Tag Archives: Shari Johnson

The Great Escape

Every time I reach the point of exhaustion, brought on by too much list and not enough time, I have one of those wishful Calgon take me away moments. If you remember the commercial, it’s where the mom soaks down into a tub full of Calgon bubbles and somehow her world goes away.

While that’s awesome. The problem is you have to get out of the tub eventually! Monday comes. That’s where the manic Monday concept comes from. The dishes need done, the work needs done, people need stuff, the phone’s ringing, the bills need paid and it all gets to be too much.

It’s then that I need my life to make sense. I need order in my chaos. And because I am personally my own chaos, I can’t do it. So I go to the word. And I look for my escape from the manic I call Monday.

I knew it was coming. So when the Pastor preached from Philippians four last night and I heard the word escape, my mind began to drift from Sunday night to Monday and I felt that overwhelmed feeling and thought, “that’s my word for the week.” I need to escape!

But just like the Calgon bath, I knew I would eventually have to face it. Just as we all do. So I might as well face it with the Lord and His word.

When looking for an Escape, Don’t Ignore the People

Hebrews 11:32-35

And what shall I more say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae, of David also and Samuel, and of the prophets: Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out o the weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in the fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection:

Glory to God what a line up of people for us to gather encouragement this Monday morning!

Most of them did escape. They eventually got their Calgon moment. But some went by the way of great escapes because they escaped to the best Calgon Moment of all, the one that never ends called eternity.

And while none of us are likely wanting to shorten our time here. We can still have those Calgon moments if we stay in the word.

Those people, as well as others in our life are there for an example.

Hebrews 12:1 says

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.

God knew there would be “Calgon take me away” days. He wanted us to be prepared for them, so He put examples of the others who faced worse, and many in our own lives today. You know who they are. The people that you just don’t know how they do it.

I think of Louis Milam. A man in our church who had crippling arthritis and the deformities that came with it, and yet he seldom ever missed church. He’s my go to guy even though he’s already gone on to Heaven. Every time I want to throw in the towel, I think of him. I don’t figure Louis had one Calgon day in the last 20 years of his life. And yet he didn’t quit.

Don’t ignore the people that God put in your life to encourage you.

My second point:

When Looking for an Escape, Don’t Ignore the Preacher

Hebrews 12:25

See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from Heaven:

If that’s not a warning, I’ve never heard one!

October is Pastor appreciation month. It may be one of the most unappreciated professions of all times in this day and age. The world doesn’t want to hear preaching. I crave it. I listen to it more than music, because to me it is music.

It restores my hope! Last night the preacher said something that really made me take note. He said “Nothing should make us go to one extreme or the other, because nothing changes the fact that the Lord is going to return!”

Wowzer!

Nothing that happens today is going to change the fact that Jesus is coming back! Woohoo and Glory to God! that should put a shout on you. Because you can say that to Satan and it will for sure get his goat, because he knows it’s true.

Someone once said “If Satan reminds you of your past, remind him of his future.”

That’s why we go to church and take every opportunity we can to listen to good solid preaching because we need that reminder that we will have our day.

Which brings me to my third and final point:

When Looking for an Escape, Don’t Ignore the Promises

2 Peter 1:4

Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

We have within ourselves the divine nature of God in the Holy Spirit. We have a Calgon moment in the making anytime we want it, but we have to have the promises of God in our lives to escape the corruption of this world which is also still in us. Those promise are found in the word of God.

I don’t think any of us realize how precious the book is. But we can see how precious Satan knows it is because he keeps doing everything within his power to destroy it. It’s why we have to fight for it.

Not nearly enough came to the fight with Madeline Murray O’Hair in 1963 when she single handedly managed to get prayer and the word of God out of public schools. I wonder what our lives would be like today if she had lost her battle. I read the story of her distorted life and horrific death this morning and praise God for her only living son, William, who is saved and serving God in D.C. as an author, Baptist minister and chairman of the Religious Freedom Coalition.

