Tag Archives: David

Do You?

But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.  ~ Proverbs 1:33

The grey skies of November mess with my head even in the wake of the holiday season. Sometimes because of the holiday season. I seriously try to be honest with myself and struggle. Even though the truth is within me…the literal truth of Jesus Christ; I can still suppress the wisdom of God and allow depression, fear, anxiety to creep into my heart. Reading through Proverbs 1 this morning I found one of the countless nuggets of truth that surfaced and refused to let the clouds over power it. So I thought I’d share it with you. Perhaps you need it as well.

Do You Hear What I Hear?

Yes, that Christmas tune is now playing in my head, but it’s a worthy tune.

Do you hear what I hear
A song, a song
High above the trees
With a voice as big as the sea
With a voice as big as the sea

The voice of God can thunder or it can be as still as a whisper, and most usually it’s the latter. What I hear is the voice of God asking “Who’s listening?”

Are you the ‘whoso?’ Am I? Am I genuinely listening for the wisdom of God or am I waiting until He says what I want to hear?  And so I ask myself, why am I not listening? Mainly because I fear. I don’t fear death, I fear life. Dying’s easy. I have no control over that with the exception of how I take care of my body. And because I know that I know that being absent from the body is to be present with God, it’s not something I fear. But life. I struggle with it. It can get so out of control and I’m the queen of roller coaster living. Finances. Responsibilities. Accountabilities. Deeds undone. Those things make those November clouds and cold rains feel like a cloak of evil around me.

Yes… I’m a tad dramatic. My grandchildren don’t get that drama from anyone strange.

Do You Feel What I feel?

Do you feel safe? I honestly do. I know that God will not leave me nor forsake me in my hour of need! But the people of the world will. Though I have the comfort of the Holy Spirit, I don’t always feel comforted by people. Sometimes I’d rather avoid them too. A friend of mine struggles with depression far greater than I, but depression isn’t fun for anyone no matter the level. We spoke the other day about times when we’d rather not leave the house for any reason, no matter how joyous. It’s much easier to retreat inside my head and pretend that all is right with the world than to go outside and prove it’s not.

I don’t consider myself akin to Job in struggles but I understand his words when he wrote, “I was not in safety, neither had I rest, neither was I quiet; yet trouble came.” Job 3:26. He no doubt felt very overwhelmed. King David, felt overwhelmed and shared that thought in Psalms on 7 occasions. It’s why I felt the need to share that the Jesus Chick struggles too. For Pete’s sake if David can confess that he struggle, why cannot I?

It’s not the struggle that I want to share though, I want to share the process of victory. It’s usually not an immediate response from God that gives me peace and removes the dark clouds. It’s a conversation… You can’t hear if you’re not listening, and you can’t listen unless someone is talking.

Do You Know What I Know?

Even on days like today, when I struggle to get out of my Pajama’s and I don’t really care if the bed’s made, because I’d like to retreat back to it, I still know what I know.

I know that there is quiet from the fear of evil and it’s found in (1) the Word of God. (2) The Wisdom of God through prayer. And (3) the Way of God by hearkening to what He says.

If I’m brutally and shamefaced honest I have to tell you that sometimes I still don’t listen and the clouds continue to hover. But if I search His word and speak what I find He is faithful…

Ephesians 3:17-20 King James Version (KJV)

17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,

18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;

19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.

20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,

Somethin’s Got a Hold on Me!

It’s a time of confession. If you notice an absence of me from social media, blogging or life in general, it can often be attributed to a stronghold in my life. Such has been the case for the past few weeks. Anytime I am about to embark on a speaking or singing engagement I can expect an attack from somewhere. Sometimes I’m better equipped to handle it, and sometimes I’m ill equipped to handle it. When I had my recent surgery, I was just flat out ill. But once the recuperating time was over (or at least what time I had allotted myself) I thought I’d be out of the woods and away from the attack of my emotional and psychological condition. Yes, I am that foolish mortal. I was relatively sure that I had survived the worst part of it, the actual surgery. And physically that was the worst, but not psychologically. There was still plenty of time for Satan to get inside my head.

