Posted in Bible Journaling, Faith, Health, Uncategorized

We All Need a Super Hero

Jesus Chick Graphics

1 Thessalonians 4:6

That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified.

There are some days that you just need a Super Hero; and reading a text like this one was it for me. It’s not that I have an enemy in any man (or woman) as the case could be. But rather my enemy is Satan, and sometimes myself. I’ve said in a few blogs lately that Christmas was hard on me. I’m still not feeling up to par and that takes its tole on me spiritually and emotionally. It’s at that point, the lowest point, that I can feel Satan kicking the guts out of me because he knows I’m too weak to fight back. 

After the heart attack I was on a mission to better health, I had cardiac rehab three times a week which kept me motivated to eat better and look better. Then the rehab stopped, weight increased and my desire to eat well and live better slowly diminished and I went back to many of my old habits. You know… like bread and junk habits. Add the stressors of a holiday and by December 26th my body was wracked with pain. There was no super strength that I used to be able to muster. Just weakness. I would come home from the office and do a minimal amount of housework and collapse in the bed to Pureflix, Instagram and Facebook. But only scrolling… not even using it for what I had always done, which is the promotion of Christ. Ugh 😩

So what’s a girl to do? 

And then there He was. Where He had always been but I had neglected to see. My Super Hero and Avenger, long before Hollywood thought they had the market wrapped up on it. Although those are my favorite kind of shows. Well… they used to be, until the story line never changed and the gore got too much. Sorry. Squirrel 🐿! My ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) kicked in and I went by the way side. But interestingly enough, God never does.

I never lose His attention. 

Paul tells us in the 1 Thessalonians 4 that they’ve been warned and those warnings were backed up by testimony.  Not only Paul’s testimony but mine as well, and likely yours! I have story after story of how God has blessed my life and allowed me to do amazing things that a country girl from the ridge of Zion should never have had the opportunity. So when I hear the things like Satan has been whispering in my ear, I shouldn’t fall for it, but I do. Every time. 

But then… my super 🦸‍♂️ hero swoops in and rescues me, and tells that demon to “Back off, this child is Mine!” Glory to God! 

Paul continues on to tell the church to love one another, and another of my favorite verses in this chapter when he tells them to “mind their own business.” That cracks me up for multiple reasons. 

1 Thessalonians 4:11

And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you;

In my weariness and busyness I neglected my business. Which is the ministry of the Lord. I was  commanded when I was called to serve to make that a priority in my life. But I had allowed that jerk of a demon to distract me away from what needed done, and in the process allowed myself to come under attack. 

This morning I feel somewhat better. Actually having talked to my second super hero, my husband David, about the fact I wasn’t feeling well. I hadn’t told him about it as not to concern him, or let him tell me I needed to see the doc. Which is my least favorite thing in the world.

I realize that this is somewhat of a random, all about Shari blog, but I felt the need to share. Possibly because you’ve been feeling overwhelmed and under attack as well. You too need a superhero!

Blessings!!!! And please share this post if it blessed ya ~ Shari.

Posted in Christian Service, Faith, Leadership, Life Inspiration

The God Connection

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

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

Sound, the Noun

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

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

Sound, the Verb

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

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

Sound, the Adjective

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

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

2 Timothy 1:7

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

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

2 Timothy 1:13

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

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

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

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

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

Posted in Bible Journaling, Christian Service, Faith, Grace, Life Inspiration, Purpose, Word of God

All the things!

There are days when I think that I have gone completely mad and that the world is in a tailspin that cannot be stopped. And then I realize that I need to take the “L” out of the world, and latch back on to the word. 

I spent yesterday going from one work project to personal project and back all day long. I had computer software, billing programs issues, cheerleading squad projects and a load or two of laundry thrown into the mix just for fun. By the time I hit the sack last night I was not just physically exhausted but mentally as well. And I “almost” complained. And then I realized, Shari, you are blessed beyond measure as my friend Loretta Propst always reminds me. 

In the midst of exhaustion I hadn’t bothered to realize that I had the strength to do it all and it was only through Christ that I had it. Isn’t that wonderful!? How the word of God refocuses your mind. I woke up a little late this morning and my wise husband said… just rest a minute. And so I did.

