Wake up and S~T~R~E~T~C~H

There’s something about getting out of bed, raising your hands to the sky and stretching out the muscles and bones; it just feels good! It brings the body to life and gets you motivated and moving. There’s power in the stretch. Add God to the equation and things happen. When scripture mentions God stretching, there was a powerful effect.

When God Stretches There is Freedom

Exodus 6:6  ~ Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments:

When God stretched out His arm over the children of Israel He brought them out of a 400 year bondage. All that generation had known was Pharaoh’s control; they’d never experienced freedom. Is it any wonder they didn’t know what to do with it when they finally got it? They’d never experienced their own wealth or their own will. The task masters told them when to get up and when to lie down. But now, God had stretched forth His arm and brought them out and for the first time in their lives they could make their own decisions. When God’s brings us out of the bondage of sin it’s much the same way. There is a wonder in feeling the freedom of forgiveness; it’s almost too good to be true! So what do you do with it? Just like Israel, the decision is yours. You can continue to try and figure life out on your own, or you can trust the One Who brought you out. You didn’t do a thing to warrant salvation. Christ paid that price in full, your responsibility now is to thank Him, praise Him and live in a way that brings glory to His name.

When God Stretches Us There is Victory

Joshua 8:18-19

And the Lord said unto Joshua, Stretch out the spear that is in thy hand toward Ai; for I will give it into thine hand. And Joshua stretched out the spear that he had in his hand toward the city. And the ambush arose quickly out of their place, and they ran as soon as he had stretched out his hand: and they entered into the city, and took it, and hasted and set the city on fire.

Joshua had a gift for leadership, it began with great faith and a can do attitude. He had seen the waters parted, the Egyptian army leveled, he’d seen the price of 40 years for disobedience, he’d watched the wall of Jericho fall with a shout and now he stood before Ai for the second time having just been beaten because of a sin in the camp. But this time there would be victory!

It stretches us to believe God for the victory when we’ve experienced so many failures. The victory comes with a right heart, and determination that we’re going to do this thing right. If Joshua had focused on the failures, victory would not have come. If we’re going to win the battle before us we have to learn from the losses and wait for the win. When God told Joshua to stretch he did and the ambush arose quickly. If you’ve got a battle before you, do it right. Confess what’s wrong – your sin. Count on what’s right – God sovereignty. Continue on in what’s ordered.

Isaiah 14:27

For the Lord of hosts hath purposed, and who shall disannul it? and his hand is stretched out, and who shall turn it back?

God has a purpose for our lives, and He’ll align it all with a stretched out hand for Victory if we’ll stay steadfast in His word and ways. Amen!

Are you looking for direction? Let’s pray together. Post your request below and together we’ll pray that God stretches out His mighty hand and make things happen!

 

The spirit of truth or the spirit of error?

Or to country quote it, “It either is or it ain’t,”

1 John 4:6-7 (KJV)
We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.

There is much about life that confuses me. Do I or don’t I do this or that? Should I or should I have not said this or that? In reality most of it is common sense. I already have the answer, the question likely should be “do I rebel against God or do I not?” Owch! that’ll slap you in the noggin. But its truth in my world. This is not the direction I wanted to go with this verse this morning.

I wanted to be all pious and write something really deep about this verse on how we that are saved hear, and those that are lost do not. And then God came beside me on the couch and said, “Yes, Shari. That’s true. But what about the saints of God that just plain don’t listen?”

Can you hear Me now?

The Spirit of truth is the fact that God enters the soul upon the second of salvation. Maybe the second before; after all something had to prick the heart to tell you that you needed Christ. And there it stays, just like water on demand! The truth is there in plenteous supply but it is the spirit of error that is often tapped into. I am totally speaking of self, although I may not be alone. I keep trying to undo God’s plan.

There is a story of a farmer and his son who were starting their day when the father ask, “What are you doing today son?” It was actually a trick question. The son replied, “I’m going to the stable to work with the horses.” The father responded, “don’t you mean if its the Lord’s will you’re going to the stable?” The son arrogantly replied, “I’m going to the barn with or without God’s permission.”

The father waited a bit and the went to the barn to check on his son. The son was placing the lead strap on an unbroken horse. As soon as the strap clicked the horse bolted and drug the son out of the stable and down the road. As he was drug past the father ask, “what are you doing son.” The son replied, “I’m going to work with this horse… If its the Lord’s will.”

God will have His way. We can go easily or with a spirit of error we can be drug kicking and screaming. Either way… God wins.

A Victorious Chick!

As I was checking the data on my website one of the top word searches that lead people to my website was “Victorious Chick.” My first thought was, “that’s a cool search;” my second thought was, “Why on earth would that lead them to me?!” I certainly don’t see myself in that light. But I had to wonder… am I? And if so, why? And the greatest question is, if I am, why do I not know? You would think if someone were victorious they would know.

