Tag Archives: life

Faith is Not Routine

There is nothing routine about God! We like things neat, tidy and wrapped with a bow… but God’s not on a schedule, and there’s no such thing as time in Heaven.

Text: Ephesians 3:16-19

16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; 17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; 19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.

Four verses, one sentence and a lot of goodness that we need to understand. And by the way, nothing common, ordinary or routine. Because just when we think we have God figured out, He goes and does beyond anything we could ever imagine.

When we think we can’t take anymore, He allows more. Just to prove to us that we’re stronger than we think, and that we need Him more than ever.

Exercise routines are good… I’m lousy at them, but they’re very good. They strengthen the body the same way trials strengthen our spirit when our faith is exercised. It builds faith muscles when we’re pushed outside our comfort zone. Praise God it’s not routine. They don’t happen every day, if they did, we’d likely give up. God never puts things on us to cause us to quit, He wants us to understand how far His love extends and how far He’ll go down this road with us. All the way to the end of this road, when eternity begins.

Paul said that the love of Christ “passeth” our knowledge. We can’t imagine the depth of it. It’s like the bible school song many of us sang, “Deep and wide, deep and wide, there’s a fountain flowing deep and wide.” And remember the second verse, when we’d add the Mmmm… in place of the words. I thought a lot about that today, and how the writer of that song may have been inspired by the fact that the depth and width of God’s fountain of overflowing love is indescribable.

After this weekend, where 30 people were killed by the wicked devices of this world, we need to remember that love. Those people were just living life, not waging war, and yet they were killed. That is a level of evil most of us, praise God, cannot understand either. We can’t imagine the frame of mind of those murderous individuals. But it’s not hard to understand the feeling of hopelessness that many people in this world face because they’ve never experienced the “fullness of God.”

Our church just came out of revival. Our annual tent meeting. A yearly scheduled event we call revival. But that’s not the revival God wants. Paul lived in a state of revival, not because life was roses, but because he was constantly under persecution and threat of death. That will cause you to get your priorities in check, quickly! A look around us should remind us of our need for bold exercised faith.

I kind of figure there was a time the very disciplined Paul lived a routine. But when Jesus blinded him along the road, Paul’s routine life went right out the window. And he became a man who lived in the moment.

In the last two verses of Chapter 3 of Ephesus Paul writes this:

20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, 21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

He reminds us all that God can and will do far more than we ask or think, but He just won’t do it and hand it too us on a silver platter; He does it through us and through our church body. And He does it for His glory!

What are you going to do this week for the cause? Are you in revival, or are you a walking corpse waiting for the upper taker. Be alive in Christ Jesus and working for His cause. He is worthy!!

Mind Your own Business

You can color me guilty. I most always have an opinion. But I thank God for the Holy Spirit that indwells within me and jerks a knot in my knickers when I begin to focus on the life or lifestyle of another person. When I begin to think that I need to do a running commentary. It’s usually just inside my head. It’s sometimes to those close to me. It’s seldom ever, if ever to the person for which I’m forming an opinion. I’m not that brazen, or stupid.

But it’s become quite obvious to me lately that not everyone has the ability to know when to keep their mouth shut. And no, I’m not thinking of anyone in particular. Just many, many, many people in general. It’s an epidemic! And because of social media, the world has a stage.

If you go to “The Jesus Chick” page or my own personal page for “Shari Hardway Johnson”, as well as my twitter feed and Instagram, you’ll note that it’s positive commentary and images. That’s not a holier than thou statement, it’s just truth. I don’t want to be in anyone’s drama, or a discouragement. So my posts are positive. I made that choice, and I’m pretty sure God agrees with me.

Proverbs 5:15

Drink waters out of thine own cistern, and running waters out of thine own well.

I read that this morning and thought, “there it is. What I’d like to tell every nosy, ne’er do well in the world. Mind your own business!”

