Tag Archives: God’s Word

Finding Peace in the Trouble of Today

I really don’t understand the concept of preachers who preach that a child of God will not experience trouble, or can “speak” issues away. If that’s so, then I have some serious issues. Well, let’s face it, I’ve got issues. But my issues are issues with me, not God.

I have no power on my own, but I have a mighty God Who has the ability to remove or let me travel through any of the issues in my life. And I believe that His decision is for my good. Of that I am a firm believer, even if I sometimes don’t particularly like it. But if I could share an encouraging word with you today it would be the truth of Isaiah 26:3 ~

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

My bible journaling efforts this morning was drawn from a conversation that I had with my buddy Dewey Moede. And of a show I watched last night on Netflix. Dewey spoke of his concerns of the day, and the many battles from many directions we face as a Nation, and most importantly his reliance upon God. The Netflix show spoke of the future, and their reliance upon man. Two very different perspectives. It is unfortunate that there is likely followers of Netflix than Jesus.

Hollywood (or Hellywood) as a preacher friend of mine calls it has a tendency to jade life. As I watched that show last night the characters had the ability to come back in time and “fix” what was broken in people’s lives. But even they agreed that there were some things just beyond our control.

One of the main characters had the ability to know historical events. Including tragedies that had yet to happen in our time (his history, as he was from the future.) Those events burdened his heart, as they would us, which is why God doesn’t let us know the future. We couldn’t handle it. At least I couldn’t.

The trouble of day is enough.

Matthew 6:34 reminds us Take therefore no though for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

So what about today’s troubles. How do we handle those?

Isaiah 26:3

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

Perfect peace? How’s that working for you? Not so well for me every day.  But even if there are days when I have “issues” there are no issues with my Lord.

The reason I don’t have perfect peace is because I watch Netflix rather than reading the Word of God. True Story! If I “stay in the word, I have peace. If I watch Netlix or spend too much time on Social Media I allow the cares of the world to govern my thoughts.

Mark 4:19 says it best when it says And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.

That’s exactly what happens!

Those things that garner our attention be it on the television, movie screen, books or computer are often lusts that choke the word of God out of our thought processes and prevent us from experiencing the true and perfect peace that God intends for His people. He didn’t’ say you wouldn’t have trouble, but He did say we could have peace in the midst.

Funny things about the heart attack and pending surgery between May 20th and May 25th. Netflix didn’t enter my mind. I wasn’t worried about not having the nicest house or being the best at anything. I wanted to survive the day. And oddly enough I had the ultimate peace. Peace that I now, 7 months later, don’t experience because I don’t have my mind “stayed.”

Remember what I said about encouraging you? Well… turns out I need encouraging too. And this little miniature study of the word of God reminds us all that peace is found in one place. The Word of God. Not in the chaos around us, not in other people, or a cup of coffee and a piece of cake with 7 minute frosting. We need to “stay” our minds and trust in the only trustworthy thing in the universe. God.

Kiss the Cook

Proverbs 17:27-28

He that hath knowledge spareth his words: and a man of understanding is of an excellent spirit. Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.

I’m not the best cook in the world, and when it comes to my cooking my husband’s not too critical because usually he’s just happy to be fed! And when all of the food disappears from the pot, I don’t need a “That was awesome” comment because the lack of needing to rinse before putting it in the dishwasher speaks for itself. If only life could always have words and ways of encouragement. But that’s not the case is it?

If only it were the unsaved that had a critical spirit we could understand it. But often times it’s the exact opposite. The unsaved can be more encouraging than the saved.

Another random thought I’ve had is “why are their silent letters in words? What purpose do they serve?” And “does someone, somewhere, pronounce them?” It was then I realized that they served as much purpose as a critical spirit.

Spared Words

Why it is that some people are compelled to share the entirety of their opinions as if the world would fall off its axis if they did not, I do not know. I’ve been in their presence when they did; and before the words came out of their mouth my stomach would turn somersaults as if I had just eaten rotten food. There is not a fine line between criticism and constructive criticism. There is a canyon’s width.

