Category Archives: Praise

It’s Not about Us this Morning

A quick drawing and a quick thought this morning as I prepared my heart for church. I needed to remember, and perhaps you do as well, that God’s idea of mercy and mine are two entirely different notions. Mine has limitations, His goes higher than my mind can fathom.

As I prepare my heart for worship, Satan loves nothing better than to bring my failures into view in hopes that rather than glorifying God, I’ll remember me. But the fact of the matter God has thrown them as far as the east is from the west.

Now let’s go to church and praise Him for it.

Let Them Have It

Do you ever have those days when it feels like your entire self-worth was wasted effort? I get so excited about projects and life and then in a swift swoop, on a day when it feels that I can do nothing right, I find  myself falling into this pit of despair (I know dramatic right?), but it feels very, very real and it’s very heavy on my shoulders. And the end result is usually a total mind melt down, followed by God prying my mouth open like a rebellious sick child and giving me a dose of the word. And then, glory! Miraculous healing.

That’s this morning.

Quite often the prescribed dose for days like this is from the book of Psalms. I love the word of God from Genesis to Revelation, but the books of Psalms has a special place in my heart, because it’s so often my go to place for days like this.

Like today. When Psalm 138 was spoon fed to me by the Lord in just the right measurement…

They Can Have their god

I will praise thee with my whole heart: before the gods will I sing praise unto thee.

What gods you may be asking? There is none but Jesus Christ our Lord, right? Right! But the world didn’t seem to get that memo. People themselves think that they are sometimes gods and deserve our undivided attention, even over the things of God.

Tears just flowed from my soul and out of my eyes because I’ve been there too often lately. Too many things, some of mine, some of others that have taken my mind off the Lord’s work. I haven’t been singing His praises like I should.

They Can Have Their king

I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name. In the day when I cried thou answeredst me, and strengthenedst me with strength in my soul.All the kings of the earth shall praise thee, O Lord, when they hear the words of thy mouth.

In that final day of earth, no man will bow before another man. We will all bow before our King. The One with a capital “K”. The One who resides in the Holy Temple of Heaven, who is kind, and honest and does not speak to me in a the condescending tones of the earth that I despise and it breaks my heart and spirit. Especially when it’s done by another Christian.

That was my day yesterday. Don’t feel too sorry for me. I’m fine. But it’s those days that we all have that the world takes it’s toll. And our focus gets off Heaven and I forget where my headquarters is. And they forget Who’s Boss.

They Can Have Their work

Yea, they shall sing in the ways of the Lord: for great is the glory of the Lord. Though the Lord be high, yet hath he respect unto the lowly: but the proud he knoweth afar off. Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou wilt revive me: thou shalt stretch forth thine hand against the wrath of mine enemies, and thy right hand shall save me. The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me: thy mercy, O Lord, endureth for ever: forsake not the works of thine own hands.

Glorrrraaaaaay! Those words stirred me this morning. I’ve heard it said, and I’ve said it myself that I serve the God who sits high and looks low. And there it is in the word of God! Psalm 138:6

Though I walk in trouble, and there is plenty of it in my world; it is God who will revive my soul. God will not only take care of my enemies, He will give me the energy to thrive in my purpose.

Verse 8 really spoke to me in a way that I needed so badly today.

The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me: thy mercy, O Lord, endureth for ever: forsake not the works of thine own hands.

God will “perfect” (finish) that which concerns me.

There is a work He has called me to do and He’s going to get it finished through me. That is such good news! I’m pretty sure I’m into overtime with Him but it’s okay, it’s in His time, not mine.

He has a work in you as well! And He’s going to get it done. But we need to stay focused on the One True and Living God, the Lord Jesus Christ. Let the world have their gods, show them how awesome ours is! Let me have their kings, they only “think” they have power. Let them have their work, show them what great and mighty things we can accomplish through Him. I hope your day is blessed with great eternal accomplishments. ~ Shari

Friends in the Fire

Oh to have the boldness and fearless testimony of the three Hebrew boys… without the fire of course! Can that even happen? Can you have a testimony to that degree without the test? I don’t think so.

I have so many friends currently in fires of varying degrees. I stand by with helpless emotions wishing and praying that God will spare them this trial and await His answer. I guess that was the same prayer that many were praying for me in May of 2018 when I had the heart attacks and surgery that followed. But for some reason it felt different from my perspective of laying in that hospital bed with round the clock monitors, medical staff and drugs. I was too busy going through the battle to realize it was a fight. It was just a process. The real battle began when I came out of the hospital and continues today trying to get and stay healthy.

