Posted in Christian Service, Christmas, Life Inspiration, Uncategorized

What are you Magnifying this Christmas?

Jesus Chick Graphics

My mind has been on Mary, the mother of our Lord this week. And also a writer of the 300-400 AD era by the name of Epiphanius. It was his name that came up in my study on Monday from Luke 2, when I read in a commentary that it had been “hinted to” but not documented in scripture (which is very important) that Mary was martyred. That would not surprise me with the evil of the world then and now. Satan would have loathed the woman who brought our Lord to fruition through her womb, by the power of God. And who would have better known the facts of the matter than she herself. Oh my stars, my stomach just turned over to think of her life and watching the crucifixion of her child.

My youngest, who is 32, just left on a trip to New York, I worry for her and her safety, it’s the way of a mother. My soul hurts, literally, when one of my girls or grandchildren struggle. So to imagine… and I can’t, the pain Mary went through as the mother of our Lord, is beyond what I could possibly comprehend. But I am also very careful not to put her in a position of magnification above what the Lord allows. She’s wonderful. But she is not to worshiped or idolized as some would have us believe. She too was just like those of us willing to serve. A vessel of the Father. 

So back to Epiphanius. When I read his name and what he “hinted” at, I became fascinated with him. Who was he? And when he spoke those words, if he did, in what context were they spoken? Was he one who idolized Mary? And if so… I couldn’t give weight to his words. So I did what all tech gals do, I went to the web in search of information. And boy did I find some! Now I’m kind of in love with the guy. But my husband has no worries… he’s long gone. Having died as he lived in the year 403 A.D. Serving. 

There is a story for which I read, there were many, and not always so factual. But one that had facts to back it up was the story of “the curtain incident.”

A letter from Epiphanius, Bishop of Salamis, in Cyprus, to John, Bishop of Jerusalem covers the  incident of the curtain, which unlike other passages attributed to Epiphanius, is accepted as authentic by scholars. All of which is according to the web. Which we know wouldn’t lie, right? (Insert rolled eyes here). But I guess as far as we can tell, this is truth. 

The letter reads as follows:

Moreover, I have heard that certain persons have this grievance against me: When I accompanied you to the holy place called Bethel, there to join you in celebrating the Collect, after the use of the Church, I came to a villa called Anablatha and, as I was passing, saw a lamp burning there. Asking what place it was, and learning it to be a church, I went in to pray, and found there a curtain hanging on the doors of the said church, dyed and embroidered. It bore an image either of Christ or of one of the saints; I do not rightly remember whose the image was. Seeing this, and being loth that an image of a man should be hung up in Christ’s church contrary to the teaching of the Scriptures, I tore it asunder and advised the custodians of the place to use it as a winding sheet for some poor person. They, however, murmured, and said that if I made up my mind to tear it, it was only fair that I should give them another curtain in its place. As soon as I heard this, I promised that I would give one, and said that I would send it at once. Since then there has been some little delay, due to the fact that I have been seeking a curtain of the best quality to give to them instead of the former one, and thought it right to send to Cyprus for one. I have now sent the best that I could find, and I beg that you will order the presbyter of the place to take the curtain which I have sent from the hands of the Reader, and that you will afterwards give directions that curtains of the other sort—opposed as they are to our religion—shall not be hung up in any church of Christ. A man of your uprightness should be careful to remove an occasion of offence unworthy alike of the Church of Christ and of those Christians who are committed to your charge. Beware of Palladius of Galatia—a man once dear to me, but who now sorely needs God’s pity—for he preaches and teaches the heresy of Origen; and see to it that he does not seduce any of those who are intrusted to your keeping into the perverse ways of his erroneous doctrine. I pray that you may fare well in the Lord.[10]

See why I love him! He kind of reminds me of my David. Who is often harsh when it comes to correctness and those who live in err and profess to be right. Now… don’t tell him that I told you (I’m joking, he knows) he is not always right either. But David indeed does have the work ethic of similarity to the biblical ethics of Epiphanius. 

