and smote the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear.
The servant’s name was Malchus.
How many of
us are guilty of that?
Some of us
have that personality. I’m a fixer. I want to fix everyone’s problems. But
sometimes that makes me the problem. There are some things that from the
surface look bad, but the end result is a great victory. That was this
circumstance. Peter was trying to remove the cup from the Lord, and which one
of us wouldn’t want to do that from a human perspective, but from God’s
perspective, all of these circumstances lead to the end result of eternal
security for us.
just said, let
these go their way:9 That the saying might be fulfilled,
which he spake, Of them which thou gavest me have I lost none.
He wasn’t going to lose any in the garden by the battle, and He’s
not going to lose any out of Heaven because of the cross.
What was Peter focusing on?
Heaven in view, while Peter had this earth in view.
For my thoughts are not
your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.
always have his focus on the wrong thing. When Jesus asked in Matthew 16:15 15 He saith unto them, But whom
say ye that I am?
Verse 16 says And Simon
Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
He knew God
like Judas did not. Simon proves again and again that he’s not perfect. Why do
you think God may have put someone like Simon in so many places of prominence
in the Bible? What is there about his character that God wants us to
relate to Peter on many levels. His jump and the net will appear attitude is
who I’ve been all my life. When looking at the Apostles, do you see yourself in
any one of the characters and why? (back page list)
The Power of His
Peter didn’t understand at that time.
11 Then said Jesus unto Peter, Put up thy
sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink
it?12 Then the band and the captain and
officers of the Jews took Jesus, and bound him,13 And led him away to Annas
first; for he was father in law to Caiaphas, which was the high priest that
same year.14 Now Caiaphas was he, which
gave counsel to the Jews, that it was expedient that one man should die for the
didn’t understand the truth of those words the way that we understand them
Only one Man could die for the
people. All the people. And that Man was
Jesus had to drink from that cup, because He was the only One that could have.
Without the sacrifice that He made there would have been no hope for mankind.
That part Peter didn’t understand, but there would come a time that he would.
What About My Cup Lord
came a time that Peter would understand the cup of Christ, and the fact that he
too would have a cup. He would also learn, not to worry about what someone
else’s cup is filled with.
15 So when they had dined, Jesus saith to
Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto
him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my
lambs. 16 He saith to him again the
second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord;
thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.17 He saith unto him the third
time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said
unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou
knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed
my sheep.18 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When
thou wast young, thou girdest thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but
when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall
gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not.19 This spake he, signifying by
what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto
him, Follow me.20 Then Peter, turning about, seeth the
disciple whom Jesus loved following; which also leaned on his breast at supper,
and said, Lord, which is he that betrayeth thee?21 Peter seeing him saith to
Jesus, Lord, and what shall this man do?22 Jesus saith unto him, If I
will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? follow thou me.23 Then went this saying abroad
among the brethren, that that disciple should not die: yet Jesus said not unto
him, He shall not die; but, If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that
to thee?24 This is the disciple which testifieth of
these things, and wrote these things: and we know that his testimony is true.25 And there are also many
other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I
suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be
Peter would be crucified like the Lord, although it is said that
he was crucified upside down by his own choice. John wasn’t crucified, but his
life wasn’t a piece of cake either; he was boiled in oil and banished to the
isle of Patmos where he wrote the final book in the Bible.
Peter’s conversation with Christ helps us to understand that we’re
to look at no other persons walk with Christ and judge it, or compare it to
ours. We each have our cup to bear if we’re doing anything for the cause of
Examine your life this week. Draw and Write inside your cup the things (both good and bad) that God has allowed you to go through because it made you a better child of God.
– quick to speak and act, crucified upside down
– Soul winner (Peter) Often in the background.
– Inner circle, one of the Sons of Thunder, First martyred. Brother to John
– Loyal, fiery temperament, leader, last of the apostles to die. Brother to
James, the other of the Sons of Thunder
– quick soul winner (Nathanael) died a martyr.
– skeptic but loyal
–Left everything and devoted himself to Christ.
– doubter, risk taker and prone to extremes.
Boy does it! I’ve been
thinking a lot about my fleshly ways. You know… trying to justify it. One such
occasion is my frequent trips to our little town of Grantsville, West Virginia
for which I always seem to be in a hurry. And somebody else doesn’t. On multiple
occasions over the past few weeks I’ve been behind a Sunday driver in the
middle of the week. Our speed limit is 55 mph. Although people unfamiliar with
West Virginia roads would say that is likely too fast! And obviously some of
our locals who are content at driving 40 mph. And I truthfully have a freeway
brain. I would like to go 70 mph. I have places to be!
Let’s get real.
Nowhere that couldn’t wait a few minutes. But the problem with my freeway brain
is; our West Virginia roads have very few passing zones. So if you’re behind a
Sunday Driver on a Friday. It really does feel like it may be Sunday before you
get to town, which sometimes causes my flesh to kick into a higher gear. One
such occasion happened last week.
I had followed
this guy until my head was about to explode. At least a couple of miles. But
the passing zone was coming up and I was praying, (I’m godly you know?) Lord
please let the zone be clear. As I come around the turn I think it’s okay, until
I see a mail lady stopped half in the passing lane and half out, delivering
mail. She’s in the middle of the zone! so now I have to wait again.
I wait and as soon
as I’m past her I dart out into the passing lane and low and behold another
truck is coming around the turn in my lane. So I gun it! And my little Kia Soul
almost sounds like it’s rubber band is going to break but it’s got the power
when I need it. Praise God! And then I think about the lettering on the back of
And I’m not quite
so impressed with my car or myself anymore. I wonder if the guy I just gunned it
passed seen my decals and thought… such a godly woman. Umm. Probably not.
So yesterday I had
another rising of the flesh but I managed to keep this one internal. I was
invited to a new place to sing and I met some people who didn’t know me from Adam.
Certainly they didn’t know I was the Jesus Chick. Two minutes into meeting
them, they’re trash talking everyone around them and I’m nauseous. “Why did I
come here?” I thought. And then I remembered, because my idea of saying no is “no,
I wouldn’t mind.” And then I remembered why I do what I do. So people can see
Jesus. And so I did just that… I changed the conversation. Woohoo! This was a
win. Well partly… they still had the occasion to trash talk.
three, I was home alone scrolling social media. Which can so easily get me in
trouble. After about the fiftieth social media jab by liberals about everything
from abortion to the President my head was about to explode again. It’s very
well my biggest pet peeve. I’m so tired of this liberal agenda and the
inability to defend our rights as a nation and more importantly the agenda of
Almighty God without being attacked. So I say nothing. I just don’t want the
negativity on my social media pages.
I delete who I
must (anyone who speaks filth) and I scroll past who I can (those who I hope
will see my post and want Jesus.)
So this morning
when I read 2 Peter 2:9-10. I praised God that He delivers people like me. And
that He forgives people like me.
Peter spoke of Lot
a few verses before when he said, “And
delivered Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked. (For that righteous man dwelling among them,
in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful
deeds;” ~verses 7-8
Oh be careful
little eyes what you see… you probably know the song.
The word of God
was a reminder for me that I need to sing that song to myself. I need to watch
what I do for certain. I need to shut some people out… yes indeed! And I need
to be grateful that God will deliver my soul some day from this wicked, wicked
world. And then the judgement.
How sweet are Thy words unto my
taste! Yea, sweeter than honey to my mouth.
verse keeps popping up in various places. In my mind, social media posts, again
and again. I don’t believe that things like that just happen. I think that God
needed me to focus on the sweetness of His words for a reason.
to mind somethings that have left a “bad taste in my mouth” as the old adage says.
Words that were spoken in anger, pride, or without regard for the feelings of
others. Some by me, some by others; but that is not the case with the word of
God. There is not one word that was written without the intent of doing good.
Isn’t that an awesome thought? It’s why the Bible is such an encouragement to
the child of God and such a missing link to their successful walk if we’re not
the writer was describing how the word of God brings enjoyment to the senses. In
every form, be it written or spoken, sung or quoted, it brings joy the person
who has the Spirit of God within their heart. It can also cause alarm like a
spicy dish or like the savoryness of a good plate of food it can satisfy the bones.
I do not know how that works. But like the writer of Psalm, I know it’s true.
knew it too when he wrote Jeremiah 15:16
Thy words were found, and I did eat
them; and Thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of mine heart: for I am
called by Thy name, O Lord God of
does the word have the ability to nourish and it can bring refreshing like a
cool drink of water on a hot summer day.
As cold waters
to a thirsty soul, so is good news
from a far country.
Oh my stars how awesome and true! Just as the
spring rains replenish the earth and cause our spring flowers to bud forth, so
does the word of God. We soak it up, we bloom where we’re planted and all who
pass can see the beauty of God in our lives. It’s a miracle that no other book
can boast. Another book may entertain, but the word of God nourishes and
satisfies. It builds physical strength for the day ahead.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my blog post today. But
it was just the appetizer. The meal comes when you read what God has
specifically for you!
many years if you’d have ask me if I was saved I’d have said yes.
Largely because of shame and because I couldn’t admit that I didn’t even
understand that concept. Most people who knew me assumed I was saved for no
other reason than because I went to church. That was it. That was all it took. Not because there was any evidence of it in my
personal walk with Christ. Which I didn’t have.
So yesterday, as I was blessed to sit
in church and hear a convicting message of the gospel; and by convicting I
don’t mean I felt like a dirt dog, because I’ve been in those sermons too. But
by convicted I knew there were areas in my life that needed more
commitment. And one of those areas was
my Monday morning video “Not Another Manic Monday.” I had lost sight of what I
wanted to accomplish. I wanted to draw people closer in their walk with Christ.
So today’s topic is one that I believe
every child of God has an occasional if not consistent struggle with. The
assurance that you’re saved, and three possible reasons that I think will help
in winning that battle.
People Don’t Read Beyond the
So what’s the norm? Unfortunately, I
think people rarely, if ever read the word. I think that because that’s who I
was in my previous church life.
Hebrews 10:22 ~ Let us draw near with a
true heart in full assurance of
faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies
washed with pure water.
A preacher friend of mine (and I’ve
used this illustration so many times) said that the Word of God was like a
spiritual “warsh” cloth. I know it’s wash cloth, but that’s how he said, and I
love that memory.
It’s a phrase that has stuck in my
head because I know it to be true. And it’s one of the primary reasons people
lose their assurance of salvation. Because they don’t understand the importance
of reading the word of God.
Prior to salvation, my idea of reading
the word of God was, #1~ it was the preacher’s job. # 2 ~ it was there if I
felt troubled. But the problem with the second notion, is at that time I wasn’t
saved. So it was like reading the owner’s manual of a product I didn’t have. It
made no sense what so ever.
But once I became saved, and the
Spirit of God came into my heart that changed and I was blessed with an
immediate desire to soak in the word of God in every form. Spoken, written and
recorded. I know I’m not the norm and many people may not have the time that I spend
in His word. But the writer of Hebrew spoke a great truth when he said
… having our hearts sprinkled from an evil
conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.
That evil conscience (that
causes us to doubt our salvation) is covered by the blood. But without the
reading of the word to remind us of that, we lose the feeling of being clean.
There is one thing I can tell you with
bold assurance because I’ve lived it and I’ve failed at it; without the reading
of the word of God, you will forever battle the assurance of salvation.
When the writer of Hebrews wrote
10:22, and when my preacher friend was inspired to say “warsh cloth” it was
because both of those men had a relationship with the Lord beyond the norm.
People Don’t Live Beyond the
~ For our gospel came not
unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in
much assurance; as ye know
what manner of men we were among you for your sake.
God has blessed me with some amazing
Spirit filled saints in my life. People who live out the faith. They’re not
perfect, but they’re living in the perfection of Christ.
By Spirit filled I don’t mean that
they have more of God in them than the average saved person. When we get saved
we all get all of God.
Ephesians 3:19 says And to know the love of
Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
When I think of the fullness of God I
think of it like shaking a soda pop. When you do the carbonated bubbles explode
to the surface. Well that’s what it’s like when you’re filled with the Spirit.
It’s not that you have any more of God that anyone else. But rather the Spirit
in you begins to bubble up with excitement because of the work God is doing in
your life. And when it bubbles up and out, it’s evident to not only you, but
the people around you.
At those times, nobody can tell you
you’re not saved. Because you’re living it. And while we can’t live on the
mountain all the time, if we’re serving God enough, those experiences will
leave very little room for doubt in your eternal state. Not for you. Or for the
people around you.
I was successful in my early walk with
Christ because the people around me bubbled with excitement. And I wanted it
People Don’t Attend Church
Beyond the Norm
~ That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love,
and unto all riches of the full assurance of
understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father,
and of Christ;
Growing up I thought that faith was a
Sunday morning thing. Sunday night and Wednesday Night Bible Study was for the
blue hairs and old men. And most churches are still like that today, if they
even have a Sunday night or Wednesday night service.
Right after I got saved our church
began a Wednesday Night Study called “Journey to the Heavenlies.” It was a
study on the book of Revelation. A pretty heavy topic for a new believer. And
while I certainly didn’t understand all of it, I understood enough, because of an
excellent teacher. I was fascinated about the prospect of Heaven and no longer
feared the end times.
That understanding helped inspire me
to read and live beyond the norm. And it gave me the desire to come back again
and again to learn more. I was so thankful for the truth of God’s word being
taught to me that I wanted to live and do more for my Lord.
When Paul wrote to the Colossians he hadn’t
been with them for a while. But they were holding on to each other and it
multiplied their assurance.
That’s what attending a church does
and why it’s crucial to your assurance.
When I got saved I was attending every
revival around me. I couldn’t get enough church, be it mine or someone else’s.
I just wanted to be with God’s people. I still do.
I know that in being with God’s
people, I’ll not only be encouraged, I’ll be accountable. We need people in our
lives that will keep us from slipping in our faith which causes doubt.
Last night the preacher told the story
of some old time saints in a remote village. They didn’t have a closet to get
into for prayer, but realizing the importance of spending time alone with God
they would carve out a path in the woods. Each would have their own.
But if someone’s path started having
grass grow on it, it would be evidence that they weren’t spending time alone
with God. And one of their friends, in a nice tone would say, “Friend, your
path has grass on it.”
They were letting them know that they
were concerned that their friend wasn’t spending enough time with God.
So that’s my question for you. Friend, does your path have grass on it? I
hope not. And I don’t stand in judgement. Because my path any day could start
growing grass because I’m just flesh and blood.
That’s why I go to church, read the
word and live beyond the norm. Because I’m not normal.
A quick drawing and a quick thought this morning as I prepared my heart for church. I needed to remember, and perhaps you do as well, that God’s idea of mercy and mine are two entirely different notions. Mine has limitations, His goes higher than my mind can fathom.
As I prepare my heart for worship, Satan loves nothing better than to bring my failures into view in hopes that rather than glorifying God, I’ll remember me. But the fact of the matter God has thrown them as far as the east is from the west.
showers bring May flowers, provided they’re properly cared for by the gardener.
And while wild flowers can grow with seemingly no care whatsoever, my
sometimes, confessedly neglected flower beds begin to dry up within hours of me
forgetting to water them. My spiritual life is much the same. Left unattended,
without the water of the Word and I’m as shriveled and parched as a raisin in
the sun. It’s also true if I don’t spend time nurturing my relationship with
the Lord. I cannot do it for the Jesus Chick, not for my Sunday morning class
or my Wednesday night class, but for me alone. It’s personal.
down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness: let
the earth open, and let them bring forth salvation, and let righteousness
spring up together; I the Lord have created it.
Getting in the word
is just like my spring time flower beds; digging around always unearths
something. Sometimes good, sometimes bad. The word is always good, but
sometimes there’s some bad in me that needs rooted out cast out. If I spend all
my time focusing on ministering to other people, I miss the ministering I need.
And the weeds of this world will prevent my own spiritual growth. We need to
take time for us.
Isaiah understood that concept when he
received the word of God. Isaiah was a vessel, filled with the seeds that God
had given him and a relationship that allowed him to be used mightily by God.
We too are that vessel!
Stop Striving with
unto him that striveth with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with the
potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, What
makest thou? or thy work, He hath no hands?
Striving against God? Who would be
that stupid, right? Me. That’s what I do every time I feel the coercing of the
Holy Spirit to spend time alone with God and I spend it in the world. When I read
verse nine I could hear God say, “That is not what I created you for. I didn’t
create you to be exhausted with things of no eternal value. Stop striving.”
Stop Doubting God
unto him that saith unto his father, What begettest thou? or to the woman, What
hast thou brought forth?
Why do we question why we were created
as we were? Boy, oh boy does that question hit me hard. I’ve never made any
bones about it when it comes to my always questioning God’s direction in my
life. Even though I know. Even though it’s as obvious as the nose on my face.
But even with the knowledge of what I’m supposed to do, I’m always playing the
comparison game with other writer, artists, and singers. Basically telling God
that what He did in me, isn’t enough.
Stop Bossing God
saith the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker, Ask me of things to come
concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands command ye me.12 I have made the
earth, and created man upon it: I, even my hands, have stretched out the
heavens, and all their host have I commanded.
When I read these verses I immediately
knew that God wanted me to know. To Shari quote it in the manner I heard it
inside of my head, I heard God say “Why don’t you ask Me and My Son what we have
planned for you instead of telling Us what you have planned. I’ve created the
universe and the host of all of Heaven. What have you created by comparison?”
Wow. That is so true.
I’m learning at a snail’s pace to love
myself and my work. But it’s hard. I criticize myself until I feel like a dirt
dog unworthy to eat from the scrapyard. True story. But the reality is, who
created strife and doubt? and Who created confidence and love? We know the
answer and yet we buy the lies of Satan every day.
Stop Striving. Stop Doubting. Stop Bossing. Start enjoying the gifts God has given you.
I feel foolish a lot. There
are days that every dream and imagination I’ve had seems like the dumbest ideas
ever. True story. Not an exaggeration. But the one solid foundational belief
within me is that the cross made all the difference in my life, and when the
rest of my world falls apart the cross still stands.
This morning I needed
that truth. I guess I need it every day, but today more than ever. I don’t want
to give credit where it’s not due; and there are times that I’m pretty sure it’s
me attacking my mind and not Satan. My self-doubt is running haywire today. So I
turn to the one sure thing in my life. The cross.
The world may view it as
foolishness but my work in the ministry I’ve never doubted. I’ve never doubted
my purpose in that place because I always stand in amazement at what God has
done in my life and it’s all because of the cross.
The Cross brought
I love the image of the
veil being rent from top to bottom (Luke 23:45)
the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst.
As Jesus “gave up the ghost” and the work was
finished on the cross, the final price was paid so that we could have a
relationship with God. So that I could talk to the Creator. I have no need to
go through a priest. The High Priest is at the right hand of God saying “that
child is mine, she can approach the throne any time she needs.”
I have never been turned
The Cross brought Comfort
But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father
will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to
your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
When the world says I’m foolish, the Holy Spirit say, “You’re
That comfort that comes from within cannot be explained, it can
only be experienced. It’s heartbreaking to think of the world who does not have
it because I know what it’s meant for me to have the indwelling of God. Especially
on days like today.
Please don’t think that I’m asking for sympathy or a pat on the
back for what I do. I’m just sharing with you what you too have probably
experienced. Doubt is a powerful tool. It’s the avenue of quitters and I have a
hard time not traveling down that road.
The Cross Brought Compassion
It’s what keeps me going. I know
the world needs to see more of it. It’s the reason I can kick doubt out of the
way and keep on keeping on; because I have compassion for the people of God who
need words and images of encouragement. I don’t know what the future holds for
the Jesus Chick, but as the song says “I know Who Holds” it.
With the Easter season upon us and the many worldly images of the season, it’s good to have a reminder set before us. God created the bunnies and the chicks, but He communes with this chick, and I am so grateful for the cross that made it possible.
I’ve recently watched a few Christian friends, and
by watching I don’t mean “watching” in the sense of waiting for them to fall or
judging their walk. I watch because they’re drawing attention to themselves and
the fact that they are drawn to the wild side. To my knowledge, they’re not
actively participating in a bad lifestyle, but they’re fascination of it brings
me to the realization that I too, and likely every child of God, can be drawn
into a desire to walk on the wild side. And there is a danger.
For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by
nature, and wert grafted contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much
more shall these which be the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive
For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this
mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is
happened to Israel, untill the fullness of the Gentiles be come in.
And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There
shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungoliness from
Apostle Paul is speaking to the Jews about the
wild side of the Gentiles. They didn’t appreciate it. They’d always steered
clear of the Gentiles; and now, this Gentile loving Jew was telling them that
they should embrace them and call them brothers and sisters. What? That rebel
nation is now God’s people too. Yes! Hallelujah. Because we were made new. We
were not a heathen branch grafted into a healthy tree that would have weakened
it. But rather we were a newly formed branch, not formed by nature which grows
wild, but rather formed by the Creator with purpose. I just wrote myself happy!
The Jews were represented by the olive tree, a
valuable, fruit bearing tree. But their focus wasn’t on the fruit, it was on
their status as the original tree. Apostle Paul was trying to reintroduce them
to the Fruit Bearer. Christ. The long awaited Messiah that they had rejected because
they didn’t understand the mystery of the work that God had done. They didn’t
want to understand. That would be key.
And sometimes we don’t want to understand the
price God paid to turn us from that wild branch, into a Holy Nation. You see,
there’s a side of me that can look back on the wild side of life and think “that
was fun.” But then I remember what life was really like outside the True
Branch. And nothing on the backside of where I am now, seems appealing. I don’t
want to mar the beautiful Branch that I have been allowed to become a part of.
That’s what scares me about the friends of mine
that find joy in reliving the wild side memories and walk dangerously close to
marring the branch.
Glorifying Sin Mars the Branch
When someone speaks of the past life’s sin in a
manner that makes it sound fun and exciting, it can cause the unsaved to think
that we’re missing out on something by being saved. That’s a mark on the
branch, because it is the furthest from the truth.
I lived unsaved 34 years. I had plenty of
experiences in life that the world deems as fun. I also know the miserable
state I was in at the time. That somehow gets forgotten by those glorifying
But now… Glory to God I’m having more fun, and
more excitement than I ever had pre-salvation. Hands down, it is not an
Glamorizing Sin Mocks the Branch
makes me nauseous. But for me it’s what happens when I hear someone laughing
and joking about sin. Whether it’s their sin from a previous life, or someone
else living in sin. There’s nothing funny about it.
views as a funny story about a drunk, reminds me of the lives I’ve seen ruined,
absolutely destroyed because of alcohol. When a Christian speaks of alcohol as “not
sinful,” when drank in moderation, I wonder who they’re trying to convince.
While few people
joke about drugs, the legalization of marijuana reminds me of a night at 15
years of age, I almost died because someone laced mine with PCP. You may say one has nothing to do with the
other. I disagree. Because one is a gateway drug to the other. Just as beer is
the gateway to a stronger fix for an alcoholic. And one time just may be the
end to a life that wasn’t saved. It’s a game that is too dangerous to play, and
certainly doesn’t need glamorized by God’s people.
Glossing over Sin Moves the
Making light of
any sin, or looking at the wild side of life as a fond memory causes an
instability in the life of the believer not just the unsaved. I’ve watched it
play out too many times.
I heard a
preacher mock the “Baptist” about not being drinkers for months and months, and
then I watched him fall to alcoholism. He did eventually win the victory over
it, and I praise God for that, but he paid a high price.
I watched as a
woman made light of her indiscretions and almost destroyed her marriage.
I was broken
hearted when a preacher friend fell to a sexual sin. I also remember his last
sermon, the title of it was “Finishing Well.” He did not.
I didn’t get my
20 plus year badge of the Christian faith without being broken hearted, hurt,
and yes, I too have fallen because I’ve walked too close to the wild side. It’s
too dangerous to make light of and Satan loves it every time a Christian “fondly”
remembers a day of sin. Don’t give him one drop of glory.
Remember what the
price for that sin was. We are not heathen branches grafted into a healthy
tree. We were made new! Let us act like it.
