in case you haven’t figured out where I’m at in Bible reading, I’ve been in the
book of Proverbs the last few days. And it’s good timing. I’m in need of
wisdom. I’m trying very hard to stay spiritually focused on a matter of the
heart, but there’s been an issue with my heart far longer than the issue that
caused the heart attack.
Proverbs Proverbs 4:23
says Keep thy heart with
all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.
As I’ve told you before. I
have issues. Lots of them! But that’s not the verse that caused me to ponder
this morning and examine my issues. It was Proverbs 8:17 ~
SEEK ME EARLY
I love them that love me;
and those that seek me early shall find me.
I do love the Lord, and I
realize that in seeking His will through His word, it’s always best to try and
discover His plan before you jump off the cliff, or open your mouth, or volunteer, again. Or possibly
choke the life out of someone. That’s why I don’t necessarily think that the
word “early” always refers to the time of day. Perhaps it means “before
The old adage “The early
bird gets the worm,” is only good if you’re the bird. The worm really gets the
short end of the stick. Perhaps if he’d prayed about direction before he came
up out of the earth, he’d be having a picnic with friends today. But what I got
more than anything out of this verse today is that God loves devoted children. He
knows we don’t have all the answers. And where Siri falls short on answers, God
SEEK ME FULLY
Jeremiah 29:13 ~ And ye
shall seek me,
and find me, when ye
shall search for me with all your heart.
Far, far too often I not
only fall short but I stop short of where God needs me to be. I search for His
wisdom until I grow weary, or something shiny takes me away and then I lose the
train of thought that brought me to His station. The process of finding the
answer isn’t always as easy as just opening up the book. That’s where we start,
but there’s prayer and conversations with God. In order to fully understand
what it is that God wants us to understand He wants His children to be serious
I have issues there too. I
want answers but more often than not I want the Readers Digest condensed
version with the answer key in the back.
SEEK ME ONLY
28 And there ye shall serve
gods, the work of men’s hands, wood and stone, which neither see, nor hear, nor
eat, nor smell. 29 But if
from thence thou shalt seek the Lord thy
God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy
soul. 30 When thou
art in tribulation, and all these things are come upon thee, even in the latter
days, if thou turn to the Lord thy
God, and shalt be obedient unto his voice;
Seeking the wisdom of men
and using the ways of the world for guidance always fails in comparison to what
can be obtained by speaking to the Savior. We forget that. It’s so easy to
desire a conversation with people we can touch, or look at the examples of
people who have succeeded in our area of need. And although there’s nothing
wrong with either of those things, God is an exclusive God. He won’t be added
to a list of possible solutions. He is the solution.
I had to remind myself of
that today. I can’t fix stupid. Some things and some people are beyond my
control. But what is within my control is my reaction to the world around me.
If someone is in need… seek God’s provision, perhaps you have it.
If someone’s in pain… seek God’s comfort, perhaps your words can
If someone’s in harms way… seek God’s protection, perhaps your
request will summon the powers of Heaven.
If someone’s in need of answers… seek God’s wisdom, perhaps you’re
The reality of it is, you
may or may not be the means God uses to fix a situation. But He wants to hear
from you. The problem may be your own, He wants to hear from you. He is the Lord thy God. 100% yours. And 100% mine. He hears every word
we speak (or think). Give everything to Him, early, fully, only. Thy God.
You can color me guilty. I
most always have an opinion. But I thank God for the Holy Spirit that indwells
within me and jerks a knot in my knickers when I begin to focus on the life or
lifestyle of another person. When I begin to think that I need to do a running
commentary. It’s usually just inside my head. It’s sometimes to those close to
me. It’s seldom ever, if ever to the person for which I’m forming an opinion. I’m
not that brazen, or stupid.
But it’s become quite
obvious to me lately that not everyone has the ability to know when to keep
their mouth shut. And no, I’m not thinking of anyone in particular. Just many,
many, many people in general. It’s an epidemic! And because of social media,
the world has a stage.
If you go to “The Jesus
Chick” page or my own personal page for “Shari Hardway Johnson”, as well as my
twitter feed and Instagram, you’ll note that it’s positive commentary and
images. That’s not a holier than thou statement, it’s just truth. I don’t want
to be in anyone’s drama, or a discouragement. So my posts are positive. I made
that choice, and I’m pretty sure God agrees with me.
