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 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

Posted in Bible Journaling, Christian Service, Church Unity, Eternity, Evangelism, Uncategorized

Reunion Ready

Paul’s letter captivates my thoughts quickly this morning, causing me to wonder about my level of commitment to the saints of God and to the service of our Lord. The depth of his heartache can be felt so intensely if you ponder each line as I believe God intended in our study of His word and our desire to get to know Him through Paul. His greatest desire at the point of his writing was to see those in the church of Thesalonica. But because of his own obligations, he decided to stay in Athens alone and send Timothy to the check on the spiritual welfare of those he trained in the gospel.

His goal of discipleship is listed in the final verses of this chapter, 1 Thessalonians 3:12-13

And the Lord make you to increase, and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you: To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints.

Three quick points for this Monday morning of the year 2019’s final days leading into the New Year of 2020. It’s my prayer for you.

That your church has

Love Abounding

Not only toward each other but toward all men.

It is so easy for us as separate denominations to feel superior over another. Believing that we are right and they are wrong. Forgetting that there is one gospel and that it was never Christ’s intentions to have the separation of the churches as we do today. No, I’m not suggesting we all join up into one church. That’s a good way to get a fuss going. But would it not be a grand gesture if our love could abound toward all men and women without regard to denomination. 

I’ve sang and spoken to churches of another denomination without concern for our differences. We had a common ground that made that very easy and is a necessity for communion with other churches, which is, that they too believe in Jesus, the way the truth and life. Only His sacrificial atonement though the blood as our way into Heaven. Not of ourselves in any way, shape or form. That said, I sing and speak Christ. And the Spirit of God joins in because of our love abounding to one another. 

Hearts Established

Unblameable and Holy? That’s tough right? We likely all feel that there is plenty of blame to share in us and holiness is far from an achievable feeling. Namely because we have an accuser who loves to walk this earth and remind us of our failures. But having your heart established, meaning that you are conscious of where your spirit actually abides, will bring you to the next level of service. Because God “hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:” (Ephesians 2:6)

Together. We are members of the body of Christ. There is no Baptist church in Heaven. Glory to God! There is no Methodist, Pentecostal or any other church in Heaven. When we meet together up there, there will not be no fussin! We will know the truth because we’ll be in the presence of the Truth! 

But here, in this place, we have to get our hearts established through the Spirit that indwells us. And that means staying in His word until we see the world and ourselves through His eyes.

Paul never claimed to be perfect. In Romans 7:15 he says “For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.”

Can you identify? I sure can! The things I want to do, I don’t. And the things I don’t want to do, I do. It’s the flesh. Paul battled it and so do we. But through Jesus Christ we are seen blameless and holy in the eyes of God. In that we have to get established and continue on doing the best we can, not the least, so that we are

Reunion Ready!

Paul said that we need to be established at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints. That glad reunion day when all those who we miss on earth, we’ll be joined with again! I have so many. I know that they have no concept of time, and as fast as time is going in my life, I hardly having any concept either; but our reunion day will be one of great joy and the beginning of a life without complexity. No denominations, separations, aggravations and failed expectations… just celebrations! Worship. Collective worship as one Nation! The Nation of Heaven. 

Just wrote myself happy! I am reunion ready, are you? 

But until that day there is a work to do and a people to care for. Let’s do it today! 

Posted in Bible Journaling, Christian Service, Evangelism, Uncategorized

Why my crown is rockin!

For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming? For ye are our glory and joy.

1 Thessalonians 2:19-20

For the most part television evangelists miss the mark. Not all of them. There are guys like Cal Ray Evans on our local channel 3 on Sunday Morning that will bless the socks off of you, give you solid teaching and truly cares about the reach of his ministry. And then there are others… nameless others… who possibly seek to glorify God, but they’re concern for the congregation of cyber land, radio wave and satellite is more about how many wallets they can reach. Sound like I’m bitter? No, not bitter, but most assuredly frustrated. Because when I read scripture like the one above, and I see the true compassion and dedication of Paul and the others, I wonder where it’s gone to.  And I understand why there is a trust issue in the world when it comes to gospel teaching.  How many of those on the air waves today would be willing to go through a fraction of what bible disciples went through to reach the masses? Would I? Good question. While Paul and the others were preachers of the gospel, it wasn’t only the preachers willing to die for Christ, but the congregation as well. So before we throw stones at ministers of the gospel, we have to acknowledge that the accountability of spreading the gospel does not only lie at the preachers feet.

