Tag Archives: faith

Stepping Into the Unknown

When I think of the Bible characters that stepped into the unknown at the instruction of the known, my heart is encouraged. When I get ready to take my first step, it’s always a flutter. It’s usually followed by nausea and fever blisters. Weird right? That’s what stress and nerves do to me. Once I get past the first step and start walking on the new ground I settle in pretty quickly. But those first steps often feel like a cliff.

When Abraham stepped out of the Ur of Chaldees he may or may not have felt a little apprehension. The Bible just says he went. But in the book of Shari it will say, see went… but she didn’t feel good.

When Moses was told to step into the leadership role of Israel, He argued with the Lord that he wasn’t very good with a bullhorn. So God gave him a mouth piece named Aaron. But it didn’t take him out of the role of leader.

When God made David King, he was in one of the lowest positions of the day, a shepherd boy. But God used all that position to make him a mighty defender and a man who could lead people with the same passion he lead sheep.

When Christ picked “Team Jesus” from the crowd, He picked a variety of twelve characters with a variety of talents. We know their names 2,000 years later because of the impact they had in their work.

I just wrote myself happy.

I’ve never really got to experience a comfort zone, because God is always doing something in my life. Sometimes it’s because He’s fixing what I broke, and that’s very uncomfortable! Today is no different. A new ministry direction is on the horizon with doing things I’ve had a passion to do for 20 years. But this time it’s on God’s terms. So it makes me feel a little better about taking the first step.

I hope that in sharing my thoughts on my zone, that maybe it will help you navigate yours a little better.

Please make the following a matter of prayer when it comes to the new Jesus Chick direction:

  • That God would open the doors (not Shari)
  • God provides a team of people with a passion for the work.

The work will focus on the following areas:

  • Promoting the Gospel (always first and foremost)
  • Youth programs
  • Adult programs
  • Women’s programs
  • Senior programs
  • Substance abuse educations programs

That would be why I need a team. There is a huge amount of work on my plate. But I want to reach as many people as I can with this ministry and give them the tools to reach more.

Big Step… but I’m ready.

Crash Test Christianity

That’s the thought that came out of the teen class lesson yesterday as my co-teacher Doug taught our youth. My brain goes strange places sometimes and either like honey or mud, it’s stuck in that place until I dig around and find out what the Lord needs me to know about that word.

The word was “prove”. Meaning to demonstrate, show, give evidence or verify something.

It’s what most of us want on the everyday front of life; we want evidence that we’re going the right direction, that God is pleased, that we’re forgiven. And God tells us that’s okay. He wants us to prove Him.

But sometimes proving Him leaves me feeling a little like a crash test dummy. Not that God wants me to be that. He’d rather I be the evaluator. Not the demonstrator. But I hit the wall again and again. I’m no different than the original crash test dummies, they however were on camels not Kia souls.

Behavior Lessons

In Exodus 15:24-25 it says

And the people murmured against Moses, saying, what shall we drink?

There third day into the trip and they’ve already found something to complain about with leadership. They’d arrived at Marah and couldn’t drink the water because it was bitter. And that was Moses’ fault.

Yesterday, my grandsons Luke and Parker were wrestling in the floor and knocked something off the table. Within a second of the crash Parker yelled, “Luke did it!’

We’re always looking for someone to blame for our problems in life rather than taking responsibility for it ourselves. I’m not apt to throw someone under the bus, though I might, but more than likely I’ll blame circumstances for my errors. Knowing it was my fault.

But God gives Israel the bitter water to prove something about Himself.

Verse 25:

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 a statute and an ordinance and there he proved them, and said, if thou wilt 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 you.

Praise God for grace! We are not bound by the law. But that doesn’t make the law nonexistent. It’s still there. But now it proves that we cannot keep ourselves. We depend on that grace to clean us up when we crash and burn.

And He does. The name of Grace is Jesus.

Faith Lessons

In Exodus 16 we find the children of Israel complaining again, but this time its about the food.

Verse 3

And the children of Israel said unto them, Would to God we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, and when we did eat bread to the full; for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger.

