More than a Nap

Rest does not come easy for me. I can sit or lie down or even collapse into the bliss of the softest of billowing pillows and I’m like the kid whose mom punishes her by sitting her on the sofa, to which the little girl replies, “I’m sitting down on the outside, but on the inside I’m jumping on your couch.” That’s me in a nutshell. I may be lying down on the outside but on the inside I’m jumping on the bed, or strategizing ministry plans, or ciphering how I can make life work. My mind refuses to take a nap. It’s a rebellious little critter to say the least!

I know I need rest. I’m much more conscience of that post heart attack. I’m trying hard to prioritize life and in the process of that I discover that my biggest issues do not come from without, they come from within. So when I read Genesis 2:2

And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.

We know that God is all powerful, that He does not sleep. He does not grow weary, so why would He rest? It must have been important to even the Creator and yet I cannot seem to find the mindset for it in my life. This is a conversation that I had with my husband David as we laid down in  bed last night. He was so tired. He’d worked all day, he’d left work and went straight to the fire department for their weekly meeting and didn’t get home until after 8 p.m. I too had had a busy day cleaning house and ministering in music at the nursing home. I followed that with another meeting with friends. All of which are joyous times but they tired me out. As I lay in bed my heart was not comfortable and I told David, “We need to learn to rest better, it’s not about taking a nap.”

It’s truthfully about catching my breath. That hasn’t been easy for me the last few weeks, literally. The fluid around my lungs has caused me to labor to breathe when it’s humid or I over exert myself. It’s much better now, but I still struggle on some days. I have to remember that yesterday was only my one month anniversary of my open heart surgery, because I feel great most of the time; which is deceiving to my body that says, “Slow down, catch your breath!”

I recently heard a preacher describe God’s “rest” as breathing in. He had spent 6 days breathing out. He had spoken the world into existence, He had breathed life into humankind and on the seventh day I could honestly imagine God taking a deep breath in and sitting in His easy chair to “rest.” He no longer needed to think about what cows and hippopotamuses would look like, or how deep the rivers and oceans would be. His formation of Adam and Eve was “very good.” And now He could just watch.  Not think about it, just watch.

Yesterday I returned to the room of a Nursing Home resident who makes no bones about the fact that she is heading to Hell. But she’s still not ready to be saved. Before I left she confessed she’d been “thinking about it.” Glory to God! That’s progress. I could breathe out a little when I left her room; leaving her in God’s hands and asking Him to keep her on this earth until I return to witness again. Those type of life issues I can release to God much easier than the mundane problems of my own. Those things that I actually think I have control over. I want to rehash my own sin and failures, complain about the condition of the hearts of people and focus on things of virtually no eternal significance. David focuses on the failures of politicians, the lack of volunteerism, the waste of government money, and all things out of his control. He and I are quite the pair.

So I made him promise me that on his upcoming bike trip with his buddies that he would not think on those things of a negative sort.

Philippians 4:8 tell us

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

Just breathe.

Now to obey that rule myself.

God took 24 hours and did nothing. He did not create or instruct or do the things God had done for the previous six days.

This causes me to question what my 24 hours of rest would look like if I didn’t do the things that I do the other six days of the week. I’m not speaking of Sunday, because I’m a minister of the Gospel so there is a work to be done. I speak of another committed 24 hours. A day where I would not write, draw, speak or sing for the ministry’s sake. I would just breathe and watch and listen. No worrying about souls. Trusting them to God who is far better at caring for them than me.

Perhaps your 6 days is filled with a job in the secular world, or children that must be cared for all seven days. If it’s a job, commit to taking NO thought of it or anything else that causes you to breathe hard for 24 hours. Consider it a stress fast. If it’s children, try to prepare ahead to spend the day watching and enjoying what you created. Make it a cold cereal and sandwich day with ice cream sundaes for dessert. And laugh. A lot! It’s not about taking a nap. It’s about catching your breath. And it’s about making a weekly practice of it.

If it was important for God to do it, why would we even consider not doing it?

Did God Break my Physical Heart to Repair the Spiritual One?

I’ve pondered the heart a lot lately; both physically and spiritually. Because of my physical limitations I have been forced to sit still, which is not fun for me. I’m worse than any child when it comes to being told “no.”  Yesterday may have been the worst day yet. I made the bed, cleaned the kitchen, ran the sweeper (it’s not heavy don’t stress) and I cleaned the toilet. I learned a new song, and played it somewhat less than a hundred times. I sat on the porch swing, sat on the playground swing, fed the chickens… you know. Busy work. But in between those times I sat and pondered my heart. The broken one and the repaired one and wondered if God had broken the physical one so that He could remake the spiritual one?

