We do not cross paths in life by happenstance, of that I’m certain.
While we may be there by circumstance, it’s not by happenstance (coincidence). I
look back on my 57 years, with a primary focus on the past twenty-three, those
are the years since salvation; my formative years of serving Christ in the capacity
of me which lead into The Jesus Chick which came to be in about 2005ish. I’m
not very good at dates, but I’m very good at events that made a difference. There are things that happen and people who
cross our paths that leave us saying “I’ll never be the same.”
When my brother was killed when I was ten years old, it
forever changed my outlook of life on earth as to whether or not it was
forever. It was not. At the time however I didn’t understand it all, I only understood
that life was very, very sad and I couldn’t fix it. And I tried in my 10 year
old state of mind to fix it by living in altered realities called my
imagination. It’s what makes me weird and okay in a world that I still can’t
fix. It’s not always healthy. It sometimes leads to not facing reality as one
should. True story. Don’t judge me. 😊
I had another one of those bell ringing moments this morning
as I read a social media post of a friend who just lost her father. One of the
things that made a deep impression on her was the number of people who came up
to her at her father’s service and said “I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for
the fact that your dad never gave up on me.”
We need some more Gene Duerksen’s in the world.
But even in a world where there’s a shortage of Gene
Duerksen’s, and we often miss out on taking advantage of those that we do meet
who encourage us in the battle of life, I was reminded through the word of God this
morning that there is one will forever spur us on! Gene Duerksen now see’s Him
face to face…
Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors
through Him that loved us.
How many times have I attempted to fly and sometimes crash
landed and other times succeeded but with no witnesses for review? Many. But
how many times have saints of God had faith in me even when I had none and
cheered me on or gave me words of advice and encouragement. Too many to count. I’m still privileged to that.
Lynn Stoneking’s testimony of her dad’s character of encouragement
reminds me that I too have the opportunity to never give up. Not on my kids,
grandkids, friends, family and me. Because God will never give up, so how can
I? Did you need that word today? He doesn’t give up on you either! Share this
post. Tell a friend or family member you believe in them. Shoot me a message
and let me know I’ve encouraged you. We need to share and care for each other.
Today is Friday, August 30th,
2019. Winding down and the summer and heading into fall. Much like I feel about
life right now! How did I get here, you know… 57 years after the picture of me graffitiing
my Mother’s belly? Time is swift and not for the faint of heart. Beauty is
fleeting, it’s a good thing I never felt that I had it. (Not asking for
compliments or pity, just being real). It wasn’t something that I put a lot of
stock in as a young person.
Now I attempt to beautimitize myself
(totally a made up word) as I travel about and I am concerned a little more
about the flavor of style when I’m up in front of people. But none of the frilliness
of life ever interested me or caused me to want to do make up tutorials and
style videos. Those things were not things I was purposed to do.
My immediate family consists of a
dozen, myself and husband, two grown daughters with husbands, and six growing
grandchildren. Five boys and one girl. The little girl I get… I raised two of
them, the five boys! Oh my stars they are so different from girls for obvious
and not so obvious reasons. But mostly because God designed their hearts
differently from the womb. So when I read a verse like Romans 9:11 it causes me
to ponder what God will do with them, and me!
(For the children being not
yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God
according to election might stand, not of works, but of Him that calleth;)
It draws me back to one of my
favorite verses, Jeremiah 1:5
Before I formed thee in the
belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified
thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.
For me, that verse answers the
abortion debate. Before we were even in the belly, God had a plan for us. So,
nobody will ever tell me that a little fella or gal in the beginning stages of
formation in the momma’s womb isn’t somebody. They were somebody, before they
were a body! Glory!
But back to my point of God’s
While I would love it if my plan
for each of my children and grandchildren were God’s plan, I have to look at
the very real potential that it’s not. But understanding that their potential
is God’s to do with what He will.