So I’ll say this in closing, the only way to escape the wickedness of this world, is to understand that Jesus is the way, truth and the life. No man comes to the Father except through Him. He is the only way to a true Calgon moment. Do you know Him today. I needed this message today. Take heart child of God, Jesus is coming soon!

Please share this post and I pray your week is awesome!!!

Three Misunderstood Christian Question/Quotes

I’ve been on foreign mission fields, and I’ve been on American mission fields, and the only difference is the cultures of the people. And that is not only a foreign country issue, but a state to state issue.

I realized that when I tried to explain to a hunter in New Mexico that I was in his state singin’ and speakin’. To which he replied, “What?”

And then I realized that my redneck dialect had gotten me in trouble again and I had to slow down and annunciate my words. So I replied in kind to his question. “Singing and Speaking.” And that he understood.

Sometimes I think we forget when we talk Jesus that that too is another language all together. I realized this when I spoke to a woman in New Mexico who said to me, “I had to call a friend the other day and ask her what sin was. I really didn’t know.

That shocked me. Because sin is, well, sin. But to the lost who are totally unchurched, it’s another one of those Christian words that goes unexplained and assumed that the world understands.

I understood when I had to explain words like that in a foreign land. They didn’t understand my language, but in America. Seriously? A word as simple as sin. It was as crazy to me as the hunter, (who technically should have spoke redneck) but didn’t understand the word “speakin.” It caused me to wonder this morning how many times not only my redneck dialect gets me into trouble, but my Christian dialect.

Churchy words.

Three phrases I throw around too easily without explanation.

  1. Are you saved?

Saved from what? Am I in danger?

Well, as a matter of fact you are. But the unsaved truly doesn’t what there is to be afraid of. We speak of things in the spiritual realm they speak of things in the physical realm.  And to talk about the spiritual realm is like speaking to them of Ghost Busters, Green monsters and perhaps a small concept of Angels.

I’m not so sure that many Christians understand the spiritual realm and what goes on there.

1 Corinthians 2:14

But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

So, it’s clearly saying that the unsaved cannot understand spiritual things because they’ve yet to receive the Holy Spirit. And many saved people cannot explain the Holy Spirit because they’re not in touch with Him themselves. We have Christians who don’t find in necessary to go to church on Sunday morning, read their bible, or witness to the lost. Those are three non-negotiable expectations of God.

The best way to explain the word Salvation is almost always through your testimony. And usually any other spiritual question. Because it makes it personal.

I knew what I was saved from the second I got saved. Fear.

My entire life, from the time I was old enough to be lost, I had a fear of Hell. It was placed inside of me by God and I fully believe that everyone of us from a child know that there is a God. Because the Bible says that in Romans 1:20

For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:.

Romans 8:16 

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

It’s why it’s important to pray before we speak to the lost. The Spirit has been dealing with them, but we just need to pray so that we too are in tune with what the Spirit would have us say. So to answer them Saved from what is an easy answer for me if I just rely on what God instilled in me as a child. And what I came to know when I did get saved is the truth about Hell. It is a total darkness, fire and separation from everyone and everything. Especially the Creator. And though they do not know Him, they will when they hit Hell and they’ll understand too little too late how wonderful He is.

Another question that we take under assumption is:

  • Do you know Jesus?

I give it very little thought. I assume everyone has at least heard the name. But yesterday a friend of mine blew that theory out of the water when he said he ask a person in the prison that he ministers in and their response was “Who?”

They’d not heard the name. That’s unbelievable in our day and age. But yet it happens. And although most people have at least heard the Name, they still do not understand the concept of Who He is. And if you’re ask that question, how do you answer?

He is God. God in the flesh who wanted to experience life as we did, so He came to earth as a man and walked in the body of a man so that He could understand what it felt like to be a man.

He understood temptation, fear, pain, heartache, betrayal and every other aspect of humanity and yet stayed perfect and Holy. We cannot. I can’t stay perfect 10 minutes. The fact that God understands that connects us to Him in a greater way. A way that the lost wants someone to understand.

It’s why when a Christian stands in judgment of the lost, the lost cannot experience Christ. Because Christ forgave and understood the sin of man, His judgement comes in eternity.

