In a Day of trouble… there’s one thing good to know…

Psalm 61 

1-2 Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer.From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

David’s prayer in the day of trouble. He’d taken his petition to the only One that he knew could make a difference. It’s good (and needful) to have friends that we can share our burdens and hearts desires with, but how much more it is to have a God Who knew of our heartaches and trials before they happened. It didn’t catch Him off guard that any of it occurred; as a matter of fact it was a part of the plan. For whatever reason God will work this trial to our good and the overwhelming feelings we have in the midst… hold on. David prayed (and me too this morning) that he be lead to the “rock that is higher than I.” That place that I can’t even hope of getting to Lord unless You lift me up.

3 For thou hast been a shelter for me, and a strong tower from the enemy.

This is not my first rodeo where I feel overwhelmed with the circumstances of life, as a matter of fact it’s been far worse. David’s past experience reminded himself that God had always been a place of refuge. A “place” he could go and for certain find safety. How wonderful it is to know that God will never fail. That’s a reason to shout this morning! The world fails me, people who love me fail me, I most definitely fail me. But God never does.

4 I will abide in thy tabernacle for ever: I will trust in the covert of thy wings. Selah.

At this point in David’s life he’d been banished from the tabernacle, but God assured him of impending return. During the time in our lives when we’re overwhelmed by circumstance we often feel the furthest away from God, and it usually a struggle to get back. That period between Wednesday night service to Sunday Worship can seem like an eternity in and of itself sometimes. That’s why it’s crucial to daily read the Word of God and be in prayer. We are the tabernacle for which Christ dwells but He quite often is having services alone.

5 For thou, O God, hast heard my vows: thou hast given me the heritage of those that fear thy name.

As a child of God it’s also important to call to mind the day of our salvation. It was not only our commitment of our life to Christ, but His commitment to us. He gave us His name… Christian and the heritage (birthright) that came with it. Glory!

6 Thou wilt prolong the king’s life: and his years as many generations.

David had been promised to be King. And even though from this vantage point David didn’t see the Kingdom he knew it was a promise. God wasn’t through with him yet! If we’re still here on earth the same holds true for us! My heart flutters when I think of what God’s ultimate plan could be!

7 He shall abide before God for ever: O prepare mercy and truth, which may preserve him.

With all that in mind, David prays for mercy and truth and protection. What more would we want than that in any trial? And how awesome it is to pray to the One who can provide it. It is not wonder David closed out with praise!

8 So will I sing praise unto thy name for ever, that I may daily perform my vows.

Keep serving child of God!

Are you waiting for the mantle to fall?

While countless people have come in and gone out of my life that I’ve loved, those who have had a “great” spiritual impact on my life have been fewer than those who have had a great personal impact on my life. Both are important and I don’t want to diminish the latter, but of those who have had a spiritual impact I believe they’ll have rewards in Heaven. 1 Peter 5:2-4 says “Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.” It is my prayer that I will have that impact on people in my life; not that I’m anybody, but that the presence of God in my life will be evident to the point that someone wants what I have and for God’s glory alone.

In 2nd Kings Chapter 2 we find the story of two such men, Elijah and Elisha, and this morning as I read their story I caught a glimpse of that road to Glory for which every saint of God should strive for.

Vs. 9-15 ~

Evidence of the Spirit at Work in our Life

Vs. 9 ~ And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me.

