Category Archives: Faith

We Need to Take Care of Our Land

The Land of Less

It’s so easy to forget that we need to glorify God when things are going well. But let the well run dry for a while; and then be refilled, and suddenly praising God comes easy! When heartaches come it feels like we’re walking through a desert land. Creating a thirst for what once was and what we hope will be again. The land of less is relative to the life you live; for some it’s the land of nothing. A fact I often forget. What I deem as less would be a life of luxury for some in other parts of the world. True story…

We live in the land of the Blessed

When the Lord thy God shall enlarge thy border, as he hath promised thee, and thou shalt say, I will eat flesh because my soul longeth to eat flesh; thou mayest eat flesh, whatsoever thy soul lustest after. ~ Deuteronomy 12:20

Our great and Almighty God enlarges our territory, he expands not only our physical places but our reach. He makes promises that we can hang onto believing it to already be true. But we have to be in a position and a mindset to receive them.

For me I struggle between frustration and guilt so often that I miss the places I’m already blessed. I fully believe that I’m not further along in my life’s work because I’ve failed to appreciate the place I’m in. God expects more from His people than I give Him. I know I’m chosen. I know I should be living like it, but I don’t always do it.

The Land of the Stressed, Depressed and sometimes Oppressed

Sound like America? It does to me. Are we not a Nation that appears to be one step from needing hospitalization? And I’m not speaking of physically. The behavior of our people is crazy. Even the blessed are stressed and depressed, and the oppressed are likely in better condition than the blessed; because they at least know on Whom they can depend.

Even those of us who are spiritually grounded can relate.

Times of separation from what we desire in our life leaves a thirst that only God can fill.

Satan however uses stress to separate us from peace. God is peace.

Satan uses depression to separate us from joy. God is joy.

Satan uses oppression to separate us from the feeling of belonging. God is ours and we are His. Glorrrraaaay!!!!

Psalm 63 1 ~ O God, thou art my God; early will I see thee: my soul thristeth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is.

That is why

I know the Land of Refreshed

There is a built in desire of the people of God to be in fellowship with likeminded souls.

Psalm 84:2 ~ My soul longeth, yea even fainteth for the courts of the Lord: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the Living God.

It refreshes my soul to be in the right congregation with the right people. That place is for you to decide, but this is a criteria you should consider.

  • First and foremost the Word of God must be your primary focus. A church that fails to stand on the word of God is nothing more than an organization of members. It is not the body of Christ. He has to be center.
  • The people should be encouragers, not discouragers. You should feel loved!
  • The people (especially leadership) should exhort, not distort. The truth of the Word refresh your soul and you should feel filled!
  • There should be affirmation not condemnation from the people.  You should feel as though you are a part of that body in Christ and that they too desire to be with you. You should feel accepted, not judged.

I’ve been in enough congregations to know that this is not always the case. It doesn’t mean they don’t have good people or they’re not doctrinally sound. It means that perhaps they need to examine their church the way we have to examine our lives. If we are not what God desires us to be, we know it and it causes us to thirst for what we need. We need to take care of our land. Personally, Physically. Spiritually.

Be Someone’s Reason

Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die.

Job 2:9

What an odd scripture choice for Mother’s Day week, right?  Well, this is my thinking this morning as I ponder the upcoming weekend. Number one… I am blessed. My 83 year old Mother, who truthfully puts me to shame in her strength, ability and agility, lives next door. I watch as she meanders out at 8 a.m., fully dressed and make up donned and surveys her well-groomed lawn and flower beds. She cooks dinner for 30ish people every other weekend and not just a small meal. But multiple dishes and always amazing desserts. She is one of 8 children, 4 remaining. She has loved and lost family, including a son and husband she adored. She set the example before us; when I ask her how she did not blame God when she lost my brother Richard at the age of 19. Her response was “How can I blame the only One who will allow me to see him again.”

Yes… I’m blessed.

So now for what got me thinking about Job’s wife. Not everyone is so blessed.

Before I throw Mrs. Job under the bus, I have to acknowledge that she too had just lost ten children at once and her means for livelihood. She was no doubt fighting depression and anxiety as none of us could likely comprehend. But her response to Job was so bitter.

I’ve known bitter women. They have an ugliness inside that, regardless of their outward beauty, makes me cringe. I’ve known bitter men too, they ain’t handsome.  I’ve watched the damage they’ve done to their families, even though many are unaware that it’s an issue. It’s hard enough to face the battles of this world, without having a discouraging enemy living in your camp.

