Tag Archives: word

Let’s Talk About Us

Notes from Monday, October 1, 2018 live feed. Video Below 

If you ask me where my “Happy Place” is in the word of God, I would tell you John 14. Verses 1:6

Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.

In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know.

Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way?

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

So I give you three points to ponder today as we start the new work week. Help, Hope and Happiness and they’re all found in those verses.

Jesus begins by telling us “Let not your heart be troubled.” Whatever it is you’re facing this week, Jesus has it under control.

In Psalm 121:2, David wrote “My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.”  I’ll put these scriptures in the comments below when we’re done.

David understood and we need to remember that at the Creation of the earth, God the Father and God the Son were there. The Creator of all the earth. The Scriptures said “Let Us make Man” Genesis 1:26 The “us” was God and Jesus.  If He can speak a tree, an animal an ocean into existence, what is any problem that we have.

If He can speak life from nothing, can He not speak over your problems, and either take you through, around or out. God has the power to do all three.

The rest verse 1 says “Ye believe in God, believe also in me.”

That’s the “Us” again that from the foundation of the earth.  David said in Psalm 119:114, Thou art my hiding place and my shield: I hope in thy word.”

John 1:1 says In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God.

Sometimes that gets confusing; how can God and Jesus be one? Well to confuse us further, They’re actually three. And I don’t profess to have it all figured out. But to help my mind fathom what it means I have to understand the Word that was written.

Isaiah 48:13 says “Mine hand also hath laid the foundation of the earth, and my right hand hath spanned the heavens: when I call unto them, they stand together.”

The universe cannot contain God. But the Son walked on earth. That helps me to understand the roles the two of them play in Creation. And the Holy Spirit, the third part of the Trinity, I feel within my soul.

It’s because of that I have Hope, and know that God is my protector. He is within m and understands everything I’m going through. He knows my every thought.

Verse 2 of John 14 reads, “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

This earth and all the sorrow in it, is temporary. God is preparing us a world beyond what our imaginations can fathom!

Another verse in Psalm 144:15 b (meaning it’s the latter part of the verse) says “Happy is that people whose God is the Lord.”

Those who understand verse 6 when Jesus said “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

The only way you can have true happiness is through Jesus Christ. And believing in His finished work on the cross. Jesus Who walked as a man, and died as a man on this earth that He created, did that on the cross to pay the price for our sin so that we could go to that happy place He is preparing.

I made that decision in 1996. I lived 34 years in fear of Hell. Also a very real place. But praise God, I got saved! I hope you know Jesus today. And if you don’t, please, private message me and you and I together will walk the road to salvation.

If you know Him, I hope you’ll write the verses that I gave you down somewhere you can see them this week and hang on to the hope that comes from the Word of God.

If you’re in the valley, take heart

As the summer winds down in West Virginia, the nights are getting cooler and the days are filled with crisp air and falling leaves. A drive through the hills and valleys is filled with the splendid colors of fall and you can almost smell the pumpkin pie in the oven. I love this time of year! It’s a time of refreshing of the soul as the hustle and bustle of summer lends itself now to rest and a slower pace. At least until Christmas!

This morning I’m in Psalm 84, a Psalm said to have been written by David during the time his son had forced him out of his city, a Psalm that anyone who has been away from a place they longed to be in could understand. Perhaps it’s not a place you long to be in but rather a state of being you long to be in. That is more along the lines of where I am this morning. I long for a time of rest and not a constant battle to survive. Hmm… that may sound a bit dramatic, but it’s none the less true. And the places of refuge I find is in the word and house of God, so Psalm 84 encourages me this morning as I glean the understanding of the place David was in.

Psalm 84:6

Who passing through the valley of Baca make it a well; the rain also filleth the pools.

According to bible scholars, the valley of Baca was a part of the desert country filled with many risks and dangers and it lead up to the city of Jerusalem where the house of God was located. Along the way there were wells of water that were apparently far apart and not easy to get to. It was a hard, suffering way to travel which is why the Valley of Baca literally means “Valley of weeping.” Those wells would have been a welcome sight as David fought his way back to his beloved Jerusalem.

