Tag Archives: Church accountability

Beware of Dry Bones

A Nation of Dry Bones

Ezekiel’s vision of the valley of dry bones (Ezekiel 37:1–14) came to him after God had directed him to prophesy the rebirth of Israel in chapter 36. God was using Ezekiel to restore Israel to her land of blessing. But it didn’t seem humanly possible. Israel was once again in captivity having fallen away from God’s grace through rebellion. In that state it would take a miracle to find hope! Something like dead men’s bones coming back to life.

When God told Ezekiel to tell the bones that God would make breath enter the bones and come to life just as He had created Adam, Ezekiel obeyed. He’d been transported to the valley of dry bones already so no doubt he was in a mind to listen. When that body of bones resurrected with flesh and blood to stand as an army it symbolized the coming together of the Nation of Israel in end times.

As I read commentaries of the Ezekiel’s valley experience, I couldn’t help but see the implications against us. We’re  in captivity and aren’t even aware of it. At least Israel knew.

This morning’s breaking news with regards to New York Governor’s celebration of the abortion bill passing that would allow unborn children up until birth to be aborted made my eyes well with tears and my stomach roll over. It’s murder. Plain and simple and there will come a day of judgment that I wouldn’t want to be in the vicinity of. That smug look of self-righteous indignation on the faces of the “victors” will be removed by God Himself.

These and other acts of rebellion as a nation are dry bones to beware of. We will be held accountable for our votes and our attitudes of remiss when standing against those who support such atrocities.

A Church of Dry Bones

The only thing worse than government leaders being elected who stand for abortion is churches that stand with them or those who take no stand at all.

Edmund Burke said it well when he said that “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

How true that is. It’s what’s happening in our churches today when church leadership is refusing to take a stand against what the bible plainly lists as sin for fear of government repercussion or offending their congregations.

I thank God for churches who stand in the gap for these unborn children. They are children, they have names! God that in Jeremiah 1:5 that before we were in the womb He knew us. We have a name and a purpose long before we’re born.

The infants that the governor of New York celebrated their death may have been the doctor who cures cancer, Alzheimer of eradicates drug abuse through some revolutionary tactic, but it will never come to pass because they were murdered. They may have been the preacher that leads your grandchild to Christ, but your grandchild will never cross their path, because they were never born. Drama? No, reality.

A People of Dry Bones

We cannot change our nation and our churches until we’re ready to believe that God can resurrect the dead.

I will not give up on my nation and the churches across this great land because I know a lot of great people who are willing to take a stand for the cause of right. I believe that’s the only reason God hasn’t eradicated us.

But there’s not enough of us willing to make that stand known. Sometimes it’s because we don’t know where to start. Other times it’s because we don’t have enough support in our own troops.

Start by taking a stand on your own. In life, on social media, where ever the opportunity arises. Ask your church to get involved in awareness and then contact every political leader telling them your position and assure them that you’ll make their position known.

When Ezekiel made those bones dance, he did it through the power of God but it no doubt made him shake in his own shoes a little; mainly with excitement that God would revive His people again. He will. And He will revive us if those who say they stand for right do it.

We need to beware of dry bones but we need to be prepared for possibility that they just might come to life and bring this nation back in God’s grace once more!

Whether or not it happens only time will tell. But we will stand before God and answer for our efforts, or lack thereof.

The Decision after the Dance

I have a fascination with the redemptive story of Israel. That is likely the case because I have a great resemblance with the children of Israel; I too get out of line, get in trouble, get right, get rescued and then like a good shampoo, I will lather, rinse, repeat. Over and over again it happens. So when I read chapters like the 15th chapter of Exodus it always make me wonder why God puts up with me. The children of God had just seen the miraculous work of the Lord in parting the sea so they could walk through on dry ground, they then watched it kill their enemy by crashing back down on them. Think on that a second! So they’re on the shore, singing and dancing and praising the Lord, and Moses breaks up the party to continue their journey to the Promised Land.

I envision this much like a car ride with my kids for vacation. They start out excited, but after the first few hours on the road the whining and fighting would begin. Multiply that times the million or two that Moses had in the back seat. I don’t know what kept him sane. But following the great miracle came a time of dryness when the children of Israel couldn’t find water; and that’s a legit complaint. But they had just seen God take millions of gallons of water and displace it through the staff of Moses, so why did they really think a drink would be a problem for Him?