It began when I once again had control of the situation.

Maybe that’s how the boys felt when they answered King Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 3:16

GOD IS ABLE

16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. 17 If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. 18 But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.

To West Virginia-nize it “Listen up Neb… we ain’t even got to think about it. Do your best. Because our God is able, either through the fire, or out of the fire. The decision is His!”

That’s the attitude I see in these guys. They’d fully relinquished this event to the Lord.

When I laid in the bed at Ruby Memorial for 4 days prior to surgery I had plenty of time to stress out. And I won’t lie to you and tell you that I didn’t occasionally have moments of fear. But they were truly rare. (No one was more shocked than me!) Mainly because I recognized that this was out of my scope of expertise. So likely the Hebrew boys recognized that they were not fire fighters.

But what about the unmentioned friends who watched? How was there faith? I don’t know, it doesn’t say. But I know how I am right now watching my friends go through their fire. I don’t like it, but Gloraaay! I have hope. I know my God can deliver! But I would not have so great of faith if I hadn’t spent a little time in the furnace myself.

The post surgery healing probably took more out of me than the actual surgery.

SATAN IS ANGRY

19 Then was Nebuchadnezzar full of fury, and the form of his visage was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego: therefore he spake, and commanded that they should heat the furnace one seven times more than it was wont to be heated. 20 And he commanded the most mighty men that were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the burning fiery furnace. 21 Then these men were bound in their coats, their hosen, and their hats, and their other garments, and were cast into the midst of the burning fiery furnace. 22 Therefore because the king’s commandment was urgent, and the furnace exceeding hot, the flames of the fire slew those men that took up Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. 23 And these three men, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, fell down bound into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.

When Satan seen that there was no fear in the boys, he turned the heat up via Nebuchadnezzar. He does that with us too. When he sees us in our bravest form he’ll often heap more on! I don’t know how many times the medical staff tried to “explain” to me how sick I was. Finally one very intelligent gal looked at me and ask, “Do you want to know the danger you’re in?” To which I replied, “No. That will serve no purpose other than to stress me out.” Ignorance may not be bliss, but it’s handy to calm the nerves.

Sometimes we just need to tell Satan, and some people to shut up. I know that’s not nice, and I was raised better.  But negative people will bring you down. We are aware in the battle we have an angry enemy, but don’t let that voice be louder than the voices of Victory.

THE SAVIOR IS ABIDING

24 Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astonished, and rose up in haste, and spake, and said unto his counsellors, Did not we cast three men bound into the midst of the fire? They answered and said unto the king, True, O king. 25 He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God.

At this point in biblical history, Christ was in the fire. Now He’s in us!

John 15:7 

If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.

That same faith that the Hebrew boys drew upon to save them from that fire, is the same faith that we draw upon today. The only difference is, He’s even closer. He’s in us! Ready and willing to get us through or bring us out!

THE RESULT IS ABSOLUTE

Even Nebuchadnezzar knew. He seen the power of the God of the Hebrew boys. The same God we serve today.  

26 Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the mouth of the burning fiery furnace, and spake, and said, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, ye servants of the most high God, come forth, and come hither. Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, came forth of the midst of the fire. 27 And the princes, governors, and captains, and the king’s counsellors, being gathered together, saw these men, upon whose bodies the fire had no power, nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them. 28 Then Nebuchadnezzar spake, and said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God. 29 Therefore I make a decree, That every people, nation, and language, which speak any thing amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made a dunghill: because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort. 30 Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, in the province of Babylon.

As the wife of a fire fighter, I’ve smelled smoky clothing a lot! It’s nasty and it penetrates the fabric and everything around it.

So for that smell, to be nowhere on anything the boys wore speaks such Victory to me. It means that God brought them through the fire, and when they got out, there wasn’t any evidence they were ever even in it.

Gloraaaaay again!

God is able! Pray church and believe that God will bring us through and out and Satan won’t get one drop of recognition for his part in it.