Who makes these people judge and jury of the lives of someone else and what skeletons would come crawling out of their closet if the door was open?

Although it is far worse in the political arena, or at least it far more outspoken, it’s just as bad in the church. And I speak collectively, not of any in particular.

I think of an incident many, many years ago in my own church where a young woman with several children had the audacity to come to church without a slip under her dress. Oh my stars! And as she exited the ladies room a ne’er do well woman said to me, “can you believe she forgot her slip.” To which I responded, “With all those kids, I just praise God she gets here on Sunday morning.”

Where on earth was this woman’s mind? And why did she think she had the right to tear down a young mother trying to do the right thing?

Now, that may seem trivial. But a comment like that is what will discourage someone, who’s struggling anyway, to decide to leave the church. And that could be devastating to a family and Hell bound someone because of it.

The longer I travel this road with Jesus, the more I realize the focus of the church is so off kilter.

I personally love pretty clothes. And God has gifted me with several. But I don’t love them because I think they’re holy, I just love girly stuff. God made me that way. I also have a personal conviction that when I go into a church I dress in their common attire. If they’re casual, so am I. If they’re fancy, I try to be a fancy Nancy too and I enjoy it. But I don’t look at anyone who’s not in the common attire and think about their heart toward Christ. Clothes do not make the man. The Spirit of God does. And I’ve known people who looked like ragamuffins that I was in awe with the depth of their relationship with God.

I’ll not tell you that I am above judging. It’s human nature. Or that I don’t have other issues in life. But it’s something that makes me so nauseous because I’ve seen the damage it’s done, especially in the circles I travel of the Independent Baptist realm. Trust me, they’re not all the same. That’s why we’re “independent.” I’d probably be kicked out of some.

My faith is not in the denomination. It’s in God. But I agree with the doctrine of my church and so I’m there and I love my people. Mainly because the vast majority are not judgers. They love all people. Even if their knees are showing. Insert smile here. Even if they’re a girl who wears britches. Or a fella that’s a t-shirt, blue jean, work boot kind of guy. We love them.

So does Jesus. And this morning I think I’m delivering His message when I say. Mind your own business.

Insert smile here.

The Struggle with Social Media

I hate vain thoughts: but thy law do I love. Thou art my hiding place and my shield: I hope in thy word.

Psalm 119:113-114

The Struggle with Vanity

By human nature we are a selfish lot, are we not? I tuned into social media this morning and the heartaches of other people overwhelmed my soul. I felt helpless.

I can’t rebuild a life that was lost in a fire.

I can’t undo the bad decision of a young man that didn’t feel there was any other way than death.

I can’t control the fierceness of nature or the devastation it can leave in its path.

I can’t un-break a heart or protect people from destruction.

It’s life. And in this day and age it’s being lived out in a very, very public way that affects so many people with the stroke of a keyboard. Social media can be a blessing or a scourge. I have a love/hate relationship with it, as I’m sure most people do. But like it or not, despise it or not, it’s here to stay. But you and I need to be careful about the vanity of it all. If we are in the mindset of Christ… as we should be. We should shield ourselves from ourselves.

One of my many, many faults is counting. Now I know it got David in serious trouble in 2nd Samuel 24. So I try not to; but remember the struggle I spoke of. It really is a struggle on social media. How many people likes my post… how many people viewed my video… how many people liked a post, or loved a post. And who were they? Oh. I’m vain. For me it’s validation as to whether or not I was a success.

That a load of lies from Satan. But I buy it like a good flea market find.

Our lives will never be defined in eternity by how many people seen our posts. But it will be defined by what that post did for the cause of the Kingdom.

The Shield of Victory

For all my vain thoughts, and they are many; God put a heart of compassion within me. It’s what drives me to share the hope of Jesus Christ that I find in His word. It’s what creates images like the umbrella in my mind when I think of how many times the Lord has shielded me from the sun and rain. The good times and the bad times that would have had a negative result in my life.

