Tag Archives: knowledge

From Fear to Faith with Apostle Paul

chick scaredy pants

Faith… We study it, share it, preach it and proclaim it over the hurdles we must jump, but every new predicament in life brings us back to the beginning of striving again to obtain that mustard seed of faith that will bring us through. After almost twenty years of salvation, one would think that I have would have obtained great faith… after all, I’m the Jesus Chick right? And yet it takes so little to get my knees knocking and heart trembling. But as He always does, God shows me that I’m in the good company of Apostle Paul who boldly preached in the face of death, yet he had his knee knocking moments as well. So this morning I’m looking to shore up my faith in the Word of God. If you’re needing a prop or two in your life I hope you’ll come along with me as I unpack  1 Corinthians 2:1-5

And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.

Mr. & Mrs. Smarty Pants

I am forever trying to plot out life in my own wisdom. In comparison to the wisdom of Paul I would still be in pre-school, and yet the Apostle Paul said that he was determined to know nothing but Christ. Regardless of the level of your intelligence, the letters behind your name or in front of your name, if you seek to know anything outside of the wisdom and will of God you’re in trouble. The first step to living in faith is stop thinking on your own and remember the price that God paid for you.

If God. The Creator and Knower of all designed you and your life, and then sent His Son to the cross of Calvary to pay for your life, will He not continue to care for it and put everything in your path to take you where He wants you to go. You and I are precious commodities in the Kingdom of God. We are the vessels that He pours Himself into and then places people and events in our path to bring glory to His Kingdom. Sometimes the paths are hard, but how much easier would it be if we just rode the wave rather than constantly fighting the current of the high waters about our neck. God’s got this.

Scaredy Pants

But I’m afraid! Paul was too! He said he was weak, afraid and trembling. That sounds pretty serious to me. Now granted… Paul was facing people who wanted him dead… What you and I usually face is far less, but God understands our fear. Paul, a learned scholar, didn’t rely on the wisdom that he had acquired through men, but allowed the Spirit of God to take over his faculties and bring the message to the people.

It’s hard to let loose of fear, because actually it’s the other way around, fear has a hold on us.  What bothers me this morning was lying in bed beside of me. (No, it wasn’t David) It was this ever present feeling of uncertainty. It was on my mind when I laid down and occupied my pillow throughout the night. So this morning I allowed God to lay hands on it. I don’t have that power! It is only through the Holy Spirit that I can be brave for today.

That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.

If we are to stand in faith we cannot stand in the wisdom of man, because man just doesn’t get it. Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen ~ Hebrews 11:1

Facing the Experts

big-dog-little-dog

au·thor·i·ty

əˈTHôritē ~an individual cited or appealed to as an expert.

A favorite statement from my 3 year old granddaughter, who may or may not have a slight attitude, is “You are not the boss of me.” I hear it multiple times a day when she’s with her brother, and then she will proceed to run down a list of adults who are in charge of her. She gets authority, she doesn’t always heed to it, but she gets it. I’m amazed at the knowledge and comprehension packed into those babies. I’m pretty sure I was a much dumber child, and as an adult I consider myself an authority on very little, possibly nothing. Jack of a few trades, master of none mentality. I’m blessed with people in my life who put far greater faith in me than deserved when it comes to creativity be it in written, music or artistic forms. I know a little about a lot. Not a lot about anything. Just enough to be dangerous usually. What makes me the exception to the rule I’ve discovered is there are far more people in the world who believe themselves to be an authority on life. If you don’t believe me, just ask them, they’ll tell you they are and why:

  • One bad relationship and suddenly they’re suitable for counseling.
  • One good steak and they’re a chef.
  • One child and they’re a parenting expert.

I’m sure you know them. I’m sure they’ve grated on your nerves as they have mine.

But there was One who was an Authority of all.

Mark 1:22

King James Version (KJV

And they were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes.

Not as the scribes. That had to cut. The scribes thought they were an authority on it all. They were keepers of the law after all, they knew it backwards and forwards. They had head knowledge, but Christ had God knowledge. There is a difference in a head knowledge and a heart knowledge. We’ve all heard it or said it, “I knew it my heart it was right.” There are people who have made light of those unlearned in certain subject matters or trades only to discover later that they were gifted. They had a heart knowledge not understood by those who considered themselves an authority because they’d studied it. I don’t want to belittle the work that goes into an education, it’s immense! I just want to give kudos to my Lord who is the Author and Authority of life and encourage you who may be struggling with inferiority issues to remember (if you are a child of God, saved by the blood of Jesus) you have the Authority for what needs done in your life living within your heart. Don’t sell yourself short.

The scribes couldn’t understand how this carpenter’s son could possibly be an expert on the Holy word of God and on life, and yet He was.

