Tag Archives: Christian Service

All that and a Bag of Chips

I try my best to keep life in perspective. My friend Gloria has a saying about vain people that “They’re all that and a bag of chips.” I don’t know where the saying comes from, but I like it. Because it sums many of us, including myself, who sometimes need an attitude check on life.

Apostle Paul said it like this in Galatians 6:3

For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.

The word “something” was on my mind when I woke up this morning. It was just there, lingering around, waiting to be searched out. I thought it odd that such a common word of today was only found eight times in scripture. But it only took one of those times to capture my mind.

The Perspective of Our Performance

Galatians 6:4

But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself, and not in another.

While our performance is not what gets us into Heaven, that is the acceptance of what Christ did and that alone, it is important to God. We just have to put our performance into perspective. Our performance should bring “rejoicing.”

That is so often not the case. Be it in the secular world or the spiritual world. Performance often brings with it a competition, frustration, or self-condemnation. My work isn’t as good as theirs? Why am I not where I want to be? It’s not good enough? I speak from experience, not judgement. Knowing that happiness (rejoicing) will not be found there.

Rejoicing only comes when we prove (demonstrate) our work for God. When it is done to please Him, not anyone, nor even ourselves. We don’t have to like it, although we should. We just need to do it for Him. That is the perspective of our performance, is it being done for Him?

The Perspective of Personal Accountability

Galatians 6:5

For every man shall bear his own burden.

Every single one of us have been given a role to play on this earth until God says we’re done. He did not say it would always be easy, but what we do for Him will be productive. While there is certainly teamwork within the church, we each carry a responsibility for the ministries of God. For some reason the church has lost that perspective. It’s the preacher, teacher, deacons or some other person’s job. Not the congregation. Their job is just to show up right?

Not according to scripture.

Galatians 6:6-8

Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things. Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

The Apostle teaches that we’re to take care of those that teach and preach the gospel. The word “communicate” means to “provide.” This also brings reward. The word sowing has such a negative connotation in this modern day because of television preachers who have greedily used scripture for their own gain. Not the Lord’s.

My husband David fell asleep with the television on a few days ago and when I woke up I could hear a TV evangelist shouting for $100, $500, $1000 seeds that he assured the listener would come back 1000 fold. Are – you – serious! I was angry. I quickly turned that charlatan off.

God guarantees that we will never out give Him. But He didn’t say it would come back monetarily. And Jesus didn’t look like Mr. T with gold dripping from His neck. That’s a perspective we need to understand. But ministry work costs money. And for those who cannot go and do, God may have called them to provide. Some way, some how, every child of God is called to be a part of the ministry. Not just a pew sitter.

The Perspective of Perseverance

Galatians 6:9-10

And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.

It’s easy to lose sight of the goal. Again… I speak from experience. While I spend every day in some way in service for the cause of Christ, sometimes it’s me trying to survive and that’s not how God intended His children to live.

God’s plan for His kids is to do good; take care of ourselves, take care of each other and rejoice in it all. I must confess that somedays I’m not rejoicing. But when I think about how good God has been to place me in the place I’m in, with the people I’m with, I can rejoice on the worst of days.

I pray you have a blessed day, and that you understand that in and of ourselves, we are nothing, but in the Lord’s eyes you really are all that and a bag of chips!

Myself ~ My Service ~ His Sake

2 Corinthians 4:5

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

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

The Servants Heart

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

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

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

The Selfish Heart

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

The Savior’s Heart

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

And so it is with Human nature.

2 Corinthians 4:5

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My take on Paul’s advice:

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

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

Myself ~ Your Servant – Jesus Sake

Questions to ponder…

The Servant’s Heart

I long to serve…

The Selfish Heart

I feel that I am serving my selfishness when I…

The Savior’s Heart

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

Freeloaders in the Flock

No automatic alt text available.Driving to play music with a secular crowd, I prayed that God would open the door to share the gospel.  Boy did He! He opened it wide open and in true “Jesus Chick” form I walked out on the porch of that opportunity with my mouth wide open and for an hour and a half I debated faith. The opportunity was great, my delivery I’m not so sure about. It’s the problem with being a “leap and the net will appear” kind of gal; not only do I leap and believe the net will appear, I also speak and believe the words will appear. This has on more than one occasion got me into trouble. Only because I don’t slow down to hear what God’s speaking to my soul.

