Tag Archives: Will of God

For God is My Witness

On my radar of hopes, prayers and desires for the past five or six years has been an Albuquerque, NM trip, Not entirely for selfish reason, but I must confess there is always some selfishness in my hopes and dreams, because they become so very personal.

I will not say that my trip is in line with the desires of Apostle Paul, because when Apostle Pauls said “by any means,” that was sometimes as a prisoner on a boat with a shipwreck in the future! I am not that brave. And while I would prefer a first-class flight, that’s a bit expensive too, so I opted for a less than typical mode of transportation. The train. It’s a long trip, but it’s much cheaper, and I think a little bit of an adventure. I’m always up for that! Especially if it gets me in a new part of the country where God can use me.

And so as I begin to study my way through the book of Romans, with a heavy heart about more than a few things… this trip being one, Paul’s words spoke to my already tender heart.

For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of His Son, and without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers; – Romans 1:9

God is my witness, that although I fail Him miserably and I will not say that I pray without ceasing… I cease. But, I do serve Him with my spirit in the gospel of His Son. I am passionate about my role in the Kingdom There’s something about traveling that makes my heart flutter with joy, because I know it will be an adventure and I know that if I go in His name and in His will, He will make things happen.

Why Albuquerque? Good question. And it deserves an answer. It was 6 plus years ago that I connected through social media with Radio man Dewey Moede. God was dealing with Dewey’s heart to leave his job and go full time ministry. I was struggling with that same issue. I still am. Although I’m full time, it’s not quite what I had in mind.

Kind of like when Paul’s boat hit that storm. I’m sure he would have preferred even coach tickets. He wasn’t expecting first class. But what he got was the prisoner’s pass. I’ve felt like that many times in the past 5 years. I’m not asking for sympathy, I don’t deserve it, I just want to be real.

Paul continued in verse 10 to say, making requests, if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto you.

And there it was. The train trip (at length) made sense, and the fact that God could prosper my journey through the winning of souls or the encouragement of the church made my soul rejoice. Some might say I’m making the word fit the circumstances. I don’t believe that because the last thing I want to be is out of the will of God. I will say that my circumstances fit into the word.

When Paul wrote his letter to the Romans, he’d never met them. They were a group of believers that left Peter’s conference, also known as “Pentecost” and went back to their country and got busy planting churches and spreading the gospel. Paul had hopes and dreams of meeting those he’d heard about, and encouraging them in their faith.

He wanted to impart to them some spiritual gift! Me too! He wanted to comfort them! Me too! The work of the ministry is a struggle. It’s worth every bit of it, but there are days it’s not easy to go on. I spend much of my time encouraging believers and ministries by offering them my help using the gifts I’ve been given in music, graphic arts and speaking.

My desire is to do that more and more and travel anywhere the Lord leads. Like New Mexico.

The price on that ticket stub is the cost today of the ticket only, there are other expenses as well. It may go up as time goes by. I’m also not going alone, I plan to go with my bestie Glo, who’s been a part of my ministry from the beginning. If you’d like to contribute, that would be more than awesome and more than appreciated. You can contribute through the Paypal button below, or contact me directly.

If you’d like to be a part of the Jesus Chick Ministry, by prayer, financial or you’d like to know more about what I do through out the week, message me, I’m an open book! It’s the gospel.

Don’t Miss Your Assignment

The story of Samuel begins as the answered prayer of his mother, Hannah, who prayed for Samuel and then gave him to the Lord to use. A thought unimaginable to me as a mother, who labored 8 hours for one and 4 hours for the other, and wanted my girls as much as Hannah wanted Samuel. I can’t imagine at just a few years old, taking that child to the temple and handing him over to a Priest to raise. Hannah’s name actually meant grace. A gift God had no doubt blessed her with in order to do what she did.

The characters in the story of Hannah would have also caused a mother of lesser faith to second guess her decision. Eli the priest had done a terrible job of raising his own sons, they were heathens, making a mockery of their role at temple and God eventually tires of it and kills them. And now Samuel is growing up under the guidance of Eli. I think I might have hung out at the temple a lot! Looking to see if my son was cared for. But Hannah didn’t. She trusts God and eventually had three more sons. Who no doubt took up much of her time.

Samuel grew up just fine, as we know from the scriptures, but what if the story went another direction. What if the story of Billy Graham had gone another direction and he hadn’t have accepted God’s call on his life, how many millions would have gone to Hell? How do we know that we’re not the next great soul winner in God’s plan? What if we only win one soul, but that soul wins millions, and what if we neglect so great a calling because we didn’t take the time to hear it?

