Tag Archives: Christ

Rewired for Christ

Romans 6:18-23

If you had to describe your state of mind, pre-salvation what one word would you use?

I would use the word “tumultuous.” Meaning unbridled and unrestrained. I wasn’t connected to anything solid and so I was flailing around like a windsock going what ever direction the wind blew me in. I didn’t have direction and things good or bad seemed to jolt me into a new direction without any thought to where I was going.

So think about your world pre-salvation for just a second. What did it look like?

Coming to the knowledge of who we are in Christ is a game changer for the child of God who happens to be in a place where they can grow in grace and under discipleship and solid doctrine. But prior to that life seems to be …

Short Circuited

At birth we have a disconnect from the Creator. The reason I could be jolted in any direction was because my wires were not connected.  

I thought the definition of “short circuit” was fitting for a person of a lost nature:

[in a device, an electrical circuit of lower resistance than that of a normal circuit, typically resulting from the unintended contact of components and consequent accidental diversion of the current.]

It was never God’s intention for mankind to have contact with the low side of life.  And once we were, we were diverted from God’s control. We were severely disconnected. We fell short… as in “for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” – Romans 3:23

What happens if you grab ahold of a short circuited wire? Nothing good, right? We’re shocked. That too is a reaction to sin. As a child we know when we’ve done wrong. We generally feel bad about the transgression, even thought we seldom confess. The more we do it, is like getting shocked by low does of electricity. We get used to it. Maybe our nerves get seared and no longer feel the guilt that we once did for committing sin. So in order to get a jolt that makes a difference, usually something drastic has to take place.

What took place in Paul’s life that made such a drastic difference?

Acts 9:3-9

 And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:  And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?  And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.  And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.  And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man. And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus. And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink.

I love reading the story of Saul becoming Paul. That’s what happens when we reconnect with God. We become an entirely new person!

Romans 6:19

 I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.

Apostle Paul is helping the Romans to understand that he understands. He totally gets where they came from. Prior to salvation they were following their sinful fleshly ways, but now, there should be something new that they have a connection to – righteousness. They should be drawn to it.

John 12:32 says “And, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.”

Praise God for that drawing.

A great illustration of drawing electricity is the power between water and static electricity.

It’s in a like manner that we are drawn to Christ. The Water of life! But also prior to salvation, you were not only short circuited there was a

Circuit Breaker

20 For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness.

The sin that was in our lives is what kept us from coming to Christ. We felt the draw, but there was a break in the connection. Sometimes ever after the jolt of reality that we’re lost, it’s years and years before people come to Christ.

Why do you think that is?

There are probably as many excuses as there are stars in the sky, but the truth of the matter is rebellion. It’s the same reason that Satan and the angels fell. Everybody wants to be in charge. The ol’ “You are not the boss of me attitude.”

It’s a funny comment when a parent says “I brought you into this world and I can take you out.” But that’s illegal. Else it might happen more often. But with God it’s very much the truth! He kicked Satan and his crew out of Heaven, and He will now allow those who have rejected His authority to be in Heaven.

Praise God for

Conductors!

Romans 6:21-22

What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.

Conductors conduct electrical current very easily because of their free electrons. Insulators oppose electrical current and make poor conductors. Common conductors and insulators:

What would be a conductor of the Christian faith?

Pastors, teachers, social media posts, evangelists, ministers of the gospel, songs…

So many! You and I, if we’re doing what we should are conductors of the power of God. People see it in our lives, we touch people with our actions and words, just like the wires that carry electricity. We too can jolt people into the reality that they need Christ. They may break the circuit by rejecting it, but they can’t stop us from sharing it. Because we are

Hardwired

Romans 6:23

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Our decision to accept what Christ did on the cross creates within us a hardwire to the Lord. We can’t disconnect from it.

Verses of reminder:

John 10:27-29 – My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.

John 6:37 – All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.

John 10:28 – And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any [man] pluck them out of my hand.

