Love. It’s what’s missing in society. I believe that it’s just that simple. I grow so weary in my soul when I hear people spewing hatred against people they don’t even know. Now, I realize there are some who heap that anger upon themselves. Believe me… when I tell you I struggle in the politics of the day not to hate people. I have to continually remind myself that they too were created by God with purpose. But somewhere down the road, they got off the intended path. Or perhaps never found the path and they are lost and headed to Hell. Even sadder. But the reality of it is, I will not answer for them. I will only answer for what I do as a child of God.
We need Fervent Love
Peter would understand me. After all it was Peter who cut the soldiers ear off when they came to arrest Jesus. I might have wanted to do that more than once. But it was Peter who wrote in 1 Peter 4
 And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.
Peter was zealous when it came to what he believed in. Far too many people are apathetic about their relationships, especially their relationship with God. I’ve kind of been in that state of mind. I’ve struggled lately to do what God called me to do. The weariness of the world was stuck to me like goo. Not glue… but rather an ick. I just couldn’t seem to get out of the funk I was in. I pray this is the first step out of that hole… It’s not that I lost my zeal, but I lost my drive. I lost the fervency for the Gospel.
Fervency is a passionate, glowing and growing desire to accomplish a matter of the heart. That should be my driving force, and no goo of this world should be able to cover it!
We need Forgiving Love
 Use hospitality one to another without grudging.
Never in my 57 years have I seen such an unforgiving society. If we’re not on the same page, we can’t even be on the same bookshelf. We can’t even be in the same library. I love the book analogy. Thinking about Malachi 3:16
 Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another: and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name.
It should cause great concern that God is ever aware of our conscience. For the good and bad. It should cause us to be that much more forgiving of others who are struggling in the same manner we are to figure this world out. But what it should do most of all, is cause us to have a desire to live for God, not man. The depravity of man is evidenced in Washington. Hospitality is barely in our vocabulary any more.
My mother is the most hospitable person on the earth. At 84, Her door is open 24/7 and has always been. I remember a time when my “hippy cousins of the 70’s” were hitchhiking across the country and stopped in at our house with their friends in the wee hours of the morning. My mother never grimaced. She let them in, fed them, and bedded them down. Strangers, without regard for what they believed. She’s just kind. That is how the heart of a Christian should be. Open to love. But never wavering in what it was designed to do. Share the gospel and forgiveness of Christ Jesus.
We Need an Un-failing Love
 As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.  If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
What ever your gift is, and you certainly have one, and likely many! That gift is made to minister. I can’t stop thinking about it. It’s why these past few weeks of a lack of fervency have been so hard on my spirit. I know that God created me to minister, and when I’m not… I’m failing. Miserably.
God helps us to be the men and women of God that You formed us to be. You knew me before I was in my hospitable momma’s belly. Help us to regain the fervency to share the gospel with a world that’s going to bust Hell wide open unless someone shows them the forgiveness and freedom of knowing Christ as Savior. Help us to have an unfailing love for the created. You love them. So must we.
Tell me something that you’ve created with your hands.
What would happen if someone came in and destroyed your creation?
How would you feel?
Imagine how God felt, when Satan did that very thing. He attempted to destroy what God created beings. And although he can’t, because ultimately God holds the power of life and death, He does wreak havoc with it and it all started in the garden.
But thinking about someone destroying something that you created helps us grasp what it is about God’s love for us. We are created beings. designed exclusively for His purpose but with free will.
So let’s look at God’s love for us through 1 John Chapter 3
Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew him not.
When we see the word “Behold” it means there’s something noteworthy here.
John is about to tell us, what manner, what kind of love God has for us. It’s the same love that He has for His only begotten Son. because He calls us the sons (or daughters as the case may be of God. And that God not only sees us as He sees His son, but the world sees us as they see His son.
And how does the world (those who don’t know Christ as Savior) see Him?
Unimportant. Of no significance to their lives. And that’s the same way the world sees Christian people. We’re not important to them. Even though they’re important to us. It doesn’t hardly seem fair, and that’s likely how God feels too.
What if that thing you created could talk. and it tells you that it likes your friends better than you, and wants emancipation (no longer to be yours.) How would that make you feel. Life and love is all about perspective. we need to be able to identify with God. And the only way to do that is to learn more about Who He is. He already knows us, He created us, but we don’t know Him unless we read His word. Because there in lies the image and character of God.
He loves us like sons and daughters. How should we love Him? (Like our Father)
How can that image get messed up? What if you don’t have a good relationship with your earthly father, do you think that will affect how you feel about your Heavenly Father.
(my relationship with my dad)
I was loved, but my dad was very Passive. Non confrontational. laid back.
Too often I look at God in the same light. Which is so far from Who He is.
