Honey has been a staple in my breakfast this week at the
complimentary Holiday Inn Breakfast. Honey and butter on wheat toast just fits
the bill for my taste buds. I seldom consider it at home even though there’s a
tasty bottle of honey in the cupboard. It must have been a part of Solomon’s
regular diet too. He mentions it multiple times and uses it as an illustration
My son, eat thou honey because it is good, and the honeycomb which is
sweet to thy taste; so shall the knowledge of wisdom be unto thy soul: when
thou has found it, then there shall be reward, and thy expectation shall not be
We don’t study by accident. And blessings don’t come that
CHEW ON IT
Like the waxy comb, pondering the word of God and
considering His message in every word, jot and tittle. Every verse is like a
Nothing is so sweet is as the word of God, and it’s amazing
how a word that’s been read by millions of people was written just for you.
CHALLENGE YOURSELF WITH IT
Read it with the expectation that God going to show you something
amazing. He always does!
I’ve watched them with their metal detectors; searching the
sand in hopes of unearthing treasure. It’s how I read the word of God. Sifting
a verse, just a few words, in hopes if discovering something that will sparkle
in my soul.
A treasure to be desired…
Matthew 6:21 says For where your treasure is, there will heart
Proverbs 4:23 says Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out
of it are the issues of life.
I have plenty of issues… believe me!
I search the scriptures for wisdom and I’m not always wise
with what I find. Sometimes I’m like a beach comber, except when I find gold, I
cast it aside and pick up a seashell. Enamored more by its beauty than the
value of the gold. I warned you I had issues. I know it doesn’t have any value,
but it’s pretty.
Matthew 6:20 says of treasure that we should lay
up for yourselves treasure in heaven… I need to desire eternal rewards
by focusing on the spiritual not the carnal. It’s not easy for me, this world
is like a giant candy store and my carnal state is alive and well. I love all
things shiny and tasty. I could say it’s how God created me, but I don’t think
so. He created me with a desire to serve and a heart of compassion. But I
choose to let the bling of this world blind me.
A verse that caught my attention this morning and pierced my
heart was Proverbs 21:16
The man that wandereth out of the way of understanding shall remain in
the congregation of the dead.
It’s those who are not seeking at all. They’re just
wandering around on the beach. Oblivious to eternity. They stay in dead
churches because the Pastor’s preach pretty sermons without substance. Not
gold. Just seashells.
Don’t get me wrong. God’s creation is to be marveled. But we’re to worship the Creator in spirit and truth. Those seashells are going by the wayside when this earth is destroyed by fire. But not the things that we’re laying up in Heaven. Today we should be combing the beach for souls that need saving. We should be encouraging ourselves with His word and looking for an opportunity to share what we’ve found.
I know I’m anointed, but deed… some days I don’t think I
even uncap the bottle of oil God gives me.
Counsel in the heart of man is like deep water; but a man of understanding will draw it out.
I love the ocean… from a distance. But being up close, feeling the sand shift beneath my feet, watching the waves come closer and closer, higher and higher, lower then higher again. The uncertainty of it all creates a fear in me. I don’t panic; I just walk away.
So when reading Proverbs 20:5 this morning I fully understood what God was saying to me… “You don’t want to understand Shari.”
Counsel, whether it is of man or God is not something I’m comfortable with. It’s not that I think I’m right, usually it’s the opposite. But with counsel comes a change of direction. A shifting of the sand so to speak. Or a deeper searching for God’s purpose. Waves of overwhelming emotions. I’d prefer staying on the balcony watching those who dare to drive than be the one with my head under the water.
There are many places that I look brave, but the shore of uncertainty isn’t one of them. I look brave in the concrete jungle which could typify the world. There are sharks there too but I don’t fear them. The god of this world may use them to make life difficult, but the God I serve can and will devour them before they destroy me.
It’s not even the sharks of the water that scare me, it’s the water itself. It’s deep! seemingly bottomless, much like the wisdom of God.
Searching it, seeking His counsel takes me into un-chartered waters. It also reveals things about myself that I don’t like – like the fact I’m pretty shallow. My attention span does not always go into the deep. Rather I read, write and stop the search short. I’m satisfied with a little wisdom. A little water, rather than delving deeper because I know it will reveal God’s truth that I need to hear.