Exodus 15:23-27

And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter: therefore the name of it was called Marah.  And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink? And he cried unto the Lord; and the Lord shewed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet: there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them, And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the Lord that healeth thee. And they came to Elim, where were twelve wells of water, and threescore and ten palm trees: and they encamped there by the waters.

The Dance

My previous Pastor called it “the honeymoon” stage when a person first accepted Jesus as Savior. It seems like everything in the world is roses and chocolate if you’re a woman, or Black and Decker ® if you’re a guy. It’s all good. But it’s not long until you discover that life’s not always good, sometimes it’s downright lousy but you eventually come through it and it is once again time to dance. But then there is another time…

The Dry

It’s a longer period of time, when things do not get better quickly. You don’t feel the presence of God and frustration begins to set in. You try to have faith, but it’s wavering and your patience for change grows thin. You ask questions of God such as “Why and When.” Just like the children of Israel.

The Decision

There comes a time when you have to decide, am I going to whine, or am I going to whip the Devil through the promises of God?

In the very last verse of that chapter, the rescue came in the form of a camp sight oasis of sort. Twelve wells and seventy palm trees. That oasis also came with the promise of healing and rest if they were obedient to God’s commands.

Numbers play an important role in scripture. Especially the numbers 12 and 70. There are multiple references to those and they make an interesting study, but for today’s message I offer this thought:

12 Disciples and the 70 sent (Matthew 10:1 and Luke 10:1)

Not likely a coincidence that God used those numbers and it draws my mind into the importance of Christian fellowship and service. The children of Israel had lost sight of the role that they played in God’s plan. They were His chosen! After this journey He had promised them a wonderful life. Technically the journey too could have been wonderful. But they blew it when the lost sight of the power of God.

New believers in Christ usually believe that they could whip a bear with a fly swatter if they thought God told them too. But over time we begin to take our relationship with God for granted. We’re grounded in the faith, we don’t need to be in church “every service.” A few “worldly things won’t hurt,” and it’s not long until we’re dry and dusty and there is no water in sight. And we begin to complain that God’s just not there for us anymore, knowing that He didn’t move, we did. It’s so much easier to blame God than to look at where we left Him.

New Testament references: When Joseph and Mary left 12 year old Jesus in the temple, they found Him just where they left Him. When the woman with the
12 year” issue of blood reached out for Jesus she was healed, when the 12 year old girl died, and her father came to Jesus, Jesus brought her back to life. Twelve is the number of completion and we are complete in Christ. He has chosen us, just as He did the twelve.

As for the number 70: By God’s direction Moses appointed 70 elders in Israel to stand with him in the tabernacle. And in Luke 10:17 “The seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name.” The 70 were excited about what the Lord had done. They had gone out two by two and God provided for them in their walk with and for Christ.

I don’t know if I’m correct, but I know how the Lord impressed my heart on this matter this morning. Fellowship is important, both with the leaders (12), and with the servants (70). There is great and healing, comfort and rest in the people of God. Israel should have trusted God and they should have looked to Moses for leadership instead of complaining. They also should have come together as people of God. But they decided to whine. That whining cost them 40 years of no direction and they missed the joy of entering into the land of promise.

Whining because things aren’t what you’d like won’t keep you out of Heaven, but it will prevent your joy in the journey. Staying out of church won’t keep you out of Heaven but it will costs you your joy, fellowship and relationship with the Lord. We need it. I need it.

Hearing the Word of God and being in the fellowship of God’s people brings healing and comfort to the soul. Don’t miss out. Be in a bible believing, preaching, serving church this Sunday!!! and share this message with someone struggling to stay faithful. I love you, but more importantly, JESUS LOVES YOU!!!

Who Is on the Wall?

wallI love lessons in leadership. It truly is where my heart lies much of the time; seeking wisdom of God as to the expectations of leaders in a church.  I’m especially interested in leadership as it pertains to women. Now I realize this differs at every church, and I know that varying denominations have varying beliefs, but I think one we will all agree on is that our church is “our church.” And how we believe is our choice. That being said, this is not about gender as much as it is about the ears on the side of every head be they male or female. One of the greatest leadership lessons learned of recent date was the 2016 National Election. The ears of Washington D.C. had been plugged with the cotton of conspiracy by Satan himself and they had long since stopped listening to the people. Unless of course you were Hollywood’s people. Which is a liberal mindset not fit to listen to and by no means should carry a greater weight than that of the rest of the country. And because they didn’t listen, the election was a shocker for them! Well, I don’t want a shocker in my church and you shouldn’t want a shocker in yours either.