Drink waters out of thine own cistern,
and running waters out of thine own well.
I read that this morning and
thought, “there it is. What I’d like to tell every nosy, ne’er do well in the
world. Mind your own business!”
Who makes these people judge
and jury of the lives of someone else and what skeletons would come crawling
out of their closet if the door was open?
Although it is far worse in
the political arena, or at least it far more outspoken, it’s just as bad in the
church. And I speak collectively, not of any in particular.
I think of an incident many,
many years ago in my own church where a young woman with several children had
the audacity to come to church without a slip under her dress. Oh my stars! And
as she exited the ladies room a ne’er do well woman said to me, “can you
believe she forgot her slip.” To which I responded, “With all those kids, I
just praise God she gets here on Sunday morning.”
Where on earth was this
woman’s mind? And why did she think she had the right to tear down a young
mother trying to do the right thing?
Now, that may seem trivial.
But a comment like that is what will discourage someone, who’s struggling
anyway, to decide to leave the church. And that could be devastating to a
family and Hell bound someone because of it.
The longer I travel this
road with Jesus, the more I realize the focus of the church is so off kilter.
I personally love pretty
clothes. And God has gifted me with several. But I don’t love them because I
think they’re holy, I just love girly stuff. God made me that way. I also have
a personal conviction that when I go into a church I dress in their common
attire. If they’re casual, so am I. If they’re fancy, I try to be a fancy Nancy
too and I enjoy it. But I don’t look at anyone who’s not in the common attire
and think about their heart toward Christ. Clothes do not make the man. The
Spirit of God does. And I’ve known people who looked like ragamuffins that I
was in awe with the depth of their relationship with God.
I’ll not tell you that I am
above judging. It’s human nature. Or that I don’t have other issues in life.
But it’s something that makes me so nauseous because I’ve seen the damage it’s
done, especially in the circles I travel of the Independent Baptist realm. Trust
me, they’re not all the same. That’s why we’re “independent.” I’d probably be
kicked out of some.
My faith is not in the
denomination. It’s in God. But I agree with the doctrine of my church and so I’m
there and I love my people. Mainly because the vast majority are not judgers. They
love all people. Even if their knees are showing. Insert smile here. Even if
they’re a girl who wears britches. Or a fella that’s a t-shirt, blue jean, work
boot kind of guy. We love them.
So does Jesus. And this
morning I think I’m delivering His message when I say. Mind your own business.
I hate vain thoughts: but thy law do I love. Thou art my hiding place and my shield: I hope
in thy word.
The Struggle with
human nature we are a selfish lot, are we not? I tuned into social media this
morning and the heartaches of other people overwhelmed my soul. I felt
can’t rebuild a life that was lost in a fire.
can’t undo the bad decision of a young man that didn’t feel there was any other
way than death.
can’t control the fierceness of nature or the devastation it can leave in its
can’t un-break a heart or protect people from destruction.
life. And in this day and age it’s being lived out in a very, very public way
that affects so many people with the stroke of a keyboard. Social media can be
a blessing or a scourge. I have a love/hate relationship with it, as I’m sure
most people do. But like it or not, despise it or not, it’s here to stay. But
you and I need to be careful about the vanity of it all. If we are in the
mindset of Christ… as we should be. We should shield ourselves from ourselves.
of my many, many faults is counting. Now I know it got David in serious trouble
in 2nd Samuel 24. So I try not to; but remember the struggle I spoke
of. It really is a struggle on social media. How many people likes my post… how
many people viewed my video… how many people liked a post, or loved a post. And
who were they? Oh. I’m vain. For me it’s validation as to whether or not I was
a load of lies from Satan. But I buy it like a good flea market find.
lives will never be defined in eternity by how many people seen our posts. But
it will be defined by what that post did for the cause of the Kingdom.
The Shield of Victory
all my vain thoughts, and they are many; God put a heart of compassion within
me. It’s what drives me to share the hope of Jesus Christ that I find in His
word. It’s what creates images like the umbrella in my mind when I think of how
many times the Lord has shielded me from the sun and rain. The good times and
the bad times that would have had a negative result in my life.
not only the bad times in our lives that cause damage. The good in life can
bring more vanity, more self-reliance that can destroy the good things that God
wants for us.
many people do we know with great wealth and health that have no relationship
with God? Or how many do we know that have “seemingly” never struggled as we
have and are so ungrateful.
of the worst things in my life, I am certain, have protected me from forgetting
where my hope lies.
so thankful that we have God’s word! It is as if I’m sitting here in my office
this morning with God, and I hear Him say… “That’s my girl. Keep writing. Keep
drawing. Keep serving. And by the way, stop counting.”
