3 Christmas Chicks

Rewarded for Patience

Every stage of our life is an opportunity to serve the Lord. But often the very blessing of the stage becomes the reason that many don’t serve.

Children feel that they can wait, there’s plenty of time to serve God.

Married life brings with it a load of responsibilities and others who depend on us and are vying for our time. Careers are often our focus and between that and family, serving God is something that will need to wait for when the children are grown or life calms down.

So life calms down and we’re in retirement or widowhood and it’s time for rest. We’ve done our part, now let the younger one’s pick up the slack. But the problem is, there’s nobody picking up the slack. We aren’t seeing children, middle age or older women serve. We see a few worn out chickd who shoulder the load in most churches because we just don’t have the time.

But what would have happened if the the three women of the Christmas story, the Christmas chicks per say, would have had that attitude? Praise God! They didn’t and they were richly rewarded for embracing their opportunities to serve, rather that avoiding or making excuses.

The first of our Christmas chicks is Elisabeth. (Luke 1:1-25)

Elisabeth would represent the Married among us. Her life had been far from perfect. She and Zachariah had long prayed for a child, and during the culture of that day it was great embarrassment if a woman didn’t provide a child for her husband. This was the family legacy after all. And for her it would be the literal future of her husband’s ministry. And so they prayed and prayed and God had not allowed it to happen. Perhaps it was a test, or just God being God, waiting to make someone’s story into an awesome testimony.

Elisabeth is the very same name of the wife of Aaron. The priests were very careful to marry within their own family to maintain the dignity of the priesthood and keep it without mixture. They were held to a far greater accountability than the average Joe in the children of Israel. Elisabeth and Zachariah knew it and it is said of them that they both were righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. God’s timing had no doubt not been their timing. Elisabeth was well stricken in years. We’ve seen the effects of that in other women of the Bible who were impatient, like Abraham’s Sarah. Look what a mess that made when she gave her maid Hagar to Abraham, and the the world is paying a high price. Maybe that thought came to Elisabeth as she waited and helped her be more patient. But Elisabeth was willing to wait, if it never happened, believing God for what’s best. She and Zacharias had likely stopped praying for a child at this point, but God remembered their prayer. And they were rewarded for patience.

What are you waiting for God for? I have much. And I’m not as patient as Elisabeth and I often get the cart before the horse.

Rewarded for Purity

The second Christmas chick is the one we all believe to be central of the Christmas story and that is Miss Mary. (Luke 1:26-

She represents the single age of life, even though she was promised to Joseph. But she still remained pure of heart and pure of life and God took note.

The world is so jaded at this point, purity is seldom discussed in most homes. Celibacy, yes. And we may think of them as the same thing, but you can be celibate and not have a pure heart. A pure heart is a dedication far above just denying the desires of the flesh, it’s a focus on the sacredness of life and accountability to a Holy God; and that’s what’s missing in our conversation with youth. Even in our warped society it’s still expected that we speak to our young girls about saving themselves for marriage, but we don’t speak about the importance of dedicating themselves to the service of the Lord at that time; and what an important role that is in choosing the right mate and living the right life.

Mary obviously had that.

Scripture said that she was highly favoured, the Lord is with thee, blessed art thou among women.

The angel alone had scared her to death, but to hear that the Lord had taken such note of who she was must have certainly took her aback. I think we’ll be surprised what God notices in our life. And as young women, we need to understand that God is looking at our lives and He’s still looking for pure hearts to use for the Kingdom’s glory.

We learn that Mary was pure of heart, pure of body and pure of soul, willing to take on the persecution that would surely befall her because of the out of wedlock pregnancy. God continually provided for her. He changed the heart of Joseph, He allowed her the blessing of raising the Lord Jesus Christ and He allowed her the opportunity to continue to serve all the days of her life. He also made sure that she was taken care of when Christ died by appointing John to look over her.