So Shari, again… how does this celebrate Mother’s Day?

We need to look at Job’s life and commit to ourselves that we will not be anyone’s Mrs. Job or Mr. Job’s friends, who added salt to his already open sores.

Learn to Respond

Proverbs 16:24

Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.

That sounds much better than having your friends and family hide from you as suggested in Psalm 64:2-3

Hide me from the secret counsel of the wicked; from the insurrection of the workers of iniquity: Who whet their tongue like a sword, and bend their bows to shoot their arrows, even bitter words.

That’s how I view the discouragement of people who without regard for what someone is going through, use their words to hurt rather than heal.

But I’ve experienced firsthand the healing words of family and friends who soothe my soul in times of trouble. I’m so grateful that God has put them in my life.

Be the reason someone is grateful.

Learn to Reason

While I know that nobody is perfect, and myself included can lose touch with logic and speak in frustration words of discouragement. But there are times when there’s no room for a lack of logic.

Someone needs you, and they need you now!

Be the reason someone never doubts your loyalty.

Learn Who to Rebuke

When Peter rebuked the Lord, which was not his finest hour, the Lord said in Matthew 16:23:

But he turned, and said unto  Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.

Jesus said to Peter that he was Satan! While I don’t profess to understand the theological depth of that conversation, I understand that Jesus didn’t truly think Peter was Satan, but that perhaps Satan was controlling the conversation.

Ya think that happens to us? Oh yea. If Satan can use us and others to discourage us and others, under the guise of our stupidity he’ll do it.

When the feeling of rebuke comes into your mind, and you may be on the verge of tearing someone you love down further than they already are, rebuke Satan. Not your loved ones.

Be the reason someone feels supported.

Learn to Rejoice

I’ve not always appreciated or understood my Mother. I’ve been far from the perfect daughter. But I rejoice in the fact that my Mother brought me up with manners, respect and accountability for behaviors. She taught me that love was unconditional for children, therefore I understood that love was unconditional with God.

Be the reason someone feels loved and rejoices for you.

Isaiah 1:18

Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

We all have a reason to rejoice!

Real Life Struggles of the Jesus Chick

It seems so absolute petty, and so very vain. And as I told someone sarcastically this week “I’m sure it compares with the starving in Africa.” But today it is a struggle.

My knee accident and treatment continues to be a major issue in my life. Mainly because it’s so discouraging. I have so much I want and need to do in the ministry and in life and not being able to walk with grace, and sometimes at all, really throws a kink in that plan!

We had a very cold rainy weekend and it through my arthritic body into a tizzy. It threw a temper tantrum like a toddler. It wasn’t going anywhere! I made it to church Sunday morning (in flats!) Oh the horror! J And didn’t make it at all Sunday night. Actually didn’t make it off the couch. Monday morning came and my hopes of being better were greater until midafternoon and I derailed again with knee pain. I only lasted two innings into the tee ball game and had to come home.

My beautiful beige high heels that I longed to wear to church on Sunday morning taunt me from the corner while my “sensible flats” smirk with glee. I know it sounds so petty. But what it is, is discouraging. How did I get here and what am I going to do about it?

It isn’t so much about the heels, which I’m truly not that vain, I just like them, but it’s more about the fact that life is taking a toll on my ministry work. And though I know that it didn’t catch God off guard, and perhaps He truly is trying to slow me down before another heart attack, but I feel that it’s Satan trying to thwart my efforts. And I must fight back!

“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” PHIL. 4:13

That’s the verse that was on my mind this morning as I thought about those sensible shoes. I don’t want to be sensible. I’ve never been sensible in my life, ask anyone who knows me!

I want to jump and watch the Holy Spirit’s net catch me from afar knowing that I walked in faith. In pretty shoes! I know it doesn’t compare to the problems in the lives of other people who are facing tragedies. I know it’s silly. But faith is faith. For silly shoes, or  surgery. I have to be able to trust my Lord.

Now He may say. “Shari, it’s just shoes, wear the flats.” And if He says that I’m fine and I’ll be grateful I can walk, there are people who cannot. But if He says, “those shoes look marvelous darling.” I’m going to be ready.

This is my point for you and me today. The Word of God is truth from the first word in Genesis to the last word in Revelation. And “all” means “all.”

But “through” also means “through.” I have to do it all through Christ. It’s from Him that I’m going to receive the strength, and that strength may or may not be in my knee, it may be in my Spirit.

When people quote Philippians 4:13 they’re often doing it through the flesh and not through the Spirit. Because they want something so bad, they believe it’s what Christ wants too, and that may or may not be the case.

