Tag Archives: discouragement

Rain On Me Lord!

April showers bring May flowers, provided they’re properly cared for by the gardener. And while wild flowers can grow with seemingly no care whatsoever, my sometimes, confessedly neglected flower beds begin to dry up within hours of me forgetting to water them. My spiritual life is much the same. Left unattended, without the water of the Word and I’m as shriveled and parched as a raisin in the sun. It’s also true if I don’t spend time nurturing my relationship with the Lord. I cannot do it for the Jesus Chick, not for my Sunday morning class or my Wednesday night class, but for me alone. It’s personal.

Isaiah 45:8-12

Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness: let the earth open, and let them bring forth salvation, and let righteousness spring up together; I the Lord have created it.

Getting in the word is just like my spring time flower beds; digging around always unearths something. Sometimes good, sometimes bad. The word is always good, but sometimes there’s some bad in me that needs rooted out cast out. If I spend all my time focusing on ministering to other people, I miss the ministering I need. And the weeds of this world will prevent my own spiritual growth. We need to take time for us.

Isaiah understood that concept when he received the word of God. Isaiah was a vessel, filled with the seeds that God had given him and a relationship that allowed him to be used mightily by God. We too are that vessel!

Stop Striving with God

Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, What makest thou? or thy work, He hath no hands?

Striving against God? Who would be that stupid, right? Me. That’s what I do every time I feel the coercing of the Holy Spirit to spend time alone with God and I spend it in the world. When I read verse nine I could hear God say, “That is not what I created you for. I didn’t create you to be exhausted with things of no eternal value. Stop striving.”

Stop Doubting God

10 Woe unto him that saith unto his father, What begettest thou? or to the woman, What hast thou brought forth?

Why do we question why we were created as we were? Boy, oh boy does that question hit me hard. I’ve never made any bones about it when it comes to my always questioning God’s direction in my life. Even though I know. Even though it’s as obvious as the nose on my face. But even with the knowledge of what I’m supposed to do, I’m always playing the comparison game with other writer, artists, and singers. Basically telling God that what He did in me, isn’t enough.

Stop Bossing God

11 Thus saith the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker, Ask me of things to come concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands command ye me. 12 I have made the earth, and created man upon it: I, even my hands, have stretched out the heavens, and all their host have I commanded.

When I read these verses I immediately knew that God wanted me to know. To Shari quote it in the manner I heard it inside of my head, I heard God say “Why don’t you ask Me and My Son what we have planned for you instead of telling Us what you have planned. I’ve created the universe and the host of all of Heaven. What have you created by comparison?”

Wow. That is so true.

I’m learning at a snail’s pace to love myself and my work. But it’s hard. I criticize myself until I feel like a dirt dog unworthy to eat from the scrapyard. True story. But the reality is, who created strife and doubt? and Who created confidence and love? We know the answer and yet we buy the lies of Satan every day.

Stop Striving. Stop Doubting. Stop Bossing. Start enjoying the gifts God has given you.

Don’t let the Enemy do a Victory Dance

Below are my notes for Not another Manic Monday published live on Facebook, Monday, October 29th. The video is below the written version. I pray you’ll join me on Mondays at 10 a.m. each week as I share in music and word what the Lord has laid on my heart.  – Shari

Our scripture for today’s devotion is 1 Corinthians 15:57 “But thanks be to God which giveth us the victory though our Lord Jesus Christ.”

I get so tired of hearing the battles that Satan wins in the lives of our people. Not the people who are lost, but those that are saved. He defeats us through deception, discouragement and darkness.

Let’s talk about

The Power of Deception

One of my favorite pieces of journal art is the roaring lion I journaled in 1 Peter 5:8 where the verse reads Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about seeking whom he may devour.

You need to underline that in your bible “as a roaring lion. The devil is a faker! Jesus is known as the Lion of Judah. Satan wants to be lion, but he’s not. He walks around making noise, but he can do nothing that the Lord does not ordain. But we often hear the roar, and it stops our dance.

If Satan can incite fear or doubt in you by roaring in your ear that something bad is going to happen, or something good isn’t going to happen, he’ll do it, and we’ll buy it. Why? Because we give him a mane, when he truly doesn’t have anything more than a deceptive Halloween costume.

John 8:44 says that Satan is the father of lies, and yet we listen to him like he’s speaking truth.