During any struggle in life, time in the word of God is that refreshment between the times we’re in church. Church is a soul filling station, but for every day away the journey of life can become consumed with thorns and cares, and although few of us have to fight wild beasts, there are some pretty scary times to be faced, which can feel like something has its teeth in us that’s not about to let go.

David’s Psalm 84 has him longing to return to the house of God. Verses 1-2 says How amiable are thy tabernacles, O Lord of hosts! My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the Lord: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God.

But he couldn’t get there. And for much of our week there’s not a service to be attended until Wednesday and Sundays, so on the other days it’s so good to know that there is a soul filling station a hand breadth away in the Word of God.

As David traveled that rough terrain, a well was a welcome sight.  But take note that the spring of water didn’t just appear, when David was passing through he had to “make the well.” In our pursuit of God while traveling a rough terrain, the well that satisfies our soul may not just spring forth for a ready drink. We may have to dig a while. But that too is a welcome distraction away from the cares around us.

As always I have a long to do list and a performance at the end of the day. It was good to stop by the well location this morning and dig a little in the word of God.

I love the McKamey song that says

“Life is easy, when you’re up on the mountain, you’ve got peace of mind when life’s at it’s best

But it’s down in the valleys of trials and temptations, that’s when life’s really put to the test,

For the God of the mountain is still God of the valley, the God of the day, is still God of the night!”

Glory, if I had shoes I kick’em off. (that’s what mama McKamey would do at a performance when she’d get in the spirit!”)

I sincerely hope you’re having a mountain top day, but if you’re in the valley, take heart. There’s a well ahead. Dig…

Where to find encouragement when all else fails

encouraged

1 Samuel 30:6b

…but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.

In this portion of scripture, David’s men blame him for the burning of their village and the kidnapping of their families. His whole company has turned their back on him. Ever felt that way? Like you’ve let the world down…

For some odd reason the 1972 Carpenter’s song “Rainy Days and Mondays” is stuck in my head. I’ve read several chapters in 1 Samuel this morning (through to the end) and deed it played out in my mind like one of the greatest of all movies. I cried when Jonathan and David parted company because of Saul, I cried when Jonathan was killed in the battle with Saul, and mourned for the loss of a leader when Saul killed himself. This isn’t a story, it’s history, and the more you read the Bible, the characters truly become as family yet to be met.

I find such peace in the Word because the characters, which God inspired to be written of, are there because their relatable. Not because they’re super saints of old. They were genuine men and women of God that the Lord used to encourage us on the days that we feel less than super hero material.

So, on rainy days, Mondays and even cold winter Thursday’s I can hide myself  and find myself in the Word of God. He is such an encourager to my soul!

Color me… thankful.

A Most Unusual Word

UNUSUAL CHICK

This was written in booklet form as a Wednesday night study for the Junior/Senior High Youth group at Victory Baptist Church, in Grantsville, West Virginia in hopes of giving them an encouraging word as we wind down 2015 and soar into 2016.

What truth we are living in as we see in the closing book of Daniel when the Lord says in 12:4

But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.

We are for certain in those days. The time is now that the world needs to see the certainty of the God of an “unusual people.

In January 2015 I prayed for and received a word that I could focus on throughout the year; that word was:

Believe!

I was pleasantly surprised how God would show me this word again and again in various forms and places through the year. So as the year closed and I began asking God for a 2016 word, He responded with what I consider to be a follow-up to 2015 ~ my 2016 word is:

Unusual

It’s fitting for me in more ways than I care to admit. But then I began thinking about the first time as a new convert I was said to be “peculiar.” I wasn’t offended. I knew it had something to do with the Bible, so I looked in my concordance and there it was… in all its splendor in 1 Peter 2:9 (as well as other places) – And as I had suspected it was a compliment, not an insult.

1 Peter 2:9

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;

God loves the unusual.

This year God asked me to share my word with you. We can see the world waxing colder and colder. As Christians it’s so very easy to put up a shield to protect ourselves from the harsh cold world. But what if we rather thawed the icy walls around us allowing them to see and have the living water of Christ Jesus our Lord within.