It’s why I believe most Christians don’t read and study the word of God. It’s a powerful thing. It’s an ocean of truth…
Hebrews 4:12 ~ For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
The king’s wrath is as the roaring of a lion; but his favour is as dew upon the grass.
This is the third day of journaling in the Holiday Inn Hotel dining room. Just as I’ve done in many, many places across my travels. Used to be my open bible was always an introduction to conversation with passer by’s. If for no other reason curiosity. But no more. Perhaps it’s our sense of privacy, but I don’t think so.
I don’t think the people around me fear the wrath of God or desire His blessing. But rather are believing in their own power, humblerise.com. Enjoying their own world. But whether or not they believe…
He’s still the Lion
And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.
I’m not saying they’re not saved or that they’re not good people. I’m not judging. Just observing. No one bowed their heads to bless their food or took note that I studied the Word of God. They just went merrily on their way, enjoying their breakfast. But whether or not they took notice…
He’s still the Lion
I won’t judge. But Jesus will. He’s coming again. And this time He will not be meek as a Lamb; no, this time they’ll know and understand that He is the Messiah. They will know
He’s still the Lion
Meanwhile, I’m enjoying the dew that falling on me this morning.
Proverbs 11:1 says “A false balance is abomination to the LORD: but a just weight is his delight.
The world’s standards have skewed our idea of the scale. We do not weigh justly because we measure and weigh by a worldly standard. I have to wonder, when it comes to weighing the worth of what I’ve done on this earth, how much will even make it in the bag? and how much value will it have?
I want to speak of the worlds ideas and values, but I will not stand accountable for theirs; only mine. What has made it into my bag? If I weigh myself by comparison to many others of this world, I look good! Hey, I’m the Jesus Chick. I’m in church. I’m serving the Lord in multiple ares of life. But the very fact that I’ve attached the Lord’s name to my title should scare me to death! I will certainly stand before the Lord and answer for what I’m doing with it.
Its my greatest fear that much of what I view as valuable is being weighed by a false balance. A world view.
God wants it all weighed by His scale, which for us is the word of God. The only true way of weighing earthly value for heavenly reward.
Will have I’ve done satisfy His intent for the purpose of this earthly vessel? After all, He created me for
I can tell you with an honest and ashamed heart that much of what I do is for the service of Shari. It makes me feel good. Not that God won’t appreciate part of it, but He would assuredly appreciate it greater if my heart had been purer, my mind gone deeper into His word and if my service had been bolder, quicker, sharper; making more of an impact and mark.
I need to be filling my bag with weightier matter…
It’s so easy to forget that we need to glorify God when
things are going well. But let the well run dry for a while; and then be
refilled, and suddenly praising God comes easy! When heartaches come it feels
like we’re walking through a desert land. Creating a thirst for what once was
and what we hope will be again. The land of less is relative to the life you
live; for some it’s the land of nothing. A fact I often forget. What I deem as
less would be a life of luxury for some in other parts of the world. True
We live in the land of the Blessed
When the Lord thy God shall enlarge thy border, as he hath promised thee, and thou shalt say, I will eat flesh because my soul longeth to eat flesh; thou mayest eat flesh, whatsoever thy soul lustest after. ~ Deuteronomy 12:20
Our great and Almighty God enlarges our territory, he
expands not only our physical places but our reach. He makes promises that we
can hang onto believing it to already be true. But we have to be in a position
and a mindset to receive them.
For me I struggle between frustration and guilt so often
that I miss the places I’m already blessed. I fully believe that I’m not
further along in my life’s work because I’ve failed to appreciate the place I’m
in. God expects more from His people than I give Him. I know I’m chosen. I know
I should be living like it, but I don’t always do it.
The Land of the Stressed,
Depressed and sometimes Oppressed
Sound like America? It does to me. Are we not a Nation that
appears to be one step from needing hospitalization? And I’m not speaking of
physically. The behavior of our people is crazy. Even the blessed are stressed
and depressed, and the oppressed are likely in better condition than the
blessed; because they at least know on Whom they can depend.
Even those of us who are spiritually grounded can relate.
Times of separation from what we desire in our life leaves a
thirst that only God can fill.
Satan however uses stress to separate us from peace. God is
Satan uses depression to separate us from joy. God is joy.