For God doth know that in the day ye eat
thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good
don’t want to scare you but I have a 22 point message. And before you tune me
out, they’re actually sub points of a __ point message and they’ll only briefly
be mentioned, and in a manner I think you’ll come to appreciate regarding the
tree of good and evil from Genesis 3.
think often about that doggone tree in the garden that started it all when it
comes to sin and mankind. If it hadn’t been for that tree, life would have been
so much different for each one of us. And Then I think of who I’ve become
because of many the evil things in my life, and it makes me ponder the tree a
little deeper today.
The Fallacy of the Fruit
God created the fruits of the tree, it says in Genesis 2:9 And out of the ground made the
Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for
food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of
knowledge of good and evil.
doesn’t say there was any difference,
with the exception that in verses 16-17, God said And the Lord God commanded
the man, saying of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the
tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the
day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.
were all good for food, but one was forbidden, and yet it wasn’t entirely evil.
It was the tree of good and evil. That’s where some confusion on my part comes
in. How can a tree be filled with both. And why was it even there? Why would
God put something so tempting in the garden that He knew would reap such destruction
for all of mankind?
there’s one thing that I have figured out in my 56 years of life on this earth,
it’s that “Nothing just happens.” God has purpose for every single thing on and
in this earth. And while it was not ever God’s intention for man to sin; God
still knew the story before it happened. He also knew Satan’s starring role in
the story and how Satan twisted the words of the Lord to confuse Eve.
shall not surely die:” he said.
so Eve ate of the tree and the rest, as they say, is history. But what Eve set
in motion isn’t just history, its future as well. There are things that have
happened and things that are going to happen that are horrible because of the
circumstances of the original sin.
the fruit of the garden was good, and Eve could have had any one of them and
been satisfied. But it says that upon the temptation of the Serpent’s words,
6 … saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to
the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit
thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. 7 And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they
were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.
Something happened when they discovered evil. They already knew
good, but now they’d discovered the opposite of good, which is evil.
They knew they were naked.
For the first time they experienced fear, shame and guilt. They no
longer had confidence in who they were. Where they had once looked forward to
the arrival of the Lord in the garden, now they were hiding and covering their
bodies up because of that doggone fruit of the garden. And we’re still doing it
today, even though it’s no longer necessary.
I created the drawing and used all the words I could think of that
began with “D.” But there’s a thousand others that start with many other
letters that could fit on the branches as well. All things that cause our
relationship with the Lord to suffer. That was Satan’s goal. He was jealous of
Adam and Eve and what they had with the Lord. He was out to destroy it. And
he’s still destroying it today. He hates our relationship with God. How many of
us are suffering one of the afflictions I’ve listed on the tree, or multiple. And
how many times do they drive us away from God because Satan convinces us that
we’re unworthy of God’s love. That’s what Adam and Eve discovered that day.
That they were unworthy. Shameful. They didn’t know that before they discovered
evil. But from that one act of disobedience, look at how many problems came.
When I think about how many offshoots of sin came from the seeds
of that one forbidden fruit I realize how very important it is to get to the
Root of the matter. Pun totally intended.
The Foreknowledge of the Father
What happened in the garden did not catch God off guard.
9 Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none
else; I am God, and there is none like me, 10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the
things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all
“Why” God created the tree in the garden isn’t as
important as the fact that He “created it.” He spoke it, and it came to be. We
want to question everything, rather than acknowledge that God is just amazing!
He knew everything that would happen and he allowed it to happen because
everything has purpose.
For certain Satan is to blame and there will come
a day that he’ll be taken care of. But what the fall of man proves is that man
and woman need God. The very thing Satan didn’t want. Every single bitter fruit
on the tree does one thing, it causes us to search for hope and hope is found
at the root of the tree.
I’ve experienced every single
thing on that tree. But I’ve also experienced everything at the root of that
tree. And because Christ is, (and this is the final point)
of our Faith
He is the Root of all we need in Life.
10 And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which
shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his
rest shall be glorious.
We can find rest in His knowledge that is provided to us through the Holy
Spirit because of His sacrifice.
All of the evil that Eve unleashed on that tree is covered by the blood
of Jesus. Adam and Eve tried to use fig leaves to cover it up. Something else
from a tree. But that wouldn’t do it, only the blood sacrifice would cover up
what they’d done.
What I came to realize from this study, is that all of the things on the
tree that I thought were evil, God used it for His good. That’s why I believe
it’s called the tree of good and evil. Satan could only see the evil. The
destruction, death, doubt, depravity of man. But God, who knew the ending would
see what His Son would offer in its place. Devotion, deliverance, defense, our
Too many other good things to count. But we have to take responsibility
for our part of the evil. And then God’s shows us the goodness of His
We are the good fruit of someone. God handpicked us for a purpose.
I pray today you’ll remember that when Satan tries to show you the bad
fruit in your life. And you’ll remind him of the good that’s come out of it.
There is some.
And I pray you’ll never lose sight that we’re going to get to see that
perfect garden someday when it’s redesigned by God.
try my best to keep life in perspective. My friend Gloria has a saying about vain
people that “They’re all that and a bag of chips.” I don’t know where the
saying comes from, but I like it. Because it sums many of us, including myself,
who sometimes need an attitude check on life.
Paul said it like this in Galatians 6:3
if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth
word “something” was on my mind when I woke up this morning. It was just there,
lingering around, waiting to be searched out. I thought it odd that such a
common word of today was only found eight times in scripture. But it only took
one of those times to capture my mind.
The Perspective of Our Performance
let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself,
and not in another.
our performance is not what gets us into Heaven, that is the acceptance of what
Christ did and that alone, it is important to God. We just have to put our
performance into perspective. Our performance should bring “rejoicing.”
is so often not the case. Be it in the secular world or the spiritual world.
Performance often brings with it a competition, frustration, or self-condemnation.
My work isn’t as good as theirs? Why am I not where I want to be? It’s not good
enough? I speak from experience, not judgement. Knowing that happiness (rejoicing)
will not be found there.
only comes when we prove (demonstrate) our work for God. When it is done to
please Him, not anyone, nor even ourselves. We don’t have to like it, although
we should. We just need to do it for Him. That is the perspective of our
performance, is it being done for Him?
The Perspective of Personal
every man shall bear his own burden.
single one of us have been given a role to play on this earth until God says we’re
done. He did not say it would always be easy, but what we do for Him will be
productive. While there is certainly teamwork within the church, we each carry
a responsibility for the ministries of God. For some reason the church has lost
that perspective. It’s the preacher, teacher, deacons or some other person’s
job. Not the congregation. Their job is just to show up right?
according to scripture.
him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good
things. Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth that
shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap
corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life
Apostle teaches that we’re to take care of those that teach and preach the gospel.
The word “communicate” means to “provide.” This also brings reward. The word
sowing has such a negative connotation in this modern day because of television
preachers who have greedily used scripture for their own gain. Not the Lord’s.
husband David fell asleep with the television on a few days ago and when I woke
up I could hear a TV evangelist shouting for $100, $500, $1000 seeds that he
assured the listener would come back 1000 fold. Are – you – serious! I was
angry. I quickly turned that charlatan off.
guarantees that we will never out give Him. But He didn’t say it would come
back monetarily. And Jesus didn’t look like Mr. T with gold dripping from His
neck. That’s a perspective we need to understand. But ministry work costs
money. And for those who cannot go and do, God may have called them to provide.
Some way, some how, every child of God is called to be a part of the ministry.
Not just a pew sitter.
The Perspective of Perseverance
let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint
not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially
unto them who are of the household of faith.
easy to lose sight of the goal. Again… I speak from experience. While I spend
every day in some way in service for the cause of Christ, sometimes it’s me
trying to survive and that’s not how God intended His children to live.
plan for His kids is to do good; take care of ourselves, take care of each
other and rejoice in it all. I must confess that somedays I’m not rejoicing.
But when I think about how good God has been to place me in the place I’m in,
with the people I’m with, I can rejoice on the worst of days.
I pray you have a blessed day, and that you understand that in and of ourselves, we are nothing, but in the Lord’s eyes you really are all that and a bag of chips!
Is there not an appointed
time to man upon earth? Are not his days also like the days of an hireling? As a
servant earnestly desireth the shadow, and as an hireling looketh for the
reward of his work.
a soul on earth has likely ever felt the frustration of ministry work like Job.
Here he was, a man who the scripture described as “Perfect and upright and one
that feared God,” ~ Job 1:1, and because of that he was targeted by Satan and
tested by God. There is a vast difference between Job and I. Yet it doesn’t
stop the ministry frustrations at times and the feeling that my eternal
difference making is sparse. The only difference, I’m not worthy of the right
to complain. Still
doesn’t stop me from doing it though.
morning Job 7:1-2 gave me the kick in the pants that I needed.
The Appointed Time
have not felt well lately. Mainly because I’m not taking care of myself. My
friend Gloria has told me that she is having a difficult time raising me. This
damaged knee of mine has me feeling like I’m a rebellious teen ager who has
just been told they’re grounded. I’m sneaking out at every turn, but
unfortunately I’m closer to being a senior citizen than a senior in high
school, and sneaking out means that I’m walking and working more than I should around
the house. That’s sad isn’t it?
But my ministry work suffers because my psyche suffers. If I sit, I feel worthless. Imagine how Job felt. It literally makes me nauseous to think what that man went through. It’s why his words carries weight. He earned that right.
knew that there was an appointed time to die, and that unfortunately this wasn’t
it for him. He was wishing for death.
am wishing for life! If there is an appointed time to die (and there is) there
is also an appointed time to live; and by live I mean serve. Until we draw our
last breath there is work to be done. This is our appointed time. What are we
going to do with it?
you’re not dead, God’s not done!
The Appointed Work
work for that time in his life was to be a witness. He didn’t realize. He didn’t
know we’d be writing, talking and preaching about him for thousands of years
later. And we don’t know what our tough times will mean either on the other
side of eternity.
think God has some reading for us to do when we get to Heaven.
56:8 says “Thou tellest my wanderings:
put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book?”
we’re serving, they’re talking about us in Heaven. Our tears are in a bottle
and there is a book of our story! I don’t
want my book covered in dust because it’s never written in. (not that they’ll
be dust in heaven.” Maybe angel glitter. But I want my book to be a best seller!
The Appointed Reward
And, behold, I come quickly;
and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.
forget that God’s idea of quickly and ours is two separate notions. But “quickly”
just might mean before this day is through, and the opportunity to collect
those rewards are limited.
rewards are those I love. I have a house full of kids today, I’m believing that
they’re going to make my life easier. Yeah…. I didn’t believe that any more
than you do. But, it’s an opportunity for them to see Noni serving God in hopes
that they too will have that desire. And that will be reward enough!
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God
created he him; male and female created he them. ~ Genesis 1:27
I find myself asking,
at what point do kids stop considering themselves an artist. And then I also
find myself asking, “At what point did some adults think they were?”
There was a social
media video going around the other day about the child of an artist who at the
ages of a two or three had his paintings selling for thousands. I rolled my
eyes, curled my lips and determined in my heart I wouldn’t be bitter. It was
just ridiculous to me. This kid was literally throwing paint on a canvas and
they are in awe of his talent. He may grow into an amazing artist, I won’t
begrudge him that. And I wouldn’t tell the little fellow his art was subpar.
But I would gladly tell the people paying thousands for it that their brain was
I’ve never been drawn
to too many abstract artist. Although some I have found very talented. I could
tell by the way they created it wasn’t about throwing paint on the canvas, but
there truly was a method to their madness. By color and design, it was good. At
least that’s my opinion. If you like abstract art, glory to God! I just don’t
I’m going from the
prospective of the greatest of all imaginations. God. He just didn’t throw
paint on the canvas and call it a sky. The colors worked together. When He
created man, He sculpted Adam and Eve in magnificence! Look at everything else
on earth. It’s beautiful. None of it looks like an afterthought.
So back to my
original question. When do children stop considering themselves to be artists?
I don’t know for certain, and I’m sure it differs, but I would wager a bet, if
I wasn’t Baptist, because we’re not allowed to bet. But if I was, I would wager
a bet that it’s after the first negative critical experience.
If you know anything
about me, you know I’m an encourager. I don’t criticize. Even if I think it. I
may offer a suggestion to help someone, but I know that when someone creates
something, they’ve usually done their best. And I can guarantee if they gave it
to God, He would put it on His refrigerator. But He may not hang it in a
It’s taken me 30
years to call myself an artist. Not because anyone has ever criticized me,
because that is the furthest from the truth. I have great encouragement in my
life. But I have no self-esteem. And of the few negative nellies that have
critiqued me, and they’ve just been a few. That’s all it took to squelch me
down. It’s what has kept me from making
a living at the gift God gave me.
I stopped taking
coloring serious. I still did it, but I didn’t take it serious. Most people
just stop doing it all together, although it has made a reprise in recent years
with the new adult coloring books.
Going deeper into the
realm of creativity causes me to explore why we are less apt to be obedient to the
leading of the Holy Spirit telling us to do something, to create something new.
Perhaps its because we fear that same critique of the world that we experienced
as children that caused us to no longer view ourselves as artist.
You might be an
artist of words, works, numbers. There are too many talents to list. What is
your gifting and is it something that you should be using for the Kingdom,
either for a living, or for a ministry. And why aren’t you using it?
How do we know if
it’s Refrigerator or Gallery worthy? All good questions. And worthy of looking
into the scripture to see what God says about who we are.
In His Image
He created us in His
image. With passions like Him.
hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb.
He controls us and
creates specific desires within us. He created us to create. I personally don’t
know of a child who doesn’t like to create “stuff.” It’s engrained in us as
babies from making a mess to making what we think is the most amazing piece of
art ever! All six of my grands love creating, even though they may not all grow
up to be artist. Praise God, they don’t know that. They just want to create.
I believe that as we
grow that creativity takes shape into different amazing things. But creating is
not just an artistic endeavor. Creating is doing a new thing.
Isaiah 43:19 says Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will
even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.
God didn’t stop
creating, why should we. He went from creating things, to creating paths and
then using us to complete His work so that He can get the glory. I think people
and churches get stalemated when we lose our desire to create, or we just don’t
know the direction we should go. We’re satisfied with just showing up.
The church should be
an ongoing project of getting souls saved and that takes many shapes and
I’m a project driven
person. I need a project to feel purposeful. And I believe that’s how God
created us all. Like Him, we are made to create.
heavens above, rain down my righteousness; let the clouds shower it down. Let
the earth open wide, let salvation spring up, let righteousness flourish with
it; I, the Lord, have created it.
All of Heaven and earth work
This morning I picked up my
fiddle that I had had to put a new “E” string on because I broke the old one
tuning it. I hadn’t played it for a week or two and every string was out of
tune. It sounded awful. But when I got the tuner out and put every string in
tune, suddenly I felt like a musician again. That’s how life is. With artistry,
with jobs and churches. We get out of tune. We lose our passion and purpose. We
need tuned up. We need to find that creativity and desire to make something
wonderful for the Lord. A new coloring page.
My grandson Logan was
creating a Charizard. Which I don’t even know what is, other than it’s a
Pokemon character. But it didn’t matter. It only mattered that his hand created
God wants to see some of
your work, your best creative pieces. And there’s a reason that Christ said
that we should come to Him like little children. Because it’s with that mindset
that we feel free and welcome to create. Not judged.
Don’t squelch your creative
spirit. God may just be getting ready to do something amazing with you.
Not By Accident
This was His word for me
when I was ready to back out of His work again because I would be judged. God told me this. He said “you’re past the
age where you can throw stuff on a canvas and call it art. Be intentional. And
God doesn’t create things
by accident. He had purpose. So should
we. Don’t ever stop coloring. There’s something about that child within that
helps you to keep in check with Who’s really in control.
When I think
of the Bible characters that stepped into the unknown at the instruction of the
known, my heart is encouraged. When I get ready to take my first step, it’s
always a flutter. It’s usually followed by nausea and fever blisters. Weird
right? That’s what stress and nerves do to me. Once I get past the first step
and start walking on the new ground I settle in pretty quickly. But those first
steps often feel like a cliff.
stepped out of the Ur of Chaldees he may or may not have felt a little apprehension.
The Bible just says he went. But in the book of Shari it will say, see went…
but she didn’t feel good.
When Moses was
told to step into the leadership role of Israel, He argued with the Lord that
he wasn’t very good with a bullhorn. So God gave him a mouth piece named Aaron.
But it didn’t take him out of the role of leader.
When God made
David King, he was in one of the lowest positions of the day, a shepherd boy.
But God used all that position to make him a mighty defender and a man who
could lead people with the same passion he lead sheep.
picked “Team Jesus” from the crowd, He picked a variety of twelve characters
with a variety of talents. We know their names 2,000 years later because of the
impact they had in their work.
I just wrote
really got to experience a comfort zone, because God is always doing something
in my life. Sometimes it’s because He’s fixing what I broke, and that’s very
uncomfortable! Today is no different. A new ministry direction is on the
horizon with doing things I’ve had a passion to do for 20 years. But this time
it’s on God’s terms. So it makes me feel a little better about taking the first
I hope that in
sharing my thoughts on my zone, that maybe it will help you navigate yours a
the following a matter of prayer when it comes to the new Jesus Chick
God would open the doors (not Shari)
provides a team of people with a passion for the work.
The work will
focus on the following areas:
the Gospel (always first and foremost)
abuse educations programs
That would be
why I need a team. There is a huge amount of work on my plate. But I want to
reach as many people as I can with this ministry and give them the tools to
Sunday is not my only day of listening to sermons. I listen to a variety of preachers and pastors throughout the week, some might surprise you and some may not. I’m no respecter of denominations. I’m a respecter of those who biblically speak Jesus. Period. It’s why, when a preacher that I’m “Facebook friends” with, and I use that term very loosely, went on a trashing spree of preachers my blood boiled.
There were a few that I utterly disagree with too, but I leave them to God. Although if someone asked, I’d willingly tell them why I disagree. But this guy went so far as to say they were lost! My first thought was “who made you God?” The only One who has the right to call a man or woman saved or lost is God. I cannot look on the soul and tell. Nor do I want that responsibility.
I’m not sure he
mentioned Perry Noble, though he probably would have; but I’ve followed the ups
and downs of Perry Noble for years. I’ve wept with him and for him. He broke my
heart when he fell as Pastor of New Spring Church. I cheered him on when he
fought his way back. Though he didn’t know, because he doesn’t really know me.
See… we’re “friends” too.
I like Perry because he’s real. Sometimes too real for me, I’ll be honest. He says some things that goes against my good Baptist girl grain. And he says some things that make me laugh really hard that really shouldn’t. But most important he gives me a desire to have a deeper relationship with my Heavenly Father. And that is what a preacher is called to do. Not judge other preachers!
So this week on Perry’s new podcast for his new church “Second Chances” he preached on the prodigal son. Not an unknown sermon for even a lost person. But Perry preached it from the perspective of the brother who stayed home. Again not an unknown sermon topic. But what was new to me was the thought about the “good” son didn’t have enough of a relationship with his father to know that (1) how upset the father had been (2) that the son had come home and (3) why there was a need for the party.
The prodigal came
to himself, the farm boy needed a come to Jesus moment with Dad. But that’s not
what he got. The Father had mercy for both. That was the gist of Perry’s sermon.
But much better. I just gave the highlights.
What drew my mind
into this today was my own relationship with God. How much do I know about what
God wants for my life? I know what I want, but do I know what He wants?
It’s time to come
I am often guilty
(really often) of studying for the purpose of others, and not for myself. It’s
not that I don’t receive and need the messages I write and the Word of God that
He speaks into my soul as well. But many of those messages are about general
life issues, not personal life issues. If you’ve studies scripture for
yourself, you likely know the kind; when the word of God cuts you open and
fillets your heart like a fish! Showing you all the nooks and crannies of it and
draws you into a conversation with Him where you almost feel like you’re
sitting in His office on a crystal stool like a princess as He gives you the “Dad”
Oh…. I so need to
draw that someday.
But more importantly I need to be there.
I don’t need to preach to anyone about “their” life, nor do I ever want to be guilty of judging the soul of another person. I don’t know who’s saved. I only know that we all need to come to the knowledge of Who Jesus is and then grow in His grace so that we can know Him in a way that a child should know their Dad.
My girls have a very special relationship with their Dad. They adore him and when he speaks, they trust in his wisdom. That’s how a child of the King should be. Adoring. Listening. Believing.
When I lay down
at night, I should listen for His bedtime story. When I rise in the morning we
should meet at the table for a game plan kind of day. It should never be about
you. It should be about us.
When the prodigal son came home His dad cleaned him up and threw a party. The other son threw a temper tantrum, complained about the slavery he had invested in for his Father and missed out on all the fun. Don’t miss the party because you’re looking at other folks. I’ve been guilty of it.
We love Him, because He first loved us. ~ 1 John 4:19
There are some people in our lives that are easy to love. My bestie Gloria is one such person, so are countless others. I am blessed with people. Lots of people that I call and mean it when I say they’re friends. And then there are people that I am acquaintances with via life or social media and of those I may or may not have a great depth of concern for.
certainly pull them out of the path of a truck. But I might not take them
chicken soup if they were ill. That sounds very mean. But it’s not meant to be.
It’s not that I don’t care about their health, it’s that they are not on my
radar of cares of the day. Nor am I likely on their radar either. So how
exactly did God intend for us to love one another?
our level of compassion for those outside our immediate family and friends?
For me I
only had to think about 1 John 4:19 for a split second before I realized that
before I knew God, before I realized what He did for me and when I was just
floating around in the world like a bubble on a summer day without concern for
my soul or anyone else’s… He loved me.
loved me when I was out in sin and behaving in a manner that would have made a
sailor blush. Yes, I was that kid. I grew up fast when I married and had
children, but I still didn’t know Jesus and was as filthy rags, and yet He
loved me. He maneuvered my life to get me into a position to hear the gospel in
a miraculous way that has me in awe today. He uses me even yet today when I
still fail Him miserably.
ask myself that question again about the people I don’t know. “Shari, do you
care?” I asked myself that question
about the people I’m pretty sure I don’t even like. “Do you care?”
because at any moment God could have given up on me or never thought enough of
me to waste His time and yet He did.
morning I was convicted by this thought because there are so many hurting people
that I know via ministry and social media that I don’t care enough about.
Ministry isn’t just to the pretty, easy to love people. Its’ for all people.
Even the sometimes ugly, grouchy, negative, arrogant, drunk and drugged up people. The latter of
which I have an easier time loving. The grouchy, negative, arrogant people not
wondering who might cross my path today that needs loved on? I’m wearing a new
pair of white jeans… I wonder if I’m willing to get them dirty. Isn’t that how
a doctor’s appointment for my knee this morning at 10 a.m. Perhaps it’s there
that I’ll answer that question. Maybe it will be on social media, or maybe on
an unplanned adventure. Like the one that got me saved.
It was a thought that seemed
almost foreign to me this morning as I read John 3:16…
For God so loved
the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him
should not perish, but have everlasting life.
It’s likely the most widely
known and quoted verse in the bible. We say it without thinking. It just rolls
off the tongue of most Christians regardless of how long they’ve been saved. The
point being, even if you can’t quote it, you know it. But this morning, it just
seemed brand new.
Not necessarily the verse,
but rather the concept of the depth of God’s love and the vastness of His
being, and the fact… I need to repeat… the fact that He did what He did for
someone like me. A nobody. That this morning in my living room and in the home
of my friend LuAnn, God spoke to us and said, I have a work for you to do.
I received a message from my
friend Faye yesterday, and through her God said… there is a work to do.
My friend Dewey and I speak
most every day. But lately God has given us a deeper love for the ministry and
a desire to do more. There is work for us to do.
Why does God put these
awesome people in my life?
Because His concept is beyond
what anyone of us can imagine. And the possibilities of what He can do with us
are beyond what anyone of us can even think. And I know this because today John
3:16 was a brand new verse in this ol’ girls head.
The concept of the “Father,
Son and Holy Ghost” three in one has often boggled my mind. How can three be
one? It just doesn’t make sense to the earthly mindset. I’ve heard it explained
by using the illustration of the egg which has three parts (the white, yolk and
shell) yet it is one. It’s a great illustration. But it’s an egg… not God.
But lately as God deals with
me, trying to get me to a better place spiritually to where He can use me, He
speaks to my heart about understanding who He is, so I can better grasp who I
am in Him.
He is Huge!
hand also hath laid the foundations of the earth, and my right hand hath
spanned the heavens: when I call unto them, they stand up together.
hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with
the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the
mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance.
