Category Archives: Life Inspiration

Why Hast Thou Made Me Thus?

I’m trying very hard to stay focused on the ministry God has set me at task to do. And it’s not hard work when you love it, it’s just hard staying focused when you don’t always feel valued. Please don’t feel sorry for me. I just thought perhaps this might help someone else today too. God even gave me a song to go with the feelings on my heart today, so I’m feeling blessed, in the midst of being stressed. You know what I mean? It’s those days when the world tells you title + money = value. And the lack thereof = slacker.

And then I read verses like Romans 9:20-21

Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?  Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?

Did that hit you as hard as it hit me? Who am I to tell God Almighty that the one he created (me) isn’t of value and suggest that my purpose isn’t valued. It is God who honors or dishonors and I can tell you flat footed and bold faced that God honors those who serve. And by service, I’m not necessarily speaking of preachers, deacons and such, although they are included. But by service I mean anyone who:

  • Draws a breath and thanks Him for it.
  • Gives a glass of water in His name, cup of coffee, or a jar of scrumptious pears – Mr. and Mrs. Eisley.
  • Shares the most precious of gift with someone in need, time.
  • Tells a child that they’re amazing and loved.
  • Prays for someone because, or just because.
  • Tells someone “I understand.” Or “I don’t understand, but I’ll try.”

I realize the world doesn’t always understand why Christians do what they do, and some days there are Christians who don’t understand why we do what we do or see little value in it. But it’s God who gives the honor and it is He who has the power to mold us into something amazing. Sometimes He does that by making a little mud with the tears in our lives. It makes the clay more pliable. I hope this word encouraged you today. God sees. And He will honor you in His time.

Never Give Up

We do not cross paths in life by happenstance, of that I’m certain. While we may be there by circumstance, it’s not by happenstance (coincidence). I look back on my 57 years, with a primary focus on the past twenty-three, those are the years since salvation; my formative years of serving Christ in the capacity of me which lead into The Jesus Chick which came to be in about 2005ish. I’m not very good at dates, but I’m very good at events that made a difference.  There are things that happen and people who cross our paths that leave us saying “I’ll never be the same.”

When my brother was killed when I was ten years old, it forever changed my outlook of life on earth as to whether or not it was forever. It was not. At the time however I didn’t understand it all, I only understood that life was very, very sad and I couldn’t fix it. And I tried in my 10 year old state of mind to fix it by living in altered realities called my imagination. It’s what makes me weird and okay in a world that I still can’t fix. It’s not always healthy. It sometimes leads to not facing reality as one should. True story. Don’t judge me. 😊

I had another one of those bell ringing moments this morning as I read a social media post of a friend who just lost her father. One of the things that made a deep impression on her was the number of people who came up to her at her father’s service and said “I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for the fact that your dad never gave up on me.”

We need some more Gene Duerksen’s in the world.

But even in a world where there’s a shortage of Gene Duerksen’s, and we often miss out on taking advantage of those that we do meet who encourage us in the battle of life, I was reminded through the word of God this morning that there is one will forever spur us on! Gene Duerksen now see’s Him face to face…

Romans 8:37

Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us.

How many times have I attempted to fly and sometimes crash landed and other times succeeded but with no witnesses for review? Many. But how many times have saints of God had faith in me even when I had none and cheered me on or gave me words of advice and encouragement.  Too many to count. I’m still privileged to that.

Lynn Stoneking’s testimony of her dad’s character of encouragement reminds me that I too have the opportunity to never give up. Not on my kids, grandkids, friends, family and me. Because God will never give up, so how can I? Did you need that word today? He doesn’t give up on you either! Share this post. Tell a friend or family member you believe in them. Shoot me a message and let me know I’ve encouraged you. We need to share and care for each other.

No Matter How the World Dresses up Sin – Dirt is dirt

O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin. ~ Romans 24-25

I’m pretty sure I have the best teen group in the nation. If you’re a teen leader, you probably think so too… or you should. They stretch me with my idealistic notions of what faith looks like, by granting me the new generations perspective. Just when I think I have it all figured out, we get into a deep (or sometimes shallow) theological discussion and I have one of those “You are not as smart as you thought you were, Shari,” moments. They are really quite frequent if I’m honest.