(2) Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
John continues on to tell us that we not only are the children of God, there will come a day when we will be like God
What’s going to be one of your favorite parts of being like Jesus?
For me I think it’s got to be living without sin. To never have an ugly or evil thought. To never fear.
And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.  Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.  And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.
I think that may have been John’s favorite thing too. And this is what we have faith for… that one day we’re not going to be messed, and we’re not going to live in a messed up world. It’s why we study the word, and work on having a relationship with Christ, because through the word we are purified.
My friend John said that the Bible is like a spiritual washcloth. It’ll clean you up? How does it do that? What happens if we don’t read it?
We feel dirty, and often times unlovable.
Dick Jarvis found this little dog one day at Bakers mart. It was skiddish and wouldn’t come to anyone. Scraggly mutt. But Dick started feeding it, and it became his friend. He took it home and cleaned it up, and it was the cutest little critter. It made a home with his purebreds dogs. That’s a good example of what it’s like to be a child fo God. The Jews were the purebreds. We were the mutts, but God adopted us into His family, and now we are loved every bit as much as the children of Israel. But no body lost their position .
That purity (cleanses) that we experience is something the unsaved will never experience. They do not know what it’s like to live guilt free.
Jesus manifested (made Himself known) to the world so that we could be forgiven. He has never sinned. There fore He was the perfect blood sacrifice for our forgiveness of sins. By having a relationship with Jesus, we get to experience what it’s like to be without sin. We’re not. We do sin. But when God looks at us. He sees nothing.
The world can’t understand that, because they’ve never experienced it. And they won’t unless they get a relationship with God. Without having a relationship with God, you’ll never understand the depth of His love. How could we ever believe that our family loves us, and we love them if we never spoke.
(6)Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.
Abide means to continue in a place. To wait patiently.
As a little child, or with my own children, I remember what it was like to wait until one of my parents got home. I can remember how excited my children were when I got home from work. That’s the very same attitude we should have when waiting for the return of Jesus Christ. But too many Christians or church goers know just enough bible to be dangerous. They fear the coming of the Lord, because they’re not ready for His return. If we’re ready, and in a good relationship with Him, we can’t wait until He comes back. Because it’s then that we know we’re going to experience that purity and perfection in our own bodies that Christ has in Him.
Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.  He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.  Whosoever is born of God dothnot commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.
John sends us a warning not to be deceived.
How do we become deceived in this world? Where do we see deception?
Hollywood certainly gives us a jaded view of what our lives “should” look like. What we should have to make us happy.
Everyone’s family is perfect except yours, right? Wrong.
Our brains are inundated with lies so many times a day that we begin to buy it. And then we buy what ever it is they’re selling, because that will make us happy. We believe that nobody can disagree with us, or they’re not fully committed to us. If we get our feelings hurt, its because those people didn’t love us enough.
But the truth is, this world is broken, nobody or nothing will make you happy. Only Christ can do that in a way that leaves you satisfied. If it’s in the world, there will be a new version before the day is over that you bought whatever it was that you thought would make you happy.
But there is no new and improved version of God. He has never changed. And Christians shouldn’t waver either. There is an emotion of love, but there should also be an action of that love.
 In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.  For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.  Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous
Just as Christ made himself known to the world. We have to make ourselves known to the world too. It’s not to puff ourselves up, but rather to point people to Christ.
Just as Gods hasn’t changed, neither has His message. It’s one of great love. And that’s exactly what the world needs to see now. They don’t need to see hatred, and animosity towards each other and the unsaved. they need to experience the love of Christ through us, so that they’ll desire to know that love themselves.
13] Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you.  We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death.  Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.  Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.  But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?  My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.
There should always be evidence of God’s love in our life. And it has to be with action. But when the world sees Christians hating on each other and the lost, that’s how they view God. And Christians are going to stand accountable for that.
(19] And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.  For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.  Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God.  And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.  And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.  And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.
If we want people to understand the love of Christ, we have to share what Christ’s love looks like.
It as been decades since I came to the knowledge of Jesus Christ; only two, but none the less decades. As a child, a decade seemed like an eternity, now a decade seems like a month. Time passes ever so quickly by, but one thing never changes. Haters and doubters. They were in Jesus’ day, and before that. They are in our day, and now they are louder than they were then. Their voices can be heard through multiple medias. There are agnostics, atheists, idol worshipers and worshipers of other gods. They’re bold and brazen and often heartless. They love throwing stones. Just like the haters and doubters of Jesus’ day, only they proclaimed to be serving the God of Abraham. The same that Jesus spoke of. But the difference was, Jesus knew Abraham; He’d actually met him. Although to the crowd for which He spoke, they knew Jesus was physically too young for that. And so what they didn’t understand, they doubted and hated. Hated to the point that they would have picked up a stone and done bodily harm to God Himself. But Jesus pulled a disappearing act and walked out right in front of them and they missed His grand exit.
