Category Archives: Christian Service

The Key to a Blessing

 So call me crazy… again. Over the years I’ve been blessed with a few musical instruments, most as gifts and some I’ve purchased. But through a couple of friends I was taught to dedicate those to the Lord for the purpose of glorifying the Kingdom. When we’d get a new instrument we’d meet with the preacher or have a time of dedication as musicians and it has always been a blessing. So scroll forward from those days to this past week and the purchasing of a new used car for myself. I realize that I could have likely purchased someone else’s problems, I am still “jump and the net will appear” Shari. I think sometimes there is a fine line between faith and stupidity with me. It is not beyond me to make a decision based on a twenty minute time frame, and for the record, God doesn’t always like time constraints. Sometime He’d like us to ponder a decision, mull it over in our minds and chew on it a while to see if the flavor is just right.

Unfortunately, that’s not how I work.

I pass by a car lot, something shiny catches my eye and I’m ready to purchase. Then reality sits in as I look at the price tag. But before I could get back in my car and off the lot the vultures have circled me and they’re pretty sure that they can hook me up with something within my price range. To top it all off, my car (which had a really bad owner, namely me) has an engine that sounds like a busload of Baptist at a housing project on a soul winning mission. It’s knock, knock and knocking and before you know it, I’m driving off the lot in something shiny. Bada-bing-bada-boom, that’s how life works.

Now I’m driving down I-79 in my Jeep Compass with slightly higher mileage than should be on it thinking… what have I done? In my defense  (I feel like you’re judging me) I’d been praying to the Lord about my car; He and I were on the same page I’m pretty sure… it needed to go. I just wasn’t sure that this was the lot it needed to go on. But so it was in true impulse buying fashion.

The Lord has provided me with a car! Thank You Jesus! An instrument of service so to speak which I’ve determined needs to be dedicated to the Lord. So Sunday morning I approach our interim Pastor and asked him if he’d mind dedicating my car that evening. I think he thought I was joking, but in true seasoned Pastor form, he caught himself before he laughed out loud and said “You’re serious?”

So Sunday evening, in a little bigger dedication service than I had planned, he dedicated my car before the congregation of the Lord. They too probably thought I’d lost my mind. But that’s okay because I knew it was the right thing to do for a number of reasons.

First – Because God knows how I take care of a vehicle. It needs blessed.

Secondly – Because that vehicle is an instrument that’s going to be used for the service of the Lord. Instruments of service are not limited to the cups and offering plates in the sanctuary of the Old Testament temple. That car gets me from point “A” to point “B” on many ventures of the Lord’s service as well as secular service. My motor oil needs the anointing of God to keep it running in top form.

Brother Dennis prayed and God poured His blessings down upon me, and my soul was satisfied that the Jeep Compass in the parking lot was now the property of God.

Micah 4:13 says  ~ Arise and thresh, O daughter of Zion: for I will make thine horn iron, and I will make thy hoofs brass: and thou shalt beat in pieces many people: and I will consecrate their gain unto the Lord, and their substance unto the Lord of the whole earth.

My hoofs aren’t brass, they’re likely some other form of metal but they are consecrated to the Lord. I believe it’s biblical.

The blessing didn’t only ask for a commitment from God to take care of the instrument of service but it also put a responsibility on me to take care of the Lord’s property. Call me crazy… it’s okay. My family already knows it. But I don’t mind being a fool for Christ. That’s biblical too.

8 Words that Describe Life

baby feet

If you were to describe life in just 8 words what would the words be? That was the question I posed to my teen class yesterday morning in Sunday School. ­­­­­­­­­­­­­Would those words change if circumstances changed and what might some of the words look like to describe God in the bad times? It was a great conversation starters! Word’s stir us. If I mention a word, like “fear” and ask you to think on it, it usually calls to remembrance a time in your life when you were afraid. The Word of God is greater than any word I could use, and has the power to stir your soul with ever jot and tittle. That’s God.

So when it comes to the Bible, why do you think we hesitate to read it? … not enough time, lack of understanding, conviction, you just don’t want too? I think that’s called rebellion. God created each of us in His image and for the purpose of having a relationship with Him. For me it’s an overwhelming thought sometimes to think that the Creator of the all the universe created me for Him. To have a relationship with Him in the manner that I have a relationship with my children. Parent/Child. But that’s how it is, and His word is the greatest and most easily understand way of communicating with Him and yet we take if for granted.