I felt alone, although I was daily surrounded by people who loved me. I felt as though my ministry time was coming to an end. Although my heart had been fixed it was still broken spiritually. I told no one of this state of mind because I am after all “the Jesus Chick.” I bear His name because He bore mine on the cross. I can’t allow anyone to see me as a failure. Though I surely am on so many levels, beginning with that manner of thinking. But it’s who I’ve always been and the theory of life I adhere to. The “I’m Fine Theory.” Unlike my biblical hero King David who wore and bore his heart on his sleeve so that all who read his God inspired words would know we are not alone.

Psalm 142

Confession is good for the Soul

1 I cried unto the Lord with my voice; with my voice unto the Lord did I make my supplication,

David wasn’t holding anything back. At the time he wrote Psalm 142 he had been forced by Saul into hiding in a cave with people he had no faith in at all. If you read 1 Samuel 22 you’ll discover he was surrounded by family who had never had any faith in him and some very needy men he described as in destress, debt and discontent. David had to wonder if they weren’t there just for what they could get from him as a known leader and successful warrior.

I hesitate to confess the thoughts that have run through my mind over the past two months. But they were akin to many of David’s. And not for the same reasons. I’ve always had a great support system in my life, but I’ve also had some very needy people in my life, for which I honestly didn’t mind helping but they were not of the lot that would have been there if I needed them. So following the heart attack I had to re-examine some things in my life. And it began by considering what was holding me back from my service to God.

Complaining is okay with the Savior

I poured out my complaint before him; I shewed before him my trouble. When my spirit was overwhelmed within me, then thou knewest my path. In the way wherein I walked have they privily laid a snare for me. I looked on my right hand, and beheld, but there was no man that would know me: refuge failed me; no man cared for my soul.

I always feel guilty when I complain, whether it’s to God or my sounding board Gloria, who is my number one fan and closest friend. But Gloria encourages me to share with her the problems of life because I know that that conversation will not go any further. But even still it takes me a long time to get to that point and it’s usually when I’m on the verge of blowing up also known as “overwhelmed.” God doesn’t want us to get to the point of being overwhelmed. He already knows we have a complaint. Perhaps if we’d take it to Him sooner, it could get resolved sooner. He is after al the best friend of all.

Who hasn’t felt that way on more than one occasion and as times gets worse, those occasions are more frequent. When you feel that no one could possibly understand what you’re going through or why you feel consumed by it and tied down to the point of being unable to move to the left or right! That has been the condition of my heart for weeks.

But David knew, even in the midst of that struggle that God knew his path. What comfort in those words that God knows the path I’ve taken and the path I’m headed to, and He has me covered in both directions.

Confidence is found in Salvation

I cried unto thee, O Lord: I said, Thou art my refuge and my portion in the land of the living. Attend unto my cry; for I am brought very low: deliver me from my persecutors; for they are stronger than I. Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise thy name: the righteous shall compass me about; for thou shalt deal bountifully with me.

It has not only been emotional challenges but physical and ministry work related as well that has taken a toll on me. I did cry to the Lord and each time He brought me through with a victorious end. God has dealt bountifully with me as He did David.

When David was crying in that cave, he had no idea that that rag tag bunch of men, who he no doubt feared were there for what they could get, not give; those same men would support him in battle all the way to the throne! Glory to God!!! And those same struggles I have faced have caused me to count the blessings of those around me who support me and encourage me to be “The Jesus Chick.” That confidence can only be found as a child of God. The world will let you down, but God and His people, are there for the long haul…

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Do You Know How Mighty You Are?

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

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

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

1 Chronicles 11:20

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

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

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

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

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

We are Mighty in Christ

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

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

We are Mighty in the Word

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

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

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

We are Mighty in Unity

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

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

 

 

 

My Cause for Christmas

It’s unbelievable to me that it is the first week in December! And while my table is decorated for Christmas, my heart hasn’t quite caught up. And I for certain haven’t “caught up” with the average Christmas shopper, I’ve barely started. And so yesterday morning I sat down on the first Advent Sunday to prepare my heart for the month of December and more importantly the Christmas season  Perhaps you could uses some assistance in this matter as well.