But last night’s ill prepared teen lesson was on “restoration” of the body of Christ. We skimmed the tops of scriptures about Peter, David, Saul and others whose failures sometimes lead to renpentance and sometimes not. But God’s love of broken people is evident from Genesis to Revelation.

The one glaring fact that comes from muddy pink boots, is that no matter how the world dresses up sin, dirt is still dirt. It aint pretty. The lesson that I learned from my diverse group of thinkers in the teen group last night was, children, (like God) are so quick to forgive the people they care about. And so quick to move on from mistakes understanding that they’re learning! I’m not so quick to move on. I sometimes put my pretty muddy pink boots in the corner as a reminder about that time I didn’t go around the mud, but walked right through it. I walk by my failed attempt at life and kick myself. I try buying a new pair of boots, but they’re not fun to wear, because i really want to wear the pink ones.

I know that’s a very odd parable. But what I hope you learn is what I did: Restoration also has to be done within. Especially if we’re not apt to share the fact that our boots are muddy to start with. Christians seldom want anyone else to know what they struggle with for fear of being seen as “less godly.” Well let me tell, I am for certain less godly. And I struggle with lots of “stuff.” I have a tender heart willing to forgive everyone but me. God is showing me through the youth who love me faults and all, that He does too.

I need to clean off those pink books and get back to walking.

How about you? Do you struggle with self degradation and unforgiveness. Maybe your boots are another color, but they’ll clean up just as nicely if you’ll spray them down with the water of the Word.

Let God be True and Social Media a Liar

Today is Friday, August 30th, 2019. Winding down and the summer and heading into fall. Much like I feel about life right now! How did I get here, you know… 57 years after the picture of me graffitiing my Mother’s belly? Time is swift and not for the faint of heart. Beauty is fleeting, it’s a good thing I never felt that I had it. (Not asking for compliments or pity, just being real). It wasn’t something that I put a lot of stock in as a young person.

Now I attempt to beautimitize myself (totally a made up word) as I travel about and I am concerned a little more about the flavor of style when I’m up in front of people. But none of the frilliness of life ever interested me or caused me to want to do make up tutorials and style videos. Those things were not things I was purposed to do.

My immediate family consists of a dozen, myself and husband, two grown daughters with husbands, and six growing grandchildren. Five boys and one girl. The little girl I get… I raised two of them, the five boys! Oh my stars they are so different from girls for obvious and not so obvious reasons. But mostly because God designed their hearts differently from the womb. So when I read a verse like Romans 9:11 it causes me to ponder what God will do with them, and me!

(For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of Him that calleth;)

It draws me back to one of my favorite verses, Jeremiah 1:5

Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.

For me, that verse answers the abortion debate. Before we were even in the belly, God had a plan for us. So, nobody will ever tell me that a little fella or gal in the beginning stages of formation in the momma’s womb isn’t somebody. They were somebody, before they were a body! Glory!

But back to my point of God’s plan.

While I would love it if my plan for each of my children and grandchildren were God’s plan, I have to look at the very real potential that it’s not. But understanding that their potential is God’s to do with what He will.

Paul was teaching the Romans, and the Jewish people in these passages, that no one can claim to be chosen by God because of his or her heritage or good works. God chooses who He desires to choose to use, and He uses those who have accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior. Jew or Gentile. God uses them all. He can use anyone lost or saved to accomplish a task, but no one will live up to their potential unless their in Christ.

Three Prayers for my dozen

So that is my first prayer for those that I love and myself. A right relationship with the Lord. It’s the beginning of every good plan.

My second prayer is the will of God for our lives. As I said, “I have many ideas about direction for theses kids.” But if I project my plan onto their life, I may have them headed down a road to destruction. So, I have to leave well enough alone, and boy is that hard! But what I always fail to remember is that it’s hard enough to keep myself in check with God. I’d do well to leave everyone else to Him before I rurally mess things up.

And my final prayer is that our potential is made known so that God can be glorified through us. It’s where I feel parents (myself included) can discourage their children and their selves. Trying to put anyone into a position that God did not ordain for them, really is like putting a square peg in a round hole. It will not work.

