Tag Archives: Matthew 6

Beach Combers

Beach Combers

I’ve watched them with their metal detectors; searching the sand in hopes of unearthing treasure. It’s how I read the word of God. Sifting a verse, just a few words, in hopes if discovering something that will sparkle in my soul.

A treasure to be desired…

Matthew 6:21 says For where your treasure is, there will heart be also.

Proverbs 4:23 says Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.

I have plenty of issues… believe me!

I search the scriptures for wisdom and I’m not always wise with what I find. Sometimes I’m like a beach comber, except when I find gold, I cast it aside and pick up a seashell. Enamored more by its beauty than the value of the gold. I warned you I had issues. I know it doesn’t have any value, but it’s pretty.

Matthew 6:20 says of treasure that we should lay up for yourselves treasure in heaven… I need to desire eternal rewards by focusing on the spiritual not the carnal. It’s not easy for me, this world is like a giant candy store and my carnal state is alive and well. I love all things shiny and tasty. I could say it’s how God created me, but I don’t think so. He created me with a desire to serve and a heart of compassion. But I choose to let the bling of this world blind me.

A verse that caught my attention this morning and pierced my heart was Proverbs 21:16

The man that wandereth out of the way of understanding shall remain in the congregation of the dead.

It’s those who are not seeking at all. They’re just wandering around on the beach. Oblivious to eternity. They stay in dead churches because the Pastor’s preach pretty sermons without substance. Not gold. Just seashells.

Don’t get me wrong. God’s creation is to be marveled. But we’re to worship the Creator in spirit and truth. Those seashells are going by the wayside when this earth is destroyed by fire. But not the things that we’re laying up in Heaven. Today we should be combing the beach for souls that need saving. We should be encouraging ourselves with His word and looking for an opportunity to share what we’ve found.

I know I’m anointed, but deed… some days I don’t think I even uncap the bottle of oil God gives me.

Getting in Tight With God

To say that open heart surgery brings on a realization of mortality is a likely an understatement. We all have somewhat of a an understanding of it, but when suddenly the single organ in your body that keeps you alive isn’t functioning correctly, you realize how very, very close we are to eternity. Literally one heartbeat away. You also realize how very important that relationship with God is.  I wasn’t too awfully worried about politics, world antics or uncompleted goals and the fact that I’ve yet to master many, many chords on the guitar. I wanted to feel my Father stroke my hair and say “Shari, I’m here with you, you’re okay.” And so it was. He did not leave me nor forsake me and for the record, there were no dark hours, because where He is, is Light. I share this so you’ll know if a time comes (which I pray not) that you find yourself in one of those predicaments, He will not leave you either.

So this morning as I read the Lord’s Prayer, it was oh… so… sweet. and each word took on a deeper meaning. Six petitions, (three relating to God’s honor, three relating to our own concerns.

Matthew 6:9

After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name.

FATHER: Creator, Redeemer, Adopter of me, an unworthy urchin of the Gentiles. Brought into a royal family, a blood bought nation, who though many of them have no earthy blood connection, treat me like a true sister through Christ Jesus. They prayed for me and petitioned Heaven on my behalf because they too love the Father, who we call Jesus. He hears our cry, just as an earthly father would and stays by our side. I know… I felt His presence in the hospital, ambulance, operating room and recovery. There is power in the name of Jesus! Our Father in Heaven, and also within the heart of His child.

HALLOWED: Sanctified and set apart. There is none like Him. There is no other name on earth that can calm a raging storm in your life or bring an unexplainable peace upon you through the storm. Buddha, Allah, nor any other of the countless gods this world calls upon have the power of Jesus. And those who encourage people to “call upon the god of their choice” are allowing the demons of Hell to open a door of torment to someone already in trouble. Praise God for He Who calmed my sea. HIS NAME IS JESUS!

Vs. 10 – Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in Heaven.

THY WILL BE DONE: That’s a hard one for someone like me that needs control. So when I lay flat on my back without even the ability to go potty by myself, I suddenly understood that God was truly in control. He took every single earthly power I had away. It was just He and I. Like it always had been, but I had had forgotten. His will is for a relationship with His children that cause them to work toward all things eternal, not earthly. There is no fear in running towards Jesus, but there is a definite fear of leaving behind those who do not know Him.

Vs. 11 – Give us this day our daily bread.

DAILY BREAD: Just enough. When the children of Israel ate manna in the wilderness there was no excess with the exception of what was needed to eat for the Sabbath. Jesus tells us in John 6:48 – I am that bread of life. His Word will fill the soul like a hot buttered biscuit with jam fills the belly. Matthew 6 continues on to tell us not to worry for any earthly necessity, God’s got us covered. But we should strive to collect the thoughts of God through His word and fill our soul with it in abundance so that when we’re laying there flat on our back, we don’t need to see the book. We are the book. And we are filled to the brim in want of nothing!

