Posted in Bible Journaling, Christian Service, Leadership, Life Inspiration, Uncategorized

How to live a blessed life

It ain’t easy! But it’s totally doable for a child of God. I must also say that it’s also not perfect. There will likely be some heartache and struggle. But even that too can be a blessing from the other side. Seldom ever in the middle!

That’s where my thoughts are going this morning as I prepare a lesson for my teens that always  hits this grown up right between the eyes. As I study and prepare, as I instruct, i always learn more than they likely do. And often times I learn a greater lesson directly from them. One of which is when they call each other out. I’m not one who’s ever made a practice of calling anyone out. I won’t say I haven’t done it, but it’s a rarity. But this current group of teens I have are notorious for calling each other out. They cut nobody any slack! I sometimes cringe wondering how their comments will be taken; but funny thing about being called out in the house of God, if you’re a willing vessel to hear, the word is accepted and we move on. Could not the old folks learn from that?

God will call you out for certain!  From the book of Isaiah God not only calls us out, He tells us to write it down:

Isaiah 30:8

Now go, write it before them in a table, and note it in a book, that it may be for the time to come for ever and ever:

Leading into that word, He’s speaking to the children of Israel. 

Isaiah 30:1-2 KJVS

[1] Woe to the rebellious children, saith the Lord, that take counsel, but not of me; and that cover with a covering, but not of my spirit, that they may add sin to sin: [2] That walk to go down into Egypt, and have not asked at my mouth; to strengthen themselves in the strength of Pharaoh, and to trust in the shadow of Egypt!

Stay out of Egypt

Egypt adds to the sin that we already have. I have enough without going down into a place that has my mind in a place it shouldn’t be. Egypt can be anywhere. A television program or movie, a group of friends, a business establishment, a shopping center! Any place that has your mind on less than godly things. It adds sin to sin for the weaknesses that we are apt to fall victim too. 

For me it could just as well be the bread isle at our local market. Jeepers! I love bread. I love donuts and cake and pie! those are weakness that I’d be better off staying clear of. I have others. Many others. For some people their weakness may be alcohol, drugs, friends that drag them into a world they came out of.  Egypt is anywhere that takes you away from the will of God.

God’s original design for His children was that they never got exposed to Egypt. But Satan messed that up!

Stay out of Rebellion

Isaiah 30:9-11 KJVS

[9] That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the Lord : [10] Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits: [11] Get you out of the way, turn aside out of the path, cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us.

It’s hard to imagine those words about ourselves. But I only have to think of the times that I have turned a conversation with God off because it was taking me to a place of chastisement or a place I was less than comfortable in. I am no different than the people who stood at the base of the mountain with Moses and said, “You go Moses! We’ll wait for you to get back and let us know what God says!” Fear is a not so funny thing. We are taught to fear (reverence) God, but that perfect love casts out fear. And yet, without studying the word and staying in it we will allow Satan to cause confusion and shame to come into our life. These are the times when we do not want to hear the holy words of God.  We need to

Stay Put!

Even in the hard times. Even on the days when the Lord’s words cut us through. The end result will be Victorious living. I know this because I’ve experienced all of it! The victory and the defeat. I needed a teen around me to call me out! 

This was a quick thought for myself today, to get my mind into the zone i want it to be in. How about you? Are you there? I pray you’re blessed!

Posted in Christian Service, Life Inspiration, Uncategorized

What Will be Your Act Today?

1 Kings 10:6-12 KJVS

[6] And she said to the king, It was a true report that I heard in mine own land of thy acts and of thy wisdom. [7] Howbeit I believed not the words, until I came, and mine eyes had seen it : and, behold, the half was not told me: thy wisdom and prosperity exceedeth the fame which I heard. [8] Happy are thy men, happy are these thy servants, which stand continually before thee, and that hear thy wisdom. [9] Blessed be the Lord thy God, which delighted in thee, to set thee on the throne of Israel: because the Lord loved Israel for ever, therefore made he thee king, to do judgment and justice. [10] And she gave the king an hundred and twenty talents of gold, and of spices very great store, and precious stones: there came no more such abundance of spices as these which the queen of Sheba gave to king Solomon. [11] And the navy also of Hiram, that brought gold from Ophir, brought in from Ophir great plenty of almug trees, and precious stones. [12] And the king made of the almug trees pillars for the house of the Lord, and for the king’s house, harps also and psalteries for singers: there came no such almug trees, nor were seen unto this day.

