Posted in Bible Journaling, Christian Service, Faith, Life Inspiration, Purpose, Uncategorized

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.

Posted in Leadership, Life Inspiration

I know You are I Am, but who am I? Days of Doubt

Moses. No doubt one of the greatest leaders of all time looking back at him from the 21st century. But looking at him from a biblical perspective… in his day…we see a man full of guilt, doubt and comparison. Those are the reasons I love his story; because I can relate.

In Exodus 3:4-6 we see Moses standing curiously before the burning bush.

And when the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I. And he said, Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground. Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. And Moses hid his face; for he was afraid to look upon God.

If I may interject my thoughts on this scripture. God called Moses’ name and Moses was quick to answer “Here am I!” That’s how it is when God’s doing miraculous things. Get in the middle of big church service where the Holy Spirit of God is moving and you hear Him call upon you to step out on something and you’re quick to respond, “Here am I, Lord! Use me!” But a couple hours later when you’re alone in your car driving home you’re wondering why in the world you opened your mouth. There Moses stood before that burning bush, on Holy ground and in awe of God and then he remembered who he was and he hid his face.

All the sins of the past came back. He’d killed a man causing him to run into hiding but he was sure he’d moved on past it. He’d married and now was working for his father in law Jethro. His life wasn’t what he thought it would be, but it was good enough. Until he ran into that bush in the dessert. He ran face first into God who begins talking about a new plan. One that’s going to put him out of hiding and in front of the masses and every doubt that Moses had in his life came flooding into his soul. That’s how it is when Satan hears your call. He’s gets busy reminiscing your list of failures and Moses begins to question his ability to convince anyone he is a leader. To which God responds:

Exodus 3:14 ~ And God said unto Moses, I Am That I Am: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I Am hath sent me unto you.

But Moses later questions God again about His decision making in Exodus 4:10-12

 And Moses said unto the Lord, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue. 

As if to say “Lord! What are your thinking choosing me?” but the Lord squelches him…

And the Lord said unto him, Who hath made man’s mouth? or who maketh the dumb, or deaf, or the seeing, or the blind? have not I the Lord? Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say.

I heard a quote from Steven Furtick yesterday on these scriptures “When you doubt the product, you insult the manufacturer.” I haven’t been able to get it out of my mind. I’m always doubting God’s decision to use me and comparing myself to everyone else. And I’m never enough. Enough what? Insert any number of things in there: I’m never skinny enough, smart enough, eloquent enough, entertaining enough, rich enough…. And the list goes on. Truth be told you have your list too. Insert it here.

I am never _______________ enough.

It may be different today than yesterday, or five minutes ago if the right person walks into the room, because we measure ourselves by someone else’s gift. Thus doubting the Manufacturer of our product… us.

We know Who I AM is. He’s God, but who are we? If we could only get ahold of and maintain the truth which is ~ I am me, with I AM within me. Made in His fashion, for His purpose, and placed on His path, now why do I question it? Because Satan’s good at his job and I lack in mine. My job is to go. God told Moses “I made your mouth, do you know think I can cause it to say what I need it to say? Come on, I’m God!” – that was definitely the Bible according to Shari.

That blank in the statement “I am never ________ enough.” We need to take out two words, Never and _________. Because with God “I am enough.”

Posted in Christian Service, Life Inspiration

Yes please, Another helping of self doubt

Every time I take a few steps forward in faith, I step back 8 feet. Even as I wrote that sentence, my mind wandered off the page and onto life and Satan began pummeling me with one of those “What were they thinking asking you to do that?” conversations. Another failure in the making… ugh. Does he never stop?

No. Not until eternity and then his power will be locked in the pits of Hell. Glory to God!!! So this morning I have to look at one of my all-time favorite failures for strength. That’s what I love about the Bible, it’s not a book of Sanctified Sam’s and Little Sister Seat Saver’s that stand at the foot of the cross with gold medallions around their necks. No… it’s filled with totally messed up people who have fallen to the foot of the cross. Like Simon Peter. Our favorite failure. Or so the world would have you believe. They’d rather you and I think about the fact that he sank in the water, rather than the time he stepped out of the boat. They’d rather we think about the time he denied Jesus, rather than the time he died on a cross, crucified upside down. It is traditionally held that he was crucified upside down at his own request, since he saw himself unworthy to be crucified in the same manner as Jesus Christ. The world doesn’t want us to focus on Peter’s victory, but rather cause us to doubt the probability that we’ll be victorious.

