All posts by talk2shari

Can you Hear Me Now?

can you hear me now

Matthew 13:15a – For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing,

There He was; the Lord Himself preaching His heart out and some would hear, and some would not. How daunting it must be for the preachers when they preach the Word realizing that if they ignored Christ, how will their message ever get through? It s for certain that the world has partial hearing loss when it comes to Spiritual things. The Word of God convicts the soul, you’ll either change or turn it off; because if you continue to listen you will not continue to stay in your sin.

I think there are at least three reasons we lose our Spiritual hearing.

Noised Induced –

I detest talking to someone when the television is on. I’m either listening to them or the show or bits of both and only half catching either. It ends up being a mass of confusion. Listening to the Holy Spirit can be much the same if we refuse to turn off the world around us. You can hear one or the other clearly, but bits of both leads to confusion. Listen to something loud enough and long enough can cause at least temporary hearing loss, and so it goes spiritually. If you constantly listen to worldly music and entertainment, if you read magazines instead of the Bible, if you stay at home and watch the race instead of going to church, the noise drowns out the Holy Spirit. God will take second place to nothing, and why should He?

Selective hearing –

When the world speaks contrary to the scripture regarding lifestyle choices and behaviors you cannot partially hear and entirely obey. We cannot pick and choose from the scripture what is right for us and omit what doesn’t fit into our lives. Amen? God is 100% correct. The longer you read the scripture, the more prophesy you see coming to life right before our very eyes, the more you realize the end of the book is nearing. Just because you don’t like, doesn’t make it null. And believe me when I say there is always effect for failing to obey the Word of God.  ~ I’ve gotten that tee shirt.

Natural causes – The gradual loss of sensitivity to hearing. It almost goes unnoticed; until one day you realize you’ve missed half of what someone says. It’s often embarrassing for the listener, so rather than confessing it they just go on, pretending all is well. The world has desensitized themselves to hearing God. When the Holy Spirit moves on them to testify or do something out of character they refuse to leave their comfort zone. And eventually their closed off the Spirit completely. He could be sitting right beside them in a literal form and they wouldn’t notice.

Another reason for Spiritual hearing loss is Trauma – life circumstances

It’s true when they say that a painful circumstance will either make you bitter or better. I have no idea why horrific things happen to good people, and why horrific people receive good things. But scripture tells us that it rains on the just and the unjust. And one of the greatest of all truths is Romans 8:28 ~ “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

There is a true story of twin girls who were molested by their father and one chooses to forgive and the other chooses to forgo forgiveness. Guess which one lived the happier life? Not to make light of the situation, because no one should ever violate a person in that way. But the twin who refused to forgive relived the circumstance every day, and the twin who forgave moved on to the newness of life that the forgiveness of Christ affords. Traumatic circumstances like this can cause a person to turn God off. And it’s a wonderful tool of Satan to help them with the volume button. If you’ve been hurt, get your Bible and turn the volume up as loud as you can to drown out what Satan is telling you. Because in those pages are healing. God to a good Bible preaching church, because in the Pastor’s anointed words are healing.

Hearing brings healing. There’s a reason you may walk by car and hear a loud mouthed preacher shoutin’ to the top of his lungs. I’m drowning out the world. You may see me at a the restaurant table reading my bible rather than having lunch with someone, I’m drowning out the world. And its not that my life has been perfect, its just that I’ve chose to listen to God because I’ve experienced the peace He offers. And so can you.

The Promise Doesn’t Change

Exodus 12:25~ And it shall come to pass, when ye be come to the land which the Lord will give you, according as he hath promised, that ye shall keep this service.

The Promise Doesn’t Change

Genesis 12:1-3  Now the Lord had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing:And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.

For four hundred and thirty years the Israelites had been enslaved to the Egyptians. I have to wonder how many times they ask the Lord, “But what about the promise?” How many generations died without having seen it? God’s timing is not ours (else my last journey through heartache would have been much shorter!) Abraham, the original receiver of the promised died having not seen the promise fulfilled. Even with Abraham’s death, Israel’s disobedience, and a change in priorities of God’s people, God didn’t change the promise. He promised Abraham he would make of him a great nation and as the 600,000 men, likely over one million people trekked across the dry land of the Red Sea, what a sight it would have been to behold. My heart stirs in me this morning at the thought of what it must have been like to have been in that passel of people! It stirs not only from that promise being fulfilled but from the promises fulfilled in my own life on the countless times God has said “I’ll bring you through” and He did!