The word “Advent” is derived from the Latin word adventus, meaning “coming,” which is a translation of the Greek word parousia. Scholars believe that during the 4th and 5th centuries in Spain and Gaul, Advent was a season of preparation for the baptism of new Christians at the January feast of Epiphany, the celebration of God’s incarnation represented by the visit of the Magi to the baby Jesus (Matthew 2:1), his baptism in the Jordan River by John the Baptist (John 1:29), and his first miracle at Cana (John 2:1). During this season of preparation, Christians would spend 40 days in repentance, prayer, and fasting to prepare for the celebration. Originally, there was little connection between Advent and Christmas. But by the 6th century Roman Christians had tied Advent to the coming of Christ. But the “coming” they had in mind was not Christ’s first coming in the manger in Bethlehem, but his second coming in the clouds as the judge of the world. It was not until the middle ages that the Advent season was explicitly linked to Christ’s first coming at Christmas. 1

So, for my first Sunday of this wonderful season, I wanted to steer my mind in the direction of the anticipation of Christ’s return the second time by thinking about the anticipation that would have been felt by God’s children when waiting for the Messiah the first time.

The Curse

Genesis 3:15

And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thy shalt bruise his heel.

The curse was on Satan, and it reminds us that he is still hurtful to man; but like the serpent he can’t get above the heel unless we allow it because we are victorious through the Christ Jesus.

I often give Satan too much credit and allow him to come upon me higher than I should. I allow him to bind my feet and prevent me from going in the direction that God would desire me to go. I allow him to put a knot in my stomach from fear of things that may or may not happen, and even if they do, they’re most always less than Satan would have me believe. I allow Satan to tie my hands and fail to use them for the Glory of God by feelings of inadequacy, time restraints, or just a flat out failure to follow through on something God has laid on my heart.

Romans 16:20 is the counter verse to Satan’s curse:

And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.

How awesome to have that promise when I am tempted to throw my hands up in the air and let Satan have his Victory. From the days of Adam and Eve they were waiting for their Savior. He came in the form of the Christ child, but because of the Man called Jesus we can live in Victory!

But for a moment imagine the sickening feeling in the pit of Adam and Eve’s stomach when they realized the magnitude of their mistake. It’s the same feeling I get in mine when I fail God now knowing the sacrifice He was willing to make.

The Christmas Cure

Galatians 4:4-5

But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.

What Adam and Eve couldn’t fix, and what the blood of animals couldn’t cover, Jesus did. But it was a long time coming.

What must those years have been like all the days that Adam and Eve lived, knowing that every time an innocent animal, one which God created, died in sacrifice, it was because of their mistake. Adam had named those animals and spent time with them in an entirely different setting. He wasn’t a shepherd over them, he roamed the earth with them without there being any fear on either the side of the animal or him. But sin changed that forever.

How much greater should it be for us to realize that every time we sin, we’re taking for granted the sacrifice that Jesus made on the cross, and when we allow Satan to bruise us above the heel that he bites, we’re giving him dominion that he’s not entitled to. Christ died so that he wouldn’t have it. We need to stop giving it back.

So for my first week of Christmas I’m going to think on the curse and the cure, and with a grateful heart I’m going to thank God for His sacrifice and hopefully, with all I can muster I’m going to stomp down the lies Satan fuels my doubts with. Amen! What are you allowing Satan to have dominion over you with? Take back that dominion through prayer and the Word of God.

The Christmas Cause

David said to the men cowering down to Goliath, “Is there not a cause?” I have to ask myself that same thing when it comes to the battle with Satan, “Is there not a cause? Is this not a worthy fight to take back the dominion that I’ve allowed Satan to take from me?” Peace. That’s what Goliath had taken from the army of the Israelites. They had no peace that God could win the battle, they trusted in themselves; and that is what I’ve allowed Satan to steal from me, often I just hand it to him without a fight. The peace of God.

