Tag Archives: Encourage

What’s so special about a tent?

If you’ve never been a part of a tent meeting atmosphere you may wonder why I get so excited for this time of year. And whether or not I can adequately express what makes a tent meeting so special, only the end of today’s blog will tell. But I’ll attempt to stir your heart with the emotion I’m experiencing today.

Hebrews 9:1 begins speaking of

A worldly sanctuary

Then verily the first covenant had also ordinance of divine service, and a worldly sanctuary.

The first tabernacle was a movable man made temple with caretakers, priests and a high priest that he only could go into that Holy of Holiest places to make sacrifice for his sins and that of the congregation of the Lord. Though it was a temporary tabernacle, the grandness of it didn’t suffer, and I seriously doubt it was as easy as the tents we pitch today. It had layer upon layer of materials that God had laid out by design and great detail, and given to Moses. The tent then followed the children of Israel. Our tent is not of great detail, it was crafted by an Amish man in Ohio of red, white and blue vinyl to remind us of the Nation we call home and our burden to turn it back to God. We don’t have golden candlesticks, the Ark of the Covenant or the shew bread. We have the light of Jesus Christ that shines in the heart of the saved, the covenant promise of eternal life in Christ and the Word of God that fills our souls! That is what lies within the tent of Victory Baptist Church!

The way of the wilderness

Hebrews 9:8 ~ The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing:

The children of Israel could not imagine the privilege to come to us, though they were the symbolism of God’s plan for salvation. But they couldn’t even go into the tent! What a privilege to have the Holy Spirit dwell within us and regardless of whether we are inside the tent, out in the sun around it (though it’s calling for rain tonight) or experiencing the tent meeting via Facebook live, we are in the presence of God! The first tent meeting was a matter of necessity for wilderness wanderers. Our tent meeting is a reminder of the days of old when revival crossed America and a desire to bring that back to world caught up in the wilderness again.

A way from dead works

Hebrews 9:11-14 ~  But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?

The children of Israel attempted and failed again and again to keep the works of the law. Glory to God that once and for all, through the blood of Christ we were released from that bondage and are now free to serve the Living God! There’s still plenty of bondage in the world around us, but nothing that Jesus Christ cannot free us from.

However, tent meeting is also a time for the church to remember that one of the bondages that is so easy for a child of God to fall into is the bondage of dead religion. Churches everywhere fall into apathy of religion rather than the awe of the Almighty! We forget the freedom we have in Christ Jesus and the Holy Spirit is expected to take a back seat until the service is over, lest we disrupt service.

This ought not to be. There is nothing traditional about a tent! And there shouldn’t be anything traditional about the service of God, whether in a building or in a tent. The Holy Spirit of God was so awesome in the days of the children of Israel that they stood outside the tent in awe and fear of His presence. That same Spirit is within us, how dare we take it for granted and treat Him as though He is not Amazing!

That is how I want to approach this tent meeting tonight. I want to be prepared in godly fear and awe to expect the Spirit of God to show up in my life in such a way that I cannot help but feel like the children who experienced the first tent meeting! Glory!!!

In search of good news? You just found it

1 Timothy 2:1

I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;

I have habitual sayings that I don’t realize until someone brings them to my attention. Such as “Jeepers Socks!” Meaning I’m excited. I actually stole it from a friend; I love it because it brings back an era to my mind (even before I was born) that was a much more wholesome time than we live in today.  Another quote that was recently mentioned to me was “That’s the reality of it.” I had no clue how often this phrase came into to my daily vocabulary until a friend said it back to me and brought it to my attention.

Well, some days I’d like to duck out of reality. Escape to a paradise island apart from the media, any bad news of any sort or any negative Nellie or Ned and live in total peace for the day. But “That’s not the reality of it.” Life is harsh and we must go on. But take heart dear friend there is some good news!

The State of Iowa advanced a Religious Liberty Bill

Not passed, but advanced a bill that would protect Christians and other faiths from being sued for refusing to serve or act in manner contrary to their beliefs. That’s good news! Iowa should be prayed for and God should be glorified!

