Tag Archives: 2 Corinthians 4

Will My High Hopes Last?

Ethel

The sun is shining and it’s a balmy 52 degrees today in Calhoun County, West Virginia. It gives me high hopes that spring is just around the corner! High hopes because I can see the glorious sunshine and feel the warmth (well kind of) on my skin as I go out to feed the chickadees in the hen house.

But what about next week when the temperatures drop back into the twenties, snow is possibly in the forecast, and the chicks still need fed. Will I have high hopes that day that spring is just around the corner? Or will I bundle up and growl as my bones ache in protest to the chore? Not believing with any great confidence that spring will come?

I see and occasionally fall victim to the same faulty thinking as a child of God. Hope is fleeting in this fallen world, is it not?

2 Corinthians 4:18 says

While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

I have only girls in my henhouse, because, it is after all, a henhouse. And boys are bossy. I speak in poultry language of course, not humanistic. I would never say that my husband is bossy.

Okay… that’s a lie.

But he will tell you that I listen about like the poultry dames. I love my chickens. I do not however love their hygiene. They’re pretty gross. But they provide breakfast and attribute to my baking; so, I’ll tolerate their stinky butts and shovel their poop if I can’t con the hubs into. Which is usually the case. But my point of my Bantam banner is this, those girls always have hope!

They’re expectantly awaiting me to come to the hen house and feed and water them and they graciously (with the exception of one Silkie) allow me to take their eggs. They don’t care what the weather is like, although they’re a little less productive on cold days, much like me. But they still have hope. They’re doing what chickens do.

Am I? Doing what I’m called to do? Every day? Or just on days when I feel like the Son is going to return?

Just like the ladies in the henhouse, God’s plan for me has been mapped out rain or shine. Cold or warm. Muddy or dry. I need to be productive for the cause of Christ which is to tell others of His return. That may come in the form of a blog, vlog, speaking engagement or a song I sing. But all should point other to Christ and tell them of His imminent return. That is hope.  That is what we have. It’s not up for debate. He’s coming back for the church!

Will it be this spring? Today? Tomorrow, next year or 2025? It doesn’t matter. He’s coming back! It only matters that I’m doing what needs to be done. So… I’ll feed my chickens, I’ll feed my family, I’ll feed the youth in the teen department with the word of God and I’ll feed my own faith with God’s word like 2 Corinthians 4:18.

I hope you found some nourishment in that word today too!

Lucy

Secret Service Christianity?

2 CORINTHIANS 4:3

But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:

Is there such a thing as Secret Service Christianity? To some degree I would say yes when referring to countries where persecution with death as an evidenced possibility. But in America? No, not yet. And it’s gotten to the point of “not yet” because too many Christians have bought the lie that we should keep silenced unless spoken to about our faith. Very, very few times have people approached me and said “Hey, you look like a Christian, can you answer a few questions for me?” It has happened in simsilar fashion but it is almost as rare as a dodo bird.

What concerns me is the lack of desire and knowledge about sharing faith in the Christian realm and the “offense” taken when key Christian words are used in their presence. When I met my previous pastor twenty years ago or so, he came into my office in Magistrate Court and began talking to me about my faith. It made me very uncomfortable. Not because of what he said, but what I feared he might ask that would give evidence to the fact that I knew virtually nothing about the Bible. So when he ask me if I was excited about being a Christian, and if I ever shouted!? I informed him that my church was a on the “reserved side,” and no we didn’t shout. To which he replied “Maybe you should!”

Thats still one of my favorite stories! I couldn’t stand that man until he showed me who Jesus really was, and then I loved him for the 21 years he was my Pastor. Something about salvation changed my attitude. So it’s why I get scared when someone is offended by the word of God and consider themselves to be secret service agents for the Kingdom.