Paul was teaching the Romans, and
the Jewish people in these passages, that no one can claim to be chosen by God
because of his or her heritage or good works. God chooses who He desires to
choose to use, and He uses those who have accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as
Savior. Jew or Gentile. God uses them all. He can use anyone lost or saved to
accomplish a task, but no one will live up to their potential unless their in
Three Prayers for my dozen
So that is my first prayer for those
that I love and myself. A right relationship with the Lord. It’s the beginning
of every good plan.
My second prayer is the will of
God for our lives. As I said, “I have many ideas about direction for theses
kids.” But if I project my plan onto their life, I may have them headed down a
road to destruction. So, I have to leave well enough alone, and boy is that
hard! But what I always fail to remember is that it’s hard enough to keep myself
in check with God. I’d do well to leave everyone else to Him before I rurally
mess things up.
And my final prayer is that our
potential is made known so that God can be glorified through us. It’s where I
feel parents (myself included) can discourage their children and their selves. Trying
to put anyone into a position that God did not ordain for them, really is like
putting a square peg in a round hole. It will not work.
Social media is the bomb. Until
it explodes in our face. Looking at the seemingly perfect lives of people and
their staged photographs will put unrealistic goals into the minds of anyone.
Yes, me too! I follow artists, speakers, singers and I love it! But then I hate
it. Because I begin comparing myself to their look, style, design and I feel
like an unworthy dirt dog.
I need to stop. If you’re doing
that, you need to stop.
That crazy baby in the womb, who
loves graffiti. That’s me for realsy. I need to love her. And so that’s my
prayer for all my peeps. Let God be true, and social media a liar. He
determines our destiny. Not the numbers or the masses.
feel like it could be the title of a new Dr. Suess book.
Genesis to Revelation it is the same faith. But it certainly varies in the way
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!
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?
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
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
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.
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.
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.
generation from the days of Adam hoped for.
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
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
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
you ever felt that fearful of God? Why or why not?
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.
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
have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
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.
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.
comes from repentance.
his forgiveness and a renewed relationship with God when he repented,
acknowledged what he did and turned away from it.
should be so bold!
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 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.
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!
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.
On my radar of hopes, prayers and desires for the past five or six
years has been an Albuquerque, NM trip, Not entirely for selfish reason, but I must
confess there is always some selfishness in my hopes and dreams, because they
become so very personal.
I will not say that my trip is in line with the desires of Apostle
Paul, because when Apostle Pauls said “by any means,” that was sometimes as a
prisoner on a boat with a shipwreck in the future! I am not that brave. And
while I would prefer a first-class flight, that’s a bit expensive too, so I opted
for a less than typical mode of transportation. The train. It’s a long trip,
but it’s much cheaper, and I think a little bit of an adventure. I’m always up
for that! Especially if it gets me in a new part of the country where God can
And so as I begin to study my way through the book of Romans, with
a heavy heart about more than a few things… this trip being one, Paul’s words
spoke to my already tender heart.
For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel
of His Son, and without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers; – Romans 1:9
God is my witness, that although I fail Him miserably and I will
not say that I pray without ceasing… I cease. But, I do serve Him with my
spirit in the gospel of His Son. I am passionate about my role in the Kingdom There’s
something about traveling that makes my heart flutter with joy, because I know
it will be an adventure and I know that if I go in His name and in His will, He
will make things happen.
Why Albuquerque? Good question. And it deserves an answer. It was
6 plus years ago that I connected through social media with Radio man Dewey
Moede. God was dealing with Dewey’s heart to leave his job and go full time
ministry. I was struggling with that same issue. I still am. Although I’m full
time, it’s not quite what I had in mind.
Kind of like when Paul’s boat hit that storm. I’m sure he would
have preferred even coach tickets. He wasn’t expecting first class. But what he
got was the prisoner’s pass. I’ve felt like that many times in the past 5
years. I’m not asking for sympathy, I don’t deserve it, I just want to be real.
Paul continued in verse 10 to say, making requests, if by
any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to
come unto you.
And there it was. The train trip (at length) made sense, and the
fact that God could prosper my journey through the winning of souls or the
encouragement of the church made my soul rejoice. Some might say I’m making the
word fit the circumstances. I don’t believe that because the last thing I want
to be is out of the will of God. I will say that my circumstances fit into the
When Paul wrote his letter to the Romans, he’d never met them.
