Posted in failure, Grace, Health, Life Inspiration, testimony, Uncategorized, Word of God

You Don’t have to Pay for Common Sense

Can you believe it? Here we are smack dab in the middle of the Holiday Shopping season. Today is Black Friday, and I can’t say that I’m sad to be working. While Black Friday is fun, kind of… it’s also, at least in my experience, a waste of money. A trip to the big city requires a half a tank of gas, eating out a few times, and buying things that I usually discovered weren’t that great a deal. There would be a few bargains, but the bulk of it was not. This message is brought to you by God. He actually gave it to me, but I decided it was a worthy share! You’re welcome. 😀

My text today is from Hebrews 5:8-14

[8] Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; [9] And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; [10] Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec. [11] Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing. [12] For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. [13] For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. [14] But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

Wisdom In Common with Jesus

He is the Son of God, for which we too have been made. 2 Corinthians 6:18 tells us “And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” And as the children of God we are entitled to wisdom the world is not. Although I know that, I have a tendency to forget, and it was a commercial for a diet plan that popped up on Instagram that brought it to the forefront of my mind, where it has been for several days. While I truly believe this woman has some wonderful ideas to share about our relationship with God in diet decisions, and her plan wasn’t that expensive, for me I knew wasn’t something I needed to spend $50.00 for. God spoke to my heart and said, “Stick with me kid, and I’ll show you the way.” It’s true! While there are specific diets that I need instructions for, the Bible is truly all I need if I read it, and use it for guidance in every day decisions. We have the Spirit dwelling inside of us, making us in common with Jesus’ wisdom. 

Suffering In Common with Jesus

While Christ was indeed the perfect Son of God, one thing that He he not experienced in Heaven was suffering. Verse eight said “yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered.” Which is where some of the greatest lessons in my life have come from, because I am anything but perfect. I make the same mistakes over and over again. Jesus didn’t make a mistake that brought suffering, I made His mistakes, and you did. It was our sins that brought on the suffering of the cross, but what He learned was that He was willing to suffer it all for us to have a relationship with God the way He does. Did that knock a knot on your head like it did mine? Wow! Every time I come to the realization of what the Lord did for me, I stand amazed. 

Sense in Common with Jesus

We should have sense in common with Jesus, but as the writer of Hebrews says, many are still suck babies who haven’t moved out of the bottle stage. Truth? I think so. I too can fall into that category. Especially when it comes to making life decisions that I know the right answer too, but go in error because it tastes better. Literally. The young lady with the diet plan speaks of praying her way through the grocery store. Isn’t that a great idea, and it should be common sense, but it’s not something most of us consider because our mind is in the cheesecake isle… or maybe that’s just me. 

Verse 14 says “But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”

Good and evil speaks to what’s good for us, and what’s bad. Exercising is good. Even though scripture says it “profiteth little.” (1 Timothy 4:8) That’s my favorite part of that verse. But the problem with me, and many others, is that we want the milk of the verse, and not the meat. The full verse says “For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the the life that now is, and of that which is to come.”

We all want Heaven. Most of us want it a long time from now. But we make decisions like we want it tomorrow. Ouch. I just felt another knock on the top of my head again. It’s like Black Friday shopping, it’s only a good deal if you need it. Whether it’s dieting or shopping, do you need it? That’s where the wisdom and sense of God come into play. Else there will be suffering.

I don’t know about you… but for me that was good word going into this shopping season of insanity. Amen! 

Love ya! Hope you have a blessed day. ~ Shari

Posted in Bible Journaling, Christian Service, Eternity, Evangelism, failure, Forgiveness, Life Inspiration, Uncategorized

The Door’s Still Open


Another church, another thought, as I continue through Revelation. I have to go back and post about two previous churches because those posts got tangled up in web design and technical difficulties. But today I’m doing my best to stay on track like the church of Philadelphia. A faithful lot, without rebuke. I’m sure that it wasn’t that they were perfect, they were faithful. There is a vast difference. 

