Category Archives: Christian Service

A New Thing!

What better way to start off 2019 than thinking about new things on the horizon! I loved the illustration of a new year that my friend D.L. Kerby always used of “a fresh, new piece of paper.” Nothing there but room for ideas, and of course for me improvement!

Isaiah 43:19 is a great verse to ponder today…

Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.

Behold!

An announcement of worthy attention!

I think of new stuff every day. But much of it is not worthy of anyone’s attention. But when God announces that something new is on the horizon. Glory! It’s worthy of our notice. There is nothing stale or boring in God’s world and according to His word it is He who does the “new thing.” But how do we know it’s for us? Have you prayed for something new? That would be a great place to start. And if you’re praying for God to do something new in your life what is the purpose of it and what role does He play?

Too many people want God to do something new and amazing but then they’d rather He butt out and allow them to take over. I’m pretty sure that’s not how it works.

Jeremiah 31:22 speaks of Israel when he writes “How long will you wander, unfaithful Daughter Israel? The LORD will create a new thing on earth – the woman will return to the man.”

That new thing was the Lord Jesus Christ. There will be no more new things to that magnitude, but there is certainly new opportunities to serve Him there for the asking. As a child of God we should be prepared to focus our minds on ways to glorify and serve our Lord in the coming year. God may provide new opportunities in the secular realm, but that shouldn’t be our focus and should still include God as center focus.

Be Watching!

Now it shall spring forth! As a budding branch springs forth out of the ground.

I start longing for spring about January 2nd. I’m done with the cold, dead looking trees and frigid temperatures of winter. I need to see some life in the hills of West Virginia. But it’s not in my time, it’s in the Lord’s and the same is true when it comes to the new things that God has planned for us. His timing is imperative. But if I’m not watching for it, I might miss it.

We need to stand with a watchful eye on the world around us for ways that we can serve and glorify God.

Last night I sat beside a man that I really wasn’t certain of his soul’s state until the subject of church came up. He let me know immediately that he didn’t want any part of the church and that he was a “believing agnostic.”  I told him I hated to hear that because I really cared for him. He seemed shocked that I thought he was going to Hell. I spoke to him in love for as long as he would tolerate me, and in a moment of awkwardness where the subject had gotten too deep, he left my side for a worldlier lot. And I went home. I felt I’d done as much work as I could there. The man didn’t get saved but I had been watching for an opportunity and God opened the door, for that I’m grateful.

Be Ready!

For anything. God’s ways are not our ways. We don’t expect ways in the wilderness and rivers in the dessert. If we’re preparing for such an excursion we’re packing weed whackers and bottled water. But God said no… I’ve already got the path cut and the water supplied! You just need to be ready.

Oh my goodness those words make my soul stir. I’m not really a prepared person. I jump and go. Which gets me in trouble… a lot. But God said if I’d be ready for His way, I’ll be okay. But before I jump and go, I need to wait for some instructions. And so do you!

Isaiah 43:19 may or may not be your verse for 2019. But the wisdom that can be gleaned from it is for everyone.

God does have a new work for us and we for certain should be watching and be ready for His announcement.

What’s He laid on your heart to do in 2019? I’d love nothing more than for you to share that with me so that I can make it a matter of prayer. Blessings!!!!!

We’re Going to Have to Get Better

C.S. Lewis said “He (God) loved us not because we’re lovable, but because He is Love.”

Love has been a matter of my heart for a while. Mainly because I see the declining of it across our nation. Of course in the political arena, and even though it’s worse than ever, it’s still something we’ve come to expect with the nature of differing opinions. But when it comes to Christians, there should not be differing opinions. We can have separate church doctrines, but in the matter of Jesus, one way and one way only, and His love, it’s not up for debate. And yet, the evidence is lacking that the church fully believes the word of God.

Salvation’s Security

I will not argue why I believe in eternal security. I know what I believe and why I believe I, and if you believe otherwise, I probably won’t sway your mind. But when it comes to salvation, there is no argument. You either are, or are not saved. The scripture is clear:

1 John 4:15-21

15 Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.

Romans 10:9-10 says  ~ That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

You either believe that, or you’re not saved. So now that we have that matter cleared up, let’s assume that you have the security of salvation. You now have the Holy Spirit, God Himself, dwelling within you.  And as we continue on in 1 John 4 there’s an evidentiary fact that should be viewed in every Christian’s life. Love.

Salvations Sincerity

16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.

It’s not hard for us to conceive that God would love us. I mean really, what’s not to love right? But what about others. The enemy and the downright wicked. Does He love them too? Oh yes, enough to die for them just as He died for us, and though we hate to confess it, we know that our sins were by comparison the same level of unworthiness. But Christ took the sins of all upon His back on that cross of Calvary. We conceive this knowledge, but do we convey it?

