Category Archives: Life Inspiration

The Plan’s in Place

I don’t know who it was that posted on social media last night that they were glad Christmas was over because it was highly overrated. But I remember they were a saved person, and I remember the frustration in my mind and the desire to get in the flesh and comment. Not in anger, but in God’s rebuke that it wasn’t a very good message to send the lost. But then I remembered… I wasn’t God. And I didn’t know the circumstances. And so I scrolled right on off Facebook and onto something else.

But this morning that post is still on my mind. And I found myself saying, I’m glad Christmas is over too. But not for the same reason. I’m glad it’s post-Christmas because I have I can refocus on the message of Christmas. “Redemption!”

Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for He hath visited and redeemed His people;

Luke 1:68

I don’t know why it would surprise me when God’s people of today miss the message of Christmas. After all, God’s people of that day missed the first message! They’d been waiting for the Redeemer, but He didn’t come like they’d expected. They expected a King in all His royal pomp and circumstance! Not the baby of a lowly Jewish girl. Nor did many of them expect that He would die on a cross, crucified by their own. But He did.

When He died, I’m sure many believers thought, “What a letdown. We believed He was the Messiah…”

Christmas for many is just that, “a letdown.” We want the pomp and circumstance of the holiday, the tinsel and perfect family memories and they rarely ever measure up to our expectations. This year at our house was a little different than most years, we are all a little more grateful. I was grateful I had them, and they were grateful they had me. We laughed and carried on like a family that truly enjoyed the company, because we did. A heart attack and open heart will do that to you. But not every year has been like that.

Today, December 28, 2018 is three days past the celebration of Jesus’ birth. Post-Christmas. Just like it brings to mind the post-crucifixion after Jesus died. I’m ready to refocus on the message God sent me to speak! Jesus saves. He didn’t come to fix this world. That’s why Christmas gets messed up and that’s why families continue to be messed up. He came to give us eternal life and a perfect world to come. Glorrraaaaay that makes my heart happy.

In the corner of my living room I’ve redone the little pencil tree that was decorated for Christmas and made it a Valentine’s tree. L.O.V.E. My main focus in 2019 is to show the love of Christ to more people. I want to help them understand that there is hope in the name of Jesus and even when things don’t go to plan in this world, there is a world to come that we can anxiously anticipate without worry or regard as to whether or not it will measure up because the word of God says

But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him. ~ 1 Corinthians 2:9

All we have to do is love Him. And He is going to take us to a world where there is no such thing as disappointment. That’s an awesome message and reminder for us as we go into 2019 that God’s got a plan, and we need to make sure us and everyone we know is a part of it!

Kiss the Cook

Proverbs 17:27-28

He that hath knowledge spareth his words: and a man of understanding is of an excellent spirit. Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise: and he that shutteth his lips is esteemed a man of understanding.

I’m not the best cook in the world, and when it comes to my cooking my husband’s not too critical because usually he’s just happy to be fed! And when all of the food disappears from the pot, I don’t need a “That was awesome” comment because the lack of needing to rinse before putting it in the dishwasher speaks for itself. If only life could always have words and ways of encouragement. But that’s not the case is it?

If only it were the unsaved that had a critical spirit we could understand it. But often times it’s the exact opposite. The unsaved can be more encouraging than the saved.

Another random thought I’ve had is “why are their silent letters in words? What purpose do they serve?” And “does someone, somewhere, pronounce them?” It was then I realized that they served as much purpose as a critical spirit.

Spared Words

Why it is that some people are compelled to share the entirety of their opinions as if the world would fall off its axis if they did not, I do not know. I’ve been in their presence when they did; and before the words came out of their mouth my stomach would turn somersaults as if I had just eaten rotten food. There is not a fine line between criticism and constructive criticism. There is a canyon’s width.

Constructive criticism harbors no ill intent. A critical comment has several intents. It’s meant to prove that they’re wiser than the person being criticized. It’s meant to make the criticizer feel important. And it’s said without regard for the feelings of anyone concerned except the person offering their opinion. I’ve experienced it and I’ve probably been the one who had the critical spirit. But that would be rare. Not that I’m without faults, that just happens not to be one of mine because I’ve been the victim far too many times. It’s what happens when you do a lot. It offers more opportunity. It’s probably why many people do nothing.

Spirited Words

What is an excellent spirit? They are God’s gift to a troubled world. They’re people who speak wisdom and words that encourage and applaud someone who’s at least trying.