In verse 50 of First Samuel 17 it says that David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and smote the Philistine, and slew him; but there was no sword in the hand of David. David had said in verse 47 that the Battle was the Lord’s. He didn’t bring a sword, just a rock. I have to go to the Rock… ironically a new song that I wrote last week titled “I’ll tell you where I stand”… coincidence? I think not.

Let’s make this a Merry Christmas by remembering Satan is cursed, not us. Christ was the cure that lifted it from us. Today… there is a Cause!

1https://www.christianity.com/christian-life/christmas/what-is-advent./ht/ml

 

Faith Is… Dancing in Army Boots

army boots

Nobody who’s been a Christian for more than twenty minutes would likely say “Faith is easy.” Getting saved is easy. That’s just a matter of accepting what Christ did for you. Staying saved is easy, that’s just a matter of accepting what Christ did as enough, because we can’t do enough. Living faith… well that’s another story. Just after the words “I can do this!” come out of my mouth, Satan drops by with words like “Or so you thought…” Dancing for the Lord is great, until you try to do it in Army boots.

That was the thot on my heart this morning as I look at my life and the lives of friends and family who struggle every day with “real life”, but keep on praising! “Real life” is heartache, financial issues, illness, death, sin, brokenness, hurt…” that’s the things that life is made up of on many days for mane people.

I’ve been continuing on in the book of 2 Samuel, slowly making my way through the life of David. He fascinates me. He was man after God’s own heart, but a man none the less. He was a lying, adulterous, murdering man. So how could God refer to him as a man after His own heart? In 2 Samuel 6, he danced before the Lord and got in trouble with his wife Michal, in 2 Samuel 11 he’s committing adultery with and impregnating Bathsheba which lead to the decision of killing Bathsheba’s husband, which lead to the death their child. David’s life was certainly “real!”

In less than a dozen chapters of life David had been a hero, a lover, a fighter and a down right scoundrel. So in chapter 12, verse 20 as he’s given the news of his child’s death, it says he “arose from the earth, and washed, and anointed himself, and changed his apparel, and came into the house of the Lord, and worshipped: then he came to his own house; and when he required, they set bread before him and he did eat.

The staff thought that strange, to which David responded “While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept; for I said Who can tell whether God will be gracious to me, that the child may live? But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.”

Heartache doesn’t stop in life even if you’re a man (or woman) after God’s own heart. Life happens. We struggle, we sin, we grieve, we get angry… and when it’s over we dance. The victory will come for a child of God but not always in the manner we’d like. And sometimes the outcome is beyond what our imagination could comprehend. You just can’t explain God. Only He can.

But we can dance in army boots.

Because the battle is real, but even in the battle God is worthy of being praised! ~ The Jesus Chick

 

Where to find encouragement when all else fails

encouraged

1 Samuel 30:6b

…but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.

In this portion of scripture, David’s men blame him for the burning of their village and the kidnapping of their families. His whole company has turned their back on him. Ever felt that way? Like you’ve let the world down…

For some odd reason the 1972 Carpenter’s song “Rainy Days and Mondays” is stuck in my head. I’ve read several chapters in 1 Samuel this morning (through to the end) and deed it played out in my mind like one of the greatest of all movies. I cried when Jonathan and David parted company because of Saul, I cried when Jonathan was killed in the battle with Saul, and mourned for the loss of a leader when Saul killed himself. This isn’t a story, it’s history, and the more you read the Bible, the characters truly become as family yet to be met.

I find such peace in the Word because the characters, which God inspired to be written of, are there because their relatable. Not because they’re super saints of old. They were genuine men and women of God that the Lord used to encourage us on the days that we feel less than super hero material.

So, on rainy days, Mondays and even cold winter Thursday’s I can hide myself  and find myself in the Word of God. He is such an encourager to my soul!

Color me… thankful.