What is our Hope?

More now than ever the world needs hope. I see it and more aptly read it in the faces and posts of the people I meet through social media, visiting other places and in my own home town. Folks need hope, but they have no idea who to trust when it comes to sharing their struggle. I’ve shared my own struggles with people who I could tell by their reaction they really were not that interested in what I was going through. And so I too find myself retreating inside my head because I don’t want to bother anyone, and I certainly don’t want to feel unloved. And that’s the truth as I feel it when someone turns me off when I’ve risked my personal exposure of pain to tell them what’s going on. O boy… that’ll preach won’t it? How many people have felt like that? And how many of us (myself included) have been the one turning people off?

So what’s our Hope. Our hope is the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the one that we have to share so that people know when the world let’s you down there is ONE WHO WILL NOT EVER!!!

What is our Joy?

We sing “Joy to the World” this time of year, but who has a depth of understanding of it when the commercialization of Christmas has become so ridiculous?  When people want to get through the Holy Days so they can get to the Holiday. We don’t want to be inconvenienced by church services lasting too long, or the expectation that we should worship Christ in the ways of scripture. From Christ’s birth to His death we find powerful worship. And then post death, pre-return, we find disciples like Paul and his buddies who were willing to be imprisoned, beaten and killed to worship. And we, in a free world, won’t go to church on Sunday, but expect people to believe we’re Christ’s disciples. Nope… can’t do it. 

It’s when I get bitter. 

This year for Christmas I made my sweet delicacies in sparing because of time. I love to bake and cook and treat my family to special foods all year long. But in the process of making my fudge this year, one of my kids came in and I neglected the stove. 🤦‍♀️ Not good. So when I poured my fudge into the pan to cool, I knew it was off. I’d scorched it. It still sits beside me on the table taunting me of my failure and it’s bitter taste. But it also reminds me that Hell’s 🔥 fire will scorch the souls of men someday, and are scorching souls now that were neglected by the church. So you want to know about true joy? 

It’s the saving grace of Christ that allows a soul to go to Heaven and never taste the flames of Hell. That is true joy. It’s why I want to live bolder and pray that God gives me opportunity in 2020 to share the gospel of Christ with people. It’s my prayer every New Year, and at years end I always feel that I fail miserably.

What is my Glory?

You are. Those of you who read what I write, and receive encouragement from it. That is my glory, because I know that that is bringing glory to God. I do not seek the applause of men, but I sure do seek to see the fruits of my labor. I pray that I do better at posting and sharing the gospel every day in some form or another and I pray that I’ll be able to be face to face with many of you this year sharing the gospel in song and word.

The days of scripture being written are done. Revelation caps the book and no other words were added, regardless of what some religions tell you. It’s finished. But the word of God, written thousands of years ago is still as fresh today as it was the day it dripped from the pen of the writer. Every time you open the Bible it’s like a brand new book never read.  And we have need to share it! Because that is where this miserable world is going to find hope and joy and God will be glorified! And I just wrote myself happy!!!!

I pray you know Jesus. I pray you’ll make a commitment to live bolder in 2020. Because there are souls a plenty in 2020 who need Christ! Let’s get out there people and tell the world about our Savior!

Posted in Christian Service, Christmas, Life Inspiration, Uncategorized

What are you Magnifying this Christmas?

Jesus Chick Graphics

My mind has been on Mary, the mother of our Lord this week. And also a writer of the 300-400 AD era by the name of Epiphanius. It was his name that came up in my study on Monday from Luke 2, when I read in a commentary that it had been “hinted to” but not documented in scripture (which is very important) that Mary was martyred. That would not surprise me with the evil of the world then and now. Satan would have loathed the woman who brought our Lord to fruition through her womb, by the power of God. And who would have better known the facts of the matter than she herself. Oh my stars, my stomach just turned over to think of her life and watching the crucifixion of her child.

My youngest, who is 32, just left on a trip to New York, I worry for her and her safety, it’s the way of a mother. My soul hurts, literally, when one of my girls or grandchildren struggle. So to imagine… and I can’t, the pain Mary went through as the mother of our Lord, is beyond what I could possibly comprehend. But I am also very careful not to put her in a position of magnification above what the Lord allows. She’s wonderful. But she is not to worshiped or idolized as some would have us believe. She too was just like those of us willing to serve. A vessel of the Father. 

