Tag Archives: 2018

The Search for One Little Word 2018

Every year I seek a word to focus on that will draw me closer to God. Last year my word was “pursuit.” And pursue I did. The answers and edification for understanding God’s purpose for my life, again. Little did I know that as I pursued God, Satan pursued my mind greater and greater. But, I survived with a few skid marks from my heels digging in as my pursuit often times turned in to God drawing (aka pulling) me forward when I would digress from the path of understanding. Distraction is not my friend but it’s always as close as one.

I’ve prayed for weeks now about my 2018 word. Actually the prayer would go something like this, “God, what is my word going to be for 2018.” To which I would hear “Hope.” And I’d say, “No God, I don’t think that’s it.” I’m sure He rolled His eyes. Especially the 100th time I ask. And so again today, I said, Lord, my word is late. Am I even going to have one for the year? And so I sat down to read and study His word. Not mine. It was then I picked up a book, gifted to me by my friend Anne. It had been signed by the Author Dr. Bobby Jones with scripture penned in the cover. And so I read his scripture references.

Matthew 7:7

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:

Matthew 6:33

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

And lastly Romans 5:1-8

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. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Twice God tells me to seek; three times He mentions hope. Some may call it coincidental, I call it my answer. God probably was about ready to call me an idiot, though He likely wouldn’t because He’s nice like that. But my word for 2018 is shockingly:

“HOPE”

Hope in what? I praise His Holy Name that through faith I have access into His grace. I need it. A lot. Every time I doubt His design, fail to use His many gifts and neglect to praise Him as it’s due Him, I need grace. It is because of that grace that I have hope that I’ll have the opportunity to bring glory to His name in 2018.

I hope that through the 2017 trials and tribulations my patience will come easier and my experiences will be used to help others who may struggle as I do.

Finally, I’m so grateful that I can stand unashamed through the Hope of Jesus Christ Who has filled me with the Holy Ghost. It is through His Spirit that I find hope, peace and wisdom. I didn’t deserve it, but He was willing to go to the cross and die the terrible death that He did so that I could have a relationship, not just head knowledge, but a heart filled with love and the knowledge that the God of all, loves Shari.

My prayer for 2018 is H.O.P.E. – to Help Our People Evangelize. I want to encourage brothers and sisters in Christ, through music, art and the word of God to share the saving Grace of our Lord.

 

In Search of the Happy Place

Philippians 4:11

Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.

Those are the words of the great Apostle Paul.  They speak to my heart’s desire, but they don’t necessarily align with the manner in which my life was lived in 2017. I never really thought that life would be easy when I said to the Heavenly Father. “I give in!” See, I didn’t have the honor of just obeying. I fought God tooth and nail. I fully believe if I had obediently said in 2010, “Yes God, I’ll go. I’ll quit my job and serve you full time.” That my life would have been considerately different. If over the past seven years I hadn’t tried to get to point “B” by side stepping point “A”,  I may or may not have been struggling. We’re not guaranteed stress free days even when we’re obedient. But I still think that I’m learning a hard lesson now from not being content with the state I’m in.

So my goal in 2018 is to find my Happy Place.

If you found yours what would it look like? And would it look the same as the one God desires for you?

Good question I thought to myself… would mine?

I think there are three things that will bring me to my Happy Place. The first is…

Contentment

If happiness becomes a state of mind, not a state of being, then I’ll have arrived at that place. I watched a living example in Minnesota at the home of my hosts for the week, Butch and Pat. They were not wealthy people. They were not people who hadn’t experienced pain. But they were in their happy place as a couple and as individuals because they were living a life obedient to the Lord. If God said speak, they spoke. If God said sing, they sang. And that might be in the middle of the city square. If God said sell your house and move, they did. A week after I was there to visit as a matter of fact, and they believed another home was in the waiting. And it was. They were happy in the state of Minnesota because they were happy in their state of mind.

Consistent

Another awkward task for me. It means staying on the path that God intended even when it’s hard. Even when there’s no money, seemingly no means for it and the very thing that I feel God called me to do, isn’t happening. So as I searched for my 2018 word, I thought back to my 2017 word of the year. “Pursuit.”

Where had my pursuit taken me? And did I miss my arrival? I’m still pursuing, but I hope this year the pursuit is a little better focused. And consistent: in that I don’t look left and right, only forward to what God’s design is. This past year, every time it would get rough, I would think… this isn’t God’s plan. So I would start applying for jobs and looking for other means and every door slam in my face leaving me more distraught than ever. But through godly people in my life, “I would hear every time, you’re where you belong, you’re making a difference. Stay in this lane.” And often times out of exhaustion, I’d just ride it out and God always provided.

Connected

I need to connect every single aspect of my life to the word of God. So my word for 2018 Is “Hope.” I’ll do the art for it later. But for now I’ll just think on this:

If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature under heaven; where of I Paul am made a minister; who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church. Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God. – Colossians 1:23-25

I do not profess to have suffered in the manner of Paul. But his words are clear.

Continue, being settled (content)

Not moved away (consistent)

A Minister (connected to both God and people)

What about you? Where is your happy place?

How to leave the hurt behind in 2017

A true testimony to my own heart being given to Jesus Christ was the ability Christ gave me to forgive people who hurt me. It’s not to say that those who can’t forgive are unsaved, or that I sometimes don’t have to forgive “again.” And I have plenty of other failures in my walk with Christ that I have not accomplished victory over, so please don’t consider this a high hatted blog of Christian living. I’m too much of a sinner for that. So today as this thought came to me, I knew that I had to draw the image and write about it, in hopes of encouraging someone who is ending this year with a broken heart or spirit because someone has hurt them.

