Posted in Christmas, Eternity, Uncategorized

It’s Going to Happen!

But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; after those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more. Thus saith the LORD, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for light by night, which divide the sea when the waves thereof roar; the LORD of hosts is His name.

Jeremiah 31:33-35

The house of Israel. God’s original chosen and still His people He has a massive plan for them; one that breaks my heart as a tender hearted woman. I wish the world wasn’t “the world.” I wish that the original sin in the garden with Adam and Eve, never happened. But it did. I wish that Israel had not continued to rebel against God and refuse to acknowledge His Son, and in the finality of their decision making, crucified Him. But all of that happened. I wish that the woman who sat beside me in the lobby of the Holiday Inn this morning didn’t have a rebellious son that had caused their separation. But it happened. Life is real and it’s filled with poor decisions from the beginning of time, to some of my breakfast decisions. The degree is not always the same, but it is all the product of a fallen world. But I love the “buts” of the Bible. Times they are a changin’! Glory to God!

The lobby has cleared out, and so as the distractions for me… well, except the news. But I can’t help to be tunnel focused on this word this morning. God made that covenant of Jeremiah with the house of Israel; but He, in His great mercy, grafted me into the family so I too share in that promise. And if you are a child of God, so do you! It’s the Christmas 🎄 gift 🎁 that keeps on giving! Every day… Amazing grace. It’s like the simplicity of the Christmas tree in the hotel lobby, just for ever green with specks of red. It reminds me of eternal life because of the blood of Jesus.  

Israel doesn’t get it…yet. But God’s covenant isn’t going anywhere. It’s going to happen. And there will come a day that they will experience what we have the blessing of experiencing now: they will KNOW GOD! We will dwell in eternity together. Us and them. Us and God. Us and Jesus! Yep! Just wrote myself happy!!!!!

I’m headed home today after having come to this area to watch the Cirque Musica at the Keith Albee Theatre in Huntington, WV. Personally… I don’t recommend it. The show for the money wasn’t there. But what was here in this place is the presence of God because He travels with this chick. And every other Christian. Some folks just seem to put Him in the bottom of the suitcase, rather than letting their little light shine. Let Jesus shine in your life today.  Talk about Him, share Him… Talk to Him. 

Blessings!!! ❤️ Shari

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 Bible Journaling, Christmas, Eternity, Heaven, Life Inspiration

The Plan’s in Place

I don’t know who it was that posted on social media last night that they were glad Christmas was over because it was highly overrated. But I remember they were a saved person, and I remember the frustration in my mind and the desire to get in the flesh and comment. Not in anger, but in God’s rebuke that it wasn’t a very good message to send the lost. But then I remembered… I wasn’t God. And I didn’t know the circumstances. And so I scrolled right on off Facebook and onto something else.

But this morning that post is still on my mind. And I found myself saying, I’m glad Christmas is over too. But not for the same reason. I’m glad it’s post-Christmas because I have I can refocus on the message of Christmas. “Redemption!”

Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for He hath visited and redeemed His people;

Luke 1:68

I don’t know why it would surprise me when God’s people of today miss the message of Christmas. After all, God’s people of that day missed the first message! They’d been waiting for the Redeemer, but He didn’t come like they’d expected. They expected a King in all His royal pomp and circumstance! Not the baby of a lowly Jewish girl. Nor did many of them expect that He would die on a cross, crucified by their own. But He did.

When He died, I’m sure many believers thought, “What a letdown. We believed He was the Messiah…”

Christmas for many is just that, “a letdown.” We want the pomp and circumstance of the holiday, the tinsel and perfect family memories and they rarely ever measure up to our expectations. This year at our house was a little different than most years, we are all a little more grateful. I was grateful I had them, and they were grateful they had me. We laughed and carried on like a family that truly enjoyed the company, because we did. A heart attack and open heart will do that to you. But not every year has been like that.

Today, December 28, 2018 is three days past the celebration of Jesus’ birth. Post-Christmas. Just like it brings to mind the post-crucifixion after Jesus died. I’m ready to refocus on the message God sent me to speak! Jesus saves. He didn’t come to fix this world. That’s why Christmas gets messed up and that’s why families continue to be messed up. He came to give us eternal life and a perfect world to come. Glorrraaaaay that makes my heart happy.