So what I understand from my silly little drawing this morning is I can do ALL things that Christ wants me to do. Including wear shiny shoes if that be His desire.

Does Christ think about shiny shoes? Well He adorned the angels in shiny attire, I truly think it matters. But what matters most is that I keep priorities in check.

Shiny shoes mean nothing, if Christ isn’t in the story.

A Steadfast Hope!

A few days of Fibromyalgia kicking my tail and I am so appreciative of the sun shining outside my windows today. It’s humbling how the feeling of hopelessness can kick in so quickly and that defeat can consume the mind. Oh did I feel the drama queen coming out of me during that time! It’s not something I let the world see, or anyone other than the hubs usually. But it’s a very real side of my personality. Or should I say “personalities.”

Praise God! for the steadfastness of Jesus Christ. From the Old Testament to the New Testament God is still God! Somehow or another as I read in Daniel this morning it lead me to the book of Hebrews.

Stick with me, I promise in my “drama mama” way, this road will lead to discovery, at least it did for me.

Daniel 6:26 ~ I make a decree, That in every dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel: for he is the living God, and stedfast for ever, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed, and his dominion shall be even unto the end.

King Darius made that decree after Daniel was delivered out of the Lion’s den. And Daniel wrote in the following chapter (7:14)“And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.

The same steadfast God of Daniel is the same steadfast God of the writer of Hebrews who wrote in Hebrews 6:17-19 ~ Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath: That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us: Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil;

Glory to God that stirs this girl’s soul this morning!

I made the mistake of tuning into a Fox newscast on Facebook this morning of the church bombing in Sri Lanka that killed 300 people on Easter Sunday. The day after I lay whining on the couch on Saturday.

It put my days into perspective.

What a wicked world we live in. Another thing that has not changed from the garden is the evil of Satan and his intention of destroying this world and taking as many souls with him as he can. He is the original drama king of this world. His focus is on destruction. But Halelujah! He cannot touch our world… you know… the one we’re headed to, not the one we live in. He’ll have his day down here, but not there.

Daniel knew and shared with Darius what I know and share with my readers. We serve a living God! That is reason to get dramatic on the side of good news!

Heirs of the Promise

Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath:

The Pain won’t last forever! My fibro-weekend wasn’t fun, but today is Tuesday, and I’m feeling so much better. Can you imagine how much better I’ll feel in that Promised Land! Glory to God let’s get dramatic!

Lay hold of His Hope

That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us:

For a split second, okay, maybe several hours I lost hold of that hope on Saturday. The pain over took my mind and I was not in the mindset that I should have been in. I have no doubt that it’s for a reason, and one such reason is, it gives me a greater understanding of those who suffer. If I didn’t suffer too, I could never say “I understand, and really understand.” But praise God, I can share the hope He provides and the promise of a better day.

That hope is what brought Daniel through the lion’s den, because he knew that one way or the other there was a day Darius didn’t control. And so it was with the faith of the writer of Hebrews.

That Hope was Anchored at the Cross

Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil;

We just celebrated the splitting of that veil that day of the cross when our Savior died. We now have that anchor to the soul ready and waiting for us to come to Him, not through a priest but personally, and it’s not going anywhere! From here to eternity our Lord is Alive and so will we be with Him one glorious day.

I may have many “fibro days” ahead of me. Or not… I still pray and believe my Lord can heal. But if He chooses that I go through instead of out, I’ll live for Him because He died for me.

I hope these words encouraged you today, because they sure did me… Let the Son Shine!

3 Reasons I think People Don’t Feel Saved

For  many years if you’d have ask me if I was saved I’d have said yes. Largely because of shame and because I couldn’t admit that I didn’t even understand that concept. Most people who knew me assumed I was saved for no other reason than because I went to church. That was it. That was all it took.  Not because there was any evidence of it in my personal walk with Christ. Which I didn’t have.

So yesterday, as I was blessed to sit in church and hear a convicting message of the gospel; and by convicting I don’t mean I felt like a dirt dog, because I’ve been in those sermons too. But by convicted I knew there were areas in my life that needed more commitment.  And one of those areas was my Monday morning video “Not Another Manic Monday.” I had lost sight of what I wanted to accomplish. I wanted to draw people closer in their walk with Christ.

So today’s topic is one that I believe every child of God has an occasional if not consistent struggle with. The assurance that you’re saved, and three possible reasons that I think will help in winning that battle.

People Don’t Read Beyond the Norm

So what’s the norm? Unfortunately, I think people rarely, if ever read the word. I think that because that’s who I was in my previous church life.