Luke wrote in chapter 12, verses 11 and 12: And when they bring you unto the synagogues, and unto magistrates, and powers, take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say: For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say.

Well, I didn’t give it any thought, I just spoke from my heart. I’m just so doggone passionate about what my Lord has done! I know He’s okay with that, God doesn’t need any freeloaders in the flock. It’s not a works salvation, but James said in Chapter 2, Verse 18 “Yea, a man say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.”  That too was a piece of my conversation. There is no works required for salvation, Jesus did it all, but there most certainly should be some evidence.’

 

My “freeloaders in the flock” statement came from a conversation I had with my friend Gloria about my new critter passion, the chickens. Sue, Glo, Butterscotch and Toffee and 4 everyday variety of chickens I’ve yet to give names. My husband wanted the chickens for what they produce, I wanted the chickens because they make me smile. The little babies “peep peeps,” and the antics of the grown chickens remind me in more ways than one of the flock of God. But my husband, in the confidence of a husband, said “No freeloaders.” I, in the confidence of his wife, smiled.  He knew what that meant. No, chicken killin’. But I understand his theory, if we feed them, they “should” follow that up by rewarding us with an omelet or two.

Well, I believe the same as a child of God. If He provides for me in every aspect of life, both physically and spiritually, should I not produce something in my life for Him?

3 WAYS NOT TO BE A FREELOADER

Win souls

It’s the most gut wrenching, fortifying method of serving Christ of all the ways we have to serve. Gut wrenching from the standpoint that you are standing toe to toe with the devil as he tries to undo every deed you do. For every statement of persuasion I would make for Christ, Satan would fuel the fire with human intelligence and logic. It is during those times that I am apt to speak before the Holy Spirit has a chance to get a word in edge wise. It’s not easy, but it is most assuredly worth the war.

Work the Gospel

I know we are a “no works” salvation. But Jesus worked, and if we’re to follow in His footsteps and live as He lived there is work involved. See a need, fill a need. That was His way and should be our way. We should be praying and watching for opportunities to serve others in the name of Jesus Christ so that others can see and believe He is Lord of our lives and a game changer for theirs.

Worship

In my human opinion one of the worst cases of freeloading is when able bodied children of God don’t find the time to make it to church. They make the time for work, every form of play known to man, they’ll never miss a hair appointment or an oil change in the worst of weather, but when it comes to taking care of their soul, and thanking the very God who created them and saved them, He is the last on their list. Oh, I know… I’m preaching now. But one of the hardest things to overcome when trying to win a soul to Christ is standing in the defense of freeloaders of the flock. There’s no excuses we can offer.

Oh My Stars!

In the book of Amos, the prophet Amos was hanging out with the cowboys of the day, the herdmen of Tekoa, when God began to create the book we know as Amos in his soul. It was a word of judgement again and again for Gaza, Tyre, Edom, Ammon, Moab, Judah and Israel. God had had enough of their false idols, wicked sacrifices and jaded religion. It was a “come to Jesus” moment for them all and Amos was the bearer of the bad news. I sometimes feel like an Amos. My brokenness for the church leads me into a tirade on more than one occasion with the platform of this blog or the ear of friend who just happened to call on a bad day. I had one such day Saturday.

I want the world to see Jesus. I want them to see the Jesus that I know. He is a righteous judge that looks on the depravity of man with a willingness to love us anyway, forgive us and convict us of the errors of our ways, and then patiently wait while we slowly make our way in His direction. He is rejected over and over and yet at the first turn towards Him, His arms are open wide for us to fall into. Oh my goodness I stand in awe! Or I should say, “Oh my stars, I stand in awe!” Because that’s what Amos said.