He is the great deceiver and every time he makes us believe a lie he does a victory dance that should have been ours.

So what’s he been roaring in your ears. For me, he tells me every day that I’m forever going to be in the position that I’m in financially and physically. That’s my roaring lion.

If when we hear that roar, we’d imagine Satan in a cheap plastic lion mask, the roar would turn into a meow. Because that’s all the power he truly has.

The Power of Discouragement

It looks a lot like the power of deception, but discouragement is in the heart, deception is in the head because we try to reason with logic.  Discouragement, at least for me, is a heart matter. Satan uses the things that I’m passionate about to tear me down.

He’ll do it through other people who will make comments that just cut me to the core. Maybe it’s about my appearance, or my family, or a project that I’m working on and it immediately causes me to want to throw my hands up in defeat.

One of the ways he’s been tearing at me lately is through my grandchildren. Reminding me every day that they are exposed to some of the wicked things that my mind would never have imagined through a nightmare at their age. And their literally seeing it through television, Youtube, friends at school and other means of the media.

I feel powerless and discouraged. This is not a plastic mask demon, this is a real live demon messing in the lives of people I love. So how do I take back the dance that Satan has been dancing with discouragement?

I give them to God believing that He has sent the power of angels to shield and protect my grandchildren.

Hebrews 1:13-14 says “But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool? Are they not all ministering spirits, sent for to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?”

No angel sits on the right hand of God. Jesus Christ sits in that position. But, God, Creator of all has assigned ministering spirits to those who are heirs of salvation. Ha! That’s us!  It only took one angels in 2 Kings 19:35 to kill 185,000 people. I’m pretty sure, my grandchildren’s guardian angel can take care of a few middle schoolers wanting to harm, or infest my grandchildren’s minds with garbage.

I can’t be with them every day, but I can trust that God will provide the protection they need. I have to, else Satan will do a dance every time I worry.

The Power of Darkness

1 John 1:5-7 reads This then is the message which we have heard of him and declare unto you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin.

I witness it every day and would be a liar just like the scripture said if I didn’t acknowledge that good Christian people are exposing themselves to the darkness and pretend that it doesn’t affect them.

I was telling my teen class the other day about a time when the television was called “booger john” because people believed it to be evil. And that was in the days of Leave it to Beaver! Look what our minds are exposed to now. We truly deceive ourselves if we don’t think that everything we allow into our minds doesn’t affect us in either a negative or a positive way.

The news media has filled our minds with fear and deception and we’ve bought it hook line and sinker. We watch shows with sex and violence and those images are seared into our brains to be drawn upon when Satan wants to get our minds off godly things. I was sitting in church yesterday and a television show that I had watched (that’s geared toward children by the way) a marvel hero who, came into my mind, an ungodly scene that I should have never allowed into my mind, and Satan brought it up in church, or I did. I don’t want to give him full credit.

Who ever said the eyes are the windows to the soul, knew what they were talking about.

We have to fill our souls with more light than darkness.

Another quote says that knowledge is power. Well, yes but it needs to be godly knowledge, not all knowledge is good power.

We have to stay in the word of God and to weigh everything we’re told by scripture. Not just the parts we want to believe.

We cannot possibly make it through this life unscathed with just a Sunday service. Not to mention those people who don’t even attend on Sunday’s or they hit and miss. Satan has you in his cross hairs first thing Sunday morning and he’ll be dancing on your head by Tuesday afternoon like a chorus line if you don’t get some more word into you.

I’m glad you joined me today, but don’t let it stop here!

Devour the word this week and keep Satan from devouring you!

Pressing and Posting

chick facebook posts

Philippians 3:14

I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Another day, another diet, another goal… life seems to always be filled with a purpose driven passion that can turn on a dime to another failure and leaves me wishing every day were Sunday. It’s such a day of encouragement for me, I love listening to preaching and singing and serving the Lord, but even it can turn into frustration when I get my eyes off Christ and onto people. I have somewhat become un-enchanted with social media over the past few weeks, I’m sure I’ll be back at it soon but felt the need to take a hiatus for a few days to “detox” from many of the posts  I was reading. Political and personal rants have become the norm, and what used to be common sense flew out the window. Freedom of speech should sometimes be best used by the freedom of not saying what you could.