So this is why I am thinking much on Mary and Epiphanius today and the days prior. When Mary said  in Luke 1:46 ~“And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord,” she knew what we all should know, it wasn’t about her. And even though to some (but not to my David) they would say that Epiphanius’ reaction was brash; when rather than politely asking the church to remove the curtain, he ripped it to shreds. But he knew what this world does not, how much the Lord loathes religion over relationship. 

Religion is everywhere. And I really hadn’t thought about the images we project into our mind and lives that are not biblical. So over the last few days when I drew what I imagined Mary to be like, you’ll note I did not put a halo over her head, I however did add some sparkles, just because I think every woman of God should shine. 

So as we go into the Christmas season, I’m challenging myself and you to rethink some of the images you have in your mind about what this season should look like. Remember, Jesus “was a baby,” Now He’s a very grown up King. And our images will in no way do justice to the real King of glory. Wow! I just wrote myself happy again. 

Love ya. Mean it. Shari

Posted in failure, Grace, Health, Life Inspiration, testimony, Uncategorized, Word of God

You Don’t have to Pay for Common Sense

Can you believe it? Here we are smack dab in the middle of the Holiday Shopping season. Today is Black Friday, and I can’t say that I’m sad to be working. While Black Friday is fun, kind of… it’s also, at least in my experience, a waste of money. A trip to the big city requires a half a tank of gas, eating out a few times, and buying things that I usually discovered weren’t that great a deal. There would be a few bargains, but the bulk of it was not. This message is brought to you by God. He actually gave it to me, but I decided it was a worthy share! You’re welcome. 😀

My text today is from Hebrews 5:8-14

[8] Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; [9] And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; [10] Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec. [11] Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing. [12] For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. [13] For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. [14] But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

Wisdom In Common with Jesus

He is the Son of God, for which we too have been made. 2 Corinthians 6:18 tells us “And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” And as the children of God we are entitled to wisdom the world is not. Although I know that, I have a tendency to forget, and it was a commercial for a diet plan that popped up on Instagram that brought it to the forefront of my mind, where it has been for several days. While I truly believe this woman has some wonderful ideas to share about our relationship with God in diet decisions, and her plan wasn’t that expensive, for me I knew wasn’t something I needed to spend $50.00 for. God spoke to my heart and said, “Stick with me kid, and I’ll show you the way.” It’s true! While there are specific diets that I need instructions for, the Bible is truly all I need if I read it, and use it for guidance in every day decisions. We have the Spirit dwelling inside of us, making us in common with Jesus’ wisdom. 

Suffering In Common with Jesus

While Christ was indeed the perfect Son of God, one thing that He he not experienced in Heaven was suffering. Verse eight said “yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered.” Which is where some of the greatest lessons in my life have come from, because I am anything but perfect. I make the same mistakes over and over again. Jesus didn’t make a mistake that brought suffering, I made His mistakes, and you did. It was our sins that brought on the suffering of the cross, but what He learned was that He was willing to suffer it all for us to have a relationship with God the way He does. Did that knock a knot on your head like it did mine? Wow! Every time I come to the realization of what the Lord did for me, I stand amazed. 

Sense in Common with Jesus

We should have sense in common with Jesus, but as the writer of Hebrews says, many are still suck babies who haven’t moved out of the bottle stage. Truth? I think so. I too can fall into that category. Especially when it comes to making life decisions that I know the right answer too, but go in error because it tastes better. Literally. The young lady with the diet plan speaks of praying her way through the grocery store. Isn’t that a great idea, and it should be common sense, but it’s not something most of us consider because our mind is in the cheesecake isle… or maybe that’s just me. 

Verse 14 says “But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”

Good and evil speaks to what’s good for us, and what’s bad. Exercising is good. Even though scripture says it “profiteth little.” (1 Timothy 4:8) That’s my favorite part of that verse. But the problem with me, and many others, is that we want the milk of the verse, and not the meat. The full verse says “For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the the life that now is, and of that which is to come.”

We all want Heaven. Most of us want it a long time from now. But we make decisions like we want it tomorrow. Ouch. I just felt another knock on the top of my head again. It’s like Black Friday shopping, it’s only a good deal if you need it. Whether it’s dieting or shopping, do you need it? That’s where the wisdom and sense of God come into play. Else there will be suffering.

