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

What the World Needs Now

Love. It’s what’s missing in society. I believe that it’s just that simple. I grow so weary in my soul when I hear people spewing hatred against people they don’t even know. Now, I realize there are some who heap that anger upon themselves. Believe me… when I tell you I struggle in the politics of the day not to hate people. I have to continually remind myself that they too were created by God with purpose. But somewhere down the road, they got off the intended path. Or perhaps never found the path and they are lost and headed to Hell. Even sadder. But the reality of it is, I will not answer for them. I will only answer for what I do as a child of God. 

We need Fervent Love 

Peter would understand me. After all it was Peter who cut the soldiers ear off when they came to arrest Jesus. I might have wanted to do that more than once. But it was Peter who wrote in 1 Peter 4

[8] And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins. 

Peter was zealous when it came to what he believed in. Far too many people are apathetic about their relationships, especially their relationship with God. I’ve kind of been in that state of mind. I’ve struggled lately to do what God called me to do. The weariness of the world was stuck to me like goo. Not glue… but rather an ick. I just couldn’t seem to get out of the funk I was in. I pray this is the first step out of that hole… It’s not that I lost my zeal, but I lost my drive. I lost the fervency for the Gospel. 

Fervency is a passionate, glowing and growing desire to accomplish a matter of the heart. That should be my driving force, and no goo of this world should be able to cover it!

We need Forgiving Love

[9] Use hospitality one to another without grudging. 

Never in my 57 years have I seen such an unforgiving society. If we’re not on the same page, we can’t even be on the same bookshelf. We can’t even be in the same library. I love the book analogy. Thinking about Malachi 3:16

Malachi 3:16

[16] Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another: and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name.

It should cause great concern that God is ever aware of our conscience. For the good and bad. It should cause us to be that much more forgiving of others who are struggling in the same manner we are to figure this world out. But what it should do most of all, is cause us to have a desire to live for God, not man. The depravity of man is evidenced in Washington. Hospitality is barely in our vocabulary any more. 

My mother is the most hospitable person on the earth. At 84, Her door is open 24/7 and has always been. I remember a time when my “hippy cousins of the 70’s” were hitchhiking across the country and stopped in at our house with their friends in the wee hours of the morning. My mother never grimaced. She let them in, fed them, and bedded them down. Strangers, without regard for what they believed. She’s just kind. That is how the heart of a Christian should be. Open to love. But never wavering in what it was designed to do. Share the gospel and forgiveness of Christ Jesus.

We Need an Un-failing Love

[10] As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. [11] If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

What ever your gift is, and you certainly have one, and likely many! That gift is made to minister. I can’t stop thinking about it. It’s why these past few weeks of a lack of fervency have been so hard on my spirit. I know that God created me to minister, and when I’m not… I’m failing. Miserably.

God helps us to be the men and women of God that You formed us to be. You knew me before I was in my hospitable momma’s belly. Help us to regain the fervency to share the gospel with a world that’s going to bust Hell wide open unless someone shows them the forgiveness and freedom of knowing Christ as Savior. Help us to have an unfailing love for the created. You love them. So must we.

Posted in Christian Service, Evangelism, Life Inspiration, Uncategorized

What’s Love Got to Do with It

LIFE: WHAT’S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT

Tell me something that you’ve created with your hands. 

What would happen if someone came in and destroyed your creation? 

How would you feel?

Imagine how God felt, when Satan did that very thing. He attempted to destroy what God created beings. And although he can’t, because ultimately God holds the power of life and death, He does wreak havoc with it and it all started in the garden. 

But thinking about someone destroying something that you created helps us grasp what it is about God’s love for us. We are created beings. designed exclusively for His purpose but with free will. 

So let’s look at God’s love for us through 1 John Chapter 3

(1)

Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.

When we see the word “Behold” it means there’s something noteworthy here. 

John is about to tell us, what manner, what kind of love God has for us. It’s the same love that He has for His only begotten Son. because He calls us the sons (or daughters as the case may be of God. And that God not only sees us as He sees His son, but the world sees us as they see His son.

And how does the world (those who don’t know Christ as Savior) see Him?

Unimportant. Of no significance to their lives. And that’s the same way the world sees Christian people. We’re not important to them. Even though they’re important to us. It doesn’t hardly seem fair,  and that’s likely how God feels too. 

What if that thing you created could talk. and it tells you that it likes your friends better than you, and wants emancipation (no longer to be yours.) How would that make you feel. Life and love is all about perspective. we need to be able to identify with God. And the only way to do that is to learn more about Who He is. He already knows us, He created us, but we don’t know Him unless we read His word. Because there in lies the image and character of God.

He loves us like sons and daughters. How should we love Him? (Like our Father)

How can that image get messed up? What if you don’t have a good relationship with your earthly father, do you think that will affect how you feel about your Heavenly Father. 

(my relationship with my dad)

I was loved, but my dad was very Passive. Non confrontational. laid back.

Too often I look at God in the same light. Which is so far from Who He is. 

(2) Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

John continues on to tell us that we not only are the children of God, there will come a day when we will be like God

What’s going to be one of your favorite parts of being like Jesus? 

For me I think it’s got to be living without sin. To never have an ugly or evil thought. To never fear.

(3-5)

And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. [4] Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. [5] And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.

I think that may have been John’s favorite thing too. And this is what we have faith for… that one day we’re not going to be messed, and we’re not going to live in a messed up world. It’s why we study the word, and work on having a relationship with Christ, because through the word we are purified.  

My friend John said that the Bible is like a spiritual washcloth. It’ll clean you up? How does it do that? What happens if we don’t read it? 

We feel dirty, and often times unlovable. 