If you don’t know Jesus… don’t wait for the exit.
John 8:52-59 KJVS
 Then said the Jews unto him, Now we know that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and thou sayest, If a man keep my saying, he shall never taste of death. Art thou greater than our father Abraham, which is dead? and the prophets are dead: whom makest thou thyself?  Jesus answered, If I honour myself, my honour is nothing: it is my Father that honoureth me; of whom ye say, that he is your God:  Yet ye have not known him; but I know him: and if I should say, I know him not, I shall be a liar like unto you: but I know him, and keep his saying.  Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.  Then said the Jews unto him, Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast thou seen Abraham?  Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.  Then took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by.
Going right through the middle of them! I at first thought that He disappeared and was elsewhere. But no. He was still there, He was just in some way or another invisible! Just as He is today. And yet He is here, right in our midst, and the haters and the doubters are still looking for someone to cast stones at. They can no more hit Him now, than they could then. So often times the target becomes the only one they can lash out at and that is us, the believers.
So what do we do with the doubters and the haters.
Have First Hand Knowledge
Jesus had first hand knowledge of Abraham and Abraham first hand knowledge of Him.
Genesis 18:2 KJV
 And he lift up his eyes and looked, and, lo, three men stood by him: and when he saw them, he ran to meet them from the tent door, and bowed himself toward the ground,  And said, My Lord, if now I have found favour in thy sight, pass not away, I pray thee, from thy servant:
Two were angels, but Abraham addressed One as Lord. Abraham didn’t want Him to pass by. He wanted Him to stay. A lesson even Christians can learn. Don’t rush out of the Lord’s presence, or rush Him out of yours. What an honor to find the favor of God to the point where He chooses to be in your presence.
That’s kind of how I feel this morning as I write these words, Jesus passed by and sat a while with me in my little junked up office. He didn’t mind that it wasn’t a church, or a mansion. He just wanted time with me. And together He and I conversed and this is the product of that. This message. A message that I needed, and I’m pretty sure you do to.
Until the end of time there will be haters and doubters. Pray for them. But don’t let them distract you from God Himself. He’s still teaching us through the Holy Spirit, stay in His word! He’s still walking around unseen in the midst of those who do not know Him. It’s up to us to allow them to see Christ. It’s up to Him to help them feel His presence. Let them throw their spiritual stones of words; if they throw real stones, Move! But when it comes to the words of doubters and haters they have no power over the word of God. Their words will be forgotten tomorrow. His words have lasted how long?
If you’re reading this and you don’t know Christ as your Savior. Don’t let Him disappear in your midst. You’ve no doubt felt His Spirit moving in your presence, ask Him to reveal Himself to You, I believe He will. If you have questions, I’d love to answer them. If you stand in need of prayer, I’d be honored to do that too.
Have a Blessed day! As I write this it’s Wednesday. I hope you have a place to attend Bible Study tonight! Blessings ~ Shari
It ain’t easy! But it’s totally doable for a child of God. I must also say that it’s also not perfect. There will likely be some heartache and struggle. But even that too can be a blessing from the other side. Seldom ever in the middle!
That’s where my thoughts are going this morning as I prepare a lesson for my teens that always hits this grown up right between the eyes. As I study and prepare, as I instruct, i always learn more than they likely do. And often times I learn a greater lesson directly from them. One of which is when they call each other out. I’m not one who’s ever made a practice of calling anyone out. I won’t say I haven’t done it, but it’s a rarity. But this current group of teens I have are notorious for calling each other out. They cut nobody any slack! I sometimes cringe wondering how their comments will be taken; but funny thing about being called out in the house of God, if you’re a willing vessel to hear, the word is accepted and we move on. Could not the old folks learn from that?
God will call you out for certain! From the book of Isaiah God not only calls us out, He tells us to write it down:
Now go, write it before them in a table, and note it in a book, that it may be for the time to come for ever and ever:
Leading into that word, He’s speaking to the children of Israel.
Isaiah 30:1-2 KJVS
 Woe to the rebellious children, saith the Lord, that take counsel, but not of me; and that cover with a covering, but not of my spirit, that they may add sin to sin:  That walk to go down into Egypt, and have not asked at my mouth; to strengthen themselves in the strength of Pharaoh, and to trust in the shadow of Egypt!
Stay out of Egypt
Egypt adds to the sin that we already have. I have enough without going down into a place that has my mind in a place it shouldn’t be. Egypt can be anywhere. A television program or movie, a group of friends, a business establishment, a shopping center! Any place that has your mind on less than godly things. It adds sin to sin for the weaknesses that we are apt to fall victim too.