I did however have enough time for a quick piece of art and a short blog today. I hope it blesses you to realize that you too can do ALL things today through Christ. He is so very faithful. Have a blessed Friday (or what ever day you read this). And know that you are loved by the Lord Jesus, and me as well. Blessings! ~ Shari

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

Is Jesus Missing You?

The news came this morning of a fallen child of God. I’ve watched it over the years as they strayed further and further away from the Lord, falling backing into alcoholism, domestic issues and yesterday an arrest with multiple charges. My heart sunk, the tears welled and I became frustrated, hurt and then really, really sad. I also became really, really conscious of the state of being human. We’re all just one bad decision away from needing grace. While I can’t imagine myself falling into the sins of my friend… and yes, they’re still my friend, because they’re still he friend of Jesus… I am aware that life changes on a dime. We all have good days and bad, and every day we need to hold tight to Jesus. Not because He’ll ever let us go, but because it’s up to us build our relationship with Him. And relationship are relational. Shocker! Right? 

Then why are we surprised when we don’t feel close to Jesus? When’s the last time we spent some serious time in His presence? I love the scripture in 1 Chronicles 16:22 that warns the world

Saying, Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm. – 1 Chronicles 16:22

You see, I know that I am anointed. I’ve known it from the time I got saved and began serving Jesus. But I don’t always act like I’m anointed.

Over the past few weeks I’ve re-entered the workforce on a part time basis. I’ve had to restructure my life, which has been good. It calls for very early wake ups and very early bed times. It calls for organization skills, which doesn’t come easy for me and it especially calls for time management. My ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) is on overdrive. I feel like that cartoon where the guy’s head is spinning like a top. Which way do I look! And then I realize. Up!!!!!

For the past few days I’ve had to pull an extra shift, prepare for my first board meeting and then attend a days training out of town which was all extra time in my schedule that I had not prepared for. It took me out of the ministry work, and refocused my attention on secular business and not the Lord’s. While I know He understands; He is not surprised, our relationship suffered. Certainly not on His end. But mine. 

And I said all that to say this: when my friend fell, I felt the fall. I had felt it every time I seen this guy and his family around town. I missed his fellowship at church. And so I wondered as I zoomed down the road, hither, there, and yon if Jesus watched me zoom by and said… “I miss you Shari.”

Has He said it about you lately?

How can we feel the power of that statement of God, “Touch not mine anointed,” when we’re not spending time with Him. 

  • The scripture leading up to that verse reminded Israel, and us, that we need to look at the life of Abraham (known as the friend of God) and how his relationship down through the ages has brought blessing. 

1 Chronicles 16:11-22 KJV

[11] Seek the LORD and his strength, seek his face continually. [12] Remember his marvellous works that he hath done, his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth; [13] O ye seed of Israel his servant, ye children of Jacob, his chosen ones. [14] He is the Lord our God; his judgments are in all the earth. [15] Be ye mindful always of his covenant; the word which he commanded to a thousand generations; [16] Even of the covenant which he made with Abraham, and of his oath unto Isaac; [17] And hath confirmed the same to Jacob for a law, and to Israel for an everlasting covenant, [18] Saying, Unto thee will I give the land of Canaan, the lot of your inheritance; [19] When ye were but few, even a few, and strangers in it. [20] And when they went from nation to nation, and from one kingdom to another people; [21] He suffered no man to do them wrong: yea, he reproved kings for their sakes, [22] Saying, Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm.

So as I head to work again today, these things are on my mind.

  • I sought the Lord and I’ve been strengthened in the Lord. Hallelujah!
  • I am mindful of His promises, not only to Abraham, but to me! Hallelujah!
  • And I am ever so aware that even though there are days when I feel like a stranger in my own world, I am God’s anointed. Hallelujah!!!

Please pray for my friend. He needs restored. And Make sure you take some time today to refresh in God’s word and prayer. So that you too can be remind that you are His anointed and you have a purpose for the Kingdom. 

