Tag Archives: Jeremiah 1

Let God be True and Social Media a Liar

Today is Friday, August 30th, 2019. Winding down and the summer and heading into fall. Much like I feel about life right now! How did I get here, you know… 57 years after the picture of me graffitiing my Mother’s belly? Time is swift and not for the faint of heart. Beauty is fleeting, it’s a good thing I never felt that I had it. (Not asking for compliments or pity, just being real). It wasn’t something that I put a lot of stock in as a young person.

Now I attempt to beautimitize myself (totally a made up word) as I travel about and I am concerned a little more about the flavor of style when I’m up in front of people. But none of the frilliness of life ever interested me or caused me to want to do make up tutorials and style videos. Those things were not things I was purposed to do.

My immediate family consists of a dozen, myself and husband, two grown daughters with husbands, and six growing grandchildren. Five boys and one girl. The little girl I get… I raised two of them, the five boys! Oh my stars they are so different from girls for obvious and not so obvious reasons. But mostly because God designed their hearts differently from the womb. So when I read a verse like Romans 9:11 it causes me to ponder what God will do with them, and me!

(For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of Him that calleth;)

It draws me back to one of my favorite verses, Jeremiah 1:5

Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.

For me, that verse answers the abortion debate. Before we were even in the belly, God had a plan for us. So, nobody will ever tell me that a little fella or gal in the beginning stages of formation in the momma’s womb isn’t somebody. They were somebody, before they were a body! Glory!

But back to my point of God’s plan.

While I would love it if my plan for each of my children and grandchildren were God’s plan, I have to look at the very real potential that it’s not. But understanding that their potential is God’s to do with what He will.

Paul was teaching the Romans, and the Jewish people in these passages, that no one can claim to be chosen by God because of his or her heritage or good works. God chooses who He desires to choose to use, and He uses those who have accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior. Jew or Gentile. God uses them all. He can use anyone lost or saved to accomplish a task, but no one will live up to their potential unless their in Christ.

Three Prayers for my dozen

So that is my first prayer for those that I love and myself. A right relationship with the Lord. It’s the beginning of every good plan.

My second prayer is the will of God for our lives. As I said, “I have many ideas about direction for theses kids.” But if I project my plan onto their life, I may have them headed down a road to destruction. So, I have to leave well enough alone, and boy is that hard! But what I always fail to remember is that it’s hard enough to keep myself in check with God. I’d do well to leave everyone else to Him before I rurally mess things up.

And my final prayer is that our potential is made known so that God can be glorified through us. It’s where I feel parents (myself included) can discourage their children and their selves. Trying to put anyone into a position that God did not ordain for them, really is like putting a square peg in a round hole. It will not work.

Social media is the bomb. Until it explodes in our face. Looking at the seemingly perfect lives of people and their staged photographs will put unrealistic goals into the minds of anyone. Yes, me too! I follow artists, speakers, singers and I love it! But then I hate it. Because I begin comparing myself to their look, style, design and I feel like an unworthy dirt dog.

I need to stop. If you’re doing that, you need to stop.

That crazy baby in the womb, who loves graffiti. That’s me for realsy. I need to love her. And so that’s my prayer for all my peeps. Let God be true, and social media a liar. He determines our destiny. Not the numbers or the masses.

How Well Do You Know God?

How many times today have you said that you loved someone or something? Things like “I love French fries or cake, or the shoes on my feet. Perhaps you told someone you loved them, and genuinely meant it, or maybe not.” The point is we use the word “love” a lot. And often as nothing more than a term of affection meaning “really like.” We wouldn’t dare compare the love of chocolate cake to the love of our family. So if we rated love on a scale of 1-10, where would chocolate cake rate, and where would our mother rank. And if by comparison we threw the love of God into the equation, in that He gave His only begotten Son to die for sins, where then would chocolate cake rate? I know it really is relative, but it’s a point worth pondering.

How much do we understand the love of God?

What does God know about you?

God knew you, before you were you

Jeremiah 1:5 –  Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest  forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.

