I know I’ve been guilty. Believe me, I’ve been guilty! It’s not hard to make the word of God fit into a circumstance of your own choosing. But the question is… Is it biblical?
I’ve been pondering this thought a lot lately. And last night as I watched “Unashamed” on Blaze tv, Jace Robertson (who I love), referenced a scripture from the book of Hebrews 5:7
“Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard that he feared.”
Jace, his dad Phil Robertson (duck dynasty) and brother Al were discussing the difference in churches and how some were loud, some were not, but all should be! And I agree. There should be evidence of life and joy inside the church. They also discussed that everything should be done in decency and order which is for certain biblical. Paul warned against acting otherwise in 1st Corinthians 14:40. But Jace referenced the scripture in Hebrews, as evidence of Jesus’ loud worship.
I don’t doubt that Jesus was a lively worshipper when He was on earth. But to my knowledge… and I’ve been wrong so many times before, I don’t remember reading anywhere that Jesus was shouting the house down in a service. Might He have? Oh yes! I think that when they were singing psalms and praises He may have just got carried away and choo choo’d down the isle! But it doesn’t say that. Now, as for the scripture Jace referenced, it’s clearly speaking of the time before Christ’s crucifixion. Not a church service. And while I love the way Jace studies the word of God, and can reference scripture off the top of his head so much better than I, this is why I think it’s dangerous to take something out of context.
I am a shouter in church. I’m a hand raising, Amen saying, I’ll talk to the preacher during service kinda gal. (Not to the point of disruption) but I ain’t quiet. I’m excited about the message. But there are those in our church who are not. There are those who seldom if ever say anything! But they are worshippers no less. And I don’t think Jace was saying they weren’t. But by using the scripture that says Jesus had “strong crying and tears” as worship, could lead someone to believe that if they didn’t, they’re not worshipping as Jesus would have them to.
God wants us to “feel worship.” Feel “His presence.” That emotion can be expressed in a sigh. Or eyes closed just for a second as you quietly praise Him for His goodness. Perhaps the scripture never references Jesus’ worship style because God doesn’t want us putting worship in a box. This is how it has to be. Or cause someone to doubt their own love of the Savior because they’re not loud mouthed like me.
Now… that being said. I don’t want someone to twist the word of God to say that we should be “reverent and holy” to the point of a stagnant service. Which I believe is the state of most churches in America and an insult to all that God has done for us.
I said all that to say this… I’m so thankful for our Pastor who speaks often of the “context of the word” and making sure we understand it. It’s important. It may not seem like much in the scope of somethings in life but it’s why Paul told Timothy to “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
2 Timtothy 2:15
Don’t make the word fit your circumstance. Make your circumstance fit the word. Wooo Glory! That’ll Preach!
And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: 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; And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.
I love the word of God! I love that it speaks more than is written on the page. It’s a blessing that we receive as a child of God.
Prior to salvation, I knew the Bible had power. And in days of struggle I would turn to the word of God, having seen my Dad go there daily as a child. But it might as well have been written in Greek, because that’s how much I understood of it. But then came that wonderful day of salvation in 1996, that it all changed. It was then, when I opened up the word of God, that it no longer was Greek, but it was a spiritual English that spoke to my soul with words between the words. I would hear the whisper of the Holy Spirit within those pages and a few words became a whole message! It still happens that way, and I am still in awe!
I love the image of the branch growing out of the root. Isn’t that just the way they seen the Lord Jesus that day as He was being taken down from the cross, and laid in that borrowed tomb? Praise God they didn’t pay money for it, because He wasn’t going to be there long. Just three days! And out of death, came life. Just like that branch that grew up from what was assumed to be a dead tree. But if You are the Creator of the tree, You can recreate it. So Jesus rose from the dead, and He Who was once walking among them, was walking again. And as He parted back to Heaven He left the most marvelous gift. The one that I discovered in 1996, the Holy Spirit. And it is for certain the gift that keeps on giving, just like the words in Isaiah attest to.
The Spirit of Wisdom and Understanding
“Wisdom is my 2020 word for the year. And there it is on the pages today, but not just wisdom, understanding. Each of these are a two fold gift. With wisdom comes understanding. It’s not enough for us to just know God, He wants us to understand Him as well. Why He came as He did, Why He made promises in the Old Testament that were concealed, but then revealed in the New Testament. That Davidic Covenant, where God promised the coming Messiah and the Savior of the World. The One the world doesn’t understand, because they don’t have His Spirit. How blessed we are as children of God to have the understanding of God. But do we do with it as much as we could? I know I don’t.