My 2020 word of the year has captured my thoughts. But I want to be careful not to get wrapped up in the search for wisdom and lose out on the acts of wisdom. Something obviously Solomon lived out; else why would the Queen of Sheba said what she did in verse 6  of 1 Kings 10? She was in absolute awe of what she witnessed of the “acts” of his wisdom. For me its the danger of Bible scholars. Not that I’ll ever consider myself one. But I’ve seen enough well educated Christians to last me a life time, who know the word, but don’t act on it. Or are far more interested in the depth of theology causing a shallowness and inability to care for the day to day needs of God’s people.

When studying the word I want to see the relevance to my everyday life. How can I apply, or act, upon what I’ve just read? That was my question after I read the aforementioned text. And so I kept reading to see what the act of the Queen was once she had discovered the awesomeness of Solomon. And what I discovered was, to the man who had everything, she gave more! Gold, spices, precious stones… things that would bring joy to his senses. Perhaps it was a spice that when he caught a whiff of he would think…. “ahhhh…. that’s from my friend the Queen.” I hope that I encourage folks in such a manner, many have encouraged me that way.  That when they see or hear something down the road it will remind them of me (not for my glory) but for remembrance of my acts for Christ.   

Another of the gifts of the Queen for Solomon was a boat load of almug trees for which the King used to construct the house of the Lord, and instruments for singers. Glory! Another reason of love King Solomon. He loved music. And so again he would likely hear the instruments play and as the music encouraged his spirit, or helped set the tone for the Worship of God, he might take the time to thank the Lord for the Queen and ask the Lord to bless her. 

Solomon acted… he just didn’t sit on his wisdom. What am I going to do with this wisdom today?

A man from Canada stopped by my table in the Hotel lobby this morning. As always a conversation ensued. He and his wife encouraged me at first just by their presence in the breakfast room. They enjoyed each other’s company. She went off to prepare for their journey on to Florida and he was interested in what got me up so early… “Yes! Thank you Lord for an opportunity to tell him why was I was up at the crack of dawn. We talked about our perspective churches and and pastors and then he went on his way.  Just a few minutes with Mr. Reesor. He left me with the gift of conversation. A small act, but one worthy of pondering today.

I hope someone encourages you today! Blessings! Shari

Posted in Christian Service, Faith, Leadership, Life Inspiration, Uncategorized

Who are you Joshua to?

Deuteronomy 34:9

And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom; for Moses had laid his hands upon him: and the children of Israel hearkened unto him, and did as the Lord commanded Moses.

Oh to be “filled” with wisdom! It most certainly is possible, I guess. But for me there is always too much other junk that wisdom has to work it’s way around. Wisdom has to fight for it’s place in my world. This should not be, but I’ve left so many other pieces of junk in it’s path. Of course I speak metaphorically, but… you have no idea how very real that concept is. 

Even my dream world is filled with garbage and chaos. It may or may not be medicine related that I’m having crazy dreams again. And while I do not believe I have the gift of dream interpretation, I don’t think it’s happenstance that my dream last night was filled with clutter. And that Miss Betty and Louis’ sister Kay had to come and straighten me out. But then again, if anyone was going to straighten you out, and make your world pretty, it would be my previous choir director Miss Betty.

So what does that have to do with wisdom?

Wisdom creates great leaders. Joshua followed the greatest leader of all time. What shoes to fill! And yet he did. But it didn’t just happen, it was intentional. The Lord had a plan to redeem His people, and that plan was to use people to create models of the final plan, the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. Joshua was a type of Christ, as well as Adam. But before I get ahead of myself, let’s talk about leadership and the wisdom needed.

My husband and I spoke this morning about the need of every organization having good leadership. Else 90% of staff will just do what comes natural. Nothing. Were it not for the leadership of Moses and Joshua the children of Israel would have still been in the dessert wandering around, and the giants of the promised land would have thumped their gourds. That of course is the Bible according to Shari. But I know this because I know me. If it were not for the leadership of Christ, and His encouragement in my heart I would just sit around all day and draw and pick guitar. Perhaps play the fiddle or any other fun thing that came to my mind. The clutter would consume my life and I would get overwhelmed and sit in my self made wilderness. But there is wisdom in me that scripture foretells in the book of Isaiah

Isaiah 11:2

And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord ;

This scripture speaks of Christ and the wisdom that was upon Him, qualifying Him to the office of King! And glory to God, it is the same wisdom at our disposal through the Spirit that now resides within the heart of a child of God. Christ was filled with the Spirit of wisdom from the womb, the Spirit of God came down from Heaven and rested upon Him at His baptism. He Who was anointed to be Prophet, Priest and King and He would loves us so much that He’s willing to share that wisdom with us. Does that not put a shout on you! I love examples like this in scripture that can give me an image in my mind of what God wants me to know.

