Tag Archives: child of God

What’s so special about a tent?

If you’ve never been a part of a tent meeting atmosphere you may wonder why I get so excited for this time of year. And whether or not I can adequately express what makes a tent meeting so special, only the end of today’s blog will tell. But I’ll attempt to stir your heart with the emotion I’m experiencing today.

Hebrews 9:1 begins speaking of

A worldly sanctuary

Then verily the first covenant had also ordinance of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary.

The first tabernacle was a movable man made temple with caretakers, priests and a high priest that he only could go into that Holy of Holiest places to make sacrifice for his sins and that of the congregation of the Lord. Though it was a temporary tabernacle, the grandness of it didn’t suffer, and I seriously doubt it was as easy as the tents we pitch today. It had layer upon layer of materials that God had laid out by design and great detail, and given to Moses. The tent then followed the children of Israel. Our tent is not of great detail, it was crafted by an Amish man in Ohio of red, white and blue vinyl to remind us of the Nation we call home and our burden to turn it back to God. We don’t have golden candlesticks, the Ark of the Covenant or the shew bread. We have the light of Jesus Christ that shines in the heart of the saved, the covenant promise of eternal life in Christ and the Word of God that fills our souls! That is what lies within the tent of Victory Baptist Church!

The way of the wilderness

Hebrews 9:8 ~ The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing:

The children of Israel could not imagine the privilege to come to us, though they were the symbolism of God’s plan for salvation. But they couldn’t even go into the tent! What a privilege to have the Holy Spirit dwell within us and regardless of whether we are inside the tent, out in the sun around it (though it’s calling for rain tonight) or experiencing the tent meeting via Facebook live, we are in the presence of God! The first tent meeting was a matter of necessity for wilderness wanderers. Our tent meeting is a reminder of the days of old when revival crossed America and a desire to bring that back to world caught up in the wilderness again.

A way from dead works

Hebrews 9:11-14 ~  But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

The children of Israel attempted and failed again and again to keep the works of the law. Glory to God that once and for all, through the blood of Christ we were released from that bondage and are now free to serve the Living God! There’s still plenty of bondage in the world around us, but nothing that Jesus Christ cannot free us from.

However, tent meeting is also a time for the church to remember that one of the bondages that is so easy for a child of God to fall into is the bondage of dead religion. Churches everywhere fall into apathy of religion rather than the awe of the Almighty! We forget the freedom we have in Christ Jesus and the Holy Spirit is expected to take a back seat until the service is over, lest we disrupt service.

This ought not to be. There is nothing traditional about a tent! And there shouldn’t be anything traditional about the service of God, whether in a building or in a tent. The Holy Spirit of God was so awesome in the days of the children of Israel that they stood outside the tent in awe and fear of His presence. That same Spirit is within us, how dare we take it for granted and treat Him as though He is not Amazing!

That is how I want to approach this tent meeting tonight. I want to be prepared in godly fear and awe to expect the Spirit of God to show up in my life in such a way that I cannot help but feel like the children who experienced the first tent meeting! Glory!!!

Just Keep Going

I have a tendency to be a little over the top. And if you know me you likely just rolled your eyes and said “A little?” To that I say “Shush.” I’m not likely to change. There’s a reason I’m over the top. I have had enough dead religion to last me a lifetime. If you’re not a shouter… I’m okay with that. If you don’t like to lift your hands, I’m okay with that too. I just happen to be both, and I love being with likeminded people. And to that God has always been so faithful to place them in my midst. But occasionally I meet a Hoover. I try to stay clear of them-, but deed, sometimes it’s impossible. That illustration came from a sermon I heard David Gibbs preach last week. I haven’t been able to shake it, and it makes me giggle! And then it makes me nauseous. I just have to tell myself “Just keep going, Shari.”

Ephesians 4:29 reminds us not to be a Hoover –  Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.