Children who are taught to serve grow up with the understanding that God provides opportunity and He provides what’s needed for the day. I always imagine what Mary might have seen Jesus do as a child. What if He refilled all the chocolate milk cups, or made sure everyone had never ending cookies. We don’t know much about His childhood, but Mary did.

She was reward for her purity and willingness to serve

Rewarded for Perseverance

The Third Christmas chick is Anna, a widow. In the retirement of life. I found her most interesting because that’s where I’m heading.

The Spirit of prophecy which had ceased in Israel above 300 years but was now revived and through a woman. It may not have meant anything more than she was a woman of understanding. But she made it her business to instruct the younger women in the things of God. God will not be left without His witnesses

She was 84 years old and had long been a widow. She lived with her husband only 7 years when he died, and never remarried. We know nothing more than that of her married life, except that it is mentioned to her praise because she obviously dedicated herself to the things of God. She was constantly at the temple and it is speculated that she had a place to call home in the out-buildings of the temple. Her worship was both public and private. She prayed, fasted and served God night and day.

The Pharisees prayed and fasted too, but for vain glory. Not Anna. She did it for the glory of God!

It said that she spoke of Him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.  She was a soul winner long before the word existed. Anna is a reminder that we should not grow weary in our well doing. She had waited a long time for the opportunity to see the Messiah. I doubt her days were filled with soap operas and bonbons on the sofa. As a widow without children she would have been at the mercy of the Lord for provision and some of her days of fasting may not have been by choice. Because of her perseverance in those hard times, God rewarded her a piece of the Christmas story.

It’s kind of tucked in there at the end and often forgotten. Elisabeth is tucked in the beginning and is often over looked, but all three women serve as examples of the stages and progression of life that women go through.

Where do you see yourself? And how are you allowing God to use you?

This Christmas let’s keep their examples in our mind as we worship the Lord through this season.

Let us be patient if the Lord has us waiting.

Let us be pure if the world around us is full of corruption.

And let us persevere in the face of all adversity so that God may use us and bless us for His glory.

Merry Christmas from the Jesus Chick!

 

The Harlot’s White Christmas

Although Irving Berlin penned the 1942 song “White Christmas” two decades before I was born, it’s still alive and well and topping the charts of Christmas albums across the world 75 years later. That’s an amazing run! Not as amazing as Amazing Grace, but none the less, who wouldn’t want that kind of history for their music? I still prefer those crooning sounds of singers like Bing Crosby that draw you so far into their song you can almost catch a drifting snowflake on your tongue. But as I painted my Silkie Chicken version of “White Christmas” yesterday while feeling in the holiday spirit of 2017, it drew me back to the white Christmas of 1400 B.C.

What? How was there Christmas, before Christ was born? There was actually Christmas in the book of Genesis and throughout the Old and New Testaments, but this morning my Christmas story came from the book of Joshua, with the key character being a Harlot named Rahab. Needless to say, this ain’t your 1940’s Bing Crosby version of the story.

We find this version in Joshua (Chapter 2), when Joshua sent out two men to go and spy on the land of Jericho. The two men went into a harlot’s house named Rahab to lodge because it was a “hotel” of the day, and likely because it probably wasn’t uncommon for many men to travel in and out of that house unsuspected, but Rahab knew who they were and that God’s hand was upon the children of Israel. Rahab wasn’t a brainless woman of ill repute, she was a woman quite aware of the political and biblical events of the day. Harlotry may have been her business, but her family was the affair she was most concerned about.

Hidden by the Harlot

Joshua 2:1-6 ~ And Joshua the son of Nun sent out of Shittim two men to spy secretly, saying, Go view the land, even Jericho. And they went, and came into an harlot’s house, named Rahab, and lodged there. And it was told the king of Jericho, saying, Behold, there came men in hither to night of the children of Israel to search out the country. And the king of Jericho sent unto Rahab, saying, Bring forth the men that are come to thee, which are entered into thine house: for they be come to search out all the country.  And the woman took the two men, and hid them, and said thus, There came men unto me, but I wist not whence they were: And it came to pass about the time of shutting of the gate, when it was dark, that the men went out: whither the men went I wot not: pursue after them quickly; for ye shall overtake them. But she had brought them up to the roof of the house, and hid them with the stalks of flax, which she had laid in order upon the roof.

