Why and How I know that I know

I will not tell you that in 21 years of salvation I have not ever doubted my salvation. I would doubt that very many Christians could say that. It’s our nature to doubt. Thomas didn’t have the market cornered on it.

But what I can say, it that the Holy Spirit did not allow me to live in that state very long. A friend posted on Facebook this morning the story of the conversion of John Wesley.  As I was reading through his testimony, and the question his dad posed to him on his death bed “John, do you have the inward witness of the Holy Spirit?” I wanted to shout the glory down! And oh, how I wished that during the 34 years of my unsaved condition, someone had asked me that question. They did not.

And when I finally heard it, I knew I did not. But for a while, pride would not allow me to explore it further with those who had asked the question. I had been brought up in church, I had taught Sunday School. I had lead youth. How could I confess that I did not have an understanding of what seemed to be such basic information in the Christian realm.

NOT SO BASIC ANY MORE

In a 2009 Barna Survey, fifty-eight percent strongly or somewhat agreed with the statement that the Holy Spirit is “a symbol of God’s power or presence but is not a living entity.” More than half of those surveyed! I realize that surveys can be somewhat misleading because of where the survey took place and who exactly was surveyed. But for some reason, I’m not doubting the results. I’ve been in the presence of too many professing Christians that just don’t bear any witness of the Holy Spirit.  They go to church a dry and come out dry. Nothing changes.

When I got saved. I CHANGED. I felt fire in my soul and it hasn’t gone out for 21 years.  So what happened to those who don’t feel it?

NOT SO BOLD ANY MORE

Matthew 24 states it well when says verses 11-12

And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.

The testimony of the Christian faith has been so tarnished by false preaching and false professors that even the true believer can see their fire go out if they’re not very careful on who and what they allow their mind to be exposed to.

I was watching the show “The Voice” last night and was so frustrated with the “professed Christian judge” on the show who cursed more than the other three non-professing judges that I was nauseous. I started routing against her. One might wonder why I continued to watch the show… I ask myself the same question. And I’ll be asking myself the same question next week, but it boils down to the fact that I love listening to the singing, and the few Christian testimonies from contestants as well as the singing tips from the judges, I glean what I can from their skills for my own music ministry.

But it’s the mentality that you can live any way you choose and profess Christ that has caused the Holy Spirit not be felt or believed upon by many in the church. Couple that with many churches no longer preaching the blood as necessary for salvation, and you can see the problem with their belief in the Word of God. The blood is on the pages of the bible from Genesis to Revelation.

NOT SO BURDENED ANY MORE

Before I was saved, I had heard just enough about Armageddon to scare me to death and pray for life. I didn’t understand it, but I feared it. I don’t know if I believed in Hell, but I feared it. And when I discovered the truth that there was a Hell, and that a child of God would be saved from it as well as Armageddon, Lord have mercy, I had such peace and gratitude for what the Lord Jesus done for me on the cross. I also became very aware that many of my family and friend would not escape, if they too did not become saved by the blood of Jesus. I was so burdened… I was sure Christ would return the next instant. But over time, when He delays His return, my burdened waned as well. It’s a great lie when you hear… there’s still time.

Perhaps, perhaps not. We need our burden restored and the only way that that is going to happen is to get our relationship with the Lord restored and stoke the fire within us.

NOT SO BROKEN ANY MORE

We need our heart broken the way Christ’s is broken every day by the lack of concern for His children. We need to ask ourselves again and again do we feel and do others see in us the inward and outward witness of the Holy Spirit?

 

 

 

 

The Playground of the Christian Faith

I was born a child of a Baptist momma, and a non-denominational daddy.  We attended a Baptist Church when I was born, a non-denominational church as an elementary child, a Methodist church as a pre-teen through young adult and I finally settled in and was saved in an independent Baptist Church at the age of 34. Which now brings you up to date with my Spiritual walk, denominationally speaking. This has no doubt sculpted me into the eclectic believer that I am today. That being said…

I know what I believe and why I believe it. I am a student of the word of God. Not the best one I’m sure, and not by worlds standards of education. I’m certainly not one in comparison to many of the scholars of the past and several people that I’m familiar with today; but I also feel that that works in my favor too. It causes me to depend upon the true Educator of the day which is the Holy Spirit, He who “giveth to all men liberally” if we but ask. (James 1:5) And so I ask, especially in the matter of denominational belief and association.