That’s why it’s important to listen, rather than labor in vain.

2 Samuel 20 finds King David trying to reestablish his Kingdom having been ousted by his son Absalom who was then killed in the battle.  And once that battle was over there was a man of Belial (evil ungodly man) who’s name was Sheba the son of Bichri and he refused to accept the victory of David. Sound familiar? I guess Sheba was a democrat of the day (okay, I’ll stop). This is not about politics so don’t fret! This is about one woman in her community who saved the day and one leader in David’s army that stopped to listen.

2 Samuel 20:16-20

Then cried a wise woman out of the city, Hear, hear; say, I pray you, unto Joab, Come near hither, that I may speak with thee.  And when he was come near unto her, the woman said, Art thou Joab? And he answered, I am he. Then she said unto him, Hear the words of thine handmaid. And he answered, I do hear. Then she spake, saying, They were wont to speak in old time, saying, They shall surely ask counsel at Abel: and so they ended the matter. I am one of them that are peaceable and faithful in Israel: thou seekest to destroy a city and a mother in Israel: why wilt thou swallow up the inheritance of the Lord? And Joab answered and said, Far be it, far be it from me, that I should swallow up or destroy.

A Woman of Wisdom

The unnamed woman, a mother of Israel (she was a leader), took her plight to the leader of David’s Army and saved her whole city. She went “in her wisdom” back to her people and they cut the head off of Sheba and threw it over the wall to Joab. He didn’t have to lift a finger, he just had to listen.

A Woman of Willingness

Much like our nation, I believe that church leadership isn’t listening to their people. There’s a battle against the church from within and without but if everyone would just listen to one another we could throw the head of Satan outside our walls and dwell in peace. Of course I speak metaphorically, but this scripture pierced my heart when I heard her plea for her city “I am one of them that are peaceable and faithful.”

In other words, “I’m not trying to cause trouble, I’m one of your people and I’m willing to serve, tell me what you need and I’ll make it happen.” Joab listened and the woman acted. That’s what will make our churches great! When leadership puts the battle into the hands of the people. The congregation knows where the trouble is. They see when a family struggles, they see when disagreements and dissention is arising in the ranks, they know when something works and when it doesn’t.

A Woman of Watchfulness

Everyone in the congregation? No. But the woman of wisdom who had kept her eye her people, not for the latest gossip, but to keep them alive! No doubt there were men of wisdom. We know who’s mature in the faith and who’s still a baby and likes to tattle. A whole city was saved because a woman without a name had the nerve to speak boldly to a leader and that leader had the wherewithal to listen.

Here’s was my lesson from this woman’s story:

  • She cared, and she cared deep ( she was willing to stick her neck on the line)
  • She went to the leaders to find out what needed to be done, and he answered.
  • She went back to her people and had them handle the problem. (I highly doubt she killed Sheba) but she knew who could.
  • She didn’t care if nobody knew who she was, her mission was to serve the people of God.

The lesson: Leaders should listen, and listeners should feel led to lead, so that everyone on the inside of the wall has a voice.

Not Without Jesus

sheepfoldThe story of Deborah in the book of Judges has always had a fascination for me. To see a woman in leadership at that time in history was amazing. It ought not to have been so by tradition. But there she was traipsing off to war with Barak who had been instructed to take the men and go and yet refused. So brave hearted Deborah calls his hand on it and he says, “I’ll go if you will.” (Shari quoted, not scripture). So Deborah went and the battle was won. In Chapter 5 is the song of Deborah and Barak, at which point she again calls out the men when she sings to the tribe of Rueben in verse 16 “Why abodest thou among the sheepfolds, to hear the bleatings of the flocks?”

The tribe of Reuben knew Israel was in battle, yet they opted just to sit with the sheep rather than go to war. And for me that was a grim view of the churches in America. There they sit with their sheep while Christians are on the battlefield and they’re content to listen to the “bleating of their sheep,” who’d rather stay safe in the fold than come against the liberal crowd on the battle field. All the while the gospel is being watered down beyond recognition and the word of God is being challenged as lawless because it offends those who live in sin. Somebody needs to sing this song… today it’s me.

