Category Archives: Life’s Failures

Pardon Me For Whining

Okay… so I feel like I should apologize for whining yesterday. It’s not that it’s not in my character, it’s just not in my character to do it out loud. I always do it in my head so the world thinks I’m super spiritual. Just kidding… they don’t. But I like to think myself super spiritual sometimes; because then I don’t feel so bad about myself when I realize I’m an epic failure. Now that I’m done with that, let me tell you what I really want to do. I want to Psalm 13:6 it today!

Psalm 13:6

I will sing unto the Lord, because he hath dealt bountifully with me.

So in case you missed my whining session at the end of my vlog (video blog) yesterday, I was a tad emotional about the fact that temptation in this world is hard. Everyone faces it, and I’ve had my share lately when it comes to wanting to escape the will of God. That sounds bad. I should want to be in the will of God, right? Well, I technically do, until it’s a struggle. Like in the world of my finances and then I want to jump this ministry ship and get a “real job.” I get in that mode because that’s what the world tells me I should do. So this morning as I went merrily on my way, bible journaling through Psalms I came upon David’s whining session. However in his defense, his own son Absalom was trying to kill him. That really trumps my reasons to whine.

Abandonment Issues

1How long wilt thou forget me, O Lord? for ever? how long wilt thou hide thy face from me?

Forever? Have you ever felt that way? When God does not answer immediately, especially in the microwave society for which we live, the feeling of despair can take over quickly. I want an immediate resolve so I can move forward. I want God to fix this mess! But with that cry I have to realize that God didn’t make my mess. I did.

Just like David. While he didn’t cause his son to become his enemy, he caused himself to lack the confidence that he had earlier experienced (before the sin with Bathsheba). Failing in our walk with Christ causes the feeling of abandonment, not because God moved, but because we’re not as close as we once were.

Advice Issues

How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily? how long shall mine enemy be exalted over me?

The worst thing I can do is ask myself for advice.

Taking counsel in my own soul will just add insult to injury. I’m a little too close to the situation, don’t you think? And yet when I don’t hear from God, rather than being still and waiting, I talk. And talk. And talk some more.  I’m such a slow learner.  

Ability Issues

Consider and hear me, O Lord my God: lighten mine eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death; Lest mine enemy say, I have prevailed against him; and those that trouble me rejoice when I am moved.

Can you not hear the whining heart of the Jesus chick? It’s pretty loud. “I’m dying here Lord!” that’s what David said and that’s what I have a tendency to say. Because of my struggles I don’t have the ability to get the things accomplished that I want to get done. And because of that, I too feel like the enemy is rejoicing in my failures and I’ve been moved out of the place I long to be in.

Unexpected Blessings!

So here I am sitting in my office this morning and God reminds of a pumpkin that’s sitting at the edge of my yard in a pumpkin patch that I didn’t even plant. I had pumpkin décor last fall and it stayed in front of David’s wood shop on a few bales of hay, until it decayed and David as he often does, he cleaned up my mess. He threw the hay, pumpkin and all at the edge of a field. The seeds from those pumpkins made it into the ground and bore fruit. It was so exciting when David discovered our unexpected blessing and showed it to me.

So this morning I hear… this mess too will bear a surprising fruit. Be Still.

But I have trusted in thy mercy; my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation.6 I will sing unto the Lord, because he hath dealt bountifully with me.

So let me unwind and un-whine. God is good. That pumpkin is far from the only blessing in my life. I received such sweet encouragement from a few friends yesterday.

I shall not be moved! Because the Lord has more than dealt more than bountiful with me. How about you? Do you have a pumpkin in your patch? Praise God for it. And run the enemy off the porch of your dreams. Thank You Jesus.

The signs of a fruitful ending

I’ve Been Taken to the Woodshed

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

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

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

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

A Healthy Respect

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

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

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

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

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

A Hallowed Reverence

Matthew 6:9

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

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

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

For example. Netflix.

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

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

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

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

A Heavy Reliance

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

THAT IS WISDOM

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

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

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

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

Without fear.

