Tag Archives: sacrifice

God’s Not Playing Games

Holy

Happy Independence Day! In West Virginia today it’s another rainy day with yet another threat of flooding in some areas that could really use a break. Please pray as clean up and restoration continues in hundreds of homes across our State. As I sit high and dry on Mt. Zion Ridge this morning my heart breaks for those in crisis, and for a country in crisis. How I wish that God’s blessings could rain down on America but I’m too conscience of where America is at morally to believe that that is a possibility today. I am forever the cockeyed optimist who will never fail to believe that God could changes hearts in heartbeat… it just scares me as to what it might take for that to happen.

Reading in Leviticus this morning of the instructions laid out to Moses and Aaron of the Levitical law for sacrifice, God’s attention to detail was apparent and serious! Nine chapters of instruction and Aaron performs a sacrifice which was so awesome that the glory of the Lord shown in such a manner that the entire congregation shouted and fell on their face. Glory to God that must have been an awesome sight! So why is it that we find in the tenth chapter that Aaron’s two sons, Nadab and Abihu are struck dead for offering a stranger fire before the Lord? What didn’t they understand? Unfortunately the same thing America doesn’t understand when it comes to receiving the blessing and protection of a Sovereign, Holy God. God’s not playing games.

Leviticus 10:10

And that ye may put difference between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean;

There’s a difference. Whatever the strange fire was that Nadab and Abihu offered wasn’t God approved. And regardless of religions and government which says some “things” are now approved, it doesn’t change the fact that God’s not in it and He’s still every bit as serious about holiness today as He was in 1400 B.C; perhaps even a little more serious being that the final sacrifice that was made was the Son of God, not a critter.

So what does holiness look like today? It’s not perfect living because our sin nature won’t allow it. It’s not offering a sacrifice in any manner or form because we can’t do anything greater than God has already done.

Simply put its saying “Lord, You are Holy. Nothing is before You or greater than You, I’m a sinner in need of grace and mercy and it is You Who offer it and I who accept it. You Lord, are enough.”

America has nothing but God. For now He still extends grace and mercy. Let us not fail to thank Him and praise Him for that today.

God… please bless America.

Making Randomness a Habit

rak

At 6 a.m. I heard my husband talking to someone outside and then the roar of a loud exhaust coming to life. A young man had ran out of gas in front of our house and David poured what little bit of gas he had in the lawn mower can into his truck and sent him on his way, hoping it was enough to get him to the gas station 6 miles out. A random act of kindness, often referred to as Raking someone. What used to be a way life for America now has an acronym. I find that odd. But I also live in a little country town where random acts of kindness are a part of who we are. Oh, be not deceived, we have our share of grumpy pants people too, but another thing about living in a small town is we probably know why they’re grumpy. Sometimes they have good reason, and sometimes they’re just mean.

There was a picture that went viral last week of a couple of guys at a coffee shop praying through a drive thru window for a grieving woman in her car. Oh how it stirred my soul to see it! Such compassion we need more of. I was in need of prayer on Sunday and a prayer group that adopted me in, prayed over my voice; it was humbling to know that people I’d never met would take the time to lift my name to the throne of grace and ask God to help a sister out!

We take prayer for granted. Or at last I do! It costs nothing but a little of our time and can net such results. I have several people on a prayer list in my journal that I pray over and I’ve seen God move over many of them, and others seem to be lying dormant for results. But just like the trees, flowers, and even an old pickup truck that we see coming to life in these spring days, the answer may be getting ready to break through the ground. God may just be waiting to hear us pray one more time.

It’s not that He didn’t hear the first time; but just as He doesn’t have lilies blooming in January in our neck of the woods for a reason, He also doesn’t allow prayers to be acted upon for a reason. It’s not their time. We oftentimes don’t see the results on this side of glory. But as my friend Tracy Miller’s song says, “He’s not a Jeanie in a bottle, but He’s the God of love and grace!”

What are you praying for? Keep on praying.

Whose path may you cross today that needs prayer? Take the time.

The love of God should be going viral every day in the life of a Christian.

1 Timothy 2:1-6

 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

JESUS CHRIST. THE GREATEST INTENTIONAL RANDOM ACT OF KINDNESS.

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Thank God For Friday!

Goodness of God

I found it ironic that Google celebrates every goofy and non-goofy day of the year with a new Google logo or doodle but Good Friday didn’t even get an honorable mention. Ironic yes, surprised, no. The world celebrates Friday because it’s the start of the weekend more than they do the start of eternal life through the sacrifice Christ willingly made on the cross that dark day.  Many Churches are taking the blood out of the story because it’s too offensive to people and yet the movie industry is bombarded with gore and people take or allow their children to view the video with little regard for the way it effects their child’s mind. Don’t even get me started on the fact that Cartoon Network has cartoons that aren’t fit for adults to watch.