Satan uses oppression to separate us from the feeling of belonging.
God is ours and we are His. Glorrrraaaay!!!!
Psalm 63 1 ~ O God, thou art my God; early will I see
thee: my soul thristeth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and
thirsty land, where no water is.
That is why
I know the Land of Refreshed
There is a built in desire of the people of God to be in
fellowship with likeminded souls.
Psalm 84:2 ~ My soul longeth, yea even fainteth for the
courts of the Lord: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the Living God.
It refreshes my soul to be in the right congregation with
the right people. That place is for you to decide, but this is a criteria you
First and foremost the Word of God must be your
primary focus. A church that fails to stand on the word of God is nothing more
than an organization of members. It is not the body of Christ. He has to be
The people should be encouragers, not
discouragers. You should feel loved!
The people (especially leadership) should exhort,
not distort. The truth of the Word refresh your soul and you should feel
There should be affirmation not condemnation
from the people. You should feel as
though you are a part of that body in Christ and that they too desire to be
with you. You should feel accepted, not judged.
I’ve been in enough congregations to know that this is not always the case. It doesn’t mean they don’t have good people or they’re not doctrinally sound. It means that perhaps they need to examine their church the way we have to examine our lives. If we are not what God desires us to be, we know it and it causes us to thirst for what we need. We need to take care of our land. Personally, Physically. Spiritually.
When I finished this drawing (an idea that I totally stole from a Pinterest post) I didn’t like the way the words “gentle and quiet” ended up turning out. They were bold, and jagged and totally not gentle and quiet. And then I thought about me… and how I struggle with the concept of being gentle and quiet. I’m more apt to be loud and obnoxious. And so I left them as they are. For the struggle is very real.
I want to be that gentle and quiet spirit that sits posed in her pretty pink dress and matching jewelry but I’m much more comfortable in a pair of jeans or leggins and a sloppy tee. That’s me. I love the pretty stuff but I much prefer to be in comfort. In apparel and in life. As for the spirit of me, I wish she would sit quietly too, but she rises up like my Chihuahua Izadora and my Jackjuajau (half Jack Russel and half Chihuahua) Versace. Which is why I love them so. They get excited! And they need to be heard. So do I! and I don’t care if people don’t want to listen or particularly agree with what I say.
If you want to be something else or believe something else that’s fine. I don’t mind. But please don’t ask me to be something I’m not.
So spiritually speaking, what do I do with the verses in 1 Peter 3:3-4
3 Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel;
4 But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.
As I understand it, Peter speaks to pride and vanity, a character trait that can also be found in the religious of this world. Now, before some religious naysayers write to me and tells me that I’m in the flesh (which probably won’t happen because they don’t read my stuff) , I need to speak to how I got here.
Matthew 23:27 ~ Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.
There is no difference between the “whited sepulchres” and a shallow grave; they both house the dead. One is no more or less loved because of the investment someone made in it and what it looked like outwardly. It’s what you can afford. The substance of the matter comes from whether or not that soul was placed in the hands of Jesus before it was placed in the ground. It’s a matter of the heart.
I have no doubt that I have hypocrite tendencies. I get in the flesh on a pretty regular basis. Just today actually. But not when it comes to who I am in Christ. He knows me and accepts me for who I am. Do you realize you can’t be a hypocrite with Christ? He knows you inside and out. He desires and encourages me to be better, just as a good friend would. Knowing that living better means living with less guilt.
There’s a reason that the sinners felt at home with Christ and the religious didn’t. Because Christ wasn’t focusing on the pretty people. He was friends with the imperfect, the loud and obnoxious, as well as the gentle and quiet.
in case you haven’t figured out where I’m at in Bible reading, I’ve been in the
book of Proverbs the last few days. And it’s good timing. I’m in need of
wisdom. I’m trying very hard to stay spiritually focused on a matter of the
heart, but there’s been an issue with my heart far longer than the issue that
caused the heart attack.
Proverbs Proverbs 4:23
says Keep thy heart with
all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.
As I’ve told you before. I
have issues. Lots of them! But that’s not the verse that caused me to ponder
this morning and examine my issues. It was Proverbs 8:17 ~
SEEK ME EARLY
I love them that love me;
and those that seek me early shall find me.