And it’s on days like that that I turn to the Word. I’m not above being wrong. I want to back up what I believe with the Word of God.       So should you! Don’t take man’s word for anything. Humanity leaves room for error.

We Have Assurance

Ephesians 3: 9-12 – And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.

We should be bold with confidence, not dead with insecurity or religion. Religion says “Don’t make waves.” Confidence says “Stir up the water!” We have the wisdom that man has searched for from the beginning of time. We have the power from Heavenly places that the world tries to imitate. What we have is the real deal. Why would we not be excited!

We Have Approval

1 John 2:28 – And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming.

I highly doubt that when Jesus splits open the skies and calls His church home, we’ll be indifferent. Glory to God! We have confidence that He’s returning but do we have His approval on how we’re waiting? If He would walk into your church on Sunday morning, would He even feel welcome? If He sat behind you in the pew would He find you paying attention to the message or surfing your messages on your phone? If the Spirit started moving in your heart would you raise your hand or would you raise an eyebrow at those who do? If someone shouted would it be you, or would you jump out of your skin because you weren’t prepared for anyone to get excited. If Heaven forbid someone choo choo’d around the church would you call it fake or would you fall in behind? If I have to explain choo choo, you may not get any of this paragraph.

I am confident that God’s okay with excited Christianity.

We Have Answers

Because the world would love to make me think I’m crazy for being so excited about Jesus, and because there are days I feel crazy. I am elated that I have a solid foundation in the Word of God to turn to.

1 John 5:14 – And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us:

And so I ask. Again and again I ask. Every time some Hoover Christian leads me to believe I’m wrong.

Psalm 98:4 – Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all the earth: make a loud noise and rejoice, and sing praise.

Psalm 47:1 – O clap your hands, all ye people; shout unto God with the voice of triumph.

Luke 17:15And one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, and with a loud voice glorified God,

Psalm 134:2Lift up your hands in the sanctuary, and bless the Lord.

Need I go on? The world is so stinkin’ loud. How can they possibly hear the whispers of a child of God. When we listen to God, we should be still. When we feel God move, it should move us.

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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

Do You Know How Mighty You Are?

I have multiple vices in life that can get me distracted and off on an “Oooo that’s shiny” moment. The most recent one is Netflix. I’m not an avid television watcher, as a matter of fact I’ve gone months with very little television, until… it was be placed on a portable device that I can watch from any room in the house, has no commercials and I decide when I want to watch it. Netflix speaks my Attention Deficit Disorder language. I won’t watch just anything, I have a few set rules: it has to make me laugh or add a sense of adventure. I won’t watch sad or grotesque shows that make me cry or cause my stomach to roll over. Life is sad and gross enough. But throw a slap stick comedy on the screen or one of a super hero and I’m hooked like a fish on a line until the last episode is off the air. Hence why Netflix appeals to me, and gets me in trouble, you can binge watch every episode until it’s done! This is not a Netflix commercial, it’s a warning.

I said all that to say this, my latest run on superhero shows is the “Arrow.” A green hooded man who was done wrong, out to right the wrongs of the world with a few sidekicks thrown into the mix. As I watch in disbelief of their super strength and warrior tactics my eyes roll and I begin wondering how I can get sucked into this story line. This isn’t humanly possible. But then, as I read merrily along in 1 Chronicles 11 this morning on the historical truths of King David, I’m not watching Netflix but I’m reading the very truths I rolled my eyes at. But even to a greater degree of strength.

One man without the aid of special effects and stunt doubles killed 300 men in battle. Alone. No Robin to his Batman. No Kevlar. One man and his sword took down 300 warriors.

1 Chronicles 11:20

And Abishai the brother of Joab, he was chief of the three: for lifting up his spear against three hundred, he slew them, and had a name among the three.

That lead me to the question of the day, where are those people of valor today? Why have we allowed our nation to get in the position that it’s in today. Who told us we were weak?

I believe I can tell you where it started: When church became of little importance in the homes across America.