God bless ya! ~ Shari

Posted in Bible Journaling, Faith, Forgiveness, Health, Life Inspiration, Uncategorized

You Can Fix Stupid

It’s Saturday morning, I’ve had a crazy week and I stand in need of some serious rest. Well. Guess where I’m going? It’s not to the world. And it’s not sleep of which I speak. It’s mental rest that I’m in need of. This world can drag me into oblivion and I feel like I’m drowning. And so I go to the only place I’ve ever found true rest. The Word of God.

Christ says in 1 John 14:27

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. 

John 14 is one of my favorite books. It’s speaks of that place for which God Himself is preparing for us, but until then, He has provided the Comforter. And just reading the word of God causes my anguished soul to calm and the peace for which I’m longing is there. 

Sometimes the blog comes and then the image, but this morning it was the other way around. I could feel myself collapsing under the weight of the world before I got out of bed. I love the quote “The struggle is real!” Because it is. I’m sure I’m not speaking anything new to you. We all feel it. I’m not the only one with issues. Am I? Of course not. And our dilemmas are personal, and although the struggles of other people may be far worse, it doesn’t mean that ours will be ignored by the Lord. He understands. Long before He went to the garden, where He felt a struggle far beyond anything we will ever know, He still had earthly struggles. 

There were stupid people who walked the earth in Jesus’ day too. That may be a Jesus Chick original quote… just sayin’. Stupidity was a seed planted in the garden of Eden and we’ve been eating of that tree ever since. I won’t throw the rest of the world under the bus and say that I have not had moments of stupidity. Most of the pressures I feel are self inflicted. That seems to be a reoccurring theme on my blog and in my life. So I guess the question for today is “What do we do with the stupidity of this world?”

Fix What You Can

I’m looking at my own life and what’s going on right now. I’ve re-entered the workforce and have taken a job that needs some serious TLC. (Tender, loving, care). This week had me wading through paper work, checking accounts and new computer programs and the occasional stupid person. Mainly a computer programmer who I have no desire to ever meet. What I discovered is, I can fix this. But every problem has to be dealt with one at a time and with wise counsel. I’ll be honest with you, that’s never been my strong suit. Asking for help has always made me feel weak and less. But when the computer program kicked my butt this week, I had to call for counsel; and when the computer programmer talked to me like I was an idiot, and told me that his program took 2-6 months of training, which wasn’t included in what I’m paying him, I immediately knew who the idiot was, and it wasn’t me. So how do you fix stupidity. Get a new program.

The same is true in life. If what we’re doing isn’t working, we need to get a new program. It might be my stupidity or that of another that’s causing me issues, but I can’t keep doing the same thing and get a different result. So let’s change it up.

Don’t Let What’s Broken Cause you to Fall

For certain something broken can cause you to fall. My broken body has put me into the position of falling on several occasions.That feeling has caused me frustration and I’ve had to learn that aging is a process, but it’s not an ending. It’s just a new program.  And I’m slowly learning that the new program isn’t bad. I’ve just had to adjust my ways of doing things and my way of thinking, a lot! 

But what if it’s not something physical. What if it’s a broken heart or broken dreams. Perhaps it’s a broken promise. All of which can cause us to fall into a spiritual trap of the Devil. Satan loves it when something stupid happens in our lives that breaks us. When we’re down on our knees we have two choices; we can either cower to the demonic forces that want to make us miserable, or we can take what’s broken to the Lord Jesus Himself, and allow Him to fix it for us. It takes counsel. Sometimes from people, but always from the Lord. He is the only One that has the power to mend a broken heart or spirit. 

So you see, contrary to popular belief, you can fix stupid. 

I am aware that there is an exhaustive list of stupidity. And that it’s not a one size fits all. But it is a One size fix’s all. And that’s the Lord Jesus. Regardless of the category, the level or the depth of disaster. God’s got it covered and is more than willing to work with us. Isn’t that great?! You can fix stupid… who knew!

Posted in Christian Service, Eternity, Faith, Heaven, joy, Uncategorized

Keep reading… the war ain’t over.

Revelation 2:8-11 

8 And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was de-ad, and is alive;

I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and I know the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of Satan.

10 Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.

11 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.