Without reverence.

Without understanding.

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

Father forgive me.

Draw me close Lord, This I pray,

Forgive this wicked soul that strays.

Remind me with each breath I take

That I am yours, I’m no mistake.

There is purpose in my soul

But I must give you full control.

Shari

What About Your Candle?

Luke 11:33-36

33 No man, when he hath lighted a candle, putteth it in a secret place, neither under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that they which come in may see the light.

As I read Luke 11:33 my first thought was, “Where’s your candle sitting Shari?” I love scented candles. Not of the floral design, but those that cause a visitor to wonder if I just pulled some fabulous dessert from the oven. The one I’ve had wafting through the house this weekend is salted caramel. Yum! But what about the candle that was lit within my heart in 1996 when I accepted Jesus as Lord? How evident is that candle? And where is it sitting? That was the questions I ask myself. I’m so frustrated with my own service for the Lord of late. I’ve allowed so much to strangle my spirit and my spirituality has suffered.

Some would say, that’s life. But for me, that’s death. That exactly how Satan convinces his prey that we’re “fine.” You can’t be on fire every day. I’ve heard that said numerous times and it makes me want to puke every time I hear it, because it’s a lie of the Devil. While it’s true we all have down days, we’re just a heartbeat from settling into as a lifestyle. So what about that candle?

Good vs. Evil

34 The light of the body is the eye: therefore when thine eye is single, thy whole body also is full of light; but when thine eye is evil, thy body also is full of darkness.

This verse reminds me of the children’s song

Oh be careful little eyes what you see, oh be careful little eyes what you see

For the Father up above is looking down on you with love, oh be careful little eyes what you see.

What we see and hear every single day effects our character and witness. “Be not deceived” God warns in Galatians 6:7.

I love, love, love bluegrass music. But after about the third song about someone’s cheatin’ wife being buried in the back 40, my mind is in a dark place. I have to shut that off and listen to some gospel. But there are days that I don’t shut it off. I just keep listening, and the stories go from killing her to killing himself with alcohol to get over her “Four ounces at a time.” Yes… I actually have that song on my play list. And I say to myself, I’m fine… yet evil won out.

Lead vs. Follow

35 Take heed therefore that the light which is in thee be not darkness.

The “I’m Fine” theory is what lead me to a heart attack and open heart surgery. I did not take heed. I wanted to appear healthy in the world’s eyes. As I scurried about the church in my little “church lady” ways, no one had any idea that in the basement of my favorite place in the world I’d just had a heart attack. I was following the world and not the Lord. God had told me that I wasn’t fine. He’s done the same thing spiritually and I’ve ignored that too. Leading vs. following isn’t necessarily right vs. wrong. You can lead yourself and others astray, or you can follow someone in the path of righteousness. You can lead someone to Christ, or you can follow someone to Hell. Your mind’s eye and your ears have got to be tuned into Christ to keep the candle burning and your body filled with the light of His word and ways.

Light vs. Dark

36 If thy whole body therefore be full of light, having no part dark, the whole shall be full of light, as when the bright shining of a candle doth give thee light.

In the battle of light vs. dark, the light always wins out when given the opportunity. Darkness has to flee when light enters the room.

James 4:7 says: Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.

Glory to God, He wins! But the key to personal victory is our submission. The world is ready to fill you full of darkness through music, television, books, magazines, internet and any other means of media as well as people. It can all be evil, the same way it can be good. It’s our choice that makes the difference.

What are you filling your eyes and ears with today? Is it filling you with light or darkness? Is your candle burning brightly for the cause of Christ, or is it so dim the world doesn’t even see its flame?

Light the world for Christ today! Fill your mind, body and soul with everything good!

On the Other Side

Proverbs 4:23

Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.