Vs. 12 – And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

FORGIVENESS: I can say with all honesty that I haven’t been concerned with anyone who’s hurt or upset me over the course of a life time in the past few weeks. Life in perspective is knowing that the only forgiveness that matters is my Father’s in Heaven. Scripture says that we must forgive others if we expect it in return. If Christ can hang from the cross, a sinless man, only guilty of loving us and forgive we who take His act for granted, how can we dare say we’ll not forgive anyone? It makes me nauseous to think of the times I’ve held someone’s soul in the balance of un-forgiveness because of pride and pettiness on my part.

Vs. 13 – And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For Thine is the Kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.

DELIVERANCE: Temptation comes from the side of flesh, not Spirit and it is easily accessible and readily available to take us away from the peace of God. And for all that’s left in this wicked world, Satan is seeking the opportunity to devour us as a lion. Especially those who actively serve God and desire to make a difference. Daniel and the three Hebrew boys were not chosen for the lion’s den and the fiery furnace by happenstance. From the Old Testament to John the Baptist and the Disciples of Christ, Satan has targeted God’s chosen vessels. He’s still targeting us. But Hallelujah we serve the Living God whose Kingdom will never fall, He Who holds ALL POWER and will receive ALL GLORY forever. Satan loses, we just have to keep on serving. We who are in Him Win! Glory!

The Search for One Little Word 2018

Every year I seek a word to focus on that will draw me closer to God. Last year my word was “pursuit.” And pursue I did. The answers and edification for understanding God’s purpose for my life, again. Little did I know that as I pursued God, Satan pursued my mind greater and greater. But, I survived with a few skid marks from my heels digging in as my pursuit often times turned in to God drawing (aka pulling) me forward when I would digress from the path of understanding. Distraction is not my friend but it’s always as close as one.

I’ve prayed for weeks now about my 2018 word. Actually the prayer would go something like this, “God, what is my word going to be for 2018.” To which I would hear “Hope.” And I’d say, “No God, I don’t think that’s it.” I’m sure He rolled His eyes. Especially the 100th time I ask. And so again today, I said, Lord, my word is late. Am I even going to have one for the year? And so I sat down to read and study His word. Not mine. It was then I picked up a book, gifted to me by my friend Anne. It had been signed by the Author Dr. Bobby Jones with scripture penned in the cover. And so I read his scripture references.

Matthew 7:7

Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you:

Matthew 6:33

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

And lastly Romans 5:1-8

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

Twice God tells me to seek; three times He mentions hope. Some may call it coincidental, I call it my answer. God probably was about ready to call me an idiot, though He likely wouldn’t because He’s nice like that. But my word for 2018 is shockingly:

“HOPE”

Hope in what? I praise His Holy Name that through faith I have access into His grace. I need it. A lot. Every time I doubt His design, fail to use His many gifts and neglect to praise Him as it’s due Him, I need grace. It is because of that grace that I have hope that I’ll have the opportunity to bring glory to His name in 2018.

I hope that through the 2017 trials and tribulations my patience will come easier and my experiences will be used to help others who may struggle as I do.

Finally, I’m so grateful that I can stand unashamed through the Hope of Jesus Christ Who has filled me with the Holy Ghost. It is through His Spirit that I find hope, peace and wisdom. I didn’t deserve it, but He was willing to go to the cross and die the terrible death that He did so that I could have a relationship, not just head knowledge, but a heart filled with love and the knowledge that the God of all, loves Shari.

My prayer for 2018 is H.O.P.E. – to Help Our People Evangelize. I want to encourage brothers and sisters in Christ, through music, art and the word of God to share the saving Grace of our Lord.

 

He knows my Limitations

God's Got This

Matthew 6:24

No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

Probably one of the most misused verses to date in my life. Yes, I know there are many, many misused verses, but this is one that I (personally) keep hearing again and again, but only in part.  “No man can serve two masters.” Being used most of the time to insinuate people are serving another god if they don’t do what someone thinks they should do. Scripture taken out of context is a dangerous game. If you read the entire chapter of Matthew 6, there’s a lot packed in there for the believer struggling with life and living by faith. I wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth, I’ve had to work my entire adult life, so when leaving that station in life (or rather having it leave me) faith was amped up to a new level. And I’d be a liar if I told you it’s been easy. It’s an every other day thing. About every other day I have faith. The other day is a doubt day, filled that way by myself and Satan who always has plenty to contribute. So when I read in Matthew 6

25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?

You are what you eat and fashion makes the man the world says, and guilt is laid on pretty thick. And so I keep reading 26-32

Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.

And then I am reminded, God know my needs and He knows my desires, but better than all that He knows my limitations. So He gives me some instruction that was Manna for the day for me.