I don’t know about you… but for me that was good word going into this shopping season of insanity. Amen! 

Love ya! Hope you have a blessed day. ~ Shari

Posted in Bible Journaling, Christian Service, Faith, Grace, Life Inspiration

Is Jesus Missing You?

The news came this morning of a fallen child of God. I’ve watched it over the years as they strayed further and further away from the Lord, falling backing into alcoholism, domestic issues and yesterday an arrest with multiple charges. My heart sunk, the tears welled and I became frustrated, hurt and then really, really sad. I also became really, really conscious of the state of being human. We’re all just one bad decision away from needing grace. While I can’t imagine myself falling into the sins of my friend… and yes, they’re still my friend, because they’re still he friend of Jesus… I am aware that life changes on a dime. We all have good days and bad, and every day we need to hold tight to Jesus. Not because He’ll ever let us go, but because it’s up to us build our relationship with Him. And relationship are relational. Shocker! Right? 

Then why are we surprised when we don’t feel close to Jesus? When’s the last time we spent some serious time in His presence? I love the scripture in 1 Chronicles 16:22 that warns the world

Saying, Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm. – 1 Chronicles 16:22

You see, I know that I am anointed. I’ve known it from the time I got saved and began serving Jesus. But I don’t always act like I’m anointed.

Over the past few weeks I’ve re-entered the workforce on a part time basis. I’ve had to restructure my life, which has been good. It calls for very early wake ups and very early bed times. It calls for organization skills, which doesn’t come easy for me and it especially calls for time management. My ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) is on overdrive. I feel like that cartoon where the guy’s head is spinning like a top. Which way do I look! And then I realize. Up!!!!!

For the past few days I’ve had to pull an extra shift, prepare for my first board meeting and then attend a days training out of town which was all extra time in my schedule that I had not prepared for. It took me out of the ministry work, and refocused my attention on secular business and not the Lord’s. While I know He understands; He is not surprised, our relationship suffered. Certainly not on His end. But mine. 

And I said all that to say this: when my friend fell, I felt the fall. I had felt it every time I seen this guy and his family around town. I missed his fellowship at church. And so I wondered as I zoomed down the road, hither, there, and yon if Jesus watched me zoom by and said… “I miss you Shari.”

Has He said it about you lately?

How can we feel the power of that statement of God, “Touch not mine anointed,” when we’re not spending time with Him. 

  • The scripture leading up to that verse reminded Israel, and us, that we need to look at the life of Abraham (known as the friend of God) and how his relationship down through the ages has brought blessing. 

1 Chronicles 16:11-22 KJV

[11] Seek the LORD and his strength, seek his face continually. [12] Remember his marvellous works that he hath done, his wonders, and the judgments of his mouth; [13] O ye seed of Israel his servant, ye children of Jacob, his chosen ones. [14] He is the Lord our God; his judgments are in all the earth. [15] Be ye mindful always of his covenant; the word which he commanded to a thousand generations; [16] Even of the covenant which he made with Abraham, and of his oath unto Isaac; [17] And hath confirmed the same to Jacob for a law, and to Israel for an everlasting covenant, [18] Saying, Unto thee will I give the land of Canaan, the lot of your inheritance; [19] When ye were but few, even a few, and strangers in it. [20] And when they went from nation to nation, and from one kingdom to another people; [21] He suffered no man to do them wrong: yea, he reproved kings for their sakes, [22] Saying, Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm.

So as I head to work again today, these things are on my mind.

  • I sought the Lord and I’ve been strengthened in the Lord. Hallelujah!
  • I am mindful of His promises, not only to Abraham, but to me! Hallelujah!
  • And I am ever so aware that even though there are days when I feel like a stranger in my own world, I am God’s anointed. Hallelujah!!!

Please pray for my friend. He needs restored. And Make sure you take some time today to refresh in God’s word and prayer. So that you too can be remind that you are His anointed and you have a purpose for the Kingdom. 

God bless ya! ~ Shari

Posted in Bible Journaling, Faith, Forgiveness, Health, Life Inspiration, Uncategorized

You Can Fix Stupid

It’s Saturday morning, I’ve had a crazy week and I stand in need of some serious rest. Well. Guess where I’m going? It’s not to the world. And it’s not sleep of which I speak. It’s mental rest that I’m in need of. This world can drag me into oblivion and I feel like I’m drowning. And so I go to the only place I’ve ever found true rest. The Word of God.