If we can help the lost to understand that first, we’ll be ready to explain Jesus! The lost have to experience Him through us. And we’re going to answer for how and whether or not they have.

Final Quote

  • Christ Died for You.

What? Why would He do that and why did He think it was necessary.

It’s a notion that I have a hard time comprehending myself on a regular basis and I know it’s truth. Why would He do that? And if it’s hard for me to comprehend. Imagine what goes through the mind of a person who’s lost and how do we explain the justification of Old Testament rituals to them, especially in this critter loving world?

For me the only way that I can explain that is through the eyes of a parent – child relationship. One that most everyone understands, even if sometimes it’s from a warped perspective.

I think about Adam’s love of creation. Imagine the time he spent with all of the critters as he named them and loved on them. Imagine the horror of having to kill the first lamb when God had them clothe themselves after the fall in the garden.

I believe God wanted them to understand the separation of death in the same way He experiences it with a child who never accepted His sacrifice. It’s a pain beyond description.

If we can understand that, and the fact that He went from the sacrifice of animals to the experiencing the sacrifice of His Son and watching Him suffer as no animal ever did, then we’ll have a better grasp of why He died for us.

It’s not uncommon for my redneck dialect to get me into trouble. But what I don’t want is for my witnessing to get me into trouble. I want to know that when I tell people about my life changing relationship with Jesus Christ, it’s apparent through my life and my words and it’s done in a way that makes them want what I have.

Who wants what a cranky, judgmental, poor example of Christ has? No one.

But if we can not only show them the love of God, but the explain that love of God, we’ll be on the road to sharing in the salvation of Jesus Christ with them.

My next blog is going to be about my New Mexico experience. I wanted to wrap my mind around it myself before I tried to explain it to everyone. I’ll share some of the amazing things that God did and allow you to come along on the journey, especially those who prayed for this trip.

You’re going to love what you were a part of!

Will You be Listed?

“I commend unto you Phebe our sister, which is a servant of the church which is at Cenchrea.” Romans 16:1

The final Chapter/Letter to the Romans by Apostle Paul. What joy it brought to my soul this morning to read the names of the servants of God that had served with Paul throughout the churches and the roles they played. I imagined my own name being written down in the books of Heaven as to the service that’s being provided in New Mexico in fellowship and service with Gloria Jones and Dewey Moede.

To say that my time here is a blessing isn’t enough. From the first step inside the sanctuary of the First Baptist Church of Magdalena to the final dinner prepared by Pastor Paul Holt, the Spirit was moving. I wept as my heart was overwhelmed with the music by their worship leaders. I sang and spoke and listened to the sermon being delivered by a man of God who was filled with the Spirit and wisdom of God and thought to myself, “Shari, you are blessed, don’t forget it.”

To be in service to the King of the World isn’t something to be taken lightly. And yet, we do. Or at least I do.  Gloria and I traveled to Silver City, NM for more site seeing of this beautiful State. We witnessed to the people in the shops and left broken hearted as realized that our message wasn’t received as we’d hoped.

When I asked an artist at one local shop about being a Christian, she quickly said,  “I’m Lutheran, that means I’m fine, right?”

To which my reply was “No, being a Lutheran won’t save you, only Christ can do that. She replied “that’s a personal decision.”

“Very personal I responded.” And went on to explain about my salvation experience. She was kind and took my business card. Perhaps some seeds were sown.

Another young woman in another shop questioned why we were in town. Upon explaining about my speaking and singing, she told us she was of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I questioned her about her belief in Christ alone. She said she believed, but that Joseph Smith was a prophet, not to be worshiped but to be believed. She misunderstood that that statement also meant that she was saying the bible was not the only word of God and that it was incorrect according to their belief. She said that “We were all the same.”

We are not. Apostle Paul was commending people who had laid their lives on the line for what they believed. Not for assumptions or for catering to misguided beliefs. The body of Christ must stand strong in our convictions. Having hard conversations like those and others I’ve had this week may seem like I’m losing the battle, but Paul said in 1 Corinthians 3:6 “I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.”