Gavest thou the goodly wings unto the peacocks? or wings and feathers
unto the ostrich?
Job 39:13 was one of the many questions the Lord
had for Job when it came to helping him to understand that regardless of what
the world thought, God’s creation, design and planning was His and His alone. He
didn’t need Job’s help in the beginning and He didn’t need it now.
As I read and thought about the magnificence of the peacock this morning and I surveyed my marker and colored pencil collection I was in awe once again at how very much thought God put into the earth and all that’s around us. And as I considered Job’s “friends” and the arrogance of the fourth and final man, Elihu; who in his youth thought he could “teach Job a thing or two,” it brought to mind the arrogance of today’s modern and liberal thinking lot who think they too can tell God’s people a thing or two.
I want to ask them. Where were you when God gave
the feathers to a peacock?
How can a person of any intelligence whatsoever
look at creation and not see God? How can you look at the fabric of men inside
and out and not see how God’s hand created them. An explosion? Give me a break.
How does an explosion create love and how does it speak to the soul the way the
Holy Spirit does.
The problem is, they don’t know God and they have
no desire to. Because it would take them out of control. Which is so funny,
because they’re not in control!
So this brief yet very deep and pondering thought
is what I’ll leave you and I both with today. We will no more understand what
God’s doing behind the scenes in our lives than we’ll understand how He put
those “goodly wings” on the peacock.
But we can be rest assured of one thing. It will
be beautiful. And the world will still be filled with idiots who think they
know more than God.
Pray for them. And enjoy the fact that you are
It’s true. As I wrote the outline for this blog, I
arrogantly thought, “Oooo that’s good, I didn’t deserve that.”
And then I heard in my soul… “No. You didn’t.”
And I knew in my heart that this was going to be a
teachable moment between me and the Lord. As a “Father and child. Go to your
room and I’ll be in later.” Kind of moment.
And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord,
that is wisdom; and to depart from evil
is understanding. ~ Job 28:28
I’d lost it. The (fear). I’d grown selfish in my walk
with Christ as I grew weary from responsibilities. And not overwhelming responsibilities,
just your ordinary, everyday life kind of duties. I’d finish doing what had to
be done and I’d think, “I deserve a break.” And that break would consist of
mindless television (Netflix) or a game on my phone rather than going to the
word of God or simply having a conversation with Him.
This morning I came to my desk knowing what was on
my heart and before me was a bluegrass song I’d been working on the chords for,
and lo and behold I got out the guitar and figured them out. Knowing that the
Bible was laying there beside me and the Lord wanted to talk.
So… when I finally decided that I could spare a few
moments for Him, the conversation turned very serious. I had been disrespecting
I don’t believe that God wants me to set with the
Bible every second of the day, He knows that life happens and that I need to be
with people, else, how will they see Jesus. But there comes a time that He and
I should be conversing along the way.
When He speaks, regardless of what’s going on around
me, I should pause to listen. Unfortunately the world was too loud in my ear
because I had opened that door.
After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father
which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
Note that Hallowed is capitalized. It’s
a part of God’s name, meaning Holy. Separate (depart) from the world.
There comes a time when God expects us to shut the
door to the world and be separate from those things that draw our minds away
from Him. Things that when we see them we know in our heart of hearts, this isn’t
good for me. This takes my mind to places it should not be.
For example. Netflix.
I’m not talking R rated movies but just the average
sitcom is filled with content not fit for the mind of a child of God.
I love to laugh. It allows me to forget about the
cares of the world and escape reality for just a bit. But that bit can turn
into hours on Netflix because it literally doesn’t stop. And I get wrapped up in
it and ignore the calling of God. I forget that God said, Be ye holy; for I am Holy. ~ 1 Peter 1:16
To be holy is to separate ourselves from everything
worldly. Including the mindset that “I deserve this.”
I don’t deserve anything more than God. That’s a
A Heavy Reliance
A reliance is a belief and dependence (understanding)
on the Lord Jesus Christ for every breath of life. After all, He holds it all
in His hand, does He not?