I’m still in the picture book stage of faith. Don’t judge me. 😀

So why I “think” I had the dream last night…

My life is cluttered with stuff. It’s good stuff, but most days it’s a jumbled mess of what I create it to be. If you went to my office right now there are stacks of “stuff.” Payroll. Billing. New Accounts. Marketing ideas. Stuff to do… stuff that should have been done two days ago. It’s clutter!  But it has to be that way until i can get in there and get it sorted out. The same is true spiritually with me.

I praise God for the Spirit that dwells with in me and is directing me not only in my spiritual life but my work life too. Holding me accountable for what I do. Moses held Joshua accountable as he taught him how to lead and if we allow the Lord, He will will guide us through every facet of life. We are leaders in our own domain and there are people watching to see if we take our jobs seriously. 

As I wrote this today I felt the tension leave my body. At least for the moment. It was the wisdom of God that I received through this word this morning, reminding me that I am not alone. His hand is upon me guiding me day to day. But I have to listen! I have to take this time in His word to reign myself in. I think that’s why God sent Miss Betty to my dreams last night. Betty is a woman I look up to for leadership. She trained our Miss Susan who is a great leader in her own right. 

God gives us Moses’ and Joshua’s to follow so that when we are the leaders we’ll know what to do. 

Who are you Joshua to? There are people looking to you for leadership. Teach them well by example. 

God bless ya!!! Hope this thought encouraged you today. ~ Shari

Posted in Bible Journaling, Christian Service, Evangelism, Life Inspiration, Purpose, Uncategorized

Who is a wise man?

James 3:13

Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom.

Who is a wise man? Good question right? I’ve known my share. Some of worldly wisdom beyond my comprehension, but I was never really impressed with those. They mostly irritated me because they speak over my head in hopes of impressing rather than speaking to my understanding in hopes of helping me. That is the difference between good and bad educators.

We had a preacher come to our church several years ago for a few nights of revival. The first night he was late and ill prepared because he’d gotten lost trying to find our church. It was obvious as he preached that he was having to rely on the Holy Spirit to guide him through his message. It was phenomenal! He came back the second night “prepared.” Yielding big words and theological discussions. Guess which one made the greater impact. Not the big word preacher. The Spirit lead preacher was so much more in tune with the congregation because the Spirit knew what we needed.

In my search for wisdom, I’m not seeking to become theologically greater, but spiritually greater. I want to understand scripture in greater depth, but only for the purpose of taking that information and applying it to my life and messages so that I can become a better child and servant of God.

So when James asks his readers, “Who is a wise man?” I don’t think he was searching for the scholars of the day. He spoke of those who were endued with knowledge. Another word for endued is infused. That is my desire. To be filled with the Spirit of God through the absorption of His word and knowledge. I love the essential oil infusers that fill the air with natural scents and healing oil. They arouse my sense of smell and create a happy response from my soul. So does the word of God!

Don’t Get Too Big for your Britches

...with meekness of wisdom. I pray I never feel as though I (personally) have something to tell. I hope that my ministry work is always a Holy Spirit lead adventure. Meekness is often viewed as weakness in this world. Because a person isn’t loud and boisterous, people believe them to be an obvious push over. And yet, someone like myself who has a naturally loud personality is often considered bold and brave. I know the exact opposite to be true. Meekness is strength concealed and controlled. I have to work on that daily. So a meekness of wisdom is not someone who flaunts what they know,  it rather someone who shares what God has revealed and gives credit where credit is due.

James 3:14-16

But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. 

Don’t get Bitter with your Brothers

Or your sisters as the case may be. On the occasions when I’ve been aggravated with someone I’ve realized that there is a pride involved that is straight out of the pits of Hell, and that I’m lying to myself and anyone else when I try to justify that anger. Satan loves it when we have strife with our family and friends, because in no way will God be glorified. Oh James, you are so wise. That type of strife will cause the wisdom of God and our purpose on earth to completely leave the track of our destined plan by God. That’s a dangerous pride that could have consequences resulting in someone never seeing Jesus because they could only see us. 

How very confusing it must be for the lost child to witness a saved child hating on someone. 

But godly wisdom is where it’s at! It’s why it so important to stay in God’s word. It keeps our heart in tune with Him. If you’re in love with God, you cannot be in hate with others. 

James 3:17-18

But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. [18] And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.

Get Better by being Broken

Understanding where we come from is a good place to start when showing someone how to get where you are and on their own path toward a deeper relationship with Christ. 