Salvation’s Sheriff

The Holy Spirit. It’s the very first gift we receive when we become saved. What a joy! But it’s a new day and the conviction of the Holy Spirit is evident. We know when something’s not right in our life. And the only way to get right, to be made perfect is to repent and accept that what Christ did on the cross is enough for me, and everyone else in the world.

Even those I have a hard time tolerating.

What should never be evident in my life as child of God is found in the closing verse of Chapter 4.

17 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. 19 We love him, because he first loved us. 20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? 21 And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.

There is no fear, nor hate in the child of God.

Fear is faithless

I’ve seen too many churches who rather than teaching the love of God, teach the fear of God first.

Romans 2:4 says OR despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the good of God leadeth thee to repentance?

It does not say that the fear of God will cause a man to repent. But rather the goodness of God. Perhaps we could say the “love of God” causes a man to repent.

Prior to my salvation I had enough conviction on my life to choke a horse. I felt the disconnection from God. And I believe if everyone’s honest, we’ve all felt it before we’re saved. We know we belong to Him, it’s rebellion that causes us to deny it. But when we experience His love as shown through the church, and a sense of belonging that can be found there, that’s when I felt the Holy Spirit move in my life in such a way that I said, “I need to be saved!” The preacher preached Hell, but the church showed love.

The word “hate” makes my stomach turn. Especially when I hear it used in the context of “I hate so and so.” And sometimes by Christian people. This ought not be. We need to remember that the person we’re hating needs to see Jesus. And there is no way under the sun they’ll ever see Him if we’re spewing words like that out of our mouth. There is also no way they’ll see Him if we using words that we know will cause hate in the heart of another person.

Christians should always take a stand for what’s right in the eyes of God. But in taking that stand we should do it in love and through the prayerful guidance of the Holy Spirit.

I know I’ve been guilty of not doing that.

If we’re going to make a dent in the lost of this world, we’re going to have to get better at loving people.

The Vessel, the Voice and the Value

It started with a conversation with a friend and woman of God Angel Murchison two days ago. We were sharing the many things that God has done with our lives and the countless ways He has used us in our prospective ministries. As we spoke the words “vessel and voice” came into my mind; how blessed I was that by being a willing vessel, allowing my voice to be used for the glory of God I had become of value.

Just for the record, I’ve always been of value to God. After all He died for me. But in my own eyes I struggle with worth, and for certain worthiness.

The thought continued into a conversation with my friends Daniel and LuAnn Johnson as we worked on a Christmas giving project together. We were trying to be willing vessels. We were using our voice, and we knew that it was of value for the Kingdom… but deed…. We weren’t sure how.

By doing all the things that God had laid on our heart to do, we weren’t really seeing the fruit of our labor by way of souls being saved and lives being changed. So what’s a girl to do if “there ain’t no proof in the pudding?” (that’s an old time colloquialism for evidence of effectiveness).

So this girl went to the word of God.

2 Timothy 2:20-21

But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonor. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work

Various Vessels

Gold, silver, wood and earth. I look at those materials and I can see various people who align metaphorically. I view myself as an earthen vessel, a clay pot crafted in the Master’s hand as the scripture relates in Romans 9:21

Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?

We are, I am, what the Master makes me to be. Unfortunately there are times that all I see is “God made me weird.” I have quirky ways, weird ideas and take random leaps of faith or fiction that sometimes end well, and other times end in disaster. And God has to put me back on the wheel and work the bumps out of life again.

Vigilant Vessels

Ever watchful for an opportunity to serve.

That’s why I do crazy things with people like LuAnn and Daniel Johnson like host a community Christmas party. They’re a little crazier than me because they drove from North Carolina to West Virginia. But God said go, and so they did. And God said join them, and so I did. And together we make a good team because we look for opportunities to make a difference in someone’s life and for the chance to tell the world that Jesus Saves!

Victorious Vessels

Victory doesn’t always look like crossing the finish line for a trophy. Sometimes it looks like an unfinished project.

As Daniel, Luann, their young Clayton and I, fed and encouraged the folks who came to our Christmas party, we attempted to sow seeds on a cold December day, believing that they’d take root and grow into something amazing for the Kingdom. But if we’re honest there were some seeds that fell on stony ground.  Those seeds suck the life out of me because they make me feel like a failure and cause me to question once again the value of my ministry reach.

And then a man walks through the door that just needed to feel like someone cared, and we did. And it was in that moment that I see the hand of God and heard the Spirit whisper… “that’s why you’re here.”