For some reason that scripture struck me funny. Although I don’t find it funny when my provision isn’t coming in like I wish it would. If you’ve ever lacked (and we all likely have), you can understand the children of Israel’s mindset. We often chalk them up to being a bunch of whiners, but if you’re a million strong in the wilderness and you’re not seeing a Walmart, you’re worried. But the Lord intervenes in the conversation:

Vs. 4

Then said the Lord unto Moses, Behold I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no.

More evidence. More being tied to the law. Again… praise God for grace! Our provision is not tied to the law, it’s tied to faith.

Philippians 4:19 ~ But my God shall supply all your  need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

2 Corinthians 9:8 ~ And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:

Philippians 4:6 ~ Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God

Verse after verse we’re given about the provision of God. And yet ye all know that there have been times when we’ve been without. Is that a lack of faith? Perhaps it’s just another way God proves Himself to us. Paul said it like this in 2 Corinthians 12:9-10:

 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

Sometimes it’s about learning that we can survive without it.

One of my nephews crashed a motorcycle one time and once the downed bike stop sliding and he stopped rolling, he jumped up and said, “I’m fine.” No one was any more surprised than he was. He learned that sometimes we can crash and not burn.

The last place I want to talk about being a crash test dummy is in Exodus 20:20

Grace Lessons

 We just talked about it through Paul. So how does grace work with the laws of God.

And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not.

Moses had just given them the Lord’s Ten Commandments. They had seen God come down as lightening, thunder and the noise of a trumpet and they wanted no part of it. They wanted an intercessor. So do we.

Remember, this was before the days of sci-fi and special effects. This was the real deal and I probably would be afraid too. The only one not shaking in his shoes was Moses and that was because this wasn’t His first rodeo with God. He’d been in conversations with God before.

But now. Glory to God!!! We don’t need an intercessor. We have a more excellent way. There is no need to go through a priest. Christ took care of that on the cross.

Matthew 27:51 – And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;

Ephesians 2:18 ~ For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.

Second to the Resurrection, which proved my Lord’s power over death, my favorite part of that story is the renting of the curtain in the temple. The very thing that kept the common man out of the Holy of Holies was gone. Torn in two from top to the bottom, and opening our way to have direct access to God Himself through the Holy Spirit.

God proves that every day to His children by showing them His presence in their lives.

While the children of Israel felt condemned by the law, there is no condemnation in Christ, only grace for those who come to Him.

Romans 8:1

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.

There is no crash and burn for the child of God. Just like those crash test dummies, we my crash, but  we’ll be fine. Because the Lord is on our side!

Why We Need a Home Church

A Vacation Bible School lesson this past week has left me pondering the life and example Apostle Paul set before us in the scripture. What a story of conversion. The very villain of the day becomes a hero of the Christian faith. I love superhero stories! But Paul didn’t see himself as a superhero. Perhaps he did prior to Salvation when he was persecuting the Christians. But once he discovered the Person of Jesus Christ there was no superhero complex, only humble servitude. The very zeal that Paul used in his persecution of the saints of God, he turned around to use in the leading to salvation of those same people. Paul was placed before us as an example of church leadership and service. But there are very few Christians who follow Paul’s style of serving the Lord. He was bold, brutally honest yet humbly compassionate, he was real and he was committed unto death. Most Christians of the day are not even committed unto life. Paul fought for the integrity of the church. He disputed false doctrine and he encouraged the fellowship of believers as He was taught by Christ.

So where is it in this modern society that people have concluded that Christ is okay with people not finding it necessary to worship as a body of believers? As my friend Chief said in a sermon last week “Nowhere in the bible do we see that Christ sanctioned a renegade Christian.” Throughout the New Testament the believers were worshiping together and risking their lives to do so. I’m sure it would have been safer for them to just stay home. So why didn’t they? I’m pretty sure I can answer that from my own experience.

