Tag Archives: Isaiah

God’s Recipe for Earth

There’s this image I have of God because of the images that I’ve viewed since childhood. A painting that will no doubt pale in comparison to His beauty in Heaven. But that image sticks in my mind; so that when I read a verse like Isaiah 40:12, I have to rethink my image of God.

Isaiah 40:12

Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of His hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in balance.

Measured the Water

About 71 percent of the earth is water, with every single drop created and placed by God at creation and distributed in such a way that it sustains life here on earth. Random explosion or intelligent design? Insert rolled eyes here…How could anyone think other than God? And God measured it in the hollow of his hand! That’s where my image of God gets messed up. I’ve seen the ocean, that’s a lot of water! But with His hand He measured the amount as if pouring it in to a recipe for perfection.

Recipes used to spaz me out. I would fear that my measuring wouldn’t be exact and I’d mess up the recipe. Over the years I’ve adapted the God and my mother method of measurement. A cup or two of this or that, a spoon or two of this or that, measured precariously. For the record, that doesn’t always work for me. But it worked for God, because He’s God.

Meted Out Heaven

Again. God is amazing! With His hand He meted (measured Heaven) with the span of His hand! It blows my mind. I recently sewed my very first quilt, which required a lot of measuring. It also required a lot of attention to detail. Praise God, God did not measure out Heaven as I did the seam allowance on my quilt, else Mars would be sewn into Jupitar’s part of the sky. My quilt is far from perfect but it was created with love and a passion to glorify God. The quilt blocks don’t line up as they should, my artistic endeavors in the center have missed stitches and bad stitches, but with the time I had in, and the missionary thoughts, I understand God’s frustration with the way we take care of His earth. What must He have thought when He finished placing the stars and planets in orbit? Wow…

Comprehended the Dust

He knew the numbers of the grains of sand on every beach in the world. Even Munday Beach, West Virginia. Amazing right? He took that very dust and formed man as an artist in clay and then breathed life into Him. God comprehended, but I cannot. He’s just too big! The good news is, I don’t have to understand it. I just have to believe it! I’ve heard enough intelligent scientist who believe the Word of God, back it up with evidence. And if they didn’t, I still believe it. Because the Word of God tells me so.

Weighed the Mountains

Everything in balance. And the world keeps spinning on. It’s like a giant mixer, spinning and spinning and spinning. Eventually it will be time to go in the oven.

Scripture says the things of this earth will be tried by fire.

2nd Peter 3:7 ~ But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

God’s waiting patiently. I’m a little less than patient when making something scrumptious. I keep checking and testing and often times that alone is its own destruction. If you’re a baker, you know. But just like God had perfect measurements, He has perfect timing. I’d have put this cake in the oven a long time ago as wicked as it is. But God’s not done with us, Hallelujah. There’s still more stirring to do.

He’s still pouring into us with gifts immeasurable, like His word, and His people. I’ve been blessed this week with a missionary in my home and I’ll tell you more later on that. But for now, take a look at the world around you… What’s God stirring in you today?

What are you hatching in 2018?

I’m forever and a day plotting and planning life. Likely at least 99% of the time my plans never come to fruition. I’m a dreamer and a planner. But the question is, “Do they line up with the Master’s Design?” The one from the foundation of the earth. I tend to omit that theology when I’m in my scheming mode? Opting for the Shari approach of design and destruct.

The verse to follow in Isaiah caused this to come to mind as I was planning for the adventures of the Jesus Chick in 2018.

Isaiah 34:14-16

The wild beasts of the desert shall also meet with the wild beasts of the island, and the satyr shall cry to his fellow; the screech owl also shall rest there, and find for herself a place of rest. There shall the great owl make her nest, and lay, and hatch, and gather under her shadow: there shall the vultures also be gathered, every one with her mate. Seek ye out of the book of the Lord, and read: no one of these shall fail, none shall want her mate: for my mouth it hath commanded, and his spirit it hath gathered them.

God’s got a plan. He has one for the wise owls and even the nasty vultures that lay in wait to eat the spoils of the dead. He has mates for both and a life span of days, months or years. Only He knows.