Social media is the bomb. Until it explodes in our face. Looking at the seemingly perfect lives of people and their staged photographs will put unrealistic goals into the minds of anyone. Yes, me too! I follow artists, speakers, singers and I love it! But then I hate it. Because I begin comparing myself to their look, style, design and I feel like an unworthy dirt dog.

I need to stop. If you’re doing that, you need to stop.

That crazy baby in the womb, who loves graffiti. That’s me for realsy. I need to love her. And so that’s my prayer for all my peeps. Let God be true, and social media a liar. He determines our destiny. Not the numbers or the masses.

Rewired for Christ

Romans 6:18-23

If you had to describe your state of mind, pre-salvation what one word would you use?

I would use the word “tumultuous.” Meaning unbridled and unrestrained. I wasn’t connected to anything solid and so I was flailing around like a windsock going what ever direction the wind blew me in. I didn’t have direction and things good or bad seemed to jolt me into a new direction without any thought to where I was going.

So think about your world pre-salvation for just a second. What did it look like?

Coming to the knowledge of who we are in Christ is a game changer for the child of God who happens to be in a place where they can grow in grace and under discipleship and solid doctrine. But prior to that life seems to be …

Short Circuited

At birth we have a disconnect from the Creator. The reason I could be jolted in any direction was because my wires were not connected.  

I thought the definition of “short circuit” was fitting for a person of a lost nature:

[in a device, an electrical circuit of lower resistance than that of a normal circuit, typically resulting from the unintended contact of components and consequent accidental diversion of the current.]

It was never God’s intention for mankind to have contact with the low side of life.  And once we were, we were diverted from God’s control. We were severely disconnected. We fell short… as in “for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” – Romans 3:23

What happens if you grab ahold of a short circuited wire? Nothing good, right? We’re shocked. That too is a reaction to sin. As a child we know when we’ve done wrong. We generally feel bad about the transgression, even thought we seldom confess. The more we do it, is like getting shocked by low does of electricity. We get used to it. Maybe our nerves get seared and no longer feel the guilt that we once did for committing sin. So in order to get a jolt that makes a difference, usually something drastic has to take place.

What took place in Paul’s life that made such a drastic difference?

Acts 9:3-9

 And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:  And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?  And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.  And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.  And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man. And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus. And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink.

I love reading the story of Saul becoming Paul. That’s what happens when we reconnect with God. We become an entirely new person!

Romans 6:19

 I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.

Apostle Paul is helping the Romans to understand that he understands. He totally gets where they came from. Prior to salvation they were following their sinful fleshly ways, but now, there should be something new that they have a connection to – righteousness. They should be drawn to it.

John 12:32 says “And, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.”

Praise God for that drawing.

A great illustration of drawing electricity is the power between water and static electricity.

It’s in a like manner that we are drawn to Christ. The Water of life! But also prior to salvation, you were not only short circuited there was a

Circuit Breaker

20 For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness.

The sin that was in our lives is what kept us from coming to Christ. We felt the draw, but there was a break in the connection. Sometimes ever after the jolt of reality that we’re lost, it’s years and years before people come to Christ.

Why do you think that is?

There are probably as many excuses as there are stars in the sky, but the truth of the matter is rebellion. It’s the same reason that Satan and the angels fell. Everybody wants to be in charge. The ol’ “You are not the boss of me attitude.”

It’s a funny comment when a parent says “I brought you into this world and I can take you out.” But that’s illegal. Else it might happen more often. But with God it’s very much the truth! He kicked Satan and his crew out of Heaven, and He will now allow those who have rejected His authority to be in Heaven.

Praise God for

Conductors!

Romans 6:21-22

What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death. But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.

Conductors conduct electrical current very easily because of their free electrons. Insulators oppose electrical current and make poor conductors. Common conductors and insulators:

What would be a conductor of the Christian faith?

Pastors, teachers, social media posts, evangelists, ministers of the gospel, songs…

So many! You and I, if we’re doing what we should are conductors of the power of God. People see it in our lives, we touch people with our actions and words, just like the wires that carry electricity. We too can jolt people into the reality that they need Christ. They may break the circuit by rejecting it, but they can’t stop us from sharing it. Because we are

Hardwired

Romans 6:23

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Our decision to accept what Christ did on the cross creates within us a hardwire to the Lord. We can’t disconnect from it.

