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Against all Hope

I totally get the anxiety and frustration that Abraham and Sarah may have been feeling. They’d been promised a child, but then, as it does, age crept upon them from no where and low and behold they found themselves past the fruit bearing years.

Sarah was 90 for cryin’ out loud and Abraham 100. It was a dark day in the land of Canaan when Abraham continued to believe in the promise that God had given him. With the point being, he never gave up hoping.

That’s our problem. We lose hope.

Romans 4:18 says of Abraham:

Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be.

Against Hope

There’s nothing like age to make you feel unfruitful. With every passing year new aches and pains are introduced and your children start “calling to check on you,” or asking you if you think you’ll “feel up to it.” Good grief! It’s not that I’m not very grateful that I raised such concerned children, it’s just that I didn’t think I was that old. And then I look in the mirror and the age lines that I used to consider laugh lines aren’t so funny anymore.

Welcome to the silver years Shari. I’m not yet to the golden years, although they’re drawing nigh.

If I trusted what the mirror says or what my lying bones say, I’d take off my Jesus Chick hat and consider sitting back and waiting for Jesus to come and fetch me.  Those are physical things against the spiritual realm of hope. And they are not the only things “against hope.”

Logic is often the enemy of hope. If Abraham had looked at it logically, he wouldn’t have even put out the candles and turned the radio onto soft music at 100. What chance did he have at conception with 90 year old Sarah.

This story gives me hope! See, I’m still waiting for some fruit… not of the Isaac persuasion, but of the spiritual kind. I’m waiting for God to do a great work in my ministry that will bear fruit for the Kingdom. I’ve waited a while! But I’m not 100 yet.

In Hope

Just as Abraham I’m believing in hope. Wouldn’t it be a sad world with out it. Truth be told, it is a sad world. I’ve listened to many speak without hope. It is generally the unsaved, but not always. None of us are immune to losing hope. This world is filled with adversarial demons to strip even the strongest of a good attitude.

Today I have hope, because today I’ve been in the word and I’ve read myself happy. But a few days ago, as I traveled down the highway, I looked in my rear view mirror and all I saw was lost opportunities, failed attempts and I was in the previous state.

I should have told myself, “don’t look back.”

Luke 9:62 

And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.

If a ploughman doesn’t look forward, he won’t make the proper furrows, nor do his work well. The same is true of the child of God. If we are continually looking back to see where we’ve been, we might assuredly miss where we’re going. We need to be forward thinking Christians. Always looking for opportunity, not resting in the laurels of previous ones, or sulking in the disaster of errors.

I can find myself sulking if I’m not careful.

Hope Delivered

Sarah delivered that bundle of hope and named him Isaac, meaning laughter. There is great joy when hope is delivered.

What does that look like to you?

I know what it looks like to me. It’s a strange delivery I’m waiting on…

  1. That souls are saved and lives are changed.
  2. That my ministry be viewed as a ministry, not a hobby by those who should know better.
  3. That it is financially sustaining for my family.

That may or may not sound like much to you. But there are days when I look back at the furrows I’ve made, and my fruit is sparse. I lose sight of where I know I’m supposed to go.

Just like the farmer who’s responsibility it is the take care of the land, it’s ours to take responsibility for this land. Starting at home and working our way out.

 I can’t help but think about J. Vernon McGee:

Following cancer surgery in 1965 at the age of 61, the doctors gave Dr. McGee six months to live. The Lord gave him 23 more years.

In 1967 he launched the radio program “Thru the Bible” which took 5 years. At its completion the program tapes continued to run, and Dr. McGee and his board determined that the program would run until the money ran out. Through generous contributors it’s still running today.

Dr. McGee died in 1988, falling asleep in his chair and waking in the presence of Jesus. At the time of his death the bible program aired in 34 languages, but has since been translated into over 100 and is broadcast on Trans World Radio throughout the world every weekday.

At the age of 63 Dr. McGee continued ploughing and didn’t look back. He was a successful man of God, but I love that what he deemed as his greatest compliment came at the beginning his ministry.