I’m Eternally Grateful for Christ and His Church

Basically since birth I’ve been in church, but not until 1996 was I “in the church” as a bona fide member of the body of Christ when I accepted Him as Savior. Until that point I had just been a church member with a vote. Which is far from the same. But suddenly I found myself in a spiritual family who took that role serious as they discipled me in faith, prayed for my struggles, counseled me in life and encouraged my soul every day. That’s what a church does, or should do. For that I’m eternally grateful that Christ placed me where He did. I need teaching and preaching and will until I enter Heaven’s gate because God’s wisdom is of a depth I’ll never obtain, but I long to explore. I cannot get that at the house.

Yes, there are television evangelist, and I do listen to more than a few of them throughout the week. But there’s not a one that I could call and say, “Hey preacher, I need your help,” and I’d get an answer.

I’m Evangelistically Gifted for Christ and His Church

And so are you! I have the gift of gab, song, music, teaching and art; all of which I use for the Kingdom. I use it both in and outside the church, so I will agree that you do not have to have a church affiliation to do so. But do people who have those gifts and are not involved in church use them to evangelize? Maybe a few, but very few. My gifts are an extension of Victory Baptist Church. I always make sure people know when I minister that I attend a home church and value that body for support. I minister to people who are not able to attend any church and would love to be able to. But because of health reasons they can’t make it. Our church sends and encourages missionaries both local and distant. That’s what the bible teaches.

I’m Eagerly Guided for Christ and His Church

I want to know the direction God has for me, but I would be just as eagerly guided for the world if I didn’t have the constant presence of brothers and sisters in Christ and a church that preaches God’s word to me multiple times a week. When I hear someone say that they can worship God alone, in their own place and without the church, I always wonder “but do you?”  Perhaps they’re more disciplined than I. That wouldn’t take much. But my experience with the church keeps me going every day.

  • They prayed me through countless heartaches, including my heart attack and open heart surgery.
  • They encourage my soul with their genuine love.
  • They support my ministry.
  • They bring joy to my soul when they allow me to minister to them.
  • They are real people, just a phone call away.
  • They are biblically sound people I can trust.
  • They’re more…

I need church. I think everyone needs a church.

Hebrews 10:25 says

Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

It says that for a reason. We need it,


This blog is in it’s 8th year. Hosted on godaddy.com for the past five. Expenses incurred for the operation of this site are without complaint and with gratitude for the opportunity. If the Lord would impress you to give to help cover some recent technology issues, I’d be grateful. I’ve not been in the world’s workforce for 3 years and for that I glorify God. It’s given me the opportunity to not only write and work on music, but minister to nursing home patients, volunteer in the Christian School teaching art and help other ministries with marketing. All of which require technology, communication, time and gasoline. Again it’s without complainT… but just in case you have a desire to help, or have “extra money” 🙂 Know that I would be eternally grateful.

Here’s the Link

On the Other Side

Proverbs 4:23

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here I am Lord, use me!

Secret Service Christianity?

2 CORINTHIANS 4:3

But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:

Is there such a thing as Secret Service Christianity? To some degree I would say yes when referring to countries where persecution with death as an evidenced possibility. But in America? No, not yet. And it’s gotten to the point of “not yet” because too many Christians have bought the lie that we should keep silenced unless spoken to about our faith. Very, very few times have people approached me and said “Hey, you look like a Christian, can you answer a few questions for me?” It has happened in simsilar fashion but it is almost as rare as a dodo bird.

What concerns me is the lack of desire and knowledge about sharing faith in the Christian realm and the “offense” taken when key Christian words are used in their presence. When I met my previous pastor twenty years ago or so, he came into my office in Magistrate Court and began talking to me about my faith. It made me very uncomfortable. Not because of what he said, but what I feared he might ask that would give evidence to the fact that I knew virtually nothing about the Bible. So when he ask me if I was excited about being a Christian, and if I ever shouted!? I informed him that my church was a on the “reserved side,” and no we didn’t shout. To which he replied “Maybe you should!”

Thats still one of my favorite stories! I couldn’t stand that man until he showed me who Jesus really was, and then I loved him for the 21 years he was my Pastor. Something about salvation changed my attitude. So it’s why I get scared when someone is offended by the word of God and consider themselves to be secret service agents for the Kingdom.