John 5:24 – Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

John 3:16 – For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Romans 11:29 – For the gifts and calling of God [are] without repentance.

Jude 1:24 – Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present [you] faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,

1 John 5:13 – These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

2 Corinthians 1:22 – Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.

Romans 8:38-39 – For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Ephesians 2:8 – For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God:

Philippians 1:6 – Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform [it] until the day of Jesus Christ:

It’s important for us to remind ourselves that God is in charge of the connection. Not us. We might walk away from God, but He will never walk away from us.

He will continue to call His children home when they stray. Because that’s how He loves us.

A Much Needed Christmas Sign

This morning as I tried to get my heart in shape for Christmas… which isn’t always easy… I kept hearing the song “Jesus is the Rock of my salvation and His banner over me is love, Jesus is the Rock of my salvation and His banner over me is love, Jesus is the Rock of my Salvation and His banner over me is love… His banner… over me… is love. If you know that tune, it is likely stuck in your head too! You’re welcome! But that’s okay, we need to remember that what ties the cradle to the cross is a love that has been there since the creation of time.

I’m not sure if the scripture came first or the song this morning but none the less it’s been a good study.

And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and His rest shall be glorious. ~Isaiah 11:10

From that one scripture, so many others began to run through my mind like the banner song.

He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner (ensign) over me is love. ~ Song of Solomon 2:4

Here’s your sign…

and mine too. While the world is so focused on the physical things of life that bring temporal joy (which I can be so guilty of) the very evidence of our salvation which is the love of God, often takes a back seat. It’s why there can be so much stress around the holidays. Our focus is not on the main thing. The reason Christ came was to prove His love for us. And somehow or another the focus seems to get off Him and on to us.

Here’s your star…

I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root of the offspring of David (root of David), and the bright and morning star. ~ Revelation 22:16

Long before the star was in the heavens proclaiming the birth of our Savior, the Bright and Morning Star had His place in the Heavens. He knew there needed to be a plan to saved fallen man, and as the lineage of Adam to Christ, with David in the midst became filled with countless characters of less than perfect reputations, the plan stayed perfect. Amazing.

Here’s Your Savior…

Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. ~ Isaiah 7:14

Emmanuel. God with us. Is He? Or has He been shoved to the side like the wrapping paper that was only important when it concealed the goodness. Then once the goodness of the gift was discovered the paper wasn’t important.

Do we not treat the Word of God, “God with us”, in that same manner? Once we’ve discovered His salvation we no longer find the paper important. And while the wrapping paper certainly isn’t the important part of Christmas, The Word of God, which is how He delivered our salvation to us is important for our relationship to continue. Without it, He is no longer central focus.

Here’s What You Seek…

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (His rest) ~ Matthew 11:28

I don’t know what you need this morning, but I needed to hear words of encouragement from God that would draw my mind back into the central focus of the season. Jesus. I needed that banner waving before me, draped between the two trees; one signifying life, the other death. Together they symbolize the gift of eternal life and peace through Jesus Christ. The latter of which I cast to the side in exchange for the chaos and mayhem of the season. Praise God I can’t lose eternal life or I’d misplace that in all the wrapping too!

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Why Me Lord?

For the record, I’ve never ask that about the heart attack. I know full well why that happened. I like bacon. And all the other things in life that taste oh so good, but are the world’s worst choice. But I do quite often question God as to why He chooses me to be a part of His plan, why He tolerates my disobedience and stupidity and allows me to have such a wonderful life. Yes, heart attack and all, it’s wonderful. There are countless other people He could choose, and yet I’m among the 1 out of 12 that He chooses to use.

I don’t know if that’s a correct percentage but it sounded good. It’s not the 1 in 12 of humankind, it’s the 1 in 12 of the church. Which as I can see in previous experience is the bulk of most church people who serve. Although my home church Victory Baptist probably is blessed with a higher percentage than that. Studies show it’s 10% of the church that does 90% of the work. And there’s an abundance of work that nobody is doing at all. But off of that bad news let’s talk about why me, why you? Why does God continue to tolerate us?