Amos had just ran down a list of everyone who had turned their back to God. I had a list like that on Saturday at an event that wasn’t supported by our local churches. I was hurt for those who had set up the event, I was hurt for the little preacher that preached like he was preaching to 1,000, and I was most hurt for God who certainly deserved better. So this blog is for any servant of God who’s ever been let down. Amos went through his list as God instructed, he said… judgment’s coming. But then he turned his eyes to the skies in chapter 5, verse 8:

Seek him that maketh the seven stars and Orion, and turneth the shadow of death into the morning, and maketh the day dark with night: that calleth for the waters of the sea, and poureth them out upon the face of the earth: The LORD is his name:

Amos took his mind off the earth and the issue surrounding himself and turned his thoughts toward the Almighty God. He stood in awe of God! As a herdman he had stood beneath the stars and adored their Creator. Orion is a group of stars that appeared in the winter and is a sign of bad weather. Amos stood amazed at the wondrous works of God through the climate to make the rain come and go and the seasons change and the blessings that came from it all.

One of my favorite songs in my repertoire of music right now is an Elevation Worship song called, “There is a Cloud.” It’s from the book of Kings, chapter 18, verse 44 and speaks of a cloud the size of a man’s hand that turned into a massive rain. Amos had tuned out the of the trouble of the day and was tuned into the Maker of the sea and the controller of the clouds and he knew that if man would just turn to back to God, all the trials that were coming upon God’s people could be turned into a blessing. If only they’d realize and acknowledge Who God was. The Creator of all could take those storms and turn them into an abundant harvest.

How true that is for America? If only the churches of today, who’ve gotten so caught up in the world would fall back in love with God, and stand in awe of His ability, what would He do with us? If our priorities would get back in line, would He pour down the rain upon our churches that would draw a thirsty lost world into the doors of the church? I believe He would! And I’m seeking Him that made those seven stars, Jesus Christ, Lord of all, is His name.

Now… the church needs to show up.

The Unseen is not Unnoticed

lily work

It’s hard to believe sometimes that I’ve been on the road to salvation twenty years, but I was saved in 1996, so the math is there. But in many ways I still feel like a new convert. I’m ever so grateful that God’s mercy is new and afresh every day, for I need it every day; that’s the part of that new convert feeling I’m not so proud of. I still feel like an utter failure most days of the week. But another side to that new convert feeling is the absolute fact that I’m as excited today as I was the day I got saved, which is what makes serving God so easy.

I’m not one for accolades. I have no desire for men’s applause for work that I should be doing, but an appreciation is wonderful. So when Mickey Carter preached on the unseen lily work in 1 Kings 7:22 my soul smiled.

And upon the top of the pillars was lily work: so was the work of the pillars finished.

The Top

Where no one seen but God. Unless of course great effort was made to get up to it. For the record I don’t feel unloved or unappreciated very often. Seldom would be more like it. I must give glory that God has always sent encouragers into my life who climb to the top, look at the lily’s and say well done. But I’ve had days where the flesh rose, usually in exhaustion, when I felt as though all my unseen efforts were not for naught but went unnoticed. It caused me to wonder if anyone cared or understood the time I had put into a particular project. Was it necessary? Was it just busy work? And then Brother Mickey blessed my soul by allowing God to use him to tell me… it wasn’t for nothing. God took note.

The Lily

Another character trait for me is that I love, love, love a project. I’m project driven and it’s all about the details. But many times I’ve seen the “details” in the trash at the end of an event and thought… why did I put all that effort into something that was thrown away? But isn’t that everything down here? Nothing is going to make it through the end days, and if for a brief moment in time my efforts made someone’s heart happy and brought glory to God, then my attention to detail, the intricate work on the lily, was a worthy effort.