A Study from Samuel 3:1-18

1 And the child Samuel ministered unto the Lord before Eli. And the word of the Lord was precious in those days; there was no open vision.    

Right out of the gate in the life of Samuel we learn that children are not excluded from the call and service of Christ. We also learn that there is no “open vision.” Meaning that God was no longer communicating with the way He once did. Probably because of the behaviors of Eli’s sons, which likely affected the rest of the nation, who had never needed any help falling into sin in times past.

And it came to pass at that time, when Eli was laid down in his place, and his eyes began to wax dim, that he could not see; And ere the lamp of God went out in the temple of the Lord, where the ark of God was, and Samuel was laid down to sleep; That the Lord called Samuel: and he answered, Here am I.And he ran unto Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou calledst me. And he said, I called not; lie down again. And he went and lay down.And the Lord called yet again, Samuel. And Samuel arose and went to Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou didst call me. And he answered, I called not, my son; lie down again.Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, neither was the word of the Lord yet revealed unto him.

 

Samuel thought that he was hearing Eli. He was young and had never experienced the Lord working in his life before. I was 34 before I ever experienced the Lord working in my life. That brings us to the question, how are you to know that God is talking to you?

KNOWING THE VOICE OF GOD

And the Lord called Samuel again the third time. And he arose and went to Eli, and said, Here am I; for thou didst call me. And Eli perceived that the Lord had called the child.

We understand through the word of God how we hear from Jesus: when the scripture says in John 10:27 “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:” Over time we begin to distinguish the voice of God from the voice of the world that constantly pulls us in different directions. But not without a relationship that is constantly growing in Christ. Thinking that Sunday morning Christianity is enough… isn’t. A loving relationship isn’t open for conversations 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. It is for certain you won’t hear if you don’t spend time with Jesus and listen.

Therefore Eli said unto Samuel, Go, lie down: and it shall be, if he call thee, that thou shalt say, Speak, Lord; for thy servant heareth. So Samuel went and lay down in his place. 10 And the Lord came, and stood, and called as at other times, Samuel, Samuel. Then Samuel answered, Speak; for thy servant heareth.

This time Samuel responded.

Hearing and understanding that it is God requires more. It requires:

KNOWING THE CHARACTER OF GOD

11 And the Lord said to Samuel, Behold, I will do a thing in Israel, at which both the ears of every one that heareth it shall tingle. 12 In that day I will perform against Eli all things which I have spoken concerning his house: when I begin, I will also make an end. 13 For I have told him that I will judge his house for ever for the iniquity which he knoweth; because his sons made themselves vile, and he restrained them not. 14 And therefore I have sworn unto the house of Eli, that the iniquity of Eli’s house shall not be purged with sacrifice nor offering for ever. 15 And Samuel lay until the morning, and opened the doors of the house of the Lord. And Samuel feared to shew Eli the vision.

God tells Samuel that He’s going to bring Judgement on Eli and his sons. What does that tell you about the character of God and has He changed? Of course not! Malachi 3:6a tells us For I am the Lord, I change not;”

So in knowing and understanding the character of God we can for certain weigh what we’re hearing against what we know to be the character of God. Would God personally do what you believe you heard? Anyone who says that God told them to do something immoral or unjust didn’t get that word from God.

Another all telling sign “can” be that the word you received makes you uncomfortable. Samuel didn’t want to have tell Eli that God was going to bring judgement upon them. When God told me that I needed to speak, that thought was way outside my comfort zone, but it wasn’t way outside my thoughts. I’d always desired it, but the world had convinced me that I could not. Preaching and teaching the word of God isn’t a popular thing to do in this day and time.

KNOWING THE DIRECTION OF GOD

16 Then Eli called Samuel, and said, Samuel, my son. And he answered, Here am I. 17 And he said, What is the thing that the Lord hath said unto thee? I pray thee hide it not from me: God do so to thee, and more also, if thou hide any thing from me of all the things that he said unto thee. 18 And Samuel told him every whit, and hid nothing from him. And he said, It is the Lord: let him do what seemeth him good. 19 And Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him, and did let none of his words fall to the ground.

A most amazing statement when we read “None of his words fall to the ground.” Everything that Samuel ever said, came to pass. Would to God, that I had such a relationship with the Lord, that everything I said came to be. I’m pretty sure that every single time I said “God said.” He didn’t. Because if He had said it, it would have happened and it did not.

I need to listen closer, draw closer and never fail to hear an assignment from God.

What are the Odds?