And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.
Can you be a secret Christian? Pehaps I’ve generalized it too much. When people are ask if they’re a Christian, most Christians will gladly answer yes, and usually it leads to an open and welcomed conversation. Many of those people just are not comfortable starting the conversation. I get that. It’s hard. But if you get on fire and begin to experience the power of God in your life, you’ll want to be very vocal about what’s happening. But it has to come from within and it has be to backed up with the action of reading and studying the word of God as well as making church attendance a priority at every opportunity. That means Sunday School, Worship, Sunday Evening, Wednesday Night and any special service in between. You cannot keep a fire lit by striking a match on Sunday morning. It will go out before the day is done. Life gets busy, I get it and I believe God gets it. But if it is so busy that you are too busy for God, you can’t be all He has purposed for you to be.
Complacent Christians are the best tools in Satan’s tool box.
If you find yourself offended by questions of faith, or without a desire to know more of God and His people. I’d check my salvation. Hell is too close to take it lightly.

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

Here’s the Link

Myself ~ My Service ~ His Sake

2 Corinthians 4:5

For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.

Every day is a struggle for me spiritually. The closer I try to get to God, the harder the battle, and quite often the more I fail. Add to that mix a servant’s heart, a selfish heart and the Savior’s heart, and I’m a mass of confusion.

The Servants Heart

I don’t know if everyone is born with a servant’s heart and many suppress it, or if there’s just some of us who have been called and are painfully aware of that calling. But I can’t not serve. Sometimes to the point of pondering why. I don’t want to sound whiny, needy or ungrateful for people who depend on me, because I am, but there are days when I have to wonder how much stubble and hay I have loaded on my wagon for Heaven? My servants heart has always been worn on my sleeve, and easily accessible by some folks that I’m not so sure would return the favor, or even genuinely appreciate what I’ve done. I hesitated today to even write this post for fear of those I love to serve feeling they’ve over taxed by heart. Which is not true. Or that my children wouldn’t always feel welcome to ask my help. There are responsibilities that are for certain eternally valued from the stand point that God is a family man… He understands their needs and I want to as well. God was a friend who supplied the needs of the people, not only Salvation. And I want to too. But then there are times that I feel so overwhelmed, and my ability to say no is defined as “no, I wouldn’t mind doing that for you,” but my heart screams, “I don’t have time for this!” And so this morning I talked to Jesus for a little while about it. And His words as always were salve to my hurting soul.

You are too valuable to be squandered in the world. Everyone seeks their own gain, it’s human nature. But when you begin to seek mine and mine alone… it is then that you’ll realize your potential. I don’t’ need hours to accomplish my Word in you, I just need focus. Take it off the world today, put it on me.

Isn’t that the most amazing a heart can hear from God?

The Selfish Heart

The world around me isn’t the only one vying for time. Oh … my … stars. I’m the worst. I long to be a better servant and yet I’ll squander away valuable time on wasted breathing. Somedays I’ll just collapse and rather than focusing on encouraging myself spiritually I’ll turn on the world. Youtube. Television. Social Media. Games. You name it and I can be an addict! And pour time down the drain with nothing to show for it. It’s not even hay and stubble. It’s rubbish.

The Savior’s Heart

The Savior’s heart is what I long to have, and yet in my many weaknesses and distractions I lose focus. There’s that word again. Focus. It’s in most every conversation with the Lord… “Focus Shari. Just Focus on Me.” And deed I try. And deed I fail.

And so it is with Human nature.

2 Corinthians 4:5

For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.

I love what Paul tells the church of Corinth. If we preach, it’s not about us, it’s about Jesus. And if serve, it’s not about you, it’s about Jesus. Wow! What an amazing vantage point to launch a day with.

Regardless of what I speak… is it what Jesus would say? Would He speak on the subject for which I speak, would He broach the subject or would He change it completely? Do my words sound like something Jesus would say, or something Shari would say? Do they speak peace or do they stir strife?

If I’m serving someone, is it something Jesus would do? Or would He tell me I’m casting my pearls before swine.

Paul’s wisdom came from experience, and I can well heed it.

