Tag Archives: control

On the Other Side

Proverbs 4:23

Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.

I cannot tell you when the heart issues began in my physical body, only that they had begun months before. I was having arm pain pretty frequently, but I would shush it as if to tell God, “I ain’t got no time for that Lord.” So on the busiest Sunday in a long time, of the busiest week in forever, in my most favorite place and haven of rest, I had a massive heart attack at about 9:40 a.m. Sunday, May 20th, 2018. I stole away to my class room at Victory Baptist Church, out of the eyes of the congregation and waited for the pain to subside. Yeah… I’m not the brightest crayon in the box. It did, and so I continued doing what Shari does. “Church stuff.”

I left church and a little later went to my granddaughter Paityn’s dance recital. Another “episode” and I walked out of the auditorium and away from people to let God know, I had too many things to do and the pain subsided.

Monday: another of my favorite ministries is the Long Term Care at Minnie Hamilton Health Care where I play and minister for an hour each Monday at 2:00 p.m. Once that was under my belt I had but to finish preparing for the departure of an African missionary that had been staying in our home, and the in the process of running an errand for that, the third and final, “Okay God, you win.” I pulled into the fire station where my husband is chief and said, I need to get to the hospital. And immediately everything was out of my control and there was no more shushing God. I was informed I had had a heart attack.

So what was my reaction? Typical Shari. “Hmmm. Now what? I’ve really messed up this time God. Are you going to fix it?

Things began rolling so fast: a friend staffed ambulance trip to Camden Clark in Parkersburg. A heart cath that showed a 95% blockage was over with before I even knew it. Literally I asked the doctor when he was going to start. I’d been joking and talking about music and Jesus with the staff and missed my own heart cath. I was assigned to a heart doctor that I was ready and willing without apprehension to trust for my heart surgery. But then, he fears I have a blood disorder and refuses to do the surgery in that facility. So to WVU in Morgantown I go. Another ambulance ride, constant chest pain and I’m as cool as a cucumber in the garden after the rain.

I had a 95% blockage in two arteries, one being the main. And so a team of the best heart doctors in our state commence to figure a plan for the surgery. They’re worried about the blood issue. I know it’s covered by the blood and so I lay there in waiting for a new start on life and all the while asking God, “Am I gonna come through this?” I kept hearing again and again, “You’re fine, you’re going to the other side.” So there I continue to lay for 3 days waiting for the boat. God had calmed the sea, but Jesus had hired drivers for this trip in the form of WVU medicine.

The boat arrived Friday, May 22nd and my double bypass surgery was scheduled for 6:30 a.m. My husband David, Pastor Steven, and salvation long friend Ed Eisley met with me before surgery where we prayed, laughed about life and off to surgery I went. I know… I’m a nut.

I was wheeled into a very sterile operating theatre where the show was about to begin and I was the star. I was very aware and oddly so that I had no fear. Two of the medical staff were from my mom’s home county, and as I joked and talked about like acquaintances we knew, the next thing I know my husband is saying “Shari it’s done. You’re good.”

My healing in the next few days was every bit as insanely miraculous. It wasn’t fun and it wasn’t pain free, but it was tolerable and passed quickly. And here I sit, on a Sunday morning at 4 a.m. two weeks from the day of my heart attack, preparing my mind for church and wondering how the game plan has changed for me in the scope of my service.

Fggam.org founder, Dewey Moede asked me a few days after the surgery “What’s the biggest lesson I learned through the heart attack?” At that time my mind wasn’t in a place to answer. The brain fog of drugs and anesthesia had my mind a jumbled mess, and I’m still not so sure my lesson is over. This has certainly sidelined me in a few ways. But what I am very aware of is the fact that God is faithful. I am not.

I am not some super saint with the ability to step out in faith every time and never ever question God. I did not maintain that Spirit of fearlessness in surgery by my own accord. God’s divine mercy saw fit to use me for six days for His glory and without human reasoning. Hundreds if not thousands of saints of God lifted my name to the Lord and I knew it because every prayer could be physically felt. God placed the best medical facility and staff in my path for six days. I left the hospital in record time and returned home to family who were frustrated that they didn’t need to take care of me as much as they’d planned.  If you played any part in my “episode,” I am so eternally thankful.