Several months ago, I either read or heard a statement that was a game changer for me regarding what comes out of our mouth. Satan and his band of troublemakers are not all knowing, only God has the ability to be the discerner of our every thought. But Satan doesn’t have to be a mind reader he only has to be a listener, or a reader, because we’ve laid out the stick for him to stir with plain and clear when we air our frustrations in our status posts. Perhaps it’s the era I was brought up in or more than likely the family, but we just didn’t make our troubles public, and yet today people not only make them public but wear them as trophies and care not that their friends and family know how very messed up their lives are. I guess this is a rant of my own of sorts… but it’s written to encourage my fellow servants of Christ to press on, not down.

Negative posts do not encourage positive living. You can quote me on that, that’s good stuff! The seeds that we plant in our life is what we harvest… I know that’s a no brainer, but it must not be, because there’s plenty of people sewing garbage and wondering why their life stinks.

Here’s just a few that I’ve noticed on social media on a pretty regular basis:

  • Satan may or may not have known that “so and so” got on your last nerve, but following that Facebook update he did. And now he has another avenue clearly marked in your life to making you miserable.
  • Nobody knew what a terrible mess your life was in until you went on that rant about it and now every time you walk on the street you feel as if you’re being judged, or so Satan says.
  • You posted your opinion on a matter that few agreed on and now you feel attacked because someone aired the opposite opinion on your status, welcome to America.
  • Let’s attack our family and make it a public spectacle and then wonder why nobody enjoys a family reunion, except Satan… he has a hayday!

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg! That’s why I needed a few days to regroup. Not only do those post affect the person who posted negatively but everyone who reads it. By the same token a positive post creates a positive atmosphere. So here’s my challenge for you today. Ten positive posts and if you care to you can use this blog as one! And zero negative… not even bad news. Press on Pilgrim, it’s a happy day!!!!

We should do no less

abigail

What do you do when the world around you is full of wickedness and you’d like to lash out and do ungodly acts? When you’ve had it up to your eyeballs with bad attitudes and hatred spewed in the name of politics, when the Name of Christ is uttered in contempt and it seems as though it’s in vain that we attempt peace? There was a day that it took a woman to fix the mess that man had created.

Shocker right? Just kidding!!!! Kinda…

In the book of 1 Samuel chapter 25 we find the story of Abigail, wife of Nabal who was a wicked, self-centered man, described as Belial; a demon himself who no doubt made this woman’s life miserable, and yet she stayed. David who had yet to become King was on the run from Saul with a band of rag tag men who had been described as “every one that was in distress, and every one that was in debt, and every one that was discontented”. Not exactly an army of heroes that we read about with David in other stories. But at this point we find David and his men voluntarily performing the unpaid task of body guards over Nabal’s men as they were in the same fields shepherding. David thought it not too much to ask of Nabal for a few victuals  but Nabal’s arrogance railed against David, who he knew to be future King saying “ Who is David? and who is the son of Jesse?”

He was about to find out! The next thing you hear David saying is “Gird ye on every man his sword”. It was the equivalency of the Power Rangers of the day. But then came Abigail.

A few lessons from Abigail that help me this morning in the face of this adverse world we live in.

She waited in Adversity

Living with a man such as Nabal was not an easy task, and though it would have been the culture of the day for her stay it wouldn’t have made it fun. Yet we find her there with an obvious respect of her household and a desire to care for them. Our main role in this life (aside from the first serving God) is to take care of our family and make it as pleasant as possible. Abigail had garnered respect and honor, her husband’s staff obviously felt that she was competent to get something done because when they’d heard what Nabal did to David and knew that there would be certain repercussions, they came to Abigail for help.

It’s often not easy serving when the world around you disregards God and His people. But it’s important to stand strong in the faith so that in the hour of need, those around us know in whom they can depend.

She waited on an opportunity

As soon as the servants came to Abigail with the news of her idiot husband’s behavior she went into survival mode. She knew that she would need to fix what her husband had broken. She didn’t go to David with excuses, she went to David with humility. We’re not going to gain God’s mercy and grace on this Nation by making excuses, we’re going to have to go to Him in humility for our idiot leadership who spout off to God with their behavior “Who is God?” I have wonder how many times the sword could have been drawn on us if it had not been for God’s people taking that opportunity to intercede on America’s behalf.

Abigail waited… both in time and in service. We should do no less.

