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Weary, Worry, and Wantonness

There used to be a quote that said, “My momma warned me they’d be days like this.” And while that’s evokes humor, it’s true none the less! Today is a day of feeling overwhelmed. It often happens when I come back from a ministry opportunity because, not only am I facing the undone things of the home, I’m facing the undone things of the spiritual realm too. Things like, promising myself that my prayer life would be richer and deeper, that my ministry would be better focused and scheduled, and my music rehearsal time would become a priority. Hmmmm. Did I really say I’d do all that? Add that to the physical things of the world that has to get done: Chickens to feed and water, 3 critters under my feet today and an extra one, because Maggie Mae the grandpuppy is visiting, in amidst the posters I need to do for our high school cheerleading squad, which my daughter now coaches, 6 children I’ll be picking up from school this evening and yes… my plate is full.  

Some days I wonder if this is considered sanity or insanity.

And, I overslept. Not cool Shari.

The Three W’s of life take their toll. So what are we to do as children of God when it all seems too much?

Weary = Rest

Galatians 6:9 says And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

We must schedule rest; it’s not an option if we want to avoid fainting. And while I will agree with what you’re most likely thinking “There’s no room for rest!” As I said it’s not an option. As Pastor Mike so often said, “You do what you want to do.” And so, I think of my day and the many, many wasted moments that I piddle with this, that or the other that actually serve no purpose and I realize there is time for rest. I just need to schedule it like a doctor’s appointment and during that time allow the Healer to heal this weary soul.

You schedule yours now too!

During that time we need to

  • Tell the Healer where we hurt – Even the places we don’t like to go.
  • We need to close our eyes and listen to His advice. – Shssh.
  • And then we need to just breath. Quietly and peacefully. Imagining the sounds of heaven….

My 3-year-old nephew Jensen, who lives in Maine, is one of the wisest boys I know. He told his Momma last week that “His socks make noises like this… and then he sat very still and quiet for a few seconds.”

I have laughed at that for a week. Thinking of how wise this little fella was to understand that silence is a sound that we need to hear. There is a depth of wisdom in that boys statement that goes beyond what we allow ourselves to understand. Shsssh.

Worry = Trust

Proverbs 16:20 ~ He that handleth a matter wisely shall find good: and whoso trusteth in the Lord, happy is he.

A lesson that I have to learn again and again, is to do the best I can, and then leave the rest to God. Because I’m a fixer, and I want to fix it… quickly. Trusting even in the Lord Jesus is a struggle. No… let me rephrase that, “Waiting on the Lord Jesus is struggle. I know that I know His way is best. But I so often think my way is faster. And while that is true sometimes, it messes up the plan and causes my happiness to be less than it should be. I’m wondering if you too can identify?

His way leads to happiness, our way leads to happy less. Oh dear… that one smarted!

Finally but not the least of the three that I struggle with is

Wantoness =  Conent

It could speak to “stuff,” or “position or place.” Wantonness is a fleshly struggle for me. I love bling baby!!! And I love it so much so that I get lost in it sometimes. Wanting things for my house, my kids, myself, my husband. It’s hard to be content in a world of media!

And so I’ve been trying to focus myself on using media to promote the Lord rather than allowing it to promote the world to me. If I spend time in my artistic endeavors of Christian banner and art creation, it will hopefully fill my days with causing the world to desire what the Lord provides. Contentment.

Does it always work? Nope. But as always I’m a work in progress.

I hope that my attempts at making my own self better, helps you with your life. I love ya, and I hope you have a Christ focused day!!!

Three Misunderstood Christian Question/Quotes

I’ve been on foreign mission fields, and I’ve been on American mission fields, and the only difference is the cultures of the people. And that is not only a foreign country issue, but a state to state issue.

I realized that when I tried to explain to a hunter in New Mexico that I was in his state singin’ and speakin’. To which he replied, “What?”

