Category Archives: worship

Social Media Saints

I am guilty of only posting the pretty pictures. I don’t post the countless times I wad up a disfigured Jesus Chick or other images that don’t measure up. If someone takes a picture of my bad side, which can actually be any side that I don’t deem myself “pretty” I don’t post it and I’m quick to delete it off my phone before someone accidently on purpose stumbles across it. Are not our lives much the same way?

We let people see the “pretty” side of our selves. The one who is made up and picture perfect on Sunday morning, but what about the one that breaks down into tears on Monday because their world just ain’t right? Oh… that one.

No, nobody needs to see that, right?

Yesterday as I loaded yet another load of laundry for two obviously very dirty people into the dryer I felt a knot in my throat and tears well up in my soul. There was no reason. Other than I just felt overwhelmed.

I quickly sucked it up, started a new load of laundry and told myself, you don’t have time for that.

This morning as I loaded the dishwasher, for obviously very hungry people, the Spirit spoke to me and said, “just be real.”

I scroll through the countless images of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Listen to the ranting of crazy people and realize that there doesn’t seem to be a happy medium. There’s either the beautiful, seemingly perfect families or the nutcases.

I sing this song at the Long Term Care on Monday’s that the residents just love. I didn’t add it to my repertoire for a couple of years for fear it would offend. It’s called “Who do you think you’re foolin” by Joe Mullins and the Radio Ramblers. When I played the last note yesterday, the little old lady behind me yelled, “We need more like that!”

I realized then, and again this morning that people want the truth, not just the pretty images of Christianity. They need to hear that all of us have moments of sorrow, confusion and days that we too would be nutcases if we weren’t Spirit controlled preventing us from publishing that nutcase rant of reality.

Isaiah 57:15

For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.

Two quick points to ponder before you post today.

The Sprit of the Humble

I love humble people. People who don’t lift themselves above others but realize that we are at best sinners saved by grace. There is also a humility we all tend to ignore and avoid whenever possible, and that is the humility of allowing people to see the brokenness within us. That life hurts sometimes.

I’m always careful to buy waterproof mascara for fear of the black clown face that can occur when that spirit of humility takes over. I waterproof my social media post too. But what we miss when we do this the spirit of revival. God will revive the spirit of the humble… not the proud.

The Heart of the Contrite

To have a contrite spirit is to be crushed and broken. Hello? My thinking is the only people who want the world to see that is the nutcase “ranters” who make me shake my head.

My thinking is wrong.

There has to be a happy medium and I see it once in a while. When someone just gets real for the sake of encouraging others. In that process they do not drag someone else into their post, it’s about their relationship with God, not man. God uses broken vessels to let the water of life pour out for others to drink and have their souls revived as well.

After my open heart surgery my water intake was extremely limited. Prior to that I didn’t even like water, but suddenly I craved it, and still do. Their denial of that life giving substance, though it was for my own good, caused me to desire it more.

The more dry and broken we become the greater desire we have to be revived. But you can ignore it until it becomes the norm. Oh… how often I’ve seen that across the churches of America. They only want the pretty Sunday’s, not the ones where broken people get revived and give control to the Spirit of God. It is then that rantings are replaced with the testimonies of broken people being healed, tears flow and God is welcomed into that place and He shows up in a mighty way.

Do we want that?

I don’t want people to air dirty laundry on social media, but it would be good if people shared  a trial and how God brought them through. We all have struggles. People need to see they can have victory too.

Share yours today!

What About Your Candle?