Those icy souls would be better viewed as snowflakes; beautiful and unique just waiting for the warmth of a child of God willing to do unusual things. Loving the unlovable, generously giving and sharing God’s word with boldness and an excitement bubbling from within that transcends the norm of what people have seen in Christianity. That’s my prayer for you… and me!  Let the world be normal… we’re an original masterpiece of God Who’s waiting to do something remarkable with us. Are you ready?

God loves the unusual

2016 WORD OF THE YEAR

UNUSUAL

In the book of Daniel Chapter 2 is an unusual story about an unusual man and a King who had an unusual request. King Nebuchadnezzar asked for the wise men to first tell him a dream he had dreamed (but couldn’t remember) and then explain the dream.

***

Unusual Requests

Daniel 2:1-6

And in the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar Nebuchadnezzar dreamed dreams, wherewith his spirit was troubled, and his sleep brake from him. Then the king commanded to call the magicians, and the astrologers, and the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans, for to shew the king his dreams. So they came and stood before the king. And the king said unto them, I have dreamed a dream, and my spirit was troubled to know the dream. Then spake the Chaldeans to the king in Syriack, O king, live for ever: tell thy servants the dream, and we will shew the interpretation.  The king answered and said to the Chaldeans, The thing is gone from me: if ye will not make known unto me the dream, with the interpretation thereof, ye shall be cut in pieces, and your houses shall be made a dunghill. But if ye shew the dream, and the interpretation thereof, ye shall receive of me gifts and rewards and great honour: therefore shew me the dream, and the interpretation thereof.

That’s one strange request! And one that brought deadly repercussions if ignored. The world has unusual requests for Christians, do they not? They require explanations of us that they require of no other religion. They aren’t asking the Muslims to explain Allah, the Buddhists to explain Buddha or the Pagans to explain their unbelief. But we are called to explain everything about Christianity.6

  • Creation (How could God create it?)
  • Separation (why does God want it?)
  • Admonition (Why should we heed it?)
  • Exaltation (Why should we give it?)

Of no other religion are these answers being demanded. We serve an unusual God, and we are asked unusual requests because we are an unusual people. If we could be explained… no one would care. Our God is unusual and Awesome! And He expects His people to be unusual and awesome as well.

Exodus 19:5

Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine:

Psalm 135:4

For the Lord hath chosen Jacob unto himself, and Israel for his peculiar treasure.

Titus 2:14

Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

1 Peter 2:9

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;

God treasures the unusual!

***

We serve an Unusual God!

Daniel 2:7-11

They answered again and said, Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will shew the interpretation of it.

 

The king answered and said, I know of certainty that ye would gain the time, because ye see the thing is gone from me. But if ye will not make known unto me the dream, there is but one decree for you: for ye have prepared lying and corrupt words to speak before me, till the time be changed: therefore tell me the dream, and I shall know that ye can shew me the interpretation thereof.hey answered again and said, Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will shew the interpretation of it.

The Chaldeans answered before the king, and said, There is not a man upon the earth that can shew the king’s matter: therefore there is no king, lord, nor ruler, that asked such things at any magician, or astrologer, or Chaldean. And it is a rare thing that the king requireth, and there is none other that can shew it before the king, except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh.

The King called their bluff he said “tell me the dream and I shall know that ye can.” As if to say, “prove you’re who you say you are.” God put this thought in Nebuchadnezzar’s mind because He knew the world would think that to be the strangest, most unreasonable request they’d ever heard. “Tell me a dream that you dreamed but can’t remember and then explain it.” That’s crazy. But Nebuchadnezzar was relentless, he said either do it or die.

To Shari quote this part of the story, the wise men then said, “Okay… tell us one more time what you want.”

To which Nebuchadnezzar replied “I know your game, you’re wasting my time.”

I believe that people who genuinely are searching for the truth, don’t waste time on false gods. It doesn’t take them long to see through false gods. But Jehovah God, Our Provider, Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, there’s something unusual about Him and they recognize it. But for many they don’t want to trade their control in for faith.

The “wise men” knew they couldn’t fulfill the King’s request. They told him that this was a “rare”, an unusual request he was asking. No person could possibly answer it, only gods without flesh. The answer to the King’s question would have to come supernaturally.