Of course God speaks of Jeremiah the Prophet, but being that God is no respecter of persons, He put the same thought into you prior to your birth. Your life was a blue print in God’s mind before you became the child of your parents. While your parents were planning the color of your nursery, God was planning your career. I know the love that I had for my girls and the planning and preparing that went into each of their arrivals. But I didn’t love them to the depth that God loved them. While human love created the children, God’s love created the possibility for it to happen, in that He allowed me to conceive. He created the Passion for David and I to love each other and He created the potential for my girls to become who He wanted them to become.

When the world tells us that we are unworthy, and for me that is often. God says, “You have no idea of the time I’ve invested in you.” That should make us pause for reflection on why we feel unworthy. It’s not because the Creator makes us feel that way.

That is why, I believe that God starts speaking into our lives at a very young age, and so does Satan. Satan loves to try to undo, God’s creation. He’s very good at it in some areas. But in our lives, he is only as good as we let him be.

God Knows the Hairs on your Head

Matthew 10:30 – But the very hairs of your hair are all numbered?

What attention to detail! Most of us don’t even notice when someone we care about gets their hair cut, but God not only notices, He has each follicle numbered. It shows the depth of God’s love and concern for everything aspect of our lives.

Following the surgery, my hair was showing a lot of damage. Possibly from the stress on my body overall. It was frustrating to look in the mirror at the broken and dead ends of my previously healthy-ish hair ( I do color it after all). But I have friends who have lost their hair because of cancer treatments. How can I complain about split ends. Because God knows for me it’s not about vanity as much as it’s about wanting to appear healthy so that people aren’t concerned and worried about me. To the world, it may seem vain. But God knows and cares about my heart. Maybe for you it’s another part of your anatomy or life that causes anxiety. Believe that God cares.

God Knows your Desires

Psalm 37:4 – Delight thyself also in the Lord; and He shall give thee the desires of thine heart.

I can’t tell you how many times that I’ve read and favored this verse. But today as I read it, the word “also” jumped from the page of scripture.

If you read the verses going into that verse you’ll see in the context that there is method to God’s plans. Psalm 37:1-3 says Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb. Trust in the Lord and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.

Leading up to the often-quoted verse of God granting us the desires of our heart is the acknowledgement that we are often aware of others who seemingly have the world as their oyster while we have crawl crabs on the creek bank. Can I get a witness on that!? Today as I traveled the highways I was having one of those moments as I looked at the countless blessing of folks who were far from serving God and yet they had “so much” materialistically speaking. I was ashamed of myself as soon as the thought came into my mind; but it didn’t stop me from thinking about it again.

But God does know the desires of my heart, and how many of those has He given me? Countless! And what does the lost have if they have not Christ? Nothing of any value. So when I read “also.” What that said to my heart was God allows our hearts to desire things of Him and things that are not of Him. And so long as they are not harmful to the cause of Christ, they are fine. But it’s up to God when to dole out the blessings. Just as it’s up to Him to call the final day in the life of a lost soul.

Verse 5a: Commit thy way unto the Lord;

Stay committed regardless.

God knows every thought we have before we have it. He knows our down rising and our uprising. David said I Psalm 139:8 – If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed hell, behold thou art there. There is no where that we can go, no thought nor action can we have that God is not aware. No sin…

That is what’s so amazing about John 3:16

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

He knows every sin and failure, yet He was still willing to allow His Son to pay the price for our sin.

Who would you do that for?

How well do you know the Love of God and the depth of it? He knows everything about us. Every second of the day He is prepared to hear us and provide for us. How many seconds of the day are we prepared to hear His voice and get to know Him better? How many minutes on Sunday do we commit to know Him better?

 

On the Other Side

Proverbs 4:23

Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.

I cannot tell you when the heart issues began in my physical body, only that they had begun months before. I was having arm pain pretty frequently, but I would shush it as if to tell God, “I ain’t got no time for that Lord.” So on the busiest Sunday in a long time, of the busiest week in forever, in my most favorite place and haven of rest, I had a massive heart attack at about 9:40 a.m. Sunday, May 20th, 2018. I stole away to my class room at Victory Baptist Church, out of the eyes of the congregation and waited for the pain to subside. Yeah… I’m not the brightest crayon in the box. It did, and so I continued doing what Shari does. “Church stuff.”