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Dear Mr., Miss or Mrs. Weary… read on

wearyI know I’m not alone when I say that I have days when I’m weary. Those times when I look around and feel somewhat like Elijah who though he was the last one left when Jezebel sought to kill him and the Lord had to remind him that he was not alone. I know I’m not alone, I know that there are countless servants of God out there on the battlefield with me, but Satan loves to get you feeling weary so he makes you believe you’re outnumbered.

Two places in the Bible we find the phrase “weary in well doing,” both written by Paul, someone who assuredly had moments that he could have been weary. I found it interesting that both forms of weariness were tied to other people.

Don’t grow weary of the weak

I can handle an unsaved sinner’s bad behavior, but I run the risk of growing weary at a child of God who uses the excuse “Well it’s just how I am” for obnoxious and rude behavior or blatant sins against God. But Paul encourage the believers to take care of one another, encourage those who are serving in the faith, and leave all others to God; because we all reap what we sow, good or bad. So I’m here to encourage you today! March on soldier, we have work to do!

Galatians 6

And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

10 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.

Don’t Grow Weary of the Wicked

Watching the news is enough to make you want to tuck your head under a covers and yell “even so Lord Jesus come!” But couple that with attacks and persecution on the local level and the days are rough. We’re living in a time that our grandparents could never even fathom; a time when men (and women) embrace wickedness and shun the gospel. A time when people defend a religion of hate and hate a religion of defenders, it’s insanity is it not? But Paul said don’t grow weary.

2 Thessalonians 3:13

13 But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing.

In reading the text that leads up to verse 13 Paul encourage the believers that he has confidence in them that they’ll continue on even in the face of wicked men that do not have faith. What a supporter Paul was even in the days that he himself needed encouragement to continue. Paul tells them to draw away from “that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us.” There’s a time that you need to get away from the naysayers and the blasphemers and those who tear down our God and us.

I hope that today you’ll get your Bible and get alone with the Word of God and let Him speak great peace to your soul.

Perhaps this is your only time today and you chose to spend it with me. I’m honored and humbled. I pray that I encouraged you to keep on keepin’ on and that you’ll encourage me back by a comment or by sharing this blog with your friends.

Weary not my friends… I’m with ya!

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Frustrator’s: the Devil’s hirelings

Most days I feel like I’m spinning my wheels, some worse than others…frustration mounts, Satan’s a liar and unfortunately I’m often a believer. Much like a comment by Apostle Paul, mine is “That which I want to get done, I don’t; that which I don’t want to do, I do.” Definitely an adlib and creative licensing but I’m sure you get the gist. My goal of working for the Kingdom seems to get thwarted at every turn. I fail (chastise myself) and move on. I fall (dust myself off) and go on. I faint (nourish myself on the Word) and begin again. So when I read the words in verse 5 of this passage, I understood their anguish…

Ezra 4:1-5

1Now when the adversaries of Judah and Benjamin heard that the children of the captivity builded the temple unto the Lord God of Israel;

Then they came to Zerubbabel, and to the chief of the fathers, and said unto them, Let us build with you: for we seek your God, as ye do; and we do sacrifice unto him since the days of Esarhaddon king of Assur, which brought us up hither.

But Zerubbabel, and Jeshua, and the rest of the chief of the fathers of Israel, said unto them, Ye have nothing to do with us to build an house unto our God; but we ourselves together will build unto the Lord God of Israel, as king Cyrus the king of Persia hath commanded us.

Then the people of the land weakened the hands of the people of Judah, and troubled them in building,

And hired counsellors against them, to frustrate their purpose, all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of Persia.

Israel had begun working on the temple when the Samaritans, their enemy, offered to be partners in the construction in order to obstruct the builders. When they were denied they hired “frustrators.” I had no idea that was a job description, although I personally know of a few who remain untitled as such and are likely working for free in my world. How true it is though that secular movements want to “help us” run the church by inflicting world views onto the church in order that they might frustrate the building of the Kingdom of God. Moral atrocities that in no way fit the Kingdom of God’s standards are supposed to be accepted as right and the holiness of God is to be cast aside because it discriminates against the world.

Frustrator’s are no respecter of person or position. Anyone working for the Kingdom at any level has an adversary. So you’re a housewife trying to be the best wife and mom you can be… you have your frustrators. You’re the fella or gal at work trying to live holy, share the gospel and be a witness for the cause of Christ… you have your frustrators. You are the missionary or Pastor and serve full time in the ministry… you have your frustrators. The list goes on. Anyone and everyone from the dishwasher to the doctor who has a desire to serve God has daily frustrations and things that get them off track.

