When is revenge okay?

I’m truthfully not a vengeful person, however, I am human. Very human. Because of that I can say with honest humility there are days that I long to see a pot fall from a windowsill, in an animated version of course,  that wouldn’t allow anyone to get hurt but would allow me the satisfaction of smiling when it happened. While emotional pain doesn’t usually come with a scar, it still leaves a mark on the soul, and the propensity to get even. Praise God for grace, and for the Holy Spirit that knocks on my mind’s door and hands me a past due bill of stupid behaviors that could have me on somebody’s “animated flower pot list.”

Apostle Paul probably had a list and was on the lists of multiple people, but his focused attention on the spiritual accountability of his life would have caused him to cast his list in the fire of forgetfulness and move on to the next mission of God. And so it should be with us. So when is revenge okay?

2 Corinthians 10:1-6

Now I Paul myself beseech you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ, who in presence am base among you, but being absent am bold toward you: But I beseech you, that I may not be bold when I am present with that confidence, wherewith I think to be bold against some, which think of us as if we walked according to the flesh.  Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.

There is it! The one time that revenge is okay: “to revenge all disobedience.”

Believe me when I say it’s a battle in the making! My flowerpot thinking is according to the flesh which wants an eye for an eye. Over all that’s unrealistic and a bad idea! It’s not even the right enemy. Paul said we don’t war after the flesh, and our weapons are not that of a carnal nature either. Our greatest battle, or at least mine is not fought on the soil outside my door, but rather in the battlefield of my mind. And it’s usually brought on by a hurtful act of another person, who may or may not have been aware of it. But I’m left with the hurt and it’s a playground for Satan to begin sowing seeds of vengeful thinking toward another soul who stands in need of grace every bit as much as I do.

But the stronghold of hurt on my mind is just what Paul said it was: a “strong hold.” And it’s too strong for me to fight in the flesh. Pulling down the strong hold gives me the mental image of something that I have allowed to get above me, between me and God. The place that Satan likes best. He loves making me feel lower than, less than other people because it’s my kryptonite. It weakens me spiritually because I feel so unworthy and the negative thoughts begin to flood my mind and I desire carnal resolutions.

Three things Paul said to do to win this battle.

  1. Pull down strong holds
  2. Cast down imaginations
  3. Take captive thoughts

The strong holds are the areas of our lives that we’ve allowed Satan to place something or someone between us and God causing the site line to Heaven to disappear. Imagine yourself taking a hold of it, pulling it down away from Heaven’s view until God is back in our site line again. It’s not as hard as Satan would have us believe because it’s a whole lot easier to pull something down, than to pull something up.

Another thing that will pull us down are the imaginations of our mind. We place thought bubbles above the heads of others, assuming to know what it is they think of us, or assuming we know what God thinks of us. This keeps us in a lower position in life because again we’ve placed imagination between us and the word of God. Which is the only truth. Casting down the imaginations is removing the thought bubbles above your head and the heads of others that you’ve placed there without God’s permission and replacing it with the Word of God.

The last thing to do is to lock them up and throw away the key. This too is not a carnal battle but in the spiritual realm. And the key is not that of a metal material but rather the allowing God to place under lock and key what Jesus placed there at the cross. When Christ took back the keys of death, hell and the grave he locked behind them the power Satan has over us. It’s we who allow the release of those demonic thoughts when we open up our minds to Satan’s words.

The spirit world is a very real place with access through the portal of the mind. The only way to keep it at bay is to keep our mind in subjection to the Holy Spirit. The ultimate revenge against Satan, or anyone or anything in our lives that causes us misery is to be obedient to Christ, Who has only our best interest at heart. In Him is where true happiness and contentment lie. He has pulled us up above this earth where we are seated in the heavenly realm. Again… we can’t see it. But we’re there because the word says we are.

Ephesians 2:6

And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:

Glory! The Victory is ours!

Liquid Lies

Four Reasons People Fall into Substance Abuse

According the Center for Disease Control statistics of 2015, West Virginia had the highest per capita drug-related death rate in the U.S. In 2015, the state saw 41.5 deaths per 100,000 people attributed to drug use. Researchers from the CDC found that the increase in drug-related deaths in West Virginia from 2014 to 2015 was considered statistically significant, with an increase of 16.9 percent. While the rest of the country wrestles with an alarming rate of illicit drug use, West Virginia is truly on the front lines of this battle.

