Tag Archives: gifts

Just for the Joy of It!

While there are numerous verses in the Bible for which folks can cling to and call their own for such a time as this in their lives; I may have found a new life verse for me. Insert smile here for the cupcake, but the verse does speak more to my heart than just that sweet treat! It speaks to my soul on a level that God knew I needed today.

I always say I have issues, but I really believe that I have my share and someone else’s too. I love to live life, I love to give joy, I always mean well even when it doesn’t end well, and I have the hardest time of receiving anything with joy. I’ll receive it with gratitude, and the consciousness that I am beyond unworthy, but joy doesn’t come easy.

So Nehemiah 8:10 pricked my heart this morning.

A friend had sent a message today that they were going to contribute to my ministry and I didn’t have words  (other than thank you) to tell them how I felt. It doesn’t come natural for me to receive things without guilt.

Why that is, I don’t know, because that’s never been the intent of the givers. They give with joy… so why can I not receive it with joy? Follow along with me in verse 10 and I think you and I will both discover why…

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.

Accept My Goodness

I don’t know why God is so good to me. I don’t say that in humility, I’m really clueless. I know my heart. I don’t deserve any of it. And yet, He pours His goodness down upon me and says, “Here it is Shari. Just take it and enjoy.

Share My Goodness

I don’t always have things to share. Not like people share with me. But when I do it does bring such great joy to me. It’s why I love sharing the art that I do and why I give so much of it away. Because it does bring great joy into my life. It’s also why selfish people are miserable. Because they don’t experience the joy God intended us to have.

Celebrate my Goodness

For this day is holy! That part of the verse got me. God intended this day to be used for His glory. That’s why He puts His blessing upon it and says, “I did this for you. I did this so you and I could celebrate the day together.”

Isn’t that a great thought? That God creates a party for no particular reason, just because He loves you. 

Now stop feeling guilty about it. You’re ruining His fun. That’s what I heard. God said I was a party pooper.

Draw Strength from my Goodness

Life is full of enough bad days. When we get a good one, we need to store up that goodness and remember it.

Much like me, the children of Israel were not always obedient. They were more often than not a rebellious nation. So there was plenty of guilt to go around and they were justifiable in the feeling. But God tells them to “stop living in defeat because of past mistakes.” It won’t fix them and it will mess up what He had planned next.

Glorrrrraaaaay! That’s a good word, right? Let’s celebrate with cake! Just for the joy of it!

What Do You Have Left?

Philippians 3:4-8

Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ.  Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,

Apostle Paul is one of the Bible characters that I cannot wait to see when I get to Heaven. His stories must be amazing! He’s a “shoot from the hip” kind of guy that always gets me right between the eyes with his words.

Confidence in the flesh

Paul had it, and from the worlds standards had reason to have it. Me? Not so much. I know I’m a multi-talented, gifted by God gal. Totally get it and totally don’t deserve it. But confidence in it? Um… no. Just this morning I’m flitting about getting ready for the day, listening to preaching, got an idea for a blog… then, got an idea for a song to go with the blog, then, while practicing that song I got an idea for a song of my own and went from room to room of my house trying to accomplish all those things at once. In the process, my computer crashed. Total nausea.

It was if God said, “You need to stop. I didn’t give you those gifts to drive you crazy.”

So I took a breakfast break, and regrouped. Rebooted my computer and low and behold my original thoughts for a blog were gone. And so I started from scratch believing God had a new plan.

Confidence in the Flesh will get you in trouble. Every time I feel that I’ve got a song somewhat mastered, I butcher it beyond belief. When I feel I am ready to stand before a crowd to sing or speak, my first thought on stage is “Who let this happen?” Paul was beyond confident, but he threw it all away for weakness.

A friend of mine had a proud momma moment the other day when her son performed and did an amazing job. She turned to me and said “I wish he knew how good he is.” I understood what she was saying, but part of his charm and talent is the grace and humility of him believing that he’s just “okay.”

Paul gave his resume for confidence and then he said, it’s not worth poop! That’s the Paul I know and love. He threw pious dignity right out the window.