And then I realized that my redneck dialect had gotten me in trouble again and I had to slow down and annunciate my words. So I replied in kind to his question. “Singing and Speaking.” And that he understood.

Sometimes I think we forget when we talk Jesus that that too is another language all together. I realized this when I spoke to a woman in New Mexico who said to me, “I had to call a friend the other day and ask her what sin was. I really didn’t know.

That shocked me. Because sin is, well, sin. But to the lost who are totally unchurched, it’s another one of those Christian words that goes unexplained and assumed that the world understands.

I understood when I had to explain words like that in a foreign land. They didn’t understand my language, but in America. Seriously? A word as simple as sin. It was as crazy to me as the hunter, (who technically should have spoke redneck) but didn’t understand the word “speakin.” It caused me to wonder this morning how many times not only my redneck dialect gets me into trouble, but my Christian dialect.

Churchy words.

Three phrases I throw around too easily without explanation.

  1. Are you saved?

Saved from what? Am I in danger?

Well, as a matter of fact you are. But the unsaved truly doesn’t what there is to be afraid of. We speak of things in the spiritual realm they speak of things in the physical realm.  And to talk about the spiritual realm is like speaking to them of Ghost Busters, Green monsters and perhaps a small concept of Angels.

I’m not so sure that many Christians understand the spiritual realm and what goes on there.

1 Corinthians 2:14

But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

So, it’s clearly saying that the unsaved cannot understand spiritual things because they’ve yet to receive the Holy Spirit. And many saved people cannot explain the Holy Spirit because they’re not in touch with Him themselves. We have Christians who don’t find in necessary to go to church on Sunday morning, read their bible, or witness to the lost. Those are three non-negotiable expectations of God.

The best way to explain the word Salvation is almost always through your testimony. And usually any other spiritual question. Because it makes it personal.

I knew what I was saved from the second I got saved. Fear.

My entire life, from the time I was old enough to be lost, I had a fear of Hell. It was placed inside of me by God and I fully believe that everyone of us from a child know that there is a God. Because the Bible says that in Romans 1:20

For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:.

Romans 8:16 

The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

It’s why it’s important to pray before we speak to the lost. The Spirit has been dealing with them, but we just need to pray so that we too are in tune with what the Spirit would have us say. So to answer them Saved from what is an easy answer for me if I just rely on what God instilled in me as a child. And what I came to know when I did get saved is the truth about Hell. It is a total darkness, fire and separation from everyone and everything. Especially the Creator. And though they do not know Him, they will when they hit Hell and they’ll understand too little too late how wonderful He is.

Another question that we take under assumption is:

  • Do you know Jesus?

I give it very little thought. I assume everyone has at least heard the name. But yesterday a friend of mine blew that theory out of the water when he said he ask a person in the prison that he ministers in and their response was “Who?”

They’d not heard the name. That’s unbelievable in our day and age. But yet it happens. And although most people have at least heard the Name, they still do not understand the concept of Who He is. And if you’re ask that question, how do you answer?

He is God. God in the flesh who wanted to experience life as we did, so He came to earth as a man and walked in the body of a man so that He could understand what it felt like to be a man.

He understood temptation, fear, pain, heartache, betrayal and every other aspect of humanity and yet stayed perfect and Holy. We cannot. I can’t stay perfect 10 minutes. The fact that God understands that connects us to Him in a greater way. A way that the lost wants someone to understand.

It’s why when a Christian stands in judgment of the lost, the lost cannot experience Christ. Because Christ forgave and understood the sin of man, His judgement comes in eternity.

If we can help the lost to understand that first, we’ll be ready to explain Jesus! The lost have to experience Him through us. And we’re going to answer for how and whether or not they have.

Final Quote

  • Christ Died for You.

What? Why would He do that and why did He think it was necessary.