The Finished Work

The pillars were done, no names were inscribed as to the artist, just a beautiful workmanship that held up the house of God; which is exactly what we should be. Those of us who serve don’t need to be noticed, we need to be useful. Those pillars were beautiful, but they also served the purpose of being the strength of the church. Am I? Are you? It’s a point to ponder in our servitude as to whether our time is spent strengthening the house of God.

Just keep serving, using the gifts and talents God has given you to finish the work. It does not go unnoticed. You are loved…

Dwelling on Past Negatives Accomplishes Nothing Positive

everyone

It’s so very easy to get thrown into a negative frame of mind, is it not? This morning as I read the scripture of Moses’ trek to the mountain to receive the word of God, and Aaron’s transgression of listening to the people’s request for a golden idol, my mind went reeling into the negative side of the church.

  • Why must we always fall by the ways of the world?
  • Why is it that faith is so hard?
  • Why are we such a fickle lot?

I had in my mind that I would bible journal about the golden calf this morning. There were plenty of golden calves in my own life that I could use for illustrations, but my heart wouldn’t let me ponder those passages. It was if God said, “I don’t want you lingering there, read on…” And so I did and was I ever glad! What encouragement there was in Exodus 35. Moses and Israel had had their time in the wood shed, they were moving on!

Exodus 35:21

And they came, every one whose heart stirred him up, and every one whom his spirit made willing, and they brought the Lord‘s offering to the work of the tabernacle of the congregation, and for all his service, and for the holy garments.

There was my point to ponder today. Dwelling on past negatives accomplishes nothing positive. It serves to take you back into that place and feeling of failure. Who needs that? But refocusing our attention on the service of the Lord and what He has given us stirs within us a desire to be better, and I for certain need that in my life!

And they came…. It’s time to get busy!

Every one whose heart stirred him up… (or her as the case may be). If you’re a child of God He has given you the desire to serve Him and not only the desire but the ability and means to serve Him where you are.

I could dwell on how I’ve failed, I could look at the failures of the church as a whole, or I could make an eternal difference in someone’s life with my talents today. They didn’t cost me a dime! Now, some of the tools for which I need to use my talents cost money, but God has generously supplied those too, how can I not give them back. And if you look at your life, I would guess that you’re in the same boat sailing with blessing!

Put on your robe of righteousness that was received by the blood of Christ and serve Him today! I love positive encouragement it does a soul good! Serve God with a smile!

The Best Weight Loss Program Ever!

Ready2Run Chick

If you’re like myself, who constantly battles weight gain, that headline caught your attention! Or perhaps you seen right through my ruse and knew that it would likely be a spiritual application; either way, I’m glad you’re here. Because I believe my words today will help us all, thin, thick or in between people. The Word of God is one size fits all… really. Not like the apparel size which is anything but truth. Our scripture toda y is found in Hebrews 12:1

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,

Let me say I’m not a runner and I have no desire to run. It wears me out just thinking about it and runners wear me out talking about it. I love that quote that says, “If you see me running you should run too because something is obviously chasing me, and it can’t be good.” True story. I’m not a runner in the fitness sense of the word, but spiritually speaking, its game on! I’ll run that race. Apostle Paul was a runner… a spiritual fitness buff. I want to wear his line of apparel which no doubt would be done in the coolest of colors because his eyesight was poor so he’d love the bright shades. The fabric would be just the right blends of materials, it would have appeal to the Jew as well as the gentile and would no doubt be made by the prison population with all proceeds going to the Rock of Ages ministry. I know Paul was a tent maker but in these modern times he’d have branched out. And he was a tent maker, so plus size apparel would have most likely been his niche. Just sayin’. Okay… I may have over thought that point.

But back to the race…One of the reasons I don’t like to physically run is the same reason that stops many of us from running the spiritual race, or at least slows us down. It’s the weight! When you’re carting around unnecessary baggage it’s impossible to run with proficiency and good health.

The word beset is not a word that you’ll find us using too much in today’s vocabulary but its synonyms are very familiar – problem, difficulty, afflict, torment, oppress, trouble, worry – sounds like an average day in the neighborhood to me. And not the Mr. Rogers kind of neighborhood. Those are the things that hinder my race, most of which are brought on by me. Just like the weight that clings to my midriff, the things that beset me both physically and spiritually were brought on by poor decisions and lack of discipline. Not all… but most.