Counted it Loss

Why is it that we put so much stock in terminology and the opinions of people? Labels and titles are fine to use as a narrative to our story but they in and of themselves do not define us. I’ve had many titles over the course of my 55 years. But truthfully, each title was a defining moment in my life that made me who I am in Christ. Paul learned and taught that an education was only as good as its eternal ramification for Christ Jesus. Paul used his wisdom to market Heaven in a way that we continue to share 2000 years later, and he didn’t even have social media. That’s an effective education. It’s why he could count the papers that listed his titles as loss, because the only paper that matter, was the word of God.

Consider the Value

Apostle Paul said that all of the noble titles and power he held in the world were worth no more than “dung.” Defined as the “excrement of men.”

So… here’s a thought. The next time you go number 2, just look in the bowl and think about the fact that that’s the value of all of your worldly wisdom and stature. All that matters is what’s outside the bowl, which is what we do for Christ. The question of the hour is “What do you have left?


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.

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What’s your ilities and what are you doing with them today?

ilitiesA quick message and words of encouragement from a friend last night brought to mind a much needed attitude of gratitude for the salvation I have in Jesus Christ and the peace He alone affords His children. Life is harsh, I have on every side of me friends and family suffering. I have issues of my own, we all do! And yet I have this responsibility that comes with accountability but praise God for the ability to use all those “ilities” in the ministry. Ilities is not a word… so if I drive you grammar checkers crazy I’m sorry. But Ilities should be word. The definition of “ilities” would be

Ilities: the enabling of a God given gift through the Holy Spirit, not to be ignored, and for the exclusive purpose of ministering and encouraging the children of God.

If you’re a child of God, you have ilities. You may not have discovered it, but you’ve got it! And just because you don’t know what it is doesn’t exclude you from the accountability factor because you should be looking for it and opportunities to use it. My friend did not have to message me and encourage me last night, but he chose to take the time out of his day to do so. He has discovered the many talents that God has given him in music and exhortation and he uses them.

I also received a message from a fellow who thanked me for the new song that I published this week “You Knew,” (see video below) because it had ministered to his soul on a hard day, and he returned that by encouraging me. Wow! An ility at work! For he and I both.

Apostle Paul, who was so much more eloquent of speech than The Jesus Chick wrote in 2 Corinthians 4:1

Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not;

Believe me I’ve fainted a time or two, or a million. I’ve known that there were things I should have said and done and I chose to ignore the ilities that God had placed within me because I was fearful, uncertain, or just flat out lazy.

Paul continued in verses 7-8

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;

That is why, even on my worst days, even on the worst days of other children of God, we can minister to one another. So…

Not Listening is Dangerous!

chick feast

So I find the story in the book of Samuel, chapter 13 of the character of Saul. Saul, an ordinary, (though tall) fella, who God has given a job. And not just any job! The job of being the very first King of Israel.

Once Saul took office he had called up 3,000 men; 2000 of which were under his leadership and 1,000 under the leadership of his son Jonathan.  Not long after this, his son Jonathan killed a garrison (a troop) of Philistines and their people were upset. Upset enough to get 30,000 chariots and 6,000 horsemen together to attack Israel.

This was Saul’s first big test of leadership. But he only had 3,000 people. So Israel ran and hid in their tents and caves and bushes, anywhere they could because they were sure they were just about to get slaughtered.

Saul is in Gilgal, where Samuel, the man of God had told him to wait for seven days and he’d be there to offer a sacrifice. They’d have a prayer meeting before the battle, always a good idea!

But Samuel doesn’t come at the hour that Saul expected. So Saul does something really stupid and takes matters in his own hands. (I have worn that shirt too many times to count!)

1 Samuel 13:9-10

And Saul said, Bring hither a burnt offering to me, and peace offerings. And he offered the burnt offering. And it came to pass, that as soon as he had made an end of offering the burnt offering, behold, Samuel came; and Saul went out to meet him, that he might salute him.

Saul was excited to see Samuel… For a minute. Until he realized that Samuel wasn’t any too happy that Saul had done a job that God had appointed him to do.

Saul’s job was King. Samuel’s job was sacrifice.

As I’m reading this, as I often do, my mind is in other places. “God, over and over again I ask Your plan, and over and over again I think I have direction and then, life just doesn’t work. What now?” And in between my reading, talking, writing and Attention Deficit Disorder living I can almost feel God roll His eyes at me again.