For me it could just as well be the bread isle at our local market. Jeepers! I love bread. I love donuts and cake and pie! those are weakness that I’d be better off staying clear of. I have others. Many others. For some people their weakness may be alcohol, drugs, friends that drag them into a world they came out of. Egypt is anywhere that takes you away from the will of God.
God’s original design for His children was that they never got exposed to Egypt. But Satan messed that up!
Stay out of Rebellion
Isaiah 30:9-11 KJVS
 That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the Lord :  Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits:  Get you out of the way, turn aside out of the path, cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us.
It’s hard to imagine those words about ourselves. But I only have to think of the times that I have turned a conversation with God off because it was taking me to a place of chastisement or a place I was less than comfortable in. I am no different than the people who stood at the base of the mountain with Moses and said, “You go Moses! We’ll wait for you to get back and let us know what God says!” Fear is a not so funny thing. We are taught to fear (reverence) God, but that perfect love casts out fear. And yet, without studying the word and staying in it we will allow Satan to cause confusion and shame to come into our life. These are the times when we do not want to hear the holy words of God. We need to
Even in the hard times. Even on the days when the Lord’s words cut us through. The end result will be Victorious living. I know this because I’ve experienced all of it! The victory and the defeat. I needed a teen around me to call me out!
This was a quick thought for myself today, to get my mind into the zone i want it to be in. How about you? Are you there? I pray you’re blessed!
 And she said to the king, It was a true report that I heard in mine own land of thy acts and of thy wisdom.  Howbeit I believed not the words, until I came, and mine eyes had seen it : and, behold, the half was not told me: thy wisdom and prosperity exceedeth the fame which I heard.  Happy are thy men, happy are these thy servants, which stand continually before thee, and that hear thy wisdom.  Blessed be the Lord thy God, which delighted in thee, to set thee on the throne of Israel: because the Lord loved Israel for ever, therefore made he thee king, to do judgment and justice.  And she gave the king an hundred and twenty talents of gold, and of spices very great store, and precious stones: there came no more such abundance of spices as these which the queen of Sheba gave to king Solomon.  And the navy also of Hiram, that brought gold from Ophir, brought in from Ophir great plenty of almug trees, and precious stones.  And the king made of the almug trees pillars for the house of the Lord, and for the king’s house, harps also and psalteries for singers: there came no such almug trees, nor were seen unto this day.
My 2020 word of the year has captured my thoughts. But I want to be careful not to get wrapped up in the search for wisdom and lose out on the acts of wisdom. Something obviously Solomon lived out; else why would the Queen of Sheba said what she did in verse 6 of 1 Kings 10? She was in absolute awe of what she witnessed of the “acts” of his wisdom. For me its the danger of Bible scholars. Not that I’ll ever consider myself one. But I’ve seen enough well educated Christians to last me a life time, who know the word, but don’t act on it. Or are far more interested in the depth of theology causing a shallowness and inability to care for the day to day needs of God’s people.
When studying the word I want to see the relevance to my everyday life. How can I apply, or act, upon what I’ve just read? That was my question after I read the aforementioned text. And so I kept reading to see what the act of the Queen was once she had discovered the awesomeness of Solomon. And what I discovered was, to the man who had everything, she gave more! Gold, spices, precious stones… things that would bring joy to his senses. Perhaps it was a spice that when he caught a whiff of he would think…. “ahhhh…. that’s from my friend the Queen.” I hope that I encourage folks in such a manner, many have encouraged me that way. That when they see or hear something down the road it will remind them of me (not for my glory) but for remembrance of my acts for Christ.
Another of the gifts of the Queen for Solomon was a boat load of almug trees for which the King used to construct the house of the Lord, and instruments for singers. Glory! Another reason of love King Solomon. He loved music. And so again he would likely hear the instruments play and as the music encouraged his spirit, or helped set the tone for the Worship of God, he might take the time to thank the Lord for the Queen and ask the Lord to bless her.
Solomon acted… he just didn’t sit on his wisdom. What am I going to do with this wisdom today?
A man from Canada stopped by my table in the Hotel lobby this morning. As always a conversation ensued. He and his wife encouraged me at first just by their presence in the breakfast room. They enjoyed each other’s company. She went off to prepare for their journey on to Florida and he was interested in what got me up so early… “Yes! Thank you Lord for an opportunity to tell him why was I was up at the crack of dawn. We talked about our perspective churches and and pastors and then he went on his way. Just a few minutes with Mr. Reesor. He left me with the gift of conversation. A small act, but one worthy of pondering today.
I hope someone encourages you today! Blessings! Shari
And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom; for Moses had laid his hands upon him: and the children of Israel hearkened unto him, and did as the Lord commanded Moses.
Oh to be “filled” with wisdom! It most certainly is possible, I guess. But for me there is always too much other junk that wisdom has to work it’s way around. Wisdom has to fight for it’s place in my world. This should not be, but I’ve left so many other pieces of junk in it’s path. Of course I speak metaphorically, but… you have no idea how very real that concept is.