This morning before my feet hit the floor I had lost focus on my design. It’s a good thing I’m not called to be perfect I’m called to be a partner. I need to do what I can do, and allow Christ to put the finishing touch on my life.  I can’t fix other broken people… I can only partner with Christ to show them my Lord. I won’t ever be the perfect wife, mother, employee or servant.

So how do we fight off the frustrators? Slowly but surely. That battle is ongoing, it’s not likely to let up, but we must keep on. Keep reading and you see that Israel did get frustrated and almost quit, but God intervened.

I pray today finds you shielded from the frustrations of life. But if not, please keep on. God is worthy.

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.

Wisdom for the Weary

Psalm 1…

Six small verses, yet a lifetime of wisdom if we’d only take heed. Needing to hear the wisdom of God myself, below is a running commentary of my thoughts on Psalm 1.

HOW TO PICK A FRIEND

1Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly,

COUNSEL OF THE UNGODLY – Those who are anti God, who do not think in the spiritual sense about the earthly sense. I’m flabbergasted that Christians think it’s strange that I put a spiritual spin on everything in my life… please take note that I’m not saying I’m sin free or guilt free in life; that would be far, far from the truth. I’m a sinner saved by grace; but I cannot separate my spiritual walk from my secular walk. So… should I seek counsel, I’m not going to go to those who do. I want the opinion of someone who’s in touch with God on the events in their life as well.

 nor standeth in the way of sinners,

SINNERS – Blatant disregard for the commandments of God. We are all sinners saved by grace, but there are those who fail to acknowledge any responsibility for living scripturally and to “hang out” with them is asking for trouble in your own spiritual walk. The old adage “Show me your friends and I’ll show you who you are, or who you soon shall be,” speaks volumes of truth.

nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

SCORNFUL – Disrespectful, discouraging, mocking people who spend more time tearing you down than building you up. I absolutely refuse to spend time with people who leave me feeling as though I’ve been pummeled beneath the hooves of a horse but it’s not to say I’m not exposed to them. I just don’t “sit” and have a lengthy conversation with them.

HOW TO PLAN A PARTY!

But his delight is in the law of the Lord;

THE LAW – the Word of God. If you want to start and end your day rejoicing tune your mind in to the Word of God all day and by day’s end you’ll have joy in your soul! It’s soothes your soul like drinking an ice cold water on the hottest day of the year. I and promise because the Word of God promises that it is the Word of life.

Philippians 2:16

Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.

 and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

MEDITATE – to ponder and reflect, to take the Word of God and chew on it until all the flavors gone, only to discover that Willy Wonka’s gobstopper had nothing on the Word of God, it never runs out of flavor!

HOW TO PLOT A JOURNEY

And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

Don’t move. Sounds simple enough, but not really logical if you think of it in the literal sense. But if you think about it in the spiritual sense its truth. No matter where you go in life, get there and plant yourself deeply in the Word of God, seeking for the Wisdom of God and the Will of God, and He’ll take care of the rest.

THE PLIGHT OF ALL OTHERS.

The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.

Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.

For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.

The sad truth is, all who do not seek God and His ways will perish in the end. It’s our job to PACK A PUNCH for the Kingdom of God by living a life that all may see evidence of God and His plan.

Freedom we don’t have, From inside Prison Walls

Rock of Ages Minstry Team, Chaplin Edward Eisley and Me!

Spiritual Strongholds… seems to be a theme in my life recently. It was a theme in teen camp last week and as I walked out of the prison last night where I’d sang, I thought there was really little difference between myself and the inmates. Their prison bars were made of iron, mine were made of flesh. Both kept us from the people and things we love.

From the time I entered the sanctuary of the Salem Correctional Facility I could feel the Holy Spirit at work. The men were happy to be in that place, and had it not been for the uniforms it could have been any church in America. Actually, it was better than most churches in America, this one was filled with life! As I sang I watched several wipe tears from their eyes and a few others sat there cold and calloused to the Holy Spirit’s nudging. In all, twelve men have given their lives to Christ during the four day revival of the Rock of Age ministry.