Who did that? My God! He is
in the details.
If God can measure Heaven
with His hand, that means He’s a pretty big Fella. That means that these people
who make light of our God, should really think twice. He can flip them off of
the planet. I have to be honest, that image kind of made me giggle. And kind of
made me want to watch! But then I remembered that He could flip me off the
planet too, and that God died for the “whosever.” Not only Shari.
He Has Always Been
How can God have “always
been, and how did God, “beget” Christ, His Only Son? I don’t know. But when I
think about the Creator of the universe and His Son, who were from the
beginning, which is what the Bible tells us in John 1:1, I am somewhat
awestruck like a rock and roll fan at their favorite concert. I want to get
close enough to hear One whisper to the Other, and close enough to know them as
intimately as a bestie. But in order to do that, I have to get out of my little
brain get into Heaven as the Bible tells us we are in Ephesians 2:6 that says “And hath raised us up together, and made us
sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”
That’s present time, not
futuristic. So if I’m sitting in Heavenly places, that means I should be able
to overhear a few conversations of God and His Son. So can you.
In Jeremiah 1:5 it also says
that God knew us before we were in the womb. So… exactly how long has our
conversation been going? I don’t know. But what I do know is that as a child,
before salvation, I had a desire to know God. So Jeremiah 1:5 is not hard for
me to understand. And because of that it is getting easier to understand John
He knew me, before I was me.
He chose me before I even came out of my mother’s womb and He placed me like He
placed the stars in Heaven on this piece of dirt in Calhoun County, West Virginia.
And He connected the dots with North Carolina, New Mexico, the Philippine
Islands and so many other places, in a
way that others may not understand, but I’ve experienced. So yes… I’m a fan of
my Savior. Yes, I reverently respect and fear Him because of the enormity of
Who He is. And today I feel so loved because of John 3:16.
There’s a story of a little
orphaned boy who is found on the street and a man sends him to an address with
the instruction to knock on the door and say “John 3:16.” When he gets there he
taken in, bathed, fed and tucked into his bed where he for the first time in
his life feels safe. He later says when he becomes a preacher that he didn’t
understand John 3:16 at the time but it made a dirty boy clean, a hungry boy
full and a scared boy feel safe.
Yes… yes it does. I don’t
have to comprehend the vastness of God. I can feel it.
the thought that came out of the teen class lesson yesterday as my co-teacher
Doug taught our youth. My brain goes strange places sometimes and either like
honey or mud, it’s stuck in that place until I dig around and find out what the
Lord needs me to know about that word.
word was “prove”. Meaning to demonstrate, show, give evidence or verify
what most of us want on the everyday front of life; we want evidence that we’re
going the right direction, that God is pleased, that we’re forgiven. And God
tells us that’s okay. He wants us to prove Him.
sometimes proving Him leaves me feeling a little like a crash test dummy. Not
that God wants me to be that. He’d rather I be the evaluator. Not the
demonstrator. But I hit the wall again and again. I’m no different than the
original crash test dummies, they however were on camels not Kia souls.
Exodus 15:24-25 it says
the people murmured against Moses, saying, what shall we drink?
third day into the trip and they’ve already found something to complain about
with leadership. They’d arrived at Marah and couldn’t drink the water because
it was bitter. And that was Moses’ fault.
my grandsons Luke and Parker were wrestling in the floor and knocked something
off the table. Within a second of the crash Parker yelled, “Luke did it!’
always looking for someone to blame for our problems in life rather than taking
responsibility for it ourselves. I’m not apt to throw someone under the bus,
though I might, but more than likely I’ll blame circumstances for my errors.
Knowing it was my fault.
God gives Israel the bitter water to prove something about Himself.
he cried unto the Lord and the Lord shewed him a tree, which when he
had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet: there he made for a
statute and an ordinance and there he proved them, and said, if thou wilt hearken
to the voice of the Lord thy God,
and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his
commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon
thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the Lord that healeth you.
God for grace! We are not bound by the law. But that doesn’t make the law
nonexistent. It’s still there. But now it proves that we cannot keep ourselves.
We depend on that grace to clean us up when we crash and burn.
He does. The name of Grace is Jesus.
Exodus 16 we find the children of Israel complaining again, but this time its
about the food.
the children of Israel said unto them, Would to God we had died by the hand of
the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, and when we did
eat bread to the full; for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to
kill this whole assembly with hunger.
some reason that scripture struck me funny. Although I don’t find it funny when
my provision isn’t coming in like I wish it would. If you’ve ever lacked (and
we all likely have), you can understand the children of Israel’s mindset. We
often chalk them up to being a bunch of whiners, but if you’re a million strong
in the wilderness and you’re not seeing a Walmart, you’re worried. But the Lord
intervenes in the conversation:
said the Lord unto Moses, Behold I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the
people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them,
whether they will walk in my law, or no.
evidence. More being tied to the law. Again… praise God for grace! Our
provision is not tied to the law, it’s tied to faith.
4:19 ~ But my God shall supply all your
need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
Corinthians 9:8 ~ And God is able to make
all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things,
may abound to every good work:
Philippians 4:6 ~ Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and
supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God
after verse we’re given about the provision of God. And yet ye all know that
there have been times when we’ve been without. Is that a lack of faith? Perhaps
it’s just another way God proves Himself to us. Paul said it like this in 2
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my
strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory
in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in
necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am
weak, then am I strong.
it’s about learning that we can survive without it.
of my nephews crashed a motorcycle one time and once the downed bike stop
sliding and he stopped rolling, he jumped up and said, “I’m fine.” No one was
any more surprised than he was. He learned that sometimes we can crash and not
last place I want to talk about being a crash test dummy is in Exodus 20:20
We just talked about it through Paul. So how
does grace work with the laws of God.
Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that
his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not.
had just given them the Lord’s Ten Commandments. They had seen God come down as
lightening, thunder and the noise of a trumpet and they wanted no part of it.
They wanted an intercessor. So do we.
this was before the days of sci-fi and special effects. This was the real deal
and I probably would be afraid too. The only one not shaking in his shoes was
Moses and that was because this wasn’t His first rodeo with God. He’d been in
conversations with God before.
But now. Glory to God!!! We don’t need an intercessor. We have a more excellent way. There is no need to go through a priest. Christ took care of that on the cross.
Matthew 27:51 – And, behold, the veil of the
temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake,
and the rocks rent;
Ephesians 2:18 ~ For through him we both have access by one
Spirit unto the Father.
Second to the Resurrection, which proved my Lord’s power over death, my favorite part of that story is the renting of the curtain in the temple. The very thing that kept the common man out of the Holy of Holies was gone. Torn in two from top to the bottom, and opening our way to have direct access to God Himself through the Holy Spirit.
proves that every day to His children by showing them His presence in their
the children of Israel felt condemned by the law, there is no condemnation in
Christ, only grace for those who come to Him.
I truly am a
hippy at heart. And by hippy I don’t mean the stereotypical one’s that those of
us who were raised in the 60’s and 70’s remember. Though I must confess I would
have fit that mold at various times in my life too. But by hippy I mean,
tie-dye lovin’, peace seeking, freedom speaking child of God. I think God like’s
the hippy mindset so long as He is the center focus.
Perhaps you agree. Perhaps not. Either is okay. But it’s where my mind is at this morning. I actually drew two images (one above and one below for this blog) The first was the dove below but then the blog took on a whole other direction. And thus the hippy Shari showed up.
My verse this
morning for focus was Isaiah 26:3
Thou wilt keep him in
perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.
So you may be
wondering how I got from the dove to the hippy? It was a short trip. It started
with my niece Holly. She’s a little hippy-ish too. And she’s been on my mind a
lot lately. She’s a single mom of three and such a free spirit. I love her. I
love all my nieces and nephews and my children because each one is so
different. I mean really!!!!! different. Out of the 12 they have a few
commonalities, but their personalities are nowhere close. Much like the church
We have a
common bond, Christ Jesus; but our personalities are what makes us who we are
in Christ, and it’s what makes each one of us cope with difficult times in a
I cope with
life struggles by relying on the freedom of Christ. That’s the hippy mindset in
me. It’s not that I want to go wherever the wind blows, that’s not God’s way; but
I want to go in the direction the Spirit leads, and sometimes that’s down weird
path that other people don’t understand.
So on a day
that I’m struggling with some issues in life I turned to this verse and found
the freedom for living that I needed.
Thou wilt keep him in
perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.
What does that
look like? Well, first of all you have to tune into the first word of that
sentence. Thou. Thou is God. And it is in Him only that you’ll find perfect
It’s not that
life is perfect, it’s that we can rest in the knowledge that whatever we’re
facing is in His control. If He chooses to take us through it, we’ll go. If He
chooses to remove us from it, we’ll go out or around, but some way, somehow God’s
got it taken care of.
That sounds so
easy right? But we know it’s not always. Life sometimes stinks and it’s not any
fun, and that’s where the hippy attitude of the flower children and God’s
children parts. We’re not escaping reality, we’re living in the very real
knowledge that we serve a God who can and does amazing things in the lives of
those who serve and trust Him.
that free spirit takes me that is my happy place!!! I can trust in Him who I have
served for 23 years and watched as He brought me through time and time again. I
know that if I keep my mind focused on the direction God, the Holy Spirit is leading,
I’m going to come out a winner. Because I’ve read the end of the book.
Just as my 12 nieces
and nephews and 25 great nieces and nephews (yes there is a boatload of us)
differ and have many talents, so does the church. Find yours, give it to God,
and then walk in the freedom His peace affords knowing He’s guiding you.
That’s my advice to my kids and grand-kids, and it’s my advice for you…
Do you ever have those days when it feels like your entire self-worth was wasted effort? I get so excited about projects and life and then in a swift swoop, on a day when it feels that I can do nothing right, I find myself falling into this pit of despair (I know dramatic right?), but it feels very, very real and it’s very heavy on my shoulders. And the end result is usually a total mind melt down, followed by God prying my mouth open like a rebellious sick child and giving me a dose of the word. And then, glory! Miraculous healing.
the prescribed dose for days like this is from the book of Psalms. I love the
word of God from Genesis to Revelation, but the books of Psalms has a special
place in my heart, because it’s so often my go to place for days like this.
When Psalm 138 was spoon fed to me by the Lord in just the right measurement…
Can Have their god
I will praise
thee with my whole heart: before the gods will I sing praise unto thee.
What gods you
may be asking? There is none but Jesus Christ our Lord, right? Right! But the
world didn’t seem to get that memo. People themselves think that they are
sometimes gods and deserve our undivided attention, even over the things of
Tears just flowed from my soul and out of my eyes because I’ve been there too often lately. Too many things, some of mine, some of others that have taken my mind off the Lord’s work. I haven’t been singing His praises like I should.
Can Have Their king
2 I will worship
toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy
truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.3 In the day when
I cried thou answeredst me, and strengthenedst me with strength in my soul.4 All the kings of
the earth shall praise thee, O Lord, when they hear the words of
In that final day of earth, no man will bow
before another man. We will all bow before our King. The One with a capital “K”.
The One who resides in the Holy Temple of Heaven, who is kind, and honest and
does not speak to me in a the condescending tones of the earth that I despise
and it breaks my heart and spirit. Especially when it’s done by another
That was my day yesterday. Don’t feel too sorry
for me. I’m fine. But it’s those days that we all have that the world takes it’s
toll. And our focus gets off Heaven and I forget where my headquarters is. And
they forget Who’s Boss.
Can Have Their work
5 Yea, they shall
sing in the ways of the Lord: for great is the glory of
the Lord.6 Though the Lord be high, yet hath he
respect unto the lowly: but the proud he knoweth afar off.7 Though I walk in
the midst of trouble, thou wilt revive me: thou shalt stretch forth thine hand
against the wrath of mine enemies, and thy right hand shall save me.8 The Lord will perfect that which
concerneth me: thy mercy, O Lord, endureth for ever: forsake
not the works of thine own hands.
Glorrrraaaaaay! Those words
stirred me this morning. I’ve heard it said, and I’ve said it myself that I
serve the God who sits high and looks low. And there it is in the word of God!
Though I walk in trouble, and there is plenty of
it in my world; it is God who will revive my soul. God will not only take care
of my enemies, He will give me the energy to thrive in my purpose.
Verse 8 really spoke to me in a way that I needed
so badly today.
The Lord will perfect that which
concerneth me: thy mercy, O Lord, endureth for ever: forsake
not the works of thine own hands.
God will “perfect” (finish)
that which concerns me.
There is a work He has called
me to do and He’s going to get it finished through me. That is such good news!
I’m pretty sure I’m into overtime with Him but it’s okay, it’s in His time, not
He has a work in you as well! And He’s going to get it done. But we need to stay focused on the One True and Living God, the Lord Jesus Christ. Let the world have their gods, show them how awesome ours is! Let me have their kings, they only “think” they have power. Let them have their work, show them what great and mighty things we can accomplish through Him. I hope your day is blessed with great eternal accomplishments. ~ Shari
beyond excited about the direction of my ministry. Thanks to a generous act on
my sister Shelia’s part and the grace of Almighty God, I will soon be a 501c3
ministry which will open the doors for me to do more and create a team of
ministry people, not just solo me. Who is sometimes (oftentimes) so tired. So what does that have to do with the message
has to do with the great commission in Matthew 28:19-20 ~ 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations,
baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20 Teaching them to observe all things
whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the
end of the world. Amen.
children of God that should be our primary focus. So today is a Recharge Monday.
I needed it. Not that I’ve forgotten that it’s my responsibility as a disciple
of the Lord Jesus, but that my battery sometimes runs low.
So How’s your
doesn’t need a recharge? I need one multiple times a day. Burdens get on me
like cat and dog hair on a black sweater. That should sum it up pretty good if
you’ve been around critters. So how does my ministry, your battery and all this
me doing what I’ve been called to do, which on Monday is to recharge your
battery after I first recharge mine.
did that today as I read 2 Chronicles 15, verses 1-15.
is returning from battle and he’s met by a prophet who encourages him to go on
with the work of the reformation of Israel by promising him that the presence
and help of God will go with him.
I’m not a prophet, but I can make that promise to you today because I have it
too. It is freely given to anyone who seeks God. He is a very present help
available to us without even speaking a word. He just knows.
or not you’ve been in a battle, Monday’s always seem to bring on the feeling of
too much work for one week. At least that’s how mine is starting.
back to the story. Asa is returning from battle. And the word reads.
the Spirit of God came upon Azariah the son of Oded:
2 And he went out to meet Asa, and said unto him, Hear ye me, Asa,
and all Judah and Benjamin; The Lord is with you, while ye be with him; and if ye seek him, he
will be found of you; but if ye forsake him, he will forsake you.
3 Now for a long season Israel hath been without the true God, and
without a teaching priest, and without law.
One sure fire way to
get into trouble is to not have the teaching of God. As a teacher, I need
taught. I don’t profess to know
everything. But I know where to find it. And if I can’t find it, I have a
Pastor who can help me find it. He may not have the answer off the top of his
head either, because he’s not done learning. So point one for today is
Seek Him While You Can
Finding time in a
day to get alone with God may not be easy, but it should be a priority. Israel
had gotten themselves into trouble, into a battle because they’d been without
three things. The Power of God, The Prophecy of God and the Practices of God.
If you’re a child of
God, saved by the blood of Jesus, you can’t lose God, but you can lose His
power by not renewing your relationship with Him on a daily basis. Not just on
Sunday, but every day.
The Word of God is
forever, because it’s settled in Heaven. It hasn’t been the most read book in
the world without reason. God made it that way. But our failure to read it, the
very prophecy of God will suck the life out of you like leaving the lights on
in your car. The juice, the water of the word eventually drains out like the
juice in a battery if we’re not renewing ourselves by reading His word.
And while we’re not
under the law as the Israelites were, being away from God for very long will
cause you to forget the practices of Christianity. The behaviors. It’s so easy
to get drawn away from the things of God and into the things of the world without
warning when we’re not in a good relationship with God Almighty.
So every day we need
to be seeking the power of God, Reading the Prophecy of God and living in the
practice of God.
Serve Him While You Can
4 But when they in their trouble did turn unto the Lord God of Israel, and sought him, he was found of them.
5 And in those times there was no peace to him that went out, nor to
him that came in, but great vexations were upon all the inhabitants of the
6 And nation was destroyed of nation, and city of city: for God did
vex them with all adversity.
7 Be ye strong therefore, and let not your hands be weak: for your
work shall be rewarded.
It’s a privilege to
go, teach and observe everything that God shows us in His word. I know that not
everyone is a teacher, but you are an example. When the children of Israel got
into trouble they sought God. That’s good advice! And it’s always the example
we want to set for others.
Everyone messes up
in life. We all fall. We haven’t come very far, if any, since the days of the
Israelites battle. We still need God to clean up our messes. But after the
fall, after the struggle, pick yourself up and start serving again. Don’t let
Satan convince you to delay it, because it can cause you to stay out way too
Always remember that
Satan is a liar. And the last thing he wants is for you to receive rewards of
God. So, he can stop them, by stopping you.
Succeed While You Can
There will be days of defeat. We all
have them. But start every week with an attitude of successful living.
Encourage yourself in the Lord because great is that reward and it is the
Matthew 28:19-20 Commission.
Listen to what happened when Asa got
8 And when Asa heard these words, and the prophecy of Oded the
prophet, he took courage, and put away the abominable idols out of all the land
of Judah and Benjamin, and out of the cities which he had taken from mount
Ephraim, and renewed the altar of the Lord, that was before the porch of the Lord.
9 And he gathered all Judah and Benjamin, and the strangers with
them out of Ephraim and Manasseh, and out of Simeon: for they fell to him out
of Israel in abundance, when they saw that the Lord his God was with him.
10 So they gathered themselves together at Jerusalem in the third
month, in the fifteenth year of the reign of Asa.
11 And they offered unto the Lord the same time, of the spoil which they had brought, seven
hundred oxen and seven thousand sheep.
12 And they entered into a covenant to seek the Lord God of their fathers with all their heart and with all their
13 That whosoever would not seek the Lord God of Israel should be put to death, whether small or
great, whether man or woman.
14 And they sware unto the Lord with a loud voice, and with shouting, and with trumpets, and
15 And all Judah rejoiced at the oath: for they had sworn with all
their heart, and sought him with their whole desire; and he was found of them:
and the Lord gave them rest round about.
won mighty battles, they celebrated their victories and they had rest. Who
wouldn’t want their week to end like that!?
brought me forth also into a large place; He delivered me, because He delighted
Room to Breathe
Have you ever been
trapped in a small space? Even sitting in a crowded theatre where people are
shoulder to shoulder is not a feeling I enjoy. I’m not claustrophobic but I still
don’t enjoy it. It’s the same feeling that I get when trouble happens in my
life. I feel as though the walls are closing in on me, breathing is difficult and
being a heart attack survivor, those times are not what I want to experience.
I need room to
breathe. And Praise God! He provides that room through His word.
Psalm 18, another
of David, who assuredly had enemies, was likely written in his old age. Perhaps
a reflection of his previous enemies, maybe new ones. As a child of God we all
have enemies, the greatest being Satan. Sometimes I’m my own worst enemy.
Heaping and heaping things upon myself, until I’m out of room.
This morning I
imagined God swooping in , brushing my burdens away and telling Satan, not
today. She’s got no time for that. And I could breathe.
That place… that awesome
large place… is Heaven. Me seated in Heaven with the Father as spoken in
Ephesians 2: 6
And hath raised us up together,
and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
is plenty of room to breathe in Heaven!
Removed from Battle
delivered me. I did not fight the battle because I didn’t have the
strength. If David was in his final days
upon writing this Psalm, he likely wasn’t able to physically fight the battles
any longer. Regardless of age, life’s
battles takes its toll on your strength.
It weakens the spirit and with it weakens my hope that I’ll win.
in that place this morning.
why I turned to the word of God, looking for hope in the only place it is a
surety. It’s there I found the freedom to breathe and the relief of not
fighting the battle. Just to sit and watch God as He removed me from the
Raised in Belief
Belief that I am a favored child
of the King. Raised, meaning lifted up and strengthened in the knowledge that
He who sits high and looks low, not only controls my world but the world of
those that would seek to cause anxiety and stress in my life.
He loves us! He does not want us
to fight these battles alone and He desires that we talk to Him about it and
get out of the mindset of defeat. He delights in you!
I can’t help but think about my
own children and how I delight in them. I can’t wait to see them and speak with
them. I love hearing what’s going on in their life, it’s not a burden, it’s a blessing.
I want God to do amazing things in their lives and for them to have Victory.
Is it any different for our
Take heart child of God. You are loved and
adored by your Father above. You are with Him in Heaven and He is with you on
earth. The battle is over with Him
because He goes before us. We have His word as a promise and a reason to
hope this encourages you today! It sure did me
It’s a thought that’s been so heavy on my mind and
heart lately. I’m not thirsty enough. Not when it comes to water in a bottle,
or the water of the Bible. I just don’t want it bad enough, knowing that it is
the quencher to the thirst within.
Why is that?
The old adage “You can lead a horse to water but you
can’t make him drink” comes to mind. There are people all across the earth that
would literally give their right arm for what I have freely flowing in the tap.
The same holds true for what’s lying beside me on the couch. The water of the
word that is all over my house, on multiple tables, bookshelves, and electronic
devices, and yet I don’t thirst enough. I read it. But I don’t thirst for it.
In Psalm 42 David writes as he’s being persecuted
by Saul for doing nothing less than trying to be of help in a position that he
knows is actually his. He is on the run, driven from his homeland where he
longs to be. Away from family and friends, away from the house of God. All
these things that I have surrounding me and yet I take them for granted.
This morning I have burdens on my soul. Ministry burdens. Life burdens. But I’m not on the run. Sunday morning, Lord willing, I’ll be in the sanctuary of Victory Baptist Church listening to the word of God without fear of being persecuted or killed because I’ve openly walked through the doors in the free country that I live and am protected by.
However, today I’m so parched by the world around me. I’m thirsting. I’m tired. Maybe you are too. Maybe you’ve had enough of bad news, wickedness abounding and world of hurting people. If you’re ready to sooth your weary soul. Read along with me and let’s unpack how David lived on the run…
Thirsting for His Presence
One of my
favorite, fav-o-rite songs that I sing is “Your Presence is my Favorite Gift of
All” by Claire Lynch. It blesses my soul! It causes me to remember that feeling
that I have when I’m in the presence of the Almighty God. It causes me to long
to be there again. Imagine David, on the run and unable to attend a worship
service that He so loved being a part of. That’s where he is in the beginning
of Psalm 42. He misses being in God’s presence. So do I.
hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. 2 My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God:
when shall I come and appear before God?
The living God! Oh my stars if we could get a hold of that thought and take it in with every breath. God is not dead, He is very much alive! And He longs to be found alive within His church today. Not dry and dusty Christianity, but praise singing, hand raising, shoutin’ time Christianity. The real deal that comes from being thirsty.
I can imagine the hart
(deer) running to the brook after being high in the mountains away from the
water for a long time. Needing to feel that moisture running across his tongue
and down his throat into the depths of his belly. What a relief! that’s where
my soul was this morning. I needed to feel the Spirit of God like a glass of
water from a well spring. Can you feel it? Just in the reading of a few lines
of scripture I feel my soul moistening, tender, ready to receive His word.
Thirsting for His People
3 My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, Where is thy God?4 When I remember these things, I pour out my soul in me: for I had gone with the multitude, I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept holyday.
There was a time when many, many churches were on fire for God. They are few and far between. I need a church that praises and preaches the joy of God. One that I can feel the love of God through. I have that. David had that, he missed that. I long for a revival both in my soul and in my church. I want a soul stirring meeting that doesn’t want to end. We experienced one such in our church in 2010 when a 5 day revival went for weeks. We were thirsty. We not only thirsted for God but for each other. We couldn’t get enough of the fellowship. You practically had to throw people off the lot. David got that. He loved His people like that.
Thirsting for His Power
5 Why art
thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God:
for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance. 6 O my God, my soul is cast down within me:
therefore will I remember thee from the land of Jordan, and of the Hermonites,
from the hill Mizar. 7 Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy
waterspouts: all thy waves and thy billows are gone over me. 8 Yet the Lord will
command his lovingkindness in the day time, and in the night his song shall be
with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life.
