Category Archives: Family

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!

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…

That’s a Good Funeral

Proverbs 17:27

He that hath knowledge spareth his words: and a man of understanding is of an excellent spirit.

One might think (and often correctly) that me and the phrase “sparing words” would never be in the same sentence. It is however a family trait.  While I have no problem speaking what’s on my mind, there are times (sometimes days upon days) that I’d rather say nothing to anyone. The ringing of a telephone causes my stomach to go nauseous and even messages on social media overwhelm me. I like silence. Because I know that in those times is when I am most likely to hear God speak. And then there are other times, if I’m honest, that I am drawn to the noise of the earth around me because I know in the silence I’ll hear God speak, and that scares me too. It’s crazy, I know! But it’s me being real.

Yesterday I attended the funeral of a sweet cousin who’s epitaph verse was Proverbs 17:27. He was a very well educated man with much to say, but seldom said it. His daughter said it best when she said “if he spoke you should listen, because his words were weighted.” What an awesome testimony he had.

As I sat there and watched his children work through their grief in front of an audience and do it so God glorifying; it did what a funeral should do, it caused me to reflect on my own life and the cause and effect of silence. Silence can be good, or silence can be bad, there must be balance as in everything in life. Even Cheesecake. I know that’s random… but it’s true.

The Racket

Three times in Psalm 46 the Psalmist says that “God is our refuge.” Refuge being a safe haven, sanctuary or shelter. As a child of God I understand that. I have run into that place to escape the sorrows of the day so very many times. I’m in that place right now. I needed this word this morning to send me to the feet of Jesus to speak to Him about the many burdens in my life. They accumulate so quickly. Too much, too often and I’m consumed by it.  They’re a racket in my mind. God understands. That’s why He spoke this Psalm into David. Not only for him, but for us.

Psalm 46

1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.

Those roaring waters and trembling mountains that feel as though they’re going to bury us in defeat are exactly what runs us into the refuge. If it were not for that trouble, we’d think we didn’t need help. We’d be sure that it was us who could get us through the issues of the day. God doesn’t make the trouble, but He’ll get His glory in the midst of it!  I witnessed that yesterday.

My cousin’s death was not a death of God’s timing. But God knew the heart of the man and used the occasion of his memorial to quiet the noise in my life and probably many others. Death has a way of putting life in check.

  • This is important. √
  • This is not. √

The River

There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High. God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help her, and that right early.

I sing a song titled “Tell Me One More Time About Jesus” and in that song there is a line that speaks of the Pastor’s words being like a “cool drink of water.” The Psalmist’s words are such. So were the words of the memorial, because they all point to Jesus. Jesus is that river, that makes glad the city of God! When a child of God comes home, whether timely or not, you better believe there is rejoicing in Heaven! Should there not be on earth.

I told my cousin Duke last night when he called to see how the funeral went, that “I love a good funeral!” We laughed, but he knew what I meant. Because we both know Jesus. And there is joy in knowing that a loved one’s struggle is over and they are sitting beside of Victory! Glorraaaaaay! That puts a shout in my soul.

The Refuge from the Rage

The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth melted. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah. Come, behold the works of the Lord, what desolations he hath made in the earth. He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire. 10 Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. 11 The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.

You can better believe that Satan was not a happy camper at Gassaway Baptist Church yesterday. He expected worlds to fall apart when he moved “his kingdom.” But this world is not our home, and this world was not what my cousin’s children had their eyes on.  They were standing in the refuge of the God of Jacob. The same God and Savior who gave Jacob a new name when he wrestled with God in Genesis 32.

Every battle of a child of God ends in Victory, even if it doesn’t always appear that way.

My cousin was described as a man of few words, yet he was a writer, a thinker, a ponderer… and he and I had many times talked about our ponderings of God. He left his testimony with us through his children when his daughter said, “Our dad was a humble man who wouldn’t want you to focus on his education, successes and the many things he did that no one knew. He would want us to tell you of the day he made Jesus his Savior.”

That’s a good funeral.

Forever Young!