Before Elijah left, Elisha had seen the Spirit of the Lord at work in his life. It will do little good if our legacy for the Lord is the last five minutes of our life. Our friends and family need to see the lasting affect over time. They need to see God in the good days and the bad. Elisha had seen that, he wanted that! He’d seen Elijah:

1. Stop the Rain (1 Kings 17:1)

2. Multiply the Oil (1 Kings 17:2)

3. Raise the Dead (1 Kings 17:22, 23)

4. Bring Fire from heaven on the soaked altar (1 Kings 18:38)

5. Bring on the rain (1 Kings 18:45)

6. Bring fire down on 51 soldiers. (2 Kings 1:10)

7. Bring fire down on the second 51 soldiers (2 Kings 1:12) and

8. Part the river Jordan. (2 Kings 2:8)

Our Evangelism Needs to Continue

Vss. 10-13 ~ And he said, Thou hast asked a hard thing: nevertheless, if thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee; but if not, it shall not be so.  And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. And Elisha saw it, and he cried, My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. And he saw him no more: and he took hold of his own clothes, and rent them in two pieces. He took up also the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and went back, and stood by the bank of Jordan;

When Elijah had gone, Elisha mourned but went back and stood at the bank of Jordan where he and Elijah had stood before. When we’re gone there should be someone standing in the gap that we’ve left; we should be leading leaders, training those we love to evangelize those they love. If Jesus tarries I want the next generation to evangelize the next generation and the only way that will happen is if we have them ready before we leave.

Evolving takes humility

Vss. 14-15 ~ And he took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and smote the waters, and said, Where is the Lord God of Elijah? and when he also had smitten the waters, they parted hither and thither: and Elisha went over. And when the sons of the prophets which were to view at Jericho saw him, they said, The spirit of Elijah doth rest on Elisha. And they came to meet him, and bowed themselves to the ground before him.

After Elijah left, Elisha was there, and when Elisha was gone those who had been watching seen Elisha’s miracles too! Elisha had asked for a double portion of the Spirit that was upon Elijah. Elisha’s miracles were as follows:

  1. Jordan River divided (2:14)
  2. Waters at the spring of Jericho healed (2:21)
  3. Bears from the woods, destroying the mockers (2:24)
  4. Water for Kings (3:20)
  5. Oil for the widow (4:1-4
  6. Gift of the son (4:16,17)
  7. Raising the child from the dead (4:35)
  8. Healing of the potage (4:41)
  9. Bread multiplied (4:43)
  10. Naaman healed (5:10)
  11. Gehazi smitten (5:27)
  12. Caused the iron to swim (6:6)
  13. Sight to the blind (6:17)
  14. Smiting blindness to these men (6:18)
  15. Restoring sight to these men (6:20)
  16. Miracle after his death, man comes to life by touching Elisha’s bones (13:21)

Sixteen!!! The double portion.

It is said that those who watched were the sons of the prophets having been formally trained, while Elisha was taken from the plough. When they perceived that God was on Elisha (as He was Elijah) they readily submitted to him as their father in the faith. They weren’t worried about his resume. Evolving (changing into) men and women of God takes humility. A willingness to have a servant’s heart to receive the manifold blessings of God.

If we want to see God move we’ve got watch for opportunities as Elisha watched Elijah; pray specifically as Elisha asked for the double portion; and when it’s our turn we need to stand accordingly.

You’re Welcome on my earth… but not my island?

island

I’m never more sickened than when I see a Christian (myself included) snarl their nose up at another person in disdain for their behavior, circumstance, opinion or position in life, but I see it so often. We tend to use a person’s station in life to judge whether or not they should be allowed entry into our world. I’m not talking about entry into Heaven; no Christian in their right mind wouldn’t want every soul in Heaven, but many don’t want them in their space down here. Believe me when I say “I get” when people make you uncomfortable for any number of reasons. Their language, their demeanor, their culture, their attitude… it’s a long list! But as children of God it is unacceptable to not accept them; and not just on your earth, but on your island.

In 2 Corinthians Paul was counseling the church of Corinth (in the Bible according to Shari, and we know that’s dangerous) But as I understand there had been a man excommunicated from the church, the reason not known. And I believe that’s because for future reference God wanted you to be able to fit it to your circumstance, so He left the reasoning broad. But none the less many people in the church had punished this man. So much so that he was at risk of being swallowed up in sorrow. So Paul advises them to prove their love to him by forgiving everything he did and giving this man a fresh start at grace.