In the corner of my living room I’ve redone the little pencil tree that was decorated for Christmas and made it a Valentine’s tree. L.O.V.E. My main focus in 2019 is to show the love of Christ to more people. I want to help them understand that there is hope in the name of Jesus and even when things don’t go to plan in this world, there is a world to come that we can anxiously anticipate without worry or regard as to whether or not it will measure up because the word of God says

But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him. ~ 1 Corinthians 2:9

All we have to do is love Him. And He is going to take us to a world where there is no such thing as disappointment. That’s an awesome message and reminder for us as we go into 2019 that God’s got a plan, and we need to make sure us and everyone we know is a part of it!

Posted in Bible Journaling, Christmas, Faith, Praise, salvation, testimony

A Much Needed Christmas Sign

This morning as I tried to get my heart in shape for Christmas… which isn’t always easy… I kept hearing the song “Jesus is the Rock of my salvation and His banner over me is love, Jesus is the Rock of my salvation and His banner over me is love, Jesus is the Rock of my Salvation and His banner over me is love… His banner… over me… is love. If you know that tune, it is likely stuck in your head too! You’re welcome! But that’s okay, we need to remember that what ties the cradle to the cross is a love that has been there since the creation of time.

I’m not sure if the scripture came first or the song this morning but none the less it’s been a good study.

And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and His rest shall be glorious. ~Isaiah 11:10

From that one scripture, so many others began to run through my mind like the banner song.

He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner (ensign) over me is love. ~ Song of Solomon 2:4

Here’s your sign…

and mine too. While the world is so focused on the physical things of life that bring temporal joy (which I can be so guilty of) the very evidence of our salvation which is the love of God, often takes a back seat. It’s why there can be so much stress around the holidays. Our focus is not on the main thing. The reason Christ came was to prove His love for us. And somehow or another the focus seems to get off Him and on to us.

Here’s your star…

I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root of the offspring of David (root of David), and the bright and morning star. ~ Revelation 22:16

Long before the star was in the heavens proclaiming the birth of our Savior, the Bright and Morning Star had His place in the Heavens. He knew there needed to be a plan to saved fallen man, and as the lineage of Adam to Christ, with David in the midst became filled with countless characters of less than perfect reputations, the plan stayed perfect. Amazing.

Here’s Your Savior…

Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. ~ Isaiah 7:14

Emmanuel. God with us. Is He? Or has He been shoved to the side like the wrapping paper that was only important when it concealed the goodness. Then once the goodness of the gift was discovered the paper wasn’t important.

Do we not treat the Word of God, “God with us”, in that same manner? Once we’ve discovered His salvation we no longer find the paper important. And while the wrapping paper certainly isn’t the important part of Christmas, The Word of God, which is how He delivered our salvation to us is important for our relationship to continue. Without it, He is no longer central focus.

Here’s What You Seek…

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (His rest) ~ Matthew 11:28

I don’t know what you need this morning, but I needed to hear words of encouragement from God that would draw my mind back into the central focus of the season. Jesus. I needed that banner waving before me, draped between the two trees; one signifying life, the other death. Together they symbolize the gift of eternal life and peace through Jesus Christ. The latter of which I cast to the side in exchange for the chaos and mayhem of the season. Praise God I can’t lose eternal life or I’d misplace that in all the wrapping too!

Please like and share www.theJesusChick.com

Posted in Bible Journaling, Christian Service, Christmas

The Vessel, the Voice and the Value

It started with a conversation with a friend and woman of God Angel Murchison two days ago. We were sharing the many things that God has done with our lives and the countless ways He has used us in our prospective ministries. As we spoke the words “vessel and voice” came into my mind; how blessed I was that by being a willing vessel, allowing my voice to be used for the glory of God I had become of value.

Just for the record, I’ve always been of value to God. After all He died for me. But in my own eyes I struggle with worth, and for certain worthiness.

The thought continued into a conversation with my friends Daniel and LuAnn Johnson as we worked on a Christmas giving project together. We were trying to be willing vessels. We were using our voice, and we knew that it was of value for the Kingdom… but deed…. We weren’t sure how.