The beginning of our relationship with God began in Genesis

Genesis 1:26a

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness:

It was as if God was saying – They’re going to look like Us, and they’re going to like the things We like. What kind of things do you and God have in common? Did you ever think about that? It’s amazing when someone who wasn’t raised by their parent discovers that there is commonness that can’t be denied; looks, mannerisms, likes and dislikes. It was amazing to think that God placed certain things in me that He too likes, it was like He had a purpose for them…

Genesis 2:15

And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.

I’m pretty sure the garden didn’t have to have Adam’s attention. It was self-sustaining and no doubt glorious. So why would Adam have needed to “dress” it? When we get dressed we put on things. What could Adam “put on” the earth to make it better? God had made Adam in His likeness, to take care of things. That was Adam’s purpose, He couldn’t improve upon what God had given him, but He could take care of it. It’s true with us as well. We cannot improve upon the things God has given us to work with, but we can use them for His glory.

Romans 13:14 says “But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.” We’re not going to make the world better with man’s ideas. God put within us His ideas, but we often choose to ignore the very thing that would make us happy.

 Remember my question to the kids “What eight words would you use to describe life, well I’d use the first eight in Psalm 100:3

Psalm 100:3 says – Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.

He is the Creator of life.

Much of the trouble we have in life comes from the fact that we’re always searching for “something” or “something better.” We’re never satisfied with what we have. God gave Adam and Eve everything they needed in the garden, and yet still they chose to search for the one thing they could not have. Satan has a way of distorting what we think we want. People question why God gave man the free will to make a choice of sinning or not. It was the gift of free will that made love possible, otherwise it wouldn’t have been love; it would have been an order.

If I were to ask you what one thing would bring happiness to your life what would that be? Have you forgot the things you once liked? Have you talked to the One who created you? He has a way of reminding us.

He’s Singin’ Our Song!

Isaiah 49:1-6
The Servants Song – a Holy Week Message

 Listen, O isles, unto me; and hearken, ye people, from far; The Lord hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name. And he hath made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of his hand hath he hid me, and made me a polished shaft; in his quiver hath he hid me; And said unto me, Thou art my servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified. Then I said, I have laboured in vain, I have spent my strength for nought, and in vain: yet surely my judgment is with the Lord, and my work with my God.  And now, saith the Lord that formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob again to him, Though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the Lord, and my God shall be my strength.  And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.

He’s Singin’ our Song!

When Jesus sings you a song, you really should come to the concert! This is the second of four servant songs in the book of Isaiah. You’ll find the others in 42:1–950:4–1152:13–53:12). It struck a chord in my heart because it’s sung to me specifically. “Listen, O isles” refers to the Gentiles. That’s us! We were called the isles of the gentiles in Genesis 10:5 ~  By these were the isles of the Gentiles divided in their lands; every one after his tongue, after their families, in their nations. So here in the book of Isaiah we find God singing us a song of redemption because even then He knew that the Jews, His chosen, would reject Him (Then I said, I have laboured in vain,). How heart wrenching a statement if that were the end of the story. But the end of the story didn’t come until Calvary when He became a light to the Gentiles and His servant’s song is continually sung through the Church that we now serve.

He Saved us to Serve

Here we are in the midst of Holy Week, the week that changed the world forever and I see so many unchanged. I’m even guilty myself. We’re called to be the light of Christ for the world but deed there are times that I don’t feel much brighter than a small candle flame in a dark house. I fail God daily and most churches are far from lighting the path to Calvary, but rather they illuminate the rights of Christians, focusing far more on the fact that our sins are covered than on Whose blood it was that covered our sins. We’ve also forgotten that we’re called to serve.

From the womb Jesus knew He was God, and the purpose for which He was being born was to die in our place. And I fully believe that in the recesses of our minds is our own calling from the time we are conceived. Jeremiah 1:5 (one of my favorite verses) says ~ 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.

You can choose to ignore Jesus’ song and His reminder that you’re called to serve, or you can experience the greatest opportunity in life which is to light the pathway for souls to Heaven. Have a blessed week!

Are you waiting for the mantle to fall?

While countless people have come in and gone out of my life that I’ve loved, those who have had a “great” spiritual impact on my life have been fewer than those who have had a great personal impact on my life. Both are important and I don’t want to diminish the latter, but of those who have had a spiritual impact I believe they’ll have rewards in Heaven. 1 Peter 5:2-4 says “Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.” It is my prayer that I will have that impact on people in my life; not that I’m anybody, but that the presence of God in my life will be evident to the point that someone wants what I have and for God’s glory alone.

