About that bubble you’re in…

huh

For many of the friends, family and strangers that I talk to about Jesus, this is the same look I get from them. They wonder if I’m in a bubble, having never truly experienced life, because surely I should be able to see that life is better outside of Christ. And I look at them the same way, only on the inside, so as not to offend them. Because I know the truth.

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.

Their Broken Receptor

Receptor – A specialized cell or group of nerve endings that responds to sensory stimuli.

For the most part, I get on their last nerve. This Jesus Chick talking about Jesus all the time, praying over her food, thanking God for her candy bar, mentioning God’s design and will, etc., etc., will she ever shut-up. ~ I sure hope not!

I’m trying to fix their receptors. Somehow between birth and now they stopped feeling God move in their life, or they just turned the switch off.

Romans 1:19-22 ~ Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. 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: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.

They’ve taken their eyes off the Creator and put them on the created. They look for peace in their pocketbook only to discover you can’t buy it. They look for it in the people of their lives, only to discover that they’re looking for it too. They look for it in the satisfaction of their station in life, only to discover that they’re quickly expendable. And as they search God walks beside them, waiting, patiently for them to turn to Him and say, “So there You are, Peace, where have You been?” And He says, I’ve talked and walked with you every step of the way, but you turned the volume up on the world, and I won’t yell to be heard. – at least that’s how it was for me.

That’s why when my friends and family give me that “Huh?” look, it’s okay; because I’ve been there. But I want to keep showing them by the way I live my life that God is real! That is why it’s important for me to show my grandbabies and anyone else that I’m thankful God provides for me. Whether it’s an 8 course meal, or a Hershey ® Bar. He provided it.

Today is Sunday, June 30, 2013. I’m getting ready to get ready to go to the house of the Lord. Not because I have to, but because I get to! It’s an honor and privilege to go into His house and be in His presence and feel Him move. Really! So… how’s your receptors? As you read my words did you feel a tingle in your soul from God saying “that’s my girl, listen to her.” Has it been a while since you’ve felt it? Then it’s time to get back in touch.

POP! – There went that bubble you were in. God is real!

John the Encourager!

Luke 3: 10-14 ~ And the people asked him, saying, What shall we do then? He answereth and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise. Then came also publicans to be baptized, and said unto him, Master, what shall we do? And he said unto them, Exact no more than that which is appointed you. And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages.

John was not only a baptist he was an encourager! He was telling his community about Jesus, encouraging their generosity, honesty and concern with one another; he encouraged me this morning!

As I was looking at the stats for the Jesus Chick sight I found it interesting that the blog post with the highest number of hits was one titled “Hold On!”, where I encourage my readers to hang on in the face of the adversity of the day. I found it interesting, not because so many people had read my blog, but that what the people needed was encouragement. As Christians we speak so often about the degradation of the world around us that it’s a discouragement to the believer. While it’s true, we still need to exhort one another daily.

Hebrews 3:13a saysBut exhort one another daily, while it is called To day;

Yes, there’s bad news all around us, but within you the Good News reigns. We have the ability to turn someone else’s life around today, and in that process bring joy to our own souls.

How?

If you have something extra, give it to someone who has less.

Feed the hungry.

Expect nothing extra, don’t be greedy.

Be kind to everyone.

Be content with what you have.

What wonderful advice and each one with its own reward.

I read a book 25 years ago by author Robert Fulghum: “All I Need To Know I learned in Kindergarten.” What made it so intriguing that I couldn’t put it down was his simplistic message:

  • Share everything
  • Play fair
  • Don’t hit people
  • Put things back where you found them
  • Clean up your own mess
  • Don’t take things that aren’t yours
  • Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody
  • Wash your hands before you eat
  • Flush
  • Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you
  • Live a balanced life – learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some
  • Take a nap every afternoon
  • When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together
  • Wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: the roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really know how or why, we are all like that.
  • Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup – they all die. So do we.
  • And then remember Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned – the biggest word of all – LOOK.