I have to be honest and tell you that there is a critical spirit within me that I have to squelch on a pretty regular basis. Whomever coined the phrase that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” may have been speaking about humanity or perhaps they were an art critic.

Last night I was watching a home improvement show and this “artist” with obviously more money than I, (perhaps I was jealous) was redoing their art studio. For which is my kitchen table. Anyway… they were an abstract artist, and not what I would have considered a good one. But they have a studio, and I have a table, so what do I know?

Another artist that I had recently seen on Etsy was selling art for huge prices that looked literally like some of the work my grandbabies do that I consider more valuable. They had thousands of followers and I’m like “are you serious?” I’m so glad that I don’t know that person personally. Yes, I too have a critical spirit. But I don’t feel compelled to post my feelings online or tell someone that they’re less than good.

Because if it’s not something that you’re paying money for, life really is subjective.

Spirit Led Words

What each of us should be is more Spirit led. Before opening our mouths we should ask ourselves “How would Jesus respond?”

Not critical. He has never one time criticized anything I’ve done for Him. But I have. Even the words that I speak over my own efforts should be examined for their intent. When I got finished with my video blog on Facebook yesterday I immediately tore into myself for a job poorly done. It’s why I refuse to watch them after I’ve posted them. I post them in faith believing God can use someone like me.

It’s also why I don’t have a critical spirit toward other people, because I understand how it tears you down and discourages you from your efforts.

I’m not sure why this thought was on my heart today, other than I needed to hear the last point myself. I hope it encourages you for the good!

God Bless!

Shari

www.theJesusChick.com

The Christmas Dance

Luke 2:20

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

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

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

The Lowest of the Low

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

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

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

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

The Highest of the High

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

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

Who Says Water and Electricity Don’t Mix?

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

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

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

The Dark Side

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

In The Shadows

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Light!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Be Thou my Vision

Bible Journaling Art by The Jesus Chick

Proverbs 29:18

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No Instruction leads to Destruction

Proverbs 1:5

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

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

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

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

Godly Instruction leads to Construction

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

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

Vision is God’s Provision for the Journey

And so I search His word for direction.

Proverbs 12:28

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

An Unusual Thanksgiving Message

Book of Wars Journal entry and Poetry by Shari L. Johnson

Although I know it was a word search that lead me to Numbers 21, I don’t remember what word I was searching for. I got so caught up in verse 14 and wondering just where is that book? And why do I not remember this scripture?

Wherefore it is said in the book of the wars of the Lord, What he did in the Red sea, and in the brooks of Arnon.

I did a quick web search on the book and read that it was a “missing book,” a “canonical book” not included in the scriptures and a book spoken to a man by an angel just a few years ago! None of those intrigued me enough to search any further for the book, but rather I decided just to let the Holy Spirit speak to me this week of Thanksgiving on what that book meant to me. And why I was lead to the book of Numbers, chapter 21, and verse 14 this morning.

I imagined the wars that God had penned in that book for me. Penned much like I do in journaling, for the purpose of reminiscing and to look back on a time in my history that something amazing happened. Something worthy of documenting. And what will it be like when I get to Heaven and discover in that long, lost book, all the times God rescued me.

Ephesians 6:12  says

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Are those wars written in that book? I don’t know.

But I know this. I know God is worthy of far more gratitude than I give, Thanksgiving or otherwise. I’ve had to fight a lot of battles within and without lately, and everyone was won with the Word of God. I had to fight them again usually because I let the flesh take over and remind me not of the win, but of the battle.

Today I’m grateful, first and foremost for my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ who fought every battle for me on the cross of Calvary when He died for my sins, and yours. I’m thankful that He continues to sit on the right hand of the Father, and watch over me, comfort me and strengthen me through the Holy Spirit.

I do not know what battles have been written down, but I know that the battles above my head in the spiritual realm are real. And I know they’re not mine to fight, else they’d be lost.

Every time I write, draw, speak or sing for Him, I know there’s a battle above me to squelch the praises worthy to God’s name, a battle I must fight. Today, it’s a battle I’ll win on my Lord’s behalf.

THANK YOU JESUS. Thank You for that sacrifice on the Cross and thank You for speaking to God on my behalf. I’m sorry it’s necessary. But I’m grateful You are there.

THANK YOU GOD. For listening. For allowing Your Son to make that sacrifice on the cross. I can’t, nor do I want to, imagine the pain You experienced that day.  But I’m grateful that You had a plan to save my soul so that I could thank You in person someday.