A Much Needed Christmas Sign

This morning as I tried to get my heart in shape for Christmas… which isn’t always easy… I kept hearing the song “Jesus is the Rock of my salvation and His banner over me is love, Jesus is the Rock of my salvation and His banner over me is love, Jesus is the Rock of my Salvation and His banner over me is love… His banner… over me… is love. If you know that tune, it is likely stuck in your head too! You’re welcome! But that’s okay, we need to remember that what ties the cradle to the cross is a love that has been there since the creation of time.

I’m not sure if the scripture came first or the song this morning but none the less it’s been a good study.

And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and His rest shall be glorious. ~Isaiah 11:10

From that one scripture, so many others began to run through my mind like the banner song.

He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner (ensign) over me is love. ~ Song of Solomon 2:4

Here’s your sign…

and mine too. While the world is so focused on the physical things of life that bring temporal joy (which I can be so guilty of) the very evidence of our salvation which is the love of God, often takes a back seat. It’s why there can be so much stress around the holidays. Our focus is not on the main thing. The reason Christ came was to prove His love for us. And somehow or another the focus seems to get off Him and on to us.

Here’s your star…

I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root of the offspring of David (root of David), and the bright and morning star. ~ Revelation 22:16

Long before the star was in the heavens proclaiming the birth of our Savior, the Bright and Morning Star had His place in the Heavens. He knew there needed to be a plan to saved fallen man, and as the lineage of Adam to Christ, with David in the midst became filled with countless characters of less than perfect reputations, the plan stayed perfect. Amazing.

Here’s Your Savior…

Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. ~ Isaiah 7:14

Emmanuel. God with us. Is He? Or has He been shoved to the side like the wrapping paper that was only important when it concealed the goodness. Then once the goodness of the gift was discovered the paper wasn’t important.

Do we not treat the Word of God, “God with us”, in that same manner? Once we’ve discovered His salvation we no longer find the paper important. And while the wrapping paper certainly isn’t the important part of Christmas, The Word of God, which is how He delivered our salvation to us is important for our relationship to continue. Without it, He is no longer central focus.

Here’s What You Seek…

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (His rest) ~ Matthew 11:28

I don’t know what you need this morning, but I needed to hear words of encouragement from God that would draw my mind back into the central focus of the season. Jesus. I needed that banner waving before me, draped between the two trees; one signifying life, the other death. Together they symbolize the gift of eternal life and peace through Jesus Christ. The latter of which I cast to the side in exchange for the chaos and mayhem of the season. Praise God I can’t lose eternal life or I’d misplace that in all the wrapping too!

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Another Sunday in the Books

Another Sunday in the books. And what will be done for the cause of Christ? My heart is burdened for the state of the churches of America. Few and far between do you see the fires of revival in the house of God. Churches linger somewhere between social clubs and legalistic mindsets that, though they preach grace alone for salvation, works is mingled in in the form of man’s opinions of acceptable church behaviors. I’m bordering on meddling this morning and I really don’t want to go there. I just want to experience Jesus this morning for myself and others. I want to feel the Holy Spirit stir the congregations of God to the point of Amen Hallelujah! And a lined altar of worshipers.

In 1 Kings, Chapter 8, when Solomon had finished the temple and stood before the people dedicating it to the Lord, he had the attitude that should be the attitude of the churches of America. We are free. Although the world around us is in captivity, and there is trouble in abundance; through the grace of Jesus Christ we are free indeed. We’ve lived in the land of Egypt where sin held us captive and there was no hope until we made Jesus our Savior. Why would we not stand, shout and rejoice in Him this morning. Another Sunday in the books and what will our story tell?

1 Kings 8:54-60

Hands of Praise

54 And it was so, that when Solomon had made an end of praying all this prayer and supplication unto the Lord, he arose from before the altar of the Lord, from kneeling on his knees with his hands spread up to heaven.

The altar for me is often a place of repentance, and it should be, but it should be a place of praise and gratitude. When Solomon stood up with the where the Spirit of the Lord had been on him like a thick cloud, he went from his knees, a place of humbleness to the position of praise and rejoicing for what the Lord has done.

Throughout the service today our hands should be raised in praise that we are free to hear the word of God and speak His name without fear of persecution and arrest that so many others around the world are facing. Solomon’s father David had been a man of war. How many of our family and friends from ages past fought for the right we have today.

Voices of Praise

55 And he stood, and blessed all the congregation of Israel with a loud voice, saying,

56 Blessed be the Lord, that hath given rest unto his people Israel, according to all that he promised: there hath not failed one word of all his good promise, which he promised by the hand of Moses his servant.