On Friday evening our church attended an event called “The Judgement House” at the 14th Avenue Gospel Mission in Parkersburg, West Virginia. We drove an hour, broke bread at a local pizza establishment and then made our way to the very well performed Judgement House drama on the subject of overdose.  The drama storyline was that of a girl addicted to drugs following the murder of her mother, her own addiction, the attempted intervention of family, and her life failures. All of which eventually leads to the death of her brother, her overdose and the eternal ramifications of their life decisions. It was a soul stirring event because for me. It was also one that caused me to examine myself, God’s grace and consider the fate of people in our community.

There are countless reasons for people falling into addiction and sin, but I believe each of them can fall under four subcategories.

Four Reasons I’ve seen people turn to drugs and alcohol and not to Jesus

  1. Reason One: Familiarity
    1. Constant advertisements, store displays and discussion of the good times of sin. Even the bible says in Hebrews 11:25 that there is “joy in sin for a season.” If your of any age at all you know this. However, there’s also the morning after and the results of any decisions made. It may be life altering for you or for someone else. You may not see the destruction of it for years down the line when your decision, and acceptance of it as natural behavior, leads to the destruction in your own child’s life.
    2. 1 Peter 2:11– Dearly beloved, I beseech [you] as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;
    3. 1 John 2:16– For all that [is] in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
    4. 1 Corinthians 15:33– Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.

Questions:

Do you see the commercial effects of familiarity in your life? Store, television, internet?

Do your friends make poor decisions and how much are you drawn into their decision making?

How do you think they affect you?

Do they cause you to accept the behavior as “normal” and not see it for the sin that it is?

  1. Reason Two: Escape Reality
    1. In the storyline the girl could forget her mother’s death and her father’s grief when she took the drugs. Although in reality it just mask the pain, it was still there.
    2. Escaping reality can also be placing the blame on everyone else. The girl in our story blamed her father not being there for her at her mother’s death. Yet she had her brother. It’s easy to look at the people who let us down and discourage us as the reason we make poor decisions, but none of that is a valid excuse with God.
    3. This doesn’t have to be speaking of the extreme life of addiction. It can also be speaking of our behavior when someone lets us down. Perhaps we’re rude, disrespectful, or we won’t do what we know is right to do because the world deserves it or we’re “having a bad day.” That too will be an accountable moment before God if in our decision making we affected the lives of others.
    4. Satan’s goal is to convince that we are alone. And then he attacks in our weakest hour, with our own weakness.
    5. 1 Peter 5:8Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
    6. Proverbs 20:1Wine [is] a mocker, strong drink [is] raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.

Questions:

If you examine your life, are you placing blame on someone else and excusing bad behavior?

  1. Reason Three: Attention Seeking
    1. There are people who will look for any reason to get all eyes on them. Even to the point of self-destruction. They love when people feel sorry for them or perhaps they’ve bought Satan’s lie that the drugs and alcohol make them a more enjoyable, braver character.
    2. It’s easy to fall into an attention seeking trap. We all want to be loved and sometimes that’s at our expense and sometimes that’s at the expense of others. Our words can be just as harmful.
    3. James 3:10 ~ Outof the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.
    4. By placing attention on ourselves, we make others feel less and for certain God is not being glorified.
    5. John 5:44 ~ How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only

Questions:

Does our decisions honor God?

Do we excuse sin for the sake of comedy? (cussing, off color jokes, conversations about topics Christians shouldn’t have?)

  1. Reason Four: Rebellion
    1. A reason as old as time. It began in the garden when Eve seen the fruit and Satan convinced her it was good and would make her as wise as God, and then Adam ate it so his wife wouldn’t be alone.
    2. Not doing what we know to be right is rebellion.
    3. It’s turning away from God and toward the sin. God looks upon rebellion pretty harshly.
    4. 1 Samuel 15:23 ~ For rebellionis as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, he hath also rejected thee from being king.
    5. We tend to make rebellion glamorous.
    6. 1 Corinthians 10:13There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God [is] faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear [it].
    7. Galatians 5:16– [This] I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.

