Tag Archives: provision

Do You See it?

I’m not sure who it was, but from a testimony in the back of our church during Sunday worship I heard, “See the Need.” It was like the Lord put a post it note up on the bulletin board of my mind and said, remember why you’re here.

Lord: Get my Attention

It’s so easy to get caught up in the day to day of life and forget the purpose of Christianity. Above all it’s to see souls saved, but Christ didn’t only preach, he encouraged and taught the disciples how to take care of the people left in their charge. The world has been left in our charge with a service we’re to provide, can you see the need? We can’t fix the world, but we can one by one, see a need and fulfill it.

A burden on my heart has been the waste in my life.

  • How much food do I throw out in the course of a week that someone, living alone would appreciate?
  • How many clothes do I have that I never wear that someone could use? Not taken to a thrift store (which is fine) but hand delivered to someone so that they could know I care.
  • How many times have I wasted time when I could have called on someone that was sick, provided food or ran an errand?
  • How many times has God laid the prison ministry on my heart and I’ve failed to follow it through?

Matthew 25:35-40 lays it out plain and simple:

For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?  Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

Lord help me to see the need.

Lord: Give me an Action

I am the queen of good intentions but if I don’t make a plan, it goes in the pile of other unfinished projects. Now that God has my attention, I need to take action. I need to make a list of the needs I see.

  • MHHS Nursing home visitation
  • CRJ Prison ministry evangelization
  • Elderly alone that could use encouragement
  • Clothes that need given away.

These are needs very much in my wheelhouse of completion. I’ve made my list now to get it done. Who or what is on your list?

Lord: Give me Ability

Working in the ministry takes stamina, finances and opportunity. All of which is the Lord’s will and supply and in the discipline of my living. There are things I can do better, rest more, spend less and look for or make opportunity. And by all means prayer should be in every step of the path. Today will be Nursing home visitation, guitar class, and bible journaling. These are God’s plans for me. You’ll have to decide your own. But I can almost guarantee God has laid a burden on your heart already and you’ve seen the need. Let’s get busy!

Finding the “O” in Overwhelmed

finding the O

It’s not every day that I feel overwhelmed, else my bones would not survive! It’s amazing how the pressures of life can have a physical toll on our bodies. I’m sure the medical professionals would tell us that it was so, but we don’t have to go see a doctor to know that it is; the Bible tells us it is when David said in Psalm 22:14 ~ I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels.

There are many other mentions of the aches of his bones caused by the pressures within and without. Times when David was so overwhelmed, far greater than anything we’ve likely experienced and before us as an example that we’ll make it! Psalm 77 is one such Psalm that commentary is unclear if this was a personal heartache or a national heartache, but I’m pretty sure we too have both concerns, at least I do. Are you feeling overwhelmed today? Read on!

77:1-6

I cried unto God with my voice, even unto God with my voice; and he gave ear unto me. In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord: my sore ran in the night, and ceased not: my soul refused to be comforted. I remembered God, and was troubled: I complained, and my spirit was overwhelmed. Selah. Thou holdest mine eyes waking: I am so troubled that I cannot speak. I have considered the days of old, the years of ancient times. I call to remembrance my song in the night: I commune with mine own heart: and my spirit made diligent search.

It’s Okay to Complain

David said I cried to my God with my voice. Complaining to God isn’t for the purpose of alerting Him we have an issue… He already knows. It’s for the purpose of letting our troubles know… I told God on you! As a kid I was not a tattletale, I hated to see someone get into trouble! But when it comes to Satan and his merry minions who wreak havoc in my life continually I do not mind taking my plight to God. It encourages my soul to know that my worries and heartache are in much more capable hands than mine. God wants to hear from His children, He wants to know it is He Whom we depend upon and not ourselves, but don’t stay in a state of complaint. David couldn’t sleep or speak, his heart was consumed with concern. I’ve seen time and time again where people reject the peace of God and continue wallowing in grief and concern over the issue. I’ve done it!