Matthew 14:30-33~ But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased. Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.

The winds of decision

The wind was likely there before Peter stepped out of the boat, but not until the safety of the boat was gone did it matter. The moment we make the decision to step out for Jesus that’s when the breeze turns into a gale! That’s why so many songs and sermons have the words “Keep your eyes upon Jesus” because a short glance in another direction leads to doubt in the decision that seemed really good just a little while ago.

After the first step

In no time flat the wind can turn a glorious sunshiny day into a gloomy cloud covered sky. Peter was so excited to see the Lord! He didn’t question his decision, but when it was just he and the Lord on the water, the next step wasn’t so clear anymore. How true is it that when you’ve finally made that decision to step out in service and then you hear yourself saying “okay now what? I’m here Lord… confidence level declining… I took the first step, but the second’s not nearly so clear… I’m getting that sinking feeling… Lord are you still there?”

He’s still there! Bidding you come. He didn’t ask you to step out to let you fall, but He didn’t say He’d make the water smooth sailing either. I don’t know about you but I’ve had to fight off the clouds every step of the way in my decision to serve Christ. For the record that’s the equivalency of fighting air and you’ll never win that battle. It would likely go a lot smoother if we’d just stand there and enjoy the breeze.

We don’t have that story from Peter, we only have one where he sinks and Christ saves. Christ not only knows us, He knows our adversary. I find great comfort in knowing that Satan doesn’t have a new plan, he uses the same old tricks of distraction and discouragement to get our eyes off Christ. Christ doesn’t have a new plan either… they’ll sink… I’ll save.

He’s got ya!

Posted in Uncategorized

The Fallacy of a Fairy-tale

The Cinderella moments in life are often sparse. Those times when there is a sweet harmony, everybody looks pretty and works together to make good things happen. Perhaps the season before the ball is how we can more identify with her. Cinderella’s life was anything but perfect. The same characters in the story of Cinderella are present in our lives and every day Satan sets them into our path as a stumbling block in hopes of thwarting those Cinderella moments.

The wicked stepmother

Miss negativity herself, the deva of DOUBT. We scoff at poor Thomas for doubting the Lord and yet every day doubt creeps into my life. I don’t need anyone telling me I’m not good enough, I got the market cornered on that one. Jesus said in Matthew 21:21 ~ … Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done.  In Christ we have the power to move every mountain that stands in our path, but it’s our own disbelief that can cause us to listen to a naysayer or our own negative attitude and give up on the journey before it’s ever begun.

The ugly stepsisters

Damsels of DISCOURAGEMENT. What a number they did on poor Cinderella. Over and over they used their power and position to tear her down. They flaunted their goodly apparel and taunted her over her rags. How could she possible think she was worthy of going to the ball, look in the mirror for crying out loud, who could love that!  Wow… I just wrote my world. How could I possibly think that I deserve Heaven or the goodness thereof when my tattered worldly garment is filthy and covered with sin? Most of the time I don’t view myself as a child of the King (one of my favorites songs that I sing) but more aptly see myself as the beggars daughter, and yet scripture says in Galatians 4:8-9 ~ Howbeit then, when ye knew not God, ye did service unto them which by nature are no gods. But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage? Why do we listen?

The fairy godmother

The dame of DISILLUSION. She was good in the story of Cinderella, but our lives are not a fairytale. They’re real. Very real. There is no “bippity boppity boo” and life is all better. Sometimes the dress doesn’t fit and the ride isn’t a chariot but rather a two door Chevette with a faulty transmission. Magic doesn’t always happen. What then? Enter the stepmother and stepsisters into our lives again, and this time they’re set on destruction. Life isn’t always going to be perfect, so how do we deal with what’s real?

We rely on the Prince. They don’t call Him the Prince of Peace for no reason.

That mountain that needs moved, He’s the great excavator!