THAT IS WISDOM
Job was so much wiser than his friends who looked at
life from a very human perspective. As if they could see inside the mind of Job
and know who he was in the secret hours of the days and nights before that
dreadful day when he lost it all.
To them, it was surely because of sin. But it was
not. It was because God knew the inward strength and character of Job.
We’re not God to know the hearts of other men and
women. It’s our own hearts that we have to be concerned about. I’m not Job. I
doubt my character would stand the testing and trials he experienced. I don’t
want to know if it would. I can’t even resist Netflix. How on earth would I
submit to the level of testing that Job did?
This morning God needed me to understand that I was
not submitting to Him as I should be. Not even close. I want Him to fix all of
my life’s woes: take care of my family, fix my finances and make me healthy,
wealthy and wise. And yet when He call on me, I turned a deaf ear.
Forgetting that He gave His all, so that I could
have life and have it abundantly.
A note I scribbled on a scrap piece of paper in my office
said “More of an attack on my heart than the actual heart attack, has been the
spiritual attack on me.” In recent months it’s been very, very real. The final
icing on that well decorated cake was a hacker tearing down my web site on
Tuesday. Years of labor disappeared into the oblivion of cyber space and I was
a mess. I don’t understand the mentality of people who live to do something
like that, but I understand their source of evil. Satan and his minions I’m
sure had a huge laugh at my expense.
I don’t have a web designer or personal tech support.
Everything I do is on my own through programs designed to make it easy, mainly
by paying for godaddy.com hosting. I know just enough to be dangerous to my health
when something like this happens. Three days, and a $120 poorer my site is back
up but I am drained emotionally and physically.
It’s not been just the website issues. My overall health has
been on the decline since the knee injury, another of those fiery darts meant
to bring me down. Okay, I’m done whining, now onto lifting you and I up
Get me a Water Gun!
For the record, Satan only has the control that God allows
him to have. An idiot tearing my website down did not catch God off guard.
Satan never has one over on God. It’s why God has me in the book of Job right
now. If He can bring Job through the heartache he went through, He as me
covered too. I have no doubt.
is Wisdom in the Water
I love Job’s response to his friends in Job 12:15
Behold, he withholdeth the waters, and they dry up: also he sendeth
them out, and they overturn the earth. With him is strength and wisdom: the
deceived and the deceiver are his.
Water is one of those biblical words that has great
spiritual meaning and depth. Just in saying that God is the Water of the Word
is like drinking a cool glass of water on a hot day. It soothes the soul, just
like it does the body. How wonderful to understand that it is God who control
such an amazing substance. The substance that will put out the fire of Hell
that try to heat up the life of a child of God.
Satan will never see us in Hell, but he can try to make our
lives Hell here on earth. He and his minions can tear down websites, families
and even bodies, but they cannot have the Spirit of man. God control them all. Glory
to God, I just wrote myself happy again! I love when that happens. I hope you
read yourself happy too!
The Water Gun is loaded. And the fire is about to go out!
is Life in the Water
Dead things are formed from under the waters, and the inhabitants
thereof. Hell is naked before him, and destruction hath no covering. He
stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon
Verse number 7 is one of my all-time favorite verses. But
the words of Job leading into it cause me to ponder greatly. And then from the
depths of my soul I heard this response.
“Water creates life, and fire causes death. God is water,
Satan is fire. Nothing is concealed from God, even those who believe their
destruction is hidden in the world wide web. God knows them. Personally. And
they should fear. If he can hang this ball of dirt in the midst of space and
keep it there, one web hacker is nothing.”
My knee pain is not too hard for God to fix or to work
through it. My heart is fixable. Both the physical and the spiritual. God is in
is No Water without God
Canst thou lift up thy voice to the clouds, that abundance of waters
may cover thee?
God’s response to Job was a reminder to us all that we
better understand Who it is that’s in charge of every aspect of our life. The
good, the bad and the ugly is under God’s thumb.
I found a warped humor in verse 3 of Chapter 38, because I
think I too have had this conversation with God.
Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer
It almost felt like I heard God say, “Put on your big girl
pants and answer me Shari, who did you think was in control?
In my ignorance I gave credence to the destructor of my
website and forgot who had destroyed this body by not taking care of the
temple. We have the power of destruction, but through God we can have the power
of life. But only through Him.
