How to find grace at the throne

I don’t know about you, but I know about me and when I have to come to the throne of God seeking grace, I generally don’t do it boldly. I don’t run in and say, “Father, I messed up! Will you forgive me and fix this mess I’m in… again.” No, that is not how I approach God. I slink in like a ‘possum on the porch. Hovered down like the guilty scoundrel I am. I’m always sure this will be the time that God says, “Shari , you have filled the sea of forgetfulness with garbage. Now, this sin is laying on the beach and I can’t forget it. You’ve gone too far girlfriend. Your grace has run out! Depart from me, I don’t want to know you anymore.” But that’s not God. Number one… God wouldn’t call me girlfriend. Number 2, God won’t un-know His children.

I’m in good company with my mindset though, because I think David felt like God had forgotten him several times. One such time was in Psalm 88 when he penned the words: “Lord, why castest thou off my soul? Why hidest thou thy face from me?” David laments through the entire Psalm, he is in the lowest of the lowest spots of his life and he feels that God is not listening. Have you been there? I certainly have. But what I found odd about this was not that David felt like that, because I could identify; but it’s what happened next in the chronological order of the bible, which is Psalm 92. For which he opens with the words “It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praise unto thy name, O most High: to shew forth thy lovingkindness in the morning and thy faithfulness every night, upon an instrument of ten strings, and upon the psaltery: upon the harp with a solemn sound. For thou, Lord, has made me glad through thy work: I will triumph in the works of thy hands. O Lord, how great are thy works, and thy thoughts are very deep.

So how does one go from, “God do You even know I exist?” to singing songs of praise?

I believe it’s when we can establish in our minds Who God is, and who we are.

God is loving and kind

David said it was good for us to show forth God’s lovingkindness. Could that have been because David wasn’t always loving and kind? I know I’m not.  There are times I have a hard time loving the people I love, and for certain times that I cannot love the people I don’t even like.

God is faithful

David wasn’t always faithful, he stole a man’s wife for cryin’ out loud! But God is forever faithful. Psalm 119:89 says “For ever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven.”  God won’t un-love us. He won’t forget that He died for us. We are not faithful, and it doesn’t shock God. He knew that before He died.

God is Who matters

David didn’t say that he himself had done anything, but that God had done everything. “For thou, Lord, has made me glad through thy work: I will triumph in the works of thy hands. O Lord, how great are thy works, and thy thoughts are very deep.” Thy works, Thy hands, Thy thoughts. Nothing of mine, but thine O’ Lord!

If ever I can get my head wrapped around that thought I am convinced that I will be walking the confidence that the Lord desires. That I can run boldly to the throne of grace. But I’m not there. I still have those moments when I think, there’s no way God can forgive me… again. It’s a lie out of the pits of Hell and I buy into it every time.

Why? Because we fear God’s wrath. David said in Psalm 88, verse 15, “I am afflicted and ready to die from my youth up: while I suffer thy terrors I am distracted.

David couldn’t focus on life because he feared God’s wrath. And while God’s wrath can still be felt, He would much rather we face the wrong we’ve done, and feel His grace.

Hebrews 4:14-16

Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Somewhere between 88 and 92 David found grace. So should we.

If you’re in the valley, take heart

As the summer winds down in West Virginia, the nights are getting cooler and the days are filled with crisp air and falling leaves. A drive through the hills and valleys is filled with the splendid colors of fall and you can almost smell the pumpkin pie in the oven. I love this time of year! It’s a time of refreshing of the soul as the hustle and bustle of summer lends itself now to rest and a slower pace. At least until Christmas!

This morning I’m in Psalm 84, a Psalm said to have been written by David during the time his son had forced him out of his city, a Psalm that anyone who has been away from a place they longed to be in could understand. Perhaps it’s not a place you long to be in but rather a state of being you long to be in. That is more along the lines of where I am this morning. I long for a time of rest and not a constant battle to survive. Hmm… that may sound a bit dramatic, but it’s none the less true. And the places of refuge I find is in the word and house of God, so Psalm 84 encourages me this morning as I glean the understanding of the place David was in.

Psalm 84:6

Who passing through the valley of Baca make it a well; the rain also filleth the pools.