This morning as I read social media, a friend of mine announced that she had been diagnosed with cancer and that it was “incurable” but treatable and what her plan of action was. My heart broke for her, her husband and her children. And so I posted that I would pray and be available if she needed to talk. But in the back of my mind I’m thinking… “What can I say? How can I help her? This is not a battle I have fought. But then I read this word, and God was quick… yes, just like His word said, that I have nothing to say… but He has everything to say. In Him is hope! Hope comes from the wisdom and understanding of the Creator… He who brought back to life His Son! And it is that hope that I have for everyone who has gone on before me, that I will see again if they knew Christ!
The Spirit of Counsel and Might
Within each child of God is the strength to be what a friend needs. Isn’t that a wonderful thought?
And when they bring you unto the synagogues, and unto magistrates and powers, take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say: for the Holy Ghost shall teach in in the same hour what ye ought to say.
While that scripture refers to the persecuted saint, I have no doubt that the same holds true when we stand in need of the words to comfort a friend, or help them to find direction for their life.
I would not dare say that I have the answer to all the questions that must be running through my friend’s mind. How many “why’s” must she be asking. But I know Who does have those answers. And while I cannot offer her healing, I can offer her the Healer!
The Spirit of Knowledge and of the Fear of the Lord
With my pea brain I think of wisdom and knowledge as the same. But obviously God does not, else He would not have written them separately.
Perhaps wisdom is of the mind and knowledge is of the heart. Both will bring you to awe of the power of the Lord. That fear isn’t a fear that causes you concern, but rather a knowledgeable respect. Woah… that’s truth. When you realize Who God is, and what power is within His breath, it will create in you a healthy fear of our Lord.
Another of my favorite scriptures is when Jesus was in the garden about to be arrested and taken to the cross:
John 18:4-6 KJV
 Jesus therefore, knowing all things that should come upon him, went forth, and said unto them, Whom seek ye?  They answered him, Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus saith unto them, I am he. And Judas also, which betrayed him, stood with them.  As soon then as he had said unto them, I am he, they went backward, and fell to the ground.
I imagine when they thought on that later, there was a healthy fear of a Man Who could speak with not only the authority of God, but the power of God! That’s Who God wants us to know. He wants us to understand the power in even speaking the Word of God. It may be my voice, my fingers on the keyboard, but if I am using His words, in the context that He spoke them, there is power! That’s good stuff!
I pray this word encourages you to share HIS WORD! BLESSINGS!!!! Shari
 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life;  (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;)  That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.  And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.
It’s still the same story. And it’s still the same truth. From the beginning of Time, and where God is, time has always been; and I need you to know what I know. That’s what John is saying, and that’s what I’m saying this gloomy Tuesday morning as I get ready to embark on a day with my bestie Glo. It’s a joy to experience friendship with her, but more so with the Lord Jesus Christ.
On my heart of late has been the state of the world around me. I see so much heartache. I have friends that are right in the middle of some of the worst struggles of their lives. Many of them know Christ, and for that I’m grateful. Because I know where I let them down, Christ never will. But there are those who don’t know Christ and it scares me, because I know in Him is my hope to go forward through the hard times.
Like John: I have heard
I have heard the Spirit of God coercing me to fight, to take one more step, to try one more time. I have felt the flutter in my soul when I know He’s about to show me something amazing. I have not audibly heard the voice of Jesus as John did. But the voice I hear is still every bit as real and evident. But it can only be heard if you “know” Him.
Like John: I have seen
I have seen the evidence of the Spirit of God moving in my own and others lives. I’ve watched as He has taken control of a situation, a service, or a person and done great and mighty things. I’ve seen times when the answers didn’t come as we wanted, but God brought the strength and the promise of hope that only He can provide.
Like John: I have touched
Picking up the word of God is literally touching God. His breath is in the book. From the day of salvation, and from the first word I read in scripture I felt His presence. No book on this earth has the power to do what the Bible does. It literally floods my soul with happiness to think about how the Lord speaks to this world through those pages. When I read the stories, the Spirit transports my mind to the time, so much so that I know when I get to Heaven, I’ll be able to walk up to David and say, “Brother! Your life inspired me! Thank you for allowing me to see God through your eyes!”