And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.
Can you be a secret Christian? Pehaps I’ve generalized it too much. When people are ask if they’re a Christian, most Christians will gladly answer yes, and usually it leads to an open and welcomed conversation. Many of those people just are not comfortable starting the conversation. I get that. It’s hard. But if you get on fire and begin to experience the power of God in your life, you’ll want to be very vocal about what’s happening. But it has to come from within and it has be to backed up with the action of reading and studying the word of God as well as making church attendance a priority at every opportunity. That means Sunday School, Worship, Sunday Evening, Wednesday Night and any special service in between. You cannot keep a fire lit by striking a match on Sunday morning. It will go out before the day is done. Life gets busy, I get it and I believe God gets it. But if it is so busy that you are too busy for God, you can’t be all He has purposed for you to be.
Complacent Christians are the best tools in Satan’s tool box.
If you find yourself offended by questions of faith, or without a desire to know more of God and His people. I’d check my salvation. Hell is too close to take it lightly.

This blog is in it’s 8th year. Hosted on godaddy.com for the past five. Expenses incurred for the operation of this site are without complaint and with gratitude for the opportunity. If the Lord would impress you to give to help cover some recent technology issues, I’d be grateful. I’ve not been in the world’s workforce for 3 years and for that I glorify God. It’s given me the opportunity to not only write and work on music, but minister to nursing home patients, volunteer in the Christian School teaching art and help other ministries with marketing. All of which require technology, communication, time and gasoline. Again it’s without complainT… but just in case you have a desire to help, or have “extra money” 🙂 Know that I would be eternally grateful.

Here’s the Link

The Difference Between Flatland and Mountaintop Faith

Traveling both far north and far south of West Virginia will take you into the flatlands of the United States. And while that countryside is most beautiful, and my time there is always enjoyed, I much prefer the hills of West Virginia. At least until the first snow and I risk sliding off a mountain side. But it is currently spring, and although snowflakes still occasionally fall; if you wait 20 minutes the sun is likely to shine again and all signs of winter are gone. Our trees are budded, tulips are coming up and the hedges are green. Our hope is renewed that we will feel the warmth of the summer sun soon and very soon. As I type those words, I hear my friend Walter, who’s received the promise of Heaven singing that song “Soon and Very Soon, we are going to see the King!” Well he now sees. His faith has been made sight.

I often mention Walter, because Walter changed the fabric of my life. He was in his seventies when he joined our congregation. A black, retired, Pentecostal pastor who made his home, and his doctrine that of Victory Baptist Chruch for several years. Worshiping with a 98% white congregation. Color was not an issue for him or us. Walter brought a mountain top experience to our church and taught us to worship more freely. He was downright fun!

So what is the difference between flatland and mountain top faith?

Hebrews 11:1-2

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good report.

A Good Report

The elders of the bible believed the promise of the Messiah as spoken by the prophets of old. They didn’t have the privilege of our vantage point of looking back on the cross with the evidences of scripture and history, but they did have the future evidence of the spoken prophetic words coming alive right before them. If one of God’s prophets said the sky was falling, you’d better wear a helmet! But there is now such a variation in what preachers preach today, it is no wonder people are living in flatland faith. Flatland faith meaning, no mountaintop experiences. The world doesn’t know what to believe, there are few “Good Reports.” Billy Graham has died, and there are few of such a stable nature coming up behind him. And even fewer with fire. And far too many “self-professing saints” with a lifestyle that is more apt to be found in Satan’s camp, than in Christ’s.

A Good Testimony

Hebrews 11:3-5

Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh. By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God.

I have to ask myself, what sacrifices am I making for the cause of Christ? Please don’t misunderstand, I speak not of works for salvation, which cannot be done. Salvation was paid for at the cross. But by works I refer to that which I do which has a testimony from the grave. What do I do that has eternal reward? The only thing that’s going to make it into Heaven by my hand, is a soul that I lead to Christ or a saint for which I’ve encouraged by knowing the word of God. Too few people have evidence of a good testimony. A part of which is an excitement and zeal for the cause of Christ. I remember Walter and glorify God, because Walter encouraged me while he was here. Like Abel, “being dead yet speaketh!”