More importantly, not one word failed that was spoken by the Lord Jesus Christ! How worthy is He to be praised this morning. When the word of God is preached there should be shouts of glory! Yes in an order that allows the word to be preached without distraction, but if the Spirit is moving, the unsaved need to hear that when the word of God moves a child of God, He is worthy to be praised! Quench not the Spirit the word says!

A Cause for Praise

57 The Lord our God be with us, as he was with our fathers: let him not leave us, nor forsake us:

58 That he may incline our hearts unto him, to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and his statutes, and his judgments, which he commanded our fathers.

59 And let these my words, wherewith I have made supplication before the Lord, be nigh unto the Lord our God day and night, that he maintain the cause of his servant, and the cause of his people Israel at all times, as the matter shall require:

60 That all the people of the earth may know that the Lord is God, and that there is none else.

There is no other God besides the Lord Jesus Christ. We serve the One and Only! Glory to God is that not reason enough? But couple that with the fact that we not only serve the One and Only, we are privileged to carry Him with us and have a relationship of Friend and Father that no other religion is privileged to have. The Creator of the universe is in our presence, a joy far greater than earthly royalty, and we are the honored guests.

I have to get ready for church else I’ll be late. But please, praise Him today like you’re in the greatest concert of your life. Because His word should be a such a song in your heart that you’re bubbling over today!

Just Keep Going

I have a tendency to be a little over the top. And if you know me you likely just rolled your eyes and said “A little?” To that I say “Shush.” I’m not likely to change. There’s a reason I’m over the top. I have had enough dead religion to last me a lifetime. If you’re not a shouter… I’m okay with that. If you don’t like to lift your hands, I’m okay with that too. I just happen to be both, and I love being with likeminded people. And to that God has always been so faithful to place them in my midst. But occasionally I meet a Hoover. I try to stay clear of them-, but deed, sometimes it’s impossible. That illustration came from a sermon I heard David Gibbs preach last week. I haven’t been able to shake it, and it makes me giggle! And then it makes me nauseous. I just have to tell myself “Just keep going, Shari.”

Ephesians 4:29 reminds us not to be a Hoover –  Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

And it’s on days like that that I turn to the Word. I’m not above being wrong. I want to back up what I believe with the Word of God.       So should you! Don’t take man’s word for anything. Humanity leaves room for error.

We Have Assurance

Ephesians 3: 9-12 – And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.

We should be bold with confidence, not dead with insecurity or religion. Religion says “Don’t make waves.” Confidence says “Stir up the water!” We have the wisdom that man has searched for from the beginning of time. We have the power from Heavenly places that the world tries to imitate. What we have is the real deal. Why would we not be excited!

We Have Approval

1 John 2:28 – And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.

I highly doubt that when Jesus splits open the skies and calls His church home, we’ll be indifferent. Glory to God! We have confidence that He’s returning but do we have His approval on how we’re waiting? If He would walk into your church on Sunday morning, would He even feel welcome? If He sat behind you in the pew would He find you paying attention to the message or surfing your messages on your phone? If the Spirit started moving in your heart would you raise your hand or would you raise an eyebrow at those who do? If someone shouted would it be you, or would you jump out of your skin because you weren’t prepared for anyone to get excited. If Heaven forbid someone choo choo’d around the church would you call it fake or would you fall in behind? If I have to explain choo choo, you may not get any of this paragraph.

I am confident that God’s okay with excited Christianity.

We Have Answers

Because the world would love to make me think I’m crazy for being so excited about Jesus, and because there are days I feel crazy. I am elated that I have a solid foundation in the Word of God to turn to.

1 John 5:14 – And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:

And so I ask. Again and again I ask. Every time some Hoover Christian leads me to believe I’m wrong.

Psalm 98:4 – Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all the earth: make a loud noise and rejoice, and sing praise.

Psalm 47:1 – O clap your hands, all ye people; shout unto God with the voice of triumph.

Luke 17:15And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God,

Psalm 134:2Lift up your hands in the sanctuary, and bless the Lord.

Need I go on? The world is so stinkin’ loud. How can they possibly hear the whispers of a child of God. When we listen to God, we should be still. When we feel God move, it should move us.

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I don’t want to sit in the Pharisees Pew

Luke 19:37-40

And when he was come nigh, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen; Saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest.  And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples. And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.