Oh… I know I’m preaching again! But I fully believe the reason we are weakened as a nation is because the comradery of the church was the backbone of America and it’s gone. It’s been a long time since anyone in the boundaries of America has had to fight a hand to hand battle for a piece of ground. But it’s beginning again. The church has lost so much ground, and fewer and fewer are on the battle ground of faith.

A few things those of us in church need to remember about this battle we’re in:

We are Mighty in Christ

(2 Corinthians 10:4). For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)

Satan loves to make us believe that we don’t have the strength to fight this battle we’re in. And yet, through one man, in the weapons of the day, 300 men were slain. I haven’t even seen that on Netlix! And if I could, it’s still Hollywood. We have the genuine article of ability through the Word of God.

We are Mighty in the Word

Just like the men of David lived according to the word of God, so should the might men and women of Christ.

(1 Thessalonians 1:5) For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.

The same word that changed our hearts has the power to change the heart of anyone on earth. And yet we doubt. Who are we to say that if we continue in His word, getting it out in our communities through face to face evangelism as well as using the technology at hand, we couldn’t each bring thousands into the fold of Christ? We’re not fighting with a spear, we’re fighting with the power of God!

We are Mighty in Unity

David didn’t have the biggest army, but he had the biggest victory, because his men were a unified body fighting together. One of the reasons I think unity scares many of the believers of Christ is because we hear unified and think “one world church.” And that church is coming, but that church has nothing to do with Christ. If your church believes that Jesus Christ is the way, the truth and the life, and the one and only way to Heaven is through His blood that made the sacrifice for all mankind, then you shouldn’t care what’s over the door of those who believe in the same like manner. You can disagree on a few of their ideas of worship styles and church rules, but we can all agree on Jesus. And through that belief work in unity to bring souls to Christ.

On my next superhero show, I think I view their tactics a little closer. Possibly consider buying a cape. Just kidding. Maybe.

 

 

 

My 2017 Christmas Message

It’s quiet in the house this morning. Just a soggy December rain outside, falling on our tin roof that breaks the silence and makes me halfheartedly wish it were snow. I’ll get over that after the first flake hits and sticks.  I have a minor mess left to clean after we celebrated Christmas with the children and the grands last night. My heart is full…with a cup of Ninja Coffee Bar ® coffee in my hand, compliments of a husband who loves me that much. I need to hear from God. It’s been a week of running wild for events and sometimes just running for the sake of running.

I had put off reading the book of Luke in my yearly reading because I wanted to save it for Christmas. So this morning as I read through the story of Elisabeth and Mary, two of the Christmas Chicks, I marveled at their humility. They were both shocked that God had blessed them in the manner He did; I’d say they still marvel when they realize 2,000 years later, we’re still reading their story, and sermon after sermon have been preached with them as the key point. It makes me wonder how God would have my life be preached? I’m not so sure I’d want to be in the building as my life “illustrations” were used. But Mary and Elizabeth… their lives are proof that God honors those who are faithful and gives me reason to pause on this 23rd day of December. The day I too gave birth to one Tiffani Danielle. Who hasn’t stopped blessing me since.

A three point message for the faithful came from the two sister chicks of Luke:

Luke 1:39-47

And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda; And entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth. And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And when is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord. And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior.

For the faithful God Reveals Secrets

When Mary spoke the Holy Spirit filled Elisabeth and the baby that was in her womb leapt for joy. How exciting for both women! God had revealed the secrets of both women to one another and He still reveals the secrets of the Savior to His people today.

Secrets in the sense that the world doesn’t experience that leap in the depth of our soul when the Savior makes Himself manifest in the life of His child. I understand the women’s awe. It’s how I feel every time God reminds me that He is in me, just as He was in Mary.

For the Faithful God Reveres His Servants

Luke 1:48 – For He hath regarded the low estate of His handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.

