That I may come unto you with joy by the will of
God, and may with you be refreshed. ~ Romans 15:32
happenstance that this verse was on my reading plan today, September 28, 2019.
And not happenstance that tonight I’ll fly out to New Mexico to make some new
friends and enjoy the fellowship of the Spirit. I certainly covet your prayers
for our safety and for the will of God to be done. There is much traveling and not
just by plane but by car as well. It will be an adventure and an opportunity to
see a part of the country I’ve never seen. But more important than that, it
will be an opportunity to share the love of Jesus in a place I’ve never been in
hopes of making a difference by encouraging God’s children.
thought that I’ve had for weeks tumbling through my mind like a constant tumble
weed is the notion of how many we touch for the Kingdom of God. The teens and I
discussed the number of how many people we think that Apostle Paul may have
touched for the cause of Christ.
used the illustration (showing my age) of the shampoo commercial of days gone
by when it talked about “if they tell two friends, and they tell two friends
and so on and so forth, how many people will hear about the product. Well. If we
used that theory believing that Paul preached to 5,000 as a round figure totally
guessing number. And each of those would have told two friends about Jesus,
some more, some less, and there being 30 generations in 1,000 years, and there
being 2,000 years between us and Paul. Now… how many people have been effected?
The answer… I don’t know. Ask a math person… I am not that person. One of my
kids immediately knew the equation. They were not shocked that I did not.
all of this is said to make the point, that the reason we do what we do is to get
the word out! Jesus saves. That first. But then once people are saved, the
blessing doesn’t stop! We have the blessing that comes from the fellowship of
God’s people. It’s a little taste of Heaven here on earth.
excited to share in that this week in Magdalena, Reserve and Glenwood. My
friend Gloria is excited to share in that too!
for those we’ll be joining, get ready! Your West Virginia sisters in Christ are
on the way!
every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. Romans 14:5b
a word from Apostle Paul. The great persuader and crusader of Jesus Christ.
this wishy-washy world it’s good to know that I know. A very wise statement
from a friend of mine, Shirley Fitzwater, was one his daughter Teresa shared
with me and I’ve yet to forget it. It may not be an original, but I’m giving him
credit. Shirley said, “The only thing worse than the guy who doesn’t know, is
the guy who doesn’t know he doesn’t know.”
you break that statement down, it speaks so much to society. There’s nothing
wrong with not knowing something. We’re all learning as we walk this earth, and
I have so much to learn! But those who don’t know that they don’t know, are
unaware that they’re missing any knowledge. It breaks my heart. The sirens of
Hell are screaming loudly and yet they ignore them.
the wife of a fire fighter I’ve had to listen to the sirens (tones) drop on
David’s multiple radios for years. Some days when emergency services are very active,
I want to take the radio out into the driveway and smash it in to a million
pieces. I think I might find great joy in that. Noises bother me. But over the
30 years he’s served, most days I tune it out. I try to let it be a reminder to
pray for the people who are involved, but some days I just don’t. I’m not a
super saint, I’m Shari. Fully a failure much of the time. But isn’t that
illustration a world view. They’re tuning out the sirens of Hell and pretending
that their day will never come. They don’t know that they don’t know.
said, I’m glad I know.
the context of Paul’s scripture in Romans 14:1 Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to
doubtful disputations.For one believeth
that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs.Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not
him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him. Who
art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or
falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand. One
man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let
every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.
I must confess that there is a part of my less than lean body that
made me smile when Paul said that “another, who is weak, eateth herbs.”
That’s the evil side of Shari. But the jest of this conversation speaks of
judging the manner of life someone is living who does indeed know, although they’re
not living as we believe they should. Another’s life is truly not ours to judge.
And the world loves using that statement against Christians saying that we are
judging them when we speak to their salvation. They don’t know that they don’t
know. And arguing that point with them may or may not drive them into a deeper
relationship with Christ. But Paul said that those who are weak in the faith,
just accept them. Don’t argue.
It’s a fact that I am ever so grateful that God always impressed
upon my heart that I didn’t know. I knew there was something missing in my
life. So, when I received the salvation of Christ, I knew I didn’t know, and I set
out to know it. But not every child of God is like that. It’s like children,
they grow at different rates.