Hebrews 10:22 ~ Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.

A preacher friend of mine (and I’ve used this illustration so many times) said that the Word of God was like a spiritual “warsh” cloth. I know it’s wash cloth, but that’s how he said, and I love that memory.

It’s a phrase that has stuck in my head because I know it to be true. And it’s one of the primary reasons people lose their assurance of salvation. Because they don’t understand the importance of reading the word of God.

Prior to salvation, my idea of reading the word of God was, #1~ it was the preacher’s job. # 2 ~ it was there if I felt troubled. But the problem with the second notion, is at that time I wasn’t saved. So it was like reading the owner’s manual of a product I didn’t have. It made no sense what so ever. 

But once I became saved, and the Spirit of God came into my heart that changed and I was blessed with an immediate desire to soak in the word of God in every form. Spoken, written and recorded. I know I’m not the norm and many people may not have the time that I spend in His word. But the writer of Hebrew spoke a great truth when he said

…  having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.

That evil conscience (that causes us to doubt our salvation) is covered by the blood. But without the reading of the word to remind us of that, we lose the feeling of being clean.

There is one thing I can tell you with bold assurance because I’ve lived it and I’ve failed at it; without the reading of the word of God, you will forever battle the assurance of salvation.

When the writer of Hebrews wrote 10:22, and when my preacher friend was inspired to say “warsh cloth” it was because both of those men had a relationship with the Lord beyond the norm.

People Don’t Live Beyond the Norm

1 Thessalonians 1:5 ~ For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.

God has blessed me with some amazing Spirit filled saints in my life. People who live out the faith. They’re not perfect, but they’re living in the perfection of Christ.

By Spirit filled I don’t mean that they have more of God in them than the average saved person. When we get saved we all get all of God. 

Ephesians 3:19 says And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.

When I think of the fullness of God I think of it like shaking a soda pop. When you do the carbonated bubbles explode to the surface. Well that’s what it’s like when you’re filled with the Spirit. It’s not that you have any more of God that anyone else. But rather the Spirit in you begins to bubble up with excitement because of the work God is doing in your life. And when it bubbles up and out, it’s evident to not only you, but the people around you.

At those times, nobody can tell you you’re not saved. Because you’re living it. And while we can’t live on the mountain all the time, if we’re serving God enough, those experiences will leave very little room for doubt in your eternal state. Not for you. Or for the people around you.

I was successful in my early walk with Christ because the people around me bubbled with excitement. And I wanted it too.

People Don’t Attend Church Beyond the Norm

Colossians 2:2 ~  That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ;

Growing up I thought that faith was a Sunday morning thing. Sunday night and Wednesday Night Bible Study was for the blue hairs and old men. And most churches are still like that today, if they even have a Sunday night or Wednesday night service.

Right after I got saved our church began a Wednesday Night Study called “Journey to the Heavenlies.” It was a study on the book of Revelation. A pretty heavy topic for a new believer. And while I certainly didn’t understand all of it, I understood enough, because of an excellent teacher. I was fascinated about the prospect of Heaven and no longer feared the end times.

That understanding helped inspire me to read and live beyond the norm. And it gave me the desire to come back again and again to learn more. I was so thankful for the truth of God’s word being taught to me that I wanted to live and do more for my Lord.

When Paul wrote to the Colossians he hadn’t been with them for a while. But they were holding on to each other and it multiplied their assurance.

That’s what attending a church does and why it’s crucial to your assurance.

When I got saved I was attending every revival around me. I couldn’t get enough church, be it mine or someone else’s. I just wanted to be with God’s people. I still do.

I know that in being with God’s people, I’ll not only be encouraged, I’ll be accountable. We need people in our lives that will keep us from slipping in our faith which causes doubt.

Last night the preacher told the story of some old time saints in a remote village. They didn’t have a closet to get into for prayer, but realizing the importance of spending time alone with God they would carve out a path in the woods. Each would have their own.

But if someone’s path started having grass grow on it, it would be evidence that they weren’t spending time alone with God. And one of their friends, in a nice tone would say, “Friend, your path has grass on it.”

They were letting them know that they were concerned that their friend wasn’t spending enough time with God.

So that’s my question for you.    Friend, does your path have grass on it? I hope not. And I don’t stand in judgement. Because my path any day could start growing grass because I’m just flesh and blood.

That’s why I go to church, read the word and live beyond the norm. Because I’m not normal.

That should get a big amen!

Rain On Me Lord!