We do not know who may come after us and share the news in a way that turns their stories into testimonies of salvation. All I can do is be faithful to what I know as truth.

I feel the Lord commending my soul today just as Paul commended Phebe and the other men and women listed in Paul’s letters. And I want to encourage you to speak Jesus wherever you are.  For me, oh my stars! It’s New Mexico! What a joy and a privilege to be in this place. The mission field isn’t a foreign land (necessarily). It’s the street you live on, your home, wherever you are. God has a work for us to do. It’s a very real assignment.

Paul listed one after another who had ministered with him in various capacities. Will you be listed? And what will it say? God bless you! We are co laborers in Christ and I want to hear what’s going on in your world. Write me and let me know!

Do You Know that you Know?

Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. Romans 14:5b

What a word from Apostle Paul. The great persuader and crusader of Jesus Christ.

In this wishy-washy world it’s good to know that I know. A very wise statement from a friend of mine, Shirley Fitzwater, was one his daughter Teresa shared with me and I’ve yet to forget it. It may not be an original, but I’m giving him credit. Shirley said, “The only thing worse than the guy who doesn’t know, is the guy who doesn’t know he doesn’t know.”

Confused yet?

When you break that statement down, it speaks so much to society. There’s nothing wrong with not knowing something. We’re all learning as we walk this earth, and I have so much to learn! But those who don’t know that they don’t know, are unaware that they’re missing any knowledge. It breaks my heart. The sirens of Hell are screaming loudly and yet they ignore them.

As the wife of a fire fighter I’ve had to listen to the sirens (tones) drop on David’s multiple radios for years. Some days when emergency services are very active, I want to take the radio out into the driveway and smash it in to a million pieces. I think I might find great joy in that. Noises bother me. But over the 30 years he’s served, most days I tune it out. I try to let it be a reminder to pray for the people who are involved, but some days I just don’t. I’m not a super saint, I’m Shari. Fully a failure much of the time. But isn’t that illustration a world view. They’re tuning out the sirens of Hell and pretending that their day will never come. They don’t know that they don’t know.

As I said, I’m glad I know.

In the context of Paul’s scripture in Romans 14:1 Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations. For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs.  Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him. Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand. One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.

I must confess that there is a part of my less than lean body that made me smile when Paul said that “another, who is weak, eateth herbs.” That’s the evil side of Shari. But the jest of this conversation speaks of judging the manner of life someone is living who does indeed know, although they’re not living as we believe they should. Another’s life is truly not ours to judge. And the world loves using that statement against Christians saying that we are judging them when we speak to their salvation. They don’t know that they don’t know. And arguing that point with them may or may not drive them into a deeper relationship with Christ. But Paul said that those who are weak in the faith, just accept them. Don’t argue.

It’s a fact that I am ever so grateful that God always impressed upon my heart that I didn’t know. I knew there was something missing in my life. So, when I received the salvation of Christ, I knew I didn’t know, and I set out to know it. But not every child of God is like that. It’s like children, they grow at different rates.

My grandson Luke is almost as tall as I am. Well over five feet. His cousin Noah, who is just a few month’s younger is so much shorter! But we do not look at his stature and say, “Noah, you need to do better.” No, we encourage him to work with the stature he has. Should we not do the same for the child of God?

I am grateful that I know and I am indeed persuaded in my own mind about the word of God, my standing with Christ and the doctrine for which I believe. But I believe what Paul is saying and reminding us of, is that we need to take care of our relationship with God, and not to judge the relationship that others may have and the way in which they worship God. If a person is saved, he or she is the property of God, and He is their Master. It’s not up to us to judge the Lord’s servants and argue.

But Paul said Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. We, as mature saints of God, need to know what we believe and why we believe it. That requires more than an occasional Sunday in church, and reading the word of God. I’m not judging, I’m just saying what the Lord has impressed upon my heart as the only path to fully being persuaded of who He is.

Do you know that you know? If so you need to glory in it! And you need to share that wealth with someone today.

