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

You Don’t have to Pay for Common Sense

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

My text today is from Hebrews 5:8-14

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

Wisdom In Common with Jesus

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

Suffering In Common with Jesus

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

Sense in Common with Jesus

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

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

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

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

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

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

Posted in Bible Journaling, Christian Service, 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, 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, Grace, Word of God

The Real Rainbow Still Shines

I’ve spoken of it on many other occasions: the fact that my upbringing causes me not to say what’s on my heart and mind because it’s seemingly impolite.  Never mind the fact that it’s the truth. And especially never mind the fact that everyone else is intitled and can ram their opinions down my throat, in my face and stick it to my heart with a dagger, but I should smile and say, “thank you, have a nice day, please come again.”

Did that sound bitter? It’s really not. It’s just frustrating.

And so today as I study my way through Romans, God laid the deer image on my heart. I hesitated to publish my words. I could just use this as my own personal study; keeping my thoughts to myself rather than risking the chance at offending. But then I thought of Paul. Who was martyred for the Word of God and most of all Jesus Who died for me. Why should I keep silent about the angst in my heart and my desire to see the lost come to the saving grace of Christ. The fact that I want them in Heaven with me. The only way to do so, is through the word of God.

I had just heard Paul say, only a few verses before. “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ.” Verse 16 of Chapter 1.

And so in love, I share my heartfelt plea to those who have made homosexuality their life style. And my honest opinion that the use of the rainbow for the pride agenda is a slap in the face of God, for which someone will stand accountable for.

The rainbow was a covenant symbol between God and man in Genesis 9:

11 And I will establish my covenant with you, neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth. 12 And God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: 13 I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth.

We don’t speak in that phraseology today. “Covenant” isn’t a word you often hear. Even by definition, it doesn’t mean in man’s terms what it meant in God’s. Because God’s covenant’s will stand the test of time.

This weekend is mine and David’s 39th wedding anniversary. It’s hard to imagine that those two kids who walked across my parent’s lawn on August 16, 1980, and said their vows have survived what we have. It’s not been easy, and it’s only been by the grace of Almighty God. Divorce would have been easier at times than fighting through the battles we did. But we made it because we both believe in the covenant of marriage.

That bow (rainbow) God placed in the sky was a promise that God’s wrath toward sin would not come through in the flood again. God’s grace would flow through Noah to a world who didn’t appreciate it and God would offer His Son, Jesus Christ, as atonement one day for all of mankind. It did not however, promise that judgment would not come. It will.

I am sad to say that I will not buy anything with a rainbow on it. I just can’t. The pride agenda has tarnished that beautiful image of God for me. But every time I see one in the sky, I think to myself, “They can’t do that.” They cannot place a beautiful arch in the sky.” Not like my Lord!

And so today I took back the rainbow, and placed it over my husband’s favorite critters. (although for him he likes them seasoned and smoked on the grill.) For me I love the fact that they cannot change the fact that nature knows and obeys God’s design.

And so I shar His word. In truth and love. ~ Shari. The Jesus Chick.

Questions? feel free to message me. Let’s talk about it.

Posted in Bible Journaling, Grace, Life Inspiration, Peace, Praise

The God I Know

For the past week, you may, or may not have notice my lack of presence on social media.

In the world of rural West Virginia, for lack of another terminology, crap happens. My niece-in-love Kaitlin was traveling the highway in front of our home, as well as a dump truck that had just unloaded his bed. In thinking that the bed was completely down he began moving on the road, when it turns out the bed was still partially up. He then clipped our phone and internet cables, which was bad, but; but also in the process it broke a bolt from the truck projecting it like a shotgun shell through Kaitlin’s truck windshield where it lodged. (see photo below) Which was a nightmare that I can’t even fathom.

Without the providential hand of God, this story could have ended so much worse. I’m sure it’s a thought that ran through Kaitlin’s family’s mind on more than one occasion. I’m so grateful that she’s okay. I’m so thankful that I know that God!