And God smiled…

He said you’re right. And it will come supernaturally through my man.

 

An Unusual Man

Daniel 2:12-18

For this cause the king was angry and very furious, and commanded to destroy all the wise men of Babylon. And the decree went forth that the wise men should be slain; and they sought Daniel and his fellows to be slain.

Then Daniel answered with counsel and wisdom to Arioch the captain of the king’s guard, which was gone forth to slay the wise men of Babylon: He answered and said to Arioch the king’s captain, Why is the decree so hasty from the king? Then Arioch made the thing known to Daniel. Then Daniel went in, and desired of the king that he would give him time, and that he would shew the king the interpretation. Then Daniel went to his house, and made the thing known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions: That they would desire mercies of the God of heaven concerning this secret; that Daniel and his fellows should not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.

Daniel had wisdom and insight that was not afforded the other “wise men.” The King likely suspicioned the other wise men’s abilities, but Daniel had a supernatural connection to the dream maker through the power of prayer, his and that of his friends.

So when Daniel came to the King’s henchman and asked questions with wisdom, his reputation had preceded him. When going before the King to ask if he could make known the dream the King didn’t doubt him. The testimony of a child of God who lives their faith out loud is known throughout the communities for which they live. It’s unusual! Hypocrites are a dime a dozen.

The Christian testimony should be such that when problems arise people come to us for counsel. But unfortunately too many Christians live their lives in such a way that their counsel seems no different than any others. God needs us to be unusual.

***

 

Unusual Bravery

Daniel 2:19-25

Then was the secret revealed unto Daniel in a night vision. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven. Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his:  And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding: He revealeth the deep and secret things: he knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him. I thank thee, and praise thee, O thou God of my fathers, who hast given me wisdom and might, and hast made known unto me now what we desired of thee: for thou hast now made known unto us the king’s matter. Therefore Daniel went in unto Arioch, whom the king had ordained to destroy the wise men of Babylon: he went and said thus unto him; Destroy not the wise men of Babylon: bring me in before the king, and I will shew unto the king the interpretation. Then Arioch brought in Daniel before the king in haste, and said thus unto him, I have found a man of the captives of Judah, that will make known unto the king the interpretation.

Did you notice that the scripture said “Daniel blessed the God of heaven. And it goes on to say how.

  • He prayed for God, to God, that He would be blessed by men forever.
  • He acknowledged where his blessings came from. For wisdom and might are his.
  • Daniel knew that God is the God of circumstance. Any season or reason in life is of God and He can change it in the blink of an eye. They’d come to kill Daniel, but soon they would adore him.
  • Daniel acknowledged that King Nebuchadnezzar did not get into the position of King without God’s stamp of approval.
  • And Daniel praised God for making known to him the meaning of the King’s dream

God chooses who it is that he elects to use. He controls the lives of the unsaved and saved alike, orchestrating their direction in life like the Puppet Master and the marionette.

After Daniel prayed he went to Arioch and said “Let’s do it.”

You better believe it would have taken gumption for Daniel to stand before the King. He’d already ordered them killed, Daniel knows he’s upset! But Daniel had confidence that the God he served had just delivered him the message that would divulge the secrets locked up within the King’s mind, a message that nobody could deliver.

Do we have that kind of confidence in God today? Do we believe when we hear a message like that from the book of Daniel that God is using it to ask us to step out with greater confidence? – – – We’re about to find out.

Daniel 2:26-30

The king answered and said to Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, Art thou able to make known unto me the dream which I have seen, and the interpretation thereof?

Daniel answered in the presence of the king, and said, The secret which the king hath demanded cannot the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, the soothsayers, shew unto the king; But there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days. Thy dream, and the visions of thy head upon thy bed, are these; As for thee, O king, thy thoughts came into thy mind upon thy bed, what should come to pass hereafter: and he that revealeth secrets maketh known to thee what shall come to pass. But as for me, this secret is not revealed to me for any wisdom that I have more than any living, but for their sakes that shall make known the interpretation to the king, and that thou mightest know the thoughts of thy heart.