People outside the church look at children of God and expect us to be unscathed in this sinful world. It’s not going to happen. We mess up, we fall down and we get dirty with sin just like the rest of the world; the difference is, I have a spiritual wash cloth that cleans me up. Glory! 

I was rebuked by my husband last night in a “joking” manner when I said I didn’t want to answer a message that I’d been sent. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to fix the person’s problems. It was the fact that I couldn’t. It’s a spiritual issue not a physical one. The spirit realm is this abyss of Satan and his minions that continually strive to create confusion, strife and opportunities to sin. And Christians willingly walk into it even knowing that it can destroy. And on the outside of Christianity is the unsaved only seeing the physical realm not the spiritual. And a testimony is destroyed. The unsaved seldom see the acts of repentance and restoration of the child of God. 

Life is about doors. Doors that open and doors that close on opportunity. 

A person who has accepted the saving grace of Jesus Christ, and His finished work on the cross has walked through a door that will never close. And that is the one to eternal  life. But the unsaved who has yet to make that decision is now running the risk of having that door shut for all eternity on the wrong side.

That literally makes my stomach turn.

It’s why I can’t fix the spiritual issues of another. I’m not holding the key 🔑 .

The church of Philadelphia was a loving, faithful church that used their spiritual gifts for the Kingdom of God. They just kept going in the face of what ever came their way, bad or good. And that’s all any of us can do. 

It is my prayer that you know which side of the door you’re on when eternity calls. 

If not, follow the link to the plan of salvation. Please don’t wait.

Posted in Bible Journaling, Christian Service, failure, Faith, Uncategorized

Common Temptations

Common Temptations

There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

1 Corinthians 10:13

We all have them, yours are different than mine, but it’s still the same emotion, days of victory and days of utter defeat.

There’s not any new temptations according to Apostle Paul. And even though sometimes I think mine are so pathetic that everyone else has won their battle with it, the scripture says I’ve gone through nothing that someone else hasn’t already faced. You may be facing it today.

You and I are not that weird.

Satan does not have anything new to use against us that he didn’t have in the day of Paul.

When I was a teen alcohol was an issue. Do you know that in Paul’s day, the people of the church would come in and get drunk on the communion wine? If you don’t believe me read 1 Corinthians 11. It’s in there.

It’s why the Baptist use grape juice. We can’t be trusted in the wine barrel.

How big of an issue is alcohol today? Not with teens only, but more so with adults who should know better. It’s an issue that can so easily out of control, and blind side the strongest of Christians even. Especially those prone to addiction. For which I have that personality and it would take nothing to get me over the edge of any addiction.

They didn’t have pornography as we do in Paul’s day, but they were so brazen, they were having scandalous relationships to the point Paul had to preach on it in 1 Corinthians 6 and it’s captured in the eternal word of God. So Satan doesn’t have anything new there either, he just has a new outlet. The internet. And while it’s done in secret with man, God still knows

Paul preached on corrupt conversations (Ephesians 4:29) How many things could fall into that category? Gossip, anger, criticism?) Finance issues, 1 Timothy 6:10,

Tell me these aren’t the same issues that we’re facing today. There is not new sin. Nothing’s changed since the garden. Man is still trying to make it on his and her own, without getting busted by God.

I heard a really deep sermon on this topic this week.  A lot of bible study had gone into it. I’m not going to tell you that I’ve done a lot of studying. But I can tell you that I’ve done a lot of thinking about how to speak on relevant topics of discussion for today. And going into tent meeting I wanted something for my own life to jerk a knot in me and say, “Shari, you can do better.”

If you want to be successful, you cannot continue dragging your heels in the dirt of this world, you’ve got to get up in the heavens where the air is clean and the sky is clear.

We’re seated in heavenly places the bible says.  

That may sound metaphoric, but it’s not.

This earth is disgusting. The preacher reminded us of a story of Billy Sunday, who was asked by a woman why he found the need to hold revivals all the time? And he asked her why she found the need to take a bath all the time? We need a bath for the same reason we need a revival. Because we’re dirty.