So for the lesson? I’m sure there are many, many to come. But the one in my mind right now is that God needed me to understand that my life was not my own and it would be used as a vessel for His glory and goodness, even when I tried to shush Him or do things my way. I pray you learn that lesson by my errors rather than your own. I look at the heart bypass as hopefully a bypass around the world’s approach to faith. You can give your heart to Jesus and be an honest to goodness child of God, but until you go around the worldly view of Christianity, which is so wrong, and give full control to the Spirit of God, you’re missing out on Jeremiah 1:5 Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.”

Children of God we are set apart and created with purpose. We do not belong to this world. When that boat of surgeons arrived to take me to the other side, I was ready. It’s not to say the world didn’t try to tell me the storms would overtake me, but I knew the maker of the storm! I will not allow Satan to take credit for any part of what I went through. I brought it on myself through disobedience and ignorance, case closed. God was glorified because as my friend John Powell used to say, “God takes care of stupid people.” Especially those with a desire to serve Him and be used by Him.

Here I am Lord, use me!

Spring 2018: And God laughed

Funny thing about the Lord. He is God.

This morning as I prepared to blog, the Lord was dealing with my heart over the issue of guilty pleasure. And before your mind goes too far into the nether regions, my guilty pleasure is Netflix. My husband and I are polar opposites when it comes to watching most television shows. He’s a cop, fireman, cowboy kind of guy. I’m a lift my spirit and make me laugh kind of gal. So in the evening when he comes home after a long day at work I “try” to say nothing about his choice of TV, I simply retire to another room with my iPad in hand and watch something on Netflix that makes me laugh.

The problem with Netflix is it really appeals to my Attention Deficit Disorder nature. With no commercials and an endless supply of full seasons of shows, one show can run mindlessly into another until the evening is gone.

I’m Guilty

Last night was one of those nights, into this morning! I finally went to bed at 1:30 a.m. after the 5th episode of “Drop Dead Diva.” Please don’t judge, she cracks me up. Not the healthiest of shows to watch. I would claim humanity, but that doesn’t cut it with God. Anyway… this morning I got up with that on my mind. How I had mindlessly watched this show and was now complaining about being tired and needing to write.

Needless to say, God didn’t offer me a pity party.

I had another verse in mind for blogging this morning and then… just like that God reminded me, “I only think I’m in control.”

Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.

Jeremiah 17:7-8

The image above was taken as I went to take the trash to the curb. The snow is still pouring down and it’s not apt to let up all day. All day the first day of spring.  Should it not be sunny on the first day of spring? And God laughs. He too likes a good chuckle.

When I went to copy my verse from the Bible Gateway site, Jeremiah 17 was the verses for the day. The verse reminded me that…

I’m just a Guest

Plants come and go and so does human life.  The tree gives no thought to the weather, it simply stands it’s ground and continues until God is done, or man cut’s it down. Isn’t that the way with human life?  It goes on, until it doesn’t. But unlike the tree humans are painfully aware of our surroundings. We expect all of our days to align to our plans but then it snows on the first day of spring and plans have to be changed. The tree stands in the cold with its buds poking through the wet snow and waits for the sun to shine again. The tree understands that come what may, God is in control. The tree understands it’s a guest on this earth. We usually believe there is all the time in the world. Even time to waste. But like the tree, we too are just guests on this earth waiting for God to take us home. My real home. The one without Netflix.

I’m Glad

I regret that I wasted much of my evening with Jane, the drop dead diva. But I will not lie to you and say that I probably won’t fall into a Netflix trap again. What I will say is, regardless of how I think I’m in control, I know I’m not.

The premise behind the Drop Dead Diva show is that a skinny model dies and through a comedy of errors returns to earth in the body of plus size attorney. It’s hysterical. And sometimes thought provoking. It also may be why it appeals to this plus size gal. But between my guilt for watching the show and the snow falling to ground outside, it makes me realize that God likes to laugh to.