Christian Athletes give God the Glory at the Winter Olympics

This article tells the story of several of the Christian Athletes who have given God the glory and spoke openly about how their faith has gotten them to where they are. That’s good news! Pray for them and share their story with young people in your life so that they may have the courage to share their Praises of God too!

Oklahoma University Re-Invites Christian Speaker

Oklahoma University had un-invited Ken Ham, Creationist Speaker, to speak at their university because of campus opposition from the LGBT community. They have since had a change of heart because of an outcry from Christians, legislators and local residents concerning the right to free speech. Glory to God, that’s good news!!!

Revival at McDonalds!

On a more personal note for myself: In 2006 I traveled to the Philippines and while there I stayed with Daniel and Jamilla Caba. Dan pastors a church in Manilla. At that time it was a roof top ministry that was set up every Sunday morning for services and taken down at service end. They’ve since graduated to a beautiful facility. Since January of this year they’ve held 3 evangelistic meetings at McDonalds. They’ve had a total of about 350 people attending those meetings and over 200 made a profession of faith! Today they continue to disciple those who were saved creating more workers for the Kingdom of God.

Please pray for our missionaries on foreign fields, and pray for our missionaries America! Can you imagine having a revival at McDonalds? Can you imagine 200 souls saved in less than 2 months? How amazing would that be?!

In this world that is so inundated with bad news and likely no shortages in the future, it’s good to know that there is still good news to be found in the Christian realm. So on days that I am inclined to crawl under a rock and ignore the world around me, I glory God that within a few minutes of searching the web under Christians news I was able to encourage my Spirit! And with one update requested I received the news from Jamilla.

So today I exhort you! Hoping that his blog encouraged you to continue on. Let no rock be crawled under, else the rocks may cry out! (Luke 19:40)

The Decision after the Dance

I have a fascination with the redemptive story of Israel. That is likely the case because I have a great resemblance with the children of Israel; I too get out of line, get in trouble, get right, get rescued and then like a good shampoo, I will lather, rinse, repeat. Over and over again it happens. So when I read chapters like the 15th chapter of Exodus it always make me wonder why God puts up with me. The children of God had just seen the miraculous work of the Lord in parting the sea so they could walk through on dry ground, they then watched it kill their enemy by crashing back down on them. Think on that a second! So they’re on the shore, singing and dancing and praising the Lord, and Moses breaks up the party to continue their journey to the Promised Land.

I envision this much like a car ride with my kids for vacation. They start out excited, but after the first few hours on the road the whining and fighting would begin. Multiply that times the million or two that Moses had in the back seat. I don’t know what kept him sane. But following the great miracle came a time of dryness when the children of Israel couldn’t find water; and that’s a legit complaint. But they had just seen God take millions of gallons of water and displace it through the staff of Moses, so why did they really think a drink would be a problem for Him?

Exodus 15:23-27

And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter: therefore the name of it was called Marah.  And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink? And he cried unto the Lord; and the Lord shewed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet: there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them, And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the Lord that healeth thee. And they came to Elim, where were twelve wells of water, and threescore and ten palm trees: and they encamped there by the waters.

The Dance

My previous Pastor called it “the honeymoon” stage when a person first accepted Jesus as Savior. It seems like everything in the world is roses and chocolate if you’re a woman, or Black and Decker ® if you’re a guy. It’s all good. But it’s not long until you discover that life’s not always good, sometimes it’s downright lousy but you eventually come through it and it is once again time to dance. But then there is another time…

The Dry

It’s a longer period of time, when things do not get better quickly. You don’t feel the presence of God and frustration begins to set in. You try to have faith, but it’s wavering and your patience for change grows thin. You ask questions of God such as “Why and When.” Just like the children of Israel.

The Decision

There comes a time when you have to decide, am I going to whine, or am I going to whip the Devil through the promises of God?

In the very last verse of that chapter, the rescue came in the form of a camp sight oasis of sort. Twelve wells and seventy palm trees. That oasis also came with the promise of healing and rest if they were obedient to God’s commands.