Are you going through a struggle in your life? Has heartache knocked upon your door? For Israel to receive that promise they had to do a few things…

The blood had to be applied – Today is no different for the child of God. The blood represented another promise that God would redeem His people, through a greater sacrifice. His Son would be the final sacrifice to end them all, but you must confess Who He is (the Son of God). What He did (He died for you) and Where He is (Risen from the dead and In Heaven at the right hand of God the Father, making intercession for our sins.)

When God said move, they needed to go – If the children had stayed in the corrupt world of Egypt, God’s plan would not have been fulfilled, they needed to go to the Promised Land where the influence of the world would not be. The problem with that was, they took a lot of the influence with them in their minds. They left the country behind, but not the characteristics. And because of that they lived defeated many times. But the promise didn’t change. It just wasn’t as good as it could have been.

Continue to serve – Once they reached the Promised Land God told them they were to “keep this service.”  Somehow or another when people get saved they forget that the journey’s not over. Israel was to continue keeping the Passover as a reminder that God had brought them out. There is much to do for the cause of Christ, and much of it is undone because people have stopped keeping His service. We’re not saved by works. The Bible says in Ephesians 2:8-9 ~For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast.” But James 2:18 reminds us that although works will not save you, salvation should give you the desire! “Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.”

I hope today find you clingin’ to the promise! It did not change!

Words for the Day

Lamentation 3:22 It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. 23 They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.

Jeremiah the weeping prophet spent a lot of time in frustration with the condition of his nation. Called by God to be the bearer of bad news but encouraged throughout that God would take care of them. That’s kind of how I feel at this time in my life. I am frustrated with the condition of America, but I’ve not given up hope! God is a merciful God, His patience may be running thin with us… or maybe not; remember God knows the end of the book!

There’s a sign in my office that reads “Keep Calm and Carry On.”

In our walk with Christ we’ll have days on the mountain, in the valley and somewhere in between. Days we fail God, days we’re failed by other people, but GREAT IS THE LORD’S FAITHFULNESS!!! He has never failed us; not once. Short devo this morning because I’m short on time. But I wanted to encourage you that if you’re in the battle, Carry on Friend, it’s a new day.

Christainity: I Pray it Goes Viral!

Christianity. You’d think it was almost the bubonic plague. No one wants to be around it, they avoid the house where in it dwells, nausea comes on quickly and Heaven forbid a child is exposed to it, whatever will become of them?! It would be funny if it weren’t so true. And so many dead Christians have been seen walking about, it’s no wonder communities have great fear in their hearts! So what exactly are the symptoms of a live Christian? And wouldn’t it be wonderful if it went viral!

In bible times Samaria was avoided by the Jews at all costs. The half Jew, half gentile sect was a disgrace to God (in their eyes) and not worthy ground to travel on, and so Christ said in John 4:4 – he must needs go through Samaria. Christ needed the world to see that no one was worthy, but everyone was welcome. It is there we find a time that Christianity went viral! Here are a few of the symptoms:

Constant Thirst –

When Jesus spoke to the woman at the well he told her in John 4:13b-14“Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again: But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life: And she responded “Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw.

Deep down in the pits of our soul is a desire to know God. I remember as a child being aware of my need to know God. I did not understand it, but there was a thirst that I needed to know the Creator. As time went on God continued to call, but I kept drowning it out with the world. But the thirst to know was always there. When I got saved, my how that thirst increased! When I realized that God’s Son had paid the ultimate price for my sin, and that I no longer needed to fear death, hell and the grave! Oh glory I needed to “Who” He was. I read His word at every opportunity, I sat with His people and I attended His church. I thirsted!

Changed Traditions

15 The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw.16 Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither.17 The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband:18 For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly.19 The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet.

She knew that Jesus was spot on with her sins, and something needed to change. When I accepted what Christ did for me I was so thankful, and so very aware that things in my life, the traditions I had set for my children and I needed to change.

Commitment to the Tabernacle

One of the major changes in my life was church attendance.

20 Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.21 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.22 Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.

The woman at the well knew that this was an important part of faith. But she had worshipped whatever came her way. There comes a time when you have to set yourself apart for the apostasy of the world and worship the true and living God, and that calls for a commitment to what exactly it is that you believe. If you’re only there when it “fits in” to your schedule, that’s not commitment.

Continual Talking –

24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.25 The woman saith unto him, I know that Messias cometh, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things.26 Jesus saith unto her, I that speak unto thee am he.27 And upon this came his disciples, and marvelled that he talked with the woman: yet no man said, What seekest thou? or, Why talkest thou with her?28 The woman then left her waterpot, and went her way into the city, and saith to the men,29 Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?