I cannot tell you when the heart issues began in my physical body, only that they had begun months before. I was having arm pain pretty frequently, but I would shush it as if to tell God, “I ain’t got no time for that Lord.” So on the busiest Sunday in a long time, of the busiest week in forever, in my most favorite place and haven of rest, I had a massive heart attack at about 9:40 a.m. Sunday, May 20th, 2018. I stole away to my class room at Victory Baptist Church, out of the eyes of the congregation and waited for the pain to subside. Yeah… I’m not the brightest crayon in the box. It did, and so I continued doing what Shari does. “Church stuff.”

I left church and a little later went to my granddaughter Paityn’s dance recital. Another “episode” and I walked out of the auditorium and away from people to let God know, I had too many things to do and the pain subsided.

Monday: another of my favorite ministries is the Long Term Care at Minnie Hamilton Health Care where I play and minister for an hour each Monday at 2:00 p.m. Once that was under my belt I had but to finish preparing for the departure of an African missionary that had been staying in our home, and the in the process of running an errand for that, the third and final, “Okay God, you win.” I pulled into the fire station where my husband is chief and said, I need to get to the hospital. And immediately everything was out of my control and there was no more shushing God. I was informed I had had a heart attack.

So what was my reaction? Typical Shari. “Hmmm. Now what? I’ve really messed up this time God. Are you going to fix it?

Things began rolling so fast: a friend staffed ambulance trip to Camden Clark in Parkersburg. A heart cath that showed a 95% blockage was over with before I even knew it. Literally I asked the doctor when he was going to start. I’d been joking and talking about music and Jesus with the staff and missed my own heart cath. I was assigned to a heart doctor that I was ready and willing without apprehension to trust for my heart surgery. But then, he fears I have a blood disorder and refuses to do the surgery in that facility. So to WVU in Morgantown I go. Another ambulance ride, constant chest pain and I’m as cool as a cucumber in the garden after the rain.

I had a 95% blockage in two arteries, one being the main. And so a team of the best heart doctors in our state commence to figure a plan for the surgery. They’re worried about the blood issue. I know it’s covered by the blood and so I lay there in waiting for a new start on life and all the while asking God, “Am I gonna come through this?” I kept hearing again and again, “You’re fine, you’re going to the other side.” So there I continue to lay for 3 days waiting for the boat. God had calmed the sea, but Jesus had hired drivers for this trip in the form of WVU medicine.

The boat arrived Friday, May 22nd and my double bypass surgery was scheduled for 6:30 a.m. My husband David, Pastor Steven, and salvation long friend Ed Eisley met with me before surgery where we prayed, laughed about life and off to surgery I went. I know… I’m a nut.

I was wheeled into a very sterile operating theatre where the show was about to begin and I was the star. I was very aware and oddly so that I had no fear. Two of the medical staff were from my mom’s home county, and as I joked and talked about like acquaintances we knew, the next thing I know my husband is saying “Shari it’s done. You’re good.”

My healing in the next few days was every bit as insanely miraculous. It wasn’t fun and it wasn’t pain free, but it was tolerable and passed quickly. And here I sit, on a Sunday morning at 4 a.m. two weeks from the day of my heart attack, preparing my mind for church and wondering how the game plan has changed for me in the scope of my service.

Fggam.org founder, Dewey Moede asked me a few days after the surgery “What’s the biggest lesson I learned through the heart attack?” At that time my mind wasn’t in a place to answer. The brain fog of drugs and anesthesia had my mind a jumbled mess, and I’m still not so sure my lesson is over. This has certainly sidelined me in a few ways. But what I am very aware of is the fact that God is faithful. I am not.

I am not some super saint with the ability to step out in faith every time and never ever question God. I did not maintain that Spirit of fearlessness in surgery by my own accord. God’s divine mercy saw fit to use me for six days for His glory and without human reasoning. Hundreds if not thousands of saints of God lifted my name to the Lord and I knew it because every prayer could be physically felt. God placed the best medical facility and staff in my path for six days. I left the hospital in record time and returned home to family who were frustrated that they didn’t need to take care of me as much as they’d planned.  If you played any part in my “episode,” I am so eternally thankful.