It wasn’t just happenstance that the two spies ended up in the home of a harlot. God’s decides from a vantage point higher than ours, who it is that gets a role in the Christmas program. We want the ones of good reputation, the pretty people. God instead chooses a harlot by the name of Rahab because He knew her heart was ready for rehab.

Hallowed by the Harlot

Verses 7-11 ~ And the men pursued after them the way to Jordan unto the fords: and as soon as they which pursued after them were gone out, they shut the gate. And before they were laid down, she came up unto them upon the roof;  And she said unto the men, I know that the Lord hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you. For we have heard how the Lord dried up the water of the Red sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt; and what ye did unto the two kings of the Amorites, that were on the other side Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom ye utterly destroyed. And as soon as we had heard these things, our hearts did melt, neither did there remain any more courage in any man, because of you: for the Lord your God, he is God in heaven above, and in earth beneath.

Rahab reverenced God and His people. She acknowledge that there was power in the God they served and that she and her people had a healthy fear of Him.

It’s unfortunate today that there are many people who don’t fear our God because His people aren’t allowing anyone to see their deliverance. Rahab had seen how God had delivered His people. She’d heard the talk around the neighborhood about the great things God had done and it scared her to death! She knew that her people had nothing that could win against a God so mighty. When is the last time you heard people sharing about the deliverance of God with the community, even though we in the church know it happens. We’ve seen God tear down walls in families and restore relationships, we’ve seen Him wipe out disease and heal our sick, and we’ve seen Him fight and win battles where it would appear all was lost, but God brought the victory. But nobody’s talking about that…

Rahab reverenced God and His people because they were the topic of conversation everywhere!

Heaven Hears the Harlot

Vs. 12-18 ~  Now therefore, I pray you, swear unto me by the Lord, since I have shewed you kindness, that ye will also shew kindness unto my father’s house, and give me a true token: And that ye will save alive my father, and my mother, and my brethren, and my sisters, and all that they have, and deliver our lives from death.  And the men answered her, Our life for yours, if ye utter not this our business. And it shall be, when the Lord hath given us the land, that we will deal kindly and truly with thee. Then she let them down by a cord through the window: for her house was upon the town wall, and she dwelt upon the wall. And she said unto them, Get you to the mountain, lest the pursuers meet you; and hide yourselves there three days, until the pursuers be returned: and afterward may ye go your way. And the men said unto her, We will be blameless of this thine oath which thou hast made us swear. Behold, when we come into the land, thou shalt bind this line of scarlet thread in the window which thou didst let us down by: and thou shalt bring thy father, and thy mother, and thy brethren, and all thy father’s household, home unto thee.

God knew the heart of Rahab before the story ever started. He knew that she was ready to leave the lifestyle she was in and be converted.

So what does all that have to do with a White Christmas?

The red cord that hung from the window of the harlot’s house, that crimson colored rope, signaled her redemption. She and her family would be saved so long as they stayed within the walls covered by the red cord. Another symbolic red covering was that of the children of Israel when the blood over the door signaled the death angel to pass and their family spared the loss of the first born. All of which lead to the final application of the red, covering the sins of the harlot hearts of the world when Christ’s blood was shed on Calvary. That baby we celebrate this Christmas that washed us all as white as snow.

Rahab and all those close to her were saved because of the red cord, and I’m hanging onto that hope that I and all those close to me will be saved when that final day of judgement comes. But like Rahab, I have to be vigilant about opportunities to be used by God.

What are you feasting on today?