A Good Reward

Hebrews 11:6

But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

I’m by no stretch of the imagination a “super saint.” Lord have mercy on my soul, I fail Him often. But I desire and seek the mountain top experiences believing that God is a rewarding of those who do. Troubles come, but God is so faithful that even in the troubled times, His presence is a mountain top experience. Knowing that I do not have to go it alone. Hallelujah!!

Chapter 11 is the testimony of the heroes of the faith who lived in faith, not knowing what I know, but believing it would be because God said it was so. They believed not seeing. I believe because I’ve seen. I’ve seen saints live it out. Do others see it in me? Do they see it in you?

Get excited! Our future is amazing!

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This blog is in it’s 8th year. Hosted on godaddy.com for the past five. Expenses incurred for the operation of this site are without complaint and with gratitude for the opportunity. If the Lord would impress you to give to help cover some recent technology issues, I’d be grateful. I’ve not been in the world’s workforce for 3 years and for that I glorify God. It’s given me the opportunity to not only write and work on music, but minister to nursing home patients, volunteer in the Christian School teaching art and help other ministries with marketing. All of which require technology, communication, time and gasoline. Again it’s without complainT… but just in case you have a desire to help, or have “extra money” 🙂 Know that I would be eternally grateful.

Here’s the Link

 

The risk of dying before you’re dead

Perhaps it’s an advantage or a disadvantage to the privilege of traveling to multiple churches where I’ve seen both the dead and alive, and those in between. The live revive and the dead remind that I am just a rock’s throw away from being among’em as I witness those in between.
It doesn’t seem like much, but an “Amen!” goes a 4long way to a dry and dusty soul, and no doubt for the preacher in need of encouragement.

So, the question is, “How do you know you’re dying?”

Hebrews 4:1-2 – Let us therefore fear, lest, a promise being left of us entering into rest, any of you should seem to come short of it. For unto u was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, being mixed with faith in them that heard it.

No fear

Possibly the first sign of spiritually dying is that you’re not concerned that it’s possible. I fear it. I’ve seen enough lifeless churches to last me a life time. Revelation 3:15 warns the people of God when He says, “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.”
I see the warning signs in the lives of others that make me fearfully aware.

• Church is a service on Sunday morning only. They’ve forgotten that they “are” the church.
• Church attendance is optional if something “better” comes along.
• Amen is said at the end of a prayer, or when prompted; seldom if ever spontaneously and obediently brought on by the Spirit of God.
• The altar is for fanatics, or those who “need” it.
• Bible study is on Wednesday only, and the preacher is the only one who needs to study so he can say what needs to be known.

If you’re on the list, be fearful, because you’re possibly dead.

No faith

James 2:17 – “Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.”
Faith in God is the premise for Salvation. Believing that faith in Christ alone, without works is the only thing necessary for salvation. But getting saved isn’t the finish work of the child of God. There needs to be evidence that that faith is alive and well! Else, as James said. It’s dead.
Dr. Myron Guiler preached last night at Gospel Light Baptist Church in Wallkertown, NC. Dr. Guiler is well into his 80’s. He’s been near death multiple times in his life, and yet he continues on. He continues on not because he’s a preacher and pastor, but because God’s not done with him yet. He was visibly tired last night, as he’s preached every night this week and traveled many miles between churches. His message was pure, simple and yet so profoundly un-evidentiary in the lives of so many.

• To lead a soul to Christ you must know people need saved and know how to lead them to salvation, you must have compassion for the lost, and you must get involved in their life.
If those are not qualities in your walk with Christ, you are dead.

No fire

For me, this is possibly the most telling of all. I get that people can’t be on the mountain top every day of their lives. Things happen, discouragement abounds. But if I’ve met you on more than one occasion the evidence of salvation should be in your life and you should have omitted a few sparks for Jesus.

As I write this morning in the lobby of the hotel, the hotel desk clerk has questions of about who I am. I tell him about my blog and he checks it out. He comes back excited… he’s on fire. He’s funny. He makes me laugh and our souls connect in Christ. He’s not a Baptist. I’m not a Pentecostal. It’s cool. We serve the same Jesus.