So how does our planning and hatching of schemes come into play with God’s design? Does it matter? As we’re nesting, hatching and gathering, what’s God’s role? Good questions…

The Nest (Where we reside)

Funny thing about the nest building birds, they don’t need credit cards to get the job done! They’re not concerned with the latest trends or whether or not the carpet and drapes match. Without a plan, they just build with what’s on hand and God never fails to provide.

As 2018 stands just a few days away I’m thinking about where I reside in life right now. What has God placed within a hands breadth to make myself home where I am. Apostle Paul said that “ in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” Phil. 4:11 and he told Timothy in 1 Timothy 6:6 that “godliness with contentment is great gain.”

Contentment doesn’t come easy in my nest. I want stuff… lots of stuff. I’m a gatherer of bells and whistles, also known as basses, guitars, fiddles and such. Songbooks galore and a coffee cup with the reminder of an adventure gone by. Stuff. But none of that stuff makes a nest or makes me content. It quite often clutters the nest and makes me feel claustrophobic. So what is it that I need in my 2018 nest to make me content? I ask God that very question. For me the answer was “security.” It’s what I have lacked since God put me in full time ministry without even so much as part time money. The is no money for stuff… or sometimes even bills.

The Hatching (Where we plan)

This is where I must seek God’s guidance. I need to feel productively satisfied. I need to see the fruits of my labor.  That sometimes comes in the form of web statistics. I love knowing that I have reached people with the gospel and encouraged their spirit. But counting isn’t always healthy psychologically; numbers do not always prove the fruit.

When I began to plan for the Minnesota mission trip, I didn’t even seem to have the support of many in my church family. As the time quickly approached and I wasn’t funded it left my heart sickened that people didn’t believe in me. The funding ended up coming from outside sources that were a huge blessing in the end.

As I begin planning for the 2018 mission field, that faith test is a reminder that it is God who provides, not people. If God says go and do, I have to leap forward believing it will be done, because His will, will be done.

The Gathering (Where we reap)

As the year came close to an end, I sat in church on a Wednesday night and my eight year old nephew looked up and me and said, “I want to be saved.’ I went through the plan of salvation, just as I had with his ten year old sister a few months before. I reaped the reward of seeds being sown in his life. That feeling never gets old. They are young and who knows who might be saved through their lives serving Christ.

It’s my prayer that my 2018 mission field is filled with souls along the path that God will design and the path that I follow will be without detour so that no soul, blessing or intent of God goes un-gathered. I pray that my ministry gathers support, so that I may freely serve without a financial burden. But if it does not, I pray that I will understand and believe in God’s design to go in faith and watch Him provide.

Ministry needs/desires (God knows which):

Three things that you can pray about for God’s provision for my ministry.

  • Recording equipment for podcast and music recording that would expand my ministry reach
  • A new computer that “thinks faster,” my HP has brain damage most days causing delays, reboots etc. Mainly frustration.
  • A new iPad… mine I fear is is on the verge of crashing and I use it often as a source of speaking notes and music.

What about you… What’s God hatching up for you in the coming year? I’d love to hear, I’d love to pray and connect to even more with people serving the Lord, or desiring to know more about Him.

 

 

 

There’s a New Way of Doing Business

 

From the book of Isaiah 43:5-19

I heard a sermon preached from this text a few days ago, and I’ve been chewing on this scripture like a piece of Willy Wonka’s bubble gum that never loses its flavor. Again and again I’ve tasted that word in my mouth; and today I finally sat down to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and write what’s on my heart, and to determine what God has for me through this word. Perhaps He has something for you too. If you’ve ever experienced great fear, either from the known or the unknown, reading the words from Isaiah 43:5 will lead you to say, “Yes, but…” followed by why you fear in spite of it. I’ve been in a, “you couldn’t possibly understand why,” mode. Satan had all but convinced me that I am alone, leading to a series of songs that I’ve written (which are a blessing) but it’s also hard on the heart to let those words spring forth from my soul. I’ll post one below so that you might get a glimpse of that work. But first the Word.

I am Called By His Name

Isaiah said in verses 5-8

Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west; I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth; Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him. Bring forth the blind people that have eyes, and the deaf that have ears.

