Tag Archives: Philippians

What to Do when the Lines are Blurred

The Christian life is forever a grand adventure. That’s a quote from my friend Chief. He and I have one common ground that forever gets us into trouble. We leap believing a net will appear. Sometimes it does, and sometimes it doesn’t. But it always an adventure. Sometimes those adventures take their toll on me spiritually because the line between living in faith and living in the flesh is sometimes blurred for a personality such as mine. You see, my first action is reaction to any thought. Any. That’s a problem.

God said in Philippians 4:6 ~  Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

Be careful for nothing means to “not worry.” It doesn’t mean don’t be cautious, which is often how I live my life. In ministering to myself this morning I need to unpack a few scriptures to get myself back into the adventurous living of Christ. The issue is this, if you leap enough times and the net doesn’t appear, the impact is painful.

The impact of broken dreams

I’m a dreamer. Oh my stars am I a dreamer! And if I’m honest being a dreamer is often an escape from reality. But when those dreams lie shattered on the ground because they didn’t come to pass as I thought they would, the impact is often for me to physically and emotionally shutdown. I usually do one of two things. (1) I shut down. Turn off the world and retreat inside my head which can be a very scary place. (2) Make someone else’s dream happen, in a very small sense of the word. Meaning I take on a thousand projects of a thousand people who are readily available to ask me to do something. (3) Quite often my last resort, I turn to the word of God. It’s where faith and flesh collide.

The impact of broken confidence

I’m familiar with failure. It’s a part of the life of someone who lives the “leap and the net will appear” mentality. Failure has never stopped me from trying again. But what will most assuredly shatter my confidence is when my leaping appears to the world as recklessness. And sometimes to me as recklessness. I restore that confidence in remembering the countless miracles that God has done in my life, but even they too were often God rescuing me from a not so very well thought out plan. So thus, it’s a vicious cycle. God however has confidence builders on call, like my best friend and biggest fan, Gloria. Or my friend Jessica, who spurred my spirit on by recalling how I had made a difference for her as she spoke at a ladies meeting Monday night.  And my friend Dewey who calls just to check on me, who consoles my spirit and reminds me quite often that The Jesus Chick needs to stay on the path God designed. Confidence too is where faith and flesh collide.

The impact of broken spirit

Probably the hardest of all is when the flesh wins out over faith and I feel uninspired to go on. It’s when I’ve taken a hit from several directions. It’s not that the Word has let me down or that the encouragers in my life have let me down, it’s when the world has taken its toll and I don’t even have the desire to walk to the edge, never mind jumping off to another adventure. It’s where I’ve been of late.

So how do you fix a broken spirit?

Psalm 51:17

The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.

You offer it to God. Part of being in the ministry is realizing the paycheck doesn’t look like the 9-5 job. There’s usually not a paycheck. The pay is presenting the gifts that God has given you to Him and through Him, and allowing Him to tell you your worth.

Paul (the writer of Philippians) and David (the writer of most of the Psalms) had much in common. Both understood that the power behind the child of God is in prayer, supplication and thanksgiving. It is with an attitude of brokenness and contriteness (remorse) that God can use us. It’s where faith and flesh part.  The flesh wants no part of regret or remorse. The flesh wants no part of being broken. But in that state is where I find my strength to leap again. Because in that state I realize that my dreams, confidence and desires are through Him, and it will be through Him that success will come. And it will.

Philippians 1:6

Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:

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The Finest in Fellowship

fellowsI had no idea in 1996 when I kneeled at that altar of grace and ask Jesus to save my soul, what a package deal it was. Jesus not only became the best friend that I could ever have, He gave me a flock of friends that I didn’t even know! As I read Philippians 4 this morning, I identified with Paul from the standpoint that I long for the fellowship of His people, because they’re my people. I’m in awe sometimes when I realize the depth of friendships that are unexplainable. It’s not until I lose one, and realize the very deep hole in my life, that I understand the angst in Paul’s writing  in 2 Timothy 4:10 when he said “For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica;”  While he Philemon 1:24 he had written that Demas was a “fellowlabourer.”