I see a new hope on the horizon in America. I must confess… I’m a little excited. But last night as I watched the news and the hope spread through economic forces and American leaders my first thought was… “Not without Jesus.” The churches of America better be ready to reclaim some ground along with the government reclaiming control of our borders, military and economy or this plan won’t work either.

The Tribe of Reuben were on the wrong side of Jordan to fight in the battle. And the churches in
America (collectively) have been on the wrong side of the battle in our land. Pastors have cowered down to the liberals and refused to dole out the word of God that convicts and cleanses the heart of the hearer. What God has called out to be sin: homosexuality, abortion, etc. – the churches of America have deemed it either forgivable or a misnomer of scripture.

Why is the American church cowered down among the sheep? If there is a hope to be found in America it will be found on the right side of Jesus, or it won’t be found. Old Testament or New, God says “come out from among them.” It’s a good word for America right now.

Don’t Take Grace For Granted

holy-ground

When we read the bible, we often times read it as if it’s a homework assignment from the Lord and we really want to go outside and play, but we have to get this done first. We treat attending church much the same way. Rather than, understanding that it’s the very Word of God, the One Whom we long to see and hear, but we’d rather it be in person than through the means He’s given us… which is His book. Like the children of Israel, we forget how Holy God is.

And while I totally get that Jesus came from Heaven and walked as a man, and made a way through His death, resurrection and the gift of the Holy Spirit for us to have constant communion with Him in a much less formal way than that of the Jewish religion, it still does not take away how Holy He is. But we forget.

This came to my attention in a recent teen class on one of those nights where I just couldn’t get a handle on their attention. I had brought in instruments in hopes of worshiping the Lord in song but their attention strayed more toward Led Zepplin and The Eagles. And while I’ve been known croon a tune or two of some old favs of my past, I wanted their focus on worship. So, tonight as I prepare for my midweek teen class, my heart is heavy. It’s broken for God because not only the children but we too have forgotten how Holy God is and that His house is a special place. I hope that in teaching this lesson about the Song of Moses, my kids will understand why I love praise and worship music, and why our time together in His word and in His house isn’t just another Wednesday night. But it’s special to God and it’s special to me.

I hate going into one of those nostalgic “back in the olden days” modes, but there’s something different in the church today than there was when I was a kid, and it’s not for the better. While we’ve contemporized many things that make services more “user friendly” (which I agree with) we also draw a fine line between play time and understanding Who’s presence we’re in if we’re not careful. We want kids and adults alike to enjoy their time in God’s house, but we shouldn’t forget that it’s God’s house.

I was in a service many years ago where the Holy Spirit was so heavy during a communion service that someone kicked their shoes off before approaching the altar because it felt like such holy ground. Those times have been rare. I don’t expect it every service because I think we’d take those times for granted if they were there all the time. But I do expect to feel the Holy Spirit moving in me every service, or something is wrong and it’s usually with me. I want the youth in my department to feel that Presence in the church. I want them to understand that the God we serve, the One that loves to laugh and play is also the Creator of the earth and the same God that in Old Testament times would wipe people off the face of the earth for the behavior that we show towards Him today.

Grace shouldn’t be taken for granted.

I think by the time Moses had lead the children of Israel through the wilderness forty years he had just about had enough. They’d whined and murmured, turned their back on God to worship a cow and drove Moses into a fit of anger that kept him out of the Promised Land. Can I get a witness that if he were here today he’d sing that song in Deuteronomy 32 again.

1 Give ear, O ye heavens, and I will speak; and hear, O earth, the words of my mouth.

2 My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as the showers upon the grass:

3 Because I will publish the name of the Lord: ascribe ye greatness unto our God.

4 He is the Rock, His work is perfect: for all His ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is He.

5 They have corrupted themselves, their spot is not the spot of his children: they are a perverse and crooked generation.

6 Do ye thus requite the Lord, O foolish people and unwise? Is not He thy father that hath bought thee?http://www.fggam.org/wp-admin/ Hath He not made thee, and established thee?

7 Remember the days of old, consider the years of my generation: ask they father, and will he will shew thee; thy elders, and they will tell thee.

Moses went all nostalgic on them as well! He began his song as many contemporary worshipers do today with the song “How Great is Our God!”

