Will My High Hopes Last?

Ethel

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?

2 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!

They’re expectantly 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 chickens do.

Am I? Doing what I’m called to do? Every day? Or just on days when I feel like the Son is going to return?

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 church!

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!

Lucy

The Offering

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.

Ezekiel 45:20-25

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.

God’s View

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 ongoing problem.

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.

God’s Vow

 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.

God’s Victory

1 Corinthians 15:55

O death, where is thy sting? O grave where is thy victory?

1 Corinthians 15:57

But 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 grateful…

When the Monster Returns

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?

I 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 back in.

Most 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.

When 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.

My 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.

The 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.

Two 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.

So 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.

W.E.P.T.

I 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

They Worshipped – Both fell down at His feet

Entreated – Both reached out to Him for a solution.

Prayed – Both prayed for God’s mercy

Trusted – Both trusted His answer.

And 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?

Will the monster return… probably. But so will victory.

The Art of Conversation

The PDF version of this tool with instructions are free and ready to print at the end of this post

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.”

His 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.

I thought of a few…

  • Biggest Fear?
  • Got Faith?
  • Who do you Miss?
  • Dream Life?
  • Who loves you most?

I’d 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.

Conversation Flavor

Philippians 1:27 

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.

Conversation Fun

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 purity.

I’d like to add, let no man forget his or her youth.

Some 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?”

Very 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.

That’s a fun time!

Conversation Facts

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 you-ward.

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.

For God 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 fears.

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 questions?

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.

http://thejesuschick.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/12-conversation-starting-hearts.pdf

http://thejesuschick.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/12-conversation-starting-hearts-instructions.pdf

Not Because I’m a Saint

This is the table that is before the Lord.

Ezekiel 41:22b

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 ain’t.

God is in the Details

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!

Glory!!!! our God is Good!

What Matters Most

World 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.

Ezekiel 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.

So 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…

Names 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.

Ezekiel 38:1-3

1And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying,Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him,And say, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal:

Gog 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

Names Don’t Matter

How 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?

I 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.

Positions Don’t Matter

Ezekiel 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.

While 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’.

Numbers Don’t Matter

Scroll 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 the face.

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.

Broken Again

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 physically.

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.”

Feeble Folk

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 as well.

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.)

Finding Our Super Powers

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.

The rollcall 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.

Superpower #1 – Seeing the Unseen

Other 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?

Hebrews 1:3

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.

What unseen 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 to Christ.

Why do you think that unsaved people, especially those in the field of science, struggle with believing in God’s creation?

Superpower # 2 – Willing to Kill

The first hero mentioned in the book of Hebrews 11 is Abel. His super power was a righteous kill.

Hebrews 11:4

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?

Is 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 hamburger.

Abel’s refusal 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 cross.

The death now is our own. We are dead to ourselves and alive in Christ!

Superpower # 3 – God Pleasers

Hebrews 11:5

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 Builders

Hebrews 11:7

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.

Sometimes if 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

Hebrews 11:8

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.

Where would you fear God’s calling on your life? Has He called you to do something you now fear?

What 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?

Write down something that you struggle believing God will do in your life and then remember the principles of your superpowers!

Superpower #6 – Eternal Living

Hebrews 11:20-22

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

Hebrews 11:

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.

Moses stood 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 power!

Hebrews 11:31

By faith the harlot Rahab perished not with them that believed not, when she had received the spies with peace.

God doesn’t 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!

Beware of Dry Bones

A Nation of Dry Bones

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 congregations.

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 us.

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.

Beware of Christians

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.

I don’t 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.

As most 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

When the 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?

I’ll 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.

Link: https://youtu.be/ebEc73IYdyU

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 questions?

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!

Strange but much needed encouragement

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 Lambsy Divey.

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, wouldn’t you.

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:

en·cour·age·ment

/inˈkərijmənt,enˈkərijmənt/

noun

  1. the action of giving someone support, confidence, or hope.
  2. persuasion to do or to continue something.
  3. 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!

The Help of Hope

1 Corinthians 15:19

If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.

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 post salvation.

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.

The Passion of Persuasion

Acts 26:28

Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.

What 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

For 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.

Nor 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.

Have courage! Share Him today.

The Beauty of Belief

Romans 10:15

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!

The Power of Drama

dra·ma

/ˈdrämə (noun)

  • a play for theater, radio, or television.
  • an exciting, emotional, or unexpected series of events or set of circumstances.
  • 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.

Drama is powerful

1 Kings 21:25 says of Ahab and Jezebel:

But there was none like unto Ahab, which did sell himself to work wickedness in the sight of the Lord, whom Jezebel his wife stirred up.