By doing all the things that God had laid on our heart to do, we weren’t really seeing the fruit of our labor by way of souls being saved and lives being changed. So what’s a girl to do if “there ain’t no proof in the pudding?” (that’s an old time colloquialism for evidence of effectiveness).

So this girl went to the word of God.

2 Timothy 2:20-21

But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonor. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work

Various Vessels

Gold, silver, wood and earth. I look at those materials and I can see various people who align metaphorically. I view myself as an earthen vessel, a clay pot crafted in the Master’s hand as the scripture relates in Romans 9:21

Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?

We are, I am, what the Master makes me to be. Unfortunately there are times that all I see is “God made me weird.” I have quirky ways, weird ideas and take random leaps of faith or fiction that sometimes end well, and other times end in disaster. And God has to put me back on the wheel and work the bumps out of life again.

Vigilant Vessels

Ever watchful for an opportunity to serve.

That’s why I do crazy things with people like LuAnn and Daniel Johnson like host a community Christmas party. They’re a little crazier than me because they drove from North Carolina to West Virginia. But God said go, and so they did. And God said join them, and so I did. And together we make a good team because we look for opportunities to make a difference in someone’s life and for the chance to tell the world that Jesus Saves!

Victorious Vessels

Victory doesn’t always look like crossing the finish line for a trophy. Sometimes it looks like an unfinished project.

As Daniel, Luann, their young Clayton and I, fed and encouraged the folks who came to our Christmas party, we attempted to sow seeds on a cold December day, believing that they’d take root and grow into something amazing for the Kingdom. But if we’re honest there were some seeds that fell on stony ground.  Those seeds suck the life out of me because they make me feel like a failure and cause me to question once again the value of my ministry reach.

And then a man walks through the door that just needed to feel like someone cared, and we did. And it was in that moment that I see the hand of God and heard the Spirit whisper… “that’s why you’re here.”

I felt the ribbon go around my neck and the Lord kiss my cheek and say “well done, thou good and faithful servant.” We were vessels of honor and value. Sanctified (set apart from the way the world views obedience and victory) and meet (of value) for the good work that the Lord has for us in the Kingdom.

Victory! It’s not always the big wins that are of value. Sometimes the value is in the little we do being vigilant vessels.

I hope you enjoyed this word today, and I pray you’ll share this post as well as the ministry of www.theJesusChick.com. Over the next month I’m working on a my website style as well as it’s content in hopes of being a bigger blessing and opening the doors of opportunity.

You too are a valuable vessel! God bless you and Merry Christmas from the Jesus Chick!!!!

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

The Christmas Dance

Luke 2:20

And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

When I think about the characters of Christmas, it is the shepherds that I feel most relative to. And although I’ve never been in the presence of an angel, I’ve certainly been in the presence of the Holy Spirit. What an amazing feeling. It makes me think of David when they were returning with the ark in 2 Samuel 6:14. It had been a long time since the ark, representative of the presence of Almighty God, was in their presence. There’s a reason to rejoice! There’s a reason to dance!

Sometimes, it’s a long period of time between dancing for me too. It’s why I can relate to the shepherds.

The Lowest of the Low

That’s how I feel much of the time. But the shepherds in the eyes of the general public and careers of that day, truly were the lowest of the low. Bible scholars (for which I am not) have said that shepherds were societal outcasts, a despised people. Said to be dishonest and unclean, those for whom Jesus came.

So, the shepherds becoming one of the “characters of Christmas” truly was amazing; for them and everyone else. Why would God send His heavenly messengers to people so far off of the “A” list of society? The same reason the Kings received the word as well. Because everyone needs Jesus from the lowest to the highest and in between. And in the eyes of God the souls of the shepherds were every bit as equal of importance as the Kings who came bearing gold, frankincense and myrrh.

So why do I relate more with the shepherds than kings? Economically for certain, but more so for the feeling of unworthiness. I know what a sinner I am. I know how often I fail the Lord, and while I won’t confess my faults to you, the Lord knows them. And I’m sure the shepherds felt the same way. Why would God choose to come into their presence and bestow upon them such a high honor? Why would He choose me?

As I drew the little shepherd boy dancing with his lamb, I could feel the Spirit rise up in my soul. I know the “outcast” mentality all too well. It’s not warranted, but it’s very real. God has gifted me with so many encouragers because if it were not for them, I’d be so far out in the field even the angels couldn’t find me. I don’t need people to puff me up in arrogance, some days I just need them to lift me out of the muck and mire I’ve sunk into because of depression and anxiety.