You don’t have to get honest and point out any of the flaws in my being. Believe me, the mirror attests to the fact that I’m no longer 18, and should the makeup I apply conceal my age, my skeletal and muscular being cry out in agony most days as I attempt to keep up with the younger me within. This was a conversation that my friend Gloria had on one of our recent adventures in the big city. I remember the street we were on, the plaza we were passing and everything about that day just like it was yesterday. But in actuality it was day before yesterday, just like the time I was 18, or so it feels. How is it that our body ages so aggressively and yet our mind continues in the state of youth? At least until you lose it. And perhaps even then we are forever in a state of youth.

I love the scripture promise in Ephesians 5:27 when it says “That He (Christ) might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.”

I’m going way, WAY, out of context of this scripture, but it’s truth none the less. I sooooooooo look forward to the day that I am presented before Christ, without age spots, or wrinkles or any blemish on this ever so blemished body that I now reside in. Now, of course, if you’re a theologian your right eye is probably twitching because you know that that scripture refers to the blemished, sin filled bodies, we now reside in and the presentation of them in that day when Jesus calls us home and we will receive a glorified body.

But I’m here to tell you, my inward Shari is unblemished and forever young and eternal now. And so is yours if you’re saved. If you’re unsaved, you too have an eternal nature, but it’s not going to receive a new and glorified body. It will be cast into the eternal fire of damnation in Hell and away from everything good that you love. If that’s you, go to my plan of salvation page and fix that matter before God right now. Then you too will know the feeling of being forever young.

It was a stark reality for me the other day when I realized my first born child was the same age now as I was when I got saved. Wait a minute, I was a grown up woman! “How did we get here so doggone fast” I asked myself? I don’t feel 55. Except when I get out of bed and then I feel 85.

So Gloria and I both glorified God that He has given us the understanding of eternity and that this world is a step in the process of aging out to forever young. When we get that glorified body, we  will no longer experience the degradation of the one we now reside in. Even Christians forget that we are eternal beings. We want to hold on to this world and everything in it when we should be working to take everything that matters with us. And that’s the people we love. They too are eternal and need to know Christ as their Savior.

Gloria and I are going to a “bigger city,” than the usual big city this week. We’re heading south for a little R&R for the psyche and the soul as we follow the Marietta Bible College Choir on their Spring tour down south. I hope to get renewed and refreshed and feel the youth in my bones as well as my soul for a day or two. Follow our adventure on the Jesus Chick page on Facebook. I hope to share some live video feeds of our time. We’d love you to come along!

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This blog is in it’s 8th year. Hosted on godaddy.com for the past five. Expenses incurred for the operation of this site are without complaint and with gratitude for the opportunity. If the Lord would impress you to give to help cover some recent technology issues, I’d be grateful. I’ve not been in the world’s workforce for 3 years and for that I glorify God. It’s given me the opportunity to not only write and work on music, but minister to nursing home patients, volunteer in the Christian School teaching art and help other ministries with marketing. All of which require technology, communication, time and gasoline. Again it’s without complainT… but just in case you have a desire to help, or have “extra money” 🙂 Know that I would be eternally grateful.

Here’s the Link

The Promise of Hope

hope
In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;

There is hope! I wanted to put that across every social media site this morning in big bold letters. It’s won’t be found in a lottery ticket, in the government of the United States, it won’t be found in our family, friends or your critter. If there is a giant hole in your heart you cannot fill it with money, things or other people. If someone or someone is missing you have only one hope, and that’s Jesus.

I speak from experience, else I’d not write it.

When my family lost my brother Richard, I was but a child, and a lost child at that. I didn’t understand eternity. I was brought up in church, I’d heard about Heaven, but it was nothing more than a word. A misunderstood concept. But then… Jesus.

It’s what the world doesn’t want to hear. That Jesus is the way, the truth and the life, and nobody gets to Heaven without Him. Not hearing it doesn’t change it, and not accepting it only hurts you further because He is what’s missing in your life that fills the hole you have inside. He does not replace the person that caused the hole, He simply fills the void where they are and gives a bridge to seeing them again. That was the sweetest gift in my own heart today when I thought of the people I can’t see. Even some who are here on earth…

When I ask my Mother once why she wasn’t angry with God for taking my brother at the age of 19, she simply responded “Because He is my only hope of seeing Richard again.” My Mom had found the bridge back to my brother. When my Dad passed away I missed almost everything about him, except one thing, the faith he shared with me. He had Jesus and that bridged the gap between us. I knew it was not goodbye, it was “save a place for me at dinner.”