I do love the Lord, and I
realize that in seeking His will through His word, it’s always best to try and
discover His plan before you jump off the cliff, or open your mouth, or volunteer, again. Or possibly
choke the life out of someone. That’s why I don’t necessarily think that the
word “early” always refers to the time of day. Perhaps it means “before
The old adage “The early
bird gets the worm,” is only good if you’re the bird. The worm really gets the
short end of the stick. Perhaps if he’d prayed about direction before he came
up out of the earth, he’d be having a picnic with friends today. But what I got
more than anything out of this verse today is that God loves devoted children. He
knows we don’t have all the answers. And where Siri falls short on answers, God
SEEK ME FULLY
Jeremiah 29:13 ~ And ye
shall seek me,
and find me, when ye
shall search for me with all your heart.
Far, far too often I not
only fall short but I stop short of where God needs me to be. I search for His
wisdom until I grow weary, or something shiny takes me away and then I lose the
train of thought that brought me to His station. The process of finding the
answer isn’t always as easy as just opening up the book. That’s where we start,
but there’s prayer and conversations with God. In order to fully understand
what it is that God wants us to understand He wants His children to be serious
I have issues there too. I
want answers but more often than not I want the Readers Digest condensed
version with the answer key in the back.
SEEK ME ONLY
28 And there ye shall serve
gods, the work of men’s hands, wood and stone, which neither see, nor hear, nor
eat, nor smell. 29 But if
from thence thou shalt seek the Lord thy
God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy
soul. 30 When thou
art in tribulation, and all these things are come upon thee, even in the latter
days, if thou turn to the Lord thy
God, and shalt be obedient unto his voice;
Seeking the wisdom of men
and using the ways of the world for guidance always fails in comparison to what
can be obtained by speaking to the Savior. We forget that. It’s so easy to
desire a conversation with people we can touch, or look at the examples of
people who have succeeded in our area of need. And although there’s nothing
wrong with either of those things, God is an exclusive God. He won’t be added
to a list of possible solutions. He is the solution.
I had to remind myself of
that today. I can’t fix stupid. Some things and some people are beyond my
control. But what is within my control is my reaction to the world around me.
If someone is in need… seek God’s provision, perhaps you have it.
If someone’s in pain… seek God’s comfort, perhaps your words can
If someone’s in harms way… seek God’s protection, perhaps your
request will summon the powers of Heaven.
If someone’s in need of answers… seek God’s wisdom, perhaps you’re
The reality of it is, you
may or may not be the means God uses to fix a situation. But He wants to hear
from you. The problem may be your own, He wants to hear from you. He is the Lord thy God. 100% yours. And 100% mine. He hears every word
we speak (or think). Give everything to Him, early, fully, only. Thy God.
You can color me guilty. I
most always have an opinion. But I thank God for the Holy Spirit that indwells
within me and jerks a knot in my knickers when I begin to focus on the life or
lifestyle of another person. When I begin to think that I need to do a running
commentary. It’s usually just inside my head. It’s sometimes to those close to
me. It’s seldom ever, if ever to the person for which I’m forming an opinion. I’m
not that brazen, or stupid.
But it’s become quite
obvious to me lately that not everyone has the ability to know when to keep
their mouth shut. And no, I’m not thinking of anyone in particular. Just many,
many, many people in general. It’s an epidemic! And because of social media,
the world has a stage.
If you go to “The Jesus
Chick” page or my own personal page for “Shari Hardway Johnson”, as well as my
twitter feed and Instagram, you’ll note that it’s positive commentary and
images. That’s not a holier than thou statement, it’s just truth. I don’t want
to be in anyone’s drama, or a discouragement. So my posts are positive. I made
that choice, and I’m pretty sure God agrees with me.
Drink waters out of thine own cistern,
and running waters out of thine own well.
I read that this morning and
thought, “there it is. What I’d like to tell every nosy, ne’er do well in the
world. Mind your own business!”
Who makes these people judge
and jury of the lives of someone else and what skeletons would come crawling
out of their closet if the door was open?
Although it is far worse in
the political arena, or at least it far more outspoken, it’s just as bad in the
church. And I speak collectively, not of any in particular.