John the baptist’s message was far shorter and simpler, and even more effective. I’d say the readers of John the Baptist’s stories have far, far exceeded Fulghum. As for Robert Fulghum, I’m not so sure about his life at this point. During my reading of his series of books he seem to stray away from his faith. Sad. I hope I’m wrong on this point.

John the Baptist died for his.

All Christ asks of us is that we live for it. That’s not too much is it? Encourage one another today. I love you. Really 🙂

Step Up Church!

step up church

Good Grief! 1st Corinthians 16 reads like the modern day minutes of a church business meeting! To country quote it, Paul is on the road ministering and has sent Timothy into their (the church of Corinth) to line them out. So Paul warns them “you better be good to my preacher boy.”

(Vs 10) Now if Timotheus come, see that he may be with you without fear: for he worketh the work of the Lord, as I also do.

The church was in factions: there were those rich with wealth and those rich with spiritual gifts, those in control and those out of control, all of which was causing much strife among the brethren and it was up to young Timothy straighten out the mess. Just what a new preacher wants to hear!

Well I sincerely hope this is not your church, Hallelujah it is not mine! We’re in good shape. But I can tell you this much, any church is one covert operation away from it happening. Let pride and dissension come in in any form and it can be anyone’s church regardless of how good it is today.

Paul’s advice to the church of Corinth is “Step Up!” and it’s a good word for us too.

Step up the Collections

(Vs 2) Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.

Luke 12:34

For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

If you love someone you’ll invest in them, you’ll make sure they’re taken care of. My husband, nor I buy each other gifts to prove our love, we buy them as an exhibition of our love. We do not have to buy God’s love, as a matter of fact there’s not enough money in the world to even begin; but our money can and should be used as a display of our love for the Lord and His work. What we invest in shows where our heart is, amen?

In these troubled times the work of the ministry must go on. The time is drawing near that Christ will return and fewer and fewer people are finding it needful to be a part of the church. They have been lulled to sleep by the lies of Satan that there is “another” way, or they are “good enough.” We need to spread the Word, and that takes money.

We need to Step up our Conduct

(Vs. 11) Let no man therefore despise him: but conduct him forth in peace, that he may come unto me: for I look for him with the brethren.

Paul had sent Timothy into their congregation to reprove them for their behaviors, which was anything but godly. How on earth can we expect to see new folks coming into the fold when the sheep are acting more like ornery wolves outside the door? They’re behavior is not concealed, it’s open and blatant acts against the scripture and in the same breath they’ll invite someone to revival. And when the preacher dare preaches against it, or heaven forbid calls them out on it and they’re upset with the church. I know… I’m bordering preaching, but it’s the truth, and I’m not in a pulpit, I’m on the internet, so it’s all good!

We need to step up our Constancy

Right here in the thick of summer when all the fun weekend projects are goin’ on and I’m yacking about church attendance.

(Vs. 13)  Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.

Well, the truth of the matter is, folks don’t just die in the winter. We need to stand strong in our faith and show our family and friends that it’s an important part of our lives. It’s not just so they’ll see, it’s so you’ll be encouraged. Laying out of church will do your spiritual side no favors! You’ll be lower than a snails belly when you drag back in this fall; or God forbid, something happens in your life where you need God in a major way, and you’re in no condition to fight a battle because you laid your sword down in June and have no idea where you left it.

Come on Saints of God. Let’s Step Up!!!! These are exciting times. The Lord could return today and He wants to find you faithful and serving. Jesus loves you, and so do I.

Revealing our Dignity

Modesty isn’t about hiding ourselves, it’s about revealing our dignity. – Jessica Rey

1st Timothy 2:9a ~  In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel.

I still haven’t gotten past the shock factor with America. Any given day of the week I tune into Facebook and watch young women (and sometimes old women) posting pictures in provocative poses that look like they’re auditioning for a page in an unnamed magazine with bunny ears. I’m less shocked by the girls, who are young and are merely imitating what they’ve witnessed as acceptable, than I am by the Mom’s who encourage it and repost the pictures.

Good night a mighty!