Verses of reminder:

John 10:27-29 – My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.

John 6:37 – All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.

John 10:28 – And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any [man] pluck them out of my hand.

John 5:24 – Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

John 3:16 – For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Romans 11:29 – For the gifts and calling of God [are] without repentance.

Jude 1:24 – Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present [you] faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy,

1 John 5:13 – These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

2 Corinthians 1:22 – Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.

Romans 8:38-39 – For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Ephesians 2:8 – For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God:

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:

It’s important for us to remind ourselves that God is in charge of the connection. Not us. We might walk away from God, but He will never walk away from us.

He will continue to call His children home when they stray. Because that’s how He loves us.

The Beautiful One

As I read down through the upcoming text, my heart was filled with joy! Thinking on the beautiful salvation of the Lord Jesus Christ and what that means to me personally.

That’s how we must look at it in order to understand what it was that God did for us. For me. For you. For the one and the many that you love. Oh, glory to God does that not make you ever so grateful today?

We look back in frustration at Adam and Eve’s very simple sin; the sin of disobedience; and we try in our best pious way to imagine we would not, in truth knowing we would. We’re all that weak. That’s why scripture says “for all have sinned,” in Romans 3:23. That’s every “one” of us. We are all disobedient to death.

But read about the beautiful “One….”

Romans 5: 17-21

17 For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)

18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.

19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

20 Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound:

21 That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.

Jesus Christ our Lord, that beautiful One. As I’m continuing my study in Romans, slowly making my way through these pages, trying to get a closer, deeper relationship with the Lord, and wishing I didn’t fail so miserably at it, verses like this that stop me in my track and cause me to say, “Thank You. I wish I was better at life-ing.”

The Lord deserves better. His time on the cross not only took the sin of this one Shari, it took the sin of a world of people, generation after generation, and it’s that thought that causes me to hear His cry, “My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me? (Matthew 27:46b)

And I hear within my own heart, why have you forsaken Him? Why do you fail? But then I recall His word that says I’ll reign in this life because of the Lord Jesus Christ. I’ll have victory in this life. Satan may think he has won the battle with this girl, but he has not won the war. The word reign is to have supremacy, power, control over! That’s what we have in Jesus Christ. It’s not that we won’t mess up, but it’s those messes that are covered by the blood. He did that so we wouldn’t continually live in defeat. He didn’t die for the righteous (Romans 5:6-8), He died for sinners. Every “one” of them.”

I’m the one. You’re the one. But Hallelujah! He’s the ONE.

The Access Point

Grace is hard to understand. We want it, we attempt to give it, sometimes tongue and cheek (meaning we forgive but never forget). We, I speak collectively, though I really mean me, when I say I often think I’ve messed up past the point of being offered grace, because life sometimes just flat out stinks.

True story.

When life gets hard, this Jesus Chick is not so spiritual as to immediately ask the question, “What is God teaching me in this moment?” That would sound really good and churchy wouldn’t it?  No, I’m more apt to ask the question, “How long will I be here, Lord?”

Romans 5:1-2

Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:  By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

So much is missed in the midst of a struggle. And life is full of struggles. But the Apostle Paul reminds us that as people of faith (those who believe on the Lord Jesus Christ) we have access to some things the world is not afforded.

We have Access to Peace

There’s a difference between access and acceptance. It’s the same as salvation, we’re all offered it; but if we don’t accept it, we’ll never experience it. There is a difference in the end result. Those with salvation will go Heaven whether they experience the benefits of salvation here on earth or not. The journey is just a lot more difficult. But those who never accept salvation are headed to Hell.

I’m not surprised when children of God don’t have peace in the middle of a storm. Because I’ve been there too. It’s usually a matter of feeling worthy or letting myself get too far down before looking up. If there’s sin or other failures in our lives, we don’t feel worthy. Even though neither will keep you from peace if you talk to God about it. As children of God, it’s ours for the asking!

That’s just the kind of Lord He is.

We have Access to Grace

I love the acronym for G.r.a.c.e. = God’s Riches at Christ’s Expense. Isn’t that amazing? There’s nothing we can do to earn it. It is however what makes me be the person I am. I was born with a servants attitude and when God saved me from the Devil’s Hell, my gratitude went toward servitude.

