We do not cross paths in life by happenstance, of that I’m certain.
While we may be there by circumstance, it’s not by happenstance (coincidence). I
look back on my 57 years, with a primary focus on the past twenty-three, those
are the years since salvation; my formative years of serving Christ in the capacity
of me which lead into The Jesus Chick which came to be in about 2005ish. I’m
not very good at dates, but I’m very good at events that made a difference. There are things that happen and people who
cross our paths that leave us saying “I’ll never be the same.”
When my brother was killed when I was ten years old, it
forever changed my outlook of life on earth as to whether or not it was
forever. It was not. At the time however I didn’t understand it all, I only understood
that life was very, very sad and I couldn’t fix it. And I tried in my 10 year
old state of mind to fix it by living in altered realities called my
imagination. It’s what makes me weird and okay in a world that I still can’t
fix. It’s not always healthy. It sometimes leads to not facing reality as one
should. True story. Don’t judge me. 😊
I had another one of those bell ringing moments this morning
as I read a social media post of a friend who just lost her father. One of the
things that made a deep impression on her was the number of people who came up
to her at her father’s service and said “I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for
the fact that your dad never gave up on me.”
We need some more Gene Duerksen’s in the world.
But even in a world where there’s a shortage of Gene
Duerksen’s, and we often miss out on taking advantage of those that we do meet
who encourage us in the battle of life, I was reminded through the word of God this
morning that there is one will forever spur us on! Gene Duerksen now see’s Him
face to face…
Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors
through Him that loved us.
How many times have I attempted to fly and sometimes crash
landed and other times succeeded but with no witnesses for review? Many. But
how many times have saints of God had faith in me even when I had none and
cheered me on or gave me words of advice and encouragement. Too many to count. I’m still privileged to that.
Lynn Stoneking’s testimony of her dad’s character of encouragement
reminds me that I too have the opportunity to never give up. Not on my kids,
grandkids, friends, family and me. Because God will never give up, so how can
I? Did you need that word today? He doesn’t give up on you either! Share this
post. Tell a friend or family member you believe in them. Shoot me a message
and let me know I’ve encouraged you. We need to share and care for each other.
I’ve recently watched a few Christian friends, and
by watching I don’t mean “watching” in the sense of waiting for them to fall or
judging their walk. I watch because they’re drawing attention to themselves and
the fact that they are drawn to the wild side. To my knowledge, they’re not
actively participating in a bad lifestyle, but they’re fascination of it brings
me to the realization that I too, and likely every child of God, can be drawn
into a desire to walk on the wild side. And there is a danger.
For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by
nature, and wert grafted contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much
more shall these which be the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive
For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this
mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is
happened to Israel, untill the fullness of the Gentiles be come in.
And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There
shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungoliness from
Apostle Paul is speaking to the Jews about the
wild side of the Gentiles. They didn’t appreciate it. They’d always steered
clear of the Gentiles; and now, this Gentile loving Jew was telling them that
they should embrace them and call them brothers and sisters. What? That rebel
nation is now God’s people too. Yes! Hallelujah. Because we were made new. We
were not a heathen branch grafted into a healthy tree that would have weakened
it. But rather we were a newly formed branch, not formed by nature which grows
wild, but rather formed by the Creator with purpose. I just wrote myself happy!
The Jews were represented by the olive tree, a
valuable, fruit bearing tree. But their focus wasn’t on the fruit, it was on
their status as the original tree. Apostle Paul was trying to reintroduce them
to the Fruit Bearer. Christ. The long awaited Messiah that they had rejected because
they didn’t understand the mystery of the work that God had done. They didn’t
want to understand. That would be key.
And sometimes we don’t want to understand the
price God paid to turn us from that wild branch, into a Holy Nation. You see,
there’s a side of me that can look back on the wild side of life and think “that
was fun.” But then I remember what life was really like outside the True
Branch. And nothing on the backside of where I am now, seems appealing. I don’t
want to mar the beautiful Branch that I have been allowed to become a part of.