And oh my goodness, how great is He! We sing the words and the Holy Spirit moves through us but no sooner is the last word sung, and we’re back into the flesh again. Or is it just me?

By the time Moses had gotten to the fifth line of the song, it was no longer a happy little tune, it was more like “You Ain’t nothing but a Hounddog.” And that theme continued throughout the song until He closes it with the promise of Grace in verse 43

Rejoice, O ye nations, with His people: for He will avenge the blood of His servants, and will render vengeance to His adversaries, and will be merciful unto His land, and to His people.

O we love that verse! That’s when the rubber meets the road for the enemies of God’s people! But we’re not too far from the behavior of the enemies of God today, be it we’re covered by grace and they are not. We love grace! But we forget that the mirror of grace is the holiness of God.

So what am I trying to point out?

God is Holy… don’t make light of Him.

God’s house is sacred… walk in like it’s a big deal.

God’s Word being taught is divinely inspired… listen like its God… because it is.

Don’t take grace for granted.

Don’t Limit God

Spirit limit

If only I had failed God once and learned my lesson I’d consider myself in pretty good shape for the shape I’m in; that shape being a sinner saved by grace. But no, I have to again and again fail God, beg mercy, feel minty fresh for about 30 seconds and then sin again. Why are we such a fickle lot of people? Christian people that is. Am I alone? I’m pretty sure I’m not.

This past week a well-known preacher, Perry Noble, and one that I had followed, fell. I loved this guy. He wasn’t perfect and I didn’t agree with everything he said but I loved his style of preaching and his “realness.” The problem with being real is it also makes you pretty transparent. Because you’ll say anything. If it comes into your mind, it’s usually out of your mouth before you give a second thought.  This was his style. He was funny and charismatic and above all, thousands of souls came to know the saving grace of Jesus Christ through him. I believe that. His words stirred my soul and I believe God used Him. But he fell, because he, like I, am human. His transparency gave me a spiritual insight to him that said “proceed with caution.” He dabbled too close the snake pit, and that my friend has gotten many a preacher in trouble. Alcohol was his downfall, and I won’t even get started on that because I could write for days! And it’s not the point in this blog. My point is the limits we put on God is through sin’s hold. It’s not the sin itself, it’s the hold it get on us.

Israel let God down again and again. But His great mercy brought them through. Read what David said in Psalm 78

But he, being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity, and destroyed them not: yea, many a time turned he his anger away, and did not stir up all his wrath.  For he remembered that they were but flesh; a wind that passeth away, and cometh not again. How oft did they provoke him in the wilderness, and grieve him in the desert! Yea, they turned back and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel.

Psalm 78:38-41

God understood Israel and He understands us. He knows we are weak vessels and that we fall, but the key is to move forward away from the snake pit. Turning back doesn’t stop God’s forgiveness… He’ll forgive again and again. But He won’t bless again and again. We limit Him. Even God has limits, they’re called “us.”

He desires to pour His blessings down upon us, bring revival into our church houses but our turning back puts a speed limit on the Holy Spirit. Turning back is different things for different people. For my preacher man that fell, he got too close a substance that fuels the fires of Hell. Alcohol. I hate it and everything it stands for. That was his sin, I have my own, and you have yours. And for the tribe of preachers that want to cast this preacher to the curb… God sees you too. God Who is full of compassion forgives, you who are full of pride will point and condemn the man God forgave.

My point to ponder is this: Don’t limit God. He forgave the sin, now move on. There’s a new speed sign up ahead that says “full throttle!”  Don’t turn back.

3 Step Strategy for Revival

revival

Every real revival in the church has been a child of prayer. There have been revivals without much preaching, there have been revivals with absolutely no organization, but there has never been a mighty revival without mighty praying. ~ R.A. Torrey

Last night was the last night of our spring revival, and I’d like to tell you that Heaven met on earth, souls were saved and the church as a whole got its heart right with God… but I can’t. It did fuel my desire, but my question for myself this morning is, “Okay Shari… how far will you go for revival.”