So for the lesson? I’m sure there are many, many to come. But the one in my mind right now is that God needed me to understand that my life was not my own and it would be used as a vessel for His glory and goodness, even when I tried to shush Him or do things my way. I pray you learn that lesson by my errors rather than your own. I look at the heart bypass as hopefully a bypass around the world’s approach to faith. You can give your heart to Jesus and be an honest to goodness child of God, but until you go around the worldly view of Christianity, which is so wrong, and give full control to the Spirit of God, you’re missing out on 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.”

Children of God we are set apart and created with purpose. We do not belong to this world. When that boat of surgeons arrived to take me to the other side, I was ready. It’s not to say the world didn’t try to tell me the storms would overtake me, but I knew the maker of the storm! I will not allow Satan to take credit for any part of what I went through. I brought it on myself through disobedience and ignorance, case closed. God was glorified because as my friend John Powell used to say, “God takes care of stupid people.” Especially those with a desire to serve Him and be used by Him.

Here I am Lord, use me!

What Do You Have Left?

Philippians 3:4-8

Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.  Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,

Apostle Paul is one of the Bible characters that I cannot wait to see when I get to Heaven. His stories must be amazing! He’s a “shoot from the hip” kind of guy that always gets me right between the eyes with his words.

Confidence in the flesh

Paul had it, and from the worlds standards had reason to have it. Me? Not so much. I know I’m a multi-talented, gifted by God gal. Totally get it and totally don’t deserve it. But confidence in it? Um… no. Just this morning I’m flitting about getting ready for the day, listening to preaching, got an idea for a blog… then, got an idea for a song to go with the blog, then, while practicing that song I got an idea for a song of my own and went from room to room of my house trying to accomplish all those things at once. In the process, my computer crashed. Total nausea.

It was if God said, “You need to stop. I didn’t give you those gifts to drive you crazy.”

So I took a breakfast break, and regrouped. Rebooted my computer and low and behold my original thoughts for a blog were gone. And so I started from scratch believing God had a new plan.

Confidence in the Flesh will get you in trouble. Every time I feel that I’ve got a song somewhat mastered, I butcher it beyond belief. When I feel I am ready to stand before a crowd to sing or speak, my first thought on stage is “Who let this happen?” Paul was beyond confident, but he threw it all away for weakness.

A friend of mine had a proud momma moment the other day when her son performed and did an amazing job. She turned to me and said “I wish he knew how good he is.” I understood what she was saying, but part of his charm and talent is the grace and humility of him believing that he’s just “okay.”

Paul gave his resume for confidence and then he said, it’s not worth poop! That’s the Paul I know and love. He threw pious dignity right out the window.

Counted it Loss

Why is it that we put so much stock in terminology and the opinions of people? Labels and titles are fine to use as a narrative to our story but they in and of themselves do not define us. I’ve had many titles over the course of my 55 years. But truthfully, each title was a defining moment in my life that made me who I am in Christ. Paul learned and taught that an education was only as good as its eternal ramification for Christ Jesus. Paul used his wisdom to market Heaven in a way that we continue to share 2000 years later, and he didn’t even have social media. That’s an effective education. It’s why he could count the papers that listed his titles as loss, because the only paper that matter, was the word of God.

Consider the Value

Apostle Paul said that all of the noble titles and power he held in the world were worth no more than “dung.” Defined as the “excrement of men.”

So… here’s a thought. The next time you go number 2, just look in the bowl and think about the fact that that’s the value of all of your worldly wisdom and stature. All that matters is what’s outside the bowl, which is what we do for Christ. The question of the hour is “What do you have left?


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

Here’s the Link

How Crazy is it?

The closer I get to Easter, the more my mind reflects on the cross. And the more I reflect on what God did that day the more I have to say that it’s got to be a crazy love that would be willing to do what Jesus did that day. When I look at the world we live in I think to myself “Why on earth would you have saved this wicked and rebellious generation?” For which I am one. I know my heart and how I can turn on a dime toward something sinful and ignore the Holy Spirit within in me that gives me more than enough support not to fall into it. And yet I do. And yet He still loves me. That’s crazy! But what’s crazier than His love is those who fail to accept it.