It’s Opportunity to Commune

Talking to God is an opportunity to encourage your soul and reap the peace that He offers. David communed with his own heart and it is there that he felt overwhelmed. Listen to the questions he was asking… Verse 7-9

Will the Lord cast off for ever? and will he be favourable no more? Is his mercy clean gone for ever? doth his promise fail for evermore?Hath God forgotten to be gracious? hath he in anger shut up his tender mercies? Selah.

David had all but given up when communing with himself! Make sure when you’re praying you’re not just praying to hear yourself complain. I’ve done it. I just wanted to whine! And all I managed to do was heap more despair in my soul. It is God we should be hearing from, not our own heart! David finally realized this when he said in verse 10 “And I said, This is my infirmity: but I will remember the years of the right hand of the most High.”

He essentially said, “I’m making this my problem. And it’s not.” He started reminiscing on what the Most High God had brought him through.

It’s the “O God” of Comfort

Vs. 11-20

 I will remember the works of the Lord: surely I will remember thy wonders of old. I will meditate also of all thy work, and talk of thy doings.  Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary: who is so great a God as our God? Thou art the God that doest wonders: thou hast declared thy strength among the people. Thou hast with thine arm redeemed thy people, the sons of Jacob and Joseph. Selah. The waters saw thee, O God, the waters saw thee; they were afraid: the depths also were troubled. The clouds poured out water: the skies sent out a sound: thine arrows also went abroad. The voice of thy thunder was in the heaven: the lightnings lightened the world: the earth trembled and shook. Thy way is in the sea, and thy path in the great waters, and thy footsteps are not known. Thou leddest thy people like a flock by the hand of Moses and Aaron.

When David started thinking back on what God had not only brought him through, but the people of his Nation, it was then he got to the “O God” of comfort. Who is so great a God as our God? The God that doest wonders! Our redeemer, the wind and waves obey You, O God!

Are you feeling overwhelmed? Go ahead and complain! It’s okay. But don’t stay there long. Start thinking back about what God has brought you through and it won’t be long until you too will be saying “O God that doest wonders! You got this!” I wrote myself happy today. God is so faithful…

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He knows my Limitations

God's Got This

Matthew 6:24

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

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

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

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

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

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

Verses 33-34

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

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

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

The wise Solomon said in Ecclesiastes 7:11-13

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

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

God’s got this…

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What can God do with Nothing?

chick sign

It’s a question I asked myself all the time, for I’m always wanting to contribute something; I’m never satisfied with being a spectator. I may not be athletic in the sense that this world sees athleticism, but… from the viewpoint of Heaven and the game of life it’s my desire to be on the playing field every quarter of every hour. And when trophies are handed out at the final banquet I want my share, so that I may have the privilege of laying them down at the feet of Christ. I want to hear “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” So this morning I ponder that word nothing…

I fear nothing. Sound arrogant? It’s far from arrogance when I tell you that I fear having nothing. I like stuff. God tells us to be fearful for nothing in Matthew 6:31-33 when He says: “Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”  But in my weak human state I still fear having nothing. Every time I think that I have “unemployed” out of my vocabulary I once again hear myself stutter, if not deny that I am employed by God when asked “Where do you work?” Or “Are you still looking for a job.” And I want to shout at the rooftops, I have a job people! I’m just obviously not very good at portraying that.

Matthew 6 is played out in my life every day. I have stuff. If I were an Oreo I’d be a double stuffed one I have so much stuff! And yet I am ashamed to say, I fear “nothing.”

So I ponder this word this morning…

Nothing. A few facts, and just a few (for there are many) that I discovered about what God can do with nothing.

He can do something.

The God of Last Resort

For the woman with the issue of blood in Mark 5:26 who had suffered many things of many physicians, and had spent all that she had, and was nothing bettered, but rather grew worse, God was her last resort but the final answer, and she was healed. I think nothing is needful before God will work oftentimes. As if to say “go ahead and try the world, see what they can do, and then when you return to me we’ll get this mess straightened out. God works best when there’s nothing to work with.

