Today’s the day!

Or I guess tonight’s the night – that our church will vote on a new Pastor. For nine months we’ve waited… I find that amount of time ironic, perhaps it’s symbolic of a new birth of new ideas and new direction for my beloved Victory Baptist Church. For me personally it’s been a knot in my stomach that I’ve been waiting to untie. I want this chapter of the unknown closed. We’ve had nine months of leadership that was crème de la crème. As the scripture said in Isaiah 49:10

They shall not hunger nor thirst; neither shall the heat nor sun smite them: for he that hath mercy on them shall lead them, even by the springs of water shall he guide them.

We’ve not thirsted, nor been exhausted; we were led by the sweetest waters of the gospel and guided by the Holy Spirit. But it’s not the same as having a full time, committed man of God to oversee the flock. The visionary of the congregation. One of the wisest men of all times, King Solomon himself said, “Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.” Proverbs 29:18.

A Pastor sets the vision, the goals of the congregation for growth of the Kingdom and the longer we were without someone in that position the further away we became from the previous vision. Although we had great temporary leadership, the uncertainty of what the new leadership would bring always made the direction we were going hesitant.

So what now?

Tonight we vote yay or nay to the new man. If you are a person of prayer, please take the time today to lift our congregation up to the Lord for wisdom and unity. This journey has not been without bridges to cross. There has been more than one side, but the river of life clearly flowed between them both. Wow… I guess I’m speaking very metaphorically. A church the size of ours, and as vocal as we are in a small community gets attention; and it’s not always good. People from the outside look for cracks in the armor of God and it doesn’t usually take them long to find it. We’re not a perfect people, we’re a perfectly loved people. We don’t always agree and sometimes things are said that should have never been said. We’re human and most importantly we’re family. I’d challenge anyone to look me in the eye and say they’ve had a perfect relationship with everyone in their life or that you’ve never stood in need for grace.

Am I saying there is a great division among our people? Nope. I don’t know that there’s any division among our people, but I know that if Satan has his way, there can be.

Here’s my prayer request for you:

  1. Pray for direction
  2. Pray for a unified church
  3. Pray for the Pastor candidate and his family

My prayer for you is that you are a part of the body of Christ and are serving in the congregation of the Lord that He has chosen for you. Being an active part of a local church is vital to your spiritual growth. Choose wisely!

Fighting Fire with Fire: Resentment gone wrong

The human spirit is so deceptive. Someone hurts you and the first thing that enters into your mind is “One of these days….vengeance will be sweet.” But it’s not long after vengeance has occurred that you realize you still feel as bad as you did prior to it happening; it resolved nothing. If you’re a child of God, you’ve been rewired. That deceptive human spirit, although it’s still in there, now has a God nature to contend with, and God’s way of handling things has nothing to do with your enemy getting his or her “come uppin’s.” God’s ways are to quench the anger with water of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 12:20

Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.

This thought came to my mind as our new Pastor candidate delivered his sermon yesterday morning. A passing thought in the sermon that he didn’t dwell on, but I couldn’t keep my mind off of) was “We want to fight fire with fire, but most fires are put out with water.” Fire is a destructive source. Brush fires scorch acres and acres of property in our community each year leaving nothing behind but blackened trees and ground; but oddly enough what you think would be destroyed beyond hope, grows again with time.

As far as humans are concerned time doesn’t always heal all wounds. Anger and resentment are fire to the soul and spread as quickly as any wild fire. Retaliation in response to someone who hurt us is mostly like gasoline on a flame, it bursts up quickly and gives the appearance of success, but just as quickly burns away to a slow consuming fire. If a fire keeps burning, two things happen, you either have to add more wood, or the wood is consumed. If you want to keep anger in your soul, you’ll either have to stoke that fire, or let it go out on its own, but it’s a whole lot less destructive if you pour water on it in the beginning.