Dick Jarvis found this little dog one day at Bakers mart. It was skiddish and wouldn’t come to anyone. Scraggly mutt. But Dick started feeding it, and it became his friend. He took it home and cleaned it up, and it was the cutest little critter. It made a home with his purebreds dogs. That’s a good example of what it’s like to be a child fo God. The Jews were the purebreds. We were the mutts, but God adopted us into His family, and now we are loved every bit as much as the children of Israel. But no body lost their position . 

That purity (cleanses) that we experience is something the unsaved will never experience. They do not know what it’s like to live guilt free. 

Jesus manifested (made Himself known) to the world so that we could be forgiven. He has never sinned. There fore He was the perfect blood sacrifice for our forgiveness of sins. By having a relationship with Jesus, we get to experience what it’s like to be without sin. We’re not. We do sin. But when God looks at us. He sees nothing.

The world can’t understand that, because they’ve never experienced it. And they won’t unless they get a relationship with God. Without having a relationship with God, you’ll never understand the depth of His love. How could we ever believe that our family loves us, and we love them if we never spoke.  

(6)Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.

Abide means to continue in a place. To wait patiently. 

As a little child, or with my own children, I remember what it was like to wait until one of my parents got home. I can remember how excited my children were when I got home from work. That’s the very same attitude we should have when waiting for the return of Jesus Christ. But too many Christians or church goers know just enough bible to be dangerous. They fear the coming of the Lord, because they’re not ready for His return. If we’re ready, and in a good relationship with Him, we can’t wait until He comes back. Because it’s then that we know we’re going to experience that purity and perfection in our own bodies that Christ has in Him.

Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. [8] He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. [9] Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. 

John sends us a warning not to be deceived. 

How do we become deceived in this world? Where do we see deception?

Television

Hollywood certainly gives us a jaded view of what our lives “should” look like. What we should have to make us happy.

Social Media

Everyone’s family is perfect except yours, right? Wrong.

Our brains are inundated with lies so many times a day that we begin to buy it. And then we buy what ever it is they’re selling, because that will make us happy. We believe that nobody can disagree with us, or they’re not fully committed to us. If we get our feelings hurt, its because those people didn’t love us enough. 

But the truth is, this world is broken, nobody or nothing will make you happy. Only Christ can do that in a way that leaves you satisfied. If it’s in the world, there will be a new version before the day is over that you bought whatever it was that you thought would make you happy.

But there is no new and improved version of God. He has never changed. And Christians shouldn’t waver either. There is an emotion of love, but there should also be an action of that love. 

[10] In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother. [11] For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. [12] Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous

Just as Christ made himself known to the world. We have to make ourselves known to the world too. It’s not to puff ourselves up, but rather to point people to Christ. 

Just as Gods hasn’t changed, neither has His message. It’s one of great love. And that’s exactly what the world needs to see now. They don’t need to see hatred, and animosity towards each other and the unsaved. they need to experience the love of Christ through us, so that they’ll desire to know that love themselves. 

13] Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you. [14] We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. [15] Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. [16] Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. [17] But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? [18] My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.

There should always be evidence of God’s love in our life. And it has to be with action. But when the world sees Christians hating on each other and the lost, that’s how they view God. And Christians are going to stand accountable for that. 

THE CONCLUSION

(19] And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him. [20] For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things. [21] Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God. [22] And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight. [23] And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment. [24] And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.

If we want people to understand the love of Christ, we have to share what Christ’s love looks like. 

Christ’s love

LISTENS TO OTHERS

OBEYS THE SPIRIT

VALUES THE CREATOR AND THE CREATED

EMPOWERS AND ENCOURAGES PEOPLE

Posted in Bible Journaling, Christian Service, Life Inspiration, salvation, Uncategorized

The Haters and the Doubters

It as been decades since I came to the knowledge of Jesus Christ; only two, but none the less decades. As a child, a decade seemed like an eternity, now a decade seems like a month. Time passes ever so quickly by, but one thing never changes. Haters and doubters. They were in Jesus’ day, and before that. They are in our day, and now they are louder than they were then. Their voices can be heard through multiple medias. There are agnostics, atheists, idol worshipers and worshipers of other gods. They’re bold and brazen and often heartless. They love throwing stones. Just like the haters and doubters of Jesus’ day, only they proclaimed to be serving the God of Abraham. The same that Jesus spoke of. But the difference was, Jesus knew Abraham; He’d actually met him. Although to the crowd for which He spoke, they knew Jesus was physically too young for that. And so what they didn’t understand, they doubted and hated. Hated to the point that they would have picked up a stone and done bodily harm to God Himself. But Jesus pulled a disappearing act and walked out right in front of them and they missed His grand exit. 

If you don’t know Jesus… don’t wait for the exit. 

John 8:52-59 KJVS

[52] Then said the Jews unto him, Now we know that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and thou sayest, If a man keep my saying, he shall never taste of death.[53] Art thou greater than our father Abraham, which is dead? and the prophets are dead: whom makest thou thyself? [54] Jesus answered, If I honour myself, my honour is nothing: it is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God: [55] Yet ye have not known him; but I know him: and if I should say, I know him not, I shall be a liar like unto you: but I know him, and keep his saying. [56] Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad. [57] Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham? [58] Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am. [59] Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.

Going right through the middle of them! I at first thought that He disappeared and was elsewhere. But no. He was still there, He was just in some way or another invisible! Just as He is today. And yet He is here, right in our midst, and the haters and the doubters are still looking for someone to cast stones at. They can no more hit Him now, than they could then. So often times the target becomes the only one they can lash out at and that is us, the believers. 

So what do we do with the doubters and the haters. 

Have First Hand Knowledge

Jesus had first hand knowledge of Abraham and Abraham first hand knowledge of Him.