I have the day after Thanksgiving attitude of gratitude. A gift from the Lord this cold blustery morning. I received it from reading a book recommended by a friend, which allowed me to delve into the deeps of scripture. What joy comes from reading His word! It was if I was sitting at a Thanksgiving buffet with every delectable food of my favorite persuasion crossing my tongue. I kid you not, the Word was just that sweet to me today. It brought to mind the joy that I received over the past couple of days while baking and preparing food for our family’sThanksgiving dinner. I thought about those who would enjoy the food and the time of fellowship we’d have, much like I receive when sharing the gospel.

A student from Marietta Bible College had messaged me in the midst of our feast yesterday to ask for prayer so that God would use her in a mighty way to minister to family she was spending the holiday with. She later informed me that she had the glorious honor and privilege of leading two new souls to Christ! Oh what a Thanksgiving moment. She had given them a “taste” of her God and they partook of her feast!

Shouldn’t that be how we treat our responsibility of sharing the gospel. It tastes sooooooo good. Why would we not share it.

Put on your praise today!  In the book of Isaiah he was having one of those crazy praise days in chapter 61.

No meal is complete without a little oil!

As children of God we have the anointing upon us to grease the way for the gospel to be accepted.

Isaiah 61:1-3

(1)The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;

When my friend messaged me yesterday she did so because she knew the power of prayer to make the way where Satan would be striving hard to stop it. I see heartache in every direction this time of year. People are hurting, they’ve family estranged, they’ve lost someone to death, relationships are torn, families have problems and we have the sweetest gift to give anyone of them. It may not make the problem go away, but it will give the oil in their life that will ease them through the troubled times.

Every meal needs comfort food

(2) To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;

Most of us have those favorite foods that bring into mind a sweet memory or an easier time of life. It may just look like food to some but to us it’s a sweet piece of comfort. For me that’s pie! I had a sliver of comfort for breakfast this morning in the form of Cinnamon Apple pie and a cup of coffee. And as much as I enjoyed it, it didn’t bring me a smidgeon of the comfort that I found in God’s word, which lead me to a reason to share this thought. We need to be as excited about sharing the comfort we find in God’s word as we are with sharing our favorite foods. In these troubling times people need to see the comfort we find in our relationship with Christ.

Everyone’s burned something!

(3)To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.

I didn’t burn any of the Thanksgiving treats I baked this year, but something from a previous baking had dropped into the bottom of the oven and was charred into a piece of coal while my scalloped potatoes were baking. My husband was panicked that I was trying to burn the house down (ever the fireman that he is.) I assured him it was the old not the new, and so I removed the old and the sweet scent of the new was all that we smelled from then on.

Past hurts and trials can certainly leave us burned. But Isaiah reminds us that God gives us beauty in exchange for the ashes. But we have to give him the charred remains of our burdens and with it He promises to replace it with joy and praise.

The illustrations I shared were just a few moments in my real life that God used to remind me that I have a purpose on earth. And that’s to share not just the earthly gifts He gives, but above all the spiritual gifts so that He may be glorified and that my friends and family will be drawn in by the aroma of Christ in my life. Oh what a sweet savor and a sweet Savior!

Thank God for what you have today and share that goodness with someone else! You too have purpose.

A Word to the Frustrated Believer

In general, I stay more frustrated with myself than with others among the church. But I must confess that I too can grow weary of people.  For some strange reason the Mac Davis song, “Oh Lord it’s hard to be Humble,” is now playing in my mind. If you know the song, you remember the next line “when you’re perfect in every way.” Now, in the words of the Apostle Paul, “I beseech you,” meaning I beg of you, to understand I’m as far from perfect as the pendulum swings! But human nature being what it is causes my mind to focus on the errored way of others, and when I do I am brought to a message like this in 2 Corinthians 10.

It comforts me to know that even the great Paul had to talk his way through the frustrations of dealing with stupid people.

2 Corinthian ds 10:1-2

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.