Matthew 16:13-20 is where I got the 1 in 12 analogy.

When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.  And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.

Emanuel’s eleven

When Jesus asked the question of the 12, “Who do men say that I am?” Eleven of His own men, who believed He was God, gave the world’s reasoning. “Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.” But when it came down to the question of who they say Christ is, none of the eleven responded. It wasn’t that God wasn’t using them in the ministry, that He didn’t have a plan for them. And this is only one glimpse of their story which is far greater than any story I’ll likely have. But I believe it is a glimpse of the church.

In most cases 11 out of 12 in any given congregation are willing to repeat what they’re told, but few are willing to go out on the limb and experience Christ for themselves. They love being spoon fed the word on Sunday morning, but few pick it up any other time throughout the week to experience the power of God in their life and hear what truth He would reveal if they’d but just step out of their comfort zone.

The disciples knew Jesus was God. Emanuel. In the flesh. They were saved! But Jesus, in the person of Christ is a depth of knowledge that can only be known by those willing to search past the world’s reasoning of faith. That’s where it often stops for me too at times, if I’m honest. I love the miracles! Shoot fire, I am one! But when it comes to the true life that Christ lived, His reasoning for coming; I’d rather go back and talk about the fun stuff. The disciples knew that the world didn’t get who Jesus was, but they hadn’t gotten it either. God’s plan was so much bigger than what the disciples had understood thus far.

Christ’s One

Peter. Oh I can relate with him on so many levels. Mainly just his failures. But I can also relate with his zeal. He was the one that when Christ ask “Who He was,” Peter quickly answered “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Whew and Glory! That ought to make you shout. Peter got it. He was Jesus’ star student for the day.

When I first got saved, and still yet today, I would seek men of God to listen and study and try to find the unmeasurable, unattainable depth of Jesus. He’s fun! I think of Peter like that. He wanted to experience all he could with his time with Christ. When God said get out of the boat, Peter jumped, and it was Peter who said “I’ll never deny you!” and I’m sure he meant it, but he did. Just like I do. I fail miserably. But this day Peter didn’t fail, and God gave Peter the most incredible gifts because he was willing to search deeper. He gave him a ministry, and He gave him the power to bind on earth and loose in Heaven!

We too can have that. But not without searching for the wisdom of Christ to go with it.

I can’t look at a Krispy Kreme donut and bind its power on earth without understanding that God’s got a sweeter treat for me in Heaven. Silly analogy but truth none the less. I have to look past the world’s reasoning and get a hold of Heaven. You do too. I’m glad you’re along for the journey, else you’d not take the time to read this chick’s blog.

I’m on the mend and hope to be on the road soon, singing and speaking for the cause of Christ. If you’d like me to come and share the Lord’s word, hit the message button and let’s talk!

What Do You Have Left?

Philippians 3:4-8

Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.  Yea 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,

Apostle Paul is one of the Bible characters that I cannot wait to see when I get to Heaven. His stories must be amazing! He’s a “shoot from the hip” kind of guy that always gets me right between the eyes with his words.

Confidence in the flesh

Paul had it, and from the worlds standards had reason to have it. Me? Not so much. I know I’m a multi-talented, gifted by God gal. Totally get it and totally don’t deserve it. But confidence in it? Um… no. Just this morning I’m flitting about getting ready for the day, listening to preaching, got an idea for a blog… then, got an idea for a song to go with the blog, then, while practicing that song I got an idea for a song of my own and went from room to room of my house trying to accomplish all those things at once. In the process, my computer crashed. Total nausea.

It was if God said, “You need to stop. I didn’t give you those gifts to drive you crazy.”

So I took a breakfast break, and regrouped. Rebooted my computer and low and behold my original thoughts for a blog were gone. And so I started from scratch believing God had a new plan.

Confidence in the Flesh will get you in trouble. Every time I feel that I’ve got a song somewhat mastered, I butcher it beyond belief. When I feel I am ready to stand before a crowd to sing or speak, my first thought on stage is “Who let this happen?” Paul was beyond confident, but he threw it all away for weakness.