Questions:

Is there an area of rebellion in your life?

The acronym
FEAR

It often boils down to F.E.A.R.

  1. We fear not fitting in to the public norm. Rather than living the godly standard.
  2. We fear that reality is worse than our imagination. It’s actually reverse.
  3. We fear we’ll be overlooked. Rather than desiring God be seen.
  4. We fear the world more than we fear God.

This blog was my Sunday morning teen lesson following the Judgement House, which is why it’s in outline format. Feel free to use this in your own ministry!

How could I forget that You’ve always been the King of the World?

Psalm 47:1-2

O clap your hands, all ye people; shout unto God with the voice of triumph. For the Lord most high is terrible; He is a great King over all the earth.

Natalie Grant’s song “King of the World” is a constant play in my mind, and so is the question she asks “How could I forget that You’ve always been the King of the World?” Well it’s easier than you think. I get my mind focused on life in the Shari realm, and the abilities or lack thereof and suddenly the power of the Holy Spirit takes a back seat. The very fact that God spoke the world into existence is not forgotten but it is so overshadowed by my own inadequacies and negative thoughts that consume me and after I put God inside of a box, He honors my free thinking all the way to captivity.

How much of this thinking factors into our unachieved goals?  I’m am indeed a leap and the net will appear gal until a negative word from my own mind or someone else’s mouth enters into the action I’m about to take and all of sudden I forget Who gave me the thought in the beginning. The Creator of the universe Who spoke oceans and land, formed man from a ball of dirt and made critters so numerous in species it blows our mind is the same Creator Who placed the creative thinking inside of me. But I forgot.

God reminded me of this yesterday when I was having a conversation with Him and in complete randomness He said “Be prepare to give an answer to someone who asks.” I wrote it down in my journal and forgot it, thinking… who really cares what I think. I had been volunteered (actually volentold) by my daughter for an art project in our public schools and I went obediently. I was ushered into a room with scissors, papers, glue and young moms and was ready to begin our project. But before I could begin, one of the mom’s said, I’m so glad you’re here! I have a spiritual question to ask you.

“How could I forget that You’ve always been the King of the World?”

It wasn’t a great theological question, it was a question as simple as the day is long and every bit as unanswerable.

“How do I answer my child when they ask, who created God.”

My first thought was oh, my goodness. He did what He said He would.

My second thought was, “God, You knew I couldn’t answer her question, except to say, you simply tell them God has always been and when we get to Heaven we’ll find out more about God.”

His response to me was, “So why do you think you know more than me, when I place ideas in your mind and you don’t believe they’re possible.

“How could I forget that You’ve always been the King of the World?”

Now you understand why that song plays in my head. It’s actually a very good song to be stuck there. Here it is, and I hope this will prompt you not to question God when He puts crazy ideas in your head too.

Will the plan change if I ask God first

Text: 1 Corinthians 2:10

When the Apostle Paul addressed the church of Corinth in this Epistle it was during a time that one could liken to the state of America. Corinth was overflowing with denominational politics and doctrinal differences and they were living in one of the most prosperous cities of that time. They prided themselves on lavish living and tolerance of new ideas… hmmmm, sounds oddly familiar doesn’t it. They were surrounded by multiple pagan religions and their faith was being challenged.

Paul was teaching spiritually immature Christians who were apt to go with whatever way the wind blew.

I can understand why it was so hard to stay focused. I have a bit of a problem with that myself in my Attention Deficit Disordered world. The world around is screaming continuously for us to look at it. And it seems, if you take your eyes off of God for a second, Satan has you for a day. There is way too much truth in that statement for me not to feel convicted.

So how does one stay focused in this haphazard world?

But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.

1 Corinthians 2:10

Verse 9 preceding our journaling verse reads:  But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

I love the Lord. I can place a period at the end of that sentence with confidence, only because I know that He loves me more, and knows that I am flawed. I believe that God has amazing things in store for me and yet the concept is still hard for me to grasp because I lose focus and do not allow the Spirit to linger in the caverns of my soul.

19th Century Evangelist D.L. Moody has often been credited with the quote: “The world has yet to see what God can do with a man fully consecrated to him. By God’s help, I aim to be that man.”