That’s what scares me about the friends of mine
that find joy in reliving the wild side memories and walk dangerously close to
marring the branch.
Glorifying Sin Mars the Branch
When someone speaks of the past life’s sin in a
manner that makes it sound fun and exciting, it can cause the unsaved to think
that we’re missing out on something by being saved. That’s a mark on the
branch, because it is the furthest from the truth.
I lived unsaved 34 years. I had plenty of
experiences in life that the world deems as fun. I also know the miserable
state I was in at the time. That somehow gets forgotten by those glorifying
But now… Glory to God I’m having more fun, and
more excitement than I ever had pre-salvation. Hands down, it is not an
Glamorizing Sin Mocks the Branch
makes me nauseous. But for me it’s what happens when I hear someone laughing
and joking about sin. Whether it’s their sin from a previous life, or someone
else living in sin. There’s nothing funny about it.
views as a funny story about a drunk, reminds me of the lives I’ve seen ruined,
absolutely destroyed because of alcohol. When a Christian speaks of alcohol as “not
sinful,” when drank in moderation, I wonder who they’re trying to convince.
While few people
joke about drugs, the legalization of marijuana reminds me of a night at 15
years of age, I almost died because someone laced mine with PCP. You may say one has nothing to do with the
other. I disagree. Because one is a gateway drug to the other. Just as beer is
the gateway to a stronger fix for an alcoholic. And one time just may be the
end to a life that wasn’t saved. It’s a game that is too dangerous to play, and
certainly doesn’t need glamorized by God’s people.
Glossing over Sin Moves the
Making light of
any sin, or looking at the wild side of life as a fond memory causes an
instability in the life of the believer not just the unsaved. I’ve watched it
play out too many times.
I heard a
preacher mock the “Baptist” about not being drinkers for months and months, and
then I watched him fall to alcoholism. He did eventually win the victory over
it, and I praise God for that, but he paid a high price.
I watched as a
woman made light of her indiscretions and almost destroyed her marriage.
I was broken
hearted when a preacher friend fell to a sexual sin. I also remember his last
sermon, the title of it was “Finishing Well.” He did not.
I didn’t get my
20 plus year badge of the Christian faith without being broken hearted, hurt,
and yes, I too have fallen because I’ve walked too close to the wild side. It’s
too dangerous to make light of and Satan loves it every time a Christian “fondly”
remembers a day of sin. Don’t give him one drop of glory.
Remember what the
price for that sin was. We are not heathen branches grafted into a healthy
tree. We were made new! Let us act like it.
He that hath knowledge spareth his words: and a man of understanding is
of an excellent spirit.
might think (and often correctly) that me and the phrase “sparing words” would
never be in the same sentence. It is however a family trait. While I have no problem speaking what’s on my
mind, there are times (sometimes days upon days) that I’d rather say nothing to
anyone. The ringing of a telephone causes my stomach to go nauseous and even
messages on social media overwhelm me. I like silence. Because I know that in
those times is when I am most likely to hear God speak. And then there are
other times, if I’m honest, that I am drawn to the noise of the earth around me
because I know in the silence I’ll hear God speak, and that scares me too. It’s
crazy, I know! But it’s me being real.
I attended the funeral of a sweet cousin who’s epitaph verse was Proverbs
17:27. He was a very well educated man with much to say, but seldom said it.
His daughter said it best when she said “if he spoke you should listen, because
his words were weighted.” What an awesome testimony he had.
As I sat there and watched his children work through their grief in front of an audience and do it so God glorifying; it did what a funeral should do, it caused me to reflect on my own life and the cause and effect of silence. Silence can be good, or silence can be bad, there must be balance as in everything in life. Even Cheesecake. I know that’s random… but it’s true.
times in Psalm 46 the Psalmist says that “God
is our refuge.” Refuge being a safe haven, sanctuary or shelter. As a child
of God I understand that. I have run into that place to escape the sorrows of
the day so very many times. I’m in that place right now. I needed this word
this morning to send me to the feet of Jesus to speak to Him about the many burdens
in my life. They accumulate so quickly. Too much, too often and I’m consumed by
it. They’re a racket in my mind. God
understands. That’s why He spoke this Psalm into David. Not only for him, but
1God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
2 Therefore will not we fear, though the earth be removed, and
though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;3 Though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the
mountains shake with the swelling thereof. Selah.