Ahab had 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?

What’s 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.

Matthew 12:36

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.

Brr…the Winter Time Blues

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.”

Spiritually Barren

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.

Spiritual Resignation

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 little bitter.

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.

Spiritually Reasoned

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

Finding Peace in the Trouble of Today

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.

Hollywood (or 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 enough.

Matthew 6:34 reminds us Take 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?

Isaiah 26:3

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 thoughts.

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 happens!

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.

The Extent of Forgiveness

It’s not 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!

If 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)

That’s 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 defeat.

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.

Never Void

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)

This is 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.

Mary knew, Do you?

Luke 1:47

And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.

Three points for me to ponder from the word of God as spoken by Mary the mother of our Lord Jesus.

This 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.

I 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!

She 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 had Cause!

The 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.

Life 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 God!

Mary knew the Response had a Calling!

Mary 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.

That’s 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.

What’s 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!

Blessings from me, the Jesus Chick.

Please like and share my site www.theJesusChick.com

God’s Protocol For Worship

Psalm 100

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.

ENJOY!!!!

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.

Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands.

Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing.

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.

Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.

For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.

Protocol 1 is

Make Noise!

There 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!

What are some good noises?

Psalm 100:1 says to make a joyful noise unto the Lord. What do you consider a joyful noise to sound like?

Who should be shouting?

John Gill’s commentary said:

all the 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

Serve Him

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

Come before His presence

I 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 accordingly.

How should we come into His presence?

Protocol Number 4 is

With singing

Everyone? Yes! Everyone on the platform? No!!!!!!

But 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?

How important is it to you?

Do you feel called into the music ministry?

Do you understand what a calling is?

Protocol number 5 is to

Know

Know 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.

Have you ever felt the Lord speaking to you?

How would you describe it?

Do you think people misunderstand the Lord’s calling on their life? Why?

Protocol Number 6

Enter with Thanksgiving

What are some reasons that we have to be thankful as we come into the building and worship service?

The final Protocol in Psalm 100 is number 7, we should

Bless His Name

We always ask the Lord to bless us, but do we ever think about blessing Him?

What are ways we can bless Him?

The final verse of Psalm 100 gives us 3 reasons we should worship the Lord and have an attitude of worship.

Because He is good

(even when the world around us isn’t)

Because He is merciful

(every day we stand in need of it)

Because 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!)

A New Thing!

What 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.

Behold!

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.

Be Watching!

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.

Be Ready!

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!!!!!

The Plan’s in Place

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!”

Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for He hath visited and redeemed His people;

Luke 1:68

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

But 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!

We’re Going to Have to Get Better

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.

Salvation’s Security

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

15 Whosoever 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.

Salvations Sincerity

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?

Salvation’s Sheriff

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.

Christians should 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 people.

Kiss the Cook

Proverbs 17:27-28

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.

Spared Words

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.

Spirited Words

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!

God Bless!

Shari

www.theJesusChick.com

Who Says Water and Electricity Don’t Mix?

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.

For he flattereth himself in his own eyes, until his iniquity be found to be hateful.

The words of his mouth are iniquity and deceit: he hath left off to be wise, and to do good.

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

Thy mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens; and thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds.

Thy righteousness is like the great mountains; thy judgments are a great deep: O Lord, thou preservest man and beast.

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.

The Light!

They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house; and thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures.

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!

Be Thou my Vision

Bible Journaling Art by The Jesus Chick

Proverbs 29:18

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.

No Instruction leads to Destruction

Proverbs 1:5

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.

Proverbs 12:28

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.

An Unusual Thanksgiving Message

Book of Wars Journal entry and Poetry by Shari L. Johnson

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.

Ephesians 6:12  says

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.

Win your battle, Thank Him today!!!!

The God Satan Doesn’t Want You to Know

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.

Ephesians 4:30

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…

Micah 7:18-20

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.

Forgiven

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.

Forgotten

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!

God is not man!

Isaiah 55:8

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.

Forever

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.

Do You?

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,

Lead Me On Lord!

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.

Psalm 16:11

Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fullness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.

I am

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.

The star…

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.

Micah 5:2

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. 

Oh How He Loves You and Me

Hosea 3:2

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.

He loves you too you know…

Heaven Help Us

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.

Nahum 1:7-8

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.”

Great Things!

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.

I’m a Free Woman!

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! 

  1. The Freedom of the Father
  2. The Fringe Benefits of the Father 
  3. The Freewill of the Father

When Heaven Answers






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.

Joshua 10:12-13

12 Then spake Joshua to the Lord in the day when the Lord delivered up 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:

  1. God heard Joshua and so did Israel.
  2. 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!