The Highest of the High

Not the Kings of earth, but the King of Heaven only reserves that title.

This Christmas I want to dance with the shepherds in high praise and honor that God chooses to be in my presence. Isn’t that amazing? That the Creator of all the universe wanted to hang out and have coffee and frosted mini wheats for breakfast. He could, and likely does dine with Kings in the richest of palaces. But He’s just as much here at my cedar kitchen table in the midst of the hills of West Virginia. Glory to God in the highest!

Posted in Christmas, Life Inspiration

My 2017 Christmas Message

It’s quiet in the house this morning. Just a soggy December rain outside, falling on our tin roof that breaks the silence and makes me halfheartedly wish it were snow. I’ll get over that after the first flake hits and sticks.  I have a minor mess left to clean after we celebrated Christmas with the children and the grands last night. My heart is full…with a cup of Ninja Coffee Bar ® coffee in my hand, compliments of a husband who loves me that much. I need to hear from God. It’s been a week of running wild for events and sometimes just running for the sake of running.

I had put off reading the book of Luke in my yearly reading because I wanted to save it for Christmas. So this morning as I read through the story of Elisabeth and Mary, two of the Christmas Chicks, I marveled at their humility. They were both shocked that God had blessed them in the manner He did; I’d say they still marvel when they realize 2,000 years later, we’re still reading their story, and sermon after sermon have been preached with them as the key point. It makes me wonder how God would have my life be preached? I’m not so sure I’d want to be in the building as my life “illustrations” were used. But Mary and Elizabeth… their lives are proof that God honors those who are faithful and gives me reason to pause on this 23rd day of December. The day I too gave birth to one Tiffani Danielle. Who hasn’t stopped blessing me since.

A three point message for the faithful came from the two sister chicks of Luke:

Luke 1:39-47

And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda; And entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth. And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And when is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord. And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior.

For the faithful God Reveals Secrets

When Mary spoke the Holy Spirit filled Elisabeth and the baby that was in her womb leapt for joy. How exciting for both women! God had revealed the secrets of both women to one another and He still reveals the secrets of the Savior to His people today.

Secrets in the sense that the world doesn’t experience that leap in the depth of our soul when the Savior makes Himself manifest in the life of His child. I understand the women’s awe. It’s how I feel every time God reminds me that He is in me, just as He was in Mary.

For the Faithful God Reveres His Servants

Luke 1:48 – For He hath regarded the low estate of His handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.

She was blessed! And so are we,  that the Creator of all, who spoke the Christ child into existence in the womb of Mary, spoke the Holy Spirit into existence in our souls and allows us to be used for the Kingdom. The Jesus Chick isn’t famous in the halls of earth, but in the halls of Heaven, I am known by God. And because of Him I’m known in the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, California and Minnesota. My friend in WV know me as the Jesus Chick, failure that I am in my own sight, but loved in spite of it by them. I stand in awe this eve of Christmas eve…

For the Faithful God Revives the Saint.

Luke 1:53-54 –  He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich He hath sent empty away. He hath holpen his servant Israel, in remembrance of His mercy. As He spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to His seed for ever.

Glory to God how my soul is filled and stirred today because the God of Abraham still speaks to me. Even when I turn my back on Him. You don’t know the countless times I fail the Lord. You don’t see how I feel so unworthy of His love and so I run, and would run to the ends of the earth…but I don’t have the money. And so I’m stuck with the rain on the tin roof of my West Virginia home and the rain of tears in my soul because I know how unworthy I am to be called His child and filled with His Spirit.

The best, and eternal gift that I can never repay or deserve…

Merry Christmas Shari… again.

Posted in Bible Journaling, Christian Service, Christmas, Evangelism, failure, Fear, Forgiveness, Grace, Leadership, Life Inspiration

There’s a Reason I need a Fish on my Tree

After hearing a sermon this morning from the book of Jonah, I thought, if I could create an ornament to hang on my tree of what Christmas means to me it would be one of the great fish. I would do so because I’ve always been painfully aware of how very much grace I stand in need of on a daily basis. I’m truly not quick to judge. I’m not above it, I’m just not quick at it. God is the God of second chances, but He’s also the God of 20,000 chances and beyond, to which I can attest I’ve needed.