And so the picture of the first day of spring 2018 will serve as reminder that it’s God who controls the weather, not the calendar nor man. And although man has control of behavior, it’s God who controls life.

And God laughed.

Your Sphere of Influence

172017

Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion?

Job 38:31

I heard that verse preached too many years ago to count, but the scripture has fascinated me since.

There in the book of Job, the oldest of books in the bible, is an astronomy lesson and should be a “wait a minute…” moment for scientist who try to convince themselves there is no God. God is asking Job to remember who it is that has power over the universe, including Job’s life. In so doing God reveals hidden scientific truths which accurately describe the nature of the constellations and stars. We all know that I’m not a scientist, so I have to rely on researched facts by people of scientific know how. It is they (coldcasechristianity.com) who help me to understand that Plaeiades is a group of hundreds of stars formed from the same cosmic cloud, bound to one another by a mutual gravitational pull and compared to a flock of birds going toward the same destination, bound in unison just as God described them. That’s awesome wisdom right there!

Orion is a belt of stars forming a linear band at Orion’s waist. These stars are not gravitationally bound, but are headed in different directions, and yet in a straight line. Coincidental science? Not likely.

God uses these two illustrations in His conversation with Job to ask if he thinks that he can keep the stars that are supposed to be together, together; and those that are supposed to be apart, apart from one another. Of course he cannot. I can’t even keep my little life together. But God can! It’s another amazing fact about the God we serve that, He who controls the heavens, can certainly control our lives and our sphere of influence.

It amazes me the people that drift in and out of my life that are such blessings and were it not for the connection of Christ, drawing us into the same purpose, I would never have known them. Be it California, Philippine Islands, Papua New Guinea, Minnesota, New Mexico or Alabama, they are all worlds apart from West Virginia, and yet God caused their paths to connect with mine and now we form somewhat of a constellation on earth, traveling together, yet separate to the same destination. Each of us have an exclusive purpose for God and a sphere of influence that like those stars we are meant to draw into Christ.

Christ said that He would draw all men unto him if He would be lifted up from the earth. (John 12:32).

God certainly controls the universe and all that’s there in, but He’s given man freewill to go about life as they desire. There is for certain a draw toward Christ, but the great imitator Satan also has a draw of his own that draws men away from the Lord. God allows us to play the role of Pleiades and Orion by traveling in unison to Heaven but in separate places, separate spheres of influence, and yet one. That too is awesome wisdom!

So who are you influencing today and how? Who has God sent across your path to show them His glory?

Be awesome today!

Being the Captor not the Captive

the cross

From the time our eyes first fly open in the morning we’re in a battle with the enemy, or at least I am. My mind starts rolling with to do lists, my iPhone buzzes with received messages, social media is calling my name and the covers are oh so warm… let’s wait a while… and Izidora the Chihuahua agrees that under the covers is a better place to be. Why move?

I love places of comfort! The church is that to me (meaning my home church building). I love walking into the vestibule where it feels like I’ve just arrived at the home of my best friend; I guess technically I have. Be it a Sunday Service or when I’ve forgotten my computer cord in my classroom and have to go back and fetch it at 9:30 at night, I feel at home. My thoughts are much easier focused on the things of God when I’m in that place, not so when I walk out the door. So many things are vying for my attention and my thoughts are not always godly. As a matter of fact sometimes they scare even me. Why do such thoughts and images pop into our minds? I won’t share them with you for fear you’d know how warped I am… but perhaps you have your own warped mind to deal with. A Word from God for me this morning:

2 Corinthians 10:5 

Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

The Captive

I usually have a flee mentality when I get into one of those scary thought moments. I just want to get my mind as far away from that idea as possible by getting into another area of thinking. You know the mode…. Happy thoughts, happy thoughts! But sure enough it won’t be long until those thoughts catch back up to me and I’m in the same boat causing me to wonder if somewhere deep down in the recesses of my mind an evil Shari is waiting to come out. Crazy right? Please tell me I’m not alone.