So I wanted to speak on something that is relevant and something that we can all agree is an issue. Dirt.

1 John 2:16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

The Lust of the Flesh

John Gill described it as “All unchaste thoughts, desires, words, and actions.”

Have you ever seen a time when there was more exposure to corrupt immoral behaviors? You can’t watch a commercial, a television show, movie, or even a child’s cartoon that it’s not there. It’s not only there, we don’t think twice about it. That is the scariest part. It’s on us and we don’t even try to wash it off.

I’m not sure how much it affects your world, but it certainly has been affecting mine. I don’t watch a lot of television during the day, but late at night, Netflix has been my go to source for entertainment. There’s hardly anything fit to watch. I finally resorted to watching kid shows because I needed to get a break from “too much adult content.” I’m not that grown up. My mind goes places it shouldn’t go. I’m just being real… And it always pops up in the middle of a sermon, or when I’m trying to be spiritual. It’s like someone is trying to sabotage my relationship with God. I wonder who that could be?

It ends up being two sabotages’. Satan, and me. I don’t want too, but I do.

The Lust of the Eyes

Sinful pleasures most generally begin with the eyes. Covetousness, vanity, idolatry… if we see it, we want it. We want to look like them, be like them, live like them… who are they? Anyone with something we don’t have.  It takes over our thoughts and desires and soon God is pushed to the side for stuff… It’s what takes people into a world of debt and destruction.

One poll that I read said that financial issues were 1/3 (it was the leading cause) of marriages ending. I don’t think that’s a shock. And I would dare to say that most of those debts came from the lust of the eyes. $50,000 dollar cars are standard issues for families. And the houses are beautifully insane.

Have you ever watched the shows where people are looking for a new home? I’ve pretty much stopped watching them because I couldn’t stand the bratty attitudes of the people who were appalled that a home only had 2,000 square feet. My home is less than ½ that. I lived in a tiny house before it was cool. Raised two girls here. And always felt inadequate because of people’s comments about other people’s houses and the fact that they unknowingly were speaking of me.

I’m not throwing stones. I have my own wants and desires that I could spill a list of. Some of which I need, and some of which, I just want. The lust of the eyes will take our eyes off what’s important.

The final of the three is

The Pride of Life

What seems to be meant is, “ambition and honor.” Titles.

Again have you seen it any worse than now when people are far less concerned about the ethics of work as they are about their position. Children are brought up in a world of entitlement and our next generation of employees just think they deserve a pay check for the same reason they deserved a trophy. Because they showed up. Not because they excelled.

The same thing is happening in the church. People feel like they’ve done enough because they showed up on Sunday morning and participated. They sang a song, they put their dollar in the offering, they shook the Pastor’s hand and told him he did a great job, now. Bring on the week and don’t think about it until next Sunday! And if you have a revival, don expect them to be their every night because that’s just too much.

I can guarantee some of our people feel that way, and I’m not worried about saying it, because I can almost guarantee they’re not watching me. Most of them don’t know I’m even on here, or what the Jesus Chick ministry is about.

This is where I broke down this morning.

I know this is what I’ve been called to do. But … those first two issues. The flesh and the eyes, have put me in a position that causes my family great issues financially. I want stuff. And stuff costs money, and I’m not really upset that I don’t have what I want, I’m more discouraged because sometimes I don’t have what I need to ministry work. And that causes me to want to go back into the world to get it. But there’s issues.

So this is where it got very relevant with me this morning. Do I trust God, or do I turn to man? And I think it’s where we all are in this world of dirt. This world gets on us and causes us to be uncertain about Heavenly things, because we can’t see them. It’s like my glasses most of the time. They have so much dirt and grime I can’t see clearly. Well, God cleared it up for me. I have to make a living… but not in the world. And that’s where I need to focus.

And then there was peace.

