Tag Archives: God’s purpose

But Now… an awkward alliance turns awesome!

broken chick

Joshua 9

12 This our bread we took hot for our provision out of our houses on the day we came forth to go unto you; but now, behold, it is dry, and it is mouldy:

These were the words spoken to Joshua and the children of Israel by the Gibeonites in order to deceive them into believing they were from a far country; yet instead they were neighbors to Israel for whom God had instructed Israel to make no treaty with. Joshua knew enough to talk to God before he went into battle, but what’s the harm in a peace treaty? God loves us to be buddies, right? Ummm… not always. It wasn’t long before Joshua had figured out that he’d been duped, but they had already sworn peace in the name of the Lord, and that’s serious business. So instead of killing the Gibeonites, the Gibeonites became Israel’s servants.

All sounds innocent enough, but Israel had still sinned in that they had failed to seek counsel of God. God may continue to use you, He may continue to bless you, but not to the degree that He would have if obedience had been factored in. But it’s the rest of the story that I love about the Israelites and the Gibeonites. They were not supposed to be mingled in with the children of God, and deceitfully got there. But God’s got a plan and as human as we are we can’t mess it up. God used the humility of Gibeon as a life lesson. They were humbly willing to be servants to the house of God if their life was spared and because of their willingness to serve Him He continued to use them.

After Joshua 9

  • The Gibeonites became servants at the tabernacle, just as Joshua had commanded.
  • Gibeon becomes a priestly city; the Ark of the Covenant stayed at Gibeon often in the days of David and Solomon (1 Chronicles 16:39-40 and 21:29).
  • At least one of David’s mighty men was a Gibeonite (1 Chronicles 12:4).
  • God spoke to Solomon at Gibeon (1 Kings 3:4).
  • Gibeonites were among those who rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem with Nehemiah (Nehemiah 3:7 and 7:25)

Isn’t it great what God can do with us when we come to Him in humility and love, willing to be used where ever it is that He sees fit. As Gentiles we were not God’s chosen people, but in His great mercy He allows us to be a part of the family of God, grafted in, adopted in as one of His own. It was an awkward alliance that Joshua made, but because of it Gibeon was saved. Stop kicking yourself because of your past mistakes and rather see if God can turn awkward into awesome!

What to do when God says “no”

For one thing, He may not have said no, He may have said wait. But let’s just suppose He, for real, said ‘no’ to something you were desperately desiring. What’s your reaction? I know what mine’s been often times. Panic! I thought that was for sure the answer. I knew that would make it better, why would God think it wouldn’t? And then there have been the rare occasions that I’ve actually gotten the spiritual tee shirt that says “I did it His way.”

So He said ‘no…” Let’s see what scripture says about it, pray, and follow God’s lead. And remember, you’re in good company.

Paul said in II Corinthians 12:8-9

For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. 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.

Paul was persistent, God was providing

Three times Paul asked God to remove the thorn from his side. There have been many theories as to what exactly this thorn was—so many theories in fact, that it is impossible to diagnose Paul’s situation with complete assurance, but none the less it was troublesome enough for him that he wrote about it. I always believe that if a bible event doesn’t have a name or description it’s intended for me to be able to insert my name and circumstance there. I have my own issues that I’ve sought God for and have been told no, way more times than three. You’d think I’d get the picture, but I know regardless that His grace is sufficient.

It sounds so cliché, does it not? And so easy to roll off your tongue to a friend when they’re going through hard times; but not nearly as easy to say to yourself. God’s grace is sufficient, but it’s okay to ask God to talk you through as your waiting on provision to come. As a matter of fact, I highly recommend it. In talking to God your relationship grows closer and that problem may have been the provision of restoring a right relationship with our Heavenly Father. It was a time to re-focus.

The problem continued, the praising did too

We miss the mark, or at least I do, on praising through the bad times. What a testimony of the Lord’s provision when an unsaved soul can see you going though it with a smile on your face. Sometimes you’re the provision for someone else. If they can see you holding on to hope in the hard times, it just might be the deciding factor that keeps them from going to Hell.

Paul said he would glory in his infirmities. They were a part of the plan! Again, not what we want to hear but truth none the less. In this fallen world we’re going to have troubles and struggles; and be it health, finance or people problems they’ve all been covered by the cross if you’re a child of God. They’ve received His stamp of approval for having a purpose for your gain. It may not be clear, but keep on the path and praise Him all along your way.

Because there’s power in God’s promises

The issues with promises is we can’t see them from the other side as we’re going through. A point brought up in church this past Sunday. It’s easy to look back on a problem and see how God’s woven the provision into the circumstance, but not so clear as you’re gasping for air and feeling as if you’re going down for the third time. This is where faith, even if it’s no more than a mustard seed, has to take place. Nothing happens in life that doesn’t have purpose for God’s glory and for your good. Romans 8:28 – And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

The power doesn’t come from anything you can do. It comes from faith in what Christ has already done. He died for you that you may have hope in eternity and serve a God that will work everything out for your good, even when there seems to be no good in it.

Hold on!

The Very First Ministry Created on Earth… are you a part of it?

Genesis 2:15

 And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.

