Posted in Bible Journaling, Christian Service, Leadership, Life Inspiration

What are you hatching in 2018?

I’m forever and a day plotting and planning life. Likely at least 99% of the time my plans never come to fruition. I’m a dreamer and a planner. But the question is, “Do they line up with the Master’s Design?” The one from the foundation of the earth. I tend to omit that theology when I’m in my scheming mode? Opting for the Shari approach of design and destruct.

The verse to follow in Isaiah caused this to come to mind as I was planning for the adventures of the Jesus Chick in 2018.

Isaiah 34:14-16

The wild beasts of the desert shall also meet with the wild beasts of the island, and the satyr shall cry to his fellow; the screech owl also shall rest there, and find for herself a place of rest. There shall the great owl make her nest, and lay, and hatch, and gather under her shadow: there shall the vultures also be gathered, every one with her mate. Seek ye out of the book of the Lord, and read: no one of these shall fail, none shall want her mate: for my mouth it hath commanded, and his spirit it hath gathered them.

God’s got a plan. He has one for the wise owls and even the nasty vultures that lay in wait to eat the spoils of the dead. He has mates for both and a life span of days, months or years. Only He knows.

So how does our planning and hatching of schemes come into play with God’s design? Does it matter? As we’re nesting, hatching and gathering, what’s God’s role? Good questions…

The Nest (Where we reside)

Funny thing about the nest building birds, they don’t need credit cards to get the job done! They’re not concerned with the latest trends or whether or not the carpet and drapes match. Without a plan, they just build with what’s on hand and God never fails to provide.

As 2018 stands just a few days away I’m thinking about where I reside in life right now. What has God placed within a hands breadth to make myself home where I am. Apostle Paul said that “ in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” Phil. 4:11 and he told Timothy in 1 Timothy 6:6 that “godliness with contentment is great gain.”

Contentment doesn’t come easy in my nest. I want stuff… lots of stuff. I’m a gatherer of bells and whistles, also known as basses, guitars, fiddles and such. Songbooks galore and a coffee cup with the reminder of an adventure gone by. Stuff. But none of that stuff makes a nest or makes me content. It quite often clutters the nest and makes me feel claustrophobic. So what is it that I need in my 2018 nest to make me content? I ask God that very question. For me the answer was “security.” It’s what I have lacked since God put me in full time ministry without even so much as part time money. The is no money for stuff… or sometimes even bills.

The Hatching (Where we plan)

This is where I must seek God’s guidance. I need to feel productively satisfied. I need to see the fruits of my labor.  That sometimes comes in the form of web statistics. I love knowing that I have reached people with the gospel and encouraged their spirit. But counting isn’t always healthy psychologically; numbers do not always prove the fruit.

When I began to plan for the Minnesota mission trip, I didn’t even seem to have the support of many in my church family. As the time quickly approached and I wasn’t funded it left my heart sickened that people didn’t believe in me. The funding ended up coming from outside sources that were a huge blessing in the end.

As I begin planning for the 2018 mission field, that faith test is a reminder that it is God who provides, not people. If God says go and do, I have to leap forward believing it will be done, because His will, will be done.

The Gathering (Where we reap)

As the year came close to an end, I sat in church on a Wednesday night and my eight year old nephew looked up and me and said, “I want to be saved.’ I went through the plan of salvation, just as I had with his ten year old sister a few months before. I reaped the reward of seeds being sown in his life. That feeling never gets old. They are young and who knows who might be saved through their lives serving Christ.

It’s my prayer that my 2018 mission field is filled with souls along the path that God will design and the path that I follow will be without detour so that no soul, blessing or intent of God goes un-gathered. I pray that my ministry gathers support, so that I may freely serve without a financial burden. But if it does not, I pray that I will understand and believe in God’s design to go in faith and watch Him provide.

Ministry needs/desires (God knows which):

Three things that you can pray about for God’s provision for my ministry.

  • Recording equipment for podcast and music recording that would expand my ministry reach
  • A new computer that “thinks faster,” my HP has brain damage most days causing delays, reboots etc. Mainly frustration.
  • A new iPad… mine I fear is is on the verge of crashing and I use it often as a source of speaking notes and music.

What about you… What’s God hatching up for you in the coming year? I’d love to hear, I’d love to pray and connect to even more with people serving the Lord, or desiring to know more about Him.

 

 

 

Posted in Bible Journaling, Christian Service, Life Inspiration

2018: Stay at the Well

At the end of every year since salvation, I spend much, much time in reflection. Usually reflecting on the failures of the year. I always have many. It’s a good plan for Satan to get my mind off of the ministry and onto me. So as I sat in my easy chair this morning reading in the book of Luke, at the beginning of the disciple’s ministries, it reminded me of that calling on my life and where the roads have lead. Nobody is as shocked as I am when God chooses to use me. I have people who have invested time, money and most importantly prayer into this Jesus Chick. When I fail God, I also fail them and it breaks my heart. So what did I discover from my time of reflection? It’s only beneficial if that reflection is inspection of the good and not infection from the bad.