Because of Kaitlin’s accident it caused me to spend far less time on social media. I was not entirely without service. If I walked around the house or yard, held my hand and my mouth just right, I could get enough service to get the occasion message or post through to my phone. I’m a sad and desperate social media junkie. I need help! (Insert smile here)

But I spent my time journaling the book of Jude, verse by verse. Which I’ve only made it to verse 13 of the 25. There’s just so much meat in the book! I could chew on one verse for days and not get all the flavor out of it. So I share with you today, Verses 9 and 10 and a few of my thoughts on religion and why I’m so glad I know the God of that bolt!

Yahweh-Shammah

The LORD is There

Satan loves religion! So we find him in verse 9 arguing with Michael the archangel; but Michael is refusing to argue back. I’m not that strong. I run my mouth to Satan on a pretty regular basis. But the scripture is clear that it wasn’t Michael’s fight. And I fear that I may have fought more than a few battles with Satan that weren’t mine to fight.

As I understand it from commentary, Satan wanted the body of Moses to be buried where the people would be able to set up a monument, which would become a shrine. Far be it from the children of Israel to worship something other than God, and their great respect for Moses (occasional) and reverence (with days of hypocrisy) would have likely caused them to take their eyes from their true deliverer, which was God!

El Shaddai

Lord God Almighty

He was the One with the power to deliver, not Moses. He may choose to use people, or like in the circumstances of Kaitlin, He may just stop a bolt bullet. None the less, He is God Almighty! And worthy of praise!

In verse 10, it is a continuation from verse 8, which speaks to the people of Jude’s day (which sound a lot like the people of our day). It says they were filthy dreamers, defiling the flesh, despising dominion and speaking evil of dignities. Sound like American politics to you? Politics and religion are close in relation. Satan loves when both make it into church house conversations because they are sure to cause division with “most” people. But not a church whose focus is the unity and leadership of God.

Jehovah Raah

The Lord Is My Shepherd

Michael the archangel had a relationship with God, not a religion. He knew the Lord well enough to know that he did not need to argue with Satan, but leave that conversation to God, Who will put the smack down on Satan in the end of our story! Glory to God! Even though Michael, a spiritual being, had the power to kill thousands, and would have no doubt been a worthy adversary of Satan, he was strong enough to shut up. I’m not that strong. I am more often than not in the natural. It is in that mindset that we corrupt our relationship with God. Because we don’t allow Him to have control of us.

I’m so, so very grateful that Kaitlin is safe and is the momma of three beautiful little girls and can continue raising them. And I’m grateful that through her safety, I learned many lessons from the book of Jude. Including the fact that I can rest in the knowledge that God has my world in His control.

Satan may be the little “g” god of this world. But he can only go so far as the Lord will allow! Glorrraaaaaay!

Jehovah Shalom

The Lord Is Peace

Posted in Bible Journaling, Grace, Life Inspiration, Uncategorized

Christ didn’t Focus on the Pretty People

When I finished this drawing (an idea that I totally stole from a Pinterest post) I didn’t like the way the words “gentle and quiet” ended up turning out. They were bold, and jagged and totally not gentle and quiet. And then I thought about me… and how I struggle with the concept of being gentle and quiet. I’m more apt to be loud and obnoxious. And so I left them as they are. For the struggle is very real.

I want to be that gentle and quiet spirit that sits posed in her pretty pink dress and matching jewelry but I’m much more comfortable in a pair of jeans or leggins and a sloppy tee. That’s me. I love the pretty stuff but I much prefer to be in comfort. In apparel and in life. As for the spirit of me, I wish she would sit quietly too, but she rises up like my Chihuahua Izadora and my Jackjuajau (half Jack Russel and half Chihuahua) Versace. Which is why I love them so. They get excited! And they need to be heard. So do I! and I don’t care if people don’t want to listen or particularly agree with what I say.