I felt the ribbon go around my neck and the Lord kiss my cheek and say “well done, thou good and faithful servant.” We were vessels of honor and value. Sanctified (set apart from the way the world views obedience and victory) and meet (of value) for the good work that the Lord has for us in the Kingdom.

Victory! It’s not always the big wins that are of value. Sometimes the value is in the little we do being vigilant vessels.

I hope you enjoyed this word today, and I pray you’ll share this post as well as the ministry of www.theJesusChick.com. Over the next month I’m working on a my website style as well as it’s content in hopes of being a bigger blessing and opening the doors of opportunity.

You too are a valuable vessel! God bless you and Merry Christmas from the Jesus Chick!!!!

The Christmas Dance

Luke 2:20

And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

When I think about the characters of Christmas, it is the shepherds that I feel most relative to. And although I’ve never been in the presence of an angel, I’ve certainly been in the presence of the Holy Spirit. What an amazing feeling. It makes me think of David when they were returning with the ark in 2 Samuel 6:14. It had been a long time since the ark, representative of the presence of Almighty God, was in their presence. There’s a reason to rejoice! There’s a reason to dance!

Sometimes, it’s a long period of time between dancing for me too. It’s why I can relate to the shepherds.

The Lowest of the Low

That’s how I feel much of the time. But the shepherds in the eyes of the general public and careers of that day, truly were the lowest of the low. Bible scholars (for which I am not) have said that shepherds were societal outcasts, a despised people. Said to be dishonest and unclean, those for whom Jesus came.

So, the shepherds becoming one of the “characters of Christmas” truly was amazing; for them and everyone else. Why would God send His heavenly messengers to people so far off of the “A” list of society? The same reason the Kings received the word as well. Because everyone needs Jesus from the lowest to the highest and in between. And in the eyes of God the souls of the shepherds were every bit as equal of importance as the Kings who came bearing gold, frankincense and myrrh.

So why do I relate more with the shepherds than kings? Economically for certain, but more so for the feeling of unworthiness. I know what a sinner I am. I know how often I fail the Lord, and while I won’t confess my faults to you, the Lord knows them. And I’m sure the shepherds felt the same way. Why would God choose to come into their presence and bestow upon them such a high honor? Why would He choose me?

As I drew the little shepherd boy dancing with his lamb, I could feel the Spirit rise up in my soul. I know the “outcast” mentality all too well. It’s not warranted, but it’s very real. God has gifted me with so many encouragers because if it were not for them, I’d be so far out in the field even the angels couldn’t find me. I don’t need people to puff me up in arrogance, some days I just need them to lift me out of the muck and mire I’ve sunk into because of depression and anxiety.

The Highest of the High

Not the Kings of earth, but the King of Heaven only reserves that title.

This Christmas I want to dance with the shepherds in high praise and honor that God chooses to be in my presence. Isn’t that amazing? That the Creator of all the universe wanted to hang out and have coffee and frosted mini wheats for breakfast. He could, and likely does dine with Kings in the richest of palaces. But He’s just as much here at my cedar kitchen table in the midst of the hills of West Virginia. Glory to God in the highest!

Who Says Water and Electricity Don’t Mix?

Well. Actually from an earthly standard they don’t. But from a spiritual vantage point, they not only mix, the experience is beyond amazing!

A few weeks ago Dr. Mickey Carter preached at our church, on the subject of the light that God shines before us; and how that light grows as we we grow, and the distance before us is further as we are obedient and able to handle what it’s shining on. Such a good message! This morning I find myself studying ligtht once more in the book of Psalm 36.Twelve little verses. So much wisdom.

This earth is filled with people searching for what the child of God has. They’re missing it and we’re not doing our do diligence to give evidence of what we have within us. Our bulbs are not burnt out, they simply have a loose connection and a little water.

The Dark Side

1The transgression of the wicked saith within my heart, that there is no fear of God before his eyes.

For he flattereth himself in his own eyes, until his iniquity be found to be hateful.

The words of his mouth are iniquity and deceit: he hath left off to be wise, and to do good.

He deviseth mischief upon his bed; he setteth himself in a way that is not good; he abhorreth not evil.

The last part of verse 4 could sum up most of the people I know who don’t know God. Now, I certainly know my share of people who have wicked tongues and wicked ways. But the bulk of the unsaved people I know are people who are “in a way that is not good, he (they) aborreth not evil.”

They haven’t learned to hate the very thing that makes them miserable. Sin.     