The Love of Jesus is Without Condemnation

While sin is not ever acceptable it is no less inevitable. 1 John 1:8 says If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” There is a difference between condemnation and conviction. Jesus will not condemn the child of God for the sins they’ve committed. That crazy day on the cross He died to cover every sin ever committed by His children. Is not that a worthy payment? Of course it is. Does that mean we can sin and not understand there should have been a penalty and yet may still be repercussions? Of course not.

If a store is robbed there is an earthly expectation of the penalty that freedom should be lost. If I hurt a friend without regard for them or our friendship I may lose that friend. But when I sin, regardless of the depth of the sin the penalty is paid in the eyes of God, and the relationship is restored the very second I turn to Him. That’s crazy love, but it’s how He works.

Sin is without condemnation but it is not without conviction. The Holy Spirit reveals to the child of God when sin is in the house, we know better. We may still fail but He has given us the power within us not to. If we fall into sin it is our choice.

The Love of Jesus Cannot be without Declaration

Matthew 10:33

But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.

Professing Christ is more than just saying that you know Him. Satan knows Him. The demons of Hell know Him, but they are not children of God. I knew Him in my head from the time I was a child until 1996. But not until I declared Him as Lord of my life and trusted in Him to save me did I know Him in my heart. It was then that I truly felt the Holy Spirit guiding me and putting that conviction upon me when I wasn’t going in the right direction. It was also when I began to declare my love for Him. Even when the world thought I was crazy.

My friend Doyle Ballengee said it best when he said “Go ahead and call me a fanatic, when you or someone you love gets a bad doctor’s report, you’ll be looking for a fanatic.”

That’s how I feel about my declaration of love for Jesus. Go ahead and say I’m crazy when all I want to do is talk about my Lord and all that He’s done in my life. Because when your life gets turned upside down but this old world, someone as crazy as me can help you set it up aright by showing you how Jesus did that for me.

I know it sounds crazy to the world when I say that Jesus died for me. Because the world wouldn’t give you the time of day if it cost them anything of any magnitude. But Jesus will give you more than you could ever imagine in return for your declaration, acknowledgement of Who He is. God.

The Love of Jesus is Not without Expectation

I can hear the naysayers now, “Oh, there it is. I knew you had to do something.” No, you can sit on your toosh and do absolutely nothing and still make it to Heaven. Jesus paid the price once and for all at the cross. All who accept, believe and declare Him as Lord, that He died on the cross, rose again the third day, and ascended to Heaven to make intercession for you will be saved. But if you want to be all you can be for Christ, and have the reward of His glory, on earth and in Heaven, there is an expectation.

I sat at a table with three friends this past Wednesday, each with their own story of coming to the knowledge of Christ in their lives; four very different people with one common bond…Christ.

  • One came to Christ because she grew tired of being with people, and yet alone.
  • One came to Christ because the religion she had grown up with let her down when she needed it most.
  • One came to Christ when He realized the law wouldn’t save anyone.
  • And this one, me, came to Christ when I realized there was no peace in this world without the Prince of Peace. And “religion” wasn’t the same as a “relationship.”

Each one of us now serve Christ and desire to serve Him greater because He did that crazy thing on the cross.

How crazy was it? He was beat until His body was unrecognizable and said to have looked like hamburger, He was spit upon, and ridiculed, at the height of His pain had a crown of thorns rammed on His head and was mocked as King of the Jews. His earthly mother sat at His feet with her friends and wept for the Son God had allowed her to give birth to. Some of His final words were “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34 in part) That’s crazy because it’s true.

He did that for you. Have you experienced His love? Declare it and share it! He is worthy.

The Answer to Every Problem

I have no idea what the Lord Jesus might look like, but I for certain know what He feels like.