Genesis 18:2 KJV

[2] And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground, [3] And said, My Lord, if now I have found favour in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant:

Two were angels, but Abraham addressed One as Lord.  Abraham didn’t want Him to pass by. He wanted Him to stay. A lesson even Christians can learn. Don’t rush out of the Lord’s presence, or rush Him out of yours. What an honor to find the favor of God to the point where He chooses to be in your presence. 

That’s kind of how I feel this morning as I write these words, Jesus passed by and sat a while with me in my little junked up office. He didn’t mind that it wasn’t a church, or a mansion. He just wanted time with me. And together He and I conversed and this is the product of that. This message. A message that I needed, and I’m pretty sure you do to.

Until the end of time there will be haters and doubters. Pray for them. But don’t let them distract you from God Himself. He’s still teaching us through the Holy Spirit, stay in His word! He’s still walking around unseen in the midst of those who do not know Him. It’s up to us to allow them to see Christ. It’s up to Him to help them feel His presence. Let them throw their spiritual stones of words; if they throw real stones, Move! But when it comes to the words of doubters and haters they have no power over the word of God. Their words will be forgotten tomorrow. His words have lasted how long? 

If you’re reading this and you don’t know Christ as your Savior. Don’t let Him disappear in your midst. You’ve no doubt felt His Spirit moving in your presence, ask Him to reveal Himself to You, I believe He will. If you have questions, I’d love to answer them. If you stand in need of prayer, I’d be honored to do that too. 

Have a Blessed day! As I write this it’s Wednesday. I hope you have a place to attend Bible Study tonight! Blessings ~ Shari

Posted in Bible Journaling, Christian Service, Church attendance, Uncategorized

I have Questions

I do not have questions of God… well, I do, but I more have questions of those who will likely not read this, but perhaps they will. “Those” are they that I used to attend church with – – those who used to stand and testify about the goodness of God; but now their seat is empty. They’re memory fades from the mind of the congregation and many wouldn’t know who they were if I called their name in prayer because they’ve not darkened the door of God’s house in forever. 

Am I angry?

Only that Satan won a battle. I’m not angry at the individual. I just don’t understand it. I will mention a few “generic” situations and perhaps it will prompt you to call someone out in prayer today, or perhaps it’s your story.

There was a couple in our church who served God faithfully for many, many years. He retired, she was a homemaker and a beloved mom. Little by little they stopped serving, slowed their attendance, and then stopped altogether. He got a job that had weekend hours, she got cancer. And God cured her! And through it all they never returned to God’s house. I don’t understand and my question is why? Why did you not return to praise Him? 

Another couple with the same story of attending many years. They struggled to keep their marriage together, God healed their home and they left church. Their home was no longer strong enough to to fight the world and it separated due to infidelity. But they managed to get back together. He got cancer. He was cured.  No return. Why?

Throughout the years I have watched countless people battle, win, and walk out on God. And they will say almost assuredly “I still worship God, I just do it at home.” 

That may be true. But I doubt it. Because I know how hard it is for me to stay faithful to worship while I’m in the house of God at every opportunity. My focus can get so worldly in a heartbeat…

And speaking of heartbeats. The reason I wonder about those who struggle and do not return to God’s house is because I remember laying in the hospital facing open heart surgery and needing and receiving the presence of God in that place. I remember feeling the prayers of the saints of God that I knew were lifting my name to the Lord. That’s what friends of faith do. But if you’re not there, they’ll likely not remember you. But this morning I remember them. And I’ll bet there’s someone on your heart too.

In my teen group this week we watched a video of Francis Chan. I love this guy! He wrote “Crazy Love” and other books, but his back story is just so doggone amazing! His mother died in childbirth and then his father remarried a few years later. His second wife died when Francis was 8 in a car accident, then his father died at when Francis was 12,  leaving him orphaned. He goes to a youth rally and gets saved and finds God’s purpose for his life and he, his wife and seven children continue to serve the Lord. And he stood on the stage and thanked God for the life he was given because it caused him to seek God. Glorrrrraaaaayyyyyy! Can you say that about your struggles? I cannot always. But I can say that about the heart attack because it got my attention on what’s important, and who’s important. 

My family is important. My friends are important. But God is the most important of all. Without Him I would not know healing, peace, love to the depths of the ocean and beyond. I would not know sacrifice. His sacrifice. 

Luke 17:17

And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?

I asked the same question today. “Where are the nine?

Tomorrow’s Sunday. Make the plan to go to the house of the Lord! Don’t let Satan convince you that it’s not necessary. It is necessary and He is worthy. Go and praise Him! 

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

How to live a blessed life

It ain’t easy! But it’s totally doable for a child of God. I must also say that it’s also not perfect. There will likely be some heartache and struggle. But even that too can be a blessing from the other side. Seldom ever in the middle!

That’s where my thoughts are going this morning as I prepare a lesson for my teens that always  hits this grown up right between the eyes. As I study and prepare, as I instruct, i always learn more than they likely do. And often times I learn a greater lesson directly from them. One of which is when they call each other out. I’m not one who’s ever made a practice of calling anyone out. I won’t say I haven’t done it, but it’s a rarity. But this current group of teens I have are notorious for calling each other out. They cut nobody any slack! I sometimes cringe wondering how their comments will be taken; but funny thing about being called out in the house of God, if you’re a willing vessel to hear, the word is accepted and we move on. Could not the old folks learn from that?

God will call you out for certain!  From the book of Isaiah God not only calls us out, He tells us to write it down:

Isaiah 30:8

Now go, write it before them in a table, and note it in a book, that it may be for the time to come for ever and ever:

Leading into that word, He’s speaking to the children of Israel. 

Isaiah 30:1-2 KJVS

[1] Woe to the rebellious children, saith the Lord, that take counsel, but not of me; and that cover with a covering, but not of my spirit, that they may add sin to sin: [2] That walk to go down into Egypt, and have not asked at my mouth; to strengthen themselves in the strength of Pharaoh, and to trust in the shadow of Egypt!

