Tag Archives: gratitude

He’s Still the Lion

Proverbs 19:12

The king’s wrath is as the roaring of a lion; but his favour is as dew upon the grass.

This is the third day of journaling in the Holiday Inn Hotel dining room. Just as I’ve done in many, many places across my travels. Used to be my open bible was always an introduction to conversation with passer by’s. If for no other reason curiosity. But no more. Perhaps it’s our sense of privacy, but I don’t think so.

I don’t think the people around me fear the wrath of God or desire His blessing. But rather are believing in their own power, humblerise.com. Enjoying their own world. But whether or not they believe…

He’s still the Lion

Revelation 5:5

And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.

I’m not saying they’re not saved or that they’re not good people. I’m not judging. Just observing. No one bowed their heads to bless their food or took note that I studied the Word of God. They just went merrily on their way, enjoying their breakfast. But whether or not they took notice…

He’s still the Lion

I won’t judge. But Jesus will. He’s coming again. And this time He will not be meek as a Lamb; no, this time they’ll know and understand that He is the Messiah. They will know

He’s still the Lion

Meanwhile, I’m enjoying the dew that falling on me this morning.

An Unusual Thanksgiving Message

Book of Wars Journal entry and Poetry by Shari L. Johnson

Although I know it was a word search that lead me to Numbers 21, I don’t remember what word I was searching for. I got so caught up in verse 14 and wondering just where is that book? And why do I not remember this scripture?

Wherefore it is said in the book of the wars of the Lord, What he did in the Red sea, and in the brooks of Arnon.

I did a quick web search on the book and read that it was a “missing book,” a “canonical book” not included in the scriptures and a book spoken to a man by an angel just a few years ago! None of those intrigued me enough to search any further for the book, but rather I decided just to let the Holy Spirit speak to me this week of Thanksgiving on what that book meant to me. And why I was lead to the book of Numbers, chapter 21, and verse 14 this morning.

I imagined the wars that God had penned in that book for me. Penned much like I do in journaling, for the purpose of reminiscing and to look back on a time in my history that something amazing happened. Something worthy of documenting. And what will it be like when I get to Heaven and discover in that long, lost book, all the times God rescued me.

Ephesians 6:12  says

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.

Are those wars written in that book? I don’t know.

But I know this. I know God is worthy of far more gratitude than I give, Thanksgiving or otherwise. I’ve had to fight a lot of battles within and without lately, and everyone was won with the Word of God. I had to fight them again usually because I let the flesh take over and remind me not of the win, but of the battle.

Today I’m grateful, first and foremost for my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ who fought every battle for me on the cross of Calvary when He died for my sins, and yours. I’m thankful that He continues to sit on the right hand of the Father, and watch over me, comfort me and strengthen me through the Holy Spirit.

I do not know what battles have been written down, but I know that the battles above my head in the spiritual realm are real. And I know they’re not mine to fight, else they’d be lost.

Every time I write, draw, speak or sing for Him, I know there’s a battle above me to squelch the praises worthy to God’s name, a battle I must fight. Today, it’s a battle I’ll win on my Lord’s behalf.

THANK YOU JESUS. Thank You for that sacrifice on the Cross and thank You for speaking to God on my behalf. I’m sorry it’s necessary. But I’m grateful You are there.

THANK YOU GOD. For listening. For allowing Your Son to make that sacrifice on the cross. I can’t, nor do I want to, imagine the pain You experienced that day.  But I’m grateful that You had a plan to save my soul so that I could thank You in person someday.

THANK YOU HOLY SPIRIT. Thank You for being with me every single day. Guiding me. Strengthening me and encouraging me. Without You I know my creativity would be naught. Without You I know I’d be so overwhelmed. Thank You.

Win your battle, Thank Him today!!!!

God has a complaint

Granted, the book of Malachi is directed to the children of Israel; but we, as being the adopted sons and daughters of the Most High King, His words, every word, is directed to us for instruction. Also as a reminder of the expectations that God has of His children. I’ve heard many say that they don’t read the Old Testament because it’s just too hard to understand. I would have to disagree with them. The Old Testament may be filled with a considerable amount of history and law, and topics that we think do not pertain to those of us saved by grace, but the lessons scattered throughout its pages are as relevant today as the day they were penned. The prophet Malachi was sent first to convince and then to comfort, much like the task of the Holy Spirit in the lives of Christians today. He first draws us to Himself, convicts us of our sin and then daily provides comfort to the child of God to make their pilgrimage to the Promised Land.