Grace will do that if you strive to understand it. Many Christians miss the mark because they’re not in God’s word, they’re not in church and so they cannot fully comprehend what the Lord did for them. I sometimes avoid the truth of it myself, because I can’t imagine the degree of pain and humiliation my Lord took upon Himself for someone like me who adds more too it when I fail Him.

The shame wasn’t only on the day of the crucifixion. It’s on us when we blatantly fail God, knowing what He did for us. But the grace is still there. That’s why it’s amazing.

We have Access to Joy

It’s what we can experience even in times of sorrow. The loss of a loved one is gut wrenching, but the knowledge that they were saved and now in the presence of Jesus brings great joy!

The struggles we face are never pleasurable, but the victory is always a joyous moment and made that much sweeter because of the struggle. We realize the strength that we have from knowing Christ as Savior. The unsaved may experience moments of victory, but not as the child of God. Knowing that there was Someone standing beside us all the way and there was never a reason to feel alone. That is joy! He has our back here and He’s waiting for us there!

We have Access to Hope

Not just hope, but we need always reminded that the peace, grace, joy and hope are always for the glory of God. It’s a privilege only afforded a child of the King. I wrote on hope yesterday. It’s a subject I could write on everyday and never grow weary because I need it. I need to know that my aches and pains, those of the physical, mental and spiritual nature will someday be lifted whether here or Heaven.

Maybe you needed to know that too. If I’ve encouraged you, let me know! If I can pray for you, let me know that too. We’re here to be the hands, feet and sometimes words of Jesus. Use us Lord!

Old Faith, New Faith, Bold Faith, Few In Faith

I feel like it could be the title of a new Dr. Suess book.

From Genesis to Revelation it is the same faith. But it certainly varies in the way it’s displayed.

Old Testament saints had faith the Messiah would come, and they were charged with setting forth the principles of New Testament Christianity. Speaking went from a direct line of communication, when Adam and Eve walked with God in the garden… can you imagine what that must have been like! And then following the fall and rebellion of men, a priest would have the responsibility and accountability for God’s children. Not a role to be taken lightly. Handled inappropriately would mean certain death!

God’s Spirit would come upon men like Moses, Jacob and others and it was no doubt an awe-inspiring time. Most likely a little frightening too! It’s from their testimonies that we can experience Old Testament faith.

What characters of the Old Testament would you like to question? And what questions would you ask?

What would have been your reaction if God had showed up in the burning bush to you? Or wrestled with you as He did Jacob? Have you ever felt like you did wrestle with God?

Scroll forward to the New Testament and a whole new line of communication came when Jesus, the Son of God walked the earth once again. But only for a short time. Following His crucifixion and resurrection, that act of unconditional love would humbly allow us, the nobody’s and the somebody’s to speak to God through the Holy Spirit.

As I thought on this today, the images of the two different phones came into play. The old faith and the new faith are still one faith. It’s still the same God on the line. It’s just the way of communication differs.

Old Faith

Romans 4:1-8

What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.  Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.  But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.  Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works,  Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.  Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.

Old Testament faith was still faith even though they were keepers of the law. Or attempted keepers of the law.  613 of them. I can’t keep ten! Nor could they, so a sacrifice was put into place that would be used year after year. Lamb after lamb. Slain as a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross. Did they know that’s what it was? I don’t guess. But they knew it was God’s design and their only hope at the time; and that it all pointed, somehow, some way to the coming Messiah that they hoped for.

Every generation from the days of Adam hoped for.

I think of that old phone as the Old Testament way of communication with God. There was a line you had to go through. The Priest would go into the Holy of Holies and God and he would converse about what the people needed to know. Then he would deliver the message. We too experience that some through the preaching of the Word of God. But the difference is we too can receive a word. That should make you shout! That’s a privilege Old Testament, average Joe’s or Jolene’s didn’t experience.

When God showed up on the mountain, the children of Israel told Moses to go and talk to Him on the mountain. They feared God way too much to want to hear from Him direct.

Exodus 20:18-19

And all the people saw the thunderings, and the lightnings, and the noise of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking: and when the people saw it, they removed, and stood afar off. And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die.

Have you ever felt that fearful of God? Why or why not?