It’s a notion that I have a hard time comprehending myself on a regular basis and I know it’s truth. Why would He do that? And if it’s hard for me to comprehend. Imagine what goes through the mind of a person who’s lost and how do we explain the justification of Old Testament rituals to them, especially in this critter loving world?

For me the only way that I can explain that is through the eyes of a parent – child relationship. One that most everyone understands, even if sometimes it’s from a warped perspective.

I think about Adam’s love of creation. Imagine the time he spent with all of the critters as he named them and loved on them. Imagine the horror of having to kill the first lamb when God had them clothe themselves after the fall in the garden.

I believe God wanted them to understand the separation of death in the same way He experiences it with a child who never accepted His sacrifice. It’s a pain beyond description.

If we can understand that, and the fact that He went from the sacrifice of animals to the experiencing the sacrifice of His Son and watching Him suffer as no animal ever did, then we’ll have a better grasp of why He died for us.

It’s not uncommon for my redneck dialect to get me into trouble. But what I don’t want is for my witnessing to get me into trouble. I want to know that when I tell people about my life changing relationship with Jesus Christ, it’s apparent through my life and my words and it’s done in a way that makes them want what I have.

Who wants what a cranky, judgmental, poor example of Christ has? No one.

But if we can not only show them the love of God, but the explain that love of God, we’ll be on the road to sharing in the salvation of Jesus Christ with them.

My next blog is going to be about my New Mexico experience. I wanted to wrap my mind around it myself before I tried to explain it to everyone. I’ll share some of the amazing things that God did and allow you to come along on the journey, especially those who prayed for this trip.

You’re going to love what you were a part of!

Will You be Listed?

“I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea.” Romans 16:1

The final Chapter/Letter to the Romans by Apostle Paul. What joy it brought to my soul this morning to read the names of the servants of God that had served with Paul throughout the churches and the roles they played. I imagined my own name being written down in the books of Heaven as to the service that’s being provided in New Mexico in fellowship and service with Gloria Jones and Dewey Moede.

To say that my time here is a blessing isn’t enough. From the first step inside the sanctuary of the First Baptist Church of Magdalena to the final dinner prepared by Pastor Paul Holt, the Spirit was moving. I wept as my heart was overwhelmed with the music by their worship leaders. I sang and spoke and listened to the sermon being delivered by a man of God who was filled with the Spirit and wisdom of God and thought to myself, “Shari, you are blessed, don’t forget it.”

To be in service to the King of the World isn’t something to be taken lightly. And yet, we do. Or at least I do.  Gloria and I traveled to Silver City, NM for more site seeing of this beautiful State. We witnessed to the people in the shops and left broken hearted as realized that our message wasn’t received as we’d hoped.

When I asked an artist at one local shop about being a Christian, she quickly said,  “I’m Lutheran, that means I’m fine, right?”

To which my reply was “No, being a Lutheran won’t save you, only Christ can do that. She replied “that’s a personal decision.”

“Very personal I responded.” And went on to explain about my salvation experience. She was kind and took my business card. Perhaps some seeds were sown.

Another young woman in another shop questioned why we were in town. Upon explaining about my speaking and singing, she told us she was of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I questioned her about her belief in Christ alone. She said she believed, but that Joseph Smith was a prophet, not to be worshiped but to be believed. She misunderstood that that statement also meant that she was saying the bible was not the only word of God and that it was incorrect according to their belief. She said that “We were all the same.”

We are not. Apostle Paul was commending people who had laid their lives on the line for what they believed. Not for assumptions or for catering to misguided beliefs. The body of Christ must stand strong in our convictions. Having hard conversations like those and others I’ve had this week may seem like I’m losing the battle, but Paul said in 1 Corinthians 3:6 “I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.”

We do not know who may come after us and share the news in a way that turns their stories into testimonies of salvation. All I can do is be faithful to what I know as truth.