In fact, Moody did not originate that quote. Henry Varley, a British revivalist did. Varley recalled that in 1873 Moody asked him to recount words they had spoken in private conversation a year earlier, just before Moody’s return to the United States. Varley provides this account (as recorded in Paul Gericke’s Crucial Experiences in the Life of D.L. Moody).

***
During the afternoon of the day of conference Mr. Moody asked me to join him in the vestry of the Baptist Church. We were alone, and he recalled the night’s meeting at 0Willow Park and our converse the following morning.

“Do you remember your words?” he said.

I replied, “I well remember our interview, but I do not recall any special utterance.”

“Don’t you remember saying, ‘Moody, the world has yet to see what God will do with a man fully consecrated to him?’ ”

“Not the actual sentence,” I replied.

“Ah,” said Mr. Moody, “those were the words sent to my soul, through you, from the Living God. As I crossed the wide Atlantic, the boards of the deck of the vessel were engraved with them, and when I reached Chicago, the very paving stones seemed marked with ‘Moody, the world has yet to see what God will do with a man fully consecrated to him.’ Under the power of those words I have come back to England, and I felt that I must not let more time pass until I let you know how God had used your words to my inmost soul.”

***

Those words also pierce my soul. Although more out of guilt than that of the convictions of D.L. Moody. Those words directed Moody’s ministry and encouraged him into the depths of his soul. Two men committed to Christ in such a way that the Spirit showed them the “deep things of God.”

I have to ask myself, what are the deep things of God that He desires to show me? and my answer is “the future.” There’s a chosen path, and then there are the detours that occur when I get my sights off of him and onto the world. We, like the Corinthians are surrounded by distractions.

A social media post that I read yesterday bothered me all day. It was one posted by a person of entitlement who had “gotten above their raisin” as the old adage goes. They were glad to leave our rural area and get back to what they thought was civilization. My thought this morning is “the civilized world is not our friend.” The educated rhetoric seldom focuses on the cause of Christ, unless of course it prospers their way or makes them appear righteous.

We’ve changed very little, likely worsened since the days of Paul’s address to Corinth. So I asked myself again, “How does one stay focused?” If when I look, read, buy, or do, I allow the Spirit to search the intent of the heart where God dwells, and I ask myself, how does this action or purpose serve God? Will my course of action and direction change from my choice if I allow God to control the outcome? Good question…

The Church Bones

A Facebook friend posted a question last night for speakers asking “If you had to speak for 45 minutes without preparation what would you speak on?” My response was “Church Bones.” Although the title is somewhat cryptic, it’s a subject that I feel I’m somewhat an expert on after 21 years of studying people. I’m somewhere between a friend and a non-creepy stalker with ministry people. I love watching to see what works and what doesn’t in a ministry. What floats my boat and draws me to Christ and what’s just “oooo that’s shiny” moments. I also like watching the congregation. Especially that in my own church because I’ve been there when many of them began their path in our church. It’s exciting stuff when you see God working in peoples lives.

What I don’t do is look around the church at those who “don’t do.” What could I possibly gain besides an ulcer?

The body of Christ is the bones of the church. And there’s a lot of bones that I won’t mention that are crucial joints in the church. But the ones in my illustration are the movers and shakers of the group. They’re what makes it work… or not. Depending upon the church. I could actually put names beside every bone in my illustration. God has been good to our people. So I’ll tell you in brevity about a just a few.

The Attitude Bones

Glory to God, that’s one of the most important ones! A smile seems so small, but when someone new has just walked in a church a smile goes a long way. When someone old walks in a church a smile goes a long way! We need to let people know that we’re glad they’ve arrived. I can tell you of way too many times I’ve walked in a church (to which I was invited to sing) only to be greeted (if you want to call it that) by people who look more like I’ve walked in on them in the bathroom. True story! Check your attitude when you get to church and make sure you’re a welcoming sight!

Shoulder the Load Bones

The spiritual load of the church is a heavy load for those who work in the ministry, especially the Pastor. We often times do not see the heaviness that someone carries because they’ve got the attitude bones in check. Their load would break the back of a normal person. But because God’s given them an added strength, they carry on. That doesn’t mean that we as the congregation of the Lord and friends shouldn’t try to shoulder any of the load we can to help out. We can make calls, we can bring supper for a busy family, we can tuck a dollar or two in the hand of someone for encouragement. The list is long of ways to shoulder the load.