Isaiah is specifically speaking to the Israelites. But being engrafted into the family of God through the blood of Jesus Christ, means that he speaks to me as well. I am a daughter of the Most High King. I am called by His name when it is said of me that I am a Christian. Those facts I believe, as well as the fact that I have been created for His glory. Yet I am often still blind and deaf as to what exactly God is doing in my life much of the time. I fear…a lot. It feels as if God is having to drag me forward into a place that I know not what. I’m not fighting Him, I’m simply dead weight. Paralyzed. I am called. And sometimes I am called chicken.

I Am Confirmed by His Work

Let all the nations be gathered together, and let the people be assembled: who among them can declare this, and shew us former things? let them bring forth their witnesses, that they may be justified: or let them hear, and say, It is truth. 10 Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.11 I, even I, am the Lord; and beside me there is no saviour. 12 I have declared, and have saved, and I have shewed, when there was no strange god among you: therefore ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, that I am God.

God for certain bears witness in my life. He has done some amazing things! Much like the children of Israel I have been brought though the sea on dry ground. He has rescued me from myself so many times. Until now. And now I am in need of rescuing, I’ve been waiting for the waters to part and there hasn’t even been so much as a drop that has fled from before me. I feel as though I am drowning. Again and again I bear witness to myself of God’s deliverance. I bear witness of His confirmation of my purpose in life for which He has not only given me the passion for the purpose but the ability as well.  But not in a way that sustains my life which leaves me drowning and opens a door for Satan to ask “if you are called and confirmed, why are you not cared for?”

I Am Created By His Ways

13 Yea, before the day was I am he; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand: I will work, and who shall let it? 14 Thus saith the Lord, your redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; For your sake I have sent to Babylon, and have brought down all their nobles, and the Chaldeans, whose cry is in the ships.15 I am the Lord, your Holy One, the creator of Israel, your King.16 Thus saith the Lord, which maketh a way in the sea, and a path in the mighty waters; 17 Which bringeth forth the chariot and horse, the army and the power; they shall lie down together, they shall not rise: they are extinct, they are quenched as tow. 18 Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old.19 Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.

When I identified myself in Christ, I became a new creation. Yet the old Shari resurfaces on a pretty regular basis. I often find myself thinking to have “figured God out.” Ha! That’s hysterical when I write those words out. How could I possibly think that I have figured God out? What I mean is, I believe to have figured out God’s ways. And yet I know that the scripture is clear when it says His ways are not my ways. I think that Israel may have thought they too had God figured out. They looked for Him to snap them out of their bondage in the same manner that He had brought them out of Egypt. The water that they were sure would be their demise, He parted. He got rid of the issue of water. But now water is not the issue. The barren wilderness is their issue. But the children of Israel are stuck remembering the parting of the sea. And while it’s good to recall how God brings us out, it’s not to say He’s going to bring us out the same way. God doesn’t change, but His methods certainly do. He told them He’d be doing a “new thing.”

I’ve been waiting for God to deliver me in the same manner as before, He has not. There’s a new manner of business. And clearly I need my eyes open and my ears ready to hear what the Lord says.  I covet your prayers if you’re so inclined. I know my purpose. But I need to understand the provision.

You Need To Hear This

isaiah 40

I certainly needed to hear it.

This is a somewhat vague story for the sole purpose of not telling tales. It’s one of those “the names have been changed stories to protect the not so innocent.” Actually there are no names, which much like the parables of the bible, may allow you to place yourself inside my day and encourage yourself in my discovery.

I was almost in shock, but not entirely. The evidence had been there before but not to this degree. It involved people I cared about as well as people I didn’t really care about if I’m honest. Both people had hurt me, one unknowingly, one intentionally. One I knew to be a Christian, one I wondered. How vague is that! Both events in one day and by days end I was left lifeless on the ground. Weary, oh so very weary of sin.

The sins were such that they would cut at the very core of a Christian testimony. One was the sin of prejudice and the other the sin of entitlement, arrogance and self-righteousness wrapped up in a package. To the unsaved looking at either of these lives with the notion of being drawn to Christ, was ludicrous. Neither of them would leave anyone feeling the need to be saved, being that their version of saved was very, very jaded.

