Posted in Bible Journaling, Christian Service, Church attendance, Uncategorized

I have Questions

I do not have questions of God… well, I do, but I more have questions of those who will likely not read this, but perhaps they will. “Those” are they that I used to attend church with – – those who used to stand and testify about the goodness of God; but now their seat is empty. They’re memory fades from the mind of the congregation and many wouldn’t know who they were if I called their name in prayer because they’ve not darkened the door of God’s house in forever. 

Am I angry?

Only that Satan won a battle. I’m not angry at the individual. I just don’t understand it. I will mention a few “generic” situations and perhaps it will prompt you to call someone out in prayer today, or perhaps it’s your story.

There was a couple in our church who served God faithfully for many, many years. He retired, she was a homemaker and a beloved mom. Little by little they stopped serving, slowed their attendance, and then stopped altogether. He got a job that had weekend hours, she got cancer. And God cured her! And through it all they never returned to God’s house. I don’t understand and my question is why? Why did you not return to praise Him? 

Another couple with the same story of attending many years. They struggled to keep their marriage together, God healed their home and they left church. Their home was no longer strong enough to to fight the world and it separated due to infidelity. But they managed to get back together. He got cancer. He was cured.  No return. Why?

Throughout the years I have watched countless people battle, win, and walk out on God. And they will say almost assuredly “I still worship God, I just do it at home.” 

That may be true. But I doubt it. Because I know how hard it is for me to stay faithful to worship while I’m in the house of God at every opportunity. My focus can get so worldly in a heartbeat…

And speaking of heartbeats. The reason I wonder about those who struggle and do not return to God’s house is because I remember laying in the hospital facing open heart surgery and needing and receiving the presence of God in that place. I remember feeling the prayers of the saints of God that I knew were lifting my name to the Lord. That’s what friends of faith do. But if you’re not there, they’ll likely not remember you. But this morning I remember them. And I’ll bet there’s someone on your heart too.

In my teen group this week we watched a video of Francis Chan. I love this guy! He wrote “Crazy Love” and other books, but his back story is just so doggone amazing! His mother died in childbirth and then his father remarried a few years later. His second wife died when Francis was 8 in a car accident, then his father died at when Francis was 12,  leaving him orphaned. He goes to a youth rally and gets saved and finds God’s purpose for his life and he, his wife and seven children continue to serve the Lord. And he stood on the stage and thanked God for the life he was given because it caused him to seek God. Glorrrrraaaaayyyyyy! Can you say that about your struggles? I cannot always. But I can say that about the heart attack because it got my attention on what’s important, and who’s important. 

My family is important. My friends are important. But God is the most important of all. Without Him I would not know healing, peace, love to the depths of the ocean and beyond. I would not know sacrifice. His sacrifice. 

Luke 17:17

And Jesus answering said, Were there not ten cleansed? but where are the nine?

I asked the same question today. “Where are the nine?

Tomorrow’s Sunday. Make the plan to go to the house of the Lord! Don’t let Satan convince you that it’s not necessary. It is necessary and He is worthy. Go and praise Him! 

Posted in Bible Journaling, Christian Service, Evangelism, Life Inspiration, Praise, Uncategorized

The Fruit of our Lips

Hebrews 13:15

By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.

In search of a word from the Lord, He reminded me that I have words too. Words of praise, words of encouragement… words.

Lots of them. 

His words come first. For guidance, instruction, chastisement, peace, and sometimes just wonderful conversation. All of which is an example to me that I should be more about my Father’s business. It came in the form of a visit from a childhood Sunday School teacher, Miss Janet. One of the sweetest ladies in my life. She stands just a little over four feet tall, but inside that tiny frame is one of the first people I met in Calhoun County who forever impacted my life for Christ. She’s was a soul winner, long before I had heard that terminology. She loves Jesus and she uses her words for that purpose. She uses her words to tell her little part of the world that she loves Jesus. That is a huge part of our Father’s business.

The Thanksgiving Holiday is just a few weeks away. Can you believe that? Where has another year gone. I stand in awe at how very quickly life is passing. I’m 57 years old. Yesterday I was in Miss Janet’s Sunday School class in the basement of the Mt. Zion Methodist Church. And I know that for her it seems like yesterday that she too was a young woman. We have less and less time to make our words impactful. But along that pathway of life, we need to take the time to show our gratitude to the Lord for all He’s done. To praise Him continually. It’s what I learned from Miss Janet yesterday. She’s still a teacher. Never stop praising Him. 