When she discovered Who it was she spoke too, she couldn’t stop talking about Him to everyone she knew. It went viral. 30 Then they went out of the city, and came unto him.

Let it be so in our lives! Catch it!

A Conversation with the Lost on Forgiveness

This may or may not turn into a series, but the teacher of our family life class at church intrigued me yesterday on a study that they’re working on which is the “Topics of Conversation in Witnessing.” If you’ve ever gone soul winning you’ve likely encountered some topics of conversation that made you wish you were anywhere but there. If you’re new to soul winning (or sometimes old) it’s hard to get that conversation going and even harder to keep it on track; because the last thing many want to discuss is where they stand spiritually. Most would rather point out where the Christians they know fall short.

The class came up with about 14 topics they’d like to address and I would say there are countless others. But today I’ll only discuss one. If you have one you’d like to address, put it in the comments below and let’s get a conversation started!

Let’s talk about forgiveness…

I recently lead a devotion at a ladies meeting where I gave each of the ladies a shiny red square sticker for their bible. The sticker reminds us of what God see’s when He looks at us and what we should see when looking at someone else’s sin; that Christ’s blood covered them all.

I didn’t say it would be easy. Sometimes I’m tempted to take that sticker off and put it over my mouth to keep it shut!  Forgiveness is the greatest gift you can give or receive; comes with the highest price; and is considered the least. It’s easier to jump on the bandwagon and run someone through the mud than forgive and lift them up to the Lord. And that’s from a Christian standpoint. Now put it into the context of witnessing to an unsaved person who’s been hurt by family, friends or a Christian; sometimes quite severe. How can they begin to understand the unconditional forgiveness of Christ when they themselves are so angry and how can you explain it?

I love the life of King David; because it is full of success and failure, transgression and forgiveness, and most of all humility. None better illustrated than of the tale of Nathan the prophet who came to David after his sin with Bathsheba.

II Samuel 12:1-5

And the Lord sent Nathan unto David. And he came unto him, and said unto him, There were two men in one city; the one rich, and the other poor. The rich man had exceeding many flocks and herds: But the poor man had nothing, save one little ewe lamb, which he had bought and nourished up: and it grew up together with him, and with his children; it did eat of his own meat, and drank of his own cup, and lay in his bosom, and was unto him as a daughter. And there came a traveller unto the rich man, and he spared to take of his own flock and of his own herd, to dress for the wayfaring man that was come unto him; but took the poor man’s lamb, and dressed it for the man that was come to him. And David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man; and he said to Nathan, As the Lord liveth, the man that hath done this thing shall surely die:

Boy oh boy was David angry…until he discovered it was a parable of him taking Uriah’s wife. That’ll humble a fella.

And so goes our own story. There was another lamb, that was slain; the Son of God. Slain to restore the broken relationship between God and man. The one thing that God wanted more than anything was us. And we’ve hurt Him again and again, and He has forgiven us again and again.  If anyone can understand how hard it is to forgive, it’s God. Nothing that has been done to us in our lives can even compare with what was done to His Son so that we could have forgiveness.

Helping a lost person understand that may not be easy, but it will always be worth it. Forgiveness is unlocking the cell you put yourself in. Can I get an Amen!

 

The wait ~ It will be worth it All!

Isaiah 40:31
But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

They are the stories we never grow tired of hearing. The stories of deliverance and victory out of a time of trouble. I’ve hesitated sharing my latest story. But I fear that if I don’t tell it, I’ll be denying God the glory and a friend in the faith will be denied hope that their struggle will be worth the wait.

My struggle began almost a year ago when facing an uncertain future and unemployment I let faith in God over power what Satan would have loved to have been defeat. I began looking for the plan; I knew God had one. I will not tell you there were not some dark days, but they were few; and not of anything of my own accord. I began that journey in gratitude that God had delivered me first out of terrible place.

If you’re in a hard place you have to look for a way out. It’s not always swift and sometimes the way out of one hard spot is by way of another. Well… that’s not very good news is it? Hold on!!! Let me tell you the rest of my story…

Unemployment for a year was another hard spot, but I fully believed and trusted in God that it was a part of the plan. Education has never come easy for me. I’m not a “structured thinking” kind of gal. Lectures won’t cut it, and reading had better be interesting! I need hands on life lessons and in April of 2012 I was about to get a year’s worth.