Luke 11:33-36

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

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

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

Good vs. Evil

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

This verse reminds me of the children’s song

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

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

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

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

Lead vs. Follow

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

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

Light vs. Dark

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

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

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

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

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

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

Getting the Spirit Back Where He Belongs

I refuse to be a judger of men when it comes to how other people and churches conduct themselves in services. I will only stand before God for the manner in how I conducted myself, and how I, as a leader, lead others. A lesson King David learned when he attempted to bring the Ark home from Kirjath-jearem. Uzzah lost his life because of David’s error in leadership. Uzzah was a Levite, but not a priest, who had been ordered to carry the Ark. One stumble of the oxen, one touch to the hallowed property of God and a man was dead. God takes order serious. (1 Chronicles 13)

Now I realize we’re not in Old Testament times, we no longer live by the law, but when I looked at the original church (Israel) it reminded me very much of the mega churches of today that so many people are critical of. I have to wonder if they’d be so critical of a mega church if it were theirs? But back to my point: be it mega or a little country church up the hollow, God still expects order.

David finally caught onto that the second time he brought up the Ark when he said in 1 Chronicles 15:13, “For because ye did it not at the first, the Lord our God made a breach upon us, for that we sought him not after the due order.”

So the order was fulfilled and the Ark and the presence of God was back where it belonged! Is that not what we want in our churches? The presence of Almighty God! Certainly it doesn’t require an Ark, but I still think it requires order.

The presence of God is carried within each child of God. What Uzzah couldn’t touch, because of the blood of Jesus, we are allowed to carry. My how things have changed.

Titles have changed within the church; we no longer have Priests but Pastors, Bishops, preachers, teachers, deacons, trustees and others who are put into place to hold order inside the church. The New Testament is clear about the order of the church (1 Tim. 3:1-12) with Christ always as the Head of the church. And those things will often be in line (for the most part) and yet the Spirit of God will not be felt. Then other churches will not have all things in line, and yet the Spirit of God will be felt. What’s the deal?

That was my question to God this morning?

Then like a brick off the brick yard being hurled at my mind an answer came.
“I’m no longer in the box. So stop putting Me there.”

God, through the sacrifice of His Son has made Himself personally touchable to everyone who has accepted Him as Lord. The problem is, those who carry Him into the church, don’t touch Him. They don’t stir up the Spirit within, they just let Him sit there inside of them, waiting for church to be over, all the while the Spirit cries “I want to be loosed!” And it is those who find criticism for the wild behaviors in mega churches, which I too believe may cross a line not intended by God. So who’s right and who’s wrong? I’ll let God decide.

I do however know in my heart that God intended for no man to take the Spirit of God for granted. When David returned with the Ark, there was music, dancing, instruments and shouting and it upset Michal, David’s wife. There will likely always be someone who “doesn’t get it.” It didn’t stop David and it shouldn’t stop us.

God’s mega church of the Old Testament had order. It had leadership and small groups, and all things had honor and respect for God. God is still every bit as Holy today as He was then, the only difference is we are granted far greater access as commoners by the cross. How we treat Him matters and the world needs to see a difference in how we approach Him and how we react when we get there. Less He be considered no different than the gods of this world.

Discovering The Worship Within Us

JOHN 4:19-24

19 The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet. 20 Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. 21 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.22 Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

The Worship Within

It’s been my desire for a few weeks to work on a Worship song. God has been pouring His words into my soul and I’ve been amazed at what’s been happening… even in the face of a struggle within myself. So this morning I set my mind to write a worship song.

I was going to get myself in a mind of worship! I came into the living room with guitar in hand and began to pen the words down of the song. The words came swiftly enough, so I felt as if God’s anointing was on me once again and I was ever so grateful.

Now for the tune…

That was a little odd for me. Usually they come hand in hand… the words and music enter my brain in a married state. But this morning only words. So as I began to try to wrap my mind around a melody by going back to the Bible story where the song idea had come from.

John 4:20-24

It’s the story of the woman at the well. The woman married five times and now living with the sixth. That woman… the one who Jesus knew… and she knew He knew, but she didn’t know how. So she perceives that he is assuredly a prophet and attempts to turn the subject away from her indiscretions of life to the matter of religion. Or perhaps song writing.