Stay out of Egypt

Egypt adds to the sin that we already have. I have enough without going down into a place that has my mind in a place it shouldn’t be. Egypt can be anywhere. A television program or movie, a group of friends, a business establishment, a shopping center! Any place that has your mind on less than godly things. It adds sin to sin for the weaknesses that we are apt to fall victim too. 

For me it could just as well be the bread isle at our local market. Jeepers! I love bread. I love donuts and cake and pie! those are weakness that I’d be better off staying clear of. I have others. Many others. For some people their weakness may be alcohol, drugs, friends that drag them into a world they came out of.  Egypt is anywhere that takes you away from the will of God.

God’s original design for His children was that they never got exposed to Egypt. But Satan messed that up!

Stay out of Rebellion

Isaiah 30:9-11 KJVS

[9] That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the Lord : [10] Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits: [11] Get you out of the way, turn aside out of the path, cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us.

It’s hard to imagine those words about ourselves. But I only have to think of the times that I have turned a conversation with God off because it was taking me to a place of chastisement or a place I was less than comfortable in. I am no different than the people who stood at the base of the mountain with Moses and said, “You go Moses! We’ll wait for you to get back and let us know what God says!” Fear is a not so funny thing. We are taught to fear (reverence) God, but that perfect love casts out fear. And yet, without studying the word and staying in it we will allow Satan to cause confusion and shame to come into our life. These are the times when we do not want to hear the holy words of God.  We need to

Stay Put!

Even in the hard times. Even on the days when the Lord’s words cut us through. The end result will be Victorious living. I know this because I’ve experienced all of it! The victory and the defeat. I needed a teen around me to call me out! 

This was a quick thought for myself today, to get my mind into the zone i want it to be in. How about you? Are you there? I pray you’re blessed!

Posted in Christian Service, Life Inspiration, Uncategorized

What Will be Your Act Today?

1 Kings 10:6-12 KJVS

[6] And she said to the king, It was a true report that I heard in mine own land of thy acts and of thy wisdom. [7] Howbeit I believed not the words, until I came, and mine eyes had seen it : and, behold, the half was not told me: thy wisdom and prosperity exceedeth the fame which I heard. [8] Happy are thy men, happy are these thy servants, which stand continually before thee, and that hear thy wisdom. [9] Blessed be the Lord thy God, which delighted in thee, to set thee on the throne of Israel: because the Lord loved Israel for ever, therefore made he thee king, to do judgment and justice. [10] And she gave the king an hundred and twenty talents of gold, and of spices very great store, and precious stones: there came no more such abundance of spices as these which the queen of Sheba gave to king Solomon. [11] And the navy also of Hiram, that brought gold from Ophir, brought in from Ophir great plenty of almug trees, and precious stones. [12] And the king made of the almug trees pillars for the house of the Lord, and for the king’s house, harps also and psalteries for singers: there came no such almug trees, nor were seen unto this day.

My 2020 word of the year has captured my thoughts. But I want to be careful not to get wrapped up in the search for wisdom and lose out on the acts of wisdom. Something obviously Solomon lived out; else why would the Queen of Sheba said what she did in verse 6  of 1 Kings 10? She was in absolute awe of what she witnessed of the “acts” of his wisdom. For me its the danger of Bible scholars. Not that I’ll ever consider myself one. But I’ve seen enough well educated Christians to last me a life time, who know the word, but don’t act on it. Or are far more interested in the depth of theology causing a shallowness and inability to care for the day to day needs of God’s people.

When studying the word I want to see the relevance to my everyday life. How can I apply, or act, upon what I’ve just read? That was my question after I read the aforementioned text. And so I kept reading to see what the act of the Queen was once she had discovered the awesomeness of Solomon. And what I discovered was, to the man who had everything, she gave more! Gold, spices, precious stones… things that would bring joy to his senses. Perhaps it was a spice that when he caught a whiff of he would think…. “ahhhh…. that’s from my friend the Queen.” I hope that I encourage folks in such a manner, many have encouraged me that way.  That when they see or hear something down the road it will remind them of me (not for my glory) but for remembrance of my acts for Christ.   

Another of the gifts of the Queen for Solomon was a boat load of almug trees for which the King used to construct the house of the Lord, and instruments for singers. Glory! Another reason of love King Solomon. He loved music. And so again he would likely hear the instruments play and as the music encouraged his spirit, or helped set the tone for the Worship of God, he might take the time to thank the Lord for the Queen and ask the Lord to bless her. 

Solomon acted… he just didn’t sit on his wisdom. What am I going to do with this wisdom today?

A man from Canada stopped by my table in the Hotel lobby this morning. As always a conversation ensued. He and his wife encouraged me at first just by their presence in the breakfast room. They enjoyed each other’s company. She went off to prepare for their journey on to Florida and he was interested in what got me up so early… “Yes! Thank you Lord for an opportunity to tell him why was I was up at the crack of dawn. We talked about our perspective churches and and pastors and then he went on his way.  Just a few minutes with Mr. Reesor. He left me with the gift of conversation. A small act, but one worthy of pondering today.

I hope someone encourages you today! Blessings! Shari

Posted in Christian Service, Faith, Leadership, Life Inspiration, Uncategorized

Who are you Joshua to?

Deuteronomy 34:9

And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom; for Moses had laid his hands upon him: and the children of Israel hearkened unto him, and did as the Lord commanded Moses.

Oh to be “filled” with wisdom! It most certainly is possible, I guess. But for me there is always too much other junk that wisdom has to work it’s way around. Wisdom has to fight for it’s place in my world. This should not be, but I’ve left so many other pieces of junk in it’s path. Of course I speak metaphorically, but… you have no idea how very real that concept is. 