Don’t Wear Someone Else’s Armor

armor

He was the runt of the litter, his brother said he was an arrogant, bad hearted, rubber necker and the enemy said he was as threatening as a stick. That’s the “Shari version” of I Samuel 17 as David is about to face off with Goliath. How on earth did he get there? Nobody had any faith in him, his Dad gave him the worst job on the farm and used him as an errand boy to find out what the real soldier boys were doing. I love any story of David, but the history of his battle with Goliath is no doubt in my top three favorite reads. By all accounts of his peers, he shouldn’t have been there. The sum of who David was is written in the words of Abner in verse 55:

And when Saul saw David go forth against the Philistine, he said unto Abner, the captain of the host, Abner, whose son is this youth? And Abner said, As thy soul liveth, O king, I cannot tell.

O king, I cannot tell… Abner had no clue who David was. But God did. The day that Samuel anointed David to be King in Saul’s stead, obviously his brothers took no note of it. Does that not strike you odd? It did me. If someone had come to my house and said one of my siblings was going to be President one day, I think I’d take note of that day. Abner wasn’t there when Samuel anointed David, so he’s excused of his ignorance, but not his brothers, they should have known there was something special about David. David was the forgotten anointed, the waylaid leader, the king in coming and nobody too note… except God!

Scripture is clear that God does not look on the outside but on the heart of man. That scripture too was from the anointing of David. Samuel looked at David’s rugged big brothers and thought surely they were king material. But king material is more looks, its being in touch with those you serve. David shows up on the battle field and hears Goliath mouthing his country and his blood boils!

That’s how I feel about America. That’s how I feel about my church. That’s how I feel about my family and friends. I take it very personal when someone is attacking my people. It’s even worse, when it is my people who are on the attack.

Goliath wasn’t one of David’s people. He was flat out the enemy. His disdain for Israel was to be expected. But David’s brothers… They may not have been mouthing Israel but they weren’t defending her either and they were mouthing their brother who was defending Israel. Unbeknownst to the brethren their little annoying brother had a King sized heart that got him noticed by the King of kings.

God’s not looking for a king but He’s still in the business of noticing hearts.

I have days, multiple lately, when I think my work is in vain. I feel like I have shown up on the battle field of life and one of my people called me an arrogant, bad hearted, rubber necker because I was on their playing field. (For the record, nobody has) that’s just how I feel. I talk a lot… and I’ve been known to say “Is there not a cause,” and be frustrated when nobody was taking off Goliath’s head.

And this morning I heard through God’s word… “I see you. Yes, you annoy the brethren. But I know your heart and I know that you want to help. But you need to spend more time defending the fold before you face the giant.”

I don’t know exactly what that means. But I know in my heart that there was a day when God anointed me to do what I do, and some took note, and some didn’t. I have a King sized heart because the King gave it to me. I can’t shut it off like a water faucet, it flows freely. Unfortunately so does my mouth.  All I know right now is, I have some rocks in my pocket but I need to be careful about where I’m throwing them.

My lesson today was this:

  • God knows my heart and sees my frustration, the people need to see the victory, not the complaint.
  • When I throw stones, I need to make sure it’s at the enemy and aim well.
  • Don’t wear someone else’s armor. God created me just the way I am. Vocal.

Is the Gate in View?

the-gate

I wonder if the man at the gate of Beautiful ever stopped being lovely for the Lord?  I hope the excitement that he felt that day never dulled. His lame lifestyle had vanished, and he was living victoriously! But if life did to him what it does to most of us, I’m sure he had days when his step was not high and the gate was far in the distance.

Acts 3:8-10

And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God. And all the people saw him walking and praising God:  And they knew that it was he which sat for alms at the Beautiful gate of the temple: and they were filled with wonder and amazement at that which had happened unto him.

Is the gate still in view for you? Do you remember the feeling of fresh salvation? I sometimes have to work to remember and you no doubt do as well if it’s been very long. For me it’s been 20 years, but if I get my mind in that “Beautiful” place my praise is once more restored. Life has a way of causing us to suppress that beautiful memory into the recesses of our mind while the problems, guilt and frustrations of life over shadow how wonderful salvation is. Four things can happen when we the gate is too far in the distance.