Verses 33-34

But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

God is limitless. America defines success by the dollar. And that’s where verse 24 comes into context. The other god is money. Hey, I like money! I’ve prayed for money. I need it to pay my bills and when I don’t have it, I get scared. But I cannot allow money to define who I am and how I serve; then I’m serving it and “it” is a god. It’s ruling my decisions and those decisions may put me out of the will of God and that’s scarier than being broke.

But if I seek the Kingdom of God, desiring first to find Him, all of a sudden life’s purpose becomes very clear.

The wise Solomon said in Ecclesiastes 7:11-13

Wisdom is good with an inheritance: and by it there is profit to them that see the sun. For wisdom is a defence, and money is a defence: but the excellency of knowledge is, that wisdom giveth life to them that have it. Consider the work of God: for who can make that straight, which he hath made crooked?

Knowledge and money may protect you from the elements of life that can be seen, but around the bend for which we cannot see, and must travel by faith, lies limitless blessings, that shouldn’t ever be traded for the things of today.

God’s got this…

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Chick Pic of the Day

I’m starting a new post for 2016, posting a “Chick Pic of the Day”  for your viewing pleasure. 🙂 Hope it  encourages your day!

chick pic 1.1.16

My husband David is super excited about this find. Kind of a belated Christmas present to himself. His goal is to restore her back to her days of glory, as for now she’s a rust bucket. I have named her, Ruby the Rust Bucket. I do have to admit though that I’m kind of looking forward to helping him with this project, but for today it brought to mind that scripture in Matthew 6. The things that we treasure here are but temporary blessings… even rusty blessings. How wonderful to know that the treasures that God has in store for us in Heaven are eternal blessings!

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It’s not “if” I’m Guilty…

chick matthew 6So this morning I wake up to several prayer requests, a few burdens of my own, and the Lord speaking to my heart through His word and through His people to “keep it real Shari.” I’m such a faker! Upon the rare occasion that I have broken down and shared heartaches with a friend it’s gotten to the point of absolute despair, I just don’t do it… please do not follow my example, I assure you it’s a rough row to hoe in this season of planting. And it does sow seeds that require reaping.

I recently added a song to my repertoire of music by Aaron and Amanda Crabb titled “If I’m Guilty.” What a blessing this song has been in my life! It’s simply says, “If I’m guilty let me be guilty of too much mercy, if I’m gonna be wrong, let me be wrong for treating someone else right.” Those words need to be printed on a tee shirt, and inscribed on my brain every day. I need to pass a billboard sharing that thought and make it a part of my life’s passion. Because Jesus certainly did, except He was never guilty of anything.

If I wanted to keep it real this morning and tell you how many times a day I need the mercy of the Lord, you’d run out of time and I’d run out of breath. That song opens by saying, “It’s so easy to criticize when someone else fails, it’s so easy to see faults in them when we overlook ourselves.” How true is that? The plain and simple fact is we all need the grace of Jesus Christ, and we all should be sharing that same grace and mercy with the world.

That loud obnoxious person in your life that gets on your last nerve just may be needing someone to see that they need a little attention in a positive way. That stand offish teen that won’t give you the time of day, may need to know how close you’ll stand. That elderly person that has given their life to serving people, and doesn’t know how to be served, may require patience when learning to accept help. We all need stability in our lives when this world is so wishy washy and busy! People will stand for right, until it gets uncomfortable, and then it’s easier to walk away. We halfheartedly say we’ll lift each other up in prayer and then halfheartedly (if at all) pray about it. We say we’ll be there… but then “there” isn’t in our calendar.

Oh, Lord Jesus, you know I’m guilty.

At our ladies fellowship last night the Pastor’s wife gave a devotion on Matthew 6. She didn’t know it was some of my favorite verses. Verses that I’ve clung too day after day and year in and year out. It’s my last resort verses… The one’s that I turn too when I have failed to keep it real, and pretended that life was perfect, until it was not…

Matthew  6:25-34

Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

In keeping it real, I have to remember that no matter how many times my “not so perfect” life falls apart, no matter how many times I let God down, right outside my window is a reminder that God has the world under control. The flowers still bloom, the birds lack nothing, and He love me so much that He gave His Son in my stead on the cross of Calvary. He’s certainly not going to let this world swallow me up as my fears tell my heart today.

Father vs. father… a point to ponder

chick ponder

During a recent study with the teens the subject matter came up how we often compare our relationship with God to that of our earthly parents. I hadn’t really thought about my parental viewpoint of God until that conversation. Yes, I viewed Him as my Father, but in so doing had I given to Him some of my earthly father’s attributes? I fear I had. My Dad, Gene Hardway, was an awesome godly man. But he had some quirks of human nature. He was a passive fella.