A friend of mine had a proud momma moment the other day when her son performed and did an amazing job. She turned to me and said “I wish he knew how good he is.” I understood what she was saying, but part of his charm and talent is the grace and humility of him believing that he’s just “okay.”

Paul gave his resume for confidence and then he said, it’s not worth poop! That’s the Paul I know and love. He threw pious dignity right out the window.

Counted it Loss

Why is it that we put so much stock in terminology and the opinions of people? Labels and titles are fine to use as a narrative to our story but they in and of themselves do not define us. I’ve had many titles over the course of my 55 years. But truthfully, each title was a defining moment in my life that made me who I am in Christ. Paul learned and taught that an education was only as good as its eternal ramification for Christ Jesus. Paul used his wisdom to market Heaven in a way that we continue to share 2000 years later, and he didn’t even have social media. That’s an effective education. It’s why he could count the papers that listed his titles as loss, because the only paper that matter, was the word of God.

Consider the Value

Apostle Paul said that all of the noble titles and power he held in the world were worth no more than “dung.” Defined as the “excrement of men.”

So… here’s a thought. The next time you go number 2, just look in the bowl and think about the fact that that’s the value of all of your worldly wisdom and stature. All that matters is what’s outside the bowl, which is what we do for Christ. The question of the hour is “What do you have left?


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.

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How Crazy is it?

The closer I get to Easter, the more my mind reflects on the cross. And the more I reflect on what God did that day the more I have to say that it’s got to be a crazy love that would be willing to do what Jesus did that day. When I look at the world we live in I think to myself “Why on earth would you have saved this wicked and rebellious generation?” For which I am one. I know my heart and how I can turn on a dime toward something sinful and ignore the Holy Spirit within in me that gives me more than enough support not to fall into it. And yet I do. And yet He still loves me. That’s crazy! But what’s crazier than His love is those who fail to accept it.

The Love of Jesus is Without Condemnation

While sin is not ever acceptable it is no less inevitable. 1 John 1:8 says If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” There is a difference between condemnation and conviction. Jesus will not condemn the child of God for the sins they’ve committed. That crazy day on the cross He died to cover every sin ever committed by His children. Is not that a worthy payment? Of course it is. Does that mean we can sin and not understand there should have been a penalty and yet may still be repercussions? Of course not.

If a store is robbed there is an earthly expectation of the penalty that freedom should be lost. If I hurt a friend without regard for them or our friendship I may lose that friend. But when I sin, regardless of the depth of the sin the penalty is paid in the eyes of God, and the relationship is restored the very second I turn to Him. That’s crazy love, but it’s how He works.

Sin is without condemnation but it is not without conviction. The Holy Spirit reveals to the child of God when sin is in the house, we know better. We may still fail but He has given us the power within us not to. If we fall into sin it is our choice.

The Love of Jesus Cannot be without Declaration

Matthew 10:33

But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.

Professing Christ is more than just saying that you know Him. Satan knows Him. The demons of Hell know Him, but they are not children of God. I knew Him in my head from the time I was a child until 1996. But not until I declared Him as Lord of my life and trusted in Him to save me did I know Him in my heart. It was then that I truly felt the Holy Spirit guiding me and putting that conviction upon me when I wasn’t going in the right direction. It was also when I began to declare my love for Him. Even when the world thought I was crazy.

My friend Doyle Ballengee said it best when he said “Go ahead and call me a fanatic, when you or someone you love gets a bad doctor’s report, you’ll be looking for a fanatic.”

That’s how I feel about my declaration of love for Jesus. Go ahead and say I’m crazy when all I want to do is talk about my Lord and all that He’s done in my life. Because when your life gets turned upside down but this old world, someone as crazy as me can help you set it up aright by showing you how Jesus did that for me.