There is a fair amount of snow falling outside right now, and as it falls, it falls slowly, peacefully, covering up the mud and earth below that is so abundant outside this time of year. I’m not a fan of winter for a few reasons, though I do love the snow when I have no where to be… which is not today.  But it serves as a great illustration on the purity of God, and how He washes our sin as white as snow, covering up those muddy days in my life when I’ve failed Him miserably. And I was miserable. That’s a part of my testimony. 

I did not have the peace of God for 34 years of my life. I believed in Jesus, but I did not “know” Jesus. There is a vast difference. Satan is fully well aware that Jesus exists, but he has no desire to have a relationship with Him. And unfortunately neither does most of the world. They are lulled into accepting a false peace that comes from money, fame, even family. But get broken and suddenly you are looking for a repair kit. That repair kit came looking for me in 1996. I experienced it sitting in the back row of Victory Baptist Church, when Mike Worf opened his bible and shared his own brokenness with me. I’d never heard a preacher be so open and honest about his own failing. I needed to know I was not alone. 

Help me God to show that to those I come into contact with. Those who make peace, whether it’s law enforcement, judges, etc. do so by squelching conflict. That’s what the Spirit of God does. We were not made for this world, therefore there is an automatic conflict in our soul. But a soul saved immediately resides in Heaven, and that conflict (though we still experience it on earth) finds peace in Heavenly places. Glory to God! I just wrote myself happy! 

The world would like you to believe that being humble and broken brings shame. The Spirit of God shows us that being broken is when we’re at the point were we can absorb the Spirit of God and allow His goodness to leak back out of us so that others may see. It leaks out of my eyes a lot. 

Praying that today you are getting better in your relationship with Jesus. Blessings! Shari

Posted in Christian Service, Christmas, Life Inspiration, Uncategorized

What are you Magnifying this Christmas?

Jesus Chick Graphics

My mind has been on Mary, the mother of our Lord this week. And also a writer of the 300-400 AD era by the name of Epiphanius. It was his name that came up in my study on Monday from Luke 2, when I read in a commentary that it had been “hinted to” but not documented in scripture (which is very important) that Mary was martyred. That would not surprise me with the evil of the world then and now. Satan would have loathed the woman who brought our Lord to fruition through her womb, by the power of God. And who would have better known the facts of the matter than she herself. Oh my stars, my stomach just turned over to think of her life and watching the crucifixion of her child.

My youngest, who is 32, just left on a trip to New York, I worry for her and her safety, it’s the way of a mother. My soul hurts, literally, when one of my girls or grandchildren struggle. So to imagine… and I can’t, the pain Mary went through as the mother of our Lord, is beyond what I could possibly comprehend. But I am also very careful not to put her in a position of magnification above what the Lord allows. She’s wonderful. But she is not to worshiped or idolized as some would have us believe. She too was just like those of us willing to serve. A vessel of the Father. 

So back to Epiphanius. When I read his name and what he “hinted” at, I became fascinated with him. Who was he? And when he spoke those words, if he did, in what context were they spoken? Was he one who idolized Mary? And if so… I couldn’t give weight to his words. So I did what all tech gals do, I went to the web in search of information. And boy did I find some! Now I’m kind of in love with the guy. But my husband has no worries… he’s long gone. Having died as he lived in the year 403 A.D. Serving. 

There is a story for which I read, there were many, and not always so factual. But one that had facts to back it up was the story of “the curtain incident.”

A letter from Epiphanius, Bishop of Salamis, in Cyprus, to John, Bishop of Jerusalem covers the  incident of the curtain, which unlike other passages attributed to Epiphanius, is accepted as authentic by scholars. All of which is according to the web. Which we know wouldn’t lie, right? (Insert rolled eyes here). But I guess as far as we can tell, this is truth. 

The letter reads as follows:

Moreover, I have heard that certain persons have this grievance against me: When I accompanied you to the holy place called Bethel, there to join you in celebrating the Collect, after the use of the Church, I came to a villa called Anablatha and, as I was passing, saw a lamp burning there. Asking what place it was, and learning it to be a church, I went in to pray, and found there a curtain hanging on the doors of the said church, dyed and embroidered. It bore an image either of Christ or of one of the saints; I do not rightly remember whose the image was. Seeing this, and being loth that an image of a man should be hung up in Christ’s church contrary to the teaching of the Scriptures, I tore it asunder and advised the custodians of the place to use it as a winding sheet for some poor person. They, however, murmured, and said that if I made up my mind to tear it, it was only fair that I should give them another curtain in its place. As soon as I heard this, I promised that I would give one, and said that I would send it at once. Since then there has been some little delay, due to the fact that I have been seeking a curtain of the best quality to give to them instead of the former one, and thought it right to send to Cyprus for one. I have now sent the best that I could find, and I beg that you will order the presbyter of the place to take the curtain which I have sent from the hands of the Reader, and that you will afterwards give directions that curtains of the other sort—opposed as they are to our religion—shall not be hung up in any church of Christ. A man of your uprightness should be careful to remove an occasion of offence unworthy alike of the Church of Christ and of those Christians who are committed to your charge. Beware of Palladius of Galatia—a man once dear to me, but who now sorely needs God’s pity—for he preaches and teaches the heresy of Origen; and see to it that he does not seduce any of those who are intrusted to your keeping into the perverse ways of his erroneous doctrine. I pray that you may fare well in the Lord.[10]