Even my dream world is filled with garbage and chaos. It may or may not be medicine related that I’m having crazy dreams again. And while I do not believe I have the gift of dream interpretation, I don’t think it’s happenstance that my dream last night was filled with clutter. And that Miss Betty and Louis’ sister Kay had to come and straighten me out. But then again, if anyone was going to straighten you out, and make your world pretty, it would be my previous choir director Miss Betty.
So what does that have to do with wisdom?
Wisdom creates great leaders. Joshua followed the greatest leader of all time. What shoes to fill! And yet he did. But it didn’t just happen, it was intentional. The Lord had a plan to redeem His people, and that plan was to use people to create models of the final plan, the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. Joshua was a type of Christ, as well as Adam. But before I get ahead of myself, let’s talk about leadership and the wisdom needed.
My husband and I spoke this morning about the need of every organization having good leadership. Else 90% of staff will just do what comes natural. Nothing. Were it not for the leadership of Moses and Joshua the children of Israel would have still been in the dessert wandering around, and the giants of the promised land would have thumped their gourds. That of course is the Bible according to Shari. But I know this because I know me. If it were not for the leadership of Christ, and His encouragement in my heart I would just sit around all day and draw and pick guitar. Perhaps play the fiddle or any other fun thing that came to my mind. The clutter would consume my life and I would get overwhelmed and sit in my self made wilderness. But there is wisdom in me that scripture foretells in the book of Isaiah
And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord ;
This scripture speaks of Christ and the wisdom that was upon Him, qualifying Him to the office of King! And glory to God, it is the same wisdom at our disposal through the Spirit that now resides within the heart of a child of God. Christ was filled with the Spirit of wisdom from the womb, the Spirit of God came down from Heaven and rested upon Him at His baptism. He Who was anointed to be Prophet, Priest and King and He would loves us so much that He’s willing to share that wisdom with us. Does that not put a shout on you! I love examples like this in scripture that can give me an image in my mind of what God wants me to know.
I’m still in the picture book stage of faith. Don’t judge me. 😀
So why I “think” I had the dream last night…
My life is cluttered with stuff. It’s good stuff, but most days it’s a jumbled mess of what I create it to be. If you went to my office right now there are stacks of “stuff.” Payroll. Billing. New Accounts. Marketing ideas. Stuff to do… stuff that should have been done two days ago. It’s clutter! But it has to be that way until i can get in there and get it sorted out. The same is true spiritually with me.
I praise God for the Spirit that dwells with in me and is directing me not only in my spiritual life but my work life too. Holding me accountable for what I do. Moses held Joshua accountable as he taught him how to lead and if we allow the Lord, He will will guide us through every facet of life. We are leaders in our own domain and there are people watching to see if we take our jobs seriously.
As I wrote this today I felt the tension leave my body. At least for the moment. It was the wisdom of God that I received through this word this morning, reminding me that I am not alone. His hand is upon me guiding me day to day. But I have to listen! I have to take this time in His word to reign myself in. I think that’s why God sent Miss Betty to my dreams last night. Betty is a woman I look up to for leadership. She trained our Miss Susan who is a great leader in her own right.
God gives us Moses’ and Joshua’s to follow so that when we are the leaders we’ll know what to do.
Who are you Joshua to? There are people looking to you for leadership. Teach them well by example.
God bless ya!!! Hope this thought encouraged you today. ~ Shari
Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.
Who is a wise man? Good question right? I’ve known my share. Some of worldly wisdom beyond my comprehension, but I was never really impressed with those. They mostly irritated me because they speak over my head in hopes of impressing rather than speaking to my understanding in hopes of helping me. That is the difference between good and bad educators.
We had a preacher come to our church several years ago for a few nights of revival. The first night he was late and ill prepared because he’d gotten lost trying to find our church. It was obvious as he preached that he was having to rely on the Holy Spirit to guide him through his message. It was phenomenal! He came back the second night “prepared.” Yielding big words and theological discussions. Guess which one made the greater impact. Not the big word preacher. The Spirit lead preacher was so much more in tune with the congregation because the Spirit knew what we needed.
In my search for wisdom, I’m not seeking to become theologically greater, but spiritually greater. I want to understand scripture in greater depth, but only for the purpose of taking that information and applying it to my life and messages so that I can become a better child and servant of God.
So when James asks his readers, “Who is a wise man?” I don’t think he was searching for the scholars of the day. He spoke of those who were endued with knowledge. Another word for endued is infused. That is my desire. To be filled with the Spirit of God through the absorption of His word and knowledge. I love the essential oil infusers that fill the air with natural scents and healing oil. They arouse my sense of smell and create a happy response from my soul. So does the word of God!