THANK YOU HOLY SPIRIT. Thank You for being with me every single day. Guiding me. Strengthening me and encouraging me. Without You I know my creativity would be naught. Without You I know I’d be so overwhelmed. Thank You.

Win your battle, Thank Him today!!!!

The God Satan Doesn’t Want You to Know

For certain Satan doesn’t want you to know God because he’d prefer you stay in his custody. But once a soul has given their heart to Christ, Satan has to change his game plan to interfere with the Kingdom and the Kingdom’s work. There is nothing he can do to remove the seal of Salvation that God puts on His children.

Ephesians 4:30

And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.

Glory! But he can certainly do a lot of damage to the spiritual walk of God’s children by binding them with lies. Or at least that’s the case with me. So today I search the truth and invite you along…

Micah 7:18-20

18 Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth in mercy.

19 He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us; he will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.

20 Thou wilt perform the truth to Jacob, and the mercy to Abraham, which thou hast sworn unto our fathers from the days of old.

We’re not to fool ourselves and believe that God is not a Holy and just God Who doesn’t get angry. Oh… I believe He gets angry and I believe He gets frustrated with me on a pretty regular basis. But the trouble with my thinking is, I get stuck there. There in that place of God’s frustration, long after He has moved on and sometimes may never have been, I’m still there. He moved on the second I repented, but I choose to stay in that place of bondage and allow Satan to convince me that God’s frustration lingers on. And I have a feeling I’m not alone.

It’s much easier in our less than merciful flesh to view God as a less than merciful God. If every day we would remember three words that God has attested to, through His Son Jesus Christ.

Forgiven

Micah 7:18 – God delights in mercy! The other day I watched as an adult was less than merciful with a child. The children happened not to be hers. Not that that is always the case, I know parents who are less than forgiving. But on this occasion the child had misbehaved and she separated herself from him as if to say “you are not worthy of my presence.” My heart broke. Praise God our Savior doesn’t treat us in that manner. He longs for the relationship to be restored as soon as it’s broken. But we delay, buying into Satan’s lies that God is forever upset. No… God is forever merciful.

Forgotten

Micah 7:19 – How deep is the sea? I personally don’t know, but I know it’s deep! And how far is the east from the west? Really far! You can’t get there from here. And that is the geographical location of our sins. Yet Satan wants us to believe that God has them attached to His refrigerator, so that every time He goes there, He is reminded of my sin.

That’s how our minds work. Not God’s. I have to work really hard not to rehash old hurts. Because they are not in the sea. They’re in the recesses of my mind waiting for a day that I can call them to mind and be frustrated and hurt again. And have to forgive… again. If I don’t bring them up, Satan will. And so when I’m in need of God forgetting something I’ve done or someway I’ve failed, I am reminded of how someone hurt or failed me, and I attach that theory of thinking to God too. What a lie!

God is not man!

Isaiah 55:8

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.

Forever

Micah 7:20 – God’s plan nor word has ever changed, but man’s sure has. The recent election was proof of that. The political rhetoric coming from all sides made it impossible to know who was telling the truth. And even if someone had a video as evidence, we still couldn’t trust that it hadn’t been manipulated in some way and voting was a very serious game of chance. And such is life sometimes. Marriages fail, friends forsake us and parents and children break our heart. So when we hear the word “forever” in the biblical sense, it’s sometimes hard to grasp.

I can’t help but think of Satan’s words to Eve… “ye shall not surely die.” So we have on one hand the thought that forever will never come, and on the other hand, that forever is subjective to the situation.  And both make it hard to fathom eternity.

But God’s word will stand true and Satan will forever by a liar! He would much prefer that we didn’t   know the truth and one way he can help that happen is to sabotage our relationship with the Lord. It’s not hard when fewer and fewer people keeping their relationship with the Lord first in priority. The more we put between us and God the easier it is for Satan to convince us that God is not desiring a relationship with us. And when we fail, we can’t feel God’s mercy because there’s too much distance. But guess who didn’t move?

God’s exactly where He’s always been. In eternity past, present and future. Loving us as much today as yesterday and wishing we’d just talk to Him, and skip Satan the middle man… he’s a liar anyway.

Do You?