According to bible scholars, the valley of Baca was a part of the desert country filled with many risks and dangers and it lead up to the city of Jerusalem where the house of God was located. Along the way there were wells of water that were apparently far apart and not easy to get to. It was a hard, suffering way to travel which is why the Valley of Baca literally means “Valley of weeping.” Those wells would have been a welcome sight as David fought his way back to his beloved Jerusalem.

During any struggle in life, time in the word of God is that refreshment between the times we’re in church. Church is a soul filling station, but for every day away the journey of life can become consumed with thorns and cares, and although few of us have to fight wild beasts, there are some pretty scary times to be faced, which can feel like something has its teeth in us that’s not about to let go.

David’s Psalm 84 has him longing to return to the house of God. Verses 1-2 says How amiable are thy tabernacles, O Lord of hosts! My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the Lord: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God.

But he couldn’t get there. And for much of our week there’s not a service to be attended until Wednesday and Sundays, so on the other days it’s so good to know that there is a soul filling station a hand breadth away in the Word of God.

As David traveled that rough terrain, a well was a welcome sight.  But take note that the spring of water didn’t just appear, when David was passing through he had to “make the well.” In our pursuit of God while traveling a rough terrain, the well that satisfies our soul may not just spring forth for a ready drink. We may have to dig a while. But that too is a welcome distraction away from the cares around us.

As always I have a long to do list and a performance at the end of the day. It was good to stop by the well location this morning and dig a little in the word of God.

I love the McKamey song that says

“Life is easy, when you’re up on the mountain, you’ve got peace of mind when life’s at it’s best

But it’s down in the valleys of trials and temptations, that’s when life’s really put to the test,

For the God of the mountain is still God of the valley, the God of the day, is still God of the night!”

Glory, if I had shoes I kick’em off. (that’s what mama McKamey would do at a performance when she’d get in the spirit!”)

I sincerely hope you’re having a mountain top day, but if you’re in the valley, take heart. There’s a well ahead. Dig…

Where the Chalkline Leads

I’m certainly not your ordinary missionary. When most people think of a missionary, they consider the work on foreign fields and those works are mighty and necessary. But few consider the United States as a missionfield.

The hard truth is, America has just as much a need for missionaries as any country in the world. And while I serve foreign mission fields as well through Marietta Bible College, I have no less a burden for my own land. I love this country, and I desire to see her in the God Glorifying state that she was once in. I believe that starts one city at a time, and God has laid Windom, Minnesota on my heart.

However… a journey such as this isn’t cheap. I humbly ask that you consider supporting my mission trip this November as I move forward for God doing a great work, and perhaps beginning a great and mighty revival across our land. I’d like to start by stirring up a few gals in Windom and this morning I’d like to stir you a litle too! I read this morning a scripture in Hebrews, Chapter 10, verse 24

And let is consider one another to provoke unto love to good works.

Countless times I’ve used Hebrews 10:25 as a reminder about the need of attending the house of God. But this morning I thought on the these words. Perhaps a precursor to seeing an amazing work in the house of God! Provoking people with purpose. Provoking has a negative connotation to me when I see the word, after all it is defined as  “to stimulate or give rise to (a reaction or emotion, typically a strong or unwelcome one) in someone.” So why is it used in the scripture prior to people attending the house of God? Have you ever shared the gospel with someone in hopes of getting them to church, it’s not always easy is it? It’s not easy being a servant of God. He didn’t say it would be, but it’s always worth it.

Image result for carpenter's chalk lineThis morning as I talked to God about my life and the Windom trip, He was very clear about what He wanted for me. And that was to “Focus.” That has been a word that God has used again and again in our conversations. Focus on the task at hand. But He added to that the word align. Aligning oneself is to get directly in that path. He brought to mind the illustration of a carpenter who flips the chalkline for a straight line, and that is the path he takes. When He starts me on a path, He’s drawn that line from where I am to where I’m to go and I need to stay on it. Aligned with God. Focused. That’s been Minnesota for while. He’s kept those friends in my view every day. There’s a work there for me to do and I believe it’s to be a part of provoking the Love of God in that city so that He can do a mighty work. No, it’s not a foreign mission field, but it’s a missionfield for me. A place to share the Love of God and to see a “good work.”

