Whoso is wise, do this…

owlPsalm 107 begins in verse 1-2 ~ O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. Let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he hath redeemed from the hand of the enemy;”

And then ends in verse 43 with Whoso is wise, and will observe these things, even they shall understand the lovingkindness of the Lord.”

The verse between 1 through 43 are filled with trouble and deliverance, backsliding and redemption, sorrow brought to rejoicing and again and again the psalmist reminds the reader that “men should praise the Lord.” I will not tell you that through every heartache and sorrow I have shouted the house down. I’ve shouted neither for joy, nor have I shouted for complaint… I fear God too much for that. Oh, I’ve whined; believe me! But how do you get in that attitude of praise when you’re in the midst of the storm sea?

I went to sleep last night praying God would remove a heartache, and I awoke this morning praying likewise and then I began to ponder the what if’s in my life; possibly with a little help from Satan, or the flesh I’m not sure. What if this would happen or that? What if it gets worse than this, what now? And then I had an urge to begin thanking God for the morning. I didn’t stop there, I thanked Him for family, friends, my home, right down to the coffee in my cup! …and then it happened. Whoooooooshhhhhhhhh. That ever calming breath that comes from the Lord calmed the waters of my soul. Whoso is wise…

Observe ~ look around you and see all that you have to be thankful for. Yes there is heartache, but so much greater than the troubles of the day is our Lord. In His providential ways He can speak peace into existence. The storm may be raging, but the soul of a saint of God can be stilled just as easily as the storm at sea.

Understand ~ boy, that’s tough sometimes. Understanding doesn’t always know why something is, or when it will end, sometimes its believing that God’s in control of it. I don’t understand how electricity works, but I believe when I hit the switch the lights will appear. I don’t know how God works, but I understand that He does, and He does it on my behalf. I fully believe that all things work together for good (Romans 8:28), but I still might whine about it. God’s lovingkindness is immeasurable. I fail, He forgives. I hurt, He heals. I mess up, He fixes it.

How’s your sea this morning? Feeling a little nauseous? Start praising God …whooooshhhh… Peace be still my soul. Amen. Let me know how God is working in your life.

Moving Forward in Faith

Genesis 13:14-15

And the Lord said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward and westward: for all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever.

Paradise seen to promises as far as the eye can see.

Lot, the atypical carnal man, nephew of the “Friend to God” Abraham, had just received the graciousness of his uncle being given half of Abraham’s inheritance. Not, was it just half, but the half he chose was paradise; well watered ground likely green and plush as far as he could see. Lot dealt with life in the flesh; he would fit in well with our “if it feels good, do it” society of today. But then there’s Abraham, who was not perfect by any stretch of the imagination but he loved God and all along the journey you see him building altars to God, taking time and the effort to praise the Lord and acknowledge what God was doing in his life. Lot’s journey took him where the flesh lead and into a heap of trouble.

As I read this text this morning it stirred my soul when I read “after that Lot was separated from him.” Not until Abraham had separated himself from the worldliness of Lot did God begin to show Abraham what the future held. How often in life are people held back because they refuse to separate themselves from others in their lives whose carnal focus continually keeps them from receiving the blessing of God. Lot had no concern over Abraham’s success but rather his own lusts when he looked at the land that was before him and chose the best. Abraham’s concern was not only that his nephew was cared for, but that their relationship was unharmed: “for we be brethren.” (13:8)

What Lot did not know was that just beyond that beautiful land he chose was heart ache and sorrow. He would be surrounded by depravity and immoral attitudes that would turn his wife away from God ending in her destruction and corrupt his children. But the land that Abraham received, though it did not appear to be the greater acreage, had an unseen beauty. It had the blessing of God in every direction; north, south, east and west… after that Lot was separated from him.

Abraham had a tender heart for his nephew and likely would not have “separated himself” from him. I fully believe that there are times in our lives when God moves people out of our lives so that he can bless us, and for our own good we need to move forward without looking back. A lesson Lot’s wife learned too little, too late(19:26). I’m not saying that we cannot be friends with the unsaved (how else will they see God unless it’s through us); but when turmoil and strife continually abound in our lives because of the people we’re around it may be time to separate ourselves and move into God’s promises. It’s time to move on in faith that God has something wonderful in our future!

Hebrews 11:1
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Wait for iiiiiitttttt…. Bring on the rain!

James 5:17-20 ~ Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months.And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit. Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him; Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.

I love passionate Christian people! They not only stir my soul but things happen when you’re around them. Sometimes it happens quickly and other times you have to patiently wait for the rain. For three years and six months Elijah prayed for the rain. You can almost hear him saying “Wait for iiiiittttt….” No doubt there were people who laughed him to scorn, his friends may have stuck with him for a while but some of them likely walked away shaking their heads saying “Po ol Elijah, he just don’t get it.” Yeah, I know they didn’t speak country in Israel but I can still see it. More than that I see Elijah watching them walk away and being a little broken hearted that they didn’t have his faith. They served the same God, they’d seen and heard of His miracles, they knew God wasn’t on the clock, why couldn’t they believe? But that was okay, because Elijah had enough faith for all of them.