The church of Smyrna was just 25 miles north of the church of Ephesus. To me it’s symbolic as well. There’s not a whole lot of distance between being on fire for the Lord Jesus, and having your world turned upside down by the troubles and trials of life. Some of which can be brought on by the fact that you’re just trying to do what the Lord called you to do.

The persecuted church of Smyrna was facing tribulations that most of us have never experienced, nor can we imagine. Facing death for our faith isn’t something that Americans understand. Most won’t even live for Jesus, dying for Him would be unimaginable. But it was a very real possibility in the days for which John wrote. And it will be again.

According to the website www.Opendoorsusa.org. An in-depth investigative report focusing on global church persecution showed “a staggering 11 Christians are killed for their faith in the top 50 countries ranked on the World Watch List.” If you’d like to read the article, here’s the link:

While most of us cannot comprehend persecution, we can certainly understand troubles and trials. I’ve had my own and I continue to watch as friends and family suffer. But what I also see is the glory of the Lord.

Last Monday I went to the Long Term Care unit of our local hospital to sing. But before I could get my guitar out of the case, a dear lady pulled me to the side and whispered in my ear, “Shari, I’ve been diagnosed with cancer again, but I’m not seeking treatment. Please just pray for my comfort.” My heart sunk. But what joy there will be in Heaven when this dear friend meets Jesus face to face, for Whom she trusts her life to. I’ll be very sad. She will be very happy!

I’ve watched friends lose children, I’ve seen marriages fall apart and watched them restored, I’ve seen others disintegrate, I’ve seen people lose their jobs and I’ve been victim of that too. But the common thread that always made my heart smile, was the fact that we all held onto hope even on the darkest days because we knew there was a better day coming.

This was John’s message to the church of Smyrna and it’s God’s message to us today. Hold on! It ain’t over until God says it’s over! We may, or we may not have the victory we desire on this earth. But either way, Satan’s going to lose.

This brief and not so in-depth study of the book of Revelation is stirring my soul for Heaven. I’m tired. And not just because of the physical stress. But because of the spiritual stress on my soul. I’m back in the workforce on a part time basis which allows me to continue my ministry work and pay my bills. Win! But what it also does is put me back into the world where I see firsthand the brokenness of society. It’s not that I didn’t know it was there. But being home every day allowed me to retreat into my world more often. Now, one day on the job and I realize I’m among it; and we are not winning that battle.

This world is under the curse of sin and the power of Satan. So what’s a girl to do? Keep reading… the war ain’t over.

Posted in Christian Service, Faith, Health, Life Inspiration, Uncategorized

Weary, Worry, and Wantonness

There used to be a quote that said, “My momma warned me they’d be days like this.” And while that’s evokes humor, it’s true none the less! Today is a day of feeling overwhelmed. It often happens when I come back from a ministry opportunity because, not only am I facing the undone things of the home, I’m facing the undone things of the spiritual realm too. Things like, promising myself that my prayer life would be richer and deeper, that my ministry would be better focused and scheduled, and my music rehearsal time would become a priority. Hmmmm. Did I really say I’d do all that? Add that to the physical things of the world that has to get done: Chickens to feed and water, 3 critters under my feet today and an extra one, because Maggie Mae the grandpuppy is visiting, in amidst the posters I need to do for our high school cheerleading squad, which my daughter now coaches, 6 children I’ll be picking up from school this evening and yes… my plate is full.  

Some days I wonder if this is considered sanity or insanity.

And, I overslept. Not cool Shari.

The Three W’s of life take their toll. So what are we to do as children of God when it all seems too much?

Weary = Rest

Galatians 6:9 says And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

We must schedule rest; it’s not an option if we want to avoid fainting. And while I will agree with what you’re most likely thinking “There’s no room for rest!” As I said it’s not an option. As Pastor Mike so often said, “You do what you want to do.” And so, I think of my day and the many, many wasted moments that I piddle with this, that or the other that actually serve no purpose and I realize there is time for rest. I just need to schedule it like a doctor’s appointment and during that time allow the Healer to heal this weary soul.

You schedule yours now too!

During that time we need to

  • Tell the Healer where we hurt – Even the places we don’t like to go.
  • We need to close our eyes and listen to His advice. – Shssh.
  • And then we need to just breath. Quietly and peacefully. Imagining the sounds of heaven….

