Posted in Bible Journaling, Christian Service, Evangelism, Uncategorized

Why my crown is rockin!

For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming? For ye are our glory and joy.

1 Thessalonians 2:19-20

For the most part television evangelists miss the mark. Not all of them. There are guys like Cal Ray Evans on our local channel 3 on Sunday Morning that will bless the socks off of you, give you solid teaching and truly cares about the reach of his ministry. And then there are others… nameless others… who possibly seek to glorify God, but they’re concern for the congregation of cyber land, radio wave and satellite is more about how many wallets they can reach. Sound like I’m bitter? No, not bitter, but most assuredly frustrated. Because when I read scripture like the one above, and I see the true compassion and dedication of Paul and the others, I wonder where it’s gone to.  And I understand why there is a trust issue in the world when it comes to gospel teaching.  How many of those on the air waves today would be willing to go through a fraction of what bible disciples went through to reach the masses? Would I? Good question. While Paul and the others were preachers of the gospel, it wasn’t only the preachers willing to die for Christ, but the congregation as well. So before we throw stones at ministers of the gospel, we have to acknowledge that the accountability of spreading the gospel does not only lie at the preachers feet.

What is our Hope?

More now than ever the world needs hope. I see it and more aptly read it in the faces and posts of the people I meet through social media, visiting other places and in my own home town. Folks need hope, but they have no idea who to trust when it comes to sharing their struggle. I’ve shared my own struggles with people who I could tell by their reaction they really were not that interested in what I was going through. And so I too find myself retreating inside my head because I don’t want to bother anyone, and I certainly don’t want to feel unloved. And that’s the truth as I feel it when someone turns me off when I’ve risked my personal exposure of pain to tell them what’s going on. O boy… that’ll preach won’t it? How many people have felt like that? And how many of us (myself included) have been the one turning people off?

So what’s our Hope. Our hope is the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the one that we have to share so that people know when the world let’s you down there is ONE WHO WILL NOT EVER!!!

What is our Joy?

We sing “Joy to the World” this time of year, but who has a depth of understanding of it when the commercialization of Christmas has become so ridiculous?  When people want to get through the Holy Days so they can get to the Holiday. We don’t want to be inconvenienced by church services lasting too long, or the expectation that we should worship Christ in the ways of scripture. From Christ’s birth to His death we find powerful worship. And then post death, pre-return, we find disciples like Paul and his buddies who were willing to be imprisoned, beaten and killed to worship. And we, in a free world, won’t go to church on Sunday, but expect people to believe we’re Christ’s disciples. Nope… can’t do it. 

It’s when I get bitter. 

This year for Christmas I made my sweet delicacies in sparing because of time. I love to bake and cook and treat my family to special foods all year long. But in the process of making my fudge this year, one of my kids came in and I neglected the stove. 🤦‍♀️ Not good. So when I poured my fudge into the pan to cool, I knew it was off. I’d scorched it. It still sits beside me on the table taunting me of my failure and it’s bitter taste. But it also reminds me that Hell’s 🔥 fire will scorch the souls of men someday, and are scorching souls now that were neglected by the church. So you want to know about true joy? 

It’s the saving grace of Christ that allows a soul to go to Heaven and never taste the flames of Hell. That is true joy. It’s why I want to live bolder and pray that God gives me opportunity in 2020 to share the gospel of Christ with people. It’s my prayer every New Year, and at years end I always feel that I fail miserably.

What is my Glory?

You are. Those of you who read what I write, and receive encouragement from it. That is my glory, because I know that that is bringing glory to God. I do not seek the applause of men, but I sure do seek to see the fruits of my labor. I pray that I do better at posting and sharing the gospel every day in some form or another and I pray that I’ll be able to be face to face with many of you this year sharing the gospel in song and word.