Their behavior cut me. I fought back the tears thinking about the damage to the name of Christ in their behavior. I wanted to lash out, but I just couldn’t. It wasn’t the place to draw attention to someone else’s sins. And so I sat in silence, hurting. Hurting for Jesus. Hurting for someone who might hear and not understand that these people are “just human” with human flaws and all. Later in the day I talked to God, but to no avail. The knot in my stomach was still there. I spent a restless night and awoke with a feeling of despair and of nothing getting fixed. I can’t fix a brokenness in the spirit of other people, especially when they don’t acknowledge that it’s even an issue.

I complained to God and then I heard this:

“That feeling you have Shari… that’s the same feeling I have when I look at your sin. Hurt. Knowing what you know, how you could ever feel your behavior is acceptable or excusable because you are human. Remember that before you judge someone else.”

I needed to hear that. It was a stark reminder that my name is nameless too in the book of God when it comes to sin. But I still felt weary. Now I was not only weary of their condition but my own condition felt heavier still.  But God lured me into His word as He often does to seek strength for the moment.

His understanding

Isaiah 40 28 Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding.

God’s ways are not my way nor are His thoughts my thoughts. How good to know that even when I am weary, and not from well doing but rather from evil doing, God understands. He sees human nature for what it is. It is what He died for. But in my human form I cannot search long enough to understand it, because I am not God. And unlike me, God is not weary. Not even weary of me. So I must rely on His understanding.

His Strength

29 He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength.

He knows my utter human frailty. I have no might and He knows I will fall and faint. But through His Holy Spirit He encourages my soul. How awesome that gift is. So I must rely on His strength.

His Forgiveness

30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall:

Probably the hardest of all to understand. The people in my story hurt me a few times. How many times have I hurt God? Countless. Multiply that times all His people. All the people for whom He died. Now imagine that pain. We can’t. Nor can I imagine how Almighty He assuredly is that He can take that hurt and love me anyway. So I must rely on His forgiveness.

His Wings

31 But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

Even with His wings, the word doesn’t say we’ll soar, it says we’ll walk. We won’t fly, but we won’t faint. That’s good news! I’ve heard the word “Wait” preached not as the meaning to delay, but rather to serve. As a waiter would wait (serve) a table, which puts a whole other perspective on that scripture. As we “serve” the Lord our strength is rekindled. So I must keep serving. Keeping God’s word in my heart so that I do not faint on days like that mentioned in this story. When people fail me, I can draw strength to forgive from the endless well of forgiveness that God has in supply for His children… for me.

All Aboard! 2017 Is Just Ahead

2017-trainI struggled a few days in searching for my 2017 word. I wanted it just right! I wanted something that would cause my mind to go into motion, and in a positive direction when I heard the word. I pondered the word “potential” for a few days and I looked strongly at the word “purpose.” Both of which are mighty fine words and I still consider them to be sub points. But when pursuit came into my head it stirred up the imagery of chasing God’s plan, seeking His will in the direction of my life. Most of the time in scripture, if not all the time, pursuit is used in the form of “pursuing the enemy, as to overtake them.” I’ve felt like that’s been me for the most of my life, with my focus being on my enemy’s pursuit of me. Feeling I was about to be overcome; always on the brink of destruction. That’s a frustrating life to lead. It always wears me out!

So for 2017 I’m pursuing God. And the great thing about that is He’s pursuing me back! He’s not running from me, He’s running toward me. The pursuit is in seeking the next step of God’s plan.

Thus saith the Lord, which maketh a way in the sea, and a path in the mighty waters; Which bringeth forth the chariot and horse, the army and the power; they shall lie down together, they shall not rise: they are extinct, they are quenched as tow. Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.

Isaiah 43:16-19 KJV

That new thing! That’s what I’m pursuing. Isaiah spoke to Israel about the flight out of Egypt, a time that they were being pursued and God drowned the enemy in the sea. For me, I want the enemy drowned in the sea of forgetfulness never to rise again or be remembered. 2017 is unchartered territories, it may be wilderness, rivers or dessert. But God will make the way if I seek His will for my life.