My 3-year-old nephew Jensen, who lives in Maine, is one of the wisest boys I know. He told his Momma last week that “His socks make noises like this… and then he sat very still and quiet for a few seconds.”

I have laughed at that for a week. Thinking of how wise this little fella was to understand that silence is a sound that we need to hear. There is a depth of wisdom in that boys statement that goes beyond what we allow ourselves to understand. Shsssh.

Worry = Trust

Proverbs 16:20 ~ He that handleth a matter wisely shall find good: and whoso trusteth in the Lord, happy is he.

A lesson that I have to learn again and again, is to do the best I can, and then leave the rest to God. Because I’m a fixer, and I want to fix it… quickly. Trusting even in the Lord Jesus is a struggle. No… let me rephrase that, “Waiting on the Lord Jesus is struggle. I know that I know His way is best. But I so often think my way is faster. And while that is true sometimes, it messes up the plan and causes my happiness to be less than it should be. I’m wondering if you too can identify?

His way leads to happiness, our way leads to happy less. Oh dear… that one smarted!

Finally but not the least of the three that I struggle with is

Wantoness =  Conent

It could speak to “stuff,” or “position or place.” Wantonness is a fleshly struggle for me. I love bling baby!!! And I love it so much so that I get lost in it sometimes. Wanting things for my house, my kids, myself, my husband. It’s hard to be content in a world of media!

And so I’ve been trying to focus myself on using media to promote the Lord rather than allowing it to promote the world to me. If I spend time in my artistic endeavors of Christian banner and art creation, it will hopefully fill my days with causing the world to desire what the Lord provides. Contentment.

Does it always work? Nope. But as always I’m a work in progress.

I hope that my attempts at making my own self better, helps you with your life. I love ya, and I hope you have a Christ focused day!!!

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

🦆An Ugly Duckling Story🦢

GRAFTED AND GRATEFUL

From a child I’ve felt like an odd duck. I always had hopes that I would be the ugly duckling that grew into the beautiful swan, but never felt that I met that accomplishment either. Not asking for pity, just sharing my heart. Believe me when I tell you, I’ve came to terms… well kind of… with the fact that I’m peculiar.

It is my life verse you know… But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light; ~ 1 Peter 2:9

But peculiarity won’t be a part of Heaven. Have you ever thought of that? That in that place, we will never again feel inferior. That alone should make you shout! But here I feel inferior because I know the inward Shari that the outward world does not. When they look upon me with a judging eye, it’s generally their critique of my abilities or looks. But I not only have that to contend with in this world of glitz and glam that attracts my eye, but I have the failures of the flesh as well. Oh glory… I needed a dose of Jesus this morning to remind that even though I am peculiar here, I am a part of the family of God.

Romans 11:17-18 ~ And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert grafted in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee.

While Israel awaits their coming Messiah, having missed His first appearance, we partake of the root and the fatness of the olive tree.

That thought brought such joy to my soul and tears to my eyes, to think that their rejection and God’s infinite mercy allowed me to be grafted into their family as the wild olive tree would be grafted to the Original. How can I boast about the fact that I am a child of God, and forget that for now Israel is astray?

How can I not be burdened for God’s heart as I would if my own children were astray from me?

My daughters are both loving young women. Both married. And I have accepted their spouses as my sons as well. It’s an easy fit for me, because God’s acceptance into His family was the ultimate example.

When this world tells me “I don’t fit.” I can honestly say “You’re right. I’m sorry I tried to!”

Because I do. I love worldly things. There. I said it. I love make-up and shoes and clothes and God has gifted me with such. But none of those things ever seem to heal the ugly duckling syndrome. I always feel less.

Nothing brings it on more than the blessing of a singing and speaking opportunity. I begin to tear myself down.

But this morning I was reminded that my ministry came with a high price. The life of Jesus Christ. And because of Him, and His willing sacrifice, I’m apart of the family of God and privileged to serve.

Every word of the Bible is a worthy read, but the Chapter 11 of Romans is a good read for the day if you need reminded of what a high price was paid for your soul.

I feel a little prettier today because I am one of the “All” God will conclude my blog today with Romans 11:22-26

6gtFor God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all. O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.