I know it sounds crazy to the world when I say that Jesus died for me. Because the world wouldn’t give you the time of day if it cost them anything of any magnitude. But Jesus will give you more than you could ever imagine in return for your declaration, acknowledgement of Who He is. God.

The Love of Jesus is Not without Expectation

I can hear the naysayers now, “Oh, there it is. I knew you had to do something.” No, you can sit on your toosh and do absolutely nothing and still make it to Heaven. Jesus paid the price once and for all at the cross. All who accept, believe and declare Him as Lord, that He died on the cross, rose again the third day, and ascended to Heaven to make intercession for you will be saved. But if you want to be all you can be for Christ, and have the reward of His glory, on earth and in Heaven, there is an expectation.

I sat at a table with three friends this past Wednesday, each with their own story of coming to the knowledge of Christ in their lives; four very different people with one common bond…Christ.

  • One came to Christ because she grew tired of being with people, and yet alone.
  • One came to Christ because the religion she had grown up with let her down when she needed it most.
  • One came to Christ when He realized the law wouldn’t save anyone.
  • And this one, me, came to Christ when I realized there was no peace in this world without the Prince of Peace. And “religion” wasn’t the same as a “relationship.”

Each one of us now serve Christ and desire to serve Him greater because He did that crazy thing on the cross.

How crazy was it? He was beat until His body was unrecognizable and said to have looked like hamburger, He was spit upon, and ridiculed, at the height of His pain had a crown of thorns rammed on His head and was mocked as King of the Jews. His earthly mother sat at His feet with her friends and wept for the Son God had allowed her to give birth to. Some of His final words were “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34 in part) That’s crazy because it’s true.

He did that for you. Have you experienced His love? Declare it and share it! He is worthy.

The Decision after the Dance

I have a fascination with the redemptive story of Israel. That is likely the case because I have a great resemblance with the children of Israel; I too get out of line, get in trouble, get right, get rescued and then like a good shampoo, I will lather, rinse, repeat. Over and over again it happens. So when I read chapters like the 15th chapter of Exodus it always make me wonder why God puts up with me. The children of God had just seen the miraculous work of the Lord in parting the sea so they could walk through on dry ground, they then watched it kill their enemy by crashing back down on them. Think on that a second! So they’re on the shore, singing and dancing and praising the Lord, and Moses breaks up the party to continue their journey to the Promised Land.

I envision this much like a car ride with my kids for vacation. They start out excited, but after the first few hours on the road the whining and fighting would begin. Multiply that times the million or two that Moses had in the back seat. I don’t know what kept him sane. But following the great miracle came a time of dryness when the children of Israel couldn’t find water; and that’s a legit complaint. But they had just seen God take millions of gallons of water and displace it through the staff of Moses, so why did they really think a drink would be a problem for Him?

Exodus 15:23-27

And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter: therefore the name of it was called Marah.  And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink? And he cried unto the Lord; and the Lord shewed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet: there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them, And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the Lord that healeth thee. And they came to Elim, where were twelve wells of water, and threescore and ten palm trees: and they encamped there by the waters.

The Dance

My previous Pastor called it “the honeymoon” stage when a person first accepted Jesus as Savior. It seems like everything in the world is roses and chocolate if you’re a woman, or Black and Decker ® if you’re a guy. It’s all good. But it’s not long until you discover that life’s not always good, sometimes it’s downright lousy but you eventually come through it and it is once again time to dance. But then there is another time…

The Dry

It’s a longer period of time, when things do not get better quickly. You don’t feel the presence of God and frustration begins to set in. You try to have faith, but it’s wavering and your patience for change grows thin. You ask questions of God such as “Why and When.” Just like the children of Israel.

The Decision

There comes a time when you have to decide, am I going to whine, or am I going to whip the Devil through the promises of God?

In the very last verse of that chapter, the rescue came in the form of a camp sight oasis of sort. Twelve wells and seventy palm trees. That oasis also came with the promise of healing and rest if they were obedient to God’s commands.