The days of scripture being written are done. Revelation caps the book and no other words were added, regardless of what some religions tell you. It’s finished. But the word of God, written thousands of years ago is still as fresh today as it was the day it dripped from the pen of the writer. Every time you open the Bible it’s like a brand new book never read.  And we have need to share it! Because that is where this miserable world is going to find hope and joy and God will be glorified! And I just wrote myself happy!!!!

I pray you know Jesus. I pray you’ll make a commitment to live bolder in 2020. Because there are souls a plenty in 2020 who need Christ! Let’s get out there people and tell the world about our Savior!

Posted in Bible Journaling, Christian Service, Church attendance, Eternity, Life Inspiration, Not Another Manic Monday, Peace, Word of God

The Great Escape

Every time I reach the point of exhaustion, brought on by too much list and not enough time, I have one of those wishful Calgon take me away moments. If you remember the commercial, it’s where the mom soaks down into a tub full of Calgon bubbles and somehow her world goes away.

While that’s awesome. The problem is you have to get out of the tub eventually! Monday comes. That’s where the manic Monday concept comes from. The dishes need done, the work needs done, people need stuff, the phone’s ringing, the bills need paid and it all gets to be too much.

It’s then that I need my life to make sense. I need order in my chaos. And because I am personally my own chaos, I can’t do it. So I go to the word. And I look for my escape from the manic I call Monday.

I knew it was coming. So when the Pastor preached from Philippians four last night and I heard the word escape, my mind began to drift from Sunday night to Monday and I felt that overwhelmed feeling and thought, “that’s my word for the week.” I need to escape!

But just like the Calgon bath, I knew I would eventually have to face it. Just as we all do. So I might as well face it with the Lord and His word.

When looking for an Escape, Don’t Ignore the People

Hebrews 11:32-35

And what shall I more say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae, of David also and Samuel, and of the prophets: Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out o the weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in the fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:

Glory to God what a line up of people for us to gather encouragement this Monday morning!

Most of them did escape. They eventually got their Calgon moment. But some went by the way of great escapes because they escaped to the best Calgon Moment of all, the one that never ends called eternity.

And while none of us are likely wanting to shorten our time here. We can still have those Calgon moments if we stay in the word.

Those people, as well as others in our life are there for an example.

Hebrews 12:1 says

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.

God knew there would be “Calgon take me away” days. He wanted us to be prepared for them, so He put examples of the others who faced worse, and many in our own lives today. You know who they are. The people that you just don’t know how they do it.

I think of Louis Milam. A man in our church who had crippling arthritis and the deformities that came with it, and yet he seldom ever missed church. He’s my go to guy even though he’s already gone on to Heaven. Every time I want to throw in the towel, I think of him. I don’t figure Louis had one Calgon day in the last 20 years of his life. And yet he didn’t quit.

Don’t ignore the people that God put in your life to encourage you.

My second point:

When Looking for an Escape, Don’t Ignore the Preacher

Hebrews 12:25

See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from Heaven:

If that’s not a warning, I’ve never heard one!

October is Pastor appreciation month. It may be one of the most unappreciated professions of all times in this day and age. The world doesn’t want to hear preaching. I crave it. I listen to it more than music, because to me it is music.

It restores my hope! Last night the preacher said something that really made me take note. He said “Nothing should make us go to one extreme or the other, because nothing changes the fact that the Lord is going to return!”

Wowzer!

Nothing that happens today is going to change the fact that Jesus is coming back! Woohoo and Glory to God! that should put a shout on you. Because you can say that to Satan and it will for sure get his goat, because he knows it’s true.

Someone once said “If Satan reminds you of your past, remind him of his future.”

That’s why we go to church and take every opportunity we can to listen to good solid preaching because we need that reminder that we will have our day.

Which brings me to my third and final point:

When Looking for an Escape, Don’t Ignore the Promises

2 Peter 1:4

Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

We have within ourselves the divine nature of God in the Holy Spirit. We have a Calgon moment in the making anytime we want it, but we have to have the promises of God in our lives to escape the corruption of this world which is also still in us. Those promise are found in the word of God.