Posted in Bible Journaling, Christian Service, Faith, Life Inspiration, Uncategorized

The Access Point

Grace is hard to understand. We want it, we attempt to give it, sometimes tongue and cheek (meaning we forgive but never forget). We, I speak collectively, though I really mean me, when I say I often think I’ve messed up past the point of being offered grace, because life sometimes just flat out stinks.

True story.

When life gets hard, this Jesus Chick is not so spiritual as to immediately ask the question, “What is God teaching me in this moment?” That would sound really good and churchy wouldn’t it?  No, I’m more apt to ask the question, “How long will I be here, Lord?”

Romans 5:1-2

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:  By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

So much is missed in the midst of a struggle. And life is full of struggles. But the Apostle Paul reminds us that as people of faith (those who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ) we have access to some things the world is not afforded.

We have Access to Peace

There’s a difference between access and acceptance. It’s the same as salvation, we’re all offered it; but if we don’t accept it, we’ll never experience it. There is a difference in the end result. Those with salvation will go Heaven whether they experience the benefits of salvation here on earth or not. The journey is just a lot more difficult. But those who never accept salvation are headed to Hell.

I’m not surprised when children of God don’t have peace in the middle of a storm. Because I’ve been there too. It’s usually a matter of feeling worthy or letting myself get too far down before looking up. If there’s sin or other failures in our lives, we don’t feel worthy. Even though neither will keep you from peace if you talk to God about it. As children of God, it’s ours for the asking!

That’s just the kind of Lord He is.

We have Access to Grace

I love the acronym for G.r.a.c.e. = God’s Riches at Christ’s Expense. Isn’t that amazing? There’s nothing we can do to earn it. It is however what makes me be the person I am. I was born with a servants attitude and when God saved me from the Devil’s Hell, my gratitude went toward servitude.

Grace will do that if you strive to understand it. Many Christians miss the mark because they’re not in God’s word, they’re not in church and so they cannot fully comprehend what the Lord did for them. I sometimes avoid the truth of it myself, because I can’t imagine the degree of pain and humiliation my Lord took upon Himself for someone like me who adds more too it when I fail Him.

The shame wasn’t only on the day of the crucifixion. It’s on us when we blatantly fail God, knowing what He did for us. But the grace is still there. That’s why it’s amazing.

We have Access to Joy

It’s what we can experience even in times of sorrow. The loss of a loved one is gut wrenching, but the knowledge that they were saved and now in the presence of Jesus brings great joy!

The struggles we face are never pleasurable, but the victory is always a joyous moment and made that much sweeter because of the struggle. We realize the strength that we have from knowing Christ as Savior. The unsaved may experience moments of victory, but not as the child of God. Knowing that there was Someone standing beside us all the way and there was never a reason to feel alone. That is joy! He has our back here and He’s waiting for us there!

We have Access to Hope

Not just hope, but we need always reminded that the peace, grace, joy and hope are always for the glory of God. It’s a privilege only afforded a child of the King. I wrote on hope yesterday. It’s a subject I could write on everyday and never grow weary because I need it. I need to know that my aches and pains, those of the physical, mental and spiritual nature will someday be lifted whether here or Heaven.

Maybe you needed to know that too. If I’ve encouraged you, let me know! If I can pray for you, let me know that too. We’re here to be the hands, feet and sometimes words of Jesus. Use us Lord!

Posted in Bible Journaling, Christian Service, Evangelism, Faith, Leadership, Life Inspiration, Uncategorized

Old Faith, New Faith, Bold Faith, Few In Faith

I feel like it could be the title of a new Dr. Suess book.

From Genesis to Revelation it is the same faith. But it certainly varies in the way it’s displayed.

Old Testament saints had faith the Messiah would come, and they were charged with setting forth the principles of New Testament Christianity. Speaking went from a direct line of communication, when Adam and Eve walked with God in the garden… can you imagine what that must have been like! And then following the fall and rebellion of men, a priest would have the responsibility and accountability for God’s children. Not a role to be taken lightly. Handled inappropriately would mean certain death!

