It seems like an eternity since I woke up this morning, and yet it’s 9:00 a.m. and I’ve got very little accomplished. It’s hard for me to stay focused today. My mind is in so many different places. It’s in New Mexico with Dewey, it’s in Minnesota with Lynn, it’s in Virginia with Whitney, Spencer with Tiffani, Marietta with Dr. Guiler and in the Word with my Lord. I told someone yesterday that I felt scattered. That’s the only way I can describe where I’m at. It’s exhausting to try to pick pieces from all corners of the earth, much like I need to pick up pieces throughout the corners of my house. My desk looks like something exploded on it.
yet she is so remarkably calm. If only I could get inside her plastic brain and
rest for a while. If only I could actually sit in that position and then stand
up again without assistance! But life happens. So I continue on in my
journaling exercise in the book of Jude, nearing the end of the book.
These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not
the Spirit.But ye, beloved, building up yourselves
on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,
first question is an often ask one, “How do people survive without God?” I know
I did it for 34 years, but the truth of that is, I at least was pretending to
have Him in my life. In all my years I have never said there was no God. I knew
there was, I just didn’t know how to connect to Him.
How then shall they
call on him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in him
of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?
Thank You Jesus for preachers!
So this morning as I grieve with a family who lost a child, as I
miss my children, and as I give thanks to God for friends who feel like they’re
in the room with me, when actually they’re across the country; I’m ever so
grateful that in my soul, within the very being of my body is the Holy Ghost.
He who finds me “beloved.” He who calms my fears, soothes my stress points and
sends laughter into my soul through nutty videos that wasted more of my time,
but was oh so necessary.
He is Who builds my faith like a Lego house. Brick upon brick, day by day, bad and good. Never failing to remind me that He has all these things in control and we be loved.
So I bought her to me for fifteen pieces of silver, and for an homer of barley and an half homer of barley:
Have you ever wondered why God puts up with you? I certainly do. Most every day I’m asking myself that question. I have a feeling that nobody asked that question any more than Gomer, the wife of the prophet Hosea.
The story of Hosea’s prostitute wife was not that of the ordinary man of God. God had instructed him to marry a prostitute. That is what I would all an extreme sermon illustration! Once they were married, Gomer’s infidelity and abandonment meant that Hosea had to buy her back out of prostitution, in a very public way and then tell the children of Israel how his wife’s infidelity was no different than theirs was to the Lord; which would bring great judgment upon themselves.
Praise God for grace… but Gomer’s life story still rings my bell. I long for a relationship of deeper proportion with the Lord, but I stay so busy and scattered about with various things that the Lord more often than not, gets scooted over to make a seat for some vain desire. Thinking I’ll get back to Him later. What? Even writing that makes my stomach roll over to think that I would treat the Creator of all the earth in such a manner.
It’s why I can identify with Gomer. Hosea married her and made an honorable woman out of her, but she refused to stay away from the world from which she came out of. She had children, and she even abandoned them to go back.
Infidelity has a much broader meaning when it comes to our relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.
He’s not asking us to turn our backs on family, forget about hobbies or favorite pass times, He merely wants included. And yet, even I, who the world around me knows me as the Jesus Chick, will not bring Him into a conversation for fear of it being an unwanted conversation sometimes. Or I’ll get distracted by some worldly television show or social media and my day has dwindled away and I’m left wondering why I feel like a dirt dog at the end of the day.
It’s the equivalency of not showering! The Word of God is a spiritual wash cloth as one of my favorite preachers use to say.
My relationship with Christ cannot possibly get to a deeper place, if I’m not willing to wade out into the water where He is.
It reminds me of those times that He and the disciples would get away from the rest of the world for some ministry training and rest and it would be in a quiet place, or in the midst of the sea. It wasn’t in a crowded room, dusty street, or in front of a blaring television with idiotic commercials every 3 minutes.
So today in an attempt to understand why God tolerates me I looked into the eyes of Hosea through the eyes of Gomer. I realized it was for no other reason than He loves me. Thank God, I am redeemed. Bought back with the blood of Jesus Christ after I went astray.