Numbers play an important role in scripture. Especially the numbers 12 and 70. There are multiple references to those and they make an interesting study, but for today’s message I offer this thought:

12 Disciples and the 70 sent (Matthew 10:1 and Luke 10:1)

Not likely a coincidence that God used those numbers and it draws my mind into the importance of Christian fellowship and service. The children of Israel had lost sight of the role that they played in God’s plan. They were His chosen! After this journey He had promised them a wonderful life. Technically the journey too could have been wonderful. But they blew it when the lost sight of the power of God.

New believers in Christ usually believe that they could whip a bear with a fly swatter if they thought God told them too. But over time we begin to take our relationship with God for granted. We’re grounded in the faith, we don’t need to be in church “every service.” A few “worldly things won’t hurt,” and it’s not long until we’re dry and dusty and there is no water in sight. And we begin to complain that God’s just not there for us anymore, knowing that He didn’t move, we did. It’s so much easier to blame God than to look at where we left Him.

New Testament references: When Joseph and Mary left 12 year old Jesus in the temple, they found Him just where they left Him. When the woman with the
12 year” issue of blood reached out for Jesus she was healed, when the 12 year old girl died, and her father came to Jesus, Jesus brought her back to life. Twelve is the number of completion and we are complete in Christ. He has chosen us, just as He did the twelve.

As for the number 70: By God’s direction Moses appointed 70 elders in Israel to stand with him in the tabernacle. And in Luke 10:17 “The seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name.” The 70 were excited about what the Lord had done. They had gone out two by two and God provided for them in their walk with and for Christ.

I don’t know if I’m correct, but I know how the Lord impressed my heart on this matter this morning. Fellowship is important, both with the leaders (12), and with the servants (70). There is great and healing, comfort and rest in the people of God. Israel should have trusted God and they should have looked to Moses for leadership instead of complaining. They also should have come together as people of God. But they decided to whine. That whining cost them 40 years of no direction and they missed the joy of entering into the land of promise.

Whining because things aren’t what you’d like won’t keep you out of Heaven, but it will prevent your joy in the journey. Staying out of church won’t keep you out of Heaven but it will costs you your joy, fellowship and relationship with the Lord. We need it. I need it.

Hearing the Word of God and being in the fellowship of God’s people brings healing and comfort to the soul. Don’t miss out. Be in a bible believing, preaching, serving church this Sunday!!! and share this message with someone struggling to stay faithful. I love you, but more importantly, JESUS LOVES YOU!!!

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.

 

 

 

The Liberating Life of Salvation

No automatic alt text available.Not knowing the exact date of my salvation, I, for the longest time, claimed Independence Day as my Salvation date. Perhaps that sounds strange to you that I didn’t know the exact date that I accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior; but for that insight you’d have to understand a little of my background with religion. To sum it up, I knew church (religion) I didn’t know Jesus. So when I started the journey to the realization that I needed saved I had to get past the fact that I was indeed lost. Religion teaches salvation is what I do, not what I couldn’t do. So I was, therefore, bound to the lie that I had to do something. And even when I realized that I needed saved and made that confession of faith in my heart, I didn’t tell the world for the longest time because they assumed I had been saved. And so I lived defeated again for some time by not proclaiming that salvation experience aloud. But I did loose myself from that lie eventually that Satan kept whispering in my ear… “you’re not saved.”

Galatians 5:1 – Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

Loosing the Lies

So often churches today teach that being in church is the relationship with God. That is no truer than a stranger in my house being my child. If I did not give you birth (or adopt you), you are not mine. And if you were not “born again” (John 3:3) you are not a child of God. So at the beginning of my journey, February 18, 1996 I had to get religion out of the way. A notable date (one because it’s my Mama’s birthday) and two because that was the first day I heard the gospel in such a manner that it made me go “hmmmm.” And I continued to go “hmmmm” for several months because I couldn’t un-hear what the world had filled my ears with…

  • You’re fine.
  • You go to church
  • You serve in the church
  • You live right (ish)

The fact was I always lived defeated. There was no peace in my life. A constant fear of knowing just enough about the return of Christ to be dangerous, caused anxiety in the greatest proportion. So the discovery of Christ Jesus turned my anxiety into assurance when I realized the work was done. At least for the salvation end of it. Now was the fun part. Service! That I could do.