That’s what I always feel like when God chooses to use me in amazing ways. “But God, I’m no different than any other child of God… But He reminds me although that’s true, not all of God’s children are willing vessels for the cause of Christ. This word for 2016 is nothing as it’s spoken by my mouth, but when God puts it into action it can become amazing and used for God’s glory! The word “Unusual” may have been spoken by ordinary Shari, but that makes it no less significant for you should you decide to see what God can do with that word in your life in 2016.  It is for God’s glory that I ask you to be unusual.

Daniel told the King that he knew what his heart said. I make no profession of knowing your heart, only you will know what your own heart says about this word “unusual.” If you choose to take this message to heart I’m convinced that God will do amazing and unusual things with you, but you have to be unusual.

Daniel’s confidence level soared because he knew in His heart it was from God. He served the God Who was truth, and revealed the truth. The very same God we serve today.

2016 has some awesome things about to happen.

The day God gave me this word, within 30 minutes, Steve Boggs called to say Eagle Ranch Revival and Mission Center had just been given 50,000 dollars. – unusual things….

I’ve been feeling bad, but God says you’re going to be fine. I have unusual things to do with you.

Daniel told the King, I’m not anyone of any greatness, but I serve a great God who will use me anyway. You may say that “You’re just a kid from a little town in West Virginia.” God however thinks you’re amazing, but in order to go up, you have get down.

Matthew 23:12 says

And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.

If we’re going to be used by God humility is required. There is a vast difference between confidence and arrogance. One is right and the other wrong. One relies on the power of self, the other realizes that without God we’re nothing but with God we’re everything! Make sure you walk in the confidence of the Creator. Daniel reveals the Lord’s message with confidence in the “Lord’s message” not his own wisdom.

First Daniel describes Nebuchadnezzar’s dream…

Daniel 2:31-45

Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible. This image’s head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay. Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces. Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.

Then Daniel interprets the dream regarding the future of the King’s monarchy… that’s the wisdom God affords.  What man cannot even imagine is but a small thing to God.

This is the dream; and we will tell the interpretation thereof before the king.


Thou, O king, art a king of kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory.
And wheresoever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven hath he given into thine hand, and hath made thee ruler over them all. Thou art this head of gold.  And after thee shall arise another kingdom inferior to thee, and another third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth. And the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron: forasmuch as iron breaketh in pieces and subdueth all things: and as iron that breaketh all these, shall it break in pieces and bruise. And whereas thou sawest the feet and toes, part of potters’ clay, and part of iron, the kingdom shall be divided; but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, forasmuch as thou sawest the iron mixed with miry clay. And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken. And whereas thou sawest iron mixed with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay. And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever. Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.

Daniel is a young man revealing great prophetic truths by trusting in the Truth that God has revealed to him. I’m not a prophet… I cannot say what your future holds except to say that it will have far greater things in store for you if you determine to be “unusual” for Christ.

This world will fall. But we serve a God who has created a world that will never fall.

Right now America is still an awesome land. We have power, strength and glory (though it’s fading). As Daniel spoke to Nebuchadnezzar he reminded the King of his greatness and the providence of God that placed him into that position. God’s providence still reigns in our lives, serving to get us where we need to be. He’s got a plan and we’re a part of it; that plan is to spread the truth of eternal life through Christ Jesus. A position that we take for granted. Ambassadors for Christ is not a position that God took lightly when He watched His Son being crucified for us to have it.

***

An Unusual Position

Daniel 2:46-49

Then the king Nebuchadnezzar fell upon his face, and worshipped Daniel, and commanded that they should offer an oblation and sweet odours unto him. The king answered unto Daniel, and said, Of a truth it is, that your God is a God of gods, and a Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, seeing thou couldest reveal this secret. Then the king made Daniel a great man, and gave him many great gifts, and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief of the governors over all the wise men of Babylon. Then Daniel requested of the king, and he set Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, over the affairs of the province of Babylon: but Daniel sat in the gate of the king.

God not only placed Daniel into a place of authority, but Daniel asked that his friends come along for the ride.  Daniel was put in a place to be elevated and used for that eternal Kingdom. And I believe that that’s why He has us in this place. I believe that God can do some amazing, awesome, unusual things with every one of us. And that we can bring our friends into that same blessing. But we have to (using the old Cliché) DARE TO BE DANIELS.