And then it happens. I whine. “Seven years, I’ve been here waiting. Seven years!  (as if God didn’t hear me the first time) In 2010, God in no uncertain terms said. “Quit your job, and serve me.”

And I just couldn’t see how it would work. So I’ve been hired, fired, wired and tired for seven years. Not in a good place. I’ve doubted myself. Others have doubted my calling, I’ve worked for nasty people and nice people and although I’m a little further down the road, I don’t feel that I’m very far. Again and again, I’ve tried to go back into the secular world of work, and it won’t happen.

But right at this point of whining I almost feel a Gibbs slap to the back of the head. (NCIS television show terminology there.) And God saying did you even listen to what you read? For seven days Saul waited for Samuel and then decided to take things into his own hands and because of that he lost it all. Seven days, or seven years, it doesn’t matter. I have to be the one controlling your life, else this is not going to work. Those jobs you’re applying for belong to someone else, stop trying to do them.

So that was His message for me today… I have a job. It’s to wait on God.

Saul lost the kingdom and he lost the peace of God. That’s how King David came into the picture as the second King of Israel, because he could play and sing for Saul and speak peace to his soul. There’s power in what I do. Although I don’t write like David, and I’m not the skilled musician he obviously was, it’s the job that God has given me. I need to stop trying to take someone else’s.

So to cap this story off, with something funny to tell, not funny to live… This past Sunday, someone on the music schedule wasn’t able to sing and they ask me to fill in on the fly. So I think, no prob! I’m trying to obey God and do what He’s ask so I take my guitar to church and I’m going to wow them with my singin’ and playin’. I couldn’t hit a chord to save my soul! Praise God, Jesus had already saved it. So I whine again… but God, You said if I did it, I’d be okay. He said, “I didn’t say it would be easy.” To which my response was “Did it have to be so dog gone embarrassing?”

I think God likes His people humble. And He knows my heart, I’m always trying to do it the short cut way. There’s not shortcut to God’s design.

I don’t have time to tell you of the blessings God has put in my path to make these things happen. People, instruments, tools of the trade of writing. God has a plan for each one of us and I believe if we listen it is clear ~ and not listening is dangerous! So listen the first time. It’ll go way easier for you! #ExperiencedFailure #GodLovesMeThisIknow

 

Then Sings my Soul

then sings my soulSinging ~ it seems to be where my focus of late has been and I have to be very careful, because the flesh can rise up within me, and the very gift that God gave me to glorify Him can become an instrument of distraction. It’s such an enjoyable experience in its own right but couple that with the praises of men and it’s suddenly missing the point. The point being that God gave us our voices to vocalize Him to a lost world. It’s not that I don’t think singers are worth their hire or that they shouldn’t be encouraged through complimentary remarks, because I think anyone who serves the Lord in any capacity is worth their hire and deserve encouragement. It speaks of that in the book of Nehemiah 13:10 when it was said “And I perceived that the portions of the Levite had not been given them: for the Levites and the singers, that did the work, were fled every one to his field.”  The singers went home… that would be a sad day. But I don’t write of being worth my hire, I write of being worthy of my calling and that comes with an accountability factor for having been given the gift of song, or any gift we’re given (insert yours here, you’ve got one.)

David wrote in

Psalm 33: 1-5

Rejoice in the Lord, O ye righteous: for praise is comely for the upright.

Praise the Lord with harp: sing unto him with the psaltery and an instrument of ten strings.

Sing unto him a new song; play skilfully with a loud noise.

For the word of the Lord is right; and all his works are done in truth.

He loveth righteousness and judgment: the earth is full of the goodness of the Lord.

Have Gift Will Travel

David obviously was a talented musician and people enjoyed him. When Saul was troubled in soul after being disobedient to God and losing the protection of his position as King, David was summoned to play music.

1 Samuel 16:23

And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him.