So how do we lay it aside, not that I’ve laid it on every side?

We have to run…that means move. We can’t un-sin any more than we can un-eat that bag of chips. We can only move forward to hopefully better choices with better results. What’s hindering your ministry? I know what’s hindering mine… bad decision making in the past. I need to move forward and run with patience… meaning to take my time and do it right. See… Paul didn’t think going fast was a good idea either. I love that guy!

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Things that are separate are sometimes together

chick ministry

Having worked in the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ for several years now I feel that I have a few tee shirts in my closet of the places I have been and the troubles I have seen to allow my opinion to be notable. (perhaps only Post-It ® note worthy) but noteworthy none the less. I have had to take stands over the course of my 19 years in the ministry that were not always popular and on very rare occasions, alone. And when I say alone, there would have probably been many who would have stood with me, if they had known that I was taking a stand. But sometimes in the case of leadership you take an inward stand because the outward conflict would do more harm than good to the cause of Christ if the issue never comes to a resolution.

I know that’s a vague statement, but stay with me and I’ll get this bus to the drop off point.

If you are a part of a congregation of believers where there are more than two, there is likely a separation in the church of ideology. Theology should be agreed upon, but our ideas are just that… “our” ideas. And they often collide like bumper cars in an amusement park, except without the laughter. It’s just human nature. The problem with that is as saved people we’re not supposed to be natural.

1 Corinthians 2:14

But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

Now I get that we cannot get rid of that natural man that wars against the spiritual man within us but if the natural man or woman wins, at some point in that battle, we’ve stopped listening to the Spirit of God. So what are we to do as leaders in the church when our ideas don’t line up with others in the church and we believe we’re right? When things that are separate, are together. What then?  I’m pretty sure I’m right when I say we should talk to the One Who’s never wrong. God.

In Romans 1:1 apostle Paul said that he was …separated unto the gospel of God.

Separated from what? From the world and natural man to the spiritual. He no longer considered himself to be a part of this this world, yet that’s where he was, and it was his job to share the gospel. As believers, whether or not you’ve been called into the ministry you have still been called to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. So you too have been separated like Paul, unto the gospel. That automatically, like it or not, puts you on a different playing field in life. You are held to a higher accountability than the world around you.

Romans 1:5-6

By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name: Among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ:

Now if you’ve been called into actual ministry work, your field just got higher still.

Romans 1:9-13

For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers; Making request, if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto you. For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established; That is, that I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me. Now I would not have you ignorant, brethren, that oftentimes I purposed to come unto you, (but was let hitherto,) that I might have some fruit among you also, even as among other Gentiles.

Paul desired to preach in Rome, but God had other plans, he was let hitherto. Paul knew through the Spirit of God that he was not to go to Rome, even though that was his desire. And so it is when we get ideas of our own that we want one thing and God wants another. For certain God has only one plan. Paul was in tune spiritually enough to know what it was. So what if there are people in the church with two ideas? It is for certain that only one of them is the one God wants, because God’s not in division. And if there’s division, someone’s wrong. When that’s happened, and it has, I’ve had to step out of the way. Sometimes I had to bite my tongue off. But I had to trust that God’s will would be accomplished. It’s hard to be separate when we’re together. When we don’t agree with someone in our midst. Paul reminded his friends that even though they were not together physically, they had one thing in common. Mutual faith.

Did some people get upset because they didn’t get their way? Possibly. But those in mutual faith, stayed put and waited for God to work out His amazing plan. God’s plan is always amazing, ours may seem amazing, but if God’s not in it, it will end in disaster. Mutual faith is remembering that we’re not here to please us. We’re here to please God.

About what you’re S.O.W.I.N.G.