I don’t think any of us realize how precious the book is. But we can see how precious Satan knows it is because he keeps doing everything within his power to destroy it. It’s why we have to fight for it.

Not nearly enough came to the fight with Madeline Murray O’Hair in 1963 when she single handedly managed to get prayer and the word of God out of public schools. I wonder what our lives would be like today if she had lost her battle. I read the story of her distorted life and horrific death this morning and praise God for her only living son, William, who is saved and serving God in D.C. as an author, Baptist minister and chairman of the Religious Freedom Coalition.

So I’ll say this in closing, the only way to escape the wickedness of this world, is to understand that Jesus is the way, truth and the life. No man comes to the Father except through Him. He is the only way to a true Calgon moment. Do you know Him today. I needed this message today. Take heart child of God, Jesus is coming soon!

Please share this post and I pray your week is awesome!!!

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

The Access Point

Grace is hard to understand. We want it, we attempt to give it, sometimes tongue and cheek (meaning we forgive but never forget). We, I speak collectively, though I really mean me, when I say I often think I’ve messed up past the point of being offered grace, because life sometimes just flat out stinks.

True story.

When life gets hard, this Jesus Chick is not so spiritual as to immediately ask the question, “What is God teaching me in this moment?” That would sound really good and churchy wouldn’t it?  No, I’m more apt to ask the question, “How long will I be here, Lord?”

Romans 5:1-2

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.

So much is missed in the midst of a struggle. And life is full of struggles. But the Apostle Paul reminds us that as people of faith (those who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ) we have access to some things the world is not afforded.

We have Access to Peace

There’s a difference between access and acceptance. It’s the same as salvation, we’re all offered it; but if we don’t accept it, we’ll never experience it. There is a difference in the end result. Those with salvation will go Heaven whether they experience the benefits of salvation here on earth or not. The journey is just a lot more difficult. But those who never accept salvation are headed to Hell.

I’m not surprised when children of God don’t have peace in the middle of a storm. Because I’ve been there too. It’s usually a matter of feeling worthy or letting myself get too far down before looking up. If there’s sin or other failures in our lives, we don’t feel worthy. Even though neither will keep you from peace if you talk to God about it. As children of God, it’s ours for the asking!

That’s just the kind of Lord He is.

We have Access to Grace

I love the acronym for G.r.a.c.e. = God’s Riches at Christ’s Expense. Isn’t that amazing? There’s nothing we can do to earn it. It is however what makes me be the person I am. I was born with a servants attitude and when God saved me from the Devil’s Hell, my gratitude went toward servitude.

Grace will do that if you strive to understand it. Many Christians miss the mark because they’re not in God’s word, they’re not in church and so they cannot fully comprehend what the Lord did for them. I sometimes avoid the truth of it myself, because I can’t imagine the degree of pain and humiliation my Lord took upon Himself for someone like me who adds more too it when I fail Him.

The shame wasn’t only on the day of the crucifixion. It’s on us when we blatantly fail God, knowing what He did for us. But the grace is still there. That’s why it’s amazing.

We have Access to Joy

It’s what we can experience even in times of sorrow. The loss of a loved one is gut wrenching, but the knowledge that they were saved and now in the presence of Jesus brings great joy!

The struggles we face are never pleasurable, but the victory is always a joyous moment and made that much sweeter because of the struggle. We realize the strength that we have from knowing Christ as Savior. The unsaved may experience moments of victory, but not as the child of God. Knowing that there was Someone standing beside us all the way and there was never a reason to feel alone. That is joy! He has our back here and He’s waiting for us there!

We have Access to Hope

Not just hope, but we need always reminded that the peace, grace, joy and hope are always for the glory of God. It’s a privilege only afforded a child of the King. I wrote on hope yesterday. It’s a subject I could write on everyday and never grow weary because I need it. I need to know that my aches and pains, those of the physical, mental and spiritual nature will someday be lifted whether here or Heaven.