Numbers play an important role in scripture. Especially the numbers 12 and 70. There are multiple references to those and they make an interesting study, but for today’s message I offer this thought:

12 Disciples and the 70 sent (Matthew 10:1 and Luke 10:1)

Not likely a coincidence that God used those numbers and it draws my mind into the importance of Christian fellowship and service. The children of Israel had lost sight of the role that they played in God’s plan. They were His chosen! After this journey He had promised them a wonderful life. Technically the journey too could have been wonderful. But they blew it when the lost sight of the power of God.

New believers in Christ usually believe that they could whip a bear with a fly swatter if they thought God told them too. But over time we begin to take our relationship with God for granted. We’re grounded in the faith, we don’t need to be in church “every service.” A few “worldly things won’t hurt,” and it’s not long until we’re dry and dusty and there is no water in sight. And we begin to complain that God’s just not there for us anymore, knowing that He didn’t move, we did. It’s so much easier to blame God than to look at where we left Him.

New Testament references: When Joseph and Mary left 12 year old Jesus in the temple, they found Him just where they left Him. When the woman with the
12 year” issue of blood reached out for Jesus she was healed, when the 12 year old girl died, and her father came to Jesus, Jesus brought her back to life. Twelve is the number of completion and we are complete in Christ. He has chosen us, just as He did the twelve.

As for the number 70: By God’s direction Moses appointed 70 elders in Israel to stand with him in the tabernacle. And in Luke 10:17 “The seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name.” The 70 were excited about what the Lord had done. They had gone out two by two and God provided for them in their walk with and for Christ.

I don’t know if I’m correct, but I know how the Lord impressed my heart on this matter this morning. Fellowship is important, both with the leaders (12), and with the servants (70). There is great and healing, comfort and rest in the people of God. Israel should have trusted God and they should have looked to Moses for leadership instead of complaining. They also should have come together as people of God. But they decided to whine. That whining cost them 40 years of no direction and they missed the joy of entering into the land of promise.

Whining because things aren’t what you’d like won’t keep you out of Heaven, but it will prevent your joy in the journey. Staying out of church won’t keep you out of Heaven but it will costs you your joy, fellowship and relationship with the Lord. We need it. I need it.

Hearing the Word of God and being in the fellowship of God’s people brings healing and comfort to the soul. Don’t miss out. Be in a bible believing, preaching, serving church this Sunday!!! and share this message with someone struggling to stay faithful. I love you, but more importantly, JESUS LOVES YOU!!!

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.

 

 

 

Washed in Mercy

wash

Titus 3:5

Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

We are blessed to live in a nation where clean water is readily available to most, and it is for certain something that we take for granted. I was in the Philippines to sing at a conference about 11 years ago and my first shower in a home in the Philippines, which did have running water, but to shower there was a plastic cup that hung on the wall from a cold water only tap. You realize how very spoiled you are. It’s that spoiling that causes us to miss the blessings of salvation.

I want stuff. And the Lord says “You have stuff, you need Me.” I need more of the presence of the Holy Spirit in my life. This morning I was whining to the Lord about wanting something for my husband. He works so hard, he asks for so little. So when something comes up that he’d like, it hurts me that it’s not within his grasp. And while the Lord didn’t mind that I was whining for someone else for a change, it brought me back to that spigot in the wall, and a pipe sticking up out of the floor that was the toilet, and how blessed I was to be there. Because there in that city where many of the people had nothing materialistic in comparison to me, they had what I longed for and it cost nothing… the Presence of God.

While salvation was instantaneous upon the confession of Jesus Christ as Lord, my relationship with God is dependent on the time I spend in His Word and in His presence. As a friend once said “The Word of God is a spiritual warsh cloth.”

“Warsh” is the word “wash” spelled as he pronounced it. That’s an important piece of his story because he was raised poor and when he became wealthy, he didn’t forget where he came from. He glorified God and kept his humility.

When Paul wrote to Titus in chapter 3 he reminded him not to “get above his raisin.” Not to forget where he came from. The presence of God in our life, through the preaching and reading of His word is a cleansing. As I read the word this morning I was not only reminded that I can live better, but I was reminded of the fact that I can’t live good enough when it comes to obtaining the presence of God in my life. That only comes by and through His grace and mercy. I can’t earn stuff with God and I cannot earn His unmerited favor.