The God of Left Overs

Matthew 15:32

Then Jesus called his disciples unto him, and said, I have compassion on the multitude, because they continue with me now three days, and have nothing to eat: and I will not send them away fasting, lest they faint in the way.

In the mountains above Galilee the people had brought the lame, blind and dumb, the worst of the worst and Jesus had healed them. They were amazed! He’d restored their feeble bodies and for three days they’d sat in awe of Him having nothing to eat. Jesus had compassion on them and desired to feed the hungry masses but all that was there was a few leftovers, seven loaves of bread a few little fishes. The people had nothing, and the disciples had almost nothing in comparison to the 4,000 men and likely as many or more women and children. And yet when God blessed those left overs, they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the broken meat that was left seven baskets full.

The crowd didn’t even pay a cover charge! They came as broken, empty vessels but after being in His presence and at His mercy they left full. There was still left overs. Little is much when God is in it!

The God of the Last Minute

1 Corinthians 4:5

Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.

In the darkest hours of my life, when I thought there was no hope at all I stood amazed every time that God was waiting to do something.  But He didn’t do anything before His time. When I doubted God about being the Jesus Chick, He waited until every job available in my community had been exhausted and I had nothing, so that He could be my something. As I finished today’s blog, and point by point came to fruition I stood amazed (not because I am anything) but because God used nothing and made something. He answered me again… Shari this is who you are. You’re my messenger. Judge nothing before it’s time.

  • The woman was healed
  • The multitude was filled
  • Shari was sealed

God always does something.

Job 26:7

He stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing.

If God can hang an entire universe in the vastness of space upon nothing what is it for Him to hang a shingle outside my door that says “The Jesus Chick.

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Rededication – Getting back to God’s Plan

chick bethelIf I asked you this morning how your relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ is, what would be your answer? It’s not a comfortable question, because if we’re truthful, none of us are walking as close to the Lord as we should be. At the end of Wednesday night teen class last night all the teens had cleared out with the exception of a few girls who wanted to talk (such an honor!). One of those young ladies had made the decision to rededicate her life to Christ and her friend encouraged the way.   She wanted to put a marker down that she could look back at and say “This is the day I moved closer to Christ.” While the renewal of our mind should be an everyday occurance because of the garbage that travels through it in the course of a day, rededication is a more serious event. I think of it much like the time in Jacob’s life when he left home. In my mind’e eye I always picture him as a young man, but in truth he was past the age of retirement when he left his parents home heading toward Haran (Genesis 28:10). That puts a some what different perspective on his behavior and a certain need for a getting his heart right with God.

He’d lied to his father, deceived his brother, and his mommy made him run away at 70 years old… I think it was time. His first night on his own wasn’t in an apartment in the city it was on a hillside with a pile of rocks for his pillow and there he found himself with night dreams, visions and a lot of time on his hands. It’s those harsh nights that get me too. When your mind won’t stop reeling of the things in life that are not as they should be and darkness has a tendency to bring things to light… Like the need for a right heart with God.

Jacob’s dream: (Genesis 28:12-15)

And he dreamed, and behold a ladder set up on the earth, and the top of it reached to heaven: and behold the angels of God ascending and descending on it. And, behold, the Lord stood above it, and said, I am the Lord God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac: the land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed; And thy seed shall be as the dust of the earth, and thou shalt spread abroad to the west, and to the east, and to the north, and to the south: and in thee and in thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed. And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.

16 And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not.

For me that was the equivalency of arriving at church, and at the end of service saying, “Wow! I had no idea God hung out here.” I’m pretty sure there are some folks who still don’t know… but I digress. God had met Jacob there and he didn’t know until he awoke from his sleep. That’s the time of rededication! When you wake up and realize that God is trying to move in your life and you’ve been so far from God’s mindset that you had no idea. When He created us, He spoke a plan but then we get off track. As a child of God we all want it… you know… God to do something great in our lives, but we start going through religious motions. We can do it in our sleep. Don’t cuss, don’t chew, don’t date the guys who do (especially if you’re married), go to church, treat people right and so on and so forth. And then church becomes less of a priority, but we still treat people right! Jacob didn’t even do that. He likely felt as low as a snails belly! He knew he’d messed up.