It’s not only the bad times in our lives that cause damage. The good in life can bring more vanity, more self-reliance that can destroy the good things that God wants for us.

How many people do we know with great wealth and health that have no relationship with God? Or how many do we know that have “seemingly” never struggled as we have and are so ungrateful.

Some of the worst things in my life, I am certain, have protected me from forgetting where my hope lies.

I’m so thankful that we have God’s word! It is as if I’m sitting here in my office this morning with God, and I hear Him say… “That’s my girl. Keep writing. Keep drawing. Keep serving. And by the way, stop counting.”

Enjoy That You Are Wiser

Gavest thou the goodly wings unto the peacocks? or wings and feathers unto the ostrich?

Job 39:13 was one of the many questions the Lord had for Job when it came to helping him to understand that regardless of what the world thought, God’s creation, design and planning was His and His alone. He didn’t need Job’s help in the beginning and He didn’t need it now.

As I read and thought about the magnificence of the peacock this morning and I surveyed my marker and colored pencil collection I was in awe once again at how very much thought God put into the earth and all that’s around us.  And as I considered Job’s “friends” and the arrogance of the fourth and final man, Elihu; who in his youth thought he could “teach Job a thing or two,” it brought to mind the arrogance of today’s modern and liberal thinking lot who think they too can tell God’s people a thing or two.

I want to ask them. Where were you when God gave the feathers to a peacock?

How can a person of any intelligence whatsoever look at creation and not see God? How can you look at the fabric of men inside and out and not see how God’s hand created them. An explosion? Give me a break. How does an explosion create love and how does it speak to the soul the way the Holy Spirit does.

The problem is, they don’t know God and they have no desire to. Because it would take them out of control. Which is so funny, because they’re not in control!

So this brief yet very deep and pondering thought is what I’ll leave you and I both with today. We will no more understand what God’s doing behind the scenes in our lives than we’ll understand how He put those “goodly wings” on the peacock.

But we can be rest assured of one thing. It will be beautiful. And the world will still be filled with idiots who think they know more than God.

Pray for them. And enjoy the fact that you are wiser.

Get Me a Water Gun! Satan’s out of control

A note I scribbled on a scrap piece of paper in my office said “More of an attack on my heart than the actual heart attack, has been the spiritual attack on me.” In recent months it’s been very, very real. The final icing on that well decorated cake was a hacker tearing down my web site on Tuesday. Years of labor disappeared into the oblivion of cyber space and I was a mess. I don’t understand the mentality of people who live to do something like that, but I understand their source of evil. Satan and his minions I’m sure had a huge laugh at my expense.

I don’t have a web designer or personal tech support. Everything I do is on my own through programs designed to make it easy, mainly by paying for godaddy.com hosting. I know just enough to be dangerous to my health when something like this happens. Three days, and a $120 poorer my site is back up but I am drained emotionally and physically.

It’s not been just the website issues. My overall health has been on the decline since the knee injury, another of those fiery darts meant to bring me down. Okay, I’m done whining, now onto lifting you and I up together!

Get me a Water Gun!

For the record, Satan only has the control that God allows him to have. An idiot tearing my website down did not catch God off guard. Satan never has one over on God. It’s why God has me in the book of Job right now. If He can bring Job through the heartache he went through, He as me covered too. I have no doubt.

There is Wisdom in the Water

I love Job’s response to his friends in Job 12:15

Behold, he withholdeth the waters, and they dry up: also he sendeth them out, and they overturn the earth. With him is strength and wisdom: the deceived and the deceiver are his.

Water is one of those biblical words that has great spiritual meaning and depth. Just in saying that God is the Water of the Word is like drinking a cool glass of water on a hot day. It soothes the soul, just like it does the body. How wonderful to understand that it is God who control such an amazing substance. The substance that will put out the fire of Hell that try to heat up the life of a child of God.