Are you harboring anger or resentment today? Undealt with anger will destroy you from within. But Praise God! The very thing the enemy would use to destroy you also has a built in extinguisher.

Jesus said in John 7:38

He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.

Isn’t it amazing how our Lord works!

I’m not casting a single stone here this morning, I’ve stoked that flame in my own heart on several occasions, it actually felt gratifying for a minute, but it always ends the same. More heartache.

Let it go…

 

Who Then is Willing?

It’s Sunday! My favorite day of the week. I spent the bulk of my Saturday preparing for a Sunday two weeks from now. During our Easter Cantata I’ll be putting the finishing touches on 7 paintings as the choir sings; paintings that for me tell the Easter story. I hope I’m “writing” one that the congregation can understand, sometimes my warped way of thinking doesn’t connect the dots like everyone else. But what a privilege it is to have your hands used by the Lord, especially when you know that there are likely more skilled hands in the congregation of the Lord for such a work as this.

In 1st Chronicles 29:3-6, King David is getting ready to pass the holy baton to his son, Solomon for the building of the temple. But before he does he lays a charge to the congregation of the Lord about their responsibilities for the house of the Lord.

Moreover, because I have set my affection to the house of my God, I have of mine own proper good, of gold and silver, which I have given to the house of my God, over and above all that I have prepared for the holy house. Even three thousand talents of gold, of the gold of Ophir, and seven thousand talents of refined silver, to overlay the walls of the houses withal: The gold for things of gold, and the silver for things of silver, and for all manner of work to be made by the hands of artificers. And who then is willing to consecrate his service this day unto the Lord? Then the chief of the fathers and princes of the tribes of Israel and the captains of thousands and of hundreds, with the rulers of the king’s work, offered willingly,

The charge still stands:

Setting your affection

Sunday mornings don’t come easy for any of us; the last thing Satan is going to do is allow a child of God an easy ride to worship. He’ll use any and all methods of distraction to make sure that your heart and mind are in a thousand other directions and not on the things of God. Setting your affection is a lot like the setting of the foundation of the house of the Lord. It’s putting the idea of your service in concrete so that no matter what other things arise in life your heart is set on serving Christ.

Sacrificing your assets

David summed it up in verse 14 when he said “But who am I, and what is my people, that we should be able to offer so willingly after this sort? for all things come of thee, and of thine own have we given thee.” The reality of the matter is you’re not sacrificing your assets, you’re returning the smallest of portion which God gave you to begin with, and what a privilege to be able! It’s also a mindset. Given the choice, most will choose to keep it for themselves.

Submitting your artistry

Everyone has talents! And David as leader searched those talents out and used them all in the building of the house of the Lord. Our church house may be built but the church is far from finished, else God would have called us home. I hope today you’ll discover a talent worthy of the Lord’s service either in you, or in someone you lead and when God asks “Who then is Willing?” your hand will be lifted high in praise and service for the Kingdom of God. “It’s me O Lord! Ready and Willing!!!”

I’m Packin’ Balm Today

Recover!

That’s how I was jolted out of a dream or nightmare (I’m not sure which) about the hiring of our new Pastor. It’s been a few weeks since I’ve been at a level of physical, emotional, mental and Spiritual health that was normal (well normal for me.)  So when I awoke with that one word thought this morning I was excited! Because it may have only been one word, but it had such a sweet sound! I began to think about all the things I was ready to recover from and wondered how many of you were ready for a time of recovery?

Strayed Strength

Because of a virus coursing its way through my body I felt as though my strength had forsaken me, and that lead to my mind convincing me that a lot of other things and people had forsaken me. A weakened condition of the body leaves breaches in the mind that Satan is waiting for. When Nehemiah rebuilt the wall around Jerusalem he had to fix the breaches and there were people who weren’t happy.