They were a group of believers that left Peter’s conference, also known as “Pentecost”
and went back to their country and got busy planting churches and spreading the
gospel. Paul had hopes and dreams of meeting those he’d heard about, and encouraging
them in their faith.
He wanted to impart to them some spiritual gift! Me too! He wanted
to comfort them! Me too! The work of the ministry is a struggle. It’s worth
every bit of it, but there are days it’s not easy to go on. I spend much of my
time encouraging believers and ministries by offering them my help using the
gifts I’ve been given in music, graphic arts and speaking.
My desire is to do that more and more and travel anywhere the Lord
leads. Like New Mexico.
The price on that ticket stub is the cost today of the ticket
only, there are other expenses as well. It may go up as time goes by. I’m also not
going alone, I plan to go with my bestie Glo, who’s been a part of my ministry
from the beginning. If you’d like to contribute, that would be more than
awesome and more than appreciated. You can contribute through the Paypal button
below, or contact me directly.
If you’d like to be a part of the Jesus Chick Ministry, by prayer, financial or you’d like to know more about what I do through out the week, message me, I’m an open book! It’s the gospel.
Every day I become more and more conscience of the scriptures playing
out right before my eyes. It’s why I can “Serve the Lord with fear and rejoice with trembling.” To the world
that makes no sense. How can you rejoice in fear? To me it makes perfect sense.
I know what a mess I am, and for certain what a mess this world would be in if
I were in control, or any of the other knot heads that think they are. Why
would anyone want that!?
Psalm 2 has 12 verses; one for each month of the year. Twelve 2019 A.D.
Truths from 1044 B.C.
1Why do the
heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing?
ever seen a time when rage and vanity was as bad as it is now? You can’t turn
on the news and not see it. Everyone’s angry because someone has an opinion
that differs their own. And they’re not questioning whether their opinion is
right, only that they’re entitled to it and nobody else is.
2 The kings of the earth set
themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against his anointed,
Not only are they entitled to their theories of
morality, they’re also entitled to their people and God’s design doesn’t enter
3 Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away
their cords from us.
We are raising a generation of children who
define the rules rather than obey them. They also have a mighty fine example of
that in Washington D.C.
4 He that sitteth in the
heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in
And God laughs. Only it’s not funny. The last thing
anyone in this world really wants is to be mocked by God. Because He alone holds our future in the
balance, determining what direction we’re to go. America elected Donald Trump President,
who has at least stood on the side of Israel, pro-life and conservative values.
I didn’t say he was perfect. But he is our President. However, talk about
derision! Good grief. There’s a reason
that word rhymes with division. We are a nation of disrespect for the very
thing that has made us stand out among the world’s leaders. Freedom.
5 Then shall he speak unto
them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure.
Do you think we’re a vexed
nation? Vex defined is annoyed or aggravated. America is an angry Nation. Myself
included. I have to check my attitude on a pretty regular basis because I want
to hurt people. Believe me when I tell you that I’m not always thinking about
the soul of an unbeliever. Sometimes I’m thinking about their neck and how I’d
like to wring it for stupidity, pride and arrogance.
6 Yet have I set my king upon
my holy hill of Zion.
But then I remember Who it is that is in
control. And it’s then that I’m in awe that He hasn’t wrung my own neck. My
Savior. He Who died as a meek Lamb, but will come again as a roaring Lion!
7 I will declare the decree:
the Lord hath said unto me,
Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.
We tend to put God into the perspective of man.
God of John 3:16, long before the world knew Him face to face, He was. His plan
was laid out before Him, and He stepped into it without regard for Himself, but
for the sake of His people. He did so for an example to His children of how to
put others before themselves. And there was a time that America did. It’s what
made us a melting pot. People would come to our country for opportunity and
they were accepted and loved not because of where they were from, but because
of where they wanted to come. America! They loved our Nation and wanted to
become a part of the dream. Now many have become a nightmare.
We are children of God because He chose to
allow us to be. Not because He had to, or that we were deserving of it.