For answers I went back to Israel, I make a trip back there about every day or two because they are the kings and queens of disastrous decisions for which I can identify! So, in a warped way it makes me feel closer to God because His original chosen people likely frustrated Him every bit as much as I do.

Open your mouth and say “Ai”

Joshua 6-8 – the Shari seriously condensed version

After forty years the Israelites had finally made it out of the wilderness! For seven days they marched around the walls of Jericho and when the trumpet blew and the people shouted the walls came down and all but Rahab and her family were destroyed. God had given the orders and they obeyed and it went off without a hitch… until Achan spied a Babylonish garment, some silver and gold and hid it in his tent.  Then Israel went out again to battle and because of the Babylonian britches they got the pants beat off of them. Joshua prayed to God, “Why did we not stay in Jordan Lord, now we are here; our people are chickens and Your good name is ruined.” I told you it was seriously condensed! But then God says “Why are you layin’ on your face. There’s sin in your camp.”

Some of my greatest failures have been because I have had sin in my camp. It doesn’t even have to be great sin, but God’s people are held to a higher accountability. Achan and his family were stoned to death and burnt with fire, guilty by association, and recompense was made. I used to not understand why God took such extreme measures, until I studied the law of Moses. It is not by coincidence that when this event ended Joshua built an altar and wrote the Ten Commandments upon them. God is Holy. He hasn’t changed, but what has changed is that we are no longer under the law, but under grace; which still does not excuse sin, but it covers it with the blood of Christ. The “Thou Shalt Not’s” are still there, but the debt is paid by Christ’s death, not our own, which Achan had to learn the hard way.

After the death of Achan’s family the children of Israel returned to Ai, and beat the pants off of them and God’s great Name was glorified.

So now you say, what does that have to do with you being a victorious chick? I’ve had the victories, I’ve coveted things that were not mine, lost a battle or two and God graciously allowed me to return to the battle field that I’d been beaten on and have victory again.

Over the years I have desired positions and things that God never intended me to have, and when I got them it always lead to disaster. Rather than being satisfied with where God had me at the time or what I had at the time I would move ahead of God’s intended design, and the price was always high. But then I’d repent and settle back into my place and God would slowly but surely bring me back to that place and I’d have the victory. I don’t think it was as sweet as it would have been if I’d have waited on Him.  But it was sweet!

So I guess I am a victorious chick, but not of anything I have done, but as it says in 1 Corinthians 15:57 “But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Amen! Vctory comes in obedience. Are you in a rough spot, you’ll have to examne your own life and see where you are. There may be sin (if there is, you know) or it may be a waiting time when God needs to see obedience in the wait. Either way, just hold on! God will bring you through!

Share with me your victories! I’d love to hear

Growth is a Journey but Bloom Where You’re Planted


Luke 2:49

And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?

My Father’s business. These words keep ringing in my mind this morning. At twelve years old Jesus knew the plan and began working it. He submitted to His parent’s authority but He continued to work the plan God had placed into motion in that manger in Bethlehem. This morning I’m trying to get into motion my Father’s business plan. I’m working on upcoming speaking engagements, marketing conferences, blogging, networking, praying and learning! Wow. I’m exhausted just telling you what I’m doing. For the longest time I would feel guilty every time I marketed myself as a speaker, singer or any of the other hats I wear. Until I finally decided to roll with the plan God placed in motion on August 11, 1962, my birthday.

All along, what I had been doing by believing Satan’s lies and failing to market myself was being a failure at a business God had destined for success. It is destined for success not because of me, but because of my purpose; which is to glorify God. Satan had convinced me that I was marketing “me”, knowing that in my humbleness of attitude and insecurities I would know that I’m not worthy. What a liar! And what a sap I was for believing him. Gradually over a year long journey I have grown to this place. Where is here? The portal to purpose.

It’s where I stop saying I’m Shari Johnson, and then as a side note say I’m working for the Lord. It’s where I say, I’m a child of the King, Shari Johnson. God is my employer. He sent me to you today to encourage you to be all that you can be for His glory. God has a purpose for my life, and yours. We truly are to bloom where we’re planted. This day I’m planted in West Virginia, this evening my vines are reaching out to a prayer conference in Marietta, Ohio. Tomorrow, who knows where I’ll be, but God has a plan.

Has Satan been feeding you a pack of lies? Has he been telling you to stop dreaming, hope is gone? He’s a liar. God has a plan, step around Satan and move forward!

Post a comment and let me know where you’re at on your journey!

 

You have power in His Name. Are you Ready?

Acts 3:1-16

I shared with my youth over the weekend how it was for me as a young person when I had to stand before my peers and give an oral report. I would absolutely go into hysterical, uncontrollable laughter until my teacher would see that it was futile, give me a mercy grade for my attempt and allow me to return to my seat. So imagine my surprise when God called me to sing and speak! He has such a sense of humor!