It is here that my song and my soul found the flavor of the music for the words God had given.  But they weren’t what I had imagined a worship song to be like, just like the woman at the well, who told the Lord, the Jews worship one way, and we (the Samaritans) worship another. And Jesus informs her that she doesn’t know what worship is. But He’s about to show her.

It’s not religion or a location, it’s a spiritual act drawn on the emotions of gratitude for salvation and of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Worship is very personal.

And the melody came… and it came with a Jewish flavor. And my first thought was like the woman of Samaria, “But God I’m not Jewish.” And as the guitar rang out my spirit filled with happiness and I understood, that I’m not Jewish, but I am Jesus’ and He is very Jewish.

I had a new understanding of worship. It’s not about who I am. Shari, the sinner, the failure, the doubter and often rebellious child of God. But I am the child of God. Perfectly forgiven.

Verse 23 says that God is seeking “such to worship Him.” Someone understanding the truth in themselves, and seeking the truth in Him.

So I got a little Jewish this morning in the name of Jesus! That was fun and it was worship!

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

Don’t Grow Weary of the Spiritual Fashion Police

praise

Reasoning, questioning and intentions were certainly apart of King David’s life. His father reasoned that he wasn’t even suitable to be in contention to meet Samuel, his brothers questioned his intentions at the battle with Goliath and Saul questioned his intentions for the Kingdom; and all David wanted to do was take care of the Lord’s business, wherever it was that the Lord’s business was taking place. Be it in the fields as a shepherd, in the King’s house as a musician, or on the battlefield of life. David just wanted to serve God.

David too was known to question God, as he did when God killed Uzzah for touching the ark (which was forbidden) as they were returning it to the City of David. David didn’t understand God’s reasoning, and it caused him to fear:

2 Samuel 6:9

And David was afraid of the Lord that day, and said, How shall the ark of the Lord come to me?

David didn’t understand why a reflex response (Uzzah thought the ark was falling) would get him killed. But it wasn’t about the reflex, it was about the manner the ark was being carried. The words said the ark was new because the ark was never to be on a cart, it was to be carried by the priests on their shoulders. This oversight was why Uzzah was killed. God has ways that we may not understand, but sometimes we should.

David finally gets over his fear when he hears the Lord is blessing the home for which he left the ark in and he goes to retrieve it. It’s here that David is in his element! He is dancing and praising and partying all the back in celebration of having the presence of the Lord back in his life. But again there is more questions of his intention from his wife Michal.

6:14

And David danced before the Lord with all his might; and David was girded with a linen ephod.

6:20

Then David returned to bless his household. And Michal the daughter of Saul came out to met David, and said, How glorious was the king of Israel today, who uncovered himself to day in the eyes of the handmaids of his servants, as one of the vain fellows shamelessly uncovereth himself.

David’s been through a lot! He’s lost friends, he’s fought battles, he’s been on the run and things are finally falling into place. God has given him the Kingdom of Israel and he’s returning home, only to be questioned by a jealous wife who was more concerned about what her husband’s attire than the fact he’s home safe and celebrating what God’s doing.

I’ve felt that questioning stare of judgment as to why I am who I am and why I don’t mind when others are who they are. I’m not going to question the intent of anyone else’s heart on the way they choose to worship the Lord or conduct their service so long as they are serving Jesus Christ. So Michal’s complaint kind of got on my nerves this morning on David’s behalf.

With the exception of a very close few in my circle, most people do not understand the battlefield that I’ve come from. I’ve had to fight to stay in the church I’m in because Satan on more than one occasion gave me reason to leave. I didn’t say people… although there’s usually a few involved. But much like David, I had questioned why the Lord had removed people from my life. I had made mistakes of my own, and I had hard fought battles to stay in the place that I knew God had called me to serve. And when I finally got my footing back, you better believe there was a joy in my heart that caused me to sing and dance and I didn’t care who thought my thoughts were inappropriate.

I cheered David’s response to Michal:

Verse 21

And David said unto Michal, It was before the Lord, which chose me before thy father, and before all his house, to appoint me ruler over the people of the Lord, over Israel: therefore will I play before the Lord.