8 Ask of me, and I shall give
thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth
for thy possession.9 Thou
shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a
God has been highly tolerate
of a rebellious generation. Our government preaches tolerance, yet they don’t
understand the first thing about it. Getting your way isn’t tolerance. And God
has been far more tolerant that anyone would have believed in 1950. Immorality
has become the norm not because of tolerance but because of apathetic people
who rather than stand up for the morals of a godly nation that was fought for,
they chose to cower to people who wouldn’t defend them for love nor money. But
God’s tolerance will most certain wane.
10 Be wise now therefore, O ye
kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth.11 Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling.
As I said before, serving God with fear is
easy. Especially when the result of serving man is being lived out on the
evening news. I love the fact that I know that I know the Creator of all the
universe. That the God Who named the stars, has a new name waiting for me in
Glory, There’s a new song that even the angels cannot sing. What a privilege to
know Him and commune with Him with just the speaking of His name. There is no
disconnect for the child of God and if the kings of this world were wise, they’d
be calling on Him to give them instruction. And He will!
If our leaders would call a prayer meeting,
good night Irene!!!! I cannot imagine how this nation would turn around.
Because I know He has that power is why I rejoice and tremble in His presence.
12 Kiss the Son, lest he be
angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little.
Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.
To “Kiss the Son,” is to choose Him above all else. It takes humility
and faith. A very small price to pay for the gift of eternal life. For the gift
of peace during this life!
Praise God He is in control 365 days and every second of every day! I’ll
gladly serve Him and what an honor it is.
Many of the conversations I’ve had, both inside my head,
and with other people, have recently been around the discussion of end times.
It’s a topic not everyone desires to discuss. For me, from the standpoint of
myself, I get excited! But then I begin to think of family and friends who aren’t
prepared. It’s at this point that those who are not prepared, or those who are
uncertain turn me off. And it’s when I begin to worry and stress about how much
I’m doing for the cause of the Kingdom. I need to find ways to reach more
people. I need to find a way to reach my people! You know… the family who “think”
they’re okay, and those who just don’t think about it all, but would rather
live in ignorance, not knowing that Jesus could be ready to step out on the
cloud at any moment and call His church home.
Are you ready? Do you know that you know? I knew that I
knew last year when I had open heart surgery. Only the Lord Jesus Christ can
afford that peace. When I see that people don’t have an understanding of the
end times, and really don’t care to know, I’m more than a little alarmed. But I
guess that’s because I know. So in reading Jude, which by the way reads like a
book specifically about 2019, I feel compelled to share the news I discovered
about the news!
Jude vs. 16-18
These are murmurers,
complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great
swelling words, having men’s persons in admiration because of advantage. But,
beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord
Jesus Christ; How that they told you there
should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly
Wow. How accurate is that?
According to a poll from
Axios last year, 72% of 4,000 Americans polled, believe “traditional major news
sources report news they know to be fake, false or purposefully misleading.”
Other polls say it’s less; but then again, how do we know if even those who do
the polls are reporting honestly. It’s just a sad state of affairs that we live
in. Jude didn’t need the internet, a poll, or the evening news to tell him what
the prognosis was for mankind. He heard it straight from Heaven. He walked with
the Creator of all, and his words give an outline of modern times.
How not to Mistake the Fake
Stop watching all mainstream
television. There are none that truly don’t have an agenda. I fully believe
that. And in so doing, they’ll do they’re very best to persuade you in to
believing what they say, even if it’s only in part. And it’s not only the news
outlets. You can’t watch a good comedy without an agenda in it! If there’s such
a thing as a good comedy. The dark side is found in almost every show I’ve
attempted to watch over the past years. Wholesome television is almost nonexistent.
And if you think children’s television is any different, think again. I’ve had
to ban complete children’s channels off my television with the grandkids
because they promote homosexuality, violence, and disrespect. It’s insane! So
what’s the answer? Are we going to stop watching entertainment? Probably not,
but we need to take Jude’s advice to heart before turning it on.