I feel the Lord commending my soul today just as Paul commended Phebe and the other men and women listed in Paul’s letters. And I want to encourage you to speak Jesus wherever you are.  For me, oh my stars! It’s New Mexico! What a joy and a privilege to be in this place. The mission field isn’t a foreign land (necessarily). It’s the street you live on, your home, wherever you are. God has a work for us to do. It’s a very real assignment.

Paul listed one after another who had ministered with him in various capacities. Will you be listed? And what will it say? God bless you! We are co laborers in Christ and I want to hear what’s going on in your world. Write me and let me know!

The Reason is You!

That I may come unto you with joy by the will of God, and may with you be refreshed. ~ Romans 15:32

Not happenstance that this verse was on my reading plan today, September 28, 2019. And not happenstance that tonight I’ll fly out to New Mexico to make some new friends and enjoy the fellowship of the Spirit. I certainly covet your prayers for our safety and for the will of God to be done. There is much traveling and not just by plane but by car as well. It will be an adventure and an opportunity to see a part of the country I’ve never seen. But more important than that, it will be an opportunity to share the love of Jesus in a place I’ve never been in hopes of making a difference by encouraging God’s children.

A thought that I’ve had for weeks tumbling through my mind like a constant tumble weed is the notion of how many we touch for the Kingdom of God. The teens and I discussed the number of how many people we think that Apostle Paul may have touched for the cause of Christ.

I used the illustration (showing my age) of the shampoo commercial of days gone by when it talked about “if they tell two friends, and they tell two friends and so on and so forth, how many people will hear about the product. Well. If we used that theory believing that Paul preached to 5,000 as a round figure totally guessing number. And each of those would have told two friends about Jesus, some more, some less, and there being 30 generations in 1,000 years, and there being 2,000 years between us and Paul. Now… how many people have been effected? The answer… I don’t know. Ask a math person… I am not that person. One of my kids immediately knew the equation. They were not shocked that I did not.

But all of this is said to make the point, that the reason we do what we do is to get the word out! Jesus saves. That first. But then once people are saved, the blessing doesn’t stop! We have the blessing that comes from the fellowship of God’s people. It’s a little taste of Heaven here on earth.

I’m excited to share in that this week in Magdalena, Reserve and Glenwood. My friend Gloria is excited to share in that too!

Please pray.

And for those we’ll be joining, get ready! Your West Virginia sisters in Christ are on the way!

Do You Know that you Know?

Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. Romans 14:5b

What a word from Apostle Paul. The great persuader and crusader of Jesus Christ.

In this wishy-washy world it’s good to know that I know. A very wise statement from a friend of mine, Shirley Fitzwater, was one his daughter Teresa shared with me and I’ve yet to forget it. It may not be an original, but I’m giving him credit. Shirley said, “The only thing worse than the guy who doesn’t know, is the guy who doesn’t know he doesn’t know.”

Confused yet?

When you break that statement down, it speaks so much to society. There’s nothing wrong with not knowing something. We’re all learning as we walk this earth, and I have so much to learn! But those who don’t know that they don’t know, are unaware that they’re missing any knowledge. It breaks my heart. The sirens of Hell are screaming loudly and yet they ignore them.

As the wife of a fire fighter I’ve had to listen to the sirens (tones) drop on David’s multiple radios for years. Some days when emergency services are very active, I want to take the radio out into the driveway and smash it in to a million pieces. I think I might find great joy in that. Noises bother me. But over the 30 years he’s served, most days I tune it out. I try to let it be a reminder to pray for the people who are involved, but some days I just don’t. I’m not a super saint, I’m Shari. Fully a failure much of the time. But isn’t that illustration a world view. They’re tuning out the sirens of Hell and pretending that their day will never come. They don’t know that they don’t know.

As I said, I’m glad I know.

In the context of Paul’s scripture in Romans 14:1 Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations. For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs.  Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him. Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand. One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.