Lesson 1: Trust God

I cannot tell you how many times I would lay down at night and Satan would begin buffeting my mind… “You’ve done this to yourself, You’re a failure, You’re about to lose it all…” And I would pray, saying “Peace, be still.” And just as Christ calmed the waves in Mark 4:39; and there was a great calm, there was one in me! And I would drift off to sleep. Sweet!

Lesson 2: Serve God

When Isaiah 40:31 says “They that wait” it does not mean “they that sit idle”, it means waiting as in a server would wait on a table. So rather than looking at myself as unemployed I began looking at myself as “unencumbered!” Hallelujah, now I have time to serve! It was all a part of the plan.

Lesson 3: Hear God

“The Lord shall renew their strength.” Renewed strength came from the Word of God. I could have slept in, but if I truly believed this was a time of unencumbered-ment it was meant to be a time of preparation for the next part of the journey. So I continued getting up at 4:30 a.m. and studied the Word of God to renew my strength, to restore it to the days when I felt my life had purpose. (Remember, I said there were dark days when I felt no purpose for Christ) And day after day my heart would leap for joy when I would discover the plan.

Lesson 4: Believe God

Belief shows action. I had to put legs on those prayers and plans. Isaiah said “They shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” Days of discouragement came, some days I would run from something, other days I would run to something. When I walked it was a time of reflection, to slow down and see what God would have me learn in that place.

I practiced those lessons for one year. I don’t know if you understand how unemployment works, but they only allow about a year of it, and mine was coming to a close. So I said to myself, “Lesson 1 Shari, Trust God.” It was sometimes weak, but it was there. God said if I had a mustard seed of faith (Matthew 17:20). And I am pretty sure mine was the smallest of the mustard seeds, BUT IT WAS THERE!!! God is never late, but this time, His right on time was right down to the wire. On Monday morning I filed my last unemployment claim at 6 a.m. – At 10 a.m. I had a job interview! Insert big cheesy grin here.

If you are in the battle, have faith, keep serving, listen for His guidance, believe it and tell yourself and everyone you do… and then wait for it! It will be worth it all Amen!!!

The Shelf Life

shelf life

I don’t know how the food is at your house, but my refrigerator and cabinets seem to go from spanking new to spoiled overnight. I plan my next meal around a delectable piece of fruit only to discover that sometime between breakfast and dinner it has turned brown and shriveled up and is now ready for the nectarine nursing home. A half eaten loaf of bread is dry and stale, leftover casseroles are now penicillin want-a-be’s and I see dollar signs sitting where my culinary dreams once were. It reminds me of the shelf life of the Christian. Travel around much and in every church you see Christians from one extreme to the other regardless of how long they’ve been a member. Just this past weekend I met a saint of God who was as fresh off the vine as a Florida peach, and she had served God for decades. She was exciting and it was refreshing to witness God working in her life. So when I hear a child of God say “I’ve done my time,” as if serving God was a sentence and they’d now been released from the penitentiary pew I want to light a fire under them. Literally.

I don’t believe there is an acceptable age to be a shelf sitter. Age does not define your ministry, God defines it and transforms it as He alone sees fit. Why is it that people put themselves on a shelf and just sit waiting for God to clean out the pantry? I’ve seen shelf sitters from the ages of nine to ninety satisfied with the status quo and unconcerned about the state if the church, and then (as was the case this past weekend) I’ve seen those who are serving till the trumpet blows!

Life lessons are invaluable! Why would you dare to think that God can no longer use you when you reach the age of retirement? Or that younger people don’t have the desire to be in your presence. It’s then that you have walked the miles and have the experience to guide others safely through and your wisdom it far greater than what they’ll receive from the world.

For those who are “too busy making a living” that you have no time to serve, you’re denying yourself the opportunity to live! I’ve seriously watched you rush into a service and collapse in your seat, roll your eyes because the service has taken on its own life, being guided by the Holy Spirit, rather than dictated by a bulletin, and lift your wrist at precisely twelve noon only to discover the Pastor hasn’t even gotten to the conclusion. You pray the alter call does not last too long and then rush out the door so you’ll perhaps get an early jump on the work week. And then as your chest palpitates you pray to God it’s not a heart attack; when in reality it was probably the Holy Spirit galloping to keep up with you. You pray for peace, but never slow down to allow its presence to enter into your life.

And one of Satan’s greatest lies to the youth, “Do it later, you have so much time ahead.” Having lost a brother to an automobile accident at nineteen, I’m fully well aware that we’re not promised another second of time.