April showers bring May flowers, provided they’re properly cared for by the gardener. And while wild flowers can grow with seemingly no care whatsoever, my sometimes, confessedly neglected flower beds begin to dry up within hours of me forgetting to water them. My spiritual life is much the same. Left unattended, without the water of the Word and I’m as shriveled and parched as a raisin in the sun. It’s also true if I don’t spend time nurturing my relationship with the Lord. I cannot do it for the Jesus Chick, not for my Sunday morning class or my Wednesday night class, but for me alone. It’s personal.

Isaiah 45:8-12

Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness: let the earth open, and let them bring forth salvation, and let righteousness spring up together; I the Lord have created it.

Getting in the word is just like my spring time flower beds; digging around always unearths something. Sometimes good, sometimes bad. The word is always good, but sometimes there’s some bad in me that needs rooted out cast out. If I spend all my time focusing on ministering to other people, I miss the ministering I need. And the weeds of this world will prevent my own spiritual growth. We need to take time for us.

Isaiah understood that concept when he received the word of God. Isaiah was a vessel, filled with the seeds that God had given him and a relationship that allowed him to be used mightily by God. We too are that vessel!

Stop Striving with God

Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, What makest thou? or thy work, He hath no hands?

Striving against God? Who would be that stupid, right? Me. That’s what I do every time I feel the coercing of the Holy Spirit to spend time alone with God and I spend it in the world. When I read verse nine I could hear God say, “That is not what I created you for. I didn’t create you to be exhausted with things of no eternal value. Stop striving.”

Stop Doubting God

10 Woe unto him that saith unto his father, What begettest thou? or to the woman, What hast thou brought forth?

Why do we question why we were created as we were? Boy, oh boy does that question hit me hard. I’ve never made any bones about it when it comes to my always questioning God’s direction in my life. Even though I know. Even though it’s as obvious as the nose on my face. But even with the knowledge of what I’m supposed to do, I’m always playing the comparison game with other writer, artists, and singers. Basically telling God that what He did in me, isn’t enough.

Stop Bossing God

11 Thus saith the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker, Ask me of things to come concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands command ye me. 12 I have made the earth, and created man upon it: I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all their host have I commanded.

When I read these verses I immediately knew that God wanted me to know. To Shari quote it in the manner I heard it inside of my head, I heard God say “Why don’t you ask Me and My Son what we have planned for you instead of telling Us what you have planned. I’ve created the universe and the host of all of Heaven. What have you created by comparison?”

Wow. That is so true.

I’m learning at a snail’s pace to love myself and my work. But it’s hard. I criticize myself until I feel like a dirt dog unworthy to eat from the scrapyard. True story. But the reality is, who created strife and doubt? and Who created confidence and love? We know the answer and yet we buy the lies of Satan every day.

Stop Striving. Stop Doubting. Stop Bossing. Start enjoying the gifts God has given you.

Crash Test Christianity

That’s the thought that came out of the teen class lesson yesterday as my co-teacher Doug taught our youth. My brain goes strange places sometimes and either like honey or mud, it’s stuck in that place until I dig around and find out what the Lord needs me to know about that word.

The word was “prove”. Meaning to demonstrate, show, give evidence or verify something.

It’s what most of us want on the everyday front of life; we want evidence that we’re going the right direction, that God is pleased, that we’re forgiven. And God tells us that’s okay. He wants us to prove Him.

But sometimes proving Him leaves me feeling a little like a crash test dummy. Not that God wants me to be that. He’d rather I be the evaluator. Not the demonstrator. But I hit the wall again and again. I’m no different than the original crash test dummies, they however were on camels not Kia souls.

Behavior Lessons

In Exodus 15:24-25 it says

And the people murmured against Moses, saying, what shall we drink?

There third day into the trip and they’ve already found something to complain about with leadership. They’d arrived at Marah and couldn’t drink the water because it was bitter. And that was Moses’ fault.

Yesterday, my grandsons Luke and Parker were wrestling in the floor and knocked something off the table. Within a second of the crash Parker yelled, “Luke did it!’

We’re always looking for someone to blame for our problems in life rather than taking responsibility for it ourselves. I’m not apt to throw someone under the bus, though I might, but more than likely I’ll blame circumstances for my errors. Knowing it was my fault.

But God gives Israel the bitter water to prove something about Himself.

Verse 25:

And he cried unto the Lord and the Lord shewed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet: there he made for a statute and an ordinance and there he proved them, and said, if thou wilt hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the Lord that healeth you.