CHICK POINT 2

Its harvest time in many of the gardens of West Virginia. But because of the extremely wet season I’ve heard many of our farmers say that their gardens have been swampland for the most part, causing a few things to grow in great abundance and other plants to rot away leaving a disheartened farmer for all his or her labor. Life can be like that too can it not? I try so hard to be all “spiritual.” I mean really, I’m the Jesus Chick; if you give yourself that title you better be able to back it up with some proof! But the truth is some days I’m fruitful, and some days I’m just a rotten vine with little to show for what my Master has put into me. But that didn’t catch God off guard, he left me some instructions in the book of Galatians 6.

Apostle Paul wrote in the closing of his letter to the Galatians the results of poor gardening.

Spiritually speaking

Don’t throw rocks in someone else’s garden and think that you’re going to reap a bountiful harvest in your life. One of the greatest struggles for me, who tries to live spiritual, is the people around me who live like heathens. They frustrate and suck the life out of me. And they’re everywhere! I turn on the news and they are there, Facebook… they are there, in my family… they are there, in the church…. They are there, at the grocery store… they are there, everywhere. And then I hear the screeching of the tires on Apostle Paul’s car.

Paul said in verses 1-3

Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ. For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.

Questions: Have I tried to restore them with kindness? Have I looked in the mirror? Have I tried to help?

Own it

If I consider my own garden, what have I planted in it? I need to spend more time proving my own work; studying the Word of God and living the Word of God so that I can be a testimony and a help to those who need Christ. I’m first responsible for me. It’s hard to judge the fruit of another person’s orchard when you take care of your own as you should, there’s little time for judging. And I’m pretty sure when we get to Heaven we’ll not hear the words “Good job judging your neighbor,” come out of God’s mouth, but He will likely have much to say about the condition of the soil in our own lives.

4-6 ~ But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For every man shall bear his own burden. Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things.

Whatever it is

We know the “whatevers” in our lives that are not healthy. Spiritually and physically we’re constantly gardening to the body and soul. From the time my feet hit the floor in the morning I begin either sowing to the spirit or to the flesh. If I turn on the television before I turn on God, flesh. If I eat donuts instead of cereal, flesh. If I care more about the physical house I’m building than the spiritual house, I’m sowing to the flesh.

7-8 ~ Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.

Idle Farmers

I don’t think I say it in judgment, just in reality, that I see churches filled with idle farmers. They come to church to get the store bought goods. The stuff that’s prepackaged and ready to eat. Spread out on the table like a banquet for royalty to pick over and discard the unwanted fruit. Church is not a grocery store, it’s a farm store and conference center. It’s where we gather together to hear and learn the Word of God and to encourage our brothers and sisters in Christ. Paul took the time and effort to write a very long letter of encouragement to the church. It is said that because of Paul’s poor eyesight that he struggled to write at all, and yet he wrote the bulk of the New Testament. Paul truly cared about the church.

Paul said in verses  9-11  ~  And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith. Ye see how large a letter I have written unto you with mine own hand.

Nothing but the Cross

For me, work and service come easy. Often times it’s so I’ll feel vindicated or accepted by those I serve; both of which are wrong because in so doing I’m sewing to the flesh to make me feel better. I certainly need to serve but not to prove myself to anyone, I need only to prove to Christ that I am a new creature because of what He did for me on the cross. Many of the Jews who had gotten saved had a hard time separating the works of man from the grace of Christ. Even circumcision was viewed as a part of salvation. Sowing and reaping is not to bring our work before the Lord and say look what I’ve done, but rather to keep the harvest coming till the Lord returns. Then and only then will we discover what the fruits of our labor have been.

12-16 ~  As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ. For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh. But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.

Grace. Enjoy it.

If we sow seeds of grace in the lives of others, I believe we’ll reap and enjoy grace in our own lives, including forgiveness for all those times of sowing to the flesh.

17-18 ~ From henceforth let no man trouble me: for I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus. Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.