Another thing that I have become painfully aware of is what a judgmental world we live in. You can’t walk down the street without feeling the condemning eye of someone, even if it’s just a figment of your imagination. The feeling is very real, at least for me. A former young lady from my youth department posted an image on social media last night that said this:

  • When I make a mistake
  • I know it.
  • I feel it.
  • I tear myself apart.
  • I lose sleep.
  • I don’t stop thinking about it.
  • So when I say I’m sorry.
  • Know that I mean it.
  • I’m my own toughest critic.

My first thought was, “perhaps I taught her too well, she became me.” But then I put the blame where it lies and that’s on Satan; who uses the tool of guilt to thwart the lives of any child of God trying to serve.

So… back to the ornament.

Before his great fish experience Jonah had three oracles hanging about his neck that drew him overboard.

Prejudice, Pride, and Preservation

Prejudice defined as judgement of another. Pride in the sense of judgement of self of a greater worth than others and Preservation by taking care of your own without regard for the souls of others. All of which are reasons for which Christ died, so that no man would be above another, of any greater worth and without excuse for failing to help someone in need. But we tend to forget that. Granted we’re better to remember others during this time of year, but why is it limited to December.

Jonah had that spirit about him when God told him to “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.”  But Jonah went in the opposite direction because he didn’t believe the people of Nineveh were worth saving. I can tell you the Jonah’s of social media should have their own site where they can spew their venom to each other instead of taking it upon themselves to be the judge, jury and executioner of people they don’t think are worth saving either. They are the “Mean girls” of today. A Christian falls and rather than picking them up we tell them their err, but when it comes to picking them up and giving them solutions to their issues, we run like Jonah.

Who ever said talk was cheap lied. It can cost someone their life.

PREJUDICE

When Jonah got on the boat with the mariners, (not people of God), they tried to save him. They didn’t want to throw Jonah overboard; that was a last resort. The world also often uses it as a last resort when they meet a drunk, a drug addict or persons of despicable character. They’ll take them in, make shelters, provide for their needs, where a Christian will give them a gospel tract and walk away, “Leaving them to God to clean.”

Jonah was expected to be a vessel. God had called him, and he hit the reject call button because he was prejudice against the people.

PRIDE

Pride too must have been part of Jonah’s character. When he determined the storm was brought on by his problem, rather than say, “turn the boat around I need to go back,” he said “throw me over board.” Willing to die rather than obey the calling of the Lord for the people’s sake. Pride will do that. It will cause you to disobey God rather than admit you’re wrong and go in the direction He’d have us go. I speak with experience, there’s a reason I need that fish on my tree.

PRESERVATION

Praise the Lord! I’m saved and preserved by the blood of Christ because my self-preservation tactics are self-destruction. Jonah was willing to die rather than submit to God’s will. But God had another plan. He preserved Jonah in the belly of a great fish that would have killed the average man; but God was not about to let one of His plans fall through. So when we read Jonah 3:1 “And the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the second time, saying, Arise, go unto Nineveh that great city, and preach unto it,” we see the God of second chances and we read next that Jonah went. For the record he still wasn’t happy about it, but he went!

I have failed my Lord so, so very many times. No, I’m not quick to judge, but even if I’m slow it makes me guilty. I need the great fish ornament to remind me to be the giver of second, third and 20,000 chances. To never look upon the fall of someone as an opportunity to give advice but for me, it becomes an opportunity to give a hand. Amen!

Posted in Bible Journaling, Christmas

My Cause for Christmas

It’s unbelievable to me that it is the first week in December! And while my table is decorated for Christmas, my heart hasn’t quite caught up. And I for certain haven’t “caught up” with the average Christmas shopper, I’ve barely started. And so yesterday morning I sat down on the first Advent Sunday to prepare my heart for the month of December and more importantly the Christmas season  Perhaps you could uses some assistance in this matter as well.