Christ says in 1 John 14:27

Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. 

John 14 is one of my favorite books. It’s speaks of that place for which God Himself is preparing for us, but until then, He has provided the Comforter. And just reading the word of God causes my anguished soul to calm and the peace for which I’m longing is there. 

Sometimes the blog comes and then the image, but this morning it was the other way around. I could feel myself collapsing under the weight of the world before I got out of bed. I love the quote “The struggle is real!” Because it is. I’m sure I’m not speaking anything new to you. We all feel it. I’m not the only one with issues. Am I? Of course not. And our dilemmas are personal, and although the struggles of other people may be far worse, it doesn’t mean that ours will be ignored by the Lord. He understands. Long before He went to the garden, where He felt a struggle far beyond anything we will ever know, He still had earthly struggles. 

There were stupid people who walked the earth in Jesus’ day too. That may be a Jesus Chick original quote… just sayin’. Stupidity was a seed planted in the garden of Eden and we’ve been eating of that tree ever since. I won’t throw the rest of the world under the bus and say that I have not had moments of stupidity. Most of the pressures I feel are self inflicted. That seems to be a reoccurring theme on my blog and in my life. So I guess the question for today is “What do we do with the stupidity of this world?”

Fix What You Can

I’m looking at my own life and what’s going on right now. I’ve re-entered the workforce and have taken a job that needs some serious TLC. (Tender, loving, care). This week had me wading through paper work, checking accounts and new computer programs and the occasional stupid person. Mainly a computer programmer who I have no desire to ever meet. What I discovered is, I can fix this. But every problem has to be dealt with one at a time and with wise counsel. I’ll be honest with you, that’s never been my strong suit. Asking for help has always made me feel weak and less. But when the computer program kicked my butt this week, I had to call for counsel; and when the computer programmer talked to me like I was an idiot, and told me that his program took 2-6 months of training, which wasn’t included in what I’m paying him, I immediately knew who the idiot was, and it wasn’t me. So how do you fix stupidity. Get a new program.

The same is true in life. If what we’re doing isn’t working, we need to get a new program. It might be my stupidity or that of another that’s causing me issues, but I can’t keep doing the same thing and get a different result. So let’s change it up.

Don’t Let What’s Broken Cause you to Fall

For certain something broken can cause you to fall. My broken body has put me into the position of falling on several occasions.That feeling has caused me frustration and I’ve had to learn that aging is a process, but it’s not an ending. It’s just a new program.  And I’m slowly learning that the new program isn’t bad. I’ve just had to adjust my ways of doing things and my way of thinking, a lot! 

But what if it’s not something physical. What if it’s a broken heart or broken dreams. Perhaps it’s a broken promise. All of which can cause us to fall into a spiritual trap of the Devil. Satan loves it when something stupid happens in our lives that breaks us. When we’re down on our knees we have two choices; we can either cower to the demonic forces that want to make us miserable, or we can take what’s broken to the Lord Jesus Himself, and allow Him to fix it for us. It takes counsel. Sometimes from people, but always from the Lord. He is the only One that has the power to mend a broken heart or spirit. 

So you see, contrary to popular belief, you can fix stupid. 

I am aware that there is an exhaustive list of stupidity. And that it’s not a one size fits all. But it is a One size fix’s all. And that’s the Lord Jesus. Regardless of the category, the level or the depth of disaster. God’s got it covered and is more than willing to work with us. Isn’t that great?! You can fix stupid… who knew!

Posted in Bible Journaling, Christian Service, Evangelism

Candles in a Crazy World

Revelation 2

1Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;

Ephesus was the capital of Asia Minor, a center of land and sea trade. It was one of the most influential cities of the eastern part of the Roman Empire. The temple of Diana was located within the city, as well as the major industry, which was manufacturing the idols of the goddess Diana (Acts 19:21-41) Paul ministered in Ephesus for three years, warning people that false teachers would try to draw them away from their faith. But glory to God, the church of Ephesus had resisted them!