I hope you find yours today too…

Posted in Bible Journaling, failure, Fear, Forgiveness, Grace, Life Inspiration, Life's Failures, Word of God

I’ve Been Taken to the Woodshed

It’s true. As I wrote the outline for this blog, I arrogantly thought, “Oooo that’s good, I didn’t deserve that.”

And then I heard in my soul… “No. You didn’t.”

And I knew in my heart that this was going to be a teachable moment between me and the Lord. As a “Father and child. Go to your room and I’ll be in later.” Kind of moment.

And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is  wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding. ~ Job 28:28

A Healthy Respect

I’d lost it. The (fear). I’d grown selfish in my walk with Christ as I grew weary from responsibilities. And not overwhelming responsibilities, just your ordinary, everyday life kind of duties. I’d finish doing what had to be done and I’d think, “I deserve a break.” And that break would consist of mindless television (Netflix) or a game on my phone rather than going to the word of God or simply having a conversation with Him.

This morning I came to my desk knowing what was on my heart and before me was a bluegrass song I’d been working on the chords for, and lo and behold I got out the guitar and figured them out. Knowing that the Bible was laying there beside me and the Lord wanted to talk.

So… when I finally decided that I could spare a few moments for Him, the conversation turned very serious. I had been disrespecting the Savior.

I don’t believe that God wants me to set with the Bible every second of the day, He knows that life happens and that I need to be with people, else, how will they see Jesus. But there comes a time that He and I should be conversing along the way.

When He speaks, regardless of what’s going on around me, I should pause to listen. Unfortunately the world was too loud in my ear because I had opened that door.

A Hallowed Reverence

Matthew 6:9

After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.

Note that Hallowed is capitalized. It’s a part of God’s name, meaning Holy. Separate (depart) from the world.

There comes a time when God expects us to shut the door to the world and be separate from those things that draw our minds away from Him. Things that when we see them we know in our heart of hearts, this isn’t good for me. This takes my mind to places it should not be.

For example. Netflix.

I’m not talking R rated movies but just the average sitcom is filled with content not fit for the mind of a child of God.

I love to laugh. It allows me to forget about the cares of the world and escape reality for just a bit. But that bit can turn into hours on Netflix because it literally doesn’t stop. And I get wrapped up in it and ignore the calling of God. I forget that God said, Be ye holy; for I am Holy. ~ 1 Peter 1:16

To be holy is to separate ourselves from everything worldly. Including the mindset that “I deserve this.”

I don’t deserve anything more than God. That’s a hallowed reverence.

A Heavy Reliance

A reliance is a belief and dependence (understanding) on the Lord Jesus Christ for every breath of life. After all, He holds it all in His hand, does He not?

THAT IS WISDOM

Job was so much wiser than his friends who looked at life from a very human perspective. As if they could see inside the mind of Job and know who he was in the secret hours of the days and nights before that dreadful day when he lost it all.

To them, it was surely because of sin. But it was not. It was because God knew the inward strength and character of Job.

We’re not God to know the hearts of other men and women. It’s our own hearts that we have to be concerned about. I’m not Job. I doubt my character would stand the testing and trials he experienced. I don’t want to know if it would. I can’t even resist Netflix. How on earth would I submit to the level of testing that Job did?

This morning God needed me to understand that I was not submitting to Him as I should be. Not even close. I want Him to fix all of my life’s woes: take care of my family, fix my finances and make me healthy, wealthy and wise. And yet when He call on me, I turned a deaf ear.

Without fear.

Without reverence.

Without understanding.

Forgetting that He gave His all, so that I could have life and have it abundantly.

Father forgive me.

Draw me close Lord, This I pray,

Forgive this wicked soul that strays.

Remind me with each breath I take

That I am yours, I’m no mistake.

There is purpose in my soul

But I must give you full control.

Shari
Posted in Bible Journaling, failure, Faith

Broken Again

Whoever coined the phrase “getting old ain’t for sissies” was so in tune with my life right now. So by way of confession, I’ll let you in on a secret, 2018 was brutal on me and 2019 isn’t so great either!