Along my journeys I’ve ran across many people who have not won the victory of forgiveness; they live everyday looking at the scars of past hurt, which may have been emotional or literal. I’ve seen many of them who’ve carried them almost in a trophy like status of victimhood; one that they can use to say “Look what was done to me, I have the right to carry this and remember how terrible it was.” More often than not, those of whom they were victimized by have moved on in their life or have moved out of this life into eternity. Closure isn’t sought and victimization becomes a part of every conversation they can weave it in to. If you’re not that person, you likely know that person. You dread the conversation to start, because you know where it will end.

There are others who will carry the hurt to their grave. They don’t share it but rather choose to live with the internal pain that can almost be seen in the lines of their face. Sometimes they are angry, nasty dispositioned people; other times their blunt and forceful composure puts up a shield immediately with anyone outside of their familiar circle. I’ve known all the above.

I’ve been a few of them over my lifetime. I’m more often the little Susie sunshine who refuses to give in and sometimes lives in a land of make believe rather than reality as I go through a hurtful experience.

Isaiah 43:25 speaks of the price Christ paid for our sins, as well as those who sinned against us:

“I, even I, am He that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.”

Christ, Who knew no sin, became sin, so that for His sake, we could have a relationship with the One Who will never fail us, leave us or forsake us.

I know how I’ve failed the Lord, I have an ever present awareness, even though He doesn’t want me to. But because of that I also have a quick switch of forgiveness built within. When Christ showed doubting Thomas the scars on His hands and side, He didn’t show it and say look what you did to me with your sin, He told Thomas in John 20:27-30

“Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing.

And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and My God.

Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou has seen me, thou has believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet believed.”

Jesus showed Thomas the scars as proof that He had the power to overcome not only what death threw at Him but what life threw at Him. And because of that, and our belief in the work of the cross, we have the same power.

Our scars are not an excuse not to forgive, they are a reminder that God brought us through and that Satan did not win the victory. By carrying them as a victim you’re living defeated to Satan.

Show your scars to Jesus, not the world. And He’ll show you that His scars gave you the power to never be a victim again. We are more than conquerors thought Him that loved us (Romans 8:37) He not only died for our sin, He died for those who sin against us. He paid the price for theirs as well so that we could live without the reminder of the pain, but rather the reminder of the Victory. Glory to God! I pray that your New Year is glory filled, pain free and victory bound in Jesus Christ.

2018: Stay at the Well

At the end of every year since salvation, I spend much, much time in reflection. Usually reflecting on the failures of the year. I always have many. It’s a good plan for Satan to get my mind off of the ministry and onto me. So as I sat in my easy chair this morning reading in the book of Luke, at the beginning of the disciple’s ministries, it reminded me of that calling on my life and where the roads have lead. Nobody is as shocked as I am when God chooses to use me. I have people who have invested time, money and most importantly prayer into this Jesus Chick. When I fail God, I also fail them and it breaks my heart. So what did I discover from my time of reflection? It’s only beneficial if that reflection is inspection of the good and not infection from the bad.

That’ll preach!!!!

When I inspect the fruits of my labor, the tears begin to well, and I’m no longer seeing the infected rotten fruit that Satan would have me cast my eyes upon. He’s quick to point it out. Every place that I’ve allowed sin and sorrow to infect my world.

But the good fruit!!! Oh it is soooooooo sweet! I’ve had the opportunity to lead souls to Christ, to point saints to service, to comfort the broken hearted. And so today, on this the 26th day of December I have a message for myself and for any other messenger of the Lord Jesus Christ as we reflect on 2017 and look forward to 2018:

Stay at the Well

Proverbs 25:25

As cold water to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country.

And that country is Heaven!

Hebrews 11:16

But now they desre a better country, that is, an heavenly: wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God: for He hath prepared for them a city.

Satan loves when we feel ashamed because it limits our usefulness. But God is not ashamed to be called our God!

At the well we’ll find His Ways

Acts 2:25-18

For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for He is on my right hand, that I should not be moved: Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: Because thou wilt not leave my soul in Hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance.

David’s words of the Old Testament are echoed in the saints of the New Testament as David was foreseeing the promise that we look back on, the promise of the resurrected Lord; Who took the keys of death, hell and the grave from Satan, freeing us all. David could stand on that promise and not be moved, his heart rejoiced and gladly shared the words of Lord because he could rest in the hope of Jesus Christ. God made his ways known to David and He has not forsaken us, so long as we shall not be moved.

At the well we’ll find His Words

John 4:14

But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.

How wonderful to have the living word of God at our fingertips and how easy it is to neglect the reading of it. I know I’m not the only one who begins each year with a commitment to God to be more diligent about reading His word, only to get distracted by the cares of the world and fail. I lost track of the times this past year when I would feel condemned, and rather than running to the grace of God through His word, I’d flee into the world that was condemning me. Crazy but true.

I have a feeling, knowing my fleshly state, that I’ll have days like that in 2018. I pray not. But if I do, please tell me that on the days that you are drawing nigh to God, you’ll share that word at every opportunity in the world of social media and otherwise so that folks like me can be given a much need drink on a dry day.

At the well we’ll find His Will

Hebrews 13:20

Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you perfect in every good work to do His will, working in you that which is well pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

That is a worthy goal for 2018. We won’t walk perfectly, we’re not perfect. But through Jesus Christ and His shed blood that offers us redemption for our failures, we can strive to attain His perfect will. He’s given us the means to do it. His perfect will is for us to work for His glory. He didn’t say we wouldn’t make mistakes, but even through those He can often be glorified.

It’s a fact I need to face when reflecting on 2017. Don’t allow the infectious words of Satan to discourage us from doing the good work that the Lord has for us to do in the coming year.