Even my dream world is filled with garbage and chaos. It may or may not be medicine related that I’m having crazy dreams again. And while I do not believe I have the gift of dream interpretation, I don’t think it’s happenstance that my dream last night was filled with clutter. And that Miss Betty and Louis’ sister Kay had to come and straighten me out. But then again, if anyone was going to straighten you out, and make your world pretty, it would be my previous choir director Miss Betty.

So what does that have to do with wisdom?

Wisdom creates great leaders. Joshua followed the greatest leader of all time. What shoes to fill! And yet he did. But it didn’t just happen, it was intentional. The Lord had a plan to redeem His people, and that plan was to use people to create models of the final plan, the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. Joshua was a type of Christ, as well as Adam. But before I get ahead of myself, let’s talk about leadership and the wisdom needed.

My husband and I spoke this morning about the need of every organization having good leadership. Else 90% of staff will just do what comes natural. Nothing. Were it not for the leadership of Moses and Joshua the children of Israel would have still been in the dessert wandering around, and the giants of the promised land would have thumped their gourds. That of course is the Bible according to Shari. But I know this because I know me. If it were not for the leadership of Christ, and His encouragement in my heart I would just sit around all day and draw and pick guitar. Perhaps play the fiddle or any other fun thing that came to my mind. The clutter would consume my life and I would get overwhelmed and sit in my self made wilderness. But there is wisdom in me that scripture foretells in the book of Isaiah

Isaiah 11:2

And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord ;

This scripture speaks of Christ and the wisdom that was upon Him, qualifying Him to the office of King! And glory to God, it is the same wisdom at our disposal through the Spirit that now resides within the heart of a child of God. Christ was filled with the Spirit of wisdom from the womb, the Spirit of God came down from Heaven and rested upon Him at His baptism. He Who was anointed to be Prophet, Priest and King and He would loves us so much that He’s willing to share that wisdom with us. Does that not put a shout on you! I love examples like this in scripture that can give me an image in my mind of what God wants me to know.

I’m still in the picture book stage of faith. Don’t judge me. 😀

So why I “think” I had the dream last night…

My life is cluttered with stuff. It’s good stuff, but most days it’s a jumbled mess of what I create it to be. If you went to my office right now there are stacks of “stuff.” Payroll. Billing. New Accounts. Marketing ideas. Stuff to do… stuff that should have been done two days ago. It’s clutter!  But it has to be that way until i can get in there and get it sorted out. The same is true spiritually with me.

I praise God for the Spirit that dwells with in me and is directing me not only in my spiritual life but my work life too. Holding me accountable for what I do. Moses held Joshua accountable as he taught him how to lead and if we allow the Lord, He will will guide us through every facet of life. We are leaders in our own domain and there are people watching to see if we take our jobs seriously. 

As I wrote this today I felt the tension leave my body. At least for the moment. It was the wisdom of God that I received through this word this morning, reminding me that I am not alone. His hand is upon me guiding me day to day. But I have to listen! I have to take this time in His word to reign myself in. I think that’s why God sent Miss Betty to my dreams last night. Betty is a woman I look up to for leadership. She trained our Miss Susan who is a great leader in her own right. 

God gives us Moses’ and Joshua’s to follow so that when we are the leaders we’ll know what to do. 

Who are you Joshua to? There are people looking to you for leadership. Teach them well by example. 

God bless ya!!! Hope this thought encouraged you today. ~ Shari

Posted in Uncategorized

The Heart of Wisdom

At this present time my thoughts are going wild! Every scripture I read on wisdom sends me in so many directions seeking the truth of that word. Of course it makes sense, since wisdom is found in seeking that one would go a seekin’. And so I have been and God is so faithful to give as He said He would in the book of James, to all who ask. 

But seeking and then finding wisdom will most assuredly require an action. That’s when the rubber meets the road and we’re going places. 

The Heart of Wisdom is Willing

Exodus 35:1-35 KJVS

[1] And Moses gathered all the congregation of the children of Israel together, and said unto them, These are the words which the Lord hath commanded, that ye should do them. [2] Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day there shall be to you an holy day, a sabbath of rest to the Lord : whosoever doeth work therein shall be put to death. [3] Ye shall kindle no fire throughout your habitations upon the sabbath day. [4] And Moses spake unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, saying, This is the thing which the Lord commanded, saying, [5] Take ye from among you an offering unto the Lord : whosoever is of a willing heart, let him bring it, an offering of the Lord ; gold, and silver, and brass, 

I wrote a new song recently and it has become a fave when I sing at the Long Term Care on Monday’s. It’s called “You Know Where I’ll Be.” And that will be at church on Sunday morning. It’s a priority in my life. It’s one of the big rocks!

The Pastor spoke last Sunday and used the illustration of the rocks in the jar.

A teacher once stood before his students with a jar full of large rocks. He asked the students if the jar was full? To which they replied, it was. He then took a hand full of small pebbles and added them to the jar, shaking them so they’d disperse around the larger stones. He asked again, “Is it full.” To which they replied.  “Yes.” He then took a cup of sand and poured it into the jar and it quickly filled the remaining spaces. He asked again,  is it full? “Oh yes!” They replied. Certain that that was the final filling. But then the teacher took a cup of water and slowly poured it into the jar, where it flowed around the sand and rocks and topped the jar off completely. “Now the jar is full!” the teacher exclaimed. 

The illustration as he explains it to his class goes to show that once we have the big things in our life in place, like the large stones, the other things in our life will fall into place so long as we have them in order. We have to prioritize what goes into our lives, just like we had to put the largest stones in the jar first, then the pebbles, the sand and the water last. If we had reversed the order by putting the water in first and filling the jar, it would have overflowed and caused a mess. 