I stopped going to cardiac rehab at the hospital because I’m a wimp with cold weather. It was just easier to stay home. But I didn’t want to lose the progress that I’d made so I was doing some exercises at home. Which included a step aerobic that I really enjoyed when it was pain free. I was having some knee issues but I was determined to fight my way through. So as I step step stepped on my little Gold Gym ® stepper I misplaced my foot and stepped backward really hard. I immediately knew I was in trouble when a blood curdling scream proceeded from my mouth that brought the critters running to my rescue. Except Callie the cat, she is way too important to worry about her handler.

I refused to go to the hospital because it was cold outside. I told you I’m a wimp. So I waited 24 hours, for which worked really well for me because the temperature outside dropped to the negatives. But after x-rays and exams it was determined (as best they could without an MRI) that I have a torn meniscus. So I’m “peg leg pete” as my daughter Whitney now calls me, and I’m feeling very feeble. And not just physically.

Psalm 38 was written by David as a Psalm of remembrance. Although there is debate whether the Psalm was written to remember his sin with Bathsheba or the distress of Israel, for me it matters not. I only know that it resonated with my heart today.

Physical pain, and the pain of sin and regret take its toll on the body. It weakens me spiritually and causes an angst in my soul.

David penned it well when in verse 8 he wrote “I am feeble and sore broken: I have roared by reason of the disquietness of my heart.”

Feeble Folk

Feebleness is a state of frailty, weakness or delicacy. None of which I care to be described as. But I doubt I’m alone. We all have times when we feel weak whether or not it’s physical or emotionally in times of life’s woes. It brings to mind our mortality and just how very little we are in control.

While my torn meniscus could have been remedied by using a little common sense when exercising on laminate floors, my sins can be remedied by using a little common sense in my brain. Neither of which I overly skilled at. Obviously a trait King David bore as well.

I recently have been following a couple of gals on Instagram that are just a tad too perfect. Their actually not, they’re very human, but they’re posts are “pretty”. Their homes are pretty, their lives are pretty, their spirituality is pretty. They make me nauseous. Yes. I’m sinning in thought. But it’s the truth. I can’t handle all the “pretty” stuff. I need some reality. They really do inspire me to be better. But I also tune into a preacher who has been an utter failure! But he’s fighting back and roaring through the hard times and allowing me to see into his life of blunders and mishaps and helping me to understand, I’m not alone.

When I fell off the step, I roared both in my soul and in my physical being. I let the puppies know, momma was hurt. I believe we need to do that spiritually as well to a world of perfectionistic attitudes that see only the “pretty” images on social media and in life. We come into church with our perfect attire and attitudes having just left the brokenness of life at home and the reality that all is not necessarily as well as it looks.

It’s why I appreciate people like my preacher friend who lets me see his realness. Then my realness doesn’t make me feel like a complete failure, just a recovering failure. Which is truthfully what I am.

If there was an F.A. meeting (Failures Anonymous) I’d go. But there’s not. And once you attend you’re no longer anonymous. Everyone knows! So I’ll just go to church, read the word, talk to God and share with you. My therapist. Thanks for not charging me an arm or a leg (for which I only have one left.)

Posted in Bible Journaling, Christian Service, failure, Grace, Life Inspiration

Why Will You Die?

Another milestone in the zipper club (heart bypass) journal was the completion of my first week of cardiac rehab. Also another  reality check on the lack of care for myself over the last several years of life. Following my decision to stop smoking on May 26th, 1997 (with the prompting of the Holy Spirit after a year of salvation) I traded my addiction to tobacco for an addiction to all things tasty. Gradually I blossomed into the well-rounded person I am today both spiritually and figuratively.

The criticism and judgement of sometimes well-meaning people (sometimes not) served me well in the department of discouragement and depression. The added pressure added extra weight. However, before anyone thinks I blame others for my blessed figure status, the answer is no. I’m the one who lost her will power. And so today as I read Ezekiel 18, I remembered my week at cardiac rehab. The struggles that I had as I pushed through each piece of equipment and so did not enjoy it. As I tried to clean up the mess I had created over the past 21 years.