Laboring In Love

Galatians 5:13 – For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only [use] not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.

We’re not saved to set, we’re saved to serve and I have always had a servant’s heart. Learning the purpose of that heart was liberating. So claiming Independence Day was twofold. I was independent (sanctified) from the world that continually judged my efforts and very dependent upon the God who embraced my efforts. That feeling was like a 4th of July Fire Works display. I “oooooooh” and “aaaaahhhh” every time God allows me to do anything for Him. I stand amazed that He has put me into the positions He has. I’ve never grown out of love, nor have I lost the excitement of salvation. I pray I never do. But I see people let it go all the time. And that amazes me ever more.

Romans 8:21 – Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.

Laying Hold of the Liberty

After 21 years of laying hold of that liberty apostle Paul speaks of, I have no intention of letting it loose now.

Paul told the Corinthians 2 Corinthians 5:17 – Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

I receive a clean slate every day (Lamentations 3:22-23) Being saved doesn’t stop me from making mistakes, the old Shari still has to make her presence known quite often. But what it does do is it gives me the freedom not to stay in the feeling of failure that kept me so defeated pre-salvation. God is faithful and just to forgive. Meaning that as His creation, He is the only one who has the authority to clean you up like that.

Natalie Grant summed it up in her song “Clean.” I’ve posted the link below. I pray you’re celebrating your independence day in the freedom of Christ Jesus.

A Conversation For The Church

onward-christian-solider

Since the day I stepped into the ministry I’ve looked to define who I am, where I should be and where I should go. That changes most every day, and truthfully many days I’ve been directionless. My fear is, that that is truth in regards to many churches.

I’m always seeking leadership ideas. It drives me and excites, and it’s why I believe God has placed that purpose in my heart and placed me in the positions in life for which He has. But… that’s not to say that I don’t fail… really often. So as I approach a leadership event this weekend my mind is in hyper-drive for ways to encourage church staff, but I don’t want it to be about fluff (i.e. church programming, church events, etc.) I want a meeting that charges an ongoing conversation among the people who attend.

Ha! That should be what church should be, right?

So three questions I ask myself this morning about my ministry direction:

  1. Does my conversations bear witness of Christ and His cross?
  2. Is my conversation bold?
  3. Does my conversation bring a battle?

John 10:25

Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father’s name, they bear witness of me.

Bearing Witness

Christ and the cross should be first and foremost in anything I do in ministry work. And yet it’s often down the list. It’s very easy to get programs started that are to entertain but if they don’t sustain a conversation once the program has ended then they likely didn’t serve the purpose we intended, which was to draw folks to Christ.

As an example that likely most in the ministry can relate to; how many pizza parties have you had that netted members? Owch…

Acts 9:29

And he spake boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus, and disputed against the Grecians: but they went about to slay him.

Being Bold

Speaking boldly is speaking in confidence. How confident am I? I for certain am confident in the message I want to relay but my methodology is not always so sure. If I want to relay a message that is a conversation starter I have to exude courage and confidence in a way that causes the listener to want to pick up the cross as well! And that takes preparation, which takes time and commitment, and that my dear fear is a church wide failure. People are not committed to anything past 12 o’clock noon on Sunday.

1 Corinthians 1:10

Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.

The Battle Plan

You better believe if you are a bold, witness bearing child of God starting conversations for Christ, you are in for a battle. And not just from other people! You yourself will be your most vicious opponent.

ry to study the word and see how many other notions come into mind, try to speak boldly and watch timidity rear its ugly head, try to share an idea and watch fear enter your heart as to the reaction of people. Creating change in the church always brings apprehension but it doesn’t have to bring division. If the purpose is for Christ’s glory and you’ve earnestly sought God’s plan, God’s people will more than likely get on board… even if you have to nudge them from behind.