God didn’t make me ruler… He did put me into a position of leadership. Satan’s couldn’t move me from a position that God placed me in, but he tried very hard to make me walk away. David told Michal that he would “play before the Lord.”  Playing is seldom understood by those who are more concerned about how people are dressed. (for the record I’m not talking about clothing). When someone is clothed in the garment of praise, it’s often pretty radical. It’s also their own. If they choose to wear it softly, I’m cool with that. If they choose to wear it loud! O’ I’m down with that too! It’s theirs to wear, not mine.

So this blog is for someone who needs to praise and not grow weary of the spiritual fashion police. Like the woman with the Alabaster box… they don’t understand your praise.

Saved but Silent

on my mind

For certain it’s a conversation starter! For the passionate child of God it will make a preacher out of the meekest of them when they begin to tell of their inability to understand lukewarm saints. For the lukewarm saint it begins a conversation about the “Not Everyone’s.” With statements like:

  • Not everyone’s a soul winner.
  • Not everyone’s a shouter.
  • Not everyone’s got time.
  • Not everyone’s been called….

It’s usually at this point in a conversation that people start reading my very expressive face. My eyes roll. My lip gets bitten. My fingers and hands have a passion for rhythm from the war drums going off inside my head. My right leg starts to bounce a little as if I’m getting ready to run. And I too sit silent because I know if I say what’s on my mind there’s going to be hurt feelings. Usually mine, because you can’t convince a lukewarm saint that anything’s wrong with them. They love to tell me why they’re not lukewarm, they’re passion is just concealed in their conservative ways. And they’re offended that I would suggest otherwise.

Saved but silent is sickening.

A few personal thoughts that have my heart stirred up this particular Saturday night:

  • I know not everyone’s a shouter, else the church would be chaos. But the Lord wouldn’t mind a Holy grunt once and a while.
  • If you can’t remember the last time you were at the altar, you are way overdue.
  • There’s two reasons you go to the altar, 1. Because you need to, and 2. Because you think you don’t need to.
  • Everyone may not be a soul winner, but everyone should be burdened for souls.
  • If you think Sunday School isn’t important, you’re either very well studied and you should be teaching, or you think Sunday School is not needful and a waste of time. And God knows that’s what you think.
  • If the people you share your day with haven’t heard you talk about Jesus, you sat down and shut up when Satan told you to.
  • If your idea of an active prayer life is three meals and a bedtime prayer, you’ve covered food and sleep but the other 23 hours of your day are in the hands of Satan. If you don’t pray over your food, one day you may choke.
  • If you volunteer for school and community events but not for church your priorities are not in check.
  • If a child of God has made you feel uncomfortable because they do any of the aforementioned things you are going to be real uncomfortable in Heaven.

Just a few things on my heart…

Leave Your Burdens at the Gate

burdensFor greater than twenty years I haven’t wondered where I’m supposed to be on Sunday morning. I haven’t gotten up on any given Sunday and said, “what a great day to go to the mall! That actually wouldn’t happen on a Thursday! With words unspoken you may have perhaps read that as if it were spoken in a self-righteous church lady voice. Please don’t. There’s no holier than thou or preachy connotation. It’s written in humble gratitude that God gave me a place to call home in the house of the Lord at Victory Baptist Church in Grantsville, West Virginia. It’s church day! And I’m excited about what the Lord will do there.

I’m still in Jeremiah, although I only made it but through one chapter this morning before getting waylaid on this thought.

Jeremiah 17:24-25

And it shall come to pass, if ye diligently hearken unto me, saith the Lord, to bring in no burden through the gates of this city on the sabbath day, but hallow the sabbath day, to do no work therein; Then shall there enter into the gates of this city kings and princes sitting upon the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, they, and their princes, the men of Judah, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem: and this city shall remain for ever.