Ezekiel 8:31

“Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel?”

I believe Israel had gotten on God’s last nerve. They’d sinned, worshiped idols and used their children as sacrifices. What a mess they’d gotten themselves into because they’d gotten their eyes off the Lord and put them onto the things around them. I won’t throw any stones in that department either.

But the end result of a life without God, is always death. And no matter what I try to do in life without God as the central focus, it will surely die, because I am His, and He is mine and He expects to be a part of my life.

So how do I make sure that’s the case when living everyday life and making decisions that can change my future? And how many times have I gotten on God’s last nerve by not listening to Him.

The Word tells me.

CAST IT

Cast away from you, all your transgressions.

Easier said than done, right? Well, yes and no. We know that nothing is impossible for God! But we must first allow Him to have it. For me and my transgressions… there were many. The overeating and desire for food replaced an addition that had begun when I was a child. I smoked my first cigarette at 13 years of age. I had been addicted a very, very long time. But when God got involved the desire for that substance was replaced with a desire to be better for Him. But the cigarettes had also come with a stigma of non-acceptance by the world, both saved and unsaved people alike. So it wasn’t hard to not desire it. But everyone loved food!  It was acceptable.

But the weight gain was not.

Add to that the fact that God had called me into ministry work and I was now standing before people every week, I became very weak emotionally.

I allowed the pressure of that judgment, whether real or not to get the best of me and I ate all the more because it made me feel better.

So what did I need to cast off?

Addiction. Self-Condemnation. Irresponsibility.

If Jesus had cast my sins as far as the east is from the west, I needed to cast my transgression to Him so He could take care of them. Because when I threw them down, they never failed to land out of arms reach and I would pick them up again 

Psalm 103:12

As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.

CREATE IT

…and make you a new heart and a new spirit:

So how do I do that?

I have to change somethings about my life. Beginning with my mindset. Your brain tells your heart when to beat.

In the course of the day, your heart will beat somewhere around 100,000 times and over a calendar year might beat up to 35 million times. Over the course of a lifetime then, your brain and your heart have to work together to engineer 3 billion heartbeats.

However there’s something in the heart called automaticity.

Meaning that the heart, even if it’s disconnected from the brain, will continue to beat at a set rate.

For me that shows that there’s a thought controlled side of the heart and a God controlled side of the heart. Praise God! He knows when to kick His side in.

But when it comes to decision making He leaves that to me for the most part. So I need to create within myself a new heart and spirit. Basically new desires and passions that align with God.

I can only do that if I focus on godly things casting those things that are unhealthy to Christ so that He can help me get them out of my life.

COMMIT IT

…for why will ye die,

Commitment was something that Israel didn’t have. They’d make and break promises as fast as the ink would dry on the paper.

I’m not any different. I yo yo diet, and I yo yo commit to the promises that I make God that “I’ll do better.”

We take commitment too lightly. Forgetting that God doesn’t take it lightly. Over time, God allowed many of His chosen people to be killed because they couldn’t keep their commitment to live for Him.

When I quit smoking, I partially did so because I believed God was going to allow me to die a dreadful death because of the effect of smoking. He warned me to quit… and so I did.

The transgression of poor health was not so easy for me to commit to overcome. I allowed emotions and lack of self-respect to play the major role in controlling my diet. Scroll forward to May of 2018, three heart attacks, open heart surgery and now cardia rehab and I am beginning to think I should have listened sooner.

Duh. I’m a Slow learner. Israel and I have a lot in common. Most of all, and Hallelujah, we have God’s grace in common.

But eventually God’s patience runs thin and we get on God’s last nerve. Before that happens, it would be much better to give those transgressions to Jesus. Everyone has them, and their personal to them.  

There’s a 3 step plan for it. Cast. Create. Commit.