Leadership Bones

The direction of church is turned on the leadership bones. I heard it once said that the church rises and falls on leadership. It also goes right or wrong. Leadership isn’t for the faint of heart and those in leadership will answer to a greater degree when they stand before the Lord.

Discipleship Bones

Countless people put their arm around me and steered me through the beginning of my walk with Jesus. It’s probably the greatest neglect of the church today. We see a soul saved and we’re so excited but we leave them in the deep water to drown. Sound dramatic? I usually am, but it’s the truth none the less. You wouldn’t leave a newborn beside the ocean unattended and you certainly shouldn’t leave a new convert to be attacked by every shark in the sea of Satan. It’s why they don’t stay and why they go astray in life. They need to be discipled just as the early church did.

Funny Bones

Oh my stars! A sense of humor is a necessity in a child of God! For the reason of stupid people (those who don’t have a filter and can cut you to the core) and to lighten the load that many of us carry in the door. I know Jesus laughed. I’m pretty sure I’m responsible for His laughter much of the time now when He sees me trying to make it on my own.

Back Bones

If you’ve been in church any length of time at all you know them by name. They are those who will stand flat footed and tell you like it is without wavering biblically. They’ve been there a while and have stayed standing through every storm.

Hug Bones

So, so very important. And also it’s important to know who’s a touch me not. But I’m a hugger because I’ve known many days when I just needed to know someone cared. Being cautious about folks who hurt and those who don’t like touched is important though because you can just as well run them off or physically hurt them. We often don’t know our strength and for someone with arthritis or fibromyalgia the lightest squeeze can send shock waves. So hug, but maybe with just your smile sometimes.

Work Bones

Most churches do not have an abundance of work bones. Another quote I heard was that 20% of the people do 80% of the work. I fear that a more realistic number would be 5/95. If you just show up at church on Sunday morning, get your message and go, you’re clueless on the background of your church. Hours and hours of preparation goes into a good service. Floors don’t clean themselves, dinners don’t get planned and materials don’t just show up un-ordered. We need more work bones!

Praise Bones

God desires it. You need to experience it and the folks behind you need the encouragement to join in! Raise them hands to the Lord all ye people!

Prayer Bones

Another neglected anatomy part. The altars of America are not well attended. Prayer is a formality at a few tables and an act of desperation when times are tough, but seldom relied upon for survival of everyday living.

Visitation Bones

What’s visitation? Exactly. It’s a lost art and it’s why churches are not growing.

Tail Bones

Every church has them. They’re pew sitters. And it’s not a bad thing unless that’s the only thing you do and you leave no better than when you came. But the very fact that people come to church is wonderful and shows that they have a heart for the things of God. Celebrate every single one, even if you sometimes have to check pulses.

That’s just a few of the many, many parts of a church. As my Facebook friend said last night, there’s some squishy parts too. They’re the kind hearted souls who come, worship and encourage us just by their presence. I love the body of Christ. Every one. Even the tails bones.

1 Corinthians 12:20

But now are they many members, yet but one body.

Myself ~ My Service ~ His Sake

2 Corinthians 4:5

For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.

Every day is a struggle for me spiritually. The closer I try to get to God, the harder the battle, and quite often the more I fail. Add to that mix a servant’s heart, a selfish heart and the Savior’s heart, and I’m a mass of confusion.

The Servants Heart

I don’t know if everyone is born with a servant’s heart and many suppress it, or if there’s just some of us who have been called and are painfully aware of that calling. But I can’t not serve. Sometimes to the point of pondering why. I don’t want to sound whiny, needy or ungrateful for people who depend on me, because I am, but there are days when I have to wonder how much stubble and hay I have loaded on my wagon for Heaven? My servants heart has always been worn on my sleeve, and easily accessible by some folks that I’m not so sure would return the favor, or even genuinely appreciate what I’ve done. I hesitated today to even write this post for fear of those I love to serve feeling they’ve over taxed by heart. Which is not true. Or that my children wouldn’t always feel welcome to ask my help. There are responsibilities that are for certain eternally valued from the stand point that God is a family man… He understands their needs and I want to as well. God was a friend who supplied the needs of the people, not only Salvation. And I want to too. But then there are times that I feel so overwhelmed, and my ability to say no is defined as “no, I wouldn’t mind doing that for you,” but my heart screams, “I don’t have time for this!” And so this morning I talked to Jesus for a little while about it. And His words as always were salve to my hurting soul.