That’ll preach!!!!

When I inspect the fruits of my labor, the tears begin to well, and I’m no longer seeing the infected rotten fruit that Satan would have me cast my eyes upon. He’s quick to point it out. Every place that I’ve allowed sin and sorrow to infect my world.

But the good fruit!!! Oh it is soooooooo sweet! I’ve had the opportunity to lead souls to Christ, to point saints to service, to comfort the broken hearted. And so today, on this the 26th day of December I have a message for myself and for any other messenger of the Lord Jesus Christ as we reflect on 2017 and look forward to 2018:

Stay at the Well

Proverbs 25:25

As cold water to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country.

And that country is Heaven!

Hebrews 11:16

But now they desre a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for He hath prepared for them a city.

Satan loves when we feel ashamed because it limits our usefulness. But God is not ashamed to be called our God!

At the well we’ll find His Ways

Acts 2:25-18

For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for He is on my right hand, that I should not be moved: Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: Because thou wilt not leave my soul in Hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance.

David’s words of the Old Testament are echoed in the saints of the New Testament as David was foreseeing the promise that we look back on, the promise of the resurrected Lord; Who took the keys of death, hell and the grave from Satan, freeing us all. David could stand on that promise and not be moved, his heart rejoiced and gladly shared the words of Lord because he could rest in the hope of Jesus Christ. God made his ways known to David and He has not forsaken us, so long as we shall not be moved.

At the well we’ll find His Words

John 4:14

But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.

How wonderful to have the living word of God at our fingertips and how easy it is to neglect the reading of it. I know I’m not the only one who begins each year with a commitment to God to be more diligent about reading His word, only to get distracted by the cares of the world and fail. I lost track of the times this past year when I would feel condemned, and rather than running to the grace of God through His word, I’d flee into the world that was condemning me. Crazy but true.

I have a feeling, knowing my fleshly state, that I’ll have days like that in 2018. I pray not. But if I do, please tell me that on the days that you are drawing nigh to God, you’ll share that word at every opportunity in the world of social media and otherwise so that folks like me can be given a much need drink on a dry day.

At the well we’ll find His Will

Hebrews 13:20

Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you perfect in every good work to do His will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

That is a worthy goal for 2018. We won’t walk perfectly, we’re not perfect. But through Jesus Christ and His shed blood that offers us redemption for our failures, we can strive to attain His perfect will. He’s given us the means to do it. His perfect will is for us to work for His glory. He didn’t say we wouldn’t make mistakes, but even through those He can often be glorified.

It’s a fact I need to face when reflecting on 2017. Don’t allow the infectious words of Satan to discourage us from doing the good work that the Lord has for us to do in the coming year.

Posted in Christmas, Life Inspiration

My 2017 Christmas Message

It’s quiet in the house this morning. Just a soggy December rain outside, falling on our tin roof that breaks the silence and makes me halfheartedly wish it were snow. I’ll get over that after the first flake hits and sticks.  I have a minor mess left to clean after we celebrated Christmas with the children and the grands last night. My heart is full…with a cup of Ninja Coffee Bar ® coffee in my hand, compliments of a husband who loves me that much. I need to hear from God. It’s been a week of running wild for events and sometimes just running for the sake of running.

I had put off reading the book of Luke in my yearly reading because I wanted to save it for Christmas. So this morning as I read through the story of Elisabeth and Mary, two of the Christmas Chicks, I marveled at their humility. They were both shocked that God had blessed them in the manner He did; I’d say they still marvel when they realize 2,000 years later, we’re still reading their story, and sermon after sermon have been preached with them as the key point. It makes me wonder how God would have my life be preached? I’m not so sure I’d want to be in the building as my life “illustrations” were used. But Mary and Elizabeth… their lives are proof that God honors those who are faithful and gives me reason to pause on this 23rd day of December. The day I too gave birth to one Tiffani Danielle. Who hasn’t stopped blessing me since.

A three point message for the faithful came from the two sister chicks of Luke:

Luke 1:39-47

And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda; And entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth. And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And when is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord. And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior.

For the faithful God Reveals Secrets

When Mary spoke the Holy Spirit filled Elisabeth and the baby that was in her womb leapt for joy. How exciting for both women! God had revealed the secrets of both women to one another and He still reveals the secrets of the Savior to His people today.