If the very fact that I said I was cool with a Pentecostal gave you more concern than excitement about the fact that we were talking about Jesus in the lobby of a hotel. You might be dead.
Check your blood pressure. Because it’s only about the blood. Not about the denomination.

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This blog is in it’s 8th year. Hosted on godaddy.com for the past five. Expenses incurred for the operation of this site are without complaint and with gratitude for the opportunity. If the Lord would impress you to give to help cover some recent technology issues, I’d be grateful. I’ve not been in the world’s workforce for 3 years and for that I glorify God. It’s given me the opportunity to not only write and work on music, but minister to nursing home patients, volunteer in the Christian School teaching art and help other ministries with marketing. All of which require technology, communication, time and gasoline. Again it’s without complainT… but just in case you have a desire to help, or have “extra money” 🙂 Know that I would be eternally grateful.

Here’s the Link

Even the Easter Bunny Knows

I have no qualms with the Easter Bunny, or Santa Claus or any other fictitious character that has been created to give children happy childhood memories. It did not warp me, nor my children that we were told the Easter Bunny was watching in order to make us behave better, even if it were only for a few days. We gradually and gracefully grew into the wisdom that those characters weren’t real and there was no traumatization. My oldest grandbabies have figured it out too, but continue the charade for their younger siblings, even though any other time they’d love to squash their little dreams.  What baffles me is that the “logical” thinking world has yet to figure out what critters and new creatures in Christ have long since known.

Creation is by the Creator

Of all the things (and there are many) that point me to God as Creator, its critters. My chickens for example. I have plain ol’ ordinary chickens and then I have the “fluffies.” They’re actually called Silkies, and they’re the youngest of our brood. They recently just started laying eggs, and although there are no roosters in the vicinity it still doesn’t stop them from treating their eggs like there’s something other than breakfast inside. I have to fight her off to get the eggs. And she’s not happy about it.

I had been collecting several of their tiny eggs each day, but a few days went by and there were no eggs in the box. It had gotten a little colder and chickens tend to lay fewer eggs during those times, but I really would have thought that out of my four specialty chickens, somebody would have laid an egg. On the third day I went to move their water bin and discovered that everybody’s eggs from the previous three days were hidden behind it. I cracked up! That overprotective hen had pulled a good one on me.

How could that not be intelligent design? How on earth could an explosion create love?  I need to ask no other question for myself to believe in the Creator. Although there are the occasional critters who don’t have the instinct of parenting, (including humans) most understand their responsibility and the exact methods of taking care of their young. Birds know how to nest, and chickens know how to sit and all know how to protect.

Romans 1:20

For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

Regardless of whether or not someone professes that God is God, and Jesus is Lord, and the Holy Spirit dwells within the saved and convicts the lost, doesn’t change the fact that it’s truth. Creation attests to the Creator.

Long before I knew the truth as the truth, God was working in my heart and mind to understand Who He is and who I was. I recently wrote another song titled “Salvation’s Song” and one of the verses speaks of the how I knew I wasn’t saved, and how I knew when I was. Before I was saved… no peace. After I was saved…. PEACE. Only God can make an internal difference. We are created with sin coursing through us. That explains the world. But when God’s presence comes within through the Holy Spirit, Glory to God there is peace on earth. Not outside… but in.

Yes, even the Easter Bunny knows God. Do you?

There’s a link at the top of this page titled “the Road to Salvation.” If you don’t know or are unsure of your salvation, and that if you died today you don’t know if you’d be in Heaven or Hell. CLICK THE LINK. And let me know so I can pray for you.

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Comments and Contributions are always welcome

This blog is in it’s 8th year. Hosted on godaddy.com for the past five. Expenses incurred for the operation of this site are without complaint and with gratitude for the opportunity. If the Lord would impress you to give to help cover some recent technology issues, I’d be grateful. I’ve not been in the world’s workforce for 3 years and for that I glorify God. It’s given me the opportunity to not only write and work on music, but minister to nursing home patients, volunteer in the Christian School teaching art and help other ministries with marketing. All of which require technology, communication, time and gasoline. Again it’s without complain… but just in case you have a desire to help, or have “extra money” 🙂 Know that I would be eternally grateful.