She was blessed! And so are we,  that the Creator of all, who spoke the Christ child into existence in the womb of Mary, spoke the Holy Spirit into existence in our souls and allows us to be used for the Kingdom. The Jesus Chick isn’t famous in the halls of earth, but in the halls of Heaven, I am known by God. And because of Him I’m known in the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, California and Minnesota. My friend in WV know me as the Jesus Chick, failure that I am in my own sight, but loved in spite of it by them. I stand in awe this eve of Christmas eve…

For the Faithful God Revives the Saint.

Luke 1:53-54 –  He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich He hath sent empty away. He hath holpen his servant Israel, in remembrance of His mercy. As He spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to His seed for ever.

Glory to God how my soul is filled and stirred today because the God of Abraham still speaks to me. Even when I turn my back on Him. You don’t know the countless times I fail the Lord. You don’t see how I feel so unworthy of His love and so I run, and would run to the ends of the earth…but I don’t have the money. And so I’m stuck with the rain on the tin roof of my West Virginia home and the rain of tears in my soul because I know how unworthy I am to be called His child and filled with His Spirit.

The best, and eternal gift that I can never repay or deserve…

Merry Christmas Shari… again.

The Truth About Saints

saint shariSaint Patrick’s Day, also known as the Feast of Saint Patrick is a cultural and religion celebration held annually on March 17 to honor the Patron Saint of Ireland. It’s become more so a day to celebrate Irish Culture than the religious aspect of it. Which is good I think, being that I don’t really put much stock in honoring saints. Not to belittle what St. Patrick did, being credited to have been instrumental in establishing the Christian faith in Ireland in the 5th Century, but in the eyes of God saint hood is not exclusive to one religion. For the record, I’m Saint Shari. I really don’t anticipate any statues being erected in my honor, and it is not the honor of men that I seek. But studying God’s ideology of saints differs considerably from the worlds view.

Apostle Paul said in Romans 1:7 ~ To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.

A saint is a child of God. Not a perfect child of God, not an overachieving child of God, not anyone necessarily of notable character. Many saints don’t deserve a statue.  (I am one). The Catholic church has sainted many folks throughout the years and claim Peter was the first Pope, which I don’t believe for many reasons, but top of my list for not believing it is, in knowing the character of Peter, he would have had nothing to do with a religion that focus’ on the mother of Christ rather than the Savior and believes salvation can be bought. But this blog is not about my differences with the Catholic Church, it’s about the prerequisites for being a Saint and the reward!

King David spoke much of the saints of God especially in the Psalms:

But I would call Psalm 149 a Psalm of the Saints

Each verse brings great hope to the child of God for

149:1

All Saints! The Congregation, not just a select few.

1Praise ye the Lord. Sing unto the Lord a new song, and his praise in the congregation of saints.

All Creation! Not just a few

Let Israel rejoice in him that made him: let the children of Zion be joyful in their King.

All People! Who are saved

Let them praise his name in the dance: let them sing praises unto him with the timbrel and harp.

For the Lord taketh pleasure in his people: he will beautify the meek with salvation.

All Saints have honor!

Let the saints be joyful in glory: let them sing aloud upon their beds.

Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand;

To execute vengeance upon the heathen, and punishments upon the people;

To bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron;

To execute upon them the judgment written: this honour have all his saints. Praise ye the Lord.

What a joy to know! As a believer in Christ Jesus, believing that He was the final sacrifice for mankind on the cross of Calvary, that He proved his Deity by His power over death, His resurrection and His ascension to Heaven where He makes intercession for us, allowing us access to a Holy God, even as unholy as we are, and because of all His work, we have honor.

There will be no statues of us in Heaven, I don’t know that they’ll be any statues in Heaven. I just know that Jesus is in Heaven and it is He Who I will give praise, honor and glory. And so will the saints who have been honored on earth, and those who haven’t even been recognized.

Feeling unappreciated today? Don’t. There is One Who appreciates you more than you can possibly know.