Nehemiah 4:7

But it came to pass, that when Sanballat, and Tobiah, and the Arabians, and the Ammonites, and the Ashdodites, heard that the walls of Jerusalem were made up, and that the breaches began to be stopped, then they were very wroth,

Stopping the breaches will block off the naysayers and discouragers and allow the recovery to begin. But it’s not like we can run down to the hardware store and get block and mortar to solve the problem, so how do we stop the breaches of the mind?

Balm-of-Gilead-TreeJeremiah 8:22

 Is there no balm in Gilead; is there no physician there? why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered?

Jeremiah questioned why they were not healed, because he knew that the Great Physician stood by ready to apply the balm; but the fact of the matter was they wouldn’t submit to the application. Often times our healing won’t take place because we won’t follow the prescription… or even visit the physician. As for my physical state I’ve refused to go to a physician for fear they’d say I was sick…. Yeah I know… and I’m no better off on the emotional and spiritual state!  When people hurt me, I put up a hard shell and told myself that I was protected by the blood of Jesus, which was true but I didn’t need a hard shell, I needed the softness of the Savior that I would have gotten from the Balm of Gilead. Jesus would have soothed my hurt away, but I shut down. Rather than taking it to Him I just shut off everyone.

Spiritually I shut down too. I’d try to read the scripture but as sure as I did the breaches were too great to stay focused and I was constantly battling the enemy. So again I shut down. Nehemiah was successful at repairing the breaches because he enlisted help. I had allowed my physical state to isolate me spiritually as well. I would occasionally allow someone in, but for fear of exposing them to the physical virus as well as the emotional fall out I was going through I wouldn’t let them stay long, and I certainly wouldn’t divulge how very vulnerable I felt. The end result… more time alone with just me and my thoughts and Satan.

Today is a day of recovery. I’m still not 100% physically, emotionally or spiritually but I’m packin’ balm today! I’m allowing the great Physician to soothe my tattered body inside and out.

Life’s lessons would be much easier if I’d listen earlier. Whether it’s sin in my life or sorrow, the Savior can’t fix it unless I’m willing to submit to His ways…

Encouragement from the Field

bible

Good friend and Fire Chief of Grantsville, WV Volunteer Fire Department, Craig Gherke,  had this to say on a recent Facebook Post following a tragic fire that took the lives of the three members of the the small West Virginia Community:

As a good friend asked me about a bible on the scene of the fire on Leading Creek, I have thought a lot about it. The bible was in a section of the house that was completely burnt up, but it wasn’t. The only thing that was burnt was the cover. Matthew 24:35 “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away”. I Think it was God saying the Earthly bodies are gone but through Him their Heavenly bodies will live on. I also think the cover being gone represents that it doesn’t matter what the outside (or cover) is like, its whats on the inside that matters.

What many people don’t understand about small town Volunteer Fire Departments (speaking as the wife to the Assistant Chief) is that just because they’re volunteers doesn’t mean their job is any less than that of a paid fire fighter; nor is the tragedy and the angst any less. Everyone loves the firefighter who rescues the victim and is quick to give kudos and deservedly so. But at the end of a fire where there were lives loss is a fire fighter who is still very much a hero… he (or she) did all they could do, and the battle wasn’t their’s to win, and often times continues to rage on in their lives having to deal with the fact that they couldn’t save them all, which is their ultimate goal.

As Christians that’s our goal too! We want to see every soul go to Heaven, but the reality is, we can only see those saved who are willing to accept the help. The victims of a fire would have gladly accepted help if it had made it in time, but it wasn’t a part of God’s plan for what ever reason. And they’re now in eternity.

Hell’s fire is every bit as real as the fire my husband and his friends fought last week. The difference is, we’re alive today to make the choice, of going into the flame, or accepting the salvation that is afforded in Christ Jesus.

My friend Craig is spot on when he says that it doesn’t matter what is on the outside! Friend, is Christ living in you? Have you ask Christ to save you from Hell? If you ask, He’ll save you today.  For more information follow this link! http://thejesuschick.com/the-road-to-salvation/