Constructive criticism harbors no ill intent. A critical comment has several intents. It’s meant to prove that they’re wiser than the person being criticized. It’s meant to make the criticizer feel important. And it’s said without regard for the feelings of anyone concerned except the person offering their opinion. I’ve experienced it and I’ve probably been the one who had the critical spirit. But that would be rare. Not that I’m without faults, that just happens not to be one of mine because I’ve been the victim far too many times. It’s what happens when you do a lot. It offers more opportunity. It’s probably why many people do nothing.

Spirited Words

What is an excellent spirit? They are God’s gift to a troubled world. They’re people who speak wisdom and words that encourage and applaud someone who’s at least trying.

I have to be honest and tell you that there is a critical spirit within me that I have to squelch on a pretty regular basis. Whomever coined the phrase that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” may have been speaking about humanity or perhaps they were an art critic.

Last night I was watching a home improvement show and this “artist” with obviously more money than I, (perhaps I was jealous) was redoing their art studio. For which is my kitchen table. Anyway… they were an abstract artist, and not what I would have considered a good one. But they have a studio, and I have a table, so what do I know?

Another artist that I had recently seen on Etsy was selling art for huge prices that looked literally like some of the work my grandbabies do that I consider more valuable. They had thousands of followers and I’m like “are you serious?” I’m so glad that I don’t know that person personally. Yes, I too have a critical spirit. But I don’t feel compelled to post my feelings online or tell someone that they’re less than good.

Because if it’s not something that you’re paying money for, life really is subjective.

Spirit Led Words

What each of us should be is more Spirit led. Before opening our mouths we should ask ourselves “How would Jesus respond?”

Not critical. He has never one time criticized anything I’ve done for Him. But I have. Even the words that I speak over my own efforts should be examined for their intent. When I got finished with my video blog on Facebook yesterday I immediately tore into myself for a job poorly done. It’s why I refuse to watch them after I’ve posted them. I post them in faith believing God can use someone like me.

It’s also why I don’t have a critical spirit toward other people, because I understand how it tears you down and discourages you from your efforts.

I’m not sure why this thought was on my heart today, other than I needed to hear the last point myself. I hope it encourages you for the good!

God Bless!

Shari

www.theJesusChick.com

What to do when they don’t understand

meet shari

At the onset of salvation God had me in a place where the word of God took preeminence in the decisions of the church, our conversations, basically life in general. We talked about the Word of God over breakfast, lunch or dinner and when sermons were preached the message was very, very personal to me. Sometimes too personal. It was as if someone had whispered in that preacher’s ear the very words I needed to hear. Over time I learned that it was spiritual discernment and that God had not actually told the preacher my sins in detail but that God would lay a message upon his heart that was needful in my life for that place in time. There were occasions that I also allowed the flesh to read more into it than necessary. God’s pretty basic with His conversations. Now, He could be far more intellectual than the brightest of men, after all He created conversation. But usually God speaks to the souls of men in a manner befitting a kindergartner. You cannot say that you do not understand what He meant. He broke it down. You can ignore it, but you can’t un-hear it.

God still works like that with me. The word of God takes preeminence in my life be it in the spoken, written or sung word. There’s a message for my soul specifically. I look for it and I long for it because I need to feel the presence of God in my life.  When I miss it, it frustrates me. So this morning I set out to determine a circumstance in my life that has me more than a little frustrated. And as always, God is faithful.

At this time in my life, I’m feeling very misunderstood. And for a person who wears her heart on her sleeve and communicates through the spoken and written word, being misunderstood hurts my heart. Because I feel that I am an oracle of God. (1 Peter 4:11)

If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

So I determined in myself this morning to get to the bottom of this with God, and so I awoke and began to search scripture for what God’s message to me would be concerning the matter at hand. By that search I ended up in the book of Ecclesiastes, written by Solomon, the wisest of all men, and who certainly had his share of life illustrations.

Because I’m of a passionate nature when it comes to personal and spiritual matters, frustration can run a close second to anger. I can get in the flesh and allow Satan to fill my mind full of notions that have no bearing in truth, but they sound good. Notions in respect to opinions. So I want to get anger out of the way first and foremost and so I landed on Ecclesiastes 7:9

Be Not Hasty

Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of fools.