I must confess that there is a part of my less than lean body that made me smile when Paul said that “another, who is weak, eateth herbs.” That’s the evil side of Shari. But the jest of this conversation speaks of judging the manner of life someone is living who does indeed know, although they’re not living as we believe they should. Another’s life is truly not ours to judge. And the world loves using that statement against Christians saying that we are judging them when we speak to their salvation. They don’t know that they don’t know. And arguing that point with them may or may not drive them into a deeper relationship with Christ. But Paul said that those who are weak in the faith, just accept them. Don’t argue.

It’s a fact that I am ever so grateful that God always impressed upon my heart that I didn’t know. I knew there was something missing in my life. So, when I received the salvation of Christ, I knew I didn’t know, and I set out to know it. But not every child of God is like that. It’s like children, they grow at different rates.

My grandson Luke is almost as tall as I am. Well over five feet. His cousin Noah, who is just a few month’s younger is so much shorter! But we do not look at his stature and say, “Noah, you need to do better.” No, we encourage him to work with the stature he has. Should we not do the same for the child of God?

I am grateful that I know and I am indeed persuaded in my own mind about the word of God, my standing with Christ and the doctrine for which I believe. But I believe what Paul is saying and reminding us of, is that we need to take care of our relationship with God, and not to judge the relationship that others may have and the way in which they worship God. If a person is saved, he or she is the property of God, and He is their Master. It’s not up to us to judge the Lord’s servants and argue.

But Paul said Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. We, as mature saints of God, need to know what we believe and why we believe it. That requires more than an occasional Sunday in church, and reading the word of God. I’m not judging, I’m just saying what the Lord has impressed upon my heart as the only path to fully being persuaded of who He is.

Do you know that you know? If so you need to glory in it! And you need to share that wealth with someone today.

This is How He Works

Good morning New Mexico!

My heart is full this morning as I prepare to head your way with a message that has me shouting the Glory of God in my office this morning. It’s a message that I’ve heard 1,000 times, (well maybe or maybe not so many) but it is a familiar word. But  the thing about the God we serve is, though it is familiar text, it is unique to the circumstances of the day, and to this trip.

The picture in this message is one that I drew in my bible this morning as I gloried in what God was speaking to my heart. That’s how He works in my life, through images and outlines of His word. He spoke to me about purpose and plans and I listened… And now it’s time for us to pray.

  • Pray for my journey (and specifically my guitar) Airports are not musician friendly. I need favor!
  • Pray for Gloria and I, that we’ll be obedient to everything the Spirit tells us to sing or say.
  • Pray for your congregation that the Lord will prepare the hearts before the service even starts.
  • Pray for your church that they’ll be blessed, and that our trip will be an opportunity to exhort our brothers and sisters in New Mexico in such a way that a fire is stirred in their hearts and ours and forever unite us as friends in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Can you tell I’m excited? I don’t take this opportunity lightly. I love you and cannot wait for our fellowship time.

This is how He works: through His people. That’s us!

My Hearts Desire

Romans 10:1

Brethren, my hearts desire is that Israel might be saved.

Continuing on in my journaling of Romans, I made it no further than the 1st verse of Romans 10 today. My heart broke for the Lord. It broke for Him, not because of Israel’s rejection of the Messiah, although that was certainly a part of it; but it broke for my own failures as His child that He so willingly included into His family. Shari Johnson, gentile, who He willingly allowed the crucifixion of His Son, Jesus Christ for. So that I could be a part of His amazing family. And what a privilege!

And so now I turn back to Paul’s burden, that is my burden too, that Israel might be saved.

Dying and end times can be scary . The world would love it if we’d just ignore it. It’s way easier than facing the reality that eternity will come to all. The world would have you believe that you should never ever read the book of Revelation! It’s far too confusing. That’s a lie. It’s not confusing if you’re in a good bible believing preaching church that teaches the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. Will you understand every jot and tittle? If you do, you’re a better bible scholar than I am. But you’ll understand what the Lord needs you to understand. And while it won’t take all the uncertainty of our end days away, it will give you peace. And help you to understand that God has a plan.