I would like to see every one of the youth in our ministry elevated into positions of greatness for the glory of God.  And God can do that. But you have to be a person of unusual character in the world today. When I say “dare” to be a Daniel I’m setting a challenge before you, because it’s not easy. Unusual means having a right heart, staying in His word, working in His house, having the right friends to encourage you and listening for His guidance in all things.

Are you ready to do unusual things for the God of glory?

~***~

Questions to ponder

  1. Are you living your life in a manner pleasing to God?
  2. Would your friends seek your counsel?
  3. If God asks you to do the unusual, are you confident to trust in His ability to make it happen?
  4. What is it that speaks to your heart about Daniel’s unusual story?
  5. Spend some serious time in prayer asking God where it is He’d have you be unusual. What was His answer?

A paper copy of this booklet is available for $5.00, plus shipping cost of $2.00 via Paypal. For a copy please message me at talk2shari@gmail.com or message my phone at (304)377-6036.

CLICK BELOW TO FOLLOW OR MESSAGE ME ON FACEBOOK

chick encourage 2

 

 

Rest, Reasoning and Relaxation with God’s Word

chick ponderingEvery time I pick up God’s precious word it speaks to me. Sometimes like a child in Sunday School class who wants to tell you everything that happened at the house this week. They need to catch you up on the latest and greatest; and other times in commentator form… slow and detailed. And then I realize, no, that’s how I read it. And guess which one I’m apt to be reading as. There’s nothing usually slow and detailed about me. More likely than not I’m a “Let’s skip to the chase” kind of gal.

Skipping details can, if you’re not cautious, gets you into trouble. It may not be coincidence that fast talkers are slow learners.

My morning began about 4:30 a.m. as I lay in bed with my mind rushing to and fro like an intersection at rush hour. I need to get this done and this done and this done. I want to do this, but I have to make sure this is done first and wait… I’ll have company this morning so… GET UP!!!

So I do.

I brewed the coffee, picked a couple of tunes on the guitar, worked out a fiddle lesson for my niece Phebe, ate some cereal and settled in on the couch. And when I finally stopped trying to write my day for me, God said… shssshhh. Let’s just be still for a minute and so I was…

And there in the stillness I heard the songs I’d been practicing lately

Peace be Still

There is a Time

Come as You Are

Each one of those songs preaches a sermon to my heart, each one has made me shed tears. This morning His word brings them together. The world is chaos. Between the political mayhem and the arrogance of anti-God rhetoric on the television my mind is often tumultuous; and that’s not good for someone who’s mind already runs like a race horse. I feel like I’m about to wreck!

PEACE BE STILL

Mark 4:39 

And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm.

I love the song, I love the scripture, and I love the Lord Jesus who calms the chaos in my mind with just three small words. Oh what power there is those words though! No matter the turmoil Isis and other political parties try to stir they cannot un-calm the peace of God. They do not have the power over the ocean.  They can stir no more than a puddle. Thank you Jesus for that peace this morning!

THERE IS A TIME

Ecclesiastes 3:1

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:

The seasons work in perfect harmony for creation. In West Virginia we’re in Autumn, the leaves have fallen to the ground and the earth is gray and barren around our home. But if I just wait a few more months, the earth will come back to life and a new season will begin. This chaos that we experience on earth… it too is a season.  The arrogance and anti-God rhetoric will die and God’s purpose will be fulfilled.

We read of a city John saw coming down from God out of Heaven,
The walls are of Jasper, the gates are of Pearl, the streets of pure gold;
He tells of a pure river of life that flows from the throne,
And after we’ve reached that beautiful place we’ll know as we’re known

Lyrics from “Let’s meet by the River”

COME AS YOU ARE

My new guitar piece that I’m working on is a song by Crowder called “Come as you Are.” Oh my stars… the lyrics to this song are just beyond! I don’t know of anyone in my life who’s not been broken in one form or another, but recently my heart breaks in two as I see the anguish on the faces and I know that I have the answer but they refuse to listen. They’re trying to fix their own life, scrubbing and buffing the fenders of the car until they shine, not noticing that the engine is missing. They want their lives to look perfect to the world, and to the world it just might… but God looks inside. And what He sees is an empty space that He longs to fill and provide the peace that they desire, but aren’t willing. And I am not of this world… so I see it too. That’s the spiritual discernment that God affords His children.