Those roaring waters and trembling mountains that feel as though they’re going to bury us in defeat are exactly what runs us into the refuge. If it were not for that trouble, we’d think we didn’t need help. We’d be sure that it was us who could get us through the issues of the day. God doesn’t make the trouble, but He’ll get His glory in the midst of it! I witnessed that yesterday.
My cousin’s death was not a death of God’s timing. But God knew the heart of the man and used the occasion of his memorial to quiet the noise in my life and probably many others. Death has a way of putting life in check.
This is important. √
This is not. √
4 There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of
God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High.5 God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved: God shall help
her, and that right early.
I sing a song titled “Tell Me One
More Time About Jesus” and in that song there is a line that speaks of the
Pastor’s words being like a “cool drink of water.” The Psalmist’s words are
such. So were the words of the memorial, because they all point to Jesus. Jesus
is that river, that makes glad the city of God! When a child of God comes home,
whether timely or not, you better believe there is rejoicing in Heaven! Should
there not be on earth.
I told my cousin Duke last
night when he called to see how the funeral went, that “I love a good funeral!”
We laughed, but he knew what I meant. Because we both know Jesus. And there is
joy in knowing that a loved one’s struggle is over and they are sitting beside
of Victory! Glorraaaaaay! That puts a shout in my soul.
The Refuge from the Rage
6 The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice,
the earth melted. 7 The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.8 Come, behold the works of the Lord, what desolations he hath made in the earth.9 He maketh wars to cease unto the end of the earth; he breaketh the
bow, and cutteth the spear in sunder; he burneth the chariot in the fire.10 Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen,
I will be exalted in the earth.11 The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah.
You can better believe that
Satan was not a happy camper at Gassaway Baptist Church yesterday. He expected
worlds to fall apart when he moved “his kingdom.” But this world is not our home,
and this world was not what my cousin’s children had their eyes on. They were standing in the refuge of the God
of Jacob. The same God and Savior who gave Jacob a new name when he wrestled
with God in Genesis 32.
Every battle of a child of God
ends in Victory, even if it doesn’t always appear that way.
My cousin was described as a man of few words, yet he was a writer, a thinker, a ponderer… and he and I had many times talked about our ponderings of God. He left his testimony with us through his children when his daughter said, “Our dad was a humble man who wouldn’t want you to focus on his education, successes and the many things he did that no one knew. He would want us to tell you of the day he made Jesus his Savior.”
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!
Have you ever just wanted the day to stop? For the clock to stop winding down and allow things to get caught up and back in order. Life has a way of getting out of control, creating anxiety and feelings of unfinished business. Many of my mornings start out that way before I get out of bed! Mornings are my most productive time. This morning I prayed… “God, please bless my brain.” Lord have mercy, I needed Him to speak to my Spirit and give me words not just for the blog, but I needed a message for myself. I needed the sun to stop before it even finished rising. I wanted to feel God’s power working in my life and as always, He moved and I felt it. I believe that God was faithful to provide a message for us both from the book of Joshua.
12 Then spake Joshua to the Lord in the day when the Lord deliveredup the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon.
13 And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day.
14 And there was no day like that before it or after it, that the Lord hearkened unto the voice of a man: for the Lord fought for Israel.
There was no day like it before, or will we see it in our time again, for it was written, this was one time deal that God took orders from a man.
A little back story is that an ally of Joshua’s was attacked by five other kings for being friends of Israel. By request Joshua and his army came to their aid and God promised victory, even killing more people by casting “great stones from heaven” upon the enemy than Israel killed with the sword. But as the day was finishing up, Joshua didn’t consider the job done. So, in front the witness of Israel, Joshua orders the sun and moon to stop… and it did.