Christ’s parable rings true across our land from Luke 12…

16 And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: 17 And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? 18 And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. 20 But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? 21 So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.

A few things I’ve discovered about things sitting on the shelf too long. It rots and is good for nothing, it grows stale and tough as shoe leather, or it gets bugs in it. The same is true in Christianity. A Christian out of service sours, their tender spirit hardens and they allow unhealthy things to enter their life.

Don’t waste a minute of this precious life God has given us! Serve Him well friends.

Problems with Purpose

I don’t know why it is that every time God pours His blessings out on me I’m surprised. But I just stand in awe!!! I never understood why it was that God would open doors for someone like me to share and encourage others, but He did. I feel like braggin’ on my God this morning. I feel like praising His name and weeping tears of great joy. I feel like there is someone out there reading this blog today that needs to hear about Jehovah God, our Provider, Who is never late but is often right down to the wire on time! I cannot tell you the times that I have shown up for the day dressed in drab, prepared for the funeral and God said put on your coat of many colors girl, I had purpose in your problems!!!

I began to think about those that God brought out of a trial only to make them greater than they could have ever imagined. I want to name a few and remind you of their journey to triumph that began with trouble.

Genesis 21:10, Genesis 22:2

Abraham had already had to send his son Ishmael away, he loved Sarah and Isaac, but the pain he must have felt as he watched Hagar and Ishmael walk away into the wilderness would have overshadowed any joy in that moment.  And then came new news, “You must sacrifice your only son Isaac.” How will he tell Sarah, how we he look into the face of his only child as he binds him and lays him on the wood? Isaac knew the ritual, what fear must have gone through his young mind and heartbreak that his father would allow it; and then… the bleating of a lamb in the thickets… Can you feel the pressure as it lifts from Abraham’s heart. “Jehovah!” Whew! No funeral here!

Genesis 50:20

As a young man Joseph feels God on his life, he’s dreamed dreams and perhaps he told them with a little more pride than he should have, but he knew in his heart they were of God. He’d grown up experiencing the favor of his earthly father and the jealousy of his siblings but never in a million years did he dream his brothers would betray him and hurt their farther in such a manner. But they did. Held captive by Pharaoh, imprisoned for crimes he did not commit and still in the pit of his soul he knew God had a plan, but it sure was rough hanging onto that hope in the damp darkness of the night. But favor came again. And he rose up into power and position and with godly wisdom saved his people from certain famine and death. It had to have been bitter sweet when he stood before his brothers and said, “You meant it for evil but God used it for his glory.” The heartache washed away with the tears as he finally understood God’s plan. No funerals here!!

John 11:43

Lazarus’s sisters sobbed with heartbreak at the death of their brother. They’d cried out to the Lord to save him, they’d believed in faith that He would. Healing never came but the funeral day did. As Jesus arrived they may have felt both joy and sorrow; failing to understand how their faith had not been enough. Seeing Christ weep would again bring a flood of emotion in the sisters, “But He’s God; if God cries it can’t be good!” And then He speaks “Lazarus, come forth.” No funeral here either!!!

God’s purpose in problems was sometimes a nail biting, pit in your stomach, ready to throw up experience. But when the plan is finally unveiled there are tears of joy and jubilation. Your problems have purpose. Keep holding on and waiting for Christ to come on the scene and say “Dry your eyes child… and watch!” I can say that from the other side of many journeys in the faith. Hold on!!!!

Seasons of Life

Exodus 18:22 ~ And let them judge the people at all seasons: and it shall be, that every great matter they shall bring unto thee, but every small matter they shall judge: so shall it be easier for thyself, and they shall bear the burden with thee.

Moses and the children of Israel were away from the taskmasters who ruled their days and nights. Their exhaustive work in Egypt likely prevented them from having much time to argue with their neighbors. They likely did what I did when I arrived home from speaking in Florida over the weekend… I collapsed! So when 4:00 a.m. rolled around this morning God began to speak to my heart from the pillow and I knew it was going to be a great day! Over the weekend I met with women who were for the most part in a different season of life than me. Fort Myers, Florida is quite the attraction for retirees and many of the ladies who attended this event were blessed with the opportunity to be Florida “snowbirds.” While I am the Jesus Chick and only slightly younger, the difference in the season of their life and mine was huge! But back to the message…

Moses’ father-in-law, Jethro, came to deliver Moses’ wife and children and upon arrival he notices that his son-in-law is worn out from judging the people who brought their issues of life before him for advice. So he advises him to let others judge the small stuff, and Moses could deliberate the weightier matters, and it was such an aha moment for Moses! “What a novel idea that I don’t have to wear myself out by allowing others to shoulder the load.”