His greatest compliment

As a student pastor, Dr. McGee’s first church sat on a red clay hill in Midway, Georgia. It was there he said he received his greatest compliment: “It was from a country boy wearing high buttoned, yellow shoes. After a morning service he came to speak to me. He groped for words, then blurted out, ‘I never knew Jesus was so wonderful!’ He started to say more but choked up and hurried out of the church. As I watched him stride across the field, I prayed, ‘Oh, God, help me to always preach so that it can be said, I never knew Jesus was so wonderful.’

Source: www.ttb.org

Would to God that it could be said about me and the Jesus Chick Ministry. I want the world to know how very wonderful Jesus is.

But that will never come to pass if you and I put the ploughs in the barn and fail to work the fields.

We have a Hope. His name is Jesus. And we need to tell everyone we meet.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Old Faith

Romans 4:1-8

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

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

Every generation from the days of Adam hoped for.

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

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

Exodus 20:18-19

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

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

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

New Faith

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

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

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

Why do you think that was so?

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

Romans 3:23 says

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

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

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

Salvation comes from repentance.

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

We too should be so bold!

Bold Faith

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

Are you bold in the faith? If not why?

Few in the Faith

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

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

I have that.

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

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

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

We are People of Purpose

Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God,

Romans 1:1

And that’s all the further I made it before my mind started reeling. Thinking about Paul, who he was, who he became, and the fact I’ll meet him some day in glory! And the absolute fact that I am so not like Paul. He was so very committed to everything he did. It reminds me of the children’s rhyme:

There was a little girl who had a little curl
Right in the middle of her forehead
And when she was good, she was very very good.
But when she was bad, she was dreadful!

Sorry! But that’s how my mind works. And that’s kind of how Paul was. When he was a Jewish Pharisee, he was very good at being very bad to the Christians, but when he became a Christian, oh my stars!!! that same zeal that he used to persecute and kill saints of God, he used to spread the gospel every where he went. He sowed seeds that would no doubt harvest a mighty crop of kids for the Kingdom. Oh, that that would be said of me… or you!

We are people of purpose, but we tend to forget it; or at least I do. Maybe you’re better.

As we continue reading Paul gives us more insight on our purpose as he scribes his letter to the children of Rome.

The Gospel

Romans 1:2

 (Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,)

Malachi 4:1-6

For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the Lord of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch. But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wings; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall. And ye shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I shall do this, saith the Lord of hosts. Remember ye the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments. Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.

That’s the whole chapter, just 6 verses, but my what a kick in the pants and a reminder that this story wasn’t new in  Paul’s day, and it isn’t new in ours, but what it is the prophecy fulfilled, for what the old testament revealed. And Paul’s reminding the church of that very thing.

And there in those 6 verses we see the reminder of why we should be far more diligent at getting the Gospel out. Just as Christ came the first time, He’s coming again; but this time He will not be the gentle man that the world loves to view Him as. He’s coming as King of all and Lord of all and He’ll judge the earth in righteousness. And those who do not know Him as Savior, our chance to see them saved will be gone. Who are we going to meet today that we’ll not see in Heaven? That’s a sobering question.

The Good News

The good news is that though His return is imminent, for the time being we still have time. So, what will you and I do with it? I’m asking myself that question in all seriousness.

Romans 1:3-6

Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead: By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name: Among whom are ye also the called of Jesus Christ:

If you’re saved, you’ve been called. And unlike the iPhone, you can’t pretend you didn’t see it. You can reject the call, as many of His children do, but somebody is going to suffer the consequences of our disobedience. That’s the bad news.

The Grace

Thank God for it, I’m going to need an abundance.

Romans 1:7

To all that be in Rome,

  • or Mt. Zion, West Virginia
  • Grantsville, WV
  • Windom, MN
  • Albuquerke, NM
  • Manilla, Philippines
  • Marietta, Ohio

Well, you get the picture.

beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Even in our failures, we are still His beloved. He didn’t die for perfect people, else there would have been no reason. He died for folks like us who failed before we were saved, and we’ve failed afterwards. But the difference is, we now know the whole story. It’s been revealed to us through His word that there is a purpose for us on this big ball of dirt! It’s to tell the world about the wonderful news of Jesus. And that the evilness of this world will be overcome. We will win the victory. But only those who know Jesus.

Who can you share that news with today?