The Hermonians lived on a high hill, Mizar means little hill. I have to wonder if David isn’t reminded of times when regardless of being in a high place or a low place he experienced God’s power.
Am I thirsting for that? Do
I even believe it will happen? I’m ashamed to say that there are times when I
just don’t believe. Not because of God, but because of the flesh that I allow
to rise upon with me.
I went to the Orthopedic doc yesterday for my knee injury. His diagnosis without the MRI was vague. He said it could be that when I injured it I flared up some serious arthritis. Or it could be the original diagnosis of a torn meniscus. Following the appointment I went to my friend Tracy’s for a new hair doo and she is a power packed prayer warrior. So as we discussed my knee I said, I’d rather it be arthritis than the tear. Which is crazy because the tear can be surgically healed, arthritis not so much. But I can’t have the surgery due to the open heart surgery being to close. To which Tracy responded and loudly. “Why are you not praying for complete healing?” To which I said inside my head, because I don’t have enough faith.
David was using the water
that was overflowing him, that would have drowned a lesser man, to ignite the
revival in his soul and the power to give God glory for the victory, even in
the face of little hope.
Can I get a witness that
that has got to encourage your soul!!!
Thirsting for His Praise
David was distraught and
downhearted in a way I cannot even imagine. But I can imagine it on my level.
9 I will
say unto God my rock, Why hast thou forgotten me? why go I mourning because of
the oppression of the enemy? 10 As with a sword in my bones, mine enemies
reproach me; while they say daily unto me, Where is thy God? 11 Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art
thou disquieted within me? Hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is
the health of my countenance, and my God.
have never felt that God forgot me, but I can tell you that I’ve felt that God
was choosing to ignore me. I always knew it was my fault. I allowed myself to
get there, but I couldn’t feel Him moving in my life. And I can tell you that I
did not praise in that moment. But David did.
the doc gave me the diagnosis yesterday I said, “Okay… this is what it is.” But
what if God said… “It ain’t what you think.” I didn’t even leave room for the
need to be a little thirstier for God’s side of this discussion…
He that hath knowledge spareth his words: and a man of understanding is
of an excellent spirit.
might think (and often correctly) that me and the phrase “sparing words” would
never be in the same sentence. It is however a family trait. While I have no problem speaking what’s on my
mind, there are times (sometimes days upon days) that I’d rather say nothing to
anyone. The ringing of a telephone causes my stomach to go nauseous and even
messages on social media overwhelm me. I like silence. Because I know that in
those times is when I am most likely to hear God speak. And then there are
other times, if I’m honest, that I am drawn to the noise of the earth around me
because I know in the silence I’ll hear God speak, and that scares me too. It’s
crazy, I know! But it’s me being real.
I attended the funeral of a sweet cousin who’s epitaph verse was Proverbs
17:27. He was a very well educated man with much to say, but seldom said it.
His daughter said it best when she said “if he spoke you should listen, because
his words were weighted.” What an awesome testimony he had.
As I sat there and watched his children work through their grief in front of an audience and do it so God glorifying; it did what a funeral should do, it caused me to reflect on my own life and the cause and effect of silence. Silence can be good, or silence can be bad, there must be balance as in everything in life. Even Cheesecake. I know that’s random… but it’s true.
times in Psalm 46 the Psalmist says that “God
is our refuge.” Refuge being a safe haven, sanctuary or shelter. As a child
of God I understand that. I have run into that place to escape the sorrows of
the day so very many times. I’m in that place right now. I needed this word
this morning to send me to the feet of Jesus to speak to Him about the many burdens
in my life. They accumulate so quickly. Too much, too often and I’m consumed by
it. They’re a racket in my mind. God
understands. That’s why He spoke this Psalm into David. Not only for him, but
1God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
2 Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and
though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;3 Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the
mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.
Those roaring waters and trembling mountains that feel as though they’re going to bury us in defeat are exactly what runs us into the refuge. If it were not for that trouble, we’d think we didn’t need help. We’d be sure that it was us who could get us through the issues of the day. God doesn’t make the trouble, but He’ll get His glory in the midst of it! I witnessed that yesterday.
My cousin’s death was not a death of God’s timing. But God knew the heart of the man and used the occasion of his memorial to quiet the noise in my life and probably many others. Death has a way of putting life in check.
This is important. √
This is not. √
4 There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of
God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High.5 God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help
her, and that right early.
I sing a song titled “Tell Me One
More Time About Jesus” and in that song there is a line that speaks of the
Pastor’s words being like a “cool drink of water.” The Psalmist’s words are
such. So were the words of the memorial, because they all point to Jesus. Jesus
is that river, that makes glad the city of God! When a child of God comes home,
whether timely or not, you better believe there is rejoicing in Heaven! Should
there not be on earth.
I told my cousin Duke last
night when he called to see how the funeral went, that “I love a good funeral!”
We laughed, but he knew what I meant. Because we both know Jesus. And there is
joy in knowing that a loved one’s struggle is over and they are sitting beside
of Victory! Glorraaaaaay! That puts a shout in my soul.
The Refuge from the Rage
6 The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice,
the earth melted. 7 The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.8 Come, behold the works of the Lord, what desolations he hath made in the earth.9 He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the
bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire.10 Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen,
I will be exalted in the earth.11 The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.
You can better believe that
Satan was not a happy camper at Gassaway Baptist Church yesterday. He expected
worlds to fall apart when he moved “his kingdom.” But this world is not our home,
and this world was not what my cousin’s children had their eyes on. They were standing in the refuge of the God
of Jacob. The same God and Savior who gave Jacob a new name when he wrestled
with God in Genesis 32.
Every battle of a child of God
ends in Victory, even if it doesn’t always appear that way.
My cousin was described as a man of few words, yet he was a writer, a thinker, a ponderer… and he and I had many times talked about our ponderings of God. He left his testimony with us through his children when his daughter said, “Our dad was a humble man who wouldn’t want you to focus on his education, successes and the many things he did that no one knew. He would want us to tell you of the day he made Jesus his Savior.”
every stroke of the brush, marker or pen my mind’s eye goes into critical mode.
“That line’s not straight… that looks dumb…why did I put that there?” It’s likely
the nature of the beast of an artist. A word I have always had issues with
because I’ve never considered myself to be one. So today, 2 Corinthians 12:9
caught my eye and took me to a different place.
2 Corinthians 12:9
said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect
in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that
the power of Christ may rest upon me.
Perhaps it’s a trip you
needed to take today as well.
The only grace that truly matters, because He is the only One Who is worthy to give it. I can extend grace to others and I should, because I need it as much as they do. I’m a sinner saved by grace, fully forgiven because of the blood of Jesus Christ. But often times there is no one harder on me than me. I’m sure Apostle Paul could identify. How many times did Satan remind him of his previous life? Countless no doubt. And for me, Satan may only have to remind me of fifteen minutes ago. But there’s something about pen to paper that makes my mistakes more permanent than just the ink.
Seeing the mistake on the
page weakens me. It reminds me of the fact that I often consider myself faux
artist, much like the technique of faux art. I’m not real. It’s why I need His
strength. I rely on it to get me through those times when Satan would tear me
down and with me the ministry I long to build for the Kingdom of God. That’s
why Satan does it. Every time he can use
self-criticism as a tool he can thwart the Kingdom’s work.
I don’t know how many
times, far too many to count that I have walked off the platform feeling like a
dirt dog because I had failed. Only to be greeted by a child of God who
described a performance that was far above the one I experienced. That’s His
power! Not mine. He can take a vessel, marred and broken like me and use me in
spite of myself and my mistakes.
There was an illustration
once at a retreat I attended where the ladies had taken a pitcher, broken it
and glued it back together. In front of the audience they poured water into it
only to have it pour through the cracks of the broken vessel. Hello! This is
where we get happy. If we allow our brokenness, our mistakes to be seen by
other people, the Holy Spirit can flow into and out of us blessing many and
drawing them to the grace, the strength and the power we experience as His
Yes… this is what I have to remember. My imperfections are made perfect by my Lord. His grace, His goodness, and His greatness dwell within me. I just have to let them leak through the cracks of my broken, messed up self.
am pretty sure that I am not alone when it comes to growing weary of the news
media of today. There was a time in my life, when the news was on, it may not
have been the gospel, but at least it was truth. There was a standard, this
remarkable word called “ethics” that governed media. But today media is
marketing and entertainment without accountability. But it is not however there
is great repercussions.
won’t call out call letters of media that I consider to be absolute liars.
That’s not my purpose here. And I’m not so sure that any television news outlet
of the day is to be considered truth. Their bias is obvious and they’re either
sold to the highest bidder, or they’ve got their own agenda which clouds their
why am I here?
guess to tell you where I stand and hopefully encourage you with some gospel
truth about the world we live in.
first Bible study as a new child of God was on the book of Revelation. Talk
about a meaty subject for a milk drinker! Oh my goodness, it was. But what it
did was solidify me in the truth of the gospel. Praise God I had a Pastor that
was there to break it down and help me understand what I could, and skip past
what I couldn’t for a day when I was weighted in the word and ready for it.
is important for a Christian to read and study the word of God, not only for
personal edification, but for prophetic wisdom for the day.
Please don’t misunderstand, I’m not privately interpreting the Bible. God is clear on that. But I’m here to tell you, if you read it, as religiously as the world watches the swamp we call news, you’ll see the prophetic words of old that read like a modern day newspaper.
A Light in the Dark
2 Peter 1:19-21
19 We have also a more sure
word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that
shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your
The world is a dark place.
Television, the web, the movie screens, all cater to darkness and evil. And
Americans pay top dollar for it. Parents allow their children to watch it as if
it were no more dangerous than Tom and Jerry of our day. There is
repercussions. I see it playing out in our locals schools in rural West
Virginia. I can’t imagine the dark side of public schools in larger areas. But
I know it’s there.
Peter said we’d do well to
take heed to the light that shines in those dark places because there was
darkness then, and it’s far worse now. The world around us seems oblivious to
it and willing to buy into any lie the media feeds them.
2 Corinthians 4 says it
4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which
believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image
of God, should shine unto them.5 For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and
ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath
shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in
the face of Jesus Christ.
We have the wisdom we need
for the day within us. You don’t need me to tell you, but perhaps you needed me
to remind you.
A Truth for Tomorrow
this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
21 For the prophecy came not
in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by
the Holy Ghost.
My words are not prophetic,
but they’re truth as revealed to me by the Holy Ghost as I sat in my living
room this morning wanting to hear from God. I didn’t turn on the news because
there was nothing there that would encourage me. I tuned into the Word of God
and this image of the swamp monster came into my head.
That’s how I see the media
of the day. They’re a vile group of people working on the agenda of Satan
himself to lure people into the darkness, not the light. They love creating
dissention among people and groups because it makes news and keeps people
talking about prejudices, politics and pathetic individuals seeking personal
No Prejudice in the Gospel
The gospel will shine the
light on every single one of those topics. There is no prejudice in God. All
men are equal. Peter said it as God revealed it to him in Acts 10:34 ~ Then
Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no
respecter of persons:
God loves all people!!!
11 Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor
uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in
No Politics in the Gospel
politics that killed Jesus, God’s Only Son. People wanting to please people.
This ought not to be.
is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in
exchange for his soul?
No Personal Agenda in the Gospel
Apostle Paul said in 1 Corinthians 10:
31 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to
the glory of God.
32 Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor
to the church of God:
33 Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own
profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.
While life goes on
around us, and there are things we have to do and conversations we have to have
that have nothing really to do with the gospel, it’s just living. But all that
we do should in some way glorify God.
God is only in the
1 Thessalonians 5:21
21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
Oh to have the boldness and fearless testimony of
the three Hebrew boys… without the fire of course! Can that even happen? Can
you have a testimony to that degree without the test? I don’t think so.
I have so many friends currently in fires of
varying degrees. I stand by with helpless emotions wishing and praying that God
will spare them this trial and await His answer. I guess that was the same
prayer that many were praying for me in May of 2018 when I had the heart
attacks and surgery that followed. But for some reason it felt different from
my perspective of laying in that hospital bed with round the clock monitors,
medical staff and drugs. I was too busy going through the battle to realize it
was a fight. It was just a process. The real battle began when I came out of
the hospital and continues today trying to get and stay healthy.
It began when I once again had control of the
Maybe that’s how the boys felt when they answered
King Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 3:16
GOD IS ABLE
16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O
Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. 17 If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the
burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.
18 But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve
thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.
To West Virginia-nize it “Listen
up Neb… we ain’t even got to think about it. Do your best. Because our God is
able, either through the fire, or out of the fire. The decision is His!”
That’s the attitude I see in
these guys. They’d fully relinquished this event to the Lord.
When I laid in the bed at Ruby
Memorial for 4 days prior to surgery I had plenty of time to stress out. And I
won’t lie to you and tell you that I didn’t occasionally have moments of fear.
But they were truly rare. (No one was more shocked than me!) Mainly because I
recognized that this was out of my scope of expertise. So likely the Hebrew boys
recognized that they were not fire fighters.
But what about the unmentioned
friends who watched? How was there faith? I don’t know, it doesn’t say. But I
know how I am right now watching my friends go through their fire. I don’t like
it, but Gloraaay! I have hope. I know my God can deliver! But I would not have
so great of faith if I hadn’t spent a little time in the furnace myself.
The post surgery healing
probably took more out of me than the actual surgery.
SATAN IS ANGRY
19 Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury, and the form of his visage
was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego: therefore he spake, and
commanded that they should heat the furnace one seven times more than it was
wont to be heated.20 And he commanded the most mighty men that were in his army to bind
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery
furnace. 21 Then these men were bound in their coats, their hosen, and their
hats, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning
fiery furnace. 22 Therefore because the king’s commandment was urgent, and the
furnace exceeding hot, the flames of the fire slew those men that took up
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. 23 And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down
bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.
seen that there was no fear in the boys, he turned the heat up via
Nebuchadnezzar. He does that with us too. When he sees us in our bravest form
he’ll often heap more on! I don’t know how many times the medical staff tried
to “explain” to me how sick I was. Finally one very intelligent gal looked at
me and ask, “Do you want to know the danger you’re in?” To which I replied, “No.
That will serve no purpose other than to stress me out.” Ignorance may not be
bliss, but it’s handy to calm the nerves.
just need to tell Satan, and some people to shut up. I know that’s not nice,
and I was raised better. But negative
people will bring you down. We are aware in the battle we have an angry enemy,
but don’t let that voice be louder than the voices of Victory.
THE SAVIOR IS
24 Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonished, and rose up in haste,
and spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into
the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king.25 He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the
midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like
the Son of God.
At this point in biblical history,
Christ was in the fire. Now He’s in us!
If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto
That same faith that the Hebrew
boys drew upon to save them from that fire, is the same faith that we draw upon
today. The only difference is, He’s even closer. He’s in us! Ready and willing
to get us through or bring us out!
THE RESULT IS
Even Nebuchadnezzar knew. He
seen the power of the God of the Hebrew boys. The same God we serve today.
26 Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery
furnace, and spake, and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, ye servants of
the most high God, come forth, and comehither.Then Shadrach,
Meshach, and Abednego, came forth of the midst of the fire.27 And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king’s
counsellors, being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire
had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats
changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them.28 Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his
servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king’s word, and yielded
their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except
their own God.29 Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and
language, which speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and
Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill:
because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort.30 Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, in the
province of Babylon.
As the wife of
a fire fighter, I’ve smelled smoky clothing a lot! It’s nasty and it penetrates
the fabric and everything around it.
So for that
smell, to be nowhere on anything the boys wore speaks such Victory to me. It
means that God brought them through the fire, and when they got out, there wasn’t
any evidence they were ever even in it.
God is able!
Pray church and believe that God will bring us through and out and Satan won’t
get one drop of recognition for his part in it.
as the days go by! That truly is how it is when you’re serving Christ and doing
your best to stay in the center of His will. I had, what my friend Gloria and I
call a “Cinderella” day yesterday. It’s when all the stars align, and things
are going well. You’re just having a great day.
taught on the Holy Spirit in my Teen Sunday School class and the kids were so
gracious and interactive with the lesson. And as they walked out of the class
they said to each other, “this was a good day.” And I thought, yes, yes it was!
Not because of me but because the Prince had shown up.
then went to worship and again the Spirit was moving in the service and it was
so, so very good!
and after church there were terrible wind storms and the trees began to break,
tearing the power lines down and knocking out our electric. On a day that I had
two grandbabies. So no tv, no internet, video games were dying and it could
have gone down the tubes were it not for the kids who said, “can we make
we spent the afternoon making paper and craft stick projects and the it was a
sweet time. That I would not have had, if the power hadn’t have gone out.
how true is that in life that we don’t realize how sweet some things are until
they’re gone. Or, we’ll spend so much time focusing on the negative and ignore the
can tell you when the electric went off I was about to get frustrated. Had it
not been for the kids, I would have. They just roll with the punches. So it
started me thinking about how many times I’ll look at the painful events in my
life and much like the honey bee’s of spring we’re about to experience, all I
see is the stinger. I forget about the sweet honey that I love the flavor of.
7 The law of the Lord is perfect, converting
the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise
Glory to God! Even a
simpleton like me can have a Cinderella moment in the study of the Word of God
because the Holy Spirit makes it possible.
While the law of the Lord is
perfect, I am far from it. And I’m a rule breaker from a way back; so getting
my flesh under control isn’t always easy and it’s seldom ever fun.
Most people do not like bees
buzzing around the flowers of their house for fear of getting stung. The focus
is not on the honey, it’s on the potential pain. And while the saying “no pain,
no gain,” has its place in fitness, it doesn’t necessarily have to be so in
If we would focus less on
what we can’t do and more on what we can do in Christ, the days certainly get
sweeter. When the lights went off yesterday my first thought was, well, there
goes wifi. The boys first thought was, let’s get some glue!
There are 10 “Thou Shalt
nots”. But how many shalls are there?
I don’t know, but I know there’s a bunch.
The testimonies mentioned in verse seven is why
we find great joy in verse eight.
8 The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing
the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening
We know in our hearts that
the advice of the Lord is always good. His word is always right and encouraging
to our souls. And if we allow that word to really penetrate the heart to the
point of rejoicing, God suddenly opens up the scriptures in ways that we’d
never noticed before.
The more we testify, study
and share the word of God with each other, the more we find ourselves focusing
on the honey, not the sting.
We still fear the bee, but
we’re not fretting over him. We’re happier if we can just let him do his thing
and we’ll reap the reward later in the grocery aisle of a sweet jar of honey.
Two more verses and then we’ll
be ready to get on with our day.
Fear is a healthy emotion if
it’s kept in check.
We should have a healthy
fear of bees, rock cliffs and fast driving. And the Lord!
Verse 9 days The
fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for
ever: the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous
Fearing God isn’t something terrible. It’s a
healthy respect for He Who controls the world.
We almost missed Sunday evening services. But not
quite. The electric came back on 45 minute before church was due to start. If I
had gotten frustrated because of all the things I wanted to get done and didn’t
yesterday afternoon, I could have ruined not only the afternoon but the evening
I know from experience. Our mindset is ¾ of the battle on any given day.
So are you looking at the honey, or are you watchin’ the stinger?
It’s good to be reminded about Who is in
More to be
desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey
and the honeycomb.
What’s to be desired more than gold? His
judgements. His decisions on our behalf are sweeter than honey and the honey
Just before Jesus disappeared into the sky
after the Resurrection He shared something with His people.
Fish and honeycomb.
36 And as they
thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them,
Peace be unto you.
37 But they were terrified and
affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit.
38 And he said unto them, Why
are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts?
39 Behold my hands and my feet,
that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones,
as ye see me have.
40 And when he had thus spoken,
he shewed them his hands and his feet.
41 And while they yet believed
not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat?
42 And they gave him a piece of
a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb.
43 And he took it, and did eat
44 And he said unto them, These
are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things
must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets,
and in the psalms, concerning me.
45 Then opened he their
understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,
Psalm 19, The Law of Moses and Luke 24, all
work in perfect harmony. Just like our lives if we let God control the
They were standing in front of the risen Lord,
feeding Him fish and honey. And He tells them, I’m the real deal.
And He’s still telling us that today.
Even in the hard times, and they were about to
have some as the persecuted church. But God wanted them to remember a sweeter
I hope you have a sweet, sweet day today! And praise
His name at days end.
The sun is shining
and it’s a balmy 52 degrees today in Calhoun County, West Virginia. It gives me
high hopes that spring is just around the corner! High hopes because I can see
the glorious sunshine and feel the warmth (well kind of) on my skin as I go out
to feed the chickadees in the hen house.
But what about next
week when the temperatures drop back into the twenties, snow is possibly in the
forecast, and the chicks still need fed. Will I have high hopes that day that
spring is just around the corner? Or will I bundle up and growl as my bones
ache in protest to the chore? Not believing with any great confidence that
spring will come?
I see and
occasionally fall victim to the same faulty thinking as a child of God. Hope is
fleeting in this fallen world, is it not?
Corinthians 4:18 says
While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things
which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things
which are not seen are eternal.
I have only girls in my henhouse, because, it is after all, a henhouse. And boys are bossy. I speak in poultry language of course, not humanistic. I would never say that my husband is bossy.
Okay… that’s a lie.
But he will tell you that I listen about like the poultry dames. I love my chickens. I do not however love their hygiene. They’re pretty gross. But they provide breakfast and attribute to my baking; so, I’ll tolerate their stinky butts and shovel their poop if I can’t con the hubs into. Which is usually the case. But my point of my Bantam banner is this, those girls always have hope!
awaiting me to come to the hen house and feed and water them and they
graciously (with the exception of one Silkie) allow me to take their eggs. They
don’t care what the weather is like, although they’re a little less productive
on cold days, much like me. But they still have hope. They’re doing what
Am I? Doing what I’m
called to do? Every day? Or just on days when I feel like the Son is going to
Just like the ladies in
the henhouse, God’s plan for me has been mapped out rain or shine. Cold or
warm. Muddy or dry. I need to be productive for the cause of Christ which is to
tell others of His return. That may come in the form of a blog, vlog, speaking
engagement or a song I sing. But all should point other to Christ and tell them
of His imminent return. That is hope.
That is what we have. It’s not up for debate. He’s coming back for the
Will it be this spring? Today? Tomorrow, next year or 2025? It doesn’t matter. He’s coming back! It only matters that I’m doing what needs to be done. So… I’ll feed my chickens, I’ll feed my family, I’ll feed the youth in the teen department with the word of God and I’ll feed my own faith with God’s word like 2 Corinthians 4:18.
I hope you found some nourishment in that word today too!
Some of the Old
Testament is often difficult for me to relate to because it’s so different than
how we relate to God today. We are so blessed by grace! A fact that is made all
the more clearer as I read the worship experience in the days of Ezekiel.
Through the closing
chapters of Ezekiel God is laying out prophesy and Christ like illustrations. Typification
that is easily seen from this side of grace. It causes me to wonder what it was
like to view it from God’s side of Heaven.
And so thou shalt do the seventh day of the
month for every one that erreth, and for him that is simple: so shall ye
reconcile the house. In the first month, in the fourteenth day of the month, ye
shall have the passover, a feast of seven days; unleavened bread shall be
eaten. And upon that day shall the prince prepare for himself and for all the
people of the land a bullock for a sin offering. And seven days of the feast he
shall prepare a burnt offering to the Lord, seven bullocks and seven rams
without blemish daily the seven days; and a kid of the goats daily for a sin
offering. And he shall prepare a meat offering of an ephah for a bullock, and
an ephah for a ram, and an hin of oil for an ephah. In
the seventh month, in the fifteenth day of the month, shall he do the like in
the feast of the seven days, according to the sin offering, according to the
burnt offering, and according to the meat offering, and according to the oil.
There is no doubt in my mind that the formality
and pomp of this event was amazing. Should not our worship experience of modern
day be every bit as glorious? So why is it not? Likely because we don’t see the
blood as we should. The blood of that day was likely not such a glamorous
viewpoint but the reality that something died for your sin.
I must confess that blood makes me squeamish.