But… you say… Shari….. You’re old; a fuddy duddy of the faith. What could you possibly know about it? Well for the record, yesterday I was sixteen (at least in my mind) It was actually 1978. A time when we had just come out of the sexual revolution of the 60’s, society had changed and so had the social norms, and not for the better. Women had come into their own and were rebelling on every front. Praise God, I was raised by a Mother who stood by godly principles. Even when I did not I stood in awe of her love and dedication to my father and our family. She’s first class all the way. (Did you catch the part where “I did not”?)

I haven’t always been a fuddy duddy of the faith. I was willly nilly of the world at one point! I’d fly whatever direction the popular wind blew. I bought the lies of the media that northern and southern exposure were cool. And women wearing clothes that they grew out of two years ago were stylish. Although I didn’t ever get comfortable with it. There was always something in my upbringing that kept signally my brain saying, “that ain’t right.” But I’d rebel against my own brain! And then I had daughters… Woah! I now needed to rethink that theory. I didn’t want men ogling my children, nor did I want them acting like strippers which is what I see on Facebook.

Can I get a witness?

What got me on this roll this morning was a video posted by **Jessica Rey. A beautiful young woman who was the white Power Ranger for several years for those who were fans. She has a modest swimsuit line (unfortunately the price isn’t modest) but the swimsuit line didn’t intrigue me as much as her video. This beautiful, popular, Hollywood young lady is a wonderful rare example to set before daughters and Moms on why the sexual revolution didn’t do us any favors. Her message is spot on about the reality of provocative dressing.

But it’s not just about the provocative dressing but also about the provocative thinking. When I see a twelve year old girl posting a pictures where her body is exposed via short shorts and string tops, her eyes are drawn in a manner of seduction, her lips are perched like Marilyn Monroe on a movie poster I want to shout, “Why would you want that, she died hours after it being reported that she said in a violent argument that she felt she had been ‘passed around like a piece of meat.’

Marilyn died six days before I was born. We idolize her images and portray her as Hollywood at its best when she was truly its worst. She was an abused woman, who’s beauty was seen as a commodity to be sold on the market.

Mothers, take your baby’s off the market. Teach them to value their bodies and savor their youth. Let them be children. The world lies…

The Video Link **

http://www.godvine.com/The-Godly-Truth-About-Bikinis-You-ll-Think-Twice-About-Bikinis-3509.html#.UckZ9HUM_qg.facebook

The Worst Lies

Trending on Twitter this morning “#WorstLies.” And many, if not most of the posts were relationship oriented. Relationships are important to us; a loss of trust in someone we love because of betrayal is one of the worst feelings in the world. I’ve been there, on both sides. But probably the worst lie I ever bought into was that true happiness could be found in anything outside of Jesus. Advertisements are full of promises that buying their product will “end your search” for the latest and greatest, and before it arrives in the mail someone else has claimed the right to that proclamation and you’re buying their product too. We are a society of blissful buyers, knowing full well in the back of our minds this won’t complete our lives, yet we constantly looking for things that will enhance our relationships: self-help books, new date night ideas, a nice outfit, vehicles, trips, etc. And there, laying on a shelf, dust covered and neglected is leather bound happiness.

The worst lies:

It’s just another book. Ha! Indeed a lie, and why does Satan use it? Because he knows that when you crack it open and begin to read it you’ll discover it’s not just a book. I vaguely remember a movie when my kids were little titled “Jumanji” where two children find and play a magical board game that transports them into a world of dangers that can only be stopped by finishing the game. It had nothin’ on the Bible!

Revelation 6:9 says ~ And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held:

The Bible is still the number one selling book of all times. A book that countless people have died for because it’s more than a book, it’s the indisputable truth for the betrayed, hope for the hurting, guidance for the lost, love stories for the heartsick, adventure for the courageous, tales of treason and victory for every aspect of life! It’s the best weapon against Satan. So of course he lies and tells you that you don’t need to read “that” book. Or he encourages men to water it down and change the meaning of the words until they’re more palatable to man and won’t convict their hearts that they’re living wrong. Get you a good ol’ King James Version Bible and open it anew. What you’ll discover as you read it, is that it’s a living story that speaks to you along the pages.