God’s Spirit would come upon men like Moses, Jacob and others and it was no doubt an awe-inspiring time. Most likely a little frightening too! It’s from their testimonies that we can experience Old Testament faith.

What characters of the Old Testament would you like to question? And what questions would you ask?

What would have been your reaction if God had showed up in the burning bush to you? Or wrestled with you as He did Jacob? Have you ever felt like you did wrestle with God?

Scroll forward to the New Testament and a whole new line of communication came when Jesus, the Son of God walked the earth once again. But only for a short time. Following His crucifixion and resurrection, that act of unconditional love would humbly allow us, the nobody’s and the somebody’s to speak to God through the Holy Spirit.

As I thought on this today, the images of the two different phones came into play. The old faith and the new faith are still one faith. It’s still the same God on the line. It’s just the way of communication differs.

Old Faith

Romans 4:1-8

What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.  Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.  But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.  Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works,  Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.  Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.

Old Testament faith was still faith even though they were keepers of the law. Or attempted keepers of the law.  613 of them. I can’t keep ten! Nor could they, so a sacrifice was put into place that would be used year after year. Lamb after lamb. Slain as a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross. Did they know that’s what it was? I don’t guess. But they knew it was God’s design and their only hope at the time; and that it all pointed, somehow, some way to the coming Messiah that they hoped for.

Every generation from the days of Adam hoped for.

I think of that old phone as the Old Testament way of communication with God. There was a line you had to go through. The Priest would go into the Holy of Holies and God and he would converse about what the people needed to know. Then he would deliver the message. We too experience that some through the preaching of the Word of God. But the difference is we too can receive a word. That should make you shout! That’s a privilege Old Testament, average Joe’s or Jolene’s didn’t experience.

When God showed up on the mountain, the children of Israel told Moses to go and talk to Him on the mountain. They feared God way too much to want to hear from Him direct.

Exodus 20:18-19

And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off. And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die.

Have you ever felt that fearful of God? Why or why not?

I must wonder if some Christians still fear God’s voice. Many don’t even make the attempt at communication, or at least not very often.

New Faith

The words of David used in Romans 4 are from the book of Psalms 32:2

Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.  Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.  When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long. For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. Selah. I acknowledge my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah.  For this shall every one that is godly pray unto thee in a time when thou mayest be found: surely in the floods of great waters they shall not come nigh unto him.  Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance. Selah.  I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye. Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee. Many sorrows shall be to the wicked: but he that trusteth in the Lord, mercy shall compass him about.  Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart.

David experienced God in a way few people did then, or do now.

Why do you think that was so?

It certainly wasn’t because he was perfect. He acknowledges that he’s a sinner.

Romans 3:23 says

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

David wasn’t sin free, he was bold in his confession because he wanted a right relationship with the Lord. He knew his relationship wasn’t right because he felt the heaviness of God upon him.

Have you felt that? What was going on at the time? Likely something that shouldn’t have been going on at the time. It’s not a feeling we like but we should love it, because it tells us that we’re saved.

Salvation comes from repentance.

David received his forgiveness and a renewed relationship with God when he repented, acknowledged what he did and turned away from it.

We too should be so bold!

Bold Faith

David’s relationship with God caused him to take some actions. He trusted God’s guidance for war, or not having war. He composed writings and songs, he played music and was a mighty leader when his relationship was right with God. He was bold!

Are you bold in the faith? If not why?

Few in the Faith

As time goes on, our churches seem to be dwindling in size and number. I pass empty church houses with grown up lawns everywhere I go. It makes my heart heavy and very sad. Because I know at one point there may have been a thriving congregation in that place. But they lost their zeal and their desire to serve God. They also lost the best thing that ever happened to them.

I love missionaries and consider myself a missionary to the United States. When I see folks with burdens for other countries I wonder… when will some get a burden for our own.

I have that.

In just a little over a month I’m traveling to New Mexico to minister in two different churches, if not more. I’m praying the Lord opens doors for me there to encourage the believers to be bold in their faith!

For this trip I ask that you’ll pray too. Pray that God will give me words and songs and that a great Spirit of revival will come upon that place. Pray for our safe travels and pray that our expenses are met.

I’m booked believing that we can’t out give God.