I ask, because I’ve been taught to ask. Which is good. We should always be cautious with our affiliations to make sure that those who we commune with don’t put things in our minds that cause us to question scripture.

So I’m going to use scripture to prove my point about why a multi-denomination friendship is healthy. You’ll note I didn’t say multi-denomination church. That’s not healthy. That causes confusion.

1 Corinthians 14:33

For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.

So, how do we learn to play well together, when we have differences of the way in which our churches believe?

Every playground has rules:

Rule number 1: Started in the Old Testament with Exodus 20:3, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” and ended in the New Testament with the final work of the cross: John 14:6 “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

Those who fellowship “in Christ” should all believe there is one way to Heaven, through Jesus Christ. Not of works, lest any man boast. Jesus, plus nothing.

Rule number 2: There are no other Rules.

But there is a word from God about the fellowship of believers from the book of Mark chapter 9.

There’s a reason I titled this message “The Play Ground of Faith”

God refers to us as His children. We never fully grow up in faith. There is always so much to learn. But we are sometimes

Afraid to Ask

30 And they departed thence, and passed through Galilee; and he would not that any man should know it.

31 For he taught his disciples, and said unto them, The Son of man is delivered into the hands of men, and they shall kill him; and after that he is killed, he shall rise the third day.

32 But they understood not that saying, and were afraid to ask him.

33 And he came to Capernaum: and being in the house he asked them, What was it that ye disputed among yourselves by the way?

Scripture told us that God will give answers to all men who ask in James 1:5, and we say we believe that God is the God of love, but we, just like the disciples fail to question God because He is after all. GOD. I don’t for two seconds think that Jesus would have minded if the disciples had said, “we don’t understand.” And He doesn’t mind if we say that either. But they were

Afraid to Chance it

Over the years I’ve questioned why Victory Baptist Church believed what they believed. Until recent years we were told it wasn’t wise to fraternize with other denominations because they believed different than we did. It wasn’t done with hate, but what leadership considered to be a protective mode.

One of the differences for our church is many other churches don’t use the King James version Bible. Our church does. But that’s not a part of this conversation. If I go to a  fellowship at another church and they read scripture from another version, I’m going to read it in my KJV. Case closed and no problem. I’m a visitor and happy to be there.

The Disciples didn’t ask God the question as to why He said He was going to die and be risen again, because they not only didn’t understand, but they also had their minds elsewhere; on leadership. Who’s going to be the boss?

34 But they held their peace: for by the way they had disputed among themselves, who should be the greatest.

35 And he sat down, and called the twelve, and saith unto them, If any man desire to be first, the same shall be last of all, and servant of all.

Isn’t that often the case on the playgrounds of the school? One child is very dominating over who plays with who and what. Is church any different? So multi-denomination fellowships leads us to ask, who’s in charge?

Easy answer, Jesus is in charge, everyone serves. A hosting church plans the event, other churches attend, and hopefully they’ve allowed the Holy Spirit to be in complete control.

Afraid of the New Click

We should never be afraid to ask God anything, what parent doesn’t love it when their children come to them for advice?

36 And he took a child, and set him in the midst of them: and when he had taken him in his arms, he said unto them,

37 Whosoever shall receive one of such children in my name, receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me, receiveth not me, but him that sent me.

We come together as children of God. We receive each other and in so doing we’re behaving as Christ did.

Have you ever been the new kid in school? Nobody knew you, you didn’t know the rules or if they would like you. That’s almost how it is in church fellowships with different denominations. We each have our own click, and accepting new people into the click is sometimes hard.

God said if they were His children, we were to receive them. They can play too.

I have 6 grandchildren, my sister Shelia has 9, my brother Leonard has 8, and my sister Sarah has 3, but they live far away. Every other Sunday we gather at my 82 year old Mother’s house with our kids and grandkids; three tribes, up to 23 kids but usually more around 15. That is still a bunch! And they all range from 1 to 10. Lots of noise and lots of arguments about whose playing with who and what. Just like church folks.