Prioritizing our life is the same way. 

This morning I almost made a mess of my day. I have things that need done at the office and I was going to forgo this time to get started there. But as I began to read and write, it was clear I needed the preacher’s message again.

God first… then all else will fall into place. Family. Purpose. Life.

Check. 

Thank You Lord. 

That sounds so simple. But that wisdom comes from the willing heart that Moses spoke to the children of Israel about. He was preparing them to go into the promised land. A land that was full of all the things they’d not had for 40 years. It would be like me receiving the newest version of Apple technology. I’m always overwhelmed with it’s goodness and it occupies my mind and time for days and days. Imagine going from he wilderness into a land filled with all the goodness of God. I’m sure they didn’t know what adventure to go on next! But Moses was reminding them… “God first.” And it was serious business. They put to death those who didn’t take it serious. 

That sounds so harsh. It should certainly make us appreciate the grace of today. But instead, in our land flowing with milk, honey and grace; the world has turned aside to seek earthly pleasures rather than Heavenly promises. And Sunday mornings are made for sleeping in and going on outings for most families and church is no where on their radar. 

I’m so grateful that upon salvation in 1996, God put a desire in my heart to be in the Lord’s house at every opportunity. Not just Sunday. Any day there’s something going on, I want to be there and I’m elated to be! Sunday church should be a big rock. But not Sunday only for seeking the wisdom of God… every day some of those stones should be the Lord. That takes a willing heart, and an open heart. Ready to hear the word of God. 

This morning I really wanted to get to work as soon as I got up. But I’m so glad, with the coercing of the Holy Spirit, that I slowed down. Put the big rock of God in first and now I can begin filling my day with the pebbles… sand… water. 

Yes. The heart of wisdom has to be willing to listen.

Part 2:

The Heart of Wisdom is Ready

EXODUS 35:10-20

And every wise hearted among you shall come, and make all that the Lord hath commanded; [11] The tabernacle, his tent, and his covering, his taches, and his boards, his bars, his pillars, and his sockets, [12] The ark, and the staves thereof, with the mercy seat, and the vail of the covering, [13] The table, and his staves, and all his vessels, and the shewbread, [14] The candlestick also for the light, and his furniture, and his lamps, with the oil for the light, [15] And the incense altar, and his staves, and the anointing oil, and the sweet incense, and the hanging for the door at the entering in of the tabernacle, [16] The altar of burnt offering, with his brasen grate, his staves, and all his vessels, the laver and his foot, [17] The hangings of the court, his pillars, and their sockets, and the hanging for the door of the court, [18] The pins of the tabernacle, and the pins of the court, and their cords, [19] The cloths of service, to do service in the holy place, the holy garments for Aaron the priest, and the garments of his sons, to minister in the priest’s office. [20] And all the congregation of the children of Israel departed from the presence of Moses.

They didn’t depart from his presence to go play Nintendo. They departed from his presence to get it done! Moses had laid out the instructions for what was necessary to construct the parts and pieces of the tabernacle. But today, we are not building a tabernacles of earthly hands, but rather we are building the Kingdom of God. And the plan is still the same. Although we never leave His presence, because He is always with the child of God. The plan for us is, to get it done through sharing the word of God and the wisdom that He has instilled in us. 

What fascinates me most about the children of Israel in this text, is they didn’t question Moses’ leadership. He spoke it, they did it. So my next question is, what are we doing with the wisdom that’s being imparted to us through church leadership today. When you depart from the presence of the Pastor on Sunday morning, hopefully Sunday night and Wednesday; what are you doing with that wisdom. 

The illustration of the jar is one I’ve heard multiple times. It always stirs me up, because it’s a true illustration. But the illustration’s purpose stops if I don’t take it and apply it to my life. It’s not enough to just prioritize our lives. We then have to go out and get busy doing what God’s called us to do. 

Perhaps the children of Israel departed from Moses and spent a little time reflecting on what part of the tabernacle was there’s to build. 

People look at my talents (for which they are many) but I always say I’m the jack of all trades, but the master of none, although that may be disrespecting the Lord’s gifts. It’s not that I can’t master them, I just have always been so scattered among them, I don’t feel that I do any of them well. 

For instance, last night I started taking Mandolin lessons. What!? Like who has time for that, right? Well, I guess I do. About ten years ago, a friend called me to say that he had bought me a new mandolin at the Lord’s leading. It’s either hung on my wall, or laid in its case since that time with me randomly strumming it every once and a while. I was willing, but not ready to put the time in to get it done. Let’s pray I’m there. 

The same is true with our service to the Lord. We can say we’re willing, but if we’re not ready to put legs on those words it’s futile. Futile defines is “incapable of producing a useful result.” Ouch! That stings, does it not? Nobody want us fill as though they’re not useful. At least I hope not. We all want purpose. But purpose is useless unless it’s acted upon. 

The Heart of Wisdom is Able

EXODUS 35:10-20

 [21] And they came, every one whose heart stirred him up, and every one whom his spirit made willing, and they brought the Lord’s offering to the work of the tabernacle of the congregation, and for all his service, and for the holy garments. [22] And they came, both men and women, as many as were willing hearted, and brought bracelets, and earrings, and rings, and tablets, all jewels of gold: and every man that offered offered an offering of gold unto the Lord. [23] And every man, with whom was found blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine linen, and goats’ hair, and red skins of rams, and badgers’ skins, brought them. [24] Every one that did offer an offering of silver and brass brought the Lord’s offering: and every man, with whom was found shittim wood for any work of the service, brought it. [25] And all the women that were wise hearted did spin with their hands, and brought that which they had spun, both of blue, and of purple, and of scarlet, and of fine linen. [26] And all the women whose heart stirred them up in wisdom spun goats’ hair.