Church fellows are special…

Fellowship defined is a group of people sharing and pursuing the same passion and interest.  I wouldn’t say that in any church everyone is in fellowship. There are those who attend church for reasons other than spiritual edification… I don’t get it, but I know it’s true. It’s my prayer that they will eventually get it. Until then I’ll continue to love and pray for them. But it’s not them that have my heart stirred this morning, it’s the church fellows. The ones I labor with and long for. They’re a special lot that only a child of God can have the privilege of knowing.

Fellowlabourer

The church worker. Society would call it “volunteerism,” God says it’s our job. We’re not left down here to take up valuable pew space, nor are we left here to be entertained by the Pastor. It’s not his job to spoon feed me my daily victuals of the Word of God, nor is it his job to take care of everyone in the church. It’s his job to train and lead folks how to serve God and to encourage them. He too is a fellowlabourer in Christ. He’s just got more responsibility and accountability.

Paul tells the people of Philippi in Philippians Chapter 1, many of whom he had no doubt won to the Lord, “Therefore, my brethren dearly beloved and longed for, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, my dearly beloved.” Stand fast! You’re jewels in my crown and you are loved! That’s how I feel about the people that I serve with in Victory Baptist Church, and those that the Lord has given me through other avenues of the faith. They bring such joy to my heart! I know that we are laboring for the same cause and I long for their fellowship. Even for those I’ve yet to meet face to face! That’s the unexplainable… that you know them because of the Spirit of God in them and in you.

Fellowprisoner

Paul, at the writing of the book of Philippians, was in prison and yet had joy. His joy was not likely contributed to his stellar living conditions, but rather to his stellar friends. Even in the worst of days the people of Victory Baptist Church and my other friends of faith bring joy to my life because they encourage me and they have a genuine burden for me when I have struggles in life. Paul’s friends weren’t Sunday saints. They were seven day a week, we’re in it to win it fellowprisoners with Paul. He may have been behind bars but they were behind him in prayer and provision. Glory to God! Is that not what we should be to one another? I’m blessed with that in my life…

Fellowservant

Paul’s friends weren’t perfect, they evidently had issues like we Baptists, else why would he say in verse 2 I beseech Euodias, and beseech Syntyche, that they be of the same mind in the Lord.” Evidently they’re minds had not always been the same, a division was there. And let me tell you who loves division… that’s Satan’s playground. He’ll play on that merry-go-round forever if he’s allowed. He’s on those monkeybars in my life right now. Division comes when people get their minds off the purpose of Christ which is to get people in a relationship with Him. So what if we have an opinion… was it Christ’s opinion? And did that opinion help you serve the Lord or did it hinder the service of the Lord because you were wrapped up in it? We’re not here to serve ourselves. I praise God for a church and pastor that preaches servitude in our community!

Church fellows are special people, not to be taken for granted. Paul mentioned by name those who he cared for… in verses three and four he laid the charge to his “true” yokefellows, those that believed as he did – And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life. Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.

Although I love and live to serve every fellow in the church, that’s not what makes me rejoice. What makes me rejoice is when their name is written in the book of life, it’s written upon the hand of Jesus and then He inscribes their watch care to me and mine to them through the Holy Spirit. Paul’s people took care of him, take care of your people. They’re special…

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When You Can’t Fix What’s Broken

I got this

I absolutely love serving the Lord and I love serving people but when you’re in the business of serving you’re suddenly expected to be all things to all people.  And if you’ve recently ask me to do something, this is seriously not about you, this is about me. But it may be for you, because you may be like me, and that my friend is a scary place to be.

I’m a fixer. If I see a problem I need to fix it now. My life and problems go on hold and the immediate problem before me is the task at hand, which explains a lot about my life. The problem with being a fixer is I’m not always qualified, which doesn’t stop me nor seem to matter because I’m pretty sure I got this. I think someone needs to start a group called “Fixers Anonymous,” but then the meeting would probably be dominated by us trying to fix each other and we personally would never get fixed. Wow… I just gave myself a headache. But it’s a true story and it’s on my heart today.