And so I stopped there. Obviously that was it. I just need to stop jumping to conclusions. Perhaps I was reading more into the situation than was there. And as I was about to shut the book on it, I heard God say… “I’m not through, keep reading.” I think God likes a three point sermon too. And so I continued on.

Be not High-minded

I don’t know what would ever give me the idea that I’ve arrived when it comes to understanding God’s ways, but for some reason I always think that I should. I’m just silly enough to think that God and I are so tight that He’ll let me in on what He’s doing in life, mine and everyone else’s. I know… that’s ridiculous. But in reality I’m clueless. And its why I turn to His word, looking for the “in” that lets me be in the “know” with God. So I continued to read.

10 Say not thou, What is the cause that the former days were better than these? for thou dost not enquire wisely concerning this.

11 Wisdom is good with an inheritance: and by it there is profit to them that see the sun.

God’s so funny. I had been focusing a lot recently on what I considered to be better days. And God reminded me it’s not good to rest on my laurels. Yes, those were amazing times, but wouldn’t it be sad if that was it. God still has so much more to do, and though wisdom from the past is a great inheritance to have, there’s profit in looking to the future. That’s a good word for anyone!

And so I thought I’d better continue to see what else God had to say to me this morning concerning the hurt in my heart.

Be Not Heavy Hearted

21 Also take no heed unto all words that are spoken; lest thou hear thy servant curse thee:

22 For oftentimes also thine own heart knoweth that thou thyself likewise hast cursed others.

23 All this have I proved by wisdom: I said, I will be wise; but it was far from me.

And there it was. My conclusion to God’s three point sermon to me this morning. It only matters what God thinks. All the words that are spoken about me or to me are of naught, if God’s blessing isn’t on them. People hurt people. That’s life. Mine and everyone else’s.

So Praise God! I will continue being the “me” God created me to be. If King Solomon the wisest of all couldn’t figure out men, I’d be pretty foolish to think that I could. And though I’m no one in the eyes of the world, in God’s world I was appreciated enough to die for. That’s a reason to shout, and to praise and think outside the box that the world loves to put God in. Amen? I think so. Amen!

Don’t let unexplainable dreams halt God’s undeniable purpose

chick dreams

Restless nights… they’re a rarity for me. I have the gifted ability to fall asleep within minutes of laying down. It perhaps could have something to do with the fact that my overly active mind is either going to stop or explode. I shared a post on Facebook the other day that said “Having a creative mind is like having 2,857 web browsers open all at once.” I laughed… and then sighed. That was me for certain. Another sleep trait of mine is that if I dream, I seldom remember having had them. But not last night… it was a vivid dream with some well-known characters of my past and a few barely known. The setting was my Grandma Vada’s home place where I’d taken my own granddaughter Paityn. We were in an upstairs bedroom that I have such great memories of as a child. Two big ol’ iron beds that we bounced and laughed upon for hours on end; thousands of memories and secrets shared between cousins. But this day as I shared those memories with Paityn, or Princess “P” as we call her, some family members from the past came and halted the visit. I woke up frustrated. My mind reeled as I began to think of how those same family members “finagled” that property out of our family’s lives and that I would never really get to share that special time there with Princess “P”. And then I began to wonder about the power and purpose of that dream… who was behind it?

It seems the supernatural has a super attraction in the word today. What was once a comedic act of the Ghost Busters is today considered “science.” I’d roll my eyes but it would lose affect. Why is it that we’ll put stock in everything but the truth! People will believe that spirits can speak to them from another realm, but absolutely refuse to put any stock in the fact that the Creator of the Heaven and earth can speak to the hearts of man.  They’ll seek a soothsayer to interpret a dream or put great stock in Sunday’s horoscope, and yet the Bible full of prophecies fulfilled and promises never broken is considered an antiquated outdated book. Insert another eye roll here. Seriously? So again I question my dream. Why now did these people that I had long since stopped allowing to inundate my thoughts, invade my sleep? I stopped it right there. Why would I waste a second of time on a chapter in my life that had long since had the epilogue complete? Because Satan could distract my mind from the things in life that I have begun to write a prologue to. You see… God has some plans for my life that I’ve been thinking on a great deal lately, and I think Satan is feeling a little left out.