2:6-11 ~  Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many. So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow. Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm your love toward him. For to this end also did I write, that I might know the proof of you, whether ye be obedient in all things. To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ; Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.

I dare say that no Christian is immune to falling into the snare of Satan when opposite world’s collide: Sinner/Saint, Rich/Poor, Democrat/Republican, Bold/Meek, Zealot/Passive, I won’t even go in to denominations! It’s not so much forgiveness that I’m talking about as much as it is acceptance. Sometimes we’ll be forgiving but will not be befriending. We want them on earth, but not on our island. At a distance they don’t make us uncomfortable.

When I began to pray and search for a topic this morning the word comfort came into my thoughts because that’s what I personally am in need of. But a trip down that path lead to a fork in the road and then as only God can do it came back to the original path. As if to say “I know you need comfort Shari, but you can’t have it without finding the source of the discomfort and getting rid of it.” So we went off my path to His own and then back to mine, and in so doing I found what I was looking for.

Paul told the Philippian Church in Philippians 2:1-4 ~ If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.

There will never be comfort in any body of believers unless there is unity, and not just among a single church, but the entire body of Christ. (Those believing that Jesus is the way the truth the life, and no other).

God’s advice to me… you’ll find not only the comfort you’re searching for, but the answers you’re searching for when you love my people… all of them.

The Power of a Name

Tonight my friend Gloria and I will be traveling to the Mountaineer Opry House in Milton, West Virginia to hear Doyle Lawson and Quick Silver. If you’re into the bluegrass genre of music you likely know the name; if you’re not, you’ve deprived yourself of one of life’s greatest treats. Gloria and I joked a few days ago about what we planned to wear hoping not to clash with Brother Doyle (He is a Christian) when we had a photo op, so I told her I’d message him on Facebook and ask. Right now you think I’m Shari the stalker girl… nope, I just like to see how truly personable an artist is. And sure enough Doyle messaged me back, although he wasn’t sure what he was wearin’. So I’m going to try to dress relatively neutral in hopes of getting that perfect pic. My point of this conversation is I’m a fan of Doyle’s but he’s not a fan of Shari, and that’s okay if he never remembers my name because the One who knows my name, never forgets.

Yesterday morning as I was blogging about allowing a past hurt to keep me awake and continue to burden my life another Facebook message popped up from a lady I hardly know. We’re Facebook friends, I’ve met her a time or two, we’ve shared testimonies and she sings beautifully, but other than that I know very little about her, and she knows very little about me. But the message popped up saying “Shari, good morning! I don’t know why, but your FULL name was in my mind when I woke up and I can’t shake it. I am praying for you.”

I was stunned and humbled that God had laid my name on the heart of uncommon friend and so very grateful that she was a faithful servant who hearkened to what He had ask. It served to remind me of how powerful God is and the power in a name.

Jesus told the disciples in Luke 10:20

Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.

As many things as God has allowed me to do, sing, speak, artistry and so much more, as awesome as those gifts have been to me, they pale in comparison to the fact that my name is written in Heaven. Those gifts may or may not fade someday; but my name is in indelible ink. Nothing can blot it out or cause God to forget that I am His. If you are a child of God, don’t put credence in who you think you are because of what you can do or cannot do. For even the unsaved have great talents and gifts. But the greatest thing of all is that the Creator of the Universe knows your name. “So what,” if Doyle Lawson doesn’t know who Shari Johnson is, He who created Doyle Lawson knows who Shari Johnson is and has my eternity planned with things I cannot even fathom. Man! You thought the bluegrass shindigs were great down here, wait ‘til we get there! Now that’s worth rejoicing in!