God’s final verse in chapter 18 was  For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.  

There is life in Christ! And a much better, more rewarding life. Live it! And live it well. 

Posted in Christian Service, Evangelism, failure, Faith, Grace, Heaven, joy

Spring 2018: And God laughed

Funny thing about the Lord. He is God.

This morning as I prepared to blog, the Lord was dealing with my heart over the issue of guilty pleasure. And before your mind goes too far into the nether regions, my guilty pleasure is Netflix. My husband and I are polar opposites when it comes to watching most television shows. He’s a cop, fireman, cowboy kind of guy. I’m a lift my spirit and make me laugh kind of gal. So in the evening when he comes home after a long day at work I “try” to say nothing about his choice of TV, I simply retire to another room with my iPad in hand and watch something on Netflix that makes me laugh.

The problem with Netflix is it really appeals to my Attention Deficit Disorder nature. With no commercials and an endless supply of full seasons of shows, one show can run mindlessly into another until the evening is gone.

I’m Guilty

Last night was one of those nights, into this morning! I finally went to bed at 1:30 a.m. after the 5th episode of “Drop Dead Diva.” Please don’t judge, she cracks me up. Not the healthiest of shows to watch. I would claim humanity, but that doesn’t cut it with God. Anyway… this morning I got up with that on my mind. How I had mindlessly watched this show and was now complaining about being tired and needing to write.

Needless to say, God didn’t offer me a pity party.

I had another verse in mind for blogging this morning and then… just like that God reminded me, “I only think I’m in control.”

Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.

Jeremiah 17:7-8

The image above was taken as I went to take the trash to the curb. The snow is still pouring down and it’s not apt to let up all day. All day the first day of spring.  Should it not be sunny on the first day of spring? And God laughs. He too likes a good chuckle.

When I went to copy my verse from the Bible Gateway site, Jeremiah 17 was the verses for the day. The verse reminded me that…

I’m just a Guest

Plants come and go and so does human life.  The tree gives no thought to the weather, it simply stands it’s ground and continues until God is done, or man cut’s it down. Isn’t that the way with human life?  It goes on, until it doesn’t. But unlike the tree humans are painfully aware of our surroundings. We expect all of our days to align to our plans but then it snows on the first day of spring and plans have to be changed. The tree stands in the cold with its buds poking through the wet snow and waits for the sun to shine again. The tree understands that come what may, God is in control. The tree understands it’s a guest on this earth. We usually believe there is all the time in the world. Even time to waste. But like the tree, we too are just guests on this earth waiting for God to take us home. My real home. The one without Netflix.

I’m Glad

I regret that I wasted much of my evening with Jane, the drop dead diva. But I will not lie to you and say that I probably won’t fall into a Netflix trap again. What I will say is, regardless of how I think I’m in control, I know I’m not.

The premise behind the Drop Dead Diva show is that a skinny model dies and through a comedy of errors returns to earth in the body of plus size attorney. It’s hysterical. And sometimes thought provoking. It also may be why it appeals to this plus size gal. But between my guilt for watching the show and the snow falling to ground outside, it makes me realize that God likes to laugh to.

And so the picture of the first day of spring 2018 will serve as reminder that it’s God who controls the weather, not the calendar nor man. And although man has control of behavior, it’s God who controls life.

And God laughed.

Posted in Bible Journaling, Christian Service, failure, Faith, Fear, Forgiveness, Life Inspiration

He Understands the Mud

Déjà vu

It seems like the story of my life. Déjà vu – I’ve seen this before. I make the same mistakes again and again and I wonder, “Why does God tolerate me the way He does?” Certainly because His ways are not my ways, else I’d already be before the throne and waiting for my beating. But God doesn’t live in our realm, nor does He think in our realm. His ways are so much higher. And praise His Holy name that they are!

A HIGH PLACE TO CRY

Psalm 61:2

From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

Even on the days when I feel too unworthy to cry to Him, He hears my cry from the unspoken inward parts of my soul. That is a feeling experienced only by a child of the Living God. Who when the world overwhelms me, there is a Rock that I can stand on where even the highest wave cannot overpower me when I am there.