I must wonder if some Christians still fear God’s voice. Many don’t even make the attempt at communication, or at least not very often.

New Faith

The words of David used in Romans 4 are from the book of Psalms 32:2

Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.  Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile.  When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long. For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. Selah. I acknowledge my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah.  For this shall every one that is godly pray unto thee in a time when thou mayest be found: surely in the floods of great waters they shall not come nigh unto him.  Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance. Selah.  I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye. Be ye not as the horse, or as the mule, which have no understanding: whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle, lest they come near unto thee. Many sorrows shall be to the wicked: but he that trusteth in the Lord, mercy shall compass him about.  Be glad in the Lord, and rejoice, ye righteous: and shout for joy, all ye that are upright in heart.

David experienced God in a way few people did then, or do now.

Why do you think that was so?

It certainly wasn’t because he was perfect. He acknowledges that he’s a sinner.

Romans 3:23 says

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

David wasn’t sin free, he was bold in his confession because he wanted a right relationship with the Lord. He knew his relationship wasn’t right because he felt the heaviness of God upon him.

Have you felt that? What was going on at the time? Likely something that shouldn’t have been going on at the time. It’s not a feeling we like but we should love it, because it tells us that we’re saved.

Salvation comes from repentance.

David received his forgiveness and a renewed relationship with God when he repented, acknowledged what he did and turned away from it.

We too should be so bold!

Bold Faith

David’s relationship with God caused him to take some actions. He trusted God’s guidance for war, or not having war. He composed writings and songs, he played music and was a mighty leader when his relationship was right with God. He was bold!

Are you bold in the faith? If not why?

Few in the Faith

As time goes on, our churches seem to be dwindling in size and number. I pass empty church houses with grown up lawns everywhere I go. It makes my heart heavy and very sad. Because I know at one point there may have been a thriving congregation in that place. But they lost their zeal and their desire to serve God. They also lost the best thing that ever happened to them.

I love missionaries and consider myself a missionary to the United States. When I see folks with burdens for other countries I wonder… when will some get a burden for our own.

I have that.

In just a little over a month I’m traveling to New Mexico to minister in two different churches, if not more. I’m praying the Lord opens doors for me there to encourage the believers to be bold in their faith!

For this trip I ask that you’ll pray too. Pray that God will give me words and songs and that a great Spirit of revival will come upon that place. Pray for our safe travels and pray that our expenses are met.

I’m booked believing that we can’t out give God.

Faith is Not Routine

There is nothing routine about God! We like things neat, tidy and wrapped with a bow… but God’s not on a schedule, and there’s no such thing as time in Heaven.

Text: Ephesians 3:16-19

16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; 17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; 19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.

Four verses, one sentence and a lot of goodness that we need to understand. And by the way, nothing common, ordinary or routine. Because just when we think we have God figured out, He goes and does beyond anything we could ever imagine.

When we think we can’t take anymore, He allows more. Just to prove to us that we’re stronger than we think, and that we need Him more than ever.

Exercise routines are good… I’m lousy at them, but they’re very good. They strengthen the body the same way trials strengthen our spirit when our faith is exercised. It builds faith muscles when we’re pushed outside our comfort zone. Praise God it’s not routine. They don’t happen every day, if they did, we’d likely give up. God never puts things on us to cause us to quit, He wants us to understand how far His love extends and how far He’ll go down this road with us. All the way to the end of this road, when eternity begins.

Paul said that the love of Christ “passeth” our knowledge. We can’t imagine the depth of it. It’s like the bible school song many of us sang, “Deep and wide, deep and wide, there’s a fountain flowing deep and wide.” And remember the second verse, when we’d add the Mmmm… in place of the words. I thought a lot about that today, and how the writer of that song may have been inspired by the fact that the depth and width of God’s fountain of overflowing love is indescribable.

After this weekend, where 30 people were killed by the wicked devices of this world, we need to remember that love. Those people were just living life, not waging war, and yet they were killed. That is a level of evil most of us, praise God, cannot understand either. We can’t imagine the frame of mind of those murderous individuals. But it’s not hard to understand the feeling of hopelessness that many people in this world face because they’ve never experienced the “fullness of God.”