David’s anointing in music brought peace to Saul’s troubled soul. And for me that’s what music is about and why so many people are drawn to it. But in the same manner that I’m drawn to perform and others are drawn to listen, the music should edify the soul and encourage the listener. I’m not one to sing “the blues.” And I don’t mean the genre, I speak of the mentality or spirit of being blue. If I’m singing I want it to take the listener to a place of comfort. That’s what gospel music does for me. Secular music is fine, and I like singing a silly song or two or a love song, but I want to leave the listener happy and I want my life to always point others to the saving grace of Jesus Christ. A dark song takes people to a dark place… and God’s not in the darkness.

Having a Gift takes Time

David said to play skillfully. Well, let me tell you… that takes time! As well as a tolerance of joint pain and calloused fingers. But if the musician/singer is going to be worth their hire, God expects an investment. And with the blessing of God upon me with opportunities to sing His praises I’ve been putting more and more time into song. But that’s not to take away from my gift of words which can happen so easily because the music is a finished product that springs immediate joy up in my soul. The words require creation… and study and must be formed from the ground up. But they have the same effect on the soul… encouragement. And they have the same accountability factor. Both are labor, but are labors of love.

Having a gift is Good

David wrote that the earth is full of the goodness of the Lord. And one of His things of goodness is the gifts that He grants. Are you using yours for His glory? Are you using it to its fullest potential? That’s the questions that I ponder myself today…

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There’s Something About that Name

Chick name

Getting the Name of Jesus

John 20:31

But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

And so it as in 1996 that I got it. I’d heard it all my life having been raised in a Christian home, I knew that it was important, I knew that I should reverend it… and not ever take it in vain. But I didn’t “get it” until I was 34 years old. Why? I can’t answer that, other than to say rebellion. But in the year of our Lord, Nineteen Hundred and Ninety Six I found myself with the realization that there was something about that Name. Something I needed to know… to understand deeper than I’d ever understood it before. And with that desire came life, joy unspeakable and a relationship with the Creator of all Heaven and earth. I got it. The Name of Jesus saved this wretched sinner from Hell.

The Gift of the Name of Jesus

Acts 2:38

Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

The very second I accepted Christ’s work on the cross as payment for my sin, and that He alone was my salvation, I received the Holy Spirit. Christ living in me. It was amazing to have the Lord revealing an understanding of His word, providing counsel and comfort as I’d never known! When Peter spoke to this crowd the Holy Spirit was an entirely new experience for them too, Jesus had been with them alive and in person, but now He’d sent the promised Comforter, and the baptism was their outward expression of what was happening to them inwardly; that they too accepted the final work of Christ on the cross and His resurrection.

Because I was baptized before I was saved (in error, having not been ask if I was saved) I didn’t get baptized until a few years later. I was still saved… but I wasn’t experiencing my salvation to the fullest until I made that public profession of what had inwardly happened. There was no magic in the water but there was the sweet Spirit of God that blessed my obedience, and I received gifts of the Holy Spirit that I had not received before. Gifts from the name of Jesus allowing my service to be greater.

Grace from the name of Jesus

Acts 4:10

Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole.

As much as the crowd who shouted crucify, I was responsible for the death of Jesus on the Cross. On my own there was nothing good in me, sin controlled me and pride kept me from acknowledging that Jesus Christ is Lord of all the earth. In this story of the Apostles in the book of Acts they had healed an impotent man in the name of Jesus. The religious crowd didn’t understand it, but with the man standing before them whole, they sure couldn’t deny it! Anyone who knew me, knew that there had been a change, they may not have understood how or why, but they couldn’t deny it.  Grace came in many forms in my life, it grew compassion in my heart for others, it granted belief in people that the world gave up on, and it garnered love from people who I never imagined would love me as they did.

Oh… the name of Jesus. There’s something about that name in my life. How about yours?

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Re-wrapped and Ready

chick gift

Wait… I said wait.

At first I wrote the second wait with an exclamation point, but then I reconsidered, because when God spoke those words to my heart, He didn’t yell. He wasn’t excited, He was in the same manner He always is…Rock steady. Unwavering. Unlike me. Lately there’s a scripture rolling inside my head from James 1:8 ~ A double minded man is unstable in all his ways. It’s like a pinball machine pinging from one corner of my mind to another failing to settle into a slot. Reminding me of the indecisions of my life, the ones that I thought I’d settled and yet I have not. They cause fear and anxiety to creep into my thoughts and unrest in my soul. That unstableness leads to feelings of unworthiness and it’s a downhill slope from there. But because my God is ever faithful and knows my every need He provided a place for my soul  to find rest in Psalm 27:1-3

The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell. Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident.