Glory to God! I’ll bet that was a “mic drop moment” in Israel’s history.
I don’t believe God will be doing a repeat of that miracle today, but He is still in the miracle business.
A dear friend of mine who has long since gone to Heaven gave me a method of rest that has never failed me. I don’t abuse the privilege, but on nights when I need my rest, and the time has gotten away from me causing me to head to bed much later than I would have liked, I pray this prayer. “Lord, please give me a double portion of sleep.” I’m essentially asking for God to pack 8 hours into 4, or 10 into 5, whatever the case may be. And He does. Because that’s the God I serve. So Joshua’s request doesn’t take me by surprise or allow one doubt to enter my head that’s its true. It’s also backed up by scientific research!
On October 30th, 2017 Cambridge researchers announced that they had pinpointed the date of the biblical account of Joshua stopping the sun — which they claim is the day of the oldest eclipse ever recorded — to October 30, 1207 BCE, 3,224 years ago.
I didn’t need for Cambridge researchers to tell me it was true. God said it, therefore it was. But it’s nice to know they agree.
The story of Joshua gives me two points of pondering today:
God heard Joshua and so did Israel.
God helped Joshua and so did Israel.
In ear shot of Israel, Joshua stepped out on a limb and orders the sun and moon to stop, which can only be done by He who created them. I’m not that bold. But I can step out in faith in the things the Lord allows and so can you. But we first have to slow down and listen, which is why it’s so very important on Satan’s agenda to make my day and yours get crazy. I don’t need the Lord to stop the sun and moon… I need the Lord to stop me.
I need to listen to what the Lord has to say to me and speak that truth to others in the family of God. So that when it comes to fruition, God will be glorified!
I also need to enlist my brothers and sisters in Christ to become a part of the bigger picture that God allows to work in me so they too can experience the power of God at work in their lives as well.
Those days on the battlefield must have ended in the biggest celebration ever, or perhaps they ended it with a nap being that they had been up for 24 hours. But none the less it ended well and gloriously because Israel showed up and God showed out in a major way.
Today… I showed up at the key board. It wasn’t a battlefield, but it felt like one. I needed direction and God provided it for me. I pray that this scripture and these words encouraged you to understand that God has the victory already done, and whatever else needs accomplished, He’ll do that too. Slow down and listen, enlist your friends and let’s get some serious work done for the Kingdom’s glory!
Such truth in the word of God! That which everyone in the world says they want. We want a government that speaks truth, a church that speaks truth, spouses and other family that speak truth, our employers to speak truth, but when it comes to the word of God, the world would rather not hear it, even though there is not one word, jot or tittle that is not absolute truth. I would be a liar if I told you that every word that comes from the Bible brings great joy to my soul. No, there are many, many words in the Bible that grieve my spirit and heap conviction upon my heart because that’s what truth does. But I read it and weigh it against my life so that I may draw closer to Christ. And if it grieves me that’s okay… because I grieve the Spirit of God on more than one occasion on any given day.
Ephesians 4:30 says “And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.”
Sealed. Just like the tomb for which Jesus was laid and rose from again the third day, we have had a seal placed upon us, that as a child of God we too will be raised again in the newness of life for eternity where there will be nothing but truth, and we’ll live with Him who is truth. But until that day, we live with liars. Often times our biggest issue is with the one in the mirror that doesn’t want to face the reality of truth that comes from the word of God. That would be me.
When you read Ephesians 4:30, you like I may shout, “Yeah, stop hurting God’s feelings you bunch of scoundrels!” But if you read the verses preceding and following it, which describe what grieves God’s spirit, you might just discover it’s you.
20 But ye have not so learned Christ;21 If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; 23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; 24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. 25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. 26 Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath: 27 Neither give place to the devil. 28 Let him that stole steal no more: but rather let him labour, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth. 29 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. 30 And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: 32 And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.