Secrets in the sense that the world doesn’t experience that leap in the depth of our soul when the Savior makes Himself manifest in the life of His child. I understand the women’s awe. It’s how I feel every time God reminds me that He is in me, just as He was in Mary.

For the Faithful God Reveres His Servants

Luke 1:48 – For He hath regarded the low estate of His handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.

She was blessed! And so are we,  that the Creator of all, who spoke the Christ child into existence in the womb of Mary, spoke the Holy Spirit into existence in our souls and allows us to be used for the Kingdom. The Jesus Chick isn’t famous in the halls of earth, but in the halls of Heaven, I am known by God. And because of Him I’m known in the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, California and Minnesota. My friend in WV know me as the Jesus Chick, failure that I am in my own sight, but loved in spite of it by them. I stand in awe this eve of Christmas eve…

For the Faithful God Revives the Saint.

Luke 1:53-54 –  He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich He hath sent empty away. He hath holpen his servant Israel, in remembrance of His mercy. As He spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to His seed for ever.

Glory to God how my soul is filled and stirred today because the God of Abraham still speaks to me. Even when I turn my back on Him. You don’t know the countless times I fail the Lord. You don’t see how I feel so unworthy of His love and so I run, and would run to the ends of the earth…but I don’t have the money. And so I’m stuck with the rain on the tin roof of my West Virginia home and the rain of tears in my soul because I know how unworthy I am to be called His child and filled with His Spirit.

The best, and eternal gift that I can never repay or deserve…

Merry Christmas Shari… again.

Posted in Bible Journaling, Christian Service, Faith, Life Inspiration

6 Ways We Should Never Grow Up

What is it about Christmas that brings out the kid in most of us? I say most, because there are those who wouldn’t giggle in a joke factory, it’s just beneath them. I love to laugh! And I love to hear people laugh, especially children, because they laugh without reserve whether it’s appropriate or not. They also have sense enough not to laugh sometimes like when someone falls down. A child will run to the aid of the person who fell rather than fall down laughing like many adults. No, I’m not an America’s Funniest Home Video fan, mainly because God created me with too much empathy for that. I feel every busted mouth and tailbone! But I confess… sometimes I laugh, I just kept help myself.

Did you know that there are biblical principles for immaturity? It’s true, so long as kept in the context for which the Lord intended.

Go when God says Go

Matthew 18:2

And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them.

Most children know that when someone calls them, they need to go. It may be dinner, it may be late, they may be in trouble, but for whatever reason, someone called and they must go. Adults, not so much. God calls me to do things all the time and I either rebelliously don’t listen, or more than likely put it off until it’s off the list of things to do.

As children of God, when He calls, we should run as fast as we can to see what it is He’d have us do, knowing that it is for certain for our good!

Change when God says Change

Matthew 18:3

And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Another great characteristic of a child is that they’re free thinkers. They can change direction in the blink of an eye! A new idea is a new adventure waiting to happen. Shouldn’t the child of God be that way? Now, there are some things that we cannot change, such as the foundational truths of the scripture. However, those “foundational truths” have changed in their appearance multiple times since they’ve been written. How we conduct a church service, what we wear, how we speak… much has changed. But for some reason when adults get saved, some things don’t change. Your speech should change, your temperament should change, your willingness to change, should change.

Cry when God says Cry

Matthew 18:4

Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

Children will cry at the drop of a hat. They don’t feel embarrassed or care who’s in the room. Why do we? But we do. We’ll stifle a cry, or keep our emotions concealed when the Spirit is clearly moving us. How many times do we wreck a service by not allowing the Spirit to move us? Someone may need to see God moving in our lives, so He can move in theirs.

Accept Who God Accepts

Matthew 18:5

And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.

Unless an adult has already jaded their world, children don’t see color, age, apparel or anything else as a reason not to play with others. Why do we? God desires that every person on this earth come to Him, and He desires to use us to bring them; but all too often we don’t play well enough with others to make them want to play with us.

Touch who God says Touch

Matthew 19:13

Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them.

Are we not a “touch me not” society? Oh, I get it. The world has warped us to believe that a touch can be misconstrued and considered inappropriate to the point we’re afraid to touch anyone. How sad is that? Not for children though; they’ll hug a complete stranger just because they were kind. But if we do that it quakes their soul because we’ve entered their air space.

My church is a hugging church, I love that about it. Christians need to hug more freely. There’s a line not to cross, but overall people need to feel how much you care, and a hug is a great way to let them know!

Bless who God says Bless

Matthew 19:14

But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.

One of the greatest attributes of a child is their desire for everyone to get what’s best.