In 2nd Kings Chapter 2 we find the story of two such men, Elijah and Elisha, and this morning as I read their story I caught a glimpse of that road to Glory for which every saint of God should strive for.

Vs. 9-15 ~

Evidence of the Spirit at Work in our Life

Vs. 9 ~ And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me.

Before Elijah left, Elisha had seen the Spirit of the Lord at work in his life. It will do little good if our legacy for the Lord is the last five minutes of our life. Our friends and family need to see the lasting affect over time. They need to see God in the good days and the bad. Elisha had seen that, he wanted that! He’d seen Elijah:

1. Stop the Rain (1 Kings 17:1)

2. Multiply the Oil (1 Kings 17:2)

3. Raise the Dead (1 Kings 17:22, 23)

4. Bring Fire from heaven on the soaked altar (1 Kings 18:38)

5. Bring on the rain (1 Kings 18:45)

6. Bring fire down on 51 soldiers. (2 Kings 1:10)

7. Bring fire down on the second 51 soldiers (2 Kings 1:12) and

8. Part the river Jordan. (2 Kings 2:8)

Our Evangelism Needs to Continue

Vss. 10-13 ~ And he said, Thou hast asked a hard thing: nevertheless, if thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee; but if not, it shall not be so.  And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. And Elisha saw it, and he cried, My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. And he saw him no more: and he took hold of his own clothes, and rent them in two pieces. He took up also the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and went back, and stood by the bank of Jordan;

When Elijah had gone, Elisha mourned but went back and stood at the bank of Jordan where he and Elijah had stood before. When we’re gone there should be someone standing in the gap that we’ve left; we should be leading leaders, training those we love to evangelize those they love. If Jesus tarries I want the next generation to evangelize the next generation and the only way that will happen is if we have them ready before we leave.

Evolving takes humility

Vss. 14-15 ~ And he took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and smote the waters, and said, Where is the Lord God of Elijah? and when he also had smitten the waters, they parted hither and thither: and Elisha went over. And when the sons of the prophets which were to view at Jericho saw him, they said, The spirit of Elijah doth rest on Elisha. And they came to meet him, and bowed themselves to the ground before him.

After Elijah left, Elisha was there, and when Elisha was gone those who had been watching seen Elisha’s miracles too! Elisha had asked for a double portion of the Spirit that was upon Elijah. Elisha’s miracles were as follows:

  1. Jordan River divided (2:14)
  2. Waters at the spring of Jericho healed (2:21)
  3. Bears from the woods, destroying the mockers (2:24)
  4. Water for Kings (3:20)
  5. Oil for the widow (4:1-4
  6. Gift of the son (4:16,17)
  7. Raising the child from the dead (4:35)
  8. Healing of the potage (4:41)
  9. Bread multiplied (4:43)
  10. Naaman healed (5:10)
  11. Gehazi smitten (5:27)
  12. Caused the iron to swim (6:6)
  13. Sight to the blind (6:17)
  14. Smiting blindness to these men (6:18)
  15. Restoring sight to these men (6:20)
  16. Miracle after his death, man comes to life by touching Elisha’s bones (13:21)

Sixteen!!! The double portion.

It is said that those who watched were the sons of the prophets having been formally trained, while Elisha was taken from the plough. When they perceived that God was on Elisha (as He was Elijah) they readily submitted to him as their father in the faith. They weren’t worried about his resume. Evolving (changing into) men and women of God takes humility. A willingness to have a servant’s heart to receive the manifold blessings of God.

If we want to see God move we’ve got watch for opportunities as Elisha watched Elijah; pray specifically as Elisha asked for the double portion; and when it’s our turn we need to stand accordingly.

You’re Welcome on my earth… but not my island?

island

I’m never more sickened than when I see a Christian (myself included) snarl their nose up at another person in disdain for their behavior, circumstance, opinion or position in life, but I see it so often. We tend to use a person’s station in life to judge whether or not they should be allowed entry into our world. I’m not talking about entry into Heaven; no Christian in their right mind wouldn’t want every soul in Heaven, but many don’t want them in their space down here. Believe me when I say “I get” when people make you uncomfortable for any number of reasons. Their language, their demeanor, their culture, their attitude… it’s a long list! But as children of God it is unacceptable to not accept them; and not just on your earth, but on your island.