You, nor does anyone else, truly know my heart. It has some great character traits. And it has some really lousy ones that I wouldn’t share with anyone in the world. But God knows.

2 Chronicles 6:30

Then hear thou from heaven thy dwelling place, and forgive, and render unto every man according unto all his ways, whose heart thou knowest; (for thou only knowest the hearts of the children of men:)

There’s a bluegrass song that I love to sing called “Who do you think you’re foolin’,” by Wayne Taylor. It’s a funny song about a car dealer, a church lady and a preacher. But there’s nothing funny about a wicked heart in the eyes of God. So when I truthfully examine my heart I understand God’s makeover. I needed a time out to ponder my life and priorities.

This is somewhat of a random blog I guess, but my mind is everywhere this morning. There’s a lady I’ve been witnessing to in the Long Term Care Unit who has COPD. My Dad died of Emphysema, so I know the look and the fear of not being able to catch your breath. I’ve even experienced it a time or two during this heart procedure. Before my heart attack I would visit her and say, “Nobody is promised tomorrow, I might walk out of this building and die today,” and then I’d plead with her to get saved. Her response was always “not today.” She’s on my list of visits when I’m released to carry guitars and such. I can honestly tell her, I almost did die. But more than that I can tell her about the sweetest peace I’ve ever felt in my life in the face of death. I want her to see the good side of my heart, the side that God gave me through His Spirit that dwells within. If not for this event in my life, I’d not have known that experience.

If not for this event I’d not have examined my heart and seen that there was a wickedness within me that was ugly and rooted in bitterness. My heart has no room for that if I allow the Spirit to take over those dark halls. I realized that I don’t love people enough and there were some people that I wouldn’t allow myself to love at all. People who hurt me, or hurt someone I love. But that is not the heart of God else He couldn’t stand me! How many times have I hurt Him? Can you ask yourself that question honestly and then look at someone else and not forgive? Not if God does a work in your heart.

I still bear the scar down the front of my body from the surgery. It’s a reminder that God repaired what the world broke and I need to take care of it. I also need to take care of the body. The body of Christ. I’m praying that this mended heart is stronger and braver than the one before. I pray that today your heart is tender to the word of God that encourages healing and that you’ll allow God to make you strong and brave too. Preferably without a heart attack and open heart. 🙂

I Forgot to Ask

A lesson we’ve all likely learned in life is that every day can’t be a great day. And if it was we’d likely not appreciate the great days when they came. Yesterday was one such day for me. Funny thing about having your chest sawn asunder, it’ll take the wind out of your sails. I may be the world’s worst patient, and left alone to my own devices (even though help is just a few minutes away), I lift more than I should, walk more and do more than I should and then wonder why I don’t feel well. I try to be good, but then I see something minor that needs done and my 5 lb. lifting limit seems somewhat ridiculous. And then it’s not. Then I feel icky and that leads to a depressed state of mind.

Isaiah 26:12:13

Lord, thou wilt ordain peace for us: for thou also has wrought all our works in us. O Lord our God, other lords beside thee have had dominion over us: but by thee only will we make mention of thy name.

One of the reasons that I get in a depressed or anxious state of mind is because I forget Who’s in control. I begin looking at the world around me and the state of affairs and suddenly I am overwhelmed with unhealthy emotions. I feel the aches and pains in my body and the lack of energy to do the things I long to do and it makes me very conscious of humanity. Add to that a rainy over cast day and it’s an insult to the injury I carry around in my body. It’s usually then that I get into a “I show you Satan” frame of mind and I end up showing him what an idiot I am.

Ordained Peace

God has ordained (established) peace for us. It’s there for the asking, so what keeps us from having it? For me it’s neglecting the word of God when my mind gets in that state. Yesterday I should have had this scripture written on sticky notes in every room of my house and on the dash of my car. But that would have required me slowing down and asking God for help. Am I preaching to the choir yet? We all do it. We get so bogged down we miss the gifts God has for us as children of the King.

A Wrought Work

Through God’s grace He has will establish peace and do a good work in us. But that requires us tuning in more than a few minutes in the morning or a meal time prayer. We are the bride of Christ! Our conversation with Him should be at every opportunity and not dreaded but enjoyed and passionate as that of our loved ones. If I had tuned into God yesterday and simply prayed for His wisdom and peace, I’d have received it. I have no doubt. But instead I drudged on to prove I could, or I would collapse on the sofa in frustration and not once ask God for help. I just focused on what things “I” might do to make “me” feel better. Jesus Chick epic failure wouldn’t you say? I’m very human.