At a recent Christian School Dinner, one of the children was called upon to pray. The little boy’s prayer moved me! Not because of its eloquence but because of its sincerity. He blessed the food, but before he did he said, “Lord, I can run really fast, and I pray that all my friends can run as fast as I can.” I was in awe. He wanted the world he lived in to have all the goodness he had. Isn’t that the greatest prayer a blessed child of God can pray? Ask God to give them the goodness that’s been given to you and then move out of the way so they can get there. Don’t prevent anyone from getting to Christ. Pray for them, ask the Holy Spirit to move on them, and then watch God work. Don’t assume that you already know their mind, or don’t hinder someone because you don’t feel they’re worthy.

That’s just a few ways, I pray I’ll never grow up.

 

Posted in Bible Journaling, Christian Service, failure, Faith, Fear, Forgiveness, Life Inspiration

He Understands the Mud

Déjà vu

It seems like the story of my life. Déjà vu – I’ve seen this before. I make the same mistakes again and again and I wonder, “Why does God tolerate me the way He does?” Certainly because His ways are not my ways, else I’d already be before the throne and waiting for my beating. But God doesn’t live in our realm, nor does He think in our realm. His ways are so much higher. And praise His Holy name that they are!

A HIGH PLACE TO CRY

Psalm 61:2

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.

Even on the days when I feel too unworthy to cry to Him, He hears my cry from the unspoken inward parts of my soul. That is a feeling experienced only by a child of the Living God. Who when the world overwhelms me, there is a Rock that I can stand on where even the highest wave cannot overpower me when I am there.

A HIGH PURPOSE TO BELIEVE

Psalm 89:27

Also I will make him my firstborn, Higher than the kings of the earth.

Though I know in my heart that God can control the saved and the unsaved of this earth if He so chooses, (Proverbs 21:1); that does not always convince my head. I allow fear and suspicions to control my mind and take it to the dark places that Satan would have me live. Satan will fill my mind full of worry and doubt and I will allow it to overshadow why Jesus was born and what He died for. God’s first and only Son, born in a lowly manger, experienced the lowest part of the earth, so that He could ascend to the Highest with the power of those things in His hand. How dare I take them back… and yet I do.

A HIGH POWER TO SEEK

Isaiah 55:9

As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

I have limited wisdom to say the least. But, I am the child of a bottomless well of wisdom that is at my beckon call. However, I neglect to tap into it the way I should.

The girls and I discussed at Bible Journaling class last light how we desire so much to obtain a place in life where we can just serve God, uninhibited by the world around us. Just live Jesus. But this sin cursed world distracts and entices and I fall, and fail, and God forgives. And I don’t understand why, I’m just grateful He does.

A HIGH PRIEST TO PROPITATE

Hebrews 7:26

For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners , and made higher than the heavens.

It’s Christmas time! The Christ Child is on my mind a lot. I imagine Him as a child, making mud pies and having that Déjà vu moment of when He and His Father created it all.  He knew, that much like that dirty, stinky mud, there would come a need for a cleansing of my soul for which I could not. And He became the sacrifice so that I might live free from sin. And yet I don’t. And He still loves me, and I don’t understand why. His ways are not my ways, or His thoughts, my thoughts.

I am loved. So are You. Enjoy this season with that thought in the forefront of your mind.

 

Posted in Bible Journaling, Christian Service, Christmas, Evangelism, failure, Fear, Forgiveness, Grace, Leadership, Life Inspiration

There’s a Reason I need a Fish on my Tree

After hearing a sermon this morning from the book of Jonah, I thought, if I could create an ornament to hang on my tree of what Christmas means to me it would be one of the great fish. I would do so because I’ve always been painfully aware of how very much grace I stand in need of on a daily basis. I’m truly not quick to judge. I’m not above it, I’m just not quick at it. God is the God of second chances, but He’s also the God of 20,000 chances and beyond, to which I can attest I’ve needed.

Another thing that I have become painfully aware of is what a judgmental world we live in. You can’t walk down the street without feeling the condemning eye of someone, even if it’s just a figment of your imagination. The feeling is very real, at least for me. A former young lady from my youth department posted an image on social media last night that said this:

  • When I make a mistake
  • I know it.
  • I feel it.
  • I tear myself apart.
  • I lose sleep.
  • I don’t stop thinking about it.
  • So when I say I’m sorry.
  • Know that I mean it.
  • I’m my own toughest critic.

My first thought was, “perhaps I taught her too well, she became me.” But then I put the blame where it lies and that’s on Satan; who uses the tool of guilt to thwart the lives of any child of God trying to serve.

So… back to the ornament.

Before his great fish experience Jonah had three oracles hanging about his neck that drew him overboard.

