Little League Christianity

chick league

It’s Little League Baseball Season and my grandsons have our family right in the thick of it. It’s exciting stuff to watch the kids smack the ball and run the bases and it’s heart wrenching when they strike out or don’t play as well as they’d have liked to. Yes, I’m their “Noni” and I don’t view the game in quite the same manner as do the parents and coaches. For me it’s a cuteness factor, for them… it’s serious business.

Last night’s game had me thinking on the purpose of this stage in the game. They’re not pro ball players, although you’d never know it from a few of the parent’s reactions. You’d think there was a major league scout in the stands. If you’re one of them you’ll have to forgive me and this really isn’t about you, it’s about the church and Little League Christianity.

When I was saved in 1996 our church had one thing down to a fine art, and that was how to disciple young converts. We met as a group for breakfast at a local restaurant before I went to work. We met for lunch. It was an active time in the church, in that if we weren’t having a revival we’d find someone else who was and attend theirs. I couldn’t get enough of the word of God. This wasn’t a mandated thing for new Christians, it was our desire because we wanted what the old timers of the church had! Oh the Spirit of God is such an awesome thing when it’s on display in the saints of God. We were the little leaguers of the day. It was a training ground before we hit the big league of soul winning and serving on our own. We were not six and seven year olds, we were grown men and women from twenty to seventy who just happened to be in the growing years of faith. We were shown mercy when we made a mistake, and weren’t cast out of the game because we didn’t perform up to par.

This is where I see so many churches missing the mark for church growth. They leave the coaching to the Pastor who’s trying to keep up with a half dozen teams in the church, all at different stages in the game. If you’ve been a child of God for more than a year or two, and you’ve been serious about it, it’s your turn to step out and find you someone to disciple. It will not only encourage them it will encourage you.

John 10:10 (one of my favorite verses) says  

The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

Stolen Bases

They don’t steal bases in Little League, but I guess they still do in the older leagues. But the base stealer in the game of Christianity is Satan; he removes the base completely out of the game by getting our eyes off the intended purpose. The purpose of the game is to get home by running all the bases, but we get busy and want to skip a few. So Satan obliges by removing it from our site. If God’s only purpose was to get us home, when we got saved we’d just fall in the floor at the altar and our soul would go on to glory. But that’s not the case, the game is still being played out and God has a purpose for our lives.

First Base

Learning the game. It’s our time to sit under preaching and teaching and learn how to live and share the gospel.

Second Base

Take a new convert under your wing and begin teaching them what you’ve just been taught. It is then that you’ll know it deeper by having to prepare to share it with others.

Third Base

It’s at this stage in your Christian walk that you should be in full blown service for the Lord and reaping the abundant life! You should be helping to disciple new converts, serving in the local ministry and have a testimony in your community as a servant of God.

But what I see out of most people is that they’ve never left little league. If it were a real game we’d have sixty year old players. How ridiculous would that be? Almost as ridiculous as the child of God, who has never left the stands at all, yet expects a trophy at the end of season. There’s going to be some sad Christians at home plate.

5 Ways to Grow God’s Kingdom

CHICK COFFEE

1 – Pray Genuinely

Nehemiah 1:6

Let thine ear now be attentive, and thine eyes open, that thou mayest hear the prayer of thy servant, which I pray before thee now, day and night, for the children of Israel thy servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel, which we have sinned against thee: both I and my father’s house have sinned.

If we’ll all be honest, none of us have lived as close to the cross as we should have. Nehemiah takes this petition to the Lord in all sincerity that he and his fellow church folk are about to take some drastic steps to get right with God in order to get the Nation of Israel back under the protection of God’s mighty hand. I believe that if the remnant of the church in America followed Nehemiah’s suit, we too would be back under God’s hand.

2 – Pray Reverently

Nehemiah 1:11

O Lord, I beseech thee, let now thine ear be attentive to the prayer of thy servant, and to the prayer of thy servants, who desire to fear thy name: and prosper, I pray thee, thy servant this day, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man. For I was the king’s cupbearer.