God wanted to do great things in his life, but first Jacob was going to have to come to terms with God, on God’s terms.

Vs. 17-22

And he was afraid, and said, How dreadful is this place! this is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven. And Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone that he had put for his pillows, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon the top of it. And he called the name of that place Bethel: but the name of that city was called Luz at the first. And Jacob vowed a vow, saying, If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, So that I come again to my father’s house in peace; then shall the Lord be my God: And this stone, which I have set for a pillar, shall be God’s house: and of all that thou shalt give me I will surely give the tenth unto thee.

Jacob put that stone down as marker in Bethel (which means house of God) as a reminder that he and God and renewed their relationship in that place. Do you have to be in church? No, but it sure helps set the tone! My young friend had come to church last night with the need to lay a marker down. I can’t wait to see what God does with her life! She’s entering her first year in high school and was ecstatic that a church across the street from her high school was opened once a week by the senior class for a prayer lunch. A group of young people returning back to the place God began dwelling many years ago… What do you think might happen there? Revival!!!!! I hope.

Let’s all go to the Rock! Age doesn’t matter, but God needs us to get back to the plan.

How to be Fashionably Late

chick time

I have a friend or two and a relative or two who are most usually late for meetings and events. It’s not that they’re irresponsible or forgetful, they are some of the most responsible and intellectual people I know… it’s just that their prep time is longer than usual. Perhaps they need prompters to help them along. I’m about to take Mark 2 in places it may have never gone before, and for some of my Bible Scholar friends, they may prefer not to travel this road with me at all. But it’s on my mind today.

I love it when a preacher speculates about the story around the story; adlibbing conversations that may or may not, most likely did not, occur around a biblical event. My nephew Robert preached on Mark 2 last night at his home church, and he just wowed his ol’ Aunt Shari at what an amazing work God is doing in his life. Isn’t that the kind of work that God always does? Amazing!

This morning that scripture is still heavy on my heart, but not in the context that Robert preached it… I’m thinking about the story of the four men who carried their friend to church from an entirely different perspective.

Fashionably Loud

Mark 2:1-3

And again he entered into Capernaum after some days; and it was noised that he was in the house. And straightway many were gathered together, insomuch that there was no room to receive them, no, not so much as about the door: and he preached the word unto them. And they come unto him, bringing one sick of the palsy, which was borne of four.

What a church service! Loud, crowded and the roof blown off. That’s just how I like mine.

Why is it that ¾ (or greater) of the churches in America feel the need to sit and soak… or sulk. They’re more resemble a funeral than praise and worship. What part of “Worship” hour did you not understand when you arrived at church. I’d rather see someone late and loud, than on time and dead. I love seeing people so desperate to see God move that they’re willing to take extreme measures to make it happen. So they got there late… I’m sure it was not an easy task for the four of them to carry this guy from his home. Nor is it always easy for that Momma or Daddy to get their brood bundled up and on their way. When they finally got there they were likely hot and tired, not willing to wait any longer. They were late enough! There’s got to be another way in… “Hey nobody’s using the roof!”

Fashionably Lead

Mark 2:4-5

And when they could not come nigh unto him for the press, they uncovered the roof where he was: and when they had broken it up, they let down the bed wherein the sick of the palsy lay. When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.

The man sick of the palsy could not get himself to Jesus, so his 4 friends not only lead the way up they broke it up. They were desperate to get to him to the Lord and they didn’t care how big of a scene it created. Sometimes it’s necessary for leadership to make a scene in order to get things stirred up and the Spirit moving. How far are you willing to go to hear the Lord say to your friend “thy sins be forgiven thee.”