But this blog isn’t about bashing the world… As the Lord said, “they know not what they do.” Luke 23:34. Today’s post is about a grateful heart who “didn’t know” for 34 years how much I had to be thankful for. That was the age I came to the knowledge of the Salvation of Jesus Christ. I understood (as best my mind can) the sacrifice of the cross. That God was willing to spend that Friday suffering unimaginable pain, ridicule and desecration of his body that He lived in on earth, only to serve and teach others how to serve.

But then came Sunday!!! And as dreadful as Friday was for Him and for His followers looking on, Sunday came and the darkness was made light by the empty tomb and a risen Savior that had won victory over death, Hell and the grave. The blood is gory, yes, but its crimson color that stained His cross serves as a reminder that because of Him, I have life and have it more abundantly. I cannot fail to thank Him for Friday, for He gave me Sunday.

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Thank God for Friday!

Goodness of God

I found it ironic that Google celebrates every goofy and non-goofy day of the year with a new Google logo or doodle but Good Friday didn’t even get an honorable mention. Ironic yes, surprised, no. The world celebrates Friday because it’s the start of the weekend more than they do the start of eternal life through the sacrifice Christ willingly made on the cross that dark day.  Many Churches are taking the blood out of the story because it’s too offensive to people and yet the movie industry is bombarded with gore and people take or allow their children to view the video with little regard for the way it effects their child’s mind. Don’t even get me started on the fact that Cartoon Network has cartoons that aren’t fit for adults to watch.

But this blog isn’t about bashing the world… As the Lord said, “they know not what they do.” Luke 23:34. Today’s post is about a grateful heart who “didn’t know” for 34 years how much I had to be thankful for. That was the age I came to the knowledge of the Salvation of Jesus Christ. I understood (as best my mind can) the sacrifice of the cross. That God was willing to spend that Friday suffering unimaginable pain, ridicule and desecration of his body that He lived in on earth, only to serve and teach others how to serve.

But then came Sunday!!! And as dreadful as Friday was for Him and for His followers looking on, Sunday came and the darkness was made light by the empty tomb and a risen Savior that had won victory over death, Hell and the grave. The blood is gory, yes, but its crimson color that stained His cross serves as a reminder that because of Him, I have life and have it more abundantly. I cannot fail to thank Him for Friday, for He gave me Sunday.

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What Makes Good Friday Good?

CHICK GOOD  FRIDAY

The year was 1996, and it was my very first Easter as a baby Christian. Everything was new to me, even though I had likely heard it for 34 years. But the tradition of the nails in the cross during Good Friday communion was definitely a new experience. As I recall there were 100 or so folks attending the service and invited to take communion as a family or group of friends. But prior to their taking of the bread and drinking of the cup  each family member  would take a long heavy duty nail and pound it in to the old rugged cross on the platform of the church. Again and again the hammer hitting the nail echoed as soft music played in the background.

Clang…. Clang… Clang….

Each family or group that went forward was a testimony of what the Lord had done in their life. Sobs could be heard throughout the building as the heaviness of situation laid on hearts. Christ wasn’t on the cross, but every nail was a reminder that we each were accountable for the crucifixion of our Lord. He did that for me; it was my sins that nailed Him to the cross, and it was His love that brought Him down and His resurrection that allows me to live with the hope of victory over death and the grave.

Good Friday. Not a good day for Jesus that year, but a great day for Shari Johnson. The sacrifice of sin was too high for me to pay. What piddlely little sacrifices I make are nothing in the scope of eternity. Thousands of lambs were slaughtered in Old Testament days but were only a symbol of the worthy blood that would spill on the cross of Calvary.

The Price of Victory

Victory over death…

Corinthians 15:55

O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

Victory over circumstances…

1 Corinthians 15:57

But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Victory over the attacks of the world…

1 John 5:4

For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.

There is nothing that was not covered on the cross that day. Yes, it was our sin that caused the crucifixion, but it was His blood that fixed the sinner. If we are born of God, born again as Christ described to Nicodemus in

John 3 [Full Chapter]

There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. …

Then we are to live in Victory! It’s us who live in defeat… and that’s not a worthy attitude for what Christ did. I pray today finds you with an attitude of Awesomeness! Because Christ believes you are. And that friend makes Good Friday Good!

Why Baptist don’t do lent… and other things

chick dance

Baptist don’t drink, dance, cuss or chew… okay, yes they do. They’re either really bad at hiding things or they just don’t care. Or perhaps they consider themselves liberal Baptist. Is there such a thing? Yes… they’re called backsliders. Oh dear, did I even go there? I’m not going to get into a debate about the morality of those things or any other things, or get up on a Baptist high-horse and say those things are the ruination of a nation. The ruination of our nation is a sin problem… enter your sin here [          ]. We’ve all got them. So what does that have to do with why Baptist don’t do lent?