I consider 8 of the 9 issues of the mouth. Each of those, with the exception of stealing, usually have words associated with them and most people in the world are guilty of most if not all in some form. When James said in the book of James 3:8: But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.” He knew of what he spoke.
We tell children “if you don’t have anything kind to say, say nothing at all.” But tune into most adult conversations and they are filled with gossip, judgment and anger.
This morning I caught myself in one of those conversations where I was ashamed that the words came out of my mouth. There was a person that was hurt physically by someone and I said to David, “It’s no surprise to me someone smacked him, most people want to kill him.” What an un-compassionate knot-head I was! That surely grieved the Spirit of God. And I thought nothing of the statement until it left my lips and then I realized that person was God’s creation. How dare I speak evil of them. And then I thought back to many conversations I had had this week. Many were good, God glorifying conversations. But each of those could have been undone by someone hearing other conversations.
I have an issue of the mouth. Praise God it was covered by the blood. But I am still without excuse for hurting and grieving, my Father. He who blesses my soul beyond measure…
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Every Easter I run the risk of losing the whole purpose of the Holiday, which is to serve as a reminder of the price our salvation cost. It didn’t come cheap. It cost God His Son, and the Lord His life. Yet, I get so wrapped up in the labor of love for the church that I forget to take the time to celebrate the labor of Love from our Lord and Savior.
I had all but sluffed off blogging today as I had the past couple of days because I had too many other things vying for my time. Like laundry, chocolate chip cookies, vegetable soup and cornbread, you know… really important stuff. (insert rolled eyes here). Even as I write, there are reminders all around me of other things I’d planned on doing today. But what slowed me down was a video posted on Facebook this morning by Blake Shelton.
Now, for the record, I have a love, hate relationship with the show “The Voice” because of the immoral aptitude of the co-stars. Yes, I know it’s Hollywood, not the church, but I’m still entitled to my opinion. So imagine my surprise when I listen to a song that Blake wrote titled “The Savior’s Shadow.” (Link Below) According to the link, Blake dreamed the lyrics, awoke, and wrote them down and then composed the song during a time in his life when he was struggling. Struggles can bring amazing things out in us when we’re in a attitude to receive the Lord’s goodness.
If the “religious” crowd aren’t careful they’ll miss the lesson I received in Blake’s song.
When I read the title, my Jesus Chick feathers ruffled up and I was ready with a critical spirit to critique him like they critique the people auditioning for their show. But I smoothed my feathers out, and listened. With each word Blake sang, my heart melted. And not for Blake Shelton, but for the Lord’s work.
I was quickly reminded that I’m a sinner saved by grace, and the only reasons I have this platform and the opportunities to minister in song is because the Lord had pity on my soul and used me in spite of who I really am.
I had written a social media post a few weeks ago regarding another co-star of the Voice, Kelley Clarkson. I was so aggravated with her announcing her Christian faith one minute and then cussin’ like a sailor the next. I’m still flustered over it. To be given such a platform for Christ and then to damage the cause for which He gave His life in such a way, through the vulgarity that she knows to be wrong makes me sad. For Jesus and her. She totally trashed her witness.
And then there’s Blake. Who makes no profession of faith, openly drinks alcohol and boasts of his immorality, and then look what God did through him! Is Blake saved? Well, there’s “no proof in the pudding,” as they say, but it’s not for me to judge. He’s not much worse than his co-star and in truth, he’s not much worse than a great many professing Christians who see no need to be in church or relinquish their mouth and morality to the Holy Spirit. And if I look at the inward part of Shari… no worse than me. I may not openly sin, but I certainly have some parts of my life that aren’t pleasing to the Lord.
Matthew 7:3-4 says “And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?”
I heard a story the other day of an art critique who was invited to critique a selection of inspirational art. He stood before a painting of Mary and the Christ Child. Mary was holding the Baby in front of a countryside and mountainous scene, but to the critique’s eye, everything seemed off. The faces seemed distorted, as did the mountains and scenery behind them. It was almost as if everything was painted from a different viewpoint.