If you want to be something else or believe something else that’s fine. I don’t mind. But please don’t ask me to be something I’m not.

So spiritually speaking, what do I do with the verses in 1 Peter 3:3-4

Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel;

But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.

As I understand it, Peter speaks to pride and vanity, a character trait that can also be found in the religious of this world. Now, before some religious naysayers write to me and tells me that I’m in the flesh (which probably won’t happen because they don’t read my stuff) , I need to speak to how I got here.

Matthew 23:27 ~ Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.

There is no difference between the “whited sepulchres” and a shallow grave; they both house the dead. One is no more or less loved because of the investment someone made in it and what it looked like outwardly. It’s what you can afford. The substance of the matter comes from whether or not that soul was placed in the hands of Jesus before it was placed in the ground. It’s a matter of the heart.

I have no doubt that I have hypocrite tendencies. I get in the flesh on a pretty regular basis. Just today actually. But not when it comes to who I am in Christ. He knows me and accepts me for who I am. Do you realize you can’t be a hypocrite with Christ? He knows you inside and out. He desires and encourages me to be better, just as a good friend would. Knowing that living better means living with less guilt.

There’s a reason that the sinners felt at home with Christ and the religious didn’t. Because Christ wasn’t focusing on the pretty people. He was friends with the imperfect, the loud and obnoxious, as well as the gentle and quiet.

Posted in Bible Journaling, Church Unity, Grace, Leadership, Life Inspiration

Mind Your own Business

You can color me guilty. I most always have an opinion. But I thank God for the Holy Spirit that indwells within me and jerks a knot in my knickers when I begin to focus on the life or lifestyle of another person. When I begin to think that I need to do a running commentary. It’s usually just inside my head. It’s sometimes to those close to me. It’s seldom ever, if ever to the person for which I’m forming an opinion. I’m not that brazen, or stupid.

But it’s become quite obvious to me lately that not everyone has the ability to know when to keep their mouth shut. And no, I’m not thinking of anyone in particular. Just many, many, many people in general. It’s an epidemic! And because of social media, the world has a stage.

If you go to “The Jesus Chick” page or my own personal page for “Shari Hardway Johnson”, as well as my twitter feed and Instagram, you’ll note that it’s positive commentary and images. That’s not a holier than thou statement, it’s just truth. I don’t want to be in anyone’s drama, or a discouragement. So my posts are positive. I made that choice, and I’m pretty sure God agrees with me.

Proverbs 5:15

Drink waters out of thine own cistern, and running waters out of thine own well.

I read that this morning and thought, “there it is. What I’d like to tell every nosy, ne’er do well in the world. Mind your own business!”

Who makes these people judge and jury of the lives of someone else and what skeletons would come crawling out of their closet if the door was open?

Although it is far worse in the political arena, or at least it far more outspoken, it’s just as bad in the church. And I speak collectively, not of any in particular.

I think of an incident many, many years ago in my own church where a young woman with several children had the audacity to come to church without a slip under her dress. Oh my stars! And as she exited the ladies room a ne’er do well woman said to me, “can you believe she forgot her slip.” To which I responded, “With all those kids, I just praise God she gets here on Sunday morning.”

Where on earth was this woman’s mind? And why did she think she had the right to tear down a young mother trying to do the right thing?

Now, that may seem trivial. But a comment like that is what will discourage someone, who’s struggling anyway, to decide to leave the church. And that could be devastating to a family and Hell bound someone because of it.

The longer I travel this road with Jesus, the more I realize the focus of the church is so off kilter.

I personally love pretty clothes. And God has gifted me with several. But I don’t love them because I think they’re holy, I just love girly stuff. God made me that way. I also have a personal conviction that when I go into a church I dress in their common attire. If they’re casual, so am I. If they’re fancy, I try to be a fancy Nancy too and I enjoy it. But I don’t look at anyone who’s not in the common attire and think about their heart toward Christ. Clothes do not make the man. The Spirit of God does. And I’ve known people who looked like ragamuffins that I was in awe with the depth of their relationship with God.