Maybe you needed to know that too. If I’ve encouraged you, let me know! If I can pray for you, let me know that too. We’re here to be the hands, feet and sometimes words of Jesus. Use us Lord!

Posted in Bible Journaling, Faith

These be They, but Ye Be Loved

It seems like an eternity since I woke up this morning, and yet it’s 9:00 a.m. and I’ve got very little accomplished. It’s hard for me to stay focused today. My mind is in so many different places. It’s in New Mexico with Dewey, it’s in Minnesota with Lynn, it’s in Virginia with Whitney, Spencer with Tiffani, Marietta with Dr. Guiler and in the Word with my Lord. I told someone yesterday that I felt scattered. That’s the only way I can describe where I’m at. It’s exhausting to try to pick pieces from all corners of the earth, much like I need to pick up pieces throughout the corners of my house. My desk looks like something exploded on it.

And yet she is so remarkably calm. If only I could get inside her plastic brain and rest for a while. If only I could actually sit in that position and then stand up again without assistance! But life happens. So I continue on in my journaling exercise in the book of Jude, nearing the end of the book.

Jude vs. 19-20

These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit. But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,

My first question is an often ask one, “How do people survive without God?” I know I did it for 34 years, but the truth of that is, I at least was pretending to have Him in my life. In all my years I have never said there was no God. I knew there was, I just didn’t know how to connect to Him.

Romans 10:14

How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?

Thank You Jesus for preachers!

So this morning as I grieve with a family who lost a child, as I miss my children, and as I give thanks to God for friends who feel like they’re in the room with me, when actually they’re across the country; I’m ever so grateful that in my soul, within the very being of my body is the Holy Ghost. He who finds me “beloved.” He who calms my fears, soothes my stress points and sends laughter into my soul through nutty videos that wasted more of my time, but was oh so necessary.

He is Who builds my faith like a Lego house. Brick upon brick, day by day, bad and good. Never failing to remind me that He has all these things in control and we be loved.

Posted in Bible Journaling, Christian Service, Faith, Family, Life Inspiration, Peace

A Hippy at Heart

I truly am a hippy at heart. And by hippy I don’t mean the stereotypical one’s that those of us who were raised in the 60’s and 70’s remember. Though I must confess I would have fit that mold at various times in my life too. But by hippy I mean, tie-dye lovin’, peace seeking, freedom speaking child of God. I think God like’s the hippy mindset so long as He is the center focus.

Perhaps you agree. Perhaps not. Either is okay. But it’s where my mind is at this morning. I actually drew two images (one above and one below for this blog) The first was the dove below but then the blog took on a whole other direction. And thus the hippy Shari showed up.

My verse this morning for focus was Isaiah 26:3

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

So you may be wondering how I got from the dove to the hippy? It was a short trip. It started with my niece Holly. She’s a little hippy-ish too. And she’s been on my mind a lot lately. She’s a single mom of three and such a free spirit. I love her. I love all my nieces and nephews and my children because each one is so different. I mean really!!!!! different. Out of the 12 they have a few commonalities, but their personalities are nowhere close. Much like the church of God.

We have a common bond, Christ Jesus; but our personalities are what makes us who we are in Christ, and it’s what makes each one of us cope with difficult times in a different way.

I cope with life struggles by relying on the freedom of Christ. That’s the hippy mindset in me. It’s not that I want to go wherever the wind blows, that’s not God’s way; but I want to go in the direction the Spirit leads, and sometimes that’s down weird path that other people don’t understand.  

So on a day that I’m struggling with some issues in life I turned to this verse and found the freedom for living that I needed.

Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

Perfect Peace?

What does that look like? Well, first of all you have to tune into the first word of that sentence. Thou. Thou is God. And it is in Him only that you’ll find perfect peace.

