While there are numerous verses in the Bible for which folks
can cling to and call their own for such a time as this in their lives; I may
have found a new life verse for me. Insert smile here for the cupcake, but the
verse does speak more to my heart than just that sweet treat! It speaks to my
soul on a level that God knew I needed today.
I always say I have issues, but I really believe that I have
my share and someone else’s too. I love to live life, I love to give joy, I
always mean well even when it doesn’t end well, and I have the hardest time of
receiving anything with joy. I’ll receive it with gratitude, and the
consciousness that I am beyond unworthy, but joy doesn’t come easy.
So Nehemiah 8:10 pricked my heart this morning.
A friend had sent a message today that they were going to
contribute to my ministry and I didn’t have words (other than thank you) to tell them how I
felt. It doesn’t come natural for me to receive things without guilt.
Why that is, I don’t know, because that’s never been the
intent of the givers. They give with joy… so why can I not receive it with joy?
Follow along with me in verse 10 and I think you and I will both discover why…
Then he said unto them, Go
your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for
whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the Lord is your strength.
Accept My Goodness
I don’t know why
God is so good to me. I don’t say that in humility, I’m really clueless. I know
my heart. I don’t deserve any of it. And yet, He pours His goodness down upon
me and says, “Here it is Shari. Just take it and enjoy.
I don’t always
have things to share. Not like people share with me. But when I do it does
bring such great joy to me. It’s why I love sharing the art that I do and why I
give so much of it away. Because it does bring great joy into my life. It’s
also why selfish people are miserable. Because they don’t experience the joy
God intended us to have.
For this day is
holy! That part of the verse got me. God intended this day to be used for His
glory. That’s why He puts His blessing upon it and says, “I did this for you. I
did this so you and I could celebrate the day together.”
Isn’t that a
great thought? That God creates a party for no particular reason, just because
He loves you.
Now stop feeling
guilty about it. You’re ruining His fun. That’s what I heard. God said I was a
from my Goodness
Life is full of
enough bad days. When we get a good one, we need to store up that goodness and
Much like me, the
children of Israel were not always obedient. They were more often than not a
rebellious nation. So there was plenty of guilt to go around and they were
justifiable in the feeling. But God tells them to “stop living in defeat
because of past mistakes.” It won’t fix them and it will mess up what He had
a good word, right? Let’s celebrate with cake! Just for the joy of it!
I can tell by the look in their eyes when they’ve tuned me out and they’re wishing me off the planet. Even family. It’s not that they don’t love me, it’s not that they’ll not tolerate me. It’s that I make them very uncomfortable. Which is never my goal, but almost always the outcome. And such is the life as someone who loves to share Jesus and wants everyone regardless of heritage to become a part of my family. To share my Father. The Lord Jesus Christ.
And to ask most of
them, they’d say they already do. But deed… “the proof ain’t in the puddin’,”
as the saying goes.
It’s been the case
as far back as Genesis. Someone always trying to get in by somebody else’s
coattails, or by works, or just assuming God would never let them go to Hell. And
so those of us who know the truth, continue to tell the truth and those who don’t
want to know, shut us out. But that doesn’t change the book. –
In the book of
Nehemiah, which happens to be where I’m reading, I was dreading chapter seven.
It’s a chapter of name after name after name. And as I read I prayed, “God,
please let me get something out of this besides a glaze over my eyes.” And as I
traveled through the names, hoping someone’s would pop off the page and capture
my attention, it didn’t. It wasn’t the name God wanted to capture my attention
with. It was registration process.
In verses 64-65 my
These sought their register
among those that were reckoned by genealogy, but it was not found: therefore
were they, as polluted, put from the priesthood. And the Tirshatha said unto
them, that they should not eat of the most holy things, till there stood up a
priest with Urim and Thummim.