God’s Got this! Satan You’re a Loser

 

My past few days have been spent in frustration with other people and then frustration with me for being frustrated with them, it’s a vicious cycle and one I’m familiar with. As I drove down the road yesterday evening the chatterbox inside my mind was fueling itself; I didn’t have to put in even two cents worth. As quick as one occasion of hurt would roll out of my mind another would roll in to replace it. So that by the time I got home last night I was lower than a snails belly and felt just as slimy. The offences were long gone but their affect was alive and well. I needed a frustration funeral. I needed to put that thing in the grave where Jesus arose from, but why not stew on it a little while longer, lose some sleep and make the most of this pity party, right? If I liked Satan, I recommend him for a pay raise because he’s great at his job.

But it’s dawn. A new day just like a fresh piece of paper in a notebook and I have another story to write in the pages of Shari. I’m actually just adding a foot note. The books been written.

Isaiah 40:27-31 ~ Why sayest thou, O Jacob, and speakest, O Israel, My way is hid from the Lord, and my judgment is passed over from my God? Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.  Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:  But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

Somebody give me a switch, I’ve got some bears to whip!  Does that scripture not just stir your heart up!?

God was asking, they who were in captivity “Did you forget where you came from? Well, just in case you did, I didn’t. I created the earth from nothing… I got this and you’re gonna be okay!”

That was a total Shari quote of God’s word with extreme liberties taken. But that’s how it spoke to me this morning. For some reason I thought God let loose of the earth yesterday, and I’m still a little shaky. There are decisions being made that are out of my control but they’re not out of God’s. Hallelujah. You’ll note I didn’t put a exclamation point after Hallelujah. Just a nice steady, non excited punctuation of a period. Because God may get happy, but He never gets surprised. Scripture says in Hebrews 13:8Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” God has my back, and my front. He’s got me wrapped up in His grace and it’s all good. He does you too! Tell Satan he’s a liar and loser!

Why We Don’t Hear From God

When my children were growing up I often felt like I was beating the air with feathers. Just a flurry of conversations that fell from my lips and drifted off into eternity like the down of duckling. Just fluff. If I could impart any words of wisdom to young parents it would be to “choose your words wisely as best you can, and don’t sweat the times you don’t… they’re probably not listening anyway.” I’m pretty sure that’s how I treat God, and His Words are always wise.

 Deuteronomy 4:29-31

King James Version (KJV)

But if from thence thou shalt seek the Lord thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul. When thou art in tribulation, and all these things are come upon thee, even in the latter days, if thou turn to the Lord thy God, and shalt be obedient unto his voice; (For the Lord thy God is a merciful God;) he will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget the covenant of thy fathers which he sware unto them.

We more often than not don’t hear from God because we’ve stopped listening. Start today! That’s great advice. God “But if from thence.” If from this point forward you’ll seek Me, you’ll find Me. He’s not lost, He’s waiting there within our heart and soul; but we’ve got to get past the other junk in our lives. I’m constantly putting things before God. People, things, tasks, and nothing enjoyable! Just “stuff” that blocks my vision (God’s great plans for the future), and stops sound (His Word from reaching my heart). Christian kryptonite. The stuff that drains me of my super Power. But if today I started putting God first, I wouldn’t have any trouble hearing Him. So what would that look like? We first have to look at what’s before us. What’s on your mind right now? Finances? Job? Children? Something else? Now use your creative thinking powers to move ‘that’ behind God and what do we see? Him. Don’t try going around Him to get to your stuff, go through Him. Ask Him for direction and then listen, looking unto Him. Hebrews 12:2 says that “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Jesus endured the cross so that on days like today there would be nothing between us and Him; and nothing would bring Him greater joy than to listen to you and answer you. If something’s there it’s because we’ve put it in the path.

Move it.

Let Everything!

praise the Lord

 

Psalm 150

King James Version (KJV)

 Praise ye the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power.

Praise him for his mighty acts: praise him according to his excellent greatness.

Praise him with the sound of the trumpet: praise him with the psaltery and harp.

Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs.

Praise him upon the loud cymbals: praise him upon the high sounding cymbals.

Let every thing that hath breath praise the Lord. Praise ye the Lord.