So when I see a social media post of despair, I want to bridge that gap in their heart by telling them that I truly do care and that Jesus is their answer to the hopelessness they’re feeling inside. He doesn’t replace the person lost… He is what the song writer wrote with the words “He built a bridge with only three nails and two pieces of wood, with one rugged cross, Jesus built a bridge.”

Glory to God for the bridge that I found in 1996. Glory to God for the preacher who preached the gospel. Glory to God for the patience that God had in waiting for me to come to Him. Glory to God for there is hope on earth and peace… His name is Jesus. Amen!

Don’t Go Hungry

bread

I’ve heard it said, “It doesn’t matter if I go to church, I’m just as much a Christian as anyone else.” And that may or may not be true. My problem with that theory is, if you’re a Christian, why don’t you want to go to church? This is not a blog to make you feel bad, it’s a blog to make you feel… even if you, like I, can’t wait to get to church! We’ve likely all heard the synopsis of God’s house being our spiritual dinner table, and how you wouldn’t turn down a real meal if you were starving so why are you turning down the spiritual meal. This is my theory on that  ~ we’re filling ourselves up on junk food.

One of the blessings of being Noni to my six grandbabies is that I am the final authority on food at my house. And I tell my daughters, “please make sure they eat well at your house, because at my house that’s not always the case.” There has to be someone in our lives with nutritional guidelines else we’d all have cheesecake for breakfast, potato chips for lunch and brownies topped with ice cream for dinner. Or whatever your dessert of choice is. The same is true spiritually, except we miss the mark. God’s house is not only our sustenance to live by, it’s like getting dessert all day long! But our mind is so filled up with the junk of the day and the week, and the life that we don’t feel we have room for any time in the house of God.

So here’s what you’re missing by not coming to God’s table…

FAMILY

Oh, and before you go there, I know you have your own. But that’s not like the one at God’s house, even if they include yours. God did not tell us in Hebrews 10:25 “not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together” because He wanted to do a head count every Sunday; He wanted His family gathered around to share in the struggles of the week and be encouraged through His word to face the coming days. As a parent we long for that time with our children when it’s not about dragging them into your company, but having them desire your company and the sweet companionship of one another. That’s church. It’s a banquet table full of God’s children in fellowship with one another and ready to feast on His word.

FLAVORS

We don’t eat just for the sake of eating… well sometimes I do, but generally it’s because we have a craving for a flavor. And not just one… else it would get pretty tiresome. God created us with taste buds so that when the food slid across our tongues it would bring joy! And so does hearing the word of God. Every week it’s a different flavor and it tastes different to everyone there. I know there are some who show up at God’s table and refuse His banquet, but that’s their loss. They may not like the way it’s served or the way it was prepared but if only they’d came hungry, they’d have appreciated it more. The world will fill you up! On self, pride, heartache, etc and leave no room for enjoying God’s feast.

FEELINGS

It’s so easy to shut down and stop feeling. The world is harsh and I can fill up on it with about 10 minutes of news, 2 minutes of family dismay or less than that of someone’s woe is me story. I need church to refresh my soul and start my feelings flowing in the right direction.

2 Corinthians 1:4 reminds us that God is our comfort zone.

Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.

He’s our comfort so that we may be prepared to comfort someone else and draw them into the love of God when they see what He has filled us with.

Maybe you can’t think about comforting anyone else because you have enough on our plate. Dump that junk food in the trash and head to house of God to fill your soul with His goodness!

What a great feeling to know that I know!

Child of God (2)If you know me at all, you know I’m a little on the odd side. I’m a dreamer, a visionary, a doer and planner, a singer of songs, a writer of words and a multimedia artist… and not all those things work out like I’d like them too. As a child I knew I was odd, and for the most part I was okay with it. But there was always that hole in my life that needed filled; the hole that needed to know I belonged. I was raised in a loving home with a huge family and I knew that I was theirs, but I didn’t belong. We moved around a lot when I was very little, but when we finally landed in Calhoun County, West Virginia in 1971, even though we stayed put… I didn’t feel that I ever belonged. I had tons of friends. Real friends, not fake ones. But that didn’t matter, the hole was still there. Perhaps you know where I’m coming from.

