Honey has been a staple in my breakfast this week at the
complimentary Holiday Inn Breakfast. Honey and butter on wheat toast just fits
the bill for my taste buds. I seldom consider it at home even though there’s a
tasty bottle of honey in the cupboard. It must have been a part of Solomon’s
regular diet too. He mentions it multiple times and uses it as an illustration
My son, eat thou honey because it is good, and the honeycomb which is
sweet to thy taste; so shall the knowledge of wisdom be unto thy soul: when
thou has found it, then there shall be reward, and thy expectation shall not be
We don’t study by accident. And blessings don’t come that
CHEW ON IT
Like the waxy comb, pondering the word of God and
considering His message in every word, jot and tittle. Every verse is like a
Nothing is so sweet is as the word of God, and it’s amazing
how a word that’s been read by millions of people was written just for you.
CHALLENGE YOURSELF WITH IT
Read it with the expectation that God going to show you something
amazing. He always does!
Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.
One of the very familiar verses often quoted from the Bible, and quite often completely out of context. I have no doubt been guilty of the same. But this morning this verse caught my attention and gave me the desire to dig a little deeper into its meaning for my own personal application.
I consider myself quite the visionary when it comes to life. I love new and exciting adventures and I’m open to the Lord’s leading down unfamiliar paths without hesitation. The problem with me is that quite often it’s a Shari vision, not a God vision. So those paths have many times lead to disaster!
The Word of God is a book like no other in the world. It’s the living, breathing, Word of God that can speak life into its reader. Another book may excite you, and inspire you, but it can’t speak life. It’s also why we shouldn’t read the Bible in a haphazard manner as to take scripture out of context or apply our own definition to it.
When Proverbs 29:18 is quoted, the word “vision” is often thought of as a prophetic vision that renders itself to personal direction. But in this context vision is “an inspired revelation of wisdom from God.” Which may be personal direction, but in its full context, which people tend to ignore, it is followed by “keeping the law.” So… when you take someone like me who is apt to be a free spirit, the law has a connotation of control. And that doesn’t fit well with my application of the freedom of vision.
I’m somewhat telling on my rebellious heart. But it’s good to be real, because it will help you and me both. Nothing is worth doing unless it is the will of God. And the will of God will never be outside the Word of God. So if we want the reality of it, we can’t just say we have a vision without searching the Word of God for the truth of His will. Woah… that’s a pretty deep thought for me.
2019 is on the horizon, and I have big plans, as always. But are they God’s? Good question.
Three points for me to ponder, and perhaps you as well, from Proverbs 29:18
Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.
A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels:
I received a call from my good friend Dewey last week, who asked if I minded some counsel. The Lord knew I was in need of it, and He even sent the messenger, so who am I to say no. And so I listened. But I’m not always that wise. Some of my greatest failures in life have been not seeking or heeding the counsel of others. It’s not that I feel I know best. It’s usually that I just don’t know and I’m too excited to slow down.
But not today. Today I’ve taken it slower and asked God for some insight into the vision He has given me for 2019. The year of our Lord 2018 has been quite difficult. For more than the obvious health reasons. I had an appointment with my cardiologist today and was discussing the frequent, steady chest pains that cause me concern. After listening to me, and running the appropriate tests, it was discovered that I’m under too much stress. Shocker! 2018 has been filled with stress, and I need a reprieve in the coming year. That will require some changes in the vision of The Jesus Chick Ministries.
First… I need to treat it like a ministry. Not a hobby.
Godly Instruction leads to Construction
Council can often be constructive criticism, and that’s okay with me too. So long as it leads to construction and things get built rather than being torn down. The problem with my ministry is I’ve been building it alone, and as God told Adam, it’s not good for man to be alone, or woman as the case may be. I’ve partnered with many others in their ministry work, but I’ve soloed my own, missing the counsel of Christ where He told the disciples to go two by two.
So I need to build my ministry so that it’s more productive. I need to expand my ministry reach, and believe God that my ministry work will be rewarded with financial provision; which has been most of the stress of 2018. I need focus. I need counsel. It’s why I appreciate ministry friends like Dewey who love me and feel comfortable to follow the leading of the Lord to say things like, “slow down.” Or encourage me to seek a 501c3 which would make the Jesus Chick a bonified ministry for contributors and provide me with counsel through a board of directors.
Vision is God’s Provision for the Journey
And so I search His word for direction.
In the way of righteousness is life; and in the pathway thereof there is no death.
There is but one job one pathway for me, and the way of righteousness is through Jesus Christ alone who will be my vision. There is a song written by Ian Lynn entitled “Be Thou My Vision.” It’s words stir my soul today.
Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art Thou my best Thought, by day or by night Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light
Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord Thou my great Father, I Thy true son Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one
Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise Thou mine Inheritance, now and always Thou and Thou only, first in my heart High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art
High King of Heaven, my victory won May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heav’n’s Sun Heart of my own heart, whate’er befall Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all
And so that’s my prayer today. “Be Thou my Vison Lord.” I seek not riches or man’s praise, I seek a pathway that will allow me to share Christ through the talents that God has given me.
I covet your prayers and would love the privilege of praying for you.
Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established.
The depth of the word of God blows my mind away sometimes. He desires so much for us to know and understand Him and yet it’s overwhelming when I even delve into one verse alone. What must it have been like to have been Adam and Eve who were created in the image of God and walked with God face to face? They did not have the internet to search out wisdom, nor did they need it. They walked with Wisdom. It causes me wonder how directionally challenged I am in life because I depend upon man made gimmicks and gadgets to study, when, if I just walked a little closer to God the well would be far deeper.
After multiple attempts and failures to define who “The Jesus Chick” is I determined to leave that to God. Wouldn’t that have been a novel idea from the beginning? So over the weekend when the word “focus” kept being implanted into my brain it was if God was taking my sweet little cheeks into His hands and drawing my eyes toward Him saying … “focus on Me, Shari… not the world. It has nothing for you. You’re not of the world.”
This weekend I began a new process of communication with God called “Two way journaling” and those conversations have been pretty intense. But always with the word “focus” coming into my mind.
It’s hard to focus when the world is calling. It takes an intentional mindset of shutting it out and the use of a soothing YouTube video of meditation music didn’t hurt. Two days of hearing that word… and today was the third. So I took the verse Proverbs 16:3 and dissected it using the Strong’s Concordance and a Matthew Henry Commentary for clarification of its meaning. Just a dozen words, but they lead me to focus on the journey of Shari. Insert your name instead of mine and see if they lead you to a journey of [___________].
When I first looked at the word commit in the Strong’s concordance it was defined as “roll.” To which my first, second and third thoughts were, “that ain’t right, this concordance is defining the wrong word, how would commit = roll?” And of course, I was wrong. After following that word through in the Matthew Henry Commentary I discovered that commit meant “to roll our burdens”, the great concerns of our soul upon the Lord and depend upon Him rather than self.
My word “focus” made much more sense in that context. The works of life that I have desired to do have not been rolled upon the Lord, but rather carried upon my shoulders, taking my focus off of the Lord. It turns out when you’re walking bent over from being worn out… it’s hard to look up to Jesus.
Another great discovery I made was that the word “works” in the Strong’s concordance is translated to “art” in some of its contexts. My art is a gift I’ve struggled with understanding God’s purpose in since salvation. So to see it used in this manner brought joy and hope to my soul. Although I thought that I had committed my art “unto the Lord, I really committed it to the purpose of others. I refused to see the purpose God had in it for me as an income or career because art is subjective and a matter of preference. Self-appointed critics or a lack of appreciation of my time invested can suck the enjoyment out of a piece of work pretty quickly. So rather than listening to the Lord, I listened to self… which always gets me into trouble.
That’s where the creativity begins, but certainly not where it ends. In my mind there is a contrivance, a fabrication that begins there but ends with the hands of creativity. Strong’s defined it as a “cunning work,” or a work with “purpose.” My hearts to desire is to have purpose in the Lord.
Not only is that the conclusion of the verse, but the end product to the creative works placed in the Lord’s hands. Defined as “to stand” as a pillar would stand. Those things that will stand and make an eternal difference. How can art do that? It will for certain burn up in the end times. But not if it is established in the heart of man and inspires others to seek Christ. That is my “FOCUS.”
I have watched it play out so many times it’s ridiculous. And every time I’m shocked that people had the audacity to say such things as my stomach twists and turns for the person to which they said it to; because usually it’s someone who will take the cut and go on in life because “that’s what people do.” It happened on the Facebook page of a young friend not so long ago when a “so called” professional tried to smash her dreams by insinuating she wasn’t qualified for a job she was enquiring about. My blood went to the boiling point in seconds. I wanted to lash out and give that woman a piece of my mind, but I knew I didn’t have much to spare. My solution was to private message my young friend and tell her that the professional which offered her advice not to seek the “highly qualified” position was an idiot and I encouraged her to chase her dream. For the record, she was qualified for the position because it was a position that she could apply for and then seek the training, I wasn’t adding to a pipe dream, she was qualified. There are just as many other illustrations about every subject matter out there where people will comment hurtful, maliciously under toned comments that tear at the fabric of people and feel that they are entitled to do so in the name of “friendship.”