So back to Epiphanius. When I read his name and what he “hinted” at, I became fascinated with him. Who was he? And when he spoke those words, if he did, in what context were they spoken? Was he one who idolized Mary? And if so… I couldn’t give weight to his words. So I did what all tech gals do, I went to the web in search of information. And boy did I find some! Now I’m kind of in love with the guy. But my husband has no worries… he’s long gone. Having died as he lived in the year 403 A.D. Serving. 

There is a story for which I read, there were many, and not always so factual. But one that had facts to back it up was the story of “the curtain incident.”

A letter from Epiphanius, Bishop of Salamis, in Cyprus, to John, Bishop of Jerusalem covers the  incident of the curtain, which unlike other passages attributed to Epiphanius, is accepted as authentic by scholars. All of which is according to the web. Which we know wouldn’t lie, right? (Insert rolled eyes here). But I guess as far as we can tell, this is truth. 

The letter reads as follows:

Moreover, I have heard that certain persons have this grievance against me: When I accompanied you to the holy place called Bethel, there to join you in celebrating the Collect, after the use of the Church, I came to a villa called Anablatha and, as I was passing, saw a lamp burning there. Asking what place it was, and learning it to be a church, I went in to pray, and found there a curtain hanging on the doors of the said church, dyed and embroidered. It bore an image either of Christ or of one of the saints; I do not rightly remember whose the image was. Seeing this, and being loth that an image of a man should be hung up in Christ’s church contrary to the teaching of the Scriptures, I tore it asunder and advised the custodians of the place to use it as a winding sheet for some poor person. They, however, murmured, and said that if I made up my mind to tear it, it was only fair that I should give them another curtain in its place. As soon as I heard this, I promised that I would give one, and said that I would send it at once. Since then there has been some little delay, due to the fact that I have been seeking a curtain of the best quality to give to them instead of the former one, and thought it right to send to Cyprus for one. I have now sent the best that I could find, and I beg that you will order the presbyter of the place to take the curtain which I have sent from the hands of the Reader, and that you will afterwards give directions that curtains of the other sort—opposed as they are to our religion—shall not be hung up in any church of Christ. A man of your uprightness should be careful to remove an occasion of offence unworthy alike of the Church of Christ and of those Christians who are committed to your charge. Beware of Palladius of Galatia—a man once dear to me, but who now sorely needs God’s pity—for he preaches and teaches the heresy of Origen; and see to it that he does not seduce any of those who are intrusted to your keeping into the perverse ways of his erroneous doctrine. I pray that you may fare well in the Lord.[10]

See why I love him! He kind of reminds me of my David. Who is often harsh when it comes to correctness and those who live in err and profess to be right. Now… don’t tell him that I told you (I’m joking, he knows) he is not always right either. But David indeed does have the work ethic of similarity to the biblical ethics of Epiphanius. 

So this is why I am thinking much on Mary and Epiphanius today and the days prior. When Mary said  in Luke 1:46 ~“And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord,” she knew what we all should know, it wasn’t about her. And even though to some (but not to my David) they would say that Epiphanius’ reaction was brash; when rather than politely asking the church to remove the curtain, he ripped it to shreds. But he knew what this world does not, how much the Lord loathes religion over relationship. 

Religion is everywhere. And I really hadn’t thought about the images we project into our mind and lives that are not biblical. So over the last few days when I drew what I imagined Mary to be like, you’ll note I did not put a halo over her head, I however did add some sparkles, just because I think every woman of God should shine. 

So as we go into the Christmas season, I’m challenging myself and you to rethink some of the images you have in your mind about what this season should look like. Remember, Jesus “was a baby,” Now He’s a very grown up King. And our images will in no way do justice to the real King of glory. Wow! I just wrote myself happy again. 

Love ya. Mean it. Shari

Posted in Christian Service, Christmas, Evangelism, Leadership, Life Inspiration

Our 2019 Christmas Project

Question: At what level is my commitment to the mission of Jesus?

____ I do not care about Jesus or His mission. I have more important goals.

____ I am a little confused at times as to what part I play and how I do this.

____ I want others to know Jesus, but I have too much going on in my life at this time.

____ I want to make disciples and help others grow and know I should, but I am not.

____ I am committed to helping others grow in spiritual maturity and am currently (or recently) discipling someone.

Those were the questions on a recent blog post I ran across from the First Baptist Church of Scott City, MO. Good questions I thought. And while I would select the last of the five, I began to worry about answers 1-4. 