I’m in pursuit of purpose to reach my full potential in the Lord Jesus Christ. He, Who pursued me through the Holy Spirit, He Who erased my past and cast my sins as far as the east is from the west.

Pursuit doesn’t have to be your word for the year for it to be your plan action. I found the following quote in a recent study that said “Allowing God’s plan shouldn’t create more pressure, but rather lessen the burden to figure things out.”  I love that! If I stop looking backward, or steering forward, the pressure is off me for direction. Pursuing will hopefully look more like train ride. I just need to get on board and let the Engineer do the work. When it comes to a stop; get out, do the job at hand and then get back on board for the next adventure.

All aboard! 2017 is just ahead!

West Virginia Voting: Where Country Livin’ does a gal good

george

At last there is a reprieve from the political rhetoric, or so I thought. I was looking forward to a few days of no television ads or discument…. I know, it’s not word. It’s my version of what happens when you friendly argue about politics. Half discussion; half argument, and I am wholly tired of it all. I’ve seen too much political hype about why we vote like we do in West Virginia. Laying its reasoning to the cultural side of who we are. I’m fine with that. I’m proud of my Appalachian heritage and have never felt that I’ve missed out on life because I’ve not lived in the big city. But I’m most proud of my Christian heritage; which is why I vote the way I do… not because I’m a po’ little country gal who doesn’t understand the complexities of life, therefore I’m conservative. I’m not prejudiced, narrow minded nor am I misguided, and if you call me a radical that’s okay. So long as you understand that I’m radical about Jesus.

There are guns in our home, several. They’re for shooting deer, squirrel, and other critters that my husband enjoys calling fine cuisine. I call it disgusting… I’ve never been a fan of wild game. But my people are, and I’m okay with that. The guns are also handy to defend our home in case an idiot would decide that it would be a good idea to break in. It’s our right… at least for now.

I said all that to get to this. The part of my day that I love the most, and spend too little time in; is the time I take with the word of God. It’s where I know I can make sense of this world when the liberal jargon overwhelms my mind and has me questioning am I right or just weird? It’s why I vote the way I do and think the way I do.

Isaiah said it like this in Chapter 28:9

 Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts.

Who shall we teach about life and train in the ministry? Not the babies, which the political world seems to have an overabundant supply of. They profess Christianity, and yet there behavior isn’t even in the ballpark. I’ve seen T-ball games with more maturity when understanding how to lose. Name calling, carelessness with the feelings of others, lying, and that’s just the precursor for bad behavior.  And we wonder why children behave the way they do! Those who scream against Christian morals and mock the foundation this country was founded on are not who we should have a problem with. They’re lost. And without Christ; we need not think they’ll have Christian principals. But what about our so called “Christian” leaders.  They have no concept of the accountability factor that God is going to hold His people to, and the role that their misguided thinking plays in the flailing condition of our Nation. Of course, that’s “if” they are His people. I’m not their judge.

Isaiah continued on… 28:10-12

For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little: For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people. To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear.

If I were to do a “state of the church” address for today, I’d say we’re in a state of unrest. Isaiah said much the same. Our country’s leadership isn’t helping to comfort the hearts of the people because they’re not following the word of God. Isaiah said the instructions for life were simple, precept (instruction) upon precept. Line upon line (just read it word for word without inserting our own version of what the scriptures say. Stop stammering on what God said! He meant it then and He means it now, God hasn’t changed.

Any psychologist worth a grain of salt will tell you that children need stability in order to feel safe. The only stability in the world for the child of God is the word of God and the church is messing that up by arguing over what God meant. It’s where country livin’ does a girl good. Because I’ve been brought up to believe and respect the simple and honest things of life. While people scoff at the culture of West Virginians, let me share a little about what makes it such special place to grow up in as a child and live in as an adult.

Homegrown West Virginians are very real. They talk and walk the way their grandfolks did and they generally think the way their grandfolks did. Some call it clannish… I call it family. They take care of one another, and other one another’s that don’t belong them.