It’s exciting to know that God cares about my church attendance! I was in a meeting one day when someone said, “I can be just as good of a Christian outside of the church as in”. I’d argue, no you can’t. I actually didn’t argue, it was an adult at a youth camp, but I did get my point across. And although this may be an Old Testament scripture, in a land of kings and princes, it’s as relative today as it was when it was written between 630 and 580 B.C.

We need church and not going has consequences.

The above scripture tells of the blessings that God says will come when we attend church, there was also scripture that told of the cursing of turning your back on God. (vs. 27) The blessing of honoring God by putting Him first on the Sabbath is a country going in the right direction. But let’s put it on a personal level, how about a life going in the right direction? For the record, those who argued with me that they could be out of church and still be a good Christian are now out of church. And though I believe they are saved, they’re lives are a mess. It’s not to say that problems won’t come when you’re in church, but what you are is equipped to handle them.

Sunday School isn’t just for children. It’s a place to delve deeper into the word of God. It’s like having a free conference every Sunday! And those who take advantage of it are fewer and fewer. Sunday School is usually followed by the worship hour. It’s a time of preaching and singing and there are those who attend it and miss the whole point by “enduring” it rather than embracing it!

Jeremiah’s words struck me when he said to “bring no burdens through the gate… but hallow the Sabbath.” That’s how to enjoy church. There’s a reason it’s called a sanctuary. It’s a place to escape the world. I hope this morning finds you in the house of God with your burdens on the outside. Just be open to listening to the Word of God this morning and let God deal with the burdens. It’s not easy, even for those of us at it for a long time… but it’s needful for a great life and for a great country – that America gets itself back to church.

Worshiping through Psalm 42

chick praise

I woke up this morning with worship on my mind. So thankful that God is tolerant when I’m not nearly thankful enough. Have you ever had those days? When you realize that God was worthy of so much more than you gave Him. In Psalm 42, David has been forced out of his place of worship by the enemy, and although he’s heartbroken and thirsty for the house of God, he finds a way to worship Him in that place of sorrow and fear. How can I,  who is safe and sound in my own home, who has the privilege and freedom of going to the house of God whenever I so choose fail to worship and praise Him. But I do. So this morning as I worked my way through Psalm 42, I added my own words of praise (those in blue)  that I’m sharing with you this morning. I hope you find time today to do a little praising and worshiping of your own. He is so worthy!!!

42 As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?

                Oh child are you thirsty this morning, does your heart within you pine

                To spend some time at the brook, with your Savior and Lord Divine.

                Do you long for that living water, do you thirst till all breath is gone

                Do you long to be in His presence, just you and He alone.  

My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, Where is thy God?When I remember these things, I pour out my soul in me: for I had gone with the multitude, I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept holyday.Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.

                The tears from my eyes roll like rivers, but they satisfy not my thirsty soul

                The world continually asks, Where is thy God, and my sorrow takes its toll

                I remember the days in joyful praise with my friends at the church back home

                With joy I recall, and praise Him for all, He is my help, my hope, my own.

O my God, my soul is cast down within me: therefore will I remember thee from the land of Jordan, and of the Hermonites, from the hill Mizar. Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterspouts: all thy waves and thy billows are gone over me. Yet the Lord will command his lovingkindness in the day time, and in the night his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life.

                It does not matter where I go, my Lord will meet me there

                The deepest waters, or the highest waves, He keeps me in His care

                In daylight or in darkness, He commands His presence be known

                There’s a song in my heart, and I kneel in prayer, for my life is not my own.

I will say unto God my rock, Why hast thou forgotten me? why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy? 10 As with a sword in my bones, mine enemies reproach me; while they say daily unto me, Where is thy God? 11 Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.

                There are times when I feel forgotten. I’m certain the enemy has won

                And again I hear, Where is your God? And again I’m at Your throne.

                Why am I bowed down in sorrow and restless within this soul of mine?

                Even still I shall praise He Who’s worthy, for my life is wholly Thine.