Satan will never see us in Hell, but he can try to make our lives Hell here on earth. He and his minions can tear down websites, families and even bodies, but they cannot have the Spirit of man. God control them all. Glory to God, I just wrote myself happy again! I love when that happens. I hope you read yourself happy too!

The Water Gun is loaded. And the fire is about to go out!

There is Life in the Water

Job 26:5-7

Dead things are formed from under the waters, and the inhabitants thereof. Hell is naked before him, and destruction hath no covering. He stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing.

Verse number 7 is one of my all-time favorite verses. But the words of Job leading into it cause me to ponder greatly. And then from the depths of my soul I heard this response.

“Water creates life, and fire causes death. God is water, Satan is fire. Nothing is concealed from God, even those who believe their destruction is hidden in the world wide web. God knows them. Personally. And they should fear. If he can hang this ball of dirt in the midst of space and keep it there, one web hacker is nothing.”

My knee pain is not too hard for God to fix or to work through it. My heart is fixable. Both the physical and the spiritual. God is in charge.

There is No Water without God

Job 38:34

Canst thou lift up thy voice to the clouds, that abundance of waters may cover thee?

God’s response to Job was a reminder to us all that we better understand Who it is that’s in charge of every aspect of our life. The good, the bad and the ugly is under God’s thumb.

I found a warped humor in verse 3 of Chapter 38, because I think I too have had this conversation with God.

Gird up now thy loins like a man; for I will demand of thee, and answer thou me.

It almost felt like I heard God say, “Put on your big girl pants and answer me Shari, who did you think was in control?

In my ignorance I gave credence to the destructor of my website and forgot who had destroyed this body by not taking care of the temple. We have the power of destruction, but through God we can have the power of life. But only through Him.

We can pray for rain, but the final decision is His.

God asks Job in chapter 41, verse 1:

Canst thou draw out leviathan with an hook? Or his tongue with a cord which thou lettest down?

Leviathan was a sea creature, whale and even Satan is referred to it in the scriptures.  Something larger than life. We cannot control it on our own. It would literally be like fishing for a whale with a Walmart rod. How long would that last before we too were destroyed by the beast?

Satan and his minions are not to be taken lightly. They certainly have destruction powers. But not when God intervenes. The question is have we given God full control to hand the situation before us. Or are we still trying to catch a whale with a $2.00 hook? or shoot Satan with a water gun.

There it is, And it’s how I feel

Today is a gloomy Gus kind of day outside my window. Spring rains are in the day and I noted in my mind that there is a difference between a spring rain and a winter rain. While obviously the temperature difference is much easier on my arthritic bones, but the spring rain hydrates the land and suddenly overnight the trees are out and the flowers are blooming. I need my spirit to fall in line, it’s still in the winter mode.

I have projects that need done and a house that needs cleaning and repairs and all I want to do is set and space out which is not healthy for my mind set in so many ways! And it’s surely not healthy for the things that need done. So this morning I pushed past it and turned to another book in my reading through the Bible, the book of Zechariah.

One of the minor prophets who always have a major word.

Zechariah 4:6-10

Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the Lord of hosts.

His Spirit Not mine

Trying to do things in my own always leads to trouble, but I do it none the less. While I need to focus on my personal ministry work I have the collective work of the church on my heart as well. Which Zechariah spoke directly to this morning.

Chapter 4 begins speaking of a candlestick which represents the church. We are supposed to be a light to the world, but we seem more to be a flashlight under the bed looking for our lost socks. Wow… where did that analogy come from?

But there it is and its how I feel. There’s always something we’re looking to do and finish, like the other sock that never gets found. And rather than making progress, we’re looking for the lost sock while the laundry is stacking up and there’s plenty of other stuff to do, but the sock is important.

His Mountain, Not Mine

Who art thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain: and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it.