Satan. He loves exalting himself and having control. Being that I was not raised in a Friday the 13th movie world and I still close my eyes on the commercial for a horror movie I know that these images and ideas have to be fabricated in some other realm for the purpose of getting my eyes off Jesus and causing fear and anxiety with in me. In that condition I’m of little use to God. So how do I become the captor not the captive?

The Captor

To “cast down” is to utterly destroy those imaginations and things that try to get between you and the mind of God. So how can you destroy a thought that you have no control over?

2 Corinthians 10:6

 And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.

Obedience to the Savior trumps Satan every time! Satan may be able to cause those crazy thoughts to enter our mind, but within us is the Holy Spirit! Rather than fleeing, stand your ground. The Holy Spirit stands ready for us to call upon Him and rescue us out of Satan’s little shop of horrors. SPEAK JESUS! You’re not alone. Don’t just shake that thought off and go on with life, it needs to be taken captive. Take the thought and destroy it through the Word of God by dismantling it one word, one image at a time. Is it true to who you are? No. Is it honest? No, it’s a lie out of the pits of Hell. Is it just, unprejudiced? No, it’s fabricated by Satan. Is it lovely, a good report, worthy of Praise? No? So envision the Holy Spirit locking that up behind bars and refocus your mind on Christ!

Philippians 4:8

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things

My mind needed rescued this morning. The Holy Spirit… my Hero!

Another Lesson in Faith: Reset

reset_button

Faith. I say I have it, I truly try to live it, but it’s not evident unless it’s tried; and tried it is again and again. I try not to whine for my trying of the faith really is piddly by comparison to so many others I know. My trials of faith are for the most part about provision and my stress level is about a 3. I often wonder if my stress level is so low because I don’t have sense to know how much trouble I’m in. Insert grin here. I know that’s not the case. My God is Jehovah Jireh; my Provider! Its an awesome thing to know God as a personal friend and have that continual abiding presence in your life. I write bold but my heart is humble.

Three things about faith that keeps my stress level down:

1. Faith in God Alone

1 Timothy 1:4-6

Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do.

Godly edification comes from reading and studying the Bible, going to church and Christian fellowship. Those are the things that fuel faith in God alone. We were certainly meant to have relationship with people, but its those very relationships that can get our eyes off God’s design and onto the world agenda. There has got to be a stable force in ones life that you can hit the reset button and come back to that place where security lies and that is our relationship with God alone. Where you tune out the world and their agenda and get into the solace of the Savior and stop trying to control your own life. Let Him lead.

2. Faith unfeigned is untainted

Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned:

A pure heart in this world is hard to come by.  We’re bombarded with the vulgarity of media that draws our minds in directions God never intended and each time it occurs it draws us further away from God and that security is now a broken trust in people and God because we’ve allowed our minds to view things in good conscience we shouldn’t have. Faith is hard to maintain when our focus is off of God’s design for us which is to serve. By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you love one another, John 13:35. By serving people in the relationships that God has entrusted us with our minds are refocused on Him and our soul revitalized. The world would have you believe that satisfaction comes in serving and appeasing self, when the truth is charity with a pure heart thrives on serving others.

3. Faith Janglers are everywhere, even in the church.

From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling;

The importance of knowing and studying the word of God cannot be stressed enough to me. I need to hear it everyday, else I take the lazy way out and trust men (and women) to fuel my faith. The number of people who call themselves Christians and yet never feel compelled to study the Word and attend church is staggering. And what happens is that the world fills their heads full of “vain jangling” (nonsense) and when trouble comes they don’t even know where the reset button is located. They trust in man’s ideals to get them through.

This is a new day for me, full of the unknown. Today I began unemployment again. It’s a good thing I work for God, His grant funding is called grace and He has an unlimited supply.