I know this because it hasn’t been so long ago that I was one of them. I wasn’t a wicked person, devising evil plots for personal gain. I was a good person trying to make the world a better place. The problem was, I needed to start with myself before I tried to fix the world around me. Case in point. I was on every civic minded board I could be on. I was highly sought after to be on those boards because I was a worker! I thought that by serving my community I could fulfill that desire within me to help. There was indeed a little light shining within my heart that always gave me a desire to help people. But my yearning was never completely fulfilled because it wasn’t being filled with what the Creator intended it to be filled with.

I’m not saying that serving on civic minded boards is wrong. We need to be a part of our community, but our primary focus should always shine the light toward the Creator. Not the created. It’s when we glorify ourselves or others that the light short circuits. It’s not attached to the source of power.

In The Shadows

Thy mercy, O Lord, is in the heavens; and thy faithfulness reacheth unto the clouds.

Thy righteousness is like the great mountains; thy judgments are a great deep: O Lord, thou preservest man and beast.

How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings.

Jesus said in Luke 13:34 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not.”

The Jews had completely missed their promised Messiah because they were not focusing the glory on the Lord, but rather through works, they sought to gain glory for themselves. All Jesus wanted to do was love and protect them, as a mother hen would her chicks, but they wanted to stay in the spotlight. And so they’re solution was to rid themselves of the Light that shone so much brighter.

Good people don’t always seek the glory. Many seek the thrill of helping, which in reality is seeking the glory. That adrenaline rush that comes from helping or “saving” someone is addictive. And it can overrule allowing God’s control or protection. I was that person. I was so focused on helping others, that I wouldn’t allow myself to realize I was the one who needed saving.

The Light!

They shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house; and thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures.

For with thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light.

10 O continue thy lovingkindness unto them that know thee; and thy righteousness to the upright in heart.

11 Let not the foot of pride come against me, and let not the hand of the wicked remove me.

12 There are the workers of iniquity fallen: they are cast down, and shall not be able to rise.

When life got so miserable out from under the wings of Christ, and I could see nothing but my discontent and discouraging world, God sent a light to show me a pathway to the shadow of His wings. That light was a Preacher who used the water of the Word. And when that water, mixed with that light…. Glory!!!! Something amazing happened! Once I received the wisdom of the Lord Jesus Christ, by accepting the fact that I could save no one and that He could save everyone, there was more light, and more direction to what my God given purpose in life was. To shine the light so that someone else could see their way to the safety and peace of being under the shadow of His wings.

And just like brother Mickey said, when I start down a path for the Lord, He shine the light far into the distance and I see that there is amazing things ahead.

I hope you’ve experienced that light. If not, follow the link on my main page to “the plan of Salvation.” And please! Let me know if this has encouraged you. Comment in the comment section and share my post on social media. I love you, but more important than my love is the Love of Jesus Christ!

Be Thou my Vision

Bible Journaling Art by The Jesus Chick

Proverbs 29:18

Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.

One of the very familiar verses often quoted from the Bible, and quite often completely out of context. I have no doubt been guilty of the same. But this morning this verse caught my attention and gave me the desire to dig a little deeper into its meaning for my own personal application.

I consider myself quite the visionary when it comes to life. I love new and exciting adventures and I’m open to the Lord’s leading down unfamiliar paths without hesitation. The problem with me is that quite often it’s a Shari vision, not a God vision. So those paths have many times lead to disaster!

The Word of God is a book like no other in the world. It’s the living, breathing, Word of God that can speak life into its reader. Another book may excite you, and inspire you, but it can’t speak life. It’s also why we shouldn’t read the Bible in a haphazard manner as to take scripture out of context or apply our own definition to it.

When Proverbs 29:18 is quoted, the word “vision” is often thought of as a prophetic vision that renders itself to personal direction. But in this context vision is “an inspired revelation of wisdom from God.” Which may be personal direction, but in its full context, which people tend to ignore, it is followed by “keeping the law.” So… when you take someone like me who is apt to be a free spirit, the law has a connotation of control. And that doesn’t fit well with my application of the freedom of vision.

I’m somewhat telling on my rebellious heart. But it’s good to be real, because it will help you and me both. Nothing is worth doing unless it is the will of God. And the will of God will never be outside the Word of God. So if we want the reality of it, we can’t just say we have a vision without searching the Word of God for the truth of His will. Woah… that’s a pretty deep thought for me.

2019 is on the horizon, and I have big plans, as always. But are they God’s? Good question.

Three points for me to ponder, and perhaps you as well, from Proverbs 29:18

Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.