But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.  ~ Proverbs 1:33

The grey skies of November mess with my head even in the wake of the holiday season. Sometimes because of the holiday season. I seriously try to be honest with myself and struggle. Even though the truth is within me…the literal truth of Jesus Christ; I can still suppress the wisdom of God and allow depression, fear, anxiety to creep into my heart. Reading through Proverbs 1 this morning I found one of the countless nuggets of truth that surfaced and refused to let the clouds over power it. So I thought I’d share it with you. Perhaps you need it as well.

Do You Hear What I Hear?

Yes, that Christmas tune is now playing in my head, but it’s a worthy tune.

Do you hear what I hear
A song, a song
High above the trees
With a voice as big as the sea
With a voice as big as the sea

The voice of God can thunder or it can be as still as a whisper, and most usually it’s the latter. What I hear is the voice of God asking “Who’s listening?”

Are you the ‘whoso?’ Am I? Am I genuinely listening for the wisdom of God or am I waiting until He says what I want to hear?  And so I ask myself, why am I not listening? Mainly because I fear. I don’t fear death, I fear life. Dying’s easy. I have no control over that with the exception of how I take care of my body. And because I know that I know that being absent from the body is to be present with God, it’s not something I fear. But life. I struggle with it. It can get so out of control and I’m the queen of roller coaster living. Finances. Responsibilities. Accountabilities. Deeds undone. Those things make those November clouds and cold rains feel like a cloak of evil around me.

Yes… I’m a tad dramatic. My grandchildren don’t get that drama from anyone strange.

Do You Feel What I feel?

Do you feel safe? I honestly do. I know that God will not leave me nor forsake me in my hour of need! But the people of the world will. Though I have the comfort of the Holy Spirit, I don’t always feel comforted by people. Sometimes I’d rather avoid them too. A friend of mine struggles with depression far greater than I, but depression isn’t fun for anyone no matter the level. We spoke the other day about times when we’d rather not leave the house for any reason, no matter how joyous. It’s much easier to retreat inside my head and pretend that all is right with the world than to go outside and prove it’s not.

I don’t consider myself akin to Job in struggles but I understand his words when he wrote, “I was not in safety, neither had I rest, neither was I quiet; yet trouble came.” Job 3:26. He no doubt felt very overwhelmed. King David, felt overwhelmed and shared that thought in Psalms on 7 occasions. It’s why I felt the need to share that the Jesus Chick struggles too. For Pete’s sake if David can confess that he struggle, why cannot I?

It’s not the struggle that I want to share though, I want to share the process of victory. It’s usually not an immediate response from God that gives me peace and removes the dark clouds. It’s a conversation… You can’t hear if you’re not listening, and you can’t listen unless someone is talking.

Do You Know What I Know?

Even on days like today, when I struggle to get out of my Pajama’s and I don’t really care if the bed’s made, because I’d like to retreat back to it, I still know what I know.

I know that there is quiet from the fear of evil and it’s found in (1) the Word of God. (2) The Wisdom of God through prayer. And (3) the Way of God by hearkening to what He says.

If I’m brutally and shamefaced honest I have to tell you that sometimes I still don’t listen and the clouds continue to hover. But if I search His word and speak what I find He is faithful…

Ephesians 3:17-20 King James Version (KJV)

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.

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,

Who Do You Think You’re Foolin’

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1 Corinthians 3:1

And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.

Apostle Paul is obviously speaking to saints, because he calls them brethren. He’s not speaking to the heathen in the jailhouse, or the unsaved adulterer but rather children of God.

Those who he had to preach to in a childlike manner, feeding them on the milk of the word, rather than the meat, because they couldn’t take it.

I think we may have caught our Pastor off guard when he came to Victory Baptist Church because we’re the type of congregation that don’t feel like we’ve been to church unless we leave with sore feet. And the harder a preacher preaches at us, the more excited we get. Because we were raised on meat.

This is an area of the country that can certainly understand that, especially this time of the year. My husband has been getting ready for deer season since the last day of last deer season.

Now, I personally am not a fan of meat, in the literal sense, but in the spiritual sense I love a preacher like Paul that jerks a knot in me if I get out of line. What got me to thinking about this was a little girl in our church who handed me her heart yesterday evening as I left church in the form of a note.

I was tired and kind of out of it, so I stuck it down in- my bag and told her I’d check it out as soon as I got home and put it on the fridge.

Well she didn’t want me to put it on the fridge, she wanted me to take action with it, which was evident by her face when I thought back about her asking me if I’d looked at it yet.