Praise God for grace! We are not bound by the law. But that doesn’t make the law nonexistent. It’s still there. But now it proves that we cannot keep ourselves. We depend on that grace to clean us up when we crash and burn.

And He does. The name of Grace is Jesus.

Faith Lessons

In Exodus 16 we find the children of Israel complaining again, but this time its about the food.

Verse 3

And the children of Israel said unto them, Would to God we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, and when we did eat bread to the full; for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger.

For some reason that scripture struck me funny. Although I don’t find it funny when my provision isn’t coming in like I wish it would. If you’ve ever lacked (and we all likely have), you can understand the children of Israel’s mindset. We often chalk them up to being a bunch of whiners, but if you’re a million strong in the wilderness and you’re not seeing a Walmart, you’re worried. But the Lord intervenes in the conversation:

Vs. 4

Then said the Lord unto Moses, Behold I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no.

More evidence. More being tied to the law. Again… praise God for grace! Our provision is not tied to the law, it’s tied to faith.

Philippians 4:19 ~ But my God shall supply all your  need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

2 Corinthians 9:8 ~ And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:

Philippians 4:6 ~ Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God

Verse after verse we’re given about the provision of God. And yet ye all know that there have been times when we’ve been without. Is that a lack of faith? Perhaps it’s just another way God proves Himself to us. Paul said it like this in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10:

 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

Sometimes it’s about learning that we can survive without it.

One of my nephews crashed a motorcycle one time and once the downed bike stop sliding and he stopped rolling, he jumped up and said, “I’m fine.” No one was any more surprised than he was. He learned that sometimes we can crash and not burn.

The last place I want to talk about being a crash test dummy is in Exodus 20:20

Grace Lessons

 We just talked about it through Paul. So how does grace work with the laws of God.

And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not.

Moses had just given them the Lord’s Ten Commandments. They had seen God come down as lightening, thunder and the noise of a trumpet and they wanted no part of it. They wanted an intercessor. So do we.

Remember, this was before the days of sci-fi and special effects. This was the real deal and I probably would be afraid too. The only one not shaking in his shoes was Moses and that was because this wasn’t His first rodeo with God. He’d been in conversations with God before.

But now. Glory to God!!! We don’t need an intercessor. We have a more excellent way. There is no need to go through a priest. Christ took care of that on the cross.

Matthew 27:51 – And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;

Ephesians 2:18 ~ For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.

Second to the Resurrection, which proved my Lord’s power over death, my favorite part of that story is the renting of the curtain in the temple. The very thing that kept the common man out of the Holy of Holies was gone. Torn in two from top to the bottom, and opening our way to have direct access to God Himself through the Holy Spirit.

God proves that every day to His children by showing them His presence in their lives.

While the children of Israel felt condemned by the law, there is no condemnation in Christ, only grace for those who come to Him.

Romans 8:1

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

There is no crash and burn for the child of God. Just like those crash test dummies, we my crash, but  we’ll be fine. Because the Lord is on our side!

A Hippy at Heart

I truly am a hippy at heart. And by hippy I don’t mean the stereotypical one’s that those of us who were raised in the 60’s and 70’s remember. Though I must confess I would have fit that mold at various times in my life too. But by hippy I mean, tie-dye lovin’, peace seeking, freedom speaking child of God. I think God like’s the hippy mindset so long as He is the center focus.

Perhaps you agree. Perhaps not. Either is okay. But it’s where my mind is at this morning. I actually drew two images (one above and one below for this blog) The first was the dove below but then the blog took on a whole other direction. And thus the hippy Shari showed up.

My verse this morning for focus was Isaiah 26:3

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

So you may be wondering how I got from the dove to the hippy? It was a short trip. It started with my niece Holly. She’s a little hippy-ish too. And she’s been on my mind a lot lately. She’s a single mom of three and such a free spirit. I love her. I love all my nieces and nephews and my children because each one is so different. I mean really!!!!! different. Out of the 12 they have a few commonalities, but their personalities are nowhere close. Much like the church of God.

We have a common bond, Christ Jesus; but our personalities are what makes us who we are in Christ, and it’s what makes each one of us cope with difficult times in a different way.

I cope with life struggles by relying on the freedom of Christ. That’s the hippy mindset in me. It’s not that I want to go wherever the wind blows, that’s not God’s way; but I want to go in the direction the Spirit leads, and sometimes that’s down weird path that other people don’t understand.  

So on a day that I’m struggling with some issues in life I turned to this verse and found the freedom for living that I needed.

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

Perfect Peace?