In a biography written by Os Hillman, he said of D.L. Moody:

Dwight L. Moody was a poorly educated, unordained, shoe salesman who felt God’s call to preach the gospel. Early one morning he and some friends gathered in a hay field for a season of prayer, confession, and consecration. His friend Henry Varley said, “The world has yet to see what God can do with and for and through and in a man who is fully and wholly consecrated to Him.” Moody was deeply moved by these words. ~ Os Hillman Biography

Consecrated… a nice bibley word… I know bibley is not a word, but it’s as much a word in my vocabulary as consecrated. Consecration (meaning wholly dedicated to God) doesn’t seem unattainable to me, it seems unlikely. There’s always something in my way, usually me. It’s the same reason I’m not the best musician, nor the best artist, mom, servant of God, or insert any of the dozens of other titles I have into here. I’m a sinner saved by grace, emphasis on sinner, and I’m semi-dedicated to everything I do. But I’m not wholly dedicated to anything and I’m especially not wholly consecrated to God else I’d be better and not feel like such a failure.

In my search for revival and my time in prayer prior to the revival last night I came up with three points to ponder and reflect on in the coming days in hopes that the sparks of revival that I witnessed in my favorite church on earth would ignite myself and my people.

CLEAN ME UP

Psalm 51:10

Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.

I don’t have to guess at my sins, nor do you likely. I can get them right the first time. And so I confess them to God, but then I fall again, and again and again and the right spirit, the one who wants the revival fires to start burning feels as though I’ve just wet the wood. And then my mind is drawn into Elijah who told the prophets of Baal to wet the wood and wet it good and God sent down the fire to lick it up and ignite the offering to God. And suddenly, even in my failures I feel that twinge of hope and keep praying… clean me up Lord, send the fire, please.

BIND ME UP

Isaiah 30:26

Moreover the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be seven fold, as the light of the seven days, in the day that the Lord bindeth up the breach of his people and healeth the stroke of their wound.

What is the breach in my life, the area of the wall that allows doubt and confusion to get into my being? Another place to search and it’s a vast area. What am I doing that’s allowing the Devil into my life? I need to bind those areas up with the gospel keep my life Christ focused. What are those breached areas? Yeah, I guessed those the first time too. My life is spread too thin… I’m not focused, but rather trying to watch the scope of the world and what’s going on with everyone else and the breaches in my own wall are vulnerable…

FREE ME UP

2 Corinthians 3:17

Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.

Speaking those words “use me where you want me ” is indeed liberating, and also scary! It means that I have to let go of the reigns and possibly let go of some things in my life that kept me bound. This morning it has me pondering stepping out of a position that makes me nauseous every time I step into it and although that is liberating it’s also sad. Life’s not easy. But if revival did anything for me this week it caused me to realize I have people in my watch care that I’ve allowed the breaches in my own life to let the enemy into their lives too.

Are you spreading yourself too thin? Look up… He’ll help you.

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West Virginia Voting: Where Country Livin’ does a gal good

george

At last there is a reprieve from the political rhetoric, or so I thought. I was looking forward to a few days of no television ads or discument…. I know, it’s not word. It’s my version of what happens when you friendly argue about politics. Half discussion; half argument, and I am wholly tired of it all. I’ve seen too much political hype about why we vote like we do in West Virginia. Laying its reasoning to the cultural side of who we are. I’m fine with that. I’m proud of my Appalachian heritage and have never felt that I’ve missed out on life because I’ve not lived in the big city. But I’m most proud of my Christian heritage; which is why I vote the way I do… not because I’m a po’ little country gal who doesn’t understand the complexities of life, therefore I’m conservative. I’m not prejudiced, narrow minded nor am I misguided, and if you call me a radical that’s okay. So long as you understand that I’m radical about Jesus.

There are guns in our home, several. They’re for shooting deer, squirrel, and other critters that my husband enjoys calling fine cuisine. I call it disgusting… I’ve never been a fan of wild game. But my people are, and I’m okay with that. The guns are also handy to defend our home in case an idiot would decide that it would be a good idea to break in. It’s our right… at least for now.

I said all that to get to this. The part of my day that I love the most, and spend too little time in; is the time I take with the word of God. It’s where I know I can make sense of this world when the liberal jargon overwhelms my mind and has me questioning am I right or just weird? It’s why I vote the way I do and think the way I do.

Isaiah said it like this in Chapter 28:9

 Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts.