See why I love him! He kind of reminds me of my David. Who is often harsh when it comes to correctness and those who live in err and profess to be right. Now… don’t tell him that I told you (I’m joking, he knows) he is not always right either. But David indeed does have the work ethic of similarity to the biblical ethics of Epiphanius. 

So this is why I am thinking much on Mary and Epiphanius today and the days prior. When Mary said  in Luke 1:46 ~“And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord,” she knew what we all should know, it wasn’t about her. And even though to some (but not to my David) they would say that Epiphanius’ reaction was brash; when rather than politely asking the church to remove the curtain, he ripped it to shreds. But he knew what this world does not, how much the Lord loathes religion over relationship. 

Religion is everywhere. And I really hadn’t thought about the images we project into our mind and lives that are not biblical. So over the last few days when I drew what I imagined Mary to be like, you’ll note I did not put a halo over her head, I however did add some sparkles, just because I think every woman of God should shine. 

So as we go into the Christmas season, I’m challenging myself and you to rethink some of the images you have in your mind about what this season should look like. Remember, Jesus “was a baby,” Now He’s a very grown up King. And our images will in no way do justice to the real King of glory. Wow! I just wrote myself happy again. 

Love ya. Mean it. Shari

Posted in Eternity, Evangelism, Life Inspiration, Uncategorized

How to Know if You’re Religious

Jesus Chick Graphics

Luke 1:17 ~ And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.

John the Baptist. One of the characters of Christmas that I seem to gloss over until it comes to his beheading. And then I quickly read past it because it breaks my heart to think of the profound immorality of the world then and now. Not much has changed in regard to religion. And I use that word only to generally define us. John the Baptist wasn’t religious. Religion wore a fancy robe, John wore camel hair. Religion drank wine and had fancy hors d’oeuvres, John ate locust and honey. Religion pointed a finger, John pointed people to Christ. Religion was pompous and societal, John was loud!!!! “Prepare ye the way!!!” He cried. Even Isaiah warned the people about  him. 

Isaiah 40:3 ~ The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.

Sunday as we prepared for the Christmas Cantata, our sound man Carl, struggled to hear the voices of the music. (He didn’t know there wasn’t any on this particular part of the sound track.) In his attempt to find them he turned the split track up full blast, unbeknownst to the choir. When voices did finally come onto the track they blared out full decibel, and the entire choir just about jumped out of their skin! It was hysterical! We laughed and laughed and it took five minutes to regain our composure and get back to the matter at hand of rehearsal. Good times! 

This morning it reminds me of what must have been the reaction of those stuff shirt religious Pharisees when they heard John the Baptist coming out of the wilderness and into their part of the world. Religion doesn’t like to upset the🍎 apple 🍏 cart.

My text today, Luke 1:17 likens John the Baptist to Elias, also known as Elijah. Both were men of the same spirit and disposition. They were zealous, leaders and loners. They dressed weird. 2 Kings 1:8 says that Elijah was “an hairy man, and girt with a girdle of leather about his loins.” Neither really cared about what the current trend of the day was. They both reproved kings and both suffered persecution because of it. 

Religion makes me nauseous. 

How to know if you’re religious. (I do, because I was)

  1. You not only care about what you wear (which is fine) but you judge the apparel of others (which is not.)

I personally love clothes. But, I like every kind of clothes. Yesterday I wore the cutest red 👠 shoes ever, a black lace skirt and a shiny jacket! I love them. But to the evening service, I wore 👟 sneakers and jeans. I’m truly not about impressing the masses with my apparel. I wear what I like. I fully believe it is more about my relationship with God than my relationship with a tailor. 

  • You care about where you live (which is fine) but you judge where others live. (Which is not.)

I love beautiful homes. I however do not live in a home that will ever find it’s way to the cover of a design magazine. It’s a double wide that’s had work done, and needs work done. It’s small, but it’s home. I raised my kids here, and they come home here. It’s got a lot of hand made goodness by my husband that makes me smile every time I see it. Because he was proud of his handiwork. It’s loud. And the kids are rowdy and sometimes annoying, but it’s where we live. 