My grandson Luke is almost as tall as I am. Well over five feet.
His cousin Noah, who is just a few month’s younger is so much shorter! But we
do not look at his stature and say, “Noah, you need to do better.” No, we
encourage him to work with the stature he has. Should we not do the same for
the child of God?
I am grateful that I know and I am indeed persuaded in my own mind
about the word of God, my standing with Christ and the doctrine for which I
believe. But I believe what Paul is saying and reminding us of, is that we need
to take care of our relationship with God, and not to judge the relationship
that others may have and the way in which they worship God. If a person is
saved, he or she is the property of God, and He is their Master. It’s not up to
us to judge the Lord’s servants and argue.
But Paul said Let
every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. We, as mature saints of
God, need to know what we believe and why we believe it. That requires more
than an occasional Sunday in church, and reading the word of God. I’m not
judging, I’m just saying what the Lord has impressed upon my heart as the only
path to fully being persuaded of who He is.
Do you know that you know? If so you need to glory in it! And you need
to share that wealth with someone today.
My heart is full this morning as I prepare to head your way with a message that has me shouting the Glory of God in my office this morning. It’s a message that I’ve heard 1,000 times, (well maybe or maybe not so many) but it is a familiar word. But the thing about the God we serve is, though it is familiar text, it is unique to the circumstances of the day, and to this trip.
The picture in this message is one that I drew in my bible this morning as I gloried in what God was speaking to my heart. That’s how He works in my life, through images and outlines of His word. He spoke to me about purpose and plans and I listened… And now it’s time for us to pray.
Pray for my journey (and specifically my guitar) Airports are not musician friendly. I need favor!
Pray for Gloria and I, that we’ll be obedient to everything the Spirit tells us to sing or say.
Pray for your congregation that the Lord will prepare the hearts before the service even starts.
Pray for your church that they’ll be blessed, and that our trip will be an opportunity to exhort our brothers and sisters in New Mexico in such a way that a fire is stirred in their hearts and ours and forever unite us as friends in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Can you tell I’m excited? I don’t take this opportunity lightly. I love you and cannot wait for our fellowship time.
This is how He works: through His people. That’s us!
a child I’ve felt like an odd duck. I always had hopes that I would be the ugly
duckling that grew into the beautiful swan, but never felt that I met that
accomplishment either. Not asking for pity, just sharing my heart. Believe me
when I tell you, I’ve came to terms… well kind of… with the fact that I’m
is my life verse you know… But
ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that
ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness
into his marvellous light; ~ 1 Peter 2:9
But peculiarity won’t be a part
of Heaven. Have you ever thought of that? That in that place, we will never
again feel inferior. That alone should make you shout! But here I feel inferior
because I know the inward Shari that the outward world does not. When they look
upon me with a judging eye, it’s generally their critique of my abilities or
looks. But I not only have that to contend with in this world of glitz and glam
that attracts my eye, but I have the failures of the flesh as well. Oh glory… I
needed a dose of Jesus this morning to remind that even though I am peculiar
here, I am a part of the family of God.
11:17-18 ~ And if some of the branches be broken off,
and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert grafted in among them, and with them
partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree;
Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou
bearest not the root, but the root thee.
Israel awaits their coming Messiah, having missed His first appearance, we partake
of the root and the fatness of the olive tree.
thought brought such joy to my soul and tears to my eyes, to think that their
rejection and God’s infinite mercy allowed me to be grafted into their family
as the wild olive tree would be grafted to the Original. How can I boast about
the fact that I am a child of God, and forget that for now Israel is astray?
can I not be burdened for God’s heart as I would if my own children were astray
daughters are both loving young women. Both married. And I have accepted their
spouses as my sons as well. It’s an easy fit for me, because God’s acceptance
into His family was the ultimate example.
this world tells me “I don’t fit.” I can honestly say “You’re right. I’m sorry
I tried to!”
I do. I love worldly things. There. I said it. I love make-up and shoes and
clothes and God has gifted me with such. But none of those things ever seem to heal
the ugly duckling syndrome. I always feel less.
brings it on more than the blessing of a singing and speaking opportunity. I begin
to tear myself down.
this morning I was reminded that my ministry came with a high price. The life
of Jesus Christ. And because of Him, and His willing sacrifice, I’m apart of
the family of God and privileged to serve.
word of the Bible is a worthy read, but the Chapter 11 of Romans is a good read
for the day if you need reminded of what a high price was paid for your soul.
feel a little prettier today because I am one of the “All” God will conclude my
blog today with Romans 11:22-26
6gtFor God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all. O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.
Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established.
thought began last night as I once again had “second thoughts.” It’s a character
trait I’m familiar with. I will second guess every decision I ever made and inwardly
struggle with whether or not it was God’s will or Shari’s way. And yet, I’ll leap
off a cliff without regard (figuratively speaking only) and not question if
other things in my life are right decisions, or merely a whim. Oooo something
shiny moments where I think, life cannot go on without that. There is no rhyme nor
reason to me. Can you identify? Your personality will no doubt be what
My friend Chief and I have much in common. We are both “mango” personalities, who married apples. (it’s a personality study) We drive them crazy, but they love us and because of that their tolerance level has been high. Love binds even the craziest of people together. But the little bird tweeting her song in the image speaks more than most people would see just by looking at the image. She represents me, doing what I have been anointed and called to do. Anointed? Yes. I know it’s a churchy word and if you’re not churchy, you may question my sanity. But God doesn’t. He does amazing things; like give me song lyrics and tunes inside my mind that turn into huge blessings to myself, and to those I minister to. I can’t explain it, I only know it happens.
why when second thoughts come into my mind, it bothers me. Because 24 hours
before, I was as rock solid on my decisions as Niagara Falls. And felt that I
had every bit as much force in the spiritual realm!
works to de-commit us. He wants to shake my world and yours until our bones
rattle within us.
days I think I need committed. But Proverbs is a book of wisdom written to give
us word for everyday life. Especially those days when we second guess what we’re
doing. It can be the smallest or the largest of decisions. But either way, it
disturbs our peace of mind when uncertainty is added to the mix. Am I preaching
to the choir? I’ll bet I am. Because if you’re a child of God, Satan cannot
take you from the grasp of the Master but he can shake everything up around
you. Especially things that we have committed to do for the Lord. A commitment to
me is a contract. When I accepted the call of God, I said I’d do… whatever.
what do we do?
have to remember
work is real. Although to most of the world it looks like “Baptist Welfare.”
That’s what someone once said to me that it was. They were saved. They just
didn’t understand. It was said to kind of poke fun at some missionaries that
were getting a good bit of support. Not rich, but they’re expenses were more
than covered. It was not me by the way.
What a novel idea! …That we should meet the expenses of a missionary. Yesterday I journaled Philippians 4:17. I didn’t realize how it would play into my day, but it did. Satan had taken my mind places it should not have gone, but it did.
4:17 says “Not because I desire a gift, but I desire fruit that may about
to your account.”
don’t desire a gift when they request support, they desire the ability to provide
fruit for the Kingdom of God for themselves and for those who support them and
can’t go and do it themselves. You don’t have to be a missionary to be a soul
winner. But you can be a soul winner through a missionary.
imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge
of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
Our thoughts cannot be
established if anything is exhalted above it. You know like, lording an idea
over you, in the manner for which Satan does. He cannot be Lord of our lives,
but he can pretend that he is by doing his best to control the thing he has
access to; which is our mind.
I smiled with the
thought of “taking thoughts captive.”
I imagined it, for
myself, much like those little fella’s on the junior football league field when
they’ve discovered they actually caught the ball! They tuck it into their arms
and they run for all it’s worth, once they’re over the shock that they have it.
That’s kind of how I
handle being given assignments by God! It’s like, oh my stars! I have this
idea, I’ve got to run with it, which way do I go? Sometimes it works out, and sometimes
Satan takes me down before I make it to the next yard line. But the goal is,
don’t let him get the ball.
I need your prayers, and
if possible I can always use your support. That’s not what this blog is about.
It’s about understand that if God has called you and anointed you into a position
for the Kingdom, you’re going to have oppositional times. Lots of them. But
Believe me when I tell
you… I am not receiving Baptist welfare, or any other kind. I’m just an American
missionary bringing the gospel of Christ through word and song to my part of
the world. I believe that America needs us on our soil.