Words are the fruit of our lips. What’s the flavor of your fruit. Sweet like an apple, hardy like a pear? Perhaps in that ooey goodness of a banana. I hope if you’re a lemon you add a little sugar. Are you a peculiar fruit like a star fruit. Oh my goodness. My mind is going so many different places. God’s creation is a great place to start praising Him!

What’s in your frig today? If you have anything, and I’ll bet you have more than that! We need to thank Him for it. So many in the world have nothing. They don’t even own a frig. I learned that from my friend Martin in Africa. They harvest, kill and eat. No left overs. No frig. Just living day to day. Oh… we have so much to praise Him for today! 

I pray you’ll use your words wisely. Be sweet and fruitful. Using your words to glorify the Father. Happy Saturday! And if you’re reading this today, remember tomorrow is Sunday. A good day to go and praise Him!! I’m ready!

Posted in Bible Journaling, Christian Service, Evangelism, Faith, Life Inspiration, Life's Failures, salvation, Word of God, worship

Pardon Me For Whining

Okay… so I feel like I should apologize for whining yesterday. It’s not that it’s not in my character, it’s just not in my character to do it out loud. I always do it in my head so the world thinks I’m super spiritual. Just kidding… they don’t. But I like to think myself super spiritual sometimes; because then I don’t feel so bad about myself when I realize I’m an epic failure. Now that I’m done with that, let me tell you what I really want to do. I want to Psalm 13:6 it today!

Psalm 13:6

I will sing unto the Lord, because he hath dealt bountifully with me.

So in case you missed my whining session at the end of my vlog (video blog) yesterday, I was a tad emotional about the fact that temptation in this world is hard. Everyone faces it, and I’ve had my share lately when it comes to wanting to escape the will of God. That sounds bad. I should want to be in the will of God, right? Well, I technically do, until it’s a struggle. Like in the world of my finances and then I want to jump this ministry ship and get a “real job.” I get in that mode because that’s what the world tells me I should do. So this morning as I went merrily on my way, bible journaling through Psalms I came upon David’s whining session. However in his defense, his own son Absalom was trying to kill him. That really trumps my reasons to whine.

Abandonment Issues

1How long wilt thou forget me, O Lord? for ever? how long wilt thou hide thy face from me?

Forever? Have you ever felt that way? When God does not answer immediately, especially in the microwave society for which we live, the feeling of despair can take over quickly. I want an immediate resolve so I can move forward. I want God to fix this mess! But with that cry I have to realize that God didn’t make my mess. I did.

Just like David. While he didn’t cause his son to become his enemy, he caused himself to lack the confidence that he had earlier experienced (before the sin with Bathsheba). Failing in our walk with Christ causes the feeling of abandonment, not because God moved, but because we’re not as close as we once were.

Advice Issues

How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily? how long shall mine enemy be exalted over me?

The worst thing I can do is ask myself for advice.

Taking counsel in my own soul will just add insult to injury. I’m a little too close to the situation, don’t you think? And yet when I don’t hear from God, rather than being still and waiting, I talk. And talk. And talk some more.  I’m such a slow learner.  

Ability Issues

Consider and hear me, O Lord my God: lighten mine eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death; Lest mine enemy say, I have prevailed against him; and those that trouble me rejoice when I am moved.

Can you not hear the whining heart of the Jesus chick? It’s pretty loud. “I’m dying here Lord!” that’s what David said and that’s what I have a tendency to say. Because of my struggles I don’t have the ability to get the things accomplished that I want to get done. And because of that, I too feel like the enemy is rejoicing in my failures and I’ve been moved out of the place I long to be in.

Unexpected Blessings!

So here I am sitting in my office this morning and God reminds of a pumpkin that’s sitting at the edge of my yard in a pumpkin patch that I didn’t even plant. I had pumpkin décor last fall and it stayed in front of David’s wood shop on a few bales of hay, until it decayed and David as he often does, he cleaned up my mess. He threw the hay, pumpkin and all at the edge of a field. The seeds from those pumpkins made it into the ground and bore fruit. It was so exciting when David discovered our unexpected blessing and showed it to me.

So this morning I hear… this mess too will bear a surprising fruit. Be Still.

But I have trusted in thy mercy; my heart shall rejoice in thy salvation.6 I will sing unto the Lord, because he hath dealt bountifully with me.