🦆An Ugly Duckling Story🦢

GRAFTED AND GRATEFUL

From a child I’ve felt like an odd duck. I always had hopes that I would be the ugly duckling that grew into the beautiful swan, but never felt that I met that accomplishment either. Not asking for pity, just sharing my heart. Believe me when I tell you, I’ve came to terms… well kind of… with the fact that I’m peculiar.

It is my life verse you know… But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light; ~ 1 Peter 2:9

But peculiarity won’t be a part of Heaven. Have you ever thought of that? That in that place, we will never again feel inferior. That alone should make you shout! But here I feel inferior because I know the inward Shari that the outward world does not. When they look upon me with a judging eye, it’s generally their critique of my abilities or looks. But I not only have that to contend with in this world of glitz and glam that attracts my eye, but I have the failures of the flesh as well. Oh glory… I needed a dose of Jesus this morning to remind that even though I am peculiar here, I am a part of the family of God.

Romans 11:17-18 ~ And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert grafted in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree; Boast not against the branches. But if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee.

While Israel awaits their coming Messiah, having missed His first appearance, we partake of the root and the fatness of the olive tree.

That thought brought such joy to my soul and tears to my eyes, to think that their rejection and God’s infinite mercy allowed me to be grafted into their family as the wild olive tree would be grafted to the Original. How can I boast about the fact that I am a child of God, and forget that for now Israel is astray?

How can I not be burdened for God’s heart as I would if my own children were astray from me?

My daughters are both loving young women. Both married. And I have accepted their spouses as my sons as well. It’s an easy fit for me, because God’s acceptance into His family was the ultimate example.

When this world tells me “I don’t fit.” I can honestly say “You’re right. I’m sorry I tried to!”

Because I do. I love worldly things. There. I said it. I love make-up and shoes and clothes and God has gifted me with such. But none of those things ever seem to heal the ugly duckling syndrome. I always feel less.

Nothing brings it on more than the blessing of a singing and speaking opportunity. I begin to tear myself down.

But this morning I was reminded that my ministry came with a high price. The life of Jesus Christ. And because of Him, and His willing sacrifice, I’m apart of the family of God and privileged to serve.

Every word of the Bible is a worthy read, but the Chapter 11 of Romans is a good read for the day if you need reminded of what a high price was paid for your soul.

I feel a little prettier today because I am one of the “All” God will conclude my blog today with Romans 11:22-26

6gtFor God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all. O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.

On Second Thought

Commit thy works unto the Lord, and thy thoughts shall be established.

~ Proverbs 16:3

The thought began last night as I once again had “second thoughts.” It’s a character trait I’m familiar with. I will second guess every decision I ever made and inwardly struggle with whether or not it was God’s will or Shari’s way. And yet, I’ll leap off a cliff without regard (figuratively speaking only) and not question if other things in my life are right decisions, or merely a whim. Oooo something shiny moments where I think, life cannot go on without that. There is no rhyme nor reason to me. Can you identify? Your personality will no doubt be what determines that.

My friend Chief and I have much in common. We are both “mango” personalities, who married apples.  (it’s a personality study) We drive them crazy, but they love us and because of that their tolerance level has been high. Love binds even the craziest of people together. But the little bird tweeting her song in the image speaks more than most people would see just by looking at the image. She represents me, doing what I have been anointed and called to do. Anointed? Yes. I know it’s a churchy word and if you’re not churchy, you may question my sanity. But God doesn’t. He does amazing things; like give me song lyrics and tunes inside my mind that turn into huge blessings to myself, and to those I minister to. I can’t explain it, I only know it happens.

It’s why when second thoughts come into my mind, it bothers me. Because 24 hours before, I was as rock solid on my decisions as Niagara Falls. And felt that I had every bit as much force in the spiritual realm!

Satan works to de-commit us. He wants to shake my world and yours until our bones rattle within us.