Brethren, my hearts desire is that Israel might be
Continuing on in my journaling of Romans, I made
it no further than the 1st verse of Romans 10 today. My heart broke
for the Lord. It broke for Him, not because of Israel’s rejection of the Messiah,
although that was certainly a part of it; but it broke for my own failures as
His child that He so willingly included into His family. Shari Johnson,
gentile, who He willingly allowed the crucifixion of His Son, Jesus Christ for.
So that I could be a part of His amazing family. And what a privilege!
And so now I turn back to Paul’s burden, that is
my burden too, that Israel might be saved.
Dying and end times can be scary . The world would
love it if we’d just ignore it. It’s way easier than facing the reality that eternity
will come to all. The world would have you believe that you should never ever
read the book of Revelation! It’s far too confusing. That’s a lie. It’s not
confusing if you’re in a good bible believing preaching church that teaches the
Bible from Genesis to Revelation. Will you understand every jot and tittle? If
you do, you’re a better bible scholar than I am. But you’ll understand what the
Lord needs you to understand. And while it won’t take all the uncertainty of
our end days away, it will give you peace. And help you to understand that God
has a plan.
It’s a plan that will restore his precious Israel
back to a right relationship with God. God’s desire. It will happen the same
way it happens to a Gentile. Through belief on Jesus Christ. It will not
however come as easy for those who believe after the church has been raptured
(caught up) to be with Jesus. Which could be any day now. There’s going to be a
terrible time of tribulation. Seven years, that those who believe on Jesus
Christ now will be privileged not to have to go through. Something else I’m
grateful and humbled for.
When those who have not read scripture, or been in
church, hear this teaching it sounds insane. That’s what Satan want them to
believe. But get in the book and read the prophecies of the Word of God and
understand what has come to pass already, that was predicted thousands of years
ago and suddenly it doesn’t sound so insane, but rather reality sits in, that
there is a God. And He has a plan, and it’s playing out just like He said it
The end times will play out like no Hollywood
production ever could. There will be a Hero that swoops in from the sky and saves
Israel. There will be heroes on earth that will take a part of the Master’s
plan and set things into motion that eventually put the Devil into the pits of
Hell where he’ll stay. But not until he does some serious damage on earth by
deception (which he already has). And during that time there will be trials and
tribulations that have people crying for the rocks to fall on them.
And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on
us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the
wrath of the Lamb:
But it’s not something that anyone has to fear who knows Christ
Jesus as Savior. Jew or Gentile. It’s why I want and desire, as does the Lord,
for Israel to accept what Jesus did for us on the cross.
Have you accepted that? Do you know where you’d be if God decided
today to call His church home? Would you be with Him and your saved family? Or
would you be left here to face those 7 years of tribulation. That you likely
will not survive. That’s not said to cast fear. That’s said to help you
understand it’s not a fairy tale. It’s real.
I’m trying very hard to stay focused
on the ministry God has set me at task to do. And it’s not hard work when you
love it, it’s just hard staying focused when you don’t always feel valued.
Please don’t feel sorry for me. I just thought perhaps this might help someone else
today too. God even gave me a song to go with the feelings on my heart today,
so I’m feeling blessed, in the midst of being stressed. You know what I mean? It’s
those days when the world tells you title + money = value. And the lack thereof
And then I read verses like Romans
Nay but, O man, who
art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that
formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make
one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?
Did that hit you as hard as it hit me?
Who am I to tell God Almighty that the one he created (me) isn’t of value and
suggest that my purpose isn’t valued. It is God who honors or dishonors and I can
tell you flat footed and bold faced that God honors those who serve. And by
service, I’m not necessarily speaking of preachers, deacons and such, although they
are included. But by service I mean anyone who:
Draws a breath and thanks Him for it.
Gives a glass of water in His name, cup
of coffee, or a jar of scrumptious pears – Mr. and Mrs. Eisley.
Shares the most precious of gift with
someone in need, time.
Tells a child that they’re amazing and
Prays for someone because, or just
Tells someone “I understand.” Or “I
don’t understand, but I’ll try.”
I realize the world doesn’t always understand why Christians do what they do, and some days there are Christians who don’t understand why we do what we do or see little value in it. But it’s God who gives the honor and it is He who has the power to mold us into something amazing. Sometimes He does that by making a little mud with the tears in our lives. It makes the clay more pliable. I hope this word encouraged you today. God sees. And He will honor you in His time.