When I finally got home and pulled it out of my bag the front of the note said “Shari Johnson, you are incredible!”

Obviously not, or I would have looked at her note at the church.

But the inside of the note said this:

Dear Shari,

I have one request for a lesson on Wednesday, I would like it to be called, “The road less traveled” It’s about hot the path of sin brings only temporary joy, and how the path of Christ brings everlasting joy.

Love, Brylee

Brylee is 11 or 12, going on 32 spiritually. And she is the product of children being brought up by parents who teach their children, not only right from wrong, but the difference between carnal and spiritual.

Brylee knows that spiritual maturity separates the silly from the saints.

Paul wrote a note to Timothy in 2nd Timothy 3:6 and told him For of this sort are they which creep into house, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, lead away with divers lusts.

What sort was that?

3:2-5 ~

For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

That’s a whole list of types of people we should avoid.

So lets just take it one verse at a time.

Have you ever seen a time when people were any more self-centered and arrogant? Children who control parents and parents who are unthankful and unholy without regard for anything God or church related. I don’t remember a time when we were growing up that any kind of school function was held on Sunday. Now, that seems to be a day of preference.

These same parents who say they love their children with all their hearts and will do anything for them are raising them without God. I don’t question their love. I really don’t. I question who’s in charge of who? And how do we help them to realize that the very One who created those children they love, and are in charge of their destiny, needs some recognition in the family.

But it’s not just about raising children, it’s about raising us. We’ve become a generation who embraces what the world says is okay, and doesn’t back it up with Bible.

Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,

Whether or not the world says its okay, the bible says that homosexuality is wrong. Breaking a promise is still wrong according to the Bible.  Lying is still wrong. Incontinent (which doesn’t only mean not being able to control your bladder) but it also means not being able to control yourself.  And one that really struck a chord with me this morning, despisers of those that are good. The world resents Christians who are trying to live right, because it makes them feel wrong.

And Paul is telling Timothy that he and his people need to avoid people like that. It’s not that we shouldn’t be kind to them, let them see Jesus in our lives, but when it comes to those people who are tearing us down spiritually, we need to avoid them like the plague.

Verse 5 says From such turn away.

That’s easier said than done sometimes. Sometimes those people are people that we genuinely love. But the problem is, if you hang out with sin, it usually gets on you.

Brylee’s bible journaling art and thought was that sin brings temporary joy. Only the joy that comes from serving Christ will last eternally. This babe in Christ, knows what many adults are clueless to. At her tender age she’s separating herself from the things of the world.

That looks different sometimes at the age of 12 and the age of 56.

For me, separating myself from the world is a little easier because I’m not in the world as much as I used to be when I was in the workforce. But truthfully, when I was in the workforce, I made it a point to show the world I was different. I carried my bible to work. I read it on my lunch break. I had prayer with people that came into my office. I let the world around me know, I wasn’t a silly woman. I was saved by Grace and proud of that accomplishment of Christ, not me.

I was not sinless. But I was aware that I sinned.

I avoided people, and still do, who drag me down spiritually. I don’t hang out with liberals. I’m not going to change their mind, and they aren’t going to change mine. So rather than be frustrated – I’m friendly, but we are not besties.

I can feel the frustration in Paul’s voice as he tells the saints of God, I can’t even have a spiritual conversation with you. I can feel it because I’ve felt it in many Christians today who have allowed themselves to get wrapped up in this world and not wrapped up in the word of God.

I’ve been guilty of it. But we have to try harder ever day to stay away from those that Paul told us to avoid. And we can do that by hanging out more together. The world needs to see us in the public eye being open to the ways of God.

When we dine out… may prayer a big deal.

When you meet a Christian friend, encourage them in their faith, have prayer with them, show them what joy they bring!

You’ve brought joy to me, just by being on line today, or watching me later.  God bless! And I hope that you have a non-manic Monday!

Don’t let the Enemy do a Victory Dance

Below are my notes for Not another Manic Monday published live on Facebook, Monday, October 29th. The video is below the written version. I pray you’ll join me on Mondays at 10 a.m. each week as I share in music and word what the Lord has laid on my heart.  – Shari

Our scripture for today’s devotion is 1 Corinthians 15:57 “But thanks be to God which giveth us the victory though our Lord Jesus Christ.”

I get so tired of hearing the battles that Satan wins in the lives of our people. Not the people who are lost, but those that are saved. He defeats us through deception, discouragement and darkness.