So let me unwind and un-whine. God is good. That pumpkin is far from the only blessing in my life. I received such sweet encouragement from a few friends yesterday.

I shall not be moved! Because the Lord has more than dealt more than bountiful with me. How about you? Do you have a pumpkin in your patch? Praise God for it. And run the enemy off the porch of your dreams. Thank You Jesus.

The signs of a fruitful ending
Posted in Bible Journaling, Grace, Life Inspiration, Peace, Praise

The God I Know

For the past week, you may, or may not have notice my lack of presence on social media.

In the world of rural West Virginia, for lack of another terminology, crap happens. My niece-in-love Kaitlin was traveling the highway in front of our home, as well as a dump truck that had just unloaded his bed. In thinking that the bed was completely down he began moving on the road, when it turns out the bed was still partially up. He then clipped our phone and internet cables, which was bad, but; but also in the process it broke a bolt from the truck projecting it like a shotgun shell through Kaitlin’s truck windshield where it lodged. (see photo below) Which was a nightmare that I can’t even fathom.

Without the providential hand of God, this story could have ended so much worse. I’m sure it’s a thought that ran through Kaitlin’s family’s mind on more than one occasion. I’m so grateful that she’s okay. I’m so thankful that I know that God!

Because of Kaitlin’s accident it caused me to spend far less time on social media. I was not entirely without service. If I walked around the house or yard, held my hand and my mouth just right, I could get enough service to get the occasion message or post through to my phone. I’m a sad and desperate social media junkie. I need help! (Insert smile here)

But I spent my time journaling the book of Jude, verse by verse. Which I’ve only made it to verse 13 of the 25. There’s just so much meat in the book! I could chew on one verse for days and not get all the flavor out of it. So I share with you today, Verses 9 and 10 and a few of my thoughts on religion and why I’m so glad I know the God of that bolt!

Yahweh-Shammah

The LORD is There

Satan loves religion! So we find him in verse 9 arguing with Michael the archangel; but Michael is refusing to argue back. I’m not that strong. I run my mouth to Satan on a pretty regular basis. But the scripture is clear that it wasn’t Michael’s fight. And I fear that I may have fought more than a few battles with Satan that weren’t mine to fight.

As I understand it from commentary, Satan wanted the body of Moses to be buried where the people would be able to set up a monument, which would become a shrine. Far be it from the children of Israel to worship something other than God, and their great respect for Moses (occasional) and reverence (with days of hypocrisy) would have likely caused them to take their eyes from their true deliverer, which was God!

El Shaddai

Lord God Almighty

He was the One with the power to deliver, not Moses. He may choose to use people, or like in the circumstances of Kaitlin, He may just stop a bolt bullet. None the less, He is God Almighty! And worthy of praise!

In verse 10, it is a continuation from verse 8, which speaks to the people of Jude’s day (which sound a lot like the people of our day). It says they were filthy dreamers, defiling the flesh, despising dominion and speaking evil of dignities. Sound like American politics to you? Politics and religion are close in relation. Satan loves when both make it into church house conversations because they are sure to cause division with “most” people. But not a church whose focus is the unity and leadership of God.

Jehovah Raah

The Lord Is My Shepherd

Michael the archangel had a relationship with God, not a religion. He knew the Lord well enough to know that he did not need to argue with Satan, but leave that conversation to God, Who will put the smack down on Satan in the end of our story! Glory to God! Even though Michael, a spiritual being, had the power to kill thousands, and would have no doubt been a worthy adversary of Satan, he was strong enough to shut up. I’m not that strong. I am more often than not in the natural. It is in that mindset that we corrupt our relationship with God. Because we don’t allow Him to have control of us.

I’m so, so very grateful that Kaitlin is safe and is the momma of three beautiful little girls and can continue raising them. And I’m grateful that through her safety, I learned many lessons from the book of Jude. Including the fact that I can rest in the knowledge that God has my world in His control.

Satan may be the little “g” god of this world. But he can only go so far as the Lord will allow! Glorrraaaaaay!

Jehovah Shalom

The Lord Is Peace

Posted in Bible Journaling, Church attendance, Life Inspiration, Praise

It’s Not about Us this Morning

A quick drawing and a quick thought this morning as I prepared my heart for church. I needed to remember, and perhaps you do as well, that God’s idea of mercy and mine are two entirely different notions. Mine has limitations, His goes higher than my mind can fathom.