Like John: Christ manifested (made Himself known) to me and and because of that I can make Him known to you so that you too can have the fellowship of God Himself. Glorrraaaay!!! Does that not make you happy!This is a short post, but I needed to stop by for a visit and remind you that you are loved, by me, yes! But most of all by the Lord Jesus. If you’re struggling today, open the word of God and let Him speak peace to your soul. So you too can be “Like John” who through his obedience and sharing of the Gospel teaches us what he was taught first handed. Be like Jesus! Life is about Him, by Him, through Him, In Him! Do you know Him?
Tell me something that you’ve created with your hands.
What would happen if someone came in and destroyed your creation?
How would you feel?
Imagine how God felt, when Satan did that very thing. He attempted to destroy what God created beings. And although he can’t, because ultimately God holds the power of life and death, He does wreak havoc with it and it all started in the garden.
But thinking about someone destroying something that you created helps us grasp what it is about God’s love for us. We are created beings. designed exclusively for His purpose but with free will.
So let’s look at God’s love for us through 1 John Chapter 3
Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.
When we see the word “Behold” it means there’s something noteworthy here.
John is about to tell us, what manner, what kind of love God has for us. It’s the same love that He has for His only begotten Son. because He calls us the sons (or daughters as the case may be of God. And that God not only sees us as He sees His son, but the world sees us as they see His son.
And how does the world (those who don’t know Christ as Savior) see Him?
Unimportant. Of no significance to their lives. And that’s the same way the world sees Christian people. We’re not important to them. Even though they’re important to us. It doesn’t hardly seem fair, and that’s likely how God feels too.
What if that thing you created could talk. and it tells you that it likes your friends better than you, and wants emancipation (no longer to be yours.) How would that make you feel. Life and love is all about perspective. we need to be able to identify with God. And the only way to do that is to learn more about Who He is. He already knows us, He created us, but we don’t know Him unless we read His word. Because there in lies the image and character of God.
He loves us like sons and daughters. How should we love Him? (Like our Father)
How can that image get messed up? What if you don’t have a good relationship with your earthly father, do you think that will affect how you feel about your Heavenly Father.
(my relationship with my dad)
I was loved, but my dad was very Passive. Non confrontational. laid back.
Too often I look at God in the same light. Which is so far from Who He is.
(2) Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
John continues on to tell us that we not only are the children of God, there will come a day when we will be like God
What’s going to be one of your favorite parts of being like Jesus?
For me I think it’s got to be living without sin. To never have an ugly or evil thought. To never fear.
And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.  Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.  And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.
I think that may have been John’s favorite thing too. And this is what we have faith for… that one day we’re not going to be messed, and we’re not going to live in a messed up world. It’s why we study the word, and work on having a relationship with Christ, because through the word we are purified.
My friend John said that the Bible is like a spiritual washcloth. It’ll clean you up? How does it do that? What happens if we don’t read it?
We feel dirty, and often times unlovable.
Dick Jarvis found this little dog one day at Bakers mart. It was skiddish and wouldn’t come to anyone. Scraggly mutt. But Dick started feeding it, and it became his friend. He took it home and cleaned it up, and it was the cutest little critter. It made a home with his purebreds dogs. That’s a good example of what it’s like to be a child fo God. The Jews were the purebreds. We were the mutts, but God adopted us into His family, and now we are loved every bit as much as the children of Israel. But no body lost their position .
That purity (cleanses) that we experience is something the unsaved will never experience. They do not know what it’s like to live guilt free.
Jesus manifested (made Himself known) to the world so that we could be forgiven. He has never sinned. There fore He was the perfect blood sacrifice for our forgiveness of sins. By having a relationship with Jesus, we get to experience what it’s like to be without sin. We’re not. We do sin. But when God looks at us. He sees nothing.
The world can’t understand that, because they’ve never experienced it. And they won’t unless they get a relationship with God. Without having a relationship with God, you’ll never understand the depth of His love. How could we ever believe that our family loves us, and we love them if we never spoke.
(6)Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.
Abide means to continue in a place. To wait patiently.