Paul could do a work here today if he were alive. Although we do not have a temple to the goddess Diana, we have an internet. We have crazy religions like “The church of the Spaghetti Monster.” Not joking… that’s a real thing. We have religions that indoctrinate people with a little bit of Jesus and a whole of world. That too was like the world around the church of Ephesus. The Nicolaitanes, mentioned in verse 6 of Chapter 2, were “believers” who compromised their faith in order to enjoy the sinful practices of the Ephesian society. Sound familiar?

It’s why the book of Revelation reads like the headlines of a newspaper laying on the counter of a newsstand today. And why those of us who truly want to let our little lights shine in this world should be reading it, heeding it’s warning and preparing for the sky to split open. And by preparing, I mean ministering to our friends and family that Jesus is coming soon! And that’s not just a song title.

Candlesticks and Stars

We’re about to go into the holiday seasons of Thanksgiving and Christmas. Candlesticks and stars are a center portion of the décor and this year the meaning will be a little deeper for me having read the book of Revelation at the start. John said “These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;

He that was holding the candlesticks and stars was none other than the Lord Jesus. The candle sticks were the churches, and the stars are said to be the church leaders or angels that guard the church. Church leaders are earthly angels that guard the church, are they not? Tears fill my eyes when I think of those in my own community who I adore, and have such a burden for their church, not just my own. I know they struggle. Every day is a fight for the believer. Funny, how thing haven’t changed so much since this book was written.

I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:

John commended the church of Ephesus for their stand. Just as he would commend the churches of today who stand for the gospel of Jesus Christ. He alone as the way of Salvation. The churches who believe that there is a separation from the ways of the world, not from the world. We have to live here and minister to the people in our community and let our little lights shine. But we also have to stand with unwavering faith in the doctrines of the bible. I know that that is my calling for this website.

There are times I want to be funny and trendy and do all the things that entertain. That’s just my nature. But then there are mornings like today that as I’m going back into the work force for the first time in years, that I know I’m about to go back into Ephesus again. And my focus has got to be right.

So, this morning I went back into the routine of years gone by. A 4:30 a.m. wake up call, which came naturally, no alarm. Not because I’m “all that and a bag of chips” spiritually. But because I know I need it. I have to have the guidance of the Lord on my day. Christ, through John said of the Ephesus church:

And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted. Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love.

Even thought they were good people, they had lost their zeal. I don’t want that said of me. I want my candlesticks and stars to shine brightly in my community and for that to happen I have to stay excited for the coming of Christ. I have to let them see Christ in me.

Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent. But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

I’m going back in the world. But I’m not apart of them!

My home is in Heaven and I have the very Spirit of God within me that is sitting on the throne of Glory! That gives me a much better vantage point for the day.

I pray your day is blessed! Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine!

Posted in Bible Journaling, Church attendance, Evangelism

My Burden for the Little People!

When I make the statement “I have a burden for small churches,” I get a multitude of looks and responses. If the person to whom I’m speaking is not a member of a small church, or usually any church, they just don’t get it at all. But if they are a member, their response depends upon how active and concerned they are for their portion of the body of Christ. Most are very concerned, and bewildered perhaps, on how to do anything to get their church motivated and growing. I get that. The struggle is real in every church regardless of size. It’s very difficult in our apathetic society who sees no need to arise on Sunday morning with their family and attend their local church. That is what drives me to be up at the crack of dawn on Saturday morning to write about it. And my soul stirs within me because I know I’m called to exhortation of the “little people.” The forgotten church houses in the hills and hollers of the United States. No, not just Calhoun County, West Virginia. Although that is my first mission field. But after traveling to New Mexico and seeing the battle firsthand on that side of the country, my burden is for everyone from east to west and north to south. That is my mission field.

In reading the book of Revelation, I see the little churches. Although the churches for which John is writing may or may not have been little in size. They were notable churches of the day. But read verses 12-16:

Revelation 1:12-16

12 And I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; 13 And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. 14 His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; 15 And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. 16 And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.

First of all, the image of John seeing God should get you excited. That will be us one day who know the Lord Jesus as Savior! The seven candlesticks are the seven churches to whom John writes. The seven stars in the hand of Jesus are the seven angels of the seven churches as written in verse 20.