Passion isn’t for the faint of heart, but it is for anyone who will believe. James said Elijah was a man of “like passions.” He was just like us, he put his under-britches on the same way we do. I’ve been waiting for God to move in an area of my life and I know there are people out there who are saying “Po ol Shari, she just don’t get it.” Well I’m waiting on the rain! Have I been tempted to move to another mountain with a moister climate? Plenty of times!But the truth of the matter is, if I moved there I know in my heart that that land would be dry and barren too. God said “Wait” and I so I am…

In I Kings 18 we find Elijah still waiting in faith, God had rained down fire on the altar on Mt. Carmel and Elijah knew that the sky was about to open up. In verse 41 “Elijah said unto Ahab, Get thee up, eat and drink; for there is a sound of abundance of rain.”  He hadn’t seen the first drop, but he could hear it! He had been faithful, He had kept his eye on the sky believing it was on its way. He was passionate about his purpose in life, to show others the power of his God.

So here we passionate people are. Is there something you in faith have been waiting for God to do?

Elijah told them to go seven times and check for the rain, Let me know if I can pray for you and at Wait for iiiiittttt…7 tonight I’ll check the posts and lift your request to the Lord.

Stirred & Shaken

Mark 1:27-28
And they were all amazed, insomuch that they questioned among themselves, saying, What thing is this? what new doctrine is this? for with authority commandeth he even the unclean spirits, and they do obey him.

Jesus had just called out a few of the disciples and then He heads to church. Imagine their surprise when Christ calls out the demon from the young man. The disciples had been on the job less than a day and already the excitement started. Jesus had stopped by the fishing villages and offered them the opportunity for a new direction in their lives, but I doubt they’d imagined that it would be like this. They knew He was different, else why would they have left the stable jobs they had as fisherman to follow Him. They’d surely felt their hearts stir within them He spoke, something drew them to Him; but they weren’t the only ones Jesus had stirred.

Jesus stirred the satanic forces. They knew who He was. They called Him by name in Mark 1:24 ~ “I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God.” Satan and his band of mayhem men know when God is moving in someone’s life. They know that their heyday is about to end and they rip and tear at everything they can get their teeth into to try and destroy the vessel that God is about to use. But it’s futile. Because when God takes over, the vessel is new! And when the religious leaders of the day seen Christ restore the young man to whole, they said… “This is new!”

Jesus stirred the sanctuary. They didn’t know who He was. They had been so used to dead religion, that they didn’t really know how to take the Live. Lively gospel bothers people, because they can’t control it. It’s easy to sit in a dead church, there’s nothing there to drive you up out of your seat. But get in a service where the Holy Spirit is moving and you’ll see people stand and testify, raise their hands and shout at unacceptable times, and glory to God… it makes people ask questions, like “Where did He get that authority?”

The new disciples had to have known life was about to change. When Jesus stirs up your life, it makes you and everyone else around you uncomfortable. Some will stand beside you and wait with anticipation to see what The Lord is going to do, and others will walk away. Possibly because they’re afraid they’ll get caught up in the moment and jump on the glory train, or because they’re satisfied with mediocrity.

I don’t want mediocre. I want heart thumping, soul stirring events in my life that leave people saying “By what authority did that happen?” And I can answer them with a grin on my chin… That’s God!

Is your soul stirring? Get up! and then let me know where you go…

A New Year, a New Song ~ Bluegrass Style

What is it about the New Year that brings on a whole gamut of possibilities that a new day does not? I mean really, are they not one in the same. A new year is the completion of 365 individual days, followed by the beginning of 365 individual days. In the scope of eternity it’s not even a drop of water in all the oceans of the world, but it serves to remind us of that which we completed, that which we failed, and that which we now have opportunity again.  I joined with friends last night and we played bluegrass music and sang songs to celebrate the outgoing and the incoming years but out of the entire evening one moment stands out, because it was God moment.

I sat beside a fellow seeming considerably older than me; but maybe not. He was a man I barely knew. And as the groups of musicians took turns calling out songs, and some a little sillier than others it came to be my turn and I asked my new friend if he knew “Child of the King.” “Yep,” he replied,” but I don’t know it that well. You sing and I’ll play.” And so we did…

As I finished the final chorus with everyone now knowing the song and chiming in to sing along and my friend said, “That song ended all too soon.”

Hmm…. I have a feeling that’s what many may say at the end of time.  Each one of us may be 10 minutes from Eternity.  Sing loud! Make every moment of 2013 count for something and glorify God in the moment.  I know… sometimes that easier said than done when you’re in trying times. Look past the trying time! Be your own visionary, holding on to what God has promised to bring you through. We could have sang “Child of the King” over again. But I’ll bet the moment wouldn’t have been the same. We’re meant to go through the song of life only once. Make the best of it!

Psalm 144:9
I will sing a new song unto thee, O God: upon a psaltery and an instrument of ten strings will I sing praises unto thee.

That’s the gospel bluegrass style right there in the middle of Psalms!