We can pray for rain, but the final decision is His.
God asks Job in chapter 41, verse 1:
Canst thou draw out leviathan with an hook? Or his tongue with a cord
which thou lettest down?
Leviathan was a sea creature, whale and even Satan is
referred to it in the scriptures. Something larger than life. We cannot control
it on our own. It would literally be like fishing for a whale with a Walmart
rod. How long would that last before we too were destroyed by the beast?
Satan and his minions are not to be taken lightly. They certainly have destruction powers. But not when God intervenes. The question is have we given God full control to hand the situation before us. Or are we still trying to catch a whale with a $2.00 hook? or shoot Satan with a water gun.
“The BRANCH” is a Bible Lesson that I composed for the teens at Victory Baptist Church. There are questions within the lesson that, although it was written for teens, I consider them young adults and treat them as such. Feel free to read and enjoy or use it for your ministry if you so desire.
Spring branches are a visible reminder of the new life we celebrated on Easter Sunday. The same God that the Jews longed to meet in the Old Testament, but refused to submit to in the New Testament was the BRANCH. Listed in scripture in all capital letters, which for me is like God shouting His name! It makes me want to know more about why it was listed that way, and what information God wants me to know.
speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The Branch; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the
temple of the Lord:
The BRANCH is what caught my attention,
but the context of the scripture begins in verse 9:
9 And the word of
the Lord came
unto me, saying,10 Take of them of the
captivity, even of Heldai, of Tobijah, and of Jedaiah, which are come from
Babylon, and come thou the same day, and go into the house of Josiah the son of
Zephaniah;11 Then take silver and
gold, and make crowns, and set them upon the head of Joshua the son of
Josedech, the high priest;12 And speak unto him,
saying, Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The Branch; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the
temple of the Lord:
Joshua. A name we’re
very familiar with, and a named that is translated from Hebrew Joshua to the
English, Jesus. Joshua is also the common alternative form of Yeshua.
So Zechariah is being
told by God to tell Joshua the Priest that he is a figure of the one to come.
Jesus, the Messiah, now being referred to as “The BRANCH.” And just like the
branches of this season come to life, The BRANCH was going to be born (come to
life) in Bethlehem, but raised in Nazareth. And just like the spring branches
that we have in view now, Jesus was going to spring forth, full of life and
glory for God.
There are two roles
of Christ that we’re going to talk about by unpacking the scripture references
in Zechariah and those two roles are Priest and King.
We too are referred
to as priests and kings in Revelation 1:5-6
5 And from
Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead,
and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us
from our sins in his own blood,
6 And hath
made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion
for ever and ever. Amen.
So how does it make
you feel to know you are considered a priest or king?
Is that a position
you’re comfortable with now, or is it something that you think you’re going to
grow into? At what age, or state of mind do you suppose you’ll arrive there?
Jesus grew up just
like kids of today. He may not have had an iPhone, but He had family, friends,
siblings, and all the common things of that day, and things that we’re used to
having as a family unit.
When you think of
growing up in biblical times, what do you think the cultural differences and
likenesses of that day were in comparison to ours?
What would teens have
done for fun?
What would church services
have been like for teens?
The scripture says
that Jesus was going to grow up out of that place, the place called Nazareth.
That was His place. Nazareth or Netzer, means “The branch from a multitude of
plants that grew there.” Another branch in our story
Our place is where we
live now. Far from a kingdom view. But so was Nazareth during that day. It was
said to be an “insignificant village.” Even the religious of the day said “can
anything good come out of Nazareth?”
Have you ever had
that feeling about our small town?
While Nazareth wasn’t
a big city of that day, it’s now the largest Arab city in the country of
Israel. And clearly something Amazing did come from the Nazareth. So why can’t
God do something amazing here?
Pastor John Powell of
Wadsworth, Ohio was born and raised in Calhoun County, West Virginia. But like
many of his era who were born in the 30’s, he left our area to find work. But
before that he had a back story. He had a Nazareth village.
When he was just a
few months old he got pneumonia and his mother had no money to buy medicine, so
she went to her father to borrow it. But instead she had to give John to him at
the age of 5 in exchange for the medicine. He was used for child labor and
treated very poorly. But even in that state he rose above others as an athlete
and in popularity. God called him into the ministry while in Akron, Ohio and it
was there that he graduated Bible College and became a man of great means
through investments. But the most important thing to know about John Powell was
that he reached thousands for Christ and was known for his generosity and
kindness all over the world.