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One of my favorite characters in scripture is Jonathan, the son of Saul, friend of David, and most importantly man of God. What an illustration of friendship he is and an encouragement to the soul in days of days of doubt. As the son of a jealous, insecure and often disobedient to the will of God, King, Jonathan likely had many days of doubt; but he didn’t let it deter God’s purpose for his life. Through my years in the youth ministry I’ve stood amazed on more than one occasion how a young person of questionable upbringing managed to redirect their moral compass from that of their family. It is because of those living testimonies that I can ignore the statistics that would put the entire family on the prison bus, or hand them the keys to the poor house. I’ve witnessed “Jonathan’s” for myself and have often drawn strength from their stories when I have doubt in my own life and God’s purpose for me or others that I care for.

A telling scripture for the character of Jonathan is 1 Samuel 14:6

And Jonathan said to the young man that bare his armour, Come, and let us go over unto the garrison of these uncircumcised: it may be that the Lord will work for us: for there is no restraint to the Lord to save by many or by few.

A Decision in Doubt

Jonathan said to his armor bearer “Maybe the Lord will work for us,” casting doubt on his own decision making. He’d not told his father of his lone battle plan against the Philistine army, making me wonder if he’d doubted his father’s leadership early on which in turn created the root of his insecurity. I’m not a psychologist so I can’t tell you if that’s the case, I only know from my own experience that self-doubt used by God is called faith.

A Work in His Will

Jonathan may have doubted whether or not he should have gone off on his own but he didn’t doubt God’s ability to work. It is that faith that I’ve seen in children who have come out of some pretty rough situations, and it is that faith that I myself have had to rely on when dealing with self-doubt. Many people are in disbelief when I tell them of my lack of self-confidence and insecurities because on the surface I don’t appear to be that way. This is where faith changes the course in lives. The same insecurities that can cause someone to follow generational failure and poor decision making can also be the catapult for success with the realization that God is in control, and not us.

No Reason for Restraint

Faith. It’s the unexplainable explanation for success. “Just God.” There is no other way to explain why it happens. Jonathan said there is no restraint to the Lord to save by many or by few. It’s not about me it’s what God can do through me. I believe that it’s what those who defy the odds tap into for strength and wisdom and it’s why I don’t ever look at where someone came from to determine there they might go. I know where I have been… and look what He’s done with me.

Jonathan and his armor bearer fought and won a battle with about twenty men. What are the odds? They’re great with God on our side!

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Should I go, or should I stay… a leadership lesson from Jotham

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I’ve all but stopped listening to the news… it merely leads to frustration. And my ever so up to date husband gives me regular updates on his frustrations. I really am not one to say that’s it’s my way or the highway on who’s elected to office. I fully believe that no one gets in without God’s stamp of approval. That being said, just because God let them into office doesn’t mean that He allowed it because He agreed. Sometimes we get what we ask for because God needs to prove a point. I think we’re living out the “point.”

I spoke over the weekend at a Women’s retreat in Lexington on women in leadership. A great study on Miriam and a joy to expound what God had spoken to my heart over the weeks of preparation for that event. One such quote that I used from an article on Bible.org was profound…

Miriam’s problem is one that I think is very easy for women to fall into, and it’s one we have to be alert to guard against. We must be content with the influential role that God has given us within the framework he has instituted. Do you hear that? That’s really important! When we make a play for power we can often lose influence.

So what happens when we put people into positions that they were never mean for? When I’ve been put into those positions it usually lead to disaster! As I read through Judges 9 this morning I found a follow up thought to my leadership study.

Judges 9:7-15

And when they told it to Jotham, he went and stood in the top of mount Gerizim, and lifted up his voice, and cried, and said unto them, Hearken unto me, ye men of Shechem, that God may hearken unto you. The trees went forth on a time to anoint a king over them; and they said unto the olive tree, Reign thou over us. But the olive tree said unto them, Should I leave my fatness, wherewith by me they honour God and man, and go to be promoted over the trees? And the trees said to the fig tree, Come thou, and reign over us. But the fig tree said unto them, Should I forsake my sweetness, and my good fruit, and go to be promoted over the trees? Then said the trees unto the vine, Come thou, and reign over us. And the vine said unto them, Should I leave my wine, which cheereth God and man, and go to be promoted over the trees? Then said all the trees unto the bramble, Come thou, and reign over us.  And the bramble said unto the trees, If in truth ye anoint me king over you, then come and put your trust in my shadow: and if not, let fire come out of the bramble, and devour the cedars of Lebanon.