Malachi 1 has God voicing a complaint to Israel that is still an issue today. We haven’t come so far as we might think. I need for God to take the Band-Aids ® of productivity off my spiritual life. I conceal a nasty wound in my soul by covering it with busyness. Man… that hurt just like someone ripped a Band-Aid off my hide. But listen to the words of Malachi and see if they don’t ring true.

Malachi 1:2 – I have loved you, saith the Lord. Yet ye say, Wherein hast thou loved us? Was not Esau Jacob’s brother? saith the Lord: yet I loved Jacob.

God opens the conversation with the subject of ingratitude. That will likely rip the hide off most of God’s people. We are an ungrateful group; filled with the pious opinion that our sacrifice of time and energy for the church is enough. From Esau came the Edomites, who triumphed in the overthrow of Jerusalem, a fact that God could foresee and an attitude that was instilled in them through those generations. So when we read that God hated Esau, (vs. 3) as parents it’s a hard pill to swallow; until you read further into the history and discover the end result of Esau’s attitude.

Ingratitude is at the foundation of many of the issues of life. We’re dissatisfied with our position or possession because we’re not grateful enough for the fact that we have what we have. (Esau sold his position in life for a bowl of soup).  We’re aggravated with someone because we’re not grateful enough for their presence in our life. We’re neglectful of what we’ve been given to steward because we’re not grateful for the blessing. We fail to use to the talents that God gives us for the purpose He gives them to us because we’re not grateful He gave us the opportunity to serve Him at all.

I think that hit me on every point!

When God began His complaint to Israel through Malachi, He could see Shari in 2017. He could see you in 2017. He knew we needed this word. So as I sit here on a Saturday morning, I am ever conscience of God’s complaint. We never like to think about someone having something against us. It’s when the excuses begin.

God told Israel that He loved them and yet their response is “Wherein hast thou loved us?”  Show me how much you love me God by allowing (enter your request here) to happen. Have you ever said that? I know I have. I may not have said it in those exact words, but my ungrateful heart has said it in the way that I behaved when life wasn’t going my way. But God doesn’t except excuses.

He told Israel that all their “busy work was for nothing.” We think that our service for God is so grand, so did they.

And your eyes shall see, and ye shall say, The Lord will be magnified from the border of Israel.

Israel thought that their service to the Lord was “enough.” But God knew the ungratefulness behind their service. They didn’t fear God, else they’d have not served Him with half their heart and a substandard offerings.

A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master: if then I be a father, where is mine honour? and if I be a master, where is my fear? saith the Lord of hosts unto you, O priests, that despise my name. And ye say, Wherein have we despised thy name? Ye offer polluted bread upon mine altar; and ye say, Wherein have we polluted thee? In that ye say, The table of the Lord is contemptible. And if ye offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? and if ye offer the lame and sick, is it not evil? offer it now unto thy governor; will he be pleased with thee, or accept thy person? saith the Lord of hosts. And now, I pray you, beseech God that he will be gracious unto us: this hath been by your means: will he regard your persons? saith the Lord of hosts. 10 Who is there even among you that would shut the doors for nought? neither do ye kindle fire on mine altar for nought. I have no pleasure in you, saith the Lord of hosts, neither will I accept an offering at your hand. 11 For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense shall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering: for my name shall be great among the heathen, saith the Lord of hosts. 12 But ye have profaned it, in that ye say, The table of the Lord is polluted; and the fruit thereof, even his meat, is contemptible. 13 Ye said also, Behold, what a weariness is it! and ye have snuffed at it, saith the Lord of hosts; and ye brought that which was torn, and the lame, and the sick; thus ye brought an offering: should I accept this of your hand? saith the Lord. 14 But cursed be the deceiver, which hath in his flock a male, and voweth, and sacrificeth unto the Lord a corrupt thing: for I am a great King, saith the Lord of hosts, and my name is dreadful among the heathen.

God’s closing of His complaint finds Him telling Israel that if they won’t serve Him as they should, with their best, He’ll find a people who will.