Let’s talk about

The Power of Deception

One of my favorite pieces of journal art is the roaring lion I journaled in 1 Peter 5:8 where the verse reads Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about seeking whom he may devour.

You need to underline that in your bible “as a roaring lion. The devil is a faker! Jesus is known as the Lion of Judah. Satan wants to be lion, but he’s not. He walks around making noise, but he can do nothing that the Lord does not ordain. But we often hear the roar, and it stops our dance.

If Satan can incite fear or doubt in you by roaring in your ear that something bad is going to happen, or something good isn’t going to happen, he’ll do it, and we’ll buy it. Why? Because we give him a mane, when he truly doesn’t have anything more than a deceptive Halloween costume.

John 8:44 says that Satan is the father of lies, and yet we listen to him like he’s speaking truth.

He is the great deceiver and every time he makes us believe a lie he does a victory dance that should have been ours.

So what’s he been roaring in your ears. For me, he tells me every day that I’m forever going to be in the position that I’m in financially and physically. That’s my roaring lion.

If when we hear that roar, we’d imagine Satan in a cheap plastic lion mask, the roar would turn into a meow. Because that’s all the power he truly has.

The Power of Discouragement

It looks a lot like the power of deception, but discouragement is in the heart, deception is in the head because we try to reason with logic.  Discouragement, at least for me, is a heart matter. Satan uses the things that I’m passionate about to tear me down.

He’ll do it through other people who will make comments that just cut me to the core. Maybe it’s about my appearance, or my family, or a project that I’m working on and it immediately causes me to want to throw my hands up in defeat.

One of the ways he’s been tearing at me lately is through my grandchildren. Reminding me every day that they are exposed to some of the wicked things that my mind would never have imagined through a nightmare at their age. And their literally seeing it through television, Youtube, friends at school and other means of the media.

I feel powerless and discouraged. This is not a plastic mask demon, this is a real live demon messing in the lives of people I love. So how do I take back the dance that Satan has been dancing with discouragement?

I give them to God believing that He has sent the power of angels to shield and protect my grandchildren.

Hebrews 1:13-14 says “But to which of the angels said he at any time, Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool? Are they not all ministering spirits, sent for to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?”

No angel sits on the right hand of God. Jesus Christ sits in that position. But, God, Creator of all has assigned ministering spirits to those who are heirs of salvation. Ha! That’s us!  It only took one angels in 2 Kings 19:35 to kill 185,000 people. I’m pretty sure, my grandchildren’s guardian angel can take care of a few middle schoolers wanting to harm, or infest my grandchildren’s minds with garbage.

I can’t be with them every day, but I can trust that God will provide the protection they need. I have to, else Satan will do a dance every time I worry.

The Power of Darkness

1 John 1:5-7 reads This then is the message which we have heard of him and declare unto you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin.

I witness it every day and would be a liar just like the scripture said if I didn’t acknowledge that good Christian people are exposing themselves to the darkness and pretend that it doesn’t affect them.

I was telling my teen class the other day about a time when the television was called “booger john” because people believed it to be evil. And that was in the days of Leave it to Beaver! Look what our minds are exposed to now. We truly deceive ourselves if we don’t think that everything we allow into our minds doesn’t affect us in either a negative or a positive way.

The news media has filled our minds with fear and deception and we’ve bought it hook line and sinker. We watch shows with sex and violence and those images are seared into our brains to be drawn upon when Satan wants to get our minds off godly things. I was sitting in church yesterday and a television show that I had watched (that’s geared toward children by the way) a marvel hero who, came into my mind, an ungodly scene that I should have never allowed into my mind, and Satan brought it up in church, or I did. I don’t want to give him full credit.

Who ever said the eyes are the windows to the soul, knew what they were talking about.

We have to fill our souls with more light than darkness.

Another quote says that knowledge is power. Well, yes but it needs to be godly knowledge, not all knowledge is good power.

We have to stay in the word of God and to weigh everything we’re told by scripture. Not just the parts we want to believe.

We cannot possibly make it through this life unscathed with just a Sunday service. Not to mention those people who don’t even attend on Sunday’s or they hit and miss. Satan has you in his cross hairs first thing Sunday morning and he’ll be dancing on your head by Tuesday afternoon like a chorus line if you don’t get some more word into you.

I’m glad you joined me today, but don’t let it stop here!

Devour the word this week and keep Satan from devouring you!