The man from Calhoun
Jesus grew up in
Nazareth and didn’t travel very far in the lifetime of His ministry. One study
said about 90-120 miles. In this day and age, that’s not many. But we have to consider
His travels were by foot. But look at the impact He made in those 100 miles.
What’s the furthest
you’ve traveled, and where do you desire to go?
Jesus’ time on earth
was spent preaching the Kingdom, and building a temple not made of hands. What
temple has Jesus built?
When Jesus prophesied
of His resurrection He said in three days I’ll rebuild the temple, which made
the religious of the day angry because they thought He spoke of a building.
Which was not so.
We too are considered
a temple, how?
There are three ways
to build the temple we’re in charge of building
We listen (preaching
We learn – (Study to
show ourselves approved)
We live (Sharing the
word of God)
That is how we build
the temple, ours and the body of Christ.
It’s the same thing
that Christ did as a young person. When Christ disappeared from His parents and
was found three days later it says in Luke 2:46
And it came to pass,
that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of
doctors, both hearing them, and asking questions.
That’s how we grow in
the Lord, we ask questions. If we want to grow and feel worthy of our royal
positions of priests and kings, we need to do what Jesus did.
If a child never ate
physically they would die. They’d also die of boredom if they ate the same
thing over and over again. The same is true of our spiritual lives.
Eat. Work! Because as
we grow we also need to build.
The new temple that
Christ said He was going to build in three days wasn’t what they expected or
wanted. They wanted it on this earth. That was not the plan. They wanted the
royalty to be here. That was not the plan either. And that’s why it’s hard for
us to comprehend that we are priests and kings. Because we live in red neck
country. Not Jerusalem.
Just as Joshua was
active in the building of the temple, Jesus was going to be the Master Builder
of the Spiritual Temple that we call the church today.
13 Even he (The
BRANCH) shall build the temple of the Lord; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his
throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace
shall be between them both.
for the Glory of God.
what are the responsibilities of priests and kings?
view it as one governs and the other guides.
what do we govern, and what do we guide on this earth.
27 Now ye are the body
of Christ, and members in particular.28 And God
hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly
teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments,
diversities of tongues.
Not everyone is a
prophet, teacher, etc. but everyone has a purpose. And every one of us are a
part of the body of Christ if we’re saved. So we are overseeing the business of
the Lord until His return. We are in charge of guiding others. We truly are a
part of the Royal Family. And not the one in England, but the one in Heaven.
14 And the crowns shall
be to Helem, and to Tobijah, and to Jedaiah, and to Hen the son of Zephaniah,
for a memorial in the temple of the Lord.15 And they that are far
off shall come and build in the temple of the Lord, and ye shall know that the Lord of hosts hath sent me unto you. And this shall come to pass,
if ye will diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God.
There were earthly examples like Adam
and Joshua that God put on earth as examples of Christ. We are to be the
examples of the Lord set before the generation we’re now a part of. We are the priests and kings of this
generation, even if they don’t know it, or want it.
When someone is born into a royal
family, only the head of that royal family can kick them out. God’s the head of
this family, and He says that none shall be lost. (John 18:19)
That the saying might be fulfilled, which
he spake, Of them which thou gavest me have I lost none.
So whether the world likes it or not, we
are the royal family. The BRANCH’S government. Not a branch of the government.
We will have our day of sitting with the royal family in person, but today
we’re ambassadors in this foreign land.
So the question is, to who, where and
how are you an ambassador? Pray and seek the Lord’s will for the land the Lord
wants you to cover. And don’t ever think that He can’t take a kid from Calhoun
County, and do something amazing for the Kingdom. Because you are children of
Don’t forget …
Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy
He also shall be my salvation: for an hypocrite
shall not come before him.
It’s not that I don’t
feel like a hypocrite on a relatively regular basis. But for years I have felt
like this was my message for the world. Not in judgement, but rather in tender
compassion and pleading to the soul playing church on earth, and missing Heaven
There’s a vast
difference between being in church and being in Christ. But for too long the
religious crowd has preached (and I use the term liberally) that all the world
is fine, so long as they’re in the building.