That thought caught my mind this morning as I began to think about my own beloved (a very churchy word with a very deep meaning) Victory Baptist Church and the fact that we have an angel. I have to tell you, with our tribe, that angel gets a workout. That’s spoken part in fun and much truth. Victory Baptist has been my training ground for 23 years. The Lord placed me there because He knew I’d be under great leadership and receive the edification necessary to make a difference in this world. He allowed me to go through trouble, strife and anxieties within and without the church. That too was training ground.

I’ve experienced the power of Jesus in the midst. That’s where He is. Just like He was in the midst of those seven candlesticks, He’s in the midst of our churches. No matter what our church faces, Jesus is there with all power. We lack nothing of what’s necessary to thrive in his world, and yet we all struggle because the battle is very real. Jesus knows that, and that’s why He’s there.

Those angels that are with Jesus are also there to remind us that although Satan and his minions are out there wreaking havoc, we have our own spiritual realm of defenders. Glory to God! that makes me very happy!

Today I am encouraged in this word. I hope you’re encouraged too! Tomorrow is the Lord’s day and we have a few hours before the bell rings. Let’s do what we can to strengthen the body of Christ by prayer, and an invitation or two! That’s where the growth starts.

Save this meme, and share it with your friends… you don’t know until you ask!

Posted in Christian Service, Faith, Health, Life Inspiration, Uncategorized

Weary, Worry, and Wantonness

There used to be a quote that said, “My momma warned me they’d be days like this.” And while that’s evokes humor, it’s true none the less! Today is a day of feeling overwhelmed. It often happens when I come back from a ministry opportunity because, not only am I facing the undone things of the home, I’m facing the undone things of the spiritual realm too. Things like, promising myself that my prayer life would be richer and deeper, that my ministry would be better focused and scheduled, and my music rehearsal time would become a priority. Hmmmm. Did I really say I’d do all that? Add that to the physical things of the world that has to get done: Chickens to feed and water, 3 critters under my feet today and an extra one, because Maggie Mae the grandpuppy is visiting, in amidst the posters I need to do for our high school cheerleading squad, which my daughter now coaches, 6 children I’ll be picking up from school this evening and yes… my plate is full.  

Some days I wonder if this is considered sanity or insanity.

And, I overslept. Not cool Shari.

The Three W’s of life take their toll. So what are we to do as children of God when it all seems too much?

Weary = Rest

Galatians 6:9 says And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.

We must schedule rest; it’s not an option if we want to avoid fainting. And while I will agree with what you’re most likely thinking “There’s no room for rest!” As I said it’s not an option. As Pastor Mike so often said, “You do what you want to do.” And so, I think of my day and the many, many wasted moments that I piddle with this, that or the other that actually serve no purpose and I realize there is time for rest. I just need to schedule it like a doctor’s appointment and during that time allow the Healer to heal this weary soul.

You schedule yours now too!

During that time we need to

  • Tell the Healer where we hurt – Even the places we don’t like to go.
  • We need to close our eyes and listen to His advice. – Shssh.
  • And then we need to just breath. Quietly and peacefully. Imagining the sounds of heaven….

My 3-year-old nephew Jensen, who lives in Maine, is one of the wisest boys I know. He told his Momma last week that “His socks make noises like this… and then he sat very still and quiet for a few seconds.”

I have laughed at that for a week. Thinking of how wise this little fella was to understand that silence is a sound that we need to hear. There is a depth of wisdom in that boys statement that goes beyond what we allow ourselves to understand. Shsssh.

Worry = Trust

Proverbs 16:20 ~ He that handleth a matter wisely shall find good: and whoso trusteth in the Lord, happy is he.

A lesson that I have to learn again and again, is to do the best I can, and then leave the rest to God. Because I’m a fixer, and I want to fix it… quickly. Trusting even in the Lord Jesus is a struggle. No… let me rephrase that, “Waiting on the Lord Jesus is struggle. I know that I know His way is best. But I so often think my way is faster. And while that is true sometimes, it messes up the plan and causes my happiness to be less than it should be. I’m wondering if you too can identify?

