Tag Archives: 1 Corinthians 15

Strange but much needed encouragement

This may be the strangest blog ever, but… if you read on you’ll be encouraged.

So yesterday, as my friend Gloria and I traveled to the big city, we had our usual babe banter going by trying to catch up on days and weeks’ worth of news in just a few hours. Somehow or another, (as only it could with us) we began a deep discussion of Mairzy Dotes and Dozey Dotes and Little Lambsy Divey.

I kid you not.

She was shocked that I didn’t know that that was a children’s pronunciation song exercise for  “Mares eat oats and does eat oats and little lambs eat ivy, a kid will eat ivy too, wouldn’t you.

Who Knew! Well, I guess plenty of people besides me. So, this morning I’m kind of in that same mode, only with the word encouragement. En “courage” ment. My word for the year! How had I not noticed courage in the center of that word? I know… I’m a cheap date, it takes so little to entertain my mind. But on days like today when I’m struggling to stay encouraged, I’m looking for courage where ever I can find it. Maybe you are too.

Encouragment defined is:

en·cour·age·ment

/inˈkərijmənt,enˈkərijmənt/

noun

  1. the action of giving someone support, confidence, or hope.
  2. persuasion to do or to continue something.
  3. the act of trying to stimulate the development of an activity, state, or belief.

Every single definition is a piece of the soul winning plan!

The Help of Hope

1 Corinthians 15:19

If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.

How true! And a huge part of my testimony. I was of all people most miserable before knowing the Lord as my Savior. I knew there was a God, but I didn’t know God. I knew I feared Hell, but did not know how to keep from going. I needed peace, but didn’t know what it truly was until I experienced it post salvation.

It is these words of encouragement that I need to share with others to give them the courage to go on. To give me the courage to go on in the ministry. You probably have a like testimony, how can you use that today to encourage people in your life.

The Passion of Persuasion

Acts 26:28

Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.

What a sad statement by Agrippa. He was almost persuaded to be saved, but it wasn’t for the lack of Paul passion. The preceding verses stir my soul yet today!

Acts 26: 21-26

For these causes the Jews caught me in the temple, and went about to kill me. Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come: That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles. And as he thus spake for himself, Festus said with a loud voice, Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad. But he said, I am not mad, most noble Festus; but speak forth the words of truth and soberness. For the king knoweth of these things, before whom also I speak freely: for I am persuaded that none of these things are hidden from him; for this thing was not done in a corner.

Nor is it hidden today! God bears witness to every soul on earth. We know. And that is why God’s word will not return void, because within the heart of every girl and boy is the desire to know God.

Have courage! Share Him today.

The Beauty of Belief

Romans 10:15

And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

How beautiful! Nothing is more beautiful than seeing a soul come to the saving grace of Jesus Christ. Words can attempt to capture it but will never do it justice like being in the presence of it happening. I have been privileged to see so many souls come to Christ, but never enough! I long to be used by God in such a manner. But I kid you not it takes courage.

It takes writing posts like this for myself. I need to see God’s word in action. How about you? I hope I gave you courage today. Tell somebody about Jesus. Post it on social media, call them on the phone, and tell them face to face. Get the word out in every way possible. It’s a beautiful thing!

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!

The Rules for Playing Church

It’s hard to imagine that in the twinkling of an eye; that split millisecond of time we will be gone from this earth and in the presence of the Lord Jesus Himself. It is for certain a “whoa” thought. There is a part of me that says, “Yes Lord, yes! Let it be today.” And then there is the realization that although I am ready and excited for that moment, I have friends and family who are clueless to what those words mean.

Evangelism is all but a lost art form in most churches. Everyone’s preaching love one another, but few are loving others enough to keep them out of Hell and tell them that that trump is going to sound and when it does the opportunity is over for those who have had an opportunity to be saved and rejected it. There will be no more “playing church.”

So how does one know if they’re playing church? Ask yourself and answer honestly these questions:

Rule Number 1 of playing church: Say you know Jesus.

Was there a time in your life when you realized that you were a sinner? Everyone has, but do you recognize that as a sinner, you need saving? And you can’t do it yourself.

“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3: 23)

The realization of being a sinner also brings with it the realization of how Holy God is. As a child, who did not know Jesus Christ as Lord, I knew there was a God. And I knew in my heart when I examined it honestly, that I knew of Jesus, but I didn’t know Jesus.  There’s a difference. When I realized that to know Jesus and to be able to come into His presence was to be sin free, I didn’t “know” Jesus.

Rule Number 2 of Playing Church: Say nobody’s perfect.

True story in regards to people, but not God! Jesus Christ was perfect in every way. Sinless and blameless and yet willing to take on our imperfections so that we could have an opportunity to be with a Holy God. Perhaps that’s too “churchy” of a conversation for you to understand. The bible says this:

“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)

We understand as children that doing wrong means punishment. It’s engrained in our hearts at birth that we know right from wrong. Now, human nature takes over and wants what’s wrong much of the time, but we know it’s wrong. How do we know? Did an explosion at the onset of time put that notion in your heart… that theory is crazy. A intelligent Creator built you with that ability to draw you in to a relationship with Him.