Every Easter I run the risk of losing the whole purpose of the Holiday, which is to serve as a reminder of the price our salvation cost. It didn’t come cheap. It cost God His Son, and the Lord His life. Yet, I get so wrapped up in the labor of love for the church that I forget to take the time to celebrate the labor of Love from our Lord and Savior.
I had all but sluffed off blogging today as I had the past couple of days because I had too many other things vying for my time. Like laundry, chocolate chip cookies, vegetable soup and cornbread, you know… really important stuff. (insert rolled eyes here). Even as I write, there are reminders all around me of other things I’d planned on doing today. But what slowed me down was a video posted on Facebook this morning by Blake Shelton.
Now, for the record, I have a love, hate relationship with the show “The Voice” because of the immoral aptitude of the co-stars. Yes, I know it’s Hollywood, not the church, but I’m still entitled to my opinion. So imagine my surprise when I listen to a song that Blake wrote titled “The Savior’s Shadow.” (Link Below) According to the link, Blake dreamed the lyrics, awoke, and wrote them down and then composed the song during a time in his life when he was struggling. Struggles can bring amazing things out in us when we’re in a attitude to receive the Lord’s goodness.
If the “religious” crowd aren’t careful they’ll miss the lesson I received in Blake’s song.
When I read the title, my Jesus Chick feathers ruffled up and I was ready with a critical spirit to critique him like they critique the people auditioning for their show. But I smoothed my feathers out, and listened. With each word Blake sang, my heart melted. And not for Blake Shelton, but for the Lord’s work.
I was quickly reminded that I’m a sinner saved by grace, and the only reasons I have this platform and the opportunities to minister in song is because the Lord had pity on my soul and used me in spite of who I really am.
I had written a social media post a few weeks ago regarding another co-star of the Voice, Kelley Clarkson. I was so aggravated with her announcing her Christian faith one minute and then cussin’ like a sailor the next. I’m still flustered over it. To be given such a platform for Christ and then to damage the cause for which He gave His life in such a way, through the vulgarity that she knows to be wrong makes me sad. For Jesus and her. She totally trashed her witness.
And then there’s Blake. Who makes no profession of faith, openly drinks alcohol and boasts of his immorality, and then look what God did through him! Is Blake saved? Well, there’s “no proof in the pudding,” as they say, but it’s not for me to judge. He’s not much worse than his co-star and in truth, he’s not much worse than a great many professing Christians who see no need to be in church or relinquish their mouth and morality to the Holy Spirit. And if I look at the inward part of Shari… no worse than me. I may not openly sin, but I certainly have some parts of my life that aren’t pleasing to the Lord.
Matthew 7:3-4 says “And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?”
I heard a story the other day of an art critique who was invited to critique a selection of inspirational art. He stood before a painting of Mary and the Christ Child. Mary was holding the Baby in front of a countryside and mountainous scene, but to the critique’s eye, everything seemed off. The faces seemed distorted, as did the mountains and scenery behind them. It was almost as if everything was painted from a different viewpoint.
The art critique decided to change his position of view, and so he knelt before the painting in the busy gallery. There on his knees he discovered that the painting was meant to be viewed from the position of prayer.
Oh that we would critique the world around us from the position of prayer before getting into our “godly judgmental stances.”
If rather than tearing down the people we come across in the course of day, we got on our knees and viewed them from the position of prayer and through the eyes of God, what would change about them and what would change about us? What would change about me?
This blog is in it’s 8th year. Hosted on godaddy.com for the past five. Expenses incurred for the operation of this site are without complaint and with gratitude for the opportunity. If the Lord would impress you to give to help cover some recent technology issues, I’d be grateful. I’ve not been in the world’s workforce for 3 years and for that I glorify God. It’s given me the opportunity to not only write and work on music, but minister to nursing home patients, volunteer in the Christian School teaching art and help other ministries with marketing. All of which require technology, communication, time and gasoline. Again it’s without complainT… but just in case you have a desire to help, or have “extra money” 🙂 Know that I would be eternally grateful.
I will not tell you that in 21 years of salvation I have not ever doubted my salvation. I would doubt that very many Christians could say that. It’s our nature to doubt. Thomas didn’t have the market cornered on it.