The trouble with both of my marriages

lamentations

On August 16, 1980 I became the wife of David Wayne Johnson. And in the year 1996, when I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior, I became a member of the bride of Christ, which is the church.

Revelation 19:7

Let us be glad and rejoice and give glory to him; for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his bride has made herself ready.

On more than one occasion the church is referred to as the bride. It’s a depiction of union of the believers with God, and what a great picture! The marriage of a man and woman is a relational picture as well between we who are saved and God. It’s a covenant relationship which unfortunately on earth is marred, and often broken. But the relationship with God is not ever broken because He is perfect and aware of our every flaw; yet He loves us unconditionally any way. I am perfect! In Christ Jesus. I am ever so flawed in Shari Lynn Johnson.

Marriage may be easy for some, but it’s never been easy for me. There’s too much me involved in it. So as I read the scripture in 1 Peter 3:1-4 this morning about the behavioral expectation of the wife, my heart was pricked to say the least.

Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear. Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.

So let’s go down my checklist of failing issues:

  • In subjection
  • Chaste conversation
  • Outward adorning
  • Wearing of gold
  • Putting on of apparel
  • Meek
  • Quiet

Wow. I highly doubt any of those would be on a list if you asked David to give adjectives that described his wife. I’m a rebellious spirited, loud mouth, make-up loving, sparkly clothes and jewelry wearing gal whose meek and quiet spirit is only revealed if the Holy Spirit is sitting on top of me. But… God loves me anyway. He also uses me anyway – which never shocks anyone as much as it does me. But the words this morning from this text drew me in when I read, “but let it be the hidden man of heart, in that which is not corruptible.”

No matter how hard I try being that perfect wife to David Johnson, I can’t. He would tell you that I try but fail miserably. But there is a hidden Shari that is perfect. It is the one that is hidden in Christ Jesus. That turned my thought process this morning in a 180° turn. When God looks at me, He does not look up on the loud, blingy babe that the world looks upon. He looks at the blood covered heart of a woman of God who believes she was redeemed on the cross of Calvary and walks and talks with Jesus on her way to the wedding supper of the Lamb.

In Christ Jesus there is no rebellion – Oh, I try. But He draws me back in and puts a desire in my heart to please Him and serve Him, as well as please and serve my husband David.

In Christ Jesus I am beautiful – with or without makeup Christ looks at me and sees the inward Shari. The one that is real. The one that is still a little girl at heart with dreams and passions that I still believe I’ll see come to fruition.

In Christ Jesus my fashion sense is irrelevant, because He’s placed a robe in glory that He’ll adorn me with when I get home that will top my most favorite outfit here on earth and it will be the perfect size that I’ll likely never achieve on earth.

I seldom view myself in the perspective of Christ Jesus, because this marred human nature of mine would rather I live in subjection to self, not Christ. And self is a failure. But today I begin again. Anew, just as the scripture says in Lamentations 3:22-23 ~ It is of the Lord‘s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.

The trouble with both of my marriages is me. It is the mercy of the Lord that He does not consume me with fire each day! Praise God His mercy is new every morning and I can begin again. Great is His faithfulness!

Having trouble seeing yourself from Christ’s vantage point? Find that meek and gentle spirit within yourself and listen very closely to what God has to say… shhhhhhh.

Washed in Mercy

wash

Titus 3:5

Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

We are blessed to live in a nation where clean water is readily available to most, and it is for certain something that we take for granted. I was in the Philippines to sing at a conference about 11 years ago and my first shower in a home in the Philippines, which did have running water, but to shower there was a plastic cup that hung on the wall from a cold water only tap. You realize how very spoiled you are. It’s that spoiling that causes us to miss the blessings of salvation.