Never Trust Their Lusts
I’m not just trying to
rhyme. It was a fact I learned about myself in our Sunday sermon at Victory
Baptist Church. I covet stuff. Shiny stuff. I have a serious issue of wanting
things I don’t necessarily need, and much of it comes from all the time I spend
on social media. There’s always something shiny and new waiting for me on the
web. Just ask Amazon.com. They’ll show you your shiny desires too, because they
follow your networking trends. But it’s not always your lusts that are the issue.
Their lusts can be come your lusts if it’s entered into your information
gatherer enough times. That’s why I can’t watch shows who push the liberal
agenda. Because I know their design is to mess with my conservative brain.
Don’t Fluff up the
don’t take their efforts lightly. They’ve got it down to a fine art on how to
manipulate the American mind. They use people and things that appeal to us. It’s
why the celebrities are pushing every product and agenda out there. Because if
we love their shows, music and movies, we’ll be easy marks to love their
mindsets too. Which if you’re not careful will lead you down a pathway far away
from the Lord Jesus Christ.
you where I stand. I’m a pro-Jesus, pro-life, Baptist conservative that makes
no apologies for rolling my eyes at liberal brats who want my children and
grandchildren to be corrupted by the notion that they are entitled to a world
of shiny things that will take their minds to places God never intended His
children to go. I hear it in their voices every time they get upset because
life treats them unfairly or a commercial comes on with the latest and greatest
and they want it, or a show or song plays that has garbage throughout it and
they repeat it. And yet, when I praise God, or bow my head to pray I’m the one
viewed as a fanatic.
Jude makes it clear that if you want the truth there is only one place to find
Take a look at the
So how do we deal with the Mainstream Mayhem? We measure everything we see and hear by the words of Jesus Christ. It is the only absolute truth in this world.
It’s why I love writing and working for FGGAM.org. Because Pastor Dewey Moede views the world through a biblical lens, and before he publishes it, it has to meet God’s standards. We know we’re accountable for what we say. The Bible is clear on that! We’ll stand before God and give an account of the words we speak and write. We’re not the only ones. That liberal bunch of liars that’s out there, they’ll have their day when they’re mockery comes to an end.
The book of Jude is one chapter from the end of the Book.
I feel like that’s where we are on the time line of eternity. And this chapter is coming to an end quickly…
in case you haven’t figured out where I’m at in Bible reading, I’ve been in the
book of Proverbs the last few days. And it’s good timing. I’m in need of
wisdom. I’m trying very hard to stay spiritually focused on a matter of the
heart, but there’s been an issue with my heart far longer than the issue that
caused the heart attack.
Proverbs Proverbs 4:23
says Keep thy heart with
all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.
As I’ve told you before. I
have issues. Lots of them! But that’s not the verse that caused me to ponder
this morning and examine my issues. It was Proverbs 8:17 ~
SEEK ME EARLY
I love them that love me;
and those that seek me early shall find me.
I do love the Lord, and I
realize that in seeking His will through His word, it’s always best to try and
discover His plan before you jump off the cliff, or open your mouth, or volunteer, again. Or possibly
choke the life out of someone. That’s why I don’t necessarily think that the
word “early” always refers to the time of day. Perhaps it means “before
The old adage “The early
bird gets the worm,” is only good if you’re the bird. The worm really gets the
short end of the stick. Perhaps if he’d prayed about direction before he came
up out of the earth, he’d be having a picnic with friends today. But what I got
more than anything out of this verse today is that God loves devoted children. He
knows we don’t have all the answers. And where Siri falls short on answers, God
SEEK ME FULLY
Jeremiah 29:13 ~ And ye
shall seek me,
and find me, when ye
shall search for me with all your heart.
Far, far too often I not
only fall short but I stop short of where God needs me to be. I search for His
wisdom until I grow weary, or something shiny takes me away and then I lose the
train of thought that brought me to His station. The process of finding the
answer isn’t always as easy as just opening up the book. That’s where we start,
but there’s prayer and conversations with God. In order to fully understand
what it is that God wants us to understand He wants His children to be serious
I have issues there too. I
want answers but more often than not I want the Readers Digest condensed
version with the answer key in the back.