I’ve just discovered that I can’t fix everything. I’m still partly in denial, so don’t mention it if you happen to see me.

So what’s a fixer to do when something’s broken that’s irreparable… like a heart or relationship?

In Philippians 4:6, Paul writesBe careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.”

Be careful for nothing… meaning, don’t be full of care, don’t be stressed. Usually by the time I get around to reading a verse like this, I’m already past the point of stress, but it still doesn’t mean I shouldn’t follow through with the rest of God’s plan. Regardless of what it is, (everything) should be taken to God in prayer. That conversation portal to Heaven that we tend to forget how big a deal it is. With the first utterance of His name, spoken aloud or just in your mind, you are ushered by the Holy Spirit into the presence of God. That’s powerful! How awesome that with a breath you can be before He Who can fix it all. It is there that we can plead our case (supplication) and tell God everything that we feel nobody else in the world wants to hear, but God wants to hear it. Not because He doesn’t know already what’s going on, but because He wants us to believe on Him to fix the problem, or possibly help us through when the problem is there for another reason we weren’t meant to understand.

Today I’m in a quandary with a problem I can’t fix because it’s not my problem. God doesn’t want me to stop caring, which is what I’m trying to do, it seems that would be an easier fix. It’s unfortunately not a part of my DNA. Because when the Holy Spirit came into my heart and filled me to the brim with Jesus I also was filled to the brim with care. That’s what makes me want to be a fixer in the first place. So there seems to be two kinds of care. Stress – the wrong kind. And Concern – the kind that drives you into the arms of Jesus, Father, Friend and Fixer. Who understands that you’re a fixer because you’re trying as best you can in this feeble body to be like Him. And today you feel like you’re failing miserably.

So I’m thankful. That I can lean on Him and when I can’t fix the problem, I can fix my eyes on Him and He’ll guide me through until the problem is past.

Are you a fixer? Are you in midst of a problem. Take it to Jesus and leave it there, He’s got the tool box.

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How to have a Satisfied Christmas

CHICK SATISFIED

Satisfaction. I don’t know that I ever achieve it when it comes to my personal goals. I’m not satisfied being a mediocre Christian, and yet that’s what I am in comparison to many others.  Comparison and   satisfaction are mortal enemies that kill the spirit. I have two very different daughters. One loved music the other sports and I tried to nurture each accordingly. The irony is they really weren’t so different. The lover of music because a nurse who cared for the injured. The athlete was musically gifted as well, and relies on her sister quite often for help with injuries, being the mom of three very active little boys. My point in that story is that I love them so much, I don’t compare them, because they are two entirely different beings; unique and awesome just the way God created them. Comparing children causes them to doubt who they are as individuals and damages the spirit. Now me on the other hand, I’m a little harder on myself. No, I am lot harder on myself.

Satisfaction should be a personal goal between you and God. God has expectations of His creations, and we are full of unused potential. I fully believe that, and yet comparison causes us to limit our abilities and kills the spirit within us to be all that we can be. We align our talents up to the world around us. It’s also very easy to align our Christmas up to the world around us. Neighborhood houses compete for the best lights, friends compete for the best parties, and parents compete for the best gifts, all of which serves to kill the spirit of Christmas.

This morning I sat my sights on satisfaction. That’s the gift that I want for myself for Christmas. I want to be satisfied with where I am, but excitedly expectant of where I’m going. If God has me sitting still today, that’s okay… perhaps I need a time out. But there’s still a plan in process that requires action so long as I’m breathing.

Apostle Paul said in  Philippians 4:11 Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.”

I’ve learned that there is a fine line between content and contention. Contention (conflict) comes from within when we get our sights off things above. Paul had multiple time outs, did he not? How many times was he beaten and imprisoned and taken off the “apparent” playing field. And all the while he was writing these letters… the ones we read today that encourage our soul a few thousand years later. Paul was satisfied with where he was, believing with confidence that God had something greater. And that something greater was me. Not me being better than Paul, but that in 2015 I would be sharing Paul’s words for the encouragement of others and taking them to heart for myself. Glory to God!!! I just wrote myself happy again.