Have you ever been at the foot of a mountain top experience? You feel in your soul that God is about to doing something amazing! You can see in the distance a plan that God has unfolding and something inside your soul begins to stir and the excitement builds until you just can’t keep quiet. You’ve got to tell someone; you’ve got to share the good news!

That’s a place that I feel that many Christians are at, but there’s just one problem: Religion. It always has a way of working its way into the ministry, because it looks like it belongs there. It’s pretty, and dignified and never makes anyone uncomfortable. People sit in their seats with their hands firmly clutching the bible or a hymnal or a child, anything that will keep emotion from taking over, else they’ll have their hands in the air like they just don’t care, and we can’t have that!

That is far too close to the Pharisee’s pew for me.

In Luke 19 Jesus is making His entry into Jerusalem, not only the main disciples are excited, but there’s a crowd of other believers who are making noise and glorifying God for the great and mighty things He has done. They’re acknowledging His deity, His control of situations in their life, and they don’t care if He’s on a lowly donkey; as a matter of fact that probably made Him more relatable to them. He didn’t arrive in a chariot, because He was the God of the common man. He put Himself in a position of relativity. They were excited that God was with them.

Although not everyone was happy. There was a religious crowd that didn’t like the noise. So they complained… to God.

Oh. My. Stars. That cracked me up. They went to God and ask Him to shush the crowd. Essentially asking God to shut up the gratitude.

It made me laugh and then it made me sick. Because I see people who are sitting at the foot of that mountain top experience of a service that leaves you excited and ready to go into all the world and share the good news but religion comes in. But, since it’s already had God’s answer, religion goes to the people and tells them to shush. They’re noise will disrupt the service and somebody might look at them. And they’re more than happy to oblige.

So… what’s the worst that could happen? Somebody else might get excited?

Jesus told the religious crowd that if the people would hold their peace, the stones would cry out. What might that sound like I wonder?

There’s a lot of things that happen around stones in the Bible and the Pharisees knew it. Jesus may have been reminding them of some of those events. What if the stones on location began to cry out about the things they’d seen? Like the delivery of Israel out of Egypt and the twelve stones that were laid in remembrance of that event. What would those stones say… would they tell of the rejoicing and the weeping as the children were lead toward the Promised Land? What would the stone say that Jacob used for a pillow the night that God changed his name to Israel. When that stone watched Jacob wrestle and get his thigh knocked out of kilter. What about the stones that were about to be hurled at the woman caught in adultery and Jesus stepped in and saved her life, just like He saved ours. What would those stones say?

Can you see why I don’t want to sit on the Pharisee’s pew? I don’t want those stones to weep because I fail to praise God Who is worthy of a loud house.

There was one more stone that the Pharisees knew nothing about. But Jesus did. It was one that would shortly to come to pass, and would be rolled away to find an empty grave and risen Lord so that I, and you, could have eternal life and a relationship with the Lord. He would forever be “God with us.” What would that stone say? The stone that witnessed it all!

We don’t have a stone to tell us, but we have the Word of God and it stirs my souls this morning and I can assure you that my hands may be on the key board but they will be praising God in the air here shortly. He is the Rock! And there will come a day when every person of creation will hear the Rock cry out. Be ready, and be loud!

What are you feasting on today?

I have the day after Thanksgiving attitude of gratitude. A gift from the Lord this cold blustery morning. I received it from reading a book recommended by a friend, which allowed me to delve into the deeps of scripture. What joy comes from reading His word! It was if I was sitting at a Thanksgiving buffet with every delectable food of my favorite persuasion crossing my tongue. I kid you not, the Word was just that sweet to me today. It brought to mind the joy that I received over the past couple of days while baking and preparing food for our family’sThanksgiving dinner. I thought about those who would enjoy the food and the time of fellowship we’d have, much like I receive when sharing the gospel.

A student from Marietta Bible College had messaged me in the midst of our feast yesterday to ask for prayer so that God would use her in a mighty way to minister to family she was spending the holiday with. She later informed me that she had the glorious honor and privilege of leading two new souls to Christ! Oh what a Thanksgiving moment. She had given them a “taste” of her God and they partook of her feast!

Shouldn’t that be how we treat our responsibility of sharing the gospel. It tastes sooooooo good. Why would we not share it.