Faith is Not Routine

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

Text: Ephesians 3:16-19

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Portion of My Cup (and Dewey’s)

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

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

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

Psalm 16:5

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

Everything for God’s Glory

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

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

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

Anything for God’s People

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

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

Philippians 2:4

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

Nothing Without Accountability

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

Matthew 12:36

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

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

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

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

1 Thessalonians 5:11

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

The Fool Hath Said “God Will Wait”

They used to say “There are no atheists in fox holes.” I don’t think that’s true anymore; the arrogance and pride of man is shockingly ignorant.

We’re in the second night of tent meeting at Victory Baptist Church, in Grantsville, WV and while the church in the holler is feeling the Spirit of God move in a mighty way, the world around us goes on, oblivious to the truth of God, that He’s coming back. And you’d better be ready!

Psalm 14

1The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.

The Lord looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God.

The context of this scripture does not speak of men in general, but rather a specific group (Sennacherib’s invasion of Judea) to which David is writing and directing this Psalm. Well, I too could write and direct a Psalm toward specific groups of people that I feel fall into the category of fools. But I won’t. They will not listen and my words would offend and do little for the cause of Christ. So I’ll direct my thoughts to those who perhaps will listen, the children of God.

While we would never say there is no God, we will skirt on the issue of foolishness by pretending His return is far, far in the future. So I pose these questions for you and I today.

If Jesus phoned you personally and said, “I’ll be leaving Heaven in 15 minutes to call my children home,” who would be your first call? I have to ask myself that question too. And why haven’t I been more persistent about their salvation?

Would there be any materialistic thing that you’d look at and say, “This is worth staying for?” Mmmm…. Not when I got a mansion there waiting! However, you’d think that some of the things for which I put great value on were worth staying for, because I sure waste enough time on them.

My third and final question is this… “How soon after reading this will we forget the questions?”

Common Temptations

Common Temptations

There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

1 Corinthians 10:13

We all have them, yours are different than mine, but it’s still the same emotion, days of victory and days of utter defeat.

There’s not any new temptations according to Apostle Paul. And even though sometimes I think mine are so pathetic that everyone else has won their battle with it, the scripture says I’ve gone through nothing that someone else hasn’t already faced. You may be facing it today.

You and I are not that weird.

Satan does not have anything new to use against us that he didn’t have in the day of Paul.

When I was a teen alcohol was an issue. Do you know that in Paul’s day, the people of the church would come in and get drunk on the communion wine? If you don’t believe me read 1 Corinthians 11. It’s in there.

It’s why the Baptist use grape juice. We can’t be trusted in the wine barrel.

How big of an issue is alcohol today? Not with teens only, but more so with adults who should know better. It’s an issue that can so easily out of control, and blind side the strongest of Christians even. Especially those prone to addiction. For which I have that personality and it would take nothing to get me over the edge of any addiction.

They didn’t have pornography as we do in Paul’s day, but they were so brazen, they were having scandalous relationships to the point Paul had to preach on it in 1 Corinthians 6 and it’s captured in the eternal word of God. So Satan doesn’t have anything new there either, he just has a new outlet. The internet. And while it’s done in secret with man, God still knows

Paul preached on corrupt conversations (Ephesians 4:29) How many things could fall into that category? Gossip, anger, criticism?) Finance issues, 1 Timothy 6:10,

Tell me these aren’t the same issues that we’re facing today. There is not new sin. Nothing’s changed since the garden. Man is still trying to make it on his and her own, without getting busted by God.

I heard a really deep sermon on this topic this week.  A lot of bible study had gone into it. I’m not going to tell you that I’ve done a lot of studying. But I can tell you that I’ve done a lot of thinking about how to speak on relevant topics of discussion for today. And going into tent meeting I wanted something for my own life to jerk a knot in me and say, “Shari, you can do better.”

If you want to be successful, you cannot continue dragging your heels in the dirt of this world, you’ve got to get up in the heavens where the air is clean and the sky is clear.

We’re seated in heavenly places the bible says.  

That may sound metaphoric, but it’s not.

This earth is disgusting. The preacher reminded us of a story of Billy Sunday, who was asked by a woman why he found the need to hold revivals all the time? And he asked her why she found the need to take a bath all the time? We need a bath for the same reason we need a revival. Because we’re dirty.

So I wanted to speak on something that is relevant and something that we can all agree is an issue. Dirt.