I left church and a little later went to my granddaughter Paityn’s dance recital. Another “episode” and I walked out of the auditorium and away from people to let God know, I had too many things to do and the pain subsided.

Monday: another of my favorite ministries is the Long Term Care at Minnie Hamilton Health Care where I play and minister for an hour each Monday at 2:00 p.m. Once that was under my belt I had but to finish preparing for the departure of an African missionary that had been staying in our home, and the in the process of running an errand for that, the third and final, “Okay God, you win.” I pulled into the fire station where my husband is chief and said, I need to get to the hospital. And immediately everything was out of my control and there was no more shushing God. I was informed I had had a heart attack.

So what was my reaction? Typical Shari. “Hmmm. Now what? I’ve really messed up this time God. Are you going to fix it?

Things began rolling so fast: a friend staffed ambulance trip to Camden Clark in Parkersburg. A heart cath that showed a 95% blockage was over with before I even knew it. Literally I asked the doctor when he was going to start. I’d been joking and talking about music and Jesus with the staff and missed my own heart cath. I was assigned to a heart doctor that I was ready and willing without apprehension to trust for my heart surgery. But then, he fears I have a blood disorder and refuses to do the surgery in that facility. So to WVU in Morgantown I go. Another ambulance ride, constant chest pain and I’m as cool as a cucumber in the garden after the rain.

I had a 95% blockage in two arteries, one being the main. And so a team of the best heart doctors in our state commence to figure a plan for the surgery. They’re worried about the blood issue. I know it’s covered by the blood and so I lay there in waiting for a new start on life and all the while asking God, “Am I gonna come through this?” I kept hearing again and again, “You’re fine, you’re going to the other side.” So there I continue to lay for 3 days waiting for the boat. God had calmed the sea, but Jesus had hired drivers for this trip in the form of WVU medicine.

The boat arrived Friday, May 22nd and my double bypass surgery was scheduled for 6:30 a.m. My husband David, Pastor Steven, and salvation long friend Ed Eisley met with me before surgery where we prayed, laughed about life and off to surgery I went. I know… I’m a nut.

I was wheeled into a very sterile operating theatre where the show was about to begin and I was the star. I was very aware and oddly so that I had no fear. Two of the medical staff were from my mom’s home county, and as I joked and talked about like acquaintances we knew, the next thing I know my husband is saying “Shari it’s done. You’re good.”

My healing in the next few days was every bit as insanely miraculous. It wasn’t fun and it wasn’t pain free, but it was tolerable and passed quickly. And here I sit, on a Sunday morning at 4 a.m. two weeks from the day of my heart attack, preparing my mind for church and wondering how the game plan has changed for me in the scope of my service.

Fggam.org founder, Dewey Moede asked me a few days after the surgery “What’s the biggest lesson I learned through the heart attack?” At that time my mind wasn’t in a place to answer. The brain fog of drugs and anesthesia had my mind a jumbled mess, and I’m still not so sure my lesson is over. This has certainly sidelined me in a few ways. But what I am very aware of is the fact that God is faithful. I am not.

I am not some super saint with the ability to step out in faith every time and never ever question God. I did not maintain that Spirit of fearlessness in surgery by my own accord. God’s divine mercy saw fit to use me for six days for His glory and without human reasoning. Hundreds if not thousands of saints of God lifted my name to the Lord and I knew it because every prayer could be physically felt. God placed the best medical facility and staff in my path for six days. I left the hospital in record time and returned home to family who were frustrated that they didn’t need to take care of me as much as they’d planned.  If you played any part in my “episode,” I am so eternally thankful.