I am confident I have no confidence.

It was a conversation I had with my teens on Sunday morning. They have no clue that I use them as mini psychiatrists; I pour my soul out to them in the guise of “opening myself up to them.” I’m kidding… kind of. It’s somewhat therapeutic to teach teens. They are nonjudgmental of my mayhem life. So when I tell them that my confidence level is nil when I take the platform to sing or speak, some are shocked, but most get it because they too struggle with confidence. Obviously I’m not alone in the adult category either. Even David, favored of God, and warrior extraordinaire had moments of doubt.

Doubt creeps into my life and then hovers over my shoulder like the evil it is. Sometimes the enemy is within and sometimes the enemy is without… It usually starts with someone or something, and then I take over adding fuel to the fire until it burns out of control. Possibly too metaphoric a statement but if you struggle with self-doubt you get it. It doesn’t take much to get you on a long journey down the road to the pity party waiting at the end and a box of Krispy Kreme Donuts, my reward of choice for having a bad day. Until God enters the scene and uses His man David to smack me back to reality.

God’s strength

But in “this” will I be confident. Then why do I not feel confident and strong? Because I have forgotten that within me is the strength of Jesus Christ.    

Hebrews 10:35Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward.

I had thrown away (cast away) my confidence. God is not an Indian giver; He has a no return policy.  If I lack confidence it is because I chose to throw it away not because God took it back. Again and again God has shown me favor in the gifts that He has given me, if I lack confidence it is because I am not trusting in His ability.

God’s Sanctuary

David said in verse 4- One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple. For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.

That one thing. The one thing worth desiring is to be in the presence of the Lord all the days of our lives. This morning it was not enough for me to hang out with God for a few minutes of pep talk. I wanted to really hang out and dwell with God in the Sanctuary of the Lord and hear what He desired my soul to hear. I am enquiring in His temple. Because He said when I’m in trouble He would hide me from the enemy, even if I’m the enemy.

While I’m here He has promised that He will

  • Lift me up above my enemies so that I can sing. (vs. 6)  That fear on the platform is not here.
  • He will hear what I have to say and answer me with mercy. (vs. 7) His answers bring stability.
  • I have an invitation for a face to face with God. (vs. 8) How can I not accept!
  • When the world walks out, God has never left my side. (vss. 9-10)
  • If I seek Him and listen to His teaching, the path will be plain. (vs. 11) I need plain…
  • I have enemies who seek to destroy the works that God has put into play, I’m aware of them. So is God. They should worry. (vss. 12-13)
  • I believe there is goodness waiting. (vs. 13)
  • So I am waiting. (vs. 14)

God’s Steering

14 Wait on the Lord: be of good courage, and he shall strengthen thine heart: wait, I say, on the Lord.

Twice He says wait.  “But I’ve waited so long,” I complain. And then I can almost hear Him sigh… “You’ve made Me wait. You have done everything humanly possible to ignore me.” Strong’s concordance says that this “wait” is defined as “to bind together perhaps by twisting, collect gather together, look patiently tarry and wait.”

That definition made me think about the bow that is tied about the gift. The gift is bound and sits waiting until the Receiver opens it. I’ve made God wait.  Now it’s my turn.  So the gifts that God has given me will sit wrapped up until He’s ready to open them and present them for use. For a “doer” that’s hard…

To be continued while I wait…

 

 

Not what the world expects

ent

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

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

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

David sang in Psalm 8:1-2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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They didn’t know his name, but they knew his God

1 Samuel 16:16-18 ~  Let our lord now command thy servants, which are before thee, to seek out a man, who is a cunning player on an harp: and it shall come to pass, when the evil spirit from God is upon thee, that he shall play with his hand, and thou shalt be well. And Saul said unto his servants, Provide me now a man that can play well, and bring him to me. Then answered one of the servants, and said, Behold, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, that is cunning in playing, and a mighty valiant man, and a man of war, and prudent in matters, and a comely person, and the Lord is with him.