Remember Humility

Paul said that he was base (the lowest) among us. How could that be?  A man who was beaten and imprisoned for preaching the gospel and died a martyr for the faith. How is it that he would say that he is less than anyone else? Because he remembered humility. It’s a character trait of those who are most used by God.

Paul’s past, pre,-salvation was spent having Christians murdered for the same faith that he now defended. That no doubt weighed heavy on his heart. And though it was under the blood of Christ, it would not have prevented Satan from using it as a tool of discouragement in Paul’s ministry. Satan doesn’t have any new tricks, he doesn’t need them. He always has plenty of ammunition in the line of guilt in my life even after salvation. I can either allow him to tear me apart, or I can face the world in humility as the Apostle Paul did, knowing that I am a sinner saved by grace. It’s in that humility that I’ll learn to extend grace and mercy to those who frustrate me.

2 Corinthians 10:3-5

For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 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;

Avoid High-mindedness

Paul said to cast down every “high” thing that puts itself above God. I think of that as those self-righteous moments of mankind when we look upon the faults of others and forget our own. Oh, the saints of God love calling out sin, so long as nobody opens their closet doors.

It is so easy for me to look at someone else’s life and assume that they should have known better, or that no excuse was worthy of the transgression they committed, but justify my own blunders. Paul lay a reminder before us that that kind of high-thinking is detrimental to the children of God. It makes someone feel less and someone feel more and that is not the way Christ did it. Christ never justified sin, nor did He execute the sinner.

2 Corinthians 10:6-8

And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled. Do ye look on things after the outward appearance? if any man trust to himself that he is Christ’s, let him of himself think this again, that, as he is Christ’s, even so are we Christ’s. For though I should boast somewhat more of our authority, which the Lord hath given us for edification, and not for your destruction, I should not be ashamed:

Understand it’s a Matter of the Heart

When we’ve been hurt, or we’re in disagreement with someone else, it would do us well if we’d consider the heart of the matter. While my weakness may not be yours or vice versa, we cannot say for certain that we understand every underlying condition that created our frustration. I only have to recall an issue that I had with a person who seemed arrogant and prideful. My frustration with them grew to the point that I’d cringe when I’d hear their voice in the distance. They later became one of my best friends and what I discovered was that the arrogance and pride was a shield that they placed before them so that people couldn’t see the insecurity and lack of self-confidence that they garnered inside. Once I understood that about them, my frustration quickly turned to compassion and the realization that everything wasn’t always what it seemed.

Paul could have boasted in his authority with God and his wisdom of men. He was right. But he chose rather to look on others with compassion and allow the love of Christ to be exhibited rather than the pride of man.

I’ve learned that most people eventually realize the error of their ways, or I recognize mine. And when they don’t I need to leave them with Christ and move on to matters I can control.

Placing it in Christ’s hands in indeed the cure of the frustrated believer.

The Signficant Three

I heard it said and fear its true, in that “We’re raising a generation that doesn’t even know the basics” when it comes to Bible. Twenty years ago at the age of 34 I didn’t know beans about the Bible. Even the acronym B.I.B.L.E – Basic Instruction Before Leaving Earth, sent me into note taking frenzy. I’d never heard even something so simple. What a concept! Every preaching service I’d sit on the edge of my seat like I was being spoon fed pure sugar from Heaven, and Hallelujah and I’m still the same. The Word of God has never gotten old because as a young Christian I heard the power of the Spirit, the Water and the Blood.

As a product of what was probably the first generation that took the gospel too lightly, the blood wasn’t something my squeamish stomach liked to hear about. It made me very uneasy to hear about the sacrifice of critters and then to hear about the sacrifice of the Son of God was a horror my mind couldn’t fathom, until, through the preaching of the Word, I began to understand that were it not for that sacrifice I would have busted Hell wide open. And I knew that there had been several times in my 34 years where I was inches away from gate. When I came to that realization the preaching of the blood no longer bothered me, but I’d raise my hand and shout Amen with the rest of those crazy Baptists because the Spirit inside of moved me and bore witness that there was a well of Living Water within me and I was seated in Heaven with the Lord Jesus.