So for the lesson? I’m sure there are many, many to come. But the one in my mind right now is that God needed me to understand that my life was not my own and it would be used as a vessel for His glory and goodness, even when I tried to shush Him or do things my way. I pray you learn that lesson by my errors rather than your own. I look at the heart bypass as hopefully a bypass around the world’s approach to faith. You can give your heart to Jesus and be an honest to goodness child of God, but until you go around the worldly view of Christianity, which is so wrong, and give full control to the Spirit of God, you’re missing out on Jeremiah 1:5 Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.”

Children of God we are set apart and created with purpose. We do not belong to this world. When that boat of surgeons arrived to take me to the other side, I was ready. It’s not to say the world didn’t try to tell me the storms would overtake me, but I knew the maker of the storm! I will not allow Satan to take credit for any part of what I went through. I brought it on myself through disobedience and ignorance, case closed. God was glorified because as my friend John Powell used to say, “God takes care of stupid people.” Especially those with a desire to serve Him and be used by Him.

Here I am Lord, use me!

A Good Day to Look Backward and See Forward

By far one of my favorite verses is Jeremiah 1:5

Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.

Long before Gene Hardway and Violet Spencer , became Gene and Violet Hardway, God knew me. That alone blows my mind. But greater than that is the fact that He knew “me.” The bad, the good and the ugly. And actually Christ says there is none good but God (Luke 18:19); so that just leaves the bad and the ugly. And yet He still chose to save me, use and free me in this wicked world. Amazing.

You too can stand amazed, because He has an amazing message for us in those 31 words. One for each day of any month. There is not a day that goes by that God doesn’t haven a plan. We may choose to ignore it, or perhaps you’re not even in the place to discover it because you’ve never accepted Him as Savior and Lord. But regardless, He has plan.

In a few weeks I’ll turn the double nickel. Where did 55 years go? Much of it wasted, but much of it was in preparatory times for days like these. Even the bad and ugly days have created me to be who I am. The hurts of the past help me love the hurting. The mistakes of the past helped me forgive the mistaken. The brokenness of the past… well you get the picture. Everything has purpose. I won’t say it was all of God, because there were times I was doing anything but listening to God, but He used it. My mistakes didn’t catch God off guard. He did not say, “Oh my stars! She’s beyond anything I can do.” No, He knew me, He loved me anyway and He uses me any way.

He Knew Me

Somewhere in the portals of time, I was. I don’t have a clue as to what form I was, body or spirit. But I was. I was who God created me to me. The drawing I doodled last night that began this thought was a caricature of me as a child. Weird child that I was, speaking into hair brushes, pretending I had an audience of ten. I really didn’t have too big of dreams about it then. But God did. I wasn’t singing, like other little girls. I was speaking. I had important things to say that I was sure the whole world needed to hear. That experience had all but left my mind until a speaking engagement a few years ago when it flooded back into my soul and God said… this is what I created you to do. That’s amazing!

He Loves Me

Long after the hair brush in the mirror days, I had a lot of ugly times. I didn’t know God until I was 34 years old. So that left a lot of years of just me. And I messed up a lot of those years. From 34 to 55, I’ve walked with Christ, but many of those days I’ve walked ahead and had to retrace my steps back to Him and ask once again for Him to take the lead. Life is tricky. But even with all the mistakes, getting off track, feeling frustrated and failure upon failure… He loves me.

He Uses Me

That’s the most amazing thing of all! That I’m on staff for God. Have you ever thought of it like that? That’ll blow your mind away! We all like position in life and recognition, but we take the greatest position in life for granted. That we work for God. That we have a position, a job and goal in life that He instilled in us as a children, and many people just throw it away like it was yesterday’s newspaper. Perhaps you’ve not even discovered yours. Today would be a good day to look backward and see forward

 

Are you sure it’s only been 3 years?

chick anniversary

My friend Dewey Moede had to remind me that we were coming upon our 3rd Anniversary of the FGGAM.org, a web ministry and news site based in New Mexico. It was three years ago that he and I, as well as many others, partnered to share the common goal of glorifying Christ through the Word of God. Although Dewey says it’s been three years …I have to wonder; life is a blur sometimes. I discovered Dewey, who at the time was a radio personality, through mutual friends and Christian Speakers, Shona Neff and Shonda Savage. Through Dewey I’ve gathered friendships with Rick Stambaugh, Joe Fawcett III, Karen Rowe, Darlene Firk Quiring and probably a dozen or so others just to mention a few. And although I do talk to Dewey on the phone fairly often, I connect with the others only through the web as friends, and yet… I have to wonder.