As a little child, or with my own children, I remember what it was like to wait until one of my parents got home. I can remember how excited my children were when I got home from work. That’s the very same attitude we should have when waiting for the return of Jesus Christ. But too many Christians or church goers know just enough bible to be dangerous. They fear the coming of the Lord, because they’re not ready for His return. If we’re ready, and in a good relationship with Him, we can’t wait until He comes back. Because it’s then that we know we’re going to experience that purity and perfection in our own bodies that Christ has in Him.
Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.  He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.  Whosoever is born of God dothnot commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.
John sends us a warning not to be deceived.
How do we become deceived in this world? Where do we see deception?
Hollywood certainly gives us a jaded view of what our lives “should” look like. What we should have to make us happy.
Everyone’s family is perfect except yours, right? Wrong.
Our brains are inundated with lies so many times a day that we begin to buy it. And then we buy what ever it is they’re selling, because that will make us happy. We believe that nobody can disagree with us, or they’re not fully committed to us. If we get our feelings hurt, its because those people didn’t love us enough.
But the truth is, this world is broken, nobody or nothing will make you happy. Only Christ can do that in a way that leaves you satisfied. If it’s in the world, there will be a new version before the day is over that you bought whatever it was that you thought would make you happy.
But there is no new and improved version of God. He has never changed. And Christians shouldn’t waver either. There is an emotion of love, but there should also be an action of that love.
 In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.  For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.  Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous
Just as Christ made himself known to the world. We have to make ourselves known to the world too. It’s not to puff ourselves up, but rather to point people to Christ.
Just as Gods hasn’t changed, neither has His message. It’s one of great love. And that’s exactly what the world needs to see now. They don’t need to see hatred, and animosity towards each other and the unsaved. they need to experience the love of Christ through us, so that they’ll desire to know that love themselves.
13] Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you.  We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.  Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.  Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.  But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?  My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.
There should always be evidence of God’s love in our life. And it has to be with action. But when the world sees Christians hating on each other and the lost, that’s how they view God. And Christians are going to stand accountable for that.
(19] And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.  For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.  Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God.  And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.  And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.  And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.
If we want people to understand the love of Christ, we have to share what Christ’s love looks like.
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.
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.
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.  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
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
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.
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
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!
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!
There are days that I consider myself a fairly good example to the children of God and to the lost… maybe two days out of the month. That would make it multiple so that I could use the tense of “days.” But most days I feel like an epic failure because I know that I’m not living up to the potential within me through Christ.
These past few weeks have been a blur; I went from one project and one task to another until they all ran together like melted crayons. I felt consumed. That’s not a good feeling. I had very little rest, mostly just collapses of exhaustion and then I would wake up and begin again. But today… the day after our celebration of the Lord’s birth I feel renewed. There’s nothing pending… well except work. But that’s okay. There’s nothing that has my attention away from the Lord. His word is honey to my mouth, and oil to my joints. I’ve been stale and stiff. I have no other description of how I’ve felt of late physically. Nothing satisfied my tastebuds, and my body groaned under the pressures of the day. But today… not so much… That makes me sad and glad all at the same time. Because I missed Christmas this year. Or at least the Spirit of the season. I was too busy… again.
But today my mind is slowed down, absorbing the word and the mind of God. I’ve missed Him (I moved, not Him). And I wasn’t a very good example; not like the children of Thessalonica for which Paul, Sylvanus and Timotheus wrote to.
1 Thessalonians 1:7-10 KJV
 So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia.  For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing.  For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God;  And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.
Ensample is a large example; meaning that the Thessalonians were collectively serving as a group of believers, sounding out the word of God, not only in their hometown but spread abroad! Yes, that’s exciting for those of us on the internet and those of us who are a part of the body of Christ through the local church. Because imagine what the folks from Thessalonica could have done with such a tool. And while I have sore attempted to spread the word abroad, I’m not always successful because I’m not using the tools I’ve been given to their full potential. That’s what I believe the children of Thessalonica were doing. They were being heard… loudly!
To be a part of an ensample, you have to personally be an example. Showing the love of Christ is more than a December thing. The world seems to get extremely good at showing love this time of year. But by January the feeling has long since faded into background of Christmas and the New Year and new goals and objectives are on their minds. This ought not be the case with Christians. We should have that Spirit of giving 12 months out of the year. Not that we should be giving out fruit baskets continually, but the fruit of the Spirit!