Don’t Get Too Big for your Britches
...with meekness of wisdom. I pray I never feel as though I (personally) have something to tell. I hope that my ministry work is always a Holy Spirit lead adventure. Meekness is often viewed as weakness in this world. Because a person isn’t loud and boisterous, people believe them to be an obvious push over. And yet, someone like myself who has a naturally loud personality is often considered bold and brave. I know the exact opposite to be true. Meekness is strength concealed and controlled. I have to work on that daily. So a meekness of wisdom is not someone who flaunts what they know, it rather someone who shares what God has revealed and gives credit where credit is due.
But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.
Don’t get Bitter with your Brothers
Or your sisters as the case may be. On the occasions when I’ve been aggravated with someone I’ve realized that there is a pride involved that is straight out of the pits of Hell, and that I’m lying to myself and anyone else when I try to justify that anger. Satan loves it when we have strife with our family and friends, because in no way will God be glorified. Oh James, you are so wise. That type of strife will cause the wisdom of God and our purpose on earth to completely leave the track of our destined plan by God. That’s a dangerous pride that could have consequences resulting in someone never seeing Jesus because they could only see us.
How very confusing it must be for the lost child to witness a saved child hating on someone.
But godly wisdom is where it’s at! It’s why it so important to stay in God’s word. It keeps our heart in tune with Him. If you’re in love with God, you cannot be in hate with others.
But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.  And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.
Get Better by being Broken
Understanding where we come from is a good place to start when showing someone how to get where you are and on their own path toward a deeper relationship with Christ.
There is a fair amount of snow falling outside right now, and as it falls, it falls slowly, peacefully, covering up the mud and earth below that is so abundant outside this time of year. I’m not a fan of winter for a few reasons, though I do love the snow when I have no where to be… which is not today. But it serves as a great illustration on the purity of God, and how He washes our sin as white as snow, covering up those muddy days in my life when I’ve failed Him miserably. And I was miserable. That’s a part of my testimony.
I did not have the peace of God for 34 years of my life. I believed in Jesus, but I did not “know” Jesus. There is a vast difference. Satan is fully well aware that Jesus exists, but he has no desire to have a relationship with Him. And unfortunately neither does most of the world. They are lulled into accepting a false peace that comes from money, fame, even family. But get broken and suddenly you are looking for a repair kit. That repair kit came looking for me in 1996. I experienced it sitting in the back row of Victory Baptist Church, when Mike Worf opened his bible and shared his own brokenness with me. I’d never heard a preacher be so open and honest about his own failing. I needed to know I was not alone.
Help me God to show that to those I come into contact with. Those who make peace, whether it’s law enforcement, judges, etc. do so by squelching conflict. That’s what the Spirit of God does. We were not made for this world, therefore there is an automatic conflict in our soul. But a soul saved immediately resides in Heaven, and that conflict (though we still experience it on earth) finds peace in Heavenly places. Glory to God! I just wrote myself happy!
The world would like you to believe that being humble and broken brings shame. The Spirit of God shows us that being broken is when we’re at the point were we can absorb the Spirit of God and allow His goodness to leak back out of us so that others may see. It leaks out of my eyes a lot.
Praying that today you are getting better in your relationship with Jesus. Blessings! Shari
My mind has been on Mary, the mother of our Lord this week. And also a writer of the 300-400 AD era by the name of Epiphanius. It was his name that came up in my study on Monday from Luke 2, when I read in a commentary that it had been “hinted to” but not documented in scripture (which is very important) that Mary was martyred. That would not surprise me with the evil of the world then and now. Satan would have loathed the woman who brought our Lord to fruition through her womb, by the power of God. And who would have better known the facts of the matter than she herself. Oh my stars, my stomach just turned over to think of her life and watching the crucifixion of her child.
My youngest, who is 32, just left on a trip to New York, I worry for her and her safety, it’s the way of a mother. My soul hurts, literally, when one of my girls or grandchildren struggle. So to imagine… and I can’t, the pain Mary went through as the mother of our Lord, is beyond what I could possibly comprehend. But I am also very careful not to put her in a position of magnification above what the Lord allows. She’s wonderful. But she is not to worshiped or idolized as some would have us believe. She too was just like those of us willing to serve. A vessel of the Father.
So back to Epiphanius. When I read his name and what he “hinted” at, I became fascinated with him. Who was he? And when he spoke those words, if he did, in what context were they spoken? Was he one who idolized Mary? And if so… I couldn’t give weight to his words. So I did what all tech gals do, I went to the web in search of information. And boy did I find some! Now I’m kind of in love with the guy. But my husband has no worries… he’s long gone. Having died as he lived in the year 403 A.D. Serving.
There is a story for which I read, there were many, and not always so factual. But one that had facts to back it up was the story of “the curtain incident.”