When John the Baptist came out of the wilderness, he must have looked a sight! But those who listened didn’t care. They got the message. In Luke 3:3 it says of John that he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins;”  and some folks listened and others loathed him (much like today), especially Herod the tetrarch, because John called out his sin of having an affair with his sister in law! 

John didn’t judge… he left that to God; he just spoke truth and the world doesn’t want the truth. And the truth of the matter is, religious people really do care where you live and where you come from. And they care for the wrong reasons. John didn’t care where people came from, he cared where they were going! That’s good stuff right there isn’t it? Forget the neighborhoods we live in, let’s talk about where we’re moving too! Glory!

Posted in Christian Service, Christmas, Evangelism, Leadership, Life Inspiration

Our 2019 Christmas Project

Question: At what level is my commitment to the mission of Jesus?

____ I do not care about Jesus or His mission. I have more important goals.

____ I am a little confused at times as to what part I play and how I do this.

____ I want others to know Jesus, but I have too much going on in my life at this time.

____ I want to make disciples and help others grow and know I should, but I am not.

____ I am committed to helping others grow in spiritual maturity and am currently (or recently) discipling someone.

Those were the questions on a recent blog post I ran across from the First Baptist Church of Scott City, MO. Good questions I thought. And while I would select the last of the five, I began to worry about answers 1-4. 

Somewhat less than a hundred years ago when I taught substance abuse prevention in the school, one of my youth made the comment that his dad had said (upon seeing one of the commercials for requesting money to feed starving children in Africa) “I don’t really care about the starving children in Africa.” In his poor attempt to be funny, and teach his children to keep their money at home, he actually spoke what I believe is the attitude of most Christian people. We take care of our own. Those outside of our family, or church are not on our hearts. 

I know this blog seems random, but I promise I’ll bring it together. 

Yesterday my friend Luann Johnson, from North Carolina, drove to Calhoun County, West Virginia to plan our 4th annual Christmas Project. Four years ago she ran across my name on a Google search for “West Virginia Christian women,” which I love that she did, because she and I became fast friends and sisters in Christ.  For three years she and her husband Daniel, and often a few other friends have driven 5 hours to serve as Christ served, in our community. People she doesn’t know, who might as well be from Africa because she may never see them again. But for one day she serves them as though she were Jesus and they were her close personal friends. She always encourages me and reminds me not to get wrapped up in the wrapping of the Holiday, but to get tied into the Holy One! Oh how glorious to be a child of the Living God. Who desires our help… and would never, ever say, “I don’t real care about the starving people in Africa.” It is sad that every time I see the man who uttered those words, that’s what I think of. Even though, he’s probably a nice fella, and is very active in their church. And that reminds me that I too am accountable, and far from guilt free, on the words that I utter.

Our project this year for 2019 is “A Fruit Filled Christmas.” We want to reach souls for Christ, and be fruitful for the Kingdom. We’re going to give folks a little token of love in fruit and gifts for the families who are given invitations. We’re asking local churches to give us the names of families who would benefit from an evening of Pizza, and fellowship with a message of love for them from Luann, Daniel and the Jesus Chick. The Johnson Trio! If you have someone in mind, contact me through social media, or by phone (304)377-6036 and I’ll reach out to them with a personal invitation.  We’d also accept any donations of fruit and other foods to bless families with this Christmas.

As it stands now the event will be December

This season is so wonderful to remind us to give. But it should also remind us to serve. So back to the questions from the First Baptist Church. What is your level of commitment to the mission of Jesus? He’s not the baby in the manger… He’s the King of Glory! And our Christmas goal should not be our family only, but the family of God and what we can do to reach and win more souls for Christ before His return. Every time I utter the words “His return,” in any form, my heart flutters. I think it’s nearer than we can imagine… and nearer than many want to believe. 

God bless ya!!!! !~ Shari

Posted in failure, Grace, Health, Life Inspiration, testimony, Uncategorized, Word of God

You Don’t have to Pay for Common Sense

Can you believe it? Here we are smack dab in the middle of the Holiday Shopping season. Today is Black Friday, and I can’t say that I’m sad to be working. While Black Friday is fun, kind of… it’s also, at least in my experience, a waste of money. A trip to the big city requires a half a tank of gas, eating out a few times, and buying things that I usually discovered weren’t that great a deal. There would be a few bargains, but the bulk of it was not. This message is brought to you by God. He actually gave it to me, but I decided it was a worthy share! You’re welcome. 😀