When I visited the Philippines several years ago there was a huge church that was the size of a small West Virginia city. It had pointed steeples and ornate architecture that gave it a castle appearance, but not in a good way. It just looked cold and evil. It was the Iglesia ni Cristo (meaning Church of Christ) but not as the American Church of Christ. They believe that they are the one and only true church called out of Isaiah 43:5. It’s a very formalized methodical religion. All who are not a part of their church are Hell bound. according to them. That doesn’t sound any crazier to me than those who preach what many churches are preaching today, which is just show up occasionally, continue living in sin throughout the week, and you’re fine. It causes me to wonder if even the Pastors are saved who preach a message that is anti-relational with Christ.
I can’t help but think
that my message today will be viewed as judgmental. But I promise it’s not. My heart
breaks for church leadership as well who don’t have a deep enough relationship with
Christ to understand its importance and their purpose. They’ve been deceived by
this world too.
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
This is my friend Chuck McDonald’s life verse. Because when he got saved, he became a new creation. And anyone who knew him, seen the evidence in his life. That’s the key, and it’s the missing piece of many people in our own churches. Evidence. They walk out the door on Sunday morning and walk back into the world looking no different. There’s no evidence that church made a difference.
It’s not that the
message doesn’t go out of many churches, because it does. There are many, many
good preachers. So what makes the difference? Church leadership.
It’s not just the Pastor’s job. What made the difference in my friend Chuck McDonald’s life, and in my life is that there were people who stepped up and took me under their arm as a disciple of Christ. I keep saying it, but I’m not living it any better if I’m honest.
My formative years as a
new Christian were spent in fellowship almost every day with people from our
church. We had breakfast together at a local restaurant, we spoke on the phone,
we were in constant church services of some sort, somewhere. It was amazing! If
our church wasn’t holding a revival I was looking for someone else’s.
Does it have to be that
extreme? I don’t know. It worked for me. And it worked in the days of the
41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.
42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
Steadfast, in doctrine,
in fellowship, breaking bread and praying! Glory to God if only we had that
kind of time.
Well, in this modern day of technology, do we not? We can be across the globe, and still be in constant fellowship, and yet we don’t.
I joyously speak with
my friend Dewey Moede from New Mexico most every day. He is who God sent into
my life to follow up where others left off. You too are that person who is in
need of a Dewey, or perhaps you are the Dewey.
My point being is this;
we should be living our lives, wherever we are for Christ. So that people know
we’re there for them and that a relationship with Him and them is an important part
of our everyday.
I’m not about what denomination
is over the door, I’m about what your relationship is with my Lord. Are you
truly a brother or sister in Christ?
Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine
integrity? curse God, and die.
What an odd scripture choice for Mother’s Day week, right? Well, this is my thinking this morning as I ponder the upcoming weekend. Number one… I am blessed. My 83 year old Mother, who truthfully puts me to shame in her strength, ability and agility, lives next door. I watch as she meanders out at 8 a.m., fully dressed and make up donned and surveys her well-groomed lawn and flower beds. She cooks dinner for 30ish people every other weekend and not just a small meal. But multiple dishes and always amazing desserts. She is one of 8 children, 4 remaining. She has loved and lost family, including a son and husband she adored. She set the example before us; when I ask her how she did not blame God when she lost my brother Richard at the age of 19. Her response was “How can I blame the only One who will allow me to see him again.”
Yes… I’m blessed.
So now for what got me thinking about Job’s wife.
Not everyone is so blessed.
Before I throw Mrs. Job under the bus, I have to
acknowledge that she too had just lost ten children at once and her means for livelihood.
She was no doubt fighting depression and anxiety as none of us could likely
comprehend. But her response to Job was so bitter.
I’ve known bitter women. They have an ugliness inside that, regardless of their outward beauty, makes me cringe. I’ve known bitter men too, they ain’t handsome. I’ve watched the damage they’ve done to their families, even though many are unaware that it’s an issue. It’s hard enough to face the battles of this world, without having a discouraging enemy living in your camp.
So Shari, again… how does this celebrate Mother’s Day?
We need to look at Job’s life and commit to ourselves
that we will not be anyone’s Mrs. Job or Mr. Job’s friends, who added salt to
his already open sores.
Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and
health to the bones.