It’s not that life is perfect, it’s that we can rest in the knowledge that whatever we’re facing is in His control. If He chooses to take us through it, we’ll go. If He chooses to remove us from it, we’ll go out or around, but some way, somehow God’s got it taken care of.

That sounds so easy right? But we know it’s not always. Life sometimes stinks and it’s not any fun, and that’s where the hippy attitude of the flower children and God’s children parts. We’re not escaping reality, we’re living in the very real knowledge that we serve a God who can and does amazing things in the lives of those who serve and trust Him.

That’s where that free spirit takes me that is my happy place!!! I can trust in Him who I have served for 23 years and watched as He brought me through time and time again. I know that if I keep my mind focused on the direction God, the Holy Spirit is leading, I’m going to come out a winner. Because I’ve read the end of the book.

Just as my 12 nieces and nephews and 25 great nieces and nephews (yes there is a boatload of us) differ and have many talents, so does the church. Find yours, give it to God, and then walk in the freedom His peace affords knowing He’s guiding you.

That’s my advice to my kids and grand-kids, and it’s my advice for you…

Posted in Bible Journaling, Christian Service, Heaven, Life Inspiration, Peace, salvation

Heaven Help Us

In the book of Nahum we once again find Israel having been carried captives into Assyria. A common storyline in the lives of God’s people. Sin, become captive, repent, obtain freedom, repeat.  But before we cast any stones we, generally speaking, don’t have to look long into our own lives to find that we too are repeat offenders of captivity.  The world has a way of laying hold on us and doesn’t relinquish us to freedom easily. Our enemies are fierce, but our Father is the fiercest of all!

When a verse like Nahum 1:7-8 comes into my reading time, I take note, and need to delve further into the God of all comfort. He comforts me like the favorite blanket that I wrap up in on a cool fall morning.

Nahum 1:7-8

The Lord is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him. But with an overrunning flood he will make an utter end of the place thereof, and darkness shall pursue his enemies.

Heaven helps those who do

Jesus told the young ruler in Luke 18:19 Why callest thou me good? None is good, save one, that is, God.

A very quick and honest search of our own hearts and we realize that we are not good. Sin abounds inside the heart of every man and is only covered by the blood of Jesus when we ask Christ to save us. But it is forever a constant battle creating trouble in our lives. Either our sin or the sin of someone else. So what a joy and privilege and highlight worthy verse we find in the book of Nahum; because even though we’re not good, God is! And He’s a stronghold for those that know Him. A stronghold is a place of security and safety. For King David being sought by Saul, it was cave. For me this morning it’s a blanket on the couch that I’m wrapped up in studying God word. I love this time of the day when the busyness and stress of the day hasn’t quite kicked in and my heart is still tender and receptive to God’s guidance

It’s good seed sown in a dirty ground that grows beautiful things.

Come what may for the rest of the day (an our lives) we have to trust that God is good and He takes care of His own.

Heaven Help those who don’t!

Nahum described it as an “overrunning flood” for the enemies of God. And although most people who have not claimed Christ as their Savior, don’t view themselves as the enemies of God, they are. They are because they’ve allowed the world to rule their hearts and the world is the enemy of God.

James 4:4 says as much when James wrote: Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

That “should” strike fear in the heart of anyone who hasn’t been saved, but it doesn’t. They are blinded by this world into believing that there is another way out besides salvation. And the heartaches and troubles they face every day, that overwhelms their souls and very much feels like an overrunning flood could be traded for the strong hand of God that would remove it and replace it with His peace for the asking. But many will not.

And sadly many who know God and He knows them, live in defeat because they don’t take the time to get in His word where peace is found.

I’m ever so grateful that in all my errors and blunders in life, God’s grace is sufficient to pull me through the tough days and allow me to celebrate the good days with gladness! I pray you’re experiencing that peace today and that you’ll share it with someone along the pathway.

If you’d like to know more about sceduling the Jesus Chick to speak or sing, contact me at 304-377-6036 or find me on social media under “the Jesus Chick.”