The Commitment

Some days I think I need committed. But Proverbs is a book of wisdom written to give us word for everyday life. Especially those days when we second guess what we’re doing. It can be the smallest or the largest of decisions. But either way, it disturbs our peace of mind when uncertainty is added to the mix. Am I preaching to the choir? I’ll bet I am. Because if you’re a child of God, Satan cannot take you from the grasp of the Master but he can shake everything up around you. Especially things that we have committed to do for the Lord. A commitment to me is a contract. When I accepted the call of God, I said I’d do… whatever.

So, what do we do?

We have to remember

The Work

Mission work is real. Although to most of the world it looks like “Baptist Welfare.” That’s what someone once said to me that it was. They were saved. They just didn’t understand. It was said to kind of poke fun at some missionaries that were getting a good bit of support. Not rich, but they’re expenses were more than covered. It was not me by the way.

What a novel idea! …That we should meet the expenses of a missionary. Yesterday I journaled Philippians 4:17. I didn’t realize how it would play into my day, but it did. Satan had taken my mind places it should not have gone, but it did.

Philippians 4:17 says “Not because I desire a gift, but I desire fruit that may about to your account.”

Missionaries don’t desire a gift when they request support, they desire the ability to provide fruit for the Kingdom of God for themselves and for those who support them and can’t go and do it themselves. You don’t have to be a missionary to be a soul winner. But you can be a soul winner through a missionary.

It is a worthy work. How can I second guess that?

 The Thoughts

2 Corinthians 10:5 remind us that:

Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

Our thoughts cannot be established if anything is exhalted above it. You know like, lording an idea over you, in the manner for which Satan does. He cannot be Lord of our lives, but he can pretend that he is by doing his best to control the thing he has access to; which is our mind.

I smiled with the thought of “taking thoughts captive.”

I imagined it, for myself, much like those little fella’s on the junior football league field when they’ve discovered they actually caught the ball! They tuck it into their arms and they run for all it’s worth, once they’re over the shock that they have it.

That’s kind of how I handle being given assignments by God! It’s like, oh my stars! I have this idea, I’ve got to run with it, which way do I go? Sometimes it works out, and sometimes Satan takes me down before I make it to the next yard line. But the goal is, don’t let him get the ball.

I need your prayers, and if possible I can always use your support. That’s not what this blog is about. It’s about understand that if God has called you and anointed you into a position for the Kingdom, you’re going to have oppositional times. Lots of them. But stay committed.

Believe me when I tell you… I am not receiving Baptist welfare, or any other kind. I’m just an American missionary bringing the gospel of Christ through word and song to my part of the world. I believe that America needs us on our soil.

Why Hast Thou Made Me Thus?

I’m trying very hard to stay focused on the ministry God has set me at task to do. And it’s not hard work when you love it, it’s just hard staying focused when you don’t always feel valued. Please don’t feel sorry for me. I just thought perhaps this might help someone else today too. God even gave me a song to go with the feelings on my heart today, so I’m feeling blessed, in the midst of being stressed. You know what I mean? It’s those days when the world tells you title + money = value. And the lack thereof = slacker.

And then I read verses like Romans 9:20-21

Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?  Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?

Did that hit you as hard as it hit me? Who am I to tell God Almighty that the one he created (me) isn’t of value and suggest that my purpose isn’t valued. It is God who honors or dishonors and I can tell you flat footed and bold faced that God honors those who serve. And by service, I’m not necessarily speaking of preachers, deacons and such, although they are included. But by service I mean anyone who:

  • Draws a breath and thanks Him for it.
  • Gives a glass of water in His name, cup of coffee, or a jar of scrumptious pears – Mr. and Mrs. Eisley.
  • Shares the most precious of gift with someone in need, time.
  • Tells a child that they’re amazing and loved.
  • Prays for someone because, or just because.
  • Tells someone “I understand.” Or “I don’t understand, but I’ll try.”

I realize the world doesn’t always understand why Christians do what they do, and some days there are Christians who don’t understand why we do what we do or see little value in it. But it’s God who gives the honor and it is He who has the power to mold us into something amazing. Sometimes He does that by making a little mud with the tears in our lives. It makes the clay more pliable. I hope this word encouraged you today. God sees. And He will honor you in His time.