Other lords

Anyt0ime that we put our own agenda or others before God’s wisdom and will we’re serving other lords. We’ve allowed someone or something to have dominion over the Holy Spirit. The picture in today’s blog is a fiddle I’m working on and have just about completed. A few more touches, the word of God and a fresh coat of varnish and I’ll return it to my friend Lew who will make it into a playable instrument of peace. That’s how I feel when I play the fiddle. I love the way the bow glides down the strings and sends music into the air. When I was deciding what to paint on it, a dove wasn’t really what I had in mind. But then post-surgery, I was longing for the peace of God and it just seemed to be the obvious choice. Plus I have a Dove guitar, so now they’re brother and sister.

The last phase of project peace is the one that Satan hates the most and that is the praise of God. Isaiah said it was by the mention of God’s name only! As I’ve said before, I’ll give Satan no credit for my circumstance because I brought it on myself, but I will give God the glory for brining me through, for giving me the most amazing feeling of peace that was there for the asking. I just forgot to ask.

Why We Need a Home Church

A Vacation Bible School lesson this past week has left me pondering the life and example Apostle Paul set before us in the scripture. What a story of conversion. The very villain of the day becomes a hero of the Christian faith. I love superhero stories! But Paul didn’t see himself as a superhero. Perhaps he did prior to Salvation when he was persecuting the Christians. But once he discovered the Person of Jesus Christ there was no superhero complex, only humble servitude. The very zeal that Paul used in his persecution of the saints of God, he turned around to use in the leading to salvation of those same people. Paul was placed before us as an example of church leadership and service. But there are very few Christians who follow Paul’s style of serving the Lord. He was bold, brutally honest yet humbly compassionate, he was real and he was committed unto death. Most Christians of the day are not even committed unto life. Paul fought for the integrity of the church. He disputed false doctrine and he encouraged the fellowship of believers as He was taught by Christ.

So where is it in this modern society that people have concluded that Christ is okay with people not finding it necessary to worship as a body of believers? As my friend Chief said in a sermon last week “Nowhere in the bible do we see that Christ sanctioned a renegade Christian.” Throughout the New Testament the believers were worshiping together and risking their lives to do so. I’m sure it would have been safer for them to just stay home. So why didn’t they? I’m pretty sure I can answer that from my own experience.

I’m Eternally Grateful for Christ and His Church

Basically since birth I’ve been in church, but not until 1996 was I “in the church” as a bona fide member of the body of Christ when I accepted Him as Savior. Until that point I had just been a church member with a vote. Which is far from the same. But suddenly I found myself in a spiritual family who took that role serious as they discipled me in faith, prayed for my struggles, counseled me in life and encouraged my soul every day. That’s what a church does, or should do. For that I’m eternally grateful that Christ placed me where He did. I need teaching and preaching and will until I enter Heaven’s gate because God’s wisdom is of a depth I’ll never obtain, but I long to explore. I cannot get that at the house.

Yes, there are television evangelist, and I do listen to more than a few of them throughout the week. But there’s not a one that I could call and say, “Hey preacher, I need your help,” and I’d get an answer.

I’m Evangelistically Gifted for Christ and His Church

And so are you! I have the gift of gab, song, music, teaching and art; all of which I use for the Kingdom. I use it both in and outside the church, so I will agree that you do not have to have a church affiliation to do so. But do people who have those gifts and are not involved in church use them to evangelize? Maybe a few, but very few. My gifts are an extension of Victory Baptist Church. I always make sure people know when I minister that I attend a home church and value that body for support. I minister to people who are not able to attend any church and would love to be able to. But because of health reasons they can’t make it. Our church sends and encourages missionaries both local and distant. That’s what the bible teaches.

I’m Eagerly Guided for Christ and His Church

I want to know the direction God has for me, but I would be just as eagerly guided for the world if I didn’t have the constant presence of brothers and sisters in Christ and a church that preaches God’s word to me multiple times a week. When I hear someone say that they can worship God alone, in their own place and without the church, I always wonder “but do you?”  Perhaps they’re more disciplined than I. That wouldn’t take much. But my experience with the church keeps me going every day.

  • They prayed me through countless heartaches, including my heart attack and open heart surgery.
  • They encourage my soul with their genuine love.
  • They support my ministry.
  • They bring joy to my soul when they allow me to minister to them.
  • They are real people, just a phone call away.
  • They are biblically sound people I can trust.
  • They’re more…

I need church. I think everyone needs a church.

Hebrews 10:25 says

Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.