Reset! Ahhhh, there You are God…

Hallelujah! There’s no calendar in Heaven… Remembering 911

911I feel as though my soul has come under attack this week. At every turn I’ve been bombarded with unsettling thoughts and attacks from within and without. Frustration would mount and tears would well and as best I could I would shrug it off and not give the Devil the satisfaction of seeing me fall apart. This morning before my feet hit the floor his mind games started and so when I opened the Word of God, I found the Lord to be the faithful all knowing that He is when He lead me here…

Psalm 94:17-19

17 Unless the Lord had been my help, my soul had almost dwelt in silence.

18 When I said, My foot slippeth; thy mercy, O Lord, held me up.

19 In the multitude of my thoughts within me thy comforts delight my soul.

I highly recommend you read the entire chapter, especially on the anniversary of this most troubling of days, 911. With the attacks on Israel,  ISIS threats and America Leadership falling short of what we know it should be it’s disheartening to watch the news and see every other social media post laced with hatred, fear and frustration. My soul hallelujah! does not dwell in silence. God speaks volumes of peace if only I’ll listen.

His Word is as relevant as today’s headline…

94:1-7

1 O Lord God, to whom vengeance belongeth; O God, to whom vengeance belongeth, shew thyself.

Lift up thyself, thou judge of the earth: render a reward to the proud.

Lord, how long shall the wicked, how long shall the wicked triumph?

How long shall they utter and speak hard things? and all the workers of iniquity boast themselves?

They break in pieces thy people, O Lord, and afflict thine heritage.

They slay the widow and the stranger, and murder the fatherless.

Yet they say, The Lord shall not see, neither shall the God of Jacob regard it.

Is that not the nonsense that the enemy utters? But read on dear friend and don’t lose heart.

22 But the Lord is my defence; and my God is the rock of my refuge.

23 And he shall bring upon them their own iniquity, and shall cut them off in their own wickedness; yea, the Lord our God shall cut them off.

I left out many verses that you need to hear today. That whole chapter will cause your soul to rejoice in the fact that we serve a God Who is not mocked. This world is full of sin and sorrow which many men think they control, but only One is in control and that is Jehovah-Jireh (my provider). The mask is off of that terrorist in the courts of Heaven. God knows his name. 911 knocked the feet out from under America but did not destroy the foundation; our president may say we are not a Christian nation, but he’ll be corrected someday. There’s more than a few of us left.

God’s word encouraged my heart today. My struggles did not catch an All Knowing God off guard. Today is September 11th on earth, and we remember the heartache; but in Heaven there’s no calendar. The enemy desires the final word, but what he desires he cannot have because that is in God’s power and control. Whew! Amen for that.

There’s a New Season on the Horizon

Seasons are one of my favorite things to write about. Every season of the year stirs an excitement in my soul; the seasons of life not always so much. We arrived at the beach this week just as their season was changing. The tourist were dwindling down to a few; I could count 30-50 people at any given time on the beach directly in front of our hotel. The shops had marked down merchandise and many had even closed down. It was a perfect season for us because the cost was much less and the crowds were gone. We enjoyed an evening on the beach with just a few other people milling around taking in the last of the summer waves.

Genesis 1:14-15

And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.

And it was so…

The lights in Heaven that men are so curiously entertained by have not just beauty, but purpose and names.

Psalms 147 says He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names.”

God asks of Job in 38:31-33 asks the questions…

“Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion? Canst thou bring forth Mazzaroth in his season? or canst thou guide Arcturus with his sons? Knowest thou the ordinances of heaven? canst thou set the dominion thereof in the earth?”

Who but God can do those things? And if we believe that God can control the constellations, creation and seasons, can yet He not control the seasons of our lives?

They divide the darkness and light…

And thereby the beauty of the upper world blesses the world below. One advantage that we often take for granted in the country is star gazing. A clear West Virginia night sky is filled with countless stars that twinkle and dance across the Heavens for our entertainment. Just that little bit of twinkle can cause you in childlike splendor to break out in a rousing rendition of “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.” The same way that just a little twinkle of light on a dark day in our life springs joy in the soul; a glimmer of hope is all it takes to cause sadness and heartache to flee.

They bring the change of seasons…

In creation and in life as one closes out a new one is on the horizon, it is inevitable. We cannot extend our favorite season nor can we extend our favorite times in life; each are designed with purpose to usher in the next. My season is about to change… my current job ends and I don’t know what the next season has in store. I prayerfully ask God for mercy and a quick end of this season of uncertainty, but it’s yet to come. He seldom rushes seasons…

Are you in a season of uncertainty? Perhaps you’re in a season of harsh winds and weather? I encourage you as I encourage myself, “Don’t lose heart Christian soldier… God’s got this.” Just as God created each star with purpose and named them every one so did He design you and I. There is a purpose in our season and a hope on the horizon that from this time God will spring forth a newness that will excite our soul.