What version of the Bible do you use? What kind of music do you listen to? What kind of clothes do you wear? “Christian clicks.” And not things that we should bring into a multi-church fellowship where it’s God’s playground where Christians are coming together to celebrate Him. Not to discuss their differences. Come together to encourage one another in the name of Jesus. No clicks.

Afraid to Change

That’s a big one. Few people like change. I happen to be one who loves it and embraces it. It’s my personality. But one thing I won’t change on is the doctrine of Victory Baptist Church. And you shouldn’t change on the doctrine of your church either, if that’s what you believe. And no one that comes into fellowship with you should come with that agenda. But fraternizing with other churches incites fear because they serve Jesus differently. The disciples were the same:

38 And John answered him, saying, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name, and he followeth not us: and we forbad him, because he followeth not us.

39 But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me.

40 For he that is not against us is on our part.

He didn’t say don’t have anything to do with them. He said “forbid him not.” And that if he’s not against us, he’s for us. If you’re in fellowship with a church that uses the Word of God, and celebrates Jesus as the way, truth and life, don’t stress your differences. Celebrate your likenesses. When we all get to Heaven, there’s only going to be one playground. We might as well get used to it!

Remember Who You Are

In a moment of ministry frustration due to lack of time management and just a feeling of being overwhelmed, a dear friend reminded me to remind myself of what I was called to do. I have a tendency to get bogged down with this, that and the other; sometimes important, sometimes not, and then the things I really desire to get accomplished… just don’t. Combine that with the day to day of life, and the struggles therein and I’ve got a target on my back and I’m in the crosshairs of Satan.

1 Peter 2:9

But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.

Remember You are Chosen

Galatians 4:5 says: To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.

As non-Jewish Christ believers we were adopted into the family of God. He chose us! That’s an important thing to remember as a child of God, because Satan would love us to believe we are a burden to the Father. And it’s an easy task for him to make me believe that. I fail God continually. So surely He get’s fed up with me not taking the price His Son paid seriously.

The truth is, God knew my faults when He chose me. He knew I’d fail Him. He also knew my heart to serve Him and to be a servant in the Kingdom of God. His Son died so that I could have that opportunity. I couldn’t have become a child of God any other way! I was chosen by God, and if you’ve been saved by the blood of Jesus Christ, so were you!

Remember You are Peculiar

That’s not a stretch for me. I’ve always been odd. But this peculiarity is more along the lines of being set apart from the rest of the world for a specific purpose. Our uniqueness of gifts is the very thing that God placed within us for His purpose. Our talents are not our own.

Remember You are Called

I fully believe that God prepared me through childhood to call me to service upon Salvation. He put very odd gifts and desires inside of a strange little West Virginia girl. I would stand in front of the mirror and pretend to be a speaker… not a singer like most kids. I wanted to capture the attention of an audience who came to hear what I had to say. I just didn’t know at that time Who was going to hire me. God did that in 2010. We’re still negotiating salary. For now He provides my every need and listens to me whine when I don’t have what I want. I should just be grateful He’s letting me breath.

So today, I refocus… again. 1 Peter 2:9 – Chosen, Peculiar, Called. – Shari

 

In search of good news? You just found it

1 Timothy 2:1

I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;

I have habitual sayings that I don’t realize until someone brings them to my attention. Such as “Jeepers Socks!” Meaning I’m excited. I actually stole it from a friend; I love it because it brings back an era to my mind (even before I was born) that was a much more wholesome time than we live in today.  Another quote that was recently mentioned to me was “That’s the reality of it.” I had no clue how often this phrase came into to my daily vocabulary until a friend said it back to me and brought it to my attention.

Well, some days I’d like to duck out of reality. Escape to a paradise island apart from the media, any bad news of any sort or any negative Nellie or Ned and live in total peace for the day. But “That’s not the reality of it.” Life is harsh and we must go on. But take heart dear friend there is some good news!