No Instruction leads to Destruction

Proverbs 1:5

A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels:

I received a call from my good friend Dewey last week, who asked if I minded some counsel. The Lord knew I was in need of it, and He even sent the messenger, so who am I to say no. And so I listened. But I’m not always that wise. Some of my greatest failures in life have been not seeking or heeding the counsel of others. It’s not that I feel I know best. It’s usually that I just don’t know and I’m too excited to slow down.

But not today. Today I’ve taken it slower and asked God for some insight into the vision He has given me for 2019. The year of our Lord 2018 has been quite difficult. For more than the obvious health reasons. I had an appointment with my cardiologist today and was discussing the frequent, steady chest pains that cause me concern. After listening to me, and running the appropriate tests, it was discovered that I’m under too much stress. Shocker! 2018 has been filled with stress, and I need a reprieve in the coming year. That will require some changes in the vision of The Jesus Chick Ministries.

First… I need to treat it like a ministry. Not a hobby.

Godly Instruction leads to Construction

Council can often be constructive criticism, and that’s okay with me too. So long as it leads to construction and things get built rather than being torn down. The problem with my ministry is I’ve been building it alone, and as God told Adam, it’s not good for man to be alone, or woman as the case may be. I’ve partnered with many others in their ministry work, but I’ve soloed my own, missing the counsel of Christ where He told the disciples to go two by two.

So I need to build my ministry so that it’s more productive. I need to expand my ministry reach, and believe God that my ministry work will be rewarded with financial provision; which has been most of the stress of 2018. I need focus. I need counsel. It’s why I appreciate ministry friends like Dewey who love me and feel comfortable to follow the leading of the Lord to say things like, “slow down.” Or encourage me to seek a 501c3 which would make the Jesus Chick a bonified ministry for contributors and provide me with counsel through a board of directors.

Vision is God’s Provision for the Journey

And so I search His word for direction.

Proverbs 12:28

In the way of righteousness is life; and in the pathway thereof there is no death.

There is but one job one pathway for me, and the way of righteousness is through Jesus Christ alone who will be my vision. There is a song written by Ian Lynn entitled “Be Thou My Vision.” It’s words stir my soul today.

Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light

Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one

Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art

High King of Heaven, my victory won
May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heav’n’s Sun
Heart of my own heart, whate’er befall
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all

And so that’s my prayer today. “Be Thou my Vison Lord.” I seek not riches or man’s praise, I seek a pathway that will allow me to share Christ through the talents that God has given me.

I covet your prayers and would love the privilege of praying for you.

Why Will You Die?

Another milestone in the zipper club (heart bypass) journal was the completion of my first week of cardiac rehab. Also another  reality check on the lack of care for myself over the last several years of life. Following my decision to stop smoking on May 26th, 1997 (with the prompting of the Holy Spirit after a year of salvation) I traded my addiction to tobacco for an addiction to all things tasty. Gradually I blossomed into the well-rounded person I am today both spiritually and figuratively.

The criticism and judgement of sometimes well-meaning people (sometimes not) served me well in the department of discouragement and depression. The added pressure added extra weight. However, before anyone thinks I blame others for my blessed figure status, the answer is no. I’m the one who lost her will power. And so today as I read Ezekiel 18, I remembered my week at cardiac rehab. The struggles that I had as I pushed through each piece of equipment and so did not enjoy it. As I tried to clean up the mess I had created over the past 21 years.

Ezekiel 8:31

“Cast away from you all your transgressions, whereby ye have transgressed and make you a new heart and a new spirit: for why will ye die, O house of Israel?”

I believe Israel had gotten on God’s last nerve. They’d sinned, worshiped idols and used their children as sacrifices. What a mess they’d gotten themselves into because they’d gotten their eyes off the Lord and put them onto the things around them. I won’t throw any stones in that department either.

But the end result of a life without God, is always death. And no matter what I try to do in life without God as the central focus, it will surely die, because I am His, and He is mine and He expects to be a part of my life.

So how do I make sure that’s the case when living everyday life and making decisions that can change my future? And how many times have I gotten on God’s last nerve by not listening to Him.

The Word tells me.

CAST IT

Cast away from you, all your transgressions.

Easier said than done, right? Well, yes and no. We know that nothing is impossible for God! But we must first allow Him to have it. For me and my transgressions… there were many. The overeating and desire for food replaced an addition that had begun when I was a child. I smoked my first cigarette at 13 years of age. I had been addicted a very, very long time. But when God got involved the desire for that substance was replaced with a desire to be better for Him. But the cigarettes had also come with a stigma of non-acceptance by the world, both saved and unsaved people alike. So it wasn’t hard to not desire it. But everyone loved food!  It was acceptable.

But the weight gain was not.