The mirror that’s mounted before you. That’s how you see you, not how the Lord sees you. You’re in a robe of white friend!

The magic that’s missing? No it’s not magic. It’s the God of Daniel, the same God of Shari who Nebuchadnezzer  proclaimed when he discovered the truth.

Daniel 4:7-8 ~ Then came in the magicians, the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers: and I told the dream before them; but they did not make known unto me the interpretation thereof. But at the last Daniel came in before me, whose name was Belteshazzar, according to the name of my God, and in whom is the spirit of the holy gods: and before him I told the dream, saying,

The magicians couldn’t make sense of Nebuchadnezzer’s dream, and the world can’t make sense of your dreams either. But the truth of the matter is we serve a God Who put’s dreams in your heart, and they’re not a fairytale, they’re real. And He can bring them to pass. But just like Daniel you have pray and stay in the Word of God so that He can reveal the truth and you’re not off chasing a pumpkin being pulled by mice.

Posted in Uncategorized

Courage for the Day

Joshua 1:6-9 ~ Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them.  Only be thou strong and very courageous, that thou mayest observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that thou mayest prosper withersoever thou goest.  This book of the law shall not depart out of thy mouth; but thou shalt meditate therein day and night, that thou mayest observe to do according to all that is written therein: for then thou shalt make thy way prosperous, and then thou shalt have good success.  Have not I commanded thee? Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest. 

Although all of God’s Word, from every punctuation mark to name is of equal importance, there is sometimes a special emphasis on something repeated. It’s as if God is saying, “Did you catch that? I need you to understand, so here it is again.” We know with the children in our own lives that there is sometimes a necessity to repeat something especially if we fear that they’re in harm’s way. In today’s scripture Moses had just died, Israel was about to go forth with a new leader, into a new land, unchartered territory, much like my own beloved Victory Baptist Church is facing with the leaving of our Pastor. It’s also been on a personal level for me many times over the past few years that I have had to face things never I’ve never been through before. My own unchartered territory. It’s a time that Satan loves to mess with your mind; he loves goading you into doubt and dismay of the unknown. He diligently tries keeping you from the Word of God because he knows that there is power and strength to be found among the pages.

Whether you are in a new stage of life or not, for you’ll be on the brink of one eventually, this message will help you. Not because I’m anything great, but because the Word of God will not return void; the bible says so.  God told Israel to have courage three times with three important facts. Facts that we need to remember as we move forward in our lives.

Be courageous because I’ve given you a promise.

God promised Israel deliverance into a new land. He didn’t promise them it would be without battles and giants but He promised it would be theirs. I’m for certain it would have been easier on them if they’d have gone the first time God told them to go in obedience, but their disobedience didn’t change God’s promise. We may change our mind, but God doesn’t change His. He may however change the method of the deliverance because of our unwillingness to go along with His original plan… speaking from experience. In my heart I know that God has made promises in my life. Jeremiah 29:11 says “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” God has a plan, and I believe that as time passes in our lives He reveals it to us as a promise with our obedience. He has a great plan that doesn’t necessarily come easy, but if we continue on His way, it’s a promise.

Be courageous because I’ve given you My Word.

Staying in the Word is crucial in times like these. With the political nonsense going on in the world I found it “enlightening” when Joshua wrote “turn not from it to the right hand or to the left.”  Our political power is not where we need to be turning for guidance. Can I get an Amen on that one? Both sides have a lot of work to do to get in line with God. If you want to know how to live your life or how to make a decision, base it on the Word of God, nothing else. If you want to know how to prosper, Joshua just told you… “Live according to God’s law.” That doesn’t promise you’ll be a millionaire, you may be a “nillionaire” (have nothing) but you’ll prosper in ways unimagined and God will take care of you.

Be courageous I’m with you.

If we believe God’s promises and we earnestly pray for His guidance; if we stay in His Word, we’ll get to where we’re going; but regardless child of God, even when we make the wrong decisions in life God never, ever forsakes us. In the deepest valley’s to highest peaks of the mountain God is there.

Are you in unchartered territory? I am. But I’m trusting in God’s promises, I’m believing in God’s Word and I know He is with me. Be courageous, God’s got ya covered!