Truthfully right now I don’t have a mountain of laundry, I have only a couple of loads, but what I have is a mountain of mayhem going through my brain. Bills that need paid, things that need done, people that need visited,  blogs that need written, lessons that need prepared, songs that need sung… each one of them seems to be a missing sock. I just can’t get it together. I need God to flatten this mess out. 

Grace, grace unto it!!! Please Jesus.

His Mercy, My Message

Have you ever been told, or told your children (probably both) “I’m going to straighten you out!”

Well, that’s what I feel like God needs to do to me. I’m out of line.

Moreover the word of the Lord came unto me, saying,

The hands of Zerubbabel have laid the foundation of this house; his hands shall also finish it; and thou shalt know that the Lord of hosts hath sent me unto you.

10 For who hath despised the day of small things? for they shall rejoice, and shall see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel with those seven; they are the eyes of the Lord, which run to and fro through the whole earth.

The plummet was used to make sure everything was in line in the building of the house of God. Now, how that plays into the missing sock, I’m not sure. Other than God is in the details of house work. Be it, the House of God, or the house of Shari. God’s aware of everything that happens to and fro through the whole earth. Even the times that I sit in frustration and feel that the mountains are just too big to move, And God sends a guy like Zechariah to say that no matter the mountain, God’s work will be done in me. And you!

We just need to stay faithful

God knows where’s that sock is. And He knows every missing piece of our work in His name. Keep looking… we’ll find it.

But Until Then, Jesus

Let’s Get Real, the Flesh Rises

Boy does it! I’ve been thinking a lot about my fleshly ways. You know… trying to justify it. One such occasion is my frequent trips to our little town of Grantsville, West Virginia for which I always seem to be in a hurry. And somebody else doesn’t. On multiple occasions over the past few weeks I’ve been behind a Sunday driver in the middle of the week. Our speed limit is 55 mph. Although people unfamiliar with West Virginia roads would say that is likely too fast! And obviously some of our locals who are content at driving 40 mph. And I truthfully have a freeway brain. I would like to go 70 mph. I have places to be!

Let’s get real. Nowhere that couldn’t wait a few minutes. But the problem with my freeway brain is; our West Virginia roads have very few passing zones. So if you’re behind a Sunday Driver on a Friday. It really does feel like it may be Sunday before you get to town, which sometimes causes my flesh to kick into a higher gear. One such occasion happened last week.

I had followed this guy until my head was about to explode. At least a couple of miles. But the passing zone was coming up and I was praying, (I’m godly you know?) Lord please let the zone be clear. As I come around the turn I think it’s okay, until I see a mail lady stopped half in the passing lane and half out, delivering mail. She’s in the middle of the zone! so now I have to wait again.

I wait and as soon as I’m past her I dart out into the passing lane and low and behold another truck is coming around the turn in my lane. So I gun it! And my little Kia Soul almost sounds like it’s rubber band is going to break but it’s got the power when I need it. Praise God! And then I think about the lettering on the back of my car.

“Soul Seeker”

www.theJesusChick.com.

And I’m not quite so impressed with my car or myself anymore. I wonder if the guy I just gunned it passed seen my decals and thought… such a godly woman. Umm. Probably not.

So yesterday I had another rising of the flesh but I managed to keep this one internal. I was invited to a new place to sing and I met some people who didn’t know me from Adam. Certainly they didn’t know I was the Jesus Chick. Two minutes into meeting them, they’re trash talking everyone around them and I’m nauseous. “Why did I come here?” I thought. And then I remembered, because my idea of saying no is “no, I wouldn’t mind.” And then I remembered why I do what I do. So people can see Jesus. And so I did just that… I changed the conversation. Woohoo! This was a win. Well partly… they still had the occasion to trash talk.

Incident number three, I was home alone scrolling social media. Which can so easily get me in trouble. After about the fiftieth social media jab by liberals about everything from abortion to the President my head was about to explode again. It’s very well my biggest pet peeve. I’m so tired of this liberal agenda and the inability to defend our rights as a nation and more importantly the agenda of Almighty God without being attacked. So I say nothing. I just don’t want the negativity on my social media pages.