Prejudice, Pride, and Preservation

Prejudice defined as judgement of another. Pride in the sense of judgement of self of a greater worth than others and Preservation by taking care of your own without regard for the souls of others. All of which are reasons for which Christ died, so that no man would be above another, of any greater worth and without excuse for failing to help someone in need. But we tend to forget that. Granted we’re better to remember others during this time of year, but why is it limited to December.

Jonah had that spirit about him when God told him to “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.”  But Jonah went in the opposite direction because he didn’t believe the people of Nineveh were worth saving. I can tell you the Jonah’s of social media should have their own site where they can spew their venom to each other instead of taking it upon themselves to be the judge, jury and executioner of people they don’t think are worth saving either. They are the “Mean girls” of today. A Christian falls and rather than picking them up we tell them their err, but when it comes to picking them up and giving them solutions to their issues, we run like Jonah.

Who ever said talk was cheap lied. It can cost someone their life.

PREJUDICE

When Jonah got on the boat with the mariners, (not people of God), they tried to save him. They didn’t want to throw Jonah overboard; that was a last resort. The world also often uses it as a last resort when they meet a drunk, a drug addict or persons of despicable character. They’ll take them in, make shelters, provide for their needs, where a Christian will give them a gospel tract and walk away, “Leaving them to God to clean.”

Jonah was expected to be a vessel. God had called him, and he hit the reject call button because he was prejudice against the people.

PRIDE

Pride too must have been part of Jonah’s character. When he determined the storm was brought on by his problem, rather than say, “turn the boat around I need to go back,” he said “throw me over board.” Willing to die rather than obey the calling of the Lord for the people’s sake. Pride will do that. It will cause you to disobey God rather than admit you’re wrong and go in the direction He’d have us go. I speak with experience, there’s a reason I need that fish on my tree.

PRESERVATION

Praise the Lord! I’m saved and preserved by the blood of Christ because my self-preservation tactics are self-destruction. Jonah was willing to die rather than submit to God’s will. But God had another plan. He preserved Jonah in the belly of a great fish that would have killed the average man; but God was not about to let one of His plans fall through. So when we read Jonah 3:1 “And the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the second time, saying, Arise, go unto Nineveh that great city, and preach unto it,” we see the God of second chances and we read next that Jonah went. For the record he still wasn’t happy about it, but he went!

I have failed my Lord so, so very many times. No, I’m not quick to judge, but even if I’m slow it makes me guilty. I need the great fish ornament to remind me to be the giver of second, third and 20,000 chances. To never look upon the fall of someone as an opportunity to give advice but for me, it becomes an opportunity to give a hand. Amen!

Posted in Bible Journaling, Christmas

My Cause for Christmas

It’s unbelievable to me that it is the first week in December! And while my table is decorated for Christmas, my heart hasn’t quite caught up. And I for certain haven’t “caught up” with the average Christmas shopper, I’ve barely started. And so yesterday morning I sat down on the first Advent Sunday to prepare my heart for the month of December and more importantly the Christmas season  Perhaps you could uses some assistance in this matter as well.

The word “Advent” is derived from the Latin word adventus, meaning “coming,” which is a translation of the Greek word parousia. Scholars believe that during the 4th and 5th centuries in Spain and Gaul, Advent was a season of preparation for the baptism of new Christians at the January feast of Epiphany, the celebration of God’s incarnation represented by the visit of the Magi to the baby Jesus (Matthew 2:1), his baptism in the Jordan River by John the Baptist (John 1:29), and his first miracle at Cana (John 2:1). During this season of preparation, Christians would spend 40 days in repentance, prayer, and fasting to prepare for the celebration. Originally, there was little connection between Advent and Christmas. But by the 6th century Roman Christians had tied Advent to the coming of Christ. But the “coming” they had in mind was not Christ’s first coming in the manger in Bethlehem, but his second coming in the clouds as the judge of the world. It was not until the middle ages that the Advent season was explicitly linked to Christ’s first coming at Christmas. 1

So, for my first Sunday of this wonderful season, I wanted to steer my mind in the direction of the anticipation of Christ’s return the second time by thinking about the anticipation that would have been felt by God’s children when waiting for the Messiah the first time.

The Curse

Genesis 3:15

And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thy shalt bruise his heel.

The curse was on Satan, and it reminds us that he is still hurtful to man; but like the serpent he can’t get above the heel unless we allow it because we are victorious through the Christ Jesus.

I often give Satan too much credit and allow him to come upon me higher than I should. I allow him to bind my feet and prevent me from going in the direction that God would desire me to go. I allow him to put a knot in my stomach from fear of things that may or may not happen, and even if they do, they’re most always less than Satan would have me believe. I allow Satan to tie my hands and fail to use them for the Glory of God by feelings of inadequacy, time restraints, or just a flat out failure to follow through on something God has laid on my heart.