Even Cursed I am Blessed

The God Spot

It’s not been the most enjoyable weekend, which ended a not so enjoyable week. I had lost several dear friends in Christ, the last of which was laid to rest yesterday afternoon. Our community and neighboring communities have had a few really tragic accidents that weigh heavy on my heart. I’ve been battling a bug of some sort that’s caused me to cough my head off with intermittent shots of pain through my entire body. I praise God they were intermittent! For the most part I functioned fairly well, but the loss of the sleep and general achiness was not conducive for productiveness and for me that’s a toughy.  There were things I wanted to get done, but it’s Monday and some did and some didn’t and that’s okay. I am blessed!

In the wee hours of the morning I rolled over to check my phone for the time and discovered that there was a message from yesterday I hadn’t noticed before; it was from my friend Dewey Moede, “God’s Guy” in New Mexico, calling to share his love and concern for my life events. I laid and listened to the message and my first thought was, “Wow! I am blessed with another God spot!”

The “God Spot” began as a joke but became a very real blessing as my friend Gloria and I shop in a busy city. It seldom ever fails that no sooner than we pull into a large parking lot with space at a premium, a parking spot up close the building opens up for us. I “half joke” and tell Gloria it’s our favor with God, but it happens so frequent, I don’t joke anymore. I praise God! It was this morning that I realized that I have so many “God Spots” in my life and I need to begin my day with more praising for His undeserved favor on my life.

From the day man fell in the garden of Eden there has been a curse on the earth:

Genesis 3:17

And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;

Because of their bad decision and our continued bad decisions, life is full of heartache and tragedy. But among it all is there is blessings to be found.

In the midst of this weekend of creeping crud, I was given the honor of singing at the funeral of Mr. Hardman. I wanted to be a blessing to the family, but my voice resembled that of Kermit the Frog. And so I prayed… God please fix this, if I can’t sing well, at least let it be sweet… Mr. Hardman was a fan of music, even “not so great” music as he would arrive early to listen to my beginner violin class practice at church. But the last thing I wanted was to stand before a room of hurting people and hurt their ears! And then the “God Spot” occurred. Just a short time before the funeral I had tried to rehearse and it was a strain to say the least, but I left on faith that it would be okay. And it was. Not my finest hour, but I belted out God is Real, and My Chains are Gone with no creak or crack. My God is awesome like that!

Time after time God has pulled me out of jam, blessed my socks off through His Word, opened up doors of opportunity and given me gifts to the point that I feel like I not only have His favor, but He makes me feel like I am His favorite. I’m not, we all are. He loves His people. Yes we’ll have heartache, but praise God for the “God Spots” in life that give us the strength to make it through.

Are you going through a rough patch? Start looking for the God Spots…

Conversations with Satan

I enjoy my long trips to work (provided it’s not on ice) because it allows me to get at least one sermon in as I start my day listening to some of my favorite preacher’s pod casts. But there are occasions that I like to ride in silence. Sometime I pray or converse with God… but before you put me up on some pedestal I’m bound fall off of and break a hip let me tell you what generally happens. I start thinking about life’s circumstances, some good… some bad. And then Satan begin to chime into the conversation.

“So, you thought you nailed that meeting, huh… well you didn’t…. Those same people in your space again, judging you, and you failed… it’s no wonder…you can’t even keep the kitchen clean, and the laundry, what’s up with that? Every other woman can do it, you’re an epic fail…

Okay, whatever Satan. I need to think of something else, he’s got my number on that one… Easter’s coming up. I need a new dress…

Yep, but you don’t need a new size… hahahahah….

Okay bad idea… Teen camp planning. That’s safe. I need to get the curriculum out to the counselors, and get someone to do the activities, gee, I hope Nan will cook….

Let’s discuss last years camp…

And that’s within the first five miles of the trip. Silence is not always golden. Sometimes it’s stainless steel (cold and unbending).