You are too valuable to be squandered in the world. Everyone seeks their own gain, it’s human nature. But when you begin to seek mine and mine alone… it is then that you’ll realize your potential. I don’t’ need hours to accomplish my Word in you, I just need focus. Take it off the world today, put it on me.

Isn’t that the most amazing a heart can hear from God?

The Selfish Heart

The world around me isn’t the only one vying for time. Oh … my … stars. I’m the worst. I long to be a better servant and yet I’ll squander away valuable time on wasted breathing. Somedays I’ll just collapse and rather than focusing on encouraging myself spiritually I’ll turn on the world. Youtube. Television. Social Media. Games. You name it and I can be an addict! And pour time down the drain with nothing to show for it. It’s not even hay and stubble. It’s rubbish.

The Savior’s Heart

The Savior’s heart is what I long to have, and yet in my many weaknesses and distractions I lose focus. There’s that word again. Focus. It’s in most every conversation with the Lord… “Focus Shari. Just Focus on Me.” And deed I try. And deed I fail.

And so it is with Human nature.

2 Corinthians 4:5

For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.

I love what Paul tells the church of Corinth. If we preach, it’s not about us, it’s about Jesus. And if serve, it’s not about you, it’s about Jesus. Wow! What an amazing vantage point to launch a day with.

Regardless of what I speak… is it what Jesus would say? Would He speak on the subject for which I speak, would He broach the subject or would He change it completely? Do my words sound like something Jesus would say, or something Shari would say? Do they speak peace or do they stir strife?

If I’m serving someone, is it something Jesus would do? Or would He tell me I’m casting my pearls before swine.

Paul’s wisdom came from experience, and I can well heed it.

When he wrote to Timothy in 2 Timothy 4:16-18 he wrote this:

16 At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me: I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge. 17 Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

My take on Paul’s advice:

  • Men will forsake you… Let God deal with them.
  • The Lord will never forsake you… stay with Him.
  • Evil’s out there… Get Satan’s goat. Let God find glory in it.

I don’t know if I’ll ever learn how to say no. But I pray that as I grow in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, I’ll seek His gain, for His glory so that I can live up to my potential for His sake.

Myself ~ Your Servant – Jesus Sake

Questions to ponder…

The Servant’s Heart

I long to serve…

The Selfish Heart

I feel that I am serving my selfishness when I…

The Savior’s Heart

When I ask Jesus where He desires me to be serving I hear…

The hardest task… asking for myself

Dear friends:

Anyone who knows me doesn’t have to know me for very long before they know my heart for the Lord Jesus Christ. In 2010 I stepped into a roll that God called me into as “The Jesus Chick.” It’s allowed me the opportunity to speak and sing in a multitude of places. I’ve met people that have become ministry partners and friends who have supported and encouraged me and kept me on this path. When I’ve gone to speak or sing, unless it’s been to an area where I’ve had to fly or drive several hours I’ve not set a price on my work for the Lord. Believing that the Lord would provide.

Over the last few years the Lord has worked on me to become a missionary of encouragement in the mission field of church ministries to help churches work in unity and grow in the area for which they’ve been planted. I’ve watched in my own community as churches did more damage to the cause of Christ through discord among the brothers and sisters and I’ve also watched as that discord has become a sweet accord. I do not claim to have all the answers, but I do claim to have a message from God that stirs my soul every time I get the opportunity to share it, and it’s encouraged those who’ve heard.

My heart’s desire is to take that message far and wide to begin sowing the seeds of harmony through the subject of “Sisterhood in the Neighborhood.” My first meeting is with several friends in the ministry in Windom, Minnesota where I’ll share this message at the BARC Windom, a community building in that city. They’ll be others preaching, singing and sharing testimonies as well for the purpose of building a foundation for revival in the churches of that city; not collectively, but individually, believing that each Church of born again believers has a purpose in their community. The organizers of this event are people like me that feel the urgency of God’s call to stir revival fires throughout America. They’re not representing a denomination. They’re representing Jesus Christ. They’re funding this mission on their own.