Who shall we teach about life and train in the ministry? Not the babies, which the political world seems to have an overabundant supply of. They profess Christianity, and yet there behavior isn’t even in the ballpark. I’ve seen T-ball games with more maturity when understanding how to lose. Name calling, carelessness with the feelings of others, lying, and that’s just the precursor for bad behavior.  And we wonder why children behave the way they do! Those who scream against Christian morals and mock the foundation this country was founded on are not who we should have a problem with. They’re lost. And without Christ; we need not think they’ll have Christian principals. But what about our so called “Christian” leaders.  They have no concept of the accountability factor that God is going to hold His people to, and the role that their misguided thinking plays in the flailing condition of our Nation. Of course, that’s “if” they are His people. I’m not their judge.

Isaiah continued on… 28:10-12

For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little: For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people. To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear.

If I were to do a “state of the church” address for today, I’d say we’re in a state of unrest. Isaiah said much the same. Our country’s leadership isn’t helping to comfort the hearts of the people because they’re not following the word of God. Isaiah said the instructions for life were simple, precept (instruction) upon precept. Line upon line (just read it word for word without inserting our own version of what the scriptures say. Stop stammering on what God said! He meant it then and He means it now, God hasn’t changed.

Any psychologist worth a grain of salt will tell you that children need stability in order to feel safe. The only stability in the world for the child of God is the word of God and the church is messing that up by arguing over what God meant. It’s where country livin’ does a girl good. Because I’ve been brought up to believe and respect the simple and honest things of life. While people scoff at the culture of West Virginians, let me share a little about what makes it such special place to grow up in as a child and live in as an adult.

Homegrown West Virginians are very real. They talk and walk the way their grandfolks did and they generally think the way their grandfolks did. Some call it clannish… I call it family. They take care of one another, and other one another’s that don’t belong them.

Statistically speaking, West Virginia ranks 20th in church attendance (Gallup Poll 2014), with approximately one third of our state attending church. Not a statistic I’m proud of… I said they were good family people… I didn’t say they were saved. But even those who don’t go to church, don’t generally mind those who do, and have been brought up to respect the church goin’ folk. That’s the problem with America as a whole. I heard an old-timer once say of someone who forsook their Appalachian heritage “I think they got above their raise’n.”

Jeremiah, just like Isaiah, said pretty much the same thing in Jeremiah 6:16 ~ Thus saith the Lord, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.

We won’t find rest in our nation until we get back to the foundation of the Word of God. It’s a fact.

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Is God Fed Up With His People?

CHICK FED

Have you ever wondered exactly how “fed up” God is with His people. I must confess that I get fed up with people pretty easy. People walk in and out on God and the church like He’s a local supermarket. They hand Him their grocery list

  • Fruit of the Spirit
  • Milk of the Word
  • Meat (if it’s done right)
  • Water of the Word (flavored please)
  • Serving towels… the pretty ones… not the ones you use.

And “if” they can find the time they’ll actually come for dinner, but it needs to be of the heat and eat variety because kickoff’s at noon. Oh yeah… I’ve gone to medlin’. But this thought entered my mind as I read in Zechariah 11:7 this morning.

Feed the Flock

 And I will feed the flock of slaughter, even you, O poor of the flock. And I took unto me two staves; the one I called Beauty, and the other I called Bands; and I fed the flock.

I think Zechariah was at the fed up point and I’m pretty sure he was there because God was there. Those who desired the word of the Lord, the poor of the flock would be fed. In our churches today we have wonderful men of God who week after week pour out their hearts before the congregation of the Lord hoping to stir a fire in the hearts and in a few it does. In every church there’s always a few who show up emptied out and ready to be filled and God is faithful to provide what it is they stand in need of. I’m that person. I need the word of God in my life in every form. I need it from the Preacher, I need to read it for myself and I  need to hear the Holy Spirit speak to my soul. I’m poor every day without it but I’m rich and filled to the brim when I seek to find it. But there are those who were playing church then and we have them yet today, They love it when they feel the power of God in a service, but let’s not get radical and want it outside the walls too. God, said let them go.

Fire the Fakers

In verses 8-11 Zechariah said

Three shepherds also I cut off in one month; and my soul lothed them, and their soul also abhorred me. Then said I, I will not feed you: that that dieth, let it die; and that that is to be cut off, let it be cut off; and let the rest eat every one the flesh of another. And I took my staff, even Beauty, and cut it asunder, that I might break my covenant which I had made with all the people. And it was broken in that day: and so the poor of the flock that waited upon me knew that it was the word of the Lord.