When Saul fell out of fellowship with God, God allowed an evil spirit to trouble him;I believe it is still the case today when someone who once served God stops serving Him, and begins serving the world again, that God will allow their to be trouble in their soul, an un-rest where there was once rest and peace. He’ll also allow a peace to be felt in the presence of other Christians in their lives to bring to remembrance the peace God once afforded them.

David had obviously made quite the impression on the community as a harpist (the original bluegrasser’s ya know), but not enough to make his name a household word. He was still referred to as “the son of Jesse.” He was known for his music, his mastery in war and life’s circumstances and he was quite the looker. All of that is in those verses, just not with the same adjectives I used to describe him, but its there. And last but not least they say “and the Lord is with him.” It was his secular talent that got him noticed, but it was obvious to everyone he was blessed by God.

What we do outside the church is important, and it’s important that we do it well. If we profess we are Christians, how awesome would it be that when someone described our character and abilities that they followed it with “and the Lord is with them.” They probably won’t. But you better believe that a Christian who does not do their job well will often be referred to as “and they say their a Christian…”

David was first noticed for his abilities, but they also knew that God’s hand was upon him. And who knows how many souls were saved because he drew attention to himself through his talents, but glorified God in the process. So… what are you doing with your talents today? Are you a person who desires God’s heart?

The world may not know your name, but what’s more important is that they know your God.

You are the Christmas Story… What version are you telling?

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This morning as I began to study and read the Holy Word of God, I just about skipped over the first half of Matthew 1, the genealogy of Christ. I was going straight for the Christmas story! I usually read the Bible online so that I can copy and paste my scripture without fear of error, but I resorted to the traditional leather bound Bible this morning and noticed the notes scribbled across the pages from a previous sermon “The Forgotten Chapter of Christmas.” This is why I write in my Bible, else days like this I would have missed God’s message for me.

Four women were mentioned in the lineage of Christ at a time in the culture when women were not generally found worthy of mentioning, and indeed what women they were! Tamar (in verse 3) reminds us of Judah’s failures in Genesis 38, Rahab in verse 5 was a harlot in the book of Joshua, Chapter 2; Ruth was a Moabite and subject to a special curse; and Uriah’s wife Bathsheba had an affair with David, and yet there they are in all their messed up splendor, listed in the lineage of Christ our Lord. These are Jesus’ people. Yesterday I wrote on the commonness of the characters of Christmas, this morning my theme seems to be on the uncharacteristic characters of Christmas.

If I asked this morning “Why God would use such women to accomplish his cause I would have to ask, “Why would He use me?” But because He has chosen to use such an imperfect cast of characters I can better ask “Why not me?” I have friends who constantly berate themselves for their failures in their walk with Christ, and while it is true that we can all do better, it is a lie of Satan that our mediocre lives prevent our effectiveness for the Kingdom. If faults trumped God’s purpose the Bible would be a much shorter book. But instead its pages are filled with dysfunctional families, lies and deceit throughout… and then came Jesus.

God never condoned or approved any of the wicked nonsense in the Bible or in our lives, but He did acknowledge it as fact and provided the means for redemption. Those verses this morning were God’s way of saying, “Listen, I know you’re messed up, but I fixed it! From this point forward you’re my child and as your Father, I have the right to forgive.”

In Luke 5:21-25 there was a conversation between Jesus and the scribes and Pharisees.

 And the scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, Who is this which speaketh blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone? But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answering said unto them, What reason ye in your hearts? Whether is easier, to say, Thy sins be forgiven thee; or to say, Rise up and walk? But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power upon earth to forgive sins, (he said unto the sick of the palsy,) I say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy couch, and go into thine house. And immediately he rose up before them, and took up that whereon he lay, and departed to his own house, glorifying God.

God alone has the power to heal the broken whether it be physically or spiritually. Those who have acknowledged Christ as their Savior are without excuse for serving, because God cleared the pathway for us to get up and walk! Today, with Christ living in us, we are the Christmas story. What version are you telling? There’s only one right version. It’s the one that says you’re a forgiven child of God. Go tell somebody!