As I prepare my heart for worship, Satan loves nothing better than to bring my failures into view in hopes that rather than glorifying God, I’ll remember me. But the fact of the matter God has thrown them as far as the east is from the west.

Now let’s go to church and praise Him for it.

Posted in Church attendance, Leadership, Life Inspiration, Praise

Another Sunday in the Books

Another Sunday in the books. And what will be done for the cause of Christ? My heart is burdened for the state of the churches of America. Few and far between do you see the fires of revival in the house of God. Churches linger somewhere between social clubs and legalistic mindsets that, though they preach grace alone for salvation, works is mingled in in the form of man’s opinions of acceptable church behaviors. I’m bordering on meddling this morning and I really don’t want to go there. I just want to experience Jesus this morning for myself and others. I want to feel the Holy Spirit stir the congregations of God to the point of Amen Hallelujah! And a lined altar of worshipers.

In 1 Kings, Chapter 8, when Solomon had finished the temple and stood before the people dedicating it to the Lord, he had the attitude that should be the attitude of the churches of America. We are free. Although the world around us is in captivity, and there is trouble in abundance; through the grace of Jesus Christ we are free indeed. We’ve lived in the land of Egypt where sin held us captive and there was no hope until we made Jesus our Savior. Why would we not stand, shout and rejoice in Him this morning. Another Sunday in the books and what will our story tell?

1 Kings 8:54-60

Hands of Praise

54 And it was so, that when Solomon had made an end of praying all this prayer and supplication unto the Lord, he arose from before the altar of the Lord, from kneeling on his knees with his hands spread up to heaven.

The altar for me is often a place of repentance, and it should be, but it should be a place of praise and gratitude. When Solomon stood up with the where the Spirit of the Lord had been on him like a thick cloud, he went from his knees, a place of humbleness to the position of praise and rejoicing for what the Lord has done.

Throughout the service today our hands should be raised in praise that we are free to hear the word of God and speak His name without fear of persecution and arrest that so many others around the world are facing. Solomon’s father David had been a man of war. How many of our family and friends from ages past fought for the right we have today.

Voices of Praise

55 And he stood, and blessed all the congregation of Israel with a loud voice, saying,

56 Blessed be the Lord, that hath given rest unto his people Israel, according to all that he promised: there hath not failed one word of all his good promise, which he promised by the hand of Moses his servant.

More importantly, not one word failed that was spoken by the Lord Jesus Christ! How worthy is He to be praised this morning. When the word of God is preached there should be shouts of glory! Yes in an order that allows the word to be preached without distraction, but if the Spirit is moving, the unsaved need to hear that when the word of God moves a child of God, He is worthy to be praised! Quench not the Spirit the word says!

A Cause for Praise

57 The Lord our God be with us, as he was with our fathers: let him not leave us, nor forsake us:

58 That he may incline our hearts unto him, to walk in all his ways, and to keep his commandments, and his statutes, and his judgments, which he commanded our fathers.

59 And let these my words, wherewith I have made supplication before the Lord, be nigh unto the Lord our God day and night, that he maintain the cause of his servant, and the cause of his people Israel at all times, as the matter shall require:

60 That all the people of the earth may know that the Lord is God, and that there is none else.

There is no other God besides the Lord Jesus Christ. We serve the One and Only! Glory to God is that not reason enough? But couple that with the fact that we not only serve the One and Only, we are privileged to carry Him with us and have a relationship of Friend and Father that no other religion is privileged to have. The Creator of the universe is in our presence, a joy far greater than earthly royalty, and we are the honored guests.

I have to get ready for church else I’ll be late. But please, praise Him today like you’re in the greatest concert of your life. Because His word should be a such a song in your heart that you’re bubbling over today!

Posted in Christian Service, Life Inspiration, Praise

I don’t want to sit in the Pharisees Pew

Luke 19:37-40

And when he was come nigh, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen; Saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest.  And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples. And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.

Have you ever been at the foot of a mountain top experience? You feel in your soul that God is about to doing something amazing! You can see in the distance a plan that God has unfolding and something inside your soul begins to stir and the excitement builds until you just can’t keep quiet. You’ve got to tell someone; you’ve got to share the good news!

That’s a place that I feel that many Christians are at, but there’s just one problem: Religion. It always has a way of working its way into the ministry, because it looks like it belongs there. It’s pretty, and dignified and never makes anyone uncomfortable. People sit in their seats with their hands firmly clutching the bible or a hymnal or a child, anything that will keep emotion from taking over, else they’ll have their hands in the air like they just don’t care, and we can’t have that!