This is one fed up leader! He fired three men and said I can’t stand them! That’s pretty harsh and I don’t really feel the love of God in his words, until I read further and realize why God is so fed up with people. I understand why He has let our Nation go to the point that it’s at with wicked leadership and immorality running amuck.

Listen to Zechariah’s words of condemnation that bring it into a New Testament realm.

Father Forgive them

 Vs. 12-14

And I said unto them, If ye think good, give me my price; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver. And the Lord said unto me, Cast it unto the potter: a goodly price that I was prised at of them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the Lord. Then I cut asunder mine other staff, even Bands, that I might break the brotherhood between Judah and Israel.

Zechariah told them to put a value on him and they threw down 30 pieces of silver, just like the value that Judas put on Jesus; and then having tried to return the money, Judas hung himself and the priests purchased the potter’s field because they could put the money in the treasury.

This is my frustration with not only those who fall out on God but myself as well, when I realize that so often I ignore the price my freedom cost. Oh I want to hear from God, but do I want to hear what He has to say. Not always. Because I know I could live better. And His words convict my soul.

I barely touched anything about this scripture. It’s the history of God’s people at play, and their rejection of the Messiah, but history repeats itself in America as we reject the Lord every day when we have the opportunity to serve Him and choose the world instead.

Sunday’s coming…I’m preparing my heart to hear what he’s given my Pastor. Praise God we still have good godly men! Praise God we still have the freedom to hear the word of God. With the state of this nation we should never take that for granted.

Don’t take your grocery list of expectations to church. Go in with a blank piece of paper and let God fill your cart full of what you need at the house. He is faithful!

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How’s Your Hinges today?

chick labor

There are days when I write that I think I’m writing to read what I have to say. Then I am reminded of the preachers of little country churches who preach Sunday after Sunday to a house of  a half dozen filled seats and a dozen or so good intentions who didn’t show up; it is then that I count it a privilege to have a place that I can share what God speaks to my heart. Every soul that reads the words I write, and are encouraged by my thoughts are soldiers in the field of battle that I’ve had the opportunity to support. God knows each one and I’m encouraged by that. It still however does not stop me from counting and complaining. For myself as a writer and speaker, and for the Pastors that labor and study to fill the pulpit on Sunday, preaching to more air than mass.

Ecclesiastes 12:8-11

Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher; all is vanity. And moreover, because the preacher was wise, he still taught the people knowledge; yea, he gave good heed, and sought out, and set in order many proverbs. 10 The preacher sought to find out acceptable words: and that which was written was upright, even words of truth. 11 The words of the wise are as goads, and as nails fastened by the masters of assemblies, which are given from one shepherd.

It reminds me of that song “I’m working on a Building.”

Church attendance is not proof of salvation, but the lack of church attendance is evidence of commitment issues. If people attended work like they do church they’d be fired. And before you say that you have to work to survive and pay bills, let me call to remembrance the scripture in Ephesians 2:17-22 (speaking of Jesus)

17 And came and preached peace to you which were afar off, and to them that were nigh. 18 For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. 19 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; 20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; 21 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: 22 In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

Sunday is the day we go to the hardware store! While that job that pays the bills is important for survival and filling your house with the necessities of life therein, it’s a temporary housing unit for life. Our permanent dwelling isn’t finished yet. (Lest we’d be in it!) And the building material necessary for that life is found in the house of God and in the Word of God.

Solomon said that all was vanity. We spend so much time living for ourselves that we forget our real purpose. Solomon the preacher was wise and taught the people. The people were wise in that they showed up! He reminded them that this life is short… James 4:14 says ~ It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away.

The words of the wise (the preacher) are as goads, and as nails fastened by the masters of assemblies, which are given from one shepherd. He’s talking about the building, that’s us! Paul in verse 22 of Ephesians said “In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord:” That’s the church! The men and women of God who share His word have got the construction material for you to build your house, and if you don’t  show up at the hardware store on Sunday, and read and study His Word the rest of the week, your doors may fall off the hinges, or your pipes might break! The preacher is a goad… it doesn’t sound very flattering but I hope I’m a goad to. Someone that pokes you and prods you into living closer to cross of Christ. That was the first thing He built for us… and then He died on it. So that we could live in this house of flesh and serve Him where we are.

Glory to God! I’m workin’  on a buildin’, I’m workin’ on a buildin’, I’m workin’ on a buildin’ for my Lord, for my Lord!

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