The Thessalonians were so good at being an example that it says nothing else needed to be said. Oh that I were such a one!
The word “wait” gets a bad rap. It is so more often thought of as a spirit of setting, not serving. But add an “er” at the end, and suddenly the spirit of serving, as in being a waiter or waitress, shines a different light on it’s meaning. The children of Thesalonica were not sitting around twiddling their thumbs, waiting for the return of Jesus, they were telling the world about the One that was to return and save this world from the wrath to come. For the record… the wrath is still on our timeline.
Those who don’t know Christ will not be spared the wrath of God when He pours out judgement upon the earth in the last days. We see the signs of it everyday. God has a calendar too.
My friend Sue gave me another beautiful date book for me to keep my busy life in view. I love it… but this morning it reminds me that God has something else I need to keep in view. Eternity. Where will you be in eternity? Where will your friends and family be? Let’s find out today and add another mansion address!
Luke 1:17 ~ And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.
John the Baptist. One of the characters of Christmas that I seem to gloss over until it comes to his beheading. And then I quickly read past it because it breaks my heart to think of the profound immorality of the world then and now. Not much has changed in regard to religion. And I use that word only to generally define us. John the Baptist wasn’t religious. Religion wore a fancy robe, John wore camel hair. Religion drank wine and had fancy hors d’oeuvres, John ate locust and honey. Religion pointed a finger, John pointed people to Christ. Religion was pompous and societal, John was loud!!!! “Prepare ye the way!!!” He cried. Even Isaiah warned the people about him.
Isaiah 40:3 ~ The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Sunday as we prepared for the Christmas Cantata, our sound man Carl, struggled to hear the voices of the music. (He didn’t know there wasn’t any on this particular part of the sound track.) In his attempt to find them he turned the split track up full blast, unbeknownst to the choir. When voices did finally come onto the track they blared out full decibel, and the entire choir just about jumped out of their skin! It was hysterical! We laughed and laughed and it took five minutes to regain our composure and get back to the matter at hand of rehearsal. Good times!
This morning it reminds me of what must have been the reaction of those stuff shirt religious Pharisees when they heard John the Baptist coming out of the wilderness and into their part of the world. Religion doesn’t like to upset the🍎 apple 🍏 cart.
My text today, Luke 1:17 likens John the Baptist to Elias, also known as Elijah. Both were men of the same spirit and disposition. They were zealous, leaders and loners. They dressed weird. 2 Kings 1:8 says that Elijah was “an hairy man, and girt with a girdle of leather about his loins.” Neither really cared about what the current trend of the day was. They both reproved kings and both suffered persecution because of it.
Religion makes me nauseous.
How to know if you’re religious. (I do, because I was)
You not only care about what you wear (which is fine) but you judge the apparel of others (which is not.)
I personally love clothes. But, I like every kind of clothes. Yesterday I wore the cutest red 👠 shoes ever, a black lace skirt and a shiny jacket! I love them. But to the evening service, I wore 👟 sneakers and jeans. I’m truly not about impressing the masses with my apparel. I wear what I like. I fully believe it is more about my relationship with God than my relationship with a tailor.
You care about where you live (which is fine) but you judge where others live. (Which is not.)
I love beautiful homes. I however do not live in a home that will ever find it’s way to the cover of a design magazine. It’s a double wide that’s had work done, and needs work done. It’s small, but it’s home. I raised my kids here, and they come home here. It’s got a lot of hand made goodness by my husband that makes me smile every time I see it. Because he was proud of his handiwork. It’s loud. And the kids are rowdy and sometimes annoying, but it’s where we live.
When John the Baptist came out of the wilderness, he must have looked a sight! But those who listened didn’t care. They got the message. In Luke 3:3 it says of John that he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins;” and some folks listened and others loathed him (much like today), especially Herod the tetrarch, because John called out his sin of having an affair with his sister in law!
John didn’t judge… he left that to God; he just spoke truth and the world doesn’t want the truth. And the truth of the matter is, religious people really do care where you live and where you come from. And they care for the wrong reasons. John didn’t care where people came from, he cared where they were going! That’s good stuff right there isn’t it? Forget the neighborhoods we live in, let’s talk about where we’re moving too! Glory!
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.