Urim and Thummim
were priestly devices found on their breastplate and used to determine God’s
will. In my small mind, I imagine it to be as a priest flipping a coin. Don’t
believe everything I tell you, I might lead you astray. But that’s still how I
But for today,
there’s no more coin flipping. And there’s only one Priest that matters and
that’s the Lord Jesus Christ. Friends and family can tune me out, shut me down and
tell me to go away, but when it comes to their final days, the question will
remain “Are you a part of the family of God?”
Matthew 7:21-23 King
James Version (KJV)
Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter
into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in
will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and
in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And
then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work
There were 642 persons (verse 62) who
professed to be children of Israel. But the word said they were polluted. What
an indictment. And it’s the same indictment that’s going to be against those
who profess to be children of God but have never made Him Lord and Savior. Oh…
they believe in Jesus. But then again, so does Satan. They believe in God.
Satan knows Him personally. That won’t keep him out of Hell. Some of them go to
church, most do not. But to tell you the truth, Satan’s in church every Sunday
morning, Sunday night and Wednesday. He never misses a revival. He’s usually
sitting beside of me trying to get my attention off task. The question still
remains, “Is your name written down in the Lamb’s book of Life?”
And there shall in no
wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh
abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
Those who are not written down, having
accepted what Jesus Christ did for them on the cross as payment for their sins,
are still covered with the pollution of this world. They won’t enter into
Heaven with that pollution on them. They’ve got to be clean, and the only way
they can be is to be covered by the blood of Jesus Christ. And why would they
If your child died for someone so that
they could be free, and that person denied what they did and never acknowledge
with gratitude the cost that was paid for them, why would you want to spend eternity
God not allowing folks in Heaven sounds harsh until you view it from there.
What a privilege to be a child of the
King! A member of the Family of God. You can’t change the book. Not the Bible
or the Lamb’s book of Life. Both were written in indelible ink.
This has been the rainiest
of seasons for West Virginia. According to the national weather service it has
rained 11 out of the 21 days of June. And it’s not the rain I mind as much as
the mud in rural West Virginia. Jeepers! I spend more time sweepin’ and moppin’
than anyone should. Between the 2 dogs, a cat, 4 children and 6 grandchildren,
and of course the husband, my house isn’t a show place. It’s very well lived
in, and that’s how we like it. I have enough stress in my life, I don’t want to
have to stress “stuff.”
Any day I’m with them, it’s
a good day.
the day which the Lord hath
made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.
I will not tell you I have
mastered Psalm 118:24. I won’t pretend when Versace (the Jackhuahau, half Jack
Russell and half Chihuahua) went hunting behind the house yesterday and came
back coated in mud to his belly, I didn’t groan, grab him and take him to the
tub immediately. I had just mopped for cryin’ out loud. Neither of us were
happy about it, but life happens. I had just gotten home from one doctor’s appointment
and had 20 minutes before I had to head to the next doctor’s appointment. In
between phone calls, text messages and a dinner my husband had planned on my
behalf. Insert smile here.
I have a beautiful 5’x7’ cream
and blue rug in my living room by the front door that I love. I have to wash it
weekly because the little feet and the big feet make it brown and navy. Drives
me crazy! But it’s how we live. Rainy days happen in life, and I have to look
behind a lot of gray clouds sometimes to find the sun, but it’s always there.
Three things about that
verse that caused me pause this morning.
God made the Day
As my friend Gloria and I
traveled to the beach last week, it rained the entire trip. All 7 ½ of it.
However, we were too excited about the next 8 days, to concern ourselves with
the dreary journey.
Should that not be how we
are in life? So what if it’s rained half the month. Do you know where we’re
going? Where the sun shines every day and there is no night. And if there’s
rain there, it’s probably liquid sunshine. And I’m pretty sure there won’t be
mud in heaven!
I spoke to a doctor
yesterday, who I adore. But he’s stressing life. And life can be seriously
stressful. I’m sick and tired of feeling sick and tired. But I know in my heart
that God made every day of my life and allowed whatever comes into it to happen.
I really do have a happy place, and it’s in that knowledge.