Posted in Life Inspiration, Music, Peace

I Forgot to Ask

A lesson we’ve all likely learned in life is that every day can’t be a great day. And if it was we’d likely not appreciate the great days when they came. Yesterday was one such day for me. Funny thing about having your chest sawn asunder, it’ll take the wind out of your sails. I may be the world’s worst patient, and left alone to my own devices (even though help is just a few minutes away), I lift more than I should, walk more and do more than I should and then wonder why I don’t feel well. I try to be good, but then I see something minor that needs done and my 5 lb. lifting limit seems somewhat ridiculous. And then it’s not. Then I feel icky and that leads to a depressed state of mind.

Isaiah 26:12:13

Lord, thou wilt ordain peace for us: for thou also has wrought all our works in us. O Lord our God, other lords beside thee have had dominion over us: but by thee only will we make mention of thy name.

One of the reasons that I get in a depressed or anxious state of mind is because I forget Who’s in control. I begin looking at the world around me and the state of affairs and suddenly I am overwhelmed with unhealthy emotions. I feel the aches and pains in my body and the lack of energy to do the things I long to do and it makes me very conscious of humanity. Add to that a rainy over cast day and it’s an insult to the injury I carry around in my body. It’s usually then that I get into a “I show you Satan” frame of mind and I end up showing him what an idiot I am.

Ordained Peace

God has ordained (established) peace for us. It’s there for the asking, so what keeps us from having it? For me it’s neglecting the word of God when my mind gets in that state. Yesterday I should have had this scripture written on sticky notes in every room of my house and on the dash of my car. But that would have required me slowing down and asking God for help. Am I preaching to the choir yet? We all do it. We get so bogged down we miss the gifts God has for us as children of the King.

A Wrought Work

Through God’s grace He has will establish peace and do a good work in us. But that requires us tuning in more than a few minutes in the morning or a meal time prayer. We are the bride of Christ! Our conversation with Him should be at every opportunity and not dreaded but enjoyed and passionate as that of our loved ones. If I had tuned into God yesterday and simply prayed for His wisdom and peace, I’d have received it. I have no doubt. But instead I drudged on to prove I could, or I would collapse on the sofa in frustration and not once ask God for help. I just focused on what things “I” might do to make “me” feel better. Jesus Chick epic failure wouldn’t you say? I’m very human.

Other lords

Anyt0ime that we put our own agenda or others before God’s wisdom and will we’re serving other lords. We’ve allowed someone or something to have dominion over the Holy Spirit. The picture in today’s blog is a fiddle I’m working on and have just about completed. A few more touches, the word of God and a fresh coat of varnish and I’ll return it to my friend Lew who will make it into a playable instrument of peace. That’s how I feel when I play the fiddle. I love the way the bow glides down the strings and sends music into the air. When I was deciding what to paint on it, a dove wasn’t really what I had in mind. But then post-surgery, I was longing for the peace of God and it just seemed to be the obvious choice. Plus I have a Dove guitar, so now they’re brother and sister.

The last phase of project peace is the one that Satan hates the most and that is the praise of God. Isaiah said it was by the mention of God’s name only! As I’ve said before, I’ll give Satan no credit for my circumstance because I brought it on myself, but I will give God the glory for brining me through, for giving me the most amazing feeling of peace that was there for the asking. I just forgot to ask.

Posted in Bible Journaling, Life Inspiration, Peace, Uncategorized

Finding a Place Called Peace

psalm 23Psalm 23 has forever been a favorite, even long before salvation. Its words would speak sweet peace to my soul, even though I had no clue what the spiritual implications of the text meant. When my Dad died in 2003, and I and my siblings stood round his bed as he took his last labored breath on this side of Heaven, my family sobbed in grief and I longed to bring them the peace I knew Heaven afforded. So I grabbed my Mom’s bible off the window sill of the hospital room, opened to Psalm 23, and read. I can’t define the sweet peace that enveloped the room. God had honored His children.