The State of Iowa advanced a Religious Liberty Bill

Not passed, but advanced a bill that would protect Christians and other faiths from being sued for refusing to serve or act in manner contrary to their beliefs. That’s good news! Iowa should be prayed for and God should be glorified!

Christian Athletes give God the Glory at the Winter Olympics

This article tells the story of several of the Christian Athletes who have given God the glory and spoke openly about how their faith has gotten them to where they are. That’s good news! Pray for them and share their story with young people in your life so that they may have the courage to share their Praises of God too!

Oklahoma University Re-Invites Christian Speaker

Oklahoma University had un-invited Ken Ham, Creationist Speaker, to speak at their university because of campus opposition from the LGBT community. They have since had a change of heart because of an outcry from Christians, legislators and local residents concerning the right to free speech. Glory to God, that’s good news!!!

Revival at McDonalds!

On a more personal note for myself: In 2006 I traveled to the Philippines and while there I stayed with Daniel and Jamilla Caba. Dan pastors a church in Manilla. At that time it was a roof top ministry that was set up every Sunday morning for services and taken down at service end. They’ve since graduated to a beautiful facility. Since January of this year they’ve held 3 evangelistic meetings at McDonalds. They’ve had a total of about 350 people attending those meetings and over 200 made a profession of faith! Today they continue to disciple those who were saved creating more workers for the Kingdom of God.

Please pray for our missionaries on foreign fields, and pray for our missionaries America! Can you imagine having a revival at McDonalds? Can you imagine 200 souls saved in less than 2 months? How amazing would that be?!

In this world that is so inundated with bad news and likely no shortages in the future, it’s good to know that there is still good news to be found in the Christian realm. So on days that I am inclined to crawl under a rock and ignore the world around me, I glory God that within a few minutes of searching the web under Christians news I was able to encourage my Spirit! And with one update requested I received the news from Jamilla.

So today I exhort you! Hoping that his blog encouraged you to continue on. Let no rock be crawled under, else the rocks may cry out! (Luke 19:40)

The Decision after the Dance

I have a fascination with the redemptive story of Israel. That is likely the case because I have a great resemblance with the children of Israel; I too get out of line, get in trouble, get right, get rescued and then like a good shampoo, I will lather, rinse, repeat. Over and over again it happens. So when I read chapters like the 15th chapter of Exodus it always make me wonder why God puts up with me. The children of God had just seen the miraculous work of the Lord in parting the sea so they could walk through on dry ground, they then watched it kill their enemy by crashing back down on them. Think on that a second! So they’re on the shore, singing and dancing and praising the Lord, and Moses breaks up the party to continue their journey to the Promised Land.

I envision this much like a car ride with my kids for vacation. They start out excited, but after the first few hours on the road the whining and fighting would begin. Multiply that times the million or two that Moses had in the back seat. I don’t know what kept him sane. But following the great miracle came a time of dryness when the children of Israel couldn’t find water; and that’s a legit complaint. But they had just seen God take millions of gallons of water and displace it through the staff of Moses, so why did they really think a drink would be a problem for Him?

Exodus 15:23-27

And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter: therefore the name of it was called Marah.  And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink? And he cried unto the Lord; and the Lord shewed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet: there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them, And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the Lord that healeth thee. And they came to Elim, where were twelve wells of water, and threescore and ten palm trees: and they encamped there by the waters.

The Dance

My previous Pastor called it “the honeymoon” stage when a person first accepted Jesus as Savior. It seems like everything in the world is roses and chocolate if you’re a woman, or Black and Decker ® if you’re a guy. It’s all good. But it’s not long until you discover that life’s not always good, sometimes it’s downright lousy but you eventually come through it and it is once again time to dance. But then there is another time…

The Dry

It’s a longer period of time, when things do not get better quickly. You don’t feel the presence of God and frustration begins to set in. You try to have faith, but it’s wavering and your patience for change grows thin. You ask questions of God such as “Why and When.” Just like the children of Israel.

The Decision

There comes a time when you have to decide, am I going to whine, or am I going to whip the Devil through the promises of God?

In the very last verse of that chapter, the rescue came in the form of a camp sight oasis of sort. Twelve wells and seventy palm trees. That oasis also came with the promise of healing and rest if they were obedient to God’s commands.