Before God moves out of my life, perhaps I should look at the quality of my service and sacrifice. Is it bountiful, or is it just busyness?

Jacob, like us, was far from perfect, his name meant deceiver after all! But he sought to serve God when he wrestled in Genesis 32:24. He was willing to fight for what God had. Are we? Or are just satisfied with a bowl of soup?

Esau was a hunter and provider. He got his job done. Jacob wouldn’t stop until he prevailed with God, and God changed his name from “Deceiver.” To “a prince who had power with God and with men and hast prevailed.”

Jacob sacrificed for, sought for and served for God. And in Him God did not complain.

A Few Reasons in this Season to be Thankful

Thankful chick

Christmas 2015… I’ve already been so blessed by friends and family if today were December 26th, I’d be a happy camper. Today I’m thankful. But not always. I can get so frustrated with the piddley  things in life that I miss out on what really matters. It’s the little things that are actually the huge things (or so they would be in many other people’s lives who have them not.)

This morning I wanted to take a few minutes to remind myself that little is much and I am blessed and if you’re reading this blog, you likely are too.

Today I have food and the necessities of life: While almost half the world — over three billion people live on less than $2.50 a day. At least 80% of humanity lives on less than $10 a day.

Today I have a home: On a single night in January 2014, 578,424 people in America were experiencing homelessness,  meaning they were sleeping outside or in an emergency shelter or transitional housing program.

Today I am loved: But Approximately 1.3 million women and 835,000 men are physically assaulted by an intimate partner annually in the United States.

I am a blessed Mom and Noni: In 2010, about 920,000 children were being raised by grandparents with no parent living in the home

My Christmas tree burns brightly today while worldwide 1.3 billion people live without access to electricity.

I have clean water: but 783 million people do not have access to clean water and almost 2.5 billion do not have access to adequate sanitation. Six to eight million people die annually from the consequences of disasters and water-related diseases.

Today, I’m in pretty good shape for the shape I’m in, yet every day I personally know of someone facing illness and disease.

Before I speak a harsh word… I should thank God for that person in my life that causes me to care. Perhaps then I wouldn’t speak harshly.

Before I snarl my nose at the thought of venison or broccoli, I should remember the hungry soul who’d love to have even the juice from the roast or to devour that little tree.

Before I take for granted my gift of music or be in  frustration for my lack of ability, or even complain because I don’t like the song playing, I should remember there are those who have never heard anything.

Before I complain about the weariness in my bones, I should remember that there are those who grow weary not being able to feel.

Today I am saved, and have the promise of Heaven and seeing friends and family that I miss so bad again.

Today I am saved and have peace…

O my… I am so blessed.

Thank you Lord Jesus for that reminder today….

 Colossians 3:12-15

Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.

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But Now… a 2015 kick in the pants

 

chick kick

G. Wodehouse (Reader’s Digest[July, 1984], ) told about a member of the British Parliament who was once standing in the lobby of the House when a tall, distinguished looking old gentleman came up and begged for a moment of his time. He had a sad story to tell.

By hard work and thrift he had amassed a large fortune, and now his relatives had robbed him of it and, not content with that, had placed him in a mental home. This was his day out. “I have put the facts down in this document,” he concluded. “Study it and communicate with me at your leisure. Thank you, sir, thank you. Good day.”

Much moved by the man’s exquisite courtesy, the Member of Parliament took the paper, shook hands, promised that he would do everything in his power and turned to go back to the debate. As he did so, he received a kick in the seat of the pants that nearly sent his spine shooting through his hat.

“Don’t forget!” said the old gentleman.

I smiled when I read that story, mainly because I too tend to forget important commitments that I make. Oh the world gets so busy and I am in such demand and yada, yada, yada… it still doesn’t excuse it. I’m a compassionate person, often hurt by others insensitivity, frustrated by a dried up generation of Christians who forgot what God did for them and yes… I’m taking my frustration out in this blog but it still doesn’t excuse the fact that I too forget.

And then God makes me laugh…

Numbers 11:6

But now our soul is dried away: there is nothing at all, beside this manna, before our eyes.

Those whining Israelites have nothing on me. How many times do I find myself whining that something isn’t how it should be? And then God kicks me in the seat of the pants and says, “Do you remember where you came from?”