1 John 2:16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

The Lust of the Flesh

John Gill described it as “All unchaste thoughts, desires, words, and actions.”

Have you ever seen a time when there was more exposure to corrupt immoral behaviors? You can’t watch a commercial, a television show, movie, or even a child’s cartoon that it’s not there. It’s not only there, we don’t think twice about it. That is the scariest part. It’s on us and we don’t even try to wash it off.

I’m not sure how much it affects your world, but it certainly has been affecting mine. I don’t watch a lot of television during the day, but late at night, Netflix has been my go to source for entertainment. There’s hardly anything fit to watch. I finally resorted to watching kid shows because I needed to get a break from “too much adult content.” I’m not that grown up. My mind goes places it shouldn’t go. I’m just being real… And it always pops up in the middle of a sermon, or when I’m trying to be spiritual. It’s like someone is trying to sabotage my relationship with God. I wonder who that could be?

It ends up being two sabotages’. Satan, and me. I don’t want too, but I do.

The Lust of the Eyes

Sinful pleasures most generally begin with the eyes. Covetousness, vanity, idolatry… if we see it, we want it. We want to look like them, be like them, live like them… who are they? Anyone with something we don’t have.  It takes over our thoughts and desires and soon God is pushed to the side for stuff… It’s what takes people into a world of debt and destruction.

One poll that I read said that financial issues were 1/3 (it was the leading cause) of marriages ending. I don’t think that’s a shock. And I would dare to say that most of those debts came from the lust of the eyes. $50,000 dollar cars are standard issues for families. And the houses are beautifully insane.

Have you ever watched the shows where people are looking for a new home? I’ve pretty much stopped watching them because I couldn’t stand the bratty attitudes of the people who were appalled that a home only had 2,000 square feet. My home is less than ½ that. I lived in a tiny house before it was cool. Raised two girls here. And always felt inadequate because of people’s comments about other people’s houses and the fact that they unknowingly were speaking of me.

I’m not throwing stones. I have my own wants and desires that I could spill a list of. Some of which I need, and some of which, I just want. The lust of the eyes will take our eyes off what’s important.

The final of the three is

The Pride of Life

What seems to be meant is, “ambition and honor.” Titles.

Again have you seen it any worse than now when people are far less concerned about the ethics of work as they are about their position. Children are brought up in a world of entitlement and our next generation of employees just think they deserve a pay check for the same reason they deserved a trophy. Because they showed up. Not because they excelled.

The same thing is happening in the church. People feel like they’ve done enough because they showed up on Sunday morning and participated. They sang a song, they put their dollar in the offering, they shook the Pastor’s hand and told him he did a great job, now. Bring on the week and don’t think about it until next Sunday! And if you have a revival, don expect them to be their every night because that’s just too much.

I can guarantee some of our people feel that way, and I’m not worried about saying it, because I can almost guarantee they’re not watching me. Most of them don’t know I’m even on here, or what the Jesus Chick ministry is about.

This is where I broke down this morning.

I know this is what I’ve been called to do. But … those first two issues. The flesh and the eyes, have put me in a position that causes my family great issues financially. I want stuff. And stuff costs money, and I’m not really upset that I don’t have what I want, I’m more discouraged because sometimes I don’t have what I need to ministry work. And that causes me to want to go back into the world to get it. But there’s issues.

So this is where it got very relevant with me this morning. Do I trust God, or do I turn to man? And I think it’s where we all are in this world of dirt. This world gets on us and causes us to be uncertain about Heavenly things, because we can’t see them. It’s like my glasses most of the time. They have so much dirt and grime I can’t see clearly. Well, God cleared it up for me. I have to make a living… but not in the world. And that’s where I need to focus.

And then there was peace.

I hope you find yours today too…

Oh Lord It’s Hard to Be Humble

I like to think myself as humble, and then I have to ask myself “Are you really? And if you were, would you think you were?” I don’t know. Sometimes I don’t think I’m fully understanding of God’s opinion of humility, so God’s word in Psalm 10, verse 17 was a good launching point to understanding my humility level.