Numbers play an important role in scripture. Especially the numbers 12 and 70. There are multiple references to those and they make an interesting study, but for today’s message I offer this thought:

12 Disciples and the 70 sent (Matthew 10:1 and Luke 10:1)

Not likely a coincidence that God used those numbers and it draws my mind into the importance of Christian fellowship and service. The children of Israel had lost sight of the role that they played in God’s plan. They were His chosen! After this journey He had promised them a wonderful life. Technically the journey too could have been wonderful. But they blew it when the lost sight of the power of God.

New believers in Christ usually believe that they could whip a bear with a fly swatter if they thought God told them too. But over time we begin to take our relationship with God for granted. We’re grounded in the faith, we don’t need to be in church “every service.” A few “worldly things won’t hurt,” and it’s not long until we’re dry and dusty and there is no water in sight. And we begin to complain that God’s just not there for us anymore, knowing that He didn’t move, we did. It’s so much easier to blame God than to look at where we left Him.

New Testament references: When Joseph and Mary left 12 year old Jesus in the temple, they found Him just where they left Him. When the woman with the
12 year” issue of blood reached out for Jesus she was healed, when the 12 year old girl died, and her father came to Jesus, Jesus brought her back to life. Twelve is the number of completion and we are complete in Christ. He has chosen us, just as He did the twelve.

As for the number 70: By God’s direction Moses appointed 70 elders in Israel to stand with him in the tabernacle. And in Luke 10:17 “The seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name.” The 70 were excited about what the Lord had done. They had gone out two by two and God provided for them in their walk with and for Christ.

I don’t know if I’m correct, but I know how the Lord impressed my heart on this matter this morning. Fellowship is important, both with the leaders (12), and with the servants (70). There is great and healing, comfort and rest in the people of God. Israel should have trusted God and they should have looked to Moses for leadership instead of complaining. They also should have come together as people of God. But they decided to whine. That whining cost them 40 years of no direction and they missed the joy of entering into the land of promise.

Whining because things aren’t what you’d like won’t keep you out of Heaven, but it will prevent your joy in the journey. Staying out of church won’t keep you out of Heaven but it will costs you your joy, fellowship and relationship with the Lord. We need it. I need it.

Hearing the Word of God and being in the fellowship of God’s people brings healing and comfort to the soul. Don’t miss out. Be in a bible believing, preaching, serving church this Sunday!!! and share this message with someone struggling to stay faithful. I love you, but more importantly, JESUS LOVES YOU!!!

Do You See it?

I’m not sure who it was, but from a testimony in the back of our church during Sunday worship I heard, “See the Need.” It was like the Lord put a post it note up on the bulletin board of my mind and said, remember why you’re here.

Lord: Get my Attention

It’s so easy to get caught up in the day to day of life and forget the purpose of Christianity. Above all it’s to see souls saved, but Christ didn’t only preach, he encouraged and taught the disciples how to take care of the people left in their charge. The world has been left in our charge with a service we’re to provide, can you see the need? We can’t fix the world, but we can one by one, see a need and fulfill it.

A burden on my heart has been the waste in my life.

  • How much food do I throw out in the course of a week that someone, living alone would appreciate?
  • How many clothes do I have that I never wear that someone could use? Not taken to a thrift store (which is fine) but hand delivered to someone so that they could know I care.
  • How many times have I wasted time when I could have called on someone that was sick, provided food or ran an errand?
  • How many times has God laid the prison ministry on my heart and I’ve failed to follow it through?

Matthew 25:35-40 lays it out plain and simple:

For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?  Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

Lord help me to see the need.

Lord: Give me an Action

I am the queen of good intentions but if I don’t make a plan, it goes in the pile of other unfinished projects. Now that God has my attention, I need to take action. I need to make a list of the needs I see.

  • MHHS Nursing home visitation
  • CRJ Prison ministry evangelization
  • Elderly alone that could use encouragement
  • Clothes that need given away.

These are needs very much in my wheelhouse of completion. I’ve made my list now to get it done. Who or what is on your list?