Even that of hamburger or any other raw meat. I just don’t have the stomach for
it. But I deal with it. So I praise God that our worship of today and the
sacrifice that our Lord and Savior made on the cross over 2000 years ago,
covers our sin; and I don’t have to deal with the blood of goats and cows! But
the blood must still be recognized.
When God looked over the balcony of Heaven as
the children of Israel made their sacrifice He knew the rebellion of His people
wasn’t over. He knew that that blood was a temporary atonement for continual
problem. He could see the coming atonement that was a permanent solution to an
As I read the details of the offerings and the
feasts and it goes on and on and I get burdened in my mind from what seems like
more information than I currently need. And then I think about my God. The God
Who is in every detail of my life. All the piddley little things that are so
unimportant in the scope of eternity and yet He cares. How can I not care about
every little detail of a sacrifice that set the example of what His Son did for
me so that I could have peace for the day and hope for eternity? God’s view
then, is my view now, even though mine is from earth, I can see it just as
clearly as God did from Heaven.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only
begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
The final sacrifice. No more critters. No more
pomp and circumstance over the blood of animals. No more separation from God!
No more necessity of a man on earth to make our intercessions to God. We alone
can approach the altar of grace from anywhere we are, in any state of condition
that we’re in because Christ made the ultimate sacrifice and God make the
ultimate promise. It was finished! He opened the door of the throne of grace
for every child that accepted Him as Lord and Savior and the door would never
again be closed.
1 Corinthians 15:55
where is thy sting? O grave where is thy victory?
1 Corinthians 15:57
thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Having just lost another family member this
week, these verses provide fresh hope. Not just victory over death, but victory
over every day living. All the struggles I face. All the times I just don’t get
it, and I fail God miserably. He is there for all of it. He has me covered. His
offering was enough. “It is finished!” He said on the cross. And I am so
Anxiety. Not for the good Christian girl and boy, right? Umm, wrong. Multiple people have recently come to me requesting prayer for their anxious spirit. And I’m ever so glad to lift them to the Lord, believing that He will remove their fears and anxiousness and restore to them the peace that comes from knowing Christ. And then, moments later, I’m in the same predicament. What is it about anxiety that can get such a hold on the believer?
know my Lord is greater, but for the life of me I cannot convince that monster
that is lurking behind me. He just won’t believe it. I read the word of God and
the anxiety flees, only to return after I allow the cares of the world to creep
days for me it’s manageable. I reiterate the fact again that I am not a super
saint, but God has given me this ability to shut things out; almost like
slamming the door in Satan’s face. It’s my coping mechanism and it serves me
well, until it doesn’t. It can also allow me to shut out things that I should
be managing. That’s when the stress can
get out of control and that monster lurking behind me almost feels like a
physical presence on my shoulder.
I had the heart attacks, it was the heaviest it had been in a long time. So
now, I try to keep a handle on things. But like most everyone, I don’t always
win my monster mayhem.
imaginary conversations. Oh my stars, I am so glad you people are not inside my
head. I have more conversations that never take place in reality than anyone
should. I tell people off, I rescue the distraught, I line people up and line
them out. It’s awesome! And then I come back to reality. Bury the thoughts,
shut out the world and crawl into my pity pit that allows the anxiety to take
hold over the peace my Lord wants for my life.
street scene in Mark 5 wrangles my angst this morning.
22 And, behold, there cometh one of the rulers of the synagogue,
Jairus by name; and when he saw him, he fell at his feet, 23 And besought him greatly, saying, My little daughter lieth at the
point of death: I pray thee, come and lay thy hands on her, that she may be
healed; and she shall live. 24 And Jesus went with him; and much people followed him, and
thronged him.25 And a certain woman, which had an issue of blood twelve years,26 And had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all
that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse,27 When she had heard of Jesus, came in the press behind, and touched
his garment.28 For she said, If I may touch but his clothes, I shall be whole.29 And straightway the fountain of her blood was dried up; and she
felt in her body that she was healed of that plague.30 And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out
of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes?
31 And his disciples said unto him, Thou seest the multitude
thronging thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me?32 And he looked round about to see her that had done this thing.33 But the woman fearing and trembling, knowing what was done in her,
came and fell down before him, and told him all the truth.34 And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole; go
in peace, and be whole of thy plague.35 While he yet spake, there came from the ruler of the synagogue’s
house certain which said, Thy daughter is dead: why troublest thou the Master
any further?36 As soon as Jesus heard the word that was spoken, he saith unto the
ruler of the synagogue, Be not afraid, only believe.
characters who triumph over anxiety are Jarius and the woman with the issue of
blood. Both had life altering issues. Jarius was at the point of losing his
young daughter (12 years old). The woman with the issue of blood (for 12 years)
is losing hope. I don’t think these two 12 year old stories are in the same
part of scripture by happenstance. Jarius wants to keep alive his issue, the
woman, wants her issue to go away. We all have issues. Some physical, some
emotional, but all can be spirit breaking.
what can we learn from the word and the characters of study this morning that
will help us with our own issues? I think that there was a commonality to both
of their victories.
can almost guarantee there was a lot of weeping prior to their coming to
Christ. What parent cannot identify with tears both of joy and heartache when
raising children? But the thought of losing one is beyond comprehension or
acceptance. And the woman with the issue of blood had had the issue twelve
years; preventing her from spending time with the people she loved, draining
her physically and emotionally. But using the acronym of W.E.P.T both
Worshipped – Both fell down at His feet
– Both reached out to Him for a solution.
– Both prayed for God’s mercy
– Both trusted His answer.
both received Victory. Jairus’ daughter lived, and the woman was healed. And the
anxiety was stopped. Oh what power I the word of God! These were not my issues,
my issues are far less. So how can I not trust Him?
the monster return… probably. But so will victory.
Monday morning I had two of the grandbabies and breakfast protocol at Noni’s house is pancakes, and with pancakes being messy I distributed napkins accordingly. And these were special “conversation starting” napkins that I purchased from our local grocery store, Foodland.
Each napkin had a question printed on it to get family conversations started, which I think is really cool. And it worked perfectly.
The first question was “You had a dream last night and it came true, what was it?” To which Noah (age 11) responded “school was canceled.”
dream however did not come true.
But it did get me thinking about conversation starters. And with Valentine’s Day right around the corner it got me thinking of Valentine’s Day conversation hearts, which I personally love the flavor of! But more importantly than the flavor I love the idea of using them to share Jesus by starting a conversation around the condition of a soul, or the topic of church.
thought of a few…
do you Miss?
loves you most?
love if you posted in the comments some things you think would be a good
conversation starting question. I’m going to make and print these conversation
hearts for my youth class on Wednesday night. I’m going to make myself a set.
Whether or not it’s Valentine’s day, it’s still a great soul winning tool.
Only let your
conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and
see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in
one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;
One of the reasons I like the flavors of conversation hearts is because they’re delicately sweet and not over powering. That’s how I like the Christians I meet. Just show me Jesus!
When Paul said “Whether I come to see you or not,”
that causes me to think that perhaps there was dissention among the ranks.
Maybe they weren’t happy he wasn’t there, or perhaps because he wasn’t there
the leadership had gone awry. But whatever the reason for his comment, it
brings attention to the fact that the world doesn’t need to see disgruntled
Christians. There’s enough of that everywhere else.
And it leaves a bad flavor in the mouth of the
unsaved. Why would they want to be a part of that?
Our main focus should be striving to share the gospel. That’s why I like this tool that the Lord gave me this morning. So I’m going to act on it. Our conversations need to lead to action.
1 Timothy 4:12
Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the
believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in
like to add, let no man forget his or her youth.
of the conversation starters that might lead to a salvation conversation can be
a fun topic. A question like “What does your dream life look like?”
few people don’t like to dream about the perfect life. Wouldn’t we all want it?
So what would it look like? And how easy that can enter into a conversation
about the perfect life we’ll have in eternity.
a fun time!
2 Corinthians 1:12
For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that
in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of
God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to
Whether we’re talking to the saved or
the lost we need to know the truth through the word of God. Not using our own
wisdom, but what the Word of God says, because that’s going to speak the heart
of those we’re having a conversation with.
A question like “What’s your biggest fear.” And the
scripture to calm the fear such as 2 Timothy 1:7 will go
a long way in starting a conversation.
hath not given us the spirit of fear;
but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
I don’t know of a person who doesn’t
have fear, and who’s not looking for peace. I have fears. I needed that
scripture today. I needed it yesterday and every other day. What a great
question to ask someone who’s lost. Because we know they likely have great
What about the question, “Who do you
miss?” For me it’s my Dad. Many, many others, but most him. And how wonderful
that I have the scripture that tells me that to be absent from the body is to
be present with the Lord! And that Jesus has prepared a home for me that He
talks about in John 14.
So what’s your conversation starting
I’m serious about listing them below. Even if you think they’re too long for a piece of candy, maybe together we can shorten them. The printable link to the ones I’m using tonight are below! Enjoy and let me know if you use them and how it goes.
It is one of my greatest heartaches and concerns of the American church today that the Sunday morning altars are empty. Pastors should not have to heap guilt upon the congregations to create movement and cause a begrudging child of God to kneel at the altar of grace. We should not ever do it out of vain repetition but rather with the knowledge that there is always a need, be it ours or someone else. For me… it’s me. I take others to the altar too, but I’m here to tell you, I go because I know what a wretched sinner I am and how I fail my Lord every day. I don’t go to prove my “sainthood” or that I am all that and a bag of chips in the house of the Lord. I’m not trying to impress anyone in any pew. I’m going because I need it!
I find three things at the altar (and more). But
three very notable things.
I Find Quality
Ezekiel spoke of the altar as a table. The finest
wheat, and sweetest bread is there waiting for me every time I kneel. Jesus
said in John 6:35 I am
the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that
believeth on me shall never thirst.
It is apparent from my
waistline that I love to eat. But I pray that my soul is every bit as ravenous
for the things of God. That is why I go. I don’t always feel hungry for the
things of God. I’m ashamed of that. There are times I want worldly things that
tickle my fancy. It’s a real struggle. I’m a vain, bling loving babe that likes
techy things, music things and all things artsy craftsy. Those are the things
that can so easily draw me away from God. I need reminded that those things are
fine in their place, but that the true and finest filling of the soul comes
from time with the Master.
I Find Quantity
God has not one time
refused me time. Isn’t that a great thought? But what’s shameful for me again
is I have refused Him time over and over. I need reminded on as I kneel at the
altar that it is a privilege beyond comprehension that the Lord of Glory wants
to talk to me. Wants to give me His precious time.
I Find it Quietly
While there is a time
for praising and shouting the glory down, my time at the altar is in humble,
silent awe. It’s the feeling of the Holy Spirit that dwells within, also coming
from above like a mighty rushing wind and just settling there on top of me
pouring Himself down into me and blessing me all over. Helping me to understand
that in my greatest failures, I am loved. In my deepest pain, He understands
it. And when I just don’t know what to say. He intercedes on my behalf, making
groaning where there was no words.
Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our
infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the
Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. ~ Romans 8:26
That is why at every
opportunity you’ll find me at the altar. Not because I’m a saint… but because I
So, I’m back in Ezekiel again today, and I’m enjoying the Lord’s work in me through His word. Even the words I don’t understand.
Ezekiel 40, according to the commentary of John Gill, tells me that the Jews under the age of 30 were not allowed to read chapters 40-49 until they were of the age of 30 years old. And then they were to read it with the understanding that they wouldn’t understand. Finally, someone who gets me!
It speaks of a temple, of glorious grandeur and it speaks in great detail. I mean GREAT detail. As my eyes were glazing over while I read the cubit after cubit detail, the number of steps, the width of the rooms, the length of the porches, I begin to wonder why? Why does God give Ezekiel this information? So I looked closer. And began to try in my feeble brain to imagine what those images would have been. And I came across a few words that captured my attention for a minute and took me to a happy place. A pickin’ parlor.
In verse 44 of chapter 40 it says that “without the inner gate were the chambers of the singers in the inner court. ” That’s when I understood that God is all about the details. As He described this location to Ezekiel it didn’t really matter when it was, only that it was going to be, and when it was and where it is, we will be.
I don’t have to understand the future events, I only have to believe that God has got an amazing place for the believer and that it has been designed in great detail for us.
Don’t miss out on it by not knowing Jesus as your Savior. And if you’re saved, tell your family and friends so they don’t miss out!
arrogance. Oh… my… stars. It’s why I don’t watch the news and I avoid negative
conversations around me. This world actually thinks that they can do whatever
it is they desire, without repercussion and without accountability. Well, they
thought the same thing in the days of Ezekiel. Which for me I found great
solace in. Perhaps you need to hear this word today too.
Are you tired of seeing evil played out on an international, national and local level? Me too. It’s why I don’t miss my days of working in the courthouse of our not so fair county. I witnessed evil first hand, and grew weary and discouraged with each passing day in those halls. Not everyone was evil. But there was enough to suck the life out of me.
no doubt felt the same way. But when you’re a servant of God, which he is, and
I am, it’s like being a fire fighter. You can’t just walk away. You have to do
what the Lord tells you to do or there could be casualties on your watch. I
don’t want casualties on my watch.
as I read Ezekiel 38 this morning, determined to hear a word from the Lord that
I could pass on to you, this is the word…
don’t matter, Positions don’t matter, and Numbers don’t matter. God’s promises
matter. Just like the sparrow… God sees it all and He has us covered.
1And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying,2 Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief
prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him, 3 And say, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech
and Magog. Interesting names and there is some debate as to who they even are.
I won’t even attempt to guess. And truthfully, it’s irrelevant to me for the
word that God has given me. Because God’s first point for me to ponder is
many times do we hear people say that someone was trying to make a name for
themselves in a certain sphere? While obviously God and Magog thought they were
of great power in the days of Ezekiel, scholar’s debate who they even were. So
how important were they in the scope of those days? And when all is said and
done how will we remember those who are our adversaries today?
love that my grandbabies associate me with Jesus. Glory! That’ll put a shout in
my soul. Because I know if I’m doing something in His name, it matters. If it’s
in the name of anything or anyone else, not so much. So when I apply that theory
to the world around me that is filled with so much evil, what I’m doing is so
much more important.
was speaking to the chief prince. I’m sure he thought he was all that and a bag
of chips. But when the dust settled, it did not.
I do not ever glory in anyone falling, I can’t say that I may not inwardly
smile when evil is defeated. Even if evil has a name and a position. I’m tired
of the arrogance of elected officials who do not regard the position’s for
which they were elected to as an opportunity to do good. Woah… I may have went
right into preachin’.
forward in chapter 38 and Ezekiel’s still laying it on.
15 And thou shalt come from thy place out of the north parts, thou,
and many people with thee, all of them riding upon horses, a great company, and
a mighty army:
I’m sure those mighty
armies came with great confidence. So does the world and the political rhetoric
when they make decisions on behalf of our Nation that causes God to go red in
I actually just
discovered that God does.
Verse 18 says “And it shall come to pass at
the same time when Gog shall come against the land of Israel, saith the
Lord God, that my fury shall come up in my face.”
I don’t think any of
us wants to witness that. People who get red faced are usually about to
explode. If God explodes, it’s going to get ugly quick! And no matter the
number, you lose. So when I look at the odds that are against America on so
many different fronts, it sometimes discourages my soul. But then I think about
the fact that God hasn’t wiped us off the map yet and I believe it’s because He
still has enough people who care. There are still a few Ezekiel’s out there
willing to say what needs to be said. And that’s not our word, but rather the
Word of God!
God’s Promises Matter
Ezekiel 38:19-23 sums
up the matter. If God said it, it will come to pass.
19 For in my jealousy and in the fire of my wrath have I spoken,
Surely in that day there shall be a great shaking in the land of Israel;20 So that the fishes of the sea, and the fowls of the heaven, and
the beasts of the field, and all creeping things that creep upon the earth, and
all the men that are upon the face of the earth, shall shake at my presence,
and the mountains shall be thrown down, and the steep places shall fall, and
every wall shall fall to the ground. 21 And I will call for a sword against him throughout all my
mountains, saith the Lord God: every man’s sword shall be against his brother. 22 And I will plead against him with pestilence and with blood; and I
will rain upon him, and upon his bands, and upon the many people that are with
him, an overflowing rain, and great hailstones, fire, and brimstone. 23 Thus will I magnify myself, and sanctify myself; and I will be
known in the eyes of many nations, and they shall know that I am the Lord.
Even in the face of today’s evil we can
take heart that God will be glorified. So turn that frown upside down! God has
us covered church! We are covered by the blood of Jesus and He will have
victory, and through Him, so will we.
Whoever coined the
phrase “getting old ain’t for sissies” was so in tune with my life right now. So
by way of confession, I’ll let you in on a secret, 2018 was brutal on me and
2019 isn’t so great either!
I stopped going to
cardiac rehab at the hospital because I’m a wimp with cold weather. It was just
easier to stay home. But I didn’t want to lose the progress that I’d made so I
was doing some exercises at home. Which included a step aerobic that I really
enjoyed when it was pain free. I was having some knee issues but I was
determined to fight my way through. So as I step step stepped on my little Gold
Gym ® stepper I misplaced my foot and stepped backward really hard. I
immediately knew I was in trouble when a blood curdling scream proceeded from
my mouth that brought the critters running to my rescue. Except Callie the cat,
she is way too important to worry about her handler.
I refused to go to the
hospital because it was cold outside. I told you I’m a wimp. So I waited 24 hours,
for which worked really well for me because the temperature outside dropped to
the negatives. But after x-rays and exams it was determined (as best they could
without an MRI) that I have a torn meniscus. So I’m “peg leg pete” as my
daughter Whitney now calls me, and I’m feeling very feeble. And not just
Psalm 38 was written by
David as a Psalm of remembrance. Although there is debate whether the Psalm was
written to remember his sin with Bathsheba or the distress of Israel, for me it
matters not. I only know that it resonated with my heart today.
Physical pain, and the
pain of sin and regret take its toll on the body. It weakens me spiritually and
causes an angst in my soul.
David penned it well
when in verse 8 he wrote “I am feeble and sore broken: I have roared
by reason of the disquietness of my heart.”
Feebleness is a state
of frailty, weakness or delicacy. None of which I care to be described as. But
I doubt I’m alone. We all have times when we feel weak whether or not it’s
physical or emotionally in times of life’s woes. It brings to mind our
mortality and just how very little we are in control.
While my torn meniscus
could have been remedied by using a little common sense when exercising on
laminate floors, my sins can be remedied by using a little common sense in my
brain. Neither of which I overly skilled at. Obviously a trait King David bore
I recently have been
following a couple of gals on Instagram that are just a tad too perfect. Their
actually not, they’re very human, but they’re posts are “pretty”. Their homes
are pretty, their lives are pretty, their spirituality is pretty. They make me
nauseous. Yes. I’m sinning in thought. But it’s the truth. I can’t handle all
the “pretty” stuff. I need some reality. They really do inspire me to be
better. But I also tune into a preacher who has been an utter failure! But he’s
fighting back and roaring through the hard times and allowing me to see into
his life of blunders and mishaps and helping me to understand, I’m not alone.
When I fell off the
step, I roared both in my soul and in my physical being. I let the puppies
know, momma was hurt. I believe we need to do that spiritually as well to a
world of perfectionistic attitudes that see only the “pretty” images on social
media and in life. We come into church with our perfect attire and attitudes
having just left the brokenness of life at home and the reality that all is not
necessarily as well as it looks.
It’s why I appreciate
people like my preacher friend who lets me see his realness. Then my realness
doesn’t make me feel like a complete failure, just a recovering failure. Which
is truthfully what I am.
If there was an F.A.
meeting (Failures Anonymous) I’d go. But there’s not. And once you attend you’re
no longer anonymous. Everyone knows! So I’ll just go to church, read the word,
talk to God and share with you. My therapist. Thanks for not charging me an arm
or a leg (for which I only have one left.)
Below is the teen lesson I’ll use for tomorrows Sunday School program where I teach 9-12th grades. It’s certainly a suitable study for adults as well, after all, I teach these teens as the spiritually mature adults they are. On more than one occasion they’ve taught me.
Most days I feel like the underdog. I fail, I fall, I get up and try again. I leap in faith only to look more like a leap frog than leaping a building in a single bound. I venture a guess I’m not alone. I’ve yet to meet a saint of God (at least any I cared to be around) who thought they were an absolute success. Servitude brings a humility that allows us to remember who the real super Hero is: The Lord Jesus Christ! But even the bible recognizes the making of a hero. We’re not super heroes, but yet we too have the potential to be a hero by using the power within us. We (or at least I) fail to remember that it’s never me who has the ability to make things happens when leading souls to Christ or serving God in any capacity. But rather the Holy Spirit.
of heroes in the book of Hebrews gives me great hope that God can use someone
like me. So what is our role on the roll and what is our superpower.
One of my Dad’s
favorite verses was Hebrews 11:1 ~
Now faith is the substance
of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
#1 – Seeing the Unseen
Christians see things in me that I don’t see. Or I don’t have the faith in my abilities
to bring them to fruition. But if we view life through the vantage point of God
what are the unseen things we’d see? And how do we see them?
Through faith we understand that
the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were
not made of things which do appear.
things do you “see” in creation?
When I think
of framing I think of an incomplete project. God created this world by speaking
it into existence. “Framed by the word of God.” But there is still work to do. We
are that work for which we do by stepping and leaping in faith to show others
Why do you
think that unsaved people, especially those in the field of science, struggle
with believing in God’s creation?
# 2 – Willing to Kill
The first hero
mentioned in the book of Hebrews 11 is Abel. His super power was a righteous
By faith Abel offered unto God a
more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was
righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.
Abel killed in
obedience. Cain on the other hand killed out of jealous and pride and the
killing was of his own brother.
Why was Abel’s
killing of the sacrifice righteous?
that hard for us to understand, especially if we are critter lovers?
Of course it
is! But it may be a little less difficult for those of us who are not
vegetarian. We can understand the sacrifice a critter makes for us to have a
to sacrifice an animal was his unwillingness to recognize that sin required a
blood covering. It still does. But Christ made that final sacrifice on the
The death now
is our own. We are dead to ourselves and alive in Christ!
# 3 – God Pleasers
By faith Enoch was translated
that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated
him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.
What can we do
that would please God and allow the world to see this superpower?
One thing for
certain, without faith we will not please God. Hebrews 11:6 says
But without faith it is
impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe00 th0at he is,
and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
If by seeking
God, it pleases Him, how do we seek Him? And how does seeking Him show faith?
Superpower #4 – Boat
By faith Noah, being warned of
God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving
of his house; by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the
righteousness which is by faith.
In that day,
that was more than a little bit crazy. From this side of it we know how wise he
was, but at that point it had never rained one drop.
we want to be obedient to God’s calling we have to be a little bit crazy!
Have you, or
do you know someone who’s been a little bit crazy?
Superpower #5 – Going
to the unknown and believing the impossible
By faith Abraham, when he was
called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance,
obeyed; he went out, not knowing whither he went.
Stepping out in
faith isn’t for the faint of heart. Abraham had no idea where God was sending him,
but he was willing to go.
you fear God’s calling on your life? Has He called you to do something you now
country(s) would you fear being called to?
Through faith also Sara herself
received strength to conceive seed and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she
judged Him faithful who had promised.
Sarah was 90
and Abraham 100 when Isaac was born. There is nothing that God cannot do?
something that you struggle believing God will do in your life and then
remember the principles of your superpowers!
Superpower #6 – Eternal
By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and
Esau concerning things to come. By faith Jacob when he was dying, blessed both
the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff. By faith
Joseph, when he died, made mention of the departing of the children of Israel;
and gave commandment concerning his bones.
All these men
knew that there was an eternity to live for. Until their dying breath they
handed down that legacy. We should never stop believing that we need to tell
people about Jesus.
How should an
eternal mindset cause us to live?
Superpower #7 – Facing
the Fire and Water
23 By faith Moses, when he was born, was
hid three months of his parents, because they saw he was a proper child; and
they were not afraid of the king’s commandment. 24 By faith Moses, when he was come to
years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter;25 Choosing rather to suffer affliction
with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season;26 Esteeming the reproach of Christ greater
riches than the treasures in Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompence of
the reward.27 By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing
the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.28 Through faith he kept the passover, and
the sprinkling of blood, lest he that destroyed the firstborn should touch them.29 By faith they passed through the Red sea
as by dry land: which the Egyptians assaying to do were drowned.
before the fire when God called him out of the burning bush and he stood before
the Red Sea believing through the power of God they’d get through it. Even as
an infant he was placed in harms way. All this is evidence that even the chosen
children of God are not immune to heart aches and danger. His own family
rejected his wife and gossiped behind his back, but God took care of it all.