In 1996 something drastic happened. That hole was filled with the concrete of salvation and I never again felt that I didn’t belong.

As a new convert I was sitting across from a preacher from out of town that I had just met and we were talking about the gospel and sharing our faith and he said to me, “Shari, you are a peculiar person.” I didn’t even take it as an insult, I knew within me it had a spiritual connotation. And so as soon as I got the chance I went to my concordance to search the word “peculiar.” And lo and behold there it was in 1 Peter 2:9

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;

I claimed it for my own that day. I am a peculiar person. But unpack that verse and it will have you on shouting ground.

Chosen

Not by chance, but handpicked and purposed by God in His ultimate plan for the universe.

Royal priesthood

Not for the world, but employed by the King of kings for servitude in this earthly realm with our heavenly reward yet seen.

Holy nation

Not alone. The day of my salvation put me into a family too numerable to count, who many have prayed for me that don’t even know my name, but uttered a pray for a child of God or a missionary in need and it was me and God answered. O’… I belong!

Peculiar people

Not like the world. The world strives against itself trying to make it; never realizing that it is an unattainable goal to be anything outside of what we are in Christ. Because that is our eternal purpose.

I’ve read 1 Peter 2:9 many times, but this morning was one of those ‘aha’ kind of days that God opened my mind to His word and said “Here is where I showed you that you belong. No go and tell someone else who needs to understand that truth.”

So there it is. I hope you get it… because it’s an awesome feeling to know to Whom you belong!

Don’t Stop!

the stones

There are people who have been on my pray-dar for years. That’s my radar that alerts me when someone I love is away from God and I plead their cause to Him; asking for more days, weeks, years of mercy. Whatever it takes to see salvation come. Somedays its gut wrenching. Other days I’m so frustrated with their lack of respect for the holiness of God and His divinity that I want to throw them under the bus myself and help God out. But that’s the flesh not the spirit.  The Spirit of God says lift them to me. It’s a reminder that came to my attention this morning as I read the details of Aaron’s breastplate. Twelve stones, twelve names, twelve tribes… born before the Lord in that holy place continually.

Exodus 28:29

And Aaron shall bear the names of the children of Israel in the breastplate of judgment upon his heart, when he goeth in unto the holy place, for a memorial before the Lord continually.

“Don’t stop.” That’s what I heard this morning. Keep lifting their names to Me, I hear. And so I will continue with my list of people, the jewels in my life that I love so much, bearing their names on my heart to the Lord, asking for deliverance to come. That’s probably a good word for you too… “Don’t stop.”

Momma’s Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Heathens

cowboys

As I read 2 John this morning, I’m not really sure why I heard the song playing in my jukebox brain “Momma’s Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys,” but it made me smile. And even though I know a few, honest to goodness, Christian cowboys and cowgirls, the song seemed somewhat fitting for the sentiment that John was trying to project in his letter to the “elect lady.” It rendered a call of concern to momma’s and daddy’s of modern day to hold tightly to your babies and guard the door of the home to what you allow those little minds to see.

John wrote to her in verse 4 “I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father.” That commandment is to love one another, and how very important it is to grow our children up to love each other and serve God. But it seems to be the furthest away from priorities in the modern home, be it a Christian home or otherwise. Everyone is so all fired concerned that their children have the crème de la crème of the world, while failing to protect the crème de la crème they’ve been entrusted with the watch care of.

John’s words had to have encouraged this momma, and I want to encourage mommas and daddy’s out there today, who have their children in church, to keep up the good work! It doesn’t go unnoticed or unrewarded. Read on…

2 John 1:5-8

 And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another. And this is love, that we walk after his commandments. This is the commandment, That, as ye have heard from the beginning, ye should walk in it. For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward.

John warns us that at the door of life there are many, many deceivers, antichrist spirits, who would love nothing more than to take your child away from you and put them into the harm’s way of the world. In John’s day you had to open the door; today it’s in the house already via internet, television and radio. Satan’s avenues into your children’s minds are many, and you’ve got a full time job keeping them safe. Heads up…you won’t be perfect. Life happens. But a great start is bringing your children into the house of the Lord where they’ll hear the word of God and those seeds will be planted inside their little hearts. That way, when Satan does attempt to deceive them, (and he will), they can pull out their sword and shield and stop him in his track! Or their gun lasso if they’re a cowboy or girl.