 

5 Ways to Grow God’s Kingdom

CHICK COFFEE

1 – Pray Genuinely

Nehemiah 1:6

Let thine ear now be attentive, and thine eyes open, that thou mayest hear the prayer of thy servant, which I pray before thee now, day and night, for the children of Israel thy servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel, which we have sinned against thee: both I and my father’s house have sinned.

If we’ll all be honest, none of us have lived as close to the cross as we should have. Nehemiah takes this petition to the Lord in all sincerity that he and his fellow church folk are about to take some drastic steps to get right with God in order to get the Nation of Israel back under the protection of God’s mighty hand. I believe that if the remnant of the church in America followed Nehemiah’s suit, we too would be back under God’s hand.

2 – Pray Reverently

Nehemiah 1:11

O Lord, I beseech thee, let now thine ear be attentive to the prayer of thy servant, and to the prayer of thy servants, who desire to fear thy name: and prosper, I pray thee, thy servant this day, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man. For I was the king’s cupbearer.

Nehemiah desired to fear God’s name. I believe that the church is no longer afraid of God. We’ve forgotten His power, and in so doing we no longer prosper. I can only speak for myself but I know that if I truly feared God as I should I’d serve Him better. I do not speak of fear in the sense of hiding under the bed, rather I speak of the reverence of His awesome power. He spoke the world into existence, His breath is life (and death). At His command our enemies can only go so far and yet we take the least amount of time possible to commune with Him in the course of a day. We  do not fear Him. We fear His wrath when things go wrong, but when things are right we just “assume” He’s got us and move on.

3 – Prepare for Action

Nehemiah 2:5

And I said unto the king, If it please the king, and if thy servant have found favour in thy sight, that thou wouldest send me unto Judah, unto the city of my fathers’ sepulchres, that I may build it.

The problem with reading or writing a blog such as this is once its written there’s an unseen “The End” as we complete the reading. We’ll say “Ain’t that the truth!” and then we’ll pour ourselves a cup of coffee, and go about our day unchanged. When Nehemiah got a burden to see his city restored, he prayed about it, and then come what may, he sat into action the plan to make it happen! By even going into the presence of the king with a sad countenance he risked death, but that didn’t deter him from following through. What risk are you and I willing to take to rebuild our church? And will we follow through?

4 – Prepare for Adversity

Nehemiah 2:19-20

But when Sanballat the Horonite, and Tobiah the servant, the Ammonite, and Geshem the Arabian, heard it, they laughed us to scorn, and despised us, and said, What is this thing that ye do? will ye rebel against the king?  Then answered I them, and said unto them, The God of heaven, he will prosper us; therefore we his servants will arise and build: but ye have no portion, nor right, nor memorial, in Jerusalem.

Stepping out in faith will get you laughed at and despised; either because they’re against what you believe or they don’t have the gumption to step out and do it themselves. And the bigger the task you have before you the bigger the enemy.

5 – Put Your Differences Aside

I won’t list a scripture reference for this point because it would take the entire third chapter. It’s the “And next unto him’s” that got my attention. Israel came together, different tribes, different families and began rebuilding the wall. My greatest frustration right now with the Church of God, and that’s the Baptists, Methodists, Pentecostals, etc. say they serve the same God, but you’d never know by the way we serve. Christ did not die for Baptist alone… and yet there are some Baptist that secretly believe that, and every other denomination. In these end times that we most likely all agree we’re in, when the world is running out of time before Jesus returns, we should be laboring to get souls into Heaven, not pointing out what another church is doing differently (therefore in error) to a non-believer. How on earth will they get saved?

Tell them about Jesus. Build the wall around your community and get as many people into the Kingdom of Heaven as you can. If they go to another church, give God the glory that you’ll see them in Heaven when we all belong to one church.

This is why the church is not prospering, we’re too busy disagreeing.

One wall was built around Jerusalem. Lots of gates, lots of different jobs to do, but only one wall. We have only means of protection for our friends and family and that’s Jesus Christ. Preach Jesus… get your people behind the wall and let’s serve together until Glory!

Put your coffee in a thermos to go, we have some work to do!