Which brings me to this post.

I’ve been serving Christ 3 years with very little, sometimes non-existent missionary support. I’m appealing to you in hopes that you’ll believe in the mission I’ve been called to and support with as little or as much as you feel the Lord leading you to.

Writing this post was perhaps the hardest task I’ve ever had to do as a part of the Jesus Chick mission. I’m a giver, not a taker. But the flight, the hotel (bare boned as they are) are costly and I could use someone to believe in this mission as much as my friends and I do. To date I and my friends have raised $200 (for my portion). That’s a long way from the $1500 I need for this November 9,10, 2017 event.

Perhaps you think it’s not God’s will then… Believe me, I’ve ask. I’ve prayed and the answer is always, you’ll go. But I need help.

I have a go fund me account as well as a PayPal account established. This isn’t something I’ll ever make a habit of and I believe that once the ministry is established the success will provide the funding. But a few seeds ($) of encouragement would go along way to get me started. I share my heart and talents anytime the door opens for no charge. Please view this as you would any missionary on any foreign field. But I’m serving the country roads and cities in America. A worthy cause…

I ask in all sincerity that you pray and consider support “the Jesus Chick” for this event.

In Christ love and service,

Shari (aka The Jesus Chick)

Don’t look back, just go!

If I were ask to look back on my life and choose the life altering times of my life, the greatest of those times would be the day I accepted Christ as my Savior. Nothing else in my life had the power to change the inner being. Marriage changed my name and devotion, but not who I was. Having children changed my concept and depth of love, but again, not who I was. I was still a self-centered, worldly minded person with an inner arrogance that wanted what I wanted and I wanted it now. I can still resort to that mindset if I’m not careful. But the thought of being saved from the wrath that is to befall this earth, leaves me with no desire to look back on yesterday with any longing to return.

Religion Wants Evidence

Luke 17:20-33

20 And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation: 21 Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you.

The arrogance of those Pharisees never ceases to amaze me (until I look in the mirror.) They “demanded” Jesus to answer them when the Kingdom of God would come. Jesus responded by telling them that the Kingdom of God isn’t going to be found on the earth, but rather within.

The Pharisees couldn’t understand it because their religion was that of works, Jesus was describing that of relationship. The Pharisees wanted an evidence beyond what Christ was willing to offer. Christ said “follow me.” Religion wants to know where, but faith follows without the knowledge of destination. It was that faith that caused the Savior to turn away from the Pharisees and speak to the disciples, because religion won’t listen, it’s already got its mind made up. I know this because I lived it.

Faith Wants Emanuel

Emanuel, God with us. It was the defining, life changing factor of who I am.

22 And he said unto the disciples, The days will come, when ye shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and ye shall not see it. 23 And they shall say to you, See here; or, see there: go not after them, nor follow them. 24 For as the lightning, that lighteneth out of the one part under heaven, shineth unto the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in his day. 25 But first must he suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation. 26 And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man. 27 They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all. 28 Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded; 29 But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. 30 Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed. 31 In that day, he which shall be upon the housetop, and his stuff in the house, let him not come down to take it away: and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back. 32 Remember Lot’s wife.

When Lot’s wife looked back, longing for that life of sin and worldliness, she rejected the salvation of God. Jesus warned the disciples not to fall into the trap of looking at anything other than the salvation that came from Him. The world is full of shiny bolts of lightning to take our eyes off faith and putting it onto what can be seen. Stay focused! Again and again God brings this word to my mind. Likely because my mind is so weak when it comes to bling! Shiny things get my attention. God needs me (and you) to focus on the mission field, not the mine field. The world is going to be destroyed, just like it was in the days of Noah and Lot. But our eyes should be on that of eternity and the return of Christ.

We have friends and family who need salvation, else they’ll be left in the mine field. God said that for those of us on the mission field of life, not to turn back, keep going! Remember Lot’s wife.  A pillar of salt, left behind. Her husband and daughters went on without her, and that didn’t end well either. Mistakes were made. If we don’t continue on, leading our families away from the destruction of this earth it will be a sad, sad day. But oh! What a glorious day to have our families together in Heaven.