It’s a plan that will restore his precious Israel back to a right relationship with God. God’s desire. It will happen the same way it happens to a Gentile. Through belief on Jesus Christ. It will not however come as easy for those who believe after the church has been raptured (caught up) to be with Jesus. Which could be any day now. There’s going to be a terrible time of tribulation. Seven years, that those who believe on Jesus Christ now will be privileged not to have to go through. Something else I’m grateful and humbled for.

When those who have not read scripture, or been in church, hear this teaching it sounds insane. That’s what Satan want them to believe. But get in the book and read the prophecies of the Word of God and understand what has come to pass already, that was predicted thousands of years ago and suddenly it doesn’t sound so insane, but rather reality sits in, that there is a God. And He has a plan, and it’s playing out just like He said it would.

The end times will play out like no Hollywood production ever could. There will be a Hero that swoops in from the sky and saves Israel. There will be heroes on earth that will take a part of the Master’s plan and set things into motion that eventually put the Devil into the pits of Hell where he’ll stay. But not until he does some serious damage on earth by deception (which he already has). And during that time there will be trials and tribulations that have people crying for the rocks to fall on them.

Revelation 6:16

And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:

But it’s not something that anyone has to fear who knows Christ Jesus as Savior. Jew or Gentile. It’s why I want and desire, as does the Lord, for Israel to accept what Jesus did for us on the cross.

Have you accepted that? Do you know where you’d be if God decided today to call His church home? Would you be with Him and your saved family? Or would you be left here to face those 7 years of tribulation. That you likely will not survive. That’s not said to cast fear. That’s said to help you understand it’s not a fairy tale. It’s real.

Want to know for sure? Follow this link.

If you did, please, please, please let me know!

The Beautiful One

As I read down through the upcoming text, my heart was filled with joy! Thinking on the beautiful salvation of the Lord Jesus Christ and what that means to me personally.

That’s how we must look at it in order to understand what it was that God did for us. For me. For you. For the one and the many that you love. Oh, glory to God does that not make you ever so grateful today?

We look back in frustration at Adam and Eve’s very simple sin; the sin of disobedience; and we try in our best pious way to imagine we would not, in truth knowing we would. We’re all that weak. That’s why scripture says “for all have sinned,” in Romans 3:23. That’s every “one” of us. We are all disobedient to death.

But read about the beautiful “One….”

Romans 5: 17-21

17 For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)

18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.

19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

20 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:

21 That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.

Jesus Christ our Lord, that beautiful One. As I’m continuing my study in Romans, slowly making my way through these pages, trying to get a closer, deeper relationship with the Lord, and wishing I didn’t fail so miserably at it, verses like this that stop me in my track and cause me to say, “Thank You. I wish I was better at life-ing.”

The Lord deserves better. His time on the cross not only took the sin of this one Shari, it took the sin of a world of people, generation after generation, and it’s that thought that causes me to hear His cry, “My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me? (Matthew 27:46b)

And I hear within my own heart, why have you forsaken Him? Why do you fail? But then I recall His word that says I’ll reign in this life because of the Lord Jesus Christ. I’ll have victory in this life. Satan may think he has won the battle with this girl, but he has not won the war. The word reign is to have supremacy, power, control over! That’s what we have in Jesus Christ. It’s not that we won’t mess up, but it’s those messes that are covered by the blood. He did that so we wouldn’t continually live in defeat. He didn’t die for the righteous (Romans 5:6-8), He died for sinners. Every “one” of them.”

I’m the one. You’re the one. But Hallelujah! He’s the ONE.

The Access Point

Grace is hard to understand. We want it, we attempt to give it, sometimes tongue and cheek (meaning we forgive but never forget). We, I speak collectively, though I really mean me, when I say I often think I’ve messed up past the point of being offered grace, because life sometimes just flat out stinks.

True story.