Trust Issues

T.R.U.S.T. – Total Reliance on Something Tested

I use my cell phone as an alarm clock, and as it goes off in the wee hours of the morning there are usually message popping up on the screen as well, it’s certainly not uncommon. But an encourager in the faith who occasionally and very randomly messages me awoke me this morning with that acronym, a word of encouragement and scripture from Psalm 44. He didn’t know that I needed it. Only those very close to me knows that I’m facing another time of uncertainty in my life. And Satan, who has been trying very hard to discourage me, has been thwarted at every turn by the Lord. I’m so humbled, because my weak faith certainly doesn’t deserve it.

Over the past few days I’ve been meeting my past. Memories, people, things… and as I walked across the campus of Glenville State College I happen to run upon a previous boss, that I loved, and in my frustration I ask “God why is this happening? Why now, when I need encouragement, am I meeting past failures?” And as sure as my name is Shari, He spoke to my heart and said those weren’t failures, those were provisions. Those were times when you had nothing and I gave you great things. Why do you always depend on yourself?” So I reflected again on the people and the places of my life… and sure enough there it was as He had said. Provision, and not of my own.

Psalm 44

His Work

1-8 We have heard with our ears, O God, our fathers have told us, what work thou didst in their days, in the times of old.

How thou didst drive out the heathen with thy hand, and plantedst them; how thou didst afflict the people, and cast them out.

His Weapons

For they got not the land in possession by their own sword, neither did their own arm save them: but thy right hand, and thine arm, and the light of thy countenance, because thou hadst a favour unto them.

Thou art my King, O God: command deliverances for Jacob.

Through thee will we push down our enemies: through thy name will we tread them under that rise up against us.

For I will not trust in my bow, neither shall my sword save me.

His Worship

But thou hast saved us from our enemies, and hast put them to shame that hated us.

In God we boast all the day long, and praise thy name for ever. Selah.

His Word

In the scripture, and through the message of another child of God he encourages me to praise Him today, for He alone is faithful. My secular job ends September 30th. In these very uncertain times not having a job can be an issue. I’ve been here before, several times… And each time God did a miraculous work! I’ve been here since the day I told God “no” to full time ministry in 2010. Do you think that’s a coincidence? Me neither.

For those who do not know the story, I did not tell God “no” in disrespectful rebellion (though it was rebellion.) I told Him “no” because I really couldn’t see the “how.” After jobs kept “mysteriously” ending I stopped asking “how” and began asking “when?” I’m still waiting for that answer… rebellion comes with a price.

It started with a kiss

kissed hand

Betrayal. A hard pill to swallow, but when its family, Satan seems to find his way into that pool and will splash the water until there’s nothing left. It’s true in family related by blood or family under the blood. Division is his goal and usually begins with a kiss.

II Samuel 15: 5-6

And it was so, that when any man came nigh to him to do him obeisance, he put forth his hand, and took him, and kissed him.

And on this manner did Absalom to all Israel that came to the king for judgment: so Absalom stole the hearts of the men of Israel.

Absalom wanted his father’s throne but he knew King David’s followers were loyal and an immediate hostile takeover wouldn’t settle well. So he positioned himself between judgment and the King. The church has allowed much the same to happen; the son of disobedience has positioned himself between judgment and the King, and as churches get more and more liberal, desiring to please men, Satan gathers more into his way of thinking and we now have a breach in loyalty.

The Word is Watered

We want a social gospel. One that looks pretty but is without consequence.

2 Timothy 4:3 [Full Chapter]

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;

We long to have our egos stroked and leave church feeling as though we can fight hell with a water gun but we don’t want the power of the gospel turned on us. Absalom looked pretty, he had chariots of horses that ran before him and he would stand in the gates and tell men what they wanted to hear, they would exchange pleasantries and before long business acquaintances became his allies and David’s enemies.