It says that for a reason. We need it,


This blog is in it’s 8th year. Hosted on godaddy.com for the past five. Expenses incurred for the operation of this site are without complaint and with gratitude for the opportunity. If the Lord would impress you to give to help cover some recent technology issues, I’d be grateful. I’ve not been in the world’s workforce for 3 years and for that I glorify God. It’s given me the opportunity to not only write and work on music, but minister to nursing home patients, volunteer in the Christian School teaching art and help other ministries with marketing. All of which require technology, communication, time and gasoline. Again it’s without complainT… but just in case you have a desire to help, or have “extra money” 🙂 Know that I would be eternally grateful.

Here’s the Link

Life lesson: Make sure the ‘O’ is in the right spot.

The difference between a good idea and a God idea

I have lots of good ideas. At least in my mind. And for the most part, I believe that they’re ideas that would make a good work for the Lord. Every day since salvation I’ve thought about my ministry and its direction; until the day I went into the hospital and then suddenly it was about that moment in time. Who was I with, who was speaking, was it about my health or was it an opportunity to witness for Christ? That was my mindset.

I missed my youth group, I missed singing, I missed speaking, but those things weren’t on my mind. I didn’t pick up the Word because I couldn’t focus, all I could do was listen to the words that I had “Hidden in my heart.” (Psalm 119:11) But now, I’m back, I’m reading, I’m writing, I’m drawing, I’m singing (from my kitchen table) I’m seeking God’s direction for me now, in this place.

But I recognize even more that there’s a difference between a good idea and a God idea. One “O”.

Psalm 86:1-8

Bow down thine ear, O Lord, hear me: for I am poor and needy. Preserve my soul; for I am holy: O thou my God, save thy servant that trusteth in thee. Be merciful unto me, O Lord: for I cry unto thee daily. Rejoice the soul of thy servant: for unto thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul. For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee. Give ear, O Lord, unto my prayer; and attend to the voice of my supplications. In the day of my trouble I will call upon thee: for thou wilt answer me. Among the gods there is none like unto thee, O Lord; neither are there any works like unto thy works.

David desires God’s will for his life, he knows there is purpose (he is holy, set aside). And in the first 8 verses of his prayer I see his petition to God, “O Lord,” again and again. I can clearly see that the reasoning for my unfocused ministry over the years has been that I’ve not cried “O Lord,” enough. I would ask and halfheartedly wait for God to answer, knowing there might be a chance He wouldn’t necessarily agree with my “good” idea. Zap! That one stung. I know truth when I hear it. I’m driven for service, sometimes too driven.

David prayed

  • O’ Lord Hear me
  • O’ Lord I Trust Thee
  • O’ Lord I cry to Thee
  • O’ Lord I give myself to Thee
  • O’ Lord be with me
  • O’ Lord, let it be Your works

Mine would have been, “O’ Lord! Thanks for that idea!” But not David. He prayed first asking God to please listen. God loves a conversation with His children. A real conversation. Not a repetitious religious act, but a Daddy/Daughter/Son conversation. He want to hear the desires of our heart. He wants to know just how passionate we are about the conversation. Good ideas are not always God ideas. The human mind is fickle and can change at any point. A good conversation with God allows us to work through whether or not it’s passion or just possibility.

David Trusted God. I too often trust me more. Trust is letting go of anything but God for which I learned from the hospital bed. I had to trust that God had put me in the right place with the right people to handle it all. Is life any different? Maybe not as life threatening, but every bit as serious.

When it came to getting to WVU medicine, I discovered that a few life threatening decisions that had been placed in my hand, God had removed. One was changing hospitals mid-stream after I had built a trust with a physician. After my heart cath, the medical staff at the second of three hospitals I was in, decided I had a blood disorder that placed me at considerable risk, and they refused to do the surgery there. It turned out that that hospital had had an outbreak of staff infection and mersa on the heart wing for the past 18 months. Coincidence that I was removed from there? Not in my mind. The blood disease diagnosis was incorrect. Shocker. God removed that decision from me. That’s not how it always works. More often than not, He leaves us to free will. It’s why it’s so very important to cry out to Him more than once.

David pleaded (cried) to the Lord, He laid himself down before the Lord and ask the Lord to be with him through it all, and in finality he asked God to let it be His works, not David’s.

Another zap for me. My good ideas, have too often been, mine. They weren’t bad, they just weren’t God’s. So much work, so much effort put into things that I don’t know if God ever intended me to do because I wouldn’t slow down and use that extra “O” as a cry for wisdom. For the most part I still don’t have any regrets because God knew my heart was to do His work. But He has certainly sidelined me for now and is allowing me to reconsider my direction…

Life lesson: Make sure the ‘O’ is in the right spot.

I Knew I Was on the Right Channel

Thirteen days post op and it seems the last couple of days have been emotionally trying. Satan loves to get on the heels of bad news and ride it like a jet airplane. What a creep! I got on social media this morning and as is the case most every day, I’m not the only one suffering. Bad news abounds! I have multiple friends facing multiple issues and I wish I felt like shaking the soup out of Satan, but unfortunately, I’d just rip a stitch, so I’ll just leave Him to God.