They challenged the inmates to invite “their community’ to the services for the prize of a Bible and one man had invited 31 men from his unit. I tried to connect with as many eyes as I could when I sang, I wanted them to know that I had come to encourage them, that it wasn’t about me. Apostle Paul wrote pretty much the same thing from inside a jail cell to the Church of Corinth.

2nd Corinthians 10:1

Now I Paul myself beseech you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, who in presence am base among you, but being absent am bold toward you:

Base and bold. In contrast to each other, but oh so very needful in the service of Christ. If I had gone into the prison with the attitude of the entertainment industry my portion of the service would have fallen as flat as a pancake. I wasn’t there to entertain or to show pity to the inmates. I was there to lift up the name of Christ and hopefully encourage brothers in Christ, my equals, to be bold in their temporary home.

Is that not what earth is? We’re here for just a short while. A prison sentence to a new inmate seems like an eternity, and yet it’s just a little while in the scope of actual eternity.

2nd Corinthians 10:2-4

But I beseech you, that I may not be bold when I am present with that confidence, wherewith I think to be bold against some, which think of us as if we walked according to the flesh. For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)

Strongholds. Those things that hold us back from sharing the goodness of God. Most of us are not behind steel bars, but there is still imprisoned. When I walked into that facility last night I was bold in the power of God, I had come to do what God has called me to do. But on the outside…it’s much harder to be bold. Ironic is it not? I felt more freedom inside a prison than outside. Outside is a scary place to me. Most don’t want to hear the gospel and they’re quite adamant, vocal and threatening about it. And I cower back into the shadows and my boldness is gone. Satan is good at what he does.

I left a little piece of my heart in the prison, I’ll have to go back and see if I can find it. I doubt I will, I’ll probably have to make several trips…

It may be his job… but you can send him packin’

A week filled to the brim with blessings… a new little sister in Christ,  getting to know our new Pastor & and his family, rekindled friendships, falling to sleep to sounds of children laughing and the Floridian Pastor, outside my dorm room, playing the guitar with camper Connor Boggs and singing Almost Heaven West Virginia, Country Roads, take me home… what a sweet week! But now I’m home… and happy to be so; there’s only so much fun one chick can take, and I think my husband may have missed me a little.

Satan had done his best to steal the joys of the week before, during and after camp. It’s his job and he’s really good at it!

John 10:10

The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

A verse that should be written on the outside of every suitcase, vanity mirror, coffee cup,  even the toes of our shoes… upon the places we’ll look before, during and after our destination. To serve as a reminder that the joy God has set before you on your journey is on the verge of being dismantled if you allow it. The last thing he will willingly allow is for you to have a joyful time. He’s been on me like white on rice since I walked in the door of the house. Messing with my mind, placing discouraging and attempting worrisome thoughts in my mind.

I determined that I needed to:

Thwart the thief

Matthew 6:19 says – Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:

He cannot steal what he does not have access to. The joys that I have experienced and that the Lord has in store for me today are laid up in Heaven. They weren’t at camp, they aren’t in my home, car or any other physical place on earth. They are in the spiritual possession of my LORD. What I can do though is allow Satan to get my eyes off of the spiritual side of the blessing and onto the tangible side. The part that moths and rust corrupt. Things break, (hearts included), plans change or fall through, personalities clash, things don’t always work out, but the blessings that God provides in abundance are those joys within our soul that Satan can’t touch!

Take captive the killer

Oh my stars! I don’t know how many times during camp Satan would try to kill the Spirit of the service, or the relationships of the kids and counselors. I spoke to the kids one morning of a vision that God had put into my mind of two wrestlers by the camp fire; the host of heaven on one side and the host of hell on the others cheering the wrestlers on as they struggled on the brink of falling into the fire. That’s what our services were like. Satan did his best, but God is better! Hallelujah!

Dismantle the destroyer

If you want to dismantle Satan’s ill intentions you’ve got to take some pieces out of play.

  • Pride’s got to go.
  • Self has got to go.
  • Your plan has got to go.
  • Your way has got to go.

Those are game pieces that Satan can manipulate on the board to his advantage. Those things take your focus off of the Lord Jesus Christ and put it on to the things of earth, where our treasures are not.

IN GOD THERE IS LIFE ABUNDANT! God is good, all the time. Even in a storm the goodness of God can be found. Stop settling for less.

Following the news of God’s abundance is the news of God’s goodness:

John 10:11

I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.

He has His life for us so that we could have life in abundance… don’t turn it down.