Below is the link to support the trip. I am an unfunded missionary. I don’t have a job, but I have faith that God will provide. He does that though people who can’t go, but want to be a part of the mission work. I pray you’ll consider my cause.

 In His love and for His Glory,

Shari (the Jesus Chick)

https://www.gofundme.com/theJesuschick

 

 

I Don’t Want to be A Rhoda

Sometimes I feel like I need to come with the disclaimer “Salvation did not make me crazy, it made me free.”  I’m an Amenin’, hand raising, talk back to the preacher during a sermon kinda gal. I’m not disruptive or obnoxious. I’m God approved. But I’m probably not for everyone. Because if you like your services sedate to the point that an EMT would have to check pulses to make sure everyone in your church as alive, you probably don’t want me to attend, and you sure don’t want me sing or speak.

I don’t want to become a Rhoda.

13 And as Peter knocked at the door of the gate, a damsel came to hearken, named Rhoda. 14 And when she knew Peter’s voice, she opened not the gate for gladness, but ran in, and told how Peter stood before the gate. 15 And they said unto her, Thou art mad. But she constantly affirmed that it was even so. Then said they, It is his angel. 16 But Peter continued knocking: and when they had opened the door, and saw him, they were astonished.

To set the stage for this scripture, Peter had just been released from prison by God. Herod the king had put him in prison because it made the Jews happy and there Peter lay between two guards, held in place by two chains. But then an angel appears and the chains fall off and Peter is escorted from the prison and out the city gates, where even he doesn’t believe what’s happened! Peter then makes his way to the home where his friends are praying and he knocks on the door and Rhoda answers. Well, kind of answers. She hears Peter’s voice and leaves him standing outside to go tell the others, who think she’s lost her mind.

So there’s a few things here that remind me of modern day churches…

It makes the world happy when they bind the hands of Christians, and most Christians are more than happy to place their hands in the stocks because that takes the pressure off for lifting them up. If you think it’s easy to lift your hands in a dead service you’ve obviously never tried it. Satan knows that when the hands goes up, the glory comes down and so he does everything within his power to stop the praise and worship. Note that I said “within his power.” He can only go so far as we allow. There was a few things that lead up to Peter’s freedom.

The Prayer Loosed Him

The scriptures are there for us every day to read as an example of how to make it through the hardest of times. And yet in those times we pray, and pray and pray and when God’s ready to do something we won’t so much as open the door. We hear Him speak, but we run the other way.

I’m preaching to myself now, please stand by.

Rhoda heard Peter’s voice, and rather than opening the door and letting the proof stand before her, she ran to tell her friends without the evidence God had sent. That’s almost too “preachy” for me to understand, but let me tell you what the Spirit of God is telling me. If Rhoda had believed in what was behind door number 1, the only one that God wants us to open, there would have been no room for doubt. He speaks, we hear, we open ourselves to His leading. Or… you run the other way. And what happens when you run the other way and don’t follow through with God’s plan, the world thinks your mad.

15 And they said unto her, Thou art mad. But she constantly affirmed that it was even so. Then said they, It is his angel.

The Spirit Lead Him

But Peter kept knocking. And so does the Lord, at least for a while. Peter didn’t give up on convincing his friends that he was indeed freed and not dead. And when they finally seen him, they were shocked!

16 But Peter continued knocking: and when they had opened the door, and saw him, they were astonished.

The Outcome Stirred Them

Woah Glory, that will preach!

17 But he, beckoning unto them with the hand to hold their peace, declared unto them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he said, Go shew these things unto James, and to the brethren. And he departed, and went into another place.18 Now as soon as it was day, there was no small stir among the soldiers, what was become of Peter.

The world wanted to know, what had become of Peter? But the church didn’t. They knew that Peter had been set free by the hand of God and Peter told them to go and tell somebody what had happened.

The problem is, sometime been Peter’s release and Heaven, we’ve forgotten that the God of Peter and Rhoda, is the God of you and I. Our hands are free, Herod is dead and God wants to do something amazing! But we’re still back in the prayer closet and God is at the door waiting to be let in.