I read an article about oats or eggs for the heart patient and decided to go with oats, good choice! I turned on a preacher preaching on revival which always stirs my heart and I was ready to have church. When he said “Magnify God, not the problem” I knew I was on the right channel. I sketched the creation for this blog and stopped the negative thinking that Satan was filling my head with and decided to share that message with you, who may need it as well.

Magnify the Lord!

When I was in the process of quick diagnosis and surgery necessity there was no time for fret. I just had to give that to God and believe. That’s what many of us do when the battle is raging at its highest, but post battle is when the body is coming down from the adrenaline and fight or flight, and we’re tired. It’s when we begin to reflect on “the what if and why” of the situation. We lost control, what if we never get it back? Well, truthfully… look what a mess I had my life in when I had control. So this morning my mind is back in battle mode, refusing to believe the lies Satan is filling my head with. Is he lying to you too?  Let’s fight this battle together, that’s how David did it.

O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together. ~ Psalm 34:3

There is power in numbers. When I found out about the surgery, I spread the word. I wanted the children of God to lift me to Jesus because I knew that’s where the power was. I had personally witnessed it again and again and I knew God was able to deliver. Does He heal everyone? Not always this side of Heaven. And it’s His choice and reasoning. But I also knew that if He chose not to heal, my family was going to need Him even more than me. But praise God He did heal, and I will glorify Him and magnify (make everything of his bigger in my mind and life) exalting Him over the lies of Satan. God is bigger. He is bigger than any problem on your list too.

Exalt the Lord!

I not only want to make the Lord the largest part of my world, I also want to share Him and testify of His goodness with everyone else. It’s like sowing seeds of hope when someone who has come through the fire can say, Jesus did it all! All I had to do was trust Him. I had multiple brothers in Christ in my own church who had come through the battle I did, they prayed and encouraged me so much. But not only the battle of heart surgery, all battles of bad news fall under the same rule of strategy to overcome. Pray, have others pray, give it to God, and watch Him win. Listen closely, He may have some rules of engagement along the way… like eat oats instead of the pop tarts. Or share your testimony with someone else. Or just rest… that’s a tough one for me. I still covet your prayers, I’m just in the beginning of healing and I need patience.

God bless you! And join me as we magnify God to the world! Share your story, share this post, always share Jesus!

Getting the Spirit Back Where He Belongs

I refuse to be a judger of men when it comes to how other people and churches conduct themselves in services. I will only stand before God for the manner in how I conducted myself, and how I, as a leader, lead others. A lesson King David learned when he attempted to bring the Ark home from Kirjath-jearem. Uzzah lost his life because of David’s error in leadership. Uzzah was a Levite, but not a priest, who had been ordered to carry the Ark. One stumble of the oxen, one touch to the hallowed property of God and a man was dead. God takes order serious. (1 Chronicles 13)

Now I realize we’re not in Old Testament times, we no longer live by the law, but when I looked at the original church (Israel) it reminded me very much of the mega churches of today that so many people are critical of. I have to wonder if they’d be so critical of a mega church if it were theirs? But back to my point: be it mega or a little country church up the hollow, God still expects order.

David finally caught onto that the second time he brought up the Ark when he said in 1 Chronicles 15:13, “For because ye did it not at the first, the Lord our God made a breach upon us, for that we sought him not after the due order.”

So the order was fulfilled and the Ark and the presence of God was back where it belonged! Is that not what we want in our churches? The presence of Almighty God! Certainly it doesn’t require an Ark, but I still think it requires order.

The presence of God is carried within each child of God. What Uzzah couldn’t touch, because of the blood of Jesus, we are allowed to carry. My how things have changed.

Titles have changed within the church; we no longer have Priests but Pastors, Bishops, preachers, teachers, deacons, trustees and others who are put into place to hold order inside the church. The New Testament is clear about the order of the church (1 Tim. 3:1-12) with Christ always as the Head of the church. And those things will often be in line (for the most part) and yet the Spirit of God will not be felt. Then other churches will not have all things in line, and yet the Spirit of God will be felt. What’s the deal?

That was my question to God this morning?

Then like a brick off the brick yard being hurled at my mind an answer came.
“I’m no longer in the box. So stop putting Me there.”

God, through the sacrifice of His Son has made Himself personally touchable to everyone who has accepted Him as Lord. The problem is, those who carry Him into the church, don’t touch Him. They don’t stir up the Spirit within, they just let Him sit there inside of them, waiting for church to be over, all the while the Spirit cries “I want to be loosed!” And it is those who find criticism for the wild behaviors in mega churches, which I too believe may cross a line not intended by God. So who’s right and who’s wrong? I’ll let God decide.