Rejoicing isn’t optional for successful living
It’s why I can tell people “I’m
great!” when they ask how I am and not feel like I’m lying. I really am great, because
I choose to rejoice in the fact that I am a child of the Living God and His
presence in my life helps me to understand that if I want to fulfil my purpose
and be successful in my calling, I have to allow the world to see the absolute
joy in my heart because of Jesus.
Gladness will follow
It turns out if your face
keeps smiling, the rest of you follows suit. And if you smile long enough the
people around you will fall in line too! It’s truth!
So where is your happy
place? My happy place is in front of this computer, a sketch pad and many, many
markers of every color under the rainbow! If you have the time, share with me
your happy place. Let me rejoice with you! Maybe it will give me an idea how to
find another happy place.
The book of Nehemiah is such a
great book for the child of God that desires to make a difference in the
Kingdom, as every child of God should. It’s a prime example of someone living
in a fallen world and fighting back to take care of his own. That was Nehemiah.
He was the king’s cupbearer. A
man trusted and fearless enough to make sure no one was going to poison the
king. He, for certain, was somebody, and yet he was under the authority of a
world ruler. Not a spiritual leader. But his burden and passion for his people
is what got him into a position that they, nor the world could deny him
opportunity to rebuild what had been broken down.
That’s how I look at our
community. It’s falling apart. Our city is unkempt, our communities are filled
with broken homes and broken lives, our churches have breaches that should not
be, and all the while, God’s people stand by watching it happen, and in need of
leaders that will rise up and start the rebuilding.
We’re God’s crew. And using that
acronym we’ll discover “Chief Reasons Everyone Works.”
That’s how we’ll have success in
the little kingdom we call home in the hills of West Virginia.
In the journal art for today’s
blog I pulled words from the entire chapter of Nehemiah 3. It’s one of those
chapters that can cause you to zone out if you’re not careful. It’s filled with
names, roles, titles and jobs. We can read scripture like that and miss the
little things that are the big things. Like beginning in verse of chapter 3 it
says that “Eliashib the high priest rose
up with his brethren the priests and they builded the sheep gate.”
And they were church leaders,
willing to roll up their sleeves and pitch in where needed. And their place was
the sheep gate. That’s the role of our church leaders too; they’re responsible
for the sheep. Under Nehemiah’s leadership he rallied the troops to begin to
rebuild the walls of Jerusalem and a portion of that wall was where the sheep
were lead through the sheep gate and into the temple.
What was once a sacrificial
offering is now how God reference’s His children. Church leadership is not only
responsible for leading the sheep into the church, but once they’re in, they’re
responsible for making sure they’re safe.
How do we do that? How do we
insure that our people are sheltered from harm?
2 Timothy 2:15Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth
not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
SHARE THE WORD
Romans 15:1-5 ~ We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak,
and not to please ourselves. 2 Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good
to edification.3 For
even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them
that reproached thee fell on me. 4 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were
written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the
scriptures might have hope. 5 Now
the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward
another according to Christ Jesus:
As members of the body of Christ,
it’s our job to help grow the church. While it’s a different day than in the
days of Nehemiah, membership is still by the blood. (The blood of Jesus) And
while they were the tribes of Israel, we are the congregation of God.
Just as they had gone astray from
the way they should have been living, which is what created the position they’d
found themselves in, with not only a broken city, but a broken relationship with
God; we too can identify with that analogy. From the age of accountability,
when we understood right from wrong, we had a broken relationship with God.
Church leadership, and us, need to be repairing the gate where the sheep come
into the fold. We need to make the door of the church beautiful. And we do that
by allowing them to see the beauty of God, right from the beginning.
It’s Our Community
Hassenaah sons were in charge of
the fish gate. Then there were other’s under them. It doesn’t say they were
fishermen. Just men, willing to work.
Jesus told Peter (who was a
fisherman) in Matthew 4:19 ~ And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.
It’s important that we understand the
references and parables that Christ shares with us in His words. Fishing was an
important part of the communities along the sea. It was their livelihood. Well,
it’s the livelihood of the church too! If we’re not out fishing and building
our church, it will eventually fade away.