My text today is from Hebrews 5:8-14

[8] Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; [9] And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; [10] Called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec. [11] Of whom we have many things to say, and hard to be uttered, seeing ye are dull of hearing. [12] For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. [13] For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. [14] But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

Wisdom In Common with Jesus

He is the Son of God, for which we too have been made. 2 Corinthians 6:18 tells us “And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” And as the children of God we are entitled to wisdom the world is not. Although I know that, I have a tendency to forget, and it was a commercial for a diet plan that popped up on Instagram that brought it to the forefront of my mind, where it has been for several days. While I truly believe this woman has some wonderful ideas to share about our relationship with God in diet decisions, and her plan wasn’t that expensive, for me I knew wasn’t something I needed to spend $50.00 for. God spoke to my heart and said, “Stick with me kid, and I’ll show you the way.” It’s true! While there are specific diets that I need instructions for, the Bible is truly all I need if I read it, and use it for guidance in every day decisions. We have the Spirit dwelling inside of us, making us in common with Jesus’ wisdom. 

Suffering In Common with Jesus

While Christ was indeed the perfect Son of God, one thing that He he not experienced in Heaven was suffering. Verse eight said “yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered.” Which is where some of the greatest lessons in my life have come from, because I am anything but perfect. I make the same mistakes over and over again. Jesus didn’t make a mistake that brought suffering, I made His mistakes, and you did. It was our sins that brought on the suffering of the cross, but what He learned was that He was willing to suffer it all for us to have a relationship with God the way He does. Did that knock a knot on your head like it did mine? Wow! Every time I come to the realization of what the Lord did for me, I stand amazed. 

Sense in Common with Jesus

We should have sense in common with Jesus, but as the writer of Hebrews says, many are still suck babies who haven’t moved out of the bottle stage. Truth? I think so. I too can fall into that category. Especially when it comes to making life decisions that I know the right answer too, but go in error because it tastes better. Literally. The young lady with the diet plan speaks of praying her way through the grocery store. Isn’t that a great idea, and it should be common sense, but it’s not something most of us consider because our mind is in the cheesecake isle… or maybe that’s just me. 

Verse 14 says “But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”

Good and evil speaks to what’s good for us, and what’s bad. Exercising is good. Even though scripture says it “profiteth little.” (1 Timothy 4:8) That’s my favorite part of that verse. But the problem with me, and many others, is that we want the milk of the verse, and not the meat. The full verse says “For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the the life that now is, and of that which is to come.”

We all want Heaven. Most of us want it a long time from now. But we make decisions like we want it tomorrow. Ouch. I just felt another knock on the top of my head again. It’s like Black Friday shopping, it’s only a good deal if you need it. Whether it’s dieting or shopping, do you need it? That’s where the wisdom and sense of God come into play. Else there will be suffering.

I don’t know about you… but for me that was good word going into this shopping season of insanity. Amen! 

Love ya! Hope you have a blessed day. ~ Shari

Posted in Christian Service, Evangelism, Family, Life Inspiration, Praise, Purpose, Uncategorized

What is Needful, What is Vanity?

Jesus Chick Graphics©️

Thanksgiving Eve. I feel as though I have been so very ungrateful for the goodness of the Lord. My days are running one into another, my nights are little more than naps in the dark. I understand the psalmist when he says in Psalm 127:2 It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep.

Why am I always shocked when the Lord gives me the very word I need for such a time as this? But I am. Every time. I haven’t been in the secular work force for years. And it has upset my apple cart, and I feel like I’m letting the Lord down and friends down, and my church down… and the guilt is heaping upon my soul unresolved because I’m not dealing with it. Hello. Can anyone identify? 

So this morning I went one direction, and the Lord said… nope, you’re gonna deal with it Shari. So here I am. In a very public way; dealing with it in hopes of helping you this holiday season when the world gets you overwhelmed. And we all know that this is just the season to do it!

Vanity. For me the definition of vanity is “self promotion and elevation.” It’s when I put myself before all else. And while the job I’ve landed in seems like trying to untangle a tiny gold chain that has been pulled taunt and laid in a drawer for years…it’s also like a puzzle that needs put together. And in that I’m somewhat fascinated. And so it’s on my mind. A lot. So is decorating for Christmas and shopping for gifts and finding the right shoes for the right outfit. Yep… vanity.

I’m being real. This is why the guilt is on me. What is needful and what is vanity? Back to Psalm 127:

[1] Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain. [2] It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep. [3] Lo, children are an heritage of the Lord : and the fruit of the womb is his reward. [5] Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.