His way leads to happiness, our way leads to happy less. Oh dear… that one smarted!

Finally but not the least of the three that I struggle with is

Wantoness =  Conent

It could speak to “stuff,” or “position or place.” Wantonness is a fleshly struggle for me. I love bling baby!!! And I love it so much so that I get lost in it sometimes. Wanting things for my house, my kids, myself, my husband. It’s hard to be content in a world of media!

And so I’ve been trying to focus myself on using media to promote the Lord rather than allowing it to promote the world to me. If I spend time in my artistic endeavors of Christian banner and art creation, it will hopefully fill my days with causing the world to desire what the Lord provides. Contentment.

Does it always work? Nope. But as always I’m a work in progress.

I hope that my attempts at making my own self better, helps you with your life. I love ya, and I hope you have a Christ focused day!!!

Posted in Christian Service, Evangelism, Uncategorized

Will You be Listed?

“I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea.” Romans 16:1

The final Chapter/Letter to the Romans by Apostle Paul. What joy it brought to my soul this morning to read the names of the servants of God that had served with Paul throughout the churches and the roles they played. I imagined my own name being written down in the books of Heaven as to the service that’s being provided in New Mexico in fellowship and service with Gloria Jones and Dewey Moede.

To say that my time here is a blessing isn’t enough. From the first step inside the sanctuary of the First Baptist Church of Magdalena to the final dinner prepared by Pastor Paul Holt, the Spirit was moving. I wept as my heart was overwhelmed with the music by their worship leaders. I sang and spoke and listened to the sermon being delivered by a man of God who was filled with the Spirit and wisdom of God and thought to myself, “Shari, you are blessed, don’t forget it.”

To be in service to the King of the World isn’t something to be taken lightly. And yet, we do. Or at least I do.  Gloria and I traveled to Silver City, NM for more site seeing of this beautiful State. We witnessed to the people in the shops and left broken hearted as realized that our message wasn’t received as we’d hoped.

When I asked an artist at one local shop about being a Christian, she quickly said,  “I’m Lutheran, that means I’m fine, right?”

To which my reply was “No, being a Lutheran won’t save you, only Christ can do that. She replied “that’s a personal decision.”

“Very personal I responded.” And went on to explain about my salvation experience. She was kind and took my business card. Perhaps some seeds were sown.

Another young woman in another shop questioned why we were in town. Upon explaining about my speaking and singing, she told us she was of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I questioned her about her belief in Christ alone. She said she believed, but that Joseph Smith was a prophet, not to be worshiped but to be believed. She misunderstood that that statement also meant that she was saying the bible was not the only word of God and that it was incorrect according to their belief. She said that “We were all the same.”

We are not. Apostle Paul was commending people who had laid their lives on the line for what they believed. Not for assumptions or for catering to misguided beliefs. The body of Christ must stand strong in our convictions. Having hard conversations like those and others I’ve had this week may seem like I’m losing the battle, but Paul said in 1 Corinthians 3:6 “I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.”

We do not know who may come after us and share the news in a way that turns their stories into testimonies of salvation. All I can do is be faithful to what I know as truth.

I feel the Lord commending my soul today just as Paul commended Phebe and the other men and women listed in Paul’s letters. And I want to encourage you to speak Jesus wherever you are.  For me, oh my stars! It’s New Mexico! What a joy and a privilege to be in this place. The mission field isn’t a foreign land (necessarily). It’s the street you live on, your home, wherever you are. God has a work for us to do. It’s a very real assignment.

Paul listed one after another who had ministered with him in various capacities. Will you be listed? And what will it say? God bless you! We are co laborers in Christ and I want to hear what’s going on in your world. Write me and let me know!

Posted in Bible Journaling, Christian Service, Leadership, Life Inspiration, Purpose

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.

Posted in Bible Journaling, Christian Service, Eternity, Evangelism, Life Inspiration, salvation

Rewired for Christ

Romans 6:18-23

If you had to describe your state of mind, pre-salvation what one word would you use?

I would use the word “tumultuous.” Meaning unbridled and unrestrained. I wasn’t connected to anything solid and so I was flailing around like a windsock going what ever direction the wind blew me in. I didn’t have direction and things good or bad seemed to jolt me into a new direction without any thought to where I was going.