What fish do you have on the hook
to build your church? Write them down, commit them to prayer and think on them
as serious as Hassenaah and his friends took the building of the fish gate.
It’s Our Children
The work crews
on the wall were every bit as diverse as the crews in our church. Everyone, regardless
of their life roles, had an important role in the church.
Nehemiah 3:12 ~ And next unto him repaired Shallum the son of Halohesh, the
ruler of the half part of Jerusalem, he and his daughters.
Commentary says of the “daughters”
that they were possibly rich widows or heiresses who employed men to build at
their own expense. Halohesh must not have
had sons. This would have been the
culture of the day, and while we have certain roles in the church as men, women
and children, the point is, we all have a role and a responsibility to set the
example for others. Especially the young. Children need to have a voice and
role in the church so that as they grow in the Lord and become adults, they
continue on serving. If they’re never allowed to serve when they’re young, how
will they know that they can as they age?
What are jobs can they do:
Everyone who desires to serve
needs a job. When Hannah brought Samuel to the temple, he was but a child, yet
he served. Again, we know the culture was different, but the message is still
the same. We need to point children into the direction of service as young as
Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his
It’s Our Responsibility
What if Nehemiah had stayed with
the King? What if the community had stayed at home? What if nobody did
anything? Well it’s unfortunate that many churches are facing that dilemma
today. We have to accept the responsibility we’ve been given, and everyone has
been given something to do.
What is your part of the wall?
The sheep gate?
The Fish gate?
Guarding the wall?
Entertaining the troops?
So many more! We have to show up!
It’s our responsibility!
Then I told them of the hand of my God
which was good upon me; as also the king’s words that he had spoken unto me.
And they said, Let us rise up and build. So they strengthened their hands for
this good work.
Get God’s Hand of Approval
Nehemiah encouraged and
excited God’s people when he informed them that the hand of God was upon him.
He only knew that because he’d been in prayer from the beginning. When Nehemiah
heard the condition of the wall and the people of Jerusalem his heart was
broken. He took the news to the only One who could change the forecast which
was the Lord, Jehovah. Our provider.
Bad news comes in many forms
today. It may be a wall that’s falling down, but usually it’s a life that’s
falling apart. For the church it’s a world that’s falling apart around us. I
don’t know how you feel, but I feel much like Nehemiah. I’m distressed at the
condition of the souls I meet.
As Gloria and I traveled down
a street in Virginia Beach last week, we happed upon a little lady crouched on
the curb. Gloria felt compelled to stop and help her out and tell her about
Jesus. We approached her, and it was apparent she was skeptical as to why. I
ask her if she knew Jesus. She said she was a part of a certain denomination. For
me that’s a bell ringer that she knows church. Not Jesus. We attempted to speak
to her about the condition of her soul but she wanted no part of it. We just
happened to be beside a Chick-fil-A, and I just happened to have a Chick-fil-A
gift card in my wallet. (Nothing really just happens). So we gave her the card
and wished her God speed.
I don’t think we fixed any
walls, but I don’t know. Perhaps the act of kindness will restore her faith in
humanity. Or not. Only God knows. What it did was cause me to be more aware of
the curb side people in my community. We
need to take care of our own.
That’s what I hear God saying
to me this morning. And I need to do that through my ministry (The Jesus Chick)
which is my responsibility. But I also need to do that work through my own
church. The local church for which every believer needs to be a part of. To do
that I need to
Church Leadership’s Word of Approval
When Nehemiah prayed for God’s
wisdom on what to do about the decaying state of their city and community, He
received God’s words of wisdom. But Nehemiah was a servant, the cup bearer, of
King Artaxerxes. So rather than just taking God’s word and running with it, he
prayed again and sought the Kings approval for the journey.
I’m a doer. Sometimes to a
fault. I’ve on more than one occasion ran ahead of church leadership on
projects because I wanted to get it done. And it seldom ended well. There’s an
order in life. And I have learned to stand my ground in my place, and allow
others that same privilege and respect. Its how the church works best, and the
world needs to see the church working in harmony. The only way that can happen
is if we respect authority. Nehemiah did it even though it wasn’t the church it
was a worldly authority, surely we can allow God’s people to guide.