Jeremiah 1:5 (one of my favorite verses) says – Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.

If God knew us before we were born, did we know each other? I don’t have the answer to that question, but I do believe there are some ordained meetings here on earth. And my New Mexico friends and family of God were for me an ordained meeting. I cannot tell you of the treasured conversations that I have had with them. Some more than others. Some are simply comments on posts or responses to something I or they have written, but there’s something about my connection to these folk; they now are a thread that is intricately woven through the fabric that God has formed from my life. They’ve added a new texture and dimension to me. I hope someday that God allows me to paint that thought.

I said all of that to say this: We have no idea how God is working in and through our lives on any given day. But He is. Our words and actions touch other people most every day in some manner, for good, bad and even in indifference we make a difference. I don’t believe my New Mexico Connections and the branches thereof were chance meetings, I believe they were divine appointments that God has used to encourage me along the pathway to Heaven where someday we’ll all gather together at the feet of Jesus. Maybe we’ll pick a little bluegrass or just talk about how good God is, we’ll have plenty of time for it all.

Although David and Jonathan’s meetings were face to face, I can relate my friendships with theirs through 1 Samuel 18:1~ And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking unto Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.

There’s something about the children of God, whether it was that we knew each other before we were born, or it is the Spirit of the Living God that is within us now – we do indeed know and love one another even if we’ve never met face to face. There was no ordination service of www.fggam.org and www.theJesusChick.com here on earth, but at some point in Heaven God laid out the plan and I am so very blessed that He did.

If you’d like to read about the humble beginnings of FGGAM, I recommend you read my friend Rick’s anniversary post. Here’s the link: http://www.fggam.org/2015/07/praise-him-now-praise-him-then-praise-him-when-the-storms-come-again/

Be blessed too my friends! And remember, someone crossing your path today needs you.

Ice Bucket Issues

ice-bucket-challenge

Besides the fact that every other post on social media was somebody dumping ice over their heads, which in 90 degree weather wasn’t the safest idea, then screaming and running off camera my other issue with it is the immorality of the research. Don’t bother sending me emails telling me how heartless I am, because I won’t believe you and you won’t sway my opinion which is founded on the Word of God. I’m not poopooing anyone who’s done the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and saying that you’re messed up or unsaved, I just wanted to explain my stand and why this is the plot of ground for which I do stand.

Jeremiah 1:5 says “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.” That’s the Word of God and that settles it. Life begins at conception. One might argue that life began before conception. And not only had life began, there was a plan, of which millions have been interrupted by humans who thought they had the right to play God and take a life. I say interrupted because though they did not continue down here, God took those little souls to Heaven. And while the supporters of the challenge certainly didn’t have a part in those harvesting of stem cells, their money did.

My heart breaks for the victims of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. I went online last night and watched the video of Peter Frates which broke my heart to see the way the he and his family are suffering because of this debilitating disease, and I can certainly pray for them that God intervenes on their behalf and that other researchers will find a means to a cure or a help for them; but not at the expense of an unborn child.

There are medical research organizations that don’t use embryonic stem cell research, one of which is John Paul II Medical Research Institute in Iowa. (http://jp2mri.org/) I’m sure there are many others, but in my quick research for this blog, that was one that I had come across and felt safe in giving you. If you want to take the challenge, send your dollars there.

I want to make it clear that this is not a holy high horse stance where I’m saying that I’m better than anyone else because of the stand I take. It’s just one stand I can take where I know I’m on the side of God which is where I want to be. I’m the first to admit that I’m a sinner saved by grace alone, I have enough sin that I’ll be answering to God for… I don’t need someone else’s.