SEEK ME ONLY
28 And there ye shall serve
gods, the work of men’s hands, wood and stone, which neither see, nor hear, nor
eat, nor smell. 29 But if
from thence thou shalt seek the Lord thy
God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy
soul. 30 When thou
art in tribulation, and all these things are come upon thee, even in the latter
days, if thou turn to the Lord thy
God, and shalt be obedient unto his voice;
Seeking the wisdom of men
and using the ways of the world for guidance always fails in comparison to what
can be obtained by speaking to the Savior. We forget that. It’s so easy to
desire a conversation with people we can touch, or look at the examples of
people who have succeeded in our area of need. And although there’s nothing
wrong with either of those things, God is an exclusive God. He won’t be added
to a list of possible solutions. He is the solution.
I had to remind myself of
that today. I can’t fix stupid. Some things and some people are beyond my
control. But what is within my control is my reaction to the world around me.
If someone is in need… seek God’s provision, perhaps you have it.
If someone’s in pain… seek God’s comfort, perhaps your words can
If someone’s in harms way… seek God’s protection, perhaps your
request will summon the powers of Heaven.
If someone’s in need of answers… seek God’s wisdom, perhaps you’re
The reality of it is, you
may or may not be the means God uses to fix a situation. But He wants to hear
from you. The problem may be your own, He wants to hear from you. He is the Lord thy God. 100% yours. And 100% mine. He hears every word
we speak (or think). Give everything to Him, early, fully, only. Thy God.
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.
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.
“The BRANCH” is a Bible Lesson that I composed for the teens at Victory Baptist Church. There are questions within the lesson that, although it was written for teens, I consider them young adults and treat them as such. Feel free to read and enjoy or use it for your ministry if you so desire.
Spring branches are a visible reminder of the new life we celebrated on Easter Sunday. The same God that the Jews longed to meet in the Old Testament, but refused to submit to in the New Testament was the BRANCH. Listed in scripture in all capital letters, which for me is like God shouting His name! It makes me want to know more about why it was listed that way, and what information God wants me to know.
speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The Branch; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the
temple of the Lord:
The BRANCH is what caught my attention,
but the context of the scripture begins in verse 9:
9 And the word of
the Lord came
unto me, saying,10 Take of them of the
captivity, even of Heldai, of Tobijah, and of Jedaiah, which are come from
Babylon, and come thou the same day, and go into the house of Josiah the son of
Zephaniah;11 Then take silver and
gold, and make crowns, and set them upon the head of Joshua the son of
Josedech, the high priest;12 And speak unto him,
saying, Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The Branch; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the
temple of the Lord:
Joshua. A name we’re
very familiar with, and a named that is translated from Hebrew Joshua to the
English, Jesus. Joshua is also the common alternative form of Yeshua.
So Zechariah is being
told by God to tell Joshua the Priest that he is a figure of the one to come.
Jesus, the Messiah, now being referred to as “The BRANCH.” And just like the
branches of this season come to life, The BRANCH was going to be born (come to
life) in Bethlehem, but raised in Nazareth. And just like the spring branches
that we have in view now, Jesus was going to spring forth, full of life and
glory for God.
There are two roles
of Christ that we’re going to talk about by unpacking the scripture references
in Zechariah and those two roles are Priest and King.
We too are referred
to as priests and kings in Revelation 1:5-6
5 And from
Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead,
and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us
from our sins in his own blood,
6 And hath
made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion
for ever and ever. Amen.
So how does it make
you feel to know you are considered a priest or king?
Is that a position
you’re comfortable with now, or is it something that you think you’re going to
grow into? At what age, or state of mind do you suppose you’ll arrive there?
Jesus grew up just
like kids of today. He may not have had an iPhone, but He had family, friends,
siblings, and all the common things of that day, and things that we’re used to
having as a family unit.
When you think of
growing up in biblical times, what do you think the cultural differences and
likenesses of that day were in comparison to ours?
What would teens have
done for fun?
What would church services
have been like for teens?
The scripture says
that Jesus was going to grow up out of that place, the place called Nazareth.