When I say that I don’t want to be a Rhoda, I’m saying this:

  • Rhoda was a believer. I believe
  • Rhoda wasn’t afraid to tell people what she heard. I’m not afraid to tell people what I’ve heard.
  • But Rhoda didn’t open the door. I often, and I mean really often, run the other way when God starts speaking. Because Satan convinces me that what’s on the other side of that door is just a figment of my imagination. God isn’t really going to do what I ask.

It’s called faith for a reason and it’s easier to talk than it is to live. God is worthy to be praised, worthy to be served and worthy to be believed. If He said it, It will come to pass. Amen and Glory!!!!!

Autumn’s Palette – A September Devotion

Our church Homecoming is just a few weeks away, and this year we’ll be celebrating 25 years of sharing the Gospel in Calhoun County, (21 years of those have been with me). I’ve spent days reminiscing about the goodness of God to land me in this church I call home. It’s filled with friends that are family in every sense of the word. By love and by the blood; the blood of Jesus Christ.

Last night I shared a devotion with our ladies and this morning I’ll share it with you. I’ve also attached a link for you to share the pdf with someone it might encourage or to use it at your own event (customization for your church available)

Autumn’s Palette

(Click the title above for a link to the PDF)

Psalm 147

There’s always a reason to Praise!

There are few things more beautiful than the changing of the leaves in the Autumn of West Virginia. A wonderful reminder that there is always beauty in our lives no matter what season we’re in.

Orange the color of Gratitude

1 Praise ye the Lord: for it is good to sing praises unto our God; for it is pleasant; and praise is comely.

Orange is an autumn staple in our décor throughout the fall holidays. What are you thankful for in this season of your life? Season could be age, or it could be a specific life event that you’re going through. (Share with us if you’d like 😊)

Brownthe color of stability

Like to trees of the forest, seasons come and seasons go, and many of them are filled with the trials of life. But through them all God is always faithful! The Psalmist mentions a few seasons in this Psalm that we are now in or have been at some point in our life. As church Homecoming approaches, think about the many people who have had a season in our church. Perhaps they’re still here, or have been long gone. Name them, and pray for them in the coming days. More importantly, Invite them!

The Lord doth build up Jerusalem: he gathereth together the outcasts of Israel.

…someone not always welcome in their community or family

He healeth the broken in heart, and bindeth up their wounds.

…we all know someone with a broken heart.

Yellow the color of the stars

Too many in the Heavens to number, yet our Father has named them all. Isn’t it awesome that even though we sometimes forget a name for a season, God never does! Someone may have walked away from Victory Baptist Church, and walked away from God, but He still remembers their name and desires their fellowship. So should we!

He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names.

Green the color of forever

Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite.

Not only does the Lord not forget who we are, He doesn’t remember who we were! Now that is a reason to praise Him every day.

Gray the color of rain

During the fall and winter seasons, the dismal gray of the sky and forest can weaken the human spirit. It’s easy to fall into depression and discouragement. But along with the gray overcast skies, usually comes an abundance of rain or snow. Again… not what we’re necessarily fond of. But what a sad spring it would be, if the ground wasn’t strengthened by that moisture.

The Lord lifteth up the meek: he casteth the wicked down to the ground. 7 Sing unto the Lord with thanksgiving; sing praise upon the harp unto our God: Who covereth the heaven with clouds, who prepareth rain for the earth, who maketh grass to grow upon the mountains. He giveth to the beast his food, and to the young ravens which cry. 

Red the color of Redemption

10 He delighteth not in the strength of the horse: he taketh not pleasure in the legs of a man. 11 The Lord taketh pleasure in them that fear him, in those that hope in his mercy.

Red seems to make its way into every season in some form or another; from pinks of Easter to the Holly berries of Christmas. Every season of the life of a child of God has been covered by the blood. God’s not impressed with our strength, for it’s nothing in comparison to His, but He is impressed with the humility of a child of God who depends on Him and has hope in His mercy.

If you read on in this Psalm you can prepare your heart for winter too! But for today let praise Him for the goodness of Fall.