Lord, thou hast heard the desire of the humble: thou wilt prepare their heart, thou wilt cause thine ear to hear:

Psalm 10:17

Humble People Have Desires

I often think to myself and tear myself apart for wanting stuff. And I’ll confess, my desire for stuff isn’t always for God’s glory. Sometimes it’s just because this girl wants to have fun. Much like the gift I received from my overly generous husband yesterday who has always wanted to give me the desires of my heart, and I him. It’s how we’ve come to celebrate 39 years in just a few weeks. Which is why he bought me the Apple ® watch. He knows it’s been a desire of my heart. But then I often cannot reciprocate gifts of such value because I don’t have a “real job.” You know… one that pays money. So the guilt sets in. And it’s much the same with my relationship with God. I feel guilty that I’m not better at life.

Humble People Have Disappointments

Mostly in myself. I’m sure there are humble people out there who have great confidence as well as humility. I’m just not one of them. So when I read that God prepares the heart, it made me wonder what I’m missing that causes me to lack confidence and be disappointed with my accomplishments. Why am I not fully prepared? Obviously God isn’t the issue, He has prepared me; so how do I tap into it? I found that answer in 2 Timothy 2:20-21

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

And there it was in the honesty of God. I often lump myself in with wood and earth, rather than gold and silver. I know that I fail God again and again, and so does God. But rather than accepting His grace, and purging myself, I stay in the condemnation of this world. Foregoing His grace for misery. And how does that make sense? But it’s who I am, and I need to do better.

 Humble People Have Discouragers

Some on earth, some in the spiritual realm, and some in the mirror. But the latter of my verse says “God will cause his ear to hear.” But for some goofy reason, I buy the lies of my discouragers. Oh… I believe God hears. They can’t fool me on that, but my problem is, I don’t feel worthy of an answer. And that would be true, if it were my worthiness that matters. But it’s not. It’s the worthiness of the Savior Who thought I was of enough value to die for. The discouragement comes when I allow the sounds of the sirens of Hell to speak louder to my soul than the trumpets of Heaven that proclaim God’s glory.

This act causes me to live far short of the glory of God than I should, and doesn’t allow the world to see me living in the triumph that a child of God should.

A lesson for me, and probably a lesson for you too. Let’s practice it today!

How to Deal with Mainstream Mayhem

Many of the conversations I’ve had, both inside my head, and with other people, have recently been around the discussion of end times. It’s a topic not everyone desires to discuss. For me, from the standpoint of myself, I get excited! But then I begin to think of family and friends who aren’t prepared. It’s at this point that those who are not prepared, or those who are uncertain turn me off. And it’s when I begin to worry and stress about how much I’m doing for the cause of the Kingdom. I need to find ways to reach more people. I need to find a way to reach my people! You know… the family who “think” they’re okay, and those who just don’t think about it all, but would rather live in ignorance, not knowing that Jesus could be ready to step out on the cloud at any moment and call His church home.

Are you ready? Do you know that you know? I knew that I knew last year when I had open heart surgery. Only the Lord Jesus Christ can afford that peace. When I see that people don’t have an understanding of the end times, and really don’t care to know, I’m more than a little alarmed. But I guess that’s because I know. So in reading Jude, which by the way reads like a book specifically about 2019, I feel compelled to share the news I discovered about the news!

Jude vs. 16-18

These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men’s persons in admiration because of advantage. But, beloved, remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts.

Wow. How accurate is that?

According to a poll from Axios last year, 72% of 4,000 Americans polled, believe “traditional major news sources report news they know to be fake, false or purposefully misleading.” Other polls say it’s less; but then again, how do we know if even those who do the polls are reporting honestly. It’s just a sad state of affairs that we live in. Jude didn’t need the internet, a poll, or the evening news to tell him what the prognosis was for mankind. He heard it straight from Heaven. He walked with the Creator of all, and his words give an outline of modern times.

How not to Mistake the Fake

Stop watching all mainstream television. There are none that truly don’t have an agenda. I fully believe that. And in so doing, they’ll do they’re very best to persuade you in to believing what they say, even if it’s only in part. And it’s not only the news outlets. You can’t watch a good comedy without an agenda in it! If there’s such a thing as a good comedy. The dark side is found in almost every show I’ve attempted to watch over the past years. Wholesome television is almost nonexistent. And if you think children’s television is any different, think again. I’ve had to ban complete children’s channels off my television with the grandkids because they promote homosexuality, violence, and disrespect. It’s insane! So what’s the answer? Are we going to stop watching entertainment? Probably not, but we need to take Jude’s advice to heart before turning it on.