Sidelined… I hate it. I guess that’s why God never gave me the desire to play sports. First of all He knew I’d be really bad it; my baby didn’t get her skills from me, and because of that I’d have been sidelined in every game. And I’m a doer. And in so being a doer I sometimes (actually often times) do it hurriedly. Hey, I’m 53, who knows how much time I got left! God’s working on me this  Christmas to give me the gift of “satisfaction.”

I sang at my Mom-in-laws funeral service Sunday, “I’m satisfied with, just a cottage below, a little silver, and a little gold, But in that city, where the ransomed will shine, I want a gold one, that’s silver lined!”

I do indeed live in a little cottage below that causes me often times to want a mansion on this side of glory… Be satisfied Shari… I want more money… be satisfied Shari…. I want God to use me…. Be satisfied Shari…. I want more acoustic instruments…. Be sati…. 🙂 Just kidding Lord. Be Satisfied Shari.

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Being the Captor not the Captive

the cross

From the time our eyes first fly open in the morning we’re in a battle with the enemy, or at least I am. My mind starts rolling with to do lists, my iPhone buzzes with received messages, social media is calling my name and the covers are oh so warm… let’s wait a while… and Izidora the Chihuahua agrees that under the covers is a better place to be. Why move?

I love places of comfort! The church is that to me (meaning my home church building). I love walking into the vestibule where it feels like I’ve just arrived at the home of my best friend; I guess technically I have. Be it a Sunday Service or when I’ve forgotten my computer cord in my classroom and have to go back and fetch it at 9:30 at night, I feel at home. My thoughts are much easier focused on the things of God when I’m in that place, not so when I walk out the door. So many things are vying for my attention and my thoughts are not always godly. As a matter of fact sometimes they scare even me. Why do such thoughts and images pop into our minds? I won’t share them with you for fear you’d know how warped I am… but perhaps you have your own warped mind to deal with. A Word from God for me this morning:

2 Corinthians 10:5 

Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

The Captive

I usually have a flee mentality when I get into one of those scary thought moments. I just want to get my mind as far away from that idea as possible by getting into another area of thinking. You know the mode…. Happy thoughts, happy thoughts! But sure enough it won’t be long until those thoughts catch back up to me and I’m in the same boat causing me to wonder if somewhere deep down in the recesses of my mind an evil Shari is waiting to come out. Crazy right? Please tell me I’m not alone.

Satan. He loves exalting himself and having control. Being that I was not raised in a Friday the 13th movie world and I still close my eyes on the commercial for a horror movie I know that these images and ideas have to be fabricated in some other realm for the purpose of getting my eyes off Jesus and causing fear and anxiety with in me. In that condition I’m of little use to God. So how do I become the captor not the captive?

The Captor

To “cast down” is to utterly destroy those imaginations and things that try to get between you and the mind of God. So how can you destroy a thought that you have no control over?

2 Corinthians 10:6

 And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.

Obedience to the Savior trumps Satan every time! Satan may be able to cause those crazy thoughts to enter our mind, but within us is the Holy Spirit! Rather than fleeing, stand your ground. The Holy Spirit stands ready for us to call upon Him and rescue us out of Satan’s little shop of horrors. SPEAK JESUS! You’re not alone. Don’t just shake that thought off and go on with life, it needs to be taken captive. Take the thought and destroy it through the Word of God by dismantling it one word, one image at a time. Is it true to who you are? No. Is it honest? No, it’s a lie out of the pits of Hell. Is it just, unprejudiced? No, it’s fabricated by Satan. Is it lovely, a good report, worthy of Praise? No? So envision the Holy Spirit locking that up behind bars and refocus your mind on Christ!

Philippians 4:8

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things

My mind needed rescued this morning. The Holy Spirit… my Hero!