Here’s my theory. And this is the theory according to Shari and carries no weight in the world, but I found it to be an interesting thought this morning, encouraged from the Facebook post of a friend of another denomination who was giving up social media for 40 days. My first thought was… God bless her! I’m glad I don’t celebrate Lent, or I’d feel bad. Because I’m a social media junky. I have a love/hate relationship with people disciplined enough to give up the things they love for a period of time. Because for me this is a big spiritual issue. I know there are things that need more discipline in my life and those people make me feel bad. And then to counteract the guilt I have about them, I think about the legalistic people who do “things” 365 days of the year and look down their religious noses at failures like me and I don’t feel bad anymore about not “doing” something. Because Jesus is not about the doing.

So why don’t Baptist do Lent? I personally think it’s because it’s a little too Catholic. I’m not going to get into a denomination bashing blog. I’m not about that. Do I think there will be Catholics in Heaven? Yes. So long as they get there the way Jesus said. But much of the Catholic faith is based on ritualistic living and not Christ relational living and that’s just wrong any way you look at it from the Bible perspective.

Now, back to my failures.

In Luke 4:1-13 we read that the Holy Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness for forty days of fasting and temptation in much the same way God led the Israelites into the desert for forty years of wanderings. Lent is forty days of self-denial, although I don’t see any one doing it on the level of Christ. (Luke 4:1) Cut off from all of society, no Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. #HashtagAreYouSerious? (4:2-4) In the wilderness. #HashtagItsCold&BearsBite! Tempted by Satan, without preacher and church support.  #HashtagSinWaitingToHappen? Without food. #HashtagDoYouDeliver? (4:5-8) No Position in life. #HashtagIt’sNotAboutMe? (4:9-13) Facing the temptations of life without giving in. #HashtagDidIJustDoThat?

Lent is serious business. And I respect the decision of those who determine to do a Christ honoring denial of something. It’s not a Baptist thing… it’s technically not a Methodist, Catholic or Episcopalian thing. Anything that we give up in honor of Christ is a child of God thing. It’s not necessary, its “another way” to worship. The issue comes when it’s done for discipline sake and not relationship sake.

The harsh reality for me is I could use some discipline in my life in a number of facets. Building a relationship with Christ is a 365 day trek in the wilderness. Satan doesn’t limit it to 40 days. For those of you celebrating Lent, I love you… but you’re making me look bad. I pray today finds us all in relationally living with the Lord Jesus Christ. Do you know Him? Contact me if you don’t, I’ll show you where to meet Him!

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But Now… You didn’t even notice

chick face

For almost twenty seconds I was proud of myself! When reading the “But Now” Chapter this morning (Isaiah 1) I read in verse nine about the remnant that God had left who serve Him,

Except the Lord of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah.

And I thought… hey! I’m that remnant! And just as I was patting myself on the back the 2nd time I felt the distinct feeling that even from the couch I had been kicked in the pants. Conviction poured into my soul as I read on…

11 To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the Lord: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats.

Did you catch it? I sure did. To what purpose is what you’re doing helping me out? You do, you write, you sing, you teach, and it’s all good… but that’s the desert of my meal. What about the meat and potatoes. The stuff that sticks to the ribs and will make it through the fire. The things you do are the pretty things, and I’m sick of it… what about the real work?

Isaiah 1: 21-23 ~  

 How is the faithful city become an harlot! it was full of judgment; righteousness lodged in it; but now murderers.

Thy silver is become dross, thy wine mixed with water:  Thy princes are rebellious, and companions of thieves: every one loveth gifts, and followeth after rewards: they judge not the fatherless, neither doth the cause of the widow come unto them.

What a sad indictment to leadership. To “Shari quote it” Thy princes (leadership) are hanging out with lowlife (and not to win them to Christ), but they rather love what they receive for serving (as a matter of fact that’s why they do it, not for Me) and the people who need your help, you don’t even notice.

But now… you didn’t even notice.

For me it’s another day of serving Jesus doing the pretty stuff. And God’s all about it! There’s nothing wrong with it; we need the pretty stuff, but what about the ugly stuff that nobody wants to do? Like visiting the elderly and sick, helping the homeless, picking up the snotty nosed kid for the church, telling someone you don’t even know that Jesus loves them and wants to save their soul. What about those things? God wants the pretty stuff, but not if that’s the only thing we’re about.

God called them a murderer. That’s serious business. That means somebody’s blood is on our hands…And we didn’t even notice.