I had three of my grands at the house this morning and was fixing them their favorite comfort foods before school; pancakes and hot cocoa with baby marshmallows melting all up in the cup. Yes, I’m aware that is not the breakfast of champions, but it is the breakfast of Noni. They don’t stay that often, so when they do I like them to leave with the feeling that Noni’s is always a place that they are loved and gone the extra mile for. That’s how I’ve always felt with Jesus. That’s how I feel with my family and my friends. Those that God has placed in my life are placed there for the “extra mile” experience of a child of God. I am blessed.

I am painfully aware that not everyone experiences a pancake and cocoa life. If I’m truthful, not every day of mine is so sweet and wonderful either. Life is harsh. And pancakes and marshmallows usually won’t fix it; but understanding the comfort that comes at the greatest of cost but the smallest price is a worthwhile endeavor. It’s knowing the God of “all” comfort.

I was speaking with a friend this week about the tragedy of people in our lives who don’t experience the peace God affords. Most of them are not saved. They’ve never known the peace of salvation, which is the sweetest peace of all and the only true peace. They try to achieve it through Pancakes and cocoa, which is at best a temporary fix. Jesus isn’t temporary. Jesus is eternal! Even so, Christians too often forgo seeking His sweet, everlasting peace in exchange for the pancakes and cocoa version. Color me guilty on that on more than one occasion.

How many times have I sought to remove a heartache by rewarding myself with a new something or another? A cup of coffee and a piece of apple strudel? It matters not the place of comfort we seek, if it’s not in Christ Jesus it won’t fix the problem.

2 Corinthians 1:3b says that He is the “God of all comfort.”

All.

Those three letters are fully inclusive of every problem in life.

  • Did someone hurt you? God loves you. Romans 5:8But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
  • Did you lose your job? God is your provider. Philippians 4:19But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
  • Did your marriage fail? Jesus will never leave you nor forsake you. Hebrews 13:5Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
  • Did pressures of life overtake you? Jesus has the peace that passes understanding. John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
  • Did you lose someone to death? Jesus promises eternal life filled with no sorrow. 2 Corinthians 5:8 – We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.
  • Did you fail miserably? Jesus will give you the opportunity to start fresh, without condemnation. Isaiah 43:19 –  Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.
  • Did you sin? Jesus died so that you could be forgiven. Colossians 1:14 – In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins.
  • Do you have uncertainty in your life? Jesus is certain. Jeremiah 29:11For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

No hurt or trouble is uncovered. Jesus is the God of “all” comfort. He is the God of all “grace.” 1 Peter 5:10But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.

What you discover upon reading the word of God is that the common denominator for every problem is that the bible has the every solution. ALL.

Three very powerful little letters because God controls “all.”

 

He’s So Easy to Love

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I’m So Easy to Love

That was God’s word to my soul this morning. I make it hard. I allow the world to invade my mind with notions of Who God is and it’s never good. It’s always words like, judgmental, harsh, angry… words that drive me away from Him. Who do you think is whispering those words? That’s a no brainer, and yet I listen. Satan loves us to think that God doesn’t love us. So this morning as I talked to God, our conversation went something like this:

Lord, thank you for patience. My disobedient heart, selfish ways and walking in disbelief have surely broken Your heart.

To which He replied:

Not really Shari. I see your whole heart. Remember yesterday’s art? I know the fabric of your heart in every detail. It’s why I’m patient with you. I want you to come to me with your whole being, so I can bless you with Mine. Every time you hold back, I do too. It’s what a Holy God does. Like the Garden of Eden… had I continued to give Adam and Eve everything after the fall, they’d have stayed in that sinful, painful state. They’d never have drawn to me. And I would have had to turn my back on them. I loved them. I created them, and I created you. Tap into what I created in you. It’s a well down in your soul filled with my goodness. You’ve never fully given yourself. Do it, and see what happens. Your eyes could not contain what I have in store. I love the mornings we spend together, when you and I get to know each other better. Satan hates it.  He and I used to have those mornings too until he forsook me. That did break my heart. I created him… I loved him. But I wasn’t enough. That’s what breaks my heart. Not that you fail, although that hurts; but I know understand that battle. I was there. It’s not easy. What breaks my heart, is that I am not enough. The God of all creation, isn’t enough. I need you to understand. I am easy to love.