That was His place. Nazareth or Netzer, means “The branch from a multitude of
plants that grew there.” Another branch in our story
Our place is where we
live now. Far from a kingdom view. But so was Nazareth during that day. It was
said to be an “insignificant village.” Even the religious of the day said “can
anything good come out of Nazareth?”
Have you ever had
that feeling about our small town?
While Nazareth wasn’t
a big city of that day, it’s now the largest Arab city in the country of
Israel. And clearly something Amazing did come from the Nazareth. So why can’t
God do something amazing here?
Pastor John Powell of
Wadsworth, Ohio was born and raised in Calhoun County, West Virginia. But like
many of his era who were born in the 30’s, he left our area to find work. But
before that he had a back story. He had a Nazareth village.
When he was just a
few months old he got pneumonia and his mother had no money to buy medicine, so
she went to her father to borrow it. But instead she had to give John to him at
the age of 5 in exchange for the medicine. He was used for child labor and
treated very poorly. But even in that state he rose above others as an athlete
and in popularity. God called him into the ministry while in Akron, Ohio and it
was there that he graduated Bible College and became a man of great means
through investments. But the most important thing to know about John Powell was
that he reached thousands for Christ and was known for his generosity and
kindness all over the world.
The man from Calhoun
Jesus grew up in
Nazareth and didn’t travel very far in the lifetime of His ministry. One study
said about 90-120 miles. In this day and age, that’s not many. But we have to consider
His travels were by foot. But look at the impact He made in those 100 miles.
What’s the furthest
you’ve traveled, and where do you desire to go?
Jesus’ time on earth
was spent preaching the Kingdom, and building a temple not made of hands. What
temple has Jesus built?
When Jesus prophesied
of His resurrection He said in three days I’ll rebuild the temple, which made
the religious of the day angry because they thought He spoke of a building.
Which was not so.
We too are considered
a temple, how?
There are three ways
to build the temple we’re in charge of building
We listen (preaching
We learn – (Study to
show ourselves approved)
We live (Sharing the
word of God)
That is how we build
the temple, ours and the body of Christ.
It’s the same thing
that Christ did as a young person. When Christ disappeared from His parents and
was found three days later it says in Luke 2:46
And it came to pass,
that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of
doctors, both hearing them, and asking questions.
That’s how we grow in
the Lord, we ask questions. If we want to grow and feel worthy of our royal
positions of priests and kings, we need to do what Jesus did.
If a child never ate
physically they would die. They’d also die of boredom if they ate the same
thing over and over again. The same is true of our spiritual lives.
Eat. Work! Because as
we grow we also need to build.
The new temple that
Christ said He was going to build in three days wasn’t what they expected or
wanted. They wanted it on this earth. That was not the plan. They wanted the
royalty to be here. That was not the plan either. And that’s why it’s hard for
us to comprehend that we are priests and kings. Because we live in red neck
country. Not Jerusalem.
Just as Joshua was
active in the building of the temple, Jesus was going to be the Master Builder
of the Spiritual Temple that we call the church today.
13 Even he (The
BRANCH) shall build the temple of the Lord; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his
throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace
shall be between them both.
for the Glory of God.
what are the responsibilities of priests and kings?
view it as one governs and the other guides.
what do we govern, and what do we guide on this earth.
27 Now ye are the body
of Christ, and members in particular.28 And God
hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly
teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments,
diversities of tongues.
Not everyone is a
prophet, teacher, etc. but everyone has a purpose. And every one of us are a
part of the body of Christ if we’re saved. So we are overseeing the business of
the Lord until His return. We are in charge of guiding others. We truly are a
part of the Royal Family. And not the one in England, but the one in Heaven.
14 And the crowns shall
be to Helem, and to Tobijah, and to Jedaiah, and to Hen the son of Zephaniah,
for a memorial in the temple of the Lord.15 And they that are far
off shall come and build in the temple of the Lord, and ye shall know that the Lord of hosts hath sent me unto you. And this shall come to pass,
if ye will diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God.