Add to that the fact that God had called me into ministry work and I was now standing before people every week, I became very weak emotionally.

I allowed the pressure of that judgment, whether real or not to get the best of me and I ate all the more because it made me feel better.

So what did I need to cast off?

Addiction. Self-Condemnation. Irresponsibility.

If Jesus had cast my sins as far as the east is from the west, I needed to cast my transgression to Him so He could take care of them. Because when I threw them down, they never failed to land out of arms reach and I would pick them up again 

Psalm 103:12

As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.

CREATE IT

…and make you a new heart and a new spirit:

So how do I do that?

I have to change somethings about my life. Beginning with my mindset. Your brain tells your heart when to beat.

In the course of the day, your heart will beat somewhere around 100,000 times and over a calendar year might beat up to 35 million times. Over the course of a lifetime then, your brain and your heart have to work together to engineer 3 billion heartbeats.

However there’s something in the heart called automaticity.

Meaning that the heart, even if it’s disconnected from the brain, will continue to beat at a set rate.

For me that shows that there’s a thought controlled side of the heart and a God controlled side of the heart. Praise God! He knows when to kick His side in.

But when it comes to decision making He leaves that to me for the most part. So I need to create within myself a new heart and spirit. Basically new desires and passions that align with God.

I can only do that if I focus on godly things casting those things that are unhealthy to Christ so that He can help me get them out of my life.

COMMIT IT

…for why will ye die,

Commitment was something that Israel didn’t have. They’d make and break promises as fast as the ink would dry on the paper.

I’m not any different. I yo yo diet, and I yo yo commit to the promises that I make God that “I’ll do better.”

We take commitment too lightly. Forgetting that God doesn’t take it lightly. Over time, God allowed many of His chosen people to be killed because they couldn’t keep their commitment to live for Him.

When I quit smoking, I partially did so because I believed God was going to allow me to die a dreadful death because of the effect of smoking. He warned me to quit… and so I did.

The transgression of poor health was not so easy for me to commit to overcome. I allowed emotions and lack of self-respect to play the major role in controlling my diet. Scroll forward to May of 2018, three heart attacks, open heart surgery and now cardia rehab and I am beginning to think I should have listened sooner.

Duh. I’m a Slow learner. Israel and I have a lot in common. Most of all, and Hallelujah, we have God’s grace in common.

But eventually God’s patience runs thin and we get on God’s last nerve. Before that happens, it would be much better to give those transgressions to Jesus. Everyone has them, and their personal to them.  

There’s a 3 step plan for it. Cast. Create. Commit.

God’s final verse in chapter 18 was  For I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, saith the Lord God: wherefore turn yourselves, and live ye.  

There is life in Christ! And a much better, more rewarding life. Live it! And live it well. 

The Deceiver

I cannot count the times I’ve heard people say, “I no longer watch the news.” There are varying reasons, but they all boil down to a lack of trust, myself included. The news industry is more of an entertainment industry; even Fox News, which I trust a smidgen more than others, have a tendency to spin their own opinions at times on things that I don’t agree with. So I choose to wait until someone comments on social media about an event or a person that’s in the news and then I go in search of information believing I’m likely only getting half the story.

But praise God! There is a place where the news is fresh every day and even the Old Testament can read like a newspaper headline. Difference being, the Word of God is pure truth.

Ezekiel 12:22-25

Rejected Vision

22 Son of man, what is that proverb that ye have in the land of Israel, saying, The days are prolonged, and every vision faileth?

Those words sound all too familiar. Even the times that they’re not spoken, I feel that the majority of earth have fallen lacks to the idea that time ends for everyone, and so will the earth.

2 Peter 3:9 says it plainly that The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

Yet because of God’s longsuffering and wiliness to allow us to get our hearts right with Him, man has been deceived by Satan into thinking that there will not be a judgment day.

The beautiful faces of the media, who often are snakes in bunny clothing, spew lies as fact and the world buys in.  Ethics are at best situational if there are any ethics at all. It’s considered the norm and acceptable and the next generation will be worse because of it.

And before any Christian cast stones, the church as a whole isn’t much better. If we truly believed God’s word as fact, (and it is) that He can come back before the period is put on this sentence, why then are we not more diligent about soul winning? I don’t have any stones in my pocket. 

Reality Verified

23 Tell them therefore, Thus saith the Lord God; I will make this proverb to cease, and they shall no more use it as a proverb in Israel; but say unto them, The days are at hand, and the effect of every vision.

God warned Israel, His very own, that judgement day was on the horizon, and it was. The false prophets and idolaters were condemned and Israel was judged as a harlot for betraying our Lord. (Ezekiel 16:35) Will He do any different for those of us who have been offered grace through the blood of His precious Son? No.