That sounds much better than having your friends
and family hide from you as suggested in Psalm 64:2-3
Hide me from the secret counsel of the wicked; from the
insurrection of the workers of iniquity: Who whet their tongue like a sword,
and bend their bows to shoot their arrows, even bitter words.
That’s how I view the discouragement of people
who without regard for what someone is going through, use their words to hurt
rather than heal.
But I’ve experienced firsthand the healing words
of family and friends who soothe my soul in times of trouble. I’m so grateful
that God has put them in my life.
Be the reason someone is grateful.
While I know that nobody is perfect, and myself
included can lose touch with logic and speak in frustration words of
discouragement. But there are times when there’s no room for a lack of logic.
Someone needs you, and they need you now!
Be the reason someone never doubts your loyalty.
Who to Rebuke
When Peter rebuked the
Lord, which was not his finest hour, the Lord said in Matthew 16:23:
But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things
that be of God, but those that be of men.
Jesus said to Peter that he was Satan! While I don’t profess to
understand the theological depth of that conversation, I understand that Jesus
didn’t truly think Peter was Satan, but that perhaps Satan was controlling the
Ya think that happens to us? Oh yea. If Satan can use us and others to discourage us and others, under the guise of our stupidity he’ll do it.
When the feeling of rebuke comes into your mind, and you may be on the verge of tearing someone you love down further than they already are, rebuke Satan. Not your loved ones.
Be the reason someone feels supported.
I’ve not always
appreciated or understood my Mother. I’ve been far from the perfect daughter.
But I rejoice in the fact that my Mother brought me up with manners, respect
and accountability for behaviors. She taught me that love was unconditional for
children, therefore I understood that love was unconditional with God.
Be the reason someone
feels loved and rejoices for you.
It was one of those words that caught me
off guard; sent my mind pondering about what it was doing there.
days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle, and are spent without hope.
I’m just focusing on part “a” of the
verse. Part “b” is a little too sad for my spirit this bright sunny morning.
Even though I spent the night battling blood pressure and sleep deprivation.
Perhaps the two coincide. But it all coincides with age and the thought process
that suddenly changes.
Please don’t think that I’m considering
myself ready for the grave, but it’s a part of the mindset when you have
several days of feeling poorly. Now back to the verse…
The weavers “shuttle.”
I viewed the word shuttle as a modern
word, not one from the oldest book in the Bible. And being that I’m not a
weaver, although I might like to be, I had no concept of what that instrument
might be. So I had to Youtube it. Isn’t that a great tool in the ministry?!
And there it was, the little shuttle
boat that goes rhythmically through the threads of a loom; swish, swishing back
and forth, carrying the bobbin of thread through and intricately weaving a
beautiful pattern of art. Just like life.
The years have swished by to the count
of 56 for me, though I’ve been telling people I’m 57. I’m a nut! For Job,
though the years of his life had passed quickly, time had suddenly slowed
painfully down and in his sorrow, and the discouragement of his friends he had
It’s easy to do.
It’s why I’d rather focus on part “a.”
In the words of Jerry Reed’s country
song, “I’ve got a long way to go and short time to get there,” I want to weave
more into that pattern of life.
The little shuttle boat is a handcrafted
vessel that carries the fabric of the tapestry. Is that not us? Every single
person is a beautiful piece of the Master’s work that He uses to weave into the
lives of others. And together we all makes this beautiful piece of work called
Job had no concept of the impact his
words would be making thousands of years after that terrible day.
My live video feed yesterday was along
this same path. “Why we go through what we go through.” There is always a
reason, and one of my favorites is the Overcomer’s Club. It’s those people, who
against all odds became a victor. They weren’t supposed too. Just ask Job’s
friends and they’ll tell you what a terrible person they thought Job to be. They
thought he was a sinner deserving of his woes for being non repentant. When in
truth he was a vessel of God’s amazing grace. A little boat passing swiftly
through time but leaving beautiful colors in the path. His words encouraged my
soul because I know the end of Job’s story.
He wanted to die. But God gave him a new
reason to live! It will take a few chapters before I get to read about his
victory again, but it reminds me that I may have a few chapters of my own
before I get to sing the Victory song too.
So where is your little shuttle going today, and how are you going to weave the Word of God and the purpose of God into your day. Don’t miss it. Blessings!!!!
Writer, Speaker, Singer… but most of all, Servant of Jesus Christ