And then I hear myself say “But now God…” Like it’s an excusable whine. When truthfully my but now is crazier than theirs. They at least were in the wilderness, I’m crying about my manna in the U.S. of A. Israel frustrated God, frustrated Moses and I’m sure at times frustrated themselves.

But our soul is dried away… meaning that they were disappointed and withering away like the water from a brook in the hot sun. The manna was the same ol’, same ol’ every day and every day. I have a feeling that’s what God thinks about our gratitude and attitudes. I see it everywhere I go and I see it in the mirror every morning. For 2015 it’s my goal to start the year looking at the 56 “But now’s” in the Bible and learning the lesson behind each one. It’s my proverbial kick in the pants. I’ve been whining because God’s manna wasn’t enough, I wanted everyone else to enjoy the manna too. Well, the truth is, I’m only responsible for my manna. I can’t collect anyone else’s or deliver it for them and I certainly shouldn’t allow that to affect my enjoyment of the manna God has for me, but it has been.

God’s manna is new every day, just as it was for the children of Israel. It’s new and a miracle of grace and my gratitude needed and attitude check. But now, I’m grateful… tomorrow I’ll probably whine again.

If my words stirred your heart, share it with your friends. Blessings! from the Jesus Chick.

 

 

Where Would You Land This Thanksgiving?

The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth, oil on canvas by Jennie Augusta Brownscombe (1914). public domain
The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth, oil on canvas by Jennie Augusta Brownscombe (1914). public domain

Pretty much on a daily basis, at some point, I throw my hands in the air and ask God why my country is governed by idiots? And then I remember that they were elected, and we are the idiots. I’m still at a complete loss of understanding why anyone thinks we’re going in the right direction. Liberal or not, Democrat, Republican, Independent, Mountain or Valley Party (Yes I know there’s not a Valley Party, but there should be, because who better to argue with the Mountain than a Valley) And we know that politics is all about argument not solution. My way or highway. Truth?

And so it was that our nation began on the same principal.

pilgrims

A brief study of the original settlers, and I mean brief, because my attention span is not long enough to study history at length, proves that we’re no better or worse than the day we landed. The Jamestown Settlers and those of Plymouth Rock pre-defined the nation. There were those who sought the world and those that sought God and today we have the same dilemma.

Joshua told Israel in Joshua 24:15 “And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

The flesh side of me would like to make this a political rant this morning, but the condition of America doesn’t fall in Washington’s bailiwick. It is we who are accountable for not telling them Who it is we serve. Instead we’ve allowed them to dictate to us that we are in service to them; even though we all know from historical truths that that was never the way government was intended to work.

My study of the contrast of original settlers spurred me on to hang on ever so tight to my Lord and the foundational truths of the Bible. If I am to survive this world on the winning side I must

  • Seek God not wealth, He’ll provide your needs
  • Keep my family together, God gave them to you and you’ll answer to Him for your stand
  • Remember that God gives the increase, He can also cause a decrease
  • Godly cooperation and collaboration is key to the church’s success. There is no I in team.
  • Troubles will come, Stay together regardless
  • Don’t play church, It is not a social club or political party, it’s a relationship with Christ and your ticket to the New World!
  • God’s plan is providential, He opens and closes all doors of potential
  • In all things, thank God, not vessels

As we embark on this Thanksgiving week, whose side are you on? That’s not a political question, it’s a faith question. Are you thankful for the ship or the Savior? Living in America is great but we’ve lived in the land of the free for so long and free will has gotten us into a heap of trouble. We need to spend a little time remembering the foundational truths that allowed the Pilgrims to survive and will help us live successfully in the world today

Messed Up and Blessed Up… Happy Thanksgiving!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Thanksgiving morning. Wow, where did 2013 go? As I sit here this morning with my Jack Russell, Sam, curled up against my leg and a fire glowing across the room, I’m toasty warm and blessed with an abundance. I’m thankful for this platform that I’ve been given to share the gospel, encourage friends and make new friends along the way, (you can never have too many ya know). This morning I seem to be in an attitude of reflection and as usual Sam is not the only one on the couch. I hear him whisper, you’re an epic failure, so you’ve done some good… let me remind you of how you’ve failed. Ugh, does Satan never grow weary? I know I do. I’m almost ready to throw my hands up in defeat and walk away from the keyboard. What do I possibly have to say this morning…

Leviticus 7:15

And the flesh of the sacrifice of his peace offerings for thanksgiving shall be eaten the same day that it is offered; he shall not leave any of it until the morning.