Fashionably loose

Mark 2:12

And immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went forth before them all; insomuch that they were all amazed, and glorified God, saying, We never saw it on this fashion.

And thus where my thought derived from this morning. They’d never saw it in that fashion. What fashion? I expect that he not only walked… he walked with style. Possibly what they’d call a swagger. He may have even danced a jig. There’s something about a new convert that can be visibly seen, if they’re lucky it never fades. Well… I don’t want to say lucky, let’s use the word blessed! When you’ve been bound by sickness or sin either one, and you’re suddenly free of it you understand the value of being “loose.” It changes the way you walk and talk and people notice. You have the freedom to speak and act with boldness!

Are you a fashionista? Are you loud, are you a leader, are you loose? (in the godly way of course.) Let’s make some noise for Jesus today!

The Skeptical Saint

ptl chick

As a baby Christian I often stood in awe at some of the antics people played with the local church. Case in point: One evening following a potluck dinner the church members were making their way to the sanctuary from the social room. There were still a few folks clearing dishes and chatting about when a couple and their children came through the door. We greeted them with Baptist’s niceties and welcomed them in. Not long after that they began to share their story of hardship and how they were traveling through the area in need of food and gasoline to make it on to a very important destination. It’s been too long for me to remember all the details. But the details I do remember make me nauseous still today.

Victory Baptist Church is one of the most loving churches I’ve ever encountered. Immediately our guests were offered the food from our dinner, which was no small amount of some of the finest homemade foods you could lay eyes on. They were then told to fill their bellies full and when they were finished they could go to a local gas station where we would arrange for them to fill up their car on credit. They declined it all, they much preferred cash.

What?

Over my nearing twenty years of salvation I’ve seen similar events take place time and time again. It’s not long until you begin to get a skeptical heart towards people needing help. You want to help, but are they for real? I find the same truth in business. Not every “Christian” organization is on the up and up.  For some they know that it’s a tender market and not always monitored by astute financial leaders of the church. Or perhaps they truly believe in what they’re doing and unknowingly sell a church on unnecessary products or services. So I’m skeptical of people in need, businesses and non-profits who tout success and blow their own horns.

It’s also why the Pocket Testament League has been such a blessing. I was recommended by a friend to apply for an ambassador’s position, which I did, and was accepted. I read the background of the ministry which in short was began in 1893 as the vision of a teenage girl named Helen Cadbury, daughter of the president of Cadbury Chocolates. She was so excited about sharing her faith that she organized a group of girls who sewed pockets onto their dresses to carry the small New Testaments her father had provided. The girls called their group “The Pocket Testament League.” Using small membership cards, they pledged to read a portion of the Bible every day, pray, and to share their faith as God provided opportunity. That same vision still drives the ministry today. (https://www.ptl.org/about/history.php)

So what does that have to do with my story of the skeptical saint? First… Who wouldn’t trust a fella that makes Cadbury eggs? Secondly, over my almost 20 years of salvation I’ve also learned to try the spirit.

1 John 4:1

Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.

As children of God we are warned not to trust everyone, and God has instilled in us a discernment for such matters of the heart. The world would call it a “gut” feeling. Leave your gut to discern the taste of Cadbury chocolates, but when trying the spirit of a new person or organization, leave that one to God. If possible make no rash decisions, my best way of getting myself into a mess is to leap first and then start looking for a net; that’s my best described personality trait. But God said no, test the waters… there are people out there who want to take you for a ride.

The Pocket Testament League (PTL) has a Spirit of God. They’ve asked me for nothing. I’m provided the KJV Gospel of John Testaments, (other versions are available, I prefer only KJV) which also clearly outline salvation, to share with people one on one that I meet along the way or in larger quantities for speaking events. I do send them a donation each time I order because God laid it on my heart to that, and without request people have read or heard my story of the PTL and provided funds to help me out. No, that’s not a request, just a statement of truth that God is so good at not only speaking to our hearts when something is of Him, but providing for His children.