Israel in their new season of life had time on their hands, and time is not always a friend if it’s not used wisely. The ladies who attended the weekend spiritual retreat in Fort Myers were using their time wisely, they had come to that place to drink of the refreshing water of Christ and see what message He had for them, and praise God I was given the opportunity to be the deliverer! I am one of the lesser who God allows to help His people in all seasons, but what I learned over the weekend is that I needed to get a better grasp on all the seasons because they taught me as much as I taught them.

For this season in their life they needed encouragement on what to do with their time which they now have in abundance, although as we all know it slips away ever so quickly. A woman still in the workforce needs to know how to serve God in her season, a young woman who’s raising children needs to understand how to fit God in to the few minutes she has between oatmeal, diapers and disasters, and that teen who struggles in staying pure in an un-pure world needs to take heart that she is not alone.

So what is the answer? Every season of life brings a new issue for resolving and every issue is resolved by seeking God through various methods; reading the Bible, preaching and teaching, godly counsel and spiritual encouragement from folks like me. I am one of the lesser who are sent in to shoulder the load with Pastors and help their congregations take “go to their place in peace.” (18:23)

The ladies who attended the Fort Myers Southwest Baptist Church Women’s Day Away Event,” hopefully went home with a little peace in their souls that they were on the right path in life.

I hope that’s where today finds you. Please comment below and let me know what season you’re in and what topic would be helpful for you in this season of life. Blessings!!! ~ Shari

Wake up and S~T~R~E~T~C~H

There’s something about getting out of bed, raising your hands to the sky and stretching out the muscles and bones; it just feels good! It brings the body to life and gets you motivated and moving. There’s power in the stretch. Add God to the equation and things happen. When scripture mentions God stretching, there was a powerful effect.

When God Stretches There is Freedom

Exodus 6:6  ~ Wherefore say unto the children of Israel, I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will rid you out of their bondage, and I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments:

When God stretched out His arm over the children of Israel He brought them out of a 400 year bondage. All that generation had known was Pharaoh’s control; they’d never experienced freedom. Is it any wonder they didn’t know what to do with it when they finally got it? They’d never experienced their own wealth or their own will. The task masters told them when to get up and when to lie down. But now, God had stretched forth His arm and brought them out and for the first time in their lives they could make their own decisions. When God’s brings us out of the bondage of sin it’s much the same way. There is a wonder in feeling the freedom of forgiveness; it’s almost too good to be true! So what do you do with it? Just like Israel, the decision is yours. You can continue to try and figure life out on your own, or you can trust the One Who brought you out. You didn’t do a thing to warrant salvation. Christ paid that price in full, your responsibility now is to thank Him, praise Him and live in a way that brings glory to His name.

When God Stretches Us There is Victory

Joshua 8:18-19

And the Lord said unto Joshua, Stretch out the spear that is in thy hand toward Ai; for I will give it into thine hand. And Joshua stretched out the spear that he had in his hand toward the city. And the ambush arose quickly out of their place, and they ran as soon as he had stretched out his hand: and they entered into the city, and took it, and hasted and set the city on fire.

Joshua had a gift for leadership, it began with great faith and a can do attitude. He had seen the waters parted, the Egyptian army leveled, he’d seen the price of 40 years for disobedience, he’d watched the wall of Jericho fall with a shout and now he stood before Ai for the second time having just been beaten because of a sin in the camp. But this time there would be victory!

It stretches us to believe God for the victory when we’ve experienced so many failures. The victory comes with a right heart, and determination that we’re going to do this thing right. If Joshua had focused on the failures, victory would not have come. If we’re going to win the battle before us we have to learn from the losses and wait for the win. When God told Joshua to stretch he did and the ambush arose quickly. If you’ve got a battle before you, do it right. Confess what’s wrong – your sin. Count on what’s right – God sovereignty. Continue on in what’s ordered.

Isaiah 14:27

For the Lord of hosts hath purposed, and who shall disannul it? and his hand is stretched out, and who shall turn it back?

God has a purpose for our lives, and He’ll align it all with a stretched out hand for Victory if we’ll stay steadfast in His word and ways. Amen!

Are you looking for direction? Let’s pray together. Post your request below and together we’ll pray that God stretches out His mighty hand and make things happen!