I delete who I must (anyone who speaks filth) and I scroll past who I can (those who I hope will see my post and want Jesus.)

So this morning when I read 2 Peter 2:9-10. I praised God that He delivers people like me. And that He forgives people like me.

Peter spoke of Lot a few verses before when he said, “And delivered Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked.  (For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed his righteous soul from day to day with their unlawful deeds;” ~verses 7-8

Oh be careful little eyes what you see… you probably know the song.

The word of God was a reminder for me that I need to sing that song to myself. I need to watch what I do for certain. I need to shut some people out… yes indeed! And I need to be grateful that God will deliver my soul some day from this wicked, wicked world. And then the judgement.

But until then. Jesus.

The Appointment

Is there not an appointed time to man upon earth? Are not his days also like the days of an hireling? As a servant earnestly desireth the shadow, and as an hireling looketh for the reward of his work.

Job 7:1-2

Not a soul on earth has likely ever felt the frustration of ministry work like Job. Here he was, a man who the scripture described as “Perfect and upright and one that feared God,” ~ Job 1:1, and because of that he was targeted by Satan and tested by God. There is a vast difference between Job and I. Yet it doesn’t stop the ministry frustrations at times and the feeling that my eternal difference making is sparse. The only difference, I’m not worthy of the right to complain. Still doesn’t stop me from doing it though.

This morning Job 7:1-2 gave me the kick in the pants that I needed.

The Appointed Time

I have not felt well lately. Mainly because I’m not taking care of myself. My friend Gloria has told me that she is having a difficult time raising me. This damaged knee of mine has me feeling like I’m a rebellious teen ager who has just been told they’re grounded. I’m sneaking out at every turn, but unfortunately I’m closer to being a senior citizen than a senior in high school, and sneaking out means that I’m walking and working more than I should around the house. That’s sad isn’t it?

But my ministry work suffers because my psyche suffers.  If I sit, I feel worthless. Imagine how Job felt. It literally makes me nauseous to think what that man went through. It’s why his words carries weight. He earned that right.

Job knew that there was an appointed time to die, and that unfortunately this wasn’t it for him. He was wishing for death.

I am wishing for life! If there is an appointed time to die (and there is) there is also an appointed time to live; and by live I mean serve. Until we draw our last breath there is work to be done. This is our appointed time. What are we going to do with it?

If you’re not dead, God’s not done!

The Appointed Work

Job’s work for that time in his life was to be a witness. He didn’t realize. He didn’t know we’d be writing, talking and preaching about him for thousands of years later. And we don’t know what our tough times will mean either on the other side of eternity. 

I think God has some reading for us to do when we get to Heaven.

Psalm 56:8 says “Thou tellest my wanderings: put thou my tears into thy bottle: are they not in thy book?”

When we’re serving, they’re talking about us in Heaven. Our tears are in a bottle and there is a book of our story!  I don’t want my book covered in dust because it’s never written in. (not that they’ll be dust in heaven.” Maybe angel glitter. But I want my book to be a best seller!

The Appointed Reward

Revelation 22:12

And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.

We forget that God’s idea of quickly and ours is two separate notions. But “quickly” just might mean before this day is through, and the opportunity to collect those rewards are limited.

My rewards are those I love. I have a house full of kids today, I’m believing that they’re going to make my life easier. Yeah…. I didn’t believe that any more than you do. But, it’s an opportunity for them to see Noni serving God in hopes that they too will have that desire. And that will be reward enough!

Why Our Conversations with God are Lacking

Below is the video link as well as my notes for the “Not Another Manic Monday” Video Blog published October 8, 2018. Tune in  live every Monday at 10 a.m. on Facebook as I share what the Lord has laid on my heart to encourage us for the coming week. 