What does that look like? Well, first of all you have to tune into the first word of that sentence. Thou. Thou is God. And it is in Him only that you’ll find perfect peace.

It’s not that life is perfect, it’s that we can rest in the knowledge that whatever we’re facing is in His control. If He chooses to take us through it, we’ll go. If He chooses to remove us from it, we’ll go out or around, but some way, somehow God’s got it taken care of.

That sounds so easy right? But we know it’s not always. Life sometimes stinks and it’s not any fun, and that’s where the hippy attitude of the flower children and God’s children parts. We’re not escaping reality, we’re living in the very real knowledge that we serve a God who can and does amazing things in the lives of those who serve and trust Him.

That’s where that free spirit takes me that is my happy place!!! I can trust in Him who I have served for 23 years and watched as He brought me through time and time again. I know that if I keep my mind focused on the direction God, the Holy Spirit is leading, I’m going to come out a winner. Because I’ve read the end of the book.

Just as my 12 nieces and nephews and 25 great nieces and nephews (yes there is a boatload of us) differ and have many talents, so does the church. Find yours, give it to God, and then walk in the freedom His peace affords knowing He’s guiding you.

That’s my advice to my kids and grand-kids, and it’s my advice for you…

Take Heart Child of God

He brought me forth also into a large place; He delivered me, because He delighted in me.

Psalm 18:19

Room to Breathe

Have you ever been trapped in a small space? Even sitting in a crowded theatre where people are shoulder to shoulder is not a feeling I enjoy. I’m not claustrophobic but I still don’t enjoy it. It’s the same feeling that I get when trouble happens in my life. I feel as though the walls are closing in on me, breathing is difficult and being a heart attack survivor, those times are not what I want to experience.

I need room to breathe. And Praise God! He provides that room through His word.

Psalm 18, another of David, who assuredly had enemies, was likely written in his old age. Perhaps a reflection of his previous enemies, maybe new ones. As a child of God we all have enemies, the greatest being Satan. Sometimes I’m my own worst enemy. Heaping and heaping things upon myself, until I’m out of room.

This morning I imagined God swooping in , brushing my burdens away and telling Satan, not today. She’s got no time for that. And I could breathe.

That place… that awesome large place… is Heaven. Me seated in Heaven with the Father as spoken in Ephesians 2: 6

And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:

There is plenty of room to breathe in Heaven!

Removed from Battle

He delivered me. I did not fight the battle because I didn’t have the strength.  If David was in his final days upon writing this Psalm, he likely wasn’t able to physically fight the battles any longer.  Regardless of age, life’s battles takes its toll on your strength.  It weakens the spirit and with it weakens my hope that I’ll win.

I’m in that place this morning.

It’s why I turned to the word of God, looking for hope in the only place it is a surety. It’s there I found the freedom to breathe and the relief of not fighting the battle. Just to sit and watch God as He removed me from the battle.

Raised in Belief

Belief that I am a favored child of the King. Raised, meaning lifted up and strengthened in the knowledge that He who sits high and looks low, not only controls my world but the world of those that would seek to cause anxiety and stress in my life.

He loves us! He does not want us to fight these battles alone and He desires that we talk to Him about it and get out of the mindset of defeat. He delights in you!

I can’t help but think about my own children and how I delight in them. I can’t wait to see them and speak with them. I love hearing what’s going on in their life, it’s not a burden, it’s a blessing. I want God to do amazing things in their lives and for them to have Victory.

Is it any different for our Father?

 Take heart child of God. You are loved and adored by your Father above. You are with Him in Heaven and He is with you on earth.  The battle is over with Him because He goes before us. We have His word as a promise and a reason to believe. I hope this encourages you today! It sure did me

How Thirsty are You?

It’s a thought that’s been so heavy on my mind and heart lately. I’m not thirsty enough. Not when it comes to water in a bottle, or the water of the Bible. I just don’t want it bad enough, knowing that it is the quencher to the thirst within.

Why is that?

The old adage “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink” comes to mind. There are people all across the earth that would literally give their right arm for what I have freely flowing in the tap. The same holds true for what’s lying beside me on the couch. The water of the word that is all over my house, on multiple tables, bookshelves, and electronic devices, and yet I don’t thirst enough. I read it. But I don’t thirst for it.

In Psalm 42 David writes as he’s being persecuted by Saul for doing nothing less than trying to be of help in a position that he knows is actually his. He is on the run, driven from his homeland where he longs to be. Away from family and friends, away from the house of God. All these things that I have surrounding me and yet I take them for granted.