Never Give Up

We do not cross paths in life by happenstance, of that I’m certain. While we may be there by circumstance, it’s not by happenstance (coincidence). I look back on my 57 years, with a primary focus on the past twenty-three, those are the years since salvation; my formative years of serving Christ in the capacity of me which lead into The Jesus Chick which came to be in about 2005ish. I’m not very good at dates, but I’m very good at events that made a difference.  There are things that happen and people who cross our paths that leave us saying “I’ll never be the same.”

When my brother was killed when I was ten years old, it forever changed my outlook of life on earth as to whether or not it was forever. It was not. At the time however I didn’t understand it all, I only understood that life was very, very sad and I couldn’t fix it. And I tried in my 10 year old state of mind to fix it by living in altered realities called my imagination. It’s what makes me weird and okay in a world that I still can’t fix. It’s not always healthy. It sometimes leads to not facing reality as one should. True story. Don’t judge me. 😊

I had another one of those bell ringing moments this morning as I read a social media post of a friend who just lost her father. One of the things that made a deep impression on her was the number of people who came up to her at her father’s service and said “I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the fact that your dad never gave up on me.”

We need some more Gene Duerksen’s in the world.

But even in a world where there’s a shortage of Gene Duerksen’s, and we often miss out on taking advantage of those that we do meet who encourage us in the battle of life, I was reminded through the word of God this morning that there is one will forever spur us on! Gene Duerksen now see’s Him face to face…

Romans 8:37

Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us.

How many times have I attempted to fly and sometimes crash landed and other times succeeded but with no witnesses for review? Many. But how many times have saints of God had faith in me even when I had none and cheered me on or gave me words of advice and encouragement.  Too many to count. I’m still privileged to that.

Lynn Stoneking’s testimony of her dad’s character of encouragement reminds me that I too have the opportunity to never give up. Not on my kids, grandkids, friends, family and me. Because God will never give up, so how can I? Did you need that word today? He doesn’t give up on you either! Share this post. Tell a friend or family member you believe in them. Shoot me a message and let me know I’ve encouraged you. We need to share and care for each other.

No Matter How the World Dresses up Sin – Dirt is dirt

O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin. ~ Romans 24-25

I’m pretty sure I have the best teen group in the nation. If you’re a teen leader, you probably think so too… or you should. They stretch me with my idealistic notions of what faith looks like, by granting me the new generations perspective. Just when I think I have it all figured out, we get into a deep (or sometimes shallow) theological discussion and I have one of those “You are not as smart as you thought you were, Shari,” moments. They are really quite frequent if I’m honest.

But last night’s ill prepared teen lesson was on “restoration” of the body of Christ. We skimmed the tops of scriptures about Peter, David, Saul and others whose failures sometimes lead to renpentance and sometimes not. But God’s love of broken people is evident from Genesis to Revelation.

The one glaring fact that comes from muddy pink boots, is that no matter how the world dresses up sin, dirt is still dirt. It aint pretty. The lesson that I learned from my diverse group of thinkers in the teen group last night was, children, (like God) are so quick to forgive the people they care about. And so quick to move on from mistakes understanding that they’re learning! I’m not so quick to move on. I sometimes put my pretty muddy pink boots in the corner as a reminder about that time I didn’t go around the mud, but walked right through it. I walk by my failed attempt at life and kick myself. I try buying a new pair of boots, but they’re not fun to wear, because i really want to wear the pink ones.

I know that’s a very odd parable. But what I hope you learn is what I did: Restoration also has to be done within. Especially if we’re not apt to share the fact that our boots are muddy to start with. Christians seldom want anyone else to know what they struggle with for fear of being seen as “less godly.” Well let me tell, I am for certain less godly. And I struggle with lots of “stuff.” I have a tender heart willing to forgive everyone but me. God is showing me through the youth who love me faults and all, that He does too.

I need to clean off those pink books and get back to walking.

How about you? Do you struggle with self degradation and unforgiveness. Maybe your boots are another color, but they’ll clean up just as nicely if you’ll spray them down with the water of the Word.