Praise God for that regeneration (the spiritual change) within me that gave me a new life, a new hope, and leaves my soul as clean as newborn baby in the eyes of God. Oh… I struggle. I fall and fail and muddy myself with the world around me. But He is faithful to scrub me back up!  Hallelujah!

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.

Pass it on!

exhortationI love the holiday season! I also love the chaotic insanity that comes with it when friends and family gather, my kids and grandkids traipse in and out leaving behind a trail of leaves, mud and toys… well maybe I don’t like the trail left behind, but the joy of the visit is always welcome!   It’s the season of lost senses. I love encouraging and being encouraged; bringing joy to someone if only for a fleeting moment. All of which lead me to a wonderful gift, given to every child of God, but not always used. The gift of exhortation.

The word “exhort” isn’t found in the Old Testament. Even a likeminded word like encourage is only found nine times. And most often refers to encouraging themselves or others in the service of the Lord. But “exhort” is found 33 times in the New Testament and usually in a context of encouraging the believers in service and faith in Christ. It’s first found, and not by chance I believe, at the onset of Jesus’ ministry.

Luke 3:15-18 ~ And as the people were in expectation, and all men mused in their hearts of John, whether he were the Christ, or not; John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire: Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable. And many other things in his exhortation preached he unto the people.

The gospel of Christ is about to hit the scene, and John is the Master of Ceremony exhorting the people on what’s about to take place. It’s a new day! That Baby in the manger is now a grown Savior. He’s set forth a new standard that religion couldn’t hang with; the standard of grace. The ultimate gift that is non-refundable, paid for on the cross at Calvary by God himself. Our human, selfish selves can’t understand why He would choose to pay that price, but it should cause us to extend a hand of grace and mercy at every opportunity and should give us the desire to exhort one another in these trying days as we wait His return.

So how does one exhort one another during this crazy season?

In Faith

It’s an indictment against our nation that the words “Merry Christmas” are considered offensive. So it’s important as Christians that we stand up for the rights given to us by Almighty God and those who have died for it on the battlefields of earth. I love wishing store clerks and businesses a “Merry or Blessed Christmas” whether or not they are allowed to reciprocate. I look forward to various church events and play that allow me to fellowship in faith. It keeps me ground in the purpose of the season. And most of all the Word of God should be given a place and time to exhort ourselves during this hectic time of year.

In Forgiveness

That word is almost as bad as a four letter word in the mouths of some Christian folk. We all want to receive it, but it’s not often we enjoy providing it. What if every wrong and hurt that came into our mind was followed by, “I forgive that,” and from there we just moved on. What joy would fill our hearts and homes and what new and wonderful works could God do with us?

In Fellowship

It doesn’t cost anything more than time (and sometimes a little gasoline) to spend time with people we love and care about, and especially people who have no one to love and care about them. But the opportunity to exhort one another during this season abounds! Makes sure that the focus of this season isn’t on the monetary as much as the moments we get to share with one another.

Exhortation is a gift we’ve all been given. Let’s pass it round this season and make everyone’s Christmas merry and bright.

Don’t Take Grace For Granted

holy-ground

When we read the bible, we often times read it as if it’s a homework assignment from the Lord and we really want to go outside and play, but we have to get this done first. We treat attending church much the same way. Rather than, understanding that it’s the very Word of God, the One Whom we long to see and hear, but we’d rather it be in person than through the means He’s given us… which is His book. Like the children of Israel, we forget how Holy God is.

And while I totally get that Jesus came from Heaven and walked as a man, and made a way through His death, resurrection and the gift of the Holy Spirit for us to have constant communion with Him in a much less formal way than that of the Jewish religion, it still does not take away how Holy He is. But we forget.

This came to my attention in a recent teen class on one of those nights where I just couldn’t get a handle on their attention. I had brought in instruments in hopes of worshiping the Lord in song but their attention strayed more toward Led Zepplin and The Eagles. And while I’ve been known croon a tune or two of some old favs of my past, I wanted their focus on worship. So, tonight as I prepare for my midweek teen class, my heart is heavy. It’s broken for God because not only the children but we too have forgotten how Holy God is and that His house is a special place. I hope that in teaching this lesson about the Song of Moses, my kids will understand why I love praise and worship music, and why our time together in His word and in His house isn’t just another Wednesday night. But it’s special to God and it’s special to me.