Talent is often looked at as the ability to create music, art, construction, etc. But there are talents that go far beyond the realm of creativity. Talents I would love to have! Yes, I covet other peoples abilities the same way people covet mine. And I hope that doesn’t sound arrogant, because it’s not meant to be. But people look at my ability to do art and music and would love to have that skill (and many of them just haven’t discovered their own). And God’s purpose for their own. 

One of the talents I was not necessarily gifted with was that of finance. If I was, I totally missed the memo. And yet, my new job is marketing and finance. My first thought was “are you kidding?” This is what I am the worst at. Not the marketing… but the finance. And yet I’m there. And so I’ve had to work very diligently at doing this job. And what I’ve discovered is, I kind of like it. Although I still don’t consider myself good at it. But it’s a new adventure. It’s me stepping outside of my comfort zone to try something new at the age of 57. 

I also am working in my husband’s realm of expertise. A water company. So he and I have a new conversation going and all those years of my eyes glazing over when he told me stories about work, I’m now listening intently to try and glean from his wisdom. Because he’s very, very good at his job. 

I said all that to say this. God gives people talent in a variety of ways and it often goes unnoticed. It perhaps is a secular job, that makes an abundance of money that will allow you to contribute to the ministry in multiple and needful ways. Perhaps it’s the ability take the things you already have and give them away. That’s what was happening in the day of Moses. They were shopping in their closets to see what they could contribute. 

We all know that there are things in our closets that we don’t use, but is there something there that could bless God? Right now I have a passel load of clothing that I need to get rid of. I could have a yard sale, but it’s a lot more fun to gather it together and give it to a like sized lady who could use some nice things for her wardrobe. Now, I just need to get that done. 

Ability is just taking what we have and using it for the Lord’s work. Everything is a possibility. Love to cook? Make someone some bread. Love to sew? Make some small things to give to widows and widowers. Love to talk? Call someone lonely. Everyone has something to offer!

The Heart of Wisdom is Spirit Lead

[27] And the rulers brought onyx stones, and stones to be set, for the ephod, and for the breastplate; [28] And spice, and oil for the light, and for the anointing oil, and for the sweet incense. [29] The children of Israel brought a willing offering unto the Lord, every man and woman, whose heart made them willing to bring for all manner of work, which the Lord had commanded to be made by the hand of Moses. [30] And Moses said unto the children of Israel, See, the Lord hath called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah; [31] And he hath filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship; [32] And to devise curious works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass, [33] And in the cutting of stones, to set them, and in carving of wood, to make any manner of cunning work. [34] And he hath put in his heart that he may teach, both he, and Aholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan. [35] Them hath he filled with wisdom of heart, to work all manner of work, of the engraver, and of the cunning workman, and of the embroiderer, in blue, and in purple, in scarlet, and in fine linen, and of the weaver, even of them that do any work, and of those that devise cunning work.

Bazaleel was not only able, but he was lead by the Spirit in how to use his talents for the Lord. It’s why I think when the children departed from Moses after his instructions, they pondered their abilities and the ways in which God would have them be used. 

If you’ve followed me for long you know that I am notorious at leaping before any net appears. That’s what makes me fun, and that’s what makes me foolish more often than not. And it’s how God designed me. However, He didn’t want me to do that every day. That’s the foolish part. There comes a time when I need to ponder and pray about the direction of my day. Being Spirit lead is complex. It can mean just jumping and assuming that net is there. But it can also be assessing your abilities and praying about where God would have you use them. 

I pray that as we move forward in the year of our Lord, 2020, that we allowing the Spirit’s leading in our direction. So here’s a few question to get you started:

  1. What gifts or talents do you have?
  2. What do you love to do?
  3. How are you using those things spiritually?
  4. Have you prayed about all that you have to offer?

Questions I need to ask myself.

I know this was a pretty lengthy study for a blog, but I pray that you found it useful in your search for wisdom 2020. And I pray that you’ll share it.

Posted in Bible Journaling, Christian Service, Evangelism, Life Inspiration, Purpose, Uncategorized

Who is a wise man?

James 3:13

Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.

Who is a wise man? Good question right? I’ve known my share. Some of worldly wisdom beyond my comprehension, but I was never really impressed with those. They mostly irritated me because they speak over my head in hopes of impressing rather than speaking to my understanding in hopes of helping me. That is the difference between good and bad educators.

We had a preacher come to our church several years ago for a few nights of revival. The first night he was late and ill prepared because he’d gotten lost trying to find our church. It was obvious as he preached that he was having to rely on the Holy Spirit to guide him through his message. It was phenomenal! He came back the second night “prepared.” Yielding big words and theological discussions. Guess which one made the greater impact. Not the big word preacher. The Spirit lead preacher was so much more in tune with the congregation because the Spirit knew what we needed.

In my search for wisdom, I’m not seeking to become theologically greater, but spiritually greater. I want to understand scripture in greater depth, but only for the purpose of taking that information and applying it to my life and messages so that I can become a better child and servant of God.

So when James asks his readers, “Who is a wise man?” I don’t think he was searching for the scholars of the day. He spoke of those who were endued with knowledge. Another word for endued is infused. That is my desire. To be filled with the Spirit of God through the absorption of His word and knowledge. I love the essential oil infusers that fill the air with natural scents and healing oil. They arouse my sense of smell and create a happy response from my soul. So does the word of God!

Don’t Get Too Big for your Britches

...with meekness of wisdom. I pray I never feel as though I (personally) have something to tell. I hope that my ministry work is always a Holy Spirit lead adventure. Meekness is often viewed as weakness in this world. Because a person isn’t loud and boisterous, people believe them to be an obvious push over. And yet, someone like myself who has a naturally loud personality is often considered bold and brave. I know the exact opposite to be true. Meekness is strength concealed and controlled. I have to work on that daily. So a meekness of wisdom is not someone who flaunts what they know,  it rather someone who shares what God has revealed and gives credit where credit is due.