12 Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem; praise thy God, O Zion.13 For he hath strengthened the bars of thy gates; he hath blessed thy children within thee. 14 He maketh peace in thy borders, and filleth thee with the finest of the wheat. 15 He sendeth forth his commandment upon earth: his word runneth very swiftly. 16 He giveth snow like wool: he scattereth the hoarfrost like ashes. 17 He  casteth forth his ice like morsels: who can stand before his cold? 18 He sendeth out his word, and melteth them: he causeth his wind to blow, not dealt so with any nation: and as for his judgments, they have not known them. Praise ye the Lord.and the waters flow. 19 He sheweth his word unto Jacob, his statutes and his judgments unto Israel. 20 He hath not dealt so with any nation: and as for his judgments, they have not known them. Praise ye the Lord.

God has a complaint

Granted, the book of Malachi is directed to the children of Israel; but we, as being the adopted sons and daughters of the Most High King, His words, every word, is directed to us for instruction. Also as a reminder of the expectations that God has of His children. I’ve heard many say that they don’t read the Old Testament because it’s just too hard to understand. I would have to disagree with them. The Old Testament may be filled with a considerable amount of history and law, and topics that we think do not pertain to those of us saved by grace, but the lessons scattered throughout its pages are as relevant today as the day they were penned. The prophet Malachi was sent first to convince and then to comfort, much like the task of the Holy Spirit in the lives of Christians today. He first draws us to Himself, convicts us of our sin and then daily provides comfort to the child of God to make their pilgrimage to the Promised Land.

Malachi 1 has God voicing a complaint to Israel that is still an issue today. We haven’t come so far as we might think. I need for God to take the Band-Aids ® of productivity off my spiritual life. I conceal a nasty wound in my soul by covering it with busyness. Man… that hurt just like someone ripped a Band-Aid off my hide. But listen to the words of Malachi and see if they don’t ring true.

Malachi 1:2 – I have loved you, saith the Lord. Yet ye say, Wherein hast thou loved us? Was not Esau Jacob’s brother? saith the Lord: yet I loved Jacob.

God opens the conversation with the subject of ingratitude. That will likely rip the hide off most of God’s people. We are an ungrateful group; filled with the pious opinion that our sacrifice of time and energy for the church is enough. From Esau came the Edomites, who triumphed in the overthrow of Jerusalem, a fact that God could foresee and an attitude that was instilled in them through those generations. So when we read that God hated Esau, (vs. 3) as parents it’s a hard pill to swallow; until you read further into the history and discover the end result of Esau’s attitude.

Ingratitude is at the foundation of many of the issues of life. We’re dissatisfied with our position or possession because we’re not grateful enough for the fact that we have what we have. (Esau sold his position in life for a bowl of soup).  We’re aggravated with someone because we’re not grateful enough for their presence in our life. We’re neglectful of what we’ve been given to steward because we’re not grateful for the blessing. We fail to use to the talents that God gives us for the purpose He gives them to us because we’re not grateful He gave us the opportunity to serve Him at all.

I think that hit me on every point!

When God began His complaint to Israel through Malachi, He could see Shari in 2017. He could see you in 2017. He knew we needed this word. So as I sit here on a Saturday morning, I am ever conscience of God’s complaint. We never like to think about someone having something against us. It’s when the excuses begin.

God told Israel that He loved them and yet their response is “Wherein hast thou loved us?”  Show me how much you love me God by allowing (enter your request here) to happen. Have you ever said that? I know I have. I may not have said it in those exact words, but my ungrateful heart has said it in the way that I behaved when life wasn’t going my way. But God doesn’t except excuses.

He told Israel that all their “busy work was for nothing.” We think that our service for God is so grand, so did they.

And your eyes shall see, and ye shall say, The Lord will be magnified from the border of Israel.

Israel thought that their service to the Lord was “enough.” But God knew the ungratefulness behind their service. They didn’t fear God, else they’d have not served Him with half their heart and a substandard offerings.