Here’s the Link

 

Four Reasons to Stay on the Wall

In the book of Nehemiah, a mighty religious leader of the day received word of the remnant of the Jewish people that are left in Jerusalem. Their wall of protection is destroyed, the gates have been burned and Nehemiah sits down, weeps, fasts, prays, and then then begins his conversation with God.

Before we take our stand atop our wall there is a few preparatory measures we need to take. First talk to God, make sure it’s your wall to stand on and fight. I cannot tell you of the times I have climbed to the top of a wall that was built on someone else’s ideas instead of God’s. Second, take accountability for the brokenness if it’s yours. And third remember, you are one of the Redeemed! That in a nutshell is Nehemiah Chapter One regarding the state of Israel and Nehemiah’s prayer to God. If it’s your wall, don’t come down.

God is the God of Action. Unless it’s for a time of prayer or preaching, nowhere in scripture do you find God’s people sitting still and being productive. If they’re sitting still (like King David) they’re apt to fall into sin. Busyness isn’t always a sign of productiveness, but it’s certainly a better sign than never being found doing anything.

I cannot summarize the story of Nehemiah and the wall into a few sentences. So much happened and the entire book is so worthy to read. But for bit of encouragement for the both of us I’ll use this scripture from the book to encourage you to stay on the wall.

Nehemiah 8:10

Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry: for the joy of the Lord is your strength.

Israel had just heard the word of God afresh. They were mourning for the state of their nation. But Nehemiah gives them (and us) these words of encouragement.

We have a Reason to Celebrate

If God’s people can’t rejoice, who can? The wall was rebuilt in spite of the opposition they faced. And for those of us on this side of the New Testament, we are blessed with the Word of God that has stood the test of time and has proven itself as truth no matter how many times an angry world has tried to tear it down. We can eat the fat and drink the sweet of His glorious word and feel the Spirit in our soul as we do. The world may not know… but we do. That is reason to celebrate! Stay on the Wall and Celebrate what God completed at the empty tomb.

We have blessings to share

Nehemiah reminded them that their blessings were not their own to keep. Neither are ours. I looked around my home this morning at all the goodness of God and His graciousness to me who is so unworthy and I feel shame that I don’t share more than I do. I feel shame that I don’t take the time to thank God and stay in constant prayer that His mercy abounds in my family and friends. You too no doubt have blessings uncounted and gifts in your life that you could encourage someone with today. Stay on the wall and share God’s goodness that world may see what He’s done in your life, and that even the unsaved will glorify God for you.

We serve The Lord Most High

I loved when Nehemiah said “Don’t be sorry.” I believe he was telling the Israelites to move past regret. I am so apt to stay in an attitude of unworthiness because of my failures. I do it to the point of yet another failure; because God has proven I am worthy by His death on the cross. Was not that enough? We serve a risen Savior who took every sin; past, present and future upon His shoulders at the cross so that we could live in victory! We serve the Lord Most High, there is no reason to be low. Stay on the wall and serve in the victory you’re afforded and don’t cower to the demons of Hell that tell you you’re not worthy. You are worthy by His blood.

We have His Strength to Go On

That strength is found in His joy and His joy is found in our service. There is engrained in the child of God a desire to serve. When that desire is fulfilled it brings with it a joy unspeakable and that joy floods the body and soul with strength to go on. Yes, we’ll have some days of doubt, we’re human. But we can look back on the joys of serving God and the fruits of our labor, just like Nehemiah and children of Israel must have looked back on the rebuilt wall. Look what you’ve done in the strength of the Lord! Can He not do more? And will you not continue to stand and fight for those who have yet to make it to where you are in Christ?

I have family and friends who have never experienced life atop the wall. They’ve never known the victory of Spirit filled leaving and confidence in Christ. I’m not done until God says I’m done. Stay on the wall and continue in His strength that others may experience it too.

The wall of Jerusalem was nothing more than bricks and mortar. The Rock for which we stand is indestructible. Stand Strong in His Might!

How Crazy is it?