In 2 Corinthians Paul was counseling the church of Corinth (in the Bible according to Shari, and we know that’s dangerous) But as I understand there had been a man excommunicated from the church, the reason not known. And I believe that’s because for future reference God wanted you to be able to fit it to your circumstance, so He left the reasoning broad. But none the less many people in the church had punished this man. So much so that he was at risk of being swallowed up in sorrow. So Paul advises them to prove their love to him by forgiving everything he did and giving this man a fresh start at grace.

2:6-11 ~  Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many. So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow. Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm your love toward him. For to this end also did I write, that I might know the proof of you, whether ye be obedient in all things. To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ; Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.

I dare say that no Christian is immune to falling into the snare of Satan when opposite world’s collide: Sinner/Saint, Rich/Poor, Democrat/Republican, Bold/Meek, Zealot/Passive, I won’t even go in to denominations! It’s not so much forgiveness that I’m talking about as much as it is acceptance. Sometimes we’ll be forgiving but will not be befriending. We want them on earth, but not on our island. At a distance they don’t make us uncomfortable.

When I began to pray and search for a topic this morning the word comfort came into my thoughts because that’s what I personally am in need of. But a trip down that path lead to a fork in the road and then as only God can do it came back to the original path. As if to say “I know you need comfort Shari, but you can’t have it without finding the source of the discomfort and getting rid of it.” So we went off my path to His own and then back to mine, and in so doing I found what I was looking for.

Paul told the Philippian Church in Philippians 2:1-4 ~ If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.

There will never be comfort in any body of believers unless there is unity, and not just among a single church, but the entire body of Christ. (Those believing that Jesus is the way the truth the life, and no other).

God’s advice to me… you’ll find not only the comfort you’re searching for, but the answers you’re searching for when you love my people… all of them.

A Conversation from the Back Seat

A post on my Facebook wall yesterday morning of the A&W Root Beer Stand brought floods of memories of my own times with my parents at the drive in hamburger stand. What a treat to get to eat in the car! Now it’s the story of my life as I travel the roads of West Virginia. My favorite A&W story isn’t mine, it’s the story of Franklin Graham (Billy Graham’s son) from his book “Rebel with a Cause.” As a child he was picking on his sisters in the back seat of the car as and having been warned by his mother (Ruth Graham) that she was going to put him in the trunk if he didn’t stop, he wasn’t really concerned.  They were on the freeway in four lanes of traffic (heading to A&W or a like place) so he “knew” she wouldn’t stop there.  So he continued until he felt the car swerve out of traffic, across three lanes and on to the berm. She got out, pulled him out, and proceeded to put him in the trunk. He said he loved it. There were all kinds of toys in there. Car jacks and tools and such! When they got to A&W he thought, great, now I can get out. He hears him mom order their food, waits a while, hears the waitress return and then hears the car door open. Ruth Graham opens the trunk, hands Franklin his burger and, and shuts the lid again where he enjoyed his lunch and rode the trip back home. Lesson learned. Don’t doubt your Mom.

I’m not advocating this method of child rearing!  The Welfare department would be knocking on your door before the day was out and probably should be; that was dangerous! But it just goes to show how times have changed. We’ve learned some lessons in raising children and we’ve failed in many other respects. In church it’s no different. We’ve learned much over the years but by the same token many of the old paths have long since been forgotten, traded for a newer shinier path that may or may not show you to Jesus. Church discipline is all but a thing of the past because the church no longer has the right to interfere in the lives of the members.

Well, for the record, God’s still calling the church to hold its members accountable. No… I’m not going anywhere with this. I really don’t know why it’s on my heart this morning, I only know it is. And if it only touches one person this morning, giving them the desire to walk the old path, then it’s been worth it. The world is watching… we’re supposed to be different.

We’re the kids in the back seat… not a good idea to run your mouth to the Father.

What Could Have Been Done More? ~

Christian help wanted

Isaiah 5:1-4 ~ Now will I sing to my wellbeloved a song of my beloved touching his vineyard. My wellbeloved hath a vineyard in a very fruitful hill: And he fenced it, and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with the choicest vine, and built a tower in the midst of it, and also made a winepress therein: and he looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes.  And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem, and men of Judah, judge, I pray you, betwixt me and my vineyard. What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done in it? wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes?