I want stuff. And the Lord says “You have stuff, you need Me.” I need more of the presence of the Holy Spirit in my life. This morning I was whining to the Lord about wanting something for my husband. He works so hard, he asks for so little. So when something comes up that he’d like, it hurts me that it’s not within his grasp. And while the Lord didn’t mind that I was whining for someone else for a change, it brought me back to that spigot in the wall, and a pipe sticking up out of the floor that was the toilet, and how blessed I was to be there. Because there in that city where many of the people had nothing materialistic in comparison to me, they had what I longed for and it cost nothing… the Presence of God.

While salvation was instantaneous upon the confession of Jesus Christ as Lord, my relationship with God is dependent on the time I spend in His Word and in His presence. As a friend once said “The Word of God is a spiritual warsh cloth.”

“Warsh” is the word “wash” spelled as he pronounced it. That’s an important piece of his story because he was raised poor and when he became wealthy, he didn’t forget where he came from. He glorified God and kept his humility.

When Paul wrote to Titus in chapter 3 he reminded him not to “get above his raisin.” Not to forget where he came from. The presence of God in our life, through the preaching and reading of His word is a cleansing. As I read the word this morning I was not only reminded that I can live better, but I was reminded of the fact that I can’t live good enough when it comes to obtaining the presence of God in my life. That only comes by and through His grace and mercy. I can’t earn stuff with God and I cannot earn His unmerited favor.

Praise God for that regeneration (the spiritual change) within me that gave me a new life, a new hope, and leaves my soul as clean as newborn baby in the eyes of God. Oh… I struggle. I fall and fail and muddy myself with the world around me. But He is faithful to scrub me back up!  Hallelujah!

Were it not for the Place of Grace

7jan17

I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.~ Jeremiah 17:10

A thorough searching of my heart on any given day will lead me to an awareness of the rebellion that resides there. The old adage “you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make him drink,” comes to mind; and you can lead a girl to scripture but you can’t make her apply it. In my *pursuit of God, He’s had to drag me through the book of Jeremiah at times. It’s depressing to hear of the state of Israel, God’s disdain and Jeremiah’s pleading. But there amidst all that frustration are nuggets of pure gold that even a rebellious spirited gal like me can latch onto and say, “God, I’m so glad you brought me down this path.” If I allow myself to be lead, rather than pulling back God takes me to the place of blessing.

Jeremiah 17:7 says :

“Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is.”

Jeremiah was at his wits end with Israel, yet even still he could see the blessing of being in the place of fellowship with God. We cannot control those around us, believe me I’ve tried. And it is enough that I have my own life’s garden to keep the crap out of.

Apostle Paul said it best in Philippians 3:8 when he said, “Yeah doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ.”

Paul had tried to live by the law, and for the most part he was very good at it. He’d tried to inforce the law on others, and he made quite an impact there to. But no matter what he did, until grace came into place in his life, all his work was nothing. He said it was like dung… aka crap. He’d pulled and pulled against the reins, he’d had others pull against his reins, but there came a day when God took the reins and Paul was no longer in control.

Praise God for grace! Even on days like today when I’m ready to kill people. When like Jeremiah I’ve prayed God’s judgement would reign down on someone, I’ve heard… be grateful for your own grace Shari, you need it too. Stop pulling on the reins… just let me lead you to the water to drink. And then we’ll see where this journey goes from there.

What a great feeling to know that I know!

Child of God (2)If you know me at all, you know I’m a little on the odd side. I’m a dreamer, a visionary, a doer and planner, a singer of songs, a writer of words and a multimedia artist… and not all those things work out like I’d like them too. As a child I knew I was odd, and for the most part I was okay with it. But there was always that hole in my life that needed filled; the hole that needed to know I belonged. I was raised in a loving home with a huge family and I knew that I was theirs, but I didn’t belong. We moved around a lot when I was very little, but when we finally landed in Calhoun County, West Virginia in 1971, even though we stayed put… I didn’t feel that I ever belonged. I had tons of friends. Real friends, not fake ones. But that didn’t matter, the hole was still there. Perhaps you know where I’m coming from.

In 1996 something drastic happened. That hole was filled with the concrete of salvation and I never again felt that I didn’t belong.