VIDEO NOTES:

To begin with, it’s hard to begin a conversation with

  • Someone we’re not familiar with or perhaps may not even know.
  • Someone we’re angry with (if we’re honest)
  • Someone we’re afraid of, or
  • Someone we don’t understand.

It’s sometimes helpful if we have a conversation starter.

Prayer needs are obvious conversation starters. I used to think I was prayer warrior until I realized all my prayers started with “Lord help me.”

Who wants a friend who only comes around when they need something? Don’t get me wrong, God wants to hear everything we need. But He’d like to have some talk time with us just for the sake of getting to know Him better. Not hearing just hearing about our problems.

1 Timothy 2:5  says “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.

Conversation Starter

So if by way of a conversation starter you heard God ask “Why don’t we talk more often?” How would you answer?

Which one of the excuses would you have, or perhaps another one. But be honest with yourself and ask, what causes me not to have a closer relationship with Jesus Christ? Do you fear Him?

The Bible says in 2 Timothy 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear: but of power, and of love and of a sound mind.”

So let’s break that verse down.

If God hasn’t give us the spirit of fear, who has. Easy question to answer. Satan loves it when you won’t talk to God. Because he knows without a good relationship with Jesus, God can’t work in your life to the fullest extent. So he whispers lies in our ears to keep us apart and a way from a three fold promise.

The Power of God. The Love of God and the Strength of having a sound mind. Power to make it through any problem we’re facing. Love, not condemnation which Satan wants you to have, and a sound mind, meaning that you worry and stress less. Is that not something we all desire?!

So take the time to have that conversation with God today. What’s coming between you and Him?

Tell it to the Scapegoat

Anything that prevents you from having a conversation with God is a sin. Even if you don’t view it as a sin, it is because it’s keep you apart from your Creator.

In the book of Leviticus, an Old Testament ritual was that the priest on the Day of Atonement would take two goats before the people at the temple. The first he would kill which symbolized the blood sacrifice that Jesus would make in the future. The second goat he would release into the wilderness, symbolizing that the sins of the people were carried away.

I love the scripture which says “As  far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.”

Everything that causes you apprehension with God, is gone. You can visualize it on the scapegoat, running into the wilderness never to return.

What an awesome way to visualize our sins! Running away from us.

The last point for today is to have a

Tell it to Jesus

It’s a conversation that I had last night in the preparation of this morning’s video blog. I needed somethings to go away. I had to get very honest.

I’ll share those with you, because I need to get them out in the open and perhaps your struggle is similar.

  • I feel every burden of my family on my shoulders. Everyone’s. And I most always think that it’s my fault.
  • I don’t ever feel that I measure up before God or man and that I’ve failed everyone who loves me.
  • I feel that my value is tied to my pay. Which for someone in the ministry, (not a paid ministry) that makes my value “0”.

That may or may not be your issue. But something probably is that keeps you and God from having in depth conversations.

I hope that today you’ll take the time to talk to Jesus. Tell Him the truth about why you and He don’t talk as much as you should. And let’s start this Monday on the right foot, getting closer to our Lord.

God bless ya!

Why Will You Die?

Another milestone in the zipper club (heart bypass) journal was the completion of my first week of cardiac rehab. Also another  reality check on the lack of care for myself over the last several years of life. Following my decision to stop smoking on May 26th, 1997 (with the prompting of the Holy Spirit after a year of salvation) I traded my addiction to tobacco for an addiction to all things tasty. Gradually I blossomed into the well-rounded person I am today both spiritually and figuratively.

The criticism and judgement of sometimes well-meaning people (sometimes not) served me well in the department of discouragement and depression. The added pressure added extra weight. However, before anyone thinks I blame others for my blessed figure status, the answer is no. I’m the one who lost her will power. And so today as I read Ezekiel 18, I remembered my week at cardiac rehab. The struggles that I had as I pushed through each piece of equipment and so did not enjoy it. As I tried to clean up the mess I had created over the past 21 years.