It’s a hurting world out there. People need to see generous, loving saints of God (even the crooks need Jesus). So try the spirit of those you meet, ask God if they’re for real and then love on them the best way you can regardless.

If you choose to take a part in The Pocket Testament League please provide them with my PTL Member ID#  which is 574096 when offered the opportunity. Thanks and God Bless!

From Fear to Faith with Apostle Paul

chick scaredy pants

Faith… We study it, share it, preach it and proclaim it over the hurdles we must jump, but every new predicament in life brings us back to the beginning of striving again to obtain that mustard seed of faith that will bring us through. After almost twenty years of salvation, one would think that I have would have obtained great faith… after all, I’m the Jesus Chick right? And yet it takes so little to get my knees knocking and heart trembling. But as He always does, God shows me that I’m in the good company of Apostle Paul who boldly preached in the face of death, yet he had his knee knocking moments as well. So this morning I’m looking to shore up my faith in the Word of God. If you’re needing a prop or two in your life I hope you’ll come along with me as I unpack  1 Corinthians 2:1-5

And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.

Mr. & Mrs. Smarty Pants

I am forever trying to plot out life in my own wisdom. In comparison to the wisdom of Paul I would still be in pre-school, and yet the Apostle Paul said that he was determined to know nothing but Christ. Regardless of the level of your intelligence, the letters behind your name or in front of your name, if you seek to know anything outside of the wisdom and will of God you’re in trouble. The first step to living in faith is stop thinking on your own and remember the price that God paid for you.

If God. The Creator and Knower of all designed you and your life, and then sent His Son to the cross of Calvary to pay for your life, will He not continue to care for it and put everything in your path to take you where He wants you to go. You and I are precious commodities in the Kingdom of God. We are the vessels that He pours Himself into and then places people and events in our path to bring glory to His Kingdom. Sometimes the paths are hard, but how much easier would it be if we just rode the wave rather than constantly fighting the current of the high waters about our neck. God’s got this.

Scaredy Pants

But I’m afraid! Paul was too! He said he was weak, afraid and trembling. That sounds pretty serious to me. Now granted… Paul was facing people who wanted him dead… What you and I usually face is far less, but God understands our fear. Paul, a learned scholar, didn’t rely on the wisdom that he had acquired through men, but allowed the Spirit of God to take over his faculties and bring the message to the people.

It’s hard to let loose of fear, because actually it’s the other way around, fear has a hold on us.  What bothers me this morning was lying in bed beside of me. (No, it wasn’t David) It was this ever present feeling of uncertainty. It was on my mind when I laid down and occupied my pillow throughout the night. So this morning I allowed God to lay hands on it. I don’t have that power! It is only through the Holy Spirit that I can be brave for today.

That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.

If we are to stand in faith we cannot stand in the wisdom of man, because man just doesn’t get it. Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen ~ Hebrews 11:1

IT’S THE SEASON OF VBS!

chick crayonThere is for certain a soldier within me, and if you strive to serve the Lord there is no doubt one within you too. Every day – day in and day out we’re on the battle field; however some days our weapons are crayons and glue. Those are serious tools in the ministry if you are a Sunday School Teacher. The subtle words that are uttered during a coloring session in the preschool class are the foundation for which ministry leaders are born. As we advance into early elementary we’re introduced to scissors and it is there that the Lord begins to cut a servant from the cloth of ministry. Markers are mayhem for middle-schoolers but as they create with newly discovered boldness it is also a time that they become vocally bold, for good or bad… they   want to be heard. Crayons and markers are childish tools in the hands of Junior and Senior High, or so they think until you show them that they no longer have to stay within the lines but can cast their own vision on the paper and go places they’ve never been before.