The closer I get to Easter, the more my mind reflects on the cross. And the more I reflect on what God did that day the more I have to say that it’s got to be a crazy love that would be willing to do what Jesus did that day. When I look at the world we live in I think to myself “Why on earth would you have saved this wicked and rebellious generation?” For which I am one. I know my heart and how I can turn on a dime toward something sinful and ignore the Holy Spirit within in me that gives me more than enough support not to fall into it. And yet I do. And yet He still loves me. That’s crazy! But what’s crazier than His love is those who fail to accept it.

The Love of Jesus is Without Condemnation

While sin is not ever acceptable it is no less inevitable. 1 John 1:8 says If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” There is a difference between condemnation and conviction. Jesus will not condemn the child of God for the sins they’ve committed. That crazy day on the cross He died to cover every sin ever committed by His children. Is not that a worthy payment? Of course it is. Does that mean we can sin and not understand there should have been a penalty and yet may still be repercussions? Of course not.

If a store is robbed there is an earthly expectation of the penalty that freedom should be lost. If I hurt a friend without regard for them or our friendship I may lose that friend. But when I sin, regardless of the depth of the sin the penalty is paid in the eyes of God, and the relationship is restored the very second I turn to Him. That’s crazy love, but it’s how He works.

Sin is without condemnation but it is not without conviction. The Holy Spirit reveals to the child of God when sin is in the house, we know better. We may still fail but He has given us the power within us not to. If we fall into sin it is our choice.

The Love of Jesus Cannot be without Declaration

Matthew 10:33

But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.

Professing Christ is more than just saying that you know Him. Satan knows Him. The demons of Hell know Him, but they are not children of God. I knew Him in my head from the time I was a child until 1996. But not until I declared Him as Lord of my life and trusted in Him to save me did I know Him in my heart. It was then that I truly felt the Holy Spirit guiding me and putting that conviction upon me when I wasn’t going in the right direction. It was also when I began to declare my love for Him. Even when the world thought I was crazy.

My friend Doyle Ballengee said it best when he said “Go ahead and call me a fanatic, when you or someone you love gets a bad doctor’s report, you’ll be looking for a fanatic.”

That’s how I feel about my declaration of love for Jesus. Go ahead and say I’m crazy when all I want to do is talk about my Lord and all that He’s done in my life. Because when your life gets turned upside down but this old world, someone as crazy as me can help you set it up aright by showing you how Jesus did that for me.

I know it sounds crazy to the world when I say that Jesus died for me. Because the world wouldn’t give you the time of day if it cost them anything of any magnitude. But Jesus will give you more than you could ever imagine in return for your declaration, acknowledgement of Who He is. God.

The Love of Jesus is Not without Expectation

I can hear the naysayers now, “Oh, there it is. I knew you had to do something.” No, you can sit on your toosh and do absolutely nothing and still make it to Heaven. Jesus paid the price once and for all at the cross. All who accept, believe and declare Him as Lord, that He died on the cross, rose again the third day, and ascended to Heaven to make intercession for you will be saved. But if you want to be all you can be for Christ, and have the reward of His glory, on earth and in Heaven, there is an expectation.

I sat at a table with three friends this past Wednesday, each with their own story of coming to the knowledge of Christ in their lives; four very different people with one common bond…Christ.

  • One came to Christ because she grew tired of being with people, and yet alone.
  • One came to Christ because the religion she had grown up with let her down when she needed it most.
  • One came to Christ when He realized the law wouldn’t save anyone.
  • And this one, me, came to Christ when I realized there was no peace in this world without the Prince of Peace. And “religion” wasn’t the same as a “relationship.”

Each one of us now serve Christ and desire to serve Him greater because He did that crazy thing on the cross.

How crazy was it? He was beat until His body was unrecognizable and said to have looked like hamburger, He was spit upon, and ridiculed, at the height of His pain had a crown of thorns rammed on His head and was mocked as King of the Jews. His earthly mother sat at His feet with her friends and wept for the Son God had allowed her to give birth to. Some of His final words were “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:34 in part) That’s crazy because it’s true.

He did that for you. Have you experienced His love? Declare it and share it! He is worthy.