Our church just came out of revival. Our annual tent meeting. A yearly scheduled event we call revival. But that’s not the revival God wants. Paul lived in a state of revival, not because life was roses, but because he was constantly under persecution and threat of death. That will cause you to get your priorities in check, quickly! A look around us should remind us of our need for bold exercised faith.

I kind of figure there was a time the very disciplined Paul lived a routine. But when Jesus blinded him along the road, Paul’s routine life went right out the window. And he became a man who lived in the moment.

In the last two verses of Chapter 3 of Ephesus Paul writes this:

20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, 21 Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

He reminds us all that God can and will do far more than we ask or think, but He just won’t do it and hand it too us on a silver platter; He does it through us and through our church body. And He does it for His glory!

What are you going to do this week for the cause? Are you in revival, or are you a walking corpse waiting for the upper taker. Be alive in Christ Jesus and working for His cause. He is worthy!!

A Portion of My Cup (and Dewey’s)

For the greater portion of my ministry, which I feel officially began in 2010 when I really felt the Lord’s calling on me to be full time ministry, I really didn’t know what that ministry looked like. Couple that with my Pastor’s (at the time) response, who said to me when I announced that thought, “You can’t preach, Shari,” I was perplexed. I had truly never given preaching a thought. I hadn’t given anything a thought; I just knew that’s what God said. But I was ever so directionally challenged.

Bible College had trained me to outline, write and speak. Wonderful mentors had taught me how to share the saving grace of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit revealed to me my calling and I was set to go forward, but unfortunately in an utter state of confusion.

Throughout these years God has sent opportunities in abundance to serve. One such opportunity is the FGGAM.org ministry. A news, views and avenues of faith and life topics to keep your mind focused on God. It’s Co-founder, Dewey Moede, has become one of my greatest friends and ministry partner’s over the past seven of my nine years. He has been a large portion of the cup which the Lord has given me to drink from. Dewey and I share 3 ministry drives that I want to share with you today in hopes of encouraging you to find your place in the ministry.

Psalm 16:5

The Lord is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: thou maintainest my lot.

Everything for God’s Glory

That’s Dewey’s life goal and ministry mission. He and his wife Sharon (co-founder number 2) named their ministry For God’s Glory Alone, when Dewey walked away from the security of a very nice income, to live on Sharon’s nursing salary and faith. Those life decisions and that sold out faith is what brings glory to God’s name. It’s a given opportunity to share with the world that our Lord provides. He maintains our lot.

It’s the same purpose and drive that causes me to continue on the Jesus Chick Mission, believing that God’s provisions will take me through till Jesus’ return, or He calls me home.

 You can find more information on giving a worthy contribution to their 501c3 ministry on the www.FGGAM.org website. And by the way… any contribution to the Jesus Chick will be of the utmost appreciation. For information on what my expense are, and if you’d like to contribute for the direct expenses, click here.

Anything for God’s People

I’m a born encourager. So is brother Dewey. It’s why we work so well together. If he has a down day, my words encourage him, if I have a down day, the same holds true with his words. We speak most every day in one form or another, via phone or text. His ministry has needs that I can provide through the gifts of artistic expression and graphic work that God has enabled me to do. It’s a privilege. He promotes and supports my ministry, and together we’ve become quite the duo for Jesus. FGGAM provides me the opportunity to help a brother out and in the process minister to the world through the banners and graphics I provide.

In this “all about me world,” even Christians have lost sight of the fact that we’re here to help each other out through this life. Anything God has given us the ability to do, we need to share it with God’s people.

Philippians 2:4

Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.

Nothing Without Accountability

Another great ministry attribute of FGGAM.org and one I hold to with TheJesusChick.com.

Matthew 12:36

But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.

That’s the Word of God, and it’s a very scary word (or it should be) for those who don’t take it seriously. What we understand as ministry partners is that our convictions are more than just “notions,” they’re founded on the word of God. When we speak it, we want those who read our material to know that we’ve backed it up by the Word of God, and the resources that we’ve used for information gathering are trustworthy and honest.

When I stand at the throne of Christ, I want to hear Him say, “Well done thou good and faithful servant!” I don’t want to hear Him say, “Seriously Shari, what were you thinking?”

I hope these three attributes are a part of your life, and I pray that our ministries edify you as we’re instructed to do!

1 Thessalonians 5:11

Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.