When life gets hard, this Jesus Chick is not so spiritual as to immediately ask the question, “What is God teaching me in this moment?” That would sound really good and churchy wouldn’t it?  No, I’m more apt to ask the question, “How long will I be here, Lord?”

Romans 5:1-2

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:  By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

So much is missed in the midst of a struggle. And life is full of struggles. But the Apostle Paul reminds us that as people of faith (those who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ) we have access to some things the world is not afforded.

We have Access to Peace

There’s a difference between access and acceptance. It’s the same as salvation, we’re all offered it; but if we don’t accept it, we’ll never experience it. There is a difference in the end result. Those with salvation will go Heaven whether they experience the benefits of salvation here on earth or not. The journey is just a lot more difficult. But those who never accept salvation are headed to Hell.

I’m not surprised when children of God don’t have peace in the middle of a storm. Because I’ve been there too. It’s usually a matter of feeling worthy or letting myself get too far down before looking up. If there’s sin or other failures in our lives, we don’t feel worthy. Even though neither will keep you from peace if you talk to God about it. As children of God, it’s ours for the asking!

That’s just the kind of Lord He is.

We have Access to Grace

I love the acronym for G.r.a.c.e. = God’s Riches at Christ’s Expense. Isn’t that amazing? There’s nothing we can do to earn it. It is however what makes me be the person I am. I was born with a servants attitude and when God saved me from the Devil’s Hell, my gratitude went toward servitude.

Grace will do that if you strive to understand it. Many Christians miss the mark because they’re not in God’s word, they’re not in church and so they cannot fully comprehend what the Lord did for them. I sometimes avoid the truth of it myself, because I can’t imagine the degree of pain and humiliation my Lord took upon Himself for someone like me who adds more too it when I fail Him.

The shame wasn’t only on the day of the crucifixion. It’s on us when we blatantly fail God, knowing what He did for us. But the grace is still there. That’s why it’s amazing.

We have Access to Joy

It’s what we can experience even in times of sorrow. The loss of a loved one is gut wrenching, but the knowledge that they were saved and now in the presence of Jesus brings great joy!

The struggles we face are never pleasurable, but the victory is always a joyous moment and made that much sweeter because of the struggle. We realize the strength that we have from knowing Christ as Savior. The unsaved may experience moments of victory, but not as the child of God. Knowing that there was Someone standing beside us all the way and there was never a reason to feel alone. That is joy! He has our back here and He’s waiting for us there!

We have Access to Hope

Not just hope, but we need always reminded that the peace, grace, joy and hope are always for the glory of God. It’s a privilege only afforded a child of the King. I wrote on hope yesterday. It’s a subject I could write on everyday and never grow weary because I need it. I need to know that my aches and pains, those of the physical, mental and spiritual nature will someday be lifted whether here or Heaven.

Maybe you needed to know that too. If I’ve encouraged you, let me know! If I can pray for you, let me know that too. We’re here to be the hands, feet and sometimes words of Jesus. Use us Lord!

Against all Hope

I totally get the anxiety and frustration that Abraham and Sarah may have been feeling. They’d been promised a child, but then, as it does, age crept upon them from no where and low and behold they found themselves past the fruit bearing years.

Sarah was 90 for cryin’ out loud and Abraham 100. It was a dark day in the land of Canaan when Abraham continued to believe in the promise that God had given him. With the point being, he never gave up hoping.

That’s our problem. We lose hope.

Romans 4:18 says of Abraham:

Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be.

Against Hope

There’s nothing like age to make you feel unfruitful. With every passing year new aches and pains are introduced and your children start “calling to check on you,” or asking you if you think you’ll “feel up to it.” Good grief! It’s not that I’m not very grateful that I raised such concerned children, it’s just that I didn’t think I was that old. And then I look in the mirror and the age lines that I used to consider laugh lines aren’t so funny anymore.

Welcome to the silver years Shari. I’m not yet to the golden years, although they’re drawing nigh.

