What to eat when you’re hurting

what to eatHave you ever wondered which hurts worst: Saying something you wish you’d never said or saying nothing and wishing you had? It’s tough. And it’s one of the millions of problems God understands. Now if only I could understand.

When you’re a talker, and I am, silence isn’t necessarily golden. I can feel the Spirit of God welling up in my soul trying to overpower the words that are working their way up from my gut. I need to say it! And God says “That’ll leave a mark Shari.” And I reply… “Just a small one God.” And He responds… “You can only see the surface, I see down deep… that little mark you thought your words would leave will go clear to the bone.

And so I shush. But the words pool and pool and pool until they flood out my mouth like tsunami that just hit the beach of a small island! I hate it! I regret it. But it’s too late… and so God begins putting the shores back of the relationship that I cut myself off from because I’d had enough. I’d been hurt one too many times.

In Matthew 18:21, Peter asked the Lord how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? To which Jesus replied, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.

I taught this lesson on Wednesday night to my youth. It was timely in my life… but that’s how God works. If you’re a teacher of the gospel you understand. God never allows you to point a finger at anyone and say “You should do this!” without three pointing back at you saying, “So should you!”

I spoke a while back on the subject of hurt in the ministry.  I was shocked at the widespread sentiment of almost everyone there. Many thanked me and said the message was for them, then asked prayer for their issue. I think some wanted me to pray that God would cast coals of fire on their enemies head, but that’s not how God works. I know, I’ve prayed that prayer a time or two. If you’re honest you likely have too.

So what does one do when they’ve been hurt? At least for a while… shush; followed by calming the waters.  No tsunamis! You need to sit in the recliner with a cup of coffee and banana and talk to Jesus. Well, that’s how I did it.

It’s said to be an old Cherokee tale, but whosoever it is, it is wise and it is biblical:

***

One evening, an elderly Cherokee brave told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people.

He said, “my son, the battle is between two ‘wolves’ inside us all. One is evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.

The other is good. It is joy, peace love, hope serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith.”

The grandson though about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “which wolf wins?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “the one that you feed.

***

 Our words have great power. The spoken and the unspoken. Although we may never say aloud many of the things we think, the thought process still feeds our spirit. And like the tsunami that got its start down deep on the ocean floor, the things in the pit of our stomach that causes us anger and resentment are what we feed upon. If we continually think negative thoughts about issues and people it will eventually erupt and likely cause a broad path of damage.

The coffee and banana were good… the Words of God, were great! Feed on those.

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Tired of Politics? Find Yourself a Mars’ Hill

chick at mars

Monday morning. The start of the work week and for me a refocus following an awesome Lord’s Day. I was reading in Acts 17 this morning about one of the many adventures of Apostle Paul and was literally getting frustrated with the characters in the story. It was playing out in my mind like a movie screen reality and I could see the religious lot, with their pious faces, plotting the demise of the man who preached Jesus. Their faces would likely go flush, as men and women alike, one after another, believed Paul’s teaching and gave their lives to Jesus.

My heart broke for the family and friends of Jason who was arrested because they couldn’t lay hands on Paul. They’d take anyone; somebody had to pay for price for the upset in the community. And it was an upset. In verse 6 of that chapter they said of Jason and his friends “These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also.” I wonder if that would be said of any of us. Not me… But in this political climate the name of Christ certainly has an impact.

I think I may have torqued Satan off when it comes to my blog because he has attacked my computer from every angle. This morning was another day of frustrations trying to get this blog posted. After umpteen restarts, a system restore and virus scan, I’m back in business but how mild in comparison to what Paul and his crew went through. I mean really, here I sit whining over computer glitches and these men were paraded around in public and beaten. Now I’m mad again, at me as well as the pious people of religion.

Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill speaking to the men of Athens (vs. 22b-27)

I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, To The Unknown God. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:

So to those who have declared war against the God fearing nation of America, those within and without, I reiterate Paul’s message in kind.

You may not like my God, and you can ignorantly choose to serve the god of the unknown, it’s America, you have that right. But my God, Who, by the way, created everyone, regardless of their nationality or faith,  has determined already what day you’ll meet Him face to face. He will only let you go so far. He’s set the boundary on how far this godless bunch of office-bearers can go before He jerks a knot in them. And the God that you choose not to know, and the One that I am proud to know is very close. That brings me peace, and should bring you fear.