But in the modern age of today the blood is being preached on less and less and is being traded for a lukewarm version that no longer allows people to understand there’s more to getting to Heaven than just showing up to church.

Oh… the work is done. But there’s a head and heart knowledge of 1 John 5:8 that must be understood.

The significant three

Spirit

February 18th, 1996. That was the first time I remember feeling the Spirit in such a way that it made my heart well up inside of me to the point I thought it would explode! It missing in many, many services today, because that Spirit is a part of a threefold message. And without the other two, it’s not a complete message.

Water

At least 60% of the adult human body is made up of water and we can’t survive without it. A child of God won’t survive spiritually without the water of the word either. I was taught as a new Christian that if I wanted to grow in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, I needed to read and study the word of God for myself. It was then that I realized it truly was like water; flowing through my body and encouraging me as the world around me did everything within it’s power to discourage me. A few days without it and I would begin to feel my soul drying up and crying out for a drink from the well called “The Word.”

Blood

Medical minded people could give you far more information than I on the purpose of the blood for living, but I will only tell you of the blood that made all the difference! When God sacrificed the first animals to cover the newly discovered naked bodies of Adam and Eve, I can imagine their gut wrenching horror of that act. The act that they, through sin, had made necessary. It was my same reaction when I realized that through my sin, I had caused the very Lamb of God to be sacrificed on the cross as payment for my sin. I can’t watch movies like “The Passion of Christ,” because the images are just more than my heart can bear. Reading it in the Word and having the Spirit bear witness to me is enough to make me understand the blood was applied to my wicked heart and made it white as snow so that I could have a relationship with God.

I’m grateful for the preaching of the Word and that Saints of God took their role of discipling me serious. I pray I never take the significant three for granted, and that I never fail to take the opportunity to instill in this generation the basics of salvation. That is why the world is in the shape that it’s in. The basics have been forsaken for words that appease the flesh. I know that if my heart had not felt the piercing conviction of sin through the preaching of the Spirit, the Water and the Blood, I’d still be headed to Hell.

If you’ve know that word… thank a preacher!

A Conversation with the Creator

The willow tree is my all-time favorite tree. I don’t have any in my yard, but perhaps someday I will, especially after reading Isaiah 44. I’m an illustration learner, I must have visuals or soul stirring words to capture my attention and plant a seed that will stay; otherwise it just rolls off this hard head of mine and onto the ground. I need something that will penetrate my heart. God knows. And so as I’m talking with the Lord this morning I hear “Isaiah 44,” and in curiosity I followed the Lord’s leading. I’m so glad I did. It was there that I discovered perhaps why the willow tree has appealed to me over the years.

A Call to the Chosen

44:1-2 Yet now hear, O Jacob my servant; and Israel, whom I have chosen: Thus saith the Lord that made thee, and formed thee from the womb, which will help thee; Fear not, O Jacob, my servant; and thou, Jesurun, whom I have chosen.

Have you ever gotten a call from someone that made you feel pretty important? That’s how Israel should have felt in Isaiah 44:1. In modern day it would be as if they picked up the phone and God Himself was on the line saying, “I could have called anyone, but I chose to call you.”

We take the calling of God so lightly! He didn’t have to save us. But He did. He did not have to speak to my heart in 1996, but He did. And I am ever so grateful! What does it mean to you to be chosen by God? Take a minute just to let that soak in. That He created you to be who you are. The way you look, the desires of heart, the talents you have… everything was designed by Him. Do you criticize or disregard the vessel God placed you in? I know I do. Think of how much effort He put into you! It’s the insanity of the world to think that we could have just “happened.” No… we were splendidly, awesomely designed!

A Comfort for the Called

For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring: And they shall spring up as among the grass, as willows by the water courses.