Romans 16:20 is the counter verse to Satan’s curse:

And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.

How awesome to have that promise when I am tempted to throw my hands up in the air and let Satan have his Victory. From the days of Adam and Eve they were waiting for their Savior. He came in the form of the Christ child, but because of the Man called Jesus we can live in Victory!

But for a moment imagine the sickening feeling in the pit of Adam and Eve’s stomach when they realized the magnitude of their mistake. It’s the same feeling I get in mine when I fail God now knowing the sacrifice He was willing to make.

The Christmas Cure

Galatians 4:4-5

But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.

What Adam and Eve couldn’t fix, and what the blood of animals couldn’t cover, Jesus did. But it was a long time coming.

What must those years have been like all the days that Adam and Eve lived, knowing that every time an innocent animal, one which God created, died in sacrifice, it was because of their mistake. Adam had named those animals and spent time with them in an entirely different setting. He wasn’t a shepherd over them, he roamed the earth with them without there being any fear on either the side of the animal or him. But sin changed that forever.

How much greater should it be for us to realize that every time we sin, we’re taking for granted the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross, and when we allow Satan to bruise us above the heel that he bites, we’re giving him dominion that he’s not entitled to. Christ died so that he wouldn’t have it. We need to stop giving it back.

So for my first week of Christmas I’m going to think on the curse and the cure, and with a grateful heart I’m going to thank God for His sacrifice and hopefully, with all I can muster I’m going to stomp down the lies Satan fuels my doubts with. Amen! What are you allowing Satan to have dominion over you with? Take back that dominion through prayer and the Word of God.

The Christmas Cause

David said to the men cowering down to Goliath, “Is there not a cause?” I have to ask myself that same thing when it comes to the battle with Satan, “Is there not a cause? Is this not a worthy fight to take back the dominion that I’ve allowed Satan to take from me?” Peace. That’s what Goliath had taken from the army of the Israelites. They had no peace that God could win the battle, they trusted in themselves; and that is what I’ve allowed Satan to steal from me, often I just hand it to him without a fight. The peace of God.

In verse 50 of First Samuel 17 it says that David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and smote the Philistine, and slew him; but there was no sword in the hand of David. David had said in verse 47 that the Battle was the Lord’s. He didn’t bring a sword, just a rock. I have to go to the Rock… ironically a new song that I wrote last week titled “I’ll tell you where I stand”… coincidence? I think not.

Let’s make this a Merry Christmas by remembering Satan is cursed, not us. Christ was the cure that lifted it from us. Today… there is a Cause!

1https://www.christianity.com/christian-life/christmas/what-is-advent./ht/ml

 

Posted in Christian Service, Christmas

3 Christmas Chicks

Rewarded for Patience

Every stage of our life is an opportunity to serve the Lord. But often the very blessing of the stage becomes the reason that many don’t serve.

Children feel that they can wait, there’s plenty of time to serve God.

Married life brings with it a load of responsibilities and others who depend on us and are vying for our time. Careers are often our focus and between that and family, serving God is something that will need to wait for when the children are grown or life calms down.

So life calms down and we’re in retirement or widowhood and it’s time for rest. We’ve done our part, now let the younger one’s pick up the slack. But the problem is, there’s nobody picking up the slack. We aren’t seeing children, middle age or older women serve. We see a few worn out chickd who shoulder the load in most churches because we just don’t have the time.

But what would have happened if the the three women of the Christmas story, the Christmas chicks per say, would have had that attitude? Praise God! They didn’t and they were richly rewarded for embracing their opportunities to serve, rather that avoiding or making excuses.

The first of our Christmas chicks is Elisabeth. (Luke 1:1-25)

Elisabeth would represent the Married among us. Her life had been far from perfect. She and Zachariah had long prayed for a child, and during the culture of that day it was great embarrassment if a woman didn’t provide a child for her husband. This was the family legacy after all. And for her it would be the literal future of her husband’s ministry. And so they prayed and prayed and God had not allowed it to happen. Perhaps it was a test, or just God being God, waiting to make someone’s story into an awesome testimony.

Elisabeth is the very same name of the wife of Aaron. The priests were very careful to marry within their own family to maintain the dignity of the priesthood and keep it without mixture. They were held to a far greater accountability than the average Joe in the children of Israel. Elisabeth and Zachariah knew it and it is said of them that they both were righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. God’s timing had no doubt not been their timing. Elisabeth was well stricken in years. We’ve seen the effects of that in other women of the Bible who were impatient, like Abraham’s Sarah. Look what a mess that made when she gave her maid Hagar to Abraham, and the the world is paying a high price. Maybe that thought came to Elisabeth as she waited and helped her be more patient. But Elisabeth was willing to wait, if it never happened, believing God for what’s best. She and Zacharias had likely stopped praying for a child at this point, but God remembered their prayer. And they were rewarded for patience.