I’ll not tell you that I am above judging. It’s human nature. Or that I don’t have other issues in life. But it’s something that makes me so nauseous because I’ve seen the damage it’s done, especially in the circles I travel of the Independent Baptist realm. Trust me, they’re not all the same. That’s why we’re “independent.” I’d probably be kicked out of some.

My faith is not in the denomination. It’s in God. But I agree with the doctrine of my church and so I’m there and I love my people. Mainly because the vast majority are not judgers. They love all people. Even if their knees are showing. Insert smile here. Even if they’re a girl who wears britches. Or a fella that’s a t-shirt, blue jean, work boot kind of guy. We love them.

So does Jesus. And this morning I think I’m delivering His message when I say. Mind your own business.

Insert smile here.

Posted in Bible Journaling, Christian Service, Evangelism, Grace, Health, Life Inspiration

The Struggle with Social Media

I hate vain thoughts: but thy law do I love. Thou art my hiding place and my shield: I hope in thy word.

Psalm 119:113-114

The Struggle with Vanity

By human nature we are a selfish lot, are we not? I tuned into social media this morning and the heartaches of other people overwhelmed my soul. I felt helpless.

I can’t rebuild a life that was lost in a fire.

I can’t undo the bad decision of a young man that didn’t feel there was any other way than death.

I can’t control the fierceness of nature or the devastation it can leave in its path.

I can’t un-break a heart or protect people from destruction.

It’s life. And in this day and age it’s being lived out in a very, very public way that affects so many people with the stroke of a keyboard. Social media can be a blessing or a scourge. I have a love/hate relationship with it, as I’m sure most people do. But like it or not, despise it or not, it’s here to stay. But you and I need to be careful about the vanity of it all. If we are in the mindset of Christ… as we should be. We should shield ourselves from ourselves.

One of my many, many faults is counting. Now I know it got David in serious trouble in 2nd Samuel 24. So I try not to; but remember the struggle I spoke of. It really is a struggle on social media. How many people likes my post… how many people viewed my video… how many people liked a post, or loved a post. And who were they? Oh. I’m vain. For me it’s validation as to whether or not I was a success.

That a load of lies from Satan. But I buy it like a good flea market find.

Our lives will never be defined in eternity by how many people seen our posts. But it will be defined by what that post did for the cause of the Kingdom.

The Shield of Victory

For all my vain thoughts, and they are many; God put a heart of compassion within me. It’s what drives me to share the hope of Jesus Christ that I find in His word. It’s what creates images like the umbrella in my mind when I think of how many times the Lord has shielded me from the sun and rain. The good times and the bad times that would have had a negative result in my life.

It’s not only the bad times in our lives that cause damage. The good in life can bring more vanity, more self-reliance that can destroy the good things that God wants for us.

How many people do we know with great wealth and health that have no relationship with God? Or how many do we know that have “seemingly” never struggled as we have and are so ungrateful.

Some of the worst things in my life, I am certain, have protected me from forgetting where my hope lies.

I’m so thankful that we have God’s word! It is as if I’m sitting here in my office this morning with God, and I hear Him say… “That’s my girl. Keep writing. Keep drawing. Keep serving. And by the way, stop counting.”

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

I’ve Been Taken to the Woodshed

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

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

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

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

A Healthy Respect

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

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

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

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

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

A Hallowed Reverence

Matthew 6:9

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

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

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

For example. Netflix.

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

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

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

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

A Heavy Reliance

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

THAT IS WISDOM

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

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

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

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

Without fear.

Without reverence.

Without understanding.

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

Father forgive me.

Draw me close Lord, This I pray,

Forgive this wicked soul that strays.

Remind me with each breath I take

That I am yours, I’m no mistake.

There is purpose in my soul

But I must give you full control.

Shari