But what I can say, it that the Holy Spirit did not allow me to live in that state very long. A friend posted on Facebook this morning the story of the conversion of John Wesley. As I was reading through his testimony, and the question his dad posed to him on his death bed “John, do you have the inward witness of the Holy Spirit?” I wanted to shout the glory down! And oh, how I wished that during the 34 years of my unsaved condition, someone had asked me that question. They did not.
And when I finally heard it, I knew I did not. But for a while, pride would not allow me to explore it further with those who had asked the question. I had been brought up in church, I had taught Sunday School. I had lead youth. How could I confess that I did not have an understanding of what seemed to be such basic information in the Christian realm.
NOT SO BASIC ANY MORE
In a 2009 Barna Survey, fifty-eight percent strongly or somewhat agreed with the statement that the Holy Spirit is “a symbol of God’s power or presence but is not a living entity.” More than half of those surveyed! I realize that surveys can be somewhat misleading because of where the survey took place and who exactly was surveyed. But for some reason, I’m not doubting the results. I’ve been in the presence of too many professing Christians that just don’t bear any witness of the Holy Spirit. They go to church a dry and come out dry. Nothing changes.
When I got saved. I CHANGED. I felt fire in my soul and it hasn’t gone out for 21 years. So what happened to those who don’t feel it?
NOT SO BOLD ANY MORE
Matthew 24 states it well when says verses 11-12
And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.
The testimony of the Christian faith has been so tarnished by false preaching and false professors that even the true believer can see their fire go out if they’re not very careful on who and what they allow their mind to be exposed to.
I was watching the show “The Voice” last night and was so frustrated with the “professed Christian judge” on the show who cursed more than the other three non-professing judges that I was nauseous. I started routing against her. One might wonder why I continued to watch the show… I ask myself the same question. And I’ll be asking myself the same question next week, but it boils down to the fact that I love listening to the singing, and the few Christian testimonies from contestants as well as the singing tips from the judges, I glean what I can from their skills for my own music ministry.
But it’s the mentality that you can live any way you choose and profess Christ that has caused the Holy Spirit not be felt or believed upon by many in the church. Couple that with many churches no longer preaching the blood as necessary for salvation, and you can see the problem with their belief in the Word of God. The blood is on the pages of the bible from Genesis to Revelation.
NOT SO BURDENED ANY MORE
Before I was saved, I had heard just enough about Armageddon to scare me to death and pray for life. I didn’t understand it, but I feared it. I don’t know if I believed in Hell, but I feared it. And when I discovered the truth that there was a Hell, and that a child of God would be saved from it as well as Armageddon, Lord have mercy, I had such peace and gratitude for what the Lord Jesus done for me on the cross. I also became very aware that many of my family and friend would not escape, if they too did not become saved by the blood of Jesus. I was so burdened… I was sure Christ would return the next instant. But over time, when He delays His return, my burdened waned as well. It’s a great lie when you hear… there’s still time.
Perhaps, perhaps not. We need our burden restored and the only way that that is going to happen is to get our relationship with the Lord restored and stoke the fire within us.
NOT SO BROKEN ANY MORE
We need our heart broken the way Christ’s is broken every day by the lack of concern for His children. We need to ask ourselves again and again do we feel and do others see in us the inward and outward witness of the Holy Spirit?
For certain it’s a conversation starter! For the passionate child of God it will make a preacher out of the meekest of them when they begin to tell of their inability to understand lukewarm saints. For the lukewarm saint it begins a conversation about the “Not Everyone’s.” With statements like:
Not everyone’s a soul winner.
Not everyone’s a shouter.
Not everyone’s got time.
Not everyone’s been called….
It’s usually at this point in a conversation that people start reading my very expressive face. My eyes roll. My lip gets bitten. My fingers and hands have a passion for rhythm from the war drums going off inside my head. My right leg starts to bounce a little as if I’m getting ready to run. And I too sit silent because I know if I say what’s on my mind there’s going to be hurt feelings. Usually mine, because you can’t convince a lukewarm saint that anything’s wrong with them. They love to tell me why they’re not lukewarm, they’re passion is just concealed in their conservative ways. And they’re offended that I would suggest otherwise.
Saved but silent is sickening.
A few personal thoughts that have my heart stirred up this particular Saturday night:
I know not everyone’s a shouter, else the church would be chaos. But the Lord wouldn’t mind a Holy grunt once and a while.