Nehemiah desired to fear God’s name. I believe that the church is no longer afraid of God. We’ve forgotten His power, and in so doing we no longer prosper. I can only speak for myself but I know that if I truly feared God as I should I’d serve Him better. I do not speak of fear in the sense of hiding under the bed, rather I speak of the reverence of His awesome power. He spoke the world into existence, His breath is life (and death). At His command our enemies can only go so far and yet we take the least amount of time possible to commune with Him in the course of a day. We  do not fear Him. We fear His wrath when things go wrong, but when things are right we just “assume” He’s got us and move on.

3 – Prepare for Action

Nehemiah 2:5

And I said unto the king, If it please the king, and if thy servant have found favour in thy sight, that thou wouldest send me unto Judah, unto the city of my fathers’ sepulchres, that I may build it.

The problem with reading or writing a blog such as this is once its written there’s an unseen “The End” as we complete the reading. We’ll say “Ain’t that the truth!” and then we’ll pour ourselves a cup of coffee, and go about our day unchanged. When Nehemiah got a burden to see his city restored, he prayed about it, and then come what may, he sat into action the plan to make it happen! By even going into the presence of the king with a sad countenance he risked death, but that didn’t deter him from following through. What risk are you and I willing to take to rebuild our church? And will we follow through?

4 – Prepare for Adversity

Nehemiah 2:19-20

But when Sanballat the Horonite, and Tobiah the servant, the Ammonite, and Geshem the Arabian, heard it, they laughed us to scorn, and despised us, and said, What is this thing that ye do? will ye rebel against the king?  Then answered I them, and said unto them, The God of heaven, he will prosper us; therefore we his servants will arise and build: but ye have no portion, nor right, nor memorial, in Jerusalem.

Stepping out in faith will get you laughed at and despised; either because they’re against what you believe or they don’t have the gumption to step out and do it themselves. And the bigger the task you have before you the bigger the enemy.

5 – Put Your Differences Aside

I won’t list a scripture reference for this point because it would take the entire third chapter. It’s the “And next unto him’s” that got my attention. Israel came together, different tribes, different families and began rebuilding the wall. My greatest frustration right now with the Church of God, and that’s the Baptists, Methodists, Pentecostals, etc. say they serve the same God, but you’d never know by the way we serve. Christ did not die for Baptist alone… and yet there are some Baptist that secretly believe that, and every other denomination. In these end times that we most likely all agree we’re in, when the world is running out of time before Jesus returns, we should be laboring to get souls into Heaven, not pointing out what another church is doing differently (therefore in error) to a non-believer. How on earth will they get saved?

Tell them about Jesus. Build the wall around your community and get as many people into the Kingdom of Heaven as you can. If they go to another church, give God the glory that you’ll see them in Heaven when we all belong to one church.

This is why the church is not prospering, we’re too busy disagreeing.

One wall was built around Jerusalem. Lots of gates, lots of different jobs to do, but only one wall. We have only means of protection for our friends and family and that’s Jesus Christ. Preach Jesus… get your people behind the wall and let’s serve together until Glory!

Put your coffee in a thermos to go, we have some work to do!

The Hypocrite Across the Street

chick hypocrite

For the record, there’s a hillside across the street from my house. No homes. But that thought popped into my head this morning when I began to think of the excuses I hear for why friends and family do not go to church. The one that grinds on my nerves the quickest is when names come into the equation.

“Well you know so and so who’s in church every Sunday, following a night at the bar on Saturday; I live better than they do.”

“Church sure does what’s his name a lot of good, have you heard his mouth on the job?”

Perhaps you could insert your own here, with or without a name attached, it doesn’t matter. It’s an excuse and it has absolutely nothing to do with why you’re not in church. I know… because 20 years ago, I was you. Measuring my life up to the so and so’s. And I could almost always find someone living worse. It wasn’t until February of 1996 that I had a huge revelation!