Statistically speaking, West Virginia ranks 20th in church attendance (Gallup Poll 2014), with approximately one third of our state attending church. Not a statistic I’m proud of… I said they were good family people… I didn’t say they were saved. But even those who don’t go to church, don’t generally mind those who do, and have been brought up to respect the church goin’ folk. That’s the problem with America as a whole. I heard an old-timer once say of someone who forsook their Appalachian heritage “I think they got above their raise’n.”

Jeremiah, just like Isaiah, said pretty much the same thing in Jeremiah 6:16 ~ Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.

We won’t find rest in our nation until we get back to the foundation of the Word of God. It’s a fact.

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One more day to make a difference

ONE MORE DAY

An early morning ritual for me is check the blog and Facebook pages of Rory Feek. I wonder each morning if this will be the day that the Lord calls his precious wife Joey home. I told the teens in my youth group last night that these are strangers and yet they’re not. We know them through the internet yes, but they are a dear brother and sister in Christ and their testimony for Him has been so very strong. She’s been asleep for days and I want the pain to stop for them both. But then I think… for every breath she takes, God has purpose, even when she’s sleeping. One more moment in time for Him on this side.

What will I do with mine?

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Isaiah 55:8-9 KJV

Reading through Isaiah 55 this morning, trying to grasp what lesson God would have me learn I   think about the wastefulness in our land and the things that I think matter. And even though I can ask “If today I took my last breath, would “this” matter?” I still wouldn’t grasp the concept of life. Joey and Rory temporarily put life in perspective for me, but then I let it slip from my fingers and go on about the mundane. Heaven is just too high for me to understand, but it doesn’t stop me from desiring it.

I can taste it…

Isaiah 55:1-2

Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.

While God has certainly satisfied my physical needs, the fatness for which my soul delights has a flavor that is beyond glory. It’s the unexplainable presence of God that makes me feel like I’m at His kitchen table this morning and He sits across from me sipping His coffee, listening to my banter and then He’ll speak, and I’m left breathless, thinking… golly that tasted good God. His thoughts are nothing like mine… mine are vanity… His are vast.

I can hear it….

Isaiah 55:3-4

Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David. Behold, I have given him for a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people.

Just like King David, Joey will go on to meet with the Lord, but her breath will still breathe on in the lives of the people she touched. David could not have possibly understood that he would be in the daily conversations of God’s people thousands of years later, and we’d feel as if we know him, just like we feel we know Joey. And there will come a day we’ll be able to see them both, face to face, in full health. His ways are nothing like mine… mine are short… His are long.

Every breath we take has purpose. One more day for someone to know us, one more day to make a difference. What will you do with yours?

What are you doing with the big “A”?

big a

Every time I read, hear or think on the anointing of God, my mind goes back to Preacher Walt. A larger than life black evangelist who came to our church for a few years and added a flair to our worship that had not been there previously. How could it have been? We’re a predominately white, redneck, rural West Virginia community. I say that with love and the kindest of intent without shame; I do indeed love where I live and I love the people who live in our community, but we needed Walt to move in and shake us up a little bit. And it did shake a few… they opted for a less loud environment. If you’d come in the doors of Victory Baptist Church on Sunday morning and inspect the crowds fashion sense you’d find everything from Levi and Wrangler, Macy’s and Vans, to straight off the rack at the Dollar General and Goodwill. We have all the bases covered for your comfort level, but if you want a church that makes it about fashion… we’re not your church. We make it about God. But back to Walt. Walt may have given “Mr. T” his first starter kit for jewelry. He loved bling. He also liked fine suits and shoes and everything matched everything and everything was colorful! And when he stood before our congregation to preach he would often put his fingers in the position of the capital letter “A” and speak of the anointing of God, and the privileges of a child of God and by the time he was through you were pretty sure that you alone were the favored child of God and there was no other. Walt preached Jesus, he preached salvation true and free, he did not preach prosperity gospel; he preached truth. And the truth of the matter is a child of God is anointed for purpose and while purpose is not without problems it is with promise. Whew! That’ll preach! will it not? Walt would have liked it!