If you can’t remember the last time you were at the altar, you are way overdue.
There’s two reasons you go to the altar, 1. Because you need to, and 2. Because you think you don’t need to.
Everyone may not be a soul winner, but everyone should be burdened for souls.
If you think Sunday School isn’t important, you’re either very well studied and you should be teaching, or you think Sunday School is not needful and a waste of time. And God knows that’s what you think.
If the people you share your day with haven’t heard you talk about Jesus, you sat down and shut up when Satan told you to.
If your idea of an active prayer life is three meals and a bedtime prayer, you’ve covered food and sleep but the other 23 hours of your day are in the hands of Satan. If you don’t pray over your food, one day you may choke.
If you volunteer for school and community events but not for church your priorities are not in check.
If a child of God has made you feel uncomfortable because they do any of the aforementioned things you are going to be real uncomfortable in Heaven.
If that headline caused you to break out in song or bust a move, you’re either a lover of the oldies, or you’re an oldie. Although I was only 8 years old when Stevie Wonder released that song, it was still quite popular in my teenage years, so as I studied Revelation 7 for my teen class this morning, my ol’ fleshly mind couldn’t help but go back to that song. No, I didn’t bust a move, but in my mind’s eye I did go back to the 70’s when love and I were young. But reality soon kicked me back to 2015 and what caused me to reminisce is now in the forefront of my mind, and that is the fact that I have been signed, sealed and delivered, GLORY TO GOD! for almost 20 years.
Revelation 7:3-4 speaks of the 144,000 of the tribes of the children of Israel, servants of God, sealed in their foreheads and protected from the wrath that’s being poured out on the earth. The last evangelist team on earth. But what about the one before that? You know… us! We don’t have a seal in our forehead, but if we’ve accepted Christ as our Savior but we have one across our heart that declares we are children of the living God. That should cause us to bust a move and do a little holy dance across the floor this morning.
Ephesian 1:13 says ~
In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
There it is – Signed, sealed and delivered! The promise of God that we are sealed by the providence of God that regardless of what happens in this world, nothing happens to us without God’s stamp of approval and for His glory.
You better believe in the hour that Revelation 7 is being played out, when all the world is in chaos even greater than now, these 144,000 are going to be feeling the seal that protects them from the enemy that wishes them dead. And this morning I feel that seal as I read the latest on ISIS and their grand scheme of taking over the earth. This wicked lot of men who proudly boast and proclaim victory over the suffering in Paris will one day meet the wrath of God and their arrogant touts will cease as they bow to the King of kings and Lord of lords, Jesus Christ.
But until then remember…
YOU ARE SIGNED
Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands;
On the cross of Calvary Christ bore our names in His hands so that we would have the promise of eternal life.
YOU ARE SEALED
2 Corinthians 1:22
Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.
The second we accepted Christ’s final work on the cross as payment for our salvation, God sealed His Spirit inside us so that we may know and feel His presence in our heart.
YOU ARE DELIVERED
As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began: That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us; To perform the mercy promised to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant; The oath which he sware to our father Abraham, That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear, In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life. And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways; To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins,Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us, To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his shewing unto Israel.
It’s that time of year again when the Christmas season is upon us. What better time to remember that we are signed, sealed and delivered to serve Him without fear. Preparing the way for our friends and family that they may know the peace and grace of the Lord Jesus Christ before it’s too late.
Non-church Christians is about like a non-medical school physician. They do far more damage than good and no one wants to hear their opinion. I meet them most every day; those who for some reason or another have given up on church or have never gone, and yet if you asked them if today they knew for certain they were going to Heaven when they die, the answer is usually “Of course!” Some are honest and will just flat tell you “No, I don’t know.” I LOVE THOSE PEOPLE. Those people I can work with, they are real. But the “non-practicing Christian scares me. I know… I’m judging again, right? No, I’m reading the Bible.
James 2:19-20 ~Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?
The devils tremble because they know Jesus. Satan’s not an atheist. Satanists are not atheists because by worshiping Satan they have just confessed the living God who created Lucifer. But let’s get back to the “non-practicing Christian.” I doubt the Satanists are reading my blog post today, but the title very well may have caught the eye of someone who thinks they know they’re okay, and will say they are when ask, but deep within… they tremble. It is you who my heart breaks for today. I love you too. I was you 17 years ago.