Lord: Give me Ability

Working in the ministry takes stamina, finances and opportunity. All of which is the Lord’s will and supply and in the discipline of my living. There are things I can do better, rest more, spend less and look for or make opportunity. And by all means prayer should be in every step of the path. Today will be Nursing home visitation, guitar class, and bible journaling. These are God’s plans for me. You’ll have to decide your own. But I can almost guarantee God has laid a burden on your heart already and you’ve seen the need. Let’s get busy!

Do You Know How Mighty You Are?

I have multiple vices in life that can get me distracted and off on an “Oooo that’s shiny” moment. The most recent one is Netflix. I’m not an avid television watcher, as a matter of fact I’ve gone months with very little television, until… it was be placed on a portable device that I can watch from any room in the house, has no commercials and I decide when I want to watch it. Netflix speaks my Attention Deficit Disorder language. I won’t watch just anything, I have a few set rules: it has to make me laugh or add a sense of adventure. I won’t watch sad or grotesque shows that make me cry or cause my stomach to roll over. Life is sad and gross enough. But throw a slap stick comedy on the screen or one of a super hero and I’m hooked like a fish on a line until the last episode is off the air. Hence why Netflix appeals to me, and gets me in trouble, you can binge watch every episode until it’s done! This is not a Netflix commercial, it’s a warning.

I said all that to say this, my latest run on superhero shows is the “Arrow.” A green hooded man who was done wrong, out to right the wrongs of the world with a few sidekicks thrown into the mix. As I watch in disbelief of their super strength and warrior tactics my eyes roll and I begin wondering how I can get sucked into this story line. This isn’t humanly possible. But then, as I read merrily along in 1 Chronicles 11 this morning on the historical truths of King David, I’m not watching Netflix but I’m reading the very truths I rolled my eyes at. But even to a greater degree of strength.

One man without the aid of special effects and stunt doubles killed 300 men in battle. Alone. No Robin to his Batman. No Kevlar. One man and his sword took down 300 warriors.

1 Chronicles 11:20

And Abishai the brother of Joab, he was chief of the three: for lifting up his spear against three hundred, he slew them, and had a name among the three.

That lead me to the question of the day, where are those people of valor today? Why have we allowed our nation to get in the position that it’s in today. Who told us we were weak?

I believe I can tell you where it started: When church became of little importance in the homes across America.

Oh… I know I’m preaching again! But I fully believe the reason we are weakened as a nation is because the comradery of the church was the backbone of America and it’s gone. It’s been a long time since anyone in the boundaries of America has had to fight a hand to hand battle for a piece of ground. But it’s beginning again. The church has lost so much ground, and fewer and fewer are on the battle ground of faith.

A few things those of us in church need to remember about this battle we’re in:

We are Mighty in Christ

(2 Corinthians 10:4). For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)

Satan loves to make us believe that we don’t have the strength to fight this battle we’re in. And yet, through one man, in the weapons of the day, 300 men were slain. I haven’t even seen that on Netlix! And if I could, it’s still Hollywood. We have the genuine article of ability through the Word of God.

We are Mighty in the Word

Just like the men of David lived according to the word of God, so should the might men and women of Christ.

(1 Thessalonians 1:5) For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.

The same word that changed our hearts has the power to change the heart of anyone on earth. And yet we doubt. Who are we to say that if we continue in His word, getting it out in our communities through face to face evangelism as well as using the technology at hand, we couldn’t each bring thousands into the fold of Christ? We’re not fighting with a spear, we’re fighting with the power of God!

We are Mighty in Unity

David didn’t have the biggest army, but he had the biggest victory, because his men were a unified body fighting together. One of the reasons I think unity scares many of the believers of Christ is because we hear unified and think “one world church.” And that church is coming, but that church has nothing to do with Christ. If your church believes that Jesus Christ is the way, the truth and the life, and the one and only way to Heaven is through His blood that made the sacrifice for all mankind, then you shouldn’t care what’s over the door of those who believe in the same like manner. You can disagree on a few of their ideas of worship styles and church rules, but we can all agree on Jesus. And through that belief work in unity to bring souls to Christ.