Never Trust Their Lusts

I’m not just trying to rhyme. It was a fact I learned about myself in our Sunday sermon at Victory Baptist Church. I covet stuff. Shiny stuff. I have a serious issue of wanting things I don’t necessarily need, and much of it comes from all the time I spend on social media. There’s always something shiny and new waiting for me on the web. Just ask Amazon.com. They’ll show you your shiny desires too, because they follow your networking trends. But it’s not always your lusts that are the issue. Their lusts can be come your lusts if it’s entered into your information gatherer enough times. That’s why I can’t watch shows who push the liberal agenda. Because I know their design is to mess with my conservative brain.

Don’t Fluff up the Puffed Up

Meaning: don’t take their efforts lightly. They’ve got it down to a fine art on how to manipulate the American mind. They use people and things that appeal to us. It’s why the celebrities are pushing every product and agenda out there. Because if we love their shows, music and movies, we’ll be easy marks to love their mindsets too. Which if you’re not careful will lead you down a pathway far away from the Lord Jesus Christ.

I’ll tell you where I stand. I’m a pro-Jesus, pro-life, Baptist conservative that makes no apologies for rolling my eyes at liberal brats who want my children and grandchildren to be corrupted by the notion that they are entitled to a world of shiny things that will take their minds to places God never intended His children to go. I hear it in their voices every time they get upset because life treats them unfairly or a commercial comes on with the latest and greatest and they want it, or a show or song plays that has garbage throughout it and they repeat it. And yet, when I praise God, or bow my head to pray I’m the one viewed as a fanatic.

It’s why Jude makes it clear that if you want the truth there is only one place to find it.

Take a look at the book!

So how do we deal with the Mainstream Mayhem? We measure everything we see and hear by the words of Jesus Christ. It is the only absolute truth in this world.

It’s why I love writing and working for FGGAM.org. Because Pastor Dewey Moede views the world through a biblical lens, and before he publishes it, it has to meet God’s standards. We know we’re accountable for what we say. The Bible is clear on that! We’ll stand before God and give an account of the words we speak and write. We’re not the only ones. That liberal bunch of liars that’s out there, they’ll have their day when they’re mockery comes to an end.

The book of Jude is one chapter from the end of the Book.

I feel like that’s where we are on the time line of eternity. And this chapter is coming to an end quickly…

When Your Value Seems Less

23 For it was the king’s commandment concerning them, that a certain portion should be for the singers, due for every day.

35 Lod, and Ono, the valley of craftsmen.

Nehemiah 11:23,35

I realize that those two scriptures may or may not mean much to you this morning, but for me as an artist, singer, creative person often less than extraordinaire they meant a great deal.

When I tell people that I struggle. That’s not a lie and it’s not said for pity or pride. It’s just reality. I get up way too often in the morning feeling like a failure and that what I do doesn’t amount to a hill of beans in the scope of eternity. So when I read in Nehemiah this morning, as I’ve read at other times (but too often forget), God truly cares about the creative.   That brought such joy to my heart.

While people enjoy music and art; unless you’re an honest to goodness “professional” your value is often viewed as less. It’s a hobby or a past time, not a career because it doesn’t come with a paycheck. And while I have people in my life that more than value me, I don’t value myself enough it seems.

So today I thought I’d post this short thought for those dealing with “feeling less.”

God made the moon the lesser light… and yet how many nights have we sat marveling at it. (Genesis 1:16)

The mustard seed is less than all the seeds on the earth… yet birds find rest and lodge there. (Mark 4:32)

There are parts of the body that we view as less important, and yet, we dare not want to live without them. (1 Corinthians 12:23)

Paul thought of himself less than all the saints (Ephesians 3:8) … but look at the difference he made in eternity.

David, King of Israel was the least of his brothers and not even considered by family in contention for the position, but God had other plans! (1 Samuel 16)

I reminded myself of these scriptures today, in hopes of encouraging my soul that lesser is often as it is, so that God can do the greater and receive the glory He deserves.

You and I are valuable members of the body of Christ. We are irreplaceable by anyone else.

He cared so much about me this happy Thursday morning that He showed me in His word and through friends how much the God of all creation, cares about the creative.

Glorraaaaay!