Ezekiel 8:31

“Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel?”

I believe Israel had gotten on God’s last nerve. They’d sinned, worshiped idols and used their children as sacrifices. What a mess they’d gotten themselves into because they’d gotten their eyes off the Lord and put them onto the things around them. I won’t throw any stones in that department either.

But the end result of a life without God, is always death. And no matter what I try to do in life without God as the central focus, it will surely die, because I am His, and He is mine and He expects to be a part of my life.

So how do I make sure that’s the case when living everyday life and making decisions that can change my future? And how many times have I gotten on God’s last nerve by not listening to Him.

The Word tells me.

CAST IT

Cast away from you, all your transgressions.

Easier said than done, right? Well, yes and no. We know that nothing is impossible for God! But we must first allow Him to have it. For me and my transgressions… there were many. The overeating and desire for food replaced an addition that had begun when I was a child. I smoked my first cigarette at 13 years of age. I had been addicted a very, very long time. But when God got involved the desire for that substance was replaced with a desire to be better for Him. But the cigarettes had also come with a stigma of non-acceptance by the world, both saved and unsaved people alike. So it wasn’t hard to not desire it. But everyone loved food!  It was acceptable.

But the weight gain was not.

Add to that the fact that God had called me into ministry work and I was now standing before people every week, I became very weak emotionally.

I allowed the pressure of that judgment, whether real or not to get the best of me and I ate all the more because it made me feel better.

So what did I need to cast off?

Addiction. Self-Condemnation. Irresponsibility.

If Jesus had cast my sins as far as the east is from the west, I needed to cast my transgression to Him so He could take care of them. Because when I threw them down, they never failed to land out of arms reach and I would pick them up again 

Psalm 103:12

As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.

CREATE IT

…and make you a new heart and a new spirit:

So how do I do that?

I have to change somethings about my life. Beginning with my mindset. Your brain tells your heart when to beat.

In the course of the day, your heart will beat somewhere around 100,000 times and over a calendar year might beat up to 35 million times. Over the course of a lifetime then, your brain and your heart have to work together to engineer 3 billion heartbeats.

However there’s something in the heart called automaticity.

Meaning that the heart, even if it’s disconnected from the brain, will continue to beat at a set rate.

For me that shows that there’s a thought controlled side of the heart and a God controlled side of the heart. Praise God! He knows when to kick His side in.

But when it comes to decision making He leaves that to me for the most part. So I need to create within myself a new heart and spirit. Basically new desires and passions that align with God.

I can only do that if I focus on godly things casting those things that are unhealthy to Christ so that He can help me get them out of my life.

COMMIT IT

…for why will ye die,

Commitment was something that Israel didn’t have. They’d make and break promises as fast as the ink would dry on the paper.

I’m not any different. I yo yo diet, and I yo yo commit to the promises that I make God that “I’ll do better.”

We take commitment too lightly. Forgetting that God doesn’t take it lightly. Over time, God allowed many of His chosen people to be killed because they couldn’t keep their commitment to live for Him.

When I quit smoking, I partially did so because I believed God was going to allow me to die a dreadful death because of the effect of smoking. He warned me to quit… and so I did.

The transgression of poor health was not so easy for me to commit to overcome. I allowed emotions and lack of self-respect to play the major role in controlling my diet. Scroll forward to May of 2018, three heart attacks, open heart surgery and now cardia rehab and I am beginning to think I should have listened sooner.

Duh. I’m a Slow learner. Israel and I have a lot in common. Most of all, and Hallelujah, we have God’s grace in common.

But eventually God’s patience runs thin and we get on God’s last nerve. Before that happens, it would be much better to give those transgressions to Jesus. Everyone has them, and their personal to them.  

There’s a 3 step plan for it. Cast. Create. Commit.

God’s final verse in chapter 18 was  For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.  

There is life in Christ! And a much better, more rewarding life. Live it! And live it well.