God knows I need reminders, especially on the tough days, to keep moving forward in faith. The evidence is within me, I just have to trust in He who leads the way. Stay on the mission field! Don’t look back! Just go!

I’m not raising babies in the ministry

Dressing for Success takes on a whole new meaning when you’re talking about church, at least for me. I’m not referring to what you physically wear to church, I’m pretty flexible on that matter, just be decent, and be in church, and I’m a happy camper.  I’m talking about what you spiritually wear to church.

If you’ve been in church any time at all you’ve likely heard a sermon or two preached from Ephesians 6 on the whole armor of God. It’s a necessary sermon for getting through life’s every day battles that leave more than a dent or two on us. But what about the armor we wear to church? Is there such a thing?

I personally want a sermon preached to me that when it’s over my toes are bruised from all the times they’ve been stepped on. I know that’s not the norm. Most people like a sermon that powders their tush and makes them feel all fluffy inside. My opinion of that, is that’s what gotten America in the shape she’s in. My friend Roger preached last night and hit the nail on the head when he said, “We’ve quit preaching on personal sin.” Nobody wants anyone to hold them accountable, they especially don’t want God to hold them accountable. We want the Lord of love but we don’t want the Lord of accountability. Just save us Lord, then leave us be. And so the world now caters to that in churches across the land because it brings numbers… or does it?

I’ve heard those against the mega churches say that those churches are full because it’s easy believism being preached. There are those I’m sure. But I’ve listened to several that stir my soul. And I’ve been in little churches that have been mighty in the Spirit and some that were few in number because nobody was preaching a message of conviction to make anyone loyal to God. We need what David knew was necessary for successful living in Psalm 139:23 when he said “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me and know my thoughts.” David didn’t want baby powder, he wanted talcum powder from a work out with God.  We need a strong word to make us stronger. Weak words do just that, they weakens us. So stomp my toes Mr. Preacher and I’ll wear the appropriate attire for church.

Fully Dressed

In earlier times, pre-spanking days, a father wouldn’t send you to your room to think about what you’d done. He’d fully dress ya. Maybe that’s a word from our region, I’m not sure, and I really never heard it from my own dad, but I’ve been fully dressed on more than one occasion by God.

10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.

Put on the whole armor, not just part of it. While we think of this as verses for life, it’s also verses for church. We need to be prepared to hear the word of God because in that place of worship the first one to show up for a service is Satan himself. He’s got every open pew filled with evil. And with the churches of today, there’s plenty of open seats. But while we’re there we need to come prepared to hear the word of God even if that means we’re gonna be fully dressed by him. That is how we grow. We discipline our children so they know there’s a better way, God does His children no different.

Fully Drawn

12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Entering a spirit filled service of the Lord should find our minds fully drawn into the Holy Spirit. Focused on what He’d have us to know even if that means putting on blinders to all else in the room. Satan knows the house of God is a place of business for God. It’s not the only place He works but it’s one of the best. So it’s there that Satan launches an attack to keep eyes and minds off the sermon. He’ll do it with people, thoughts, bugs, babies, anything that can pull your mind away from the word. Get fully drawn into God when you hit the building.

Fully Determined

None of my three points sound like something you put on until you think of them in the spiritual sense. Being dressed, drawn and determined are all spiritual mindsets that must be put on inwardly and worn outwardly so that the not only Satan and his cronies can see it, but others can see it.

13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:

Each piece of the spiritual armor has a purpose to shielding us from the wickedness of the spiritual realm. But one of the most detrimental things to the spiritual man is self. We have to allow God to dress us when we’re drifting away from His purpose. We have to allow ourselves to be drawn to the spiritual side rather than the flesh and we have to put on that determination before we ever enter the service of God.

Fully Devoted

18 Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints; 19 And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

We need to wear it, but above all we need to speak it. Telling others about Christ is a devotion few have any more. They’re devoted to Sunday morning… not so much Monday through Saturday. Tonight is Wednesday and I’ll teach this thought to my teens, because I’m not raising babies in my ministry. I want them battle ready when they hit life head on!0