America has been a blessed land. God’s providence has been written across the pages from the beginning of time. It was founded on Christianity and battles have been fought and won time and time again for the continuation of that liberty. But as time goes on we see less and less of a stand for Christ. Even many of His very own churches for which He died for has turned their backs on Him, falling in line with liberal beliefs that you can have salvation without the blood off Jesus, killing children is okay, we are the alternative lifestyle and Christ is “a” way, not “the” way. It does not surprise me when unsaved people defend the right of wrong, but when the church does it they can accept their part in the slap given by the soldiers in Mathew 27:30 ~ “And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head.”

This country was planted with the choicest of vine. Look back on the history of our founding fathers and political factions, and although they were not perfect men, their testimony of honor stands strong today. Now look at our political factions of today and scroll forward to the history books of our great, great, grandchildren and tell me if you see a story of American heroes or sour grapes and briars? Who would want to read our story?

There are few men of great moral fiber (actually just the renderings of a diet of much fiber if you get my gist).

Isaiah’s question “What could have been done more?” hit me hard this morning. God gave us His best. There was NOTHING else He could have done. But as for us… what is our excuse as the American Church for doing nothing? For allowing that nonsense in Washington to continue and saying that we have no right to step in. I personally don’t have the answer, but I have the desire. If I seen the right leaders stepping up for the coming elections I certainly would fall in behind them. As well as in my local community. But they have to be Christian leaders, else we’ve done nothing more than the world, which is what has us in this predicament now.

I hope we’re all prayin’ and I hope God will answer with some strong Christian men and women to stand up for the America we read about in History. Not for the one that’s going down in History.

Graduated Thinking ~ Less Than What? ~

cap

This morning I’m here to share with you something that’s been on my heart to share for years, and I’ve not had the courage until today. When I read a post from a teen in my youth department who Satan was thumping on and who had the nerve to fight back, publicly. She’s a senior in High School who beyond a shadow of a doubt has the talent to do or be anything she set her mind to, but she’s choosing at this time not to go on to higher education but rather focus her life on being a woman of God, and perhaps a wife and mother a little further down the road. And because of her decision the world is berating her that she is less. My question to them is “Less than what?”

Here’s my story. Unlike her I wasn’t saved when I graduated High School, therefore I did not have the Holy Spirit within me giving me guidance, but that’s not to say that I didn’t have the Holy Spirit guiding me, because I fully believe He set a path in motion that would have been easier if He were within, but was fulfilled from without. I hope you got that. God had a plan… Jeremiah 29:11 says – For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. ~ God had a plan that He allowed to come to fruition because I eventually did get saved; which God knew I would, that was the expected end He could see. And I believe the plan would have come together much nicer if I had gotten my heart right with Christ sooner.

But like this young lady much of my life was lived feeling inadequate because I didn’t measure up to the world’s standards. And some well-meaning people… and some, quite frankly, mean people contributed to that inadequacy with questions as to why I didn’t continue my education, and still yet today ask that question of me. And still today when the question arises I feel less. Less than what? Less than God intended?

This is not an “anti-higher-education” blog. Praise the Lord for those who seek wisdom in specific fields. I don’t believe any of us want a doctor or nurse who got their degree by filling out a form and paying a fee. No. We want well educated people. But I’ve seen plenty of well-educated miserable people who rather than following the Lord’s will and plan for their life chose a profession based on status. Who felt that they’d never measure up in life unless there were some ABC’s behind their name. And there were some who when having achieved the ABC’s forgot the fundamentalism of life’s purpose.

I’ve wanted to write this blog for months, but every time I put fingers to keyboard the fear of someone saying “You’re writing this to justify yourself in a field you’re not qualified for,” came to mind and I just shut it down. Because the world had convinced me that they defined me. If I didn’t have their piece of paper somehow I was less. Less than what?

This morning as I sought for answers I ran across Psalms 139 and discovered that I did indeed have a degree. Psalm 139:16 ~ Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.

My name is written in a book in Heaven under “Child of God”, but not only my name… “all my members were written down before I was born.” My fingers were written down, they have a purpose, my eyes were written down, and so was my mind, and my legs and my toes…. Every member of this body has a purpose and a talent that no man can define. A degree is a unit of measurement, and I, Shari Johnson have abilities measured in Heaven which are limitless. So lesser than what?

If I fulfill the will of God in my life; His purpose… then when I get to Heaven and receive my final reward it won’t hang upon a wall, but will be a crown of pure gold that I can lay down at the feet of my Savior.

Read on in Psalm:139 verses 17-18 ~ “How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum o f them! If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.”