I think of an incident many,
many years ago in my own church where a young woman with several children had
the audacity to come to church without a slip under her dress. Oh my stars! And
as she exited the ladies room a ne’er do well woman said to me, “can you
believe she forgot her slip.” To which I responded, “With all those kids, I
just praise God she gets here on Sunday morning.”
Where on earth was this
woman’s mind? And why did she think she had the right to tear down a young
mother trying to do the right thing?
Now, that may seem trivial.
But a comment like that is what will discourage someone, who’s struggling
anyway, to decide to leave the church. And that could be devastating to a
family and Hell bound someone because of it.
The longer I travel this
road with Jesus, the more I realize the focus of the church is so off kilter.
I personally love pretty
clothes. And God has gifted me with several. But I don’t love them because I
think they’re holy, I just love girly stuff. God made me that way. I also have
a personal conviction that when I go into a church I dress in their common
attire. If they’re casual, so am I. If they’re fancy, I try to be a fancy Nancy
too and I enjoy it. But I don’t look at anyone who’s not in the common attire
and think about their heart toward Christ. Clothes do not make the man. The
Spirit of God does. And I’ve known people who looked like ragamuffins that I
was in awe with the depth of their relationship with God.
I’ll not tell you that I am
above judging. It’s human nature. Or that I don’t have other issues in life.
But it’s something that makes me so nauseous because I’ve seen the damage it’s
done, especially in the circles I travel of the Independent Baptist realm. Trust
me, they’re not all the same. That’s why we’re “independent.” I’d probably be
kicked out of some.
My faith is not in the
denomination. It’s in God. But I agree with the doctrine of my church and so I’m
there and I love my people. Mainly because the vast majority are not judgers. They
love all people. Even if their knees are showing. Insert smile here. Even if
they’re a girl who wears britches. Or a fella that’s a t-shirt, blue jean, work
boot kind of guy. We love them.
So does Jesus. And this
morning I think I’m delivering His message when I say. Mind your own business.
I hate vain thoughts: but thy law do I love. Thou art my hiding place and my shield: I hope
in thy word.
The Struggle with
human nature we are a selfish lot, are we not? I tuned into social media this
morning and the heartaches of other people overwhelmed my soul. I felt
can’t rebuild a life that was lost in a fire.
can’t undo the bad decision of a young man that didn’t feel there was any other
way than death.
can’t control the fierceness of nature or the devastation it can leave in its
can’t un-break a heart or protect people from destruction.
life. And in this day and age it’s being lived out in a very, very public way
that affects so many people with the stroke of a keyboard. Social media can be
a blessing or a scourge. I have a love/hate relationship with it, as I’m sure
most people do. But like it or not, despise it or not, it’s here to stay. But
you and I need to be careful about the vanity of it all. If we are in the
mindset of Christ… as we should be. We should shield ourselves from ourselves.
of my many, many faults is counting. Now I know it got David in serious trouble
in 2nd Samuel 24. So I try not to; but remember the struggle I spoke
of. It really is a struggle on social media. How many people likes my post… how
many people viewed my video… how many people liked a post, or loved a post. And
who were they? Oh. I’m vain. For me it’s validation as to whether or not I was
a load of lies from Satan. But I buy it like a good flea market find.
lives will never be defined in eternity by how many people seen our posts. But
it will be defined by what that post did for the cause of the Kingdom.
The Shield of Victory
all my vain thoughts, and they are many; God put a heart of compassion within
me. It’s what drives me to share the hope of Jesus Christ that I find in His
word. It’s what creates images like the umbrella in my mind when I think of how
many times the Lord has shielded me from the sun and rain. The good times and
the bad times that would have had a negative result in my life.
not only the bad times in our lives that cause damage. The good in life can
bring more vanity, more self-reliance that can destroy the good things that God
wants for us.
many people do we know with great wealth and health that have no relationship
with God? Or how many do we know that have “seemingly” never struggled as we
have and are so ungrateful.
of the worst things in my life, I am certain, have protected me from forgetting
where my hope lies.
so thankful that we have God’s word! It is as if I’m sitting here in my office
this morning with God, and I hear Him say… “That’s my girl. Keep writing. Keep
drawing. Keep serving. And by the way, stop counting.”
Writer, Speaker, Singer… but most of all, Servant of Jesus Christ