How does this
encourage you in your everyday life?
Superpower #8 – Girl
By faith the harlot Rahab
perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with
only use men for the higher powers. Rahab is listed as a “harlot” and yet she
is in the lineage of Jesus Christ. What does that tell us about the people God
will use for the Kingdom’s glory?
Rahab and her family’s
life was spared because she believed in the God of Abraham and protected His
people. She truly had girl power to face certain death if she was caught. She
also proved that God can use people even with questionable pasts.
Paul went onto
mention more heroes of the faith, but what we might find when we get to Heaven
is that in a book of the things we’ve done for Christ we too are mentioned as
heroes of the faith!
Ezekiel’s vision of the valley of dry bones (Ezekiel 37:1–14) came to him after
God had directed him to prophesy the rebirth of Israel in chapter 36. God was
using Ezekiel to restore Israel to her land of blessing. But it didn’t seem
humanly possible. Israel was once again in captivity having fallen away from
God’s grace through rebellion. In that state it would take a miracle to find
hope! Something like dead men’s bones coming back to life.
When God told Ezekiel to tell the bones that
God would make breath enter the bones and come to life just as He had created
Adam, Ezekiel obeyed. He’d been transported to the valley of dry bones already
so no doubt he was in a mind to listen. When that body of bones resurrected
with flesh and blood to stand as an army it symbolized the coming together of
the Nation of Israel in end times.
As I read commentaries of the Ezekiel’s
valley experience, I couldn’t help but see the implications against us. We’re in captivity and aren’t even aware of it. At
least Israel knew.
This morning’s breaking news with regards to
New York Governor’s celebration of the abortion bill passing that would allow
unborn children up until birth to be aborted made my eyes well with tears and
my stomach roll over. It’s murder. Plain and simple and there will come a day
of judgment that I wouldn’t want to be in the vicinity of. That smug look of self-righteous
indignation on the faces of the “victors” will be removed by God Himself.
These and other acts of rebellion as a nation
are dry bones to beware of. We will be held accountable for our votes and our
attitudes of remiss when standing against those who support such atrocities.
A Church of Dry Bones
The only thing worse than government leaders being elected
who stand for abortion is churches that stand with them or those who take no
stand at all.
Edmund Burke said it well when he said that “The only thing
necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
How true that is. It’s what’s happening in our churches
today when church leadership is refusing to take a stand against what the bible
plainly lists as sin for fear of government repercussion or offending their
I thank God for churches who stand in the gap for these
unborn children. They are children, they have names! God that in Jeremiah 1:5
that before we were in the womb He knew us. We have a name and a purpose long
before we’re born.
The infants that the governor of New York celebrated their
death may have been the doctor who cures cancer, Alzheimer of eradicates drug
abuse through some revolutionary tactic, but it will never come to pass because
they were murdered. They may have been the preacher that leads your grandchild
to Christ, but your grandchild will never cross their path, because they were
never born. Drama? No, reality.
A People of Dry Bones
We cannot change our nation and our churches until we’re
ready to believe that God can resurrect the dead.
I will not give up on my nation and the churches across
this great land because I know a lot of great people who are willing to take a stand
for the cause of right. I believe that’s the only reason God hasn’t eradicated
But there’s not enough of us willing to make that stand
known. Sometimes it’s because we don’t know where to start. Other times it’s
because we don’t have enough support in our own troops.
Start by taking a stand on your own. In life, on social
media, where ever the opportunity arises. Ask your church to get involved in
awareness and then contact every political leader telling them your position
and assure them that you’ll make their position known.
When Ezekiel made those bones dance, he did it through the power of God but it no doubt made him shake in his own shoes a little; mainly with excitement that God would revive His people again. He will. And He will revive us if those who say they stand for right do it.
We need to beware of dry bones but we need to be prepared
for possibility that they just might come to life and bring this nation back in
God’s grace once more!
Whether or not it happens only time will tell. But we will
stand before God and answer for our efforts, or lack thereof.
It’s pouring the snow down in Calhoun County, West Virginia today, and the odds of me making it to our morning service are growing slimmer. Praise God, I was in church with the teens for fellowship last night, else I’d be even sadder.
know how people make it without a church family for encouragement.
The teens and I watched a film called “Beware of Christians.” It was documentary by four college boys who wanted to know what lies beyond “religion” who went by faith on a journey to Europe to witness for Christ.
movies it started out a little slow, and I’m sweating it because I want the
kids to enjoy it and have a good time. Well let me tell you, when teens applaud
at the end of a movie, with nobody to hear their applause but each other and
God, you know the Spirit has moved and I’m not a failure as a youth leader J
title speaks of “Beware of Christians,” it’s not what you initially think. Or
at least not what I thought. It’s speaking primarily of religious Christians
which in the context of this film, I personally think most of us fit into. I’ve
witnessed very few people in my life who live their lives to the extent of the
disciples and by the instruction of Christ through the word.
These young men warn of the cause and effect of religious church goers who talk the talk but their walk doesn’t back it up. They interviewed people in the many cities they traveled, often times ending up in cities they never intended on going to. But God has His methods! They asked tough questions of young people regarding their sexual morality and spoke candidly about their own struggle. They delved into materialism and so many other topics that few Christians dare to ask themselves. Such as “Are you prepared to give up everything to serve Christ?” What does it mean to be a Christian? What things do you “need” and what things do you “need to get rid of?” Are you willing to walk away from some people because they’re unhealthy for you?
leave much of it for you to experience should you decide to watch the movie.
You can rent it on YouTube for $1.99. This is not an endorsement, but rather an
opportunity if you’re interested.
What I wanted
to accomplish by this post this morning is to ask you what I had to ask myself
last night? What good are you for the cause of Christ? How much of an impact
are you making? What will you do differently this week because I ask you these
Because I’m not going to make it to our services this morning, I’m going to spend some time pondering these questions myself. If you’d like to share your answers or your thoughts I’d love to hear from you!
This may be the strangest blog ever, but… if you read on you’ll be encouraged.
So yesterday, as my friend Gloria and I traveled to the big
city, we had our usual babe banter going by trying to catch up on days and
weeks’ worth of news in just a few hours. Somehow or another, (as only it could
with us) we began a deep discussion of Mairzy Dotes and Dozey Dotes and Little
I kid you not.
She was shocked that I didn’t know that that was a children’s
pronunciation song exercise for “Mares
eat oats and does eat oats and little lambs eat ivy, a kid will eat ivy too,
Who Knew! Well, I guess plenty of people besides me. So, this
morning I’m kind of in that same mode, only with the word encouragement. En
“courage” ment. My word for the year! How had I not noticed courage in
the center of that word? I know… I’m a cheap date, it takes so little to
entertain my mind. But on days like today when I’m struggling to stay
encouraged, I’m looking for courage where ever I can find it. Maybe you are too.
Encouragment defined is:
the action of giving
someone support, confidence, or hope.
persuasion to do or to
the act of trying to
stimulate the development of an activity, state, or belief.
Every single definition is a piece of the soul winning plan!
If in this life only
we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most
How true! And a huge part of my testimony. I was of all people
most miserable before knowing the Lord as my Savior. I knew there was a God,
but I didn’t know God. I knew I feared Hell, but did not know how to keep from
going. I needed peace, but didn’t know what it truly was until I experienced it
It is these words of encouragement that I need to share with
others to give them the courage to go on. To give me the courage to go on in
the ministry. You probably have a like testimony, how can you use that today to
encourage people in your life.
Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.
a sad statement by Agrippa. He was almost persuaded to be saved, but it wasn’t
for the lack of Paul passion. The preceding verses stir my soul yet today!
Acts 26: 21-26
these causes the Jews caught me in the temple, and went about to kill me. Having
therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to
small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and
Moses did say should come:That
Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the
dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles.And
as he thus spake for himself, Festus said with a loud voice, Paul, thou art
beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad.But
he said, I am not mad, most noble Festus; but speak forth the words of truth
and soberness.For the king knoweth of these things, before
whom also I speak freely: for I am persuaded that none of these things are
hidden from him; for this thing was not done in a corner.
is it hidden today! God bears witness to every soul on earth. We know. And that
is why God’s word will not return void, because within the heart of every girl
and boy is the desire to know God.
And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written,
How beautiful are
the feet of them that
preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!
How beautiful! Nothing is more beautiful than seeing a soul come
to the saving grace of Jesus Christ. Words can attempt to capture it but will
never do it justice like being in the presence of it happening. I have been
privileged to see so many souls come to Christ, but never enough! I long to be
used by God in such a manner. But I kid you not it takes courage.
It takes writing posts like this for myself. I need to see God’s
word in action. How about you? I hope I gave you courage today. Tell somebody
about Jesus. Post it on social media, call them on the phone, and tell them
face to face. Get the word out in every way possible. It’s a beautiful thing!
an exciting, emotional, or unexpected series of events or set of
A self-centered social media post for the purpose of inciting
concern by others without basis, reasoning, logic or the realization that there
are people with real problems. –
Definition added by the Jesus Chick
The Bible doesn’t
say anything about social media, because it didn’t exist in those days, but if
it had, Jezebel would have no doubt been an avid user and abuser of it. Her
husband Ahab’s page, would have no doubt been filled with vile and
self-promoting posts while Jezebel’s would have spewed hatred and slander
towards God’s people, all of which would have been shared by her 850 followers
(prophets which ate at her table). She would have no doubt intertwined those
posts with her own drama and that of her sniveling man. #IneedNabothsVineyard
#NabothWontGiveMeWhatIWant #JezebelsMyWoman #ImGoingToBedUntilIGetMyWay
That same nauseous
feeling I get when I read the story of Ahab and Jezebel killing Naboth because
he wouldn’t sell Ahab his garden (which was a family inheritance), is the same
feeling I get when I scroll the drama on Facebook.
Now granted, no one
is killing anyone for a plot of land. Or at least they’re not posting about it.
But they’re still stirring dung for the purpose of inciting anxiety – be it in
their friends or their enemies. And Christians are in the mix.
I read a post from
a “friend” who was so traumatized because someone hurt her feelings that she
felt compelled to post it on Facebook. It was one of those I’ve been hurt too
many times to count, nobody loves me but my mom and even she doesn’t understand
me posts. Insert rolled eyes here and tell me “What Would Jesus Do?”
This may not be the
godliest of posts of my own. I’ve just really had it up to my eyeballs with Mr.
and Mrs. Ahab’s drama. I need to know who told these people that their life
would be without issue. I didn’t get that memo. And lest I get a stone back
through my window, I can’t say that I’ve never vented on Facebook. But I can
tell you those times are rare and regretful.
was none like unto Ahab, which did sell himself to work wickedness in the sight
of the Lord, whom Jezebel his wife stirred up.
basically sold his soul to the Devil and his wife stirred him with a big stick.
That’s what drama does. It stirs people up and not in a good way. When Ahab
threw his temper tantrum on the bed (1 Kings 21) his wife’s solution was to
kill a man because he wouldn’t share his inheritance. That seems crazy right?
crazy is that that mentality is still alive and well. But because we have laws
that frown on murder, people kill each other with words. So here’s a thought
for you and I to ponder today.
But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak,
they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.
That includes social media posts.
So perhaps my thinking is a little melodramatic. It’s not the
first time I’ve been accused of such things. But I’m not bitter.
We’re really not killing people right? But we are killing the
power of our testimony! If I see an unsaved person on a rant, I always try to
remember that they are not privileged to have the Holy Spirit dwelling within
to help them out. But the child of God is without excuse.
Our job is to edify the body of Christ and to point the lost to His saving grace. If we look back at our posts, how many qualify?
It’s a question I ask of myself today. How can I do more for the Kingdom, and less for the cause of Shari? And may I never be guilty of inciting anxiety in the world. There’s enough there already.
Solomon said that To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven: (Ecclesiastes 3:1) and whether it’s physically or metaphorically we all know it to be true. Life is full of seasons. This morning in the literal sense, winter has finally hit our area of West Virginia. Snow, ice and all its splendor lies on the cold, cold ground outside and I just want to hold up in the house until the first Sunny day in March.
Sometimes I feel that
way spiritually as well. But, there are people depending on me and quite
frankly I am depending on me to get out of this winter time slump that hits the
day after Christmas. The “BRR season.”
When I look out at the trees, with the exception of the evergreens, I see a dismal gray forest that discourages my spirit. I don’t why I’m like that, but I need color! There was a time in my life (pre-salvation) that I wanted every thing I owned, be it clothing or home décor in shades of brown. It was no wonder that I was struggling! But after I became a child of the King I needed color! Lots of color and the brighter the better. I love color! It makes me happy. And while I guess gray is technically a color, it doesn’t make me happy. It depresses me and sends me into a shell that I have to make myself come out of. Welcome to my January.
Oh, I know, I’m the
Jesus Chick and I’m not allowed to resign my post, but there are days when I
have moments of “wishing” that I was one of those people who didn’t feel
compelled by Holy Spirit conviction and accountability to keep on keeping on.
But wait… wouldn’t that mean I wasn’t saved? I don’t know. Ask all the people
in the world who confess Christianity but don’t feel compelled to do anything
for the Lord Jesus Christ Who was crucified for them. That may have sounded a
I’m in that season.
I want to do more, I
know I should be doing more, and yet my body and my aging bones say that I
should climb upon my comfy couch with a my fuzzy blanket and just stay toasty
and warm and watch the British Baking Show on Netflix.
Praise God for His
longsuffering and for somewhat of a spiritually mature me. I said somewhat because
believe me when I tell you I have tantrums. But I also have been at this long enough
to know that just like winter, this too will pass. I’ll be un-frustrated with
life and find some color just waiting to be explored. I truthfully already
have. I’m revamping my website this week to include some new features. They are
filled with color! But this morning I was feeling a little BRR.
Spiritually cold. Until I began to read the word of God, and write the words of the Holy Spirit Who said, “Just bundle up and keep going. It’s cold outside but it’s warm inside of you! And the world needs to see the Lord at work.”
That message is no doubt for you too, else you’d not be here with me today. I love you and I pray that you are toasty warm, un-frustrated and ready to do some great things. If not… grab God’s word and let Him warm your soul!
Follow me @ www.theJesusChick.com, find me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
I really don’t
understand the concept of preachers who preach that a child of God will not
experience trouble, or can “speak” issues away. If that’s so, then I have some
serious issues. Well, let’s face it, I’ve got issues. But my issues are issues
with me, not God.
I have no power on my
own, but I have a mighty God Who has the ability to remove or let me travel
through any of the issues in my life. And I believe that His decision is for my
good. Of that I am a firm believer, even if I sometimes don’t particularly like
it. But if I could share an encouraging word with you today it would be the
truth of Isaiah 26:3 ~
Thou wilt keep him in perfect
peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.
My bible journaling
efforts this morning was drawn from a conversation that I had with my buddy
Dewey Moede. And of a show I watched last night on Netflix. Dewey spoke of his
concerns of the day, and the many battles from many directions we face as a
Nation, and most importantly his reliance upon God. The Netflix show spoke of
the future, and their reliance upon man. Two very different perspectives. It is
unfortunate that there is likely followers of Netflix than Jesus.
Hellywood) as a preacher friend of mine calls it has a tendency to jade life.
As I watched that show last night the characters had the ability to come back
in time and “fix” what was broken in people’s lives. But even they agreed that
there were some things just beyond our control.
One of the main
characters had the ability to know historical events. Including tragedies that
had yet to happen in our time (his history, as he was from the future.) Those
events burdened his heart, as they would us, which is why God doesn’t let us
know the future. We couldn’t handle it. At least I couldn’t.
The trouble of day is
Matthew 6:34 reminds us
therefore no though for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the
things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.
So what about today’s
troubles. How do we handle those?
Thou wilt keep him in perfect
peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.
Perfect peace? How’s
that working for you? Not so well for me every day. But even if there are days when I have “issues”
there are no issues with my Lord.
The reason I don’t have
perfect peace is because I watch Netflix rather than reading the Word of God.
True Story! If I “stay in the word, I have peace. If I watch Netlix or spend
too much time on Social Media I allow the cares of the world to govern my
Mark 4:19 says it best
when it says And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the
lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.
That’s exactly what
Those things that
garner our attention be it on the television, movie screen, books or computer
are often lusts that choke the word of God out of our thought processes and prevent
us from experiencing the true and perfect peace that God intends for His
people. He didn’t’ say you wouldn’t have trouble, but He did say we could have
peace in the midst.
Funny things about the
heart attack and pending surgery between May 20th and May 25th.
Netflix didn’t enter my mind. I wasn’t worried about not having the nicest
house or being the best at anything. I wanted to survive the day. And oddly
enough I had the ultimate peace. Peace that I now, 7 months later, don’t experience
because I don’t have my mind “stayed.”
Remember what I said
about encouraging you? Well… turns out I need encouraging too. And this little miniature
study of the word of God reminds us all that peace is found in one place. The
Word of God. Not in the chaos around us, not in other people, or a cup of
coffee and a piece of cake with 7 minute frosting. We need to “stay” our minds
and trust in the only trustworthy thing in the universe. God.
an original thought. I heard a preacher close his sermon out with it this
morning, and then it was stuck in my head… which basically means that the
preacher did his job!
you’re a Christian you’ve likely heard the sermon, you know the salvation
message and you understand the concept. But it is so easy to lose sight of the
depth of God’s love and the extent of His forgiveness. Especially if you’re
discouraged or have feelings of unworthiness.
So just what is the extent of God’s forgiveness, lest we forget?
As far as the east is from the west
As far as the east
is from the west, so far hath He removed our transgressions from us. (Psalm 103:12)
pretty far wouldn’t you say? In God’s
realm, I don’t think the east ever meets the west. God took (removed) our sins
from us, and yet we so often take them back and fail to accept His gift of
forgiveness. I am the worst at rehashing failures and staying in a mindset of
I need to remember what God chooses to forget. And that forgetting is a choice.
As deep as the ocean
Who is God unto
thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant
of His heritage? He retaineth not His anger forever, because He delighteth in
mercy. He will turn again, He will have compassion upon us; He will subdue our
iniquities; and thou will cast all their sins into the depths of the sea. (Micah 7:18-19)
Satan would love us to view God as angry all the time. So would a few preachers I’ve heard preach. But God does not retain His anger. It doesn’t say He doesn’t get angry. I believe that with the worst, despicable sins out there, God gets angry. When a child is abused, or a heart broken by broken vows and abuse, God’s upset. But at the first sign of repentance of that sinner, God is ready and willing to forgive. The word says He delights in it! It brings God great joy for us to come to Him in search of a renewed relationship. It is then that He casts our sins in the depths of the sea. That’s not only a deep thought, that’s a deep location.
So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it. (Isaiah 55:11)
a verse we often use to remind ourselves that anytime the word is preached, it
always serves a purpose. But have you thought of yourself being the recipient
of it? If God spoke it to you, it was spoken with purpose and its purpose will
be fulfilled. So when we read these verses as personal, we understand that they
are written to prosper us. To help us live a life of joy and abundance through
the price Christ paid on the cross to cover our sins.
I wrote these verses down in the back of my bible under the title “The extent of Forgiveness.” I want them handy so I can show myself, my friends and for certain Satan. He seems to need reminded a lot.
points for me to ponder from the word of God as spoken by Mary the mother of
our Lord Jesus.
thought began early this morning but has lingered throughout the day as I
worked between one project or another all day, and couldn’t seem to get back to
what was fresh on my mind at 6 a.m.
love the character of Mary because I love her humility. Nobody was any more
surprised than she was that she was chosen for such a God glorifying moment.
She was carrying the Lord God Almighty, Creator of the universe in her womb.
Forget that the world was trying to strip her of her good reputation, they
could not strip her of the fact that God chosen her. Nor can they strip us. We
who have decided to follow Jesus and step into His plans for us like a toddler
steps into the big shoes of their Dad. They don’t fit… yet. But we’ll grow into
to them by and by!
Mary knew that the
Rescuer Had Come!
may not have understood all the plan as she gave birth in that stable, but she
understood that however it was that God decided to work it out, it would work.
It’s a good thing she didn’t know how. What a burden for a mom to carry to know
that her child would be crucified for the sins of the world. Hers included. But
the Rescuer had come, His name was Jesus and He had come to save the world!
Mary knew the Rejoicing
angels in Heaven rejoiced, the shepherds and wise men rejoiced. And Mary
rejoiced. Angels had announced His birth. They filled the skies with noise, and
the hearts of those who witnessed it with wonder. Is not that the feeling we
have on the day of our own personal salvation when we discover what the Lord
has done. It was with me. I knew there was a reason to rejoice in my life.
Salvation had come and I and my world was changed.
for me wasn’t perfect, nor was it for Mary. She no doubt had moments where
terror filled her heart as she was hunted down for her Son. Or maybe she was a
far better woman of faith than me and she trusted God through it all. But
whether or not she had faith 100% of the time didn’t change the heartaches that
would come in her future. But it didn’t change the promise either. Glory to
Mary knew the Response
had a Calling!
knew when she had stepped into that role that God had given her that her life had
new purpose. She wasn’t just Joseph’s bride, she was the carrier of the gospel.
She would soon be a part of the ministry of her Son and with it all the
miracles and the messes it created.
the same calling we have upon us when we accept the Lord as our Savior. We too
are called to carry the gospel and to be a part of the blesses and messes that
come with service.
your response? Are you standing in Daddy’s shoes waiting for your orders or are
you still barefoot? Step in faith my friend! It’s an exciting adventure!
Below is my study of Psalm 100 that I’ll be using for the teen class tonight. Perhaps it will stir some thoughts in you to draw you into that spirit of worship our souls long for! It certainly did mine as I studied His word.
Protocol defined: the official procedure or
system of rules governing affairs of state or diplomatic occasions.
Who set the protocol for worship? The word of God.
1 Make a
joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands.
2 Serve the Lord with gladness:
come before his presence with singing.
3 Know ye that the Lord he is God: it
is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep
of his pasture.
4 Enter into his gates
with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and
bless his name.
5 For the Lord is good; his
mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.
are many types of noises in the world, what do you consider a bad noise?
(painful, loud, extreme, unnecessary)
Who do you think uses these noises and why? Satan of course!
are some good noises?
100:1 says to make a joyful noise unto the Lord. What do you consider a joyful
noise to sound like?
should be shouting?
Gill’s commentary said:
inhabitants of the earth, who are called upon to shout unto him as their King;
as the angels did at his birth, the disciples when he made his public entrance
into Jerusalem, the apostles at his ascension to heaven, the saints when the
marriage of him, the Lamb, will be come, and both men and angels when he shall
descend from heaven to judge the world; and such a joyful noise or shout should
be made unto him as to a triumphant conqueror, who has got the victory over
sin, Satan, death, and the grave, and every enemy of his and his people, and
made them more than conquerors through himself;
That reading should stir your heart when you
think about the reasons we should make noise!
The 2nd Protocol in Psalm 100 for
Worshipping the Lord is to
And to not just serve Him but to be happy about it.
Since serving God is a protocol, how do you
want to serve Him?
Protocol Number 3 is to
before His presence
think that speaks to our attendance as well as the recognition that while in
attendance to church we expect God to be there and we treat the service
should we come into His presence?
Number 4 is
Yes! Everyone on the platform? No!!!!!!
there is not only safety in numbers there is also a blending of voices that
covers a multitude of bad notes. Why do you think music is important to God?
important is it to you?
you feel called into the music ministry?
you understand what a calling is?
number 5 is to
what? Know that the Lord is God! That’s a must to understand the calling on
your life. You have to frist be saved, and then get to know the Lord so that
when He speaks, you understand it is Him.
you ever felt the Lord speaking to you?
would you describe it?
you think people misunderstand the Lord’s calling on their life? Why?
are some reasons that we have to be thankful as we come into the building and
final Protocol in Psalm 100 is number 7, we should
always ask the Lord to bless us, but do we ever think about blessing Him?
are ways we can bless Him?
final verse of Psalm 100 gives us 3 reasons we should worship the Lord and have
an attitude of worship.