The art critique decided to change his position of view, and so he knelt before the painting in the busy gallery. There on his knees he discovered that the painting was meant to be viewed from the position of prayer.
Oh that we would critique the world around us from the position of prayer before getting into our “godly judgmental stances.”
If rather than tearing down the people we come across in the course of day, we got on our knees and viewed them from the position of prayer and through the eyes of God, what would change about them and what would change about us? What would change about me?
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.
This is a somewhat vague story for the sole purpose of not telling tales. It’s one of those “the names have been changed stories to protect the not so innocent.” Actually there are no names, which much like the parables of the bible, may allow you to place yourself inside my day and encourage yourself in my discovery.
I was almost in shock, but not entirely. The evidence had been there before but not to this degree. It involved people I cared about as well as people I didn’t really care about if I’m honest. Both people had hurt me, one unknowingly, one intentionally. One I knew to be a Christian, one I wondered. How vague is that! Both events in one day and by days end I was left lifeless on the ground. Weary, oh so very weary of sin.
The sins were such that they would cut at the very core of a Christian testimony. One was the sin of prejudice and the other the sin of entitlement, arrogance and self-righteousness wrapped up in a package. To the unsaved looking at either of these lives with the notion of being drawn to Christ, was ludicrous. Neither of them would leave anyone feeling the need to be saved, being that their version of saved was very, very jaded.
Their behavior cut me. I fought back the tears thinking about the damage to the name of Christ in their behavior. I wanted to lash out, but I just couldn’t. It wasn’t the place to draw attention to someone else’s sins. And so I sat in silence, hurting. Hurting for Jesus. Hurting for someone who might hear and not understand that these people are “just human” with human flaws and all. Later in the day I talked to God, but to no avail. The knot in my stomach was still there. I spent a restless night and awoke with a feeling of despair and of nothing getting fixed. I can’t fix a brokenness in the spirit of other people, especially when they don’t acknowledge that it’s even an issue.
I complained to God and then I heard this:
“That feeling you have Shari… that’s the same feeling I have when I look at your sin. Hurt. Knowing what you know, how you could ever feel your behavior is acceptable or excusable because you are human. Remember that before you judge someone else.”
I needed to hear that. It was a stark reminder that my name is nameless too in the book of God when it comes to sin. But I still felt weary. Now I was not only weary of their condition but my own condition felt heavier still. But God lured me into His word as He often does to seek strength for the moment.
Isaiah 40 28 Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, theLord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding.
God’s ways are not my way nor are His thoughts my thoughts. How good to know that even when I am weary, and not from well doing but rather from evil doing, God understands. He sees human nature for what it is. It is what He died for. But in my human form I cannot search long enough to understand it, because I am not God. And unlike me, God is not weary. Not even weary of me. So I must rely on His understanding.
29 He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.
He knows my utter human frailty. I have no might and He knows I will fall and faint. But through His Holy Spirit He encourages my soul. How awesome that gift is. So I must rely on His strength.
30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:
Probably the hardest of all to understand. The people in my story hurt me a few times. How many times have I hurt God? Countless. Multiply that times all His people. All the people for whom He died. Now imagine that pain. We can’t. Nor can I imagine how Almighty He assuredly is that He can take that hurt and love me anyway. So I must rely on His forgiveness.
31 But they that wait upon theLordshall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.
Even with His wings, the word doesn’t say we’ll soar, it says we’ll walk. We won’t fly, but we won’t faint. That’s good news! I’ve heard the word “Wait” preached not as the meaning to delay, but rather to serve. As a waiter would wait (serve) a table, which puts a whole other perspective on that scripture. As we “serve” the Lord our strength is rekindled. So I must keep serving. Keeping God’s word in my heart so that I do not faint on days like that mentioned in this story. When people fail me, I can draw strength to forgive from the endless well of forgiveness that God has in supply for His children… for me.
Writer, Speaker, Singer… but most of all, Servant of Jesus Christ