Another worst lie: There is another way.

John 14:6

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

When Thomas questioned Jesus about the place he was preparing for us to go, he didn’t understand that the Lord spoke not of an earthly location but of eternity. An eternity that we’ll all be in some day, but unfortunately we’ll not all be in Heaven. Thomas was labeled “Doubting Thomas,” because he questioned the Lord’s resurrection, but he did “get it.” Tradition tells us that Thomas may have labored for the Gospel in Parthia (including modern Iraq and Iran), but stronger traditions link him with southern India. Indian Christians from the west coast Kerala area claim they were evangelized by Thomas, who was later speared to death near Madras on the east coast. That doesn’t sound like the death of a doubter. Thomas new what Christ said was true. He is the only way to an eternity in Heaven. The only One worth dying for.

There are countless other #WorstLies. But that’s two of the biggest. Don’t buy into it. Read the book. Learn about the Savior who give you more than you can ever dream possible. #GreatestTruth!

It’s Not About the “Place”

1 Kings 22:43

And he walked in all the ways of Asa his father; he turned not aside from it, doing that which was right in the eyes of the Lord: nevertheless the high places were not taken away; for the people offered and burnt incense yet in the high places.

The temple was completed, there were no need for the “high places” of worship. My first thought as I write this morning is, “how on earth did I get here?” This was not my intended thought to write upon, but it seems so necessary. Jehoshaphat was a good King. He was following in his father’s footsteps, he was trying to do everything right, but there was that “one thing.” That act of disobedience that was a distraction from the house of God. There was no reason that the people could not worship at the temple, they had that freedom; but the high places were loved by the people because of their antiquity and so they were left, against God’s word.

We all have that “one thing”. That one thing that takes our eyes off where we are to serve God. We are a people who love traditions. And while traditions have their place, because it’s good to see where we’ve came from and respectfully remember those that lead us to this place; but there comes a time when we have to move on. When those places become a distraction from actual worship and more of a repetitive action or should I say repetitive distraction.

The high place is not a bad place.

My beloved Victory Baptist Church is in a state of transition. Our Pastor, who we love, has decided that it is God’s will to move on. He has Pastored our church well for 21 years, he told me about Jesus and changed my life forever, and countless others in our congregation. He brought revival into our community and taught us how to serve God. He discipled us before he sent us into the community and considered his station behind the Holy desk of God as one of accountability and responsibility. He took strong stands in the face of opposition… he did right as did Asa, Jehoshaphat’s father… I Kings 15:14b says ~ “Asa’s heart was perfect with the Lord all his days.”

And Jehoshaphat followed in his father’s footsteps, he continued in the right way, except for one the thing… those high places. Those high places had become what the people were looking to instead of the Lord. Certainly they worshiped the Lord there, but the “there” became as important as the Lord.

Victory Baptist Church has long been the victim of multiple rumors. I’ll not give credence to any one of them here, but let me just say there were MANY! We have been a watched congregation. Every time someone fell out of fellowship with the Lord it was noted. When the church was founded in 1992 their motto was “Discover the Difference” and it was that difference that got cheers and jeers. What was the difference?… accountability for one. The new Pastor held his leadership to a high standard. If you talked it, you better have walked it and that unsettled those who thought God didn’t mind slacked standards. I better be careful, I’m bordering preaching. 🙂 We loved our Preacher, we treated him well, and people took note of that too.

But here we are in this transition. And people are watching. They want to know if it was real. Were we there because of the leader or the Lord?

Where we were was not a bad place. It was an awesome place. But it’s moved and now we’re here. We will continue in the path of righteousness. We will continue on the Word of God (King James Version), but under a new leadership, one that we’re excited about. We are anxious but waiting for the new place. We’ll love him too.