He is good
(even when the world around us
He is merciful
(every day we stand in need of it)
He is truth
(The world may be filled with
lies, but the word of God is filled with nothing but truth.)
A Study with Shari Johnson (The Jesus Chick)
www. the Jesus Chick.com (Please share my ministry page!)
better way to start off 2019 than thinking about new things on the horizon! I
loved the illustration of a new year that my friend D.L. Kerby always used of
“a fresh, new piece of paper.” Nothing there but room for ideas, and of course
for me improvement!
Isaiah 43:19 is a great verse to ponder today…
Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall
spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness,
and rivers in the desert.
An announcement of worthy attention!
I think of new stuff every day. But much of it is
not worthy of anyone’s attention. But when God announces that something new is
on the horizon. Glory! It’s worthy of our notice. There is nothing stale or
boring in God’s world and according to His word it is He who does the “new
thing.” But how do we know it’s for us? Have you prayed for something new? That
would be a great place to start. And if you’re praying for God to do something
new in your life what is the purpose of it and what role does He play?
Too many people want God to do something new and
amazing but then they’d rather He butt out and allow them to take over. I’m
pretty sure that’s not how it works.
Jeremiah 31:22 speaks of Israel when he writes “How
long will you wander, unfaithful Daughter Israel? The LORD will create a new
thing on earth – the woman will return to the man.”
That new thing was the Lord Jesus Christ. There
will be no more new things to that magnitude, but there is certainly new
opportunities to serve Him there for the asking. As a child of God we should be
prepared to focus our minds on ways to glorify and serve our Lord in the coming
year. God may provide new opportunities in the secular realm, but that
shouldn’t be our focus and should still include God as center focus.
Now it shall spring forth! As a budding branch springs forth out of the ground.
I start longing for spring about January 2nd.
I’m done with the cold, dead looking trees and frigid temperatures of winter. I
need to see some life in the hills of West Virginia. But it’s not in my time,
it’s in the Lord’s and the same is true when it comes to the new things that
God has planned for us. His timing is imperative. But if I’m not watching for
it, I might miss it.
We need to stand with a watchful eye on the world
around us for ways that we can serve and glorify God.
Last night I sat beside a man that I really
wasn’t certain of his soul’s state until the subject of church came up. He let
me know immediately that he didn’t want any part of the church and that he was a
“believing agnostic.” I told him I hated
to hear that because I really cared for him. He seemed shocked that I thought
he was going to Hell. I spoke to him in love for as long as he would tolerate
me, and in a moment of awkwardness where the subject had gotten too deep, he
left my side for a worldlier lot. And I went home. I felt I’d done as much work
as I could there. The man didn’t get saved but I had been watching for an
opportunity and God opened the door, for that I’m grateful.
For anything. God’s ways are not our ways. We
don’t expect ways in the wilderness and rivers in the dessert. If we’re
preparing for such an excursion we’re packing weed whackers and bottled water.
But God said no… I’ve already got the path cut and the water supplied! You just
need to be ready.
Oh my goodness those words make my soul stir. I’m
not really a prepared person. I jump and go. Which gets me in trouble… a lot.
But God said if I’d be ready for His way, I’ll be okay. But before I jump and
go, I need to wait for some instructions. And so do you!
Isaiah 43:19 may or may not be your verse for
2019. But the wisdom that can be gleaned from it is for everyone.
God does have a new work for us and we for
certain should be watching and be ready for His announcement.
What’s He laid on your heart to do in 2019? I’d
love nothing more than for you to share that with me so that I can make it a
matter of prayer. Blessings!!!!!
I don’t know who it was that posted on social media
last night that they were glad Christmas was over because it was highly
overrated. But I remember they were a saved person, and I remember the
frustration in my mind and the desire to get in the flesh and comment. Not in
anger, but in God’s rebuke that it wasn’t a very good message to send the lost.
But then I remembered… I wasn’t God. And I didn’t know the circumstances. And
so I scrolled right on off Facebook and onto something else.
But this morning that post is still on my mind. And
I found myself saying, I’m glad Christmas is over too. But not for the same
reason. I’m glad it’s post-Christmas because I have I can refocus on the
message of Christmas. “Redemption!”
be the Lord God of Israel; for He hath visited and redeemed His people;
I don’t know why it would surprise me when God’s people
of today miss the message of Christmas. After all, God’s people of that day
missed the first message! They’d been waiting for the Redeemer, but He didn’t
come like they’d expected. They expected a King in all His royal pomp and
circumstance! Not the baby of a lowly Jewish girl. Nor did many of them expect
that He would die on a cross, crucified by their own. But He did.
When He died, I’m sure many believers thought, “What
a letdown. We believed He was the Messiah…”
Christmas for many is just that, “a letdown.” We
want the pomp and circumstance of the holiday, the tinsel and perfect family
memories and they rarely ever measure up to our expectations. This year at our
house was a little different than most years, we are all a little more
grateful. I was grateful I had them, and they were grateful they had me. We
laughed and carried on like a family that truly enjoyed the company, because we
did. A heart attack and open heart will do that to you. But not every year has
been like that.
Today, December 28, 2018 is three days past the
celebration of Jesus’ birth. Post-Christmas. Just like it brings to mind the
post-crucifixion after Jesus died. I’m ready to refocus on the message God sent
me to speak! Jesus saves. He didn’t come to fix this world. That’s why
Christmas gets messed up and that’s why families continue to be messed up. He
came to give us eternal life and a perfect world to come. Glorrraaaaay that
makes my heart happy.
In the corner of my living room I’ve redone the little pencil tree that was decorated for Christmas and made it a Valentine’s tree. L.O.V.E. My main focus in 2019 is to show the love of Christ to more people. I want to help them understand that there is hope in the name of Jesus and even when things don’t go to plan in this world, there is a world to come that we can anxiously anticipate without worry or regard as to whether or not it will measure up because the word of God says
as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into
the heart of man the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him. ~
1 Corinthians 2:9
All we have to do is love Him. And He is going to
take us to a world where there is no such thing as disappointment. That’s an
awesome message and reminder for us as we go into 2019 that God’s got a plan,
and we need to make sure us and everyone we know is a part of it!
C.S. Lewis said “He (God) loved us not because we’re lovable, but because He is Love.”
Love has been a matter of my heart for a
while. Mainly because I see the declining of it across our nation. Of course in
the political arena, and even though it’s worse than ever, it’s still something
we’ve come to expect with the nature of differing opinions. But when it comes
to Christians, there should not be differing opinions. We can have separate
church doctrines, but in the matter of Jesus, one way and one way only, and His
love, it’s not up for debate. And yet, the evidence is lacking that the church fully
believes the word of God.
I will not argue why I believe in
eternal security. I know what I believe and why I believe I, and if you believe
otherwise, I probably won’t sway your mind. But when it comes to salvation,
there is no argument. You either are, or are not saved. The scripture is clear:
1 John 4:15-21
shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.
Romans 10:9-10 says ~ That
if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine
heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For
with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession
is made unto salvation.
You either believe
that, or you’re not saved. So now that we have that matter cleared up, let’s
assume that you have the security of salvation. You now have the Holy Spirit,
God Himself, dwelling within you. And as
we continue on in 1 John 4 there’s an evidentiary fact that should be viewed in
every Christian’s life. Love.
16 And we have known and
believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in
love dwelleth in God, and God in him.
It’s not hard for us
to conceive that God would love us. I mean really, what’s not to love right?
But what about others. The enemy and the downright wicked. Does He love them
too? Oh yes, enough to die for them just as He died for us, and though we hate
to confess it, we know that our sins were by comparison the same level of
unworthiness. But Christ took the sins of all upon His back on that cross of
Calvary. We conceive this knowledge, but do we convey it?
The Holy Spirit. It’s
the very first gift we receive when we become saved. What a joy! But it’s a new
day and the conviction of the Holy Spirit is evident. We know when something’s
not right in our life. And the only way to get right, to be made perfect is to repent
and accept that what Christ did on the cross is enough for me, and everyone
else in the world.
Even those I have a
hard time tolerating.
What should never be
evident in my life as child of God is found in the closing verse of Chapter 4.
17 Herein is our love
made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he
is, so are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in
love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that
feareth is not made perfect in love. 19 We love him, because
he first loved us.20 If a man say, I love
God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother
whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?21 And this commandment
have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.
There is no fear, nor
hate in the child of God.
Fear is faithless
I’ve seen too many
churches who rather than teaching the love of God, teach the fear of God first.
Romans 2:4 says OR despisest
thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing
that the good of God leadeth thee to repentance?
It does not say that
the fear of God will cause a man to repent. But rather the goodness of God.
Perhaps we could say the “love of God” causes a man to repent.
Prior to my salvation
I had enough conviction on my life to choke a horse. I felt the disconnection
from God. And I believe if everyone’s honest, we’ve all felt it before we’re
saved. We know we belong to Him, it’s rebellion that causes us to deny it. But
when we experience His love as shown through the church, and a sense of
belonging that can be found there, that’s when I felt the Holy Spirit move in
my life in such a way that I said, “I need to be saved!” The preacher preached
Hell, but the church showed love.
The word “hate” makes
my stomach turn. Especially when I hear it used in the context of “I hate so
and so.” And sometimes by Christian people. This ought not be. We need to
remember that the person we’re hating needs to see Jesus. And there is no way
under the sun they’ll ever see Him if we’re spewing words like that out of our
mouth. There is also no way they’ll see Him if we using words that we know will
cause hate in the heart of another person.
always take a stand for what’s right in the eyes of God. But in taking that stand
we should do it in love and through the prayerful guidance of the Holy Spirit.
I know I’ve been
guilty of not doing that.
If we’re going to
make a dent in the lost of this world, we’re going to have to get better at loving
He that hath knowledge spareth his words: and a man of understanding is of an excellent spirit. Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.
I’m not the best cook in the world, and when it comes to my cooking my husband’s not too critical because usually he’s just happy to be fed! And when all of the food disappears from the pot, I don’t need a “That was awesome” comment because the lack of needing to rinse before putting it in the dishwasher speaks for itself. If only life could always have words and ways of encouragement. But that’s not the case is it?
If only it were the unsaved that had a critical spirit we could understand it. But often times it’s the exact opposite. The unsaved can be more encouraging than the saved.
Another random thought I’ve had is “why are their silent letters in words? What purpose do they serve?” And “does someone, somewhere, pronounce them?” It was then I realized that they served as much purpose as a critical spirit.
Why it is that some people are compelled to share the entirety of their opinions as if the world would fall off its axis if they did not, I do not know. I’ve been in their presence when they did; and before the words came out of their mouth my stomach would turn somersaults as if I had just eaten rotten food. There is not a fine line between criticism and constructive criticism. There is a canyon’s width.
Constructive criticism harbors no ill intent. A critical comment has several intents. It’s meant to prove that they’re wiser than the person being criticized. It’s meant to make the criticizer feel important. And it’s said without regard for the feelings of anyone concerned except the person offering their opinion. I’ve experienced it and I’ve probably been the one who had the critical spirit. But that would be rare. Not that I’m without faults, that just happens not to be one of mine because I’ve been the victim far too many times. It’s what happens when you do a lot. It offers more opportunity. It’s probably why many people do nothing.
What is an excellent spirit? They are God’s gift to a troubled world. They’re people who speak wisdom and words that encourage and applaud someone who’s at least trying.
I have to be honest and tell you that there is a critical spirit within me that I have to squelch on a pretty regular basis. Whomever coined the phrase that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” may have been speaking about humanity or perhaps they were an art critic.
Last night I was watching a home improvement show and this “artist” with obviously more money than I, (perhaps I was jealous) was redoing their art studio. For which is my kitchen table. Anyway… they were an abstract artist, and not what I would have considered a good one. But they have a studio, and I have a table, so what do I know?
Another artist that I had recently seen on Etsy was selling art for huge prices that looked literally like some of the work my grandbabies do that I consider more valuable. They had thousands of followers and I’m like “are you serious?” I’m so glad that I don’t know that person personally. Yes, I too have a critical spirit. But I don’t feel compelled to post my feelings online or tell someone that they’re less than good.
Because if it’s not something that you’re paying money for, life really is subjective.
Spirit Led Words
What each of us should be is more Spirit led. Before opening our mouths we should ask ourselves “How would Jesus respond?”
Not critical. He has never one time criticized anything I’ve done for Him. But I have. Even the words that I speak over my own efforts should be examined for their intent. When I got finished with my video blog on Facebook yesterday I immediately tore into myself for a job poorly done. It’s why I refuse to watch them after I’ve posted them. I post them in faith believing God can use someone like me.
It’s also why I don’t have a critical spirit toward other people, because I understand how it tears you down and discourages you from your efforts.
I’m not sure why this thought was on my heart today, other than I needed to hear the last point myself. I hope it encourages you for the good!
Well. Actually from an earthly standard they don’t. But from a spiritual vantage point, they not only mix, the experience is beyond amazing!
A few weeks ago Dr. Mickey Carter preached at our church, on the subject of the light that God shines before us; and how that light grows as we we grow, and the distance before us is further as we are obedient and able to handle what it’s shining on. Such a good message! This morning I find myself studying ligtht once more in the book of Psalm 36.Twelve little verses. So much wisdom.
This earth is filled with people searching for what the child of God has. They’re missing it and we’re not doing our do diligence to give evidence of what we have within us. Our bulbs are not burnt out, they simply have a loose connection and a little water.
The Dark Side
1The transgression of the wicked saith within my heart, that there is no fear of God before his eyes.
2 For he flattereth himself in his own eyes, until his iniquity be found to be hateful.
3 The words of his mouth are iniquity and deceit: he hath left off to be wise,and to do good.
4 He deviseth mischief upon his bed; he setteth himself in a way that is not good; he abhorreth not evil.
The last part of verse 4 could sum up most of the people I know who don’t know God. Now, I certainly know my share of people who have wicked tongues and wicked ways. But the bulk of the unsaved people I know are people who are “in a way that is not good, he (they) aborreth not evil.”
They haven’t learned to hate the very thing that makes them miserable. Sin.
I know this because it hasn’t been so long ago that I was one of them. I wasn’t a wicked person, devising evil plots for personal gain. I was a good person trying to make the world a better place. The problem was, I needed to start with myself before I tried to fix the world around me. Case in point. I was on every civic minded board I could be on. I was highly sought after to be on those boards because I was a worker! I thought that by serving my community I could fulfill that desire within me to help. There was indeed a little light shining within my heart that always gave me a desire to help people. But my yearning was never completely fulfilled because it wasn’t being filled with what the Creator intended it to be filled with.
I’m not saying that serving on civic minded boards is wrong. We need to be a part of our community, but our primary focus should always shine the light toward the Creator. Not the created. It’s when we glorify ourselves or others that the light short circuits. It’s not attached to the source of power.
In The Shadows
5 Thy mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens; and thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds.
6 Thy righteousness is like the great mountains; thy judgments are a great deep: O Lord, thou preservest man and beast.
7 How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings.
Jesus said in Luke 13:34 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not.”
The Jews had completely missed their promised Messiah because they were not focusing the glory on the Lord, but rather through works, they sought to gain glory for themselves. All Jesus wanted to do was love and protect them, as a mother hen would her chicks, but they wanted to stay in the spotlight. And so they’re solution was to rid themselves of the Light that shone so much brighter.
Good people don’t always seek the glory. Many seek the thrill of helping, which in reality is seeking the glory. That adrenaline rush that comes from helping or “saving” someone is addictive. And it can overrule allowing God’s control or protection. I was that person. I was so focused on helping others, that I wouldn’t allow myself to realize I was the one who needed saving.
8 They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house; and thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures.
9 For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light.
10 O continue thy lovingkindness unto them that know thee; and thy righteousness to the upright in heart.
11 Let not the foot of pride come against me, and let not the hand of the wicked remove me.
12 There are the workers of iniquity fallen: they are cast down, and shall not be able to rise.
When life got so miserable out from under the wings of Christ, and I could see nothing but my discontent and discouraging world, God sent a light to show me a pathway to the shadow of His wings. That light was a Preacher who used the water of the Word. And when that water, mixed with that light…. Glory!!!! Something amazing happened! Once I received the wisdom of the Lord Jesus Christ, by accepting the fact that I could save no one and that He could save everyone, there was more light, and more direction to what my God given purpose in life was. To shine the light so that someone else could see their way to the safety and peace of being under the shadow of His wings.
And just like brother Mickey said, when I start down a path for the Lord, He shine the light far into the distance and I see that there is amazing things ahead.
I hope you’ve experienced that light. If not, follow the link on my main page to “the plan of Salvation.” And please! Let me know if this has encouraged you. Comment in the comment section and share my post on social media. I love you, but more important than my love is the Love of Jesus Christ!
Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.
One of the very familiar verses often quoted from the Bible, and quite often completely out of context. I have no doubt been guilty of the same. But this morning this verse caught my attention and gave me the desire to dig a little deeper into its meaning for my own personal application.
I consider myself quite the visionary when it comes to life. I love new and exciting adventures and I’m open to the Lord’s leading down unfamiliar paths without hesitation. The problem with me is that quite often it’s a Shari vision, not a God vision. So those paths have many times lead to disaster!
The Word of God is a book like no other in the world. It’s the living, breathing, Word of God that can speak life into its reader. Another book may excite you, and inspire you, but it can’t speak life. It’s also why we shouldn’t read the Bible in a haphazard manner as to take scripture out of context or apply our own definition to it.
When Proverbs 29:18 is quoted, the word “vision” is often thought of as a prophetic vision that renders itself to personal direction. But in this context vision is “an inspired revelation of wisdom from God.” Which may be personal direction, but in its full context, which people tend to ignore, it is followed by “keeping the law.” So… when you take someone like me who is apt to be a free spirit, the law has a connotation of control. And that doesn’t fit well with my application of the freedom of vision.
I’m somewhat telling on my rebellious heart. But it’s good to be real, because it will help you and me both. Nothing is worth doing unless it is the will of God. And the will of God will never be outside the Word of God. So if we want the reality of it, we can’t just say we have a vision without searching the Word of God for the truth of His will. Woah… that’s a pretty deep thought for me.
2019 is on the horizon, and I have big plans, as always. But are they God’s? Good question.
Three points for me to ponder, and perhaps you as well, from Proverbs 29:18
Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.
A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels:
I received a call from my good friend Dewey last week, who asked if I minded some counsel. The Lord knew I was in need of it, and He even sent the messenger, so who am I to say no. And so I listened. But I’m not always that wise. Some of my greatest failures in life have been not seeking or heeding the counsel of others. It’s not that I feel I know best. It’s usually that I just don’t know and I’m too excited to slow down.
But not today. Today I’ve taken it slower and asked God for some insight into the vision He has given me for 2019. The year of our Lord 2018 has been quite difficult. For more than the obvious health reasons. I had an appointment with my cardiologist today and was discussing the frequent, steady chest pains that cause me concern. After listening to me, and running the appropriate tests, it was discovered that I’m under too much stress. Shocker! 2018 has been filled with stress, and I need a reprieve in the coming year. That will require some changes in the vision of The Jesus Chick Ministries.
First… I need to treat it like a ministry. Not a hobby.
Godly Instruction leads to Construction
Council can often be constructive criticism, and that’s okay with me too. So long as it leads to construction and things get built rather than being torn down. The problem with my ministry is I’ve been building it alone, and as God told Adam, it’s not good for man to be alone, or woman as the case may be. I’ve partnered with many others in their ministry work, but I’ve soloed my own, missing the counsel of Christ where He told the disciples to go two by two.
So I need to build my ministry so that it’s more productive. I need to expand my ministry reach, and believe God that my ministry work will be rewarded with financial provision; which has been most of the stress of 2018. I need focus. I need counsel. It’s why I appreciate ministry friends like Dewey who love me and feel comfortable to follow the leading of the Lord to say things like, “slow down.” Or encourage me to seek a 501c3 which would make the Jesus Chick a bonified ministry for contributors and provide me with counsel through a board of directors.
Vision is God’s Provision for the Journey
And so I search His word for direction.
In the way of righteousness is life; and in the pathway thereof there is no death.
There is but one job one pathway for me, and the way of righteousness is through Jesus Christ alone who will be my vision. There is a song written by Ian Lynn entitled “Be Thou My Vision.” It’s words stir my soul today.
Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art Thou my best Thought, by day or by night Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light
Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord Thou my great Father, I Thy true son Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one
Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise Thou mine Inheritance, now and always Thou and Thou only, first in my heart High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art
High King of Heaven, my victory won May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heav’n’s Sun Heart of my own heart, whate’er befall Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all
And so that’s my prayer today. “Be Thou my Vison Lord.” I seek not riches or man’s praise, I seek a pathway that will allow me to share Christ through the talents that God has given me.
I covet your prayers and would love the privilege of praying for you.
Although I know it was a word search that lead me to Numbers 21, I don’t remember what word I was searching for. I got so caught up in verse 14 and wondering just where is that book? And why do I not remember this scripture?
Wherefore it is said in the book of the wars of the Lord, What he did in the Red sea, and in the brooks of Arnon.
I did a quick web search on the book and read that it was a “missing book,” a “canonical book” not included in the scriptures and a book spoken to a man by an angel just a few years ago! None of those intrigued me enough to search any further for the book, but rather I decided just to let the Holy Spirit speak to me this week of Thanksgiving on what that book meant to me. And why I was lead to the book of Numbers, chapter 21, and verse 14 this morning.
I imagined the wars that God had penned in that book for me. Penned much like I do in journaling, for the purpose of reminiscing and to look back on a time in my history that something amazing happened. Something worthy of documenting. And what will it be like when I get to Heaven and discover in that long, lost book, all the times God rescued me.
For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.
Are those wars written in that book? I don’t know.
But I know this. I know God is worthy of far more gratitude than I give, Thanksgiving or otherwise. I’ve had to fight a lot of battles within and without lately, and everyone was won with the Word of God. I had to fight them again usually because I let the flesh take over and remind me not of the win, but of the battle.
Today I’m grateful, first and foremost for my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ who fought every battle for me on the cross of Calvary when He died for my sins, and yours. I’m thankful that He continues to sit on the right hand of the Father, and watch over me, comfort me and strengthen me through the Holy Spirit.
I do not know what battles have been written down, but I know that the battles above my head in the spiritual realm are real. And I know they’re not mine to fight, else they’d be lost.
Every time I write, draw, speak or sing for Him, I know there’s a battle above me to squelch the praises worthy to God’s name, a battle I must fight. Today, it’s a battle I’ll win on my Lord’s behalf.
THANK YOU JESUS. Thank You for that sacrifice on the Cross and thank You for speaking to God on my behalf. I’m sorry it’s necessary. But I’m grateful You are there.
THANK YOU GOD. For listening. For allowing Your Son to make that sacrifice on the cross. I can’t, nor do I want to, imagine the pain You experienced that day. But I’m grateful that You had a plan to save my soul so that I could thank You in person someday.
THANK YOU HOLY SPIRIT. Thank You for being with me every single day. Guiding me. Strengthening me and encouraging me. Without You I know my creativity would be naught. Without You I know I’d be so overwhelmed. Thank You.
For certain Satan doesn’t want you to know God because he’d prefer you stay in his custody. But once a soul has given their heart to Christ, Satan has to change his game plan to interfere with the Kingdom and the Kingdom’s work. There is nothing he can do to remove the seal of Salvation that God puts on His children.
And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
Glory! But he can certainly do a lot of damage to the spiritual walk of God’s children by binding them with lies. Or at least that’s the case with me. So today I search the truth and invite you along…
18 Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy.
19 He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.
20 Thou wilt perform the truth to Jacob, and the mercy to Abraham, which thou hast sworn unto our fathers from the days of old.
We’re not to fool ourselves and believe that God is not a Holy and just God Who doesn’t get angry. Oh… I believe He gets angry and I believe He gets frustrated with me on a pretty regular basis. But the trouble with my thinking is, I get stuck there. There in that place of God’s frustration, long after He has moved on and sometimes may never have been, I’m still there. He moved on the second I repented, but I choose to stay in that place of bondage and allow Satan to convince me that God’s frustration lingers on. And I have a feeling I’m not alone.