Put on your praise today!  In the book of Isaiah he was having one of those crazy praise days in chapter 61.

No meal is complete without a little oil!

As children of God we have the anointing upon us to grease the way for the gospel to be accepted.

Isaiah 61:1-3

(1)The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;

When my friend messaged me yesterday she did so because she knew the power of prayer to make the way where Satan would be striving hard to stop it. I see heartache in every direction this time of year. People are hurting, they’ve family estranged, they’ve lost someone to death, relationships are torn, families have problems and we have the sweetest gift to give anyone of them. It may not make the problem go away, but it will give the oil in their life that will ease them through the troubled times.

Every meal needs comfort food

(2) To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;

Most of us have those favorite foods that bring into mind a sweet memory or an easier time of life. It may just look like food to some but to us it’s a sweet piece of comfort. For me that’s pie! I had a sliver of comfort for breakfast this morning in the form of Cinnamon Apple pie and a cup of coffee. And as much as I enjoyed it, it didn’t bring me a smidgeon of the comfort that I found in God’s word, which lead me to a reason to share this thought. We need to be as excited about sharing the comfort we find in God’s word as we are with sharing our favorite foods. In these troubling times people need to see the comfort we find in our relationship with Christ.

Everyone’s burned something!

(3)To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.

I didn’t burn any of the Thanksgiving treats I baked this year, but something from a previous baking had dropped into the bottom of the oven and was charred into a piece of coal while my scalloped potatoes were baking. My husband was panicked that I was trying to burn the house down (ever the fireman that he is.) I assured him it was the old not the new, and so I removed the old and the sweet scent of the new was all that we smelled from then on.

Past hurts and trials can certainly leave us burned. But Isaiah reminds us that God gives us beauty in exchange for the ashes. But we have to give him the charred remains of our burdens and with it He promises to replace it with joy and praise.

The illustrations I shared were just a few moments in my real life that God used to remind me that I have a purpose on earth. And that’s to share not just the earthly gifts He gives, but above all the spiritual gifts so that He may be glorified and that my friends and family will be drawn in by the aroma of Christ in my life. Oh what a sweet savor and a sweet Savior!

Thank God for what you have today and share that goodness with someone else! You too have purpose.

I Don’t Want to be A Rhoda

Sometimes I feel like I need to come with the disclaimer “Salvation did not make me crazy, it made me free.”  I’m an Amenin’, hand raising, talk back to the preacher during a sermon kinda gal. I’m not disruptive or obnoxious. I’m God approved. But I’m probably not for everyone. Because if you like your services sedate to the point that an EMT would have to check pulses to make sure everyone in your church as alive, you probably don’t want me to attend, and you sure don’t want me sing or speak.

I don’t want to become a Rhoda.

13 And as Peter knocked at the door of the gate, a damsel came to hearken, named Rhoda. 14 And when she knew Peter’s voice, she opened not the gate for gladness, but ran in, and told how Peter stood before the gate. 15 And they said unto her, Thou art mad. But she constantly affirmed that it was even so. Then said they, It is his angel. 16 But Peter continued knocking: and when they had opened the door, and saw him, they were astonished.

To set the stage for this scripture, Peter had just been released from prison by God. Herod the king had put him in prison because it made the Jews happy and there Peter lay between two guards, held in place by two chains. But then an angel appears and the chains fall off and Peter is escorted from the prison and out the city gates, where even he doesn’t believe what’s happened! Peter then makes his way to the home where his friends are praying and he knocks on the door and Rhoda answers. Well, kind of answers. She hears Peter’s voice and leaves him standing outside to go tell the others, who think she’s lost her mind.

So there’s a few things here that remind me of modern day churches…

It makes the world happy when they bind the hands of Christians, and most Christians are more than happy to place their hands in the stocks because that takes the pressure off for lifting them up. If you think it’s easy to lift your hands in a dead service you’ve obviously never tried it. Satan knows that when the hands goes up, the glory comes down and so he does everything within his power to stop the praise and worship. Note that I said “within his power.” He can only go so far as we allow. There was a few things that lead up to Peter’s freedom.

The Prayer Loosed Him

The scriptures are there for us every day to read as an example of how to make it through the hardest of times. And yet in those times we pray, and pray and pray and when God’s ready to do something we won’t so much as open the door. We hear Him speak, but we run the other way.

I’m preaching to myself now, please stand by.