In the days of Ezekiel, judgement was by the law, which I personally wouldn’t have lasted a day under. But by His grace I am saved and protected from the judgement of the earth, but still very much accountable for my actions as a child of God. As well as all other Christians.

Our churches and their leadership are going to stand before God and answer as to why we did not heed His warnings and share the truth outside the walls of the church. Why did we not take a greater stand on matters and rebuke the media rather than accepting it as the norm? And why did we accept the wickedness in and around us as “probably not right,” but  “okay?”

Rebellions Verdict

24 For there shall be no more any vain vision nor flattering divination within the house of Israel.

25 For I am the Lord: I will speak, and the word that I shall speak shall come to pass; it shall be no more prolonged: for in your days, O rebellious house, will I say the word, and will perform it, saith the Lord God.

I don’t have a clue when the end of time will come, but I do believe it’s very much in the not too distant future. Every time I see the clouds rolling in the sky, I wonder… is this the day?

Judgement came for Israel and it will come for us as well.

God’s words citing Israel’s vain visions and flattering divinations very much reminded me of the media today. And the world is every bit as gullible to believe in it.

God’s going to speak to His Son one day and say, “Go get Your children.” And I’ll be ready. But how many won’t? It scares me, but does it scare me into doing something about it besides writing these words? Only time will tell.

The great deceiver may be hiding behind an anchor desk, but that’s not his only locale. He’s in every school, business, church and home, wreaking as much havoc as he possibly can. It’s our job to step up and take back the ground he’s conquered.

Heaven Help Us

In the book of Nahum we once again find Israel having been carried captives into Assyria. A common storyline in the lives of God’s people. Sin, become captive, repent, obtain freedom, repeat.  But before we cast any stones we, generally speaking, don’t have to look long into our own lives to find that we too are repeat offenders of captivity.  The world has a way of laying hold on us and doesn’t relinquish us to freedom easily. Our enemies are fierce, but our Father is the fiercest of all!

When a verse like Nahum 1:7-8 comes into my reading time, I take note, and need to delve further into the God of all comfort. He comforts me like the favorite blanket that I wrap up in on a cool fall morning.

Nahum 1:7-8

The Lord is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him. But with an overrunning flood he will make an utter end of the place thereof, and darkness shall pursue his enemies.

Heaven helps those who do

Jesus told the young ruler in Luke 18:19 Why callest thou me good? None is good, save one, that is, God.

A very quick and honest search of our own hearts and we realize that we are not good. Sin abounds inside the heart of every man and is only covered by the blood of Jesus when we ask Christ to save us. But it is forever a constant battle creating trouble in our lives. Either our sin or the sin of someone else. So what a joy and privilege and highlight worthy verse we find in the book of Nahum; because even though we’re not good, God is! And He’s a stronghold for those that know Him. A stronghold is a place of security and safety. For King David being sought by Saul, it was cave. For me this morning it’s a blanket on the couch that I’m wrapped up in studying God word. I love this time of the day when the busyness and stress of the day hasn’t quite kicked in and my heart is still tender and receptive to God’s guidance

It’s good seed sown in a dirty ground that grows beautiful things.

Come what may for the rest of the day (an our lives) we have to trust that God is good and He takes care of His own.

Heaven Help those who don’t!

Nahum described it as an “overrunning flood” for the enemies of God. And although most people who have not claimed Christ as their Savior, don’t view themselves as the enemies of God, they are. They are because they’ve allowed the world to rule their hearts and the world is the enemy of God.

James 4:4 says as much when James wrote: Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.

That “should” strike fear in the heart of anyone who hasn’t been saved, but it doesn’t. They are blinded by this world into believing that there is another way out besides salvation. And the heartaches and troubles they face every day, that overwhelms their souls and very much feels like an overrunning flood could be traded for the strong hand of God that would remove it and replace it with His peace for the asking. But many will not.

And sadly many who know God and He knows them, live in defeat because they don’t take the time to get in His word where peace is found.

I’m ever so grateful that in all my errors and blunders in life, God’s grace is sufficient to pull me through the tough days and allow me to celebrate the good days with gladness! I pray you’re experiencing that peace today and that you’ll share it with someone along the pathway.

If you’d like to know more about sceduling the Jesus Chick to speak or sing, contact me at 304-377-6036 or find me on social media under “the Jesus Chick.”

Great Things!