The bible says we deserve to die for our sins and go to Hell. But a loving God didn’t want that to happen so He made a way to escape Hell, which was created for Satan and his demons. You have no doubt felt the presence of evil in the world too. God was willing to be born as a man, and die the painful death of a man, as a gift for you to have eternal life. One final sacrifice.

“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”  (Romans 5:8)

Rule Number 3 of Playing Church: Make a profession without a personal relationship

“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”  (Romans 10:13)

Being saved is that easy. Ask Jesus to save you and He will. There’s no trickery. But often times people say that prayer, or that statement without truly acknowledging that the end result is giving yourself to Him. If you’re saved you won’t say that prayer and walk away without being changed because a Holy God is now living in you, and He wants no part of un-holiness. I know. Because I test Him continually. Getting saved doesn’t make you perfect, it places a perfect God within you that guides you and instructs you and when you sin God makes His presence known. So if you can sin, and not feel Him within you, I would have to think you’re playing church.

So are you? Please don’t. Any second that trumpet could sound and God will call His church home. People who are saved will disappear in a millisecond from this earth and if you’re not saved, you will not see them again and Hell is about to be unleashed on earth. So how do you remedy that end?

Ask Jesus to save you and mean it. Find a bible believing church and stick with it. Don’t buy the lie of the world that you can make it on your own. You won’t last a day.

A prayer to be saved might sound like this:

“Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner.  I know that I need you.  I believe that you died on the cross for me. Forgive me of my sins. Right now, I turn from my sins and open the door of my heart and life to you.  I receive you as my Saviour, come into my life and save me.  Thank you for what you did for me.  Amen.”

Or you may want to open that conversation with God on your own. If you ask Him to save you, He will, and then.. let the conversation begin!

Our Steadfast God

I have always been a fly by the seat of your pants kinda gal. Which works great for me, until it doesn’t. There are so many good ideas and so little time! But in celebrating my 20th year as a child of God, I’m so glad God doesn’t think like me! I change my mind more than a chameleon changes color, but God does not. He is steadfastly steadfast. Written twice for emphasis.  And in this wishy washy world where nothing seems certain and the backbone of most churches is as weak as a spaghetti noodle how wonderful it is to have the assurance that God’s the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. He is steadfast.

Whether or not they’ll admit it, even to the unsaved, He is steadfast. It frustrates many that God doesn’t change because then they could find fault in Him. Men change. Churches change. But not God. There are no business meetings in Heaven! In Daniel 6:9 King Darius had signed a decree that no one should pray, but Daniel didn’t change. He’d always prayed to the God of Glory and even the threat of death would not stop him. So when Daniel’s blatant noncompliance to the King’s law was brought to his attention, the King attempted to change his mind but the world wouldn’t have it because Daniel represented what they loathed, which was righteous living.

The King had observed the steadfastness of Daniel and knew there was a difference, but he was bound by his own law to carry out the punishment of throwing Daniel into the lion’s den. But before he sent him in he said to Daniel “Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee.” Yes, even the unsaved know. And He did deliver Daniel! To the amazement of the King and I’m sure to the sore losers who thought they were finally shed of the guilt Daniel made them feel. So the King made a new decree in Daniel 6:26

I make a decree, That in every dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel: for he is the living God, and stedfast for ever, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed, and his dominion shall be even unto the end.

Whether or not our leadership repents and turns back to God doesn’t change the fact that God is still steadfast. Our lions may look more like unemployment, heartache or disease but we like Daniel will be delivered in God’s time and in God’s way.

I don’t think Daniel went arrogantly up to the lion, thumped him on the nose and said “You want a piece of this?” No, lest the lion took a piece of that. I think he faced the lion with humility and belief that “come what may” God had him covered. And I believe that in the arrogance of our political climate we need to bow our heads and wait for the Lion of Judah to silence the arrogant kings of this world. And He will, because my God is steadfast.

Acts 1:10-11

And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.

He’s coming back! Be steadfast in your looking toward Heaven.

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

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Heaven’s Post Master Has a Message for you Today

CHICK POSTAGEAs I ran along in the sermon of my friend Roger Carter…(I say “ran” because you’ll not likely walk through one. Once he starts preaching it’s like he’s been shot out of a cannon. He’s not stopping until he reaches his destination. He’s fun like that!), but along the way he said this, “Death is a change of address.” He had to run ahead without me for a little while because my mind got stuck on that thought and I couldn’t let it go. When someone we love moves a distance away we may be sad for a little while, but most of us adjust to the idea. We talk to them on the phone, or correspond by other means and plan for the next time we see them again; and we get excited in the planning process. But when someone dies the conversation is lost… and that’s tough. I don’t make light of it.