A letter from Epiphanius, Bishop of Salamis, in Cyprus, to John, Bishop of Jerusalem covers the incident of the curtain, which unlike other passages attributed to Epiphanius, is accepted as authentic by scholars. All of which is according to the web. Which we know wouldn’t lie, right? (Insert rolled eyes here). But I guess as far as we can tell, this is truth.
The letter reads as follows:
Moreover, I have heard that certain persons have this grievance against me: When I accompanied you to the holy place called Bethel, there to join you in celebrating the Collect, after the use of the Church, I came to a villa called Anablatha and, as I was passing, saw a lamp burning there. Asking what place it was, and learning it to be a church, I went in to pray, and found there a curtain hanging on the doors of the said church, dyed and embroidered. It bore an image either of Christ or of one of the saints; I do not rightly remember whose the image was. Seeing this, and being loth that an image of a man should be hung up in Christ’s church contrary to the teaching of the Scriptures, I tore it asunder and advised the custodians of the place to use it as a winding sheet for some poor person. They, however, murmured, and said that if I made up my mind to tear it, it was only fair that I should give them another curtain in its place. As soon as I heard this, I promised that I would give one, and said that I would send it at once. Since then there has been some little delay, due to the fact that I have been seeking a curtain of the best quality to give to them instead of the former one, and thought it right to send to Cyprus for one. I have now sent the best that I could find, and I beg that you will order the presbyter of the place to take the curtain which I have sent from the hands of the Reader, and that you will afterwards give directions that curtains of the other sort—opposed as they are to our religion—shall not be hung up in any church of Christ. A man of your uprightness should be careful to remove an occasion of offence unworthy alike of the Church of Christ and of those Christians who are committed to your charge. Beware of Palladius of Galatia—a man once dear to me, but who now sorely needs God’s pity—for he preaches and teaches the heresy of Origen; and see to it that he does not seduce any of those who are intrusted to your keeping into the perverse ways of his erroneous doctrine. I pray that you may fare well in the Lord.
See why I love him! He kind of reminds me of my David. Who is often harsh when it comes to correctness and those who live in err and profess to be right. Now… don’t tell him that I told you (I’m joking, he knows) he is not always right either. But David indeed does have the work ethic of similarity to the biblical ethics of Epiphanius.
So this is why I am thinking much on Mary and Epiphanius today and the days prior. When Mary said in Luke 1:46 ~“And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord,” she knew what we all should know, it wasn’t about her. And even though to some (but not to my David) they would say that Epiphanius’ reaction was brash; when rather than politely asking the church to remove the curtain, he ripped it to shreds. But he knew what this world does not, how much the Lord loathes religion over relationship.
Religion is everywhere. And I really hadn’t thought about the images we project into our mind and lives that are not biblical. So over the last few days when I drew what I imagined Mary to be like, you’ll note I did not put a halo over her head, I however did add some sparkles, just because I think every woman of God should shine.
So as we go into the Christmas season, I’m challenging myself and you to rethink some of the images you have in your mind about what this season should look like. Remember, Jesus “was a baby,” Now He’s a very grown up King. And our images will in no way do justice to the real King of glory. Wow! I just wrote myself happy again.
Luke 1:17 ~ And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.
John the Baptist. One of the characters of Christmas that I seem to gloss over until it comes to his beheading. And then I quickly read past it because it breaks my heart to think of the profound immorality of the world then and now. Not much has changed in regard to religion. And I use that word only to generally define us. John the Baptist wasn’t religious. Religion wore a fancy robe, John wore camel hair. Religion drank wine and had fancy hors d’oeuvres, John ate locust and honey. Religion pointed a finger, John pointed people to Christ. Religion was pompous and societal, John was loud!!!! “Prepare ye the way!!!” He cried. Even Isaiah warned the people about him.
Isaiah 40:3 ~ The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.
Sunday as we prepared for the Christmas Cantata, our sound man Carl, struggled to hear the voices of the music. (He didn’t know there wasn’t any on this particular part of the sound track.) In his attempt to find them he turned the split track up full blast, unbeknownst to the choir. When voices did finally come onto the track they blared out full decibel, and the entire choir just about jumped out of their skin! It was hysterical! We laughed and laughed and it took five minutes to regain our composure and get back to the matter at hand of rehearsal. Good times!
This morning it reminds me of what must have been the reaction of those stuff shirt religious Pharisees when they heard John the Baptist coming out of the wilderness and into their part of the world. Religion doesn’t like to upset the🍎 apple 🍏 cart.
My text today, Luke 1:17 likens John the Baptist to Elias, also known as Elijah. Both were men of the same spirit and disposition. They were zealous, leaders and loners. They dressed weird. 2 Kings 1:8 says that Elijah was “an hairy man, and girt with a girdle of leather about his loins.” Neither really cared about what the current trend of the day was. They both reproved kings and both suffered persecution because of it.