My job title is “Marketing and Finance.” I see that in psalm 127. My job in marketing is to promote the company. Not me. Not who I am. But rather using my talents to promote some one else. Is that not similar to our faith? It’s not my job to put myself in the forefront of my life,  but rather He who redeemed me! Glory! I love that. Unless God is building my life, it’s vanity.  It’s vain for me to rise up in the morning and put my will above God’s. It brings me the bread of sorrows, when God desires my rest.

I think that verses 3-5 speak to prioritization. God. Family. Ministry. All else.

I am so very thankful to those of you who have patiently awaited my return this week. You drive me to seek God for us both.i pray you have an amazing Thanksgiving! Blessings…. Shari

Posted in Christian Service, Faith, Leadership, Life Inspiration

The God Connection

I love the Word of God. In the many forms of which He has provided it, I can’t say that I love one more than the other. Spoken, read, Holy Spirit lead… words. I just love them when they are connected to God. Words are often a trigger for my mind to go off like a gunshot whirling through space and time. I get excited about where I’m going to land. Like last night, when Doug Rowe taught at Victory Baptist Church. He is a co-teacher and friend through the church and teen ministry, and last night was his first opportunity to teach in the adult realm of the church. He did not disappoint. He is a deep thinker spiritually. But the word that I kept getting hung up on as he taught last night was the word “sound.”

I love sounds too! In the form of music, preaching, worship… sounds connected to God. There’s a pattern of joy in my words this morning. The God connection. It’s an awesome thing.

Sound, the Noun

The word “sound” can be a noun, a verb or an adjective. As can the Name, Proper noun of God. The Verb of I Am and the Adjective of Holy. I love this thought this morning! God is most certainly all encompassing in life. Especially through words. 

According to Merriam-Webster, sound is a noun when it is a particular auditory impression. Such as a tone. The sensation perceived by the sense of hearing. It’s that joy that I spoke of earlier. What a privilege to be able to hear sounds. Lose your hearing for even a second, and you can understand how blessed we are to have it. Imagine never hearing the sound of baby giggles. Wouldn’t that be a sad world. The aging process often dulls hearing, but praise God there are sounds through the Spirit that can never by dulled if we’re in tune with God, because they’re not auditory, but rather internals sounds. Oh my stars… I just wrote myself happy!!! I need a shirt that says that… 

Sound, the Verb

To “cause” a sound. I love that Merriam-Webster’s definition said “as a trumpet.” Glory!!! There will be a trumpet sound one day when the arch angel is given the order by God to call His children home. I am so ready, but so many of the people I love are not. And so I pray as the song says “Wait a little longer please Jesus, a few more days to get our loved ones in.” 

When sound is a verb it’s because it’s an action. And every action should create a re-action. The sound of the Word of God should cause us, you and I, to take actions in our lives. I’ve really felt that I’ve let the Lord down lately because I’ve not been as faithful to reading and studying the word of God lately. Going to work is a new norm for an old body and I haven’t quite got in the groove of things yet. My 4:30 a.m. wake ups seem little more than house cleaning alarms and I’m failing miserable at that too.  So this morning has been a blessing to get in the word of God and hear the sound of God’s voice in my Spirit.

Sound, the Adjective

I believe it is what the world desires more than anything and it can only be found in God. A sound mind. 

Merriam-Webster describes the adjective version of sound as stable, secure, reliable… is that not what we all desire for our lives? It’s the reason I use Merriam-Webster as my source for definitions. Because I have yet to find any other version of the dictionary that is biblically sound for describing what a word means. It’s why I use the King James Version of the Bible. All others have too much interjection by man. We have to be cautious of where our sources of information come from. Our lives must be backed up by the word of God, every part of it. Who we are. (Proper Noun) How we act (verb)  and how the world sees us (adjective) 

2 Timothy 1:7

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

A sound mind describes that feeling of “all” being right with the world. The feeling you can only have knowing that Christ has “all” this world in His control. And He will bring us through whatever the world throws at us. 

2 Timothy 1:13

Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou has heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ.

From the version of Bible that you use, to even the version of dictionary; the sound word of God is what stabilizes our lives in the wonky world we live in. That is where we find the sound doctrine of 2 Timothy 4:3

For The time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;

Have you ever seen a time in life when people want coddled and sugar coated words to make their lives easy? They do not want the truth, because it convicts, and conveys the message that causes them to know their world is not right; because Christ is not the center of it. 

So my prayer for you and I today is that we will hear the sound of God through the Spirit, and have the sound mind we need for this world, so that if the trumpet sounds today, we’ll be ready!!!! Stay Connected! God bless ya! And Thank you Doug Rowe for being a faithful man of God and sharing what the Lord laid on your heart.