When I lost my Dad, I missed those conversations; his sense of humor, his love of family and music and most of all, his love of God. But because of his love of God and his personal testimony of a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, I might have moments of sadness but I have I eons of hope! My Dad simply got a new address, and I know that I know that I’ll see him again in glory and that makes this journey bearable. And in the mean time I ask God to tell my dad “Hey,” and go back to planning our reunion.

So what about that address?

Living in rural West Virginia has many advantages, but one advantage is our source of entertainment… each other. As I began this blog, my mind drifted back to the 1980’s when I worked as an ad manager for a local newspaper. The editor of that paper had moved to our area after retiring as an editor for the New York Times. He absolutely fell in love with West Virginia! But he did have days which caused him ponder his decision. One such day was when he went across the street to the local post office to mail a book to a friend in Canada. He was informed by our elderly post master that you couldn’t mail anything out of the country (and he was serious). After a lengthy argument with the old man, the editor returned to our office, half angry and half in hysterical laughter. I’m not sure if he ever convinced the post master that you could mail things out of country, or if he took his book to another post office, but none the less made for a great story and one we laughed about for years to come.

There’s no physical address for that country where God dwells with my friends and loved ones who have died, but there’s a spiritual address and it’s every bit as real as Grantsville, West Virginia. Are you planning for the trip?

RETURN TO SENDER

A child of God will return to sender in the blink of an eye when their day comes to leave this world. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” That speaks of the day that Christ will call His church home. Many of us will go at once and a lost world will be left in turmoil. That day is likely very near. But for those who pass away before that day Paul said in 2 Corinthians 5:8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.”

Confident that he would be delivered, postage paid by the blood of Jesus Christ who paid the price for us to be able to dwell in that city not made of hands but by God Himself.

But what about those who haven’t made preparation?

TURNED TO CINDER

Jesus told a religious crowd the fate of a rich man who died without knowing God in Luke 16:23 when He said “And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments”. God doesn’t sugar coat Hell, and just because someone doesn’t believe it exists or chooses not to make a choice doesn’t make it an untruth and their choice is made. Hell is eternal separation from everyone. Look at the people in your life that you care about. Are you prepared to never see them again? It’s not only separation it’s also a place of fire, torment and gnashing of teeth and totally unnecessary. That address was never meant to be on the map, but because of sin and our rejection of God’s forgiveness by and through the sacrifice of His Son Jesus, it’s there.

Have you been marked postage paid, or are you lost in transit; having never accepted God’s gift of salvation? It’s the best gift ever! And it’s never undeliverable. No matter where you’ve been in life or what you’ve done, God’s grace is sufficient for all. Don’t spend another second in time without making that decision. Watch the news… and more importantly read the Word of God. Written thousands of years ago and yet they line up together with God’s warning that He’s going to return. Don’t miss the Post Master to Heaven!!!!

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Is there such a thing as a couth checker?

I feel as though my blog should come with a disclaimer… “Warning!!! Mind not fully functional when written.” I was re-reading a blog I had written a few days ago after someone posted a comment on it, and my first thought was…. Wow… I’m glad they can read between the lines because the typos were ridiculous! The spelling was correct, but the grammar use was in need of help! Wrong use of verbs, missing words, etc. It was in dire need of a proof read before it ever hit the network. I wondered why the grammar check on Microsoft Word ® didn’t catch it; turns out it thinks sentences like “A pastor have never called me before” is correct English. Evidently so did my mind in the wee hours of Sunday morning. The proper use of “words” seems to be on my mind a lot lately. I’ve bit my tongue off a time or two lately to keep from sharing my mind at inopportune moments. Mostly with insensitive people who didn’t get the manners memo.

Icouths there such a thing as a “Couth checker?” Sometimes I need one too.  But for the sake of spiritual encouragement this morning, let’s assume you and I are okay in the manners department. That could change in a heartbeat if we’re surrounded by negative, ill willed people.

1 Corinthians 15:33 says – Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners.

I guess that’s our Heavenly Father’s way of saying “Show me your friends and I’ll show you who you are or who you soon shall be.” But what about people we’re around in the course of a day for which we don’t have control of? Believe me, they influence us more than we realize, either negatively or positively. I’ve mimicked a friend at church who exclaimed to me one day “Jeepers Socks Shari, I don’t know,” so many times that it is now a favorite exclamation of my own. I don’t do it out of disrespect, I love it and him! It reminds me of a simpler time in life when the harshest word we heard on television was darn and it meant serious business. Now our kids are blasted with profanity from every direction, the teaching of manners is a thing of the past, and it has become common practice for rudeness to be socially approved. Jeepers socks! Have we no sense?

That’s why it’s important to flood our mind with goodness as much as possible. Good Christian friends, good Christian music, the Word of God, Preaching and Bible teaching. Keep a generous supply on hand! Put the Bible on your smartphone, carry a pocket bible or write it on an index card! Whatever you have to do to spiritually encourage yourself during the day or when you’re away from goodness and Jeepers Socks kind of people.