A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master: if then I be a father, where is mine honour? and if I be a master, where is my fear? saith the Lord of hosts unto you, O priests, that despise my name. And ye say, Wherein have we despised thy name? Ye offer polluted bread upon mine altar; and ye say, Wherein have we polluted thee? In that ye say, The table of the Lord is contemptible. And if ye offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? and if ye offer the lame and sick, is it not evil? offer it now unto thy governor; will he be pleased with thee, or accept thy person? saith the Lord of hosts. And now, I pray you, beseech God that he will be gracious unto us: this hath been by your means: will he regard your persons? saith the Lord of hosts. 10 Who is there even among you that would shut the doors for nought? neither do ye kindle fire on mine altar for nought. I have no pleasure in you, saith the Lord of hosts, neither will I accept an offering at your hand. 11 For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense shall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering: for my name shall be great among the heathen, saith the Lord of hosts. 12 But ye have profaned it, in that ye say, The table of the Lord is polluted; and the fruit thereof, even his meat, is contemptible. 13 Ye said also, Behold, what a weariness is it! and ye have snuffed at it, saith the Lord of hosts; and ye brought that which was torn, and the lame, and the sick; thus ye brought an offering: should I accept this of your hand? saith the Lord. 14 But cursed be the deceiver, which hath in his flock a male, and voweth, and sacrificeth unto the Lord a corrupt thing: for I am a great King, saith the Lord of hosts, and my name is dreadful among the heathen.

God’s closing of His complaint finds Him telling Israel that if they won’t serve Him as they should, with their best, He’ll find a people who will.

Before God moves out of my life, perhaps I should look at the quality of my service and sacrifice. Is it bountiful, or is it just busyness?

Jacob, like us, was far from perfect, his name meant deceiver after all! But he sought to serve God when he wrestled in Genesis 32:24. He was willing to fight for what God had. Are we? Or are just satisfied with a bowl of soup?

Esau was a hunter and provider. He got his job done. Jacob wouldn’t stop until he prevailed with God, and God changed his name from “Deceiver.” To “a prince who had power with God and with men and hast prevailed.”

Jacob sacrificed for, sought for and served for God. And in Him God did not complain.

5 Ways to Stop the Coaster

I don’t know the year that my life turned into a roller coaster ride but I seem to have been on it for quite a while. Whoever sold me the ticket is losing money!

I probably don’t need to ask if you’ve ever felt that way, because I’m pretty sure we’re all in the same theme park. Perhaps “Stress Me Land” would be a good name for it. Every second of my day seems to be filled with unachievable goals pointless meanderings. A breather for me is usually the time, when at the end of the day, I sit down with my phone to play a mindless game, and wake up two hours later and go to bed. Life is exhausting! There’s so much vying for my time, it’s hard to know when to say when.

So when I once again woke up feeling overwhelmed to the point of exhaustion before the day even started I knew of only one remedy. The word of God.

5 ways to stop the Coaster

Get Still

Isaiah 41:1-10

Keep silence before me, O islands; and let the people renew their strength: let them come near; then let them speak: let us come near together to judgment.

We know the scripture that says “Be still and know that I am God,” and yet finding that place of stillness is seldom ever sought. Isaiah is speaking to Israel, their life is in turmoil and which one of us can’t identify with them and often times for the same reasons. We’re not obedient to God, we rebel again and again, we fail to serve Him as He should and yet we want Him to care for us and patch every booboo in our lives with a superman Band-Aid ®. And when we’ve road the coaster of life ‘til we’re ready to puke we finally hear the word of God say. “Silence!” That’s point one. Get still.

Get Real

Who raised up the righteous man from the east, called him to his foot, gave the nations before him, and made him rule over kings? he gave them as the dust to his sword, and as driven stubble to his bow. He pursued them, and passed safely; even by the way that he had not gone with his feet. Who hath wrought and done it, calling the generations from the beginning? I the Lord, the first, and with the last; I am he.

Isaiah’s asking them the question “Who raised you up in the first place.” In that day there were many idol worshippers and Isaiah is challenging them to compare their idols to God. Can your idol raise up a man, stand him before you and make him ruler. Can he make a man from dust? That scripture challenges us to compare our own idols that seem to have control over our lives. Think about “that” in comparison to the God of creation. Who wins the battle?