They and I were tools of Satan. If Satan could get my mind on them, and off of God, I could live without guilt when not attending church; even though I was brought up in church. And in so doing Satan had me right where he wanted me, living defeated, knowing that there was more to life than I was experiencing but never quite finding it. Church for me was a theatre of mistakes. In a small community I knew everyone, and much of what everyone did… and I’m pretty sure that God didn’t approve. So on the occasions I attended church I had a running tally in my head, line upon line, precept upon precept, pew upon pew… I knew their sins. Case in point, they likely knew mine! And Satan laughed all around the church house as he planted those thoughts and the seeds took root and the message of God was overshadowed by hypocritical lives.

And then it happened.

February 18th, 1996, the gospel pierced my heart and all of a sudden there was only one hypocrite in the church. Me! Because I knew that I had been playing church all along and that I never truly knew Christ as Lord, I only knew Him as Christ in the picture on the wall and the name in the Bible that I seldom read. He had never made me cry…until that day. And it wasn’t that He hurt me, it was that I realized I had hurt Him… He Who had done nothing but create and love me, and stood at the door waiting for me to let Him in.

And so I did! Glory Hallelujah!!!!

And from that day forward, I was no longer a hypocrite, or looking at hypocrites. Do I still sin? Yes, and likely will until Jesus returns, it’s our nature. Do I want to sin? No. And that is God’s nature living within me. That’s the difference between a Christian and hypocrite: Both are sinners, but the hypocrite, doesn’t care. The Christian is convicted by the sin and desires to right that relationship with God. God then forgives and child of God’s slate is wiped clean. The hypocrite, who may or may not know God, continues to stack sin upon sin, until the weight is more than they can bear until they get right with God; or they continue on in the world and ignore God until He no longer knocks upon their door.

That’s the scary part… when God stop’s knocking.

If you’re still making excuses, stop. God created, He loves you and He wants you in church so that He can speak to your soul and encourage you! Don’t miss that message. Services start at 10 and 11.

Apostle Paul put it like this in Romans 7:15

For that which I do I allow not: for what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I.

That is a sinner saved by Grace!

Tweet This America!

CHICK TWEET

I was searching the trends this morning to see what the world thought worthy of speaking of and low and behold, although unfortunately not the number one conversation, but trending at 942 tweets was the hashtag #SimplyJesus2015 from a Christian Conference in Denver, Colorado this weekend. It was far behind the other trends which go from both ends of the spectrum of sadness. The number one tweet this Saturday morning was #BruceJenner and the second on my twitter feed was #Nepal and the earthquake that killed hundreds of people this morning. I’m not going to comment too much on Bruce Jenner, other than he needs Jesus, and the world needs a reality check on what’s worth promoting. And I’ll close with God doesn’t make mistakes and it’s not our right to reconfigure His creation.

The story of Nepal should drive us to our knees for those precious people and cause us to realize that Mount Everest may not be above us to fall, but our world can come crashing down just as easily. I’ve witnessed it in the lives of people over the past few weeks who are facing their own tragedies and upsets in life. And yet Bruce Jenner is on the minds of America. I highly doubt the residents of Nepal are following or caring what the trends are on Twitter, nor do the families who have lost someone or struggle with life.

I just realized that I didn’t close that Bruce Jenner thought. Sorry about that… it just never ceases to amaze me of what America can get infatuated on and come to the defense of while in the background there are so many people with real heartaches and issues that deserve our attention.

These thoughts brought me to Matthew 22 this morning. Both the Pharisees and the Sadducees tried to entangle Jesus in His words. And although they may not be labeled as such the Pharisee and Sadducee spirit is still alive and well questioning Christ’s people and promoting their own agendas.

Verses 15-16 say of the Pharisees:

Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk. And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men.

Their disciples… I hadn’t noticed that before. There is still a training ground today for wicked religious people’s disciples. Jesus said they were wicked in verse 18 when the scripture reveals “But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites?”  They were asking if Jesus thought it was okay to pay tribute to Caesar. Jesus showed them that the penny had Caesar’s picture on it, so let him have it. But render to God the things that are God’s. For the religious, it’s all about the materialistic things that can get the world sidetracked. That penny of Caesar’s won’t mean a thing in Heaven, neither will the all mighty dollar we strive so hard to earn. It will burn up in the last days in the hands of someone else. But our families and friends… their souls are going to live eternally somewhere. And they are the only thing that matter in the scope of eternity to Jesus.