A HIGH PURPOSE TO BELIEVE

Psalm 89:27

Also I will make him my firstborn, Higher than the kings of the earth.

Though I know in my heart that God can control the saved and the unsaved of this earth if He so chooses, (Proverbs 21:1); that does not always convince my head. I allow fear and suspicions to control my mind and take it to the dark places that Satan would have me live. Satan will fill my mind full of worry and doubt and I will allow it to overshadow why Jesus was born and what He died for. God’s first and only Son, born in a lowly manger, experienced the lowest part of the earth, so that He could ascend to the Highest with the power of those things in His hand. How dare I take them back… and yet I do.

A HIGH POWER TO SEEK

Isaiah 55:9

As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

I have limited wisdom to say the least. But, I am the child of a bottomless well of wisdom that is at my beckon call. However, I neglect to tap into it the way I should.

The girls and I discussed at Bible Journaling class last light how we desire so much to obtain a place in life where we can just serve God, uninhibited by the world around us. Just live Jesus. But this sin cursed world distracts and entices and I fall, and fail, and God forgives. And I don’t understand why, I’m just grateful He does.

A HIGH PRIEST TO PROPITATE

Hebrews 7:26

For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners , and made higher than the heavens.

It’s Christmas time! The Christ Child is on my mind a lot. I imagine Him as a child, making mud pies and having that Déjà vu moment of when He and His Father created it all.  He knew, that much like that dirty, stinky mud, there would come a need for a cleansing of my soul for which I could not. And He became the sacrifice so that I might live free from sin. And yet I don’t. And He still loves me, and I don’t understand why. His ways are not my ways, or His thoughts, my thoughts.

I am loved. So are You. Enjoy this season with that thought in the forefront of your mind.

 

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, Christian Service, failure, Forgiveness, Grace, Life Inspiration, Life's Failures

He’s So Easy to Love

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I’m So Easy to Love

That was God’s word to my soul this morning. I make it hard. I allow the world to invade my mind with notions of Who God is and it’s never good. It’s always words like, judgmental, harsh, angry… words that drive me away from Him. Who do you think is whispering those words? That’s a no brainer, and yet I listen. Satan loves us to think that God doesn’t love us. So this morning as I talked to God, our conversation went something like this:

Lord, thank you for patience. My disobedient heart, selfish ways and walking in disbelief have surely broken Your heart.

To which He replied:

Not really Shari. I see your whole heart. Remember yesterday’s art? I know the fabric of your heart in every detail. It’s why I’m patient with you. I want you to come to me with your whole being, so I can bless you with Mine. Every time you hold back, I do too. It’s what a Holy God does. Like the Garden of Eden… had I continued to give Adam and Eve everything after the fall, they’d have stayed in that sinful, painful state. They’d never have drawn to me. And I would have had to turn my back on them. I loved them. I created them, and I created you. Tap into what I created in you. It’s a well down in your soul filled with my goodness. You’ve never fully given yourself. Do it, and see what happens. Your eyes could not contain what I have in store. I love the mornings we spend together, when you and I get to know each other better. Satan hates it.  He and I used to have those mornings too until he forsook me. That did break my heart. I created him… I loved him. But I wasn’t enough. That’s what breaks my heart. Not that you fail, although that hurts; but I know understand that battle. I was there. It’s not easy. What breaks my heart, is that I am not enough. The God of all creation, isn’t enough. I need you to understand. I am easy to love.

And that’s when it the conversation stopped. He knew I needed to grasp that He was easy to love. I needed to stop buying the worlds lies that God is angry with me, and tired of my continual failures. He understands human nature, for which I need to repent; but deep within us is not only a well of creativity for living, but a desire to know He who created us. If we’d tap into that we’d understand why He is easy to love.

God loves what He created. Just like He created it. Maybe you too needed to hear that this morning…