I do however know in my heart that God intended for no man to take the Spirit of God for granted. When David returned with the Ark, there was music, dancing, instruments and shouting and it upset Michal, David’s wife. There will likely always be someone who “doesn’t get it.” It didn’t stop David and it shouldn’t stop us.

God’s mega church of the Old Testament had order. It had leadership and small groups, and all things had honor and respect for God. God is still every bit as Holy today as He was then, the only difference is we are granted far greater access as commoners by the cross. How we treat Him matters and the world needs to see a difference in how we approach Him and how we react when we get there. Less He be considered no different than the gods of this world.

Why Me Lord?

For the record, I’ve never ask that about the heart attack. I know full well why that happened. I like bacon. And all the other things in life that taste oh so good, but are the world’s worst choice. But I do quite often question God as to why He chooses me to be a part of His plan, why He tolerates my disobedience and stupidity and allows me to have such a wonderful life. Yes, heart attack and all, it’s wonderful. There are countless other people He could choose, and yet I’m among the 1 out of 12 that He chooses to use.

I don’t know if that’s a correct percentage but it sounded good. It’s not the 1 in 12 of humankind, it’s the 1 in 12 of the church. Which as I can see in previous experience is the bulk of most church people who serve. Although my home church Victory Baptist probably is blessed with a higher percentage than that. Studies show it’s 10% of the church that does 90% of the work. And there’s an abundance of work that nobody is doing at all. But off of that bad news let’s talk about why me, why you? Why does God continue to tolerate us?

Matthew 16:13-20 is where I got the 1 in 12 analogy.

When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.  And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Then charged he his disciples that they should tell no man that he was Jesus the Christ.

Emanuel’s eleven

When Jesus asked the question of the 12, “Who do men say that I am?” Eleven of His own men, who believed He was God, gave the world’s reasoning. “Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.” But when it came down to the question of who they say Christ is, none of the eleven responded. It wasn’t that God wasn’t using them in the ministry, that He didn’t have a plan for them. And this is only one glimpse of their story which is far greater than any story I’ll likely have. But I believe it is a glimpse of the church.

In most cases 11 out of 12 in any given congregation are willing to repeat what they’re told, but few are willing to go out on the limb and experience Christ for themselves. They love being spoon fed the word on Sunday morning, but few pick it up any other time throughout the week to experience the power of God in their life and hear what truth He would reveal if they’d but just step out of their comfort zone.

The disciples knew Jesus was God. Emanuel. In the flesh. They were saved! But Jesus, in the person of Christ is a depth of knowledge that can only be known by those willing to search past the world’s reasoning of faith. That’s where it often stops for me too at times, if I’m honest. I love the miracles! Shoot fire, I am one! But when it comes to the true life that Christ lived, His reasoning for coming; I’d rather go back and talk about the fun stuff. The disciples knew that the world didn’t get who Jesus was, but they hadn’t gotten it either. God’s plan was so much bigger than what the disciples had understood thus far.

Christ’s One

Peter. Oh I can relate with him on so many levels. Mainly just his failures. But I can also relate with his zeal. He was the one that when Christ ask “Who He was,” Peter quickly answered “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Whew and Glory! That ought to make you shout. Peter got it. He was Jesus’ star student for the day.

When I first got saved, and still yet today, I would seek men of God to listen and study and try to find the unmeasurable, unattainable depth of Jesus. He’s fun! I think of Peter like that. He wanted to experience all he could with his time with Christ. When God said get out of the boat, Peter jumped, and it was Peter who said “I’ll never deny you!” and I’m sure he meant it, but he did. Just like I do. I fail miserably. But this day Peter didn’t fail, and God gave Peter the most incredible gifts because he was willing to search deeper. He gave him a ministry, and He gave him the power to bind on earth and loose in Heaven!

We too can have that. But not without searching for the wisdom of Christ to go with it.

I can’t look at a Krispy Kreme donut and bind its power on earth without understanding that God’s got a sweeter treat for me in Heaven. Silly analogy but truth none the less. I have to look past the world’s reasoning and get a hold of Heaven. You do too. I’m glad you’re along for the journey, else you’d not take the time to read this chick’s blog.

I’m on the mend and hope to be on the road soon, singing and speaking for the cause of Christ. If you’d like me to come and share the Lord’s word, hit the message button and let’s talk!