It’s much easier in our less than merciful flesh to view God as a less than merciful God. If every day we would remember three words that God has attested to, through His Son Jesus Christ.
Micah 7:18 – God delights in mercy! The other day I watched as an adult was less than merciful with a child. The children happened not to be hers. Not that that is always the case, I know parents who are less than forgiving. But on this occasion the child had misbehaved and she separated herself from him as if to say “you are not worthy of my presence.” My heart broke. Praise God our Savior doesn’t treat us in that manner. He longs for the relationship to be restored as soon as it’s broken. But we delay, buying into Satan’s lies that God is forever upset. No… God is forever merciful.
Micah 7:19 – How deep is the sea? I personally don’t know, but I know it’s deep! And how far is the east from the west? Really far! You can’t get there from here. And that is the geographical location of our sins. Yet Satan wants us to believe that God has them attached to His refrigerator, so that every time He goes there, He is reminded of my sin.
That’s how our minds work. Not God’s. I have to work really hard not to rehash old hurts. Because they are not in the sea. They’re in the recesses of my mind waiting for a day that I can call them to mind and be frustrated and hurt again. And have to forgive… again. If I don’t bring them up, Satan will. And so when I’m in need of God forgetting something I’ve done or someway I’ve failed, I am reminded of how someone hurt or failed me, and I attach that theory of thinking to God too. What a lie!
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.
Micah 7:20 – God’s plan nor word has ever changed, but man’s sure has. The recent election was proof of that. The political rhetoric coming from all sides made it impossible to know who was telling the truth. And even if someone had a video as evidence, we still couldn’t trust that it hadn’t been manipulated in some way and voting was a very serious game of chance. And such is life sometimes. Marriages fail, friends forsake us and parents and children break our heart. So when we hear the word “forever” in the biblical sense, it’s sometimes hard to grasp.
I can’t help but think of Satan’s words to Eve… “ye shall not surely die.” So we have on one hand the thought that forever will never come, and on the other hand, that forever is subjective to the situation. And both make it hard to fathom eternity.
But God’s word will stand true and Satan will forever by a liar! He would much prefer that we didn’t know the truth and one way he can help that happen is to sabotage our relationship with the Lord. It’s not hard when fewer and fewer people keeping their relationship with the Lord first in priority. The more we put between us and God the easier it is for Satan to convince us that God is not desiring a relationship with us. And when we fail, we can’t feel God’s mercy because there’s too much distance. But guess who didn’t move?
God’s exactly where He’s always been. In eternity past, present and future. Loving us as much today as yesterday and wishing we’d just talk to Him, and skip Satan the middle man… he’s a liar anyway.
But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil. ~ Proverbs 1:33
The grey skies of November mess with my head even in the wake of the holiday season. Sometimes because of the holiday season. I seriously try to be honest with myself and struggle. Even though the truth is within me…the literal truth of Jesus Christ; I can still suppress the wisdom of God and allow depression, fear, anxiety to creep into my heart. Reading through Proverbs 1 this morning I found one of the countless nuggets of truth that surfaced and refused to let the clouds over power it. So I thought I’d share it with you. Perhaps you need it as well.
Do You Hear What I Hear?
Yes, that Christmas tune is now playing in my head, but it’s a worthy tune.
Do you hear what I hear A song, a song High above the trees With a voice as big as the sea With a voice as big as the sea
The voice of God can thunder or it can be as still as a whisper, and most usually it’s the latter. What I hear is the voice of God asking “Who’s listening?”
Are you the ‘whoso?’ Am I? Am I genuinely listening for the wisdom of God or am I waiting until He says what I want to hear? And so I ask myself, why am I not listening? Mainly because I fear. I don’t fear death, I fear life. Dying’s easy. I have no control over that with the exception of how I take care of my body. And because I know that I know that being absent from the body is to be present with God, it’s not something I fear. But life. I struggle with it. It can get so out of control and I’m the queen of roller coaster living. Finances. Responsibilities. Accountabilities. Deeds undone. Those things make those November clouds and cold rains feel like a cloak of evil around me.
Yes… I’m a tad dramatic. My grandchildren don’t get that drama from anyone strange.
Do You Feel What I feel?
Do you feel safe? I honestly do. I know that God will not leave me nor forsake me in my hour of need! But the people of the world will. Though I have the comfort of the Holy Spirit, I don’t always feel comforted by people. Sometimes I’d rather avoid them too. A friend of mine struggles with depression far greater than I, but depression isn’t fun for anyone no matter the level. We spoke the other day about times when we’d rather not leave the house for any reason, no matter how joyous. It’s much easier to retreat inside my head and pretend that all is right with the world than to go outside and prove it’s not.
I don’t consider myself akin to Job in struggles but I understand his words when he wrote, “I was not in safety, neither had I rest, neither was I quiet; yet trouble came.” Job 3:26. He no doubt felt very overwhelmed. King David, felt overwhelmed and shared that thought in Psalms on 7 occasions. It’s why I felt the need to share that the Jesus Chick struggles too. For Pete’s sake if David can confess that he struggle, why cannot I?
It’s not the struggle that I want to share though, I want to share the process of victory. It’s usually not an immediate response from God that gives me peace and removes the dark clouds. It’s a conversation… You can’t hear if you’re not listening, and you can’t listen unless someone is talking.
Do You Know What I Know?
Even on days like today, when I struggle to get out of my Pajama’s and I don’t really care if the bed’s made, because I’d like to retreat back to it, I still know what I know.
I know that there is quiet from the fear of evil and it’s found in (1) the Word of God. (2) The Wisdom of God through prayer. And (3) the Way of God by hearkening to what He says.
If I’m brutally and shamefaced honest I have to tell you that sometimes I still don’t listen and the clouds continue to hover. But if I search His word and speak what I find He is faithful…
Ephesians 3:17-20 King James Version (KJV)
17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,
18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;
19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.
20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,
Below are the notes from my “not another manic Monday” Facebook Live video feed. If you’d rather watch the video, scroll down to the bottom of the page and follow the Youtube Link.
I’m not sure what has got me in the Christmas spirit so early this year, I’m usually a November 25th kind of gal, but I’m blaming it on the heart attack. I blame a lot of things on the heart attack, but this one may be closest the truth. I think I come to realize how precious holidays and holy days are.
So somehow or another, I tend to relate all scripture to Christmas, which is true as well, because scripture all relates to Christ, and Christ is Christmas. But this Christmas verse is found in the book of Psalm Chapter 16 and although it doesn’t have anything to do with Christmas, it will help you out on your Monday manic if you happen to be in that mode. And I happen to be.
Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.
Always Looking for Direction
When it comes to life it doesn’t matter how old I am, I’m still directionally challenged. And as a directionally challenged person who takes a picture of her car before I go into a store, I need more help than most. So I appreciate how God took care of the wise men by giving them a sign that could not be missed.
That star lead the Wise men to the place where the Christ child lay and then it stopped.
Matthew 2:2 has the Kings asking: “Where is He that is born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the east, and are come to worship Him.”
Matthew 2:9 reads … the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.
That is my kind of signage!
And the bible is filled with historical information, but it’s also filled with today’s information.
I still rely on the word of God in some form or another, preacher, teacher and reading myself to finish this journey. I’ve found the Christ child and the Savior, now I’m trying to stay on the path until we meet face to face.
Part of that journey is that I’m
Always Looking for Joy
Psalm 16 tells us exactly where it’s at and to what extent we can achieve it. In His presence is the fullness of joy! But being in His presence doesn’t guarantee that result. After all, we have Him in our heart, and yet we’re not always happy if we’re honest. Sometimes, on the bad days we have to prepare for it. If we show up to a party with an attitude of dismay and discouragement, pretty soon the rest of the party is brought down with us. But if we show up anticipating the joy of the event, it’s a great day! Well, it’s a great day if we go into this week with an attitude of anticipation for what the Lord can do. One thing I’ve been learning myself lately is that the words we speak have more power than we understand.
If we say something like “I’m dreading this week, I have so much to do and it’s never going to get finished.”
Satan and his merry men will jump that band wagon and ride it all the way into Saturday. But if we speak the word of God over it, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” – Philippians 4:13
For thou Lord, wilt bless the righteous; with favour thou wilt compass him as with a shield. – Psalm 5:12
Speaking those words causes my attitude to change and Satan to flee. The wise men knew the word of God was the way to Christ because within the word of God it was prophesied 700 years before the event. That proves the power in the word of God.
But thou, Beth-lehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from old, from everlasting.
That prophesy foretold of the birth of Christ in that little city, long before the wise men were given directions.
God knows our destinations as well. Isn’t that great news! But it wouldn’t have been great news if the Kings had had the attitudes most of us have when God gives us directions.
We doubt and fear because we don’t prove God’s words by stepping out in zones of discomfort. And we miss the joy of the adventure.
That’s what I want in November and December. I want to experience an adventure with Christ! And I can only do that by finding out what God’s word said and how it pertains to my manic Monday or terrible Tuesday, or wicked Wednesday that Satan would like me to experience.
I want victory over every day.
Always Looking for Pleasure
Who doesn’t want to please God? Pleasing God is following, worshipping and acknowledging Who His Son is and Where He is. The third part of our scripture said at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.
1 Peter 3:22 tells us that Christ is on the right hand of God. But to understand that is to understand the symbolic gestures of Old Testament.
In Genesis 48, Joseph brought his sons to Jacob to be blessed, but he got upset when he seen his father lay his right hand on the head of Ephraim because that was a blessing reserved for the oldest child and Ephraim was younger than Manasseh. So Joseph called it to his father’s attention, and his father replied, I know what I’m doing, leave me alone. Shari quoted bible.
So Jacob was basically saying that the younger son was going to be greater than the older. And as harsh as that seemed for Joseph to hear, it was prophetic. And He needed to hear it.
If we want the blessing of God, we have to trust that the Son on the right hand of God has our best interest at heart. But we’ll never understand that unless we get into a deeper relation with Him.
There was some serious relationship issues within the families of the bible. But if we want to experience the pleasures that God has for us in life, we cannot have relationship issues with Jesus Christ.
God didn’t send His Son to this world, to be taken for granted.
Before the heart attack I took a lot of things for granted. One of them was Christmas. That’s why, this year I’m starting early. I want to “experience” this season by having greater clarity and joy about my purpose in life. And I want a greater relationship with the Lord Jesus.
When I read the words in Psalm, it just leapt off the page at me like a Jack in the Box on Christmas morning. God’s verse to prepare my heart for this season.
It doesn’t matter if I’m talking about the Christmas season, or a season in your life that you’re going through. You and I both need the same thing. A deeper relationship with the Lord.
We can only have that if we’re prepared to invest some time.
We have to turn the television off, or the radio, or the computer. Whatever it is that is distracting us from this journey that God is taking us on in November and December!I’m excited about it! And I’m excited that you joined me today and I hope that you’ll let me follow you on your journey by messaging me and clueing me in on some of the things the Lord has been doing in your life.
God Bless and I hope to see you next Monday at 10 am. on Facebook live.
So I bought her to me for fifteen pieces of silver, and for an homer of barley and an half homer of barley:
Have you ever wondered why God puts up with you? I certainly do. Most every day I’m asking myself that question. I have a feeling that nobody asked that question any more than Gomer, the wife of the prophet Hosea.
The story of Hosea’s prostitute wife was not that of the ordinary man of God. God had instructed him to marry a prostitute. That is what I would all an extreme sermon illustration! Once they were married, Gomer’s infidelity and abandonment meant that Hosea had to buy her back out of prostitution, in a very public way and then tell the children of Israel how his wife’s infidelity was no different than theirs was to the Lord; which would bring great judgment upon themselves.
Praise God for grace… but Gomer’s life story still rings my bell. I long for a relationship of deeper proportion with the Lord, but I stay so busy and scattered about with various things that the Lord more often than not, gets scooted over to make a seat for some vain desire. Thinking I’ll get back to Him later. What? Even writing that makes my stomach roll over to think that I would treat the Creator of all the earth in such a manner.
It’s why I can identify with Gomer. Hosea married her and made an honorable woman out of her, but she refused to stay away from the world from which she came out of. She had children, and she even abandoned them to go back.
Infidelity has a much broader meaning when it comes to our relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.
He’s not asking us to turn our backs on family, forget about hobbies or favorite pass times, He merely wants included. And yet, even I, who the world around me knows me as the Jesus Chick, will not bring Him into a conversation for fear of it being an unwanted conversation sometimes. Or I’ll get distracted by some worldly television show or social media and my day has dwindled away and I’m left wondering why I feel like a dirt dog at the end of the day.
It’s the equivalency of not showering! The Word of God is a spiritual wash cloth as one of my favorite preachers use to say.
My relationship with Christ cannot possibly get to a deeper place, if I’m not willing to wade out into the water where He is.
It reminds me of those times that He and the disciples would get away from the rest of the world for some ministry training and rest and it would be in a quiet place, or in the midst of the sea. It wasn’t in a crowded room, dusty street, or in front of a blaring television with idiotic commercials every 3 minutes.
So today in an attempt to understand why God tolerates me I looked into the eyes of Hosea through the eyes of Gomer. I realized it was for no other reason than He loves me. Thank God, I am redeemed. Bought back with the blood of Jesus Christ after I went astray.
In the book of Nahum we once again find Israel having been carried captives into Assyria. A common storyline in the lives of God’s people. Sin, become captive, repent, obtain freedom, repeat. But before we cast any stones we, generally speaking, don’t have to look long into our own lives to find that we too are repeat offenders of captivity. The world has a way of laying hold on us and doesn’t relinquish us to freedom easily. Our enemies are fierce, but our Father is the fiercest of all!
When a verse like Nahum 1:7-8 comes into my reading time, I take note, and need to delve further into the God of all comfort. He comforts me like the favorite blanket that I wrap up in on a cool fall morning.
The Lord is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him. But with an overrunning flood he will make an utter end of the place thereof, and darkness shall pursue his enemies.
Heaven helps those who do
Jesus told the young ruler in Luke 18:19 Why callest thou me good? None is good, save one, that is, God.
A very quick and honest search of our own hearts and we realize that we are not good. Sin abounds inside the heart of every man and is only covered by the blood of Jesus when we ask Christ to save us. But it is forever a constant battle creating trouble in our lives. Either our sin or the sin of someone else. So what a joy and privilege and highlight worthy verse we find in the book of Nahum; because even though we’re not good, God is! And He’s a stronghold for those that know Him. A stronghold is a place of security and safety. For King David being sought by Saul, it was cave. For me this morning it’s a blanket on the couch that I’m wrapped up in studying God word. I love this time of the day when the busyness and stress of the day hasn’t quite kicked in and my heart is still tender and receptive to God’s guidance
It’s good seed sown in a dirty ground that grows beautiful things.
Come what may for the rest of the day (an our lives) we have to trust that God is good and He takes care of His own.
Heaven Help those who don’t!
Nahum described it as an “overrunning flood” for the enemies of God. And although most people who have not claimed Christ as their Savior, don’t view themselves as the enemies of God, they are. They are because they’ve allowed the world to rule their hearts and the world is the enemy of God.
James 4:4 says as much when James wrote: Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.
That “should” strike fear in the heart of anyone who hasn’t been saved, but it doesn’t. They are blinded by this world into believing that there is another way out besides salvation. And the heartaches and troubles they face every day, that overwhelms their souls and very much feels like an overrunning flood could be traded for the strong hand of God that would remove it and replace it with His peace for the asking. But many will not.
And sadly many who know God and He knows them, live in defeat because they don’t take the time to get in His word where peace is found.
I’m ever so grateful that in all my errors and blunders in life, God’s grace is sufficient to pull me through the tough days and allow me to celebrate the good days with gladness! I pray you’re experiencing that peace today and that you’ll share it with someone along the pathway.
If you’d like to know more about sceduling the Jesus Chick to speak or sing, contact me at 304-377-6036 or find me on social media under “the Jesus Chick.”
Its confession time for me again. I seem to be doing that a lot lately. But although confession is good for the soul… it’s hard on my emotions. Confession can sometimes be a testimony of failure, guilt or pain, and depending upon the response post confession from the confessor and the confessee, determines the successful healing or purpose. So here’s my confession in a nut shell…
For the past couple of years God has placed on my heart to plan an event. I’ll give details on that later. My response was, “Okay. Later.” After all, I’ve told God “no” before, and I know how that turns out. So “later” seemed like a more viable option. Again and again, too many numerous times I heard this request from God. And I always had a reason behind my answer.
The first one was the Moses response. “Who am I, Lord that You should use me?” I always followed that by, “Lord, who would even listen?” My self-doubt fed right into that answer. Coupled with the fact that there are those who really don’t take my ministry serious or feel that it is a worthwhile investment. So, I thought I should wait until I grew up, or a “God thing” happened that made me know for sure. Like possibly a heart attack.
My second response was, “They don’t want it. Lord, You and I have been here before and the people won’t come.” To which I would hear, “the ‘right’ people will come. Its’ all in the chapiters.” That response came from a sermon of Mickey Carter’s that he preached three years ago; and to this day I can’t get it out of my mind. On the top of the tall pillars in the temple were chapiters with the finest of detail that no man could see. But God could. Many people don’t see our efforts, but God does. And it’s He who will reward. And so I thought some more on the event God asked me to do…
I’ve been praying for directions, asking for God’s wisdom because I really don’t have the answer. I kept hearing “read Jonah.” And I planned to, but later. After 2 preachers and a lady who spoke at our Monday Women’s event used the story of Jonah as an illustration, I finally conceded that perhaps I should read the book of Jonah. I am a slow learner.
The Great Fish
God did a preparatory work for Jonah four times. He started with the biggest. The “Great Fish.”
But prior to the great fish, Jonah had some great people who encouraged him. The ship’s crew who cried unto their gods and threw the ships cargo over board in an attempt to save themselves and Jonah, knew that there was a difference in Jonah’s God. They knew He could save them. (Chapter 1 verse 6).
I’ve always had encouragement, even from the lost. Those who have faith in “my God” because they’ve seen His work in me. But I will allow the naysayers to overshadow those whom God sends to encourage.
Jonah finally confesses that it is he who’s caused the angry waves and tell the men to throw him over board. He’d rather die, than get right.
For the record… I would not rather die. But I still didn’t get right before my heart attack. I’m not saying that’s why it happened, but it certainly garnered my attention.
The Great Gourd
Even after Jonah survived being whale puke, and reluctantly but obediently preached the gospel to the Ninevites, he continued to be angry with God for saving the people of Ninevah. So God gave him a brief period of rest and created a gourd to grow above Jonah’s head and give shade in the heat of the day. (Chapter 4,verse 6)
Following my heart attack I wasn’t angry with God. I’ve never been angry with God, but rather angry with Shari and my feelings of inadequacy for life and on more than one occasion I was secretly angry with people who didn’t believe in me. But God gave me a rest from that and allowed me to regroup my thoughts. So I collectively put them all back together in the same place by telling the Lord I wasn’t fit for what He was calling me to do. I was a disobedient sinner, and He surely couldn’t use me.
The Great Worm
God allowed Jonah to rest for a little while and then He caused a worm to eat the gourd that provided the shade. And there Jonah was, exposed to the elements of life again. Still angry because the Lord wanted to see the people of Ninevah saved. (Chapter 4,verse 7)
Following my healing and rest after the heart surgery I began to find strength and purpose again. I began serving the Lord in my “safe zones” and all was right… except… the continual knowledge that I wasn’t fully obedient to God’s will for my life. That doggone worm ate my shade and I too was exposed to reality. The reality that not everyone in the world loved me but I was required to love them.
The Great Wind
God’s final preparatory work was the great wind. He drove the sun down upon Jonah’s head until he passed out! God asked him, “Doest thou well to be angry for the gourd?” And Jonah answered in what I imagine to be a total eye roll, smart aleck attitude “I do well to be angry, even unto death.” (Chapter 4, verse 9)
God nailed Jonah to the wall by asking him why he was more concerned over a gourd dying than the 120,000 souls headed for Hell until he preached to them the gospel. Ouch.
And for me He asked why I was so much more concerned with those who reject my ministry’s effect, than those who would embrace the Lord’s purpose for me through what God has ask me to do. The world is full of hurting and exhausted ministers and people of God who need to be encouraged in the Lord.
So when God put it on my heart to lead and organize a conference for such a purpose, it scared me to death. I didn’t want to die, but I thought I might if I stepped out in this endeavor. But after prayer and counsel the decision’s been made with excited people on board for the spring of 2019.
This video is a post from my weekly event “Not Another Manic Monday”. It may have been more manic than I thought because I start out sideways on the view. But hang on for a minute and I get myself straightened out!
The Message is from Galatians Chapter 4 about what we recieve being the children of God!
Have you ever just wanted the day to stop? For the clock to stop winding down and allow things to get caught up and back in order. Life has a way of getting out of control, creating anxiety and feelings of unfinished business. Many of my mornings start out that way before I get out of bed! Mornings are my most productive time. This morning I prayed… “God, please bless my brain.” Lord have mercy, I needed Him to speak to my Spirit and give me words not just for the blog, but I needed a message for myself. I needed the sun to stop before it even finished rising. I wanted to feel God’s power working in my life and as always, He moved and I felt it. I believe that God was faithful to provide a message for us both from the book of Joshua.
12 Then spake Joshua to the Lord in the day when the Lord deliveredup the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon.
13 And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day.
14 And there was no day like that before it or after it, that the Lord hearkened unto the voice of a man: for the Lord fought for Israel.
There was no day like it before, or will we see it in our time again, for it was written, this was one time deal that God took orders from a man.
A little back story is that an ally of Joshua’s was attacked by five other kings for being friends of Israel. By request Joshua and his army came to their aid and God promised victory, even killing more people by casting “great stones from heaven” upon the enemy than Israel killed with the sword. But as the day was finishing up, Joshua didn’t consider the job done. So, in front the witness of Israel, Joshua orders the sun and moon to stop… and it did.
Glory to God! I’ll bet that was a “mic drop moment” in Israel’s history.
I don’t believe God will be doing a repeat of that miracle today, but He is still in the miracle business.
A dear friend of mine who has long since gone to Heaven gave me a method of rest that has never failed me. I don’t abuse the privilege, but on nights when I need my rest, and the time has gotten away from me causing me to head to bed much later than I would have liked, I pray this prayer. “Lord, please give me a double portion of sleep.” I’m essentially asking for God to pack 8 hours into 4, or 10 into 5, whatever the case may be. And He does. Because that’s the God I serve. So Joshua’s request doesn’t take me by surprise or allow one doubt to enter my head that’s its true. It’s also backed up by scientific research!
On October 30th, 2017 Cambridge researchers announced that they had pinpointed the date of the biblical account of Joshua stopping the sun — which they claim is the day of the oldest eclipse ever recorded — to October 30, 1207 BCE, 3,224 years ago.
I didn’t need for Cambridge researchers to tell me it was true. God said it, therefore it was. But it’s nice to know they agree.
The story of Joshua gives me two points of pondering today:
God heard Joshua and so did Israel.
God helped Joshua and so did Israel.
In ear shot of Israel, Joshua stepped out on a limb and orders the sun and moon to stop, which can only be done by He who created them. I’m not that bold. But I can step out in faith in the things the Lord allows and so can you. But we first have to slow down and listen, which is why it’s so very important on Satan’s agenda to make my day and yours get crazy. I don’t need the Lord to stop the sun and moon… I need the Lord to stop me.
I need to listen to what the Lord has to say to me and speak that truth to others in the family of God. So that when it comes to fruition, God will be glorified!
I also need to enlist my brothers and sisters in Christ to become a part of the bigger picture that God allows to work in me so they too can experience the power of God at work in their lives as well.
Those days on the battlefield must have ended in the biggest celebration ever, or perhaps they ended it with a nap being that they had been up for 24 hours. But none the less it ended well and gloriously because Israel showed up and God showed out in a major way.
Today… I showed up at the key board. It wasn’t a battlefield, but it felt like one. I needed direction and God provided it for me. I pray that this scripture and these words encouraged you to understand that God has the victory already done, and whatever else needs accomplished, He’ll do that too. Slow down and listen, enlist your friends and let’s get some serious work done for the Kingdom’s glory!
Writer, Speaker, Singer… but most of all, Servant of Jesus Christ