There were earthly examples like Adam
and Joshua that God put on earth as examples of Christ. We are to be the
examples of the Lord set before the generation we’re now a part of. We are the priests and kings of this
generation, even if they don’t know it, or want it.
When someone is born into a royal
family, only the head of that royal family can kick them out. God’s the head of
this family, and He says that none shall be lost. (John 18:19)
That the saying might be fulfilled, which
he spake, Of them which thou gavest me have I lost none.
So whether the world likes it or not, we
are the royal family. The BRANCH’S government. Not a branch of the government.
We will have our day of sitting with the royal family in person, but today
we’re ambassadors in this foreign land.
So the question is, to who, where and
how are you an ambassador? Pray and seek the Lord’s will for the land the Lord
wants you to cover. And don’t ever think that He can’t take a kid from Calhoun
County, and do something amazing for the Kingdom. Because you are children of
Don’t forget …
Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy
He also shall be my salvation: for an hypocrite
shall not come before him.
It’s not that I don’t
feel like a hypocrite on a relatively regular basis. But for years I have felt
like this was my message for the world. Not in judgement, but rather in tender
compassion and pleading to the soul playing church on earth, and missing Heaven
There’s a vast
difference between being in church and being in Christ. But for too long the
religious crowd has preached (and I use the term liberally) that all the world
is fine, so long as they’re in the building.
When I visited the Philippines several years ago there was a huge church that was the size of a small West Virginia city. It had pointed steeples and ornate architecture that gave it a castle appearance, but not in a good way. It just looked cold and evil. It was the Iglesia ni Cristo (meaning Church of Christ) but not as the American Church of Christ. They believe that they are the one and only true church called out of Isaiah 43:5. It’s a very formalized methodical religion. All who are not a part of their church are Hell bound. according to them. That doesn’t sound any crazier to me than those who preach what many churches are preaching today, which is just show up occasionally, continue living in sin throughout the week, and you’re fine. It causes me to wonder if even the Pastors are saved who preach a message that is anti-relational with Christ.
I can’t help but think
that my message today will be viewed as judgmental. But I promise it’s not. My heart
breaks for church leadership as well who don’t have a deep enough relationship with
Christ to understand its importance and their purpose. They’ve been deceived by
this world too.
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
This is my friend Chuck McDonald’s life verse. Because when he got saved, he became a new creation. And anyone who knew him, seen the evidence in his life. That’s the key, and it’s the missing piece of many people in our own churches. Evidence. They walk out the door on Sunday morning and walk back into the world looking no different. There’s no evidence that church made a difference.
It’s not that the
message doesn’t go out of many churches, because it does. There are many, many
good preachers. So what makes the difference? Church leadership.
It’s not just the Pastor’s job. What made the difference in my friend Chuck McDonald’s life, and in my life is that there were people who stepped up and took me under their arm as a disciple of Christ. I keep saying it, but I’m not living it any better if I’m honest.
My formative years as a
new Christian were spent in fellowship almost every day with people from our
church. We had breakfast together at a local restaurant, we spoke on the phone,
we were in constant church services of some sort, somewhere. It was amazing! If
our church wasn’t holding a revival I was looking for someone else’s.
Does it have to be that
extreme? I don’t know. It worked for me. And it worked in the days of the
41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.
42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
Steadfast, in doctrine,
in fellowship, breaking bread and praying! Glory to God if only we had that
kind of time.
Well, in this modern day of technology, do we not? We can be across the globe, and still be in constant fellowship, and yet we don’t.
I joyously speak with
my friend Dewey Moede from New Mexico most every day. He is who God sent into
my life to follow up where others left off. You too are that person who is in
need of a Dewey, or perhaps you are the Dewey.
My point being is this;
we should be living our lives, wherever we are for Christ. So that people know
we’re there for them and that a relationship with Him and them is an important part
of our everyday.
I’m not about what denomination
is over the door, I’m about what your relationship is with my Lord. Are you
truly a brother or sister in Christ?
Only those who are will be Heaven.
Just give me Jesus.
Writer, Speaker, Singer… but most of all, Servant of Jesus Christ