It’s through that process
that we can
the Stamp of Approval
“A job worth doing, is worth
doing right” is often said, and it’s certainly truth.
Philippians 1:6 ~ Being
confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will
perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.
The Jews rose up for a good
work because of Nehemiah’s leadership. We need that today! We need the
congregations of God to rise up and do a good work that we can be proud of for
the Lord Jesus Christ. We need to start by rebuilding the walls in our
communities. And by walls I mean spiritually building a fortress around the
people through prayer and communication. We need to take back our schools from
out of the hands of influences of evil. It’s there. I’ve witnessed it firsthand.
We need to be on the streets and roads of our community speaking to those we
see about Jesus. We may not have a Chick-Fil-A near by but I can almost
guarantee we have some casserole dishes in our cupboard that we can fill with
some homemade goodness for someone.
It’s a start. We need it. I
need it. You need it. Let’s do it.
Honey has been a staple in my breakfast this week at the
complimentary Holiday Inn Breakfast. Honey and butter on wheat toast just fits
the bill for my taste buds. I seldom consider it at home even though there’s a
tasty bottle of honey in the cupboard. It must have been a part of Solomon’s
regular diet too. He mentions it multiple times and uses it as an illustration
My son, eat thou honey because it is good, and the honeycomb which is
sweet to thy taste; so shall the knowledge of wisdom be unto thy soul: when
thou has found it, then there shall be reward, and thy expectation shall not be
We don’t study by accident. And blessings don’t come that
CHEW ON IT
Like the waxy comb, pondering the word of God and
considering His message in every word, jot and tittle. Every verse is like a
Nothing is so sweet is as the word of God, and it’s amazing
how a word that’s been read by millions of people was written just for you.
CHALLENGE YOURSELF WITH IT
Read it with the expectation that God going to show you something
amazing. He always does!
I’ve watched them with their metal detectors; searching the
sand in hopes of unearthing treasure. It’s how I read the word of God. Sifting
a verse, just a few words, in hopes if discovering something that will sparkle
in my soul.
A treasure to be desired…
Matthew 6:21 says For where your treasure is, there will heart
Proverbs 4:23 says Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out
of it are the issues of life.
I have plenty of issues… believe me!
I search the scriptures for wisdom and I’m not always wise
with what I find. Sometimes I’m like a beach comber, except when I find gold, I
cast it aside and pick up a seashell. Enamored more by its beauty than the
value of the gold. I warned you I had issues. I know it doesn’t have any value,
but it’s pretty.
Matthew 6:20 says of treasure that we should lay
up for yourselves treasure in heaven… I need to desire eternal rewards
by focusing on the spiritual not the carnal. It’s not easy for me, this world
is like a giant candy store and my carnal state is alive and well. I love all
things shiny and tasty. I could say it’s how God created me, but I don’t think
so. He created me with a desire to serve and a heart of compassion. But I
choose to let the bling of this world blind me.
A verse that caught my attention this morning and pierced my
heart was Proverbs 21:16
The man that wandereth out of the way of understanding shall remain in
the congregation of the dead.
It’s those who are not seeking at all. They’re just
wandering around on the beach. Oblivious to eternity. They stay in dead
churches because the Pastor’s preach pretty sermons without substance. Not
gold. Just seashells.
Don’t get me wrong. God’s creation is to be marveled. But we’re to worship the Creator in spirit and truth. Those seashells are going by the wayside when this earth is destroyed by fire. But not the things that we’re laying up in Heaven. Today we should be combing the beach for souls that need saving. We should be encouraging ourselves with His word and looking for an opportunity to share what we’ve found.
I know I’m anointed, but deed… some days I don’t think I
even uncap the bottle of oil God gives me.
Counsel in the heart of man is like deep water; but a man of understanding will draw it out.