Somewhat less than a hundred years ago when I taught substance abuse prevention in the school, one of my youth made the comment that his dad had said (upon seeing one of the commercials for requesting money to feed starving children in Africa) “I don’t really care about the starving children in Africa.” In his poor attempt to be funny, and teach his children to keep their money at home, he actually spoke what I believe is the attitude of most Christian people. We take care of our own. Those outside of our family, or church are not on our hearts. 

I know this blog seems random, but I promise I’ll bring it together. 

Yesterday my friend Luann Johnson, from North Carolina, drove to Calhoun County, West Virginia to plan our 4th annual Christmas Project. Four years ago she ran across my name on a Google search for “West Virginia Christian women,” which I love that she did, because she and I became fast friends and sisters in Christ.  For three years she and her husband Daniel, and often a few other friends have driven 5 hours to serve as Christ served, in our community. People she doesn’t know, who might as well be from Africa because she may never see them again. But for one day she serves them as though she were Jesus and they were her close personal friends. She always encourages me and reminds me not to get wrapped up in the wrapping of the Holiday, but to get tied into the Holy One! Oh how glorious to be a child of the Living God. Who desires our help… and would never, ever say, “I don’t real care about the starving people in Africa.” It is sad that every time I see the man who uttered those words, that’s what I think of. Even though, he’s probably a nice fella, and is very active in their church. And that reminds me that I too am accountable, and far from guilt free, on the words that I utter.

Our project this year for 2019 is “A Fruit Filled Christmas.” We want to reach souls for Christ, and be fruitful for the Kingdom. We’re going to give folks a little token of love in fruit and gifts for the families who are given invitations. We’re asking local churches to give us the names of families who would benefit from an evening of Pizza, and fellowship with a message of love for them from Luann, Daniel and the Jesus Chick. The Johnson Trio! If you have someone in mind, contact me through social media, or by phone (304)377-6036 and I’ll reach out to them with a personal invitation.  We’d also accept any donations of fruit and other foods to bless families with this Christmas.

As it stands now the event will be December

This season is so wonderful to remind us to give. But it should also remind us to serve. So back to the questions from the First Baptist Church. What is your level of commitment to the mission of Jesus? He’s not the baby in the manger… He’s the King of Glory! And our Christmas goal should not be our family only, but the family of God and what we can do to reach and win more souls for Christ before His return. Every time I utter the words “His return,” in any form, my heart flutters. I think it’s nearer than we can imagine… and nearer than many want to believe. 

God bless ya!!!! !~ Shari

Posted in Christian Service, Evangelism, Family, Life Inspiration, Praise, Purpose, Uncategorized

What is Needful, What is Vanity?

Jesus Chick Graphics©️

Thanksgiving Eve. I feel as though I have been so very ungrateful for the goodness of the Lord. My days are running one into another, my nights are little more than naps in the dark. I understand the psalmist when he says in Psalm 127:2 It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep.

Why am I always shocked when the Lord gives me the very word I need for such a time as this? But I am. Every time. I haven’t been in the secular work force for years. And it has upset my apple cart, and I feel like I’m letting the Lord down and friends down, and my church down… and the guilt is heaping upon my soul unresolved because I’m not dealing with it. Hello. Can anyone identify? 

So this morning I went one direction, and the Lord said… nope, you’re gonna deal with it Shari. So here I am. In a very public way; dealing with it in hopes of helping you this holiday season when the world gets you overwhelmed. And we all know that this is just the season to do it!

Vanity. For me the definition of vanity is “self promotion and elevation.” It’s when I put myself before all else. And while the job I’ve landed in seems like trying to untangle a tiny gold chain that has been pulled taunt and laid in a drawer for years…it’s also like a puzzle that needs put together. And in that I’m somewhat fascinated. And so it’s on my mind. A lot. So is decorating for Christmas and shopping for gifts and finding the right shoes for the right outfit. Yep… vanity.

I’m being real. This is why the guilt is on me. What is needful and what is vanity? Back to Psalm 127:

[1] Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain. [2] It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep. [3] Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord : and the fruit of the womb is his reward. [5] Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.

My job title is “Marketing and Finance.” I see that in psalm 127. My job in marketing is to promote the company. Not me. Not who I am. But rather using my talents to promote some one else. Is that not similar to our faith? It’s not my job to put myself in the forefront of my life,  but rather He who redeemed me! Glory! I love that. Unless God is building my life, it’s vanity.  It’s vain for me to rise up in the morning and put my will above God’s. It brings me the bread of sorrows, when God desires my rest.