Tonight’s Wednesday! I’m fired up for a few boy and girls coming my way at Victory Baptist Church. I hope you’ve got plans to get yours in the house of God too!!!!

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The Finest in Fellowship

fellowsI had no idea in 1996 when I kneeled at that altar of grace and ask Jesus to save my soul, what a package deal it was. Jesus not only became the best friend that I could ever have, He gave me a flock of friends that I didn’t even know! As I read Philippians 4 this morning, I identified with Paul from the standpoint that I long for the fellowship of His people, because they’re my people. I’m in awe sometimes when I realize the depth of friendships that are unexplainable. It’s not until I lose one, and realize the very deep hole in my life, that I understand the angst in Paul’s writing  in 2 Timothy 4:10 when he said “For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica;”  While he Philemon 1:24 he had written that Demas was a “fellowlabourer.”

Church fellows are special…

Fellowship defined is a group of people sharing and pursuing the same passion and interest.  I wouldn’t say that in any church everyone is in fellowship. There are those who attend church for reasons other than spiritual edification… I don’t get it, but I know it’s true. It’s my prayer that they will eventually get it. Until then I’ll continue to love and pray for them. But it’s not them that have my heart stirred this morning, it’s the church fellows. The ones I labor with and long for. They’re a special lot that only a child of God can have the privilege of knowing.

Fellowlabourer

The church worker. Society would call it “volunteerism,” God says it’s our job. We’re not left down here to take up valuable pew space, nor are we left here to be entertained by the Pastor. It’s not his job to spoon feed me my daily victuals of the Word of God, nor is it his job to take care of everyone in the church. It’s his job to train and lead folks how to serve God and to encourage them. He too is a fellowlabourer in Christ. He’s just got more responsibility and accountability.

Paul tells the people of Philippi in Philippians Chapter 1, many of whom he had no doubt won to the Lord, “Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.” Stand fast! You’re jewels in my crown and you are loved! That’s how I feel about the people that I serve with in Victory Baptist Church, and those that the Lord has given me through other avenues of the faith. They bring such joy to my heart! I know that we are laboring for the same cause and I long for their fellowship. Even for those I’ve yet to meet face to face! That’s the unexplainable… that you know them because of the Spirit of God in them and in you.

Fellowprisoner

Paul, at the writing of the book of Philippians, was in prison and yet had joy. His joy was not likely contributed to his stellar living conditions, but rather to his stellar friends. Even in the worst of days the people of Victory Baptist Church and my other friends of faith bring joy to my life because they encourage me and they have a genuine burden for me when I have struggles in life. Paul’s friends weren’t Sunday saints. They were seven day a week, we’re in it to win it fellowprisoners with Paul. He may have been behind bars but they were behind him in prayer and provision. Glory to God! Is that not what we should be to one another? I’m blessed with that in my life…

Fellowservant

Paul’s friends weren’t perfect, they evidently had issues like we Baptists, else why would he say in verse 2 I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord.” Evidently they’re minds had not always been the same, a division was there. And let me tell you who loves division… that’s Satan’s playground. He’ll play on that merry-go-round forever if he’s allowed. He’s on those monkeybars in my life right now. Division comes when people get their minds off the purpose of Christ which is to get people in a relationship with Him. So what if we have an opinion… was it Christ’s opinion? And did that opinion help you serve the Lord or did it hinder the service of the Lord because you were wrapped up in it? We’re not here to serve ourselves. I praise God for a church and pastor that preaches servitude in our community!

Church fellows are special people, not to be taken for granted. Paul mentioned by name those who he cared for… in verses three and four he laid the charge to his “true” yokefellows, those that believed as he did – And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life. Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.

Although I love and live to serve every fellow in the church, that’s not what makes me rejoice. What makes me rejoice is when their name is written in the book of life, it’s written upon the hand of Jesus and then He inscribes their watch care to me and mine to them through the Holy Spirit. Paul’s people took care of him, take care of your people. They’re special…

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