The word “Advent” is derived from the Latin word adventus, meaning “coming,” which is a translation of the Greek word parousia. Scholars believe that during the 4th and 5th centuries in Spain and Gaul, Advent was a season of preparation for the baptism of new Christians at the January feast of Epiphany, the celebration of God’s incarnation represented by the visit of the Magi to the baby Jesus (Matthew 2:1), his baptism in the Jordan River by John the Baptist (John 1:29), and his first miracle at Cana (John 2:1). During this season of preparation, Christians would spend 40 days in repentance, prayer, and fasting to prepare for the celebration. Originally, there was little connection between Advent and Christmas. But by the 6th century Roman Christians had tied Advent to the coming of Christ. But the “coming” they had in mind was not Christ’s first coming in the manger in Bethlehem, but his second coming in the clouds as the judge of the world. It was not until the middle ages that the Advent season was explicitly linked to Christ’s first coming at Christmas. 1

So, for my first Sunday of this wonderful season, I wanted to steer my mind in the direction of the anticipation of Christ’s return the second time by thinking about the anticipation that would have been felt by God’s children when waiting for the Messiah the first time.

The Curse

Genesis 3:15

And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thy shalt bruise his heel.

The curse was on Satan, and it reminds us that he is still hurtful to man; but like the serpent he can’t get above the heel unless we allow it because we are victorious through the Christ Jesus.

I often give Satan too much credit and allow him to come upon me higher than I should. I allow him to bind my feet and prevent me from going in the direction that God would desire me to go. I allow him to put a knot in my stomach from fear of things that may or may not happen, and even if they do, they’re most always less than Satan would have me believe. I allow Satan to tie my hands and fail to use them for the Glory of God by feelings of inadequacy, time restraints, or just a flat out failure to follow through on something God has laid on my heart.

Romans 16:20 is the counter verse to Satan’s curse:

And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.

How awesome to have that promise when I am tempted to throw my hands up in the air and let Satan have his Victory. From the days of Adam and Eve they were waiting for their Savior. He came in the form of the Christ child, but because of the Man called Jesus we can live in Victory!

But for a moment imagine the sickening feeling in the pit of Adam and Eve’s stomach when they realized the magnitude of their mistake. It’s the same feeling I get in mine when I fail God now knowing the sacrifice He was willing to make.

The Christmas Cure

Galatians 4:4-5

But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.

What Adam and Eve couldn’t fix, and what the blood of animals couldn’t cover, Jesus did. But it was a long time coming.

What must those years have been like all the days that Adam and Eve lived, knowing that every time an innocent animal, one which God created, died in sacrifice, it was because of their mistake. Adam had named those animals and spent time with them in an entirely different setting. He wasn’t a shepherd over them, he roamed the earth with them without there being any fear on either the side of the animal or him. But sin changed that forever.

How much greater should it be for us to realize that every time we sin, we’re taking for granted the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross, and when we allow Satan to bruise us above the heel that he bites, we’re giving him dominion that he’s not entitled to. Christ died so that he wouldn’t have it. We need to stop giving it back.

So for my first week of Christmas I’m going to think on the curse and the cure, and with a grateful heart I’m going to thank God for His sacrifice and hopefully, with all I can muster I’m going to stomp down the lies Satan fuels my doubts with. Amen! What are you allowing Satan to have dominion over you with? Take back that dominion through prayer and the Word of God.

The Christmas Cause

David said to the men cowering down to Goliath, “Is there not a cause?” I have to ask myself that same thing when it comes to the battle with Satan, “Is there not a cause? Is this not a worthy fight to take back the dominion that I’ve allowed Satan to take from me?” Peace. That’s what Goliath had taken from the army of the Israelites. They had no peace that God could win the battle, they trusted in themselves; and that is what I’ve allowed Satan to steal from me, often I just hand it to him without a fight. The peace of God.

In verse 50 of First Samuel 17 it says that David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and smote the Philistine, and slew him; but there was no sword in the hand of David. David had said in verse 47 that the Battle was the Lord’s. He didn’t bring a sword, just a rock. I have to go to the Rock… ironically a new song that I wrote last week titled “I’ll tell you where I stand”… coincidence? I think not.

Let’s make this a Merry Christmas by remembering Satan is cursed, not us. Christ was the cure that lifted it from us. Today… there is a Cause!

1https://www.christianity.com/christian-life/christmas/what-is-advent./ht/ml