I love the ocean… from a distance. But being up close, feeling the sand shift beneath my feet, watching the waves come closer and closer, higher and higher, lower then higher again. The uncertainty of it all creates a fear in me. I don’t panic; I just walk away.
So when reading Proverbs 20:5 this morning I fully understood what God was saying to me… “You don’t want to understand Shari.”
Counsel, whether it is of man or God is not something I’m comfortable with. It’s not that I think I’m right, usually it’s the opposite. But with counsel comes a change of direction. A shifting of the sand so to speak. Or a deeper searching for God’s purpose. Waves of overwhelming emotions. I’d prefer staying on the balcony watching those who dare to drive than be the one with my head under the water.
There are many places that I look brave, but the shore of uncertainty isn’t one of them. I look brave in the concrete jungle which could typify the world. There are sharks there too but I don’t fear them. The god of this world may use them to make life difficult, but the God I serve can and will devour them before they destroy me.
It’s not even the sharks of the water that scare me, it’s the water itself. It’s deep! seemingly bottomless, much like the wisdom of God.
Searching it, seeking His counsel takes me into un-chartered waters. It also reveals things about myself that I don’t like – like the fact I’m pretty shallow. My attention span does not always go into the deep. Rather I read, write and stop the search short. I’m satisfied with a little wisdom. A little water, rather than delving deeper because I know it will reveal God’s truth that I need to hear.
It’s why I believe most Christians don’t read and study the word of God. It’s a powerful thing. It’s an ocean of truth…
Hebrews 4:12 ~ For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
The king’s wrath is as the roaring of a lion; but his favour is as dew upon the grass.
This is the third day of journaling in the Holiday Inn Hotel dining room. Just as I’ve done in many, many places across my travels. Used to be my open bible was always an introduction to conversation with passer by’s. If for no other reason curiosity. But no more. Perhaps it’s our sense of privacy, but I don’t think so.
I don’t think the people around me fear the wrath of God or desire His blessing. But rather are believing in their own power, humblerise.com. Enjoying their own world. But whether or not they believe…
He’s still the Lion
And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.
I’m not saying they’re not saved or that they’re not good people. I’m not judging. Just observing. No one bowed their heads to bless their food or took note that I studied the Word of God. They just went merrily on their way, enjoying their breakfast. But whether or not they took notice…
He’s still the Lion
I won’t judge. But Jesus will. He’s coming again. And this time He will not be meek as a Lamb; no, this time they’ll know and understand that He is the Messiah. They will know
He’s still the Lion
Meanwhile, I’m enjoying the dew that falling on me this morning.
Proverbs 11:1 says “A false balance is abomination to the LORD: but a just weight is his delight.
The world’s standards have skewed our idea of the scale. We do not weigh justly because we measure and weigh by a worldly standard. I have to wonder, when it comes to weighing the worth of what I’ve done on this earth, how much will even make it in the bag? and how much value will it have?
I want to speak of the worlds ideas and values, but I will not stand accountable for theirs; only mine. What has made it into my bag? If I weigh myself by comparison to many others of this world, I look good! Hey, I’m the Jesus Chick. I’m in church. I’m serving the Lord in multiple ares of life. But the very fact that I’ve attached the Lord’s name to my title should scare me to death! I will certainly stand before the Lord and answer for what I’m doing with it.
Its my greatest fear that much of what I view as valuable is being weighed by a false balance. A world view.
God wants it all weighed by His scale, which for us is the word of God. The only true way of weighing earthly value for heavenly reward.
Will have I’ve done satisfy His intent for the purpose of this earthly vessel? After all, He created me for
I can tell you with an honest and ashamed heart that much of what I do is for the service of Shari. It makes me feel good. Not that God won’t appreciate part of it, but He would assuredly appreciate it greater if my heart had been purer, my mind gone deeper into His word and if my service had been bolder, quicker, sharper; making more of an impact and mark.
I need to be filling my bag with weightier matter…
Writer, Speaker, Singer… but most of all, Servant of Jesus Christ