As a new convert I was sitting across from a preacher from out of town that I had just met and we were talking about the gospel and sharing our faith and he said to me, “Shari, you are a peculiar person.” I didn’t even take it as an insult, I knew within me it had a spiritual connotation. And so as soon as I got the chance I went to my concordance to search the word “peculiar.” And lo and behold there it was in 1 Peter 2:9

But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;

I claimed it for my own that day. I am a peculiar person. But unpack that verse and it will have you on shouting ground.

Chosen

Not by chance, but handpicked and purposed by God in His ultimate plan for the universe.

Royal priesthood

Not for the world, but employed by the King of kings for servitude in this earthly realm with our heavenly reward yet seen.

Holy nation

Not alone. The day of my salvation put me into a family too numerable to count, who many have prayed for me that don’t even know my name, but uttered a pray for a child of God or a missionary in need and it was me and God answered. O’… I belong!

Peculiar people

Not like the world. The world strives against itself trying to make it; never realizing that it is an unattainable goal to be anything outside of what we are in Christ. Because that is our eternal purpose.

I’ve read 1 Peter 2:9 many times, but this morning was one of those ‘aha’ kind of days that God opened my mind to His word and said “Here is where I showed you that you belong. No go and tell someone else who needs to understand that truth.”

So there it is. I hope you get it… because it’s an awesome feeling to know to Whom you belong!

Don’t Limit God

Spirit limit

If only I had failed God once and learned my lesson I’d consider myself in pretty good shape for the shape I’m in; that shape being a sinner saved by grace. But no, I have to again and again fail God, beg mercy, feel minty fresh for about 30 seconds and then sin again. Why are we such a fickle lot of people? Christian people that is. Am I alone? I’m pretty sure I’m not.

This past week a well-known preacher, Perry Noble, and one that I had followed, fell. I loved this guy. He wasn’t perfect and I didn’t agree with everything he said but I loved his style of preaching and his “realness.” The problem with being real is it also makes you pretty transparent. Because you’ll say anything. If it comes into your mind, it’s usually out of your mouth before you give a second thought.  This was his style. He was funny and charismatic and above all, thousands of souls came to know the saving grace of Jesus Christ through him. I believe that. His words stirred my soul and I believe God used Him. But he fell, because he, like I, am human. His transparency gave me a spiritual insight to him that said “proceed with caution.” He dabbled too close the snake pit, and that my friend has gotten many a preacher in trouble. Alcohol was his downfall, and I won’t even get started on that because I could write for days! And it’s not the point in this blog. My point is the limits we put on God is through sin’s hold. It’s not the sin itself, it’s the hold it get on us.

Israel let God down again and again. But His great mercy brought them through. Read what David said in Psalm 78

But he, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity, and destroyed them not: yea, many a time turned he his anger away, and did not stir up all his wrath.  For he remembered that they were but flesh; a wind that passeth away, and cometh not again. How oft did they provoke him in the wilderness, and grieve him in the desert! Yea, they turned back and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel.

Psalm 78:38-41

God understood Israel and He understands us. He knows we are weak vessels and that we fall, but the key is to move forward away from the snake pit. Turning back doesn’t stop God’s forgiveness… He’ll forgive again and again. But He won’t bless again and again. We limit Him. Even God has limits, they’re called “us.”

He desires to pour His blessings down upon us, bring revival into our church houses but our turning back puts a speed limit on the Holy Spirit. Turning back is different things for different people. For my preacher man that fell, he got too close a substance that fuels the fires of Hell. Alcohol. I hate it and everything it stands for. That was his sin, I have my own, and you have yours. And for the tribe of preachers that want to cast this preacher to the curb… God sees you too. God Who is full of compassion forgives, you who are full of pride will point and condemn the man God forgave.

My point to ponder is this: Don’t limit God. He forgave the sin, now move on. There’s a new speed sign up ahead that says “full throttle!”  Don’t turn back.