So my question for us to ponder today is “What are we doing with the big “A”? If you’re saved you have it. God’s placed you in a position with purpose, He’s anointed you and given you the promise of finishing the work that He has started in you. Philippians 1:6 says clearly – Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ: – God’s got a plan, but are you workin’ it?

Isaiah 45 tells the story of Cyrus, God’s anointed leader who He literally opened gates that should have been closed.

1Thus saith the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut;

As I understand it the gates of the cities and palaces wherever he came were opened to receive him as conqueror including the gates of Babylon which were “left open one night” for the army of Cyrus to take over the city. Cyrus had to battle, but his ways were made straight in that the obstructions in his path were removed.

I’m not saying that our battles will be without problems. We all know that’s not how life works. But isn’t it great to know that as a child of God, He has already gone before us and prepared the way. We just have to stick to the path!

I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron:

His ways were not only made straight, they were paid in advance.

And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the Lord, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel.

The Jewish Rabbins say that Nebuchadnezzar having amassed riches from all over the world, worried who he could leave it to when he died. He decided that “nobody” should have it. So he ordered ships of brass to be filled with the wealth and dug a place in the Euphrates where he hid them and turned the river on it. Well guess who found it? Cyrus. God’s anointed. Treasures in the darkness… Jeremiah said when he conquered Asia he brought away thirty four thousand pounds of gold and a whole lot more… that’s a chunk of change!

I don’t know about you, but I haven’t found any pots of gold buried in the river, but what I have discovered is that God provides wealth in a variety of forms. Some monetarily, some in unmerited gifts, perhaps in a great job, and others through friends and family. But as children of God we can all find the blessings of God that have been hidden in our lives waiting to be uncovered.

he question again is, what are we doing with it? Reading  on in Isaiah 45 it says

For Jacob my servant’s sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me. I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me: That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the Lord, and there is none else.

God said, I gave you these things so that people would know “I am the LORD, and there is none else.” That’s your purpose. When Brother Walt stood before our congregation and shouted… yes, really shouted… he stirred our souls. When he was ask to bless the offering of the day he did so by saying and asking us to say it with him, “I have because I give, I give because I have, and therefore, I am never, never ever, without… it’s offering time! And then Heaven would come down as we rejoiced in the goodness of God. Life’s not always good… but God is.

We need to brag a little on God today…

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The Ultimate Storm Shelter

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On Tuesday May 27, 2015 I had places to go and people to see… and a flat tire. A fact that I had been alerted to by a light on my dashboard (a symbol I had known from before.) But when I looked at the tires a day ago, they were Rall round, so I “assumed” a tire was just a little low on air and I’d get to it eventually. Eventually came as I prepared to leave for a revival where I would be singing and my husband prepared to leave for a motorcycle ride before the looming storm was to hit. He happened to notice that my tire was no longer round! So being the dutiful husband he is, he frustratingly desired my presence at the Fire hall (Where he is chief) to put air in my tire. After 34 ¾ years he still has yet to figure out that car maintenance is not my forte. Turns out there was a nail in the tire and that was the prelude to things to come. After my hero husband fixed my tire I left for the my own church to pick up a sound system that I had left there, and seconds before arriving at the church heaven opened up! I could barely see to pull onto the church lot, quarter size hail began pummeling my Jeep, winds whipped this way and that, moving my car more than a little. I couldn’t get out of the car or the hail would get me and even though I was parked just a few feet from the door I was helplessly stuck. So I waited out the few minute storm that felt like several. The damage was horrendous all around me. Four trees had been snapped off like twigs on the hill above the church. One toppling across the church van and taking out a transformer. New spring leaves were everywhere! And when I say everywhere I mean they plastered every vehicle and home in the area. You couldn’t tell if you were driving on the highway or a lawn. A few homes in the area were damaged, power was knocked out and several roads shut down by falling trees, but praise God, no injuries. Until my husband got hit in the head and knocked unconscious later in the evening by a large branch while moving debris. Don’t worry, my hard headed husband is fine! I made it to revival and it was quite a night of rejoicing.

If I were building a house, that paragraph would be the front porch. But don’t fret, it’s a small house and I have just a few points  to make on a lesson in the storm. Perhaps you’re having one in your life.