When I began writing this today, I did not know that I would end up in “this place.” The place where I have to say it’s not about the place, or the man; it’s about God, our mighty Redeemer. Jehoshaphat and his people left those high places standing and it took their sights off God. I don’t want that for my church.

Perhaps your church is in a time of transition. Tear down the high “places.” Let the Word of God stand. The traditions of man mean nothing unless it’s God’s design. We have to move in to the new place. Get ready!

My Pursuit of Happiness

It ain’t always easy bein’ happy but it beats the alternative. I made the decision years ago that when someone asked me how I was, I would smile and say I’m amazing, or awesome or extraordinary; at the worst “fine.” I do occasionally feel like a liar because it doesn’t always feel true. But it is. I have the occasional off day where when that “how ya feelin’?” question arises and I would like to say, “Well, since you ask” and then let it go with both canons firing. But to what avail? Then we’re both upset. So, my “I’m fine” theory will continue. You may be thinking that that’s a very caring attitude for my fellowman. Not always. Sometimes it’s just me taking care of me.

Apostle Paul wrote in 2nd Corinthians 2:1-4

But I determined this with myself, that I would not come again to you in heaviness. For if I make you sorry, who is he then that maketh me glad, but the same which is made sorry by me? And I wrote this same unto you, lest, when I came, I should have sorrow from them of whom I ought to rejoice; having confidence in you all, that my joy is the joy of you all. For out of much affliction and anguish of heart I wrote unto you with many tears; not that ye should be grieved, but that ye might know the love which I have more abundantly unto you.

It doesn’t take very long into a conversation with a negative personality before you begin thinking “oh gracious… why did I ask?” I write about this more often than any other topic because I believe we need the encouragement. To country quote Paul, I am not going to share with you how bad my day is because then you’ll have a bad day, and together we’ll share just exactly how lousy the whole world is and before you know it I’m as low as scum trail from a snails belly on a hot July day. That’s low! I love you too much for that. I realize that I may be the only joy someone has in the course of the day, and that’s pretty sad but it’s reality. So I too determined, I’m not going to tell you because it’s not healthy for either of us.

I’ve always been a very private person. If my husband and I have a Mister and Mrs. (aka disagreement) I don’t feel obliged to go to the office and share it with the staff. It just continues the drama. Stop it! And it doesn’t speak well of my husband. Nor do I share it with my children and cause them to disrespect their father. If someone hurts my feelings, I generally don’t tell anyone, because then someone else is upset at them, and I may have just been tenderhearted about the whole situation. And then, there are those people who like to have roasted preacher for Sunday dinner, and then wonder why no one accepts their invitation to “bring a friend” day at church. Come on! Don’t do it.

Psalm 34:14 ~ Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.

Happiness does not come easy, it has to be pursued. Apostle Paul knew it, King David knew it and I know it. There’s a song we sang as children “If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands (clap, clap), If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands (clap, clap). For the Father up above, is looking down on you in love, If you’re happy and you know it clap your hands (clap, clap).”

Life’s rough. Choose to be happy today. If clouds of sorrow start to overshadow you, start singing “If you’re happy and you know it.” If the first verse doesn’t work, sing them all! I love you and so does Jesus!!! Really 🙂

No Turning Back

Quack pack

In my search for hunting apparel  to wear to Church on Sunday (A statement likely only said in a place like West Virginia) I passed by Tractor Supply and headed to Walmart thinking their sporting goods department would assuredly have the pink and brown Real Tree ® shirt I had set my mind on having. In my defense it was “Sportsman Sunday” in honor of Father’s and we were dressing the part, I truly am not that red neck. Anyway… it was a no go. So I got back in my car, drove back to Tractor Supply, certain that they would have a hunter chick covered… epic fail #2.  So I drive back to Walmart and purchased a Duck Dynasty shirt and then headed home feeling my back tracking had finally paid off. I was ready for church!

Back tracking irritates me!

I’m a “multi tasker” in the worst possible ways. I most always have two projects, or unfortunately two train of thoughts in progress. Praise God for voice activated dictation, because prior to that you would not have wanted to meet me on the road (just sayin’). So to have to go back or re-do anything just grates on my nerves. I want to get two things done at once, not redo the same thing twice! I think it’s godly, after all God doesn’t like back tracking either.