The first ministry on earth. Adam was placed in a location and given the job of taking care of what God had created; and so it continues in the year of our Lord 2014. It seems pretty simplistic, and yet for many it is nowhere on their list of priorities, or if it is, it falls just shy of taking out the trash. They do it because it’s necessary, but not enjoyable.

I don’t for two seconds believe that’s how God intended it. I believe that as Adam tended to creation he did so with joy in his heart and a desire to serve and please the Creator. It should be the same today, but the world gets in the way and we lose focus of His design. We were created to take care of the created… each other.

As a child in the hills of Braxton County, West Virginia, on my Great Grandmother Duffield’s property, we had what we dubbed “The Moss House” in the woods. It was a moss covered piece of ground in the thick woods where we would gather and make “rooms” by moving the moss into different locations. I thought it was an exclusive idea of my group of cousins, only to discover in a conversation with my older sister years later, that they thought it was their idea. Truth be told my mother probably played the same game. Ministry is much the same. We all think we’re creating something new, but the truth of the matter is we’re just tending to what God created. But it’s fun to be creative with it!

So as our ministry team at Victory Baptist Church begins to refocus on “that place in which the Lord placed us in 2014, my desire is to motivate and then move out of the way by meeting with our youth leadership team and ask them

What Did God create us to do in this place in which He placed us?

Below is a 7 point outline using the acronym C.R.E.A.T.E.D. to sum up our role and motivate one another as leaders in the church:

  • Challenge ~ There’s two ways to look at a challenge. It’s a task– The challenge of how far can we go with this ministry, and it’s a trial – There are challenges that we face in the youth ministry, the greater the challenge, the greater God will be glorified. What’s the challenge?
  • Results ~ There nothing like one great accomplishment to give you the desire for another. It’s how we’re made. But in order to have accomplishments there has to be goals set. What are our ministry goals?
  • Enthusiasm ~ If we’re excited about what’s happening, it’s bound to rub off on the rest of the church. What is something you’d get excited about doing? Let’s do it!
  • Attitude ~ It’s your attitude not your aptitude that determines your altitude as someone so cleverly said. What attitudes are helping, and what attitudes are hindering?
    •  Attitudes we deal with in the ministry –
      • Fear (I’m afraid if I do this… this might happen.)
      • Pride (I don’t want to fail in front of people)
      • Doubt (of ability or agility on both ends of the age spectrum) Think Joash who became King at Seven, and Moses who didn’t get called until he was 80. Age is not an excuse for not serving.
  • Transformation – When things get stale, throw a little change in the mix, and we have new motivation. Our church as has had a major game changer this year. We are Pastorless… not leaderless. There have been some great transformations in leadership simply because change happened. What can we do different?
  • Endangered – Telling someone that a critter has become endangered will create a flurry of people coming to that critters rescue. Well, churches are becoming endangered… or at least solid, Bible teaching and preaching churches with leadership with a backbone. Please… come to our rescue and join the fight.
  • Dreams – Leaders are visionaries. Wanting to accomplish something bigger. If you could dream of anything at all, the wildest craziest dream ever for your ministry. What would it be? Let’s do it.

We were created in the image of God with a design by God for our work; we weren’t created to sit idle. So I have to ask the question… What part of the garden did God give you a desire to tend and what ideas did He plant inside of you about it?

Growth is a Journey but Bloom Where You’re Planted


Luke 2:49

And he said unto them, How is it that ye sought me? wist ye not that I must be about my Father’s business?

My Father’s business. These words keep ringing in my mind this morning. At twelve years old Jesus knew the plan and began working it. He submitted to His parent’s authority but He continued to work the plan God had placed into motion in that manger in Bethlehem. This morning I’m trying to get into motion my Father’s business plan. I’m working on upcoming speaking engagements, marketing conferences, blogging, networking, praying and learning! Wow. I’m exhausted just telling you what I’m doing. For the longest time I would feel guilty every time I marketed myself as a speaker, singer or any of the other hats I wear. Until I finally decided to roll with the plan God placed in motion on August 11, 1962, my birthday.

All along, what I had been doing by believing Satan’s lies and failing to market myself was being a failure at a business God had destined for success. It is destined for success not because of me, but because of my purpose; which is to glorify God. Satan had convinced me that I was marketing “me”, knowing that in my humbleness of attitude and insecurities I would know that I’m not worthy. What a liar! And what a sap I was for believing him. Gradually over a year long journey I have grown to this place. Where is here? The portal to purpose.

It’s where I stop saying I’m Shari Johnson, and then as a side note say I’m working for the Lord. It’s where I say, I’m a child of the King, Shari Johnson. God is my employer. He sent me to you today to encourage you to be all that you can be for His glory. God has a purpose for my life, and yours. We truly are to bloom where we’re planted. This day I’m planted in West Virginia, this evening my vines are reaching out to a prayer conference in Marietta, Ohio. Tomorrow, who knows where I’ll be, but God has a plan.

Has Satan been feeding you a pack of lies? Has he been telling you to stop dreaming, hope is gone? He’s a liar. God has a plan, step around Satan and move forward!

Post a comment and let me know where you’re at on your journey!