Get Ready

The isles saw it, and feared; the ends of the earth were afraid, drew near, and came.They helped every one his neighbour; and every one said to his brother, Be of good courage.So the carpenter encouraged the goldsmith, and he that smootheth with the hammer him that smote the anvil, saying, It is ready for the sodering: and he fastened it with nails, that it should not be moved.

Funny thing about the word of God. It doesn’t take you very many words before you see the Lord at work and the power of His Word.

Glory to God!!!! How I needed this message today.

All those anxieties and fears that have been rummaging through my mind looking for something to latch onto are suddenly shaking in their boots because they know Jesus has just took hold of the coaster switch, that it should not be moved.

Get Set

But thou, Israel, art my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend.Thou whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called thee from the chief men thereof, and said unto thee, Thou art my servant; I have chosen thee, and not cast thee away.

Isaiah calls the people of God to remember that they are a chosen generation. Israel was handpicked by God and we are saved by the crucified hands of God! Does that not put a shout on you? Yes we fail and yes we let God down, but God has never and will never fail us. He will not cast us out which is the greatest lie of Satan to believe that He would. And yet… every time I let God down, (though I know I’m saved) Satan beats me up with that lie over and over until I get here. And God reminds me that my footprints have been set in Heaven already, and their waiting for this body to meet them there.

Now Go!

10 Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.

Start the day a new. Knowing that God is with us all the way.

 

Freeloaders in the Flock

No automatic alt text available.Driving to play music with a secular crowd, I prayed that God would open the door to share the gospel.  Boy did He! He opened it wide open and in true “Jesus Chick” form I walked out on the porch of that opportunity with my mouth wide open and for an hour and a half I debated faith. The opportunity was great, my delivery I’m not so sure about. It’s the problem with being a “leap and the net will appear” kind of gal; not only do I leap and believe the net will appear, I also speak and believe the words will appear. This has on more than one occasion got me into trouble. Only because I don’t slow down to hear what God’s speaking to my soul.

Luke wrote in chapter 12, verses 11 and 12: And when they bring you unto the synagogues, and unto magistrates, and powers, take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say: For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say.

Well, I didn’t give it any thought, I just spoke from my heart. I’m just so doggone passionate about what my Lord has done! I know He’s okay with that, God doesn’t need any freeloaders in the flock. It’s not a works salvation, but James said in Chapter 2, Verse 18 “Yea, a man say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.”  That too was a piece of my conversation. There is no works required for salvation, Jesus did it all, but there most certainly should be some evidence.’

 

My “freeloaders in the flock” statement came from a conversation I had with my friend Gloria about my new critter passion, the chickens. Sue, Glo, Butterscotch and Toffee and 4 everyday variety of chickens I’ve yet to give names. My husband wanted the chickens for what they produce, I wanted the chickens because they make me smile. The little babies “peep peeps,” and the antics of the grown chickens remind me in more ways than one of the flock of God. But my husband, in the confidence of a husband, said “No freeloaders.” I, in the confidence of his wife, smiled.  He knew what that meant. No, chicken killin’. But I understand his theory, if we feed them, they “should” follow that up by rewarding us with an omelet or two.

Well, I believe the same as a child of God. If He provides for me in every aspect of life, both physically and spiritually, should I not produce something in my life for Him?

3 WAYS NOT TO BE A FREELOADER

Win souls

It’s the most gut wrenching, fortifying method of serving Christ of all the ways we have to serve. Gut wrenching from the standpoint that you are standing toe to toe with the devil as he tries to undo every deed you do. For every statement of persuasion I would make for Christ, Satan would fuel the fire with human intelligence and logic. It is during those times that I am apt to speak before the Holy Spirit has a chance to get a word in edge wise. It’s not easy, but it is most assuredly worth the war.

Work the Gospel

I know we are a “no works” salvation. But Jesus worked, and if we’re to follow in His footsteps and live as He lived there is work involved. See a need, fill a need. That was His way and should be our way. We should be praying and watching for opportunities to serve others in the name of Jesus Christ so that others can see and believe He is Lord of our lives and a game changer for theirs.