If I post on a public website I can expect that people who thrive on making others feel less, wrong, unimportant etc. will comment. If you post it they will come. But on my social media page, where I am queen of that domain, I will not cut your head off, but I’ll cut your access and be no worse for the wear because it’s biblical.
I don’t know what the “social media” site was in Solomon’s day, but he had a handle on it when he wrote Proverbs 27:6 – Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.
For some reason today I felt compelled to post on the need to self-assess your self-access. Who has access to you and how do you feel when you’ve come into contact with them? Because she’s the ultimate bestie, I’ll use my friend Gloria as an illustration. When Gloria and I converse I always leave the conversation feeling better than before, she’s an encourager. Apostle Paul’s advice to the Thessalonians in 1 Thessalonians 5:11 – was “Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.”
So as you self-assess or self-access ask yourself these questions:
Have you been comforted or discomfited? When someone was discomfited in the Bible they lost the battle after being attacked and were often times caught off guard. An attack of a ne’re-do-well often comes without warning. You posted something innocent enough and before you know it the conversation turned into a judgmental rant and stirred up all kinds of feelings in you and none of them were good. Pray and delete.
Have you been exhorted or exiled? Are your friends invested in what you’re interested in or are your conversations one sided… and it’s their side? A real friend may not love all the things you love, but they love that you love it, or at least tolerate you while you talk about it. I won’t say you should delete this person, but I certainly wouldn’t recommend you investing in a one sided conversation. I would however recommend you search out Facebook friends who have a like passion. They’ll love listening to you and it may just open up doors to wonderful honest friendships that you never expected.
I have 1300 or so friends on Facebook and truthfully only interact with about 10%. It’s those 10% who have invested in me and I in them. They encourage me for the battles I face in life. The Lord told Moses in Deuteronomy 3:28 to “…charge Joshua, and encourage him, and strengthen him: for he shall go over before this people, and he shall cause them to inherit the land which thou shalt see.”
If Moses had a Facebook account he would have had a few million friends, but not all those were encouragers. When they originally set off on the journey it was the bad advice of a few of his social media buddies that had them wandering around 40 years. (Numbers 13:32) But Joshua was an encourager and in return God made sure he was encouraged too.
We don’t have 40 years to wander. Invest wisely in your time on social media and make sure your friends encourage you to inherit the land, not buy the farm.
Proverbs 27:17 – Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.
Life… every time I think I have a handle on it, God speaks to me as if to say “Really?”
Twice this morning God brought to my thoughts Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.
Trust… I think I trust Him, but then I’m not sure if I even get it. If I “trust” Him, why am I always trying to fix life? Why can’t I just wait for Him to open doors instead of picking the lock? Seriously? That’s a good thought. It’s just a shame I don’t take my own advice. I’m still blaming Eve. If she had trusted God and not eaten of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, my life would be so less complicated. Just think about it… not having to live life by trial and error. That goofy fruit really messed things up, rather than having the mind of God, I now have the mind of me… that’s seldom good.
Lean…What must it have been like to literally lean into the bosom of God? I think of the Apostle John who said in John 13:23“Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved.” That always cracks me up! I read it as if he says… “the one whom Jesus loved… He liked the others. But I was His favorite.” But how wonderful would it have been to have sat with Jesus face to face and had a conversation where the Lord’s advice wasn’t a guessing game as I so often feel it is now. I know… the Holy Spirit is within me, and if I was really the Jesus Chick I’d know what He wanted me to do. Well you’re right and I do know what He wants me to do, He wants me to trust and lean but not upon my understanding, upon His. It’s the human perception that causes the error… that doggone smarty tree again. The one of good and evil.
Hindsight is always 20/20. God wasn’t trying to keep Adam and Eve from enjoying life; He was sparing them the full weight of reality. Reality bites. Reality is where lust replaces satisfaction. What God had for Adam and Eve was perfect and what Satan introduced them to was doubt. Genesis 3:1b “Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?”
That same lingering doubt is in my mind today… Is that really what God wants me to do? Its then that I must
Acknowledge… Just admit that you can’t go it alone. Adam and Eve were not created to walk in the garden alone, they were created to walk in fellowship with God. He had their path laid out for them until Satan entered the scene and created paths, in the plural sense. God’s way was and still is “one way.” John 14:6 – Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
In order to get back into fellowship with Him, He created that path home which I took in 1996 when I acknowledged that I couldn’t go it alone and that I needed Jesus in my life. I still have self-will, which is what gets me into trouble and causes confusion. Life isn’t a guessing game when it comes to decision making. We don’t have Jesus face to face, but we do have Him heart to heart. If I’m not hearing the answer to the question I’m asking, then my heart is not in tune to God’s heart and I need to tune it up through the Word of God and prayer.