“Technical Stuff” and “Political Stuff” may drive me crazy, but knowing God, and that there is no limitation on what God can do causes my soul to joy and gives me the desire to find Mars’ Hill in my own  community and tell someone about Jesus so that others “haply they might feel after him, and find him.”

God’s How To Guide to get your people in Church

how to guide

As I read these verses this morning with a heavy heart for people that I love who are out of church, this was my message from God, and perhaps you need it too.

Acts 2:46-47

And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

  • Live it daily
  • Fellowship with each other (food always makes it better)
  • Live with Joy (regardless of circumstance)
  • Share your heart
  • Praise God and give Him Glory!
  • Love people until they love you
  • And God will bring them to church

When’s the last time you’ve really tasted it?

chick honeyFor forty years the children of Israel ate manna, a small coriander seed textured food that was described as tasting like wafers made of honey, and honey is something I’ve ate a lot of lately. About a week ago I got my annual dose of winter meets spring which inevitably causes my body to go into shock. You’d think it would be happy about those circumstances, but instead it goes into the next season kicking, but no screaming… I lost my voice. And while that made for a lot of funny stories about how peace now reigned in the house, and lead to laughter when I attempted to sing it really did mess with my psyche. I sing most every day. It encourages my soul and sets my heart in a mode of worship. So when I couldn’t sing I began dosing myself with cough drops, tea and honey, and little by little my voice returned; just in time for a recital at Bearfork Bluegrass which occurs in a few hours. I’m a happy camper!  But as I start this day, my mind is on the manna. The “just right” provision of the Lord that somewhat seems routine and unexciting to some.

Exodus 16:15

And when the children of Israel saw it, they said one to another, It is manna: for they wist not what it was. And Moses said unto them, This is the bread which the Lord hath given you to eat.

Let’s just call it manna.

They didn’t know what it was. So they decided they’d call it manna. In the beginning they were excited… but slowly and surely manna grew tiresome. It’s called life. We all have somewhat of a routine we get into, including serving God if you’re a Christian. It’s unfortunate for most people serving God is from 10 a.m. – noon on Sunday. Possibly two other hours if they can be squeezed in between ballgames, meetings and the laundry. I doubt it was always like that. The day they realized the provision of God they were excited too! But then it grew dull. Why?

Acts 28:27 sums it up for us.

For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

  • Waxed gross – Unpolished
  • Dull of hearing – Selective hearing
  • Eyes closed – Out of sight out of mind.

And each one a craftily designed tool of Satan.

An unpolished Christian is one that doesn’t stay active with the tools God gave us, reading the Word of God, Worshiping, attending services. These are those that polish us and make us shine for all the world to see.

Those dull of hearing have chosen to let the voices of the world chime louder than that of the Holy Spirit and in so doing denied themselves the opportunity to hear the sweet voice of God.

Closing your eyes to the opportunities God affords you for fellowship could eventually get you into permanent darkened state that you don’t want to be in.

Because of my throat issue I fell in love with honey again. I hadn’t eaten any honey for quite some time. But when that sweetness hit my tounge…. Oh…. It was sooooo good. That’s how I feel in the house of the Lord and when I spend time in the Word of God and with His people.

How long has it been since you tasted the provision of God anew? Tomorrow’s Sunday… a new day to a new week, and an opportunity for you to taste again that sweet Spirit of God. I pray tomorrow finds you in a good, Bible believin’ and preachin’ church! If you’re in my neighborhood, I hope to see you at Victory Baptist Church, 2037 South Calhoun Highway, Grantsville, WV. It’s where I found manna in 1996 and it’s been keeping me happy and hole for 20 years!

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One more day to make a difference

ONE MORE DAY

An early morning ritual for me is check the blog and Facebook pages of Rory Feek. I wonder each morning if this will be the day that the Lord calls his precious wife Joey home. I told the teens in my youth group last night that these are strangers and yet they’re not. We know them through the internet yes, but they are a dear brother and sister in Christ and their testimony for Him has been so very strong. She’s been asleep for days and I want the pain to stop for them both. But then I think… for every breath she takes, God has purpose, even when she’s sleeping. One more moment in time for Him on this side.