Worship

In my human opinion one of the worst cases of freeloading is when able bodied children of God don’t find the time to make it to church. They make the time for work, every form of play known to man, they’ll never miss a hair appointment or an oil change in the worst of weather, but when it comes to taking care of their soul, and thanking the very God who created them and saved them, He is the last on their list. Oh, I know… I’m preaching now. But one of the hardest things to overcome when trying to win a soul to Christ is standing in the defense of freeloaders of the flock. There’s no excuses we can offer.

The God of Miraculosity!

Miraculosity – Ephesians 3:20 thin  king – the Miraculous Generosity of God.

What causes unbelief in a child of God? It’s a question I ponder often. Why is it that at the times we most need faith, there is a greater presence of doubt and fear? Both were overcome at the grave of Jesus Christ when He victoriously arose the third day, and yet they didn’t die because Satan is still around to keep them alive and well. They won’t have eternal life, but they’ve been here since Satan introduced them in the garden of Eden. But moving past “Devil made me do it” phase of our lives we have to take responsibility for much of this one on our own. This is a problem in our “own country.”

Matthew 13 tells the truth of a hometown visit by Jesus with the saddest departure.

Matthew 13

54 And when he was come into his own country, he taught them in their synagogue, insomuch that they were astonished, and said, Whence hath this man this wisdom, and these mighty works? 55 Is not this the carpenter’s son? is not his mother called Mary? and his brethren, James, and Joses, and Simon, and Judas? 56 And his sisters, are they not all with us? Whence then hath this man all these things? 57 And they were offended in him. But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, save in his own country, and in his own house. 58 And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.

The Entrance

Much like Jesus arrived in His hometown, he arrives in the heart of a child of God. The Holy Spirit is Amazing! It is astonishing when you begin to know and understand things because He reveals them to you from within. I can remember picking up the word of God following my salvation, and scripture that once seemed to be written in Greek were now as plain as the nose on my face. I read and I understood because the Holy Spirit was revealing it to me. It was then that I could not get enough of the Bible. Every day, every spare moment I had that precious book open because He was speaking to me through every word.

God not only revealed the word to me through the Holy Spirit but He sent men and women of God to sew into my life; many of whom did that through not only the testimony of the word but the testimony of their lives. They shared their own miracles with me and I began to see that the Spirit of God was now as He was then. Able. He was able to all that we ask.

Ephesians 3:20

Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.

Not only all that we ask but above all that we ask. How amazing is that! And yet, we don’t believe. Why? It’s not because we don’t have the power to believe because that power works in us. We see that through His word. I believe that unbelief is often a product of our surroundings.

As a new convert in Jesus Christ I was surrounded by people of testimony. For me that made the difference. I had evidence that God was still the Ephesians 3:20 God. Many of those who testified to me have gone home to be with Jesus and I’m seeing less and less of people who share the testimony of great things in Christ Jesus.

The Exam

Once Jesus arrived in His home town the people began to examine who He was. Isn’t his dad a carpenter? Isn’t his momma Mary? Don’t we know His people? How can He be anyone special? To write those words breaks my heart. The exam still continues today when we examine a situation and fail to believe that God will overcome it or that God won’t do that miracle through us because “Am I not just Shari?” Who am I to think that God would do this…? And it’s right there that we’ve resurrected doubt and fear yet again. We’re examining (questioning) the power of God.

The Exit

And so the exit. The saddest of all scriptures.

58 And he did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief.

They missed out on the miracles of God because they couldn’t get past that He was just a carpenter’s son. Those words pierce my soul because I’ve been just “Shari” most of my life. But fortunately interspersed within those “just Shari” years were moment of miraculosity. Yes… I know that’s not a word. But it should be. Because I’ve seen God do some pretty miraculous things with a girl named Shari. And I’ve missed out on some things because I didn’t believe the God inside the Girl would do it.

The testimonies I cut my teeth on as baby Christian are still fueling my soul today, but God didn’t intend for me to live on somebody else’s blessing. He’s given me my own. Where we are in life is “our hometown.” And before we let Jesus exit, we need to tell the people in our world about the great works God has done. Don’t sit on a testimony. I’ve been guilty so many times! What we’re doing is allowing doubt and fear to win out in our young people. They need to hear about the God of Miraculosity! Go and tell someone about the great things He’s done in your life. Tell them about the little things He’s done, they need to hear it all.