  1. We lose our joy

David said in Psalm 51:12 Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation… Life had gotten on him. Sin and the guilt it creates has a way of sucking the joy out of your life quicker than anything else. But it’s not exclusive. Debt, health issues, heartache… oh the list is long that can cause us to lose our joy.

  1. We rely on others to provide our joy

The man at the gate had once relied on people for his life’s provision. But no more! The Lord had now provided a way for him to take care of himself. I was once in a conversation with someone who ask how I kept my soul nourished. They were frustrated because spiritually, life wasn’t going the way they desired and they were depending on one person (the preacher) to nourish their soul. Well, it’s true that that is the preacher’s job; but again not exclusively. If we rely on the preacher to keep our heart happy Monday through Saturday with what he stirs up within us on Sunday, we’re going to be let down. Life is too harsh for that. The same is true when we expect friends and family to keep us encouraged and never let us down… it just won’t happen that way.

  1. People can’t see our joy

When the people saw that the lame man was lame no more, and that he leaped for joy and praised God, they were amazed! Why are our friends not amazed at what Jesus has done… could it be because our praise was left at the gate?

God doesn’t get to joy in us

Psalm 21:1 says The king shall joy in thy strength, O Lord; and in thy salvation how greatly shall he rejoice.

This broke my heart above all when I realized that God loses joy because I lose mine. Yes He understands… but that still doesn’t justify it. And it especially doesn’t justify it when we get so far from the gate of Beautiful that we might as well be lame again because our joy has been gone for a long time. I know Christians that (if I didn’t really know them) I’d never guess that they had ever been at the gate of salvation. Likely you do too!

So what are we to do?

  1. Revisit the gate
  2. Recall the day of salvation
  3. Rejoice, and again I say Rejoice!

You, your people and your Savior need it.

Not what the world expects

ent

chick pizzaI always stand amazed that God would choose use someone such as I in the ministry.  I’m not saying I’ve achieved greatness, but rather that it is great that He chooses to use me at all. Growing up in rural West Virginia often put a complex or stereotype on youth of not being able to achieve greatness due to the isolated conditions of the area. I use that in past tense, because with the media means available today someone in the deepest jungle could be discovered, but that was not the case when I was growing up. When someone from West Virginia made it big, it was big deal… it still is in my world.

I visited my friend Gloria last night for a girl’s night of watching “The Voice,” and low and behold there was a West Virginian on the show. Cody Wickline of Beckly, West Virginia sang the old country standard “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” turning four chairs with his old time country sound. For the record I was not country when country wasn’t cool… I’m still not too country. But this boy certainly deserved the spotlight last night for this talent. Now back to the Bible…

It’s one thing to get noticed on a Hollywood platform, but it’s humbling to get noticed out of the throne room of God. I’m glad that God’s chair doesn’t turn on talent. The world’s standards are not God’s standards, Hallelujah. God’s are much higher, yet He’ll reach much lower to bring us up to His standards.

David sang in Psalm 8:1-2

O Lord, our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens. Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger.

Nobody expected David, the little shepherd boy, to slew Goliath that day in the meadow. On the contrary, when he donned that shield they expected to be holding his funeral the next day. When his dad sent him with cheese and bread he didn’t send him to fight, he sent him as the Pizza delivery boy and messenger. But in 1 Samuel, Chapter 17 we see the making of a somebody…

Verse 12 says  “”Now David was the son of that Ephrathite of Bethlehemjudah, whose name was Jesse; and he had eight sons: and the man went among men for an old man in the days of Saul.” David was the youngest of eight sons, a babe, not a warrior but a shepherd. He was not expecting to make the stage that afternoon when he delivered pizza, but when he seen Goliath making a mockery of Israel, the passion that God had planted down inside of him bubbled to the surface when he ask his brothers “Is there not a cause.” (V29) Sure there was a cause, but it was not theirs to fight. God was about to make a somebody out of a nobody.