Yes please, Another helping of self doubt

Every time I take a few steps forward in faith, I step back 8 feet. Even as I wrote that sentence, my mind wandered off the page and onto life and Satan began pummeling me with one of those “What were they thinking asking you to do that?” conversations. Another failure in the making… ugh. Does he never stop?

No. Not until eternity and then his power will be locked in the pits of Hell. Glory to God!!! So this morning I have to look at one of my all-time favorite failures for strength. That’s what I love about the Bible, it’s not a book of Sanctified Sam’s and Little Sister Seat Saver’s that stand at the foot of the cross with gold medallions around their necks. No… it’s filled with totally messed up people who have fallen to the foot of the cross. Like Simon Peter. Our favorite failure. Or so the world would have you believe. They’d rather you and I think about the fact that he sank in the water, rather than the time he stepped out of the boat. They’d rather we think about the time he denied Jesus, rather than the time he died on a cross, crucified upside down. It is traditionally held that he was crucified upside down at his own request, since he saw himself unworthy to be crucified in the same manner as Jesus Christ. The world doesn’t want us to focus on Peter’s victory, but rather cause us to doubt the probability that we’ll be victorious.

Matthew 14:30-33~ But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me. And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt? And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased. Then they that were in the ship came and worshipped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.

The winds of decision

The wind was likely there before Peter stepped out of the boat, but not until the safety of the boat was gone did it matter. The moment we make the decision to step out for Jesus that’s when the breeze turns into a gale! That’s why so many songs and sermons have the words “Keep your eyes upon Jesus” because a short glance in another direction leads to doubt in the decision that seemed really good just a little while ago.

After the first step

In no time flat the wind can turn a glorious sunshiny day into a gloomy cloud covered sky. Peter was so excited to see the Lord! He didn’t question his decision, but when it was just he and the Lord on the water, the next step wasn’t so clear anymore. How true is it that when you’ve finally made that decision to step out in service and then you hear yourself saying “okay now what? I’m here Lord… confidence level declining… I took the first step, but the second’s not nearly so clear… I’m getting that sinking feeling… Lord are you still there?”

He’s still there! Bidding you come. He didn’t ask you to step out to let you fall, but He didn’t say He’d make the water smooth sailing either. I don’t know about you but I’ve had to fight off the clouds every step of the way in my decision to serve Christ. For the record that’s the equivalency of fighting air and you’ll never win that battle. It would likely go a lot smoother if we’d just stand there and enjoy the breeze.

We don’t have that story from Peter, we only have one where he sinks and Christ saves. Christ not only knows us, He knows our adversary. I find great comfort in knowing that Satan doesn’t have a new plan, he uses the same old tricks of distraction and discouragement to get our eyes off Christ. Christ doesn’t have a new plan either… they’ll sink… I’ll save.

He’s got ya!

Leave the Weather to God

Job 38:31

Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion?

T. De Witt Talmage once said “Of all the sweet influences that have ever blessed the earth those that radiate from Christ are the sweetest.”

As winter winds down… at least I hope so, cabin fever has set in, my bones ache from the cold and it wouldn’t break my heart if I never had to drive on an ice covered road through the hills of West Virginia. But if the Farmer’s Almanac holds true I might as well get over it because winter is still the season I’m in. I have no influence over climatic conditions, other than possibly moving to another climate; but as it stands now that’s not going to happen. So why do we spend so much time stressing about things for which we have no influence on and so little time influencing those things we can.

We can influence the economy

If all Christians who say they’re Christians gave as they should give (tithes and offerings) what affect do you think it would have on the economy of the United States? I dare say we wouldn’t be in the shape we’re in. As it was in the days of Malachi 3:8 -10 so is it today ~ Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation. Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.

We could influence the economy through the blessing of God if we so chose.

We can influence political decision makers

If all Christians voted Christian morals and not party lines what affect would it have on the nation? Deuteronomy 17:15 spells God’s design out when He said Thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee, whom the Lord thy God shall choose: one from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee: thou mayest not set a stranger over thee, which is not thy brother. These are those who God blesses. And yet we choose to talk about the weather.

We can influence community

In Matthew 5:13 we’re told that Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men. Christians are the seasonings of life! We flavor the community… be it bitter or sweet.

 We can influence family

God’s ultimate plan is have us together in a perfect world, but the only way that can happen is if our friends and family know Christ as their Savior. It is our influence that will get them there. Ephesians 2:3-7 ~ Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

We need to be about our Father’s business… leave the weather to Him.