The Olive Tree – Filled with the oil that would be used in the lamp of God, in the tabernacle, sacrifices and the anointing of the kings, priests and prophets. Why would the olive tree dessert such a useful station in life to be king of the trees. That is not the purpose for which God designed it. And why should a man or woman leave the station in life that God has designed for them, the one that brings great joy into their life, to serve elsewhere? I had to ask myself that this morning… my heart was quick to answer.

The Fig Tree – A bearer of sweet fruit that would nourish the souls of many that passed by. Why would the fig tree desire to be King and leave hungry souls in want? I know I just spoke to my heart… did I speak to yours? Have you wondered if you are in your intended place?

The Vine – Another emblem of a good and purposeful plant. The fruit of that vine cheered not only men but God! If it did not fulfil its intended design, God would be sad. I truly don’t want that laid to my charge.

I cannot control when men and women of power get put into those positions out of the will of God. I can only pray and vote with godly wisdom and discernment. And pray again…. And again… and again. We need God’s people back at the helm of this nation. But as for my role in life. I need to be what God designed me to be.

Shari… speaker…. Singer… lover of God… Sharer of the gospel.

Getting in Tune with God

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Life… every time I think I have a handle on it, God speaks to me as if to say “Really?”

Twice this morning God brought to my thoughts Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

Trust… I think I trust Him, but then I’m not sure if I even get it. If I “trust” Him, why am I always trying to fix life? Why can’t I just wait for Him to open doors instead of picking the lock? Seriously? That’s a good thought. It’s just a shame I don’t take my own advice. I’m still blaming Eve. If she had trusted God and not eaten of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, my life would be so less complicated. Just think about it… not having to live life by trial and error. That goofy fruit really messed things up, rather than having the mind of God, I now have the mind of me… that’s seldom good.

Lean…What must it have been like to literally lean into the bosom of God? I think of the Apostle John who said in John 13:23 “Now there was leaning on Jesus’ bosom one of his disciples, whom Jesus loved.” That always cracks me up! I read it as if he says… “the one whom Jesus loved… He liked the others. But I was His favorite.” But how wonderful would it have been to have sat with Jesus face to face and had a conversation where the Lord’s advice wasn’t a guessing game as I so often feel it is now. I know… the Holy Spirit is within me, and if I was really the Jesus Chick I’d know what He wanted me to do. Well you’re right and I do know what He wants me to do, He wants me to trust and lean but not upon my understanding, upon His. It’s the human perception that causes the error… that doggone smarty tree again. The one of good and evil.

Hindsight is always 20/20. God wasn’t trying to keep Adam and Eve from enjoying life; He was sparing them the full weight of reality.  Reality bites. Reality is where lust replaces satisfaction. What God had for Adam and Eve was perfect and what Satan introduced them to was doubt. Genesis 3:1b Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?”

That same lingering doubt is in my mind today… Is that really what God wants me to do? Its then that I must

Acknowledge… Just admit that you can’t go it alone. Adam and Eve were not created to walk in the garden alone, they were created to walk in fellowship with God. He had their path laid out for them until Satan entered the scene and created paths, in the plural sense. God’s way was and still is “one way.” John 14:6Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

In order to get back into fellowship with Him, He created that path home which I took in 1996 when I acknowledged that I couldn’t go it alone and that I needed Jesus in my life. I still have self-will, which is what gets me into trouble and causes confusion. Life isn’t a guessing game when it comes to decision making. We don’t have Jesus face to face, but we do have Him heart to heart. If I’m not hearing the answer to the question I’m asking, then my heart is not in tune to God’s heart and I need to tune it up through the Word of God and prayer.

I hope today finds you in tune!

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Perfectly Picked

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Yesterday was one of those days that I allowed myself to seep into depression. No reason really… it was just a handy place to be. I could have a woe is me pity party with all the feasts and trimming and there was no one to call my hand on it because I didn’t invite anyone else to join me. Oh, Izidora the Chihuahua occasionally tried to cheer me up, but her attention span is about as long as mine…. Is that a squirrel?

One  small advantage of having that “oooo something shiny” attention span is that it doesn’t allow me to hang out in a pity party too long; that would take focus. So this morning was a new day and my focus was a little more to the brighter side of life as I got out my guitar and began strumming  through the pages of a new song book titled “Parking Lot Picker’s Songbook.” If you’re not a bluegrasser you’re likely reading that title with bewilderment, or you think it’s a flea market guide. What it is is a book filled with old time bluegrass and gospel songs that “pickers” pick in parking lots at festivals and such. It’s probably the best collection of tunes I’ve seen compiled to date. Yes, that was an oooo something shiny moment. But it did have purpose. In that book is an old standard hymn “Have Thine Own Way.” As I played and sang it this morning “Methodist Style” (meaning I sang all four verses) Baptist usually only sing first and last, it blessed my soul!