Old Testament sacrifices were a temporary fix in more ways than one. Not only did there need to be another sacrifice another day, that sacrifice wasn’t going to last through the day. Igloo coolers weren’t in business nor was Frigidaire, so the sacrifice needed to be eaten right then. Tomorrow it wouldn’t be any good.

What about our peace offering for thanksgiving? Here’s a few Thanksgiving Thoughts:

  1. Whatever the circumstance around you, be at peace. I know, easier said than done right? Not if you determine that that is the ways it is. Satan can turn the entire day upside down but if your heart is right side up, looking up in gratitude and taking note of all you have, peace can abound.
  2. Be thankful today. It may be a family feud, a burnt turkey or spilled pumpkin pie kind of day, but be thankful. Be thankful the same day for what you have, for tomorrow it may be gone. Someone noted on Facebook this morning that there were some empty place settings at family tables. Don’t take the day for granted.
  3. Don’t leave it until morning. Don’t put off telling someone you love them, mending fences or sharing a treasured thought with a family friend. Sometimes it’s a sacrifice on your part to open your heart up in such a way, believe me when I say it won’t go unnoted or unblessed.
  4. Remember that though heartache and blessing alike are temporary, the sacrifice Christ made on the cross was forever.

I just about let Satan steal my gratitude today. Thank you who are reading that encouraged me to write on until I reached this place. What place?

Remembrance. That the ultimate sacrifice was made so that I could have that sweet peace 365 days a year, even though I’m so very “messed up,” I’m also very “Blessed up!” God bless you and your family this Thanksgiving. I pray it’s filled with love, laughter and safe travels.

A Memorial Day Attitude of Gratitude

Psalm 135:13 ~  Thy name, O Lord, endureth for ever; and thy memorial, O Lord, throughout all generations.

The older I get the deeper meaning Memorial Day has. I don’t know how it is that people go through life without a concern for eternity but Memorial Day is a reminder that others have gone on before and unless Jesus returns in Glory before, we’ll go the same way. Memorial Day is not a day of sadness for me, although there are many that I miss, but it’s a day of gratitude. I’m so thankful that God’s Word is truth and that His plan is still unfolding. I’m thankful for…

The Saints

Hallelujah for the saints of God who have carried the Bible, the blood and the blessed hope throughout the ages and refused to fall into line with the modernists and liberals who continually try to water down the gospel by preaching a feel good religion. Many have laid down their lives, faced persecution and put their all on the line by walking and talking what the Bible says in the face of strong adversity. It takes gumption to stand for the Bible. I thank God for the memories of my Father sitting with his Bible across his knees day after day. Following his own salvation he read his King James Bible and taught it for 50 years and it never grew old. It is so relevant today that it reads like a Sunday morning newspaper! Praise God for Saints who carry on!

The Soldiers

Thank you Jesus for the soldiers. The men and women of America who have fought for the freedom so many take for granted and treat with utter disrespect. When my Dad returned home from World War II, he came back to a country that rejoiced in his return and saluted his service. Service men and women fly in and out of our country every day without fanfare or recognition for their contribution of keeping us safe and defending the rights of those who use that right to mock the freedom they’re given here. It makes little sense to me. But I am so thankful and humbled that there are still those who fight for the freedom I hold dear.  Praise God for the Soldiers who carry on!

Most of All the Savior

Memorial Day is important to God too. He instituted Memorial Day long before it became a commercialized day on the calendar with family cookouts and celebrations. God taught the saints of old how important it was to mark the events of deliverance; he knew they’d need to draw upon that strength. It’s like a bank account for hope when we lose it all. A time that we can reflect upon what God has brought His people through and that He’s still on the throne ready to do it again for us! Memorial Day is a great day to visit the gravesite of Jesus and look at Victory in the empty tomb. It’s a day of celebrating that great hope we have in seeing our loved ones again and joining them in a place where there will be no more war, persecution and death! Praise God Who carries on!

I pray your weekend is filled with an attitude of gratitude in memorial for all the Lord has done, for the Saints who have carried the gospel to us through the years, and for the Soldiers who defend our freedom. Amen!