Get a Grip! God’s got this

get a gripIt likely will not be a shocker to anyone who knows me to hear me say that I’m not a sports fan. Sports has its place in life and God Bless those who enjoy it, but for me personally competitive games usually leave a bad taste in my mouth from the over zealous fans who take it a little too seriously. They watch a game like I watch a church service. I’m shouting hallelujah and encouraging God’s man to get in their and give it his all for Jesus. There’s nothing wrong with encouraging the home team, just don’t be ugly about it and mean to the fans on the other team, after all we’re all playing football, right? Yes… there was a hidden agenda in that analogy. But that’s not my point in this blog; no shocker there either!

I was listening to someone talk about watching a game that had already been played and that the score was announced prior to the games airing. It changed his viewpoint of the game; when a guy dropped the ball or fumbled a play, there was no surprise. No fear of what the end result would be. He didn’t scream at the players to do better, he didn’t get upset when things went awry, the game was already over. I have to wonder how life would change if we viewed it from a game over prospective?

Genesis 22

1 And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am.

And he said, Take now thy son, thine only son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and get thee into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering upon one of the mountains which I will tell thee of.

And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and clave the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went unto the place of which God had told him.

Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off.

I have to believe that when Abraham “saw the place afar off” that he had that game over prospective. He didn’t know how the game was going to play out, but he knew the score. God, Abraham and Isaac 1, Satan 0.

I have a feeling Satan messed with Abraham’s head all the way up that mountain. I figure Abraham did some serious praying and contemplating about the event to come. He had to have wondered what Sarah’s reaction would be to the story. He was the man of the house, he was the man of God, but I don’t figure Sarah would have been laughing about this message from Heaven as she did the day God told them of the coming birth of their son. Abraham may have even had one of those “What happens on the mountain stays on the mountain” conversations with Isaac. Just as Jehovah-Jireh was on the mountain, having provided a ram, God’s got our sacrifice in the bush too. It’s no coincidence that it was the third day that Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place afar off. Those three days that Christ spent in the grave, having took the keys of Hell from Satan was our game over experience.

What ever it is that Satan has planned to thwart the grand plan of God is a moot point. There may be a few fumbles on the play (on our side of course) but it won’t change the ending score. How awesome is that thought today? I don’t know about how it is for you but it brings great jubilation to my soul to know that no matter how the game looks in play… we win.

Yes I drop the ball, I go the wrong direction I have occasionally been the other team’s best player, but God is my number one fan. He loves me, He created me and He’s got me covered!

Can You Say It Was Good?

it was good edited
For several years my job has been grant funded positions of one sort or another. As another closes out there’s always a time of reflection and evaluation on the project, celebrations of success and accountability of failures by staff and grant partners. There have been times that I think the Federal Government has the opinion that they created and mastered evaluation; that theirs is the standard for which we are measured. I’m glad that’s not the case, I’ve witnessed their standard first hand. That’s not a dig… that reality. It’s not just the federal government, its man in general. We all have our own ideas, concepts and standards of what we deem good and often very good which is usually nothing more than substandard work, point A to point B thinking, let’s get’r done. As I read through the first couple of Chapters in Genesis this morning I was drawn into the very first evaluation phase of the creation project.  Seven times from Genesis 1:1-31 God viewed the project and saw that

“It was good.”

The final time, only the day that He created man did he say that it was “very” good.  He had created man and woman, “in his own image.” Vs. 27 reads

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

I have to wonder how far we have come from that image today. God created man and woman and sat them in the garden of creation, giving them dominion over all his work and I’m sure until Satan entered the picture that image was unmarred. I love to dwell on the thought of what the days following creation must have been like. Oh how I long for a time of innocence where the mind is not bombarded with wickedness and distraction does not set in to deny myself fellowship with God. Today the image of God is recreated in the new man upon the day of Salvation; we are the image of God that a lost and dying world seek, yet what do they see? If I look back on my day can I say “and it was good?” I fear my evaluation tools may even be a bit rusty. I mostly come home at night and collapse into a state of mindlessness, happy the work day is done. There’s not an evaluation. An honest evaluation of my life should be measured upon the life of Christ.

  • Did I serve as He served?
  • Did I seek time alone with God as He did?
  • Did I sacrifice as He did?
  • Did I sanctify myself as He did?
  • Did I study the scripture to show my self approved?
  • Did I share the gospel of Christ?

Those are the standards by which I am to evaluate my life. What did I do for the Kingdom? Just as God placed Adam and Eve in the garden with a plan: Verse 26 says “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.” God’s plan was that they were to care take and enjoy His creation and walk with God. Although the plan varies from person to person, God’s still got a plan. We’re the caretakers of something and someone. Who and what has God planted along the pathway of your garden today? And at days end when you’re done tending to it will you be able to say “and it was good?”

God’s got a plan… work it!