What are you waiting for God for? I have much. And I’m not as patient as Elisabeth and I often get the cart before the horse.

Rewarded for Purity

The second Christmas chick is the one we all believe to be central of the Christmas story and that is Miss Mary. (Luke 1:26-

She represents the single age of life, even though she was promised to Joseph. But she still remained pure of heart and pure of life and God took note.

The world is so jaded at this point, purity is seldom discussed in most homes. Celibacy, yes. And we may think of them as the same thing, but you can be celibate and not have a pure heart. A pure heart is a dedication far above just denying the desires of the flesh, it’s a focus on the sacredness of life and accountability to a Holy God; and that’s what’s missing in our conversation with youth. Even in our warped society it’s still expected that we speak to our young girls about saving themselves for marriage, but we don’t speak about the importance of dedicating themselves to the service of the Lord at that time; and what an important role that is in choosing the right mate and living the right life.

Mary obviously had that.

Scripture said that she was highly favoured, the Lord is with thee, blessed art thou among women.

The angel alone had scared her to death, but to hear that the Lord had taken such note of who she was must have certainly took her aback. I think we’ll be surprised what God notices in our life. And as young women, we need to understand that God is looking at our lives and He’s still looking for pure hearts to use for the Kingdom’s glory.

We learn that Mary was pure of heart, pure of body and pure of soul, willing to take on the persecution that would surely befall her because of the out of wedlock pregnancy. God continually provided for her. He changed the heart of Joseph, He allowed her the blessing of raising the Lord Jesus Christ and He allowed her the opportunity to continue to serve all the days of her life. He also made sure that she was taken care of when Christ died by appointing John to look over her.

Children who are taught to serve grow up with the understanding that God provides opportunity and He provides what’s needed for the day. I always imagine what Mary might have seen Jesus do as a child. What if He refilled all the chocolate milk cups, or made sure everyone had never ending cookies. We don’t know much about His childhood, but Mary did.

She was reward for her purity and willingness to serve

Rewarded for Perseverance

The Third Christmas chick is Anna, a widow. In the retirement of life. I found her most interesting because that’s where I’m heading.

The Spirit of prophecy which had ceased in Israel above 300 years but was now revived and through a woman. It may not have meant anything more than she was a woman of understanding. But she made it her business to instruct the younger women in the things of God. God will not be left without His witnesses

She was 84 years old and had long been a widow. She lived with her husband only 7 years when he died, and never remarried. We know nothing more than that of her married life, except that it is mentioned to her praise because she obviously dedicated herself to the things of God. She was constantly at the temple and it is speculated that she had a place to call home in the out-buildings of the temple. Her worship was both public and private. She prayed, fasted and served God night and day.

The Pharisees prayed and fasted too, but for vain glory. Not Anna. She did it for the glory of God!

It said that she spoke of Him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.  She was a soul winner long before the word existed. Anna is a reminder that we should not grow weary in our well doing. She had waited a long time for the opportunity to see the Messiah. I doubt her days were filled with soap operas and bonbons on the sofa. As a widow without children she would have been at the mercy of the Lord for provision and some of her days of fasting may not have been by choice. Because of her perseverance in those hard times, God rewarded her a piece of the Christmas story.

It’s kind of tucked in there at the end and often forgotten. Elisabeth is tucked in the beginning and is often over looked, but all three women serve as examples of the stages and progression of life that women go through.

Where do you see yourself? And how are you allowing God to use you?

This Christmas let’s keep their examples in our mind as we worship the Lord through this season.

Let us be patient if the Lord has us waiting.

Let us be pure if the world around us is full of corruption.

And let us persevere in the face of all adversity so that God may use us and bless us for His glory.

Merry Christmas from the Jesus Chick!

 

Posted in Life Inspiration, salvation

The Harlot’s White Christmas

Although Irving Berlin penned the 1942 song “White Christmas” two decades before I was born, it’s still alive and well and topping the charts of Christmas albums across the world 75 years later. That’s an amazing run! Not as amazing as Amazing Grace, but none the less, who wouldn’t want that kind of history for their music? I still prefer those crooning sounds of singers like Bing Crosby that draw you so far into their song you can almost catch a drifting snowflake on your tongue. But as I painted my Silkie Chicken version of “White Christmas” yesterday while feeling in the holiday spirit of 2017, it drew me back to the white Christmas of 1400 B.C.

What? How was there Christmas, before Christ was born? There was actually Christmas in the book of Genesis and throughout the Old and New Testaments, but this morning my Christmas story came from the book of Joshua, with the key character being a Harlot named Rahab. Needless to say, this ain’t your 1940’s Bing Crosby version of the story.