So think about your world pre-salvation for just a second. What did it look like?

Coming to the knowledge of who we are in Christ is a game changer for the child of God who happens to be in a place where they can grow in grace and under discipleship and solid doctrine. But prior to that life seems to be …

Short Circuited

At birth we have a disconnect from the Creator. The reason I could be jolted in any direction was because my wires were not connected.  

I thought the definition of “short circuit” was fitting for a person of a lost nature:

[in a device, an electrical circuit of lower resistance than that of a normal circuit, typically resulting from the unintended contact of components and consequent accidental diversion of the current.]

It was never God’s intention for mankind to have contact with the low side of life.  And once we were, we were diverted from God’s control. We were severely disconnected. We fell short… as in “for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” – Romans 3:23

What happens if you grab ahold of a short circuited wire? Nothing good, right? We’re shocked. That too is a reaction to sin. As a child we know when we’ve done wrong. We generally feel bad about the transgression, even thought we seldom confess. The more we do it, is like getting shocked by low does of electricity. We get used to it. Maybe our nerves get seared and no longer feel the guilt that we once did for committing sin. So in order to get a jolt that makes a difference, usually something drastic has to take place.

What took place in Paul’s life that made such a drastic difference?

Acts 9:3-9

 And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:  And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?  And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.  And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.  And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man. And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus. And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink.

I love reading the story of Saul becoming Paul. That’s what happens when we reconnect with God. We become an entirely new person!

Romans 6:19

 I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.

Apostle Paul is helping the Romans to understand that he understands. He totally gets where they came from. Prior to salvation they were following their sinful fleshly ways, but now, there should be something new that they have a connection to – righteousness. They should be drawn to it.

John 12:32 says “And, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.”

Praise God for that drawing.

A great illustration of drawing electricity is the power between water and static electricity.

It’s in a like manner that we are drawn to Christ. The Water of life! But also prior to salvation, you were not only short circuited there was a

Circuit Breaker

20 For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness.

The sin that was in our lives is what kept us from coming to Christ. We felt the draw, but there was a break in the connection. Sometimes ever after the jolt of reality that we’re lost, it’s years and years before people come to Christ.

Why do you think that is?

There are probably as many excuses as there are stars in the sky, but the truth of the matter is rebellion. It’s the same reason that Satan and the angels fell. Everybody wants to be in charge. The ol’ “You are not the boss of me attitude.”

It’s a funny comment when a parent says “I brought you into this world and I can take you out.” But that’s illegal. Else it might happen more often. But with God it’s very much the truth! He kicked Satan and his crew out of Heaven, and He will now allow those who have rejected His authority to be in Heaven.

Praise God for

Conductors!

Romans 6:21-22

What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.

Conductors conduct electrical current very easily because of their free electrons. Insulators oppose electrical current and make poor conductors. Common conductors and insulators:

What would be a conductor of the Christian faith?

Pastors, teachers, social media posts, evangelists, ministers of the gospel, songs…

So many! You and I, if we’re doing what we should are conductors of the power of God. People see it in our lives, we touch people with our actions and words, just like the wires that carry electricity. We too can jolt people into the reality that they need Christ. They may break the circuit by rejecting it, but they can’t stop us from sharing it. Because we are

Hardwired

Romans 6:23

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Our decision to accept what Christ did on the cross creates within us a hardwire to the Lord. We can’t disconnect from it.

Verses of reminder:

John 10:27-29 – My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.

John 6:37 – All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.

John 10:28 – And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any [man] pluck them out of my hand.

John 5:24 – Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

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.

Romans 11:29 – For the gifts and calling of God [are] without repentance.

Jude 1:24 – Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present [you] faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,

1 John 5:13 – These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

2 Corinthians 1:22 – Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.

Romans 8:38-39 – For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Ephesians 2:8 – For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God:

Philippians 1:6 – 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:

It’s important for us to remind ourselves that God is in charge of the connection. Not us. We might walk away from God, but He will never walk away from us.

He will continue to call His children home when they stray. Because that’s how He loves us.