That is far too close to the Pharisee’s pew for me.

In Luke 19 Jesus is making His entry into Jerusalem, not only the main disciples are excited, but there’s a crowd of other believers who are making noise and glorifying God for the great and mighty things He has done. They’re acknowledging His deity, His control of situations in their life, and they don’t care if He’s on a lowly donkey; as a matter of fact that probably made Him more relatable to them. He didn’t arrive in a chariot, because He was the God of the common man. He put Himself in a position of relativity. They were excited that God was with them.

Although not everyone was happy. There was a religious crowd that didn’t like the noise. So they complained… to God.

Oh. My. Stars. That cracked me up. They went to God and ask Him to shush the crowd. Essentially asking God to shut up the gratitude.

It made me laugh and then it made me sick. Because I see people who are sitting at the foot of that mountain top experience of a service that leaves you excited and ready to go into all the world and share the good news but religion comes in. But, since it’s already had God’s answer, religion goes to the people and tells them to shush. They’re noise will disrupt the service and somebody might look at them. And they’re more than happy to oblige.

So… what’s the worst that could happen? Somebody else might get excited?

Jesus told the religious crowd that if the people would hold their peace, the stones would cry out. What might that sound like I wonder?

There’s a lot of things that happen around stones in the Bible and the Pharisees knew it. Jesus may have been reminding them of some of those events. What if the stones on location began to cry out about the things they’d seen? Like the delivery of Israel out of Egypt and the twelve stones that were laid in remembrance of that event. What would those stones say… would they tell of the rejoicing and the weeping as the children were lead toward the Promised Land? What would the stone say that Jacob used for a pillow the night that God changed his name to Israel. When that stone watched Jacob wrestle and get his thigh knocked out of kilter. What about the stones that were about to be hurled at the woman caught in adultery and Jesus stepped in and saved her life, just like He saved ours. What would those stones say?

Can you see why I don’t want to sit on the Pharisee’s pew? I don’t want those stones to weep because I fail to praise God Who is worthy of a loud house.

There was one more stone that the Pharisees knew nothing about. But Jesus did. It was one that would shortly to come to pass, and would be rolled away to find an empty grave and risen Lord so that I, and you, could have eternal life and a relationship with the Lord. He would forever be “God with us.” What would that stone say? The stone that witnessed it all!

We don’t have a stone to tell us, but we have the Word of God and it stirs my souls this morning and I can assure you that my hands may be on the key board but they will be praising God in the air here shortly. He is the Rock! And there will come a day when every person of creation will hear the Rock cry out. Be ready, and be loud!

Posted in Bible Journaling, Christian Service, Eternity, Evangelism, Life Inspiration, Praise

What are you feasting on today?

I have the day after Thanksgiving attitude of gratitude. A gift from the Lord this cold blustery morning. I received it from reading a book recommended by a friend, which allowed me to delve into the deeps of scripture. What joy comes from reading His word! It was if I was sitting at a Thanksgiving buffet with every delectable food of my favorite persuasion crossing my tongue. I kid you not, the Word was just that sweet to me today. It brought to mind the joy that I received over the past couple of days while baking and preparing food for our family’sThanksgiving dinner. I thought about those who would enjoy the food and the time of fellowship we’d have, much like I receive when sharing the gospel.

A student from Marietta Bible College had messaged me in the midst of our feast yesterday to ask for prayer so that God would use her in a mighty way to minister to family she was spending the holiday with. She later informed me that she had the glorious honor and privilege of leading two new souls to Christ! Oh what a Thanksgiving moment. She had given them a “taste” of her God and they partook of her feast!

Shouldn’t that be how we treat our responsibility of sharing the gospel. It tastes sooooooo good. Why would we not share it.

Put on your praise today!  In the book of Isaiah he was having one of those crazy praise days in chapter 61.

No meal is complete without a little oil!

As children of God we have the anointing upon us to grease the way for the gospel to be accepted.

Isaiah 61:1-3

(1)The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;

When my friend messaged me yesterday she did so because she knew the power of prayer to make the way where Satan would be striving hard to stop it. I see heartache in every direction this time of year. People are hurting, they’ve family estranged, they’ve lost someone to death, relationships are torn, families have problems and we have the sweetest gift to give anyone of them. It may not make the problem go away, but it will give the oil in their life that will ease them through the troubled times.