The world would have you deceived by their disciples as to what is important in life… look at the   trends. 942 posts for Jesus and 687K for Jenner… that makes me nauseous. Stop following the temptations of the hypocrites who would have you believe that Jesus doesn’t care for you. What a lie! He died for everyone so that we may have an eternal life in Heaven and escape this wicked place we view as home. The world is still trying to entangle the words of Jesus. But… I love the last verse in Matthew 22

And no man was able to answer him a word, neither durst any man from that day forth ask him any more questions.

When they had tried their best to prove God’s word as false, Jesus not only proved that He could still the waters of the sea, He could still the tongues of the trouble makers! Hallelujah! And that’s what I’m holding onto this morning when I look at what’s trending by those disciples of the wicked…

Today they may mock, and draw our minds away from the things of Christ but there will be a day when He’ll silence them one final time. Until then… keep your trends focused on Jesus Christ. #JesusWins #HeavenIsReal #EternityIsALongTime #AreYouReady #JesusLovesYou #GodKnowsYourNeeds #ThisWorldIsTemporary

It’s not “if” I’m Guilty…

chick matthew 6So this morning I wake up to several prayer requests, a few burdens of my own, and the Lord speaking to my heart through His word and through His people to “keep it real Shari.” I’m such a faker! Upon the rare occasion that I have broken down and shared heartaches with a friend it’s gotten to the point of absolute despair, I just don’t do it… please do not follow my example, I assure you it’s a rough row to hoe in this season of planting. And it does sow seeds that require reaping.

I recently added a song to my repertoire of music by Aaron and Amanda Crabb titled “If I’m Guilty.” What a blessing this song has been in my life! It’s simply says, “If I’m guilty let me be guilty of too much mercy, if I’m gonna be wrong, let me be wrong for treating someone else right.” Those words need to be printed on a tee shirt, and inscribed on my brain every day. I need to pass a billboard sharing that thought and make it a part of my life’s passion. Because Jesus certainly did, except He was never guilty of anything.

If I wanted to keep it real this morning and tell you how many times a day I need the mercy of the Lord, you’d run out of time and I’d run out of breath. That song opens by saying, “It’s so easy to criticize when someone else fails, it’s so easy to see faults in them when we overlook ourselves.” How true is that? The plain and simple fact is we all need the grace of Jesus Christ, and we all should be sharing that same grace and mercy with the world.

That loud obnoxious person in your life that gets on your last nerve just may be needing someone to see that they need a little attention in a positive way. That stand offish teen that won’t give you the time of day, may need to know how close you’ll stand. That elderly person that has given their life to serving people, and doesn’t know how to be served, may require patience when learning to accept help. We all need stability in our lives when this world is so wishy washy and busy! People will stand for right, until it gets uncomfortable, and then it’s easier to walk away. We halfheartedly say we’ll lift each other up in prayer and then halfheartedly (if at all) pray about it. We say we’ll be there… but then “there” isn’t in our calendar.

Oh, Lord Jesus, you know I’m guilty.

At our ladies fellowship last night the Pastor’s wife gave a devotion on Matthew 6. She didn’t know it was some of my favorite verses. Verses that I’ve clung too day after day and year in and year out. It’s my last resort verses… The one’s that I turn too when I have failed to keep it real, and pretended that life was perfect, until it was not…

Matthew  6:25-34

Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

In keeping it real, I have to remember that no matter how many times my “not so perfect” life falls apart, no matter how many times I let God down, right outside my window is a reminder that God has the world under control. The flowers still bloom, the birds lack nothing, and He love me so much that He gave His Son in my stead on the cross of Calvary. He’s certainly not going to let this world swallow me up as my fears tell my heart today.

Grasshopper Christianity and the Giant Slayers

chick hopper

Numbers 13:20

 And what the land is, whether it be fat or lean, whether there be wood therein, or not. And be ye of good courage, and bring of the fruit of the land. Now the time was the time of the firstripe grapes.