America continues to align itself with the world rather than with the Word. We want judgment for everyone else, but we want to judge ourselves. We don’t want preachers telling us how to raise our children, we’d rather give that power to the DHHR because obviously their way works. We don’t want to hear that we need to be in church when the doors are open because the doors to the world are open wider, and the end result is miserable homes and marriages across the country.

Morality is Marred

We’ve allowed government to skew the Word of God. Adolf Hitler said “What luck for the rulers that men do not think.” We’re allowing government to do our thinking for us. If they say their ideas are best for our country, so it is. And yet we’d never tolerate their ideologies in our home…. Yet. Little by little they’re getting a strong hold into the homes of America and adultery, lying and thievery are not “so bad.” Absalom started out with 50 horsemen and for a little while he ended up with a nation. David regained the throne but he lost a son.

It all started with a kiss.

We need to stop kissing up to the world and start getting our homes back on the right track. Hope to see you in church Sunday morning!

But I want That!

I-want-that-cookie

How many times have we said it? We know it may not be the will of God for our lives, but we want it. We’re not sure we can even afford the maintenance, but we want it. We have two similar, but not exact… we want it.  Color me guilty. We’re a spoiled nation. I’m never any more aware of it than I am when I speak to my friends in other countries whose idea of luxury is more than one meal a day; those whose meager belongings would likely fit in a grocery cart and I’m complaining because I don’t have the latest and greatest of some new trend that I’ll tire of tomorrow.

That wasn’t necessarily the case in Sarai’s day. What she wanted was a child, not an unreasonable request, especially for the culture of the day. But she grew tired of waiting and tried to fix God’s problem for Him.

Genesis 16:2

And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the Lord hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai.

I posted a quote yesterday that I heard on Sirius XM radio on my way to work in the morning.~ “Worry is not believing God knows what’s best, bitterness is believing He was wrong.” I don’t know who’s thought it was, but I thought it was profound! And then when I added the story of Sarah to the equation later on in the day, I thought God may have just been trying to tell me something. Possibly He’s trying to tell you too!

It wasn’t that God didn’t want Sarah to have a child, but her timing was off. So in her attempt to fix God’s problem she created a problem for the entire nation of Israel. (Ishmael, the son of her handmade) is the root of the Arab nations which continue today to be a thorn in Israel’s side, and ours! Ahhh, but surely your decision won’t have a lasting effect? After all, yours is not a child, it’s a car, or a stereo, or cute shoes. As with most issues in life, it was Sarah’s heart issue that was the problem.

She had told Abraham, “the Lord hath restrained me from bearing.” To restrain is to “keep something under control.” It wasn’t that Sarah couldn’t have children, it was that the Lord was preventing it and Sarah knew that. She was in a sense saying “God says it’s not my time, but I believe it is.” Timing is everything, whether it be a child, a job, or something materialistic.

Sarah’s decision didn’t please God and it didn’t please Sarah. We find her later complaining to Abraham in verse 5 “And Sarai said unto Abram, My wrong be upon thee: I have given my maid into thy bosom; and when she saw that she had conceived, I was despised in her eyes: the Lord judge between me and thee.” If I’m reading that right Sarah still had quite the attitude and her relationship with the Lord may have been a little skewed. In my mind the phrase “the Lord judge between me and thee,” is the equivalency of saying “If you don’t believe me, just ask God.” Had either of them done that, we’d not be in the fix we’re in today in the Middle East. Sarah now expected Abraham to fix the issue.

Times haven’t changed much. We still play the blame game and wait for someone else to clean up our aisle. We need more prayer prior to our decisions for less problems afterwards.

Are you trying to rush God? Stop. Are you angry because it didn’t go as planned? Stop. If a wrong decision’s been made, repent and allow God to walk you through. If you haven’t crossed the line yet, now would be a good time to reflect back on Sarah’s story and consider the far reaching consequences of your decision.

If someone else’s bad decision is the issue, forgive and allow God to work through both of you.

If this message encouraged you, I’d love to hear about!