Every meal needs comfort food

(2) To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;

Most of us have those favorite foods that bring into mind a sweet memory or an easier time of life. It may just look like food to some but to us it’s a sweet piece of comfort. For me that’s pie! I had a sliver of comfort for breakfast this morning in the form of Cinnamon Apple pie and a cup of coffee. And as much as I enjoyed it, it didn’t bring me a smidgeon of the comfort that I found in God’s word, which lead me to a reason to share this thought. We need to be as excited about sharing the comfort we find in God’s word as we are with sharing our favorite foods. In these troubling times people need to see the comfort we find in our relationship with Christ.

Everyone’s burned something!

(3)To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.

I didn’t burn any of the Thanksgiving treats I baked this year, but something from a previous baking had dropped into the bottom of the oven and was charred into a piece of coal while my scalloped potatoes were baking. My husband was panicked that I was trying to burn the house down (ever the fireman that he is.) I assured him it was the old not the new, and so I removed the old and the sweet scent of the new was all that we smelled from then on.

Past hurts and trials can certainly leave us burned. But Isaiah reminds us that God gives us beauty in exchange for the ashes. But we have to give him the charred remains of our burdens and with it He promises to replace it with joy and praise.

The illustrations I shared were just a few moments in my real life that God used to remind me that I have a purpose on earth. And that’s to share not just the earthly gifts He gives, but above all the spiritual gifts so that He may be glorified and that my friends and family will be drawn in by the aroma of Christ in my life. Oh what a sweet savor and a sweet Savior!

Thank God for what you have today and share that goodness with someone else! You too have purpose.

Posted in Bible Journaling, Life Inspiration, Praise

I Don’t Want to be A Rhoda

Sometimes I feel like I need to come with the disclaimer “Salvation did not make me crazy, it made me free.”  I’m an Amenin’, hand raising, talk back to the preacher during a sermon kinda gal. I’m not disruptive or obnoxious. I’m God approved. But I’m probably not for everyone. Because if you like your services sedate to the point that an EMT would have to check pulses to make sure everyone in your church as alive, you probably don’t want me to attend, and you sure don’t want me sing or speak.

I don’t want to become a Rhoda.

13 And as Peter knocked at the door of the gate, a damsel came to hearken, named Rhoda. 14 And when she knew Peter’s voice, she opened not the gate for gladness, but ran in, and told how Peter stood before the gate. 15 And they said unto her, Thou art mad. But she constantly affirmed that it was even so. Then said they, It is his angel. 16 But Peter continued knocking: and when they had opened the door, and saw him, they were astonished.

To set the stage for this scripture, Peter had just been released from prison by God. Herod the king had put him in prison because it made the Jews happy and there Peter lay between two guards, held in place by two chains. But then an angel appears and the chains fall off and Peter is escorted from the prison and out the city gates, where even he doesn’t believe what’s happened! Peter then makes his way to the home where his friends are praying and he knocks on the door and Rhoda answers. Well, kind of answers. She hears Peter’s voice and leaves him standing outside to go tell the others, who think she’s lost her mind.

So there’s a few things here that remind me of modern day churches…

It makes the world happy when they bind the hands of Christians, and most Christians are more than happy to place their hands in the stocks because that takes the pressure off for lifting them up. If you think it’s easy to lift your hands in a dead service you’ve obviously never tried it. Satan knows that when the hands goes up, the glory comes down and so he does everything within his power to stop the praise and worship. Note that I said “within his power.” He can only go so far as we allow. There was a few things that lead up to Peter’s freedom.

The Prayer Loosed Him

The scriptures are there for us every day to read as an example of how to make it through the hardest of times. And yet in those times we pray, and pray and pray and when God’s ready to do something we won’t so much as open the door. We hear Him speak, but we run the other way.

I’m preaching to myself now, please stand by.

Rhoda heard Peter’s voice, and rather than opening the door and letting the proof stand before her, she ran to tell her friends without the evidence God had sent. That’s almost too “preachy” for me to understand, but let me tell you what the Spirit of God is telling me. If Rhoda had believed in what was behind door number 1, the only one that God wants us to open, there would have been no room for doubt. He speaks, we hear, we open ourselves to His leading. Or… you run the other way. And what happens when you run the other way and don’t follow through with God’s plan, the world thinks your mad.

15 And they said unto her, Thou art mad. But she constantly affirmed that it was even so. Then said they, It is his angel.