These are my thoughts as we prepare to go into Vacation Bible School at Victory Baptist Church this week. I’ve once again been on the edge of exhaustion and was about to give way to it today until these words rallied my mind. Exhaustion is a dangerous thing. It allows Satan to bully his way into your mind and get your mind off God’s intended purpose, sucking the creative fun right out of your world like a giant vacuum. Thursday of this week I was to the point of going through the motions of ministry as we so often to do because it has to get done. But Friday came and I’d had a little rest under my belt and renewed my vision as the stage was set for VBS! Suddenly my adrenalin was moving again.

The puppets were stage center. Their little lifeless bodies, or in the case of Kodijack the Bear’s big body, were propped up into position for the children to see on Sunday morning and like a kid with my first box of markers I found myself ready to make stuff happen! This is a week that we rally the troops; people who generally don’t teach, do. And kids who generally don’t come, get to and it’s an opportunity to stir hearts for Jesus and hopefully by week’s end our people will come to life like those puppets do when someone takes control.

Bring on the Holy Spirit and let’s have church! Yes I have big expectations! The battle is raging when Satan sees the church getting excited for any reason, even crayons and markers.

1 Corinthians 1:27

But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;

The world sees no power in crafts and crayons. But put it in the hands of a child and not only is their soul touched for Christ, but quite possibly the adults in their life will see Christ through the eyes of that child and have a desire to know Him as Savior.

And the weak things might just be the VBS leaders who have come home from their day job tired and exhausted and have two hours of rowdy VBS children before them and they’re not sure it’s going to end well. But it does! Because in their weakness they are made strong in the eyes of a child who may not have ever known love until a VBS worker introduced them to the love of Jesus.

Yes I have big expectations because I serve a big God, and I want the VBS workers of Victory Baptist Church, (or your church) to know that crayons and markers may be washable but the blood of Jesus is eternal and so is the difference you will make in their lives. I hope you’ll pin 1 Corinthians 1:27 on your wall this week and that you’ll act like a fool for Christ!

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God’s Means May Not Mean Money

chick trust

I heard someone say, not long after I was saved, that we live far beneath our means. And it’s true. But I fear sometimes that prosperity gospel teachers and the flesh itself convinces believers that as children of God the world is our oyster and because of that we have a right to all we want. God’s means may not mean money. By definition the word means is resources, which could be financial or assets of an entirely different kind. It could mean that we survive by the skin of our teeth for a better day in glory where His world will be our oyster.

But until that day let’s take a reality check.

Romans 8:12-17

12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.

“Brethern.” A reminder that they and we are no longer viewed by nation or blood but as children of God. Bought with a price and no longer ruled by the flesh but by the very Spirit of God, leaving us without excuse for falling to the flesh when it says “You deserve…” No, I deserve Hell. But because of the Almighty God engrafting me into His family as an adopted child of grace, I can live above my means. Because I now depend on His resources, not my own.

13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.

People who live after the flesh are the walking dead. They are not living in the newness of Christ. It’s the same people that show up to church as 11:00 sharp and leave at 12:00 dull, having received nothing from the service because they had not yielded to the Spirit. They didn’t come at 10:00 sharp for Sunday School because they get “enough” God during the worship hour. Whew! If I stepped on your toe I’m not the least bit sorry. I love ya… but I’m not sorry.

14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

Being led by the Spirit of God is tapping into those resources, those means that God grants to every believer for the asking. The resources that fill your heart with so much gladness you don’t have time to notice anything missing from your life.

15 For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.

God didn’t take us to raise because He needed someone to take care of. He took us into His family because He had that much love. He created us… “the Uncreated Creator” as my Pastor says and filled us each with resources to be a blessing to Him. How awesome is it as a parent when your child returns to do something kind for you. It’s not that we need it… but it sure feels nice, doesn’t it? When is the last time that we’ve taken the gifts and talents that God has blessed us with and returned home… not in bondage because God controls us, but because He’s our Father and we love Him like that.

16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:

If you’re a child of God, my words should have pricked your heart. It did my own.

17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

Whether or not you have a dime to your name or a matched wardrobe of Loui Vuitton it matters not. Because everything here pales in comparison to what’s there. But everything here has a purpose. Are you using it?