Religion makes me nauseous.
How to know if you’re religious. (I do, because I was)
You not only care about what you wear (which is fine) but you judge the apparel of others (which is not.)
I personally love clothes. But, I like every kind of clothes. Yesterday I wore the cutest red 👠 shoes ever, a black lace skirt and a shiny jacket! I love them. But to the evening service, I wore 👟 sneakers and jeans. I’m truly not about impressing the masses with my apparel. I wear what I like. I fully believe it is more about my relationship with God than my relationship with a tailor.
You care about where you live (which is fine) but you judge where others live. (Which is not.)
I love beautiful homes. I however do not live in a home that will ever find it’s way to the cover of a design magazine. It’s a double wide that’s had work done, and needs work done. It’s small, but it’s home. I raised my kids here, and they come home here. It’s got a lot of hand made goodness by my husband that makes me smile every time I see it. Because he was proud of his handiwork. It’s loud. And the kids are rowdy and sometimes annoying, but it’s where we live.
When John the Baptist came out of the wilderness, he must have looked a sight! But those who listened didn’t care. They got the message. In Luke 3:3 it says of John that he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins;” and some folks listened and others loathed him (much like today), especially Herod the tetrarch, because John called out his sin of having an affair with his sister in law!
John didn’t judge… he left that to God; he just spoke truth and the world doesn’t want the truth. And the truth of the matter is, religious people really do care where you live and where you come from. And they care for the wrong reasons. John didn’t care where people came from, he cared where they were going! That’s good stuff right there isn’t it? Forget the neighborhoods we live in, let’s talk about where we’re moving too! Glory!
Question: At what level is my commitment to the mission of Jesus?
____ I do not care about Jesus or His mission. I have more important goals.
____ I am a little confused at times as to what part I play and how I do this.
____ I want others to know Jesus, but I have too much going on in my life at this time.
____ I want to make disciples and help others grow and know I should, but I am not.
____ I am committed to helping others grow in spiritual maturity and am currently (or recently) discipling someone.
Those were the questions on a recent blog post I ran across from the First Baptist Church of Scott City, MO. Good questions I thought. And while I would select the last of the five, I began to worry about answers 1-4.
Somewhat less than a hundred years ago when I taught substance abuse prevention in the school, one of my youth made the comment that his dad had said (upon seeing one of the commercials for requesting money to feed starving children in Africa) “I don’t really care about the starving children in Africa.” In his poor attempt to be funny, and teach his children to keep their money at home, he actually spoke what I believe is the attitude of most Christian people. We take care of our own. Those outside of our family, or church are not on our hearts.
I know this blog seems random, but I promise I’ll bring it together.
Yesterday my friend Luann Johnson, from North Carolina, drove to Calhoun County, West Virginia to plan our 4th annual Christmas Project. Four years ago she ran across my name on a Google search for “West Virginia Christian women,” which I love that she did, because she and I became fast friends and sisters in Christ. For three years she and her husband Daniel, and often a few other friends have driven 5 hours to serve as Christ served, in our community. People she doesn’t know, who might as well be from Africa because she may never see them again. But for one day she serves them as though she were Jesus and they were her close personal friends. She always encourages me and reminds me not to get wrapped up in the wrapping of the Holiday, but to get tied into the Holy One! Oh how glorious to be a child of the Living God. Who desires our help… and would never, ever say, “I don’t real care about the starving people in Africa.” It is sad that every time I see the man who uttered those words, that’s what I think of. Even though, he’s probably a nice fella, and is very active in their church. And that reminds me that I too am accountable, and far from guilt free, on the words that I utter.
Our project this year for 2019 is “A Fruit Filled Christmas.” We want to reach souls for Christ, and be fruitful for the Kingdom. We’re going to give folks a little token of love in fruit and gifts for the families who are given invitations. We’re asking local churches to give us the names of families who would benefit from an evening of Pizza, and fellowship with a message of love for them from Luann, Daniel and the Jesus Chick. The Johnson Trio! If you have someone in mind, contact me through social media, or by phone (304)377-6036 and I’ll reach out to them with a personal invitation. We’d also accept any donations of fruit and other foods to bless families with this Christmas.
As it stands now the event will be December
This season is so wonderful to remind us to give. But it should also remind us to serve. So back to the questions from the First Baptist Church. What is your level of commitment to the mission of Jesus? He’s not the baby in the manger… He’s the King of Glory! And our Christmas goal should not be our family only, but the family of God and what we can do to reach and win more souls for Christ before His return. Every time I utter the words “His return,” in any form, my heart flutters. I think it’s nearer than we can imagine… and nearer than many want to believe.