One of my favorite commercials that I refer to often is the Holiday Inn Express commercial where the guests leave the hotel feeling much smarter having stayed there. To the point that they consider themselves an expert in an untrained field. Well, I’m not going to tell you that having God in your heart will qualify you to do brain surgery, but it will give you a pool of life’s wisdom to call upon that will put you far ahead of the game than most who deem themselves an expert.

Having issues? Talk to Jesus about it first. He may tell you to seek advice from another one of His peeps. But don’t sell yourself short on what you and He can accomplish together!

Getting fit in the faith!

There are so many times yet today that I feel like a babe in Christ. I’ll read what I suppose to be the simplest of verses and discover how very rich every small word that Christ says is, and how needful it is that I don’t take it for granted. It’s why I don’t miss out on any opportunity to be taught, to have my senses “exercised.” That’s why I’m in Lexington, Virginia with some “Sista Chicks!” We traveled 200 miles and a hundred giggles to get to this place of aerobic worship. (Aerobic exercise increases oxygen, Jesus is the breath of life, therefore it’s aerobic worship!) I want to exercise my faith that it might get stronger, increasing endurance for the journey of life.

Hebrews 5:11-14 ~ Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing. 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. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. 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.

I don’t ever want those verses read of me; that I’m a milk baby! But I’ve met my fair share of Christians in my day who are content in infancy. They show up to church on Sunday morning to be bottle fed the gospel having no desire to be fed the meat of the word. The meat of the word of God requires chewing and digestion, it won’t just flow through and make a body feel good. They’ll be some effort necessary to cause the nutrients to travel throughout the body nourishing it and providing strength for labor. It’s what big boys and girls in the gospel eat so that may apply it to their lives and in turn be an example for others to follow.

Milk has (for the most part) one flavor. But meat! What a variety and the same holds true in the gospel. Every time you read and study the word of God it has an entirely different flavor depending upon where you are in life. I can remember as a young convert I read a scripture and my eyes would just glaze over, it would be so far above what I could comprehend at the time, but then a little further down the road I’d read it again and the meaning and depth of God’s word would come to life. I soon learned that as a baby Christian I only needed the milk of the word, just the basics to become grounded in my new found faith. But as I grew in Christ, the Lord had greater expectations for me and from me, and little by little He would reveal a greater meaning in His word until one day I discovered I was no longer being nursed but was now sitting at the big girls table.

Today, I’m settin’ at the big girls table again. I’m going to a banquet to feast on a variety of flavors doled out by women of God who have walked another path than I have but are leading to same main highway. I hope to take what I hear today and apply it to my life and ministry which will strengthen me. I never know when I may have to help carry a heavier load, or perhaps carry someone else’s share of the load. I can’t do that unless I exercise my faith. If you happen to be around Kerr’s Creek Baptist Church in Lexington, VA, come and dine with me! If not, you have a banquet table set before you with the Word of God.

Edify your soul.

Exercise your faith.

Encourage your heart!

Get fit!

The Function of the Unction

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1 John 2:20 – But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t always feel like I know all things. Sometimes even the most basic of scriptures will seem foreign to my mind. I’ll sit in frustration trying to cypher out the meaning of the Word of God and it just will not come. And other times a seemingly hard verse to understand will just open itself to my understanding and I’ll be like, “Woah baby, you’re good!” And then I’ll get that knock on my head from the Holy Spirit that says, “Are you Serious Shari? You couldn’t even understand the meaning of the most simplistic verses a few minutes ago,why are you taking credit for the work of the Holy Spirit?

That’s the function of the unction. It is the anointing of the Holy Spirit that reveals the Word of God with a deeper understanding; and its provided to the children of God who diligently seek Him.

Because Bible Study tools are so readily available I often resort to them to help me better understand a verse; and its not that there is anything wrong with that, but I as I discovered through reading the Word this morning, in so doing that I just may be missing out on a huge blessing by denying the Holy Spirit the opportunity to do His job.

1 John 2:27 – But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.

A commentary is the the word of man, and he may or may not have been anointed when he wrote it. But if the Holy Spirit speaks to you it’s absolute truth, so which is better? My lesson from God this morning was that I need to be more desperate for God. It’s the theme of a youth conference that I’m attending this weekend and I believe it is what’s lacking in many of our lives. We want to hear from God, but we want it quick, little effort and no cost. And God, Who wants to bless us in abundance, desires to do it through our abiding in Him (staying close, as in a deep intimate relationship with Him… maybe even desperate. Believing our very existence depends on staying close to Him… and it does.