Getting in Tight With God

To say that open heart surgery brings on a realization of mortality is a likely an understatement. We all have somewhat of a an understanding of it, but when suddenly the single organ in your body that keeps you alive isn’t functioning correctly, you realize how very, very close we are to eternity. Literally one heartbeat away. You also realize how very important that relationship with God is.  I wasn’t too awfully worried about politics, world antics or uncompleted goals and the fact that I’ve yet to master many, many chords on the guitar. I wanted to feel my Father stroke my hair and say “Shari, I’m here with you, you’re okay.” And so it was. He did not leave me nor forsake me and for the record, there were no dark hours, because where He is, is Light. I share this so you’ll know if a time comes (which I pray not) that you find yourself in one of those predicaments, He will not leave you either.

So this morning as I read the Lord’s Prayer, it was oh… so… sweet. and each word took on a deeper meaning. Six petitions, (three relating to God’s honor, three relating to our own concerns.

Matthew 6:9

After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name.

FATHER: Creator, Redeemer, Adopter of me, an unworthy urchin of the Gentiles. Brought into a royal family, a blood bought nation, who though many of them have no earthy blood connection, treat me like a true sister through Christ Jesus. They prayed for me and petitioned Heaven on my behalf because they too love the Father, who we call Jesus. He hears our cry, just as an earthly father would and stays by our side. I know… I felt His presence in the hospital, ambulance, operating room and recovery. There is power in the name of Jesus! Our Father in Heaven, and also within the heart of His child.

HALLOWED: Sanctified and set apart. There is none like Him. There is no other name on earth that can calm a raging storm in your life or bring an unexplainable peace upon you through the storm. Buddha, Allah, nor any other of the countless gods this world calls upon have the power of Jesus. And those who encourage people to “call upon the god of their choice” are allowing the demons of Hell to open a door of torment to someone already in trouble. Praise God for He Who calmed my sea. HIS NAME IS JESUS!

Vs. 10 – Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in Heaven.

THY WILL BE DONE: That’s a hard one for someone like me that needs control. So when I lay flat on my back without even the ability to go potty by myself, I suddenly understood that God was truly in control. He took every single earthly power I had away. It was just He and I. Like it always had been, but I had had forgotten. His will is for a relationship with His children that cause them to work toward all things eternal, not earthly. There is no fear in running towards Jesus, but there is a definite fear of leaving behind those who do not know Him.

Vs. 11 – Give us this day our daily bread.

DAILY BREAD: Just enough. When the children of Israel ate manna in the wilderness there was no excess with the exception of what was needed to eat for the Sabbath. Jesus tells us in John 6:48 – I am that bread of life. His Word will fill the soul like a hot buttered biscuit with jam fills the belly. Matthew 6 continues on to tell us not to worry for any earthly necessity, God’s got us covered. But we should strive to collect the thoughts of God through His word and fill our soul with it in abundance so that when we’re laying there flat on our back, we don’t need to see the book. We are the book. And we are filled to the brim in want of nothing!

Vs. 12 – And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

FORGIVENESS: I can say with all honesty that I haven’t been concerned with anyone who’s hurt or upset me over the course of a life time in the past few weeks. Life in perspective is knowing that the only forgiveness that matters is my Father’s in Heaven. Scripture says that we must forgive others if we expect it in return. If Christ can hang from the cross, a sinless man, only guilty of loving us and forgive we who take His act for granted, how can we dare say we’ll not forgive anyone? It makes me nauseous to think of the times I’ve held someone’s soul in the balance of un-forgiveness because of pride and pettiness on my part.

Vs. 13 – And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For Thine is the Kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.

DELIVERANCE: Temptation comes from the side of flesh, not Spirit and it is easily accessible and readily available to take us away from the peace of God. And for all that’s left in this wicked world, Satan is seeking the opportunity to devour us as a lion. Especially those who actively serve God and desire to make a difference. Daniel and the three Hebrew boys were not chosen for the lion’s den and the fiery furnace by happenstance. From the Old Testament to John the Baptist and the Disciples of Christ, Satan has targeted God’s chosen vessels. He’s still targeting us. But Hallelujah we serve the Living God whose Kingdom will never fall, He Who holds ALL POWER and will receive ALL GLORY forever. Satan loses, we just have to keep on serving. We who are in Him Win! Glory!

On the Other Side

Proverbs 4:23

Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.

I cannot tell you when the heart issues began in my physical body, only that they had begun months before. I was having arm pain pretty frequently, but I would shush it as if to tell God, “I ain’t got no time for that Lord.” So on the busiest Sunday in a long time, of the busiest week in forever, in my most favorite place and haven of rest, I had a massive heart attack at about 9:40 a.m. Sunday, May 20th, 2018. I stole away to my class room at Victory Baptist Church, out of the eyes of the congregation and waited for the pain to subside. Yeah… I’m not the brightest crayon in the box. It did, and so I continued doing what Shari does. “Church stuff.”