When I married my husband in 1980, yes I was baby of 18 years of age, I was not prepared for the culture of his family. They’re good people too, but they were different than the Hardway’s. They were more realistic to most families in the world. My parents never argued. For real! I never heard anyone raise their voice. So when I met people who could get loud, my Ozzie and Harriett world went upside down. I soon learned how to react in kind. I  don’t recommend it. But as for my Dad, he never changed. He did not yell. He did not argue. Which is awesome, till it’s not. I think possibly if my Dad had spoken more forceful on some things perhaps I would have listened, but maybe not.  The reality of it is, my Dad was who he was, and my husband David’s family are who they are. But now back to the Dad and God comparison… I had to ask myself if I viewed God as somewhat passive, even though I know that not to be the case according to scripture. And the answer was a resounding yes! So I asked my husband, if because his earthly dad had left him when he was one year old, if he thought that caused him to have a lack of trust in God. He said he hadn’t ever really thought about it… I’ve been married too him over half my life, I think he has.

God is truth

Titus 1:2  – In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began;

Parents lie. They tell us things about the Easter Bunny and Santa, (Which I believe is okay) but God would not tell you those things were true, because they are not. Parents tell you you’re the most beautiful child in the world… you are not, but you are in their world, so perhaps that is true. By the same token a really crappy parent who would discourage a child and criticize them is not who God is either, they lie; God does not.

God is love

1 John 4:8He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.

God’s love is unconditional. We did not do anything to make God love us therefore we cannot do anything to make Him stop. Good parents for the most part love their children unconditional, but not always. Children grow into adults, make bad decisions, hurt us, let us down, as do the parents. God will not ever let you down. I would imagine unconditional love would be hard to fathom for someone brought up in a “conditional love home.”

God is Right

Psalm 18:30 – As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the Lord is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him.

Parents make mistakes, Lord have mercy I have made my fair share and somebody else’s; but God has not ever had an “oops” moment. If you read and study His word from beginning to end, regardless if it is a scientific, moral or prophetic statement, it’s truth. Tell me any man or woman who you can say that about, although my husband does profess to always be right. (Insert smiley face here) But there is none but God Who is ALWAYS right.

God is forgiving

Matthew 6:14For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:

Do we think of Him as forgiving or condemning? I think of Him in that manner, but my Dad was a VERY forgiving guy. I have a feeling if you were brought up in a home where forgiveness was not forthcoming, you might not feel as forgiven.

This idea gave me great reason to ponder my relationship with God. What do you think? I’d be interested in hearing if your view of God was parent defined…

Stop Judging Drummers

I love pickin’ and grinnin’ with my bluegrass friends. It makes my heart happy to play “Old Joe Clark” and “Angelina Baker” on the fiddle and to strum my way through “Child of the King” on the guitar. There’s something about music that makes life fun! I feel the same way about serving Christ only multiplied. Whether it’s sharing the gospel in word or song you’ll find me grinnin’ ear to ear with unexplainable joy in my soul. That is why I don’t get sad sack Christians who are spoiling the fun for the rest of us and not giving anyone who’s lost a desire to know the One who put a giggle in my soul.

At a local bluegrass event last night I invited a fella to church and made him very uncomfortable. He said he couldn’t go to church because it always seemed like the preacher was preaching right at him. I told him that that’s how it was for every one there; there was a personal message from God to everyone who attended. I tried to explain to him what fun we had in church… he smiled and nodded politely and quickly changed back to a less convicting subject. And then I thought of a few saints that I know; if they’re happy about their salvation they forgot to tell their face, their mouth and their attitude. Is it any wonder that a lost and dying world doesn’t see the need for Jesus, they can miserable in their own right?

As we played music and laughed in the fellowship of musicians (they’re highly tolerate of my inability to cut the muster with their masterful bluegrass skills) they loved me anyway. Diehard bluegrassers can be a tad clickish. They’ll kick you out of the club for playing drums. It’s true! Traditional bluegrass people play strings, drums don’t have strings so they’re not allowed in the band. Well, I know a few Baptist who feel the same way about Methodist and visa versa. Just sayin’…. And all the while the world around us dies and goes to Hell because the church spends more time worrying about who’s got sticks and who’s got strings. Can I get a witness? Enough already.

Just speak Jesus. And smile for cyrin’ out loud.

Matthew 6:16

Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

Will the religious Pharisees and Sadducees please get with the program? Church is fun! And the really funny part for me (although it’s not really all that funny) is your reward is your grumpy britches. Me? I get to have a party down here and in Heaven! But the really sad part about it is that our friends and family believe that there’s no joy in Church because there’s no joy in the face of the church they see. It’s Saturday… and my thoughts are already on Sunday, because I anticipate joy in the house of the Lord. If you’re a child of God that should be your heart as well, else you’re living beneath God’s intended design.

And stop judging drummers….