Tag Archives: God’s in Control

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!

What More Can I say?

My God is so Big

Hebrews 11:32a –  And what shall I more say?

The writer of Hebrews asks that question and this morning so do I? I wake up and my mind is pummeled with doubt and frustration and the Holy Spirit speaks to my heart, “Have you looked back at your life lately? When have I ever failed you?” If you’re a child of God that statement just hit you like a ton of bricks. Because God has never failed you. But then I say to you shuck off the bricks, Jesus carries our load.

The writer, who I assume to be Paul, continues on with examples. (vs. 32b-40)

For the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions.  Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.  Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection: And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment: They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.  And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.

Time would fail me as well if I told you of the many times that Jesus pulled my fanny from the fire. Often times with my back pockets singed because I’d just about waited too long to ask Him for help. I hear the song in my mind (Oddly enough it’s the Veggie Tale version) – “My God is so big, so strong and so mighty, there’s nothing my God cannot do!” That’s not a cartoon quote, that’s bible!

Psalm 66:1-4

Make a joyful noise unto God, all ye lands: Sing forth the honour of his name: make his praise glorious.  Say unto God, How terrible art thou in thy works! through the greatness of thy power shall thine enemies submit themselves unto thee. All the earth shall worship thee, and shall sing unto thee; they shall sing to thy name. Selah.

God knew the Veggie Tales before they were famous. And He knows you and I, and He knows our heartaches and struggles. He has fought our foes, He has shut the mouth of the lions that we were sure would devour us, He has stopped that fire that crackling the thread on our pockets and delivered us time and time again. If you’re honest you can recall, because you remember what an awesome feeling it was when you were raised to life again!

I love, love, love verse 40 where God says “God having provided some better thing for us.” How awesome is that!

Glory I just wrote myself happy!

Are you struggling with something today? As my finger hits the last key on this blog, I’m praying for you. I’m asking my God (and yours) Who is so great and so mighty, believing there is nothing my God cannot do.

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Managing Your Mission

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If you’re a child of God, the second you step your foot to the floor  in the morning you’ve entered the mission field. The mission field varies from child to child but it’s a full time job wherever you are or whatever you do. Look around you right now, and look around yourself later… there you are on the mission field. God has a plan for you in that place and at that time, and Satan has his own strategy… foil God’s plan.

My mission for today is to create a battle plan that is road worthy. One that I can take on the road via this blog and share with other leaders to encourage them and myself as well to be prepared for this day of battle. I found the battle plan in Deuteronomy 20

You’re going!

Like it or not, if you’re in the leadership of the church, meaning you carry a position of any sort, you’re the enemy of Satan and his minions. But God says “Be not afraid.”

Deuteronomy 20:1 – When thou goest out to battle against thine enemies, and seest horses, and chariots, and a people more than thou, be not afraid of them: for the Lord thy God is with thee, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.

Forget the numbers and forget their method of transportation. It doesn’t matter if the enemy out numbers you or if they have greater means of getting to their destination, they’re not in charge. Oh my, how I needed to hear that today! I get overwhelmed when I start counting what needs done, or what obstacles are in my path. But then I read the Word of God and I am quickly reminded that my Commander and Chief sits high and looks low and He can orchestrate this army of enemies to part down the middle and allow my pathway to be straight, or He can give me strength for the battle, but either way my destination has been established of old provided I stay on the path. Oh… I’m going!

Your Pep Talk

Deut.  20:2-4 – And it shall be, when ye are come nigh unto the battle, that the priest shall approach and speak unto the people, And shall say unto them, Hear, O Israel, ye approach this day unto battle against your enemies: let not your hearts faint, fear not, and do not tremble, neither be ye terrified because of them; For the Lord your God is he that goeth with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you.

Your High Priest, Jesus Himself comes nigh to you today and tells you… let not your heart faint. Is it not the Holy Spirit that dwells within your heart, Who has the original battle plan that was drawn up by God Himself in His hand? He’s right there with us on the battle field. He’s not sitting in some office passing out orders, He’s got His hands right in the thick of what we’re in working through it for our good. God says  don’t faint now, you’ll miss the victory party! The victory party starts before the battle is over. We celebrate each step along the way as we watch God’s providence have its way again and again. Everything we’re going through will be a testimony of  His presence in our life. Don’t faint!

Your Orders

Deut. 20:5-7 – And the officers shall speak unto the people, saying, What man is there that hath built a new house, and hath not dedicated it? let him go and return to his house, lest he die in the battle, and another man dedicate it. And what man is he that hath planted a vineyard, and hath not yet eaten of it? let him also go and return unto his house, lest he die in the battle, and another man eat of it. And what man is there that hath betrothed a wife, and hath not taken her? let him go and return unto his house, lest he die in the battle, and another man take her.

Dedicate – when I get a new instrument I dedicate it to the service of the Lord.  I want that instrument to be an instrument of the gospel through music and ministry. I don’t want it used for vain purposes of building myself up but rather a tool of my trade. In verse 5 the scripture says that our entire home should be dedicated to the Lord. Have you dedicated your home to His service? I’m asking the Lord to use my home in whatever capacity He chooses. This morning it’s an office, this afternoon it may be romper room if my grandchildren are around, but may God be glorified through it. Amen!

Plant – Vs. 6, What’s in your vineyard? And will you enjoy reaping what you’ve sown? I pray that we are all sowing seeds of the gospel along the way, but as well as those seeds I’m also sowing things into my life and into others. If I want to harvest abundantly in my life I need to sow the right seeds in the right soil. Be it financially or spiritually I need to make sure that what I’m planting is what I want to harvest. I don’t want a job, I want to harvest a ministry, but I also need provision for my family so that I am not a burden. So I’m headed to the seed store to see what God wants to plant that will provide a crop of provision. What are you needing to harvest? And are you planting the right seeds?

Marry –verse 7 speaks of betrothal. That’s a commitment. Are you committed to the cause? It’s going to be a battle, you’ll be spending a lot of time together, and if you’re in it for the long haul you better be married to it. Get to know God’s plan for your life inside and out and don’t walk away from your destiny.

You’re Ready

Deut. 20:8-9 – And the officers shall speak further unto the people, and they shall say, What man is there that is fearful and fainthearted? let him go and return unto his house, lest his brethren’s heart faint as well as his heart. And it shall be, when the officers have made an end of speaking unto the people that they shall make captains of the armies to lead the people.

In closing, God says if you’re not ready, go back to the house before you discourage someone else. But if you’re ready, God’s got people that need you for a leader. These are exciting times! What’s God going to do with you today… Lead on!

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