It shouldn’t surprise me that I’m a target, he knows Christ is living in me and nothing brings him greater joy than to mess with Jesus’ house. Although it did not work with Christ when he used the same tactics:

Matthew 4:1-11 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred. And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.

He waits on those vulnerable moments that are evident. I don’t believe Satan is all knowing, only God has that power, but I believe through he and his crew of fallen angels they can hone in on what they see as breaks in the armor. Be cautious of what you verbalize or make visual, and if there’s a crack in the armor fill it with the Word of God.

But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.

Temptations come in all forms and most likely it’s the things we’re looking at. I’m a very expressional person. You can read my feelings on my face including those things I desire. How very easy  I make it for Satan to understand what my heart wants that perhaps I should not have; to buy, do or say something that I should not and put my life or my testimony at risk. And the conversation starts… We need to learn to recognize the temptation and speak the word of God over it.

Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.

Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.

Stuff… I’m all about it. And Satan knows it. He knows if he can convince me it’s a justifiable purchase I’m in like flinn, and then once I’m in… he’s the first to jump on the criticizing band wagon and start railing on me for wasting money. There’s no pleasing the guy! Jesus’ focus was back on glory and the fact that only God fulfills the desires of the heart, not things.

Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him

Satan finally bugged out of that battle field, but he was far from gone. His focus was no longer on tormenting the Son of God personally but using the only thing he could… us. But the good news is we have the same weapons Jesus used, we just need to remember to pull them out of our arsenal. Before you go into the world today, make sure you’re packin’… the Word!

Hanging on to hope… again

What feels like forever ago was actually just a few years, when I lead a group of students at our local high school in a drug prevention program. It wasn’t “just” a job; I had long since moved on from that theory after Jesus saved my soul and realizing that nothing just happens. I laid hold of Paul’s words to the Philippians in Philippians 3:14:

I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

It was indeed a high calling and an opportunity to minister and to be ministered to. Yea, I know… Jesus is not allowed in public school, right? Whether they like or not Jesus is there when children who know Christ are bold enough to put Him there and adults have enough back bone to support them.

This morning is more of a reflection of gratitude for a life that I was privileged to have a miniscule piece of time in. I learned yesterday that one of the students in that program committed suicide, probably about 20-21 years of age. He had left West Virginia and joined the Air Force and other than an occasional look at his Facebook status I really had no clue as to what he was up to. But he had put a mark on my life that gives me sweet peace this morning.

The bible tells us in Philippians 3:17 ~

Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.

Mark them. Strong’s Concordance defines this as “to take aim at and heed to.” On more than one occasion this young man would come into my office and set for long periods of time and discuss his relationship with Christ before his peers. What a blessing he was! And I don’t say that “just because.” It’s truth. One of those peers posted on Facebook this morning

Today my brother and best friend left this world to be with Jesus. He rekindled my flame with the lord, and through example showed me there is nothing to be ashamed of. Because of (him) I rededicated my life to Christ on January 3, 2014. You will be missed until we meet again.

He took heed to his friend and because of it they both have hope.

Hope in a suicide? Suicide is the most tragic of deaths. Because the victim of a saved person’s suicide is the family and friends left behind to deal with the unanswered questions. It’s unfair. But praise God that they have hope of seeing him again!

How does one get to the point of suicide if they have Jesus residing in their soul?  I don’t have that answer, only that it serves as a reminder to us all that the world can consume us if we’re not careful to keep our eyes on Jesus. And the need to keep our eyes on one another who bear the mark of Jesus. Loving each other, looking out for each other.

There’s another “mark” that Paul spoke of in Romans 16:17:

Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.

There will be those who will take a circumstance such as this and use it to further the nonsense that people who are saved don’t have issues in life. Mark them and avoid them. Don’t let anyone steal your hope in life. And if you are someone who struggles with life, please reach out to a friend in the faith. Don’t let Satan convince you that taking your life is an answer. It causes a host of other problems in your passing and denies God His purpose for your life.

Just a side note. This Jesus Chick loves ya today. And so does Jesus.