Dreams are very intimate events. If it’s something that captivates your mind when you awake it’s usually because it’s something meaningful at your very core. And Satan is so very good at core’s… Just ask Eve. I won’t put any stock in something that disturbs me as a sign from God.

1 John 4:1 says Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

And it is clear from Galatians 5:22 that the Spirit of God is not sent to trouble the mind when it says “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith.” So if there is a spirit troubling your soul who do you think is in charge of it?  These thing are heavy on my heart because I see so many people giving over to a spirit in their lives that troubles their soul

Spirits like:

  • Hurt
  • Sorrow
  • Fear
  • Anger
  • Bitterness
  • Envy
  • Pride
  • Slander
  • Jealousy
  • Murmuring
  • Backbiting

Oh that list could go on for miles, anything that stirs strife in your soul and takes your mind off of the things of God.

If I had allowed my mind this morning to give place to the thoughts that I awoke with, I can guarantee you the spiritual plans I have had on my agenda for today would have been washed away by the rain outside my window.

It doesn’t have to be a dream. You can be standing flat footed and wide awake and Satan will remind you of something that immediately causes strife in your soul. Again the scripture says in Ephesians 6:12 “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”

So when it comes to the spirit world (which is very real) don’t open up an avenue to Satan and his minions by thinking on or exploring “their” realm. God isn’t involved with them, so why would you want to be? Those who dabble with darkness just might get more than they bargained for.

Philippians 4:8

Finally,brethren, whatsoever things are true,whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever thingsare just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoeverthings are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

SOUND ADVICE FROM THE SOUNDEST OF SOURCES.

Don’t let unexplainable dreams halt God’s undeniable purpose.

But now… News Flash!

chick mosaic

Psalm 119:67 says “Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word.”

Matthew Henry’s commentary expounded on it like this “Prosperity is the unhappy occasion of much iniquity; it makes people conceited of themselves, indulgent of the flesh, forgetful of God, in love with the world, and deaf to the reproofs of the word.” Matthew Henry is far deeper than Shari Johnson. I skimmed the “But Now” verse for today and thought…. “ahhh, he’s right with God.” I missed the part about being afflicted until I read it again; trying to unpack what it was the Lord would have me to understand.

Before I was afflicted…

You know, when all was right with your world. Before you lost yet another job, before you lost that friend, before you felt bad, before your family was hurting, before you were frustrated, before, before, and before again. Dear gussy! Why must it always be that way? Before we keep God’s word, our world is filled with awesome sauce. It’s only when those distresses, dangers and depression come into our lives that we read God’s word and think, “That’s a good idea.”

News flash! It was a good idea before the before. “But now… it’s an even better idea!” Because now we’ve come to realize that without God in the equation of our life we come up with the same answer. Wrong. It is God that makes everything right, even the wrong stuff. Over the 19 years of my salvation I’ve witnessed first hand

  • God move financial mountains like they were ant hills
  • Heal disease without treatment… and with treatment
  • Answer the prayer for healing with “Not on this side,” and provide the peace beyond!
  • Friendships broken beyond repair… and then mended
  • Drunkards find new wine
  • Dopers find the greatest high in life… salvation
  • Prison in people with freedom, and freedom for people in prison
  • Lives shattered and then pieced back together to become a beautiful mosaic.
  • And so much more!!!

That’s how God works! But not by choice. He’d rather we get it right the first time. He’d have rather there would have been no sin in the garden, but now… there’s Satan. And he’s got to stir it all up and see if anything stinks and stink it does. Until we smell the sweet aroma of God’s presence in the room, when He shows up and we say… I think I’ll keep God’s word. It’s the only thing that has ever stayed trued and beyond a shadow of a doubt has kept me through it all.

It’s kept me:

  • In hope when the world said there was none.
  • In peace with the world was in chaos.
  • Together when I was alone.
  • Filled with joy, without reason.
  • Complete, when so many things in my life were missing.

I am that mosaic. A beautiful piece of art fabricated out of all the brokenness and afflictions, and glued back together with His word. It’s such a privilege to have it.