What a peaceful image to imagine sitting by a river beneath a willow tree that has been soaking up the water and is lush and green. Especially when you’ve been out in the dessert as the children of Israel have been. Or what about us? When you’ve been in a dry place where we sometimes don’t see the working of God and nobody is excited about anything spiritual. The world is full of depressing news and frustrating people; but then you open up the word of God and feel Him pouring into you the water of life and suddenly your disposition changes, because your position changed. The world will say nobody cares, there’s no way out, the whole world is going to Hell in a handbasket, but from the word of God springs hope, life and direction. There is great comfort in that!

A Concept of the Creator

One shall say, I am the Lord’s; and another shall call himself by the name of Jacob; and another shall subscribe with his hand unto the Lord, and surname himself by the name of Israel. Thus saith the Lord the King of Israel, and his redeemer the Lord of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God. And who, as I, shall call, and shall declare it, and set it in order for me, since I appointed the ancient people? and the things that are coming, and shall come, let them shew unto them. Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any.

We tend to put labels on ourselves. Sometimes it’s from a family characteristic, perhaps it’s from a past mistake or a title given to us by the world. We put far too much stock in titles given to us through our employers.

How hard is it for us to grasp the concept of the Creator? What was it that God created you for? What is your purpose and design? Why do you think God gave you the personality and passions that He did. How can those be used for His glory, and are you using them for that purpose.

Lots of questions to ponder today…

I’d love to hear from you. Find me on Facebook or respond through the contact form, let’s converse!

Wisdom from the Water

Being the wife of a fire fighter allows me a “little better” understanding of the concept of emergency services. Very little, if I’m honest. I’m not a member of the department, I’m the “half unit” of Fire Chief 119 by emergency services lingo. I’m the whole unit of Jesus Christ. As my husband fights to put out the fires on earth, I fight to put out the fires of hell, one soul at a time.

My trip to Windom, Minnesota was fruitful, both for the souls of that city and for my own.

John 7:38 says

He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.

Water plays a huge role in our life. My husband is also Chief Operator at our local water treatment plant, so he has a passion for all things water. He takes his job as serious as any operator in the state of West Virginia I’d say. In addition to putting out fires with water, he’s also headed up the water rescue team through the fire department to rescue victims of flooding or accidents, and he’s pulled more than one lifeless body out of the water. Water has the power to heal the body as well as kill the body if one doesn’t use caution. But in the spiritual realm there is only one purpose. Life! Praise God I’m in the business of providing that water that Jesus Christ gave to me in 1996.

Just like the human body the spiritual body must have the water of life!

Essentiality

Water is essential for the cells in the human body to function properly, and believe me when I say, it’s essential for the Christian to function properly. It breaks my heart when I realize how very little the word of God is taken into consideration in the lives of people today. It’s what’s gotten folks into trouble from the beginning of time. They allowed someone else to tell them what “thus saith the Lord” rather than having that conversation themselves. When Satan deceived Eve, he did it by manipulating the word of God.

Genesis 3:1-4 “Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:

It’s so easy for someone to take the word of God out of context, or change just a few words to give it an entirely different meaning, contaminating the Living Water of God and destroying the body of Christ.

Listen to the preacher, yes! But read the word of God for yourselves and hear straight from the Savior Himself.

Evidentially

There is an evidence in the body of the presence of water. It hydrates and breaks down allowing the transport and removal of the icky things that tend to linger on in the digestive system. Isn’t it amazing that that’s exactly how the word of God works!

Reading the word satisfies the thirst of a soul that longs to hear from God. And along the way it purifies the body of those lingering sins that so often hang in the life of a Christian who doesn’t spend enough time in the word. Evidence begins to show in the life of a child of God by the Word of God flowing from them into the lives of others and again that chain reaction occurs. Hallelujah! It’s how souls are saved by the very vessels God pours into.