What will I do with mine?

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Isaiah 55:8-9 KJV

Reading through Isaiah 55 this morning, trying to grasp what lesson God would have me learn I   think about the wastefulness in our land and the things that I think matter. And even though I can ask “If today I took my last breath, would “this” matter?” I still wouldn’t grasp the concept of life. Joey and Rory temporarily put life in perspective for me, but then I let it slip from my fingers and go on about the mundane. Heaven is just too high for me to understand, but it doesn’t stop me from desiring it.

I can taste it…

Isaiah 55:1-2

Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.

While God has certainly satisfied my physical needs, the fatness for which my soul delights has a flavor that is beyond glory. It’s the unexplainable presence of God that makes me feel like I’m at His kitchen table this morning and He sits across from me sipping His coffee, listening to my banter and then He’ll speak, and I’m left breathless, thinking… golly that tasted good God. His thoughts are nothing like mine… mine are vanity… His are vast.

I can hear it….

Isaiah 55:3-4

Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David. Behold, I have given him for a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people.

Just like King David, Joey will go on to meet with the Lord, but her breath will still breathe on in the lives of the people she touched. David could not have possibly understood that he would be in the daily conversations of God’s people thousands of years later, and we’d feel as if we know him, just like we feel we know Joey. And there will come a day we’ll be able to see them both, face to face, in full health. His ways are nothing like mine… mine are short… His are long.

Every breath we take has purpose. One more day for someone to know us, one more day to make a difference. What will you do with yours?

10 Steps to a Political Cleanse

political cleanseI could hear the brakes screeching in my head. “Enough of the negativity and the bad attitude; Jesus would have no part of this, and yet you sit here in the middle of it saying, well… I guess that’s the way it is. Really? That’s the way it is because Christians like you are letting it be.” That’s the conversation in my head this morning. This election makes me nauseous and somewhat crazy. I want God to beat people… not figuratively either, I want Him to take out a club and knock some sense into some people: knock the arrogant grin off of a few others, knock down a few notches those who justify their antics in the name of politics and use the name of Christianity as a blanket statement of faith but have no doctrinal behavior to back it up. And that’s just the Republican Party. Don’t even get me started on the Democratic candidates. And God said… enough…

I think if we had been in a car, God would have pulled over, sat me along the side of the road, and drove off, that’s how negative my mindset can be if I allow the media to govern my thoughts. Today, I’m doing a political cleanse. You know what happens when you do a cleanse, right? You flush the toxins out of your body and all the vile junk you’ve ingested the last year, or week. You replace that with good and wholesome things that serve to edify the body. I want that… I want the edification of God’s Word from His book and His people and so it is that I’m refusing to look at one more political ad, post or rant, at least for today.

This is my mindset diet for the day. The 10 step political cleanse.

Philippians 2

  1. FELLOWSHIP IN THE SPIRIT

1If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies,

Talk to God… often.

  1. LIKEMINDED LIVING

Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.

We should be sharing Christ, not criticism.

  1. LET NOTHING BE DONE FOR SELF

Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.

The opposite of vanity is humility

  1. LOOK AT THE PEOPLE, NOT THE POLITICS

Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.

So many people are hurting and in need of knowing that someone cares. They don’t need conversations about what government officials can do, they need to see what God can do through His people.

  1. LET THIS MIND

Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

We have to allow the mind of Jesus to overtake the property which flesh has claimed.

  1. LANDLORD OR TENANT

Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:

God is residing with the heart of every Christian, but is He there as a Tenant (just hanging out until you’re in a jam?) or is He there as Lord of all?

  1. LESSONS IN LEADERSHIP

But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:

We need to get to know the people we serve.

  1. LEARNING TO DIE

And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

The irony of living for Christ is dying to me. His will should be my way.

  1. ABOVE ALL

Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:

Jesus. It is the Name that Created all, Calms all, Cures all, Cares for all,

  1. EVERY KNEE

10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;

Nobody is forced to bow to Christ on this side of eternity, but there will come a day that every knee shall bow and the obituary of the flesh will read “Here lies arrogance and pride. The soul moved on.” There’s no politics in Heaven, your only opportunity to vote is in the here and now. That’s a great thing to remember!

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