Hebrews 10:38 ~ Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him.

There it is, plain and simple. No back tracking! At least in the spiritual sense of the words. Proverbs 14:14 says “The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways: and a good man shall be satisfied from himself.” Why does anyone want to go back? Such a complete waste of time. It took me a second to get my mind wrapped around Proverbs 14:14 – and then the light went on… ding ding ding!

The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways = self-serving life styles and a lack of dedication to the things of the Lord ends in misery. And a good man shall be satisfied from himself = contentment and great gain. 1 Timothy 6:6 But godliness with contentment is great gain.

I don’t want to appear self-righteous or holier than thou. After all, I am but one step from back sliding myself – as is any other Christian. It just takes one wrong thought, one bad decision, one selfish desire… basically a discontent, unsatisfied heart to back track. So how does one get there? By focusing on self. That single minded nature which is inherently human causing us to want our own way in our own time and putting the servitude of others, not on the back burner, but still in the pantry on the shelf. In a nutshell – we get our eyes off Jesus. We forgot that day of salvation feeling when all we wanted to do was serve God and His people. We didn’t care if we had a dime in our pocket or title behind our name (other than child of God); we were just happy falling into line and doing the next thing that needed done. Woohoo, I just wrote myself happy again! That’s why Apostle Paul could write such encouraging words from behind the bars of a prison. And not a modern day prison, he did not have 3 square meals, possibly not even one; and he certainly didn’t have a television and video game. I started to say no one was offering him a book deal, but God did! How funny is that!

This is my fuel for your fire today. Move forward in your life. Stop looking at past failures and or even past successes. You cannot undo a mistake nor can you live in yesterday’s glory. If you’ve messed up, fix it the best you can or be content with where you are, but move on!

I could have gone home and pouted because I had to settle for something other than Real Tree pink camo or I could be content with my Quack Pack purchase. I know… silly right? Well, so are a lot of the reasons we fail to move forward in our life.

PICTURES FROM SPORTSMAN DAY 2013 AT MY VERY OWN

VICTORY BAPTIST CHURCH 

It’s All Apart of the Plan

Jonah 1:7 ~ And they said every one to his fellow, Come, and let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this evil is upon us. So they cast lots, and the lot fell upon Jonah.

When Jonah refused to go to Ninevah to preach the gospel as the Lord had asked a “whale” of a story followed! But the reality of it was, how many people died outside salvation in Ninevah while Noah was rebelling against God? One was too many…

The practice of casting lots was common of the day; every decision was from the Lord and when the lot was properly used, the answer was not a matter of chance but came from God. Because we now have the Holy Spirit dwelling within us the lots are no longer necessary, however the answer is still not a matter of chance.

Proverbs 16:33 says “The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord.” I have to wonder if this is not where the phrase “It just fell into my lap” came from, when in truth nothing just “falls” into your lap without the divine providence of God either directing it there, or allowing it. It is then our task to determine the direction to go.

My lap is often full of decisions. I sometimes fear a boatload of Tarshish immigrants will pass by the shores of Calhoun County and declare “Throw her overboard. The troubles we’re in are her fault! It’s a habit in my life to assume responsibility for something that was not within my control. Yes… it’s crazy, but it’s my lot.

The point I want to make here is this, “No decision is allowed to come into our lives that God’s not a part of. He either allowed it or created it, either of which was designed to send us in His direction for the answer. There are times I wish the practice of casting lots was still an option, a “yes” or “no” answer would be helpful. But what a decision requires, where it be big or small is prayer and lots of it. Reading the Word of God and allowing the Holy Spirit to minister our soul.