We do not cross paths in life by happenstance, of that I’m certain.
While we may be there by circumstance, it’s not by happenstance (coincidence). I
look back on my 57 years, with a primary focus on the past twenty-three, those
are the years since salvation; my formative years of serving Christ in the capacity
of me which lead into The Jesus Chick which came to be in about 2005ish. I’m
not very good at dates, but I’m very good at events that made a difference. There are things that happen and people who
cross our paths that leave us saying “I’ll never be the same.”
When my brother was killed when I was ten years old, it
forever changed my outlook of life on earth as to whether or not it was
forever. It was not. At the time however I didn’t understand it all, I only understood
that life was very, very sad and I couldn’t fix it. And I tried in my 10 year
old state of mind to fix it by living in altered realities called my
imagination. It’s what makes me weird and okay in a world that I still can’t
fix. It’s not always healthy. It sometimes leads to not facing reality as one
should. True story. Don’t judge me. 😊
I had another one of those bell ringing moments this morning
as I read a social media post of a friend who just lost her father. One of the
things that made a deep impression on her was the number of people who came up
to her at her father’s service and said “I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for
the fact that your dad never gave up on me.”
We need some more Gene Duerksen’s in the world.
But even in a world where there’s a shortage of Gene
Duerksen’s, and we often miss out on taking advantage of those that we do meet
who encourage us in the battle of life, I was reminded through the word of God this
morning that there is one will forever spur us on! Gene Duerksen now see’s Him
face to face…
Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors
through Him that loved us.
How many times have I attempted to fly and sometimes crash
landed and other times succeeded but with no witnesses for review? Many. But
how many times have saints of God had faith in me even when I had none and
cheered me on or gave me words of advice and encouragement. Too many to count. I’m still privileged to that.
Lynn Stoneking’s testimony of her dad’s character of encouragement
reminds me that I too have the opportunity to never give up. Not on my kids,
grandkids, friends, family and me. Because God will never give up, so how can
I? Did you need that word today? He doesn’t give up on you either! Share this
post. Tell a friend or family member you believe in them. Shoot me a message
and let me know I’ve encouraged you. We need to share and care for each other.
O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin. ~ Romans 24-25
I’m pretty sure I have the best teen group in the nation. If you’re a teen leader, you probably think so too… or you should. They stretch me with my idealistic notions of what faith looks like, by granting me the new generations perspective. Just when I think I have it all figured out, we get into a deep (or sometimes shallow) theological discussion and I have one of those “You are not as smart as you thought you were, Shari,” moments. They are really quite frequent if I’m honest.
But last night’s ill prepared teen lesson was on “restoration” of the body of Christ. We skimmed the tops of scriptures about Peter, David, Saul and others whose failures sometimes lead to renpentance and sometimes not. But God’s love of broken people is evident from Genesis to Revelation.
The one glaring fact that comes from muddy pink boots, is that no matter how the world dresses up sin, dirt is still dirt. It aint pretty. The lesson that I learned from my diverse group of thinkers in the teen group last night was, children, (like God) are so quick to forgive the people they care about. And so quick to move on from mistakes understanding that they’re learning! I’m not so quick to move on. I sometimes put my pretty muddy pink boots in the corner as a reminder about that time I didn’t go around the mud, but walked right through it. I walk by my failed attempt at life and kick myself. I try buying a new pair of boots, but they’re not fun to wear, because i really want to wear the pink ones.
I know that’s a very odd parable. But what I hope you learn is what I did: Restoration also has to be done within. Especially if we’re not apt to share the fact that our boots are muddy to start with. Christians seldom want anyone else to know what they struggle with for fear of being seen as “less godly.” Well let me tell, I am for certain less godly. And I struggle with lots of “stuff.” I have a tender heart willing to forgive everyone but me. God is showing me through the youth who love me faults and all, that He does too.
I need to clean off those pink books and get back to walking.
How about you? Do you struggle with self degradation and unforgiveness. Maybe your boots are another color, but they’ll clean up just as nicely if you’ll spray them down with the water of the Word.
Writer, Speaker, Singer… but most of all, Servant of Jesus Christ