I hate going into one of those nostalgic “back in the olden days” modes, but there’s something different in the church today than there was when I was a kid, and it’s not for the better. While we’ve contemporized many things that make services more “user friendly” (which I agree with) we also draw a fine line between play time and understanding Who’s presence we’re in if we’re not careful. We want kids and adults alike to enjoy their time in God’s house, but we shouldn’t forget that it’s God’s house.

I was in a service many years ago where the Holy Spirit was so heavy during a communion service that someone kicked their shoes off before approaching the altar because it felt like such holy ground. Those times have been rare. I don’t expect it every service because I think we’d take those times for granted if they were there all the time. But I do expect to feel the Holy Spirit moving in me every service, or something is wrong and it’s usually with me. I want the youth in my department to feel that Presence in the church. I want them to understand that the God we serve, the One that loves to laugh and play is also the Creator of the earth and the same God that in Old Testament times would wipe people off the face of the earth for the behavior that we show towards Him today.

Grace shouldn’t be taken for granted.

I think by the time Moses had lead the children of Israel through the wilderness forty years he had just about had enough. They’d whined and murmured, turned their back on God to worship a cow and drove Moses into a fit of anger that kept him out of the Promised Land. Can I get a witness that if he were here today he’d sing that song in Deuteronomy 32 again.

1 Give ear, O ye heavens, and I will speak; and hear, O earth, the words of my mouth.

2 My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass:

3 Because I will publish the name of the Lord: ascribe ye greatness unto our God.

4 He is the Rock, His work is perfect: for all His ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is He.

5 They have corrupted themselves, their spot is not the spot of his children: they are a perverse and crooked generation.

6 Do ye thus requite the Lord, O foolish people and unwise? Is not He thy father that hath bought thee?http://www.fggam.org/wp-admin/ Hath He not made thee, and established thee?

7 Remember the days of old, consider the years of my generation: ask they father, and will he will shew thee; thy elders, and they will tell thee.

Moses went all nostalgic on them as well! He began his song as many contemporary worshipers do today with the song “How Great is Our God!”

And oh my goodness, how great is He! We sing the words and the Holy Spirit moves through us but no sooner is the last word sung, and we’re back into the flesh again. Or is it just me?

By the time Moses had gotten to the fifth line of the song, it was no longer a happy little tune, it was more like “You Ain’t nothing but a Hounddog.” And that theme continued throughout the song until He closes it with the promise of Grace in verse 43

Rejoice, O ye nations, with His people: for He will avenge the blood of His servants, and will render vengeance to His adversaries, and will be merciful unto His land, and to His people.

O we love that verse! That’s when the rubber meets the road for the enemies of God’s people! But we’re not too far from the behavior of the enemies of God today, be it we’re covered by grace and they are not. We love grace! But we forget that the mirror of grace is the holiness of God.

So what am I trying to point out?

God is Holy… don’t make light of Him.

God’s house is sacred… walk in like it’s a big deal.

God’s Word being taught is divinely inspired… listen like its God… because it is.

Don’t take grace for granted.

That Good thing that’s a God thing

good thing

I’m so happy I have the Holy Spirit within me, else, there is no doubt that the flesh would rise up in me and I’d say and do things that would not glorify Christ and could possibly get me arrested. If you’re a servant of God, you either fully understand, or you’re way better at dealing with the things of life than I, and it’s really not the craziness in the world that can drive me to the point of frustration. I expect them to be crazy. It’s the craziness in the church that can push me over the edge.

So I’ve had this illustration in my mind for a few days, I drew it yesterday, and had intended to blog about it. But alas, the Holy Spirit said “Chill, Shari. You’re going to hurt someone.” And so I put it atop my art box and waited for the Holy Spirit to tell me what to write. And this morning as I prepare for church, the words flow freely and the Spirit has said to me, “Encourage them.” I wanted to hurt them three days ago. Who are them? They who sit in church pews. That’s all they do. They just sit in church pews. At least from my perspective as someone in charge of the Sunday School and Youth program. Because when a teacher is needed, it’s like pulling hens teeth to get people to move. And our church is one that is relatively good at stepping up. When I go into other churches and see the frustration in the leader’s eyes as they beg and plead for help my heart breaks for Jesus. He didn’t die for us to sit in the pew.