On my next superhero show, I think I view their tactics a little closer. Possibly consider buying a cape. Just kidding. Maybe.

 

 

 

Fixed Faith

Once we’ve grounded ourselves in the gospel of Jesus Christ through His salvation, we need to fix our eyes on Jesus and determine His plan for our day to day living as well as our future.

Last November I had fixed my mind on ministering to the folks in the nursing home in our area. I kept putting it off and putting it off but the burden never left me. I knew this was something that God wanted me to use my talents for. So 2 p.m. on Mondays was established with the long term care unit of Minnie Hamilton Health System as my appointed time to minister to the residents. So I loaded my Bible and my guitar into the car and off I went, not knowing what to expect. And what I didn’t expect was the way the power of God came over that service. I sang and shared what the Lord had done with my life, and the residents began to praise Him for the things in their life and share their testimonies of faith. They sang with me and listened to me and had such grateful hearts for the 40 minutes of time I was there. We had church! I don’t think my feet touched the floor when I left their unit and walked back to my car. My soul rejoiced that the Lord had been glorified through my service. And I was somewhat shocked as well! I never understand why God is so good to me, even after it took me 3 months to become obedient.

God honors even delayed obedience. Who knows what blessing I would have received if I had begun back in November when He laid the burden on my heart? Or perhaps I wasn’t ready then and God is satisfied with my journey now. Regardless, I need to stay committed to the service God has given me.

Serving God takes commitment. It’s not for the willy nilly in faith who are on again off again at church or serve when it’s convenient. Especially when dealing with people who are believing in you like those in the nursing home. God’s word reminds us to take care of those that are weak. 1 Thessalonians 5:14 ~ Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men.

God did not put us on this earth to soak up sunshine. We have purpose. What is yours?

Fixed in talent

My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed: I will sing and give praise. – Psalm 57:7

David had a multitude of talent. Not just singing and writing. He was leader, a musician, an encourager of the people of God. He was a warrior and a man after God’s own heart. He was committed to the purposes of his life, even though he too failed. He’s a favorite bible character of mine because I can identify with him on so many levels… starting with his failures.

So what does it mean to “fix” your heart?

The definition of fix is – 1. To correct or set right. 2. Is to make ready for a specific purpose. 3. Is to place securely, make stable or firm. All good ideas when preparing our heart to serve God.

So in preparation to make life right in our service for God. Make a list of your talents. Every single one. Please don’t say that you have none. I’ve never believed that and I’ve proven it wrong in everyone that’s told me that excuse.

Your talent may not look like what the world views as talent. My husband David cannot sing, but he can teach like nobody I know in a manner that makes it understood. He’s extremely focused and committed to the completion of any task in front of him. He’s skilled at fixing and repairing almost anything electrical or mechanical. God created his mind that way. How many ways could God use those in the operation of a church? Perhaps you like to create. The house of God needs creative people. Organization may be your passion. There are so many places that God could use you. Talent isn’t just singing or speaking in the house of God. So make your list and think inside and outside the box on how God can use you.

Fixed in testimony

O God, my heart is fixed; I will sing and give praise, even with my glory. – Psalm 108:14

David was a talented man, but he never failed to give God the glory. By praising God for your talents, you’re fixing them, placing them in the hands of God, not to be removed by Satan who loves to steal God’s glory; and if we fail to recognize Who it is that gives us our talents, Satan does just that.

Make sure you give God the glory due when someone comments on how beautifully you did something or how beautiful you are. Never miss an opportunity to praise God in the congregation of the Lord. He loves it. It’s like a gift you can hand to God from the earth. Isn’t that an awesome thought.

Fixed in trust

He shall not be afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed, trusting in the LORD. – Psalm 112:7

Once we’ve made our list, we have to trust God to open the doors of opportunity and then give us the power through Him to put those talents to use.

Before going into the nursing home on Monday, I really didn’t know how God was going to work it out. What was I going to sing, should I speak in between songs, etc., etc. Well, from the moment I sang my first song, the Holy Spirit took over that time and lead me from one song to a word of encouragement, to a testimony from them… it was just amazing how God had that whole time planned out. All I had to do was be faithful and committed to what He ask.