Rhoda heard Peter’s voice, and rather than opening the door and letting the proof stand before her, she ran to tell her friends without the evidence God had sent. That’s almost too “preachy” for me to understand, but let me tell you what the Spirit of God is telling me. If Rhoda had believed in what was behind door number 1, the only one that God wants us to open, there would have been no room for doubt. He speaks, we hear, we open ourselves to His leading. Or… you run the other way. And what happens when you run the other way and don’t follow through with God’s plan, the world thinks your mad.

15 And they said unto her, Thou art mad. But she constantly affirmed that it was even so. Then said they, It is his angel.

The Spirit Lead Him

But Peter kept knocking. And so does the Lord, at least for a while. Peter didn’t give up on convincing his friends that he was indeed freed and not dead. And when they finally seen him, they were shocked!

16 But Peter continued knocking: and when they had opened the door, and saw him, they were astonished.

The Outcome Stirred Them

Woah Glory, that will preach!

17 But he, beckoning unto them with the hand to hold their peace, declared unto them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he said, Go shew these things unto James, and to the brethren. And he departed, and went into another place.18 Now as soon as it was day, there was no small stir among the soldiers, what was become of Peter.

The world wanted to know, what had become of Peter? But the church didn’t. They knew that Peter had been set free by the hand of God and Peter told them to go and tell somebody what had happened.

The problem is, sometime been Peter’s release and Heaven, we’ve forgotten that the God of Peter and Rhoda, is the God of you and I. Our hands are free, Herod is dead and God wants to do something amazing! But we’re still back in the prayer closet and God is at the door waiting to be let in.

When I say that I don’t want to be a Rhoda, I’m saying this:

  • Rhoda was a believer. I believe
  • Rhoda wasn’t afraid to tell people what she heard. I’m not afraid to tell people what I’ve heard.
  • But Rhoda didn’t open the door. I often, and I mean really often, run the other way when God starts speaking. Because Satan convinces me that what’s on the other side of that door is just a figment of my imagination. God isn’t really going to do what I ask.

It’s called faith for a reason and it’s easier to talk than it is to live. God is worthy to be praised, worthy to be served and worthy to be believed. If He said it, It will come to pass. Amen and Glory!!!!!

Faith Is… Dancing in Army Boots

army boots

Nobody who’s been a Christian for more than twenty minutes would likely say “Faith is easy.” Getting saved is easy. That’s just a matter of accepting what Christ did for you. Staying saved is easy, that’s just a matter of accepting what Christ did as enough, because we can’t do enough. Living faith… well that’s another story. Just after the words “I can do this!” come out of my mouth, Satan drops by with words like “Or so you thought…” Dancing for the Lord is great, until you try to do it in Army boots.

That was the thot on my heart this morning as I look at my life and the lives of friends and family who struggle every day with “real life”, but keep on praising! “Real life” is heartache, financial issues, illness, death, sin, brokenness, hurt…” that’s the things that life is made up of on many days for mane people.

I’ve been continuing on in the book of 2 Samuel, slowly making my way through the life of David. He fascinates me. He was man after God’s own heart, but a man none the less. He was a lying, adulterous, murdering man. So how could God refer to him as a man after His own heart? In 2 Samuel 6, he danced before the Lord and got in trouble with his wife Michal, in 2 Samuel 11 he’s committing adultery with and impregnating Bathsheba which lead to the decision of killing Bathsheba’s husband, which lead to the death their child. David’s life was certainly “real!”

In less than a dozen chapters of life David had been a hero, a lover, a fighter and a down right scoundrel. So in chapter 12, verse 20 as he’s given the news of his child’s death, it says he “arose from the earth, and washed, and anointed himself, and changed his apparel, and came into the house of the Lord, and worshipped: then he came to his own house; and when he required, they set bread before him and he did eat.

The staff thought that strange, to which David responded “While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept; for I said Who can tell whether God will be gracious to me, that the child may live? But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.”

Heartache doesn’t stop in life even if you’re a man (or woman) after God’s own heart. Life happens. We struggle, we sin, we grieve, we get angry… and when it’s over we dance. The victory will come for a child of God but not always in the manner we’d like. And sometimes the outcome is beyond what our imagination could comprehend. You just can’t explain God. Only He can.

But we can dance in army boots.

Because the battle is real, but even in the battle God is worthy of being praised! ~ The Jesus Chick