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Thou art the Potter, I am the clay.
Mold me and make me after Thy will,
While I am waiting, yielded and still.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Search me and try me, Master, today!
Whiter than snow, Lord, wash me just now,
As in Thy presence humbly I bow.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Wounded and weary, help me, I pray!
Power, all power, surely is Thine!
Touch me and heal me, Savior divine.

Have Thine own way, Lord! Have Thine own way!
Hold o’er my being absolute sway!
Fill with Thy Spirit till all shall see
Christ only, always, living in me.

It’s a standard hymn, but it’s not a standard of living today is it? We want it our own way, and yesterday. But reading through those words, written by obvious divine inspiration, my heart that had been so “me” focused yesterday, softened like butter on a hot biscuit! God has so richly blessed me with time. Time to sing, pray, study, serve… and yes… whine. That story is not new either.

Isaiah 58:12-14 reads ~ And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in. If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: Then shalt thou delight thyself in the Lord; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.

Israel was a chosen nation that continually tried to have it their own way, when all God wanted was for them to choose Him and His way and He would have given it all…

He hasn’t changed.

  • I am chosen by Christ.
  • I am challenged by His Spirit
  • I am charged by His Word.

I’m not perfect, but I was perfectly picked! Have Thine own way Lord…

But I want That!

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How many times have we said it? We know it may not be the will of God for our lives, but we want it. We’re not sure we can even afford the maintenance, but we want it. We have two similar, but not exact… we want it.  Color me guilty. We’re a spoiled nation. I’m never any more aware of it than I am when I speak to my friends in other countries whose idea of luxury is more than one meal a day; those whose meager belongings would likely fit in a grocery cart and I’m complaining because I don’t have the latest and greatest of some new trend that I’ll tire of tomorrow.

That wasn’t necessarily the case in Sarai’s day. What she wanted was a child, not an unreasonable request, especially for the culture of the day. But she grew tired of waiting and tried to fix God’s problem for Him.

Genesis 16:2

And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the Lord hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai.

I posted a quote yesterday that I heard on Sirius XM radio on my way to work in the morning.~ “Worry is not believing God knows what’s best, bitterness is believing He was wrong.” I don’t know who’s thought it was, but I thought it was profound! And then when I added the story of Sarah to the equation later on in the day, I thought God may have just been trying to tell me something. Possibly He’s trying to tell you too!

It wasn’t that God didn’t want Sarah to have a child, but her timing was off. So in her attempt to fix God’s problem she created a problem for the entire nation of Israel. (Ishmael, the son of her handmade) is the root of the Arab nations which continue today to be a thorn in Israel’s side, and ours! Ahhh, but surely your decision won’t have a lasting effect? After all, yours is not a child, it’s a car, or a stereo, or cute shoes. As with most issues in life, it was Sarah’s heart issue that was the problem.

She had told Abraham, “the Lord hath restrained me from bearing.” To restrain is to “keep something under control.” It wasn’t that Sarah couldn’t have children, it was that the Lord was preventing it and Sarah knew that. She was in a sense saying “God says it’s not my time, but I believe it is.” Timing is everything, whether it be a child, a job, or something materialistic.

Sarah’s decision didn’t please God and it didn’t please Sarah. We find her later complaining to Abraham in verse 5 “And Sarai said unto Abram, My wrong be upon thee: I have given my maid into thy bosom; and when she saw that she had conceived, I was despised in her eyes: the Lord judge between me and thee.” If I’m reading that right Sarah still had quite the attitude and her relationship with the Lord may have been a little skewed. In my mind the phrase “the Lord judge between me and thee,” is the equivalency of saying “If you don’t believe me, just ask God.” Had either of them done that, we’d not be in the fix we’re in today in the Middle East. Sarah now expected Abraham to fix the issue.

Times haven’t changed much. We still play the blame game and wait for someone else to clean up our aisle. We need more prayer prior to our decisions for less problems afterwards.

Are you trying to rush God? Stop. Are you angry because it didn’t go as planned? Stop. If a wrong decision’s been made, repent and allow God to walk you through. If you haven’t crossed the line yet, now would be a good time to reflect back on Sarah’s story and consider the far reaching consequences of your decision.

If someone else’s bad decision is the issue, forgive and allow God to work through both of you.

If this message encouraged you, I’d love to hear about!