I think that verses 3-5 speak to prioritization. God. Family. Ministry. All else.

I am so very thankful to those of you who have patiently awaited my return this week. You drive me to seek God for us both.i pray you have an amazing Thanksgiving! Blessings…. Shari

Posted in Christian Service, Faith, Leadership, Life Inspiration

The God Connection

I love the Word of God. In the many forms of which He has provided it, I can’t say that I love one more than the other. Spoken, read, Holy Spirit lead… words. I just love them when they are connected to God. Words are often a trigger for my mind to go off like a gunshot whirling through space and time. I get excited about where I’m going to land. Like last night, when Doug Rowe taught at Victory Baptist Church. He is a co-teacher and friend through the church and teen ministry, and last night was his first opportunity to teach in the adult realm of the church. He did not disappoint. He is a deep thinker spiritually. But the word that I kept getting hung up on as he taught last night was the word “sound.”

I love sounds too! In the form of music, preaching, worship… sounds connected to God. There’s a pattern of joy in my words this morning. The God connection. It’s an awesome thing.

Sound, the Noun

The word “sound” can be a noun, a verb or an adjective. As can the Name, Proper noun of God. The Verb of I Am and the Adjective of Holy. I love this thought this morning! God is most certainly all encompassing in life. Especially through words. 

According to Merriam-Webster, sound is a noun when it is a particular auditory impression. Such as a tone. The sensation perceived by the sense of hearing. It’s that joy that I spoke of earlier. What a privilege to be able to hear sounds. Lose your hearing for even a second, and you can understand how blessed we are to have it. Imagine never hearing the sound of baby giggles. Wouldn’t that be a sad world. The aging process often dulls hearing, but praise God there are sounds through the Spirit that can never by dulled if we’re in tune with God, because they’re not auditory, but rather internals sounds. Oh my stars… I just wrote myself happy!!! I need a shirt that says that… 

Sound, the Verb

To “cause” a sound. I love that Merriam-Webster’s definition said “as a trumpet.” Glory!!! There will be a trumpet sound one day when the arch angel is given the order by God to call His children home. I am so ready, but so many of the people I love are not. And so I pray as the song says “Wait a little longer please Jesus, a few more days to get our loved ones in.” 

When sound is a verb it’s because it’s an action. And every action should create a re-action. The sound of the Word of God should cause us, you and I, to take actions in our lives. I’ve really felt that I’ve let the Lord down lately because I’ve not been as faithful to reading and studying the word of God lately. Going to work is a new norm for an old body and I haven’t quite got in the groove of things yet. My 4:30 a.m. wake ups seem little more than house cleaning alarms and I’m failing miserable at that too.  So this morning has been a blessing to get in the word of God and hear the sound of God’s voice in my Spirit.

Sound, the Adjective

I believe it is what the world desires more than anything and it can only be found in God. A sound mind. 

Merriam-Webster describes the adjective version of sound as stable, secure, reliable… is that not what we all desire for our lives? It’s the reason I use Merriam-Webster as my source for definitions. Because I have yet to find any other version of the dictionary that is biblically sound for describing what a word means. It’s why I use the King James Version of the Bible. All others have too much interjection by man. We have to be cautious of where our sources of information come from. Our lives must be backed up by the word of God, every part of it. Who we are. (Proper Noun) How we act (verb)  and how the world sees us (adjective) 

2 Timothy 1:7

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

A sound mind describes that feeling of “all” being right with the world. The feeling you can only have knowing that Christ has “all” this world in His control. And He will bring us through whatever the world throws at us. 

2 Timothy 1:13

Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou has heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ.

From the version of Bible that you use, to even the version of dictionary; the sound word of God is what stabilizes our lives in the wonky world we live in. That is where we find the sound doctrine of 2 Timothy 4:3

For The time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;

Have you ever seen a time in life when people want coddled and sugar coated words to make their lives easy? They do not want the truth, because it convicts, and conveys the message that causes them to know their world is not right; because Christ is not the center of it. 

So my prayer for you and I today is that we will hear the sound of God through the Spirit, and have the sound mind we need for this world, so that if the trumpet sounds today, we’ll be ready!!!! Stay Connected! God bless ya! And Thank you Doug Rowe for being a faithful man of God and sharing what the Lord laid on your heart.