Isaiah 25:4

For thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall.

Regardless of the storm we need not fret that God has it under control.

Financial trouble? He is strength to the poor. It didn’t say that He would make us rich, but that He is our strength. Being low on funds usually lends itself to being low in spirit. It takes a toll on you emotionally, spiritually and can even affect you physically… unless… you turn it over to God. And though it can still be an up and down struggle, for we are human; the load gets lighter, and if we can master faith it can dissolve completely. Because God owns the universe, and our struggle didn’t come without His approval. It has purpose. Perhaps to draw our eyes to Him.

Distressed? Be it literal or in the spiritual sense the Lord is our strength. He hears your every prayer and knows your ever need. He strengthens our hearts with His own grace if we’ll allow.

In a storm? Storms come in varying degree and much like the one that I sat through they can leave us feeling stranded yet not alone. That storm quickly came and went without warning giving little time for fear. It was more of a contemplation of action. That’s what needs to happen in our life storms. Start looking for God’s plan of action… He’s not going to let you be destroyed.

Feel the heat? The heartaches of life can feel like the sun is bearing down on you inches from your brow. But there’s a shadow you can run to that will cast shade over your life and give you a refreshment like a glass of lemonade on a hot summer day. It’s called the Word of God. It’s being in the presence of God whether reading His word or attending a church service. You need that filling station!

Because the “blast of the terrible ones” can come at any time from any direction we have to be prepared. If you’re going to stand like a wall in the face the adversity that’s coming your way you need to know where your salvation lies.

And that my friend is in the arms of God. He’s the ultimate storm shelter! I pray you know Him… if not, please, please ask me to introduce you!! Comments are always desired and responded to. I’d love to hear from you today.

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Stop! in the name of Love

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Last night I taught our teens from the Francis Chan study on Crazy Love and managed to heap huge conviction upon myself. I hate that! But it’s necessary in your walk with Christ to look at life through the eyes of God, not the eyes of self. I measure up pretty good next to me… as a matter of fact we’re dead even. But line me up next the disciples, or Who we should be lining ourselves up to (Christ Himself) and I’m not so hot. I fall far short of who I should be. I don’t fall in to the completely lukewarm category but I have tendencies that no doubt make God’s stomach queasy.

Going through the motions:

Isaiah 29:13 says “Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:”

Does that not describe the church of modern day to a tee? Everybody’s a Christian (just ask them) but their lives certainly don’t back it up. SMO’s. “Sunday morning only folk.” If you’re one of them, I’m about to get on your last nerve. If we feasted on food like we feast on the word of God you could count our ribs. It’s truth. How on earth do we expect to survive in perilous times, when the only thing that’s going to get you through is the promises of God? And we don’t’ have them. I’m so proud of my group of teens at our church. Wednesday night we’re packed out! But the truth is, we could do better. That’s why I’ve been doing this Crazy Love series with them. I don’t want lukewarm Christians in my class, I want crazy kids who are sold out for Jesus Christ and they don’t care who knows it. I want them to look at their friends and understand if they don’t tell them about Christ, there’s a good chance no one else will either; and the end result is their friend will go to Hell.

Solomon said in Ecclesiastes 7:2It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart.” A funeral is better than a party? Yes, because a funeral brings the reality that our lives are like a vapor.

James 4:14

Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.

If we lived what we say we believe we’d be telling someone about Christ. As a gospel singer I’ve sang at a great multitude of funerals. They’ve not all been for saved people. As a matter of fact the very first funeral I sang for was for a lost soul. His family asked me to sing “Hello in Heaven,” because it was too late for the one whose funeral was being held, but it was not too late for the rest of their friends and family. That was a real eye opener for me as a young convert. I’ve been blessed to be among a congregation of people who try to live for Christ. We all fail. Daily. But we’re trying.

I encourage you to live for Jesus today and tell someone about His saving grace before it’s too late. Live the crazy love that we’re taught the disciples lived.  God likely will not ask you to give up everything you own and serve Christ, but are you willing to use what He’s given you to serve Him? What friend or family are you willing to let go to Hell? You’ve likely said none… but what are you doing to stop it?

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