The Spirit Lead Him

But Peter kept knocking. And so does the Lord, at least for a while. Peter didn’t give up on convincing his friends that he was indeed freed and not dead. And when they finally seen him, they were shocked!

16 But Peter continued knocking: and when they had opened the door, and saw him, they were astonished.

The Outcome Stirred Them

Woah Glory, that will preach!

17 But he, beckoning unto them with the hand to hold their peace, declared unto them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he said, Go shew these things unto James, and to the brethren. And he departed, and went into another place.18 Now as soon as it was day, there was no small stir among the soldiers, what was become of Peter.

The world wanted to know, what had become of Peter? But the church didn’t. They knew that Peter had been set free by the hand of God and Peter told them to go and tell somebody what had happened.

The problem is, sometime been Peter’s release and Heaven, we’ve forgotten that the God of Peter and Rhoda, is the God of you and I. Our hands are free, Herod is dead and God wants to do something amazing! But we’re still back in the prayer closet and God is at the door waiting to be let in.

When I say that I don’t want to be a Rhoda, I’m saying this:

  • Rhoda was a believer. I believe
  • Rhoda wasn’t afraid to tell people what she heard. I’m not afraid to tell people what I’ve heard.
  • But Rhoda didn’t open the door. I often, and I mean really often, run the other way when God starts speaking. Because Satan convinces me that what’s on the other side of that door is just a figment of my imagination. God isn’t really going to do what I ask.

It’s called faith for a reason and it’s easier to talk than it is to live. God is worthy to be praised, worthy to be served and worthy to be believed. If He said it, It will come to pass. Amen and Glory!!!!!

Posted in Christian Service, Church attendance, Leadership, Life Inspiration, Uncategorized

Just Shy of What God Desires

meet shari

2 Kings 17:38-39

And the covenant that I have made with you ye shall not forget; neither shall ye fear other gods. But the LORD your God ye shall fear; and he shall deliver you out of the hand of all your enemies.

It’s the early morning hours of the 2nd day of camp and all my campers are fast asleep in their beds and I’m alone in the lobby with nothing but the sound of the air conditioner kicking in and out and an occasional ba-ding from my computer from a missed command on the keyboard. I’ve read a few chapters in 2 Kings and again and again I read words like “and he did evil in the sight of the LORD.” Again and again God’s people suffer, and then they’d get a king who would semi live right but he would usually fail to take away the high places.

We’re always just shy of what God desires. And generation after generation we continue to pass that character trait along because very few, if any are sold out to God. And so this weekend we teach the byproduct of flawed thinking. American youth.

We’re just a little bit captive but we’re a lot creative about it. The high places for which the children of God worshipped idols were literally “high” places. Pieces of ground that were elevated with stone pillars, shrines or various shapes which were objects of worship. We no longer travel to higher ground to do our extra-curricular worshipping, we do that right at the house by elevating the importance of all things “not God.” God takes a close second for even the serious minded saint.

Worshipping God has been brought down to the level of common things and praise and shout worthy events like sports, music, etc. are placed upon the hill.

The word continues in the book of 2 Kings 17:40-41

 Howbeit they did not hearken, but they did after their former manner.  So these nations feared the Lord, and served their graven images, both their children, and their children’s children: as did their fathers, so do they unto this day.

Generation after generation continued in captivity because they refused to completely destroy the high places. They feared the LORD, but they served the images. Today’s church is no different. We fear God… we fear judgment, wrath, disappointment. We genuinely want to live right. Much like children we truly want to please our Father, but… we have this image to protect. The image in the high places. It’s kind of silly in perspective to the Heavenly Father, but the world says our image is important so we hold on tight and refuse to let go. The world says it’s okay to scream and holler at a ballgame or other event until you’re so hoarse you can’t speak, but Heaven forbid we lift a voice of Amen in a service. We’ll send kids to camp because it’s fun and wonderful, but we won’t send them to church on Sunday because it’s too early and it’s the world’s day off. We spend hundreds and thousands on the latest and greatest to make us happy but can’t figure out why those doggone kids won’t put up their iPhone in a service and listen to the preacher. The high places take priority.

When Satan took Jesus to the exceeding high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world saying “All these things will I give thee if thou wilt fall down and worship me.” Jesus told him to Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. And then the Devil left. ~ Matthew 4:8-9

No images. No high places. Just God. We need to stop worrying about “our image” and just worship…