Matthew 11:28

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

I am so grateful to serve a God Who is Able to

Calm my storm

Give reason for ever season

And give rest to the weary…

From Fear to Faith with Apostle Paul

chick scaredy pants

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

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

Mr. & Mrs. Smarty Pants

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

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

Scaredy Pants

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

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

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

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

Trust Issues

T.R.U.S.T. – Total Reliance on Something Tested

I use my cell phone as an alarm clock, and as it goes off in the wee hours of the morning there are usually message popping up on the screen as well, it’s certainly not uncommon. But an encourager in the faith who occasionally and very randomly messages me awoke me this morning with that acronym, a word of encouragement and scripture from Psalm 44. He didn’t know that I needed it. Only those very close to me knows that I’m facing another time of uncertainty in my life. And Satan, who has been trying very hard to discourage me, has been thwarted at every turn by the Lord. I’m so humbled, because my weak faith certainly doesn’t deserve it.

Over the past few days I’ve been meeting my past. Memories, people, things… and as I walked across the campus of Glenville State College I happen to run upon a previous boss, that I loved, and in my frustration I ask “God why is this happening? Why now, when I need encouragement, am I meeting past failures?” And as sure as my name is Shari, He spoke to my heart and said those weren’t failures, those were provisions. Those were times when you had nothing and I gave you great things. Why do you always depend on yourself?” So I reflected again on the people and the places of my life… and sure enough there it was as He had said. Provision, and not of my own.

Psalm 44

His Work

1-8 We have heard with our ears, O God, our fathers have told us, what work thou didst in their days, in the times of old.

How thou didst drive out the heathen with thy hand, and plantedst them; how thou didst afflict the people, and cast them out.

His Weapons

For they got not the land in possession by their own sword, neither did their own arm save them: but thy right hand, and thine arm, and the light of thy countenance, because thou hadst a favour unto them.

Thou art my King, O God: command deliverances for Jacob.

Through thee will we push down our enemies: through thy name will we tread them under that rise up against us.

For I will not trust in my bow, neither shall my sword save me.

His Worship

But thou hast saved us from our enemies, and hast put them to shame that hated us.

In God we boast all the day long, and praise thy name for ever. Selah.

His Word

In the scripture, and through the message of another child of God he encourages me to praise Him today, for He alone is faithful. My secular job ends September 30th. In these very uncertain times not having a job can be an issue. I’ve been here before, several times… And each time God did a miraculous work! I’ve been here since the day I told God “no” to full time ministry in 2010. Do you think that’s a coincidence? Me neither.

For those who do not know the story, I did not tell God “no” in disrespectful rebellion (though it was rebellion.) I told Him “no” because I really couldn’t see the “how.” After jobs kept “mysteriously” ending I stopped asking “how” and began asking “when?” I’m still waiting for that answer… rebellion comes with a price.

No Monkeys at Camp!

monkey 2

I really don’t know at what point in my life I was introduced to the gospel. I was brought up in church from birth, and yet didn’t come to the saving grace of Jesus Christ until the age of 34.

John 1:1-5

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

Are those verses not amazing? Theologian Francis Junius told of how as a youth he was “infected with loose notions in religion,” as he puts it. But by the grace of God discovered faith in Christ by “accidently” reading John 1:1-5 which his father had purposefully laid in his way. Loose notions of religion… how appropriately does that describe our world today? Because of the light hand taken with the gospel at many of the churches I grew up in, the light of God did not penetrate my soul and I too had loose notions of religion. Oh, I believed in Christ (as does Satan), but I had no real comprehension of Who it was that Christ was. I believed that God created the universe, but what about those monkey’s people told me about in school? I didn’t really believe it, but it cast enough doubt into my mind that I was confused as to the creation of mankind, after all learned people were telling me these atrocities. Adults wouldn’t lie, right? My idealistic world of two Ozzie and Harriett parents didn’t prepare me for secular teaching and liberal preaching did solidify anything in my mind about Jesus Christ.