When he wrote to Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:16-18 he wrote this:

16 At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge. 17 Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

My take on Paul’s advice:

  • Men will forsake you… Let God deal with them.
  • The Lord will never forsake you… stay with Him.
  • Evil’s out there… Get Satan’s goat. Let God find glory in it.

I don’t know if I’ll ever learn how to say no. But I pray that as I grow in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, I’ll seek His gain, for His glory so that I can live up to my potential for His sake.

Myself ~ Your Servant – Jesus Sake

Questions to ponder…

The Servant’s Heart

I long to serve…

The Selfish Heart

I feel that I am serving my selfishness when I…

The Savior’s Heart

When I ask Jesus where He desires me to be serving I hear…

What’s your ilities and what are you doing with them today?

ilitiesA quick message and words of encouragement from a friend last night brought to mind a much needed attitude of gratitude for the salvation I have in Jesus Christ and the peace He alone affords His children. Life is harsh, I have on every side of me friends and family suffering. I have issues of my own, we all do! And yet I have this responsibility that comes with accountability but praise God for the ability to use all those “ilities” in the ministry. Ilities is not a word… so if I drive you grammar checkers crazy I’m sorry. But Ilities should be word. The definition of “ilities” would be

Ilities: the enabling of a God given gift through the Holy Spirit, not to be ignored, and for the exclusive purpose of ministering and encouraging the children of God.

If you’re a child of God, you have ilities. You may not have discovered it, but you’ve got it! And just because you don’t know what it is doesn’t exclude you from the accountability factor because you should be looking for it and opportunities to use it. My friend did not have to message me and encourage me last night, but he chose to take the time out of his day to do so. He has discovered the many talents that God has given him in music and exhortation and he uses them.

I also received a message from a fellow who thanked me for the new song that I published this week “You Knew,” (see video below) because it had ministered to his soul on a hard day, and he returned that by encouraging me. Wow! An ility at work! For he and I both.

Apostle Paul, who was so much more eloquent of speech than The Jesus Chick wrote in 2 Corinthians 4:1

Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not;

Believe me I’ve fainted a time or two, or a million. I’ve known that there were things I should have said and done and I chose to ignore the ilities that God had placed within me because I was fearful, uncertain, or just flat out lazy.

Paul continued in verses 7-8

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;

That is why, even on my worst days, even on the worst days of other children of God, we can minister to one another. So…

A Thread of Hope

thread of hope

Joshua 2:18

Behold, when we come into the land, thou shalt bind this line of scarlet thread in the window which thou didst let us down by: and thou shalt bring thy father, and thy mother, and thy brethren, and all thy father’s household, home unto thee.

Threads of Hope…

Over the past few weeks I’ve been privileged to be a part of a Facebook Messenger thread involving about eight people. Various prayers and concerns come down the line and prayers and petitions are spoken on their behalf. It’s been an encouragement to my soul to watch their concern for the members of the group, many of whom I don’t even know other than through this thread.

It reminded me of that thread of hope that Rahab threw out the window to Joshua’s men spying out the land of Jericho. The same thread that was used to help the men escape was the same thread that would later save her own life and that of her family. Should not that be a message to the hearts of the church that we very well could be a thread of hope that saves a soul from destruction?

2 Corinthians 4:8-9

We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed;

We all face troubles. Today we may find ourselves in excellent shape without travail but that may not be the case tomorrow. How awesome it is to have that thread of hope from Christian friends that we can turn to in our hour of need. God could have saved the Hebrew spies in any number of ways, but He chose to use a harlot who happened to own a piece of real estate right in the heart of trouble. Her life wasn’t easy, she could have given any number of excuses for not helping them out. But she put her safety and well-being aside to help the men of God… and great was her reward!

We don’t do things for other people so that we may obtain the favor of God, but it is for certain that nothing done with His name attached will be forgotten. I’m grateful for the many prayer warriors that God has placed in my path, and I’m humbled that I have the privilege to return the favor because God opened the windows of Heaven when He saved my soul.