In Luke 10:17-20 Jesus had sent out seventy disciples into a world that He knew many would reject. He gave them the rules of engagement, the weapon of warfare, the special powers within and His final advice, “knock the dust off your shoes and move on down the road when they won’t listen.” (paraphrased by me) So the seventy go out and even they are shocked at what power they now possess. They can do as He has done. Woah baby! Who knew? Jesus did.
And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name. And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.
Jesus responded by saying (again paraphrased by me) “I gave you all those great and mighty gifts, but the greatest gift you have is the knowledge that your name is written down in Heaven.” I know for a fact it was the greatest gift I’ve ever received. And I know I’ve received it because like the seventy, I have that desire to go into the world and tell them about Jesus, whether or not they accept it. But about that “knocking the dust off my feet.” It’s biblical, and I’ve done it. But when it’s your own soul, it won’t leave the tread in my shoe sole and it sure enough won’t leave the desires of my soul.
I have friends and family who confess they know. But there is no desire to tell others about Jesus, and there is no evidence of faith in their lives on Sunday morning or Wednesday night. And I fear they’ll be left trembling, alone in this world if Jesus returns for His church. Cast into outer darkness, forever separated from those they love.
You may ask “Is church really that important?” Jesus died for it, you tell me.
This is not a scare tactic. This is reality. You wouldn’t go to a make believe doctor if you were sick. Please, don’t go to a make believe church.
Heavy on my heart this morning was the scripture story of Peter following Christ after He was arrested. I’ve always had somewhat of a fascination with Peter’s life because I can identify with so many of his weaknesses. But when it comes to history, could I even come close to identifying with the strength of his death? Hmmm? But as I read that scripture, sandwiched in betwixt and between were these two crazy verses about someone else who followed Jesus.
And there followed him a certain young man, having a linen cloth cast about his naked body; and the young men laid hold on him: And he left the linen cloth, and fled from them naked.
An unnamed man, who according to commentary, likely jumped out of his bed when he heard the commotion in the streets as they lead Jesus through Jerusalem found himself in story central, and not in a good way. He’d heard of this man called Jesus, he really wanted to know more about Him, but here he was about to get a far too close and personal look at the Man who had created such a stir in the community. He hadn’t even bothered putting on any britches (or robe as the case would have been). He just showed up.
Even typing those words made my stomach roll over. How many people are going to show up before Jesus without a robe? Only this time it will not be He on trial but them. Jesus still causes quite a stir in communities; everyone has their opinion, their doctrine, and their denomination. And then there are those who just want to get a closer look. So they get into the conversations with the religious who want to spend more time arguing over Christ than the getting the lost saved which is the whole purpose of why He came. Say what you want about Peter… when’s the last time anyone in your congregation lead 3,000 souls to Christ in one service? (Acts 2)
But now back to the story… the unnamed man is standing at Jesus’ trial in nothing but a sheet and some other young men go to lay hands on him and in fear he drops the sheet and runs away naked. That’s an excellent picture of these last days when we see more and more people who want to know Who Jesus is, but when it comes to finding out the truth they run away, having no robe to cover their sins. If he had stayed he very well might have been drug into Jesus’ story, he too would have been caught up in the persecution.
Just knowing about Jesus won’t win the robe. The Bible says that even Satan ‘knows’ Jesus. (James 2:19) Receiving that robe of white in Glory is about your relationship with Jesus and your willingness to suffer with Him. When the time came for the young man to suffer with Jesus, he fled away naked. Faker’s aren’t willing to take any heat for Jesus. Peter may have cowered down when Jesus stood before the High Priest (so did 10 others by the way) but he ended on a good note. He did preach the gospel again, he was persecuted and hung on a cross upside for his Lord. He didn’t run away when it mattered.
My question to you this morning is this, “Do you have a robe, or a sheet?” If your judgment day was today would you stand or flee? There’s more to it than just saying you’re a Christian, you have to be willing to take part in His suffering. I know, I’ve been the sheet wearer, but hallelujah I have a robe waiting for me in Glory. I was the faker, but now I am the follower. You need to know that you know… are you named in Glory?
Writer, Speaker, Singer… but most of all, Servant of Jesus Christ