I left church and a little later went to my granddaughter Paityn’s dance recital. Another “episode” and I walked out of the auditorium and away from people to let God know, I had too many things to do and the pain subsided.

Monday: another of my favorite ministries is the Long Term Care at Minnie Hamilton Health Care where I play and minister for an hour each Monday at 2:00 p.m. Once that was under my belt I had but to finish preparing for the departure of an African missionary that had been staying in our home, and the in the process of running an errand for that, the third and final, “Okay God, you win.” I pulled into the fire station where my husband is chief and said, I need to get to the hospital. And immediately everything was out of my control and there was no more shushing God. I was informed I had had a heart attack.

So what was my reaction? Typical Shari. “Hmmm. Now what? I’ve really messed up this time God. Are you going to fix it?

Things began rolling so fast: a friend staffed ambulance trip to Camden Clark in Parkersburg. A heart cath that showed a 95% blockage was over with before I even knew it. Literally I asked the doctor when he was going to start. I’d been joking and talking about music and Jesus with the staff and missed my own heart cath. I was assigned to a heart doctor that I was ready and willing without apprehension to trust for my heart surgery. But then, he fears I have a blood disorder and refuses to do the surgery in that facility. So to WVU in Morgantown I go. Another ambulance ride, constant chest pain and I’m as cool as a cucumber in the garden after the rain.

I had a 95% blockage in two arteries, one being the main. And so a team of the best heart doctors in our state commence to figure a plan for the surgery. They’re worried about the blood issue. I know it’s covered by the blood and so I lay there in waiting for a new start on life and all the while asking God, “Am I gonna come through this?” I kept hearing again and again, “You’re fine, you’re going to the other side.” So there I continue to lay for 3 days waiting for the boat. God had calmed the sea, but Jesus had hired drivers for this trip in the form of WVU medicine.

The boat arrived Friday, May 22nd and my double bypass surgery was scheduled for 6:30 a.m. My husband David, Pastor Steven, and salvation long friend Ed Eisley met with me before surgery where we prayed, laughed about life and off to surgery I went. I know… I’m a nut.

I was wheeled into a very sterile operating theatre where the show was about to begin and I was the star. I was very aware and oddly so that I had no fear. Two of the medical staff were from my mom’s home county, and as I joked and talked about like acquaintances we knew, the next thing I know my husband is saying “Shari it’s done. You’re good.”

My healing in the next few days was every bit as insanely miraculous. It wasn’t fun and it wasn’t pain free, but it was tolerable and passed quickly. And here I sit, on a Sunday morning at 4 a.m. two weeks from the day of my heart attack, preparing my mind for church and wondering how the game plan has changed for me in the scope of my service.

Fggam.org founder, Dewey Moede asked me a few days after the surgery “What’s the biggest lesson I learned through the heart attack?” At that time my mind wasn’t in a place to answer. The brain fog of drugs and anesthesia had my mind a jumbled mess, and I’m still not so sure my lesson is over. This has certainly sidelined me in a few ways. But what I am very aware of is the fact that God is faithful. I am not.

I am not some super saint with the ability to step out in faith every time and never ever question God. I did not maintain that Spirit of fearlessness in surgery by my own accord. God’s divine mercy saw fit to use me for six days for His glory and without human reasoning. Hundreds if not thousands of saints of God lifted my name to the Lord and I knew it because every prayer could be physically felt. God placed the best medical facility and staff in my path for six days. I left the hospital in record time and returned home to family who were frustrated that they didn’t need to take care of me as much as they’d planned.  If you played any part in my “episode,” I am so eternally thankful.

So for the lesson? I’m sure there are many, many to come. But the one in my mind right now is that God needed me to understand that my life was not my own and it would be used as a vessel for His glory and goodness, even when I tried to shush Him or do things my way. I pray you learn that lesson by my errors rather than your own. I look at the heart bypass as hopefully a bypass around the world’s approach to faith. You can give your heart to Jesus and be an honest to goodness child of God, but until you go around the worldly view of Christianity, which is so wrong, and give full control to the Spirit of God, you’re missing out on Jeremiah 1:5 Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.”

Children of God we are set apart and created with purpose. We do not belong to this world. When that boat of surgeons arrived to take me to the other side, I was ready. It’s not to say the world didn’t try to tell me the storms would overtake me, but I knew the maker of the storm! I will not allow Satan to take credit for any part of what I went through. I brought it on myself through disobedience and ignorance, case closed. God was glorified because as my friend John Powell used to say, “God takes care of stupid people.” Especially those with a desire to serve Him and be used by Him.

Here I am Lord, use me!