David’s my hero of faith for a number of reasons:

  • Because he was failure and God still used him. (Because of his heart)
  • Because nobody had a clue what was going on inside of him (But God did)
  • Because he’d been practicing for battle behind the scenes (in the country with critters)
  • Because he was anointed (And even then he was the last one picked)
  • Because his army was made up of society rejects (1 Samuel 22:2 – distressed in debt and discontent)

David was a man after God’s own heart before he was even a man. God’s “chair” turned in my life the day I accepted Him as Savior. As a young Christian I told I was peculiar. I’m not a Bible Scholar by any stretch of the imagination, but God has spoken messages to my soul long before I started a website. God made me rehearse singing when the world said I couldn’t so that when I stood on the platform the very first time and opened my mouth the congregation of the Lord was shocked that I could sing… and so was I. I still am. God doesn’t use the expected. When the apostles began teaching and preaching the religious crowd was shocked because these “ignorant and unlearned” men spoke with such confidence and intelligence. Babes, the whole lot of them, regardless of age.

So… what’s the world telling you this morning? Sing God’s song, walk the path He’s chosen and step out of pizza delivery mode to become a warrior. That’s His message to me this morning. What about you?

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But Now… get busy

chick Anointed

2 Samuel 12:19-24

19 But when David saw that his servants whispered, David perceived that the child was dead: therefore David said unto his servants, Is the child dead? And they said, He is dead. 20 Then David arose from the earth, and washed, and anointed himself, and changed his apparel, and came into the house of the Lord, and worshipped: then he came to his own house; and when he required, they set bread before him, and he did eat. 21 Then said his servants unto him, What thing is this that thou hast done? thou didst fast and weep for the child, while it was alive; but when the child was dead, thou didst rise and eat bread. 22 And he said, While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept: for I said, Who can tell whether God will be gracious to me, that the child may live? 23 But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me. 24 And David comforted Bathsheba his wife, and went in unto her, and lay with her: and she bare a son, and he called his name Solomon: and the Lord loved him.

I somehow or another missed this verse in the “But Now Series” so we’re back tracking one in the order that this will be a thorough study. And it’s not one to be missed for a few reasons. The story of David and Bathsheba’s affair was certainly not one of David’s stellar moments. I find it more than a little interesting that the greater portion of “But Now” moments have involved David, we’ll see if that plays out until the end; but it won’t surprise me that it does. Who better for Satan to attack than the man after God’s own heart? If he’s going to ruin a testimony he’s going to ruin one of the most talked about individuals in the community. So before we cast a stone at the fallen child of God, do you know what God’s plans were for them? They might have been a great and mighty soldier for the cross, but for being human. Satan doesn’t attack the ne’re-do-well, how would that help his cause? He attacks someone who really wants to do the right thing, but gets distracted by something beautiful and thinks… maybe just once.

But “once” had a tiny little face and David loved it, but the baby died.

And in this “But now” story David has confused his servants. When the child was sick David refused to eat and wept in great sorrow, “but now” that the child had died, David got up, got dressed and went on about the business of the day. It wasn’t that he was heartless or without mourning, for it says he comforted his wife. And I’m sure in the privacy of their home they still shed tears, but this day David knows that nothing can be done to change God’s mind, and it’s time to go on.

Be it in life and death, life and a career, life and a marriage or life and something else we’ve lost, we have to stop the mourning.  The reason it happened may or may not have been any of our own, but we have the answer; it’s done and we can’t undo it. I have had more than a few of those moments in my life, but I’m not nearly so smart as David. I want to wallow in it for a day, a month, a year… What about you?

Is there something that God has said “It’s over,” and you just won’t let it be? How about today we clean ourselves up, anoint ourselves (putting on the Word of God) and get back in the business of serving and worshiping God as He deserves. I can’t believe I almost missed this “But Now” experience. All Satan had to do was get a computer program to un-bold one word and I missed it, but God knew we needed it. So here are… but now… get busy.