Enthusiality

It’s not a word, but it works for my third point.  Water helps limit the changes in body temperature in a warm or cold environment. And you better believe in this cold world, you need the ability to stay even tempered and enthusiastic about your relationship with God. Turn on the news and your blood may boil… at least mine does. Spend a few hours in the presence of carnal Christians and watch your temperature plummet and your desire for spiritual things diminish.

But spend time in the word of God and in the fellowship of strong Christian people and it will excite the soul! Windom, Minnesota has a new sister in Christ Jesus; it has a marriage restoration in the making and some dramatic changes in the lives of some children of God who discovered through the word of God and testimony of His people that the water of life not only extinguishes the fires in Hell from one less soul to burn, but floods the body of Christ with life giving water that is essential to its growth.

20 years… it never grows old or cold!

Just Focus on the Moment

Somewhere over the earth between Washington, DC and Minneapolis St. Paul, I  looked out the window of my very peaceful flight and this was my view. Prior to that it had been from the ground looking at the gray skies and drizzling rain. But at this point God clearly spoke the words from Isaiah 55:9 to my heart. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.  So I typed them onto the picture in my phone, wanting to capture that moment.

I heard Him ask, “Why do you always think you have it figured out? You’re not looking from My vantage point. What looks sad, and depressing and causes you to feel vulnerable and question my plans isn’t reality. It’s a cloudy view of a much bigger plan. I see the whole picture. Focus on each moment, capture it in your mind, but understand it’s only a moment in time. The view changes as I move you on to another place. My ways are not your ways, so don’t look at them through your eyes. You are seated in heavenly places. (Ephesians 2:6)

Once we took off from DC, there was a little turbulance (very little) and then the plane rested into the clouds and it was as smooth as silk. God reminded me, turbulances come in life… but His view is far above anything I could imagine… “Focus on the moment Shari.”

Maybe that’s a word for you too today.

From West Virginia & New Mexico ~ here we come!

Ephesians 6:19-20

 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, For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.

This is where it gets real! In less than 24 hours I’ll be on my way to Windom, Minnesota, and as I said to one of the Minnesota Team members this week, it’s like I’m coming home. That may seem somewhat odd for them and anyone who knows me, because I’ve only been there once; so how on earth could it be like going home?! Because home is where your heart is and I have a heart for the people of Windom.

When I arrived at Windom last year, having driven 16 hours to get there, I stepped out of the car at the home of Loretta Jackson and it was as if we’d been friends for a life time, and yet I’d never so much as spoken to her on the phone. I had an address plugged into my GPS and an image of a house from google. That’s it. But two seconds in the door and our mouths started talking and they didn’t shut up for 5 days. Even stranger, this whole journey began in a place I’ve still not been, but long to go, New Mexico! That’s where Dewey Moede is from. Dewey is a Windom, Minnesota born and raised boy who now is a circuit riding preacher in New Mexico as well as the co-founder of FGGAM.org, For God’s Glory Alone Ministry with his wife Sharon. Through social media we connected and began a journey of faith and a collective burden for Revival in our home towns. Miles and Miles apart, yet thanks to technology just a phone call, text, tweet or message away.

With the help of many churches and God’s people in my life, as well as social media, I have friends from across the globe. Some of them are as you would expect… “friends.” But others are F.R.I.E.N.D.S. Genuine, real, I count on them friends. Dewey Moede is one such friend and many of the Minnesota Revival Team on the ground in Windom. We’ve prayed for one another, I’ve cried with them and for them, they support what I do by allowing me to be a part of this extraordinary event. We’re excited!

Please stay tuned to my blog this week as I update the events of the week and most of all join us in prayer. We want God to move, Mighty! And we believe in the might power of prayer to do that. Please pray for our team:

  • Dewey Moede
  • Clara Nelson
  • Pat Fisher
  • Barney Wall
  • Pat Dunnick
  • Jennifer Anderson
  • Rod Byam
  • Maranatha Ministries
  • Gene  and Martha Duerksen
  • Lynn Stoneking
  • Shari Johnson