And that’s when it the conversation stopped. He knew I needed to grasp that He was easy to love. I needed to stop buying the worlds lies that God is angry with me, and tired of my continual failures. He understands human nature, for which I need to repent; but deep within us is not only a well of creativity for living, but a desire to know He who created us. If we’d tap into that we’d understand why He is easy to love.

God loves what He created. Just like He created it. Maybe you too needed to hear that this morning…

What to Do when the Lines are Blurred

The Christian life is forever a grand adventure. That’s a quote from my friend Chief. He and I have one common ground that forever gets us into trouble. We leap believing a net will appear. Sometimes it does, and sometimes it doesn’t. But it always an adventure. Sometimes those adventures take their toll on me spiritually because the line between living in faith and living in the flesh is sometimes blurred for a personality such as mine. You see, my first action is reaction to any thought. Any. That’s a problem.

God said in Philippians 4:6 ~  Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

Be careful for nothing means to “not worry.” It doesn’t mean don’t be cautious, which is often how I live my life. In ministering to myself this morning I need to unpack a few scriptures to get myself back into the adventurous living of Christ. The issue is this, if you leap enough times and the net doesn’t appear, the impact is painful.

The impact of broken dreams

I’m a dreamer. Oh my stars am I a dreamer! And if I’m honest being a dreamer is often an escape from reality. But when those dreams lie shattered on the ground because they didn’t come to pass as I thought they would, the impact is often for me to physically and emotionally shutdown. I usually do one of two things. (1) I shut down. Turn off the world and retreat inside my head which can be a very scary place. (2) Make someone else’s dream happen, in a very small sense of the word. Meaning I take on a thousand projects of a thousand people who are readily available to ask me to do something. (3) Quite often my last resort, I turn to the word of God. It’s where faith and flesh collide.

The impact of broken confidence

I’m familiar with failure. It’s a part of the life of someone who lives the “leap and the net will appear” mentality. Failure has never stopped me from trying again. But what will most assuredly shatter my confidence is when my leaping appears to the world as recklessness. And sometimes to me as recklessness. I restore that confidence in remembering the countless miracles that God has done in my life, but even they too were often God rescuing me from a not so very well thought out plan. So thus, it’s a vicious cycle. God however has confidence builders on call, like my best friend and biggest fan, Gloria. Or my friend Jessica, who spurred my spirit on by recalling how I had made a difference for her as she spoke at a ladies meeting Monday night.  And my friend Dewey who calls just to check on me, who consoles my spirit and reminds me quite often that The Jesus Chick needs to stay on the path God designed. Confidence too is where faith and flesh collide.

The impact of broken spirit

Probably the hardest of all is when the flesh wins out over faith and I feel uninspired to go on. It’s when I’ve taken a hit from several directions. It’s not that the Word has let me down or that the encouragers in my life have let me down, it’s when the world has taken its toll and I don’t even have the desire to walk to the edge, never mind jumping off to another adventure. It’s where I’ve been of late.

So how do you fix a broken spirit?

Psalm 51:17

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.

You offer it to God. Part of being in the ministry is realizing the paycheck doesn’t look like the 9-5 job. There’s usually not a paycheck. The pay is presenting the gifts that God has given you to Him and through Him, and allowing Him to tell you your worth.

Paul (the writer of Philippians) and David (the writer of most of the Psalms) had much in common. Both understood that the power behind the child of God is in prayer, supplication and thanksgiving. It is with an attitude of brokenness and contriteness (remorse) that God can use us. It’s where faith and flesh part.  The flesh wants no part of regret or remorse. The flesh wants no part of being broken. But in that state is where I find my strength to leap again. Because in that state I realize that my dreams, confidence and desires are through Him, and it will be through Him that success will come. And it will.