I could not help but think back to the nursery rhyme, “Jack Sprat could eat no fat, his wife could eat no lean, and so between the two of them, they picked the platter clean.”

Moses in this verse is directing the twelve spies as they prepare to go spy out the new land that the Lord has given them to possess. Moses was Israel’s greatest cheerleader; he believed in them, but more importantly He believed that their God would do as He said. But as human nature would have it, two spies returned in jubilation and ten spies in defeat. The battle had not even begun and they had receded. I’ll give you two guesses on who had the greater influence over the entire congregation and the first guess won’t count. And so that pattern continues in the church today. Of a congregation of one hundred, you likely have twenty giant slayers and ten of those are waiting for someone to bring out the sword. And then you have that eighty, the eighty that drive me crazy! You have your fearless leader and Pastor standing before the congregation, cheering them on to win souls for Christ, and you have the ten or so behind him shouting glory to God, we’ve got this! And crickets and grasshopper in the pew saying the battle is over, let’s just wait till Jesus comes back and He can sort this mess out.

Why did they not listen to Moses’ words, and why do we still not?

Whether it be fat or lean…

Pick the platter clean boy and girls! They’re out there. The fruit of the land is there even in the most barren of circumstances. Right now it looks as if the world is filled with giants against Christianity. The Muslim faith is growing leaps and bounds, the agnostics and atheists are consuming our government, and a thousand little do nothing religions are popping up in every town because everybody knows you need something to believe in. If Joshua and Caleb were here they’d look across America and say “Look at that fruit!” All of these souls searching for something and we have the answer.

But the grasshoppers in the pew look at the other religions and say they’re too many, they’re too powerful. And Moses would ask, “Did God not create them all and can He not destroy or save them all? Be of good courage.”

Satan does not care about grasshopper Christianity. The pew sitting people of God who show up at 11:00 sharp and leave at 12:00 dull. He will let them set in their pew and rot. But the ones who come to church to sharpen their sword… Satan is all over them. That’s why you need courage, because you’re in the frontline of the battle and you’ll have giants in front of you every day. But the same God Who created it all, is the same God Who can remove them from your path, or give you the strength to knock them over.

Fight on child of God, and the leave the grasshoppers to God. This message was written for me… chief grasshopper watcher.

The Old Man is Dead!

Chick new

Romans 6:6Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

I may not recall the first time I heard the song, “The Old Man Is Dead,” but I can recall that every time I hear it my soul is deeply stirred within. It’s a powerful message for the believer when they understand that their guilt is buried deep in the grave of the past, never to be remembered by the Savior. David said in Psalm 103:12 ~ As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.  And yet I see so many children of God living in defeat day after day. I’m not talking the occasional “oops” that can happen to any of us at the drop of a hat, but I’m talking about a continual drifting away from God until He is so far removed the conviction is nigh on gone… but not quite.

There’s something about the scars of a crucifixion that run deep. And even though ours is a spiritual crucifixion, not a literal one as Christ bore, the scars are still there. That day of salvation when reminisced upon cannot help but bring with it a desire to be that clean again. For those who have gotten themselves away from Christ, and are back out in the world of sin it’s like the zombie apocalypse in your own life! The old man was dead and you resurrected him (or her as the case may be.) Now you’re walking around with your sins hanging out all over for all the world to see. They can’t be in you, because the Holy Spirit dwells there, you’re forgiven! But because you’ve chosen to go back into the world you have  this dead junk hanging all over you, dragging you down day after day, bringing no pleasure whatsoever but you’re stuck. You know the world sees you as a sinner, not as a saint; and if you go back to church they’ll see you as a hypocrite. So Satan has you where he wants you, hanging out with zombies.

So what’s the answer?

There is only one answer to getting rid of the zombie crowd and that’s the blood of Jesus Christ. It miraculously will wash away the sin of alcohol, sex, drugs, and any other immoral act you could have possibly committed when the zombies reigned. But don’t try to go it alone. You knew it was coming… you need church! There’s a reason Christians hung out together in the Bible and they still hang together today, because there’s safety and encouragement in numbers, and you’re in need of both. You’ll need the safety of their prayers and the encouragement of their company.