Jonah made a mistake, it wasn’t fatal but it had a nasty repercussion. Imagine being in the belly of that great fish for three days! What would be going through your mind? Just kill me already! I’ll bet he did some serious soul searching then. It was all a part of the plan…

Matthew 12:40

For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

God was not caught off guard by Jonah’s rebellion. He expected it. I’m sure God would have much preferred if upon telling Jonah to go to Ninevah, he replied, “I’ll pack by bags and be out the door in the shake of a dog’s tail.” But being that wasn’t his answer and God used that too. He used Jonah’s act of rebellion as an example of God’s ultimate redemption. He said I’ll show you that way back there in 786-746 BC that I knew you’d mess up in 2013 AD, so 2000 years ago, I died on that cross of Calvary, they placed Me in the tomb and in three days I came forth too! But not as whale puke, like Jonah. No, I came forth victorious. Satan thought he won, until I knocked on his door and said I’ve come for the keys of death, hell and the grave. Revelation 1:18

Decisions are rough. We can’t cast lots, and sometimes we’re not nearly as in tune with God as we should be, but isn’t it great to know that God’s got it all worked into the plan. He can use even our mistakes to bring glory to his name. Amen!

Church of the Big Hole

Sign near the entrance of a church in Wisdom, Montana. The Church of the Big Hole is a reference to the Big Hole river valley that follows along highway 43. It is one of three Churches of the Big Hole- others are at Wise River and Melrose, Montana.

(Photo by SeattleRay)

Complacency: It’s a death sentence to the spirit. It’s not a switch that suddenly goes off but gradually takes over the spiritual life of a believer day by day as they distance themselves more from the Holy Spirit’s guidance. Church events outside the norm of Sunday and Wednesday are checked off the list first, followed by an occasional Sunday for special events or to get caught up on sleep. Due to long list of things in your life you’ve now decided to step down from teaching or helping out in the ministries of the church, it’s just too much and someone will surely step up and fill the gap. You’ve done your time, right? Now that there is no obligation to the body of Christ and your load is so much lighter! You noticed that nobody stepped into your position, but they will. Little by little, week after week, your bible reading stops, church attendance stops, guilt ceases and the hole that was once filled with the goodness of God is now filled with vain attempts to accomplish trivial tasks on your “day off.”

Ezekiel wrote “O Israel, thy prophets are like the foxes in the deserts. Ye have not gone up into the gaps, neither made up the hedge for the house of Israel to stand in the battle in the day of the Lord.” ~ Ezekiel 13:4-5

Ezekiel, speaking to the leadership of the church says “you’re like foxes in the desserts.” Away from everyone and useless to them, you’ve left a hole in the church. Just for the record, nobody can step into your position, it’s yours until God says it’s not. And when He says that position is no longer yours, He’s already got another worked out. That’s what prevents complacency in the life of a Christian, else there’s a gap.

The Gap Defined:

1: A break in a barrier (as a wall, hedge, or line of military defense)

We’ve witnessed in America what happens when our borders are not guarded. The enemy comes in, sits among us un-noticed and launches an attack from the very ground we live on, and our people are lost. The gap you create by failing to attend church is one around your own life. Your family sees that church was of little importance, that God is expendable. And the gap that you’ve created leaves just enough room those that you care about to fall into the pits of Hell. Harsh? Yes. Real? Yes.

2: An opening in a solid structure or surface; a cleft or breach:

The church is getting less and less influential in our communities today. There was a time it was very real, and a solid structure in the lives of America. Now it’s viewed as a social meeting place where people come to be entertained or have their children attended to for a few hours. There’s a gap in the solidity of God’s house because His people have allowed the very structure of the church to be weakened by not taking a stand on the Word of God. What once was the “saving place” is now the place we’ll save if all else fails. And then, when we do need it, we’re so estranged to the Holy Spirit we don’t even know Him; and the gap continues.

Summer time is hard on me spiritually because I see so many people fall out of church during that time. We lose someone most every year during the summer because there’s “so much that needs done” elsewhere. And the gap begins.

If you’re thinking that this summer is too busy for Church, then your summer is too busy. Stay faithful friend! I found irony in the fact that the actual Church of the Big Hole was in “Wisdom” Montana and another at Wise River. Be wise… fill the gap.