I had felt the power of God’s word before, but not like that. You could almost hear the Holy Spirit’s wind drive out the demons that desired heartache to consume us. I grieved, I miss him, but as King David said of his son, can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me?” (2 Samuel 12:23b)

It’s not only death that brings me to Psalm 23. No, it’s more living that drives me there. Or perhaps it could be said that the Shepherd  leads me there…

There’s so much goodness in Psalm 23 but for brevity sake I’ll focus on only one thought “He maketh me lie down in green pastures.”

He didn’t suggest it, He “made” me lie down. Why does rest come so hard for me? Likely most women in general. God usually has to knock me off my feet before I actually take the time to seek genuine rest. And what does “genuine rest” look like you might ask.

Even in the hullabaloo of life when it’s at its worst there is a still place in Christ Jesus. I imagine it to be somewhat like the field in my bible journaling picture. Without ticks, fleas and gnats of course! I imagine the scent would be that of honeysuckle or lavender and the temperature would be mid 70’s. Not too hot, nor too cold.

Genuine rest isn’t a physical space. It’s a spiritual place. It’s where righteousness is found not in our mediocre attempts to make things right, but in the realization that Christ’s blood makes things right. A little reflection can go a long way if it’s spent in His presence. Those still waters didn’t just happen… I can hear His words “Peace be still,” spoken over the turmoil in my life. My soul is restored through His righteousness, not mine. Else I’d still be in trouble waters.

God didn’t say the trouble was gone… the valley of the shadow of death, those dark times will come again. But every time it comes I can be rest assured that peace is just a pasture field away.


 

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Posted in Bible Journaling, Christian Service, Church Unity, Leadership, Life Inspiration

Who Is on the Wall?

wallI love lessons in leadership. It truly is where my heart lies much of the time; seeking wisdom of God as to the expectations of leaders in a church.  I’m especially interested in leadership as it pertains to women. Now I realize this differs at every church, and I know that varying denominations have varying beliefs, but I think one we will all agree on is that our church is “our church.” And how we believe is our choice. That being said, this is not about gender as much as it is about the ears on the side of every head be they male or female. One of the greatest leadership lessons learned of recent date was the 2016 National Election. The ears of Washington D.C. had been plugged with the cotton of conspiracy by Satan himself and they had long since stopped listening to the people. Unless of course you were Hollywood’s people. Which is a liberal mindset not fit to listen to and by no means should carry a greater weight than that of the rest of the country. And because they didn’t listen, the election was a shocker for them! Well, I don’t want a shocker in my church and you shouldn’t want a shocker in yours either.

That’s why it’s important to listen, rather than labor in vain.

2 Samuel 20 finds King David trying to reestablish his Kingdom having been ousted by his son Absalom who was then killed in the battle.  And once that battle was over there was a man of Belial (evil ungodly man) who’s name was Sheba the son of Bichri and he refused to accept the victory of David. Sound familiar? I guess Sheba was a democrat of the day (okay, I’ll stop). This is not about politics so don’t fret! This is about one woman in her community who saved the day and one leader in David’s army that stopped to listen.

2 Samuel 20:16-20

Then cried a wise woman out of the city, Hear, hear; say, I pray you, unto Joab, Come near hither, that I may speak with thee.  And when he was come near unto her, the woman said, Art thou Joab? And he answered, I am he. Then she said unto him, Hear the words of thine handmaid. And he answered, I do hear. Then she spake, saying, They were wont to speak in old time, saying, They shall surely ask counsel at Abel: and so they ended the matter. I am one of them that are peaceable and faithful in Israel: thou seekest to destroy a city and a mother in Israel: why wilt thou swallow up the inheritance of the Lord? And Joab answered and said, Far be it, far be it from me, that I should swallow up or destroy.