James 3:14-16

But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. 

Don’t get Bitter with your Brothers

Or your sisters as the case may be. On the occasions when I’ve been aggravated with someone I’ve realized that there is a pride involved that is straight out of the pits of Hell, and that I’m lying to myself and anyone else when I try to justify that anger. Satan loves it when we have strife with our family and friends, because in no way will God be glorified. Oh James, you are so wise. That type of strife will cause the wisdom of God and our purpose on earth to completely leave the track of our destined plan by God. That’s a dangerous pride that could have consequences resulting in someone never seeing Jesus because they could only see us. 

How very confusing it must be for the lost child to witness a saved child hating on someone. 

But godly wisdom is where it’s at! It’s why it so important to stay in God’s word. It keeps our heart in tune with Him. If you’re in love with God, you cannot be in hate with others. 

James 3:17-18

But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. [18] And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.

Get Better by being Broken

Understanding where we come from is a good place to start when showing someone how to get where you are and on their own path toward a deeper relationship with Christ. 

There is a fair amount of snow falling outside right now, and as it falls, it falls slowly, peacefully, covering up the mud and earth below that is so abundant outside this time of year. I’m not a fan of winter for a few reasons, though I do love the snow when I have no where to be… which is not today.  But it serves as a great illustration on the purity of God, and how He washes our sin as white as snow, covering up those muddy days in my life when I’ve failed Him miserably. And I was miserable. That’s a part of my testimony. 

I did not have the peace of God for 34 years of my life. I believed in Jesus, but I did not “know” Jesus. There is a vast difference. Satan is fully well aware that Jesus exists, but he has no desire to have a relationship with Him. And unfortunately neither does most of the world. They are lulled into accepting a false peace that comes from money, fame, even family. But get broken and suddenly you are looking for a repair kit. That repair kit came looking for me in 1996. I experienced it sitting in the back row of Victory Baptist Church, when Mike Worf opened his bible and shared his own brokenness with me. I’d never heard a preacher be so open and honest about his own failing. I needed to know I was not alone. 

Help me God to show that to those I come into contact with. Those who make peace, whether it’s law enforcement, judges, etc. do so by squelching conflict. That’s what the Spirit of God does. We were not made for this world, therefore there is an automatic conflict in our soul. But a soul saved immediately resides in Heaven, and that conflict (though we still experience it on earth) finds peace in Heavenly places. Glory to God! I just wrote myself happy! 

The world would like you to believe that being humble and broken brings shame. The Spirit of God shows us that being broken is when we’re at the point were we can absorb the Spirit of God and allow His goodness to leak back out of us so that others may see. It leaks out of my eyes a lot. 

Praying that today you are getting better in your relationship with Jesus. Blessings! Shari

Posted in Bible Journaling, Christian Service, Purpose, Uncategorized, Word of God

Just for the asking!

I didn’t get a great start off to 2020. I have a few reasons to blame, though truthfully they won’t hold water, but it is what it is. For the time being we have little to no internet because we’re switching providers and there were “issues” with installation. Next, my part time job turned into a full time job for a while, and lastly and most frustratingly, exhaustion cluttered my mind. But today, at least for a couple of hours I’m home. And I’m trying not to feel guilty about the disarray of the house, and focusing on my time with God, and other ministry labors for which I don’t consider labor. 

For the last several years, thanks to my friend Sue Walker, I’ve chosen, or had chosen for me by God, a word for the year. It usually happens when I began to ponder the thought and then over and over again a word will appear in my mind and other places, and it will become clear that that’s where my focus needs to be.  Last year my word was “courage.” For which I needed much. This year my word is wisdom, and I need it more than courage! Though courage may be necessary as well when it comes to the wisdom I am granted. And I say “am” because the word tells me, if I ask, it will be given. 

James 1:5 KJVS

If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

Change can be Scary

Now the problem with wisdom, is it’s wiser than me. And when it’s granted, sometimes I’d rather go back to being ignorant. Because ignorance, which isn’t ever really bliss, is usually easier. Wisdom comes with responsibility and most often, change. 

Change is usually in the zone just on the other side of comfort. Once you get there it’s good, but stepping into it is like those other dimensions we see on futuristic shows. We don’t know what’s there, but we’re pretty sure it’s monsters. We know that’s not rational thinking, but when we’re scared we’re not rational. That’s why we need the word of God because it turns our irrational thoughts into intrigue.

Scary can be Exhilarating

Some of the greatest times I’ve had in life usually began with, “No way under the sun would I do that.” And then I did it… at least once. It’s like the time I went repelling with my husband. Once and only once, to say that I had done it. The first time of stepping off the cliff into absolute space was scary stuff! Once I got over the edge and got my feet placed onto the rocks it was still a little scary, but exhilarating as well. And I knew the worst was behind me. That’s much like it is stepping out into new territories of life. 

So what does all that have to do with wisdom? Just in case you’re asking. 

Exhilaration can lead to Wisdom

It reminds me of the lyrics from “O Holy Night”, when it says “A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices, for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn, fall on your knees….” Can you imagine. The day the Lord was born and the changes that were on the horizon for the world?! There could be some glorious changes for us in 2020. But we have to have our minds in the position to hear the leading of the Lord and be willing to step off that cliff into a new space. Wisdom is an exciting thought for me. That I will learn some new and glorious things this year that the Lord would have me know. 

I pray that for you as well. And that together on this journey we’ll go amazing places. Perhaps literally, which I always love, but more importantly, spiritually. 

Please continue to follow along with me on the blog, share my posts and if the Lord leads invite me your way to speak or sing. Blessings!!! Shari