Tears well up in my eyes when I think of what children today are being exposed to. At least, Hallelujah and praise His Holy Name, I had a decent foundation. I had good parents. But the world is harsh.

When God gives that final exam in Heaven… “What did you do in your life for me?” There are going to be some educators who are going to stand before Almighty God and give an account for why they preached a monkey religion and cast confusion in the minds of children. “But it was a State Mandate! They’ll cry…” And God’s response… I don’t know. That’s for God to deicide, but I’m pretty sure it won’t be good.

That was a station break, now back to my sin. From the creation God was. Christ was. From 1962 Shari was (in human form anyway). And even as a child, in the pit of my soul I knew there was a Creator. God revealed that to me, but I was in darkness and I comprehended it not. I didn’t understand until I heard the Word of God preached in 1996 and it was literally as if God flipped a switch in my soul and I said, “Oh Jesus! Thank You for causing the darkness to flee, I’ve been scared and alone for 34 years.”

This morning I woke up in teen camp 2014. I fear that the switch has not been turned on in all of my campers, I’m pretty sure of it. They won’t get any monkey religion from me or any other leader of Victory Baptist Church this week; they’ll get the gospel. Please pray for our youth and our leaders. I hope to have some awesome stories of salvation this week!

Frustrated Grace

Can you frustrate grace? Apostle Paul said you could. I love his forthright writing. (That’s almost a tongue twister!) But he enforces grace as hard as he enforced the law. And yet as the modern day church, 2000 plus years this side of grace we are continually trying to rebuild works.

Galatians 2:18-21~ For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.

A little background on these verses. Just prior to then Paul and Peter had had words. Paul felt compelled to line Peter out regarding his separating himself from the gentiles so as not to offend the Christian Jews who believed to be saved you still needed to follow the ceremonial laws. I fear we have a few laws of our own. The Bible says “Come out from among them” (II Corinthians 6:17) and too often I hear that verse being used as church separation rather than as the way it was intended as a sin separator. The entire verse reads “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.”

Before you stop reading for fear I’ve gone over to the all-inclusive side of a one world religion let me clarify that I’m not talking any other faith other than those who have our born of a virgin Savior, Jesus Christ, crucified for the redemption of fallen man, risen the third day and awaiting our return in glory LORD. Now that that’s settled let me continue. We’re still separating ourselves and that ought not to be. I believe in the Baptist doctrine for which I make no apologies, but I have friends of various other denominations. I take each one of my friends as individual saints of God and do not lump them into their denominations, as I hope they do the same for me. Because in truth there are some Baptists I’d rather not be lumped in with. I speak not on any specific denomination this morning because when Paul wrote this there was none, although you can see its beginning.

Why would we want to rebuild what was destroyed?

The ceremonial law. Six hundred and thirteen commandments? I can’t even keep ten. And although I really don’t believe we’re rebuilding Jewish law in the Christian faith I see ideas of man intermingled with grace that to the unsaved, they have to wonder “How much work is involved in Christianity?” The church (as a whole) spends so much time explaining why someone else is wrong that they forget to say why Jesus is right. Peter was so concerned with what the “religious” thought that he hurt the gentile believers, and it’s still true today. We’re still hurting each other. There’s enough false religions out there that we have no need or time to tear down the ministry of another church because we don’t believe as they believe.

It’s really not about what we do, it’s about how we live. What goes on in our churches is seldom seen by the lost because we don’t live the example outside the walls of the sanctuary.

We were created to worship God. When’s the last time you worshiped at work or school. (Don’t try to feed me separation, you can do it if you want to, even if it’s subtle.)

We were told to study the Word. In the words of an old friend, the Word of God is a spiritual “warsh” cloth, it’ll clean you inside and out. When’s the last time you’ve really bathed in the Word.

We’re called to be a witness; to tell others about Christ, not to tell others what others are doing wrong. Jesus said, “I am the way.” He did not say how you dress is the way, how you speak is the way, or how you sing is the way which in many ways we are using to define salvation.

This thought has been on my heart a lot lately. Care to weigh in?