He died for us to serve. And so this word this morning is for those serving, not sitting. Please, keep serving!

Apostle Paul told Timothy in 2 Timothy 1:13-14

Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.

Hold Fast

That good thing is a God thing. Those sound words that Paul spoke was the inspired Word of God and he encourages Timothy and us to hold on to them. Keep holding on to the Word of God and using it to inspire others through your service. You are rare. I can’t get Matthew 9:37 out of my head that says the “Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few.”  We are a rarity, those who desire to teach and train disciples. We are few, but the field is full of people who need us. And while I get frustrated at those who sit, I’m learning that it will do no good to speak to the masses, I need to encourage the few. Because those are the days that we’re in. So if you’re serving God in any way… “hold on friend.”

Hold Firm

That good thing is a God thing that He’s given to you for safe keeping. Hold firm! Don’t let anyone or anything, including the frustrations of feeling unappreciated, un-noticed, unworthy, or any other “un” words that Satan throws at you to get you distracted from what you’ve been called to do. That little girl in my sketch… she’s no one in particular… she’s one in thousands that I’ve seen in the field and she need Jesus. She or he as the case may be needs you. If we don’t keep on teaching the word of God and telling others about that “good thing” that God has entrusted us with, then who will. There’s nobody beating down the door to get our job. Our job is secure. So please, if you’re in service to the King of kings, keep serving and living as an example to those around you. Tell everyone how awesome it is and encourage others walking in the field beside you. There’s not that many… it won’t take you long. I love you, and so does Jesus… and our reward is on it’s way!

What a great feeling to know that I know!

Child of God (2)If you know me at all, you know I’m a little on the odd side. I’m a dreamer, a visionary, a doer and planner, a singer of songs, a writer of words and a multimedia artist… and not all those things work out like I’d like them too. As a child I knew I was odd, and for the most part I was okay with it. But there was always that hole in my life that needed filled; the hole that needed to know I belonged. I was raised in a loving home with a huge family and I knew that I was theirs, but I didn’t belong. We moved around a lot when I was very little, but when we finally landed in Calhoun County, West Virginia in 1971, even though we stayed put… I didn’t feel that I ever belonged. I had tons of friends. Real friends, not fake ones. But that didn’t matter, the hole was still there. Perhaps you know where I’m coming from.

In 1996 something drastic happened. That hole was filled with the concrete of salvation and I never again felt that I didn’t belong.

As a new convert I was sitting across from a preacher from out of town that I had just met and we were talking about the gospel and sharing our faith and he said to me, “Shari, you are a peculiar person.” I didn’t even take it as an insult, I knew within me it had a spiritual connotation. And so as soon as I got the chance I went to my concordance to search the word “peculiar.” And lo and behold there it was in 1 Peter 2:9

But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light;

I claimed it for my own that day. I am a peculiar person. But unpack that verse and it will have you on shouting ground.

Chosen

Not by chance, but handpicked and purposed by God in His ultimate plan for the universe.

Royal priesthood

Not for the world, but employed by the King of kings for servitude in this earthly realm with our heavenly reward yet seen.

Holy nation

Not alone. The day of my salvation put me into a family too numerable to count, who many have prayed for me that don’t even know my name, but uttered a pray for a child of God or a missionary in need and it was me and God answered. O’… I belong!

Peculiar people

Not like the world. The world strives against itself trying to make it; never realizing that it is an unattainable goal to be anything outside of what we are in Christ. Because that is our eternal purpose.

I’ve read 1 Peter 2:9 many times, but this morning was one of those ‘aha’ kind of days that God opened my mind to His word and said “Here is where I showed you that you belong. No go and tell someone else who needs to understand that truth.”

So there it is. I hope you get it… because it’s an awesome feeling to know to Whom you belong!