I pray you’ll hear the message today whether you stumbled upon this blog, or if someone sent it to you because they know you’ve been hanging with zombies. Have you distanced yourself from God, but you can still hear His faint cry… come home. Or perhaps you’ve never gotten rid of the old man at all, and you’ve got sin inside and out. Christ has got that covered too. When He was crucified He went to Zombieville and took the keys to death, hell and the grave. All that junk and heartache you’ve been carrying around will just fall off when you speak the name of Jesus, and ask Him to save your soul and come into your life. It’s true!

Tell the old man to get packin’… you’ve got new friends!

Pressing and Posting

chick facebook posts

Philippians 3:14

I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Another day, another diet, another goal… life seems to always be filled with a purpose driven passion that can turn on a dime to another failure and leaves me wishing every day were Sunday. It’s such a day of encouragement for me, I love listening to preaching and singing and serving the Lord, but even it can turn into frustration when I get my eyes off Christ and onto people. I have somewhat become un-enchanted with social media over the past few weeks, I’m sure I’ll be back at it soon but felt the need to take a hiatus for a few days to “detox” from many of the posts  I was reading. Political and personal rants have become the norm, and what used to be common sense flew out the window. Freedom of speech should sometimes be best used by the freedom of not saying what you could.

Several months ago, I either read or heard a statement that was a game changer for me regarding what comes out of our mouth. Satan and his band of troublemakers are not all knowing, only God has the ability to be the discerner of our every thought. But Satan doesn’t have to be a mind reader he only has to be a listener, or a reader, because we’ve laid out the stick for him to stir with plain and clear when we air our frustrations in our status posts. Perhaps it’s the era I was brought up in or more than likely the family, but we just didn’t make our troubles public, and yet today people not only make them public but wear them as trophies and care not that their friends and family know how very messed up their lives are. I guess this is a rant of my own of sorts… but it’s written to encourage my fellow servants of Christ to press on, not down.

Negative posts do not encourage positive living. You can quote me on that, that’s good stuff! The seeds that we plant in our life is what we harvest… I know that’s a no brainer, but it must not be, because there’s plenty of people sewing garbage and wondering why their life stinks.

Here’s just a few that I’ve noticed on social media on a pretty regular basis:

  • Satan may or may not have known that “so and so” got on your last nerve, but following that Facebook update he did. And now he has another avenue clearly marked in your life to making you miserable.
  • Nobody knew what a terrible mess your life was in until you went on that rant about it and now every time you walk on the street you feel as if you’re being judged, or so Satan says.
  • You posted your opinion on a matter that few agreed on and now you feel attacked because someone aired the opposite opinion on your status, welcome to America.
  • Let’s attack our family and make it a public spectacle and then wonder why nobody enjoys a family reunion, except Satan… he has a hayday!

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg! That’s why I needed a few days to regroup. Not only do those post affect the person who posted negatively but everyone who reads it. By the same token a positive post creates a positive atmosphere. So here’s my challenge for you today. Ten positive posts and if you care to you can use this blog as one! And zero negative… not even bad news. Press on Pilgrim, it’s a happy day!!!!

Breaking up is hard to do

chick ready

How quickly people fall away from the Lord and call it a “new direction” or perhaps they just don’t call it anything. They just ignore the fact that they are out of fellowship with God and pretend that they’re decisions will have no ramification in eternity. If I began to make a list of the friends and family who have fallen out on God I would soon run out of lines on a sheet of paper or perhaps I could write a book about each one and what a difference they made in my life at a crucial time in my spiritual growth, it would be easy to write because it would be truth and my days with them seem like yesterday and yet also another lifetime away. How exactly does one go from standing and testifying about what the Lord has done to walking out on God? And how does it not scare the pants off of them because at one point they knew what God had saved them from. They had a burden for the lost in their family, they cried out at the altar of grace for God to save their children and their family and then one day that just didn’t matter. It makes me nauseous and ever conscience that I could be there tomorrow.

Matthew 24:42-43

Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come. But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up.