Philippians 1:6

Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:

This ministry is fueled on the love of God, but if you’d like to help fund it please click the link below:

http://thejesuschick.com/pray-and-consider-supporting-this-chick/

How To Make a Lemonade Life Out of Lemons

life

Solomon is said to be the wisest man to have ever lived, and I don’t doubt it. His words were salve to my troubled soul this morning. I don’t understand why God chooses to allow this world to continue in the state that it’s in. I’ve never seen so much evil. I’ve never felt the fierceness of sin trying to turn my own mind away from God such as I do right now. The closer I try to get to God the greater the oppression of the enemy on my soul and the vexation of my spirit. So to hear that even the wisest of men struggled with that understanding gives me some comfort in the fact that I’m not alone in my search for peace.

There is something about the tartness of a lemon that has always been a metaphor in life. Very few people would bite into that fruit and pleasure in the experience. It’s a jaw puckering, eye quivering, taste like no other. But squeeze the juice out of those babies into a pitcher, dilute it with water and add the sweetness of sugar and it’s a whole new day! The sour is overcome, the taste buds dance and the soul is made happy in a beverage. The lemon is no longer looked upon as a painfully sour fruit but rather something to be savored.

A bite out of life sometimes yields the same result. A piece of my day viewed from the perspective of just a brief period of time is bitter, and harsh. The pain sears my spirit. It’s too much to consume. Broken dreams are like an unsweetened lemon. I try to grab hold of faith, reign in my thoughts but the bitter, sour taste has my eyes closed and teeth clenched. I can’t see anything sweet, I only taste the lemon.

Ecclesiastes 5, the words of Solomon, had a lemonade making effect on my life today and wise advice:

Living the Dream!

Ecclesiastes 5:1-3 Keep thy foot when thou goest to the house of God, and be more ready to hear, than to give the sacrifice of fools: for they consider not that they do evil. Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine heart be hasty to utter any thing before God: for God is in heaven, and thou upon earth: therefore let thy words be few. For a dream cometh through the multitude of business; and a fool’s voice is known by multitude of words.

We all long for the dreamlife; the one without heartache, sorrow and struggles. But that dream is almost always mingled with a few nightmares. Stay focused. Keep your footing in the house of God where the Word of God is preached, a support system is in place and an accountability program in effect. Listen more and talk less. Work harder and be idle less. Satan is full of ideas that he loves to share with busy people trying to make things happen. Be not hasty with decisions, it almost always leads to heartache. I have worn that shirt many times!

Leave the Lies

Ecclesiastes 5:4-7

When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed. Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay. Suffer not thy mouth to cause thy flesh to sin; neither say thou before the angel, that it was an error: wherefore should God be angry at thy voice, and destroy the work of thine hands? For in the multitude of dreams and many words there are also divers vanities: but fear thou God.

So, so many times I’ve dreamed dreams and said to God, “God, if only You’ll do this, I’ll do this.” God’s not in to empty promises.  Solomon words advise us to keep our dreamlife in perspective. Fear God more than fearing failure. Failing isn’t always the problem, refusing to admit you failed and moving on is often the problem. When God doesn’t allow a dream to come to pass, perhaps that was your dream not His. Or perhaps you didn’t work hard enough at the dream. “That” is life in perspective for me. Be honest with yourself. God already knows.

So what then? What do we do when life doesn’t turn out the way we anticipated?

Learning the Lesson

A brief and incomplete summary of verses 8-17 is that even when we do life as best we can, reality can still be harsh, heartaches can still come, and the dream may or may not be fulfilled. Money won’t buy happiness, life is brief, and we’ll take nothing with us when we die. But understand that God was there through it all and through it all there was a purpose.

The lesson to be learned is this, the dream is not the achievement, the dream is the process that leads to success.

Ecclesiastes 5:18-20 ~ Behold that which I have seen: it is good and comely for one to eat and to drink, and to enjoy the good of all his labour that he taketh under the sun all the days of his life, which God giveth him: for it is his portion. Every man also to whom God hath given riches and wealth, and hath given him power to eat thereof, and to take his portion, and to rejoice in his labour; this is the gift of God. For he shall not much remember the days of his life; because God answereth him in the joy of his heart.