If I trusted what the mirror says or what my lying bones say, I’d take off my Jesus Chick hat and consider sitting back and waiting for Jesus to come and fetch me.  Those are physical things against the spiritual realm of hope. And they are not the only things “against hope.”

Logic is often the enemy of hope. If Abraham had looked at it logically, he wouldn’t have even put out the candles and turned the radio onto soft music at 100. What chance did he have at conception with 90 year old Sarah.

This story gives me hope! See, I’m still waiting for some fruit… not of the Isaac persuasion, but of the spiritual kind. I’m waiting for God to do a great work in my ministry that will bear fruit for the Kingdom. I’ve waited a while! But I’m not 100 yet.

In Hope

Just as Abraham I’m believing in hope. Wouldn’t it be a sad world with out it. Truth be told, it is a sad world. I’ve listened to many speak without hope. It is generally the unsaved, but not always. None of us are immune to losing hope. This world is filled with adversarial demons to strip even the strongest of a good attitude.

Today I have hope, because today I’ve been in the word and I’ve read myself happy. But a few days ago, as I traveled down the highway, I looked in my rear view mirror and all I saw was lost opportunities, failed attempts and I was in the previous state.

I should have told myself, “don’t look back.”

Luke 9:62 

And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.

If a ploughman doesn’t look forward, he won’t make the proper furrows, nor do his work well. The same is true of the child of God. If we are continually looking back to see where we’ve been, we might assuredly miss where we’re going. We need to be forward thinking Christians. Always looking for opportunity, not resting in the laurels of previous ones, or sulking in the disaster of errors.

I can find myself sulking if I’m not careful.

Hope Delivered

Sarah delivered that bundle of hope and named him Isaac, meaning laughter. There is great joy when hope is delivered.

What does that look like to you?

I know what it looks like to me. It’s a strange delivery I’m waiting on…

  1. That souls are saved and lives are changed.
  2. That my ministry be viewed as a ministry, not a hobby by those who should know better.
  3. That it is financially sustaining for my family.

That may or may not sound like much to you. But there are days when I look back at the furrows I’ve made, and my fruit is sparse. I lose sight of where I know I’m supposed to go.

Just like the farmer who’s responsibility it is the take care of the land, it’s ours to take responsibility for this land. Starting at home and working our way out.

 I can’t help but think about J. Vernon McGee:

Following cancer surgery in 1965 at the age of 61, the doctors gave Dr. McGee six months to live. The Lord gave him 23 more years.

In 1967 he launched the radio program “Thru the Bible” which took 5 years. At its completion the program tapes continued to run, and Dr. McGee and his board determined that the program would run until the money ran out. Through generous contributors it’s still running today.

Dr. McGee died in 1988, falling asleep in his chair and waking in the presence of Jesus. At the time of his death the bible program aired in 34 languages, but has since been translated into over 100 and is broadcast on Trans World Radio throughout the world every weekday.

At the age of 63 Dr. McGee continued ploughing and didn’t look back. He was a successful man of God, but I love that what he deemed as his greatest compliment came at the beginning his ministry.

His greatest compliment

As a student pastor, Dr. McGee’s first church sat on a red clay hill in Midway, Georgia. It was there he said he received his greatest compliment: “It was from a country boy wearing high buttoned, yellow shoes. After a morning service he came to speak to me. He groped for words, then blurted out, ‘I never knew Jesus was so wonderful!’ He started to say more but choked up and hurried out of the church. As I watched him stride across the field, I prayed, ‘Oh, God, help me to always preach so that it can be said, I never knew Jesus was so wonderful.’

Source: www.ttb.org

Would to God that it could be said about me and the Jesus Chick Ministry. I want the world to know how very wonderful Jesus is.

But that will never come to pass if you and I put the ploughs in the barn and fail to work the fields.

We have a Hope. His name is Jesus. And we need to tell everyone we meet.