There is a bluegrass song about Matthew 24 that I used to sing with friends and it was always a reminder of the need to be ready; a favorite sung at revivals and funerals. Revivals and Funerals – the opposite ends of the spectrum. One speaks of new life and the other of death, and yet if the death is that of a saint of God their eternal life just began. Both of those services draw us into the realization that changes could possibly need to be made. Nobody likes the separation that comes with death, but it serves to remind us that it comes to all lest Jesus returns before it and we need to make preparation; not only for us but for those we influence.  It’s funny how Jesus is welcome at Weddings but not in the marriage, He’s given the glory for the blessing of a child but then those same children are not raised to know Him. His Name is spoken often in the message of a funeral but how often was His name spoken by the one who died? Someone’s family member is sick or injured and prayer requests abound but few or hollow praises are heard when the heartache is done and all is well.

Yes I’m going there this morning.

I’m frustrated and this is my only place to vent without going toe to toe with someone I love, or perhaps I should. Maybe it would knock some sense into them. Being the Jesus Chick doesn’t always get you a fan club, sometimes people would like to club you. They tolerate my saying grace over dinner just so it doesn’t lead into dinner conversations that lead into guilt. Oh, glory to God, now I’ve begun to meddle. I just need to get this off my chest and throw it out there in hopes that somebody will read it and determine to get themselves ready.

What spurred this thought this morning and broke my heart was the closing words in verse 43 “and would not have suffered his house to be broken up.”

So let me ask you… if Jesus comes back today will your house be broken? If the decision to claim Christ as Savior, Lord of your life has not been made by you or members of your family then your house will be broken. That’s where the rubber meets the road. Children don’t  just magically get  saved one day, seeds need to have been sown, life doesn’t always get better, sometimes it’s the worse that leaves you longing for the better of Heaven. This morning was not just a reality check for you, but for me. I need to do more, say more. Nobody will care if I talk about Jesus  when we’re all in Heaven, but they’ll certainly care in Hell if I didn’t.

Continue on weary soldier…

 

 

From the couch of purgatory

CHICK PURGATORY.

Let me first be clear to say that I do not believe in purgatory, but if I did, (and I don’t) I’m relatively sure that I just lived through it. For five days I lay lifeless on the couch. If I rallied for more than 30 minutes I would collapse back into  a slump, feeling pain in my body like I’ve never felt.

I felt the Psalmist’s anguish when he wrote in Psalm 88:14-15 “Lord, why castest thou off my soul? why hidest thou thy face from me? I am afflicted and ready to die from my youth up: while I suffer thy terrors I am distracted.”

That might be a little more dramatic than my bout with the flu, but it was close. My throbbing head would not allow me to use my eyes for anything that would require focus, such as the computer or Bible. My body ached to the point that I was a “point A (bed) to point B (couch)” kinda gal.  I was in too much pain to even listen to Satan!  I was just in limbo… i.e. purgatory. Waiting for God to come and fetch me out. I missed Church on Wednesday night which broke my heart because I missed being with the teens and the over all experience gave me a reason to get back in the saddle and ride for Jesus again this morning.

I need ramped up. Perhaps you do too! It doesn’t take the flu to get you away from God. Just everyday life can take its toll. It’s so easy to get lackadaisical about serving Christ when you’re in purgatory. We often count on someone else to “buy” us out by giving us an encouraging word or allowing us to live vicariously through their zealous service. A friend messaged me yesterday to say that they had 7 saved in their revival this week, that’s exciting stuff! But I played no part… I want my own trophies of grace to lay at the feet of Jesus. I want to tell somebody what my LORD did for me, and rev up their soul to be saved. I want to walk down that Roman’s Road of Salvation with a new friend in Christ and put a few new mile markers of my own in the dirt.

What about you Saint of God?

Revival fires start with just a little kindling. What are you doing today to ignite that fire? I have sat on the couch for 5 days in a heap of wet wood. Today’s my day and here’s the game plan. Meditate on Psalm 85:6-7 ~ Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee? Shew us thy mercy, O Lord, and grant us thy salvation.

We have but to ask in sincerity and God is faithful to provide. My heart needs stirred, and so I’m asking.