Do you hear God asking? Be faithful!

 

Better a Live Dog than a Dead Lion

Ecclesiastes 9:4

For to him that is joined to all the living there is hope: for a living dog is better than a dead lion.

The poppy eyed baby in the picture is my confidant, Senorita Izadora. She has yet to reveal any secret I’ve confided, unless she’s told the little Cuban we call Versace. He was rescue dog from Florida and I’m pretty sure he doesn’t speak English, so I’ll never know.  Izzi, and Versace as well, are small in stature, tending to have some issues etc; but one would think that they could take down a bear when someone knocks on the door or their bionic hearing picks up a noise only their ears can hear. They bark and growl and then the door opens and the intruder is greeted with Versace’s kisses and Izzi literally runs for cover, scared of her own shadow. They’re not nearly as ferocious as a lion, and they really don’t make me feel too secure, unless you count the fact that at least I can consider myself warned that there might be a danger.

We could learn from my puppy compadres. My two live dogs are of far more value than any dead lion. Yes, a lion is beautiful, until it decomposes. It’s ferocious, until it takes its last breath. Then it is of no more use than a trophy of a past hunt.

I’d love to consider myself a ferocious lion when it comes to sharing the gospel, but I’m not much better than my poppy eyed Chihuahuas. I’ve often ran to the door of opportunity and retreated as fast as I ran.

I have a great fascination with some of the ferocious men and women of the gospel: John R. Rice, Billy Sunday, Corrie Ten Boom, and others who have impacted the world for the cause of Christ. Although their fruit continues impacting the world, they themselves are of no more effect. No one can rest in the laurels of any of those people, nor can we rest in the works of our church in the past. There is a new work to be done. And for those of us who feel our attempts to share the gospel are at best feeble; our feeble attempts are far better than that of those gone on whose work is done. We must continue to keep warning the world around us that Jesus is coming back.

Izadora and Versace can’t defend me if an attacker comes into the house. But they can warn me to be ready. We can’t save the souls of anyone we meet, but we can warn them to be ready by accepting Christ as their Savior.

Let my little Izadora serve as a reminder that your Master needs you to warn His children!

I know you all love your dogs. And if you have a cute pitbull at home read this article about dog food options for pitbulls.

How to Hang on to Hope

I woke up this morning and from the toasty side of the covers, I lay running my finger down my smartphone, glancing at the recent Facebook posts; and as usual it was mixed with a diverse number of images and thoughts. Some sad, some silly and some downright stupid. Much like many of my days. It ain’t easy to hang on to hope when struggles come into our lives. Satan will loosen your grip with the slimiest of tactics. He’ll use discouraging people, financial hardship, personal failures and family heartache. Anything that will cause you to look at life and see the harsh times not the hope. So how do we hang on to hope at the bleakest points in life.

Titus 1:9 says

Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.

Get a Grip

Titus said hold fast! When Satan starts his jargon of convincing you there is no hope or purpose in your life, hang on tight to what the Holy Spirit tells you is true. God will never discourage you. He may chastise you, or advise you in ways that make you uncomfortable, but He will never make you feel less or alone. Hold on!

Get a Gratitude

Remember all of the times that the faithful Word of God has come through for you. When I begin to remember all the times that God as brought me through and allowed me to see the miracles of Heaven, my grateful heart restores the hope that the hard time I’m facing will end with the Glory of God.

Get a Grin

Titus said to exhort! Encourage those around us. That’s hard to do when we’re going through a tough time ourselves. It’s important to know the word of God and use it to encourage others. There seems to be a connection been encouraging others and ourselves at the same time. Exhortation is deflected from those you encourage and returned to yourself in the process. You can’t give it without receiving it.

What a great thought that has the power to shut down the stupid things Satan says. It’s not my words, but God’s Word that has the power.

Are you struggling today… Write Titus 1:9 on an index card, post it note or whatever scrap of paper you can find and put it where you can see it throughout your day. Satan will flee at the word of God. And through your struggle you may not only encourage yourself but others along the journey, and God will be glorified and Satan will be angry. It’s a win/win kind of day!