I’ll leave you to talk amongst yourself…

While Seeking the Wisdom of God

woman of wisdom

Wisdom. Oh, I desire it… and then I don’t. Sometimes there’s something to be said about the simple ways of folks like me who just want to live out the Word of God and leave the brains to doctors and lawyers and such. Simple people have simple ways as an old friend of mine use to say. And while that’s true; the wisdom of God is not to be ignored. It’s not the same as the wisdom of man… although some men/women think they’ve got the wisdom of God. But the wisdom of God is far deeper and more exhaustive than mortal man can explore, which is what makes it a worthy pursuit! Even for simple folks like me.

Text: PROVERBS 4:7-13

Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.

Wisdom is the principal thing! As a child we need wisdom to understand that a stove is hot and mittens protect our fingers from the cold, else we’ll be burnt or frost bitten. But it’s not knowledge that we’re born with, it’s learned via instruction or unfortunate deduction. I’ve lived by both, the latter was my greater teacher. So when I came across this verse this morning while scoping out other bible journaling artists, it pricked my heart. “You should be living wiser,” I heard the Holy Spirit say. “Life will be better… living by the seat of your pants is not always faith, sometimes it’s stupidity, it’s a fine line for you… walk carefully.”

“True story,” I thought.

And so I set out to find the woman of wisdom that God desires me to be. And for a little while I set to draw the woman of wisdom with a crown of glory and an ornament of grace. She’s pretty… and so far from where I feel that I am today.

She shall give to thine head an ornament of grace: a crown of glory shall she deliver to thee.

I want that crown and that bling of grace… and so I search for her. I believe the woman of wisdom is far more complex than I could define in one blog, so for brevity for you and I, and to give us something to chew on today I’ve narrowed it to a three point outline in our search today:

Pure Wisdom

A woman of God should desire the wisdom of God, not man. James 3:17 says But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.

The wisdom of God is first pure, untainted by the wisdom of men. Look at what “pure” wisdom seeks: peace, gentleness, good fruit, no partiality or hypocrisy. For certain it’s not of man! How much sweeter our day will be when we seek that pure wisdom of God when our time is requested, our temper is short, and out tasks are many! Sweeter than ® Nestle Toll House cookies I just took from the oven! Much sweeter…. I burnt them!

Plentiful Wisdom

James 1:5 tells us that If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

There is no shortage of wisdom, but merely a shortage of conversation. We have not because we ask not. Time is a precious commodity, I’m pretty sure we’d all agree. How much of it do we waste because we neglect to begin each day with the wisdom of God.

Before I had sat my feet on the floor this morning, Satan had entered my bedroom and my mind and there was a spirit of fear and frustration that ran through my joints and marrow that caused my body to groan and crawl back beneath the warmth of the covers and away from the reality of the world. That’s not wise living, that’s defeated living and it is us living far beneath our means because God has an abundant supply of wisdom for the frustrations of life, no matter how bad!

My third and final though for the day in the wisdom that a woman of God should seek out is

Prudent Wisdom

Ephesians 1:8 – Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;

God has thrived and prospered toward us if we in prudence (caution) seek His wisdom. Satan is the great deceiver and imitator. It makes his day to fool a child of God by creating a spirit of confusion when it comes to the decisions of life, ruining the fruitful life that God has planned. This is where Satan has won many small victories in my life. Shiny things and fun times catch my attention and oftentimes draw me away from God’s planned strategies of life. I long for a career in this mission field called life. And I earnestly want God’s design for that, but my attention span is so short, and my eye so easily drawn away because I don’t proceed with caution.

Remember that conversation with the Holy Spirit this morning.

-living by the seat of your pants is not always faith, sometimes it’s stupidity, it’s a fine line for you… walk carefully.”

God knew how this blog would end. I did not. But it certainly came full circle didn’t it? Proceed with caution friends! Seek the pure wisdom of God, it is plentiful!

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