God’s generally not a shouter, if we hope to hear His still, small voice, we need to stay close.
An example of God’s love would be likened to taking teens on this weekend adventure of our Youth Evangelism Conference. Even though its a Christian event, I still want my brood near me. If one of them gets up to go somewhere I want to know where they’re going and who they’ll be with. God wants that constant relationship with us too. It is great that we have Christian teachers, preachers and study tools to learn about God… but we need to be within whispering distance of the Holy Spirit… Protected by the absolute truth.

Face to Face with God

Mark Lowry wrote the words to a song titled “Mary Did You Know” in 1984 when his pastor asked him to write the program for the living Christmas tree choir presentation. I’ve heard the song again and again, and each time I have to wonder what it was like to be in Mary’s situation. A young woman, a child by our definition today, pregnant out of wedlock in the eyes of the world, carrying the Messiah in the eyes of God. My mind wonders to what the conversations would have been between her and Joseph those months of waiting for the birth of Jesus. As the child grew inside of Mary, they were afforded the time to get to know one another without intimacy. No doubt they both turned to God on multiple occasions and asked questions that may or may not have been answered. Why? How? When? It was a faith like we have never known, or have we?

After all, do we not carry God Himself with us? I know I have asked questions like:

“Why do You choose to use me, Lord?”

“How will I know if what I’m doing is what You’d have me do, Lord?”

“When Lord will I know Your purpose?”

I’ve asked and answers have come, but not as I wished they would have. I wanted clearly defined resolution, but more often than not I got the absence of wonder. I didn’t get an answer, just the absence of anxiety or stress ~ Peace.

I don’t think Mary could have possibly known what the future of that Baby Boy would be, but she knew that she was a part of it and for her that was enough. She thought on it, deeply, Luke 2:19 says ~ “But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.” And so this morning I find myself pondering God’s purpose in my life as 2013 winds to a close and I’m asking God to open doors in 2014. His doors, not mine. I’m so very grateful for His knowledge that comes from within at the right time. If I don’t know something now, it means I’m not meant to know now.

2 Corinthians 4:6 ~  For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

I believe when Mary stared into the face of baby Jesus, she knew all she needed to know. And although I desire to know more, I have to continue on believing that God will reveal His desires to me in His time, and if I continue to search for the answer to life’s questions in the face of God, in due time I’ll find them.

Psalm 105:4

Seek the Lord, and his strength: seek his face evermore.

Make Believe Church

Non-church Christians is about like a non-medical school physician. They do far more damage than good and no one wants to hear their opinion. I meet them most every day; those who for some reason or another have given up on church or have never gone, and yet if you asked them if today they knew for certain they were going to Heaven when they die, the answer is usually “Of course!” Some are honest and will just flat tell you “No, I don’t know.” I LOVE THOSE PEOPLE. Those people I can work with, they are real. But the “non-practicing Christian scares me. I know… I’m judging again, right? No, I’m reading the Bible.

James 2:19-20 ~Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?

The devils tremble because they know Jesus. Satan’s not an atheist. Satanists are not atheists because by worshiping Satan they have just confessed the living God who created Lucifer. But let’s get back to the “non-practicing Christian.” I doubt the Satanists are reading my blog post today, but the title very well may have caught the eye of someone who thinks they know they’re okay, and will say they are when ask, but deep within… they tremble. It is you who my heart breaks for today. I love you too. I was you 17 years ago.

In Luke 10:17-20 Jesus had sent out seventy disciples into a world that He knew many would reject. He gave them the rules of engagement, the weapon of warfare, the special powers within and His final advice, “knock the dust off your shoes and move on down the road when they won’t listen.” (paraphrased by me) So the seventy go out and even they are shocked at what power they now possess. They can do as He has done. Woah baby! Who knew? Jesus did.

And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name. And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.

Jesus responded by saying (again paraphrased by me) “I gave you all those great and mighty gifts, but the greatest gift you have is the knowledge that your name is written down in Heaven.” I know for a fact it was the greatest gift I’ve ever received.  And I know I’ve received it because like the seventy, I have that desire to go into the world and tell them about Jesus, whether or not they accept it. But about that “knocking the dust off my feet.” It’s biblical, and I’ve done it. But when it’s your own soul, it won’t leave the tread in my shoe sole and it sure enough won’t leave the desires of my soul.

I have friends and family who confess they know. But there is no desire to tell others about Jesus, and there is no evidence of faith in their lives on Sunday morning or Wednesday night. And I fear they’ll be left trembling, alone in this world if Jesus returns for His church. Cast into outer darkness, forever separated from those they love.

You may ask “Is church really that important?” Jesus died for it, you tell me.

This is not a scare tactic. This is reality. You wouldn’t go to a make believe doctor if you were sick. Please, don’t go to a make believe church.