This morning I have burdens on my soul. Ministry burdens. Life burdens. But I’m not on the run. Sunday morning, Lord willing, I’ll be in the sanctuary of Victory Baptist Church listening to the word of God without fear of being persecuted or killed because I’ve openly walked through the doors in the free country that I live and am protected by.

However, today I’m so parched by the world around me. I’m thirsting. I’m tired. Maybe you are too. Maybe you’ve had enough of bad news, wickedness abounding and world of hurting people. If you’re ready to sooth your weary soul. Read along with me and let’s unpack how David lived on the run…

Thirsting for His Presence

One of my favorite, fav-o-rite songs that I sing is “Your Presence is my Favorite Gift of All” by Claire Lynch. It blesses my soul! It causes me to remember that feeling that I have when I’m in the presence of the Almighty God. It causes me to long to be there again. Imagine David, on the run and unable to attend a worship service that He so loved being a part of. That’s where he is in the beginning of Psalm 42. He misses being in God’s presence. So do I.

1As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?

The living God! Oh my stars if we could get a hold of that thought and take it in with every breath. God is not dead, He is very much alive! And He longs to be found alive within His church today. Not dry and dusty Christianity, but praise singing, hand raising, shoutin’ time Christianity. The real deal that comes from being thirsty.

I can imagine the hart (deer) running to the brook after being high in the mountains away from the water for a long time. Needing to feel that moisture running across his tongue and down his throat into the depths of his belly. What a relief! that’s where my soul was this morning. I needed to feel the Spirit of God like a glass of water from a well spring. Can you feel it? Just in the reading of a few lines of scripture I feel my soul moistening, tender, ready to receive His word.

Thirsting for His People

My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, Where is thy God?When I remember these things, I pour out my soul in me: for I had gone with the multitude, I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept holyday.

There was a time when many, many churches were on fire for God. They are few and far between. I need a church that praises and preaches the joy of God. One that I can feel the love of God through. I have that. David had that, he missed that. I long for a revival both in my soul and in my church. I want a soul stirring meeting that doesn’t want to end. We experienced one such in our church in 2010 when a 5 day revival went for weeks. We were thirsty. We not only thirsted for God but for each other. We couldn’t get enough of the fellowship. You practically had to throw people off the lot. David got that. He loved His people like that.

Thirsting for His Power

Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance. O my God, my soul is cast down within me: therefore will I remember thee from the land of Jordan, and of the Hermonites, from the hill Mizar. Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterspouts: all thy waves and thy billows are gone over me. Yet the Lord will command his lovingkindness in the day time, and in the night his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life.

The Hermonians lived on a high hill, Mizar means little hill. I have to wonder if David isn’t reminded of times when regardless of being in a high place or a low place he experienced God’s power.

Am I thirsting for that? Do I even believe it will happen? I’m ashamed to say that there are times when I just don’t believe. Not because of God, but because of the flesh that I allow to rise upon with me.

I went to the Orthopedic doc yesterday for my knee injury. His diagnosis without the MRI was vague. He said it could be that when I injured it I flared up some serious arthritis. Or it could be the original diagnosis of a torn meniscus. Following the appointment I went to my friend Tracy’s for a new hair doo and she is a power packed prayer warrior. So as we discussed my knee I said, I’d rather it be arthritis than the tear. Which is crazy because the tear can be surgically healed, arthritis not so much. But I can’t have the surgery due to the open heart surgery being to close. To which Tracy responded and loudly. “Why are you not praying for complete healing?” To which I said inside my head, because I don’t have enough faith.

David was using the water that was overflowing him, that would have drowned a lesser man, to ignite the revival in his soul and the power to give God glory for the victory, even in the face of little hope.

Can I get a witness that that has got to encourage your soul!!!

Thirsting for His Praise

David was distraught and downhearted in a way I cannot even imagine. But I can imagine it on my level.

I will say unto God my rock, Why hast thou forgotten me? why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy? 10 As with a sword in my bones, mine enemies reproach me; while they say daily unto me, Where is thy God? 11 Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? Hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.

I have never felt that God forgot me, but I can tell you that I’ve felt that God was choosing to ignore me. I always knew it was my fault. I allowed myself to get there, but I couldn’t feel Him moving in my life. And I can tell you that I did not praise in that moment. But David did.

When the doc gave me the diagnosis yesterday I said, “Okay… this is what it is.” But what if God said… “It ain’t what you think.” I didn’t even leave room for the option.

I need to be a little thirstier for God’s side of this discussion…