We find this version in Joshua (Chapter 2), when Joshua sent out two men to go and spy on the land of Jericho. The two men went into a harlot’s house named Rahab to lodge because it was a “hotel” of the day, and likely because it probably wasn’t uncommon for many men to travel in and out of that house unsuspected, but Rahab knew who they were and that God’s hand was upon the children of Israel. Rahab wasn’t a brainless woman of ill repute, she was a woman quite aware of the political and biblical events of the day. Harlotry may have been her business, but her family was the affair she was most concerned about.

Hidden by the Harlot

Joshua 2:1-6 ~ And Joshua the son of Nun sent out of Shittim two men to spy secretly, saying, Go view the land, even Jericho. And they went, and came into an harlot’s house, named Rahab, and lodged there. And it was told the king of Jericho, saying, Behold, there came men in hither to night of the children of Israel to search out the country. And the king of Jericho sent unto Rahab, saying, Bring forth the men that are come to thee, which are entered into thine house: for they be come to search out all the country.  And the woman took the two men, and hid them, and said thus, There came men unto me, but I wist not whence they were: And it came to pass about the time of shutting of the gate, when it was dark, that the men went out: whither the men went I wot not: pursue after them quickly; for ye shall overtake them. But she had brought them up to the roof of the house, and hid them with the stalks of flax, which she had laid in order upon the roof.

It wasn’t just happenstance that the two spies ended up in the home of a harlot. God’s decides from a vantage point higher than ours, who it is that gets a role in the Christmas program. We want the ones of good reputation, the pretty people. God instead chooses a harlot by the name of Rahab because He knew her heart was ready for rehab.

Hallowed by the Harlot

Verses 7-11 ~ And the men pursued after them the way to Jordan unto the fords: and as soon as they which pursued after them were gone out, they shut the gate. And before they were laid down, she came up unto them upon the roof;  And she said unto the men, I know that the Lord hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you. For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt; and what ye did unto the two kings of the Amorites, that were on the other side Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom ye utterly destroyed. And as soon as we had heard these things, our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you: for the Lord your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath.

Rahab reverenced God and His people. She acknowledge that there was power in the God they served and that she and her people had a healthy fear of Him.

It’s unfortunate today that there are many people who don’t fear our God because His people aren’t allowing anyone to see their deliverance. Rahab had seen how God had delivered His people. She’d heard the talk around the neighborhood about the great things God had done and it scared her to death! She knew that her people had nothing that could win against a God so mighty. When is the last time you heard people sharing about the deliverance of God with the community, even though we in the church know it happens. We’ve seen God tear down walls in families and restore relationships, we’ve seen Him wipe out disease and heal our sick, and we’ve seen Him fight and win battles where it would appear all was lost, but God brought the victory. But nobody’s talking about that…

Rahab reverenced God and His people because they were the topic of conversation everywhere!

Heaven Hears the Harlot

Vs. 12-18 ~  Now therefore, I pray you, swear unto me by the Lord, since I have shewed you kindness, that ye will also shew kindness unto my father’s house, and give me a true token: And that ye will save alive my father, and my mother, and my brethren, and my sisters, and all that they have, and deliver our lives from death.  And the men answered her, Our life for yours, if ye utter not this our business. And it shall be, when the Lord hath given us the land, that we will deal kindly and truly with thee. Then she let them down by a cord through the window: for her house was upon the town wall, and she dwelt upon the wall. And she said unto them, Get you to the mountain, lest the pursuers meet you; and hide yourselves there three days, until the pursuers be returned: and afterward may ye go your way. And the men said unto her, We will be blameless of this thine oath which thou hast made us swear. Behold, when we come into the land, thou shalt bind this line of scarlet thread in the window which thou didst let us down by: and thou shalt bring thy father, and thy mother, and thy brethren, and all thy father’s household, home unto thee.

God knew the heart of Rahab before the story ever started. He knew that she was ready to leave the lifestyle she was in and be converted.

So what does all that have to do with a White Christmas?

The red cord that hung from the window of the harlot’s house, that crimson colored rope, signaled her redemption. She and her family would be saved so long as they stayed within the walls covered by the red cord. Another symbolic red covering was that of the children of Israel when the blood over the door signaled the death angel to pass and their family spared the loss of the first born. All of which lead to the final application of the red, covering the sins of the harlot hearts of the world when Christ’s blood was shed on Calvary. That baby we celebrate this Christmas that washed us all as white as snow.

Rahab and all those close to her were saved because of the red cord, and I’m hanging onto that hope that I and all those close to me will be saved when that final day of judgement comes. But like Rahab, I have to be vigilant about opportunities to be used by God.