A Woman of Wisdom

The unnamed woman, a mother of Israel (she was a leader), took her plight to the leader of David’s Army and saved her whole city. She went “in her wisdom” back to her people and they cut the head off of Sheba and threw it over the wall to Joab. He didn’t have to lift a finger, he just had to listen.

A Woman of Willingness

Much like our nation, I believe that church leadership isn’t listening to their people. There’s a battle against the church from within and without but if everyone would just listen to one another we could throw the head of Satan outside our walls and dwell in peace. Of course I speak metaphorically, but this scripture pierced my heart when I heard her plea for her city “I am one of them that are peaceable and faithful.”

In other words, “I’m not trying to cause trouble, I’m one of your people and I’m willing to serve, tell me what you need and I’ll make it happen.” Joab listened and the woman acted. That’s what will make our churches great! When leadership puts the battle into the hands of the people. The congregation knows where the trouble is. They see when a family struggles, they see when disagreements and dissention is arising in the ranks, they know when something works and when it doesn’t.

A Woman of Watchfulness

Everyone in the congregation? No. But the woman of wisdom who had kept her eye her people, not for the latest gossip, but to keep them alive! No doubt there were men of wisdom. We know who’s mature in the faith and who’s still a baby and likes to tattle. A whole city was saved because a woman without a name had the nerve to speak boldly to a leader and that leader had the wherewithal to listen.

Here’s was my lesson from this woman’s story:

  • She cared, and she cared deep ( she was willing to stick her neck on the line)
  • She went to the leaders to find out what needed to be done, and he answered.
  • She went back to her people and had them handle the problem. (I highly doubt she killed Sheba) but she knew who could.
  • She didn’t care if nobody knew who she was, her mission was to serve the people of God.

The lesson: Leaders should listen, and listeners should feel led to lead, so that everyone on the inside of the wall has a voice.

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Peace for Tomorrow

tomorrowI would likely lose count of the times per day that Satan whispers in my ear with a serpent tongue… “God does not care.” That is why, when I run across a verse like that of Jeremiah 23:23 it’s such a special time.

“Am I a God at hand, saith the Lord, and not a God afar off?”

There has been much talk about the future lately in the media. And the future is certainly a concern of mine more often than not in the day to day scope of life. I like certainty. Tangible things that I can wrap my hand around and say “This is in my control.” Things like home, health, money, etc. But in truth, none of that will ever be fully in my control. I am at the discretion of God as to whether or not I have any of it.

When Jeremiah the prophet wrote these words, his life was far from “in control.” His country wanted him dead because he did not bear good news. Kind of like Fox News prior to the November election. Although I don’t think I would put them in the category of Jeremiah. Fox is not prophetic, they didn’t guess Donald Trump either. But to put this scripture into play in my own life, and possibly yours, is to give a certainty to us both that God is in control of tomorrow. I have things on my plate now that I would like to hear God say… “Tomorrow is going to be okay.” But what I hear is is the words of Jeremiah that says, near or far, God is with me. He’s had my past, He has my future and He has my tomorrow in control. There’s great peace in that.

John 16:33 says:

These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

In the days of Jeremiah was the days of the Law. And Israel was far from keeping it. They had turned their back on God time and time again and Jeremiah was prophesying of their soon to be captivity. But then comes that period between Malachi and the last chapters of the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, when grace entered the picture. Christ had paid the price on the cross and grace replaced the un-keep-able law. No longer would man’s works grant entrance to Heaven or peace on earth, but by faith in Jesus Christ alone.

God had the plan in place when He created the Heavens and the earth. He knew we’d fail, and He knew of Satan’s futile attempts to get God’s children in his control. That’s why he still whispers “God doesn’t care” in my ear. Because for a second he can have me believing it. Until I read the Word of God and a scripture like Jeremiah 23:23 jumps off the page as if to say “Shut Up Satan.” God has my world in control, even when I feel like it’s spinning out of control.

That’s so good to know. God’s word is so precious… don’t neglect it.