When Peter and John arrived at the gate called Beautiful a lame man sat begging, waiting to receive the mercy of provision. I highly doubt he sat in the arrogance of entitlement that many sit in today; he most likely sat in humility for having to rely on others for his livelihood. So imagine his surprise when Peter said in verse 6 ~ “Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.” And then he did! He didn’t just walk, he got leapt up! He went into the temple, leaping and shouting Glory Hallelujah!

The Name of Jesus gave him Mobility

Acts 3:16a  ~ “And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong.” He on his own went into the temple. He may have never been in the doors of the temple before, but this time he went in shouting the house down! When God laid it on my heart to sing and speak I had to move on it! I began studying the word of God, making it known that God had called me into this field, because just like the beggar, I was so thankful that I no longer had to  but was now in the service of the Lord. If God has called you to do something you have to get mobile! Start moving on it. Sometimes it happens all at once, but other times it’s a slow process, but get moving!

The Name of Jesus gave him Reliability

Acts 3:16b ~ “Whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness.” Soundness can be defined as reliability. They knew what he was, but now they could see what he is. This man no longer had to depend upon them for sustenance and survival but he could now provide for himself, and so can you! If God has called you to it, He will  walk you through it

The Name of Jesus gave him Ability

Acts 3:16c ~ “in the presence of you all.” There he stood on the porch with Peter and John ministering to the people. I love where it says in Verse 11 says  “the lame man which was healed held Peter and John.”  They didn’t hold him, he held them. He was no longer dependent upon someone to hold him up but he could hold up someone else. The people were in awe at the miracle, but Peter and John quickly reminded them, it’s not the miracle, it’s the Master! Don’t be surprised at what you can do when the Lord’s in it. If He can breathe the very life into our bodies, why are we shocked when He can place ability in them?

All Jesus requires is Availability

The beggar was at the gate ready. Are you?

The Pressure of the Church

Spend a short amount of time in the presence of teens and you’ll find out quickly the role peer pressure plays in their lives; the adult world is no different. The pressure may not be any worse than it is with youth but  it’s just as bad. At this stage, jobs, money and position are now at play and the community influence is still great. I have only ever lived in a small community but I have a feeling within large communities there are pockets of influence that lead to greater influence as a whole; all of which add up to one thing… Pressure! The pressure within and without a person can change direction and attitude which will serve to affect the family, church and community.

Why this is on my heart this morning I do not know, but it is and maybe it’s for you! If so let me know.

As a leader in the church I wish I had a pressure gauge tester for our congregation so that I could tell when someone was about ready to blow. Wouldn’t that be handy! At a teen retreat this past weekend the kids were so good; there were however a few ill feelings that quickly smoothed over to forgiveness because someone stayed on top of it by testing the pressure so to speak and releasing a pop off valve by allowing a teen to voice their feelings.

Often the pressure we put on ourselves is the worst. In the church comparing ourselves to someone else can have a lethal result on our spirituality; that’s why when I discovered there was a “dead weight pressure gauge tester” I giggled and wondered if there was such a thing for the congregation of the Lord? People are at all levels of pressure in the church. Some of them, mostly leadership, have so much pressure that it bursts out of them! They’re ready for action and step up to volunteer and help where ever it’s needed. For others it’s consistent pressure, meaning that they are in their place every week, they help when they can but you generally won’t see them on the platform or stepping into leadership role. And then there are those that I wish I had the gauge for…

Dead weight

They sit in the pew, seldom speak, seldom react, arrive at 11 a.m. sharp, leave at 12 noon dull, don’t even consider the Sunday School hour because they’ve obviously arrived and have no need of any further enlightenment on scripture. Am I being judgmental… only slightly. (Insert grin here).

That’s why I want that deadweight tester! Maybe there’s a reason that I know nothing about on their lack of enthusiasm for the things of God. Possibly within them is party of emotions and excitement that just doesn’t show on the outside, but if I had a “deadweight tester” and hooked them up, the gauge would read in the red zone. With me you don’t have to guess. My pressure gauge is my mouth! And it usually is wide open and letting people know if I’m excited about something.

Amos 2:13 reads Behold, I am pressed under you, as a cart is pressed that is full of sheaves.”

Sometimes we have so much pressure on us in life that we’re bogged down. Amos said that the pressure on him was like that of a cart loaded down with sheaves to the point it could not move. If the weight of your world is so heavy on you that you’re just sitting, not serving, you need to either dump your load completely or distribute the load between some friends.

I hope today finds your cart rolling merrily along for Jesus!

Please post below if I’ve encouraged you, or if you’d like to share an experience. Posts must be approved before they show, just in case someone hasn’t tested their pressure lately