Its confession time for me again. I seem to be doing that a lot lately. But although confession is good for the soul… it’s hard on my emotions. Confession can sometimes be a testimony of failure, guilt or pain, and depending upon the response post confession from the confessor and the confessee, determines the successful healing or purpose. So here’s my confession in a nut shell…

For the past couple of years God has placed on my heart to plan an event. I’ll give details on that later. My response was, “Okay. Later.” After all, I’ve told God “no” before, and I know how that turns out. So “later” seemed like a more viable option. Again and again, too many numerous times I heard this request from God.  And I always had a reason behind my answer.

The first one was the Moses response. “Who am I, Lord that You should use me?” I always followed that by, “Lord, who would even listen?” My self-doubt fed right into that answer. Coupled with the fact that there are those who really don’t take my ministry serious or feel that it is a worthwhile investment. So, I thought I should wait until I grew up, or a “God thing” happened that made me know for sure. Like possibly a heart attack.

My second response was, “They don’t want it. Lord, You and I have been here before and the people won’t come.” To which I would hear, “the ‘right’ people will come. Its’ all in the chapiters.” That response came from a sermon of Mickey Carter’s that he preached three years ago; and to this day I can’t get it out of my mind. On the top of the tall pillars in the temple were chapiters with the finest of detail that no man could see. But God could. Many people don’t see our efforts, but God does. And it’s He who will reward. And so I thought some more on the event God asked me to do…

I’ve been praying for directions, asking for God’s wisdom because I really don’t have the answer. I kept hearing “read Jonah.” And I planned to, but later. After 2 preachers and a lady who spoke at our Monday Women’s event used the story of Jonah as an illustration, I finally conceded that perhaps I should read the book of Jonah. I am a slow learner.

The Great Fish

God did a preparatory work for Jonah four times. He started with the biggest. The “Great Fish.”

But prior to the great fish, Jonah had some great people who encouraged him. The ship’s crew who cried unto their gods and threw the ships cargo over board in an attempt to save themselves and Jonah, knew that there was a difference in Jonah’s God. They knew He could save them. (Chapter 1 verse 6).

I’ve always had encouragement, even from the lost. Those who have faith in “my God” because they’ve seen His work in me. But I will allow the naysayers to overshadow those whom God sends to encourage.

Jonah finally confesses that it is he who’s caused the angry waves and tell the men to throw him over board. He’d rather die, than get right.

For the record… I would not rather die. But I still didn’t get right before my heart attack. I’m not saying that’s why it happened, but it certainly garnered my attention.

The Great Gourd

Even after Jonah survived being whale puke, and reluctantly but obediently preached the gospel to the Ninevites, he continued to be angry with God for saving the people of Ninevah. So God gave him a brief period of rest and created a gourd to grow above Jonah’s head and give shade in the heat of the day. (Chapter 4,verse 6)

Following my heart attack I wasn’t angry with God. I’ve never been angry with God, but rather angry with Shari and my feelings of inadequacy for life and on more than one occasion I was secretly angry with people who didn’t believe in me. But God gave me a rest from that and allowed me to regroup my thoughts. So I collectively put them all back together in the same place by telling the Lord I wasn’t fit for what He was calling me to do. I was a disobedient sinner, and He surely couldn’t use me.

The Great Worm

God allowed Jonah to rest for a little while and then He caused a worm to eat the gourd that provided the shade. And there Jonah was, exposed to the elements of life again. Still angry because the Lord wanted to see the people of Ninevah saved. (Chapter 4,verse 7)

Following my healing and rest after the heart surgery I began to find strength and purpose again. I began serving the Lord in my “safe zones” and all was right… except… the continual knowledge that I wasn’t fully obedient to God’s will for my life. That doggone worm ate my shade and I too was exposed to reality. The reality that not everyone in the world loved me but I was required to love them.

The Great Wind

God’s final preparatory work was the great wind. He drove the sun down upon Jonah’s head until he passed out! God asked him, “Doest thou well to be angry for the gourd?” And Jonah answered in what I imagine to be a total eye roll, smart aleck attitude “I do well to be angry, even unto death.” (Chapter 4, verse 9)

God nailed Jonah to the wall by asking him why he was more concerned over a gourd dying than the 120,000 souls headed for Hell until he preached to them the gospel. Ouch.

And for me He asked why I was so much more concerned with those who reject my ministry’s effect, than those who would embrace the Lord’s purpose for me through what God has ask me to do. The world is full of hurting and exhausted ministers and people of God who need to be encouraged in the Lord.

So when God put it on my heart to lead and organize a conference for such a purpose, it scared me to death. I didn’t want to die, but I thought I might if I stepped out in this endeavor. But after prayer and counsel the decision’s been made with excited people on board for the spring of 2019.