Stolen Hope

image

It happened because of an act of obedience by me during the ladies retreat yesterday. I know right? I was shocked too! I was mostly shocked by my obedience, not that God showed up and did something in a miraculous way. While studying for my session God had laid it on my heart to speak on testifying (which is great!) But then God went one step further and asked me to ask for testimonies.

That is a completely different story. That puts my session out of my control and into the control of who only knows that might stand up. Don’t hate me for saying that… you know that we’ve all been in one of those meetin’s where somebody stood up to testify and 40 minutes later you were praying that God would shut them up. Well that was my fear. But this wasn’t about me, it was about God, so reluctantly I agreed. Well when that time came and the words came out of my mouth and my stomach roller over… Heaven came down. Two of the sweetest testimonies ever and not a dry eye in the house.

it all stemmed from the thought “If I don’t testify, I very well could rob somebody of hope.” Powerful, is it not?

So me and my briggety ways had told God before I went to bed last night that I was gonna rest my mind a few days after this ladies retreat… I felt as though I had just come out of skillet and it wasn’t sunny side up. So when my alarm went off at 5:30 this morning, my email notification also buzzed with a devotion series that I have sent there. My weary eyes slid my iPhone open and I read the scripture from Philippians 1:14 “And many of the brethren in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds, are much more bold to speak the word without fear.”

And God said write…

Obedience to testimony time is not always easy. We put restraints on the service times and wonder if what we have to say really needs to be said. But Apostle Paul said in this scripture that because of his afflictions in prison his friends were BOLDY proclaiming the Word of God. Because they could see how God was bringing Paul through his trials and blessing him at the same time they were compelled to tell someone about Christ. Paul had given them hope.

As we go to church today.. don’t deny a friend hope through disobedience.

God also told me to sing the song “Testify” by the Talley Trio during my session. For days I argued with God that I had other songs that I could sing better and that I hadn’t practiced that one enough. I could have spent the time rehearsing and been prepared in stead of arguing. In even greater reluctance I sang the song. And it was just what was needed to get people fired up to testify! Who knew? God! So when I flubbed up a line in the song I could almost hear God say… you should have practiced like I told you. 🙂

Don’t deny hope.

Good Grief Charlie Brown

I realized I was out numbered last night in the teen class when I ask a question about their favorite television classics. I watch very little television, preferring silence or a podcast of my favorite preachers, perhaps I’ll pick a little on the guitar or play the fiddle but upon the occasion that I decide I’d like to watch a movie or show, I spend more time scrolling through the guide than I do actually watch anything. I usually end up on DIY or HGTV channels because at least there I don’t have to put up with gore, drama, language or just plain idiocy.

I’m for certain dating myself, but when the commercials came on for the Halloween episode of “It’s the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown,” my heart went pitter pat wondering if my grandbabies would find it as big a deal as I did as a child. We waited weeks with anticipation for those special TV nights when kids ruled! Today half the kids in America have their own TV and there’s a new cartoon on every hour. Wow… that’s really sad. Another example of excessive living taking away the wholesomeness of our youth.

The conversation in the teen class last night stemmed from the question “Why does it matter about the music or Television I entertain myself with?”

I gave them the verse Philippians 4:8~ Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

It’s really hard to think on those things when you have zombies screaming at you from the television, or a chick just got stabbed to death. Reality TV is not reality at all… or is it? Have we really gone that far as a world today? Even my beloved DIY shows have gotten ridiculous as spoiled brat couples are just SO STRESSED OUT because the million dollar home they toured had the wrong color tub. Oh my goodness, my stomach just seriously rolled over, and this is why I don’t watch television.

In the words of Charlie Brown, “Good Grief!”

I need a Philippians 4:8 day. I need things that are honest, just, pure, lovely, a good report and praise!!! I need good news! I know the world’s full of bad and I need to understand the dangers that are out there but I do not need to sit with my nose glued to the latest Ebola report or watch garbage on television that makes me treat every stranger as a suspect in a murder or go to bed with fearful thoughts.

I don’t care if Charlie Brown’s not cool. As much as I love the technology of today, there’s a part of me that longs for those Kool-aid and popcorn nights and the Great Pumpkin…